THE CRUISE OF THE
A VOYAGE TO SOUTH AMERICA IN A
E. F. KNIGHT
THOMAS NELSON AND SONS, LTD.
LONDON, EDINBURGH, NEW YORK
TORONTO, AND PARIS
(Rerrinted by permission ofMessrs. Longmans, Green and Co.)
IN this volume I have told the story of the voyage,
extending over a period of twenty months, of my
yawl the Falcon (eighteen tons register, thirty tons
RTM), in South American and West Indian waters.
We left Southampton on the 20th of August, 188o,
the crew being composed of four amateurs, three of
whom were barristers, and a cabin-boy.
The narrative includes the description of a five
months' cruise in the yacht up the Rivers Parana
and Paraguay, and of a ride across the Pampas to
The number of miles travelled over by land and
sea was roughly 22,000.
I. THE RESULTS OF A FISH DINNER
AT GREENWICH 9
II. VOYAGE TO MADEIRA . 17
III. THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. .28
IV. BAHIA. 40
V. RIO DE JANEIRO. 59
VI. MALDONADO BAY 76
VII. MONTEVIDEO AND BUENOS AYRES 90
VIII. THE RIO DE LA PLATA 103
IX. THE PAMPAS 115
X. WE COMMENCE A LONG RIDE 129
XI. THE RIO SEGUNDO 143
XII. CORDOBA 154
XIII. ON THE TROPILLA TRACK TO
XIV. THE MONTES OF SANTIAGO 185
XV. THE RIO SALADILLO AND THE
XVI. SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO 215
XVII. TUCUMAN 228
XVIII. RETURN TO BUENOS AYRES 240
XIX. WE SAIL FOR PARAGUAY 249
XX. SPORT ON THE PARANA. .261
XXI. EL GRAN CHACO 276
XXII. THE PROVINCE OF CORRIENTES 288
XXIII. PARAGUAY 300
XXIV. VILLA PILLAR 310
XXV. ASUNION 322
XXVI. OUR ADVENTURES AT AREGUA 333
XXVII. DESCENT OF THE RIVERS 346
XXVIII. SHIP A NEW CREW 358
XXIX. HOMEWARD BOUND 370
XXX. A PAMPERO 381
XXXI. TRINIDAD AND MARTIN VAS
XXXII. EXPLORATION OF THE DESERT
XXXIII. PERNAMBUCO 432
XXXIV. A CRUISE ROUND THE RE-
XXXV. DEMERARA 461
XXXVI. BARBADOS AND HOME. 473
THE CRUISE OF THE
T was one of those beautiful lazy July days
that even London is occasionally blessed with,
and which tend to inspire busy man with profound
misgivings as to the truth of that trite old lesson, that
unremitting toil is his destiny and sole object here
My friend Arthur Jerdein and myself, urged by
the glory of the weather, concluded that a holiday
would be to our moral, physical, and mental advan-
tage, and thereupon acting up to our laudable deter-
mination, walked away from the narrow city streets,
and took boat at the Temple stairs for the ancient
port of Greenwich-a favourite trip of both of us
this, but one that never wearied and seemed ever
To come out of the confined city, and to steam
through the fresh breeze down the grand old river,
among the big ocean-going ships, by the stately store-
houses, and quaint water-side wharves and slips, has
a peculiar fascination of its own, with its manifold
suggestions of enterprise in many a strange land and
100 9 a
o1 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
sea. We enjoyed the orthodox fish dinner, had
another stroll through the models of antique ships of
war and relics of many victories in the hospital, and
then lingered, lazily smoking, on the sea platform of
the palace, as we waited for the boat to take us back
to the unquiet town.
It was indeed a lovely evening-a Thames-side
evening as Turner loved to paint, with just that
suspicion of haze in the golden atmosphere to tone
down all hardness of outline and crudity of colour,
and glorify all.
We looked over the waters, saw the barges dropping
down with the tide, their tanned sails gleaming like
red gold in the western light.
A big vessel passed us-an Australian clipper,
crowded with emigrants, who raised a farewell cheer
as the last shore-boats left her side. A smart yawl
yacht of some sixty tons lay at anchor, close in front
of us. We looked on all this, silent for a time, but
our thoughts were very similar, the surroundings in-
fluenced us in like manner.
In all the restless air moved the spirit of travel and
adventure. Each sound of chain rattling through
hawse-pipe, each smell of tar and odorous foreign
wood, each sight was full of reminiscence of far lands,
warm seas, and islands of spice. All seemed to say,
" Go out on the free seas."
We were both vagabonds, I fear, in disposition,
with nomadic blood in our veins, and our previous
wanderings had not been few. So far, this summer,
various causes had kept me in London, so I was more
than usually thirsting after change from city-life-
and lo! already there was an autumnal beauty in
the sky; it would soon be too late-a summer wasted;
all these months of glorious sunshine and breeze-
winter was near.
The weariness of the city, the sigh of the autumn
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." II
wind, the surroundings of travel, all combined to
wake a restlessness and a regret in me; so too was
it with my friend, for when one of us awoke from the
reverie and spoke, the conversation was on that of
which our hearts were full.
We admired the beautiful yacht riding at anchor.
" How well," one said, to set to work now and fit
out with all stores a vessel like that, and with a few
good friends sail right away from the coming northern
winter-right away for a year or two into summer
seas I "
In five minutes-though before leaving London
the faintest shadow of such a plan had not fallen
on our minds-we decided to follow this impulse,
and at the very idea of what we were about to do,
all our discontent vanished like a smoke, and a most
joyous enthusiasm succeeded it.
As is the custom under such circumstances we
retired to the Ship," with solemn ceremony un-
corked a bottle and poured out a libation to propiti-
ate the sea-god, and XEolus of the winds; then we
returned to London, light-hearted and full of our
plan, to commence preliminary work that very
Thus it was that the cruise of the Falcon came
My friend Jerdein, I must tell you, has been a
sailor, an ex-officer of the Royal Mail and P. and 0.
Companies. I myself am an amateur mariner, hav-
ing had many years' experience of fore-and-afters.
As skipper, cook, steward, mate, and crew of my
little yawl, the Ripple of Southampton, in which I
used to make periodical descents on the coast of
France, I had gained a fair knowledge of practical
seamanship. Now what we proposed to do, was to
find two or three friends to join us in a lengthened
cruise in a small yacht, say of twenty tons burden.
12 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
The idea was that we should sail her ourselves, and
dispense altogether with a professional crew-an
advantage in a small vessel.
On our return to town we exposed ourselves to
some chaff when we revealed our grand scheme.
Those who did not doubt our sincerity were dubious
of our sanity, and unhesitatingly expressed their
opinion that both the boat and the crew would be
found at about the Greek Kalends.
But before many days had passed we found the
vessel; and very lucky we were in her; had we
searched all round the British Isles we could have
discovered nothing so perfectly adapted for our
I had written to Mr. Pickett, of Stockham and
Pickett, Southampton, who had built the Ripple for
me, asking him if he knew of any vessel that would
suit us. He wrote back and told me that there was
the very thing for us laid up for sale in his yard,
alongside the Ripple.
So Jerdein and myself took the next train to
Southampton to inspect her.
We found the Falcon to be a yawl of eighteen tons
register; thirty tons yacht measurement, a boat of
exceptionally strong construction, for she had been
built in Penzance for a fishing-lugger, and the
Penzance luggers have the reputation of being the
strongest and best sea boats of their size.
She had a square stern, which did not perhaps
improve her beauty, but gave her a character of her
own, and pole masts. Her length was forty-two feet,
her beam thirteen, and her draught about seven feet
and a half.
She was a most solid vessel, looking as if she
meant business, perfectly sound and possessing a fair
inventory, so it was not long before I had arranged
matters with her owners, and became the proud
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 13
possessor of the gallant little craft that was to be my
home for nearly two years.
Jerdein and myself left London, and at once com-
menced to fit her out, for we were anxious to sail away
into calm seas before the autumnal equinox was on
us with its gales.
There was plenty to do; we had her coppered
well above the water-line, fitted her with water-
tanks and biscuit-lockers, reduced her canvas, and
ordered spare and storm-sails. Beside her main,
jib-headed mizen, fore-staysail, and jib, she carried
a sliding gunter gaff-topsail, and a spinnaker.
We procured all the necessary charts, directories,
nautical instruments, stored away some nine months'
provisions, decorated the main cabin walls with arms
for defence and sport-Martini-Henry rifles, cutlasses,
and revolvers, and purchased a small brass swivel gun
with grape and canister.
No one who has not undertaken to fit out even so
small a vessel for a cruise of years over tens of thou-
sands of miles of ocean, can conceive how much there
is to think of and provide for.
The report of our proceedings spread in Southamp-
Longshore loafers, yachting men, and others took
an interest in the curious expedition of an amateur
crew in so small a craft, and there was generally a
small crowd watching the preparations that made
Pickett's yard noisywith sound of hammering, sawing,
and caulking. Jerdein and myself were employed for
three days in unpacking and storing away bales of
tinned meats and other stores.
Hearing that we did not intend to take professionals
with us, many affected to disbelieve in us, jeered at
our plans and prophesied we should weary of the trip
before we got out of the chops of the Channel, put into
Cherbourg, stay there a week or so, and then return.
14 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
By some ill-omened soothsayers we were advised to
paint the vessel's name conspicuously on her keel,
so that she would be easily recognized when found
floating upside down on some sea or other.
West Quay, however, believed in us, and Pickett
was enthusiastic on the subject and sanguine as to
our success; but he and others too would often in-
quire, Here are you and Mr. Jerdein, but where's
the rest of the crew? We have not seen them
With great difficulty we found two gentlemen to
join us, Mr. Andrews and Mr. Arnaud, but unfortu-
nately neither of these had the slightest idea of sailing
a boat. They knew nothing whatever of nautical
At last they turned up in Southampton, and
Pickett's yard came out to study them. The yacht
sailors looked on with interest as one of these bold
would-be circumnavigators in top hat and kid gloves,
with gingerly steps carefully ascended the ladder
which lay against the Falcon's side, reached the deck,
and, looking round, remarked with quite a nautical
air, as he hitched up his trousers, What a lot of
strings there are about this boat I shall never
know the use of them all."
West Quay likewise studied bold circumnavigator
Number Two, smiled, and shrugged its shoulders.
This was certainly not a promising crew to take
across the Atlantic, and no one knew this better than
Jerdein and myself.
Thus were we bound to add another member to our
crew, who was of much more use, though small in
This was a small boy, a very small boy of about
fifteen, homeless and characterless, who was loafing
about West Quay in search of odd jobs, a half-starved,
melancholy, silent little wretch, who had been the
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 15
recipient of more kicks than halfpence during his
short existence. On questioning him, we found he
had been two years on board a North Sea fishing
boat-no gentle school.
When we offered him a berth on the Falcon he
gladly accepted it.
He never smiled then, that boy-he does now.
When we first engaged him, Jerdein catechized him
thus :-" What is your name ? "Arthur." "Can
you steer by compass ? " Yes." Can you make
a bowline-knot on this piece of string ? He satis-
factorily accomplished this feat. Do you ever get
drunk ? Ain't often got the chance, sir." Do
you ever smile ?" "Yes, sir." This response came
out doubtfully, and forthwith he tried to screw some-
thing like a smile out of his despondent features.
It was a ghastly failure; his muscles were unaccus-
tomed to the necessary movements, andworked rustily
and with effort. Perhaps it was well for him that he
could not smile during the early stages of our voyage,
for there were things to smile at ; deeds of eccentric
seamanship on the part of some of the crew, at the
which, were he to have smiled, a box on the ears
might have brought him back to his normal melan-
Others now volunteered to jointhe Falcon; stewards
and French cooks, reading of a proposed lengthy
cruise in the papers, came for engagements, beheld
the vessel and her crew, shook their heads, and
As far as the provisions were concerned, the Falcon
was well supplied. We had stores sufficient for five
men for nine months, consisting, among other things,
of 400 lbs. of biscuits and nearly I,ooo tins of pre-
served meats, vegetables, &c. A supply of lime
juice was, of course, not forgotten, and an ample
cask of rum was securely screwed down in the main
16 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
cabin. We carried about 250 gallons of water, which
we reckoned would last us three months with proper
precautions. On our long passages, as across the
Atlantic, all washing with fresh water was of course
forbidden. We did not omit to take with us some
tinned plum-puddings wherewith to keep up in
orthodox form the Christmas days which we should
spend on the Falcon.
We shipped yet another hand before we sailed.
Mrs. Pickett presented us with a little kitten to take
with us. Poor little thing it purred merrily and
romped about when it first came on board, little
knowing what was before it.
Before starting, the discipline of the ship had to be
arranged, and the duties of each apportioned out.
Jerdein was officer of the port, I of the starboard
watch; Andrews was on Jerdein's watch, Arnaud on
mine. The boy, Arthur, was on no watch, as he had a
good deal of lamp-cleaning, &c., in the day. He used
to turn in for the night, only steering now and
then in the daytime, especially at meal-times in
fine weather, when he was left in charge, while we
four sat down to table together.
We used to keep four-hour watches, watch and
watch, in the usual way, with dog-watches from four
p.m. to eight p.m.
The plan of our cruise was as follows: To sail by
easy stages to Buenos Ayres, and then navigate the
great tributaries of the River Plate, the Parana and
Paraguay, as high as we could in the yacht. We had
heard much of the glories of those huge streams, and
of the abundant sport to be found on their wild banks.
No yacht had ever ascended the Paraguay before,
and we anticipated a good deal of novelty and excite-
ment in those fair regions, should we, as we little
doubted, effect our'purpose.
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 17
WE appointed four p.m., on the 2oth of August, 188o
-a Friday, too--for our departure.
That morning the Falcon, ready from truck to
keel, lay at anchor off West Quay. The Blue Peter
was at the mast-head, indicating to all friends that
we were off at last. West Quay took a holiday, and
a crowd of small boats rowed round us all the morn-
ing, filled with many who wished to inspect the
At two p.m. we stretched the awning on deck, and
a lunch was spread out for a few friends-a boisterous
lunch, in which many toasts were drunk, and our
success warmly wished. At 3.30 p.m. the bell was
rung, the main-sail hoisted, and as the last shore-
boat left our side, up came the anchor, and, with
cheers from the spectators, we dropped down the
river on the top of a good ebb.
Almost all the yachts we passed knew us, and their
crews cheered us lustily. We still had a large com-
pany on board, who insisted on seeing us safe to the
chops of the Channel-two friends from town, Cap-
tain Forbes, who had rubbed up our navigation at
Southampton, and a pilot.
At midnight we were outside the Needles, and
commenced to feel the swell of the Channel. The
weather was very favourable for the voyage, a light
north-east wind was blowing, which continued until
we dropped our anchor in Falmouth Harbour on the
following midnight, that is, thirty-two hours after
We were now enabled to judge more or less of what
stuff our crew were made during our trial trip. The
philosophic calm which distinguished Arnaud com-
menced to declare itself. He reclined in his cabin
18 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
smoking and thinking during the greater part of this
voyage; turning out only at meal-times, and evinc-
ing no inclination to undertake his due share of the
work. On the afternoon after leaving Southampton,
while we were passing the Eddystone lighthouse, he
did crawl slowly on to the deck, to our great surprise,
with a blanket over his arm. He rubbed his sleepy
eyes, looked round with a lazy smile at the smooth
sea and cloudless sky, stretched his blanket on the
deck, lay down on it, lit a cigarette, and with a half
yawn, half sigh of extreme content, said, I could go
round the world like this and resigned himself
once more to his beloved dolce far niente.
Andrews, though more active and willing than Ar-
naud, was equally incapable of mastering the very
elements of fore-and-aft seamanship, and caused
Jerdein, the officer of his watch, as much trouble as
Arnaud did me. There was a good deal of hard
language to be heard occasionally on board the
Falcon, sounding above winds and waves, when such
an incident as the following, for instance, would
occur:-Time, two a.m. Dark and squally night.
Knight steering. Arnaud smoking and pondering
(supposed to be looking out). Knight, observing
squall coming up, loquitur :-" Arnaud, just run
forward and scandalize the mainsail, will you; begin
by tricing up the tack."
Arnaud creeps deliberately forward, and disappears
in the darkness. Five minutes elapse. Knight, im-
patiently, Now, then, have not you finished that
yet ? "
Arnaud: In a minute; in a minute."
Another five minutes elapse; we are now in the
middle of the squall, which does not prove so violent
as was anticipated. Knight, very impatient, You
are a nice, useful fellow on board a yacht! Ten
minutes, and you have not triced up that tack; if
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 19
that had been a serious squall, we might have gone to
the devil while you were fiddling about there."
Arnaud, very indignant, I do not care. I will
leave the beastly thing alone. I will not be sworn at.
In the daytime I can find the strings ; in the night I
cannot, and I shall no longer try."
Follows a prolonged and very noisy discussion,
whereon the face of Jerdein appears above the hatch.
How the blank do you think we can get a wink of
sleep down here when you are kicking up such an
infernal row? &c., &c., blank, &c."
This little episode occurred months after leaving
England, so the reader will perceive that the educa-
tion of my friend progressed but slowly. So, too, was
it when Jerdein and Andrews were on deck. I was
awakened one night by a tremendous row, a banging
about of ropes ; and, far louder than all, the sten-
torian exclamations of the wrathful Jerdein. On
coming on deck I found that, on being ordered to let
fly the jib sheet, that the ship might go about, An-
drews had got rather mixed up among the strings,"
and had let go in succession the jib haulyards, the
bowsprit shrouds, and the peak haulyards. A very
nice crew, this, to cross the Atlantic with !
And here is another little adventure of Arnaud's.
On one fine day, the wind being steady, light, and
right aft, and our spinnaker and top-sail set, he was
left alone on deck for a few minutes to steer. Sud-
denly I heard a great flapping of canvas, and on
hurrying on deck, perceived that all our sails had been
taken aback. The main-sail, top-sail, and spinnaker
were bellying out the wrong way, and the vessel was
slowly travelling stern first. The booms, being guyed,
had not swung aft. I looked at the compass, and per-
ceived that Arnaud had steered the vessel right round,
so that she was heading away from her course; then
I looked at the culprit. He was sitting, with his legs
20 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
crossed Turkish fashion, on the locker aft-placid,
calm as a Hindoo idol. He was deliberately rolling
himself another cigarette, the while professing to be
steering with his elbow, and evidently unconscious
of having done aught wrong.
Well, Arnaud ? I said.
I think," he remarked in a weary, careless voice,
looking at the burgee at the mast-head; I think
the wind has changed."
We passed two days in the quaint old Cornish sea-
port. Some yachting men called on us, and were
somewhat surprised to behold our arrangements.
Where does your crew live ? they asked after
going all over the vessel, for we were at the time in
our shore-going togs," and not to be recognized as
the four seamen our friends had perceived in the
morning swabbing decks. "Where do your men live ?
there seems to be only room for yourselves on board."
We pointed to the solemn small boy sitting in the
forecastle, with his perpetual huge quid of tobacco
in his cheek, and his chum the kitten on his lap.
That is our crew."
"But the others? "
"There are no others."
I think these gentlemen looked upon the Falcon,
with its amateur crew, as being one of the most
eccentric craft that ever wandered about the oceans.
We lay in a quantity of soft tack, bottled beer, and
vegetables at Falmouth, so that we might enjoy
the wonted luxuries of the shore for some few days
of our first voyage.
On the evening of the 24th of August we bid adieu
to the friends who had accompanied us down from
Southampton. The anchor was weighed and catted.
The last link between us and home was broken, and
under all plain canvas the Falcon glided out of the
bay, bound for Madeira.
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 21
Well off at last, we four, the boy, and the kitten;
and it was with a curious mixture of sensations
that we sailed out into the dark cloudy night on the
choppy waters of the Channel. The last we saw of
old England was the Lizard lights gleaming from
the darkness. From these we took our departure,"
and steered a course straight across the Bay of
Biscay for Finisterre. At eight o'clock we lost sight
of the light, and from that moment the routine of
shipboard commenced. Eight bells was sounded;
the patent log, one of Walker's taffrail logs, was
dropped overboard; and the watches set; for from
now our life was no longer to be divided out into
days and nights, but into spells of four hours up
and four hours down-rather trying, at first.
There was usually a strong contrast between the
expression of the faces of the watch coming down
to turn in and of that about to turn out. To the
latter the jovial and noisy way with which the
former would rouse it from its slumbers was dis-
gusting in the extreme. Arnaud's face, for instance,
when he was turned out at midnight wore anything
but a happy expression. He did not seem to see
any fun in Jerdein's boisterous Now, then, you
sleepers! Now, then, starboard watch; up you
We met splendid weather all the way to Madeira;
too splendid indeed, for we were becalmed for two
days in the Bay of Biscay, rolling helplessly in the
long swell; the redoubtable gulf treating us kindly,
and sparing us all its terrors. We were also becalmed
for nearly three days in the neighbourhood of Madeira.
Notwithstanding these five days of enforced idleness,
we accomplished the voyage of I,2oo nautical miles
in fourteen days, for the wind was right aft all the
way. It is off the south coast of Portugal that the
mariner may expect to fall in with the north-east
22 THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON."
trade-wind; but we carried the wind from that
quarter all the way from Southampton, a great
piece of luck.
It would be tedious, I think, for my readers were
I to give the narrative of these voyages in log form;
I will therefore but briefly jot down the particular
events of each, especially such as may prove of in-
terest or of service to yachting men. The little
Falcon gave great satisfaction on this her trial trip,
and we got a much higher speed out of her than we
anticipated-on some occasions she has logged as
much as nine and a half knots an hour, running before
a heavy sea. We were enabled to carry our spinnaker
and gaff-topsail throughout this voyage, two days
On approaching Finisterre we got into a confused
and nasty sea, in which the vessel rolled heavily-and
these lively Penzance luggers do know how to roll.
Jerdein and myself had now to take all the steer-
ing through our watches, as Arnaud and Andrews
could as yet only be trusted at the helm in fine
On the evening of the 29th of August we sighted the
lofty cliffs of the Spanish coast; and at dusk made out
the light on Cape Finisterre.
This day we spoke the Maria, a Spanish barque
bound for Coruna. In the night we lost a hand
overboard ; we could not recover him, as it was very
dark, and there was a heavy sea running.
The sad event occurred in the middle watch. I
was steering, with Arnaud standing by my side,
when we perceived the kitten crawl out of his lodging
under the dinghy, which lay upturned on the deck.
The poor thing had been pining ever since we sailed.
The terrible liveliness of the little craft had made
him very sea-sick-and perhaps tinned meat and
preserved milk did not agree with him; anyhow,
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 23
he was a melancholy object, becoming thinner and
sadder every day, as his chum the boy grew fatter
and more contented-looking.
This particular afternoon the kitten had sighted
the smiling downs of Spain, had smelt the land;
so he plucked up a bit, tried to purr, and evidently
entertained hopes of soon setting foot on terrafirma
again. But now that he saw us bearing away once
more, and the Finisterre light fading away behind us,
despair seized him. He climbed on to the bulwarks,
and stretching out his neck, looked yearningly out
towards the receding land. Now he gazed down
shrinkingly at the black water, now back at the
deck, evidently in doubt; and just as the light be-
came quite invisible, with a piteous mew and one
last reproachful look at the cruel Falcon, and her
crueller crew, resolutely leapt overboard-a de-
liberate suicide; death, he thought, was to be pre-
ferred to this life of misery on the ever-heaving seas.
On the Ist of September, being in about latitude
380 N., and longitude 14 12' W., off the mouth of
the Mediterranean Sea, we encountered our strongest
breeze-a moderate gale from the N.E., before
which we ran nearly Ioo miles in twelve hours. On
the 29th of August, we ran 142 miles; on the 3oth
of August, 118; on the 31st of August, io8; on the
ist of September, 180; on the 2nd of September, 150-
dead before the wind,so we had no reason to complain.
We were, on the 2nd of September, only 168 miles
from the Madeira islands, but we did not drop our
anchor in Funchal roads until the 7th of September ;
for we now encountered calm and light baffling winds,
progressing but slowly under a leaden sky, across
a long, smooth-swelling, leaden sea. Tepid, un-
comfortable weather it was, with the thermometer
standing at 850 in the shade.
Early in the morning of the 6th of September we
24 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
sighted a rugged, rocky coast right ahead of us, which
we soon made out to be the island of Porto Santo, the
northernmost of the Madeiras. It appeared to be
a wild spot ; a small isle not six miles long, with an
iron-bound coast, on which the Atlantic seas per-
petually broke with a thunderous roar. It seemed
to be barren in the extreme, merely a tumbled
mass of rugged black mountains, in some places
running sheer into the foaming sea, in others fringed
at the foot by beautiful beaches of golden sands.
Strange did these lofty mountainous islands of mid-
ocean appear to us, after the low verdant shores of
There was but a light wind blowing, and it was
not till midnight that we sailed between the group of
barren rocky islets known as the Desertas (only
distinguishable this dark night by the roar of the
surf on them) and the east coast of Madeira. Then
we bore away to the westward until we were abreast
of the lights of Funchal, some four miles from the
anchorage, and hauling the fore-sheet to windward,
hove-to till morning.
The next daywas cloudlesssultry, and with scarcely
a breath of wind to fill our sails, but with the assist-
ance of the sweeps we brought the Falcon, by about
mid-day, to the roadstead of Funchal, and came to
an anchor within hailing distance of the shore under
the walls of the Loo Rock Fort.
And now, indeed, we could perceive that we had
come to a summer land. On the shore in front of
us was the white Portuguese city, and behind it the
island rose in swelling domes of luxuriant vegeta-
tion and dark forests, up to the barren rocky mountain-
tops, 6000 feet above the sea. It was pretty hot
too; the Leste was blowing, the hot wind from
the African Sahara, which brought the thermometer
up to 9go in the shade.
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 25
As soon as the Customs' and the health boat had
come off, and we were free to hold intercourse with
the natives, a bumboat came off to us from the
shore-the regular old traditional bumboat of
Marryat's novels-laden with oranges, bananas, figs,
mangoes, fresh butter, fish, soft tack, and other
unwonted luxuries. But the bumboat woman, the
sweet little musical Buttercup, was wanting. In
her place was a shifty-eyed, grave, dark man of un-
prepossessing countenance, one Marco, who under-
took to supply us with water, stores, look after our
washing, and so on. He could speak some English,
and was laden with certificates from all the English
yachts that had visited Madeira for years. There are
no ship-chandlers here, so one is left to the mercy
of these irregular land-sharks. Marco is perhaps
no worse than the rest.
Jerdein said, He may prove to be an honest
man, for he did not wince when swallowing the
very strong tot of whisky I gave him." I have
some doubts myself as to the general efficacy of
The town of Funchal we found to be very dull
and uninteresting; but like all who visit this island
of perpetual summer, we were astonished at the
beauty of the surrounding country. From the steep,
paved, narrow streets of the suburbs, over whose
every wall hung large bunches of purple grapes,
to the tops of the swelling hills, the land overflowed
with an exuberant and lovely vegetation. Myrtles,
large trees of grand geraniums in full flower, roses,
vines, oleanders, bananas, covered the hill sides,
while every lane was shaded with festoons of vines.
Mr. Falconer, our host of the excellent English
hotel known as Mile's Hotel, a beautifully situated
place built in the centre of a lovely tropical garden,
made arrangements for us to visit the world-re-
26 THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON."
nowned view of the Gran Corral. He procured
good horses for us. The Gran Corral deserves its
reputation, and we had a most pleasant ride to the
sublime gorge, by a road which winds along the
sides of mountains, sometimes precipitous and barren,
but generally covered with verdure and flowers and
noble forests of chestnut. The broad, blue Atlantic
was always a feature in the scene; so high were
we above it that we could see the light clouds skim-
ming over it below us like phantom ships.
On our return to the city we went to the circus,
for dull Funchal just now boasted this excitement-
a Yankee circus that was travelling among the Canary
Islands and up and down the West Coast of Africa.
We were already provided with tickets for the per-
formance, for the shrewd American had already
pounced down on us as likely people to be looking
out for entertainment. We had made the acquaint-
ance of some of this queer crowd of light-hearted
wanderers in the following wise.
We were sitting in a caf6, indulging in glasses of
strong red wine in which cream ices had been stirred
up, a pleasant combination in vogue here. At another
table was sitting a man who eyed us silently for
some time, mentally taking our measure. He was
a shortish man, with close-shaved head and keen
Yankee features, with an eye ever twinkling with
good-natured fun, and a mobile, nervous mouth.
After, no doubt, having pretty well gauged the
character of the Falcons, and having detected some
freemasonry of Bohemianism in the appearance
of those great navigators, he came boldly up to us
and with Yankee twang burst at once in medias
Wall, strangers, and so ye've come all the way
from England in that little craft in the harbour,
eh ? Proud to make your acquaintance. I'm the
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 27
fi-nance man of Feely's circus, that's who I am.
Now I guess you'll want a dash of moral recrea-
tion to-night after all those days of hauling and
heaving, eh ? Here you are (producing an envelope),
just four places left-four box-tickets for to-night's
grand representation of Feely's American Circus-
right. Yes, I'll take a little aqua p5ura with whisky.
We visited the circus and enjoyed it too, for the
little company was clever. We all lost our hearts
to a pretty and merry-eyed little Yankee girl, who
gracefully did la haute cole on a fine bay horse. I
think our friend, the finance man, saw this, for he
considerately spared us any further wounding of these
too susceptible hearts.
He came off in a boat to call on us the next
morning, and brought with him his "boss," Mr.
Feely, and the Neapolitan clown, but none of the
"fair artistes." They are liable to sea-sickness,"
he diplomatically explained. This trio stayed to
lunch, and we turned them out our best curry and
minced collops, stimulating their appetites first with
the world-renowned Falcon fog-cutter, a terrible
beverage of the cock-tail species, invented by Jer-
dein in the early days of the cruise, but much im-
proved by further research and experiment, as we
progressed. It contains manifold ingredients, of
which whisky and Angostura bitters form the
base. What comes on the top of these depends much
on the products of the clime the Falcon happens to
be in, thus a detailed recipe is impossible. If you ask
a denizen of British Guiana what a "swizzle is,
his reply will be "a Demerara tipple." He will not
condescend to analyze further for you that delicate
pink foaming draught. So be it with the Falcon
fog-cutter-it is a Falcon tipple."
For two years this company had owned a small
28 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
schooner-yacht, in which they travelled with all
their paraphernalia from island to island of the
West Indies, and up the Spanish Main. Then they
were wrecked. Many a curious yarn these three
Bohemians spun us of their roaming life on the
warm Western seas among the pleasure-loving people
of the Spanish Main. Mr. Feely was the gravest
of the three, as became his responsible position;
circus proprietors always are more or less solemn.
It must indeed be hard and delicate work to keep in
order the curious little world of a travelling circus,
with its artistic jealousies and squabbles.
IN the afternoon of the 13th of September, having
got a clean bill of health for St. Vincent, and laid in
a good stock of vegetables and Colares wine, we
weighed anchor, and sailed out of Funchal Bay
before a light breeze. We did not get out into the
strength of the fresh trade-wind until past midnight,
as is generally the case on the lee-side of this island,
with its lofty mountains.
Our next port was to be Porto Grande, in the island
of St. Vincent, Cape Verde Islands, a distance of
o026 nautical miles. This voyage we accomplished
in seven days and twenty hours, notwithstand-
ing that we had in all about forty hours of light
winds and calms, and twelve hours of headwind.
But during the rest of the voyage we had strong
north-east trade-winds. In three consecutive days
we made the following runs: 169, 166, and 183
nautical miles, which is not bad work for a tubby,
jury-rigged craft like ours.
We were now sailing over a lovely sea. The old
Spanish discoverers named this vast region of the
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 29
north-east trade-wind, that extends almost from
360 N. to the Equator, the Ladies' Gulf. Well
named it is too. A tropic sea where storms are very
rare, where there is a perpetual summer, tempered
by the fresh, strong trades.
In these warm latitudes the four a.m. to eight
a.m. watch is the pleasantest of the day. There is
first the matutinal coffee and pipe-for on the
Falcon smoking on duty is not absolutely forbidden.
You steer the gallant little vessel as she reels off her
eight knots an hour before the steady breeze, rolling
and heaving gently as the great green seas pass
under her, sometimes playfully dropping a bucket-
ful of salt water over the bulwark. You watch
the gradual approach of dawn: there comes a pale
flush with bright emerald streaks in the eastern sky ;
and far quicker than in our northern climes, the
sable night is driven back, and the stars put out;
and gloriously the tropical sun rises from a throne
of rainbow clouds over burning Africa.
During our voyage to St. Vincent, the thermom-
eter ranged from 800 to 850 in our cabin. On
September the 14th it rained for the first time
since we left Southampton, but not for long.
On the evening of September the I6th, four full-
rigged ships were in sight of us astern.
The following morning the wind freshened from
the south-east quarter. We held our own against
three of the four ships, still keeping them astern of us.
Only one could gain on us, and at two p.m. she was
alongside. She was a magnificent British ship with
all sail set. We were in company with her for
some hours, during which we kept up a conversation
with her by means of the international code of signals.
She hoisted her number, H.F.S.R., and we found she
was the well-known fast London clipper, the Para-
mata, of 1,521 tons, bound from Plymouth to Sydney.
30 THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON."
Her passengers crowded her decks to look at
us, the sight of so small a craft as the Falcon in
mid-ocean evidently surprising them. The flag
conversation went on in an animated manner,
until we bade each other farewell, dipped our ensigns
and separated, she taking a course considerably to
the westward of ours. This pleasant little encounter
was in latitude 260 24' N., longitude 20z 30' W.
The other three ships did not overtake us.
On September the 18th we boomed along merrily
before a fresh breeze. It was Saturday, so at eight:
p.m., as is the old sea rule, we drank to sweethearts
and wives, and even found occasion for another toast,
so merry were we at our luck and prospect of a smart
run. This was to the tropics, for it was this even-
ing we entered the torrid zone, crossing the Cancer at
Sunset. This night the wind freshened consider-
ably, but blew steadily.
At daybreak, as I was steering, it being my watch,
the spinnaker outhaul carried away, so I had to call
up the watch below to muzzle the sail and repair
the damage. A curious and undignified spectacle
the port watch presented as they hurried up en desha-
bille. Andrews was arrayed in a blanket and a
pair of hideous blue spectacles which he considered
to be necessary for his eyes when in tropic seas.
On the 19th, we had reeled off another 166 knots.
And now the gallant north-east wind blew fresher
and fresher still; at times we made eight and a half
knots an hour, driving showers of spray from our
bows as we plunged like a frighted steed from one
great sea to another.
Top-sail and spinnaker were stowed in the after-
noon; by evening the wind had increased to the
force of a gale, and we close-reefed the main-sail and
shifted the jib.
Jerdein and myself had now to do all the steering,
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 31
as was usual when the tiller required delicate han-
dling. The old boat behaved splendidly, and in
twenty-four hours we had made another 190 miles
on our course. On the morning of the zoth, we
sighted a brig steering W.S.W., with top-gallant
Nearly every morning about this time we had a
little fresh fish for breakfast, for many flying fish
would jump over our low bulwarks by night,
attracted by the glare of the bull's eye and side
lights (when we carried them).
On the night of September the 2oth, we knew that
we were in the close vicinity of the Cape Verdes.
As the weather was very thick, we first shortened
canvas, and later on, during the middle watch, hove-
to, so as to keep off the land till daybreak. At
four a.m. I relieved Jerdein on deck, made sail and
proceeded on our course. We were unfortunate
in having an exceedingly unfavourable morning for
making a landfall. It was squally, drizzly, thick
weather, in which it would be impossible to distinguish
the highest land at the distance of two miles ; a not
uncommon state of things to encounter off these lofty,
cloud-collecting islands. At seven a.m. we per-
ceived through the drizzle a dark, undefined mass on
the port bow that might be a lofty coast, so we
bore down towards it.
Then a violent squall came down on us,which com-
pelled us to lower the main-sail. At eight p.m., of
a sudden, a great rift opened out in the thick atmos-
phere, and lo! right ahead, for a moment only, ap-
peared a mass of inky rock filling up the rift, its edges
and extent not yet discernible. Then the rift in
the mist closed, and we were left again in uncertainty
for a while. But soon, with the strengthening sun,
the thickness cleared once more, and we perceived
before us, not three miles off, a dark threatening mass
32 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
of mountains which we recognized as the island of
This is the most northward of the Cape Verde Islands
and one of the most fertile of the group, though it
looks barren and inhospitable enough from the sea.
These islands lie at the southern limit of the north-
east trade-winds, and are about 200 miles distant
from Senegambia on the West Coast of Africa.
They belong to Portugal, and are for the most part
inhabited by a fine-looking race of negroes, giants
of their kind, who are good sailors and farmers. The
whole group is volcanic-a congregation of curiously
serrated, dark mountains, that look as if vomited
out from hell itself, so weird some of them appear.
The island of San Antonio presents a fine appear-
ance from the sea. It is a grand volcanic mass of
dark rock, whose peaks rise above the clouds (it
attains an elevation of 7,Ioo feet), and at whose feet
is a perpetual white line of heavy surf. Bleak and
uninhabited as it appears to be, this island has a
considerable negro population, and they say contains
fertile vales, between its precipices, where vines,
cocoanuts, plantains, indigo, and cotton, are culti-
vated by a mild and industrious coloured people.
The island of San Vincente is separated from that
of San Antonio by a channel seven miles wide.
After close-hauling the Falcon on the port tack
so as to double the north-east Cape of San Antonio,
we then bore away down the channel for Porto
Grande-the harbour of St. Vincent.
This is the most important island of the Cape Verde
Archipelago, having been selected as a coaling station
and place of call for several lines of ocean mail-
steamers. But of all the group, none I imagine is so
barren and burnt-up a desert as is this little islet.
As we approached it we could easily distinguish its
volcanic origin. It is merely a burnt-out volcano.
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 33
From the golden sands that divide it from the blue
tropic sea it rises a confused mass of utterly bare, fan-
tastic mountain-peaks. Steep and profound ravines
descend to the sea in places, black and lifeless some
of them as if they had been cloven but yesterday with
a great pickaxe out of a mountain of coal. This arid
African crag is not a cheerful-looking place.
At mid-day we dropped our anchor in Porto
Grande Bay, close to the wretched little Portuguese
town. This is a splendid and well-sheltered harbour,
capable of holding at least 300 sail. The entrance,
which looks out toward the island of San Antonio, is
about two miles wide. Once within the bay one
finds himself in clear, smooth water, surrounded on all
sides by shores of beautiful yellow sands and coral
rocks, from which rises the amphitheatre of barren,
tooth-shaped mountains. The only objection to this
land-locked basin is the almost daily occurrence of
furious squalls, which sweep down on it from the
ravines. Twice during our stay here we dragged
our anchor in consequence of these.
The little town on the beach, with its whitewashed
houses and bright red roofs, looked cheerful against
the dreary background; for from the domed moun-
tain-tops to the shore sloped down the couloirs of
black lava and debris of old volcanoes. Travellers
have likened this aspect to that of a raked-out coal
fire of giants-a Titanic heap of cinders-and this
exactly describes it. One could almost imagine that
the fire still smoulders below, so intensely hot is it in
this land-locked bay; an atmosphere of a furnace
at times envelops the town. On the desolate land
there is no green to relieve the eye, no trees to
keep off the burning rays of the tropic sun.
The health-officer came off in a boat rowed by
sturdy negroes clad in white, and gave us pratique;
then in his turn came off the Marco of St. Vincent in
34 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
his bumboat-a merry little Portuguese, with a ne'er-
do-weel twinkle of eye and cock of hat, Jos6 by name;
he spoke English fluently, and offered to find all we
wanted in the way of provisions during our stay.
Very well he did it too ; and, to our surprise, without
swindling us in the least. Let me recommend little
Jos6 to future callers at this port.
It is easy to procure any quantity of bananas,
mangoes, cocoanuts, and other fruits here. They are
brought over from the other more fertile islands in
small craft by the negroes. These same islanders
appear to be a merry, prosperous people, perpetually
jabbering and grinning like so many monkeys. Some
of these islands, they tell me, are very negro and half-
caste Utopias. Each man owns his little plot of land,
which produces more than suffices for his needs.
Coffee, papias, sugar, bananas, &c., are cultivated in
the fertile vales beneath the volcanic crags. Yankee
schooners carry on a brisk trade among these people,
bartering cheap and gaudy cottons, knives, and such
goods, for agricultural produce. San Vincente is
not self-supporting even in the way of water, of this
necessary there is very little, if any. Some is brought
over from San Antonio in schooners, but the shipping
is chiefly supplied by Miller the coal-king, who con-
denses large quantities of sea-water in giant tanks.
San Vincente is one of the stations of the Anglo-
Brazilian Telegraph Company, so there are about
fifteen young Englishmen in the company's employ,
resident here. It was chiefly owing to the companion-
ship and hospitality of these gentlemen that we lay
at anchor off this cinder-heap for so long as nine days.
Every naval and royal mail officer knows the telegraph
station and the telegraph men of St. Vincent.
These all live together in one large building, by far the
most luxurious place on the island, with a spacious
verandah surrounding it, libraries, reading-rooms,
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 35
billiard-rooms, and all the other luxuries of a club.
Were it not for the number of the company's em-
ployes, and this pleasant system of half-club, half-
college fellowship, I should imagine their life in such a
hole as Porto Grande would be intolerable, so utterly
destitute of all society or amusement is it. As it is
they live jollily enough. They give their little dances
to the officers and passengers of passing mail steamers;
play at cricket on the blazing sands; keep their
four-oared boat, and so on. The arrival of a steamer
with a good supply of first-class passengers of the fair
sex is generally the signal for a ball, for St. Vincent can
turn out little in the feminine line-save negresses
and mulattoes. Sadly were the telegraph men, and
we mariners of the Falcon too, for the matter of that,
disappointed, when the SS. Cotopaxi called here on
her way to Australia, with a full complement of
passengers. We had eagerly looked forward to her
arrival. There would be English papers, the faces of
English girls again, a jolly ball. But, alas there
was a case of scarlatina on board, so she was put
into quarantine during her stay. A great disappoint-
ment for all parties-the passengers perhaps not
least; the emigrants hung over the bulwarks all day,
gazing sadly at the forbidden terra firma.
One fine morning Arnaud and myself started off in
our Berthon collapsible boat to explore the other side
of the bay under Washington Head, where the sands,
piled up in huge dunes, glittered like pale gold under
the vertical sun. The outward journey in the little
ten-foot canvas boat was smooth enough, but on
nearing the land we found, what we could not perceive
from the Falcon's deck, a heavy surf breaking on the
shore. The edge, too, of the beach was thick with
sharp, ugly-looking, coral rocks.
Anyhow, here we were, and land we must to
explore those great slopes of glaring sand. As soon
36 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
as we had reached the breakers, and were, as we im-
agined, in sufficiently shallow water, I gave the order
to jump overboard, so that we might lift the boat
safely on shore without running a hole in her bottom.
To Arnaud's astonishment the water was well over our
heads; so when we had at last successfully landed
and carried the boat out of reach of the breakers, he
upbraided me sadly. You told me we were in
shallow water-do you call that shallow water? "
We sat down on the burning sands under the sun
to dry, and forthwith entered into a fierce discussion
as to whether ten feet was shallow water or the
reverse; I holding the former, Arnaud the latter
view. Shallow, I said, was a purely relative adjec-
tive, and in these circumstances ten feet was shallow.
Arnaud held that water could not be shallow for
walking and fording purposes, when there were three
or four feet of it above your head.
In five minutes the tropical sun had dried us, so
we postponed the discussion, and wandered about
collecting shells and specimens of coral, enjoying this
amusement, I verily believe, as much as we used to
do when we were small imps with spade and bucket
in the olden times.
The trade-wind blows all the refuse of Porto
Grande across the bay to this beach, and so stalking
about on the sands, greedily gobbling, were the ugliest
and most mangy-looking vultures I have ever cast
eyes upon. They were quite tame, and allowed us to
approach them within a yard or so. These useful
scavengers are protected by law, and a heavy fine is
inflicted on any one who kills one of them-hence
their tameness. They are evidently quite aware of
this law, and insult you with impunity. They are
most insolent beasts, worse than Barbados niggers.
Arnaud and myself now proceeded to re-embark-
no easy matter, for the surf had increased considerably
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 37
Our naked feet suffered a good deal during the
process, for the shore was covered with sea-urchins,
whose hedgehog-like bristles pierced and broke off
in them. We waded in quickly after a returning
wave, carrying the boat with us, jumped nimbly in
and paddled out; but, alas we were not sharp
enough, for before we had got beyond the second
line of breakers a roller caught us, slued the boat
round, capsized her, rolled us out, and we had to draw
her up on shore, bale out, and start again. Five times
in succession we were thus capsized, but always
managed to save the boat and keep her off the coral.
We knew that there were ground sharks in this part
of the bay-not a pleasant matter to think of. The
sixth time we altered our tactics and succeeded.
We followed a breaker, carrying the boat with us;
Arnaud jumped in, seized the paddles ; I held on to
the stern and managed to guide her safely over the
next breaker; then he rowed with all his energy till
he was well outside the surf in deep water. It was
now my turn. I swam out till I came to the boat,
put a hand on either side of the stern, and jumped
in between my hands. My weight pulled her under,
and half-filled her with water, but she did not capsize,
and we soon baled her out.
I have mentioned this to show what can be done
with a Berthon's boat; no wooden dinghy could
have got off from that shore then; she would have
most certainly been stove in. But two men with
practice and a little activity can carry this little light
canvas tub through the broken water and safely
embark as we did on this occasion, without scratch-
ing a particle of paint off her fragile sides.
Sunday, the 26th of September, was a hot day, a
day of oppression and irritability, which found vent,
as far as the Falcons were concerned, in two fashions.
The morning was too sultry to do anything ; we lay
38 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
about the cabin lazy and sulky, sleeping and wrangling
alternately. First we entered into a most fierce dis-
cussion on some subject of dynamics, in which all
parties waxed savage ; as a matter of fact, none of us
knew anything about the question in point. Then
came lunch--curry and Collares wine ; this mollified
us somewhat, and the talk veered round to a more
gentle discussion as to the comparative beauty of the
fair sex of different nations, over our pipes. But,
alas! from that we go on to some profound meta-
physical question, which stirred up all our latent
irritability again. At last, unable to convince each
other, we went to sleep.
In the evening we were engaged to dine with the
telegraph men. Arthur put us on shore, then pulled
back to the Falcon. When we reached the verandah
of the telegraph station, just as the sun was setting,
Jerdein's sharp eye detected a suspicious circum-
stance-a boat with three men in it was rowing off
to the Falcon. Yes there could be no mistake;
they were now alongside ; now they had boarded her.
Then the rapid night of the tropics fell, and all was
obscure. Jerdein and myself ran down to the beach,
found a boat with two negroes, and engaged them to
row us off. We told them to go off quickly, but noise-
lessly, explaining our plans to them. They greatly
enjoyed the situation.
We found a boat made fast to the Falcon, but no
one suspected our arrival; our foemen were all in the
forecastle, where we heard them laughing boister-
ously. Jerdein and myself jumped down the com-
panion,passed through the main-cabin,and so into the
forecastle, where we surprised three Portuguese sailors.
Without parley we proceeded to belabour these fel-
lows; there was a fine scrimmage. They were driven
on deck; one fell into the boat they had come in,
and alone managed to escape with her ; the other two
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 39
we knocked overboard, to find their way to their
vessel as well as they could through the sharks:
the latter, by the way, are too delicate in their tastes
to feed on Portuguese mulattoes unless very hard
pressed for a meal, so I suppose they returned safely
to whence they came.
Arthur told us that he was below when they came
on board; they paid no attention to his remonstrances
at their uninvited appearance, but seized him, pre-
vented him from going on deck, and commenced to
inspect the vessel for grog, and anything else, I
suppose, that might come in handy. After our vic-
tory, which proved a fine safety-valve for the irrita-
bility caused by the sultriness of the day, we handed
over a loaded six-shooter to Arthur, in the presence of
our two grinning negro boatmen, with injunctions to
challenge once, and then shoot, any other visitors who
might come off that night. The boy was proud of his
post, he took the revolver with a grin and meaning
gesture that made the niggers shudder. I did not
think that we should be troubled any more after this.
He is a bloodthirsty boy, this Arthur. He has, I
think, fed his youthful mind with literature of the
penny dreadful class. At every port he would
ask such questions as, Be there savages here, sir ? "
Be there Indians in these parts ? He used to
appear very disappointed on receiving an answer in
the negative, but used to solace himself with dreams
of future bloody encounters. With all these guns
and cannons we ought to do for them when we do see
them--eh, sir ? he would say. He used to look at
our little brass cannon with great respect and admira-
tion, as being a wonderful piece of ordnance; was
very fond of it, indeed, save when he was set to polish
it. When, later on, we did come across his long-
looked-for Indians and savages, I fear one of the
cherished illusions of his life vanished, a frag-
4o THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON."
ment of his youth was gone; for lo! they were not
cannibals; neither did they scalp him; neither
were they, as a rule, even naked-simply a drunken,
dirty, very ugly set of uninteresting ragamuffins.
The morrow after this night of wrath was a busy
day for all hands ; we were employed in oiling spars,
taking in stores and water-in short, preparing all for
sea. But after all this work we did not sail on the
following day after all, but indulged in a holiday;
for the SS. Thales was in the harbour, with the latest
English papers on board, so we went in for a grand
read at the telegraph station. The same steamer had
also landed in .St. Vincent a small quantity of that
unwonted luxury, ice. One of the storekeepers near
the beach had obtained a supply of the precious
article, so most of the white population were in and
out of that store a good deal during that day.
OUR first long run was now before us; Bahia dos
Todos os Santos in Brazil, across the broad Atlantic,
was to be our next port. The time this voyage might
occupy was rather uncertain, for we were now to-
wards the southern limit of the north-east trade-
winds. We had to traverse the region of the south-
west African monsoon, which blew in our teeth, and
that broad belt of equatorial calm, so terrible to sailors
-the sultry doldrums, where a ship may lie for weeks
on the hot, smooth water under a cloudless sky, with
the pitch oozing from her decks ; a region of unbear
able calm, broken occasionally by violent squalls,
torrential rain, and fearful lightning and thunder.
All these difficulties conquered, we should be in the
pleasant realm of the strong south-east trade-wind
-the trade-wind of the southern hemisphere-which
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 41
blows fresher and steadier than the north-east trade,
and under whose favouring breath we should be able
to reel off the knots right merrily.
We steered so as to cross the Equator in longitude
24 W., which Jerdein considered to be the best route
at this time of the year.
As this voyage will be of some interest to yachting
men, I shall, contrary to my usual custom, narrate
it in the form of a diary. It will be observed that we
were thirteen days reaching the equator ; that for the
greater part of that time we encountered calms and
south-westerly monsoons, so that sailing as we gener-
ally did, close-hauled on the starboard tack, we were
driven considerably to the eastward of our course, on
the tenth day being as far east as 21 30' W. Not till
we were on the equator did we fall in with the south-
east trade, which then stood by us pretty steadily
till we reached Bahia.
Throughout the voyage the thermometer ranged
between 850 to 900 in the shade. In the following
diary I divide time in the civil fashion for convenience,
but the positions and distances are extracted from
the log, and given at mid-day, nautical fashion.
October Ist.-Weighed anchor at midday. Light
N.E. wind. Ran down the San Antonio channel
under all canvas. On our left were the bare volcanic
masses, the forbidding gorges of San Vincente; a
thundering line of breakers dashing against the shore
everywhere: on our right the more smiling mountains
of the isle of San Antonio. The lofty summits of
both islands were hidden in the clouds. At night
wind dropped; calm, and vivid lightning.
October 2nd.-Dead calm; nasty drizzle; hot, de-
bilitating weather; vessel rolling uncomfortably in the
swell. Through the haze perceived the lofty moun-
tains of Brava, the southernmost and most beautiful
of the Cape Verde Archipelago. Towards evening an
42 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
E.S.E. wind sprung up, which enabled us to average
six and a half knots an hour during the night.
October 3rd.--Glorious sunny weather ; wind E.S.E.
Eleven a.m.-one of the crew was caught in a serious
breach of discipline; man at the helm, too, at the
time. He was sitting down to his work ; was wearing
blue spectacles, and, worst of all, was reading a play
of Sophocles in the original. Fancy a man at the
wheel reading Sophocles I He was seriously rebuked
by the officer of his watch, Jerdein, who is a martinet
in his way, and who gazed at him for fully five min-
utes, speechless with dismay, ere he could find voice
October 4th.-Wind E.S.E. At midday in longitude
250 I' W., latitude 10 32' N.; distance made this
day 152 miles. During the day the wind came round,
till it was quite aft. The glass fell rather suddenly
-more than a tenth in a few hours. In the evening
there was a wild appearance in the sky, slight squalls
of wind and rain, and signs of worse weather coming;
then followed a magnificent sunset, ominous of storm,
and a calm for a while.
So threatening was the appearance of the heavens
to windward, that all hands stayed on deck, to see
what was coming. Right aft we perceived an inky
mass of cloud rising from the horizon. It had huge,
rugged, black streaks diverging from it in all direc-
tions, like the claws or arms of some great monster
crab or polypus. :Bigger and bigger the threatening
mass swelled, and the evil-looking arms stretched half
round the horizon and to the zenith, as if the monster
was about to inclose the whole world in its grasp-a
wonderful and awful appearance. Our sails flapped
as we rolled in the calm; we lowered the main-sail,
made all snug, and waited. First constant and vivid
sheet and forked lightning of a blue colour came out
of the cloud, and then down burst the squall on us,
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 43
and such a squall. The cloud had enveloped all the
sky, had blotted out all the stars; never have I
experienced so complete a darkness on the seas.
The wind blew with great fury; and we could not
turn our faces to the stinging rain, so smartly it
struck. We scudded on before the heavy gusts.
As I steered I had to keep the vessel right before them,
judging the direction by the feel of the wind on my
neck, for the binnacle-light was blown out. The
roar of wind and rain rendered even our loudest shouts
inaudible to each other across the decks.
It was, as I said, pitch-dark. As I steered I could
only see two whirling masses of foam on either side of
our bow like two great wings, thrown up by our speed.
Our side-lights were lit. On the foaming mass on our
port side fell the red, on that on our starboard side fell
the green light, lending a spectral horror to the scene.
With this exception, the occasional lightning alone
threw a fitful light on the noisy darkness around.
Above the roar of wind and water but one sound was
heard-our bell pealed forth loudly, with each excep-
tional pitch of the vessel, a deep funereal tone that
added to the solemnity. This squall lasted nearly an
hour; others succeeded it throughout the night from
various quarters, but none came nearly up to it in fury.
October 5th.-Cloudy, warm, no wind. We were
in that most uncomfortable position for a vessel,
becalmed in a heavy sea; for last night's weather
had raised a confused tumult of choppy waves, in the
trough of which we rolled and pitched horribly with
all sail stowed. It was a lazy day for all, our chief
employment being eating bananas andvainlyattempt-
ing to catch a large shark who was prowling round us,
a wary old ruffian who refused the most tempting bait.
The calm continued throughout the day. As usual,
ill-temper resulted. Two of the crew entered into
a fierce discussion as to whether the plantains which
44 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
were to serve as one of the courses for dinner should
be cooked and eaten with salt like potatoes, or be
treated with sugar like fruit.
At eight p.m. there were signs of squally weather
in the sky, so the crew waxed hopeful and good-
tempered again. During the night we had occasional
showers and light squalls from S. to S.S.W., at which
we put the vessel close-hauled on the starboard tack.
Then came the calm again. We were now having an
experience of that tantalizing, wearisome region
where the doldrums and south-west African mon-
soons fight for mastery over the equatorial sea.
All this time we were being drifted a considerable
distance daily out of our course to the eastward, for
we were now in the Guinea current, an equatorial
stream of hot water (its temperature is about 80)
setting into the Gulfs of Benin and Biafra. So warm
is the water that the morning douse with the bucket,
which took the place of the tub, was no longer refresh-
ing as it used to be, for the temperature of the sea
was of course higher than that of the night and
morning air. When a sea came on board in the
night it felt like hot water to our faces and bare feet.
October 6th.--Again a dead calm; 880 in the shade;
a high sea running; a fearful rolling, creaking, and
groaning of ship; all our canvas was stowed; a
barque in sight in the same situation; for forty hours
we did not lose sight of her, though we were bound in
different directions; lat. 9 14' N., long. 240 30' W.
As no sharks seemed to be near, I jumped over-
board for a short mid-ocean swim. At mid-day there
came on us a slight squall with rain. We hoisted the
canvas, but in half an hour it was as calm as ever.
October 7th.-A light northerly air and very heavy
equatorial rain. We stripped and enjoyed a fresh-
water shower-bath; also blocked up the scuppers
and collected enough water to refill some of our
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 45
empty breakers. We only made seventeen miles
this day, so light was the wind.
October 8th.-Calms and light northerly airs. There
was a haze to the S.E. as if portending our entrance
into the region of the trades. This day we made
seventy-two miles on our course.
October 9th.-Tacking very slowly against head
variable winds, divided from each other by hours of
dead calm. In the afternoon we came to a disturbed
sea, where it had evidently been recently blowing;
87 in the shade. Spoke an English barque home-
ward bound. At night passed very close to another
vessel. Neither of us were carrying side-lights, and
the night was dark, but we showed them our bull's
eye, to which signal they responded by showing
another. A night of calm with occasional squalls
from every point of the compass.
October Ioth.-A strong and squally S.W. monsoon
sprang up. We sailed close-hauled on the star-
board tack. The vessel was very lively but not
wet. At noon the wind freshened to a half-gale
from the S.W., with heavy squalls at intervals.
We sailed under close-reefed main-sail, fore-sail, and
storm-jib. In the night it was blowing a moderate
gale of wind in our teeth. The Falcon was livelier
than ever; the way she jumped, first her head and
then her stern into a sea, was a thing to experience.
At midnight the vessel was labouring so heavily that
we hove her to, for it was a shame to tax too much
the endurance of the brave old boat.
October IIth.-At dawn the great seas looked most
imposing, with the fiery sunrise lending a weird
colour to them, as they charged on towards us.
At eight a.m., as the wind was moderating, we pro-
ceeded on our voyage. We put the vessel on the
port tack, for the wind was S. by W., and we had
been driven considerably to the eastward of our
46 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
course. At midday our position was lat. 40 58' N.,
long. 21 49' W. All hands were now well weary of
this S.W. monsoon blowing in our teeth, with its
heavy, confused seas and squalls.
October 12th.-Fine, sunny, but disagreeable day;
for the wind, though still as a rule from the S.W.
quarter, seems to come at times from everywhere
and anywhere, hence a troublesome sea. There was
a curious hazy appearance to-day to the S.E., which
cheered us somewhat as indicative of change. We
had now reached a locality between the S.W. mon-
soon and the S.E. trade, where these winds con-
tend continually for the mastery. They certainly
have ploughed up their battle-field with their rival
artillery into short, choppy furrows, very nasty for
small vessels like ours that have to cross them.
At midday we were in lat. 3 56' N., long. 22" 50' W.
October I3th.-A marvellous sunrise; on the eastern
horizon lay a bar of bright gold, with a mass of fiery
red above, like a. coast of golden sand lit by an
intense light, and backed by mountains of half-
molten iron. The wind blew fresh to-day from
S. by W. to S. by E. At noon our position was
lat. I 47' N., long. 23 8' W.; distance made in
the twenty-four hours, 146 miles.
During the night, of a sudden, with a squall, the
trade-wind burst down on us at last, then settled
down strong and steady : so we rejoiced exceedingly.
October i4th.-A glorious morning, no cloud in the
sky, and a fresh trade-wind. At seven a.m. we
crossed the line. At mid-day we had reeled off a
hundred and sixty miles on our course, and at
lunch were glad over our last two bottles of Col-
lares wine from Madeira, which we had reserved for
our arrival at the equator. Our luck had changed
as we entered the southern hemisphere, after thir-
teen days of calms, squalls, and head-winds.
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 47
Jerdein reported a most curious phenomenon in his
morning watch. The sea about a mile from us
became suddenly disturbed, boiling up violently,
as from a subterranean spring. This lasted for
about two minutes. He said he thought it would
have been dangerous had we happened to be over
the spot. Throughout the day we observed
great patches of discoloured water, having exactly
the appearance of shoal water. These and similar
phenomena are frequently observed in this part of
the ocean. Often a ship reports that hereabouts
she has experienced a violent shock, similar to that
which is felt when a rock is struck. Sometimes a
great rumbling is heard like that of a heavy chain
running through the hawse-pipes, and the vessel
quivers like a leaf in the wind. Another time in
smooth water a vessel has been known to heel right
over suddenly, as if she had run on a sand-bank,
for this is a region full of most uncanny apparitions
for the mariner-a sort of haunted corer of the sea.
Before this ocean had been as thoroughly sounded
and surveyed as it is now, these phenomena were
attributed to the presence of unmarked sand-
banks and rocky shoals, and are thus put down
as vigias in the old charts. But it must have
astonished the mariner somewhat to find that he
got no soundings with his deep-sea lead, imme-
diately after experiencing one of these shocks It
is now known that there is no less depth than
200ooo fathoms anywhere in this neighbourhood, and
submarine earthquakes are acknowledged as the
true cause of these convulsions. So frequent are
these manifestations of suboceanic disturbance,
that this is now termed "the volcanic region of
the Atlantic." Fearful indeed must be the forces
that can transmit such violent action upwards
through three miles of water.
48 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
This afternoon we noticed that the sea changed
to a light green colour, and the thermometer sud-
denly fell six degrees. These, I believe, are also
usual phenomena on this mysterious tract of ocean.
October I5th.-We sailed to-day through an enor-
mous fleet of Portuguese men-of-war (Nautilus), under
full canvas. Pretty these little creatures (I don't sup-
pose I can call them fish, and creature is a safe term)
appeared, with their delicate pink fairy sails spread
to the favouring wind. This day we logged 16o miles.
Position at mid-day, lat. 3 15' S., long. 24 39' W.
October I6th.-Day's run, 175 miles; lat. 5 45' S.,
long. 250 55' W. Spoke a full-rigged ship bound
for the Cape of Good Hope.
October 17.-We generally hold our own against
the trading-vessels we come across, and on many
occasions have shown some barque or ship a clean
pair of heels; but this day we were ignominiously
beaten, but by so beautiful a vessel that we forgive
her. She was a clean, bright Yankee barque,
the Golden Cross. Her sails were as well cut as a
yacht's, and as snowy. By noon we had added
another 169 miles to our score.
October 18th.-The wind was now so much to the
E. of S.E., that we were enabled to hoist our spin-
naker with advantage. A very hot day. The wind
was lighter, so our day's work was only 141 miles.
October I9th.- Wind still lighter; day's work,
II8 miles; passed a jackass-rigged craft.
October zoth.-Thermometer 900 in cabin, 1250 on
deck; wind light and variable; day's work, 89 miles.
October 2zst.-A light breeze from S.E.; barometer
fell a tenth. We observed three interesting phe-
nomena this day. The first was a huge waterspout,
which crossed our bows at about two miles' dis-
tance; the second phenomenon was America; the
third a bottle of Collares wine.
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 49
I was at the tiller; Arnaud was sadly contem-
plating a small whale, which was floundering about
near us; Arthur was, as was his wont, at the mast-
head, looking out for passing vessels-this and
fishing for flying-fish with a bull's-eye at night
being his chief diversions on board. Suddenly the
boy cried Land right ahead, sir I was incred-
ulous, for I did not expect to sight the coast for
On going aloft with the glasses I saw that the boy
was right; there was no mistake about it at all.
There before us lay a long line of low sandy dunes,
fringed with cocoanut-trees. I rather surprised
Jerdein, who was sleeping below, when I touched
him on the shoulder and remarked quietly, Here
It was a dreary coast-and so it is all the way
from Bahia to Pernambuco, low and monotonous,
but strange and of the tropics to one coming from
the northern lands for the first time. A treble
belt of striking colour clove the vast blue spread of
sea and sky. First was a band of bright white,
the foam of the perpetual breakers on the coast;
then a long strip of golden sand, and above, a broader
green belt of waving cocoa-palms, dark against the
pale blue sky.
The third phenomenon I spoke of was a bottle of
Collares wine. Having had a good look at the
American coast, our storekeeper took a dive below,
and soon reappeared on deck with a smile and this
same bottle. He was greeted with a shout of
surprise. The existence of such a treasure on board
had not been in the least suspected by the rest of
us; but this wary member of the crew had secreted
this last bottle of our Madeira cellar, in order to
produce it on our first sighting the New World.
It was formally uncorked, and with its assistance we
50 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
saluted the Western Continent. We had made the
land about Ioo miles to the northward of Bahia.
October 22nd.-A hot sun and a light breeze. We
slowly followed the coast, at a distance of about
two miles from it. A line of sand fringed with
cocoa-nuts, and-visible from the mast-head only
-dense black masses of forest behind, unrolled them-
selves before us in monotonous panorama as we
sailed by. We perceived no signs of human life on
the shore, save here and there what appeared to
be a negro hut.
At last we sighted the lighthouse of San Antonio,
and the scenery changed; gently sloping hills
came down to the shore, covered with all manner
of tropical forest and garden, among which nestled
the villas and palaces of the wealthy merchants of
Bahia. A wonderful sight this brilliant tropical
verdure to us fresh from the barren seas: a luxu-
riant growth pouring right down to the narrow
merge of sand, where stretched the long line of
graceful cocoanut-palms, casting dark shadows on
the clear water. We rounded the point of San
Antonio with its picturesque fort, and sailed into
the smooth waters of the beautiful bay of Bahia.
At seven p.m. our chain once more rattled out
through the hawse-pipe, and we came to an anchor
off the city.
We were twenty-one days and seven hours out
from San Vincente, a much shorter voyage than we
had anticipated. The distance by the route we had
taken is 2538 nautical miles.
As soon as we had stowed our canvas, we brought
out from hidden places, white shirts, neckties,
clothes, boots, and other articles of civilization,-
for our sea costume was barbaric in the extreme,
-and awaited the authorities.
Two boats soon came off; first, the patrique boat.
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 51
The doctor was satisfied with our hygiene and gave
us permission to land, as far as his department
was concerned. Then came off the steam-launch
of the captain of the port. The officer informed
us that we were anchored in a prohibited spot,
and must move farther in.
And now for the first time we experienced that
universal courtesy which so pleased us in all the
authorities we had dealings with in Brazilian and
indeed in all other South American ports.
As we were flying the blue ensign, man-of-war
rights were granted to us; the captain of the port
gave us permission to anchor in the man-of-war
ground, and to land with our boats at the naval
landing-stage at the arsenal.
As the wind had now dropped, he very kindly
towed us up to our anchorage with his launch,
and offered to give us every assistance in his power.
The above privileges are of the greatest value in a
Brazilian port, where the custom regulations for
merchant-vessels are so strict. One cannot go off
or on one's vessel, if she be a merchantman, after
eight p.m., without a special permit from the
custom-house. Now we had the privilege of rowing
to and fro at any hour; we could leave our boat
alone and in safety at the arsenal steps. All we had
to do when coming off late at night was to call
the sentry at the arsenal gates to open them for us,
telling him the name of our vessel. Again, an
insolent negro guard is put on board every merchant-
man by the custom-house. There he has to be fed,
lodged, bribed, and made much of generally, during
the vessel's stay in the port-a horrible nuisance
which we were also excused, by virtue of our blue
Ours was a nice snug anchorage in four fathoms,
under the antique fortress of Fort la Mar, a round,
52 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
grey mass built on a rocky islet. We were close
to the beach and could see all the busy life of the
Praya from our decks.
Bahia is a picturesque place viewed from the
sea. First along the shore is the Citade Baxa,
or lower town, the more ancient portion of the
city. Here are the lofty stone houses of the old
colonists, with antique churches of massive and
quaint architecture. For Bahia is one of the
most antique cities of South America. It was
founded in 1511, and is now the second city of
The lower city is built on a narrow strip of land
along the water, at the foot of a steep, black cliff
some 240 feet high. One great street stretches
along the beach, known as the Praya-it is four
miles long, with a tramway running down its
length. This Praya presents a very animated
appearance. For here are the huge stores, maga-
zines, and warehouses, and along the quays are
moored the native craft, the queerest imaginable,
with their gaudy paint, lofty sterns, strange rig, and
semi-nude negro crews. Here are to be seen the
giant blacks with glistening ebon skin, rolling down
the bales of cotton, coffee, and sugar, and other
produce of this rich province. At first sight, this is
evidently one of the busy marts of the world. Along
the front of the Praya is a fruit, vegetable, and
odds-and-ends market, where at their stalls sit the
fattest and most voluble of negresses, with the
gaudiest and most voluminous of turbans on their
heads, and a rather liberal display of their large
This Praya is a hot place, and somewhat malo-
dorous at times, for the fresh breezes are kept off
by the steep cliff. Here the English sailor, too,
rolls about red and sweating, drinking the vilest of
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 53
new white rum, and eating half-rotten fruit under
the tropic sun, till of a sudden a sickness and a
dizziness comes upon him, and in a terribly short
time he falls, another victim of the invisible fiend
Behind this Praya, as I said, rises a cliff, but not
a smooth, bare cliff, but rugged, with quaint houses
let into it, and rich vegetation filling each crevice.
The contrast between the two is most striking.
For the houses are antique with gloomy arches,
dingy, many of them, as if they had stood through
centuries of London smoke, whereas the vegetation
-who can describe its freshness, its marvellous ex-
uberance of youth its fairy-like beauty Graceful
palms, luscious-leaved bananas, wonderful creepers
of rainbow colours, overflow the cliff, forming a
luxuriant curtain of tropical verdure, flower and
fruit, depending from the upper to the lower city.
On the summit of this cliff is a plain on which is
built the Citade Alta, or upper city, with its crowded
narrow streets (nearly each with its tramway line),
its broad squares, and the cathedral.
On either side of the town, on the hill-sides over-
looking the bay, are the most .beautiful suburbs
imaginable, with palatial villas nestling in gardens of
such colour and aroma as intoxicate the senses.
No wonder if the Brazilian is voluptuous and lazy,
living as he does in such a Paradise as this.
A steep road winds from the Praya to the upper
city, but there is also another means of ascent pre-
pared for an indolent population that will not walk
ten yards if such exertion can be avoided. From
the sea an imposing-looking tower is observable,
built from the lower town to the upper, along the
cliff-side, and terminating in a broad platform
on the summit. This is the elevator, or parafusa
as it is here called, being merely one of our now
54 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
common hydraulic hotel-lifts on a large scale.
A smart Yankee hit upon this speculation, and
it has proved successful. Any invention that can
save a Bahian a ten-minutes' walk must pay well.
The network of tramways in every Brazilian city
is almost incredible; even small villages inland, like
S. Amaro, have their tramcars; and fine dividends
the directors show too.
There is in Bahia another means of locomotion
which I have never seen elsewhere. Nothing less
than the good old-fashioned sedan-chair of Queen
Anne's day, carried by two stout negroes. The
model is exactly that of the queer box in which
our great-grandmothers were wont to be carried to
rout and ball. Such is Bahia, a city of about
230,000 inhabitants, of whom nearly three-quarters
are mulattoes, native negroes, and Africans, the
remainder Brazilians, Portuguese, and foreigners.
On the morning after our arrival we prepared to
go on shore to stretch our legs after our long con-
So here we were at last on shore in South America,
with plenty to see and wonder at. I am afraid the
first thing we did was to enter Freitas and Wilson's
store, and indulge in the unwonted luxury of English
beer. And now that I am on the subject, let me
strongly recommend this firm of ship-chandlers to
any yachts that may come into Bahia. I shall not
soon forget the courtesy and kindness they showed us.
A ship-chandler's store in a foreign port offers
no small opportunity for the study of character,
for it is the loafing-place of the merchant captains.
Here they sit, drink, and gossip through half the
tropic day. Quite at home, sitting astride his
chair, is the Yankee skipper of the smart schooner,
with broad Panama hat and long cigar. That bluff
gentleman, who sports a white helmet, is the captain
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 55
of the fine English barque that came in yester-
day. The jovial German in the straw hat is the
master of the ship Friulein from Hamburg.
Somewhat savouring of shop is their talk as a
rule. Freights are discussed; the best longi-
tude to cross the equator in; and the law is laid
down with a thump of a horny hand on the counter.
Then crews are disparagingly overhauled, some-
what in the manner of women talking over the
much-vexed subject of domestic servants.
We were introduced to an old American skipper
with a snowy goatee, who hailed from Virginia,
a tough old sea-dog of the Spanish Main and the
Southern Seas. He had been a whaler in the
great South Pacific, and was full of strange yarns
of islands where one white lives alone-a king of
savages. He was a walking pilot directory, and
gave us a long string of directions as to where
we should go and what we should do. Said he,
" I guess you should go to the Solomons; they
are fine. If you dew, don't land at such or such
an island, for they air a queer people thar; they'd
treat you just as you would a fat bullock as walked
on board your vessel. No! you visit the little
bit of an island just south of that, so-and-so isle.
Now! you mind me; keep the big hut in the
east bay in one with a tall palm you'll see all by
itself on a hill, east by south, and steer bold in
and bring up in four fathoms, two cables off the
shore. There you land; tell the people you want
the white man-say Jake. They'll know then that
you've smelt him out, and they'll fetch him for you;
for he is shy, is Jake. Rather queer; can't abear
a white man; ain't accustomed to him. When
you see him, say you know me, and he'll show you
round that thar island, I bet. You'll have high
old times. Shouldn't wonder as you'll stay there
56 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
altogether, you'll like it so much. I guess you'll
take half-a-dozen wives each and fix; and they air
fine women, young men. For that there island is
a paradise; what with the fruit and the flowers and
-the women; whitish, too, whiter than I am, with
long black hair. Why, Lord! see Jake sitting
under his palm-tree smoking all day, while his
wives do all the work there is to do-do it willingly
too, singing all the time, not like them darned sailors
we were talking of just now."
We start for an expedition to the upper town.
We take our tickets for the elevator, and enter a
half-dark sort of wild-beast cage, where we sit
down beside several of the gorgeous fat negresses,
for the production of which Bahia is celebrated,
and a few dark gentlemen smoking huge Bahia
cigars. A strong and not delectable aroma per-
vades the cage, which strikes me as being some-
how familiar, and seems in some strange way to
call up reminiscences of my innocent childhood long
ago. I have it-it is castor oil The machinery
of the elevator is evidently lubricated with this
horror of my youth. The pretty tree from whose
berries this useful drug is extracted grows in great
profusion in Brazil; and this oil is here the cheapest
of all lubricators, and is therefore extensively used
for this purpose.
At last our smooth, well-castor-oiled journey is
completed, and the cage stops suddenly. We effect
our exit, and find ourselves on a platform on the
summit of the cliff, an extensive square open on
the sea side, and surrounded by lofty hotels and
houses on the other three sides. We pause awhile
by the railing on the edge of the precipice to admire
the marvellous scene that stretches before us. The
cliff with its curtain of tropic verdure falls perpen-
dicularly from our feet. Below are the roof-tops,
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 57
the narrow streets of the lower town, the busy Praya,
the shipping; and then beyond, a great, blue in-
land sea, with islands of waving palms and dense
mangoes scattered over it, a sea indented with
many a beautiful sandy bay, and with many a
forest-clad promontory jutting out, noisy with
the cry of parrots, and bright with many jewel-
winged birds. On the farther side stretch ranges
of great purple mountains, scarce visible even in
this clear air, for the distance of them.
And many a great river is seen pouring in from
the inner lands, and many towns and picturesque
whaling villages are scattered here and there round
the wonderful coast, which is one ever-changing
tropic garden. For this is the world-renowned
Reconcava of Bahia, surely one of the wonders of
the world. A bay seven miles broad at its mouth,
then opening out into this land-locked sea of more
than one hundred miles in circumference, where all
the fleets of the world could find safe anchorage,
free from any danger, and opening out with its
many tributary rivers one of the richest regions of
Brazil, that wonderful country of tropical pro-
digality a gulf which seems as if formed by
nature to be the emporium of the universe. All
these shores are famous for the production of
tobacco; for Bahia is the great tobacco port of
Brazil, just as Rio Janeiro is the coffee, and Per-
nambuco the sugar port.
Interesting it is for a stranger from the old world
to stroll for the first time through the Citade Alta
of Bahia; the streets are narrow, some of the
houses are of antique architecture, built of solid
stone, the gloomy mansions of the old merchant-
princes of the land. The more modern are plas-
tered, gaudily painted, pseudo-classic and Byzan-
tine gingerbread-which, however, harmonize well
58 THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON."
with the brilliant air and vegetation. Most of the
buildings here are five stories high, thus utterly
differing from the patio'd, one-storied, flat-roofed
houses in the cities of the Spanish people to the
A busy life, too, throngs these narrow streets,
tramways rattle down the principal thoroughfares,
a mongrel crowd of black and white and yellow
jostles and jabbers. Towards evening, it is the
custom for the women to come out on the bal-
conies to enjoy the fresh breeze that then springs
up. Up and down a long street, at every balcony,
up to the fifth story, they hang over-mulatto and
negro belles, in orange, green, white, scarlet, every
gaudy colour, fanning, flirting, laughing, chattering
vigorously. Above the shrill scream of the tram-
whistle rises their shriller Babel; a bewildering
pandemonium of extreme light and sound and
colour and motion, mellowed slightly as a rule by
an all-pervading, mysterious, heavy odour.
On the morrow Arnaud and myself took tram
to a certain ancient convent, whose nuns are famous
for their skill in the manufacture of feather flowers.
All manner of precautions are taken to keep the
male sex from intruding on these gentle recluses.
We were not admitted within the precincts at all,
but had to stand outside a stoutly-grated window,
and hold parley through it with the caged inmates.
Indeed, one grating was not deemed a sufficient
barrier between them and the outer world. The
wall was about seven feet thick, and there was a
double grating in the recess, one at each side, so
that a partition seven feet deep was between us-
an unnecessary precaution, a biting sarcasm, I
should imagine, to the poor nuns, for in carnal attrac-
tions they were sadly, hopelessly deficient. They
passed the flowers through the gratings to us in
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 59
long-handled ladles. Very beautiful some of these
flowers were, of metallic-lustred, rainbow-hued
feathers of humming-bird and parrot. Very keen at
a bargain were the ladies; they jabbered and wrangled
and pushed each other aside in the excitement of
their rivalry. It was an unpleasing sight, so we
purchased a few flowers and departed.
DURING our stay in this port we organized several
pleasant expeditions up country; but to describe all
these would swell this work to a size far greater
than I mean to trouble my readers with. I should
like to tell you of the pretty village of Rio Ver-
milio, where the fresh trade-wind blows full on the
shore, driving the great Atlantic seas till they
break grandly on the rocky beach, scattering showers
of spray over the bending cocoanut-palms, whose
leaves glisten like diamonds with the salt crystals.
I should like to narrate, too, a five-days' trip of
Arnaud and myself, when we crossed the bay, steamed
up a river through jungle and forest, then progressed
higher still in a negro dug-out to the little town of
St. Amaro; how on the muddy banks the pink
cray-fish gambolled; and how the branches of the
mangroves were thick with oysters hanging like
fruit; and how from St. Amaro we rode across fifty
miles of roadless country to Faira St. Anna, now by
the palatial mansion of some rich sugar-planter, sur-
rounded by its slave village and sloping hills of waving
cane, and now through virgin forest, where the tall
palms rose high above the lesser growth of trees,
linked by intricate creepers, lianas, and convolvuli.
I should like to linger over the description of the
wonderfully plumaged birds parrot, humming-
6o THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
bird, canary, and a hundred others of the fruits
growing wild and in profusion in the woods-pine-
apples, bananas, mango, jachas, bread-fruit, and
the rest. I should like to tell you of the people we
met, the half-naked slaves, standing outside their
huts, with their curious little, pot-bellied, wholly-
naked children; of the proud planter, with poncho
and massive silver spurs, galloping across his lands:
how we journeyed on from Faira St. Anna to Ca-
choeira by train through plantations of sago and
coffee, and thence by steamer again down a broad
river to the Reconcava. But all this would fill a
volume by itself.
Having been now a fortnight in port, we once more
prepared for sea. We refilled our rum barrel with
white rum, laid in a stock of pine-apples, yams, and
other vegetables; and on the 6th of November
weighed our anchor and sailed out of the Reconcava.
Salvoes of crackers and rockets, and the tolling of
manifold bells from all parts of the city, seemed to be
bidding us a farewell as we dropped slowly down the
In Bahia every day of the year seems to be a
fiesta, and dedicated to some saint or other; keeping
a saint's day here implies a terrible waste of fireworks,
and clanging of church bells. All day long, for they
do not even await the shades of night, the rockets
ascend. There is no place in the world like Bahia for
these amusements. Far out to sea you know when
you are approaching this port by the sound and the
blaze of the worship of its inhabitants. It is called
Bahia dos Todos os Santos-the bay of All Saints-
of all of them with a vengeance. It is the most
religious and most vicious city of religious and vicious
The eve of our departure there stood forth an omen
in the sky, which, said the sailors on shore, is but
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 61
rarely seen, and only when some terrible hurricane
is imminent. Inside the thin crescent of the moon
was one solitary, bright star, the only one in the
heavens. It was a curious appearance; but it
seemed to me not likely to be connected with terres-
Our next port was to be Rio de Janeiro, the
beautiful capital of this empire. We had fresh winds
from the E. to N.E., and so completed the voyage
in four days and twenty hours. We carried our
spinnaker and gaff-topsail nearly all the time. At
5.30 p.m., the 6th of November, we were outside the
Reconcava, off Point San Antonio. By midday, the
7th of November, we had logged 116 miles; the 8th
of November we made 174 miles; the 9th of Novem-
ber 152 miles; the Ioth of November 167 miles;
the IIth of November 164 miles. It was glorious,
sunny weather, and bracing and pleasant was the
fresh Atlantic breeze, after the rather debilitating
climate of Bahia.
The second night out would have seemed to some
pilot of old as full of alarming portents. The
mariner at times does encounter such nights, weird
and awe-inspiring, that fill his breast with vague,
superstitious terror as he keeps his midnight watches.
It was an exceedingly dark night and still; the long
ocean swell rolled on smoothly, only at rare intervals
breaking into phosphorescent spray. The air was hot
and stifling as before storm. The clouds that passed
overhead were utterly black and assumed fantastic
shapes. Arnaud recognized Gambetta's head, and a
fiend riding across the heavens on a black horse, in
the slowly-floating masses of vapour. It seemed at
times as if the whole sky was full of uneasy spirits,
fixing up everything ready for a good old hurricane.
The moon only appeared at intervals through rifts
in the cloud. It was surrounded by a beautiful triple
62 THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON."
halo of green, yellow, and pink circles. In the middle
watch the sky cleared somewhat, and Arnaud and
myself became the amazed spectators of several most
remarkable phenomena, meteoric or electric-I
cannot be certain which. We saw first in the midst
of a cloud an appearance like that of a great shell
bursting. It illuminated the whole cloud and the
sea for a moment, and its explosion was accompanied
with a dull thud. Again we observed several meteors
that sailed across the sky like rockets, with bright
tails of fire, and then burst. A mysterious night this
on the warm tropic sea, and ominous of tempest,
which, however, did not overtake us.
On the fourth night out, we kept a sharp look-out
for Cape Frio, in whose neighbourhood we knew our-
selves to be. There is a lighthouse on this point with
a powerful light; we made it out about two a.m.
As we neared the cape the thermometer fell rapidly,
till we really felt quite cold for the first time since
we had left England. This sudden fall of the tem-
perature is always experienced near Cape Frio, hence
its name, the Cold Cape. I believe the phenomenon
is attributed to the presence of some oceanic current
of cold water which comes to the surface hereabouts.
This cape is also famous for the furious squalls that
sweep down from it seawards.
When daylight came we discerned land once more
on the starboard bow-a distant range of blue moun-
tains which we recognized from their sharp spire-like
peaks to be the Organ Mountains, which lie to the back
of the Bay of Rio. On approaching the entrance of
the gulf the water shallowed and became light-green
in colour; the sea, as is not uncommon on this bar,
was coming in in heavy breaking rollers, which
would have proved dangerous to many a yacht of
the Falcon's tonnage, that I know of. We heard
that a heavy pampero had been blowing for three or
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 63
four days to the south of Rio, hence the exception-
ally disturbed condition of the sea when we arrived.
Who can describe the grandeur of the gates of the
Bay of Rio, and the wonderful beauty of the bay it-
self ? I thought nothing could be so beautiful as
the Reconcava of Bahia ; and lo i here is a gulf that
transcends allone'swildest dreams of the magnificence
of tropical scenery. Not here are the gently sloping
hills of the Reconcava. The entrance of this bay
is between stupendous and fantastically-serrated
mountains. Steep and forbidding domes of granite
fall sheer into the boiling surf. The aspect of this
coast from the sea is grand and terrible in the
extreme; but once within the bay, all changes.
One moment we were running before a cool, strong
breeze, rolling heavily in the steep seas, the next
moment we had passed between two walls of rock-
we had entered the inland sea. Immediately the
water fell smooth as glass-the wind died away, and
the bracing sea-breeze was changed for the sultry
atmosphere of the tropic harbour. We came to an
anchor inside the island and fortress of Villegagnon.
What a scene was there round us, what a variety of
beautiful form and colour 1 To give any adequate
description of this bay is quite impossible. It is as
extensive as the Reconcava of Bahia, and is studded
with the most beautiful islands, whose beaches are
lined with cocoanuts and stately palms. All round
the bay rise the stupendous mountains ; some covered
with gorgeous-coloured forests, others of barren crags
and lowering precipice. And there stretching far
along the shore is the empire-city, Rio Janeiro-the
queen of South America, lying at the foot of an
amphitheatre of great mountains. There is the huge
granite crag of the Sugar-loaf, seeming ready to fall
down on the suburbs at any moment. There is the
Gavia, a square-headed mass of rock with a flat top
64 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
like Table Mountain ; there the Tajuca and the forest-
covered Cocovado, with its springs of sweet water.
And all round the inland sea are little sheltered bays,
the most beautiful imaginable, with beaches of silver
sand, and wonderful tropical forests covering the
mountain sides, where the guava and mango grow in
wild profusion, and there are islands in these bays
too, like little gardens of Eden.
Our first stroll through the city gave us a very
favourable impression of it; we were evidently in
a civilized and luxurious capital, where we could
recreate and relax very pleasantly for a few days.
Rio Janeiro is a fine city of about 500,000 inhabi-
tants, and is thus much larger than Bahia; it is also
much whiter than Bahia; the negroes here are
not in so overwhelming a majority as in the former
Tramways of course are everywhere; gas and
tramways are the specialities of Rio ; no town in the
world is so well lit. Far beyond the city, up to the
mountain-tops, through country lanes, are the tram-
metals laid and the lamps planted. Far out to sea
is the city visible at night by the great glare of it.
Five minutes after landing, instinct led us to the
establishment of Jimmy Graham, the well-known
Yankee barman. A smart man is Graham ; as you
enter his place the first thing in the morning, un-
certain as to what your eye-opener shall be, do not,
if you be a wise man, tax your brains on the subject.
Jimmy knows what will fix you up better than you
do; simply say,-
Graham, I want you to prescribe for me."
Take a seat," he will reply. He will look at your
face for a moment or so with his shrewd eye, then a
gleam of intelligence will flit over his expressive face.
He has diagnosed your case.
Wall, I guess I can fix you up what you want,"
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 65
and forthwith he will arrange for you some iced
delectable poison, long or short as the case may be,
which you find will exactly suit your disease and
make a new man of you. But if you are that rare
bird a wise man, you will forswear strong drinks in
this climate, and patronize Jimmy only for the
prawn curries he knows how to prepare, and the
delicate rock oysters from the bay.
This first evening we went up to dine at the Hotel
Vista Allegre, which is out of the close city, on the
healthy hillside. Thither we travelled partly by
train and partly up a very steep, inclined plane in a
car which is hoisted by a chain, just like the railway
from Lyons to the Croix Rousse.
It was now night, and the aspect of the city and
the bay from the elevation at which we were, was
very strange and beautiful. Steep ravines and hill-
sides sloped from our feet to the city, mountains were
around us, and all were lit by myriads of gas-jets.
The crags were covered with the rich vegetation of the
tropics. Tall palms towered above the houses. A
most fairy-like view, a wonderful contrast of city-
streets and nature at her grandest.
Rio is a lively town enough after dull Bahia, for
here we have theatres, an opera-house, an alcazar,
concert-gardens like those of Paris, and other dissipa-
tions. The Rua Ovidor is the Bond Street of Rio.
Carriages are prohibited from traversing it after
dark; for it is then that the Brazilian ladies pro-
menade this narrowthoroughfare to do their shopping.
Ten p.m. is the fashionable hour.
The niggers here live a very out-of-door life, and
one thus acquires a very fair insight into the habits of
their private life, or rather what would be the private
life in the case of a white man. The negro barber
carries on his profession in the middle of the street;
when a customer comes, he simply sets him down on
66 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
the pavement, if no other seat be at hand, and lathers
his chin and shaves away, undisturbed by the crowd
of little niggers that generally admiringly surround
Here sitting in a long string on the kerb-stone of
a crowded street are negro slaves weaving straw hats ;
listen to them; that barbaric tongue cannot be
Portuguese; no, it is an African dialect. For these
are not creoles of Brazil, like most of the slaves here,
but Africans, men who have once known freedom.
I had noticed that one of these half-naked hat-
weavers was always treated with great respect by his
fellows. He was a giant in size and had evidently
been a man of uncommon strength, but he was now
of great age, his back was bent, and his curly wool
was white as snow. I was informed that he had once
been one of the greatest kings of Africa, and that all
Africans from his part of that continent, even over
here in America, after years of slavery, observe the
same form of etiquette when approaching him as
they perforce did in the old times, when he was every
inch a king, and the hfe and death of his subjects
were in his hands. Barbarous indeed these savage
courtiers must be thus to still revere their prince
and be loyal to him, knowing well that there is not
the slightest chance of his ever again recovering his
freedom and his kingdom, and being in a position to
reward them for their fidelity. For it is not only by
mere courtesy that they show their devotion, it is
customary for them to quarrel among themselves as
to who shall complete the aged sovereign's daily
hat-weaving task, when their younger and nimbler
fingers have completed their own. You can observe
this amiable squabble among the poor fellows every
afternoon, the old king, sitting the while blinking
sleepily, taking no interest in the proceedings, apa-
thetic beneath the burdens of his many years, and
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 67
now, I should imagine, hardly remembering and
regretting those days when-
"At furious speed he rode
Along the Niger's bank."
Two days after our arrival at Rio, we got up
anchor and sailed up the bay to the island of Paqueta,
a distance of about ten miles. This is a pretty little,
wooded, hilly island, with a population of about 1700.
A friend of Jerdein, an ex-royal-mail officer, and now
superintendent of that company in Brazil, was living
here with his family, so we came to an anchor off
his house, and remained there until we sailed for the
River Plate. A beautiful spot it was, nestling among
the stately palms and bamboos, tamarinds and
almonds. And very pleasant it was for us after our
semi-savage life to see once more in Mr. May's
hospitable home the faces of English ladies and
This islet of Paqueta is a lovelylittle corner of earth
to pass a lazy time in. Here we are, for instance,
in the evening sitting in Mr. May's verandah, puffing
at our post-prandial cigars. The too short tropic
dusk has passed, and it is night; all round us is the
tropic garden of rare fruits and palms and creepers.
The garden terminates on a sandy beach, on which
break, with gentle plashes, the small waves of the
sheltered bay; along the sand is a fringe of cocoanut-
trees, waving their great leaves gently in the evening
breeze. A promontory of round boulders projects,
a dark mass, into the water gleaming in silver arrows
under the moon. Beyond the rocky islets and
palmed promontories, across the broad bay is seen,
looming dark against the sky, the opposite coast,
with the mountains of the interior still farther back,
vague and misty.
The faint lights of the charcoal-burners' fires are
68 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
seen here and there on the far-off hill-sides, where
the virgin forests are; and to return once more to
the foreground, there within a stone's throw rides the
stately old Falcon at anchor. Now add to this the
still, warm night-air, heavy with the odour of
flowers and fruits and spices, the flight of bats, the
perpetual shrill cries of cicadas, the sad splash of the
waves on the rocks, and you have the very sur-
roundings for an indolent man who loves to ponder
silently over his cigar and coffee, or rather not even
to ponder at all, but sink into that reverie qui ne pense
4 rien, his mind intoxicated with the beauty of all
that fervid yet lazy nature around him.
But after all there are few lotos-eaters at Paqueta.
Certain perspiring black savages, with a rag round
the waist as their sole clothing, here pass anything
but a life of dolce far niente. Above the cry of cicada,
and the moaning of sea, and the rustling of palm-
leaves, all through the long night, from the time that
the sun sinks into the fiery crimson clouds that crown
the Organ Mountains to when he rises again from the
Atlantic-you can hear a strange and melancholy
song rising in wild bursts on the night-air ; a barbaric,
monotonous and sad chorus, such as Israelite bonds-
men might have sung long ago in Egypt. And this too
is a chorus of bondsmen, of African slaves. For there
are lime-works on Paqueta Island, and by night and
day, unceasingly, the native blacks toil on in batches.
The night-watchers are obliged to sing this chorus at
intervals, so that their master in his bed, if he chance
to awake, may know that they are toiling and watch-
ing, and not falling to sleep with weariness.
This lime is made from the shells of the oysters
that so thickly cover every rock in the Gulf of Rio.
About Paqueta can be seen daily a regular squadron
of quaint native craft, manned by naked slaves,
dredging for the bivalves
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 69
The process is a very primitive one, involving a
great deal of labour and very little proportionate
results. The slave has a long bamboo with a small
cradle fitted to one end; this he scrapes along the
rocky bottom, raising each time only a handful or
so of shells, I should imagine.
I will not inflict on my readers a description of the
lions of Rio and its neighbourhood, which of course
we did; and what city on earth has such marvellous
scenery in its immediate neighbourhood ? Why,
even in the narrow streets of the city itself you come
suddenly on the most lovely little oases of tropic
vegetation. Here, for instance, is a gloomy and
ugly old mansion in a squalid lane. It has some
pretensions to architecture, and it is the palace
of some merchant-prince, maybe, but it is as dingy
and uninteresting-looking as are the houses near
Fitzroy Square. You are passing it, when suddenly
the portal of it is opened, and there is revealed a
glimpse of Paradise itself. Under that dark door as a
frame is seen a bit of bright azure sky above, and
below, a garden; but what a garden, what colour,
what form! among the dazzling creepers and
bushes, stone fauns and nymphs disport themselves,
and fountains splash on cool marble and tesselated
pavements. And down the great garden is a drive
through an avenue of immense palms, smooth and
straight as columns, with their leaves joining over-
head like the aisle of a cathedral of giants. It is a
glimpse into fairyland; then the portal closes, and
we might almost be in dingy London, save for the
sky above and the niggers around.
So pleasant was found our stay here that it was
not till forty days had passed unnoticed by, that we
sailed from Rio. We came in on November Ilth, and
left on December 21st. It was the midsummer here
south of the line, but the heat on the Brazilian coast
70 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
is rarely oppressive. Our thermometer in the cabin
only once, as far as I remember, registered more than
950. We found lots to do. Sometimes in the city,
sometimes making pleasant excursions into the in-
terior, sometimes organizing cruises and picnics with
the Falcon in the bay, and, best of all to my mind,
sailing about in the dinghy among the beautiful
islands near Paqueta. Those little exploring expedi-
tions were most delightful. There is a little archi-
pelago of islands near Paqueta, all beautiful; some
large, with pleasant villages of peaceable mulatto
folk; others uninhabited, but overflowing with a
glorious vegetation; others bare, mere boulders ris-
ing from the clear water with, maybe, a solitary cactus
growing on the summit. Nowhere on earth is there
an inland water so adapted for a cruise in a small
boat. One could travel on for months, and anchor
each night off some new picturesque island, or in some
new bay, so extensive is this great winding gulf.
Here is the log of one of these little cruises:-
One glorious morning I put the mast and sail in the
dinghy, provisioned her with a keg of water, a bottle
of wine, bread, oranges, pipe, tobacco, matches,
and sketching materials, and started for a solitary
sail. First I circumnavigated Paqueta, keeping
close to the shore, where the palms overhang the
water, steering among great boulders. These
boulders that rise out of the Gulf of Rio are of in-
terest to the geologist; they are smoothly rounded,
by the action of water, into a dome shape, and nearly
all of them are split down the middle as by a wedge,
so that they present the appearance of so many
episcopal mitres. Then passing several islets, I
reached one-an uninhabited little paradise which
I named Cocoanut Island, from the multitude of
those graceful trees that lined its shores-and
beached the dinghy in a little sandy cove. If that
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 71
island could be transported as it is to Kew Gardens,
it would be one of the sights of Europe. It was hilly,
and about a mile or rather more in circumference,
and covered with a dense vegetation. Mangoes and
tamarinds and the most gorgeous flowers grew on its
slopes, all bound together by intricate network of
lianas and purple-flowered convolvuli. Brilliant-
plumaged humming-birds and rainbow-hued butter-
flies seemed to be the sole inhabitants. From the
summit of the islet one looked over the broad many-
islanded bay and the far mountains, glowing under
the blue tropic vault. In order to acquire an appetite
for my picnic, I treated myself to a plentiful feast of
oysters. All the rocks were covered with these up
to high-water mark; small and delicate they were
too; so I waded about in the tepid water, cutting
them off in clusters with my knife. Then came lunch,
for which the mangoes on the island provided a
dessert. Then off again to explore further islets,
all uninhabited, till I felt like a sort of Robinson
Crusoe of half-a-dozen isles instead of one; and the
sun was low and it was time to beat back against
the fresh sea-breeze to where the Falcon lay at
anchor by the stately row of palms.
One of the things to be done by the visitor to Rio
is Petropolis, a model highland village founded by
the Emperor of the Brazils, and in the midst of which
he has built to himself a summer pleasure-palace.
Thither one fine morning we proceeded, and a pleasant
journey it was. First, a steamer took us across the
bay to a point where a train awaited us. After but a
short voyage on the line, we again changed our mode
of conveyance, and entered one of the six coaches
that were intended to carry the passengers across
the mountains to the imperial village. In single file
they slowly ascended the pass-a fine road in sharp
zigzags, reminding one of Les Echelles" of the
72 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
Mont Cenis-but the view around was somewhat
different ; not the grey crags and the snows and
sombre pines of the Alps on this tropical mountain
pass. On either side of us were palms, tree-ferns,
lianas, and all manner of unknown plants and flowers,
with colours such as no orthodox plants should have,
stolen from the minerals. Great leaves of burnished
copper strewed the ground, and the green, and silvers,
and yellows, and reds of the twining creepers and
flowers were as of molten and incandescent metals.
The parrots, humming-birds, butterflies, and beetles,
gaudy-hued as they were, were not more so than this
glorious vegetation they inhabited. From the summit
of the pass the view was grand in the extreme. A
vast expanse of country lay beneath us like a plan.
The mountains sloped down from our feet to a dark,
wooded plain; beyond that was all the Bay of Rio,
with its islands and mountains, the Sugar-loaf guard-
ing the entrance; and then still farther the Atlantic
Descending again, we soon reached our destination,
the luxurious village nestling in a hollow of the forest-
clad hills. We rattled down the main street by
which flows a babbling river shaded by avenues
of willows, and dismounting, introduced ourselves
to Mr. Mills, of the comfortable English hotel, who
forthwith proposed to mix for us the refreshing cock-
tail of the New World, the while dinner was pre-
Petropolis is built in the centre of a large imperial
estate; the emperor, who is, as every one knows, not
only one of the most hard-working monarchs in the
world, but one of the most active in every scheme
of benevolence, is, if nowhere else, popular in Petro-
polis. Some years ago, some pseudo-philanthropist
sent over to Rio a large batch of German colonists.
When the unfortunates landed, they found they were
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 73
not wanted, there was nothing for them to do; they
lay about the quays, living on garbage, till yellow
fever thinned their ranks woefully. They would
probably all have perished had not the emperor
taken up the matter. He transported them en masse
to his highland estate, where the cooler climate per-
mits the white man to work without danger in the
fields, and founded Petropolis. And now it stands
a model village in which there is no sordid house,
no poverty, all is clean, tidy, and prosperous-look-
ing. For some miles round where the forest is
cleared, are the little farms of the happy and con-
tented people. And so, as you ride along the well-
made roads that traverse the little colony, you per-
ceive about you everywhere comfortable-looking
Teutons with blue eyes and yellow hair, and well-
dressed children going to school, and comely matrons
knitting at cottage doors, as in Europe, instead of
the half-naked negroes and the barbarism of the
slave plantations which surround this little oasis of
liberty. And now in addition to all this, a further
cause of prosperity has come to the village of Dom
Pedro Secundo, for a blessing seems to be on the
place. The cool and healthy air has induced many
of the wealthy citizens of Rio to resort here during
the summer months, when the yellow fever is hanging
about the hot city. It is rapidly becoming quite a
fashionable little place, and several good hotels have
sprung up around the imperial summer palace.
We stayed at Mills' two days, visited the virgin
forest-another thing we had to do-in a downpour
of rain; I think we were done more than the forest
was, for we did not appreciate its beauties under the
depressing circumstances, though we had brought
some cana with us, wherewith to [dilute -the rain.
Besides, the virgin forest was a fraud, though a
beautiful one, for the vegetation of it was in no wise
74 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
more magnificent than that of most portions of the
neighboring country, though these gave themselves
no high-sounding titles. From Petropolis we took
coach to Entre Rios, a drive of about fifty miles,
along a very well-kept road. The coach-mules were
splendid animals, and carried us on in grand style,
past the coffee plantations and the uncleared forests.
From Entre Rios, we travelled about on the Dom
Pedro Railway in rather an unmeaning way, from
one uninteresting place to another.
On the 15th of December we sailed from delight-
ful Paqueta to our old berth off Rio, under Fort
Villegagnon. The weather was now becoming oppres-
sive-ninety-five in the shade, with no cool nights as
a relief. The calm water in the harbour began to stink
horribly; and far from odorous was the vegetable
refuse that lay about the markets-so Yellow Jack
found his opportunity, and there were five vessels in
the harbour with the ominous yellow flag flying
at their main.
While we were at anchor here the emperor came
off to the Falcon in the Wanderer's launch; he was
interested in our cruise, and, as I understand, in-
tended to honour us with a visit. Unfortunately we
were all on shore at the time, so he merely steamed
round us, and remarked that we must be very un-
comfortable and very foolish to wander about the
oceans in such a cockleshell. If I were an emperor I
think I should be of the same opinion, and prefer
something a good deal bigger if I cruised at all; but
after all, would it be half so enjoyable ?-maybe
For several days in succession, during our stay, a
violent squall arose every afternoon in the bay. The
weather would wax sultrier and sultrier from sun-
rise till about three p.m., when suddenly a mass of
black cloud would sweep over the sky, pouring down
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 75
rain in such torrents as only tropical clouds can, ac-
companied by thunder and lightning. These squalls
blew with very great force, lashing the bay into a
mass of foam. On two occasions we had to put down
two anchors, with fifty fathoms on each, to prevent
driving. One day during the squall two large vessels
near us fouled each other in consequence of the
anchors of one dragging. Signals of distress were
hoisted, and two men-of-war's boats' crews were sent
to their assistance. After considerable damage had
been incurred by both they were cleared. This is
the old-fashioned Rio weather. Once this daily storm
was so regular in its coming, that it was customary
when one made an appointment with another to say,
" I will meet you after or before the storm," as the
case might be. But of late years the climate of
Rio has changed considerably, as has that of every
part of the world it seems, more or less; and the
three p.m. storm is not as punctual as was his wont
One of our crew here left us-Andrews-so we
were now rather under-manned, and determined to
pick up some one else in the Plate.
It was now about time for us to leave Rio; two
of us were down with slight attacks of fever, and we
all felt as if the fresh winds of the Atlantic would be
beneficial as a change.
We had made the acquaintance of the officers of
the SS. Norseman in Rio, the telegraph-vessel of
the Anglo-Brazilian Telegraph Company. She was
bound about this time for Maldonado, in Uruguay,
and the captain kindly offered, if he met us out at
sea, to give us a tow if we were in want of one. Mal-
donado Bay, he told us, was a pleasant spot, with
lots of sport on shore, and in every way preferable
to Flores Island as a place to spend our quarantine
in; for into quarantine we were certain to be thrust
76 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
as soon as we touched at any Uruguayan or Argen-
tine port after leaving Rio. The River Plate people
have the greatest dread of yellow fever, their countries
lie outside of the usual limits of this pest, but they
have a vivid reminiscence of the fearful epidemic
at Buenos Ayres ten years ago, when the whole city
was put into rigid quarantine, all business was at a
standstill, and the horrors of a mediaeval plague,
such as that of Florence, were experienced to the full
in the crowded South American city; no less than
a thousand people perishing a day, for several
WE sailed out of the harbour on December the 2ist,
the city looking very beautiful from the sea in the
There was but little wind, and we progressed but
slowly. It happened that the Norseman steamed out
the same day, so ten hours after our departure she
came up with us. The captain stopped his vessel
and repeated his invitation as to the tow; adding,
as a further inducement, that we should thus reach
Maldonado by Christmas Day, and we could all
pass that festive season together. We gladly accepted
his offer, so the Norseman lowered a boat, and we
soon got a tow-line to each of her quarters. It was
as well that we did get this tow, for now that
Andrews had left us we were only four on board.
Of these Jerdein was laid up below with slight fever;
I was far from well, recovering from the same; and
the boy had also been suffering from a sort of bilious
fever for some days.
Under these circumstances Captain Lacy sent on
board of us one of his black sailors to lend a hand
at steering. He and the boy took one watch during
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 77
Jerdein's illness, Arnaud and myself the other.
Steering a small vessel when towing fast requires
some care, so, as usual under similar circumstances,
I had to do all the steering in my watches. Arnaud,
however, was not allowed to be idle. He was kept
very constantly at the pumps, for we were towing so
fast through the short seas-ten knots an hour at
times-that much water came on board, and found
its way below through the hatch of the sail-room.
We had not been towing long before we parted
one of the warps ; the steamer stopped and lowered
a boat with another. This boat was manned by
Krumen, who kept time to their oars as they came
off with a queer dirge-like song. The words of this
song were delightfully simple, consisting of a constant
repetition of the monosyllable Bo.
Some of my readers may not know what Krumen
are. Well, they are a superior race of black men who
inhabit a certain strip along the West Coast of Africa.
They are all boatmen by profession, and are engaged
by European vessels for service in the unhealthy
oil-rivers, and other parts where work in the sun is
perilous for the white man. Excellent fellows they
are, with a far more intellectual cast of countenance
than any of the West Indian or Brazilian blacks.
These they despise, and will hold no communion
with, for the Kruman boasts that he is not only a
freeman, but the descendant of freemen. He is
certainly a superior being to the ordinary negro,
faithful and honest.
Curious names these jolly blacks take to them-
selves. On the Norseman we had Silver, Maintop,
Ropeyarn, Jibboom, and Zulu; this latter was so
called because he was taken to London to impersonate
one of the Zulus exhibited at the Aquarium. He
there enjoyed himself amazingly, and still receives
letters from an Aquarium barmaid. Zulu was the
78 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
man sent on board of us by Captain Lacy. Rather
funny that we should ship an Aquarium Farini-
Zulu as a hand on the Falcon !
As the sea increased a good deal on our second
day out, it became necessary for the Norseman to
diminish her speed to eight knots, so as to avoid
straining the yacht, which towed very heavily. We
had now crossed Capricorn, and were once more
cut of the tropics. The difference of latitude soon
made itself apparent. The wind blew from the
south, cold and bracing after its passage from
Antarctic seas. It was a very great change after
sultry Rio, and we found pea-jackets necessary
for the first time.
The distance that the Norseman proposed to tow
us was above 900 miles. The experiences of tne
voyage were such as to make me resolve never
under any circumstances to undertake anything of
the kind again. The Norseman had been compelled
to go easy, and stop so often in order to enable us
to put fresh chafing-gear on the hawsers, and to
get a new tow-line on board when one was carried
away, an incident which occurred thrice, so violent
were the sudden jerks at times, that on the 24th
of December, Christmas Eve, we were still so far
from Maldonado, as to render all chance of eating
our Christmas dinner in port very remote.
This day a nasty short sea was running, that was
continually filling our deck fore and aft. The vessel
pitched about with extraordinary quickness; showers
of spray came over the bows constantly, half-
drowning the man at the tiller, who alone staved on
deck. Everybody and everything was wet through.
Poor Zulu, unaccustomed to the cold and wet,
looked very miserable indeed when his turn used to
come round to steer. No doubt he regretted his
native wilds in the well-warmed London Aquarium,
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 79
where he was wont to raise his terrific Farini war-
cry, and hurl his assegai into the targets, surrounded
by admiring pale-faced damsels. The poor fellow
was laid up for three days after his experience of
About two p.m. I was at the tiller: a confused
sea was running at the time, so that it was very
difficult to steer the vessel. And now a serious
accident that I had for a long time foreseen as prob-
able occurred. I must explain that the Falcon's
bowsprit runs straight over the top of her stem
amidships and that the forestay leads to the bow-
sprit gammoning-iron-an exceptionally strong one
of course-instead of to the stem, as is the usual
method. I do not know whose idea this arrange-
ment was, but it is obviously a very bad one; not
only is that most important support to the mast,
the forestay, fitted in an insecure fashion, but the
bowsprit cannot be taken wholly on board, as the
main-mast is in the way of so doing. Thus we had
a good many feet of bowsprit overboard when the
heel of it was jammed up against the mast. The
result was, after one heavier pitch than usual, and
a shower of water that half-blinded me and took
away my breath for a moment, I saw with consterna-
tion that all the main rigging and shrouds were
flying about quite slack. I knew in a moment what
had occurred-one of the hawsers had got under
the bowsprit close to the bow, and wrenched the
gammoning-iron and stout iron band right out of the
stem, thus carrying away our forestay as well. I
called all hands on deck, and hailed the Norseman,
which at once stopped and lowered a boat to lend us
assistance. We found that a large piece had been
wrenched off our stem in addition to other damage:
so we were in a fine pickle. The bowsprit itself was
80 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
But a more serious mishap was now to follow,
which all but put a termination to the Falcon's
cruise altogether, by sending her to the bottom of the
South Atlantic. The Norseman had stopped. Being
to windward we drifted on to her. Seeing that we
were getting too near, we shouted to the officer in
charge to take a few revolutions ahead occasionally
so as to keep clear of us. As soon as he attempted
to do so it was found that one of the tow-lines had
got round her screw, so that she could not move,
but lay helplessly rolling about in the seas. In a
few moments we had drifted right down on her,
and we were foul of each other. Our rigging then
got entangled in the stock of her anchor, and thus
having secured us, she locked us in her embrace, and,
like a great sea-monster as she is, deliberately pro-
ceeded to crush us to pieces. She was rolling heavily
at the time, and with every roll the stock of her great
anchor and her iron sides came down on us with
pitiless weight. First our main-mast was nearly
wrenched out of us. Then the great black mass
of the ocean steamer leaned over us, bending in our
davits, and crushing our beautiful dinghy into match-
wood. Then another great lurch, and the stock of
her starboard anchor coming down between our
port-shrouds carried away all the ratlines, about ten
feet of bulwark, and threatened to stave in our decks.
Then our bowsprit went. We were now right across
her bows, a most perilous situation; for over the
bows of a telegraph-vessel hangs an enormous
iron machine, weighing many tons, used, I believe,
for winding in the electric cable. This rose and
fell above us like a battering-ram, as the steamer
pitched in the great seas. It was indeed a bad
quarter of an hour" for us that; not a merry way
of passing Christmas Eve. We tried our best to dis-
entangle our rigging from her anchors, and shove
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 81
clear of her, a difficult and even dangerous under-
taking. One plucky Kruman was very nearly
crushed while helping us.
At last, almost miraculously, we fell clear of her,
and setting a bit of sail, drifted some half-mile away
to leeward, where the poor old Falcon lay a dismal
and dishevelled wreck upon the waters. The re-
mains of our dinghy oars and other articles were float-
ing away, visible at times on the summit of the waves,
a pitiable sight. But it was no time for lamentation;
it was important to repair the damage as far as
possible without delay. On inspection we rejoiced
to find that to all appearance only our upper works
had suffered, the body of the vessel was as sound
as ever. We passed our chain through the two
hawse-pipes, set up our forestay to it as well as we
could, and got everything shipshape again.
In the meantime the Norseman managed to get
the hawser clear of her screw, so steaming down to
us she took us once more in tow.
We had a most uncomfortable time of it this
Christmas Eve. The wind and sea had risen con-
siderably, and it was very dark. I remember
well what curious work it was steering that night
by the rising and falling stern-light of the heavily-
pitching steamer. The motion of the Falcon was
at the time the most violently quick I have ever
experienced. We were constantly jumped off our
feet while steering. At regular intervals the vessel
would take five of six terribly rapid rolls in succes-
sion, rolling her gunwales under, and filling her decks
right up with water, heeling to such an angle as made
even capsizing seem quite a possible contingency
at times; then she would pitch as violently as she
had rolled, and we expected to see the main-mast
chucked out over her bow at any moment. Water-
breakers and others articles broke adrift, floated
82 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
on deck, and flew about wildly with the frantic leaps
of the little craft. Down in the cabin the water was
a foot over the flooring, and washing over the bunks,
drenching everything, notwithstanding that some
one was always at the pump. Every one was wet,
cold, and miserable, and bruised, too, with the bang-
ing about, against which no sea-legs availed. It was
rather an anxious time, for had the weather been a
little worse the steamer would have been obliged
to slip us, no agreeable prospect in our half-wrecked
state. So passed our merry Christmas Eve.
But when Christmas Day broke there came a
change. It was a lovely morning, bright and bracing ;
the wind had moderated considerably; the sea,
too, had gone down ; so the Norseman increased her
speed to make up for lost time.
Towards dinner-time the steamer stopped, and
Captain Lacy sent a boat with a fresh hawser to us,
and an invitation to partake of the orthodox roast
beef and plum-pudding on board of his vessel. He
lent us two Madagascar negroes to steer the Falcon
in the meanwhile. After the wet and cold of the
last few days we thoroughly enjoyed our Christ-
mas dinner in the comfortable saloon of the steamer.
In the evening we returned to the Falcon once more
to renew our duties. Throughout the night the sea
was smooth, and all went well.
On the morning of the 26th of December we
perceived the loom of land on our starboard side, the
coast of Uruguay. On nearing it we were enabled
to discern what manner of country this was that
we had now reached. The climate, the colour of
the clear sky, and the aspect of the vegetation
showed us that we had indeed left the tropics.
Very different all appeared after torrid Rio, one
thousand miles to the northward. It was a low
shore with sandy dunes and hills of no great alti-
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 83
tude in the background; a desert-looking country
where thistles and aloes seemed especially to thrive.
Of ill-repute too is all this wild coast from here to
the Brazilian frontier, and a terror to mariners.
The currents of the ocean hereabouts are powerful
and inconstant. There are few landmarks, and
disasters to vessels are frequent. On the shore
among the surf one can perceive the skeletons of
many ill-fated ships, as one coasts along the dreary
sand-banks. And woe betide the mariners who are
wrecked on this inhospitable land; for the only
inhabitants of it are wild gauchos, professional and
skilful wreckers when not employed in the almost as
lucrative pursuit of pillaging and ravaging all over
their native country under the banner of one or the
other of those rival guerilla chieftains who are ever
contesting who shall next be the chief magistrate
and arch-robber of poor revolutionary Uruguay.
These land sharks are bold in the extreme in
their malpractices, and of course commit all sorts
of atrocities with absolute impunity, for the Govern-
ment cannot be troubled with inquiry into such
little peccadilloes as wrecking and piracy. These
brave gauchos must be humoured, or they will join
the other side in politics, and lend their lances to
a rival cut-throat.
At about sunset we were in sight of our port.
As we approached the land, the whole vessel was
enveloped in a dense cloud of dragon-flies, which
completely covered our rigging.
That very common phenomenon in the River
Plate, a mirage, was observable along the whole
coast. All the inland hills seemed to have turned
upside down; and these floated at some height
above the plain, midway in a band of lovely pink sky.
We rounded Pt. Este, and sailing inside Lobos
Island, famous for its many seals, entered Maldonado
84 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
Bay. This little harbour seemed but little pro-
tected, should the wind choose to blow hard from
seaward. It is but a shallow bay surrounded by
sand-banks, with one little island called Goriti,
overgrown with wild asparagus, and inhabited by
rabbits alone, in the centre of it. It was here that
H.M.S. Agamemnon, Nelson's old vessel, was lost.
The town or village of Maldonado is situated a few
miles from the shore and is hidden from it by the
sand-hills. Only a few little houses are to be seen
on the beach at the extremity of the bay. Not a
very prepossessing spot, but Captain Lacy promised
us plenty of sport on shore by the lagunas which lie
beyond the sand-hills.
"Partridges, snipes, teat, geese, &c., are to be
found here in amazing numbers, at times," he said.
Just before sunset we perceived a dismasted
vessel far out to sea, a derelict evidently, for she
had no signals flying. Unfortunately a mist came
on just then, or the Norseman would have steamed
after her and brought her in. A wind arose in
the night that carried her far away before morning.
The Norseman put to sea again the day after our
arrival, and proceeded towards Chuy, as the sub-
marine cable required repairing somewhere there-
abouts. She did not return for two days. This
time we spent in repairing as much as possible the
damage the collision had inflicted on us. We
naturally were desirous of going on shore and
having a look at the country, but of course could
not do so until we had received pratique. We waited
twelve hours, and no one came off to us. There was
no sign of life anywhere : there were two small
craft anchored in the bay, but no one was on board
of them; the shore might be a bit of the central
Sahara for loneliness. Twenty-four hours passed,
and still no one. At last a solitary horseman
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 85
appeared on the summit of a sand-hill and looked
at us. Hope revived in our breasts; but after
remaining a few seconds only, he galloped away
again. Forty-eight hours passed away, and we
waxed impatient. We hoisted all manner of signals,
but no one paid the slightest attention to them.
Where were all the Maldonadans ? Had they gone
away revolutionizing ? or, seeing from afar that
imposing brass gun of ours, had they taken the peace-
able Falcon for a pirate, and betaken themselves in
terror to the inner wilds ? These two days a south-
west wind blew fresh and squally right into the bay,
and brought into it a sea that made us far from
comfortable at our anchorage.
Waxing impatient, I took the collapsible dinghy,
and went off to the desert islet of Goriti to shoot
rabbits. Here I made the acquaintance of the
only inhabitant, a sociable horse, who followed
me about everywhere; walked on when I walked
on, sat down when I sat down, and standing on the
beach gave me a plaintive farewell neigh when I
ultimately rowed off. Of rabbits I saw no traces
save their habitations. They too, I suppose, had
gone revolutionizing. There were several old
iron cannons lying about on the island, for it was
strongly fortified in the days of the Spanish, when
there was a viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres.
On the third day the Norseman came in again;
and at last the inhabitants took notice of us, for a
boat came off with a gentleman most gorgeously uni-
formed and much sabred, who politely told us that
he was the captain of the port. Hearing we had
come from Rio, he gave us two days' quarantine.
But," I suggested, we have already been two
Ah indeed! he replied; then it is well;
your quarantine is over."
86 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
We went on shore, scampered up the sand-hills,
and were surprised, on reaching their summit, to
behold on the other side a wild but pleasant-
looking country; an undulating Pampas of grass
and thistles, aloes and cactus, lay between us and
the distant hills, diversified with little lakes, bogs,
and sandy wastes. In the foreground was Mal-
donado town, a small congregation of whitewashed,
flat-roofed houses, with a street or two, in which
it seemed as if no man ever walked. We were
introduced to the aristocracy of the place. First
to a store-keeper, who is also a commandant, or
something of the kind; next to a portly major-
general in the Uruguayan army, who is also a
butcher; and to an ex-high-admiral of the Uruguayan
fleet, who is willing to pilot us to Montevideo in con-
sideration of a small gratuity. Truly a republican
country! The latter grandee is an ex-admiral at
present because his politics are not those of the
party now in power. For with a change in the
Government of a South American republic every one
goes out of office-admirals, generals, telegraph
clerks, policemen, crossing-sweepers-to make room
for the friends of the new presidents, and the
friends of those friends, and the friends of all their
sisters, their cousins, and their aunts, and so on.
One rises and falls pretty rapidly out here-admiral
to-day, ordinary pilot to-morrow.
We stayed two days more in Maldonado Bay, and
had some pleasant rides over the country with the
officers of the Norseman : but I cannot say that we
shot quite so many partridges, snipes, &c., as we an-
ticipated. However, we had a very good time of it,
thanks to our friends on the Norseman and on shore.
On December the 31st we got up anchor, and
sailed for Montevideo, which is about seventy miles
from Maldonado. We took the ex-admiral with us
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 87
as pilot; not that a pilot was really necessary, but
the old gentleman seemed anxious to come with us,
and was very companionable and jovial in disposition.
We were now in the estuary of the Rio de la
Plata, for the limit of the river and the ocean is
held to be a line drawn between Maldonado and
the Cabo San Antonio, 150 miles across. At Mon-
tevideo the river is sixty-four miles wide. At
Buenos Ayres, 2Io miles higher up than Mal-
donado, it is thirty-four miles wide. All this
gigantic estuary is obstructed by shoals and sand-
banks; the depth of water is hardly anywhere
upwards of three fathoms. Luckily the bottom is
generally of soft mud: hence there is little risk
to a vessel that runs ashore unless the weather be
bad. But, unfortunately, bad weather is very
common indeed off the River Plate. It is a region
of storms and extraordinary electric disturbance.
The pampero, the storm-wind from the Pampas, is
frequent, and blows with great violence; often
being, indeed, a true hurricane in its fury. The
ocean tides do not affect to any great extent the
waters of the River Plate, but strong sea winds
cause it to rise considerably. The water is fresh
almost as far as Montevideo, where, indeed, it is
occasionally drunk on the vessels in the roads, so
slightly brackish it is. A desolate waste of choppy,
muddy waves, flowing between dark mud-banks,
with here and there little floating islands of lilies,
and trees drifting seawards from the great rivers
of the interior; such is the mouth of the La Plata,
the widest river of the world; and the one which,
with the exception of the Amazon, discharges the
greatest volume of water into the ocean.
At daybreak on the Ist of January we were in
sight of Montevideo. From afar off we observed
that there were many men-of-war of different
88 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
nations and sizes in the harbour and in the roads
-some twenty, at least. Furthest to seaward of
all we perceived a British squadron of five huge
vessels at anchor. These we soon recognized as
the Bacchante and the four other men-of-war com-
posing the flying squadrons now bound on a voyage
round the world with the two sons of the Prince of
Wales. Montevideo presents a very pleasing ap-
pearance from the sea, looking very much like an
Eastern city with its whitewashed, low, flat-roofed
houses. Like an Eastern city, it looked very clean
and bright from a distance. We afterwards found
that, unlike an Eastern city, it proved as clean and
bright on closer inspection.
We came to an anchor well up the little bay
which answers as an apology for a harbour here-
a very poor harbour in bad weather, as we after-
wards found-and hoisted the yellow flag for the
health officer. When that functionary came off,
he expressed great dissatisfaction at the conduct of
his colleague in Maldonado.
Two days' quarantine is insufficient for a vessel
coming from Rio; you must sail to Flores, and pass
three more days off that island before I can permit
you to land here."
But now a steam launch, with some other gor-
geous officer, came off; and hearing how matters
stood, took our part, and argued that in the case
of so small a vessel, with so few men on board, it
was hardly necessary to inflict the full allowance of
quarantine. After some parley the first doctor gave
in, and we were granted pratique, to our great
delight, for three days off Flores was not a pleasant
prospect. Montevideo was having a good time of it
with all these men-of-war in the roads, no fewer than
nine of which were British. Bull-fights, masked-
balls, hells.. and other dissipations were not wanting
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 89
to relieve the mariner of his hard-earned cash. They
told me that there were frequently 5000 men-of-
war's men and marines on shore at a time.
A walk through the streets and squares of the
capital of Uruguay soon showed us how very dif-
ferent were these people that we were now among
from the Brazilians in every respect. No two
cities could be less alike than these two capitals of
neighboring states. Not here the lofty houses of
Rio, but clean streets of one-storied glaring white
houses, built in the style of a Pompeian dwelling.
A square, flat-roofed building, with an open court-
yard, or patio, in the centre, on to which all the
rooms open; a fountain and a flower-garden in the
patio ; towards the street the windows, if any, small
and heavily barred with iron-such is the residence
of a South American Spaniard, a retiring sort of a
dwelling, shutting itself jealously from the outer
world with a Mussulman-like love of seclusion.
The populace, too, how different from that of a
Brazilian city! No negroes here, and no ugly-
looking Portuguese; but handsome and dignified
Spaniards, with a good deal of Indian blood in the
veins of the lower orders of them. Cleanest of cities"is
Montevideo, with straight streets cutting each other
at right angles in the American chess-board fashion.
In the evening of New Year's Day we visited
the fine Plaza de l'Independen9ia, where an excel-
lent military band was playing. Here we were
enabled to study the different orders of the popu-
lace. The ladies floated by with stately Spanish
walk, looking well in their black silk dresses and
mantillas; but why will every South American
lady so besmear her face with powder, however good
her complexion be ? Officers of the army strutted
by in gorgeous uniforms, and with the clash of sabres
on the pavement; a motley crowd of the lower
90 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
orders loafed about-Basques, Italians, Greeks, and
the native gauchos in their barbaric but becoming
costume. Here was a group of British blue-jackets
slightly overcome by cafia. The native soldiers
were everywhere, dressed in their hideous parody
of Zouave uniforms. And here were two of the
Spanish bull-fighters in their picturesque off-duty
dress and pigtails; smart, wiry, neat-cut fellows
they were, and rather foppish in their general get
up. The young native swells hung round them
admiringly, were proud of their acquaintance, were
delighted when allowed to sit at the same table as
the matador at a caf6 and treat him to champagne
-in short, courted them and made much of them,
much in the same way as English gentlemen did
prize-fighters not so long back, and the young
Roman patrician the crack gladiators of his day
when he wanted to be considered as a fast man
THE climate of the River Plate is exceedingly
changeable and trying. The day we came in it
was quite cold. The day before the thermometer
registered l02 in the shade. When the south
wind blows from over the cold Antarctic seas the
weather is bracing and cool. But with the north
wind coming as it does from over thousands of
leagues of parched Pampas and tropical jungles,
the atmosphere is hot, dry, and oppressive as that
of North Africa when the khamsin blows.
All skippers that have been unfortunately com-
pelled to put into Montevideo for repairs to their
vessels anathematize it; we were not exceptions to
this rule. A wretched German, who called himself a
ship's carpenter, undertook to repair the damages to
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 91
our stem and bulwarks. He not only made a miser-
able job of it, but detained us seventeen days, and
finally presented us with a most exorbitant bill.
Never having been a witness of a bull-fight,
curiosity led me to visit the arena one Sunday. It
was a glorious day-true River Plate weather-that
is, with a cloudless, pale blue and peculiarly clear
sky overhead. The clearness of the atmosphere in
this land of the Pampas is very remarkable, and it
causes the vault of the heavens to appear to be
much farther off and vaster than in other lands. The
stars, too, at night shine with an exceeding brightness.
They seem to be at a far greater distance off
than those over our hemisphere, and one can
see more of them, farther up into the heaven as
it were, so pure is the sky; stars behind stars,
archipelago behind archipelago of them, to infinity.
On this day a great slaughter of bulls and horses
had been promised to the populace; so the glaring
white streets that led out of the town to the amphi-
theatre were thronged with the thousands of
pleasure-seekers who were on their way to the cruel
games. It was like the road to the Derby without
the rowdyism. In carriages, trams, and on foot the
crowds poured on, while over the balconies of the
houses leaned the pretty Montevidean girls, fanning,
and laughing, and flirting as they looked down on
the human flood. We entered a tram-car-for of
course, being a South American city, Montevideo
has scarce a street down which the tramway-rails
are not laid-and drove some miles through the
pretty suburbs of the town, where nestling in lovely
gardens are gaudy villas of pseudo-classic and Italian
style, generally painted outside in delicate tints of
pink, yellow, and blue, which suits the climate
well enough. At last we reached the amphi-
theatre, gay with the flags of Uruguay and Spain.
92 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
We paid our dollar and a half for a sombra seat
-that is, one on the shady side-and entered the
huge structure. It was just the Roman amphi-
theatre over again. Uncovered to the blue sky
was the great circus, with the flights of bare stone
steps sloping down to the arena, on which the
common spectators sat. And there, too, was one
scarlet-draped box, in the which sat a bloated
grandee in bright uniform and much be-medalled-
president or great minister, I know not which,
with his sycophants around him; just as bloated
emperor or consul sat in his purple-draped box long
ago, under as blue Italian skies, while beneath him
the gladiators fought to the death, or Christians
fed famishing lions. And no wit less brutally
savage was the spectacle, and no less cruel and
ready with the "pollice verso" were the spectators
on this fine Sunday afternoon, in this civilized city
of Montevideo, in the year of grace 1880, than in
the Roman circus of 2000 years ago. There was a
very full house, and there was no small number
of our ruddy blue-jackets and marines among the
sallow Spaniards. I was pleased to see that, con-
trary to my expectations, only two women were
present, and these were foreigners, and evidently
members of the demi-monde. Constant communion
with strangers has possibly softened the manners
of the women of this branch of the Spanish race;
for it is certainly not the thing in Montevideo for a
lady to assist at a bull-fight. But on the other hand,
there were a great many young children of both
sexes present that had been brought hither by
their fathers, and the bloodthirsty little dears enjoyed
I had never seen a bull-fight before, and in my
ignorance imagined that there might be something
more in it than mere cruel brutality-some good
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 93
sport or display of skill. I do not know that such
may not be the case in Spain, but in Montevideo
this amusement is merely the ordinary business of
an abattoir glorified by music and gay costumes,
and a strong spice of unnecessary cruelty. Danger
to those engaged in the fight is reduced to a mini-
mum. After waiting about half an hour there
arose a martial fanfare of trumpets, a door opened,
and there galloped forth a picturesque procession.
First rode the proprietor in his black velvet dress,
mounted on a fine coal-black horse, then came the
toreadors, picadors, and matadors in the gaudy
and beautiful costumes peculiar to their respective
duties ; and lastly came four horses drawing a yoke :
this to drag out the carcases of bulls and horses
that were to be massacred during the games.
Three times, to the lively strains of the band,
this procession galloped round the arena, and then
went out again; the door closed, and there were
left alone in the centre two picadors on their horses,
each with his long lance, and a group of footmen
with scarlet cloaks over their arms, and the cruel
little darts in their hands. Then came a suspense
and a pause in the chatter from the stone steps for
a few moments, and quickly another door opened,
and out rushed, head down, a savage little bull of
the Pampas, who made it pretty lively for every
one for a short time. But between his wild rush-
ing hither and thither, the being dazed by the
scarlet cloaks that were thrown across his head,
the loss of blood from lance wounds, and the eight
little darts that were sticking in his flanks, the
poor beast after a few minutes became weak and
showed disinclination to continue the unequal
combat. But this was not what was intended by
his cowardly foes-he must kill a horse or two ere
he be permitted to gasp out his life on the blood-
94 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
stained sand of the arena and be at peace-the
people wanted the smell of more gore, and the
pleasant spectacle of prolonged dying agonies
before they could let him go. It was now the duty
of the picador to place the horse on which he was
riding across the path of the bull as much as pos-
sible, and no longer to avoid him. It was a disgusting
spectacle. The picador himself, with his legs thickly
padded with lead and cloth, could suffer no injury
from the animal's horns-while his wretched horse
had bandages over his eyes, that he might not
perceive the infuriated bull that charged him, take
alarm and run away. Neither horse nor bull was
quite up to the scratch, for the former heard and
trembled though he could not see, and the latter
was now weak and faint. So we enjoyed the
elevating spectacle of attendants whipping up the
poor horse, and others stabbing and torturing the
dying bull into one last infuriated charge. Mad-
dened by his tormentors, at last he did charge; the
picador kept his horse broadside on to the attack,
and loud cheers of bravo, toro saluted the bull as
he ran his horns into the belly of the poor animal,
that then rushed wildly away, almost unseating
his rider in his agonized plunges, with his bowels
dragging over the ground as he went. The bull had
yet the horse of the other picador to disembowl,
or blind, or tear asunder in some other way, before
his turn came to die. He lay crouching in a corner,
with the blood pouring out of his nostrils with every
heavy gasp; still at bay though, and ready to
stagger to his feet and defend himself on the ap-
proach of an enemy, only to fall again with half
his life gone out with exertion. Then came up
the matador, with scarlet cloak on the left arm,
and rapier in the right hand. He came deliber-
ately up to the bull, and after a little dodging deftly
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 95
run the long steel into his brain, and the poor beast
was free at last. The work of the matador is the
most merciful to the bull, and the most dangerous
to the man, of the whole performance; for when
the bull, as often happens, has still a good deal
of life left in him, the slightest divergence in the
rapier-thrust might be fatal to the unskilful swords-
man. Seven bulls were tortured and slain this
fine Sunday afternoon, and some fourteen horses,
till the white sand was red and reeking with the
blood and entrails of the poor beasts. When a
horse was not killed outright by a bull-only dis-
embowelled, or with shoulder ripped up, or the
like-he was taken out, doctored and patched up,
his wounds sewn up and plastered over to stay the
flow of blood, and then he was brought on again
half an hour afterwards, weak and staggering, to face
and be ultimately killed by another bull.
During the course of the afternoon, one incident
gave great pleasure to the spectators. A savage
little yellow bull charged with such fury that he
tossed a 'horse and picador clear into the air. The
man fell, half-stunned, with the horse on the top
of his legs. The bull then stood over them and
commenced to deliberately gore his prostrate enemies
to death. It was a splendid sport for the people,
and a loud cry of bravo, toro bravo, toro went up ;
no horror, no sympathy for the wretched man was
expressed on any face of that large crowd of Span-
iards-merely fiendish delight in the horrible scene.
The people stood up and shrieked with frantic joy,
and laughed to see the cruel horns bury themselves
in the soft flesh. The picador was not killed, for
his comrades diverted the bull, and rescued him.
I am sure that many of the spectators looked on this
as very unfair-they had been defrauded of the best
part of their entertainment-how exciting to have
96 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
seen a man slowly gored into shreds I Brutal our
prize-ring was, no doubt; but what can be said
of this torturing of the noblest of dumb animals,
that I have attempted to describe as I saw it
myself this day ?
Throughout our stay at Montevideo the weather
was abominable. Violent squalls occurred daily,
and it blew a gale of wind three days out of four
-an exceptional state of things in midsummer.
We rolled and pitched so much at our anchorage
in this unprotected port, that the carpenter was
unable for ten days at a stretch to get his stage
alongside, in order to fit on our new stem-post.
Indeed, we were occasionally running our bows
right under in the short, nasty seas. Nor was he
able to effect the repairs on deck during this time,
for the wretched fellow got sea-sick as soon as he
stepped on board of us. Thus it was not until the
2oth of January that we got all straight again.
On the 2Ist of January we weighed anchor at noon,
and proceeded out of the harbour under all plain
canvas to sail to Buenos Ayres. It is customary
for strangers to take a pilot from Montevideo to
Buenos Ayres, but we did not consider this neces-
sary in the case of a small vessel like ours. There
was a fresh E.S.E. wind blowing, so that we were
enabled to set our spinnaker, and kept up an average
speed of seven knots throughout the voyage. At
ten p.m. we made the Chico light-ship, and then,
keeping the lead constantly going, sailed over the flats
in about three fathoms of water, until, at seven a.m.
on the morrow, we reached the guard-ship, which
is moored about twelve miles or so from Buenos
Ayres. From here we could see the long line of the
houses of the city and the vessel in the inner roads.
We hove-to off the guard-ship in order to await
the doctor's boat and obtain pratique before sailing
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." 97
into the town. Many large vessels were at anchor
around us, rolling heavily in the rough pea-soup-
coloured water, for no vessel of considerable draught
can approach nearer to the shore than this; indeed,
none of our big men-of-war could come anywhere
near Argentine Waters. The royal mail steamers
have been known to ground even so far out as these
outer roads, as they are called. For where the
vast plains of the Pampas terminate in the sea, so
gradual is the incline that it is really difficult to
say where sea begins and land ends. The gnarled
mangroves grow far out into the water from the
swampy shores. So flat are these alluvial plains that
a rise of one foot of water only will overflow the
land miles inland in many places.
At ten we received pratique, and proceeded
towards the city. As we sailed in, the water very
gradually shoaled until we reached the inner roads
where lay a large number of vessels whose lighter
draught enabled them to come thus far in. We
proceeded still farther, and came to an anchor in
fourteen feet of water off the Catalina Mole in the
midst of a crowd of lighters, shallow coasting
schooners, river steamers, and other small craft;
still, however, a considerable distance from the
shore. We got into our dinghy and proceeded
to sail towards the end of the pier. So shallow
became the water long ere we reached it, that
even our little boat bumped continually against
the bottom. For half a mile or more we sailed
through a large fleet of carts and horses; for in
this extraordinary port of Buenos Ayres mcr-
chandise has to be transhipped three times between
the vessel, fourteen miles out in the outer roads,
and the railway trucks on shore-from vessel to
lighter, from lighter to carts drawn by amphibious
horses, and so to the railway. This port, if it
98 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
can be called such, of Buenos Ayres is a very
unpleasant place to lay in, whether one be in the
outer, inner, or small craft roads. For this coast
is quite open to the Atlantic on the south-east, and
when the wind blows hard from anywhere near that
quarter a very short, dangerous sea soon rises on
these shallow waters. The Argentine Republic is
very unfortunate in the matter of its ports; save
far south, in Patagonia, where there is little if
any commerce, there is no harbour worthy of the
name. Just to the south of the city of Buenos
Ayres a small river runs into the sea-the Riachuelo.
This has been dredged sufficiently to admit small
craft. It is the head-quarters of the Italian river
schooners, which are here built and fitted out.
A large town has now sprung up around this port-
the Boca, inhabited almost exclusively by Italians
and Greeks, a rather cut-throat place by reputation.
North of Buenos Ayres, and some ten miles from
it, is another river, the Lujan, one of the many
channels of the intricate delta of the River Plate.
Near one of its mouths is the little town of San
Fernando. Here the Argentine Government has
constructed docks, and here are the naval stores
and workshops. It is a sort of Argentine Chatham ;
but unfortunately the entrance of the river is im-
peded, like all others hereabouts, by a bar, and there
are times when the water is so low that a vessel draw-
ing only eight feet has to wait weeks before it can
cross it. Oncewithin the river there is plentyof water.
To lie off Buenos Ayres was, of course, impossible,
so we had to choose between these two harbours
for the Falcon during our stay here. We decided
on the latter, or rather on the River Tigre, which is
a branch of the Lujan. On its banks, and close to
the Tigre railway-station, is the boat-house of the
English rowing club. Our friends recommended
THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON." 99
us to drop our anchor close to it, as being a quiet
spot where we would be unmolested, and where
we would have the advantages of trains running
into the city at short intervals.
We lay at anchor off the Catalina Mole during
the night, tossing about very uncomfortably in the
short seas. On the morrow, the 23rd of January,
we weighed anchor at one p.m., and proceeded in
charge of a pilot to the River Tigre. A fresh wind
was blowing from the E. by S., and we sailed rapidly
along the low coasts. The pilot kept the lead con-
stantly going. As we approached the mouth of the
Lujan the water gradually shoaled, for here the
alluvial matter brought down by the many rivers
of the delta have formed a great bank known as Las
Palmas, that stretches far out to sea. From two
fathoms we shoaled to ten feet, then to nine, then to
eight. The pilot looked anxious.
How much did you say you were drawing? "
Seven feet six inches," was the reply.
Well, we may do it. We'll hit the channel soon,
and be in deep water. Besides the mud is soft here,
we can drive her through it."
Another cast of the lead showed us we were in
seven feet of water. Bump, bump, the vessel went,
as she sailed over the mud, before half a gale of
wind, with all canvas set.
"We shall be in deep water soon," said the pilot;
"but the river is precious low; there should be
more than eight feet here by rights."
Another cast of the lead indicated a depth of only
six feet, and the Falcon, after vainly attempting
to force her way a little further, stuck firmly, to the
great disgust of the pilot, who seemed to be sur-
prised that a vessel drawing nearly eight feet of water
could not sail where there was a depth of six.
Ioo THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
We quickly lowered all the canvas on deck, while
Jerdein who had promised himself a pleasant even-
ing in town with some old friends, admonished that
unhappy pilot with his usual eloquence. There was no
particularly pleasant evening for any one that night.
We got two anchors down, and proceeded to wait
until some sea-wind, or flood, or other phenomenon,
should cause the waters to rise, an event which might
be in an hour or in a month, as far as we could tell,
and the pilot could not enlighten us. The water was
still going down, for in three hours after we struck
we found that there was a depth of only five feet
round us. The wind now freshened considerably,
and howled and whistled through our rigging.
It was a weird and melancholy scene from the
Falcon's deck. A few miles to the port hand was the
low leaden-coloured shore of mud, a leaden sky was
above, and the choppy seas of dirty water that were
around us were of still more dismal a shade. To-
wards evening the rain commenced to fall heavily,
and the wind increased till it blew a gale from the
south-east. This made matters look rather serious for
us, for this coast is a lee-shore to this wind, which
blows straight from the Atlantic. The seas became
higher and higher, and occasionally washed over us,
and had we bumped about throughout the night in
the manner we did at first, the Falcon, strong though
she be, might possibly have broken up. But this
south-east wind, blowing straight into the estuary
from seawards, is the wind of all others to cause
the waters of the Plate to rise rapidly, for it stops
the currents from proceeding out co the ocean, and
drives them back towards the delta. In about an
hour the water had risen upwards of two feet, and we
were afloat once more, riding safe to our two anchors,
only striking the bottom with our keel at long inter-
vals, after some higher wave than usual had passed by.
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." Ioi
We remained at anchor during the night, rolling
about very heavily ; but we had good holding ground
under us, and good ground tackle to hold on by, else
we should have felt more anxious than we did, riding
out a gale of wind on this lee-shore. In fact we
got off very well considering everything, and much
better than some others did, for we afterwards found
that two schooners had been driven ashore at Buenos
Ayres that night, and broken up. At daybreak the
wind moderated and came round from the north-
east, while the water commenced to fall again.
We weighed anchor, and proceeded to cross the bank
towards a buoythat marks the entrance of the channel
-not without touching the ground occasionally. At
last we found ourselves in deep water once more,
and sailed into the Lujan, which we found to be a
narrow river, with low banks overgrown with forests
of willows. After ascending the stream for about
two miles we reached the junction of the Tigre and the
Lujan, and proceeded up the former river a few
hundred yards till we reached the rowing-club
house. We brought up alongside the bank, put
out an anchor ahead, and one astern, and took a
warp to a tree on shore.
On looking around us we were very contented
with our new berth. It was the snuggest that the
old Falcon had known for a very long time. The
banks of the river were thickly grown with graceful
willows and other trees, while handsome villas were
scattered here and there, with beautiful gardens
of sub-tropical shrubs and flowers stretching from
them to the water's edge. The captain of the port
of the Tigre came off to us, inspected our papers,
and gave us pratique, so we were free to take train
into Buenos Ayres. On landing and looking around
us we found that we were in a very different sort of
country from any we had yet visited. This delta
102 THE CRUISE OF THE FALCON."
of the Parana is one vast flat jungle, scarcely raised
two feet above the level of the water, and inter-
sected by innumerable creeks and channels, that
flow sluggishly between islands of every size, only a
few of which are inhabited, or for the matter of that
have even ever been trodden by the foot of man.
The richest portion of this mosquito-infested laby-
rinth, and the most thickly peopled, is in the neigh-
bourhood of the Tigre. This indeed is a beautiful
region, called the Venetia of South America. Here
the many islands are covered with a prodigal natural
vegetation and very forests of peach-trees, for the fat
alluvial soil is as rich as that of the Nile banks,
and the river is continually overflowing it to leave
French andltalian immigrants possessmanyof these
islands, and cultivate on them millions of peaches
and splendid vegetables of all kinds. Very pleasant
little farms these are. Each family has a little island
to itself, surrounded by narrow creeks-a secluded
little paradise among the drooping willows. The
house is built invariably on piles, so as to be above the
level of the waters in time of flood. The most lovely
roses and other flowers grow luxuriantly around the
homestead. The only means of communication
is by water, and every morning can be seen canoe
after canoe laden with fruit and flowers floating
slowly down the willow-shaded canals to market,
the light-hearted owner singing merrily as he stands
up in the stern propelling his little craft with one long
oar, as they do in the Venetian gondolas.
There is a peculiar dream-like beauty about this
enchanted region that strikes all visitors to La
Plata. The citizens of Buenos Ayres are very proud
and fond of the Tigre. Its banks are a favourite re-
sort on Sunday, and many a pleasant picnic party and
fete champftre enlivens the isles in the summer days.