South America: Peeps at Many Lands - Edith A. Browne

Outward Bound, We Chat

We are setting forth on a tour which will keep us very busy travelling and sight-seeing for a year.

A year—that is a very long time to spend wandering in any part of the world, you are thinking? Well, it has been my good-fortune to have journeyed along all the highways and byways which I am now to have the delight of revisiting as your guide, so I feel I may promise you that we shall not be losing any of our time by losing our way, or through not knowing how many opportunities are provided by railway and shipping companies for the rapid covering of distances in and around South America. Also, I have called upon fractions, even, to help me reckon the greatest distance we can travel across a page of this book by steamer, train, motor-car, horse, mule, bullock-cart and tent-boat—our friend, the publisher, warned me kindly but firmly that we must arrive home on page number 88—and I am stretching to the utmost day the length of our holiday. Further, by the light of my own experiences, which packed with pleasure and interest every moment of a much longer period than we can spend together, I have planned and replanned our circular tour, trying to draw up a programme for enabling you to get the fullest possible measure of enjoyment from the trip. But the vastness of South America compels me to confess to you, at the very beginning of our holiday, that I dare not promise to do more than try to give you the merest peep at that great Continent in the short time at our disposal. Even so we must, as a rule, keep to the highways, giving preference to routes that are served by fast boats and express trains.

Did I hear murmurs of "Only going to see towns—how dull!"

As I am heart and soul with those of you who love the country, the wilder the better, I am particularly glad to be able further to say, in connection with our programme, that the principal highways of South America run through some of the grandest and wildest scenery in the world. There is the famous natural highway of the Amazon, for instance, along which we shall journey for nearly a thousand miles in an ocean-going liner; although we shall be living in luxury on board the steamer, we shall be watching a succession of forest splendours to right and left on the banks of the river, and novel scenes, such as shooting fish with bow and arrow, in the everyday life of the scattered hut-dwellers whose business it is to gather Brazil nuts and collect wild rubber. Again, we shall cross South America by the overland highway known as the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway. Once more we shall travel under modern conditions of comfort and convenience, this time in a train deluxe; but the route first crosses the wide-sweeping Pampas plains, then scales the giant Andes Mountains. After being carried at express rate for nearly twenty-four hours through the heart of rich prairie-lands, which are the great grazing-ground of the Argentine, we shall be slowly hauled up rugged rocks, over yawning chasms and through lava beds, into a wondrously savage region where volcanoes belch forth smoke amidst eternal snow scenes, and afterwards dropped suddenly, through a marvellous series of tunnels, from a height of just 10,500 feet almost to sea-level in fertile Chile. Yet again, we shall make a two days' journey by train from the Pacific Coast to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, but the railway track to that most elevated capital city in the world is merely a thread of civilization, which engineering genius has carried up the Andes to a height of 13,000 feet and across the Bolivian desert. We shall return to the coast by boat across Lake Titicaca, and by another railway-line over the Andes, passing en route through the romantic land of the Incas. And we shall make a nine days' trip in a houseboat up the highway of the River Magdalena to Bogota, the capital of Colombia, and the most remote capital city in South America. That is an experience which, I feel sure, even the most adventuresome of you will consider worthy of being called exciting.

Mule Team leaving Puente del Inca.


You have, I hope, gleaned a rough, general idea that the highways of South America traverse very different country from that in which you are accustomed to find roads, railways, and rivers, and that the great difference in surroundings means you will be travelling on water-ways that Nature has fashioned under peculiarly interesting conditions, and by overland routes which could never have been brought into existence unless numbers of men had pluckily fought many a gallant fight with brains and muscles to overcome extraordinarily difficult obstacles.

For the special information of the adventure-lovers among you, let me throw a little more light on our programme. Interesting as are the South American highways—indeed, they can be described, without exaggeration, as unique—under no circumstances would anyone be justified in attempting to show you South America, even though you are promised but a peep, without taking you for some excursions off the beaten track. In travelling along the routes that have been opened up by the march of civilization, you gradually come to think of South America as a very big land mass, learn to appreciate that much has been done to develop the Continent, and begin to realize that there are many fine opportunities awaiting a much larger population of all classes. But to feel the vastness of South America as something which figures can never be expected to describe, to realize that its possibilities for the production of wealth are practically boundless, and to understand how defiantly strong are the natural difficulties which oppose every new effort to open up the Continent, you must go into wilds which man has not yet attempted to subdue to his welfare.

There was no doubt in my mind, therefore, that our programme must include some excursions off the beaten track, and so narrow is the boundary line in many places between the modern and the primeval, between an up-to-date city and trackless mountains or virgin forests, that many such excursions can be made from highway centres in a few hours. I have a suspicion, though, that the wish was father to the thought when I arranged where we should spend the last days of our holiday; pressure of time necessitated a choice between a railway journey along yet another magnificent highway to Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and a glorious expedition into the interior of British Guiana—I unhesitatingly chose the latter.

With regard to that expedition I shall only tell you, just now, that its goal is a waterfall five times higher than Niagara, that we shall take camp-kit and provisions, journey in a tent-boat, and be dependent for our very lives on the skill of Indians to paddle our little craft along a river which is a series of boiling rapids and fearsome falls. With Georgetown, the capital of British Guiana, as headquarters, we can make the return trip in eleven days. But we should need to spend several months, several years even, in carrying out innumerable other expeditions of a similar nature that explorers have already made within the undeveloped regions of South America; and there are portions of this vast Continent which have not yet been explored.

The European nations which have played a leading part in the history of South America are the Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English.

The Spaniards and the Portuguese were well to the fore in the discovery of the southern portion of the New World, and during the sixteenth century they obtained such widespread power therein—the Portuguese establishing themselves in Brazil and the Spaniards extending their conquests throughout the rest of the land—that onwards for, more or less, three hundred years they were masters of practically the whole of South America. Meanwhile the Dutch, French, and English made various raids on the Latin-American Colonies, partly inspired by a desire for empire-building, partly animated by personal ambition due to the enthusiasm of certain particularly adventuresome compatriots, and very considerably influenced by a spirit or national indignation against the strict trading laws which Spain and Portugal drew up with the object of preventing their neighbours from securing any share of the New World's wealth. Although the Dutch, French, and English all succeeded in getting a firm foothold in South America by establishing trading-stations, none of these rival nations was able to overthrow the rule of the pioneer conquerors in the New World. But, as you all know, each of these rivals to Spain and Portugal was ambitious to become the all-powerful nation in Europe, and in the struggle for European supremacy which took place, Spain and Portugal fell from their high estate. The hold of the enfeebled mother-countries on their South American colonies gradually weakened; gradually, too, the colonies began to realize their own growing strength, and one after another they all found an opportunity of successfully claiming their independence.

Thus it has come to pass that, as a result of many deeds of daring performed in the long-ago days by brave explorers, bold buccaneers, and enterprising traders in South America, Portugal can to-day merely claim that Portuguese is still the language used throughout the Republic of Brazil, and Spain that Spanish is the language used throughout the Republics of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela; whilst England, France, and Holland can boast that, although they share but a comparatively small corner of the Continent, they hold their respective shares—namely, British Guiana, French Guiana, and Dutch Guiana—as colonies. In addition to her mainland territory, Great Britain has the Falkland Islands as a colonial possession. And the United States of North America have recently acquired in Panama a strip of country, known as the Canal Zone, through which they have built the Panama Canal as a short cut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Each of the republics now has a population that forms a separate and distinct nation. The Chileans, for instance, are different in temperament, appearance, and habits from their neighbours in the Argentine, and the Bolivianos would object to being confused with the Panamanians, or vice versa, although all these four peoples are of Spanish origin. Difference of surroundings has favoured the growth of nationalities in South America, together with circumstances that have introduced into some regions numbers of negroes, and into others representatives of various European races.

Chilenos trekking across the frontier.


Some of the present-day South Americans who have some Indian blood in their veins have inherited certain tribal characteristics, as, for instance, good fighting qualities. Otherwise, the native Indians have had very little influence on the history of South America since the days when the Spaniards broke up the highly civilized Inca Empire. Apart from the Incas, however, and a few other tribes, the South American Indians were primitive people when the white man first visited their country, and most of the members of the numerous savage tribes have for generation after generation shown a strong desire to shun the white man's civilization, and to continue to live a very simple life in the heart of the Bush or among remote hills. In contrast to the negroes, who never lose an opportunity of hearing themselves speak, the Indians are very silent people; moreover, the negroes in South America always chatter in the language of the country that has adopted them, but the Indians, who have refused to be adopted by any foreign nation, speak, when occasion demands, in the tribal dialects of their ancestors.

Portuguese South America

Thanks to fine weather, the comfortable accommodation provided on a Booth Line steamer, and a daily round of sports and social festivities, the three weeks since we left Liverpool have slipped by all too quickly.

Look over the side of the boat. The big brown patches you see amidst the green waves consist of muddy water from the Amazon, which is only just beginning to mingle with the clear water of the sea. And you will notice as we go along that the boundary line between brown and green becomes more and more sharply defined. Our fascinating surroundings of water patchwork mean that we are getting near the mouth of the famous river. They remind me, also, that I must hasten to tell you a little about the history and geography of Brazil, the country in which we shall soon be setting foot to begin our tour of South America.

Both Spain and Portugal claim the honour of having discovered Brazil. The Spaniards say that their great navigator, Vicente Pinzon, landed somewhere near Pernambuco during a voyage begun in December, 149*, and took possession of the neighbouring country in the name of the Spanish Crown. Pinzon returned home early in 1500, but the good news he is said to have carried with him does not seem to have been followed up by any attempt at sending out a colonizing expedition.

The Portuguese, on the other hand, maintain that Brazil was discovered in 1500 by one of their enterprising seamen, Pedro Alvarez Cabral; and it is certain that Portugal lost no time, after hearing of Cabral's adventures on strange shores, in taking active steps for further exploring and for colonizing the newly found country. That famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, soon set sail for Brazil; he sighted the coast at a spot not far from where the town of Bahia now stands, but landed farther to the south. Vasco da Gama stayed on shore long enough to make the acquaintance of the neighbouring Indians, and get such information as was possible from them. When he went away he followed Cabral's example of leaving two sailors behind to test the temper and, if they were allowed to live long enough, observe the habits of the wild-looking natives, who went about naked, painted their bodies, and slit their ears, nose, and lips to wear big bones as ornaments. In 1503 a small party of Portuguese went to Brazil to establish a colony, and more of their countrymen soon followed with a similar purpose. There was so much bloodshed owing to quarrels between these early settlers and the natives that Portugal put a temporary stop to the emigration of private individuals to Brazil.

The first national attempt on a large scale to colonize Brazil was made in 1530, under the direction of Martin Affonso de Souza. De Souza and his men, who landed in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Bahia, had the good-fortune to fall in with Correia, one of the Portuguese sailors who had been marooned by Cabral. Correia had managed to win the admiration and respect of the Indians, who regarded this white man as a very superior being; as a result, De Souza and his followers were left in peace to carry out their plans. Bahia, one of the earliest of the Portuguese settlements, soon became a town of considerable importance.

Sugar Loaf, Rio Harbor


Henceforth, as regards Brazil, Portugal had far more to fear from French and Dutch rivalry than from Indian enmity. The French took possession of the mountain-girt Bay of Rio de Janeiro. Their flourishing colony was broken up by the Portuguese in 1560; but a little later the scattered French settlers managed to join forces and recapture Rio, after which it took the Portuguese seven years of hard fighting on land and sea to drive the French from their stronghold. During the seventeenth century the Dutch firmly established themselves in Northern Brazil, with headquarters at the town or Recife, now known as Pernambuco; after a long and fierce war the Portuguese only succeeded in getting the Dutch to let go their hold on Brazil by paying them a very large sum of money.

Portuguese rule in Brazil was carried on under the authority of a Governor-General. But the Portuguese Crown's interest in Brazil was largely concerned with the Colony's possibilities of providing it with funds. During the long period of warfare resulting from the ambitions of other nations as empire-builders, and Portugal's selfish policy of forbidding other nations to trade with Brazil, it was, of course, extremely difficult for anyone to devote attention to colonization schemes; further, the troublous conditions favoured the growth of local jealousies, mismanagement and tyranny, and encouraged the misdoings of lawless adventurers, who recklessly despoiled Brazil in order easily and quickly to make a fortune for themselves. Negro slaves were imported, and the slave-trade became a more and more flourishing one as the continuous discovery of natural treasure raised the demand for labour. The valuable timber abounding in the forests was the first natural source of wealth to be exploited, and Brazil wood soon became famous in Europe. The first great discovery of gold was made in 1699; a few years later came the still more exciting and alluring discovery of particularly fine diamonds.

Neglect and plunder had brought Brazil to a sorry state by the beginning of the nineteenth century; the lower classes were filthy in person and habits, the rich were lazy and luxury-loving, and among all classes murder was a common way of settling quarrels. In 1807 however, circumstances suddenly gave the Colony more promising conditions. Napoleon's armies were overrunning Western Europe, and when the French troops were about to enter Lisbon, the Portuguese Royal Family hastily left on a Portuguese man-of-war for Brazil. The royal party landed at Bahia, the old capital of the colony, and the Prince Regent celebrated his visit by declaring all the Brazilian ports open to general commerce. The royal refugees proceeded to Rio de Janeiro, which soon became the headquarters of the whole Portuguese Empire. There followed a period of very healthy reform, leading to a great increase of population and trade; export and import duties were abolished, schools and hospitals were founded, foreign settlers were invited, and special inducements were held out to foreign manufacturers, engineers, and all kinds of skilled labourers.

In 1815 Brazil was raised to the dignity of a kingdom.

When, after the downfall of Napoleon, the Portuguese Court was moved back to Lisbon, there arose considerable dissatisfaction in Brazil owing to plans for reducing the newly-made kingdom to the condition of a province. In 1822 Brazil proclaimed its independence and elected an Emperor. Three years later Portugal, after vain attempts to reassert her authority, recognized the independence of Brazil.

Portuguese South America had now become the Empire of Brazil. By this time, too, Brazilian-born people had become a new race, distinct from the Portuguese. The new race had sprung from a mixed stock of Portuguese, Indians, negroes, and white settlers of various nationalities. The growing spirit of independence in this race gave birth to a revolutionary party, which succeeded, in 1889, in establishing a Republican Government.

The Republic of Brazil covers an area of nearly three and a quarter million square miles; in other words, it is a country which is more than fifteen times the size of France, and larger than the United States of North America (excluding Alaska). By the way, the simple term "United States" signifies in Brazil the United States of Brazil.

Nearly all this vast country has a "perpetual summer" climate, being situated, for the most part, within the Tropics. Dense forests occupy a large portion of the country, particularly in the Amazon Valley and on the Atlantic Coast between Espirito Santo and Rio Grande do Sul, but there are some broad stretches of prairie-lands and some fine mountain ranges; and last, but of the highest importance, there are the enormous clearings that have been made for agricultural purposes.

Rubber and coffee are the principal exports of present-day Brazil. Sugar, cotton, cocoa, and tobacco, are also very important industries. Pineapples, oranges, limes, lemons, bananas, sweet potatoes and all kinds of tropical fruit and vegetables grow in luxuriance. Cattle are reared on a large scale, particularly in the States of Rio Grande do Sul, Sao Paulo, Minas Geraes, Ceara, Piauhy, Goyaz, and Matto Grosso. There are some splendid opportunities for developing this branch of farming. Gold, diamonds and other precious stones are a considerable source of wealth, but it is believed that only a very small portion of the mineral treasures of Brazil has yet been brought to light. Valuable timber abounds in the forests, but this source of wealth, which originally made Brazil famous, has of late years been much neglected; there are, however, many big schemes on foot for extending the industry.

A Fruit stall in Mollenda


Before we run down to our cabins to change our clothes for the farewell dinner on board the good ship that has brought us into Brazilian waters, let me give you one very necessary hint. You would like to get to know the Brazilians, who are very kind and hospitable people, as well as to see their wonderfully beautiful country? And you understand that no one has a right to express any opinion about people he does not know intimately—people he can never get to know intimately, because he treads on their toes directly he meets them? Well, we are about to land in a country where black folk and coloured folk have been put on a social equality with white folk; so remember the old saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

The City of Para

We have picked up a pilot, who is taking our ship into the island-studded delta of the Amazon. The mouth through which we are passing is that of the big tributary known as the River Tocantins or Path, and the town of Belem do Para is situated at a distance of 86 miles up this river.

The River Amazon is over 3,000 miles long; it receives the waters of more than a thousand tributaries, and the total navigable length of main river and tributaries is about 30,000 miles.

On our right, as we penetrate the mouth of the Tocantins, are the shores of the large island of Marajo; on our left stretch the shores of the mainland. Rubber-trees, sugar-cane and cattle flourish on the island, and cattle-raising is a thriving industry in the mainland corner we are turning. But for hour after hour we see nothing but a picturesque panorama of low-lying bush, with here and there a primitive hut balanced on stilts amidst the tropical wilds. Small wonder, therefore, that the sudden appearance of a big city in the near distance calls forth from all newcomers to this part of the world an excited cry of surprise.

You will soon be discovering that familiarity with Belem do Para—or Path, as it is commonly called—means a series of surprises, that breed increasing admiration and a more and more keen desire to put off the day of leaving the city.

Ocean steamers can berth right alongside the docks at the river-port of Path. The first feature of the harbour works to arrest attention is a long stretch of well-built warehouses. These warehouses, which have such a businesslike appearance, are founded on romance and packed with romance. They were called into existence by the rubber-trees of the Amazon Valley. Vast fortunes, in the form of rubber from the Amazonian forests, have been stored in yonder buildings, and from the quay we are nearing, millions of pounds' worth of "black gold," as Amazonian rubber is locally called, have been shipped to the world's markets. The whole of the present-day city of Para may be said to be "built of rubber," for it is from the wealth represented by practically that one product alone that a dirty, ramshackle, yellow-fever-stricken, and much-shunned town has been transformed into a clean, healthy, picturesque, and progressive centre of civilization, with upwards of t jo,000 inhabitants, including many European residents.

Path's courteous desire to welcome the stranger is so well known that the visit of a newcomer is almost certain to be heralded by a letter from someone in some part of the world asking someone in that city to be sure to meet the writer's friend, or friend of a friend's friend, who will arrive by such or such a boat. Although I know from experience the warmth of the welcome I shall soon be receiving as a returning visitor, I am also remembering the joy I felt at the utterly unexpected greeting that was so cordially extended to me by representatives of the cosmopolitan community when, as a stranger, I first came alongside these docks; and in these delightful moments of spotting good friends among the crowd on the quayside, I am nearly half inclined to envy those of you who are arriving as strangers, and have yet to learn the meaning of hospitality in the Para sense of the word.

There are no organized holiday tours into the Amazonian forests, so we have to make Para our head-quarters whilst kind friends see to all the necessary arrangements for taking us into the interior among the rubber-gatherers.

Para and its everyday life afford us a wide choice of interesting and amusing pastimes. The well-built city contains some remarkably beautiful parks and squares, imposing public buildings, good clubs, and a residential quarter, where a wide avenue is bordered by fine houses and gay gardens. The Botanical and Zoological Gardens, including the Goeldi Museum, have an inexhaustible wealth of instructive and merry-making entertainment in their unrivalled collections of Amazonian beasts, birds, butterflies, trees, flowers, and numerous other animal, vegetable, and mineral wonders, and in their variety show of Indian curios. The principal business street is, as would be expected, almost exclusively a rubber-industry quarter. Here are situated the offices and warehouses of leading Brazilian and foreign exporters. One particularly interesting street is on the very verge of dense forests; it is a memorable experience to stand with one foot in an up-to-date city and the other in the wilds. Para is illuminated by electric light, is well served by electric trams, and has an excellent water-supply. Among the most popular evening resorts is a large cafe, with al fresco accommodation. Friends meet at little round tables on the pavement to indulge, Parisian fashion, in coffee, long drinks or ice-creams, and a gossip.

Para Rubber

Rubber was being used by the Indians before the white man set foot in the New World.

The finest quality rubber is the product of a tree botanically known as Hevea brasiliensis, which is native to the Amazon Valley. Many varieties of the same species of tree belong to the family called "the Heveas." All rubber obtained from such trees, no matter where they grow, has the distinctive name of "Para" in the commercial world, being called after the port of Para, which was the first centre of distribution.

The highly important and extensive rubber industry of to-day owes its origin to the trade which sprang up in Para rubber, following on the colonization of the Amazon Valley by the Portuguese. During the first half of the eighteenth century Lisbon began to import rubber goods, such as hats, boots, bags, and capes, from Brazil. A little later, France began to take an interest in rubber, and it was not long before other countries, including England, began to experiment with the new material.

Until well on in the nineteenth century, rubber goods were made in Brazil only. The chief market for them was North America, where waterproof shoes in particular became so popular that the United States decided to import raw rubber and start manufacturing rubber goods. The enterprise of the United States soon led to the establishment of some pioneer rubber-goods factories in Europe.

The factory quickly began to rival the forest workshop in the variety of goods turned out, and in such details of craftsmanship as style and finish. But the factory-made goods did not wear well; evidently they suffered from exposure to the air, being damaged by changes of temperature.

This great drawback to manufactured rubber goods was removed by a method of treating raw rubber with sulphur. The process, called "vulcanization," was discovered by an American named Charles Goodyear, who made his first successful experiments in 1839.

The discovery of the vulcanization process acted as a very great stimulus to the rubber industry. More and more keen and widespread became the desire to manufacture rubber goods, and the growing demand for the raw material led Brazil to extend her search for Hevea trees, and to set about dealing with the export of raw rubber in a more businesslike way. Up to about 1877 the forests around the mouth of the Amazon had been the only source of supply. Now some of the upper tributaries of the river were exploited, and the glowing reports as to the wealth of Hevea in the far inland forests led to a rush of rubber-gatherers into the interior. It soon became known that these reports had not exaggerated the available supply of Para rubber, and fresh energy and enterprise were attracted to the Amazon Valley by the rosy prospects of the raw rubber trade.

The principal rubber-producing regions of Brazil are the States of Para, Amazonas and Matto Grosso, and the federal territory of Acre, all in the Amazon Valley. Three qualities of Para rubber are exported from these localities—namely, fine, entrefine or medium, and coarse or negro-head.

Until a very short time ago, Para rubber obtained from trees growing wild in the Amazon forests had no rival. But to-day, rubber from plantations of Hevea in Ceylon, the Malay Peninsula and the East Indies, is waging a great commercial war for supremacy. To see how that war started, and to understand the developments in a historic industrial struggle, we must go back to the latter part of the nineteenth century.

In 1876 some Hevea seeds were smuggled out of the Amazon forests. These seeds were taken to Kew Gardens and carefully tended in glass-houses. About 7,000 grew up into healthy seedlings, which were distributed among the Eastern Tropics, to be transplanted in the open. The seedlings grew into trees, which in their turn became a source of seed-supply.

For several years the cultivation of Hevea was generally regarded as a new hobby for botanists, and anyone who prophesied a commercial future for plantation rubber was dubbed a crank. But a time arrived when the planters in the Malay Peninsula found themselves in a very desperate position. They had been growing coffee, and doing splendidly with the crop, but conditions now conspired to cut down their profits to such an extent that they were threatened with ruin. In despair they began to plant Hevea. This change only took place as recently as 1895.

The pioneers in Malay had a very hard struggle to keep their heads above water whilst their rubber-trees were growing. They had to wait five years before there was any possibility of judging whether their experiment was likely to prove a success, and few indeed were the people with sufficient faith in what the harvest would be to advance them any money for working expenses.

Came the day when motor-cars got so far beyond being a fashionable craze that people began to realize they would soon be a necessary means of locomotion in an age of hurry. Rubber tyres were going to be so much used in the near future, said someone to somebody else, that it looked as if we should want more rubber than was being supplied from the forests. The idea spread, and by 1898 a few more people had become interested in rubber cultivation; larger areas were put under Hevea in Malay and rubber-planting was begun in Ceylon. By 1899 it had been proved that cultivated Hevea trees would yield marketable rubber. In that year the first plantation Para rubber was sold in the London market at 3s. 10d. per pound.

By 1905 the great financiers, who had hitherto looked upon any prophecy of plantation rubber supplies as a fairy tale, began to think it was worth while risking money on an enterprise which gave such sound promise of yielding extraordinarily large profits. The increase in money now available for rubber-growing gave scope for a considerable development of the industry.

The public, as a mass, did not awaken to the money-making possibilities of rubber cultivation until a few years later. Some of the companies owning Eastern estates which had been planted up with Hevea in 1905, or earlier, paid to their shareholders in 1909 interest amounting to 80, 165, even 300 per cent., and tongues will very quickly wag into fame an industry that yields such enormous profits. Also, the price of rubber was going up, and people began to talk about the large number of new uses to which the material was being put. It was now widely believed that there would be such a shortage of rubber in the near future that the supply would fetch famine prices. Thus came the moment, in the spring of 19101 when a feverishly-excited public began the great gamble in rubber shares which has come to be known as the "Rubber Boom."

From 60,000,000 to 100,000,000 has been invested in the plantation rubber industry. Although much of this money conferred no benefit on the industry, going into the pockets of certain well-informed people who knew when to buy and when to sell shares, and certain cunning people who played the gambling game with a reckless public, the capital subscribed for rubber-growing is now represented by over a million acres of plantations, whose annual output of rubber is threatening to outrival that of Brazil.

Under normal conditions best quality rubber from the Amazon was selling at from 4s. to 5s., even 6s. per pound. During the boom, similar rubber fetched as much as 12s. 6d. per pound, whilst inferior grades commanded equally high prices in proportion. As, up to this time, the Amazon Valley countries had been annually exporting from 30,000 to 40,000 tons of rubber, Brazil in general and the Amazon region in particular enjoyed a period of great prosperity.

Competition has quickly brought down the price of raw rubber. Best quality Para, which still comes from Brazil, has recently been fetching less than 3S. per pound—that is to say, less than the figure that has hitherto been quoted as the minimum cost of production. Best quality plantation Para usually fetches a few pence less per pound than its Brazilian competitor, but the cost of production is very considerably lower; it is reckoned that the average cost of producing plantation rubber in the near future will be about 1s. per pound.

Owing to the greatly increased demand for rubber, the enormous new supplies from the Eastern plantations have not yet seriously affected the Brazilian output so far as bulk is concerned; but the influence of competition on Brazilian prosperity may be judged from the fact that the value of the rubber exported by one State alone, Amazonas, fell from 5,284,000, in 1909, to 2,882,600 in 1913.

Although the rivalry of plantation rubber has compelled the Amazon Valley to face a serious financial crisis, a very determined, intelligent and sporting fight is being put up to maintain the supremacy of Brazilian rubber. The Para of the Amazon forests has in itself a powerful fighting force; its quality has not yet been equalled, much less surpassed. And great efforts are being made to bring down the cost of production—for instance, the rubber is being more scientifically prepared and more carefully handled, with a view to increasing the proportion of finest grade in the total output; and large clearings in the forests are being planted up with food products, whereas all food-supplies have hitherto been imported from abroad, to be transported to the remote rubber regions at a cost which has made luxuries of the barest necessities of life.

People of all classes in the Amazon Valley had a very gay time during the Rubber Boom; indeed, truth to tell, many a fortune was squandered even more quickly than it was made. Now that the golden days of "Lightly come, lightly go," have been brought to an end, many of these same people have found a new and more stimulating enjoyment in getting to grips with misfortune. Poverty is bidding fair to be a great blessing. Not only has it led to progressive activities and carefully considered plans for giving a new lease of life to the rubber industry of the region, but it has awakened men's minds to the many and varied agricultural possibilities of the Amazon Valley. Cotton is being planted, the area under cocoa-nuts is being extended, the cocoa crop is being more scientifically prepared for market, and steps are being taken for developing an export trade in tobacco, which yields a bountiful harvest. Many kinds of cereals, such as maize, rice and beans, can be successfully grown, all kinds of tropical fruits will flourish, and there are excellent prairies for cattle-raising; the Amazon Valley could easily become self-supporting as regards food-supplies, and, as I have already told you, considerable progress has been made in pursuing this ideal. The wealth to be derived from the forests is incalculable; ambitious enterprises are on foot for turning to profitable account the abundance of timber, fibres, and medicinal plants. There is a steadily growing feeling that, whatever is to be the outcome of the struggle for supremacy between Brazilian rubber and Plantation rubber, the Amazon Valley States should never again risk their welfare by being dependent on one source of wealth. The popular cry of yesterday, "Rubber is gold, everything else dross," is giving place to the old maxim, "It's a mistake to put all your eggs into one basket."

We Visit a Seringal

We want to see for ourselves the way the rubber-gatherers in Brazil do their work and the kind of life they lead. So we have made a long journey by launch up one of the tributaries of the River Amazon, to the landing-stage for a typical rubber-gatherers' village.

We step ashore into the forest and set out to walk along a rough road that threads its way through the jungle to a "seringal"—that is to say, a village which serves as the headquarters of a number of rubber-gatherers, who work a big area of neighbouring forest-lands.

The seringal we have come to visit is typical of the many widely scattered villages which the rubber industry has called into existence in the Brazilian forests—typical in its isolation, and as regards the style of its buildings, the kind of people who make up the population, and the everyday life of the little community, who are cut off from the rest of the world. The outstanding buildings are the manager's house, which boasts a tiled roof, office, and store. Round about these headquarters are some thatched shanties, which provide accommodation for part of the community. But some of the labourers have to make their daily round from tree to tree in far-distant parts of the forest; where their work is, there must they make their home in a solitary hut. The merriest day of the week for everybody is Saturday, when all the rubber-gatherers have to wend their way to the manager's quarters, to hand over the rubber they have collected and lay in stores for the coming week. This general meeting, called together by business, is taken full advantage of as an opportunity for gossip, hospitality, and various little jollifications, such as a "sing-song."

The working-class population of a seringal consists of Brazilians who are of Portuguese, mixed Portuguese and Indian, or mixed Portuguese and negro descent. Certainly they look a rough lot, but that is not surprising, seeing what a hard life they lead—and there are many rough diamonds among them. You will feel more in sympathy with them when you have lived in their midst and been with one of them on his round. But already you must have been thinking that they have not much comfort to look forward to when their work is done, for you can see at a glance that their houses are mere shelters.

Here is the picture you will take away in your mind's eye of a rubber-gatherer's home on the shores of the Amazon: A framework of rough-hewn poles supports a thatched roof. The building is open on all sides—indeed, the only other detail which entitles it to the name of building is one floor, raised well above the ground so that the inmates can keep a little distance out of damp's way. The space between floor and roof serves as common day-room and night-room. Hammocks provide sleeping accommodation; old boxes take the place of tables and chairs; pots and pans pretend to be ornaments; every corner is a makeshift cupboard for tinned foods, bottles, oil-cans, tools and suchlike oddments; and the framework of poles does duty as wardrobe on weekdays and as linen-line for the washing on Sundays.

In seringal life a married man and his family generally occupy a private hut. The unmarried men, and their married comrades who have not brought wife and children into the forest, live together in batches, several of them sharing one hut on the "chummery" system.

The rubber-gatherer is called a "seringueiro." On his daily round he has to follow a narrow path, called an "estrada," which has been cut through the dense undergrowth of the forest as a means of communication with the Hevea rubber-trees. An estrada is roughly elliptical in plan, but as the Heveas are widely scattered among the many kinds of trees that crowd the forest, the line of communication makes many long twists and turns.

At the seringal we have come to visit we are the very honoured guests of the manager. On the morning after our arrival we rise at four o'clock, get into light but businesslike summer clothes and very strong, high boots, and go out into the gallery to have coffee with our kind host. Presently we are joined by the seringueiro who is going to take us with him on his round. He is wearing a battered felt wideawake, a cotton shirt open at the neck, and an old pair of trousers that are tied round his ankles with string; his feet are bare. He carries a small axe, called a "machadinha," and a big collection of small tin cups.

After we have been walking single file for some considerable distance along a narrow clearing, whose passage-way consists of knee-deep muddy swamps, snaresome creepers and slippery roots, the seringueiro calls a halt. Having reached the first rubber-tree on his beat, he deals it several blows with his axe, making a girdle of cuts at a height which is conveniently within his reach. This operation is known as tapping." White sap, technically known as "latex" and commonly called "milk," begins to trickle from the wounds he has made. Under each cut he hangs one of his collecting cups, fastening it to the tree by means of a bit of tin on the rim, which he bends over into the bark.

Whilst we are actually following the seringueiro along the estrada we have to give all our attention to picking our way. But when, at varying intervals, he comes to the next rubber-tree on his round and stops to perform exactly the same kind of operation on it as we have already watched, our eyes are drawn to our forest surroundings—we become spellbound, and awake reluctantly as from a beautiful dream when a voice calls to us to "come along."

The seringueiro has tapped about a hundred trees by the time we have circled back to his hut. He now puts away his axe and picks up an old tin can. Again he takes us along the same estrada; on this second round he unhooks the cups from the trees previously visited and pours their contents into the large collecting vessel. The milk has stopped running, but the trees have yielded well this morning, and by the time the "milkman" is nearing home again he has to carry the can very steadily so as not to spill any of the morning's supply.

It is nearly ten o'clock when we follow our leader into his hut once more, and as we have had nothing to eat since we started out at four, no wonder we do full justice to the meal of dried beef and beans he invites us to share with him.

After breakfast the seringueiro sets about transforming the morning's milk into solid rubber—in technical language, he submits the liquid to a treatment whereby it is coagulated.

He makes up a big fire with palm-nuts, which, being very rich in oil, burn splendidly and give off a thick smoke. It is with this smoke that he is going to dry and cure the rubber-milk, and as he wants the smoke to be very dense and heavily laden with the essence of the fuel, he puts a funnel over the fire to do duty as a chimney.

He now takes a paddle-shaped piece of wood and dips it in the sticky milk. Next, he holds the paddle over the funnel, revolving the blade in the smoke until the covering of rubber is thoroughly dry. Again and again he plunges the paddle into the milk and holds it in the smoke, until he has a large ball of rubber made up of layer upon layer of the material. The ball is cut through and the paddle removed. The rubber is now ready to go to market, and will perform the first stage of its journey thither on Saturday, when it is taken by the seringueiro to the manager's store.

Extra large balls of rubber, or "pelles," are made in a very similar way on poles; but instead of the poles being held by hand over the smoke, they are balanced on a roughly-made rest of pronged sticks.

You are wondering, I expect, how the seringueiros get paid. They are all run by men of capital called "aviadores." The aviador, who is frequently a rubber exporter, lives at one of the commercial centres of the rubber industry, such as Para or Mangos. His business is to arrange for labourers to go up into the rubber districts, to supply them with all they require in the way of stores and outfit, and to advance them the money for their journey. His busiest time is in the early part of the year, because all new hands start off for the forests about March or April. They can then reach the scene of their labours towards the middle of May, when the rubber-gathering season begins.

Every seringueiro starts off in debt to some aviador, and henceforth runs an account with him. The seringueiro delivers his week's collection of rubber to his manager to be forwarded to the aviador who has sent him up to the seringal. The aviador sells the rubber and sends the seringueiro stores to the value of the selling price, less commission and something on account of his debt.

A Voyage on the Amazon

If we had not wanted to break our journey at Para, we could have gone on direct to Mangos, 850 miles farther up the Amazon, by the steamer on which we came out from Liverpool. Now, some weeks later, we are leaving Para for Mangos on a sister ship, which also hails from England.

It is always exciting to feel any craft, large or small, changing from an inanimate object into a living creature as she begins to ride the water in the first moments of freedom from moorings. But to feel an ocean liner coming to life on a river, whilst knowing that instead of heading for the deep seas she is setting forth to ride that river upstream for a distance of nearly a thousand miles, is one of those rare and wonderful experiences which make for never-to-be-forgotten memories.

Our steamer travels a short distance down the Para River, then begins to head for her journey up the Amazon by steering a circuitous course through channels between numerous islands in the delta of the main river. The waterways between the islands are so wide that the forests on either shore present a blurred picture of seemingly dwarf vegetation, or assume the form of a grey-blue misty border to the deep blue sky. Sometimes to our right, sometimes to our left, the top of a sail appears on the horizon behind the forest-clad banks, reminding us that there are channels beyond the shores between which we are steaming, and leading us to conjure up a picture wherein there are no islands to interrupt the vast gathering of Amazon waters. Fishing-boats, with bright blue, red, or orange sails, are a feature of the sights and scenes of the Amazon delta.

Even a slight acquaintance with the interior of the forests adds considerably to our enjoyment in making a steamer trip up the Amazon.

Glimpses of the shore scenery, combined with the drowsy influence of the sun, set us dreaming of our visit to a seringal. As we lie back in cosy deck-chairs, gradually the air seems to become charged with sweet scents of the forest. Once more we are in a wondrous maze of trees, undergrowth and overgrowth. Slowly, very slowly, colours, lines, and forms stand out as fascinating details amidst the luxuriant mass of vegetation. Here, giant trees are in possession of a great tract of land; yonder, other giants are making near-neighbouring big trees look very small. Some of the trees have great limbs, richly clothed with leaves, branching forth from top to toe of their gigantic bodies; others have a slim, or sturdy, bare trunk that is surmounted by a crown of foliage. How marvelously varied are the size, shape, texture, and grouping of the leaves! the most delicate foliage intertwines with lusty leaves that are at least ten yards in length; big, medium-sized, or little leaves, each a gem of creation, cluster to form feathers and fans. And what a colour display! Is it not amazing to find how many shades of green there are in Nature's paint-box? Amidst this beautiful setting of multi-hued greens rise silvery, golden, purple, and red tree-trunks; a rainbow-hued profusion of flowers and fruit, together with masses of white blooms and splashes of black berries, bedeck the tangle of forest foliage; birds of gay plumage are roosting in leafy bowers; butterflies and dragon-flies dart hither and thither, fluttering wings that must surely have been steeped in a fairy essence of bright green, scarlet, saffron, azure, sapphire, rose, or eau-de-Nil.

Forty winks in the sun can conjure up a bewitching entertainment for those of us who have travelled in the South American forests. For memories crowd themselves into dreams, enabling us to relive within a few minutes experiences that have actually covered many hours, days, or even months. In reality, it takes a long time for anyone to discover even a small fraction of the wonders of these forests. Nature does not play the showman by arranging that as many sights as possible shall be on view in a particular place and at a particular time in the wilds.

At 10 p.m. on this our first day of the voyage from Para to Mangos, our ship drops anchor outside the Narrows. By three o'clock the next morning the vessel is under weigh again; very soon afterwards we are on deck, being anxious to enjoy to the full the exciting passage of an ocean liner through a winding waterway which, in many places, is barely wide enough to accommodate her breadth. There are about eighty miles of the Narrows. Throughout the course we could easily throw things from the deck of the steamer on to either shore. Sometimes the ship actually grazes one bank in avoiding the other, and the way she takes the sharp turnings makes us hold our breath until she has swung clear, then burst forth into praise of the pilot's skill. The shores of the Narrows are not those of the main river, but of some of the numerous islands with which the Amazon is studded. By the large number of rubber-gatherers' shacks which stand on clearings by the water's edge, you can easily guess what is the principal industry of this district.

Early on the third day we pass the mouth of the great tributary known as the Tapajoz. By noon we are at Obidos, famous as a centre for the exportation of Brazil nuts.

Do you know how Brazil nuts grow? The tree is one of the Amazon forest giants; it flourishes both by the river banks and in the far interior. The flowering season is in September. The nuts, which take fifteen months to ripen, are enclosed in pods that are about the size of a large cocoa-nut; the shell of the pod, however, is more inclined to be round, and is very much thicker and harder than a cocoa-nut shell. The pods fall to the ground when the nuts are ripe and native collectors break them open with an axe. The nuts are so wonderfully packed in the pods that any of you who tried to repack them in their natural case would give up the game in despair, and, I am sure, agree with me that the most difficult Chinese puzzle is simple in comparison.

Throughout the journey from Para to Mangos, Obidos is the only locality in which we have the main banks of the Amazon on either side; elsewhere, one or other of the shores is that of some island.

Onwards from Obidos we skirt a fine stretch of pasture-lands. Towards sunset, we get some beautiful peeps at the hills which form the boundary between the States of Para and Amazonas; also, there happens to pass overhead a particularly large party of parrots. How they are all chattering! Notice their habit of flying in pairs.

Soon after breakfast on the fourth day we reach Itacoatiara; it is quite a big settlement, has some very pretty buildings, and is a busy centre for the export of cocoa, rubber, and Brazil nuts. The river here is thickly dotted with small boats; their crews, being armed with bow and arrows, look a little fearsome at first sight, but, believe me, they are simple fisher-folk, and their weapons are merely the native form of fishing-tackle. The fishermen throw bait into the river, watch, and let fly an arrow when a fish comes to the surface for a bite. The arrow usually finds its mark, for the fishermen are very expert; it plays the part of a float to the speared fish, and a few paddle-strokes bring the marksman within reach of both weapon and prize.

Itacoatiara used to be the "jumping-off ground" for the Madeira-Mamore railway; engineers and workmen—English, Americans, and Brazilians—who were going to or coming from the scene of one of the greatest enterprises in the way of railway-building, had to change boats here; and here, too, were stored vast quantities of material for the construction camp at Porto Velho, nearly 500 miles up the Madeira River. The Madeira-Mamore railway, 210 miles long, links up the rivers after which it is named by a marvellous track of civilization threading dense tropical forests. It was built with the object of providing a safe and speedy medium for transporting rubber through a district where hitherto the only means of communication had been waterways that are blockaded by a series of very dangerous rapids and falls.

About midday we pass the mouth of the Rio Madeira. Now, hourly, we become more and more excited, for it is a toss-up whether we shall reach the junction of the Rio Negro in time to be able to see the strange meeting of different-coloured waters.

Fortune favours us; the sun has not yet set when our good friend, the Captain, warns us to be sure not to leave the deck for the next few minutes if we do not want to miss what we have been watching for all the afternoon.

Is it not extraordinary to be passing straight out of yellow water into black water? Have you ever seen anything in Nature more curious, more fascinating, than the unswerving line in which the muddy waters of the Amazon barricade the clear waters of the Negro?

After we have proceeded a short distance up the Rio Negro the lights of Mangos come into view; on this evening of the fourth day from leaving Para we are about to arrive at our destination in time to go ashore. Have we not had a delightful voyage? Do you remember how people at home prophesied that if we went up the Amazon we should be half-scorched to death, and the other half eaten alive by insects? Have any of you seen, heard, or felt a mosquito on board? I have not. Have you not slept soundly in your roomy, well-ventilated cabins? I know that every one of us has done justice to all the excellent meals that have been set before us in the beautifully cool saloon. Good luck and atmospheric conditions have, probably, been largely responsible for keeping insect pests out of our track; but certain it is that we owe our best thanks for the comforts of the voyage to the Booth Shipping Company, that has had the enterprise to put such well-equipped steamers on this route, and to the jovial Captain of our ship, who has taken such a kindly interest in our welfare.

Mangos is one of the most remarkable cities in the world. People who have not been up the Amazon imagine that those who have are romancing, or drawing the long bow, when they say that, situated nearly a thousand miles from the coast and within the heart of the forest, there is an up-to-date centre of civilization, with wide streets, palatial houses, large warehouses, docks capable of berthing ocean liners, fine public buildings, Parisian shops and cafes, a vast theatre, electric light and tramway services, and nearly 100,000 inhabitants, including a large number of white folk of many nationalities. The main business of the city is concerned with the exportation of rubber. The people are very hospitable, and each nationality seems to vie with the other in courteous and generous efforts to give the stranger in their midst a right royal time.

Brazilian Cities

It takes nearly a fortnight to travel direct from Mangos to Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil, by express steamers. Even so, the hurried passenger must be able to change from a Booth boat at Para into a fast steamer that happens to be leaving the same day on a southward trip. We shall take considerably longer to cover the distance, for we are going to break our journey in order to visit two of the largest cities en route, and that will mean waiting several days at each stopping-place, not only for sight-seeing, but for another steamer to carry us a further stage on our way.

A national steamship company, the Lloyd Braziliero, alone affords communication between Para and the ports southwards to Pernambuco. Personally, I have not found their steamers quite as black as they are painted by most travellers; but if you should be inclined to think that I have deceived you, remember I have been well trained in roughing it. I can, at least, promise you that you will not have to sweep the cockroaches off the saloon chairs before you can find room to sit down, as I have had to do on a Greek steamer; on the other hand, I must admit that I have never seen anyone who can make such a mess with clean water as a Brazilian sailor when he is swabbing decks.

The "Bush cities" of Para and Mangos have led us to expect much from the Brazilians in the way of planning and building up-to-date centres of civilization. Pernambuco, the most important city in Northern Brazil, encourages that idea.

We have to set out on the long journey to the shore at Pernambuco in small boats, because there is a coral reef skirting the coast here. The new harbour works are, however, making good progress, and when this great enterprise has been carried through, ocean liners will be able to berth alongside spacious quays. The transhipping operation is a good joke to those of us who welcome anything in the way of an adventure, but a somewhat terrifying experience to those who are inclined to be nervous. As usual, there is a heavy swell on, and the little boats might be dashed to pieces if they came very near the steamer; so we get into a chair, are hauled up skywards by a crane, swung in mid-air, dangled seawards—and just as it seems we are going to be dropped into the ocean, somebody in one of the small craft that are dancing about the waters catches hold of a leg of the chair and lands us safely at the bottom of a little boat.

The city of Pernambuco consists of three parts: (1) Recife (reef), situated on a peninsula; (2) San Antonio, spreading over an island that lies between the peninsula and the mainland; (3) Boa Vista, standing on the mainland. The three divisions are connected by stone and iron bridges; this picturesque style of planning, designed to solve the problem of a difficult site, has won for Pernambuco the title of the "American Venice." The principal industries are sugar, cocoa, cotton, fruit, resins, gums, hides, and timber. At Olinda, three-quarters of an hour's train ride from the city, there are some interesting old Dutch churches.

Bahia, our next port of call, is one of the oldest cities in Brazil. It was founded in 1510 and was the capital of Brazil until 1763. It is now one of the largest cities in the Republic, with a population of over a quarter of a million, including a large proportion of black and coloured folk. Bahia consists of two portions: the lower part, the business section, skirts the Bay; the upper part, the residential section, is perched on the top of a high hill. Means of communication between the two divisions are provided by road, lift, and mountain railway; the lift is the most popular for passenger traffic. The Bay is a good harbour, and from it we get some magnificent views of the city and surrounding country.

Bahia is the centre of some of the finest tobacco plantations in Brazil.

The Brazilian Customs arrangements have won for themselves an unenviable reputation among travellers. Hitherto we have had no reason to join in the chorus of unparliamentary language in which they are usually criticized; but at Bahia we learn to understand by experience that truth is stranger than any tale which any traveller could invent to describe the methods of the Customs officials.

We have come down from Pernambuco in an English steamer, which has anchored in Bahia Bay early on a Saturday morning. The Customs officers who visit the ship refuse to allow anyone to take even a hand-bag ashore. Having unsuccessfully exhausted all our powers of persuasion and been assured that all the luggage will be taken off in lighters directly the passengers have left, we depart in little boats. Upon landing, we at once take the lift to the Upper City and find our way to a well-recommended pension, where we have booked rooms. Our hostess does not seem to be at all surprised that we have nothing with us but the clothes we stand up in, and she very kindly insists on our having some refreshment before we return to the quay. By noon we are at the Customs House. In response to our inquiries for our baggage we are informed that none of the lighters engaged in transferring luggage from the English ship has yet come alongside. In the midday glare and heat of a tropical sun we wait about on the quay until nearly three o'clock, alternately kicking our heels and visiting the Customs officials; at three o'clock we are informed that the Customs House is about to be closed.

"What time do you open again?" we ask.

"Monday morning," comes the reply.

"But you're surely not going to keep us over the weekend without any of our luggage?" we plead, in chorus with a host of our fellow-passengers.

"It's closing-time; the lighters have not come alongside," is the indifferent rejoinder, and the doors are shut in our faces.

Speechless, we look at each other, and, before we have time to find words to express our feelings, the rain begins to fall in torrents. We have left mackin toshes and umbrellas at the pension, a good half-hour's journey away. Clad in the lightest of summer attire, we have to make our way back to the Upper City through a tropical deluge. We are drenched to the skin when we reach our rooms. A cup of tea revives our spirits sufficiently to enable us to voice our ideas as to the Bahia Customs arrangements in vivid language. Then, whilst our clothes are being dried, we play Red Indians and take the vote as to whether we shall dress for dinner in our mackintoshes and sleep in our umbrellas, or vice versd. We are not able to recover so much as a tooth-brush of our possessions until Monday afternoon.

Brazilian Cities (Continued)

Rio de Janeiro, the capital of the Republic, is famous for the grandeur of its situation; many travellers, speaking from wide experience, maintain that it takes first place among the most beautiful cities of the world.

The Bay, studded with islands and bordered by fantastically shaped mountains, inset with hills and framed in heights which are bedecked with an enchanting medley of forests and buildings, presents a series of pictures such as we might even be surprised to see at a magic-lantern entertainment in fairyland.

Famous city-builders of many nationalities have either omitted to sweep slum-lands away from the neighbourhood of docks or allowed the harbour to become the most squalid quarter of their metropolis. Not so the Brazilians. The docks at Rio form the entrance to the main thoroughfare, the Avenida Rio Branco, a broad highway which is flanked by palatial public buildings, shops, and offices, and partitioned by trees into wide sidewalks and carriage-ways; hence the favourable first impression of the city as seen from the Bay takes a firm grip on the visitor the moment he sets foot on shore.

Avenues are a feature of many of the busiest streets in this sunny city; spacious squares and gardens also play a prominent part both as decorative agents and healthy lungs.

The Avenida Rio Branco merges into a marvellously beautiful promenade, which extends for five miles and commands a series of magnificent panoramas of the Bay; the roadway is reserved for motor traffic. I cannot tell you whether there are any speed regulations for automobiles in Rio; but I can assure you that, if there are, none of the drivers pays the slightest attention to them. The sea-front, in particular, is an ideal resort for any motorist who has racing fever. Here innumerable cars, usually of a luxurious model, speed along at a pace which makes motor-racing on famous tracks quite a tame sport. Sea-bathing is a popular amusement; and various cafes, where iced drinks are served al fresco, are favourite haunts.

The Palace Square, Sao Paulo.


The most fashionable of the business streets is the Rua Ouvidor, where are situated the establishments of leading jewellers, dressmakers, milliners, tailors, and sundry other society caterers. The Society Parade which takes place here every afternoon provides a display of the very latest Parisian fashions and diamonds of the first water.

An aerial railway to the summit of the Sugar-Loaf Mountain affords an opportunity for an exciting trip through mid-air. Electric trams and mountain railways offer facilities for a wide choice of short-distance excursions to places of great interest and beauty, such as the Botanical Gardens, and to vantage-points for obtaining wide-sweeping panoramic views of the bay and city, such as Corcovado, Tijuca, and Petropolis, the summer hill-resort of Rio.

A Royal Mail steamer takes us southwards to Santos, the great coffee port of Brazil.

Brazil produces more than three times the amount of coffee than is included in the total output of all the other coffee-growing countries of the world. There are about four and a half million acres of land planted up with this crop in the Republic, and of this vast area devoted to the industry over two million acres are situated in the State of Sao Paulo.

From Santos we go by rail to the city of Sao Paulo, situated 2,000 feet above sea-level. Just as Para and Mangos may be said to have been "built of rubber," so Sao Paulo has been "built of coffee." Both the city and its people have a very distinct individuality; everything we see, everybody we meet, gives us the feeling that we are in an atmosphere of extraordinary energy and enterprise. A temperate climate, due to elevation, has doubtless played its part in bracing up the Paolistas, but from the ambitious role which they have so successfully enacted in Brazilian history, it would seem that, among inhabitants of tropical regions, they have been specially blessed with a go-ahead temperament.

From Sao Paulo we make an excursion to a fazenda, or coffee estate.

The coffee-fields are an inspiring sight; they appeal to us, not only by their vast extent, but by the beauty of the shrubs in whatever season we happen to visit them, and by the picturesque manner in which ranks upon ranks of these shrubs occupy the hillsides and valleys of gracefully undulating country.

The Docks at Santos.


The cultivation of coffee requires very great care. For seed purposes the largest and most mature fruit must be selected, left to wither in the sun, and then dried in the shade. Only the best of seed must be allowed to go into the nursery. The seedlings are moved during the rainy season between November and February. They are transplanted in rows into holes of a certain depth and at a given distance apart, which varies according to locality. The fields must be kept well weeded. Pruning of the shrubs is another very necessary operation. The flowering season lasts from about September to December; the crops are harvested from about April to July. The coffee is dried in a barn, which is to say a "terreiro" in fazenda language. It may be dried as a "berry" or as a "bean"; in the latter case it is first washed. Coffee-beans are passed through a husking machine, and then through a sorting machine. The "berry" coffee, which is not so subject to being deprived of its strength by changes of climate as is the "bean" variety, has to go through numerous purifying operations, and is finally placed in a polishing machine. The labouring classes on the fazendas consist mainly of Italians.

Sao Paulo coffee is all exported through Santos. On our return to that port we are piloted by a most courteous member of the Commercial Association through one of the large warehouses; sack-loads of coffee are being received, cartloads of bulky sacks are leaving to catch a steamer which sails to-morrow. As each bag is brought in its contents are sampled, and their grade decides in which part of the warehouse the sack shall be stored to await transport to the European or American markets.

From Santos we go to Guaruja, to spend a weekend at the most fashionable of Brazilian watering-places. Our one complaint concerning the journey is that it is too short; the novel railway trip through the heart of a tropical forest, along a pass walled by trees richly clothed with foliage and gorgeously bedecked with flowering creepers, comes all too quickly to an end.

Among the attractions of this pleasure resort is a large and luxurious bathing establishment; sea-bathing is perfectly safe, and the beauty of the hill-girt, island-studded bay adds to the charm of aquatic festivities. There are good facilities for tennis, croquet, and golf. The sands afford motorists a fine track of many miles in extent, which allows the racing spirit full play, and which opens up an enchanting series of ocean, forest, and mountain views.

Guaruja possesses an establishment which is unique so far as Brazil is concerned—a really first-class hotel, run on first-class lines. But this is not a Brazilian enterprise, truly speaking, for it was built and equipped by an English company, under whose control it is managed by a European staff.

Brazil is not the only South American country that is very much behind the times as regards hotel accommodation. The general lack of good hotels throughout this Continent is particularly surprising in relation to the many up-to-date, even advanced, travelling facilities that have been introduced.


In 1501 the famous explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, sailed along the coast of the land now known as Argentina, and must have sighted the mouth of the great River Plate; he did not, however, make any attempt to find out the value of these discoveries. Fourteen years later, Juan Diaz de Solis, during his third voyage of discovery, sailed up the Plate as far as the island of Martin Garcia. Soon after landing, de Solis and several of his followers were killed by the arrows of a fierce tribe of Indians. In 1520, Magellan, a Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain, explored the mouth of the Plate, then known as the River Solis; he did not make a long stay in the neighbourhood, but, continuing his voyage south, sailed into the Pacific Ocean through the straits which now bear his famous name. In 1526 two expeditions, under the command respectively of Diego Garcia and Sebastian Cabot, reached the estuary of the Plate, and journeyed up to the confluence of the Paraguay and Parana. Cabot founded two settlements, but finally had to abandon them on account of the hostility of the Indians.

By this time Portugal had become ambitiously interested in the southern region of the new continent, and towards the end of 1530 she sent out a large and well-equipped party, under the command of Martin Alonso de Souza, to explore the River Plate. Spain began to realize that she must take strong measures to safeguard her interests. She chose as her leader for the task a bold adventurer with considerable experience, Don Pedro de Mendoza, who, in 1535, set forth as commander of a fine fleet and strong force to colonize the River Plate region. Mendoza founded the city of Buenos Aires; about a year after he had built his little town, on the site where now stands the magnificent capital of Argentina, he set out for Spain, but he died during the voyage home.

The history of Argentina now becomes closely involved with that of Paraguay.

Before embarking for Spain, Mendoza had sent one of his trusty companions, Juan de Ayolas, northwards, in charge of an expedition whose mission was to try to find a way into Peru. Ayolas explored the rivers Parana and Paraguay, and founded the town of Asuncion at the confluence of the Pilcomayo tributary and the Paraguay. Sailing higher up the main stream, he came to a place which he considered a favourable point from which to strike off on foot into the forest, so he plunged into the wilds to cut a way through to Peru, leaving his second in command, Irala, in charge of the ships.

Ayolas fought his way through fierce tribes of Indians, jungle and swamp, to the mountains of the Charcas, collected rich treasures of gold and silver, and marched back in triumph to the spot where he had left Irala. But Irala and the ships had vanished, leaving Ayolas and his little band without any means of returning to Asuncion; the brave leader and his party were massacred by Indians, and must have died believing that they had been forsaken by their comrades.

Do not imagine, however, that Irala had been unfaithful; on the contrary, his conduct was such that he has won undying fame as a loyal friend. But Irala was the victim of another man's treachery. Galan, who had been left to govern Buenos Aires, grew tired of matching his strength against the neighbouring Indians; ambitious for more power and an easier life, he deserted his post and set sail with a powerful following for Asuncion. Galan had just arrived at Asuncion when Irala put in there to obtain the necessary store of provisions to enable him to remain at the appointed place of waiting for Ayolas. Galan with his strong forces was easily able to overpower Irala and his little party, and to commandeer their ships; then he proclaimed himself commander of the district. It was only after a long delay that Irala succeeded in getting a boat to take him back to the trysting-place, where he remained for months watching for his chief to return; not until he learned of the tragic fate that had befallen Ayolas did he leave his post. Meanwhile Galan had been shorn of his usurped authority by a high official from Spain. Irala, upon his arrival at Asuncion, was at once proclaimed Governor and Captain-General by his officers and soldiers. Later on he was officially recognized by Spain as Governor of the Rio de la Plata Provinces.

Irala decided to make Asuncion the seat of government and to abandon Buenos Aires, which had become a fast-decaying settlement. He proved a firm and capable ruler, and did much towards establishing law and order in the Southern Provinces.

After Irala's death there were many rivals for power in the south. A period of considerable strife was brought to a close by the appointment of a very strong man, Juan de Garay, as Governor of Paraguay. Garay realized the importance of the country around the mouth of the Plate, and soon after he took over the reins of government he put himself at the head of an expedition to go down the river. He successfully resisted all the attacks of fierce Indians met with during the voyage, and in June, 1580, arrived on the spot where Mendoza had built the first town of Buenos Aires. Garay founded a new town on this site, and his settlement has grown into the modern city of Buenos Aires, the largest city in South America.

Onwards for more than two centuries the history or the River Plate bristles with Indian risings, struggles to repel the Portuguese forces of Brazil, and internal quarrels. Throughout this period the ties between Spain and this portion of her colonial possessions were getting weaker; they had never been very strong, for the mother country had always been inclined to set very little value on the prairie-lands of South America. By the beginning of the nineteenth century Buenos Aires had become the heart of a new nation, and on May 25, 1810, that nation freed itself entirely from the Spanish yoke. But now Argentina had to fight for her life with several neighbours, for Cordoba, Uruguay, Paraguay, and the powerful viceroyalty of Peru challenged her right to freedom. At this critical hour San Martin came to the assistance of his country, and by his deeds of valour made himself famous for all time as the great national hero of Argentina. By 1820 San Martin had established the independence of Argentina beyond dispute.

Until very recent years the outlook for Argentina was anything but promising; indeed, it seemed that the country was getting perilously near to bankruptcy. Then came the turn of the tide. An era of prosperity set in, and good-fortune showed the grit in the character of the people. Wealth and sunny prospects were put to good use for national benefit; railways and other means of communication were built on a large scale, prize livestock were imported for breeding purposes, a well-organized and attractive system of immigration was established, grain elevators and factories were erected, Buenos Aires was transformed into a second Paris—in a word, surprisingly rapid developments bore witness to the national ideal of progress. The nation has gone on growing and thriving. Of course, there are good years and bad years, commercially speaking, in this agricultural land; the bad years, however, do not bring poverty, but only so much less wealth. The grain, livestock, and frozen-meat industries of Argentina have now been developed to an extent which offers an excellent security for the future of the country; further, that security is strengthened by many other well-established industries and by wide possibilities for new enterprises.

A weekly service, outward bound and homeward bound, between England, Brazil, and the Argentine is provided by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. We happen to make the voyage from Rio to Buenos Aires on the latest addition to the Company's magnificent South American mail fleet. Life on board the liner is a foretaste of the luxurious atmosphere of the Argentine capital.

Buenos Aires has attained the fame of being placed second among the Latin cities of the world. It has a cosmopolitan rather than an individual character. Here we find all the practical equipment and pleasure-giving facilities of a busy and fashionable European capital—palatial public buildings, gorgeous shops, big offices, wide and well-paved streets, electric cars and tubes, theatres, etc.; and, stamping the metropolis as unique among South American cities, here a wide choice of accommodation is provided by many excellent hotels.

The broad Avenida de Mayo, stretching from the Plaza de Mayo to the Congress Hall and flanked throughout its extent by imposing buildings, is the main thoroughfare of Buenos Aires. The Calle Florida is the "Bond Street" of the city; the Avenida Alvear, its "Rotten Row," leads to the Palermo Park, where fashionable society drives in the smartest of motors and carriages amongst ideally beautiful surroundings.

We Cross South America by Train

The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway connects Buenos Aires on the east coast of South America with Valparaiso on the west coast. Fast trains provide a special passenger service three times weekly in both directions across this overland route.

We travel by the Trans-Continental Express, which leaves the Retiro Station, Buenos Aires, at 8:30 a.m. The luxurious train is composed of restaurant and baggage cars, together with a number of coaches divided into spacious private apartments, that serve as drawing-room by day and bedroom by night.

The snow-clad Andes.


We have barely been carried beyond the suburbs of the Argentine capital when we espy a clump of pampas-grass; it is the herald of the vast plains which are named after this graceful variety of vegetation. For nearly twenty-four hours the train traverses the Pampas, which majestically sweep away on either side of the railway track to meet a far-distant horizon, that is but an optical-illusion boundary to the extensive granary and grazing-ground of the Argentine. At first we feel the plains are monotonous, but soon we begin to realize that they can provide us with plenty of entertainment for at least one day's fare. We become more and more interested in the great herds of cattle we see, until some idea of the wealth of the Argentine dawns on us, and signs of remarkable achievements set us wondering how brilliant will be the future of this richly endowed country, which has bred from immigrants of various nationalities and classes a sturdy new race. Prominent among the features which break the level of the landscape are farmhouses and outhouses shaded by clusters of trees, stacks of the rich fodder known as "alfalfa," and windmills, whereby water is drawn from semi-artesian wells. At intervals pampas-grass retains possession of the plains, bedecking the pastures with a wild abundance of cream-tinted plumes.

The plains have worked their spell on us long before nightfall, but by starlight and the blaze of a pampas-fire we find them still more fascinating. However, a moment arrives when we can no longer resist a healthy desire for slumber in a most comfortable-looking bed. Before we turn in, we must be sure to close the windows, for the train is going to pass through a stretch of sandy desert.

We are called in the morning in time to be ready to change trains at Mendoza, which is reached at twenty minutes to six. Breakfast is awaiting us in the station buffet.

At a quarter past six we leave Mendoza to travel over the Argentine section of the Trans-Andine route. Although we have just finished breakfast, the first thing we do upon entering the train is to ring for a waiter and demand "grapes." The district around Mendoza is famous for vineyards, which yield luscious varieties of table fruit and a rich harvest for wine-making. The fruit and wine industries have already been brought to an advanced stage of development, and the neighbouring vineyards of the Mendoza and San Juan region are an important factor of Argentine prosperity. But the further opportunities of fortune-making offered by this vast, fertile region have lately attracted so much attention that Argentine grapes and Argentine wines are likely to become world-famous in the near future. The vineyard country is blessed not only with particularly rich soil and a stimulating climate, but with that other essential helpmate to industrial progress—good means of transport. Throughout the harvest season the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway Company run special fruit trains from San Juan and Mendoza to Buenos Aires, and the freight cars travelling to the capital have the same preferential right to a clear line as the International Passenger Express. Hundreds of tons of grapes are now carried yearly by the railway and delivered at Buenos Aires in perfect condition for distribution to local markets. With special fruit boats to connect with the fruit trains, Argentine grapes could be transported to the world's markets, where they would undoubtedly be able to compete in quality and quantity with supplies from other countries.

For many miles we have been passing through restfully beautiful purple and green vineyards, when suddenly we are thrown into a state of excitement; only a short distance ahead the foothills of the Andes are barricading the railway track, Momentarily we expect a sharp pull-up, until there comes a breathless moment when we verily believe the engine is going to attempt the mad freak of butting against an immovable mass—and the next second we are being slewed round into the narrow opening of a pass. Our train has started on a climbing expedition to world-renowned heights, and the way that has been engineered for it through the rugged wilds follows the old trail, the primitive Trans-Andine route tracked by the aborigines, which until recent years had to be negotiated on foot or muleback by anyone who journeyed overland between Chile and the Argentine. To-day, the trip calls for no exertion on the part of the traveller, no courage to face hardships, or strength to endure discomforts. Seated in a "hotel on wheels" we make the journey skywards, being borne aloft over countless bridges across the Mendoza River, and here and there taken through a tunnel as we are slowly hauled higher and higher up a steep and narrow pass. An indescribably grand panorama is continuously passing before our eyes, arousing a tumult of emotions. There are times when the savage splendour of the mountains, with their weird and beautiful forms, their metallic-hued slopes and their snow-capped peaks, makes us feel intoxicated with the joy of life; and there are times when we are awe-inspired by the havoc that has been wrought by volcanic eruptions.

Puenta del Inca, the famous Natural Bridge.


Men armed with yellow and black flags are particularly noticeable in this glorification-of-desolation region. The Trans-Andine line is so closely bounded by rugged mountains that it has to be carefully protected against invasions by rolling stones and overhanging rocks. It is patrolled, in short sections, by trusty guardians, who remove such debris as can be easily and quickly shifted, but flag the train when the assistance of the engine-driver, fireman, and others of the staff with crowbars is required to dislodge an obstacle ahead.

Shortly before midday we are at Punta Vacas. From this vantage-point we get a fine view of one of the giants of the Andes, Mount Tupungato, which rises to a height of 21,451 feet. A little later we behold the still higher and more famous peak of Aconcagua. Puente del Inca is reached as we are finishing lunch; from the train we can see the Inca Bridge, a natural arch of rock which spans the River Cuevas. Puente del Inca used to be the halfway-house on the old trail.

Continuing our journey, we pass some old Spanish rest-houses, which were built about 1726. They are one-room refuges, with an opening just large enough for a mule to squeeze through. In striking contrast to these shelters, which must have saved the lives of many a traveller and his beast of burden when over-taken by a storm, are the snow-tunnels which have been erected to shelter the railway line so that the "Express" shall be able to run to time in all weathers.

At Las Cuevas, 10,400 feet above sea-level, we enter the tunnel that cuts through the Cumbre Pass, and emerge at Caracoles, on the Chilean side of the Andes. We have reached the highest point to which the railway climbs, and the summit scene, between Caracoles and Portillo, with a lava-strewn pass and the Inca Lake inset amidst snow-capped mountains, is a marvellous climax to the panorama through which we have been passing for about six hours.

The descent to the Pacific is very steep. We find much interest in looking upwards to trace the adventurous route by which we are being "dropped to earth"; also, there is a very striking change in the landscape, for the Chilean slopes of the Andes are picturesquely clothed with vegetation.

At Los Andes we change trains, proceeding by the Chilean State Railway to Llai-Llai junction, where a very good dinner awaits us in the station restaurant. From Llai-Llai we go south to Santiago, the political capital of Chile, which is reached at 10:30 p.m., whilst some of the passengers continue westwards to Valparaiso, the commercial capital, where they arrive at 10:40 p.m. on the day after leaving Buenos Aires.

The Inca Empire

The origin of the South American Indians has been the subject of learned discussions and heated disputes for many a long year. The most common theory is that they are of Mongolian descent.

Coming to actual facts, when the white man discovered South America he found the country peopled by a copper-coloured race consisting of two surprisingly different elements—on the one hand, numerous and scattered tribes of savages; on the other, the highly civilized empires of the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in and around Peru.

During our voyage up the West Coast from Valparaiso to Antofagasta, we get an almost continuous view of sandy shores backed by barren mountains. The landscape is all the more impressive because, as we have already had some close views of the Cordillera of the Andes, we have come into touch with the defiant character of country such as we are now skirting. Yet it was in yonder forbidding country that the Indians established a widespread, powerful, and progressive empire.

Tradition says that some race in an advanced stage of civilization lived in this country long before the date to which the Incas trace back their origin; and this idea is supported by remains of wonderful buildings on the shores of Lake Titicaca, but nobody knows who this race were or whence they came.

Among the many legends cherished by the Peruvian Indians, one tells these people that they are descendants of the Sun, who sent two of his children, Manco Capac and Mama Oello Huaco "to gather the natives into communities and teach them the arts of civilized life."

The date of the fairy-tale history of the Peruvian Indians is supposed to be somewhere about four hundred years before the Spanish conquest, or early in the twelfth century. But authentic history of the Inca empire only goes back to about a hundred years before its downfall.

The Incas carried water to the coast region by means of canals and aqueducts, thereby transforming a desert into a fertile land. They terraced the steep slopes of the Andes, thus rendering the mountains capable of cultivation, and as varying heights have similar effects to differences of latitude, the industrious population were able to grow all kinds of crops. The snow-mantled highlands were utilized for vast herds of the hardy Peruvian sheep, or "llamas." Cuzco was the Holy City and the capital of the Empire; here were situated a magnificent royal residence, numerous fine houses belonging to the nobility, and the now world-famous Temple of the Sun, where pilgrims from all parts of the Empire met to celebrate religious festivals. The capital was defended by a remarkably strong fortress, built of enormous blocks of stone, and there were numerous fortifications of a similar kind throughout the Empire. Good roads, following the mountain passes, provided easy means of communication between the capital and the farthest boundaries of Inca territory. An Inca sovereign held the position of a despot; the emperors, however, did not make a tyrannical use of their power, but, on the contrary, devoted themselves to the welfare of the nation and took a fatherly interest in their poorer subjects. The Empire teemed with wealth. The Peruvian mountains were treasure-houses of gold and silver, and the Indians were very skilled both in mining these precious metals and using them for decorative purposes; so abundant were the supplies that not only personal and household ornaments, but kitchen utensils, even, were made of gold and silver. Peruvian wool was another important factor in the riches and splendour of the Empire; with it the working-class Indians manufactured fine and gorgeously coloured materials for the adornment of princes and palaces, and with it, too, they made serviceable cloths of equally beautiful colours for their own use. The one blot on Inca civilization was an indulgence in human sacrifices.

The Inca empire was overthrown by Pizarro in 1532. The Spanish conquest of Peru stands out as one of the boldest enterprises in history. A mere handful of white men made their way across the mighty natural barriers of the Andes and penetrated into the heart of a strange country to pursue the adventure of pitting themselves against a nation with hundreds of thousands of subjects, with well-trained armies, a wonderful system of fortifications, and such prowess and widespread experience in fighting that the Empire's boundaries had continuously been extended by the subjugation of neighbouring tribes. The success of the Spaniards was due partly to the fact that they arrived in Peru when, for the first time in Inca history, the nation was divided against itself—two claimants, Atahualpa and Huasca, the two sons of the recently dead Emperor, were engaged in a fierce struggle for the throne. But, alas! treachery was the trump-card in the Spanish conquest. The Spaniards marched into Peru at a time when Huasca was being worsted. Atahualpa sent ambassadors to Pizarro asking for help to enable him to follow up his advantage and gain a decisive victory over his rival; in response he was invited to the Spanish camp, where he was dragged from his golden litter and made a prisoner by Pizarro, whilst the Spanish troops massacred his attendant nobles and soldiers.

Peru became the headquarters of Spanish government in South America. Lima was made the capital and seat of government, and the Viceroy there took rank as the highest official in the Spanish colonies of the New World.

The liberating forces at work in the New World eventually made a successful attack on the royalist stronghold. On July 26, 1821, the Viceroy, realizing that he could no longer hold Lima against the army that was advancing from the south, left the capital, and the patriot forces entered the city to proclaim the independence of Peru.

Round and About the Inca Country

We start from Antofagasta to make our second trip across the Andes by train. The route is strikingly different from the last one we traversed, for the Trans-Andine line between Argentina and Chile climbs and drops between mountains as though ascending and descending the steep sides of a triangle, whereas that between Chile and Bolivia makes a steep ascent and then crosses a tableland.

A train de luxe leaves the Chilean terminus at night, and, passing through an important nitrate district, does half its climb whilst we are sleeping in comfortable beds. At five o'clock in the morning the express makes its first stop at Calama, and we look forth upon a panorama of mountains with magnificent snow-capped peaks.

Calama was a copper-mining centre in the time of the Incas; the mines are still rich enough to have called into existence a modern smelting establishment, whose power supply is furnished by the neighbouring River Loa.

A few miles farther on we pass the junction whence a short branch line runs up to the copper mines at Chuquicamata. Proceeding to Conchi, we come upon a masterpiece of engineering, the Loa Viaduct; in crossing the viaduct, our train is nearly 10,000 feet above sea-level, whilst its height above the surface of the Loa River is more than twice that at which trains are carried over the Firth of Forth via the Forth Bridge. From Conchi a branch line leads to some more famous copper mines, at Conchi Viejo. We are nearly two hundred miles on our way when we reach San Pedro, where are situated the reservoirs which supply Antofagasta with pure snow-water from the Andes. Just beyond San Pedro station the railway skirts the bases of the snow-capped, smoking volcanoes of "San Pedro "and "San Pablo," and cuts through a lava-bed that is nearly a third of a mile wide. The summit of the main railway line is reached at Ascotan, 223 miles from Antofagasta and 13,000 feet above the sea.

We are dropped a few hundred feet between Ascotan and Cebollar, where the train runs alongside the lake which furnishes a large proportion of the world's supply of borax.

We are close to Ollague when we make our first acquaintance with llamas; a number of these very graceful-looking beasts of burden are having packs balanced across their backs in a farmyard. Llamas are used for the transport of silver, tin, fruit, vegetables, bales of cloth—and, indeed, of everything that is found, grown, or made in and near Bolivia. Each animal carries a weight of 100 pounds.

Also, we are beginning to make the acquaintance of Inca Indians, and to see that they have inherited many good and useful qualities from their famous ancestors. By patience and painstaking, and with the help only of primitive agricultural implements such as were used by their forefathers, the present-day natives have dotted the desert with productive fields. They raise good crops of many kinds of cereals, fruit, and vegetables. They shepherd large herds of llamas. They make the material for their clothes from the wool of the tame llamas and of the wild vicunas and alpacas.

Just beyond Ollague station we cross the boundary between Chile and Bolivia, then onwards for more than 300 miles the line runs along a tableland that is between 12,000 and 13,000 feet above sea-level. From Rio Mulato station, situated on this tableland, a branch line goes to the ancient city of Potosi, famous for its silver mines.

Near Viacha, the junction with the line to Lake Titicaca, we get our first view of the magnificent peak of Illimani, the "Fujiyama "of South America. A short run brings us to the Alto station, whence our train is taken down to La Paz by the aid of an electric motor.

The sudden appearance of a big city makes us feel that we are in an enchanted land. I wonder, how would you try to help friends at home to picture the marvellous situation of the highest capital city in the world? This is the only way I can suggest: Ask them to imagine that for seventeen hours they have been hauled by train up a steep incline to the top of a very high and large table, and that they have spent twenty-eight hours more on a railway going across the table, when suddenly they find themselves looking down into a shallow bowl, such as might be let into a giants' smoking-table to serve as an ash-tray; in the hollow of that bowl, and at a height of nearly 12,000 feet above the sea, they behold a fine city, with farm-houses and fields spreading upwards to the rim, whilst behind the surprise-bowl rises a magnificent amphitheatre of mountains, from amongst which one snow-capped peak, Illimani, towers to a height of 21,182 feet.

Round and About the Inca Country (Continued)

Progressive ideals are popular amongst the well-educated, enterprising citizens of La Paz, with the result that the Bolivian capital can boast many features of modern civilization, such as fine public buildings, electric light, and a very good tramway service. Amongst the public buildings, the Museum, with its wonderful collection of Inca antiquities, has the greatest attraction for strangers. But, fortunately, progress has not despoiled La Paz in making a museum collection of quaint and interesting relics; the city itself not only has the charm of a uniquely picturesque site, but the fascination that springs from the survival of old-world customs in the life of the populace and from buildings that charge the atmosphere with the romance of a past civilization. The streets are very steep, and, in addition to the exertion of hill-climbing, the rarefied air of this high situation gets everyone into the habit of walking leisurely. As visitors, we find in the street-scenes of everyday life many other and much greater temptations to dawdle.

On market-days the blaze of colour in La Paz out-rivals the kaleidoscopic splendour of an Oriental bazaar. The Indians squat by the roadside, Eastern fashion, beside their wares. The national garment, the poncho—a length of material with a hole in the middle, through which it is slipped over the head—is everywhere in evidence. As a rule the natives wear their whole wardrobe of ponchos, the newest one on top and the older ones below, in order of age; hence their strata of draperies, in magenta, orange, green, blue, purple, scarlet, or some other selection from amidst every possible colour, produce the most brilliant rainbow effects. Side by side with tempting everyday supplies, such as fruits of various kinds, rolls of coarsish homespun cloth, toy llamas for the children, multicoloured woollen caps of fisherman pattern, with flaps to cover the ears, woollen mittens, in which nursery pictures are interwoven, and woollen masks for protecting the face against the bitter cold winds that blow over the mountains, there are many luxurious articles, such as vicuna-skin rugs and finespun alpaca goods, that tug at our heart-strings and purse-strings.

From La Paz an excursion can be made in a day to the pre-Inca ruins of Tiahuanaco. A week at least must be allowed for the trip to Cuzco, but lovers and students of antiquities will want to devote a considerably longer time to that ancient city.

The one thing that the Bolivian capital requires to complete its equipment as an ideal tourist resort is a modern hotel. The well-planned, well-furnished, well-managed houses of the upper-class citizens, who so generously and courteously extend hospitality to us, make home-life stand out in striking contrast to the roughing-it conditions of the best accommodation that money can procure for the traveller.

From La Paz we journey to the coast by a third Trans-Andine route. By train we are switch-backed over mountain-tops to Guaqui, on the southern shores of Lake Titicaca. Across a 4,000 mile area of fresh water, situated at a height of 12,450 feet above the sea, we are transported by a comfortable steamer to Puno, on the northern shores of the lake. Both for purposes of warfare and peaceful trading, the Incas sailed these waters in boats made of reeds. We see numbers of the present-day natives of yonder historic shores in boats that are an exact copy of the primitive craft used by their ancestors.

From Puno we go by train to Mollendo, whence we make the voyage to Callao, the port of Lima, on a palatial steamer, one of the fine fleet of vessels by which the Pacific Steam Navigation Company maintains a fortnightly service, outwards and homewards, between England and the West Coast of South America.

Cathedral in Lima


There is much talk on board about revolutionary disturbances that are going on in and around the Peruvian capital. Some of our fellow-passengers have already decided not to set foot on shore at Callao. We are not in a hurry to change our plans, for have we not had some amusing experiences of South American revolutions? When we voyaged up the coast of Brazil with some Federal troops who were being sent to the scene of a revolution, did we not hear that those troops, and therefore our ship, were likely to be fired at upon reaching a certain port? And you remember how, instead of bullets, a brass band came out to the ship to greet those troops?

We land at Callao—prospect, and find that, for the moment, at any rate, the port is peacefully busy—make inquiries, and learn that, according to the latest morning's report, the rebels at Lima are taking a holiday; so we jump into a tram, and within half an hour we are in the old capital of Spanish South America.

Prominent among the many attractions of Lima are the Cathedral, where the remains of Pizarro are preserved; the old Hall of the Inquisition; and many fine old Spanish houses, convents, and churches. Among the modern sights are numerous fine public buildings—some of them show signs of having suffered rather badly in the fray that took place a couple of days ago—and the Paseo Colon, the fashionable promenade.

The Panama Canal

We travel by one of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company's coasting steamers from Callao to Balboa, at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The vessel is a coasting steamer only as regards the service she performs; in reality, she is a first-class ocean liner, run on first-class lines; and as during our trip on her all the passengers form a happy family party, under the kindly influence of the Captain, who makes everyone feel an honoured guest, we are very sorry when the week's cruise comes to an end.

When we reach Panama, in the spring of 1914, the Canal is finished. True, there have been some troublesome landslides; one has taken place just previous to our arrival, and numbers of workmen, steam cranes, and trains are busy shovelling out and removing to a dumping-ground the tons of earth and rock that have tumbled into the section known as the Culebra Cut. But certain privileged vessels have already been through the Canal, so, despite temporary interruptions to traffic, the short cut between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans may be said to be an accomplished fact.

Although at the time of our visit the Canal has not been formally declared open, we have the good fortune to journey by electric launch along the whole course of this marvelous waterway. To the courtesy of American officials we owe the honour of being among the first travellers to pass through the Panama Canal. Previous to the trip by launch, however, we get many interesting and beautiful views of the American "Big Job "in going by train from Panama city, near Balboa, to Colon, at the Atlantic entrance to the Canal, for the railway which crosses the Isthmus of Panama skirts the waterway that has been cut across that Isthmus.

In passing through the Panama Canal, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a vessel sails for about four miles within the buoyed boundaries of a deep-water channel in Limon Bay, then enters the Isthmus of Panama through an opening in the low-lying arena of a hill-girt amphitheatre. Here she begins an adventurous journey through a region of jungle-clad wilds. For three miles her course lies along a broad ditch, the water in which is kept at sea-level by the Atlantic. Suddenly she has to come to a standstill, for the ditch is blocked by a massive gateway, which supports giant gates that are tightly closed. Presently, the gates are opened, giving access to a lock-chamber; the vessel is towed into that chamber, the gates behind her are closed, and by a flight of three locks she is lifted 85 feet to the level of an artificial lake. Through that fresh-water lake, which is fed by a neighbouring river, the ship travels about twenty-four miles; then she passes into a ditch in the depths of an artificially made ravine. At the end of a nine-mile-long passage between mountain walls she enters a lock, and is lowered 30 feet to a second, and smaller, artificial lake, which is fed by the waters of another river. By way of this lake, which is at an elevation of 541 feet above sea-level, she gets one and a half miles farther on her journey, and is then lowered by locks in two steps to a sea-level ditch, wherein mingle the waters of a river and of the Pacific Ocean. A run of about four miles between jungle-clad banks brings her to Balboa; here the ditch merges into a deep-water channel in Panama Bay, and within its buoyed boundaries the vessel sails on for four and a half miles, when she passes into the naturally deep waters of the open Pacific.

The entire length of the Panama Canal, from deep water in the Atlantic to deep water in the Pacific, is about fifty miles. Its length from shore line to shore-line is about forty miles. Its minimum width of 300 feet is three times that of the Suez Canal; its maximum width is 1,000 feet, and this is maintained for several miles in the channel through the great lake. The depth varies from 41 to 85 feet. The locks are in pairs, hence vessels going in opposite directions can continue their journey simultaneously, some going "upstairs "and others "downstairs,"

The Canal is centrally situated within a ten-miles-wide strip of the Isthmus of Panama. That strip is known as the "Canal Zone," and belongs to the United States of America.

When I was first in Panama, in the spring of 1912, the bed of the Canal was a hive of industry. Where there is now a waterway, there were then swamps that told of submerged forests and of lakes in the making, deep and wide ditches that were being made deeper and wider by armies of men and wondrous machinery, camps that looked like large towns, and trains rushing hither and thither in the bowels of the earth, packed with workmen of all shades and nationalities, or with excavated "dirt" for the dumping-grounds.

The first Panama Canal was begun by the French in 1880; the unhealthy conditions of the Isthmus were largely responsible for the failure of that enterprise. When, in 1904, the Americans tackled the "Big Job," they began the work of canal-building by waging war on yellow-fever mosquitoes and other deadly pests, and by providing healthy housing accommodation and organizing good food supplies in readiness for the thousands of labourers they would require in the Canal Zone. For the world-wide renown the United States have won in carrying through the biggest engineering job that has ever been undertaken, Americans are indebted as much to Colonel Gorgas, the head of the Canal Zone Department of Sanitation, as to Colonel Goethals, the Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal.

We Journey to Bogota

From Colon we go by a Royal Mail steamer to Puerto Colombia, a busy port on the Atlantic coast of the republic of Colombia. The next stage of the journey to the Colombian capital is a forty minutes' run by rail to Barranquilla, the headquarters of the steamers that provide travelling facilities on the River Magdalena.

At Barranquilla we have to make various preparations for the trip to Bogota, and whilst so doing we are "mothered "by the English hostess of the Pension Inglesa. We secure accommodation on one of the Colombia Navigation Company's mail steamers; next we make a round of the shops for the purpose of stocking our tuck-boxes; then comes the business of packing our river kit. The cabins on the river boats are provided with folding cots, but as no bedding is supplied, each of us must have a pilgrim's bundle, containing sheets, pillows, a mosquito-net and a rush mat to serve as mattress.

The steamship Barranquilla steams out of the port of that name at 5 p.m. on a Friday night, and, picking her way carefully along a short length of canal crowded with shipping, swings out into the River Magdalena.

The Barranquilla makes us think of many a delightful picnic we have had on house-boats up the Thames. In model and in gay appearance she is related to those house-boats, although, necessarily, various details in her construction and equipment have been specially designed for service in tropical waters and on a river which sets particularly difficult navigation problems. Her shallow draught and stern wheel, for instance, are essential features of any vessel that has to plough a passage through the shallow, sandbank-studded River Magdalena.

Old refuge hut in the Andes.


Early on Saturday morning we reach Calamar, an important distributing centre for exports and imports. By midday the foothills of the Andes are in sight, and the panorama is hourly becoming more picturesque. Late in the afternoon we pass Tenerife, which was a military stronghold of the Spaniards; here, in 1811, Bolivar, the liberator of Colombia, fought his first battle in the struggle for independence.

By 3 a.m. on Sunday we are at Magangue, the jumping-off ground for a rich coffee-producing district. Santa Cruz, the outlet for an extensive cattle-rearing region, is the next port of call. During the afternoon we put in at Pinillos, at the mouth of the Cauca River; the Cauca gives access to a vast tract that is famous for gold and coffee. A gorgeous sunset on this particular evening is quickly followed by a memorable exhibition of tropical night-life; weird and beautiful insects, little and big pests, come on board in thousands.

The outstanding features of the scenery through which we pass on Monday are vegetable-ivory palms and bamboo-trees on the river banks, with the sky-high rising Andes in the background. The principal port of call is Bodega Central, the trading depot for a famous coffee-growing district. Just beyond Bodega Central we see numbers of very large alligators reposing on the sandy shores; shooting on board is against the rules, but some of us have conscientious objections against not having a pot at these dangerous reptiles.

Owing to increasing difficulties of navigation, our boat is tied up for the night. She is under weigh again at dawn, carefully picking a track through the deepest shallows of an island-studded course; occasionally she bumps a sandbank, and two or three times she gets aground, but quickly clears herself by whirligig manoeuvres.

We are fast nearing a main chain of the Andes on Wednesday, and rapidly the scenery becomes more wildly beautiful.

The excitement of assisting in a hunt of amphibious wild pigs makes a short day of Thursday. By the evening we are at La Dorada, the terminus of the Lower Magdalena route.

Early on Friday morning we start off by train for Beltran. The railway first traverses a region of flower-bedecked Bush, then crosses vast plains, which resemble the richest of English meadow-lands and are the grazing-ground for thousands of cattle. Beltran, on the Upper Magdalena, is reached at 11 a.m., and here we embark for Girardot.

The adventurous course of the Upper Magdalena, as it finds a way among ravines through the Andes, is a waterway situated amidst some of the finest scenery in South America.

Girardot is reached on Saturday. On Sunday we start off on the last stage of our journey, to make our fourth railway trip across the Andes.

Almost immediately after leaving Girardot the train begins its climb of 9,000 feet up the Andes. The track to Bogota is remarkable among Trans-Andine railway routes in that it scales the mountains almost entirely without the assistance of tunnels and bridges, and that the surrounding country is luxuriantly fertile. Sugar-cane plantations and banana groves are prominent features of the cultivated region in the tropical zone traversed by the railway. When we reach temperate heights, bracken, blackberry-bushes, and a wealth of mountain flowers make us feel very much at home. The only tunnel in the whole course of the journey is approached through a glade of foxgloves.

A first view of the Sabanas, or tablelands, is obtained soon after the train emerges from the short tunnel. The last stage of the journey is made on the Sabana railway. Our new train, a veritable train de luxe, speeds across the Sabanas, past country mansions, pretty farmhouses, cosy cottages, rich pasture-lands, fields of grain, and well-stocked flower-gardens and kitchen-gardens. In the background there is a fine stretch of downs. Here, 9,000 feet up the Andes, after a nine days' journey through the wilds, how easy it is to imagine that we are being rushed through Sussex by the Brighton express. The fine city of Bogota, the most remote capital city in South America, is reached at 7 o'clock on Sunday evening.

Although all passenger traffic and the transport of all merchandise had to be performed on muleback from Girardot until a few years ago, the civilization of Bogota is of a higher standard than that of some of the more famous Latin-American cities.

The Kaieteur Fall

In the Kaieteur Fall of the Potaro River, British Guiana has a wonder-work of Nature, which, when it becomes better known, will probably be given rank as the finest waterfall in the world. The proportions of this Fall contribute much to its general splendour; it has a perpendicular drop of 741 feet—which is to say, a height nearly five times that of Niagara—and a width of from 250 to 350 feet.

At present, the two most famous waterfalls are Niagara, in North America, and Victoria, in Africa. But very few people have seen the Kaieteur Fall; excluding aboriginal Indians, the total is, I believe, still well under fifty. Among the fortunate travellers who have visited both Kaieteur and Niagara—I am one of those lucky wanderers—there is an enthusiastic preference for Kaieteur. Further, I went up to Kaieteur with a man who has seen the Victoria Falls; so far, he is the only person qualified to compare the great water-display of the Zambesi River with that of the Potaro River, and, on his authority, Kaieteur is the finer spectacle.

Georgetown, the capital of British Guiana, is easily accessible from the West Indian Islands, which, being favourite tourist-resorts, are well served by numerous lines of passenger steamers. We go from Colon to Port of Spain, Trinidad, whence we cross to Georgetown by the Royal Mail.

The garden city of Georgetown, situated at the mouth of the Demerara River, is one of the prettiest and most attractive of South American capitals. It has many beauties peculiar to a flat situation, together with individual charm.

More than once I have arrived home from a wander tour months later than I had intended, having been unable to tear myself away from British Guiana. As I am bound to get you home to time, I have taken the precaution of writing to ask that everything may be in readiness for us to leave for Kaieteur directly we land in Georgetown, so that the capital and the neighbouring sugar-plantations may have no chance of using their fascination to provide us with innumerable excuses for extending our holiday.

Paisano's hut on the Chilian frontier.


All our arrangements for the trip to the interior have been made by the firm of Sprostons, Ltd., to whose enterprise British Guiana owes most of the travelling facilities with which the interior of the colony has been provided, including the opening up of a route to Kaieteur.

We start off under very civilized conditions, going by steamer down the Demerara River to Wismar, whence a train takes us across the forest to Rockstone; here, on the shores of the Essequibo River, we spend the night in a comfortable hotel.

Next morning, after we have enjoyed the luxury of a shower-bath, an excellent breakfast is set before us in the verandah of the pretty little Bush hotel. As we survey our virgin-forest surroundings and listen to the howling of monkeys, we tell ourselves that we must surely have reached the edge of civilization. But when we go down to the stelling to embark for the second stage of our journey, we find a trim and commodious house-boat awaiting us; and specially selected servants, negroes and Indians, come forward in numbers sufficient for each of us to make choice of a "boy "as our own particular attendant. Our smart little craft is lashed to the public service launch, and thus we are towed in state to Tumatumari, situated on the Potaro tributary of the Essequibo. Sprostons' Hotel, over-looking the Tumatumari Falls, vies with its parent hostelry at Rockstone in providing us with good cheer.

We continue our journey next morning by launch to Potaro Landing. Here we are met by a Boviander man, of mixed Indian and white descent, who is to act as our guide and captain. Van, the champion shooter of rapids and falls, is accompanied by several Indians, who, like the boys who have come with us from Rockstone, are experienced boatmen and carriers.

Our luggage—camp kit, provisions, and a change of clothes—is taken a short distance along a corduroy track by mule carts. Then our crew share the baggage, cut ropes from the trees, make their packs secure, shoulder their burdens, but transfer the weight thereof to their heads by putting the handle "rope across their foreheads, and set off for the night's halting-place at Kangaruma. A few minutes later we strike the trail and follow our guide through a dense forest. Van says we have walked well when, two hours later, we arrive at the Kangaruma rest-house. But it is easy to see that the boys have given us a good beating; although they had but a very short start, they have arrived long enough before us to unpack, put up the cots, chop wood, lay tea, sling over one blaze in the open a kettle that is now boiling ready for the teapot, and over another a pot that promises us a savoury dinner.

Early next morning we start off in a tent-boat. In peaceful stretches of water the crew sing native love ditties and comic folk-songs, beating and keeping time with their paddles; Van encourages the performance of chanties, for the singing helps to make the boat travel, besides amusing us. But Van and his boys have a still stronger hold on our interest when they are fighting with turbulent waters for our lives and their own. In shooting rapids and running falls they perform feats which win for them our highest admiration and respect; their skill gives us such confidence in them that experiences which we expected to find fearsome prove most exhilaratingly exciting. On this fourth night of our trip we camp at a rest-house which stands on the brink of the unnavigable Amatuk Falls.

The following morning all our kit has to be carried over a portage to the far side of the falls, where a second tent-boat is awaiting us. On this fifth day we voyage through beautifully mountainous country. By the middle of the day another unnavigable fall is reached; we picnic on shore whilst the crew transfer the baggage to a third tent-boat. Before sunset we are comfortably installed in the Tukeit rest-house, at the foot of the Kaieteur Plateau.

Have you not by this time become so accustomed to not seeing anyone but the members of our own party, that the appearance of any other human being would seem to you more of an event than the Lord Mayor's Show or a Royal Procession at home?

By sunrise we have struck camp, for every moment of the cool morning is particularly precious to-day. It is an 800 feet climb up to the Kaieteur Plateau. After we have been mountaineering for about a couple of hours Van calls a halt; he tells us we are more than half-way. As we are far from feeling at our last gasp, we are inclined to pat ourselves on the back. Suddenly we realize why we have been invited to rest awhile—we are at the base of a practically perpendicular cliff; the fear of disgracing ourselves by not being able to negotiate the ascent ahead of us turns pride into dogged determination. When we see the heavily-laden boys walking up that cliff as easily and unconcernedly as we should walk through Hyde Park, we feel still more strongly that we must make a good show or perish in the attempt. The ascent proves much less difficult than it looks, for where the rocks do not provide natural steps there are roots in which we can get a foothold, and trees for banisters.

The gloriously fresh air on the top of the Plateau is so stimulating that we take to our heels and race to camp. The boys run to meet us, and present us with bouquets of mountain flowers, which they have picked to bid us welcome.

After breakfast Van takes us across to the Fall, which is close by the rest-house. He is an ideal guide, for in silence he leads us from vantage-point to vantage-point, in silence he stands, kneels, or lies beside us as we watch a peacefully-flowing river suddenly and ceaselessly taking a dive from a precipice platform, dropping majestically over the mouth of a cavern to form a massive curtain that is veiled with the finest of lacework, disappearing amidst clouds of spray in the depths of a rainbow-spanned ravine, and reappearing in a valley of rocks as a turbulent torrent fighting furiously for a passage to the restful level of a distant plain.

The commonplace remarks of a parrot-trained guide, or any idle chatter of admiration, would sound blasphemous in such surroundings.

The grandeur of the Kaieteur Fall is enhanced by its forest setting far from the haunts of civilized man, and by the natural rockworks, reminiscent of Greek mythology and Cyclopean architecture, over and between which it plunges.

Downhill and downstream we hasten back to Georgetown, catch the Mail, and arrive home to time by the skin of our teeth. Is it not good to be back again in our native land after a long spell of travelling? And after revelling in greeting and being greeted by relations and friends who have journeyed to the quay to meet us, do we not still feel so excited that we want to shake hands with the porters? And yet I, for one, know that it will not be long before the call of South America will be haunting me again, luring me one minute with the vast possibilities of helping in the further development of the great continent, and the next with the promise of a holiday to the end of my days in the forests where the only earthly necessities for a blissful life are a hammock, bow-and-arrows, and a canoe. To one and all of us South America offers a choice between the two most adventurous and fascinating paths to a career—the high road to fortune-making and the trail to the simple life.