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ODD PEOPLE.BEINGA POPULAR DESCRIPTIONOFSINGULAR RACES OF MAN.r*/CAPTAIN MAYNE REID,AUrHOR OF " THE DE8ETT HOME." " THE BUSH BOYS," BTO.Ziftb lilusttatfons.BOSTON:JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY,LATE TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND FIELDS, OSGOOD, & CO.I87 2.4
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1860, byTICKNOR AND FIELDS,in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.NEW YORK, January 1st, 1869.MESSRS. FIELDS, OSGOOD, & Co.: -I accept the terms offered, and hereby concede to you the exclusive right ofpublication, in the United States, of all my juvenile Tales of Adventure, knownas Boys' Novels.MAYNE REID.
CONTENTS.PAoGBOSJESMEN, OR SUSHMEN *THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS 86THE WATER-DWELLERS OF MARACAIBO 61THE ESQUIMAUX .8MUNDRUCUS, OR BEHEADERS 118THE CENTAURS OF THE GRANN CHACO" .* 145THE FEEGEES, OR MAN-EATERS 169THE TONGANS, OR FRIENDLY ISLANDERS 194THE TUROOMANS 2 18THE OTTOMACS, OR DIRT-EATERS 244THE COMANCHES, OR PRAIRIE INDIANS 268THE PEHUENCHES, OR PAMPAS INDIANS *. 290THE YAMPARICOS, OR ROOT-DIGGERS 809THE GUARAONS, OR PALM-DWELLERS 841THE LAPLANDERS 859THE ANDAMANERS, OR MUD-BEDAUBERS 888THE PATAGONIAN GIANTS 0 0 411THE FUEGIAN DWARFS 489
BOSJESMEN, OR BUSHMEN.PERHAPS no race of people has more piqued tth.curiosity of the civilized world than those little yellowsavages of South Africa, known as the Bushmen. Fromthe first hour in which European nations became ac-quainted with their existence, a keen interest was ex-cited by the stories told of their peculiar character andhabits; and although they have been visited by manytravellers, and many descriptions have been given ofthem, it is but truth to say, that the interest in themhas not yet abated, and the Bushmen of Africa are al-most as great a curiosity at this hour as they werewhen Di Gama first doubled the Cape. Indeed, thereis no reason why this should not be, for the habits andpersonal appearance of these savages are just now as theywere then, and our familiarity with them is not muchgreater. Whatever has been added to our knowledgeof their character, has tended rather to increase thandiminish our curiosity.At first the tales related of them were supposed to befilled with wilful exaggerations, and the early travellerswere accused of dealing too much in the marvellous.This is a v ry common accusation brought against the
6 BOSJESMEN, ORearly travellers; and in some instances it is a just one.But in regard to the accounts given of the Bushmenand their habits there has been far less exaggerationthan might be supposed; and the more insight we obwtain into their peculiar customs and modes of subsistence,the more do we become satisfied that almost everythingalleged of them is true. In fact, it would be difficultfor the most inventive genius to contrive a fanciful ac-count, that would be much more curious or interestingthan the,real and bona fide truth that can be told aboutthis most peculiar people.Where do the Bushmen dwell? what is their coun-try ? These are questions not so easily answered, asin reality they are not supposed to possess any countryat all, any more than the wild animals amidst whichthey roam, and upon whom they prey. There is noBushman's country upon the map, though several spotsin Southern Africa have at times received this desig-nation. It is not possible, therefore, to delineate theboundaries of their country, since it has no boundaries,any more than that of the wandering Gypsies of Europe.If the Bushmen, however, have no country in theproper sense of the word, they have a "range," and oneof the most extensive character -since it covers thewhole southern portion of the African continent, fromthe Cape of Good Hope to the twentieth degree of southlatitude, extending east and west from the country of theCaffres to the Atlantic Ocean. Until lately it was be-lieved that the Bushman-range did not extend far to thenorth of the Orange river; but this has proved an er-roneous idea. They have recently "turned up " in theland of the Dammaras, and also in the great Kalahari
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BUSHMEN. 7desert, hundreds of miles north from the Orange riverand it is not certain that they do not range still nearer tothe equatorial line though it may be remarked thatthe country in that direction does not favor the suppo-sition, not being of the peculiar nature of a Bushman'scountry. The Bushman requires a desert for his dwell-ing-place. It is an absolute necessity of his nature, asit is to the ostrich and many species of animals; andnorth of the twentieth degree of latitude, South Africadoes not appear to be of this character. The heroicLivingstone has dispelled the long-cherished illusion ofthe Geography about the " Great-sanded level" of theseinterior regions; and, instead, disclosed to the world afertile land, well watered, and covered with a profuseand luxuriant vegetation. In such a land there will beno Bushmen.The limits we have allowed them, however, are suffi-ciently large, fifteen degrees of latitude, and an equallyextensive range from east to west. It must not be sup-posed, however, that they populate this vast territory.On the contrary, they are only distributed over it inspots, in little communities, that have no relationship orconnection with one another, but are separated by wideintervals, sometimes of hundreds of miles in extent. Itis only in the desert tracts of South Africa that theBushmen exist, in the karoos, and treeless, waterlessplains among the barren ridges and rocky defiles-inthe ravines formed by the beds of dried-up rivers insituations so sterile, so remote, so wild and inhospitableas to offer a home to no other human being save theBushman himself..If we state more particularly the localities where the
8 BOSJESMEN, ORhaunts of the Bushman are to be found, we may specifythe barren lands on both sides of the Orange river, -including most of its head-waters, and down to its mouth,--and also the Great Kalahari desert. Through all thisextensive region the kraals of the Bushmen may beencountered. At one time they were common enoughwithin the limits of the Cape colony itself, and somehalf-caste remnants still exist in the more remote dis-tricts; but the cruel persecution of the boers has had theeffect of extirpating these unfortunate savages ; and, likethe elephant, the ostrich, and the eland, the true'wildBushman is now only to be met with beyond the fron-tiers of the colony.About the origin of the Bushmen we can offer noopinion. They are generally considered as a branchof the great Hottentot family; but this theory is farfrom being an established fact. When South Africawas first discovered and colonized, both Hottentots andBushmen were found there, differing from each otherjust as they differ at this day; and though there aresome striking points of resemblance between them, thereare also points of dissimilarity that are equally as strik-ing, if we regard the two people as one. In personalappearance there is a certain general likeness: that is,both are woolly-haired, and both have a Chinese castof features, especially in the form and expression of theeye. Their color too is nearly the same; but, on the otherhand, the, Hottentots are larger'than the Bushmen. Itis not in their persons, however, that the most essentialpoints of dissimilarity are to be looked for, but rather intheir mental characters and here we observe distinc-tions so marked and antithetical, that it is difficult to
BUSHMEN. 9reconcile them with the fact that these two people areof one race. Whether a different habit of life has pro-duced this distinctive character, or whether it has in-fluenced the habits of life, are questions not easily an-swered. We only know that a strange anomaly exists- the anomaly of two people being personally alike-that is, possessing physical characteristics that seem toprove them of the same race, while intellectually, as weshall presently see, they have scarce one character incommon. The slight resemblance that exists betweenthe languages of the two is not to be regarded as .a proofof their common origin. It only shows that they havelong lived in juxtaposition, or contiguous to each other;a fact which cannot be denied.In giving a more particular description of the Bush-man, it will be seen in what respect he resembles thetrue Hottentot, and in what he differs from him, bothphysically and mentally, and this description may nowbe given.The Bushman is the smallest man with whom we areacquainted; and if the terms " dwarf" and " pigmy " maybe applied to any race of human beings, the South-Afri-can Bushmen presents the fairest claim to these titles.He stands only 4 feet 6 inches upon his naked soles-never more than 4 feet 9, and not unfrequently is heencountered of still less height even so diminutive as4 teet 2. His wife is of still shorter stature, and thisLilliputian lady is often the mother of children when thecrown of her head is just 3 feet 9 inches above the solesof her feet. It has been a very common thing to con-tradict the assertion that these people are such pigmiesin stature, and even Dr. Livingstone has done so in hil1*
10 BOSJESMEN, ORlate magnificent work. The doctor states, very jocosely,that they are "not dwarfish-that the specimens broughtto Europe have been selected, like costermongers' dogs,for their extreme ugliness."But the doctor forgets that it is not from "the speci-mens brought to Europe " that the above standard of theBushman's height has been derived, but from the testi-mony of numerous travellers many of them as trust-worthy as the doctor himself- from actual measurementsmade by them upon the spot. It is hardly to be believedthat such men as Sparmann and Burchell, Barrow andLichtenstein, Harris, Campbell, Patterson, and a dozenothers that might be mentioned, should all give an erro-neous testimony on this subject. These travellers havediffered notoriously on other points, but in this they allagree, that a Bushman of five feet in height is a tall manin his tribe. Dr. Livingstone speaks of Bushmen " sixfeet high," and, these are the tribes lately discovered liv-ing so far north as the Lake Nagami. It is doubtfulwhether these are Bushmen at all. Indeed, the descrip-tion given by the doctor, not only of their height and thecolor of their skin, but also some hints about their intel-lectual character, would lead to the belief that he hasmistaken some other people for Bushmen.. It must beremembered that the experience of this great travellerhas been chiefly among the Bechuana tribes, and hisknowledge of the Bushman proper does not appear tobe either accurate or extensive. No man is expected toknow everybody; and amid the profusion of new facts,which the doctor has so liberally laid before the world,it would be strange if a few inaccuracies should not"occur. Perhaps we should have more confidence if this
BUSHMEN. 11was the only one we are enabled to detect; but the doc-tor also denies that there is anything either terrific ormajestic in the "roaring of the lion." Thus speaks he-:"The same feeling which has induced the modern painterto caricature the lion has led the sentimentalist to con-sider the lion's roar as the most terrific of all earthlysounds. We hear of the 'majestic roar of the king ofbeasts.' To talk of the majestic roar of the lion is meremajestic twaddle."The doctor is certainly in error here. Does he sup-pose that any one is ignorant of the character of thelion's roar? Does he fancy that no one has ever heardit but himself? If it be necessary to go to South Africato take th6 true measure of a Bushman, it is not neces-sary to make that long journey in order to obtain a cor-rect idea of the compass of the lion's voice. We canhear it at home in all its modulations; and any one whohas ever visited the Zoological Gardens in Regent'sPark--nay, any one who chances to live within half amile of that magnificent menagerie will be very muchdisposed to doubt the correctness of the doctor's asser-tion. If there be a sound upon the earth above allothers "majestic," a noise above all others " terrific," itis certainly the roar of the lion. Ask Albert Terraceand St. John's Wood!But let us not be too severe upon the doctor. Theworld is indebted to him much more than to any othermodern traveller, and all great men indulge occasion-ally in the luxury of an eccentric opinion. We havebrought the point forward here for a special purpose, -to illustrate a too much neglected truth. Error is notalways on the side of exaggeration; but is sometimes
12 BOSJESMEN, ORalso found in the opposite extreme of a too-squeamishmoderation. We find the learned Professor Lichtensteinridiculing poor old Hernandez, the natural historian ofMexico, for having given a description of certain fabu-lous animals -fabulous, he terms them, because to himthey were odd and unknown. But it turns out that theold author was right, and the animals exist! Howmany similar misconceptions might be recorded of theBuffons, and other closet philosophers urged, too, withthe most bitter zeal! 'Incredulity carried too far is butanother form of credulity.But to return to our proper theme, and complete theportrait of the Bushman. We have given his height.It is in tolerable proportion to his other dimensions.When young, he appears stout enough; but this is onlywhen a mere boy. At the age of sixteen he has reachedall the manhood he is ever destined to attain; and thenhis flesh disappears; his body assumes a meagre outline;his arms and limbs grow thin; the calf disappears fromhis legs; the plumpness from his cheeks; and altogetherhe becomes as wretched-looking an object as it is possi-ble to conceive in human shape. Older, his skin growsdry, corrugated, and scaly; his bones protrude; and hisknee, elbow, and ankle-joints appear like horny knobsplaced at the ends of what more resemble long straightsticks than the arms and limbs of a human being.The color of this creature may be designated a yellow-brown, though it is not easy to determine it 'to a shade.The Bushman appears darker than he really is; sincehis skin serves him for a towel, and every species ofdirt that discommodes his fingers he gets rid of by wip-ing it off on his arms, sides, or breast. The result is,
BUSHMEN. 13that his whole body is usually coated over with a stratumof grease and filth, which has led to the belief that heregularly anoints himself- a custom common amongmany savage tribes. This, however, the- Bushman doesnot do: the smearing toilet is merely occasional or ac-cidental, and consists simply in the fat of whatever fleshhe has been eating being transferred from his fingers tothe cuticle of his body. This is never washed off again-for water never touches the Bushman's hide. Such ause of water is entirely unknown to him, not even forwashing his face. Should he have occasion to cleansehis hands -which the handling of gum or some likesubstance sometimes compels him to do--he performsthe operation, riot with soap and water, but with the drydung of cattle or some wild animal. A little rubbing ofthis upon his skin is all the purification the Bushmanbelieves to be needed.Of course, the dirt darkens his complexion; but hehas the vanity at times to brighten it up not bymaking it whiter but rather a Brick-red. A littleochreous earth produces the color he requires; and withthis he smears his body all over -not excepting eventhe crown of his head, and the scant stock of wool thatcovers it.Bushmen have been washed. It requires some scrub-bing, and a plentiful application either of soda or soap,to.reach the true skin and bring out the natural color;but the experiment has been made, and the result provesthat the Bushman is not so black as, under ordinary cir-cumstances, he appears. A yellow hue shines throughthe epidermis, somewhat like the color of the Chinese,or a European in the worst stage of jaundice the eye
14 BOSJESMEN, ORonly not having that complexion. Indeed, the featuresof the Bushman, as well as the Hottentot, bear a strongsimilarity to those of the Chinese, and the Bushman'seye is essentially of the Mongolian type. His hair,however, is entirely of another character. Instead ofbeing long, straight, and lank, it is short, crisp, andcurly, in reality, wool. Its scantiness is a character-istic; and in this respect the Bushman differs from thewoolly-haired tribes both of Afrioa and Australasia.These generally have "fleeces" in profusion, whereasboth Hottentot and Bushman have not enough to halfcover their scalps; and between the little knot-like" kinks" there are wide spaces without a single hairupon them. The Bushman's "wool" is naturally black,but red ochre and the sun soon convert the color into aburnt reddish hue.The Bushman has no beard or other hairy encum-brances. Were they to grow, he would root them outas useless inconveniences. He has a low-bridged nose,with wide flattened nostrils; an eye that appears a mereslit between the eyelids; a pair of high cheek-bones,and a receding forehead. His lips are not thick, as inthe negro, and he is furnished with a set of fine whiteteeth, which, as he grows older, do not decay, but pre-sent the singular phenomenon of being regularly worndown to the stumps-as occurs to the teeth of sheepand other ruminant animals.Notwithstanding the small stature of the Bushman,lis frame is wiry and capable of great- endurance. Heis also as agile as an antelope.From the description above given, it will be inferredthat the Bushman is no beauty. Neither is the Bush.
BUSHMEN. 15woman; but, on the contrary, both having passed theperiod of youth, become absolutely ugly, the woman,if possible, more so than the man.And yet, strange to say, many of the Bush-girls, whenyoung, have a cast of prettiness almost amounting tobeauty. It is difficult to tell in what this beauty con-sists. Something, perhaps, in the expression of theoblique almond-shaped eye, ana the small well-formedmouth and lips, with the shining white teeth. Theirlimbs, too, at this early age, are often well rounded;and many of them exhibit forms that might serve asmodels for a sculptor. Their feet are especially well-shaped, and, in point of size, they are by far the small-est in the world. Had the Chinese ladies been giftedby nature with such little feet, they might have beenspared the torture of compressing them,The foot of a Bushwoman rarely measures so muchas six inches in length; and full-grown girls have beenseen, whose feet, submitted to the test of an actualmeasurement, proved but a very little over four inches!Intellectually, the Bushman does not rank so low asis generally believed. He has a quick, cheerful mind,that appears ever on the alert,- as may be judged bythe constant play of his little piercing black eye, -and though he does not always display much skill inthe manufacture of his weapons, he can do so if hepleases. Some tribes construct their bows, arrows, fish-baskets, and other implements and utensils with admi-rable ingenuity; but in general the Bushman takes nopride in fancy weapons. He prefers having them effec-tive, and to this end he gives proof of his skill in themanufacture of most.deadly poisons with which to anoint
16 BOSJESMEN, ORnis arrows. Furthermore, he is ever active and readyfor action; and in this his mind is in complete contrastwith that of the Hottentot, with whom indolence is apredominant and well-marked characteristic. The Bush-man, on the contrary, is always on the qui vive ; alwaysready to be doing where there is anything to do; andthere is not much opportunity for him to be idle, as herarely.ever knows where the next meal is to come from.The ingenuity which he displays in the capture of vari-ous kinds of game, far exceeding that of other huntingtribes of Africa, as also the cunning exhibited by himwhile engaged in cattle-stealing and other plunderingforays, prove an intellectual capacity more than pro-portioned to his diminutive body; and, in short, innearly every mental characteristic does he differ fromthe supposed cognate race the Hottentot.It would be hardly just to give the Bushman a char-acter for high courage; but, on the other hand, it wouldbe as unjust to charge him with cowardice. Small ashe is, he shows plenty of " pluck," and when brought tobay, his motto is, "No surrender." He will fight tothe death, discharging his poisoned arrows as long ashe is able to bend a bow. Indeed, he has generallybeen treated to shooting, or clubbing to death, wher-ever and whenever caught, and he knows nothing ofquarter. Just as a badger he ends his life, his laststruggle being an attempt to do injury to his assailant.This trait in his character has, no doubt, been strength-ened by the inhuman treatment that, for a century, hehas been receiving from the brutal boers of the colonialfrontier.The costume of the Bushman is of the most primitive
BUSHMEN. 17character, differing only from that worn by our firstparents, in that the fig-leaf used by the men is a patchof jackal-skin, and that of the women a sort of fringe orbunch of leather thongs, suspended around the waist bya strap, and hanging down to the knees. It is in realitya little apron of dressed skin; or, to speak more accu-rately, two of them, one above the other, both cut intonarrow strips or thongs, from below the waist downward.Other clothing than this they have none, if we except alittle skin kaross, or cloak, which is worn over theirshoulders ;-that of the women being provided with a bagor hood at the top, that answers the naked " piccaninny "for a nest or cradle. Sandals protect their feet from thesharp stones, and these are of the rudest description, -merely a piece of the thick hide cut a little longer andbroader than the soles of the feet, and fastened at thetoes and round the ankles by thongs of sinews. Anattempt at ornament is displayed in a leather skullcap,or more commonly a circlet around the head, upon whichare sewed a number of "cowries," or small shells of theCyprea moneta.It is difficult to say where these shells are procured, -as they are not the product of the Bushman's country,but are only found on the far shores of the Indian Ocean.Most probably he obtains them by barter, and after theyhave passed through many hands; but they must costthe Bushman dear, aS he sets the highest value uponthem. Other ornaments consist of old brass or copperbuttons, attached to the little curls of his woolly hair;and, among the women, strings of little pieces of ostrichegg-shells, fashioned to resemble beads; besides a per-fect load of leather bracelets on the arms, and a likeB
18 BOSJESMEN, ORprofusion of similar circlets on the limbs, often reachingfrom the knee to the ankle-joint.Red ochre over the face and hair is the fashionabletoilette, and a perfumery is obtained by rubbing theskin with the powdered leaves of the "buku" plant,a species of diosma. According to a quaint old writer,this causes them to " stink like a poppy," and would behighly objectionable, were it not preferable to the odorwhich they have without it.They, do not tattoo, nor yet perforate the ears, lips, ornose, practices so common among savage tribes. Someinstances of nose-piercing have been observed, with theusual appendage of a piece of wood or porcupine's quillinserted in the septum, but this is a custom rather of theCaffres than Bushmen. Among the latter it is rare. Agrand ornament -is obtained by smearing the face andhead with a shining micaceous paste, which is procuredfrom a cave in one particular part of the Bushman'srange; but this, being a "far-fetched" article, is pro-portionably scarce and dear. It is only a fine belle whocan afford to give herself a coat of blink-slip, -as thissparkling pigment is called by the colonists. Many ofthe women, and men as well, carry in their hands thebushy tail of a jackal. The purpose is to fan off theflies, and serve also as a " wipe," to disembarrass theirbodies of perspiration when the weather chances to beover hot.The domicile of the Bushman next merits description.It is quite as simple and primitive as his dress, andgives him about equal .trouble in its construction. Ifa cave or cleft can be found in the rocks, of sufficientcapacity to admit his own body and those of his family
BUSHMEN. 19- never a very large one he builds no house. Thecave contents him, be it ever so tight a squeeze. Ifthere be no cave handy, an overhanging rock will an-swer equally as well. He regards not the open sides,nor the draughts. It is only the rain which he does notrelish; and any sort of a shed, that will shelter him fromthat, will serve him for a dwelling. If neither cave,crevice, nor impending cliff can be found in the neigh-borhood, he then resorts to the alternative of house-building and his style of architecture does not differgreatly from that of the orang-outang. A bush is chosenthat grows near to two or three others, the branchesof all meeting in a common centre. Of these branchesthe builder takes advantage, fastening them together atthe ends, and wattling some into the others. Over thisframework a quantity of grass is scattered in such afashion as to cast off a good shower of rain, and then the" carcass " of the building is considered complete. Theinside work remains yet to be done, and that is next setabout. A large roundish or oblong hole is scraped outin the middle of the floor. It is made wide enough anddeep enough to hold the bodies of three or' four Bush-people, though a single large Caffre or Dutchman wouldscarcely find room in it. Into this hole is flung aquantity of dry grass, and arranged so as to present theappearance of a gigantic nest. This nest, or lair, be-comes the bed of the Bushman, his wife, or wives, forhe frequently keeps two, and the other members ofhis family. Coiled together like monkeys, and coveredwith their skin karosses, they all sleep in it, whether"sweetly" or "soundly," I shall not take upon me todetermine.4
20 BOSJESMEN, ORIt is supposed to be this fashion of literally "sleepingin the bush," as also the mode by which he skulks andhides among bushes, invariably taking to them whenpursued, that has given origin to the name Bushman,or Bosjesman, as it is in the language of the colonialDutch. This derivation is probable enough, and nobetter has been offered.The Bushman sometimes constructs himself a moreelaborate dwelling; that is, some Bushmen; for itshould be remarked that there are a great manytribes or communities of these people, and they are notall so very low in the scale of civilization. None, how-ever, ever arrive at the building of a house, not* even-a hut. A tent is their highest effort in the buildingline, and that is of the rudest description, scarce deserv-ing the name. Its covering is a mat, which they weaveout of a species of rush that grows along some of thedesert streams; and in the fabrication of the coveringthey display far more ingenuity than in the planning orconstruction of the tent itself. The mat, in fact, issimply laid over two poles, that are bent into the formof an arch, by having both ends stuck into the ground.A second piece of matting closes up one end; and theother, left open, serves for the entrance. As a door isnot deemed necessary, no further, construction is re-quired, and the tent is " pitched" complete. It onlyremains to scoop out the sand, and make the nest asalready described.It is said that the Goths drew their ideas of archi-tecture from the aisles of the oak forest; the Chinesefrom their Mongolian tents; and the Egyptians fromtheir caves in the rocks. Beyond a doubt, the Bush.man ias- borrowed his from the nest of the ostrich I
BUSHMEN. 21It now becomes necessary to inquire how the Bush-man spends his time ? how he obtains subsistence ? andwhat is the nature of his food ? All these questions canbe answered, though at first it may appear difficult toanswer them. Dwellirg, as he always does, in the veryheart of the desert, remote from forests that might fur-nish him with some sort of food trees that might yieldfruit, far away from a fertile soil, with no knowledgeof agriculture, even if it were near, with no flocks orherds; neither sheep, cattle, horses, nor swine, no,domestic animals but his lean, diminutive dogs, howdoes this Bushman procure enough to eat ? What arehis sources of supply ?We shall see. Being neither a grazier nor a farmer,he has other means of subsistence, though it must beconfessed that they are of a precarious character, andoften during his life does the Bushman find himself onthe very threshold of starvation. This, however, resultsless from the parsimony of Nature than the Bushman'sown improvident habits, -a trait in his character whichis, perhaps, more strongly developed in him than anyother. We shall have occasion to refer to it presently.His first and chief mode of procuring his food is bythe chase: for, although he is surrounded by the sterilewilderness, he is not the only animated being who haschosen the desert for his home. Several species ofbirds one the largest of all and quadrupeds, sharewith the Bushman the solitude and safety of this deso-late region. The rhinoceros can dwell there; and innumerous streams are found the huge hippopotami;whilst quaggas, zebras, and several species of antelopefrequent the desert plains as their favorite " stamping"
22 BOSJESMEN, ORground. Some of these animals can live almost withoutwater; but when they do require it, what to them is agallop of fifty miles to some well-known "vley" or pool ?It will be seen, therefore, that the desert has its numer-ous denizens. All these are objects of the Bushman'spursuit, who follows them with incessant pertinacity--as if he were a beast of prey, furnished by Nature withthe most carnivorous propensities.In the capture of these animals he displays an almostincredible dexterity and cunning. His mode of ap-proaching the sly ostrich, by disguising himself in theskin of one of these birds, is so well known that I neednot describe it here; but the ruses he adopts for captur-ing. or killing other sorts of game are many of themequally ingenious. The pit-trap is one of his favoritecontrivances; and this, too, has been often described, -but often very erroneously. The pit is not a largehollow, as is usually asserted, but rather of dimen-sions proportioned to the size of the animal that is ex-pected to fall into it. For game like the rhinoceros oreland antelope, it is dug of six feet in length and threein width at the top; gradually narrowing to the bottom,.where it ends in a trench of only twelve inches broad.Six or seven feet is considered deep enough; and the"wimal, once into it, gets so wedged at the narrow bot-tom part as to be unable to make use of its legs for thepurpose of springing out again. Sometimes a sharpstake or two are used, with the view of impaling thevictim; but this plan is not always adopted. There isnot much danger of a quadruped that drops in evergetting out again, till he is dragged out by the Bushmanin the shape of a carcass.-' ,'y .'
BUSHMEN. 28The Bushman's ingenuity does not end here. Be-sides the construction of the trap, it is necessary thegame should be guided into it. Were this not done, thepit might remain a long time empty, and, as a necessaryconsequence, so too might the belly of the Bushman.In the wide plain few of the gregarious animals have apath which they follow habitually; only where there isa pool may such beaten trails be found, and of these theBushman also avails himself; but they are not enough.Some artificial means must be used to make the trapspay for they are not constructed without much laborand patience. The plan adopted by the Bushman toaccomplish this exhibits some points of originality. Hefirst chooses a part of the plain which lies between twomountains. No matter if these be distant from eachother: a mile, or even two, will not deter the Bushmanfrom his design. By the help of his whole tribe men,women, and children he constructs a fence from onemountain to the other. The material used is whatevermay be most ready to the hand: stones, sods, brush, ordead timber, if this be convenient. No matter howrude the fence: it need not either be very high. Heleaves several gaps in it; and the wild animals, howevereasily they might leap over such a puny barrier, will,in their ordinary way, prefer to walk leisurely throughthe gaps. In each of these, however, there is a dangerous hole dangerous from its depth as well as from t0lcunning way in which it is concealed from the view -in short, in each gap there is a pit-fall. No one- atleast no animal except the elephant would ever 8us-pect its presence; the grass seems to grow over it, andthe sand lies unturned, just as elsewhere upon the plain.
24 BOSJESMEN, ORWhat quadruped could detect the cheat ? Not any oneexcept the sagacious elephant. The stupid eland tum-bles through; the gemsbok goes under; and the rhi-noceros rushes into it as if destined to destruction. TheBushman sees this from his elevated perch, glides for-ward over the ground, and spears the struggling victimwith his poisoned assagai.Besides the above method of capturing game theBushman also uses the bow and arrows. This is aweapon in which he is greatly skilled; and althoughboth bow and arrows are as tiny as if intended forchildren's toys, they are among the deadliest of weapons.their fatal effect. lies not in the size of the wound theyare capable of inflicting, but ins the peculiar mode inwhich the barbs of the arrows are prepared. I needhardly add that they are dipped in poison;--for whohas not heard of the poisoned arrows of the AfricanBushmen ?Both bow and arrows are usually rude enough intheir construction, and would appear but a trumperyaffair, were it not for a knowledge of their effects. Thebow is a mere round stick, about three feet long, andslightly bent by means of its string of twisted sinews.The arrows are mere reeds, tipped with pieces of bone,with a split ostrich-quill lapped behind the head, andanswering for a barb. This arrow the Bushman canshoot with tolerable certainty to a distance of a hundredyards, and he can even project it farther by giving aslight elevation to his aim. It signifies not whether theforce with which it strikes the object be ever so slight,if it only makes an entrance. Even a scratch from itspointwill sometimes prove fatal./
BUSHMEN. 25Of course the danger dwells altogether in the poison.Were it not for that, the Bushman, from his dwarfishstature and pigmy strength, would be a harmlesscreature indeed.The poison he well knows how to prepare, and hecan make it of the most " potent spell," when the "ma-terials" are within his reach. For this purpose hemakes use of both vegetable and animal substances, anda mineral is also employed; but the last is not a poison,and is only used to give consistency to the liquid, so thatit may the better adhere to the arrow. The vegetablesubstances are of various kinds. Some are botanicallyknown: the bulb of Amaryllis disticha, the gum of aJEiuphorbia, the sap of a species of sumac (Rhus), -and the nuts of a shrubby plant, by the colonists calledWoolf-gift (Wolf-poison).The animal substance is the fluid found in the fangsof venomous serpents, several species of which serve thepurpose of the Bushman: as the little " Horned Snake,"-so called from the scales rising prominently over itseyes; the "Yellow Snake," or South African Cobra(Naga haje) ; the " Puff Adder," and others. From allthese he obtains the ingredients of his deadly ointment,and mixes them, not ail together ; for he cannot alwaysprocure them all in any one region of the country inwhich he dwells. He makes his poison, also, of differentdegrees of potency, according to the purpose for whichhe intends it whether for hunting or war. With sixtyor seventy little arrows, well imbued with this fatalmixture, and carefully placed in his quiver of tree-barkor skin, or, what is not uncommon, stuck like a coro-net around his head, he sallies forth, ready to deal"2
26 BOSJESMEN, ORdestruction either to game, animals, or o hL man ene-mies.Of these last he has no lack. Eveiy man, not aBushman, he deems his enemy; and he has some reasonfor thinking so. Truly may it be said of him, as ofIshmael, that his " hand is against every man, and everyman's hand against him;" and such has been his un-happy history for ages. Not alone have the boers beenhis pursuers and oppressors, but all others upon hisborders who are strong enough to attack him, colo-nists, Caffres, and Bechuanas, all alike, not even ex-cepting his supposed kinared, the Hottentots. Not onlydoes no fellow-feeling exist between Bushman and Hot-tentot, but, strange to say, they hate each other with themost rancorous hatred. The Bushman will plunder aNamaqua Hottentot, a Griqua, or a Gonaqua, plunderand murder him with as much ruthlessness, or evenmore, than he would the hated Caffre or boer. All arealike his enemies, all to be plundered and massacred,whenever met, and the thing appears possible.We are speaking of plunder. This is another sourceof supply to the Bushman, though one that is not alwaysto be depended upon. It is his most dangerous methodof obtaining a livelihood, and often costs him his life.He only resorts to it when all other resources fail him,and food is no longer to be obtained by the chase.He makes an expedition into the settlements, eitherof the frontier boers, Caffres, or Hottentots, whicheverchance to live most convenient to his haunts. The ex-pedition, of course, is by night, and conducted, not as anopen foray, but in secret, and by stealth. The cattle arestolen, not reeved, and driven off while the owner and hispeople are asleep.
BUSHMEN. 27In the morning, or as soon as the loss is discovered,a pursuit is at once set on foot. A dozen men, mountedand armed with long muskets (r'ers), take the spoor ofthe spoilers, and follow it as fast as their horses willcarry them. A dozen boers, or even half that number,is considered a match for a whole tribe of Bushmen, inany fight which may occur in the open plain, as theboers make use of their long-range guns at such a dis-tance that the Bushmen are shot down without beingable to use their poisoned arrows; and if the thieveshave the fortune to be overtaken before they have gotfar into the desert, they stand a good chance of beingterribly chastised.There is no quarter shown them. Such a thing asmercy is never dreamt of,--no sparing of lives anymore than if they were a pack of hyenas. The Bush-men may escape to the rocks, such of them as are nothit by the bullets; and there the boers know it would beidle to follow them. Like the klipspringer antelope, thelittle savages can bound from rock to rock, and cliffto cliff, or hide like partridges among crevices, whereneither man nor horse can pursue them. Even uponthe level plain if it chance to be stony or intersectedwith breaks and ravines a horseman would endeavorto overtake them in vain, for these yellow imps are asswift as ostriches.When the spoilers scatter thus, the boer may recoverhis cattle, but in what condition ? That he has sur-mised already, without going among the herd. He doesnot expect to drive home one half' of them; perhaps notone head. On reaching the flock he finds there is notone without a wound of some kind or other: a gash in
28 BOSJESMEN, ORthe flank, the cut of a knife, the stab of an assagai, or apoisoned arrow intended for the boer himself-- sticking between the ribs. This is the sad spectacle thatmeets his eyes; but he never reflects that it is the resultof his own cruelty, he never regards it in the light ofretribution. Had he not first hunted the Bushman tomake him a slave, to make bondsmen and bondsmaidsof his sons and daughters, to submit them to the ca-plice and tyranny of his great, strapping frau, perhapshis cattle would have been browsing quietly in his fields.The poor Bushman, in attempting to take them, followedbut his instincts of hunger: in yielding them up heobeyed but the promptings of revenge.It is not always that the Bushman is thus overtaken.He frequently succeeds in carrying the whole herd tohis desert fastness; and the skill which he exhibits ingetting them there is perfectly surprising. The cattlethemselves are more afraid of him than of a wild beast,and run at his approach; but the Bushman, swifter thanthey, can glide all around them, and keep them movingat a rapid rate.He uses stratagem also to obstruct or baffle the pur-suit. The route he takes is through the driest part ofthe desert, if possible, where water does not exist atall. The cattle suffer from thirst, and bellow from thepain; but the Bushman cares not for that, so long as heis himself served. But how is he served ? There is nowater, and a Bushman can no more go without drink-ing than a boer: how then does he provide for himselfon these long expeditions ?All has been pre-arranged. While off to the settle-ments, the Bushman's wife has been busy. The whole
BUSHMEN. 29kraal of women young and old have made an ex-cursion half-way across the desert, each carrying ostrichegg-shells, as much as her kaross will hold, each shellfull of water. These have been deposited at intervalsalong the route in secret spots known by marks to theBushmen, and this accomplished the women return homeagain. In this way the plunderer obtains his supply ofwater, and thus is he enabled to continue his journeyover the arid Karroo.The pursuers become appalled. They are sufferingfrom thirst their horses sinking under them. Perhapsthey have lost their way ? It would be madness to pro-ceed further. " Let the cattle go this time!" and withthis disheartening reflection they give up the pursuit,turn the heads of their horses, ahd ride homeward.There is a feast at the Bushman's kraal and such afeast! not one ox is slaughtered, but a score of them allat once. They kill them, as if from very wantonness;and they no longer eat, but raven on the flesh.For days the feasting is kept up almost continuou ,y,- even at night they must wake up to have a midnightmeal! and thus runs the tale, till every ox has been eaten.They have not the slightest idea of a provision for the fu-ture; even the lower animals seem wiser in this respect.They do not think of keeping a few of the plunderedcattle at pasture to serve them for a subsequent occasion.They give the poor brutes neither food nor drink ; but,having penned them up in some defile of the rocks, leavethem to moan and bellow, to drop down and die.On goes the feasting, till all are finished; and even ifthe flesh has turned putrid, this forms not the slightestobjection: it is eaten all the same.
OU BOSJESMEN, ORThe kraal now exhibits an altered spectacle. Thestarved, meagre wretches, who were seen flitting amongits tents but a week ago, have all disappeared. Plumpbodies and distended abdomens are the order of the day;and the profile of the Bushwoman, taken from the neckto the knees, now exhibits the outline of the letter S.The little imps leap about, tearing raw flesh, theiryellow cheeks besmeared with blood, and the lean cursseem to have been exchanged for a pack of fat, pettedpoodles.But this scene must some time come to an end, and atlength it does end. All the flesh is exhausted, and thebones picked clean. A complete reaction comes over thespirit of the Bushman. He falls into a state of languor,- the only time when he knows such a feeling, andhe keeps his kraal, and remains idle for days. Often hesleeps for twenty-four hours at a time, and wakes onlyto go to sleep again. He need not rouse himself with theidea of getting something to eat: there is not a morselin the whole kraal, and he knows it. He lies still, there-fore, weakened with hunger, and overcome with thedrowsiness of a terrible, lassitude.Fortunate for him, while in this state, if those boldvultures attracted by the debris of his feast, and nowhigh wheeling in the air-- be not perceived from afar;fortunate if they do not discover the whereabouts of hiskraal to the vengeful pursuer. If they should do so,he has made his last foray and his last feast.When the absolute danger of starvation at lengthcompels our Bushman to bestir himself, he seems torecover a little of his energy, and once more takes tohunting, or, if near a stream, endeavors to catch a few
BUSHMEN. 81fish. Should both these resources fail, he has another, -without which he would most certainly starve,--andperhaps this may be considered his most importantsource of supply, since it is the most constant, and canbe depended on at nearly all seasons of the year. Weak-ened with hunger, then, and scarce equal to any severerlabor, he goes out hunting this time insects, not quad-rupeds. With a stout stick inserted into a stone at oneend and pointed at the other, he proceeds to the nestsof the white ants (termites), and using the point of thestick, the stone serving by its weight to aid the forceof the blow, -he breaks open the hard, gummy clay ofwhich the hillock is formed. Unless the aard-vark andthe pangolin two very different kinds of ant-eaters -have been there before him, he finds the chambers filledwith the eggs of the ants, the insects themselves, andperhaps large quantities of their larvce. All are equallysecured by the Bushman, and either devoured on thespot, or collected into a skin bag, and carried back tohis kraal.He hunts also another species of ants that do not buildnests or "hillocks," but bring forth their young in hol-lows under the ground. These make long galleries orcovered ways just under the surface, and at certain pe-riods which the Bushman knows by unmistakablesigns--they become very active, and traverse theseunderground galleries in thousands. If the passageswere to be opened above, the ants would soon make off totheir caves, and but a very few could be captured. TieBushman, knowing this, adopts a stratagem. With thestick already mentioned he pierces holes of a good depthdown; and works the stick about, until the sides of the
32 BOSJESMEN, ORholes are smooth and even. These he in tends shall servehim as pitfalls; and they are therefore made in the cov-ered ways along which the insects are passing. Theresult is, that the little creatures, not suspecting the ex-istence of these deep wells, tumble head foremost intothem, ard are unable to mount up the steep smooth sidesagain, so that in a few minutes the hole will be filledwith ants, which the Bushman scoops out at his leisure.Another source of supply which he has, and also apretty constant one, consists of various roots of thetuberous kind, but more especially bulbous roots, whichgrow in the desert. They are several species of Ixiasand Mesembryanthemums, some of them producingbulbs of a large size, and deeply buried underground.Half the Bushman's and Bushwoman's time is occupiedin digging for these roots; and the spade employed isthe stone-headed staff already described.Ostrich eggs also furnish the Bushman with many ameal; and the huge shells of these eggs serve him forwater-vessels, cups, and dishes. He is exceedingly ex-pert in tracking up the ostrich, and discovering its nest.Sometimes he finds a nest in the absence of the birds;and in a case of this kind he pursues a course of con-duct that is peculiarly Bushman. Having removed allthe eggs to a distance, and concealed them under somebush, he returns to the nest and ensconces himself in it.His diminutive body, when close squatted, cannot beperceived from a distance, ,specially when there are afew bushes around the nest, as there usually are. Thusconcealed he awaits the return of the birds, holdinghis bow and poisoned arrows ready to salute them assoon as they come within ringe. By this ruse he is
"BUSHMEN. 33almost certain of killing either the cock or hen, and notunfrequently both when they do not return together.Lizards and land-tortoises often furnish the Bushmanwith a meal; and the shell of the latter serves him alsofor a dish; but his period of greatest plenty is whenthe locusts appear. Then, indeed, the Bushman is nolonger in want of a meal; and while these. creatures re-main with him, he knows no hunger. He grows fat ina trice, and his curs keep pace with him --for they toogreedily devour the locusts. Were the locusts a con-stant, or even an annual visitor, the Bushman would bea rich man at all events his wants would be amplysupplied. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately foreverybody else, these terrible destroyers of vegetationonly come now and then--several years often inter-vening between their visits.The Bushmen have no religion whatever; no formof marriage any more than mating together like wildbeasts; but they appear to have some respect for thememory of their dead, since they bury them--usuallyerecting a large pile of stones, or "cairn," over thebody.They are far from being of a melancholy mood.Though crouching in their dens and caves during theday, in dread of the boers and other enemies, they comeforth at night to chatter and make merry. During finemoonlights they dance all night, keeping up the ball tillmorning; and in their kraals may be' seen a circularspot beaten hard and smooth with their feet wherethese dances are performed.They have no form of government not so much asa head man or chief. Even the father of the family2 C
84 BOSJESMEN, OR BUSHMEN.possesses no authority, except such as superior strengthmay give him; and when his sons are grown up andbecome as strong as he is, this of course also ceases.They have no tribal organization; the small com-munities in which they live being merely so many in-dividuals accidently brought together, often quarrellingand separating from one another. These communitiesrarely number over a hundred individuals,' since, fromthe nature of their country, a large number could notfind subsistence in any one place. It follows, therefore,that the Bushman race must ever remain widely scat-tered so long as they pursue their present mode oflife and no influence has ever been able to win themfrom it. Missionary efforts made among them have allproved fruitless. The desert seems to hcve been cre-ated for them, as they for the desert; and when trans-ferred elsewhere, to dwell amidst scenes of civilized life,they always yearn to return to their wilderness home.Truly are these pigmy savages an odd people
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.IN glancing at the map of the American continent,we are struck by a remarkable analogy between thegeographical features of its two great divisions -.theNorth and the South, an analogy amounting almostto a symmetrical parallelism.Each has its "mighty" mountains--the Cordillerasof the Andes in the south, and the Cordilleras of theSierra Madre (Rocky Mountain&) in the north withall the varieties of volcano and eternal snow. Each hasits secondary chain: in the north, the Nevadas of Cali-fornia and Oregon; in the south, the Sierras of Carac-cas and the group of Guiana; and, if you wish torender the parallelism complete, descend to a lower ele-vation, and set the Alleghanies of the- United Statesagainst the mountains of Brazil both alike detachedfrom all the others.In the comparison we have exhausted the mountain-chains of both divisions of the continent. If we pro-ceed further, and carry it into minute detail, we shallfind the same correspondence ridge for ridge, chainfor chain, peak for peak; in short, a most singularequilibrium, as if there had been a design that one halfof this great continent should balance the other I
36 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.From the mountains let us proceed to the rivers,and see how they will correspond. Here, again, we dis-cover a like parallelism, amounting almost to a rivalry.Each continent (for it is proper to style them so) con-.tains the largest river in the world. If we make lengththe standard, the north claims precedence for the Mis-sissippi; if volume of water is to be the criterion, thesouth is entitled to it upon the merits of the Amazon.Each, too, has its numerous branches, spreading into amighty "tree"; and these, either singly or combined,form a curious equipoise both in length and magnitude.We have only time to set list against list, tributaries ofthe great northern river against tributaries of its greatsouthern compeer, the Ohio and Illinois, the Yellow-stone and Platte, the Kansas and 0 age, the Arkansasand Red, against the Madeira and Purus, the Ucayali"Vand Huallaga, the Japura and Negro, the Xingu andTapajos.Of other river systems, the St. Lawrence 'may beplaced against the La Plata, the Oregon against theOrinoco, the Mackenzie against the bagdalena, andthe Rio Bravo del Norte against the Tocantins; whilethe two Colorados the Brazos and Alabama findtheir respective rivals in the Essequibo, the Paranahybo,the Pedro, and the Patagonian Negro; and the SanFrancisco of California, flowing over sands of gold, isbalanced by its homonyme of Brazil, that has its originin the land of diamonds. To an endless list might thecomparison be carried.We pass to the plains. Prairzes in the north, llanosand pampas in the south, almost identical in character.Of the viateaux or table-lands, those of Mexico, La
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 37Puebla, Perote, and silver Potosi in the north; those ofQuito, Bogota, Cusco, and gold Potosi in the south; ofthe desert plains, Utah and the Llano Estacado againstAtacama and the deserts of Patagonia. Even the GreatSalt Lake has its parallel in Titicaca; while the " Sali-nas" of New Mexico and the upland prairies, are rep-resented by similar deposits in the Gran Chaco and thePampas.We arrive finally at the forests. Though unlike inother respects, we have here also a rivalry in magni-tude, between the vast timbered expanse stretchingfrom Arkansas to the Atlantic shores, and that whichcovers the valley of the Amazon. These were the twogreatest forests on the face of the earth. I say were, forone of them no longer exists; at least, it is no longer acontinuous tract, but a collection of forests, opened bythe axe, and intersected by the clearings of the colonist.The other still stands in all its virgin beauty and pri-meval vigor, untouched by the axe, undefiled by fire, itspath scarce trodden by human feet, its silent depths tothis hour unexplored.It is with this forest'and its denizens we have to do.Here then let us terminate the catalogue of similitudes,and concentrate our attention upon the particular subjectof our sketch.The whole valley of the Amazon -in other words,the tract watered by this great river and its tributaries-may be described as one unbroken forest. We nowknow the borders of this forest with considerable exact-ness, but to trace them here would require a too length-ened detail. Suffice it to say, that lengthwise it extendsfrom the mouth of the Amazon to the foothill of the
88 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.Peruvian Andes, a distance of 2,500 miles. In breadthit varies, beginning on the Atlantic coast with a breadthof 400 miles, which widens towards the central part ofthe continent till it attains to 1,500, and again narrowingto about 1,000, where it touches the eastern slope of theAndes.That form of leaf known to botanists as " obovate "will give a good idea of the figure of the great Amazonforest, supposing the small end or shank to rest on theAtlantic, and the broad end to extend along the semi-circular concavity of the Andes, from Bolivia on thesouth to New Granada on the north. In all this vastexpanse of territory there is scarce an acre of openground, if we except the water-surface of the rivers andtheir bordering "lagoons," which, were they to beartheir due. proportions on a map, could scarce be repre-sented by the narrowest lines, or the most inconspicuousdots. The grass plains which embay the forest on itssouthern edge along the banks of some of its Braziliantributaries, or those which proceed like spurs. from theLlanos of Venezuela, do not in any place approach theAmazon itselfand there are many points on the greatriver which may be taken as centres, and around whichcircles may be drawn, having diameters 1,000 miles inlength, the circumferences of which will enclose nothingbut timbered land. The main stream of the Amazon,though it intersects this grand forest, does not bisect it,speaking with mathematical precision. There is rathermore timbered surface to the southward than that whichextends northward, though the inequality of the twodivisions ;3 rot great. It would not be much of an errorto say thai tb Ana.on r a cuts the forest in halves.
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 89At its mouth, however, this would not apply; since forthe first 300 miles above the embouchure of the river,the country on the northern side is destitute of timber.This is occasioned by the projecting spurs of the Guianamountains, which on that side approach the Amazon inthe shape of naked ridges and grass-covered hills andplains.It is not necessary to say that the great forest of theAmazon is a tropical one since the river itself, through-out its whole course, almost traces the line of the equator.Its vegetation, therefore, is emphatically of a tropicalcharacter; and in this respect it differs essentially fromthat of North America, or rather, we should say, of Can-ada and the United States. It is necessary to make thislimitation, because the forests of the tropical parts ofNorth America, including the West-Indian islands, pre-sent a great similitude to that of the Amazon. It is notonly in the genera and species of trees that the sylva ofthe temperate zone differs from that of the torrid; butthere is a very remarkable difference in the distributionof these genera and species. In a great forest of thenorth, it is not uncommon to find a large tract coveredwith a single species of trees, as with pines, oaks,poplars, or the red cedar (Juniperus Virginiana). Thisarrangement is rather the rule than the exception;whereas, in the tropical forest, the rule is reversed, ex-cept-in the case of two or three species of palms (JMau-ritia and Euterpe), which sometimes exclusively coverlarge tracts of surface. Of other trees, it is rare to findeven a clump or grove standing together -often onlytwo or three trees, and still more frequently, a singleindividual is observed, separated from those of its own
40 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.kind by hundreds of others, all differing in order, genus,and species. I note this peculiarity of the tropic forest,because it exercises, as may easily be imagined, a directinfluence upon the economy of its human occupants -whether these be savage or civilized. Even the habitsof the lower animals beasts and birds are subject toa similar influence.It would be out of place here to enumerate the differ-ent kinds of trees that compose this mighty wood,--a"bare catalogue of their names would alone fill manypages, and it would be safe to say that if the list weregiven as now known to botanists, it would comprisescarce half the species that actually exist in the valleyof the Amazon. In real truth, this vast Garden of Godis yet unexplored by man. Its border walks and edgeshave alone been examined; and the enthusiastic botanistneed not fear that he is too late in the field. A hundredyears will elapse before this grand parterre can be ex-hausted.At present, a thorough examination of the botany ofthe Amazon valley would be difficult, if not altogetherimpossible, even though conducted on a grand and ex-pensive scale. There are several reasons for this. Itswoods are in many places absolutely impenetrable onaccount either of the thick tangled undergrowth, or fromthe damp, spongy nature of the soil. There are noroads that could be traversed by horse or man; andthe few paths are known only to the wild savage, notalways passable even by him. Travelling can only bedone by water, either upon the great rivers, or by thenarrow creeks (igaripes) or lagoons; and a journey per-formed in this fashion must needs be both tedious and
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 41indirect, allowing but a limited opportunity for observa-tion. Horses can scarce be said to exist in the country,and cattle are equally rare a few only are found inone or two of the large Portuguese settlements on themain river--and the jaguars and blood-sucking batsoffer a direct impediment to their increase. Contrary tothe general belief, the tropical forest is not the home ofthe larger mammalia: it is not their proper habitat, norare they found in it. In the Amazon forest but fewspecies exist, and these not numerous in individuals.There are no vast herds as of buffaloes on the, prai-ries of North America, or of antelopes in Africa. Thetapir alone attains to any considerable size, exceedingthat of the ass, but its numbers are few. Three orfour species of small deer represent the ruminants, andthe hog of the Amazon is the peccary. Of these thereare at least three species. Where the forest impingeson the mountain regions of Peru, bears are found ofat least two kinds, but not on the lower plains -of thegreat " Montafia," for by this general designation isthe vast expanse of the Amazon country known amongthe Peruvian people. "Mlontes" and " montanas,"' lit-erally signifying "mountains," are not so understoodamong Spanish Americans. With them the- "montes"and "montainas" are tracts of forest-covered country,and that of the Amazon valley is the "Montafia" parexcellence.Sloths of several species, and opossums of still greatervariety, are found all over the Montafa, but both thinlydistributed as regards the number of individuals. Asimilar remark applies to the ant-eaters or " ant-bears,"of which there are four kinds, to the armadillos, the
42 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS."t agoutis," and the caviess," one of which last, the capi-bara, is the largest rodent upon earth. This, with itskindred genus, the "paca," is not so rare in individualnumbers, but, on the contrary, appears in large herdsupon the borders of the rivers and lagoons. A porcu-pine, several species of spinous rats, an otter, two orthree kinds of badger-like animals (the potto and coatis),a "honey-bear" (Galera barbara), and a fox, or wilddog, are widely distributed throughout the Montafia.Everywhere exists the jaguar, both the black andspotted varieties, and the puma has there his lurking-place. Smaller cats, both spotted and striped, are nu-merous in species, and squirrels of several kinds, withbats, complete the list of the terrestrial mammalia.Of all the lower animals, monkeys are the mostcommon, for to them the Montania is a congenial home.They abound not only in species, but in the numberof individuals, and their ubiquitous presence contributesto enliven the woods. At least thirty different kindsof them exist in the Amazon valley, from the "coatas,"and other howlers as large as baboons, to the tiny little"ouistitis " and "siimiris," not bigger than squirrels orrats.While'we must admit a paucity in the species of thequadrupeds of the Amazon, the same remark does notapply to the birds. In the ornithological department ofnatural history, a fulness and richness here exist, per-haps not equalled elsewhere. The most singular andgraceful-forms, combined with the most brilliant plumage,are everywhere presented to the eye, in the parrots andgreat macaws, the toucans, trogons, and tanagers, theshrikes, humming-birds, and orioles; and even in the
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 43vultures and eagles: for here are found the most beau-tiful of predatory birds, -the king vulture and theharpy eagle. Of the feathered creatures existing inthe valley of the Amazon there are not less than oneI thousand different species, of which only one half haveyet been caught or described.Reptiles are equally abundant--the serpent familybeing represented by numerous species, from the greatwater boa (anaconda), of ten yards in length, to the tinyand beautiful but venomous lachesis, or coral snake, notthicker than the shank of a tobacco-pipe. The lizardsrange through a like gradation, beginning with the huge"jacare," or crocodile, of several species, and endingwith the turquoise-blue anolius, not bigger than a newt.The waters too are rich in species of their peculiarinhabitants of which the most remarkable and valu-able are the manatees (two or three species), the greatand smaller turtles, the porpoises of various kinds, andan endless catalogue of the finny tribes that frequent therivers of the tropics. It is mainly from this source, andnot from four-footed creatures of the forest, that thehuman denizen of the great Montafia draws his supplyof food, at least that portion of it which may betermed the " meaty." Were it not for the manatee, thegreat porpoise, and other large fish, he would often haveto eat his bread dry."And now it is his turn to be "talked about." I neednot inform you that the aborigines who inhabit thevalley of the Amazon, are all of the so-called Indianrace though there are so many distinct tribes of themthat almost every river of any considerable magnitudehas a tribe of its own. In some cases a number of these
44 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.tribes belong to one nationality; that is, several of themmay be found speaking nearly the same language, thoughliving apart from each other; and of these larger di-visions or nationalities there are several occupying .thedifferent districts of the Montafia. The tribes even ofthe same nationality do not always present a uniformappearance. There are darker and fairer tribes; somein which the, average standard of height is less thanamong Europeans; and others where it equals or ex-ceeds this. There are tribes again where both men andwomen are ill-shaped and ill-favored though these arefew and other tribes where both sexes exhibit a con-siderable degree of personal beauty. Some tribes areeven distinguished for their good looks, the men pre-senting models of manly form, while the women areequally attractive by the regularity of their features,and the graceful modesty of expression that adorns them.A minute detail of the many peculiarities in whichthe numerous tribes of the Amazon differ from oneanother would fill a large volume; and in a sketch likethe present, which is meant to include them all, it wouldnot be possible to give such a detail. Nor indeed wouldit serve any good purpose ; for although there are manypoints of difference between the different tribes, yet theseare generally of slight importance, and are far morethan counterbalanced by the multitude of resemblarnces.So numerous are these last, as to create a strong idio-syncrasy in the tribes of the Amazon, which not onlyentitles them to be classed together in an, ethnologicalpoint of view, but which separates them from all theother Indians of America. Of course, the non-posses-sion of the horse they do not even know the animal
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 45--at once broa(cy distinguishes them from the HorseIndians, both of "h( Northern and Southern divisions ofthe continent.It would f id) a here to discuss the question as towhether *h Amazonian Indians have all a commonorigin. It is evident they have not. We know thatmany of them are from Peru and Bogota runawaysfrom Spanish oppression. We know that others mi-grated from the south equally fugitives from the stillmore brutal and barbarous domination of the Portu-guese. And still others were true aboriginals of thesoil, or if emigrants, when and whence came they?An idle question; never to be satisfactorily answered.There they now are, and as they are only shall we lereconsider them.Notwithstanding the different sources whence theysprang, we find them, as I have already said, stampedwith a certain idiosyncrasy, the result, no doubt, of thelike circumstances which surround them. One or twotribes alone, whose habits are somewhat "odder" thanthe rest, have been treated to a separate chapter; butfor the others, whatever is said of one, will, with veryslight alteration, stand good for the whole of the Ama-zonian tribes. Let it be understood that we are dis-coursing only of those known as .the "Indios bravos,"the fierce, brave, savage, or wild Indians as you maychoose to translate the phrase, a phrase used through-out all Spanish America to distinguish those tribes, orsections of tribes, who refused obedience to Spanishtyranny, and who preserve to this hour their native in-dependence and freedom. In contradistinction to the" Indios bravos" are the "Indios mausos," or " tame
46 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.Indians," who submitted tamely both to the cross andsword, and now enjoy a rude demi-semi-civilization, un-der the joint protectorate of priests and soldiers. Be-tween these two kinds of American aborigines, thereis as much difference as between a lord and his serf-the true savage representing the former and the demi-semi-civilized savage approximating more nearly to thelatter. The meddling monk has made a complete fail-ure of it. His ends were purely political, and the resulthas proved ruinous to all concerned; instead of civil-izing the savage, he has positively demoralized him.It is not of his neophytes, the " Indios mansos," weare now writing, but of the " infidels," who would nothearken to his voice or listen to his teachings thosewho could never be brought within " sound of the bell."Both " kinds " dwell within the valley of the Amazon,but in different places. The "Indios mansos" may befound along the banks of the main stream, from itssource to its mouth but more especially on its upperwaters, where it runs through Spanish (Peruvian) ter-ritory. There they dwell in little villages or collectionsof huts, ruled by the missionary monk with iron rod,and performing for him all the offices of the menialslave. Their resources are few, not even equalling those-of their wild but independent brethren; and their cus-toms and religion exhibit a ludicrous melange of sav-agery and civilization. Farther down the river, the" Indio manso " is a "tapuio," a hireling of the Portu-guese, or to speak more correctly, a slave ; for the lattertreats him as such, considers him as such, and thoughthere is a law against it, often drags him from his forest-home and keeps him in life-long bondage. Any human
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 47law would be a dead letter among such white-skins asare to be encountered upon the banks of the Amazon.Fortunately they are but few; a town or two on thelower Amazon and Rio Negro, some wretched vil-lages between, scattered estancias along the banks--with here and there a paltry post of militariess," dig-nified, by the name of a "fort:" these alone speak theprogress of the Portuguese civilization throughout a pe-riod of three centuries!From all these settlements the wild Indian keepsaway. He is never found near them he is neverseen by travellers, not even by the settlers. You maydescend the mighty Amazon from its source to its mouth,and not once set your eyes upon the true son of theforest- the "Indio bravo." Coming in contact onlywith the neophyte of the Spanish missionary, and theskulking tapuio of the Portuguese trader, you mightbring away a very erroneous impression of the charac-ter of an Amazonian Indian.Where is he to be seen? where dwells he? what-likeis his home ? what sort of a house does he build? Hiscostume ? his arms ? his occupation ? his habits ? Theseare the questions you would put. They shall all beanswered, but briefly as possible -since our limitedspace requires brevity.The wild Indian, then, is not to be found upon theAmazon itself, though there are long reaches of theriver where he is free to roam-- hundreds of* mileswithout either town or estancia. He hunts, and occa.sionally fishes by the great water, but does not theremake his dwelling though in days gone by, its shoreswere his favorite place of residence. These happy days
48 THE- AMAZONIAN INDIANS.were before the time when Orellana floated down pastthe door of his " malocca "- before that dark hour whenthe Brazilian slave-hunter found his way into the waters.of the mighty Solimoes. This last event was the causeof his disappearance. It drove him from the shores ofhis beloved river-sea; forced him to withdraw his dwell-ing from observation, and rebuild it far up, on .thosetributaries where he might live a more peaceful life,secure from the trafficker in human flesh. Hence it isthat the home of the ,Amazonian Indian is now to besought for not on the Amazon itself, but on its tribu-tary streams -on the "canios" and " igaripes," the ca-nals and lagoons that, with a labyrinthine ramification,intersect the mighty forest of the Montafia. Here dwellshe, and here is he to be seen by any one bold enough tovisit him in his fastness home.How is he domiciled? Is there anything peculiarabout the style of his house or his village ?Eminently peculiar; for in this respect he differs fromall the other savage people of whom we have yet written,or of whom we may have occasion .to write.Let us proceed at once to describe his dwelling. It isnot a tent, nor is it a hut, nor a cabin, nor a cottage, noryet a cave! His dwelling can hardly be termed a house,nor his village a collection of houses since both houseand village are one and the same, and- both are so pe-culiar, that we have no name for such a structure incivilized lands, unless we should call it a "barrack."But even this appellation would give but an erroneousidea of the Amazonian dwelling; and therefore we shalluse that by which it is known in the " Lingoa geral,"and call it a malocca.
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 49By such name is his house (or village rather) knownamong the tapuios and traders of the Amazon. Sinceit is both house and village at the same time, it mustneeds be a large structure; and so is it, large enough tocontain the whole tribe or at least the section of itthat has chosen one particular spot for their residence.It is the property of the whole community, built by thelabor of all, and used as their common dwelling-though each family has its own section specially setapart for itself. It will thus be seen that the Amazo-nian savage is, to some extent, a disciple of the Social-ist school.I have not space to enter into a minute account of thearchitecture of the malocca. Suffice it to say, that it isan immense temple-like building, raised upon timberuprights, so smooth and straight as to resemble columns.The beams and rafters are also straight and smooth, andare held in their places by " sipos" (tough creepingplants), which are whipped around the joints with aneatness and compactness equal to that used in the'rig-ging of a ship. The roof is a thatch of palm-leaves,laid on with great regularity, and brought very low downat the eaves, so as to give to the whole structure the ap-pearance of a gigantic beehive. The walls are built ofsplit palms or bamboos, placed so closely together as tobe impervious to either bullet or arrows.The plan is a parallelogram, with a semicircle at oneend; and the building is large enough to accommodatethe whole community, often numbering more than ahundred individuals. On grand festive occasions severalneighboring communities can find room enough in it--even for dancing and three or four hundred individuals3
50 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.not unfrequently. assemble under the roof cf a singlemalocca.Inside the arrangements are curious. There is a widehall or avenue in the middle that extends from end toend throughout the whole length of the parallelogram- and on both sides of the hall is a row of partitions,separated from each other by split palms or canes, closelyplaced. Each of these sections is the abode of a family,and the place of deposit for the hammocks, clay pots,calabash-cups, dishes, baskets, weapons, and ornaments,which are the private property of each. The hall isused for the larger cooking utensils such as the greatclay ovens and pans for baking the cassava, and boilingthe caxire or chicha. This is also a neutral ground,where the children play, and where the dancing is doneon the occasion of grand " balls" and other ceremonialfestivals.The common doorway is in the gable end, and is sixfeet wide by ten in height. It remains open during theday, but is closed at night by a mat of palm fibre sus-pended from the top. There is another and smallerdoorway at the semicircular end; but this is for theprivate use of the chief, who appropriates the wholesection of the semicircle to himself and his family.Of course the above is only the general outline of amalocca. A more particular description would not an-swer for that of all the tribes of the Amazon. Amongdifferent communities, and in different parts of the Mon-tafia, the malocco varies in size, shape, and the materialsof which it is built; and there are some tribes who livein separate huts. These exceptions, however, are few,and as a general thing, that above described is the style
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 51of habitation throughout the whole Montafia, from theconfines of Peru to the shores of the Atlantic. Northand south we encounter this singular house-village, fromthe head-waters of the Rio Negro to the highlands ofBrazil.Most of the Amazonian tribes follow agriculture, andunderstood the art of tillage before the coming of -theSpaniards. They practise it, however, to a very lim-ited extent. They cultivate a little manioc, and knowhow to manufacture it into farina or cassava bread.They plant the musacece and yam, and understand thedistillation of various drinks, both from the plantain andseveral kinds of palms. They can make pottery fromclay, shaping it into various forms, neither rude norinelegant, and from the trees and parasitical twinersthat surround their dwellings, they manufacture an end-less variety of neat implements and utensils.Their canoes are hollow trunks of trees sufficientlywell shaped, and admirably adapted to their mode oftravelling which is almost exclusively by water, bythe numerous canios and igaripes, which are the roadsand paths of their country often as narrow and intri-cate as paths by land.The Indians of the tropic forest dress in the very light-est costume. Of course each tribe has its own fashion;but a mere belt of cotton cloth, or the inner bark of atree, passed round the waist and between the limbs, isall the covering they care for. It is the guayuco. Somewear a ;kirt of tree-bark, and, on grand occasions, feathertunics are seen, and also plume head-dresses, made of thebrilliant wing and tail feathers of parrots and macaws.Circlets of these also adorn the arms and limbs. All the
52 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.tribes paint, using the anotto, caruto, and several otherdyes which they obtain from various kinds of trees, else-where more particularly described.There are one or two tribes who tattoo their skins;but this strange practice is far less common among theAmerican Indians than with the natives of the Pacificisles.In the manufacture of their various household utensilsand implements, as well as their weapons for war and thechase, many tribes of Amazonian Indians display an in-genuity that would do credit to the most accomplishedArtisans. The hammocks made by them have been ad-mired everywhere; and it is from the valley of the Ama-zon that most of these are obtained, so much prizedin the cities of Spanish and Portuguese America. Theyare the special manufacture of the women, the men onlyemploying their mechanical skill on their weapons.The hammock, "rede," or " maqueira," is manufac-tured out of strings obtained from the young leaves ofseveral species of palms. The astrocaryum, or " tucum"palm furnishes this cordage, but a still better quality isobtained from the "miriti" (Mauritia flexuosa). Theunopened leaf, which forms a thick pointed column grow-ing up out of the crown of the tree, is cut off at the base,and this being pulled apart, is shaken dexterously untilthe. tender leaflets fall out. These being stripped oftheir outer covering, leave behind a thin tissue of a pale-yellowish color, which is the fibre for making the cordage.After being: tied in bundles this fibre is left awhile todry, and is then twisted by being rolled between the handand the hip or thigh. The women perform this processwith great dexterity. Taking two strands of fibre between
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 53the forefinger and thumb of the left hand, they lay themseparated a little along the thigh; a roll downward givesthem a twist, and then being adroitly brought together, aroll upwards completes the making of the cord. Fiftyfathoms in a day is considered a good day's spinning.The cords are afterwards dyed of various colors, to ren-der them more ornamental when woven into the ma-queira.The making of this is a simple process. Two horizon-tal rods are placed at about seven feet apart, over whichthe cord is passed some fifty or sixty times, thus forming.the "woof." The warp is then worked in by knottingthe cross strings at equal distances apart, until there areenough. Two strong cords are then inserted where therods pass through, and these being firmly looped, so asto draw all the parallel strings together, the red is pulledout, and the hammock is ready to be used.Of course, with very fine " redes," and those intendedto be disposed of to the traders, much pains are taken inthe selection of the materials, the dyeing the cord, andthe weaving it into the hammock. Sometimes very ex-pensive articles are made ornamented with the brilliantfeathers of birds cunningly woven among the meshes andalong the borders.Besides making the hammock, which is the universalcouch of the Amazonian Indian, the women also manu-facture a variety of beautiful baskets. Many species ofpalms and calamus supply them with materials for thispurpose, one of the best being the " Iu" palm (Astroca-ryum acaule). They also make many implements andutensils, some for cultivating the plantains, melons, andmanioc root, and others for manufacturing the last-named
54 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.vegetable into their favorite " farinha" (cassava). TheIndians understood how to separate the poisonous juiceof this valuable root from its wholesome farina beforethe arrival of white men among them; and the processby which they accomplish this purpose has remainedwithout change up to the present hour, in fact, it is almostthe same as that practised -by the Spaniards and Portu-guese, who simply adopted the Indian method. Thework is performed by the women, and thus: the rootsare brought home from the manioc " patch" in baskets,and then washed and peeled. The peeling is usuallyperformed by the teeth; after that the roots are grated,the grater being a large wooden slab about three feetlong, a foot wide, a little hollowed out, and the hollowpart covered all over with sharp pieces of quartz set inregular diamond-shaped patterns. Sometime .a cheapergrater is obtained by using the aerial root of the pashiubapalm (Iriartea exhorhiza), which, being thickly coveredover with hard spinous protuberances, Serves admirablyfor the purpose.The grated pulp is next placed to dry upon a sieve,made of the rind of a water-plant, and is afterwards putinto a long elastic cylinder-shaped basket or net, of thebark of the "jacitara" palm (Desmoncus macroacan-thus). This is the tipiti; and at its lower end there isa strong loop, through which a stout pole is passed;while the tipiti itself, when filled with pulp, is hung upto the branch of a tree, or to a firm peg in the wall.One end of the pole is then rested against some project-ing point, that serves as a fulcrum, while the Indianwoman, having seated herself upon the other end, withher infant in her arms, or perhaps some work in her
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 55hands, ais as the lever power. Her weight draws thesides of the tipiti together, until it assumes the formof an inverted cone; and thus the juice is graduallypressed out of the pulp, and drops into a vessel placedunderneath to receive it. The mother must be carefulthat the little imp does not escape from under her eye,and perchance quench its thirst out of the vessel below.If such an accident were to take place, in a very fewminutes she would have to grieve for a lost child; sincethe sap of the manioc root, the variety most cultivatedby the Indians, is a deadly poison. This is the " yuc-ca amarga," or bitter manioc; the "yucca dulce," orsweet kind, being quite innoxious, even if eaten in itsraw state.The remainder of the process consists in placing thegrated pulp now sufficiently dry -on a large panor oven, and submitting it to the action of the fire. Itis then thought sufficiently good for Indian use; butmuch of it is afterwards prepared for commerce, underdifferent names, and sold as semonilla (erroneously calledsemolina), sago, and even as arrowroot.At the bottom of that poisonous tub, a sediment hasall the while been forming. That is the starch of themanioc root the tapioca of commerce: of course thatis not thrown away.The men of the tropic forest spend their lives indoing very little. They are idle and not much disposedto work only when war or the chase calls them forthdo they throw aside for awhile their indolent habit, andexhibit a little activity.SThey hunt with the bow and arrow, and fish with aharpoon spear, nets, and sometimes by poisoning the
56 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.water with the juice of a vine called barbasco. The"peike boy," "vaca marina," or "manatee,"S- all threenames being synonymes is one of the chief animals oftheir pursuit. All the waters of the Amazon valleyabound with manatees, probably of several species, andthese large creatures are captured by the harpoon, justas seals or walrus are taken. Porpoises also frequentthe South-American rivers; and large fresh-water fishof numerous species. The game hunted by the Ama-zonian Indians can scarcely be termed noble. We haveseen that the large mammalia are few, and thinly dis-tributed in the tropical forest. With the exception ofthe jaguar and peccary, the chase is limited to smallquadrupeds -as the capibara, the paca, agouti -tomany kinds of monkeys, and an immense variety ofbirds. The monkey is the most common game, and isnot only eaten by all the Amazonian Indians, but bymost of them considered as the choicest of food.In procuring their game the hunters sometimes usethe common bow and arrow, but most of the tribes arein possession of a weapon which they prefer to all othersfor this particular purpose. It is an implement of deathBo original in its character and so singular in its con-struction as to deserve a special and minute description.The weapon I allude to is the "blow-gun," called" pucuna" by the Indians themselves, "gravitana" bythe Spaniards, and "cerbatana" by the Portuguese ofBrazil.When the Amazonian Indian wishes to manufacturefor himself a pucuna he goes out into the forest andsearches for two tall, straight stems of the "pashiubamiri" palm (Iriartea setigera). These he requires of
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 57such thickness.that one can be contained within the other.Having found what he wants, he cuts both down andcarries them home to his molocca. Neither of them isof such dimensions as to render this either impossible ordifficult.He now takes a long slender rod already preparedfor the purpose and with this pushes out the pithfrom both stems, just as boys do when preparing theirpop-guns from the stems of the elder-tree. The rodthus used is obtained from another species of Iriarteapalm, of which the wood is very hard and tough. Alittle tuft of fern-root, fixed upon the end of the rod, isthen drawn backward and forward through the tubes,until both are cleared of any pith which may have ad-hered to the interior; and both are polished by thisprocess to the smoothness of ivory. The palm ofsmaller diameter, being scraped to a proper size, is nowinserted into the tube of the larger, the object being tocorrect any crookedness in either, should there be such;and if this does not succeed, both are whipped to somestraight beam or post, and thus left till they becomestraight. One end of the bore, from the nature of thetree, is always smaller than the other; and to this endis fitted a mouth-piece of two peccary tusks to concen-trate the breath of the hunter when blowing into thetube. The other end is the muzzle; and near this, onthe top, a sight is placed, usually a tooth of the " paca"or some other rodent animal. This sight is glued onwith a gum which another tropic tree furnishes. Overthe outside, when desirous of giving the weapon anornamental finish, the maker winds spirally a shiningcreeper, and then the pucuna is ready for action.3+
58 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.Sometimes only a single shank of palm is used, andinstead of the pith being pushed out, the stem is splitinto two equal parts throughout its whole extent. Theheart substance being then removed, the two pieces arebrought together, like the two divisions of a cedarwoodpencil, and tightly bound with a sipo.The pucuna is usually about an inch and a half indiameter at the thickest end, and the bore about equalto that of a pistol of ordinary calibre. In length, how-ever, the weapon varies from eight to twelve feet.This singular instrument is designed, not for propel-ling a bullet, but' an arrow; but as this arrow differsaltogether from the common kind it also needs to bedescribed.The blow-gun arrow is about fifteen or eighteeninches long, and is made of a piece of split -bamboo;but when the "patawa" palm can be found, this treefurnishes a still better material, in the long spines thatgrow out from the sheathing bases of its leaves. Theseare 18 inches in length, of a black color, flattish thoughperfectly straight. Being cut to the proper length--which most of them are without cutting-they arewhittled at one end to a sharp point. This point isdipped :about three inches deep in the celebratedcuraree" poison; and just where the poison mark ter-minates, a notch is made, so that the head will be easilybroken off when the arrow is in the wound. Near theother end a little soft down of silky cotton (the floss ofthe bombax ceiba) is twisted around into a smooth massof the shape of a spinning-top, with its larger .endtowards the nearer extremity of the arrow. The cottonis held in its place by being lightly whipped on by the
THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS. 59delicate thread or fibre of a bromelia, and the mass i.just big enough to fill the tube by gently pressing itinward.The arrow thus made is inserted, and whenever thegame is within reach the Indian places his mouth to thelower end or mouthpiece, and with a strong "puff,"which practice enables him to give, he sends the littlemessenger upon its deadly errand. He can hit with un-eiring aim at the distance of forty or fifty paces; but heprefers to shoot in a direction nearly vertical, as in thatway he can take the surest aim. As his common game- birds and monkeys are usually perched upon thehigher branches of tall trees, their situation just suitshim. Of course it is not the mere wound of the arrowthat kills these creatures, but the poison, which in twoor three minutes after they have been hit, will bringeither bird or monkey to the ground. When the latteris struck he would be certain to draw out the arrow; butthe notch, already mentioned, provides against this, asthe slightest wrench serves to break off the envenomedhead.These arrows are dangerous things, even for themanufacturer of them to play with: they are thereforecarried in a quiver, and with great care, the quiverconsisting either of a bamboo joint or a neat wickercase.The weapons of war used by the forest tribes are thecommon bow and arrows, also tipped with curare, andthe "macana," or war-club, a species peculiar to SouthAmerica, made out of the hard heavy wood of the pissabapalm. Only one or two tribes use the spear; and boththe "bolas" and lazo are quite unknown, as such
60 THE AMAZONIAN INDIANS.weapons would not be available among the trees of theforest. These are the proper arms of the Horse In-dian, the dweller on the open plains; but without them,for all war purposes, the forest tribes have weaponsenough, and, unfortunately, make a too frequent use ofthem.
THE WATER-DWELLERS OF MARACAIBO.THE Andes mountains, rising in the extreme southernpoint of South America, not only extend throughout thewhole length of that continent, but continue on throughCentral America and Mexico, under the name of " Cor-dilleras de Sierra Madre ;" and still farther north to theshores of the Arctic Sea, under the very inappropriateappellation of the " Rocky Mountains." You must notsuppose that these stupendous mountains form one con-tinuous elevation. At many places they furcate intovarious branches, throwing off spurs, and sometime paral-lel " sierras," between which lie wide " valles," or levelplains of great extent. It is upon these high plateaux- many of them elevated 7,000 feet above the sea -that the greater part of the Spanish-American populationdwells; and on them too are found most of the largecities of Spanish South America and Mexico.These parallel chains meet at different points, formingwhat the Peruvians term "nodas " (knots); and, aftercontinuing for a distance in one great cordillera, againbifurcate. One of the most remarkable of these bifurca-tions of the Andes occurs about latitude 2 N. There thegigantic sierra separates into two great branches, forming
62 THE WATER-DWELLERSa shape like the letter Y, the left limb being that whichis usually regarded as the main continuation of thesemountains through the Isthmus of Panama, while theright forms the eastern boundary of the great valley ofthe Magdalena river; and then, trending in an eastwardlydirection along thb. whole northern coast of South America to the extreme point of the promontory of Paria.Each of these limbs again forks into several branchesor spurs, the whole system forming a figure that maybe said to bear some resemblance to a genealogical treecontaining the pedigree of four or five generations.It is only with one of the bifurcations of the right oreastern sierra that -this sketch. has to do. On reachingthe latitude of 70 north, this chain separates itself intotwo wings,. which, after diverging widely to the east andwest, sweep round again towards each other, as if desir-ous to be once more united. The western wing advancesboldly to this reunion; but the eastern, after vacillatingfor a time, as if uncertain what course to take, turns itsback abruptly on its old comrade, and trends off in a dueeast direction, till it sinks into insignificance upon thepromontory of Paria.The whole mass of the sierra, however, has not beenof one mind; for, at the. time of its indecision, a largespur detaches itself from the- main body, and sweepsround, as if to carry out the union with the left wingadvancing from the west. Although they get withinsight of each other, they are not permitted to meet,-both ending abruptly before .the circle is completed, andforming a figure bearing a very exact resemblance tothe shoe of a racehorse. Within this curving boundaryis enclosed a vast valley,-as large as the whole of
OF MARACAIBO. 63Ireland, the central portion of which, and occupyingabout one third of its whole extent, is a sheet of water,known from the days of the discovery of America, asthe Lake of Maracaibo.It obtained this appellation from the name of an Indiancazique, who was met upon its shores by the first discov-erers; but although this lake was known to the earliestexplorers of the New World, although it lies contigu-ous to many colonial settlements both on the mainlandand the islands of the Caribbean Sea, the lake itself,and the vast territory that surrounds it, remain almost asunknown and obscure as if they were situated among thecentral deserts of Africa.And yet the valley of Maracaibo is one of the mostinteresting portions of the globe, interesting not onlyas a terra incognita, but on account of the diversifiednature of its scenery and productions. It possesses afauna of a peculiar kind, and its flora is one of the rich-est in the world, not surpassed, perhaps not equalled,- by that of any other portion of the torrid zone. Togive a list of its vegetable productions would be toenumerate almost every species belonging to tropicalAmerica. Here are found the well-known medicinalplants,-- the sassafras and sarsaparilla, guaiacum, co-paiva, cinchona, and cuspa, or Cortex Angosturte; hereare the deadly poisons of barbasco and mavacure, andalongside them the remedies of the "palo sano," andmikania guaco. Here likewise grow plants and treesproducing those well-known dyes of commerce, the blueindigo, the red arnotto, the lake-colored chica, the brazil-letto, and dragon's-blood; and above all, those woods ofred, gold, and ebon tints, so precious in the eyes of thecabinet and musical-instrument makers of Europe.
64 THE WATER-DWELLERSYet, strange to say, these rich resources lie, like treas-ures buried in the bowels of the earth, or gems at thebottom of the sea, still undeveloped. A few small lum-bering establishments near the entrance of the lake,.here and there a miserable village, supported by a littlecoast commerce in dye-woods, or cuttings of ebony, -now and then a hamlet of fishermen, a "hato" ofgoats and sheep; and at wider intervals, a " ganaderia"of cattle, or a plantation of cocoa-trees (cocale), furnishthe only evidence that man has asserted his dominionover this interesting region. These settlements, however,are sparsely distributed, and widely distant from oneanother. Between them stretch broad savannas andforests, -vast tracts, untilled and even unexplored, -a very wilderness, but a wilderness rich in natural re-sources.The Lake of Maracaibo is often, though erroneously,described as an arm of the sea. This description onlyapplies to the Gulf of Maracaibo, which is in reality aportion of the Caribbean Sea. The lake itself is alto-gether different, and is a true fresh-water lake, separatedfrom the gulf by a narrow neck or strait. Within thisstrait called " boca," or mouth the salt water doesnot extend, except during very high tides or after long-continued nortes (north winds), which have the effect ofdriving the sea-water up into the lake, and imparting tosome portions of it a saline or brackish taste. This,however, is only occasional and of temporary containuance; and the waters of the lake, supplied by a hundredstreams from the horseshoe sierra that surrounds it, soonreturn to their normal character of freshness.The shape of Lake Maracaibo is worthy of remark.iswrtyo reak
OF MARACAIBO. 65The main body of its surface is of oval outline,---thelonger diameter running north and south, but taken inconnection with the straits which communicate with theouter gulf, it assumes a shape somewhat like that of aJew's-harp, or rather of a kind of guitar, most in useamong Spanish Americans, and known under the nameS of " mandolin " (or " bandolon "). To this instrument dothe natives sometimes compare it.Another peculiarity of Lake Maracaibo, is the extremeshallowness of the water along its shores. It is. deepenough towards the middle part; but at many pointsaround the shore, a man may wade for miles into thewater, without getting beyond his depth. This pecu-liarity arises from the formation of the valley in whichit is situated. Only a few spurs of the sierras thatsurround it approach near the edge of the lake. Gen-erally from the bases of the mountains, the land slopeswith a very gentle declination, so slight as to have theappearance of a perfectly horizontal plain, --and this iscontinued for a great way under the surface of the water.Strange enough, however, after getting to a certain dis-tance from the shore, the shoal water ends as abruptly asthe escarpment of a cliff, and a depth almost unfathomablesucceeds, as if the central part of the lake was a vastsubaqueous ravine, bounded on both sides by precipitouscliffs. Such, in reality, is it believed to be.A singular phenomenon is observed in the Lake Mar-acaibo, which, since the days of Columbus, has not onlypuzzled the curious, but also the learned and scientific,who have unsuccessfully attempted to explain it. Thisphenomenon consists in the appearance of a remarkablelight, which shows itself in the middle of the night, andE
66 THE WATER-DWELLERSat a particular part of the lake, near its southern extremity. This light bears some resemblance to the igniafatuus of our own marshes; and most probably is aphosphorescence of a similar nature, though on a muchgrander scale, since it is visible at a vast distanceacross the open water. As it is seen universally in thesame direction, and appears fixed in one place, it servesas a beacon for the fishermen and dye-wood traders whonavigate the waters of the lake,-- its longitude beingprecisely that of the straits leading outward to the gulf.Vessels that have strayed from their course, often regu-late their reckoning by the mysterious " Farol de Mara-caibo" (Lantern of Maracaibo),--for by this name isthe natural beacon known to the mariners of the lake.Various explanations have been offered to account forthis singular phenomenon, but none seem to explain it ina satisfactory manner. It appears to be produced by theexhalations that arise from an extensive marshy tractlying around the mouth of the river Zulia, and abovewhich it universally shows itself. The atmosphere inthis quarter is usually hotter than elsewhere, and sup-posed to be highly charged with electricity; but what-ever may be the chemical process which produces theillumination, it acts in a perfectly silent manner. Noone has ever observed any explosion to proceed from it,or the slightest sound connected with its occurrence.Of all the ideas suggested by the mention of LakeMaracaibo, perhaps none are so interesting as those thatrelate tb its native inhabitants, whose peculiar habits andmodes of life not only astonished the early navigators,but eventually gave its name to the lake itself, and tothe extensive province in which it is situated When
OF MARACAIBO. 67the Spanish discoverers, sailing around the shores of thegulf, arrived near the entrance of Lake Maracaibo, theysaw, to their amazement, not only single houses, butwhole villages, apparently floating upon the water! Onapproaching nearer, they perceived that these houseswere raised some feet above the surface, and supportedby posts or piles driven into the mud at the bottom,The idea of Venice--that city built upon the sea, towhich they had been long accustomed was suggestedby these superaqueous habitations; and the name ofVenezuela (Little Venice) was at once bestowed uponthe coast, and afterwards applied to the whole provincenow known as the Republic of Venezuela.Though the "water villages" then observed havelong since disappeared, many others of a similar kindwere afterwards discovered in Lake Maracaibo itself,some of which are in existence to the present day.Besides here and there an isolated habitation, situatedin some bay or " laguna," there are four principal vil-lages upon this plan still in existence, each containingfrom fifty to a'hundred habitations. The inhabitants ofsome of these villages have been " Christianized," thatis, have submitted to the teaching of the Spanish mis-sionaries; and one in particular is distinguished byhaving its little church a regular water church inthe centre, built upon piles, just as the rest of thehouses are, and only differing from the common dwel-lings in being larger and of a somewhat more preten-tious style. From the belfry of this curious ecclesias-tical edifice a brazen bell may be heard at morn andeve tolling the " oracion " and -" vespers," and declaringover the wide waters of the lake that the authority of
68 THE WATER-DWELLERSthe Spanish monk has replaced the power of the caziqueamong the Indians of the Lake Maracaibo. Not toall sides of the lake, however, has the cross extendedits conquest. Along its western shore roams the fierceunconquered Goajiro, who, a true warrior, still main-tains his independence; and even encroaches upon theusurped possessions both of monk and " militario."The water-dweller, however, although of kindred racewith the Goajiro, is very different, both in his disposi-tion and habits of life. He is altogether a man ofpeace, and might almost be termed a civilized being, -that is, he follows a regular industrial calling, by whichhe subsists. This is the calling of a fisherman, and inno part of the world could he follow-it with more cer-tainty of success, since the waters which surround hisdwelling literally swarm with fish.Lake Maracaibo has been long noted as the resort ofnumerous and valuable species of the finny tribe, in thecapture of which the Indian fisherman finds ample oc-cupation. He is betimes a fowler,--as we shall present-ly see,-and he also sometimes indulges, though morerarely, in the chase, finding game in the thick forestsor on the green savannas that surround the lake, orborder the. banks of the numerous " riachos" (streams)running into it. On the savanna roams the gracefulroebuck and the "venado," or South-American deer,while along the river banks stray the capibara and thestout tapir, undisturbed save by their fierce feline ene-mies, the puma and spotted jaguar.But hunting excursions are not a habit of the waterIndian, whose .calling, as already observed, is essentiallythat of a fisherman and "fowler," and whose subsistence
OF MARACAIBO. 69is mainly dern cd from two kinds of water-dwellers, likehimself- one with fins, living below the surface, anddenominated fish; another with wings, usually restingon the surface, and known as fowl. These two crea-tures, of very different kinds and of many differentspecies, form the staple and daily food of the Indianof Maracaibo.In an account of his habits we shall begin by givinga description of the mode in which he constructs hissingular dwelling.Like other builders he begins by selecting the site.This must be a place where the water is of no greatdepth; and the farther from the shore he can find ashallow spot the better for his purpose, for he has agood reason for desiring to get to a distance from theshore, as we shall presently see. Sometimes a sort ofsubaqueous island, or elevated sandbank, is found, whichgives him the very site he is in search of. Havingpitched upon the spot, his next care is to procure acertain number of tree-trunks of the proper length andthickness to make "piles." Not every kind of timberwill serve for this purpose, for there are not manysorts that would long resist decay and the wear andtear of the water insects, with which the lake abounds.Moreover, the building of one of these aquatic houses,although it be only a rude hut, is a work of time andlabor, and it is desirable therefore to make it as per-manent as possible. For this reason great care is takenin the selection of the timber for the "piles."But it so chances that the forests around the lakefurnish the very thing itself, in the wood of a treeknown to the Spanish inhabitants as the "vera," or
70 THE WATER-DWELLERS"palo sano," and to the natives as guaiacc." It isone of the zygophyls of the genus Guaiacum, of whichthere are many species, called by the names of "iron-wood" or " lignum-vitae;" but the species in questionis the tree lignum-vitae (Guaiacum arboreum), which at-tains to a height of 100 feet, with a fine umbrella-shaped head, and bright orange flowers. Its wood isso hard, that it will turn the edge of an axe, and thenatives believe that if it be buried for a sufficient lengthof time under the earth it will turn to iron! Though.this belief is not literally true, as regards the iron, itis not so much of an exaggeration as might be sup-posed. The "palo de fierro," when buried in the soilof Maracaibo or immersed in the waters of the lake,in reality does undergo a somewhat similar metamor-phose; in other words, it turns into stone; and thepetrified trunks of this wood are frequently met withalong the shores of the lake. What is still more singu-lar the piles of the water-houses often become petri-fied, so that the dwelling no longer rests upon woodenposts, but upon real columns of stone!Knowing all this by experience, the Indian selects theguaiac for his uprights, cuts them of the proper length;and then, launching them in the water, transports themto the site of his dwelling, and fixes them in their places.Upon this a platform is erected, out of split boards ofsome less ponderous timber, usually the " ceiba," or"silk-cotton tree " (Bombax ceiba), or the " cedro negro"(Cedrela odorata) of the order Meliacece. Both kindsgrow in abundance upon the shores of the lake, andthe huge trunks of the former are also used by the waterIndian for the constructing of his canoe.
OF MARACAIBO. 71The platform, or floor, being thus established, abouttwo or three feet above the surface of the water, it thenonly remains to erect the walls and cover them over witha roof. The former are made of the slightest materials,- light saplings or bamboo poles, usually left open atthe interstices. There is no winter or cold weather here,-why should the walls be thick? There are heavyrains, however, at certain seasons of the year, and theserequire to be guarded against; but this is not a difficultmatter, since the broad leaves of the " enea " and " vihai"(a species of Heliconia) serve the purpose of a roof justas well as tiles, slates, or shingles. Nature in these partsis bountiful, and provides her human creatures with aspontaneous supply of every want. Even ropes andcords she furnishes, for binding the beams, joists, andrafters together, and holding on the thatch against themost furious assaults of the wind. The numerous spe-cies of creeping and twining plants (" llianas" or "1sipos")serve admirably for this purpose. They are applied intheir green state, and when contracted by exsiccationdraw the timbers as closely together as if held by spikesof iron. In this manner and of such materials does thewater Indian build his house."Why he inhabits such a singular dwelling is a ques-tion that requires to be answered. With the terra jfrmaclose at hand, and equally convenient for all purposes ofhis calling, why does he not build his hut there ? Somuch easier too of access would it be, for he could thenapproach it either by land or by water; whereas, in itspresent situation, he can neither go away from his houseor gel back to iI without the aid of his "periagua " (ca-noe). Moreover, by building on the beach, or by the
72 THE WATER-DWELLERSedge of the woods, he would, spare himself the labor oftransporting those heavy piles and setting them in theirplaces, a work, as already stated, of no ordinarymagnitude. Is it for personal security against humanenemies,- for this sometimes drives a people to seeksingular situations for their homes ? No; the Indianof Marac4ibo has his human fbes, like all other people;but it is none of these that have forced him to adoptthis strange custom. Other enemies ? wild beasts ? thedreaded jaguar, perhaps ? No, nothing of this kind.And yet it is in reality a living creature that drives himto this resource, --that has forced him to flee from themainland and take to the water for security against itsattack, a. creature of such small dimensions, and ap-parently so contemptible in its strength, that you willno doubt smile at the idea of its putting a strong manto flight,- a little insect exactly the size of an Englishgnat, and no bigger, but so formidable by means of itspoisonous bite, and its myriads of numbers, as to rendermany parts of the shores of Lake Maracaibo quite un-inhabitable. You guess, no doubt, the insect to whichj allude ? You cannot fail to recognize it as the mos-quito ? Just so; it is the mosquito I mean, and in nopart of South America do these insects abound in greaternumbers, and nowhere are they more blood-thirsty thanupon the borders.of this great fresh-water sea. Not onlyone species of mosquito, but all the varieties known as"jejens," "zancudos," and " tempraneros," here aboundin countless multitudes, each kind making its appear-ance at a particular hour of the day or night, " mount-ing guard" (as the persecuted natives say of them) in.turn, and allowing only short intervals of respite fromtheir bitter attacks.
OF MARACAIBO. 73Now, it so happens, that although the various kindsof mosquitoes are peculiarly the productions of a marshyor watery region, and rarely found where the soil ishigh and dry, yet as rarely do they extend their ex-cursions to a distance from the land. They delight todwell under the shadow of leaves, or near the herbageof grass, plants, or trees, among which they were hatched.They do not stray far from the shore, and only when thebreeze carries them do they fly out -over the open water.Need I say more ? You have now the explanation whythe Indians of Maracaibo build their dwellings upon thewater. It is simply to escape from the " plaga de mos-cas" (the pest of the flies).Like most other Indians of tropical America, and someeven of colder latitudes, those of Maracaibo go naked,wearing only the guayuco, or " waist-belt." Those ofthem, however, who have submitted to the authority ofthe monks, have adopted a somewhat more modest garb,- consisting of a small apron of cotton or palm-fibre,suspended from the waist, and reaching down to theirknees.We have already stated, that the water-dwelling In-dian is a fisherman, and that the waters of the lakesupply him with numerous kinds of fish of excellentquality. An account of these, with the method employedin capturing.them, may not prove uninteresting.First, there is the fish known as " liza," a species ofskate. It is of a brilliant silvery hue, with bluish cor-ruscations. It is a small fish, being only about a footin length, but is excellent to eat, and when preservedby drying, forms an article of commerce with the West-Indian islands. Along the coasts of Cumana and Ma-.4
74 THE WATER-DWELLERSgarita, there are many people employed in the pesca dtliza (skate-fishery); but although the. liza is in realitya sea fish, it abounds in the fresh waters of Maracaibo,and is there also an object of industrial pursuit. It isusually captured by seines, made out of the fibres ofthe cocui aloe (agave cocuiza), or of cords obtained fromthe unexpanded leaflets of the moriche palm (aiauritiaflexuosa), both of which useful vegetable products arei indigenous to this region. The roe of the liza, whendried in the sun, is an article in high estimation, andfinds its way into the channels of commerce.A still more delicate fish is the " pargo." It is of awhite color tinged with rose; and of these great num-bers are also captured. So, too, with the "doncella,"one of the most beautiful species, as its pretty name of"doncella " (young maiden) would indicate. These lastare so abundant in some parts of the lake, that one of itsbays is distinguished by the name of Laguna de Don-cella.A large, ugly fish, called the "vagre," with an enor-mous head and wide mouth, from each side of whichstretches a beard-like appendage, is also an object ofthe Indian's pursuit. It is usually struck with a spear,or killed by arrows, when it shows itself near.the surfaceof the water. Another monstrous creature, of nearlycircular shape, and full three feet in diameter, is the " ca-rite," which is harpooned in a similar fashion.Besides these there is the "viegita," or." old-womanfish," which itself feeds upon lesser creatures of the finnytribe, and especially upon the smaller species of shellfish. It has obtained its odd appellation frora a singularnoise which it gives forth, and which resembles the voiceof an old woman debilitated with extreme age.
OF MARACAIBO. 75The "dorado," or gilded fish so called on accountof its beautiful color is taken by a hook, with no otherbait attached than a piece of white rag. This, however,must be kept constantly in motion, and the bait is playedby simply paddling the canoe over the surface of thelake, until the dorado, attracted by the white meteor, fol-'lows in its track, and eventually hooks itself.Many other species of fish are taken by the water-Indians, as the "lebranche " which goes in large "schools,"and makes its breeding-place in the lagunas and up therivers, and the " guabina," with several kinds of sardinesthat find their way into the tin boxes of Europe ; for theMaracaibo fisherman is not contented with an exclusivefish diet. He likes a little "casava," or maize-bread,along with'it; besides, he has a few other wants to satis-fy, and the means he readly obtains in exchange for thesurplus produce of his nets, harpoons, and arrows.We have already stated that he is a fowler. At cer-tain seasons of the year this is essentially his occupation.The fowling season with him is the period of northernwinter, when the migratory aquatic birds come downfrom the boreal regions of Prince Rupert's Land to dis-port their bodies in the more agreeable waters of LakeMaracaibo. There they assemble in large flocks, dark-ening the air with their myriads of numbers, now flutter-ing over the lake, or, at other times, seated on its surfacesilent and motionless. Notwithstanding their great num-bers, however, they are too shy to be approached nearenough for the "carry" of an Indian arrow, or a guneither; an, were it not for a very cunning stratagemwhich the Indian has adopted for their capture, theymight return again to their northern haunts without beingminus an individual of their " count."
76 THE WATER-DWELLERSBut they are not permitted to depart thus unscathed.During their sojourn within the limits of Lake Mara-caibo their legions get considerably thinned, and thou-sands of them that settle down upon its inviting watersare destined never more to take wing.To effect their capture, the Indian fowler, as alreadystated, makes use of a very ingenious stratagem. Some-thing similar is described as being practised in otherparts of the world; but in no place is it carried to suchperfection as upon the Lake Maracaibo.The fowler first provides himself with a number oflarge gourd-shells of roundish form, and each of them atleast as big as his own skull. These he can easily ob-tain, either from the herbaceous squash ( ucurbita lage-naris) or from the calabash tree ( Crescentia cujete), bothof which grow luxuriantly on the shores of the lake.Filling his periagua with these, he proceeds' out into theopen water to a certain distance from the land, or fromhis own dwelling. The" distance is regulated by severalconsiderations. He must reach a place which, at allhours of the day, the ducks and other waterfowl are notafraid to frequent; and, on the other hand, he must notgo beyond such a depth as will bring the water higherthan his own chin when wading through it. This lastconsideration is not of so much importance, for the waterIndian can swim almost as well as a duck, and dive likeone, if need be; but it is connected with another matterof greater importance the convenience of having thebirds as near as possible, to save him a too long andwearisome "wade." It is necessary to have them sonear, that at all hours they may be under his eye. .Having found the. proper situation, which the 'ast ex
OF MARACAIBO. 77tent of shoal water (already mentioned) enables him todo, he proceeds to carry out his design by dropping agourd here and another there, until a large space of sur-face is covered by these floating shells. Each gourd hasa stone attached to it by means of a string, which, rest-ing upon the bottom, brings the buoy to an anchor, andprevents it from being drifted, into the deeper wateror carried entirely away.When his decoys are all placed, the Indian paddlesback to his platform dwelling, and there, with watchfuleye, awaits the issue. The birds are at first shy of theseround yellow objects intruded upon their domain; but, asthe hours pass, and they perceive no harm in them, theyat length take courage and venture to approach. Urgedby that curiosity which is instinctive in every creature,they gradually draw nigher and nigher, until at lengththey boldly venture into the midst of the odd objects andexamine them minutely. Though puzzled to make outwhat it is all meant for, they can "perceive no harmin the yellow. globe-shaped things that only bob about,but make no attempt to do them any injury. Thus satis-fied, their curiosity soon wears off, and the birds nolonger regarding the floating shells as objects of suspi-cion, swim freely about through their midst, or sit quietlyon the water side by side with them.But the crisis has now arrived when it is necessarythe Indian should act, and for this he speedily equipshimself. He first ties a stout rope around his waist, to"which are attached many short strings or cords. He thendraws over his head a large gourd-shell, which, fittingpretty tightly, covers his whole skull, reaching down tohis neck. This shell is exactly similar to the others
78 THE WA lER-DWELLERSalready floating on the water, with the exception of haveing three holes on one side of it, two on the same levelwith the Indian's eyes, and the third opposite his mouth,intended to serve him for a breathing-hole.He is now ready for work; and, thus oddly accoutred,he slips quietly down from his platform, and laying him-self along the water, swims gently in the direction ofthe ducks.Ile swims only where the water is too shallow toprevent him from .crouching below the surface; for werehe to stand upright, and wade, even though he werestill distant from them, the shy birds might have sus-picions about his after-approaches.When he reaches a point where the lake is sufficientlydeep, he gets upon his feet and wades, still keeping hisshoulders below the surface. He makes his advancevery slowly and warily, scarce raising a ripple on thesurface of the placid lake, and the nearer he gets tohis intended victims he proceeds with the greater cau-tion.The unsuspecting birds see the destroyer approachwithout having the slightest misgiving of danger. Theyfancy that the new comer is only another of those inani-mate objects by their side another gourd-shell driftingout upon the water to join its companions. They haveno suspicion that this wooden counterfeit like the horseof Tioy is inhabited by a terrible enemy.Poor things how could they ? A stratagem so wellcontrived would deceive more rational intellects thantheirs; and, in fact, having no idea of danger, theyperhaps do not trouble themselves even to notice thenew arrival.
OF MARACAfBO. 79Meanwhile the gourd has drifted silently into theirmidst, and is seen approaching the odd individuals, firstone and afterwards another, as if it had some specialbusiness with each. This business appears to be of avery mysterious character; and in each case is abruptlybrought to a conclusion, by-the duck making a suddendive under the water, not head foremost, according toits usual practice, but in the reverse way, as if jerkeddown by the feet, and so rapidly that the creature hasnot time to utter a single " quak."After quite a number of individuals have disappearedin this mysterious manner, the others sometimes growsuspicious of the moving calabash, and either take towing, or swim off to a less dangerous neighborhood; butif the gourd performs its office in a skilful manner, itwill be seen passing several times to and fro betweenthe birds and the water-village before this event takesplace. On each return trip, when far from the flock,and near the habitations, it will be seen to rise highabove the surface of the water. It will then be per-ceived that it covers the skull of a copper-colored sav-age, around whose hips may be observed a double tierof dead ducks dangling by their necks from the ropeupon his waist, and forming a sort of plumed skirt, theweight of which almost drags its wearer back into thewater.Of course a capture is followed by a feast; and duringthe fowling season of the year the Maracaibo Indianenjoys roast-duck at discretion. IHe does not troubleLis head much about the green peas, nor is he particularto have his ducks stuffed with sage and onions ; but ahot seasoning of red pepper is one of the indispensable
80 THE WATER-DWELLERSingredients of the South American cuisine : and tin ieusually obtains from a small patch of capsicum whicL hecultivates upon the adjacent shore; or, if he be not pos-sessed. of land, he procures it by barter, exchanging. hisfowls or fish for that and a little maize or manioc flour,furnished by the coast-traders.The Maracaibo Indian is not a stranger to commerce.He has been " Christianized," to use the phraseologyof his priestly proselytizer;,- and this has introducedhim to new wants and necessities. Expenses that in hisformer pagan state were entirely unknown to him, havenow become necessary, and a commercial effort is re-quired to meet them. The Church must have its dues.Such luxuries as being baptized, married, and buried, arenot to be had without expense, and the padre takes goodcare that none of these shall be had for nothing. Hehas taught his proselyte to believe that unless all theserites have been officially performed there is not theslightest chance for him in the next world; and underthe influence of this delusion, the simple savage willinglyyields up his tenth, his fifth, or, perhaps it would bemore correct to say, his all. Between fees of baptismand burial, mulcts for performance of the marriage rite,contributions towards the shows and ceremonies of diasde fiesta, extravagant prices for blessed beads, leadencrucifixes, and images of patron saints, the poor Chris-tianized Indian is compelled to part with nearly thewhole of his humble gains; and the fear of not beingable to pay for Christian burial after death, is often oneof the torments of his life.To satisfy the numerous demands of the Church, there-fore, he is forced into a little action in the commercial
OF MARACAIBO. 81line. With the water-dweller of Maracaibo, fish formsone of the staples of export trade,-of course in thepreserved state, as he is too distant from any great townor metropolis to be able to make market of them whilefresh. He understands, however, the mode of curingthem, which he accomplishes by sun-drying and smok-ing, and, thus prepared, they are taken off his handsby the trader, who carries them all over the West Indies,where, with boiled rice, they form the staple food ofthousands of the dark-skinned children of Ethiopia.The Maracaibo Indian, however, has still another re-source, which occasionally supplies him with an articleof commercial export. His country- that is, the ad-jacent shores of the lake produces the finest caout-chouc. There the India-rubber tree, of more than onespecies, flourishes in abundance; and the true "seringa,"that yields the finest and most valuable kind of thisgummy juice, is nowhere found in greater perfectionthan in the forests of Maracaibo. The caoutchouc ofcommerce is obtained from many other parts of America,as well as from other tropical countries; but as manyof the bottles and shoes so well known in the india-rubber shops, are manufactured by the Indians of Ma-racaibo, we may not find a more appropriate place to givean account of this singular production, and the mode bywhich it is prepared for the purposes of commerce andmanufacture.As already mentioned, many species of trees yieldindia-rubber, most of them belonging either to the orderof the " Morads," or Euphorbiacee. Some are speciesof ficus, but both the genera and species are too numer-ous to be given here. That which supplies the "bottle4* P
82 THE WATER-DWELLERSindia-rubber" is a. euphorbiaceous plant, the seringaabove mentioned, whose proper botanical appellationis Siphonia elastica. It is a tall, straight, smooth barkedtree, having a trunk of about a foot in diameter, thoughin favorable situations reaching to much larger dimen-sions. The process of extracting its sap out of whichthe caoutchouc is manufactured bears some resem-blance to the tapping of sugar-maples in the forests ofthe north.With his small hatchet, or tomahawk, the Indiail cutsa gash in the bark, and inserts into it a little wedge ofwood to keep the sides apart. Just under the gash, hefixes a small cup-shaped vessel of clay, the clay beingstill in a, plastic state, so that it may be attached closelyto the bark. Into this vessel the milk-like sap of theseringa soon commences to run, and keeps on until ithas yielded about the fifth of a pint. This, however, isnot the whole yield of a tree, but only of a single wound;and it is usual to open a great many gashes, or " taps,"upon the same trunk, each being furnished with its owncup or receiver. In from four to six hours the sap ceasesto run.The cups are then detached from the tree, and thecontents of all, poured ihto a large earthen vessel, arecarried to the place where the process of making thecaoutchouc is to take place, usually some dry openspot in the middle of the forest, where a temporary camphas been formed for the purpose.When the dwelling of the Indian is at a distance fromwhere the india-rubber tree grows, as is the case withthose of Lake Maracaibo, it will not do to transportthe sap thither. There must be no delay after the cups
OF MARACAIBO. 83are filled, and the process of manufacture must proceedat once, or as soon as the milky juice begins to coagu-late, which it does almost on the instant.Previous to reaching his camp, the "seringero" hasprovided a large quantity of palm-nuts, with which heintends to make a fire for smoking the caoutchouc.These nuts are the fruit of several kinds of palms, butthe best are those afforded by two magnificent) species,--the "Inaja" (Maximiliana regia), and the " Urucu-ri" (Attalea excelsa).A fire is kindled of these nuts ; and an earthen pot,with a hole in the bottom, is placed mouth downwardover the pile. Through the aperture now rises a strongpungent smoke.If it is a shoe that is intended to be made, a clay lastis already prepared, with a stick standing out of the topof it, to serve as a handle, while the operation is goingon. Taking the stick in his hand, the seringero dips thelast lightly into the milk, or with a cup pours the fluidgently over it, so as to give a regular coating to thewhdle surface; and then, holding it over the smoke, hekeeps turning it, jack-fashion, till the fluid has becomedry and adhesive. Another dip is then given, and the-smoking done as before; and this goes on, till forty crfifty different coats have brought the sides h id soles ofthe shoe to a proper thickness. The soles, requiringgreater weight, are, of course, oftener dipped than the" upper leather."The whole process of making the shoe does not occupyhalf an hour; but it has afterwards to receive some far-ther attention in the way of ornament; the lines andfigures are yet to be executed, and this is done about
84 THE WATER-DWELLERS OF MARACAIBO.two days after the sinoking process. They are simplytraced out with a piece of smooth wire, or oftener withthe spine obtained from some' tree, as the thorny pointof the bromelia leaf.In about a week the shoes are ready to be taken fromthe last; and this is accomplished at the expense andutter ruin of the latter, which is broken into fragments,and then cleaned out. Water is used sometimes to softenthe last, and the inner surface of the shoe is washed afterthe clay has been taken out.Bottles are made precisely in the same manner, -around ball, or other shaped mass of clay, serving as themould for their construction. It requires a little moretrouble to get the mould extracted from the narrow neckof the bottle.It may be remarked that it is not the smoke of thepalm-nuts that gives to the india-rubber its peculiar darkcolor; that is the effect of age. When freshly manufac-tured, it is still of a whitish or cream color; and onlyattains the dark hue after it has been kept for a consid-erable time.We might add many other particulars about the modein which the Indian of Maracaibo employs his time, butperhaps enough has been said to show that his existenceis altogether an odd one.
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THE ESQ UIMAUX.THE Esquimaux are emphatically an "odd people,"perhaps the oddest upon the earth. The peculiar char-acter of the regions they inhabit has naturally initiatedthem into a system of habits and modes of life differentfrom those of any other people on the face of the globe;and from the remoteness and inaccessibility of the coun-tries in which they dwell, not only have they remainedan inmixed people, but scarce any change has takenplace in their customs and manners during the longperiod since they were first known to civilized nations.The Esquimaux people have been long known andtheii habits often described. Our first knowledge ofthem was obtained from Greenland, for the nativeinhabitants of Greenland are true Esquimaux,- andhundreds of years ago accounts of them were given tothe world by the Danish colonists and missionariesas also by the whalers who visited the coasts of thatinhospitable land. In later times they have been -madefamiliar to us through the Arctio explorers and whale-fishers, who have traversed the labyrinth of icy islandsthat extend northward from the continent of America.The Esquimaux may boast of possessing the lonqes0
86 THE ESQUIMAUX.country in tht world. In the first place, Greenland istheirs, and they are found along the western shores ofBaffin's Bay. In North America proper their territorycommences at the straits of Belle Isle, which separateNewfoundland from Labrador, and thence extends allaround the shore of the Arctic Ocean, not only to Behr-ing's Straits, but beyond these, around the Pacific coastof Russian America, as far south as the great mountainSt. Elias. Across Behring's' Straits they are found oc-cupying a portion of the Asiatic coast, under the nameof Tchutski, and some of the islands in the northernangle of the Pacific Ocean are also inhabited by thesepeople, though under a different name. Furthermore,the numerous ice islands which lie between NorthAmerica and the Pole are either inhabited or visitedby Esquimaux to the highest point that discovery hasyet reached.There can be little doubt that the Laplanders ofnorthern Europe, and the Samoyedes, and other littoralpeoples dwelling along the Siberian shores, are kindredraces of the Esquimaux; and taking this view of thequestion, it may be said that the latter possess all theline of coast of both continents facing northward; inother words, that their country extends around theglobe--though it cannot be said (as is often boast-ingly declared of the British empire) that "the sunnever sets upon it;" for, over the "empire" of theEsquimaux, the sun not only sets, but remains out ofsight of it for months at a time.It is not usual, however, to class the Laplanders andAsiatic Arctic people with the Esquimaux. There aresome essential points of difference; and what is here
THE ESQUIMAUX 87said of the Esquimaux relates only to those who in-haoit the northern coasts and islands of America, andto the native Greenlanders.Notwithstanding the immense extent of territory thusdesignated, notwithstanding the sparseness of the Esqui-maux population, and the vast distances by which onelittle tribe or community is separated frcm another, theabsolute similarity in their habits, in their physical andintellectual conformation, and, above all, in their lan-guages, proves incontestably that they are all originallyof one and the same race.Whatever, therefore, may be said of a " Schelling,"or native Greenlander, will be equally-applicable to anEsquimaux of Labrador, to an Esquimaux of the Mac-kenzie River or Bhering's Straits, or we might add, to aa Khadiak islander, or a Tuski of the opposite Asiaticcoast; always taking into account such differences ofcostume, dialect, modes of life, &c., as may be broughtabout by the different circumstances in which they areplaced. In all these things, however, they are wonder-fully alike; their dresses, weapons, boats, houses, andhouse implements, being almost the same in materialand construction from East Greenland to the TchutskoiNoss.If their country be the longest in the world, it is alsothe narrowest.' Of course, if we take into account thelarge islands that thickly stud the Arctic Ocean, it maybe deemed broad enough; but I am speaking ratherof the territory which they possess on the continents.This may be regarded as a mere strip following, theoutline of the coast, and never extending beyond thedistance of a day's journey inland. Indeed, they only
88 rHE ESQUIMAUX.seek the interior in the few short weeks of summer, forthe purpose of hunting the reindeer, the musk-ox, andother animals; after each excursion, returning again tothe shores of the sea, where they have their winter-houses and more permanent home. They are, trulyand emphatically, a littoral people, and it is to the seathey look for their principal means of support. Butfor this source of supply, they could not long continueto exist upon land altogether incapable of supplyingthe wants even of the most limited population.The name Esquimaux-- or, as it is sometimes writ-ten, "Eskimo,"--like many other national appella-tions, is' of obscure origin. It is supposed to havebeen given to them by the Canadian voyageurs in theemploy of the Hudson's Bay Company, and derivedfrom the words Ceux qui miaux (those who mew), inrelation to their screaming like cats. But the etymology is, to say the least, suspicious. They generally callthemselves "Inuit" (pronounced enn-oo-eet), a wordwhich signifies "men;"- though different tribes ofthem have distinct tribal appellations.In personal appearance they cannot be regarded asat all prepossessing though some of the youngermen and girls, when cleansed of the filth and greasewith which their skin is habitually coated, are far fromill-looking. Their natural color is not much darkerthan that of some of the southern nations of Europe -the Portuguese, for instance and the young girlsoften have blooming cheeks, and a pleasing expressionof countenance. Their faces are generally of a broad,roundish shape, the forehead and chin both narrow andreceding, and the' cheeks very prominent, though not
THE ESQUIMAUX. 89angular. On the contrary, they are rather fat andround. This prominence of the cheeks gives to theirnose the appearance of being low and flat; and indi-viduals are often seen with such high cheeks, that aruler laid from one to the other would not touch. thobridge of the nose between them!As they grow older their complexion becomes darker,perhaps from exposure to the climate. Very naturally,too, both men and women grow uglier, but especially thelatter, some of whom in old age present such a hideousaspect, that the early Arctic explorers could not helpcharacterizing them as witches.The average statureof the Esquimaux is far below thatof European nations, though individuals are sometimes metwith nearly six feet in height. These, however, are rareexceptions; and an Esquimaux of such proportions wouldbe a giant among his people. The more- common heightis from four feet eight inches to five feet eight; and thewomen are still shorter, rarely attaining the standard offive feet. The shortness of both men and women ap-pears to be a deficiency in length of limb, for theirbodies are long enough; but, as the Esquimaux is al-most constantly in his canoe, or "kayak," or upon hisdog-sledge, his legs have but little to do, and are conse-quently stunted in their development.A similar peculiarity is presented by the Comanche,and other Indians of the prairies, and also in the Guachosand Patagonian Indians, of the South American Pam-pas, whd spend most of their time on the backs of theirhorses.The Esquimaux have no religion, unless we dignify bythat name a belief in witches, sorcerers, " Shamans," and
90 THE ESQUIMAUX.good or evil spirits, with some confused notion of agood and bad place hereafter., Missionary zeal has beenexerted among them almost in vain. They exhibit anapathetic indifference to the teachings of Christianity.Neither have they any political organization; and inthis respect they differ essentially from most savagesknown, the lowest of whom have usually their chiefs andcouncils of elders. This absence of all government,however, is no proof of their being lower in the scaleof civilization than other savages; but, perhaps, ratherthe contrary, for the very idea of chiefdom, or govern-ment, is a presumption of the existence of vice among apeople, and the necessity of coercion and repression. Toone another these rude people are believed to act in themost honest manner; and it could be shown that suchwas likewise their behavior towards strangers until theywere corrupted by excessive temptation. All Arcticvoyagers record instances of what they term petty theft,on the part of certain tribes of Esquimaux,--that is,the pilfering of nails, hatchets, pieces of iron-hoops, &c.,- but it might be worth while reflecting that thesearticles are, in the eyes of the Esquimaux, what ingotsof gold are are to Europeans, and worth while inquir-ing if a few bars of the last-mentioned metal were laidloosely and carelessly upon the pavements of London,how long they would be in changing their owners ? Theftshould be regarded along with the amount of temptation;and it appears even in these recorded cases that only afew of the Esquimaux took part in it. I apprehendthat something mdre than a few Londoners would befound picking up the golden ingots. How many thieveshave we among us, with no greater temptation than
THE ESQUIMAUX. 91a cheap cotton kerchief? more than a few, it is to befeared.In truth, the Esquimaux are by no means the savagesthey have been represented. The only important pointin which they at all assimilate to the purely savage stateis in the filthiness of their persons, and perhaps also in thefact of their eating much of their food (fish and flesh-Smeat) in a raw state. For the latter habit, however,they are partially indebted to the circumstances in whichthey are placed fires or cookery being at times alto-gether impossible. They are not the. only people whohave been forced to eat raw flesh; and Europeans whohave travelled in that inhospitable country soon get usedto the practice, at the same time getting quite cured oftheir degoult for it.It is certainly not correct to characterize the Esqui-maux as mere savages. On the contrary, they may beregarded as a civilized people, that is, so far as civiliza-tion is permitted by the rigorous climate in which theylive ; and it would be safe to affirm that a colony of themost polished people in Europe, established as the Esqui-maux are, and left solely to their own resources, wouldin a single generation exhibit a civilization not one degreehigher than that now met with among the Esquimaux.Indeed, the fact is already established: the Danish andNorwegian colonists of West Greenland, though backedby constant intercourse with their mother-land, are butlittle more civilized than the " Skellings," who are theirneighbors.In reality, the Esquimaux have made the most of thecircumstances in which they are placed, and continue todo so. Among them agriculture is impossible, else they
92 THE ESQUIMAUX.would long since have taken to it. So too is commerce;and as to manufactures, it is doubtful whether Europeanscould excel them under like circumstances. Whateverraw material their country produces, is by them bothstrongly and neatly fabAcated, as indicated by the sur-prising skill with which they make their dresses, theirboats, their implements for hunting and fishing; and inthese accomplishments the only ones practicable undertheir hyperborean heaven they are perfect adepts. Insuch arts civilized Europeans are perfect simpletons to'them, and the theories of fireside speculators, so latelypromulgated in our newspapers, that Sir John Franklinand his crew could not fail to- procure a living where thesimple Esquimaux were able to make a home, betrayedonly ignorance of the condition of these people. Intruth, white men would starve, where the Esquimauxcould live in luxurious abundance, so far superior to oursis their knowledge both of fishing and the chase. It is awell-recorded fact, that while our Arctic voyagers, attheir winter stations, provided with good guns, nets,and every appliance, could but rarely kill a reindeer orcapture a seal, the Esquimaux obtained both in abun-dance, and apparently without an effort; and we shall,presently note the causes of their superiority in thisrespect.The very dress of the Esquimaux is a proof of theirsuperiority over other savages. At no season of theyear do they go either naked, or even "ragged." Theyhave their changes to suit the seasons, their summerdress, and one of a warmer kind for winter. Both artmade in a most complicated manner; and the prepara-tion of the material, as well as the manner by which it