Page images
PDF
EPUB

nature of the woods around it, promised way extends for miles over the high, undulatwell for novelties in birds and insects ; so we ing bank, leading from one house to another hud no reason to be vexed at the delay, but along the edge of the cliff. I went into sevbrought our apparatus and store-boxes up eral of them, and talked to their inmates. from the canoe, and set to work.

They were all poor people. The men were The easy, lounging life of the people out fishing, some far away, a distance of many amused us very much. I afterward had days' journey ; the women plant mandioca, plenty of time to become used to tropical vil. make the farinha, spin and weave cotton, lage life. There is a free, familiar, pro bono manufacture soap of burnt cacao-shells and priblico style of living in these small places, undiroba oil, and follow various other which requires some time for a European to domestic employments. I asked why they fall intu. No sooner were we established in allowed their plantations to run to waste. our rooms than a number of lazy young fel. They said that it was useless trying to plant lows came to look on and make remarks, and anything hereabout; the Saüba ant devourwe had to answer all sorts of questionsed the young coffee-trees, and every one who The houses have their doors and windows attempted to contend against this universal open to the street, and people walk in and ravager was sure to be defeated. The coun. out as they please ; there is always, however, try, for many miles along the banks of the & more secluded apartment, where the female river, seemed to be well peopled. The inmembers of tho families reside. In their habitants were nearly all of the tawny-white familiarity there is nothing intentionally mameluco class. I saw a good many mulatoffensive, and it is practiced simply in the toes, but very few negroes and Indians, and desire to be civil apd sociable. A young none that could be called pure whites. mameluco, named Soares, an Escrivao, or When Senhor Seixas arrived, he acted very public clerk, took me into his house to show kindly. He provided us at once with two me his library. I was rather surprised to see men, killed an ox in our honor, and treated a number of well-thumbed Latin classics, us altogether with great consideration. We Virgil, Terence, Cicero's Epistles, and Livy. were not, however, introduced to his family, I was not familiar enough, at this early period I caught a glimpse once of his wife, a pretty of my residence in the country, with Portu- little mameluco woman, as she was tripping guese to converse freely with Senhor Suares, with a young girl, whom I supposed to be or ascertain what use he mude of these her daughter, across the back yard. Both books ; it was an unexpected sight, a classic wore long dressing-gowns, made of brightcal library in & mud-plastered and palm. colored calico print, and had long wooden thatched hut on the banks of the Tocantins. tobacco-pipes in their mouths. The room in

The prospect from the village was maguifi. which we slept and worked had formerly cent, over the green wooded islands, far away served as a storeroom for cacao, and at night to the gray line of forest on the opposite shore I was kept awake for hours by rats and cock

the low alluvial country of the Amazons The latter were running about all over the proper, and the climate was evidently much walls ; now and then one would come sud. drier than it is near Pará. They had had no denly with a whirr full at my face, and get rain here for many weeks, and the atmos- under my shirt if I attempted to jerk it off. phere was hazy around the horizon ; so much As to the rats, they were chasing one anuther so that the sun, before setting, glared like a by dozens all night long, over the floor, blood-red globe. At Pará this never hap- up and down the edges of the doors, and pens ; the stars and sun are as clear and along the rafters of the open roof. sharply defined when they peep above the September 7th. -We started from Baiað at distant tree-tops as they are at the zenith. an early hour. One of our new men was a This beautiful transparency of the air arises, good-humored, willing young mulatto, named doubtless, from the equal distribution through José ; the other was a sulky Indian, called it of invisible vapor." I shall ever remember, Manoel, who seemed to bave been pressed in one of my voyages along the Pará river, into our service against bis will. Senhor the grand spectacle that was once presented Seixas, on parting, sent a quantity of fresh at sunrise. Our vessel was a large schuoner, provisions on board. A few miles above and we were bounding along before a spank: Baiao the channel became very shallow ; wo ing breeze, which tossed the waters into foam, got aground several times, and the men had when the day dawned. So clear was the to disembark and shove the vessel off. air that the lower rim of the full moon re- Alexandro here shot several fine fish, with mained sharply defined until it touched the bow and arrow. It was the first time I had western horizon, while, at the same time, the seen fish captured in this way. The arrow sun rose in the east. The two great orbs is a reed, with a steel-barbed point, which is were visible at the same time, and the pas, fixed in a hole at the end, and secured by fine sage from the moonlit night to day was so twine made from the fibres of pineapple gentle that it seemed to be only the brighten- leaves. It is only in the clearest water that ing of dull weather. The woods around fish can be thus shot; and the only skill reBaiao were of second growth, the ground quired is to make, in taking aim, ihe proper having been formerly cultivated. A great allowance for refraction. number of coffee and cotton-trees grew The next day before sunrise a fine breeze Among the thickets. A fine woodland path- sprang up, and the men awoke and set tho sails. We glided all day through channels number of hammocks were seen slung bebetween islands with long white sandy tween the tree-trunks, and the litter of a pubeaches, over which, now and then, aquatic merous household lay scattered about. and wading birds were seen running. "The Women, old and young, some of the latter forest was low, and had a harsh, dry aspect. very good-looking, and a large poinber of Several palm-trees grew here which we had children, beside pet animals, enlivened the not before seen. On low bushes, near the encampinent. They were all onlf-breeds, water, pretty red-beaded tapagers (Tavagra simple, well-dispuseii people, and explained gularis) were numerous, fitting about and to us that they were inhabitants of Cametá, chirping like sparrows. About half past who had come thus far, eighty miles, to spend four P.M. we brought to at the mouth of a the summer months. The only motive they creek or channel, where there was a great could give for coming was, “that it was so .extent of sandy beach. The sand had been hot in the town in the verno (oummer), and blown by the wind into ridges and undula- they were all so fond of fresli tish.” Thus tions, and over the moister parts large flocks these simple folks think nothing of leaving of sandpipers were running about. Alexan- home and business to cuine on a three dro and I had a long ramble over the rolling months' picnic. It is the annual custom of plain, which came as an agreeable change this class of people, throughout the province, after the monotonous forest scenery amid to spend a few months of the fino season in which we had been so long travelling. He the wilder parts of the country. They carry pointed out to me the tracks of a huge jaguar with them all the farinha they can scrape tj. on the sand. We found here, also, our first gether, this being the only article of food turtle's nest, and obtained 120 eggs from it, necessary to provide. The men hunt and fish which were laid at a depth of nearly two feet for the day's wants, and sometimes collect a from the surface, the mother first excavating little india-rubber, sarsaparilla, or copaiba a hole, and afterward covering it up with oil, to sell to traders on their return ; the Bund. The place is discoverablc ouly by fol- women assist in puddling the canoes, do the lowing the tracks of the turtle from the cooking, and sometimes fish with rod and water. I saw here an alligator for the first line. The weather is enjoyable the whole time, which reared its head and shoulders time, and so days and weeks pass happily above the water just after I had taken a bath away. near the spot. The night was calm and One of the men volunteered to walk with cloudless, and we employed the hours before us into the forest, and show us a few cellarbedtime in angling by moonlight.

trees. We passed through a mile or two of On the 10ta we reached a small settlement spiny thickets, and at length came upon the called Patos, consisting of about a dozen banks of the rivulet Trocará, which thows houses, and built on a high rocky bank, on over å stony bed, and, about a mile above its the eastern shore. The rock is the same mouth, fails over a ledge of rocks, thus form. modular conglomerate which is found at so ing a very pretty cascade. In the neighbor. many places, from the sea-coast to a cistance hood we found a number of specimens of a of 000 miles up the Amazons. Mr. Leavens curious laud-shc), a large flut Helix, with a made a last attempt here to engage men to labyrinthine mouth (Auastoma). We learned accompany us to the Araguaya ; but it was afterward that it was a species which had in vain ; not a soul could be induced by any been discovered a few years previously by amount of wages to go on such an expe- Dr. Gardner, the botanist, on the upper part dition. The reports as to the existence of of the Tocantins. cedar were very vague. All said that the We saw here, for the first time, the splen. tree was plentiful somewhere, but no one ded hyacinthine macaw (Macrocerciis hya. could fix on the precise locality. I believe cinthinus, Lath., the Ararupa of the natives), that the cedar grows, like all other forest one of the finest and rarest species of the trecs, in a scattered way, and not in masses Parrot family. It only occurs in the interior anywhere. The fact of its being the princi- of Brazil, from 16° $. lat. to the southeru pal tree observed floating down with the cur- border of the Amazons valley. It is three jent of the Amazone, is to be explainil by feet long from the beak to the tip of the tail, its woud being much lighter than that of the and is entirely of a soft hyacinthinc blue majority of trees. When the banks are color, except round the eyes, where the skin washed away by currents, irces of all species is naked and white. It flies in pairs, and fall into the river ; but the heavier oncs, feeds un ihe hard nuts of several palms, but which are the most numerous, sink, and the especially of the Mucuja (Acrocomia !asiospalighter, such as the cedar, alone float down tha). These nuts, which are so hard as to be to the sea.

difficult to break with a heavy hammer, are Mr. Leavens was told that there were crushed to a pulp by the powerful beak of cedar-trees at Trocará, on the opposite side this macaw. of the river, near some fine rounded hills Being unable to obtain nen, Mr. Leavens covered with forest, visible from Patos ; 60 dow gave up his project of ascending the there we went. We found here several fam- river as far as the Araguaya. He assented ilies encamped in a delightful spot. The to our request, however, to ascend to the cal. shore sloped gradually down to the water, aracts near Arroyos. We started thereforo and was shaded by a few wide spreading from Patos with a more definite aim before trees. There was no underwoud. A greut us liian we had hitherto Lad. The river became more picturesque as we advanced. The bed of the river, here about a mie wide, The water was very low, it being 110w the is strewn with blocks of various sizes, which height of the dry season ; the islands were lie in the must irregular manner, and besmaller than those further down, and some tween them rush currents of more or less of them were high and rocky. Bold wooded rapidity. With an accurate knowledge of bluffs projected into the stream, and all the the place and skilful management, this falls shores were fringed with beaches of glisten- can be approached in small canoes by threading white sand. On one side of the river ing the less dangerous cbannels. The main there was an extensive grassy plain or campo fall is about a quarter of a mile wide ; we with isolated patches of trees scattered over climbed to an elevation overlooking it, and it. On the 14th and following day we had a good view of the cataract. A boily of stopped several times to ramble ashore. Our water rushes with terrific force down a steep longest excursion was to a large shallow la- slupe, and boils up with deafening rour goon, choked up with aquatic plants, which around the boulders which obstruct its course. lay about two miles across the campo. At a The wildness of the whole scene was very place called Juquerapuá we engaged a pilot impressive. As far as the eye could reach to conduct is to Arroyos, and a few miles stretched range after range of wooded bills, above the pilot's louse, arrived at a point scores of miles of beautiful wilderness, inwhere it was not possible to advance furtlier habited only by scanty tribes ofwwild Indians. in our large canoe, on account of the rapide. In the midst of such a solitude the roar of

September 16th. -Einbarked at six A.M. in å the cataract seemed fitting music, large modlaria which had becu lent to us for September 17th.We commenced early in this part of the voyage by Senhor Seixas, the morning our downward voyage. leaving the vigilinga anchored close to a Arroyos is situated in about 4° 10's. lat., rocky islet, named Sunta Anna, to await our and lies, therefore, about 130 miles from the return. A ten A.M. we arrived ut the first mouth of the Tocantins. Fifteen miles Tapids, which are called Taruiunaquára. above Guaribas another similar cataract, The river, which was liere abou: a mile wide, called Tabocas, lies across the river. We was choked up with rucks, a broken ridge were told that there were in all fifteen of passing completely acruss it. Between these these obstructions to navigation between confused piles of stone the currents were Arroyos and the mouth of the Araguaya. fearfully strong, and formed numerous ed. The worst was the Inferno, the Guaribas dies and whirlpools. We were obiiged wget standing second to it in evil reputation. out occasionally and walk from rock to rock, Many canoes and lives have been lost here, while the men dragged the canoe over the most of the accidents arising through the obstacles. Beyond Tupaiunaquára the stream vessels being hurled against an enormous became again broad and deep, and the river cubical mass of rock called the Guaribinha. scenery was beautiful in the extreme. The which we, up our trip to the falls in the wuter was clear, and of a bluish-green color. small canoe, passed round with the greatest On both sides of the streamı stretched ranges ease about a quarter of a mile below the main of wooded hills, apd in the middle picturesque falls. This, however, was the dry season ; islets rested on the smooth water, whose brill in the time of full waters & tremendous cur. iant green woods fringed with palms formed rent sets against it. We descended the river charming bits of foreground to the perspec. rapidly, and found it excellent fun shooting tive of sombre hills fading into gray in the dis- the rapids. The men seemed to delight in tance. Joaquim pointed out to us grove after choosing the swiftcst parts of the current ; grote of Brazil-nut-trees (Bertbolletia ex- they sang and yelled in the greate: t excitecelsa) on the mainland. This is one of the ment, working the paddles with great force, chief collecting grounds for this nut. The and tbrowiug clouds of spray above us as we tree is one of the loftiest in the forest, tower bounded downward. We stopped to rest at ing far above its fellows ; we could see the the mouth of a rivulet named Cayaoxa. The woody fruits, large and round as capnon. pilot told us that gold had been found in the balls, dotted over the branches. The cur bed of this brook; so we had the curiosity rents were very strong in some places, so that to wade several hundred yards through the during the greater part of the way the men icy cold waters in search of it. Mr. Leavens preferred to travel near the shore, and dro- seemed very much interested in the matter : pel the bout by means of long poler.

he picked up all the shining stones he could We arrived at Arroyos about four o'clock espy in the pebbly bottom, in hopes of findin the afternoon, after ten hours' hard pull. ing diamonils also. There is, in fact, no The place consists simply of a few houses reason why both guld and diamonds should built on a high bank, and forms a station not be found here, the bills being a continuwhere canoe-men from the mining coupirits ation of those of the mining countries of inof the interior of Brazil stop to rest them. terior Brazil, and the brooks flowing through selves, before or after surmounting lise the varrow valleys between them. dreaded falls and rapids of Guaribas, situated On arriviog at the place where we bad left a couple of miles further up. We dillel our canuc, we stayed all night and part of ashore, and in the evening aguin embarked the following day, and I had a stroll along a to visit the falls. The vigorous and success. delightful pulb wils, which led over hill and ful way in which our inen battled with this dale, two lig three miles llirough the furest. terrific currents excited our astonishment. I was surprised at the puolet variety of brilliantly-colored butterflies ; they were all where the meal is roasted. A long flexible of small size, and started forth at every step eyiinder made of the peel of a marantaceous I took, from the low bushes which bordered plant, plaited into the proper form, hung susthe road. I first heard here the notes of a pended from a beam ; it is in this that the trogon; it was neated alone on a brauch, at pulp of the mandioca is pressed, and from it no great elevution ; & beautiful bird, with the juice, which is of a highly poisonous naglossy-yreen back and rose-colored breast ture, although the pulp is wholesome food, (probably Trogon melanurus). At intervals runs into pans placed beneath to receive it. it uttered, in a complaining tone, a sound re- A wooden trough, such as is used in all sembling the words " quá, quá." It is a these places for receiving the pulp before the dull ipaelive bird, and not very ready to take poisonous matter is extracted, stood on the flight when approached. In this respect, ground, and from the posts hung the long however, the trogons are not equal to the wicker-work baskets, or aturas, in which jacamars, whose stupidity in remaining at the women carry the roots from the roça or their posts, seated on low branches in the clearing; a broad ribbon made from the gloomiest shades of the forest, is somewhat inner bark of the monguba-tree is attached remarkable in a country where all other birds to the rims of the baskets, and is passed are exceedingly vary. One species of round the forehead of the carriers, to relieve jacaums was not uncommon here (Gulbula their backs in supporting the heavy load. viridis); I sometimes saw two or three to. Around the shed were planted a number of gether, seated on a slender branch, silent and banana and other fruit trees; among them motiopless with the exception of a slight were the never · failing capsicum-pepper movement of the head ; when an insect flew bushes, brilliant as holly-trees at Christmas past within n short distance, one of the birds time, with their fiery-red fruit, and lemon. would dari off, seize it, and return aguin to irecs; the one supplying the pungent, the its sitting-lace. The tragons are found in other the acid, for sauce to the perpetual wbe tropics of both hemispheres ; the jaca- meal of fish. There is never in such places mars, which are clothed in plumage of the any appearance of careful cultivation, no most beautiful golden-bronze and steel col. garden or orcbard ; the useful trees are surars, are peculiar to tropical America.

rounded by weeds and bushes, and close beAt night I slept ashore as a change from hind rises the everlasting forest, the confinement of the canoe, having ub- In descending the river we landed fre. taiped permission from Senhor Joaquin to quently, and Mr. Wallace and I lost no sling my hammock under his roof. The chance of adding to our collections ; so that house, like all others in these out-of-the-way before the end of our journey we had got to. parts of the country, way a large, open, gether a very considerable number of birds, palm-thatched shed, having one end ipclosed insects, and shells, chiefly taken, however, in by means of partitions, also made of palm- the low country. Leaving Baiao, we took our leaves, so as to form a private apartment. last farewell of the limpid waters and varied Under the shed were placed all the household scenery of the upper river, and found ourutensils ; earthenware jars, pots, and ket. selves again in the humid flat region of the tles, bunting and fishing implements, pad. Amazons valley. We suiled down this lower dles, bows and arrows, hpvous, and so part of the river by a different channel from furth. One or two common wooden chests the one we travelled along in ascending, and serve to contain the holiday clothing of the frequeolly went ashore on tbe low islands in females ; there is no other furniture, except mid-river. As already stated, these are cov. a few stools and the hammock, which an. ered with water in the wet season ; but at swers the purposes of chair and sofa. When this time, there having been three months of a visitor enters, he is asked to sit down in a fine weather, they were dry throughout, and, Lammock: persons who are on intimate by the subsidence of the waters, pluced four torms with each other recline together in the or five feet above the level of the river. They same bammock, one at each end ; this is & are covered with a most luxuriant forest, very convenient arrangement for friendly comprising a large nuinber of india-rubber conversation. There are neither tables por trees. We found several people encamped chairs; the cloth for meals is spread on a here, who were engaged in collecting and muut, and the guests equat round in any po. preparing the rubber, and thus bad an opporgition they choose. There is ņo.cordiality of tunity of observing the process. mappers, but the treatment of the guests The tree which yields this valuable sap is shows a keen sense of the duties of hospi: the siphonia elastica, a member of the Euptiortality on the part of the host There is a biaceous order ; it belongs, therefore, to a good deal of formality in the intercourse of group of plants quite different from that these half-wild mamelucos, which, I believe, which furnishes the caoutchouc of the East bas been chiefly derived from their Indian Indies and Africa. This latter is the product forefathers, although a little of it may have of different species of Ficus, and is consid. been copied from the Portuguese.

ered, I believe, in commerce an inferior artiA little distance from the house were the cle to the india-rubber of Pará. The siphania open sheds under which the farinha for the elastice grows only on the lowlands in the Hoe of the establishment was manufactured, Amazons region ; hitherto the rubber bisa In the centre of each shed stood the shallow heen Cullected chiedy in the islands and dans, mado of clay and built over ovens. swampy parts of the mainland within & dis

tance of Ofty to a hundred miles to the west the flowers and fruit growing directly out of of Pará; but there are plenty of uniapped the trunk and branches. There is a wholy trees still growing in the wilds of the Tapa- group of wild-fruit trees which hare the same jos, Madeira, Juruá, and Jauraí, as far as 1800 habit in this country. In the wildernesses miles from the Atlantic coast. The tree is where the cacao is planted, the collecting of not remarkable in appearance ; in bark and the fruit is dangerous from the number of foliage it is not uplike the European aslı; poisonous snakes which inhabit the places. but the trunk, like that of all forest trces, One day, when we were running our mon. shoots up to an immense height before throw. taria to á landing-place, we saw a large ser. ing off branches. The trees seem to be no pent on the trees overhead, as we were aliout man's property hereabout. The people we to brush past ; the boat was stopped just in met with told us they came every year to the nick of time, and Mr. Leavens brought collect rubber on these islands, as soon as the reptile down with a charge of shot. the waters had subsided, namely, in August September 26th.--At length we got clear of and remained till January or February. The the islands, and saw once more before us the process is very simple. Every morning each sea-like expanse of waters which forms the person, man or woman, to whom is allotted mouth of the Tocantins. The river had now a certain number of trees, goes the round of sunk to its lowest point, and numbers of fresh. the whole, and collects in a large vessel the water dolphins were rolling about in shoaly milky sap which trickles from gashes made places. There are here two species, one of in the bark on the preceding evening and which was new to science when I sent specie which is received in little clay cups, or in mens to England. It is called the Tucuxí ampullaria shells stuck beneath the wounds. (Steno tucuxi of Gray). When it comes to The sap, which at first is of the consistence the surface to breathe, it rises horizontally, of creanı, soon thickens; the collectors are showing first its back fin ; draws an inspireprovided with great number of wooden tion, and tnen dives gently down, head foremoulds of the shape in which the rubber is most. This mode of proceeding distinguishes flanted. and wlien they return to the camp the Tucuxí at once from the other species, tey dip them into the liquid laying on, in the which is called Bouto or porpoise by the naprurse of several days, one coat after another. tives (Inia Geoffroyi of Desmarest). When When this is done, the substance is white this rises, the top of the head is the part first anil liard ; the proper color and consistency seen ; it theu blows, and immediately afterpre given by passing it repeatedly through a ward dips head downward, its back curving thick black smoke obtained by burning the over, exposing successively the whole dorsal nuts of certain palm-trees, after which pro- ridge with its fin. It seems thus to pitch (ess the article is ready for sale. India-rub. heels over head, but does not show the tail her is known throughout the province only fin. Besides this peculiar motion, it is distin. by the name of seringa, the Portuguese word guished from the Tucuxí by its habit of genför syringe ; it owes this appellation to the erally going in pairs. Both species are excircumstance tbat it was in this form only ceedingly numerous throughout the Amaa that the first Portuguese settlers noticed it to zuns, and its larger tributaries, but they are he employed by the aborigines. It is said nowhere more plentiful than in the shvaly that the Indians were first taught to make water at the mouth of the Tocantins, espesyringes of rubber by seeing natural tubes cially in the dry season. In the Upper Amaformed by it, when the spontaneously-flowing zons a third pale flesh-colored species is also Bap gathered round projecting twigs. Brae abundant (the Delphinus pallidus of Gervais). zilians of all classes still use it extensively in With the exception of a species found in the the form of syringes, for injections form a Ganges, all other varieties of dolphin inhabit great feature in the popular system of cures; exclusively the sea. In the broader parts of the rubber for this purpose is made into a the Amazons, fron) its mouth to a distance pear-shaped bottle, and a quill fixed in the of fifteen hundred miles in the interior, one long neck.

or other of the three kinds here mentioned September 24th. Opposite Cametá the are always heard rolling, blowing, and snortislands are all planted with cacao, the tree ing, especially at night, and these noises con. which yields the chocolate nut. The forest is tribute much to the impression of sca-wide not cleared for the purpose, but the cacao vastness and desolation which haunts the plants are stuck in here and there almost at Traveller. Besides dolphins in the water, random among the trees. There are many frigate-birds in the air are characteristic of houses on the banks of the river, all elevated ta is lower part of the Tocantins. Flocks above the swampy soil on wooden piles, and of them were seen the last two or three days furnished with broad ladders by which to of our journey, hovering about at an immense mount to the ground floor. As we passed by height. Toward night we were obliged to in our canoe we could see the people at their cast anchor over a shoal in the middle of the occupations in the open verandas, and in river to await the ebb tide. The wind blew one place saw a ball going on in broad day. very strongly, and this, together with the inlight; there were fiddles and guitars hard at coming flow, caused such a heavy sea that it work, and a number of lads in white shirts was impossible to sleep. The vessel rolled and trousers dancing with brown damsels and ritchied until every bone in our bodies clad in showy print dresses. The cacao-tree achcd with the bumps we received, and we produces a curious impression, on account of wire all more or less sea-sick. On the fol.

« EelmineJätka »