Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Voyages of exploration
 Lieutenant Herndon's voyage down...
 From Manaos, eastward
 In the virgin forest
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Group Title: Great rivers of the world
Title: The Amazon and its wonders
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082664/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Amazon and its wonders with illustrations of animal and vegetable life in the Amazonian forest
Series Title: Great rivers of the world
Physical Description: 207 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Adams, W. H. Davenport ( William Henry Davenport ), 1828-1891
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1894
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Missionaries -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Rivers -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Jungle animals -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Birds -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Fishing -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Insects -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Amazon River   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Amazon River Valley   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1894   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1894
Genre: Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by the author of "the Arctic World," "The Mediterranean Illustrated," &c. &c. ; with twenty-eight illustrations.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082664
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002220940
notis - ALG1156
oclc - 225155403

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Title Page
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
    List of Illustrations
        Page 8
    Voyages of exploration
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
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        Page 37
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    Lieutenant Herndon's voyage down the Amazons
        Page 39
        Page 40
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        Page 119
        Page 120
    From Manaos, eastward
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
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    In the virgin forest
        Page 163
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    Back Matter
        Page 208
    Back Cover
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
Full Text

The Baldwin Library
B11 l orida

Page 160


Qreat 1ibers of the Morlsb.




The Arctic World," The Mediterranean Illustrated,"
t&c. &c.



e o nt cents.



III. FROM MANAOS, EASTWARD, ... ... ... .. 121


I~ist of ~~LLnuc~lIualionG.



* .. 4567
S 49
S 105
.. 165

S 205




HE River Amazon, or Amazons, the Queen
of the South American Rivers, and one
of the great Rivers of the World, has its
sources in the Andes, on the west coast of South
America; and crosses that immense continent through-
out its entire breadth from east to west, falling into
the North Atlantic Ocean in about long. 50 W. If
we allow for its numerous windings, we may estimate
its length at fully four thousand miles. It is ninety-
six miles wide at its mouth, or delta; and navigable
for two thousand two hundred miles from the sea--
that is, for fully nine times the whole extent of the
Thames. So immense is the volume of water which
it pours into the sea, that the current preserves


its freshness and distinct riverine character for a
distance of three hundred miles from the land. The
voyager far out at sea can tell by their colour and
taste that the waters he is crossing are those of the
mighty American river.
We have spoken of its sources as lying up among
the Andes. As to this fact all geographers are
agreed; but they differ on the question of which
are those sources. Some connect the Amazons with
the Tungaragua, or Upper Maraflon, which rises in
Lake Lauricocha, lat. 100 30' S., long. 76 25' W.;
others, with the Apurimac, one of the head streams
of the Ucayale, lat. 15 38' S., and long. 750 W.
Near the Spanish-Indian town of San Joaquim de
Ouraguas, the Tungaragua and the Ucayale, after
receiving several tributaries, unite in one broad
channel; and under the name of the Solimoens, the
great river flows onward to its confluence with the
Rio Negro, after which it is called the Amazons.
The Rio Negro is in itself a stately stream, with
a course of fourteen or fifteen hundred miles; and
another tributary, the Madeira, is also a river of
the first class, with a course of eighteen hundred
miles. In long. 650 the Amazons receives the
Coqueta, or Japura, coming from the north; and


~ _

-,- ---



in long. 71 30' W. the Napo, also from the north.
Here the great stream is five thousand four hun-
dred feet in breadth, and six hundred feet in depth.
Between the junction-points of the Rio Negro and the
Madeira-that is, between long. 600 W. and long.
58 30' W.-its average width is three miles; but
it often broadens to six miles, and, studded as it is
with wooded islands, assumes all the appearance of
an inland lake. Further eastward the breadth greatly
increases; and towards its embouchure the opposite
bank can scarcely be discerned. From the Rio Negro
to the sea-a distance of about eight hundred miles
in a straight line-its depth is never less than one
hundred and eighty feet; and its mighty flood is
navigable by the largest vessels up to the confluence
of the Tungaragua and the Ucayale. The numerous
shoals, and the masses of timber brought down from
the virgin forests, are, however, considerable obstacles
to its secure navigation.

The velocity of the current of the Amazons varies
from two miles and a half to four miles an hour,
but in the dry season it greatly diminishes; and in
the last seven hundred miles of the river's course it
is slackened by the inconsiderable fall of the river,


amounting to not more than twelve feet. Tremen-
dous inundations, which sweep over the surrounding
country for many miles, are of frequent occurrence.
The influence of the ocean-tides is felt as far inland
as Obidos, a town four hundred miles distant from
the coast. The remarkable phenomenon- of "the
bore" occurs at the embouchure of the Amazons
two days before and two days after full moon.
Then the ocean-waters accumulate, as it were, into
one vast liquid mass, and roll into the channel of the
estuary in three or four gigantic waves, each twelve
to fifteen feet high, driving back the river-current,
and producing a whirlpool of terrific violence.
In addition to the great tributaries already men-
tioned, we may name the Hyabary, the Jutay, the
Jurua, the Teffd, the Coary, the Madeira, the Purus,
the Tapajos, and the Xingu: these all flow into it
from the south. From the north it receives, besides
the Napo, the Negro, and the Japura, only the
Pulumayo, which has a course of about a thousand

We first hear of the Amazons in European history
in 1500, when its mouth was discovered by the
Spanish adventurer, Yanez Pin9on; but little was


known of it until Francis d'Orellana descended its
stream from the confluence of the Rio Napo to the
ocean. This was in 1539. Among the many wild
and wonderful stories related by Orellana was that
of the existence of a tribe of female warriors on its
banks, who in their youth cut off the right breast
in order to allow of the freer use of their great
weapon, the bow. Hence the name of Amazons"
came to be applied to the river; which was also
known as the Orellana," from its explorer, and as
the Marafion," from an Indian nation inhabiting
one part of its valley.
Various expeditions were afterwards made by the
Spaniards, which opened up the head waters of the
mighty river; though much that is fabulous is
mixed up with the little that is accurate in the
narratives of those expeditions that have come down
to us. In 1561, it is said, one Juan Alvarez Mal-
donado started from Cuzco, and descended the east-
ern range of the Andes. On reaching the plain, he
and his followers fell in with two pigmies. They
cruelly shot the female, and the male died of grief
shortly afterwards.
Descending the great river Mano-which must
have been one of the tributaries of the Amazons-


for about two hundred leagues, they landed upon a
beach, and a detachment of soldiers penetrated into
the forest. There they found trees so tall as to
exceed an arrow-shot in height; and so large that
six men, with outstretched arms and joined hands,
could hardly circle them. Lying on the ground
was a man, fifteen feet in height, with limbs in pro-
portion; long snout, and projecting teeth; vesture
of beautiful leopard-skin, short and shrivelled; and
for a walking-stick a tree, which he played with as
if it had been a cane. On his attempting to rise,
the Spaniards, perhaps in terror, shot him dead, and
returned to the boat to give notice to their com-
panions. But when they reached the spot they
found that the dead body had been carried off.
Following the track towards a neighboring hill,
they heard such shouts and vociferations proceeding
thence that they were astounded, and, horror-stricken,
Another strange story of those early expeditions
may interest the reader :-
SBetween the years 1639 and 1648 Padre Tomas
de Chaves, a Dominican, endeavoured to convert the
Indian tribe of the Chunchos; and twelve of these
accompanied him to Lucia, where they were baptized.


He then returned, and lived among the Indians for
fourteen years, making excursions in various direc-
tions. His last was in 1654, among the Moxos-
Indians who live on the banks of the Mamord, an
affluent of the Amazons basin. There he cured a
cacique of some infirmity; and the "emperor" of
the Musus-the great Paititi, or Gilded King of the
Spaniards-despatched six hundred armed men to
the cacique of the Moxos, demanding that the reve-
rend father should be sent to cure his imperial con-
sort. The Moxos were induced to part with their
physician only under menace of extermination; but
it was obviously better a few should die of disease
than all be killed by the Musus. Accordingly, the
padre was borne away in triumph on the shoulders
of the emperor's guards. After travelling thirty
days, he came to a stream so wide that its opposite
bank was scarcely visible: this is supposed to have
been the Beni, a principal tributary of the Madeira.
Here the Indian ambassadors had left their canoes,
which were duly loosed from their moorings : the
party embarked, rowed down the river for twelve
days, and then landed at a large town, inhabited by
an incredible number of savages, all soldiers, guard-
ing this great port of the river, and entrance into
(603) 2


the empire of the Musus. No women were to be
seen : they lived in another town a league distant,
visiting the other only by day with food and drink
for the warriors, and returning at night.
The padre observed that the river at this place
divided into many arms, all of which appeared to
be navigable, and formed large islands, occupied by
populous towns. Thence he travelled for twenty-
seven days before he reached the imperial court.
The emperor came forth to meet him, attired in the
finest and most delicate feathers of various colours.
He treated his guest with distinguished courtesy;
prepared for him a most sumptuous feast; and told
him that, having heard of his wonderful medical
powers, he had sent for him to cure the queen of a
disease which had baffled the powers of all his
doctors. The good father protested that he was no
physician, never having been bred to the art; but
observing that the queen was tormented by devils
(" obsesa"), he exorcised her according to the Roman
Catholic formulary, and she thankfully became a
For eleven months the padre remained at the
emperor's court; .at the end of which time, finding
that the wine and flour for the sacred elements


were almost spent, and having baptized an infinite
number of infants on the point of death, he took
leave of their majesties-recommending to the queen
that she should hold fast the faith she had received,
and abstain from all offence towards God. He re-
fused from the Gilded King a great present of gold,
silver, pearls, and rich feathers; whereat the monarch
and his courtiers marvelled much.
We have allowed ourselves, however, to diverge
from a chronological record. The object of the
Spaniards was not, as our readers will remember, to
enlarge the bounds of geographical knowledge, but
to find that Land of Gold, that fabulous Dorado,"
which was the object of so many hopes and the
cause of so much waste of life-that "Dorado"
which fired the fancies even of our English poets,
and stimulated the enterprise of Sir Walter Raleigh.
In 1560 the Marquis de Cafnete, then Viceroy of
Peru, despatched Don Pedro de Ursoa, with a large
company of soldiers, in quest of the Golden Land.
Marching northward from Cuzco, he embarked upon
the Huallaga; but at Lamus, a small town near that
river, was murdered by his lieutenant, Lope de
Aguirre, who then assumed the command of the
expedition. Aguirre passed from the Huallaga into


the Amazons, which he descended to its mouth.
Thence he coasted the rich shores of Guiana and
Venezuela, and seized upon the small island of Santa
Margarhita. His ambition increasing with his suc-
cess, he landed at Cumana, with the bold design of
founding an empire by his sword; but being de-
feated by some Spanish troops who had already
occupied the country, he was taken prisoner and
sent to Trinidad, where he was tried for treason,
condemned, and hung.
Aguirre is spoken of as a cruel and violent, as he
certainly was a courageous and resolute, man. Hum-
boldt reprints his letter to King Philip II., and it
affords a striking illustration of his character. Thus
it runs:-
On going out of the river Amazons, we landed
at an island called Santa Margarhita. There we re-
ceived news from Spain of the great heresy of the
Lutherans. It frighted us exceedingly; and finding
among our number one of that faction, named Monte-
verde, I had him cut in pieces, as was just; for
believe me, signor, wherever I am, people shall live
according to the law.
"In the year 1559 the Marquis de Cafiete sent
to the Amazons Don Pedro de Ursoa, a Navarrese,


or rather a Frenchman. We sailed on the largest
rivers of Peru, until we came to a gulf of fresh
water. We had already gone three hundred leagues,
when we killed that bad and ambitious captain.
Then we chose for leader a cavalier of Seville, Don
Fernando de Guzman ; and swore fealty to him, as
is done to thyself. I was named Quartermaster-
general; but because I did not assent to all his
commands, he wanted to kill me. But I killed this
new king, his captain of the guards, his lieutenant-
general, his chaplain, a woman, a knight of the
order of St. John, two ensigns, and five or six of
his servants. I then resolved to punish thy minis-
ters and thy auditors: I named captains and ser-
geants. These, again, wanted to kill me; but I
had them all hanged. In the midst of these adven-
tures we navigated eleven months, until we arrived
at the mouth of the river. We sailed upwards of
fifteen hundred leagues. Heaven knows how we
voyaged over so vast an extent of water 1 I advise
thee, 0 great king, never to send Spanish fleets into
that accursed river."
An anecdote of this wild adventurer, related by
Ulloa, recalls, with a difference," the Roman story
of Virginius and his daughter.


It would seem that a favourite daughter was his
companion in all his marches. At the close of his
reckless career, when defeated and surrounded so
that escape was impossible, he called her to him
and said : "I had hoped to have made thee a queen.
This is now impossible; but I cannot endure the
thought that you should live to be pointed out as
the child of a felon and a traitor. Thou must pre-
pare for death at my hands." She begged him to
allow her a few minutes for prayer. He consented;
but growing impatient at the length of her devo-
tions, or fearing that his enemies would be upon
him, he fired upon her while she was still kneeling.
The unfortunate lady staggered towards him; but
taking her by the hand as she approached, he drove
his knife into her bosom, and she fell at his feet,
murmuring, Basta, padre mio !" ("It is enough,
my father !")

From the voyages of such wayward rovers as
these, it could not be expected that geographical
science would gain much that was useful or exact;
and, in truth, our first accurate information of the
Amazons and its valley is due to the labours of the
Roman Catholic missionaries, who worked among


the Indians with so much courage and devoted-
ness. The first missionary stations in the upper
portions of the valley-the Montafia, as the Span-
iards called it-were founded by the Jesuit fathers,
Cuxia and Ceuva, in 1637, beginning at the vil-
lage of St. Francis de Borja, on the left bank of the
In the same year, if Ulloa may be credited,
Pedro Texiera, a Portuguese captain, ascended the
Amazons with a fleet mounting forty-seven large
guns. After an eight months' voyage from Para, he
arrived at the port of Payamino (or Frayamixa), on
the river Napo. Leaving his fleet there, he repaired
with some of his officers to Quito. The "royal
audience," or Spanish administrator of that city,
determined on sending explorers with him on his
return; and the Jesuit fathers, Acufia and Artieda,
were chosen for this purpose, with orders to report
all they saw and heard to the King of Spain.
Passing through the town of Archidona, which is
situated on the head waters of the Napo, they suc-
ceeded; after meeting with many adventures, and
undergoing severe sufferings, in joining the Portu-
guese fleet at the port of Payamino, and after a
journey of ten months' duration, by land and water,


arrived at Para, whence they sailed for the mother.
The Spanish Government was at that time
engaged in a contest with Portugal; and being
unable to obtain any assistance, good Father Artieda
returned to Quito. Indefatigable in his efforts to
diffuse a knowledge of the religion of the Cross, he
appealed for help to the "royal audience" and the
Jesuits' College of Quito, and by the latter was
furnished with five or six missionary priests. They
seem to have been very cordially received by the
Indians; and so successful were their labours, that
by 1666 they had established thirteen large and
populous mission-settlements in the valley of the
Upper Marafion, and in the immediate neighbourhood
of the mouths of the Pastasa, the Ucayale, and the
Almost simultaneously, the Franciscan monks
were advancing as missionaries and explorers from
Lima, by way of Tarma and Jauxa, into the country
drained by the head waters of the Ucayale; and in
1673, the missionary station of Santa Cruz de
Sonomora was founded on the river Pangoa, a
tributary of the latter. This was due to the heroic
efforts of Father Manuel Biedma, who, with wonder-


ful perseverance, opened up mule roads in various
directions, and in 1686, embarking with Antonio
Vital at Sonomora, bravely descended the Ucayale
to a point near its junction with the Pachitea. Here
he planted a station called San Miguel de los Conibos,
the charge of which he intrusted to Vital; and
started on his return to Sonomora by water, but was
killed by the savages. Vital, on hearing of his
death, and finding himself alone, without hope of
succour, resolved to continue his voyage down the
river; and embarking in a canoe with six Indians,
safely reached the Jesuit missions at the mouth of
the Ucayale. Obtaining there the necessary instruc-
tions, he ascended the Marafon, the Huallaga, and
the Mayo as far as it is navigable. Then, disem-
barking, he proceeded overland to Lima and Jauxa.
At the same time, Franciscan missionaries, start-
ing from Tarma, and penetrating into the valleys of
Chanchamayo and Vitoc, set on foot the missions
of the Cerro de la Sol and the Pajonal. The former
is described as a mountain of rock and red earth,
traversed by strata of salt thirty yards in breadth,
from which the Indians over a considerable extent
of country obtain their supply. The Pajonal is a
broad grassy plain lying between the Pachitea and


a great curve of the Ucayale. It measures one
hundred and twenty miles in length from north to
south, and ninety from east to west.
Missions were afterwards established in the
Pampa del Sacramento under the following cir-
Those planted by Biedma and others on the
Ucayale, in 1673 to 1686, were swept away
during the Indian revolt of 1704. Twenty-two
years later, the Christianized Indians on the Hual-
laga, crossing the hills that border the eastern bank of
the river, came upon a beautiful wooded level, which,
the day of its discovery being the feast of Corpus
Christi, they named the Pampa del Sacramento.
Thither the Roman mission-priests made haste to
penetrate; and though they met with many diffi-
culties, and some of them perished in their Christian
work, they persevered until numerous conversions
had been effected, and several stations founded.
It has been justly remarked by Herndon that the
difficulty of penetrating into these countries, where
the path is to be opened up for the first time, can
be conceived only by one who. has travelled over
the roads already trodden. The broken and preci-
pitous mountain-track-the deep morass-the dense


and intertangled forest-the dangers arising from
Indians, wild beasts, reptiles-the scarcity of pro-
visions-the awful deluges of rains-the perils of the
impetuous and rock-obstructed river, at every moment
menacing the wreck of the frail canoe,-these are
obstacles which might daunt the heart of any but
the gold-hunter or the missionary. It is to the
patient and noble labours of the latter that the
world owed all its knowledge of the vast regions
watered by the great South American rivers.

Some remarkable adventures on the Amazons
were experienced in 1769 by Madame Godin des
Odonais, on her way from Quito to join her husband,
who had contemplated an expedition up the river,
at Cayenne, where he was detained by illness.
From Quito, on receiving intelligence of her
husband's ill-health, Madame Godin proceeded to
Riobamba, and then she crossed the Andes, to
embark at Canelos, on a- tributary of the Amazons,
with the view of descending that mighty river.
She found the village infested with the small-pox,
so that only two Indians remained free from the
contagion. These had no boat, but they undertook
to construct one, and to pilot it as far down as the


mission of Andoas, on the Bobonaza river, a distance
of from one hundred and forty to one hundred and
fifty leagues. The canoe being finished, Madame
Godin started from Canelos; but on the third day ot
their voyage the Indians absconded, and she and her
attendants (her brothers, a nephew, a physician, her
negro, and three female half-breeds) were left without
any experienced hand to steer their frail craft.
Next day at noon, however, they discovered a
canoe lying in a small cove near a leaf-thatched
hut, in which was a native recovering from illness,
who consented to pilot them. Two days passed
very pleasantly, but on the third the poor man
accidentally fell overboard, and being too weak to
contend with the current, was drowned. The canoe,
again abandoned to persons incapable of managing
it, was soon afterwards capsized, compelling the
party to land and build themselves a hut, while one
of them was sent to Andoas in quest of assistance.
Five-and-twenty weary days passed by, however,
and he did not return, nor came there any messenger
from him. The castaways therefore set to work to
build a raft, on which they ventured to embark,
with their provisions and property. The raft, ill-
constructed, drove against the branch of a sunken


tree and was overset, all the stores being destroyed,
and the whole party plunged into the water. For-
tunately, at the point where the accident happened
the river was very narrow, and no loss of life was
experienced-Madame Godin herself, after twice sink-
ing, being rescued by her brothers.
They now resolved on continuing their course
along the river-bank; a difficult task, the track
winding through a dense forest, where festoons of
lianas and uprooted trees formed a succession of
obstacles. Often it was necessary, axe in hand, to
cut open a path. By following the course of the
river in all its winding, they found their journey
seemingly prolonged; and therefore struck into the
wood to take a more direct line. But in a few
days they lost themselves, and, their provisions
being exhausted, were compelled to subsist on a
few seeds, wild fruit, and the palm cabbage.
Their feet bleeding with wounds, and their frames
spent with hunger, thirst, and fatigue, they threw
themselves on the ground, utterly incapable of
moving another step; and there they lay for three
or four days, until death released them from their
sufferings. Madame Godin alone survived; half-
delirious, stupified, and tortured by the agony of


thirst, she summoned energy enough to leave the
scene of death, and to drag herself along in the hope
of meeting with assistance. Her clothes were torn
to shreds, and her feet were bare. Cutting the
shoes from her dead brother's feet, she fastened them
on her own; and tottered onward, onward for eight
days or more. Such was the nature of her suffer-
ings, intensified necessarily by her solitariness, and
by the natural dread of spending night after night
in the forest-depths, that her hair turned gray. On
the second day she fortunately discovered some fresh
water, and on the third day some wild fruit and
birds' eggs; and though she found the effort of
swallowing very painful at first, she in this way
recruited her strength sufficiently to endure the
further fatigues of her journey.
Were it told, says M. Godin, in his narrative of
his wife's adventures,-were it told in a romance
that a delicate female, accustomed to the luxurious
conveniences of life, had been precipitated into a
river; that, after being rescued when on the point
of drowning, this female, the eighth member of a
party, had penetrated into unknown and pathless
woods, and travelled in them for weeks, ignorant in
what direction she bent her steps; that, enduring



hunger, thirst, and fatigue to very exhaustion, she
should have seen her two brothers, both stronger
than herself, a young nephew, three young women-
servants, and the domestic left behind by the physi-
cian, who started in advance to look for help, all
expire by her side, and she surviving them'all;
that, after remaining by their dead bodies two whole
days and nights, in a country abounding in jaguars
and poisonous serpents, without once seeing any of
these creatures, she should afterwards have strength
to rise, and, covered with rags, continue her way
through the pathless forest for eight successive days,
until she reached the bank of the Bobonaza, the
author would be charged with exaggeration; and
yet every statement is literally true.
Of late years, however, we have been accustomed
to hear of daring enterprises undertaken by women,
and of great sufferings heroically borne. Madame
Godin's narrative, therefore, does not excite in us the
surprise or incredulity that it excited in the minds
of her contemporaries, strange and exciting as it
certainly is.
After resting, for the ninth night of her wander-
gs, on the bank of the Bobonaza, she was roused
t daybreak by a noise at about two hundred paces
(603) 3


from her. In her first alarm she rushed into the
wood; but a little reflection convinced her that she
had nothing to fear; that, indeed, her condition
could not possibly be worse than it then was. She
returned to her resting-place, and found a couple of
Indians launching their canoe into the river. They
received Madame Godin with the greatest kindness,
and readily agreed to conduct her to Andoas.
On arriving at the Jesuit mission there, she might
well have expected that her troubles would be at an
end. But the missionary then in charge was a man
of cold and avaricious nature: he behaved with a
rudeness and a greed which so disgusted Madame
Godin that she insisted on leaving immediately for
Laguna. Her welcome there was of a very different
character. Dr. Romero, the new chief of the missions,
paid her every attention that her feeble condition
demanded; and his kind and skilful treatment during
her six weeks' residence at Laguna did much towards
the re-establishment of her health. A messenger
was sent to Ouraguas, whither the unfaithful phy-
sician had betaken himself; and soon afterwards he
joined her at Laguna, bringing with him four silver
dishes, a silver saucepan, a velvet petticoat, one of
Pusiana and one of taffety, some linen, and various


insignificant articles ;"-the rest of her property
Madame Godin never recovered. The physician
endeavoured to persuade her to return to Rio-
bamba; but this she resolutely refused, being bent
on joining her husband. After some delay, the
Portuguese authorities provided her with a galliot,
properly equipped, and attended by a couple of
canoes, to descend the river. The descent was ac-
complished with comparative ease, and each rapid
passed in safety. At the different towns she halted
for rest and refreshment; and her voyage, though
difficult and tedious, was unattended by any actual
Madame Godin's sufferings, however, were not
entirely at an end. One of her thumbs was in a
very bad condition, owing to the wounds it had sus-
tained from thorns in the wood. These not having
been extricated, had not only occasioned an abscess,
but had injured the tendon, and even the bone itself.
It was proposed to amputate the thumb; but by
dint of care and fomentations she had nothing worse
to undergo than the extraction of a couple of splin-
ters at San Pablo. She lost, however, the use of
the tendon.
The galliot continued the descent of the river,


through the shades of the virgin forest-then almost
wholly unknown to science-until it reached the
fortress of Curupe, about sixty leagues above Para.
Here M. de Martel, an officer of the garrison of Para,
arrived, by order of the governor, to take command
of the galliot, and conduct Madame Godin to Fort
Oyapok. A little beyond the mouth of the Amazons
estuary, at a spot off the coast where the currents
are very impetuous, he lost one of his anchors; and
as it would have been rash to proceed with only a
single anchor, he sent in a boat to Oyapok to seek
assistance. By this means M. Godin, who had left
Cayenne and reached Oyapok, heard of his wife's
approach, and embarked on board a galliot of his
own to meet her. On the fourth day of his depart-
ure he fell in with her vessel opposite to Mayacare.
And thus, after an absence which circumstances had
extended over a period of twenty months, and patient
endurance, on both sides, of misfortunes and suffer-
ings, he once more embraced a cherished wife, who
had shown herself possessed of the most heroic quali-
ties. They anchored at Oyapok on the 22nd of
July 1770.

Of late years the virgin treasures of the forests of


the Amazons, and the extraordinary beauty of their
scenery, have attracted many travellers; and both
natural history and geographical science have profited
largely by the adventurous researches of a Wallace,
an Edwards, a Biard, an Agassiz, and a Bates.
Borrowing from their labours, we proceed in the
following pages to sketch the principal features of
a region which may hereafter become THE GARDEN

[The Amazons has some claim to be considered the Queen of
Rivers. The basin which it drains comprises about two million
square miles, or a superficial area nearly equal to that of Europe.
In conjunction with its tributaries and sub-tributaries, it
supplies the states of.Brazil, the Guianas, Peru, Venezuela,
Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia with an inland navigation of
fifty thousand miles.
From its sources-which lie within sixty miles of the Pacific-
to its mouth in the Atlantic it measures four thousand miles in
length. Its mouth is about one hundred and fifty miles wide,
and extends the tidal influence for six hundred miles; while
such is its volume of water and such its force of current that it
drives back the ocean upwards of fifty leagues.
Its principal tributaries are : the Napo, the Pulumayo, the
Japura, and the Negro-the last connecting it with the Orinoco
-from the north; and the Huallaga, the Javari (or Cavary),
the Jutay, the Jurua, the Teff6, the Coary, the Purus, the
Madeira, the Tapajos, and the Xingu, from the south.


The main stream, the Marafon, is navigable inland for three
thousand three hundred and sixty miles.
While, as we have said, the Rio Negro connects the Amazons
with the Orinoco, through the Rio Branco and the Cassiquiare,
the Tapajos brings it within a distance of only eighteen miles
from a branch of the river La Plata; so that a short canal
would complete this wondrous system of inland water-com-
munication, and enable a boat to pass from the Orinoco into
the Plata.
The principal towns on the Amazons are Manoa, Obidos,
Ega, Santarem, and Para. Steamers now ply upon the river;
and it is a curious fact that the wind almost always blows from
the eastward, thus assisting them in their ascent, while in their
return voyage they have the advantage of the strong, swift



N 1851 Lieutenant Herndon, of the United
States Navy, received instructions from
his Government to undertake the explore.
ation of the valley of the Amazons; and for this
purpose set out from Lima in the month of May, and
proceeded to cross the barrier of the Andes. De-
scending the westward face of the mountain-range in
the following month, he arrived at Tarma; where
the reader and ourselves will find it convenient to
take up the narrative of his expedition.
The houses of Tarma-which is finely situated in
an amphitheatre of mountains, clothed nearly to their
summits with waving crops of barley-are built of
adobe, or sun-baked clay, with wood and iron work
of the rudest description : those of the better class
are whitewashed within and without. To gain a
good view of the inhabitants, the traveller should


frequent the market-place on market-day, which un-
fortunately is Sunday. He will then see the men
dressed in ponchos, breeches buttoned at the knee,
long woollen stockings, and tall straw hats. The
women disport themselves in blue woollen skirts,
tied round the waist, and left open in front so as
to display the white cotton petticoat, with a mantle
of two or three yards of bright-coloured plush, called
" Spanish baize," thrown over the shoulders: the
skirts of women of the well-to-do class generally
consist of a coloured print, or muslin. It is not
thought necessary, except when attired for company,
to don the bodice of the dress ; and this is allowed
to hang down behind, and is covered by a gay shawl,
passed around the bust, with the end falling grace-
fully over the left shoulder. The hair is always
neatly dressed-parted in the middle, and hanging
down the back in two long plaits. It is crowned
by a trim low hat, ornamented with an abundance
of black ribbon.
Tarma seems to be a great place for fiestas, or
feast-days, which are encouraged by the Church,
notwithstanding the riot and drunkenness too often
connected with them. The public entertainments
on such occasions consist of music, bell-ringing,


rocket-firing, and Indian dances. A dozen vaga-
bonds" get themselves up in what is supposed to be
the costume of the ancient Indians: a red blanket
pendent from one shoulder and a white blanket from
the other; short blue breeches, trimmed at the knee
with white fringe; stockings of any colour; and
shoes or sandals of raw hide, tied around the burly
ankles. A low-crowned, broad-brimmed hat, made
of wool, and adorned with a circle of ostrich feathers,
completes the paraphernalia. Thus attired, the
pseudo-Indians march through the streets, halting
every now and then to perform a kind of dance to
the droning music of a reed pipe and a rude flat
drum, both in the hands of the same performer.
Each dancer carries a club of hard wood, with
which, at certain intervals of the dance, he beats
time on a small shield of hide or wood. An ad-
ditional musical accompaniment is supplied by the
iingling of the small bells called "cascabells," which
are attached to the feet and knees.

By way of Cerro de Pasco and San Rafael, Lieuten-
ant Herndon proceeded to Huanuco, situated on the
left bank of the Huanuco or Huallaga river. It is
one of the most ancient towns in Peru, though it does


not contain a single memorial of interest. After a
brief rest he descended the Chinchao valley, passing
a pretty village surrounded by cotton, coffee, orange,
and plantain trees. Here, by the wayside, he
noticed a pretty shrub with a gay red flower, which
is called San Juan, because it blooms about St. John's
Day. The country increased in picturesqueness of
effect as he advanced; and a very fine picture, of a
wild and striking character, was presented by the
mal-paso, or rapid, of Palma, on the Huallaga,
where the river, obstructed in its impetuous flow,
broke into waves that dashed in foam and spray
against the worn and jagged rocks, or swirled around
and past them in thunderous violence.
At Tingo Maria our traveller reached the head of
the canoe navigation of the river. The town, or vil-
lage, is situated in a plain two thousand two hundred
and sixty feet above the sea-level, which produces
fertile crops of sugar-cane, rice, cotton, tobacco,
indigo, maize, yuccas, and sachapapus, or wood-
potatoes-the "large, mealy, purple-streaked, tuber-
ous root of a vine, in taste like a yam, and very
good food." In the surrounding woods prowls the
puma, or American tiger, while deer and peccaries
and monkeys abound. Several varieties of glossy-


plumaged curassows, wild turkeys, numerous species
of parrots, black ducks, and cormorants, represent
the bird-world; rattlesnakes and vipers, the world
of reptiles. Bats are also met with, and among
these the vampire. Herndon describes an individual
shot by one of his companions as "disgusting-look-
ing," though its fur was delicate, and of a glossy,
rich maroon colour. Its mouth was amply pro-
vided with teeth: two long sharp tusks in the front
part of each jaw; with two smaller, like those of a
hare or sheep, between the upper tusks; and four,
considerably smaller, between the lower. The nos-
trils seem fitted to act as a suction apparatus:
above them is a triangular cartilaginous snout,
nearly half an inch in length, and a quarter broad
at the base; with a semicircular flap below them,
nearly as broad, but not so long. Herndon conceived
the idea that these might be placed over the punc-
ture made by the teeth, and the air underneath ex-
hausted by the nostrils; thus converting them into
an admirable cupping-glass. But the truth seems
to be that this much-dreaded bat is no blood-sucker
at all, and that the stories told about it are as
unveracious as those of Baron Munchausen.
Mr. Bates speaks of it as the largest of all the


South American bats, and as measuring twenty-eight
inches across its outstretched wings. Nothing, he
says, in animal physiognomy can be more hideous
than the countenance of this creature when viewed
from the front : the large, leathery ears project
from the sides and top of the head-the curt, leaf-
shaped appendage of the nose (whence its scientific
name, phyllostoma)-its grin-and its keen black
eye,-all combine to make up a figure reminding
the spectator of some mocking imp of fable. It is,
perhaps, not to be wondered at that the common
folk should have attributed, in their usual fashion,
demon-like instincts to so demoniac-looking a crea-
ture. Nevertheless, it is the most harmless of all
bats, and a vegetarian in its diet, except that it
occasionally partakes of a "relish" of insects.

At Tingo Maria Herndon met with his first speci-
men of a blow-gun-the usual weapon of the Indian
hunter in the forests of the Amazons. It may be
made of any long, straight piece of wood; and con-
sists of a pole or staff about eight feet long, and
two inches in diameter near the mouth-end, tapering
to half an inch at the extremity, which is divided
longitudinally. A canal or groove is then hollowed



out along the centre of each part, which is well
smoothed and polished by rubbing with fine sand
and wood. The two parts are then brought to-
gether, firmly fastened with twine, and coated with
a thick layer of wax, which has been mixed with
some forest-resin to make it hard. Sometimes a
couple of boar's-teeth are fitted on each side of the
mouth-piece; and a curved front-tooth from any
small animal, placed on the top, serves as a sight.
Through this tube is propelled an arrow, or rather a
dart, about a foot long, and as thick as a lucifer-
match, made of very light wood, or of the middle
fibre of a species of palm-leaf. The end of the arrow
placed next to the mouth is wrapped with a light,
delicate kind of wild cotton, called huimba; while
the other end, which has an extremely sharp point,
is dipped in a vegetable poison prepared from the
juice of a creeping plant, mixed with strong red
pepper, or any other deleterious substance. The
Indian mode of using this sarbucan, or zarabutuna,
is as follows :-The marksman places it to his mouth
by holding it with both hands close to the mouth-
piece, and then propels the arrow by blowing
through the tube with all his force. A skilled
Indian will kill a small bird at thirty or forty


paces. The quiver for carrying the poisoned darts
or arrows is frequently a handsome bit of work;
the body being formed of neatly-plaited strips of
maranta-stalks, and the rim made of the highly-
polished, cherry-coloured wood of the mirra-pirAnga

Lieutenant Herndon embarked at Tingo Maria to
descend the river. He and his party occupied two
canoes ; the larger of which, about forty feet long by
two and a half feet broad, and hollowed from a
single log, carried a crew of five men and a boy.
One of these, the puntero or bow-man, looks out for
rocks or sunken trees ahead; another, the popero,
or steersman, stands on a little platform at the
stern and directs the movements of the boat; while
the rest are bogas, or rowers, who paddle away at
need with equal skill and vigour, having one foot
in the bottom of the canoe and the other on the
gunwale. In the open, unencumbered parts of the
river they drifted down with the current, in a lazy,
indifferent ease; but on approaching a mal-paso, or
rapid, they gathered themselves together like men
who knew they had hard work to do, and meant to
do it; and, guided by lookout-man and steersman,

.I .


77 Z-_'


shot through the boiling waters at a tremendous
pace, but in entire security. These mal-pasos are
of frequent occurrence, and sometimes their passage
is not unattended with danger.
The Indians, remarks our voyager, have very
keen senses, and hear and see much that is in-
audible and invisible to the duller white man; a
circumstance due, of course, to the conditions under
which they live, and the training that they receive
from their very infancy. One morning the lieu-
tenant's canoe-men began to paddle with unusual
energy. What was the matter? Oh, they heard
monkeys ahead. But they paddled fully a mile
before Mr. Herndon could distinguish the sounds
they spoke of. At last they came up with a troop
of large red monkeys, grunting, among the foliage
of some tall trees on the river-side, like a herd of
angry hogs. They landed, and in a few minutes
the lieutenant was pushing his way through the
tangled copse with as much excitement as if he
were a boy once more, and hunting squirrels.
Three of the unfortunate monkeys were killed; one
falling to the American's rifle, and two to the
Indians' blow-guns. The tenacity of life of these
animals is very remarkable; the one killed by


Mr. Herndon was, as the Indians expressively said,
baciado en municion (bathed in shot). In size they
resembled a common terrier-dog, and their bodies
were covered with long, soft, maroon-coloured hair.
They are called cotomonos, from a large swelling
(coto) under the jaw; the said coto being a thin
long apparatus in the windpipe, by means of which
they produce their characteristic noise. The male,
curaso, which is also the designation of the chief of
an Indian tribe, has a long red beard.
These monkeys seem to have belonged to the
tribe of Howlers, whose frightful unearthly cries
make night in the forest hideous. Mr. Bates
observes that it is curious to watch them while
venting their "hollow cavernous roar," which is
produced by a "drum-shaped expansion of the
larynx," and causes but little muscular exertion.
When howlers are seen in the woods, there are gene-
rally three or four 6f them perched on the topmost
branches of a tree. Their harrowing cry does not
appear to be caused by any sudden alarm, though
it probably serves to intimidate enemies.
Parts of these animals are used by the Indians,
who are by no means particular in their selection
of remedies, for the cure of various diseases. The


female carries the young upon her back until it is
able to go alone.
"When I arrived at the beach with my game,"
says the lieutenant, "I found that the Indians had
made a fire, and were roasting theirs. They did
not take the trouble to clean and skin the animal,
but simply put him in the fire, and when well
scorched, took him off and cut pieces from the fleshy
parts with a knife; if these were not sufficiently
well done, they roasted them further on little stakes
stuck up before the fire. I tried to eat a piece, but
it was so tough that my teeth would make no im-
pression upon it."

With so much that is curious and interesting
both in animal and vegetable life to engage the
attention, and with so constant a succession of fresh
and novel landscapes, the voyager down the Amazons
finds time very agreeably occupied, and day after
day glides by like the changes of a dream. Excite-
ment is not wanting; for occasionally the roar of
the puma is heard in the neighboring forest, and
occasionally the voyager's canoe is tossed in the
eddies of a boiling rapid. Then ever and anon he
reaches some river-side town, with its little port, or


mooring-place, and has an opportunity of examining
the manners and customs of its inhabitants, most of
whom are Mestizos, or descendants of mixed marri-
ages. A convent is always one of the appendages
of these strange, solitary, remote abodes, where only
the ebb of the wave of civilized life seems to expend
Among the birds of the Amazonian valley, the
voyager will probably be much impressed by that
which the Spaniards call El alma perdida, or the
lost soul." Its song is peculiarly soft and plaintive,
and echoes through the silent forest like the wail of
Marguerite in Goethe's Faust. The Quichua Indians
call it Pa-pa ma-ma, and relate in connection with
it the following story :-An Indian and his wife
went out into the woods to work, carrying with
them their babe. While the mother repaired to
a spring to obtain some fresh water, the child was
left in charge of the father, who received the most
emphatic instructions to take good care of it. On
coming to the first spring the woman found it dry,
and started off in search of another. Meanwhile
her-husband grew alarmed at her long absence, left
the child, and went to look for her. When they
returned the infant was gone; and to their repeated


cries, as they roamed the woods in quest of it, they
received no answer but the melancholy notes of a
little bird, then heard for the first time, pa-pa.

The manatee, or sea-cow, the Spanish vaca marina
and Portuguese peixe boy, is an inhabitant of the
Amazons and its principal tributaries. When full
grown, it averages about nine feet in length and six
feet in girth. In appearance it is not unlike a
large seal, with a smooth skin, dark on the upper
part of the body, dirty white on the under, and
thinly besprinkled with coarse hairs. The eyes and
ears-or, rather, what serve for ears-are very
small. The mouth, too, is small, but with a thick
wide upper lip. It has no teeth, but is furnished
with a kind of cushion attached to both jaws, which
is well adapted for the mastication of vegetable food.
The broad, flat tail is placed horizontally; and, in
conjunction with two large fins, placed near the
jaws, enables it to make its way through the water
with considerable velocity.
The capture of a manatee is made by the Indian
canoe-men the occasion of a holiday. They all dis-
embark, and hasten into the forest to perform the


processes of skinning and cooking. The finer flesh
is cut into dice-shaped pieces, and each person
skewers a dozen or so of these on a long stick.
Large fires having been kindled, the impromptu
spits are stuck in the ground around them, so as to
stand over the flames and expedite the roast. The
Indians are very partial to this dish, but the white
voyager is apt to pronounce the meat coarse and
tough; while the fat, which is of a greenish colour,
has a decidedly disagreeable flavour.

As the voyager nears the confluence of the
Huallaga with the Maraiion, he gets into what is
known as the lake-country; and thence, even to
the mouth of the Amazons, the river is bordered on
each side by large lakes which communicate with
the river by irregular channels, winding through the
dark glades of the virgin forest. They are fre-
quented by immense numbers of cranes, cormorants,
and water-fowl generally, and also by legions of
turtle. The Indians have a tradition that many of
these remote forest-pools are guarded by an immense
serpent, which can create such a tempest and tumult
in their waters as to swamp the canoes, whereupon
it immediately devours their rowers. It is known


as the Yacu Mama, or "mother of the waters;"
and the Indians will not enter a lake with which
they are unfamiliar until they have roused every
echo with the clang of their horns. If the serpent
be there, it immediately answers; and to be fore-
warned is, in this case as in every other, to be fore-
Here is a description of the monster given by
Father Manuel de Vernazza, writing in 1845:-
"The wonderful nature of this animal," he says,
"its figure, its size, and other circumstances, en-
chain our attention, and lead us to reflect upon the
infinite power and wisdom of the Creator. Its
appearance alone suffices to confound, intimidate,
and inspire respect into the heart of the boldest.
He never seeks or follows the victims on whom he
feeds but such is the force of his inspiration,
that he draws in with his breath any bird or quad-
ruped that may pass within twenty to fifty yards
of him, according to its size. The one which I
killed from my canoe, with five shots of a fowling-
piece, was two yards in thickness and fifteen feet
in length; but the Indians of this region have
assured me that there are animals of this kind of
three or four yards diameter, and from thirty to


forty feet long. These swallow entire hogs, stags,
tigers, and men with the greatest facility; but, by
the mercy of Providence, it moves and turns itself
very slowly, on account of its extreme weight.
When in motion it resembles a thick log of wood
covered with scales, and dragged slowly along the
ground, having a trunk so large that man may see
it at a distance, and avoid its dangerous ambush."
The good father would seem to have met with
and killed a boa constrictor; and the expression
"two yards in diameter" is probably mistranslated
for "two yards in thickness."

Our course now brings us to the junction, below
the town of Laguna, of the Huallaga with the
Amazons; the former at this point being three
hundred and fifty yards wide, and the latter five
hundred yards. .,The main branch of the Amazons,
on which we now enter, bears its Peruvian name
of Marafion as far as Tabatinga, on the Brazilian
frontier; thence, to the confluence of the Rio Negro
it is known as the Solimoens; after which it is
called by the world-famous designation that geo-
graphers generally apply to the entire river.
"Its capacities for trade and commerce," says


Herndon, "are inconceivably great. Its industrial
future is the most dazzling; and to the touch of
steam, settlement, and cultivation, this rolling stream
and-its magnificent watershed would start up into
a display of industrial results that would indicate
the valley of the Amazons as one of the most en-
chanting regions on the face of the earth.
From its mountains you may dig silver, iron,
coal, copper, quicksilver, zinc, and tin; from the
sands of its tributaries you may wash gold,
diamonds, and precious stones; from its forests you
may gather drugs of virtues the most rare, spices of
aroma the most exquisite, gums and resins of the
most varied and useful properties, dyes of hues the
most brilliant, with cabinet and building woods of
the finest polish and most enduring texture.
Its climate is an everlasting summer, and its
harvest perennial."
It should be added that this eternal summer is
broken in upon by tremendous rains. But there
can be no question that in few places on this wide
earth can life be more pleasantly spent than in
the wooded depths of the great Amazons valley.
We rise at dawn to find the sky glowing with a
cloudless blue; while the sun, on its rapid course


towards the zenith, absorbs the pearl-drops spark-
ling on branch and leaf and blade of grass. A
wonderful activity pervades all nature; new leaf-
buds and new flower-buds are opening everywhere
around us. Yonder tree last evening was a dome
of green foliage; now it glistens with a wealth of
blossoms. The birds are in full vigour; and among
the neighboring fruit-trees resounds the shrill cry
of the toucans. Above our heads, at such a height
as to appear dim specks, fly small flocks of parrots,
always in pairs, and the different pairs at regular
intervals, and their chattering distinctly audible, as
they wend on their busy way. While gradually
the song-birds fill the air with music, and the insect-
world awakens its various voices.
Towards two o'clock we feel the heat considerably
increased, and by that time bird and mammal have
once more relapsed into repose. The higher tem-
perature has affected the leaves and flowers; the
latter shed their petals, the former hang droopingly
from their stalks. But there are signs of welcome
rain. In the east the white clouds which gathered
some time ago have given way to a sudden black-
ness, and this spreading rapidly upwards obscures
the sun. A mighty wind sweeps through the



forest glades, rocking the tall trees as if they were
reeds; a flash of lightning streams across the dark-
ened sky; then comes a crash of thunder, and a
tropical torrent of rain. The storm passes away
as swiftly as it arose, but leaves some bluish-black
clouds in the sky until night. Meantime, Nature
has drunk of the brimming cup, and been refreshed;
though fallen leaves and flower-petals lie in heaps
under the wind-tossed trees.
Now comes still evening on, and life once more
revives; the insect renews its hum, the bird its
song. And this revival lasts until the presence of
night makes itself felt in the forest, and every ani-
mal retires to rest, except those which wait for the
cover of darkness to secure their prey.
The following morning brings with it another cloud-
less sky ; and the daily cycle of phenomena goes round
in the order already described. There is little change
in one day compared with another, except that which
marks the difference between the dry season and the
wet: and as to this it may be said, that the dry
season, from July to December, is refreshed with
showers; and the wet, from January to June, with
days of brilliant sunshine. The consequence is, says
a distinguished naturalist, that the periodical phe-


nomena of plants and animals do not occur at about
the same time in all species, or in the individuals of
any given species, as is the case in temperate
regions. There is no hibernation, as in cold coun-
tries; no summer torpidity, as in some tropical
countries. Plants do not flower or shed their leaves,
remarks our authority, nor do birds moult, pair, or
breed simultaneously. Perhaps the dweller in the
Amazons valley loses something by losing the differ-
ent aspects of the different seasons. If he have no
winter, he has no spring. The equatorial forest
presents much the same aspect every day; for, in
one species or another, budding, and flowering, and
fruiting, and decaying is always going on. Nor is
there any pause in the activity of birds and insects.
Each species has its own .time. For instance, the
colonies of wasps do not die off annually, leaving
only the queen, as in cold climates; but generation
follows generation, and colony succeeds to colony
without interruption. It is never," says Mr.
Bates, "either spring, summer, or autumn, but each
day is a combination of all three. With the day
and night always of equal length, the atmospheric
disturbances of each day neutralizing themselves
before each succeeding morn; with the sun in its


course proceeding midway across the sky, and the
daily temperature the same within two or three
degrees throughout the year,-how grand in its
perfect equilibrium and simplicity is the march of
Nature under the equator "

But we must resume our narrative of Lieutenant
Herndon's explorations. To name the different
towns and villages, or the mouths of rivers, which
he passed in his downward course, would be to per-
plex and weary the reader. At Nauta he purchased
a larger boat, which. he fitted up with a deck and
cabin; and with twelve rowers, and a fresh supply
of provisions, resumed his adventure. In the varie-
ties of bird-life which frequented the river-banks he
found a constant .source of entertainment. Flesh-
coloured porpoises tumbled about his boat; monkeys
chattered among the boughs which impended over
the waves; and fish of strange kinds were caught
by the industrious hook and line. There was
much to notice also in the dress and manners of the
different Indians who inhabit the valley; for each
tribe has its distinctive peculiarities. The Conibos,
Shipebos, Selebos, Pirros, Remos, and Amajuacas
are the nomads of the Ucayale region, roving from
(603) 5


place to place, and distinguishing themselves by
their skill as boatmen and fishermen. Sometimes
they reside in settlements on the river-banks; but
many of them live in their canoes, and resort to the
land only in bad weather, where they run up huts
of reeds and palms.

At Tabatinga, which is inhabited chiefly by
Ticufia Indians, with a small garrison of Brazilian
soldiers, our adventurer quitted Peruvian territory,
and crossed the confines of the empire of Brazil.
At the same time the river lost its name of Mara-
hon, and took that of Solimoens. A short distance
below the town, it measured no less than a mile
and a half in width; while it was sixty-six feet
deep in the middle, and its current flowed at the
rate of two miles and three-quarters per hour.
Below Tunantins, Mr. Herndon had an oppor-
tunity of seeing the people gathering turtle-eggs, for
the purpose of making manteiga. A commandant,
with soldiers, is yearly appointed to take charge of
the beaches frequented by the turtle, prevent dis-
order, and administer justice. At the beginning of
August, when the turtle begin to lay their eggs,
sentinels are duly stationed; and they remain until

,. i -_ ,.-I ,

I' ; -



the beach has been cleared. The eggs, in however
offensive a condition, are collected, thrown into a
canoe, and subjected to a vigorous treading process
by the Indians. The shell and young turtle are
flung aside; and water being poured on the residue,
it is left to stand in the sun for several days. Then
the oil on the top is skimmed off, and boiled in
large copper vessels; after which it is stored in
earthen pots of about forty-five pounds' weight.
A turtle averages eighty eggs; and forty turtle will
give a pot.

In December Mr. Herndon reached the mouths,
one a few hundred yards from the other, of the
Japura, a very important Amazonian affluent. The
width of the Amazons at this point is between four
and five miles. Soon afterwards he arrived at the
comparatively busy little town of Ega. With respect
to trade it occupies a very favourable position, being
close to the mouths of three great rivers, the Jurua,
the Japura, and the Teffi, which here expands into
a noble sheet of water, five miles broad, partly en-
closed by green wooded hills. Ega itself consists of
a hundred or so of palm-thatched cottages, and
white-washed red-tiled houses, each in the midst of


its little prolific orchard of orange, lemon, guava,
and banana trees. Groups of stately palms, with
tall, elegant shafts and feathery crowns, rise high
above the buildings and the lower trees. From the
small patch of white sandy beach a broad grassy
street ascends to the open green in the centre of the
town, and the rude barn-like church beyond, con-
spicuous by the wooden crucifix in front of it.
Lieutenant Herndon attended midnight mass in
this church at Christmas-time. He found it well
filled with well-dressed people, and some very pretty
though dusky-skinned ladies. The congregation
was devout; but the lieutenant's own feeling of
devotion was much disturbed by the wretched
grunting of a hand-organ used as an accompani-
ment to the singing !
The alligators that swarm in the river here are a
drawback to the amenities of Ega. In the dry season
they are apt to become very troublesome; and the
bather cannot enjoy his usual aquatic promenade
without danger. The European will do well, as a
traveller suggests, to imitate the natives in not
advancing far from the bank, and in fixing his eye
on that of the monster which stares with a disgust-
ing leer above the surface of the water; the body

"01\ m-~


: :


being submerged to the level of the eyes, and the
top of the head, with part of the ridge of the back,
alone being visible. As soon as any motion is
detected in the water behind the huge reptile's
tail, a quick retreat is advisable. "I was never
threatened myself," says our authority; "but I often
saw the crowds of women and children scared,
whilst bathing, by the beast making a movement
towards them : a general scamper to the shore, and
peals of laughter, were always the result in these
cases. The men can destroy these alligators when
they like to take the trouble to set out with mon-
tarias and harpoons for the purpose ; but they never
do it unless one of the monsters, bolder than usual,
puts some life in danger. This arouses them, and
they then track the enemy with the greatest per-
tinacity; when half-killed they drag it ashore and
despatch it amid loud execrations. Another, how-
ever, is sure to appear some days or weeks after-
wards, and take the vacant place on the station.
Besides alligators, the only animals to be feared are
the poisonous serpents, which are common enough
in the forest."
Ega, in 1850, was only a village, dependent on
Para, fourteen hundred miles distant, as the capital


of the then undivided province. In 1852, when a
new province of the Amazons was created, it bloomed
out into "a city;" and though even now its popula-
tion is not fifteen hundred, it returns members to
the provincial parliament at Barra, and has its
assizes and resident judges, and other signs of re-
spectability. In 1853, steamers began to ply on
the Solimoens; and since 1855, one has run regu-
larly every two months between the Rio Negro and
Nanta in Peru, touching at all the villages, and
accomplishing the whole distance of twelve hun-
dred miles, in ascending, in eighteen days. Trade
and population, however, have increased but slowly.
Yet a great future must be in store for it! It will
yet have a history of its own. For it is singularly
healthy and enjoyable: surrounded by perpetual
verdure, the soil is of marvellous fertility; the
interminable streams and labyrinths of channels
abound with fish and turtle; and in the lake-like
expanse of the Teffi, which opens direct into the
mighty Amazons, a fleet of great steamers might
safely anchor at any season of the year.

Ega is a famous place for holiday-making, as is
natural in so fine a climate, and in a country where


the people have so little to do. We suppose not
a week passes without the excitement of a gala
Not only are innumerable saints' days celebrated,
but also funerals, weddings, christenings, visits from
strangers, and the like. The Irish custom of
" waking" the dead is also an excuse for a subdued
kind of revelry-the women and children sitting on
stools round the laid-out body, with its crucifix and
tapers, and the men gathering at the open door to
smoke, drink coffee, and tell stories. The great
festival of the year is that of Santa Theresa, the
patron-saint; it lasts for ten days, beginning
quietly with litanies sung in the church at close
of day, the greater part of the population attend-
ing, all freshly and brightly dressed in calicoes and
muslins. The church is lighted up with wax
candles inside, and outside with tiny oil lamps,
made of cups of clay, or halves of the thick rind
of the bitter orange. It is not until towards the
end of the festival that devotion gives place to fun.
Then the managers of the festa keep open house,
and for two days and a night the dancing, and drum-
ming, and guitar-tinkling, and drinking by both
sexes,. are uninterrupted. These people at their
merry-makings, says Mr. Bates, resemble very closely


our farmers and peasants at the rural holidays in
sequestered parts of England. The old folk, who
do nothing more than look on, get very talkative
over their cups; the children gambol, and make a
noise, and sit up later than usual; the dull and
reserved suddenly grow loquacious; and the morose
break out into effusive expressions of cordiality and
new-born friendship. The Indian is generally taci-
turn, but on these occasions he gains the use of. his
tongue, and bores his listener with long-winded
reminiscences of incidents which most people have
forgotten, and none would care to have remem-
In the amusements of the St. John's Eve festival,
the principal part is played by the Indians, though
the half-breeds are ready enough to contribute their
share. With both a novel kind of masquerading
seems very popular. They disguise themselves as
animals, or dress themselves up in the most grotesque
costumes imaginable. One of the cleverest will enact
the Cayp6r, a wood-demon, of which the Indians
are very much afraid. This is represented as a
bulky, deformed monster, with a red skin, and long
shaggy red hair hanging half-way down his back.
The favourite animals are bulls, deer, jaguars, and


magoury storks, got up with the assistance of light
wooden frameworks, covered with old cloth properly
dyed, or painted, and shaped. Some of the imita-
tions which I saw," says Mr. Bates, "were capital.
One ingenious fellow arranged an old piece of canvas
in the form of a tapir, placed himself under it, and
crawled about on all fours. He constructed an
elastic nose to resemble that of the tapir; and made,
before the doors of the principal residents, such a
good imitation of the beast grazing, that peals of
laughter greeted him wherever he went. Another
man walked about solitarily, masked as a jabiru crane
(a large animal standing about four feet high), and
mimicked the gait and habits of the bird uncom-
monly well......The makers kept generally together,
moving from house to house, and the performances
were directed by an old musician, who sang the
orders, and explained to the spectators what was
going forward in a kind of recitative, accompanying
himself on a wire guitar......The performances take
place in the evening, and occupy five or six hours;
bonfires are lighted along the grassy streets, and the
families of the better class are seated at their doors,
enjoying the wild but good-humoured fun."
The favourite trees cultivated in the gardens of


Ega (or Teff6, as it is frequently called) are the cocoa-
nut palm, the assai, and the papunha, or peach-
palm. It should be added that to almost every
house is attached a well-stocked turtle-yard,-the
inhabitants depending largely upon turtle for their
Fishing-excursions are easily made from Teffe, and
are not without a certain picturesque character. As
our canoe enters one of the romantic leaf-hidden
creeks so numerous in the forest, lazy alligators may
be seen in the still glassy water, with their heads
just raised above its surface; and a tall heron or
two, planted on the shore, and apparently watching
his reflection in the stream. On reaching a certain
point, our Indian boatmen spring up to their necks
in the water, and stretch the net; which, after a few
minutes, they drag in to shore with a load of fish,
reminding us of St. Peter's miraculous draught.
The fish, as the net is landed, break from it in
hundreds, leaping through the meshes and over the
edges, and covering the beach with their scaly silver.
The Indians show considerable skill in their manage-
ment of the net, and lash the water with long rods
to startle the fish, and drive them into its interior.
Mr. Bates describes a mode of taking fish which


is practised on the Tapajos. A poisonous liana
called timbo (Paullinia pinnata) is used, but will
act only in the tranquil waters of creeks and pools.
A few rods, each about three feet long, are mashed
and soaked in the water, until it becomes discoloured
with the deleterious milky juice. Then, in some
twenty to thirty minutes, all the smaller fishes over
a tolerably wide area rise to the surface, floating on
their sides, and with gills wide open. It is evident
that the poison acts by suffocation; it spreads in the
water slowly, but a very slight mixture seems suffi-
cient to stupify them.
Occasionally the fish are shot at, with bow and
arrow. The arrow is a reed, with a steel barbed
point, which is fixed in a hole at the end, and
secured by fine twine made from the fibres of pine-
apple leaves. Necessarily, this singular method is
successful only in the clearest water; and much
skill is required, in taking aim, to allow duly for
Turtle-hunting is one of the principal occupations
of the inhabitants of Teff6, and a description of the
pastime will not fail to interest our readers.*
We start, therefore, for the turtle-pools, hidden
SFounded on the narrative of M. Agassiz.


away among the forest foliage, in a couple of canoes
chiefly manned by Indians. A long reach of the
river, unbroken by islands, opens out before us; a
glorious breadth of rolling water, stretching away to
the south-east. The country on the left bank is a
portion of the alluvial land which forms the extensive
labyrinthine delta of one of the great Amazonian tri-
butaries, the Japura. Every year it is flooded at
the time of high water; and it is intersected by a
maze of deep and narrow channels, which afford an
outlet for the waters of the Japura, or are connected
with it by the interior water-system of the Cupiy6.
This dreary tract of profitless land extends over
several hundred miles, and contains in its midst an
unnumbered complexity of pools and lakelets,
haunted by turtle, alligators, fishes, and water-
serpents. Our destination is a point about twenty
miles below the village of Shinoun6, and close to the
mouth of the Anand, one of the river-like outflows
of the Japura.
After a three hours' voyage we make for the
land, and bring-to under a steep bank of crumbling
earth, which the river-waters, in their gradual sub-
sidence, have shaped into a succession of terraces or
beaches. The coast-line runs nearly straight for


many miles, and the bank rises about thirty feet
above the present level of the river, with the forest-
growth advancing to its very edge.
On landing, our appetites remind us of the need
for breakfast. A couple of Indian lads set to work
to kindle a huge fire, roast some fish, and boil
coffee; while the others mount the bank, and with
their long hunting-knives begin to clear a path into
the forest.
Breakfast over, we cut a great number of short
poles, and laid them crosswise on the path; then
three light canoes, or nmontaias, which we had
brought with us, were hauled up the bank with
lianas, and rolled away for embarkation on the pool.
Next, a large net, seventy yards long, was brought
ashore, and transported to the fishing-grounds.
These preparations were soon completed by the
Indians, and when we ourselves arrived we found
that they had already begun their sport. Perched
on little stages called months, made of poles and
transverse joints bound together by lianas, they
were shooting the turtle, as they rose near the
surface, with bow and arrow. The Indians were
apparently of opinion that to net the savoury ani-
mals was not a legitimate process, and desired first
(603) 6


to have an hour's practice with their old familiar
The pool covered an area of about four or five
acres, and was completely encircled by the picturesque
and luxuriant forest-growth. The margins for some
distance were swampy, and covered with large tufts
of a fine grass called matupd. In many places these
tufts were mingled with beautiful ferns, while around
them bloomed a ring of arborescent arums, springing
to a height of fifteen or twenty feet. Then, as an
outer circle, stood the taller forest-trees : palmate-
leaved cecropias; shapely assai-palms thirty feet high,
with their smooth and gracefully-curving stems
topped by their crests of feathery foliage; small fan-
leaved palms;-and, behind all, the dense masses of
ordinary forest-trees, their branches hung with leafy
climbers in the most fantastic streamers, garlands,
and festoons. The whole scene was indescribably
But from its fairy-like features we turned to
wonder at the skill displayed by the Indians in
shooting turtle. They did not wait for their coming
to the surface to breathe, but watched for the ripples
on the water, which indicated their movements
underneath. These tracks are called the siriri; and



as soon as one was detected an arrow flew from the
nearest bow, and never failed to penetrate the
cuirass of the submerged chelonian. When the turtle
were at a considerable distance, the aim had neces-
sarily to be taken at a considerable elevation; but
this long range was preferred by the marksmen,
because, as the arrow fell perpendicularly on the
shell, it pierced more deeply.
The arrow used in turtle-shooting has a strong
lancet-shaped steel point, fitted into a peg which
enters the tip of the shaft. This peg is secured to
the shaft by twine made of the fibre of pine-apple
leaves,-the twine being from thirty to forty yards
in length, and neatly wound about the body of the
arrow. When the missile enters the shell out drops
the peg, and the wounded animal descends with it
towards the bottom, leaving the shaft floating on
the surface. Thereupon the fsher paddles his
montaria to the spot, and gently draws the animal
by the twine,--manceuvring it as an angler does a
salmon, and gradually bringing it near the surface,
when he strikes it with a second arrow. The hold
afforded by the two lines is such as to make the
capture of his game quite easy.
Orders were now given to spread the net. A


couple of Indians seized it, and extended it in a
curve at one extremity of the oval-shaped pool,
holding it when they had done so by the perpen-
dicular rods fixed at each end. Its breadth was
about equal to the depth of water-five feet; conse-
quently its shotted side rested on the bottom, while
floats buoyed it up on the surface,-so that the
whole, when the extremities were brought together,
would form a complete trap. The rest of the com-
pany then took up their position around the swamp
at the other end of the pool, and began to beat, with
stout poles, the thick tufts of matupi, so as to drive
the turtle towards the middle.
This activity lasted for an hour or more, the stir
and shouts giving an air of great liveliness to the
scene. Gradually the beaters drew together, driving
the frighted chelonians in a huddled heap before
them; and that the fishing went well was shown by
the number of little snouts constantly popping above
the surface of the water. When they neared the
net we moved more quickly, shouted more lustily,
beat the herbage more vigorously. The ends of the
net were then seized by several stout hands, and
hauled forward with a sudden motion which brought
them into simultaneous contact; in this way the


victims were shut up in a circle. Straightway we
all of us leaped into the enclosure, regardless of the
leeches that infested the pool; the boats came up,
and the turtle, easily captured by the hand, were
thrown into them. Three boat-loads, or about eighty,
were secured in twenty minutes. Having been
taken ashore, each one was secured by the men
tying the flippers with thongs of bast. They were
nearly all young turtle, from three to ten years of
age, and six to eighteen inches in length; fat were
they, and succulent, and a gourmet would have re-
garded them with delight. Roasted in the shell,
they formed a dish "for the gods." These younger
turtle do not migrate with their elders when the
waters sink, but haunt the warm muddy pools,
growing fat upon fallen fruit. We caught also a
few full-grown mother turtle, easily recognized by
the horny skin of their breast-plates being worn,
" telling of their having crawled on the sands to lay
eggs the previous year." Some male turtle, or
capitals, as the natives call them, were also found.
These are distinguished from the females by their
smaller size, more circular shape, and the greater
length and thickness of their tails. The natives
regard their flesh as unwholesome.


A little before sunset we dined on the river-bank,
and the mosquitoes beginning to persecute us, we
crossed the river to a sandbank about three miles
distant, where we stretched ourselves round a large
fire and beguiled the time with conversation. The
Indians told some stirring stories of encounters with
jaguar, manatee, or alligator; and mysterious legends
concerning the bouto, as the large Amazonian dol-
phin is called. They told how of yore a certain
bouto was accustomed to assume the shape of a
beautiful woman, with long locks flowing loosely to
her heels; and how at night she paced the streets of
Ega, and sought by her blandishments to beguile
young men into following her. Then, if any unwary
youth accompanied her to the river-bank, she caught
him round the waist, and with a shout of exultation
plunged beneath the waves. It is curious to meet
on the bank of the Amazons with a fable so like
that of the Lorelei, or water-nymph, of the Rhine.

Fishing operations were resumed on the following
morning, and an exciting incident occurred. When
the net had been joined into a circle, and the men
had leaped in, an alligator was found to be enclosed.
The Indians showed no alarm, and simply expressed


their concern lest the creature should break the net.
First one exclaimed, "I have touched his head! "
then a second, "He has scratched my leg!" and
when a third, a lanky Miranha Indian, was thrown
off his balance, the laughter and shouting grew up-
roarious. At last a youth of about fourteen years
of age seized the reptile by the tail, and clung to it
firmly, until, its resistance being somewhat subdued,
he could drag it ashore. The net was opened, and
the boy slowly hauled the dangerous but cowardly
monster through the muddy water for about a hun-
dred yards. Meantime, one of the party cut a stout
pole from a neighboring tree, and dealt the alliga-
tor a blow on the head which instantaneously killed
it. A good-sized individual it proved to be, with
jaws upwards of a foot in length, and fully capable
of snapping a man's leg in twain. Its species was
the jacar&-uass6 of the Amazons, the Jacare' nigra
of naturalists.
Alligators, or caymans, as we have already said,
swarm in the waters of the Upper Amazons; and it
seems fitting that some reference should here be
made to their characteristics. The natives speak of
many species ; but our best naturalists particularize
only three, one of which is considered to be exceed-


ingly rare. Those most frequently met with are the
jacard-tinga, a small kind, five feet long in an adult,
with a long slender muzzle and a black-banded tail;
and the jacard-uassu, of which we shall speak pre-
sently. The third is the jacard-curua, found only in
the shallow creeks.
The jacard-uassu, or large cayman, grows to a
length of eighteen or twenty feet, and attains a
colossal bulk. Like the turtle, it has its annual
migrations, retiring to the inland pools and flooded
forests in the wet season, and in the dry descending
to the main river. In the middle part of the Lower
Amazons, or between the towns of Obidos and Villa-
nova, it buries itself in the mud during the heats of
summer, and lies in a state of torpidity until the
rains return. But on the Upper Amazons, where
the heat is never extreme, it does not adopt this
habit; and a recent writer asserts that it is no
exaggeration to speak of the waters of the Solimoens
as being as thickly peopled with alligators as a ditch
in England is with tadpoles during the summer
It would seem that the natives regard the cay-
man with mingled feelings of fear and contempt.
Mr. Bates tells us that he once spent a month at



Caigara, a small settlement of half-civilized Indians,
about twenty miles to the west of Ega. His host,
one Senhor Faria, proposed to him that he should
enjoy half a day's net-fishing on "the lake,"-that
is, the expanded bed of a small Amazonian stream,
on which the village was situated. With six Indians
and a couple of the senhor's children, they set out
in an open boat. The waters had sunk so low that
the Indians had to carry the net out into mid-stream,
and at the first draught two medium-sized alligators
were brought to land. Being disengaged from the
net, the Indians, with the utmost unconcern, allowed
them to return to the water, though the two children
were dabbling in it not many yards distant. The
fishing was continued, both the Englishman and the
senhor lending a helping hand; and each time a
number of the reptiles, of different ages and sizes,
were drawn up,-the lake, in fact, swarmed with
alligators. After capturing a large quantity of fish,
the party prepared to return, first securing one of
the alligators with the view of letting it loose among
the swarms of dogs in the village. The individual
selected was about eight feet long; one man holding
his head, and another his tail, while a third took a
few lengths of a flexible liana, and deliberately bound


up the jaws and legs. Thus secured, the creature
was laid across the benches of the boat, and during
the return voyage it behaved with the utmost
decorum. On reaching the village it was conveyed
to the middle of the green, in front of the church,
where the dogs were wont to congregate, and received
its liberty,-a couple of persons arming themselves
with long poles to intercept it if it made for the
water, and the rest exciting and encouraging the
dogs. The alligator's terror was extreme, though
the dogs could not be induced to advance; and it
made off for the water, full speed, waddling like
a duck. An attempt was made to keep it back
with the poles, but it grew enraged, and seizing the
end of one in its jaws, wrested it from the hands of
the person who held it. At length, to prevent it
from escaping, it was summarily despatched.
This anecdote is a striking illustration of the cay-
man's timidity. It never attacks man if its intended
victim prove to be on his guard; but it is not less
crafty than cowardly, and knows when it can ven-
ture on an assault with impunity. A few days after
the incident above recorded, the river-waters sank
to a very low level, so that the port and bathing-
place of the village lay at the foot of a long sloping


bank; and in the muddy shallows, before long, a
large cayman made its appearance. Everybody was
obliged, therefore, to exercise great vigilance when
bathing; and, indeed, most of the people prudently
contented themselves with using a calabash, and
pouring the water over their persons while standing
on the river's brink. Just at this time a large trad-
ing-canoe came up from Para; and, as usual, the
Indian crew spent the first two or three days in wild
revelry ashore. One of the men, in the hot drowsy
noon, when almost all the inhabitants were enjoying
their siesta, took it into his head, which was dis-
ordered with the fumes of drink, to go down alone
to bathe. The only individual who saw him was
the Juiz de Paz, or magistrate, a feeble old man,
reclining in his hammock in the open verandah at
the rear of his house; and he shouted to the
intoxicated Indian to beware of the alligator. He
had not time to repeat the warning, before the man
stripped; and a pair of gaping jaws, suddenly rising
above the surface, seized him round the waist and
drew him under water. With a shriek of agony he
disappeared. The village was aroused; the young
men grasped their harpoons and hastened to the
bank; but, of course, they could do nothing,-a


streak of blood on the surface of the water was all
that told of the Indian's fate. Bent upon ven-
geance, they leaped on board their montarias;
tracked the monster,-which, when it came up to
breathe, was still mangling its victim's remains,-and
killed it, with loud shouts of exultation.

It is curious to notice the promptitude and cer-
tainty with which the Indians of Ega discover the
egg-deposits of the turtle. The reader must recollect
that the beach of the Amazons is the haunt and
breeding-place of many different kinds of animals;
and that it is difficult to distinguish between the
tracks of alligator, capivari, and turtle-between the
nests not only of turtle and alligators, but of the
various kinds of birds and fishes that lay their eggs
in the mud or sand. However, with a quick but,
so to speak, inquiring tread, the Indians walk rapidly
over the sand, as if with "an instinctive perception"
in their step; and the moment they set their foot
upon a spot where eggs are deposited, though no
sign is visible to the unaccustomed eye, they detect
it immediately, and, stooping, dig straight down to
the eggs, which are generally eight or ten inches
under the surface. Besides these tracks and nests


may be noted the rounded shallow depressions in the
mud, which,' according to the fishermen, are "the
sleeping-places of the skates." They are certainly
about the size and form of the skate, and it is not
improbable that the Indian account of their origin is

Not less interesting than their animal-life is the
vegetation on these beaches. In the rainy season
more than half a mile of land, now exposed along
the river-margins, lies wholly under water; the river
rising not only to the edge of the forest, but flinging
its turbid flood far into its leafy depths. In the
glowing summer-days, however, the shore consists,
first, of the beach; next, of a broad belt of tall
grasses, beyond which are the lower shrubs and
trees; and, in the rear of all, the stately forest-
growth. It is then that vegetation makes an effort
to recover lost ground; and the little turbanba (a
cecropia) and a kind of willow (Salix Humboldti-
ana) spring up on the sand, and creep down to the
brink of the waters-only to be destroyed when
these again rise in their might.

During his stay at Ega, Lieutenant Herndon paid
(603) 7


a visit to a settlement of the Yagua Indians, accom-
panied by their padre or priest.
The Yaguas turned out in procession, with bells
ringing and drums beating, to welcome their priest.
Rude triumphal arches of palm branches had been
erected, and under these he was conducted to the
mission-house. The American stranger, however,
was by no means favourably impressed with the
appearance of the padre's flock. Their countenances,
he says, wore a vacant and stupid expression. Their
dress consisted of a girdle of bark round the loins,
with a bunch of fibres of a different kind of bark,
about a foot in length, dependent from the girdle
before and behind. Similar but smaller bunches
were hung around the neck and arms by a collar
and bracelets of small beads. This, however, was
the ordinary dress. On festival days they stained
all their bodies a light brown, and then executed
fantastic devices upon it in red and blue. The long
tail-feathers of the macaw were stuck in the arm-
lets, so as to rise above the shoulders; and a chaplet
of white feathers from the wings of a smaller bird
adorned the head. The dress of the women was
simplicity itself-a yard or two of cotton cloth
rolled around the hips.


Let us take a glance at the huts of the Yaguas.
Long slender poles are fixed in the ground in opposite
rows, at a distance of about thirty feet apart; by
bringing the tops of these together, a rude kind of
arched framework is formed, about twenty feet in
height. In front of the openings of the said arch
similar poles, though not all of the same length, are
planted; and these are bent down and securely
fastened to the tops and sides of the openings.
Inside and outside they are held together by cross
poles; and the entire structure is thickly tli;ti'.tEd
over, until it resembles "a gigantic bee-hive," 'yith
two or three small and narrow entrances. In the
interior, sleeping-rooms are partitioned off by light
walls of cane, each of which is often inhabited by a
whole family ; the central space being reserved for
the general benefit.
On the whole, these Indians seem to lead an
indolent and easy life. They hunt a little, and fish
a little; but a large portion of their time is given
up to smoking, sleeping, and drinking. Their sole
trade or manufacture is hammock-making; the mate-
rial employed being the fibres of the young shoot
of a kind of palm. It must be owned that to
obtain these fibres is no easy work, the tree being


defended by long sharp thorns, and so hard, that it
takes a whole day to cut of a "cogollo," or crown.
The leaves are then split into strips of a suitable
width, and off these the fibres are dexterously
removed with the finger and thumb. The women
next set to work to twist the thread. Sitting on
the ground, they take up a couple of threads, or
yarns, of minute fibre, between the finger and
thumb of the left hand, and lay them, slightly sepa-
rated, on the right thigh. The twist is given by
rolling each thread down the thigh, under the right
hand; afterwards, with a slight, swift motion of the
hand, two threads are brought together, and a roll
up the thigh finishes the cord. A woman will twist
fifty fathoms, about the size of common twine, in
a day.

But we must now take leave of Ega, and in com-
pany with Lieutenant Herndon resume our descent
of the great river.
One of the first points of interest is the lake of
Coary,-a land-locked basin of water, which makes
a splendid harbour, and is approached from the
Amazons by a broad channel, half a mile in length.
Next we come to the mouths of the Purus, which

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