A Woman's Journey Round the World by Ida Pfeiffer - HTML preview

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I know very few countries in Europe where I should like to traverse vast forests, and pass the night in such awfully lonely houses, accompanied by only a hired guide.

On the 7th of October, also, we made only a short day's journey of twenty miles, to the small town of Canto Gallo. The scenery was of the usual description, consisting of narrow, circumscribed valleys and mountains covered with endless forests. If little fazendas, and the remains of woods which had been set on fire, had not, every now and then, reminded us of the hand of man, I should have thought that I was wandering through some yet undiscovered part of Brazil.

The monotony of our journey was rather romantically interrupted by our straying for a short distance from the right road. In order to reach it again, we were obliged to penetrate, by untrodden paths, through the woods; a task presenting difficulties of which a European can scarcely form an idea. We dismounted from our mules, and my guide threw back, on either side, the low-hanging branches, and cut through the thick web of creepers; while, one moment, we were obliged to climb over broken trunks, or squeeze ourselves between others, at the next we sank knee-deep among endless parasitical plants. I began almost to despair of ever effecting a passage, and, even up to the present day, am at a loss to understand how we succeeded in escaping from this inextricable mass.

The little town of Canto Gallo is situated in a narrow valley, and contains about eighty houses. The venda stands apart, the town not being visible from it. The temperature here is warm as in Rio Janeiro.

On my return to the venda, after a short walk to the town, I applied to my landlady, in order to obtain a near and really correct idea of a Brazilian household. The good woman, however, gave herself very little trouble, either in looking after the house or the kitchen; as is the case in Italy, this was her husband's business. A negress and two young negroes cooked, the arrangements of the kitchen being of the most primitive simplicity. The salt was pressed fine with a bottle; the potatoes, when boiled, underwent the same process--the latter were also subsequently squeezed in the frying-pan with a plate, to give them the form of a pancake; a pointed piece of wood served for a fork, etc. There was a large fire burning for every dish.

Every one whose complexion was white, sat down with us at table.

Al the dishes, consisting of cold roast beef, black beans with boiled carna secca, {42} potatoes, rice, manioc flour, and boiled manioc roots, were placed upon the table at the same time, and every one helped himself as he pleased. At the conclusion of our meal, we had strong coffee without milk. The slaves had beans, carna secca, and manioc flour.

8th October. Our goal today was the Fazenda Boa Esperanza, twenty-four miles off. Four miles beyond Canto Gallo, we crossed a small waterfall, and then entered one of the most magnificent virgin forests I had yet beheld. A small path, on the bank of a little brook conducted us through it. Palms, with their majestic tops, raised themselves proudly above the other trees, which, lovingly interlaced together, formed the most beautiful bowers; orchids grew in wanton luxuriance upon the branches and twigs; creepers and ferns climbed up the trees, mingling with the boughs, and forming thick walls of blossoms and flowers, which displayed the most bril iant colours, and exhaled the sweetest perfume; delicate humming-birds twittered around our heads; the pepper-pecker, with his bril iant plumage, soared shyly upwards; parrots and parroquets were swinging themselves in the branches, and numberless beautifully marked birds, which I only knew from having seen specimens in the Museum, inhabited this fairy grove. It seemed as if I was riding in some fairy park, and I expected, every moment, to see sylphs and nymphs appear before me.

I was so happy, that I felt richly recompensed for all the fatigue of my journey. One thought only obscured this beautiful picture; and that was, that weak man should dare to enter the lists with the giant nature of the place, and make it bend before his wil . How soon, perhaps, may this profound and holy tranquil ity be disturbed by the blows of some daring settler's axe, to make room for the wants of men!

I saw no dangerous animals save a few dark green snakes, from five to seven feet long; a dead ounce, that had been stripped of its skin; and a lizard, three feet in length, which ran timidly across our path. I met with no apes; they appear to conceal themselves deeper in the woods, where no human footstep is likely to disturb them in their sports and gambols.

During the whole distance from Canto Gallo to the small vil age of St. Ritta (sixteen miles), if it had not again been for a few coffee plantations, I should have thought the place completely forgotten by man.

Near St. Ritta are some gold-washings in the river of the same name, and not far from them, diamonds also are found. Since seeking or digging for diamonds is no longer an imperial monopoly, every one is at liberty to employ himself in this occupation, and yet it is exercised as much as possible in secret. No one wil acknowledge looking for them, in order to avoid paying the State its share as fixed by law. The precious stones are sought for and dug out at certain spots, from heaps of sand, stones, and soil, which have been washed down by the heavy rains.

I had found lodgings in a venda for the last time, the preceding evening, at Canto Gallo. I had now to rely upon the hospitality of the proprietors of the fazendas. Custom requires that, on reaching a fazenda, any person who desires to stop the middle of the day or the night there, should wait outside and ask, through the servant, permission to do so. It is not until his application is granted, which is almost always the case, that the traveller dismounts from his mule, and enters the building.

They received me at the Fazenda of Boa Esperanza in the most friendly manner, and, as I happened to arrive exactly at dinner-time (it was between 3 and 4 o'clock), covers were immediately laid for me and my attendant. The dishes were numerous, and prepared very nearly in the European fashion.

Great astonishment was manifested in every venda and fazenda at seeing a lady arrive accompanied only by a single servant. The first question was, whether I was not afraid thus to traverse the woods alone; and my guide was invariably taken on one side, and questioned as to way I travelled. As he was in the habit of seeing me collect flowers and insects, he supposed me to be a naturalist, and replied that my journey had a scientific object.

After dinner, the amiable lady of the house proposed that I should go and see the coffee-plantations, warehouses, etc.; and I wil ingly accepted her offer, as affording me an opportunity of viewing the manner in which the coffee was prepared, from beginning to end.

The mode of gathering it I have already described. When this is done, the coffee is spread out upon large plots of ground, trodden down in a peculiar manner, and enclosed by low stone walls, scarcely a foot high, with little drain-holes in them, to allow of the water running off in case of rain. On these places the coffee is dried by the glowing heat of the sun, and then shaken in large stone mortars, ten or twenty of which are placed beneath a wooden scaffolding, from which wooden hammers, set in motion by water power, descend into the mortars, and easily crush the husks. The mass, thus crushed, is then placed in wooden boxes, fastened in the middle of a long table, and having small openings at each side, through which both the berry itself and the husk fall slowly out. At the table are seated negroes, who separate the berry from the husk, and then cast it into shallow copper cauldrons, which are easily heated. In these it is carefully turned, and remains until it is quite dried. This last process requires some degree of care, as the colour of the coffee depends upon the degree of heat to which it is exposed; if dried too quickly, instead of the usual greenish colour, it contracts a yellowish tinge.

On the whole, the preparation of coffee is not fatiguing, and even the gathering of it is far from being as laborious as reaping is with us. The negro stands in an upright posture when gathering the berry, and is protected by the tree itself against the great heat of the sun. The only danger he incurs is of being bitten by some venomous snake or other--an accident, however, which, fortunately, rarely happens.

The work on a sugar-plantation, on the contrary, is said to be exceedingly laborious, particularly that portion of it which relates to weeding the ground and cutting the cane. I have never yet witnessed a sugar-harvest, but, perhaps, may do so in the course of my travels.

Al work ceases at sunset, when the negroes are drawn up in front of their master's house for the purpose of being counted, and then, after a short prayer, have their supper, consisting of boiled beans, bacon, carna secca, and manioc flour, handed out to them.

At sunrise, they again assemble, are once more counted, and, after prayers and breakfast, go to work.

I had an opportunity of convincing myself in this, as well as in many other fazendas, vendas, and private houses, that the slaves are by far not so harshly treated as we Europeans imagine. They are not overworked, perform all their duties very leisurely, and are well kept. Their children are frequently the playmates of their master's children, and knock each other about as if they were all equal.

There may be cases in which certain slaves are cruelly and undeservedly punished; but do not the like instances of injustice occur in Europe also?

I am certainly very much opposed to slavery, and should greet its abolition with the greatest delight, but, despite this, I again affirm that the negro slave enjoys, under the protection of the law, a better lot than the free fellah of Egypt, or many peasants in Europe, who stil groan under the right of soccage. The principal reason of the better lot of the slave, compared to that of the miserable peasant, in the case in point, may perhaps partly be, that the purchase and keep of the one is expensive, while the other costs nothing.

The arrangements in the houses belonging to the proprietors of the fazendas are extremely simple. The windows are unglazed, and are closed at night with wooden shutters. In many instances, the outer roof is the common covering of all the rooms, which are merely separated from one another by low partitions, so that you can hear every word your neighbour says, and almost the breathing of the person sleeping next to you. The furniture is equally simple: a large table, a few straw sofas, and a few chairs. The wearing apparel is generally hung up against the walls; the linen alone being kept in tin cases, to protect it from the attacks of the ants.

In the country, the children of even the most opulent persons run about frequently without shoes or stockings. Before they go to bed they have their feet examined to see whether any sand-fleas have nestled in them; and if such be the case, they are extracted by the elder negro children.

9th October. Early in the morning I took leave of my kind hostess, who, like a truly careful housewife, had wrapped up a roasted fowl, manioc flour, and a cheese for me, so that I was well provisioned on setting off.

The next station, Aldea do Pedro, on the banks of the Parahyby, was situated at a distance of sixteen miles. Our way lay through magnificent woods, and before we had traversed half of it, we arrived at the river Parahyby, one of the largest in the Brazils, and celebrated, moreover, for the peculiar character of its bed, which is strewed with innumerable cliffs and rocks; these, owing to the low state of the stream, were more than usually conspicuous. On every side rose little islands, covered with small trees or underwood, lending a most magic appearance to the river. During the rainy season, most of these cliffs and rocks are covered with water, and the river then appears more majestic. On account of the rocks it can only be navigated by small boats and rafts.

As you proceed along the banks, the scenery gradually changes. The fore-part of the mountain ranges subside into low hil s, the mountains themselves retreat, and the nearer you approach Aldea do Pedro, the wider and more open becomes the valley. In the background alone are stil visible splendid mountain ranges, from which rises a mountain higher than the rest, somewhat more naked, and almost isolated. To this my guide pointed, and gave me to understand that our way lay over it, in order to reach the Puris, who lived beyond.

About noon I arrived at Aldea do Pedro, which I found to be a small vil age with a stone church; the latter might, perhaps, contain 200

persons. I had intended continuing my journey to the Puris the same day, but my guide was attacked with pains in his knee, and could not ride further. I had, therefore, no resource but to alight at the priest's, who gave me a hearty welcome; he had a pretty good house, immediately adjoining the church.

10th October. As my guide was worse, the priest offered me his negro to replace him. I thankfully accepted his offer, but could not set off before 1 o'clock, for which I was, in some respects, not sorry, as it was Sunday, and I hoped to see a great number of the country people flock to mass. This, however, was not the case; although it was a very fine day there were hardly thirty people at church. The men were dressed exactly in the European fashion; the women wore long cloaks with collars, and had white handkerchiefs upon their heads, partly falling over their faces as well; the latter they uncovered in church. Both men and women were barefooted.

As chance would have it, I witnessed a burial and a christening.

Before mass commenced, a boat crossed over from the opposite bank of the Parahyby, and on reaching the side, a hammock, in which was the deceased, was lifted out. He was then laid in a coffin which had been prepared for the purpose in a house near the churchyard. The corpse was enveloped in a white cloth, with the feet and half the head protruding beyond it; the latter was covered with a peaked cap of shining black cloth.

The christening took place before the burial. The person who was to be christened was a young negro of fifteen, who stood with his mother at the church door. As the priest entered the church to perform mass, he christened him, in passing by, without much ceremony or solemnity, and even without sponsors; the boy, too, seemed to be as little touched by the whole affair as a new born infant. I do not believe that either he or his mother had the least idea of the importance of the rite.

The priest then hurriedly performed mass, and read the burial service over the deceased, who had belonged to rather a wealthy family, and therefore was respectably interred. Unfortunately, when they wanted to lower the corpse into its cold resting-place, the latter was found to be too short and too narrow, and the poor wretch was so tossed about, coffin and all, that I expected every moment to see him roll out. But all was of no avail, and after a great deal of useless exertion no other course was left but to place the coffin on one side and enlarge the grave, which was done with much unwil ingness and amid an unceasing volley of oaths.

This fatiguing work being at last finished, I returned to the house, where I took a good dejeuner a la fourchette in company with the priest, and then set out with my black guide.

We rode for some time through a broad valley between splendid woods, and had to cross two rivers, the Parahyby and the Pomba, in trunks of trees hollowed out. For each of these wretched conveyances I was obliged to pay one milreis (2s. 2d.), and to incur great danger into the bargain; not so much on account of the stream and the small size of the craft, as of our mules, which, fastened by their halter, swam alongside, and frequently came so near that I was afraid that we should be every moment capsized.

After riding twelve miles further, we reached the last settlement of the whites. {47} On an open space, which had with difficulty been conquered from the virgin forest, stood a largish wooden house, surrounded by a few miserable huts, the house serving as the residence of the whites, and the huts as that of the slaves. A letter which I had brought from the priest procured me a welcome.

The manner of living in this settlement was of such a description that I was almost tempted to believe that I was already among savages.

The large house contained an entrance hall leading into four rooms, each of which was inhabited by a white family. The whole furniture of these rooms consisted of a few hammocks and straw mats. The inhabitants were cowering upon the floor, playing with the children, or assisting one another to get rid of their vermin. The kitchen was immediately adjoining the house, and resembled a very large barn with openings in it; upon a hearth that took up nearly the entire length of the barn, several fires were burning, over which hung small kettles, and at each side were fastened wooden spits. On these were fixed several pieces of meat, some of which were being roasted by the fire and some cured by the smoke. The kitchen was full of people: whites, Puris, and negroes, children whose parents were whites and Puris, or Puris and negroes--in a word, the place was like a book of specimens containing the most varied ramifications of the three principal races of the country.

In the court-yard was an immense number of fowls, beautifully marked ducks and geese; I also saw some extraordinarily fat pigs, and some horribly ugly dogs. Under some cocoa-palms and tamarind-trees, were seated white and coloured people, separate and in groups, mostly occupied in satisfying their hunger. Some had got broken basins or pumpkin-gourds before them, in which they kneaded up with their hands boiled beans and manioc flour; this thick and disgusting-looking mess they devoured with avidity. Others were eating pieces of meat, which they likewise tore with their hands, and threw into their mouths alternately with handfuls of manioc flour. The children, who also had their gourds before them, were obliged to defend the contents valiantly; for at one moment a hen would peck something out, and, at the next, a dog would run off with a bit, or sometimes even a little pig would waggle up, and invariably give a most contented grunt when it had not performed the journey for nothing.

While I was making these observations, I suddenly heard a merry cry outside the court-yard; I proceeded to the place from which it issued, and saw two boys dragging towards me a large dark brown serpent; certainly more than seven feet long, at the end of a bast-rope. It was already dead, and, as far as I could learn from the explanations of those about me, it was of so venomous a kind, that if a person is bitten by it, he immediately swells up and dies.

I was rather startled at what I heard, and determined at least not to set out through the wood just as evening was closing in, as I might have to take up my quarters for the night under some tree; I therefore deferred my visit to the savages until the next morning.

The good people imagined that I was afraid of the savages, and earnestly assured me that they were a most harmless race, from whom I had not the least to fear. As my knowledge of Portuguese was limited to a few words, I found it rather difficult to make myself understood, and it was only by the help of gesticulations, with now and then a small sketch, that I succeeded in enlightening them as to the real cause of my fear.

I passed the night, therefore, with these half savages, who constantly showed me the greatest respect, and overwhelmed me with attention. A straw mat, which, at my request, was spread out under shelter in the court-yard, was my bed. They brought me for supper a roast fowl, rice, and hard eggs, and for dessert, oranges and tamarind-pods; the latter contain a brown, half sweet, half sour pulp, very agreeable to the taste. The women lay all round me, and by degrees we managed to get on wonderfully together.

I showed them the different flowers and insects I had gathered during the day. This, doubtless, induced them to look upon me as a learned person, and, as such, to impute to me a knowledge of medicine. They begged me to prescribe for different cases of il ness: bad ears, eruptions of the skin, and in the children, a considerable tendency to scrofula, etc. I ordered lukewarm baths, frequent fomentations, and the use of oil and soap, applied externally and rubbed into the body. May Heaven grant that these remedies have really worked some good!

On the 11th of October, I proceeded into the forest, in company with a negress and a Puri, to find out the Indians. At times, we had to work our way laboriously through the thicket, and then again we would find narrow paths, by which we pursued our journey with greater ease. After eight hours' walking, we came upon a number of Puris, who led us into their huts, situated in the immediate vicinity, where I beheld a picture of the greatest misery and want: I had often met with a great deal of wretchedness in my travels, but never so much as I saw here!

On a small space, under lofty trees, five huts, or rather sheds, formed of leaves, were erected, eighteen feet long, by twelve feet broad. The frames were formed of four poles stuck in the ground, with another reaching across; and the roof, of palm-leaves, through which the rain could penetrate with the utmost facility. On three sides, these bowers were entirely open. In the interior hung a hammock or two; and on the ground glimmered a little fire, under a heap of ashes, in which a few roots, Indian corn, and bananas, were roasting. In one corner, under the roof, a small supply of provisions was hoarded up, and a few gourds were scattered around: these are used by the savages instead of plates, pots, water-jugs, etc. The long bows and arrows, which constitute their only weapons, were leaning in the background against the wall.

I found the Indians stil more ugly than the negroes. Their complexion is a light bronze, stunted in stature, well-knit, and about the middle size. They have broad and somewhat compressed features, and thick, coal-black hair, hanging straight down, which the women sometimes wear in plaits fastened to the back of the head, and sometimes falling down loose about them. Their forehead is broad and low, the nose somewhat flattened, the eyes long and narrow, almost like those of the Chinese, and the mouth large, with rather thick lips. To give a stil greater effect to all these various charms, a peculiar look of stupidity is spread over the whole face, and is more especially to be attributed to the way in which their mouths are always kept opened.

Most of them, both men and women, were tattooed with a reddish or blue colour, though only round the mouth, in the form of a moustache. Both sexes are passionately fond of smoking, and prefer brandy to everything. Their dress was composed of a few rags, which they had fastened round their loins.

I had already heard, in Novo Friburgo, a few interesting particulars concerning the Puris, which I wil here relate.

The number of the Brazilian Indians at the present time is calculated at about 500,000, who live scattered about the forests in the heart of the country. Not more than six or seven families ever settle on the same spot, which they leave as soon as the game in the neighbourhood has been kil ed, and all the fruit and roots consumed.

A large number of these Indians have been christened. They are always ready, for a little brandy or tobacco, to undergo the ceremony at the shortest notice, and only regret that it cannot be repeated more frequently, as it is soon over. The priest believes that he has only to perform the rite in order to gain another soul for heaven, and afterwards gives himself very little concern, either about the instruction or the manners and morals of his converts.

These, it is true, are called Christians, or _tamed savages_, but live in the same heathen manner that they previously did. Thus, for instance, they contract marriages for indefinite periods; elect their Caciques (chiefs) from the strongest and finest men; follow all their old customs on the occasion of marriages and deaths, just the same as before baptism.

Their language is very poor: they are said, for example, only to be able to count one and two, and are therefore obliged, when they desire to express a larger number, to repeat these two figures continually. Furthermore, for _today, to-morrow_, and _yesterday_, they possess only the word _day_, and express their more particular meaning by signs; for _today_, they say _day_, and feel their head, or point upwards; for _to-morrow_, they again use the word _day_, and point their fingers in a straightforward direction; and for _yesterday_, they use the same word, and point behind them.

The Puris are said to be peculiarly adapted for tracking runaway negroes, as their organs of smell are very highly developed. They smell the trace of the fugitive on the leaves of the trees; and if the negro does not succeed in reaching some stream, in which he can either walk or swim for a considerable distance, it is asserted that he can very seldom escape the Indian engaged in pursuit of him.

These savages are also readily employed in felling timber, and cultivating Indian corn, manioc, etc., as they are very industrious, and think themselves well paid with a little tobacco, brandy, or coloured cloth. But on no account must they be compelled to do anything by force: they are free men. They seldom, however, come to offer their assistance unless they are half-starved.

I visited the huts of all these savages; and as my guides had trumpeted forth my praises as being a woman of great knowledge, I was here asked my advice for the benefit of every one who was il .

In one of the huts, I found an old woman groaning in her hammock.

On my drawing nearer, they uncovered the poor creature, and I perceived that all her breast was eaten up by cancer. She seemed to have no idea of a bandage, or any means of soothing the pain. I advised her to wash the wound frequently with a decoction of mallows, {50} and, in addition to this, to cover it over with the leaves of the same plant. I only trust that my advice procured her some trifling relief.

This horrible disease unfortunately does not appear to be at all rare among the Puris, for I saw many of their women, some of whom had large hard swellings, and others even small tumours on the breast.

After having sufficiently examined everything in the huts, I went with some of the savages to shoot parrots and monkeys. We had not far to go in order to meet with both; and I had now an opportunity of admiring the skil with which these people use their bows. They brought down the birds even when they were on the wing, and very seldom missed their mark. After shooting three parrots and an ape, we returned to the huts.

The good creatures offered me the best hut they possessed, and invited me to pass the night there. Being rather fatigued by the toilsome nature of my journey on foot, the heat, and the hunting excursion, I very joyfully accepted their proposition: the day, too, was drawing to a close, and I should not have been able to reach the settlement of the whites before night. I therefore spread out my cloak upon the ground, arranged a log of wood so as to serve instead of a pil ow, and for the present seated myself upon my splendid couch. In the meanwhile, my hosts were preparing the monkey and the parrots, by sticking them on wooden spits, and roasting them before the fire. In order to render the meal a peculiarly dainty one, they also buried some Indian corn and roots in the cinders. They then gathered a few large fresh leaves off the trees, tore the roasted ape into several pieces with their hands, and placing a large portion of it, as well as a parrot, Indian corn, and some roots upon the leaves, put it before me. My appetite was tremendous, seeing that I had tasted nothing since the morning. I therefore immediately fell to on the roasted monkey, which I found superlatively delicious: the flesh of the parrot was far from being so tender and palatable.

After our meal, I begged the Indians to perform one of their dances for me--a request with which they readily complied. As it was already dark, they brought a quantity of wood, which they formed into a sort of funeral pile, and set on fire: the men then formed a circle all round, and began the dance. They threw their bodies from side to side in a most remarkably awkward fashion, but always moving the head forwards in a straight line. The women then joined in, remaining, however, at some little distance in the rear of the men, and making the same awkward movements. They now began a most horrible noise, which was intended for a song, at the same time distorting their features in a frightful manner. One of them stood near, playing upon a kind of stringed instrument, made out of the stem of a cabbage-palm, and about two feet, or two feet and a half, in length. A hole was cut in it in a slanting direction, and six fibres of the stem had been raised up, and kept in an elevated position at each end, by means of a small bridge. The fingers were then used for playing upon these as upon a guitar: the tone was very low, disagreeable, and hoarse.

This first dance they named the Dance of Peace or Joy. The men then performed a much wilder one alone. After providing themselves for the purpose with bows, arrows, and stout clubs, they again formed a circle, but their movements were much quicker and wilder than in the first instance, and they likewise hit about them with their clubs in a horrible fashion. They then suddenly broke their rank, strung their bows, placed their arrows ready, and went through the pantomime of shooting after a flying foe, uttering at the same time the most piercing cries, which echoed through the whole forest. I started up in affright, for I really believed that I was surrounded by enemies, and that I was delivered up into their power, without any chance of help or assistance. I was heartily glad when this horrible war-dance came to a conclusion.

After retiring to rest, and when all around had gradually become hushed into silence, I was assailed by apprehensions of another description: I thought of the number of wild beasts, and the horrible serpents that might perhaps be concealed quite close to me, and then of the exposed situation I was in. This kept me awake a long time, and I often fancied I heard a rustling among the leaves, as if one of the dreaded animals were breaking through. At length, however, my weary body asserted its rights. I laid my head upon my wooden pil ow, and consoled myself with the idea that the danger was, after all, not so great as many of we travellers wish to have believed, otherwise how would it be possible for the savages to live as they do, without any precautions, in their open huts!

On the 12th of October, early in the morning, I took leave of the savages, and made them a present of various bronze ornaments, with which they were so delighted that they offered me everything they possessed. I took a bow with a couple of arrows, as mementos of my visit; returned to the wooden house, and having also distributed similar presents there, mounted my mule, and arrived late in the evening at Aldea do Pedro.

On the morning of the 13th of October, I bade the obliging priest farewell, and with my attendant, who, by this time was quite recovered, began my journey back to Novo Friburgo, and, in this instance, although I pursued the same road, was only three days instead of four on the way.

On arriving I found Count Berchthold, who was now quite well. We determined, therefore, before returning to Rio Janeiro, to make a little excursion to a fine waterfall, about twelve miles from Novo Friburgo. By mere chance we learned that the christening of the Princess Isabella would take place on the 19th, and, as we did not wish to miss this interesting ceremony, we preferred returning directly. We followed the same road we had taken in coming, til about four miles before reaching Ponte de Pinheiro, and then struck off towards Porto de Praja. This road was thirty-two miles longer by land, but so much shorter by sea, that the passage is made by steamer from Porto de Praja to Rio Janeiro in half an hour. The scenery around Pinheiro was mostly dull and tedious, almost like a desert, the monotony of which was only broken here and there by a few scanty woods or low hil s. We were not lucky enough to see the mountains again until we were near the capital.

I must here mention a comical mistake of Herr Beske, of Novo Friburgo, which we at first could not understand, but which afterwards afforded a good deal of amusement. Herr Beske had recommended us a guide, whom he described as a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge, and able to answer all our questions about trees, plants, scenery, etc., in the most complete manner. We esteemed ourselves exceedingly fortunate to obtain such a phoenix of a guide, and immediately took advantage of every opportunity to put his powers to the test. He could, however, tell us nothing at all; if we asked him the name of a river, he replied that it was too small, and had no name. The trees, likewise, were too insignificant, the plants too common. This ignorance was rather too much; we made inquiry, and found that Herr Beske had not intended to send us the guide we had, but his brother, who, however, had died six months previously--a circumstance which Herr Beske must have forgotten.

On the evening of the 18th of October, we arrived safely in Rio Janeiro. We immediately inquired about the christening, and heard it had been put off til the 15th of November, and that on the 19th of October only the Emperor's anniversary would be kept. We had thus hurried back to no purpose, without visiting the waterfall near Novo Friburgo, which we might have admired very much at our leisure.

On our return we only came eight miles out of our way.

CHAPTER V. THE VOYAGE ROUND CAPE HORN.

DEPARTURE FROM RIO JANEIRO--SANTOS AND ST. PAULO--CIRCUMNAVIGATION

OF CAPE HORN--THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN--ARRIVAL IN VALPARAISO--8TH

DECEMBER, 1846, TO 2ND MARCH, 1847.

When I paid 25 pounds for my place in the fine English barque, "John Renwick," Captain Bell, the latter promised me that he would be ready to sail on the 25th of November at the latest, and would stop at no intermediate port, but shape his course direct to Valparaiso.

The first part of this promise I believed, because he assured me that every day he stopped cost him 7 pounds; and the second, because, as a general rule, I wil ingly believe every one, even ship captains. In both particulars, however, was I deceived; for it was not until the 8th of December that I received a notice to go on board that evening and then for the first time the captain informed me that he must run into Santos, to lay in a stock of provisions, which were there much cheaper than in Rio Janeiro; that he also intended clearing out a cargo of coal and taking in another of sugar. He did not tell me til we arrived in Santos itself, where he also assured me that all these different matters would not take him more than three or four days.

I took leave of my friends and went on board in the evening; Count Berchthold and Messrs. Geiger and Rister accompanying me to the ship.

Early in the morning of the 9th of December we weighed anchor, but the wind was so unfavourable that we were obliged to tack the whole day in order to gain the open sea, and it was not until about 10

A.M. that we lost sight of land.

There were eight passengers besides myself; five Frenchmen, one Belgian, and two citizens of Milan. I looked upon the latter as half countrymen of mine, and we were soon very good friends.

It was the second time this year that the two Italians were making the voyage round Cape Horn. Their first had not been fortunate; they reached Cape Horn in winter, which in those cold southern latitudes lasts from April til about November. {53} They were unable to circumnavigate the Cape, being driven back by violent contrary winds and storms, against which they strove for fourteen weary days without making the least progress. The crew now lost courage, and affirmed that it would be advisable to turn back and wait for more favourable winds. The captain, however, was not of this opinion, and succeeded so well in working upon the pride of the crew that they once more engaged in their conflict with the elements. It was, however, for the last time, for the very same night a tremendous sea broke over the ship, tearing away all her upper works, and sweeping the captain and six of the sailors overboard. The water poured in torrents into the cabins, and drove every one from the berths. The bulwarks, boats, and binnacle were carried clean off, and the mainmast had to be cut away. The sailors then turned the ship about, and after a long and dangerous voyage, succeeded in bringing her, dismasted as she was, into Rio Janeiro.

This story was not very encouraging, but the fine weather and our good ship relieved us of all anxiety. With regard to the vessel, we could not have chosen a better. It had large, comfortable cabins, an exceedingly good-natured and obliging captain, and a bil of fare which must have contented the most dainty palate. Every day we had roast or stewed fowls, ducks, or geese, fresh mutton or pork, eggs variously prepared, plum-pudding and tarts; to all this were added side dishes of ham, rice, potatoes, and other vegetables; and for dessert, dried fruit, nuts, almonds, cheese, etc. There was also plenty of bread, fresh baked every day, and good wine. We all unanimously acknowledged that we had never been so well treated, or had so good a table in any sailing vessel before; and we could, therefore, in this respect, look forward to our voyage without any apprehension.

On the 12th of December we hove in sight of the mountain ranges of Santos, and at 9 o'clock the same evening we reached a bay which the captain took for that of the same name. Lighted torches were repeatedly held over the vessel's side to summon a pilot; no pilot, however, made his appearance, and we were therefore obliged to trust to chance, and anchor at the mouth of the bay.

On the morning of the 13th a pilot came on board, and astonished us with the intelligence that we had anchored before the wrong bay. We had some trouble in working our way out, and anchoring about noon in the right one. A pretty little chateau-like building immediately attracted our attention. We took it for some advanced building of the town, and congratulated one another on having reached our temporary destination so quickly. On approaching nearer, however, we could perceive no signs of the town, and learned that the building was a small fort, and that Santos was situated in a second bay, communicating with the first by a small arm of the sea.

Unluckily, the wind had by this time fallen, and we were obliged to be at anchor all day, and it was not until the 14th that a slight breeze sprang up and wafted us into port.

Santos is most charmingly situated at the entrance of a large valley. Picturesque hil s, adorned with chapels and detached houses, rise on each side, and immediately beyond are considerable mountain ranges, spreading in a semi-circle round the valley, while a lovely island forms a most beautiful foreground to the whole.

We had scarcely landed before the captain informed us that we must stop for at least five days. The Italians, one of the Frenchmen, and myself determined that we would take advantage of this delay to make an excursion to St. Paulo, the largest inland town of the Brazils, and about forty miles from Santos. The same evening we hired mules, for which we paid five milreis (10s. 10d.) each, and set out upon our trip.

15th December. Early in the morning, we armed ourselves with well-charged double-barrelled pistols, having been alarmed by accounts of the Maroon negroes, {55} about a hundred of whom were said to be at that time lurking in the mountains, and to be so daring that they extended their inroads as far as the vicinity of Santos itself.

The first eight miles led through the valley to the lofty range of mountains which we had to cross. The road was good, and more frequented than any I had yet seen in the Brazils. Handsome wooden bridges traverse the rivers Vicente and Cubatao; one of these bridges is actually covered, but then every one is charged a pretty high toll.

In one of the vendas at the foot of the mountain we fortified ourselves with some excellent pan-cakes, laid in a stock of sugar-canes, the juice of which is excessively refreshing in the great heat, and then proceeded to scale the Serra, 3,400 feet high. The road was execrable; full of holes, pits, and puddles, in which our poor beasts often sank above their knees. We had to skirt chasms and ravines, with torrents rolling loudly beneath, yet not visible to us, on account of the thick underwood which grew over them. Some part of the way, too, lay through virgin forests, which, however, were not nearly so beautiful or thick as some I had traversed on my excursion to the Puris. There were hardly any palm-trees, and the few there were, reminded us, from their thin stems and scanty foliage, of those of a colder climate.

The prospect from the Serra struck us all with astonishment. The entire valley with its woods and prairies was spread far and wide before our sight as far as the bays, the little detached huts being quite indistinguishable, while only a part of the town and a few masts of ships were perceptible in the distance.

A turning in the road soon shut out this charming picture from our gaze; we then left the Serra and entered upon a woody, uneven tract, alternating with large level grass-plots, covered with low brushwood, and innumerable mole-hil s, two feet high.

Half way from Santos to St. Paulo is a place called Rio Grande, the houses of which lie, after the Brazilian fashion, so far apart, that no one would suppose they had any connection with each other. The owner of the mules used on this journey resides here, and here, likewise, the money for their hire is paid. If the traveller desires to proceed immediately he has fresh mules given him, but, should he prefer stopping the afternoon or night, he finds very good victual and clean rooms, for which he has nothing to pay, as they are included in the five milreis (10s. 10d.), charged for the mules.

We snatched a hasty morsel or two, and then hurried on, in order to complete the second half of the road before sunset. The plain became broader and broader the nearer we approached the town; the beauty of the scenery falls off very much, and for the first time since I left Europe, did I see fields and hil s of sand. The town itself, situated upon a hil , presents a tolerable appearance; it contains about 22,000 inhabitants, and is a place of considerable importance for the internal commerce of the country. In spite of this, however, it has neither an inn nor any other place where strangers can alight.

After inquiring for a long time in vain for lodgings, we were directed to a German and a Frenchman, with the remark that both received lodgers out of pure politeness. We first went to the German, who very bluntly cut us short by saying that he had no room.

From him we proceeded to the Frenchman, who sent us to a Portuguese, and on visiting the latter we received the same answer we had obtained from the German.

We were now greatly embarrassed; the more so, because the wearisome nature of our journey had so fatigued the Frenchman that he was hardly able any longer to sit upright in his saddle.

In this critical position I thought of the letter of recommendation that Herr Geiger had given me in Rio Janeiro, for a German gentleman of the name of Loskiel, who had settled here. I had intended not to deliver this letter until the next day, but "necessity knows no law," and so I paid my visit the same evening.

He was kind enough to interest himself for us in the warmest manner imaginable. He gave one of the gentlemen and myself lodgings in his own house, and our two companions in that of a neighbour of his, inviting all of us to dine at his table. We now learned that in St.

Paulo no one, not even an hotel-keeper, wil receive a stranger if he be not provided with a letter of recommendation. It is certainly a lucky thing for travellers that this strange custom is not prevalent everywhere.

16th December. After having completely recovered ourselves from the fatigues of our yesterday's ride, our first thought was to view the curiosities of the town. We asked our hospitable host for information on this point, but he merely shrugged his shoulders, and said, that he knew of no curiosities, unless, indeed, we chose to look upon the Botanical Garden in the light of one.

We went out, therefore, after breakfast, and first of all viewed the town: where we found that the number of large and well-built houses was, in comparison to the size of the two places, greater than in Rio Janeiro, although even here, there was nothing like taste or peculiar architectural style. The streets are tolerably wide, but present an extraordinarily deserted appearance, the universal silence being broken only by the insupportable creaking of the country people's carts. These carts rest upon two wheels, or rather two wooden disks, which are often not even hooped with iron to keep them together. The axle, which is likewise of wood, is never greased, and thus causes the demoniacal kind of music to which I alluded.

A peculiarity of dress, very remarkable in this hot climate, is here prevalent: all the men, with the exception of the slaves, wear large cloth cloaks, one half of which they throw over their shoulder; I even saw a great many women enveloped in long, broad cloth capes.

In St. Paulo there is a High School. Those who study there, and come from the country or the smaller towns, are exposed to the inconvenience of being refused lodgings under any one's roof. They are obliged to hire and furnish houses for themselves, and be their own housekeepers.

We visited several churches which possess very little worth looking at, either inside or out, and then concluded by proceeding to the Botanical Garden, which also contains no object of any interest, with the exception of a plantation of Chinese teas.

Al our sight-seeing did not occupy us more than a few hours, and we could very conveniently have begun our journey back to Santos the next morning; but the Frenchman, who, on account of the great fatigue he had suffered, had not accompanied us in our walk, begged us to put off our return for half a day longer, and to arrange it in such a manner, that we should pass the night in Rio Grande. We wil ingly acceded to his wish, and set out upon the afternoon of the 17th, after thanking our kind host most cordially for his hospitable entertainment. In Rio Grande we found an excellent supper, convenient sleeping apartments, and a good breakfast the next morning. About 12 o'clock on the 18th of December, we arrived safely in Santos, and the Frenchman then confessed to us he had felt so fatigued on arriving at St. Paulo, from his long ride, that he was afraid of being seriously il . However, he recovered himself completely in a few days, but assured us, that it would be some time before he again accompanied us on one of our trips.

The first question we put to the captain was: "When do you weigh anchor?" to which he very politely replied, that as soon as he had cleared out 200 tons of coal, and shipped 6,000 sacks of sugar, he should be ready to set sail, and in consequence of this we had to remain three whole weary weeks in Santos.

We were stil in Santos when we celebrated New-Year's Day, 1847, and at last, on the 2nd of January, were lucky enough to bid the town adieu; but did not proceed far, for in the first bay the wind fell, and did not spring up again til after midnight. It was now Sunday, and no true Englishman wil set sail on a Sunday; we remained, therefore, lying at anchor the whole of the 3rd of January, looking with very melancholy feelings after two ships, whose captains, in spite of the holiness of the day, had profited by the fresh breeze, and sailed gaily past us.

On the same evening we saw a vessel, which our captain affirmed was a slaver, run into the bay. It kept as far as possible from the fort, and cast anchor at the most outward extremity of the bay. As the night was clear and moonlight we walked late upon deck, when, true enough, we saw little boats laden with negroes pulling in shore. An officer, indeed, came from the fort to inquire into the doings of this suspicious craft; but the owner seemed to afford him a satisfactory account, for he left the ship, and the slaves continued during the whole night to be quietly and undisturbedly smuggled in as before.

On the morning of the 4th of January, as we sailed past the vessel, we beheld a great number of the poor creatures stil standing upon the deck. Our captain inquired of the slave-dealer how many slaves he had had on board, and we learned with astonishment that the number amounted to 670. Much has already been said and written upon this horrible trade; it is everywhere execrated, and looked upon as a blot on the human race, and yet it stil continues to flourish.

This day promised to turn out a very melancholy one in many respects. We had hardly lost sight of the slaver before one of our own crew had nearly committed suicide. The steward, a young mulatto, had contracted the bad habit of indulging too much in liquor. The captain had often threatened to punish him severely, but all to no purpose; and this morning he was so intoxicated that the sailors were obliged to lay him in a corner of the forecastle, where he might sleep himself sober. Suddenly, however, he leapt up, clambered on to the forepart of the ship, and threw himself into the sea. Luckily, it was almost a calm, the water was quite stil , and we had hopes of saving him. He soon reappeared at the side of the vessel, and ropes were thrown him from every side. The love of life was awakened in his breast, and caused him to grasp involuntarily at the ropes, but he had not strength enough to hold on. He again sank, and it was only after great exertion that the brave sailors succeeded in rescuing him from a watery grave. Hardly had he recovered his senses ere he endeavoured to throw himself in again, exclaiming that he had no wish to live. The man was raving mad, and the captain was obliged to have him bound hand and foot, and chained to the mast. On the following day he was deprived of his office, and degraded to the rank of subordinate to a new steward.

5th January. Mostly calms. Our cook caught, today, a fish three feet long, and remarkable for the manner in which it changed colour.

When it came out of the water it was a bright yellow, to which colour it owes its name of Dorado. At the expiration of one or two minutes the bril iant yellow changed into a light sky-blue, and after its death its belly again turned to a beautiful light yellow, but the back was a brownish green. It is reckoned a great delicacy, but, for my own part, I found its flesh rather dry.

On the 9th of January we were off the Rio Grande. In the evening everything seemed to promise a violent storm; the captain consulted his barometer every second almost, and issued his orders according to its indications. Black clouds now began to drive towards us, and the wind increased to such a pitch that the captain had all the hatchways carefully fastened down, and the crew ready to reef the sails at a moment's notice. At a little past 8, the hurricane broke forth. Flash after flash of lightning darted across the horizon from every side, and lighted the sailors in their work; the agitated waves being il uminated with the most dazzling bril iancy. The majestic rolling of the thunder drowned the captain's voice, and the white foaming bil ows broke with such terrific force over the deck, that it appeared as if they would carry everything with them into the depths of the ocean. Unless there had been ropes stretched on each side of the ship for the sailors to catch hold of, the latter would most certainly have been washed away. Such a storm as this affords much food for reflection. You are alone upon the boundless ocean, far from all human help, and feel more than ever that your life depends upon the Almighty alone. The man who, in such a dreadful and solemn moment, can stil believe there is no God, must indeed be irretrievably struck with mental blindness. A feeling of tranquil joy always comes over me during such great convulsions of Nature. I very often had myself bound near the binnacle, and let the tremendous waves break over me, in order to absorb, as it were, as much of the spectacle before me as possible; on no occasion did I ever feel alarmed, but always confident and resigned.

At the expiration of four hours the storm had worn itself out, and was succeeded by a perfect calm.

On the 10th of January we caught sight of several sea-turtles and a whale. The latter was only a young one, about forty feet long.

11th January. We were now off the Rio Plata, {59} and found the temperature very perceptibly cooler.

Up to the present time we had seen no signs of sea-tangle or molluscae, but during the night we beheld some molluscae for the first time, shining like stars at a great depth below the surface of the water.

In these latitudes the constellation of the southern cross keeps increasing in bril iancy and beauty, though it is far from being as wonderful as it is said to be. The stars in it, four in number, and disposed somewhat in the following manner, **** are, it is true, large and splendid; but they did not excite, either in myself or any other person of our company, much more admiration than the other constellations.

As a general rule, many travellers exaggerate a great deal. On the one hand, they often describe things which they have never seen themselves, and only know from hearsay; and, on the other, they adorn what they really have seen with a little too much imagination.

16th January. In 37 degrees South lat. we fell in with a strong current, running from south to north, and having a yellow streak down the middle of it. The captain said that this streak was caused by a shoal of small fishes. I had some water drawn up in a bucket, and really found a few dozen living creatures, which, in my opinion, however, belonged rather to some species of molluscae than to any kind of fish. They were about three-quarters of an inch long, and as transparent as the most delicate water-bubbles; they were marked with white and light yellow spots on the forepart of their bodies, and had a few feelers underneath.

In the night of the 20th to 21st of January we were overtaken by a very violent storm, which so damaged our mainmast that the captain determined on running into some haven on the first opportunity, and putting in a new one. For the present the old one was made fast with cables, iron chains, and braces.

In 43 degrees North lat. we saw the first sea-tangle. The temperature had by this time very perceptibly decreased in warmth, the glass often standing no higher than 59 or 63 degrees Fah.

23rd January. We were so near Patagonia that we could distinctly make out the outline of the coast.

26th January. We stil kept near the land. In 50 degrees South lat. we saw the chalky mountains of Patagonia. Today we passed the Falkland Islands, which stretched from 51 to 52 degrees South lat.

We did not see them, however, as we kept as near the land as possible, in order not to miss the Straits of Magellan. For some days the captain had been studying an English book, which, in his opinion, clearly proved that the passage through the Straits of Magellan was far less dangerous and far shorter than that round Cape Horn. I asked him how it happened that other sailors knew nothing of this valuable book, and why all vessels bound for the western coast of America went round Cape Horn? He could give me no other answer than that the book was very dear, and that that was the reason no one bought it. {60}

To me this bold idea of the captain's was extremely welcome. I already pictured in my mind the six-feet tall Patagonians putting off to us in their boats; I saw myself taking their mussels, plants, ornaments, and weapons in exchange for coloured ribbons and handkerchiefs; while, to render my satisfaction complete, the captain said that he should land at Port Famine (a Patagonian haven) to supply the injured portion of our mainmast. How thankful was I, in secret, to the storm for having reduced our ship to her present condition.

Too soon, however, were all my flattering hopes and dreams dispelled. On the 27th of January the latitude and longitude were taken, and it was then found that the Straits of Magellan were twenty-seven minutes (or nautical miles) behind us, but as we were becalmed, the captain promised, in case a favourable wind should spring up, to endeavour to return as far as the Straits.

I placed no more confidence in this promise, and I was right. About noon a scarcely perceptible breeze sprang up, which the captain, in high spirits, pronounced a favourable one--for rounding Cape Horn.

If he had ever really intended to pass through the Straits, he would only have had to cruise about for a few hours, for the wind soon changed and blew directly in the desired direction.

28th January. We were constantly so near Terra del Fuego that we could make out every bush with the naked eye. We could have reached the land in an hour, without retarding our voyage in the least, for we were frequently becalmed; but the captain would not consent, as the wind might spring up every instant.

The coast appeared rather steep, but not high; the foreground was composed of meagre pasture alternating with tracts of sand, and in the background were ranges of woody hil s, beyond which rose snow-covered mountains. On the whole, the country struck me as being much more inhabitable than the Island of Iceland, which I had visited a year and a half previously. The temperature, too, must here be higher, as even at sea we had 54 degrees 5' and 59 degrees Fah.

I saw three kinds of sea-tangle, but could only obtain a specimen of one, resembling that which I had seen in 44 degrees South lat. The second kind was not very different, and it was only the third that had pointed leaves, several of which together formed a sort of fan several feet long and broad.

On the 30th of January we passed very near the Staten Islands, lying between 56 and 57 degrees South lat. They are composed of bare high mountains, and separated from Terra del Fuego by an arm of the sea, called Le Maire, only seven miles long and about the same distance across.

The captain told us, seaman-like, that on one occasion of his sailing through these Straits, his ship had got into a strong current, and regularly danced, turning round during the passage at least a thousand times! I had already lost a great deal of confidence in the captain's tales, but I kept my eye steadily fixed upon a Hamburgh brig, that happened to be sailing ahead, to see whether she would dance; but neither she nor our own bark was so obliging. Neither vessels turned even once, and the only circumstance worthy of remark was the heaving and foaming of the waves in the Strait, while at both ends the sea lay majestically calm before our eyes. We had passed the Strait in an hour, and I took the liberty of asking the captain why our ship had not danced, to which he replied that it was because we had had both wind and current with us. It is, perhaps, possible that under other circumstances the vessel might have turned round once or twice, but I strongly doubt its doing so a thousand times. This was, however, a favourite number with our worthy captain. One of the gentlemen once asked him some question about the first London hotels, and was told that it was impossible to remember their names, as there were above a thousand of the first class.

Near the Strait Le Maire begins, in the opinion of seamen, the dangerous part of the passage round Cape Horn, and ends off the Straits of Magellan. Immediately we entered it we were greeted with two most violent bursts of wind, each of which lasted about half an hour; they came from the neighbouring icy chasms in the mountains of Terra del Fuego, and split two sails, and broke the great studding sail-yard, although the sailors were numerous and quick. The distance from the end of the Strait Le Maire to the extreme point of the Cape is calculated to be not more than seventy miles, and yet this trifling passage cost us three days.

At last, on the 3rd of February, we were fortunate enough to reach the southernmost point of America, so dreaded by all mariners.

Bare, pointed mountains, one of which looks like a crater that has fallen in, form the extremity of the mighty mountain-chain, and a magnificent group of colossal black rocks (basalt?), of all shapes and sizes, are scattered at some distance in advance, and are separated only by a small arm of the sea. The extreme point of Cape Horn is 600 feet high. At this spot, according to our works on geography, the Atlantic Ocean changes its name and assumes that of the Pacific. Sailors, however, do not give it the latter designation before reaching the Straits of Magellan, as up to this point the sea is continually stormy and agitated, as we learned to our cost, being driven by violent storms as far back as 60 degrees South lat. Besides this, we lost our top-mast, which was broken off, and which, in spite of the heavy sea, had to be replaced; the vessel, meanwhile, being so tossed about, that we were often unable to take our meals at the table, but were obliged to squat down upon the ground, and hold our plates in our hands. On one of these fine days the steward stumbled with the coffee-pot, and deluged me with its burning contents. Luckily, only a small portion fell upon my hands, so that the accident was not a very serious one.

After battling for fourteen days with winds and waves, with rain and cold, {62} we at last arrived off the western entrance to the Straits of Magellan, having accomplished the most dangerous portion of our voyage. During these fourteen days we saw very few whales or albatrosses, and not one iceberg.

We thought that we should now quietly pursue our way upon the placid sea, trusting confidently in its peaceful name. For three whole days we had nothing to complain of; but in the night of the 19th to the 20th of February, we were overtaken by a storm worthy of the Atlantic itself, which lasted for nearly twenty-four hours, and cost us four sails. We suffered most damage from the tremendous waves, which broke with such fury over the ship, that they tore up one of the planks of the deck, and let the water into the cargo of sugar.

The deck itself was like a lake, and the portholes had to be opened in order to get rid of the water more quickly. The water leaked in the hold at the rate of two inches an hour. We could not light any fire, and were obliged to content ourselves with bread and cheese and raw ham, which we with great difficulty conveyed to our mouth as we sat upon the ground.

The last cask of lamp oil, too, fell a sacrifice to this storm, having been torn from its fastenings, and broken into pieces. The captain was very apprehensive of not having enough oil to light the compass til we arrived at Valparaiso; and all the lamps on the ship were, in consequence, replaced by candles, and the small quantity of oil remaining kept for the compass. In spite of all these annoyances, we kept up our spirits, and even, during the storm, we could scarcely refrain from laughing at the comical positions we all fell into whenever we attempted to stand up.

The remainder of the voyage to Valparaiso was calm, but excessively disagreeable. The captain wished to present a magnificent appearance on arriving, so that the good people might believe that wind and waves could not injure his fine vessel. He had the whole ship painted from top to bottom with oil colours; even the little doors in the cabins were not spared this infliction. Not content with creating a most horrible disturbance over our heads, the carpenter invaded even our cabins, fil ing all our things with sawdust and dirt, so that we poor passengers had not a dry or quiet place of refuge in the whole ship. Just as much as we had been pleased with Captain Bell's politeness during all the previous part of the voyage, were we indignant at his behaviour during the last five or six days. But we could offer no resistance, for the captain is an autocrat on board his own ship, knowing neither a constitution nor any other limit to his despotic power.

At 6 o'clock in the morning of the 2nd of March, we ran into the port of Valparaiso.

CHAPTER VI. ARRIVAL AND RESIDENCE IN VALPARAISO.

APPEARANCE OF THE TOWN--PUBLIC BUILDINGS--A FEW OBSERVATIONS ON THE

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE LOWER CLASSES--THE EATING-HOUSES OF

POLANEA--THE CHERUB (ANGELITO)--THE RAILROAD--GOLD AND SILVER MINES.

The appearance of Valparaiso is dull and monotonous. The town is laid out in two long streets at the foot of dreary hil s, which look like gigantic masses of sand, but which really consist of large rocks covered with thin layers of earth and sand. On some of these hil s are houses, and on one of them is the churchyard, which, combined with the wooden church towers, built in the Spanish style, relieves, in a slight degree, the wearisome uniformity of the prospect. Not less astounding than the deserted look of the port, was the miserably wretched landing-place, which is composed of a high wooden quay, about 100 feet long, stretching out into the sea, with narrow steps, like ladders, against the side. It was a most pitiable sight to see a lady attempting to go up or down: all persons who were in the least weak or awkward, had to be let down with ropes.

The two principal streets are tolerably broad, and very much frequented, especially by horsemen. Every Chilian is born a horseman; and some of their horses are such fine animals, that you involuntarily stop to admire their proud action, their noble bearing, and the nice symmetry of their limbs.

The stirrups are curiously formed, consisting of long, heavy pieces of wood, hollowed out, and into which the rider places the tips of his feet. The spurs are remarkably large, and are often about four inches in diameter.

The houses are constructed completely in the European style, with flat Italian roofs. The more ancient buildings have only a ground floor, and are small and ugly, while most of the modern ones have a spacious and handsome first floor. The interior, too, of the latter is generally very tasty. Large steps conduct into a lofty well-ventilated entrance-hall on the first floor, from which the visitor passes, through large glass doors, into the drawing-room and other apartments. The drawing-room is the pride, not only of every European who has settled in the country, but also of the Chilians, who often spend very large sums in the decorations. Heavy carpets cover all the floor; rich tapestry hangs against the walls; furniture and mirrors of the most costly description are procured from Europe; and on the tables are strewed magnificent albums, adorned with the most artistic engravings. The elegant fire-places, however, convinced me that the winters here are not as mild as the inhabitants would fain have had me believe.

Of all the public buildings, the Theatre and the Exchange are the finest. The interior of the former is very neat, and contains a roomy pit and two galleries, portioned off as boxes. The inhabitants of the town patronise the theatre a great deal, but not so much on account of the Italian operas played there, as for the sake of possessing a common place of meeting. The ladies always come in full dress, and mutual visits are made in the boxes, all of which are very spacious, and beautifully furnished with mirrors, carpets, sofas, and chairs.

The second fine building, the Exchange, comprises a good-sized, cheerful hall, with convenient rooms adjoining. From the hall there is a pleasant view over the town and sea. The building belonging to the "German Club" contains some fine apartments, with reading and card rooms.

The only thing that pleased me about the churches were the towers, which consist of two or three octagons, placed one above the other, and each one supported by eight columns. They are composed of wood, the altars and pil ars of the nave being of the same material. The nave itself presents rather a poor and naked appearance, occasioned in a great degree by the absence of sittings. The men stand, and the women bring with them little carpets, which they spread before them, and on which they either kneel or sit. Ladies in easy circumstances have their carpets brought by their maids. The cathedral is called La Matriza.

The public promenades of Valparaiso are not very pleasant, as most of the side-walks and roads are covered almost a foot deep with sand and dust, which the slightest breath of wind is sufficient to raise in thick clouds. After 10 o'clock in the morning, when the sea-breeze begins blowing, the whole town is very often enveloped by it.

A great many persons are said to die here from diseases of the chest and lungs. The most frequented places of resort are Polanka and the lighthouse. Near the latter, especially, the prospect is very beautiful, extending, as it does, on a clear day, as far as some of the majestic snow-covered spurs of the Andes.

The streets, as I have already mentioned, are tolerably lively: peculiar omnibuses and cabriolets traverse them frequently. The fare from one end of the town to the other is one real (2.5d.) There are also a great number of asses, mostly employed in carrying water and provisions.

The lower classes are remarkably ugly. The Chilians have a yellowish brown complexion, thick black hair, most unpleasant features, and such a peculiarly repulsive cast of countenance, that any physiognomist would straightway pronounce them to be robbers or pickpockets at the least. Captain Bell had told me a great deal of the extraordinary honesty of these people; and, in his usual exaggerated manner, assured us that a person might leave a purse of gold lying in the street, with the certainty of finding it the next day on the same spot; but, in spite of this, I must frankly confess, that for my own part, I should be rather fearful of meeting these honest creatures, even by day, in a lonely spot, with the money in my pocket.

I had subsequently opportunities of convincing myself of the fallaciousness of the captain's opinion, for I often met with convicts, chained together, and employed in the public buildings and cleaning the roads. The windows and doors, too, are secured with bolts and bars in a manner almost unknown in any town of Europe. At night, in all the streets, and on all the hil s which are inhabited, are parties of police, who call out to one another in exactly the same manner that the advanced posts do during a campaign. Mounted patrols also traverse the town in every direction, and persons returning alone from the theatre or from a party, often engage their services to conduct them home. Burglariously entering a house is punished with death. Al these precautions do not, most decidedly, argue much for the honesty of the people.

I wil take this opportunity of mentioning a scene, of which I was myself an eye-witness, as it happened before my window. A little boy was carrying a number of plates and dishes on a board, when the latter unluckily slipped from his grasp, and all the crockery lay in fragments at his feet. At first, the poor fellow was so frightened that he stood like a column, gazing with a fixed look at the pieces, and then began to cry most bitterly. The passers-by stopped, it is true, to look at the unfortunate child, but did not evince the least compassion; they laughed, and went on. In any other place, they would have raised a little subscription, or at least pitied and consoled him, but certainly would not have seen anything to laugh at. The circumstance is of itself a mere trifle, but it is exactly by such trifles that we are often enabled to form a true estimate of people's real characters.

Another adventure, also, but of quite a different and most horrible kind, happened during my stay in Valparaiso.

As I have already remarked, it is the custom here, as well as in many countries of Europe, to sentence criminals to hard labour on public works. One of the convicts endeavoured to bribe his gaoler to let him escape, and so far succeeded that the latter promised on his paying an ounce (17 Spanish dollars--3 pounds 8s.) to give him an opportunity for flight. The prisoners are allowed every morning and afternoon to receive the visits of their friends and relations, and likewise to accept provisions from them. The wife of the convict in question profited by this regulation to bring her husband the necessary money; and on receiving this, the gaoler arranged matters so that on the next morning the convict was not fastened to the same chain with a fellow-criminal, as is usually the case, but could walk alone, and thus easily get clear off, more especially as the spot in which they worked was a very lonely one.

The whole affair was very cunningly arranged, but either the gaoler changed his mind, or, perhaps, from the beginning had intended to act as he did--he fired at the fugitive, and shot him dead.

It is very seldom that any pure descendants of the original inhabitants are to be seen; we met with only two. They struck me as very similar to the Puris of Brazil, except that they have not such small ugly-shaped eyes. In this country there are no slaves.

The dress of the Chilians is quite in the European taste, especially as regards the women. The only difference with the men is that, instead of a coat, they frequently wear the Poncho, which is composed of two pieces of cloth or merino, each about one ell broad and two ells long. The two pieces are sewn together, with the exception of an opening in the middle for the head to pass through; the whole garment reaches down to the hips, and resembles a square cape. The Poncho is worn of all colours, green, blue, bright red, etc., and looks very handsome, especially when embroidered all round with coloured silk, which is the case when the wearer is opulent.

In the streets, the women invariably wear large scarfs, which they draw over their heads in church.

My intention, on coming to Chili, was to stop for a few weeks in order to have time for an excursion to the capital, Santiago, and after that to proceed to China, as I had been told in Rio Janeiro that there was a ship from Valparaiso to China every month.

Unfortunately this was not the case. I found that vessels bound to that country were very seldom to be met with, but that there happened to be one at that moment, which would sail in five or six days. I was generally advised not to lose the opportunity, but rather to abandon my design of visiting Santiago. I reflected for a little, and agreed to do so, although with a heavy heart; and in order to avoid all disappointment, immediately went to the captain, who offered to take me for 200 Spanish dollars (40 pounds). I agreed, and had five days left, which I determined to spend in carefully examining Valparaiso and its environs. I should have had plenty of time to pay Santiago a flying visit, since it is only 130

miles from Valparaiso, but the expenses would have been very heavy, as there is no public conveyance, and consequently I should have been obliged to hire a carriage for myself. Besides this, I should have derived but little satisfaction from the mere superficial impressions which would have been all I could have obtained of either town.

I contented myself, therefore, with Valparaiso alone. I toiled industriously up the surrounding hil s and mountains, visited the huts of the lower classes, witnessed their national dances, etc., determined that here at least I would become acquainted with everything.