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that Senhor Alfredo gave him, and that he is still living a poor wanderer with his friend Lima.”
On reaching London in the condition described in my letter to Dr. Spruce, and my only clothing a suit of the thinnest calico, I was met by my kind friend and agent, Mr. Samuel Stevens, who took me first to the nearest ready-made clothes shop, where I got a warm suit, then to his own tailor, where I was measured for what clothes I required, and afterwards to a haberdasher's to get a small stock of other necessaries. Having at that time no relatives in London, his mother, with whom he lived in the south of London—I think in Kennington—had invited me to stay with her. Here I lived most comfortably for a week, enjoying the excellent food and delicacies Mrs. Stevens provided for me, which quickly restored me to my usual health and vigour.
Since I left home, and after my brother John had gone to California in 1849, my sister had married Mr. Thomas Sims, the elder son of my former host at Neath. Mr. Sims had taught himself the then rapidly advancing art of photography, and as my sister could draw very nicely in water-colours, they had gone to live at Weston-super-Mare, and established a small photographic business. As I wished to be with my sister and mother during my stay in England, I took a house then vacant in Upper Albany Street (No. 44), where there was then no photographer, so that we might all live together. While it was getting ready I took lodgings next door, as the situation was convenient, being close to the Regent's Park and Zoological Gardens, and also near the Society's offices in Hanover Square, and within easy access to Mr. Stevens's office close to the old British Museum. At Christmas we were all comfortably settled, and I was able to begin the work which I had determined to do before again leaving England.
In the small tin box which I had saved from the wreck I fortunately had a set of careful pencil drawings of all the different species of palms I had met with, together with notes as to their distribution and uses. I had also a large number of drawings of fish, as already stated, carefully made to scale, with notes of their colours, their dentition, and their fin-rays scales, etc. I had also a folio Portuguese note-book containing my diary while on the Rio Negro, and some notes and observations made for a map of that river and the Uaupés. With these scanty materials, helped by the letters I had sent home, I now set to work to write an account of my travels, as well as a few scientific papers for which I had materials in the portion of my collections made in Para, Santarem, and the Lower Rio Negro. These I had sent off before leaving Barra on my first voyage up the Rio Negro, and they had arrived home safely; but I had reserved all my private collections for comparison with future discoveries, and though I left these to be sent home before starting on my second voyage up the Rio Negro, they were never despatched, owing to the Custom House authorities at Barra insisting on seeing the contents before allowing them to go away. I therefore found them at Barra on my way home, and they were all lost with the ship. I had sent home in 1850 a short paper on the Umbrella Bird, then almost unknown to British ornithologists, and it was printed in the Zoological Society's Proceedings for that year. The bird is in size and general appearance like a short-legged crow, being black with metallic blue tints on the outer margins of the feathers. Its special peculiarity is its wonderful crest. This is formed of a quantity of slender straight feathers, which grow on the contractile skin of the top of the head. The shafts of these feathers are white, with a tufted plume at the end, which is glossy blue and almost hair-like. When the bird is flying or feeding the crest is laid back, forming a compact white mass sloping a little upward, with the terminal plumes forming a tuft behind ; but when at rest the bird expands the crest, which then forms an elongated dome of a fine, glossy, deep blue colour, extending beyond the beak, and thus completely masking the head. This dome is about five inches long by four or four and a half inches wide. Another almost equally remarkable feature is a long cylindrical plume of feathers depending from the lower part of the neck. These feathers grow on a fleshy tube as thick as a goose-quill, and about an inch and a half long. They are large and overlap each other, with margins of a fine metallic blue. The whole skin of the neck is very loose and extensible, and when the crest is expanded the neck is inflated, and the cylindrical neck-ornament hangs down in front of it. The effect of these two strange appendages when the bird is at rest and the head turned backwards must be to form an irregular ovate black mass with neither legs, beak, nor eyes visible, so as to be quite unlike any living thing. It may thus be a protection against arboreal carnivora, owls, etc. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most extraordinary of birds, and is an extreme form of the great family of Chatterers, which are peculiar to tropical America. Strange to say, it is rather nearly allied to the curious white bell-bird, so different in colour, but also possessing a fleshy erectile appendage from the base of the upper mandible. The umbrella bird inhabits the lofty forests of the islands of the lower Rio Negro, and some portions of the flooded forests of the Upper Amazon. About the time when I was collecting these birds (January, 1850) a new species (Cephalopterus glabricollis) was brought home by M. Warzewickz from Central America, where a single specimen was obtained on the mountains of Chiriqué at an elevation of eight thousand feet. This is a similar bird, and has a crest of the same form but somewhat less developed; but the main distinction is that a large patch on the neck is of bare red skin, from the lower part of which hangs the fleshy tube, also red and bare, with only a few feathers, forming a small tuft at its extremity. This species is figured in the “Proceedings of the Zoological Society for 1850” (p. 92), and will serve to explain my description of the larger species in the same volume (p. 206). Nine years later a third species was discovered in the eastern Andes of Ecuador, which more resembles the original species, but has the feathered dewlap so greatly developed as to be nearly as long as the whole bird. This is figured in The Ibis (1859, Pl. III.). The white species which I was told inhabited the Uaupés river has not been found, and may probably have been confounded by my informants with the white bell-bird.
During the two ascents and descents of the Rio Negro and Uaupés in 1850—1852 I took observations with a prismatic compass, not only of the course of the canoe, but also of every visible point, hill, house, or channel between the islands, so as to be able to map this little known river. For the distances I timed our journey by a good watch, and estimated the rate of travel up or down the river, and whether paddling or sailing. With my sextant I determined several latitudes by altitudes of the sun, or of some of the fixed stars. The longitudes of Barra and of San Carlos, near the mouth of the Cassiquiare, had been determined by previous travellers, and my aim was to give a tolerable idea of the course and width of the river between these points, and to map the almost unknown river Uaupés for the first four hundred miles of its course. From these observations I made a large map to illustrate a paper which I read before the Royal Geographical Society. This map was reduced and lithographed to accompany the paper, and as it contains a good deal of information as to the nature of the country along the banks of the rivers, the isolated granite mountains and peaks, with an enlarged map of the river Uaupés, showing the position of the various cataracts I ascended, the Indian tribes that inhabit it, with some of the more important vegetable products of the surrounding forests, it is here given to illustrate this and the two preceding chapters (see p. 320). It will also be of interest to readers who possess my “Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro,” which was published before the map was available.
The great feature of this river is its enormous width, often fifteen or twenty miles, and its being so crowded with islands, all densely forest-clad and often of great extent, that for a distance of nearly five hundred miles it is only at rare intervals that the northern bank is visible from the southern, or vice versé. For the first four hundred and fifty miles of its course the country is a great forest plain, the banks mostly of alluvial clays and sands, though there are occasional patches of sandstone. Then commences the great granitic plateau of the upper river, with isolated mountains and rock-pillars, extending over the watershed to the cataracts of the Orinoko, to the mountains of Guiana, and, perhaps, in some parts up to the foot of the Andes. The other great peculiarity of the river is its dark brown, or nearly black, waters, which are yet perfectly clear and pleasant to drink. This is due, no doubt, to the greater part of the river's basin being an enormous forestcovered plain, and its chief tributaries flowing over granite rocks. It is, in fact, of the same nature as the coffee-coloured waters of our Welsh and Highland streams, which have their sources among peat-bogs. A delightful peculiarity of all these black or clear water rivers is that their shores are entirely free from mosquitoes, as is amusingly referred to in my brother's letter, already quoted in Chapter XVIII. After my journey the river Uaupés remained unknown to the world for thirty years, when, in 1881 and 1882, Count Ermanno Stradelli, after spending two years in various parts of the Amazon valley, ascending the Purus and Jurua rivers, visited this river to beyond the first cataracts. Having fever he returned to Manaos (Barra), and joined an expedition to determine the boundary between Brazil and Venezuela through an unknown region, and descended the Rio Branco to Manaos, He then went a voyage up the Madeira river, returning home in 1884. In 1887 he again visited South America, ascending the Orinoko, passed through the Cassiquiare to the Rio Negro, and having become much interested in the rock-pictures he had met with in various parts of these rivers, he again made a voyage up the Uaupés, this time penetrating to the Jurupari cataract, which I had failed to reach, and going about a hundred miles beyond it. This last voyage was made in 1890–1891. His only objects seem to have been geographical and anthropological explorations, and he has probably explored a larger number of the great tributaries of the Amazon and Orinoko than any other European. For a knowledge of this great traveller I am indebted to Mr. Heawood, the librarian of the Royal Geographical Society, who, in reply to my inquiry as to any ascents of the Uaupés since my journey, sent me two volumes of the Bolletino della Societa Geographica Italiana (1887 and 1900), which, give, so far as he can ascertain, all that is known of Count Stradelli's