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Passports—Means of defence–The road—Pacayar-Chaclacayo-Narrow pass
Yanacoto-Bridge-Cocachacra— Tribute money-Dividing line between the coast and the Sierra-Moyoc-Varieties of the potato-Matucana-San MateoMines of Parac-Narrow valley-Summit of the Cordillera–Reflections.
Before leaving Lima I had had several interviews with the President, General Castilla, who exhibited much interest in my mission; and the Hon. J. R. Clay. U. S. chargé d'affaires, had presented me to General Torrico, who at that time was sole Minister of Peru, under the newly elected President, General Echenique, who yet had not had time to appoint his Cabinet. General Torrico caused to be issued to me the following passport and letter:
JUAN CRISOSTOMO TORRICO,
Minister of War and Marine, and charged with the conduct of
Foreign Relations. In that Wm. Lewis Herndon, lieutenant of the navy of the United States, and Lardner Gibbon, passed midshipman of the same, commissioned by their government to make a scientific expedition in the Territory of Peru, direct themselves towards the interior of the republic for the discharge of their commission, accompanied by Henry Richards, Manuel Ijurra, Mauricio N., attached to said commission, and by two servants:
Therefore, I direct that the authorities of the districts they may pass through shall place no obstacle in the way of the above-mentioned gentlemen and servants; but, rather, shall afford them all the assistance and facilities that may be necessary for the fulfilment of their object, preserving to them the considerations which are their due-guardandole las consideraciones que les son debidas.) Given in Lima, the 13th of May, 1851.
J. C'MO. TORRICO.
To the PREFECT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AMAZONAS.
SIR: Wm. Lewis Herndon, lieutenant of the navy of the United States, and Lardner Gibbon, passed midshipman of the same, commissioned by the government of that nation to make a scientific expedition in the eastern parts of Peru, accompanied by Henry Richards, Mauricio N., and Manuel Ijurra, as adjuncts to the expedition, direct themselves towards the department under your command in the discharge of their commission. As the expedition deserves, on account of its important object, the particular protection of the government, his Excellency the President commands me to advise you to afford them whatever resources and facilities they may need for the better discharge of their commission, taking care, likewise, that there shall be preserved to them the considerations that are their due. The which I communicate to you for its punctual fulfilment. God preserve you.
J. C'MO. TORRICO.
This passport was made out at a time when I expected to procure two servants. Mauricio, the Chamicuros Indian, was the only servant who accompanied us.
We were accompanied for a mile or two on the road by our kind friends and countrymen, Messrs. Prevost, Foster, and McCall, who drew up at the Cemetery to bid us good-bye; Mr. Prevost advising us to halt at the first place we could find pasturage for the mules. The road we were to travel had reputation for robbers, and Mr. McCall desired to know how we were to defend ourselves in case of attack, as we carried our guns in leather cases, strapped to the crupper, and entirely out of reach for a sudden emergency.
Gibbon replied by showing his six-barrelled Colt, and observed that Ijurra, Richards, and myself had each a pair of pistols at hand. As for Mauricio, he kept his pistols in his saddle-bags; and I was satisfied, from some attempts that I had made to teach Luis to shoot, (though he was very ambitious and desirous to learn,) that it was dangerous to trust him with a pair, as he might as readily fire into his friends as his enemies. With the comfortable observation from Mr. McCall that he never expected to see us again, we shook hands and parted.
Our course lay about E. N. E. over an apparently level and very
stony road. To the right were the green cane and alfalfa* fields, about
Just before sunset we stopped at the hacienda (estate, or farm, or
Before the mules could be unloaded it became very dark; so that the arriero and Mauricio had considerable trouble in driving them to the pasturage. Indeed, some of them got away; I could hear them galloping furiously up and down the road, and I went to bed, on a table, in the only room in the house, with the comfortable reflection that I had balked at starting, and should have to return or send back to Lima to buy more mules.
Tormented with these reflections, and oppressed with the excitement and fatigue of the day, I could not sleep; but tossed “in restless ecstasy" for many a long hour, until just before daylight, when, as I was dropping to sleep, a couple of game cocks, tied by the leg in the room, commenced “their salutation to the morn," and screamed out their clarion notes within a yard of my ear.
This was too much for I rushed out to meet a heavenly morning and old Luis, with the intelligence that the mules were “all right.” I took off my upper clothes, and plunged head, neck, and shoulders, into the water of a little mountain stream that rushed clear and cold as ice by the roadside in front of the house. Thus refreshed and invigorated, the appearance of affairs took a new aspect, and light-heartedness and hope came back as strong and fresh as in the days of boyhood.
The mayordomo, or steward of the estate, was a Chino, (descendant of Indian and negro,) and seemed an amiable and intelligent fellow.
*A very green and pretty kind of lucern, universally used in this country for pasturage.
He gave us a supper of a thin soup (caldo) and chupe ;* and whilst we were eating it, he was engaged in teaching the children of a neighbor the multiplication table and the catechism.
From the appearance of things, I judge this estate paid little enough to its owner; for I saw small signs of cultivation about it, though I should think that the valley of the Rimac, which is a full mile in width in front of the house, would produce good and considering the short distance to Lima) valuable crops of grass and vegetables. The land is ploughed with a rude, heavy, wooden plough of one handle, which is shod with iron. It is generally worked by a yoke of oxen.
The house was built of adobe, or sun-dried bricks, and roofed with tiles. It had but one room, which was the general receptacle for all comers. A mud projection, of two feet high and three wide, stood out from the walls of the room all round, and served as a standing bed place for numbers. Others laid their blankets and pouchos, and stretched themselves, upon the floor; so that, with whites, Indians, negroes, trunks, packages, horse furniture, game cocks, and Guinea pigs, we had quite a caravansera appearance. The supper and bed that the steward had given us were gratuitous; he would accept no remuneration; and we got our breakfast of chupe and eggs at a tambo or roadside inn nearly opposite.
Though we commenced loading up soon after daylight, we did not get off until half past nine. Such delays were invariable; and this was owing to the want of a peon and another servant.
The height of Pacayar above the level of the sea is one thousand three hundred and forty-six feet.
May 22.-Roads still good; valley gradually narrowing, and hills becoming higher and more barren and rocky. We passed several squads of asses and llamas carrying potatoes and eggs, some of them as far as from Jauja to Lima. Six miles from Pacayar is the village (pueblo) of Chaclacayo, consisting of four or five houses, constructed of cane and mud. A mile further is the Juzgado of Sta. Ines, quite a large, good-looking house, with a small chapel near it. This was the residence, in the Spanish times, of a justice of the peace, who administered law and judgment to his neighbors; hence called Juzgado. Soon after leaving this the stream approached the hills so close that there was no longer room between them for the road; and this had to be cut out of
* Chupe is a universal article of diet in the Sierra. It is a broth, or soup, made generally of potatoes, cheese, and lard; sometimes meat is boiled in it. It is the last dish served at dinner at a gentleman's table before the dessert.
the side of the hill. It was very narrow, and seemed, in some places, to overhang the stream fifty feet below it. Just as we were turning an angle of the road we met a man driving two horses before him, which immediately mingled in with our burden mules, and endangered their going over the precipice. Our arriero shouted to the man, and, spurring his horse through the mules, commenced driving back the horses of the other, who flourished his whip, and insisted upon passing. I expected to see a fight, and mischief happen, which would probably have fallen upon us, as the other had nothing to lose, when Ijurra called out to him, and represented that our cargoes were very valuable, and that if one were lost he should be held responsible; whereupon he desisted, drove his horses back, and suffered us to pass. This caused us to be more careful in our march ; and I sent Gibbon, with Richards, ahead, to warn persons, or give us warning in time to prevent a collision.
The burden-mules were driven by the arriero and the servant in the middle; while Ijurra and I brought up the rear.
At 2 p. m., we stopped at the Tambo of Yanacoto. I determined to stay here a day or two to get things shaken into their places, and obtain a new error and rate for the chronometer, which had stopped the day before, a few hours out of Lima, though we had not discovered it till this morning. I cared, however, very little for this, as I was satisfied that it would either stop again or so vary in its rate as to be worthless. No chronometer will stand the jar of mule-travel over these roads, especially if carried in the pocket, where the momentum of the jar is parallel to the movement of the balance-wheel of the watch. Were I to carry a chronometer on such a journey again, I would have it placed in its box on a cushion on the saddle-bow, and when I travelled in a canoe, where the motion is the other way, I would hang it up. We pitched the tent in the valley before the road, and proceeded to make ourselves as comfortable as possible; got an observation for time, and found the latitude of Yanacoto, by Mer. alt. of Crucis, to be 11° 57' 20".
May 23.—Bathing before breakfast is, on this part of the route, both healthful and pleasant. There seemed to be no cultivation in this valley, which here is about half a mile wide. It is covered with bushes, except close to the water's edge, where grow reeds and flags. The bushes are dwarf willow, and a kind of locust called Sangre de Christo, which bears a broad bean, containing four or five seed, and a pretty red flower, something like our crape myrtle. There is also a bush, of some ten or twelve feet in height, called Molle. This is the most common shrub of the country, and has a wider climatic range than any other of this slope of the Andes. It has long, delicate leaves like the acacia, and