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resembling a cross between a squirrel and a hare, is placed on top for a sight. The arrow is made o' a light wood, generally the wild cane, or the middle fibre of a species of palm-leaf, which is about a foot in length, and of the thickness of an ordinary lucifer match. The end of the arrow, which is placed next to the mouth, is wrapped with a light, delicate sort of wild cotton, which grows in a pod upon a large tree, and is called huimba; and the other end, very sharply pointed, is dipped in a vegetable poison prepared from the juice of the creeper, called bejuco de ambihuasca, mixed with aji, or strong red pepper, barbasco, sarnango, and whatever substances the Indians know to be deleterious. The marksman, when using his pucuna, instead of stretching out the left hand along the body of the tube, places it to his mouth by grasping it, with both hands together, close to the mouth piece, in such a manner that it requires considerable strength in the arms to hold it out at all, much less steadily. If a practised marksman, he will kill a small bird at thirty or forty paces. In an experiment that I saw, the Indian held the pucuna horizontally, and the arrow blown from it stuck in the ground at thirty-eight paces. Commonly the Indian has quite an affection for his gun, and many superstitious notions about it. I could not persuade one to shoot a very pretty black and yellow bird for me because it was a carrion bird; and the Indian said that it would deteriorate and make useless all the poison in his gourd. Neither will he discharge his pucuda at a snake, for fear of the gun being made crooked like the reptile; and a fowling piece or rifle that has once been discharged at an alligator is considered entirely worthless. A round gourd, with a hole in it, for the huimba, and a joint of the caña brava, as a quiver, completes the hunting apparatus.
August 3.-Went to church. The congregation—men, women, and children--numbered about fifty; the service was conducted by the governor, assisted by the alcalde. A little naked, bow-legged Indian child, of two or three years, and Ijurra's pointer puppy, which he had brought all the way from Lima on his saddle-bow, worried the congregation with their tricks and gambols; but altogether they were attentive to their prayers, and devout. I enjoyed exceedingly the public worship of God with these rude children of the forest ; and, although they probably understood little of what they were about, I thought I could see its humanizing and fraternizing effect upon all.
At night we had a ball at the governor's house. The alcalde, who was a trump, produced his fiddle; another bad a rude sort of guitar, or banjo; and under the excitement of his music, and the aguadiente of the governor, who had had his cane ground in anticipation of our arrival, we danced till eleven o'clock. The custom of the dance requires that a gentleman should choose a lady and dance with her, in the middle of the floor, till she gives over, (the company around clapping their hands in time to the music, and cheering the dancers with vivas at any particular display of agility or spirit in the dance.) He then presents his partner with a glass of grog, leads her to her seat, and chooses another. When he tires there is a general drink, and the lady has the choice. The Señor Commandante was in considerable request; and a fat old lady, who would not dance with any body else, nearly killed me. The governor discharged our guns several times, and let off some rockets that we had brought from Huanuco; and I doubt if Tingo Maria had ever witnessed such a brilliant affair before.
August 4.-I waked up with pain in the legs and headache from dancing, and found our men and canoes ready for embarkation. After breakfast the governor and his wife, (though I grievously fear that there had been no intervention of the priest in the matter of the union,) together with several of our partners of the previous night, accompanied us to the port. After loading the canoes the governor made a short address to the canoe-men, telling them that we “were no common persons; that they were to have a special care of us; to be very obedient, &c., and that he would put up daily prayers for their safe return;" whereupon, after a glass all round, from a bottle brought down specially by our hostess, and a hearty embrace of the governor, his lady, and my fat friend of the night before, we embarked and shoved off; the boatmen blowing their horns as we drifted rapidly down with the current of the river, and the party on shore waving their hats and shouting their adieus.
We had two canoes : the largest about forty feet long, by two and a half broad; hollowed out from a single log, and manned each by five men and a boy. They are conducted by a puntero, or bowman, who looks out for rocks or sunken trees ahead; a popero, or steersman, who stands on a little platform at the stern of the boat and guides her motions; and the bogas, or rowers, who stand up to paddle, having one foot in the bottom of the boat and the other on the gunwale. When the river was smooth and free from obstructions, we drifted with the current; the men sitting on the trunks and boxes, chatting and laughing with each other; but, as we approached a mal-paso, their serious looks, and the firm position in which each one planted himself at his post, showed that work was to be done. I felt a little nervous at first; but when we had fairly entered the pass, the rapid gesture of the puntero, indicating the channel; the elegant and graceful position of the
popero, giving the boat a broad sheer with the sweep of his long paddle; the desperate exertions of the bogas; the railroad rush of the canoe; and the wild, triumphant, screaming laugh of the Indians, as we shot past the danger, made a scene that was much too exciting to admit of any other emotion than that of admiration.
We passed many of these to-day, and were well soaked by the canoes taking in water on each side; some of them were mere smooth declivities—inclined planes of gravel, with only three or four inches of water on them, so that the men had to get overboard, keep the canoes head on, and drag them down. The average velocity of the river here is three and a half miles to the hour; but when it dashes down one of these declivities, it must be much more. The breadth of the river is a constantly varying quantity, probably never over one hundred and fifty yards, and never under thirty; banks low, and covered with trees, bushes, and wild cane. There were hills on each side, some distance from the bank, but now and then coming down to it. It is almost impossible to estimate the distance travelled with any degree of accuracy. The force of the current is very variable, and the Indians very irregular in their manner of rowing--sometimes paddling half an hour with great vigor, and then suffering the boat to drift with the tide. Averaging the current at three and a half miles the hour, and the rowing at one and a half, with nine hours of actual travel, we have fortyfive miles for a day's journey at this season. I have estimated the number of travelling hours at nine, for we get off generally at 5 a. . m., and stop at 5 p. m. We spend two hours for breakfast, in the middle of the day, and another hour is lost at the shallows of the river, or stopping to get a shot at an animal or bird.
At half-past five we camped on the beach. The first business of the boatmen when the canoe is secured, is to go off to the woods and cut stakes and palm branches to make a house for the patron. By sticking long poles in the sand, chopping them half in two, about five feet above the ground, and bending the upper parts together, they make, in a few minutes, the frame of a little shanty, which, thickly thatched with palm leaves, will keep off the dew or an ordinary rain. Some bring the drift wood that is lying about the beach and make a fire; the provisions are cooked and eaten; the bedding laid down upon the leaves that cover the floor of the shanty; the mosquito nettings spread; and, after a cup of coffee, a glass of grog, and a cigar, (if they are to be had,) everybody retires for the night by eight o'clock. The Indians sleep around the hut, each under his narrow cotton mosquito curtain, which glisten in the moon-light like so many tomb-stones. This was
pleasant enough when provisions were plenty and the weather good; but when there was no coffee or brandy, the cigars had given out, and there was a slim allowance of only salt fish and plantains, with one of those nights of heavy rain that are frequent upon the Marañon, I could not help calling to mind, with some bitterness of spirit, the comforts of the ship-of-war that I had left, to say nothing of the luxuries of home.
August 6.—Started at eight. River seventy yards broad, nine feet deep, pebbly bottom; current three miles per hour. We find in some places, where hills come down to the river, as much as thirty feet of depth. There are some quite high hills on the right-hand side, that might be called mountains; they run north and south. I was surprised that we saw no animals all day, but only river birds—such as black ducks, cormorants, and king-fishers; also many parrots of various kinds and brilliant plumage, but they always kept out of shot. We camped at half-past five, tired and low-spirited, having had nothing to eat all day but a little rice boiled with cheese early in the morning. My wrists were sore and painful from sun-burn, and the sand-flies were very troublesome. Heavy clouds, with thunder and lightning, in the N. W. In the night, fresh breeze from that quarter. We heard tigers and monkeys during the night, and saw the tiger-tracks near the camp next morning.
August 6.-Soon after starting we saw a fine doe coming down towards the river. We steered in, and got within about eighty yards of her, when Ijurra and I fired together, the guns loaded with a couple of rifle-balls each. The animal stood quite still for a few minutes, and then walked slowly off towards the bushes. I gave my gun, loaded with three rifle-balls, to the puntero, who got a close shot, but without effect. One of the balls, a little flattened, was picked up close to where the deer stood. These circumstances made the Indians doubt if she were a deer; and I judge, from their gestures and exclamations, that they thought it was some evil spirit that was ball-proof. I imagine that the ball was flattened either by passing through the branch of a bush or striking some particularly hard bone of the animal, or it might have been jammed in the gun by the other balls.
These Indians have very keen senses, and see and hear things that are inaudible and invisible to us. Our canoe-men this morning commenced paddling with great vigor. I asked the cause, and they said that they heard monkeys ahead. I think we must have paddled a mile before I heard the sound they spoke of. When we came up to them, we found a gang of large red monkeys in some tall trees on the river-side, making a noise like the grunting of a herd of enraged hogs. We landed, and in a few minutes I found myself beating my way through the thick undergrowth, and hunting monkeys with as much excitement as I had ever hunted squirrels when a boy. I had no balls with me, and my No. 3 shot only served to sting them from their elevated position in the tops of the trees, and bring them within reach of the pucunas of the Indians. They got two and I one, after firing about a dozen shots into him. I never saw animals so tenacious of life; this one was, as the Indians expressed it, bathed in shot, (bañado en municion.) These monkeys were about the size of a common terrier-dog, and were clad with a long, soft, maroon-colored hair; they are called cotomonos, from a large goitre (coto) under the jaw. This is an apparatus of thin bone in the wind-pipe, by means of wbich they make their peculiar noise. The male, called curaca, (which is also the appellation of the chief of a tribe of Indians,) has a long red beard. They are called guariba in Brazil, where they are said to be black as well as red; and I believe they are of the species commonly called howling monkeys.
It is scarcely worth while to say that the Indians use parts of this animal for the cure of diseases, for I know no substance that could possibly be used as a remedial agent that they do not use for that purpose. The mother carries the young upon her back until it is able to go alone. If the dam dies, the sire takes charge. There are vast numbers in all the course of the river, and no day passes to the traveller that they are not heard or seen.
When I arrived at the beach with my game, I found that the Indians had made a fire and were roasting theirs. They did not take the trouble to skin and clean 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 farther 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 impression upon it. The one I killed was enceinte ; the fætus about double the size of a wharfrat. I wished to preserve it, but it was too large for any bottles I had; whereupon the Indians roasted and ate it without ceremony.
We also saw to-day several river hogs, and had an animated chase after one, which we encountered on the river-side, immediately opposite a nearly precipitous bank of loose earth, which crumbled under his feet so that he could not climb it. He hesitated to take the water in face of the canoes, so that we thought we had him; but after a little play up and down the river-side, he broke his way through the line of his ad