HotFreeBooks.com
A Woman's Journey Round the World
by Ida Pfeiffer
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Let every one, therefore, obtain trustworthy information before leaving his native land; let him weigh calmly and deliberately the step he is about to take, and not allow himself to be carried away by deceptive hopes. The poor creature's misery on being undeceived is so much the more dreadful, because he does not learn the truth until it is too late—until he has already fallen a victim to poverty and want.



CHAPTER III. EXCURSIONS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF RIO JANEIRO.



THE WATERFALLS NEAR TESCHUKA—BOA VISTA—THE BOTANICAL GARDENS AND THEIR ENVIRONS—THE CORCOVADO MOUNTAINS, 2,253 FEET ABOVE THE LEVEL OF THE SEA—PALACES OF THE IMPERIAL FAMILY—THE NEWLY-FOUNDED GERMAN COLONY OF PETROPOLIS—ATTEMPT AT MURDER, BY A MARROON NEGRO.

An excursion to the waterfalls near Teschuka, to Boa Vista, and the Botanical Gardens, is one of the most interesting near the city; but it requires two days, as it takes a long time to see the Botanical Gardens alone.

Count Berchthold and myself proceeded as far as Andaracky (four miles) in an omnibus, and then continued our journey on foot, between patches of wood and low hills. Elegant country houses are situated upon the eminences and along the high road, at short distances from each other.

When we had walked four miles, a path to the right conducted us to a small waterfall, neither very high nor well supplied, but still the most considerable one in the vicinity of Rio Janeiro. We then returned to the high road, and in half an hour reached a little elevated plain, whence the eye ranged over a valley of the most remarkable description, one portion of it being in a state of wild chaotic confusion, and the other resembling a blooming garden. In the former were strewed masses of broken granite, from which, in some places, larger blocks reared their heads, like so many Collossi; while in others large fragments of rocks lay towering one above the other; in the second portion stood the finest fruit trees in the midst of luxuriant pastures. This romantic valley is enclosed on three sides by noble mountains, the fourth being open, and disclosing a full view of the sea.

In this valley we found a small venda, where we recruited ourselves with bread and wine, and then continued our excursion to the so- called "Great Waterfall," with which we were less astonished than we had been with the smaller one. A very shallow sheet of water flowed down over a broad but nowise precipitous ledge of rock into the valley beneath.

After making our way through the valley, we came to the Porto Massalu, where a number of trunks of trees, hollowed out and lying before the few huts situated in the bay, apprized us that the inhabitants were fishermen. We hired one of these beautiful conveyances to carry us across the little bay. The passage did not take more than a quarter of an hour at the most, and for this, as strangers, we were compelled to pay two thousand reis (4s.).

We had now at one moment to wade through plains of sand, and the next to clamber over the rocks by wretched paths. In this laborious fashion we proceeded for at least twelve miles, until we reached the summit of a mountain, which rises like the party-wall of two mighty valleys. This peak is justly called the Boa Vista. The view extends over both valleys, with the mountain ranges and rows of hills which intersect them, and embraces, among other high mountains, the Corcovado and the "Two Brothers;" and, in the distance, the capital, with the surrounding country-houses and villages, the various bays and the open sea.

Unwillingly did we leave this beautiful position; but being unacquainted with the distance we should have to go before reaching some hospitable roof, we were obliged to hasten on; besides which negroes are the only persons met with on these lonely roads, and a rencontre with any of them by night is a thing not at all to be desired. We descended, therefore, into the valley, and resolved to sleep at the first inn we came to.

More fortunate than most people in such cases, we not only found an excellent hotel with clean rooms and good furniture, but fell in with company which amused us in the highest degree. It consisted of a mulatto family, and attracted all my attention. The wife, a tolerably stout beauty of about thirty, was dressed out in a fashion which, in my own country, no one, save a lady of an exceedingly vulgar taste would ever think of adopting—all the valuables she possessed in the world, she had got about her. Wherever it was possible to stick anything of gold or silver, there it was sure to be. A gown of heavy silk and a real cashmere enveloped her dark brown body, and a charming little white silk bonnet looked very comical placed upon her great heavy head. The husband and five children were worthy of their respective wife and mother; and, in fact, this excess of dress extended even to the nurse, a real unadulterated negress, who was also overloaded with ornaments. On one arm she had five and on the other six bracelets of stones, pearls, and coral, but which, as far as I could judge, did not strike me as being particularly genuine.

When the family rose to depart, two landaus, each with four horses, drove up to the door, and man and wife, children and nurse, all stepped in with the same majestic gravity.

As I was still looking after the carriages, which were rolling rapidly towards the town, I saw some one on horseback nodding to me: it was my friend, Herr Geiger. On hearing that we intended to remain for the night where we were, he persuaded us to accompany him to the estate of his father-in-law, which was situated close at hand. In the latter gentleman, we made the acquaintance of a most worthy and cheerful old man of seventy years of age, who, at that period, was Directing Architect and Superintendant of the Fine Arts under Government. We admired his beautiful garden and charming residence, built, with great good taste, in the Italian style.

Early on the following morning, I accompanied Count Berchthold to the botanical gardens. Our curiosity to visit these gardens was very great: we hoped to see there magnificent specimens of trees and flowers from all parts of the world—but we were rather disappointed. The gardens have been founded too recently, and none of the large trees have yet attained their full growth; there is no very great selection of flowers or plants; and to the few that are there, not even tickets are affixed, to acquaint the visitor with their names. The most interesting objects for us, were the monkey's bread-tree, with its gourds weighing ten or twenty-five pounds, and containing a number of kernels, which are eaten, not only by monkeys, but also by men—the clove, camphor, and cocoa-tree, the cinnamon and tea bush, etc. We also saw a very peculiar kind of palm-tree: the lower portion of the trunk, to the height of two or three feet, was brown and smooth, and shaped like a large tub or vat; the stems that sprang from this were light green, and like the lower part, very smooth, and at the same time shining, as if varnished; they were not very high, and the crest of leaves, as is the case with other palms, only unfolded itself at the top of the tree. Unfortunately, we were unable to learn the names of this kind of palm; and in the whole course of my voyage, I never met with another specimen.

We did not leave the gardens before noon: we then proceeded on foot four miles as far as Batafogo, and thence reached the city by omnibus.

Herr Geiger had invited Count Berchtholdt, Herr Rister, (a native of Vienna), and myself to an excursion to the Corcovado mountains; and accordingly, on the 1st November, at a time when we are often visited by storms and snow, but when the sun is here in his full force, and the sky without a cloud, at an early hour in the morning did we commence our pilgrimage.

The splendid aqueduct was our guide as far as the springs from which it derives the water, which point we reached in an hour and a half, having been so effectually protected by the deep shade of lovely woods, that even the intense heat of the sun, which reached during the day more than 117 degrees, (in the sun), scarcely annoyed us.

We stopped at the springs; and, on a sign from Herr Geiger, an athletic negro made his appearance, loaded with a large hamper of provisions—everything was soon prepared—a white cloth was spread out, and the eatables and drinkables placed upon it. Our meal was seasoned with jokes and good humour; and when we started afresh on our journey, we felt revived both in body and mind.

The last cone of the mountain gave us some trouble: the route was very precipitous, and lay over bare, hot masses of rock. But when we did reach the top, we were more than repaid by seeing spread before us such a panorama, as most assuredly is very seldom to be met with in the world. All that I had remarked on my entrance into the port, lay there before me, only more clearly defined and more extended, with innumerable additional objects. We could see the whole town, all the lower hills, which half hid it from my view on my arrival, the large bay, reaching as far as the Organ mountain; and, on the other side, the romantic valley, containing the botanical gardens, and a number of beautiful country-houses.

I recommend every one who comes to Rio Janeiro, although it be only for a few days, to make this excursion, since from this spot he can, with one glance, perceive all the treasures which nature, with so truly liberal a hand, has lavished upon the environs of this city. He will here see virgin forests, which, if not quite as thick and beautiful as those farther inland, are still remarkable for their luxuriant vegetation. Mimosae and Aarren baume of a gigantic size, palms, wild coffee-trees, orchidaen, parasites and creepers, blossoms and flowers, without end; birds of the most brilliant plumage, immense butterflies, and sparkling insects, flying in swarms from blossom to blossom, from branch to branch. A most wonderful effect also is produced by the millions of fire-flies, which find their way into the very tops of the trees, and sparkle between the foliage like so many brightly twinkling stars.

I had been informed that the ascent of this mountain was attended with great difficulty. I did not, however, find this to be the case, since the summit may be reached with the greatest ease in three hours and three quarters, while three parts of the way can also be performed on horseback.

The regular residence of the imperial family may be said to be the Palace of Christovao, about half an hour's walk from the town. It is there that the emperor spends most of the year, and where also all political councils are held, and state business transacted.

The palace is small, and is distinguished neither for taste nor architectural beauty: its sole charm is its situation. It is placed upon a hill, and commands a view of the Organ mountain, and one of the bays. The palace garden itself is small, and is laid out in terraces right down into the valley below: a larger garden, that serves as a nursery for plants and trees, joins it. Both these gardens are highly interesting for Europeans, since they contain a great number of plants, which either do not exist at all in Europe, or are only known from dwarf specimens in hot-houses. Herr Riedl, who has the management of both gardens, was kind enough to conduct us over them himself, and to draw my attention more especially to the tea and bamboo plantations.

Ponte de Cascher(four miles from the town) is another imperial garden. There are three mango trees here, which are very remarkable, from their age and size. Their branches describe a circle of more than eighty feet in circumference, but they no longer bear fruit. Among the most agreeable walks in the immediate vicinity of the town, I may mention the Telegraph mountain, the public garden (Jardin publico), the Praya do Flamingo, and the Cloisters of St. Gloria and St. Theresia, etc.

I had heard so much in Rio Janeiro of the rapid rise of Petropolis, a colony founded by Germans in the neighbourhood of Rio Janeiro, of the beauty of the country where it was situated, and of the virgin forests through which a part of the road ran—that I could not resist the temptation of making an excursion thither. My travelling companion, Count Berchthold, accompanied me; and, on the 26th September, we took two places on board one of the numerous barks which sail regularly every day for the Porto d'Estrella, (a distance of twenty or twenty-two nautical miles), from which place the journey is continued by land. We sailed through a bay remarkable for its extremely picturesque views, and which often reminded me vividly of the peculiar character of the lakes in Sweden. It is surrounded by ranges of lovely hills, and is dotted over with small islands, both separate and in groups, some of which are so completely overgrown with palms, as well as other trees and shrubs, that it seems impossible to land upon them, while others either rear their solitary heads like huge rocks from the waves, or are loosely piled one upon the other. The round form of many of the latter is especially remarkable: they almost seem to have been cut out with a chisel.

Our bark was manned by four negroes and a white skipper. At first we ran before the wind with full sails, and the crew took advantage of this favourable opportunity to make a meal, consisting of a considerable quantity of flour of manioc, boiled fish, roasted mil, (Turkish corn), oranges, cocoa-nuts, and other nuts of a smaller description; indeed, there was even white bread, which for blacks is a luxury; and I was greatly delighted to see them so well taken care of. In two hours the wind left us, and the crew were obliged to take to the oars, the manner of using which struck me as very fatiguing. At each dip of the oar into the water, the rower mounts upon a bench before him, and then, during the stroke, throws himself off again with his full force. In two hours more, we left the sea, and taking a left-hand direction, entered the river Geromerim, at the mouth of which is an inn, where we stopped half an hour, and where I saw a remarkable kind of lighthouse, consisting of a lantern affixed to a rock. The beauty of the country is now at an end—that is, in the eyes of the vulgar: a botanist would, at this point, find it more than usually wonderful and magnificent; for the most beautiful aquatic plants, especially the Nymphia, the Pontedera, and the Cyprian grass are spread out, both in the water and all round it. The two former twine themselves to the very top of the nearest sapling, and the Cyprian grass attains a height of from six to eight feet. The banks of the river are flat, and fringed with underwood and young trees; the background is formed by ranges of hills. The little houses, which are visible now and then, are built of stone, and covered with tiles, yet, nevertheless, they present a tolerably poverty-stricken appearance.

After sailing up the river for seven hours, we reached, without accident, Porto d'Estrella, a place of some importance, since it is the emporium for all the merchandise which is sent from the interior, and then conveyed by water to the capital. There are two good inns; and, besides these, a large building (similar to a Turkish Khan) and an immense tiled roof, supported on strong stone pillars. The first was appropriated to the merchandise, and the second to the donkey drivers, who had arranged themselves very comfortably underneath it, and were preparing their evening meal over various fires that were blazing away very cheerfully. Although fully admitting the charms of such quarters for the night, we preferred retiring to the Star Inn, where clean rooms and beds, and skilfully spiced dishes, possessed more attraction for us.

27th September. From Porto d'Estrella to Petropolis, the distance is seven leagues. This portion of the journey is generally performed upon mules, the charge for which is four milreis (8s. 8d.) each, but as we had been told in Rio Janeiro that the road afforded a beautiful walk, parts of it traversing splendid woods, and that it was besides much frequented, and perfectly safe, being the great means of communication with Minas Gueras, we determined to go on foot, and that the more willingly, as the Count wished to botanize, and I to collect insects. The first eight miles lay through a broad valley, covered with thick brambles and young trees, and surrounded with lofty mountains. The wild pine-apples at the side of the road presented a most beautiful appearance; they were not quite ripe, and were tinged with the most delicate red. Unfortunately, they are far from being as agreeable to the taste as they are to the sight, and consequently are very seldom gathered. I was greatly amused with the humming-birds, of which I saw a considerable number of the smallest species. Nothing can be more graceful and delicate than these little creatures. They obtain their food from the calyx of the flowers, round which they flutter like butterflies, and indeed are very often mistaken for them in their rapid flight. It is very seldom that they are seen on a branch or twig in a state of repose. After passing through the valley, we reached the Serra, as the Brazilians term the summit of each mountain that they cross; the present one was 3,000 feet high. A broad paved road, traversing virgin forests, runs up the side of the mountain.

I had always imagined that in virgin forests the trees had uncommonly thick and lofty trunks; I found that this was not here the case. The vegetation is probably too luxuriant, and the larger trunks are suffocated and rot beneath the masses of smaller trees, bushes, creepers, and parasites. The two latter description of plants are so abundant, and cover so completely the trees, that it is often impossible to see even the leaves, much less the stems and branches. Herr Schleierer, a botanist, assured us that he once found upon one tree six and thirty different kinds of creepers and parasites.

We gathered a rich harvest of flowers, plants, and insects, and loitered along, enchanted with the magnificent woods and not less beautiful views, which stretched over hill and dale, towards the sea and its bays, and even as far as the capital itself.

Frequent truppas, {34a} driven by negroes, as well as the number of pedestrians we met, eased our minds of every fear, and prevented us from regarding it as at all remarkable that we were being continually followed by a negro. As, however, we arrived at a somewhat lonely spot, he sprang suddenly forward, holding in one hand a long knife and in the other a lasso, {34b} rushed upon us, and gave us to understand, more by gestures than words, that he intended to murder, and then drag us into the forest.

We had no arms, as we had been told that the road was perfectly safe, and the only weapons of defence we possessed were our parasols, if I except a clasp knife, which I instantly drew out of my pocket and opened, fully determined to sell my life as dearly as possible. We parried our adversary's blows as long as we could with our parasols, but these lasted but a short time; besides, he caught hold of mine, which, as we were struggling for it, broke short off, leaving only a piece of the handle in my hand. In the struggle, however, he dropped his knife, which rolled a few steps from him; I instantly made a dash, and thought I had got it, when he, more quick than I, thrust me away with his feet and hands, and once more obtained possession of it. He waved it furiously over my head, and dealt me two wounds, a thrust and a deep gash, both in the upper part of the left arm; I thought I was lost, and despair alone gave me the courage to use my own knife. I made a thrust at his breast; this he warded off, and I only succeeded in wounding him severely in the hand. The Count sprang forward, and seized the fellow from behind, and thus afforded me an opportunity of raising myself from the ground. The whole affair had not taken more than a few seconds. The negro's fury was now roused to its highest pitch by the wounds he had received: he gnashed his teeth at us like a wild beast, and flourished his knife with frightful rapidity. The Count, in his turn, had received a cut right across the hand, and we had been irrevocably lost, had not Providence sent us assistance. We heard the tramp of horses' hoofs upon the road, upon which the negro instantly left us and sprang into the wood. Immediately afterwards two horsemen turned a corner of the road, and we hurried towards them; our wounds, which were bleeding freely, and the way in which our parasols were hacked, soon made them understand the state of affairs. They asked us which direction the fugitive had taken, and, springing from their horses, hurried after him; their efforts, however, would have been fruitless, if two negroes, who were coming from the opposite side, had not helped them. As it was, the fellow was soon captured. He was pinioned, and, as he would not walk, severely beaten, most of the blows being dealt upon the head, so that I feared the poor wretch's skull would be broken. In spite of this he never moved a muscle, and lay, as if insensible to feeling, upon the ground. The two other negroes were obliged to seize hold of him, when he endeavoured to bite every one within his reach, like a wild beast, and carry him to the nearest house. Our preservers, as well as the Count and myself, accompanied them. We then had our wounds dressed, and afterwards continued our journey; not, it is true, entirely devoid of fear, especially when we met one or more negroes but without any further mishap, and with a continually increasing admiration of the beautiful scenery.

The colony of Petropolis is situated in the midst of a virgin forest, at an elevation of 2,500 feet above the level of the sea, and, at the time of our visit, it had been founded about fourteen months, with the especial purpose of furnishing the capital with certain kinds of fruit and vegetables, which, in tropical climates, will thrive only in very high situations. A small row of houses already formed a street, and on a large space that had been cleared away stood the wooden carcase of a larger building—the Imperial Villa, which, however, would have some difficulty in presenting anything like an imperial appearance, on account of the low doors that contrasted strangely with the broad, lofty windows. The town is to be built around the villa, though several detached houses are situated at some distance away in the woods. One portion of the colonists, such as mechanics, shop-keepers, etc., had been presented with small plots of ground for building upon, near the villa; the cultivators of the soil had received larger patches, although not more than two or three yokes. What misery must not these poor people have suffered in their native country to have sought another hemisphere for the sake of a few yokes of land!

We here found the good old woman who had been our fellow passenger from Germany to Rio Janeiro, in company with her son. Her joy at being once more able to share in the toils and labours of her favourite had, in this short space of time, made her several years younger. Her son acted as our guide, and conducted us over the infant colony, which is situated in broad ravines; the surrounding hills are so steep, that when they are cleared of timber and converted into gardens, the soft earth is easily washed away by heavy showers.

At a distance of four miles from the colony, a waterfall foams down a chasm which it has worn away for itself. It is more remarkable for its valley-like enclosure of noble mountains, and the solemn gloom of the surrounding woods, than for its height or body of water.

29th September. In spite of the danger we had incurred in coming, we returned to Porto d'Estrella on foot, went on board a bark, sailed all night, and arrived safely in Rio Janeiro the next morning. Every one, both in Petropolis and the capital, was so astonished at the manner in which our lives had been attempted, that if we had not been able to show our wounds we should never have been believed. The fellow was at first thought to have been drunk or insane, and it was not till later that we learned the real motives of his conduct. He had some time previously been punished by his master for an offence, and on meeting us in the wood, he no doubt thought that it was a good opportunity of satisfying, with impunity, his hatred against the whites.



CHAPTER IV. JOURNEY INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE BRAZILS.



THE TOWNS OF MORROQUEIMADO (NOVO FRIBURGO) AND ALDEA DO PEDRO— PLANTATIONS OF THE EUROPEANS—BURNING FORESTS—VIRGIN FORESTS—LAST SETTLEMENT OF THE WHITES—VISIT TO THE INDIANS, ALSO CALLED PURIS OR RABOCLES—RETURN TO RIO JANEIRO.

This second journey I also made in company of Count Berchthold, after having resolved on penetrating into the interior of the country, and paying a visit to the primitive inhabitants of the Brazils.

2nd October. We left Rio Janeiro in the morning, and proceeded in a steamer as far as the port of Sampajo, a distance of twenty-eight miles. This port lies at the mouth of the river Maccacu, but consists of only one inn and two or three small houses. We here hired mules to take us to the town of Morroqueimado, eighty miles off.

I may take this opportunity of remarking that it is the custom in the Brazils to hire the mules without muleteers—a great mark of confidence on the part of the owners towards travellers. Arrived at their destination the animals are delivered up at a certain place fixed on by the proprietor. We preferred, however, to take a muleteer with us, as we were not acquainted with the road, a piece of precaution we regretted the less, on finding the way frequently obstructed with wooden gates, which had always to be opened and shut again.

The price for hiring a mule was twelve milreis (1 pounds 6s.).

As we arrived at Porto Sampajo by 2 o'clock, we resolved on going on as far as Ponte do Pinheiro, a distance of sixteen miles. The road lay mostly through valleys covered with large bushes and surrounded by low rocks. The country wore a general aspect of wildness, and only here and there were a few scanty pasture-grounds and poverty- stricken huts to be seen.

The little town of Ponte de Cairas, which we passed, consists of a few shops and vendas, a number of smaller houses, an inconsiderable church, and an apothecary's; the principal square looked like a meadow. Ponte do Pinheiro is rather larger. We experienced here a very good reception, and had an excellent supper, consisting of fowls stewed in rice, flour of manioc, and Portuguese wine; we had also good beds and breakfasts; the whole cost us, however, four milreis (8s. 8d.).

3rd October. We did not set off till 7 o'clock: here, as everywhere else in the country, there is no getting away early in the morning.

The scenery was of the same character as that passed the day before, except that we were approaching the more lofty mountains. The road was tolerably good, but the bridges across the streams and sloughs execrable; we esteemed ourselves fortunate whenever we passed one without being compelled to stop. After a ride of three hours (nine miles), we reached the great Sugar-Fazenda {38} de Collegio, which in its arrangements is exactly like a large country seat. To the spacious residence is attached a chapel, with the offices lying all around; the whole is enclosed by a high wall.

Far and wide stretched the fields and low eminences, covered with sugar canes: unfortunately, we could not see the mode of preparing the sugar, as the canes were not yet ripe.

A planter's fortune in the Brazils is calculated by the number of his slaves. There were eight hundred of them on the plantation we were viewing—a large property, since each male slave costs from six to seven hundred milreis (60 to 70 pounds).

Not far from this fazenda, to the right of the high road, lies another very considerable one, called Papagais; besides these we saw several smaller plantations, which lent a little animation to the uniformity of the scene.

St. Anna (sixteen miles distance) is a small place, consisting of only a few poor houses, a little church, and an apothecary's; the last is a necessary appendage to every Brazilian village, even though it only contains twelve or fifteen huts. We here made a repast of eggs with a bottle of wine, and gave our mules a feed of mil, for which a cheating landlord, Herr Gebhart, charged us three milreis (6s. 6d.)

Today we did not proceed further than Mendoza (twelve miles), a still more insignificant place than St. Anna. A small shop and a venda were the only houses at the road-side, though in the background we perceived a manioc-fazenda, to which we paid a visit. The proprietor was kind enough first to offer us some strong coffee, without milk (a customary mark of attention in the Brazils), and then to conduct us over his plantation.

The manioc plant shoots out stalks from four to six feet in height, with a number of large leaves at their upper extremities. The valuable portion of the plant is its bulbous root, which often weighs two or three pounds, and supplies the place of corn all through the Brazils. It is washed, peeled, and held against the rough edge of a millstone, turned by a negro, until it is completely ground away. The whole mass is then gathered into a basket, plentifully steeped in water, and is afterwards pressed quite dry by means of a press. Lastly it is scattered upon large iron plates, and slowly dried by a gentle fire kept up beneath. It now resembles a very coarse kind of flour; and is eaten in two ways—wet and dry. In the first case, it is mixed with hot water until it forms a kind of porridge; in the second, it is handed round, under the form of coarse flour, in little baskets, and every one at table takes as much as he chooses, and sprinkles it over his plate.

4th October. The mountain ranges continue drawing nearer and nearer to each other, and the woods become thicker and more luxuriant. The various creeping plants are indescribably beautiful: not only do they entirely cover the ground, but they are so intertwined with the trees that their lovely flowers hang on the highest branches, and look like the blossoms of the trees themselves. But there are likewise trees whose own yellow and red blossoms resemble the most beautiful flowers; while there are others whose great white leaves stand out like silver from the surrounding mass of flowery green. Woods like these might well be called "the giant gardens of the world." The palm-trees have here almost disappeared.

We soon reached the mountain range we had to cross, and on our way often ascended such elevated spots that we had a free view extending as far back as the capital. On the top of the mountain (Alta da Serra, sixteen miles from Mendoza) we found a venda. From this spot the distance to Morroqueimado is sixteen miles, which took us a long time, as the road is either up or down hill the whole way. We were continually surrounded by the most magnificent woodlands, and were only rarely reminded by a small plantation of kabi, {39} or mil, that we were in the neighbourhood of men. We did not perceive the little town until we had surmounted the last eminence and were in its immediate vicinity. It lies in a large and picturesque hollow, surrounded by mountains at an elevation of 3,200 feet above the level of the sea. As night was near at hand, we were glad enough to reach our lodgings, which were situated on one side of the town, in the house of a German named Linderoth; they were very comfortable, and, as we afterwards found, exceedingly reasonable, seeing that for our rooms and three good meals a-day we only paid one milreis (2s. 2d.).

5th October. The small town of Novo Friburgo, or Morroqueimado, was founded about fifteen years since by French, Swiss, and Germans. It contains not quite a hundred substantial houses, the greater part of which form an extremely broad street, while the others lie scattered about, here and there.

We had already heard, in Rio Janeiro, a great deal of the Messrs. Beske and Freese, and been particularly recommended not to forget to pay a visit to each. Herr Beske is a naturalist, and resides here with his wife, who is almost as scientific as himself. We enjoyed many an hour in their entertaining society, and were shown many interesting collections of quadrupeds, birds, serpents, insects, etc.; the collection of these last, indeed, was more rich and remarkable than that in the Museum of Rio Janeiro. Herr Beske has always a great many orders from Europe to send over various objects of natural history. Herr Freese is the director and proprietor of an establishment for boys, and preferred establishing his school in this cool climate than in the hot town beneath. He was kind enough to show us all his arrangements. As it was near evening when we paid our visit, school was already over; but he presented all his scholars to us, made them perform a few gymnastic exercises, and proposed several questions on geography, history, arithmetic, etc., which, without exception, they answered very carefully and correctly. His establishment receives sixty boys, and was quite full, although the annual charge for each boy is one thousand milreis (108 pounds 6s. 8d.).

6th October. We had at first intended to stop only one day in Novo Friburgo, and then continue our journey. Unfortunately, however, the wound which the Count had received on our excursion to Petropolis became, through the frequent use of the hand and the excessive heat, much worse; inflammation set in, and he was consequently obliged to give up all ideas of going any further. With my wounds I was more fortunate, for, as they were on the upper part of the arm, I had been enabled to pay them a proper degree of care and attention; they were now proceeding very favourably, and neither dangerous nor troublesome. I had, therefore, no resource left but either to pursue my journey alone, or to give up the most interesting portion of it, namely, my visit to the Indians. To this last idea I could by no means reconcile myself; I inquired, therefore, whether the journey could be made with any degree of safety, and as I received a sort of half-satisfactory answer, and Herr Lindenroth found me also a trusty guide, I procured a good double-barrelled pistol and set out undaunted upon my trip.

We at first remained for some time in the midst of mountain ranges, and then again descended into the warmer region beneath. The valleys were generally narrow, and the uniform appearance of the woods was often broken by plantations. The latter, however, did not always look very promising, most of them being so choked up with weeds that it was frequently impossible to perceive the plant itself, especially when it was young and small. It is only upon the sugar and coffee plantations that any great care is bestowed.

The coffee-trees stand in rows upon tolerably steep hillocks. They attain a height of from six to twelve feet, and begin to bear sometimes as soon as the second, but in no case later than the third year, and are productive for ten years. The leaf is long and slightly serrated, the blossom white, while the fruit hangs down in the same manner as a bunch of grapes, and resembles a longish cherry, which is first green, then red, brown, and nearly black. During the time it is red, the outer shell is soft, but ultimately becomes perfectly hard, and resembles a wooden capsule. Blossoms and fruit in full maturity are found upon the trees at the same time, and hence the harvest lasts nearly the whole year. The latter is conducted in two ways. The berries are either gathered by hand, or large straw mats are spread underneath, and the trees well shaken. The first method is the more troublesome, but, without comparison, the better one.

Another novelty, which I saw here for the first time, were the frequent burning forests, which had been set on fire to clear the ground for cultivation. In most cases I merely saw immense clouds of smoke curling upwards in the distance, and desired nothing more earnestly than to enjoy a nearer view of such a conflagration. My wish was destined to be fulfilled today, as my road lay between a burning forest and a burning rost. {40} The intervening space was not, at the most, more than fifty paces broad, and was completely enveloped in smoke. I could hear the cracking of the fire, and through the dense vapour perceive thick, forked columns of flame shoot upwards towards the sky, while now and then loud reports, like those of a cannon, announced the fall of the large trees. On seeing my guide enter this fiery gulf, I was, I must confess, rather frightened; but I felt assured, on reflecting, that he would certainly not foolishly risk his own life, and that he must know from experience that such places were passable.

At the entrance sat two negroes, to point out the direction that wayfarers had to follow, and to recommend them to make as much haste as possible. My guide translated for me what they said, and spurred on his mule; I followed his example, and we both galloped at full speed into the smoking pass. The burning ashes now flew around us in all directions, while the suffocating smoke was even more oppressive than the heat; our beasts, too, seemed to have great difficulty in drawing breath, and it was as much as we could do to keep them in a gallop. Fortunately we had not above 500 or 600 paces to ride, and consequently succeeded in making our way safely through.

In the Brazils a conflagration of this kind never extends very far, as the vegetation is too green and offers too much opposition. The wood has to be ignited in several places, and even then the fire frequently goes out, and when most of the wood is burnt, many patches are found unconsumed. Soon after passing this dangerous spot, we came to a magnificent rock, the sides of which must have risen almost perpendicularly to a height of 600 or 800 feet. A number of detached fragments lay scattered about the road, forming picturesque groups.

To my great astonishment, I learned from my guide that our lodging for the night was near at hand; we had scarcely ridden twenty miles, but he affirmed that the next venda where we could stop, was too far distant. I afterwards discovered that his sole object was to spin out the journey, which was a very profitable one for him, since, besides good living for himself, and fodder for his two mules, he received four milreis (8s. 8d.) a-day. We put up, therefore, at a solitary venda, erected in the middle of the forest, and kept by Herr Molasz.

During the day we had suffered greatly from the heat; the thermometer standing, in the sun, at 119 degrees 75' Fah.

The circumstance which must strike a traveller most forcibly in the habits of the colonists and inhabitants of the Brazils, is the contrast between fear and courage. On the one hand, every one you meet upon the road is armed with pistols and long knives, as if the whole country was overrun with robbers and murderers; while, on the other, the proprietors live quite alone on their plantations, and without the least apprehension, in the midst of their numerous slaves. The traveller, too, fearlessly passes the night in some venda, situated in impenetrable woods, with neither shutters to the windows nor good locks to the doors, besides which the owner's room is a considerable distance from the chambers of the guests, and it would be utterly impossible to obtain any assistance from the servants, who are all slaves, as they live either in some corner of the stable, or in the loft. At first I felt very frightened at thus passing the night alone, surrounded by the wild gloom of the forest, and in a room that was only very insecurely fastened; but, as I was everywhere assured that such a thing as a forcible entry into a house had never been heard of, I soon dismissed my superfluous anxiety, and enjoyed the most tranquil repose.

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. All 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 brilliant colours, and exhaled the sweetest perfume; delicate humming-birds twittered around our heads; the pepper-pecker, with his brilliant 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 will. How soon, perhaps, may this profound and holy tranquillity 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 village 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 will 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 willingly 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.

All 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 still 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 hills, 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 still 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 village 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 unwillingness 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 illness: 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 still 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 still 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 will 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 killed, 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 ill.

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 skill 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 pillow, 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 pillow, 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, till 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 hills. 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 till 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 willingly 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 till 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 till 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 bill 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 hills, 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-hills, 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 hills of sand. The town itself, situated upon a hill, 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, will 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.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse