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After San Pedro, at about three miles of distance, comes the hacienda of Santa Ana, belonging to Señor Ximenes, an old gentleman of Lima, who had made a large fortune by mining. Just before reaching there we met a drove of one hundred and fifty mules belonging to him, in fine condition and well appointed, going to Lima, laden with small sticks of the willow and molle for fuel.
There is very little cultivation till near Cocachacra, where we saw well-tilled fields, green with alfalfa and Indian corn. We arrived at this place at half-past five, and pitched the tent in a meadow near the river and without the town, for the purpose of avoiding company and disagreeable curiosity.
Although we had seen fields of lucern before entering the village, we could get none for our mules after we got there; and to every inquiry for hay, fodder, or grain, the constant reply was "No hay," (there is none.) Gibbon, however, persevered until some one told him, in an undertone, as if imparting a great secret, where a little corn was to be purchased, and he got a peck or two shelled. We were continually annoyed and put to inconvenience by the refusal of the people to sell I think it arose from one of two causes, or probably both—either that money was of less value to them than the things we wanted, or they feared to have it known that they had possessions, lest the hand of authority should be laid upon them, and they be compelled to give up their property without payment.
Cocachacra is a village of about one hundred inhabitants, and at present the residence of the sub-prefect or governor of the province, which is that of Huarochiri. This province, according to the "Guia de Forasteros," (a sort of official almanac published yearly at Lima,) is conterminous with that of Lima, and commences at eighteen miles from the city. It has ninety miles of length from N. W. to S. E., and seventy-two of breadth. There are fourteen thousand two hundred and fifty-eight native inhabitants; and its fiscal income is fourteen thousand two hundred and fifty-eight dollars and two reals; its municipal, one thousand one hundred and eighty-seven dollars. The inhabitants are generally engaged in mining, cultivating potatoes, and raising cattle, or as muleteers. The houses, like all those of the Sierra, are built either of stone or adobe, and thatched with wheat or barley
We called on the sub-prefect and exhibited our Peruvian passports, asking, at the same time, that he would give us some assistance in obtaining food for our beasts. This he seemed lukewarm about, and I did not press him, for I had made up my mind that as far as it was
possible I would avoid appealing to authority for the purpose of obtaining supplies, and go without what I could not buy or beg. He had in the house the semi-yearly contribution of his province towards the support of the government, which he was to send to Lima next day. A gentleman suggested that he might be robbed that night; but he said that his guns were loaded, (pointing to some muskets standing around the room,) and that he might count upon assistance from our party, which seemed well armed.
Very little help he would have had from us. He had shown no disposition to oblige us, and moreover I had no notion of interfering in other people's quarrels, or preventing the people from taking back their money if they wanted it. This contribution is a capitation tax of seven dollars a year, collected half-yearly from the Indian population between the ages of sixteen and sixty. It is collected by the governors of the districts into which a province is divided, who receive two per centum on their collections, and pay over to the sub-prefect, who receives four per cent. on the whole amount collected from the districts of his province. The prefects of the departments, which are made up of a number of provinces, receive a regular salary, according to the size and wealth of their departments, varying from three to five thousand dollars. We slept comfortably in the tent. Nights getting cool.
May 25.-Started at 10 a. m. Valley getting so narrow as not to allow room for the road, which is in many places cut from the rock on the side of the hill, very narrow, rough and precipitous, rising and falling as it crosses the spurs of the hills. The general character of the rock is a feldspar porphyry, succeeded, as the road ascends, by a very coarse-grained trachyte porphyry, reaching as far as Surco. Vegetation, willow, molle, and many varieties of the cactus. We passed on the road the ruins of an ancient Indian town; the houses had been small, and built of stone on terraces cut from the mountain side.
At two we passed through the village of Surco, the largest we have seen on the road. It appears capable of holding five or six hundred people, but seemed deserted-nearly every house closed, and many falling into decay. We were told that the inhabitants were away over the hills, looking after their plantations and flocks, and that they returned at night. But if this is so, judging from the height of the mountains on each side of the village, I should say that half their time is lost in going and returning from their work.
Here we leave the district called the Coast and enter upon that called the Sierra. There is tertiana below, but none above this. Dr. Smith, speaking of the climate of this district, says, "that it is neither
winter nor summer, but one perpetual spring. It is out of the sphere of frosts, and exempted from the raw fogs and sultry heats of the coast. The atmospherical currents of mountain and coast meet here and neutralize each other; the extremes of both disappear; and the result is a delicious climate for the convalescent, whose tender organs require a gentle, uniform temperature, alike removed from the extremes of heat and cold, dryness and moisture. With this important fact the delicate inhabitants of Lima are perfectly acquainted; and they are accustomed to resort to the 'Cabezadas,' or headlands of valleys, where these verge on the joint air of mountain and coast, as, for example, Matucana, the favorite resting-place of phthisical and hæmoptic individuals, who find themselves obliged to retire from the capital in order to recover health by visiting those celebrated sites of convalescence, Tarma and Juaxa.” We certainly had delicious weather, but did not stay long enough, of course, to pronounce authoritatively upon its general climate.
At 5 p. m., we arrived at the Chacra of Moyoc, belonging to Ximenes. Here we pitched for the night, having travelled about fifteen miles, which is our usual day's journey, between ten and five. This is a most beautiful little dell, entirely and closely surrounded by mountains. The valley has widened out so as to give room for some narrow patches of corn and alfalfa. The Rimac, here a "babbling brook," rushes musically between its willow-fringed banks; and the lingering of the sunlight upon the snowy summits of the now not distant Cordillera, long after night had settled upon the valley, gave an effect to the scenery that was at once magical and enchanting.
The nights in the Cordillera at this season are very beautiful. traveller feels that he is lifted above the impurities of the lower strata of the atmosphere, and is breathing air entirely free from taint. I was never tired of gazing into the glorious sky, which, less blue, I think, than ours, yet seemed palpable—a dome of steel lit up by the stars. The stars themselves sparkled with intense brilliancy. A small pocket spy-glass showed the satellites of Jupiter with distinctness; and Gibbon even declared on one occasion that he could see them with the naked eye. I could not, but my sight is bad at night. The temperature is now getting cool, and I slept cold last night, though with all my clothes on, and covered with two parts of a heavy blanket and a woollen poncho. The rays of the sun are very powerful in the day until tempered by the S. W. wind, which usually sets in about eleven o'clock in the morning.
The steward of Ximenes, a nice old fellow, with a pretty young wife, gave us, at a reasonable price, pasturage for the beasts and a capital