Page images
PDF
EPUB

vomit which compelled them to quit their regions all the elements conspired against watery home, and finally find a grave amongst these useful creatures.” the thickets on the river banks. The disease next attacked the fish and other inhabitants The crocodiles of the river Portuguesa are of the water, with equal violence, until it was the most savage and dangerous of all that feared the streams would be depopulated. haunt the streams that intersect the Llanos. The fearful mortality among them can be bet- They are very hard to kill, but Don Ramon ter estimated from the fact that, for more tells a story of a daring Llanero who, naked than a month, the rippling waves of that noble river, the Apure, were constantly wash- and single-handed, proved more than a match ing down masses of putrefaction, its placid for one of these monsters :surface being by them actually hidden from view for several weeks. The next victims were

“ The man was on his way to San Jaime on the pachidermata of the swamps, and it was there the same day, he would not wait for

a pressing errand. Being in haste to get a pitiable sight to see the sluggish chiguires the canoe to be brought to him, but prepared (capyvaras) and the grizzly wild-buars drag- to swim across, assisted by his horse. He ging their paralyzed hind quarters after them; had already secured his saddle and clothes hence the name of derrengadera applied to this disease. Not even monkeys in their upon his head, as is usual on similar occaaerial retreats escaped the contagion, and be ware of a caiman cebado, then lurking near

sions, when the ferryman cried out to him to their melancholy cries resounded day and the pass, urging upon him, at the same time, night through the woods like wailings of the to wait for the canoe. Scorning this advice, eternally lost. It is a singular fact, that the Llanero replied with characteristic pride, while the scourge did not spare any of the countless droves of horses roaming the savan

• Let him come; I was never yet afraid of nas of the Apure and adjacent plains, don- his ponderous equipment, he placed his two

man or heast.' Then laying aside a part of keys and horned cattle were seldom, if ever, edged dagger between his teeth, and plunged attacked, so that, by their aid, the owners of fearlessly into the river. Ile had not procattle-farms were enabled to prevent the en- ceeded får, when the monster rose and made tire dispersion of their herds."

quickly towards him. The ferryman crossed The caribe, luckily, suffers from a special cation of Jesus, Maria y José ! fearing for the

himself devoutly, and muttered the holy invoand constantly recurring visitation, these fish life, and, above all, for the toll of the imprubeing subject to a yearly mortality during dent traveller. In the mean time, the swimthe heat of summer when the water is de- mer continued gliding through the water prived of a portion of the air it holds in solu- towards the approaching crocodile. Aware tion. “ Their carcasses,” says Don Ramon, of the impossibility of striking his adversary “ may then be seen floating on the water by a mortal blow unless he could reach the armthousands, while the beach is strewn wità pit, he awaited the moment when the reptile

should attack him, to throw his saddle at him. their bones, especially their bristling jaws, This he accomplished 80 successfully, that the which render walking barefoot on the borders crocodile, doubtless imagining it to be some of lagoons extremely dangerous."

sort of good eating, jumped partly out of the What with one foe and another, the cattle water to catch it. Instantly the Llanero in the Llanos have but a bad time of it plunged his dagger up to the very hilt into

the fatal spot. A hoarse gruntand a tremen• Those that escape the teeth of the caribe, for the ferocious monster sunk beneath the

dous splash showed that the blow was mortal, the coil of the anaconda, that great water-ser

waves to rise no more. Proud of his achievepent, or the jaws of the equally dreaded crocodile, are in continual danger of falling a ment, and scorping the tardy assistance of prey to the lion or the jaguar, while congrer bis canoe, he waved his bloody dagger in the

the ferryman who offered to pick him up in gated upon the bancos and other places left dry amidst the rising waters. None, however, air, exclaiming as he did so': * Is there no escape the tormenting sting of myriad insects other about here?' and then turning, he which, until the waters subside, fill the air swam leisurly back to take his horse across."; they breathe. Even at night, when all cre

As in the Pampas, so in the Llanos, the ated beings should rest in peace, enormous vampires, issuing from the gloomy recesses of profusion of waterfowl is astonishing, the the forest, perchi upon the backs of the suf- cranes and herons predominating. The imferers and suck their life blood, all the while mense number of these birds may be conceived lulling t'iem with the flapping of their spuri- by the fact, vouched for by Don Ramon, that ous wirgs. In fact, it seems as if in these their colonies sometimes embrace several

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

miles in extent. One of the first-named tribe, especially significant of gloem, Ya-acabó called the garzone or soldier, from its erect meaning " It is finished,” and there are few bearing and martial air, is over five feet high, who hear its cry unmoved. In striking conwith a bill fully a foot long. The herons, or trast with these “dismall fowles,” is the garzas, are of various sizes and colors, some Gallineta de monte, or forest hen, a most beausnow-white, some a delicate blue, others gray tiful creature, both in color and shape, and or pink, and many of a brilliant scarlet. On the eyes of which, of a brilliant ruby hue, the smaller ponds, too, which are gemmed scintillate like fire. “ These birds sing in with purple water-lilies, myriads of wild-concert, and their song-a lively chatterducks covor the surface, remarkable for the has a mystic fascination,” observes Don Rasingularity and beauty of their plumage; but mon, 66 which I am unable to describe.” As lovely as all these haunts appear, the country Buffoon summed up his description of the is almost uninhabitable for man, on account robin red-breast, “ they are very delicate eatof the pestilential miasmata which rise from ing.” As good, in their way, are various them. They are also the abode of enormous 'species of teal ducks, and there is a certain water-snakes, or anacondas, which have all long-legged plover—the Alcaravan—which is the strength and voracity of the boa constric- turned to good account. 6. This last has the tor, and like them kill their prey by crush- peculiarity of uttering a long, shrill sound at ing the animal in their huge muscular folds hourly intervals, thus marking every hour of and affeciing its deglutition by the slimy secre- the night after the manner of a clock’s alarum. tion which they spread over it.

It is easily domesticated in the houses, where

it renders some service, not only by marking “On examining the mouth of one of these snakes, it will be found that the jaws are fur- time, but also by giving warning of the apnished with a row of sharp and crooked teeth, proach of strangers.” Another bird the bent inward like tenter books ; with these he Aruco — utters loud drumlike notes, but is seizes his prey, and holds it securely until not made to do sentinel's duty. It is as large the victim, unable to struggle longer, drops' as a turkey, but its size is very deceptive, for exhausted. What appears most extraordi- feathers. Like the horned plover of the Pamnary in these unequal contests, is the tenacity on taking it up it seems like a mere bundle of with which the snake adheres to the soft mud of the lagoon, there being neither rock nor pas, the wings of the male are provided with stump to which he can secure himself. Nor a pair of sharp spurs, with which, when fightwill the efforts of a large bull, no matter how ing, they greatly injure each other. Carrion powerful, be sufficient to drag the snake one birds are plentiful, -the chief of this class inch out of his element, unless he is first cut being the Rey-Zamuro, or king of the vultasunder. In darting upon a quadruped, the ures, very beautiful of its kind. anaconda invariably aims at its snout, the animal seldom escaping when once the terrible mage, resembling down in softness and finefangs have been buried in its flesh. It is not ness, is of a pearly white, excepting the wings, an unusual thing, however, for a bull to cut which are tipped with black. The breast a snake asunder in his violent struggles ; then and neck, although entirely bare of feathers, the shaggy victor may be seen proudly march- are decked in the most brilliant tint of blue, ing at the head of his troop with this un- orange, and red, while a sort of membranous sightly trophy hanging from his nose.

excrescence crowns the head, giving it a truly The woods that border the Venezuelan riv- royal appearance.” Singing birds, mostly ers are peopled by great varieties of birds, of the oriole species, abound. The sweetest many of which are supposed, and not unnat

of these songsters is the Gonzal, but sweeturally, to be of ill-omen. Foremost amongst

ness of note is not the only quality that disthis class is the Titirijí or Tiger-owl, spotted tinguishes the choristers of the Llanos. with black like the jaguar, and uttering a - There is another closely allied species, cry which, in the stillness of night, is often far superior to this or any other bird of the mistaken for that of the South American kind with which I am acquainted. It is the tiger. Two other species of owl are the Ya- troupial, whose powerful notes can only be acabó and the Pavita, and both are consid- domesticated in houses, and learns readily

likened to strains of the violin. It is easily ered harbingers of death or calamity when

any air from hearing it whistled. I have heard fluttering round the habitations of one of these birds at home (in New York) the Llaneros. The name of the first is which sings the Cachuca, Yankee Doodle,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

6. Its plu

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

at the eyes.

and various other tunes, besides distinctly of the people is so much capital lost to the whistling the name of a person. Its pre-country, and even the proposed alteration dominant colors are rich orange and shining from relief to labor upon public works, after black, with white spots on the wings and all the safeguards that can be put around it bill in beautiful contrast. It is a dangerous pet, however, if at large in a house, attack- are applied, will be found a costly and buring strangers furiously, and always aiming densome scheme for the community. But

where is the future supply of cotton to come Don Ramon gives a long list of the plants from? The two years that have passed since of the Llanos, many of them bearing delicious the American civil war broke out have not fruit, others remarkable for medicinal, and been without benefit in settling this important others again for properties of a dangerous point, but the whole experience gained from it nature. The most remarkable of the latter points to the somewhat mortifying conclusion class is the guachamacá, the poison exuding that for the adequate supply of this all-imfrom which is so virulent that meat roasted portant fibre, the Southern States of North on spits made of the shrub absorbs sufficient America still possess the greatest advantages to destroy all who partake of it. It is need- and may easily re-assert their ancient monopless to say that the swamps of the Llanos oly. India is evidently out of the question. swarm with venomous reptiles, but Don Ra- Its climate and institutions are alike hostile mon, like other recent travellers, exempts the to improvement. It can never do more than beautiful coral snake from the list ; having supply a limited quantity of inferior material. well examined them he could discover no Egypt is too small to become a dangerous secreting fangs nor any other characteristics rival, and Asiatic Turkey is much too far of poisonous snakes. To “ Tiger-stories,” a behind. Long before the lazy and shiftless whole chapter is devoted. Many of these are Mahommedans will do anything worth speakapocryphal, but enough remain sufficiently ing of, the active Americans will have retruthful to show how much the jaguar of the stored their old supremacy. That, it must Apure is to be feared. To the sanie category be said, is not wholly, or even in great part, belong some of the tales told of the crocodiles owing to their character. They possess the of that famous river, and the monkeys, as a best cotton field in the world. It is intermatter of course, furnish their quota of re- sected by great river systems forming natural markable peculiarities. One of the Simian highways in every direction, has a rich soil, tribe, the araguato, has a voice rivalling that and a climate perfectly adapted to the habits of poor Lablache, Don Ramon asserting of the plant. It is certain that in the nature “ without fear of mistake,” that it can be of things the raw cotton trade must ultimately heard at the distance of three miles! We return to New Orleans and Mobile, but it is cannot afford to draw any further upon the almost as certain that the derangement of contents of this amusing work, which we society effected by the war must terminate in now commend to the general reader. It has the reorganization of the culture upon totally been the pleasure of the author to add to it different conditions from those upon which it a few chapters on the politics of Venezuela, rested previously. Whether the authority of but these have formed no part of our enter- the Union can be restored over the continent tainment.

or not, slavery has received its death-blow,

and cannot be restored by means short of a From The Ashton and Stalybridge Reporter, 20 June. restoration of the Union, and its forcihle de

miracle. It appears the only obstacle to the AMERICAN COTTON BY FREE LABOR.

struction, may teach the infatuated and inThe future prosperity of the cotton trade credibly ignorant Southern populations that must be regarded as an object of as great as there was no security for slavery except importance as the immediate supply of the in connection with the Union, so there can be wants of the unemployed operatives. The no guarantee for prosperity equal to a return great losses occasioned by the stoppage of the to ainity and allegiance. Before another mills, both to capitalists and laborers, can year is over, should the war continue so long, only be lessened by a revival of the supply of thousands of colored men will be in arms cotton. So far as its productiveness is con- under the Union flag, and tens of thousands cerned, the money spent in the subsistence liberated from their chains by the progress

of events. The reduction of these to bondage mense and rapidly increasing emigration to again will be a hopeless task, and the substi- the Union, notwithstanding the existence of tution of fresh importations from Africa is war. There is no popular delusion in this, a crime which we hope will never be tolerated no rush for gold, no blinding access of folly. either in Europe or America. The future The people know there is work and food in production of American cotton must therefore abundance, and when the armies of the Union depend upon free labor, and the only inquiry have cleared the way for them, as we entertain is whether the obstacles to its introduction no doubt they will do, they will spread southbeing removed by the destruction of slavery ward as well as westward, and Europe, not Afand the cessation of the war, it would be rica, will supply the labor for the new cotton capable of supplying the wants of the world. supply. There never was a greater mistake A recent able report to the Boston Board than the supposition that the heat is too great. of Trade by Edward Atkinson, Esq., has Even now the heavy work in the South is thrown a new and vivid light upon this aspect done by white men. The digging of drains of the question, and its importance is 80 and canals through the plantations is done manifest that John Bright in a speech to a by Irish nayvies, while the colored people are Great Union and Emancipation ineeting in capable only of the lightest and least imporLondon on Tuesday night, brought it forward tant labor. The miserable way in which they and dwelt upon it with all his accustomed are fed and treated accounts for this, and the vigor and directness. We are able, through belief that free white labor must ultimately the kindness of a friend, to resort to the same supplant theirs is strengthened by the fact source for the interesting facts put forward that already one-ninth of the cotton grown in by the great free trade orator.

America is grown by white laborers. When Apart from the moral repugnance to the we reflect that the high price of cotton which use of an article raised by men robbed of their must rule for many years to come will stimwages and human rights, and the just appre- ulate the exertions of freemen and extend the hensions of every thoughtful man that a sys- cultivation, it must be plain that an aggretem founded upon so much oppression must gate of cotton production will be reached sursooner or later collapse, the cotton trade with passing anything possible under slavery. Mr. the supply of slave-grown produce suffered Atkinson, in another pamphlet, “ Cheap Cotthe evil of chronic deficiency. The slave ton by Free Labor,” for which we are indebted population, recruited only from the breeding to the same friend who furnished us with the pews of such saints as Stonewall Jackson, report, proves that at least one thousand doland of such chivalrous gentlemen as Lee and lars a year may be raised out of forty acres of Davis, increased but slowly, and being ground land by a single family, along with sufficient down by oppression, could not make up by cereals for their support. If even one-half intelligence for the deficiency of numbers. could be expected, what an impulse such The cultivation has been kept down to the gains would give to the settlement of the cotlowest and least scientific form. Only one ton lands in every direction. The astonishand a half per cent. of the soil available for ing prosperity of North America would be culture is in use, and that has been employed eclipsed by this new development, while the in the most wasteful manner. The great tide trade of Lancashire would at last obtain what of emigration which fertilized and enriched it has never possessed—a full supply of cotton the Northern States, filling them with splen--without fear of a shock such as that of the did cities, and raising them to power and War of Secession to destroy it. But all this dignity, sent scarcely a ripple to the Soutlı, prospect depends on the success of the Fedwhere the blight of a system that dishonored eral arms, and the ruin of slavery. We can labor hung upon the land. But if this difi- imagine no stronger inducement to favor the culty is removed by the anticipated ruin of Union cause than the prospect of what might the slaveholders, there is no reason to doubt be made of the Southern States by freemen. that emigration will receive such an impulse We have seen what slaves and their masters as to empty the surplus populations of the have made of them, regions wasted by įmOld World upon the sunny and fertile plains providence, shunned by the free and active, of the rebellious States. One of the most and inhabited by a dissolute, idle, and degraded surprising facts of the present time is the im- population, now decimated and scourged by

a ruinous war. We have such faith in the to Windsor, by command, for her majesty's energies of the people of the North that we inspection, and is now restored to its former are convinced they will either achieve the con- abiding-place—there are upwards of one quest of their refractory neighbors, or so far thousand original sketches, drawings, prooffrustrate their designs that human freedom etchings, oil-paintings, etc., from the hand will be universally established, and most sin- of the indefatigable master ; and the intellicerely hope the consummation will not be de- gent guardian of these art-treasures walks layed. It is still, and is likely to be, the round the room with the visitors, a living main hope and deliverance to Lancashire. commentary upon things past and present;

for George Cruikshank's etchings are the pic

torial record of our manners and customs, From The Reader.

fashions and changes, of nearly three quarGEORGE CRUIKSHANK'S WORKS.

ters of a century, some fifty years of which What a wonderful man is George Cruik- they illustrate to the full. The earlier shank! And now he gives us the opportu- sketches may have taken their inspiration nity to see him as he is, and to know him as from Gilray and Bunbury, borrowing a grace, he was.

In a quiet little room in Exeter Hall it may be, from Rowlandson; but soon these is the Cruikshank Gallery. The earliest trammels fell away, and if we mistake not, sketch is one bearing the date of 1799, when constant, careful study of the smaller masthe precocious boy-artist was about eight or ters of the German school of the sixteenth nine years old ; and the latest, his great work, century, and of the mass of wood-cut bookmeasuring thirteen feet four inches by seven illustrations which they produced, cleansed feet eight inches, “ The Worship of Bac- of all their impurities by a modest, thoughtchus”-upon the painting of which the vet- ful mind, gave that solid bent to his aftereran has spent a year and a half of recent pursuits which placed Cruikshank at the head life-a pictorial sermon against the use of of our comic school of art for more than " the Bottle,” in which, as in glass, he holds thirty years, till the Doyles, father and son, up to view the rise and progress, the danger Leech and Tenniel, and others came forth to and folly of drinking anything stronger than dispute the palm with him. the pure produce of the spring as it comes During that period he produced his adforth bubbling through the earth for man's mirable - Points of Humor,” his “ Comic refreshment, or is presented to him in the Almanacks,” the “ Omnibus," «« Peter Schlemore luscious form of full-ripe fruit. “Drink mihl, the Shadowless Man ;” illustrations to not!” is his text; and he sends it home as Grimm's “ Fairy Tales” and Scott's “« Demfew preachers can hope to do—to parson and onology and Witchcraft,” to Ainsworth’s people, to the bench and the bar, to rich and - Tower of London,” “ Guy Fawkes," and poor, to “genteel” folk and vulgar ones, to " Jack Sheppard," and to Dickens's “ Oliver fighting-men and stay-at-home laggards, to Twist,” his own“ Punch and Judy,” and a the lounger at the clubs, the man about town, host of other book-illustrations, which will the drunken mechanic, and the maudlin old live as long as the books they were made to washerwoman. That picture is, as a work of adorn. High life and middle class he left art, so thoroughly original, so unlike all that wisely to the Doyles, to Tenniel, and to ever préceded it, such a study of life as it is Leech ; but who can approach him in the dein the mind's eye of the great tee-total apos- lineation of the Dodgers, the Fagins, the Gentle, that, though group upon group fills the tlemen of the Road, the rollicking, reckless, canvas, and the subject is drunkenness in its paid-off Jack Tars, and the Pucks, Brownies, most humiliating forms, yet, truthful as the Kobbolds, and all the devilries which the pictures are, unlike Hogarth, Gilray, Bun- brothers Grimm delight to dwell upon, and bury, and Woodward, George Cruikshank the giants, dwarfs, and goblins they carefully eschews all unscrupulous freedom, and never conjure up? offends the modesty of the beholder by what, 'Tis a pleasant lounge into that little quiet in the works of the comic painters just named, room at Eseter Hall; and to many of us it is known as broad “ humor,” though indel- recalls happy memories of the past, as we icacy would be the more appropriate term. walk from one wall to another, and recognize

Besides this great picture—which was sent the old familiar faces of impersonations so

« EelmineJätka »