• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Introduction
 Descriptive outline of the...
 The town of Buenos Aires
 Mode of travelling
 Town of San Luis
 Journey to the gold mines and lavaderos...
 Mendoza
 The Pampas
 The Pampas -- province of Santa...
 The Pampas
 The Pampas Indians
 Passage across the great cordi...
 Convent at Santiago
 Journey to the gold mine of El...
 Gold mine of Caren
 Journey to the silver mine of San...
 Departure from Santiago
 Return to Mendoza
 The Pampas
 A few general observations respecting...
 Conclusion














Title: Rough notes taken during some rapid journeys across the Pampas and among the Andes
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090008/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rough notes taken during some rapid journeys across the Pampas and among the Andes
Physical Description: xii, 309 p. : ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Head, Francis Bond, 1793-1875
Publisher: J. Murray,
J. Murray
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1826
Copyright Date: 1826
 Subjects
Subject: Gauchos   ( lcsh )
Mines and mineral resources -- South America   ( lcsh )
PAMPAS   ( renib )
MINAS -- AMERICA DEL SUR   ( renib )
Pampas (Argentina)   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Andes   ( lcsh )
DESCRIPCIONES Y VIAJES -- CORDILLERA DE LOS ANDES   ( renib )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Argentina
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by F.B. Head.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090008
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 08261092
lccn - 04009086

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Introduction
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Descriptive outline of the Pampas
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    The town of Buenos Aires
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Mode of travelling
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    Town of San Luis
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    Journey to the gold mines and lavaderos of la Carolina
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Mendoza
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    The Pampas
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    The Pampas -- province of Santa Fe
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
    The Pampas
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    The Pampas Indians
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    Passage across the great cordillera
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    Convent at Santiago
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    Journey to the gold mine of El Bronce de Petorca
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
    Gold mine of Caren
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
    Journey to the silver mine of San Pedro Nolasco
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
    Departure from Santiago
        Page 229
    Return to Mendoza
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
    The Pampas
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
    A few general observations respecting the working of mines in South America
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
    Conclusion
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
Full Text




ROUGH


NOTES


TAKEN DURING


SOME RAPID JOURNEYS

ACROSS


THE PAMPAS

AND AMONG


THE ANDES.



BY CAPTAIN F. B. HEAD.



SECOND EDITION.




LONDON:

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE-STREET.


MDCCCXXVI.















H-I~




AMERICA











LONDON:
Printed by WILLIAM CLOSES,
Stamobrd-Street.














INTRODUCTION.


THE sudden rise and fall, the unexpected
appearance and disappearance. of so many
Mining Companies, is a subject which must
necessarily occupy a few lines in the future
history of our country; and when the exul-
tation of those who have gained, and the
disappointment of those who have lost, are
alike forgotten, the Historian who calmly
relates the momentary existence of these
Companies, will only inquire into the general
causes of their formation, and the general
causes of their failure.
That a commercial error has been com-
mitted, no one can deny; and it must also
Sbe admitted, that this error was not confined


2 ( J "J 4 I








INTRODUCTION.


to a few individuals, or to any association
of individuals, but, like a contagious disease,
it pervaded all classes of society; and that
among the lists of Shareholders in these spe-
culations, were to be found the names of
people of the first rank, character, and
education in the country.
Experience has at last been purchased at
a very great loss, and by it we now learn,
that both the formation of these Companies,
and their failure, have proceeded from one
cause-our Ignorance of the country which
was to be the field of the speculation. But
although this. must be confessed, yet let it
also be remembered, that the error was
accompanied by all the noble characteristics
which distinguish our country.
Had we known the nature of the different
countries, it would have been deemed im-
prudent to have forwarded to them expen-







INTRODUCTION.


sive machinery, to have given liberal sala-
ries to every individual connected with the
speculation, to have invited the Natives to
share the profits, to have intrusted the Capi-
tal to solitary individuals, &c. Still, had the
Foundation been good, the Building was
nobly planned, and it was undeniably the
act and the invention of a country teeming
with energy, enterprise, liberality, unsus-
pecting confidence, and capital.
Without lamenting over losses which are
now irrecoverable, it is only necessary to
keep in mind, that the Cause which produced
them. still exists, and that we are still in
ignorance of the countries in which our
money lies buried. Many of the individuals
who had charge of the different Companies,
had undoubtedly opportunities of making im-
portant observations, and from them valuable
data will probably be obtained.







INTRODUCTION.


I myself had the sole management of one
of these Companies; but, from particular
circumstances, it will be proper to show that,
excepting for my Reports, I had little time
or. opportunity to make any memoranda be-
yond those of the most trifling description
of personal narrative.
I was on duty at Edinburgh, in the corps
of Engineers, when it was proposed to me
to take charge of an Association, the object
of which was to work the Gold and Silver
Mines of the Provinces of Rio de la Plata;
and, accordingly, at a very few days' notice,
I sailed from Falmouth, and landed at
Buenos Aires about a week after the Cornish
Miners had arrived there.
Accompanied by two highly respectable
Captains of the Cornish Mines, a French
Assayer, (who had been brought up by the
celebrated Vauquelin,) a Surveyor, and three







INTRODUCTION.


miners, I proceeded across the great plains
of the Pampas to the Gold Mines of San
Luis, and from thence to the Silver Mines of
Uspallata which are beyond Mendoza, about
a thousand miles from Buenos Aires.
I then left my party at Mendoza, and from
the Mines I rode back again to Buenos Aires
by myself, performing the distance in eight
days. I there unexpectedly received letters
which made it necessary for me to go im-
mediately to Chili, and I accordingly again
crossed the Pampas, and, joining my party
at Mendoza, we went over the Andes to
Santiago, and from thence, without any de-
lay, we went together in different directions
about twelve hundred miles, to inspect gold
and silver mines. On the night that I
concluded my report on the last mine, we
again set off to re-cross the Cordillera; and,
leaving my party in the plains, I rode across
b2







INTRODUCTION.


the Pampas to Buenos Aires, and as soon
as I arrived there I dismissed a proportion
of the miners, and returned with the rest
to England.
The sole object of my journeys was to
inspect certain mines. We went to the bot-
tom of them all, and, assisted by the indi-
viduals who accompanied me, I made, to
the best of my ability, a circumstantial re-
port on each. As the miners were remain-
ing idle and without employment at Buenos
Aires, it was highly desirable that I should go
from place to place as rapidly as possible, and
for upwards of six thousand miles I can truly
declare that I was riding against Time.
The fatigue of such long journeys, exposed
to the burning sun of summer, was very
great, and particularly in Chili, because, in
visiting mines in the Andes, we were sub-
jected to such sudden changes of climate,







INTRODUCTION.


that we were occasionally overpowered by the
sun in the morning, while at night we had to
sleep upon one hundred and twenty feet of
snow; for almost the whole time we slept
out on the ground, chiefly subsisting upon
beef and water.
The Reports which I collected, and the
result of the communications which I offici-
ally had with the Ministers, Governors, Depu-
ties, and other individuals concerning the
mines, I do not feel inclined to publish;
because as the mines which I visited almost
all belong to private individuals, and are now
for sale, it might be considered a violation of
the attentions which I often received, to state
unnecessarily the dimensions, contents, or the
assay of their lodes, although the climate and
the general features of the country are, of
course, public property.
During my journeys I kept no regular







INTRODUCTION.


journal, for the country I visited was either
a boundless plain, or desert mountains; but
I occasionally made a few rough notes, de-
scribing anything which interested or amused
me.
These notes were written under great
variety of circumstances, sometimes when I
was tired, sometimes when I was refreshed,
sometimes with a bottle of wine before me,
and sometimes with a cow's-horn filled with
dirty brackish water; and a few were written
on board the packet.
They were only made to amuse my mind
under a weight of responsibility to which it
had never been accustomed, and therefore
they are necessarily in that incoherent, uncon-
nected state which makes them, I am fully
aware, but little suited to meet the critical
eye of the public; still as it has been my
misfortune to see the failure of an English








INTRODUCTION.


Association-to witness the loss it has sus-
tained-and for a few moments at Buenos
Aires and Monte Video to stand upon spots
where we have lost what no money can repay
us; as I feel persuaded that these. military
and mercantile failures have proceeded from
our ignorance of the country, I have resolved
upon throwing before the public the few
memoranda I possess, and although I am
conscious that they are of too trifling a nature
to throw much light upon the subject, yet
they may, perhaps, assist in making the
" darkness visible," and I trust that the
rough, unpolished state in which they appear
will at least be a proof that I have no other
object.


LOWER GROSVENOR-STREET,
September 1, 1826.














DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


OF THE

PAMPAS,

.c. 8fc.


THE mountains of the Andes run about North and
South through the whole of South America, and
they are consequently nearly parallel to the two
shores of the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, di-
viding the country between them into two unequal
parts, each bounded by an ocean and by the Cor-
dillera.
It would at first be expected that these twin
countries, separated only by a range of mountains,
should bear a great resemblance to each other;
but variety is the attribute of Omnipotence, and
nature has granted to these two countries a differ-
ence of climate and geological construction which
is very remarkable.
From the tops of the Andes she supplies both:








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


of them with water; by the gradual melting of
the snow they are both irrigated exactly in pro-
portion to their wants; and vegetation, instead of
being exhausted by the burning sun of summer,
is thus nourished and supported by the very heat
which threatened to destroy it.
aw, The water, however, which flows through Chili
towards the Pacific, is confined in its whole course,
and forces its way through a country as moun-
tainous as the highlands of Scotland or Switzer-
land. The water which descends from the east
side of the Cordillera meanders through a vast
plain, nine hundred miles in breadth; and at the
top of the Andes, it is singular to observe on the
right and left the snow of one storm, part of which
is decreed to run into the Pacific, while the other
is to add to the distant waves of the Atlantic.
Ti'he great plain, or Pampas, on the east of the
Cordillera, is about nine hundred miles in breadth,
and the part which I have visited, though under
the same latitudekis divided into regions of dif-
ferent climate and produce) On leaving Buenos
Aires, the- ~et of these regions is covered for"w,
"hundred azd eighty miles with clover and thistles.;








OF THE PAMPAS.


(t'rf second :region which extends for four hun-
dred and fifty miles, produces long grass) and the
thfd region, which reaches the base of the Cor-
dillera, is a grove of low trees and shrubs. The
second and third of hese regions have nearly the
same appearance throughout the year, for the trees
and shrubs are evergreens, and the immense plain
of grass only changes its colour from green to
brown.) but the first region varies with the four
seasons of the year in a most extraordinary man-
ner. In winter the leaves of the thistles are large
and luxuriant, and the whole surface of the country
has the rough appearance of a turnip-field. The
clover in this season is extremely rich and strong;
and the sight of the wild cattle grazing in full
liberty on such pasture is very beautiful. In
spring, the clover has vanished, the leaves of the
thistles have extended along the ground, and the
country still looks like a rough crop of turnips.
In less than a month the change is most extraordi-
nary; the whole region becomes a luxuriant wood
of enormous thistles, which have suddenly shot up
to a height of ten or eleven feet, and are all in full
bloom. The road or path is hemmed in on both
132








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


sides; the view is completely obstructed; not an
animal is to be seen; and the stems of the thistles
are so close to each other, and so strong, that,
independent of the prickles with which they are
armed, they form an impenetrable barrier. The
sudden growth of these plants is quite astonish-
ing; and though it would be an unusual misfor-
tune in military history, yet it is really possible,
that an invading army, unacquainted with this
country, might be imprisoned by these thistles be-
fore they had time to escape from them. The sum-
mer is not over before the scene undergoes another
rapid change: the thistles suddenly lose their sap
and verdure, their heads droop, the leaves shrink
and fade, the stems become black and dead, and
they remain rattling with the breeze one against
another, until the violence of the pampero or hurri-
cane levels them with the ground, where they
rapidly decompose and disappear-the clover rushes
up, and the scene is again verdant.
Although a few individuals are either scattered
along the path which traverses these vast plains,
or are living together in small groups, yet the
general state of the country is the same as it has








1P THE PAMPAS.


been since the first year of its creation. The whole
country bears the noble stamp of an Omnipotent
Creator, and it is impossible for any one to ride
through it, without feelings which it is very pleasing
to entertain; for although in all countries the
heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma-
ment showeth his handy work," yet the surface
of populous countries affords generally the insipid
produce of man's labour. It is an easy error to con-
sider that he who has tilled the ground, and has
sown the seed, is the author of his crop; and,
therefore, those who are accustomed to see the con-
fused produce, which in populous and cultivated
countries is the effect of leaving ground to itself,
are at first surprised in the Pampas, to observe the
regularity and beauty of the vegetable world when
left to the wise arrangements of Nature.
(The vast regic6i of- gr.oi- in the Pampas for four
hundred and fifty miles is without a weed, and the
region of wood is equally extraordinary) The trees
are not crowded, but in their growth such beautiful
order is observed, that one may gallop between
them in every direction. The young trees are rising
up, others are flourishing in fullvigour, and it is for







DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


some time that one looks in vain for those which
in the great system of succession must necessarily
somewhere or other be sinking towards decay. They
are at last discovered, but their fate is not allowed
to disfigure the general cheerfulness of the scene,
and they are seen enjoying what may literally be
termed a green old age. The extremities of their
branches break off as they die, and when nothing
is left but the hollow trunk, it is still covered with
twigs and leaves, and at last is gradually con-
cealed from view by the young shoot, which, born
under the shelter of its branches, now rises rapidly
above it, and conceals its decay, A few places are
met with which have been burnt by accident, and
the black desolate spot, covered with the charred
trunks of trees, resembles a scene in the human
world of pestilence or war. But the fire is scarcely
extinct, when the surrounding trees all seem to
spread their branches towards each other, and
young shrubs are seen rising out of the ground,
while the sapless trunks are evidently mouldering
into dust.
The rivers all preserve their course, and tlihe
whole country is in such beautiful order, that if








OF THE PAMPAS.


cities and millions of inhabitants could suddenly
be planted at proper intervals and situations, the
people would have nothing to do but to drive out
their cattle to graze, and, without any previous
preparation, to plough whatever quantity of ground
their wants might require.
SThe climate of the Pafpas is subject to a great
difference of temperature in winter and summer,
though the gradual changes are very regular. The
winter is about as cold as our month of November,
andi he ground at sunrise is always covered with
white frost, but the ice is seldom more than one-
tenth of an inch thick. In summer the sun is very
oppressively hot*, and its force is acknowledged
by every living animal. The wild horses and cattle
are evidently exhausted by it, and the siesta seems
to be a repose which is natural and necessary to all)
The middle of the day is not a moment for work,
and as the mornings are cool, the latter are evi-
dently best adapted for labour, and the former for
repose.
I have twice ridden across the Morea, which lies nearly in
the same latitude (north) as the path across the Pampas, and I
think the climate of the latter is hotter than the Morea, Sicily,
Malta, or Gibraltar, in summer, and colder in winter.







DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


The difference between the atmosphere of Men-
doza, San Luis, and Buenos Aires, which are all
nearly under the same latitude, is very extraordi-
nary: 'in th1'rwo fonirmer, or in the regions of wood
and grass, the air is extremely dry; there is no dew
at night; in the hottest weather there is apparently
very little perspiration, and the dead animals lie on
the plain dried up in their skins, so that occasion-
ally I have at first scarcely been able to determine
whether they were alive or dead. But in the pro-
vince of Builno Aire', or in the region of thistles
and clover, vegetation clearly announces the humi-
dity of the climate. In ,sleeping out at night, I
have found my poncho (or rug) nearly wet through
with the dew, and my boots so damp that I could
scarcely draw them on. The dead animals on the
plain are in a rapid state of putrefaction. On arriv-
ing at Buenos Aires, the walls of the houses are so
damp that it is cheerless to enter them ; and sugar,
as also all deliquescent salts, are there found nearly
dissolved. This dampness, however, does not ap-
pear to be unhealthy. (The Gauchos and even tra-
vellers sleep on the ground) and the inhabitants of
Buenos Aires live in their damp houses without








OF THE PAMPAS.


complaining of rheumatism, or being at all subject
to cold; and they certainly have the appearance of
being rather more robust and healthy than those
who live in the drier regions. (However, the whole
of the Pampas may be said to enjoy as beautiful
and as salubrious an atmosphere as the most
healthy parts of Greece and Italy, and without
being subject to malaria. \
The only irregularity in the climate is the pam-
pero, or south-west wind, which, generated by the
cold air of the Andes, rushes over these vast plains
with a velocity and a violence which it is almost
impossible to withstand. But this rapid circulation
of the atmosphere has very beneficial effects, and
the weather, after one of these tempests, is always
particularly healthy and agreeable)
The south part of the Pampas is inhabited by
the Pampas Indians, who have no fixed abode, but
wander from place to place, as the herbage around
them becomes consumed by their cattle.
The north part of the Pampas, and the rest of
the Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, are inha-
bited by a few straggling individuals, and a few
small groups of people, who live together, only







DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


because they were born together. Their history
is very curious.
As soon as by the fall of the Spaniards their in-
dependence was established, and they became free,
the attention of many individuals of the Provinces
of La Plata was directed towards the due constitu-
tion of governments which might maintain the free-
dom that was gained, encourage population, and
gradually embellish the surface of a most interesting
and beautiful country with the arts, manufactures,
and sciences, which had hitherto been denied it;
but the singular situation of the country presented
very serious difficulties.
Although immense regions of rich land lay un-
cultivated and unowned, yet something had been
done. Small towns and establishments, (originally
chosen for mining purposes,) five hundred and
seven hundred miles distant from each other, were
thinly scattered over this vast extent of country;
and thus a skeleton map of civilisation had been
traced, which the narrow interests of every indi-
vidual naturally supported.
But although a foundation was thus laid, the
building plan of the Spaniards was missing. It







OF THE PAMPAS.


had been destroyed in the war, and all that was
known of it was, that it had been formed for pur-
poses inapplicable to the great political system
which should now be adopted.
It was soon perceived that the Provinces of the
Rio de la Plata were without a harbour; that the
town of Buenos Aires was badly situated; and as
the narrow policy of Spain had forbid the plant-
jig of the olive and the grape, the spots which
were best adapted to the natural produce of the
country had been neglected: whilst, for mining, and
other purposes connected with the Spanish system,
towns had been built in the most remote and im-
practicable situations; and men found themselves
living together in groups they knew not why,
under circumstances which threw a damp over ex-
ertion, and under difficulties which it appeared
hopeless to encounter.
Their situation was, and still is, very lamentable.
lhe climate easily affords them the few necessaries
o life. Away from all practicable communication
with the civilised world, they are unable to partake
of the improvements of the age, or to shake off
the errors and the disadvantages of a bad political








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


education., They have not the moral means of
improving their country, or of being improved by
it; and oppressed by these and other disadvantages,
they naturally yield to habits of indolence and inac-
tivity. The Town, or rather the secluded Village,
in which they live, is generally the seat of govern-
ment of the Province, and but too often affords
a sad political picture.
People who, although they are now free, were
brought up under the dark tyranny of the Spanish
government, with the narrow prejudices which even
in populous countries exist among the inhabitants
of small communities, and with little or no educa-
tion, are called upon to elect a governor, and to
establish a junta, to regulate the affairs of their
ownprovince, and to send a deputy to a distant
national assembly at Buenos Aires. The conse-
quence (as I have witnessed) is what might na-
turally be expected. The election of the governor
is seldom unanimous, and he is scarcely seated
before he is overturned, in a manner which, to one
accustomed to governments on a larger scale, ap-
pears childish and ridiculous.
In more than one province the governor is-ex-








OF THE PAMPAS.


ceedingly tyrannical: in the others, the governor
and the junta appear to act for the interests of
their own province ; but their funds are so small,
and the internal jealousies they have to encounter
so great, that they meet with continual difficulties;
and with respect to acting for the national interest,
the thing is impossible. How can it be expected
that people of very slender incomes, and in very
small insulated societies, will forget their own nar-
row interests for the general welfare of their coun-
try? It is really against Nature ; for what is po-
litically termed their country, is such an immense
space, that it must necessarily become the future
seat of many different communities of men; and if
these communities, however enlightened they may
become, will never be able to conquer that feeling
which endears them to their homes, or the centri-
fugal prejudice with which they view their neigh-
bours, how can it be expected that a feeble govern-
ment and a few inhabitants can do what civilisation
has not yet been able to perform; or that the
political infant will not betray those-frailties which
hismanhood willbe incapable of overcoming ? And
the fact is, that each Province does view its neigh-








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


bouring one with jealousy; and as I travelled
through the country, I invatriblY found that mala
gente is the general appellation which the people
give to those of the adjoining province, and that
they, as well as the inhabitants of the towns,
are all jealous of the power and influence of the
town of Buenos Aires; and when it is explained,
that the policy of Buenos Aires is to break the
power of the monks and priests; that these people
have still very great influence in most of the
distant provinces, and that the maritime interests
of Buenos Aires are necessarily often at variance
with those of the inland provinces, it will be per-
ceived how forcibly this jealousy is likely to act.
(.The situation of the Gaucho is naturally inde-
pendent of the political troubles which engross the
attention of the inhabitants of the towns. The
population or number of these Gauchos is very
small, and at great distances from each other:
they are scattered here and there over the face of
the country> Many of them are descended from
the best families in Spain; they possess good-
manners, and often very noble sentiments: the life
they lead is wild, but interesting-they generally








OF THE PAMPAS.


inhabit the huts in which they were born, and in
which their fathers and grandfathers lived before
them, although, to a stranger, they, appear to
possess few of the allurements of dulce domum.
They are all built in the same simple form; for
although luxury has ten thousand plans and eleva-
tions for the frail abode of its more frail tenant,
yet the hut in all countries is the same, and there-
fore there is no difference between that of the South
American Gaucho, and the Highlander of Scot-
land, except that the former is built of mud,
and covered with long yellow grass, while the
other is formed of stones, and thatched with
heather. The materials of both are the immediate
produce of the soil, and both are so blended in
colour with the Tace of the country, that it is often
difficult to distinguish them; and as the pace at
which one gallops in South America is rapid, and
the country flat, one scarcely discovers the dwelling
before one is at the door. The corral is about fifty
or one hundred yards from the hut, and is a circle
of about thirty yards in diameter, enclosed by a
number of strong, rough posts, the ends of which
are struck into the ground. Upon these posts are









DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


generally a number of idle-looking vultures or
hawks *, and the ground around the hut and
corral is covered with bones and carcasses of horses,
bullocks' horns, wool, &c., which give it the smell
and appearance of an ill-kept dog-kennel in Eng-
land.
\The hut consists generally of one room, in which
all the family live, boys, girls, men, women, and
children, all huddled together. The kitchen is a
detached shed a few yards off:) there are always
holes, both in the walls and in the roof of the hut,
which one at first considers as singular marks, of
the indolence of the people. (In the summer this

The hawks are very tame, and they are seldom to be seen
except at the huts; but occasionally they have followed me
for many leagues, keeping just beforeme, and with their round
black eyes gazing intently on my face, which I fancied attracted
their notice from being burnt by the sun, and I literally often
thought they were a little inclined to taste it. They are con-
stantly in the habit of attacking the horses and mules who have
sore backs; and I have often observed these birds hovering
about six inches above them. It is curious to compare the
countenance of the two animals. The hawk, with his head bent
downwards, and his eye earnestly fixed upon the wound: the
mule with his back crouched down, his ears lying back, whisk-
ing his tail, afraid to eat, and apparently not knowing whether
to rear or kick.








OF THE PAMPAS.


abode is so filled with fleas and binchucas, (which
are bugs as large as black beetles,) that the whole
family sleep on the ground in front of their dwell-
ing; and when the traveller arrives at night, and,
after unsaddling his horse, walks among this sleeping
community, he may place the saddle or recado on
which he is to repose close to the companion most
suited to his fancy --an admirer of innocence may lie
down by the side of a sleeping infant; a melancholy
man may slumber near an old black woman; and
one who admires the fairer beauties of creation
may very demurely lay his head on his saddle,
within a few inches of the idol he adores. How-
ever, there is nothing to assist the judgment but
the bare feet and ancles of all the slumbering group,
for their heads and bodies are covered and dis-
guised by the skin and poncho which cover them.
\In winter the people sleep in the hut, and the
scene is a very singular one. As soon as the tra-
veller's supper is ready, the great iron spit on which
the beef has been roasted is brought into the hut,
and the point is struck into the ground: the Gaucho
then offers his guest the skeleton of a horse's head,
and he and several of the family, on similar seats,








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


sit round the spit, from which with their long
knives they cut very large mouthfuls*. Thie hut
is lighted by a feeble lamp, made of bullock's tal-
low ; and it is warmed by a fire of charcoal) on the
walls of the hut are hung, upon bones, two or three
bridles and spurs, and several lassos and balls: oil
the ground are several dark-looking heaps, which one
can never clearly distinguish; on sitting down upon
these when tired, I have often heard a child scream
underneath me, and have occasionally been mildly
asked by a young woman, what I wanted?-at
other times up has jumped an immense dog! While
I was once warming my hands at the fire of charcoal,
seated on a horse's head, looking at the black roof
in a reverie, and fancying I was quite by myself, I
felt something touch me, and saw two naked black
children leaning over the charcoal in the attitude of
two toads: they had crept out from under some of

When first I lived with the Gauchos, I could not conceive
how they possibly managed to eat so quickly meat which I
found so unusually tough; but an old Gaucho told me it was
because I did not know what parts to select, and he immediately
cut me a large piece which was quite tender. I always after-
wards begged the Gauchos to help me, and they generally
smiled at my having discovered the secret.









OF THE PAMPAS.


the ponchos, and I afterwards found that many
other persons, as well as some hens sitting upon
eggs, were also in the hut. In sleeping in these
huts, the cock has often hopped upon my back to
crow in the morning; however, as soon as it is
daylight, everybody gets up.
The life of the Gaucho is very interesting, and
resembles that beautiful description which Horace
gives of the progress of a young eagle:-

Olimjuventas et patrius vigor
Nido laborum propulit inscium,
Vernique jam nimbis remotis
Insolitos docu@re nisus
Venti paventem; mox in ovilia
Demisit hostem vividus impetus,
Nunc in reluctantes dracones
Egit amor dapis, atque pugnm.

Born in the rude hut, the. infant Gaucho receives
little attention, but is left to swing from the roof
in a bullock's hide, the corners of which are drawn
towards each other by four strips of hide. In the
first year of his life he crawls about without clothes,
and I have more than once seen a mother give a
child of this age a sharp knife, a foot long, to play
with. As soon as he walks, his infantine amuse-
C2








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


ments are those which prepare him for the occupa-
tions of his future life: with a lasso made of twine
he tries to catch little birds, or the dogs, as they
walk in and out of the hut. By the time he is four
years old he is on horseback, and immediately
becomes useful by assisting to drive the cattle into
the corral. The manner in which these children
-ride is quite extraordinary: if a horse tries to
escape from the flock which are driven towards the
corrAl, I have frequently seen a child pursue him,
overtake him, and then bring him back, flogging
him the whole way; in vain the creature tries to
dodge and escape from him, for the child turns
with him, and always keeps close to him; and it is
a curious fact, which I have often observed, that a
mounted horse is always able to overtake a loose
one.
Iis amusements and his occupations soon become
more manly-careless of the biscacheros (the holes
of an animal called the biscacho) which undermine
the plains, and which are very dangerous, he gal-
lops after the ostrich, the gAma, the lion, and the
tiger; he catches them with his balls: and with his
lasso he daily assists in catching the wild cattle, and








OF THE PAMPAS.


in dragging them to the hut either for slaughter, or
to be marked. He breaks in the young horses in the
manner which I have described, and in these occu-
pations is often away from his hut many days,
changing his horse as soon as the animal is tired,
and sleeping on the ground. As his constant food
is beef and water, his constitution is so strong
that he is able to endure great fatigue; and the
distances he will ride, and the number of hours that
he will remain on horseback, would hardly be cre-
dited. ,The unrestrained freedom of such a life he
fully appreciates; and, unacquainted with subjec-
tion of any sort, his mind is often inspired with sen-
timents of liberty which are as noble as they are
harmless, although they of course partake of the
wild habits of his life.) Vain is the endeavour
to explain to him the "luxuries and blessings of a
more civilised life; 6is ideas are, that the noblest
effort of man is to raise himself off the ground and
ride instead of walk-that no rich garments or va-
riety of food can atone for the want of a horse-
and that the print of the human foot on the ground
is the symbol of uncivilisation.)
The Gaucho has by many people been accused of








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


indolence; those who visit his hut find him at
the door with his arms folded, and his poncho
thrown over his left shoulder like a Spanish cloak ;
his hut is in holes, and would evidently be made
more comfortable by a few hours' labour: in a beau-
tiful climate,'he is without fruit or vegetables; sur-
rounded by cattle, he is often without milk; he lives
without bread, and he has no food but beef and
water') and therefore those who contrast his life with
that of the English peasant accuse him of indo-
lence; but the comparison is inapplicable, and the
accusation unjust; and any one who will live with
the Gaucho, and will follow him through his exer-
tions, will find that he is anything but indolent,
and his surprise will be that he is able to continue
\ a life of so much fatigue. It is true that the Gau-
cho has no luxuries; but the great feature of his
character is, that he is a person without wants:
accustomed to live constantly in the open air, and
to sleep on the ground, he does not consider that a
few holes in his hut deprive it of its comfort; It
is not that he does not like the taste of milk, but
he prefers being without it to the every-day occu-
pation of going in search of it. He might, it is








OF THE PAMPAS.


true, make cheese, and sell it for money, but if he
has got a good saddle and good spurs, he does not
consider that money has much value: in fact, he is
contented with his lot; and when one reflects that,
in the increasing series of human luxuries, there is
no point that produces contentment, one cannot but
feel that there is perhaps as much philosophy as
folly in the Gaucho's determination to exist without
wants; and the life he leads is certainly more noble
than if he were slaving from morning till night to
get other food for his body or other garments to
cover it. It is true he is of little service to the
great cause of civilisation, which it is the duty of
every rational being to promote; but an humble
individual, living by himself in a boundless plain,
cannot introduce into the vast uninhabited regions
which surround him either arts or sciences: he may,
therefore, without blame be permitted to leave them
as he found them, and as they must remain, until
population, which will create wants, devises the
means of supplying them.
(The character of the Gaucho is often very
estimable; he is always hospitable-at his hut
the traveller is sure to find a friendly welcome,








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


and he will often be received with a natural dignity
of manner which is very remarkable, and which he
scarcely expects to meet with in such a miserable-
looking hovel) On entering the hut, the Gaucho
has constantly risen to offer me his seat, which I
have declined, and many compliments and bows
have passed,- until I have accepted his offer,-
the skeleton of a horse's head. It is curious to
see them invariably take off their hats to each other
as they enter a room which has no window, a
bullock's hide for a door, and but little roof.
(The habits of the women are very curious: they
have literally nothing to do; the great plains
which surround them offer them no motive to walk,
they seldom ride, and their lives certainly are very
indolent and inactive. They have all, however,
families, whether married or not; and once when I
inquired of a young woman employed in nursing
a very pretty child, who was the father of the
" criatura," she replied, Quien sabe?
(The religion which is professed throughout the
provinces of the Rio de ]a Plata is the Roman
Catholic, but it is very different in different places.)
During the reign of the Spaniards, the monks and








OF THE PAMPAS.


priests had everywhere very great influence; and
the dimensions of the churches at Buenos Aires,
Lucan, Mendoza, &c., show the power and riches
they possessed, and the greedy ambition which
governed them. It is a sad picture to see a num-
ber of small, wretched-looking huts surrounding a
church whose haughty elevation is altogether inap-
plicable to the humility of the Christian religion;
and one cannot help comparing it with the quiet vil-
lage church of England, whose exterior and inte-
rior tend rather to humble the feelings of the arro-
gant and proud, while to the peasant it has the
cheerful appearance of his own home; and when it
is considered that the churches in South America
were principally built for the conversion of the
Indians to the Christian faith, it is melancholy to
think that the priests should have attempted, by the
pomp of their temples, and by the mummery of
candles, and pictures, and images, to have done
what by reason, and kindness, and humility, would
surely have been better performed. But their secret
object was to extort money; and as it is always
easier to attract a crowd of people by bad passions
than by good, they therefore made their temples as








DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


attractive as possible, and men were called to sec
and to admire, instead of to listen and to reflect.
The power of the priests and monks has fallen
very much since the revolution. At Buenos Aires
most of the convents have been suppressed, and
the general wish of almost all parties is to suppress
the remainder. Occasionally, an old mendicant
friar is seen, dressed in grey sackcloth, and covered
with dirt; but as he walks through the street, look-
ing on the ground, his emaciated cheek and sunken
eye show that his power is crushed, and his influence
gone. The churches have lost their plate, the can-
dles are yellow, the pictures are bad, and the
images are dressed in coarse English cotton. On
great days, the ladies of Buenos Aires, dressed in
their best clothes, are seen going to church, followed
by a black child, in yellow or green livery, who
carries in his arms an English hearth-rug, always
of the most brilliant colours, on which the lady
kneels, with the black child behind her; but gene-
rally the churches are deserted, and nobody is to be
seen in them but a decrepit old woman or two,
whispering into the chinks of the confessional box.
The sad consequence of all this is, that at Buenos







OF THE PAMPAS.


Aires there is very little religion at all. At Men-
doza there are several people who wish to put down
the priests; still, however, they have evidently con-
siderable power.
Once a year the men and women are called upon
to live for nine days in a sort of barrack, which, as
a great favour, I was allowed to visit. It is filled
with little cells, and the men and women, at differ-
ent times, are literally shut up in these holes, to
fast and whip themselves. I seriously asked several
people whether this punishment was bond fide
performed, and they assured me that most of them
whipped themselves till they brought blood. One
day, I was talking very earnestly to a person at
Mendoza, at the hotel, when a poor-looking monk
arrived with a little image surrounded with flowers:
this image my friend was obliged to kiss, and the
monk then took it to every individual in the hotel-
to the landlord, his servants, and even to the black
cook, who all kissed it, and then of course paid
for the honour. The cook gave the monk two eggs.
The priests at Mendoza lead a dissolute life; most
of them have families, and several live openly with
their children'. Their principal amusement, however,







DESCRIPTIVE OUTLINE


odd as it may sound, is cockfighting every Thurs-
day and Sunday. I was riding one Sunday when
I first discovered their arena, and got off my horse
to look at it. It was crowded with priests, who
had each a fighting-cock under his arm; and it was
surprising to see how earnest and yet how long they
were in making their bets. I stayed there more
than an hour, during which time the cocks were
often upon the point of fighting, but the bet was
not settled. Besides the priests, there were a num-
ber of little dirty boys, and one pretty-looking girl
present. While they were arranging their bets,
the boys began to play, so the judge instantly or-
dered all those who had no cocks to go out of the
arena; upon which the poor girl and all the little
boys were immediately turned out.
I soon got tired of the scene; but before I left
them, I could not help thinking what an odd sight
it was, and how justly shocked people in England
would be to see a large body of clergymen fighting
cocks upon a Sunday.
At San Juan the priests have rather more power
than at Mendoza; and this they showed the other
day, by taking the governor prisoner whilst he was








OF THE PAMPAS.


in bed, and burning, by the hands of the jailer, on
the Plaza, the Carta de Mayo, which, to encourage
the settlement of the English in this province, had
lately granted religious toleration to strangers. In
the other provinces the priests have more or less
power, according to their abilities, and generally
according to their greater or less communication
with Buenos Aires.
(The religion of the Gaucho is necessarily more
simple than in the town, as his situation places him
out of the reach of the priests. In almost all the
huts there is a small image or picture, and the
Gauchos have sometimes a small cross round their
necks.) In order that their children should be bap-
tised, they carry them on horseback to the nearest
church, and I believe the dead are generally thrown
across a horse and buried in consecrated ground :
though the courier and postilion who were mur-
dered, and whose funeral service I attended, were
buried in the ruins of an old hut in the middle of
the Plain of Sta. F6. (When a marriage is con-
tracted, the young Gaucho takes his bride behind
him on his horse, and in the course of a few days
they can generally get to a church.:












THE TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES

Is fasfrom being an agreeable residence for those
who are accustomed to English comforts. The
water is extremely impure, scarce, and consequently
expensive. The town is badly paved and dirty,
and the houses are the most comfortless abodes I
ever entered. The walls, from the climate, are
damp, mouldy, and discoloured. The floors are
badly paved with bricks, which are generally
cracked, and often in holes. The roofs have no
ceiling, and the families have no idea of warming
themselves except by huddling round a fire of
charcoal, which is put outside the door until the
carbonic acid gas has rolled away.
Some of the principal families at Buenos Aires
furnish their rooms in a very expensive, but com-
fortless manner; they put down upon the brick
floor a brilliant Brussels carpet, hang a lustre from
the rafters, and place against the damp wall, which
they whitewash, a number of tawdry North Ame-
rican chairs. They get an English piano-forte,







TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


and some marble vases, but they have no idea of
grouping their furniture into a comfortable form:
the ladies sit with their backs against the walls with-
out any apparent means of employing themselves;
and when a stranger calls upon them, he is much
surprised to find that they have the uncourteous
custom of never rising from their chairs. I had
no time to] enter into any society at Buenos Aires,
and the rooms looked so comfortless, that, to tell
the truth, I had little inclination. The society of
Buenos Aires is composed of English and French
merchants, with a German or two. The foreign
merchants are generally the agents of European
houses; and as the customs of the Spanish South
Americans, their food, and the hours at which they
eat it, are different from those of the English and
French, there does not appear to be much commu-
nication between them.
At Buenos Aires the men and women are rarely
seen walking together; at the theatre they are com-
pletely separated; and it is cheerless to see all the
ladies sitting together in the boxes, while the men
are in the pit,-slaves, common sailors, soldiers,
and merchants, all members of the same republic.








TOWN OI BUENOS AIRES.


The town is furnished with provisions by the
Gauchos in a manner that shows a great want of
attention to those arrangements which are generally
met with in civilised communities. Milk, eggs,
fruit, vegetables, and beef are brought into the town
by individuals at a gallop*, and are only to be had
when they choose to bring them. The necessaries
of life are brought together without due arrange-
ment, and the consequence is, that (except beef)
they are dearer than in London, and sometimes
are not to be had at all. I happened to leave
Buenos Aires just as the fig-season was over, and
though it was the middle of summer, no fruit was
to be had: the towns-people seemed to be quite satis-

One of the most striking pictures in and near Buenos Aires
is the young Gaucho who brings milk. The milk is carried-is
six or eight large earthen bottles, which hang on each side of
the saddle. There is seldom room for the boy's legs, and he
therefore generally turns his feet up behind him on the saddle,
and sits like a frog. One meets these boys in squads of four or
five, and the manner in which they gallop in their red cloth
caps, with their scarlet ponchos flying behind them, has a singu-
lar appearance. The butchers' shops are covered carts, which
are not very agreeable objects. The beef, mangled in a most
shocking manner, is swinging about; and I have constantly seen
a large piece tied by a strip of hide to the tail of the cart, and
dragged along the ground, with a dog trying to tear it.








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


fled with this reason, and I could not persuade
them that some one should arrange a constant
supply and succession of fruits, and not leave it
entirely to the Gaucho. But the same want of ar-
rangement exists in all instances. If one has been
taken out to dinner in a carriage, and in the even-
ing ventures to inquire why it has not arrived, the
answer is that it is raining, and that those who let
carriages will not allow them to go out if it rains.
During the short time I was at Buenos Aires, I
lived in a house out of the town, which was oppo-
site the English burying-ground, and very near the
place where the cattle were killed. This latter spot
was about four or five acres, and was altogether
devoid of pasture; at one end of it there was a
large corral enclosed by rough stakes, and divided
into a number of pens, each of which had a sepa-
rate gate. These cells were always full of cattle
doomed to slaughter. I several times had occasion
to ride over this field, and it was curious to observe
its different appearances. In passing it in the day
or evening, no human being was to be seen: the
cattle, up to their knees in mud, and with nothing
to eat, were standing in the sun, occasionally low-
D








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


ing, or rather roaring to each other. The ground
in every direction was covered with groups of large
white gulls, some of which were earnestly pecking
at the slops of blood which they had surrounded,
whilst others were standing upon their tip-toes, and
flapping their wings as if to recover their appetite.
Each slop of blood was the spot where a bullock
had died; it was all that was left of his history,
and pigs and gulls were rapidly consuming it.
Early in the morning no blood was to be seen; a
number of horses, with the lassos hanging to their
saddles, were standing in groups apparently asleep:
the mataderos were either sitting or lying on the
ground close to the stakes of the corrAl, and
smoking segars; while the cattle, without metaphor,
were itiing until the last hour of their existence
should strike; for as soon as the clock of the Reco-
leta struck, the men all vaulted on their horses,
the gates of all the cells were opened, and in a
very few seconds, there was a scene of apparent
confusion which it is quite impossible to describe.
Every man had a wild bullock at the end of his
lasso; some of these animals were running away
from the horses, and some were running at them;








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


many were roaring, some were hamstrung, and
running about on their stumps; some were killed
and skinned, while occasionally one would break
the lasso. The horse would often fall upon his
rider, and the bullock endeavour to regain his
liberty, until the horsemen at full speed caught
him with the lasso, tripping him off the ground
in a manner that might apparently break every
bone in his body. I was more than once in the,
middle of this odd scene, and was really sometimes
obliged to gallop for my life, without exactly
knowing where to go, for it was often Scylla and
Charybdis.
I was one day going home from this scene when
I saw a man on foot select a very large pig from a
herd, and throw a lasso over his neck; he pulled it
with all his strength, but the pig had no idea of
obeying the summons: in an instant a little child
rode up, and very quietly taking the end of the
lasso from the man, he lifted up the sheep-skin
which covered the saddle, fixed the lasso to the
ring which is there made for it, and then instantly
set off at a gallop: never did any one see an ob-
stinate animal so completely conquered! With his
D 2








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


tail pointing to the ground, hanging back, and with
his four feet all scratching along the ground like the
teeth of a harrow, he followed the boy evidently
altogether against his will; and the sight was so
strange, that I instantly galloped after the pig, to
watch his countenance. He was as obstinate as
ever until the lasso choked him, and he then
fainted, and fell on his side. The boy dragged
him in this state, at a gallop, more than three-
quarters of a mile over hard rough ground, and at
last suddenly stopped, and jumping off his horse,
began to unloose the lasso:-" Sta muerto!" (he is
dead,) said I to the boy, really sorry for the pig's
fate. St6 vivo!" exclaimed the child, as he
vaulted on his horse, and galloped away. I watched
the pig for some time, and was observing the blood
on his nose, when, to my great surprise, he began
to kick his hind leg: he then opened his mouth,
and at last his eyes; and after he had looked about
him, a little like Clarence after his dream, he got
up, and very leisurely walked to a herd of ten or
twelve pigs of about the same size as himself, who
were about twenty yards off. I slowly followed
him, and when I came to the herd, I saw that,








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRS.


from the same cause, they had every one of them
bloody noses.




The house which I had near Buenos Aires was
not only opposite the English burying-ground, but
on the road to the Recoleta, which was the great
burial-place for the town; about half a dozen fune-
rals passed my window every day, and during the
few days I was at Buenos Aires, I scarcely ever
rode into the town without meeting one.
Although the manners, customs, amusements,
and fashions of different nations are constantly
changing, and are generally different in different
climates, yet one would at first expect that so
simple an act as that of consigning to its narrow
bed the body of a dead man would, in all countries
and in all places, be the same,-but though death
is the same, funerals are very different. In the old
world, how often does the folly and vanity and
vexation of spirit in which a man has lived accom-
pany him to the tomb; and how often are the good
feelings of the living overpowered by the vain








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


pomp and ostentation which mock the burial of the
dead! In South America, the picture is a very
different one, and certainly the way in which the
people were buried at Buenos Aires appeared more
strange to my eyes than any of the customs of the
place. Of late years, a few of the principal people
have been buried in coffins, but generally the dead
are called for by a hack hearse, in which there is a
fixed coffin, into which they are put, when away
the man gallops with the corpse, and leaves it in
the vestibule of the Recol6ta. There is a small
vehicle for children, which I positively thought was
a mountebank's cart; it was a light open tray, on
wheels painted white, with light blue silk curtains,
and driven at a gallop by a lad dressed in scarlet,
with an enormous plume of white feathers in his
hat. As I was riding home one day, I was over-
taken by this cart, (without its curtains, &c.) in
which there was the corpse of a black boy nearly
naked. I galloped along with it for some distance;
the boy, from the rapid motion of the carriage,
was dancing sometimes on his back and sometimes
on his face; occasionally his arm or leg would get
through the bar of the tray, and two or three times








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


I really thought the child would have been out of
the tray altogether. The bodies of the rich were
generally attended by their friends; but the car-
riages with four people in each were seldom able to
go as fast as the hearse.
I went one day to the Recolita, and just as I got
there, the little hearse drove up to the gate. The
man who had charge of the burial-place received
from the driver a ticket, which he read, and put
into his pocket the driver then got into the tray,
and taking out a dead infant of about eight months
old, he gave it to the man, who carried it swinging
by one of its arms into the square-walled burial-
ground, and I followed him. He went to a spot
about ten yards from the corner, and then, without
putting his foot upon the spade, or at all lifting up
the ground, he scratched a place not so deep as the
furrow of a plough. While he was doing this, the
poor little infant was lying before us on the ground
on its back; it had one eye open, and the other
shut; its face was unwashed, and a small piece of
dirty cloth was tied round its middle: the man, as
he was talking to me, placed, the child in the little
furrow, pushed its arms to its side with the spade,








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


and covering it so barely with earth that part of the
cloth was still visible, he walked away and left it.
I took the spade, and was going to bury the poor
child myself, when I recollected that as a stranger
I should probably give offence, and I therefore
walked towards the gate. I met the same man,
with an assistant, carrying a tray, in which was the
body of a very old man, followed by his son, who
was about forty years of age; the party were all
quarrelling, and remained disputing for some mi-
nutes after they had brought the body to the edge
of the trench. This trench was about seven feet
broad, and had been dug from one wall of the burial-
ground to the other: the corpses were buried across
it by fours, one above another, and there was a
movable shutter which went perpendicularly across
the trench, and was moved a step forward as soon
as the fourth body was interred. One body had
already been inteired; the son jumped down upon
it, and while he was thus in the grave, standing
upon one body and leaning against three, the two
grave-diggers gave him his father, who was dressed
in a long, coarse, white linen shirt. The grave was
so narrow that the man had great difficulty in laying








TOWN OF BUENOS AIRES.


the body in it, but as soon as he had done so, he
addressed the lifeless corpse of his father, and
embraced it with a great deal of feeling. The
situation of the father and son, although so very
unusual, seemed at the moment anything but un-
natural. In scrambling out of the grave, the man
very nearly knocked a woman out of the tier of
corpses at his back; and as soon as he was up, the
two attendants with their spades threw earth down
upon the face and the white dress of the old man,
until both were covered with a very thin layer of
earth: the two men then jumped down with heavy
wooden rammers, and they really rammed the corpse
in such a way that, had the man been alive, he
would have been killed; and we then all walked
away.
*













MODE OF TRAVELLING.

THERE are two ways of travelling across the Pam-
pas-in a carriage, or on horseback. The carriages
are without springs either of wood or iron, but
they are very ingeniously slung on hide-ropes,
which make them quite easy enough. There are
two sorts of carriages, a long vehicle on four
wheels,, like a vhn (with a door behind), which is
drawn by four or six horses, and which can carry
eight people; and a smaller one on two wheels,
about half the length, which is usually drawn by
three horses.
When I first went across the Pampas, I pur-
chased for my party a large carriage, and also an
enormous, two-wheeled, covered cart, which carried
about twenty-five hundred weight of miners' tools,
&c. I engaged a capatiz (head-man), and he
hired for me a number of peons, who were to
receive thirty or forty dollars each for driving the
vehicles to Mendoza.







MODE OF TRAVELLING.


The day before we started, the capataz came to
me for some money to purchase hides, in order to
prepare the carriages in the usual way. The hides
were soaked, and then cut into long strips, about
three-quarters of an inch broad, and the pole; as
also almost all the wood-work of the carriage, was
firmly bound with the wet hide, which, when dry,
shrunk into a band nearly as hard as iron. The
spokes, and, very much to our astonishment, the
fellies or the circumference of the wheels were
similarly bound, so that they actually travelled on
the hide. We all declared it would be destroyed
before it got over the pavement of Buenos Aires,
but it went perfectly sound for seven hundred
miles, and was then only cut by some sharp granite
rocks over which we were obliged to drive.
With respect to provisions, we were told (truly
enough) that there is little to be had on the Pampas
but beef and water; and a quantity of provisions,
with cherry brandy, &c. &c., was collected by the
party, some of whom, I believe, fancied that I
was going to take them, not to El Dorado, but to
that undiscovered country from which no travel-
ler returns;" however,; when we were ready to start,








MODE 0F TRAVELLING.


one of them found out that the loaves and fishes,
the canteen, &c., were left out (whether by acci-
dent or design, it matters not), and they then all
cheerfully consented to rough it," which is in fact
the only way to travel without vexation in any
country. We took with us some brandy and tea,
but so destitute were we of other luxuries, that the
first day we had nothing to drink our tea out of
but egg-shells.
As it had been reported to the government of
Buenos Aires, that the Pampas Indians had in-
vaded the country through which we had to pass,
the minister was kind enough to give me an order
to a Commandant who was on the road with troops,
for assistance if required; and besides this, we
purchased a dozen muskets, some pistols, and
sabres, which were slung to the roof of the car-
riage.
As it is customary to pay the peons half their
money in advance, and as men who have been paid
in advance have in all countries a number of
thirsty friends, it is very difficult to collect all the
drivers. Ours were of all colours, black, white,
and red; and they were as wild a looking crew









MODE OF TRAVELLING.


as ever was assembled. We had six horses in
the carriage, six in the cart, each of which was
ridden by a peon, and I, with one of the party,
rode.
The travelling across the Pampas a distance
of more than nine hundred miles is really a very
astonishing effort. The country, as before de-
scribed, is flat, with no road but a track, which is
constantly changed. The huts, which are termed
posts, are at different distances, but upon an ave-
rage, about twenty miles from each other; and in
travelling with carriages, it is necessary to send a
man on before, to request the Guachos to collect
their horses.
The manner in which the peons drive is quite
extraordinary. The country, being in a complete
state of nature, is intersected with streams, rivulets,
and even rivers, with pantanos (marshes), &c.,
through which it is absolutely necessary to drive.
In one instance the carriage, strange as it may
seem, goes through a lake, which of course is not
deep. The banks of the rivulets are often very
precipitous, and I constantly remarked that we
drove over and through places which in Europe








MODE OP ThAVELMIX .


any military officer would, I believe, without hesi-
tation report as impassable.
The mode in which the horses are harnessed is
admirably adapted to this sort of rough driving.
They draw by the saddle instead of the collar, and
having only one trace instead of two, they are able,
on rough ground, to take advantage of every firm
spot; where the ground will only bear passing over
once, every peon takes his own path, and the horses'
limbs are all free and unconstrained.
In order to harness or unharness, the peons have
only to hook and unhook the lasso which is fixed
to their saddle; and this is so simple and easy, that
we constantly observed when the carriage stopped,
that before any one of us could jump out of it, the
peons had unhooked, and were out of our sight to
catch fresh horses in the corral.
If, in a gallop, anything was dropped by one of
the peons, he would unhook, gallop back, and over-
take the carriage without its stopping for him. I
often thought how admirably in practice this mode
of driving would suit the particular duties of that
noble branch of our army, the Horse Artillery.
The rate at which the horses travel (if there are








MODE OF TRAVELLING.


enough of them) is quite surprising. Our cart,
although laden with twenty-five hundred weight of
tools, kept up with the carriage at a hand-gallop.
Very often, as the two vehicles were going at this
pace, some of the peons, who were always in high
spirits, would scream out, Ah mi patron!" and
then all shriek and gallop with the carriage after
me; and frequently I was unable to ride away
from them.
But strange as the account of this sort of driving
may sound, the secret would be discovered by any
one who could see the horses arrive. In England,
horses are never seen in such a state; the spurs,
heels, and legs of the peons are literally bathed
with blood, and from the sides of the horses the
blood is constantly flowing rather than dropping.
After this description, injustice to myself, I must
say, that it is impossible to prevent it. The horses
cannot trot, and one cannot draw the line between
cantering and galloping, or, in merely passing
through the country, alter the system of riding,
which all over the Pampas is cruel.
The peons are capital horsemen, and we saw
them several times at a gallop throw the rein on








MODE OF TRAVELLING.


the horse's neck, take from one pocket a bag of
loose tobacco, and with a piece of paper, or a leaf
of the Indian corn, make a segar, and then take
out a flint and steel and light it.
The post-huts are from twelve to thirty-six miles,
and in one instance fifty-four miles from each other;
and as it would be impossible to drag a carriage
these distances at a gallop, relays of horses are sent
on with the carriage, and are sometimes changed
five times in a stage.
It is scarcely possible to conceive a wilder sight
than our carriage and covered cart, as I often saw
them*, galloping over the trackless plain, and pre-
ceded or followed by a troop of from thirty to
seventy wild horses, all loose and galloping, driven
by a Gaucho and his son, and sometimes by a cou-
ple of children. The picture seems to correspond

I was one day observing them, instead of looking before
me, when my horse fell in a biscachero, and rolled over upon
my arm. It was so crushed that it made me very faint; but
before I could get into my saddle, the carriages were almost out
of sight, and while the sky was still looking green from the
pain I was enduring, I was obliged to ride after them, and I
believe I had seven miles to gallop as hard as my horse could
go, before I could overtake the carriage to give up my horse.








MO0DE OF TRAVELLING.


with the danger which positively exists in passing
through uninhabited regions, which are so often
invaded by the merciless Indians.


IN riding across the Pampas, it is generally the
custom to take an attendant, and people often wait
to accompany some carriage; or, if they are in
condition, ride with the courier, who gets to Men-
doza in twelve or thirteen days. In case travellers
wish to carry a bed and two small portmanteaus,
they are placed upon one horse, which is either
driven on before, or, by a halter, tied to the posti-
lion's saddle.
The most independent way of travelling is with-
out baggage, and without an attendant. In this
case, the traveller starts from Buenos Aires or Men-
doza with a postilion, who is changed at every post.
He has to saddle his own horses, and to sleep at
night upon the ground on his saddle ; and as he is
unable to carry any provisions, he must throw him-
self completely on the feeble resources of the coun-
try, and live on little else than beef and water.
It is, of course, a hard life; but it is so delight-
fully independent, and if one is in good riding con-
B








MODE OF TRAVELLING.


edition, so rapid a mode of travelling, that I twice
chose it, and would always prefer it; but I re-
commend no one to attempt it, unless he is in good
health and condition.
When I first crossed the Pampas, I went with a
carriage, and although I had been accustomed to
riding all my life, I could not at all ride with the
peons, and after galloping five or six hours was
obliged to get into the carriage; but after I had
been riding for three or four months, and had lived
upon beef and water, I found myself in a condi-
tion which I can only describe by saying that I felt
no exertion could kill me. Although I constantly
arrived so completely exhausted that I could not
speak, yet a few hours' sleep upon my saddle, on
the ground, always so completely restored me, that
for a week I could daily be upon my horse before
sunrise, could ride till two or three hours after
sunset, and have really tired ten and twelve horses
a day. This will explain the immense distances
which people in South America are said to ride,
which I am confident could only be done on beef
and water.
At first, the constant galloping confuses the head,








MODE OF TRAVELLING.


and I have often been so giddy when I dismounted
that I could scarcely stand; but the system, by de-
grees, gets accustomed to it, and it then becomes
the most delightful life which one can possibly
enjoy. It is delightful from its variety, and
from the natural train of reflections which it en-
courages-for, in the grey of the morning, while
the air is still frosty and fresh, while the cattle are
looking wild and scared, and while the whole face
of Nature has the appearance of youth and inno-
cence, one indulges in those feelings and specula-
tions in which, right or wrong, it is so agreeable to
err; but the heat of the day, and the fatigue of
the body, gradually bring the mind to reason;
before the sun has set many opinions are corrected,
and, as in the evening of life, one looks back with
calm regret upon the past follies of the morning.
In riding across the Pampas with a constant
succession of Gauchos, I often observed that the
children and the old men rode quicker than the
young men. The children have no judgment, but
they are so light, and always in such high spirits,
that they skim over the ground very quickly. The
old grey-headed Gaucho is a good horseman, with
E2








MODE OF TRAVELLING.


great judgment, and although his pace is not quite
so rapid as the children's, yet, from being constant
and uniform, he arrives at his goal nearly in the
same time. In riding with the young men, I
found that the pace was unavoidably influenced by
their passions, and by the subject on which we
happened to converse; and when we got to the
post, I constantly observed that, somehow or other,
time had been lost.
In crossing the Pampas it is absolutely necessary
to be armed, as there are many robbers or saltea-
dores, particularly in the desolate province of
Santa Fe.
The object of these people is of course money,
and I therefore always rode so badly dressed, and
so well armed, that although I once passed through
them with no one but a child as a postilion, they
thought it not worth their while to attack me.
I always carried two brace of detonating pistols in
a belt, and a short detonating double-barrelled gun
in my hand. I made it a rule never to be an
instant without my arms, and to cock both barrels
of my gun whenever I met any Gauchos.
With respect to the Indians, a person riding can









MODE OF TRAVELLING.


use no precaution, but must just run the gauntlet,
and take his chance, which, if calculated, is a good
one.
If he fall in with them, he may be tortured and
killed, but it is very improbable that he should
happen to find them on the road; however, they
are so cunning, and ride so quick, and the country
is so uninhabited, that it is impossible to gain any
information about them: besides this, the Gauchos
are so alarmed, and there are so many constant
reports concerning them, that it becomes useless to
attend to any, and I believe it is just as safe to ride
towards the spot at which one hears they are, as to
turn back.
The greatest danger in riding alone across the
Pampas proceeds from the constant falls which the
horses-get in the holes of the biscachos. I calcu-
lated that, upon an average, my horse fell with me
in a gallop once in every three hundred miles; and
although, from the ground being very soft, I was
never seriously hurt, yet previous to starting one
cannot help feeling what a forlorn situation it would
be, to break a limb, or dislocate a joint, so many
hundred miles from any sort of assistance.













TOWN OF SAN LUIS.


FIFTH day (from Buenos Aires). We arrived
an hour after sunset-fortified post-scrambling in
the dark for the kitchen-cook unwilling-correo
(the courier) gave us his dinner-huts of wild-
looking people-three women and girls almost
naked*-their strange appearance as they cooked our
fowls. Our hut-old man immoveable-Maria or
Marequita's figure-little mongrel boy-three or
four other persons. Roof supported in the centre
by a crooked pole-holes in roof and walls-walls
of mud, cracked and rent-a water-jug in the corner
on a three-pronged stick-Floor, the earth-the
eight hungry peons, by moonlight, standing with
their knives in their hands over a sheep they were
going to kill, and looking on their prey like relent-
less tigers.

They be so wild as the donkey," said one of the Cornish
party, smiling; he then very gravely added, and there be one
thing, sir, that I do observe, which is, that the farther we do go,
the wilder things do get !"








TOWN OF SAN LUIS.


In the morning, Morales and the peons standing
by the fire-the blaze making the scene behind
them dark and obscure-the horizon like the sea,
except here and there the back of a cow to be seen
-waggon and coach just discernible.
In the hut all our party occupied with the
baggage-lighted by a candle crooked and thin-
Scene of urging the patron (Master) to get horses,
and Marequita to get milk-the patron wakening
the black boy.

Twelfth day.-Left the post hut with three
changes of horses to get to San Luis, distant thirty-
six miles-inquired the way of one of the Gauchos
who was driving the carriage-he dismounted and
traced it with his finger on the road-we were to
turn off, when about three leagues, at a dead horse
which we should see. I then galloped on with one
of my party, knowing that we were to see no
habitation until we got to San Luis-we had three
hours and a half of day-light. About half way we
began to think we had lost our path; however, we
were sure to be wrong if we stopped to debate, and
we therefore galloped on. Our horses got tired,








TOWN OF SAN LUIS.


and the sun was nearly setting without any appear-
ance of houses, but as the lower edge touched the
horizon, we discovered a hut, and riding up to it,
we were informed by a little girl that we were near
San Luis. We got to the post just as it was dark,
and eagerly inquired of the wild group if there was
an inn in the town. No hay Sefior; no hay !"
We then inquired for beds. No hay Senior; no
hay !"-" Is there a caf ?" No hay! Senior," in
exactly the same tone of voice. When we looked.
round us we found nothing but bare walls and fleas.
We happened (that day) to have English saddles,
and we therefore began to ask again about beds.
The woman told us we should have hers, and in a
few moments she brought mattress and all rolled
up, and laid them down on the floor; however, when
I cast my eyes on the blanket, and above all the
sheets, I begged, in the most earnest manner, that
she would let me have something a little cleaner.
" Son limpias," (they are clean,) said the woman,
taking up the sheet, and pointing to a little spot
which looked whiter than the rest. There was no
use in arguing the point, so I walked out of the
hut, leaving the corner of the sheet in the woman's








TOWN OF SAN LUIS.


hand, and declaring that it was quite impossible to
sleep there.
I went to the door of the Maestro de Posta
(Postmaster), and told him that I had ridden all
day without eating; that I was very hungry, and
begged to know what we could have: Lo que
quiere, Sefior, tenemos tddo," (whatever you
choose, we have everything).
I knew too well what t6do" meant, and he
accordingly explained to me that he had care de
vaca and gallinas" (beef and fowls). I ordered a
fowl, and then went to my room. The sight of the
bed again haunted me, and after looking at it for
some time with every inclination to persuade my-
self that it was even bearable, but in vain-I re-
solved to go to the Governor, deliver my letters,
and see what I could do with him.
I procured a guide, who was to lead me in
the dark to the Governor's house. After walking
some- distance, "Aqui std," said the man. What!
is that it?" said I, pointing to a door at which
some black naked children were standing.-No, it
was the next house.
The Governor was not at home, but I found his








TOWN OF SAN LUIS.


wife sitting on a bed, surrounded by ladies-re-
quested to sit down, but hurried off to the Coro-
nello-he was not at home, said a young lady, who
begged me to sit down-Went to the barracks-
my reception-an Ordenanza or soldier ordered to
return with me to the post, to desire the Postmaster
to treat me with particular respect-The town of
San Luis by moonlight-no houses to be seen, but
garden walls of mud-Went to look after my
dinner-found the girl who was to cook it sitting in
the smoke with the peons.-I saw a black iron pot
on the fire in which I supposed was my fowl-I
asked if the fowl was there? No, Seiior, aqui
sta," said the girl, throwing an old blanket off her
bare shoulders, and showing me the fowl alive in
her lap. I was going to complain, and I fear to
swear, but the smoke so got into my eyes and
mouth that I could neither see nor speak. At last
I asked for eggs, "No hay, Sefor." Good
heavens!" said I, in the capital of San Luis is
there not one single egg?" Yes," she said,
but it was too late, she would get me some maiiana
(to-morrow). She asked me if I liked cheese.-
" Oh, yes," said I, eagerly.-She gave me an enor-









TOWN OF SAN LUIS. 59

mous cheese, and insisted on my taking the whole
of it, but she had no bread.
I had hurt my right arm by my horse falling;
however, I carried the cheese into my room, and
then did not know where to put it. The floor was
filthy-the bed was worse, and there was nothing
else; so supporting it with my lame arm, I stood
for some seconds moralizing on the state of the
capital of the Province of San Luis.

+ S *
















JOURNEY TO THE GOLD MINES AND
LAVADEROS OF LA CAROLINA.


STARTED at day-break from San Luis, to go to
the Gold Mines and Lavaderos* of La Carolina,
which are in the mountains on the north of the
town.
Drove a set of loose horses before us, and, about
twelve o'clock, stopped to change.
The horses were driven to the edge of a preci-
pice which was quite perpendicular, and which
overhung a torrent, and we formed a semicircle
about them while the peons began to catch them
with the lasso, which they were much afraid of.
The horses were so crowded and scared, that I
expected they would all have been over the preci-
pice: at last the hind-legs of one horse went down
the cliff, and he hung in a most extraordinary man-


* Alluvial soil which is washed for gold.








GOLD MINES OF LA CAROLINA.


ner by the fore-legs, with his nose resting on the
ground, as far from him as possible, to preserve
his balance. As soon as we saw him in this
situation, we allowed the other horses to escape,
and in a moment the peon threw his lasso with
the most surprising precision, and it went be-
low the animal's tail like the breeching of har-
ness. We then all hauled upon it, and at last
lifted the-horse, and succeeded in dragging him
up: during the whole time he remained quiet,
and to all appearance perfectly conscious that
the slightest struggle would have been fatal to
him. We then mounted our fresh horses, and
although the path over the mountains was so steep
and rugged, that we were occasionally obliged to
jump a foot or two from one level to another, we
scrambled along with the loose horses before us, at
the rate of nine or ten miles an hour.
In the evening, we came to a small stream of
water, which led us to the wretched hamlet of La
Carolina, which is close to the mine.
A man offered us a shed to sleep in, which we
readily accepted, and we then went into several of
the huts, and conversed with.the poor people, who








JOURNEY TO THE


had heard of rich English associations, and who
thought we were come to give them everything
they could desire.
In the evening we got some supper, and slept on
the ground in an out-house. We had observed a
very savage dog tied up in the yard, which was
constantly trying to get at us. In the middle of
the night, while the moon was shining upon us
through some holes in the roof, this dog walked
in, and after smelling us all, he went to sleep
among us.
The whole of the next day we spent in the mines
and the lavaderos, and in the evening I walked
alone into a little garden, and looked among the
soil for gold. I really was able to find a very few
particles, and it was singular to collect such a com-
modity in the gardens of such very poor people.
On my return I called at several of the huts, to
receive some gold-dust which I had promised to
purchase. It happened that I had nothing but
a quantity of four-dollar gold-pieces, and although
they were current all over South America, I
found, to my very great astonishment, that no one
here would take them. In vain I assured them of








GOLD MINES OF LA CAROLINA.


their value; but these poor people (accustomed to
change gold for silver) all shook their fore-fingers
in my face, and in different voices exclaimed, No
vale nada," (gold is worth nothing,) and among such
wild desert mountains, the great moral truth of their
assertion rushed very forcibly into my mind.
I offered them the piece of four dollars for what
they only asked two and three dollars, but they
would not take it; and we had scarcely silver
enough among us to remunerate our landlord for
the board and lodging which he had afforded us.
Our horses which we had brought from San
Luis were caught, and put into the corral the
evening before we left the town, and they had con-
sequently nothing to eat all that night.
The following day, as I have stated, we rode
them sixty miles, and as it was then too late to
turn them out, they were kept by the peon in the
yard all that night.
The third day, while we were inspecting the mines,
they were turned out for four or five hours to
graze among stones and rocks, where there was
apparently nothing for them to eat, and they were
then brought into the yard, where they remained







64 .GOLD MINES OF LA CAROLINA.

fasting all night. The next morning before day-
break we mounted them, and rode sixty miles back
to San Luis, and as some of the party came in
very late, I rather believe that the postmaster
kept them in his corral all night, and that the fol-
lowing morning they were driven to the plain.
The poor creatures must of course have suffered
very much, but I did not know that at Carolina
there would have been nothing for them to eat; and
when we were there, I believe it was merciful to
them not to stay; however, the truth is, that the
business I was on was of such importance, that I
really had not time to think about them.















MENDOZA.


THE town of Mendoza is situated at the foot of
the Andes, and the country around it is irrigated
by cuts from the Rio de Mendoza. This river
bounds the west side of the town, and from it, on
the east side, there is a cut or canal about six feet
wide, containing as much water as would turn a
large mill. This stream supplies the town with
water, and at the same time adorns and refreshes
the Alameda or public walk. It waters the streets
which descend from it to the river, and can also be
conducted into those which are at right angles.
Mendoza is a neat small town, built upon the
usual South American plan. The streets are all at
right angles; there is a plaza or square, on one
side of which there is a large church, and several
other churches and convents are scattered over the
town. The houses are only one story high, and
all the principal ones have a porte-cochere, which
F








MENDOZA.


enters a small court, round the four sides of which
the house extends.
The houses are built of mud, and are roofed
with the same. The walls are white-washed, which
gives them a neat appearance, but the insides of
the houses, until they are white-washed, look like
an English barn. The walls are of course very
soft; occasionally a large piece of them comes off,
and they are of that consistency, that, in a very
few moments, a person, either with a spade or a
pick-axe, could cut his way through any wall in
the town. Some of the principal houses have
glass in the window-sashes, but the greatest num-
ber have not. The houses are almost all little
shops, and the goods displayed are principally
English cottons.
The inhabitants are apparently a very quiet,
respectable set of people. The Governor, who is
an old man, has the manners and the appearance of
a gentleman: he has a large family of daughters,
who are pleasing-looking girls. The men are
dressed in blue or white jackets, without skirts.
The women in the day are only seen sitting at their
windows, in complete dishabille, but in the evening








MENDOZA.


they come upon the Alameda, dressed with much
taste, in evening dresses and low gowns, and com-
pletely in the costume of London or Paris. The
manner in which all the people seem to associate
together, shows a great deal of good feeling and
fellowship, and I certainly never saw less apparent
jealousy in any place.
The people, however, are sadly indolent. A
little after eleven o'clock in the morning, the shop-
keepers make preparations for the siesta; they
begin to yawn a little, and slowly to put back the
articles which they have, during the morning, dis-
played on their tables. About a quarter before
twelve they shut up the shops, the window-shutters
throughout the town are closed, or nearly so, and
no individual is to be seen until five, and sometimes
until six o'clock, in the evening.
During this time I used generally to walk about
the town to make a few observations. It was really
singular to stand at the corner of the right-angled
streets, and in every direction. to find such perfect
solitude in the middle of the capital of a province.
The noise occasioned by walking was like the echo
which is heard in pacing by oneself up the long
F 2








MENDOZA.


aisle of a church or cathedral, and the scene rd-
minded me of the deserted streets of Pompeii.
In passing some of the houses I often heard
people snoring, and when the siesta was over, I
was often much amused at seeing the people awaken,
for there is infinitely more truth and pleasure in
thus looking behind the scenes of private life, than
in making formal observations on man when dressed
and prepared for his public performance. The
people generally lie on the ground or floor of the
room, and the group is often amusing.
I saw one day an old man (who was one of the
principal people in the town) fast asleep and happy.
The old woman his wife was awake, and was sitting
up in easy dishabille scratching herself, while her
daughter, who was a very pretty-looking girl of
about seventeen, was also awake, but was lying on
her side kissing a cat.
In the evening the scene begins to revive. The
shops are opened; a number of loads of grass are
seen walking about the streets, for the horse that is
carrying them is completely hid. Behind the load
a boy stands on the extremity of the back; and to
mount and dismount he climbs up by the animaPs








MENDOZA.


tail. A few Gauchos are riding about, selling fruit;
and a beggar on horseback is occasionally seen,
with his hat in his hand, singing a psalm in a
melancholy tone.
As soon as the sun has set, the Alameda is
crowded with people, and the scene is very singular
and interesting. The men are sitting at tables,
either smoking segars or eating ices, and the ladies
are on- the mud benches which are on both sides
of the Alameda. This Alameda is a walk nearly a
mile long, between two rows of tall poplars: on
one side of it are the garden-walls of the town,
concealed by roses and shrubs, and on the other the
stream of water which supplies the town.
It will hardly be credited that, while this Ala-
meda is crowded with people, women of all ages,
without clothes of any sort or kind, are bathing in
great numbers in the stream which literally bounds
the promenade. Shakspeare tells us, that the
chariest maid is prodigal enough if she unveil her
beauties to the moon," but the ladies of Mendoza,
not contented with this, appear even before the
sun; and in the mornings and evenings they really
bathe without any clothes in the Rio de Mendoza,








MENDOZA.


the water of which is seldom up to their knees, the
men and women all together; and certainly, of all
the scenes which in my life I have witnessed, I
never beheld one so indescribable.
However, to return to the Alameda:-the walk
is often illuminated in a very simple manner by
paper lamps, which are cut into the shapes of stars,
and are lighted by a single candle. There is ge-
nerally a band of music playing, and at the end of
the walk is a temple built of mud, which is very
elegant in its form, and of which it may truly be
said, materiem superabat opus."
The few evenings I was at Mendoza, I always
went as a complete stranger to this Alameda to eat
ices, which, after the heat of the day, were exceed-
ingly delightful and refreshing; and as I put spoon-
ful after spoonful into my mouth, looking above
me at the dark outline of the Cordillera, and list-
Sening to the thunder which I could sometimes hear
rumbling along the bottoms of the ravines, and
sometimes resounding from the tops of the moun-
tains, I used always to acknowledge, that if a man
could but bear an indolent life, there can be no
spot on earth where he might be more indolent and








MENDOZA.


more independent than at Mendoza, for he might
sleep all day and eat ices in the evening, until his
hour-glass was out. Provisions are cheap, and the
people who bring them, quiet and civil; the climate
is exhausting, and the whole population indolent-
Mais que voulez-vous ?" how can the people of
Mendoza be otherwise ? Their situation dooms
them to inactivity;-they are bounded by the
Andes and by the Pampas, and, with such formi-
dable and relentless barriers around them, what have
. they to do with the history, or the improvements,
Sor the notions of the rest of the world ? Their
wants are few, and nature readily supplies them,-
the day is long, and therefore, as soon as they have
,had their breakfasts, and have made a few arrange-
ments for their supper, it is so very hot that they
go to sleep, and what else could they do better ?














THE PAMPAS.


RETURNED to the Fonda of Mendoza in the even-
ing at ten o'clock, and found the two horses stand-
ing in the yard with nothing to eat, and a young
Gaucho, who was to accompany me as postilion,
lying on the ground asleep on his saddle. Next
morning before daybreak, got up, saddled my horse, ,
and with my saddle as my bed, and some pistols
and money, commenced my gallop for Buenos
Aires.
Country to be described :-delightful feeling of
independence at the mode of travelling-air frosty,
and ground hard.-The sun rose, and shortly after
got to the first post.-Had a letter for the lady
from her husband who was at Mendoza-went to
give it to her while the Gaucho, who was to accom-
pany me, was driving the horses into the corral-
found the lady in bed.-" Siente se, Sefor," said
she, pointing to an old chair which was at the head
of the bed-sat down, and told her the letter was








THE PAIMPAS.


from her husband-she placed it under her pillow,
and then offered me some mate, but I had no time
to wait for it, and started.
At third post from Mendoza, a post-master,
who might be exhibited in England as a curious
specimen of an indolent man, to every thing I
said, he replied Si"-it was but an aspiration, and
he seemed never to have said any other word-I
had twice passed his house, and it was always the
same Si!
Galloped on with no stopping, but merely to
change horses, until five o'clock in the evening-
very tired indeed, but on coming to the post-hut,
saw the horses in the corral, and resolved to push
on.-Started with a fresh horse, and a young
Gaucho, who, singing as he went, galloped like the
wind; the sun set, and it got so dark, that, for
more than an hour, I expected that every moment
the boy would get away from me, as the road was
rough, and through wood. At half-past seven,
after having galloped a hundred and fifty-three
miles, and been fourteen hours and a half on horse-
back, got to the post:-found the hut occupied by
some people who had arrived in a carriage-quite







THE PAMPAS.


exhausted-nothing to eat-asked for bread, they
had none-I really could scarcely speak-carried
my saddle into a shed-two children asleep, and
one black girl-lay down upon the ground, and
instantly fell asleep-was awakened in two or three
hours by the woman of the post, who had brought
me some soup with meat in it-ate it all up, and
again dropt off to sleep-an hour before daylight
was awakened by the Gaucho who was to go with
me. Vamos, Sefior !" said he, in a sharp, impa-
tient tone of voice-got up, had some mate,
mounted my horse, and as .I galloped alolg Lei
pleased that the sun which had left me the evemNr1t
before thirty miles nearer Mendoza, should find me
at my work. At first post detained fifteen minutes
for horses-the stage the longest between Mendoza
and Buenos Aires, being fifty-one miles-the wo-
man would only give me one spare horse, which
we drove before us. Galloped my hIorse till he came
to a stand-still, and then got on the fresh one, and
left the postilion behind. In about an hour this other
horse quite done up-by constant spurring could
just keep him in a canter-at last down he fell,
and my foot hung in the stirrup-my long spur








THE PAMPAS.


was also entangled in the sheep-skin which was
above my saddle-saw by the panting of the
horse's flank and nostrils that he was too tired to
be off with me.-Mounted and cantered him till
he fell down on my other leg, and I was then lame
on both legs-was overtaken by a boy driving some
loose horses-took one of them, and my horse was
driven among the flock, until we came to the post.
Post-master very kind, and ordered a Gaucho to
give me an easy-going horse, as both my legs hurt
me very much-started with a boy, but our horses
j p done up before we got to San Luis-obliged
ai k part of the distance, and then by kicking
and spurring got into San Luis just as the sun
set.-(See description of the post-house and town
of San Luis.)
At San Luis was advised by groups of
people, not to go on by myself, as the courier and
postilion (from Buenos Aires), with their horses
and a dog, had just been found on the road with
their throats cut-advised to join the courier who
was just setting out for Buenos Aires. Accord-
ingly, next morning started with the courier and
three peons as guards, all armed with old pistols







THE PAIPAS.


and guns. Courier a little old man of about fifty-
five years of age-had been riding all his life-had
a face like a withered apple-carried his pistol in
his hand-told me he was father to the courier who
had just been murdered-that he was his only son-
that he had just succeeded in getting him the ap-
pointment-that he was nineteen-and that it was
his first journey as courier-that he had no pistols,
not even a knife-that it was barbarous to kill him
-that he must have died like a lamb, &c. &c. This
story he repeated at every post-hut, and people were
so fond of asking for it, and he so willing to gip ,
that we lost many minutes at each post. He
relate it to anybody-at one post he told it to a
great rough mongrel-looking fellow, who was sitting
on a stone while a little girl was combing his woolly
hair-" En dos ?" said the little girl, who had divided
his hair at the back of his head, and who proposed
to plait it into two tails-" Si !" grunted her father,
half asleep, and nodding his head, as he listened to
the courier's story. We therefore rode all day, and
only went a hundred and two miles.-Next morn-,
ing off before sunrise, and took a postilion, and
travelling by myself got on much quicker, but the







THE PAMPAS.


horses still weak, and in the whole day could only
proceed a hundred and ten miles.
Two more days rode from morning till night,
sleeping on the ground, with nothing to eat but
beef-at last came to that part of the province of
Santa F6 near which the courier had been mur-
dered. The post-master refused to give me horses
to go on unless I could find a guard, as he said
the postilions would not go by themselves; he
insisted on my waiting for the courier, and I
accordingly lost half a day, as he did not arrive till
.ni t. Next morning at daybreak got up-saw
t~poor old courier lying on the ground, with his
head resting on his saddle--he had a segar in his
mouth, and for a long time he remained on his back
praying and crossing himself.-Started with the
master of the post, an additional Gaucho, and the
postilion, all armed-very little conversation. As
we approached the spot, it appeared as if they all
expected that the Salteadores (robbers) would be
there-after riding some leagues, left the road, and
galloped through the dry grass towards a small
black-looking hut in ruins. It was one of those
which had been burnt by the Indians, and the whole







THE PAMPAS.


family had been murdered in it. When we got to
it, I looked around me, and no other hut or habita-
tion was to be seen; there were no cattle, and when
a few gamas (deer), which for a few moments were
in sight, had fled away, we were left completely to
ourselves, and not a bird or any animal was to be
seen. We were in the centre of a deserted pro-
vince. We galloped up to the hut-it was built of
large unbaked bricks and mud: the roof had been
burnt-one of the gables had fallen to half its
height-the other looked nearly falling-one wall
had fallen, and we all rode up to this side of tdeie -
hut.-Close to us there was a deep well, into v h il
the Salteadores had thrown all the bodies-first the
courier and postilion, then the dog, and then the
horses. The carcasses of the horses lay before us-
they were nearly eaten up by the eagles and bisca-
chos. The dog had not been touched-he was a
very large one-and from the heat of the weather,
he was now bloated up to a size quite extraordinary
-his throat was cut, and in my life I never saw so
much expression in the countenance of a dead
animal-his lip was curled up, and one could not
but fancy that it expressed the feelings of rage and







THE PAMPAS.


fidelity under which he had evidently fought to the
last. In the hut lay the bodies of the courier and
postilion with their throats cut *-they were barely
covered over with some of the loose bricks from the
wall. Some pieces of the courier's poncho were
lying about, as also several of the covers of the
letters which the murderers had opened. In the
centre of the hut were the white ashes of a fire
which they had kindled-at the corner of the hut
stood a solitary peach-tree in blossom-its contrast
with the scene before us was very striking. The
old courier said something to the post-master, who
immediately climbed upon the ruined wall, and
threw down some loose bricks-he fell-burst of
laughter-we all got off our horses, and we covered
the bodies over with bricks-" Con que, Sei6res,"
said the old man, har6mos un oracion para el
defunto"-we all took off our hats, and stood
round the pile-opposite were our horses looking
at us-the old man had thrown the handkerchief
off his head, and his beard, which was of four days
growth, was quite white-he stood over the body

They had been taken out of the well by some Gauchos.







THE PAMPAS.


of his only son, and offered up some prayer, to
which all the Gauchos joined their responses. I
joined and crossed myself with them, for as the
courier looked at me, I was anxious to assist in
alleviating the sorrows of an old man, and enter-
taining my own feelings, which it is not necessary
to describe.
As soon as the ceremony was over, (it lasted about
two minutes,) we put on our hats. Con que,
Sefidres," said the old man; and after a long pause,
" Vamos !" said he, upon which the party split
into groups to light segars. I had scarcely lighted
mine, when the old man came up to light his. His
son's body was at our feet, but he put his face close
to mine, and as he was sucking and blowing, with
that earnestness of countenance which is only known
to those who are in the habit of lighting a segar, I
could not help thinking what an odd scene was
before me. However we mounted our horses-I
took a last farewell look at the peach-tree, and we
then all galloped across the dry brown grass, to
regain the road, and the few minutes of time which
we had thus spent at the hut.








THE PAMPAS.


At some distance I saw a boy riding through the
thistles and clover, and as he was swinging hori-
zontally above his head the bolas or balls, I per-
ceived he was hunting for ostriches, and I therefore
rode up to him.
He was a black boy of about fourteen years of
age, slight, and well-made, but with scarcely any-
thing on except the remains of a scarlet poncho. I
asked him several questions-where he expected to
find the ostriches, &c. &c. &c., to which he gave
me no answer, but continued swinging the balls
round his head, and looking about him. I was
asking him some other insignificant questions, when
he cut me short, by asking me if I would sell my
spurs; and before I had time to reply, an ostrich
was in sight, and he darted away from me like an
arrow. I was, just at the moment, among a group
of biscacheros-my horse fell, and before I had
got clear of them, the boy was on the horizon, and
from the contempt with which he had left me, I
did not feel inclined to follow him.








THE PAMPAS.


*-.s 1
The biscacho is found all over the plains of the
Pampas. Like rabbits, they live in holes which
are in groups in every direction, and which make
galloping over these plains very dangerous. The
manner, however, in which the horses recover
themselves, when the ground over these subterra-
nean galleries gives way, is quite extraordinary.,
In galloping after the ostriches, my horse has
continually broken in, sometimes with a hind leg,
and sometimes with a fore one; he has even come
down on his nose, and yet recovered: however, the
Gauchos occasionally meet with very serious acci.
dents. I have often wondered how the wild horses
could gallop about as they do in the dark, but I
really believe they avoid the holes by smelling
them, for in riding across the country, when it has
been so dark that I positively could not see my
horse's ears, I have constantly felt him, in his gallop,
start a foot or two to the right or left, as if he had
trod upon a serpent, which, I conceive, was to avoid
one of these holes. Yet the horses do very often
fall; and certainly, in the few months I was in the








THE PAMPAS.


Pampas, I got more falls than I ever before had,
though in the habit of riding all my life. The
Gauchos are occasionally killed by these biscache-
ros, and often break a limb.
In the middle of the Pampas I once found a
Gaucho standing at the hut, with his left hand
resting on the palm of his other hand, and appa-
rently suffering great pain. He told me his horse
had just fallen with him in a biscachero, and he
begged me to look at his hand. The large muscle
of the thumb was very much swelled, and every
time I touched it with my fore-finger, the poor
fellow opened his mouth, and lifted up one of his
legs. Being quite puzzled with one side of his
hand, I thought I would turn it round, and look
at the other side, and upon doing so, it was in-
stantly evident that the thumb was out of joint. I
asked him if there was any doctor near; the Gau-
cho said he believed there was one at Cordova, but
as it was five hundred miles off, he might as well
have pointed to the moon. Is there no person,"
said I, nearer than Cordova, that understands
anything about it?" "No hay, Senor," said the
poor fellow. I asked him what he intended to do
G2








THE PAMPAS.


with his thumb: he replied that he had washed it
with salt and water, and then he earnestly asked
me if that was good for it ? "Si! si! si!" said I,
walking away in despair, for I thought it was use-
less to hint to him, that not all the water in the
wide rude sea" would put his thumb into its joint;
and although I knew it ought to be'pulled, yet one
is so ignorant of such operations, that not knowing
in what direction, I therefore left the poor fellow
looking at his thumb, in the same attitude in which
I found him. But, to return to the biscachos.
These animals are never to be seen in the day,
but as soon as the lower limb of the sun reaches
the horizon, they are seen issuing from their holes
in all directions, which are scattered in groups like
little villages all over the Pampas. The biscachos,
when full grown, are nearly as large as badgers;
but their head resembles a rabbit, excepting that
they have very large bushy whiskers.
In the evening they sit outside their holes,
and they all appear to be moralising. They are
the most serious-looking animals I ever saw, and
even the young ones are grey-headed, have mus-
tachios, and look thoughtful and grave.









THE PAMPAS. 85

In the day-time their holes are always guarded
by two little owls, who are never an instant away
from their post. As one gallops by these owls,
they always stand looking at the stranger, and then
at each other, moving their old-fashioned heads in
a manner which is quite ridiculous, until one rushes
by them, when fear gets the better of their digni-
fied looks, and they both run into the biscacho's
hole.













THE PAMPAS-PROVINCE OF
SANTA FE'.

TRAVELLING from Buenos Aires to Mendoza by
myself, with a virlocke, or two-wheeled carriage-
gentrance behind-two side-seats-had two peons-
Pizarro, who had already ridden with me twelve
hundred miles, and Cruz, a friend of Pizarro; we
had travelled for three days a hundred and twenty
miles a day-Pizarro's fidelity and attention-at
night when he got in, his dark black face tired, and
covered with dust and perspiration-his tongue
looked dry, and his whole countenance jaded-yet
his frame was hard as iron. His first object at night
to get me something to eat-to send out for a live
sheep-He made a fire and cooked my supper-as
soon as I had supped, he brought me a candle at the
carriage door, and watched me while I undrest to
sleep there-then wished me good night, got his
own supper, and slept on his saddle at the wheel of
the carriage. As soon as I awoke, and, before
daylight, anxious to get on, I used to call out








THE PAMPAS.


' Pizarro!" "Aqui sta la agua, Sefior," said he, in
a patient low tone of voice-he knew I liked to have
water to wash in the morning, and he used to get
it for me, sometimes in a saucer, sometimes literally
in a little mat6 cup, which did not hold more than
an egg-shell, and in spite of his fatigue he was
always up before I awoke, and waiting at the door
of the carriage till I should call for him.
Province of Santa F6 to be described-its wild,
desolate appearance-has been so constantly ra-
vaged by the Pampas Indians, that there are now
no cattle in the whole province, and people are
afraid to live there. On the right and left of the
road, and distant thirty and forty miles, one occa-
sionally sees the remains of a little hut which has
been burnt by the Indians; and as one gallops
along, the Gaucho relates how many people were
murdered in each-how many infants slaughtered
-and whether' the women were killed or carried
away. The old post-huts are also burnt-new ones
have been built by the side of the ruins, but the
rough plan of their construction shows the insecu-
rity of their tenure. These huts are occupied only
by men, who are themselves generally robbers, but-








THE PAMPAS.


in a few instances their families are living with them,
When one thinksof the dreadful fate which has
befallen so many poor families in this province,
and that any moment may bring the Indians again
among them, it is really shocking to see women
living in such a dreadful situation-to fancy that
they should be so blind, and so heedless of experi-
ence;-andit is distressing to see a number of inno-
cent little children playing about the door of a hut,
in which they may be all massacred, unconscious of
the fate that may await them, or of the blood-thirsty,
vindictive passions of man.
We were in the centre of this dreary country-I
always rode for a few stages in the morning, and I
was with a young Gaucho of about fifteen years of
age, who had been born in the province-his father
and mother had been murdered by the Indians-he
had been saved by a man who had galloped away
with him, but he was then an infant, and remem-
bered nothing of it. We passed the ruins of a hut
which he said had belonged to his aunt-he said
that, about two years ago, he was at thathut with his
aunt and three of his cousins, who were young men
-that while they were conversing together a boy gal-




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs