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have it, on the ground that it wanted repairs. We were, therefore, obliged to take two small ones that would barely carry the trunks and boxes, and embark ourselves in the canoe of the Portuguese.
We have found this man, Don Antonio da Costa Viana, and his family, quite a treasure to us on the road. He is a stout, active little fellow, about fifty years of age, with piercing black eyes, long black curls, a face burned almost to negro blackness by the sun, deeply pitted with the small-pox, and with a nose that, as Ijurra tells him, would make a cut-water for a frigate. He is called paraguá, (a species of parrot,) from his incessant talk; and he brags that he is “ as well known on the river as a dog." He has a chacra of sugar-cane and tobacco, with a trapiche, at Tarapoto. He sells the spirits that he makes for tocuyo, and carries the tocuyo, tobacco, and chancaca to Nauta, selling or rather exchanging as he goes. His canoe is fifty feet long and three broad, and carries a cargo which he values at five hundred dollars; that is, five hundred in efectos—two hundred and fifty in money, It is well fitted with armayari and pamacari, and carries six persons-Antonio, himself, his wife, and his adopted daughter, a child of ten years; besides affording room for the calls of hospitality. My friend is perfect master of all around him; (a little tyrannical, perhaps, to his family;) knows all the reaches and beaches of the river, and every tree and shrub that grows upon its banks.
He is intelligent, active, and obliging; always busy: now twisting fishing-lines of the fibres of a palm called chambora ; now hunting turtle-eggs, robbing plantain-fields, or making me cigars of tobacco-leaves given me by the priest of Chasuta. Every beach is a house for him; his peons build his rancho and spread his musquito curtain; his wife and child cook his supper. His mess of salt fish, turtleeggs, and plantains, is a feast to him; and his gourd of coffee, and pipe afterwards, a luxury that a king might envy. IIe is always well and happy. I imagine he has picked up and hoarded away, to keep him in his old age, or to leave his wife when he dies, some few of the dollars that are floating about here; and, in short, I don't know a more enviable person. It is true Doña Antonia gets drunk occasionally; but he licks her if she is troublesome, and it seems to give him very
little concern. I sometimes twit him with the immorality of robbing the poor In dians of their plantains; but he defends himself by saying, “That to take plantains is not to steal; to take a knife, or a hatchet, or an article of clothing, is; but plantains, not. Every body on the river does it. It is necessary to have them, and he is perfectly willing to pay for them, if he could find the owners and they would sell them." The old rascal is very religious, too; he has, hanging under the pamacari of his boat, a silver Crucifix and a wooden St. Anthony. He thinks a priest next of kin to a saint, and a saint perfection. He said to me, as his wife was combing her hair in the canoe, “A bald woman, Don Luis, must be a very ugly thing: not so a bald man, because St. Peter, you know, was bald;" and I verily believe that, although he is very vain of his black curls, were he to lose them, he would find consolation in the reflection that he had made an approach, in appearance at least, towards his great exemplar.
We shoved off from Sta. Cruz at sunset, and camped on the beach a mile lower down. It is very well to do this, for the canoe-men are taken away from the temptation of the villages, and are sober and ready for an early start next morning.
August 31.-Started at 6 a. m.; camped on the beach at a quarterpast 5 p. m.
September 1.--Heavy clouds and rains both to the northward and eastward and southward and westward, with an occasional spit at us; but we set the rain at defiance under the palm-thatched roof of Antonio. At half-past 3 p. m. we arrived at Laguna. This town, the principal one of the district, and the residence of the governor, is one and a half mile from the port. The walk is a pleasant one through the forest at this season, but is probably mud to the knees in the rains. It contains one thousand and forty-four inhabitants; and the productions of the neighborhood are wax, sarsaparilla, copal, copaiba, and salt fish. I have seen all these in the hands of the Indians, but in small quantities; there being so little demand for them.
The Cocamillas, who form the largest part of the population of Laguna, are lazy and drunken. They are capital boatmen, however, when they have no liquor; and I had more comfort with them than with
any other Indians except those of Tingo Maria. September 2.—Waiting for boats and boatmen. There are no large canoes, and we are again compelled to take two. I was surprised at this, as I was led to believe--and I thought it probable—that the nearer we got to the Marañon the larger we should find the boats, and the means of navigation more complete. But I have met with nothing but misstatements in my whole course. The impression I received in Lima of the Montaña was, that it was a country abounding not only with the necessaries, but with the luxuries of life, so far as eating was concerned. Yet I am now satisfied that if one hundred men were to start without provisions, on the route I have travelled, the half must inevitably perish for want of food. Of meat there is almost none; and even salt fish, yuccas, and plantains are scarce, and often not to be had; game is
shy; and the fish, of which there are a great number, do not readily take the hook; of fruit I have seen literally none edible since leaving Huanuco.
At Chasuta I was assured that I should find at Yurimaguas every facility for the prosecution of my journey; yet I could get neither a boat nor a man, and had to persuade my Chasuta boatmen to carry me on to Sta. Cruz, where the Yurimaguas people said there would be no further difficulty. At Sta. Cruz I could get but two small and rotten canoes, with three men to each, for Laguna, which, being the great port of the river, could, in the estimation of the people at Sta. Cruz, furnish me with the means of crossing the Atlantic if necessary. I had been always assured that I could get at Laguna one hundred Cocamillas, if I wanted them, as a force to enter among the savages of the Ucayali; but here, too, I could with difficulty get six men and two small canoes to pass me on to Nauta, which I expected to find, from the description of the people above, a small New York. Had it not been that Senhor Cauper, at that place, had just then a boat unemployed, which he was willing to sell, I should have had to abandon my expedition up the Ucayali, and built me a raft to float down the Marañon.
We found at the port of Laguna two travelling merchants, a Portuguese and a Brazilian. They had four large boats of about eight tons ach, and two or three canoes. Their cargo consisted of iron, steel, iron implements, crockery-ware, wine, brandy, copper kettles, coarse, short swords, (a very common implement of the Indians,) guns, ammunition, salt fish, &c., which they expected to exchange in Moyobamba and Chachapoyas for straw-hats, tocuyo, sugar, coffee, and money. They were also buying up all the sarsaparilla they could find, and despatching it back in canoes. They gave for the arroba, of twentyfive pounds, three dollars and fifty cents in goods, which probably cost in Pará one dollar. They estimated the value of their cargoes at five thousand dollars. I have no doubt that two thousand dollars in morey would have bought the whole concern, boats and all; and that with this the traders would have drifted joyfully down the river, well satisfied with their year's work. They invited us to breakfast off roast pig; and I thought that I never tasted anything better than the farinha, which I saw for the first time.
Farinha is a general substitute for bread in all the course of the Amazon below the Brazilian frontier. It is used by all classes, and in immense quantities by the Indians and laborers. Our boatmen in Brazil were always contented with plenty of salt fish and farinha. Every two or three hours of the day, whilst travelling, they would stop