Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Surinam continued
 Surinam continued (2)
 The Orinoco
 Trinidad continued
 Florida continued
 Florida continued (2)
 Florida continued (3)
 The voyage out
 The Palisadoes
 Visit to a valley in the blue mountains...
 Expedition across the mountains...
 Survival of African superstitions...
 Tropical glen near Ocho Rios
 Making a night of it
 A West Indian race meeting
 The plain of Liguanea
 Excursion to Mandeville
 Alpine Jamaica
 A tropical wood nymph
 Farewell to the land of spring...
 The Jamaica exhibition and visit...

Group Title: Adventures amidst the equatorial forests and rivers of South America : also in the West Indies and the wilds of Florida : To which is added "Jamaica revisited"
Title: Adventures amidst the equatorial forests and rivers of South America
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074003/00001
 Material Information
Title: Adventures amidst the equatorial forests and rivers of South America also in the West Indies and the wilds of Florida. To which is added "Jamaica revisited."
Alternate Title: Forests of South America
Physical Description: xxi p., 1 l., 268 p. : 21 p., 2 fold. maps (incl. front.) ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stuart, Villiers, 1827-1895
Publisher: J. Murray
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1891
Subject: Description and travel -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Guiana   ( lcsh )
Orinoco River (Venezuela and Colombia)   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Martinique   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: By Villiers Stuart, of Dromana.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074003
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000587784
oclc - 22529800
notis - ADB6498

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Table of Contents
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
    List of Illustrations
        Page xxii
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Surinam continued
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 16a
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Surinam continued (2)
        Page 24
        Page 24a
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 40a
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 56a
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    The Orinoco
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 64a
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 72a
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
    Trinidad continued
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 88a
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 96a
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 104a
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 112a
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    Florida continued
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 120a
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 128a
    Florida continued (2)
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 136a
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
    Florida continued (3)
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
    The voyage out
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 160a
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
    The Palisadoes
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 168a
        Page 169
    Visit to a valley in the blue mountains range
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
    Expedition across the mountains to St. Ann's Bay
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 176a
        Page 177
    Survival of African superstitions amongst the Jamaican negroes
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
    Tropical glen near Ocho Rios
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
    Making a night of it
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 192a
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
    A West Indian race meeting
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
    The plain of Liguanea
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
    Excursion to Mandeville
        Page 208
        Page 208a
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
    Alpine Jamaica
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
    A tropical wood nymph
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
    Farewell to the land of springs
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 234a
        Page 235
        Page 236
    The Jamaica exhibition and visit of H.R.H. Prince George of Wales
        Page 237
        Page 238
        The landing and exception of H.R.H. Prince George of Wales
            Page 239
            Page 240
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
            Page 244
            Page 245
            Page 246
            Page 247
            Page 248
        Inauguration of the exhibition by H.R.H. Prince Goerge of Wales
            Page 249
            Page 250
            Page 251
            Page 252
            Page 253
            Page 254
            Page 255
            Page 256
            Page 257
            Page 258
            Page 259
            Page 260
            Page 261
            Page 262
            Page 263
            Page 264
            Page 265
            Page 266
            Page 267
            Page 268
Full Text


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570 550

630 610 9 0 7 550 53 51

63' 61.

Whaling Ish nd


8 t --- w ---- -f8


2- 2

ZON river.
EQUAT hih.

Sc&le about 130 Miles
0a o
630- 6. sand

Sketch Map of EQUL




















THE narrative which I venture to submit to the
public is chiefly compiled from letters and journals
written at the time and on the spot.
It relates to countries, some of which have been
partially described before, but it has been my fortune
to visit remote and little-known portions of them,
encountering odd, original people, and taking part in
adventures and incidents which I trust may not be
found devoid of interest.
The illustrations are partly from outline sketches
of my own, partly from careful notes and descriptions
worked up by a gifted and artistic young friend of mine,
Mr. W. Whitelock Lloyd, who executed some of the
marine pictures at the recent Naval Exhibition, and is
beginning to attract notice.
The photo-lithographs of scenes in Jamaica are
reproduced on a much reduced scale from the admirable
series of large photographs furnished by Dr. Johnston,
of Brownstown, Jamaica, of which I have availed
myself by special permission generously accorded.
As regards the portion of this volume which deals
with Jamaica, I may state that I first visited that


island in the same year that witnessed my South
American adventures; but as I paid it a second visit
last January I thought it best to postpone any descrip-
tion of it until I could combine my earliest with my
latest impressions. These come last in point of time,
and it therefore appeared most appropriate to place
them last in the order of narrative; but I venture to
request my readers to refer back to the introductory
observations which follow before commencing the
perusal of the concluding section of this work.
The Jamaica Exhibition, which formed an interesting
incident in colonial progress, offered a suitable oppor-
tunity for calling attention to the present condition of
the island, and to the important advance in material
prosperity which it has achieved within the last quarter
of a century.
It affords notable evidence of the vastness of the
British Empire that so lovely a jewel in its crown as
the island of Jamaica should be so little known to
Englishmen as to pass almost unheeded in the cata-
logue of Imperial possessions. Yet I doubt whether
such scenes of heavenly beauty are to be found in
any other spot in their entire area. It is impossible
to exaggerate its loveliness. The most skilful writers
must despair of conveying any adequate idea of its
fairy-like charms.
But its claims to notice do not stop here. It offers
an admirable health resort to those who seek to escape
the rigours of a northern winter. Its mountain ranges


rise to a height of between 7,000 and 8,000 feet, so
that the invalid may choose his own climate. There
are gardens of Eden amongst the hills, where it is
always cool and temperate, and which are rendered
easily accessible by excellent roads, which have been
of late greatly extended and improved by the present
able and energetic Governor, Sir Henry Blake.
It also presents an interesting illustration of the
possibility of developing and improving the African
race. I visited Jamaica about thirty years ago, and at
that time found the coloured people in a semi-barbarous
condition, lazy, insolent, and indifferent to all save
the wants of the moment, caring not to better their
condition or to arrive at any higher ideal than the beasts
of the field-half naked on six days out of seven-
rigged out in such finery as they could command on
the seventh; in fact this last passion was the only
incentive ever to do a day's work. Any ambition is
better than none at all, and the desire to earn
Sunday broadcloth for themselves and earrings and
bracelets for their wives rendered some effort and
exertion necessary, and redeemed them from absolute
All this is changed now. I came out here for the
opening of the Jamaica Exhibition, and have been
astonished at the contrast presented by the existing
condition and character of the coloured population as
compared with that which I remembered on the
occasion of my first visit.


One is met on all sides by evidences of industry
and improvement. The peasantry are now neatly and
well dressed, and remarkably courteous and obliging.
They all seem to aim at raising themselves in the
world and attaining a better position. An eagerness to
turn an honest penny whenever they can has taken the
place of the former helplessness and indifference. The
women may be met by the score on their way to market,
carrying, balanced on their heads, up hill and down
dale, often their own weight of bananas or other
agricultural products. They will march fifteen or
twenty miles for the chance of trading away these
goods for a few shillings, and they are so merry and
good-humoured withal; they always have a word of
greeting for the casual tourist-" Good morning, massa,"
or whatever it may be, smiling the while and showing
a set of ivories that would drive a dentist to despair.
On Sunday they form model congregations. They have
musical voices and sing well; their children attend
school regularly.
They have also become exceedingly loyal. I doubt
whether in any part of Her Majesty's dominions the
enthusiasm with which Prince George of Wales was
welcomed on his landing last January could have been
exceeded, or the mainifestations of attachment to the
Queen surpassed.
The visit of H.R.H. was for the purpose of opening
the Exhibition, the importance attached to which by
the Jamaicans is indicated by the fact that upwards of


I0oo of the inhabitants joined in the guarantee fund,
subscribers sending in their names from every district
of the island. The Exhibition building was exceedingly
handsome and most creditable to the good taste, public
spirit and enterprise of the Colony. The architecture
was Moorish.
The Governor, Sir Henry Blake, in his opening
address to the Legislative Council said: His Royal
Highness was deeply impressed by the beauty, the extent
and the value of the Exhibition, and equally so by the
loyal enthusiasm with which he was greeted in the
splendid reception given to the grandson of the Queen
by the people of Jamaica. It would be difficult to over-
estimate the importance of the Exhibition to Jamaica.
Carried out as this great work has been by the hearty
co-operation of every class of the community, it has
demonstrated how much can be done when all work to-
gether for the common good; it has stimulated intellec-
tual activity among the people, and has brought Jamaica
with her possibilities and attractions before the world
with a prominence unequalled during the present century.
The consequence is to be seen in the keen competition
for her trade, and there are already indications that the
close of the Exhibition will find the island endowed with
more than one valuable industry hitherto undeveloped,
while markets will be found for products till now
neglected. Nor will the benefit be confined to Jamaica,
for the products of the Bahamas, Barbadoes, Grenada,
St. Vincent, and Turk's Islands are exhibited in their


respective courts, and are being noted by observant
The result fully bore out his Excellency's anticipation.
Large numbers of the coloured population from all
parts of the island attended, and the educational effect
in enlightening their minds and enlarging their ideas
must have been excellent.
Before its close upwards of 300,000 individuals had
passed the turnstiles. It may be useful here to state
that the population of the island is about 650,000; its
area is upwards of 4,000 square miles or 2,500,000
acres; its circuit 400 miles. Its exports, according
to the last returns, were valued at [1,614,824. Its
imports at [1,597,600. The chief articles exported
consisted of coffee, sugar, bananas and other fruit,
dye-woods, annatto, cocoa-nuts, rum, pimento, cattle
and horses; also fibre plants (for which the island is
eminently fitted), ginger and many minor products.
In 1888-89, dye-woods formed 25 per cent. of the
exports ; bananas and other fruit 20 per cent., coffee
19 per cent., sugar 16 per cent.
The banana trade is rapidly increasing, the demand
being inexhaustible. This product has become a great
favourite as a food with the working classes in the
United States, who find it a very sustaining as well as
a palatable, agreeable and convenient article of diet.
The miners of Colorado are specially fond of it. In
1888-89 1,417,282 bunches were exported; many
bunches contain Ioo bananas.


Of course all these staple products, together with the
processes of preparation, were amply illustrated at the
Exhibition, and formed a most interesting and instructive
feature of it.
The coloured visitors took an intelligent interest in
the contents of the various courts, though I fear the
band and the steam merry-go-round had the best of it
in the race for popularity by day, and the illuminations
and fireworks by night. But is it otherwise at South
Kensington ? The Governor has promoted the Indus-
trial School movement, an encouraging beginning has
been made, and the little Africans who attend are quite
competent to profit by them. They make good car-
penters, and are quick to learn.
The popular idea of Jamaica is of an island ruined
by the Emancipation, a region of derelict estates with a
scattered population of negro squatters paying no rent,
living in squalid huts, supporting life on yams and
bananas, and indebted to the calabash tree for their
only household utensils. This idea was true once, but
the realities of native Jamaican life are far different
T ere are many thriving and prosperous estates
owned by planters, some of whom are resident,
manage their estates themselves, and form an influen-
tial element in Jamaican society; others leave the
work to agents, and content themselves with an annual
There are sugar estates in the lowlands, and coffee


and cocoa estates in the highlands, which return a
handsome income to their possessors; there are ex-
tensive grass lands on which cattle and horses are
raised, the latter so good as to have attracted the
attention of military authorities as suitable for
The agricultural population consists chiefly of small
cultivators, who pay an average rent of one pound
sterling per acre for their holdings, live in neat cottages
built of wattles and thatched with palm leaves, cultivate
bananas, yams, bread-fruit, sugar, coffee, cocoa, ginger,
arrowroot, ground nuts, cocoa-nut palms, and other
tropical products, such as custard apples, star apples,
oranges, pine-apples, mangoes, and a variety of fruits
the names of which would convey no meaning to those
who have never had the privilege of visiting the West
The coloured population are well dressed, and gave
me the idea of being the merriest and happiest
peasantry I had met with in any part of the world.
The varied produce is brought by the women for
sale to the nearest town. At every centre of population
there is an excellent market hall, airy, open and cool,
beneath the shade of which growers and consumers
meet and bargain. The wife has tramped on foot for
miles under a hot sun, loaded as above described; the
husband has ridden to market comfortably on the family
donkey, beneath the shade of a cotton umbrella, the
only article he has carried.


In my various expeditions through the island I
was much struck by the intelligence of the negro
drivers; they gave me much information, and were
all unanimous in praising the present Governor, and
detailing the improvement in roads and everything
else due to his energy and conscientious devotion to
his duties.


.Avow ber, 1891.



Voyage from Demerara to Dutch Guiana-The Nicarie River-French Con-
victs-The Surinam River-Paramaribo-Vultures-The Market Place .

Start for the Interior-Arawak Indians-Bush Negroes-Cocoa-nut Milk as a
Beverage-Grandeur of the Surinam Forests-Tree Lilies-Settlers' Houses
-Inflating the Air-Bed-Licence allowed to Slaves-A Forest Bungalow-
My Indian Escort-Tropical Insects and Birds 9

The Great Equatorial Forest-Monkeys-Parasol Ants-Vegetable Thug--
Parasites-l'oisoned Arrows-Impressive View of the Sierra dividing
Guiana from the Basin of the Amazon-My Crew Mutiny and Disappear-
Desperate Straits-Return of the Deserters-Again at Paramaribo 24

The Maroni River-A Convict Settlement-A Curious Phenomenon-Cayenne
-Badonel-The Governor's Visit-Escaped Convicts-A Terrible Inci-
dent-Convict Tradesmen-A Garden of Eden-Coasting Vessels-An
Unsatisfactory Interview 36

Georgetown-The Essequibo River-Mangrove Thickets-An Unpleasant
Experience-Climbing Fish-A Native Village-Petty Sessions Court-
Negro School-Children-Georgetown again-Voyage resumed-My Fellow-
Travellers-A Chequered Honeymoon-Flora and Fauna of the Orinoco
River .. 49



River Travelling-A Plague of Mosquitoes-Maracotto-A Forest March-
Ant-Bear and Jaguar-A Sand-Storm-Arrival at Angostura-A Coloured
Governor-The Town described-Trade carried on by the Indian Tribes-
White Indians 62


Forest Excursions-Gulf of Paria-Port of Spain-Coral Trees-" Flowing
Bowles "-Negro Love of Finery-The Pitch Lake-A Gastronomist-
Ortolan Pie .. 71

Visit to a Whale-fishing Establishment-My Host-Whale-steaks-Fishing
Expedition-Sharks-An Exciting Incident-A Romantic Bath-My Host
meets with an Accident-The Wonderful Bellows-Vampires 78

Grenada-St. Vincent-Barbadoes-Arrival at Martinique-St. Pierre-A Trip
into the Interior-A Tug of War-Fort de France-Tree Ferns-The
Bains des Pitons-Mountain Crabs-A Tour on Horseback-Trinity-A
Mountain Pass-A Country Seat-The Island of St. Thomas go


Trip to the Everglades-St. James on the Gulf-Tarpon Fishing-Punta Rassa
-Shipping Cattle-Fort Myers-Professional Hunters-A Weird Cemetery
-The Everglades-Seminole Indians-Lake Ocheechobee-Kissimmee
River o6


Prairie Fires-Encounter with a Prairie Bull-Rattlesnakes-Wild Fowl-
Pelicans-Lake Kissimmee 117


Lake Worth-A Primitive Settlement-Return on foot to Jupiter Inlet-
Professional Wreckers A Toilsome Tramp The Inlet at last -
A Strange Love-Bower-An Indian Shell-Mound-The Indian River-
Manatees 129

The United States Route to the West Indies-Tampa-Its Great Hotel-
Cuban Colony-Phosphate Deposits-American Sleeping-Car Experiences i4o



The Voyage Out-The Azores-Barbadoes-Hayti-Jacmel-A Decayed
Town-The Emperor Soulouque 155


The Palisadoes-Kingston-Myrtle-bank Hotel-The Exhibition Building-
King's House-Hospitable reception 164


Visit to a Valley in the Blue Mountains Range-Industrial School at Stoney
Hill ........ 170


Expedition across the Mountains to St. Ann's Bay-St. Thomas in the Vale--
Mount Diablo-Giant Trees-Market Day at Moneague 173


Survival of African Superstitions amongst the Jamaican Negroes-Relics of the
Serpent Myth-Curious Identity of emblem and customary Sacrifice with
those of the typical Medicine Man of the Greeks 178


Tropical Glen near Ocho Rios-Strange forms of Vegetation-Splendid Ferns-
Orchids-Humming Birds-The Village of Eight Rivers-Falls of Roaring
River-Curious Phenomenon-Miss Watson's Lodging-house 183

Making a Night of it-St. Ann's by Daylight-A Planter's Club-The Kola
Nut-The Banana Trade-Runaway Bay-Tropical Swamp Flowers-
Admirable Road System of Jamaica 189

A West Indian Race Meeting-Up Park Camp -Polo Matches-A Fete on
board the British Fleet .. 197

The Plain of Liguanea-Condition of its Inhabitants-Spanish Town-Excur-
sion through the Valley of the Rio Cobre. . 203

Excursion to Mandeville-Aspect of the intervening Country-Brook's Hotel-
Lively Colonials-A word about Ticks-A Canine Concert 208

Alpine Jamaica-A Summer Chilet-A Rector and his Black Sheep-New-
castle-Warriors with Domestic Tastes-The Mongoose 213


A Tropical Wood Nymph-Raymond Hall and its Approaches-Cocoa Cultiva-
tion-Old-fashioned Hospitality-Reminiscences 222


Farewell to the Land of Springs-The Maroon Country-Bath-Point Morant
-Port Antonio-Scenery of North Coast-Loading Bananas at Runaway
Bay-Lucea--Voyage to Florida .. 230



The Landing and Reception of Prince George of Wales 239


Inauguration of the Exhibition by Prince George of Wales 249


The Opening of the Legislative Council-The Governor's Address-Brilliant
Banquet 255


























S Frontispiece

To face page 16

S.. ,, 24




S ,, 56

,, 64

,, 72

,, So

,, 88


,, 104

,, 112

S ,, 120


S 136


,, 168

S 176

,, 192








WISHING to explore the great equatorial forest in the
interior of Guiana, and to reach the watershed which
separates it from the valley of the Amazon, I embarked
in November, 1858, at Demerara for Paramaribo, the
capital of Surinam. There were twenty other passengers,
all Dutch. Unluckily for us, both the mail steamers
were under repair, and we had to make the trip in a
small river boat. She plunged about in the ocean
swell as if she were bent on committing suicide; my
fellow travellers were soon hors de combat, and the floor
of her little saloon was paved with ladies, babies, and
basins; there were no berths nor any other sleeping
accommodation except the floor. In the midst of this
scene of woe the cabin table was arranged for dinner


by the steward, a raw Dutch lad with yellow hair and
broad beam, who had much difficulty in laying the cloth.
In doing so he trod on some of the unfortunate vraus "
and "vrauleins," who I must say bore their sufferings
with greater fortitude than the French and Spanish
ladies whom I had seen under similar adversities. The
dinner consisted of soup, in which every element of soup
had been omitted except the grease, and two starved
chickens whose legs stuck out rigidly as if they had
died from the effects of strychnine. These delicacies
our worthy skipper dispensed to the fair occupants bn
the floor through the medium of the steward, whose
width of base stood him in good stead in the violent
pitching and rolling which prevailed ; nothing else
saved the lad from plunging head foremost amongst the
bevy of beauties (Dutch, creole and mulatto) that adorned
the carpet. I had descended only to reconnoitre, and
soon made my escape to the deck with a biscuit and
a piece of Dutch cheese. Every mattress was occupied,
but I triumphantly drew forth from my portmanteau the
air-bed which I had brought with me, and inflated it
to the great astonishment of the black steersman, who
became so absorbed in contemplation that he forgot
the helm, and the little craft began yawing about in the
trough of the sea more furiously than ever. Curiosity
is a weakness of his race.
His duties were manifold, for when we approached
shallow water he would leave the wheel, run to take
soundings, and then skurry back again, and begin
working it frantically. I did not obtain as good a
night's rest as I expected. I had placed the aforesaid
air-bed on deck, and every sailor as he passed stopped
to punch it, causing one to dream of sub-marine earth'



quakes. 1 was awoke for the last time at daybreak by
a final paroxysm of punching, and found two good;
looking mulatto women pushing and squeezing away at
my mattress, their tongues going in Dutch at the rate
of twenty.miles an hour. I immediately jumped up and
offered to let them try whether it was comfortable; they
giggled, displayed two very white sets of ivories, .and
would evidently have liked of all things to take me at
my word, but after a little hesitation they came to the
conclusion that it would not be quite the thing, and
Soon afterwards we entered the Nicarie river, up
which lies the first Dutch frontier settlement. The
channel is very narrow, and dense forest comes down
to the water's edge, while mangrove thickets invade the
sea itself and form an impassable fringe along the
shore and river bank. At its mouth a little Dutch
war-sloop is anchored, with her guns ready to blow to
pieces anything attempting to pass between her and
the mangroves without her commander's consent.
The settlement, which consists of a few wooden houses
and a church, is closely besieged by the forest, but
higher up the river occur coffee, cane, and cotton planta-
tions, which create some trade for the little port. I saw
here for the first time a very thick hard nut the kernel
of which tastes like the sweetest fresh butter; the milk
tree is also indigenous. At the time of my visit the value
of this last was not fully understood, but recently it
has been discovered that not only does its sap abound
in caoutchouc, but that the article manufactured from
it possesses peculiarities which impart to it special
virtues. I may here mention that a variety of trees
and vines in the equatorial forest produce india.

CHAP. i.1


rubber and gutta-percha. Amongst these are the bush
ropes or lines which form such a characteristic feature
of the vegetation of these latitudes. The Governor, to
whom I was introduced, told me that far up the river
lived wild negroes without whose permission no boat
could pass.
We took on board six French convicts, who had
escaped from Cayenne in a canoe, and had lived in the
bush some weeks before they were finally captured.
A more repulsive, wicked, reckless-looking half-dozen I
never saw. They were attired in prison dresses of
coarse sackcloth, and had dirty cotton handkerchiefs
fastened round their close-cropped heads. They were
escorted by six Dutch soldiers and a corporal; the
latter wore a very handsome order, the highest military
decoration which the Dutch Government has to bestow.
It is their Victoria Cross, and carries with it the title of
knight. The corporal had earned it on the coast of
Celebes island. A nest of pirates occupied a rock from
which they kept up a destructive fire upon the corvette
sent to capture them. The heroic soldier offered to
scale this stronghold if five others would accompany
him, and he succeeded with his little band in dislodging
the robbers, killing many of them, and driving the sur-
vivors into the clutches of the main attacking party.
The Government would have rewarded him with his
commission, but the poor fellow could not read or write,
which was a fatal bar to his promotion; it was imprac-
ticable even to make him a sergeant. The prisoners
beguiled the time in chewing tobacco, eating salt fish
and coarse bread, and in sleeping, to all outward
appearances quite indifferent to their somewhat clouded



We reached the mouth of the Surinam river twenty
hours later, and the outlaws were the only passengers
who seemed sorry that the trip was approaching its
The Surinam forests are the grandest I have yet
seen; trees of noble stature actually overhang the
salt water, a little way back immense buttress trees
extend their great cedar-like branches above the lesser
growth, and from those huge arms droop tangled
masses of vegetable cordage which descend till they are
lost amongst the under-growth of minor bush; these
details I discerned by the aid of an excellent telescope
which the Captain lent me. Vegetation goes on with
such formidable energy here that if land be neglected
for six months it is covered with a dense growth of
shrubs and saplings, and in two years impenetrable
bush hides all trace of human occupation. Neatly laid
out plantations sloping to the water's edge occur all
the way up the river to Paramaribo, and greetings were
interchanged as we passed between the passengers on
board and the Dutch lairds who were smoking their
pipes beneath their pretty verandahs. Each plantation
appears as a square clearing, covered with bright green
sugar-cane, tall forest trees standing sentry all round.
The planter's house is usually situated near the river,
with a long low sugar-boiling factory and its tall chimney
close by; not far off, too, are the cottages and provision
grounds of the slaves, but evil days are in store for these
patriarchal little Utopias. Emancipation is close at
hand, and then the forest will claim its own again, and
Mynheer's pipe will no more send up its incense from
those Arcadian bowers, till abundant immigration shall
have supplied the labour market anew.


The country is quite flat, though its level is rather
higher than that of Demerara. We steamed along the
coast the whole way from Georgetown, three hundred
miles; it is all low, and covered with forest. The
climate is the most equable in the world. Since I have
been in these latitudes the temperature has never varied
from 80o-85, day or night, by sea or land. It would
be the paradise of consumptive patients.
We passed Fort Amsterdam and the confluence of
the Commerwine with the Surinam, and soon afterwards
a turn in the river disclosed Paramaribo, with its ship-
ping, its painted houses and pretty gardens, and its
stately palm and tamarind avenues. There lay at
anchor a gunboat, two mail steamers, and several
Dutch, English, and American ships. The scene was
further diversified by canoes, and queer-looking country
barges thatched with palm leaves.
On arrival at the wharf, custom-house officers came
on board, and civilly passed my luggage without
When casting my eye over the map of South America
I had often looked with curiosity at Dutch Guiana, and
wondered what sort of a place it might be which was
so near the equator, and yet inhabited by natives of
damp, foggy Holland. What form would Hollandism
assume when transplanted to the torrid zone ? I little
imagined that I should one day have an opportunity of
judging for myself, but here I was in the heart of that
remote little known colony, and felt agreeably surprised
to find it a very pleasant abode. I met with much civility
from all the Dutchmen with whom I came in contact.
They retained their characteristics unimpaired. Every-
thing is neat, clean, and orderly; the streets carefully.




swept arid strewn with sand and shells; the houses newly
painted outside, trim and tidy within; the thoroughfares
lined with beautiful avenues of trees; the gardens adorned
with lovely flowers and sedulously weeded. All busi-
ness is conducted with clockwork punctuality, especially
the business of dinner, for Mynheer has lost none of the
gastronomic prowess of his ancestors. The Paramaribo
citizen is proud of Holland, but he is prouder still of
Paramaribo! He is constantly exacting admiration for
his town. One wooden house after another is pointed
out as an architectural triumph: the barracks, the
public offices, the clubs and churches are all displayed
as chefs-d'oeuvre. The Paramaribean is very courteous.
It is the custom here to raise the hat to all strangers.
On landing several passers-by offered me their hands,
and bade me welcome to their town; they introduced
me to the club, invited me to their houses, and gave
all the information in their power.
This is very different from the neighboring colony
of Demerara, where the inhabitants unite with one
accord in abusing the country and everything connected
with it, and whose only aim is to coin dollars as fast as
possible, and get back to Europe.
Conspicuous citizens of Paramaribo are the black-
hooded vultures, which stalk about in the streets and
fraternize with ducks, poultry, and naked children,
promenade amongst the market baskets, and line the
river banks and house-tops. There is a fine of 200oo
dollars for shooting one of these birds, a fact which
appears to be well-known to them. I have seen fifty
together under the tamarind avenues, where the
marketing goes on. The aspect of the market place
is varied by whimsical looking little girls of various



shades of colour, with strings of coral wound several
times round their middles,-and nothing else in the
way of toilet except tufts of plaited wool which stick
out from their heads at every possible angle, giving
them the appearance of little Medusas. Another
feature is the midday siesta, which is a sacred institu-
tion, everyone taking to their hammocks at noon, and
the stillness of midnight prevails in the town until
4 P.M.
Any one arriving at Paramaribo within those hours
would suppose it to be a deserted city, the inhabitants
of which had been laid under a spell by the wand of
some enchanter.



AFTER a few days' sojourn at Paramaribo I engaged
a boat manned by slaves, and started for the interior.
I had selected the Surinam for my attempt to reach
the watershed of the Amazon basin, because it takes its
rise in that section of the dividing ridge which approaches
further northwards than any other in its entire extent.
The sources of the Surinam were at that time
unsurveyed, and are even now, I believe, but im-
perfectly traced.
My crew consisted of six negroes and a steersman.
Their laziness exceeded anything that an Englishman
can imagine, prior to experience. While rowing they
keep up a languid chant, not unlike cats upon the
house-top, the strokes of the oar occurring in the
course of this performance as a sort of surprise at
the end of each verse. These efforts, few and far
between, are constantly interrupted by noisy disputes
and by attempts to stop the boat for the day at every


plantation reached. To listen to them one would
suppose that they were just expiring of fatigue. They
groan, they catch crabs, they roll about on the thwarts,
and in the midst of these proceedings the tide turns,
and they have not reached half way to the point where
they are to spend the night; then they drop their oars
and declare they will work no more, but will go back
to the last plantation. At this crisis the angry Briton
emerges from his den-a cabin composed of palm stems.
He arraigns them in energetic language; then when they
find he does not mean to be trifled with, they proceed
to show what those brawny arms and deep chests can
do. It is an English axiom that a man is nothing
without his breeches, but these sons of Ham think
otherwise. When they mean to work in earnest, the
first thing they do is to take off that garment; they
divest themselves of every vestige of clothing, and begin
pulling at the oars like madmen, and yelling like fiends,
and urge the heavy boat against a strong current at a
respectable rate for hours together. One quarter of
these exertions w6uld have sufficed while the tide was
running up, but that is not their way. Negroes seem
incapable of looking forward, or indeed of remembering.
To-day's experience will be lost upon them on the
morrow, and the same scene will be enacted time after
As I looked upon those naked men and watched them
yelling and gesticulating, it occurred to me how little
their intercourse with the white man had done for them,
and how unchanged their wild African natures remained
after a continued residence for generations amidst
civilization. They have been carefully instructed in
Christianity, but they still dance round the Cancan tree

[CHAP. 11.


ahd worship Obeah. Their sole and only idea of liberty
is to work no more for ever, but to roast plantains, and
sleep in the sun the livelong day.
Soon after leaving Paramaribo we were engulfed in the
depths of the great South American forest, and the only
human beings we met upon the river were an occasional
party of Indians in their canoes. The tribe hereabouts
is the Arawak; they have long black hair and Tartar
features, with enormous mouths. They are always
accompanied by a couple of cur dogs with sharp ears
and curly tails. These are very useful for finding game
in the depths of the forest, and also in pointing tortoises,
which are a common article of food and barter here;
and excellent they are. I was several times indebted,
to them for a savoury stew. The Indians wear no
clothes, but their necks, arms and waists are adorned
with strings of beads. They are fine powerfully built
men, and bear a good character, being peaceable and
honest. They live in huts made of bamboo and palm
leaves; in these they sling their hammocks, and hang
up their bows, arrows, and fish spears, as also their
blow-pipes. The famous wourali-poison, with which
the arrows are tipped, is kept suspended from the root
in a neat little basket. They clear a small patch of
forest by burning the bark of the trees, and planting
cassava amongst the ashes. They subsist upon this crop,
and the proceeds of their hunting and fishing excur-
sions. The root. of the cassava resembles a horse-
radish. It is first mashed, and the juice being,
poisonous, it is absolutely necessary to separate it from
the farina, which is the valuable part of the plant. For
this purpose .the pulp is pressed into a cylinder of
woven cane-work, strong and very elastic. It. is about



six feet long, with a stout loop at each end. When this
receptacle is full, it is hung up to the beam of the hut;
the Indian's wife runs a stick through the lower loop,
upon which she sits astride; the effect is to squeeze the
contents of the cylinder and cause the objectionable sap
to exude. Happy is the Indian who has a heavy help-
mate! When separated from the juice the farina is
spread to dry in the sun, and made into thin wafer-like
cakes, which are very nourishing and form a good
substitute for bread.
Besides the Indians one meets bush-negroes. These
are the descendants of runaway slaves, who have estab-
lished themselves far up the river, and are perfectly
wild and savage. The Government recognize them as
free and independent, and have made a treaty defining
the limits of their territory, and securing to them
certain rights. They wear no clothes, speak a dialect
of their own, live in the same manner as the Indians,
and are considerably blacker than domesticated negroes.
They come down to Paramaribo with tortoises, deer,
and curassow birds (a fowl about as large as a turkey,
with glossy black plumage and a yellow beak), bringing
back a return cargo of spirits, tobacco, and fish-hooks.
In spite of the efforts of missionaries they have
relapsed into heathenism. The domesticated negroes
are extremely afraid of them, the consequence of which
to myself I shall have occasion to narrate further on.
Soon after starting, I found that drinkable water
would be a difficulty during the expedition, for the
river was so polluted with vegetable matter that it
offered anything but a pleasant diluent. A con-
siderable contingent is furnished by the drainage from
the forest. Fearing fever, I determined to consume as

[CHAP. It.


little of it as possible, and as a substitute I instructed
my crew to collect cocoa-nuts whenever the opportunity
presented itself, and their milk formed my principal
beverage; fortunately, plenty of these invaluable palms
occurred throughout our trip.
A planter told me that he had sunk a well in the
hope of procuring pure spring water; he excavated to a
depth of seventy-five feet, but finding that the soil
continued to consist of sticks, leaves, and silt, he gave
it up, concluding that water percolating through such
material could not be any improvement on that
furnished by the river. But I deduced another con-
clusion, viz., that the Guiana coast had been slowly
sinking, for it is manifest that the vegetable matter
now seventy-five feet deep had once been on the surface.
No description can convey any idea of the grandeur
of the Equatorial forests, or of the loveliness of its
flora. It must be remembered that there is as great a
difference between the equatorial vegetation and the
tropical forests a few degrees north or south of the
line, as there is between the latter and European wood-
land scenery. The region which I was traversing was
about four degrees north of the equator. The forests
are similar to those in Central Africa; indeed, the
equatorial forest is much alike all round the world.
In its depths there exists the same gloom which
Stanley dwells on as so oppressive. The dense canopy
of foliage, expanded something like a hundred feet
overhead, lets comparatively little daylight through.
Except in accidental open spaces the sun never
penetrates; the atmosphere is steamy with warm
vapour, and the occurrence of marshy. ground under
foot frequent.

CHAP. 11.]


The parallelism with Stanley's forest is completed by
the fact of those of the Surinam being also tenanted by
wild African negroes as already stated.
The outline is varied and broken in every possible
way, as shown in the annexed illustration.
The banks of the Surinam are lined with arborescent
lilies, bearing a large white flower resembling the lily
of the Nile. They are probably members of the Arum
family. The stems are thick and woody, and standing
as close as they can be packed, they present an impene.
trable barrier between the river and the shore. Fron-
the branches which wave over these, hang down
festoons of flowers, red, yellow, blue, and rose-coloured;
bright-plumaged birds fly to and fro, and a multitude of
cries and sounds issue forth from the interior. In the
thick cover behind are panthers (black and spotted),
ant-bears, jaguars, wild boars, deer, curassow birds, boa
constrictors, apes, monkeys, and tapirs. The curassow
birds are excellent eating, the flesh not unlike turkey.
Terra firma cannot be reached from the river except
at points where the Indians have cut a lane through the
tree-lilies. If one wishes to land at any other point one
must carve one's way to shore foot by foot. In the forest
itself the Indians have made paths in different directions
along which they hunt. These are also utilized by
jaguars and other wild beasts, and it would not be
safe to traverse them unarmed. Luckily the beasts of
prey sleep during the day; in fact there seems to be a
sort of" Box and Cox arrangement between them and
the human denizens of the forest-the dne set of lodgers
promenading by day and the other by night.:
During the first part of our expedition up the river;
plantations occurred at intervals, growing however



fewer and farther between as we advanced into the
interior. On reaching a settler's house about sundown
the traveller takes up his quarters there as a matter
of course; in fact, if he attempted to pass on without
visiting the owner, the latter would come to the river
side and press him to stay. The usual course towards
evening was to moor our boat at one of these planta-
tions; the crew formed a procession, each member
carrying some one article on his head-no individual
would burthen himself with more than a single object;
Perhaps the first would carry a big trunk balanced
on his woolly pate, while the load of the next was
limited to a tobacco pipe 1 On arriving at the house
a slave would bring slippers and a glass of grog or
After a short interval of conversation the owner
conducted me to my room, generally a large, empty
chamber, with no furniture beyond a couple of wooden
chairs. The crew deposited all my goods and chattels
and arranged them on the floor. Then followed the
process of inflating the air-bed which I carried with me,
an unfailing object of lively curiosity, which attracted
all the slaves in the establishment, great and small
male and female, yellow, brown, and black: They
stood staring at the process with their mouths wide
open, while the functionary whose business it was to
work the bellows was regarded by them quite as an
enchanter. The negro to whom this office had been
allotted swaggered much, marching about consequen;
tially on the strength of it. As the room contained no
wash-stand or accessories, a couple of slave girls in
the scantiest drapery entered bearing a brass basin and
jug. One of them became temporarily an animated



wash-stand, the other a towel-horse, while a third
poured water over my hands; the three Graces in
ebony, statuesque models for the sculptor, but embar-
rassing adjuncts to the toilet of a bashful man.
The supper consisted of cold fish, cold stewed tortoise,
cheese, ham, and cassava bread. This meal ended,
chairs were placed under the verandah, and conversation
and cigars beguiled the time till bed hour. At seven in
the morning came coffee, cassava bread, ham, Dutch
cheese and Dutch butter; then a walk round the plan.
station, after which I started on my way up the river,
many kind things being said and done, and some little
delicacy put into the boat as a final viaticum.
The houses are of wood, and heavy beams cross the
ceiling in the old Saxon style, unencumbered with
plaster, the plank walls admitting the wind at every
crevice. Glass shades protect the candles from being
blown out. The slaves go to and fro as they please,
staring at every proceeding of their master and mistress
without rebuke. A far greater degree of licence is
allowed to them than would be tolerated in the case of
English servants. I have seen a jet-black urchin of
eight years of age with his head on the floor and his
heels in the lap of the lady of the house. The
domestic slaves seemed to repair to the drawing-room
whenever curiosity prompted them to ascertain what
was going on there.
At one plantation our absent-minded host was
always permitting the sacred fire on that altar of Vesta,
his pipe, to expire, necessitating an attendant whose-
sole business was to keep a piece of charcoal aglow
wherewith to restore the vital spark. At another
place the slaves who attended us. at table wore jackets


-D 1. 11A


P .

Jll I

I"" p'"







in honour of the stranger-but no trousers. *At another,
the family livery consisted of a clean cotton hand-
kerchief thrown over the shoulder, and tied in front of
the throat.
I halted one night at the establishment of a fine old
gentleman, a retired officer, who had been for many
years in the Dutch navy, stationed at Java, Borneo
and the Celebes Islands, of which places he had many
yarns to tell, but now he has beaten his sword into a
pruning-hook, and settled in the Surinam forests, where
he amuses himself by cultivating the chief tropical
In his prime he had married a Javanese princess who
had been assigned an annuity by the Government in
lieu of her hereditary power and privileges. His dis-
tinguished spouse still shared his fortunes but lived in
the closest seclusion, only. appearing when the Dutch
Commissioners annually visited her, in order to verify
her continued existence. On these occasions she
received them glittering with diamonds, and enter-
tained them with a banquet served on gold and silver
My host while stationed at Surinam had fallen so
much in love with the extreme richness and .beauty of
the South American forest that he gave up his pro-
fession and bought an unreclaimed tract on the Surinam
His residence consisted of two bungalows of timber
roughly hewn in the neighboring woods, and thatched
with palm leaves. Wooden cleets had been nailed to the
beams, from which at night the hammocks were slung.
Along the walls hung Indian fish-spears, blow-pipes,
bows, javelins, nets, rifles, and all the other implements



of a hunter's life. Jaguar skins and bear hides strewed
the floor, and formed the ottomans on which we sat.
The palm-leaf roof projected so as to form a low
verandah surrounding the house, the columns which
supported it were trunks of the Miritis palm ; they formed
shafts, smooth, straight and round as the columns of a
cathedral aisle.
The bungalows were situated on an eminence over-
looking the river, one of those natural savannas
which sometimes occur in tropical forests, nature hav-
ing some mode or other of protecting them from the
invasion of the formidable vegetation which girdles
them. Long rich grass covered the ground, and a few
orange, lemon, mango and other fruit trees dotted the
hill-side. Under the shade of these stood the dairy
cows, small skinny specimens of the Orinoco breed.
The fences consisted of Allamanda bushes in full
Behind the bungalow was a garden in which my host
cultivated various Javanese as well as native plants.
There grew Mocha coffee, cloves, nutmegs, lemon
grass for fevers, tobacco, the purple pineapple of Java,
vanilla, cocoa-nut trees, arrowroot, cassava and a plant
from the fibres of which this eccentric old sailor spun all
the cordage and lines he required.
Below us flowed the broad yellow tide of the Surinam,
its width rather exceeding that of the Thames at
London Bridge. On the opposite side of the river, from
amid the dense tangled mass of undercover, rose the tall
grey stems of the virgin forest, and as far as ever the
eye could reach, all was'trees, trees, trees, and still
The gallant captain himself was a splendid old fellow,




tall and strongly built. A very Nazarite, no razor had
touched his chin or upper lip since he had adopted this
strange wild home. A white beard flowed in luxuriant
waves half way down his ample breast. What bear's
grease or Macassar he had used I know not, but so
dense was the shaggy growth that not more than one
third of his bronzed visage was to be seen, his nose and
a limited portion of territory around that feature ap-
pearing as a savanna amid the hairy jungle which
girdled it; he had keen piercing grey eyes, his speech
was slow and somewhat pompous. Between sixty and
seventy summers, most of them tropical ones, had passed
over his head, yet his upright vigorous frame betrayed
no symptoms of decay. He looked as if born to be a
king of men.
He had acquired great influence with the Arawak
Indians, and on learning that I wished to explore the
forest and add to my collection of plumage birds, he
at once offered to arrange an expedition for me under
the auspices of the redskins, a tribe of whom happened
to be in the vicinity, so that there was nothing to
prevent our starting next morning. The expedition
promised to be full of interest, and I closed with his
offer with cordial assent. I was up before daybreak
eager for adventure.
Our breakfast consisted of coffee from the garden,
milk, cassava bread, wild turkey and leg of peccari,
both cold. My Havannah cigars formed our dessert,
and were pronounced first rate by my host, although his
home-grown tobacco was by no means to be despised.
He apologized for not being able to accompany me, he
was suffering from the effects of a recent attack of fever.
He however sent his factotum instead; this was a
C 2



Dutch sailor who had served under the old hero and now
shared his retirement. Both he and his patron spoke
German, which was our medium of communication.
Near Mr. W.'s plantation there was a pretty little
savanna close to the water side, serving for a landing-
place. The party of Indians, five in number, whom he
had engaged to escort me through the forest, were
assembled here; two of them, bending over a small
fire, were toasting plantains, the smell of which resem-
bled roast chestnuts ; the three others, regardless of
alligators, were floundering about in the tepid flood-
82 or 83.
Not far from them were my negroes, lying on their
backs in the delight of utter indolence, the great boat
drawn up high and dry being indicative of a halt and
no pulling for the day.
Hi, hi, hi, Massa go shoot fowls, we sleep plenty
dis day," such was the text over which the ebony
rogues grinned with delight and kicked their lazy
heels. Mr. W. introduced me to my Indian escort,
speaking to them in their own dialect. As I said
before, he has considerable influence with the forest
tribes hereabouts. I have no doubt whatever that
they are identical in race with the redskins of North
America, the difference of complexion being due to
climate. They wear no clothes, but their ankles are
decorated with anklets, below the knee is a leather
ring, while long necklaces hang down to their middles.
These necklaces consist of glass beads or of large
seeds alternately red and black the size of ounce
bullets. Except for these ornaments and their weapons,
they stood as nature made them. Their straight black
hair looked as: if it had been cropped school-boy fashion

[CHAP. n-


with the aid of a bowl. In manner they were grave,
reserved, and very silent, a great contrast to the laugh-
ing, chattering, excitable negro. Each man held in his
hand a bundle consisting of a blow-pipe eight feet long,
a bow and several arrows. While on the tramp they
carry these in their hands, but when about to shoot they
lay down the surplus arrows on the ground, reserving
one for use. They carry besides a quiver filled, not with
Cupid's darts, but splinters of hard wood, slung from
their shoulders by a cord made of twisted grass, as also
a couple of little basket-work receptacles for the silk-
cotton and poison. The bow and arrows are about
fve feet in length, the latter being as long as the
former and winged with feathers; nearly four feet of
the upper part of the arrow consists of a light reed or
cane, the remaining portion consists of a shaft of hard
heavy wood, the extremity pointed and fashioned in
the shape of a lozenge and not like an ordinary
arrow-head, one side being armed with barbs five in
number, nicked out of the wood. The cane is hollow,
and the hard-wood point I have described is inserted
into the cavity, and tightly laced round with very fine
.whip-cord woven from grass. The Indians' whole
stock of arrows seldom exceeds half-a-dozen, and they
are very chary in the use of them, only discharging
when they can make sure that there is a good chance
of recovering their weapons.
Annexed is a sketch of my native escort. The fern
beneath which they stand, as well as the remarkable
,plant to the left, were sketched by me on the spot; the
.former is reduced in proportion by one-third, for only
thus could it be included within the limits of the plate.
The actual length of a single frond as measured by


myself was 19 feet. The figures are the work of a
talented young friend of mine from description aided by
a photograph. He has, however, omitted some of the
ornaments, as also the quiver and basket, which should
appear slung across the shoulder and hanging at the
left side of each native.
Our escort, thus accoutred, strode before us along
a well-worn track that led inland, grasping their jave-
lins, blow-pipes, and snakewood bows in their hands,
and having nothing on their heads to shield them from
that fierce blazing sun, which had raised my thermometer
on the preceding day to 140o. Besides the Arawaks
and the Dutch overseer, I was accompanied by a negro
who had constituted himself my valet, and was in hopes
of persuading me to take him to England, where he
heard all slaves were at once free; he carried a spare
gun in case of need. We were within four degrees of
the line. It was rather late when we started, and the
sun was mounting fast overhead; so far inland too
there was little wind, but our fiery ordeal did not last
At a distance of some hundred yards from the house
the savanna terminated; first came a few outlying
groups of fan palms, gru gru palms, and bamboos, then
thinly scattered trees without much undercover, and
then the deep shades of the forest, with its impenetrable
canopy over head, and a dense tangled growth beneath.
As we crossed the savanna, the equatorial sun beat
down with frightful power, we had no protection against
it but our Panama hats, and we were right glad to
plunge into the cool depths of the forest, and take
shelter from the dazzling flood of light in which every-
thing was bathed.




As we advanced I saw many of those beautiful
metallic-blue butterflies which occupy so conspicuous
a place in collections of tropical insects. They fluttered
lazily along the path before us, but as soon as they
found themselves pursued, they rose, and made off to
the right or left, where the dense tangled vegetation
effectually prevented our following them.
Bright-plumaged birds, tanagers, orioles and
humming birds flashed to and fro occasionally, and
far over head among the branches, wood-peckers and
green parrots kept up an incessant chattering. It was,
however, difficult to see them, they played at hide and
seek amongst the orchids and parasites with which
the great limbs of the trees were loaded. We passed
several pools of water, around which waved tall
bamboos, whose crests curved gracefully over the
mirror-like surface in masses like ostrich plumes.



SOON after we entered the forest one of the sharp-
eared -dogs that accompanied the Indians gave tongue
a few yards to our right, his master pushed his way
leisurely through the dense tangled covert, and pre-
sently reappeared carrying a tortoise, which we sent
back to the boat for future use. Half an hour later we
heard a chattering overhead, and my escort stopped.
One of them drew forth from a neatly made basket-
work quiver a thin splinter of hard wood very sharply
pointed ; from another little basket he extracted some
silky fibre, the produce of the silk cotton tree, and
twisted it round the head of his arrow; his final opera-
tion was to dip its point into a receptacle like a dice-
box made of cane smeared with resin and thus ren-
dered waterproof. He then introduced the fatal shaft,
about ten inches long, into his blow-pipe, singled out one
of the monkeys whose garrulity had betrayed them, and
gave a short sharp puff; the deadly messenger sped true,

-5 / 5
%1/ Is r
-e _K-_c J -


,!_L. ,,1


the unlucky victim snatched the splinter out of the
wound and threw it down in a rage, he and his
comrades immediately disappearing into the world of
leaves overhead. The Indians waited. I thought we
had seen the last of our quarry, but presently he came
tumbling down through the foliage and fl!l amongst the
undergrowth, whence he was retrieved by one of the
dogs, and added to our game bag. The blow-pipe is
-about 8 feet long, 2 feet from the end are a couple of
:objects like black slugs, these are the sights between
which aim is taken; they are composed of some kind
of gum, resembling asphalt.
High up in the forks of many of the trees black
irregular masses were discernible about the size of a
hogshead, while on the trunks were semi-cylindrical
-tunnels leading down from these to the ground. The
former are the homes of the parasol ants, the latter
the avenues leading to the family mansion.
The nests are built of vegetable fragments cemented
together with mud, the inhabitants are invisible, but
should one of the covered ways be broken they issue
forth in myriads, and woe be to the burglar who has
cracked their crib," should they get at him They are
the most vindictive little vixens in existence; and will
Sswarm up his legs and overrun his whole body, making
their sharp mandibles meet in his flesh, and clinging
to him with such bull-dog tenacity that they submit to
be pulled to pieces sooner than loose their hold.
They march through the forest in columns, each
ant carrying a bit of leaf over his head-whence their
name; they are said to be blind, nevertheless they feel
-the light, and dislike it so much that they screen their
bodies as described. Their armies, which are evidently



disciplined, for their proceedings are regulated on a
system as perfectly organized as any military host,
appear to include officers, commanding and subordi-
nate. We encountered several of these hordes on the
march, and it is necessary to be careful not to step among
them; the unwary traveller, who did so once, would
never willingly repeat the transgression; each bite is
accompanied by a sharp pain, and though in itself
insignificant, yet when inflicted by thousands fever
follows, not only from the multitudinous wounds, but
also from the injection of formic acid into the blood.
I was told that there is a curious alliance between
these insects and certain snakes, who are permitted to
share their nests as lodgers. I suspect however that the
hospitality extended to the reptiles is involuntary, and
that they take toll of the citizens whom they honour
with their company, whenever they feel hungry.
They have a more formidable enemy in the ant-bear,
whose pachydermatous hide and wiry bristles are proof
against their mandibles, and who licks them up by
thousands with his slimy tongue protruded through the
little hole which does duty as a mouth.
It would be a tedious business to attempt a detailed
analysis of the constituents of the undercover.
Amongst the more remarkable were numerous creeping
and climbing palms, which could be traced to long
distances, 'and had stems set with thor-like bristles.
Similar in nature were various canes and rattans.
Some of the plants bore seeds from which root fibres
depended before they were detached from their parents;
this was certainly taking time by the forelock !
Life in this world is always more or less of a battle;
it is eminently so with the vegetation of the equatorial

[CHAP. Ill.


forest. There is something startling in the interne-
cine struggle going on for light and air. Moreover
plants can exhibit some of the same vices, and even
commit some crimes analogous to those found amongst
beings higher in the scale of creation, such as grecdi-
ness, selfishness, treachery, ingratitude, the motive being
the instinct of self-preservation.
Prominent among the criminals are certain plants
producing caoutchouc. These start in the world as
climbers; they begin operations by creeping up the
stem of some tree of moderate size, to which they cling
in an innocent confiding way, embracing their foster
parent with graceful and affectionate reliance, until they
grow strong enough to change their tactics; then they
become aggressive, and throw out root-like fibres;
these soon form a net-work around the trunk which
has been the support of their infantile and childish
period. The net-work spreads and thickens until it has
developed into a complete casing; then the poor foster
parent begins to be strangled; it is imprisoned in a
fatal cylinder, it sickens, pines, and dies, and its un-
natural protigg becomes a tree and reigns in its stead,
after digesting the body of its nurse.
It might be supposed that the giants of the forest at
least are safe from these vegetable Thugs; they
however have their enemies in the shape of innumerable
parasites which smother their upper branches. Some
of these are orchids in great variety, some are large-
leaved plants, then there are an infinity of creeping and
climbing plants. From their lofty and wide-spreading
heads there hang down tangled skeins of vegetable
cordage. Some of these descend towards the ground
like a single rope, without a leaf or a twig; they



spring from limbs a hundred feet overhead. When they
reach the soil they take root, but a singular pheno-
menon then occurs; they always manage to fix their
base at a considerable angle from the tree like the
shrouds of a ship; up to the time of striking they
descend vertically, but all those that have actually
rooted assume an oblique direction like a ship's stays,
and they seem to answer the same purpose. This
vegetable cordage anchors the trees as it were to the
ground, and enables them to resist the tremendous
hurricanes which occasionally occur. It seems to be
an arrangement specially provided by nature for their
support. As soon as their fibres have entered the soil
they begin to thicken and throw out foliage, forming a
curious and remarkable feature of the equatorial forest,
I was bent on adding to my collection of plumage
birds, but soon found that my gun was practically
useless for this purpose, as if the birds were close
at hand, their plumage was spoilt by the shot, and if
they were at a distance in the forest, they fell into the
.dense covert out of reach, unless we cut our way
through the bush to them, which would have occupied
too much time. The Indians came to the rescue, and
,shot me some beautiful specimens with their arrows.
When we came to an open space, there were sure to be
humming birds, and these they obtained by means of
the blow-pipe, using the splinters of wood already
described, but applying no poison. These splinters are
as sharp as a needle, and inflict a wound not much
larger than the prick of that instrument. Of course
the humming birds could only be shot at short range,
but they are very tame and easy of approach. With
regard to the poison, it is so deadly that the Indians



do not apply it until the moment before using the blow-
pipe. I was told that if an Indian accidentally wounds
himself with a poisoned arrow, he immediately lies down
and resigns himself to his fate, knowing that nothing
can save him. After a most interesting day in the
forest, the Indians conducted me to their village near
the river, and gave me a very handsome specimen of
snake-wood, from which their bows are made. I shall
have occasion to describe the interior of their homes
later on.
I may mention here that these Indians spend their
lives in drinking bouts, alternating with long periods of
total abstinence. For many weeks they will hunt and
collect skins, humming birds, and other articles of
commerce, slaking their thirst with water only. When
they have got together enough goods to be worth taking
to town, they freight their canoes and transport them
for sale to Paramaribo. They do not receive any
money in exchange, but fish-hooks and ornaments, such
as beads. The article that they attach the greatest
importance to, however, is a demi-john of rum, which
must be filled in their presence, for they are very
suspicious. They squat round the big vessel, and the
headman places his finger in its neck; it must then
be filled until the spirit touches the tip of his finger,
when he gives a grunt of satisfaction and carries the
prize off to his canoe. He and his comrades return to
their village, which may be many days journey distant.
They never touch a drop of the rum until they reach
home; they then take to their hammocks and continue
"on the drink until the vessel is empty, when they
resume the sober phase of their existence, and the whole
performance is gone through da capo.

I will not weary my readers by repeating descriptions
of the different plantations at which we stopped. The
last vestige of civilization was the temporary dwelling
of a Government official-a Commissioner of Forests.
He was engaged in drawing up a report on the varie-
ties of timber to be found there, and showed me a
collection of a hundred different sorts of wood, many of
them exceedingly hard, others beautifully veined and
coloured. He gave me much interesting information as
to the forest and the tribes which inhabit it. Beyond
this place we halted whenever an open space on the
river occurred, at which to moor our boats for the
night. We thus proceeded for some days amid in-
creasing difficulties from rocks, shoals and rapids,
and increasing discontent amongst my crew, who
seemed discouraged by the awful solitude of the
endless forest; moreover they were greatly afraid of
the wild fierce negro tribes said to exist ahead of
us. Lastly our provisions were running short. We
arrived at a barren rocky hill of a rusty red colour,
composed of ferruginous material, hostile to vegeta-
tion; this I ascended, and shall never forget the view
from the summit that lay before me. Right in
front, and bounding the southern horizon from east
to west, extended like a wall, the range of mountains
which separates the basin of the Amazon from the
Guianas. On all sides I looked down upon the vast
unexplored primeval forest, such as I have already
described. Many of the trees were tufted with splendid
blossoms which cannot be seen from below, for they
crowd towards the sunlight. That robe of many
colours lay spread beneath and around as far as the
eye could see, covering plain and hill and valley and




mountain like a huge mantle; that interminable forest
which crosses the mountain chain to the south, and
sweeps down into the basin of the- greatest river in
the world-extending with little interruption from the
mouth of the Amazon to the Andes, a distance of 3,003
miles, forming a belt about I,ooo miles wide. Its
whole extent has been calculated to fall not far short of
3,000,000 square miles.
The sierra on which I gazed was the northernmost
range of a chain of mountains extending for 450 miles
from east to west, and forming the watershed between
the basin of the Amazon to the south and the vast
plains of Guiana to the north. It is the parent of all the
great rivers of Guiana which flow northwards into the
Gulf of Mexico, including the Corantyn, Essequibo,
Berbice, Surinam, Maroni, Oyapok and Cayenne, as
well as of a corresponding series of rivers which flow
southwards into the Amazon.
The peaks and ridges that bounded the southern
horizon rose in successive ranges one behind the other,
the highest not exceeding, so far as I could judge, 5,000
feet; they were still distant, but mountain distances are
so deceptive that it is safest not to hazard a conjecture.
I am on surer ground in estimating the latitude of
the hill on which I was standing. Paramaribo is
situated in latitude 5" 45'. I had made day by day as
careful a calculation of the distance traversed as I
could, which, allowing for the windings of the river,
would have placed me in about latitude 3 30' north.
The Sierra was covered to its highest summits with
dense forest. I saw enough of the rugged barrier to
the south to be convinced that it would oppose obstacles
and difficulties of the most formidable description to


any attempt to reach the basin of the Amazon by that
route, the two gravest being the density of the forests,
and the opposition of the Bush negroes.
So far as I can ascertain, the feat has never yet been
accomplished by any European. I had to content
myself with the splendid view I had obtained of the
edge of the Amazon basin, for reasons which I am
about to narrate.
Soon after leaving this point we passed several
tributaries, and the volume of the Surinam began to
shrink very perceptibly. It became evident that much
of its water supply is derived from the drainage of the
portion of the forest, clothing the lower slopes of the
Sierra. We encountered rapids and shallows with
increasing frequency.
At last from muttered discontent my men proceeded
to open mutiny, and declared they would go no further.
I may mention that they were a crew of negro slaves
furnished by a citizen of Paramaribo, whose acquaint-
ance I had made, and I threatened to report their
conduct to him, and for the moment the insurrection
was quelled, and we got a little further. But one fine
morning on coming forth from my cabin, I found the
crew had disappeared into the forest. I waited some
hours, but still no sign of them ; it was manifest that
they had deserted, and there was I, all alone, unable
to do anything, single-handed, with the boat, or even
to launch her, for she was aground. I took stock of
the contents of the larder, and found it to consist
of one ham and some boxes of biscuit. This was
anything but a cheerful look-out, so in order to
economise the provisions, I sallied forth into the
woods, gun in hand, and presently espied an iguana,



I ~Ary .

S _ll w wn.LJ
01 l Blow pipe. Se-,Li f ditto shown sriPto. 3 C(sava shainer 4- Quiver for poiso edArrow,
-'B f.u hcLdin, p:1k -ott-nr 6 Sia'-'ednow. 7 ?A-ws 5 iutetlc:, 8 Wooepn Arro.pojtLt iatindl 5s1i
9 1< yI'poe Arrow.


a kind of tree-lizard, several feet long. He was peer-
ing at me inquisitively from an overhanging limb;
I fired and brought him down, but the echo that
immediately resounded through the arcades of the
forest, caused me to feel a sudden panic that the bush-
negroes might be attracted by the sound, in which case
my life would not have been worth many hours pur-
chase, as they would have riddled me with poisoned
arrows. I brought the iguana back to the boat and
boiled some of the flesh, which proved to be by no
means bad eating, something like a rather tough
turkey. It was much improved by the addition of some
of the ham, which, however, I thought it prudent to use
sparingly, as I did not know how long I might be
detained there.
Night came at last, but no signs of the crew. The
following morning I began to sum up the alternatives
that awaited me-a melancholy calculation. If the
crew did not return it appeared to be a simple choice
between starvation and assassination. I have already
explained why I was debarred from eking out my
commissariat with my gun. The prospect was not
very exhilarating from whatever point it was viewed;
another day dragged on in the same suspense as
the last, and another lonely night amid the extra-
ordinary variety of nocturnal forest noises which cha-
racterize the tropics. The next day, soon after
sunrise, to my great relief the crew re-appeared, in a
starving state, having been able to obtain no food of
any description during their absence, except one snake,
which they had eaten raw. I mounted guard over the
provisions, and began to negotiate with them. They
were still bent on returning, and I reflected that, after



all, even if I did reach the summit of the Sierra, which
I could only do through the forest, I might not see
even as much as I had beheld from the red hill, for I
had satisfied myself that it was covered to the highest
ridges with dense vegetation; I felt also that no
reliance could be placed on such unwilling allies as my
crew had proved themselves. I therefore reluctantly
gave in, and consented to commence our avrciaorq. I
promised that if they behaved well I would not report
them, and I had no complaint to make during the rest
of the voyage. That red hill proved my Pisgah.
On reaching the lower part of the river I renewed my
acquaintance with the numerous planters who had so
hospitably entertained me while upward bound, and thus
returned to Paramaribo. I reached that metropolis on
Christmas Eve, and went to the Moravian church,
where a number of negro children, clothed in white
calico, sang a hymn in negro dialect; the sermon being
in the same tongue, I did not of course understand a
single word of it. The women were all attired in
snow-white frocks. The building contained fully
2,ooo persons. The negro women here dress with
much taste, wearing white turbans, with a quantity of
white drapery, twisted Scotch-plaid fashion over their
shoulders. They sometimes adopt odd devices-I have
seen several enveloped in silk Union Jacks, imported
from England. Except on state occasions the children
wear nothing at all except strings of coral. The Mora-
vian missionaries combine secular with spiritual avoca-
tions-they are bakers, butchers, grocers, tailors, shoe-
makers, &c. ; their disciples always deal with them, so
they convert them into customers as well as Christians,
and drive the most flourishing trade in Paramaribo.



A citizen whose acquaintance I had made invited me
to assist at a Christmas holiday function. It included
a Christmas-tree, which was placed in a miniature
garden composed of grass, sanded paths, flower-beds
and little fountains. In one part of the garden stood the
stable with models of the Virgin and Child inside; in
another appeared Herod's palace with the Magi inquiring
where the young child was; in a third was a hill with
toy sheep upon it, and the shepherds tending them.
The design was very pretty, and must have involved
an immense amount of trouble and ingenuity. It was
all illuminated with wax tapers; the tree itself was a
mango, covered with the usual dolls, toys, and sweet.
meats amid a general illumination of wax-tapers. j




WHILE at Paramaribo I was informed that if I
could only reach Cayenne I should find there a
steamer for Para on the Amazon. No regular
communication, however, existed between Paramaribo
and Cayenne, and I was beginning to despair of
carrying out my purpose when a French gunboat put
in. I made the acquaintance of the captain and ex-
plained my difficulty. He said he was bound for
Cayenne, and, most good-naturedly, offered me a lift.
A pleasant trip resulted: the officers being all good
fellows, and I was quite sorry when the voyage ter-
Nothing noteworthy occurred until we entered
the Maroni river in order to leave some cattle,
stores, and despatches at a convict settlement
about twenty-five miles up the stream. Here the
best behaved of the convicts are promoted to reside in
houses of their own, and to cultivate land on their own
account. A considerable tract of forest has been


cleared, and three villages have been built among the
burnt tree stumps; the colony includes a Government
House and a college of Jesuit missionaries, a doctor's
house, a barrack and officers' quarters, all constructed
of planks obtained from the neighboring woods and
roofed with native shingles made by the hands of the
colonists. The settlement is rendered picturesque by
the single trees which their founders have had the
good taste to leave standing; noble cancan, brown-
heart, iron wood, and other giants of the forest extend
their great limbs over the dwellings, and shade them
from the sun, while long festoons of parasites droop
from their branches and overhang the little colony
with garlands of flowers, imparting to it an air of
romance. The cottages are surrounded by gardens
in which the ticket-of-leave men cultivate bananas,
cassava, yams, sweet-potatoes, sugar-cane, tobacco
and spices. I may mention here that on obtaining
this partial enfranchisement they are permitted to select
a wife from amongst the convict women, if they have
the courage to draw in such a doubtful lottery. I
must say, however, so far as I observed, the married
couples seemed to get on pretty well.
On the other side of the river, which is about as
broad as the Rhine, glistened the white houses and
church steeple of a colony of Germans on Dutch
territory, for the Maroni forms the boundary between the
two dependencies. The French convict colony has not
yet been established eighteen months, as I was informed
by the Governor. On our way up we stopped at an
Indian village to land three bulls with a view of im-
proving the breed of cattle originally imported from
the Orinoco. The mode of disembarkation was very



simple. A rope was run through a block at the yard-
arm, and the end of it made fast round the base of the
horns; the order was given to hoist away, and the
unfortunate beasts were soon suspended over the water,
their eyes starting out of their heads and their limbs
kicking feebly as a protest. They were then lowered,
revolving the while as if prematurely on the spit, and
on reaching the surface of the river were cut adrift and
left to reach terra firma as best they could. The edge
of the river was fringed with cows, who seem to
have come down to the beach to inspect the new beaux.
I must say that these last made their debut amongst
their future wives under circumstances rather mortify-
ing to their amour propre.
On the Maroni, as on all the South American
rivers which I have visited, occur Indian villages
surrounded by plantations of cassava and maize.
A little fleet of dug-out canoes is generally moored
close by. Such a community formed the background
to the scene I have described. The Indians lazily
watched the proceedings from hammocks slung in
their huts, the sides of which are open, for their
dwellings consist of nothing but a palm-leaf roof
mounted upon a few bamboo posts, so that they could
survey the interesting operations without the physical
exertion involved in getting up. I suppose it was siesta
time. Through an opera-glass I was enabled to viewthe
interior economy of these huts perfectly; the ham-
mocks were bed, sofa, chair, and ottoman all in one,
a few earthen vessels and calabashes completed their
domestic outfit; on the posts hung bows, arrows, blow-
pipes and fish spears, the same as in the forest of
the Surinam. While their lords were lolling in their



hammocks, the women were preparing cassava for their
next family meal.
After we left the Maroni and put to sea again
we encountered very boisterous weather from the north-
east, and next morning it was so rough that one or two
of the officers were sea-sick. I tried to console them
by explaining that Nelson also occasionally suffered
from the mal de mer.
I witnessed a very curious phenomenon whilst off
this coast. The captain stated that he would put
in nearer the shore for shelter. We drew towards
it until we found ourselves in a mixture of mud and
water, known here as the "vase molle (soft mud).
It exists all along this portion of the Guiana coast.
When we were fairly within it the rollers were ob-
literated, and the sea became almost calm-this was
owing to the specific gravity of the water being increased
by the mud to such a degree that the waves are checked.
I have been informed that a similar phenomenon is
observed in the Dead Sea, where the water is saturated
with salt and its specific gravity thus increased to the
point at which it is too heavy for waves to rise. The
origin of the mud, thus held suspended, is the river
Amazon, the vast flood from which is swept along
the Guiana coast by the current setting into the Gulf
of Mexico.
The term Gulf Stream is misleading, and
probably arose from its having been traced to the
Gulf and no further, but it originates in the tepid sur-
face stratum of the equatorial Atlantic. It enters the
Gulf vid Cayenne, and leaves it between Cuba and
Florida, having gained little or nothing in point of
temperature. I have gauged its temperature at both



points. The current is so strong that it is with very
great difficulty that sailing vessels can make head
against it from Cayenne to the mouth of the Amazon.
I found this to my cost, for my intention had been to
proceed to the Brazils vid Para, but my purpose was
defeated by the cause I have stated. The sailing
vessels that do make their way occasionally do so by a
tedious navigation behind the islands which fringe the
intervening coast. We breakfasted in peace, and the
invalids made rapid recovery. We presently passed
Sinamara River and settlement, and then reached Les
Iles du Salut. On one of these dwell the political
exiles-it is called "L'lle des Diables," though L'le
des pauvres Diables would be more appropriate.
The other two islands are occupied by 1,500
criminal convicts, whose labour has converted the rocks
into terraces, gardens and houses. Most of the forest
trees have been cut down for fuel. After a few more
hours sail we reached Cayenne.
This town is situated on a bay of seven or eight miles
in circumference; the country around is hilly, indeed
almost mountainous, and very picturesque ; the forest,
of a peculiarly rich and beautiful green, comes down to
the water's edge. Cayenne is built on a rocky eminence
at the mouth of the bay, and is distinguished by the
beauty of its palm trees ; the sea-shore eastwards is
broken into a series of beautiful little inlets with shelv-
ing sandy beach, and picturesque reefs of rock running
out to sea in a succession of points, forming sheltered
recesses delightful for bathing. Inland rise high hills,
richly wooded and of bold and peculiar shapes. I took
the temperature of the sea-water, and found it
to be 84.



--^B`- ^ ----=II ~----~ I I


There are many beautiful walks about Cayenne,
where the temperature of the air is higher and
varies more than at Paramaribo. I felt, however,
particularly well while there, and had an excellent
appetite; indeed that was a peculiarity that seemed
to characterize the inhabitants generally. The
French citizens seem to have lost none of their
characteristic energy; being just as animated, mer-
curial and energetic as on the banks of the Seine.
They take great pains to develop the splendid resources
of the country around them ; they plant caoutchouc;
they raise cotton, sugar, and spices; they search the
forests for roots and balsams. They alone have taken
pains to cultivate and improve the fruits of the country:
for instance, the mango of the British West Indies
is a fibrous fruit with a strong taste of turpentine, the
French have by dint of grafting and cultivation pro-
duced a mango free from fibre, luscious to a degree, of
exquisite flavour, and of great size. The pine-apples
are enormous-in fact this region is their paradise, for
they here enjoy a bottom heat of 82" and a temperature
overhead of between 80 and 90, day and night, and all
the year round. There are several varieties. Some
are so deep a purple as to be almost black, some of
them yellow, some red, some almost white. The
Government have established a botanic garden em-
bosomed among the hills, a veritable garden of Eden,
surrounded by virgin forest which forms a splendid
setting for the triumphs of cultivation. Here plants
are raised for the convict allotments and given gratis to
the cultivators.
Badonel is three miles from Cayenne. It is reached
by a well-macadamized road, fringed by a dense avenue



of forest trees. There are numerous other good roads
leading from the town in all directions. Government
House is a square lined with palm trees four deep,
forming cloisters whose shafts are the palm trunks from
five to eight feet in girth, running up as straight as
Doric columns to the height of seventy feet, the rich
green fronds forming graceful and beautiful arcades,
and reminding one of the aisles of a cathedral.
Cayenne is the naturalist's paradise-birds of brilliant
plumage, the most curious insects, the most exuberant
vegetation are all to be seen close to the town, and may
be visited by good roads; and whatever fatigues the
traveller may have incurred are solaced by an excellent
dinner at a well appointed French restaurant; and he
will sleep in a scrupulously clean French bed, white as
snow, with capital mosquito curtains; the wines which
in Demerara cost eight shillings a bottle he will get here
for fifteen pence, and the courtesy which he will not get
in Demerara at any price he will get here for nothing.
The streets are lighted at night with something more
effective than the fire-flies which at Georgetown form
the only lamps after dark. Even the negroes have
imbibed some French polish, and are less insolent and
disagreeable than other free negroes. Everywhere, to
the negro, liberty is as a jewel in a swine's snout-they
connect no noble sentiment with it, and value it only as
the key to indolence.
I paid my respects to the Governor, who offered me
a free passage up the river in one of the Government
steamers. He sent his aide-de-camp to return my
visit. I was just changing my wet boots and stockings
at the moment I heard a knock, and incautiously
exclaimed "Come in!" thinking it was the Hindoo



servant. To my horror the word Entrez !" caused
the entry of an officer in full uniform, whom I
had the mortification to receive with one boot on and
one boot off, and in a toilet damaged by a tropical
I gladly availed myself of the Governor's courteous
offer, and visited one or two of the penal settlements on
the Cayenne river.
The convicts had, most of them, a tolerably cheerful
air, but there were many very evil countenances among
them; some had been transported for murder. A
few weeks ago four of them escaped into the woods-
a murderer aged 56, a soldier who had deserted, and
two thieves, young men. Their intention was to make
their way to Demerara, where the English would
protect them, extradition of criminals being contrary to
Demerara law. They failed to find food in the forest,
and were at last reduced to a starving condition, which
resulted in the following incident.
One of the young men was possessed of some
snuff; the senior of the party either thinking to
assuage the pangs of hunger by its means, or
casting about for an excuse for an act of murder and
cannibalism, asked him for a pinch, which the
owner refused to part with. The man thereupon
took the other two aside, and told them that the
Naboth of the snuff-box was a bad comrade, and that
he would be revenged. They expostulated; the old
man returned to the charge and again demanded snuff,
and was again refused. He then sent the rest of the
party to gather fire-wood, and took the opportunity of
stabbing his unfortunate comrade. The details of the
act of cannibalism which followed,, and in which all



but the soldier were accomplices, are too revolting to
be described. They were eventually captured, tried,
and guillotined at Cayenne during my stay ; the
soldier alone being acquitted. I was invited to witness
the execution, which took place publicly, but was not
sufficiently strong-minded to avail myself of the oppor-
tunity. There are 300 convicts at Maroni, the flower,
morally speaking, of a body of 6,ooo criminals who are
dispersed among the various penal establishments at
True patriots all, for be it understood,
They left their country for their country's good.

The convicts are organized on the military model,
divided like soldiers into companies, and promoted
to be corporals and sergeants as a reward for good
conduct, in which case they receive pay, and are em-
ployed in the supervision of the others; but the highest
reward of all is a cottage on the Maroni. The most
exemplary of them used to be permitted to work at their
trades in the town of Cayenne, free from all restraint,
except the eye of the police. But a petition was
presented by the townspeople to the Emperor pressing
him to withdraw the ticket-of-leavers from among them,
which was granted, and an order came down the other
day commanding the removal of all to the Maroni.
This caused much distress, the poor fellows having to
sell their stock in trade at a great loss, and break up
the little web of ties, interests and associations
which they had woven over the black past.
I had ordered a collection of some of the forest-woods
of an ex-convict, but on going to see how he was getting
on I found the shutters up, the lathe stopped, the shop
cleared out and the owner in dire tribulation. He



was quite in despair at seeing the fruits of several years
of industry thus scattered to the winds. He told me
that he should lose at least I,ooo francs by the sale of
his property, but that was the least of his miseries; it
was his banishment to the Maroni that made him heart-
broken. There is considerable mortality amongst the
convicts in consequence of their being closely crowded
in the dormitories at night. Cayenne itself is not
unhealthy, as the appearance of the townspeople
While here I spent an evening with an old French
gentleman and his family. One of the latter was a
ship's captain, and he spun many a yarn, and related
some interesting adventures. The evening was passed
not in the house, but Eastern fashion, on the top of it-
an airy and delightful arrangement. Before dinner my
host showed me his garden, in which he took great
pride. In the middle was a miniature lake, with an
island in the centre reached by a bridge. The island he
christened St. Helena, in memory of the departed hero
of France, of whom he is a most enthusiastic admirer.
It is fringed with a shrub called the burning bush,-the
foliage being deep-green, blazing with scarlet flowers.
It was a veritable botanic garden, containing most of
the specimens of the fruits and flowers of the country-
cinnamon, clove trees, coffee, cocoa, mango, sugar-apple,
star-apple, shaddock, lime, orange, annatto, mamee-
apple, guava, quassia, cabbage and wax palms, banana,
fig, sour-sop, tropical cherry cachouu) and plum, sapo-
dilla, granadilla, and many orchids and flowering shrubs.
But he pointed with the greatest pride to a peach-tree,
which of course is here an exotic. It had been imported
from France, and coaxed into growing in an entirely



uncongenial climate. He told me that this was the
only success he had scored in the way of acclimatiza-
tion, all his other attempts having failed. There was
one exception, however, viz. a grape-vine. This pro-
duced three crops of grapes in the year, appearing to
have lost all count of seasons. He manages this little
garden of Eden entirely himself, weeding, digging,
planting, pruning, and all; and he had his reward in a
hale, ruddy, healthy old age. He explained everything
with the characteristic energy and enthusiasm of a
Frenchman. I was required to carve my autograph
on a great cactus, which reared itself in the form of a
thick six-sided column fifteen feet high. On it were in-
scribed two hundred names of visitors. He complained
that the vampires ate his fruit, and that the little lake
was full of water-snakes, which his grand-children
caught instead of eels. There are snakes in every
Paradise !
Amongst the curious trees at Cayenne is one called
the Arbre des Etrangers, which figures on the cover of
this volume. I saw some specimens of it there in
blossom. It sends up a seed stem, barbed like a fish-
After a pleasant and interesting sojourn at Cayenne,
I tried to reach the Brazils vii Para at the mouth of
the Amazon; it seemed so provokingly near-the very
sea was yellow with the mud of that colossus of rivers,
and yet I was assured that the most eligible way of
getting thither was viA Southampton, 6,000 miles
There was no steam communication, and only an
occasional coaster. I was shown one of these;
a grotesque cross between a Chinese junk and



Noah's ark. Its trading trips took it behind the reefs,
where it crept along by easy stages, dodging the
current and picking up such things as the Indians
had for barter. One of their articles of export was
gold-dust, brought down from the mountainous interior
in birds' quills; no consideration would induce the
taciturn traders to reveal the source of their supply.
Other articles were skins, feathers, humming birds
(dried), hammocks woven of grass and tastefully
stained of various colours. These are in great favour
with Brazilian ladies, who spend much of their time
languidly swinging in them, and contemplating existence
from afar as it were.
Time is no object to the uncouth craft described
above, and they usually take a month in reaching Para.
The specimen now under review belonged to a Portu-
guese merchant, and was commanded by a skipper of
the same nationality. I chartered a boat, boarded her,
and interviewed her captain, who was smoking in his
hammock. He received me with a greasy smile,
radiating from a fat and oily countenance, and answered
my queries in a drawling voice, without even taking the
trouble to sit up.
I scarcely knew which was the most discouraging, the
captain or his ship; the latter was a literally preposter-
ous structure, her stern doing duty as stem, and vice
versd, her bow presenting a dead flat surface,
whereas her stern was sharp. The impression produced
on my mind was that the man who rigged her was
drunk and popped the bowsprit at the wrong end, fixing
the rest of the rigging under the same influence.
After struggling through an indifferent cigar, and an
unsatisfactory dialogue, I took leave, having made up


48 CAYENNE. [CH.P. iv.

my mind that the guillotine would be preferable to a
month in the society of such a commander.
There remained one other alternative, and that was to
travel across the mountains under the guidance of the
Indians, through the endless obstacles and intricacies
of the forest; but the rainy season had set in, we should
have had to wade through continuous swamps, and
after several weeks of toil, with a good chance of fever,
I should have found myself on the wrong side of the
giant flood, for Para is on the southern shore.
I therefore made up my mind to console myself by a
trip to the Orinoco instead. I may mention here that
this great river is twin brother to the Amazon, the Rio
Negro, as its upper waters are called, being united to
the former by a branch called the Cassiquiari. The
junction takes place far up amongst the slopes of the
Andes. Thus they come into the world tied together
like the Siamese twins, sharing the same cradle, though
the termination of their careers is consummated nearly
I,ooo miles apart.


-">.* 477



A SCHOONER had arrived with a cargo of cattle from
the Orinoco river, for the use of the garrison and the
convicts. The captain was a Venezuelan Spaniard,
who spoke a smattering of English; with him I made
a bargain that I was to have for my own use his
cabin-the only one the little craft boasted-and after
a good cleaning we set sail. These schooners are of
American build, and excel in beating to windwards, a
most necessary accomplishment, for they have to bring
their load of live stock all the way from the mouth
of the Orinoco, in the teeth of the trades, and against
the current to boot.
My only fellow passengers were a shaggy Newfound-
land dog, with whom the climate manifestly disagreed, as
he lay panting on deck all day, and a lively little Cuban
terrier christened Don Juan, owing to his disreputable
When we got to sea, a gale of wind arose,


before which we tore through the water at racing
speed, having the current also in our favour. We ran
600 miles in less than sixty hours, and reached
Demerara in two days and a half.
The portion of Guiana upon which Georgetown is
situated is extremely low, some of the land in the
vicinity being eight feet beneath high-water level, and
only kept afloat as it were by immense embankments
and sea walls. It was originally a Dutch settlement,
and they seemed fired with an ambition to create in
the New World a tropical Holland. The dykes at
Georgetown are still kept in repair under the control
of Dutchmen, who have the advantage of experience;
their fatherland having been wittily described as a
kingdom drawing fifty feet of water! The country
about Georgetown is intersected by dykes and canals,
and is extraordinarily fertile. To a depth of one
hundred and seventy feet the soil has been found to
consist of vegetable remains mixed with alluvial drift.
Here, therefore, as in Surinam, it is manifest that the
coast has been sinking.
The vegetation is magnificent, every house being
surrounded by beautiful flowering trees covered with
scarlet, orange, cinnamon-coloured, white, yellow or
lilac blossoms of varied forms; orange-trees twenty-
five feet high, loaded with golden fruit, shaddock,
lime, mango, mammee-apple, banana, plantain, and
bread-fruit. Most of these have large, flexible,
shining leaves, and harbour various air-plants in their
branches, which hang in graceful festoons from the
limbs of the parent tree. Above these rich gardens
tower Royal and Cocoa palms ; the cotton plant, which
in the United States is a delicate little shrub three feet

[CHAP. v.


high, here grows to a height of twenty feet and up-
wards; noble oleanders, cactus and aloes bloom around
the houses. Good macadamized roads radiate from the
town; they are lined with villas embowered amidst
such vegetable treasures as would cause the gardeners
at Kew to be consumed with envy. The face of the
country is covered with sugar plantations, tall factory
chimneys and long low whitewashed buildings are
scattered about in all directions; they are sugar works,
and their chimneys are the first harbingers of land
which on this low coast are discernible to the mariner.
The Demerara and Essequibo rivers are the home of
the Victoria Regia lily, which is found in quiet pools
and backwaters in their vicinity.
While at Demerara, I made an excursion to the
Essequibo, ascending to a distance of about fifty miles
from Georgetown, which, be it remembered, is not
upon the Essequibo, but upon the Demerara river.
During this trip I took the opportunity of exploring the
twenty-five islands which diversify the estuary of the
Essequibo from its embouchure nearly to its confluence
with the Cuyuni and Mazaruni rivers. They vary in
size from twelve miles in length to five, two, and
one, and are covered with dense forest, except where
plantations and villages occur. They are all fringed
with mangrove thickets, as I found to my cost. I
was compelled, owing to circumstances beyond my
control, to make much closer acquaintance with these
weird and sinister forms of vegetation, than I ever wish
to do again; it fell out on this wise. I engaged a
canoe to ferry me across to a large island on which
existed a settlement; the distance did not exceed
three-quarters of a mile, my gondolier was a negro,



and with characteristic want of forethought he took
no account of the state of the tide. As we approached
our destination, the water grew shallow, and suddenly
we grounded on a bank, the water ebbed rapidly
away, and we were presently hopelessly stranded with
500 yards of mud between us and terra firma; a
fetid green slime covered the surface, from beneath
which the sun soon began to draw bubbles of sulphur-
etted hydrogen, diffusing an unwelcome perfume ot
rotten eggs, and our efforts failed to move the canoe.
My dingy Charon observed considerately "'Spose me
stay here, me get fever," and with that he vaulted out
of the boat, intending to make his way to land, and
leave me in the lurch; but he immediately sank up to
his middle in the tepid filth, and I don't know how
much deeper he would have descended had he not held
on by the gunwale. This experience convinced him
that there was no alternative but to remain and help
to get the canoe to shore. I worked the paddles and
he shoved at the stern. After an hour's hard struggle
we manoeuvred her to the mouth of a narrow creek, at
the head of which was a landing place, but the clay
was so tenacious here that for some time we failed to
move her further; on either hand we were hemmed in
with impenetrable mangrove thickets, whose arching
roots formed caverns and arcades over the mud. There
issued forth from beneath these recesses swarms of
mosquitoes of the most vicious sort. However, it was
not a time for killing flies; I knew that after sunset,
enemies far more deadly were to be apprehended; that
mists laden with fever and ague would creep forth from
those mysterious root caverns. We redoubled our
exertions, and forced the boat close to the labyrinth of



roots, by the aid of which we managed to tug her along
a foot at a time. We were within six degrees of the
equator, the sun shone full upon us, the atmosphere
resembled a vapour bath, and if there is any virtue in
perspiration we certainly had the benefit of it.
On the banks below the mangroves were shoals of
fish about the size of perch basking in the sun; they
appeared to be quite amphibious, and came out of the
water to enjoy themselves under the rays of Phoebus.
I have been told that they also climb the mangrove
bushes in search of flies, but this is a variety entertain-
ment which I did not witness; it certainly would be an
original method of rising to a fly. I have, however,
often picked the delicious little mangrove oysters from
the overhanging boughs, as also the violet crab, which
climbs their branches in order to indulge his taste
for natives, of which he is as fond as a London ballet-
Amongst the peculiarities of this eccentric member
of the vegetable creation, is its habit of sending down
roots from its branches which dangle thirty or forty feet
overhead, but being tenacious of purpose they grow
steadily downwards until they reach the mud. Like the
baby hero of Pears' Soap they are not happy till they
reach it. Once their fibres have penetrated they throw
fresh shoots upward, and become independent trees;
the whole grove is thus connected together like the
banyan. In these latitudes the race is to the swift,
and the mangrove is not the plant to lose any time
in the business of development.
It is impossible to imagine anything more complicated
and intricate than the resulting labyrinth. Royal
Henry ought to have hidden Rosamond in a mangrove



thicket. The most jealous of Queens would never have
tracked her to her bower.
After two hours of the severest exertion we reached
the head of the creek and stepped forth on terra-firma
rejoicing. I shall remember the smell of the ferment-
ing mud and the sinister spider-like mangrove roots as
long as I live. Sambo said he would not go through
it again for fifty dollars, and I believe him.
At the back of the mangroves rose the forest-such a
tangled mass of tree ferns, arborescent grasses, gorgeous
flowers, creepers, parasites and orchids, with a variety
of palms waving over them. No pencil could convey
an idea of the richness of the forests that cover the
islands of the Essequibo. A road from the landing-
place led to a large village containing a Petty Sessions
Court, in which a colonial Solomon was in the act of
administering justice to as motley a crowd of litigants
as ever were assembled in one spot.
There were coolies from the Ganges, Chinamen from
Canton, cunning-looking Portuguese, and oily Africans
male and female, each in their national dress, the
Hindoos sporting the gayest colours. To what shifts
are our colonists reduced in order to secure labour to
keep their estates going since the Emancipation, and
to what outlandish crews is John Bull indebted for his
sugar and spice !
The Chinese are physically the finest of these foreign
labourers ; they are brawny, deep-chested fellows,
industrious and intelligent, but not to be trusted
further than they can be seen. The Hindoos on the
contrary are a miserable-looking lot, small, feeble, and
the reverse of muscular; their legs are so thin as
scarcely to cast a shadow-quite Chippendale. The



brawny negro looks as if he could swallow half a dozen
disciples of Vishnu at a meal. The men wore Greek
jackets and skull caps of bright-coloured cotton, a
cotton cloth twisted round their loins; their mahogany
legs, which they don't appear to think worth clothing,
are always left bare. The Hindoo women were attired
in a long bedgown-looking dress with short sleeves, their
dusky arms adorned with silver bracelets, coral round
their necks, earrings in their ears and silver rings on their
ankles, and bangles, or anything glittering, in their hair.
The negroes view the Hindoos with contempt, but
the wily cunning of the latter generally proves too
much for them, and in any quarrel they are sure to get
the best of it in the end. There is a very decided
antipathy between the two races. I saw a negro chuck
a pretty Hindoo woman under the chin; she pursued
him and spat in his face, pouring forth a torrent
of invective which hurt his feelings none the less for
that it was in an unknown tongue, and therefore of
unknown malignity; from my knowledge of Oriental
formulae of vituperation I should conjecture that she
was invoking curses upon Sambo's male and female
ancestors retrospectively to the third and fourth
generation, or even perhaps to Ham! The majority of
police cases dealt with were of indentured Hindoos who
had absconded from their employers. The punishment
consisted of thirty days' hard labour. As soon as
sentence had been pronounced, the Asiatics folded
their arms and stood with their eyes wide open, blazing
like a couple of lighted candles, though with what
passion those dark orbs burned it would be difficult to
I noticed that both amongst the Chinese and the



Hindoos little pills of opium were passed about from
one to the other. A good many cases were tried. In
one of them the plaintiff was a thin negress showily
dressed, who accused one of her neighbours of calling
her bad names; the defendant was a fat, untidy-
looking, coloured woman. The witness for the former
was a little ebony girl, twelve years old, who gave her
evidence with her arms folded, and struck an attitude
as statuesque as a little Memnon. She brought out
without the slightest hesitation a string of expressions
which would have set Billingsgate aghast. Meanwhile
the fat defendant set her arms a-kimbo, looking slaps
and pinches at her, but the sturdy little damsel kept
her eyes fixed on his Worship and was not to be
intimidated. The witness for the defence was a one-
eyed Portuguese woman, who kissed the book with a
smack which set the whole Court tittering.
Not far from the Court-house I came upon a merry
crew of black school children, who were out for their
play-hour. They were engaged in a game of cat-and-
mouse; the circle of playmates were chanting a song,
and as long as it continued the cat and mouse stood
motionless, the instant it ceased puss made a rush at
her prey, and the chase continued in and out until the
song was struck up again, when cat and mouse once
more stood as if spell-bound, and the performance was
repeated until the prey was caught, or puss exhausted.
The mouse was a pot-bellied little rogue with round
smooth oily limbs, which made him as slippery to hold
as an eel. Clothing did not appear essential to the
toilet of the little party. I had a conversation with the
schoolmaster as to the capabilities of the negro children.
He told me that up to the age of twelve they were



' -




intelligent and quick to learn, but at that age their
minds seemed to suffer an arrest of development.
This perhaps accounts for a certain childishness which
is observable in adult negroes of both sexes. His
statement was subsequently confirmed by a clergyman
whom I met in Jamaica.
I got back to Georgetown without further adventure,
but the signal flag was up, the wind fair, and the
captain impatient, so adieu to Demerara.
Two passengers had joined our party-a young
German merchant and his bride, whom he had been to
Europe to marry. Nature had endowed her with blonde
hair and a fair complexion, and, as is not unusual with
brides, she was very pretty. Of course I could do no
less than offer to give up my cabin to the interesting
young couple, and become a deck passenger.
Unfortunately, the schooner had brought a stock of
mosquitoes from the Orinoco, who were not long in
finding out the poor young thing. It was a long time
since they had had such a treat, and as I lay on deck
I used to hear her lamentations, which lost none of their
force and point from being poured forth in the German
There was also a fine tom-cat on board, who amused
himself by boxing Don Juan's ears. The remaining
member of the live stock was a curious tortoise, black
and covered with red spots. He was another play-fellow
of Don Juan's. Their game was hide and seek-the
tortoise used to peep out his head, whereupon the dog
pounced on him and caused it to disappear. He avenged
himself by seizing his comrade by the leg. The reptile
quite entered into the fun of the thing, as was plain, for
as soon as he had had enough of it he used to turn his



back on his playmate, and march off at a brisk pace.
I grieve to say that his end was tragic. Fresh
provisions ran low, the poor chelonian was turned
into soup, and stewed for the officers' dinner, and Don
Juan gnawed his playfellow's leg for the last time.
Such are the world's vicissitudes !
Nothing could exceed the devotion of the bride-
groom, Herr von Krohn. The fair bride was a bad
sailor, and evidently did not find sea-faring a satisfactory
way of passing the honeymoon. Her husband was
incessantly diving below, and fetching up preserves of
all kinds. In vain did the poor little thing remonstrate
that she could not swallow a morsel more-he would
take no excuse, and crammed her like a Strasburg
goose. Herr von Krohn had, however, another occupa-
tion besides the above named; much of his time was
engaged in rubbing his bride's mosquito bites with
half lemons. Her arms and hands were one mass of
wounds, and when we got into the Orinoco, and the
mosquitoes were at their worst, her dress was sewn
together underneath her feet, and her sleeves below her
hands; she was besides thickly veiled, and altogether I
am afraid did not appreciate the Tropics.
The captain is a Venezuelan Spaniard, Anglo-Saxon
in appearance and manner, and very quiet. He speaks
enough English to enable us to converse. In the
evening he plays to his crew on the accordion, weather
permitting. In the course of a day or two he announced
that we were in the Orinoco. This took me by surprise,
as on looking round I could see no land; however he
had a bucket of water drawn up in proof, and to my
astonishment I found it sweet, or only slightly brackish.
The branch of the great river which we were entering


is twenty-five miles wide at its mouth, but presently
islands began to appear here and there, and in three or
four hours we found ourselves amongst a perfect archi-
pelago, densely covered with tropical forest. The width
between these islands varies greatly; sometimes there
is a mere narrow canal, sometimes a broad river;
occasionally the passage was so narrow that we
brushed the trees with our spars. Herr von Krohn
had a capital opera-glass, through which I was enabled
to analyze the mass of vegetation as perfectly as if I
had been amongst it. There are plenty of wild turkeys,
macaws, monkeys, etc., also wild pigs, tapirs, and
jaguars. This is only one of the five mouths of this
vast flood, which differs from the Amazon in being
perfectly clear, as it is derived from a granite region.
It is the same which the last expedition under the
auspices of Sir Walter Raleigh selected for their ill-
starred enterprise. Students of history will remember
the incidents of the attack on San Thome, and its
destruction, an error on the part of his Lieutenant
(Captain Keymis) which cost poor Sir Walter first
the life of his son, who perished in the battle, and
finally his own head. I believe I am right in stating
that the site of San Thome is occupied by the
existing town of Angostura, for which we were bound.
The scenery was really charming, often having the
character of lake views constantly varied. There
were hundreds of islands of all shapes and sizes,
from the dimensions of a mere hummock crested
with a few trees, to islands thirty miles in length;
occasionally the effect was as of the confluence of
several rivers, great and small. Narrow creeks some-
times separated the islands, presenting a vista of


perpendicular forest, while on either hand the shores
differed from those of the Surinam in being accessible,
no mangroves barring the approach, and arborescent
lilies occurred only in patches; but the shore was
lined with emerald-green borders of water-grasses, on
which the manatees delighted to feed. On the surface
of the current there floated vast rafts of blue and
red lotos. From the trees hung masses of scarlet
blossoms, climbing to a height of fifty or sixty feet. I
succeeded in getting some samples of these, and to my
surprise I found that they were the ordinary scarlet
runner of English cottage gardens, differing only in size.
This, however, made all the difference, for each flower
was four inches long, and formed one of a large cluster.
They presented a brilliant appearance. I do not
suppose that this noble parasite would acknowledge its
degenerate English descendant. If it could be grown
in hot-houses bearing flowers on the same scale as I
saw here, it would be pronounced to equal in splendour
the most gorgeous of our stove plants. We saw plenty
of wild sugar-cane, and fan palms, and a very beautiful
arborescent grass, which I had not observed before.
There were ample opportunities for observing all these
things, for, as I said before, our schooner often brushed
the forest foliage with her yard-arm.
The lower part of the river is a perfect solitude-not
a canoe, nor a native, nor a patch of cassava is to be
seen; the tapirs, the jaguars, ant-bears, anacondas,
and vampires, have it all to themselves. I saw three
tapirs taking their evening bath; they saluted us with
a trumpeting noise, but did not seem to be in the least
alarmed. Plenty of macaws flew in pairs over our
heads, also a large kind of wild duck, resembling the



Muscovy; flamingos paraded their scarlet uniforms,
and stalked along the water's edge; a manatee or two
poked their snouts above water, and puffed like
grampuses-they have flippers and suckle their young
at the breast. Monkeys held noisy conferences in the
trees; and we often heard the peculiar cry of the wild
turkey from amongst the dense cover. Above us
towered the giants of the forest, some with dome-shaped
heads, others open and feathery.


AMONGST these scenes passed our first day on the
Orinoco. The setting sun threw a warm shimmer over
river and island ; the air was deliciously soft, with just
zephyr enough to set the sails to sleep, and to produce
a gentle murmuring ripple at the bows, as we sat on
deck conversing pleasantly (for Herr von Krohn and
his bride had got over their sea sickness) ; and conning
the tapirs through the same glass that had been used
in the Grand Opera House of Berlin to inspect the
beauties of the ballet, and the queens of song, we
could see plainly the long snouts and pig-like eyes of
this South American representative of the elephant.
We voted the river travelling delightful, and agreed
that we should be sorry when our trip was over; but alas
for the instability of human enjoyments! Within
twenty-four hours a change came o'er the spirit of our
dreams. We arrived at a special region of the Orinoco
which seems to be the paradise of mosquitoes, and the
hell of travellers. These insects, of unusual size,
and speckled in an ominous and snake-like manner,


issued forth from the bush in millions, and assailed
every square inch of exposed skin. They also made
their way inside one's clothes and boots, and seemed
to be as distinguished for their creeping powers as
for their prowess in flying. Moreover, they stung
through boots, trowsers, coat, and waistcoat, and drew
blood wherever they penetrated. The sailors lay on the
deck slapping themselves all night as if for a wager;
groans and suppressed exclamations were to be heard
from the cabin-the poor bride Even the dogs uttered
dismal and despairing yelps, and ran to and fro shaking
themselves. Poor Don Juan had been shaved, and
cruelly deprived of the defence which Nature had given
him. Never were such mosquitoes seen before or since !
The pale moon shone down, beautiful but unsympath-
ising, upon our sufferings. Higher up the river there
are no mosquitoes. Here the bush resounds at night
with singing insects. Some of them have five notes of
the diatonic scale, and having reached the top of their
compass, they begin at the lowest note again with
monotonous regularity. Of course the fire-flies were
flashing in millions through the greenery, and the tree-
frogs contributed their music to the concert.
A couple of hundred miles up the river the granite
mountains of Venezuela come into sight; the islands
become rocky, and the forest is varied with grassy
prairies; villages also begin to occur, and canoes and
boats are met with. I bought from the Indians some
capital fish called here maracotto. The rocks are
covered with cactus and aloes, and the beach is of white
sand. We landed at one of the islands armed with our
rifles, as the captain said we might get some sport.
He accompanied us, as did also Herr von Krohn. The



latter was armed with a brand-new rifle, which he had
brought with him from Germany, and as he had talked
big of his powers as a sharp-shooter, great things were
expected of him.
We entered the forest by a narrow and muddy path,
and had not gone far before the captain pointed to the
fresh tracks of a jaguar; they were so sharply printed
that it was evident the animal had passed not many
minutes before. I told Herr Krohn that his opportunity
would be likely soon to occur, but I am sorry to say
that his complexion had undergone a serious change
for the worse; it was overspread with a pallor, the much
abused rifle quivered suspiciously, and a few minutes
afterwards he said he did not feel well and would
return to the ship. Deprived of his company the
captain and I and two or three of the crew proceeded
into the forest, but unfortunately were not successful in
falling in with anything worth shooting.
The captain beguiled the tedium of our forest march
with tales of sport; amongst other incidents he narrated
how on one occasion he saw a jaguar spring across the
track and pounce upon some creature in the bush. He
then heard a roar of pain, and advanced with rifle at
full cock towards the scene of action. The covert
was violently agitated, he obtained a glimpse of the
jaguar's head, fired, and all was still. On cautiously
parting the dense foliage he saw its dead body closely
embraced by an ant-bear, which however proved to be
also dead, its assailant's long fangs having pierced its
throat. It had not died unavenged, for it had first
driven its long sharp claws between the ribs of its foe,
and held him in its death-grip. The captain stated that
he had both hides at home, and kept them as a trophy.


S' -tr%

-__- -
It aa



The above is the ant-bear's stock tragedy, the hero
of which is a creature about eight feet long, including
snout and tail; it has the toughest of hides, covered
with stiff, wiry bristles, is very slow in its movements,
and cannot run away. Nor can it bite, for it has
neither mouth nor teeth.
When suddenly surprised on its travels it curls itself
up and shams death. It might be supposed, under the
above circumstances, that it would fall an easy prey to
the hunter. There are many things in this wide world
which it is dangerous to take for granted, and this is
one of them. If approached while in its apparent state
of suspended animation it will rear itself up, throw
its four armlike legs around its assailant, and not
only hug him with the force of a vice, but also drive
its sharp powerful claws into his body like so many
daggers. Their hides are much used for mats, &c.,
throughout Guiana.
A day or two afterwards we were approaching Angos-
tura. The country had become open, with much stone
and rock, coarse grass and patches of shrubs. On the day
of our arrival, when we were almost in sight of the town,
we were caught in a sand storm. On looking towards
the mountains on either side of the river, we noticed
masses of inky-black clouds arise from behind them,
and meet overhead like a pall; at the same time
their bases became hidden by what looked like dense
volumes of smoke, but which the captain told us was
sand. A schooner a few miles astern of us was ob-
served through the telescope to take in her canvas,
but before she could succeed the great mainsail was
seen to split and fly out in ribbons, and she nearly
capsized. Our captain shouted hasty orders to strike



all sail, and in five minutes nothing but spars and ropes
remained for the squall to seize. The columns of sand
and the clouds seemed to meet, the mountains were
entirely hidden beneath the black obscurity which
overhung the river; behind us a white line was seen
advancing, it was the foam of the tortured waters. At
this moment we were still in calm and sunshine,
but as suddenly as if a curtain had been let down
the light was eclipsed, the wind pounced upon us with
a roar, the air was filled with sand, and we began to
tear through the water at a prodigious rate. In fifteen
minutes all was over; the sun shone out again, we
re-spread our sails, the vanished dinner things were
again restored to the cabin top, and we set to work
upon the maracotto, potatoes, and potted meats with
appetites all the better for the brief excitement.
We soon lost sight of the tattered craft astern of us,
whose spars and canvas dangled about her like the
feathers of a defeated game-cock.

How like a younker, or a prodigal,
The scarfed bark puts from her native bay,
Hugged and caressed by the harlot wind !
How like the prodigal doth she return,
With over-weathered ribs and ragged sails,
Lean, rent, and beggared by the strumpet wind !
SHAKESPEARE, Merchant of Venice.

A lovely moonlight night succeeded, and at two o'clock
A.M. we reached Angostura, which means "the narrows,"
for the flood of waters is here forced by the mountains
into a channel little more than a mile wide.
The town is thoroughly Spanish-dirty, untidy, with
narrow streets, and houses tiled and painted blue, red,
and yellow; the windows are barred with iron like



those at Havana. As in all Spanish towns the court-
yards were ornamented with shrubs and flowers, which
could be seen through the open portals. Beneath the
shade of these, Spaniards could be discerned lolling at
full length in Panama hats and shirt sleeves, smoking
cigars, while dark Spanish women with long black
plaits were lounging or doing crochet work in the
windows and on the balconies. Negroes with packages
on their heads occupy the narrow pavement; and the
river banks are covered with the hides of little Orinoco
cattle, which are lying there to be sun-dried for export.
I called on the Governor, who evidently had a great
deal of African blood in his composition. He assumed a
haughty demeanour, and seemed to think that there was
an immeasurable distance between us outer-barbarians
and himself. I unfortunately was betrayed into a slip
of the tongue, and called him Monsieur" instead of
"Excellence." This he did not forgive for the rest of
the interview. A negro in authority is insufferable.
The people of Angostura are thoroughly Spanish;
they speak in sonorous well-poised phrases, and are
distinguished for elaborate courtesy. They entertain
the true Spanish contempt for labour, and are charac-
terized by the national readiness to promise everything
and perform nothing; not being hampered by over-
scrupulous regard for truth. The one principle to which
they adhere rigidly, is that of never doing to-day what
can possibly be put off till the morrow. There is a
good deal of trade going on at Angostura, but it is
entirely in the hands of Germans and Americans. The
only steam-boats on the river belong to Yankees, while
German merchants supply the demand for European
goods, and keep the shops furnished; even many of the



savannas on which the cattle are raised for export are
in foreign hands. There is no cultivation in the vicinity
of the town.
The business quarter, where the merchants reside, is
about a mile in length facing the river; this is dominated
by an acropolis reached by seven steep avenues crossed
at right angles by streets American fashion. The sum-
mit is occupied by a square covering about Io,ooo
yards, and flanked by Government House, the Cathe-
dral, the Barracks, a prison, and other public buildings.
The lower town contains the Custom House and Ad-
miralty, it terminates in a public promenade where the
citizens resort and where the young fashionables of both
sexes stroll beneath the shade of avenues of trees ; it is
the scene of that ancient pastime of love making which
survives all changes and disregards longitude, latitude,
and temperature. Cupid is truly cosmopolitan !
Many of the merchants' houses are handsome man-
sions of cut stone.
The only drawback to the healthiness of the city
arises from a natural basin of rocks filled annually by
the inundation. Subsequently during the dry season
its waters slowly evaporate, leaving a residuum of mud
and festering rubbish, the parents of fever and malaria.
The evil might easily be remedied, but the authorities,
with the indolence and indifference so characteristic of
the Spanish race, allow it to go on.
The Brazilian Consul, who is a Frenchman, invited
me to dine with him. He gave us quite a feast;
champagne, a capon and sweetbreads, occupying the
most prominent place in my recollection. We smoked
cigars afterwards in the veranda facing the great river
and commanding a view of the buildings and fortress on



the opposite side. The climate here is very dry and
stimulating, the temperature ranges from 80o to 85',
and at this season of the year no healthier place exists
in tropical America than Angostura. The Orinoco is
liable to an annual inundation like the Nile; this takes
place between May and August, and the waters rise, I
was assured, sixty or seventy feet above low-water level.
There were one or two small steam-boats, which during
the season of flood ascend the river to a distance of
9oo miles. Their object is to collect hides, and they
also net a good deal of money by the passenger traffic,
for all the families in the interior avail themselves
annually of the opportunity of coming to town to do
their shopping.
The Indian tribes on the Orinoco and its tributaries
carry on a trade in hammocks made of palm fibres,
and grasses dyed by a process known to themselves,
and often decorated with brilliant feather fringes;
they also freight their canoes with vanilla, gums, puma,
jaguar and ant-bear skins, and a very soft pliable kind of
cable made from Rio Negro palm fibre, and much valued
by ships' captains; they bring stuffed birds of great beauty
and rarity, live monkeys and parrots, and occasionally
a young tiger; they also cultivate patches of the forest,
and offer their surplus cassava for sale. It will be
seen therefore that the Indians of the Orinoco are un-
usually industrious; they are intelligent and physi-
cally well developed, and certainly deserve a higher rank
in the scale of humanity than is usually assigned to
them. They have not yet forgotten the early cruelties
of the Spaniards, and are very reserved and suspicious;
nothing will induce them to sleep in the town, nor will
they allow their young women to go near it,


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