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Departure from Cerro Pasco-Mint at Quinua--San Rafael-Ambo-Quicacan
Huanuco-Cerro de Carpis-Chinchao valley-Huallaga river. By cajoling, and threats of appeal to the military, (a small military force is stationed here as a police,) we got our drunken vagabonds to "load up” and set off by half-past 1 p. m. One of them gave us the
" slip at the outskirts of the town. The other wished to look him up, or at least to get the key of a tambo where two spare mules belonging to them were locked up; but we would not hear of it, and driving the loaded mules on, he was fain to follow. The deserter joined us at our stopping-place for the night, but on finding the condition of things he had to return to the Cerro for his missing beasts.
Almost immediately on leaving the Cerro, and ascending the hills that encircled it on the north, we came in sight of the Eastern Andes, which is here a Cordillera, for it has many abrupt and snow-clad peaks. Close at hand, on the left, was a spot of marshy ground, which had some interest for us, as we were not to quit the waters which we saw trickling in tiny streams from it, until, swelled by many others, they pour themselves into the Atlantic by a mouth one hundred and eighty miles broad. This is the source of the Huallaga, one of the head tributaries of the Amazon.
Seven miles in a N. N. E. direction, and passing many haciendas for the grinding of ore, brought us to the village of Quinua, where a mint was established several years ago, but is now abandoned. The machinery for coining is much better than any I have seen in South America. It was made by a Boston man, named Hacket, who also made nearly all the machinery for the sugar-mills near Huanuco. There are gold mines in this neighborhood, but I think they are not worked. This village is just at the point where, leaving the sterility of the Cerro, we fall in with bushes and flowers.
Four miles further we stopped for the night at a hacienda called Chiquirin, which appears once to have been flourishing, but which is now nearly abandoned, being only tenanted by an old man to take care of the house. The bridge, which crossed the stream in front of the house, had had arched gateways at each end; and a respectable-looking church occupied one side of the patio. A field or two of barley is all the cultivation now about it. Indeed, there seemed little room for
more, for the hills on each side now began to close in and present the appearance of mountains; and I have no doubt that, though still going down hill, we have begun to cross the second range of the Andes. We could get no supper at this place. I was tired enough to care little about it. Had Ijurra been with us he would probably have found something; but he was absent, having dropped the compass on the road and ridden back to look for it. The height of Chiquirin, by boiling point, is eleven thousand five hundred and forty-two feet above the level of the sea.
July 14.—We had a pleasant riile down the valley, which opens a little and gives room for some cultivation. There were pinks and hollyhocks in the little gardens adjoining the cottages; also, cabbages, lettuce, and onions. We stopped to breakfast at Caxarmarquilla, a village of some eight or ten houses. The cura received me hospitably, and
gave some breakfast. He told me there were one hundred and fifty souls in the Doctrina. I should judge there were about thirty in the village. The rock of this district is red sandstone and conglomerate. At six miles further we passed a hacienda where there were roses in bloom, and the flowering pea, with wheat on the bill-side, and a grist-mill; also, alfalfa and maize. Immediately afterwards, a valley from the southward and eastward joined the one I was travelling in, bringing its stream of water to swell the Huallaga. Gypsum crops out of the hills on the road-side, making the roads white. Houses here are whitewashed with it. A mile further is the village of Huariaca, a long, straggling place of one, and in some places two streets. It contains about seven or eight hundred inhabitants. I thought I saw more white people and more industry in this place than is common in the small Sierra towns. We met continually mules laden with tobacco, coca, and fruit, going from Huanuco and the Montaña beyond it to the Cerro. We stopped, at halfpast five, at San Rafael, an Indian town of some two hundred and fifty souls, with a white lieutenant governor, and put up at his house.
I had my bed made inside, instead of outside the house, which was a mistake, as I was “pigging in ” with all the family; and, from want of air, and villanous smell, expected to catch tabardillo before morning. The thermometer was at 62° at 7 p. m., and I imagine did not fall lower than 50° during the night; so that I could very well have slept outside, and advise all travellers to do so, providing themselves with warm bed-clothing. Here I was joined by Ijurra, whom I was very glad to see, and the delinquent arriero, with his two mules. The height of San Rafael, by boiling point, is eight thousand five hundred and fiftyone feet above the level of the sea.
July 15.—We got alfalfa for our mules, but it is now getting very scarce. The valley, after leaving San Rafael, is very narrow, and the road rises and falls along the bare flanks of the mountains. The character of the rock is a dark schist; the growth, willows—palma christi—maguey, (a species of cactus, with a very long, broad, yet sharp-pointed leaf,) which throws out from the centre of a clump of leaves, a light stalk of three or four inches diameter at the base, and frequently thirty feet in height. This flowers towards the top, and bears a sort of nut-like fruit. The stem is much used for roofing houses, and the broad, thick leaves serve for thatch.
We shot at condors hovering over a dead mule, and saw a small hawk of variegated and pretty plumage, which we had before seen near Oroya. About ten miles from San Rafael we were crossing the highest part of the chain. An opening in the mountains to the right gave us a view of some splendid snow-clad peaks. After an hour's ride over a pre cipitous and broken path, rendered dangerous in some places by the sliding of the earth and soft rock from above upon it, we commenced a very sharp descent, which brought us, in fifteen minutes, to fruit-trees and a patch of sugar-cane on the banks of the stream. The sudden transition from rugged mountain peaks, where there was no cultivation, to a tropical vegetation, was marvellous. A few miles further on we crossed the boundary-line between the provinces of Pasco and Hua
The transition is agreeable, and I was glad to exchange the mining for the agricultural country. At half-fast four, we arrived at the town of Ambo, a village of one thousand inhabitants, situated at the junction of the rivers Huacar and Huallaga. The former stream comes down a ravine to the westward; each is about thirty-five yards broad, and uniting, they pour their waters by the town with great velocity. The rock of this region is mostly an argillaceous schist, though just above Ambo the road was bordered by a perpendicular hill of beautiful red sand-stone. The strata all along this route are nearly north and south in their directions, and have an inclination upwards towards the north of from forty to seventy degrees.
Two miles from Ambo, on the right or opposite bank of the river, is another very pretty little village, almost hidden in the luxuriant vegetation about it. The whole valley now becomes very beautiful. From the road on which we were travelling to the river's brink, (a breadth of quarter of a mile) the land (which is a rich river bottom) is laid off into alternate fields of sugar-cane and alfalfa. The blended green
and yellow of this growth, divided by willows, interspersed with fruit trees, and broken into wavy lines by the serpentine course of the river, pre
sented a gay and cheerful appearance, which, contrasting with the for bidding aspect of the rocks we had just left, filled us with pleasurable emotions, and indicated that we had exchanged a semi-barbarous for a civilized society. The only drawback with me was excessive fatigue. When Ijurra rode back to Cerro Pasco for the compass, he happened to be mounted on my mule. This gave her extra work; and the ride of to-day was a long one, so that the little beast by this time could barely put one foot before the other. There is scarcely anything more fatiguing than to ride a tired horse; and when I arrived (at five) at the hospitable gates of the hacienda of Quicacan, and with difficulty lifted myself out of the saddle, it was with the deep sigh which always accompanies relief from pain, and which was much more pleasurable than the sight of waving fields and babbling brooks.
The owner of the hacienda-an English gentleman, named Dyer, to whom I brought letters from Cerro Pasco-received me and my large party exactly as if it were a matter of course, and as if I had quite as much right to enter his house as I had to enter an inn. The patio was filled with horses, belonging to a large party from Huanuco bound to Lima, and every seat in the ample portico seemed filled. I was somewhat surprised at the size and appointments of the establishment. It looked like a little village of itself, with its offices and workshops. The dwelling-a large, substantial, though low building, with a corridor in front supported on massive arches, and having the spaces between the pillars enclosed with iron wire to serve for cages for numerous rare and pretty birds-occupied one side of the enclosed square; store-rooms occupied another; the sugar-house, another; and a chapel, the fourth. A bronze fountain, with an ample basin, decorated the centre. I was strongly reminded of the large farm-houses in some parts of Virginia: the same number of servants bustling about in each other's way; the children of the master and the servant all mixed up together; the same in the hospitable welcome to all comers; the same careless profusion. When I saw the servants dragging out mattresses and bed-clothing from some obscure room, and going with them to different parts of the house to make pallets for the visitors who intended to spend the night, I seemed carried back to my boyish days, and almost fancied that I was at a country wedding in Virginia. We dined at six in another spacious corridor, enclosed with glass, and looking out upon a garden rich with grape-vines and flowers. After dinner, the party broke up into groups for cards or conversation, which continued until ten o'clock brought tea and bed-time.
I conversed with an intelligent and manly Frenchman named Escudero.
His account of the seeking and gathering of Peruvian bark was exceedingly interesting; and I should judge that it is an occupation which involves much fatigue and exposure. IIe spoke very highly of the mechanical abilities of my countryman, Miguel Hacket, and gave me a letter to deliver to him wherever I might find him.
I also had some talk with quite a pretty young woman, who had come from Quito by the way of the Pastaza, Marañon, and Huallaga rivers. She said she was scared at the malos pasos, or rapids of the river, and never could relish monkey soup; but what gave her most uneasiness was the polite attention of the Huambisas Indians. She declared that this was frightful, and swore a good round oath, (that might have satisfied Hotspur in a lady,) " Caramba! but they were mad for a white wife.” Report here says that she prefers Yankee to Indian, and is about to bestow her hand upon a long countryman of ours, the head blacksmith, named Blake.
July 16.--Dyer had put me into a wide "four-poster.” None but a traveller in these parts can imagine the intense pleasure with which I took off
my clothes and stretched my weary limbs between linen sheets, and laid my head upon a pillow with a frilled case to it. I could scarcely sleep for the enjoyment of the luxury. Rest, too, has renewed
, my beast; and the little black, which I thought last night was entirely done
up, is this morning as lively as a filly. The sugar-mill of Quicacan is composed of an overshot wheel, turned by a race brought from the river far above, and giving motion to three heavy brass cylinders that crush the cane between them. The juice falls into a receptacle below, and is led off by a trough to the boilers, which are arranged in order over the furnaces like a common kitchen range. After a certain amount of boiling, it is poured by means of ladles into wooden moulds, greased and laid on the ground in rows. This makes the chancaca, so much used throughout Peru. It supplies the place, in this country, to the lower classes, which the wares of candy shops do in our own. Two of the moulds are put together and enveloped in the leaf of the cane. They make a pound, and are sold at the hacienda for six and a quarter cents.
Cutting the cane, bringing it in, stripping it and cutting off the tops, supplying the mill, boiling the sugar, and making the chancaca, employ about twenty men and four mules. With this force one hundred dollars' worth of chancaca may be made in a day; but Mr. Dyer says that he is not now making more than twenty or thirty dollars, and not paying his expenses. He attributes this to the fact that his fields are wearing out and require replanting. He thinks that cane should be