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Title: Across South America - An account of a journey from Buenos Aires to Lima by way - of Potosí
Author: Bingham, Hiram
Language: English
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                          By the Same Author


     THE JOURNAL OF AN EXPEDITION ACROSS VENEZUELA AND COLOMBIA,
     1906-07. With 133 illustrations and a map. Published by the Yale
     University Press.



                         ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA

                [Illustration: RIO FROM THE CORCOVADO]



                                ACROSS
                             SOUTH AMERICA

                  AN ACCOUNT OF A JOURNEY FROM BUENOS
                    AIRES TO LIMA BY WAY OF POTOSÍ

                   WITH NOTES ON BRAZIL, ARGENTINA,
                       BOLIVIA, CHILE, AND PERU

                                  BY

                             HIRAM BINGHAM
                            YALE UNIVERSITY

                       WITH EIGHTY ILLUSTRATIONS
                               AND MAPS

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                          BOSTON AND NEW YORK
                       HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
                     The Riverside Press Cambridge
                                 1911

                   COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY HIRAM BINGHAM

                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                        _Published April 1911_



                            THIS VOLUME IS

                       AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED

                                  TO

                             THE MOTHER OF

                            SIX LITTLE BOYS



PREFACE


In September, 1908, I left New York as a delegate of the United States
Government and of Yale University to the First Pan-American Scientific
Congress, held at Santiago, Chile, in December and January, 1908-09.
Before attending the Congress I touched at Rio de Janeiro and the
principal coast cities of Brazil, crossed the Argentine Republic from
Buenos Aires to the Bolivian frontier, rode on mule-back through
southern Bolivia, visiting both Potosí and Sucre, went by rail from
Oruro to Antofagasta, and thence by steamer to Valparaiso. After the
Congress I retraced my steps into Bolivia by way of the west coast,
Arequipa, and Lake Titicaca. Picking up the overland trail again at
Oruro, I continued my journey across Bolivia and Peru, via La Paz,
Tiahuanaco, and Cuzco, thence by mules over the old Inca road as far as
Huancayo, the present terminus of the Oroya-Lima Railroad. At Abancay I
turned aside to explore Choqquequirau, the ruins of an Inca fortress in
the valley of the Apurimac; an excursion that could not have been
undertaken at all had it not been for the very generous assistance of
Hon. J. J. Nuñez, the Prefect of Apurimac, and his zealous aide,
Lieutenant Caceres of the Peruvian army. I reached Lima in March, 1909.

The chief interest of the trip lay in its being an exploration of the
most historic highway in South America, the old trade route between
Lima, Potosí, and Buenos Aires. The more difficult parts of this road
were used by the Incas and their conqueror Pizarro; by Spanish viceroys,
mine owners, and merchants; by the liberating armies of Argentina; and
finally by Bolivar and Sucre, who marched and countermarched over it in
the last campaigns of the Wars of Independence.

Realizing from previous experience in Venezuela and Colombia that the
privilege of travelling in a semi-official capacity would enable me to
enjoy unusual opportunities for observation, I made it the chief object
of my journey to collect and verify information regarding the South
American people, their history, politics, economics, and physical
environment. The present volume, however, makes no pretence at
containing all I collected or verified. Such a work would be largely a
compilation of statistics. The ordinary facts are readily accessible in
the current publications of the ably organized Pan-American Bureau in
Washington. Nevertheless, I have included some data that seemed likely
to prove serviceable to intending travellers.

Grateful acknowledgment for kind assistance freely rendered in many
different ways is due to President Villazon of Bolivia, the late
President Montt of Chile, and President Leguia of Peru; to Secretary,
now Senator, Root and the officials of the Diplomatic and Consular
Service; to Professor Rowe and my fellow delegates to the Pan-American
Scientific Congress; and particularly to J. Luis Schaefer, Esq., W. S.
Eyre, Esq., and their courteous associates of the house of W. R. Grace &
Co. Although business houses rarely take the trouble to make the path
of the scientist or investigator more comfortable, it would be no easy
task to enumerate all the favors that were shown, not only to me, but
also to the other members of the American delegation, by Messrs. Grace &
Co. and the managers and clerks of their many branches.

Acknowledgments are likewise due to the officials of the Buenos Aires
and Rosario Railroad, the Peruvian Corporation, and the Bolivia Railway;
and to Colonel A. de Pederneiras, Sr. Amaral Franco, Don Santiago
Hutcheon, Sr. C. A. Novoa, Sr. Arturo Pino Toranzo, Dr. Alejandro Ayalá,
Captain Louis Merino of the Chilean army, Don Moises Vargas, Sr. Lopez
Chavez, and Messrs. Charles L. Wilson, A. G. Snyder, U. S. Grant Smith,
J. B. Beazley, D. S. Iglehart, John Pierce Hope, Rankin Johnson, Rea
Hanna, and a host of others who helped to make my journey easier and
more profitable.

I desire also to express my gratitude, for unnumbered kindnesses, both
to Huntington Smith, who accompanied me during the first part of my
journey, and to Clarence Hay, who was my faithful companion on the
latter part.

Some parts of the story have already been told in the “American
Anthropologist,” the “American Political Science Review,” the “Popular
Science Monthly,” the “Bulletin of the American Geographical Society,”
the “Records of the Past,” and the “Yale Courant,” to whose editors
acknowledgment is due for permission to use the material in its present
form.

HIRAM BINGHAM.

YALE UNIVERSITY, NEW HAVEN, CONN.
_20 November, 1910_.



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

I. PERNAMBUCO AND BAHIA                                                3

II. RIO, SANTOS, AND BRAZILIAN TRADE                                  16

III. BUENOS AIRES                                                     29

IV. ARGENTINE INDEPENDENCE AND SPANISH-AMERICAN
SOLIDARITY                                                            46

V. THE TUCUMAN EXPRESS                                                60

VI. THROUGH THE ARGENTINE HIGHLANDS                                   69

VII. ACROSS THE BOLIVIAN FRONTIER                                     81

VIII. TUPIZA TO COTAGAITA                                             92

IX. ESCARA TO LAJA TAMBO                                             104

X. POTOSÍ                                                            117

XI. SUCRE, THE _DE JURE_ CAPITAL OF BOLIVIA                          133

XII. THE ROAD TO CHALLAPATA                                          148

XIII. ORURO TO ANTOFAGASTA AND VALPARAISO                            164

XIV. SANTIAGO AND THE FIRST PAN-AMERICAN SCIENTIFIC
CONGRESS                                                             180

XV. NORTHERN CHILE                                                   198

XVI. SOUTHERN PERU                                                   211

XVII. LA PAZ, THE _DE FACTO_ CAPITAL OF BOLIVIA                      224

XVIII. THE BOLIVIA RAILWAY AND TIAHUANACO                            241

XIX. CUZCO                                                           254

XX. SACSAHUAMAN                                                      272

XXI. THE INCA ROAD TO ABANCAY                                        280

XXII. THE CLIMB TO CHOQQUEQUIRAU                                     296

XXIII. CHOQQUEQUIRAU                                                 307

XXIV. ABANCAY TO CHINCHEROS                                          324

XXV. BOMBON TO THE BATTLEFIELD OF AYACUCHO                           341

XXVI. AYACUCHO TO LIMA                                               360

XXVII. CERTAIN SOUTH AMERICAN TRAITS                                 379

INDEX                                                                393



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                    PAGE

RIO FROM THE CORCOVADO (page 21)                           _Frontispiece_

LOOKING DOWN INTO THE LOWER CITY, BAHIA                               12

THE CORCOVADO FROM RIO                                                20

THE HARBOR OF SANTOS                                                  24

THE DOCKS OF BUENOS AIRES                                             30

AVENIDA 25 DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES                                      34

THE USPALLATA PASS                                                    50

OUR COACH LEAVING THE HOTEL AT LA QUIACA                              82

THE ANGOSTA DE TUPIZA                                                 86

FANTASTIC PINNACLES IN THE VALLEYS NORTH OF TUPIZA                    90

A QUICHUA FAMILY GOING TO PLOUGH                                      94

THE VALLEY THROUGH WHICH WE HAD COME                                  98

OUR FIRST GLIMPSE OF A SNOW-CLAD BOLIVIAN MOUNTAIN                   112

VIEW OF THE CERRO FROM THE ROOF OF THE MINT                          120

THE CERRO OF POTOSÍ FROM THE SPANISH RESERVOIRS                      124

AN ANCIENT QUICHUA ORE CRUSHER                                       124

THE MARKET-PLACE OF POTOSÍ                                           128

GREENER AND MORE POPULOUS VALLEYS                                    132

THE PICTURESQUE OLD CHURCH OF BARTOLO                                134

A PASTURE FOR SHEEP AND ALPACAS                                      138

A QUICHUA WOMAN WEAVING AT QUEBRADA HONDA                            138

THE GREAT RIVER PILCOMAYO                                            142

OUR HOTEL IN SUCRE                                                   142

AN ABANDONED TAMBO                                                   150

OUR FIRST VIEW OF THE GREAT TABLE-LAND OF BOLIVIA                    150

A FRIENDLY LLAMA BABY                                                160

MY MULE ON THE LAST DAY’S RIDE                                       160

THE PREFECTURA AND PLAZA OF ORURO                                    166

A QUAINT OLD BALCONY IN ORURO                                        170

A CORNER IN ORURO                                                    170

BATTLEFIELD OF MAIPO NEAR SANTIAGO                                   186

MOLLENDO                                                             212

THE CATHEDRAL OF AREQUIPA AND MT. CHACHANI                           216

AN OLD DOORWAY IN AREQUIPA                                           216

CHACHANI AND MISTI                                                   216

MONOLITHIC IMAGE AT TIAHUANACO                                       228

THE MARKET-PLACE OF LA PAZ                                           232

A REMARKABLE STAIRWAY AT TIAHUANACO                                  232

BALSAS NEAR GUAQUI ON LAKE TITICACA                                  240

AN OLD CHURCH NEAR THE BOLIVIA RAILWAY                               240

GREAT PLATFORMS OF STONE WEIGHING MANY TONS                          250

PART OF THE GREAT MONOLITHIC DOORWAY                                 250

LLAMAS OF CUZCO                                                      258

CUZCO FROM SACSAHUAMAN                                               258

SACSAHUAMAN                                                          266

THE PLAZA, CUZCO, WITH CATHEDRAL AND JESUIT CHURCH                   266

A SECTION OF THE LOWER TERRACE, SACSAHUAMAN                          274

AN INCA VASE FROM CUZCO                                              278

ARTICLES OF DRESS AND A DECORATED MULE HALTER
FROM CUZCO                                                           278

THE GOBERNADOR OF CURAHUASI AND HIS FAMILY                           288

A CHASM DOWN WHICH PLUNGED A SMALL CATARACT                          298

THE WONDERFUL CAÑON OF THE APURIMAC                                  298

SUNRISE AT CHOQQUEQUIRAU                                             302

THE FRAIL LITTLE BRIDGE OVER THE APURIMAC                            302

A STORY AND A HALF HIGH, BUILT OF STONES LAID IN CLAY                308

THE PARTY WALL RISES TO THE PEAK                                     308

THE INTERIOR OF THE BUILDINGS NEAR THE OUTER PRECIPICE 312

THE UPPER SIX STEPS OF THE GIANT STAIRWAY                            312

SKULLS, ETC., FROM CHOQQUEQUIRAU                                     316

INTERIOR OF A BUILDING AT CHOQQUEQUIRAU                              316

OUR CAVALCADE ON THE BRIDGE OF PACHACHACA                            324

SOME OF THE SHEEP HAD VERY LONG CURLY HORNS                          334

THE CLUB AT CHINCHEROS                                               338

THE LARGE PLAZA OF AYACUCHO                                          342

THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER PAMPAS                                     342

AYACUCHO                                                             346

THE COURTYARD OF THE HOTEL                                           346

A PICTURESQUE CORNER IN AYACUCHO                                     350

CROSSING THE PONGORA RIVER ON THE SHAKY SUSPENSION
BRIDGE                                                               350

THE BATTLEFIELD OF AYACUCHO                                          354

THE BATTLEFIELD AS IT APPEARED TO THE SPANIARDS                      354

THE BRIDGE OVER THE HUARPA                                           362

URUMYOSI                                                             366

THE HUT NEAR PAUCARA                                                 366

THE TOLL-BRIDGE OF TABLACHACA                                        368

SUNDAY MORNING IN HUANCAYO                                           372



MAPS


THE AUTHOR’S ROUTE ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA                                3

SOUTHERN PERU                                                         81

SOUTHERN BOLIVIA                                                     281

CHOQQUEQUIRAU AND VICINITY                                           307

LOWER PLAZA CHOQQUEQUIRAU                                            310

UPPER PLAZA CHOQQUEQUIRAU                                            314

CUZCO AND NEIGHBORING FORTRESSES                                     318

     The frontispiece and the illustration at page 20 are from
     photographs by Marc Ferrez. Those at pages 50, 216, 226, 232, 258,
     298, 302, 324, 342, 346, 350, 354, and 362 are from photographs by
     Mr. C. L. Hay; and those at pages 150, 160, 170 from photographs by
     Mr. H. Smith.



ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA

[Illustration:

Sketch Map
to illustrate
=ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA=
by
HIRAM BINGHAM
]



ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA



CHAPTER I

PERNAMBUCO AND BAHIA


There are two ways of going to the east coast of South America. The
traveller can sail from New York in the monthly boats of the direct line
or, if he misses that boat, as I did, and is pressed for time, he can go
to Southampton or Cherbourg and be sure of an excellent steamer every
week. The old story that one was obliged to go by way of Europe to get
to Brazil is no longer true, although this pleasing fiction is still
maintained by a few officials when they are ordered to go from Lima on
the Pacific to the Peruvian port of Iquitos on the Amazon. If they
succeed in avoiding the very unpleasant overland journey via Cerro de
Pasco, they are apt to find that the “only feasible” alternative route
is by way of Panama, New York, and Paris!

Personally I was glad of the excuse to go the longer way, for I knew
that the exceedingly comfortable new steamers of the Royal Mail Line
were likely to carry many Brazilians and Argentinos, from whom I could
learn much that I wanted to know. They proved to be most kind and
communicative, and gave me an excellent introduction to the point of
view of the modern denizen of the east coast whose lands have received
the “golden touch” that comes from foreign capital, healthy
immigration, and rapidly expanding railway systems. I was also fortunate
in finding on board the Aragon a large number of those energetic
English, Scots, and French, whose well-directed efforts have built up
the industries of their adopted homes, until the Spanish-Americans can
hardly recognize the land of their birth, and the average North
American, who visits the east coast for the first time, rubs his eyes in
despair and wonders where he has been while all this railroad building
and bank merging has been going on. If there were few Germans and
Italians on board, it was not because they were not crossing the ocean
at the same time, but because they preferred the new steamers of their
own lines. I could have travelled a little faster by sailing under the
German or the Italian flag, but in that case I should not have seen
Pernambuco and Bahia, which the more speedy steamers now omit from their
itinerary.

The Brazilians call the easternmost port of South America, Recife, “The
Reef,” but to the average person it will always be known as Pernambuco.
Most travellers who touch here on their way from Europe to Buenos Aires,
prefer to see what they can of this quaint old city from the deck of the
steamer, anchored a mile out in the open roadstead. The great ocean
swell, rolling in from the eastward, makes the tight little surf boats
bob up and down in a dangerous fashion. It seems hardly worth while to
venture down the slippery gangway and take one’s chances at leaping into
the strong arms of swarthy boatmen, whom the waves bring upward toward
you with startling suddenness, and who fall away again so
exasperatingly just as you have made up your mind to jump.

Out of three hundred first-cabin passengers on the Aragon, there were
only five of us who ventured ashore,--three Americans, a Frenchman, and
a Scotchman. The other passengers, including several representatives of
the English army--but I will say no more, for they afterwards wrote me
that, on their return journey to England, the charms of Pernambuco
overcame their fear of the “white horses of the sea,” and they felt well
repaid.

Pernambuco is unquestionably one of the most interesting places on the
East Coast. From the steamer one can see little more than a long low
line of coast, dotted here and there with white buildings and a
lighthouse or two. To the north several miles away, on a little rise of
ground, is the ancient town of Olinda, founded by the Portuguese in the
sixteenth century, a hundred years before Henry Hudson stepped ashore on
Manhattan Island. By the time that our ancestors were beginning to
consider establishing a colony in Massachusetts, the Portuguese had
already built dozens of sugar factories in this vicinity. Then the Dutch
came and conquered, built Pernambuco and, during their twenty-five years
on this coast, made it the administrative centre for their colony in
northeast Brazil. Their capital, four miles north of the present
commercial centre, is now a village of ruined palaces and ancient
convents. The Dutch had large interests on the Brazilian seaboard and
carried away quantities of sugar and other precious commodities, as is
set forth in many of their quaint old books. The drawings which old
Nieuhof put in his sumptuous folio two centuries ago are still vivid and
lifelike, even if they serve only to emphasize the great change that has
come over this part of the world in that time.

Now, three trans-Atlantic cables touch here, and it is a port of call
for half a dozen lines of steamers. The old Dutch caravels used to find
excellent shelter behind the great natural breakwater, the reef that
made the port of Recife possible. No part of the east coast of Brazil
possesses more strategical importance, and modern improvements have
deepened the entrance so that vessels drawing less than fifteen feet may
enter and lie in quiet water, although the great ocean liners are
obliged to ride at anchor outside. Tugs bring out lighters for the
cargo, but the passengers have to trust to the mercy of the surf boats.

It took six dusky oarsmen to pull us through the surf and around the
lighthouse that marks the northern extremity of the reef, into the calm
waters of the harbor. On the black reef a few rods south of the
lighthouse stands an antiquated castle, which modern guns would make
short work of, but which served its purpose admirably by defending the
port against the sea rovers of the seventeenth century. Opposite this
breakwater, on two or three “sea islands” whose tidal rivers cut them
off from the mainland, the older part of Pernambuco is built.

It was with a feeling of having miraculously escaped from the dangers of
a very stormy voyage, that we clambered up the slippery stone stairs of
the landing stage and entered the little two-storied octagonal structure
which serves the custom house as a place in which to examine incoming
passengers. This took but a moment, and then we went out into the
glaring white sunlight of this ancient tropical city and began our tour
of inspection.

Immediately in front of us was a line of warehouses three or four
stories high and attractively built of stone. They give the water-front
an air of permanency and good breeding. Between them and the sea-wall
there was a tree-planted, stone-paved area, the Rialto of Recife, where
all classes, from talkative half-tipsy pieces of foreign driftwood to
well-dressed local merchants, clad in immaculate white suits, congregate
and gossip. Beyond the sea-wall a dozen small ocean steamers lay inside
the harbor, moored to the breakwater; while numbers of smaller vessels,
sloops, schooners, and brigantines were anchored near the custom house
docks or in the sluggish Rio Beberibe, which separates Recife from the
mainland.

As we wandered through the streets past the Stock Exchange, the naval
station, and the principal business houses, we saw various sights: a
poorly dressed Brazilian, of mixed African and Portuguese descent,
carrying a small coffin on his head; barefooted children standing in
pools of water left in the paved sidewalks by the showers of the
morning; bareheaded women, with gayly colored shawls over their
shoulders; neat German clerks dressed in glistening white duck suits;
lounging boatmen in nondescript apparel; and everywhere long, low drays
loaded with bags of sugar, each vehicle drawn by a single patient ox
whose horns are lashed to a cross-piece that connects the front end of
the thills. Those who moved at all moved as if there were abundant time
in which to do everything, and as though the hustle and bustle of lower
New York never existed at all. The scene was distinctively
Latin-American. One must be careful not to say “Spanish-American” here,
for if there is one thing more than another that the Brazilian is proud
of, it is that he is not a Spaniard and does not speak Spanish. However,
the difference between the two languages is not so great and the local
pride not so strong but that the obliging natives will understand you,
even if you have the bad taste to address them in Spanish. They will
reply, however, in Portuguese, and then it is your turn to be obliging
and understand them, if you can.

West of Recife, on another island and on the mainland, are the other
public buildings, parks, and the finest residences. A primitive
tram-car, pulled by mules, crosses the bridge and jangles along toward
the suburbs, which are quite pretty, although some of the houses strive
after bizarre color-effects which would not be appropriate in the
Temperate Zone. There are fairly good hotels here, and there is quite a
little English colony. But it is not a place where the white man
thrives. The daily range of temperature is very small, and it is claimed
that the average difference between the wet and dry season is only three
degrees.

From Pernambuco there radiate three or four railways, north, west, and
south. None of them are more than two hundred miles long, but all serve
to gather up the rich crops of sugar and cotton for which the
surrounding region is noted, and bring them to the cargo steamers that
offer in exchange the manufactured products of Europe and America. If
one may judge from the size of the custom house and the busy scene
there, where half a dozen steam cranes were actively engaged in
unloading goods destined to pay the annoyingly complex Brazilian tariff,
the business of the port is very considerable. It seemed quite strange
to see such mechanical activity and such a modern customs warehouse so
closely associated with the narrow, foul-smelling streets of the old
town. But it gives promise of a larger and more important city in the
years to come, when the new docks shall have been built and still more
modern methods introduced.

Yet even now there are over one hundred and fifty thousand people in the
city, and the mercantile houses do a good business. The clerks move
slowly, and there is little appearance of enterprise; but one must
always remember, when inclined to criticise the business methods of the
tropics, that this is not a climate where one can safely hurry. Things
must be done slowly if the doer is to last any length of time. The
commercial traveller who comes here full of brusque and zealous
activity, will soon chafe himself into a fever if he is not careful.
These are easy-going folk, and political and commercial changes do not
affect them seriously. They are willing to stand governmental conditions
that would be almost intolerable to us, and their haphazard methods of
business are well suited to their environment. The European, although
proverbially less adaptable than the American, is forced by keener
competition at home to adjust himself as best he may to the local
conditions here and elsewhere in South America. His American colleague,
on the other hand, has as yet not felt the necessity of learning to meet
what seems to him ridiculous prejudice.

Emblematic of this Brazilian trade are the primitive little catamarans
in which the fishermen of Recife venture far out into the great ocean.
The frail little craft are only moderately safe, and at best can bring
back but a small quantity of fish. They are most uncomfortable, and
their occupants are kept wet most of the time by the waves that dash
over them. Furthermore, a glimpse of them is as much of Pernambuco as
most steamship passengers get. It is only by venturing and taking the
trouble to go ashore that one can see the modern custom house dock on
the other side of Recife, and learn the lesson of the possibilities of
commerce here.

We left Pernambuco in the afternoon and reached the green hills of the
coast near Bahia the next morning. The steamers pass near enough to the
shore to enable one to make out, with the glasses, watering-places and
pretty little villas that have been built on the ocean side of the
peninsula by the wealthier citizens of Bahia. At the end of the
promontory, just above the rocks and the breakers, is the picturesque
white tower of a lighthouse. Unfortunately, it did not avail to save a
fine German steamer that was lying wrecked on the dangerous shoals near
the entrance to the harbor when we passed in.

As we steamed slowly around the southern end of the low promontory, the
city of Bahia gradually came into view, its large stone warehouses
lining the water-front, its lower town separated by a steep hill,
covered with gardens and graceful palms, from the upper city,
conspicuous with the towers and cupolas of numerous churches and public
buildings.

On the left, as one enters the harbor, rises the interesting island of
Itaparica, which England once offered to take in payment of a debt due
her by Portugal. It bears a resemblance to Gibraltar in more ways than
one, but it was not destined to become a British stronghold. A favorite
resort of the citizens of Bahia, it is called “the Europe of the poor,”
because it has a genial climate and is frequented by those who cannot
afford to cross the Atlantic.

As we leave it on our left, in front of us, and to the north, lies the
magnificent bay that has given the city its name. It lacks the romantic
mountains that make Rio so famous, yet its beautiful blue waters are
most alluring, dotted as they are here and there with the white sails of
fishing-boats and catamarans.

We have to anchor a mile from the shore, and a steam launch carrying the
port officials soon comes alongside. The local boatmen, whose little
craft, suited only to the quiet waters of the bay, bear no resemblance
to the seaworthy surf boats of Pernambuco, line up at a distance of half
a mile, awaiting the signal which permits them to hoist sail and race
for the steamer. It is a pretty sight, enlivened by the shouts of the
boat crews. Some boats are loaded with delicious tropical fruits that
are eagerly bargained for by our steerage passengers, most of whom are
Spanish peasants on their way to harvest the crops of Argentina. Others
are anxious to take us ashore. And after the usual delay, we make a deal
with a boatman, a lazy fellow who wastes a lot of time trying to sail in
against the wind while his more energetic competitors are rowing. On the
way we pass half a dozen steamers and a few sailing vessels, and steer
carefully between scores of huge lighters and dozens of smaller craft.
In place of the steel steam cranes which we saw at Pernambuco, on the
wharves are numerous wooden cranes worked by hand.

We land on slippery wooden stairs, and hurry across the blistering hot
pavements of the street to rest for a few moments in the shade of the
large warehouses and wholesale shops that crowd the lower town. Some of
the signs are decidedly bizarre and scream as loudly for patronage as
the limits of modern Frenchified Portuguese art will permit. There is
none of the picturesqueness of Pernambuco, and we soon betake ourselves
to one of the cog railways where, for a few cents, we are allowed to
scramble into a bare little wooden passenger coach and be yanked up the
steep incline by a cable that looks none too strong for its purpose.
Once in the upper city, the narrow streets of commerce seem to be left
behind, and we are in broader thoroughfares, with here and there a green
park full of palms and other tropical plants. There are churches on
every side,

[Illustration: LOOKING DOWN INTO THE LOWER CITY, BAHIA]

some of them wonderfully decorated and most attractive. Bahia is not
quite so old as Pernambuco, its foundation dating only from the middle
of the sixteenth century; but it early became the religious and
intellectual centre of Portuguese-America, and it is still noted for its
literature and culture, although long ago passed in the race by Rio.

The glaring white sunlight throws everything into bold relief and makes
the shadows seem unusually dark and cool. On the corners of the streets
are little folding stands bearing a heavy load of toothsome
confectionery. Their barefooted coal-black owners, clad generally in
white, lean against the iron posts of the American Trolley Car System
and watch patiently for the trade that seems sure to come to him who
waits. On every side one sees black faces.

In fact, Bahia is sometimes popularly spoken of as the “Old Mulattress,”
in affectionate reference to the fact that more than ninety per cent of
its two hundred thousand people are of African descent. For over two
centuries Bahia monopolized the slave trade of Brazil. Her traders
continued to be the chief importers of negroes down to the middle of the
nineteenth century. It is said that as many as sixty thousand slaves
were brought in within a single year.

We took one of the American-made trolleys and soon went whizzing along
through well-paved streets and out into the suburbs. Here villas,
fearfully and wonderfully made, like the baker’s best wedding cake in
his shop window, attest to the local fondness for rococo extravagance.
In general, however, the principal buildings appear to be well built,
and are frequently four or five stories in height.

The architecture of Bahia is decidedly Portuguese, much more so than
that of Pernambuco, which still bears traces of its Dutch origin and
even reminds one of Curaçao. Some of the villas in Bahia are strikingly
like those in Lisbon. And there are other likenesses between the
Portuguese capital and this ecclesiastical metropolis of Brazil. Both
are situated on magnificent estuaries, and present a fine spectacle to
the traveller coming by sea. Both have upper and lower towns, with hills
so steep as to require the services of elevators and cog or cable
railways to connect them. The upper town of each commands an extensive
view of the shipping, the roadstead, and the surrounding country. But
here the similarity ends; for Lisbon is built on several hills, while
Bahia occupies but a single headland, the verdure-clad promontory which
shelters the magnificent bay.

Bahia is the centre for a considerable commerce in sugar and cotton,
cocoa and tobacco. These are brought to the port by land and water, but
chiefly by the railroads that go north to the great river San Francisco
and west into the heart of the state. There are many evidences of wealth
in the city, and there is certainly an excellent opportunity for
developing foreign trade. One looks in vain, however, for great American
commercial houses like those which mark the presence of English, French,
and German enterprise. Nevertheless the electric car line, with its
American equipment, gives a promise of things hoped for. And there is a
decided air of friendliness toward Americans on the part of the
Brazilians whom one meets on the streets and in the shops. There is none
of that “chip on the shoulder” attitude which the Argentino likes to
exhibit toward the citizens of the “United States of North America.” The
Brazilian appears to realize that Americans are his best customers, and
he is desirous of maintaining the most friendly relations with us.



CHAPTER II

RIO, SANTOS, AND BRAZILIAN TRADE


Two days’ sail from Bahia brought us within sight of the wonderful
mountains that mark the entrance to the Bay of Rio de Janeiro. As one
approaches land, the first thing that catches the eye is the far-famed
Sugar Loaf Mountain which seems to guard the southern side of the
entrance. Back of it is a region even more romantic, a cluster of higher
mountains, green to their tops, yet with sides so precipitous and
pinnacles so sharp one wonders how anything can grow on them. The region
presents, in fact, such a prodigious variety of crags and precipices,
peaks and summits, that the separate forms are lost in a chaos of
beautiful hills.

The great granite rocks that guard the entrance to the harbor leave a
passage scarcely a mile in width. At the base of the Sugar Loaf we saw a
fairy white city romantically nestling in the shadow of the gigantic
crag. It is the new National Exposition of Brazil.

Once safely inside the granite barriers, the bay opens out and becomes
an inland sea, dotted with hundreds of islands, a landlocked basin with
fifty square miles of deep water.

On the northern shores of the bay lies the town of Nictheroy, the
capital of the state. Its name perpetuates the old Indian title of the
bay, “hidden water.” The name of the capital of the Republic, on the
south side of the bay, carries with it a remembrance of the fact that
when first discovered, the bay was mistaken for the mouth of a great
river, the River of January.

Since the early years of the sixteenth century, Rio has been conspicuous
in the annals of discovery and conquest. Magellan touched here on his
famous voyage round the world. The spot where he landed is now the site
of a large hospital and medical school. French Huguenots attempted to
find here a refuge in the time of the great Admiral Coligny. As one
steams slowly into the harbor, one passes close to the historic island
of Villegagnon, whose romantic story has been so graphically told by
Parkman.

Hither came the King of Portugal, flying from the wrath of Napoleon.
Here lived the good Emperor Don Pedro II, one of the most beneficent
monarchs the world has ever seen. And into these waters are soon to come
Brazil’s new Dreadnoughts, about which all the world has been
speculating, and which have made Argentina almost forget the necessities
of economic development in her anxiety to keep up with Brazil in the way
of armament.

An elaborate system of new docks, that has been in the course of
construction for a long time, has not been completed yet; so we anchor a
mile or more from the shore, not far from a score of ocean steamers and
half a hundred sailing vessels. Before the anchor falls we are
surrounded by a noisy fleet of steam launches, whose whistles keep up a
most infernal tooting. A score of these insistent screamers attempt to
get alongside of our companion-way at the same time. In addition, half a
hundred row-boats attack the ladder where some of the steerage
passengers are trying to disembark.

We had heard, before entering the port, that there were several hundred
cases of smallpox here, besides other infectious diseases. Yet this did
not prevent everybody that wanted to, and could afford the slight cost
of transportation, from coming out from the shore and boarding our
vessel. Such a chattering, such a rustling of silk skirts and a
fluttering of feathers on enormous hats, such ecstatic greetings given
to returning citizens! Such ultra-Parisian fashions!

On shore we found the marks of modern Rio--electric cars, fashionable
automobiles, well-paved streets, electric lights, and comfortable
hotels--very much in evidence. Were it not for the blinding sunlight
that fairly puts one’s eyes out in the middle of the day, one could
readily forget one’s whereabouts. To be sure, if you go to look for it,
there is the older part of the city which still needs cleaning up
according to modern ideas of sanitation. But if you are content to spend
your time in the fashionable end of the town or speeding along the fine
new thoroughfares in a fast motor car, it is easy to think no more of
Rio’s bad record as an unhealthy port.

The city of Rio is spread over a large peninsula that juts out from the
south into the waters of the great bay. Across the peninsula, through
the centre of the busiest part of the city, the Brazilians have
recently opened a broad boulevard, the Avenida Central. Fine modern
business blocks have sprung up as if by magic, and the effect is most
resplendent. The spacious avenue is in marked contrast with the very
narrow little streets that cross it. One of them, the Rua Ouvidor, the
meeting-place of the wits of Rio, is in many ways the most interesting
street in Brazil. Here one may see everybody that is anybody in Rio.

At one end of the Avenida Central is Monroe Palace, which once did duty
at an International Exposition, and more recently was the meeting-place
of the third Pan-American Conference, made notable by the presence of
Secretary Root. Beyond the showy palace to the east there are a number
of little bays, semi-circular indentations in the shore, which have
recently been lined with splendid broad driveways, where one may enjoy
the sea breeze and a marvellous view over the inland sea to the
mountains beyond.

At the far end of the new parkway rises the ever-present Sugar Loaf, at
whose feet are the buildings of the National Exposition. They are
wonderfully well situated, lying as they do on a little isthmus wedged
in between two gigantic rocks, with the ocean on one side and the
beautiful bay on the other. The buildings themselves are not
particularly remarkable, being decorated in the gorgeous style of
elaborate whiteness that one is accustomed to associate with
expositions.

The crowds I saw there were composed exclusively of Brazilians, most of
whom had apparently visited the grounds many times and accepted them as
the fashionable evening rendezvous. Each of the states of Brazil had a
building of its own in which to exhibit its products, and there was a
theatre, a “Fine Arts” building, a Hall of Manufactures, and a sad
attempt at a Midway. An entire building was devoted to the manufactures
and exports of Portugal. All other buildings were devoted to the states
or industries of Brazil, making the prejudice in favor of the mother
country all the more noticeable.

A change is coming over the foreign commerce of Rio. Twenty years ago,
the largest importing firms were French and English. Many of these have
practically disappeared, having been driven out by Portuguese, Italian,
and German houses. The marked leaning toward goods of Portuguese origin
is very striking and naturally difficult to combat.

Brazil has recently established in Paris an office for promoting the
country and aiding its economic expansion. This office is publishing a
considerable literature, mostly in French, and will undoubtedly be able
to bring about an increase of European commerce and that immigration
which Brazil so much needs. The completion of the new docks will greatly
help matters.

But besides new docks Rio needs a reformed customs service. Every one is
agreed that the most vexatious thing in Rio is the attitude of the
custom house officials. Either because they are poorly paid or else
simply because they have fallen into extremely bad habits, they are
allowed to receive tips and gratuities openly. The result may easily be
imagined.

[Illustration: THE CORCOVADO FROM RIO]

A few days after my arrival, an American naturalist, thoroughly honest
but of a rather short temper, was treated with outrageous discourtesy,
and his personal effects strewn unceremoniously over the dirty floor of
the warehouse by angry inspectors, simply because he was unwilling to
bribe them. There was no question as to his having any dutiable goods.

The population of Rio is variously estimated at between seven and eight
hundred thousand, but her enthusiastic citizens frequently exaggerate
this and speak in an offhand way of her having a million people. They
are naturally reluctant to admit that Rio has any fewer than Buenos
Aires.

The suburbs of Rio are remarkably attractive. On the great bay, dotted
with its beautiful islands, are various resorts that take advantage of
the natural beauties of the place, and cater to the pleasure-loving
Brazilians. From various ports on the bay, railroads radiate in all
possible directions, going north into the heart of the mining region and
west through the coffee country to Saõ Paulo. The terminus of a little
scenic railway is the top of one of the highest and most remarkable of
the near-by peaks, the Corcovado. The view from the summit can scarcely
be surpassed in the whole world. The intensely blue waters of the bay,
the bright white sunlight reflected from the fleecy cumulous clouds so
typical of the tropics, the verdure-clad hills, and the white city
spread out like a map on the edge of the bay, combine to make a
marvellous picture.

No account of Rio, however brief, would be complete without some
reference to the “Jornal do Comercio,” the leading newspaper of Brazil,
whose owner and editor, Dr. J. C. Rodriguez, is one of the most
influential men in the country. In addition to guiding public opinion
through his powerful and ably edited newspaper, he has had the time to
attend to numerous charities and to the collection of a most remarkable
library of books relating to Brazil. He has recently taken high rank as
a bibliographer by publishing a much sought after volume on early
Braziliana, basing his information largely on his own matchless
collection.

Another well-edited paper is “O Paiz,” which like the “Jornal do
Comercio” has its own handsome edifice on the new Avenida Central. A
subscription to it for one year costs “thirty thousand reis”--a trifle
over nine dollars! As in the case of other South American newspapers,
its offices are far more luxurious and elaborate than those of their
contemporaries in North America. These southern dailies give
considerable space to foreign cablegrams, so much more, in fact, than do
our own papers, that it almost persuades one that we are more provincial
than our neighbors.

Santos, the greatest coffee port in the world and the only city in
Brazil having adequate docking facilities, is a day’s sail from Rio. It
is separated from the ocean by winding sea-rivers or canals. The marshes
and flats that surround it, and the bleaching skeletons of sailing
vessels that one sees here, are sufficient reminders of the terrible
epidemics that have been the scourge of Santos in the past. Stories are
told of ships that came here for coffee, whose entire crews perished of
yellow fever before the cargo could be taken aboard, leaving the vessel
to rot at her moorings. All of this is changed now, and the port is as
healthy as could be expected.

Yet the town is not attractive. It lacks the picturesque ox-drays of
Pernambuco and the charming surroundings of Rio. The streets are badly
paved and muddy; the clattering mule-teams that bring the bags of coffee
from the great warehouses to the docks are just like thousands of others
in our own western cities. The old-fashioned tram-cars, running on the
same tracks that the ramshackle suburban trains use, are dirty but not
interesting. Prices in the shops are enormously high. In fact, on all
sides there is too much evidence of the upsetting influence of a great
modern commerce.

A long line of steamers lying at the docks taking on coffee is the
characteristic feature of the place, and a booklet that has recently
been issued to advertise the resources of Brazil bears on its cover a
branch of the coffee tree, loaded with red berries, behind which is the
photograph of a great ocean liner, into whose steel sides marches an
unending procession of stevedores carrying on their backs sacks of
coffee. It not only emphasizes Brazil’s greatest industry, but it is
also thoroughly typical of Santos.

Most of the coffee is grown in the mountains to the north, and comes to
Santos from Saõ Paulo on a splendidly equipped British-built railway.
The line is one of the finest in South America. It rises rapidly through
a beautiful tropical valley by a gradient so steep as to necessitate
the use of a cable and cogs for a large part of the distance. The
powerhouses scattered at intervals along the line are models of
cleanliness and mechanical perfection.

Notwithstanding the fact that America is by far the greatest consumer of
Santos coffee, the greater part of the local enterprises are in British
hands. The investment of British capital in Brazil is enormous. It has
been computed that it amounts to over six hundred million dollars.
Americans do not seem yet to have waked up to the possibilities of
Brazilian commerce, or to the fact that the question of American trade
with Brazil is an extremely important one.

It is only necessary to realize that the territory of Brazil is larger
than that of the United States, that the population of Brazil is greater
than all the rest of South America put together, and that Brazil’s
exports exceed her imports by one hundred million dollars annually, to
understand the opportunity for developing our foreign trade.

Brazil produces considerably more than half of the world’s supply of
coffee, besides enormous quantities of rubber. The possibilities for
increased production of raw material are almost incalculable. It is just
the sort of market for us. Here we can dispose of our manufactured
products and purchase what will not grow at home.

We have made some attempts to develop the field, even though our
knowledge is too often limited to that of the delightful person who knew
Brazil was “the place where the nuts come from!” We have

[Illustration: THE HARBOR OF SANTOS]

little conception of the great distances that separate the important
cities of Brazil and of the difficulties of transportation.

A story is told in Rio of an attempt to go from Rio to Saõ Paulo by
motor, over the cart-road that connects the two largest cities in the
Republic. The trip by railway takes about twelve hours. The automobile
excursion took three weeks of most fearful drudgery. Needless to say,
the cars did not come back by their own power.

It is more difficult for a merchant in one of the great coast cities of
Central Brazil to keep in touch with the Amazon, than it is for a
Chicago merchant to keep in touch with Australia.

Furthermore, to one who tries to master the situation, the coinage and
the monetary system seem at first sight to present an insuperable
obstacle. To have a bill for dinner rendered in thousands of _reis_ is
rather confusing, until one comes to regard the thousand _rei_ piece as
equivalent to about thirty cents.

Another and much more serious difficulty is the poor mail service to and
from New York. To the traveller in South America, unquestionably the
most exasperating annoyance everywhere is the insecurity and
irregularity of the mails. The Latin-American mind seems to be more
differently constituted from ours in that particular than in any other.
He knows that the service is bad, slow, and unreliable. But it seems to
make little difference to him, and the only effort he makes to overcome
the frightfully unsatisfactory conditions is by resorting to the
registered mail, to which he intrusts everything that is of importance.
Add to this fact the infrequency of direct mail steamers from the United
States to the East Coast, and it may readily be seen where lies one of
the most serious obstacles in the way of extending our commerce with
Brazil.

A marked peculiarity of the Brazilian market is its extreme
conservatism. Brazilians who have become accustomed to buying French,
English, and German products are loath to change. American products are
unfashionable. The Brazilian who can afford it travels on the
luxuriously appointed steamers of the Royal Mail, and he and his friends
regard articles of English make as much more fashionable and luxurious
than those from the United States.

This is largely due to the lack of commercial prestige which we enjoy in
the coast cities of Brazil. The Brazilians cannot understand why they
see no American banks and no American steamship lines. Our flag never
appears in their ports except as it is carried by a man-of-war or an
antiquated wooden sailing vessel. To their minds this is proof
conclusive that the American, who claims that his country is one of the
most important commercial nations in the world, is merely bluffing.

Such prejudices can only be overcome by strict attention to business,
and this attention our exporters have in large measure not yet thought
it worth while to give. The agents that they send to Brazil rarely speak
Portuguese, and are unable to compete with the expert linguists who come
out from Europe. Frequently they even lack that technical training in
the manufacture of the goods which they are trying to sell, which gives
their German competitors so great an advantage.

Still more important than commercial travellers in a country like
Brazil, is the establishment of agencies where goods may be attractively
displayed. An active importer told me that, in his opinion, the most
essential thing for Americans to do was to maintain permanent depots or
expositions where their goods could be seen and handled. Relatively
little good seems to result from the use of catalogues, even when
printed in the language of the country, owing to the insecurity of the
mails and the absence of American banks or express companies which would
insure the delivery of goods ordered.

Finally, it is disgraceful to be obliged to repeat the old story of
American methods of packing goods for shipment to South America. This
fact has been so often alluded to in many different publications that it
might seem as though further criticism were unnecessary. Unfortunately,
however, in spite of repeated protests, American shippers, forgetful of
the almost entire absence of docks and docking facilities here, continue
to pack their goods as if they were destined for Europe.

At most of the ports, lighters have to be used. These resemble small
coal barges, into which the goods are lowered over the side of the
vessel. Often more or less of a sea is running, and notwithstanding all
the care that may be used the durability of the packing-cases is tested
to the utmost. I saw a box containing a typewriter dumped on top of a
pile of miscellaneous merchandise, from which it rolled down, bumping
and thumping into the farther corner of the barge. Fortunately, this
particular typewriter belonged to a make of American machines whose
manufacturers have learned to pack their goods in such form as to stand
just that kind of treatment. The result is that one sees that brand of
machine all over South America.

The American consul in Rio, Mr. Anderson, has been doing a notable
service in recent years by sending north full and accurate reports of
business conditions in Brazil, and our special agent, Mr. Lincoln
Hutchinson, has written excellent reports on trade conditions in South
America. To the labors of both these gentlemen I am greatly indebted for
information on this subject.



CHAPTER III

BUENOS AIRES


We left Santos late on a Tuesday afternoon, and after two pleasant days
at sea entered the harbor of Montevideo on Friday morning. It was
crowded with ships of all nations, and we were particularly delighted to
see the American flag flying from three small steamers. Could it be
possible that the flag which had been so conspicuous for its absence
from South American waters, was regaining in the twentieth century the
preëminence it had in the early years of the nineteenth? Alas, no; the
boats were only government vessels in the lighthouse service, towing
lightships from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. They had stopped here
to coal, for Montevideo is a favorite port of call for steamers bound
through the Straits of Magellan. Ever since the days when it was the
home of active smugglers, who were engaged in defying Spain’s
restrictive colonial policy, Montevideo has been a prosperous trading
centre. To-day, clean streets, new buildings, electric cars, fine shops,
elaborate window displays, well-dressed people, and excellent hotels
mark it as modern and comfortable.

It is difficult to realize that this is the capital of Uruguay, “one of
the most tumultuous of the smaller revolutionary states of South
America.” The American is chagrined to find that the Uruguayan gold or
paper dollar is worth two cents more than our own. And the Englishman is
most annoyed to find the “sovereign” at a discount. But chagrin gives
way to frank amazement at the high prices which the Montevidean is
willing to pay for his imported luxuries.

The republic is small but there is no waste land, and the railroads
bring in quantities of wool and food-stuffs destined for the European
market. More than three thousand steamers enter the port annually. Most
of them belong to the eighteen British lines that touch here. No wonder
the city is wealthy and has attractive shops and boulevards. To be sure,
the harbor improvements, not completed yet, have been greatly retarded
by the most flagrant kind of political graft. But what American city,
from New York to San Francisco, has a clean record in this particular?

Splendidly equipped steamers, resembling our Fall River boats, ply
nightly between Montevideo and Buenos Aires, in order to accommodate the
increasing numbers who wish to do business in both cities.

A generation ago the traveller to Buenos Aires was obliged to disembark
in the stream seven or eight miles from the city, proceed in small boats
over the shallow waters, and then clamber into huge ox-carts and enjoy
the last mile or two of his journey as best he could. Since then,
extraordinary harbor improvements, costing millions of dollars, have
been completed, and ocean steamers are now able

[Illustration: THE DOCKS OF BUENOS AIRES]

to approach the city through dredged channels. Yet such has been the
phenomenal growth of the port that the magnificent modern docks are
already overcrowded and the handling of cargo goes on very slowly,
retarded by many exasperating delays. The regular passenger and mail
steamers are given prompt attention, however, and the customs house
examination is both speedy and courteous, in marked contrast to that at
Rio. In years to come, the two other important ports of
Argentina--Rosario, higher up the Rio de la Plata, and Bahia Blanca,
farther down the Atlantic coast--are destined to grow at a rapid rate
because of the better docking facilities they will be able to afford.

Bahia Blanca in particular is destined to have a great future, as it is
the natural outlet for the rapidly developing agricultural and pastoral
region of southern Argentina.

Buenos Aires, however, will always maintain her political and commercial
supremacy. She is not only the capital of Argentina, but out of every
five Argentinos, she claims at least one as a denizen of her narrow
streets. Already ranking as the second Latin city in the world, her
population equals that of Madrid and Barcelona combined.

Hardly has one left the docks on the way to the hotel before one is
impressed with the commercial power of this great city. Your taxicab
passes slowly through crowded streets where the heavy traffic retards
your progress and gives you a chance to marvel at the great number of
foreign banks, English, German, French, and Italian, that have taken
possession of this quarter of the city. With their fine substantial
buildings and their general appearance of solidity, they have a firm
grip on the situation. One looks in vain for an American bank or agency
of any well-known Wall Street house. American financial institutions are
like the American merchant steamers, conspicuous by their absence. The
Anglo-Saxons that you see briskly walking along the sidewalks are not
Americans, but clean-shaven, red-cheeked, vigorous Britishers.

In England they talk familiarly of “B.A.” and the “River Plate”;
disdaining to use the Spanish words Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and
Buenos Aires. To hear them you might suppose they were speaking of
something they owned, and you would not be so very far from the truth.
What Mexico owes to American capital and enterprise, the countries and
cities of the Rio de la Plata owe to Great Britain. British capitalists
have not been slow to realize the possibilities of this great
agricultural region. They know its potentiality as a food-producer, and
they have covered it with a network of railways much as we have covered
the prairies of Illinois and the plains of Kansas. Of the billion and a
quarter dollars of British capital invested in Argentina, over seven
hundred millions are in railways. Thousands of active, energetic young
Englishmen, backed by this enormous British capital, have aided in the
extraordinary progress which Argentina has made during the past
generation.

In some ways this is an English colony. The majority of the people do
not speak English, except in the commercial district, and the
Englishman is here on sufferance. But it is his railroads that tie this
country together. It is his enterprises that have opened thousands of
its square miles, and although the folly of his ancestors a century ago
caused him to lose the political control of this “purple land,” the
energy of his more recent forebears has given him a splendid heritage.
Not only has he been able to pay large dividends to the British
stockholders who had such great faith in the future of Argentina, he has
made many native Argentinos wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice.

Land-owners, whose parents had not a single change of clothes, are
themselves considering how many motor cars to order. Their patronage
sustains the finely appointed shops which make such a brave display on
Florida and Cangallo Streets. These streets may be so narrow that
vehicles are only allowed to pass in one direction, but the shops are
first class in every particular and include the greatest variety of
goods, from the latest creations of Parisian millinery to the most
modern scientific instruments. Fine book shops, large department stores,
gorgeous restaurants, expensive to the last degree, emphasize the wealth
and extravagance of the upper classes.

On the streets one may hear all of the European languages. In the
business district it is quite as likely to be English as Spanish, and in
the poorer quarters Italian is growing more common every day. The speech
of the common people is nominally Spanish, very bad Spanish. In reality
it is a hybrid into which Portuguese, Italian, and Indian words and
accents have entered to disfigure the beautiful Castilian.

When Rio cut her Avenida Central through the middle of her business
district, she had in mind the Avenida 25 de Mayo of Buenos Aires, a
typical imitation Parisian Boulevard that was opened not many years ago
to facilitate traffic and beautify the city. On the Avenida, as in Rio,
the leading newspaper has its luxurious home.

All the world has heard of “La Prensa” and its marvellously
well-appointed building where distinguished foreigners are entertained,
lectures are given, and all sorts of advertising dodges are featured. It
was “La Prensa” that had the news of President Taft’s election two
minutes after it was known in New York. Many Porteños, as the people of
Buenos Aires are called, think the columns of “La Prensa” are too yellow
and that its business methods are almost too modern. They prefer the
more dignified pages of the “Nacion.”

The hotels on the Avenida are not up to the standard of three of those
on the narrower thoroughfares. In fact, it would be hard to find more
comfortable hostelries than the Grand or the Palace. The new Phœnix
Hotel, one of the first skyscrapers to be erected here, promises even
greater comforts and is to be the rendezvous of the British colony.

There are many theatres and they have a brilliant season, which begins
in June. The pleasure-loving Porteños are willing to pay very high
prices for the best seats, and managers can offer good

[Illustration: AVENIDA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES]

salaries to tempt the best performers to leave Europe. Variety shows are
popular and carried to an extreme with which we are not familiar in the
United States. Some of them are poor copies of questionable Parisian
enterprises. But even these are not as bad as the moving picture shows
that have captured Buenos Aires. Public opinion is astonishingly lax in
the southern capital. Exhibitions of shocking indecency are
countenanced, that would no longer be tolerated in Europe or North
America. In this matter Buenos Aires also offers a marked contrast to
Santiago de Chile where morals are on a much higher plane, thanks to the
Catholic Church, which unfortunately seems to have lost its grip here.

The Porteño has not only forgotten his religion, he seems also to have
lost the pleasing manners of his Castilian ancestors. I have been in
eight South American capitals and in none have I seen such bad manners
as in Buenos Aires. Nowhere else in South America is one jostled so
rudely. Nowhere else does one see such insolent behavior and such bad
taste. Santiago, Lima, Bogotá, and Caracas seem to belong to a different
civilization. To be sure, none of them are as rich and prosperous. But
in all of them good society is a much more ancient concern than in this
overgrown young metropolis.

Here the newly rich are in full sway and their ideas and instincts seem
to predominate. On Sunday afternoon, all the world dashes madly out to
the race course, where it exercises its passion for gambling to the
fullest capacity. In the Jockey Club inclosure are gathered the youth
and beauty, the wealth and fashion of the city. And yet the ladies
carry the artificial tricks of feminine adornment to such an amazing
extent that it is almost impossible to realize that they belong to the
fashionable world and not to the demi-monde. The races that I attended
drew an audience of thirty thousand. One race had a first prize
amounting to fifteen thousand dollars. The horses seemed to be of a
rather heavier build than ours but they did not interest the spectators.
Facilities for betting were provided on an elaborate scale. There were
no bookmakers, and the odds depended entirely on the popular choice, as
is commonly done in Europe. The gate receipts and the proceeds of the
“percentage” are enormous and have enabled the Jockey Club to build one
of the most luxurious and extravagant club houses in the world.

After the races, hundreds of motor cars and carriages promenade slowly
up and down that part of the parkway which society has decreed shall be
her rendezvous. Here one sees an astonishing display of paint and powder
illuminating the faces of the devotees of a fashion which decrees that
all ladies must have brilliant complexions. The effect is very
unpleasant. I suppose it is simply another evidence of the newness of
modern Buenos Aires. Very few wealthy families have a long-established
social position. Culture and refinement are at a discount. Otherwise it
is difficult to imagine how any society can tolerate such artificiality.
This garish Sunday parade is quite a swing of the pendulum from the old
days when Creole ladies, modestly attired in lovely black lace
mantillas, walked quietly to church and home again, as they still do in
most South American cities.

It is hardly necessary to speak of the more usual evidences of great
wealth, palatial residences that would attract attention even in Paris
and New York, charming parks beautifully laid out on the shores of the
great Rio de la Plata, and a thousand luxurious automobiles of the
latest pattern carrying all they can hold of Parisian millinery.

One does not need to be told that this is a city of electric cars,
telephones, and taxis. These we take for granted. But there is a
characteristic feature of the city that is unexpected and striking: the
central depots for imported thoroughbreds. Only a few doors from the
great banks and railway offices are huge stables where magnificent
blooded horses and cattle, sheep and pigs, which have brought records of
distinguished ancestry across the Atlantic, are offered for sale and
command high prices.

These permanent cattle-shows are the natural rendezvous of the wealthy
ranchmen and breeders who are sure to be found here during a part of
each day while they are in town. So are foreigners desirous of
purchasing ranches and reporters getting news from the interior. The
cattle-fairs offer ocular evidence of the wealth of the modern Argentino
and the importance of the pastoral industry. There are over a hundred
million sheep on the Pampas. Cattle and horses also are counted by the
millions.

The problems of Argentine agriculture and animal industries are being
continually studied by the great land-owners, who have already done
much to improve the quality of their products.

During my stay in Buenos Aires, it was my privilege to visit an
agricultural school in one of the neighboring towns. The occasion was
the celebration of its twenty-fifth anniversary. The festivities were
typically Spanish-American. An avenue of trees was christened with
appropriate ceremonies, being given the name of the anniversary date. To
each tree a bunch of fire-crackers had been tied. At the beginning and
end of the avenue a new sign-post bearing its name had been put up and
veiled with a piece of cheese cloth. A procession consisting of the
officials of the school and of the National University of La Plata, with
which the school is affiliated, alumni and visitors, formed at the
school-buildings after the reading of an appropriate address, and
marched down the new avenue following the band. As we progressed, the
signs were unveiled and the bunches of fire-crackers touched off. At the
far end, in a grove of eucalyptus trees, a collation was served, and we
were entertained by having the fine horses and cattle belonging to the
school paraded up and down. The school has an extensive property, is
doing good work, and shows a practical grasp of the needs of the
country.

Argentina has worked hard to develop those industries that are dependent
upon stock-raising. The results have amply justified her. The
exportation of frozen meat from Argentina amounts to nearly twenty
million dollars annually. Only recently one of the best known
packing-houses of Chicago opened a large plant here and is paying
tribute to the excellence of the native stock. Every year Argentina
sends to Europe the carcasses of millions of sheep and cattle as well as
millions of bushels of wheat and corn, more in fact than we do. Of all
the South American republics, she is our greatest natural competitor,
and she knows it. Nevertheless, she lacks adequate resources of iron,
coal, lumber, and water power, and notwithstanding a high protective
tariff, can never hope to become a competitor in manufactured products.
Argentina exports more than three times as much per capita as we do, and
must do so in order to pay for the necessary importation of manufactured
goods. It also means that she will always find it to her advantage to
buy her goods from England, France, and Germany, where she sells her
food-stuffs. Brazil can send us unlimited amounts of raw materials that
we cannot raise at home, while at present Argentina has little to offer
us. Yet we are already buying her wool and hides, and before long will
undoubtedly be eating her beef and mutton, as England has been doing for
years.

The banks of Buenos Aires have learned to be extremely conservative. For
a long time this city was a favorite resort of absconding bank cashiers
from the United States, and stories are told of many well-dressed
Americans who have come here from time to time without letters of
introduction but with plenty of money to spend, who have been kindly
received by the inhabitants, only to prove to be undesirable
acquaintances. What we consider “old-fashioned and antiquated” English
bank methods are the rule, and it frequently takes a couple of hours to
draw money on a letter of credit even when one has taken the pains to
notify one’s bankers beforehand that the letter was to be used in South
America. Personally, I have found American Express checks extremely
useful in all parts of South America and have had no difficulty in
getting them accepted in Buenos Aires. In the interior it is more
difficult unless one comes well introduced. But the necessity for
letters of introduction is quite generally recognized all over the
continent. Strangers who have “neglected to supply themselves with
credentials,” frequently turn out to be fugitives from justice.

Another local peculiarity noticeable also in Chile, is that many of the
citizens bitterly begrudge us our attempted monopoly of the title of
“Americans.” They catalogue us at all possible times under “N” instead
of “A.” They also speak of us as _North_ Americans or as “Yankis,” and
they call our Minister the “North American Minister,” quite ignoring the
existence of Mexico and Canada.

Certain Americans who are desirous of securing an increase of our trade
with South America and of placating in every possible manner the South
Americans, overlooking the practical side of the question, have
acquiesced in the local prejudice and speak of themselves as North
Americans, even though they do not address their letters to the “United
States of North America.”

The fact that the South American refuses to grant us our title of
“Americans” is really an indirect compliment. It is chiefly owing to the
industry and intelligence of the citizens of the United States, that the
word “American” has come to have a complimentary meaning,--far more
complimentary in fact than it had fifty years ago when distinguished
foreigners were wont to use that adjective as a peculiarly opprobrious
epithet. With this change in the significance of the term has come a
natural desire on the part of the South Americans to apply it to
themselves. They reason that they have as good a right, geographically,
to the term as we have, and they wilfully forget that each of their
republics has in its legal title a word which conveniently and
euphoniously characterizes its citizens. The people of the United States
of Brazil are called Brazilians, and those of the United States of
Mexico are Mexicans by the same right that those of the United States of
America are Americans. To be sure, the world generally thinks of our
country as the United States, quite forgetful that there are several
other republics of the same name. It is a pity that a euphonious
appellation cannot be manufactured from one or both of those two words.
We cannot distinguish ourselves by the title “North American,” as that
ignores the rightful claim to that title which the denizens of the
larger part of this continent, the Mexicans and Canadians, have in
common with us. It is difficult to see how we are to avoid calling
ourselves Americans even if it gives offence to our neighbors. It is not
a point of great importance and it seems to me that in time, with the
natural growth of Chile and the Argentine Republic, their citizens will
be so proud of being called Chilenos or Argentinos that they will not
begrudge us our only convenient and proper title.

There is another point, however, in their criticism of us which is more
reasonable and on which they might be accorded more satisfaction. I
refer to that part of our foreign policy known as the Monroe Doctrine.
Many a Chileno and Argentino resents the idea of our Monroe Doctrine
applying in any sense to his country and declares that we had better
keep it at home. He regards it as only another sign of our overweening
national conceit. And on mature consideration, it does seem as though
the justification for the Monroe Doctrine, both in its original and its
present form, had passed. Europe is no longer ruled by despots who
desire to crush the liberties of their subjects. As is frequently
remarked, England has a more democratic government than the United
States. In all the leading countries of Europe, the people have
practically as much to say about the government as they have in America.
There is not the slightest danger that any European tyrant will attempt
to enslave the weak republics of this hemisphere. Furthermore, such
republics as Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru no more need our
Monroe Doctrine to keep them from being robbed of their territory by
European nations than does Italy or Spain. If it be true that some of
the others, like the notoriously lawless group in Central America, need
to be looked after by their neighbors, let us amend our outgrown Monroe
Doctrine, as has already been suggested by one of our writers on
international law, so as to include in the police force of the Western
Hemisphere, those who have shown themselves able to practice
self-control. With our lynchings, strikes, and riots, we shall have to
be very careful, however, not to make the conditions too severe or we
shall ourselves fail to qualify.

The number of “North Americans” in Buenos Aires is very small. While we
have been slowly waking up to the fact that South America is something
more than “a land of revolutions and fevers,” our German cousins have
entered the field on all sides.

The Germans in southern Brazil are a negligible factor in international
affairs. But the well-educated young German who is being sent out to
capture South America commercially, is a power to be reckoned with. He
is going to damage England more truly than Dreadnoughts or gigantic
airships. He is worth our study as well as England’s.

Willing to acquaint himself with and adapt himself to local prejudices,
he has already made great strides in securing South American commerce
for his Fatherland. He has become a more useful member of the community
than the Englishman. He has taken pains to learn the language
thoroughly, and speak it not only grammatically but idiomatically as
well; something which the Anglo-Saxon almost never does. He has entered
into the social life of the country with a much more gracious spirit
than his competitors and rarely segregates himself from the community in
pursuing his pleasures as the English do. His natural prejudices against
the Spanish way of doing things are not so strong.

His steamers are just as luxurious and comfortable as the new English
boats. It is said that even if the element of danger that always exists
at sea is less on the British lines, the German boats treat their
passengers with more consideration, giving them better food and better
service. No wonder the Spanish-American likes the German better than he
does the English or American. Already the English residents in Buenos
Aires, who have regarded the River Plate as their peculiar province for
many years, are galled beyond measure to see what strides the Germans
have made in capturing the market for their manufactured products and in
threatening their commercial supremacy. And neither English nor Germans
are going to hold out a helping hand or welcome an American commercial
invasion.

Meanwhile the Argentinos realize that their country cannot get along
without foreign capital, much as they hate to see the foreigner made
rich from the products of their rolling prairies.

Politically, Buenos Aires and Argentina are in the control of the native
born. They have a natural aptitude for playing politics, and they much
prefer it to the more serious world of business. This they are quite
willing to leave to the foreigner.

They realize also that they greatly need more immigrants. The population
is barely five per square mile, and as a matter of fact, is practically
much less than that for so large a part of the entire population is
crowded into the city and province of Buenos Aires. Consequently they
are doing all they can to encourage able-bodied immigrants to come from
Italy and Spain.

And the immigrants are coming. My ship brought a thousand. Other ships
brought more than three hundred thousand in 1908. Argentina is not
standing still. Nor is she waiting for “American enterprise.” During
1908 considerably more than two thousands vessels entered the ports of
the republic. Four flew the American flag.



CHAPTER IV

ARGENTINE INDEPENDENCE AND SPANISH-AMERICAN SOLIDARITY


On the 25th of May, 1910, the Argentine nation in general, and Buenos
Aires in particular, observed with appropriate ceremonies the one
hundredth anniversary of their independence. Great preparations were
made to insure a celebration that should suitably represent the
importance of the event.

In 1810 Buenos Aires had been a Spanish colony for two hundred and fifty
years following her foundation in the sixteenth century. But the Spanish
crown had never valued highly the great rolling prairies drained by the
Rio de la Plata. There were no mines of gold or silver here, and Spain
did not send her colonists into far-away America to raise corn and wine
that should compete with Spanish farmers at home. Buenos Aires was
regarded as the end of the world. All persons and all legitimate
commerce bound thither from Spain were obliged to go by way of Panama
and Peru, over the Andes, across the South American continent, before
they could legally enter the port of Buenos Aires. The natural result of
this was the building up of a prosperous colony of Portuguese smugglers
in southern Brazil. Another result was that no Spaniards cared to live
so far away from home if they could possibly help it, and society in
Buenos Aires was not nearly so brilliant as in the fashionable
Spanish-American capitals of Lima, Santiago, or Bogotá.

During the closing years of the eighteenth century the Spaniards became
convinced of their short-sighted policy and made Buenos Aires an open
port. The English were not slow to realize that this was one of the best
commercial situations in South America, and that far from being the end
of the world, as the Spaniards thought, it was a natural centre through
which the wealth of a large part of South America was bound to pass. The
great Mr. Pitt, who was most interested in developing British commerce
with South America, felt that it would probably be necessary to
introduce British manufactures in the wake of a military expedition, and
decided to seize Buenos Aires, which was so poorly defended that it
could easily be captured by a small resolute force.

Accordingly in June, 1806, an attack was made. The Viceroy,
notwithstanding repeated warnings, had made no preparations to defend
the city, and it was captured without difficulty. There was great
rejoicing in London at the report of the victory, but it was soon turned
to dismay by the news of a disgraceful and unconditional surrender. The
sudden overthrow of the English was due largely to the ability of a
local hero named Liniers who played successfully on the wounded pride of
the Porteños.

The significance of the episode is that it gave to the Porteños the idea
that the power of Spain could be easily overthrown, and that they
actually had the courage and strength to win and hold their own
independence.

Hardly had the city recovered from the effects of its bombardment by the
English before events, destined to produce a profound change throughout
South America, commenced to attract attention in Spain. Napoleon
inaugurated his peninsula campaigns, and the world beheld the spectacle
of a Spanish king become the puppet of a French emperor. In July, 1809,
a new Viceroy, appointed by the Spanish cortes then engaged in fighting
against Napoleon, took possession of the reins of government in Buenos
Aires. In the early months of 1810, Napoleon’s armies were so successful
throughout the Spanish peninsula that it seemed as if the complete
subjection of Spain was about to be accomplished.

On May 18, the unhappy Viceroy allowed this news from Spain to become
known in the city. At once a furor of popular discussion arose. Led by
Belgrano and other liberal young Creoles, the people decided to defy
Napoleon and his puppet king of Spain as they had defied the soldiers of
England. On the 25th of May, the Viceroy, frightened out of his wits,
surrendered his authority, and a great popular assembly that crowded the
plaza to its utmost capacity appointed a committee to rule in his stead.
So the 25th of May, 1810, became the actual birthday of Argentina’s
independence, although the acts of the popular government were for six
years done in the name of Ferdinand, the deposed king of Spain, and the
Act of Independence was not passed by the Argentine Congress until
1816.

No sooner had Buenos Aires thrown off the yoke of Spain than she began
an active armed propaganda much as the first French republic did before
her. Other cities of Argentina were forcibly convinced of the advantages
of independence, and the armies of Buenos Aires pressed northward into
what is now southern Bolivia. It was their intention to drive the
Spanish armies entirely out of the continent, and what seemed more
natural than that they should follow the old trade route which they had
used for centuries, and go from Buenos Aires to Lima by way of the
highlands of Bolivia and Peru. But they reckoned without counting the
cost. In the first place the Indians of those lofty arid regions do not
take great interest in politics. It matters little to them who their
masters are. Furthermore, their country is not one that is suited to
military campaigns. Hundreds of square miles of arid desert plateaux ten
or twelve thousand feet above the sea, a region suited only to support a
small population and that by dint of a most careful system of
irrigation, separated by frightful mountain trails from any adequate
basis of supplies, were obstacles that proved too great for them to
overcome. Their little armies were easily driven back. On the other
hand, when the royalist armies attempted to descend from the plateaux
and attack the patriots, they were equally unsuccessful. The truth is
that southern Bolivia and northern Argentina are regions where it is far
easier to stay at home and defend one’s self than to make successful
attacks on one’s neighbors. An army cannot live off the country as it
goes along, and the difficulties of supplying it with provisions and
supplies are almost insurmountable. The first man to appreciate this was
José San Martin.

It is not too much to say that San Martin is the greatest name that
South America has produced. Bolivar is better known among us, and he is
sometimes spoken of as the “Washington of South America.” But his
character does not stand investigation; and no one can claim that his
motives were as unselfish or his aims as lofty as those of the great
general to whose integrity and ability the foremost republics of Spanish
South America, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, owe their independence.

San Martin was born of Spanish parents not far from the present boundary
between Argentina and Paraguay. His father was a trusted Spanish
official. His mother was a woman of remarkable courage and foresight.
His parents sent him to Spain at an early age to be educated. Military
instincts soon drew him into the army and he served in various
capacities, both in Africa and later against the French in the
peninsula. He was able to learn thoroughly the lessons of war and the
value of well-trained soldiers. He received the news of the popular
uprising in Argentina while still in Spain, and soon became interested
in the struggles of his fellow-countrymen to establish their
independence. In 1812 he returned to Buenos Aires where his unselfish
zeal and intelligence promptly marked him out as an unusual leader. The
troops under him

[Illustration: THE USPALLATA PASS]

became the best-drilled body of patriots in South America.

After witnessing the futile attempts of the patriots to drive the
Spanish armies out of the mountains of Peru by way of the highlands of
Bolivia, he conceived the brilliant idea of cutting off their
communication with Spain by commanding the sea power of the West Coast.
He established his headquarters at Mendoza in western Argentina, a point
from which it would be easy to strike at Chile through various passes
across the Andes. Here he stayed for two years governing the province
admirably, building up an efficient army, organizing the refugees that
fled from Chile to Mendoza, making friends with the Indians, and keeping
out of the factional quarrels that threatened to destroy all proper
government in Buenos Aires. In January, 1817, his army was ready. He led
the Spaniards to think that he might cross the Andes almost anywhere,
and succeeded in scattering their forces so as to enable him to bring
the main body of his army over the most practical route, the Uspallata
Pass.

The expedition was successful, and in 1818 San Martin had the
satisfaction of administering such a decisive defeat to the Spaniards at
Maipo as to insure Chilean independence. With the aid of a remarkable
soldier of fortune, Thomas Cochran, Earl of Dundonald, and an
interesting group of Anglo-Saxon seamen, San Martin drove the Spaniards
from the West Coast and captured the city of Lima. The aid which was
given him by Buenos Aires and Chile was not sufficient to enable him to
penetrate the great Andes of the interior and totally destroy the last
Spanish army. He sought Bolivar’s aid, but that proud Liberator would
only come as Commander-in-chief. So, rather than sacrifice the cause of
independence, San Martin, with unexampled self-effacement, gave up his
well-trained veterans to Bolivar and Sucre and quietly withdrew to his
modest home in Argentina. His unwillingness to enter into political
squabbles, his large-minded statesmanship, and his dignified bearing did
not endear him to his fellow countrymen, and he was forced to pass the
declining years of his life in Europe, an exile from his native land.

The history of the period is full of petty personal rivalries and absurd
political squabbles. Against these as a background the magnificent
figure of San Martin, efficient soldier, wise statesman, and unselfish
patriot, stands out plainly distinct. His achievements are worthy to be
remembered with those of the greatest heroes of history. His character,
the finest that South America has ever produced, has few equals in the
annals of any country.

For many years he was disliked by his fellow patriots because he openly
expressed the belief that they were not fit for pure democratic
government. Since his day many South Americans agree with him.

The most serious criticism, however, which we can lay at the door of the
South American is his lack of political cohesion. The border provinces
are everlastingly rebelling against the decrees of the central
government. Furthermore, when the Spanish colonies secured their
independence, they either did not combine or else combining soon fell
apart. The reason for this lack of solidarity may be found in the
history of the Hispanic race and in the geographical conditions that
exist in the southern continent.

In criticising South American habits of mind and political tendencies,
one must remember that the moral and intellectual characteristics that
form the soul of a people have been developed by its entire past and
represent the inheritance of its ancestors. For the motives of its
conduct, one must look to its history.

Historically, the Hispanic race was led to develop individualistic
rather than coöperative action. The forces at work in the peninsula were
centrifugal rather than centripetal. A small handful of brave
mountaineers were almost the only inhabitants of the peninsula that were
able to defy the Moorish conquerors. The process of the Christian
re-conquest of Spain was so slow that it took nearly eight centuries for
her to grow from the lonely, rocky fastness of Covadonga to the group of
Christian kingdoms that embraced the entire peninsula. During these
eight hundred years, preceding the Conquest of America, the Spaniards
fought almost continuously against an ever-present enemy. This developed
a strong municipal spirit, for the towns on the frontier were in
constant danger of attacks from the Moors, and it was necessary to grant
them very considerable powers. As the boundaries of Christian Spain
extended southward, new cities came to be frontier posts, but the old
ones retained the powers and the semi-independence they had previously
gained.

The result was a race of men devoted primarily to their cities; only
secondarily to the province or kingdom to which their city belonged, and
quite incidentally to Spain as a geographical and linguistic unit. Such
a racial tendency could not help developing that disregard of large
national interests in preference to petty local concerns which has been
a most unfortunate trait in the history of the South American republics.
For while it may be true that the conception of the city as the soul of
the native country has always been effective from the point of view of
the development of civilization, it has been disastrous in its effect on
national progress. It was just that loyalty to the municipality that
prevented the growth of the Greek Empire.

Another result of the eight hundred years of Christian warfare against
the infidel Moor, was the development of moral and physical qualities
that made possible the marvellously rapid conquest of America by small
companies of _conquistadores_. Brave, bigoted, courageous, accustomed to
continuous hostilities, ardently devoted to a cause for which they were
willing to lay down their lives, fighting to the last ditch, it is not
surprising that the ancestors of the South Americans were able to
achieve such wonderful results in the early sixteenth century.

Only a vigorous and rising nation could have accomplished the great work
of exploring, conquering, and colonizing America which was done at that
time.

As a matter of fact, a wonderful transformation was then taking place in
Spain. The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella had united by personal
bonds what had formerly been a handful of detached kingdoms. These
countries each had their own laws, their own peculiar customs and
separate administrative systems. Some of the provinces were inhabited by
people of different stock. The process of unification was almost
contemporaneous with the conquest and colonization of America.

For a career destined to be as great as that of any of the larger
empires of history, Spain had at the beginning of the colonizing period
an inadequate political organization. Spanish racial unity and religious
uniformity were of recent growth. The European progenitors of the
conquerors did not fight for Spain as a whole, but rather as citizens of
a municipality or as vassals of a petty king. The spirit of a
centralized, unified government whose citizens are willing to sacrifice
everything for the sake of their nation, did not run in their blood.
They belonged to a fragmentary and embryonic group of nations. Spain did
not adopt a policy of centralization long enough before the acquisition
of her American colonies to allow the results of such a change in
methods of government to affect popular habits of thought. In the
meantime, South America was being colonized by men who had no sense of
racial unity and few tendencies towards concerted political action.

Hence it is not at all surprising that their descendants, the heroes of
the Wars of Emancipation, did not find it easy or natural to unite under
one government. It was in accordance with the history of their race that
they should form separate political establishments. It was also in
accordance with that Spanish colonial policy which forbade
communication between the different colonies and in no way encouraged a
community of interests.

Historically then, there was little to cause the South American colonies
on achieving their independence, to unite, even had they not been
separated by tremendous natural obstacles.

Although the basins of the Amazon, the La Plata, and the Orinoco offered
many thousands of miles of navigable highways, the masses of water were
too copious and too irregular to be controlled until the era of steam
navigation. In the great valleys east of the Andes, the excessive
fertility of the soil has produced an enormous area of continuous
woodlands, a mass of vegetation that has defied the efforts of centuries
to effect clearings and roads. This densely timbered and sparsely
inhabited region keeps Venezuela from having any dealings with Bolivia
more effectually than if an absolute desert lay between them.

There is nothing that separates one of the United States from another
that is at all comparable to the lofty chain of the Andes and the
impenetrable jungle that lies for hundreds of miles on the eastern slope
of the Cordillera. The more one considers the matter, the more it seems
as though nature could not have placed more impassable obstacles in the
way of intercommunication if she had set out with that definite purpose
in view. In comparison with the difficulties of travelling from Lima,
the centre of the old Spanish domain, to Buenos Aires, a journey from
New York to Charleston in the days of the American revolution was a
mere pleasure jaunt, and yet it seemed difficult enough at that time!
Nowhere in the English colonies existed such impediments to
communication as the deserts of northern Chile and southern Peru, the
swamps of eastern Colombia and western Venezuela, the forests of
Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, or the gigantic chain of the Andes whose
lowest point for thousands of miles is ten thousand feet above the sea.

The founders of the original thirteen English colonies not only
inherited racial unity but providentially built their homes on a short
strip of coast and occupied a homogeneous country, no larger than a
single Spanish colony. Their union followed as a matter of course.

It was quite otherwise in South America. For, as though it were not
enough that the tendency of the race was towards building up individual
communities rather than federations, as though the laws forbidding the
colonists from trading with one another and from travelling from one
colony to another were not a sufficient preventive of union, all the
forces of nature, mountains, rivers, deserts, swamps, and even winds,
combined to promote the isolation of the new republics. The top of the
highest mountain in the thirteen English colonies was not half as high
as the lowest point in the ranges of lofty mountains that separated the
Spanish colonies; nor one third as high as the Uspallata Pass by which
Chile is connected with Argentina.

It is not for us to criticise the South Americans for having failed to
unite and form a great nation. Our ancestors were favored by nature
with a region that is comparatively accessible in all parts. It is not
any more creditable to the English colonists that they united than it is
discreditable to the Latin-Americans that they did not. In both cases,
racial characteristics, aided by diverse policies of colonial
administration made a foundation for growth which by an extraordinary
coincidence, was in every possible way favored by local geographical
conditions.

The English colonists, on securing their independence, had been
acquainted with one another for generations; had fought side by side in
the French and Indian wars; had intermarried, built up social and
business friendships; united in sending agents to the mother country and
in sending representatives to Congresses where the leading men of each
colony came to know one another’s desires and aspirations. Placed by
fate on a narrow strip of coast less in length than the seaboard of
Chile alone, enabled by nature to communicate both by sea and land,
separated from one another by neither deserts nor lofty mountains, what
more likely than that they should have followed their natural traditions
and formed a single nation? The difficulties in the way of the South
American colonists following such an example were stupendous. Scattered
over an enormous area, separated by the greatest natural boundaries that
nature has produced, it was scarcely to be expected that they too should
not follow the traditions of their race and build up local governments
instead of forming a federation.

The historical and geographical reasons that prevented the formation of
confederations have also mitigated against the building up of strong
national governments. The citizen is still inclined to favor the affairs
of his city rather than the good of his country. He finds it easier to
be loyal to the local chieftain than to the central government. The cure
for this, however, is already in sight. The energy and enterprise of
English, French, and German capitalists are overcoming the obstacles
that nature has placed in the way of intercommunication.

In time, aided by steam and electric systems of transportation, some of
the Southern Republics may even unite with others. But before this comes
about it may confidently be expected in the near future that the
development of new transportation facilities will make possible the
growth of strong national feeling and will prevent the states from
falling apart. It will certainly make revolutions less frequent and
bring a condition of stability that will even attract American capital
and greatly augment European immigration.



CHAPTER V

THE TUCUMAN EXPRESS


For nearly three centuries the most important trade-route in South
America was the overland trail from Buenos Aires to Lima by way of the
silver mines of Potosí. The system of travel for both passengers and
freight was well established. In 1773 there was published a little book
called “El Lazarillo,” “The Blind Man’s Guide,” which contains full
information for travellers going from Buenos Aires to Lima with exact
itineraries and “with some useful notes for those new business men who
traffic by means of mules.” The road with its post-houses, its relays of
mules, and its provisions for the comfort of man and beast is well
described. Buenos Aires is credited with having twenty-two thousand
souls, of whom “ninety-nine are orphans and sixty-eight are in jail!”

I should have liked nothing better than to have been able to follow “The
Blind Man’s Guide” from post-house to post-house along the entire
distance. But alas, since the days of railways, many of the road-houses
that formerly offered “good accommodations to travellers,” have
disappeared, and it is necessary to go as the world goes and take the
train--when there is one.

On November 13, 1908, accompanied by Mr. Huntington Smith, Jr., I left
Buenos Aires for Bolivia. The first stage of the journey, seven hundred
and twenty miles, was by train to Tucuman, over the tracks of the Buenos
Aires and Rosario R. R., one of the oldest and richest railways in
Argentina. Our train was made up entirely of vestibuled sleeping and
dining cars.

Among the first-class passengers was a newly arrived Spanish mercantile
clerk and a French commercial traveller. I noticed more French in
Argentina and Brazil than on the West Coast or in the northern
countries. Especially in the large cities, they, with the Germans and
English, have been very active in promoting local enterprises.

In the first fifteen miles out from Buenos Aires we saw numbers of
villas shaded by groves of eucalyptus trees standing in the midst of the
owner’s broad acres. There is considerable evidence of market gardening
and general agriculture. So far as we could see from the train, the
roads are very bad and have not improved since the days of the
woe-begotten travellers who had to cross these plains in ox-carts.

When Edmund Temple, the breezy secretary of the Potosí, La Paz &
Peruvian Mining Association, crossed Argentina on his way to Bolivia in
1825, he was struck with the immense number of “hoppers” that they
passed on the Pampas. He says the locusts covered the road and adjacent
parts for miles. In those days, pasturage was plenty, and cultivated
fields were scarce, so nobody cared very much. It is only with the
increasing importance of crops that the Argentinos have come to regard
the swarms of locusts as a great pest, and have spent many thousands of
dollars fighting them. They are now planning to build a fence of sheet
zinc, costing several million dollars, to keep back the “hoppers.” Some
modern travellers have had their trains delayed by locust swarms on the
tracks, but we saw comparatively few.

Our first stops were at suburban towns, which are more attractive than
one would suppose in a country that is so flat. At one of them, on the
River Tigre, the English colony has made boating fashionable, with
festivals like those at Henley. We had showers in the course of the
morning, but the country over which we passed looked rather dry.

A characteristic feature of the Pampas are the modern windmills with
their steel frames. Most of them are of American make, for despite our
backwardness in some lines, we have been peculiarly successful in
supplying Argentina with windmills. In fact, we have almost monopolized
that particular business. Fortunately, our manufacturers seem also to
excel in the production of small and inexpensive motors, such as are
particularly desired on farms and ranches where, owing to the extreme
difficulty of getting workmen, there is an excellent market for
labor-saving machinery. Notwithstanding this encouraging feature, for
every million dollars’ worth of goods which Argentina imports from the
United States, she imports six millions from Europe.

Many of the interior towns have their own electric lighting plants. The
agents of German manufacturers have been far-sighted in following up
new concessions and in getting large contracts for the installation of
German machinery. It takes a good many windmills to equal one electric
lighting plant.

Our train made a short stop at Rosario, the second largest city in
Argentina. Owing to its advantageous situation at the bend of the Paraná
River, it has become a most important port.

Accessible throughout the year to vessels drawing sixteen feet, it is
the terminus of many trans-Atlantic lines which bring European
manufactured goods here in exchange for wheat and cattle. Some ore from
Bolivia is also shipped from here. On our mule trip in Southern Bolivia
we saw hundreds of animals laden with huge packing-cases from Europe
marked “via Rosario.”

The other important new port in Argentina is Bahia Blanca, which is
situated several hundred miles south of Buenos Aires and is connected by
railways with the newly opened regions in northern Patagonia. There is
no scarcity of good agricultural land as yet undeveloped. Were the
government of Argentina as well managed for the interests of the
individual farmer as the governments of our western states, there is no
question that Argentina would secure a much higher grade of immigrant.
The opportunities are truly magnificent, but I was repeatedly told by
foreign residents who are engaged in farming, that there are many
unpleasant features. The truth of the matter is that the Argentino is
too fond of keeping political power in his own hands. He does not
understand all that is meant by a constitutional democratic form of
government. It is not his fault, for his race history, as we have seen,
has given him other inheritances and prejudices. Nevertheless he is
learning.

Leaving Rosario we plunged into the heart of a great agricultural and
pastoral region. The heat and dust were rather trying. The humidity was
considerable, being about eighty per cent in our car. In truth, we
experienced all the various annoyances to which one is subject when
crossing our western plains, in a moderately slow train. We had been
told that this Tucuman express was “the finest train in America.” Some
of the young Englishmen on our steamer were extremely enthusiastic over
it and assured us that we could have nothing so fine in the United
States. Consequently we were somewhat disappointed to find the standard
of comfort not any greater than it was on our western trains fifteen
years ago.

There is one thing, however, in which the “B. A. and R.” is ahead of
most American railroads. At each station are one or two very large
sign-boards conveniently placed so that the stranger has no difficulty
in ascertaining whether he has reached his destination or not. And there
are other little things along the line that make one feel the presence
of railway officials carefully trained in English railway methods. It
goes without saying that the road is largely owned in England and has
Anglo-Saxons for its principal officers.

Argentina has about thirteen thousand miles of railway operated under
some twenty companies. One thousand seven hundred miles are owned by
the government, but by far the larger part of the railway system is
controlled by British capitalists. A little more than half of the
mileage consists of the very broad five and a half foot gauge. The
remainder is one metre or less. The three gauges necessitate
considerable transferring of freight and passengers.

To one who is accustomed to thinking of Argentina as a rich but
undeveloped region, it seems incredible that she should have fifty
thousand freight-cars and two thousand passenger-coaches. It is still
more astonishing to learn that every year her railways carry thirty
million passengers, and thirty million tons of freight, of which about
one third are cereals. During the year 1906, the receipts from the
passenger traffic amounted to more than $18,000,000, and from freight
traffic to something over $55,000,000. Statistics are dry and
uninteresting except as they open our eyes to conditions of which we
have formed but a small conception. The extremely rapid growth of the
Argentine railways is shown by the fact that while in 1884 the capital
invested did not amount to $100,000,000, it now amounts to over
$700,000,000.

So far as killing people is concerned, the Argentine railways do not
come up to our record, although they do fairly well. In 1905 they
killed, all told, two hundred and eighteen persons, and in 1906, two
hundred and fifty. This is a heavier percentage per passenger carried
than in the United States.

Towards evening we left the farming country and entered a barren region
where great stretches of perfectly flat land seemed to promise splendid
results if it could be irrigated.

The dust increased, and we were glad enough to be hauled over these dry
pampas of Santa Fé and Santiago del Estero in a night, instead of being
obliged to spend a fortnight on them following a slow-moving Spanish
caravan.

When we looked out of the car window the next morning all was changed.
Sugar-cane fields waving attractively in the sunlight, big wheeled carts
lumbering noisily along drawn by oxen or mules, lithe horsemen riding
strong little ponies through thickets of dry scrub, had transformed the
scene from the everlasting prairies of the pampas into the highlands of
the northwest. The hills beyond the fields of cane were covered with a
scrubby growth. To the north-west and north arose green mountains that
seemed to be forested to their tops. Some of the trees were in bloom
with brilliant yellow flowers.

The contrast between the dry, barren pampas and the green cane-fields of
Tucuman is so striking that Argentine writers have been accustomed to
speak of the latter in terms of the most extravagant praise. Even the
well-travelled Sarmiento called it the “Eden of America,” “where nature
had displayed its greatest pomp!” As a matter of fact Tucuman is
admirably situated in a very fertile and highly cultivated plain, and is
the centre of the most important sugar-growing region in Argentina. In
its immediate vicinity we counted a dozen tall chimneys of sugar
factories.

We reached the city about ten o’clock.

It was founded about the time that Sir Walter Raleigh was looking for
Eldorado. Here in 1816, the Argentine Congress passed their Declaration
of Independence. Here Belgrano won a great victory over the Spanish
armies that had descended from Peru to crush the Argentine patriots.

The Tucuman station, a large modern affair, was chiefly interesting
because of the picturesque character of the luggage that was lying about
the platforms. Chairs and cots, pots and pans, spring mattresses, and
hen-coops, all bore evidence to the fact that this is still a young
country into which new settlers are coming, and that the Railroad
Company has the good sense to make it easy for people to travel with all
their possessions. Everything was checked and went in the luggage-van,
as a matter of course, instead of being handed over to “slow-freight” or
rapacious express companies, as with us.

Most of the immigrants were Italians from Genoa and the north of Italy.
A few came from Galicia, the home of Spain’s most sturdy peasantry.
Neither immigrants nor residents wore picturesque costumes. Even the
Gauchos are dressed in civilized raiment and bear little resemblance to
the South American Indian of our dreams. It is too progressive a country
to allow its clothes to get in its way.

The facts relating to Buenos Aires and Argentina are at every one’s
elbow so it is all the more astonishing how ignorant the average
American is regarding the great metropolis of the southern hemisphere.
We are very fond of telling stories of our English cousins who imagine
that our western states are overrun with wild Indians and desperadoes.
And we think it inexcusable in them to judge from the frequent press
reports of lynchings and “hold-ups” that we are an uncivilized, lawless
people. Yet we judge the Argentino just as hastily. Not only are we
quite ignorant of his material progress, we also frequently slander him
for having an “unstable government.” “Revolutions” or struggles for
governmental control occur, it is true, but they do not amount to much
and hardly deserve the exaggerated reports of them which are published
abroad. In a country that has been bound together by such a network of
railroads as Argentina, making it possible for the government in power
to send its troops rapidly wheresoever it will, the habit of playing
with revolutions is sure to die out. In the old days when transportation
was slow and difficult, it was possible for a popular leader to gather a
considerable band of followers and prepare to march on the capital
before the government knew of his existence. Such uprisings, however,
are necessarily the work of days or weeks, and it is becoming more and
more difficult to bring them to a successful issue. As an evidence of
the more stable condition of the government and as showing how Argentina
has recovered from the setback which it got at the time of the failure
of the Baring Brothers, it is well to note that in the ten years between
1895 and 1905, the foreign trade of Buenos Aires more than doubled,
growing to more than half a billion dollars annually.



CHAPTER VI

THROUGH THE ARGENTINE HIGHLANDS


At Tucuman we left the broad gauge of the British-built Buenos Aires and
Rosario R. R. for the metre gauge of the North Central Railway, an
Argentine Government line, that runs to Jujuy and has recently been
continued northward to La Quiaca, on the Bolivian frontier. The distance
from Buenos Aires to La Quiaca is 1150 miles. Of this we had done 700
miles in the first twenty-four hours. The last 450 miles required
another twenty-four hours, divided into two daylight periods, as
sleeping-cars are not run on the North Central R. R. In this stretch the
elevation rises from thirteen hundred feet to twelve thousand feet, and
the journey lies entirely in the Argentine Highlands.

Our train was mixed passenger and freight. The locomotive was a
“Baldwin” and the cars were made in Wilmington, Del. We had, besides, an
excellent dining-car that seated sixteen people and provided a table
d’hôte meal served in the usual Spanish style. The third-class
passengers, however, patronized the enterprising women who sold flat
loaves of bread, hard-boiled eggs, and native drinks at the stations
where we stopped.

Not long after leaving Tucuman, we passed through a tunnel, the first
one in eight hundred miles. Rather a different experience from my
journey in Venezuela, from Caracas to Valencia, where in the course of
an hour we passed through sixty-five tunnels, one every minute!

With many windings we climbed up into the hills. Grass became scarcer
and cactus and mimosa trees more common. We passed a small flock of
goats. Dust and sand came into the train in clouds. Occasionally we
passed lofty whirlwinds, but none of them troubled us. The humidity
to-day was very much less, being under forty per cent. The streams
seemed to be very low. We saw a few locusts.

At many of the stations were carts drawn by mules harnessed three
abreast, with a loose rope-tackle that is characteristic of this hilly
region. The houses of some of the more well-to-do were built of
corrugated iron and wood, but most were made of mud. As it was the dry
season, the cots were usually out of doors.

The evidences of prosperity at Ruis de los Llanos consisted of new
stucco buildings of attractive construction with arcades in front and
courtyards in the interior, a modern application of old Spanish
architectural ideas. Other buildings were nearing completion, to
accommodate the bakers and grocers who supply the _quebracho_ cutters.
There are great forests of _quebracho_ on the plains of the Gran Chaco
to the east and northeast. The wood is extremely hard and very
serviceable for railway-ties. Owing to the difficulty that is
experienced in cutting it, it has earned for itself the sobriquet of
“axe-breaker.” It is the chief article of export from this region. The
bark is shipped to tanneries as far away as California.

At Matan, another important station, there was a new hotel, the
“Cosmopolita,” a clean-looking Spanish inn, near the railway station.
Near by lay huge logs of _quebracho_ awaiting shipment. The hills were
well wooded, and we saw a number of agave plants and mimosa trees.
Firewood is shipped from here to the treeless Pampas. Here we noticed,
for the first time, riding-boots of a curious fashion, so very
corrugated that we dubbed them “concertinas.” They are much in vogue
also in southern Bolivia.

At Rio Piedras, where a dozen of our third-class passengers alighted
with many baskets and bundles, we heard the familiar hum of a sawmill.
Near the track were more _quebracho_ logs. A burly passenger who had
joined us at Tucuman, ready dressed and prepared for a long horseback
ride, left us here. With a large broad-brimmed hat, loose white jumper,
large baggy white cotton trousers, and “concertinas,” he came very near
being picturesque. Throwing over his shoulder a pair of cotton
saddle-bags well stocked with interesting little bundles, he walked
slowly away from the train with that curious shuffling gait common to
those who spend most of their lives in the saddle.

Not far away we saw some newly arrived American farm machinery, a part
of the largest item of Argentine imports from the United States.

During the course of the afternoon, we wound out of the hills far enough
to be able to see far over the plains to the east. Here there was more
vegetation and some corn growing. On the left were jagged hills and
mountains. The temperature in the car about four o’clock was eighty-five
degrees. Our altitude was about twenty-five hundred feet.

As we went north through hot, dusty valleys, climbing up into the
foot-hills of the Andes, the faces of the loiterers at the stations lost
the cosmopolitan aspect that they have in and about Buenos Aires. We saw
more of the typical Gaucho who is descended from the aboriginal Indians
of the Pampas and bold Spanish cattle-drivers. Tall in stature, with a
robust frame and a swarthy complexion, he possesses great powers of
endurance and is a difficult person to handle. His tendencies are much
like those of the fast disappearing American “cow puncher,” but he has
the disadvantage of having inherited a contempt for manual labor and an
excessive vanity which finds expression in silver spurs and brilliantly
colored ponchos. His territory is rapidly being invaded by hard-working
Italians, more desirable because more dependable.

Near Juramento the country grows more arid and desolate. A few scrubby
mimosa trees, sheltering the white tents of railway engineers, offered
but little welcome to intending settlers.

Just at dark we reached Guemes, where we were obliged to change cars.
The through train from Tucuman goes west to Salta, the most important
city of the vicinity. We arrived at Jujuy shortly after nine o’clock. A
score of ancient vehicles were waiting to take us a mile up into the
town to one of the three hotels. We went to the Bristol and found it
quite comfortable according to Spanish-American ideas. That means that
the toilet facilities were absent, that the room had a tile floor, and
that there were beds and chairs.

In the morning we got up early enough to look at the town for a few
minutes before leaving on the semi-weekly train for La Quiaca.

Jujuy was built by Spanish settlers a generation before the Pilgrims
landed at Plymouth, and still preserves the white-walled, red-tiled-roof
aspect of the old Spanish-American towns. Lying in a pleasant,
well-watered plain, a trifle over four thousand feet above the sea, it
is attractively surrounded by high hills. Beyond them, we caught
glimpses of lofty barren mountains, the summits of the Andes. The
near-by valleys were green, and there is some rainfall even in the dry
time of the year. Although Jujuy produces a large amount of sub-tropical
fruit, it really owes its importance to its strategical position on the
old trade route to Bolivia. It is the last important town on the road
because it is the last place that enjoys a salubrious situation. For
centuries it has been the natural resting-place for overland travellers.

In fact, these northwestern highlands of Argentina, Jujuy, and Tucuman,
were first settled by emigrants from the mountains of Upper Peru now
called Bolivia, of which they form the southern extension. Their
political and commercial relations were with Potosí and Lima rather than
Buenos Aires. The great prosperity of the mining regions of the lofty
plateau created a demand for provisions that could not be met by the
possibilities of agriculture in the semi-arid irrigated valleys of
southern Bolivia. Beef and other provisions could most easily be brought
from the fertile valleys near Tucuman and Jujuy. The necessity for some
better animal than the llama, to carry not only freight but also
passengers, caused a demand for the horses and mules which, raised on
the Argentine Pampas, were brought here to be put into shape for
mountain travel, and were an important item in the early fairs.

When the railroad came, Jujuy was for many years the northern terminus.
This only added to the importance of the town, and increased the
reputation of its annual fair. But with the building of the continuation
to La Quiaca, its importance is bound to decrease. However, it will
always be a favorite resort for Bolivians seeking a refuge from the
rigors of their Thibetan climate. We met many families in southern
Bolivia who had at one time or another passed the winter season here.

Before leaving the Bristol we succeeded in getting eggs and coffee only
with considerable difficulty as the train was due to leave at seven
o’clock, and the average Spanish-American traveller is quite willing to
start off on a long day’s journey without even a cup of coffee if he can
be sure of something substantial about ten or eleven o’clock.

When we arrived at the station, we found a scene of great confusion. The
line had been running only a few months, and many of the intending
passengers were not accustomed to the ways of railroads. An official,
and his family of three, had spread himself over one half of the car,
with bags, bird-cages, bundles, rolls, and potted plants. He filled so
many seats with his impedimenta that several of the passengers had to
stand up, although that did not worry him in the least. Had we known how
much luggage belonged to him, we should have dumped it on the floor and
had a more comfortable ride, but unfortunately we did not discover how
greatly he had imposed on everybody until the end of the day.

From Jujuy the train climbs slowly through a valley toward a wonderful
vista of great mountains. At 6000 feet the verdure disappeared, the
grass became brown, and on the barren mountains a few sheep and goats
were trying to pick up a living.

The railway had a hard time overcoming the difficulties of the first
part of the way. The grade is so steep that for some distance a cog road
was found to be necessary. In the first one hundred and fourteen miles,
the line climbs up 8000 feet to an altitude of over 12,000 feet above
sea-level.

Notwithstanding the newness of the road and the steepness of the grade,
we carried with us an excellent little restaurant car that gave us two
very good meals before we reached La Quiaca.

The cog railway begins at Leon at an altitude of 5300 feet and continues
to Volcan, rising 1500 feet in a distance of eight miles. At Volcan
there is supposed to be a mud volcano, but, as was pointed out some
years ago by Mr. O’Driscoll in the “Geographical Journal,” there is no
volcano at all. It is simply a mud avalanche, that comes down after
unusually heavy rains from the rapidly disintegrating hillside.
Although not a volcano, it is nevertheless a difficult problem for the
engineers. It has already completely submerged a mile or two of track
more than once.

This is on the line of the proposed Pan-American railway from New York
to Buenos Aires. With a sufficiently vivid imagination, one can picture
a New Yorker of the year 1950 being detained here by a mud-slide which
will have put the tracks over which he proposes to travel two or three
feet under ground. It is to be hoped that he will not be obliged to stay
at the local inn where Edmund Temple stopped on his journey from Buenos
Aires to Potosí. Temple was aroused in the middle of the night by a
noise under his bed as if of a struggle between two animals. To his
astonishment (and to that of the reader of his charming volumes) he
“discovered, by the light of the moon, a cat eating the head of a viper
which she had just subdued: a common occurrence I was informed, and
without any ill consequences to the cat, however venomous the snake!”

Some effort had been made to plant a few trees in the sandy, rocky soil
around the station of Volcan, which is not far from the mud-slide. They
seemed, however, to be having a hard time of it, although, at a ranch
near by, quite a grove of eucalyptus trees had been successfully raised
by means of irrigation. The mountains round about are very barren and
gave evidence of being rapidly wasted away by erosion, their summits
assuming many fantastic forms.

Twenty miles beyond Volcan is Maimará, where there was further evidence
of irrigation in the valley, the trees and green fruits being in marked
contrast to the barren hillsides.

As the road ascends, the country becomes more and more arid. Cactus is
common. Sometimes it is used as a hedge; at other times, by being
planted on the top of a mud-fence, it answers the same purpose as a
barbed wire.

Great barren mountains on each side continue for mile after mile, making
the scenery unspeakably dreary. Judging by the northward inclination of
the cactus and the trees, the prevailing wind is from the south.

Some of the valley is irrigated, but there is little sign of life
anywhere. Nothing grows without irrigation. In the days before the
railway it was absolutely necessary to have alfalfa and other animal
fodder grown near the post-houses that supplied travellers and
freight-carriers with shelter at night. This business has, of course,
fallen off very much in the past few months, yet just before reaching
Humahuaca we stopped at Uquia, where enough hay is still raised to make
it worth while to bale it and ship it north to the barren plateau
beyond.

Late in the afternoon, we saw a group of llamas, but they are not at all
common in this region.

At Tres Cruces, 1052 miles from Buenos Aires, we reached our highest
elevation, something over 12,000 feet. It was a dreary spot with
scarcely anything in sight except barren mountains, the two wire fences
that everlastingly line the railroad tracks, and the mud-walled railroad
station. The little “hotel” looked like an abandoned adobe dwelling in
Arizona, and the region bore a striking resemblance to the unirrigated
part of our new southwest. Erosion has cut the hillsides into
interesting sections of shallow gulches and semi-cylindrical slopes. The
only green things to be seen are occasional clumps of bushes like
sage-brush.

From here to La Quiaca, sixty miles, we maintained about the same
altitude, although La Quiaca itself is 500 feet lower than Tres Cruces.
We had, in fact, surmounted the great plateau of the Andes. South of us
lay the desert of Atacama; to the north the arid valleys of southern
Bolivia and the Bolivian tableland. East of us, beyond many intervening
ranges and the steep slopes of the eastern Andes, lay the Gran Chaco of
Bolivia and the valley of the lower Pilcomayo with its wild Indian
tribes and its tropical forests. To the west lay the still higher Andes
of the great Cordillera, some of whose peaks rise at this point to an
altitude of twenty thousand feet. Notwithstanding these interesting
surroundings, the extreme bareness of this desolate region reacts on
one’s enthusiasm.

We reached La Quiaca just before nine o’clock. The railroad offices were
still incomplete, as the line had only been opened to traffic for a
month or two. The old town of La Quiaca, a small mud-walled affair two
miles away from the railroad station, is destined soon to be deserted
for the thriving young settlement that is springing up near the terminus
of the railway. There are two “hotels.” Ours, the 25 de Mayo, had only
just been opened. In fact, its exterior walls had not yet received
their proper coat of whitewash and stucco.

All day long we had been travelling through an extremely sparsely
populated region, so dry, high, and inhospitable as to dispel any idea
that this railroad can rely upon it for much traffic. In fact, the line
was built by the Argentine Government, not so much to open up this part
of the Republic as to tap the mining region of southern Bolivia, with
the idea of developing Argentina’s foreign commerce by securing in
Bolivia a good market for her food-stuffs and bringing back in return
ore to be shipped to Europe from the ports of the Paraná.

An agreement was entered into between Argentina and Bolivia whereby
Bolivia was to extend her system of national railways southeast from
Oruro to Potosí and thence due south to Tupiza, fifty miles north of the
Argentine boundary. The Argentinos on their part agreed to continue
their railway north from Jujuy to Tupiza. By the time they reached La
Quiaca, however, the English Company that owns the rich
Oruro-Antofagasta line became alarmed lest such an arrangement as was
proposed would interfere with their profits. By some means or other, the
Bolivian government was persuaded to change its plans and decide to
build the national railways so as to connect with the Antofagasta line
rather than with the Argentine lines. This breach of faith on the part
of the Bolivianos was naturally resented not only in Argentina but also
by the southern Bolivianos themselves who would be much more benefited
by having good connections with Buenos Aires than with the Chilean
seaboard.

As a result of this difficulty, the Argentinos, at the time of my visit,
had not carried their railway beyond the frontier. This makes La Quiaca
the outfitting point for mule-trains that now start here with
merchandise destined for the cities of southern Bolivia.

A stage-line has been opened, running once a week to Tupiza, where it
connects with stages for Uyuni on the Antofagasta line and Potosí. This
stage-line was owned and operated by that same energetic Scotchman, Don
Santiago Hutcheon, who used to run stages between La Paz and Oruro
before the completion of the Bolivia Railway. By great good fortune, we
found him in La Quiaca where he had arrived that day on one of his own
stages.

[Illustration:

Sketch Map of SOUTHERN PERU
to illustrate the route of
HIRAM BINGHAM
from
CUZCO to HUANCAYO
]



CHAPTER VII

ACROSS THE BOLIVIAN FRONTIER


Soon after our arrival at La Quiaca, at 9 P.M. on November 15, 1908, we
received a call from two rough-looking Anglo-Saxons who told us
hair-raising stories of the dangers of the Bolivian roads where highway
robbers driven out of the United States by the force of law and order
and hounded to death all over the world by Pinkerton detectives, had
found a pleasant resting-place in which to pursue their chosen
occupation without let or hindrance. We found out afterwards that one of
our informants was one of this same gang of robbers. Either he decided
that we were disposed to regard his “pals” in a sufficiently lenient
manner to make our presence in Bolivia immaterial to them, or else he
came to the conclusion that we had nothing worth stealing, for we were
allowed to proceed peaceably and without any annoyance wherever we
journeyed in Bolivia. He put the case quite emphatically to us that it
was necessary for them to make a living, that they were not allowed to
do so peaceably in the States, that they desired only to be let alone
and had no intention of troubling travellers except those that sought to
get information against them. They relied entirely for their support on
being able to overcome armed escorts accompanying loads of cash going to
the mines to liquidate the monthly payroll. This they claimed was
legitimate plunder taken in fair fight. The only individuals who had to
suffer at their hands were those who took up the case against them.
Having laid this down for our edification, he proceeded to tell us what
a reckless lot they were and how famous had been their crimes, at the
same time assuring us that they were all very decent fellows and quite
pleasant companions. Don Santiago, who in his capacity as coach-master
and stage-driver, has had to carry hundreds of thousands of dollars in
cash over the unprotected Bolivian highways, assured us that he had
never been molested by any of these highwaymen because he never troubled
them in any way either by carrying arms or spreading information of
their doings. If the Bolivian bandits are half as bad as they were
painted to us that night, Don Santiago must lead a charmed life for he
and his stages certainly offer an easy mark for any enterprising outlaw.

The view from our hotel the next morning across the sandy plaza of La
Quiaca was anything but inspiring. The plateau is so high and dry that
nothing grows here. Even the mountains, whose tops are really higher
than our own far-famed Pike’s Peak, look stunted like low sand-hills.
Partly finished adobe houses, which were gradually meeting the demands
of the newly-born commercial life of La Quiaca add to the forlorn and
desolate appearance of everything. There was nothing to make us wish to
stay any longer in Argentina, and we eagerly welcomed Don Santiago and
his eight-mule team that

[Illustration: OUR COACH LEAVING THE HOTEL AT LA QUIACA]

rattled up to the door a few minutes after six o’clock.

A quarter of a mile north of the town we crossed the frontier and
entered Bolivia. For the next four hours there was little in the
landscape to relieve the monotony of the journey. As those who are
familiar with stage travel know to their cost, bumping over rough roads
of stone or sand, in a cloud of dust with nothing to see on either side
except a brown, treeless, rolling plateau, is not exciting. Nevertheless
the process of keeping eight mules on the go, up hill and down hill, is
never absolutely devoid of interest. As it was quite impossible for the
driver to reach the foremost mules with his long whip, he employed a
strong-lunged boy to race alongside of the mules, pelt them with stones,
curse them in his worst Spanish, and frighten them into frantic activity
with the lash of a short-handled whip which he laid on with no delicate
hand. The mules became so afraid of his mad rushes that when they heard
him coming they bolted in the opposite direction, sometimes pulling the
stage-coach a rod or two off the road.

In a rarefied atmosphere that would almost kill a foreigner who should
try to run any distance, the Indian boy only found it necessary to take
short rests on the running-board of the coach, and even then he had
breath enough left to keep up shrill whistling and loud shouting so as
to make the mules remember his presence. If he stopped this continuous
performance he heard from the driver in no uncertain language. The
result was that, notwithstanding the primitive cart-track, the stage was
able to make the sixty miles between La Quiaca and Tupiza in twelve
hours. To be sure, there are two changes of mules and the luggage is
carried on a separate wagon. But the road is as bad as it possibly can
be. So much of it is in the bed of a stream, the coaches can only run in
the dry season, May to November. In the rainy season the road disappears
under swollen rivers and resort has to be had to saddle and pack
animals.

In this extremely arid region the business of feeding the mules is a
most difficult one. The rainfall is very slight. It is only by
irrigation that fodder will grow at all. The ground is not sterile but
it is so dry and parched that it does not look as if it would ever grow
anything. The Indians in the vicinity are Quichuas, who speak the same
language as did their former masters, the Incas. They are a patient race
with little ambition and few wants. This does not prevent them, however,
from charging all the traffic will bear when any one desires to purchase
alfalfa or barley straw for his mules. Don Santiago told me that he had
once been obliged to pay as high as forty dollars, gold, for enough
fodder to give an eight-mule team a proper luncheon. Needless to say,
transportation is expensive. The coach-fare from La Quiaca to Tupiza was
ten dollars, about sixteen cents a mile. A charge of two cents a pound
is made for luggage. None is carried free.

Our first stop was at Mojo, to change mules and eat a “breakfast” which
consisted of the customary highly-spiced mutton and potatoes. We were
not “favored by the addition of an excellent roasted guinea pig” as was
Edmond Temple when he stopped here in 1826. Yet guinea-pigs are still
common hereabouts and we saw several on the road.

Mojo is a village of four hundred inhabitants. There is a small branch
office of the Bolivian customs service here which is supposed to look
after travellers and their baggage. The principal custom house for
southern Bolivia is at Tupiza, a much more agreeable spot for the
residence of the officials and a natural distributing point for the
region.

A short distance from Mojo we began an abrupt descent. In one place the
hill was too steep to permit the road to make a proper turn, so we all
had to get out and help lift the stage-coach around a “switch back.”
After this tortuous zigzag we came out on a broad plain over which we
passed without difficulty to the banks of the river Suipacha.

The water was low and the cart-track attempted to steer a straight
course up stream. But as the shrunken current meandered over the sandy
river-bed, we were obliged to ford it every three or four minutes. This
entailed constant difficulties, for the leading mules would invariably
stop to walk as soon as they entered the water, while the others trotted
briskly in and tangled up the whole team. Perhaps the fault was mine,
for I was having my first experience in driving an eight-in-hand, and
the hard-mouthed mules took particular delight in giving me a bad time.
Notwithstanding our difficulties, we reached Suipacha on time, and
stopped to change mules.

This valley was the scene of one of the earliest victories of the
patriots in 1810 at the beginning of the wars of independence. It will
be remembered that after the glorious 25th of May, recently celebrated
in Buenos Aires, the Argentinos attempted to free the province of Upper
Peru from Spanish control. The result of the victory of Suipacha was to
cause the Bolivians to rise and join the Argentinos against their
oppressors. The patriot army marched joyously northward across the
plateau, although the Argentinos suffered greatly from the cold and the
high altitude. When they reached the southern end of Lake Titicaca, the
Spanish army, augmented by hundreds of obedient Quichuas, attacked the
patriots and practically annihilated them.

Suipacha itself, situated on a slight elevation above the banks of the
river, looks like all the other small villages of this arid region.
Plenty of sand and stones, a few mud-walled hovels, some thorny scrub,
here and there an irrigation ditch and a green field, and on every side
barren mountains. A favorite form of fence here is a wall of adobe
blocks, adorned with cactus or thorny mimosa branches.

Suipacha is said to have six hundred inhabitants but it did not seem to
be any larger than Mojo. From here a road goes east to the important
city of Tarija, a pleasant, fertile town in southeastern Bolivia that
enjoys a charming climate, and has often served as a city of refuge for
defeated Argentine politicians who are glad enough to escape to such a
land of corn and wine after unsuccessful revolutions on the dreary
pampas.

The road to Tupiza took us northwest, and continued to follow the bed of
the Suipacha or Estarca,

[Illustration: THE “ANGOSTA DE TUPIZA”]

and one of its tributaries. In the valley were several farms or _fincas_
as they are called here, where small crops are raised by irrigation.
Half-way from Suipacha to Tupiza we passed through a magnificent rocky
gateway called the Angosta de Tupiza. Cliffs five hundred feet high rise
abruptly on each side of the river, leaving barely room enough for the
road even in dry weather. For a distance of seventy feet, the width is
less than thirty feet. Beyond the gate the mountains form a spacious
amphitheatre. During the rainy season, from November to March, it is
frequently impossible to pass through this gorge, even on good
saddle-mules. Fortunately for us, the rains had not yet begun, and we
had no difficulty.

We reached Tupiza, a town of about two thousand inhabitants, just at six
o’clock. It is only ten thousand feet above sea-level, nearly two
thousand feet lower than La Quiaca, and is prettily situated in a plain
less than a mile in width, that in this region may fairly be called
fertile, so great is the contrast with the surrounding desert. Good use
has been made of the water in the little stream, and there are many
cultivated fields and trees in the vicinity.

The plaza is quite an oasis in the wilderness. It is carefully
cultivated and the shrubbery and willow trees make it a delightful spot.
Around the plaza are a few kerosene oil street-lamps on top of wooden
poles set in stone foundations. The white tower of a new church rises
above the trees and makes a good landmark. Near by is the large
two-story warehouse belonging to the Bolivian government and used as a
post-office and custom house.

In the early ’80’s, before the construction of the Antofagasta railway,
most of the commerce of Southern Bolivia passed through Tupiza and the
custom house had more importance than it has now. To-day it has less
than a tenth of its former business. With the completion of the railway
to La Quiaca and its contemplated projection to Tupiza, however, the
local revenue business is bound to increase.

Even at the time of my visit (November, 1908), the street in front of
the custom house was blocked by scores of bales and boxes recently
arrived from La Quiaca and awaiting examination prior to being shipped
north to Potosí on the backs of mules.

On the opposite side of the plaza was a branch of the National Bank of
Bolivia. Here we found that the Bolivian dollar or _peso_ is worth about
forty cents in our money.

The common currency consists of banknotes ranging from one to twenty
_pesos_ in value. These depend entirely for their value upon the
solvency of the bank of issue. Several banks have failed, and the
Indians are very particular what bills they accept. They dislike the
bills of banks that have no agencies in the vicinity and prefer the
bills of the National Bank of Francisco Argondaño.

The nickel subsidiary coinage is usually genuine and is in great demand,
but the smaller silver coins are frequently either counterfeit or so
badly made that they do not ring true and are not accepted by the
Indians with whom one has most to do on the road. Consequently it is the
common practice to tear bills in two when change cannot be made in any
other way. The result is that perfect bills are growing scarce and the
expense of issuing new ones is being felt by the banks. Several times
when cashing checks at branches of these banks, I was paid entirely in
half bills. They are accepted in almost all parts of Bolivia but are at
a discount in La Paz and are not received at all in some localities.

We are told that the scarcity of subsidiary coinage, and the relative
frequency of counterfeit money, is due to the native habit of burying
all coins of real value lest they fall into the hands of unscrupulous
officials and rapacious soldiers. Since time immemorial, enormous
quantities of articles made of the precious metals have been buried by
the Indians.

Tupiza was the scene in 1819 of one of those ineffectual skirmishes in
which the unaided Bolivian patriots endeavored to secure their
independence. In fact, this old trade-route from the Pampas to Potosí
was the scene of numerous engagements during the Wars of Independence.

There are two hotels in Tupiza, one of them being the headquarters of
that section of the Bolivian army which is stationed here to guard the
frontier. The other is more commonly resorted to by travellers. Our inn,
the Grand Hotel Terminus, a long, low building once white-washed, with a
courtyard paved with cobblestones and a few bedrooms opening into the
court, was run by an amiable rascal who I believe claimed to be an
Austrian. However that may be, he belonged to the type that believes in
charging foreigners double the regular tariff. “For one roast fowl,
$2.00, a bottle of vichy, $1.25, one bottle of German beer, $1.00, half
pint of Appolinaris, $.40.” We were not able to get any discount.
Instead of fighting our own battles we foolishly referred the matter to
Don Santiago who lives at the hotel, has his office here, and depends
upon the hotel proprietor for a number of favors. Our request naturally
put him in an embarrassing situation, and all he could say was that the
charges seemed to him to be regular. The proprietor appeared to be drunk
most of the time, but he was not too drunk to charge up all drinks to
his American guests.

There is a club here which was not in a very prosperous condition at the
time of my visit. This may have been due to a patriotic celebration that
had taken place a fortnight before. At that time a little poetical
drama, reminiscent of the first conflict for independence in 1810, was
played in the club-rooms. The drama, written by a local poet, was
dedicated to Señor Aramayo, the Mæcenas of Tupiza, a member of the
wealthiest family of southern Bolivia, and the owner of several rich
silver mines and a large importing warehouse.

The shops of Tupiza were not brilliantly lighted although they contained
quite an assortment of articles of European origin. The trade which they
appeal to is that of the mule-drivers, the _arrieros_, who congregate
here while their cargoes are being inspected by the revenue officers.
The Indians of the vicinity, whose money comes chiefly from the product
of their irrigation ditches, have little to spend.

Tupiza boasts two newspapers; one of them a biweekly, now in its third
year, and the other a literary

[Illustration: FANTASTIC PINNACLES IN THE VALLEYS NORTH OF TUPIZA]

weekly that had recently been started by the author of the poetical
drama just alluded to. The weekly refers to the celebration in most
flattering terms. “Undoubtedly social life in Tupiza had increased so
far that it is high time to commence to notice its faults and
deficiencies. These could easily be removed with proper enthusiasm and
good will. Tupiza is a centre of social culture, but unfortunately it is
not yet able to appreciate such worthy theatrical spectacles as have
recently taken place!”



CHAPTER VIII

TUPIZA TO COTAGAITA


We found that the Bolivian government had recently subsidized a weekly
stage line from Tupiza to Uyuni on the Antofagasta railway and another
from Tupiza to Potosí, our next objective point. The fare to Potosí is
twenty-two dollars, and the journey takes only four days. But we had
enough of being shaken to pieces in a stage-coach, and decided we could
see the country better and be more independent if we used saddle mules.

Two weeks before our arrival a couple of bandits, one of whom had been
hunted out of Arizona by Pinkerton detectives, had held up a cart
containing twenty thousand dollars, on its way to pay off the laborers
in a large mine. The owners, wealthy Bolivians, immediately offered a
large reward for the capture of the bandits, dead or alive,
notwithstanding that the robbers and their friends, of whom there seemed
to be a score or more, let it be carefully understood that they would
take a definite revenge for any lives that might be lost in pursuit of
the highwaymen. This did not deter the mine owners, however, and a party
of fifty Bolivian soldiers went on the trail of the robbers, who were
found lunching in an Indian hut. They had carelessly left their mules
and rifles several yards away from the door of the hut and were unable
to escape. After a fight, in which three or four of the soldiers were
killed and as many more wounded, the thatch roof of the hut was set on
fire and the bandits forced out into the open where they finally fell,
each with half a dozen bullets in his body. Their mules were captured
and sold to Don Santiago who let me have one of them for my journey. He
turned out to be a wonderfully fine saddle mule. When his former owner
had had the benefit of his fleet legs and his splendid lungs, there was
no question of his being caught by the Bolivian soldiery.

In that part of the Andes where one is following the usual trade-routes,
there are four modes of travelling. One may purchase one’s own animals,
employ servants to attend to them, and sell them for a song at the end
of the journey. This is the most expensive, the most satisfactory, and
the surest method of travel, provided always that one succeeds in
getting a reliable, well-recommended _arriero_. A careless _arriero_
will soon drive you to despair and allow your mules to get into a state
of semi-starvation and sore back that will speedily destroy their
usefulness. The second method is to hire a professional carrier who, for
a stipulated sum of money, will provide you with animals, go along with
them, feed and care for them, and get you to your destination as
speedily as possible. If your sole object is speed, this method is even
surer than the first, for owing to the high price of fodder in the
post-houses, the contractor may be relied upon to push the caravan
forward as speedily as possible. The third method is by far the least
expensive, the most troublesome, and the least certain. This is to
depend on the mules that are supposed to be in readiness for travellers
at the post-houses. We frequently amused ourselves on our journey by
imagining what we could possibly have done had we attempted to rely on
this last method. Repeatedly we reached post-houses where there was not
a mule to be seen, or where the two or three that were there, were
drearily hanging their melancholy heads in the corral, so worn out and
broken down as to convince us of their inability to carry even an
ordinary load at anything faster than a slow walk. The traveller who
trusts to post-house mules rarely remembers much of the scenery or the
nature of the country. His chief impression is that of unfortunate mules
continually being beaten in order to reach the next post before dark.
The fourth method, and the one we decided to adopt, is to hire from a
reputable contractor a number of his best mules and one of his most
trusted _arrieros_ at so much per day. In this way, you are not hurried
faster than you want to go, the mules are sure to be well cared for, and
the discomforts of mountain travel are reduced to a minimum. Except on a
long journey, it is not as expensive as buying one’s own animals and is
less risky.

Thanks to the energy of Don Santiago, the necessary mules and provisions
were ready in two days. On his suggestion, we took with us as _arriero_,
one Mac, a wandering Scotchman who had seen service in the Boer War, had
drifted thence to Argentina, and was now trying his luck in southern
Bolivia. He seemed just the sort of person to make a good orderly,

[Illustration: A QUICHUA FAMILY GOING TO PLOW]

and we thought we were quite fortunate in securing his services. Relying
on his past experience, we told him to purchase such provisions as were
necessary for the next five days. He proceeded to purchase four dozen
hard-boiled eggs and three roast fowls. These he packed carelessly in my
leather saddle-bags, together with a bottle of Eno’s fruit salts of
which he was very fond. The expected happened. The eggs were reduced to
an unrecognizable mass, the bottle of fruit salts was broken and the
contents well rubbed into the chicken, so that our fare for the next two
or three days was not much above the ordinary.

We left Tupiza on a bright, clear morning and rode northward through a
semi-arid region where we were continually reminded of Utah and southern
Colorado. For two leagues we saw no house and met no one. The floor of
the valley was broad and flat, covered with sand and pebbles, and
occasionally intersected by small irrigating ditches. Almost the only
green things were cactus and mimosa trees. Barren hills that appear to
be crumbling rapidly away rose abruptly on each side. In some places,
the eroded hillside took the form of chimneys, ruined factories, or even
forts. In others erosion had produced fantastic pinnacles, and often the
buttressed hills looked very much like cathedrals.

About nine o’clock we met a Quichua family, the wife carrying the baby
and spinning, the man carrying his wooden plough on his shoulder and
driving his oxen to an irrigated field where he proposed to do his
spring ploughing. His wife had on as many gaudy-colored petticoats as
she could afford. Such is the fashion of the country.

Near one of the irrigating ditches under the shadow of the buttressed
walls of the cañon, we came upon a hundred mules. Some of them were
carrying huge packing-cases, large enough to hold the entire body of the
patient mule, provided of course that it were properly cut up and the
extremities shortened. In general the pack-mules were fine, large
animals, well able to carry their three-hundred-pound loads. With such a
caravan as this go a dozen _arrieros_ who rise each day three hours
before dawn and commence the everlasting task of saddling and loading.
When this is done, the men eat a hearty breakfast, prepared in the
meantime by one of their number, and then start out for an eight-hour
march. About five o’clock in the afternoon, or earlier, if they have by
that time reached a suitable camping-place, the caravan stops and
unloading begins, which is finished barely in time to give the men a few
hours of slumber before the whole process has to be repeated.

Fortunately, most of these cases of merchandise were packed in Germany
where they know how to meet the exigencies of South American mountain
travel, and although the great wooden boxes were banged against
projecting rocks by the roadside and often allowed to fall with a crash
when the saddle-ropes were untied at the end of the day, the contents
were practically sure to reach their destination in good condition.

At noon we came to a group of freshly white-washed adobe farm buildings,
the property of an absentee landlord. Here we were able to purchase
green fodder for the mules, and luncheon, in the shape of very hot soup
and tea, for ourselves. In one of the buildings was a district school
with six or eight pupils, the scholars evincing their studiousness by
learning their lessons out loud. The resultant noise would considerably
jar on the ear of a highly strung New England “schoolmarm,” but the
good-natured Bolivian teacher did not know that he had any nerves, and
only wanted to be sure that all his pupils were busy.

After lunch our road continued up the same arid valley past flocks of
goats that strove to get a living from the low-hanging branches of the
mimosa trees. Some of the more adventurous had even gone up into the
trees to secure a meal.

In the middle of the afternoon, we climbed out of one valley and looked
down into another. From the pass we had a fine view of the valley
through which we had come. The prevailing color was brown with here and
there a touch of dusty green. All around there was a confusion of barren
hills and arid mountains without a single evidence of human habitation.
The only sign of life was the long line of the mule caravan which we had
passed earlier in the day. The country is so unfitted for the habitation
of man that the general effect of this and of most of the scenery in
southern Bolivia is oppressive and dispiriting.

Shortly before sunset, however, we came to a beautiful spring called
the “Eye of the Water,” which bubbled up by the roadside and flowed off
into carefully guarded irrigating ditches. As was to be expected, there
was a small Indian village in the vicinity. The villagers were Quichuas,
wearing small felt hats, scanty shirts, and short loose pantaloons made
of what seemed to be homespun cloth. It was rather attractive in
appearance, and as it had the romantic flavor of being made here by the
Indians, we were inclined to purchase some until we discovered that it
was only “imitation” and was made in great quantities in Manchester,
England. These Quichuas are a humble folk, excessively polite to each
other, doffing their hats whenever they meet. Both men and women wore
their hair in long braids down their backs.

The little village sprawled up the side of the cañon just out of reach
of the floods which occasionally pour through this valley in the rainy
season. In one of the huts a kind of spring carnival was being
celebrated with a reasonable amount of drinking. Solemn singing and a
monotonous tom-tomming of a primitive drum were the only signs of gaiety
except a few bright flowers which they had gathered somewhere and put in
their hair. As no rain was to be expected and the village had the usual
component of filth and insects, we set up our folding cots in the dry
bed of the stream. The elevation was about ten thousand feet. The stars
were very brilliant. The night was cool, the minimum temperature being
47°F., a drop of forty degrees from the afternoon’s maximum.

[Illustration: THE VALLEY THROUGH WHICH WE HAD COME]

The next morning, after a breakfast of cold chicken and Eno’s fruit
salts, all that our Boer War veteran could provide for our comfort, we
pushed up the valley, and before long reached Totora, a typical Bolivian
_poste_ or _tambo_. It consisted of a small inclosure surrounded by half
a dozen low mud-huts without windows. In one of these was kept alfalfa
fodder to be sold to passing travellers. In another lived the keeper of
the _poste_ and his family. Here also was a fire from which one had the
right to demand hot water, the only thing furnished for the comfort of
humans. In another, two or three well-baked mounds of earth, flattened
on top, were intended for beds. A roof, an earth floor, and a wooden
door were the only other conveniences at the disposition of travellers.

These _postes_, more or less dirty and uncomfortable, may usually be
found on the well-travelled roads in southern Bolivia at a distance
varying from fifteen to twenty-five miles from each other. They are not
picturesque, but after some little experience in travelling in that
desolate region, one learns to welcome the little collection of
mud-huts, with possibly a green spot or two of alfalfa, as a perfect
haven of rest. To be sure, the only thing to eat is the food you bring
with you, but you may be always certain of having hot water, and your
_arriero_ (unless he happens to be a veteran of the Boer War) will bring
you a cup of excellent tea within twenty minutes after your arrival.

The road from Totora continued to be the rocky floor of a valley in
which from time to time little streams of water or irrigation ditches
appeared, only to lose themselves in fields of alfalfa or quinoa. During
the dry season carts attempt to use this road, and we overtook a dozen
of them on their way north. Each cart was drawn by six mules driven
three abreast by a driver who rode postillion on the nigh mule nearest
the cart. Before noon we climbed out of this valley and descended into a
rocky, sandy plain through which flowed the river Cotagaita on its way
eastward to join the great Pilcomayo. At this time of the year, the
latter part of November, the river is a broad, shallow stream, easily
fordable. On sandy bars left dry by the receding waters were camped
caravans of pack-mules and carts. Beyond them lay the little town of
Cotagaita, where the Argentine patriots were badly defeated in 1816.
This place is, in a sense, the crossroads of southern Bolivia and is one
of the main stations of Don Santiago’s stage-lines. Uyuni, on the
Antofagasta railway, is one hundred and fifteen miles west of here,
three or four days by stage. The mines of Potosí are nearly the same
distance north. Camargo, the capital of the province of Cinti, is a few
days due east, while Tupiza is fifty-four miles due south. There are
several routes from Tupiza to Uyuni but the most important and the only
one practicable for coaches is by way of Cotagaita. The road is new and
said to be very uncomfortable. There is not much to interest the
traveller, except a few mines. Not far away is Chorolque, a famous
silver mine, at an altitude of over seventeen thousand feet.

The town of Cotagaita is an old Spanish settlement with the customary
plaza, a few trees, a fountain in the centre and a church on one side;
one story white-washed houses built of baked mud, the usual narrow
streets crossing each other at right angles, their stone paving sloping
toward the centre where a ditch does duty as a sewer; a few Indians and
a few shops to minister to their wants. There are said to be twelve
hundred inhabitants but I doubt it. The elevation is slightly lower than
Tupiza.

We left Cotagaita after lunch, hoping to make the _tambo_ at Escara
before dark, but we were destined to disappointment. Mac, our Scotch
_arriero_, had decided that the pack-mules, which Don Santiago selected
for us at Tupiza, were not good enough to stand the march to Potosí, so
he requested the coach agent here to give us two better animals. The
latter allowed our veteran to go into the corral and take any mules he
pleased. Rich in knowledge of the Boer War, but poor in experience with
Bolivian mules, he picked out two strong-looking beasts that had been
driven in the stage-coach but had never carried a pack in their lives.
After being blindfolded they were saddled, with some difficulty, and we
were about to start when it was discovered that one of them lacked a
shoe on its nigh hind-foot. The blacksmith, a half-drunk, strongly built
Indian, was summoned. He brought a new shoe, a few nails, and a hammer
out into the street. The blindfolded mule was held by Mac while an
Indian tied the foot that was to be shod securely to the mule’s tail.
Then the blacksmith went to work. No attempt was made to fit the shoe,
and when the second nail was driven, the mule kicked and struggled so
violently as to throw itself and all three men in a heap in the middle
of the road. Finally, after much tribulation, the shoe was securely
fastened, and amid the cheers of the populace, we started briskly off
for Potosí.

The new pack-mules, lacking all road sense and missing the bridle,
promptly ran away. One of them was secured without much difficulty, but
the other one went up the hillside through a grove of young mimosa trees
which attempted to detain the load with their thorny branches. They only
succeeded in partly dislodging it, however, and the mule continued his
headlong career until his load turned completely under him, tripped him
up, and ended by rolling him down-hill. Fortunately the dunnage bags
were new and no great harm was done. Mac insisted that he could drive
this mule as well as any other--which may have been true--so the poor
coach-mule was reloaded. Then four of us tried for over an hour to make
the two wretched animals carry their packs properly and stick to the
road as pack-animals should. But they declined to enter our service, and
we were obliged to send them back to Cotagaita, minus their loads.
Meanwhile the two mules which Mac had so thoughtfully discarded at lunch
time were reengaged. The exhibition was useful, for it showed us that
Mac knew even less about saddling pack-animals than we did and was
perfectly useless in an emergency. Fortunately, an excellent fellow, a
brother of Don Santiago, became our _deus ex machina_, helped us out of
our difficulty, and promised to join us the next morning with a new
_arriero_. By hard riding we arrived at the little _tambo_ of Escara an
hour after dark and had some difficulty in securing admittance. No one
has any business to travel at night in this country, unless bent on
mischief.



CHAPTER IX

ESCARA TO LAJA TAMBO


We got up early enough the next morning to witness a phase of Bolivian
life which we had heard of but had not as yet seen. An officer and two
soldiers of the Bolivian army, travelling southward, had spent the night
at Escara and desired to proceed promptly. The _postes_ are subsidized
by the Government on the understanding that all travelling government
officials shall be furnished with mules and a man. Each _poste_ has
three or four guides called _postillons_, connected with it. This
morning things did not move fast enough to suit the officer. The mules
were not ready when he wanted to start and the meek Quichua _postillon_
was offering an explanation. In the midst of it, the officer lost his
temper, and taking his strong riding-whip, commenced to lash the poor
half-clad Indian across the face and shoulders. The latter stood it for
a few minutes stolidly and then commenced to back off, followed by the
officer who continued to lay on the blows as fast as possible. At length
the _postillon_ turned to run and the officer pursued him, beating him
and cursing him until out of breath. It was a sickening sight, but the
strangest part of all was the absolute meekness with which the Indian
took his beating. There was not the slightest sign of resentment or
even annoyance. The strokes of the whip made the blood start and trickle
down his face and sides, but he gave no evidence of feeling it.

Later in the day at Quirve, another _poste_, we witnessed a similar
exhibition, only in this case the Indian did not even run away. The son
of the proprietor, a great hulking brute, six feet tall and powerfully
built, found fault with one of the _postillons_ for some trifling
mistake and beat him across the face and chest with a rawhide thong
until the blood flowed freely. Like the other Indian, his face remained
perfectly stolid, and he showed no signs of anger or irritation.

We had been furious with the officer in the morning and this exhibition
was even more trying. Yet the Bolivianos thought nothing of it. As Mr.
Bryce has so ably put it: “One must have lived among a weaker race in
order to realize the kind of irritation which its defects produce in
those who deal with it, and how temper and self-control are strained in
resisting temptations to harsh or arbitrary action. It needs something
more than the virtue of a philosopher--it needs the tenderness of a
saint to preserve the same courtesy and respect towards the members of a
backward race as are naturally extended to equals.” There is no doubt
about the Quichuas being a backward race.

From the earliest historical times these poor Indians have virtually
been slaves. Bred up to look upon subjection as their natural lot, they
bear it as the dispensation of Providence. The Incas treated them well,
so far as we can judge, and took pains to see that the irrigation
works, the foot-paths over the mountains, the suspension bridges over
the raging torrents and _tambos_ for the convenience of travellers,
should all be kept in good condition. The gold-hunting Spanish
_conquistadores_, on the other hand, had no interest in the servile
Quichuas further than to secure their services as forced laborers in the
mines. The modern Bolivianos have done little to improve their
condition.

After seeing these two Indians meekly take such severe beatings, I found
it easier to understand why Pizarro had been able to conquer the Empire
of Peru with a handful of determined Spanish soldiers, and why the
unfortunate Tupac Amaru could make so little headway in 1781 when he
attempted to rouse the Indians to revolt against Spanish tyranny.
Although he had sixty thousand men under him, the Spanish general easily
defeated him with barely twenty thousand, of whom only a few hundred
were Spaniards, the majority being friendly Indians.

How much the extremely severe conditions of life that prevail on this
arid plateau have had to do in breaking the spirit of the race is a
question. It is a generally accepted fact that a race who are dependent
for their living on irrigating ditches, can easily be conquered. All
that the invading army has to do is to destroy the dams, ruin the crops,
and force the inhabitants to face starvation.

The Quichua shows few of the traits which we ordinarily connect with
mountaineers. His country is too forlorn to give him an easy living or
much time for thought. He is half starved nearly all the time. His only
comfort comes from chewing coca leaves. Coca is the plant from which we
extract cocaine. It is said that the Quichua can go for days without
food, provided he has a good supply of coca. It would be extremely
interesting to determine the effect on his intelligence of this cocaine
habit, which seems to be centuries old. If a man can stand up and take
severe punishment for trivial offences without getting angry, showing
vexation, or apparently without bearing any grudge against his
oppressor, there must be something constitutionally wrong with him. I
believe that the coca habit is answerable for a large part of this very
unsatisfactory state of affairs. Coca has deadened his sensibilities to
a degree that passes comprehension. It has made him stupid, willing to
submit to almost any injury, lacking in all ambition, caring for almost
none of the things which we consider the natural desires of the human
heart.

In travelling through Bolivia and Peru, I found it repeatedly to be the
case that the Quichua does not care to sell for money either food or
lodging. Presents of coca leaves and tobacco are acceptable. A liberal
offer of money rarely moves him, although it would be possible for him
to purchase with it many articles of necessity or comfort in near-by
towns. As a rule he prefers neither to rent his animal, nor sell you
cheese or eggs, or anything else. The first Quichua words one learns,
and the answer which one most commonly receives to all questions as to
the existence of the necessaries of life, is “_mana canca_,” “there is
none.”

This condition of affairs is not new. When Temple travelled through
Bolivia in 1825, he was struck by the prevailing “_no hay nada_” (there
is nothing at all). Poverty, want, misery, and negligence are the story
that is told by the melancholy phrase. The truth is, the Quichua not
only has no ambition, he has long ago ceased to care whether you or he
or anybody else has more than just barely enough to keep body and soul
together.

Needless to say, the Quichuas have no concern with the politics of
Bolivia, although they constitute a large majority of the inhabitants.

From Escara our road continued to follow a semi-arid valley. We passed a
caravan of mule-carts bound for Potosí and Sucre. In one of the carts
was an upright piano; in another, pieces of mining machinery, while
still others contained large cast-iron pipes destined for Sucre’s new
waterworks. Nearly all of the carts carried bales of Argentine hay as
this region is so arid that it is extremely difficult to secure any
fodder for the animals, and the barley or alfalfa, when procurable, is
often too expensive.

The weather continued to be fine. After a hot, dusty ride of twenty
miles, we stopped at the _poste_ of Quirve.

Just before reaching Quirve, we crossed the Tumusla River, the site of
the last battle of the Bolivian wars of independence. After Sucre’s
great victory at Ayacucho, in 1824, the only Spanish troops which
remained unconquered in all South America were the garrison of Callao
and a small band under General Ollaneta in southern Bolivia. His men
were badly disaffected by the news of the battle of Ayacucho, and an
officer who commanded a small garrison at this strategic point, came out
openly for the patriotic cause. Ollaneta tried in vain to suppress the
revolt. The result was a battle here on the first of April, 1825, in
which the Spanish general was defeated and slain. The garrison of Callao
held out for a few months longer, but this was the end of active
warfare.

We found the _tambo_ of Quirve to be of the most primitive sort, not
even affording shelter for man or beast. The weekly Potosí stage-coach
came in from the north about six o’clock carrying one passenger. He soon
spread his bed under the wagon and made himself comfortable for the
night. The luggage from Potosí was shipped on pack-animals and was in
charge of an Argentine Gaucho named Fermin Chaile. This man we took in
exchange for Mac, whom we were glad enough to get rid of. Fermin, the
Gaucho, tall and gaunt, round-shouldered and bow-legged, his dark
Mongolian-like features crowned by a mop of coarse, black hair, proved
to be a god-send. His loose-fitting suit of brown corduroys, far better
raiment than most _arrieros_ can afford, bore witness to the fact that
he was sober, industrious, and trustworthy. No one ever had a better
muleteer. Like Rafael Rivas, the faithful Venezuelan peon who had guided
my cart across the Llanos in 1907, he took excellent care of the mules,
yet drove them almost to the limit of their endurance, was devoted to
us, and proved to be reliable and attentive. He was a plainsman, as
different in spirit and achievement from the wretched mountaineers
through whose country we were passing, as though he had belonged to a
different continent.

As we continued northward from Quirve, the valley grew narrower and our
road continued to be in the dry river course. All the water that was
visible was collected in little ditches and conducted along the
hillsides fifteen or twenty feet above the bed of the stream. On some of
the hillsides of this valley are terraces or _andines_ where maize,
quinoa, potatoes, and even grapes are made to grow, with much
painstaking labor. These terraces, common enough farther north, were the
first we had seen. The staple food of the Indians is _chuno_, a small
potato that has been put through a freezing process until its natural
flavor is completely lost. One of the principal dishes at this time of
the year is the fruit of the cactus. Everybody seems to be very fond of
the broad-leaved edible species, a thornless variety of which we are
developing in Arizona and New Mexico.

Farther up the valley I was struck by the ingenuity which had been
exercised in carrying the irrigation ditches along the side of
precipitous cliffs. Numerous little tunnels, connected by small
viaducts, enabled a tiny stream of water to travel three or four miles
until it reached a level space sufficiently above highwater mark to
warrant the planting of a small field. The only animals to be seen
beside mules and horses, goats, pigs, dogs, and a very few birds, were
the little wild guinea-pigs of a color closely resembling the
everlasting brown hills. I was surprised not to see any llamas.

Soon after leaving Quirve, we came to the little village of Toropalca,
in every way as brown and dusty as the guinea-pigs. In fact, it melted
into the landscape as perfectly as they did.

About noon we reached another hillside village, Saropalca, its houses
placed so closely one above another on the steep slope as to give the
appearance of a giant stairway. We climbed up through the irregular
lanes of the little village, until we found a wretched little _tambo_
where we bought a few bundles of alfalfa and a bowl of soup.

Whenever we could secure sufficient alfalfa for the mules and a bowl of
hot _chupe_ for ourselves in addition to the customary pot of hot water
for our tea, we considered ourselves most fortunate and were willing to
admit that the _poste_ was well provided with “all the necessaries of
life.” _Chupe_ is a kind of stew or thick soup consisting of frozen
potatoes and tough mutton or llama meat. In its natural state, its taste
is disagreeable enough, but when it is served to the liking of the
natives it is seasoned so highly with red pepper as to be far too fiery
for foreign palates.

In the course of the afternoon, the valley narrowed to a gorge in which
we passed more heavily-laden mule-carts making their way along with the
utmost difficulty. Beyond the gorge we found sulphur springs and some
banks of sulphur. One of the hot springs gushed up close by the
roadside. “El Lazarillo,” the eighteenth century Baedeker, says there
was once a “modest thermal establishment” here, intended to attract
bathers from Potosí.

At the end of the day we reached Caisa, after having made nearly forty
miles since morning. Caisa is an old Spanish town and looks like all the
rest. One-story houses, narrow streets, badly paved, a city block left
open for a plaza, on one side of it a church and the house of the
priest, on the other three sides, a few shops where we bought
newly-baked hot bread, beer, cheese, and candles. The _tambo_ was called
“La Libertad” and bore the legend “_Muy barato_” (very cheap). We
surmised this meant that the proprietor would charge all the traffic
would bear; and such proved to be the case. In fact, we had a very
disagreeable dispute with the landlady the next morning. Fermin
indignantly declared she had tripled the usual prices.

At Caisa the road from Argentina to Sucre branches off to the right,
going due north to Puna and thence to Yotala, where it joins the road
from Potosí to Sucre.

Leaving Caisa on November 22, we went north-west and soon had our first
glimpse of a snow-clad Bolivian mountain. The snow was not very deep,
however, as it had fallen during the night, and before noon it was all
gone. Our road crossed several ridges and then descended into a partly
cultivated valley near an old silver mine and a smelter called Cuchu
Ingenio. The road here was unusually good. Even in 1773 “The Blind Man’s
Guide” says it was a “camino de Trote, y Galope.”

As we ascended a gorge, I was attracted by a little waterfall of crystal
clearness that came tumbling down from the heights above, and was
tempted to

[Illustration: OUR FIRST GLIMPSE OF A SNOW-CLAD BOLIVIAN MOUNTAIN]

take a hearty drink of the delicious cool liquid. A Boliviano from
Tupiza, who was travelling with us for company, warned me against such a
rash act as drinking cold water at this altitude. I had noticed that no
one in this region ever touches cold water, and I thought the universal
prejudice against it was founded on a natural preference for alcohol. So
I laughingly enjoyed my cup of cold water and assured him that there
could be no harm in it. An hour later we reached Laja Tambo, a wretched
little _poste_, standing alone on the edge of a tableland twenty miles
from Potosí. The altitude was about thirteen thousand feet. The sun had
been very warm, and soon after alighting on the rough stone pavement of
the inn yard, I arranged the thermometers so as to test the difference
in temperature between sun and shade. The temperature in the sun at noon
was 85° F. In the shade it was 48° F. Scarcely had I taken the readings
when I began to feel chilly. Hot tea followed by hot soup and still
hotter brandy and water failed to warm me, notwithstanding the fact that
I had unpacked my bag and put on two heavy sweaters. A wretched sense of
dizziness and of longing to get warm made me lie down on the warm stones
of the courtyard. I grew rapidly worse, and was soon experiencing the
common symptoms of _soroche_, _puna_, or mountain sickness. The
combination of vomiting, diarrhœa, and chills was bad enough, but the
prospect of being ill in this desolate _poste_, twenty miles from the
nearest doctor, with nothing better than the usual accessories of a
Bolivian _tambo_, was infinitely worse. Somehow or other, I managed to
persuade Fermin to saddle and load the animals and put me on my mule,
where I was determined to stay until we should reach Potosí.

The last thing to do before leaving the _tambo_ was to pay the bill, and
this I proceeded to do in the Bolivian paper currency which I had
purchased in Tupiza. Alas, one of the bills was on a bank situated two
hundred and fifty miles away in La Paz, a bank, in fact, in which the
_postillon_ did not have much confidence. The idea of having a servile
Quichua _postillon_ decline to receive good money was extremely
irritating, and I tried my best, notwithstanding my _soroche_, to force
him to take it. He persisted and I was obliged to find another bill in
my wallet. I suppose my hand trembled a little with chill or excitement
and in taking out the bill I partly tore it.

This would not have mattered had the tear been in the middle, but it was
nearer one end than the other and the Indian refused to accept it. I had
no other small bills and was at a loss to know what to do. In the
meantime, Fermin and the pack-mules had left the inclosure of the
_tambo_ and started for Potosí while Mr. Smith was just outside of the
gate waiting for me. So I rolled up the sound bill which the Indian had
declined to receive, gave it to him, and while he was investigating it,
made a dash for the road. He was too quick for me, however, and gripped
my bridle. Exasperated beyond measure, I rode him against the wall of
the _tambo_ and made him let go long enough to allow me to escape. It
seemed on the whole a lawless performance, although the bank-note was
perfectly good. I fully expected that he would follow us with stones or
something worse, but as he was only a Quichua he accepted the inevitable
and we saw no more of him.

In the face of a bitterly cold wind we crossed the twenty-mile plateau
that lies between Laja Tambo and the famous city of Potosí. On the plain
were herds of llamas feeding, but these did not interest us as much as
the conical hill ahead. It was the Cerro of Potosí, the hill that for
two hundred and fifty years, was the marvel of the world. No tale of the
Arabian Nights, no dream of Midas, ever equalled the riches that flowed
from this romantic cone. Two billion ounces of silver is the record of
its output and the tale is not yet told.

Rounding the eastern shoulder of the mountain, we passed several large
smelters, some of them abandoned. Near by are the ruins of an edifice
said to have been built by the Spaniards to confine the poor Indians
whom they brought here by the thousands to work in the mines. The road
descends a little valley and runs for a mile, past the ruins of hundreds
of buildings. In the eighteenth century, Potosí boasted a population of
over one hundred and fifty thousand. Now there are scarcely fifteen
thousand. The part of the city that is still standing is near the
ancient plaza, the mint, and the market-place.

Our caravan clattered noisily down the steep, stony streets until we
reached the doors of the Hotel Colon where an attentive Austrian
landlord made us welcome, notwithstanding the fact that one of the party
was evidently quite ill. I could not help wondering whether an American
hotel-keeper would have been so willing to receive a sick man as this
benighted citizen of Potosí. The paved courtyard was small, but the
rooms on the second floor were commodious and so much better than the
unspeakably forlorn adobe walls of Laja Tambo, that I felt quite willing
to retire from active exploration for a day or two. Fortunately, I fell
into the hands of a well-trained Bolivian physician, who knew exactly
what to do, and with his aid, and the kind nursing of Fermin and Mr.
Smith, I was soon on my feet again.



CHAPTER X

POTOSÍ


We had not been in Potosí many hours before we realized that it was a
most fascinating place with an atmosphere all its own. By the time we
had been here a week we were ready to agree with those who call it the
most interesting city in South America.

The prestige of its former wealth, the evidence on every side of former
Spanish magnificence, the picturesquely clad Indians and the troops of
graceful, inquisitive llamas in the streets, aroused to the utmost our
curiosity and interest.

Our first duty was to call on the Prefect who had been expecting our
arrival and was most kind during our entire stay. A Bolivian prefect has
almost unlimited power in his department and is directly responsible to
the President. His orders are carried out by the sub-prefect who is also
chief of police and has a small body of soldiers under his immediate
control.

We found the Government House, or _Prefectura_, to be a fine old
building dating back to colonial days. Probably the most interesting
person that has ever occupied it was General William Miller, that
picturesque British veteran who fought valiantly through all the
Peruvian Wars of Independence, receiving so many wounds that he was
said to have been “honeycombed with bullets.” At the end of the wars he
was appointed Prefect of Potosí, and it was during his incumbency that
the great liberator Simon Bolivar made his visit. There is a vivid
description of it in Miller’s “Memoirs.” When Bolivar arrived in sight
of the far-famed mountain, the flags of Peru, Buenos Aires, Chile, and
Colombia were unfurled on its summit. As he entered the town, twenty-one
petards were exploded on the peak, an aërial salute “that had a very
singular and imposing effect.” “Upon alighting at the Government House,
under a grand triumphal arch, decorated with flags, the reception of His
Excellency was according to the Hispanic-American taste. Two children,
dressed as angels, were let down from the arch as he approached, and
each pronounced a short oration! Upon entering the grand saloon, six
handsome women, representing the fair sex of Potosí, hailed the arrival
of His Excellency, crowned him with a wreath of laurel, and strewed
flowers, which had been brought from a great distance for the occasion.”
This was followed by seven weeks of bull-fights, grand dinners, balls,
fireworks, illuminations, and other signs of public rejoicing, which
would seem to have surfeited even a person so fond of pomp and adulation
as the great liberator.

Opposite the Government House, on the east side of the plaza, is a
curious many-arched arcade which incloses a new plaza, the work of an
ambitious prefect. The tall column surmounted by a statue, that stands
as the only ornament in the new plaza, once stood in the centre of the
old, but was moved to its new position by the Prefect who decided that
his work would be incomplete unless properly graced by a monument.

On a corner of the new plaza is Potosí’s only bookshop. Judging by the
stock in trade, the principal customers are school children and lawyers.
The book trade was dull when we were there, but considerable interest
was shown in other departments of the store where toys and picture post
cards were on sale.

Near by is the “University” where second-rate secondary instruction is
given to poor little boys who sit on damp adobe seats in badly-lighted,
foul-smelling rooms. It was once a convent, but the church connected
with it has long since been transformed into a theatre. The only
attractive thing about the “University” is the charming old convent
garden where rare old flowers still try to bloom.

Opposite the “University” is the club. Here there are billiard tables
(it is really remarkable how many billiard tables one finds scattered
all over South America, even in the most inaccessible places) and a bar.
The custom of serving a little felt mat with each drink is resorted to,
and when a member chooses to stand treat, he goes about and gathers up
all the mats in sight and takes them to the bar where he cashes them
with his own money, or some that he has recently won. The bar was well
patronized. And no one is to blame but the climate, which is the worst
in South America.

Although Potosí is in the Tropics, the highest recorded temperature
here in the shade on the hottest day ever known, was 59° F. The city is
nearly thirteen thousand five hundred feet above the sea, almost as high
as Pike’s Peak. Every afternoon cold winds sweep down through the
streets striking a chill into one’s very marrow. A temperature of 22° F.
is not unknown, yet none of the houses have stoves or any appliances
(except soup) for warming their shivering inhabitants. As the prevailing
temperature indoors is below 50° F., almost every one wears coats and
hats in the house as much as outdoors, or even more so, for a brisk walk
of a block or two at this altitude makes one quite warm, and in the
middle of the day the sun is hot.

Wherever we wandered in this fascinating city, our eyes continually
turned southward to the Cerro, the beautifully colored cone that raises
itself fifteen hundred feet above the city. It is impossible to describe
adequately the beauty of its colors and the marvellous way in which they
change as the sun sinks behind the western Andes. I hope that some day a
great painter will come here and put on canvas the marvellous hues of
this world-renowned hill. Pink, purple, lavender, brown, gray, and
yellow streaks make it look as though the gods, having finished painting
the universe, had used this as a dumping-ground for their surplus
pigments. In reality, the hand of man has had much to do with its
present variegated aspect, for he has been busily engaged during the
past three hundred years in turning the hill inside out. Much of the
most beautifully colored material has been painfully brought out from

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE CERRO FROM THE ROOF OF THE MINT]

the very heart of the hill through long tunnels, in man’s effort to get
at the rich veins of silver and tin which lie within.

The discovery of silver at Potosí was made by a llama driver about the
middle of the sixteenth century. It was soon found that the mountain was
traversed by veins of extremely rich ore. After the gold of the Incas
had been gathered up and disposed of, Potosí became the most important
part of all the Spanish possessions in America. At the beginning of the
seventeenth century, when New York and Boston were still undreamed of,
Potosí was already a large and extremely wealthy city. It attracted the
presence of hundreds of Spanish adventurers including many grandees. In
short it had taken on all the signs of luxury that are common to big
mining camps. Grandees in sumptuous apparel rode gayly caparisoned
horses up and down the stony streets, bowing graciously to charming
ladies dressed in the most costly attire that newly-gotten wealth could
procure. On feast days, and particularly on great national holidays,
like the King’s birthday, elaborate and expensive entertainments were
given.

If it were not for the great expanse of ruins and the very large number
of churches, it would be difficult to realize to-day that for over a
century this was the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. The routes
which led to the Bolivian plateau became the greatest thoroughfares in
America. Money flowed more freely than water. In fact, the Spaniards
found great difficulty during the dry season in supplying the city with
sufficient water to use in washing the ore and in meeting the ordinary
needs of a large population. Consequently, they went up into the hills
above the city and built, at great expense, a score of dams to hold back
the water that fell during the rainy season and preserve it for the dry.

Immediately following the Wars of Independence and the consequent
opening of the country to foreign capital, a wild mining fever set in
among London capitalists. Greedy and ignorant directors took advantage
of the cupidity of the British public to enrich themselves, while
incidentally working the mines of Potosí with disproportionately
expensive establishments. So eager was the public to take stock in
Potosí that shares which at the outset were quoted at 75 or 80, rose
incredibly in the short space of six weeks. Some of them went up above
5000. As was to be expected, this speculative fever was followed by a
panic which ruined not only the stockholders but those unfortunates like
Edmund Temple, who had gone to Potosí in the employ of one of the
wildcat companies, and those South Americans that had honored their
drafts on London.

Then followed a long period of stagnation. But as railroads came nearer
and cart-roads began to multiply, transportation became cheaper and new
enterprises sprang up.

Any one is at liberty to secure a license from the proper authorities to
dig a mine in the side of the mountain, provided he does not interfere
with the property of someone else. The records show that since the Cerro
was first discovered licenses have been issued for over five thousand
mines. It is easy to imagine what a vast underground labyrinth exists
beneath those many-colored slopes. Most of the openings, however, have
been closed by avalanches of refuse from mines higher up the hill.

One day I was invited to visit several new mines that had recently been
opened by a Chilean Company. In one mine, at an altitude of about
fifteen thousand feet, I undertook to crawl into the depths for five
hundred yards in order to see a new vein of silver ore that had recently
been encountered. The exertion of getting in and out again at that
altitude was terrific, yet the miners did not appear to feel it. They
wear thick knitted caps which save their heads from the bumps and shield
them from falling rocks. Their knees are protected by strong leather
caps. Their feet they bind in huge moccasins. Those that carry out the
ore frequently wear leather aprons tied on their backs. The workmen are
a sordid, rough-looking lot who earn and deserve very good wages.
Sometime ago when tin was higher than it is now, a large number of new
mines were opened and unheard-of prices were paid for labor. Now that
the price of tin has fallen, it is extremely difficult to get the
Indians to accept a lower scale of wages. Consequently, most of the new
mines have had to be closed.

In the old days, the tin was discarded as the eager Spanish miners
thought only of the silver. But now the richer veins of silver have
become exhausted, and although some are being worked, most of the
activity is confined to the tin ore. At the top of the cone there is an
immense quantity of it; the only difficulty is how to get it down to
the smelters in the valley between the hill and the city.

In this valley runs a small stream of water that comes from the hill
reservoirs. Attracted by its presence, most of the smelters have located
themselves on one side or the other of the little gorge. There are
innumerable small _ingenios_ worked by the Indians in a very primitive
fashion. Some of them are scarcely more than a family affair. Besides
these there are twenty-eight large smelters, and all of them devoted
more to tin than to silver. Not one of these is owned by a Bolivian. A
few belong to English capitalists, more to Chileans, and the largest of
all to a Frenchman who has constructed an aërial railway to bring the
ore from high up on the mountainside to his furnaces. The never ending
line of iron buckets adds a curiously modern note to the ruins over
which they pass. Ore is also brought down on the backs of donkeys and
llamas. The workmen are mostly Quichuas. Some of them are evidently not
city bred, for they dress with the same pigtails and small clothes that
they wore when Spanish _conquistadores_ forced them to take the precious
metal out of the hill without any thought of reward other than the fact
that they were likely to die sooner and reach heaven earlier than if
they stayed quietly at home. The product of this smelter is shipped both
as pure tin in ingots and also as highly concentrated and refined ore.

The most picturesque feature of the valley was a small chimney smoking
lustily away all by itself, high up on the opposite hillside, like a
young volcano with a smoke stack. In order to get a good draft for

[Illustration: THE CERRO OF POTOSÍ FROM THE SPANISH RESERVOIRS]

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT QUICHUA ORE CRUSHER]

the blast furnaces, the smoke is conducted across the stream on a stone
viaduct, enters the hill by a tunnel, and ascends a vertical shaft for
one hundred and fifty feet to the chimney which then carries it thirty
feet further up into the air. The tunnel does just as good work in the
way of producing a draft as though it were a modern brick chimney, two
hundred feet high, but the effect is uncanny, to say the least.

We found among the boarders at the Hotel Colon a group of young Peruvian
and Chilean mining engineers who were very congenial. They made the best
of their voluntary exile, and although none of them enjoyed the fearful
climatic conditions, they managed to make their surroundings quite
tolerable with hard work, cheerful conversation, birthday dinners, and
social calls.

The courtyard of the hotel was a fine example of the prevailing mixture
of old and new. The roof was covered with beautiful large red tiles
whose weight had crushed down the rafters in places so as to produce a
wavy effect. Meanwhile the shaky old balcony that ran around the court
connecting the rooms on the second floor, was sheltered from the rain by
strips of corrugated iron! The fine old stone-paved _patio_ was marred
by a vile wainscoting painted in imitation of cheap oil-cloth. In one
corner stood a little old-fashioned stove where _arrieros_, who need to
make an early start, cook their tea without disturbing the hotel
servants. An archway running under the best bedrooms of the second
floor, led out to the street. Another archway led in to the filth of the
backyard where, amid indescribable scenes and smells, six-course
dinners were prepared for our consumption. It was a miracle that we did
not get every disease in the calendar.

Opposite the hotel was a fine old building with a wonderfully carved
stone gateway and attractive iron balconies jutting out with stone
supports from each second-story window. It is now the residence and
warehouse of one of the largest importers in Bolivia. Once it was the
abode of a Spanish marquis. The exquisitely finished exterior bears
witness to the good taste of its builder and the riches and extravagance
that once ran riot in Potosí.

So also do the beautiful towers, all that are left standing of the
Jesuit church. The church itself has disappeared, but the solidly
constructed, exquisitely carved stone towers remain as silent witnesses
to the power of that Christian order that did most to advance the cause
of civilization in South America.

Unquestionably the most picturesque part of Potosí is the market-place
and the streets in its immediate vicinity. Hither come the miners and
their families to spend their hard-earned wages. Here can be purchased
all the native articles of luxury: coca, _chupe_, frozen potatoes,
parched corn, and _chicha_ (native hard cider made from anything that
happens to be handy). The streets are lined with small merchants who
stack their wares on the sidewalk against the walls of the buildings.
There are no carriages and few horseback riders, so that one does not
mind being crowded off the sidewalks by the picturesque booths of the
Quichua merchants.

In the streets flocks of llamas driven by gayly-dressed Indians add a
rare flavor not easily forgotten. The llamas move noiselessly only
making little grunts of private conversation among themselves; quite
haughty, yet so timid withal, they are easily guided in droves of fifty
by a couple of diminutive Indians.

To see these ridiculous animals stalking slowly along, looking
inquisitively at everyone, continually reminded me of Oliver Herford’s
verses about that person in Boston who

    “Looked about him with that air
     Of supercilious despair
     That very stuck-up people wear
     At some society affair
     When no one in their set is there.”

In the immediate vicinity of the market-place every available inch on
each side of the street is used by the small tradesmen. They are allowed
to erect canopies to protect their goods from the sun and rain, and the
general effect is not unlike a street in Cairo. On one corner are piled
up bolts of foreign cloth, their owners squatting on the sidewalk in
front of them. On another corner, leaning against the white-washed walls
of a building, is a native drug store. The different herbs and medicines
exposed for sale in the little cloth bags are cleverly stacked up so as
to show their contents without allowing the medicines to mix. The most
conspicuous article offered for sale is coca, which is more to the
Quichua than tobacco is to the rest of mankind.

The market-place itself is roughly paved with irregular stone blocks
and is surrounded by arcades where are the more perishable European
goods. The vendors of Indian merchandise squat on the stones wherever
they can find a place and spread out before them their wares, whether
they consist of eggs or pottery, potatoes or sandals.

It is the custom to arrange the corn and potatoes in little piles, each
pile being worth a _real_, about four cents in our money, the standard
of value in the market-place. Under umbrella-like shelters are gathered
the purveyors of food and drink, their steaming cauldrons of _chupe_
surrounded by squatting Indians who can thus get warmed and fed at the
same time.

The Quichua garments are of every possible hue, although red
predominates. The women dress in innumerable petticoats of many-colored
materials and wear warm, heavy, colored shawls, brought together over
the shoulders and secured with two large pins, occasionally of handsome
workmanship, but more often in the shape of spoons. Generally they are
content with uninteresting felt hats, but now and then one will have a
specimen of a different design, the principal material of which is black
velveteen, ornamented with red worsted and colored beads. On their feet
the women usually wear the simplest kind of rawhide sandals, although
when they can afford it, they affect an extraordinary footgear, a sandal
with a French heel an inch and a half high, and shod with a leather
device resembling a horse shoe.

Near the market-place is an interesting old church, its twin towers
still in good repair. Services are rarely held here, and it was with
some difficulty that

[Illustration: THE MARKET-PLACE OF POTOSÍ]

we succeeded in finding the sexton, who finally brought a large key and
allowed us to see the historical pictures that hang on the walls of two
of the chapels. They are of considerable interest and appeared to date
from the sixteenth century. We commented on the fact that a large
painting had recently been removed and were regaled with a story of how
a foreign millionaire had bribed some prelate or other to sell him the
treasured relic!

In the eighteenth century Potosí boasted of sixty churches but of these
considerably more than half are now in ruins. The ruined portion of the
city lies principally to the east and south. A few strongly built
churches or church towers are still standing amid the remains of
buildings that have tumbled down in heaps.

Several of the old convents and monasteries, however, are still in a
flourishing condition. To us the chief interest consisted of their
collections of fine old paintings and their beautiful flowers. Nothing
was more refreshing in this mountainous desert than to walk in their
lovely green gardens.

The principal object of interest in the city, however, is the Casa
Nacional de Moneda, the great mint, which was begun in colonial days to
receive the plunder that the Spaniards took out of the hill by means of
the forced labor of their Indian slaves. It covers two city blocks, and
is really a collection of buildings covered by a massive roof and
surrounded by a high wall with only one entrance. The front is striking.
At regular intervals along the roof are little stone ornaments like
funeral urns. The few windows are carefully guarded with iron bars. On
either side of the elaborately decorated façade of the two-storied
portal are wooden balconies over which projects the heavily timbered
roof covered with large red tiles.

As one enters the great building from the street and passes between
heavy doors into a large courtyard, the first thing that attracts one’s
attention is an enormous face, four feet in diameter, which looks down
at the intruder from over an archway that leads to a second courtyard.
The gigantic face has a malicious grin yet bears a distinct resemblance
to Bacchus. Who put it here and what it signifies does not seem to be
known. Suffice it to say that many of the Quichuas before starting on a
journey, come to this courtyard and make obeisance to the face, throwing
down in front of it a quid of coca leaves just as they used to do to the
rising sun in the time of the Incas.

The courtyard is surrounded by an arcade with massive arches over which
runs the carved wooden balustrade of the second-story balcony. In the
second patio, which is also paved with cut stones, a tiny narrow-gauge
railway is used to carry silver ingots from the treasure-room to the
stamping-machines. In one of the buildings is a physics laboratory. In
another a little gymnasium. In still a third, a collection of minerals.
All of which are evidences that here are the beginnings of a school of
mines that is being built up under the able direction of an intelligent
young Bolivian engineer who received his training at Notre Dame
University in the United States. In one old building are still standing
the great wooden machines that were formerly used in the process of
hammering out the silver. In a large room on the second floor of another
building are kept the vellum-bound records of the mint and all the dies
which have been used for the past two hundred years. According to the
records, the value of the silver taken from here in the colonial days
amounted to about one billion dollars. Most of the stamping was done by
hand. The Bolivian government has cleared out two or three of the
buildings and installed modern machinery, imported from the United
States.

One of the most remarkable features of the mint is the size and
condition of the huge timbers that support the roof. They are as sound
to-day as they were two hundred years ago when, with infinite labor,
they were brought across the mountains from the distant forests of the
Chaco.

The roof is surmounted by a number of small sentry-boxes which are
connected by little paths and stairways that lead to all parts of the
structure. In the old days, it was necessary not only to protect the
“money-house” against possible attacks from without, but to make sure
that the Indians, who were assigned to work in the mint, did not escape
from the attics where they slept at night.

I crawled through several of these attics where not even an underfed
Indian could stand upright. The roof was scarcely four feet above the
floor. In the corners were rude fireplaces where they may have cooked
their _chupe_, with dried llama dung as their only fuel. The rooms were
dark, even in midday. The tiny peek-holes that served as windows
admitted scarcely any light. Altogether it was as wretched a dormitory
as could possibly be imagined.

The view from the roof was most interesting. The romantic cone of the
mountain-of-silver rises to the south beyond the graceful towers of the
cathedral. East of it are the hills where the Spaniards built their
famous reservoirs. Further east are higher hills which have been the
scene of several bloody encounters in the unprofitable civil wars that
have devastated Bolivia. Here on the battle-field of Kari Kari, several
hundred unfortunate Indians, fighting for revolutionary leaders with
whose selfish aims they had little sympathy, fell victims to the
unfortunate habit of appealing to arms instead of ballots.

North of us, in the foreground, is the picturesque market-place, while
northwest, in the distance, the old trail for Oruro and Lima winds away
through the barren hills. To the west the far extending vista discloses
a wilderness of variegated hills and mountain ranges. While all around,
the quaint old arched roofs, rolling like giant swells of the Pacific,
are surrounded by the narrow streets, the red-tiled houses, and the
ruinous towers of the ancient city.

[Illustration: GREENER AND MORE POPULOUS VALLEYS]



CHAPTER XI

SUCRE THE _DE JURE_ CAPITAL OF BOLIVIA


Potosí was an irresistible attraction to thousands, but the dreadful
climate, the high altitude, the cold winds, and the chilling rains drove
away those who could afford it to the more hospitable valleys a few
days’ journey eastward where, with an abundant water-supply at an
elevation of eight thousand feet, charming villas sprang up surrounded
by attractive plantations, the present suburbs of Sucre.

A fairly good coach road has recently been completed, and a weekly stage
carries mail and passengers between the two cities. We preferred,
however, to continue on our saddle mules and followed the older route.
The new road is a hundred miles long. The old trail is only
seventy-five. With good animals it need take but two days. We were in no
hurry, however, and decided to do it in three.

The valleys through which our road descended, at first arid and
desolate, gradually became greener and more populous. The views were
often very fine and extensive and we saw a few snow-covered mountains.
In the middle of winter, that is June and July, the snow frequently
covers everything. Now, on the 29th of November, the prevailing color
was a tawny brown.

On the road we met long strings of llamas, donkeys, and mules laden
with every conceivable shape of basket, bag, and bundle bringing from
the fertile valleys to the eastward, potatoes, maize, wine, green
vegetables and fruits, the produce that feeds Potosí.

Further evidence of the extent of this traffic and the number of
_arrieros_ that continually pass over this road is the frequency of
little _chicherias_, wretched little huts built of stone and mud, baked
in the sun, and thatched with grass or bushes, where “_chicha_” can be
bought for a penny a gourd.

On the bare ground in front of one of them a woman had pegged down the
framework of a hand loom and was beginning to weave a poncho. Near her
the family dinner of _chupe_ was simmering away in a huge earthen-ware
pot, supported on three stones, over a tiny fire of thorns and llama
dung. Other picturesque jars filled with _chicha_ awaited her customers.

We lunched at what Baedeker would call “a primitive thermal
establishment,” a favorite weekend resort for German clerks in the
importing houses of Potosí. A swimming-pool that affords opportunity to
luxuriate in the warm sulphur water attracts many visitors, as it is
practically the only place in southern Bolivia where one can get a hot
tub bath.

The proprietor of the Baths, a type of Englishman that in the Pacific
Ocean is called a “beach comber,” was an amusing old vagabond who made a
great fuss ordering his half-starved Indians to prepare us a suitable
meal. Our expectations were aroused to a high pitch by his enthusiasm,
but the quality of the food was not any better than that of

[Illustration: THE PICTURESQUE OLD CHURCH OF BARTOLO]

the ordinary native inn. There was one very marked difference, however.
We were not met by any declaration of “_no hay nada_.”

Our second stopping-place was Bartolo, a small town of a thousand
inhabitants, chiefly Quichua Indians, and a picturesque old church
surrounded by a wall made of stone arches. We arrived on a Sunday
evening and found the _tambo_ already so full of travellers that there
was no room for us or our beasts. The Prefect of Potosí had given us a
circular letter requesting the masters of all the post-houses on our
route to accord us “every facility for our journey.” We soon found the
letter to be of little avail, for when there was any difficulty such as
lack of accommodation or of fodder we were invariably informed that the
master of the _poste_ was away attending to some business in another
village. As our letter, however, included also the governors of towns,
we now asked to be directed to the house of the Gobernador of Bartolo
and found that worthy gentleman bidding good-bye to some Sunday visitors
with whom he had been partaking freely of brandy and _chicha_. He was at
first inclined to be insolent, and although he had a comparatively large
house, declared that he had no room for us and that we must return to
the inn. As the situation approached that point where it was becoming
necessary to use force in order to secure shelter for the night, an
obliging guest, who had possession of the largest room in the inn,
learning from Fermin, the Gaucho, that we were _delegados_, offered us
the use of his quarters while he sought accommodation among his
acquaintances in the town.

In the meantime, the family of the tipsy governor had sobered him up
enough to make him realize that he had shown discourtesy to the bearer
of a government passport and he came to the inn with profuse offers of
entertainment which we unfortunately could not accept.

We left Bartolo early the next morning. The dust had been laid by
thunder-showers in the night and the crisp mountain air was most
refreshing. Occasionally we passed the ruins of a rude stone cairn
erected in colonial days to measure the leagues between Sucre and
Potosí. Fermin had never been beyond Potosí, so we were obliged to fall
back upon the service of guides or _postillons_ from here on. They
cannot be taken farther than from one _poste_ to another, generally six
leagues or twenty miles. They receive a regular tariff of four cents per
league, and a small gratuity besides.

For this munificent sum of a little over a cent a mile, they are
supposed to assist in catching and saddling the animals, to hold the
packs while they are being loaded, and then to run beside the trotting
pack-animals, ready to help if the loads become loosened, constantly at
hand, a willing slave to the _arriero_ and a guide to the traveller.
Generally lightly clad with the regulation Quichua small clothes, that
look as though made of meal-sacks, they march or lope along cheerily,
now and then blowing lustily on an ox-horn, which they carry slung over
the shoulder as a badge of their position.

The _postillons_ will not budge unless their tariff is paid in advance,
for they have learned through centuries of experience that while the
traveller with a stout whip, mounted on a good animal, with the
authority of the government at his back, can force them to go the
required distance after the fee has been paid, they have no means
whatever of forcing him to pay after he has arrived at his destination
and has no further need of their services. The first _postilion_ we had,
recognizing the fact that our _arriero_ was a stranger in this part of
the country and that we were foreigners, ran far ahead of the little
caravan, and would have disappeared among the thorny shrubs of the arid
hillside had we not galloped after him and threateningly ordered him to
return to his post at the heels of the mules. The next one proved to be
a good fellow and did his work well, notwithstanding the dust which was
his portion during most of the day.

This morning we passed a field in which alpacas that looked like
overgrown woolly dogs were feeding. As the sparse foliage increased, we
met numerous flocks of sheep watched over by diminutive children in
shawls and ponchos who ran away and hid behind rocks when they saw us
coming.

About the middle of the morning we came to the edge of a plateau and
enjoyed a wonderful view of fertile valleys, whose waters flow rapidly
down to the Pilcomayo. It seemed difficult to realize that a Bolivian
landscape could have any other color than brown. Our descent was now
rapid, and the temperature grew warmer except when we encountered a
small hail-storm.

After passing the scene of a battle in the unsuccessful revolution of
General Camacho, a militant politician with whom Bolivia had
considerable difficulty in the ’90’s, we stopped for lunch at a
tumbled-down hostelry called Quebrada Honda, in honor of a deep little
valley whose steep sides rise abruptly from a roaring mountain torrent.
Squatting on the ground in front of the tambo was a Quichua woman
weaving a bright-colored poncho.

In the afternoon we passed some primitive dwellings which consisted of
huge flat boulders under which excavations had been made leaving them
partially supported by piles of stones at the corners. The method did
not seem to have proved successful, for in most cases, the roof, too
heavy for the supports, was lying on the ground.

About five o’clock we arrived at the _poste_ of Pampa Tambo. We found a
_postilion_ in charge; the “master of the _poste_ was absent” as usual.
The _postilion_ decided to charge us three times the regular rate for
forage and Fermin protested vigorously, but in vain. Although it was a
matter of only a dollar or so, I decided to see whether my letter from
the Prefect of Potosí would make any difference with his attitude toward
us. The sight of the official seal, and an emphatic threat that he would
get himself into trouble if he persisted in his outrageous demands,
gradually brought him to lower the price until it came within two or
three cents of the regular tariff.

Hardly had we settled the dispute when a violent thunder-storm came up.
This was the last day of November and the rainy season was beginning.
From now on we had showers nearly every afternoon.

[Illustration: A PASTURE FOR SHEEP AND ALPACAS]

[Illustration: A QUICHUA WOMAN WEAVING AT QUEBRADA HONDA]

In the evening a party of foreigners arrived, consisting of a wealthy
Franco-Boliviano and his two sons who were on their way home from Paris.
They amused us by their elaborate preparations to supply themselves with
drinks and edibles. Little alcohol stoves were kept busy making hot
toddy, and drinks without number soon produced a very drowsy party.

We got an early start the next morning and, in an hour after leaving
Pampa Tambo, came in sight of the great river Pilcomayo which is
associated with the tragic death of the French explorer, Creveaux. The
Pilcomayo rises west of Potosí, receives the turbid waters that have
passed through Potosí’s smelters, flows east and then southeast towards
Paraguay, finally joining the Paraguay River just above Asuncion. Were
it not for the gigantic morass, the Estero Patino, which interrupts its
course for about fifty miles, it would serve as a convenient means of
communication between the mining region of Bolivia and the Rio de la
Plata. Most of its course is through the Gran Chaco, a debateable land
that has been only partly explored.

East of the Andes, where the affluents of the Pilcomayo are almost
interlaced with those of the Mamoré, in the watershed between the basins
of the Amazon and the Paraná, lies a region of rich tropical forests
with possibilities of development that appeal very strongly to
far-sighted Bolivianos. The conditions are tropical, the soil is
fertile, and there is an abundance of rain. There are, however, in this
region, many tribes of wild Indians of whom little is known and who have
shown no desire to encourage the advent of strangers. Transportation is
exceedingly difficult.

We found that a suspension bridge had been built across the Pilcomayo at
its narrowest and deepest point, but owing to the tardiness of the wet
season, we were able to ford the stream lower down and save a détour of
several miles. After crossing the river we rode up a dry gulch in which
an attempt at cultivation by means of irrigating ditches was producing
both pomegranates and peaches.

An hour’s ride beyond the river brought us to Calera, a little hamlet of
Indian huts with a very primitive _tambo_. We had counted on resting
here during the middle of the day, but there was absolutely nothing to
be had either for man or beast. We could have unloaded and unpacked our
own supplies, but there is no point in eating when your mules cannot
eat, and so we pushed on, twelve miles further, to the town of Yotala.
Our path crossed a low range of barren hills and then descended a
thousand feet or more by a steep, winding path to the river Cachimayo
which we forded without difficulty. In this little valley we found many
attractive plantations, the _fincas_ or country houses of the wealthy
residents of Sucre. Extensive irrigation has transformed the bed of the
valley into what seems like a veritable paradise, so great is its
contrast with the barren region around about.

Yotala is an old Spanish town, much more dead than alive. There was an
inn, misnamed a “restaurant,” where there was nothing to be had in the
way of food for any of us. Fermin finally succeeded in finding a poor
widow who had a little fodder for sale and was willing to let the mules
eat it in her back yard. As for ourselves, we had to fall back as usual
on canned goods, just as though this were an isolated _poste_, twenty
miles from anywhere, instead of being a town of several thousand
inhabitants. We spread out our little lunch on the stones of the plaza
under two trees.

As it was noon, and the sky cloudless, the sun shone with considerable
ferocity. Presently a slovenly official with an expression on his face
that said plainly he was not quite sure whether we were distinguished
travellers who ought to be looked after or only vagabonds who should be
driven off, came and inquired if we were French merchants. On receiving
a negative reply he seemed rather relieved and withdrew to the shade of
his own house. Of course if we had whispered the magic words “_delegados
de los Estados Unidos_,” all would have been different.

After the mules had had a rest we covered the remaining six miles to
Sucre, passing on the way a number of large _fincas_. One of them seemed
to bear a distant resemblance to a pleasure park. Statues of men and
animals, summer houses, pagodas, and a small intramural railway whose
imitation locomotive was a small automobile in disguise, lent the place
a festive air which was increased by one or two minarets and other
fantastic towers. We learned afterwards that this was La Glorieta, the
seat of the Prince and Princess of Glorieta. The story, as told us by a
pleasant old lady in Sucre, is as follows:--

It seems that the head of the richest family in Bolivia, who is also the
leading banker of Sucre, wearying of republican simplicity, decided to
make a large donation to the Pope. Soon afterwards his great generosity
was rewarded with the title of “Prince of Glorieta.” Unfortunately, our
presence in this part of the world was not properly made known to this
Bolivian royal house and I am unable to give an adequate description of
the beauties of Glorieta. They have, however, been published by the
owners in a pamphlet, and from all that I could hear, Glorieta has a
distant resemblance to Coney Island.

After passing Glorieta, we crossed a small cañon, climbed the sides of a
deep gorge, and suddenly found ourselves at the city gates.

Sucre has a population of twenty thousand souls, including fifty
negroes, and two or three hundred foreigners, a large number of whom are
Spaniards engaged in mercantile business. There are two or three hotels
here, and we were in some doubt as to which might offer the best
welcome. After a vain effort to locate the Prefect and get his advice,
we decided to go to the Hotel Colon where we found large comfortable
rooms on the second floor, facing the plaza. The proprietor was most
polite and attentive. The only fault that we had to find with him was
his continual spitting. The fact that there were no cuspidors and that
he was ruining his own carpet did not deter him in the least. Perhaps he
had rented the furnishings.

It is superfluous to speak of the filth of the kitchen

[Illustration: THE GREAT RIVER PILCOMAYO]

[Illustration: OUR HOTEL IN SUCRE]

through which we had to pass to reach the back yard. It differed from
others only in the large number of guinea-pigs that swarmed everywhere.
They helped to make the bill-of-fare more interesting.

Sucre owes its importance to its comparatively pleasant climate. The
average temperature is 56° F. Bolivianos, accustomed as they are to one
of the worst climates in the world, say that Sucre has “the finest
climate in existence,” which means, being translated, that it is fairly
tolerable. Nevertheless, we found it very agreeable to be down at this
lower elevation, and we could scarcely sympathize with Castelnau, who,
coming up from the eastern plains in 1845, thought Sucre very
“_triste_.” He and his associates had been for many months in the warm
regions of Brazil and found it difficult “to resist the cold and the
effects of the altitude.” Most of them suffered severely from _soroche_
although few people now-a-days think of being troubled at an altitude of
anything less than twelve thousand feet and Sucre is only a little over
nine thousand.

If the miners had felt as Castelnau did, the old Indian city of
Chuquisaca would never have become the social and literary capital of
upper Peru. Its name was changed to La Plata in recognition of the
stream of silver that flowed to it from Potosí. Here resided an
important bishop who looked after the souls of countless thousands of
Indians scattered up and down the Bolivian plateau and in the tangled
jungles east of the Andes. The citizens of Chuquisaca, or La Plata,
acquired before long a reputation for wealth and intelligence which
spread far and wide. They called their city the “Athens of Peru” and
they established here a university where students still come to study
law and medicine.

After the great battle of Ayacucho in December, 1824, when General Sucre
won the memorable victory that defeated the last Spanish army in South
America, Upper Peru was erected into an independent Republic, taking its
name from the great General Bolivar and giving to its capital city the
name of its first president.

President Sucre was living at the capital when Edmond Temple came here
in 1826. That entertaining writer describes him as tall and thin with
mild, prepossessing manners and diffident address. Temple had lived in
Bolivia for nearly a year and was moved to say that General Sucre was
the best choice that could have been made to fill “the arduous,
troublesome, and thankless office of Supreme Chief of the new republic
of Bolivia.” Temple attended a session of Congress where he was
unfavorably impressed by the custom of remaining seated during the whole
debate and by the constant practice of spitting, “which is a breach of
decorum which no Englishman can patiently witness!” The innkeeper must
have been a descendant of a Congressman.

As long as Congress sat here the representatives came mostly from this
region and were naturally influenced by the aristocratic society of the
capital. The wealthy politicians of Sucre succeeded in diverting a large
part of the national revenues to beautifying their city, building
extravagant public works, and neglecting the just claims of La Paz. La
Paz, far more populous, and enjoying a much more important situation
commercially, was overlooked. Little of the public revenue found its way
thither. The result was a revolution in which La Paz emphatically
proclaimed its desire to share in the distribution of the public moneys
and public offices. The then President gathered the Government forces
together in Sucre and proceeded to march on the rebellious metropolis.
He was defeated not far from La Paz with great losses, and the war-like
Aymarás of La Paz followed up the victory with orgies of a disgusting
and barbaric if not cannibalistic character. The result was that while
Sucre retained the Supreme Court and the title of Capital, La Paz became
the actual seat of government, and few foreign diplomats have ever
undertaken the five days of hard travel which separates Sucre from
Challapata, the nearest railway station.

Nevertheless the wealthiest people in Bolivia live in Sucre. They are
very aristocratic and extremely exclusive, and they feel very superior
to the citizens of La Paz although that place is really much more
important than Sucre. The great land-owners have established here the
headquarters of the most important banks in the country.

At the largest of all, the Banco Nacional de Bolivia, I drew some money
on my letter of credit. Among the coins which I trustfully accepted were
seven or eight that proved to be bad. The Indians always ring a coin
before accepting it. The result was I found myself the victim of a
clever bank cashier. The coins were probably not counterfeit. The
Bolivian government has not been above issuing “silver” coins,
particularly “half _pesos_,” that contain so much “alloy” as to be
valueless.

These debased half dollars have long been a subject of annoyance not
only to travellers but to the neighboring Peruvians. Sir Clements
Markham says that at the time of his visit to Peru in 1859, when he was
on that famous mission that secured Chincona plants from eastern Peru
for transportation to India, war was imminent between Peru and Bolivia
and one _casus belli_ was that the Bolivian government persisted in
coining and deluging Peru with debased half dollars. These ill-omened
chickens have certainly come back to roost, for one never sees them now
in Peru and they are all too frequent here. Perhaps that is one reason
why the local banks are so unusually well built.

There is also a pretentious “legislative palace,” and at the time of my
visit a large theatre was in the course of construction. It was hoped to
have this completed in time for the celebration of the one hundredth
anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence.

The market-place is neither so interesting nor so picturesque as that of
Potosí. A few of the men wore curious helmet-like hats with small visors
turned up in front and back. It would be interesting to know whether
this were the original hat of the vicinity or whether it had been copied
from the head-gear of the armored Spaniard _conquistadores_ of the
sixteenth century. The corresponding women’s hats were twice as large
as the men’s but the brim was turned up in the front and back in the
same fashion.

Most of the women wore felt hats of native manufacture, picturesque
coats of white cotton decorated with many little pieces of colored
calico, and as many heavy woollen petticoats as they could afford. The
majority wore rough rawhide sandals without socks but a few had
elaborately patterned knitted stockings.

A considerable quantity of chocolate is manufactured here and, as in the
mountains of Colombia, no meal is considered complete without it. They
appreciate better than we do the advantage of having the drink as light
and airy as possible, and consequently never serve any without beating
it to a light froth by means of a wooden spindle that is inserted in the
pot and rapidly revolved between the palms of the hands.

There are several Indian silversmiths here, as well as in Potosí, where
filigree-work, spoons, and simple silver dishes are hammered out. The
director of the mint in Potosí told me he was frequently offered pure
silver family heirlooms that have come down from the extravagant days of
the seventeenth century when in a well-to-do house every imaginable
utensil was made of silver.

Another specialty of Sucre is the manufacture of tiny dolls out of
pieces of fine wire, lace, and tinsel. They range in size from four
inches down to half an inch. Sometimes an effort is made to copy a
native costume, but more generally the dressing is entirely fantastic or
suited only to high carnival. Similar dolls are made in south central
Mexico.



CHAPTER XII

THE ROAD TO CHALLAPATA


We were not sorry when the time came to leave Sucre. It not infrequently
happens that interior provincial cities of considerable local political
importance are not very lenient toward strangers, particularly if the
latter are dressed in breeches that seem at all outlandish to the
provincial mind. I understand that Chinese have found this to be true in
the capitals of our Western States. The thing had happened to me before
in Tunja, the capital of the province of Boyacá, Colombia. And it
happened here in Sucre. Whenever we walked the streets examining the
public buildings or visiting the market-place, we were considerably
annoyed by loafers, both men and boys, who, recognizing us as strangers
and foreigners, regarded us as the proper target for all manner of
witticisms.

An hour after leaving the city, we turned to look back, and found the
view from the west quite attractive. In the foreground, dry gulches,
stony hillsides, and an occasional thatched mud hut. In the distance,
hills sloping down so abruptly that one could not see the bottom of the
gulch that lay between us and the city. Immediately beyond, the white
walls of Sucre overshadowed by a mountain whose twin peaks rise beyond
the eastern suburbs. There was just a suggestion of green, reminding us
that this is the last fertile spot on the outskirts of the great arid
plateau, towards which we now turned.

As the road between Sucre and the railway is one of the most important
thoroughfares in Bolivia, it was to be expected that there would be
_postes_ every four or five leagues. The first one we came to was that
of Punilla, four leagues from Sucre. All we needed was a guide, but the
only _postillon_ we could secure had a very sore foot, scarcely
protected at all from the stony road by the primitive rawhide sandal
that he wore. Yet he came along quite cheerfully.

The _postes_ between Sucre and Challapata are larger than those in
southern Bolivia. They are modelled on the Inca _tambos_ that used to
exist on all the more frequented trails in the highlands of Peru and
Bolivia; a range of low, windowless buildings, either of stone or adobe,
sometimes completely surrounding a courtyard, at other times only on
three sides, containing a few rooms of which one is furnished with a
rough and very shaky table and three or four adobe platforms intended
for bunks; mud floors that have accumulated dirt and filth of every
description ever since the building was constructed; poorly thatched
roofs from which bits of straw and pieces of dirt occasionally dislodge
themselves to fall on the table where we spread our canned repast, or to
alight on our faces just as we were trying to get to sleep.

The trains of pack animals that we met on the road, whether llamas,
burros, or mules, were all engaged in bringing freight from the railway.
This consisted mostly of boxes of soap and canned goods, cases of wine
and beer and condensed milk, and small packages of general merchandise.

The next _poste_, Pisculco, four leagues beyond Punilla over a good road
that wound through semi-arid hills, was an extremely primitive affair.
The master of the _poste_ and all the _postillons_ were “absent,” but we
secured the services of a small boy who bravely girded his belt, slung a
horn over his shoulder, received his pay and started out as our guide
and escort. He soon fell behind, however, and before we knew it,
disappeared among the brown bushes. Both his scanty raiment and his skin
were so nearly the color of the ground that it was a hopeless task to
look for him, and we went on, trusting we should be able to follow such
a well-travelled highway without the necessity of a guide.
Unfortunately, the road forked, and in choosing the more travelled
branch, we followed a short cut in the steps of llama pack trains. As
they camp in the open at night, we missed the road for Moromoro, took
the wrong turn, and after a perilous descent down a mile of treacherous,
slippery rocks, found ourselves at the abandoned _tambo_ of Challoma,
whose only inhabitants were an old woman and her pigs. She was greatly
alarmed at our arrival and told us in shrill tones that we were three
leagues off the road. Nevertheless, as it was rapidly getting dark and
we had had a hard ride of forty miles, we decided to take shelter under
the leaky roof of the ancient _poste_.

Beyond Challoma the trail crossed a cañon and a shallow stream and
finally came out on a series of flat lands where we saw a few burros and
llamas

[Illustration: AN ABANDONED TAMBO]

[Illustration: OUR FIRST VIEW OF THE GREAT TABLE-LAND OF BOLIVIA]

grazing on the dry grass which had been left over from the last rainy
season.

In the middle of one such plain stood the next _poste_, Caracara, built
like a fortress in the desert. There are only three openings in the
great square inclosure: a barred window high up in a gable end near one
corner; a little door leading to a _cantina_ where one could purchase a
few drinks, matches, candles, and cigarettes; and a small arched
entrance through which loaded animals and travellers pass to the
courtyard. Although on one of the most important highways in Bolivia it
did not afford any food for the animals or ourselves.

After leaving Caracara, we passed a few pink roses blooming under the
shelter of some rocks. They looked strangely out of place in this
Thibetan wilderness but they gave signs of the coming spring and the
rainy season. In the afternoon we had several thunder-showers. The
result of the showers of the past few days had been to stimulate also
the growth of an occasional geranium, or modest little fern. In general
there was little to relieve the monotonous brown wilderness.

For league after league we continued our march westward through a
confused mountainous region. In southern Bolivia we had followed a long
valley running in a north and south direction, but here our route lay
across the valleys. Sometimes we followed the coach road for several
leagues and then took a short cut down a steep hillside. At times we did
not see a single hut in the twelve or fourteen miles separating the
_postes_. While not quite so sandy and desolate as the region farther
south, still it impresses one as being extremely inhospitable and
unlikely ever to support a larger population.

In the evening of the second day we reached Ocurí, eighty miles from
Sucre. Just outside the town we crossed a very swampy plain where
cattle, horses, and pigs were feeding in treacherous bogs.

Ocurí is a brown little Indian town of perhaps two thousand inhabitants,
with houses of sunburned brick and thatched roofs, lying high up on the
side of a mountain whose peak shelters it somewhat from the easterly
winds. It is higher than Potosí and has much the same cold, dismal
climate. It likewise owes its existence to the presence of mines of
silver and tin. There are several small smelters just outside the town.
We could get nothing to eat in the _poste_, but a pleasant-faced mestiza
woman who kept a sort of boarding-house near by, gave us a supper of
beefsteak and fried eggs, a welcome change from the canned food which
was our mainstay.

The principal street in the town was lined with small shops where a
considerable variety of domestic and foreign merchandise was offered for
sale. This does not mean that there were any attractive window displays
but that when Mr. Smith felt brave enough to venture to step over the
little Aymará brats and the fierce Bolivian dogs who were playing around
the prostrate forms of drunken _arrieros_, he found hidden away in the
dark recesses of dusty shops, quite a variety of articles. Cigarettes,
onions, eggs, bread, canned salmon, sardines, home-made woollen ponchos,
imported cotton cloth, candles, cheap domestic pottery, straw hats,
shoes, belts, gloves, and condensed milk. It is a very poor place indeed
in Bolivia where one cannot buy a small can of Swiss condensed milk, the
one thing that is generally good.

At Ocurí, we entered the country of the Aymarás for whom this is a kind
of outpost town. Our first evidence of their being here was the fact
that the _postillons_ in the _tambo_ unloaded our mules very carelessly,
allowing the bags to fall with a crash to the ground. They seemed to
think it a great joke to treat us as ignominiously as possible. From
here to Oruro, La Paz, and Lake Titicaca the Aymarás are in full sway.
They seem to be inserted like a wedge between the Quichuas of Peru and
those of southern Bolivia.

The Quichuas are a mild and inoffensive folk, but the Aymarás, heavier
in build, coarser featured, and more vigorous in general appearance, are
brutally insolent in their manner and unruly in their behavior. We were
even regaled with stories of their cannibalism on certain occasions, but
unfortunately had no opportunity of proving the truth of such
statements. Neither Quichuas nor Aymarás are at all thrifty, and we were
everywhere impressed with their great poverty. Their clothing is
generally the merest rags and their food is as meagre as can possibly be
imagined. Coca and _chicha_ (_i. e._, cocaine and alcohol) seem to be
beginning and end of life with them. We rarely ever saw one riding,
although occasionally we met a _postillon_ returning to his _poste_ with
a mule that had been placed in his charge.

A great majority of the population show little or no desire to vote or
to have anything to do with politics. They are uneducated, but have very
fixed ideas with regard to their absolute rights over land which they
have occupied for any length of time. Their ideas of squatter
sovereignty sometimes interfere with the desires of the government to
develop the resources of the country.

It is unfortunate that no efforts are being made to establish a good
system of public schools and enforce attendance. One of the greatest
difficulties in the way of such an undertaking is the fact that the
Indians not only have no interest in securing the education of their
children, but also that they find it to their advantage to speak their
own tongue rather than Spanish. Probably less than fifteen per cent of
the population speak Spanish with fluency. They are lacking in ambition,
seem to have no desire to raise produce, bear ill-will towards
strangers, and prefer not to assist travellers to pass through their
country. Even if a man has plenty of chickens and sheep, he will
generally refuse to sell any although you offer him an excellent price.
With coaxing and coca you may succeed. Sometimes he pretends not to
understand Spanish and replies to all questions in guttural Quichua or
Aymará.

So large a percentage of the population are Indians that nearly all the
whites are actively interested in politics and would like to be
office-holders. It is said that all elections are merely forms through
which the party in power goes, in order to maintain its supremacy.

The majority of the inhabitants are in no sense fitted to be the
citizens of a republic. However much the theoretical lover of liberty
may bemoan the fact that Bolivia is in reality an oligarchy, one cannot
help feeling that that is the only possible outcome of an attempt to
simulate the forms of a republic in a country whose inhabitants are so
deficient both mentally and morally. Mexico has given a splendid example
of what can be accomplished in a region populated largely by Indians and
descendants of Spanish monarchists. The benevolent despotism which
President Diaz has exhibited now for more than a generation has done
wonders. The great San Martin foresaw the advantages of oligarchy or
monarchy and advocated something of the kind for the Spanish provinces
of South America when they secured their independence. Unfortunately,
his far-sighted statesmanship ran counter to the bombastic notions of
“liberty” held by the uneducated creoles who had secured control of the
reins of government and the result was the creation of republics. The
extreme difficulty of communication throughout Bolivia has made the way
of revolutions fairly easy. An entire province can rise against the
government before sufficient troops can be sent to quell the
disturbance.

Whenever we got an early start from a _poste_, we were pretty sure to
come upon a llama camp before long; the drivers engaged in slowly
rounding up their grazing beasts and inducing them to receive their
loads for another day’s work. In the absence of rain, the loads are
merely piled up on the ground so as to form a shelter from the wind
during the night. If showers threaten, ponchos and tarpaulins are
thrown over the heap of merchandise.

Many of the llama drivers carried primitive musical instruments. The
most common form was a bamboo flute or flageolet with six holes. On
these the Indians succeed in playing weird, monotonous airs in which a
fantastic reiteration of simple strains is varied with occasional bursts
of high, screechy notes. Some of the drivers had little guitars of a
very primitive construction on which they thrummed rather monotonously.
Some had their wives and children with them. The women were nearly
always engaged in spinning yarn with a wooden spindle which they handled
with the dexterity of a professional juggler. Two or three men, and a
boy or so, generally accompanied a caravan of sixty or seventy llamas.
Each driver carried a knitted sling made of llama wool and found no lack
of ammunition by the roadside with which to urge forward his flock or to
head off a stray animal. We were always amused when we met a drove. The
leaders would approach gingerly, stretching their long necks and looking
very much like timid, near-sighted dowagers. They scarcely knew whether
to advance or to retreat. A few flying rocks from the slings of the
drivers, followed up by encouraging shouts, generally decided the
leaders to proceed, but some were so palpably “frightened to death” by
everything they saw, we were surprised they had managed to live so long.
Occasionally a herd coming from Sucre laden with chocolate or sugar and
bound eastward, would meet one coming from the railroad with foreign
merchandise. This nearly always resulted in great confusion and much
shouting. The llamas looked so stupid we wondered how they ever
succeeded in extricating themselves and proceeding in the right
direction. At one point where the road almost disappeared among a
wilderness of huge, scattered boulders, we met a large drove that had
lost all sense of direction. Every attempt of the drivers to get their
animals headed the same way met with failure. The beasts seemed to be
infused with some centrifugal force which sent every one of them in a
different direction from his neighbor. Owing to the huge rocks, it was
impossible for the poor creatures to see one another or the drivers.
They may be there yet.

There is something extremely amusing in the soft tread, the awkward
gait, the large innocent eyes, and the inquisitive ears of the llama.
Many had the tips of their ears decorated with bits of colored worsted.
I saw two that were decked out with very elaborate headdresses. They
never seemed to be in a hurry, any more than their Indian drivers, and
their disposition is much more gentle and inoffensive than I had been
led to suppose.

About ten miles from Ocurí I saw several fat lizards each about six
inches long. The altitude at the time was about fourteen thousand feet,
the record height for lizards, so I am told.

Soon afterwards we got a glimpse to the northwards of the sharp peaks
near Colquechaca, one of the highest towns in the world, which owes its
existence, as do so many of the Bolivian towns, to the presence in its
vicinity of rich silver mines.

We reached Macha at noon on the third day, after a hot ride of thirty
miles from Ocurí.

Macha is another dusty-brown, Indian town lying on the slopes of a large
valley. Near by we saw some evidences of cultivation. The fields were
surrounded with walls of dried mud and had large adobe gates reminding
me of the Sogamoso valley in Colombia. That region, however, was so much
greener and more fertile than this that the resemblance ceased with the
gates and fences. It should be remembered that the rainy season here had
only just begun.

As we descended the east side of the valley, we met a six-mule coach on
its way from Challapata to Sucre. The curtains were drawn down on all
sides to protect the passengers from the dust and glare. Their outlook
was rather limited. A quarter of a mile beyond we met a drove of relay
coach mules, in charge of two mounted _postillons_.

There is a moderately good coach-road two hundred and ten miles long
from Sucre to Challapata. The coach runs fortnightly, in pleasant
weather, and takes five days for the journey. Personally, I should
prefer almost anything rather than to be shut up in a Bolivian coach and
yanked over these rough, dusty roads, but I suppose some people would
relish even that better than jogging along forty miles a day on a mule,
as we chose to do.

We left Macha after a light lunch but had not gone a mile before we were
pelted by a violent thunder-shower accompanied by hail, some of the
stones being as large as marbles. To add to our discomfort the mules had
made rapid marches since leaving Sucre and were very tired. The road
out of the valley was steep and slippery. When we reached the summit,
the storm renewed its fury, and we all shivered with the cold, in
contrast to the burning heat of the morning. At this height, whenever
the sun shines, the glare is trying and the heat really uncomfortable.
As soon as the sun passes behind a cloud, however, one experiences all
the rigors of winter.

We arrived at the lonely isolated _poste_ of Aconcawa just at sunset.
The Aymará _postillons_ were as disobliging as possible. Four or five
Bolivian travellers had reached the _poste_ ahead of us and taken
possession of the only available sleeping room. The night was bitterly
cold and wet. The altitude was something over thirteen thousand feet.
After some difficulty, we succeeded in forcing our way into a room where
the _cebada_ or barley straw was stored. South of Potosí the fodder for
the mules is generally _alfa_ or alfalfa but hereabouts it is _cebada_.
The Indians were so afraid of our damaging the straw by sleeping on it
that they swept it up and piled it on one side of the room as high as
possible, raising clouds of fine dust in the meantime. The dust did not
settle for many hours and brought on asthma when we tried to sleep. Soon
after leaving Aconcawa, Fermin’s sharp eyes detected three vicuñas,
feeding, a mile away to the south of us. I could barely make them out
with powerful field-glasses and should never have seen them at all but
for the keen-eyed gaucho. It seemed strange that these should be the
only vicuñas which we saw in a wild state in our entire journey in
southern Bolivia. Travellers fifty years ago speak of meeting them
constantly in the more desolate parts of the mountains. Before the great
demand arose for vicuña rugs, those highly-prized trophies of the casual
visitor, these graceful and beautiful creatures, with their fawn-colored
coats, were one of the most interesting features of travel in the lonely
upland pastures of the Bolivian and Peruvian mountains.

On the little plain near the vicuñas were a few pools of water that
seemed to be a feeding-ground for a few pigeons and some birds that
looked like Titicaca gulls. An occasional earth-colored guineapig was
practically the only other wild animal we could discover.

Soon after seeing the vicuñas we continued to climb by a zigzag road
until we reached the highest point in this journey, the ridge of
Livichuco, fifteen thousand feet above the sea. Neither mules or llamas
seemed to mind this altitude but we found it very chilly and
disagreeable and were glad enough to descend as quickly as possible
without wasting much time in enjoying the extensive view over the
rock-strewn hills about us. It may seem strange that we did not stop to
rhapsodize on the fact that we were now leaving the basin of the Rio de
la Plata, or on the extensive panorama. But the latter was so cold,
desolate, and forbidding, the only effect was to make us urge forward
the mules at as rapid a pace as possible.

The mountains were not snow-capped although, at times, we had had light
storms of hail and snow. This was particularly true of the afternoons,
the

[Illustration: A FRIENDLY LLAMA BABY]

[Illustration: MY MULE ON THE LAST DAY’S RIDE]

mornings being generally fine and clear. As we went west, the valleys
grew broader. We occasionally passed over level plains four or five
miles wide. We had now crossed the watershed and left the basin of the
Rio de la Plata and its affluents for that of Lake Poopo and the
Bolivian tableland.

Descending, we came to valleys that offered sufficient grass to support
a large number of llamas, alpacas, and sheep. This region seems to be a
favorite breeding-place for the llamas and we saw a number of baby
llamas. One of the latter, almost entirely black as to its body and
legs, with black ears, resembling the horns of a carnival devil, and a
white face that looked like a mask, was so interested in my efforts to
take his picture that he walked up to within eight feet of my mule, much
to his mother’s alarm.

A cold wind and a cloudy sky that kept the sun from offering any warmth
made our arrival at the _poste_ of Livichuco anything but pleasant. To
add to our discomforts, Bolivian travellers had again arrived ahead of
us and monopolized everything in sight, as the scanty accommodations of
this wretched _tambo_ were insufficient to meet the demands of both
parties. A few eggs was all the _postillons_ could offer for our
entertainment, and as these turned out to be rotten their willingness to
sell food was not appreciated.

The morning had been cloudy, cold, and disagreeable but the afternoon
was worse. Clouds of dust and peals of thunder ushered in the usual
storm. Our road, however, was not as rocky and precipitous as on the
preceding days. We crossed several broad plains, joined the
Potosí-Challapata trail and passed near Vilcapujio, another of the
battlefields of the War of Independence. In 1813 the soldiers of Buenos
Aires had again invaded Bolivia to assist the patriots of Upper Peru.
They reached Potosí in safety and were on their way north to Oruro when
they were met here at the fork in the road and defeated by the
Spaniards. A few days later came the battle of Ayoma, near Macha. The
result was temporarily fatal to the cause of Bolivian independence.

We had another unpleasant experience on our arrival at Ancacato, on the
evening of the fourth day. Bolivian travellers had, as before, taken
possession of all the available rooms and we had a hard time persuading
the master of the _poste_ to allow us to remain.

At a distance of two or three miles from the _tambo_ is the old Indian
town of Ancacato lying spread out on the level floor of the valley which
was at present brown and desolate although it had signs of being
cultivated in the rainy season. Like other Indian towns, the only
conspicuous feature of Ancacato was the tower of its large church. The
rest of the town consisted of brown huts as much as possible like the
color of the hills.

The next morning we met an unusually large number of llamas on their way
from Challapata to the interior carrying small boxes of European
merchandise. The monotony of this morning’s ride was varied by the
spectacle of a mounted Indian trying, like “Mac,” to drive a pack mule
that was quite unaccustomed to such service and most unwilling to keep
the road. There are no fences or walls to mark off the road from the
surrounding country and an active pack animal can take to the hill as
often as he pleases. Most of them are either too weary, too tame or too
well acquainted with the punishment that follows, to attempt such
amusements, but this one was new at the game and he led his driver a
merry chase over frightful rocky slopes, up and down precipitous
hillsides, and through the dry bed of a stream. “Anywhere and
everywhere” seemed to be his motto.

A short hour’s ride brought us through the pass over the Cordillera de
los Frailes and out onto the great tableland where the horizon on every
side, except behind us, seemed to be as level as the ocean. Far away to
the southwest we could just make out the dark lines and specks that
denoted the whereabouts of Challapata and the railway station.

Challapata is an old Indian town, but there has grown up at some
distance from it, near the railway, a little modern settlement where
white-washed warehouses, hotels, stores, and a telegraph office offer a
marked contrast to the brown mud-huts of the more ancient city. The
population is said to be more than two thousand souls. Of these by far
the larger part are Aymarás who speak little or no Spanish. The streets
of the new town are wide and sandy, hot and glary like some of our
western towns. We thought the hotel was most comfortable and even
luxurious, after our experience of the past few weeks, but I dare say
that the traveller coming the other way would turn up his nose at its
primitive accommodations.



CHAPTER XIII

ORURO TO ANTOFAGASTA AND VALPARAISO


Notwithstanding its comfortable beds, wash-stands, and billiard-table,
we were glad enough to leave the hotel at Challapata and take the train
for Oruro. Our only regret was that we had to say good-by to old Fermin
whose faithfulness in his care not only of the mules but of ourselves,
had made us grow very fond of him. We gave him a little gratuity which
he almost immediately offered to Mr. Smith in exchange for a cheap
silver watch the latter had purchased in Jujuy!

On our way northward to Oruro we got distant glimpses of the saline
waters of Lake Poopo that receives the overflow from Lake Titicaca by
means of the Desaguadero River but has no outlet of its own. On our
right were the low summits of the Cordillera de los Frailes and on the
intervening plain was an occasional town with brown huts and a
conspicuous church. Once in a while we saw _chulpas_, so-called “Inca
tombs,” really Aymará, in which interesting remains are often found. The
Ferrocarril Antofagasta-Bolivia, a very narrow-gauge road constructed
and managed by Englishmen, was built to reach the important silver mines
of Huanchaca which, in the early ’90’s, exported annually eight million
ounces of silver. Once on the plateau, it was an easy matter to connect
the railroad with Oruro whose output of silver at that time was about a
million and a half ounces. Furthermore, Colquechaca, with an equal
output, was only two days away and pack trains could bring the silver
readily to the railway.

The road has proved to be a splendid investment, yet Great Britain has
never favored Bolivia with much capital. Apart from this line and a
small bit of railroad near La Paz, there are almost no British
enterprises in the country. It is said that even Ecuador, backward as it
is, has twenty times as much British capital as Bolivia, while Argentina
has two hundred times as much.

The ride to Oruro was devoid of interest except for a conversation which
I had with a distinguished Bolivian physician who had recently come from
the eastern provinces where he assured me lay the real wealth of his
country. He was most enthusiastic about the possibilities of the Gran
Chaco as a region likely some day to be well populated. Although a
native of this part of Bolivia, he told me that every time he came back
to this altitude, he suffered from _soroche_ or mountain sickness. I was
told by several other Bolivianos that they too suffered from _soroche_
whenever they came up from the lower elevation, notwithstanding the fact
that the author of a recent book on South America says that the
Bolivianos themselves never suffer from this infirmity.

We reached Oruro shortly after dark and were met by a pleasant-faced
Austrian hotel proprietor who obligingly put us on board of a mule-drawn
tram-car. A few minutes later we stopped in front of the Grand Hotel de
Francia y Inglaterra and were back in the civilized world again.

There are two comfortable hotels in Oruro and an excellent Union Club
where all nationalities come to enjoy themselves. Besides this, a German
club has recently been started. Another feature of Oruro, which we might
not have noticed had we approached it from the civilized instead of the
uncivilized side of the world, was a rather palatial public
billiard-hall or casino where a dozen or fifteen good tables, and an
elaborate bar, attracted every evening a crowd of foreign engineers,
clerks, and bookkeepers.

The climate of Oruro is cold and forbidding, the thermometer in the
shade usually being 50° F. The rainy season commences in November and
lasts until March; January and February being the rainiest months.
During our summer the weather here is intensely cold and snow-storms are
not infrequent. To the west and south of the city are barren hills and
the general lack of foliage makes the place rather melancholy, _muy
triste_.

The next morning we crossed the plaza to the fine large government
building where the Prefect lives and has his offices. The present
incumbent, Dr. Moises Ascarrunz, was most kind and attentive. He
received us in state, opened champagne, drank our health and then drove
us out in the state carriage to a rifle range where, as it was a
holiday, the local sporting club was holding a match.

The Prefect has taken great interest in the club and it has thriven
under his patronage. The facilities for rifle practice are excellent,
and we saw some

[Illustration: THE PREFECTURA AND PLAZA OF ORURO]

capital shooting. After a light lunch of beer and sandwiches at the
pleasant little club house, the Prefect showed us the sights of the
town.

In his annual report which was just off the press at the time of our
visit, he calls special attention to the bad condition of the _postes_
on the road from Sucre to Challapata! We were not inclined to dispute
his criticism.

One day during our stay, a government proclamation was heralded about
town in the usual fashion. The local regiment of infantry paraded
through the principal streets, stopping at the important corners while
the colonel read the proclamation in a loud voice. The colonel seemed so
strong and healthy that I was greatly surprised to learn on my return to
Oruro a few weeks later that he had been taken down with one of the
sudden pulmonary fevers of this altitude and died in less than
twenty-four hours.

A pleasant German-American, in charge of the local agency of a large New
York commercial house, told us that it was not at all uncommon for a man
to get a chill on his way home from an evening party and die the next
day of galloping pneumonia. The explanation seems to be that at this
altitude (13,000 feet) one needs all the lung capacity one has, as the
air is so rare. A congestive chill is followed by such a dangerous loss
in the capacity to receive oxygen, that the patient soon succumbs and
dies.

The shops of Oruro, as might be expected of a mining city that has been
for several years in communication by rail and steam with the outside
world, contain a great variety of imported merchandise. One, owned by
Spaniards, is devoted almost exclusively to the manufactured products of
Spain. Another, owned by a German, contains an indefinite variety of
goods “made in Germany.” Two or three book shops contain several
thousand volumes of Spanish and French literature, law and medicine.
There is also a small public library and reading-room and the city hopes
to have a large accession to the number of its books in the near future.

I called on one of the local physicians, not professionally, but because
I had heard of a remarkable collection of Bolivian pamphlets and
manuscripts that he possessed. One gets so accustomed to shiftlessness
and uncleanliness in South America that I could scarcely believe my eyes
when I found myself in an office whose spotless white furniture and
aseptic glass cases of modern surgical instruments would not have been
considered out of place on Madison Avenue. The surgeon had been educated
at the Chilean Medical School in Santiago although he was a Bolivian by
birth. His collection of manuscripts and prints was an extraordinary
one, but I must confess that his up-to-date professional methods
interested and surprised me more than his extensive bibliographical
learning. After having witnessed unspeakable conditions in the leading
hospital of Venezuela at Caracas where, as readers of my “Journal” will
recollect, surgeons educated in Paris and New York worked in an
operating theatre that had for its motto, “_Those who spit are requested
not to stand near the table during operations_,” I am afraid my views of
South American surgery, outside of such cities as Buenos Aires and
Santiago, had hitherto been decidedly uncomplimentary.

Oruro owes its importance to valuable silver and tin mines in its
vicinity. There are several large smelters on the outskirts of the town,
and the offices of a number of important mining companies are to be
found here. Certain parts of Oruro are not pleasant places in which to
take a walk. In fact, I never felt more uncomfortable in my life than I
did on a solitary expedition in which I found myself among a lot of
half-drunken miners of all nationalities who were hanging about the
doors of a choice collection of grog-shops. The fearless, impudent stare
of the Aymarás was no less unpleasant than the menacing looks of three
or four burly Anglo-Saxon miners who had spent their last cent for
drinks and were looking for more.

The silver mines have largely been abandoned and the principal industry
is connected with the tin deposits. No mines were discovered here until
some years after those of Potosí and they never produced as much silver,
although, during the colonial epoch, they ranked easily second.

Oruro was founded about the time that the Dutch landed on Manhattan
Island. In the latter part of the seventeenth century there was already
a population of 76,000. In the eighteenth century, the city stood next
to Potosí in wealth and importance.

Some of the churches still show the marks of that elegance with which
they were ornamented during the period of Oruro’s palmy days. There are,
however, few remains of any fine edifices. Indeed, we are told by “El
Lazarillo” in 1773 that “in this great city one will not encounter a
single building that corresponds at all to the immense fortunes which
have been spent here, during the past two hundred years, in an excess of
parades, shows, games, and banquets.”

When the price of tin went up, a few years ago, Oruro enjoyed a boom.
Old buildings were torn down and pretentious new ones begun. Some of
them were only partly completed when tin fell and the boom collapsed.
The population now is about sixteen thousand, although during the boom
it rose to over twenty thousand, of whom more than five thousand were
foreigners. A good percentage were Chileans.

Apart from its importance as a mining centre, Oruro has for some time
been distinguished as a railroad terminal. A line from here to Potosí is
planned. A line from Oruro to Cochabamba, on whose fertile valleys Oruro
depends for its food-supply, is in course of construction. The Bolivia
Railway’s line to La Paz has recently been completed. The road to
Antofagasta has been running since 1892.

Oruro is nearly six hundred miles from Antofagasta and the journey used
formerly to take three days, for trains were only run by daylight and at
slow speed. We found, however, that the roadbed had been improved,
although the track was not widened, and a vestibuled train with two
compartment sleeping-cars and a restaurant-car can now make the journey
from Oruro to Antofagasta in two nights and a day. Three times a week a
Bolivia

[Illustration: A QUAINT OLD BALCONY IN ORURO]

[Illustration: A CORNER IN ORURO]

railway train leaves La Paz in the morning and arrives at Oruro late in
the afternoon. Once a week, as soon after the arrival of this train as
possible, the new vestibuled train starts for Antofagasta. There is no
chance for a through service, for the Bolivia Railway has a meter gauge,
while the Antofagasta line is only three-quarters of a meter wide.
Furthermore owing to some unfortunate squabble between the railroad
companies, the stations are located at some distance from one another,
and the traveller must get across the town as best he may.

When the Antofagasta line was completed, Oruro increased in population
by leaps and bounds, and the admiring Bolivians called their city the
“Chicago of Bolivia.” The only resemblance, however, that I was able to
discover was this forced transfer across the city. The streets of Oruro
which one has to cross in going from one terminal station to the other
are not paved, and the traveller who happens to take the journey in the
rainy reason, when the roads are two feet deep in mud, will wish this
were Chicago!

The departure of the weekly train for Antofagasta is just as much of an
event for Oruro as that of the weekly steamer is for a port in the
Hawaiian Islands or the West Indies. Every one who can comes down to the
station, and those who can afford it crowd into the restaurant car,
order drinks and enjoy the iced luxuries just as the residents of the
Caribbean ports do when a mail-steamer calls.

We had been advised by friends in New York not to attempt to use this
railway as it was only intended to carry ore and no one cared how many
passengers were killed. It did give one a creepy feeling to see a heavy
sleeping-car balanced on rails that were only twenty-eight inches apart.
It seemed like riding on a monorail and I could not help wondering
whether, if the berths on one side of the sleeping-car should happen to
be filled first, the car would not capsize. Evidently this thought had
occurred to the builders of the car, for by an ingenious arrangement the
berths are all in the centre of the car, directly over the rails!

We left Oruro at dusk and during the night passed through Challapata,
the end of our mule trip, and Uyuni, where Don Santiago’s stages start
for Potosí, Tupiza, and La Quiaca _via_ Cotagaita.

The scenery early next morning was not impressive. Before long, however,
gigantic volcanic peaks twenty thousand feet high rose into view, one of
them, the volcano of Ollawe, emitting a tiny cloud of sulphurous steam
that gives a yellow stain to its snow-capped peak. We soon left behind
the great sandy tableland of Bolivia, that veritable Thibetan Sahara,
and began climbing out of the great plateau through the western
Cordillera.

At one of the stations an Indian came aboard the train with a young
vicuña that he had raised as a pet and which he was taking to be sold to
a gentleman in Chile.

About noon we crossed the frontier. Our train was boarded by two
officials. One of them was a Bolivian, seeing to it that departing
passengers did not take any gold out of the country and violate the law
which prevents any exportation of the yellow metal. The other was a
polite Chilean customs officer. Their inspection of the luggage was very
superficial. In the afternoon, at Ascotan, after crossing a pass
thirteen thousand feet high, we commenced the descent and soon reached
the banks of that wonderful white sea of borax, glistening like snow in
the sun, which has made this region famous.

The mountains were grand and inspiring but we were so tired of seeing
barren brown hillsides that we longed for something green, and yet the
further we went, the more desolate became the country. We had entered
the nitrate region which is part of that magnificent desert that extends
for two thousand miles up and down the west coast of South America.

In the evening we stopped for a few minutes at Calamá, a small town but
important as a nitrate centre. It has a moderately good water-supply
which enables it to present an attractive greenness in contrast to the
absolute aridity of the surrounding desert. In this region are several
mines of silver, gold, and copper.

Calamá was the scene of some skirmishing during the revolution against
Balmaceda in 1891, but its chief claim to fame rests on a battle that
was fought here in the war between Chile, Bolivia, and Peru in 1879,
when Bolivia lost her seaport and Chile made a large increase to her
territory at the expense of her two northern neighbors. The first thing
that Chile did after war was declared was to attack the unprotected
Bolivian seaport of Antofagasta. The majority of the population of
Antofagasta were Chileans and the small garrison was quite unable to
offer any adequate resistance to the Chilean invaders, so the Bolivian
authorities retreated at once to Calamá. Thither the Chileans sent six
hundred men to attack one hundred and forty. Although the Bolivian
forces took up a strong position the Chileans had the advantage of
superior numbers and won an overwhelming victory. The affair was
insignificant except that it destroyed all the hold that Bolivia had on
her seacoast.

During the night, we passed through a large number of little stations in
the nitrate country. Early the next morning, as the last half hour of
the railway journey, came an exciting ride down a steep grade in full
view of the beautiful blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. After weeks of
everlasting browns, it was a tremendous relief to our eyes to see such
an expanse of blue. Of course no green was to be expected in this
vicinity. But blue did just as well.

The railroad runs for some distance parallel to the shore back of the
town until it enters the terminal station. We had left Oruro Thursday at
6:30 P.M., were in Calamá by nine o’clock Friday evening, and reached
Antofagasta soon after seven o’clock Saturday morning.

Hardly were we established in a hotel when we learned that the steamer
Mexico, of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, was to sail that
morning for Valparaiso. We had had no chance to explore the sandy
streets and well-stocked shops of Antofagasta, but this was the first
steamer to sail for six or seven days and it might be a week before
there would be another. Furthermore, there was little to tempt us in
this modern seaport with its ugly, galvanized-iron workshops and
warehouses. So we decided to board the Mexico as fast as possible.

The harbor was crowded with boats and barges. A few steamers and
sailing-vessels were lying at anchor waiting for cargoes of minerals of
one sort or another, mostly nitrates and copper.

Antofagasta is a seaport of considerable importance, being the port of
entry for a large part of Bolivia and northern Chile. Yet it shares with
Mollendo the reputation of being the worst harbor on the west coast of
South America. There is little protection against westerly and southerly
winds. Even in calm weather there is a considerable swell at the
boat-landing.

Once in the boat, however, we were charmed by the gambols of inquisitive
sea-lions who thrust their snouts out of the water, a biscuit-toss away
from the boat. As a counter attraction great flocks of birds flew in
circles overhead looking for schools of fish that swim in this bay. As
soon as a school was located, the entire flock of birds would pause an
instant and then dive with the rapidity of lightning from the airy
height straight into the billows, leaving only a splash of white water
to show where they had gone. Another moment and they came to the
surface, shook themselves, flapped their wings, and were away again to
enjoy another magnificent dive a little later.

I had heard much of the terrors of steamship travel on the West Coast.
Passengers who had recently experienced it assured me that it was
simply horrible. We must have been very lucky, for we found the Mexico
most comfortable and quite as good as one could expect in this part of
the world. Of course she was neither so large nor so luxurious as the
average trans-Atlantic liner. On the other hand she was not intended to
carry luxury-loving travellers three thousand miles over a rough ocean
and keep them amused, contented, and well-fed for a week. Her task
consists in stopping every afternoon, anchoring in a badly-sheltered bay
or an open roadstead, landing passengers, merchandise, and cattle into
row-boats and barges, taking on cargoes of hides, coffee, or provisions;
and meanwhile acting as a home for itinerant greengrocers whose business
it is to provide this two thousand mile desert with fresh vegetables.
Furthermore she was built to sail over the comparatively smooth waters
of the tropical Pacific Ocean and provide for passengers who are
travelling in a climate of perpetual spring and summer. All of this she
does admirably.

The staterooms opened onto the promenade deck. There was a well-stocked
library of fiction with books in four languages. The Chilean stewards
were polite and obliging. Altogether we had little to find fault with.
The food might have been a little better, but when one looked toward the
land and saw that bleak desert coast continuing for hour after hour and
day after day and realized that in the mountains behind it there were
even greater desert solitudes, it did not seem surprising that the food
was not up to our ideas of what it should be on board an ocean steamer.

Most of the passengers were natives of the West Coast. To them the diet
seemed quite luxurious. To us who had come from the _postes_ of southern
Bolivia the table fairly groaned with abundance. I can readily believe
that a traveller, who, while on his way south from Panama to Lima, has
his first South American meals on board of one of these West Coast
steamers would find the fare distressingly bad and the boats not very
clean. Perhaps the discipline would seem lax and the service execrable.
It all depends on one’s point of view.

If one is going to travel in South America at all, it is necessary to
make up one’s mind to put up with a lot of this sort of thing. It need
only be remembered that these boats are as safe and comfortable as those
in other parts of the world, and that they have better accommodations
than will be found anywhere in South America outside of half a dozen
cities.

The first day after leaving Antofagasta brought us to Caldera. On the
second day we reached Coquimbo which seems to be a flourishing seaport.
Of course there are no wharves, but the bay is fairly well protected and
steamers are able to anchor within three quarters of a mile of the
landing-stage. New villas in course of construction on the heights at
the south end of the bay testify to the prosperity of two of the leading
business men of the place.

Devoted as Coquimbo has been to commercial pursuits, very little
attention has been given to making the buildings attractive, and only
recently has an effort been made to improve the appearance of the
plaza. I visited two book shops in the hopes of getting some local
prints and found a recently published anthology of the poets of
Coquimbo! The books for the most part were those such as are found in
the usual South American book store: French novels, French text-books, a
few Spanish novels, and the local legal commentaries and law books.

It is a night’s journey by steamer from Coquimbo to Valparaiso. The
temperature was much cooler than we had expected, and grew more so as we
neared Valparaiso. To be sure, Valparaiso is as far south of the equator
as San Francisco is north and the same general climatic conditions
prevail.

The beautiful bay and harbor of Valparaiso have been repeatedly
described by enthusiastic visitors for many years. Since the terrible
earthquake of 1906, the city has lost much of its beauty, although many
of the buildings have been restored and business is going on quite
briskly. In the harbor were fifteen or twenty ocean steamers lying at
anchor, two or three Chilean men-of-war and two large floating dry docks
capable of taking care of the West Coast merchant steamers.

The naval dry dock is at Talcahuano. Although Valparaiso is the
principal seaport on the West Coast, there are no wharves. The business
section is built on the old beach and on a terrace. The hills rise
abruptly from this narrow shelf and the residential district is on the
hills. Elevators and trolley-lines connect the upper and the lower city.
The railroad station is very near the boat-landing.

The railway fares were very moderate and the officials of the road
seemed to us quite courteous and obliging although, during our stay in
Santiago, we read in one of the local newspapers a letter from a lady
globe-trotter who declared the Chilean railway officials were the rudest
and most disobliging that she had found anywhere in the world. Chilean
railways have grown tremendously during the past fourteen years. At the
time of the revolution against Balmaceda, in 1892, there were barely
seven hundred miles; while, at the time of the Scientific Congress, the
trackage had increased to three thousand miles of which half is owned
and operated by the government. More lines are in course of
construction.

Valparaiso is the commercial capital of Chile and her Stock Exchange
determines the rate of exchange. The shops of Valparaiso are filled with
things that appeal to Anglo-Saxons, for there is a large British colony
here.

Perhaps it was natural that we welcomed most eagerly of all the presence
of an attractive English book shop where we purchased files of English
newspapers and all the recent pictorial weeklies and magazines that we
could find. Partly for this reason and partly because we had grown tired
of looking at scenery, the four hours’ railroad journey between
Valparaiso and Santiago passed without making much impression on us so
far as our immediate surroundings were concerned, and almost before we
knew it, we had entered the political and social capital of Chile.



CHAPTER XIV

SANTIAGO AND THE FIRST PAN-AMERICAN SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS


From the railway station to the centre of Santiago is a two-mile ride on
a fine parkway, the Alameda de las Deliciosas. It has rows of trees,
muddy little brooks, and a shady promenade. Statues to some of Chile’s
more famous heroes have been placed in the centre of the promenade, and
stone benches, more artistic than comfortable, line its sides near the
brook. This sounds rather romantic, but the waters of the stream, which
is in reality a ditch two feet wide, are so dirty that it suggests an
open sewer rather than a mountain brook.

During our stay some one became disgusted with either the brook or the
stone benches and exploded a bomb under one of the latter. It happened
late in the night and nothing was hurt, except the bench, which was
quite demolished. Had the bomb gone off earlier in the evening there
would have been a list of casualties, for all the world walks up and
down here in the cool of the evening admiring the view of the Andes. The
strictly fashionable world confines itself more often to the pavements
of the principal plazas where it may be found about nine o’clock, on
evenings when the band is playing, walking slowly round and round,
enjoying a glimpse of itself. But the broad Alameda, as wide as three
or four ordinary streets, is distinctly the more popular resort, and on
festivals like Christmas or New Year’s, it is thronged with
merry-makers.

At the end of the Alameda, beyond the centre of the city, is the
romantic rock of Santa Lucia. Santiago owes its situation to the fact
that this precipitous hill of solid rock was left by nature in the
centre of a rich, fertile plain. The rock formed a natural fortress and
was fortified by the Spaniards when they first came to Chile. After
having been the scene of numerous bloody battles during Chile’s colonial
days, Santa Lucia is now a wonderfully attractive park with fine
driveways, well-made paths that command splendid panoramas of city,
plain, and mountains, and a theatre and restaurant on its summit. The
view is remarkably fine. The city spreads itself out on all sides
although the principal plaza and the business district lie more to the
west. The snow-capped Andes, the most characteristic feature of Santiago
scenery, rise majestically to the east. Low foot-hills bound the western
horizon. The fertile plain, which is none other than the great central
valley of Chile, lies to the north and south. Magnificent vineyards
yielding a larger crop of wine than those of California itself, are
scattered over this valley. Chile repeatedly reminds one of California
by its climate, its fruit, its mountain scenery, and its arid coast.
California has one advantage, its width between the ocean and the
Sierras, particularly in the fertile region, is so much greater than
that of Chile.

The hotels of Santiago are not so luxurious and modern as those of
Buenos Aires, yet we found the “Annexo B” of the Oddo to be perfectly
comfortable. It is really a “bachelor apartment hotel.” No meals, except
early coffee, were served there, so we took advantage of the generous
hospitality of the two leading clubs, the Club Santiago and the Union.
Wearied as I was by the dismal brown desert of southern Bolivia, the
gardens and fountains in the patio of the Club Santiago seemed like
Paradise itself. To be able to sit at small tables, served by courteous
waiters, and enjoy immaculate linen and the best of food and drink, was
sufficiently novel to be charming, but only half as welcome as the
restful green of the trees and the pleasant splash of the fountains.

We soon discovered that the coolest and easiest way to see Santiago was
from the second story of an electric car, especially when the upper tier
of seats was covered. The fare on the roof is intended for the
pocket-books of second-class passengers and is only five _centavos_ (a
cent and a quarter!) which makes it cheaper to take a car than to walk.
Unfortunately for the pleasures of life in Santiago, fashion frowns on
any one who climbs the stairs when he can afford to ride below.

Our friends would not even allow us to ride below, however, and put us
instead into a kind of “hack” that is known here as an “_Americano_.”

It seems that several generations ago, an American resident introduced a
carriage which he thought peculiarly adapted to Santiago. It might be
described as a two-seated rockaway. This vehicle soon became a vogue
and is now the established style for hackney carriages. There are
victorias for hire on the principal plazas, but their rates are
extortionately high while those of the “_Americanos_” are ridiculously
low. It is well they are, for otherwise no one would patronize them.
They seem to be without springs, cleanliness, or any ordinary comforts.
They are not without fleas and other insects. As you go bumping and
rattling over the cobblestones of Santiago in one of these antiquated
vehicles you come to wonder whether the Chilean’s proverbial dislike of
Americans has not been intensified by the discomforts he has suffered in
the “_Americanos_!”

The first Pan-American Scientific Congress was the fruit of an idea
started some years ago in Buenos Aires where delegates from a few of the
South American countries met for the first _Latin-American_ Scientific
Congress. That was followed by a second which met at Montevideo, and a
third, at Rio, each showing an increase in numbers and importance. Plans
for the fourth Congress were left entirely in the hands of a Chilean
organization committee who decided that the time was ripe to include the
United States in the list of invitations and make the Congress
Pan-American instead of Latin-American. The visits of a number of
distinguished North Americans, including Secretary Root and Professors
Moses, Rowe, and Shepherd, had done much to pave the way for friendly
feeling between the scientific men of Chile and those of the United
States, and the proposal of the organization committee met with hearty
approval. Owing to the efforts of Secretary Root and Professor Rowe, the
United States Congress passed an appropriation to send an official
delegation to the Congress. A number of our leading universities
likewise appointed delegates.

The programme suggested for the Congress was replete with all manner of
topics for discussion and covered almost the entire field of knowledge,
from questions of sanitation to those of international law, and from the
antiquity of primitive man in America to modern methods of primary
instruction.

As was to be expected from such a comprehensive programme, the intention
was not so much to bring out the results of the latest research as to
furnish topics that would be sure to interest the delegates. Even the
meetings of our learned societies in the States are largely social. To
many of those who attend the chief attraction is the opportunity of
meeting others who are interested in the same lines, and the programme
is merely an excuse for the meeting. The Pan-American Scientific
Congress was not far different. It offered an excellent opportunity for
the scientists of Latin-America to renew old acquaintance, and it gave
the favored delegates from the United States a chance to make new
friends among men whose interests are chiefly intellectual.

Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that few of the papers
presented new facts or the results of prolonged and scholarly research.
Nor is it at all remarkable that the most animated discussions took
place in the sessions devoted to international law and politics,
education, and political science. These are topics on which every man
has ideas which he is not afraid to express. And these discussions
served as a means of introducing men that might not otherwise have met.

Politics were kept in the background, as far as possible, but national
feelings occasionally found opportunity for expression.

Chile is the one country in South America that has never had and cannot
have a boundary dispute with Brazil. The Portuguese-American Republic is
not likely to meddle with West Coast matters, and Chile has nothing to
gain from troubling the beautiful harbors of Rio and Bahia. Indeed, so
lacking have been any causes of friction between the two Republics that
they are fond of emphasizing the _entente cordiale_ that exists between
them. It was natural, consequently, that the third Latin-American
Scientific Congress, meeting in Rio under Brazilian organization, should
have chosen Santiago as the seat of the fourth congress, and it was a
return of the courtesy when the organizing committee at Santiago,
composed of Chileans, selected the local Brazilian Minister as
President.

The Congress opened with formal ceremonies, fine music, and much
oration. In answer to the roll-call of republics, the leading delegate
from each country responded with befittingly felicitous remarks.

It is true that the learned Brazilian who replied, when the name of his
country was called, with a speech in Portuguese lasting nearly an hour
in length, stretched the friendly feelings toward the Brazilian
delegation almost to the breaking point. Few of the audience could
understand enough of what he said to follow his wordy address. Almost
everyone thought that its unnecessary length, added to the fact of its
being the only address of the evening that was not in Spanish, the
official language of the Congress, was at least a breach of good
manners.

The state of mind of the Chilean audience was reflected in the daily
papers the next morning when full space was given to verbatim reports of
the speeches made by the representatives of all the other republics and
not even a synopsis was accorded to the speech of the learned Brazilian.
The Brazilian delegation took umbrage at this and also at the ovation
that was given the Argentine representative whose speech was short,
crisp, and filled with expressions of friendship. Like the Mexican
delegate, he had appreciated the fact that there were of necessity
seventeen other addresses, and that five minutes devoted to cordial
greetings was better than fifty minutes of erudite information. A month
afterwards when the Brazilian delegation was on its way home, I read in
the newspaper reports from Buenos Aires that the Brazilians felt that
the Chileans had gone out of their way to make friendly overtures to
Argentina, Brazil’s natural rival. But the only things of which they had
any cause to complain were brought about by their own unfortunate
mistakes and in no wise indicated any desire on Chile’s part to weaken
the ties of her long friendship with Brazil.

Another interesting thing in the formal opening

[Illustration: BATTLEFIELD OF MAIPO NEAR SANTIAGO]

meeting was that although the Peruvian delegate received one of the most
enthusiastic and heartiest ovations of any, he took it in stolid
silence, making no motion and giving no sign that he heard or understood
what was going on. As a matter of fact, he and his colleagues felt out
of place. Peruvians hate and dread Chile and feel grievously wronged by
her continued occupation of Peru’s southernmost provinces, Tacna and
Arica. Consequently, they accepted all the Chilean overtures with very
bad grace, feeling that it would have been much more desirable to have
had fewer fine words and more kind actions. It was apparent that the
Chileans were doing everything in their power to try and patch up the
quarrel and let bygones be bygones, but the Peruvians felt that the
demonstration lacked the essential quality of sincerity which, of
course, could only have been given by a sacrifice of the provinces of
Tacna and Arica which Chile had no intention whatever of making.
Throughout the meetings the Peruvian delegates held themselves somewhat
aloof and took part in the exercises with a certain dignity which showed
how little they enjoyed being the recipients of Chilean hospitality. The
Chileans were undoubtedly annoyed at the cool reception of their
friendly overtures. It is entirely possible that this contributed not a
little to Chilean excitement over the incident of La Corona, of which I
shall have occasion to speak later on.

The greater part of the time of the Congress, counted by hours, was
given over to receptions and teas, breakfasts and dinners, visits to
vineyards, public works, and exhibitions, military tournaments,
picnics, and balls.

Hardly had we got settled in our hotel before invitations began to pour
in, and we soon found that the hospitable Chilenos had made up their
minds to overwhelm us with kindnesses from the moment of our arrival
until our departure. Never did a city give itself over more heartily and
more gracefully to entertaining an international gathering. For three
weeks, hardly a day passed that was not marked by elaborate
entertainments. Balls, distinguished by elegance and magnificence, were
attended by the youth and beauty of the most aristocratic society in
South America, clad in the height of fashion and behaving just as
society does in other parts of the world. The Club Santiago was
repeatedly the scene of banquets whose brilliance would have rather
startled those good people in the United States who think of South
America as being something like an African jungle.

Most of the outdoor festivals were held at the racetrack where a fine
large grandstand, capable of seating ten thousand people, faces a
beautiful field and the magnificent snow-capped Andes. Here, on a sunny
afternoon, Santiago society met in a battle of flowers for the benefit
of charity. The participants, either standing on the terrace in front of
the grandstand or driving by in handsomely decorated equipages, were
neither noisy nor boisterous and yet entered heartily into a very pretty
event.

One evening was devoted to the volunteer firemen of Santiago. Following
a parade was a distribution of premiums for bravery and length of
service. As there is no paid fire department, the city depends on these
volunteers for fire protection, and it has always been fashionable to
belong to one of the best companies.

For over three hundred years Santiago has been the home of Spanish
families of distinction. Their income has never been so swollen as to
tempt them to extravagant display or so small as to drive them to petty
pursuits for the sake of gaining a livelihood.

In such matters as magnificent hotels, expensive restaurants, luxurious
clubs, and showy automobiles, Santiago readily yields the palm to Buenos
Aires. There has been no great boom in Chile at all comparable to that
which Argentina has seen. Furthermore, earthquakes and fires have done
their worst to impoverish a nation not too bountifully supplied with
natural resources. To be sure, the enormous nitrate deposits of northern
Chile have made the government able to distribute millions of dollars
among its followers without overtaxing the population. Money has come in
so easily from the export duties on nitrate that no Finance Minister has
been greatly troubled by his budget.

Although Santiago cannot boast of as many evidences of wealth as Buenos
Aires, she has other qualifications which give her the right to hold her
head higher than any city in South America. The chief of these is her
literary preëminence.

She has produced during the past generation more writers of ability than
any other South American city. Easily first among these is José Toribio
Medina, whose untiring industry and genius for bibliography have made
him famous all over the world. Aided by a devoted wife, he has produced
more scholarly works than any other man now living in South America, and
more volumes of first-class bibliography than any in the western
hemisphere. A born collector, he spent years in various parts of the
world purchasing rare books in out-of-the-way places and making notes of
unpurchasable volumes in the great libraries, until he had built up a
magnificent collection of early Americana that is almost unparalleled.

His modest house is replete with interest. Three large rooms are lined
from floor to ceiling with his treasures. One room is devoted almost
entirely to early Mexican imprints. To see gathered together in one
place ten thousand pamphlets printed before Mexico secured her
independence, leads one to modify somewhat those conceptions of Spanish
intolerance for learning which we have inherited from some of our older
writers. To be sure, the pamphlets are mostly of a religious character.
However much one may disagree with the dogmas they contain one cannot
but admit that the intention of their publishers was to raise the
religious and moral tone of the community. In the back part of Sr.
Medina’s house are the rooms of the “Elzevir” Press. Here have been
printed those sumptuous bibliographical quartos that are the envy of
every librarian and the despair of the average scholar. As Sr. Medina
was originally a printer, it is his recreation to assist in putting his
volumes into type. It is not often in the modern world that one finds
the whole process of making a book existing under one roof. Here are the
sources; here lives the scholar who knows them; here he extracts their
virtues; and from this same place he sends forth to the world the
results of his investigations, printed and bound, ready for the use of
the student.

Besides Sr. Medina, Santiago has produced a number of historians, men
like Vicuña Mackenna and Diego Barros Arana who for careful statement
and concise diction have not been surpassed in South America. Even the
late Bartolome Mitre of Buenos Aires, one of Argentina’s greatest
statesmen and her greatest historian, never succeeded in getting away
from the Spanish trick of efflorescence in language which greatly marred
his work from the literary point of view.

Santiago’s literary preëminence is further shown both by the fact that
in no other city in South America are there so many people who are fond
of books and reading--witness the large number of new and second-hand
book stores--and the excellent list of works that are published here
every year. While Buenos Aires, with a population three times as large,
can boast of a few booksellers whose shops are devoted to showy
imprints, and who cater to the needs of those who buy their libraries by
the yard, there is little evidence in Argentina of a discriminating
group of booklovers like those who patronize the score of old book
stalls in one of Santiago’s streets near the university.

On the outskirts of Santiago is an excellent manual training school
where several hundred boys are lodged, fed, and taught all manner of
trades, from printing to forging, and carpentry to carving. Particular
attention is paid to electricity, and a large number of the students
become practical electricians. At the exhibition of the year’s work we
were particularly impressed with the fact that the school is able to
sell nearly all the articles made by the students. Churns, derricks,
chairs, and bells, well made and cheap, gave evidence that the school
was run on sound business principles.

Not far off is the Quinta Normal, a fine large reservation where normal
and agricultural schools rub shoulders with museums of fine arts and
natural history. The result is a charming place for study and a
delightful public park.

During our visit, the annual fine arts exhibition was in progress and
included a number of extremely meritorious paintings by Sotomayor, a
Spanish painter who has recently been engaged by the Chilean government
to teach in the Art School. Chile is certainly to be congratulated on
the class of teachers that she brings from abroad for her schools, and
her latest acquisition is well up to the standard.

Chile’s appreciation of art and her policy of securing able foreign
talent to teach her youth are greatly in her favor. She is in fact a
young and vigorous nation. Her people are bred in a splendid climate,
well suited to the development of a strong race. In fact the Araucanian
aborigines were superior to anything that the Spaniards found in either
North or South America. The early Spanish immigrants were an unusually
good lot. And there has been a striking admixture of Anglo-Saxon blood
as is shown by the frequency of English family names in Santiago.

As is well known, in the south of Chile there are many Germans and it is
commonly cited as one of the danger spots of German expansion in South
America. Those who argue so fail to take into consideration the
remarkably strong hold that Chile has on her children. In no other part
of South America do foreigners become so fond of the soil as in Chile.
Even those of English ancestry are prouder of the history of Chile than
they are of that of England. I have heard them go so far in praise of
their adopted land as to deride England and predict her downfall. In
Buenos Aires, on the other hand, they continually revisit the homeland
and pride themselves on their close connection with it. There one sees
little of that devotion to the country of their adoption which is in
evidence here.

Among the spectacles provided for the benefit of the delegates, the most
interesting was a military tournament that was worth going a long way to
see. The Chilean cavalryman is a remarkably daring horseman. His Spanish
and Araucanian ancestry have given him qualities that appeal to the eye
and to one’s admiration of courage. Perhaps the most remarkable feat of
the afternoon was the charge made by a squadron of cavalry over a
burning hurdle. A brush fence, well soaked in kerosene, was erected in
front of the grandstand and set on fire. Starting to windward, the
squadron charged, vaulted over the flames and dashed away in the smoke,
only to turn in the face of a strong wind which blew the smoke and
flames into the very faces of the horses, dash back again, and in
perfect order clear the fiery obstacle with as much ease and grace as
though it had been a peaceful country fence. As an exhibition of
training it was extremely significant.

President Montt,[1] who was extremely kind and courteous to us, and is
one of the most able and honest officials that South America has ever
seen, sent us an invitation one morning to attend the official
inspection of the Military Academy. All the Chilean officers speak
German and most of them have spent from two to three years studying in
Germany. Like the army, the school is run on German models and is
extremely well kept up. The neatness, discipline, cleanliness, and
excellent sanitary arrangements were in marked contrast to most public
buildings in South America. The cadets are a fine-looking lot of boys
who are largely put on their honor. Few rules are made for their
guidance but when any one is guilty of conduct unbecoming in an officer
and a gentleman, he is permanently discharged from the academy. The
instructors lay great stress on map-making. The exhibition of maps made
by the students was remarkably interesting. The students are taught not
only to make outline maps, but also to construct models of battlefields
and even to draw sectional panoramas on a uniform scale. Three cadets
are sent out to survey a position and to return in half an hour, each
with a drawing which, fitted to that of his mates, will make a panorama
that will enable the commanding officer to understand the situation and
direct his forces intelligently. This is only one instance of the
thoroughness with which the cadets are instructed. It is not remarkable
that several other Latin-American countries have sent for Chilean
officers to teach their cadets, and have even sent their own boys to
study here.

The Congress closed on the evening of the 5th of January, 1909, with a
grand banquet that was a blaze of glory. Eloquent speeches of mutual
congratulation were delivered by the representatives of various parts of
the two continents. Perhaps the most striking thing of the evening was
the contrast between the speeches of that member of the American
delegation who had been chosen to respond to the toast, “The United
States,” and the one that followed it delivered by a brilliant young
orator from Uruguay. As might have been expected, the latter was fiery,
flowery, and ecstatic, while the former was dignified and well within
the bounds of reason even in his compliments. The unexpected and very
striking difference was that the American spoke better Spanish, pure
Castilian, melodious and graceful. The Uruguayan speech was in the
offensive dialect of Montevideo, harsh to the ear, resembling Portuguese
in its guttural quality.

The only other speech of the evening that equalled the North American’s
in beauty of diction was that of General Uribe Uribe, the delegate from
Colombia. He ably upheld the reputation of his country for speaking the
best Castilian in America. So far as one who is not a native may be
permitted the privilege of judging by the effect on the ear, the
inhabitants of Colombia and Peru speak the best, while the people of the
countries of the River Plate speak the worst and most impure Spanish of
any on the continent. The impurity is a natural result of their
century-long dealings with the Portuguese in Southern Brazil; of the
presence in their midst of a very large number of Italians whose speech
is so like the Spanish that it easily corrupts it; and also of the fact
that during the colonial epoch, Buenos Aires was not a centre of Spanish
culture like Bogotá or Lima. On the contrary, as is well known, Buenos
Aires was filled with a fairly rough lot of traders who made their
fortune by smuggling and other illegitimate transactions. However much
we may be inclined to justify such actions on their part by the
injustice of the Spanish trade laws governing the commerce of the
Indies, we cannot be oblivious to the fact that the kind of individual
who would be willing to make his living by smuggling would probably not
take pains to speak his native tongue with either elegance or careful
attention to grammatical rules. In Lima and Bogotá, on the other hand,
society was dominated by the official class, and however critically we
may regard these proud Spaniards who were sent by their King to govern
America, we must be willing to admit that they were likely to speak the
beautiful language of Castile as perfectly as possible.

So much has been said of the inability of Americans to learn Spanish
properly and to speak it gracefully (it is a common proverb in South
America that English and Americans murder the soft Castilian) that it
was a great pleasure to hear the official language of the Congress
spoken better by a North American than by a South American. Furthermore,
it was characteristic of their courtesy that the Spanish-American
delegates at once complimented us on such an achievement.



CHAPTER XV

NORTHERN CHILE


Two days after the closing banquet, we rose early and hurried down to
the station to take the morning express for Valparaiso. Notwithstanding
the unseasonableness of the hour and the fatigue of recent
entertainments, a large number of the hospitable folk of Santiago were
on hand to bid us “Godspeed” on our journey. It is an extremely pleasant
custom, this taking the trouble to welcome the coming and speed the
parting guest by going out of your way to greet him at the railway
station, or if in the country, to saddle your horse and ride out of town
for a mile or two to accompany him. It takes time, to be sure, and time
that, according to American standards, might be more profitably expended
on attending to the business of adding up dollars and cents. Yet it does
increase the store of friendly feelings in the world. The casual visitor
to the United States too often has occasion to feel that we are so
wrapped up in money-making that we have no time to be polite. As a
recent British visitor said in comparing us with Mexico, “when one
crosses the Rio Grande, the brisk and selfish American atmosphere is
left behind.”

After an uneventful journey of four hours in a parlor car, we reached
the water-front of Valparaiso.

Before going on board the steamer we had a few hours to give to
sight-seeing and the purchase of furs brought here from the Straits of
Magellan and the Andean highlands. We had time also to feel something of
the excitement caused by the rapid fluctuation in the value of the paper
dollar on the floor of the Valparaiso Stock Exchange.

The national currency fluctuates considerably from day to day and is the
most serious drawback to commercial prosperity in Chile. During my stay
in Santiago it fluctuated so violently that some of the prominent
business men were very evidently less interested in their legitimate
business than in speculating in currency. The unit of value is the
_peso_, worth, while we were there, about twenty-five cents. It has gone
as low as fifteen cents, and as high as forty cents. All current
accounts in the large importing houses are carried in pounds sterling.

British commercial houses have a very strong hold on Valparaiso. So
important are the dealings with Great Britain that English is actually
the language of commerce. This is the more noticeable because, although
no educated South American would for a moment admit that he could not
read and speak French, outside of the larger cities very few South
Americans can even understand English. Nor do I remember to have met
more than one or two, outside of Chile, who pretended to any knowledge
of German. A knowledge of English is generally limited to those who have
been in the United States or England and to those who have had large
business dealings with British commercial houses. At the same time,
English is taught in many of the schools in Chile and we repeatedly met
young Chileans who were anxious to practice it on us.

Great Britain has always favored Chile ever since her merchantmen,
headed by the gallant Admiral Thomas Cochran, Earl of Dundonald, created
the Chilean navy which swept the West Coast clean of Spanish ships in
the Wars of Independence. It was the Chilean navy that enabled San
Martin’s troops to reach Peru and strike at the last stronghold of Spain
in South America. In those days, most of the vessels were commanded by
English and Scottish officers. The tendencies of the navy are still
British, and this extends even to the uniform of both officers and
cadets. In a word, the navy is as English as the army is German.
Furthermore, it has long maintained its preëminence among the navies of
South America. When Brazil gets the dreadnoughts for which she has
contracted, this supremacy will temporarily disappear.

When we boarded the Chilean steamer Limarí, we found among our fellow
passengers quite a number of pleasant-faced little naval cadets bound
for some point up the coast where they were to join their training-ship.
They smoked too many cigarettes, and their manners on board were not
particularly good, although they were probably no worse than a similar
group of American schoolboys would have been under the circumstances.
Certainly our fellow passengers were not as bad as those cadets whom
Hugh de Bonelli encountered in his journey from Panama to Lima in 1850
and describes in his entertaining “Travels in Bolivia.” In one corner
of the saloon on his steamer “sat an elderly gentleman and a maiden
lady, brother and sister, surrounded by parrots, a monkey, two cats, and
three ugly little dogs, all of whom they alternately kissed and hugged.
Two young cadets of sixteen, in uniform, who, without a figure of
speech, may be said to have smoked themselves away--for they were
scarcely perceptible behind the volumes of smoke they emitted,--got into
disgrace with these worthy people. One of these young sparks threw down,
on the sly, a lighted cigar upon the monkey, who had been watching him.
The animal seized it, and put the lighted end of it into his mouth; then
screamed, chattered, and cried--jumped upon the head of the old lady,
who was so frightened that she fainted away; then upon that of the old
man, from which he fell to the ground with the old gentleman’s wig
firmly held between his jaws!”

We found the Limarí well crowded with passengers, most of them Chileans
bound for Coquimbo, Antofagasta, and Iquique. The absence of a railway
makes the semi-weekly steamers the only means of communication on this
desert coast. Yet it was not until we had experienced the decided
inconveniences of overcrowding and felt the relief caused by the heavy
disembarkation at the northern Chilean ports that we fully realized how
dependent the Chileans are on the control of sea-power. They are now
planning to construct a longitudinal railway that shall run parallel to
the shore line, and make them less dependent on naval predominance.

The next day after leaving Valparaiso, we reached Coquimbo. The cable
had been used to warn the authorities that there were distinguished
passengers on board, and the leading citizens of the town came out to
invite the _delegados_ ashore and took us for a delightful drive along
the beach from Coquimbo to the old Spanish settlement of La Serena. At
the latter place we were entertained at the Club where an informal
reception was held, with the aid of the usual cocktails and champagne.

At Caldera we were spared from official recognition and spent our time
catching lizards on the sandy hills back of the town.

The third day brought us to Antofagasta where several of the delegation
left to take the railroad to Bolivia over the route by which I had come
out a month ago. The sea-lions and the diving birds were playing about
the harbor in the same fascinating manner as when I first saw this port.
But the effect, after living for several weeks amid the green parks of
Santiago and enjoying several days of blue ocean, was far less striking
than when we came from the bleak brown deserts of the Bolivian plateau.

The morning of the fourth day saw us at Iquique, once the centre of
Peru’s nitrate industry, now rivaling Valparaiso as the scene of Chilean
commercial activity. Numbers of sailing-vessels were lying in the
roadstead waiting for cargoes of the precious fertilizers. It was a
pleasure to see several of the vessels actually flying the American
flag! The West Coast depends largely on Oregon and Puget Sound for its
lumber-supply and these three-masted American schooners find a
profitable trade in bringing lumber and returning with nitrates. The
Limarí’s cargo consisted largely of merchandise which had come from
Europe and America through the Straits of Magellan. While this was being
discharged we had time to see the city, where a few months before an
angry mob of strikers from the nitrate works, had been mown down by
well-trained government troops.

We were entertained here by Mr. Rea Hanna, the enthusiastic American
Consul, who has a difficult rôle to play in a town where Chileans are in
control but where the Peruvian Club is the centre of aristocratic
society. That he is universally liked speaks volumes.

At the southern end of the town there is good bathing; and in addition,
pavilions and beer gardens to entice the weary clerk from the nitrate
offices. The well-arranged grounds of the Jockey Club afford opportunity
for social intercourse, polo, and tennis. But the most interesting place
in Iquique is what is known as the Combination, the central office of
the Nitrate Association, where the different companies, mostly English,
unite to arrange scales of prices and quantity of output and maintain an
efficient Bureau of Propaganda.

People frequently confuse Chilean nitrates with guano. One is a mineral,
the other an animal product. Whether the nitrate fields were not
originally guano deposits is a moot point, but I believe this idea has
been abandoned. There is, however, considerable difference of opinion as
to the actual origin of the great nitrate desert.

As there is a heavy export duty on the nitrates, Chile has been, and
will continue to be, as long as the supply holds out, in the very
enviable position of making foreigners pay the bulk of her taxes. How
long this exceptional state of affairs will last is a problem for the
geologists to settle. As there is undoubtedly enough material in sight
to satisfy the demands of the present generation and the next, no one
has any very stringent reason for husbanding the output or for investing
the national income from the export duties in such a way as to provide
for the exigencies of future tax-payers. The natural result of this easy
method of securing a revenue is a tendency towards extravagance in the
Chilean budget and an absence of careful supervision. Few people care
whether the money is spent for the best interests of the country.
Political scientists say that when the voter has a very light burden of
taxes to bear, he does not mind seeing the government’s money wasted or
his favorite politicians grow wealthy. Doubtless in time such a
condition of affairs will have a serious influence for evil on Chilean
character. As yet the whole industry is too young to have produced any
marked effect. Fortunately for the race, the nitrate fields will
probably become exhausted before any lasting harm is done. Nevertheless
Chile would do well to take warning from the experience of Peru, whose
revenue for many years depended almost exclusively on the yield of guano
from the Chincha Islands. The exhaustion of that valuable product left
the country in a far worse state than she was before her easily acquired
income had commenced to corrupt her politicians and financiers.

We left Iquique late that night and arrived early the next morning at
Pisagua, the northern limit of the nitrate country. Like all the other
ports at which we had touched since leaving Valparaiso, it is the
terminus of a little railway that goes back a few miles into the
interior and brings down minerals of one sort or another; sometimes
copper ore, generally nitrate, more rarely tin and silver.

In the course of the afternoon we reached Arica. The southern side of
the bay is guarded by a picturesque cliff, not unlike Gibraltar, which
is celebrated in Peruvian history as the site of a memorable battle in
the war with Chile. At its crisis the commandant of the Peruvian
garrison, rather than fall into the hands of the victorious Chileans,
spurred his horse over the summit and was dashed to pieces among the
rocks and waves at the base of the cliff. To the Anglo-Saxon mind, he
would have died more creditably had he killed as many Chileans as
possible first, and fallen face to the front. But the more spectacular
death that he chose appeals strongly to the Latin temperament.

Yet this trick of committing suicide instead of fighting to the last
breath is not a characteristic of Spanish heroes generally. It is not
easy to say whether the gallant soldier was influenced or not by any
Quichua ancestor that he may have had. Readers of Prescott’s “Conquest
of Peru” will remember that in the attack on Cuzco, made by one of the
Pizarros, a Quichua noble who had greatly distinguished himself in the
Inca army, seeing that his cause was irretrievably lost, jumped over the
precipice on the south side of the Sacsahuaman hill, and preferred to be
dashed to pieces rather than to see how many Spaniards he could kill
first. He in turn may have inherited the tendency from remote ancestors
in the Pacific Ocean. On the Island of Kusaie there is a picturesque
waterfall where, according to tradition, two young chiefs, defeated in
battle, ended their lives by casting themselves from the precipice into
the boiling pool below. The habit of jumping over a precipice in
preference to being killed in battle by one’s enemies is not uncommon in
the history of the Pacific races, both in the Carolines and in the
Hawaiian Islands.

Arica is particularly interesting to Americans because it was here that
the U. S. S. Wateree was carried inland by the great tidal wave of 1868.
Not only has the port been devastated by earthquakes and tidal waves but
also by fire. At present it has a very squalid appearance. Before the
completion in 1871 of the Southern Peruvian railway from Mollendo to
Puno, Arica was an important port of entry for Bolivia. When the
Chileans finish the railway which they are building to connect this port
with La Paz by a line that shall cross the mountains back of Tacna, this
importance will be restored.

At the close of the war between Chile and Peru the Treaty of Peace known
as the Treaty of Ancon stipulated that the territory of the provinces of
Tacna and Arica should remain in the possession of Chile for ten years
from 1883 to 1893. The Treaty continues: “The term having expired, a
plebiscite shall decide by popular vote if the territory of these
provinces shall remain definitely under the dominion and sovereignty of
Chile, or if they shall continue to form part of the territory of Peru.
The Government of the country in whose favor the provinces of Tacna and
Arica shall be annexed shall pay to the other ten millions of dollars
Chilean silver money or Peruvian _soles_, of equal percentage of fine
silver and of equal weight as the former. A special protocol, which
shall be considered an integral part of the present treaty, shall
establish the form in which the plebiscite shall take place, and the
terms and conditions in which the ten millions of dollars shall be paid
by the nation remaining in possession of Tacna and Arica.”

As is well known, the special protocol, establishing the form in which
the plebiscite is to take place, has never been agreed upon. The
principal obstacle is that since 1883 a large number of Chileans have
settled, voluntarily or otherwise, in the provinces, enough to decide
the vote of the plebiscite in favor of Chile. The Chilean government
says all present residents should vote. The Peruvians maintain that the
voters in the plebiscite should consist only of those who were residents
of the provinces at the termination of the war. Naturally, the Chileans
will not agree to this as there is no doubt but that the majority of
such persons are of inherent Peruvian preferences.

It is now seventeen years since the plebiscite was due to take place and
the question is still an open one. The fact, however, that in a recent
treaty with Bolivia, Chile promised to construct, at her expense, a
railway from Arica to La Paz, and has since granted a contract to a
reliable company to build that railway, would seem to indicate that
Chile considers the question settled although no plebiscite has been
held. No nation voluntarily commits itself to spend millions of dollars
in building a railway in a province which it considers in the slightest
degree likely to become the property of a neighbor. The Peruvians have
not overlooked the calm way in which the Chileans take it for granted
that Tacna and Arica are to be permanently Chilean territory, but they
are in no position to dispute such a conclusion. Their fighting strength
is far below the Chilean standard and they know it.

The whole question was brought vividly to the fore just at the time of
our visit by a little international episode known as the “Incident of La
Corona.” Peru had erected a magnificent memorial to her soldiers that
fell in the conflict with Chile. As was customary and proper, the
representatives of the various foreign powers resident in Lima,
requested permission to deposit formal wreaths at the base of the
monument as an expression of the friendship of their governments. The
Chilean diplomat was not behind the others, and his request was granted,
only to be denied later on when his funeral wreath had been made ready
for the exercises. At this he took great umbrage, demanded his
passports, and sailed for home. His arrival in Santiago was the occasion
of a popular outburst. There was a strong demand on the part of a
portion of the public that the government resent the Peruvian “insult”
in a very practical way, viz., by holding elections in the provinces of
Tacna and Arica and summoning representatives to the National Congress
in the same manner as from the other Chilean provinces. This would be
taking the last step in formal annexation of the disputed territory and
final recognition of it as a definite part of the national domain.

I was travelling in the interior of Peru at the time of these
demonstrations and it may be imagined that the press reports in the
Peruvian newspapers did not underestimate the gravity of the situation.
The fact that the Chilean government did not take any active steps
toward formally annexing Tacna and Arica in response to the popular
demand was attributed by many Peruvians and not a few Chileans to the
fact that in the harbor of Lima there happened to be at this time a
powerful squadron of American battleships. The long-standing friendship
between the United States and Peru, and the active hostility between the
United States and Chile at the time of the fall of Balmaceda and the
“Baltimore” episode, were regarded by the Peruvians as sufficient
guaranty of an intention on the part of the United States to interfere
in case trouble arose over an attempt on the part of Chile to terminate
the territorial dispute in a high-handed manner.

Whether or not the government at Washington indicated its wishes in any
way or expressed any opinion whatever; whether or not the presence of
our battleship fleet in the waters of the West Coast at this time was
intentional or purely accidental, are matters about which I know nothing
and which do not affect the actual results. As it stands, the Peruvians
having avoided trouble with Chile feel grateful toward the United
States, and the Chileans feel correspondingly irritated that their
government was apparently kept from an overt act by the influence of the
_Yankis_. An enthusiastic Chilean, a vigorous “anti-American,” told me
some time afterwards that he had endeavored, to the best of his ability,
to find out from political friends in Valparaiso why nothing was done
when it would have been so easy to settle the whole matter. The reply in
every case was “fear of offending the United States.”

After leaving Arica our next stop was to be at Ilo, the southernmost
harbor of Peru, a fact that was emphasized by the very marked depletion
of our passenger list. Few Chileans care to go to Peru. Because we came
from the “polluted” ports of a hated rival, the Limarí was subjected to
a thorough-going fumigation, a process rendered the more unnecessary and
offensive because nearly all of the Peruvian ports actually had cases of
bubonic plague and smallpox while the Chilean ports were free from the
pest.

We reached Mollendo on the afternoon of January 14th, just seven days
after leaving Valparaiso.



CHAPTER XVI

SOUTHERN PERU


Mollendo is one of those places where nature never intended man to live.
The natural port, and the one that was used for centuries, is the bay of
Islay, a few miles north. As a matter of fact, this was to have been the
terminus of the Southern Railway of Peru, the outlet for the commerce of
the Lake Titicaca region. But the owners of real estate at Islay were so
convinced that there had arrived that “tide in the affairs of men which,
taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,” that they attempted to make
the most of their opportunity and asked the railway prohibitive prices
for land and water-front. The result was that Islay missed its high tide
and the railway engineers carved out of the desert coast what is now the
port of Mollendo.

It claims to be the worst harbor on the West Coast. In fact, the author
of a recent book on South America was so impressed with the terrors of
disembarking here that he described it fully in three separate chapters
of his book! Although there was quite a little breeze blowing at the
time of my landing, I confess to being very much disappointed at the
tameness of the procedure. The reverend author had led me to expect “a
surf-lashed landing-place--a tremendous tossing and bouncing on the
mountainous swell.” Even in calm weather the boat was “tossed about
like a cockle shell, now thrown up to heaven on the crest of a wave, now
dropped down towards the nadir in its hollow. The swarthy Peruvian
oarsmen strain at the oars, they avoid the jagged rocks between the boat
and the pier by a hair’s breadth!” etc. etc.

One gets very little idea from such language of a busy little basin and
a dock where half a dozen steam cranes are at work loading and unloading
large freight barges. As would be expected from the fact that this is
the chief port in southern Peru, the docks were crowded with boxes and
bales of every description. Occasionally as many as eight or ten
freighters are anchored in the offing, and a large number of lighters
are kept busy most of the time. A new breakwater is being built of
enormous cubes of concrete, which it is hoped will resist the action of
the waves better than the natural rock of the neighborhood which
disintegrates rapidly.

A climb of fifty or sixty feet up the face of a steep cliff back of the
landing stage brought us to the little platform and gate of the local
custom house. Our arrival here was not expected by the officials, and we
received the customary hard looks that are given every one coming from
Chile. Mollendo has not forgotten the war. Nevertheless it needed but
the mystic word _delegado_ to the collector of the port to cause all our
luggage to be passed graciously through the custom house without even
the formality of an examination.

Our next difficulty, after landing on Peruvian soil,

[Illustration: MOLLENDO]

was in finding some one who would relieve us of our Chilean money and
give us coin of the realm in exchange. At first the local bank flatly
refused to oblige us, saying that so few people ever went from Peru to
Chile that there was no demand for Chilean money, and that they could
not realize anything on our Chilean currency without sending it by mail
to Valparaiso or Antofagasta, an expensive and risky undertaking which
they did not care to assume. In a word it was “against the rules.” So it
was necessary to say “_delegado_” again. As was to be expected, the
obliging cashier was now only too glad to relieve us of all our Chilean
money. How many bank cashiers in the States, after laying down a rule of
the bank to a foreigner, would be willing to break it because the
stranger was able to prove that he was an official delegate to a
Scientific Congress? I fear we are behind our southern neighbors in
realizing what is due to “science”!

The only thing we could find of interest in Mollendo, was a cock-fight
in one of the side streets. An audience of fifty or sixty boatmen and
their friends, relieved from their duties at the end of the day, were
hazarding their silver _soles_ on whichever bird they judged would last
the longest in the tiresome and bloody battle that was being fought out
on the cobble-stones. The excitement grew fast and furious as the fight
neared its close, and one poor bleeding rooster, nearly totally blind,
and almost dying, received a few final pecks from his victorious
opponent, himself dripping with blood. I have occasionally watched these
Spanish-American cock-fights in an effort to understand why the
spectator with Spanish blood in his veins gets so excited over them.
Apart from a realization that at present cock-fighting is the national
sport of South America, and as such, takes the place that baseball does
in the United States, and cricket does in England, I must admit that I
have failed to work out any reason to account for the frenzied interest.

Probably the Peruvians would have been just as bored if they had been
sandwiched into a crowd of “fans” at a baseball game.

We had not expected to stay over night in Mollendo, which has the usual
reputation of West Coast ports for harboring persons afflicted with
contagious diseases. But the daily train for Arequipa had gone and there
would not be another until the following noon, so we were obliged to
make ourselves as comfortable as possible in the Hotel Ferro Carril
which was not at all bad. The worst feature of it was the partitions,
which were extremely thin. The room next to ours was occupied by an
English-speaking individual who received a call in the course of the
evening from a fellow countryman, resident here, who tried to frighten
him out of his senses by vivid details as to the number of cases of
“yellow fever, bubonic plague, and smallpox” now raging in the town.
“More deaths occurring every day than the undertakers could possibly
attend to!” “Scarcely a house without its sick folk!!” “Not a family
still intact!!!” etc., etc. What effect these remarks may have had on
the person for whom they were intended, I am unable to say. I do know
they caused no little uneasiness among those _delegados_ who had landed
here on their way to the interior. We did not stop to make personal
investigations as to the truth of the rumors but were promptly on hand
the next day to take the train for Arequipa.

As there was not nearly enough space for all the people who desired to
leave Mollendo that morning, we were very much crowded for the first
hour or so. This exodus from town was not due to any fear of the
prevailing pest, but rather to the fact that January is the season for
leaving town and enjoying a short stay in the country. The train
followed the coast for eight miles to the south until it reached the bay
and beach of Mejia, a summer resort where many of the families of
Mollendo have built little villas. From here the road turns inland, east
and then north, climbing slowly and affording one a view of the pleasant
green valley of the Tambo River with its little country houses and its
plantations of sugarcane. Still climbing, the train continued almost due
north across the sandy plain known as the Pampa de Islay, or the desert
of Arequipa. For miles on either side of the track as far as the eye
could reach, there was not a green thing to be seen. Although there was
no animal or vegetable life, it is not exactly correct to say there was
not a living thing, for this is the home of the _medanos_, those
extraordinary crescent-shaped sand-dunes that travel across the hard
ground of the desert floor, driven by the prevailing southwesterly
winds. Each hill is a perfect crescent exquisitely drawn, the delicate
horns tapering off toward the north, away from the wind. They cause the
railroad no end of trouble, for when a _medano_ approaches the track, it
must get across some way or other. It is of no use to shovel back the
horns of the crescent as they encroach on the rails, for the main body
of the mound, twenty feet high and sixty feet or more wide, will advance
just the same and must be helped along.

Although we had started from Mollendo immediately after lunch and the
journey is only one hundred miles in length, it took us seven hours to
ascend the 7500 feet, and it was dark when we left the train at
Arequipa. We found on the other side of the station a long line of
mule-trams, one of which was reserved for intending guests of the Gran
Hotel Marone. After some delay incident to transferring a train-load of
passengers and their hand luggage to this caravan of tram-cars, we
started off and jingled our way through poorly-lit streets of one-story
houses where attractively carved stone doorways, dimly visible in the
semi-darkness, told of well-built mansions of former Spanish grandees,
whose walls had withstood Arequipa’s earthquakes.

To a person who has experienced a great earthquake, the mere mention of
the word is terrifying, and yet we were told by one of the astronomers
at the local Harvard Observatory that their seismograph recorded three
earthquakes during the four days of our stay here. In fact, scarcely a
week goes by without one or more disturbances. Fortunately for us, and
for Arequipa, these daily earthquakes that are so faithfully recorded by
the delicate instruments of the observatory are not usually
perceptible

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL OF AREQUIPA AND MOUNT CHACHANI]

[Illustration: AN OLD DOORWAY IN AREQUIPA]

[Illustration: CHACHANI AND MISTI]

to human beings. However, like San Francisco, Valparaiso, and many
another city of the west coast of America, Arequipa does have a serious
shake once or twice in a century and people do not build two-story
houses unless they can afford to use very strong construction.

We were most agreeably surprised and delighted with our accommodations
at the Hotel Marone. None of us had expected to find anything nearly so
comfortable outside of a South American capital. With this excellent
hotel and with the promised improvement of steamship service on the West
Coast, Arequipa is bound to become a Mecca for travellers. Charmingly
situated, with a delightful climate, picturesque streets, and remarkable
churches and monasteries, it offers the additional inducement of being a
base from which many pleasant excursions can be made. Mountain climbers
and those fond of mountain scenery will be attracted by the active
volcano El Misti, 19,000 feet high, and the snow-capped peaks of
Chachani that look down upon the city from their lofty altitude of over
20,000 feet above the sea. Arequipa is the distributing centre for
southern Peru and contains a number of banks and the warehouses of
several large importing houses. To the explorer intending to penetrate
the continent, it is an excellent place in which to purchase part of his
outfit. It was the base of the DeMilhau-Peabody Museum Expedition to the
Upper Amazon. I was astonished to find at the time of my visit, that in
one of the English warehouses it was not only possible to get a complete
supply of excellent canned goods, but even such luxuries as
folding-cots and Caracas chocolate. Professor Bandelier, that most
distinguished student of Spanish-American lands and peoples, says in his
recently published “Islands of Titicaca and Koati” that Mt. Koropuna,
lying about one hundred miles northwest of Arequipa, is probably the
highest mountain in America. Aconcagua is 6940 metres, while, according
to Raimondi’s map of the Department of Arequipa, Koropuna is 6949
metres. Here is a chance for a well-equipped exploring expedition.

For the less ambitious tourist there are shops where one may buy all
manner of foreign and domestic supplies, and excellent photographs, the
best of which I regret to say were stolen from a scientific expedition
many years ago by a native photographer. The lover of curious costumes
and quaint shops will be abundantly repaid by long strolls through the
Indian quarters.

As soon as the Prefect of Arequipa, Sr. Don Lino Velarde, heard of our
arrival, he made haste to call and place himself “entirely at our
disposal.” Sometimes this gracious Spanish extension of hospitality
means very little, but in this case it was genuine, and the Prefect did
everything in his power to make our stay both pleasant and profitable.
Horses and a military escort were provided for an excursion to the
Harvard Observatory, and the Prefect’s secretary was detailed to act as
our cicerone and see to it that we were shown the treasures of the local
monasteries.

We found the old Jesuit church the most interesting of all the sights
that the city afforded. It had once been superbly adorned and
embellished with elaborate gilded carvings and magnificent altars. The
last earthquake had overturned and destroyed three of the altars, but
the four remaining are well worth a visit, and there are many beautiful
paintings still on the walls. The west front of the church is a
marvellous example of stone-cutting and like the towers of the Jesuit
church in Potosí shows what excellent manual training the Jesuits taught
their followers. Their expulsion from South America was one of the most
serious in the long list of mistakes that Spain made in the government
of her American colonies.

The atmosphere of the Franciscan monastery took one back to the middle
ages. Everything was scrupulously clean and in good order. In the
sacristy we found a beautiful Madonna by some artist of the sixteenth
century. The monks treasure it highly and with good reason for the face
is as beautiful as any I have ever seen. A pleasant-faced, communicative
monk, who seemed glad enough to be permitted to break through the
monotony of his quiet life in the cloisters, took us to his favorite
spot in the gardens where, under the grapevines, a rude seat had been
made from a great millstone that dated back to Spanish days. From here
he led us to different trees in the orchard and begged us to sample the
pears, peaches, and plums that it was his delight to cultivate. We were
permitted also to visit the library and found it well stocked with rare
and beautifully printed old books. Naturally most of them were devoted
to theology and religious philosophy, but there was one section into
which old-fashioned works on natural history had crept, including a fine
set of Buffon. On the door of the library was posted a notice telling
the monks that on Mondays and Thursdays they could consult books on
piety; Tuesdays and Fridays, works on theology; Wednesdays and
Saturdays, other classes of religious books, etc., etc. We looked in
vain for any day on which it was permitted to use the books on natural
history. Much has been written of the degenerate conditions prevailing
in the South American religious houses. The Franciscan monasteries we
visited here and in Santiago, where an electric dynamo runs a modern
printing press for the dissemination of religious information, cannot be
included in that category.

As we wandered about Arequipa enjoying the picturesque Indian shops and
the bright colors of the native costumes, the Indians themselves were
courteous and polite and gave little evidence of any justification for
their reputation for turbulence.

The only evidence which we witnessed of any eagerness to join an
uprising was on the arrival of Dr. Durand, a notorious revolutionist,
who had fled from the country on the failure of a revolution which he
had instigated not two years ago, and was now being allowed to return,
thanks to the clemency of the Government. He had taken refuge in Bolivia
and in going to his home at Lima, had to pass through Arequipa. We
happened to be calling on the Prefect when the chairman of the local
committee of the Liberal party came to request the privilege of giving
Dr. Durand a popular reception. The Prefect had evidently received
orders from the Government to allow any kind of a demonstration short of
rioting, and after warning the Liberal chairman that there must be no
disturbance of the peace, gave him permission to carry out the plans for
the reception. We were somewhat surprised at the daring, one might
almost say the bravado, of the Government in extending clemency to a
notorious agitator who had done his best to upset the administration by
violence.

Our feelings were confirmed the next day on the arrival of the train
from Puno. The exile was received by a mob of three or four thousand
noisy Liberals who, inspired by the sight of their hero, went to the
limit in their manifestations of joy. It goes without saying that the
horses were taken from the exile’s carriage and that he was dragged
through the streets in triumph by his loyal supporters. The flat roofs
of the houses were crowded with interested spectators who did not care
to ally themselves with the Liberal party by joining the procession in
the streets. A few of the bolder Liberals, encouraged by cognac or
_chicha_, ventured to cry “Down with the Government!” “Down with the
President!” “_Viva Durand!_” “Long live the Liberal party!”

It may seem ungracious to criticise the policy of a country where one
has received as much hospitality and kindness as I have in Peru. At the
same time I cannot help expressing the conviction that if Peru wishes to
give the world evidence that she belongs to the same category of nations
as does Mexico, for instance, where capitalists may safely invest and
develop the resources of the country; if she seriously proposes to do
away with revolutions and make them matters of ancient history rather
than of present politics, she cannot afford to allow the instigators of
revolutions to enjoy public triumphs such as are usually accorded to the
true heroes of a nation.

There is too much of a tendency among South Americans to regard
revolutions as a popular game. One of the rules is that after the
conflict is over, your enemies must be treated with all the honors of
war, and that it will not do to be too severe on the conquered
revolutionist for fear that he may take revenge on you when the next
revolution succeeds. If these politico-military agitators were put to
death after being convicted of treason by a properly constituted
tribunal, Peru would enjoy an era of peace and prosperity such as she
scarcely dreams of at present--and the Peruvians are good dreamers. But
just as long as she enthusiastically welcomes home, after a brief exile,
men like Dr. Durand, she offers an extra inducement to any hot-headed
young firebrand to start another revolution. If he succeeds, all honor
and glory will be his, besides the emoluments of office and the
satisfaction of enjoying political power. If he fails and makes good his
exit from the country, it can mean at the worst but a brief exile and
then a triumphal return, crowned by an ovation. In either case, unless
he is so extremely unlucky as to get shot in the scrimmage, he is sure
of plenty of honor and glory and those plaudits so dear to the Latin
heart. Such a state of affairs insures more revolutions.

In talking the matter over among ourselves the evening after we had
witnessed this extraordinary reception to a man whom we could not help
regarding as an enemy of his country, we ventured to predict that before
the end of the year Peru would see another revolution. It was an easy
prophecy and we were not surprised at its speedy fulfillment. In fact,
in less than six months a revolution broke out in Lima that for a time
seemed as though it would succeed in overthrowing the Government whose
mistaken clemency we had witnessed. The President and the Minister of
Foreign Affairs were captured and dragged through the streets, and
narrowly escaped death in the resulting collision between the
revolutionists and the government troops. Fortunately, like so many of
its predecessors, the revolution was a failure. But coming as it did
just at a time when the city of Lima was endeavoring to sell its bonds
on the New York market, it acted as a very effective warning to
capitalists who were attracted by an eight per cent municipal bond.



CHAPTER XVII

LA PAZ, THE _DE FACTO_ CAPITAL OF BOLIVIA


It is a twelve hours’ run from Arequipa to the wharf at Puno where one
takes the steamer across Lake Titicaca. The distance is only two hundred
and eighteen miles, but there are fifteen or twenty stops, and there is
no hurry.

Our train was mixed passenger and freight and one first-class coach was
amply sufficient to accommodate everybody.

Shortly after ten o’clock, we stopped for breakfast at a primitive
little railway inn, where, although we had good appetites and were
accustomed to native fare, the food seemed exceptionally bad, and some
of it was quite inedible. Whether it was the result of this or not,
several of the passengers soon began to show signs of mountain sickness.
Arequipa is 7500 feet above the sea, but Crucero Alto, a water tank
station, which we reached about half past two, is 14,666 feet, so there
was good excuse for any one who is at all affected by rarefied
atmosphere.

The eastern edge of the plateau brought us to the two mountain lakes of
Saracocha and Cachipascana. Although there was no green in the
landscape, the snow-capped mountains that surround the lakes lent an
atmosphere of romance and charm to the otherwise desolate view.
Continuing eastward, the train went rapidly down grade for two thousand
feet, stopping occasionally at little Indian villages until it reached
the important railway junction of Juliaca. Here the passengers for Cuzco
left us, and in the dusk we turned south and hurried over the remaining
thirty miles of level road. On reaching the wharf at Puno, we found to
our dismay that the steamer scheduled to cross Titicaca this evening was
the Yavarí, the smallest and oldest on the lake, and the first steam
vessel to be propelled at an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea-level.
She had already received her full complement of freight, and her deck
was covered with railway-ties brought from Oregon for the new Bolivia
Railway System. It took but a few moments to get passengers and their
luggage transferred from the train to the steamer, and before we
realized it, we were plowing through the troubled waters of the highest
large body of water in the world. The sky was beautifully clear and the
stars shone with wonderful brightness, attracting us to spend the
evening on deck, to the amazement of the natives who preferred to sit in
the stuffy little dining saloon. It did not take us long to agree with
them that it was too cold and damp to make the starlight very enjoyable.

Our slumbers were disturbed by a terrific thunder-storm that made the
little Yavarí toss about like a cork. The rain descended in torrents and
obliged us to close our porthole. Of course, it was not the first squall
nor the worst that the stout little vessel had weathered, but out of
consideration for her age, we had unpleasant dreams of swimming in the
water of a lake which is so cold that none of the Indians who live on
its banks and navigate their crazy _balsas_ over its surface have ever
learned how to swim.

We were up at daylight just in time to see the islands of Titicaca and
Koati and the promontory of Copacavana, the old centre of civilization
on the plateau. It is still the scene of many quaint Indian festivals.
The ancient terraces are still used in slow rotation for raising crops.
We passed quite close to the peninsula of Taraco which abuts from the
eastern shore and is thickly populated. In fact, so far as we could see,
all the valuable lands on the shores of the lake were cultivated to the
limit.

Mr. Bandelier says there are probably more Indians here now than there
were in the days before the Conquest, all the sentimentalists to the
contrary notwithstanding.

The atmosphere was wonderfully clear, and with the aid of glasses, we
could see people miles away going in and out of picturesque little
churches, driving their cattle to pasture, tending crops, and working on
the primitive threshing-floors where donkeys and oxen were treading out
the barley. Occasionally the effect was heightened by a mirage that
raised the shores up from the lake and enabled us to see new towns and
villages. Far in the distance snow-covered mountains added to the charm
of the scene.

On the marshy shores the fisherfolk began to embark in their _balsas_,
those curious canoes, made of bundles of reeds tied together, quite
comfortable when new but most disagreeable when water-logged. At one
time we were able to count forty of them dotting the waters of the
lake. Not less interesting was a species of wild duck or diver that
amused us by swimming directly in the path of the steamer, then becoming
suddenly frightened, and with the aid of its wings, running over the
surface of the water with incredible swiftness.

Numerous as have been the travellers that have crossed the lake, and
easy as it is of access, still Mr. Bandelier is able to write: “Lake
Titicaca in most of its features is as unknown as the least visited of
the inner African lakes. The shores are so indented and their topography
is so complicated, that a coasting voyage of a year at least would be
needed to achieve a complete investigation.”

There is only a narrow channel between the peninsula of Copacavana on
the west and that of San Pedro on the east so that after one passes
through the narrow straits of Tiquina, one loses sight of the great
expanse of Titicaca and is in reality in a small lake at its southern
end. It took us several hours to cross this, however, and it was noon
before we entered the little artificial harbor of Guaqui. The only lake
traffic that pays is freight and the boats run frequently, but
irregularly, starting as soon as their loading of cargo is completed.
One reads in the guide-books that they have a regular schedule. The
natives say that you can never tell when the steamers will sail. As a
matter of fact, it is usually possible to find out a day or two ahead
from the railroad officials the hour and date of sailing.

Soon after our arrival the daily train started. The first stop was at
the famous town of Tiahuanaco. We could see enough of the wonderful
ruins from the train to arouse the greatest curiosity, which a few boys
increased by trying to sell us trinkets which had possibly been dug up
in the vicinity.

Beyond Tiahuanaco the country, part of the great tableland of Bolivia,
is covered with loose stone and an occasional low shrub. Not a single
tree breaks the monotony. Trees are rarely seen anywhere on this
plateau. A three hours’ run over the level plains brought us to Alto de
La Paz.

My impressions of the approach to La Paz were so much like those of our
old friend Edmund Temple who came here from Potosí in 1828, that I shall
quote in full his quaint and vivid description. “After travelling
twelve, thirteen, and, as I imagined, every mile of the distance from
Ventilla to La Paz, my astonishment was excited by not perceiving on so
level a plain any object indicating the existence of a town. Sundry
groups of Indians, droves of mules, llamas, and asses, some unladen,
some with burdens, were indeed to be seen passing and repassing, as in
the bustle of business, but no buildings or habitation whatever; no
turret, dome, or steeple of church or convent appeared in view, although
the tolling of their bells occasionally struck faintly on the ear. Huge,
barren, weather-beaten rocks, and snow-covered mountains, apparently
close at hand, rose directly before me, and presented an impassable
barrier.

“I could not perceive where I was to find a town; and, as I rode onwards
in strange perplexity, endeavoring to solve the enigma, I arrived
suddenly at the verge of an abrupt and prodigious precipice, at the

[Illustration: MONOLITHIC IMAGE AT TIAHUANACO]

bottom of which I beheld, in diminutive perspective, the large and
populous city of La Paz.... Through this fairy town may be faintly seen,
winding with occasional interruptions, a silver thread marked with
specks of frothy white, which, upon approaching, proves to be a
mountain-torrent, leaping from rock to rock, and sweeping through the
valley. In casting a glance farther round, you perceive squares and
patches of every shade of green and yellow, which, to a European, is
perhaps the most striking part of the interesting scene. Corn, and
fruit, and vegetables, and crops of every kind, may be seen in all their
stages, from the act of sowing to that of gathering them in; here, a
field of barley luxuriantly green; there, another in full maturity,
which the Indians are busily reaping; next to it, a crop just appearing
above the ground. Farther on, another arrived at half its growth; beyond
it, a man guiding a pair of oxen yoked to a shapeless stick, the point
of which scratches the earth sufficiently for the reception of the seed
which another man is scattering in the furrows; trees bearing fruit and
at the same time putting forth buds and blossoms complete the scene of
luxuriance.... Yet it requires only to raise the eyes from the lap of
this fruitful Eden to behold the widest contrast in the realms of
Nature. Naked and arid rocks rise in mural precipices around; high above
these, mountains beaten by furious tempests, frown in all the bleakness
of sterility; higher still, the tops of others, reposing in the region
of eternal snow, glisten uninfluenced in the presence of a tropical
sun.

“I stopped for some minutes on the verge of the precipice to look upon a
scene so wonderfully strange; indeed, my horse, of his own accord, made
the first pause, and with outstretched neck, ears advanced, and frequent
snorting, showed that he was not unaware of the abyss beneath, and
seemed to inquire how it was to be descended, for the road, in a sudden
turn, winding round the face of the precipice, is at first completely
concealed from view; and, although it appeared as if I could have
‘thrown a biscuit’ into the town from the heights where I first
discovered it, a short league is the calculated distance, and full three
quarters of an hour were occupied in descending, before I entered the
suburbs. Here, again, I was surprised to find that the town, which, from
the height I had just left, appeared to be on a flat, was in reality
built upon hills, and that some of the streets were extremely steep,
which circumstance alone must convey a tolerable idea of the depth of
the valley in which the city of La Paz is situated.”

The only change since the days of Temple, whose graphic pencil has so
ably described the scene, is that a well-built electric railroad winds
down the face of the western cliff into the town. At the time of his
visit he was obliged to go from _tambo_ to _tambo_ in search of a
lodging but found them all so full that there was no place for him. It
gave him the opportunity of putting to test those often proffered
services and complimentary generosities of the South American.
Addressing the first decent-looking person he passed, he made inquiry
who was the owner of a large and respectable mansion near by. On
learning that it belonged to a worthy and excellent man, he determined
to present himself and ask for lodgings. At first he was rather
brusquely received by the lady of the house, who “stood for some time
like a pillar of salt to my politely-studied address”; but he explained
his predicament and was soon given a kind and affable reception.

Fortunately, we were not obliged to experiment upon the proverbial
Bolivian hospitality, but were met at the station by kind friends,
representatives of W. R. Grace & Co., who did everything in their power
to add to the debt of gratitude which I had owed their house ever since
I started on my journey. Comfortable quarters were found for us in the
Sucursal, a huge, modern, three-story building intended for a convent,
but now used as the annex of the leading hotel. It was not long before
we were exploring the streets and enjoying the sights of the most
picturesque Indian city in Spanish-America.

There are, to be sure, the usual earmarks of a Latin-American capital:
well-stocked warehouses owned by English, German, and American firms;
native politicians, unmistakable, in frock coats and silk hats, who
spend their time chatting around the benches of the principal plaza near
the Government House; a telephone company with four hundred subscribers;
fine residences on a shady alameda, owned and occupied by people of
European descent; etc., etc. Nevertheless the general impression that
one gets of La Paz is that it is an Indian city, quite distinct from any
city seen anywhere else. Its Indians are not like the Quichuas of Cuzco
and Potosí, or the Chibchas of Bogotá. They are Aymarás.

It is said that La Paz, with a population of sixty thousand people, has
thirty thousand Aymarás who neither speak nor understand a word of
Spanish. Judging by my experiences in the streets and in the
market-place, the proportion of people who do not understand Spanish is
considerably larger. I found very few, even of those who were most
anxious to sell their goods, who could so much as count in Spanish.

The result of having such a large part of the population untouched by
Spanish language or custom is to make the streets much more picturesque.
The brilliant colors completely threw into the shade my impression of
Potosí. Never have I seen such gay ponchos and such kaleidoscopic
effects as in the La Paz market-place and the streets and squares near
it.

The reason is not far to seek. In no other city of the Andes are the
aborigines so powerful as here. La Paz owes its political supremacy, and
its present possession of the President and Congress, to the fighting
qualities of the Aymarás. They are a barbarous folk whose cupidity, low
cunning, and savage cruelty is quite unlike their mild cousins the
Quichuas. Pampered and befriended by the Government, made to feel their
power and importance, they stalk unabashed through the streets of the
city and take pleasure in carrying their savage tastes to an extreme.
The natural result is to give the city an

[Illustration: THE MARKET-PLACE OF LA PAZ]

[Illustration: A REMARKABLE STAIRWAY AT TIAHUANACO]

atmosphere of barbaric glitter which is lacking elsewhere. In cities
like Bogotá, Cuzco, and Potosí, although the Indians far outnumber the
whites, the latter are so absolutely dominant, and the Indians so
peaceable and humble, that there is an opportunity for ridicule to
mitigate against the more picturesque features of Indian costume. But in
La Paz few of the Spanish-speaking boys would dare to jeer at a stalwart
Aymará carrier, no matter what garb he chose to wear.

In fact, the Aymará attitude is a striking example of the truth of Mr.
Bryce’s dictum that “serfs, when they have attained a measure of
independence, resent the inferiority, be it legal or social, to which
they find themselves condemned. Discontent appears and social friction
is intensified, not only because occasions for it grow more frequent,
but because the temper of each race is more angry and suspicious.” We
had noticed their insolent demeanor when we first met them in the
village of Ocurí on the road from Sucre to Challapata. Poor Mr.
Bandelier had many unpleasant experiences with them.

The streets of La Paz, picturesque at all times, are particularly so on
Sunday, especially on Children’s Sunday. In 1909, that event came on
January 24th, when we had been in La Paz nearly a week.

The fair held on that day was unusually interesting. From early morning
until the middle of the afternoon, the plazas and streets were thronged
with thousands of gaudily dressed Aymarás, bent on enjoying themselves,
and purchasing toys and other trinkets of the hundreds of peddlers who
displayed their wares in every inch of available space on the three
principal plazas and the streets connecting them. While the
characteristic feature of this fair is the number of toys that are
offered for sale, and the miniature models of everything the Indians use
and wear, the chance to sell all kinds of articles that appeal to Aymará
taste is not lost sight of. Spread out on ponchos on the edge of the
sidewalk and in the middle of the streets was pottery, large and small,
useful and ornamental; tinware, woodenware, and crockery; dresses for
women, girls, and dolls; ponchos of every grade and description, from
the expensive vicuña, worth forty dollars, to the cheapest kind of
llama, worth only two or three; musical instruments: little guitars with
bodies made of the hard shell armor of the Bolivian armadillo,[2] Aymará
flutes and flageolets of bamboo, drums and horns made in Germany; and
dolls made in France; in fact, everything that one can think of that
would appeal to the Indian and at the same time be within the
possibilities of his pocket-book.

The proper thing to do, and the one that seemed to appeal most to the
half-tipsy Aymará porter that had saved up a few _pesos_ from the
rewards of his labor, was to purchase a fat little doll eight or ten
inches high, made in the form of a humpbacked clown, buy gaudy clothes
for it, and then load it down with tiny models of brandy bottles, coca
wallets, and _chicha_ jugs, in short everything it might be supposed to
desire. The result was not unlike a heavily laden Santa Claus, although
the face of the manikin, instead of being like our genial old saint, was
that of a hideous, debauched vagabond.

The most interesting things that were offered for sale were little
plaster models of Aymará types; a carrier or porter with a red knitted
cap and a bit of rope in his hand, on the run to get his load; a woman
seated on the ground before a miniature loom on which she had begun to
make a bright-colored poncho; a _chola_ with her white straw hat, yellow
fringed shawl, jewelled neck, close-fitting bodice, gaudy petticoats,
and high-heeled French boots. Besides there were rudely made little rag
and wooden dolls, clad in characteristic native costumes; clay models of
llamas, cows, birds, and mythical animals; little balsas fifteen inches
long but resembling in every particular the craft of Lake Titicaca;
small packages of coca leaves done up in burlap exactly like the bundles
that the burros bring across the Andes from the warm valleys to the
eastward; little copper kettles from Coracora; tiny clay models of
cooking utensils, water-jugs, and little rawhide sandals scarcely more
than an inch in length, faithful imitations of the clumsy Aymará
footwear.

One of the smaller plazas was given over almost entirely to games of
chance. The favorite variety consisted of a form of dice. Instead of
being marked with the usual aces and deuces, the dice were covered with
grotesque figures. Each outfit had a different set, but nearly always
one face bore the representation of a drunken man, another that of a
devil with forked tail and horns, and a third the effigy of the sun. The
others frequently carried pictures of wild animals such as lions,
tigers, or jaguars. As three dice were cast at a time, it was possible
to win three for one, provided all came up the same way, and you had
staked your money on the lucky figure. The gambling booths were well
thronged. Most of the betting was done with _reals_, a nickel coin worth
about four cents. On the pavement in the middle of this plaza a number
of games of lotto were going on, a game which I used to play in my
childhood when anything connected with gambling was strictly forbidden.
The La Paz game was played as usual with discs and cards. Instead of
numbers as in our game, each disc had a gaudily painted picture on it,
and each card several pictures and lines. The discs were drawn from a
greasy calico bag by an Indian boy, who called out the name of the
figure in a droning voice, and the corresponding grotesque picture on
the cards was then covered. The player who first covered all the
pictures on his card won the pool, less the bank’s percentage. I should
have liked to join the game, but as it was conducted entirely in Aymará,
I found it a little too difficult to learn the names of the different
men and animals that figured on the cards.

Another game of chance that attracted a dense crowd consisted in selling
ten numbers at a _real_ apiece. If your number was drawn, you won five
_reals_ and the bank got the other five. The only novel feature of the
game was the way in which the drawing was made. At the top of a little
pole, five feet high, were ten wooden arms radiating from it like the
spokes of a wheel. From the end of each hung a little clay figure of an
animal, lions, llamas, dogs, and cows. These had numbers pasted to them.
By means of a spring, a wooden monkey was made to climb the pole,
carrying a stick in his hand with a hook on the end of it. In the
meantime, the wheel of numbered animals was rapidly revolved until the
monkey manikin made a jab with his hook and pulled off one of the clay
animals. This decided the winning number. To see how it worked, I bought
two numbers for two _reals_. The other numbers were soon sold in the
crowd; the monkey clambered painfully up his stick, and owing to some
defect of the mechanism, pulled off two clay figures instead of one. It
happened that both of them bore the numbers which I held in my hand, but
as I was a foreigner, and as the monkey had not played the game
squarely, the figures were re-arranged, the spring again set, and my
luck changed, much to the delight of the Aymarás.

The home of Bolivia’s millionaires, and the centre of Bolivian capital,
is in Sucre, nevertheless there are nine banks of issue in La Paz,
including several small ones that have no agencies in southern Bolivia
and whose bills have only local circulation. While we were here, the
banks put into operation a new rule to the effect that bills torn in
two, after the favorite custom in Bolivia for making change, would be
no longer accepted at the bank at their face value. It seemed natural
and proper enough to us, but greatly disturbed the small tradesmen, and
seemed likely to cause considerable inconvenience owing to the scarcity
of subsidiary coinage.

During my entire visit I was treated most courteously by the government
officials and I regret to feel any necessity of offering serious
criticism of anything in La Paz. Nevertheless I cannot pass by the
barbarous state of affairs which we found in the city prison, an
institution which is entirely inadequate for a city of this size and a
disgrace to any modern capital. The prisoners are herded together
without regard as to whether they are detained on suspicion of
misdemeanor or convicted of murder.

Not all of the prisoners are treated so humanely. For our satisfaction,
the jailer unlocked the door of one cell, six feet high, three feet
wide, and eighteen _inches_ deep. As the door opened, the occupant of
the cell tumbled out onto the floor. He was a police officer in full
uniform who for some delinquency had been imprisoned for twenty-four
hours in this torture chamber where he could neither stand up nor lie
down. I shall offer no further criticism because I am conscious of the
fact that travellers in nearly every country are prone to find fault
with the methods of punishment employed there. Coming from a different
atmosphere, things seem dreadful to the stranger that attract no
attention from local observers, and which are really not as hard on
native prisoners as they would be on foreigners. Furthermore, the
distinguished Bolivian statesman who had politely but regretfully
yielded to our request to see the prison, told us he was very sorry we
had seen it and that it “would be improved before long.”

The traveller in search of new itineraries or out-of-the-way routes will
have plenty of suggestions made to him by the hospitable English and
American colony in La Paz, and if he is at all uncertain in his mind as
to just what he wants to do, he is likely to become bewildered by the
number of attractive trips which he can make from La Paz as a base. La
Paz contains the principal offices of a number of mining and exploration
companies. The general manager of one of those that is engaged in
gold-mining in the valley of the Beni, very nearly persuaded me to
abandon my proposed trip overland from La Paz to Lima, and go across the
mountains to the Beni, thence to the Amazon, and so home. Had it not
required more time than I had at my disposal, and been a somewhat
uncertain venture at this time of the year, I should have accepted his
invitation. For the benefit of any who would like to plan a journey
across South America by one of the new trade-routes which few travellers
have yet seen, I give the itinerary as it was given me. It makes no
allowances for missing connections:--

La Paz to Sorata by coach or mule-back, 2 days.

Sorata to Guanay, a hard trip on mule-back, 7 days.

Guanay to Rurrenabaque, on the river Beni, by raft, 4 days.

(In the rainy season, that is from January to April, there are very few
rafts to be had. The route then would be from Sorata direct to
Rurrenabaque, an interesting but rather difficult trip that would take
fourteen days on mule-back.)

Rurrenabaque to river Alto at the junction of the Beni and the Madre de
Dios by steam launch, 4 days; or by boat, 18 days.

From river Alto to Port San Antonio by boat, 6 days.

From Port San Antonio to Manaos on the Amazon, by steamer, 5 days.

Total: La Paz to Manaos, not counting time lost in making connection, 28
to 45 days.

[Illustration: BALSAS NEAR GUAQUI ON LAKE TITICACA]

[Illustration: AN OLD CHURCH NEAR THE BOLIVIA RAILWAY]



CHAPTER XVIII

THE BOLIVIA RAILWAY AND TIAHUANACO


In order to attend the Scientific Congress, I had been obliged to
interrupt my journey from Buenos Aires to Lima and had left my saddles
and impedimenta at Oruro. It was now necessary to return thither and
pick up the overland trail.

Leaving La Paz early one morning by the electric train for the Alto, we
took the Guaqui train as far as Viacha, the northern terminus of the
Bolivia Railway.

This railway was built to order for the Bolivian Government by an
American syndicate, and we found it equipped with American-made
locomotives and cars, and operated by American railroad men. Most of
them had had some experience in Mexico and were familiar with the
difficulties of handling Indian laborers, and also with the use (and
abuse) of the Spanish language. None of them seemed to be particularly
enthusiastic over the prospects of the country, and all were looking
forward with pleasure to the time of their vacation when, according to
the terms of their contract, they would be sent back to the States.

The construction of this road over the plateau offered no great
engineering difficulties such as are met with by the roads that cross
the Cordillera. The heaviest grade is not over ten per cent, and there
are no tunnels. To offset this advantage, however, rock ballast is
difficult to procure, and the earth that has been dug up on each side of
the track to form the roadbed seems to lack cohesion. The gauge is one
metre. The ties are of California redwood and Oregon pine. Owing to the
high cost of rails and ties and the distance which they had to be
brought, the railroad has been an expensive one to build. There is only
a difference of eight hundred and sixteen feet between the highest and
lowest portion of the line, yet the hundred and twenty-five miles have
cost two million dollars and a quarter, or eighteen thousand dollars per
mile.

The Bolivia Railway is remarkable for the promptness with which it was
constructed after the signing of the contract. The National City Bank of
New York and Speyer & Co. agreed, on the 22nd of May, 1906, to build the
line from Viachi to Oruro. Work was commenced seven months later, and
the line was opened for traffic in less than two years. Everything
considered, the prompt completion of the work is a great credit to the
American engineers who had the line in charge.

There is another side to the story, however. Owing to the fact that the
opening of the road had to be rushed in order to please President Montes
of Bolivia, trains began to run before the road was really finished, and
it has been necessary to continue the service in order to avoid
criticism. The South American is not as patient as the North American
and is ever ready to enter vehement and furious protests against
anything short of perfection in railway management. Not content with
actual progress, and not having had any practical experience in the
difficulties of railroad construction and maintenance, he imagines that
all accidents and all shortcomings on the railway are due to gross
carelessness on the part of the chief officials. Every time a train is
late, he blames the management and accuses it of bad faith, although he
knows many of his friends and neighbors would miss any train that
started on time. The necessity of catering to the desires of the
politicians has made it extremely difficult to get the roadbed into good
shape. At the time of my visit six hundred Indian laborers, conscripts,
were still employed in getting the track properly ballasted. Their wages
average a trifle over fifty cents a day.

I had heard that accidents occurred “every trip,” but thought it only
one of those extravagant criticisms that are so common, until I asked
the conductor. He admitted that some of the wheels generally left the
rails at least once a day. For an hour or so nothing happened, and in my
interest in the landscape, dotted here and there with mud-colored
villages and ancient tombs, I was beginning to forget the delightful
sense of approaching danger, when suddenly, with a rattle and a bang, we
came to a sharp stop. One of the forward cars had left the rails and
plowed its way across the ties for some distance. The train crew, well
experienced in such matters, soon had the refractory car back on the
rails again and, nothing the worse for our accident, we proceeded
merrily southward for another half hour until brought up with a sudden
jerk by a repetition of the rattle and bang. This time it proved to be
the tender whose wheels had found a weak spot in the roadbed. Upon
further examination, it looked as though we were going to be delayed for
at least four or five hours. The tender had lost its balance and was
lying over partly on one side, kept from a complete upset by the weight
of the engine and the strength of the couplings. In ten or fifteen
minutes, however, the crew, well trained by daily practice, had the port
wheels back on the track, but the starboard wheels continued to remain
in the air five or six inches above the rails. As the water tank had
recently been filled, the centre of gravity was too high to allow the
tender to assume its normal position, and the added weight of several
men failed to bring it down. The engineer suggested that a bend in the
track less than a quarter of a mile away would “do the business,” and so
he was allowed to pull down to the curve. It looked like an
extraordinarily clever acrobatic performance to see this refractory
tender going merrily along on a single rail. True to the engineer’s
expectations, as soon as the wheels felt the changed angle of the track,
down came the tender with a lurch that almost capsized it on the other
side. In less than twenty minutes we were again on our way, thankful
that we had experienced wreckers instead of the ordinary train crew of
the eastern United States, whom I have seen take several hours to
perform what these men did in a few minutes.

Notwithstanding our two accidents we arrived at Oruro about five
o’clock in the evening, after a journey of nine hours, on time!

We found the Government House surrounded by throngs of people. Presently
a company of infantry marched through the streets from their barracks
and took up a position in the courtyard. The occasion was the death of
the major who, six weeks before, had read the proclamation in the
streets and now had just died after an illness of twenty-four hours.

The scene at the railroad station the next morning at eight o’clock,
when I left Oruro to return to La Paz, was characteristic. The local
regiment was drawn up in front of the train after having escorted the
remains of their major from the Prefecture. Several hundred citizens
thronged the platform and tried to crowd into the cars. Friends of the
deceased major and his family, men and women, were weeping loudly, and
some of the women uttered piercing shrieks and wild cries. Altogether,
it was rather trying.

The plain over which we passed for a good part of the journey was very
flat, treeless, and covered only with small, scrubby growth. At one
station we were met by thirty or forty Indians who had brought bundles
of fagots, dry brush from the neighboring mountains. These they piled
onto a flat car and carried down the line to one of the new settlements
which have sprung up near the tracks, and which depend on the trains for
both fuel and fresh water. The latter is carried in tank cars, like oil.

At the principal stations, a dozen or more Aymará women, seated in a
long line on the ground, offered for sale _chicha_, cakes, buns, and
little pears, brought from the fruitful valleys far to the eastward.

The only part of the road that offered any attractive scenery was that
near the river Viscachani, an affluent of the Desaguadero. Near Ayoayo,
there are a number of ancient tombs east of the track. Some of them have
been opened by the railroad people and artificially flattened skulls
found. The railroad men told us that when they were building the line
they saw many vicuñas and biscachas, but these have now almost entirely
disappeared.

We stopped for lunch at a little station whose new adobe buildings and
corrugated iron roofs told of railroad enterprise. The restaurant was
kept by a pleasant American, who did his best to please all of his
patrons, but chiefly the railroad “boys” on whom he depends for most of
his income. On my way down to Oruro, I had had the good fortune to sit
at the same table with part of the train crew, but this time the two
seats nearest me were occupied by Bolivian army officers who were as
rude and ill-mannered as possible. If I had introduced myself as a
_delegado_ they would have been the pink of politeness. Any one
connected with the Government would be sure to receive their kind
attention. But, so far as they could see, I was simply an American
traveller. Accordingly they proceeded to act as though they owned the
restaurant and everything in it, presuming that I would be glad enough
to get whatever they chose to leave. There is, however, a certain
relief in avoiding the excessive attentions which such men as these
bestow on any one with a government “pull,” and it was instructive to
see how they behave toward foreigners who were apparently travelling
without official recognition. It enabled me the better to appreciate the
different attitude that is taken toward South Americans by distinguished
foreign visitors who are in the hands of attentive friends during their
entire stay, and by casual travellers who have failed to fortify
themselves with official letters of introduction. I do not mean to imply
that one who merely wishes to visit the chief centres of interest will
fail to be comfortable unless he supplies himself with important looking
documents tied with red tape and sealed with a great seal, but I do know
from personal experience that such a preparation can give one, in at
least eleven Latin-American republics, a very different impression of
the country and of the courtesy of its inhabitants.

There does not seem to be much likelihood of any large amount of traffic
being developed along this desolate plateau. The railroad must depend
for its freight on foreign merchandise coming to La Paz via Oruro and
the port of Antofagasta. As it has a longer haul than that of its
competitor, the Peruvian Southern from Mollendo to Puno, it will have
some difficulty in getting much of this. Furthermore, there is the new
Chilean government railroad now under construction, a direct line to La
Paz from the port of Arica. When that is finished, it is difficult to
say how the line from Oruro to La Paz can secure enough freight to pay
expenses. There will always be a certain amount of passenger traffic,
but at present one train, three times a week, is amply sufficient.

A branch of the Bolivia Railway is now in course of construction from
Oruro to Cochabamba, which will bring to La Paz the food and coca
cultivated in the warm valleys northeast of Sucre where frost is unknown
and there is an abundance of rain. There is an imperative demand for
coca all over the plateau where it cannot possibly grow. Furthermore it
does not keep well, loses its flavor after four or five months, and
fresh supplies have to be brought continually from the eastern valleys.
This makes it an important article of commerce to be reckoned as one of
the surest sources of revenue for the Bolivia Railway.

Shortly before reaching Viacha we passed a truncated hill, the Pan de
Sucre, that has been a favorite camping-ground in revolutionary wars. It
is easily defended and its summit is spacious enough to furnish refuge
for quite a number of troops. On the hills west of it, romantically
perched on an almost inaccessible peak, is a little church where
services are held once a year. To the eastward we could begin to see the
magnificent snow-range of the Bolivian Andes. Words fail to describe
adequately the grandeur of the Cordillera Real with its two hundred and
fifty miles of snow-capped mountains, scarcely one of which lies at a
lesser elevation than twenty thousand feet. It must be seen to be
appreciated. Still, one can get a very vivid impression of it in the
pages of Sir Martin Conway’s fascinating “Climbing and Exploration in
the Bolivian Andes.”

The next day after my return from Oruro, through the courtesy of Mr.
Rankin Johnson, I enjoyed the privilege of visiting the village and
ruins of Tiahuanaco on the plains several miles south of Lake Titicaca.

Leaving La Paz at eight o’clock in the morning, we had six hours in and
around the village and returned in time for dinner the same evening. It
was necessary to take our lunch with us, for there is no inn and the
little village shops afford scarcely anything that is fit to eat. The
Tiahuanaco station is within a mile of the most interesting ruins. The
railroad track passes within a few feet of three of the monolithic
images and one of the monolithic doorways.

At the station we secured the services of a picturesquely dressed old
Aymará who the station master assured us was a competent guide. He took
us across the dusty plain towards a large mound which had once been
surrounded by terraces and stone walls. It is popularly known as the
“fortress.” Originally a truncated pyramid about six hundred feet long,
four hundred feet wide, and fifty feet high, treasure-seekers have dug
great holes in its sides and excavated part of its summit in an effort
to find the “buried riches of the Incas.” Besides the fortress there
seems to be evidence of a great “temple” and also of a “palace.” The
“temple,” roughly outlined by rude stone blocks, occupies an area of
nearly four acres. For the most part the blocks are from six to ten feet
in height and three feet in thickness. Within there is still evidence of
a terrace, and from this on the eastern side there leads a remarkable
stairway. Scattered about over the mound and all over the plain are many
rectangular stones whose purpose has been entirely lost, thanks to the
activity of treasure-seekers who have ruthlessly moved them from their
original position and left them lying in indescribable confusion. There
seems to be evidence that many of the blocks were held in place by
strong metal pins, for there are round holes drilled into the stones and
insertions made to receive “T” clamps.

The principal ruins are in a broad level part of the plain where the
soil is firm and dry. They consist of rows of erect, roughly-shaped
monoliths, sections of foundations, portions of giant stairways,
monolithic doorways, some bearing carvings in low relief, monolithic
statues, and innumerable small cut stones strewn about on all sides.

Great stone platforms, weighing many tons, aroused our keenest
curiosity. One looks around the plain in vain for a near-by quarry from
which they could have come. The most natural supposition is that they
must have been quarried on the spot from ledges outcropping here, for it
would seem scarcely possible that blocks twenty feet long, ten feet
wide, and four feet thick could have been transported any distance by
the primitive methods at the disposal of those prehistoric people.

The ruins were much more complete in 1875 at

[Illustration: “GREAT PLATFORMS OF STONE WEIGHING MANY TONS”]

[Illustration: PART OF THE GREAT MONOLITHIC DOORWAY]

the time of the visit of the American archæologist, E. G. Squier, who
spent some time here, and whose account of the ruins in his book on Peru
is one of the most complete and satisfactory that we possess.
Unfortunately, his drawings give an erroneous impression of the size of
many of the monuments which are not so large as he has represented them.

Squier saw no subterranean vaults or passages, but we were more
fortunate, for only a short time previous to our visit, thanks to the
activity of Mr. John Pierce Hope of La Paz, who has taken a great
interest in the work of exploration, a small vault was discovered and we
were able to enter and examine it. It is about six feet square and the
same in depth and is made of beautifully cut stones, accurately fitted
together. Nothing of value was found in the vault and it is probably one
of those to which Von Tschudi, who was here before Squier’s visit,
refers. The winds that blow over these sandy plains will soon fill the
vault and cover it up again and leave it to be rediscovered by some
future traveller.

The largest monolithic doorway, now broken, is covered with figures not
unlike some of the Central American monuments. It is very different from
anything else here or in Cuzco. The story goes, that when the Spaniards
first arrived, it was lying on its side, and there appears to be no
record to show who raised it nor when the crack developed which led
finally to the door breaking into two parts. The southern and larger
half has lost its balance and will soon be lying on the ground. By a
curious coincidence, Mr. Barbour, who made a careful photograph of the
carvings on this doorway, afterwards secured from a grave near
Pachacamac in the vicinity of Lima, a textile that was decorated with a
similar pattern.

After examining the ruins, we spent an hour or more in the village
itself where we were struck by the great number of finely cut stones
inserted into the walls of the huts and used as paving in the streets.
The church on the plaza is built entirely of blocks brought from the
ruins. It has a fence or wall in front composed of a row of arches that
reminded me of Potosí and Bartolo. The exterior of the church gives no
evidence of the extraordinary magnificence within, which is quite in
keeping with the ancient importance of this little village. Here we
found religious paintings, some of them very good, elaborate gilded
carvings, and an altar built of pure silver, beautifully worked.

La Paz has two or three remarkable collections of antiquities which
consist largely of material brought from Tiahuanaco. Perhaps the best is
in the National Museum, which owes its existence to the enlightened
patriotism of Sr. Don Manuel Vicente Ballivian, a descendant of one of
the most distinguished Bolivian families, and the leading antiquarian in
the republic.

Of the ancient Tiahuanaco, there is comparatively little left now. Not
only did the Spaniards use cartloads of it in building the churches of
La Paz and Guaqui, but the modern Guaqui-to-La Paz railroad has taken
away within the past ten years more than five hundred trainloads of
stone for building its bridges and warehouses. From the point of view of
the railroad manager, whose business it is to secure lasting results
with the greatest possible economy, it must have seemed a most fortunate
circumstance that within a few rods of his tracks there should be such a
quantity of nicely cut stone, and “a lot of old stone walls,” all ready
to use! _O tempora! O mores!_



CHAPTER XIX

CUZCO


We left La Paz on January 26, 1909, at 8.30 A.M. When we reached Guaqui
we found that our steamer was to be the old Yavarí that we had before.
She was late in arriving from Puno; the afternoon was spent in unloading
her cargo; and we did not sail until eight o’clock that evening.

The night was wet and chilly. Thunder-storms and squalls made the lake
quite rough and we had the usual discomforts. The storm and the late
start kept us from reaching Puno before 11 A.M. The regular train had
gone, but a special was made up for the convenience of the Arequipa
passengers and we reached Juliaca at one o’clock. Here I bade the last
of the _delegados_ farewell and asked for the train for Cuzco. “It had
left several hours before and the next train was due to leave day after
to-morrow!”

Thanks to the courtesy of the railway officials, however, a special
train, consisting of half a dozen freight cars and a small passenger
coach, was made up to take me as far as Checcacupe.

The coach which had been put at my disposal was old and very small,
about the size of an ancient bob-tailed horse-car. Moreover, it was
already occupied by a dozen native passengers who, like myself, had
missed the regular train. As usual, they had no end of bags, bundles,
and boxes. There was hardly room to squeeze inside the door. Undoubtedly
they had better right on the train than I did, for they had paid their
fares while I was riding on a pass. So I relinquished any claim to the
coach and took the fireman’s seat in the locomotive, which afforded me a
better opportunity of seeing the country.

We pulled out of Juliaca shortly after two o’clock and rattled along
over the plains north of Titicaca. Here I saw for the first time llamas
tied to stakes. Of all the thousands of llamas seen in Bolivia, I do not
remember one that was tied. But I soon found that the practice is
customary in and around Cuzco.

The inquisitive Indians who gathered at the stations to stare at our
train while the engine was getting a drink of water were mild-mannered
Quichuas. Puno is the northern limit of the Aymarás. The Quichua women
here wore broad-brimmed black hats covered with velvet and ornamented
with tinsel.

We did not reach Ayavari until six o’clock and it was dark before we
approached the upper part of the valley of the Pucará River and began to
climb up over the Vilcanota mountains. The night air was exceedingly
cold, but fortunately, by this time, most of the native passengers had
left the train and I was able to get a seat in the coach.

The highest station on the road, La Raya, is 14,150 feet above sea
level. From here, there is a rapid descent of 2500 feet to Sicuani which
was for many years the northern terminal of the railroad. Here, in
search of supper, I stumbled through the dark streets with the
train-crew to a filthy little Indian _chicheria_ where a half-drunken
brigand and his besotted spouse were persuaded to give us hot tea, beer,
and stale bread. The conductor of the train said I would have to spend
the night at Sicuani as he did not propose to go any further in the
dark. Unfortunately for him, orders came directing him to proceed at
once twenty-five miles further to Checcacupe in order that I might catch
the north-bound morning train. The engineer declared that it was a
dreadfully risky run from Sicuani to Checcacupe and that we would
probably never reach our destination at all. But I was too tired and
sleepy to care very much, and as soon as I got back into my little
bobtailed car, pulled out my sleeping bag, and promptly forgot all about
the train and the danger of falling into the Vilcanota River. The next
thing I knew the Checcacupe station agent was flashing his lantern in my
face and telling me to lie still as this was much the best place for me
at this time of night (1 A.M.), and I should not be disturbed until
morning. I thanked him and dropped off to sleep again, dimly conscious
that some kind of an animal was scratching about on the floor of the
little car among my dunnage bags. When I woke up, aroused by the shouts
of the train-men who were making up the train for Cuzco, I found that my
visitor was a little seven-year-old Quichua street-Arab who could speak
no Spanish, but who said as plainly as possible that he would be my
slave for ever after and desired to travel in my company. I gave him
part of my breakfast and thought little more about it, especially as Mr.
Clarence Hay, who had kindly agreed to accompany me overland from Cuzco
to Lima, met me here. Mr. Smith had gone back to New Haven to pursue his
studies.

Mr. Hay and I were soon installed on the train for Cuzco. We were
already well on our way when the polite Peruvian conductor smilingly
informed us that there was a boy in the second-class car who insisted he
belonged to me. It was too late to put the little fellow off, so I
decided to be responsible for him; but he was a foxy little rascal,
slipped out of the train at some station before we reached Cuzco, and
disappeared. Children mature early in the Andes.

At the time of our visit, the Cuzco railroad had only just been
completed. The track runs along the steep side of a valley which has an
embarrassing habit of sending down landslides quite unexpectedly, so the
journey was a bit slow and uncertain. The natives are fond of
exaggerating its irregularities, and said it would take several days,
but we were to reach Cuzco on time, notwithstanding all their dismal
forebodings.

The scenery was very pretty. The Vilcanota valley rapidly narrows as it
descends, and the river becomes a roaring torrent. The climate is
delightful and has been likened to that of Italy. The soil is extremely
fertile and produces a remarkable variety of crops.

The road follows the west bank of the Vilcanota until it is met by the
Huatanay River. Here it turns abruptly to the left and enters the
lovely region that was once the very heart of the Inca Empire. The
valley of the Huatanay is still densely populated, as it always has
been. In quick succession the train passed the large Indian cities of
Oropeza, San Geronimo, and San Sebastian. Suddenly we stopped in the
fields and took on a group of laughing Peruvian sports who had waved a
piece of red flannel to save themselves the trouble of going to the
nearest railway station. One of the joys of this railroad is that
everybody that is anybody flags the train whenever he pleases. The habit
interferes somewhat with the time-tables, but no one cares (except the
railroad people), and it gives an individual a great sense of his own
importance to make a train stop while he climbs on board. A few minutes
later we reached the temporary Cuzco station, a group of small,
corrugated-iron buildings which stand in a plain a quarter of a mile
south of the city.

The most agreeable approach is by way of the Alameda, an ill-kept avenue
with a double row of alder trees, on the west bank of the Rio Huatanay.
From it we had a fine view of the convent of Santo Domingo, the ancient
Temple of the Sun, across the ravine to the east. On the west of the
Alameda is the new rifle range of the local shooting club. The avenue
itself leads into one of the principal streets of the best residence
quarter, where Spanish houses have almost completely obliterated all
traces of Inca occupation. As soon as we reached the centre of the city,
long walls of beautifully cut stone, laid without cement, and fitted
together with the

[Illustration: LLAMAS Of CUZCO]

[Illustration: CUZCO FROM SACSAHUAMAN]

patience of expert stone-cutters, assured us that this was verily the
Cuzco of Pizarro, Garcilasso de la Vega, and the Spanish chroniclers.
The one distinctive feature that separates Cuzco from all other cities
in America is the prevalence of these long, dark, sombre walls. When you
look at a building from a distance, it seems to be an ordinary two-story
Spanish house with a red-tiled roof, wooden balconies, and white-washed
adobe walls. As you come a little closer, it strikes you that the
whitewash has been worn off the lower part of the walls, but when you
come closer still, you find that this portion consists of unpainted Inca
stone-work, still fresh and attractive.

The most striking wall in Cuzco is that of the palace said to have
belonged to the Inca Rocca, which is composed of very large irregular
boulders. They are of all sizes and shapes, some with as many as a dozen
angles, but all fitting perfectly. The stones used in most of the
ancient palaces and temples are more nearly rectangular. The
corner-stones of buildings are frequently rounded off, but there are
almost no circular walls in Cuzco. The principal exception to this is in
the Dominican Monastery, once the temple of the Sun, where the end of
one of the buildings is rounded like the chancel of a church. This is,
perhaps, the finest bit of stone-cutting in Cuzco, and is shown off by
the Dominican Fathers with great zest. E. G. Squier, who lived for some
time in the convent and made a minute examination of these walls, found
that the sides of contact of each stone are true radii of a double
circle, and that the line of general inclination of the wall is perfect
in every block.

In some of the walls, the outer surfaces of the stones are perfectly
flat, but in general, they are slightly convex. The blocks vary in
length from a few inches to several feet, although it is very rare to
find any more than five feet long. All are laid with remarkable
precision and at first sight appear to be absolutely rectangular. On
closer examination, you find that there is scarcely an absolute right
angle in the whole wall. Each block is slightly irregular, but this
irregularity matches so exactly with that of the next that there is no
space for a needle to enter. The result of such careful workmanship,
combined with the use of dark-colored stone, is to produce a dignity and
solidity that is very impressive.

The characteristics of Inca architecture are in part the same as those
of the older Egyptian ruins: individual blocks of great size; doors
narrower at the top than at the bottom, and walls with a base markedly
wider than the apex so that the sloping front is a distinct feature.
Probably the same methods which the Egyptians evolved in order to put in
position large monoliths too heavy to be lifted by hand, were employed
by the Incas. They seem to have thought nothing of fitting carefully
into place, on top of a wall fifteen feet high, boulders weighing
several tons.

The followers of Pizarro who divided Cuzco among themselves, built their
homes on the massive walls of the Inca palaces. Sometimes they left the
Inca wall standing to a height of six or seven feet. In other instances
it still rises to fifteen or twenty feet.

It is unfortunate that the Incas did not use cement. In that case the
Spaniards would have found it much more difficult to have destroyed the
ancient palaces, and more would have been left for the delectation of
students and travellers to-day. Under the circumstances, it was a simple
matter for the faithful disciples of the church to raise temples and
towers of great beauty by the simple process of tearing down Inca
palaces and using the material according to the ideas of ecclesiastical
architecture which they had brought with them from Spain.

Many travellers have studied Cuzco but none with so great care as Mr.
Squier, in whose “Peru” may be found many drawings and plans of the
rooms.

Thirty years ago, when he was here, there was no inn, and he was obliged
to depend on the kindness of the local officials and the hospitality of
the monasteries. But there is now a commodious Hotel Comercio where
reasonably good meals and decent bedrooms enabled us to be very
comfortable. Of course, the “plumbing” was conspicuous by its absence,
and there was by no means so much luxury as at the Hotel Marone in
Arequipa. However, even the Incas were not remarkably cleanly and it is
as well not to have too many of the conveniences of the twentieth
century when living in a metropolis of the fifteenth.

Cuzco has long been notorious as one of the dirtiest cities in America;
and it justifies its reputation. The stone paving of the streets is
extremely rough and unspeakably filthy. To add to the slime, the sewers
are open conduits running through the middle of the narrow streets. In
the wet season, they are kept flushed by heavy downpours. In the dry
season, they are unspeakable.

One has to be very careful where one steps while investigating the
ancient structures, for the present inhabitants are no more cleanly or
sanitary in their habits than their predecessors. It is pathetic to see
the filth and squalor that surround the walls of the magnificent old
edifices.

Although we rarely forgot to pick our way carefully through the streets,
the practice soon became a habit and did not interfere with the
enjoyment of the brilliant colors affected by the Quichuas. Their
home-made ponchos and shawls, fastened with one pin instead of two as in
Potosí, are woven of native wool and cotton. Yet though the material may
be as rare and uncommon as real alpaca, vicuña, or llama wool, the
brilliant hues are unmistakably aniline. In fact, in the market-place of
almost every city in the Andes, one is pretty sure to find a native
peddler whose specialty is the sale of German dyes.

The most striking part of the Cuzco Quichua costume is the pancake hat.
It is reversible, being made of a straw disc with a cloth-covered hole
in the centre. On one side, for rainy weather, the disc is lined with
coarse red flannel or some other worsted stuff, but the dry weather
side is elaborately covered with tinsel on black velvet. Likewise, the
loose, baggy cloth that covers the opening in the centre is lined with
velveteen on the fair-weather side and coarse woolen stuff for rain. The
men’s hats are slightly larger than the women’s, but otherwise the
fashion seems to be alike for both sexes.

Opposite our hotel was the church and convent of La Merced. Its
cloisters are noted for their fine old paintings, their elaborately
carved stone columns and arches. Its gardens are filled with rare
flowers and shrubs. In the crypt beneath the altar, Pizarro’s partner,
Almagro, and his son are supposed to have been buried. The obliging
Brother who showed us the monastery had never heard of any such
tradition. “_Quien sabe?_” and a shrug of the shoulders was all he would
reply.

Not far from La Merced is the warehouse of Sr. Lomellini, Cuzco’s
leading merchant, an Italian gentleman who, while building up an
extensive business, has devoted himself to a study of the Inca
civilization. He has brought himself in as close touch with it as
possible; the very entrance to his warehouse is a fine old Inca doorway,
while his home, half way up the side of Sacsahuaman, was once the site
of the palace of Manco Capac, the first famous Inca. He showed me with a
sad smile a few elaborately carved bronze figures or idols that looked
very much as though they had been buried for centuries in the mould of a
royal mausoleum, but instead were “made in Germany.” Later I found
similar specimens in Lima, where one “antiquarian” had the effrontery
to have three of identically the same pattern, differing only in color,
exposed for sale in the same showcase.

West of Sr. Lomellini’s warehouse is the monastery and plaza of San
Francisco. The plaza is chiefly interesting for the Beggars Fair which
is held here every Saturday evening. There are practically no pawn shops
in Cuzco, but this fair takes their place. We were told it was an
excellent opportunity to obtain bargains. It may be so for the natives,
but as we were branded at once as “foreigners who had plenty of money,”
the prices of everything were put up to the highest possible notch and
kept there. I was surprised at the amount of old rubbish, rusty nails,
bits of broken pottery, and worn-out second-hand clothing, hundreds of
things that one rarely sees exposed for sale in a pawn shop, and many on
which no one but a junk dealer would advance a penny. As a picturesque
spectacle, however, the Fair was most attractive. The plaza was lit up
by smoking torches and crowded with a swarm of bargain hunters who
jostled each other noisily up and down the long lines of traders seated
on the ground behind their wares.

Nearly all the fairs in the Andes are held on Sunday mornings. The
market-places are usually entirely deserted in the evening. I suppose in
this fair it would not do to expose cast-off household treasures to the
full light of day. Not only is the chance of making a sale much greater
when the article can only be seen by torch-light, but the newly-poor
individual, who is forced to bring hither his household goods, may more
easily avoid the scrutiny of his newly-rich neighbors.

Looming up in the darkness, above the torches, the tall tower of the
Franciscan church added a touch of solemnity to the scene. One afternoon
we had an opportunity to visit the monastery and examine the beautiful
wood-carvings in the choir. Like all the Franciscan establishments that
we visited, the rule of the order is strictly enforced, the gardens are
well kept, and although one can easily see that the Order has seen
better days, there is little to criticise.

The Great Plaza of Cuzco, once much larger than it is now, and the scene
of many Inca carnivals, is still very attractive. On its east side
stands the massive cathedral and its chapels, said to have been built
entirely of stones taken from Inca palaces near by.

On the south are the beautifully carved stone towers of what was
formerly the Church of the Jesuits. Flanking these are picturesque
two-story buildings with red-tiled roofs and overhanging wooden
balconies supported by a row of columns and arches. In the arcades
numerous small tradesmen display their wares. On the west and north of
the plaza are more two-story houses with arcades filled with interesting
little booths. Here, and on the stones of the Plaza, are cloth merchants
who have gathered their wares from England and the Continent, North and
South America; venders of pottery and Quichua toys, made in the
neighborhood; market gardeners with corn and potatoes; and peddlers of
every variety of article imaginable; some protected from the rain by
cloth shelters that look as though they had been taken from the top of a
prairie schooner in the “days of ’49”; others squatting on the rough
pavement, their wares spread out on the skins of sheep or llamas,
exposed to wind and weather.

The Plaza has had a varied history. Perhaps its most tragic day was when
it witnessed the death of Tupac Amaru. It was on the morning of the 18th
of May, 1781, that the Inca was brought forth to his execution from the
old Jesuit church. In order to prevent a repetition of Indian uprisings,
such as he had started, the Spanish authorities felt it necessary to
practice the most diabolical cruelties on both him and his wife. She was
placed on a lofty scaffold, her tongue was cut out, and an attempt was
made to garrote her with an iron screw. When it was found that her neck
was so small that she could not be strangled in this manner, the
executioners placed a lasso around her neck and pulled and hauled until
she was dead. After witnessing the death of his wife, the Inca was taken
into the centre of the square, his tongue was cut out, and his body was
drawn and quartered by four horses.

The immediate effect of his revolution was to cause laws to be
promulgated prohibiting the use of the native language, ordering the
Indians to give up their national customs and to destroy all their
musical instruments. Fortunately, these laws were not carried out. In
fact, the Quichua tongue is

[Illustration: SACSAHUAMAN]

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL--THE JESUIT CHURCH--THE PLAZA-CUZCO]

still used to a large extent. It was supposed by Sir Clements Markham
and other travellers fifty years ago that owing to the constantly
increasing corruption of the ancient dialect and the introduction of
Spanish modes of expression, the language of the Incas would soon be a
thing of the past. We found, on the contrary, that nine out of ten
Indians, even those who occupied stalls in the market-place of the
largest cities, either could not or would not converse in Spanish. There
was usually an Indian in the crowd who was willing to act as an
interpreter, but the great majority of the people seem to have no
acquaintance with Spanish. Furthermore, we found that the
Spanish-speaking residents all recognize the necessity of learning
Quichua.

The Prefect of Cuzco put his orderly at our disposal for the entire time
of our stay. He proved to be most useful and agreeable. A word from him
opened to us the doors of monasteries and churches, and his knowledge of
prices enabled us to get examples of Quichua handiwork without being
obliged to pay much more than the regular price. In our shopping
excursions whenever we began to accumulate more Indian toys and trinkets
than we could easily carry in our pockets, the orderly would summon the
next police officer and tell him to act as our porter. It was rather
hard to keep from laughing. Imagine a Broadway policeman toddling up
Murray Hill carrying bundles for a foreign delegate to a Scientific
Congress!

After my experience in the La Paz jail, I was curious to see what that
of Cuzco might be like. Our obliging cicerone willingly consented to
show all there was to be seen. The jail consists of an old-fashioned
Spanish dwelling built around a large courtyard. Into this inclosure all
classes of prisoners are put without any regard as to whether they are
awaiting trial or condemned to life imprisonment. There did not seem to
be any cells, and the forty or fifty prisoners were enjoying themselves
after the fashion of the inmates of English prisons of the eighteenth
century. The Government’s provision for food does not include any
luxuries, but it is possible for the prisoners to earn money and
purchase what they need. So far as we could see, there was no forced
labor, and the men were thrown entirely on their own resources. Several
were busily working at hand-looms making ponchos which they were glad
enough to sell. Others had cups carved out of horns. One unfortunate,
who happened to be asleep at the time of our visit, sent to the hotel a
gaudily painted trinket with a note saying that he hoped we would
purchase it for a good price, as he was much in need of funds. On the
whole, although the building was old, dilapidated, and quite inadequate,
according to our ideas, the prisoners seemed to be having a good time,
and there was no evidence of cruelty. The Quichuas are such a mild,
inoffensive folk that the jailers do not have the same incentive to
punish them severely as do those in La Paz who have to deal with the
cantankerous Aymarás.

On the south side of the historic plaza, next door to the Jesuit Church,
is the University of Cuzco, rather squalid by comparison with the
church, but containing some fine stone cloisters. It was founded in
1598, thirty-eight years before Harvard College. I had a very pleasant
call on its distinguished Rector, a well-read lawyer. The principal work
of the University at present consists of training men for the law.
According to the annual report of the Rector, during the year 1907 the
University conferred the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy and Letters on
four candidates, that of Bachelor of Jurisprudence on two, Bachelor of
Political Science on two, and Doctor of Jurisprudence on four. There are
eighteen instructors. They receive salaries of $35 a month, and give, on
the average, one hundred and thirty-five lectures a year. The Faculty of
Letters has a three-year course and thirty-three students. The Faculty
of Jurisprudence, a five-year course and forty-six students. The Faculty
of Political Science, a three-year course and twenty-four students. The
Section of Natural Science, a three-year course and nine students. The
total income for the year is in the neighborhood of $10,000. Of this the
Government gives $5500, and the rest is made up largely of students’
fees. One source of revenue for 1907 was $40 in fines levied on the
members of the Faculty, “for failing to attend their classes and for
other acts”!

The question of the education of South American youth is an interesting
one. The opinion of the majority of British residents has been well
expressed by an English mining engineer who has recently published a
book on Peru. He says: “The Spanish-American youth educated in the
United States, is not a happy product. London is the real home for the
cosmopolitan refinement suited to their character”!

South American institutions of learning are built on such different
lines from those in the United States that it seems to me extremely
unlikely that a large number of students from South America will ever
come to American universities. Ought we to do anything to encourage more
to come? Spanish-Americans now studying in the States are devoting their
attention chiefly to engineering and dentistry. Very few South Americans
are likely to care for our academic or collegiate course or anything
corresponding to it. It does not fit in at all with their customary
scheme of education. To the average South American, a “college” means a
kind of high school from which a student graduates to enter at once upon
his professional studies. At first glance it looks like the familiar
German idea of a gymnasium course followed immediately by professional
studies in the university. But it would be unfair both to the gymnasium
and the _colegio_ to place their curriculum in parallel columns.

A large number of physicians in South America claim to have studied in
Paris. The dentists usually advertise the fact that they were educated
in Philadelphia or New York. Lawyers rarely ever receive any special
training outside of the local university. On the other hand, while a
large percentage of the native civil engineers are trained in the local
engineering schools, a very considerable number have studied abroad. It
is a generally recognized fact in South America, outside of Argentina
and Chile, that the best engineers are Americans.

On the whole I am not disposed to agree with those who disparage
American training for Latin-American youth. I am inclined to believe
that it increases their efficiency more than the “cosmopolitan
refinement” of London.



CHAPTER XX

SACSAHUAMAN


To defend Cuzco from attack by enemies coming from the north, the Incas
built a great fortress on a hill overlooking the city. To reach it, the
easiest way is to take a mule and ride through Cuzco’s narrow streets,
up the ravine to the ancient gateway in the east side of the hill. At
first sight it might seem ridiculous not to walk, as the fortress in
only 600 feet above the city. But Cuzco has an elevation of 11,500 feet,
and hill-climbing at this altitude is best done on mule-back.

The Prefect kindly supplied us mules and an escort. On our way we passed
the church of Los Nazarenes whose superstructure is laid on ancient
walls that are noteworthy because of the many serpents that are carved
in relief on the stones. Among the crude pottery dishes that I bought in
the streets of La Paz was one decorated with these same little wriggling
serpents.

Beyond Los Nazarenes the street narrowed until presently it became
simply a path in a rocky gorge. As we entered the gorge there was at
first little to be seen. Then in its narrowest and most easily defended
part we came suddenly upon a pile of massive rocks, roughly hewn. Huge
blocks of stone, five or six feet high, slightly rounded off and
accurately fitted together, are here built into a gateway twelve feet
high that opens into a passage defended by a wall of large boulders.
This leads to the hilltop. On the side toward the city, the slope is
nearly precipitous, but the approach was made even more difficult near
the summit by a series of three terraces each twelve or fourteen feet
high. There is nothing remarkable about the summit except the beautiful
view of Cuzco which one gets from here.

The immediate front of the hill just below the upper terraces is
extremely steep. About half-way down to the city the spur broadens and
flattens out. It was there the first Inca built his palace. On the lower
continuation of this spur, between two rivulets, the palaces and temples
of the later Incas were built.

It is the north side of Sacsahuaman, the side away from Cuzco, that is
the chief object of interest. Here the slope is very gentle and it was
necessary to fortify the place artificially. Furthermore, it was on this
side that attacks might be expected, not only from the savages of the
Amazonian wilds, but also from the hostile tribes of the Andean plateau,
including the Caras of Ecuador. Accordingly, here the Incas exerted
their utmost skill in the construction of a powerful line of defence.

The fortifications extend for a third of a mile entirely across the back
of the hill, and are flanked by steep valleys at each end. They consist
of three lines of zigzag terraces, one above another, each faced with
walls of colossal boulders, some of them twelve feet in diameter. The
lower terrace has an average height of about twenty-five feet; the
middle and upper ones are some six feet less. There are few sights in
the world more impressive than these Cyclopean walls.

The Incas were accustomed to build great terraces and I have seen them
in many places in Peru. In every other case, however, the terrace walls
are straight, or nearly so. Here, although the walls are parallel, they
are also zigzag and consist for the entire length of salients and
reëntrant angles. The apex of each salient in the lower wall is usually
formed by a conspicuously large block, twenty-five feet high and ten or
twelve feet thick.

The size and strength of the walls and the employment of salients which
enabled the defenders to cover the entire face of the fortification with
a flanking fire, a device unknown even to the European Crusaders, made
the Inca fortress practically impregnable. It was certainly quite secure
from the assaults of any Indian assailants, armed only with such
primitive weapons as bows and arrows, slings and spears.

Next to the colossal size of the stones which the builders used for the
lower wall, the most impressive thing is the care they took to fit the
stones together without cement, so that they should stand for ages.

It is said that most of the smaller stones have been carried off for
building purposes in the city. Be this as it may, what remains is the
most impressive spectacle of man’s handiwork that I have ever seen in
America. Photographs absolutely fail to

[Illustration: A SECTION OF THE LOWER TERRACE, SACSAHUAMAN]

do it justice, for at best they show only a few boulders, a small part
of one of the walls. If taken far enough away to show the whole fort,
the eye loses all sense of the great size of the stone units owing to
the fact that they are so much larger than any stones to which it is
accustomed.

The Inca author, Garcilasso de la Vega, wrote, in the sixteenth century,
as follows of Sacsahuaman: “This was the greatest and most superb of the
edifices that the Incas raised to demonstrate their majesty and power.
Its greatness is incredible to those who have not seen it.... It passes
the power of imagination to conceive how so many and so great stones
could be so accurately fitted together as scarcely to admit the
insertion of the point of a knife between them. And all of this is the
more wonderful as they had no squares or levels to place on the stones
and ascertain if they would fit together. How often must they have taken
up and put down the stones to ascertain if the joints were perfect! Nor
had they cranes, or pulleys, or other machinery whatever.... But what is
most marvellous of the edifice is the incredible size of the stones, and
the astonishing labor of bringing them together and placing them.”
Compare this with what a recent writer on the Caroline Islands says, in
describing the colossal stone ruins on the Island of Lele near Kusaie:
“Looking at their solid outlines, seamed and furrowed with the rain and
sun of untold generations, one cannot help marvelling at the ingenuity
and skill of these primitive engineers, in moving, lifting, and poising
such huge and unwieldy masses of rock into their present position,
where these mighty structures, shadowed by great forest trees, stand
defying Time’s changing seasons and the fury of tropic elements.”

Also this from Captain Cook’s “Voyages”: “The platforms are faced with
hewn stones of a very large size. They used no sort of cement, yet the
joints are exceedingly close and the stones mortised and tenoned one
into another in a very artful manner and the side walls were not
perpendicular but sloping a little inwards.” This is an accurate
description of Sacsahuaman. Yet Captain Cook never came to the highlands
of Peru and probably never even saw a picture of these walls. In this
paragraph he is describing the stone ruins on Easter Island.[3]

The resemblances between the ruins of upper Peru and those of Easter
Island and the Caroline Islands offer a remarkably interesting field for
ethnological speculation. Unfortunately as yet they have told us but
little of the builders of Sacsahuaman.

It is generally conceded that the fortress was commenced in the reign of
the Inca Viracocha, two hundred years before the Spanish Conquest.
Whether this tradition is well founded, it is difficult to say. It may
be due to the fact that the name “Viracocha,” as Sir Clements Markham
points out, was simply the term applied to a powerful character, a term
of admiration, equivalent to the word “gentleman” in English.

Whoever built it, the task was certainly heroic. Many of the stones were
undoubtedly quarried near by. As for methods of transportation, we know
that the Incas understood the manufacture of strong cables, for they
built suspension bridges across many of the chasms of central Peru. By
the aid of these cables and of wooden rollers, it would have been
entirely possible to have dragged very large stones for a considerable
distance, up inclined planes. Although they had no draft animals, llamas
being only accustomed to carrying, they had thousands of patient
Quichuas at their disposal, whose combined efforts, extended over long
lines of cables, would have been amply sufficient to move even the
largest of these great blocks. Nevertheless, when one considers the
difficulty of fitting together two irregular boulders, both of them
weighing eight or ten tons, one’s admiration for the skill of these old
builders knows no bounds.

The modern Peruvians are very fond of speculating as to the method which
the Incas employed to make their stones fit so perfectly. One of the
favorite stories is that the Incas knew of a plant whose juices rendered
the surface of a block so soft that the marvellous fitting was
accomplished by rubbing the stones together for a few moments with this
magical plant juice!

Discussion and speculation will undoubtedly continue indefinitely, yet
one can come to at least two conclusions: the Incas had an unlimited
amount of labor at their disposal, and time was no object.

Furthermore, they were apparently very fond of playing the game of
stone-cutting. From the fortress we rode across the little grassy plain
that separates the terraces from the rocks of Rodadero hill. On its
summit, terraces have been hewn out of the solid rock, and it is said
that the Incas were fond of sitting here to watch their patient workmen
engaged in putting together the magnificent walls of Sacsahuaman. On the
north side of the hill, the rock has been worn into grooves by the water
and polished by the ponchos of generations of pleasure-seekers who have
used this curious formation as a “toboggan slide.” Our guides assured us
that the habit of coasting down this hill on ponchos was started by the
Incas. At all events, it is still a favorite Sunday amusement.

In the rolling country north of the Rodadero are numbers of rocks and
ledges that have been carved into fantastic seats, nooks, and crannies
by a people who seem to have taken a keen delight in stone-carving for
its own sake. It is difficult to explain in any other way the maze of
niches and shelves, seats and pedestals that are scattered about on
every hand. Writers are accustomed to label as “Inca thrones” every
stone seat they find in the mountains of Peru. But here the ledges are
carved so irregularly as almost to bewilder the imagination.

A mile away to the northeast we discovered the dim outlines of a large
amphitheatre where the Incas may have gathered on the grassy slopes to

[Illustration: AN INCA VASE FROM CUZCO]

[Illustration: ARTICLES OF DRESS AND A DECORATED MULE HALTER FROM
CUZCO]

watch games and religious festivals. It offers an attractive field for
digging, as it seems to have been entirely overlooked hitherto.

On our way back to the city we were invited to rest at Sr. Lomellini’s
country house which is built in the gardens of Manco Capac, the first
Inca. The entrance is through a gate in the wall of the ancient outer
terrace. Near the house stands a section of the palace wall, thirty feet
long and ten feet high, containing a recessed door and window. In the
outer terrace the stones are of irregular shapes while in this wall they
are practically rectangular. In his house, Sr. Lomellini has collected a
number of extremely interesting specimens of the ceramic art of the
Incas. The most striking are two very large vases resembling in shape
and marking the small one figured here. This is only six inches high;
those are nearly three feet. There are quite a number of imperfect
specimens in the American Museum of Natural History.

After the gardener had given us a handful of roses, we left the
precincts of the ancient Inca and clattered down the hill over the rough
cobblestones to the picturesque sights--and distressing smells--of
modern Cuzco.



CHAPTER XXI

THE INCA ROAD TO ABANCAY


There are several ways of going from Cuzco to Lima. The easiest and most
frequented now is by rail to Mollendo and then by steamer to Callao, the
seaport of Lima. Before the days of railroads the common route was by
mule _via_ Ayacucho, Pisco, and the Coast. Since the building of the
Oroya railroad and more particularly since the extension of the line
south to Huancayo, instead of going west to the coast from Ayacucho the
overland traveller continues north to the Jauja valley until he meets
the railway. It was this road that we proposed to take.

For centuries the overland trail from Cuzco to Huancayo and the north
was the most celebrated highway in Peru. The Incas used it in their
conquests and improved it. When Atahualpa fell into the clutches of
Pizarro, the largest part of his golden ransom was brought over this
road. After the death of the Inca, Pizarro in his march on Cuzco found
this road most convenient for his little cavalcade. During the civil
wars that followed the conquest this highway was repeatedly the scene of
action. For three hundred years it was replete with historic incident.
Finally, the road that had seen the beginnings of Spain’s conquest, was
destined to see the

[Illustration:

Sketch Map
of
SOUTHERN BOLIVIA
to illustrate the route
of
HIRAM BINGHAM
from
LA QUIACA to CHALLAPATA
]

bitter end. For, in 1824, it witnessed the last campaign, the final act
in the drama of Spain’s Colonial Empire, when La Serna, last viceroy of
Peru, was defeated by the patriot forces under General Sucre in the
battle of Ayacucho.

In journeying over the three hundred miles of this historic highway, I
should have preferred to have hired mules for the whole trip, but nobody
was willing to undertake the contract. We were told that “in the good
old times” before the railway came to Cuzco, it was very easy to hire
mules; and _arrieros_ were willing enough to go anywhere, but now there
was so little demand for this sort of thing that the supply had stopped.
The best we could do was to get an _arriero_ to take us to Abancay, the
capital of the next Department.

Two American civil engineers whom I had met in Arequipa had told me that
the journey from Cuzco to Huancayo would be full of trouble and
countless difficulties, as a large part of the region was uninhabited!
They said that if it were possible to buy a tent in Cuzco, to do so, by
all means, as we should otherwise be obliged to spend many nights in the
open, exposed to rain and snow. They had not been over the road but had
lived for months in Cuzco and had “heard all about it.” I mention this
merely as an instance of the difficulty of finding out the truth about
South America by hearsay.

We now learned from those who had actually been over the road that while
there were no inns to be encountered anywhere except in Ayacucho, it
would be only owing to extremely bad luck if we failed to reach the
shelter of a village every night. Accordingly we contented ourselves
with a few canned goods and kitchen utensils and found them to be all
that was necessary.

In the Peruvian highlands the rains commence in November and continue
until the end of March. February is supposed to be the worst of all.
During that month the discomfort of travelling over the bridle-paths of
the Andes is so great that the natives never undertake a journey for
pleasure and stay at home as much as possible. Yet it was February that
we had chosen for our march. It was “Hobson’s choice,” but I was not
sorry. Several travellers have given a picture of the region as it
appears in the dry season when the roads are comparatively good. We were
to have an opportunity of seeing what they could be like in the worst of
the rainy season, and we were further favored by the fact that this
particular February turned out to be “the rainiest month of the rainiest
season that any one remembered to have experienced in Peru for at least
twenty-five years.” In a word, we were to see the mountain trails at
their worst.

We left Cuzco on the morning of the first of February, 1909. The day
promised ill. Rain fell in torrents. The preceding day we had received
calls from a number of local dignitaries, all of whom assured us that
they would be on hand in the morning to escort us out of town. But the
continuous downpour overcame their conscientious scruples. Even the
Prefect’s polite orderly, who had been unremitting in his attention, was
glad enough to take our hint that we were sufficiently honored by his
accompanying us for three blocks from the hotel.

The Prefect had been very solicitous about our welfare and, although we
assured him that we preferred to travel without a military escort, he
insisted that a sergeant and at least one soldier should accompany us as
long as we were in his Department. I never discovered why he was so
insistent. There was no danger, and highway robbery is unheard of in
Peru. Possibly he was afraid that the _delegados_ might otherwise go
hungry at villages where inhospitable, half-starved Quichuas would say
that there was no food to be had; or he may have thought it undignified
for us to travel without an escort. Whatever his reasons, he meant well
and it was not a case of graft, for the soldiers were ordered to
accompany us at the expense of the government.

We started off in a northwesterly direction, leaving Sacsahuaman on the
right. After climbing out of the Cuzco valley we descended gradually to
the great plain of Anta, famous as the scene of numerous battles in the
wars of the Incas. We crossed it by the ancient Inca road, a stony
pathway five or six feet wide, with ditches and swamps on either side.
The Peruvians have allowed it to fall into decay, and for a good part of
the distance it has disappeared. At noon we reached Puquiura, a village
with a plaza very like that of Tiahuanaco. At half past three, after
making a long detour in order to avoid the swamps and ponds that in the
wet season cover the direct road, we crossed a little stone bridge and
rode into the dismal plaza of the old Indian town of Huarocondo. This
is only a few miles from Urubamba, and the remarkably interesting ruins
of Ollantaytambo, which have been so graphically described by Squier.

Unfortunately we had no time to visit them and took instead the road to
the southwest. Skirting the hills north of the plain of Anta, we passed
several great terraces a third of a mile long and fourteen or fifteen
feet high, and towards evening entered Zurita, a small Indian town. Here
we were directed to the house of a hospitable Gobernador where we found
that two Peruvian travellers had preceded us.

As in other houses of the better class in this vicinity, the entrance
was through a large gate into a courtyard. Opposite the gate was a
two-story building with a balcony running the length of the second
floor. On another side of the court were smaller structures one of which
had a wide stone verandah where the _arrieros_ and the soldiers piled up
the saddles and bags and spread their blankets for the night. Two
unfortunate parrots, cold, sickly, and bedraggled, had their perches
attached to the posts of the verandah.

An hour after our arrival, four Indian _alcaldes_ and _tenientes_
carrying silver-tipped canes as symbols of office, presented themselves
in the courtyard in answer to the summons of the Gobernador. When that
official appeared on the balcony, they humbly removed their hats and
stood in silence while he told them how many bundles of fresh barley
straw to bring for our mules. An hour later they returned with other
Indians who, acting under their orders, brought the _cebada_. The
conversation was carried on in Quichua, which we were unable to follow,
but the Gobernador said that for the fodder the _alcaldes_ wanted one
_sol_, a Peruvian silver dollar worth forty-eight cents. This we
cheerfully gave him, whereupon, in a most unabashed manner, he put the
_sol_ in his pocket, took out a few small coins worth about half a _sol_
and threw them down into the courtyard where they were gratefully picked
up by the _alcaldes_.

We left Zurita the next morning, accompanied by the Gobernador and our
fellow lodgers. They were all well-mounted on excellent horses. The
horsemen of this vicinity affect a bit of harness that seems to be a
relic of the trappings of Spanish war horses. The crupper is covered
with a V-shaped piece of solid leather elaborately stamped and marked.
From it hang hip straps supporting very loose breeching that dangles
almost to the points of the hocks and actually rests on the ham strings.
Although it is of no use whatever, and in fact, actually impedes the
horse’s action, the effect is rather picturesque.

Leaving the _arriero_ and his pack mules to follow in charge of our
military escort, we pushed on at a good pace with our friends and found
ourselves at noon at Challabamba on the divide that separates the waters
of the river Urubamba from those of the Apurimac. In marked distinction
to the grassy, treeless plain of Anta from which we had just ascended,
we saw before us deep green, wooded valleys.

The trail, a rocky stairway not unlike the bed of a mountain torrent,
led us rapidly into a warm tropical region whose dense foliage and
tangled vines were grateful enough after the bleak mountain plateau.
Beautiful yellow broom flowers were abundant. The air was filled with
the fragrance of heliotrope. Parti-colored lantanas ran riot through a
maze of agaves and hanging creepers. We had entered a new world.

A steep descent brought us to the town of Limatambo where there are
interesting terraces and other evidences of an Inca fortress. The valley
of the Limatambo River is here extremely narrow and the fortifications
were well placed to defend an enemy coming against Cuzco from the west
and north.

Rain had been falling most of the day and the river Limatambo had risen
considerably. The ford was quite impassable, and we were obliged to use
a frail improvised bridge over which our mules crept very cautiously
sniffing doubtfully as it bent under their weight. Soon afterwards we
crossed the river Blanco and left the old trail, which goes through the
Indian village of Mollepata, described by Squier as “a collection of
wretched huts on a high shelf of the mountain with a tumbled-down
church, a drunken Governor who was also keeper of a hovel which was
called the post-house, and a priest as dissolute as the Governor ... a
place unsurpassed in evil repute by any in Peru.” Fortunately for us,
since the days of Squier’s visit, an enterprising Peruvian has carved a
sugar plantation out of the luxuriant growth on the mountain side, at
La Estrella. Here we were given an extremely cordial welcome although
Sr. Montes, the owner,--the fame of whose hospitality had reached even
to Cuzco,--was not at home. Our military escort did not arrive until
nearly three hours later, with a sad story of wretched animals and
narrow escapes.

We were considerably surprised to find here at La Estrella an excellent
piano in fairly good tune. It had been brought from Cuzco on the
shoulders of Quichua bearers. This seems extraordinary enough, but
before the days of the railroad, pianos were formerly carried by Indians
all the way from the Pacific Coast to Cuzco. The next time I saw five
stalwart Irish truckmen groaning and shaking under the weight of an
upright piano which they had to carry fifty feet from the truck into a
house in New Haven, I wondered what they would think of half-starved
Indians who could carry it from sea-level over mountains fourteen
thousand feet high.

The presence of the piano at La Estrella meant that here as everywhere
else we were to be favored with the strains of the “Tonquinoise” and
“Quand L’Amour Meurt.” This is the kind of music that most appeals to
the South Americans. Wherever there was a piano in the heart of Peru or
Bolivia, it mattered not whether the place was Potosí or Arequipa, these
tunes were everlastingly drummed into our ears.

The next morning we descended from the canefields of La Estrella by an
extremely precipitous winding trail. In places it seemed as though our
heavily-laden mules must surely loose their footing and roll down the
fifteen hundred feet to the raging Apurimac River below. At length,
however, we came to an excellent modern bridge which we were actually
able to cross without dismounting, something that rarely happens with
the bridges of Peru.

In the old days a wonderfully lofty suspension bridge made by the
Indians in the Peruvian fashion, was the only means of crossing this
river. Vivid pictures of it, no two alike, are given in Squier’s “Peru,”
Markham’s “Cuzco and Lima,” and Lt. Gibbon’s “Exploration of the Valley
of the Amazon.” Although they all differ as to its height above the
water and its length, all were greatly impressed by the remarkable cañon
that it crossed. Gibbon says “the bridge was ... 150 feet above the dark
green waters”; Sir Clements Markham, who crossed the bridge two years
later says, “the bridge spanned the chasm in a graceful curve at a
height of full 300 feet above the river.” As he crossed it in the middle
of March just at the end of the rainy season when it may be supposed the
waters were high, while Lt. Gibbon crossed it in August, the middle of
the dry season, when the river is very low, the contrast between their
estimates of the height of the bridge above the river is all the more
striking. Unfortunately it has disappeared and travellers can no longer
dispute over its dimensions.

The scenery to-day was superb; the great green mountains piling up on
one another, their precipitous sides streaked with many lovely
waterfalls. Green parrots overhead and yellow iris underfoot lent
additional color to the scene. To add to our joy

[Illustration: THE GOBERNADOR OF CURAHUASI AND HIS FAMILY]

the sun shone all day long. A comparatively easy journey over steep but
well-travelled mountain-trails brought us to the town of Curahuasi where
we were met by Lt. Caceres, who had been directed to act as our escort,
and who proved to be a most genial and exceptionally spirited young
Peruvian, a member of an old and distinguished family.

Immediately on our arrival at Curahuasi we were taken to the local
telegraph office where Caceres sent off an important message announcing
the approach of the “distinguished visitors”! To recompense us for
waiting while he wrote the messages, bottles of stout were opened and
toasts solemnly proposed. We expected to spend the night in the town,
but found that the Gobernador, who desired us to be his guests, lived a
couple of miles up the valley at Trancapata on the road to Abancay.

Although his establishment was a primitive one, it was charmingly
situated on the edge of a deep ravine. The dining-room was an old
verandah overlooking the gorge, and we enjoyed the view and the generous
hospitality quite as much as though the villa had had all modern
conveniences. In fact, neither of us had ever before experienced such a
cordial welcome from a total stranger. We were to learn, however, before
we left the Department, that such friendliness was characteristic of
nearly every village and town that enjoyed the over-lordship of the
genial Prefect of Apurimac.

The next morning when we finally managed to bid our cordial host
good-by, it was not until he had accompanied us for a long distance up
the deep valley. As we climbed the ascent under a bright sun, a
wonderful panorama spread itself out behind us, the snowy peaks of Mt.
Sargantay gleaming in the distance. We soon left the region of luxurious
vegetation, lantanas, cacti, and tropical plants, and ran into a chilly
drizzle at an elevation of thirteen thousand feet. Then we descended,
came out of the rain, and had a delightful ride over a trail lined with
masses of blue salvia and pink begonias.

At last we caught glimpses of the fields of sugarcane that have made
Abancay famous throughout Peru. To one who has seen the broad canefields
of Hawaii or the great plantations of Cuba and Porto Rico, the fame of
this rather small district would be surprising. But after passing over
the bleak highlands of Peru and experiencing the chill of the mountain
climate, one feels more ready to appreciate that a warm, rich valley,
eight thousand feet above the sea, where sugar can be easily raised, is
a matter for profound congratulation.

A long descent down a very bad road brought us into a charming region. A
mile from Abancay itself we were met by the sub-Prefect and a dozen
sugar planters and _caballeros_ who had taken the trouble to saddle
their horses and come out to give us a fitting welcome. After an
interchange of felicitations, we clattered gayly into town and were
taken at once to the Prefecture. Here Hon. J. J. Nuñes, the genial
Prefect, gave us a cordial reception and apologized for the fact that he
had quite a large family and could not give us suitable sleeping
quarters in the Prefecture. As it was, he placed the local club
entirely at our disposal. We were only too glad to accept, for the
club’s two pleasant rooms overlooked the little plaza and commanded a
very pretty view of the ancient church and steep hills beyond.

Hardly had we had time to turn around in our new quarters before the
Prefect came to make a formal call. He at once broached the subject of
the ruins of Choqquequirau and begged us to visit them.

It seems that in Quichua, the language of the Incas, still spoken by a
majority of the mountaineers of Peru, Choqquequirau means a “Cradle of
Gold.” Attracted by this romantic name and by the lack of all positive
knowledge concerning its last defenders, several attempts had been made
during the past century to explore its ruins and to discover the
treasure which it is supposed the Incas hid here instead of allowing it
to fall into the hands of Pizarro with the ransom of Atahualpa. Owing to
the very great difficulty of reaching the site of the ruins a tradition
had grown up that the Incas built a great city that once contained over
fifteen thousand inhabitants, high up on the mountain-side, six thousand
feet above the river Apurimac. That the tradition had a basis of fact
had been demonstrated occasionally by bold mountain-climbers who
succeeded in reaching a part of the ruins.

We were told that the first man to reach there went and came alone. All
he saw was a stone wall which he reached late in the afternoon,
exhausted and without food. He slept in its shelter, left his gun as
proof that he had been there, and came away early the next morning,
anxious only to get home. A generation later a small party of
adventurers succeeded in reaching the ruins with enough food to last
them for two days. They excavated two or three holes in a vain effort to
find buried treasure and returned with a tale of sufferings that kept
any one from following their example for twenty years. They brought back
reports of rocky “palaces, paved squares, temples, prisons, and baths,”
all crumbling away beneath luxuriant tropical vegetation. Then a local
magistrate, dreaming of untold riches, so ran the tale, endeavored to
construct a path by which it might be possible to reach Choqquequirau
and to maintain a transportation service of Indian carriers who could
provide workmen with food while they were engaged in making a systematic
effort to unearth the “Cradle of Gold.” This man had at his disposal the
services of a company of soldiers and a large number of Indians, and it
is said that he expended a large amount of time and money in his quest.
He succeeded in reaching the top of the ridge 12,000 feet above the
river and 6000 feet above Choqquequirau, but was unable to scale the
precipices that surround the ruins, and all his labor came to nought.
Others tried to utilize the path that he had made, but without success,
until the present Prefect of the department of Apurimac, Honorable J. J.
Nuñes, assumed office and became interested in the local traditions.
Under his patronage, a company of treasure-seekers was formed and
several thousand dollars subscribed.

The first difficulty that they encountered was the construction of a
bridge over the frightful rapids of the Apurimac. All efforts failed.
Not a Peruvian could be found willing to venture his life in the
whirlpool rapids. Finally “Don Mariano,” an aged Chinese peddler, who
had braved the terrors of the Peruvian mountains for thirty years, dared
to swim the river with a string tied to his waist. Then after much
patient effort he succeeded in securing six strands of telegraph wire
from which he hung short lengths of fibre rope and wove a mat of reeds
two feet wide to serve as a foot path for a frail suspension bridge.
Once on the other side, the company was able to use a part of the trail
made twenty years ago, but even with that aid it took three months of
hard work to surmount the difficulties that lay between the river and
Choqquequirau. Cheered on by the enthusiastic Prefect and his aide,
Lieut. Caceres, an exceptionally bold officer, the task which had defied
all comers for four hundred years was accomplished. A trail that could
be used by Indian bearers was constructed through twelve miles of
mountain forest, over torrents and precipices, and across ravines from
the river to the ruins.

With these and similar stories we were regaled by one and another of the
local antiquarians, including the president of the treasure company and
our friend the Prefect.

We felt at first as though we could not possibly spare the week which
would be necessary for a visit that would be worth while. Furthermore
we were not on the lookout for new Inca ruins and had never heard of
Choqquequirau. But the enthusiasm of the Prefect and his friends was too
much for us. The Prefect held it out as an extra inducement that no
foreigners had ever visited Choqquequirau, a statement that I later
found to be incorrect. Finally he said that President Leguia of Peru,
knowing that we were to pass this way, had requested the company to
suspend operations until we had had a chance to see the ruins in their
original condition. In short so urgent were the Prefect’s arguments, and
so ready was he to make it easy for us, that we finally consented to go
and see what his energy had uncovered.

That night he gave us an elaborate banquet to which he had invited
fifteen of the local notables. After dinner we were shown the objects of
interest that had been found at Choqquequirau, including several ancient
shawl-pins and a few nondescript metallic articles. The most interesting
was a heavy club fifteen inches long and rather more than two inches in
diameter, square, with round corners, much like the wooden clubs with
which the Hawaiians beat _tapa_. It has a yellowish tinge that gave rise
to a story that it was pure gold. Unfortunately we had no means of
analyzing it, but I presume it was made, like the ancient Inca axes, of
copper hardened with tin.

The next afternoon, amidst a heterogeneous mess of canned provisions,
saddles, rugs, and clothes, we packed, and received distinguished
guests. Almost everyone who called told us that he was going to
accompany us on the morrow, and we had visions of a general hegira from
Abancay.

In the evening we were most hospitably entertained at one of the sugar
estates. To this dinner a genial gathering came from far and near. The
planters of Abancay are a fine class of _caballeros_, hospitable,
courteous, and intelligent, kind to their working people, interested
both in one another’s affairs and in the news of the outside world. Many
of them spend part of each year or two in Lima, and a few have travelled
abroad.

One of our hosts had recently made an excursion to Choqquequirau, which
“nearly killed him.” He lost one mule: it slid down a precipice. He
lamed another badly. On the whole, although urged to do so by his
friends, he decided _not_ to offer to go with us on the morrow. At least
one man proposed to stay in Abancay!



CHAPTER XXII

THE CLIMB TO CHOQQUEQUIRAU


The next morning, accompanied by a large cavalcade, we started for
Choqquequirau. Most of our escort contented themselves with a mile or
so, and then wishing us good luck, returned to Abancay. We did not blame
them. Owing to unusually heavy rains, the trail was in a frightful
state. Well-nigh impassable bogs, swollen torrents, avalanches of
boulders and trees, besides the usual concomitants of a Peruvian
bridle-path, cheered us on our way.

Soon after leaving our friends we had to ford a particularly dangerous
torrent where the mules had all they could possibly do to keep their
footing in the foamy waters. After the crossing we rested to watch
Castillo, one of the soldiers who had been assigned to accompany us,
cross the stream on foot. His mule, tired out by the dreadful trail, was
being rested. It had forded the stream with the others and was standing
by us watching the soldier take perilous leaps from boulder to boulder,
where a misstep would have meant certain death. Hardly had Castillo
gained our side of the stream when the mule decided to return to Abancay
and plunged back across the dangerous ford. With a shout of rage, the
soldier repeated his performance, gained the other side of the torrent,
and started after the mule, now quite rested, and trotting off briskly
for home. A chase of a mile and a half put Castillo into no very
pleasant frame of mind, and the mule had little respite for the
remainder of the day. At noon we stopped a few moments in the village of
Cachora where the Prefect had instructed the Gobernador to prepare us a
“suitable luncheon.” This intoxicated worthy offered us instead many
apologies, and we had to get along as best we could with three or four
boiled eggs, all the village could provide.

All day long through rain and heavy mist that broke away occasionally to
give us glimpses of wonderfully deep green valleys and hillsides covered
with rare flowers, we rode along a slippery path that grew every hour
more treacherous and difficult. In order to reach the little camp on the
bank of the Apurimac that night, we hurried forward as fast as possible
although frequently tempted to linger by the sight of acres of
magnificent pink begonias and square miles of blue lupins. By five
o’clock, we began to hear the roar of the great river seven thousand
feet below us in the cañon. The Apurimac, which flows through the
Ucayali to the Amazon, rises in a little lake near Arequipa, so far from
the mouth of the Amazon that it may be said to be the parent stream of
that mighty river. By the time it reaches this region, it is a raging
torrent two hundred and fifty feet wide, and at this time of the year,
over eighty feet deep. Its roaring voice can be heard so many miles away
that it is called by the Quichuas, the Apurimac, or the “Great
Speaker.”

Our guide, the enthusiastic Caceres, declared that we had now gone far
enough. As it was beginning to rain and the road from there on was
“worse than anything we had as yet experienced,” he said it would be
better to camp for the night in an abandoned hut near by. His opinion
was eagerly welcomed by two of the party, young men from Abancay, who
were having their first real adventure, but the two _Yankis_ decided
that it was best to reach the river if possible. Caceres finally
consented, and aided by the dare-devil Castillo, we commenced a descent
that for tortuous turns and narrow escapes beat anything we had yet
seen. Just as darkness came on, we encountered a large tree that had so
fallen across our path as completely to block all progress. It seemed as
though we must return to the hut. Half an hour’s work enabled us to pass
this obstacle only to reach a part of the hillside where an avalanche
had recently occurred. Here even the mules and horses trembled with
fright as we led them across a mass of loose earth and stones which
threatened to give way at any moment. Only two weeks previously, two
mules had been lost here. Their crossing had started a renewal of the
avalanche which had taken the poor animals along with it.

An hour after dark we came out on a terrace. The roar of the river was
so great that we could scarcely hear Caceres shouting out that our
troubles were now over and “all the rest was level ground.” This turned
out to be only his little joke. We were still a thousand feet above the
river and a path cut in

[Illustration: A CHASM DOWN WHICH PLUNGED A SMALL CATARACT]

[Illustration: THE WONDERFUL CAÑON OF THE APURIMAC]

the face of a precipice had yet to be negotiated. In broad daylight we
should never had dared to ride down the tortuous trail that led from the
terrace to the bank of the river. But as it was quite dark and we were
quite innocent of any danger we readily followed the cheery voice of our
guide. The path is what is known as a corkscrew and descended the wall
of the cañon by means of short turns each twenty feet long. At one end
of each turn was the precipice, while at the other was a chasm down
which plunged a small cataract which had a clear fall of seven hundred
feet. Half way down the path my mule stopped, trembling, and I
dismounted to find that in the darkness he had walked off the trail and
had slid down the cliff to a ledge. How to get him back was a problem.
It is not easy to back an animal up a steep hill, and there was no room
in which to turn him around. It was such a narrow escape that when I got
safely back onto the trail, I decided to walk the rest of the way and
let the mule go first, preferring to have him fall over the precipice
alone if that were necessary.

Two thirds of the way down the descent came the crux of the whole
matter, for here the path crossed the narrow chasm close to and directly
in front of the cataract, and in the midst of its spray. There was no
bridge. To be sure, the waterfall was only three feet wide, but it was
pitch dark. As I could not see the other side of the chasm, I did not
dare to jump alone, but remounted my mule, held my breath, and gave him
both spurs at once. His jump was successful.

Ten minutes later we saw the welcome light of the master of the camp who
came out to guide us through a thicket of mimosa trees that grew on the
lower terrace just above the river.

The camp consisted of two huts, six by seven, built of reeds. Here we
passed a most uncomfortable night. Mr. Hay has described the next few
hours so vividly in his diary that, with his permission, I am going to
quote his account of it.

“Our luggage, including the folding cots, did not arrive that night till
very late, so we slept on benches made of bamboo poles, in our boots,
under an open thatch-roofed shelter. During the night the Prefect’s
secretary, _el periodista_, either in exuberance over reaching the
bottom of the mountain in safety, or being unstrung on account of his
recent experience, or simply because he was a bounder, fired his
revolver off at three different times, the ball fortunately passing
through the roof each time. I must admit that I was so sound asleep as
to hear only one of the shots, though I was so near the “young idea”
that I could have touched him with my hand. Even he, though, wearied of
that form of amusement after a time, and quiet was restored until 3 A.M.
At that hour a rooster, who had quietly been resting with his women-folk
on a pole over our heads, decided that dawn was coming on, or if it
wasn’t, ought to be, and showed us conclusively what a healthy pair of
feathered lungs, in a rarified atmosphere, was capable of. He was within
reach, but I bided my time. Not half enough notice had been taken of the
alarm to suit him, and I saw the chest of Sr. Chanticlerio expand for a
supreme effort. He raised himself to his full height and let loose. With
ever increasing volume the notes poured out, until just as it seemed he
would burst, in the concluding notes of the anthem, I arose, and with
the side of my hand, caught him in the place that needed it most. He
summoned up the courage to give one defiant little crow three hours
later. But his spirit was broken, and his style was cramped by the
_periodista_, who, awake by this time, was firing at him with his
revolver. There were no casualties.”

While breakfast was being prepared we went out to take pictures and
measurements of the bridge. This was 273 feet long by 32 inches wide,
and the river 250 feet wide. “Don Mariano,” the builder of the bridge,
told us that when construction commenced, the water was nearly eighty
feet below the bridge although at present the river had risen so that it
was only twenty-five feet below it, an increase in depth of over _fifty
feet_. An almost incredible bulk of water was roaring between its steep
banks. It was estimated at 100 feet deep, and yet the water piled up on
itself in such a way as to give the appearance of running against huge
boulders in midstream.

We sent the Indian bearers ahead with our luggage. Pack animals could
not possibly use the trail on the other side of the river and the bridge
was not constructed to carry their weight. The surprising thing was that
the Indians were very much afraid of the frail little bridge which
Chinese courage and ingenuity had built, and crept gingerly across it
on their hands and knees while they carried our luggage and supplies to
the other side of the river. They had been accustomed for centuries to
using frail suspension bridges much less strong in reality than this
little structure. But they are not acquainted with the tenacity of wire,
and it seemed the height of frivolity to them that we should be willing
to trust our lives to such a small “rope.” Yet the much larger fibre
ropes of which their suspension bridges were constructed would not begin
to stand the strain as well as these six telegraph wires.

After a breakfast of thin soup and boiled sweet potatoes, we girded
ourselves for the ascent. The river at this point is about 5000 feet
above sea-level. We had had little practice in mountain climbing, except
on mule-back, for many months, and it seemed like a pretty serious
undertaking to attempt to climb six thousand feet more to an elevation
of 11,000 feet. This will sound tame enough to the experienced mountain
climber although it was anything but easy for us. Our patient,
long-suffering Quichua bearers, coming of a race that, at high
altitudes, is in the habit of marching distances which appear incredibly
long to those students of military history that have confined their
attention to the movements of European troops, bore their burdens most
cheerfully. At the same time they gave frequent evidence of great
fatigue which was not at all to be wondered at under the circumstances.

Of one incident of the ascent Mr. Hay wrote: “Most of the party started
long before the two ‘Yanquis,’ but in half an hour we caught up with

[Illustration: SUNRISE AT CHOQQUEQUIRAU]

[Illustration: THE FRAIL LITTLE BRIDGE OVER THE APURIMAC]

them. They had waylaid an Indian bearer and were having beer and other
refreshments under a tree. Here we noticed an example of the height of
generosity towards an Indian in Peru. This is to let him carry all day,
among other things, the refreshments. Then take the beer, drink it, and
return him the bottle. The bottle, be it noted, should be received with
many expressions of thanks on the part of the Indian. We passed the
revellers and plodded on up together. Unfortunately for history but
fortunately for our nerves, at least, the _periodista_ gave out soon
after this and was forced to turn back. So the chronicle of the events
at Choqquequirau must come only from the pen of an alien? Not for a
minute! _El periodista_ was ever with us in spirit, and the report for
the Lima Journal fared far better at the hands of Imagination than it
ever could have through plain Experience.”

The enthusiastic Caceres kept shouting “valor” at the top of his lungs
as evidence of his good spirits and in an effort to encourage the
others. The two _Yankis_ had a hard time of it and were obliged to stop
and rest nearly every fifty feet.

At times the trail was so steep that it was easier to go on all fours
than to attempt to maintain an erect attitude. Occasionally we crossed
streams in front of waterfalls on slippery logs or treacherous little
foot-bridges. At other times we clung to the face of rocky precipices or
ascended by roughly constructed ladders from one elevation to another.
Although the hillside was too precipitous to allow much forest growth,
no small part of the labor of making the path had been the work of
cutting through dense underbrush.

As we mounted, the view of the valley became more and more magnificent.
Nowhere have I ever witnessed such beauty and grandeur as was here
displayed. A white torrent raged through the cañon six thousand feet
below us. Where its sides were not too precipitous to admit of
vegetation, the steep slopes were covered with green foliage and
luxuriant flowers. From the hilltops near us other slopes rose six
thousand feet beyond and above to the glaciers and snow-capped summits
of Mts. Sargantay and Soray. In the distance, as far as we could see, a
maze of hills, valleys, tropical jungle, and snow-capped peaks held the
imagination as though by a spell. Such were our rewards as we lay
panting by the side of the little path when we had reached its highest
point.

After getting our wind, we followed the trail westward, skirting more
precipices and crossing other torrents, until, about two o’clock, we
rounded a promontory and caught our first glimpse of the ruins of
Choqquequirau on the slopes of a bold mountain headland 6000 feet above
the river. Between the outer hilltop and the ridge connecting it with
the snow-capped mountains, a depression or saddle had been terraced and
levelled so as to leave a space for the more important buildings of the
Inca stronghold.

At three o’clock we reached a glorious waterfall whose icy waters,
coming probably from the glaciers on Soray, cooled our heads and
quenched our thirst. We had now left our companions far behind, and
were pushing slowly along through the jungle, when shortly before four
o’clock we saw terraces in the near distance. Just as we began to enjoy
the prospect of reaching Choqquequirau alone, Caceres and Castillo
caught up with us. They had stayed behind in a futile attempt to
encourage the Indian bearers, and the other adventurers to have more
“valor.” The others did not arrive until the next morning; not even the
Quichua carriers on whom we depended for food and blankets.

Soon after our arrival, we clambered up to a little bit of flat ground,
where evidently the Incas once cultivated their crops, to enjoy the
view. Here we were discovered by a huge condor who proceeded to
investigate the invaders of his domain. Apparently without moving a
muscle, he sailed gracefully down in ever narrowing circles until we
could see clearly not only his cruel beak and great talons, but even the
whites of his eyes. We had no guns and not even a club with which to
resist his attack. It was an awe-inspiring moment, for he measured at
least twelve feet from tip to tip of wing. When within forty feet of us
he decided not to disturb us, and seemingly without changing the
position of a feather, soared off into space. We were told afterwards by
Caceres and Castillo that they had been greatly alarmed by condors when
they first commenced operations here.

Owing to the non-appearance of the carriers we passed an uncomfortable
night in the smallest of the little thatched huts which the workmen had
erected for their own use. It was scarcely three feet high and about six
feet long by four feet wide. The day had been warm, and in our efforts
to make climbing as easy as possible, we had divested ourselves of all
our warm clothes. Notwithstanding the fact that a shelter tent was
pulled down and wrapped around us for warmth, and stacks of dry grass
piled about us, we were scarcely able to close our eyes for the cold and
chilling dampness all night long.

The humidity was one hundred or nearly so during the four days which we
spent on the mountain. Consequently we passed the majority of the time
in thick mist or rain.

[Illustration:

CHOQQUEQUIRAU & VICINITY, PERU.
Drawn by C. W. Drysdale
From
Measurements and Photographs taken Feb. 7, 8, 9, 10, 1909
by
DR. HIRAM BINGHAM and CLARENCE HAY Esq.
]



CHAPTER XXIII

CHOQQUEQUIRAU


The next morning we began at once to take measurements and get what
pictures we could. We found that the ruins were clustered in several
groups both on terraces and natural shelves, reached by winding paths or
stairways. Some buildings were long and narrow and of one story; others
of a story and a half with tall gables. The buildings were placed close
together, probably in order to economize all the available space. It is
likely that every square yard that could be given to agriculture was
cultivated.

Magnificent precipices guard the ruins on every side and render
Choqquequirau virtually inaccessible to an enemy. Every avenue of
ascent, except such as the engineers determined to leave open, was
closed, and every strategic spot was elaborately fortified. Wherever it
might have been possible for a bold mountaineer to gain a foothold, the
Incas had built well-faced walls of stone so as to leave an adventurous
assailant no support. The terraces thus made served the double purpose
of military defence and of keeping the soil from sliding away from the
gardens down the steep hillside.

As may be seen from the map, the ruins consist of three distinct groups
of buildings.

All had been more or less completely hidden by trees and vines during
the centuries of solitude. Fortunately for us the treasure-seeking
company had done excellent work in clearing away from the more important
buildings the tangled mass of vegetation that had formerly covered them.
Dynamite had also been used in various likely spots where treasure might
have been buried. But the workmen had found no gold and only a few
objects of interest including, besides those we saw at Abancay, a few
clay pots and two or three grinding stones of a pattern still in use in
this part of the Andes and as far north as Panama.

At the top of the southern and outer precipice, five thousand eight
hundred feet immediately above the river, stands a parapet and the walls
of two buildings without windows. The view from here, both up and down
the valley of the Apurimac, surpasses the possibilities of language for
adequate description. The photograph gives but the faintest idea of its
beauty and grandeur. Far down the gigantic cañon one catches little
glimpses of the Apurimac, a white stream shut in between guardian
mountains, so narrowed by the distance that it seems like a mere
brooklet. Here and there through the valley are marvellous cataracts,
one of which, two thousand feet high, has a clear fall of over one
thousand feet. The panorama in every direction is wonderful in variety,
contrast, beauty, and grandeur.

North of this outer group of buildings is an artificially truncated
hill. It is probable that on this flattened hilltop, which commands a
magnificent

[Illustration: BUILT OF STONES LAID IN CLAY]

[Illustration: THE PARTY WALL RISES TO THE PEAK]

view up and down the valley, signal fires could be built to telegraph to
the heights overlooking Cuzco, intelligence of the approach of an enemy
from the Amazonian wilds.

We noticed on this hilltop that small stones had been set into the
ground, in straight lines crossing and recrossing at right angles as
though to make a pattern. So much of it was covered by grass, however,
that we did not have a chance to sketch it in the time at our disposal.

North of the lookout and on the saddle between it and the main ridge is
located the main group of ruins: a rude fortification fifteen feet high,
running across the little ridge from one precipitous slope to the other;
a long one-story building of uncertain use in which curious carved stone
rings are set into the walls in such a manner as to serve possibly for
the detention of prisoners; a long one-story building that might have
been a grand hall or place of meeting, whose walls are surrounded with
numerous niches; and a block of story-and-a-half houses whose gabled
ends are still standing. The use of gables was almost universal in the
central and southern part of the land of the Incas.

These double buildings stand transversely to the general line of the
edifices and have a middle or party-wall exactly dividing the gable. It
rises to the peak of the structure and once doubtless supported the
upper ends of the rafters. These houses bear a striking resemblance to
one of the Inca buildings at Ollantaytambo described by Squier[4] in
the following words: “It is a story and a half high, built of rough
stones laid in clay, and originally stuccoed, with a central wall
reaching to the apex of the gables, dividing it into two apartments of
equal size.... There seems to have been no access to the upper story
from the interior, but there are two entrances to it through one of the
gables, where four flat projecting stones seem to have supported a kind
of balcony or platform, reached probably by ladders.” This description
fits these structures almost exactly. There are other resemblances
between Choqquequirau and the Inca fortresses visited and described by
Mr. Squier. In fact, one might use many a sentence from his accounts of
Pisac and Ollantaytambo that would adequately describe Choqquequirau and
its surroundings. Like the buildings of Ollantaytambo, these are nearly
perfect, lacking only the roof.

The two-story houses had an exterior measurement of 42 by 38 feet.
Similar ones measured by Squier near the temple of Viracocha north of
Lake Titicaca, were also divided into two equal apartments and measured
46 by 38 feet. The fronts of each building have two entrances and the
interior of every apartment is ornamented with irregular niches within
which some of the stucco still remains. The walls are irregular but
usually about three feet thick, and are composed of unhewn fragments of
lava cemented together with a stiff clay.

In general, all the walls appear to have been built entirely of stone
and clay. The construction, compared with that of the Inca palaces in
Cuzco, is

[Illustration:

GENERAL PLAN
OF
LOWER PLAZA
CHOOQUEQUIRAU
]

extremely rude and rough and no two niches or doors are exactly alike.
Occasionally the lintels of the doors were made of timber, the builders
not having taken the trouble to provide stones wide enough for the
purpose. One such lintel was still standing, the wood being of a
remarkably hard texture.

Probably the ruins to-day present a more striking appearance than they
did when they were covered with thatched roofs.

Ornamental niches which constitute a characteristic and constant feature
in Inca architecture appear on the interior of all the Choqquequirau
buildings and on the exterior of a few. Some of those on the outside are
of the re-entering variety. Those on the inside are of two kinds. The
larger ones about five feet high reach to the floors of the apartments
and are mere closets, as it were, without doors, being slightly wider at
the bottom, about thirty-four inches, than at the top, about
twenty-eight inches, and of varying depth, thirteen to sixteen inches. A
second line, smaller and not reaching to the ground, is also found in
several of the structures. There is good evidence that some of the walls
were faced with stucco and possibly painted in colors. In the case of
one wall that had been partly pushed out of the perpendicular by the
action of time, several of the niches retained almost entirely their
coating of stucco, and so did some of the more protected portions of the
wall.

Almost the only ornamentation which the houses contained besides the
ever-present niches, were cylindrical blocks of stone about three inches
in diameter projecting twelve or fourteen inches from the wall seven
feet above the ground between each niche.

In one of the niches I found a small stone whirlbob of a spindle-wheel,
in size and shape like those made from wood and used to-day all over the
Andes by Indian women. This simple spinning apparatus consists of a
stick about as large as the little finger and from ten to twelve inches
long. Its lower end is fitted with a whirlbob of wood to give it proper
momentum when it is set in motion by a twirl of the forefinger and thumb
grasping the upper end of the spindle. It is in universal use by Indian
women from the Andes of Colombia to those of Chile, and one rarely sees
a woman tending sheep or walking along the high road who is not busily
engaged in using this old-fashioned spindle. In the tombs of Pachacamac
near Lima have been found spindles still fitted with similar whirlbobs
of stone.

The third group of buildings is higher up on the spur, a hundred feet or
more above the second group. Near the path from the lower to the upper
plaza are the remains of a little _azequia_ or watercourse, now dry,
lined with flat stones. The southeast corner of the third group is
marked by a huge projecting rock twenty feet high and twelve or fifteen
feet in diameter. Beside it, facing the eastern slope, is a giant
stairway. It consists of fourteen great steps roughly made and of
varying dimensions. They average about fifteen feet wide, with risers
four and a half feet high and treads about six and a half feet deep. It
is possible to ascend these stairs by means of small stone steps erected
on one

[Illustration: THE BUILDINGS NEAR THE OUTER PRECIPICE]

[Illustration: THE UPPER SIX STEPS OF THE GIANT STAIRWAY]

end or the other of the giant step. Walls on each side, two feet wide,
serve as a balustrade. A peculiarity of the construction is the locating
of a huge flat stone in the centre of the riser of each step. The view
to the eastward from this stairway is particularly fine. Perhaps the
rising sun, chief divinity of the Incas, was worshipped here.

Beyond the stairway are terraces, alley-ways, walls, and
story-and-a-half houses, filled with niches and windows. The length of
the first terrace is slightly over two hundred feet and its height is
twelve feet. The second terrace above it has a height of ten feet and a
length of one hundred and twenty-nine feet. Above these are two long
alley-ways or halls with niches in their walls and windows looking out
over the terraces. These halls are five feet wide. Back of these are
buildings resembling in their construction those in the lower group.
They also are decorated with irregular niches and cylindrical stone
projections. Under these houses, however, there ran a small passage-way
or drain twelve inches wide and ten inches deep. These two houses,
although roughly built, were as nearly the same size as possible.
Between them ran a narrow passage-way leading to a back alley. This was
curiously paved with slabs of slate half an inch thick. Back of this is
another hall five and a half feet wide with windows in front and niches
on the rear, or hill, side.

The gables of the upper group are steeper than those of the lower group
and are in fact quite as pointed as those seen in Dutch cities. The two
gable buildings of the upper group stand on the slope of the hill in
such a manner that there is no gable on the side nearest the declivity.
In other words, they are only half the size of the double houses below.
Nearly all of these houses have two or three small, rude windows. A
narrow stone stairway leads from the back alley to a terrace above. This
opens out into the upper plaza on which are several buildings that
overlook the western precipices. Two of the houses have no windows and
one of them contains three cells. The Peruvians said they were used for
the detention of prisoners. They were more likely storehouses. On the
north side of the plaza is a curious little structure built with the
utmost care and containing many niches and nooks. It may possibly have
been for the detention of so-called “virgins of the sun” or have been
the place in which criminals, destined to be thrown over the precipice,
according to the laws of the Incas, awaited their doom. The plan gives a
good idea of its irregular construction.

Above it the hillside rises steeply, and on the crest of the ridge runs
a little conduit which we followed until it entered the impenetrable
tropical jungle at the foot of a steep hill. The water in this little
_azequia_, now dry, coming straight down the spur, was conducted over a
terrace into two well-paved tanks on the north side of the plaza. Thence
it ran across the plaza to a little reservoir or bath-house on the south
side. This was ten feet long by five feet wide with low walls not over
five feet high and had on its north side a small stone basin let down
into the floor two feet by three in such a manner as to

[Illustration:

GENERAL PLAN
OF
UPPER PLAZA AND GIANT STAIRWAY
CHOQQUEQUIRAU

Drawn by C. W. Drysdale from Measurements and Photographs taken Feb. 7,
8, 9, 10, 1909 by Dr. HIRAM BINGHAM and CLARENCE HAY Esq.]

catch the water that flowed over the edge of the wall. A small outlet
had been provided at the end of this basin so that the water could flow
underneath the floor of the bathroom or tank house and then proceed on
its way down the ridge to the buildings below.

As the western slope of the Choqquequirau spur is a sheer precipice,
little attempt at fortification was made on that side. The eastern
slope, however, is not so steep. On this side it was necessary to build
enormous terraces hundreds of feet long faced with perpendicular walls
twelve feet wide. Two narrow paved stairways lead from one terrace to
another.

Near one of the terraces I picked up either a _bola_ or a hammerstone
nearly as large as my fist.

In the jungle immediately below the last terrace, under ledges and huge
boulders, were dug little caves in which the bones of the dead were
placed. I found that the bones were heaped in a little pile as though
they had been cleaned before being interred. No earth had been placed on
them, but on top of the little pile in one grave I found a small
earthen-ware jar about one inch in diameter. It had no handles and was
not closed at the top although the opening, a quarter of an inch in
diameter, had been fitted with a specially well-made perforated cap.
There was nothing in the jar, although it had retained its upright
position during all the years of its interment. The natural entrance to
the little tomb had been walled up with wedge-shaped stones from the
inside in such a way as to make it extremely difficult to enter the
cave from the front. I found, however, that by digging away a little on
one side of the huge boulder, I could easily remove the stones which had
evidently been placed there by the grave-digger after the bones had been
deposited in the tomb.

The workmen had excavated under a dozen or more of the projecting ledges
and in each case had found bones and occasionally shreds of pottery. In
no case, however, had they found anything of value to indicate that the
dead were of high degree. Probably they were common soldiers and
servants. If any of the officers of the garrison or Inca nobles were
ever buried in this vicinity, their tombs have not yet been discovered,
or else the graves were rifled years ago. But of this there is no
evidence.

All the conspicuously large rocks below the terraces have been found to
cover graves. The skulls were not found alone but always near the
remainder of the skeleton. The larger bones were in fairly good
condition but the smallest ones had completely disintegrated.
Nevertheless, ribs were frequently met with. Some of the largest bones
could be crumbled with the fingers and easily broken, while others were
very hard and seemed to be extremely well preserved. Some skulls
likewise were decayed and could be easily crushed with the fingers while
others were white and hard; all that we found were those of adults,
although one or two of them seemed to be of persons not over twenty
years of age. So far as has been observed, no superincumbent soil was
placed on the skeleton.

[Illustration: 1. A Hawaiian. 2-4. Skulls from Choqquequirau. 5. A
Flat-head Indian.

6. Bola found at Choqquequirau. 7. Whirl-bob.

8. Jar found in a grave, Choqquequirau.]

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A BUILDING AT CHOQQUEQUIRAU]

The Quichua Indian carriers and workmen watched our operations with
interest, but they became positively frightened when we began the
careful measurement and examination of the bones. They had been in doubt
as to the object of our expedition up to that point, but all doubts then
vanished and they decided we had come there to commune with the spirits
of the departed Incas.

As a rule, the evidence of deformation of the skull was slight in a
majority of the specimens examined. Nevertheless one had been much
flattened behind and another extremely so in front. There was no
evidence of any having been trephined or of any decorative patterns
having been made on any part of either skulls or bones. Three of the
skulls are now in the Peabody Museum in New Haven, with the other
articles I found here.

On the steep hillside southeast of the terraces and graves, we found
many less important ruins, completely covered by the forest. Were it
possible to clear away all the rich tropical growth that has been
allowed to accumulate for centuries, one would undoubtedly find that
there is not a point which is not somehow commanded or protected by a
maze of outworks. No clearing or path having been constructed in order
to enable them to be seen, we could not form an adequate idea of their
extent. There seemed to be, however, no limit to the ruins of the huts
where lived the private soldiers and the servants of the garrison. One
hall measured 75 by 25 feet while another was 30 by 10, and it is
entirely possible that there are others that have not yet been located,
so dense is the jungle.

On the opposite side of the valley are the ruins of Incahuasy, near
Tambobamba, which have been described by M. Charles Wiener.[5] So far as
I can judge from the drawings he gives of one of the “palaces,” the
construction is very similar to that used at Choqquequirau.

I believe that Incahuasy and Choqquequirau were originally frontier
fortresses that defended the valley of the Apurimac, one of the natural
approaches to Cuzco, from the Amazonian wilds. A glance at the map will
show that Pisac and Paucartambo, northeast of Cuzco, with Ollantaytambo
to the north and Choqquequirau to the west form a complete line of
defence. Each is located in one of the valleys by which the unconquered
Indians of the great forest could attack the sacred capital of the
Incas. The Incas were never able to extend their empire far into the
forests that covered the eastern slopes of the Andes or the valleys of
the rivers that flow toward the Amazon. They did, however, push their
empire down the valleys until they encountered the savage inhabitants of
these wild forests, savage Chunchas or Antis, who with their poisoned
arrows and their woodcraft were well able to protect themselves. The
Incas were obliged to stop short when they reached the thick forests.
The massive and complicated fortresses of Paucartambo, Pisac, and
Ollantaytambo marked the extent of their sway. There were undoubtedly
several less important outlying

[Illustration: CUZCO AND NEIGHBORING FORTRESSES]

fortresses lower down the rivers, situated in such a way as to be able
to prevent the incursions of small parties of wild savages and give
notice of any large expeditions that might attempt to march on Cuzco.
They were so placed as to be practically impregnable. Choqquequirau was
evidently one of these.

I fear that no amount of dynamite will ever disclose at Choqquequirau a
“Cradle of Gold” or any articles of great value. It was not a temple or
a treasure house, but a fortress where life was strenuous. The officers
of its garrison were not likely to bring with them gold ornaments or
utensils, and the poor Incas had few such baubles left at the end of
their career.

Why then should it have been called the “Cradle of Gold?” One answer is
that the ridge or spur on which Choqquequirau lies, when seen from a
distance, looks not unlike a hammock. The setting sun often tinges it
with gold and the romantic Incas might easily have named Choqquequirau
from its resemblance to the only cradles with which they were familiar.

The other answer is that the name, which does not occur in any of the
chronicles, so far as I have been able to discover, is a modern
invention. In one of the buildings we found several slabs of slate on
which visitors have been accustomed to register their names. According
to these inscriptions Choqquequirau was visited in 1834 by a French
explorer M. Eugène de Sartiges, and in July, 1834, by two Peruvians,
José Maria de Tejada and Marcelino Leon, who may have come with de
Sartiges.

Charles Wiener, in his very unreliable but highly interesting “Perou et
Bolivie” (Paris, 1880), says (footnote, p. 294) that Choqquequirau has
also been visited by another Frenchman, “M. Angrand whose MS. notes,
with plans and drawings, were bequeathed to the Bibliothèque Nationale
in Paris.” I find they are merely hastily-drawn sketches. One, a
route-map, is dated “30 7bre,” [1847]. Angrand’s name does not appear on
any of the slates.

Besides de Sartiges, and the two Peruvians already mentioned, the slate
records show that in 1861, on the 10th of November, José Benigno Samanez
(“pro Presidente Castilla”) Juan Manuel Rivas Plata, and Mariano
Cisneros reached the ruins. Also that on July 4, 1885, Luis E. Almanza,
J. Antonio Almanza, Emiliano Almanza, Pio Mogrovejo and a party of
workmen did what they could to find the buried treasure. So much for the
existing evidence of former visitors.

M. de Sartiges, writing under the nom de plume E. de Lavandais,
published an account of his visit in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, in
June, 1850. His route, the only one possible at the time, was
exceedingly circuitous. From Mollepata, a village near the sugar
plantation of La Estrella, he went north across the high pass between
Mts. Sargantay and Soray to the river Urubamba, to a village called
Yuatquinia (Huadquiña [?]). He engaged Indians to cut a trail to
Choqquequirau. After three weeks he found that the difficulties of
making a trail were so great that it would take at least two months to
finish the undertaking, so he and his companions made their way through
the jungle and along the precipices as best they could for four days. On
the fifth day they arrived at the ruins. In his projects for
exploration, he had failed to take into account the fact that tropical
vegetation had been at work for centuries covering up the remains of the
Inca civilization, and as he was only able to stay at Choqquequirau for
two or three days, he failed to see some of the most interesting ruins.
The giant stairway and the buildings on the upper plaza seem to have
escaped his attention entirely. He was greatly impressed with the
fortifications on the south side of the lower plaza and speaks of them
as though they formed a triumphal wall (“_mur triomphal_”). He seems to
have spent most of his time hunting for treasure behind this wall. He
had expected to spend eight days here, but the difficulties of reaching
the place were so great and the food-supply was so limited that he had
to hurry back without seeing more than the buildings of the lower plaza,
the lower terraces, and a grave or two. It was his opinion that fifteen
thousand people lived here once. One wonders what they lived on.

M. de Sartiges’s description made us realize how much we were indebted
to the labors of the treasure-seeking company for penetrating the jungle
and uncovering buildings whose presence otherwise would never have been
suspected.

Raimondi says that in 1862, Don Juan Gastelu, a Peruvian traveller, left
Ayacucho in an effort to go up the valley of the Apurimac in a canoe,
hoping in this way to reach the ancient fortress. After seven days of
perilous navigation, he gave up the attempt long before reaching its
vicinity.

The interesting question remains: Was this the ultimate refuge of the
last Inca?

It is reasonably certain that Manco Ccapac, the last emperor, fleeing
from the wrath of the conquerors, took refuge in a place called
“Vilcabamba.” There is a village of that name, two or three days journey
over the mountains north of Choqquequirau, on the Vilcabamba River, an
affluent of the Urubamba. It has never been explored so far as I know.

Peruvian writers like Paz Soldan and the great geographer, Raimondi, are
positive that Manco Ccapac’s “Vilcabamba” was really Choqquequirau. They
base their belief on the fact that in 1566 an Augustinian Friar, Marcos
Garcia, undertook to penetrate to “Vilcabamba,” where poor old Manco
Ccapac had found a refuge. In describing his tour, Father Calancha, the
author of the “Chronica moralizada del Orden de San Augustin, Libro III,
Cap. XXIV and XLII,” says that Garcia founded a church in Pucyura, “two
long days’ journey from Vilcabamba.” Raimondi calls attention to the
fact that Pucyura is only two leagues from the present village of
“Vilcabamba,” and while he admits that it is possible that Father
Calancha wrote “_days’_ journey” instead of “_leagues_” by mistake, he
believes that the reference is to Choqquequirau which is in fact two
long days’ journey from Pucyura. It is at least a very roundabout method
of inference.[6]

Raimondi may be correct, but until some one shall have explored the
present village of Vilcabamba and its vicinity, I am inclined to the
opinion that Choqquequirau was merely a fortress.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since writing the above I have received, through the kindness of Prof.
Roland Dixon of Harvard University, a copy of a pamphlet by the
distinguished Peruvian historian, Carlos A. Romero, entitled “Las Ruinas
de Choqquequirau,” which gives the result of his careful researches
through all the works of writers who refer to Choqquequirau. It does not
add to our actual knowledge of the early history of the ruins.



CHAPTER XXIV

ABANCAY TO CHINCHEROS


One of the conditions on which we had based our decision to visit
Choqquequirau was that the Prefect was to see to it that animals should
be ready for our departure as soon as we got back, and that his
officials along the road should facilitate our progress in every
possible manner. To his credit be it said that he kept his promise
faithfully, notwithstanding all the rules in the books to the effect
that a South American rarely remembers his promise.

The next day after our return to Abancay, we spent in re-arranging our
luggage and making ready for a rapid march to Ayacucho. The Prefect sent
in an official request for a report on the ruins of Choqquequirau. Not
being a Latin-American, I was unable to sit down and dash off a
“thorough satisfactory official report” in an hour and a half and had to
explain that it would take days and even weeks to draw plans from the
data in our field-books and from the ten dozen negatives we had exposed.

On the following day, much refreshed in body and mind, we succeeded in
getting an early start. We were accompanied out of town by a score of
enthusiastic friends whose interest in our undertaking was perfectly
ingenuous and of whom we had learned to be very fond. They not only
decided to extend

[Illustration: OUR CAVALCADE ON THE BRIDGE OF PACHACHACA]

the customary “mile of courtesy” to a dozen or more, but later they
followed us up with congratulatory telegrams speeding us on our way.

Our cavalcade clattered gayly out of town on a fine brisk morning when
for some reason or other it did not happen to be raining. A short stop
at Yllanya to enable us to pay our respects to the kind Letona family,
who had given us a pleasant banquet the week before, was rewarded by the
young master of the house having his horse saddled at once and insisting
on taking us by a short cut through his own canefields. These looked
prosperous enough, but a swarm of locusts that had just made their
appearance was pointed out to us, and the planter feared greatly for his
crops.

At ten o’clock we reached the river Pachachaca, the first large affluent
of the Apurimac. We crossed it on a stone bridge whose magnificent
single arch was erected under the direction of a Jesuit architect, two
hundred and fifty years ago. It is said to be one of the longest spans
in the Andes. Here we stopped to have a round of drinks and to enjoy the
scenery.

It was a beautiful spot: green mountains on both sides of a valley
filled with waving sugar-cane through the midst of which ran a roaring,
rushing torrent. A few miles farther up this valley there are a number
of small Indian towns in which General Sucre had his headquarters a few
weeks before the battle of Ayacucho.

An hour’s brisk trot brought us to Auquibamba, a sugar mill and
plantation, owned by Don Federico Martinelli who was unfortunately ill
in bed and not able to see us, although his engineer and manager did
the honors most hospitably. Quantities of delicious oranges were brought
to appease our appetites while an elaborate lunch was being prepared for
the dozen more people than had been expected.

After lunch we all mounted at once. The custom of taking a siesta does
not seem to prevail at this altitude, 7000 feet. After all were on
horseback, affectionate good-bys had to be said, and notwithstanding the
nervousness of some of the more high-strung animals, their riders
succeeded in embracing the departing guests with true Spanish fervor.

Our road from Auquibamba led through a charming country until it
gradually climbed out of the valley and across a pass, at an altitude of
11,700 feet, where there was a small lake but no signs of tropical
vegetation.

We saw no llamas at all. Mules, horses, and burros were the pack animals
that we met carrying out kegs of aguardiente and loads of sugar and
bringing in foreign merchandise. Thanks to the rainy season, the fields
were covered with flowers, many varieties of which have been imported
for our own gardens at home. Wonderfully large begonias, excelling in
size anything I had ever seen before, lupins, cosmos, and many others
added great charm to the scene and partly made up for the frightful
condition of the roads.

Every one with whom we talked expressed surprise that we should attempt
a journey at this season of the year when all good Peruvians stay at
home. Not only are the roads positively dangerous in places, but the
heavy rainfall insures a thorough daily drenching unless one is so
fortunate as to be protected by a very heavy rubber poncho. As the
natives depend almost entirely on woolen ponchos for protection against
the rain, it may be imagined that they get well soaked after two or
three hours’ riding, notwithstanding the fact that the best and most
expensive vicuña ponchos are beautifully and closely woven and will shed
an ordinary shower.

At half past four we began the descent into the pretty cultivated valley
of Huancarama. The descent was steep and the path extremely slippery,
and we were paying so much attention to the manner of our going that we
barely noticed the cavalcade of eight horsemen riding at full gallop up
the valley. The Gobernador had been informed of our approach by the
kind-hearted Prefect, and had brought with him half a dozen of his
friends to do us honor. We were taken at once to his house, a small
adobe hut, and treated most courteously. The priest of the village and
two of the leading citizens were urged to remain and dine with us, which
they readily consented to do. After dinner we were piloted through the
muddy streets to the plaza where a room, evidently used for various
governmental purposes, was placed at our disposal. All went well until
the next morning when we were told that one of the animals which the
Prefect had furnished us belonged to the Gobernador, who had lent it to
the Secretary of the Department for the expedition to Choqquequirau, and
he was unwilling to have it go any farther. He said that “one of his
friends” had an excellent horse which he would rent us for that day. The
Gobernador was firm, and as he had sent the animal to pasture, he had
more than “nine points of the law” on his side. Anyhow we had no desire
to impose on him, and requested him to have his “friend’s horse” brought
around. There seemed, however, to be some sort of an understanding
between the Gobernador and his “friend,” as the horse, a fairly
good-looking beast, was brought out from the Gobernador’s own backyard.
We suspicioned that the “friend” was probably a confederate in graft, if
not actually a servant. The price asked for the use of the horse for one
day was five dollars. Evidently we were considered to be “easy.” We
appealed the matter to the soldier who had been sent as our escort, but
he would only shake his head sadly and shrug his shoulders. So we told
the Gobernador the price was outrageous and that rather than pay it, we
would settle down in Huancarama and live at his expense. With this
terrible alternative staring him in the face he sent his servant to
another “friend” with orders to bring up another animal. This time the
price asked was only $1, and although the soldier said that was twice as
much as the regular charge, we preferred to pay it rather than be
delayed any longer.

The day was very rainy. It may have been for this reason, or it may have
been because he was disappointed at his unsuccessful attempt at
“legitimate graft,” that the Gobernador did not assemble his friends and
escort us out of town. In either case we did not blame him. It was
rather a relief to escape the oft-repeated expressions of sincere sorrow
at departure which one can make two or three times, but which somehow
lack spontaneity and sincerity when they must be repeated to a cavalcade
of sixteen.

The road was no improvement on that of the day before. A long climb
through the rain and sleet, a long descent through the clouds into the
valley of the river Pincos, whose tantalizing roar helped us to realize
what magnificent scenery we were missing; a little glimpse of green
fields, a dilapidated village, an old bridge, and another long steep
ascent led us finally to a bleak _paramo_ where we were as uncomfortable
as cold winds and drenching rain could make us.

Just before four o’clock we were gladdened by the sight of a good-sized
town and hoped that it was Andahuaylas, our destination, but our escort
said it was only San Geronimo, a suburb of Andahuaylas. We found it to
be a densely populated Indian town of the usual type. Before we had much
of an opportunity to take in its points of interest, however, we were
surrounded by twenty horsemen, including the sub-Prefect of Andahuaylas,
the secretary of the province, and their friends who had ridden to meet
us. Much as we appreciated their courtesy and the liquid refreshments
they brought with them, we were still more gratified by being asked to
dismount and allow the soldiers to put our saddles on two fresh horses.
It may have been because the rain had stopped its torrential downpour,
or because our tired, jaded animals had made us lose all sense of
proportion, or it may possibly have been that those two horses really
were the finest animals in Peru; whatever the cause, we both of us
agreed that we had never enjoyed any ride so much as that last mile to
Andahuaylas, and that we had never ridden such magnificent, fiery steeds
that so closely resembled the high mettled war-horse that one usually
sees surmounted by General Bolivar either in bronze or in historical
paintings.

The good people of Andahuaylas had heard by telegraph of the banquet
which had been “tendered us” in Abancay and of the enthusiasm with which
the Prefect had welcomed us back from Choqquequirau. They determined not
to be outdone. If an additional reason was needed to spur them on to do
their utmost, it came in the press despatches that day which stated that
Chile was about to throw down the gauntlet to Peru by definitively
announcing her permanent occupancy of the provinces of Tacna and Arica.
To the minds of the older Peruvian generation who had felt the cruel
lash of the Chilean conqueror in 1883 and had witnessed the burning of
the Lima Library and the stabling of Chilean horses in Peruvian
churches, there seemed little hope of a satisfactory settlement of the
dispute and no desire to engage in another war. Their one idea seemed to
be that the United States, with its love of fair play, would see to it
that Chile did not take advantage of the weakness of Peru to rob her of
her southernmost province. As we were the only Americans in sight, and
as there was about us a certain reflected glamour of officialdom, we
were treated as though we were diplomats, instead of being, as they knew
perfectly well, merely a delegate to a Scientific Congress, and his
“secretary.” Anyhow, they had done their best to provide a banquet that
should eclipse the glories of Abancay; the table was set for forty-five
and it may safely be assumed that most of the leading citizens of
Andahuaylas were present. Little American flags, made for the occasion,
were crossed with Peruvian flags on the walls of the room. Portraits of
President Roosevelt and President Leguia, suitably framed, decorated the
wall immediately behind us. “Ice cream,” made of snow brought from the
Nevada of Chillihua on the backs of llamas, was on the menu. There was
enough food and drink to last until 2.30 A.M. Unfortunately I had to
leave early for I was simply used up with the amount of “entertainment”
that I had had to undergo during the preceding week.

Our hosts came to call rather late the next morning and looked pretty
mournful. It was not due entirely to the fact of the pouring rain.
Nevertheless the sub-Prefect was most kind, and had us take all our
meals at his house, a picturesque old compound whose large patio was
surrounded by one and two-storied buildings. The roofs, with their heavy
old-fashioned mission tiles, had long ago lost any straight line they
ever possessed. To add to their beauty, rain and sun and mosses had
given them every variety of color. In a corner of the patio, an Indian
man-servant and a little girl were busy grinding meal by rocking one
stone upon another in the same fashion as did the builders of
Choqquequirau and with stones almost the exact counterparts of those we
found there.

In the afternoon, our friends felt a little better, and the rain held up
enough for us to be shown the sights of the town. A well-proportioned
stone church, designed by the same architect who had built the bridge
near Abancay, testified again to the excellent crafts that the Jesuits
taught in this country two hundred and fifty years ago. Some of the
booths on the plaza were extremely picturesque, the various colored
wares offered for sale being protected from the sun by umbrella-shaped
shelters rudely made from old sticks covered with faded ponchos or with
the dried skins of animals, cured with the hair on.

Some one with a great fondness for Lombardy poplars had lived here years
ago and the view of the town which we got from the heights across the
river was most attractive. On the side of a mountain to the north were
many farms. The fields of corn divided from each other by hedges gave a
very pleasing background; the roaring rapids of the little river formed
the foreground; while in the middle distance the red-tiled roofs, white
walls, poplar trees, and fine old stone church made a charming picture.

The sub-Prefect and his secretary, who had most generously placed his
own very comfortable quarters at our disposal, took great pleasure in
showing us two new _alamedas_ or avenues which had been laid out
recently under his direction. It is pleasant to remember these signs of
progress even though we also remember a little old street through which
we had to pass after leaving the _alameda_. The old street, scarcely as
wide as the sidewalks of the new, had no conveniences whatsoever for
foot-passengers. Owing to the recent downpour, part of it had been
converted into a pond, and we had an amusing and not altogether
successful time getting across dry-shod.

All our friends promised to be on hand the next morning to accompany us
out of town although we assured them that it was quite unnecessary. When
they woke up and saw the rain coming down in sheets, they decided we
were right. The sub-Prefect came through the downpour to bid us good-by,
but was still suffering from dyspepsia and excused himself for not
mounting his horse. By his orders, the Gobernador of the neighboring
town of Talavera, through which we passed half an hour after leaving
Andahuaylas, accompanied us on our way.

Talavera is noted for the manufacture of the finest grade of Vicuña
ponchos. Mr. Squier gave it a bad name and was impressed by the evil
looks of its inhabitants, but we saw nothing to differentiate it from
the other crowded little towns of the interior. Wherever possible, the
land is occupied. There is, in fact, very little evidence that there was
a much larger population in Peru before the arrival of the Spanish
conquerors. Although it is true that some of the irrigating ditches have
been destroyed, it does not seem likely that this region could ever have
supported a much more numerous population than lives here to-day. Those
writers who believe that the Peruvian Indians were reduced “from upwards
of thirty millions to three millions within the space of two centuries,”
must have forgotten to make allowances for the fondness for exaggeration
in the Spanish chronicles. The country is actually as crowded to-day as
its resources will allow. In fact, most of the Indians are half starved
all the time. It is difficult to believe that twice as many, to say
nothing of ten times as many Indians, could find support on these bleak
highlands, even when they were forced to practice an extensive
cultivation of the soil by Inca laws and usages, which provided for
almost every action of their lives.

Since writing the above I have been reading Prof. Bandelier’s remarkable
book, “The Islands of Titicaca and Koati,” and am glad to notice that he
says, p. 27: “The conclusion is reached that the Indian population, of
that district (Chucuito) at least, has not at all diminished since the
early times of Spanish colonization, but has rather increased. It shows
how unjustified is the hue and cry about extermination of the natives of
Peru by the Spaniards. I could easily furnish more examples of the kind
from all over Peru and Bolivia.”

It is pleasant to have my amateurish opinions substantiated so
unexpectedly and from such a high authority.

In the valleys above Talavera there was abundant pasturage and we saw
many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. Some of the sheep had very
long curly horns, reminding one of the Rocky Mountain

[Illustration: SOME OF THE SHEEP HAD VERY LONG CURLY HORNS]

goats, while others were distinguished by having four horns instead of
two. From Talavera the road turned northward and followed for some
distance the valley of the Andahuaylas River, then crossed it and
climbed out of the valley, passed the ruins of a _tambo_ at a place
called Monobamba, and surmounted an exceedingly bleak plateau, a
veritable _paramo bravo_ where the barometer showed an elevation of
14,500 feet. The neighboring hills, the summits of the Andes, were
covered with snow. More snow began to fall before we left the _paramo_.

The descent to Chincheros was particularly difficult owing to the fact
that a little mountain torrent, usually easy to ford, had become very
much swollen. Furthermore, the mud was so deep in places that we should
have found it impossible to proceed had it not been for our excellent
guide, the Gobernador of Talavera, who knew how to avoid the worst
places and was able to pilot us across stretches of treacherous
pasture-land where the soggy soil barely sustained the weight of our
animals.

It was a long forty-mile ride. The Gobernador of Chincheros, who had
come out, with a dozen of his friends, to meet us two miles from his
town, had been waiting in the shelter of a hut for more than an hour
before we appeared. Nevertheless our tardy arrival in no wise interfered
with their welcome, and the long wait had not even induced them to make
any lighter the load of the Indian servant who had brought on foot a
basket-load of bottled beer and coñac. We had learned by this time, from
sad experience, that our stomachs, well emptied by a long day in the
saddle, would rebel at being treated to fire-water even though it was
“the custom of the country.” Although a refusal would have been
misunderstood, no objection was offered to the fact that we merely
touched the fiery draft and did not drain the glass. With the kindly
escort was an officer who had been sent all the way from Ayacucho
bearing a letter of welcome from the Prefect of that department, with
orders to attend to our comforts on the way. We felt as though we were
in the hands of our friends, but at the same time we were not prepared
for what was to follow.

After paddling painfully along for a mile or so through awful mud and
slush, we came to a roadside inn whose proprietor had stretched a line
of flags across the road and erected a primitive framework for them. As
it was late in the afternoon, we did not tarry long to return his
courteous greetings but trotted on down the valley. A sudden turn in the
road brought us into view of a charmingly situated town. Deep green
valleys, high mountains, and pleasant trees gave a fine setting to
picturesque Chincheros with its little old church and its red-tiled
roofed houses. We had to cross a stone bridge just before entering the
town, and here we were met by an Indian bearing on a pole an enormous
flag. Although it had less than twenty stars and only eight stripes, it
was unmistakably intended to be “Old Glory.” Welcoming us with a loud
shout, the bearer turned about and marched at the head of our cavalcade.
Flags fluttered from every house. The streets were thronged with people,
many of whom showered us with rose-leaves! As we entered the plaza, the
church bells, which had been ringing ever since we rounded the turn in
the road, redoubled their noise; the shouts increased, and we were
almost carried from our horses on the shoulders of the crowd. We
realized perfectly the spirit with which our arrival was celebrated, and
knew that it was merely an expression of cordial goodwill toward the
United States, arising from a mistaken idea that we were the official
personification of that great country; but it was all we could do to
keep our faces straight.

After we were finally lodged in a comfortable room belonging to the
little local club, we thought the crowd would disperse. Not at all.
Nothing would satisfy them but that one of us should make a speech
which, however feebly delivered, was received with great enthusiasm.
More rose-petals were thrown, the bells were rung again, the flags
waved, the people cheered, and we were made to know what it must be like
to be a returning military chief and to hear the band play “Lo the
Conquering Hero Comes!”

The little group of Chinchereños, whose public spirit had established
the club, tendered us a banquet that evening. They had determined to
outdo the celebrations which they had heard of as taking place in
Abancay and Andahuaylas, but they insisted that the outside celebration
was quite spontaneous, and that the Indians had taken it into their own
heads to improve on that which the club had planned. After the banquet
that evening, there was a display of fireworks consisting of a set
piece fixed to a pole which was held by a poor Indian who did not seem
to mind in the least the shower of sparks that fell on every side. To
prolong his danger, the rain kept putting out the fuse so that it had to
be lighted six or seven times. If he felt any pain, however, he failed
to show it, and seemed only too delighted to be the centre of
attraction.

The celebration had a strange witness. In the crowd that welcomed us
near the bridge there was a haggard man with German features who called
out in English, “Hurrah for the United States!” He soon came to call on
us and told quite a tragic story.

He said his name was Emilio Smith (or Schmidt) and that his home was in
Düsseldorf on the Rhine. With three companions, he had made a wager in
New York that they could walk from Buenos Aires across both continents
to New York City without funds and without begging. He said that the New
York “Herald” and the Buenos Aires “La Prensa” had offered a prize of
five thousand dollars, if they would accomplish the feat. They had had
no particular difficulty in crossing Argentina, but one of them
succumbed at Tupiza soon after they reached Bolivia. Nothing daunted,
the other three pressed on over much the same road that we had followed
from Tupiza to Potosí and thence direct to the Antofagasta railway. At
each place they had secured the signature of official witnesses to the
effect that they were not riding and were not begging but were
conducting their overland tramp fairly. They raised money by giving
lectures and

[Illustration: THE CLUB AT CHINCHEROS]

entertainments in the towns through which they passed, and had
frequently been given food and lodging by kindly disposed Indians,
although often they had been very rudely received. They had walked
around Lake Titicaca, and had reached Cuzco, followed the old trail to
Lima, walked up the coast, and penetrated the equatorial rain-belt in
Ecuador before disaster overtook them. Weakened by months of exposure,
they were in no condition to encounter tropical fevers, and all were
soon flat on their backs. Two of them never recovered and were buried in
Ecuador. Smith, now alone, cabled to the New York “Herald” for
instructions, stating that he was too weak to continue the journey
alone, and had no funds. The answer came back: “Return to Buenos Aires.”
Although he had been dismayed by the difficulties that lay ahead of him
in Ecuador and Colombia, he knew enough of the road over which he had
come to believe that he could safely get back to Buenos Aires and that
then the “Herald” and the “Prensa” would probably reward him for his
foolhardy excursion. Accordingly, he was retracing his steps, and had
reached Chincheros that noon. He had intended to go along further in the
afternoon, but hearing of the expected arrival of two Americans, and
being invited to the banquet, he had stayed over.

It was a dismal story that he told, but he took great pride in it, and
his eyes flashed as he recounted his exploits. The only bitter in the
sweet was that he had lost his friends, and that we had not heard of
him.

“What, you don’t know about me? Why, I am the foot-walker. I go from
Buenos Aires to New York. I don’t get there. I go back to Buenos Aires.
You haven’t heard of me? You haven’t heard of me, Emilio Smith, the
foot-walker? That is very strange. And the Prefect of Abancay? He is a
good fellow. Didn’t he tell you about me? Didn’t he show you my picture?
My picture of me and my two friends?”

I think he felt that we really hadn’t been to Abancay after all. Poor
fellow, living for months on the narration of his exploits, it was a
hard pill for him to swallow that the only Americans he had seen who had
come over the road where he had passed several months before, had never
heard any mention made of his overland journey. The reason was not far
to seek. He travelled on foot. No one but an Indian travels on foot. It
is perfectly inconceivable to the Spanish mind that any one should do
any feat of pedestrianism unless compelled to, either by poverty or the
instincts of a vagabond. Poor people and vagabonds are too common to
attract much attention. We never heard of him again. He left early the
next morning.



CHAPTER XXV

BOMBON TO THE BATTLEFIELD OF AYACUCHO


The next morning we were furnished fresh horses by our kind hosts, and
accompanied by five or six of them, climbed out of the beautiful valley
of Chincheros up to the heights of Bombon overlooking the river Pampas.
Here in 1824, the patriot forces under General Sucre, marching along
this road to Lima, encountered the Royalists under La Serna, trying to
cut off their retreat. The advance guard of each army met on the 20th of
November on the heights of Bombon. The Royalists were driven down into
the valley and across the river Pampas.

After reaching the level of the river, our path followed the Pampas,
down stream, in a northerly direction, for some distance among groves of
mimosa trees and cacti. This is a famous place for mosquitoes, and there
is said to be a great deal of malaria in the vicinity. The altitude is
slightly over six thousand feet.

My interest in the Pampas valley was considerably increased by finding
the trees and cacti covered with white land shells, some of them
reminding me of those tree shells that I had gathered as a boy in the
beautiful valleys of the Island of Oahu. I filled my pockets, and later
spent the evening cleaning the shells, much to the amusement of my
hosts. My labor was amply rewarded by finding, after reaching home, that
among the shells were three new species which Dr. Dall, the Curator of
the Division of Mollusks in the United States National Museum, has named
and described.[7]

The bridge over the Pampas has long attracted the notice of travellers.
The approach to it is at the foot of perpendicular cliffs. The
surrounding scenery although not so imposing as that of the Apurimac is
nevertheless magnificent. The bridge is about 150 feet long, and at the
time of my visit, February, 1909, was 50 feet above the river. There are
two pictures of the old bridge in Mr. Squier’s book, and although wire
rope has replaced the old cables that the Incas made from maguey fibre,
it is still the most unwelcome feature of the road from the point of
view of the mules.

One of our mules simply would not cross the bridge. No amount of pushing
and pulling, beating and shouting, would make him budge an inch. Finally
he was blindfolded and a rope tied to each front leg. His hind legs were
tied securely together, to prevent him from kicking, and by alternately
pulling the ropes attached to his front feet, he was forced in a most
ignominious manner to come onto the bridge and go a third of the way
across. Then the ropes were loosened and the blind taken off.

[Illustration: THE LARGE PLAZA OF AYACUCHO]

[Illustration: THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER PAMPAS]

We expected to see him turn and bolt for the nearest side but he was too
frightened to do anything of the sort, and became at once most docile,
and finished the trip in peace.

He was not the only one who did not like the bridge. The priest of
Chincheros, who had been delayed from accompanying us by the arrival of
a visiting cleric that morning, overtook us here. Although a sturdy
native Indian, he was rather portly and preferred not only to leave to
some one else the leading across of his mule, but even to have a poor
Indian bearer give him his shoulder to steady him on the swaying
structure.

From the other end of the bridge we ascended the precipitous cliff by a
narrow winding path and found ourselves on a lofty terrace where the
enterprising Parodi Brothers have planted waving fields of sugarcane.
Here we were met by the Gobernador of Tambillo and the Parodis who
escorted us to their sugar factory at Pajonal, a most attractive
hacienda nestled in a valley at the foot of beetling crags. Our hosts
had inherited from their father an unusual stock of energy and skill.
Owing to his efforts, a good irrigation ditch had been constructed that
furnished the canefields with an abundant supply of water. The houses
were in good repair and everything bore the marks of prosperity. It was
a pleasure to see such evidence of enterprise and energy in this wild
region. One brother, who ordinarily practices medicine in Lima, was here
on a visit. Another brother is being educated in the States.

We left Pajonal the next morning, accompanied by the Gobernador of
Tambillo, a very agreeable person of German-Peruvian descent. From
Pajonal the road ascends a little valley and then climbs a mountainside
to the village of Ocros, a most forlorn and wretched place, with an
elevation of nearly ten thousand feet.

The adobe church, like that at Chincheros, was set back from the plaza,
and had a new adobe wall around it. Earth for this seemed to have been
taken right out of the plaza. No attempt had been made to fill up the
huge holes that remained. The only building at Ocros that seemed to be
in any kind of repair was the local telegraph office where the officer
from Ayacucho who accompanied us, went to send a despatch to the
Prefect.

On the way we had been struck by the extraordinary method of hanging
telegraph wires that prevails in this country. The linesmen had thought
nothing of planting three poles together on the top of one hill and the
next three not less than a quarter of a mile away on the top of another,
stretching their wire across the intervening distance in midair. This
occurred not once or twice but whenever they could save poles by so
doing. The strain on the wire must have been tremendous. We learned that
the service was “frequently interrupted.”

The road up from Ocros was the worst that we encountered anywhere. It
was really the bed of a mountain stream and our animals had the greatest
difficulty in picking their way among the rocks and boulders. It was
hard to imagine that this was really the highway between Cuzco and Lima.
The “road” grew worse and worse until it reached a bleak _paramo_ at an
elevation of thirteen thousand feet, where snow, hail, and sleet, driven
in our faces by a high wind, added to our discomforts. A steep descent
on the other side of the range greatly tried the patience of our
animals. The ground seemed to be a hard clay that offered no support to
their feet and they slid and slipped, sometimes eight or ten feet at a
time, without being able to stop. Night was falling as we reached the
little collection of wretched huts called Matara. No one seemed to have
any desire to receive us. In fact, the Indian who had charge of the only
dry hut in the place, locked the front door and disappeared into the
night. Unlike vigorous Caceres, who would sooner have died than allow an
inhospitable Indian to refuse admission to the foreigner in his charge,
the officer from Ayacucho was a timid soul who had gone through the
world bemoaning his ill fortune and doing nothing to make it better. He
could think of no solution of the problem except that we make ourselves
as comfortable as possible in the shelter of a kind of a porch in front
of this thatched hut. So we passed an exceedingly uncomfortable night
and experienced some of the hardships that the British soldiers, who
aided the patriot army in that last campaign against the Spanish
viceroy, must have suffered in this very locality.

The next morning our road led across half a dozen deep gulches whose
streams feed the river Colpahuayo. In one of these I was so fortunate as
to find in a gravel-bank at the side of the road, which had been
heavily washed by recent rains, a portion of an ancient Inca stone
war-club shaped like a huge doughnut.

The road continued to be extremely slippery and was not improved by the
almost continuous rain. At half past two we reached Tambillo. Here we
were welcomed by the pleasant wife of the Gobernador who had ridden
ahead to have a good breakfast prepared while we had waited in vain on a
hilltop hoping the rain would hold up sufficiently to let us photograph
a magnificent panorama that included the distant city of Ayacucho and
the heights of Condorkanqui and the famous battlefield.

After lunch we crossed another gulch whose treacherous sides more than
once caused our mules to fall heavily. In the village of Los Neques, we
were met by a very courteous emissary of the Prefect of Ayacucho who
turned out to be proprietor of the hotel. He had been sent out in the
rain to apologize for the fact that there was no committee to meet us
and to explain that the notables had mounted and ridden out to await us
until driven back by the inclemency of the weather, for all of which we
were duly thankful, as it meant that we had escaped the necessity of
hurting anybody’s feelings by declining to drink more _copitas_ of
brandy on an empty stomach.

Here at Los Neques the Indians were getting ready to celebrate the days
of Carnival which were soon to be upon us. A hundred men and women had
gathered in the courtyard of an old house. In one corner a red cloth
shelter had been erected

[Illustration: AYACUCHO]

[Illustration: THE COURTYARD OF THE HOTEL]

under which sat the old men around a table on which was scattered
popcorn, roast maize, and dishes of succotash. The other men and women
squatted on the ground with dishes of succotash and bowls of _chicha_ in
front of them. As long as we looked on, all was orderly and quiet except
that two musicians with a violin and a primitive old harp were
endeavoring to cheer them up.

Soon after dark, in a pouring rain, we passed the high walls of the
Ayacucho cemetery, clattered over the cobble-stones of the narrow
streets, entered the plaza, and were ushered with a flourish through a
stone arch into the courtyard of the hotel. Acting on the orders of the
Prefect, the proprietor had reserved for our use an enormous parlor or
reception room where at least forty people could be comfortably seated,
and a great bedroom of nearly the same dimensions in which were four
large bedsteads. Notwithstanding the attractiveness of the hotel
bedsteads, such is the perversity of human nature that I decided to use
my own little “Gold Medal” folding cot that had served me faithfully for
many weeks, and my own blankets which, as they were folded up every
morning as soon as I arose and not unfolded until I was ready to sleep,
could be relied upon to be free from fleas, etc.

The plaza of Ayacucho is surrounded on three sides with private houses
that have arcades supported by stone pillars. The ground floors are
taken up with shops, while over the arcades are balconies that lead to
the principal rooms of the dwelling houses. Our hotel had been once
occupied by one of the principal families of the town and was a good
specimen of the old Spanish method of building. It had a large courtyard
from which a flight of stone steps led up to the galleries, and was
ornamented by potted plants and caged birds.

Hardly had we examined our rooms when we received a call from the
Prefect, Don Gaspar Mauro Cacho, a tall, finely proportioned Peruvian
with a remarkable sense of humor and an unfailing store of courtesy. On
the following day he took upon himself to show us the sights of the
town, including the fine old cathedral, the large public market, clean
and well kept, the picturesque old churches, and the Prefecture, a large
double quadrangle where were located the offices of the Department, the
barracks of the few troops stationed here, and the rooms allotted for
the use of himself and his family.

His wife and children had arrived from Lima not many months previous,
and the terrors of the overland journey were vividly in their minds. His
señora assured me that she had feared she would never reach Ayacucho
alive, notwithstanding the fact that the government had made every
possible provision for their comfort on the journey. One of the “guides”
lost his way, and they were quartered at an abandoned _tambo_ where
there was nothing to eat or drink and no firewood. Having lived in Lima
all their lives, they felt the discomforts keenly. It was an interesting
commentary on the state of the roads that even a Prefect could not be
sure that his family would travel with a moderate degree of comfort.

I had sometimes felt that the life of an official in Peru was as easy as
the life of the poor Indians was hard, but I had to reverse that opinion
before leaving the country. While the Prefects are appointed directly by
the President and are responsible only to him, they are likely to be
considered troublesome by the local magistrates who, although elected by
the citizens, exercise very limited prerogatives. Were it not for the
dozen or more soldiers that take their orders directly from the Prefect,
he would often be in a precarious position. He must govern as well as he
can, and yet if he does not make himself popular with the people of the
city in which he lives, his lot is not at all an easy one. With such men
as the Prefects whom we met in Arequipa, Abancay, and Ayacucho, the
central government is fortunate in being able to be sure that the power
which it delegates to them will be used firmly and wisely and without
causing friction.

This city, one of the largest in Peru, occupies an excellent central
situation and from it diverge roads in every direction. Yet so great is
the difficulty of bringing foreign merchandise over these mountain
roads, that we found few shops here of any importance, and almost all
seemed to be owned by natives of the country. The streets were all of
the same pattern, paved with rough stones, sloping, not away from the
centre as with us, but towards the centre, where in the middle there is
invariably a ditch, practically an open sewer. For those walking on the
sidewalk, it is certainly much pleasanter to have this ditch in the
middle of the street.

In anticipation of the joys of eating and drinking connected with
Carnival, Indian women with huge cauldrons of _chupe_ and immense jars
of _chicha_ were preparing to take up all-night stands, sometimes in the
centre of the street or else on a busy corner where they would be sure
to attract trade. The effect of the women’s head-gear was most curious.
It was exactly as though the lady had found her shawl a bit too warm and
had taken it off, folded it into a square, and proceeded to carry it on
her head for convenience. We went through one old crumbling archway,
attracted by some beautiful clay jars, and found ourselves in a backyard
that would have delighted a painter. Not all painters, but the kind that
loves a natural combination of picturesque ruins, fine old jars tumbled
about helter-skelter, dirty little Indian children in dirtier hats and
ponchos, very much too big for them, a cat, and a long-legged pig who
nosed about among the jars trying to see which one contained _chicha_
fit to gratify his thirst.

From the tower of one of the oldest churches we secured a splendid view
of the city and the surrounding country including nearly the entire
region occupied by the forces of Sucre and La Serna in the week
preceding the final battle of Ayacucho.

The old name of Ayacucho was Guamanga, which is said to have been a
Spanish adaptation of the Inca Huaman-ca (Take it, Falcon), a name that
was given to the district by an incident that followed a fierce battle
in which a warlike tribe of this vicinity was defeated and almost
annihilated by the armies

[Illustration: A PICTURESQUE CORNER IN AYACUCHO]

[Illustration: CROSSING THE PONGORA RIVER ON THE SHAKY SUSPENSION
BRIDGE]

of the Inca Viracocha. It is said that when serving out rations of flesh
to his troops after the battle, the Inca threw a piece to a falcon that
was soaring over his head, saying “Huaman-ca.” However this may be, the
town of Guamanga was one of the earliest to be founded by Pizarro and
was later the site of a bloody encounter between Vaca de Castro, the
legitimate Viceroy, and young Almagro and his followers, who had
assassinated Pizarro.

The name Ayacucho was given to the town after the famous battle of
December 9, 1824, which was fought near the village of Quinua, thirteen
miles north. “Ayacucho” means “corner (or heap) of dead men” and refers
to the bloody character of this conflict and of those that had preceded
it in the Inca Conquest and in the Spanish Conquest of Peru.

On February 21, the three days of Carnival began. Although I had often
read of the impossibility of doing anything in Peru during that period
of jollification, I succeeded in persuading the kind-hearted Prefect to
procure us animals that we might ride to Quinua, thirteen miles away,
and spend a day or so investigating the battlefield. He tried to
dissuade us, but as he knew that it was for this purpose that we had
come to Ayacucho, everything was soon ready. The Gobernador of Quinua
had been given orders to be on hand, to act as our guide. Accompanied by
him and the Secretary of the Department and a small military escort, we
left the hotel and took the road to the northwest.

Our little cavalcade was strung out over a block or more by the time we
reached the suburbs as the streets were narrow and not in particularly
good repair. Suddenly the horses of our guides wheeled and bolted and
were with difficulty kept in the road. The cause was a characteristic
piece of carelessness on the part of somebody. A horse had recently died
and his thrifty owner had at once skinned him to save his hide, leaving
the hideous carcass in the very centre of the narrow road. It was
necessary to make a considerable detour through the neighboring fields,
for none of our animals would go within fifty feet of the disgusting
spectacle.

For the first two leagues we followed the regular road to Lima and the
north, branching off when we reached the ford over the Pongora River,
then passing through several small plantations and near two vineyards,
we crossed the river Yucaes on a new suspension bridge and climbed the
face of a steep cliff by a zigzag trail. We had good animals and kept
them going at a comfortable trot so that we arrived at the little
village of Quinua in three and a half hours after leaving Ayacucho.

The plaza of Quinua is surrounded on three sides by houses and ruins,
the fourth side being taken up by the church. Like the other houses in
the vicinity, these were built of stone and earth and roofed with red
tiles. Many of the roofs had been allowed to fall into decay, and the
house which was pointed out as the place where the truce was signed
after the battle, and where the Spanish General surrendered to General
Sucre, had entirely lost its covering.

A hasty lunch was prepared for us at a little mud hut called a tavern,
and as soon after as possible we re-mounted and rode north for half a
mile up the face of a little hill and found ourselves on the plain where
was fought the last great battle of the South American Wars of
Independence. A monument, apparently made of some kind of plaster, and
naturally in a very bad state of repair, marked the centre of the plain.
Near by was a kind of shed or shelter for the horses, and a little to
the westward the walls of a memorial chapel that had not yet been
completed. North of the plain the heights of Condorkanqui rise abruptly.
A new road had recently been constructed over them to the warm valleys
beyond, but it was still perfectly possible to see the old trail down
which the Spanish troops marched in their attack on the patriots.

The altitude of the field is nearly eleven thousand feet, and
romantically inclined writers have sometimes spoken of this as the
“battle above the clouds.” As a matter of fact, we had considerable
difficulty in taking photographs owing to the low hanging clouds that
continually swept down from the summits of Condorkanqui. Fortunately it
did not rain _all_ the time.

Few battles have ever been fought on a height that offered such a
magnificent view. From all parts of the battlefield, a superb panorama
is spread out to the east, south, and west, embracing the entire valley
of Ayacucho.

After spending the afternoon on the field, we returned to the little
tavern where the evening passed very pleasantly and we were entertained
by the Indian villagers who were celebrating the Carnival. They came in
throngs bringing us parched corn, popcorn, and _chicha_, swearing
eternal friendship, and expressing their appreciation that we should
come such a long distance to see their famous battlefield. The village
appeared to be divided into three wards, and the alcalde of each ward
was anxious that we should eat and drink just as much of his offering as
we had of the others.

They were easily satisfied, however, and appeared to be having a very
good time. I never saw Indians enjoy themselves more. As a conclusion to
the entertainment, two Indian women were instructed to sing for us.
Their performance consisted in a wailing duet, beginning loud and high,
ascending with a powerful crescendo to screeching falsetto notes and
then gradually descending and diminishing into a wheeze like a very old
parlor organ with leaky bellows.

We spent the next morning photographing different parts of the
battlefield and trying to get a better idea of the reasons for Sucre’s
victory. I was very forcibly impressed by the skill with which he had
chosen his position.

The little plain, really a plateau, is literally surrounded by ravines.
It was just large enough to allow Sucre to use his seven or eight
thousand men to the best advantage. An enemy attacking him must perforce
come up hill on every side, even though it would seem as though the
Spanish troops descending from Condorkanqui would have had some
advantage. But they were under fire all the time they were descending to
the plain, and just

[Illustration: THE BATTLEFIELD OF AYACUCHO]

[Illustration: THE BATTLEFIELD AS IT APPEARED TO THE SPANIARDS]

before they reached it, they found themselves in a little gully up the
sides of which they had to scramble at a disadvantage before they could
actually be on a level with the defenders. La Serna was too good a
general not to have appreciated the strength of Sucre’s position. In
fact, as General Miller points out, the mistake of the Viceroy in
attacking originated in allowing himself to be over-persuaded by the
eagerness of his troops. Their patience had been exhausted by terrible
marches which seemed to them to be endless. Only a few days before the
battle, the tents of the Viceroy and his chief general had had lampoons
pasted on them, accusing them of cowardice. It may fairly be said that
he was goaded into action contrary to his own judgment.

The battle of Ayacucho, besides being the final combat, was one of the
most brilliant in the history of the Wars of Independence. The troops on
both sides were well-seasoned veterans. The generals in command were
among the ablest that the long wars had developed. Every man fought with
bravery. Although the Patriots were outnumbered, they made up for it by
enthusiasm and by a knowledge that there was no opportunity for them to
retreat. They were aided by the lay of the land, but the result was due
to a most determined valor and a heroic daring that must always gratify
lovers of Peruvian history.

We returned to the city in the middle of the afternoon in time to take a
little walk in the streets and be bombarded by little Carnival balloons
filled with scented water, egg-shells filled with colored powder, and
the other missiles that are commonly employed to bear witness to the
fact that Lent is approaching. The ladies and children, who occupied
points of vantage in the second-story windows, kept up a brisk fire on
everyone who ventured along the streets, and we had to do some very
rapid dodging to avoid being entirely soaked and colored with all the
hues of the rainbow.

In the evening, notwithstanding a terrific downpour of rain, the
“society of Ayacucho,” including the Archbishop, the Prefect, and fifty
or sixty of their friends, “tendered us” an elaborate banquet which
quite took the palm for variety of food and drink. There were no less
than fourteen courses besides seven kinds of wine including champagne.
The after-dinner speeches were also quite remarkable. Hitherto, the
chief interest in us had been the fact that we had “visited the lost
city of Choqquequirau,” but here Choqquequirau meant little or nothing.
The battlefield of Ayacucho meant everything, and the fact that we were
_delegados_ from a country whose aid Peru hoped to receive in case Chile
became troublesome meant a great deal more. Whether it was at this
banquet or at one of those that preceded it in the past three weeks, I
do not remember, but the opinion was expressed more than once that,
rather than have another war with Chile, they would surrender to the
United States and become a protectorate. I mention this not as an
indication of national sentiment, but merely to show the state of
feeling that prevailed in the interior of Peru at the time, and the
attitude with which they regarded the possibility of another war with
Chile.

A large part of the hatred that exists between Chilean and Peruvian is
due to their native ancestry. In the Chilean there is a large percentage
of Araucanian blood. In the Peruvian there is as much of the blood of
the Quichuas. The Araucanians are the hereditary foes of the Quichuas.
For centuries there was no peace between them. The Incas pushed their
army of Quichuas as far south as possible, but they never could conquer
the lands where the Araucanians roved. Even the all-conquering Spanish
soldiers were blocked in southern Chile. It is not necessary to repeat
here the long story of the Araucanian wars and the heroic deeds of
Lautaro and his kinsmen. Instead of being easily conquered by the
handful of Spanish adventurers as were the Incas and Quichuas, the
Araucanians kept the Spaniards at bay for centuries, and were in fact
never subdued.

The Araucanians and the Quichuas had as different racial characteristics
as can be imagined. Although the Araucanians did not constitute a nation
in the proper sense of the word but were divided into a large number of
clans, each independent and recognizing no master, they never allowed
any outside people to interfere with their national life. They were
intensely independent. Even the chiefs lacked authority in time of
peace. There were no serfs or slaves. More important still, there were
no laws; private wrongs had to be settled privately. All of these
elements must be taken into consideration when contemplating the
character of the Chilean of to-day. His Spanish ancestors brooked no
interference and recognized no central government, but his Araucanian
forebears were still more intensely fond of individual liberty. His
Spanish ancestors were brave and fearless. No better soldiers existed in
Europe in the sixteenth century. The Araucanians were even more warlike,
and after their first few defeats by the invaders, they successfully
assumed the offensive, storming Spanish towns and carrying off cattle
and horses. They organized troops of cavalry, learning to excel on an
animal that their fathers had never heard of, and which the Quichuas
even now rarely dare to mount. The entire Araucanian nation was less
numerous than the army of Quichuas that surrounded Atahualpa when he was
successfully attacked by Pizarro, yet they killed more Spanish soldiers
than fell in the conquest of the entire remainder of the continent. With
such an ancestry, it is not remarkable that the Chileans are notoriously
the best fighters on the continent to-day. Contrast their inheritance
with that of the Peruvians.

The Quichuas were and are a timid, peaceful folk lacking in dignity,
defending themselves rather with cunning and falsehood than by deeds of
arms. The servile sentiment is deeply rooted in the Quichua nature. He
maintains a sense of loyalty for his former masters, but he has
absolutely no idea of liberty or independence. The Quichuas had reached
a higher state of culture than the Araucanians but their manly
characteristics were far less developed. In fact, at the time of the
Spanish conquest, they seem to have been already in a decadent
condition. With such blood in their veins, it is not surprising that the
Peruvians were easily defeated by the Chileans, their country overrun
and humiliated, their valuable nitrate fields seized, and the seeds of
intense national hatred planted that will take generations to
eradicate.



CHAPTER XXVI

AYACUCHO TO LIMA


Every one had told us that it would be “absolutely impossible” to leave
Ayacucho until two or three days had elapsed after the end of the
Carnival. Possibly because we were a trifle homesick, and possibly
because we had been assured so positively that it could not be done, we
determined to try to leave Ayacucho on the last day of the three devoted
to Carnival. I must confess that it was rather cruel, not only to the
two soldiers who were ordered to accompany us, but also the _arriero_
who was informed that he must provide us with mules and go when we were
ready to start. The morning was spent in a great row over the mules and
the question as to how far they were to go with us, in which many tears
were shed by drunken Indian women who declared that they were sure they
would never see their husbands or animals back again. If it had not been
for the Prefect’s willingness to help us, we could never have persuaded
any one to go, but he did his part splendidly. We at length got off just
at noon. The Prefect and his friends, to the number of fourteen,
escorted us for the first league out of the city. Then we bade them an
affectionate farewell and started off on the last stage of our journey,
determined, if possible, to travel henceforth as much like private
citizens as we could. To be sure, we had our little military escort.
Without them we should have found it almost impossible to proceed at all
for the next few days. Our first two leagues were over the same road
which we had used in going to Quinua, then, instead of fording the
river, we kept on its left bank until we reached a shaky suspension
bridge. Its floor was made of loose planks that were so easily misplaced
by the mules that Hay declared he had to set them all over again after I
had passed in order to avoid falling into the river.

We met on the road many Indians, celebrating Carnival, marching along
gayly, beating primitive little drums and blowing on bamboo-fifes. They
stopped at almost every house they passed, shouting and hullabalooing
and getting a few drinks of _chicha_.

As we were crossing the rocky bed of a little stream we met an itinerant
musician, a blind harpist, who was being helped across by a friend. His
harp was very curious, being a wooden box shaped like half a cone with
two wooden legs tacked into its base, and two eye-holes on the flat side
which made it look very much like some dwarfish animal. With great
difficulty we tried to persuade him to set up his harp in the dry bed of
the stream and play us a tune while we took his picture. Not having the
slightest conception of what we were trying to do, the poor blind
musician was rather frightened, and as he understood no Spanish
whatever, we should not have succeeded had it not been for the kind
offices of a pleasant-faced mestizo family party who were picnicking on
the bank of the stream and who translated our poor Spanish into Quichua.
In the evening we reached Huanta, an historic little town where savage
Indian tribes from the Amazonian forests have frequently come into
collision with armed Peruvian forces. Although we hoped to be able to
slip into town unnoticed, we were met, a mile out, by the usual dozen of
hospitably inclined _caballeros_ who, with the Gobernador at their head,
had been “celebrating” for the past two or three days. We were by this
time so fatigued by the labors of crossing Peru in the wet season, that
we found it very difficult to be as polite as we were expected to be to
the reception committees that had been our lot hitherto. However, in
this case, to put it bluntly, the Gobernador was very drunk, which made
him only the more friendly, and he insisted that we were two “princes of
America,” and that his house would be everlastingly famous in history as
having been the place where we stayed!

His wife and daughters behaved splendidly. They seemed to realize that
we knew it was customary for all the men to get drunk at this season of
the year. At the same time they did their best to make us comfortable
and to see that the male members of the family did not annoy us any more
than they could help.

Naturally, the “morning after” was a sad occasion, and had it not been
for our excellent soldiers, who had gone to bed sober, it would have
been very difficult to have persuaded our hosts to let us go. The
Gobernador was extremely cross. He had

[Illustration: THE BRIDGE OVER THE HUARPA]

forgotten all about our princely lineage, and only remembered to charge
us treble for everything he could think of. Although we had gotten up at
five o’clock, no Indians sober enough to act as guides could be found
for several hours, and it was after ten before we finally left Huanta.

The son of the Gobernador was the only person who had energy enough, or
had sufficiently recovered from the debauch of the night before, to do
us the honor of escorting us out of town. This had come to be such a
regular feature of our travels since leaving Cuzco that we always looked
forward with curiosity to see what would happen. This young fellow was
very polite and went with us as far as the entrance of the local
cemetery, a bizarre white-washed adobe gate, protected from the weather
by a little covering of red tiles. There must have been something
prophetic about his bidding us good-by at the gates of a cemetery, for
he was the last honorary escort that we had in Peru.

Our road led us through a thickly populated region. Here and there on
the roadside, unfortunate individuals, both men and women, who had been
too far gone to reach home the night before, were sleeping off the
effects of the Carnival. Ordinarily one does not see much drunkenness in
Peru, but this certainly was an exception.

Small towns and villages followed in quick succession. Then we descended
into the valley of the Huarpa River and across a well-built toll-bridge.
The bridge was so long and so high above the stream that my mule
concluded he would stay on the east bank. He yielded to our combined
efforts, but only after much beating. We now passed through a semi-arid
region of cactus and mimosa trees like the basin of the Pampas River,
until we began to climb an extremely steep ravine. Several times we lost
our way, and in places the path had been completely washed out by the
rains. The crux came at a little waterfall only five feet high. So
smooth was the face of the rock over which the little stream of water
trickled that our sure-footed animals found it impossible to reach the
upper level until we had built a rude stone stairway which they
cheerfully essayed to climb. Their energetic scrambles were finally
rewarded by success. For three hours the trail wound upwards as steeply
as it was possible to go, until we reached the bleak _paramo_ near
Marcas.

A magnificent panorama lay spread out before us. In the foreground were
hillsides dotted with thatched huts and fields where sheep and cattle
grazed; in the middle distance, deep valleys whose rivers had cut their
way down into gorges out of our sight; and far beyond, a magnificent
range of mountains, some capped with snow and others with clouds. It was
a little after five o’clock when we entered the picturesque little
village of Marcas with its two dozen huts scattered about under the lee
of the rocks or clustered near the road. We recognized it as just the
sort of village where we would have been refused both food and shelter
had we been alone. But as we were accompanied by an energetic sergeant
who did not propose to allow any poor Indians to stand in the way of our
progress, a hut no dirtier or more comfortless than the rest was soon
put at our disposal, and the sergeant did his best to get us all a good
supper out of our own provisions.

Our baggage animals had had a frightfully hard day of it and our
soldiers assured us that if we intended to catch the weekly train out of
Huancayo, it would be necessary to have at least one more beast of
burden, for although our luggage could be conveniently carried by two
mules going at a walk, if we expected to make forty miles a day, as we
hoped to do, one animal must be rested every other day. Accordingly the
Indian alcalde of Marcas was instructed to get us a mule. “But there are
no mules here” he replied. A horse then. “Very well, there is one old
one which I will have ready for you in the morning.” Soon after
breakfast an old white horse appeared, accompanied by a weeping Indian
woman who had no desire to take our money and who was thoroughly
convinced that she would never see her horse again. It was finally
agreed that the horse should go only to the next town where we could get
another beast and send this one back by one of the Indian alcaldes that
now accompanied us from village to village, returning as their task of
acting as guides was taken up by the alcaldes of the next place.

With the aid of the fresh horse, we made good time and skirted the
slopes of a high range of hills leaving the trim little town of Acobamba
far off on our left. It lies in the valley of the Lircay which is quite
densely populated and seemed to be very fertile. In the middle of the
afternoon we reached Urumyosi where there are curious great rocks
shaped like sugar loaves. They are of soft sandstone which is easily
worked, and a number of caves have been made by poor people at the base
of the rocks. After a long cold ride and ten hours in the saddle, we
came in sight of a mud-colored town called Paucara which has long had a
very evil reputation. Whether this is deserved or not we did not
endeavor to discover. The sergeant persuaded the owner of a rude little
hut, half a mile from the town and on the direct road, to let us spend
the night there. One of our neighbors brought freshly cut barley-straw
for the mules, another brought a dozen eggs, and with the aid of our own
supplies and cooking utensils, we fared splendidly.

The night was excessively damp and as bitterly cold as it can be only in
a genuinely tropical country when the temperature drops forty degrees
after the sun goes down and an icy wind penetrates your very bones, even
though you have hurriedly put on two or three sweaters and a couple of
ponchos as it grew dark. There is no cold like the cold of the tropics.
Furthermore the carcass of a recently killed sheep hung dripping in the
hut. The floor was wet and muddy, there were no windows and only a small
door. We wished we had a tent.

There being no incentive to linger at this charming country-house, our
Indians were actually up and away before six o’clock. We had saved four
eggs the evening before to be cooked for our breakfast, and after
loading our pack animals and seeing them safely off with all our
supplies, we handed our

[Illustration: URUMYOSI]

[Illustration: THE HUT NEAR PAUCARA]

eggs and some tea to the housewife and asked her to prepare us a frugal
meal. Alas! it was quite impossible. The cooking activities of the
evening before had used up every stick of firewood within a radius of a
mile, and there was no way in which water could be boiled. The only
provisions for our breakfast were the raw eggs. We had before us a ride
of forty miles over an exceedingly rough country, part of which lay at
an elevation of fourteen thousand feet above the sea, so we hastily
swallowed our eggs as best as we could and started off with the prospect
of twelve hours in the saddle.

At first the road wound slowly up the valley of Lircay, until finally it
climbed over the edge of the hills to a great bleak plateau where
hundreds of llamas were feeding. When you come to a llama range you may
be fairly certain that the altitude is not far from that of the top of
Pike’s Peak. Add to this a blinding snow-storm that keeps you from
seeing more than six feet ahead of you, a wearied mule, a very hungry
rider, and the uncertainty as to whether you are on the right road or
not, and you will have a picture of our predicament during part of that
never-to-be-forgotten day. At length, to our great delight, the trail
began slowly to descend from cheerless _paramos_ and little mountain
lakes into a great valley where, thousands of feet below, we could see
huts and cultivated fields.

Skirting the hills half-way up the valley and avoiding the attractive
little trails that led down to Indian villages, we kept turning more and
more to the westward until we rounded a spur and came on a magnificent
view of the great river Mantaro that on its way to join the Apurimac has
cut a wonderfully deep cañon through this part of Peru. A tortuous
descent of two thousand feet brought us to the new toll-bridge of
Tablachaca and onto an excellent road. Of course, this does not mean
that it could be used for wheeled vehicles, for of carts there are none
in this part of the world. It simply means that a trail four or five
feet wide and reasonably free from rocks and holes allowed the mules to
jog along at a gait of nearly five miles an hour. So slow had been our
progress over the _paramo_ that it was considerably after dark before we
reached the picturesque old stone bridge of Yscuchaca, re-crossed the
Mantaro, and clattered over the cobble-tones of this well-built little
town.

We had rather flattered ourselves that no one here knew we were coming
and so we had avoided an official reception and all possible attacks on
our digestive faculties. But we had to pay for it by finding that it
took nearly two hours longer than usual before we were able to secure
any accommodations whatsoever for the night. The Gobernador of Yscuchaca
lived a mile or more out of town on his country estate, and learning
finally that there were two “distinguished foreigners” in town, sent his
head servant to welcome us, gave us the use of a room in his town house,
provided our mules with pasturage, and the next morning charged us three
times the regular tariff. I regret to say that we took advantage of the
absence of the Gobernador to pay his major-domo what our sergeant told
us was the

[Illustration: THE TOLL BRIDGE OF TABLACHACA]

legitimate price and left him wondering why he had not been able to
overcharge us as he had certain American civil engineers who had been
here not long before, surveying for the extension of the central railway
of Peru.

At present, that railway, begun many years ago, goes from Lima to Oroya
and thence south to Huancayo which is nearly fifty miles from Yscuchaca.
It is proposed now to continue it from Huancayo to Yscuchaca and thence
due south to Huancavelica where there are mines of quicksilver and
copper. Eventually it will form one of the links in the chain of the
Pan-American Railway.

Our mules were pretty tired and so were we, but when one is on the home
stretch it is easy to travel from early to late. We rose before five
o’clock. Our road first crossed the Mantaro, ascended the left bank of
the stream for several miles, passed several mineral springs, and then
climbed out of the narrowing cañon up toward the village of Acostambo.
At one place where the road had been cut through what looked like a
fossil bed, I was so fortunate as to find, _in situ_, a fossil bivalve.
Professor Charles Schuchert of Yale University has been so good as to
identify it for me as _allorisma subcuneata_. It has been found also in
Brazil. Its geological horizon, the upper carboniferous, is widely
distributed in South America and is well known about Lake Titicaca. The
location of this fossil here may indicate the presence in this vicinity
of coal-beds. If any could be found, it would be the greatest benefit,
not only to the railway that hopes some day to pass through this
valley, but also to the copper-smelters in the vicinity. As a matter of
fact, Peru does not need the coal for power; these great and rapidly
flowing rivers like the Mantaro, the Pampas, and the Apurimac offer an
abundant water-power that, transformed into electricity, would run all
the railroads and factories that could possibly be crowded into Peru.

Personally, I do not believe in the construction of steam railroads in
this country. The difficulties of overcoming steep grades are serious,
and the cost of building is necessarily all out of proportion to the
traffic that is likely to be developed. I do believe, however, that the
future of Peru depends upon the development of her water-power and the
building of light electric railways that would be sufficient to handle
economically the product of the mines and to accommodate passengers. If
the region were one where extensive crops could be cultivated and a
large amount of heavy freight developed, this argument would not hold.
Under the circumstances, however, I believe that it is a much safer
investment for capital and a much more practical work for the government
to develop electric traction.

At Acostambo, a town of perhaps two thousand inhabitants, we tried to
buy something to eat for lunch, but there was nothing to be had except
some dough cakes that had been “cooked” in cold ashes. After passing
through two or three small villages where most of the Indians seemed to
be in a state of intoxication, we crossed the Cordillera Marcavalle and
found ourselves on the well-travelled road to Pampas. Before us, spread
out in a magnificent panorama, the fertile, densely populated valley of
Jauja. Watered by the Upper Mantaro River and its affluents, there are
over fifty villages, towns, and cities, clustered together in this rich
plain. Immediately ahead lay four towns almost exactly in a straight
line and less than ten miles apart: Pucará, where we stopped long enough
to buy some parched corn and freshly roasted pork for supper,
Sapallauga, Punta, and Huancayo. Instead of the desolate region in which
we had passed most of yesterday, we were now in one of the most thickly
populated parts of Peru, and felt as though we were back again in
civilization. This sensation was increased when we began to clatter down
the long street of Huancayo. It seemed like an age before we finally
reached the business centre of the city at 9 P.M. and surrendered
ourselves into the hands of a courteous Austrian hotel proprietor.

We had spent nearly fourteen hours in the saddle. This was quite
forgotten when we learned to our delight that there was to be a train
for Oroya the next day, for the first time in two weeks.

We had heard that the train from Huancayo left usually on Sundays, so we
had promised our soldiers a sovereign apiece if they would see to it
that we reached Huancayo by Saturday night. As they had to accompany the
slow-moving pack animals, they did not arrive themselves until the next
morning, somewhat in fear lest they had lost their promised reward. When
they were assured, however, that we had caught our train, and when they
had received their gold and what was left of our kitchen utensils and
supplies, their delight knew no bounds, and they were constrained to
embrace us in truly oriental fashion.

Sunday morning is a great event in Huancayo. Before sunrise, thousands
of Indians come in from the surrounding towns and villages for the
weekly Fair. Two large plazas are crowded with vendors of every
conceivable kind of merchandise: oxen and mules raised nearby, toys
“made in Germany,” pottery and ponchos made in Huancayo, and beer made
in Milwaukee. Overflowing from the crowded plazas the Fair extends for
nearly a mile through the main street of the city. The picturesque
Indians in their brilliantly colored ponchos, thronging the streets and
alternately buying and selling their wares, offer a field for diversion
that no one should miss who reaches Lima.

Like the Mexican Indians, so vividly depicted by Mr. Kirkham in his
artistic “Mexican Trails,” there are many among the throng who will
“sell a hen, later to bargain for a sombrero, presently to go upon their
knees within the church yonder, candle in hand; lastly to lie by the
roadside, overfull of _pulque_ and oblivious of this world, or the
next.”

The type is the same whether it be seen on a Sunday in the Andes of
Mexico, Peru, or Colombia. Only here it is _chicha_ that is the favorite
beverage instead of _pulque_.

The long expected train was due to arrive at noon and “to leave soon
afterwards.” The platform and the newly constructed booths near the
little corrugated-iron station were crowded for hours by

[Illustration: SUNDAY MORNING IN HUANCAYO]

intending passengers and friends of expected arrivals. But it was late
in the afternoon, almost dark in fact, before the belated little train
pulled into the station and the runners from the three Huancayo hotels
had the satisfaction of greeting their “friends.” We were informed that
the train would not leave before six o’clock the next morning so we
tried to possess ourselves in patience at our comfortable little hotel.

We were on hand, bright and early, just in time to see the train pull
out of the station. Happily it was only a false alarm, and the train
soon backed down to the platform again and waited for three quarters of
an hour for intending passengers to arrive. At length the conductor
decided he could wait no longer, and at 6:40 we pulled out, just before
the sub-Prefect and his friends arrived on the scene. A young politician
on the train, who thought that the sub-Prefect wanted to go to Lima,
pulled violently at the bell-rope. The engineer, accustomed to that form
of stopping the train, had detached the ropes from the locomotive so
that all that the friends of the sub-Prefect were able to do was to pull
several yards of it into the rear coach. Rather characteristically, the
only four people who were on hand at six o’clock ready for the train to
start on time, were all Americans. The two besides ourselves were
artisans from the great copper mines of Cerro de Pasco who were enjoying
a week’s vacation.

At Jauja there is a spur track which runs from the main line a mile or
more back to the historic old city, celebrated in the annals of the
Spanish Conquest and the Wars of Independence. The good people of
Jauja, not yet accustomed to the necessary rules of a railroad train
service, flocked on board the train to say “good-by” to their departing
friends and chat as long as possible. Taking no heed of the screams of
the engine and the cries of the conductor, more than twenty ladies, who
had no intention of leaving town, were still on board when the train
pulled out of the station. The conductor took them a mile and a half
down the track to the main line; then, fearing that the mere fact that
they would have to walk home would not sufficiently impress them, he
made each one pay for riding! Twenty more sheepish-looking individuals
than the garrulous ladies, whom the conductor lined up in the field a
short distance from the tracks and charged for their short ride, would
be hard to find.

At eleven o’clock we came to a wash-out and had to cross the Oroya River
on planks hastily thrown over the unfinished new railroad bridge. A
train was waiting for us on the other side, and with very little delay,
all the passengers and luggage were safely carried across and we reached
Oroya before four o’clock that evening.

Although there are rich mines in the vicinity and it is the terminus of
the new line, built by American capital, to the great Cerro de Pasco
smelters, Oroya is chiefly famous as the terminus of “the highest
railroad in the world,” and we looked forward with interest to our
journey on the morrow.

The magnificent great viaduct which has frequently been pictured as
formerly one of the highest railroad bridges in existence, had come to
grief only a short time before, in a rather tragic manner. A car,
loaded with bridge-construction material and occupied by several
American engineers, was standing on the bridge to which repairs were
being made. A run-away engine came flying down the grade, struck the
car, jumped into the air, crashed back on the frail viaduct, which gave
way and allowed a tangled mass of men and metal to fall into the cañon
two hundred and twenty feet below.

This accident necessitated many delays, as all the passengers and
freight had to be transferred by mules or on foot down into the cañon
and up the other side to the train for Lima.

The ride from Oroya to Lima has been so frequently described by many
travellers and the excitement of coasting down from the summit tunnel
where the altitude is 15,666 feet to the Lima station, which is only a
little above sea level, is so well known, that I will not attempt to
give my own impressions here. Suffice it to say that the excitement was
increased if anything by the fact that besides the bridge accident
another had occurred only a few days previously in which a locomotive
had left the tracks and rolled down an embankment.

Owing to these accidents our train was provided with a very old engine
whose boilers were so leaky that we had a hard time climbing up from
Oroya to the divide. Several times we stopped; once for three quarters
of an hour to allow enough steam to accumulate to pull us around a
curve. We did not object, however, for the scenery was wonderful. The
great craggy cliffs, their slopes covered with snow and ice, made us
realize that this was really the roof tree of the continent. Just before
entering the summit tunnel, the train stopped again, and we had a chance
to enjoy a magnificent panorama of snow-capped mountains.

A hand-car with two workmen was sent down the road just ahead of our
train so as to give us some sense of assurance. It is well known that
most people coming up this road from Lima suffer greatly from _soroche_
before they reach the summit. On our way down, however, most of the
passengers were so well accustomed to high elevations that not more than
three or four, and they Peruvian ladies from Jauja and Oroya, seemed to
be affected. So far as I could judge, their trouble was due more to
car-sickness and the lack of ventilation than to the elevation.

We reached Lima about half past eight on the evening of March 2d. Who
can describe the comfort and luxury of those first few hours in the
excellent Hotel Maury?

My first duty the next day was to call on President Leguia, report on
what I had seen at Choqquequirau and tell him how very hospitably we had
been received in the interior towns and cities. After talking with him
for a few moments, we were no longer at a loss to understand why the
Prefects and sub-Prefects of Peru had been so courteous to us, for their
chief is himself the soul of courtesy. Well-travelled, well-educated,
speaking English fluently, a trained business man, not in the slightest
degree the type of South American President with which novel-readers
and playgoers are familiar, he impressed us as a man who would do his
best to advance the welfare of Peru without caring in the least how his
own affairs might prosper in the meantime.

The door-keeper was a fine, tall, gray-haired soldier who had the
manners of a general, was rather suspicious of us at first, but returned
almost immediately after taking in our cards and, with a magnificent bow
and a courtly gesture, ushered us at once into the inner reception room,
greatly to the disgust of several pompous, perspiring politicians who
had been warming their heels in the gilded salon for some time before we
arrived. We did not stay long, and on our way out were again given a
demonstration of interest by the courteous old brigadier. To our sorrow
we read a few months afterward that in the unsuccessful revolution
already referred to in the chapter on Arequipa, which began by seizing
the presidential offices and in securing the President himself and his
Minister of Foreign Affairs, the revolutionists had ruthlessly killed
the old door-keeper.

Like every visitor to Lima, we too went into the cathedral to see the
mummified remains of Francisco Pizarro, the Conqueror of Peru, and then
we took a little victoria, drawn by a pair of speedy little trotters,
and explored the parks and boulevards. We saw the monuments and the new
public buildings, called on the American Minister, whom we found to be a
charming southern gentleman, exceedingly well suited to his diplomatic
profession; admired the many substantial foreign banks and business
houses, and regretted that so much of the flavor of the old colonial
Lima had been lost in the Chilean war and in the recent era of business
prosperity. With electric lights and electric cars and abundant foreign
capital, it is not easy to preserve those picturesque features which are
so charming in the interior cities.

At last my journey overland from Buenos Aires had been completed. I
cannot claim to know it as well or as intimately as the poor
“foot-walker” who, if he has been successful, must by this time have
reached Buenos Aires and walked on foot twice over this long dreary
road. Nevertheless, I can appreciate keenly some of the difficulties of
travel in Spanish-America during the colonial period when Lima was the
gay capital and Buenos Aires was merely a frontier post. It is small
wonder that there was little sympathy between Lima and Buenos Aires in
those days.

Like my journey across Venezuela and Colombia, this taught me to feel
anew the stupendous difficulties that lie in the way of advancing South
American civilization. It made me admire tremendously the courage and
determination of those heroes of the Wars of Independence who marched up
and down this road for fourteen years until they had driven from it the
last vestige of a foreign army.



CHAPTER XXVII

CERTAIN SOUTH AMERICAN TRAITS


As one travels through the various South American republics, becomes
acquainted with their political and social conditions, reads their
literature, and talks with other American travellers, there are a number
of adverse criticisms that frequently arise. I shall attempt here to
enumerate some of them, to account for a few, and to compare others with
criticisms that were made of the people of the United States, half a
century ago, by a distinguished English visitor.

Although it is true that the historical and geographical background of
the South Americans is radically different from ours, it is also true
that they have many social and superficial characteristics very like
those which European travellers found in the United States fifty years
ago. The period of time is not accidental. The South American Republics
secured their independence nearly fifty years later than we did.
Moreover, they have been hampered in their advancement by natural
difficulties and racial antipathies much more than we have. Although the
conditions of life in the United States, as depicted by foreign critics
seventy-five years after the battle of Yorktown, were decidedly worse
than the conditions of life in South America seventy-five years after
the battle of Ayacucho, the resemblances between the faults that were
found with us fifty years ago and those that are noticeable among the
South Americans of to-day, are too striking to be merely coincidences.
It is surely not for us to say that there is anything inherently wrong
with our Southern neighbors if their shortcomings are such as we
ourselves had not long ago, and possibly have to-day.

The first criticism that one hears, and the first one is likely to make
after getting beyond the pale of official good breeding in South
America, is that the manners of the ordinary South American are very
bad. Lest the traveller be inclined to take such a state of affairs too
seriously, let him read what Dickens wrote about us and our ways in
1855. It was a faithful picture of a certain phase of American life. It
should be confessed that it paints a condition of affairs worse than
anything I have seen in South America.

Travellers who are prone to find fault with the service at South
American hotels and restaurants will enjoy Dickens’ description of the
dining-room of a New York boarding-house. “In the further region of this
banqueting-hall was a stove, garnished on either side with a great brass
spittoon.... Before it, swinging himself in a rocking-chair, lounged a
large gentleman with his hat on, who amused himself by spitting
alternately into the spittoon on the right hand of the stove, and the
spittoon on the left, and then working his way back again in the same
order. A negro lad in a soiled white jacket was busily engaged in
placing on the table two long rows of knives and forks, relieved at
intervals by jugs of water; and as he travelled down one side of this
festive board, he straightened with his dirty hands, the dirtier cloth,
which was all askew, and had not been removed since breakfast.”

It is indeed hard for us to overlook the table manners of the average
South American. But how many years is it since North Americans were all
reading and conning “Don’t! A Guide to Good Manners”? It is less than a
quarter of a century since our self-conscious use of the fork on all
possible (and impossible) viands showed that we felt the need of
improvement.

To one inclined to criticise the speed with which a company of South
Americans will dispose of their food, let me recommend Dickens’ American
boarding-house table where a “very few words were spoken; and everybody
seemed to eat his utmost in self-defence, as if a famine were expected
to set in before breakfast-time to-morrow morning, and it had become
high time to assert the first law of nature. The oysters, stewed and
pickled, leaped from their capacious reservoirs, and slid by scores into
the mouths of the assembly. The sharpest pickles vanished; whole
cucumbers at once, like sugar-plums; and no man winked his eye. Great
heaps of indigestible matter melted away as ice before the sun. It was a
solemn and awful thing to see. Dyspeptic individuals bolted their food
in wedges; feeding, not themselves, but broods of nightmares, who were
continually standing at livery within them. Spare men, with lank and
rigid cheeks, came out unsatisfied from the destruction of heavy dishes,
and glared with watchful eyes upon the pastry.”

The conversation of a group of young South Americans is not such as
appeals to our taste. There is usually too much running criticism on the
personal qualities and attractions of their women acquaintances. To them
it seems doubtless most gallant. At all events, it is not sordid, as was
that conversation which Dickens describes as “summed up in one
word--dollars.”

When Dickens visited America, he remarked the frequency of the
expression “Yes, sir” and made a great deal of fun of us for our use of
it. Singularly enough, the Spanish “Yes sir”--_si señor_--is so
extremely common throughout South America as to attract one’s attention
continually.

Another thing that Dickens noticed was our tendency to postpone and put
off from day to day things that did not have to be done. Yet there is no
more common criticism of Spanish-Americans than that known as the
“Mañana” habit. You will hear almost any one who pretends to know
anything at all about Spanish-America say that the great difficulty is
the ease with which the Spanish-American says “Mañana.” Personally, I do
not agree with this criticism for I have heard the expression very
seldom in South America. It is true that it is hard to get things done
as quickly as one would wish, but I believe that the criticism has been
much overworked. Undoubtedly Dickens was honest in reporting that the
habit of postponing one’s work was characteristic of the middle west as
he saw it, but it would be greatly resented to-day and would not be
true.

In many South American cities one is annoyed by the continual
handshaking. No matter how many times a day you meet a man, he expects
you solemnly to shake hands with him just as did those western Americans
who annoyed “Martin Chuzzlewit.”

So also with “spitting.” I have been repeatedly annoyed, not only in the
provinces, but also in the very highest circles of the most advanced
Republics, by the carelessness of South Americans in this particular,
even at dinner parties. But how many years is it since “The Last
American” was prophetically depicted by J. A. Mitchell as sitting amid
the ruins of the national Capitol with his feet on the marble rail,
spitting tobacco juice? One can hardly ride in our street cars to-day
without being reminded that only recently have the majority of Americans
put the ban on spitting. The fact that there are already printed notices
in some of the principal South American cathedrals begging people, in
the name of the local “Anti-Tuberculosis Association,” not to spit on
the floor, shows that this unpleasant habit will undoubtedly be
eradicated in considerably less than fifty years after we have ceased to
offend.

We also dislike intensely the South American habit of staring at
strangers and of making audible comments on ladies who happen to be
passing. Unfortunately, this is a Latin habit which will be hard to
change. The South American has a racial right to look at such customs
differently. But if some of his personal habits are unpleasant, and even
disgusting from our point of view, there is no question that we irritate
him just as much as he does us. Our curt forms of address; our impatient
disregard of the amenities of social intercourse; our unwillingness to
pass the time of day at considerable length and inquire, each time we
see a friend, after his health and that of his family; our habit of
elevating our feet and often sitting in a slouchy attitude when
conversing with strangers, are to him extremely distasteful and
annoying. Our unwillingness to take the trouble to speak his language
grammatically, and our general point of view in regard to the “innate
superiority” of our race, our language, and our manufactures, are all
evidences, to his mind, of our barbarity. We care far too little for
appearances. This seems to him boorish. We criticise him because he does
not bathe as frequently as we do. He criticises us because we do not
show him proper respect by removing our hats when we meet him on the
street.

Furthermore, he regards us as lacking in business integrity. We are too
shrewd. Our standard of honor seems low to him. In fact, a practical
obstacle with which one accustomed to American business methods has to
contend in South America, is the extreme difficulty of securing accurate
information as to a man’s credit. Inquiries into the financial standing
of an individual, which are regarded as a matter of course with us, are
resented by the sensitive Latin temperament as a personal reflection on
his honesty. It seems to be true that the South American regards the
payment of his debts as a matter more closely touching his honor than we
do. He is accustomed to receiving long credits; he always really intends
to pay sometime, and he generally manages to raise installments without
much difficulty. Yet when pressed hard in the courts, he is likely to
turn and resent as an intentional insult the judgment which has been
secured against him. I have known personally of a case where a debtor
informed his creditor that it would be necessary for him to come well
armed if he accompanied the sheriff in an effort to satisfy the judgment
of the court, for the first man, and as many more as possible, that
crossed the door of his shop on such an errand would be shot. This we
criticise as defiance of the law. To the South American, the law has
committed an unpardonable fault in venturing to convict him of
neglecting his honorable debts.

It is unfortunate that the South Americans themselves are generally
quite unaware of their failings--a species of blindness that has
frequently been laid at our own doors. It is due to a similar cause.

South American writers who have travelled abroad and seen enough to
enable them to point out the defects of their countrymen rarely venture
to do so. The South American loves praise but cannot endure criticism.
It makes him fairly froth at the mouth, as it did the Americans in the
days of Charles Dickens’ first visit. So the pleasant-faced gentleman
from Massachusetts, Mr. Bevan, told young Martin Chuzzlewit. “If you
have any knowledge of our literature, and can give me the name of any
man, American born and bred, who has anatomized our follies as a people,
and not as this or that party; and has escaped the foulest and most
brutal slander, the most inveterate hatred and intolerant pursuit, it
will be a strange name in my ears, believe me. In some cases, I could
name to you, where a native writer has ventured on the most harmless and
good-humoured illustrations of our vices or defects, it has been found
necessary to announce, that in a second edition the passage has been
expunged, or altered, or explained away, or patched into praise.”

There is a story in Santiago de Chile of a young American scholar who
spent some time there studying localisms. When he returned to New York
he ventured to publish honest but rather severe criticisms of society,
as he saw it, in that most aristocratic of South American republics. As
a result, the university from which he came received a bad name in Chile
and his visit is held in such unpleasant memory that his welcome, were
he to return there, would be far from friendly. This seems narrow-minded
and perverse but is exactly the way we felt not long ago towards
foreigners who spent a few months in the States and wrote, for the
benefit of the European public, sincere but caustic criticisms. American
sensitiveness became a byword in Europe. Possibly it is growing less
with us. However that may be, South American sensitiveness is no keener
to-day than ours was fifty years since.

I am willing to admit that it ill becomes an American to offer serious
adverse criticisms of the people of any country. Our own defects have
been so repeatedly pointed out by foreigners, many of them with
distressing unanimity, that we cannot afford to set ourselves up as
judges of what South Americans should or should not do. It is true that
the South Americans have certain graces of manner which we lack. They
are more formal in their social intercourse, and use more of the oil of
polite speech in the mechanism of their daily life than we do.

Climatic conditions and difficulties of rapid transportation have had
much to do with the backwardness of the South American republics. With
the progress of science, the great increase in transportation facilities
and the war that is being successfully waged against tropical diseases,
a change is coming about which we must be ready to meet.

It is particularly important that we should realize that the political
conditions of the larger republics are very much more stable than our
newspaper and novel-reading public are aware of. Lynchings are unheard
of. Serious riots, such as some of our largest American cities have seen
within the past generation, are no more common with them than with us.
It is true that the Latin temperament finds it much more difficult to
bow to the majesty of the law and to yield gracefully to governmental
decrees than the more phlegmatic Teuton or Anglo-Saxon. But the
revolutions and riots that Paris has witnessed during the past century
have not kept us from a serious effort to increase our business with
France. The occasional political riot that takes place, of no more
significance than the riots caused by strikers with which we are all too
familiar at home, is no reason why we should be afraid to endeavor to
capture the South American market.

There is not the slightest question that there is a great opportunity
awaiting the American manufacturer and exporter when he is willing to
grasp it with intelligent persistence and determination. South America
is ready to take American goods in very large quantities as soon as we
are ready to take time to give attention to her needs. As Mr. Lincoln
Hutchinson aptly says: “There is no quick and easy remedy; money must be
spent, thoroughly equipped export managers must be employed, export
houses specializing on South American trade must be established,
efficient travellers must be sent out, technical experts employed,
agencies established, credits be given, minutiæ of orders attended to,
and, above all, trade connections adhered to in spite of allurements of
the home market, if we would succeed in the face of our competitors.
Half-way measures can accomplish but little, and that only temporary.”

Germany teaches her young business men Spanish or Portuguese and sends
them out to learn conditions in the field. American Universities long
ago learned the advantage of adopting Germany’s thorough-going methods
of scientific research. American business men have hitherto failed to
realize the importance of adopting Germany’s thorough-going methods of
developing foreign commerce. It is high time that they took a leaf out
of the experience of the “unpractical” universities.

Finally, a word of caution to those in search of information regarding
the history, politics, or geography of South America. The most
unfortunate result of the seven centuries during which Arab, Moorish, or
Mohammedan rule dominated a part or the whole of the Spanish peninsula,
is the truly Oriental attitude which the Spanish and the
Spanish-American maintains towards reliable information, or what we call
“facts.”

The student of the East realizes that Orientals, including Turks and
Celestials, have no sense of the importance of agreeing with fact. They
have furthermore a great abhorrence of a vacuum. If they do not know the
reply to a question they answer at random, preferring anything to the
admission of ignorance. If they do know, and have no interest in
substituting something else for what they know, they give the facts.
When they have no facts they give something else. They not only deceive
the questioner, they actually deceive themselves.

The same thing is true to a certain degree in South Americans. Sometimes
I have thought they were actually too polite to say “I don’t know.”

In South America as in the East it is of primitive importance to reach
the men who know and to pay no attention to any one else. No one really
knows, who is not actually on the spot in contact with the facts. The
prudent observer must avoid all evidence that is not first hand and
derived from a trustworthy source.

I do not bring this as a charge against the South Americans. I state it
as a condition which I have found to be nearly universally true. So far
as the South Americans are concerned, it is an inherited trait and one
which they are endeavoring to overcome. They are not to be blamed for
having it, any more than we are to be blamed for having inherited traits
from our Anglo-Saxon ancestors which are unpleasant to our Latin
neighbors and for which they have to make allowance in dealing with us.

In offering these adverse criticisms of the South American as he appears
to me to-day, I must beg not to be misunderstood. There are naturally
many exceptions to the rule. I know personally many individuals that do
not have any of the characteristics here attributed to South Americans
in general. I have in mind one South American, a resident of a much
despised republic, whose ancestors fought in one of the great battles of
the Wars of Independence, who has as much push and energy as a veritable
New York captain of industry. He has promoted a number of successful
industrial enterprises. He keeps up with the times; he meddles not in
politics; he enjoys such sports as hunting with hounds and riding across
country. The difference between him and the New Yorker is that he speaks
three or four languages where the New Yorker only speaks one and he has
sense enough to take many holidays in the year where the New Yorker
takes but few. I know another, a distinguished young lawyer who gives
dinner parties where the food is as good, the manners as refined, the
conversation as brilliant, and the intellectual enjoyment as keen as
any given anywhere. He, too, speaks four languages fluently and could
put to shame the average New York lawyer of his own age in the variety
of topics upon which he is able to converse, not only at his ease but
brilliantly and with flashes of keen wit. I know another, a
distinguished historian, who has been described by a well-known American
librarian, himself a member of half a dozen learned societies, as the
“most scholarly and most productive” bibliographer in either North or
South America. But these are exceptions to the general rule.

When we look at South Americans at close range we may dislike some of
their manners and customs, but not any more so than European critics
disliked ours half a century ago. And not any more so, be it remembered,
than the South American dislikes ours at the present day.

In this chapter and, in fact, throughout the book, I must confess to
having spoken more frankly and critically than will please some of my
kind friends in South America. Although they placed me under many
obligations by their generous hospitality, I feel that it is better for
all concerned that the truth should be told, even when it is unpleasant.
We cannot have confidence unless we have facts. I cannot pretend to have
succeeded in always finding the facts, but it has not been for lack of
endeavor. I have had no interest in concealing anything favorable or
unfavorable which I thought would make the picture clearer or more
distinct. Were we not already deluged with so much official propaganda,
it would have been my privilege to tell more of the wonderful natural
resources which all the South American republics possess. But just
because it has not been the business of “boosters” or promoters to
advertise difficulties or obstacles to progress, it becomes the more
necessary for the unprejudiced traveller to lay more stress on the
existing human handicaps, than on the wonderful natural resources. It is
an unpleasant task, but I believe it is worth doing. I have no patience
with those writers who paint everything in glowing colors and leave
others to discover the truth at their own expense. Nor have I any
sympathy with those who distort or emphasize disagreeable truths for the
sake of creating a sensation. I will, however, plead guilty to being a
prejudiced observer in so far as I am an ardent advocate of closer and
more intelligent relations between the United States and the South
American republics, and a firm believer in the truth that international
friendships, in order to be lasting, must be built on an honest
understanding of prevailing conditions and racial tendencies.



INDEX


Abancay, 289, 290, 295, 324.

Acobamba, 365, 370.

Aconcagua, 218.

Aconcawa, 159.

Acostambo, 369.

Agave plant, 71, 286.

Aguardiente, 326.

Alcaldes, Indian, 284, 365.

Alfa. _See_ Alfalfa.

Alfalfa, 77, 84, 100, 108, 159.

Allorisma subcuneata, 369.

Almagro, 263, 351.

Almanza, Emiliano, 320.

----, J. Antonio, 320.

----, Luis E., 320.

Alpacas, 137, 161.

Alto de La Paz, 228.

Amazon, 139, 240, 297, 318.

Americans in La Paz, 239.

Americans in South America, 10, 13-15, 24, 26-28,
   29, 32, 39-40, 62, 182, 241, 388.

Amphitheatre, Inca, 278.

Ancacato, 162.

Ancon, Treaty of, 206.

Andahuaylas, 329-335.

Anderson, Geo. E., 28.

Andines. _See_ Terraces.

Angosta de Tupiza, 87.

Angrand, M., 320.

Anta, plain of, 283-285.

Antis, 318.

Antofagasta, 170-175, 201-2.

Antofagasta Railway, 88, 92, 170.

Aniline dyes, 262.

Animal Industries, 37-39.

Apurimac, 285, 291, 297, 325, 368, 370.

----, bridge over, 288.

Apurimac, rapids of, 293.

----, valley of the, 318, 321.

Aramayo, Señor, 90.

Araucanians, 192, 357, 358.

Architect, Jesuit, 325.

Architecture, Inca, 260, 311.

Arequipa, 215-224.

Argentina, 30-82 and passim.

Arica, 187, 205-209.

Armadillo, 234.

Art School of Chile, 192.

Ascarrunz, Dr. Moises, 166.

Ascotan, 173.

Atacama, 78.

Atahualpa, 280, 358.

Auquibamba, 325-26.

Automobiles, 18, 25, 31, 33, 36.

Ayacucho, 108, 144, 321, 324, 346-351, 360.

----, battle of, 281, 325, 350-355.

Ayalá, Alejandro, ix.

Ayamarás, 145, 152-154, 163, 169, 232, 249, 255, 268.

Ayavari, 255.

Ayoayo, 246.

Ayoma, battle of, 162.

Azequia, 312, 314.


Bahia, 10-15.

Bahia Blanca, 31, 63.

Ballivian, Sr. Don Manuel Vicente, 252.

Balmaceda, Pres., 173, 179, 209.

Balsas, 226, 235.

“Baltimore” episode, 209.

Bamboo pipes, 361.

Banco Nacional de Bolivia, 145.

Bandelier, Professor Ad. F., 218, 226, 227, 233, 334.

Banks and Banking, 145;
  in Arequipa, 217;
  Argentina, 39-40;
  Brazil, 31-32;
  La Paz, 237;
  Tupiza, 88.

Banquets, Peruvian, 331, 337, 356.

Barbour, Thos., 252.

Barley straw, 84, 159, 284, 366.

Barros Arana, Diego, 191.

Bartolo, 135, 252.

Beazley, J. B., ix.

Beer, 335, 372.

Beggars’ Fair in Cuzco, 264.

Begonias, 290, 297, 326.

Belgrano, 48, 67.

Beni, valley of the, 239, 240.

Bibliographer, 391.

Billiards, 119, 166.

Birds, 110, 175, 202.

Biscachas, 246.

Blanco River, 286.

“Blind Man’s Guide.” _See_ El Lazarillo.

Bogotá, 35, 47, 196, 223.

Bola, 315.

Bolivar, General Simon, 50, 52, 118, 144.

Bolivia, 49, 56, 57, 73, 79. 83, and passim.

Bolivia Railway, ix.

Bolivian Andes, climbing and exploration in the, 249.

Bolivian army, 89, 104.

---- customs service, 85.

---- Government, 79, 92.

---- National Museum, 252.

---- paper currency, 114.

---- physician, 116.

Bombon, 341.

de Bonelli, Hugh, 200.

Book shops, 168, 178-79, 191.

Brazil, chapters I and II, 42, and passim.

Brazil, trade of, 10, 14, 20, 24-28.

British enterprises in Bolivia, 165.

Broom flower, 286.

Bryce, Rt. Hon. James, 233.

Bubonic plague, 210, 214.

Buenos Aires, 30-45, 60, 72, 73, and passim;
  foreign trade of, 68;
  history of, 46-51.

Buenos Aires and Rosario R. R., ix, 61, 69.

Bulimulus, 342.

Business methods, 384.


Caceres, Lieutenant, vii, 289, 293, 298, 303, 305, 345.

Cachimayo, 140.

Cachipascana, 224.

Cacho, Don Gaspar Mauro, 348.

Cachora, 297.

Cactus, 77, 86, 95, 341, 364.

Caisa, 112.

Calamá, 173.

Calancha, Father, 322.

Caldera, 177, 202.

Calera, 140.

Callao, 109.

Camacho, General, 138.

Camargo, 100.

Caracara, 151.

Caracas, 35.

Caras of Ecuador, 273.

Carnival balloons, 355.

Carnival season, 346, 350-353, 360-363.

Caroline Islands, 206, 275.

Casa Nacional de Moneda, 129.

Castelnau, 143.

Castilla, President, 320.

Castillo, 296, 298, 305.

Cattle, 37, 38, 152, 334, 364.

Ccapac, Manco, 322.

Cebada. _See_ barley straw.

Central America, 42.

Cerro de Pasco, 3, 373, 374.

Chachani, Mt., 217.

Chaco, 70, 78, 131, 139, 165.

Chaile, Fermin, 109, 164, and passim.

Challabama, 285.

Challapata, 145, 158, 162, 163, 172.

Challoma, 150.

Chavez, Lopez, ix.

Checcacupe, 254, 256.

Chibchas of Bogotá, 232.

Chicha, 134, 153, 246, 347, 350, 354, 361, 372.

Chicherias, 134, 256.

Children’s Sunday in La Paz, 233.

Chile, 40, 42, 51, 57, 58, 179, 181, 330, and passim.

Chile and Brazil, 185.

Chile and Peru, 357.

Chilean and Peruvian engineers, 125.

Chilean character, 204.

---- hospitality, 187.

---- navy, 200.

Chileans, 124.

---- of to-day, 358.

Chincha Islands, 204.

Chincheros, 335-341.

Chincona plants, 146.

Chocolate, 147, 156.

Chola, 235.

Choqquequirau, 291-323.

Chorolque, 100.

Chucuito, 334.

Chulpas, 164.

Chunchas, 318.

Chuno, 110.

Chupe, 111, 126, 128, 350.

Chuquisaca, 143.

Cinti, 100.

Cisneros, Mariano, 320.

Civil Engineers, 242, 270-71, 369, 375, 387.

Clausilia, 342.

Coal-beds, 369.

Coca, 107, 126, 127, 153, 235, 248.

Cochabamba, 170, 248.

Cochran, Thos. Earl of Dundonald, 51, 200.

Cock fight, 213.

Cocoa, 14, 107.

Coffee, 21, 23, 24.

Coins and coinage of Bolivia, 88, 128, 238;
  Brazil, 25;
  Peru, 145, 146, 213;
  Uruguay, 30.

Colombia, 147, 378.

Colpahuayo, 345.

Colquechaca, 157, 165.

Commerce. _See_ Trade.

Commercial houses, British, in Valparaiso, 199.

Commercial prosperity in Chile, 199.

Commercial travellers, 9.

Condor, 305.

Condorkanqui, 346, 353.

“Conquest of Peru”--Prescott, 205.

Convents in Potosí, 129.

Conway, Sir Martin, 249.

Coñac, 355.

Cook, Capt. James, 276.

Copacavana, 226, 227.

Copper-ore, 205.

Copper smelters, 370.

Coquimbo, 177, 201-02.

Coracora, 235.

Corapuna. _See_ Koropuna.

Corcovado, 21.

Cordillera de los Frailes, 163-64.

Cordillera Real, 248.

Corn, in Potosí, 128.

---- parched, 254, 371.

Corrugated iron, 70.

Cosmos, 326.

Costume, Quichua, 262.

Cotagaita, 100-2.

Cotton, 14.

Covadonga, 53.

“Cradle of Gold,” 319.

Creveaux, 139.

Criticisms of Americans, 379, 387.

Crucero Alto, 224.

Cuchu Ingenio, 112.

Curahuasi, 289.

Currency of Chile, 199.

---- of Peru, 213.

Custom Houses, in Argentina, 31;
  Bolivia, 88;
  Brazil, 7, 9, 20, 21;
  Peru, 212.

Cuzco, 205, 233, 251, 255, 258-282, 309, 318;
  elevation of, 272;
  university of, 268, 269.

Cuzco and Lima, 288.


Dall, Dr., 342.

Dasypus vellurosus, 234.

Dentists in South America, 270.

Desaguadero River, 164, 246.

Desert of Arequipa, 215.

Dickens, Charles, 380, 385.

Discovery of silver at Potosí, 121.

Diseases, tropical, 387.

Dishes, silver, 147.

Dixon, Prof. Roland B., 323.

Dolls of Sucre, 147.

“Don Mariano,” 293, 301.

Doorways, monolithic, 249, 251.

Drug store in Potosí, 127.

Drums at Carnival, 361.

Dry season, the, 84; cf. Rainy season.

Duck, 227.

Durand, Dr., 220.

Dutch in Brazil, 5-6.


Earthquakes in Arequipa, 216.

Easter Island, 276.

Ecuador, 57, 339.

Education of South American youth, 269.

Electric car, 182.

---- Railways, 370.

---- R. R. of La Paz, 230.

“El Lazarillo,” 60, 111, 170.

“Elzevir” Press of Santiago, 190.

English in Argentina, 31-33, 43-44, 47-48, 62, 64;
  Bolivia, 124, 239;
  Brazil, 4, 8, 20, 23-26;
  Chile, 179, 193, 199-200.

Escara, 100, 104.

Estarca, 86.

Estero Patino, 139.

Estrella, La, 287.

Eucalyptus trees, 61.

Exhibition, fine arts, 192.

“Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon,”--Gibbon, 288.

Exposition, National, of Brazil, 16, 19-20.

Eyre, W. S., viii.


Ferdinand and Isabella, 54.

Ferdinand VII. of Spain, 48.

Fermin. _See_ Chaile.

Fern, 151.

Fincas, 141.

Firemen, volunteer, of Santiago, 188.

Fireworks, 338.

Fish, 175.

Flute, Ayamará, 234.

Folding-cots, 218.

Fortifications, Inca, 273.

Fortress, Inca, 274, 286, 310.

Fossils, 369.

Franco, Sr. A., ix.

French, in Argentina, 61;
  Bolivia, 124;
  Brazil, 4, 17, 20, 31, 61;
  South America, 124.

Fruit, in Argentina, 73;
  Bolivia, 246.

Furs, 199.


Gables in Inca houses, 309, 313.

Games of chance, 235-36.

Garcia, Marcos, 322.

Garcilasso de la Vega, 259, 275.

Gastelu, Don Juan, 321.

Gauchos, 67, 72.

Geranium, 151.

German-Americans, 167.

German business methods, 96, 388.

---- Club of Oruro, 166.

Germans, in Argentina, 43-62;
  Brazil, 4, 7, 20, 27, 31;
  Chile, 193.

Goats, 70, 75, 97, 110.

Gobernador of Chincheros, 335;
  Huancarama, 328;
  Quinua, 351;
  Talavera, 333, 335;
  Tambillo, 343, 344;
  Yscuchaca, 368.

Grace & Co., W. R., viii, ix, 231.

Gran Chaco. _See_ Chaco.

Grapes, 110.

Grinding stones, 308.

Guamanga, 350-51.

Guanay, 239.

Guano, 203-4.

Guaqui, 252, 254.

Guemes Gral., 72.

Guinea pig, 84, 110, 143, 160.

Guitars, 156, 234.

Gulls, 160.


Hail, 158, 345.

Hand loom, 134.

Hanna, Rea, ix, 203.

Harness, 285.

Harp, 347, 361.

Harvard Observatory at Arequipa, 216.

Hats, 146, 263.

Hay, Clarence, ix, 257, 300, 302.

Head-gear, women’s, 350.

Heliotrope, 286.

Herford, Oliver, 127.

Hispanic Race, 53-56.

Historian, South American, 391.

Hope, John Pierce, ix, 251.

Horse racing, 36.

Horses, 37, 110, 152, 326.

Hospitality, Bolivian, 231.

Hotels, in Arequipa, 217;
  Ayacucho, 347;
  Buenos Aires, 34;
  Challapata, 217;
  Cuzco, 261;
  Huancayo, 371, 373;
  Jujuy, 72-74;
  La Paz, 231;
  La Quiaca, 78;
  Lima, 376;
  Mollendo, 214;
  Montevideo, 29;
  Oruro, 166;
  Pernambuco, 8;
  Potosí, 115, 125;
  Rio de Janeiro, 18;
  Santiago, 182;
  South America, 380;
  Sucre, 142;
  Tupiza, 89-90.

Huadquiña, 320.

Huancarama, 327.

Huancavelica, 369.

Huancayo, 369-372.

Huanchaca, 164.

Huanta, 362-63.

Huarocondo, 284.

Huarpa River, 363.

Huatanay River, 257-58.

Humahuaca, 77.

Humidity, 70, 306.

Hutcheon, Don Santiago, ix, 80.

Hutchinson, Lincoln, 28, 388.


Ice cream, 331.

Iglehart, D. S., ix.

Ilo, 210.

Images, monolithic, 249.

Inca Empire, 318, 258.

---- palaces, 261.

---- roads, 283.

---- Rocca, 259.

---- stairway, 312.

---- stonework, 259.

---- stucco, 310, 311.

---- Tambos, 149.

“Inca Thrones,” 278.

---- vases, 279.

---- Viracocha, 276.

Incas, 84, 130, 206, 291, 307-323, 357, and passim.

Incahuasy, near Tambobamba, 318.

Ingenios in Potosí, 124.

Iquique, 201, 202, 205.

Iris, yellow, 288.

Irrigation, 77, 84, 100, 110, 343.

“Islands of Titicaca and Koati,” the, 334.

Islay, 211.

Italians in Argentina, 31-34, 45, 67, 72;
  in Brazil, 4, 20.

Itaparica, 11.


Jail in Cuzco, 267.

---- in La Paz, 238.

Jar, earthen-ware, 315.

Jauja, 373; valley of, 371.

Jesuit church, 265;
  in Arequipa, 218;
  in Potosí, 126.

Jesuits, 332.

Jockey Club of Buenos Aires, 35.

Johnson, Rankin, ix, 249.

“Jornal do Comercio,” 22.

Jujuy, 69, 72-74.

Juliaca, 225, 254.

Juramento, 72.


Kari Kari, battlefield of, 132.

Kirkham, Mr., 372.

Koati, 226.

Koropuna, Mt., 218.

Kusaie, Island of, 206, 275.


“La Corona,” incident of, 187, 208.

“La Estrella,” 287, 320.

“La Glorieta,” 141.

Laja Tambo, 113.

“La Nacion,” 34.

Lantanas, 286.

La Paz, 145, 170, 228-240.

La Plata, 143.

La Plata, National University of, 38.

“La Prensa,” 34, 338.

La Quiaca, 69, 78, 82, 172.

La Raya, 255.

La Serena, 202, 281, 341, 355.

Latin-American Scientific Congress, 183.

Lautaro, 357.

Lavandais, E. de, 320.

Lawyers in South America, 270, 390.

Leguia, A. B., Pres. of Peru, viii, 294, 331, 376.

Lele, 275.

Leon, 75.

Leon, Marcelino, 319.

Letona family, 325.

Liberal party in Peru, 221.

Lima, 35, 47, 49, 51, 56, 73, 196, 369, 376, 378.

Limarí, str., 200, 201, 210.

Limatambo, 286.

Liniers, 47.

Lircay, valley of, 365, 367.

Lisbon, 14.

Livichuco, 160.

Lizards, 157, 202.

Llama drivers, 156.

Llamas, 77, 110, 113, 115, 133, 149, 155-161, 255, 326, 331, 367.

---- in Potosí, 117, 126.

Locusts, 61, 70, 325.

Lombardy poplars, 332.

Lomellini, Sr. C., 263, 279.

Los Neques, 346.

Lotto, 236.

Lupins, 297, 326.


Mac, 94, 101.

Macha, 158.

Mackenna Vicuña, B., 191.

Madre de Dios, river, 240.

Magellan, straits of, 179.

Maimará, 76.

Maipo, 51.

Maize, 110.

Malaria, 341.

Mamoré, river, 139.

Manaos, 240.

Manco Capac, 263, 279.

Mantaro River, 368-371.

“Mañana” habit, 382.

Marcas, 364.

Marcavalle, 370.

Markham, Sir Clements, 146, 267, 276.

“Martin Chuzzlewit,” 383, 386.

Martinelli, Don Federico, 325.

Matan, 71.

Matara, 345.

May, the 25th of, 46-48.

Medanos, 215.

Medical School in Santiago, 168.

Medicines, 127.

Medina, José Toribio, 189-190.

Mejia, 215.

Mendoza, 51.

Merchandise, foreign, 326.

Merino, Capt. Louis, ix.

“Mexican Trails,” 372.

Mexico, 41, 42.

Mexico steamer, 174.

Military Academy, Chilean, 194.

Milk, condensed, 153.

Miller, General Wm., 117, 355.

Mimosa trees, 71, 72, 95, 300, 341, 364.

Miners at Potosí, 122.

Mines, copper, 173.

---- ---- of Cerro de Pasco, 373.

Mines, gold, 173;
  silver, 157, 164, 169, 173;
  tin, 123, 169.

Mint in Potosí, 129.

Misti, 217.

Mitchell, J. A., 383.

Mitre Bartolome, 191.

Mogrovejo Pio, 320.

Mojo, 84.

Mollendo, 175, 210-214.

Mollepata, 286, 320.

Monasteries, 129;
  Dominican, 259;
  Franciscan, 219, 220, 265.

Monobamba, 335.

Monroe Doctrine, 42-43.

“Monroe Palace,” 19.

Montes, Pres. of Bolivia, 242, 287.

Montevideo, 29, 30.

Montt, Pres. Pedro of Chile, viii, 194.

Moromoro, 150.

Moses, Professor Bernard, 183.

Mosquitoes, 341.

Mountain sickness, 113, 165.

Mules, 110, 134, 149, 281, 326, 342, 360, 372, and passim.

“Mur triomphal,” 321.


Napoleon, 48.

National Bank of Bolivia, 88.

National Bank of Francisco Argondaño, 88.

National City Bank of New York, 242.

Negroes in South America, 13.

Nevada of Chillihua, 331.

Newspapers in Rio, 22;
  Buenos Aires, 34;
  Tupiza, 90.

New York Herald, 338-340.

Niches, Inca, 310, 311.

Nictheroy, 16.

Nitrate Association, 203.

Nitrates, Chilean, 173, 202-205.

“North Americans,” 40-43, 381.

North Central Railway of Argentina, 69.

Notre Dame University, 130.

Novoa, C. A., ix.

Nuñez, J. J., vii, 290.


Oahu, 341.

Ocros, 344.

Ocurí, 152.

Oddo, the hotel, 182.

O’Driscoll, Mr., 75.

Olinda, 5.

Ollaneta, General, 108.

Ollantaytambo, 284, 309, 318.

Ollawe, volcano of, 172.

“O Paiz,” 22.

Oranges, 326.

Oropeza, 258.

Oroya, 369, 371, 374.

Oruro, 79, 80, 162, 164-172, 241, 245, 248.

---- climate of, 166.

---- population of, 170.

Oruro-Antofagasta Line, 79, 173.


Pachacamac, 252, 312.

Pachachaca, 325.

Pacific Steam Navigation Co., 174.

Paintings, religious, 252.

Pajonal, 343.

Pampa de Islay, 215.

Pampa Tambo, 138.

Pampas, the Argentine, 62-66.

Pampas River, 341, 370.

Pan-American, railway, 76, 369;
  Scientific Congress, 183;
  Union, viii.

Pan de Sucre, 248.

Paraguay, 50, 139.

Paraguay River, 139.

Paramo, 329, 335, 345, 367.

Paraná River, 63, 139.

Parodi Brothers, 343.

Parrots, 284, 288.

Patagonia, 63.

Paucara, 366.

Paucartambo, 318.

Paz Soldan, 322.

Peaches, 219.

Pears, 246.

Peas, 219.

Pederneiras, Col. A. de, ix.

Pernambuco, 3-10, 14.

Peru, 42, 49-52, 57, 211-224, 254-378, and passim.

Peru, Upper, 73, 86, 143, 144.

Peruvian Corporation, ix.

Peruvian engineers, 125.

Petticoats of Quichuas, 147.

Physicians in Bolivia, 168;
  South America, 270.

Pianos, 287.

Pigs, 110, 152.

Pilcomayo, 78, 100, 137, 139, 140.

Pilsbry, Dr. H. A., 342.

Pincos River, 329.

Pine, Oregon, 242.

Pino Toranzo, Arturo, ix.

Pisac, 310, 318.

Pisagua, 205.

Pisculco, 150.

Pizarro, 106, 259, 280, 351, 358;
  followers of, viii, 260;
  remains of, 377.

Plata, Juan Manuel Rivas, 320.

Plums, 219.

Pneumonia, 167.

Polo, 203.

Ponchos, 327, 372.

Ponchos, vicuña, 234, 333.

Pongora River, 352.

Poopo, lake, 161, 164.

Popcorn, 354.

Poplar trees, 332.

Pork, 371.

Porteños, 34, and passim.

Portuguese in Brazil, 5, 7, 8, 20, 46.

Postes, 99, 104, 149, and passim.

Postilions, 104, 136, 137, 149, 159.

Potatoes, 110; in Potosí, 128.

Potosí, 73, 79, 92, 100, 112, 115-133, 169, 233, 252, 338;
  Cerro of, 115, 120;
  La Paz and Peruvian Mining Association, 61;
  stage, 109.

Pottery, 308, 312, 316.

Prescott’s “Conquest of Peru,” 205.

Prices, in Santos, 23;
  Buenos Aires, 33;
  Montevideo, 30;
  Tupiza, 89.

Prince and Princess of Glorieta, 141.

Prison. _See_ Jail.

Projection, cylindrical stone, 313.

Pucará River, 255, 371.

Pucyura, 322.

Pulque, 372.

Punilla, 149.

Puno, 112, 225, 254.

Punta, 371.

Puquiura, 283.


“Quand L’Amour Meurt,” 287.

Quebracho, 70-71.

Quebrada Honda, 138.

Quichua garments, 128.

Quichua tongue, 266.

Quichuas, 84, 86, 95, 98, 104-108, 124, 130, 153-54,
   232, 255, 267, 268, 277, 287, 317, 348, 357.

Quinoa, 100, 110.

Quinta Normal, 192.

Quinua, 351, 352.

Quirve, 104, 108, 109.


Railroads, in Argentina, 32, 61-79;
  Bolivia, 79-80, 164-65, 170-74, 225, 227, 230, 241, 249, 252;
  Brazil, 8, 9, 21, 23;
  Chile, 170-74, 178, 179, 205, 208;
  Peru, 206, 211, 215, 216, 224-25, 254-58, 370, 372-76;
  Uruguay, 30.

Raimondi, 321, 322.

Rainy season, in Bolivia, 84, 87, 138, 240;
  Peru, 282.

Recife (Pernambuco), 4-10.

Redwood, California, 242.

Restaurants in South America, 380.

Revolutions, 68, 222.

Rio Bebribe, 7.

Rio de Janeiro, 16-22.

Rio de la Plata, 31, 37, 46, 56, 160.

Rio Piedras, 71.

Riots, 387.

Rivas, Rafael, 109.

River Alto, 240.

Rodadero, 278.

Rodriguez, Dr. J. C., 22.

Romero, Carlos A., 323.

Roosevelt, President, 331.

Root, Elihu, viii, 183.

Rosario, 31, 63.

Roses, 151, 337.

Rowe, Leo S., viii, 183.

Rua Ouvidor, 19.

Rubber, 24.

Ruins, 115, 121, 250, 272, 291, 307, and passim.

Ruis de los Llanos, 70.

Rurrenabaque, 239.


Sacsahuaman, 206, 263, 272-279.

Salta, 72.

Salvia, 290.

Samanez, José Benigno, 320.

San Antonio, Port, 240.

Sand-dunes, crescent shaped, 215.

Sandstone, 366.

San Geronimo, 258, 329.

San Martin, José de, 50-52, 155, 200.

San Pedro, 227.

San Sebastian, 258.

Santa Fé, 66.

Santa Lucia, 181.

Santiago, Chile, 35, 47, 180-196, 386.

Santiago del Estero, 66.

Santo Domingo, Convent of, 258.

Santos, 22-23.

Saõ Paulo, 21, 23, 25.

Sapallauga, 371.

Saracocha, 224.

Sargantay, Mt., 290, 304, 320.

Sarmiento, 66.

Saropalca, 110.

Sartiges, Eugène de, 319.

Schaefer, J. Louis, viii.

Schmidt, Emilio, 338-340.

School, Manual Training, 192.

School of Mines in Potosí, 130.

Schools, Public, 97, 154.

Schuchert, Prof. Chas., 369.

Scots in South America, 4.

Sea-lions, 175, 202.

Shawl-pins, 294.

Sheep, 37, 75, 137, 161, 334, 364, 366.

Shells, land, 341.

Shepherd, Wm. R., 183.

Sicuani, 255.

Siesta, 326.

Silver. _See_ Mines.

Silversmiths, 147.

Singing of Quichua women, 354.

Skulls, 316.

Skulls, Deformation of, 246, 317.

Slate, 313.

Sleet, 345.

Sling of llama wool, 156.

Smallpox, 210, 214;
  in Rio, 18.

Smelters in Bolivia, 112, 115, 124.

Smith, Emilio, 338-340.

Smith, Huntington, Jr., ix, 61, 257.

Smith, U. S. Grant, ix.

Snow, 112, 335, 345, 367.

Snyder, A. G., ix.

Sorata, 239.

Soray, Mt., 304, 320.

Soroche, 113, 143, 165, 376.

Sotomayor, 192.

South Americans, characteristics of, 52;
  manners of, 379, 391.

Spain, 53-55.

Spanish Armies, 67, 144, 354.

Spanish in South America, 12, 29, 33, 45-52, 61, 67.

Speyer & Co., 242.

Spindle wheel, 312.

“Spitting,” 383.

Sport, 214.

Squier, E. G., 251, 259, 261, 342.

Stage coach, 83.

Steamers, Atlantic, 3, 6, 10, 17, 26, 29-31, 44;
  Chilean, 200-203;
  Lake Titicaca, 227;
  West Coast, 175-177.

Stewards, Chilean, 176.

Stone, cylindrical blocks of, 311.

Stone-cutting, game of, 278.

Succotash, 347.

Sucre, city of, 108, 112, 133, 142-148, 158, 248.

Sucre, General A. J., 52, 108, 144, 325, 341, 352, 354.

Sugar, 5, 9, 14, 156, 290.

Sugar-cane, 66, 286, 290, 295, 325, 343.

Suipacha, 85.

Sulphur springs, 111, 134.

Sweet potatoes, 302.


Tablachaca, 368.

Tacna, 187, 206-209, 330.

Talavera, 330, 334.

Talcahuano, 178.

Tambillo, 346.

Tambo River, 215.

Tambobamba, 318.

Tambos, 99, 149.

Taraco, peninsula of, 226.

Tarija, 86.

Tea, 125.

Tejada, José Maria de, 319.

Temperature, 98, 113, 143, 178, 366.

Temple, Edmund, 61, 76, 144, 228.

Temple of the Sun, 258.

Tenientes, Indian, 284.

Tennis, 203.

Terraces, 110, 307, 313, 315.

Textiles, 252.

Theatres, 34-35.

Thompson, paymaster, 276.

Tiahuanaco, 228, 249-253.

Ties from Oregon, 225.

Tigre River, 62.

Tin. _See_ Mines.

Tiquina, straits of, 227.

Titicaca, island of, 226, 334.

Titicaca, Lake, 86, 164, 224-227, 249, 310.

Tobacco, 14.

Tombs, ancient, 164, 246, 315.

“Tonquinoise,” 287.

Toropalca, 111.

Totora, 99.

Toys, Ayamará, 234;
  German, 372.

Trade and commerce, 10, 14, 20, 24-28, 38-39, 46, 127, and passim.

Trade Routes, 49, 60, 73, 93, 239-240, 280.

Trancapata River, 289.

Transportation, difficulties of, 387.

Treasure-seekers, 250, 292, 308, 321.

Tres Cruces, 77.

Tucuman, 66-69, 73.

Tucuman Express, 64.

Tumusla River, 108.

Tunja, 148.

Tupac Amaru, 106, 266.

Tupiza, 79-80, 87-92, 100, 172, 338.


Ucayali, 297.

United States and Peru, 209, 337.

Uquia, 77.

Uribe, General Uribe, 195.

Urubamba, 284-85, 320.

Uruguay, 29-30.

Urumyosi, 366.

Uspallata Pass, 51, 57.

Uyuni, 80, 92, 100, 172.


Vaca de Castro, 351.

Valparaiso, 178, 179, 198-201.

Vargas, Moises, ix.

Velarde, Don Lino, 218.

Venezuela, 56, 57, 70, 378.

Ventilla, 228.

Viachi, 241-42, 248.

Vicuña Ponchos, 234, 327.

Vicuñas, 159, 160, 172, 246.

Vilcabamba, 322.

Vilcanota Mts., 255.

Vilcanota River, 256, 257.

Vilcapujio, 162.

Villazon, Pres. of Bolivia, viii.

Vineyards, 181.

Viracocha, 276, 310, 351.

“Virgins of the Sun,” 314.

Viscachani, 246.

Volcan, 75-76.

Von Tschudi, 250.


Wages, 243.

War between Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, 173, 206.

War-Club, stone, 346.

Wars of Emancipation. _See_ Wars of Independence.

Wars of Independence, viii, 46-58, 67, 86, 89, 100, 162, 200, 273, 353.

Wateree, U. S. S., 206.

Waterfalls, 288, 299.

Water power, 370.

Whirl-bob, 312.

Whirlwinds, 70.

Wiener, Chas., 318, 320.

Wilson, Chas. L., ix.

Wind, the prevailing, 77.

Wine, 181.

Wool, 30.


Yavarí, 225, 254.

Yellow fever, 214.

“Yes, sir,” 382.

Yllanya, 325.

Yotala, 112, 140.

Yscuchaca, 367-68.

Yuatquinia, 320.

Yucaes River, 352.


Zurita, 284-85.

                          The Riverside Press

                       CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS

                               U . S . A


FOOTNOTES:

 [1] His sudden death in August, 1910, is a very great loss to Chile.

 [2] Mr. Thomas Barbour, of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy, Harvard
 University, tells me these are generally _Dasypus vellurosus_. Colored
 plates of many of the interesting Aymará toys and textiles can be
 found in Stubel’s _Kultur und Industrie Süd Amerikanischer Völker_.

 [3] In Paymaster Thompson’s report of his visit to Easter Island,
 he gives drawings and photographs of walls that bear a striking
 resemblance to Sacsahuaman. There is the same peculiar close fitting
 of one stone to another, the same striking size of the stones and lack
 of cement in the joints. See also Cook’s _Voyage Around the World in
 1772-1775_, London, 1777.

 [4] E. G. Squier, _Peru_, p. 503.

 [5] _Perou et Bolivie_, pp. 293-5.

 [6] Raimondi, _Peru_, vol. ii, p. 161.

 [7] “On some Land Shells Collected by Dr. Hiram Bingham, in Peru”;
 Proceedings of the U. S. Nat. Mus., xxxviii. 177-182. The shells
 “comprised various species and varieties of Bulimulus and a single
 species of Clausilia.” The latter was described by Dr. H. A. Pilsbry.


Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

It it to be hoped=> It is to be hoped {pg 76}

the sevententh century=> the seventeenth century {pg 121}

When the Antogafasta=> When the Antofagasta {pg 171}

late Bartolome Mitré=> late Bartolome Mitre {pg 191}

port been devasted by earthquakes=> port been devastated by earthquakes
{pg 206}

More deaths occuring=> More deaths occurring {pg 214}

Futhermore, they were=> Furthermore, they were {pg 278}

surmouted an exceedingly bleak plateau=> surmounted an exceedingly bleak
plateau {pg 335}

in this vicintiy=> in this vicinity {pg 369}





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