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VENEZUELA

:

VENEZUELA: OR,

SKETCHES OF LIFE IN A SOUTHAMERICAN REPUBLIC ;

WITH THE

HISTORY OF THE LOAN OF

EDWARD

B.

EASTWICK,

1864.

C.B.,

F.R.S,

LATE SECRETAKY OF LEGATION AT THE COURT OF PERSIA AND COMMISSIONER FOR THE VENEZUELAN LOAN OF 1864. ;

AUTHOR OF "MUERAY'S HANDBOOK OF

INDIA,"

" THE JOURNAL

WITH A MAP.

CHAPMAN

LONDON & HALL, 193, PICCADILLY. 1868.

\_The

Right of Translation

is reserved.'\

:

LONDON BRADBURY, EVANS, AND

CO.,

PRINTERS, WH1TEFRIAR9.

r Ps

3

p

>

i

3

LIBRARY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

A

cr-

SANTA BARBARA

TO

PHILIP EOSE, ESQ., OF RATNERS, BUCKS.

My

dear Rose,

To you

I

owe

my

pleasant visit to Venezuela.

therefore, if to anyone, these pages

I

am

acts

To

ought to be inscribed

so glad of an opportunity to thank you publicly for

of friendship, that

I

allowing myself to consider

mine must

gain,

by the

dedicate

my

book

to

you,

;

and

many

you, without

how much your name may

lose, as

association.

Ever yours,

EDWARD 38,

Thurloe Square, 1868.

B.

EASTWICK.

PEEFACE. On

the 7th of June, 1864, I was asked to go to

Venezuela as Financial Commissioner for the General Credit Company.

the it,

first

instance, to

to me.

The appointment was Lord Hobart, and on

The terms were

were to be paid, and

pounds

liberal.

offered,

in

his declining

my

All

expenses

was to receive one thousand

I

for three months, reckoning

from the day of

But the pleasure of seeing a new

embarkation.

country, and learning a

new

language, and the ex-

perience of financial transactions I should gain in such a mission, were to

accept

it.

stiU stronger

me on

the

saw him, about a

2nd

you go

there."

to the City

So, taking his

?

Cobden had

of June, the last time

certain matter,

expressing his sympathy, had ended don't

inducements to

Besides, curiously enough, Mr.

been talking to I ever

me

They

by

and, after

saying, "

will treat

Why

you better

words as a Sors Virgiliana,

I

PREFACE.

viii

accepted the Commissionersliip at once, purchased a

Spanish books, imbibed a draught of the pure

pile of

Castilian stream daily, in the shape of a lesson from

Dr. Altschul, glanced

and put aside

at,

for complete

on board the steamer, a huge

deglutition

liasse

of

papers,

and on the

for St.

Thomas, in the " Atrato," commanded by the

7th of June found myself en route

Captain WooUey.

ill-fated

I

1

returned the

October.

In

same

1865,

year,

in

the

last

days of

and the beginning of 1866,

I

wrote for Mr. Dickens some of the chapters which follow,

and they appeared

In those light sketches

my

object

general idea of Venezuela and I

have there written

de la

lettre.

It is

is

Year Eound."

in "All the

its

was only

people, so that

otherwise in the grave part of the

my

have there striven to be as accurate as to pilot others

missions with as

what

not always to be taken au pied

book, which refers to the business of

aim being

to give a

little

who may go

mission.

possible,

I

my

out on similar

experience as myself, and

who

might, perhaps, be shipwrecked amongst dangers which

have never been properly buoyed.

CONTENTS. CHAPTER

I.

TO VENEZUELA.

— Juan — The Royal Mail Company— The Story In— Hat Island — Harbour of St. Thomas —A Battle with the Sharks — The "Virgin Islands — A Cruize among the Cemeteries —

Sailing on a Friday

terrupted

— .........

Blockade Eunners— Voyage to La Guaira— The Death at Sea Islands

—At Anchor

CHAPTER

Aves 1

II.

At La Guaira— Origin of the name "Venezuela" The Hottest Place on Earth The National Emblem Empirical Druggists The Negro

Artilleryman

Mountain

— Singular

to Caracas

.

,

.

CHAPTER —Hotel

— Maquetia — Across

Nomenclature .

.

.

.

.

the

.24

III.

Bells and Belles — The — Drake, the Corsair— Site of Caracas — Creole Steeds and Creole Eiders — Bolivar's Cenotaph — Environs of Caracas — The Great Earthquake— Catholic Cemetery— Ker Porter's Chapel — The Toma— Mount Calvary

At Caracas

Amande — Caraqu^nian

St.

Virgin and her Suitors

CHAPTER

IV.

— Dishonesty the best policy — How to make the —Why Republics are always borro\ving — The Bull-Fight — Public Buildings at Caracas— Cave Canem— Godoy, the Negro Wit— The Venezuelan Cabinet— Maniac Visitors — The Minis-

Traits of Republican Life

Scum

terial

rise

to the top

Breakfast

..........

38

X

CONTENTS.

CHAPTEK

V. PAGE

Major Milligan's Mistake Ciudad Bolivar and the British Legion Fight between Sambo the Giant and tlie Irish Sergeant Luisa and Helena Panchito, the Enfant Terrible— Popping the Question Too much Alike How to Clear up a Blunder The Explanation too

77

late

CHAPTEK How

Loan — Solemn — Mission of the

to obtain a

Delegated

VI.

Preliminaries

— The

Finance Minister

President's Powers

— The Contract — Rati-

by the Constituent Assembly The Financial Commissioner to Venezuela Painful Discoveries Reiterated Assurances and tlie Honour of the Republic Repledged Evasion baffled Final Warnings Breathing Time Symptoms of Change The fication of the Contract

— —

— — —Utter Oblivion

Plunge Downwards

To

100

CHAPTEK VII. Puerto Cabello— El Bailarin — The Indian Path — A Narrow Escape Yellow Westward Ho — Harbour of Puerto Cabello — How to Baffle

!

Jack

— Holy Crackers — On to Valencia

129

CHAPTEK VIII. The Sights of Valencia— A Republican Council —The Gran Plaza — The Cathedral — Morals of a Bull-fight A Mushroom in Cream — The Morro — The Cemetery — The Mountain of the Caves — A Boa Constrictor

...........

155

CHAPTEK IX. Erminia— Break of Day at Valencia — Showing a Visitor the Lionesses A Creole Beauty— Love at First Sight —Valencian Lace-makers — The House of General Paez — The Fair Antonia— An Awkward Question The Malediction

fulfilled

CHAPTEK

176

X.

how to find him — The Grand Army — Down with the — A Noble Revenge— Tocuyo — Personal Appearance of the Gran Mariscal — Conversation with the President

General Falcon, and

Red

!

193

— —

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

xi

XI. PAGE

A

Visit to

Carabobo— Joltings by the

the Posada at the Battle-field

Way — Mine

— Position of

host the Colonel, and

affairs before

the Battle

—The —Flight of the A pure Bravos— Eepulse of the Cavalry under Paez — Amniuuition exhausted— Bayonet Charge of the British — The Spaniards routed — Loss of the British — Bolivar's grateful Address — Results of the Victory The Advance from San Carlos— The Night

before the Battle

Spanish Position

CHAPTER

XII.

—The Lake of Tacarigua—Adieu to Valencia —A Coffee Hacienda— Recruiting under Difficulties — The Beautiful Vale of Araguas — Maracai — Palmar— Victoria — Consejo — Las Coquillas— Up the Mountains — Life in the Jungle Limon and Los Teques— The Frenchman's Story— Return to Caracas — A parting Benediction

A Visit

205

to Las Tinajas

Eepublican Jehus

CHAPTER Difficulty of

219

XIII.

forming an exact estimate of the Resources of Venezuela

Configuration and Area of the Country

Three Systems

— Codazzi's Division of

— Distribution into Provinces — Chief

Cities,

it

into

Climate,

— Popidation — Form of Government— Revenue— Debt — Mineral and Vegetable Products

and Scenery

Commerce

CHAPTER Relations of Venezuela with

Venezuela by England in

242

XIV.

Foreign Powers

—Assistance

men and money— History

rendered to

of Venezuelan

—Causes of the Decay of English Influence — The Question of — Plans Solving the Difficulty— The Foreign View — The Appeal to Force — TheCompensation Plan— The Best

Debt

the Loans

for

Office

Plan

315

APPENDIX

345

ERRATA. At

p. 126, lines 6, 18,

lines 5

and 12

and 29

— for Engelckye,

;

and

p. 127, lines 5

read Engelke.

and

7

;

also at p. 128,

VENEZUELA: OR,

SKETCHES OF LIFE IN A SOUTH-AMERICAN REPUBLIC.

CHAPTER L TO VENEZUELA.

Sailing on a Fiidaj^— Juan— The Royal Mail

Company The Story interrupted—Hat Island— Harbour of St. Thomas— A Battle with the Sharks The Vii-gin Islands — A Cruise among the Cemeteries Blockaderunners Voyage to La Guaira— The Death at Sea— Aves Islands At Anchor.

**

Needles indeed

a propos of that,

our teeth, we

!

they look more like Grinders

if this

confounded wind continues dead in

shall pitch

bows under

as soon as

we get

out-

I uttered these words without addressing myself to

side."

any person in particular,

for I

in fact, there was no one near servant, who, like

myself,

knew no one on enough

to hear

hoard, and,

me, but

was leanmg over the

watching the pilot drop astern.

I looked at

my

seven,

it is

a lucky

had just

left

number) us

;

;

we were

off

my

taffrail,

watch

was seven minutes past seven, on the 17th of June

pilot

and,

;

;

it

(I like

the Needles

;

the

there was a strong breeze right

ahead, and the weather did not look altogether so propitious

/ /7 /> LX> '

VENEZUELA.

2

as

it

should do on a

midsummer

My

evening.

was an excellent

six feet five inches in his boots,

never

smoked,

drank,

nor

all

himseK an Englishman. been in one

my

most

He

fully considered

who had

of Juan,

little

service only a few days,

of his peculiarities.

and was now

was subject

to

to learn

an extraordinary

on the occui'rence of anj'thing which others

flow of spu'its

regarded as dej^ressing. a good

his heart, and, like

knew

I

valet,

and

Thomas,

natives of Santa Cruz and Saint

stood

Spanish

spoke

swore,

English, loved England with

servant,

He

Juan, was a fine specimen of a Santa Cruz man.

humour

;

A

simple contretemps put him in

but a disaster made him jocular, and the

On

graver the case the more he was elated.

hearing

my

exclamation he turned round approvingly, and said, " Yes,

no

fears, sir,

but we'll have a rough night of

hur-red no good of sailing on a Friday."

Juan," said

I,

Indies to which

we

are

now

New

ver}'^

far

World, these

going, and on Friday,

the 12th of October, he did discover San so

from where you were born

;

Salvador, not

and on Friday,

the 1st of March, 1493, he saw land on his return

he ought to have seen thick." fact,

I never

Why, on Friday, man than Christoval

Colon sailed from Lagos to discover the

West

;

"that's a mere prejudice.

the 9th of August, 1492, no less a

very

it

" Pooh, j)ooh,

it if

—that

the weather had not been rather

I said the last Avords with some hesitation,

encountered a regular tormenta ;

for,

in

on his homeward voyage,

I recollected that Colon,

foimdering

is,

off

Portugal, and was near

so that the thuxl Friday was rather against me.

Juan, however, as became a

man

of his inches, was not to

be beaten from his opinion, and said nothing about Columbus,

sir*,

but

my

:

"I

father,

don't

Imow

who was

a

SAILING ON A FEIDAY. better

3

man, leastways made more voyages 'tween 'Merica

and Em-ope

for

as Avell as I do

he was a ship's steward, and spoke English

— said

he never hur-red no good of sailing

So saying, and laymg a pecuharly grating

on a Friday."

emphasis on the word hiu'-red, Juan stalked oif. " Confound the fellow " said I to myself, "

me

ahsm-d,

it's

!

but he makes

melancholy with his forebodings.

imagine anythmg like risk

sand tons and upwards

which Columbus made the long-boat there.

m

a grand vessel of three thou-

Why,

!

Yet,

carvel in

the A\i-etched

liis

voyages, was hardly so large as

It is

no exaggeration to say that she

would scarcely have carried the admiral's potted meats,

me weigh

over twenty tons.

which the steward

tells

true, however, that

though the voyage from Lagos to Gua-

nahari was three thousand and forty miles as

voyage from the coast of

America,

is

esjjecially

navigation

is

that odious

says,

'

A

South

and thence to

when imdertaken

The

summer.

in

often less dangerous than crossing one of the

Whereas

Bay

homeward passage

may be

in our voyage there

of Biscay to be crossed,

have risks of their own. bodings

but one

is

Humboldt

yet, as

Spain,

great lakes of Switzerland.'

sea on the

long

scarcely attended with an}^ event Avhicli deserves

attention,

is

—nearly as

from Southampton to Saint Thomas, which

hundred and forty-seven more

It is

justified."

and a

still

worse

and steamers, however grand,

;

Well,

who knows

!

So, after finishing

Juan's fore-

my

reverie,

I went to smoke a cigar in the allowable place before the funnel,

and next

to arrange

my

cabin,

and

so, in

due com-se,

to bed.

I

was awoke in the morning

several small voices crying all

b}^

a hideous jabber of

at once, " Steward

!

steward B 2

!

VENEZUELA.

4

for

vy I say

selves

call I

not ask

you many times

me

Vy you by your own This reminded me of

?

vat I vant ? "

TroUope's grinning Frenchman and his rotten walnut

somewhat

incontinently I laughed effect of

On

shaming

leaving

my

my

and

neighhom^s and stilhng the clamour.

cabin I was astonished to see outside the

next cabm door fom* such Lilliputian

come

that I could not but

bours must be

;

which had the

loudly,

all

to the conclusion that

children,

voices of middle age.

Spanish Creoles have

of haU'-boots

paii-s

and yet

my

neigh-

voices were the

theii'

Afterwards I discovered that the feet as tiny as those of Cliinese ladies,

but of a natm'al tininess, and without deformity. Travelling per steamer little

is

a trite

more of crossing the Atlantic

vessels of the

People think

affair.

in one of the gigantic

Royal Mail Steam Packet Compan}^, or of

"The

the Cmiard line, than of passing a river on a bridge. river," says the old Sanscrit proverb, " is crossed,

bridge

is

Foiu'teen days, or so, of short whist

forgotten."

and long

flirtations,

of

bad cigars and pleasant yarns, of

hot cahns and cold gales, a transfer of cash and the voyage

is

But the

over.

admu-able system organised

for

billets,

and

and importance

utihty, wealth,

Company, the

of such an association as the Royal Mail

the performance

of the

it,

and the conse-

which so many voyages,

at all seasons,

duties of ever}^ individual (juent safety with

and the

are performed, deserve

given to the subject.

sendng under

more consideration than

my

In

fii'st

loungmg

fit

is

I took

usually

up the

prospectus and the book of regulations of the company,

which dates from 1830 fomid that

tliis

;

and setting myseK

one company now owns a

to calculate,

fleet of tw^enty-

three steamers, of forty-five thousand eight

hundred and

THE EOYAL MAIL

CO^klPANY.

5

and eleven thousand four hundred and seventy

foui' tons,

These

horse-power.

average some thirty-five

convey on an

I calculated,

vessels,

thousand passengers yearly, and

over twenty miUion of dollars in specie, besides other valu-

There are prizes in such a

able cargo.

superintendents

make from one thousand

two thousand pounds

The

a year.

The

service.

hundred

five

to

senior captain draws one

thousand two hundred in cash, and has his hving and

The

lodging free.

other captains, with like advantages in

The

other respects, get one thousand per amium.

them

Southampton, where they

at

officer

and then- duties are

keeps the

log, the

is

home

a

five officers

strictly

besides the

The

defined.

for

In

live at free quarters.

the large steamers there are four or captain,

There

proportionahly well paid.

officers are

junior

chief

second has charge of the treasure,

and accompanies the Admu-alty's agent on shore with the mails, the third is

never

crew.

left in

On

fifty-three

vants.

and fourth stow the cargo.

A

junior officer

charge of the ship at night. There

is

a goodly

board the vessel in which I was passenger were

seamen,

One might

fifty-four engineers,

and twenty-three

ser-

well feel at ease in a vessel so provided.

I soon became acquainted with most of the passengers.

There

were

several naval

officers

of rank,

a

handsome

admii-al with a fine bold nose, a baronet with a romantic

name, a captain of the race of England's naval demi-gods, several

West Indian

planters,

and not a few pretty planters'

without

daughters,

some,

Columbian

general, a few lively

too,

of Creole nondescripts.

and learning Spanish. or senoritas of

whom

I passed

chaperones

;

a

shabby

Frenchmen, and a score

my

time in pla3ing chess

Unfortunately, there were no seiioras to be taught.

There was, however,

VENEZUELA.

6

a young aide-de-camp to the President of Peru, sessed so to

me

much

who

by the hour, though

in pm'e Castillano

at

I did

fii'st

not comprehend more than one word in a hundred. theless,

pos-

patience and amiability, that he would talk

Never-

by the time we reached the Azores, I had made

some progress, and had even once asked publicly dinner-table, in Spanish, for the mustard.

we passed the

of June, at 4 a.m., that

two of the group.

They

homeward, a very great

and sighted

islands,

directly in the course out, but

lie

circuit is

outward bound captains

at the

was the 23rd

It

see

to

like

made

to the west.

The

the islands, for the

currents in the Atlantic are so strong and so various that

no reckoning can be perfectly

true.

There

current from east to west, and there

which

is

an equinoctial

the

GuK

Stream,

a hot cuiTent, from west to east; and there are

and abnormal currents, and a

local currents

current,

is

is

compounded

of

all

these,

great-circuit-

which has a periphery of

three thousand eight hundred leagues, and a log of

wood

di'opped into the sea opposite Senegal would go, as

many

other sticks do, " on

cii'cuit,"

and retmii to

its starting-

place in two years and ten months.

We

jDassed, I say, the

Azores on the 23rd of June, and

We

forthwith the weather waxed hot.

had not yet caught

the trade-wmds, and, though there were occasional squalls,

on the whole

On

the 25th

it

was

it

sultry,

was particularly close and oppressive.

had been placing chess and I was

with a rather lurid sky at night.

all

the

lazily talking to

mornmg.

my

late

It

was 2

I

p.m.,

antagonist, a good-

lookuig Frenchman, who, though he was, he informed me, tliirty-five,

absence

looked like a mere youth, owdng to an entire

of beard, whiskers,

and moustache.

Groups of

—

THE STORY INTEEEUPTED. people,

some reading, others plajdng chess

or lounged aroimd us.

It

7

or draughts, sat

was a dead calm, and the polished

miiTor of the sea gave back the sun's rays with interest.

" Monsieur voyage pom* son " Pom-

I inquired.

mon

sm-prise, "

man, with some

ou pour

plaisir

plaisir?" repeated the French-

du

du

tout,

" Quoi, monsieiu%" said

on iny elbow,

'*

vous plaisantez

medecin !

"

et

raising myself a little

I,

marchand de bottes a

The Frenchman opened

reply, but just at that

moment

Je

tout, monsiem*.

une fabrique de bottes

suis medecin, monsieur, et j'ai aussi

a Lima."

"

les affaires ?

la fois

hps to

liis

there was a tremendously

loud crash, followed by a strange whizzing noise, and almost

immediately afterwards if

b}'

a succession of terrific thuds, as

some Cyclops had suddenly commenced hammering

the engine-room.

came

flying

At the same time showers

liide

and

screams of ladies, questions of

men

ensued.

along the deck, so as

all

the funnel from sight.

Chess-tables

coui"se

of splinters

from the starboard paddle-box, and a dense

cloud of steam and smoke burst

almost to

in

Great confusion of

chaii's

were

overset

;

shouted in various lan-

guages, rushes of sailors amid the cloud of steam, oaths

and

scuffling,

that

moment

added

to the din.

It

of terrible uncertainty^

was cmious

when an

some other catastrophe was expected by the foreigners

who had been

all,

felt

exactly as I did

how some

sneering at religion

out, suddenly betook themselves to prayer.

some years ago

to see in

explosion, or

all

For

the

of

way

mj-self, I

in a railway accident.

In both cases I expected every moment to be

killed,

and

yet the most trivial circumstances did not escape me, while

my

general thought was, as I looked at the

bright

and quiet sleep of Natm'e, that a \iolent death was

all

sun the

VENEZUELA.

8

more

with

shocking

around

everything

so

and

quiet

peaceable.

Half a minute, perhaps, had passed, but

it

seemed a long

time, and I was rushing forward to see what really had

happened, when I

and the huge

felt

figure of

myself stopped by a powerful arm,

;

Now

engmes

the

stopped, the captain -mil soon put matters to rights,

one can Friday.

Friday."

with

;

Caramba

but,

!

I never hur-red

stop

" I have got finely scalded

of no use.

without being

mj^self,

"Best

Juan blocked the way.

here," he said, with a grin

this

all

comes of

are

any

if

sailing

on a

good from saiHng on a

of no

Destiny, however, was for this time to let us

onlj^ a fright.

The thundering blows ceased with

ofi'

the

stoppage of the engines, the steam and smoke gradually cleared

away, and the hubbub

learned that the

gi'eat

shaft

abated.

It

was then we

which comiects the paddle-

wheels with the machmer}^ had suddenly snapped,

and,

some ponderous

gear,

starting

up

which

Avhirled

it

lilce

a snag, had caught

round with each revolution of the engines,

smashing the paddle-box and everything near

it.

In the

confusion there had been an upset of hot coals and an escape of steam, which scalded several men, and ch'ove the others out of the engine-room.

The danger some

of those

quizzed.

of the late accident

was soon forgotten, and

who had been most alarmed were unmercifully

About one short

were never endmg.

He

fat

Creole in particular the jokes

was in his cabin when the crash

took place, and fancying from the smoke and steam which entered his quarters that the ship was on

fii'e,

he actually

contrived to thrust his corpulent body through the round

window, though one would have thought

it

too small for the

THE PROFESSOE'S EUSE. passage of a

From and made his

fat rabbit.

scrambled on deck,

9

window

the

by

and

off,

and with a

as every one declared, considerably elongated

figiu'e,

through the bull's-eye.

his squeeze

How

somehow

appearance, steaming with

perspiration, with one sleeve of his coat torn face

lie

the damages were repaired

know

I

not, but, in a

much as usual so much so, indeed, that the Frenchman, who had told me he was doctor and bootmaker at once, could now finish liis story and explain himself. " When I commenced my career," said he, " I found that no one would trust me to prescribe, few hom's, we were going on

my juvenile

on account of

who

sulted a friend,

stay is

know

I

!

wanted.

you

of Greek. friend

'

you

' ;

will

*

My

In despair, I con-

dear fellow, with that

! '

I

shall be

But

never have a patient.

a certain college in which a

You

have the place

appearance.

said to me,

child's face of yours,

;

Greek professor

the Greek professor

;

you

shall

In vain I protested that I knew nothing

make

it

entii-ely

my

shall have the place.'

business,' replied

my

Accordingly, I found

myself at the college, with a letter of introduction to the lectm-er,

who had been temporarily

the defunct professor of Greek.

I

discharging the duties of

had counted on several

him

the letter, he

to see you,

and to resign

days to prepare myself, but, on handing said, in a

sharp voice,

mj^ functions.

minutes.

The

'

Charmed

students will be ready for you in ten

man to show you the lectm-e-room.' my laiees tremble under me, and my

I will send a

At that moment

I felt

uneasiness was so great, that I almost resolved to

jump

into

an omnibus I saw pass, drive to the station, and return to Paris.

Somehow,

I fomid myself at the lecture-room,

and just then a lucky thought occurred

to

me.

'

Range

VENEZUELA.

10

youi'selves,' I said to the students,

let the

'

lowest read

to the next,

correct

What

*

them

?

first.'

When

The reading and

left to say.

lecture

fii'st

In

to you.'

no one had any-

till

the corrections occupied

at the next I shall

;

fact,

'

That

little,

who were

students,

my

had the

my

system,

senior colleague congratulated

me on

tickled with the novelty of

my

abandonmg the

career of a physician, and assured

was born to be a professor

my

me

that I

I longed, however, to return

!

employment, and, as I did not see

original

satis-

fame was great among the

insomuch that

to

my way

France, I went out to Lima, where I married a Creole, of dysentery, and, as I could not recover

ill

Peru, I opened a shoe-shop,

returned to Paris, and I

my

by

I had,

and managed to

deliver a discoui'se, and, in the meantime, I

of hearing that

do for

will

have more to say

when the next seance came,

great industry, prepared myself a

faction

how do you

mentioned one or two blunders, and I

a long time, at the end of which I said, the

at the

he had finished, I said

then put the same question to others, thing

you ranked

mistakes has he made, and

He

'

as

Now,' I continued, when they had done

last examination. so,

*

left

my

am now

my

in

fell

health in

wife in charge of

it,

going out to bring

and

home

daughter to be educated."

Next day we arrived within the

We

winds. lightning

till

the 30th, on which day, at seven p.m.,

made, as the

"Hat

Island."

sailors say, the little island of

;

is

a perfectly

twenty feet above the level of the sea its

;

we

Sombrero, or

It is only three-quarters of a mile long

nine hundred feet broad

from

influence of the trade-

had now frequent squalls and thimder and

flat

rock, about

and derives

fancied resemblance to a cardinal's hat.

and

its

name

In 1850

it

HAT ISLAND. was uninliabited, except 'only place of landing

sea-fowl and black lizards

bj'

was

11

at a bight

on the west

side

the

:

and

:

getting on shore was what Yankees would term a caution to

"

snakes.

Under

favourable circumstances," says a

verj^

nautical writer, " by watching an opportunity, you

jump on

ledge to the

to a flat

cliff,

and with some

The almighty

ascend to the summit."

dollar,

may

difficulty

however,

would make a landing anywhere, and as there was abundance of guano on the rock, the Americans of

it,

and we saw them hard

at

had taken possession

work with cranes and

carts

loading vessels with the precious deposit.

At 3

on the 1st

P.M.

of

Thomas.

harboui' of St.

July we anchored

I looked in vain for the

little

me

steamer wliich I expected would be ready to convey

La

Guau'a.

Instead of

it

I was

the

in

to

shown a schooner of about

eighty tons, wliich was to sail next day for

that place.

Viewed from the decks of the gigantic Koyal Mail Steamer, she looked hke a cockle-shell.

whose

Spite of the heat, I landed

and went straight to the store of a young merchant,

at once,

famil}' I

He

knew.

two-and-twent}',

was a handsome fellow of about

bright blue eyes and curly hair, and

T;\ath

with such an overpowering share of good nature that other quahties seemed absorbed by excellent brand}^,

how

discuss

ready to

which

I

had a

Then we began

and I happened

my

list

till

his

some

we began

to

the schooner was

of commissions, all of at a cooler

hour

to talk about the harbour,

to ask if there

were

many

host biightened up, and said

like to see a few, I'll

jDroduced

better cigars, and

amuse myself

was agreed should be executed

next morning.

Hereupon

still

Of com-se

start.

it

and

I should

He

it.

all

show you some.

:

sharks in

it ?

"If you would

A horse

of

mine was

!

VENEZUELA.

12

taken

ill

and

last night,

with a boat to the

off

mouth

and a harpoon, and

rifles

sport."

No

We'll tow the carcase

just dead.

is

of the harbour, take a couple of

it's

odd

if

sooner said than done.

we

some

don't have

Orders were at once

given to drag the dead horse to the water's edge, and host, followed

and the harpoon, walked down to the boat.

rifles

large boat, mtli four rowers

men, notwithstanding the

way

rapidly,

my

by mj^self and a big negro, who carried the

and an

aT\aiing,

It

was a

and as the boat-

we made

heat, pulled with a will,

and before long had got past the steamers, and

As

were nearing the mouth of the harbour. nothing, and

yet I had seen

" Why,"

was becoming rather impatient.

said I, " I don't believe there are any sharks.

seen a single back

above water."

fin

I have not

my

In repl}^

host

checked the rowers for a moment, when, as the surge we

made

subsided, several dark lines showed themselves just

astern of the horse.

" Give way," said he to the boatmen;

" we have not yet reached the place where we can

and

if

we stop another half-minute the horse

ribbons."

When

further, he said to

The

instant

we

him.

me, "

Now

cock j^our

will be torn to

fire

and the

fii'st

that

I'll

give

and four conical

ready ? "

and look out

rifle,

right into his belly.

stop, the sharks will rise,

barrels, too,

Are you

safely,

the boat had gone a few hundred yards

tmnis to seize the horse,

him both

fii-e

pills

should settle

" Quite ready," I replied, and the

boat stopped.

In an instant the dark lines were

visible again,

time they came rapidly up to the surface, and sharks showed themselves.

The

five

but this

monstrous

apparition was so sudden,

and the sharks were so huge, so much larger than any I had seen before, that I started, and, had I cocked

my

rifle

as I

A BATTLE WITH THE SHARKS. had been told sent

to do, there is

my random

not to cock

till

shot.

But

13

no knowing where I might have has alwa^^s been

it

I see the object

and

;

this

my

practice

my

has prevented

In a moment I recovered myself,

making many a bad miss.

and, as the foremost shark tm-ned on his back and darted at

the carcase, I took good aim, and fired nearly at the same

moment with my them, as

All om-

friend.

The smoke came

my

full across

balls told

foiu*

we afterwards found, going

:

one of

right through the heart. eyes,

but

there

was a

tremendous splash, and I caught an indistinct glimpse of the monster as he sprang half out of the water and

Almost

at

the same instant, the big negro

hai^joon sent

it

fell

back.

who had

into the shark just below the lower

the

jaw with

such force, that, had he had more Hfe in him than remained,

he would hardl}' have escaped.

who sank surface,

for a

Meantime, the other sharks,

moment when we

and one of them had

fired,

had risen again to the

alread}' torn a gi'eat bit out of

the horse, giving such a violent jerk to the boat, that one of the niggers took fright,

and before we could see what he

was about, undid the rope by which the carcase was bemg towed, and

it

was immediately jerked into the water as the

other sharks fastened on the prey.

numbers, and

with such right

good

m

This they did will,

that before

such

we could

reload and prepare for another shot, they had dragged the

we could only

carcase under water, and

and bloody foam what a ever,

wony was

we had got one monster

in triumph.

quite a

When we

safe,

tell

by the bubbles

How-

going on below.

and retui*ned

toAving

him

reached the landing-place there was

crowd to receive

us.

It

took eight or ten

men

to

drag the shark on shore, and we fomid he measured over sixteen feet long, and nearly six feet in circumference.

His

VENEZUELA.

14

stomach was quite empty, which accounted

for his being

ravenous.

my

I was glad of a bath and a change of toilet, after which friend drove

me

in his carriage

round the west part of the

To

which some description may be acceptable.

island, of

begin then with the beginning, be

it

known

between

that,

the eighteenth and nineteenth degrees of north latitude, a to the east of Porto Rico, in an almost continuous

little

cluster, lie the

Vu-gm

Islands, so called

the eleven thousand of

number

Thomas, and next

is St.

Exactly to

it^

All the islands to the east of St.

John.

English, and

all to

whom

memory, with

these islets seemed to vie.

the group

tell

sainted

by Colmnbus from

m the

on the

east, is St.

John belong

the west belong to the Danes.

want of high-flown

for example, Salt Island, followed

Beef Island.

Next we come

to

titles.

by Ginger,

to the

You may

the English possessions by the roughness of the

clature and the utter

in

centre of

nomen-

There

is,

and

CoojDer's,

Camanoe, Scrub, Guano,

and Jost- van-Dykes Isles. Then there is Anegada, or " Drowned Island," famous or infamous for wrecks, where

many

a gallant

Avaters.

It is

awash with the

seaman has gone

to his rest beneath the

a curious place that Anegada. sea,

and when the mist comes up,

It lies

as

it

all

does

very often, one would fancy the waves were rolling clean over

it.^

Anegada

is

ten miles long, and has a reef to the

south-east of nine miles more, and

upon

scores of vessels have gone to jjieces.

But

is

this reef

to the west there

good anchorage, and abundance of funnel-shaped

full of fresh water, in

many wells,

which, curiously enough, the fresh

water rises with the salt

tide.

The bays

there in the old

When

they were gone,

time swarmed with buccaneers.

THE VIEGIN ISLANDS. came gangs of wreckers and colonised the stock, and grew cotton

;

15

and reared

island,

but their true market-day

when

w^as

a vessel struck on the reef, and man}^ a rich prize they got,

A

and perhaps do get even now.

westerly current in the Atlantic

where the fishermen find

curious proof of the strong is to

be seen at Anegada, them, from

sufficient cork di'ifted to

the coast of Spain, to supply their nets.

Bottles,

too,

launched in the Eiver Gambia, have been picked up in the Yii-gin

Between these islands themselves, the

Islands.

cmTents are in many places most island to island

undertaking.

is

a

Many

most dangerous and ahnost impossible boats have been swept away, and their

Between the eastern part of

crews drowned, in the attempt.

Thomas and

St. is

the Island of St. John, in particular, there

a furious cm-rent,

When

To row from

violent.

and the waves

the southern tide

rise

in

in its strength,

is

huge sm-ges.

would be

it

impossible for an}- small vessel to encounter that terrible sea.

Twelve miles

"Fat

Anegada

to the west of

is Vii'gin

Gorda, or

Yii'gin" Island, nine miles long and a mile broad,

with some ten thousand inhabitants,

and tobacco.

On

the north-east

Gorda Sound, and another Bay, and a

thii^d,

is

who export

a good harbom*, called

to the north-west, called

Thomas's Bay,

miles west of Yii-gm Gorda,

sugar, rum,

is

to the south.

West

Three

Tortola, nine miles long and

three broad, with a population of eleven thousand, and a

good harbour

at

Boad Town,

the capital.

Moreover, here,

with Tortola to the north, St. John's to the west, Yii-gin

Gorda

to the east,

and a dozen

little

islands to the south,

natm'e has formed a magnificent basin, fifteen miles long

and three and a half broad, land-locked and sheltered from

;

VENEZUELA.

16

every wind, where

Why

safety.

all

the navies of

England might

ride in

not choose Tortola as the station for the

Eoyal Mail Company's vessels

Why

?

go to St. Thomas,*

that nest of yellow fever, where fresh water is hard to get,

and which belongs to a foreign power ?

Not being

The

Thomas. and

tln-ee

range of

hundred

able to answer this

island

is

same why, I retm-n

twelve miles long from east to west,

and across the whole length of

broad

;

hills,

the highest point of which

feet

to St.

These

above the sea.

it

runs a

may be

eight

were once covered

hills

with woods, and the island was then watered by rivulets

but the improvident Danes cut down the woods, the streams

now

dried up, and the inhabitants

suffer

from drought, inso-

much

that the captains of steamers are enjoined to

theii'

fresh water, lest none should

Thomas. St.

Charlotte Amalia, the

Thomas,

lies

so that vessels to

make

out

its

on the south

be proem-able at St.

and harbour of

capital

coast,

husband

and opens

to the south,

coming from Europe or North America have ^

a half-cii'cle to enter

There

dangers.

The approach

it.

is, first

of

is

not with-

a rock called French-

all,

man's Cap, seven miles from the harbom-'s mouth, and four miles further on there steer,

is

Buck

but in mid-channel

is

Eock," with only twenty-one cleared that (and there

enter the harbour

:

is

a

a

danger called " Scorpion

feet of water

buoy on

fort

sea,

* This

was written more

Battery.

on

it.

Having

to help you), its

you

mouth, the

being ninety-five feet

can be seen fifteen miles

called Mohlenfel's

Thomas.

it

having on your right, at

lighthouse, the red light of which,

above the

Between these you

Island.

On

off.

the

left

Near

it is

a

are Prince

tliau a year before the last great hurricane at St.

THOMAS'S HAEBOUE.

ST.

17

Frederick's Batter}^, and the Great Carenage, where vessels

can be moored dm-ing hurricanes.

At

however, are three other dangers.

There

Frederick's Point; and then, a

Prince Eupert's Eock;

Mohlenfel's Batter}^,

on the

east of the mid-channel,

and further the

are

little

The panorama

itself.

Thomas has been and vdth justice. The port

of the harbour of St.

extolled by a well-known writer, itself is of a

and close to

east,

rocks called the Triangles.

Lastly, there are coral rocks in the harbour

is

first,

is,

a shoal which juts out the length of a cable from

west,

is

the very entrance,

horse-shoe shape, and, having entered, the town

right before you, rising in three triangles, Tvith a glittering

In the backgi'ound

white building to crown each apex. rise

hnis of the brightest green, rendered more dazzUng

To

by the clearness of the atmosphere.

the

left,

the

harbour runs out into a long creek, too shallow to be crossed except by boats.

On

town

the right of the

Christiana

is

Fort, garrisoned by half a regiment of Danes, and artillerjTnen.

Above, on the

hills, is a

tower, where in the

Close by the

good old times lived a notable buccaneer. fort are the King's

Wharf and

some

a hotel,

and

all

aromid are such lovely bunches of flowermg

about and

slu'ubs

and

almost to make one in love with the "white man's

trees, as gi-ave."

I had been

amused with

in the afternoon, but

There

is

now

my

it

expedition against the sharks

was over

spuits went down.

something fearfully depressing in

its associations.

men

and the smells unbearable

and the talk

is

St.

Thomas and

Sharks and yellow fever in the harbour,

yellow fever and gi'inning black stifling,

my

all

of so-and-so

—

in the town, the heat

this is the

who died on

programme

;

yester-night,

VENEZUELA.

18

and such a one who was not exhilarating.

is lil^e

On

with a row of miserable

creek,

and many

Cemetery, with size

;

cemeteries.

all

drive

interspersed with

huts,

On

shambles at the water's edge. huts

Our

to die to-morrow.

the left was the shallow stagnant

the right, were more

There was the Moravian

the slabs of exactly the same height and

and there was the Jews' Cemetery, and the Catholic

Cemetery, and what might be called the Omnibus Cemetery, for

what the well-known writer befor§ referred

to iiTeverently

terms the Hispano-Dano-Yankee-doodle-niggery-population-

My

in-general.

host, the best of

good

fellows,

never hipped himself, had no idea of comforting a

was in low

On my

spirits.

who was

man who

asking, out of the gloominess of

heart, " Is there any yellow fever here just now

my

"Well, the yellow fever

replied,

present, however,

we

is

always here.

are considered rather clear.

house

It is true

—there have been next mine —but only three

and, for myself, I have no sort of apprehension, for I

born

St.

general,

it

he

said,

it

died,

am

a

I asked about the state

"

and change the " Well," of the colon}^

certainly

!

"the American war has been pumpkins

house alone has cleared upwards of since

five,

Thomas man, and natives seldom suffer. In I could is the new comers who get in for it."

only mutter, " Consolatory, subject.

he

Just at

there have been a few scattered cases for instance, in the

? "

fifty

to us.

Our

thousand pounds

began, and two or three other houses have been

doing nearly as well.

It's pretty, too, to see

the blockade

runners lying under the very noses of the Northern men-ofwar.

They

see

'em load, up anchor, and

off,

and they

mustn't chase 'em for four-and-twenty hours, though they loiow,

if

they've a good start there's no chance of takhig them.

FEOM

THOMAS TO

ST.

The times have been

lively, too,

of the Confederate vessels have

on one

the

Danes won't

said

I,

here

? "

We

19

with the sailors.

The crews

had so many

EngUsh have jomed

Federal men, and the good-will, first

GUAIEA.

LA.

side,

and then on the other, that now

any Americans land."

let

" besides these rows,

"And

how do you amuse

" AYell," was the reply, " we

praj"^,"

yourselves

amuse

do)i't

ourselves.

trade."

The dinner

After our drive we dined at the hotel.

most

sisted of all the St.

fights with the

in with such jolly

Thomas

it is

cle

and

indigestible dishes conceivable,

them

rigueur to eat of

conat

I went to

all.

bed with a racking headache, and in a state highly favourable

for

yellow fever.

Morning came

without an attack, and released of the mosquitoes.

shops to make

my

I

purchases, posted

Isabel.

Juan came on board

deserted

me

said,

at the last

moment, having

He

Thomas.

excuse

my

merely

being late."

me from boatman who brought me on

"Of com-se;" and begged him

board, and

England,

Guaii-a in the schooner

sir; you'll

the importunity of the negro

friend to several

m}" letters to

the time I was at St.

"Friends on shore,

I said,

La

for

however,

at last,

the tender mercies

my

went round with

and hj noon was sailing

all

me from

who asked two poimds

to release

though the

for the job,

We

legal charge was only one dollar and eighty-two cents.

got rid of

him

at last for three dollars.

AVe ran out of St. Thomas's harbour on the 23rd of July with a

fine breeze.

captain, five

The crew

of the Isabel consisted of a

men, and a boy, each blacker than the other,

and aU of an extremely hang-dog look. thousand sovereigns on board, did not timible

me

it

As

I had

thii-ty

seems a miracle that they

quietly into the water

when

I

was

asleep.

c 2

VENEZUELA.

20

The crew

of the Isabel, however, were pirates only in look,

and I

among them nothing more important than

lost

We slept

pencil-case.

a gold

on deck in a sort of hencoop, in which

were not more vermin than are

usuall}" in

hencoops.

Our

meals, over which the captain j^resided in his shirt-sleeves,

were principally of land-tortoise, hard sour cheese, pickles, dried

pastels

fish,

quimbombo

:

filled

and

with nameless ingredients,

an excellent vegetable, and almost the only

thing I could eat.

It is the oki"o hibiscus,

the look of a young cucumber, and

has somewhat

full of a cold gluten,

is

There was a Creole

very pleasant in a hot climate.

lady,

with two or three small children, who lived in the cabin or hold of the

and never made her appearance on deck

ve&iBel,

throughout the whole passage. Once or twice, during a squall, I descended to this cabin, and found

The

roaches, and rats.

it full

of ants, cock-

Creole, half undressed, lay gasping

with the heat, while her children, in a state of perfect nudity, scrambled

Besides this lady, myself,

over her.

Juan, and an American doctor, there was also another passenger

a thin feeble old man,

:

I heard

with great care.

which turned out

smoke tobacco

to

to be

his servant for a cigar,

stramonium, for the

and to say

;

who was brought on board

him ask

this of a

man was

too

Spanish Creole,

ill

is

saying a good deal.

About

5 P.M.

we were passing the

belonging to the Danes.

island of Santa Cruz,

The governor

shows his appreciation of the healthiness of his

by St.

living at Santa Cruz,

Thomas.

which

Santa Cruz

is

is

thirty-two miles south of

nineteen miles long and five

broad, and contains a population of

general

it is

much

flatter

Thomas own island

of St.

than St.

fifty

thousand souls.

Thomas

;

but there

is

In one

;

THE DEATH AT hill,

Mount

and

sixt^'-two feet

above the

Blue Mountain, which

sea,

We

east,

smoking a

There are

a harbour very difficult of

passed Santa Cruz

last cigar, I

slept soundly, except for I

is

called

it,

and Fredericksted to

The

enough when once entered.

access, but safe

when

and another near

but sixty feet lower.

is

At the former there

well cultivated. after

21

Eagle, which rises to one thousand one hundred

two towns,*Christiansted to the the west.

SEA.

;

turned into

island

the sun set

my

;

is

and

hencoop and

a few minutes about midnight,

soon went to sleep again with an indistinct idea of

something disagreeable going on.

The

red horns of the

sun were just showing above the horizon, when Juan came up

and woke me, under pretence of askmg

me

if

I

would bathe

but I could see by the grin on his featm-es that there was

something wrong.

Presentl}" not

contain

being able to

himself any longer, he exploded into a chuckle, and said, " There's a dead

man on

board, sir."

"Indeed?" repHed I, by no means gratified. "And pray who may he be, and what does he come on board for, if

he's dead ?

"Well,

"

sir," said

who seemed

so

Juan, "it's the old man, the passenger

About midnight he got worse, and

ill.

called

the captain, and asked to be thrown overboard, he was in

The

such pain.

him

captain said he could not accommodate

in that way, but he

and see

if

would get some hot fomentations,

that would ease the jDain in his chest.

matter,' says the passenger.

'Whereabouts

When

him where the moon

the captain had showed

said very quietly,

the

It's

no

moon?' was, he

the moon goes down I shall die.' You would hardly believe it, but at the moon went down, the old man died." '

And

so he did, sir.

very

moment

the

When

is

'

VENEZUELA.

22 **

for the doctor ? " I inquired.

Did he ask

" Ask for the doctor " Wh}^,

high disdain.

I should think not," said Juan, in

!

all

New York

the doctors in

couldn't

have saved him; nor they couldn't have done him

harm

He

neither.

was too

far

much

gone for that."

I walked forward to bathe, and there I saw a sad bundle wliich told its

own

It

tale.

was the corpse sewn up in a

hammock, with some six-pound gun of the schooner, attached,

shot, belonging to the

smk

to

it.

An

hour

one

after-

wards, a short prayer was said by the captain, and the body

was launched into the fast

— so

fast that it

I watched

sea.

it

go down.

It

went

was gone before a dolphin that had been

playmg about the bows, and darted out

what the

to see

splash meant, could reach the spot.

The

incident was a painful one, and conjured up melan-

There were only about a dozen of us in

choly reflections.

the schooner, reckoning crew and passengers together, and

one was gone.

would be to

I could not helj? thinking

lie ill

on board that

how wretched

little vessel,

it

with nothing

but a hencoop to rest on, and only the American doctor for a medical attendant.

considering where great wonder if

Right glad was

The

we came from,

we had had I,

heat was overpowermg,

then,

it

and,

would have been no

a visit from the yellow fever.

when

at

2 p.m. on the 4th we

passed the rock of Ochilla, one of the Aves Islands, which

Hes only eighty miles to the north of

La

Guah-a.

Ocliilla is

about ten miles

m

jects from

two miles in an easterly direction.

miles off

it

is

for

length, and a verj^ dangerous reef pro-

Twenty

a sunken rock, not given in the maps, on which

a small vessel was totally lost about a year before

Her crew had

scarcely time to take to the boats

we passed.

when she

AT ANCHOR. There are from two hundred

foundered.

tons of guano on Ochilla, which

The

a ton.

23

had some

j)lace

may

hundred

to three

be worth twelve pounds

me, for one of the

interest for

claims I Avas going out to settle was called the Aves Island

The Americans had gone

claim.

name,

to a rock of that

nearer St. Thomas, to collect guano, and had been stopped

by the Venezuelans, who maintain that the Ares Islands

For the

belong to them.

loss caused

by

Americans now claimed one hundred and dollars of the to

Venezuelan government

have plated the whole

rock

this demui'rer, the fifty-five

thousand

sum

sufiicient

a

:

with

silver

instead

of

guano.

Two

hours after passmg Ochilla, we saw the great moun-

La Silla, or " The Saddle," which overhangs La The SUla is eight thousand six hundred feet high, Guaira. and we saw it at seventy miles' distance. As the sun set, we discerned the lights at La Guaira, but the wind now fell, At one moment we were or came only in fitful gusts. tain called

running

at the rate of nine

seemed, on shore

;

knots an hour, straight, as

for the land, being

stupendous moimtain, appeared

The next

instant

much

nearer than

we were becalmed, with

it

my

gentle

Guaira.

and we might have drifted on shore for

to

care.

Morning came

breeze, which

at

last,

carried us to our

and

The

ej^es.

nigger captain and his crew, however, being used to

seemed

was.

all sail set,

flapping so heavily as to banish sleep ft'om

like logs,

it

overshadowed by this

it,

all

and with

lay

they it

anchorage at

a

La

CHAPTER At La Guaira

11.

— Origin of the name

" Venezuela"— The hottest place on earth Druggists The Negro Artillery-Man Maquetia Across the Mountain to Caracas.

—The National Emblem — Empirical

— Singular Nomenclature — Anchorixg so at

La

in a harbour usuall}^ implies rest.

Guaira.

open roadstead, there

;

La Guaira

fact,

though

^/bere,

it

seklom

With

and often dangerous.

is

no

is

not

It is

port, but

an

blows very heavily, is

always

the wind at north, the

and a general smash among the

directly to leeward,

is

shipping rare

In

ever a high swell, so high that landing

is

difficult,

shore

Luckily, such winds are most

then inevitable.

but some time before the arrival of the Isabel there

was one, and every vessel

at

La Guaira was

with other winds the danger

cannon

is fired

setting in.

from the

till

Even

sometimes great, and then a

fort as a signal that the rollers are

Forthwith,

ships run out to sea

is

stranded.

all

anchors are weighed, and the

the swell moderates.

Indeed,

it

is

one of the inscrutable things that no one can understand,

why La Guaira should be made the port for Caracas at all, when a mile or two to the west, on the other side of the next promontor}', Cabo Blanco, there Catia,

whence an easier road

that from

La

Guau-a.

the snug harbour

of

to Caracas might be made than

But no

has caused the loss of so

is

;

many

in spite of the swell which vessels,

which makes com-

munication with the shore so troublesome, and which

stirs

ORIGIN OF THE XA:ME

"

VENEZUELA."

up the sand in a fashion that renders anchors every eight days, locked

25

necessary to weigh

it

shoukl become sand-

lest the ships

in spite of the ravages of the barnacles, the teredo

;

navaHs, la broma, as the Spaniards call them, more destructive at

La Guaira than

which seems still

keeps to

" So this self,

as

we

anj^where else in the world, commerce,

to be the only conservative thing its

is

m

America,

old route.

Venezuela, Little Venice," thought I to my-

lay tossing; " can't say I see

much resemblance

to Venice in these great mountains, that look as

been piled up by Titans to scale a

if

they had

city in the clouds

!

"

Nor

there, through all the vast region now much to remind one of the city of the doges. But it is La Guamx that the unlikeness comes out most forcibly.

called Venezuela,

is

happens, though no one seems to have remarked Guaii-a lies

is

half

the very

way between Cape

La

Silla,

;

for

Paria, on the extreme east,

the tallest

mountam between

It

La it

and

La Guaira the

Andes

;

so that, instead of thinldng of Venice,

cries out with

Humboldt, " The Pp-enees or the Alps

and the Atlantic one

that

of the Venezuelan coast

ojjicfyaXoi

Chichibocoa, on the extreme west, and just at

towers up

it,

at

bosom

stripped of their snows, have risen from the

waters."

Venezuela

who came

to the

is

The

a misnomer.

American

first

of the

Spaniards

coast, the Conquistadores,

found

the Indians of Maracaibo living in huts on piles in the lake,

and so called that locahty Venezuela

;

and the misnomer

till a region four times the size of Prussia " came to be styled Little Venice " a name which now com-

spread and spread

—

prehends a forest larger than France, steppes Gobi, and mountain tracts wliich zerlands to match.

it

like those of

would take many Swit-

VENEZUELA.

26

But

for the

abominable saltatory movements of the Isabel,

I could have passed hours very contentedly with a fragrant cigar in is

my mouth, gazmg

from the sea

La

at

Guaira, which

Hum-

one of the most picturesque places in the world.

boldt says there

is

nothing like

on a

little

seems

rim of shore,

at the foot of a

tremendous peak,

pomtmg

greatness of nature.

There

effect is lost.

between the

is

save Santa Cruz, at the

the town, perched

like a world's finger-post

man and the

it,

La Guaira,

island of Teneriffe, where, as at

to the littleness of

Once landed, much

of the

then no more such startling contrast

strip of white building at the sea's level,

and the

huge blue, black, and green masses of rock and earth heaped up into the very clouds

;

and

to trace the long line of fortification to height.

no longer so easy

it is

mounting from height

Moreover, a mountain that starts up

eight thousand feet from the sea, into the clouds, sight,

and I looked and mused long.

But

is

my

all at

a

once,

wondrous

reverie

was

mterrupted by those common-place, matter-of-fact fellows, the custom-house ofiicers,

who came on board punctually

at

6 A.M., and showed at once that they had more of the Paul

Pry than the poet in their

As

natui*es.

nearly the whole

revenues of the country,, and the whole of their salaries (report says,

from the

somethmg more than the

whole), are drawn

custom-house, there was some excuse for their

energetic proceedings, which would, no doubt, have termi-

nated in a rigid scrutiny of

my numerous

boxes, had I not

been armed with the name of commissioner and a diplomatic passport.

At

sight of that document, the official tartness of

their aspect sweetened to a smile,

and they invited

ashore in their large comfortable boat

such a place as

La

Guaira.

:

me

to go

no shght favour

at

AT LA GUAIEA.

27

Watching the auspicious moment when the frolicsome surge pitched the

bow

hmding-place on the

of the boat up within a foot of the

made

pier, I

a spring,

and was

effectually

prevented from falling back by half a dozen arms and hands,

which snatched

whose

at every accessible part of

outran his discretion, giving

civility

as he clutched hold of

my

;

and I

myself in a glow

felt

I stood for the

fii'st

—

;

one fellow, sharp pinch

I was safe, however

trousers.

had landed

me me a

;

I

time on American ground,

but

less,

perhaps, from en-

thusiasm than from the intense heat consequent on the exertion of jumping from that tossing boat. reality,

no great room

now shut was so fish

for enthusiasm.

Some dingy buildmgs

out the view of the mountains, and the atmosphere

close,

and so impregnated with the odour of decapng

and other things

have withstood

it.

still

It

worse, that no enthusiasm covdd

would be well

if

the Venezuelans, so

proud as they are of their country, so sensitive of

strangers,

their visitors.

would prepare a

welcomes the

cleanlier

to the

remarks

landmg-place for

In other countries, foreigners who are to be

j)ropitiated are presented with

bouquets of flowers. Columbia

traveller with a

They were working away at had

There was, in

bouquet of a

different kind.

the wharf and breakwater, which

ah-eady, they said, cost one

hundred thousand pounds,

though I suppose a tenth of that sum would have more than covered the outlay in England.

Earth was coming down in

buckets, which travelled on long ropes fastened at a considerable incline to posts at an eminence across the road,

where the

men were

at work.

These buckets came along

with an impetus sufficient, had they struck a passer-by, to

knock

his brains out

;

an accident which might easily have

happened, for the ropes were stretched just at the height of

VENEZUELA.

28

a

man, and no one gave any warning of

the

left

of the wharf

nondescrij)t building fort,

where a

lot of

theii"

On

approach.

was the harbour-master's house, and a

— something

between an

In

Creole clerks were idling.

the custom-house, and to the

left

right, rose a long straggling line

of

front,

was

To

the

the town.

it

and a

office

swarming

of filthy huts,

with naked darkie children.

We

walked straight to the custom-house, a strong useful

The

building, but not picturesque. cial

of

no

rank, for the

little

superintendent, an

appointment

the

is

stepping-stone to the portfoUo of finance, received shirt-sleeves, with the inevitable cigarette in his

on reading the General

letter of introduction I

Guzman

me

usual in his

mouth, and

had brought from

Blanco, shook hands, and told

me he had

been the general's A.D.C. in the war just concluded. sun was already disagreeably hot, and

I

offi-

was glad

The

to hurry

on

a few hundred yards up the principal of the two streets

—which,

with a branch or two climbing the

base, form

La Guaira

— and

house of the merchants to heard not a I

little

whom

I

was accredited.

of the wealth of the

could not help venting

mountain's

take refuge in the hospitable

my

Having

La Guaira merchants,

astonishment in a hearty

caramha, when I entered the house.

A

huge outer door

opened into a square court-yard, smelling strongly of meric, and half filled with bales of merchandise.

was two-storied, the lower storey containing a offices, wdiile

tur-

The house set of

dingy

the upper was divided into bed-rooms, but the

whole building looked so dirty and dilapidated, that I asked myself, "

One

Can

this be the residence of a

merchant prince

?

"

of the partners, in whose apartment I found a piano,

books, and

some neat

furniture,

explained the mystery.

THE HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH.

29

There are only three or four tolerable houses in La Guaira, and he had been in vain trying to get one.

This was simply

a "warehouse, and the other partners lived at Caracas. Juan,

a mulatto servant, and a nigger boy,

room ready

the spare

choked

as

off for a

sphere was at

set to

work

to get

me, and raised such clouds of dust

for

time the mosquitoes, of which the atmo-

They

full.

now

are a peculiarly sharp-stmging sort

La Guaira small, speckled, and insatiable, now fairly installed. The first thing that :

I was

was the intense heat.

struck

me

had not then read Humboldt's

I

Table, in which he compares the climates of Guaira, Caii'o,

Habana, Vera Cruz, Madras, and Abushahr, but without his assistance I arrived at his conclusion, that I was

convejing to a European an idea of the heat, the

mean temperature

at

La

now

in the

Perhaps the best way of

hottest place in the whole world.

say that

is to

Guau-a, in the coldest month,

is

four degrees of centigrade higher than that of the hottest

month

in Paris.

If

it

be added that there are no aj^pliances

whatever to make things bearable

— no good houses, no

no cold water, no shade, and no breeze, to arrive at a faint notion of the reality.

will

it

I

ice,

be possible

was peculiarly

well situated for promptly realising a just idea of the climate, for m}^ it,

room had but one small window, and when

there came in a perfume which obliged

The

instantly.

locality was, indeed,

The house almost abutted on kept

off

every breath of

the

air.

me

opened it

again

not very agreeable.

mountam,

On

I

to close

wliich of course

one side was a boys'

school, from which arose an incessant jabber,

and on the

ridge above us was a long building of very forbidding ap-

pearance.

"

What

place

is

that

? "

said I to Juan.

VENEZUELA.

30

" That,

sii'

? "

replied he, with a

" That

is

number

of cases there at present."

It

beaming countenance.

the Small-pox Hospital, but there ain't no great

was some alleviation of our misery that we took our

meals in a building

much

higher up the

hill,

quently, cooler than the warehouse in which cuisine

we

tolerable, the poverty of the native

was

and, conseslept.

The

suppHes being

eked out with European stores. The wine was hot

;

but there

were good Clicquot and Khenish wines in abundance, and

made us undiscriminating. no Enghshmen at La Guaira,

intense thirst

There are

No

no out-of-door amusements. or

sails,

for

and, consequently,

one walks,

The Europeans, who

pleasure.

Germans from Hamburg,

confine

themselves

smoldng, drinking, playing whist and bilHards. quite easy to have a good place for driving

sea-shore, but everybody

make

tries to

rides, rows,

are cliiefly strictly to

It

would be

and riding by the

the approach to the

sea as inaccessible as possible.

In

my first

walk I took a look

reason for congratulating quarters. garlic

It

at the hotel,

myseK

that I

and saw ample

had found other

was a very poor posada indeed, and the reek of

made me

Garlic, by-the-by, is as dear

quite giddy.

shamrock

to a Venezvielan as the feels surprised that it is

to

an Irishman, and one

not adopted as the national emblem.

I was assm^ed by a traveller that he had exhausted his

means

ventive powers in devising flavoured with this herb, but

all

to escape eating of dishes

in vain.

and when half starved, he determined the fatal fragrance pursued

ment

as well as disgust.

him

At

egg before attempting to eat

still,

last, it,

in-

As to

a dernier ressort,

hve on eggs, but

much

to his astonish-

on carefully examining an

he found that the small end

EMPIRICAL DRUGGISTS. had been perforated, and some of the

31

favourite herb intro-

duced by the innkeeper, who was resolved that the national

and

taste should be vindicated,

From

extremis.

to

my visit

me by

ab ovo and

make my

the inn I went to

one naturally suggested to

went

that, too,

first

m

purchase,

to the posada.

I

at a botica, or apothecary's shop.

buy some medicine

As my Spanish w^as not very profound, I was glad to find a German m the shop, and to him I explained that I wanted a blue pill. Hereupon he took down a book of prescriptions, and

set to w^ork to find out

search, he began

As

mortar^ I

how

to

compounding the

make

with pestle and

pills

book, which was in Spanish,

at the

*'

to quote a certain advertisement,

when

it."

What was my

I discovered that the apothecary

a pill for leprosy

"

!

I thuik I won't trouble you

for,

I could read and write

Spanish, though I could not yet speak

me up

After some

I had no great faith in his knowledge, I thought

would take a peep

horror,

it.

was making

" I exclaimed, " by-the-by, " to compound that pill for me ;

Oh

!

and, snatching up a box, labelled " Brandreth's Pills," I

paid

him

for

it,

German had, no

and walked

ofl^,

doubt, failed in some other metier, and had

taken up a trade in drugs without

them.

This

too glad to escape.

Before I

left

knowmg much

about

America I saw empmcs more than

enough. After experiencing the disagreeables of the sea-shore pro-

menade

at

La

Guaira, I took to climbing the mountain for

So disinclined are the Venezuelans

a constitutional. exercise, that I

friend to

had

the greatest difiiculty in

accompany me.

well-made fellow, and having been born

the

He

to

persuading a

was a very handsome,

tall,

EngUshman,

but,

son of

in the countr}^

an

had much of the Creole

VENEZUELA.

32

indolence

in

feet,

cession of forts

;

pletely

They had came

and

the town.

These

forts

men were

fifty

dead were

buried in one

all

m the

lulled

in ruins,

He fire.

each, and

About one

sides,

and the

The man who

grave.

whole force engaged, was a gigantic negro

who occupied

aristocrats,

did a good deal of execution with hjs gun,

which, even after he was wounded in

At

last

many

places, he con-

he was struck on the back by a large

from a swivel-gun, while he was in the act of re-loading

When

his cannon.

they came to collect the corpses for

interment he was found doctor, from

me

lie

men

on both

common

on the side of the

artilleryman,

tinued to

now

from the heights to the attack.

fought best

about

was a suc-

taken by the revolutionary forces in 1859.

hundi^ed and

ball

ascend

to

three columns of one thousand

do-wii

the forts.

used

for that distance there

one of these, the Cerro Colorado, com-

commanded

having been

We

nature.

his

twelve hundred

that,

whom

still

breathing, and was taken to a

I heard the whole story,

and who assured

though tetanus supervened, the negro recovered

from his wounds.

" This," said the medico,

"was

the only

case of recovery from lock-jaw that I have ever witnessed."

After toihng up the mountain by a steep zig-zag path,

we

used to descend a ravine, in which flows a rivulet dignified

by the name of the Rio de

la

Guaira.

Tliis

usually about ten inches deep, but sometimes

the rains into

a formidable

torrent.

is

stream

is

swelled by

Thus, in 1810,

it

swelled suddenly, after a heavy rain in the mountains, to a

stream ten feet deep, and swept away property to the value of half a million of dollars, as well as

whom smeU

forty were drowned. in this ravine

;

There

nevertheless,

is

many

persons, of

a sickly yellow-feverish

numbers

of people bathe

THE CONSUL'S BATH. in the pools

it

of these pools

forms at every broad ledge of rock. called the Consul's Bath,

is

of scandal in which an

Enghsh

Liu-line

the three routes to Caracas from

but most

up

La

One

owing to a piece

was concerned.

Of

Guaii-a, the shortest,

and dangerous, passes

difi&cult

this ravine.

33

for

It is called the Indian's Path,

some distance and

actually

is

that which was used by the Indians before the Spanish conquest.

Between

and the present coach-road

it

is

the road

which was in use when Humboldt visited the country.

was anxious

to

make

trial

I

of all three, but being invited to

breakfast at the Eincon, or Corner, a pretty country-seat

beyond Maquetia, I determined to go by that road It

was 9

A.M.,

Guau-a, accompanied by terrifically hot,

first.

on the 10th of July, when I

my

friend

La

left

The smi was

and Juan.

but the j)rospect of being jolted over the

chaotic road to Maquetia being

more

terrible

we

still,

re-

solved to walk to the Rincon, and let the coach, which

had engaged said

for our exclusive use, pick us

up

there.

coach apj)eared to be considerably smaller than the

smallest four-wheeled cab in London, and was so up,

we

The

vamped

and moved so heavily, and with such a flapping of

doors, that I quite agreed with Juan,

when

he, imconscious

of a pun, called out to the di-iver to get on with his vampiro.

We

walked, as I have said, to Maquetia, and tiu'ned

gladly out of its

dirty streets

up a lane bursting with

flowering shrubs, which led to the Bincon.

were aware of two female evidently

of two

figui'es

Presently,

we

ahead of us, the figures

young and well-shaped Creole

ladies.

Before long, one of them dropped a kerchief and a prayerbook, which I picked up, and fomid they belonged to la Senorita Trinidad

Smith.

Not being used

to

Spanish

VENEZUELA.

34

my

name, but

me

Trinity struck

nomenclatiu'e,

friend told

me

favomite baptismal appellation

or Pangs,

to

what I

is

a

and even Dolores

;

not uncommon.

is

cimous Christian

a

was nothing

Thus Dolores,

should meet with.

Strong Pangs,

it

as

most

Fuei*tes,

These strange Christian

appellations sometunes yield a curious sense

when added

to

C. gave me, as an instance, the case

certain proper names.

of a lady christened Dolores Fuertes,

tleman named Battiga

;

who married

a gen-

name stood Strong

thus the whole

Pangs of the Stomach.

The Rincon

is

a pretty little country-house, very like an

Indian bangla, at the foot of a deep

ra\Tine in the

mountain.

All around were trees and shrubs in profusion, so that

was

On my

really " life in the bush."

the garden, the

a walk in

lad}^ of

naively, that there were a great

cularly rattlesnakes

my

The

ardour.

and

was large

and the

is

and

taste.

It is

common

often described, and

To me

it is

its

fish

weighing

ought to be

of the

fifteen

called, advo-

passion-flower creej^er, less insipid.

The

be called the sea-perch for its colour*, shape,

but never of such a

in eating

it

there were

the things at table with

pumpkin, and not

as big as a

parga might

as

or,

fruit

;

and gentlemen, two French

Among

five children.

pounds, the aUigator,

which

snakes there, parti-

an observation which rather damped

:

which I was not famihar, were a parga

cate's pear,

proposing to take

the house said, very

many

breakfast-part}'

ourselves, several Creole ladies officers,

it

enough, and I had seen

size.

it is

The

seemed

before,

aUigator pear has been

said that a good deal of j)ractice

needed before a relish for

flavom'

it

to be a

of pumpkin, melon, and very

it

can be acquired.

compound

mouldy

of the tastes

Stilton cheese.

ACROSS THE MOUNTAIN TO CARACAS. At 2

our shambling equipage, the vampii'o, came

P.M.,

up

flapping

35

door, drawn by tlu'ee rat-hke ponies,

to the

who, however, soon proved that they had some mettle in

The

them.

road, which is about twenty-five feet broad,

and not an intolerably bad one

after fairly quitting

Maquetia,

skirts, in a perpetual zigzag, the eastern side of the great

The western

ravine called Quebrada de Tipe. ravine,

which

side of this

a mile or two broad, leads du-ectly from

is

Caracas to the Bay of Catia, ah-eady mentioned as a desi-

Along

rable harboiu'.

this side of the ravine, surveys for

made by Stephenson, which have been regentleman who arrived at Caracas at the same

a raih'oad were

peated by a

The

time as mj'self. tives are,

of this route for locomo-

difiiculties

perhaps, not insiu"mountable, but they seem at

than any that have yet been overcome

least to be greater

elsewhere.

For the slow,

first

thousand

our progress was

feet of elevation

as the clouds of red dust were literally sufibcatmg,

and the heat so great that even the case-hardened driver was

cattle,

met

thmgs

fain to take

ment was

quietly.

Besides, no

requii'ed in order to pass

asses,

little

safely the

manage-

strings of

and pedestrians, and the numerous carts we

When

or overtook.

of a thousand feet,

once we liad reached the elevation

we perceived

a

marked change

in the

temperatm'e, and began to be repaid for our previous sufferings

of

by a

coast

fine

view over the Quebrada, the narrow Ime

The whole

and the ocean.

Maquetia and Caracas by while, as the crow

more than nme

flies,

miles.

this road, is

fi-om

about twenty miles,

La Guau-a

Here and there

distance between

to Caracas is not

Ave

came

or poor inn, where the carters, carriers, and

to a venta,

coachmen get D

2

VENEZUELA.

36

rum

a drink of aguardiente, or fire-water, as while their wretched animals take rest that can be called

swarms of (it

is

which

a'

here called,

few minutes'

robbed of

is

is

its

rest, if

solace

At one place our coachman, an

flies.

by the Italian

curious that the pmicipal Jehus on this road are

hold

Italians), requested us to

same time

noses, at the

oui'

As we

applying the lash vigorously to his ponies.

galloj)ed

or small vultures, rose from the

by, a flock of zamuros,

body of a horse, wliich might very

easily

over the precipice by

but no South American

its

OTVTier

;

would ever think of giving himself a

We

the public.

They

and dogs, were smoking there. out

all

day,

and

it

killed four quail,

had now ascended about

was comparatively quite

less steep,

speed.

and had

We

tridges.

trouble to oblige

little

stoj^ped at a venta half way,

Three or four rough-looking

horses.

have been pitched

cold.

and changed

fellows,

with guns

said they

had been

and seen a few parfive

The

thousand

and we started with our fresh horses

This rate of travelUng

a road to those

who

cross

were so abrupt as to

it

be

is

at great

not so pleasant on such

for the first time.

quite

feet,

road, too, was

invisible

The

turns

one was

while

approaching the precipice, from which they diverged almost at right angles.

the abyss,

We

seemed to be

and we did reach

its

galloj)ing straight into

very brink, and then swept

round by a turn in the road, which only

showed but

itself.

feel a little

at that

moment

Until habit deadens sensation, one cannot

nervous at such charioteering, and the more

so as dreadful accidents have actually occm'red.

There are

similar roads over the mountains in Peru, and

it

is

said

that a late President of that comitry got so alarmed on one occasion, that he shouted out to the youth

who was

driving,

"

AEEIVAL AT CARACAS. to

The mozo, however,

stoj).

drove on faster than ever, pistol, called to

him

till

37

enjoymg the joke,

rather

the President, drawing out a

that he would shoot

him dead unless

This was a hint not to be

he pulled up instantly.

dis-

regarded, so the youth obeyed, but turned round and said,

with

the usual

" Truh^ you're a

freedom or impudence fine" fellow

are afraid at such a

Two

country,

to be President of Peru,

as this

trifle

of the

if

you

!

miles from the place of changing horses, the road

beguis to descend, and we went on with increasmg speed.

The road now grew naiTOwer and narrower at every tm-n, At length, about half-past and the view more confined. 5 P.M.,

we came suddenly

in sight

Caracas, which

of

not seen from any distance by this route. students, wandering in cap and

the

fii'st

sign of

About

is

fifty

along the road, were

go\vTi

We

our approacliing the capital.

next

plunged into some dirty lanes, and then suddenly emerged into the paved streets of the city.

om-

di'iver, ui'ged his

ponies with

Along all

these, Francisco,

the speed they could

muster, at the same time cracking his whip with reports like those of a pistol, to

annotmce his

of all this energy was, that

arrival.

we were pitched

The

result

against one

another, and up to the roof of the coach, in a

Ava}^

that

nearly dislocated our necks, and utterly destroyed any dignity that

we might otherwise have assumed.

unpleasant fashion,

The

streets

over wliich we bounded in the most

were full of holes,

till

we pulled up dead, with

nearly sent us out of the

a jerk that

windows, at the door of

St.

Amande's Hotel, where the Brazilian minister's rooms had been engaged for me.

CHAPTER

III.-'

At Caracas Hotel St. Amaiide Caraqu^niau and her Suitors Drake, the Corsair Site

Bells

and Belles

of Caracas

— The Virgin

—Creole Steeds and

— Bolivar's Cenotaph — Environs of Caracas— The great — Catholic Cemetery — Ker Porter's Chapel — The Toma

Creole Eiders

Earthquake

Mount

The

Calvary.

hotel was a square house of two stories, close to the

market-place, and not far from the centre of the cit3\

On

the rooms on the ground-floor were bedrooms.

above was

my

apartment, a very large

room

opposite

my room

the floor

divided into

On

three by partitions, and overlooking the street.

table d'hote

All

the side

was another very large one, where the

was held.

To

the left were

rooms occu-

tlii'ee

pied by the landlord and his family, and on the right were

some more bedrooms

The

for travellers.

concierge was a

huge negro, who, having been a custom-house himself

all

the airs of a government

so fat that he quite blocked

had come

official,

up the doorway.

gave

and had grown

The

landlord

to the country as a savant, to collect articles for

some museum,

but, having married an English lady's-maid,

condescended to allow her to make this hotel.

He

was the most

silent

the time I was there I never heard

"

officer,

Mon Dieu

!

"

An

his fortune

man

by keeping

possible,

and

all

him say but two words,

unmarried daughter lived in the house,

and played the piano

at a great rate.

The establishment

consisted of two Indian waitresses, and a mulatto stable-boy.

CARAQUfiNIAN BELLS. There was also a cook, so enormously

down

fat that I

onl}- once,

and that

should never have been able to relish

whom

it

my

I found

was cooked.

put her

I was glad that I

as the wife of the fat concierge.

encountered her

by

39

at my departure, as I my dinner after seeing

apartment

ver}^ neatly

furnished, and beautifully clean, and congratulated myself

That night

on having so comfortable a lodging. C.'s,

and was agreeably surprised

at the

I dined at

elegance of his

menage.

His house was but one story high, but there were

many

rooms

fine

in

The drawing-room,

it.

for example,

was

about sixty feet long and twenty-five broad, and furnished

In the centre of the court,

like a first-class saloon in Paris.

round which the rooms were

built,

was a garden

full of

beau-

and a fountain of clear water.

tiful flowers,

I have said I was well pleased with

my

ensconced myself in

my

mosquito curtains about midnight,

anticipating a long and j)leasant slumber. half-past three, I

woke

apartment, and I

However, about

in the midst of a dream, in

which I

fancied myself in a belfry, with the bells playing triple bob-

majors.

On my

awaking, sure enough bells were ringing

furiously'- all

round.

direction.

What

" this

is

the

way

earthquake, or

The sound seemed could

it

be

?

to

come from every

" Perhaps," thought

the Caraquenians announce a

is it

a popular emeute ?

fii'e

I,

or an

Oh, bother them

!

I

wish they would have their revolutions in the daj-time, like reasonable people."

Still

the bells rang on, and presently

there was a great noise of people passing in the street, and

then a sound of

filing

and of rockets being

let

off".

I should

have gone to the window to reconnoitre, but a salutary awe of the mosquitos and the penetrating * fleas kept *

The 'pulcx penetrans is a

flea

me where

that burrows in the flesh where

it

I

was

lays its eggs.

VENEZUELA.

40

when

until the clay dawned,

of the hubbub.

I got

up

to discover the reason

on the other side of

I then perceived that

the street there was a large convent, in which, although

not a soul was to be seen, the bells were ringing in a way. that reminded

me

of the Devil and the Old

Further down the street

Berkeley.

small square, and on one side of

AVoman

of

than the convent was a

it

a church, where again

the bells were rmging at least as obstreperousl3\

In the

direction of this church, which was brilliantly lighted up,

there was quite a crowd of people coming and going, and

from among them rockets shot up from time inquiry, I found

was the

it

from the Canary Islands, of

sleep

of

Isleiios

is

quite a colony at

have theirs, and in honour of their saint

was made to

tlie

there

people

In South America every one has his patron saint,

Caracas.

and the

whom

On

to time.

fiesta of the Isleiios, or

city

fly

from the

ej-elids of all

m

the quarter

where I was, while our nerves were harassed

throughout the day by a continued hubbub of

bells, fireworks,

must come

to

an end, and I found solace in the hope that quiet would

at

the Catholic year at Caracas

is

processions, and bull-fights.

length be restored.

made up

Alas

!

But even

fiestas

of feasts and fasts, and, fastmg or feasting, the

inhabitants are for

ever ringing bells,

discharging

holy

squibs and rockets, and walking in tumultuous processions. I lived weeks to

it,

amid

this din,

and never could get accustomed

nor enjoy that hearty sound slumber Avhich Sanclio

apostrophises as the best of wrappers.

must be

added that

fiestas

have

But, in fairness,

their

strangers as well as their disagreeables. especially

attractions

On

it

for

these days,

on notable holidays, such as that of Nuestra

Seiiora de la Merced, the fair sex

come

forth in their gayest

THE VIEGIN AND HER SUITORS. attire,

and walk

iii

beA^ies to the

you are an impartial Paris, that 3'ovu'

all

churches.

41

It is then, if

3'ou will resolve to

bestow

golden apple on the Creole Venus in preference to

other beauties, so lovely are the faces that shine upon

you from under the coquettish mantilla, and so graceful the There may, indeed,

figures that undulate along the streets.

be rosier cheeks and

faii-er

skms elsewhere, but not such

large black eyes, teeth of such

such

dazzling whiteness,

taper waists, and faultless feet and ankles, as belong to the

Venezuelan

ladies.

As

for

any devout

course, is entii'ely out of the question. to be looked at,

and the men stand

steps, or cluster inside, to look at

feeling,

that,

The women come

of

forth

on the church

in groups

All round the

them.

churches are pictures, usually sad daubs, and a profusion of

wax life.

dolls, representing the

Vii'gm at various periods of her

Anything more contrary to common sense, to say

nothing of good taste and devotional feeling, than these images,

it

is

Among

impossible to conceive.

the absurd

groups of dolls I was particularly struck with one at the

Merced

fiesta, in

which the Vii'gm, dressed in

all

the frip-

pery imaginable, was kneeling beside a gigantic crucifix, while a six-j-ear-old angel fluttered above the cross, dressed in silver-embroidered trunk-hose

About the middle

royal Stuart pattern.

the heat

is

most

and tartan leggings of the

trj-ing,

there

is

the image or pictm'e of the saint train of ecclesiastics,

of honour.

of the da}',

is

carried about,

Every now and then the host

down go the people on is sanctified

amid a

and with a body of soldiers as a guard

their knees,

on such occasions.

is

elevated,

and

and anon guns and

rockets are discharged, and the use even

crackers

when

generally a procession, and

of squibs and

VENEZUELA.

42

On

seeing

all

this,

my

went back to India,

recollection

and the processions of Durga and Krishnah.

Indeed, the

yatrotsavahs of Hindustan, and the fiestas of South America,

have a

common

They

origin.

are the resource of an idle

people, and an excuse for putting on best clothes, loitering,

gaming, and love-making.

I

was assured that

some

fiesta at Santiago, the Vii'gin receives

letters

from the

girls of the city

and

its

grand

at the

thirty thousand

Some

environs.

ask for husbands and lovers, others for ball-di*esses and

may

pianos, and, incredible as

it

answered, and, where

thought

such

it is

appear, the petitions are

as husbands and lovers, one

trifles

As

politic, granted.

for

knows from Hero-

dotus that such matters are easily arranged, but even a

piano

is

At Caracas, absurdity

occasionally sent.

is

not

carried so far, but even there fiestas are no doubt the busiest

days at Cupid's post-office.

The

of Caracas

site

It is at about the

the

one to please an Oriental sovereign.

same elevation above the sea

of Persia,

capital

With

is

and resembles

it

in

as Tehran,

accessibility.

a few batteries judiciously placed, the approach to

Caracas from the coast might be completely closed against

an enemy, exceptmg, of course, English tilings are practicable that

sailors, to

whom

imply prize-money and a

In the beginning of June,

the renowned

1595,

Dracke, as the Spanish historians

call

all

fight.

Corsair

him, or Francis

Drake, stood in with his squadron towards the coast of

he arrived within about half a league from

Venezuela,

till

La

when he embarked

Guaira,

and landed. resistance,

The

five

inhabitants of

hundred men

La Guaira

in boats,

fled

without

and carried to Caracas the news of the

terrible

Englishman's descent on the coast.

Then

did the valiant

-

DRAKE, THE COESAIE. alcaldes, Garci-Gonzalez

bling

all

the

to repel

43

and Francisco Rebolledo, assem-

men who would and

could bear arms, march out

They marched with

and chastise the mvader.

banners displayed along the royal road leading from Caracas to

La

Guau-a, lea\'ing ambuscades in the less frequented

passes of the mountains, where the thick trees and rough

But Drake had found

ground favoured such strategy.

Guaicamaento

Spaniard

a

willing to sell his comitry,

named

Villalpando,

at

who was

and who led the corsau- by an

imfrequented route, perhaps that which

now

is

called the

Indian's Path, to Caracas.

So, while the valiant alcaldes

were marching down to the

sea,

and

theii'

ambush were l^ing ensconced in the dank

man was hanging use,

on a

much

whom

Villalpando, for

men

m

the English-

he had no further

and packing up, with great care and very

tree,

at his ease, all the valuables

Now, who can adequately when they heard door, the stped

gallant

gi'ass,

he could find in Caracas.

describe the fury of the alcaldes

that, while they

were guardmg the stable

had been abeady stolen

back again to the

capital, resolved to

So they marched

!

make

a pastel of

Drake

and his merry men, and hoping to catch them with their pikes and their

theii'

hands

hangers and their arquebuses laid aside, and

full

of plunder.

But Drake was cautious

well as bold,

and had turned the municipal

church near

it

into

little

fortresses,

hall

as

and the

and the Spaniards

had a presentiment that there was no taking these strong places without bloodshed, so they surrounded the city at a safe distance,

and prepared to put every Englishman to

death, who, not content with the booty he had alread}' got,

should go out to the villages round about to look for more.

But one

old hidalgo

named Alonso

Anch-ea de Ledesma,

VENEZUELA.

44

who

was, perhaps, a native of

and put his hxnce in

steed,

and rode forth alone

at full speed,

Thereupon they

honour.

his five

The

chivalry his

tried to do mischief with his spear.

him

as gently as they could,

when

city,

and interred

eight days were passed,

it

and with

Drake and

hundred moved out of Caracas with their booty;

and, after burning

down

and

killed

So,

his

nor would they, had he not charged

;

body to a grave in the

carried his all

to drive out the English.

not to harm him

them

La Mancha, mounted

and an old target on his arm,

moved Drake's compassion, and he bade

of the old don

men

rest,

all

the houses that the}" had not knocked

marched merrily away

alread}^

to their ships,

and em-

barked without the loss of a single man. Caracas

is,

north

—that

sea

but,

;

as has

is,

been

from the

said, very inaccessible

from the side towards La Guaira and the

in the opposite direction, the slopes are easier.

In order to form a correct notion of the city is built,

site

on which the

one must keep in mind the direction of the

moimtain ranges of the country.

The Andes

alone

run

north and south, dividing South America like a backbone, but into two very unequal parts Pacific

—the

portion that extends to the Atlantic. dilleras east,

part parallel to the

being infinitely narrow compared with the eastern

A

number

of Cor-

descend from the Andes, and run from west to

and that

cordillera

which

skirts the

Caribbean Sea

forms quite an angle at La Guaira and Macuto, approaching there ahnost to the sea, and ending in a huge clumj), the

highest part of which

is

La

Silla,

a great double-peaked

mountain, that towers up two miles to the east of Caracas.

La

Silla is, consequently, nearly opposite to

the ridge which separates Caracas from

Macuto, while

La Guaira

is

called

SITE OF CAEACAS. CeiTo

cle

This ridge appears to swell on without a

Avila.

break until

La

terminates in

it

separated from

45

but

Silla,

it

in reality

is

On

by the deep ravine of Tocume.

it

La

south side, then, of Avila and

the

Silla is a plain, called the

plain of Cliacao, with a steep slope from N.N.AV. to S.S.E.

— that

is,

from the mountains just mentioned to La Guaira,

a stream which flows with a south-easterly com^se into the

The

Tuy.

latter river falls into the

La

miles to the east of the town of

Chacao, which the Tuy,

seven

is

The

Guaii*a.

branch of the

a lateral

is

Caribbean Sea, sixty plain of

far larger valley of

about ten miles long from west to east, and

broad from

extremity, where

and

north to south,

it is

at

its

western

narrowest, stands Caracas.

Some authors have pronounced

to be matter of regret

it

that Caracas was not built further to the east, near the Adllage of

Chacao, where the plain

is

widest.

doubt that Francisco Fajardo, who, in 1560, the

which the

site

capital of

led to choose the spot as also to the

is

no on

Venezuela now occupies, was

bemg

nearest to the coast, and

mines of Los Teques, which were the attractions

that brought Indians.

There

first built

him

swarming with

into a locality then

In 1567,

Don Diego

Losada, who wished to make

a pennanent conquest where Fajardo

than an explorer, founded a latter,

and called

giving

it

his

it

city

had been

on the

Santiago de

own name

hostile

site

little

chosen

Leon de Caracas

Santiago, or Diego, the

more

b}^

the

—thus

name

of

the Governor de Leon, and that of the Indians of the district,

course,

Caracas, little

which

last

alone

imagined that his new

survives. city

Losada, of

would ever become

the capital of a great country, and in selectmg the site he

was probably guided by the accident that Fajardo had

YENEZUELA.

46

chosen

In

before him.

it

fact, if

advantages of

the position of the capital,

to decide

site

were

the government of

Venezuela would be transferred from Caracas to Valencia, a city which has the richest soil and the best seaport in

much

very proud of their native town, and boast climate

but the question of

;

Venezuelan

cities is

who

"

says

:

all

In the meantime, the Caraquenians are

South America.

From

its title to

rank

fii'st

of its

among

decided in the negative by Humboldt, the position of the provinces Caracas

can never exert any powerful political influence over the countries of which

came

I soon

to

it is

the capital."

know Caracas and

fresh horses were lent

me

every day, and I rode somewhere

The

or other every morning and evening. zuela, be

it

said, en imssaiit,

are so small that one

horses of Vene-

though spirited and well shaped,

would certainly snub them as

but for their self-assertion and haughty

must be owned,

envii'ons well, for

its

ways, which,

little

are at times supported

ironies, it

by worthy deeds in

carrying then- riders bravely into battle, and in aiding in

the slaughter of furious bulls twice as big as themselves.

They do not understand high jumping, but they go very well at ditches, however broad and deep.

pace

is

very well that they are to go that way rather high, and the

tmg

is

Their favourite

the pase-trote, a sort of quick amble, and they

mouth

is felt

if

the reins are held

Trot-

pretty strongly.

not fashionable, and, altogether, the English style of

riding does not

a bad rider

"he

seem

to be admired, for

rides like

it

is

an Englishman."

usual to say of

The

Creoles

ride Avith excessively long stiiTups, so as just to touch

with the toe, and the ambling pace of their horses suited

know

for

that

kind of

seat,

as

well

as

for

them

is Avell

the paved

BOLIYAE'S CENOTAPH. nor animal

streets of Caracas, for neither rider

by

47

shaken

is

it.

My

fii'st

village

about seven

after leaving

Gran

was

ride

St.

to the east of the city to Petare, a large niiles

from Caracas.

In a few minutes

Amande's Hotel, I found myself

La

in

Plaza, the principal square, where the daily market

of Portman-square, but looks

It is about the size

held.

larger, the buildings

round

it

Government House, which

is

is

being

very low, except the

all

on the western

and the

side,

cathedral, which stands at the south-eastern angle.

Both

these buildings survived the great earthquake of 1812.

found nothing in the cathedral, either externally or ternally,

I in-

worth noticing, except the tomb of Bolivar, which

and

The Liberator

is

of white mai'ble,

is

represented standing in his general's unifoi-m, and below

tastefully executed.

are three female figures, intended, I suppose, for the three

States

who owe

theii-

memor

1852."

patria.

monument, a

"He var,

The

freedom to him.

" Simonis Bolivar cineres

hie

condit,

Somehow,

certain sentence

honorat,

grata

on looking

would recur

at

:

et

this

my mind

to

asked for bread, and they gave him a stone."

:

Boli-

whose ashes are here so honoured in the cathedral of

his native town, died far away, starving,

A

inscription is

little

way from the

and an

exile.

cathedi-al is the theatre.

Juxta-

position seems to be the rule as regards these edifices in

Venezuela.

At La Guau-a, the theatre stands next

Things have so

far

Humboldt, that the theatre to the sky, is

operatic

duU

now

roofed.

troupe, and

tragedies, in

a church.

changed for the better since the time of

the

which

all

at Caracas,

During pieces

the

which was then open

my

stay there was no

played were

generally

characters Avere killed in

VENEZUELA.

48

succession,

apparently

the

to

great

satisfaction

the

of

audience.

At about half

from the cathedral, I came to a

a mile

bridge over a stream which

bounds the town on

falls into

the Guaira, and which

Here

this side.

are two fine coffee

plantations, and a mile further is another

being the point at

for

ascent of

La

Silla.

valley being a

The scenery here

mass

still finer,

is

very beautiful, the

of cultivation, while from

no point

land does the great mountain look so imposing. that which interested

me most was

or " Eastern Bailwaj^," the

ber

and as

it

in-

However,

the Ferro-Carril d'Este,

termmus

the bridge already mentioned. station,

notable

which Humboldt commenced his

of which

is

just

beyond

I dismounted to inspect the

was quite deserted, I was obliged to clam-

over a gate fifteen feet

the rails had been laid

high to get into

down

it.

I found that

for about half a mile, but the

over them.

There were

grass and weeds were

grooving

engines and

and piles of wood for sleepers, sad

emblems fallen,

carriages,

of the slumber into which the whole concern has

and from which

awake.

seems doubtful whether

it

will ever

I found the posada at Petare full of people

smoking

and playmg

billiards,

it

and the whole place had a more

ing, bustling appearance than I expected. five

near

hundred houses it.

Still

in the village,

thriv-

There are about

and some

fine estates

there never could be sufficient traffic to repay

the expense of a railway, unless the line were continued to Valencia.

My

next expedition was to the north of the tovm, and to

the slope beyond l}ing immediately under the Cerro d'Avila.

The

may

be seen from this slope,

is

in

figure a great square, with long parallel streets crossing

it

city of Caracas, as

THE GREAT EAETHQUAEi:. from north

to south,

49

and with the principal square of the

But

market-place in the centre.

at the north-east angle

there has been a suburb, thi-ough which the old road to

The " Indian Path," akeady mentioned,

La Guaira passes. branches

off

I was astonished to see the

from that road.

destruction that the great earthquake of 1812 caused in this

Not

dii'ection.

a house seems to have escaped, and though

a few have been restored, the marks of the aj)parent ever^-where,

In

fact,

and whole

lines of ruins still remain.

moimtam, the

the nearer the

to have been the shock.

I

disaster are

greater seemed to

was confii'med in

me

this opinion

afterwards bv the narrative of an eye-witness, Major M.,

who

still

lives,

and who was in

emplojTiient in

official

Caracas when the earthquake happened.

Major M. was

writing in his office with his clerk at 4 p.m., on the 26th of

March, in that year.

It

was intensely hot, and no rain had

Being Holy Thursdaj', the

fallen for a considerable time.

churches were crowded with ladies, dressed in their gayest

The

attire.

and the

come

in

chapels of the convents were

streets, as is usual

filled \\ith

on holiday s, with people who had

from the neighbouring

At the barracks

villages.

of San Carlos, a regiment of six hiuidi*ed tering under the walls.

men were mus-

There was not a cloud in the sky,

not a thought of danger in the a sudden the eai-th seemed to bells tolled,

nims,

heaii, of

any one.

move upwards,

All of

the church

and a tremendous subterranean noise was heard.

The perpendicular motion stantly succeeded

lasted four seconds,

in-

by a violent undulatory movement, which

continued six seconds more. great city, with

and was

fifty

In those ten seconds that

thousand inhabitants, had become a

heap of blood-stained ruins.

The churches

of Alta Gracia

VENEZUELA.

50

and Trinidad, with towers one hundred and

fifty

feet high,

were so completely levelled, that in then- place only shape-

mounds remained, spread out

less

not more than

five feet

to a great distance, but

Every convent was destroyed,

high.

The barrack

and of the inmates scarcely one escaped. of San Carlos was hurled forward from

was

left

and of the

soldiers mustering below its walls not a

hundred

six

its base,

ahve.

At the

M.

shock, Major

fii'st

man

started from

his seat and rushed towards the door, followed by his clerk.

M. sprang

into the street, but his clerk to death

was crushed seen

many

terrific

by the

was too

his

and

The major had

falling house.

sights in

late,

long residence in these

regions of the -"'olcano and the earthquake, and had been

many

in

battles both

by sea and land, but he declared that

moment

the spectacle which Caracas presented at the

of the

A

great earthquake, was the most terrible of

all.

cloud of dust rose up to heaven, and with

ascended the

shrieks of

vast

more than twenty thousand human beings dying

wounded

or

it

in the ruins.

Great rocks came thundering

down from the mountains, and

at intervals exj)losions,

Hke

the discharge of innumerable pieces of artillery, were heard

Major M.

beneath the earth.

fled

down

Guaira, and remained there without food

Even then

it

iymg hunger, w^ere so

So

for

was

difficult to prociu-e

for the

houses were

encumbered with

many

to the river till

all fallen,

ruins, that

it

was

the next day.

means

the

La

of satis-

and the

streets

difficult to pass.

days the sad sights were renewed of digging

out the wounded and the dead.

Men's minds were so

affected with terror, that for a long

time they could not retm-n to their ordinary occupations,

but were continually absorbed with prayer and rehgious

CATHOLIC CEMETERY.

51

Then were many marriages performed between who had for years been living together without that and men who had defi'auded others made restitution,

ceremonies. those .tie,

appalled by the horrors of that tremendous day, and appre-

hensive of their recui-rence.

At

a few places in the Cerro d'Avila, I observed houses

perched

uj)

an elevation of several hundred

at

among them one belonging it is

Dutch

to the

feet,

and

Below

minister.

a country-house, called the Paraiso, once the property

of an English minister, and wliich passed from liim to a that which interested

me most

was the Cathohc cemetery, said

to be the

famous Creole beauty. in this direction finest in all

But

South America, and well worth a

stands on very high ground, and the view

The

singularity of the place

very high walls by which

it

feet

tlu'ee

five

magnificent.

sun-ounded

is

They

is

lined with a

are eight feet deep,

wide and high, and are used as receptacles

Persons who can afibrd to pay a fee of

for cofiins.

It

that the inner side of the

is,

sort of gigantic pigeon-holes.

and

is

visit.

tliii'ty-

dollars are allowed the privilege of placing the cofiin

of a deceased relative in one of these receptacles for three years.

The name

of the deceased person

is

printed over

the recess, and the cofiin can be brought out at any time if

requu'ed.

Of

com'se,

it is

thus preserved from destruc-

tion,

being quite diy, and sheltered from the weather, and

also

safe

from the attacks of

midable black ant, which

is

length,

and devours everjiihing

ration

of

three years

insects,

cofiins

it

to

them.

can get

are

remains of the deceased person

handed over

especially the for-

three-quarters of an inch in at.

At the

expi-

taken down, and

are, if the family

wish

the it,

Otherwise, they are thi'own into a E

2

VENEZUELA.

52

Poor people, and those who

large pit, called a carnero.

do not choose to pay for the three once

in the grounds of the

I observed the words

Calentura Amarilla in

are buried

pigeon-holes,

cemetery.

many

lodgment in the

3'ears'

at

of the epitaphs, which told plainly of the ravages of

Humboldt mentions

the yellow fever.

been known at

La

yards, I

having appeared at Caracas.

its

I had ridden past the

came

in length,

to a

had

Guaii^a only two years before his arrival,

and says nothing of Ai'ter

that this disease

cemetery a few hundred

mound about one hmidred and

and was told that

this

fifty feet

marked the spot where the

persons who died in the great outbreak of cholera a few

The

years ago, were buried. that

it

numerous

victims were so

was quite impossible to inter

them

separately, so a

very long deep trench was dug, and the dead were brought

and cast mto

in carts

the

German

it.

They

are

bui'ial-ground

and

outskii^ts of the city,

and

compared with the Catholic ceme-

are very poor places as tery.

The English

on the southern

are

both covered with weeds, but, in the

British burial-ground, the rank gi'ass

is

so tall that

impossible to see the gTaves, and the whole place ant-hills

several feet high.

inscription to say sole

expense.

man who,

it

was

built

This

city, is

the

Cai'acas with water. ravine, it.

is

is

full of

a chapel, with an

by Robert Ker Porter

at his

name

of a

had come from the Caspian Gates

to this distant country of the

a visit.

is

I felt interested in seeing the

like mj^self,

North of the

There

it

West.

I found only one other place worth

Toma, It

is

or reservon, which supplies situated

in a thickly-wooded

and a very narrow path among the bushes leads to

It is

necessary to tread with caution here,

as,

on

MOUNT CALVARY.

53

account of the dense thickets, and the phice being so frequented, snakes abound in incredible numbers.

assured that, on a

fifty

rattlesnakes and other

With such

serpents might be seen basking in the sun.

human guard might seem

unnecessary.

There

however, a superintendent, and, on entering his cottage,

is,

I found

liis

Canary Islands, working

wife, a native of the

with her daughter at making sandals.

make two dozen

and got

a day,

many

of

I

saw of the enormously

She said they could and a half

six

about a pound sterling, a dozen.

is

I was

rocky terrace where the shrubs will

little

not grow, sometimes forty or

protectors a

little

This

is

dollars, or

only one mstance

liigh rates at

which labour

paid in Venezuela.

Westward there

of the city I did not ride.

only the road to

is

come by coach.

La

In this direction

Guau-a, along which I had

I took, however, a walk to the Calvario,

a hill on which the stations at Calvary ought to be

by

The

crosses, but I observed none.

some hundred cit}", is

the

feet high,

which being

hill,

a good view over the

remarkable for a very severe action fought there on

23rd

SjDanish

of June,

1821,

commandant

only fifteen hundred

between Colonel Pereira,

at Caracas,

Bermudez, of the

cisco

commands

marked

the

and General Jose Fran-

patriot ami}'.

Bermudez, who had

men, attacked with

gi-eat

fuiy the

Spanish forces, though far outnumbering his column, and

on the high ground, and was so

advantageously posted

completely defeated that he had great to

difficult}^

in escaping

Rodea with two hundi'ed men.

To

the south there

is

engineer, which leads to five

a fine road,

Los Teques, a

made by village

a

European

about twenty-

miles from Caracas, where there were gold mines once

VENEZUELA.

54

worked by the Spaniards, and which, in

them

tering bait that lured station

on

this road, at

fact,

were the

glit-

The

fii'st

into the province.

about six

milfes

from the

city, is

the

pleasant village of Antemano, where Caraquenian beauties

go to

There

bathe and ruraHse during the heats is also

the river the Tuy.

a road

more

La Guau-a There

is

directly south,

into the hills,

of

summer.

which leads across

and so to the valley of

a beautiful estate- in this dii'ection,

belonging to Senor Espino, whose income from land

be about twenty thousand dollars a his property I closed

my

With a

yesiv.

may

visit to

survey of the envii'ons of Caracas,

and came to the conclusion

that,

were

it

not for earth-

quakes, ej)idemics, insect plagues, triennial revolutions, and bell-ringmg, there would be few for a residence.

more

desirable localities

CHAPTER IV. make the Traits of Republican Life — Dishonesty the best policy — How to the top — Why Republics are always borrowing — The Bullscum Caracas— Cave Canem— Godoy, the Negro Fight — Public Buildings Wit — The Venezuelan Cabinet — Maniac Visitors — The Ministerial to

rise

at

Breakfast.

"

Why, Juan,"

my

said I, as I sat examining

first

week's

accounts at Caracas, " things are exorbitantly dear in this

There's that dinner I gave the day before

land of libert3% yesterday.

It

was a very plain diimer

have charged twenty-three pounds for

to thirteen, it

one might expect in London with real fish,

and as many courses

very

much beyond

a turkey

yes, there

is

turtle, ten

kinds of

but here we have had nothing "

was a turkey, and su',

weren't so in a general

doesn't

and they

That's a charge

the usual table d'hote fare, except, indeed,

" Things are dear,

there

;

!

interrupted Juan, " and

way they would be

to us.

if

they

Why,

not a man, woman, or child in the whole city that

know we brought two boxes

of gold to

La

Guaira,

and that you are a comisionado." "

And what difference

does that

make

the government, as everybody knows. to be careful of

?

And

The if

gold was for

any

man ought

money, and to examine well mto accounts,

it

should be a financial commissioner."

" Well,

sir," replied

Juan, "that's one view, and I'm not

VENEZUELA.

56

a going to say that view.

Sir, it's of

here, for

it's

wrong one

a

no one gets the

credit of

Gobierno mal administrado

government

you would

ill

it's

'

—

administered.'

really like to

the general opmion

is,

As

it.

more cheating

a kind of proverb,

it's

but

not a Creole

no manner of use being too honest out

business, there's, perhaps thing, for

;

government

for

in that than in any-

La mejor hacienda es el The best estate is the

'

'

So, no offence,

know what

is

thought,

I'll

cuartillo for yourself out of every real

leave

the

when you have such

some of

it

;

keeping a

and of course they

money you ought

a lot of

marketmg here is,

make him who has most, pay So sajing, Juan walked

morning

if

be bound

behind for the good of the country.

the rules for

bill,

but

that being a very sensible man, 3'ou

won't part with those boxes of gold without

think that

sir,

off

most.'

'

get all

As

to for

you can, and

"

with the intention of passing the

at various friends' houses.

In the evening, at

my

dinner-hour, he would show himself again for a short time,

which I should see nothing of him

after

free

and easy

till

This

next day.

style of service is regarded as quite the correct

thing in Venezuela

:

a country which might, indeed, be

called the paradise of servants, were the

name

of servant

applicable at all to the vagrant gentlemen and ladies

pay you short

visits to

who

replenish their purses and ward-

and severely repress any

robes, leave

you without

attempt to

commmiicate with them as to your domestic

arrangements. topics,

But

3'ou

notice,

may

talk ^vith

them on general

such as the weather or the theatre, and on politics

you may be as expansive as you

may become

please, for

where any one

a general or a president in a few days that sub-

ject is universally interesting.

The

doctrine

of

perfect

HOW equality

is

MAKE THE SCUM

TO

EISE.

57

in one of the

so well carried out, that,

best

houses where I was a guest, the gentleman who cleaned the boots alwaj's came into in his

mouth

;

my room

with his hat on and a cigar

whom

and another gentleman

me

to assist Juan, left

refused the custody of

I

had engaged

the day after his arrival, on being

my keys

and purse, which he candidly

stated was the only duty he felt equal to.

At dances,

as soon

as the music strikes up in the di'awmg-room, the servants

begin to waltz in the passages and ante-rooms, and as entertainments are almost always on the ground

floor,

and

generally in rooms looking into the streets, the great " un-

washed

" thrust theii-

naked arms and greasy faces between

the bars of the windows and criticise the dancing with spirit.

much

I have seen a gentleman in rags leaning into

window from the

streets with his bare

a

arms almost touching

those of a beautifully dressed lady, while his most sweet

On

breath fanned her tresses.

another occasion I was talk-

ing to some ladies at an evening party, culotte jerked in his

versation, that I stopped,

but their

own

set

!

"

a worthy sans-

listen to our con-

on which he called out, " Oh, these

we have

are the aristocrats

when

head so suddenly to

here,

On my

who won't

sitting

down

talk to any one

to play chess with

the wife of the president of one of the states, half a dozen

female servants, of every shade, from tawny twilight to black night, surroimded the table

and began to watch the game.

The

tailor,

fii'st

time I went to a

Creole friend,

who undertook

to

I was accompanied by a

show me the best

place.

We

had to wait some time before the gentleman of the shop appeared.

When

cigar in his

mouth.

he did, he came in with the inevitable

He raised

his hat politely to

my friend,

walkecF straight up to me, shook hands, and asked

me how

VENEZUELA.

58

I did. tions

He then sat down on the counter, put various questo me regarding my coming to Venezuela, talked on

general subjects, and at the end of about a quarter of an

hour intimated that he was ready to oblige a coat.

This

was an

tailor

officer of

me

wanted

I

if

rank in the army, and

he was wearing his uniform and spurs when he came in to

measure a friend of mine.

Juan was an excellent

had he been too he walked

me

off,

but he would have lost caste

valet,

So

attentive to his duties in Venezuela.

as I have said, to

amuse

and

liimself,

left

to think over the difficulties of the business entrusted to

me.

my

I first

had no experience in South American measm-e had

C,

thoroughly aufait in them.

had

all

He

the country.

the son of an Englishman,

is,

born in Venezuela, knew

all

chanced to come in just as Juan

room, and seeing that he had " Now, tell me, for a chat, I said

taken a cigar

:

country

who was

the integrity characteristic of his race, and being a

Creole by birth, that

money ?

so

affairs,

been to secure a coadjutor,

about the

left

and settled himself

C, how

is it

that this

so wretchedly poor, and so eternally borrowing

is

For

my

make

part, I can't

a particle of show.

it

out.

You

haven't

Your Government House looks

East Indian godown,

3'our great

men make no

like

disj^lay,

an

and

as for your soldiers, one would think that the last successful

campaign had been against the were carrying

off the.

fripiers,

and that the

plunder on their backs.

that you Venezuelans are not extravagant, and

that you have great resources

Your

soil is

if

victors

It is evident it

is

plain

you knew how to use them.

the richest in the world, and has never been

trodden by an invader since the Spaniard was driven out.

Then what

is

the reason that you are always

boiTowing

WHY

REPUBLICS ARE ALWAYS BORROWING.

from other countries

How

?

is it, too,

States of North America have

your repubUc

lation in rivers

59

that while the United

made such

progress, the popu-

all

but stationar}-, the seas and

without steamers, the

country without roads, and

commerce end of

languishing ? "

his cigar,

"You

C. knocked the ashes from the

assisted

conveniently on the follows:

is

toj?

legs

of a chau-, and finally rephed as

see, in the

The Yankees

in the breed.

thought by perching his

first

place, there's a diflference

are a go-a-head lot, there's

no

mistake about that.

There's plenty of quicksilver in English

blood, but fog and

damp keep

New York it South.

rises to fever heat,

it

down

and

to the

in England.

Besides, long before Lexington and Bunker-hill,

the North Americans were ripe for self-government.

South America things were very kept their American fiftiis

different.

Even

printing- ofiice

till

man, Delpeche.

The Spaniards Four-

subjects in profound ignorance.

at Caracas, the

1816,

The

capital, there

when one was

set

was no

up by the French-

iUiberality of the Spaniards

went so

that, after Isabella's death, nothing was done to intro-

duce the cultivation of any plant, or improve farming. culture of the vine and olive was prohibited,

tobacco was made a crown monopoly.

but

all

In

of the population could not even read, for there were

no schools.

far,

At

boihng point down

entii-ely

The

and that of

Emigration, too, was

prevented, and, in the total absence of

wonder rather

is

that Venezuela should

ever have become free, than that

it

should have made so

vivj'fjang power, the

little

progress.

" Then as to the poverty of the government

and

constant borrowing, there are several reasons for that. the

first

place, the Creoles of

its

In

South America, though they

VENEZUELA.

60 liave

many good

They won't go

clear

qualities, are very averse to physical labour.

work

to

in a

new

country, like Englishmen

away timber, stub up, and

Their wits are

drain.

sharp, and they do well for superintendents that tries the sinews,

it is

my

—the

but as to work

belief that all the haciendas in

the country would go to ruin,

and the mixed breeds.

;

if it

were not for the Indians

Again, the taxes levied by the

armada and

corso, or

coast taxes, the medias anatas, or deductions from

salaries,

Spaniards

alcabala, or excise, the

the monopolies of

salt, cards,

numerous other imposts, were

and tobacco, and

cane-liquor,

all

so odious to the Columbians,

that as soon as they declared themselves independent, they

made

a clean sweep of them, leaving only the customs to

Now,

supply a revenue to the government.

customs that state.

With

it

is

most easy

to peculate

and defraud the

a coast line of two thousand miles,

possible to keep

down smuggling

To

?

in the

it is

give

how

you an idea*of

may mention

the extent of the contraband trade, I

is it

that a

finance mmister of Venezuela has proved that of the two

hundred million

dollars'

country during the

first

worth of goods imported into the sixteen years of independence, one millions' worth were

hundred and twenty-nine and a half smuggled

!

But, besides that, the venahty and corruption

of the custom-house

officers is such, that, as Seiiors

Brandt

and Iribarren have shown, the defalcations of revenue from the Aduanas up to 1852, amounted to no less than one

hundred and one and a half millions of

dollars.

At

present,

the annual loss to government by contrabands and frauds of various kinds,

suppose

that

is

this

reckoned

at

calculation

six is

furnished by the accounts kept here.

millions.

based

But don't

on information

If other countries

WHY

EEPUBLICS AEE ALWAYS BOEEOWING.

France and the United States,

example

for

61

— did not publish

the amoimt of their exports to Venezuela, no one would

know what

really brought into this country.

is

by comparing foreign

come

know

to

incessant

to

It is only

fictions that

which the government

commence

country, aU

which

revolutions

the frauds of the

up the

extent

the

home

with

we is

Indeed, one would not be wrong in sa^^ing that

cheated.

the

statistics

the revenue

is

men

;

to

to

make Thus

of small means.

sown broadcast, and discontent leads

Yet, great as the evil

spiracies.

Owing

short

falls

customs are raised until the neces-

saries of life are too dear for

discontent

mihappy

this

at the custom-houses.

officials,

deficiency, the

distract

is,

to con-

one cannot help laugh-

ing at the impudence of some of the frauds.

According to

the published returns, the people here must be the dirtiest in the world with any pretensions to civilisation, since

made out

officially

a week

aU that each person

is

it

is

that a quarter of an ounce of soap in uses.

We

know

that the

provmce of Caracas alone consumes a hundred barrels of flour a da}', whereas, according to the

the daily consumption of

nine barrels.

are all

no remittances Puerto Cabello.

more or

end of

is

less

is

no wonder

mortgaged, and that there are

from La Guaira and

Of course the only resom'ce

is

to

borrow

and hence," said C, throwing away the

cigar, " I have the pleasure of

Apropos of

it

empty, that the revenues of the

to the capital except

in foreign markets, liis

custom-house retm'ns,

Venezuela does not reach sixty-

Under such circumstances,

that the pubHc treasmy

Aduanas

all

meetmg you

wliich, as there is a bull-fight to-day,

have never seen one,

let

us stroll

down

here.

and you

to the Corrida."

Before we could reach the eastern outskirt of the town,

VENEZUELA.

62

where the building stands in which the a

mass of clouds came

rain began, in earnest of a

bull-fights are held,

from the Avila, and a

drifting

more pelting shower.

Looking

whom

about for shelter, and seeing at a window some ladies

we knew

slightly,

of them, a slim

we went

gii'l

long eyelashes, " senorita ever go ?

m to

I said to one

with immense dark eyes, and singularly

We

are going to the Corrida

does the

;

"

" No, senor, I never go.

The

how any one can

ladies of Venezuela think

As

bull-fights very barbarous.

stand

talk to them.

light

for

me, I cannot under-

pleasure in such

take

odious

cruelty."

"Indeed!"

said I, rather astonished.

Spain ladies think fashion for

" That

them

differently.

At Madrid

"But

surely in

is

quite the

it

to attend."

may be

we do not

;

follow the fashions of Spain.

Perhaps we are more tender-hearted here." After this dialogue, I was not surprised, on entering the

Cirque in which the bull-fight was to be held, to find that the spectators were nearly

who were

all

men, and that the few women

present were of the lower orders.

The

building

was of wood, open to the sky in the centre, and anything but substantial.

Several tiers of seats, each a foot or so

higher than the other,

had been erected round a circular

area about a hundred and twenty feet in diameter. seats

accommodated perhaps

there seemed but

little

room

lowest seat, which was not

fifteen

to

much

hundred people, and

spare.

In front of the

raised from the ground,

were strong palisades, between which a ease,

These

man

could shp with

and thus they afforded the toreros a secure retreat

from the fury of the

bulls.

Close to where I took

my

place

—

THE BULL FIGHT.

63

there was a large gate, which was thrown open to admit

the bulls one

First of

one.

b}^

band struck up, and eight

all,

however, a squeaking or pedestrian

toreros,

bull-

and saluted some person of note who

fighters, entered,

sat

Just at that moment, the thunder-

opposite the large gate.

shower which had been gathering descended in torrents, and the people shouted to the toreros, " No moja se " " Don't get wet palisades,

!

"

on which they slipped in between the

and so put themselves under cover.

very well-made

active fellows, with

They were

extremely good legs,

which were seen to advantage, as they wore white

silk

stockings and knee-breeches embroidered with gold.

As soon

as the rain stopped there

was a loud shout, and

presently the large gate opened and in rushed a bull.

He

was a dark animal, almost black, and had evidently been goaded to madness, for he came charging head, and with his

the sharp points of his horns had been sawn the toreros

now ran nimbly up

tossing his

I could see, however, that

erect.

tail

in,

to the bull

and

off.

One

cloak on the ground before him, on wliich the animal a fmious charge, attempting to gore

he

at first

side,

rushes,

The

and adroitly whisking

fatigued the bull

now

in

this

it

torero dragged

from side to

by causing him to make

direction,

made

—not the man, of whom

took no notice, but the cloak.

this along rapidly,

of

thi*ew his red

now

in

that.

fruitless

This was

repeated again and again, until the animal seemed quite tu'ed.

The most

active of the toreros then

advanced with

a banderilla, or javelin entwined with fireworks in one hand,

and his cloak in the other. that the animal charged torero glided to one side,

He came

him headlong.

so close to the

buU

In a moment the

and drove the dart into the

bull,

VENEZUELA.

64

Imme-

pinning the wretched animal's ear to his neck. diately the fii'eworks

around the dart began to explode, and

the terrified bull tm-ned and rushed madly across the arena.

In half a minute or so the began

to

burn mto

bellowing piteously, while

Anon

torture.

it

fire

The

it.

its

dashed

had reached the

flesh,

and

bull then reared straight up,

poor flanks heaved with the

its

head against the ground,

driving the dart further into its flesh, and so continued to gallop

romid the ring

in

a

succession of rearings and

This seemed to be a moment of exquisite

plungings.

dehght to the spectators, who yelled out applause, and some in tlieu' excitement stood uj) clapping heartily disgusted,

and shoutmg.

and would have gone out

been possible, but I was too tightly wedged

at once

I

was

had

it

Meantime,

in.

the large gate opened again, and the poor bull fled through it,

to be slaughtered

and sold with

all

After ten

despatch.

minutes' pause another bull was admitted, and was tortured.

The

And

so

it

fared with four

more

similai'ly

bulls.

sixth bull was a very tall gaunt animal,

were quite different from those of the others.

whose

tactics

He came

in

without a rush, looked warily about, and could hardly be

induced to follow the torero. that the people,

In short, he was so sluggish,

enraged at his showing so

shouted for a matador to

kill

him

in the arena.

little

sport,

Hereupon,

one of the toreros darted up to stick a banderilla into the sluggard. tliis

Bu^t the bull, being quite fresh, not only defeated

attempt by a tremendous sweep of his horns, but almost

struck

down

his assailant,

who was taken by

surprise at this

unlooked-for vigour on the part of an animal which seemed spiritless.

However,

by a

escaped for a moment,

desperate

effort

the

torero

but the bull followed him like

PUBLIC BUILDINGS AT CAEaCAS. and, as

lightning,

ill

luck would have

65

man

before the

it,

could reach the shelter of the palisades his foot sHpped in a

puddle and he

would end as

Expecting that the charge

back.

fell

all i^re^-ious

ones had ended, I had got up

with the intention of leaving, and I was thus able to see

more

clearly

bull struck

As

what followed.

him on the lower

force that the

blow sounded

unfortunate torero was

hmied

the

man

fell

backward, the

part of the spine with such

The and came down

over the building.

all

into the air,

with his head against the palisades, and there lay, apx^areutly dead, in a j)ool of blood.

horror crept over fellow again,

me

;

A

sickening feeling of

the bull was rushing upon the jDoor

and would no doubt have crushed him as he

lay motionless, but, just in the nick of time, one of the

toreros thi'ew his cloak so cleverly that

the bull's head and blinded him.

exactty over

fell

it

^\Tiile

the

brute was

trampling and tossing to free himself, the matador came up

and drove a short sword into the vertebrae of his neck, and

down he went headlong.

At one moment

full of

mad

the next he was a quivering mass of lifeless flesh.

minutes more, and the dead

bull,

and seemmgiy

fury,

A

few

lifeless

man, were removed from the arena, and another bull was called for.

made my It

I,

however, had witnessed enough, and gladly

exit.

wanted

still

several da^'s to

that appointed

for

my

meeting the ministers, and I determined to spend them in visiting the

few buildings of interest in the

city.

My

first

expedition was to the Municipal Hall, and indeed I had

but a Httle way to go, as

This hall

is

it

is

close to

the

Gran

Plaza.

one of the oldest buildings in Caracas, and

externally is not only plain, but almost shabb}'.

Inside,

VENEZUELA.

66

however, there

handsome

a very respectable council chamber, with

is

gilt

arm

the president

for

chaii-s

-

and eleven

members, who impose the town dues, and discharge the ordinary functions of civic authorities. are

hung some very

tolerable portraits.

who

that of the ecclesiastic

filled

Eound

the

Among

these are

the archiepiscopal chair

Monagas and

of Caracas in 181S, and those of President his brother.

Tovar,

There are

room

also portraits of Bolivar, of

and Generals Miranda and Urdaneta,

Count

and

one

remarkable picture of the reading of the Act of Independence, with likenesses

The mob

of the

leaders

are represented compelling the

to take off his hat

and

As

salute.

the revolution.

in

Spanish general

a pendant to this picture

But the

hangs a framed copy of the Act of Independence.

great curiosity of all is the flag of Pizarro, sent from in 1837,

and enshrined in a

are eaten

off,

case.

Peru

All the silk and velvet

but the gold wire remains, with the device of

a lion, and the

word Carlos.

The

flag is

about

five

feet

long and three broad, and being folded double in the frame, only half out.

is

seen,

There are

and they

also

two

will not allow it to be taken

flags of Carlos the

Fourth, taken

from the Spaniards, and the original MSS. of the Act of Independence, and other important documents, bound up together.

A

day or two

Caracas, which,

I

after,

mth

went to see the university of

House

the

of Assembl}^, the National

Library, and a church, forms one ^reat block of buildings.

The National Library does not

contain more than ten thou-

sand volumes, and in that of the university there are about three thousand five hundred.

seemed best represented

;

The department

of divinity

but there was no great evidence

PUBLIC BUILDINGS AT CAEACAS. The

of the books being cared for. sity

professors of the imiver-

were most obliging, and showed

seen in the college, wliich its

me

present pui'pose, though originally

Carmelite cine

The departments

fiiars.

seemed the best organised.

with a

\isit to

there was to be

all

massive and not

is

67

it

suited for

ill

was a convent of

of chemistry

and medi-

my

inspection

I concluded

the dissecting-room, and that for anatomical

Among other things I was shown man whose bones had turned to chalk. The

preparations.

the skull

of a

skull

from an inch to an inch and a half thick, and

had been broken

it

off

human

One

bone.

The

settled.

though

I,

at

locality

and a

it

to be, or to have ever been,

of the professors then went with

to the Hall of Congress,

and of the meeting

a piece of

and shown separately, no unscientific

person would have guessed a

if

was

me

where also are pictures of Bolivar,

which the Act of Independence was

seemed

man who

my

to inspii'e

sat there reading,

cicerone, for,

and who never

raised his head, were his sole audience, he dehvered ^^ith

the gi'eatest animation an eloquent harangue on the subject of Uberty.

If

it

be true that

still

waters are the deepest,

I should fear that the republicanism of South America

somewhat shallow,

it

does so babble as

it

runs.

is

However,

I was glad to hear the orator express himself with great

warmth

as regards England, saying that she

power that had assisted them

was the only

in theii' great struggle with

the Spaniards, and that without her they would hardly have

secured their independence.

The time had now come ministers on the business I at

for

had

m

my

interview with the

hand.

C. came for

me

11 A.M. on the appointed day, and we walked together to

Government House,

x^s

we were

ver)^

busy conversing, I p 2

VENEZUELA.

68

did not notice the sentry, and indeed he was such a mite of

a man, that I might have been pardoned for overlooking

him.

seems that in Venezuela

such divinity doth hedge " a sentmel that no passer-by must come within a It

yard of him.

''

Having approached within the

me

small warrior soon convinced

be so offended with impunity.

that his dignity was not to

In the twinkling of an eye

he brought down his musket with a terrible charge, and very nearly at the is

the

limits,

wounded me

same time snarling out some

a

little

the

rattle to

above the knee,

unintelligible words.

It

a cmious fact that the Venezuelans are, generally speak-

mg, a

ver}^ civil race,

on uniform

mitil they put

uniform, by-the-by, like the English),

when

was a caution I often received, and I once heard gested that a mat with Cave

demeanour of the

whole

their

" Don't go near that sentry,"

nature seems to be som-ed.

canem

One

civilians.

it

sug-

should be laid down

!

Very

on duty.

in front of every soldier

red

(a

different is the

was

day, for instance, I

walking with a friend on the northern outskirts of the

city,

"

Now

when we met is

a gardener with a store of fresh fruit.

your time," said

my

how you can manage

friend, " to try

jour Spanish.

a bargain with the gardener."

we detained the poor man

the mere sake of talldng,

time, and looked at his fruit, and tumbled

it

See

So, for a long

about, until I

was ashamed, and would have bought a quantity of

Then he asked where it

was a very long way

send so far.

I was living, and off,

he said

" Well, then," I

to be done, for I should not to

come

like

to you."

you to

it

said,

when I

it.

told him, as

would not pay liim to " I fear there

know how

to direct

is

nothmg

my

servant

" That's true," said he, " but I should

taste this fruit,

which

is really

very

fine, so

you

;

GODOY, THE NEGEO WIT. With

must accept a few specimens." sisted

my

on

these words he in-

taking some of the best mangoes and other

he had, and

fruit

69

positivel}'

Escaping from the

refused to be paid for sentry,

sui'ly little

we entered the

Government House, and were received by the duty

to usher in those

it is

to the ministers.

to

whose name

official,

bon-mots are cmTent

is

On

at Caracas.

here

Godoy,

who had

is it

a conceited

that you have not been turned out

"I," said Godoy, with an

humility, but casting a significant glance at

" never ascend,

a of

Godoy, " You

just got into power, said to

How

still ?

with the rest?"

is

Many

one occasion,

when government had suddenly changed hands, official,

whose

official

pay their respects

of the negi'oes, and is a genius in his way.

negi'o

his

This

who come

it.

liis

affectation of

interrogator,

and consequently never descend."

His

questioner was soon enabled to appreciate the philosophy of

Government House

the remark, for he descended fr'om

as

suddenly as he ascended, being turned out by another

Another time, dm'ing the

change. of

young men,

chiefly students

in a thi'eatening

late troubles, a

from the

manner near Government House, and began Godoy, and one of the

shouting out various seditious cries.

generals on the side of the party in power,

balcony to see what was the matter

thrown

at

negroes

"Your and

came out on the

on wliich stones were Godoy, and the mob shouted: " Do^m with the

"

**

Down

:

with the brigands

!

"

"

Do you

they say ? " asked the general, sneeringiy, of

what

out,

!

'

'

"I

excellency," he replied,

Down

with the negroes

Do^Mi with the brigands

present,

number

universit}', collected

must

hear.

They

Godoy.

are calling

meaning, of course,

' !

! '

refer, I su^jpose, to

hear

me

which, as no one else

your excellency."

is

VENEZUELA.

VO

We

were ushered by Godoy into the council-room, a

handsome apartment, looking on the Gran Plaza. There

tains the inevitable picture of Bolivar. sash, but I do not

where.

We

for the

rooms

remember

to have

It con-

his

is also

seen his sword any-

entered and found a suffocating atmosphere, at

Government House

are open only during

the day, and the doors and windows are kept closed from

sunset

till

the hour

generally about

when business commences, which

eleven

There

o'clock.

is

no

are, besides,

verandahs, so that the public rooms at Caracas are hotter

However, as the ministers, with the

than those at Madras.

acting president at their head, were already assembled, there

was nothing

for

it

but to go forward and take our seats.

The meeting was one

of vital importance to every one pre-

Not only were the exigencies

sent.

of the government

urgent, but each individual supporter of satisfactory termination of that

of indemnity for losses,

it

knew

most

that on the

meeting depended his hopes

and the settlement of his claims,

The

whatever they might be.

public tranquillity, too, was

at stake, because the greater part of the army, after

had no other reimbursement

years' incessant fighting,

look to for allotted to

more

;

all

their toils

them

if this

at the very

five

to

and dangers, but what might be

conference passed off well.

moment

that

we were seated

Nay

there, an

extensive conspiracy was on foot, in which a minister and several other persons of rank were said to be engaged,

which,

if

and

some of the conspirators had not turned informers,

might have been successful. of countenance possessed

Yet so great was the command

by the ministers there assembled,

and so complete the absence of

all

appearance of excitement,

that no one would have supposed the business under discus-

MANIAC

VISITOES.

71

more than an every-day matter.

sion to have been

War

is

a sharp teacher, and in troublous times political students

months what

learn in

The men who before,

it

takes j^ears to acquii'e in peace.

sat there as ministers

had been, not very long

one a clerk, another a cattle-farmer, and so on.

And now

they were governing a country twice as

as France,

large

and had learned so much from the experience

of the late struggle, that they were by no for the task of

means

unfitted

government.

After a long discussion, our business, for the time at least,

was

C. and I then took leave,

satisfactorily concluded.

having received several in^dtations to breakfast from the ministers

;

for at Caracas it does not

to give dinners.

seem

to be the fashion

These invitations we accepted, and walked

back to the hotel.

On

the

way we heard

a good deal of

we met

shouting, mingled with laughter, and presently

big wild-looking man,

who seemed

a

to be in a j^erfect frenzy,

stopping from time to time and imprecating the most dreadful curses on

people

all

about him.

who were

He was

jeering and

retm-ned with interest, picking up fist,

followed by a

number

of

throwing stones, which he flints

as large as one's

and throwing them with a force that would have shat-

tered the skull of any one but a negro.

madman

;

He

occasion goaded to fury by his persecutors.

" This

is

was, in fact, a

in general, they said, tolerably quiet

a very disgraceful scene.

;

but on this

I said to

In any European

C, city

the pohce would interfere, and prevent this poor maniac

from being tormented.

Have you no madliouse

zuela to which this wretched said

C, "as

to the police,

man

in

Vene-

might be sent?" "Well,"

you yourself must admit

that,

though our streets are not patrolled in the daji:ime, distur-

VENEZUELA.

72

bances are rarer here than to

mad

European towns. With regard

iii

people, I never heard of any serious accident from

and so I

their being allowed to go about as they choose;

But you

don't see the use of madhouses here.

will

have

more opportunities before you leave Venezuela of forming

Our

an opinion on this subject.

Wliat you see to-day

very quiet.

lunatics are, in general,

an unusual occurrence."

is

By this time we had reached the hotel, and I parted with C, having first accepted an invitation to dine with him next day. I went to his house accordingly about 7 p.m., and found no one

but himself and the ladies of the family. diinier, a

gentleman

whom

In the middle of

had not seen

I

before, entered

and walked straight up to the hostess, as I thought, apologise, but he said nothing, and,

moment

strangely for a picture,

or two,

which he began

moved

to

after looking at

her

room

to a

across the

I thought this rather

to examine.

curious conduct, but supposed he was some intimate friend or relation,

who

did not stand on ceremony.

As

to our

conversation the day before, de lunatico inquirendo, I had forgotten

all

about

it.

When, however,

began to wallc round and round the

table,

sentences, I began to understand the

Presently the buffet,

madman,

state

makes a rush

"it will not be pleasant."

new comer of the case.

such he was, went up to the

and began fumbling with the things

takes up a knife, and I,

for

the

murmuring broken

at

there.

"If he

some one," thought

However, as no one took any

notice of the intruder, I too said nothing about him, and went

on talking to the lady who dinner.

In a minute or two

sat next

my

me, and eating

my

ejes wandered back to the

gentleman at the sideboard, when, to

my

consternation, I

perceived that he had indeed got hold of a knife, with which

MANIAC

VISITOES.

73

he had abeady cut himself pretty severely, for the blood was trickling

from his

wrist.

He was

ever,

and his eyes ghttered

seem

to be

lookmg

at us,

muttering, too, faster than

though he did not

like sparks,

but had his gaze fixed on the wall.

I tried to attract C.'s notice, but, failing to do so, said in a

"Look

low voice,

out, or there will be mischief directly!"

mth

C. glanced quickly at the man, and,

great presence of

mind, fiUed a glass of wine, and rose and offered

He

it

to him.

moment in a way that was not agreequietly put down the knife, and wall^ed out

looked at C. for a

able,

then very

of the

room without saving

C. resumed his seat

a word.

with the greatest composure, and said

" Poor fellow, he

:

was one of the best scholars in Caracas, and would tainly have distinguished himself

gaged to

He

fell

;

but the

girl

cer-

he was en-

and married him.

in love with his brother,

has been insane ever since."

I went away, wondering whether licity that so

witnessed a

common.

soon

visit

it

after ni}^ arrival at

was by peculiar

infe-

Caracas I should have

of this kind, or whether such incidents were

I had not long to wait before learning that they

were by no means rare.

I went one

evenmg

to a musical

entertainment at the house of a person high in

office.

The

lady of the house was singing " II Bacio " very charnungiy,

and a group had been formed round

her, near to

which I had

taken a seat with my face towards the door. Presently I saw a

man

enter,

whose peculiar look immediately reminded

the gentleman with the knife at the buffet. like

liis

of

The new comer,

up

to the lady of the

commenced

a muttering accom-

predecessor, walked straight

house, and in a hoarse voice

me

paniment, which jarred strangely with the music and the sweet tones of the singer.

Everybody looked annoyed, but

VENEZUELA.

74

no one spoke

to the intruder

only, the group near the

;

piano gradually melted away, leaving him standing by him-

At

self.

last,

he went closer to the lady, who continued to

sing with marvellous self-possession, and leaning over her,

began to

strike chords

even for her aplomb

room

—

and the stranger,

;

This was too

on the piano.

after addressing

some incoherent I was too

remarks to the people near him, followed her. far off to see

what took place then, but there was a

which he suddenly went

bustle,

angry voice,

and I heard the intruder talldng in a loud after

much

down the

she stopped and wallced

and the party broke up.

off,

This man, I was subsequently informed, was intoxicated as

made

well as insane, yet no attempt was

was he even told

On

to

remove him, nor

to go.

the following Sunday I went to breakfast at the house

of the minister of

pubHc works.

It

was a sumptuous enter-

tainment, with very beautiful fruits and flowers displayed

on the

table,

latter there

my

lot,

and many more dishes than guests,

were only sixteen.

The

for of the

place of honour

fell

opposite to the acting president of the republic

to

an

:

old general with an iron constitution, who, unhappily for

me, supposing

all

men

to be equally vigorous, plied

me

at

every pause in the collation with fruits pleasant to the eye,

and of tolerable

flavour, but to the last degree pernicious to

Owing

a person of weak digestive powers.

to these flatter-

ing attentions, the order of vaj meal ran something in this style.

A

brimming

plateful of turtle-soup,

good in

overpowering in quantity, and indifferently cooked fruit of the

oysters

;

custard apple genus

several

fruits

selected for their size

of the

;

prawns, parga

cactus,

by the general

;

called

turke}"",

;

quality,

a large

fish,

and

here tuna,

prepared in a

THE MINISTERIAL BEEAKFAST.

75

fashion peculiar to the country, boned, and the inside filled

with

kind

a

cherries

;

of

a fricandeau of

of pine-apple

a dish,

;

of garlic

redolent

stuffing

some unknown meat

name unknown,

;

;

of

a plate

several slices

the chief ingredient

being the flesh of the land tortoise; grapes of various kinds;

No

speeches were

and an

infinite series of other trifles.

made

indeed, the meal was too severe for any but the

;

The

most languid conversation.

come

ever, cofliee

to

an end, and at

and cigars of exquisite

longest meal must, howafter

last,

a

wind-up of

The

we separated.

flavour,

was repeated, but on

Sunday

following, the scene

sion

was the acting president who gave the breakfast.

it

Having determined not

to risk

complaisance, I refused

moderately.

At

all

last the

my

offers

this occa-

any more by undue

life

of fruit, and ate

meal reached

its

more

termination, and

the president, filling his glass, looked round the table, and

then at me, and said, "Bi'indo treinte mil libras."

brought us

tlui^ty

—"

al

senor qui nos ha llevado

gentleman who has

I drink to the

thousand pounds."

I

was somewhat

dis-

concerted by the wording of the toast, and thinking that

spoke for

itself,

judged

it

unnecessary to

rise to

respond.

Presentl}", filling his glass again, the old general said,

drink

now

to the English

it

"I

government, which has always

been the protector of Venezuela, and has set the best example

me

This, of com*se, compelled

for free states to follow."

to reply,

and I expressed the pleasure I had had in

visiting that beautiful countrj-, in

and whose inhabitants, by

lavish of her gifts,

struggle for liberty, fair

inheritance.

free nations,

which Nature had been so theii'

gallant

had shown themselves worthy of such a

England, I

said,

was the friend of

all

and would no doubt support the Venezuelans

VENEZUELA.

76

in maintaining their independence, as

aided

them

in acquiring

These, and

it.

I was obliged to say in English,

Spanish at

command

translated what I

warmly

A

my

my

more

to please the

!

"

ver-

particularly as

company

haj)pening to say " Viva la Amarilla

the 3^ellow

and his

No-

harangue into very small compass.

seemed

thing, however,

sufficient

friend, however,

into pure Castilian,

sion seemed to give great satisfaction,

he compressed

other things,

not having

an oration.

for

had said

many

had

as she

" !

so

much

— " Hurrah

as for

which I did when a flower of that colour was

given me, though I had no idea that yellow was the colour of the party in power.

The next speech was

the health of

who

the ministers, proposed by a red-hot republican,

coursed with immense fluency on the rights of man. other things, he assured us that, as

freedom were

at

all

obstacles to perfect

length removed, Venezuela would

enjoy permanent tranquilHty, during which of the golden age would be restored.

all

Ten days

arrested and thrown into prison, while, at the it

now

the blessings

one of the ministers and a number of leading

insurrection with which

dis-

Among

afterwards,

men were

same time, an

was supposed they were con-

nected, broke out in several of the provinces.

— ;

CHAPTER Mistake — Ciudad Bolivar

V.

Major Milligan's and the British Legion Fight between Sambo the Giant and the Irish Sergeant Luisa and Helena Panchito, the Enfant Terrible Popping the Question Too much alike How to clear up a blunder The explanation too late.

" Mistake mistake at

but

!

all,

I'll jist

my

dear sir," said the major, " faith

No, no,

at all.

go and settle

it

divil a bit of

it's

mistake in

Wait here a

for you.

!

bit

no it

till

I

come back." "But, major," I exclaimed, trying

must

He

tell

me what

spite of

my

it

!

to take."

hand, and was gone in a moment, in

" I

explained?

muttered

Here

this

;

"

am

I never to get this

Spaniard comes mixuig up

French and Spanish in such a way that I what he means, except that and when I

"you

attempts to stop him.

" Confound affair

mean

course you

my

put aside

to detain him,

tell

it is

pistols

can't understand

and

coffee for

two

;

the major that I have got into a quarrel,

without knowing how, and that I think there's some mistake,

he won't listen to a word I have to say, but goes it

without knowing what

wait here

till

it

is.

off to settle

Well, I suppose I must

he returns, or I get a

message from the

Spaniard."

With these words window

half aloud to myself, I turned to the

of the refreshment-room, into

which I had lounged

—

VENEZUELA.

78

my

from

place in

tlie

theatre.

tliing in the streets of

was

It

full

moon, and every-

Caracas was as visible as at noonday.

and was beginning

I gazed for a long time,

to think of

going away, when I saw a company of soldiers

tiu-n

the

corner of the street, and advance to the entrance of the theatre.

" Rather an unusual number of men for relieving a sentry," said I to myself; "

The Their

what can they want

soldiers ascended the steps officer in

command

?

"

and halted in the lobby.

entered the box from which I had

just issued, and the door of which faced the open door of

the saloon where I was. tall

dark

He

man who had been

returned immediately, with a

sitting near

The

was the muiister of war.

me, and who

soldiers

minister of war was placed between then-

knew

I

advanced;

the

and marched

files

off to prison.

"

Egad

!

" thought I, " this is a pleasant country,

one goes from the opera to prison other mistake I was

still,

?

:

— or

is this,

where

perhaps, an-

"

as orientals say, biting the finger of surprise at

when back came

the arrest I had just witnessed,

the major.

With him was the handsome young Spaniard, who had accused

was

me

of saying something which

looking quite satisfied

sling,

a circumstance I

he spoke to

me

before.

however, and, taking

off

now

;

certainly

His his

was not

polite.

He

but his right arm was in a

had not observed when

face

wore a bland smile,

hat with his

left

hand, he

said,

" Monsieur, I learn there has been a mistake. pears that I deceived myself. tion

"

It ap-

Monsieur had no inten-

MAJOE MILLIGAN'S MISTAKE. " Monsieur,"

said

79

interrupting liim, " I could have

I,

had no intention of doing or saying anything disagreeable a gentleman

to

who

beheve, an entire stranger to

I

is,

me."

Thereupon the Spaniard bowed, and replaced both then bowed, and he withdrew, with the

had had

you

;

" and now

me

will tell

"Well, you

crossed

Enriquez won't

what the deuce

met

over

m

3'ou

how you

know,

to

about."

"I heard

it all

fi'om a

AMien

the refreshment-room.

name

tete-a-tete

was

liiez

sitting,

—followed you.

He

with Inez, you know.

and

liked Venezuela,

but I

;

you seem

box where

the

to

what you said

I forget

it is all

that's the Spaniard's

Well, he asked you

over, I hoj)e, as

it's

any one have a

let

one who

air of

I suppose," said I to the

affaii',

see," said the major,

friend, before I

you

We

most gratifying interview.

a

" There's the end of the

major

his hat.

know

I have

5'ou said

had a man out

for less."

" But, since Enriquez

him what

is

a Spaniard, what did

I thought about Venezuela ? It

it

matter to

must be a mistake,

after all."

" No, faith

enough.

But

!

"

I

cried the major, impatiently

know

^-ou didn't

mane

;

"

and so I told him, or you wouldn't have forgotten it.

to

But he him you

said

you did mane

it,

it

is

true

to offend Enriquez,

so I told

him

all

about

I'd prove

didn't, if he'd step across the street to the

it

house

of a friend

where we could fuid a couple of rapiers and some

one to see

fair play.

We

went, and at the

him through the sword-arm, and then we and I

said, as

and make

it

first

tied

pass I ran

up his arm,

he couldn't fight any more, he'd better come

up with you

;

and so he

did,

and

that's all

;

VENEZUELA.

80

about

And

it.

we

here

are

at

my

come

so

quarters,

along;

and mind the dog,

playful

with the calves of your legs as you mount the

or

you'll

him mighty

find

staircase."

Paying due regard to the major's caution, I managed with

my

cane to keep

take

my

seat like an honest

ginary rascals in

who

off the attentions of a stout terrier

followed us into the smoking-room,

my

legs,

and then seemg

man, ceased

me

to snuff at ima-

and bestowed himself under the

table.

Meantime, his master had taken a pipe and

filled it

carefully with some of that cave tobacco which

boast of Venezuela,

For

inscribed on them. in a duel, the

sold in boxes,

a

man who had

one of his characteristics, and circumstances.

it

De

the

Luz

cueva

just been engaged

countenance wore

major's

But the exceedmg cahnness

expression.

a most serene of his look was

never altered mider any

Another peculiarity of his was the melli-

fluous tone of his voice, which remained

he chose to

with

is

utter, as

unchanged even when

he sometimes did, most despiteful words.

Snow-Avhite hair, too, added to his peaceful appearance

but he was a

man

and arms of a

of u-on build, with the chest, shoulders,

gladiator,

He

and a complexion of bronze.

was a renowned dueUist, and had been out with every kind of weapon, and so very often, that he sometimes confused

the incidents of his encounters, and would shake his head

and heave a regretful sigh affau-

after speaking of a

man whose

had ended in a miss and a shot in the

in another case, in which his antagonist

while

air,

had been

mortall}^

wounded, he would close his reminiscences with a smile and a joyous " Faith,

sir,

I'm glad

it

ended as

it

did

" !

—

CIUDAD BOLIYAE. " Now, major," said

I,

81

" for the stoiy you promised me.

In your case there was a mistake, I suppose "

You may

m

self

?

"

say that," responded the major, settluig him-

easy chau", and opening correspondence with

his

a fragrant glass of rum-and-water which he had just mixed

"

for himself. loran, but

A mistake

there was, and so I tould O'Hal-

he wouldn't beheve

worse luck to him, poor

it,

feUow."

"It was a

very^

long time ago

me

let

;

see now, yes, faith,

as long back as April, 1821, that I landed at Angostura

Ciudad Bolivar they under the liberator

call it :

smart boy then, with

—

now

to

jom

you Imow.

that's Bolivar, fair hair

the British Legion

was a

I

and rosy cheeks, just come

from serving in one of the Dulse's crack regiments, life,

and ready for anything, from a

fight to a fandango,

all

of

from

There were many

stealing a kiss to taldng a battery.

me on

full

like

board the ship that brought us over from Eiu'ope, but

our liigh spmts could not

we had come

the comitry

make om-

to free,

first

impression of

The

an agreeable one.

northern coast of Venezuela woos the voyager to land with

many

a glorious bit of scenery, but Guiana, at whose capital

we were about swampy a huge

to disembark, is anything but inviting.

forest as big as

muddy

drain

runnmg through

Guiana and the Orinoco.

of

snakes, jaguars,

*

Pat,

my

human

and

the middle of

howHng

alligators,

savages, wdio

boy,' I said to a fiiend,

'

'

that's

wilderness, full

with a sprmkling of

think ant-paste a luxury.

who,

lil^e

ing over the bulwarks looldng at the town,

El Dorado ?

it,

Yet Ealeigh cruised about in

search of palaces of gold in this vast

wretched

A

France and Si)am put together, with

Faith, I tliink,' said he,

'

myself, '

was lean-

what think ye of

that its only virtue

G

VENEZUELA.

82 is

that

the truth

it tells

Yellow Jack

and that

is

for

;

it

says, as plain as

command

always in

he'll give half of

can be, that

garrison here,

of the

us permanent quarters on the

gi'ound-floor.'

"With this on the muddy

m my ear,

pleasant prophecy ringing

quay, and, as the smell at this point was any-

made

thing but agreeable, and the sun piping hot, I for

my ;

and I might have had a

at

some distance from the

difficulty in

findmg

who spoke Spanish, was

but that the adjutant,

tracks

I found I was billeted

quarters as fast as possible.

on a Senor Rivas, who lived river

I landed

my

way,

quartered

and I had but to put myself under his guidance.

there, too,

Mighty glad was I

to get

mider

and to take in suc-

shelter,

But

cession a cup of good coffee, a cigar, and a siesta.

which pleased

me most was

that the senor

that

had two pretty

daughters, Luisa and Helena.

"

'

Come

shalving

me

I'm

going

for a

walk

"

'

along, as I to

boy,'

ni}''

Power, the

lay snoring.

still

the

see

said

recruits

*

It's

now, and

cool

Are

land.

adjutant,

you ready

'

?

I'm ready,

that's left of

all

mosquitoes have eaten

off

both

me

;

ni}' ears,'

bedad, I think the said I, rubbing the

injured parts.

" Off we started, and were down at the quay in half the

time we took to come from there, for the

men

board for some liom-s

was a good reason

it.

were in

It

was just as well we got

bad humour

at being kept

after the officers landed,

for

it,

on

though there

to save them, namely,

from ex-

posure to the sun in the heat of the day. *'

However, the

called them, soon

boj^s, as

showed

Donnelly, the orderly-sergeant, their ill-humour.

Among

the

;

FIGHT BETWEEN SAMBO AND THE SEEGEANT. natives

who were helping

was a huge negro.

had

lots of sinew,

He

83

to get thek* kits out of the boats,

stood six feet

and a head

the least, and

five at

like that of a bonassus.

He

picked up the heaviest box hke a feather, and wallced away

with

it;

fished to

fall

into the water.

things at

was quickly

It

mud

out again, but with plenty of black

sticking

it.

" '

many

but, in trying to get hold of too

once, he let one man's kit

'

man

Tare and 'ounds,' said the

you great murthering villam

own ugly face

as black as yom*

is

!

clothes in your counthrey, with

to

that the

mud

belonged,

it

way you wash

make 'em

for soap, to

Take

?

whom

that, thin

' !

" "With these words he struck the giant a blow on the head as he was leaning over to get hold of

some more boxes.

It

was a hard knock, and sounded as

if

stone with a heavy mallet, but

made no more impression

on the African than roused his buffalo

would have done on a

would have done.

him

puttmg

one had struck a pa^ing-

buffalo.

however, which he showed very

fur}-,

glared about and,

it

it

like a

He

shook his

as a

head, and

demon, then went back a few paces,

head down, ran

liis

much

gi*eat

It

at

poor Paddy, who was

squaring away, not expecting that sort of combat, and struck liim full amidships, senduig

and knocking

all

him

flying a

dozen yards

the breath out of his body.

As

at least,

flesh

and

blood cannot see a comrade mauled, without coming to the rescue, there all

was soon a ring of fellows round the nigger,

wanting to revenge Paddy's disaster.

But one down,

and another come on, blackey was a match and one

after

knowmg what

for

another down they went, none to

them aU of

them

do with an antagonist who came on like

a ram. o 2

VENEZUELA.

84

" Tilings were looking entirely onpleasant,' as poor Padcty, *

who had begun

the fight, and

coughing, observed,

who was now sittmg up

when Donnelly stepped up

jutant, and, touching his cap, said

"

By yer honour's "'Oh! of course, *

and,

to the ad-

:

'

lave ?

Donnelly, of course,' replied Power;

me, he

turning to

again,

added,

'

Now

you'll

some

see

fun.'

"In ring,

a trice the sergeant

had stripped, stepped into the

He

and confronted the African.

was a small man,

compared with his antagonist, and rather too a gladiator

and his

;

fine clear blue

are everything,

eyes were bright with confidence.

a challenge.

In love and war gestures

and no sooner did Donnell}' present himself

the negro retreated, as before, a few i^aces, lowered his

head, and came thundermg at

But

for

but he was 3'oung, muscular, active as a deer,

There was no need of

than

handsome

this time the issue

preceding encounters.

him Donnelly made

him with

was very

different

fifty-bull

power.

from that of the

Just as the negro was almost upon

a side spring at him, and struck

tremendous blow in the face with his knee,

at

him

a

the same

time planting a right-hander behind his ear that would have

stunned an ox.

The

effect of this judicious apx)eal to

the

knowledge-box of the African was to drive him obliquely headlong to the ground, the blood streaming from his nose

One would have thought that his late defeat would have taught him caution, and that he would have and mouth.

changed his

tactics

;

but no

—he

more, and rushed upon Donnelty,

rose, lowered his lil^e

he was met, and his rush turned aside,

head once

a thunderbolt. bj'

Again

a fearful blow from

Donnelly's knee, of such force that the negro turned a com-

SAMBO DEFEATED. plete somersault,

and then

tins time without

power

"'Faith, sergeant,

la}-

extended

85

on his back, and

flat

to rise.

j'ou

have killed the black baste this

time enth'ely,' was the exclamation that gi'eeted the victor.

Power and lift

him

I,

afraid that the

up, and give

man was

dead,

hun some brandy.

made them

After a time he

revived. **

Night fell before our labom's in supermtenduig the land-

men

ing of the

were over, and we were glad to get back to

om' quarters without any further rambling about the

The miasmatic after the

sun goes down, and, to say notlung of the mos-

quitoes, all sorts of noxious insects for

which reasons, or

people there soon **

**

if

toAvn.

influences at Angostm'a are mcreased tenfold

I don't

make

wonder at

and

reptiles get abroad,

know,

for others as good, that I don't

for then* beds."

that, major," said I, interrupting

what the consul in Guiana related

to

happened to him be a common occurrence.

me as He said

him,

ha-sing

he was

somewhere in the environs of Angostura, and had gone sleep in his

hammock, with his sHppers on the ground within

easy reach. to get

up

well see

;

Being an imconscionabty early

at the

fii'st

to thrust his foot into

it

hammock, he

when he found

thing odiously cold and shmy.

made the same attempt result,

under the

it

at the other shpper,

again

tiU

it

it,

was about

full of

some-

foot,

he

and with the

ensconce himself

was hght, when,

horror, he discovered a small rattlesnake " slipper !

was

with

felt

Snatching back his

on which he was fain to clothes

he essaj-ed

and before he could

faint streak of light,

so putting his foot out of the

riser,

his gieat toe for his shpper, and, having found

same

to

cmied up

to

liis

in each

VENEZUELA.

86

" Your example still

un peu

is

queer things do happen in Guiana.

when

'*

quoth the major,

fort,'"

but

It is a fact that

the river has been in flood, i)eople have been taken

away from

theu'

own doors

my

But, to return to

stor}'-,

Well

lions of the town.

a day sufficed to exhaust the

when

!

Angostura by alHgators.

in

been used up, no resource was

other amusements had

all

me

left

but to

in love

fall

with one of the senoritas in whose father's house I was living.

The

family of Senor Rivas consisted only of these

two daughters, of wdiom the elder was nearly nineteen, the

younger seventeen, and of one son, Francisco, who went by the famihar regular

name

i^iclde,

of Panchito, a

who, as the manner

generally running about naked. Vi]i

ever, of saying sweet

thmgs

sporting plu'ase, there

is

was

opportunities,

w^ere rare, for in

much

how-

Venezuela the

together, that, to use a at

them,

time, too, I was in doubt as to which of the two

was to have

Helena was

my

The

no getting single shots

my

heart.

with brown hair, an unusual

nette,

in Venezuela,

After a few weeks I j)icked

girls.

ladies of a family keep so

sisters

is

boy of seven, a

to let the tongue assist the eyes in

enough Spanish

tender expressions to the

For some

little

Luisa was very

fair, quiet,

among Spanish

tiling

Ci'eoles.

bright, sparlduig, roguish, a very pretty bru-

and, altogether, very

charmmg.

TJj)on the whole,

thoughts rather inclined to Luisa, and on one occasion,

having caught her for a

moment unguarded by

dragon, I went so far as to ask interview alone.

She said she

and I had only just time Idss before I left

if

she would grant

Avas

to say I

the maternal

never

left

by

me

an

herself,

hoped I might have one

Angostura, and to hear her reply in the

shape of an intimation, accompanied by a faint blush, that

LUISA AND HELENA. it

was not the custom in Venezuela, -when her mother Meantime, Power, though he was so busy

rejoined us. Avith diill

to

87

and the other duties of an adjutant, did not

observe what was going on, and took

than once about

*" Charle}',

it's

not

my

bo}','

fail*

said he, 'what

it's

to

marry one of

Don, who has been

to the old

as for marriage,

on earth are you

you don't mean

If

table to us, to give one of his

And

little

so hosi^i-

beauties a sore heart.

We may

out of the question.

the route to-morrow, and have to join Bolivar, and

knows how many of us no cash, and at

fail

to task more

it.

after with those girls ?

them

me

all

come back

will

?

get

who

Besides, you have

events I hope j'ou don't

mean

to settle

down here and tm-n cane-planter.' " I said that several

who had been

our arrival had married, and

before

happy

officers

;

in the comitry

seemed

to be very

and I instanced O'Halloran, who had been made

a captain in our corps.

"

'

Pooh

nonsense, Charley,'

!

rephed Power,

the liappmess of having to leave your wife for places which

are

enemy's hands proves

my

case.

woman, who

as

for

where's

months

in

not to

fall

into the

O'Halloran,

his

example

as likely as

O'Halloran has married a very pretty

about the most

is

met, and gives

just

And

?

'

him no end

si)iteful little

de^il I ever

of trouble.'

" Power's remarks made an impression on me, and for

some weeks I rather shunned than sought the lining in the

same house with them, and being yomig,

and impulsive,

it

idle,

was not easy to be on cool terms with two

yomig beauties, whose looks showed they were vexed assumed

But

ladies.

indifference.

My

at

my

self-imposed restraint increased

;

:

VENEZUELA.

88

warmth

the

of the

feehngs

likmg for Luisa was

In short,

concealed.

it

ripenmg mto

fast

my

when one

love,

mornmg Power came hurriedly into the room where sitting, and slapping me on the shoulder, cried out

I was

We

are to

*'

*

Hurra

We

join Bolivar in the Apure.

than a month

less

are

made

**

Ave shall see,

!

!

in ten days, and in

I expect, what the Sx^aniards

me jump up and

'

at the

Avas bustle

that reigned before.

shout,

*

Viva

same time that I threw the book I was

The

reading up to the ceihng. all

march

hoy

of.'

This glorious news made

el liberator

now

my

the route has come,

!

report soon spread, and

and excitement in place of the ennui AVe

all set to

work

to

buy horses and

mules, and to prepare for the expedition, while the principal inhabitants vied with one another in entertaining us. particular, the

commandant

In

of the garrison sent out invi-

tations to every officer in the place to a ball for the night

Rumom'

but one before our departure.

ment was

The

to be on a

scale quite

only difficulty was to

said this entertam-

miique for Angostura.

fmd a place

large

enough

to hold

the numbers invited, for even the town-hall was too small but,

by dint of certain contrivances in the shape of tempo-

rary pavilions, this was got over. **

Meantime, what with the

tions, preparations for the

a

fii"st

campaign,

my

gaieties going

all du'ec-

march, and the anticipations of

pulse was up to fever heat.

good resolutions went

oft'

to the place

lutions have been going for so rally favom^s the audacious,

make me worthy

on in

many

Avhere

ages.

All

good reso-

Fortune gene-

and m}^ excitement seemed to

of the smiles of the ficlde goddess.

resolved, therefore,

my

somehow

or other,

to have a

I

stolen

BEHIND THE SCEEEN.

89

interview with Liiisa, and I tliouglit only of the pleasiu'e

of a conversation ^\ith her alone, without caring for the result, or prescribing to

myself any rules for what I should

do or say on the occasion. even to

It

was no easy matter, however,

Luisa know what I was scheming.

let

and was

several fruitless attempts,

at last

fam

I

made

to

have

recourse to the old expedient of bribing the lady's maid.

who waited on

Teresa,

an Indian

the seFioritas in that capacity, was

not quite thii'teen years old, but with a

girl,

beyond her years.

discretion

She was a

light brmiette,

with weU-chiseUed featm-es, a very faiiy in the symmetry of

her

tmy

with her,

so,

under pretence of bringmg

my

slipped into

cou^jle of reals,

Luisa

She soon understood that I wanted

figm'e.

and then produced a note I had written it,

her as to the possibiHty of obtaining a

heaixl steps

heavy tread assm-ed

'My

'El amo,' screen,

coming along the

me

it

master,'

which hid

my

was

much

"'You

did not

come

buying mules, I suppose I have

come

to

smoke a

had some experience.

me

to

The

slow,

Teresa ejaculated,

host.

behind a mampara, or

;

/or as for the

I

hammock,

? "

said Eivas, entermg.

cigar with you,

You may

my

that

South Americans.

Out

to breakfast this morning.

advice for your march.

in 1813,

corridor.

m the day as at night by

used as

little

with her

tete-a-tete

washmg-apxmratus, and so turned

bed-room into a sitting-room is

my

sldi^ped

to

I began to sound

She was in the act of suggesting a plan

mistress.

when we

a cup of coffee,

I broke ground by giving her a

room.

but, before entrusting her with

;

me

to tallc

'

Well,

and to give you

trust

a

me, for I have

marched with BoHvar from Ocana

and have been out with Paez in the Apiire more

than once.'

"With these words the worthy senor seated

!

VENEZUELA.

90

himself, and went on, interminably as

recomiting his adventm-es,

womid up my

extent that

At

last I interrupted a

seemed

it

me,

to

smoking, and prosing to an

feelings to a pitch of desperation.

long story by declaring that I was

obliged to go out to look at a horse I thought of buying. It

was an unlucky excuse,

for

Eivas declared he would

walk with me.

" 'Panchito,' he called to the urchin who just then ran

my

past

door,

*

tell

yom* mother I want to speak to her for

a moment.'

"

'

The madre has gone over

way

the

Ochoa's,' said Panchito, arresting his

to the

Seiiora

and coming

steps

into the room. *'

*

"Well, then,

where

is

Teresa

?

I

Avill

send her with

a message.'

" 'Teresa

is here,'

replied the enfant terrible.

'

I saw her

bring the Ingles some coffee half-an-hom' ago*'

"'And

has the Ingles swallowed her along with the

or has he put her in his pocket ?

coffee ?

'

said

my

host,

laughing, and rapping his son slightly on the head with his cane.

" Perhaps he has hidden her behind the

screen,' retorted

'

Panchito, and the httle wretch

made a

dart to get

I caught him, but too late to prevent

it.

of the screen, and

" Teresa

!

down

it

came with the

behmd

him laymg hold

pull.

exclaimed the old Don, starmg at the

'

girl

and starting back, while his yellow face assumed a cadaverous

you *

hue with surprise and

shall

pay

for this.'

annoyance,

Then turning

to

*

por mi

fe

me, he added,

Senor, I have been giving you some hints for campaign-

ing

;

let

me

conclude by advising you never to

make a

THE BALL. foray in

a friend's hacienda.'

me

Bivas made

a

stiff

bow and

91

With

Senor

these words

quitted the room, and was

followed by Teresa and Panchito, the latter ruefully rubbing

had been bruised by the

his head, wliicli **

falling screen.

Left to myself, I could not help laughing at what had

occurred, though I was excessively vexed

I reflected, too, that Kivas would probably

temps. wife,

at the contre-

and that so the

my

by which improved.

would become Imown

aff'aii-

position with lier would, I thought, hardly be

It turned out that I

this part of

tell his

to Luisa,

my

supposition.

was wrong, however,

The next time

m

met the

I

Senora and her daughters, the former indeed showed that she was displeased by her

stiff

behaviom*.

the halfrtimid, half-arch glances of the

But

girls,

undefinable something in their manner, that they

had taken fact,

I saw

by

and by an

knew what The

and were by no means offended.

place,

no doubt, was, as

ni}'

gi'eater

experience of

made each

convinces me, that Teresa

life

now

seiiorita believe that

I was in love with her, and each was too conscious of her

own charms that she reall}^

to feel

came

did.

to

any jealousy of Teresa, or to doubt

my room

for

any purpose but what she

Opportunity for explanation there was none,

but I consoled myself with the knowledge that we should

meet all

at the ball,

about

and I was determmed to

tell

Luisa then

it.

"Parties begin at an early hour in Venezuela. P.M., the night after

my

adventure with Teresa, I found

myself dancmg with Luisa at the commandant's

room was crammed

to

At 9

suffocation,

ball.

The

and the most jealous

chaperone could hardly in such a crowd mamtain a successful espionage

on the doings of the

girls

under her

'

VENEZUELA.

92

I gave Luisa

charge.

and

after

my version

we had Laughed over

of

My

Helena repeated^.

I obtained

sufficiently,

it

her hand for the next dance.

with Teresa;

tlie affair

danced with her and

I

spuits rose,

I

Luisa

took

to

supper, I drank glass after glass of wine, and began to

commit sundry extravagances. I refused it

lilie

it

unless she would bite

In short, I

a maniac.

ended by an

Luisa offered

offer of

a guayaba.

I then devoured

and

lost control of myself,

marriage, couched in the wildest terms

my

I was accepted, and

of extravagant devotion.

would, perhaps, have

it first.

me

made me

ardour

too demonstrative, had not

Luisa just then, perceiving her mother enter the supperroom, suddenl}' quitted will be so glad to

much

hear

my

side with the remarlc,

tliis;

INIamma

'

she has wished for this so

!

" Lnpulsive persons are subject to violent reaction.

have outlived

all

that," continued the major

then particularly subject to such

hand was '

thinking over laid

on

my

In

tlie

of

feeluig.

I stood for a

my

midst of

reverie a

shoulder, and a well-known voice said,

Don't lose jour time in thinking, Charlie, but go back to

the ball-room.

We

enter Caracas.'

It

'

it.

;

revulsions

somehow disturbed me, and

Luisa's remark

moment

I

" but I was

Perhaps

it

shan't have any

was Power, and I could not

struck Power,

me

lielj)

till

who knew my

we

saying,

would have been better had I thought a

little

character

my manner thoroughly. He had

my

short speech having

more, especially before acting.'

seen

more dancmg

Somethmg

dancing with Luisa, and

excited his suspicions, he said at once,

'

in

Why,

Charlie,

you

have not been making yourself a fool with one of those

guis?'

'Indeed, but I have though,' I replied.

'I have

'

TOO MUCH ALIKE.

93

Then I not make your-

proposed to Luisa, and she has accepted me.' forbid the banns,' said Power.

Aye

such a blockhead.

self

'

You

shall

*

there they are,' he added,

!

looking round and seemg Luisa with her mother. old

the

another

speech

woman mood I

should have quarrelled with Power for this

but Luisa's partmg remark had created a disagree-

:

my

feeluig in

able

mind, which was heightened by this

Seeing his advantage. Power set hunself to improve

sneer.

the opportunity at once.

he

said.

*

We

mean

don't

'

or

off at

replied,

ten

how but

mmutes

tell

will

it

once.' '

a reasonable fellow, Charlie,'

You

after to-morrow.

'

how am

after

how long

end

It's

Then

!

all

as for

engagmg

the campaign

Take my

?

Can

it ?

going to

I go and

it

tell

off,'

serious face,

sha'n't have the

pam

'

it

I

Luisa,

proposing to her, that I meant nothing

then resummg his usual bright look, exclaimed,

You

are

yom^self,

and break

advice,

Power thought a moment with rather a

Charley.

is

very well to say break

I to do

surel}'

when we

to applj- for leave of absence just

the deuce can

last,

Be

march the day

going to meet the enemy

who

In

having hooked you.'

rejoicing at

is

/ I'll bet

?

and

I have

it,

of speaking to Luisa

and, moreover, I won't trust joiw corn-age in that quarter.

Take another

bottle

of champagne,

the question to her sister.

Dejiend

hear no more of the matter.' filled

up

me

on't, after that j^ou'll

"With these words

a tumbler of champagne.

my mind "Now it

and then go and pop

I drank

it,

Power

and made

to follow his advice.

so

happened that Helena was dressed that

night rather peculiarly.

She wore a pink

silk

bodice and a

white muslin skirt with very deep flounces of Venezuelan lace,

and I remembered

saj'ing to

her that

it

was a good

VENEZUELA.

94

costume for a

ball, as a

her colours a long way to myself,

her for so

partner in search of her could

soon find her,' said I

'I shall

off.

how shall I account for having neglected many dances, and then commg all at once and but

'

proiDosmg to her

me

Let

?

see

perhaps I had better

;

a note in her hand, and then vanish.

Power and

to do

what he

least said,

walked

off into

feelings

;

'

Dearest, I have in vain tried to conceal

now

that I

am on

to allow

m

me

is

my

you with

to follow

myself that your love

heart,

I have appeared

another quarter, this has only been a ejes,

not given to another.

and assure

I see now, or

me

then to

which indeed has long been

j'ours.'

I think I see, that you are free

my

the eve of leaving you,

Though

I can no longer restrain them.

mask

Acting on this idea, I

one of the retiring-rooms, got pencil and

but

to be engrosser]

slip

I have promised

but I don't half like the thing,

said,

soonest mended.'

paper, and wrote,

my

tell

;

suffer

offer

you

Having

signed this effusion, I returned to the refreshment-room, and, fortifying myself with several additional bumpers, I

proceeded in search of Helena.

But the

great quantity of

wine I had taken, the heat and excitement I effect

on

my

;

I came,

with several people, and

made excuses

which sounded oddly even

my

condition,

and

felt

I

must get out

came on the pink bodice.

in a thick voice, I was conscious of

to myself.

into the air, or

make

Just at that

moment

The wearer was not

dancing,

an unpleasant exhibition of myself. I

had their

The room seemed to turn round, as somehow or other, into collision

brain.

well as the dancers

felt,

but leaning against an open window with one white arm, wliile the other

hung beside

her.

I slipped

the open hand, and the fingers, as

if

my

note into

experienced

m

the

;

THE CARTEL.

95

reception of such missives, tightened on

I turned and

it.

made

off

too.

I half caught her look, and the featiu'es seemed to

through the crowd

;

hut as I did

she turned

so,

me

strangely unlike those of Helena.

" In what manner I retimied to the house of Sehor Eivas I know not.

seemed

to

The open

make me worse

instead of sohering me,

air,

but the

;

first

thing I distmctl}-

my

recognized was a horribly cold sensation in

On drawmg

hand.

left

towards me, a squelch of falling water

it

my hand in the

lowed, and I found I had been lying with

out of which I suppose I had been drinli:mg.

fol-

ewer,

Gettmg up

with a Sj^littmg headache, I dressed slowly, and had scarce refreshed myself ^^ith a cup of coffee, at the door.

when somebody' knocked

I called out 'Entrate,' and, to

stepped an Irish

officer I

knew by

my

surprise,

m

sight only, who, without a

word of preface, handed me a challenge from O'HaUoran. **

After reading the epistle twice, and lookmg a

tune at the address, to make sure I was the I turned to Kelly said

:

means

'

"Will 3'ou

?

—that

'

su','

su',

clearing up.'

—and

it's

must be some mistake.'

said Kelly

that word " mistake." but, faith,

part}' intended,

was the name of the ofhcer

have the goodness to explain what this

I think there

" Mistake,

tlni'd

Ye

'

;

said

you're mighty fond,

it

was a mistake

his

hand

producing another note, he handed ceremony, saying,

*

"What was my was the same I had

Do

you

surprise,

call that a

it

to

me

Helena.

I held

it

of

and

with great

sir ?

on opening the note,

wi-itten to

way

into his pocket

mistake,

of

last night

a mistake that there's only one

Then putting

sii',

'

to find

it

for several

muiutes without saving a word, while I endeavom-ed to recall the incidents of the

preceding night.

By

degTees I

VENEZUELA.

96

came

to the conclusion tliat I

must somehow have mistaken

O'Halloran's wife for Helena, and this idea became certainty

when

impatiently

*

:

m

mistakes

who was an

Kell}',

Pshaw,

sir

" Stung with friend, sh', is

'

words "

me

You're polite,

from his chau%

a grave

My

close by, so

is if

I say the

I'll

ask you to exjolain those

Good morning,

sir.'

my room

with

'this is a serious busmess.

Of

Power entered

air.

it

but there

said,

was a horrid mistake. is

Kelty.

Then O'Halloran ;

it

how

is

know

that well enough

;

this sort to a fellow

mad

with jealousy, and

I hear he tried to strike

besides,

you, and that you knocked to have

I

no explainmg matters of

perfectly unreasonable

seeing

'

retorted Kelly, frownmg, and rising

afterwards

"'Milligan,' he com'se,

:

of your presence the better.'

sir,'

but one mistake at a time.

;

Ten minutes

lilve

His room

and, excuse me,

;

and, maybe,

*

friend, sir,

it.'

Lieutenant Power.

no time need be wasted "

honour never makes

of

words and manner, I exclaimed

liis

sooner you relieve

duelling, said

at

Mention your

affairs of this kind.

and have done with

at once,

man

a

!

hand

old

him down.

They say he wanted

out over a handkerchief on the spot, and that, tipsy

you were, they forced him away with great

Blenkens of ours says he literally foamed at the and kept shouting, " I'll not wait till morning.

difficulty.

mouth,

Blood and

'ouns,

come

off at

shall

I'll

not wait."

I've arranged that the affah*

5 p.m., with pistols.

a imir with hair triggers.

I have

that they shoot straight.

If

advise you to do

when he

is cool,

it

;

I don't think 3'ou have

and I know

bj^

exj)erience

you have anytliing to

at once, for

but I hope his

O'Halloran

fmy

will

is

settle

I

a good shot

make him

miss.

HOW

TO CLEAR UP A BLUNDER.

Anyhow, you must not for he

thing

The

him

try to miss

or

into the

The

he can.

will certainly hit you, if

fii'e

97

air,

only good

that this has broken off yoiu' affair with Luisa.

is

old senora has heard of your giving a note to

Madame

O'Halloran, and vows her daughter shall have nothing to

do with you.' "

be ready, Power,' I said, *and

'I'll

a few things I want j'ou to do,

I'll

just put

After which, I shall turn in again and have a sleep feel tired,

and I should

like to

down

anything happens to me.

if

come

to the

;

for I

ground cool and

comfortable.'

"I

said

anything

but

else,

drinking some

Guiana

more

this

of

to

dehcious

myself

to

left

penning

after

the

be

sherbet

awoke, I found

it

Looking

was haK-past

make

they

in

he came to

my

my

at

watch when I

At

a quarter-past four

room, we walked out into the

started off at a brisk rate into the country.

miles out of the town

we came

and Kelly saluted each other, but to

my

loran only retm^ned a ferocious stare.

through the garden to a lane

*

than ten feet broad, when

This

is

the place

;

street,

and

About two

to a ruined garden-house,

where Kelly and O'Halloran were waiting for

not more

go

three, so I took a cold bath

and prepared to accompany Power.

sa\ing,

and

fi-om the juice of the i^omegranate, I did really

to sleep for several hours.

wa}'

than for

my memorandum,

cold

us.

Power

bow O'Hal-

Kelly then led the

between

walls,

and

he stopped short,

the sun won't be in their eyes

here.'

" I must confess

I

was a good deal surprised

choice of such a spot for the encounter, where,

at the

when we

were placed, we should not be more than eight feet from

H

VENEZUELA.

98

one another, and where the wall would assist one so

But my blood was

in taking aim.

I was quite pre-

up.

pared to fight even across a handkerchief.

He

did not take the matter so coolly.

much

Power, however,

spoke a few words in

a low voice to Kelly, but his

manner convinced me he was

much

however,

exasperated.

after a

Kelly,

was obstinate, and

short parley O'Halloran and myself were placed

opposite to one another, but with our faces to the wall.

Kelly then said, 'Now, gentlemen, I shall ask you,

you ready

? "

and

at the last

word you

Gentlemen,' he continued,

fire.

could get out the word bullet "vyliizzed past

my

'

ready

'

left ear,

will turn

are you

'

up several

forward.

The

myself on

my

were

ball

Before he

'

there was an explosion, a

grazing

sHghtly, and by

it

an involmitary impulse I wheeled round and loran leaped

"Are

round and

O'Hal-

fired.

from the gi'ound and

feet

had passed through

I threw

his heart.

His eyes

knees and raised the fallen man.

blood issued from his mouth

fixed, a thin jet of

fell

;

he

was quite dead. "

'

He

fired a

moment

too soon,' said Kelly

;

'

but,

by the

powers, he has paid for his mistake.'

" That word reminded quarrel.

I was in no

me

of the absurd origin of the

mood, as you may imagine,

to allow

any more mischief, so I

the hateful blunder to produce

franldy told Kelly at once by what accident the note had

come

into the possession of O'Halloran's wife,

corroborated

"

'

my

Well,' said Kelly, 'it's a pity, so

helped now.

and Power

statement.

You have behaved

see, after all, that it

like a

was a mistake

With these words

the major

it is,

man

but

it

can't be

of honour, and I

"

!

'

concluded his story.

I

TOO LATE.

my

had finished I

said.

" I

am

fourth

cigar.

glad that

my

99

" Good

major,"

night,

mistake ended better than

youi's."

" Oh,

faith,

mistake at it

all

my

dear sir," said he, " you

with you

;

but,

know

anyhow, I'm glad

it

it

was no

ended as

did."

H

2

CHAPTER How

— Solemn

VI.

The President's Powers Minister— The Contract Ratification The Financial Commisof the Contract by the Constituent Assembly Eeiterated Assurances and the sioner to Venezuela Painful Discoveries honour of the Eepublic repledged Evasion bafiled— Final Warnings The Plunge Downwards Symptoms of Change Breathing Time to

Loan

obtain a

Delegated

—Mission

Preliminaries

of the Finance

Utter Oblivion.

So

far tliis narrative lias

been carried on without any

tinct account of the busiuess of

my

mission.

I

dis-

must now

give, as concisely as possible, the history of the loan for

which I was commissioner.

my

Were

that untold the moral of

But

for the benefit of those

story would be wanting.

who may have similar business to transact with a modern repubhc, or who may desire to invest their money in one of those numerous financial operations in which the sm-plus capital of

London

is

continually disappearing for the benefit

of foreign states, I register what took place. are disposed to place faith in the solemn

Bepubhcan governments, and them on such guarantees, this chaj)ter,

assurances of

risk their fortunes

will

Those who

by lending

do well to study carefully

not omitting any part of

it.

Contracts and

Powers of Attorney are dry reading, but they must be read by those who would understand the subject.

The

history of the last

mences

in Jul}^ 1863,

Loan

to

Venezuela, then, com-

when General Falcon and

tisans, the most conspicuous and popular of

General

Guzman

his par-

whom was

Blanco, gained a complete triumph over

HOW

TO OBTAIN A LOAN.

101

the so-called oligarchs, and overthrew the government of Pedi'o Jose Rojas.

a

short time

sterling

That

before,

able,

but unsuccessful man, who,

had obtained a loan of a million

through the house of the Barings,

Em*ope,

fled to

leaving Venezuela mider the absolute sway of Falcon and

The new government found

his army.

The

the treasmy empty.

revenue, which consists mainly of

the

export and

import duties le\ded at the custom-houses, was weighed

down by

debts, of

which some were owed to private

viduafs,

others were loans

ments.

Besides these

contracted by former

liabilities

pay due to the Federal army. pressing of denial,

all,

and where money

is

troublesome as mercenaries.

there were the arrears of

This

for creditors with

last claim

arms in

their*

was the most hands take no

concerned patriots are quite as

What was

were several waj's of dealing with the stance, large

indi-

govern-

to

be done

!

There

For

difi&culty.

in-

sums might be obtained from the foreign mer-

chants by granting them a liberal discount for cash in

advance for papnents of dues on cargoes yet to be shipped.

The

State might have recoui'se to the granting of assignats,

or money might be raised b}' putting up to home and foreign markets the waste lands,

was ample

store.

If

auction in the of which there

by any such means the immediate

exigencies of the government could have been met, an honest

and frugal encouragement of the State's resom'ces would soon have

But the it

filled

the exchequer to overflowing.

easiest expedient for getting

from England.

money was

to

borrow

General Falcon, therefore, decided on

obtaining a loan from the merchants of London, and his step to this end was to constitute General his representative.

first

Guzman Blanco

Let the following document

testifj'^

to

LIBRARY UNIVERPTTY OF CALIFORNIA

SANTA BAEBARA

VENEZUELA.

102

the solemnity with which the honoui* of General Falcon and

the good

name

of the

Repubhc

of Venezuela were pledged in

this preliminary to the loan.

Juan C. Falcon, General

in Chief of the Federal Armies,

Provisional President of the Confederacy of Venezuela, &c., &c., &c.

In the name of the Eepublic and exercising the powers

am

with which I tonio

my

Guzman

appomt General An-

invested, I hereby

Blanco, Vice-President of the EepubliS^ and

present Minister of Finance and for Foreign Affairs, to

be Fiscal Commissioner for the Republic, with the special charge to contract

m London,

or in any other

Europe or America, a Loan, which

is

emporium

not to exceed

of

Two

Millions of Pounds sterling, at the most favom*able rate of interest,

rising

and on the best terms that he can obtain, autho-

him

to

mortgage especially and particularly the unin-

cumbered portion of the Import Duties of the Customhouses of

La Guaira and Puerto

Cabello or the whole of

the Duties of the other Custom-houses of the Republic the Export Duties of some or of

all

;

or

the Custom-houses of

the Country, with power also to give as a Guarantee any

other property or estates belonging to the Nation for pay-

ment

of the Interest as well as for

Capital, pledging as I do

from

this

Redemption of the

moment

Faith for the fulfilment of the obligations,

the

which he may by

virtue of this authority contract with the lenders. this object I confer

upon him

all

Public

such powers as

And for may be

necessary to execute the same and to bind the Republic as effectually, as I myself,

amount

of the Loan,

he being empowered to receive the

make arrangements

for its transmission

SOLEMN PEELIMINARIES.

and discharges, countersign the

to this city, give receipts

bonds that may be issued, and

manner

means

shall be as binding

same way

on

of a confidential agent,

my Government

as if they

And

cipal Commissioner.

and have

finally, I

therein with his most

ample and

restriction whatever, as also

my

approval

may

contract, in

consider advantageous

Repubhc, he being empowered to act

to the interests of the

of

its

authorize liim to apply

may

financial operation that he

name

whose acts

had been performed by the prin-

part or the whole of the Loan, wliich he

any

Guz-

to effect all these operations, should he consider

expedient, by

in the

and the

settle the periods

I fully authorize General

of their payments.

man Blanco it

103

free

will without

any

he may freely negotiate in the

Government with the present Creditors of the

Republic in London, and make with them any arrangement,

which they may mutually consider most satisfactory for the future interests of the State.

In witness of

delivered these presents at the .palace of the

all

which I have

Government

in

Caracas on the sixth of August, one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, under the Seal of the Eej^ublic and countersigned by

my

Secretary of State.

ŠJ. The

C. Falcon.

Secretary ad interim for Foreign Affairs,

GuiLL

:

Tell Villegas.

Countersigned.

The Secretary delegated by GuiLL

The Secretary

for

:

the Minister of Finance,

Iribarren.

War and

the NaAy.

M. E. Bruzual.

VENEZUELA.

104

Armed

with such powers, General

Guzman

President of the Ptepuhlic of Venezuela and

Finance and of Foreign

Affairs, arrived in

He

missioner to contract the loan. accredited as

was

Envoy from Venezuela

Blanco, Viceits

Minister of

London at the

to the

as

Com-

same time

Court of

St.

James's, so that nothing was wanting to render his contract a national engagement.

Under such circumstances

it

cannot

be matter of surprise that, at a time when investments were being largely made in far more speculative operations, the

General Credit and Finance Company of London should have been willing to negotiate the loan to Venezuela.

The

Government, of which Pedro Jose Rojas, the opponent of General Falcon, was the head, had been able, as has been mentioned, to

obtain a million

money from Messrs.

of

Baring, and the interest of that debt contmued to be paid regularly.

It might, therefore, fairly be argued, that since

General Falcon respected the engagements made by an adversary, he w^ould certainly be

observing his own.

Even

those

still

more conscientious

who had

in

httle confidence in

the good faith of the South American Republics, thought that so long as the chiefs of the present tion

dommant Venezuelan

fac-

continued in power they would be led by prudential

motives and a regard to their own interest,

if

not from a

sense of honour, to observe the conditions of any contract

with English capitalists into which they might enter.

Im-

pelled by such considerations, the acute Mr. Laing, and his

brother du-ectors of the General Credit Company, entered into the following contract with the

Venezuelan Minister

and Envoy.

Agreeiment entered into the 3rd day of October, 1863,

THE CONTRACT. between General

Guzman

105

Blanco, Vice-President of

the Republic of Venezuela and Minister of Finance and of Foreign Affairs, Fiscal Commissioner

of the Re-

The General London (Limited)

public, of the one part, and

Credit and

Finance Company of

(hereinafter

the

called

General Credit Company), of the other

part.

Whereas His ExceUencv, General Juan C. Falcon, General-in-Chief of the Federal Armies, Provisional* President

of the Venezuelan Federation, by a writing, by

him

signed,

bearing date the 6th day of August, 1863, and countersigned

by Guillelmo Tell Villegas, the Interim Secretary of Foreign Affair's,

Guillelmo Iribarren, the Secretary charged with the

Ministry of Finance, and

War and

M. E. Bruzual,

the Secretary of

Marine, in the name of the Republic, and in the

exercise of the unlimited j)Owers with wliich he

did nominate and specially charge General

was invested,

Guzman

Blanco,

Vice-President of the Republic, and his present Minister of

Finance and of Foreign

Affairs, the Fiscal

the Republic, to contract a

Loan

in

Commissioner of

London, or in any other

mercantile city in Em-ope or in America, which should not

exceed

Two

Millions of pounds sterling, at an interest and

upon conditions the most favourable he could obtain, authorizing

him

to

hj'pothecate

specially

and

specifically

the

unincumbered portion of the Import Duties of the Customhouses of

La

Guaii'a

and Puerto Cabello, or the whole of

the Import Duties of aU the other Custom-houses of the * Provisional only until the vote of Congress could be obtained, but by that vote now, and since his election, President and Grand Marshal, or Coniniander-in-cbief of the Republic.

VENEZUELA.

106

Eepublic

;

or the Export Duties

Custom-houses of the

of some, or

countr}^, with

power

of

all

the

also to give as a

guarantee any other property or estates belonging to the nation for payment of the interest as well as for redemption of the capital, pledging the public faith for the fulfilment of

the obligations which he might contract with the lenders in virtue of this

authority,

and did confer on him

powers which might be necessary to seal Republic, the same as

if

it

and

to

the

bmd

the

had done

he, the said President,

himself, enabling him, the said General

all

Guzman

it

Blanco, to

receive the proceeds of the Loan, to arrange its remittance to the city of Caracas, to give receipts in full discharge, to

may be issued, with his signature, and to fix the terms and mode of payment. And Whereas the General Credit Company at the request of General Guzman Blanco, and in consequence of the authorize the bonds, which

authorization unto the

One

of

him

given, have agTeed to negotiate for

Government of Venezuela, a Loan

of the nominal value

Million five hundred thousand pounds sterling on

the terms and subject to the stipulations hereinafter stated

—wherefore the following has been agreed upon Article 1.

The loan

shall be raised

bearer for ^6500, £200, and ^BlOO

:

by issuing bonds

respectively,

to

each one

bearing interest from the 1st day of October, 1863, at the rate of .£6 per cent, per

annum, the

interest thereon to be

paid half yearly, on the 1st day of October, and the 1st day of April, of each year, until the full pajonent, or redemption

of the Bonds, at the office of the General Credit in

London, in

sterling,

and

at the office of

Company

Messrs Saloman

Oppenheim, Junior and Company, in Cologne, in Thalers, the

Exchange

of the day.

at

THE CONTEACT. The

Article 2.

said

Bonds

shall be

may by General Guzman Blanco,

General Credit Company signed

107

iii

such form as the

and they

require,

shall be

name

in the

of the

Eepublic, or any other Fiscal Agent, properly authorized by the Venezuelan Government.

The sum

Article 3.

of ^£60 shall be accepted in full for

every £100 of the Loan, that

to

is

Bond

say, a

shall be

issued for £100, and so in proportion for every

£100 sub-

sum

be that of

scribed, so that the

really requii-ed,

will

£900,000 sterhng, and the General Credit Company are hereby authorized to accept from the subscribers each portion of of

£60

£5 on

ment

at the dates following, that is to say, a deposit

the appUcation for the subscription, a

of £10, in thirty days after the ratification of the

m

has been received a

month

months

month

after

London a

the first;

second

after the

;

;

full interest

manner

Loan

a second instalment of £15,

instalment of £15, two

thii-d

and a

final

instalment of £15, a

after the third, in pajauents for

shall bear like

first instal-

each bond, which

from the date before mentioned, in

as though the total

sum had been

paid in on

the 1st of October, 1863.

At

Article 4.

redeemed or paid

oif

sum

of £30,000, which shall be

provided in manner hereinafter exj)ressed.

bonds may bear on the Exchange

at par, or

Exchange said

the

below par, and at

bonds

London

sufficient

at

If the price the

London should be

can be j)urchased on the

for completing the

shall be pm-chased.

Exchange a

shall be

by the Government every year, requir-

ing for that purpose the

said