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ACROSS PATAGONIA.


Across Patagonia BY

LADY FLORENCE DIXIE

,\

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

FROM SKETCHES BY JULIUS BEERBOHM ENGRAVED BY WHYMPER AND PEARSON

LONDON:

RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON ^txhUsfftXB in ©rtjinarg to I^er

Majestg

tl^e

©ueeit

1880

TAe rights of Translation and Reproduction are reserved.


TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS,

ALBERT EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES, THIS

WORK

DESCRIPTIVE OF SIX MONTHS' WANDERINGS OVER UNEXPLORED

AND UNTRODDEN GROUND, IS

BV KIND PERMISSION RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSES OBLIGED AND OBEDIENT SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR.


CONTENTS. CHAPTER WHY PATAGONIA? LISBON

GOOD-BYE

I.

THE START

THE ISLAND OF PALMA

DIRTY WEATHER

PERNAMBUCO Pages i-ii

CHAPTER BAHIA

RIO DE JANEIRO

UPSET

RIO

n.

HARBOUR

A TROPICAL NIGHT

TIJUCA

THE TOWN

SAFETY AT LAST

I

CHAPTER BEAUTIES OF RIO

AN

MORE UPSETS

MONTE VIDEO

TIERRA DEL FUEGO

HI.

—STRAITS

OF MAGELLAN

ARRIVAL AT SANDY POINT

PARATIONS FOR THE START

2-2 5

OUR OUTFIT

— OUR

PRE-

GUIDES 26-39

CHAPTER THE START FOR CAPE NEGRO

—CAPE NEGRO

IV.

RIDING ALONG THE STRAITS

THE FIRST NIGHT UNDER

CANVAS


CONTENTS. UNEXPECTED ARRIVALS

— ROUGH RIDING

OUR GUESTS

A NOVEL PICNIC

......

NIGHT

THERE WAS A SOUND OF REVELRY BY

CHAPTER DEPARTURE OF OUR GUESTS

Pages 40-51

V.

THE START FOR THE PAMPAS

AN UNTOWARD ACCIDENT SANT EFFECTS OF THE WIND

A DAY's SPORT

— OFF

UNPLEA-

CAPE GREGORIO. 52-61

CHAPTER VISIT

TO THE INDIAN CAMP

PHYSIQUE

OSITY

VI.

A PATAGONIAN

COSTUME

WOMEN

PROMINENT CHA-

AN INDIAN INCROYABLE

RACTERISTICS

INDIAN CURI-

SUPERSTITIOUS-

NESS

62-73

CHAPTER

......

THE PRAIRIE FIRE

CHAPTER UNPLEASANT VISITORS AGAIN OIL

"

SPEED THE PARTING GUEST

AN OSTRICH EGG

HUNGRY

74-80

VHI.

i'aRIA MISLEADS US

PREPARATIONS FOR THE CHASE

A GUANACO AT LAST

HOME

VH.

AS HUNTERS

OFF

STRIKING

WIND AND HAIL

AN EXCITING RUN "

"

THE DEATH

FAT-BEHIND-THE-EYE."

81-99

CHAPTER ELASTIC LEAGUES

IX.

THE LAGUNA BLANCA

OSTRICH-HUNTING

AN EARTHQUAKE

.....

IOO-II5


CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

X.

— IBIS

DEPARTURE FROM LAGUNA BLANCA A

A WILD-CAT-

INDIAN LAW

FERTILE CANADON

OUR FIRST PUMA

A NUMEROUS

GUANACO HERD

AGAIN LOSES THE WAY

A MOON RAINBOW

A PAMPA

—WEATHER

A MONOTONOUS RIDE RATIONS

SCENERY IS

i'aRIA

SURPRISE

THE CORDILLERAS

NEVER WEARY

"

to the rescue

A

STRANGE

MOSQUITOES

i'aRIA

.

OPTIMIST I 2

.

AND

8-1 3 7

Xn. SHORT FUEL

FEATURES OF PATAGONIAN

HEAT AND GNATS

GUANACO STALKING SHOT

WISDOM

A DREARY LANDSCAPE

"

A PUMA AGAIN

THE

DAMPNESS, HUNGER, GLOOM HIS INGENUITY

CHAPTER A

HERMIT

A NEW EMOTION

CHORLITOS

CHAPTER

A GOOD

Pages 1x6-1 27

XI.

WILD FOWL ABUNDANT

PESSIMIST

DISCOM-

A MYSTERIOUS DISH

...... CHAPTER

SOUP

AND EQUITY

COWARDICE OF THE PUMA

FORTS OF A WET NIGHT

RUN

RAIN

xi

1

3 8-1 5 O

XHI.

SCENE

A DILEMMA

CALIFATE

BERRIES

MOSQUITOES

A GOOD 151-161


CONTENTS.

xii

CHAPTER AN UNKNOWN COUNTRY NEEDLES

ARY

PASSING THE BARRIER

A GOOD RUN

FOXES

ROUGHING

XIV. OUR FOREST SANCTU-

A VARIED MENU

A BATH

IT

CLEOPATRa'S

Pages 162-173

CHAPTER

XV.

EXCURSIONS INTO THE MOUNTAINS

DESTROYER

— THE

WILD-HORSES

74-1 83

THE

EQUINE COMBAT

STRUGGLE RENEWED

THE

RETREAT OF THE WILD HORSES

CHAPTER

1

XVI.

AN

WILD STALLION VICTORIOUS

DEER

TRACKS

CHAPTER AN ALARM

MAN THE

......

WILD HORSE

DILLERAS

MYSTERIES OF THE COR-

1

.

.

84- 1 89

XVII.

EXCURSION TO THE CLEOPATRA NEEDLES

A

BOG

DIFFICULT TRAVELLING

A

STRANGE PHE-

ING RIVER

NOMENON

A

FAIRY

THE

HAUNT

WILD

HORSES AGAIN

BLUE

LAKE

THE

THEIR

AGILITY

PEAKS

THE PROMISED LAND

CHAPTER WE THINK OF RETURNING THE LAST OF THE

.

.

CLEOPATRA

.

190-2OO

XVIII.

GOOD-BYE TO THE CORDILLERAS

WILD HORSES

STORMY

NIGHT

BISCUIT

UTILITY OF FIRE-SIGNALS

A

A WIND-

CALAMITY

THE .

MOSQUITOES LAST .

OF 2

A

OUR

01-212


CONTENTS,

CHAPTER AN UNSAVOURY MEAL

ISIDORO

SCARCE

xiii

XIX.

EXPENSIVE LOAVES

DISAPPOINTMENT

NIGHT

SURPRISES

CAMP

Pages 213-223

CHAPTER THE HORSES LOST RATIONS

A

!

STRANGE HUNT

A DAMP NIGHT

HOME NEWS

SHORT

STERN CHASE

CABO NEGRO AGAIN

REPUTABLE APPEARANCE

-n.

A

FOUND

THE CABEZA DEL MAR

CHAPTER

OF PUCHO

XX.

UNPLEASANT PROSPECTS

MYSTERY SOLVED

CABO NEGRO

US

NO MEAT IN THE

CONTINUED FASTING

SUPPERLESS

GUANACO

THE

SAFELY ACROSS

224-238

.

XXI.

CIVILISATION AGAIN

DIS-

THE COMING

PUCHO MISSING

PUCHO'S CHARACTERISTICS

OUR

.

239-25

I


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. PUCHO

.

Crossing the Cabeza del

a guanaco The

Mar

Frontispiece

on the look-out

Straits of

Indian Camp

guanacos

.

Magellan

Page

I

To face page 40

"Collecting the 'tropilla'

The

.

Title

— saddling UP"

.... ..... ....

LAST DOUBLE

„

56

64 96 112

The Puma's death-spring

146

Ravine entrance to the Cordilleras

162

The

166

"

Cleopatra Needles

Encampment

in

"

.

the Cordilleras

"

The Wild-horse glen "

"

We were

.

168 178

the first who ever burst on

to that silent sea "

.

198


A GUANACO ON THE LOOK-OUT.

CHAPTER

I.

WHY PATAGONIA? — GOOD-BYE — THE START— DIRTY WEATHER LISBON

''

— THE

Patagonia

such a place cannibals!"

ISLAND OF PALMA

— PERNAMBUCO.

who would ever think ?" "Why, you will be

!

of going to

eaten up by

''What on earth makes you choose

such an outlandish part of the world to go to ?"

"What

can be the attraction?"

''Why,

it

is

thousands of miles away, and no one has ever

been there before, except Captain Musters, and one or two other adventurous

madmen

!"


WHY PATAGONIA

?

These, and similar questions and exclamations I

heard from the

ances,

when

lips

told

I

of

my

friends

them of

my

and acquaint-

intended trip to

Patagonia, the land of the Giants, the land of the fabled

attraction in going to an

away

miles

What was the outlandish place so many

Golden City of Manoa.

?

contained in

The answer its own words.

(

Precisely because

was an outlandish place and so it.

its

Palled for the

'

surroundings,

where

I

I

might be as

Many

possible.

of

far

moment with wanted far

my

away,

comes over one

pleasures of

life

of

artificiality

;

and

civilisation

to escape

it

chose

I

somewhere,

removed from them as

readers have doubtless

the dissatisfaction with oneself, and everybody that

was

to the question

felt

else,

at times in the midst of the

when one wearies

modern existence

;

of the shallow

when what was

once excitement has become so no longer, and a longing grows up within one to taste a more vigorous emotion than that afforded by the mono-

tonous round of society's so-called "pleasures." Well,

round

for

it

was

in this state of

I

suitable.

that

I

cast

some country which should possess the

qualities necessary to satisfy finally

mind

decided upon

my requirements,

and

Patagonia as the most

Without doubt there are wild countries

more favoured by Nature

in

many ways.

But


t

WHY PATAGONIA nowhere where

there an area of 100,000 square

is

you may gallop over, and where,

miles which

you are

whilst enjoying a healthy, bracing climate, safe

from the persecutions of

fevers, friends,

obnoxious animals, telegrams,

tribes,

No-

you so completely alone.

else are

else

.?

savage

letters,

and

every other nuisance you are elsewhere liable to

be exposed

To these

to.

attractions

was added the

thought, always alluring to an active mind, that there too

I

should be able to penetrate into vast wilds,

man.

virgin as yet to the foot of

Scenes of

infinite

beauty and grandeur might be lying hidden silent solitude of the

in the

mountains which bound the

barren plains of the Pampas, into whose mysterious

I

was

to

be the

pleasure, for

And

no one as yet had ever ventured.

recesses

it is

me, as

it

first to

true

;

behold them

!

—an

egotistical

but the idea had a great charm

has had for

many

Thus,

others.

under the combined influence of the above considerations,

it

be the chosen

My

was decided field

of

that Patagonia

my new

was

to

experiences.

party consisted of Lord Queensberry and

Lord James Douglas,

my

two brothers,

band, and myself, and a friend, Mr.

J.

my

hus-

Beerbohm,

whose book, Wanderings in Patagonia, had

just

We

only

been published when we took one servant with

left

us,

England.

knowing that English


GOOD-BYE. servants inevitably prove a nuisance and hindrance

when a

in expeditions of the kind,

great deal of

''roughing it" has to be gone through, as they

have an unpleasant knack of

falling

at inoppor-

ill

tune moments.

Our

outfit

was soon completed, and shipped,

together with our other luggage, on board the

good ship "Britannia," which

sailed

from Liverpool

on the nth December 1878.

We

ourselves were

going overland to join her at Bordeaux, as we

came an unpleasant friends.

I

duty,

Then

England.

thereby had a day longer in

taking leave of our

On

hate saying good-bye.

the eve of

a long journey one cannot help thinking of the uncertainty of everything

in

this

The

world.

voice that bids you God-speed may, before you return, perhaps

each friend

be

who

silent for ever.

The

face of

grasps your hand vividly recalls

some scene of pleasant memory.

Now it

reminds

you of some hot August day among the purple hills

of Scotland,

excellent lunch,

when a good

bag,

before an

had been followed by some more

than usually exciting sport.

The Highlands had

never looked so beautiful, so merry a party had never clambered down the moors homeward, so successful a jolly

day had never been followed by so

an evening

;

and then, with a

sigh, as

your


GOOD-BYE. friend leaves you,

yourself, " Shall

Now

again ?"

climb the moors shire that your

you ask

I

to Leicester-

it is

The merry

memory reverts.

ever

blast

of the huntsman's horn resounds, the view-halloa rings out cheerily on the bright crisp air of a fine

hunting morning; the fox got a good on," he

and your friend has

start,

the

fly

horse in hand, and settle

ber that run,

how

flew together, each

recall

each fence you

you topped, and

all,

while, with a forced smile

luckily

the old farm-yard,

where the gallant fox yielded up

remark, you part

you remem-

you both got so

and above

your

to ride over the

timber-rail

that untempting bottom safely over,

down

you

easily

together!"

fence, take

first

How distinctly

broad grass country.

Come

''

too.

shouts, "let us see this run

Side by side you

and

"gone away," you have

is

his

Mean-

life.

and a common-place

and together, perhaps, you may

;

never hear the huntsman's horn, never charge the ox-fence, never strive to be foremost in the chase

again

!

With I

I

these thoughts passing through

began to wonder why

remembered

for the

features of the past,

I

wanted

moment

to leave

my mind England.

only the pleasant

and remembering them, forgot

the feelings and circumstances which had prompted

me

to

embark on

my

present enterprise.

The


THE START. Stern sex will possibly reprehend this exhibition of

May

female fickleness of purpose. palliation that

than

it

my

has taken

me

to write this

— On

" Britannia,"

We

Pauillac.

?

a cold, rainy afternoon

we steamed down from Bordeaux to join the

in its

weakness scarcely lasted longer

December.

14//^

urge

I

in

a

tender

little

which was anchored

off

were soon alongside, and were

welcomed on board by Captain Brough, under whose guidance we

inspected, with a

interest, the fine ship

for

some

time.

It

which was

to

good deal of be our

would be superfluous

for

home

me

to

describe the excellent internal arrangements on

board

few of

;

my

readers,

I

imagine, but are

acquainted, either from experience or description,

with the sumptuous and comfortable fittings-up of

an Ocean passenger-steamer.

Soon the anchor was up in motion,

propeller was

and our nerves had hardly recovered

from the shock

which

—the

inflicted

by the report of the gun

fired the parting salute, ere

scarcely

distinguishable

astern.

By

in

the

Pauillac

mist

the time dinner was over

altogether out of sight of land, the rain falling

heavily,

and

prognostications

weather were being indulged

Giving a

last

look at the night,

in I

was

and rain

we were was of

by the

still

dirty

sailors.

turned into the


DIRTY WEATHER. captain's

cosy deck-house,

companions deep

where

As

took a hand. it

and wranglings

in the intricacies

of a rubber at whist, in which

my

found

I

I,

too, presently

time went on, indications that

was getting rather rough were not wanting,

in

the swaying of the ship and the noise of the wind

but so comfortable were

we

in

our

with the curtains drawn and lamps

little lit,

;

cabin,

that

we

were quite astonished when the captain paid us a visit at about nine o'clock, and told us that

was blowing a regular

it

gale.

The words were hardly out of his mouth when the ship heeled suddenly over under a tremendous

shock,

which

was followed by a

We

mighty rush of water along the decks. out, thinking

we must have

ran

The

struck a rock.

night was as black as pitch, and the roaring of the wind, the shouts of the sailors, and the

wash

of the water along the decks, heightened with their deafening noise, the anxiety of the

Fortunately the shock

we had

experienced had

no worse cause than an enormous struck

the

ship

forward,

smashing whatever opposed

moment.

sea,

which had

and swept right its

aft,

destructive course,

and bending thick iron stanchions as

if

they had

been mere wires.

As soon

as

the

hubbub attendant on

this


LISBON.

somewhat subsided, thankful

incident had

had been no worse, we returned whist,

which occupied us

which hour, the ship, first

we turned

night of

The

lights

''all

game

to our

it

at

eleven o'clock, at

till

out" being the order of

into our cabins to sleep the

many on board

the " Britannia."

next day was fine and sunny, and so the

we reached Lisbon, three Bordeaux, when it grew rather

weather continued

till

days after leaving

At Lisbon we remained a day, taking

rough again. in coal

that

and fresh provisions

weighed anchor, not shores of the

— and

drop

to

New World

it

then once more again

till

the

have been

should

reached. Just as

it

was beginning

morning of the second day I

to

dawn on

after leaving Lisbon,

was awakened by the speed of the

reduced to half

its

does one become

vessel being

usual ratio, for so accustomed

in a short

time to the vibration

of the screw, that any change from

ordinary

its

Looking

force immediately disturbs one's sleep.

out of

my

close

to land, so, dressing hurriedly,

deck.

an

cabin-window

We

island,

the

seemed

to

I

could see that I

we were went on

be but a stone's-throw from

whose bold rugged heights rose up

darkly against the pale light that shone in the

morning sky.

At one

point of the

shore the


THE ISLAND OF PALMA. revolving

light

intervals,

growing

a beacon

of

fainter

and

flashed

redly

at

fainter each time,

as day slowly broke, and a golden haze began to

In the darkness the

flood the eastern horizon.

looked like a huge bare rock, but day-

island light

showed

The

vegetation.

by the

clothed

it

little

in

presence of

luxuriant

tolerably

man was

indicated

white houses, which could be dis-

tinguished nestling in crannies of

its

apparently

This was the island of Palma,

steep green slopes.

one of the Canary group, and small though looked,

it

numbers a good many

it

and

inhabitants,

furnishes a fair contingent of emigrants to the

River Plate, where

" Canarios," as

they are called,

are favourably looked upon, being a skilful, in-

dustrious race.

The days

slipped quickly by, and soon, as

neared the equator, hot.

Christmas

Day

began

it

to

grow

we

intensely

spent in the tropics did not

rightly appear as such,

though we kept

orthodox manner, the head -steward quite a banquet, at which

it

in the

preparing

much merriment reigned,

and many speeches were spoken.

We

arrived

at

Pernambuco

on

the

28th

December, but did not go on shore, as we were only stopping in the port a couple of hours, and

were

told,

moreover, that there

is

nothing to be


PERNAMBUCO.

lo

seen

when one

watching

the

extensiveness of their

with that of Solomon

white

''

Brazilian

fresh

The

with us to Rio.

get-up might have vied glory

in all his

and

trousers,

amused ourselves

some

of

arrival

who were going

passengers,

hats,

We

there.

is

"

—but

seemed

frock-coats

Not

ludicrously out of place on board ship.

tall

less

funny was the

effusiveness of their affectionate

leave-takings.

At parting they clasped

their

friends to their breasts, interchanging kisses in the

most pathetic manner, and evincing an absence of mauvaise honte in the presence of us bystanders,

was

which

at

once

Autres pays, autres

and

edifying

refreshing.

mcettrs.

Some boatmen came alongside, bringing baskets of the celebrated

We

bought some of

delicious in

Pernambuco white pineapples.

my

:

it

is

opinion,

the

only

" the flashing

fruit"

which we thought fruit

which,

European

kinds.

tropical

can vie with

''Luscious tropical

does

this fruit,

sounds very

Southern Cross

;

"

well,

as

but nearer

acquaintance with both proves very disappointing,

and dispels any of the

illusions

one

may have

acquired respecting them, from the over-enthusiastic descriptions of imaginative travellers.

Very

soon the captain came off shore again, with the mails,

etc.

A

bell

was rung, the

fruit -vendors


\

PERNAMBUCO. were bundled over the side of the

and

vociferating,

—

last kisses

ii

ship, chattering

were interchanged

by the Brazilian passengers and

their friends,

up

went the anchor, round went the screw, bang

went our parting

salute, and,

!

thank God, we are

off again, with a slight breeze stealing coolingly

over

us,

doubly grateful after the

which oppressed us while at anchor.

stifling

heat


BAHIA.

12

CHAPTER

II.

BAHIA— RIO DE JANEIRO— RIO HARBOUR— THE TOWN— AN UPSET — TIJUCA — A TROPICAL NIGHT — MORE UPSETS— SAFETY AT LAST.

A

DAY

anchor '*

after

leaving

again

;

this

Bahia de todos

sions of which

Bahia

one. land,

Pernambuco we dropped time

in

los Santos," the

make

itself

its

ample dimen-

name a not

built

is

magnificent

the

on a high ridge of

which runs out into the

and forms a

sea,

The town

point at the entrance of the harbour. is

half hidden

inapposite

among huge banana

trees

and

cocoanut palms, and seen from on board looks picturesque enough.

After breakfast our party

went on shore, accompanied by the for

captain,

and

an hour or so we walked about the streets

and markets of the lower town, which stands the base of the

found

it

as

ridge

dirty

above mentioned.

and ugly as could well

and our sense of smell had no done

to

it

little

at

We be,

violence

by the disagreeable odours which


BAHIA, pervaded the

13

There was a great deal of

air.

movement going on everywhere, and swarmed with black

and female,

male

slaves,

the streets

carrying heavy loads of salt meat, sacks of

and other merchandise

and from the ware-

to

They

houses which lined the quays. to

all

seemed

be very happy, to judge by their incessant

and

chatter I

rice,

laughter,

and not overworked

either,

should think, for they were most of them plump the wonien

enough,

especially

them almost inconveniently

being

fat.

many

Finding

to detain us in the lower town,

we had

transported to the upper

an

of

little

ourselves

hydraulic

lift,

which makes journeys up and down every

five

in

minutes.

Then we got

into

a mule-tramway,

bowled us along the narrow pace.

Soon getting

streets at a

which

famous

clear of the dirty town,

we

drove along a pleasant high-road, on either side of which

stood

pretty

little

villas,

shaded by

palms and banana-trees, and encircled by trim well-kept

gardens,

tropical flowers.

bright

Now

with a profusion of

and then we could catch

a glimpse of the sea too, and as

we found

the

we went

tram was taking us out to the

extreme point of the ridge mentioned Before

along

we reached

it

we had

to

above.

change our


RIO

14

DE JANEIRO.

conveyance once or

came

as

twice,

we

occasionally

worked

to a descent so steep that carriages

up and down by hydraulic machinery had been established to ply in conjunction with the ordinary

mule-trams.

At

we were

last

set

down

close to

the seashore, near a lighthouse which stands in a

commanding

position on the point.

The view

which was now before us was a splendid one

immense bay the

the

;

lay at our feet,

and beyond spread

with

tiny white sails of

ocean, dotted

the

numberless catamarans, as the queer native

fish-

ing-boats are called, which looked like white gulls resting on

But the heat

blue waters.

its

in the

open was so overpowering that we soon had to take refuge in a

little

some luncheon,

cafd close by,

after

where we had

which we went back to

Bahia the way we had come, by no means sorry to get

on board the

Half

cool, clean ship again.

an hour after our arrival the anchor was weighed,

and we steamed

New

off,

en route for Rio de Janeiro.

Christmas Day, was

Year's Day, like

and we celebrated

passed at

sea,

festivitv.

Altogether our

life

most agreeable one, thanks attentions of the captain

and

it

much

on board was a

to the kindness his officers,

days flew by with surprising rapidity. after leaving

with

Bahia we sighted land

and

and the

Four days

off Rio, at

an


RIO

DE JANEIRO.

nothing of the scenery, o'clock,

of

Anxious

hour of the morning.

early

my

and

certainly

had risen

I

to repent

had passed Cape

were steaming along a

line of coast

Frio,

hung over the high peaks and

and

which runs

Thick

from the cape up to the opening of the bay. mists

lose

to

about four

at

had no reason

I

We

eagerness.

15

hills,

shroud-

ing their outlines, and along the shore the surf

broke with a sullen roar against the base of the cliffs

all

which

fell

was grey and

which

for a

down

abruptly

to the sea.

glow of cliffs

yet

But presently the sun,

indistinct.

long time had been struggling with

the mists, shone victoriously forth

peared as

As

by magic,

if

sunrise, a

;

disclosing,

the fog disap-

bathed

in the

grand scene of palm-covered

and mountains, which

rose,

range beyond

range, as far as the eye could reach.

In front of

us lay Rio Harbour, with the huge Pao de Agucar, or Sugar Loaf Mountain, standing like a gigantic sentry at

its

entrance.

In shape

the article of grocery from which

and

rises abruptly, a solid

to a height of

1270

sidered inaccessible,

feet.

it is it

exactly like

takes

its

mass of smooth Its

name, rock,

summit, long con-

was reached by some English

middies a few years ago.

Much

to the

anger and

disgust of the inhabitants of Rio, these adven-

turous youngsters planted the

Union Jack on the


6

THE RIO HARBOUR.

1

highest point of the Loaf, and there

one daring to go up breeze swept

to take

away.

it

it

down,

it till

floated,

a patriotic

Directly opposite

Fort Santa Cruz, which, with

its

1

past

and threading

it,

through the numerous bay,

we

craft

is

the

20 guns, forms

the principal defence of the harbour.

were gliding

no

Soon we our way

which studded the

presently dropped anchor in front of Rio,

and found ourselves

at

examine the

leisure to

harbour, one of the finest and largest in the world.

Covering a space of sixteen miles south direction,

at

its

a north and

gradually widens from about

it

three-quarters of a mile at

miles

in

its

entrance to fifteen

The town

head.

stands

on the

western side of the bay, at about two miles from its

entrance.

It

is

backed by a high range of

mountains, and, as seen from the bay, nestling

amidst oceans of green, presents a most pleasing appearance.

The harbour

is

dotted with

islands,

and

villages,

country seats, and plantations.

As soon duties

we

all

its

as the captain

shores

are

scattered

had got through

his

took our places In his boat, and started

off for the shore.

stone causeway,

On

landing at a slippery, dirty,

we were surrounded by

a crowd

who jabbered and grinned and gestiMaking our way like so many monkeys.

of negroes, culated

along

little


RIO.

we

through their midst, place,

17

passed by the market-

and then, threading a number of

we

Httle streets,

at last got into the

hot, dirty,

main

street of

the town, which was rather broad, and shaded on either side

The

by a row of

trees.

public buildings at Rio are

all

distin-

They

guished by their peculiar ugliness.

are

mostly painted yellow, a hue which seems to

everywhere here, possibly

prevail

in

order to

harmonise with the complexion of the inhabitants.

The

general

cathedral forms no exception to the

rule.

thinking that

We

entered

we might

it

a moment,

for

some good

possibly see

pictures

from the time of the Portuguese do-

minion.

But we found everything covered up

in

brown

holland.

or whatever

cated could

Nossa Senhora da Francisca,

virgin

was evidently

to,

see

the

saint

could

great deal more than was agreeable. did hot tity.

envy the saints

To my mundane

smacked strongly of tions.

lessly in

We about,

the town

and started

is

dedi-

curl-papers, and

in

though we

nothing,

church

their

smell

a

Truly

I

odour of sanc-

nostrils this

garlic

we

same odour

and other abomina-

soon got tired of wandering aim-

and feeling

little

desire

to

stop

any longer, we hired a carriage off for

a

little

c

place called Tijuca,


8

RIO.

1

which

lies

among

high up

the

behind

hills

Rio.

Our coach was drawn by

four fine mules,

galloped along the streets at a rattling and

much one

as the driver

was evidently an

—an undesirable pace.

him, but were told that

country to drive at that

who

— inas-

unskilful

We remonstrated with

it

was the custom of the So, in deference to

rate.

we went

the ''custom of the country," on

at full

gallop, shaving lamp-posts, twisting

round sharp

corners, frightening foot-passengers,

and narrowly

missing upsetting, or being upset by, other vehicles

which came I

in the

way.

was quite thankful when we

clear of the town.

most

beautiful scenery,

my

a

enjoyment of

we

driving

and the

though con-

heat,

to Interfere

After a couple of hours'

It.

halted to give the mules a rest near

brook, which

little

road lay amongst the

was not oppressive enough

siderable,

with

The

at last got safely

came

rippling out from the

shady mass of vegetation which lined the road. I

sat

down under a banana

wander feet.

in lazy

We

tree, letting

my

eyes

admiration over the scene at our

had gradually got

to a

good height

above Rio, and through a frame of leaves and flowers

I

could

see

the town,

studded with tiny green

islands,

the

blue

bay

and beyond, the


AN

UPSET.

rugged mountains, with a a silver

veil

When

19

hanging Hke

light mist

over their purple slopes.

the mules were sufficiently rested

got into the carriage, and starting at a brisk it

was not long before we got at the foot of which,

hill,

Before reaching

Tijuca.

had

a rather

lies

stiff incline

be descended, and one of the wheelers,

to

either

trot,

summit of a

to the

in a little valley, it

we

blown or obstinate, refused

carriage back.

The

to hold the

driver insisted that the ani-

mal was only showing temper, and commenced to flog

Foreseeing the

it.

the carriage, and

He

left

result,

man

the

we

all

to his

got out of

own

devices.

persisted in whipping the recalcitrant mule,

and, as might have been expected, he presently started the other animals off at their It

full

gallop, leaving

comrade the option of following

suit or falling.

chose the latter course, and after a good deal of

slipping and sliding,

went down with a tremendous

crash.

The

bolted,

and we soon

other three, taking fright, immediately lost

driver in a cloud of dust.

the

as fast as

hill

safety

of the

hurried along, harness,

we

sight of carriage

We

followed on

and

down

could, rather anxious for the

we

driver.

Here and

we came

across a piece of broken

there,

as

and presently, on turning a sharp corner,

we suddenly came upon

the overturned carriage,


TIJUCA.

20

the mules struggling and kicking in a confused heap, and the driver, unhurt but frightened, sitting in the grass

by the

Assistance

side of the road.

having been procured from Tijuca, which was close

hand, the mules were freed, and

at

carriage raised off the dragged mule, which

expected to find

no sooner were

ever,

To

killed.

the

we

our surprise, how-

limbs at liberty than

its

it

sprang up and began to crop the grass

in utter

unconcern as to the numerous wounds

over

body.

A

all

its

horse in such a state would have been

completely cowed, and would probably never have

been of any use again.

Leaving the driver position,

to

we walked down

make

the best of his

to the

Hotel Whyte,

orange-groves at Tijuca.

among palms and The building, with its

clean cool rooms, shaded

by verandahs, looked

which

snugly ensconced

lies

particularly inviting after the establishments

we

had been

be

in at Rio,

and

it

waited on by Englishmen staff

was pleasant

too, to

—the proprietor and

being of that nationality.

A little

his

stream runs

past the hotel, feeding a basin which has been

hewn

out of the rock, where visitors can refresh

themselves with a plunge, a privilege of which the

gentlemen of our party were not slow to After

I

had rested a

little

I

profit.

strolled

away


TIJUCA.

among

21

my

the woods, feasting

eyes on the beauty

and novehy of the vegetation, and on the ful

glimpses of scenery

occasionally stumbled

I

across, to attempt to describe

be doing them an paradise had covering.

was about

I

which would only

But that even

injustice.

drawbacks

its

to

delight-

was not long

I

this

in dis-

throw myself on a

soft

green bank, fringed with gold and silver ferns

and

begonias,

scarlet

stretched

that

when suddenly my

sparkling rivulet,

along

a

terrier

little

darted at something that was lying on the bank,

and pursued

The

her back. Cross,

and as I

whose I

When

'*

bite

a second,

till

something

"

is

my

I

got back

I

with

I

brought

ground

deadly

this

in the

above mentioned, which refreshed sat

to safer

fatal,

had been spared a

had a swim

Soon afterwards we

call

was a snake of the

my steps

stars that

acquaintance

my

almost instantaneously

quickly retraced

thanked

closer

for

it

down

reptile.

rocky basin

me wonderfully.

to dinner, winding

up the day by a cheery musical evening. Before going to bed, enticed by the beauty of the night,

I

strolled for

an hour or more among

the woods at the back of the hotel, and gradually, attracted

my way

by the noise of to a

little

falling waters,

cataract, which,

I

made

coming from

some rocky heights above, dashed foaming

into a


A TROPICAL NIGHT.

22

broad basin, and swirling and bubbling over a stony bed, disappeared below in the shadows of a

The moon, which was now

lonely glen.

brightly, cast a pale

myriads of

fireflies

Not

sparks.

gleam over

shining

and

waters,

its

flashed around like showers of

a sound was heard save the roar of

the water, and hardly a breath of wind stirred the

For a long

giant foliage of the sleeping forests.

time

I

sat giving

ences of

my

myself up to the softening

influ-

surroundings, and thinking, amidst

the splendour of that

warm

tropical night, of the

dear old country far away, now, no doubt, covered with Ice and snow.

As we had

to be

on board the steamer by

twelve o'clock the next morning, the carriages

were ordered

for eight o'clock,

by which time we

were up and had breakfasted.

The

captain,

husband, brother, and myself, took our seats

my in

a

carriage

drawn by two mules, Queensberry and

Mr.

following

B.

In

a Victoria.

Having

said

good-bye to Mr. Whyte, we told our driver to start,

cautioning him, as he was the same Jehu

who had

driven us so recklessly the day before, to

be more

careful.

But again,

able reason, he cracked his full

gallop.

lightning

for

some unaccount-

whip and started

Again the mules

we went down a

bolted,

little

off at

and

incline

like

which


MORE

UPSETS.

23

Then which we

leads from the hotel to the road.

a sharp

turn had to be made, seeing

held on

grim death to the carriage, an upset being

like

now

On we

palpably inevitable.

went

carriage heeled over, balanced itself for a

on

two

its

left

— the

moment

wheels, and then, catching the

corner of a stone bridge, over

it

went with a

burying us four luckless occupants beneath hurling the driver into the brook below.

crash, it,

and

Happily

the shock had thrown the mules as well, for had

they galloped on, huddled as

among

we were

pell-mell

the wheels of the carriage, the accident

must have ended

in

some

As it was, we The driver, who

disaster.

had a most miraculous escape.

meanwhile had picked himself, drenched and fallen,

crest-

out of the brook, came in for a shower of

imprecations, which his stupidity

had well earned

for him.

and recklessness

He made some

feeble

attempts at an explanation, but no one understood him, and he only aggravated the virulence of our righteous wrath.

However, something had

to

be done, and

we w^ere to reach the steamer by twelve o'clock. The Victoria was now the only conveyance left, and we could not all get into it. As

quickly,

if

luck would have diligence

it,

whilst

we were

was seen coming along the

debating, a road, and, as


MORE

24

it

UPSETS.

proved, there were sufficient vacant seats to

accommodate B.

and

all

our party,

myself going

quiet,

and

steadier sort of

man

we

creature,

first start all

felt

the

in

Victoria.

Mr.

The

us that the mules were

driver having assured perfectly

— Queensberry,

he

himself

appearing

a

than the other unfortunate

more

at ease,

and certainly

went smoothly enough.

at

But, strange

we were doomed to incur a third upset. When we came to a steep descent, instead of to say,

driving slowly, our coachman, for

some

inexplicable

reason, actually urged his animals into a gallop.

We

called to

him

to stop, but that

beyond

his power, the

and, to

make matters

mercy of

mules having again bolted, still

more

broke, leaving us

the reins

accidents.

side of a steep

hill,

was already

The

desperate, one of

completely at the

road

wound down

the

and each time the swaying

we

carriage

swung round one of

were

imminent danger of being dashed over

in

the sharp curves

down a precipice three hundred feet The peril of this eventuality increased

the roadside, in depth.

with our momentum, and, as the lesser of two evils,

we had

riage.

This we did

fortunately,

bruised,

jumping out of the

car-

at a convenient spot,

and

to choose

though we were

no bones were

all

severely cut and

broken.

In

another


SAFETY AT

LAST.

25

second the coach and driver would have disappeared over the precipice had not one of the

mules suddenly

and, acting as a drag on

fallen,

the coach, enabled the driver to check the other

mule just

in the nick of time.

To meet

with three accidents in twenty-four

hours was rather too

much

of a good thing, and

vowing that we had had enough of manship to

last

rest of the

way on

us

all

our

lives,

Brazilian coach-

we completed

foot, arriving

two hours

the

after

the appointed time, on board the old " Britannia."

We

presented a very strange appearance,

clothes

torn

and

dust-stained,

covered with cuts and bruises little

court-plaster soon put us

were on deck again at

;

in

and

faces

but a bath and a all

right,

time to have a

Rio as we steamed away.

our

our

and we

last

look


26

BEAUTIES OF

RIO.

CHAPTER

III.

— MONTE VIDEO— STRAITS OF MAGELLAN — TIERRA DEL FUEGO — ARRIVAL AT SANDY POINT — PREPARATIONS FOR THE START — OUR OUTFIT— OUR GUIDES.

BEAUTIES OF RIO

I

COULD not repress a pang of regret as we

There may

steamed slowly out of Rio Harbour. be scenes more impressively sublime

;

there are,

without doubt, landscapes fashioned on a more gigantic scale

;

by the side of the Himalayas or

the Alps, the mountains around Rio are insignifi-

cant enough, and one need not go out of England in

search

for

charming and romantic scenery.

But nowhere have the rugged and the tender, the wild and the

soft,

been blended into such exquisite

union as at Rio, and contrasts, that, to its

it is

my

this quality of unrivalled

mind, gives to that scenery

charm of unsurpassed

loveliness.

Nowhere

else is there such audacity, such fierceness

even

of outline, coupled with such multiform splendour of colour, such fairy-like delicacy of • detail.

precious jewel

is

As

a

encrusted by the coarse rock, the


BEAUTIES OF smiling bay

lies

encircled

RIO.

27

by frowning mountains

of colossal proportions and the most capricious

In the production of this work the most

shapes.

opposite powers of nature have been laid under

The

contribution.

awful work of the volcano

the

immense boulders of rock which

to

the

clouds

in

clothed in a brilliant

from

spun

web

of tropical vegetation,

and

sunshine

revels in manifold creation,

up

have been

masses,

irregular

piled

lie

;

Here nature

mist. life

multiplies itself a

million fold, the soil bursts with exuberance of

and

fertility,

animal

life

the

profusion

of

beggars description.

vegetable

Every

and

tree

is

clothed with a thousand luxuriant creepers, purple

and scarlet-blossomed

;

they in their turn support

myriads of lichens and other verdant parasites.

The

plants shoot

glitter

up with marvellous

rapidity,

and

with flowers of the rarest hues and shapes,

or bear quantities of luscious

eye and sweet to the with the

hum

taste.

fruit,

pleasant to the

The

air

resounds

of insect-life; through the bright

green leaves of the banana skim the sparkling

humming-birds, and gorgeous butterflies of enor-

mous

size float,

glowing with every colour of the

rainbow on the flower-scented breezes. all this

But over

beauty, over the luxuriance of vegetation,

over the softness of the tropical

air,

over the


— MONTE

28

VIDEO.

splendour of the sunshine, over the perfume of the flowers, Pestilence has cast her fatal miasmas, and, like the sword of Damocles, the yellow fever

hangs threateningly over the head of those who dwell ever,

among is

Nature, how-

these lovely scenes.

not to be blamed for this drawback to one

of her

most charming

With

creations.

drainage and cleanlier habits amongst tion, there is

annually scourges

with the black art

its

brush and Windsor soap craft

''

at

The

this

only

Four days

need be used."

Rio we arrived

people, no acquaintance

necessary.

is

popula-

why Rio should not be a To exorcise the demon

no reason

perfectly healthy place.

who

its

better

scrubbingthe witch-

is

after leaving

Monte Video, but

as

we came

from an infected port we were put into quarantine,

much to

to our disgust,

go on

cargo to a

we

shore.

Island,

we had discharged what

After

Monte Video, we proceeded

carried for

little

and were of course unable

where we were

quarantine passengers, amongst brother

Monte Video

for

the next steamer.

was a bare rocky inviting,

and

I

a

fortnight,

The little

on

it.

stop

in

following us

by

to

quarantine island, which

place, did not look at all

certainly did not

his three-days' stay

whom was my

who wanted

Queensberry,

land the

to

He

envy

told

me

my

brother

afterwards


I

THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN.

29

had never passed such a miserable time

that he in all his

the internal domestic arrangements

life,

being most primitive.

The days

swiftly enough, as

had got comparatively

it

and we were able to have

all

cool,

kinds of games on

After seven days at sea, early one morning

deck.

we

Monte Video passed

after leaving

Cape

sighted

Virgins, which

commands

the

north-eastern entrance to the Straits of Magellan.

The

south-eastern point

Santo

is

called

Cape Espiritu

the distance between the two capes being

;

about twenty-two miles.

Whilst we were threading

the intricate passage of the First Narrows, which are not

more than two miles broad,

interest the land

miles to see

I

had come so many thousand

— Patagonia

dreary enough

it

scanned with

I

Desolate and

at last!

looked, a succession of bare

plateaus, not a tree nor a shrub visible

anywhere

;

a grey, shadowy country, which seemed hardly of this world;

such a landscape, in

fact,

as one might

expect to find on reaching some other planet.

Much

as

I

had been astonished by the glow and

exuberance of tropical it

had made on

to the

vague

by the

my mind

feelings of

sight of the

before me.

life

at Rio, the impression

had

to yield in intensity

awe and wonder produced

huge barren

solitudes

now


TIERRA DEL FUEGO.

30

After passing the Second Narrows, Elizabeth

named by

Island, so sight.

Its

in

shores were covered with wild -fowl

and sea-birds,

chiefly shag.

Flocks

through which we passed,

of these

and the water

birds kept flying round the ship, itself,

came

Sir Francis Drake,

literally

teemed

with gulls and every imaginable kind of sea-fowl.

We

were soon abreast of Cape Negro, about

fourteen miles from

Sandy

Point.

Here the

racter of the country suddenly changes, for

Negro

is

cha-

Cape

the point of the last southerly spur of

the Cordilleras, which runs along the coast, join-

ing the main ridge beyond Sandy Point.

All

these spurs, like the Cordilleras themselves, are

clothed with beech forests and thick underwood of the magnolia species, a vegetation, however,

which ends as abruptly as the spurs, from the thickly-wooded sides of which, to the completely bare plains, there

As we went

is

no graduation whatever.

along

we passed

a couple of

canoes containing Fuegians, the inhabitants of the Tierra del Fuego, but they were too far off to enable I

me

to

judge of their appearance, though

should have liked to have had a good look at

them.

They

doubt justly winter,

are reputed to be cannibals, so.

I

and no

have even been told that

when other food

is

scarce,

they

kill

in

off


ARRIVAL AT SANDY POINT.

31

men and women, though of they prefer a white man if obtainable. At one o'clock we cast anchor off

their

own

Point.

old

This settlement

whom

Chilians, to

Magellanes.'*

It

it

is

called officially

belongs,

"

Sandy-

by the

La Colonia de

was formerly only a penal colony,

but in consequence of the great increase of

through the

course

traffic

Straits, the attention of the Chilian

Government was drawn

to the importance the

place might ultimately assume, and, accordingly,

grants of land and other inducements were offered to emigrants.

But the colony up

to the present

has never flourished as was expected, and during a mutiny which took place there in 1877,

many

of

the houses were burned down, and a great deal of

property destroyed. in

As

the steamer was to leave

two hours, we began preparations

for landing,

but meantime the breeze, which had sprung up shortly after our arrival, freshened into a gale,

the sea grew so rough that

it

and

was impossible

to

lower a boat, and the lighters that had come off shore to fetch away cargo dared not go back.

The

gale lasted

all

the night, calming

day and the greater part of

down a

o'clock in the morning.

ingly

made

being that

to get us

little

Every

towards three

effort

was accord-

on shore, the alternative

we should have

to

go on with the


—

ARRIVAL AT SANDY POINT.

32

Steamer to Valparaiso, the Company's regulations not allowing more than a certain length of time to

As may be

be spent at Sandy Point.

we by no means

liked the idea of such a possible

and

consummation,

imagined,

was

weather

the

eagerly

scanned, whilst our luggage and traps were being hurried over the sides, as a fresh increase in the strength of the wind would have been

At

last all

was ready

the captain and

officers, to

we

the voyage

w^ere so

enjoyment of our

trip

we

;

said

fatal.

good-bye

to

whose kindness during

much indebted

on board the

"

for our

Britannia"

and climbing down the gangway took our seats in the boat

which was

quite sad as

we rowed away,

the good ship which as a home,

to carry us ashore.

and

for

I

felt

leaving behind us

we had come

which

I

to look

upon

at least felt almost

a

personal affection.

After a long

wind and

tide

during which the contrary

pull,

bade

fair

to

set

efforts

of the four strong sailors

ashore,

we

at last

down wooden at

Sandy

nought the

who rowed

came alongside the

pier,

Point.

at

us

old tumble-

which forms the landing-stage

We

succeeded

in

reaching

its

end without incurring any mishap, though we ran considerable risk from the

which

it

bristled, in the

many dangers

with

shape of sudden yawning


SANDY holes,

POINT.

and treacherously

however, had the merit

it is

true

in

This

shifting planks.

pier,

—of being

33

—a questionable one

keeping with the appear-

ance and condition of the whole colony to which it

served as a warning introduction.

there

may be

possibly

probable

is

;

places

drearier-looking

than the town of Sandy Point, but it

suppose

I

I

do not think

and as we walked over the sand-

covered beach

in

front

of the settlement, and

surveyed the gloomy rows of miserable wooden the

huts,

silent,

moment, not a

solitary streets,

single living being

where, at that

was

to

be seen,

save some hungry-looking ostrich -hound,

agreed that the epithet of

*'

and

fuller

all

God-forsaken hole"

was the only description that did merits of this desolate place,

we

justice to the

— nor did subsequent

acquaintance with

it

by any means

induce us to alter this unfavourable opinion.

Proceeding under the guidance of Mr. Dunsmuir, the English

Consul,

hundred yards from the

we

pier, at

halted about two

a house which,

were informed, was the principal shop and inn

we

in the

was not an ambitious establishment.

Its

interior consisted of a ground-floor containing

two

place.

It

rooms, of which one served as a shop, and the other as a sitting-room.

This

last

apartment we secured

as a storeroom for our luggage and equipments, and

D


SANDY

34

we

there also

Sandy

POINT.

ate our meals during our sojourn in

The upper

Point.

portion of this magnifi-

was a kind of

cent dwelling

loft,

one corner

in

my

was a small compartment, which

of which

Through

brother and Mr. B. used as a bedroom. the kindness of Mr.

Dunsmuir

my

husband and

myself were lodged very comfortably

in his

own

house.

Our

first

experience of " roughing

shape of the breakfast with which innkeeper supplied

us,

being over,

up through the grass-grown

it,"

in the

Pedro the

we sauntered

streets of the colony

house of Mr. Dunsmuir, from which, as

to the

stands on high ground,

it

we obtained a good view

of the Straits and the opposite shores of the Tierra

The

del Fuego.

anchor,

and

"

Britannia" had already weighed

a long time

for

steaming away through the

we watched her

Straits,

gradually smaller and smaller, she

appeared

now

in the

first

time

I

me

growing

at last

haze of the distant horizon.

that the last link, as

which bound

till,

to old

began

it

dis-

And

were, of the chain

England was gone,

for the

to fully realise the fact that

we

were ten thousand miles away from our home and our friends, alone amidst strange faces and wild scenes

;

and

it

required almost an effort to banish

the impression that the whole thing

was a dream,


PREPARATIONS FOR THE START. was presently

from which

I

myself back

in

Our

England

anxiety to leave

awaken and

to

Sandy Point

we

we had

to

to

make

much

be done that we

to

should not be ready to start for at

There were guides

least four days.

good dogs

as soon as

but even with every wish to get

;

away, there was so calculated

find

again.

possible hastened preparations

before starting

35

to be found,

be bought, and, above

suitable

all,

Numbers

horses to be hired or purchased.

of

these latter animals were brought for our inspection,

from among which we selected about

of whose merits and failings at

a later occasion.

We

I

shall

fifty,

have to speak

found the charges for

everything ridiculously high, and though no doubt

we were cheated on

all sides,

there was nothing to

be done but to accept the prices and conditions

demanded, as guides were not

other necessities procurable nowhere

A

whole day was spent

provisions

and

equipments

from England, and

and the

plentiful,

in

else.

unpacking the

we had brought

in putting

them

into canvas

bags, so as to be conveniently portable on horse-

back.

For the

benefit of those

who may contem-

plate an expedition similar to ours,

following

list

took with

us.

give the

I

of the articles and provisions

We

limited ourselves,

I

may

we say


OUR OUTFIT.

36

en passant,

to

indispensable,

such things as were absolutely disadvantages

the

from

arising

being burdened with unnecessary luggage on such a trip being self-evident d'abri), 2 hatchets, I

frying-pan,

flour,

—Two small tents

pail,

i

i

(tentes

iron pot for cooking,

saucepan, biscuits, coffee, tea, sugar,

oatmeal, preserved milk, and a few tins of

butter, 2

To

of

i

:

kegs of whisky.

we added a sack of yerba mate, which herb we all orrew so fond that we the above

ultimately used

and

coffee,

it

to the

although

complete exclusion of tea

at

first

we by no means

agreed with the enthusiastic description of

its

merits given by Mr. B., at whose recommendation

a

we had taken Our personal

it.

outfit consisted,

in addition to

few changes of woollen underclothing,

in

a

guanaco-fur mantle, a rug or two, a sheath-knife

and revolver rifles

;

besides,

we had brought

of course, the guns and

The

for sporting purposes.

cartridges for the latter, of which

we had

a great

number, formed the heaviest item of weight notwithstanding the care

we had used

culations, so as not to take

in

;

but

our

cal-

more provisions than

we wanted, the goodly pile which was formed when all our luggage was heaped together was rather alarming, and

we found

that twelve horses


OUR GUIDES. at least

would be required

we were

37

to carry

it.

Fortunately

able to procure three mules, who, between

them, carried more than six horses could have done, without, moreover, suffering half as

much

as

the latter in condition from fatigue, or the severe

heat which

we

occasionally encountered.

We selected who

our guides from

We

offered their services.

among

a

number

chose four

two

;

Frenchmen, an Argentine gaucho, and a nondean inhabitant of Sandy Point,

script creature,

I'

Aria

by name, who had accompanied Captain Musters on

his expedition.

This

I'

Aria was a dried-up-

looking being of over sixty, but he proved a useful

He

servant, notwithstanding his age.

beautiful rider; and, considering his years, fully active in

Sandy

as he

and enduring.

Point, however,

he became a

that

he was of

when once we

total abstainer,

during the whole of the

was

offered to him.

wonder-

As long as we remained

was never by any chance

strange to say,

was a

trip,

left

little

use to

sober,

us,

though,

the settlement,

and stoutly refused, to take

His

face,

any liquor the skin of

which, from long exposure to wind and weather,

had acquired the consistency of parchment, was one mass of wrinkles, and burnt almost black by the sun, while the watchful, cunning expression of his twinkling

bead -like eyes added to

his wild


OUR GUIDES.

38

appearance,

Mephistophelian

the

which earned

for

him

agent

for Patagonia."

forty

years of his

character

the sobriquet of "

He

The

pampa, and was,

Hfe on the

Gregorio gave us most

served us

and

through the

all

forty,

and added

his craft as gaucho, a slight

the

and

with untiring zeal

trip

to the other

Of

satisfaction,

He was a good-looking man,

fidelity.

devil's

had passed more than

therefore, well qualified to act as guide. others,

of

of about

accomplishments of

knowledge of English.

His ordinary occupation was that of an Indian trader,

and

at

one time of his career he had owned

a small schooner, with which he used to go seal-

hunting

in the season.

Francois,

whose

One

of the Frenchmen,

original profession

had been that

of a cook, proved most useful to us in that capacity,

and played the changes on what would otherwise have been a

slightly

and ostrich meat,

monotonous

in a

career, like Gregorio's,

diet of

guanaco

marvellous manner.

His

had been a chequered one.

After having served during the Franco-Prussian

war as a Chasseur d'Afrique, he

left

his country

with three companions to start some business in

South America, on the

failure of

his attention to ostrich-hunting.

handsome

little

fellow,

which he turned

He was a cheery,

and was possessed, more-

over, of an excellent voice,

and whether

at

work


\

OUR GUIDES.

39

by the camp-fire, or riding on the march, was

He owned

always to be heard singing merrily.

two very good ostrich-dogs Scotch deer-hound called

**

;

one,

a handsome

Leona," the other a

black wiry dog called " Loca," a cross between

an African greyhound and an English lurcher. Gregorio had only one dog, but

managing

to run

it

was the best

down an

of the

lot,

singly,

a feat which requires immense stamina and

often

ostrich

gameness, and which none of the other dogs

were able to perform.

As that I

,

for

all

to Guillaume

need say nothing, except

I

our party disliked him very much.

After four days' hard work our preparations departure were nearly completed, though a

little

yet remained to be done.

ever, to get out of start off

Point,

we

resolved to

with the greater part of the packs and

horses,

and

in the

beech-wood

miles

Sandy

Anxious, how-

to await the

away from the

at

coming of the remainder

Cabo Negro, some

colony.

fifteen


— ;

THE START FOR CAPE NEGRO.

40

CHAPTER

IV.

THE START FOR CAPE NEGRO RIDING ALONG THE STRAITS CAPE NEGRO — THE FIRST NIGHT UNDER CANVAS UNEXPECTED ARRIVALS

— — OUR GUESTS—A NOVEL PICNIC — ROUGH-

RIDING— THERE WAS A SOUND OF REVELRY BY NIGHT.

Early

in the

morning the horses were driven up

and saddled, some trouble being experienced with

who were

the pack-mules,

slightly restive, taking

rather unkindly to their loads at

As

our guides were

requisite

number of

busy hunting up the

horses,

preparations for the journey,

with us for the time that at

Cabo Negro,

Gregorio's, to

and

finishing their

we took another man

we should have

as well as a

help

first.

to drive

After a hurried breakfast

to

remain

little

boy, a son of

the

horses along.

we got

into the saddle

the pack-horses were driven together, not without a great deal of trouble, for they were as yet stran-

gers to each other, and every or two would bolt

off,

now and then one

a signal to the whole troop

to disperse all over the place, so that nearly

an


I

RIDING ALONG THE STRAITS.

41

hour had elapsed before we had got well clear of the colony, and found ourselves

riding over an

undulating grassy stretch, en route for the pampas.

Our way

lay over this plain for about an hour,

and then, having forded a small stream, we entered the outskirts of the beechwood forests that line the

The

Straits.

green, the sky clear

and

was

fresh

and

blue, the air sun-lit

and

foliage of the trees

buoyant, and everything seeming to augur favourably for the success of our best of

trip,

we were

all in

the

spirits.

Our road

Straits of Magellan, along

beach, in

some

we had now

down

presently brought us

whose narrow

to the strip of

places barely three yards broad,

to ride

in single

file.

Along the

coast the land terminates abruptly, and the trees

and bushes form an impenetrable

comes down almost

to the water's edge.

after point shoots out into the sea,

monotonous resemblance to the

we advanced,

thicket,

which Point

each bearing a

other, though, as

the vegetation that covered

grew more and more stunted and

scanty,

them till

at

last

the trees and bushes disappeared altogether,

v.

and

after

^^

journeying along under the shadow of some steep

^B ^1

bluffs,

a three hours' ride

ourselves

on which the only vegetation was a pro-

fusion of long coarse grass.

L

we found

Innumerable species


CAPE NEGRO,

42

of gulls and albatrosses were disporting themselves

on the blue water, and seemed

little

alarmed at our

approach, lazily rising from the water a

we went their

moment

as

past them, to resume almost immediately

fishing

carried there

along the beach,

All

operations.

by the sea from the opposite

side,

I

noticed great quantities of the cooked shells of crayfish, the

The

meal.

many

remains of Tierra del

visible opposite,

and

Fuego

a Fuegian- Indian

itself

was

distinctly

we

at different points

could

columns of smoke rising up into the

see

tall

air,

denoting the presence of native encampments,

just as

Magellan had seen them four hundred years

before, giving to the island,

name

it still

on that account, the

bears.

At Cabo Negro we stopped little

still

for a

moment

at a

farmhouse, and partook of some mate, which

was hospitably

offered us

then mounting again,

we

by the farmer's

wife,

and

galloped over a broad

grassy plain where some sheep and cattle were grazing, its crest,

we came to a steep wooded hill. On under some spreading beeches, we resolved till

to pitch our camp, water being near at hand,

the position otherwise favourable.

and

In a short time

the pack-horses were relieved of their loads, and

neighing joyfully, they galloped away to graze in the plain

we had just

crossed.

Our

tents

were


THE FIRST NIGHT UNDER CANVAS. pitched,

and having made up our beds

set

about preparing dinner.

abundant, a roaring cheerily,

fire

them, so

by night-time, we

as to have everything ready

began to

in

43

Wood being

was soon blazing away

some meat we had brought from Sandy

Point was put into the iron pot, together with

some the

rice,

fire,

onions,

not a

etc.,

little

and then we lay down round

by our day's

fatigued

exertions;

but inhaling the grateful odours arising from the pot, with the expectant avidity of appetites

which

the keen Patagonian air had stimulated to an unusual extent.

By the time dinner was over night had set in. The moon had risen, and the clear star-lit sky gave assuring promises of a continuance of weather.

A

fine

slight breeze stirred the branches

we

overhead, and in the distance

could hear the

lowing of the cattle on the plains, and the faint tinkling of the bells of the brood-mares.

The

strange novelty of the scene seemed to influence

us

all,

and the men smoked

Before going to bed

I

went

their pipes in silence.

for

a short

stroll to

the

shores of a broad lagoon which lay at the foot of the

hill

on which our camp was pitched.

Its

waters glittered brightly in the moonlight, but the

woods which surrounded

dark.

it

were sombre and

Occasionally the sad plaintive cry of a grebe


-

UNEXPECTED ARRIVALS.

44

———

»

broke the

'

silence, startling

time

I

of a

human being

camp

heard

it,

found

I

for

my

example

bed, an

it

me

not a

sounds exactly

first

like the wail

Going back

pain.

in

the

little

to the

companions preparing to go to

was not slow

I

and

to follow,

soon, wrapt up in our guanaco-fur robes, with our

we were

saddles for pillows, It

all fast

had been agreed that the next morning one

of our party should go back to see

asleep.

how

Sandy

the guides were getting on, and Mr. B.

having volunteered to perform that at

Point, to

task,

I

rose

an early hour to get him his breakfast and see

him

off

on

Then, whilst

his journey.

and husband went out with wild -duck,

to friends

letters

down

at

to the Straits, it

and with

difficulty

myself

home.

Late

in

returned, bringing

and we speedily

This done,

that

managed

the

I

last

rode

into the

got quite numbed,

I

to

afternoon

dry and dress the

sportsmen

an excellent bag with them,

set about plucking a

and making other preparations as, that

guns to shoot

and had a plunge

was so cold

water, but

brother

myself writing a few

busied

I

their

my

few birds,

for dinner.

Just

meal being over, we had settled ourselves

comfortably round

the

fire,

prepared

lazily

enjoy the lovely evening, our camp-servant,

had been on the look-out

for

the

to

who

return

of


OUR GUESTS. Mr.

B.,

reported

a

that

45

troop

about

of

As

horsemen were coming our way. traders do not parties,

go out

to the

he was quite at a

people could be

them.

We

all

loss to

who were

night, especially as they

last

such large

in

who

imagine

the

had no pack-horses with

got up and went to have a look at

hill

we

armed with guns and began

Indian

riding out so late at

As

these mysterious horsemen.

the foot of our

pampas

ten

they approached

could see that they were

rifles,

all

a circumstance which

to suggest unpleasant recollections of the

Sandy Point mutiny.

Could

another outbreak had occurred,

men were

it

be

that

and that these

escaping to the pampas

?

If so,

they

might possibly make a descent on us

in passing,

and supply any deficiencies

own

from ours. affairs,

to

outfit

This was a rather startling state of

and we were hurriedly holding counsel as

what was the best course

circumstances, up,

their

in

to take

under the

when our dogs suddenly

and began barking

furiously.

started

Then came

the

sound of horses' hoofs, and brushing through the tall furze,

two horsemen galloped straight towards

our camp, followed, as the sound of voices told us,

by the

rest of the party.

In another second

the two foremost ones reined up in front of us,

turning out to be, not bloodthirsty mutineers, but


OUR GUESTS.

46

A few words

Mr. Dunsmuir and Mr. Beerbohm. explained

The

all.

officers of the " Prlnz Adalbert,"

of-war,

some

party was composed of

which had anchored

German man-

a

Sandy Point

at

that

morning, Mr. B. having gone on board and

them out

vited

to our

camp

for

in-

a day's shooting.

we who now

Delighted at this solution of the situation,

new

hurried to welcome our

guests,

arrived

tired

and hungry

Among

their

number were H.I.H. Prince Henry

who was on

of Prussia,

after

their long

a cruise in the

ride.

Prinz

''

Adalbert," and her commander. Captain Maclean.

Fresh logs were added to the blazing

meat was

set to roast,

every preparation

fire,

soup put on to cook, and

made

for a

good supper

— an

easy task, as the officers had brought plentiful of

supplies

We

all

kinds of provisions with them.

then lay round

evidently quarters,

how

new-comers

the

cosy sylvan

and by the novelty of the strange

Patagonia, of I

fire,

by our

charmed

quite

they had

which

the

all

little

anticipated

picnic,

making

in

places in the world.

was much amused

Mr.

at

B.'s

account of

the expedition had been initiated.

He

had

got into Sandy Point at about nine o'clock, and at ten the " Prinz offing.

Adalbert

"

was signalled

in the


A NOVEL As soon

47

cast anchor he

went on

having been previously acquainted with

board,

the

had

as she

PICNIC.

and

captain,

at

explained

breakfast

his

presence in such an out-of-the-way part of the

world as Sandy Point, by an account of our intended

and

trip,

come out

the officers to

asked the captain and

finally

themselves what open-air

He

like.

had

ten horses, the

saddles, for,

Point

own numbers

required.

at

necessity for

of horses, few have case,

to find as in

Sandy

more than

they are loth

any moment may be of pressing

However, by dint of

themselves.

ingenious combinations, for

made

This was an

though many people

one saddle, and such being the

what

officers

was another thing

it

many

to lend

persuading them

he went on shore to hunt up

number

but

try for

Patagonia was

and whilst the

their preparations,

;

in

life

little difficulty in

to accept his offer,

easy matter

camp and

to our

some kind of an apology

a saddle was fitted to each horse, and the

whole party at

officer carried

and, as

their trip in high

a blanket or rug with him,

some shooting was expected, a gun and

some ammunition. went

on

and very well pleased with everything.

spirits,

Each

last set off

well,

For the

the air was

scenery novel

and

first

two hours

warm and

interesting,

sunny,

and a

zest

all

the

was


ROUGH-RIDING,

48

given to the expedition by

its

unconventional

character and the suddenness with which

had

it

been improvised.

But

after a time the

hard action of the horses

and the roughness of some of the saddles began have

to

officers

their

were

effect,

accustomed to

little

of implied cheerful unconcern,

a

camp

To

" ?

this question

wave of the hand

many

''

A

little

How

tones

far is

it

to

he would reply by

in the direction of

beyond that

Occain

first

one of the

which shoot out along the

points

saying,

''

of the

riding.

Mr. B. would be asked, at

sionally

the

many

especially as

Straits,

Then, as

point."

point after point was passed, and the answer to inquiries

continued,

still

beyond

that

as

before,

''

A

little

and

point," gradually the laughter

chat which had enlivened the outset of the trip

grew

more

constrained,

occasional

complete silence Intervening. of the riders would

and sigh of those

— and

move

Now

lapses

of

and then one

uneasily In the saddle

on the faces of many (especially

who rode

stirrupless saddles)

fell

In

time

an expression of fixed resignation to suffering,

which was not unherolc. this,

and

starting,

his conscience in

Mr. B. observed

began

to smite him.

all

At

an amiable endeavour to put every-

thing in a rosy

light,

he had slightly understated


ROUGH-RIDING.

49

now

the distance to our camp, and

the terrible

consequences of his rashness were already visiting

The

him. it

quasi-martyrs

was but too

whom

evident,

he was leading,

were only bearing up

against suffering by the comforting consciousness

He

that they must be close to the camp.

not undeceive them

;

he

could

himself wofully want-

felt

ing in courage enough to break the truth

and yet

;

the only alternative was to go on repeating the

now "

to him, as to

A little

everybody

beyond that

in fact

—that he had

lost the

he knew the road and Never, as he

only too well.

said,

had

palpably brought before him that the is

paved with good intentions

when mystifying road,

last,

all

hill

whose advent,

and

it

length

been so

way

to hell

his intentions,

best.

things

come

with a feeling of deep

point out our

;

its

way,

the party as to the length of the

had been of the

However,

formula,

His victims could

point."

only imagine one thing

though

else, hateful

to the

to an end,

relief,

and

at

he was able to

weary saddle-worn band,

as possible mutineers,

had thrown

us into such a panic.

By

the

time

Mr. B. had finished his story

supper was ready, and that important

fact

been duly announced, our hungry guests

and made a hearty meal.

E

The

strain

having fell

to,

which their


THERE WAS A SOUND OF REVELRY,

50

number put on the cuisine

capabilities of our batterie de

was fortunately relieved by a profusion of

tinned provisions

brought

wisely

Patagonian

of

all

kinds which they had

and under

them,

with

together with

beeches,

the

those native

were discussed asperges en jus, which

mutton,

had attained

their delicate flavour

under the mild

Dutch summer, pates elaborated

fostering of a

far

away among the blue Alsatian mountains, and substantial,

though withal subtly flavoured, sausages

from the fatherland

were

lit,

After supper pipes

itself.

and the wine-cup went round

freely,

the

woods resounding with laughter and song

till

nearly midnight, by which time most of the party

were beginning exertions, tents

and

to feel the effects of their day's

to long

we managed

to

for bed.

make up

In one of our four couches, on

which the Prince, the Captain, Count Seckendorff,

and another limbs,

The

officer respectively laid their

and went

to

sleep

weary

best they might.

as

Captain, a strong stout man, had suffered

more than any one from the have been a moot question whether

the

day's

ride,

in

enjoyment

and

it

must

his secret heart

had

not

been

somewhat dearly purchased.

The

others kept up the ball

still

later,

and

must have been quite two o'clock before the

it

last


THERE WAS A SOUND OF REVELRY. convive rolled himself fire,

and

that hour

silence

fell

up

in

Round a huge heap

blanket by the

over our camp.

peered out of

I

his

my

At about

tent at the scene.

smouldering

of

51

logs,

in

various attitudes, suggestive of deep repose, lay the forms of the sleepers

whom

chance had thus

strangely thrown together for one

dogs had risen from their

sleep,

and

night.

Our

in their turn

were making merry over whatever bones or other fragments of the feast they managed to ferret out.

A

few moonbeams struggled through the canopy

of leaves and branches overhead, throwing strange lights

and shadows over the camp, and the weird

effect of the

whole scene was heightened by the

mysterious wail of the grebe, which at intervals

came

up

in the air

like the voice of

an unquiet

floating

from the lake below, spirit.


DEPARTURE OF OUR GUESTS.

$2

CHAPTER DEPARTURE OF OUR GUESTS

— THE

V.

START FOR THE PAMPAS

AN UNTOWARD ACCIDENT— A DAY'S SPORT— UNPLEASANT EFFECTS OF THE WIND — OFF CAPE GREGORIO.

The our

sun had hardly risen the next morning ere

little

toilet

had

I

camp was again

Making a

astir.

stepped out and found that our guests

all risen,

and were busy

in getting their

and shooting accoutrements ready sport.

hasty-

As soon

coffee, the

for the

guns

coming

had partaken of some

as they

whole party started

below, and for an hour or

so,

off to the plains

till

their return, the

repeated reports of their guns seemed to indicate that

they were having

breakfast -time

good

Towards

sport.

they came back,

with their morning's work, though

fairly I

satisfied

am

inclined

to attribute this satisfaction to their evident desire to look at everything

nic

was

connected with their pic-

from an optimist point of view, as their bag in reality a

very small one, consisting only of

a few brace of snipe and wild -duck.

We

then


DEPARTURE OF OUR GUESTS. set to

work

to get

53

a good breakfast ready, at

which employment Prince Henry lent an

intelli-

gent hand, turning out some poached eggs in

We

excellent style.

had a very pleasant meal,

the officers expressing great regret that they were

unable to prolong their stay in our beechwood quarters, the steamer being obliged to continue

her journey that evening.

the horses were driven up and saddled,

last pipe,

and

Whilst they smoked a

about eight o'clock, Mr. B. and myself

at

accompanying them as guides, they mounted and set out

on the road homeward.

The

stiffiiess

consequent on their exertions of

made

the previous day must have

the sensations

they experienced on returning to the saddle anything

but

pleasant

decidedly uncheerful

ones,

and

spirit

at

the

seemed

start

a

prevail

to

among them but as we cantered along, and they warmed to their work, this uneasiness disappeared, ;

and soon

was

all

lovely,

were as merry as

possible.

The day

and the scenery looked to the best

advantage, the only drawback to our enjoyment of the ride being that the sun

After

we had gone

was rather too

several miles

we

got off

our horses to rest under the shade of some

by the

side of a

little

hot.

trees,

stream which came bubbling

out of the cool depths of the forest, emptying


DEPARTURE OF OUR GUESTS.

54

itself into

Here an

the adjacent Straits.

incident

occurred which might have been attended with inconvenient consequences.

One

horses suddenly took

head

it

into its

before any one could stop

it,

of the officer's to trot

off,

and,

disappeared round

a point in the direction of Sandy Point.

Mr. B.

got on his horse and started in pursuit, and in the meanwhile a time of

some suspense ensued,

the event of his being unsuccessful,

for, in

make

unfortunate would have had to of his

way on

foot.

However,

this

contingency was happily avoided reappeared, having

managed

;

some

the

best

unpleasant

Mr. B. soon

to catch the runaway,

not indeed without a great deal of trouble.

We

reached Sandy Point late

in the afternoon,

and very glad the whole party must have been to get there, for they were most of them completely

done their

up, and, considering the length of the ride,

rough horses and rougher saddles,

this

was

no wonder. After having said good-bye to the with

many

officers,

expressions of thanks on their part for

the unexpected diversion

our presence in that

outlandish part of the world had afforded them,

Mr. B. and

I

immediately set out to return to the

camp, which we managed to reach just as getting dark.

it

was


THE START FOR THE PAMPAS. Everything was now ready

and

it

55

for our journey,

was resolved that we should make a

We

the next morning.

in order to help the

were therefore up

guides as

much

start

early,

as possible

with the packing, which was quite a formidable undertaking.

It

took

fully three

hours to get our

miscellaneous goods and chattels stowed the pack-horses, whose last,

however,

all

and with a

saddle,

number was

was ready

At

thirteen.

we

;

away on

got into the

glance at the beechwood

last

camp, which had grown quite familiar and home-

we rode off, now fairly started on our journey into the unknown land that lay before us. like to us,

We

soon had our hands

full

to help the guides to

keep the horses together, a rather

The mules

in particular

difficult task.

gave great

trouble,

and

were continually leading the horses into mischief.

At one

time,

as

if

by preconcerted

whole troop dispersed

signal,

the

in different directions into

the wood, and there, brushing through the thick

underwood, many of the pack-horses upset their packs,

and trampled on the contents, whilst some

of the others turned

tail,

and coolly trotted back

to the pasture-ground they

had

just left at

Cabo

Negro. All this

was very provoking,

patience and a

but, with

a

little

good deal of swearing on the part


THE PAMPAS.

56

of the guides,

the refractory pack-horses were

was got together

re-saddled, the troop

by dint of out of the rolling

careful driving

wooded

we

again,

and

at last got safely

emerged on the

country, and

pampa, where there was

for

some distance

Indian track, along which the horses

a beaten

travelled with greater ease,

till,

gradually under-

standing what was required of them, they jogged

on

in front

sobriety,

of us with tolerable steadiness and

which was only occasionally disturbed by

such slight ebullitions as a free fight between

two of the

an abortive attempt on the

some hungry animal

part of

some

stallions, or

to

make

a dash for

particularly inviting- looking knoll of green

grass at a distance off the line of our march.

The

country

totally

different

behind

us.

we were now

crossing

character to that

Not a

tree or a shrub

anywhere, and while to the

left

rugged range of the Cordilleras, the right an

immense

horizon, rising

and

we had

was

to

left

be seen

of us lay the in front

plain stretched

and

away

to

to the

falling occasionally in slight

undulations, but otherwise completely

tonously level.

was of a

The

and mono-

ground, which was rather

swampy, was covered with an abundance of coarse green grass, amongst which we could see flocks of wild geese grazing in great

numbers.

We


EL DESPUNTADERO. passed

covered with

freshwater lakes,

several

57

wild-fowl,

who

A

or two would occasionally hover over

hawk

flew up very wild at our approach.

our heads, and once the dogs started off in pursuit of a

grey fox that had incautiously shown

little

but except these, there was no sign of

itself;

animal

life

on the

seemingly interminable

silent,

plain before us.

After

we had

turned off to the

and soon the

we

ridden for several hours,

left,

facing the Cordilleras again,

came

plain

sudden end, a

to a

we

broken country now appearing, over which rode

till

nightfall,

when we- came

in sight of the

" Despuntadero," the extremity of Peckett's

bour, an

arm of the sea which runs

distance inland. night,

Here we were

and as we were

after our long ride,

all

to

for

camp

for the

still

lay

horses to

between us and

our camping -place as quickly as possible. to

some

rather tired and hungry

we urged on our

cover the distance that

Har-

But

"hasten slowly" would have been a wiser

course in this case, as in most others. trot at

The

rapid

which we now advanced disturbed the equi-

librium of one of the packs, the cords holding

which had already become

slack,

and down came

the whole pack, iron pot, tin plates, and

an awful

clatter,

whilst the

mare who

all,

with

carried

it.


AN UNTOWARD

58

ACCIDENT.

her wits, dashed off at a gallop,

terrified out of

spurring with her heels her late encumbrances,

and followed by the whole troop of her equally frightened companions.

The pampa was strewn rice, biscuits,

tered in

all

what we mare, again,

with broken bags; and

and other precious

When we

directions.

had picked up

and replaced the pack on the

could,

who in we were

stores lay scat-

meantime had been caught

the

further agreeably surprised

by the

sight of another packless animal galloping over the

brow of a

distant

hill,

followed at

by Gregorio, who was trying I'Aria

was descried

in

some

to lasso

distance it,

whilst

another direction, endea-

vouring to collect together another scattered sec-

Off

tion of our troop.

way

turning on the

whom we foal in

to drive

a secluded

to aid him,

up one of the mares,

accidentally found

by the guides

By

we scampered

grazing with

valley, " the

her

guides forgetting,

forgot."

the time

we got up

to I'Aria, the obstinacy

and speed of the refractory animals had evidently proved too much

him

sitting

a pipe.

for him,

inasmuch as we found

under a bush philosophically smoking

In answer to our query as to what had

become of the

horses, he

in the direction of

waved

his

a distant line of

hand vaguely hills,

and we


A BATS SPORT. were just setting

off

59

on what we feared would

prove a rather arduous quest when a welcome tinkle suddenly struck

our ears, and the troop

reappeared from the depths of a ravine, driven up

by Francisco, who had providentially come across

them

in

It

time to intercept their further

was

quite

dark as

we rode down and

camp by the shore

pitched our

of the inlet above

mentioned, under the lee of a

from a

had been

set

necessary in the region little

After the tents

up some of the men went

firewood, but there

for

was a

to

we were now

make a very

to look

scarcity of that

they could collect was half green.

we managed

not far

bluff,

tall

pool of fresh water.

little

flight.

fair fire

in,

and the

However, with

it,

and

our dinner was soon cooked and eaten, whereupon

we

retired to rest.

The

next morning was

day

to stop a

being plentiful

breakfast

— game, as Gregorio informed

in that region.

we took our guns and

the direction

of

a group

We

by some

were rewarded

for

After a light started off in

freshwater lakes

of

which lay beyond a range of camp.

and we resolved

encampment and

at our present

have some shooting, us,

fine,

hills

behind our

our arduous climb

excellent sport, wild geese, duck, etc.,

being very

plentiful,

and on our way back we


UNPLEASANT EFFECTS OF THE WIND,

6o

crossed

some

some marshy ground where there were

snipe, several brace of

In the afternoon,

it

which we bagged.

being rather hot and

sultry,

refreshed ourselves with a bath in the sea, and

we

then came dinner-time, and by half-past seven

were

in

The

bed and

some

asleep.

following day

A

northward.

we continued our journey

long day's ride brought us to

springs, called " Pozos

we camped

look at one another,

de

la

After

for the night.

time round the

for a short

we

Reina," where

we had

and had

fire,

we became aware

rested

leisure to

of a most

disagreeable metamorphosis that had taken place in

our

faces.

They were

swollen to an almost

unrecognisable extent, and had assumed a deep

purple hue, the

by a sharp

phenomenon being accompanied

itching.

The

boisterous wind which

we had encountered during

the day, and which

is

the standing drawback to the otherwise agreeable climate of Patagonia, was no doubt the cause of this

annoyance, combined possibly with our

salt-

water bath of the day previous. After a few days the skin of our faces peeled off completely, but the swelling did not for

some

time.

I

may make

the

selves with

masks

would advise any person who

same journey ;

go down

by taking

to provide

them-

this precaution

they


OFF CAPE GREGORIO.

save themselves a great deal of the discomfort

will

we

6i

suffered from the winds.

The

following

day we

left

**

de

Pozos

la

Reina/' and pushed forward as quickly as possible, as in

we had no meat

and had not yet arrived

left,

the country of the guanacos and ostriches.

The

Indians had very recently passed over

ground we were now crossing, and, as

all

usual,

the

had

swept away any game there might have been there.

The range where guanaco plentiful is

really

become

about eighty miles away from Sandy

Point.

Still

ostrich

or

we kept

a good look-out, and any

guanaco that

misfortune to show

might have had the

would have stood a

itself

poor chance of escape with some eight or nine

hungry dogs and a number of not

horsemen

on,

and we arrived

The

destination empty-handed.

spot

hazily visible in the distance.

an abundance of wood

camp being not

at our

we camped

Cape Gregorio, which

at lay directly in front of

Indian

keen

at its heels.

But the day wore

was

less

There was

the locality, and the

in

far

off,

we were conveniwe intended

ently situated in every respect, as

paying these interesting continuing our journey.

people a

visit

before


THE INDIAN CAMP.

VISIT TO

62

CHAPTER VISIT

TO THE INDIAN CAMP PHYSIQUE

ISTICS

VI.

—A PATAGONIAN— INDIAN CURIOSITY

—COSTUME

WOMEN

PROMINENT CHARACTER-

—AN INDIAN INCROYABLE—SUPERSTITIOUSNESS.

Since we

left

Sandy Point our dogs had had no

regular meal, and had subsisted chiefly on rice

and

biscuits,

a

kind

of

which,

food

being

accustomed to meat only, was most uncongenial to their tastes

For

we

and unprofitable

to their bodies.

their sakes, therefore, as well as for our

looked forward to our

visit

camp, apart from other motives of hopes of obtaining a last

sufficient

the Indian

interest, in the

supply of meat to

we should

for all of us, until

to

own,

arrive in the

promised land of game. After breakfast the horses were saddled, and taking some sugar, tobacco, and other articles for bartering purposes,

we

set

out for the

Indian

camp, accompanied by Gregorio and Guillaume. I'Aria and Storer were

and Francisco went

left in

off

charge of our camp,

with the dogs towards


A PATAGONIAN. Cape Gregorio,

some

the hope of falling in with

The weather was

stray ostrich or guanaco.

and

fine,

in

for

once

63

we were

able to rejoice in the

absence of the rough winds which were our

We

annoyance.

had not gone

daily-

when we saw

far

a rider coming slowly towards us, and in a few

minutes real

we found

ourselves in the presence of a

Patagonian Indian.

when he got

We reined

close to us, to

our horses

in

have a good look at

him, and he doing the same, for a few minutes stared at

him

we

to our hearts content, receiving in

•return as minute

and

from him.

careful a scrutiny

Whatever he may have thought of

us,

him a singularly unprepossessing

object, and, for

the sake of his race,

specimen of

it.

we thought

we hoped an unfavourable

His dirty brown

face, of

which

the principal feature was a pair of sharp black eyes,

was half-hidden by tangled masses of un-

kempt over

held together by a handkerchief tied

hair,

his

enveloped

forehead, in

and

his

burly

was

a greasy guanaco-capa, considerably

the worse for wear.

His

feet

were

of his heels was armed with a

little

of curious

body

bare, but

wooden

and ingenious handiwork.

one

spur,

Having

completed his survey of our persons, and ex-

changed a few guttural grunts with Gregorio, of which the purport was that he had

lost

some


THE CAMP.

64

horses and was on their search, he galloped away, and, glad to find

some

to admire the easy grace with

well-bred looking

little

its

able

which he sat his

horse, which,

siderably below his weight,

do

we were

virtue in him,

though con-

was doubtless able

to

master good service.

Continuing our way several

mounted

we

presently observed

Indians, sitting motionless

on

on the summit of a

tall

their horses, like sentries,

ridge ahead of us, evidently watching our move-

At our approach

ments.

they disappeared over

the ridge, on the other side of which lay their*

Cantering

camping- ground.

came

in sight of the entire

was pitched either side

flowing

we soon

Indian camp, which

a broad valley-plain, flanked on

in

by steep

down

forward

its

dozen big hide

bluffs,

and with a

stream

There were about a

centre. tents,

little

front of

in

which stood

crowds of men and women, watching our approach with lazy curiosity.

Numbers

were disporting themselves

we had Indians,

of

little

children

in the stream,

to ford in order to get to the tents.

more

inquisitive than their brethren,

which

Two came

out to meet us, both mounted on the same horse,

and saluted us with much grinning and jabbering.

On

our arrival in the camp

we were soon

encircled

by a curious crowd, some of whose number gazed


INDIAN CURIOSITY.

65

at us with stolid gravity, whilst others laughed

and gesticulated as they discussed our appearance harsh guttural language, with a vivacious

in their

manner which was quite

variance with the

at

received traditions of the solemn bent of the

Our accoutrements and

Indian

mind.

seemed

to excite great interest,

At

riding-boots

being objects of attentive examina-

in particular tion,

my

clothes

and apparently of much serious speculation. they were content to observe them from

first

a distance, but presently a

by the

elders, to

boy was delegated

advance and give them a closer

This he proceeded to do, coming

inspection.

me

towards

little

with great caution, and

when near

enough, he stretched out his hand and touched

This

the boots gently with the tips of his fingers. exploit

was greeted with roars of laughter and

ejaculations,

and emboldened by

now ventured

its

success,

many

some

enter-

to follow his example,

prising spirits extending their researches to the

my ulster, take my hand

texture of

and one even going so

as to

in

little

bracelet

I

wore

his,

far

whilst subjecting a

to a profound

and exhaustive

scrutiny.

Whilst they were thus occupied

I

to observe their general appearance.

struck so

much by

their height as

F

by

had I

leisure

was not

their extra-


66

PHYSIQUE OF THE TEHUELCHES. As

ordinary development of chest and muscle. regards their stature,

I

do not think the average

men exceeded

height of the

husband stands

six

feet

my

and as

six feet,

two inches

had

I

a

favourable opportunity for forming an accurate

One

estimate.

towered

far

or two there were, certainly,

who

above him, but these were exceptions.

The women were mostly of the ordinary height, though I noticed one who must have been quite six The features of the pure-bred feet, if not more. Tehuelche are extremely regular, and by no means unpleasant to look aquiline, the

mouth

The

at.

nose

well shaped

is

generally

and beautified by

the whitest of teeth, the expression of the eye intelligent,

and the form of the whole head

a favourable index to

their

These remarks do not apply

whose veins there Fuegian blood.

is

to the

Tehuelches

The

flat

objects,

Wheel-of-Fortune

Their hair

is

noses, oblique eyes,

some

in

different

every respect as

from an ordinary carthorse. is

worn parted

being prevented from falling over

by means of a handkerchief, or

kind, tied

and

make them

and they are as

long and coarse, and

in the middle,

their faces

"

in

a mixture of Araucanian or

from a pure-bred Tehuelche '*

affords

mental capabilities.

badly proportioned figures of the latter

most repulsive

is

round the forehead.

fillet

of

They have


COSTUME. naturally

as

little

may appear

and such growth

many extend even

Their dress

brows.

face,

carefully eradicated,

is

operation, which

''

on the

hair

67

is

simple,

chiripd," a piece of cloth

and

round the

indispensable guanaco capa, which

is

a painful

to their eye-

consists of a loins,

and the

hung

loosely

over the shoulders and held round the body by the hand, though

convenient to have a belt of

some

would obviously seem more

it

secured round the waist with

it

Their horse-hide boots are

kind.

only worn, for reasons of economy,

The women

dress like the

men

when

hunting.

except as regards

the chiripa, instead of which they wear a loose

kind of

gown beneath

at the

neck with a

the capa, which they fasten

silver

brooch or

pin.

children are allowed to run about naked are five or six years old,

till

and are then dressed

The they like

Partly for ornament, partly also as

their elders.

a means of protection against the wind, a great

many

Indians paint their faces,

colour, as far as

one or two

I

I

their favourite

could see, being red, though

observed had given the preference

to a mixture of that colour with black,

diabolical

a very

appearance being the result of

this

combination.

The Tehuelches

are

a

race

that

is

fast

approaching extinction, and even at present

it


TEHUELCHE WOMEN.

68

numbers eight hundred

scarcely

souls.

They

lead

a rambling nomadic existence, shifting their camp-

ing places from one region to another, whenever

game

the is

in their vicinity gets

fortunate for

them

that the

of guanaco and ostriches for

them

shy or scarce.

It

immense numbers

makes

it

an easy matter

to find subsistence, as they are extremely

lazy, and, plentiful as

game

is

around them, often

pass two or three days without food rather than incur the very slight exertion attendant on a day's

hunting.

But blessed are

is

it

with

only the this

men who

indolent

When

hunting.

Is

The women

spirit.

indefatlgably industrious.

Tehuelche existence

are cursed or

done

All

the

by them

work of except

not employed in ordinary house-

hold work they busy themselves in making guanaco

capas,

fillets

weaving gay -coloured

for the hair,

Not one

so forth.

working

silver

garters

and

ornaments, and

of their least arduous tasks

is

that of collecting firewood, which, always a scarce article,

becomes doubly hard

to find, except

going great distances, when they camp long

one

by in

place.

But though treated thus unfairly as regards the division of labour, the

plain of

women can by no means com-

want of devotion

to

them on the part of the


PROMINENT CHARACTERISTICS. men.

69

Marriages are matters of great solemnity

with them, and the

and wife show great both agree

in

Husband

tie is strictly kept.

affection for

one another, and

extravagant love of their offspring,

which they pet and spoil to their hearts' content.

The most prominent Tehuelche

of

the

easy-going good humour, for

his

is

characteristic

whereas most aboriginal races incline to silence

and saturnine gravity, he

The

is all

smiles and chatter.

other good qualities of the race are fast dis-

appearing under the influence of " aquadiente," to the use of which they are getting addicted,

and soon,

it

is

more and more

to be feared, they will

become nothing more than a pack of impoverished, dirty, thieving ragamuffins.

After having sat for some time on horseback,

numerous

in the centre of the to,

we dismounted,

and merriment in us, after

flag

above referred

the act causing fresh animation

our interviewers, whose interest

in

a thorough examination, had begun to

somewhat.

their feelings

and

circle

An

was a

their delight

mounted and

fired

object which greatly excited

rifle

belonging to

my

brother,

knew no bounds when he it

off for their edification

or twice at a distant mark.

At each

dis-

once

discharge

they set up a lusty howl of satisfaction, and nothing

would do

for

them but

for each to

be allowed to


INDIAN

70

WIT.

handle the weapon and inspect

There was a trader

mechanism.

camp who had

in the

about the same time as

its

we

arrived

and amongst other

did,

wares he had brought a rusty carbine with him for

He

sale.

duce

it

was

and

those of

my

upon by the Indians

called

fire it off to

brother's

do, but

seven times

missed

fire.

compare

to pro-

qualities with

its

This he proceeded to

rifle.

in succession the cartridges

Each time

happened he was

this

greeted with shouts of derisive laughter, and

was evident that both he and

his

it

weapon were the

objects of most disparaging remarks on the part

One

of the Tehuelches.

of them, a

man

of

some

humour, brought out a small piece of ostrich meat

and offered carbine,

never

good there

it

to the trader in

exchange

saying in broken Spanish,

kill

'*

Your gun Your gun

piece of meat as big as this.

to kill

dead guanaco."

for his

At which

witticism

was renewed and prolonged applause, as

the newspapers say.

But excitement reached

its

height

when

I

produced the bag of sugar we had brought, and

began

to distribute small handfuls of

its

contents

among the children. Everybody pressed round me men and women, hustling and pushing in

—

their eagerness to get I

was obliged

to

some of the coveted

be careful

in

my

dainty.

bounty, how-


AN INDIAN ever, or

we should

any meat

in

INCROYABLEr

''

71

not have enough

left to

obtain

exchange, and a great

many

sweet-

toothed Tehuelches had to remain disappointed in

As

consequence.

we found

was,

had not been out hunting

for three

— a greasy

Indians

days,

pemmican

there was hardly anything but

camp,

considerable

The

obtaining any meat.

in

difficulty

it

concoction, with which

and

in the

we by

no means cared to experiment on our stomachs.

With

difficulty

we

at last

succeeded

in

obtaining

the leg and breast of an ostrich, and a small piece

of half sun-dried guanaco meat, which looked

This transaction having

extremely untempting.

been accomplished, we wandered the

leisurely about

camp, glancing at the different objects of that

interest little

curs,

came

our way, pestered not a

in

we moved along by swarms

as

of yelping

which barked and snapped viciously

and could only be kept

at us,

at a respectful distance

a free use of stones and whips.

At one

by

of the

girls,

we saw two remarkably clean and pretty who were engaged on some kind of sewing

work

;

tents

and beside them

to one (or both)

youth,

who

his dress,

struck

and

appearance.

—stood

—probably

making love

an equally good-looking

me by

his general

the peculiar neatness of ''

tird

a quatre epingles

"

His hair was brushed and combed,


INDIAN SUPERSTITIOUSNESS.

72

and

carefully parted,

chief keeping

its

—a

bright red silk handker-

glossy locks in due subjection.

His handsome guanaco capa was new, and

bril-

painted on the outside, and being half

liantly

opened, displayed a clean white chirlpa, fastened at the waist

A

ship.

by a

workman-

silver belt of curious

pair of neatly fitting horse-hide boots

encased his

reaching up to the knees, where

feet,

they were secured by a pair of gay -coloured the

garters,

possibly

maidens

at his side.

gift

of one

of

the

fair

Struck by his graceful bearing and well-bred looking

face,

I

begged Mr.

a sketch-book with him, to

who had brought make a sketch of this B.,

handsome son of the pampa. cess the

young Indian never moved, and

served a perfectly indifferent

when

During the pro-

demeanour

;

the picture was finished, and given to

pre-

but

him

for inspection, his forehead contracted with anger,

an expression of fear came vent

some angry sounding

to

finally,

much

object of evil spell

eyes

;

he gave

gutturals,

and

to our annoyance, tore the portrait

He

to pieces.

happen

in his

was under the impression that the

making the sketch was

to

throw some

over him, and that a misfortune would

if it

were not destroyed.

Being relieved

of this danger, his feelings regained their natural


BARTER.

73

calm, and he grinned contentedly at our evident

wrath at his high-handed proceeding.

The visit to

Indians were about to

Sandy

Point,

make

where they go

their annual to obtain the

rations of sugar, tobacco, etc., allowed to

them

by the Chilian Government, and to barter with the inhabitants for the luxuries of civilisation, in

exchange

for furs

transactions,

as

and

ostrich feathers, at

they are seldom

which

sober during

their stay outside the colony, they generally get

worsted by the cunning white man. regarding the Indians being obtained

all

the meat

now turned homewards.

we

Our

satisfied,

curiosity

and having

could from them,

we


74

THE PRAIRIE

FIRE.

CHAPTER

VII.

THE PRAIRIE

As we by a

FIRE.

rode along, our attention was attracted

and presently thick

faint smell of burning,

clouds of

smoke came

towards

rolling

We

us.

pressed wonderingly on, anxious to discover the

whereabouts of the

somewhere

from

far

eminence,

slight

which we trusted lay

fire,

we were

able

view of the country ahead. escaped

our

drawing

rein,

A

as

lips

we

right,

To

fire

up,

cast

a

Even

wind

and

around,

our

sky

;

swept

the

right

hills to

curled

our

rapidly

aloft,

and

the flames, which shot

yellow

strange whilst

left,

came rushing

Dense masses of smoke

everything.

gust of

cry of dismay

and gradually wreathing the

entirely obscured the fiercely

A

a

stared blankly at one another.

a huge prairie

along.

command

to

we looked

fearful sight lay before us.

in front,

Reaching a

camp.

our

we

glare

over

watched, a strong

fire

with

incredible


THE PRAIRIE and

swiftness towards us,

enveloped

we were

a second

in

unable

one

see

to

had now become

situation

75

such a dense cloud of smoke that

in

we were

FIRE.

moment was

be

to

and not a

critical,

lost.

The

another.

Half choked, and

bewildered by the suddenness with which the

danger had come upon

what course

us,

we

knew

scarcely

Already our horses were

to take.

snorting with fear, as the crackling of the burning

grass and bushes

came nearer and

away from the coming was

native it if

to face

possible.

To

it

fire

nearer.

was useless

at a gallop,

;

To

run

the alter-

and get through

throw our guanaco mantles over

our heads, and draw them as tightly round us as

we

was the work of a second, and then

could,

we dashed forward, every one for himself. The moments that followed seemed an eternity. As I urged

digging our spurs into our horses,

my

unwilling horse forward, the sense of suffoca-

tion

grew

terrible, I

could scarcely draw breath,

and the panting animal seemed

The

me.

nearer; heat,

horrible

crackling

to stagger

came nearer and

became conscious of the most

I

and

my

beneath

intolerable

head began to swim round.

My

horse gave two or three furious plunges, and then burst madly forward.

might,

I

Almost choked, come what

could bear the mantle over

my

head no


;

THE PRAIRIE

76

and tore

longer,

of relief that

never forget. tively

clear,

miracle for

my

it

off

The sudden

me.

came over me I

as

looked up, the

and the

I

did so,

it

my

companions, and, to

sense I

shall

was compara-

air

By some

behind me.

fire

had passed through

I

FIRE.

unhurt

!

I

looked

inexpressible joy,

saw them emerge one by one from the black mass of smoke, which was the distance.

now

Congratulations and exclamations

we retraced our how we had managed over,

steps to try and discover

we had happened sparse,

By

a piece of fortune

to ride over a

narrow pebbly

ground, where the grass was extremely

and where there were but few bushes

had chance led us over any other the grass

was thick and

tall,

we

where

track,

could scarcely

Our poor

ever have got through the danger. horses had suffered a good deal as feet

The

to escape so luckily.

reason was soon apparent.

tract of

rapidly receding into

it

was, their

and legs being scorched and singed severely.

Our thoughts now Storer and there.

I' Aria,

flew to our camp, and to

whom we had

That they had

escaped

The

changed by the

behind

we had

doubt, but for our tents and chattels

was no hope.

left

we

felt

little

there

landscape seemed completely

fire,

all

around, as far as

we

could see, stretched black smoking plains, and the


THE PRAIRIE

FIRE.

77

had become quite unfamiliar

outlines of the hills to us.

With

rather heavy hearts

we pushed

eagerly scanning the country for

some

forward,

indication

which might guide us to the quarter where our

camp had

stood.

If,

as

we had every

believe, our

things were burnt, our

was

an end, for the present, at

trip

at

reason to

Patagonian all

events.

Fortunately things did not turn out so badly. Presently

my

husband,

who was

riding in advance

of the others, gave a shout, and

come

us to

not lose a sight, as

on.

we

signals for

need hardly say that we did

I

moment

made

in joining him,

and a welcome

Some

got up to him, met our eyes.

two or three hundred yards below the which we were, we perceived our

little

on

hill

white tents

standing safe and unharmed on a narrow green tract of land,

which looked

like a smiling island

in the midst of the vast black plain.

FAria, too, joyed,

we

we

could see moving about, and, over-

galloped

ning out to meet

on us.

Storer and

down towards them, they

us, having suffered

their parts, as to

no little anxiety,

what might have happened

We pressed question after question

and Storer as camp.

to

run-

to

how they had managed to

I'

to

Aria

save the

Storer was unable to give any intelligible

account, so entirely upset

was he by

fright,

but


THE PRAIRIE

78

r Aria's

FIRE.

and from him

serted him, even on this occasion,

we heard us,

all

had not de-

philosophical calm

natural

The

particulars.

fire,

he informed

had been caused by the Indian we had met

in

the morning on the look-out for strayed horses.

This man had amused himself by setting

fire to

the long dry grass in various places, and, fanned

by a strong wind, the flames spread, and soon assumed enormous proportions. Quick

camp was

to in,

perceive the possible danger our the Indian at once galloped up, and

with the assistance of

making a

''

I'

Aria and Storer, set about

contra-fuego

"

or counter

fire,

that

say, they gradually set fire to the grass all

burn a considerable

the camp, letting

it

always keeping

well in subjection, beating

it

with bushes and trampling

it

under

to

round

tract,

foot,

could not get beyond their control.

is

it

but out

so that

it

This pre-

cautionary measure was fortunately completed by the time the big

fire

came

on,

and although,

for a

minute or two, they were half suffocated by the smoke, the itself,

fire

passed harmlessly by the camp

the burnt belt around

proving an effectual

it

safeguard.

Our

horses were

all

safe,

as they

grazing on the far side of a stream valley.

The camp was

in

in

had been

an adjacent

great disorder

;

the


THE PRAIRIE tents

FIRE.

79

were blackened by the smoke, the provision-

bags and other chattels lay scattered

in confusion.

Our

to cover the

and rugs had been used

furs

cartridges with,

the

for,

whilst the fire raged around

camp was deluged with showers

of sparks, and

an explosion might easily have occurred, had

meanwhile Fran9ois excursion.

we had

It

straight,

arrived

from

and

little

for

some

a matter of great urgency that

the

;

and as

meat from the

Indians, for the sake of our dogs,

on very short rations

in

hunting

his

had proved unsuccessful

obtained but very

this

For some time we

precaution not been taken.

were busy putting things

it,

who had been

time,

it

we should

became get as

soon as possible into regions where guanaco and ostrich

were

to start

plentiful,

and accordingly we decided

on the following day.

Dinner over,

my

companions were not long before they went to sleep, but feeling little inclination to follow their

example,

I

strolled out,

and wandered round the

camp, watching with interest the strange changes

came over the landscape

that

night

came slowly

camp loomed sky

;

far

like

on.

The

black

day waned and hills

behind the

shadowy phantoms against the

and wide

slept

the silent pampa,

undulating surface illumined lovely moon.

as

The

faint

its

by the rays of a

glow which tinged the


THE PRAIRIE horizon,

FIRE.

and the strange noises which a puff of

wind occasionally brought the mighty

was

fire

still

to

my

ears,

burning

till it

For a long time templation

I

to

stop

in

its

reached the sea-coast.

stood immersed in the con-

of this weird desolate

scene, giving

myself up to the mysterious feelings

many vague and

that

in the distance

with unbated fury, perhaps not devastating course

showed

fanciful

thoughts

it

and the

suggested,

till,

overcome with the excitement and exertions of had

the day,

I

and seek

my

at last to give

couch.

way

to drowsiness


UNPLEASANT

VISITORS.

CHAPTER UNPLEASANT VISITORS

— "SPEED

THE PARTING GUEST"

PREPARATIONS FOR THE CHASE

HOME

— —WIND AND HAIL

we were up

next morning

were engaged

packing

woman walked suddenly

Into the

surrounded our encamp-

of bushes which

and seated herself

ment,

we Whilst we

In the tedious operation of

an Indian

ring

A

betimes, as

were going to continue our journey.

up,

— OFF

STRIKING

AN EXCITING RUN THE DEATH HUNGRY AS HUNTERS " FAT-BEHIND-THE-EYE."

GUANACO AT LAST

The

VIII.

I'ARIA MISLEADS US

AN OSTRICH EGG

AGAIN OIL

8i

silently

by the

fire.

Gregorlo elicited from her that on the previous night the Indians had been drinking heavily, and that

she had had a quarrel with her husband

whilst both

were

which she had

way

to

Sandy

inebriated.

left his tent,

Point.

counted

on

haviour, and

the

her

least

and was now on her

camp tired.

husband's

coming

consequence of

She had walked the whole

distance from the Indian

not seem in

In

barefoot, but did I

suppose she

regretting

his

be-

after her to fetch her back,

G


UNPLEASANT

82

for

she could hardly have seriously entertained

the idea of walking I

VISITORS.

offered her

late,

some

way

the

all

biscuits

Sandy

to

and a

stick of choco-

which she accepted readily enough, but with-

out even so

much

Presently she

as a grunt

by way of thanks.

Gregorio that

told

were breaking up

their

of information

made

with

all

Indians

This piece

us hurry on with our work,

we dreaded being

Indians,

the

camp, and that some were

going to march on to Sandy Point.

as

Point.

surprised

our

effects

by a party of

scattered

about,

offering tempting facilities for abstraction, which

the Tehuelche heart was sure not to be able to

To

resist.

tremely

such a

liable,

as

close to the trail to

Our

fears

we were moreover exour camp was unfortunately visit

Sandy

Point.

were realised only too soon,

for

about a quarter of an hour after the arrival of the

squaw two Indians came crashing unceremoniously through

the

bushes

;

and wheeling their

horses about the camp, careless of our crockery, after

a short examination they dismounted, and

coolly sat

down by our

lire,

answering our angry

looks with imperturbed stares of stolid indifference.

Five minutes

later

another party arrived,

followed shortly by a further batch, and presently

we were

quite inundated

by a swarm of these un-


''SPEED

THE PARTING

GUEST,"

Of course our work was

bidden guests.

goods and

Over

chattels.

no very good

in

who on

friends,

pipe

no particular

fire,

and were passing round

evident good

in

humour with

To com-

themselves and their present quarters. plete the irony of the situation,

ber

who a

one of their num-

which he purposed to cook

our kettle, which was fire.

amuse him and

influenced

still

As may be

an indignant refusal

them

in

for getting rid of

we wished

imagined, he met with

his friends,

it

only appeared

and by no means

hastening their departure. on,

and some expedient

them had

to be devised unless

to lose a

whole day.

It

occurred to

us that they might possibly be bribed to

go away

by means of a small offering of whisky through Gregorio that

rewarded spirit.

if

in

simmering conveniently

however,

;

Meanwhile time went

them

me

could speak Spanish came and asked

little coffee,

on the

our

They had made themselves

comfortable at our social

fervent

from

relief

their part evinced

hurry to go away.

the

breathing

speedy

for

we kept guard

these

humour,

the while

prayers

to

stopped,

our attention being required to look after our

all

for

83

we

;

and

accordingly intimated to

they would leave us they should be

for their kindness with a glass of that

To

our relief they accepted this

offer,

and


OFF AGAIN.

84

we

them

presently had the satisfaction of seeing

To do them

ride leisurely away.

justice,

I

must

say that, contrary to our fears, they did not steal

any of our

effects,

though possibly the

strict

watch

we kept over them may have had something do with

this

unusual display of honesty.

The moment

we redoubled our

they had gone

and succeeded

efforts,

to

in

getting

all

our horses

saddled and packed without further molestation.

The

three mules

still

remained to be packed, but

we left to the care of Gregorio and Guillaume who were to follow us, we, meanwhile, these

starting

under the guidance of old

off

I'Arla.

Francisco went off alone, by another route, in order

be

to forage for meat,

it

ostrich or guanaco, of

which both ourselves and the dogs stood very

much

In need, the small

supply

we had got from

the Indians being quite exhausted.

Just as up,

we were

who turned

leaving an Indian galloped

out to be the husband of the

pedestrian squaw, who, after the departure of the

other Indians,

still

reconciliation scene

remained

In

our camp.

The

was a very short one, and did

not go beyond a few inexpressive grunts on either side, after

which the squaw got up on horseback

behind her husband, and

Sandy

Point.

off

they rode towards


AN OSTRICH EGG. We

now

struck

northwards, leaving

Cape

which lay directly opposite our

Gregorio,

encampment,

at our backs.

I'

to help him,

and

in

late

Aria having to keep

the troop together singlehanded

do

85

we had

plenty to

galloping after refractory

on the lazy ones, and occasionally

horses, urging

stopping to adjust packs, the time passed quickly

We

enough.

occasionally crossed tracts of land

covered with a plant bearing a profusion of red of

berries

the

quite ripe now,

;

They were

and we found them pleasant and

The weather

refreshing.

bracing

cranberry species.

was, as usual, sunny and

and except that as yet we had not seen a

guanaco or given chase to a single

ostrich,

FAria

told us

nothing to grumble about.

we had that we

were certain to meet with guanaco on that day*s march, selves

so,

with this assurance,

we comforted

our-

and kept a sharp look-out, eagerly scanning

the horizon of each

successive

plain,

and woe

betide the unfortunate animal that might appear

within our ken.

The day

passed, however, and a

dark patch of beeches, which stood near the spot

where we were to camp that night, appeared

in

view without our having seen either an ostrich or a guanaco.

though, and

Somebody found an it

was

time, for although

it

ostrich

^gg

carefully kept against dinner-

must have been

laid

two or


FARM MISLEADS

US.

perhaps three months, there was

still

86

of

its

ally

a possibility

being tolerably good, as these eggs occasion-

keep

till

month of

the

April, six

months

after

laying time.

Towards sunset we

arrived at a broad valley

scattered over with picturesque clumps of beeches,

and bordered on the same tree.

its I'

far side

by a

we were

wood

of

Aria pointed out a spot to us

where he said there were some of which

thick

to

by the

springs,

camp, and thither

we

side

accord-

But when we got there no springs

ingly rode.

were to be seen, and

I'

Aria said he must have

He

mistaken the place.

suddenly remembered,

however, that a conspicuous clump of beeches,

some way up the

we

turned

valley,

in that direction.

and when

mistaken,

sudden inspirations valley in

marked the

all

But again was FAria

— following

—we had

right spot, so

various

of

his

wandered about the

directions for a considerable

time

without coming across these problematic springs,

we began

to think ourselves justified in

that I'Aria

had

lost his

with the same. ever,

He

presuming

way, and in charging him

denied the accusation, how-

with a calm and steady assurance, which,

considering that

all

the time he was leading us

about in aimless helplessness, would have had

something rather humorous about

it

had

our


STRIKING situation

been a

oil:'

87

less serious one.

If

we

did not

succeed in finding the springs, besides having to

endure the torture of

have to stop up

who would be and get

thirst ourselves

go

off in search of

and there were no signs of the of the other guides,

As

track.

a

and each go

last

in

water, though success,

it

I

water

was rapidly getting dark

It

confirmation that

should

night to look after the horses,

all

certain to

lost.

we

too,

any

arrival of

whose absence was a further

we

could not be on the right

resource

we

resolved to separate,

a different direction in search of

must say we had

little

hopes of

being known to us that beyond the

springs in question there was no other water in that part of the country for a considerable distance.

Hurling bitter but useless anathemas

who was now

confidently pointing out a

as the " really " right one,

and having arranged

we

at

I' Aria,

new

spot

accordingly broke up,

to fire a shot as a signal,

should any one of us find water, dispersed over the valley in I

all

directions.

had hardly skirted the beechwood

for

more

than a minute or so

when my horse suddenly

neighed joyfully, and

In

trees

water.

I

an opening among the

saw two or three small pools of spring Overjoyed,

I

lost

no time

in firing off

gun, the report of which soon brought up

all

my the


PREPARATIONS FOR THE CHASE.

88

who had

Others, it

not gone

must be said that

In justice to FAria

far.

hour he had been

for the last

wandering about close to where the springs

and

his persistent denial of

was so

having

that

day ridden,

it

was no

trail

pampa over which

of any description across the

we had

lost his way-

Besides, as there

far justified.

lay,

was

really

no easy

matter to hit on the right spot immediately.

We

had

just set

up the tents and made the

when Gregorio and Guillaume,

now

absence,

that

we were

at

fire

whose prolonged

at the springs our-

we had become rather uneasy, appeared They had been delayed on the the mules.

selves,

with

road by the packs getting undone.

Francisco too

soon came up, and though he had been unsuccessful

in the chase,

he arrived

in

time to cook an

excellent omelette for our dinners with the ostrich

^ggy which turned out to be perfectly sound and palatable.

The next day was

to

be devoted to guanaco-

hunting, the want of meat having serious matter

;

our dogs were getting weak, and

our stores, on which food,

become quite a

we had

were disappearing

in

to rely solely for

an alarmingly quick

manner. It is

marvellous

of hunting

is

how

increased

the ordinary excitement

when, as

in

our case,


PREPARATIONS FOR THE CHASE. one's dinner depends

89

on one's success; and

it

was

with feelings almost of solemnity, that early in the

morning we selected and saddled our best horses, sharpened our hunting- knives, slung our

by the dogs, who knew

and, followed

rifles,

perfectly well

was meant, threaded the

that real earnest sport

beechwood and rode up on

to the plateau, where,

according to the unanimous assurance of the guides,

we

could not I'Aria

fail

meet with guanaco.

to

and Storer having been

behind to

left

look after the camp, our hunting-party numbered seven.

In order to cover as

possible

we spread

out in a

much ground

line,

as

extending over

about two miles, and in this order

we

cantered

northward from the valley, carefully scanning the

which stretched

plain,

flat

away for a good

but apparently as bare of guanaco as grass.

day,

The

cold,

and a

right into our faces,

furs

a

very

trifling

It

was of

weather, unlike that of the preceding

was very

who had

distance,

bitterly sharp

wind blew

making those of our number

neglected to bring their greatcoats or

uncomfortable. matter,

if

This,

however, was

only those good guanacos

would obligingly make

their

appearance!

But

evidently nothing was farther from their minds,

and we rode over the

plain, mile after mile,

with

hopes which, like the thermometer, were gradually


WIND AND

90

HAIL.

As

sinking towards zero.

time went on,

the

haze which bound the plateau at our approach In due time

soHdified itself into an escarpment. this

was reached, and on

find another plain

however, a broken, crossed in

all

rode up

I

its

summit as

expecting to Instead,

usual.

country appeared in view,

hilly

by

directions

eagerly about, but

it,

ravines.

Our

no guanaco.

still

advance, meantime, lost

its

order,

looked

I

owing

line of

to the

changed nature of the ground, and frequently lost sight of all

my

into a ravine, or rode

hillock

;

but

it

companions, as

I

descended

I

round the base of some

was never long before

tall

caught a

I

glimpse of one or other of them again.

The wind

got colder and colder, a white cloud

crept up on the

and grew and grew,

horizon,

sweeping swiftly towards found myself enveloped

came

to a stand-still,

in

me,

till

suddenly

I

a furious hail-storm.

and covered up

my

I

head

to

protect myself from the hailstones, which were

very large.

when

I

The

looked

squall

not last long, but

did

up again

found the whole

I

country was whitened over, an atmospheric freak

having created a dreary winter landscape middle of summer.

me

stood,

full in

Suddenly

started

I

tall

guanaco.

close to

and staring

perfectly motionless,

the face, a

;

in the

I

was so

me

startled


A GUANACO AT LAST. and surprised that

for the space of a

A

quietly returning his stare.

horse broke the the side of a

moment on

movement

my

and was

rifle,

its

had expected,

I

base,

my

ward, no doubt thinking

am

I

wish to

kill

therefore

hill,

side, as

first

I

had the

selfishness,

guanaco myself, and

by no means displeased

I

it,

us.

to

was

I

to find that

companions had not as yet perceived a beating heart

I

friend looking up-

sure sportsmen will excuse

the

rode

I

should appear by the

I

same road he had come. though

my

mean-

I

and on the other

discovered

of

off in pursuit

Instead of climbing the

quicky round

sat

darted up

summit, disappeared.

its

I

and pausing a

like lightning,

while had unslung of him.

minute

The guanaco

spell.

hill

91

my

With

dismounted and walked slowly

towards the guanaco, who, though he saw

me

coming,

My

still

remained

weapon was a excellent arm,

rook-rifle,

but though an

did not carry

more than 150

light it

quietly standing.

yards with precision, and

over 180 yards from to

advance

then, to leisurely

till

my

I

was now something

prey.

He

it

me

within the required distance, but

my disgust,

just as

I

walked on another

was preparing

to

fire,

thirty or forty yards

before he stopped again, watching as

allowed

me

the while,

seemed with an amused look of impertinence,


AN EXCITING RUN

92

me

which aggravated

considerably.

followed him, vowing to

me

I

was more

''Poor fellow!"

my

brought

murmured

I

rifle

up

Alas

quite certain.

which

into a hole,

my

to

I

!

in

took

my

second

I

was up again,

guanaco bounding up a

yards.

generously,

as

I

shoulder and took aim

it,

on

my

I

make

to

and down

eagerness

noticed, falling rather heavily

I

went

had not In a

face.

just in time to see the

escarpment, taking

far

with him

my

the day.

There was nothing

chance of becoming the heroine of

back to where

I

had become of

my

had

left

my

for

but to walk

it

horse,

and see what

companions.

took the same road the guanaco had taken,

I

on the remote possibility of again.

falling in

with him

Riding up the escarpment above referred

came on

citing chase

to a broad plain,

was going

was condemned

only.

allowed

Only one step forward

just behind his.

I

This

not.

The guanaco

successful.

was

I

come within about the necessary 150

to

to, I

moment

he moved or

within range, whether

time

the

fire

slowly-

I

At some

line of sight,

on, in which, as

way

it

appeared,

to take the part of a spectator

distance,

and going across

was a guanaco running

closely followed

but some

and there an ex-

by a pack of dogs,

in

my

at full speed,

whose

track,

behind, galloped three horsemen,


AN EXCITING R UN whom

I

made out

be

to

my husband,

The guanaco

and Gregorio.

losing ground, but

at first

was only

it

93

for

and brother,

seemed

to be

an instant

another he bounded away with ease, and

it

;

in

was

apparent that as yet he was only playing with his pursuers.

dogs tail

;

The pace soon began

to tell

the less speedy were already beginning to

off,

one of them, probably Gregorio's swift

Pie-de- Plata, being far in advance of

and by no means to be shaken

who had now given up any

off

by the guanaco,

down

to run

soon be out of

—quarry, dogs, horsemen,

sight.

guanaco has stopped

But what's

this

?

will

The

Only for a moment, though.

!

But he has swerved

to the

left,

and behind him

new dog and horseman have appeared on

scene, emerging, as

of the earth. view.

in

earnest.

On, on they go

a

comrades,

its

playful demonstrations

of superiority, and had settled

good

on the

If

The

if

the

by magic, from the bowels

chase

now

is

better under

my

some lucky chance would only bring

the guanaco

my way

!

The

fresh

dog

is

evidently

discomforting him, and his having had to swerve

has brought

all

the other dogs a good bit nearer

to his heels.

But on he goes, running bravely,

and making

for the escarpment, for in the hilly

country below he knows he

is

aj:

an advantage


AN EXCITING R UN

94

The dogs seem double their

to

be aware of

they

this too, for

Sud-

a splendid race ensuing.

efforts,

re-

denly another horseman appears on the plateau,

and the unfortunate guanaco must again swerve the

movement which, hurrah

a

left,

almost facing towards where is

to say,

I

am

him

brings

!

That

standing.

he must cross the escarpment

to

some

at

point on a line between myself and the new-comer,

the other horsemen, from the

been

forming a

run,

debarred his escape ing

this,

into

my

in

circle

manner the race had his

in

any other

direction.

wild with excitement, horse,

which

rear,

dug

I

my

Seespurs

and flew along the edge of the

escarpment, the horseman on the other side doing the same, in order to shut out the guanaco and

throw him back on last

his foes behind.

chance about to be cut

efforts to strain.

off,

he redoubled his On, on we

get through between us.

Nearer and nearer he gets

to the

the plain, and already, with despair, shall

Seeinoo his

be too

late.

But

faster

I

edge of

see that

I

even than the swift

guanaco, a gallant blackhound has crept up, and in

another instant, though the former dashes past within a yard of

my

horse's nose

me

and disappears

over the side of the escarpment, the good dog has already

made

its

spring, and, clinging like

grim

death to the guanaco's haunch, vanishes with him.


;

THE DEATH.

95

After them, in another instant, swept the whole

quarry of dogs, and by the time

my

got

horse

down

I

reined

in,

and

the steep ravine-side, they

had thrown the guanaco, which Pie-de- Plata had brought to a

horseman who had and

at so

below

standstill

last

;

and Francisco, the

appeared on the plateau,

opportune a moment, had already given

the coup-de-grace with his knife.

One

after another the other hunters gradually

arrived, their horses

whilst pipes leisure to

were

lit

examine

more or and

this,

less

blown

flasks produced,

our

first

and

;

we had Look-

guanaco.

ing at his frame, his long, powerful legs, his deep chest,

and body as fine-drawn almost as a grey-

hound's,

we no

longer wondered that guanacos

run as swiftly as they do.

have laughed at he was.

The

us,

Indeed, this one would

had he not been closed

fur of the full-grown

in as

guanaco

is

of

a woolly texture, and in colour of a reddish brown

on the back, the neck, and the quarters

;

being

whitish on the belly and the inner sides of the legs.

The head

closely resembles that of a camel

the eyes, which have a strange look on account of the peculiar shape of the eye bones, are very large

and 1

beautiful.

A

fair-sized

guanaco weighs from

80 to 200 pounds.

Meantime, Gregorio having begun to cut up


THE DEATH.

96

the guanaco, to our chagrin

be mangy

It

was discovered

—a disease very common

among

to

these

animals, probably on account of the bracklshness of

the water; and the meat being consequently unfit for food,

made left

we abandoned

the

Sandy

first

It

good meal they

Point.

who now had had since we

to the dogs,

They were soon gorged

to such

an extent that they became useless for hunting purposes, and

we had

relying solely on our

now

therefore to ride on,

rifles.

Gregorio had seen a herd of guanacos at the far

end of the plain over which the chase had

taken place, and thither

we

accordingly

After half an hour's galloping, limit, finding

we reached

below a broad valley broken up

various depressions and hillocks.

one of the

rode.

latter

we saw

At

its

into

the base of

a small herd of guanaco,

within range of which, by dint of careful stalking,

we

presently

managed

to come.

shots brought a couple of their

both

luckily

Under

turned

out to

Two

fortunate

number down, and be quite

healthy.

the skilful manipulation of Gregorio and

Francisco, in a marvellously short space of time

they were cut up, and the meat having been distributed

among our

various saddles, heavily laden,

we turned homewards.

The way back seemed

terribly long,

now

that


pii||||i

Ill

iff

I

ffiill

ni'iiiiiii

"iiii'i

I

II

1

IS 'iiii


HOME. we had no

longer the excitement of hunting to

shorten the time that

97

we had gone

;

and

it

seemed quite

we had

the distance

incredible

been, when,

towards sunset, after a cold and weary

ride,

we

at

stood on the edge of the plain which over-

last

home

looked the valley where lay our

for the

nonce.

The evening had

turned out

the bois-

fine,

much in sky was now

terous wind which had annoyed us so

the daytime had died away, and the bright and clear.

beech trees with

its

I

Through the branches of the

could catch a glimpse of our camp,

white tents just peeping over the green

smoke

bushes, and a thin column of blue

up

into the

air,

pleasantly suggestive of

and other comforts awaiting

us.

warm

horses, lazily

some

last rays

tea

Farther on, in

the long green grass of the valley, which

glowing under the

rising

was now

of the sun, were our

grazing, others lying stretched out,

enjoying their

whilst the colts

and

day's

fillies,

as

respite is

their

from work,

wont

at sun-

down, were frisking about and kicking up their heels in

all

as yet of

the exuberance of youth, unconscious

heavy packs and sharp spurs.

What-

ever special character the peaceful scene might otherwise want was fully supplied by the picturesquely wild appearance of

H

my

companions,

as,


HUNGR V AS HUNTERS.

98

eschewing contemplation, and anticipating dinner, they rode quickly ahead towards the camp on their shaggy, sturdy horses, their bodies muffled in the graceful

guanaco robe, and huge pieces of

red raw meat dangling on either side of their saddles,

followed by the blood-stained

who seemed thoroughly

tired

after

hounds,

hard

their

day's work.

But whatever country one one may be among In

England, or

—there

In

—

is in,

in one's

whatever scenes

own

cosy snuggery

the bleak steppes of Patagonia

a peculiar sameness In the feeling that

Is

comes over one towards the hours of evening, and which inevitably

calls

up the thought,

be getting near dinner-time.

must

It

Yielding to this

admonition, which to-day was by no means less plain than

down

usual,

to the

When

I

ample meal

I

quitted

my

eyrie

and rode

camp. got there

I

found preparations for an

In full swing.

Ingeniously spitted on

a wooden stave, the whole side of a guanaco was roasting before a blazing

fire,

and

pot a

In the

head of the same animal was yielding

Its

sub-

I

was

assured would turn out an excellent soup.

At

stance

towards the production of what

dinner-time

assurance

;

I

was able

practically to confirm this

a better broth cannot be concocted


"

FA T- BEHIND- THE-EYEV

99

than that obtained from such a guanaco head, with the addition of etc.

dried vegetables,

rice,

But, at the risk of incurring the charge of

digressing too

must pay a

much on

the subject of eating,

behind-the-Eye," and which situated

we

as

by

indicated

its

*'

Fat-

a piece of

The

name.

tit-bits,

but they

in subtle savouriness to the aforesaid

bonne -bouche.

end of our

called

in fact,

is,

tongue and the brain are rare

must yield

I

tribute to the delicacy of a peculiar

morsel in the guanaco, which

fat

chilis,

trip

Having once

tasted

it,

till

the

guanaco head formed a standing

item in our daily messes, and whatever other culinary novelties as

we

discussed,

numerous as strange,

always retained

its

the ne plus ultra of

''

Fat -behind -the -eye"

supremacy

pampa

and they were

in

our affections as

delicacies.


ELASTIC LEAGUES.

100

CHAPTER ELASTIC LEAGUES

IX.

—THE LAGUNA BLANCA —AN EARTHQUAKE OSTRICH-HUNTING.

We should wood

like to

valley,

have lingered on

in the

beech-

but the necessity of pushing forward

as quickly as possible

was too urgent

to allow of

our indulging in our lazy desires, and daybreak

saw our party once more

The

in the saddle.

we rode this day was more rugged and hilly than any we had crossed previously the sun shone down upon us in all the intensity of its summer heat, and the glare of country over which

;

the hot dry ground affected our eyes painfully as

we rode ''

tion

alone.

How

far

have we

still

to

which was often on our

go

?"

lips,

was a questhough, from

we might have known that, whatever answer we got from the guides, we should be no wiser than before. They would reply glibly experience,

enough, four or be,

but

five leagues, as the case

we had found

might

that their ideas of a league


THE LAGUNA BLANCA. were most

elastic,

appearing to vary

an extent which made

it

loi

daily,

and

to

impossible for us to form

any mean average even, to guide us to an approxi-

mate estimation of the value of

their assertions.

Thus, a league might mean ten miles to-day, and

to-morrow possibly only one.

At

length, as the sun

was beginning

made

shout from one of the guides

We

wearily up.

to sink, a

us glance

found ourselves on the brow of

an escarpment, at the foot of which extended a far-stretching plain, in the midst of which, shim-

mering

like

called "

Laguna

a sheet of

lay a broad lake,

silver,

Blanca," or the

White Lake.

This welcome sight at once revived our drooping

spirits,

and

for the

next hour

forward, following Gregorio,

a

little

ravine,

we

who was

down towards

soon came upon

and

it,

lost

at the erection of our tents

of our evening meal.

we went

The sun was opened

my

The

in

jumping

work with a

will,

and the preparation latter

having been

to bed.

rather high in the heavens

when

eyes the next morning, and, pulling

aside the flap of the tent, looked out scene.

We

the lake.

no time

out of the saddle and setting to

I

seeking for

where there was a small freshwater

stream which flowed

discussed,

rode merrily

All our

camp was

still

wrapt

upon the in sleep


1

AN EARTHQ UAKE.

02

save FArla,

who was

sitting

over the

fire

smok-

ing his pipe, whilst he watched the kettle boiling, in placid expectation of his

plains

below were

silent;

morning

The

coffee.

but the air was noisy with

the cries of the flocks of geese and wild-duck,

were winging

their flight

who

from the lake towards

the rich fields of cranberries farther inland.

The

would occasionally

startle

sharp quack of the

ibis

me, as a bevy of these birds passed seemingly just over

From

my

head, but, in reality, far up in the

the contemplation of this scene

A loud

suddenly and rudely awakened.

sound rose on the

wonder what

air

;

and, before

back, and, as

came

rumbling

had time

I

by magic, the

alive with shouts of fear

me

silent

to

flying

camp

on be-

and wonder, as

everybody rushed out of the tents

The

was

could mean, a heaving of the

it

ground, resembling a sea-swell, sent

my

I

air.

in

dismay.

shocks occurred again and again, but each

time weaker, and

in

about

five

minutes they had

was some time before we This was the first recovered our equanimity.

ceased altogether, but

time

I

it

had ever experienced an earthquake, and

such a sickly sensation of helplessness as comes

over one during the heaving up and down of the earth would,

Our guides

I

should think, be hard to equal.

told us that

none of them had ever


OSTRICH- HUNTING.

I felt

an earthquake

103

Patagonia before, nor had

in

they ever heard of one having taken place. Later on, on our return to Sandy Point,

had caused a good deal

learnt that the earthquake

All the bottles and

of disaster in the colony. stores in

we

Pedro's shop were thrown from their

shelves and broken, and there were few inhabit-

who

ants in the colony

did

not sustain

some

similar loss.

As may be

imagined, the earthquake provided

us with matter for conversation for

and

in that respect, at least,

some

time,

was a not unwelcome

occurrence.

Breakfast over,

it

was agreed that we should

separate into two parties, one for the purpose of ostrich-hunting, its

whilst the

other should devote

energies to the pursuit of the guanaco.

husband and Mr. B. preferring the rode off with their

rifles,

My

latter chase,

together with Gregorio

and Guillaume, towards the

hilly

country

we had

crossed the day before.

As soon I,

as they

were gone

my

brother and

with Fran9ois, started off along a ridge of

hills

which exactly faced our camp, and which sloped

down

into the plains below.

by four

ostrich hounds,

We

were followed

and were mounted on the

best and fleetest horses

we

could select out of


OSTRICH- HUNTING.

I04

our

The

tropilla.

little

animal that

bestrode

I

He was

could not have exceeded fifteen hands. a high-spirited his face,

little

bay with a white blaze down

and three white

He would

legs.

clamber

up precipitous places where the stones and rocks crumbled and gave way beneath

down

canter

along

between the

hills,

or

the wide

As we

galloped

smoother ground which

the

feet,

jump

a steep decline, and

gullies with the greatest ease.

his

intervened

and which was deeply under-

mined by hundreds of holes of the ''tuca-tuca" (prairie rat),

his

My

me.

tonished

mounted on a

activity

avoiding a

in

brother

was

equally

long, low, clever black,

reputation of great speed

fall

as-

well

who had

the

while Francois rode a

;

well-shaped brown, with handsome arching neck

and tiny head.

As we rode about

my

in

us,

the hopes

of sighting an

suddenly shied

horse

lying on

silently along, with our eyes well

the

Throwing the

ground

at

I

something white

a few paces distant.

reins over his head,

and walked towards the long grass

at

ostrich,

spot.

I

dismounted

Amongst some

discovered a deserted nest of an

ostrich containing ten or eleven eggs,

and

calling

Francois to examine them, was greatly chagrined to

find

that

none of them were

fresh.

With


THE FIRST OSTRICH. of an

the superstition

105

ostrich -hunter

Fran9ois

picked up a feather lying close at hand, and sticking

good

it

in his cap,

sign,

we came

and that

it

assured us that this was a

would not be long before

across one of these birds.

His prediction was speedily reaching the summit of a

had slowly and

stealthily

little hill,

my

Frangois and

on

up which we

proceeded, two small

gray objects suddenly struck to

verified, for

brother,

my

eye.

I

who where

signed riding

some twenty yards behind me, and putting spurs to

my

horse, galloped

two gray objects ''

Choo

!

choo

!"

I

down

the

hill

had perceived

towards the

in the distance.

shouted Francois, a cry by which

the ostrich -hunters cheer their dogs on, and intimate to them the proximity of game.

Past

like lightning the four eager animals rushed,

me

bent

on securing the prey which their quick sight had already detected.

The suers,

ostriches turned one look

for the plain,

scudded over the ground

tremendous pace.

And perience hunt. bit

their pur-

and the next moment they wheeled round,

and making at a

on

now, for the all

My

between

first

time,

I

began to ex-

the glorious excitement of an ostrichlittle

horse,

his teeth,

keen as

his rider, took the

and away we went up and


A STRANGER.

io6

down

the

a

hills at

On and

terrific pace.

the ostriches, closer and closer crept up

Loca," a wiry black lurcher at her heels,

was

turn

would

In another

be alongside

moment the

the

plain, a feint

in

little

opposite

in

red dog

Suddenly,

ostriches.

however, they twisted right and

scudding away

who

"Apiscuna" and

followed by

closely

" Sultan."

Leona,'*

deerhound, with

a small, red, half-bred Scotch "

'*

on flew

left respectively,

directions over

the

which of course gave them a great

advantage, as the dogs in their eagerness shot

forward a long way before they were able to stop

By

themselves. ostriches

the time they had done so the

had got such a

was

useless,

very

much

we

start that, seeing pursuit

called the dogs back.

disappointed at our

failure,

We and

were in

no

very pleasant frame of mind turned our horses'

heads

in the direction of

As we

ing towards us.

and

we were surprised by the a man on horseback, gallop-

rode along

sudden appearance of

robe,

our camp.

He

was dressed

his long black hair floating

gave him a very wild exclaimed.

look.

But Francois shook

up

to us

to

on the wind,

his

I

head, and

When he got Fran9ois, whom he

rode up to meet the stranger.

he shook hands with

a guanaco

'*An Indian!"

we

seemed

in

know, and, without evincing any sign


A STRANGER. regarded

of curiosity as

107

turned

ourselves,

his

horse round, and prepared to accompany us.

observed that although his

face, legs,

I

and hands

were almost as copper-coloured as those of an Indian, his features

were those of a white man.

Francois presently told

me

that he

was a Chilian

who had deserted from Sandy Point a good many years ago, and that since then he had lived among the Indians, adopting their dress and customs, till he had now become quite one of convict,

them.

my

In reply to

questions

it

appeared that

he was camping with some Indians on the other side of the lake.

and he was

just

They had been out hunting, returning home when he saw us,

and having nothing better might as well pay a

We

thought he

our camp.

the score of our non- success,

band and

Mr.

bringing

with them.

B.

party,

having had

plenty of

as

a

my

hus-

good day's

guanaco meat

Over pipes and

serious council of

our

do,

were a good deal chaffed when we got

home on sport,

visit to

to

back

coffee that night a

war was held by the whole of

regards

ostrich -hunting

for

the

morrow.

The

Chilian suggested the forming of a circle,

and professed himself hospitality, to

willing, in return

for our

remain another day and join

in the


INDIAJSf

io8

MODE OF HUNTING.

Forming a

affair.

circle is the

formed by lighting

all

A

complete

pretty sure to

circle

of blazing fires

game found

they turn they see

before

met

are

or

therein

become the prey of the dogs,

or guanaco will face a

smoke,

they

before

captured.

is

as no

them a column of and

by dogs

grow

is

Wherever

fire.

horsemen.

Escape becomes almost impossible, and long

is

round a large area of

fires

thus obtained, and any

ostrich

It

which the different hunters ride from

into

sides.

game.

nearly always obtain

the Indians

ground

method by which

it

is

and

bewildered

not are

In anticipation of a hard day's work

on the morrow, we hereupon broke up our council of war, and turned in at an earlier hour than usual.

Next morning, the horses being lost

no time

in

all

ready,

we

springing into the saddle, leaving

Storer to take charge of the camp,

much

to his

alarm, and in spite of his earnest remonstrance.

The poor man

vainly protested

that,

were the

Indians to discover our retreat, he would be perfectly

powerless to prevent their pillaging the

whole camp, especially as his ignorance of their ''jargon," as

he scornfully termed the Tehuelche

language, would position.

place

him

in

a most

helpless

Regardless of his arguments and im-

ploring looks

we

rode away, determining to risk


MAKING THE

CIRCLE.

109

the improbable intrusion of the Indians, whose

camp own.

lay at least twenty miles distant from our

For about

gorio and the

we

half an hour

Chilian

followed Gre-

along a line of broken

we

hillocks, after which, calling a halt,

ward Guillaume and

sent for-

Aria to commence the

I'

first

They

and most distant proceedings of the

circle.

departed at a brisk canter, and

was not long

it

before several rising columns of that

smoke

they were already busily engaged.

next to compose the centre band, Fran9ois, and

Mr.

circle

were

Immediately on their

commenced

all

fires

operations,

hus-

my brother.

Gregorio and myself

and soon a

distinct circle

might be seen springing quickly up from

points.

I

pressed with

From

left

my

The

shortly after sup-

B.,

ported on the right by the Chilian and

of

testified

could not help being greatly imthe

novel

the high plain

sight

now

we were on

before me. I

could look

over miles and miles of untrodden desert land,

where countless herds of guanaco were roaming in peaceful lazy ease.

In the distance towered

the peaks of the Andes, wrapped in their cloak of mystery, lonely and unexplored.

columns of smoke and the circle-fires lent

scene, to

The huge

lurid flames of the

a wild appearance to the thrilling

which the frightened knots of guanacos,


THE CHASE. which were hurrying

from the

to escape

and the eager galloping horsemen,

circle

lent additional

active animation.

For some time Gregorio and and

rode slowly

on our way, when a sudden un-

silently

my

expected bound which

Avestruz

unseated me.

"

Gregorio, and

turned his

movement. the

I

''

Choo

dog who followed

horse

with

Plata!"

!

my

at

but

all

Avestruz!" shouted

!

choo

!

horse gave

a quick I

cry to

horse's heels,

as

a fine male ostrich scudded away towards the

we had

hills

has

Plata

ning.

just

left

with the speed of light-

sighted him, and

is

straining

He

every limb to reach the terrified bird. a plucky dog and a

fleet

him

come

all

his

time to

one, but alonofslde

raking ostrich as he strides away In scious pride of his strength shall lose

him

spurring

my

and

falter as

!

" I

cry, half

horse,

the

hill

grows steeper and

who

for in the

his

''

We

with excitement,

But the ostrich

steeper.

The

and commences a

left,

cause

direction towards

path,

the con-

beginning to gasp

Is

soon explained,

which he has been

making a great cloud of smoke in

all

up which we are struggling

suddenly doubles to the hurried descent.

Is

that ereat

and speed.

mad

take

will

it

is

rises

menacingly

and, baulked of the refuge he had


1

AN EXCITING MOMENT. hoped to is

amidst the

find

hills,

the great bird

forced to alter his course, and

who

along, so does Plata,

much more rare

make

swiftly

he

swiftly as

flies

finds a down-hill race

and

suited to his splendid shoulders

Foot by

stride.

tance

But

below.

the plains

for

1 1

he lessens the

foot

him from

that separates

dis-

and

prey,

his

gets nearer and nearer to the fast sinking, fast

Away we

tiring bird.

go, helter-skelter

down

the

unchecked and undefeated by the numerous

hill,

obstacles that obstruct the way.

Plata

is

alongside

the ostrich, and gathers himself for a spring at the bird's

throat.

*'

He

who does

shout to Gregorio, his horse

him,

has him, he has him!"

on with whip and

though

Yes

?"

rapid twist has shot

not reply, but urges

spur.

— no — the

some

"

And now

once more.

The

victory. for Plata, like

Has he got

ostrich

thirty yards

enemy, and whirling round, makes

his

I

with a

ahead of

for the hills

begins the struggle for

ostrich has decidedly the best of

it,

though he struggles gamely, does not

the uphill work, and at every stride loses

ground.

There

but

too

it lies

attention, in

view

on

flies

another

is

much

who

fire

on the

hill

above,

to the left to attract the bird's

has evidently a safe line of escape

in that direction.

the ostrich

;

On, on we press

;

on,

bravely and gamely struggles


A

112

wake poor

in its

Plata.

Gregorio,

who

right, the

dog can

left

spurt,

Once more

stay

? "

with a tremendous

and races up alongside the

falter,

but he It will

is

ostrich. ;

he

is

great and strong, and

take

all

Plata's time

pull that magnificent bird to the

and

be a long

and

ground,

fierce struggle ere the gallant

creature yields up his

thing but

is

he puts

effort,

cunning to will

He

have the words

stay, for hardly

not beaten yet.

it

cry to

I

the bird points for the plain

beginning to is

Can he

''

smiles and nods his head.

my lips when,

on a

SPILL,

Unconscious of any-

life.

the exciting

chase before me,

suddenly disagreeably reminded that there

is

am

I

such

a thing as caution, and necessity to look where

you are going

to, for,

putting his foot in an un-

my

usually deep tuca-tuca hole,

horse comes

little

with a crash upon his head, and turns completely

over on his back, burying hopeless muddle. I

am

beneath him in a

Fortunately, beyond a shaking,

unhurt, and remounting, endeavour to rejoin

now somewhat

the

me

The

distant chase.

ostrich,

Gregorio, and the dog have reached the plain, and as

I

gallop quickly

down

the

the bird has begun doubling.

hill

I

This

can see that is

a sure sign

of fatigue, and shows that the ostrich's strength

beginning to

fail

him.

Nevertheless

of no small difficulty for one

dog

it is

is

a matter

to secure his


THE DEATH.

113

prey, even at this juncture, as he cannot turn

and

At each

twist about as rapidly as the ostrich.

double the bird shoots far ahead of his pursuer,

Away across

and gains a considerable advantage. the plain the two animals press

whilst

fly,

The excitement

eagerly in their wake.

grows every moment more

and

intense,

watch

I

going on with the keenest

the close struggle

Suddenly the

interest.

and Gregorio

I

grows

stride of the bird

slower, his doubles

become more

of feathers

fly in

every direction as Plata seizes

him by the

tail,

In another

and

for a

frequent, showers

which comes away

moment

the

mouth.

in his

dog has him by the

throat,

few minutes nothing can be distinguished

but a gray struggling

heap.

Then Gregorio

dashes forward and throws himself off his horse, breaks the bird's neck, and the scene the struggle

is

when

over.

I

arrive

The

upon

run had

lasted for twenty-five minutes.

Our dogs and state.

horses were in a most pitiable

Poor Plata lay stretched on the ground

with his tongue, hot and

fiery, lolling

out of his

mouth, and his sides going at a hundred miles

an hour. till

The

horses, with their heads

drooped

they almost touched the ground, and their

bodies streaming with perspiration, presented a

most

pitiable

sight,

and while Gregorio disemI


HOME

114

bowelled

AGAIN.

and fastened the

ostrich together,

I

loosened their girths, and led them to a pool

comfortable, and fit

state to

on

bird

go

Gregorio and

and

horse,

tied

it

a

in

the huge

lifted

I

Encumbered

withers.

animal's

seemed

as soon as they

on,

his

to

length they became more

At

hard by to drink.

the

across

Gregorio

thus,

turned to depart in the direction of the camp, followed

by

while

Plata,

posite

direction

down

in the plain.

search

in

went

I

of

in

my

an

companions

was not long before

It

op-

I

dis-

tinguished in the far distance an ostrich coming straight towards me, closely followed

Galloping to meet them,

two horsemen. the

means of turning the

jaws, for such

full

bird into

''

I

my

brother,

to

who

my horse

arrived, hot

from tearing the bird to pieces. to complete the hunter's work,

to prevent

I

in

and

was

Peache

Leaving

my

"

The

be the old fellow

of excitement, on the scene just as

throwing myself from

was

Peache's

was the name of TAria's dog.

two horsemen turned out question and

by a dog and

I'

Aria

brother and

I

rode slowly back towards our camp, discussing the merits of our horses, dogs, and the stamina of the

two ostriches we had

we

that

we

slain.

So engrossed were

could hardly believe our eyes

came suddenly

in

full

when we

view of our snug

little


OSTRICH MEA T. retreat, but,

dismount coffee

nevertheless,

and

we were very

ourselves with

refresh

which we

115

found

old

glad to the

Storer had

hot

ready

waiting.

One by one the other hunters dropped in. They had all been successful, with the exception of Guillaume and as we stood grouped round the five large ostriches lying on the ground, we ;

congratulated ourselves on our good fortune, and

on the excellent sport we had had.

At dinner

we passed judgment on ostrich -meat, which we now really tasted for the first time, for what we had obtained from the Indian camp had been dry and unpalatable.

We

thought

it

breast and wings are particularly

much resemble

pheasant.

excellent

good

;

;

the

the latter


ii6

DEPARTURE FROM LAG UNA BLANCA.

CHAPTER DEPARTURE FROM LAGUNA BLANCA

X.

A WILD -CAT

IBIS

SOUP

INDIAN LAW AND EQUITY

OUR PUMA COWARDICE OF THE PUMA DISCOMFORTS A GOOD RUN. A MYSTERIOUS DISH OF A WET NIGHT

A FERTILE CANADON

FIRST

After

a four days' stay at

Laguna Blanca, our

we

horses being sufficiently rested,

had got

resolved to

continue our journey.

I

home

where our camp had been

in the little ravine

pitched,

and notwithstanding

my

to feel quite at

anxiety to push

forward and get over the monotony of the plains as soon as possible, in leaving

it

Each bush

I

touch of regret.

some

trivial

incident of our stay,

a share of the good-bye all

my

I

felt

just a slight

passed recalled

and came

in for

inwardly vouchsafed to

late surroundings.

Whilst we were trotting along

I

noticed that

one of the brood-mares was continually looking anxiously back, and on counting the foals that one

drew

was missing.

I'

Aria,

whose

I

found

attention

to this fact, immediately returned to our

I

camp


A WILD-CAT. to look for the lost animal,

probably been

behind

left

117

which he thought had in a ravine

where the

horses had been in the habit of grazing.

meantime we rode

camp of the

the

we had

on, presently passing the site of

Indians, the

noticed from the

themselves had

now on

the

In the

left

it

smoke of whose

Laguna

Blanca.

fires

They

the day before, and were

march southwards, as indicated by

several columns of

smoke which we could see on

the distant skyline,

it

being their habit, when on

the march, to light fires at intervals.

Shortly after

were

passing

by a

startled

by Guillaume's dog, struggling with

the Indian

camp we

series of howls, given vent to *^

whom we

Negro,"

some animal

in the

descried

long grass.

In a second he was joined by the other dogs, and

by the time we got up we found them in

engaged

mortal combat with a huge wild-cat, which had

already punished

defending

itself

slaught of fired at

its

it

managed to to

all

its last

fury,

Negro most

fiercely against

enemies.

without kill it

gasp

it

and nearly

severely,

Two

effect,

and was

the united

on-

revolver shots were

but presently Gregorio

with a blow from the "bolas."

Up

spat and clawed with undaunted all

the dogs were

more or

less

badly wounded; poor ''Negro" in particular, being severely gashed and torn.

Whilst we washed the


ii8

IBIS SOUP.

•

dogs

in a pool of

water hard by, Gregorio skinned

made

the wild-cat, and then

which during

panion,

the

observed making good search was

fruitless,

a search for

com-

some one had

fray

However,

retreat.

its

its

his

and we rode forward again,

the incident just related furnishing us with a topic

conversation wherewith to beguile the next

•for

hour or

I'Aria meanwhile rejoined us, but

so.

had thoroughly searched

although he country

in

all

the

the vicinity of our late camp, he

had

been unable

to find

any traces of the missing

which had doubtless

fallen a

foal,

prey to some puma.

Towards evening we arrived

at a large fresh-

water lake called Laguna Larga, by the shores of

which we set up our out with his gun,

any of us had do so whilst this bird

managed

Laguna

makes

tough, the broth

we saw

an

we had

excellent soup.

it

Patagonia,

its

ibis,

the

first

often tried to

This one was

meat proved rather

gave was

Laguna Larga, in

kill

husband, going

Blanca, being aware that

put in the pot, and though

desired.

to

shot, although

at

My

tents.

all

that could be

like nearly all the lakes

swarmed with

wild-fowl,

and

amongst other birds we observed two flamingoes,

whose gorgeous red plumage excited our covetousness,

and an elaborate stalking-party was organised

with the object of securing one of them.

However,


A FERTILE CANADON.

119

they never gave us a chance, and sailed majesti-

away

cally

Our road along a

approach of danger.

at the first

the next day lay for the most part

down

fertile valley,

the middle of which

The

flowed a narrow but exceedingly deep stream.

breadth of this " canadon

and we followed miles.

down

Its

its

whole length,

The

up

for

it

doubtless stretched

must have been about 150

grass was

places reaching

five miles,

windings for about twenty

to the sea-coast,

miles.

was about

"

tall

to our

many bellies. As

and green, horses'

in

equally fertile valleys are to be found intersecting the barren plains in

number of this

cattle

country were

winter and

immerse

all

the

directions,

all

an enormous

and sheep might be reared it

in

not for the heavy snows in

floods

which

spring,

in

latter

these valleys for a considerable period,

during which the animals would have to seek sustenance on the plains, where, say, they

would not

find

which

is

needless to

it.

As we emerged from plains,

it

the valley on to

the

an animal was descried on the sky-line, at first

we took

for a gigantic

but which presently resolved

Gregorio having seen

it

itself into

first

its

owner, that

is

a horse.

had become

facto, in accordance with the unwritten

pampas,

guanaco,

ipso

law of the

to say, should

it

be


1

INDIAN LA W AND EQUITY.

20

caught the

so,

;

taking TAria with him, he rode off to

with the intention of getting behind his

left,

prospective property and driving

towards our

This he accomplished without

troop.

The

it

difficulty.

horse stood staring at our advancing caval-

cade for some time, and then came galloping

towards us with loud neighs of greeting, spreading

among our

consternation

who neighed and

troop,

snorted in return, apparently by no means pleased at

the sight of the new-comer.

peaceably

however, and

arranged,

further slight demonstrations, he

the troop, evidently

among gorio,

his

Matters were

much

own kind

after

was admitted

lost

into

pleased to find himself

According to Gre-

again.

he had belonged to some Indian,

probably

some

him on the march.

I

who had

asked Gregorio

whether the owner might claim the horse again,

and he

told

me

that the law

among

Indians

is

that the finder receives about one-third of the

value of the object found from the owner.

Some

difficulty generally arises in these cases as to the

value of the

find,

as the parties naturally over-

estimate and depreciate interests

bargain

man.

;

is

this

it

as suits their respective

being especially the case when the

debated between an Indian and a white

Amongst themselves

markably

the

fair in their dealings,

Indians are re-

but as they

know


I

1

O UR FIRST PUMA.

1

them whenever they

that the traders cheat

2

can,

they recognise quite another standard of moraHty

deaHngs with the

in their

latter.

As we were approaching

the spot where

we

intended camping, one of the mules, which was

heading the troop, suddenly turned and dashed away, and

up and

another instant the whole troop broke

in

dispersed,

What was

galloping

in

all

directions.

cause of this stampede

the

We

?

pressed quickly forward, but nothing stirred in the

long grass, though

were baffled

we

scoured everywhere.

for a minute.

where," said Gregorio.

air.

There he goes

our

left,

track.

with

swiftly

my

For us

all

away

!

"

shouted

chorus, and sure

—a at

mighty yellow

some

distance to

brother following close on his

and come up

to gallop after

within ten yards of the

moment, but

he goes

in

enough, there he was going

—slouching

hardly

view-holloa rent the

—there

two or three of our party

puma

puma some-

The words were

when a loud

out of his mouth "

" It's a

We

puma was

the

work of a

to get nearer than ten yards or so

was quite another matter, as our horses were quivering with fright, and with difficulty were kept

from turning

tail

and bolting from the dread

presence of their mortal enemy.

Meanwhile the

puma, finding himself surrounded, lay sullenly


COWARDICE OF THE PUMA. down, eyeing us with dogged hate, and scarcely

seeming to heed the presence of the dogs, who

him

were growling furiously

at

distance from his claws.

Finding

on horseback,

to approach

and a

rifle

useless to try

it

my brother dismounted,

being at hand, took steady aim at the

crouching animal and

Simultaneous with

fired.

paws and a deep

the report, with outstretched

growl, the

at a respectful

puma sprang

forward, and then

fell

heavily to the ground, whilst our horses, becoming

wholly unmanageable, reared up and

When we again got control

fairly bolted.

of them, nothing

would

induce them to return to the spot where the lifeless

body of the puma

mount and walk it

looked

;

and

there.

and we had to

lay,

Very

with their sharp talons and

Its

dis-

and dangerous

fierce

at the sight of Its

now

ponderous paws

cruel white teeth,

we wondered whether, if it knew its own powers, the puma would be such a cowardly animal as It Is.

They

scarcely ever attack man, even

to bay, but lie

down and doggedly meet

though they can

kill

The

their fate,

a full-grown guanaco with

one blow of the paw, and similar ease.

when brought

pull

down

a horse with

Indians affirm that the

puma

only bears young ones In two years, but whether this

be true or not

seem very

I

do not know.

They

certainly

scarce, comparatively, a circumstance


DISCOMFORTS OF A WET NIGHT which may be due to

123

coupled with

this peculiarity,

Indians and traders destroy a

the fact that the

good number annually.

The excitement

attendant

on

the

puma's

demise being over, and our horses having been driven together again,

camping valley first

I

place.

We

we made

for

our intended

lodged that night in the

have described above, and here,

time since

was wet.

It is

we reached

for the

the plains, the night

by no means agreeable

to hear

down on the canvas of one's tent, especially when one has doubts as to the waterproof capabilities of the canvas, and as yet we rain pattering

had had no opportunity of testing nately,

on

ours.

Fortu-

this occasion the rain did not last long,

and, excepting a general sense of dampness,

experienced no further inconvenience.

our journey, on the following day

River Gallegos, which "

Paso de

los

Morros

we

;"

we

Continuing

we reached

the

forded at a spot called

these Morros being two

conically shaped hills of equal height,

which form

a striking landmark, being conspicuous at a considerable distance.

very low

;

The

but owing to the inequality of

and the rapidity of the be taken

river at the time its

was bed

some

care had to

in crossing the ford for fear

any of the

current,

packhorses should come to

grief.

We

passed


A MYSTERIOUS

124

DISH.

without any accident, however, and pitched our

camp near

the bank, under shelter of a snug

clump of beech

much

that

we

trees.

We

little

liked the place so

resolved to pass a couple of days

there, especially as the packhorses required a rest

march from Laguna Blanca.

after the long

The

day we dawdled pleasantly away

first

in

kinds of useful occupations, such as cleaning

all

up

though

guns,

writing

bound

to say that the best part of the time

given

up

etc.,

my

cooking experiments,

to

and Mr.

journals,

am

I

was

brother

both being anxious to prove their

B.

respective superiority in the culinary department.

Much amusement was dish which

my

and which,

had been

anticipations

by a mysterious

brother passed the whole afternoon

elaborating,

in

afforded us

if

his

verified,

have proved a triumph of

own glowing

would

skill.

devoted to the preparation of his

certainly

The

care he

dish,

and the

impressive secrecy with which he conducted his operations, led us into the firm belief that a

agreeable surprise was in store for

us.

most

But when

dinner-time came, and soup and joint had been hurriedly got through in order to enable us to do all

the

more

surprise

one

;

it

the

justice to his effort, the surprise

was

*'

—turned out

plat "

to

—

for

be a very unpleasant

on which so much care had been


A GOOD RUN.

125

bestowed proving to be a homely though curious of

concoction

preserved milk, and brown

rice,

sugar, with a decided taste of burn

swallowing a few spoonfuls, even

;

and

after

concoctor had

its

to avow, with a grimace, that his exertions

My

resulted in a failure. signally

high

proved

office

kitchen

we

department to

and very well we fared

The

We

brother having thus

occupying the

his incapacity for

of cook,

for

had

the future

Francisco's

left

the

supervision,

at his hands.

next day was spent in ostrich-hunting.

made two

game seemed

or three circles, but

we were unable to entrap a single ostrich. We were going home towards evening, rather disconsolately, when some one observed an very scarce, and

ostrich

running straight towards

with the express intention of obliging ing himself to be

apparently

us,

us,

by allow-

But as we started into

killed.

a gallop to meet him half-way, he changed his mind, and darted off sideways, our whole party following.

The dogs

unfortunately,

happens when they are wanted, had

and a depression view.

It

from their

forlorn chase, therefore,

as our tired horses were no

who drew away

often

fallen behind,

in the plain hid us

seemed rather a

as

match

at every stride.

for the ostrich,

To

our surprise,

however, he suddenly began to " double," and

we


•A

126

saw

GOOD RUN.

was being hard pressed by one of

that he

Gulllaume's dogs, from which he had evidently-

been escaping when he met

we pushed

With

us.

fresh zest

forward, spreading out in a semicircle,

so as to be able to turn the ostrich back to the

An

dog should he double round our way.

The

ing chase ensued. its

excit-

dog, a clever brute, did

utmost to make the ostrich double towards

us,

but without success, and the speed at which they

were both going prevented us from getting any

The dog was

nearer.

tiring,

but he held out

stoutly,

double after double slowly exhausting him.

At

overshooting himself in an attempt to stop

last,

short,

he turned a complete somersault, and the

ostrich, profiting

set all sail

in.

respite, literally

and skimmed away, with a strong wind

in his favour.

reining

by the moment's

"

"

He

No, no

is

lost

— the

!"

shouted Francisco,

river, the river!" cried

Gregorio, spurring the harder, and

away we went

after him,

and right enough, there was the

glittering

before us,

with the ostrich

yards from the bank, and, hurrah

!

He

river

not

fifty

our whole

pack of dogs close on his

heels.

the water, or he

In another second he

is

ours.

reaches the bank, and pauses. his heart has failed him,

He

must take

is in

!

No —

and with an ominous

droop of his wings, but with a tremendous spurt


A GOOD RUN. he has

darted

off again,

127

with

not five yards

On, on we

between him and the straining dogs. go.

The

ground

ostrich gains

erous bend of the river

is

him

But the

to

swerve

met by Gregorio.

dexterous double rids him of his

and with a

on

ah, that treach-

It forces

!

round, and in a second he

A

;

new enemy,

he shoots forward again.

last effort

circle closes, the

shouts of the horsemen

sides bewilder him, he hesitates a second,

all

but in that second the dogs are upon him, and the

next he

lies

a struggling, quivering mass of feathers.

men

Horses, dogs, and breathless.

The

— we

are

all

panting and

dogs, so hot had been the pace,

were too blown to move; and even when Francisco

began

to cut

up the

of such interest to perquisites which

bird, this proceeding, usually

them on account of the savoury fell

to their share, scarcely ex-

cited their languid attention.

We

were rather

after dinner, the

discussed in

get to bed.

tired

when we got home, and

run having been most minutely

all its

bearings,

we were

all

glad to


A NUMEROUS GUANA CO HERD.

128

CHAPTER A NUMEROUS GUANACO HERD

XI.

A PAMPA HERMIT

I'ARIA

— —

WAY CHORLITOS A NEW EMOTION RAINBOW WEATHER WISDOM OPTIMIST AND WILD-FOWL ABUNDANT BAD LUCK. LOSES THE

AGAIN

A MOON PESSIMIST

The

next day found us once more in the saddle,

jogging along over the plains with the hopes of a

speedy

arrival at the Cordilleras to cheer us,

the depression of spirits which the dreary

tony of the country could not

fail

to produce.

character of the landscape was what

accustomed in this

to since leaving

region,

if

under

mono-

The

we had been

Cabo Negro, being

anything, possibly

more barren

than usual.

This day's ride was memorable

for

the im-

mense number of guanacos which covered the plains in all directions.

we were

depression

herd of

numbered

mous

these less

living

On

arriving at a broad

suprised by the sight of a

animals,

which could not have

than five thousand.

mass

defiled past us

This enor-

up the side and


A NUMEROUS GUANACO HERD.

129

over the brow of an escarpment which bound the depression referred

occupying a space of time

to,

—although they were going pace —and once or twice before

of about ten minutes at a very quick

the day was over

How

herd.

we met an

equally numerous

such an extraordinary number of

animals can find subsistence on the barren plains,

which they even seem ravines,

Certain

is it is

a

matter

to

prefer to the grassy

difficult

of

explanation.

pampa

that the withered

grass must

contain great nourishing properties, as the guan-

acos thrive and

grow very

fat

they are generally rather shy,

composed of some unusually

we approached them, the whole herd

on

Although

it.

we passed one herd tame animals. As

instead of running away,

came slowly

trotting towards us,

staring at us with naive unconcern, which that they

were innocent of the chase.

we had

chanced,

unmolested.

It

plenty of meat, so

meat

;

in

we

As

it

them

left

was not often that we found them

so tame, especially of

showed

when we happened

to be short

such cases, with the usual perverse-

ness of things, they would scarcely allow one to

approach within

rifle-range.

As we went on we observed smoke

to the westward,

proceed from some

fire

a column of

which Gregorio judged to near the Cordilleras

K

;

and


A PAMPA HERMIT.

I30

from his account

it

marked the camp of an eccen-

named Greenwood, who,

Englishman,

tric

appears,

who

particularly

affects

that

it

and

region,

scrupulously avoids contact with his fellow-

coming down

creatures, scarcely ever

In

Point.

according to Gregorio, he seemed

fact,

to live the life of a hermit.

the world and

its vanities,

He

had renounced

even to the extent of

ordinary rough comforts of the

disdaining the

other inhabitants of the pampa.

most primitive

Sandy

to

Clothed

in the

he roams along the slopes

fashion,

of the Cordilleras, and rather than

make a

trip to

the colony to lay in a store of provisions, passes a

whole year on a diet of ostrich and guanaco meat, pure and simple. I

Man

was rather interested of the

course our

Wild

Woods, and kept a sharp look out

we journeyed through seeing him.

in this species of

But, fires,

if

that region in the hopes of

near us at any time

had he chosen

sufficient indication

as

to

—and

of

come, gave

of our whereabouts

—he

did

not relax his rule of exclusiveness in our favour,

and

I,

consequently, never had an opportunity of

making

his acquaintance.

During the march we started up a male which had about forty young ones under

Though we

called our

ostrich, Its care.

dogs back, nothing could


;

PARIA AGAIN LOSES THE WAY. and they gave chase,

restrain them,

we could

the small ostriches before

killing

left

one of

get up to them

The

the male bird and the others escaped.

of the young ostrich

131

flesh

we which make

not very palatable, so

is

the bird, taking only

legs,

its

On

very nice handles for umbrellas and whips. this

day

I'

Aria again distinguished himself by

losing the way, he having been entrusted

by the

other guides with the leadership on this occasion, as he was supposed to be better acquainted than

any one with

For

this particular region.

two hours we followed him

quite

directions through an extensive in search

of the springs

that night

;

than the one

in

in quite

which

pertinacious confidence,

and a

we were

and when they were

was by Gregorio, and

in for

beechwood

I'

to

in all

thicket,

camp by

at last found,

it

another direction

Aria, with

was taking

his

usual

He came

us.

a good deal of abuse from his colleagues, share of black looks from us,

fair

all

of

which he bore with the cheerful indifference which characterised

The

him under

all

circumstances.

present was to be our last

beeches, as

we had now

camp among

to strike across a perfectly

woodless region, on our way to the point at which

we intended

entering the Cordilleras.

These occa-

sional patches of beeches are only to

be found


132

CHORLITOS.

.

in the vicinity of the

down

stretch

with in the

mountains

In the plains that

;

to the coast nothing

way

of fuel but

and a few

We

therefore

other scrubby kinds of bushes.

made

the most of our present abundance of wood,

and revelled

huge

in

in order to lay in

fires,

warm memories at least to into the bleak region we were about dinner this day we tasted a novelty

store of

of such

fowl,

excellence

that

I

Its

large ''

merits. flights

chorllto,"

or

In the daytime

in

in the

cannot

come down

numbers berries

to

Patagonia

which grow everywhere

on which the

ostriches, Ibis,

feed and thrive.

We

the

let

moment with

natives

species

at this season, to feast

way of

we had met

In

call

something

between a golden plover and a woodcock. birds

At

to enter.

of a bird which the " batatu,"

a

carry with us

occasion pass without expatiating for a

on

be met

to

is

" berberls "

These

incredible

on the ripe cran-

and

in profusion,

and wild geese

all

had shot some of these

" chorlltos,"

and they had been roasted

on the

along with some snipe and wild duck

spit,

we had brought ner,

as

so

with us from Gallegos.

however, they were at

first

for dinner

At

din-

rather neglected,

we had got rather tired of birds, having had much of them at Laguna Blanca. Presently,

however, dinner being finished, some one of our


A

NEW EMOTION.

133

party, in a spirit of careless curiosity rather than

from any desire to appetite, pulled

satisfy

an already satiated

one of these chorlitos

and with a half-deprecating But when he had done

air

off the spit,

took a bite of

it.

the sudden alteration

so,

bearing from apathy to activity was a sight

in his

The

to see.

expression on his face,

of weary indifference,

gave way

to

by

a look of

became one

intense astonishment, which finally

of placid delight, as bit

then one

till

bit the chorlito

Though he

appeared down his throat.

dis-

did not

speak, his silent action spoke volumes of eloquent

may be

recommendation, and, as

were soon

all

engaged

imagined,

in eating chorlitos

;

we

for a

time no sound being heard but the smacking of lips,

the crunching of bones, and occasionally such

exclamations as " Stunning cious

!

"

etc. etc.

The

fact

!

By Jove " " Deliwe had discovered

" "

is,

what some Persian king offered half for

—a new emotion—

!

his

kingdom

for so seductively succulent,

so exquisitely flavoured, so far beyond anything the gourmet might dream

of in the sublimest

flight of his imagination, is

the flesh of the cran-

berry-fed chorlito, that the sensation

on the palate when tasted

it

produces

for the first time

may,

without hyperbole, be described as rising to the dignity of an emotion.


;

WEA THER- WISDOM.

134

Unfortunately, as

seemed

we

we

travelled northward

and

to leave the region of these birds,

we

only on this and two other occasions were able to feast

upon them.

We witnessed shape of a

moon

phenomenon

a

Rain

others calculated pleasant,

and a

many were

rainbow, and

conjectures as to whether

bad weather.

that night in the

is

presaged good or

it

the one thing above

make an

to

fear of

it

the

open-air

life

all

un-

being constantly present

to our minds, nearly every

evening meteorological

speculations formed a staple topic of conversation for the

whole camp.

A

great amount of weather

wisdom was developed among a party our

spirit

camp

was Imported

splitting Into

and Pessimists.-

us,

and very soon

Into the question,

two sections

Just before

— Optimists

bedtime the sky

would be conned, and the various weather cations eagerly discussed, often with

and

it

was amusing

to see

how

indi-

some heat

frequently

the

optimists would enlist as arguments In favour of their prophecies of fine weather, the

phenomena of cloud

or

very same

temperature on which,

on the other hand, the pessimists grounded equally confident prognostications of rain. occasions ried

when

their

On

these discussions had been car-

on with more than usual earnestness, should


— OPTIMIST

AND

PESSIMIST.

rain suddenly begin to patter

the

"

tents in the middle of the night,

135

down on

the

one might often

hear conversations like the following

:

Pessimist (in tone of triumph, evidently pleased that

it

was

raining, as his antagonist "

confounded). rain

?

told

I

who was right about !" was sure to come

Well

you

it

was thereby the

!

Optimist (cheerily, and half implying that he believes

it

isn't

raining at

" It is

all).

not raining.

Well, a drop or two, perhaps, but that's nothing it

will

;

soon be over."

Pessimist (fervently praying that cats

and dogs

will

think

may

rain

"

You

for the next twelve hours).

something though, when you are

it's

swamped.

it

(Confidently)

bound

It's

to rain

till

morning." Optimist (scornfully). Stuff! (or

Why,

it

no moon, as may

does

rain.

Rain

till

never rains long with a

morning full

!

moon"

suit the case).

Pessimist (derisively). it

'*

Didn't you

"

That's exactly

know

Optimist (pertinaciously).

*'

when

that ?"

Why,

only yester-

day you said yourself that one might be certain it

would not rain long with a

full

moon, so there

Pessimist (conveniently forgetful). I

''

!

I'm sure

never said anything of the kind." Optimist gives vent to a sleepy but uncompli-


WILD-FOWL ABUNDANT,

136

mentary ejaculation against people generally who don't

know what they

are talking about.

Pessimist retorts with drowsy ditto, where-

upon follows

On

broken by snores.

silence, or silence

evening

particular

this

the

halo

was

naturally a strong feature in the discussion, and

much

ingenious special pleading was employed on

both sides to prove that

its

presence was an

no

infallible indication of rain or

rain.

This time

the optimists gained a signal victory, as the night

was

fine throughout.

The next day was spent in shooting wild-fowl down by a big lake which lay about a couple of I shot a great many miles distant from the camp. lovely specimens of water-fowl, the like of which I

had never seen

and loaded

before,

my

horse

with a great quantity of geese, duck, and plover.

Riding started

home

quietly

up a big

after

ostrich,

my

who

day's

rose

sport

from the

ground not more than a couple of yards

How

I

camp

distant.

longed for one of the greyhounds, and

shouted loudly to Francois, in

I

idly

would not

whom

I

could descry

doing nothing, but he could not or Galloping towards him,

hear.

I

hastily

explained in which direction the ostrich had disappeared, and in

pursuit.

mounting

An

hour

his

later

horse he went off

he returned empty-


BAD He

handed.

LUCK.

137

had come across the ostrich and

given chase, but the bird, taking to the beech woods, had disappeared therein, closely followed After a long and fruitless search

by the dogs. for both, his

he had been obliged to return without

dogs to the camp.

Doubtless, as he observed,

they had managed to

kill

even then indulging

a heavy feed.

were

verified

when,

in

their prey,

later on, the

and were His words

animals returned,

presenting an undeniable appearance of having

partaken of a large repast. absent

all

day

had gone on

in search of

foot

had been unable

Gregorio had been guanaco, but as he

and taken no dogs with him, he to secure the

he had managed to wound.

one or two which

So, altogether, our

attempts in the chase did not on this occasion flourish.


A. MONOTONO US RIDE.

138

CHAPTER A MONOTONOUS RIDE

XII.

A DREARY LANDSCAPE

SHORT FUEL

— THE CORDILLERAS FEATURES OF PATAGONIAN SCENERY— HEAT AND GNATS — A PUMA AGAIN — " THE RAIN

RATIONS

NEVER weary"

IS

TO THE RESCUE

After another

DAMPNESS, HUNGER, GLOOM

I'ARIA

— HIS INGENUITY.

day's sojourn at this

encampment

we resumed our journey. We took a good supply of fuel with us, as we were now entering on the barren, woodless region, during our transit over

which we should have to rely solely on the provision

we now made.

Leaving the beechwood behind us we rode up on to a

plain,

on whose edge we could distinguish

what appeared reality

it

to

be a

little

black cloud.

was a peak, or rather clump of peaks of

the Cordilleras, at the foot of which

day

to

days

we were one

camp, and towards which for the next few

we

directed our horses' heads.

This day's far

In

ride,

and

it

was a long one, was by

more monotonous and dreary than any of the

preceding

ones.

The immense

plateau

over


A DREAR Y LANDSCAPE. which we rode able for

where

its

139

seven hours was remark-

for six or

gloom and barrenness, even sterility

all is

in

a region

There was

and dreariness.

no sun, and the sky, lowering and dark, formed a fit

counterpart to the plain, which stretched

away and

to

the

horizon, gray, mournful,

indistinct

silent.

We

being affected by the

help

not

could

aspect of the scenery around us, and

remember ever

to

have

felt

our party,

I

do not

anything to equal the

depression of spirits to which all

flatly

I,

in

common

with

a prey, and to whose influence

fell

even the guides succumbed.

For once they drove the troop along without enlivening their

work with

of " legua

cries

and the very

legua!

!

bells

the customary cheery

Mula

!

Mulal"

of the Madrinas

etc.,

seemed

to

have a muflled, solemn sound, very unlike their usual lively jingle.

A

single incident occurred during that day's

march.

A

little

guanaco,

which had

lost

its

mother somehow, seeing us coming, instead of running

away,

trotted

trustingly

towards

us.

Unfortunately our bloodthirsty dogs dashed out

and threw

The poor first

it

before

we

could get up to stop them.

thing got up again, however, and at

did not

seem much

hurt.

It

was the sweetest


SHORT FUEL RATIONS.

I40

and

bright, gentle eyes,

my

cheek

In

Its

who had lost have made an

got bigger

it

her

filly

at

with

would learn

it

excellent foster-mother for

hardly formed the Idea

that

when

the

must have received some

It

proved to be the case

this

minutes

its

short time

and

to me,

with

Point,

tions

sure

finally

Tame

us.

and

it

On

examining

my

grief In a very

have found

its

way

England

to

guanacos are often kept

their gentle

We were

could have

it

would have become attached

at

ways and amiable

make them charming

when we

from the

died, apparently without suffering.

it

am

I

guanaco

little

bite

would have given anything that

lived, as

But

Indeed, In a few

;

eyes glazed, and to

It.

became evident

It

dogs which we had not noticed.

I

It

Laguna Blanca would

began to stagger about, and

it

nose against

keep with our troop, especially as the mare

to

I

thrust

determined to carry

I

hopes that as

in

It

a caressing manner, without the

least sign of fear.

me,

and

creature imaginable, with soft silky fur,

little

Sandy

disposi-

pets.

thoroughly tired of our dull march

at last arrived at a ravine

where there

were a few pools of water, and where we camped for the night.

the

fire

As we were on

was allowed

and we went

to bed,

to

go out

now

short fuel rations,

directly after dinner,

the only

warm

place.


SHORT FUEL RATIONS.

141

Off again the next day, the clump of peaks

mentioned above growing more terribly far,

distinct,

and no wood to be got

till

still

we reached

Plains as usual studded with guanacos,

them.

but having no time to go out with our

had

but

to

confine

ourselves to ostrich meat.

these birds there was an abundance, and exciting run

we had pursuing them.

were numerous able species

rifles,

too,

we Of

many an

Wild-fowl

but having eaten every imagin-

— geese,

duck,

widgeon, snipe,

teal,

Barbary duck, we were quite tired of them. After another long march

open

shelterless

ravine,

we camped

in

an

and then again pushed

hurriedly on, our stock of fuel getting ominously

clump of peaks, which

low, towards the tantalising at the

seemed

to

They were now beginning

to

end of a long day's

come any

nearer.

disappear, as

ride scarcely

we descended

into

an immense basin

which lay between us and them, and whose farther

end was bound by a succession of

plateaus, rising

abruptly one over the other as

appeared to

though,

when we

ultimately

it

came up

to them,

us,

we

found the graduating ascent almost imperceptible. After camping one night in a most disagreeable sandy region, where our food and clothes and furs all got

impregnated with grit and dust, and

where we burned our

last stick,

we

again pushed


THE CORDILLERAS.

142

on, with the unpleasant

knowledge that that night

we should possibly have to camp without a fire to warm ourselves and cook our food. The basin we were now crossing seemed interminable. We were

to

camp

that night at the foot of the escarp-

ment which bound

its

farther end,

whence

We

mountains was only one day's march.

now

out of sight of the latter again, but

cheered by the

comforting

to the

were

we were

consciousness that

each step was bringing us nearer to them. Just as ride,

it

was getting dark,

we reached

after a

weary day's

a brawling mountain

-

stream,

which swept along the base of an escarpment,

and which we hailed as the at last

we

first

sign that

approaching the Cordilleras.

pitched our

camp

in the

to the

Fording

it

long green grass, just

under shelter of the escarpment. unsaddling, eager to see

we were

how

near

But before

we had come

clump of peaks which had so long been be-

we rode up which we hoped

fore our eyes,

the escarpment, from

the top of

to get a

good view of

the country westward.

Our expectations

were

not

disappointed.

There, seemingly not a mile away, rose up, compact and dark, not the huddled clump of peaks

we

had seen two days ago, but a mighty mountain chain,

which

lost itself

westward

in the gathering


FEATURES OF PATAGONIAN SCENERY. dusk of evening

—standing

143

like a mysterious barrier

between the strange country we had just crossed

and a

possibly

The sun had

long

fantastically

-

and the base of the moun-

set,

was wrapped

tains

country beyond.

stranger

still

in darkness,

but their jagged

shaped crests stood clearly defined

against the light which

still

glimmered

in the sky,

and here and there a snow-covered peak, higher than

comrades,

its

still

retained a faint roseate glow,

which contrasted strangely with the gray gloom of

all

below.

For a long time

over everything,

fallen

self

after

up

I

complete darkness had

stood alone, giving

my-

to the influence of the emotions the scene

described

awoke

in

me, and endeavouring, though

vainly, to analyse the feeling

which the majestic

loneliness of Patagonian scenery always produced in

my mind — a for

any

it

feeling

which

would be impossible

definite feature of the

which compose

it

—to

I

can only compare

for

me

to seize

many vague

on

sensations

those called up by one of

Beethoven's grand, severe, yet mysteriously soft sonatas. I

was awakened from

my reverie

who was wandering about dry sticks for the to collect

fire.

by Francisco,

trying to gather a few

Fortunately he

managed

enough to enable us to cook a tolerable


HEAT AND

144

dinner with

we were

GNATS.

having eaten which, as usual, when

;

fireless,

we sought our couches

as speedily

as possible.

The morning broke with every weather. The air was heavy and

sign of bad

a hot

sultry,

dry wind blew over the

plains, whirling

of fine dust, and

mountain-chain was

the

up clouds half-

hidden by dark masses of clouds of threatening aspect.

We

saddled and packed up as hurriedly

as possible, fervently hoping that the rain, which

we saw must come, would

sooner or later hold over

till

we had reached our

As we journeyed

kindly

destination.

on, the sultriness

grew more

and more oppressive, and we were vexed by

in-

numerable swarms of minute gnats, which got into our eyes

and mouths, buzzed about us

hopelessly persistent manner, and

in

a

by no means

allayed the state of irritation the combined influ-

ence of dust and heat had brought us slight diversion presently occurred

into.

A

by the appear-

ance of an animal whose claims to our polite and

immediate attention were not to be denied.

This

was an enormous puma, who suddenly sprang up from the midst of our cavalcade, sending the mules

and luggage horses stampeding away tions.

True

to

its

slouched hurriedly

in all direc-

cowardly nature, the animal

off,

and disappeared down the


A PUMA AGAIN. side of a ravine.

but

fast as

we

Quick as thought we pursued

galloped, not a trace of

At a

be seen.

145

it

it,

was

short distance from where

to

we

stood eagerly searching for the vanished animal,

I

perceived a small bush growing, the only one for miles round, and to this

pointed as the probable

I

place where the brute had sought a hiding-place.

We

lost

and the

drew

no time

in galloping

our horses when

we

assured us of the correctness of

my

terrified snorting of

near,

towards the spot,

surmise, and put us on our guard.

We

caught sight of him, as he crouched with

angry glowing eyes and an expression on his face which,

a

rifle,

on discovering that none of us carried

was the reverse of

reassuring, especially as

we knew from our guides that, for some reason or other, these Cordillera pumas are fiercer than their kindred of the plains, and often attack their assailants,

—a

piece of temerity the latter have never

been known to be capable Fortunately,

at

of.

moment,

this

my

came up with a gun, though indeed

it

Dismounting

loaded with small shot.

husband

was only hastily

he

approached within eight or nine yards of the growling animal.

Bang

!

bang

!

w^ent

his gun,

and through the cloud of smoke we saw the puma

jump up

in

the air and

L

fall

backwards on the


THE RAIN IS NE VER WEAR K "

146

"

bush.

For a moment or two

rolled about in

it

the throes of death, and then, with a last growl stretched itself slowly out, and lay

who to

its

floor of the

at present writing,

from the

We

The guides all declared it to puma they had ever seen. The

which adorns the

skin,

at once,

skin.

be the biggest

am

work

arrived at this moment, set to

remove

Gregorio,

still.

room where

I

measures exactly nine feet

tip of the tail to

the point of the nose.

then hurried on again, anxiously scanning the

weather, which meanwhile had

The

more threatening. so as to have

grown more and

sultriness

become almost unbearable, and the

swarms of gnats above alluded numerous

had increased

Before long a fearful

proportion.

in

had grown

to

thunderstorm burst over our heads, and for a short time the rain came

down

Then

in sheets.

a shift

of the wind changed the temperature again.

became quite itself into

chilly,

and the heavy

It

rain resolved

a thick drizzling mist, which soon wetted

For hours we rode

us to the skin. fortless plight,

— wet,

cold,

and

in this

tired,

com-

and by no

means cheered by the aspect of the country, the little

we

could

see

of which

hidden by the mist aforesaid

—most

of

it

being

— looking blacker and

sadder than ever.

We were

in

hopes that at

least before

evening


THE PUMA'S DEATH -SPRING.


DAMPNESS— HUNGER— GLOOM. it

would

camp

in the drizzling sleet

pleasant, but as

it

to find the way,

being, as near as

we descended to

from

I

fifty

How Gregorio At

don't know.

last

could judge, about sunset,

I

a very steep declivity, and came on

what appeared

kind,

far

grew darker the fog increased

paces ahead of our horses' noses.

it

was

and soon we could hardly see

in thickness,

managed

having to

clear up, as the prospect of

pitch our

147

to

be a ravine of the ordinary

where grass and underwood were apparently

abundant.

We

halted at a semicircle

bushes, and set disconsolately to

the tents.

work

of

to get

tall

up

This by no means easy task being

accomplished,

we

the

collected

cartridges together,

provisions

and

and got them under shelter

into the smaller of the

two

tents.

Our

rugs, furs,

and coverings were wet through, so we carried

them

into the other tent

them and done, fire,

lay

them out

we turned our but

and proceeded to

dry.

to

wring

This being

attention towards

making a

everybody

declared

the guides

and

the attempt impossible, and indeed so for there

to

it

seemed,

was not a dry twig or blade of grass

be found anywhere.

Back we

all

crept into

damp tents, and prepared to dine as genially as we could off sardines and dry biscuit. But though we might choose to resign ourselves our


IARIA TO THE RESCUE.

148

thus supinely to discomfort, old I'Aria, for his part,

was by no means

inclined to

do

making a

the discussion as to the possibility of

had been carried

fire

Whilst

so.

on, after listening a

minute

or two to the arguments which were being urged

proving conclusively that nothing could be done

towards

he silently withdrew, and busied him-

it,

up

setting

self in

dilapidated

own

his

little

one by the way,

as,

tent,

—a

rather

whenever

he

required something wherewith to patch up a rent

garments, he was in the habit of

in his curious

supplying his want by cutting out a piece of the

canvas of his ''casa" {house) as he called

it

—an

ingenious method of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Meanwhile we had were beginning oroinor to

going

Mr.

bed,

B.,

I

the council as

when

heard some conversation

I

I'Aria,

the latter an

and who,

and

to arrange our furs preparatory to

between

on

retired to our tents,

must

say,

my

inveterate

husband,

mate drinker,

had been the only one

who had expressed tent

I

at

himself hopefully

regarded the possibility of making a

Looking out of the

and

saw them

all

fire.

crouched

under a bush, dripping wet, but earnestly engaged in

some elaborate preparations

damp and

getting soaked

wood

Finding they disregarded

for

conquering

to burn.

my

friendly advice


rARIAS INGENUITY.

themselves the trouble of doing what

to save

could only be termed useless,

my

149

tent again.

Half an hour

withdrew into

I

later

I

could

still

hear them bravely battling against the inevitbut presently

able,

Mr. B. went past

with a kettle in his hand. is it it

?"

will

"

very soon," he replied. fill

coffee ?"

the kettle

I

sighed.

I

answered something

certainly

cup of hot

tent

burning, "

No, but

Meanwhile

would you

;

my

fire is

called out ironically to him.

I

going to

for a

The

''

I

like tea or

sarcastic, but

would have given anything

The

tea.

hopeful expression

my-

of Mr. B.'s face had struck me, so, covering self

up

in

was busy hope of four

a cloak,

went up

I

at work, to see

his succeeding.

little

am

to

where

I'

Aria

was any

if

really there

I

found he had stuck

the ground, over which

stakes in

a

cloth

was drawn, under whose shelter he had

built

an elaborate structure of wooden matches,

laid crosswise

one over the other, so as

to

be

handy when required over these lay a small heap ;

of fine twigs, as dry as could be procured, as well as

some

stout

sticks,

which he informed blazing.

finally

me would

several logs,

soon be merrily

Everything being ready, he applied a

light to the matches,

to blaze,

and

and as soon as they began

added the twigs, which

in their turn, after


P'ARIA'S

150

a

doubtful spluttering, took

little

sently

were

INGENUITY.

was the

this

laid on.

critical

For a time

fire,

moment

my

and pre-

—the

sticks

worst fears seemed

about to be realised, the sticks only smoked viciously, the

matches had long burned away, and

now began

the twigs

to

I'Aria did not give

old

But

glow doubtfully. in

without a struggle.

Kneeling down he tried gently to fan the fading

glow with watched it

his breath.

it,

it

seemed

became reduced

conquered

at

began

blaze,

to

good blazing his

tent,

At

to a single spark.

last

;

lent

anxiously

But patience

the glow spread, the

sticks

and before long there was a

fire,

which brought every one from

especially as, meantime, the still

rain

had

hung over every-

making the darkness of the night

intense. coffee,

we

to gain strength, at others

ceased, though a thick mist thing,

times, as

Kettles were put on to

boil,

still

more

mate, tea,

imbibed, and Francisco prepared an excel-

ostrich-fry,

ct

la

minute, discussing which,

blessings were invoked on I'Aria's head,

perseverance these comforts being due.

to his

Supper

we groped our way back to our tents, and, enveloped in a dense damp mist, went to sleep, over,

not at

all satisfied

with the inhospitable greeting

the Cordilleras had vouchsafed us.


A SURPRISE.

CHAPTER — A STRANGE SCENE BERRIES — GUANACO-STALKING — A GOOD SHOT. next morning

I

XIII. AN IDLE DAY CALIFAT^ A DILEMMA MOSQUITOES

A SURPRISE

The

151

was pleasantly awakened by

a bright ray of sunshine, which forced

through the opening inclination to sleep

in

my

tent,

any longer.

leaving I

lost

its

way

me

little

no time

getting up, and stepped out, anxious to see

kind of country

we had got

into

in

what

under cover of

the fog of the previous day.

For a moment contrast

I

was quite bewildered by the

now

of the scene

before

me and

the

dreary impression the unfavourable weather conditions

found

had

lent to the country

we were camped

in a

on our

broad

arrival.

valley,

I

which

looked bright and smiling beneath a clear blue

sky and a warm sun.

A

slight breeze

swept over

the long green grass, which was studded here and there

with

clumps of

califate

bushes,

and an

enlivening colour variety was given to the verdant


152

Jf

STRANGE SCENE.

carpet by occasional tracts of white and yellow

One end

flowers.

some

tall

beech

trees,

of the valley was

covered with

hills,

bound by

dark patches of

and beyond these again, ridge above

ridge, range

above range, the snow and glacier

covered Cordilleras of the Andes towered majesthe

The

sky.

tically

to

clear

looking long westward,

;

was marvellously

air

could gradually

I

distinguish, in the haze of the distance, over the

mountains which

first

met

my

ranges, of such height that they in mid-air,

and only

my

after

seemed

vision

to float

had acquired

sharpness from long concentration, could

But

their outlines basewards.

snowy

gaze, white

it

trace

I

was the

siofht at

the near end of the valley which most claimed

From behind

attention.

bound

it

rose

a

tall

jagged peaks were fashion, air

and

fretted

and moisture

chain

cleft

green

the

hills

of heights, the

in

most

my that

whose

fantastic

and worn by the action of the

into

forms,

semblance of delicate Gothic

some bearing the

spires, others imitat-

ing with surprising closeness the bolder outlines of battlemented buttresses and lofty towers.

The

bare rock which formed them was red porphyry,

and the morning sun

glittering

variety of bright tints, purple

were thrown into striking

relief

on

it,

lent

it

a

and golden, which by the blue back-


A STRANGE SCENE.

153

ground of the sky and the white masses of snow,

The

which, in parts, clung to the peaks. flanks of these gullies

and

tall

heights were scored with deep

and strewn with detached

ravines,

boulders of rock

;

abrupt

but nowhere was there any trace

of vegetation, either bush or grass.

The suddenness burst upon

me

with which this novel scenery

considerably heightened

But yesterday we had stood on the their eternal

night

monotony of colour and

we had gone

to bed, as

similar dreary waste

;

we

its

effect.

with

plains,

outline

;

last

thought, in a

and now, as

by magic,

if

from the bowels of the earth, a grand and glorious landscape had sprung up around different,

in

its

as totally

us,

diversity of outline

and

colour,

from that which only a few hours ago had depressed and wearied It

was amusing

us,

to hear the exclamations of

my

surprise with which scene, as one

as could well be imagined.

companions greeted the

by one they came out of

their tents

and gazed on the pleasant metamorphosis which had taken place during our slumbers.

We

had

grumbled a good deal the day before about the

many illtempered expletives but all that was now forgotten, and as we looked around us we felt that country, and had anathematised

it

with

;

our trouble had not been unrewarded.


DA V.

*AN IDLE

154

Taking advantage of the

damp

spread our to the

wind and

my

over,

fast

furs

we

sun, they

were soon

Break-

dry.

brother started off with his

end of the

rifle

valley,

others stretched ourselves on our furs

under the shade of some

tall

help of books and pipes, a

bushes, and with the

little

desultory conver-

and the lazy contemplation of the

sation,

we

weather,

on the bushes, and, thanks

to explore the peaks at the

whilst

fine

scenery before

us,

we managed

to pass

fair

away the

hot hours of noon pleasantly enough.

When

of idleness, with.

got cooler, and

it

we found

hand with the had

themselves

be cleaned.

needle, the rough

lately received

and patching

to

I

my

I

made some attempts

imperative.

had

am no good usage my apparel

and, although

;

fill

plenty to occupy ourselves

There were guns

journal to write up

we had drank our

The

at

sewing

guides busied

in repairing saddle-gear,

making

reins

or lassos from guanaco hide, and similar work.

Our English servant

Storer,

who had somehow

created for himself the reputation of one expert in

the stuffing of birds and the curing of skins, was

busy with several unsavoury smelling specimens of the latter, which he had been carrying about

him

for

some

days,

having to-day,

for the first

upon them.

Mr. B. went

time, leisure to operate


CALIFATE BERRIES.

make a

off to

site

came

camp and

sketch of our

esque surroundings, and

155

in searching for

pictur-

its

a suitable

across a caHfate bush, the blue berries

on which were almost

He

ripe.

brought back a

and though we found them rather

capful,

acid,

mashed up with plenty of sugar they made a very nice refreshing dish, which

was

to us after our late uniform diet.

grass near the stream that flowed

we found some soup, *'

In the long

down

the valley

wild celery, which, put in the

was a decided improvement on the dried

we had brought with us, and of which time we had but little left. Just as we

Julienne

by

welcome

especially

this

"

were getting rather anxious about him, as already near sunset, his excursion to the

my

it

was

brother came back from

Arriving

Porphyry Peaks. *

at their base

much

been deceived

later

than he expected, having

in the distance,

he had only had

time to climb about half-way up them, but even at that

height had got a splendid view of the

country beyond, his accounts of which

eager to penetrate into

it

as soon as possible.

But as our packhorses required be deferred for a couple of days

The ised.

made us

rest, this

had

to

yet.

next day a hunting-party was organ-

Neither our guides nor ourselves know-

ing whether any

game was

to

be found

in

the


GtJANA CO-STALKING.

156

country

we were about

to enter,

it

was necessary

we should take a good supply of meat with We made a circle in the usual manner, and

that us.

were

successful, as far as ostriches

inasmuch

some good

as, after

were concerned,

runs,

we managed

to kill three.

Having observed a herd of guanaco grazing in a valley at

horses were try

some

tolerably fresh then set out to

still

and get one, the meat of three ostriches not

being sufficient to

more than two

last

ourselves and dogs for

The dogs were

days.

tired with their previous exertions to

use to

us,

so

we had

the

herd with great

it

be of any

was necessary

proceeded to do, choosing our ground

by,

and

when we heard

looking

round,

He

valley.

watchful

cantered along,

herd,

at a

sentinel, off,

hill

saw

little

guanaco

a

overlooking the

had scarcely uttered

was repeated

carefully,

a shrill neigh close

we

standing on the crest of a

we

this

But we had

so as to keep out of their sight.

not gone far

rifles.

to stalk

and

precautions,

too

all

on our

to rely solely

This being the case,

it

whose

distance, those of us

his

cry

when

distance off by another

and then they both

slowly

looking back at us as they went

and neighing loudly meanwhile,

at

intervals.

The

warned of the approach

of


GUANACO-STALKING.

157

danger, leisurely trotted up the escarpment on other side of the

the

valley,

and as

My

disappeared over the plain.

leisurely

husband took

a vindictive pot-shot at one of the retreating

but missed him

sentinels,

and we had

;

to

make

the best of our disappointment, and search for

some

less

siderable ticular

difficulty,

the guanacos

At

little

con-

on

par-

this

knot of four or

together, almost out of

after a great deal

last,

my

of fruitless stalking,

a

we had

day appearing to be shyer than we had

known them.

ever

In this

watchful herd.

husband got a shot

who were standing range. One fell, and the five,

With a

others took to their heels.

umph we

at

wounded

galloped up to the

cry of

tri-

one, but to

our dismay, at our approach, he sprang to his feet

and started to

all

we

Spurring our horses,

appearance unhurt.

followed

ravines,

him

speed after his companions,

off full

up

closely

hills,

in

over the plains, at times losing

to despair of ever

only

him

altogether, but always catching sight of

we began running him down. One by

again, going as fresh as ever,

one

wake, down steep

his

my my

till

companions dropped husband, Mr.'

in the chase.

Had he

we should have desisted

at last

off,

till

presently

and myself, were

left

not been so palpably

hit,

B.,

too

;

but

it

seemed a

pity.


A DILEMMA.

•

158

having gone so

hoping to

far,

to give

we kept

so

in,

on,

out our prey by sheer persistence.

tire

But gradually, and no wonder, our jaded horses began

show

to

them almost

signs of exhaustion

to a standstill, and, reflecting

we had

distance

were just going

to rein in,

when

he

got,

every his

to within

the guanaco sud-

Sure now of getting

we pushed on towards

had got

But when we

him.

about six yards of him, up

and galloped

off again, distancing us at

Hesitating what to do,

stride.

wake, though

we had never

on the

back to the camp, we

to ride

denly stopped and lay down. him,

we had run

;

all

the time

started

after

we kept

in

we were wishing Slower and

him.

slower our panting horses struggled towards a ravine,

down

the side of which the guanaco had

We

disappeared.

to

were at a

loss to

become of him. side, or

edge and looked

we

He

to be

seen.

imagine what could have

had not climbed the other

should have seen him emerge on the

nor could he have gone along the ravine,

plain,

either to the riQ^ht or the

a view of

it

in

we were

astonishment

moved

in the

left,

as

we commanded

both directions for a long distance.

In this dilemma

with

its

The ooruanaco was nowhere

down.

We

came

about

staring us,

open-mouthed

when something

long grass below, and directing our


MOSQUITOES. Steps thither

we came upon

159

our guanaco lying

The movement

stretched out in a pool of blood.

had drawn our attention to him had

that

been

his last effort, for

evidently-

he was now quite dead.

Examining him, we found the

had entered

bullet

and passing through the lungs and

his side,

had lodged near the spine

;

and

thus severely

yet,

wounded, he had gone quite ten cracking pace

Later on

!

lights,

miles

at

we experienced

a

still

more extraordinary instances of the toughness and tenacity of son with

of these animals, in compari-

life

whom

the cat with

Having

absolutely nowhere. aco,

and distributed

its

nine lives

its

cut

up the guan-

meat on the saddles of

we turned back towards our camp long ride we had before we got there.

our horses,

and a FArla,

we

;

found,

had

also

killed

a guanaco,

and we had therefore plenty of meat to us,

is

should

we have

difficulty in getting

last

game

in

the Cordilleras.

The

next day was passed, in Idleness.

extremely hot, scarcely a breath of wind

and

In the

was

stirring,

evening we were rather bothered by

mosquitoes, this being the

made with them

first

in Patagonia.

acquaintance

height,

we

During the day

a bird was seen hovering over the

immense

It

which we were

camp told

at

an

was a


A GOOD SHOT.

•

i6o

condor.

It

was so high up that

moment when

my

hung

it

husband had a shot

lous fluke, the

at

took

ball

looked scarcely

Taking advantage

bigger than an ordinary hawk. of a

it

perfectly motionless,

and, by a marvel-

it,

effect,

and down the

creature came, growing bigger and bigger as fell,

at last, reaching the earth with

till

thud, there

it

found

condor

the

I

had

it

measured twelve

feet

The most

from wing to wing. of

a loud

was, the most gigantic bird

We

ever seen.

white

the

is

it

distinctive feature

down

which

ruff

encircles the neck

two or three inches below the

head, which latter

is

and repulsively

completely bare of feathers In the female

ugly.

colour of this ruff

is

bird

the

black.

This night the mosquitoes became a positive nuisance.

I

tried

my

handkerchief over

my

bitten,

plan

I

furs,

endurance

from

all

I' Aria.

sides

evil.

of lighting

had ultimately

envied old

as

tying

or burying

face,

preferred the latter

we adopted

passive

— such

my

myself

but between being smothered and

in the tent, so as to

out,

kinds of stratagems to

myself from them

protect

under

all

Similarly, the

some damp grass

smoke our trying enemies

to

of

be abandoned the

in

inevitable.

Throughout the

favour of I

quite

night, whilst

exclamations and expletives of


MOSQUITOES. varying

irritability

and force were continually

i6i

to

be heard, the placid snore which floated from his tent

showed

that,

thanks to his parchment skin,

he was enabled to bear the sting of the outrageous mosquito with serene indifference.

M


AN^UNKNO WN COUNTR V.

i62

CHAPTER AN UNKNOWN COUNTRY

XIV.

PASSING THE BARRIER

CLEOPATRA'S

— FOXES —A GOOD RUN — OUR FOREST SANCTUARY — ROUGHING — A BATH A VARIED MENU.

NEEDLES

IT

We

were up early the next morning,

perhaps a long journey before

were about

to

;

when and where we might camping that

rich grass in the valley

they were in very tunate, as face,

we

unknown

to

and no one could say find a suitable place

All helped to drive up

night.

and saddle the horses

we had

the country

penetrate being as

our guides as to ourselves

for

us,

for

their long rest

;

and the

had done them good, and

fair condition,

which was

we might have some arduous

for-

climbs to

and pasture lands might be scarce among

the mountains.

The day

before, the guides

had been on a

reconnoitring expedition, with the object of finding the most practicable route towards the interior,

and having discovered a

ravine,

which appeared


!

PASSING THE BARRIER. to

wind

in the direction

163

of the mountains, and

which, at the same time, afforded easy going for

our horses,

we

Accordingly, to

the

all

plains,

down

flowed

make it our highway. being ready, we said good-bye

resolved to

and,

fording

the valley,

we entered on

ravine, full of curiosity as to

we were now

The

stream which

the

the winding

what kind of country

to break in upon.

ravine was in itself a

fit

something strange and grand.

preparation for Its

steep slopes

towered up on either side of us to an immense height

and the sunlight being thus

;

excluded,

a

mysterious

partially

gloom reigned below,

which, combined with the intense, almost painful silence of the spot,

and impressive.

strange sified

made

the scene inexpressibly

by the knowledge that

solitudes

had

been

effect

Its

was

inten-

since these gigantic

fashioned

by

nature,

no

human eye had ever beheld them, nor had any human voice ever raised the echoes, which, awakening now

for

the

first

sonorous chorus the profane

legua

!"

time,

repeated in

shouts of

*'

legua

with which our guides drove the horses

along.

We

hurried on, anxious to reach the

mouth of

the ravine, and behold the promised land as soon as possible, but several hours elapsed before

we


1

CLBOPA TRAS NEEDLES.

64

at last reached its farther end, its

and emerged from

comparative gloom into the sunshine of the

A

open.

new

glance showed us that

in a

Before us stretched a picturesque

country.

plain,

we were

covered with soft green

turf,

and dotted

and there with clumps of beeches, and

here

crossed in

all

directions

The

by rippling streams.

background was formed by thickly-wooded behind which again towered the Cordilleras, tall

peaks of a reddish hue, and

in

hills,

—three

shape exact

Needle, being a con-

facsimiles of Cleopatra's

spicuous feature in the landscape.

bushes here were of a size

The

califate

we had never met on

the plains, and were covered with ripe berries, on

which hosts of small birds were greedily

feasting.

The very air seemed balmier and softer than that we had been accustomed to, and instead of the rough winds we had hitherto encountered there was a gentle breeze of

strength

just sufficient

Here

agreeably to temper the heat of the sun.

and there guanaco were grazing under the shade of a spreading beech tree, and

manner

in

approached,

which it

they

was easy

never known what

was

by the indolent

walked to

see

away that

as

we

they had

to

have a dozen

fierce

dogs and shouting horsemen

at their heels.

But

soon

we

all

it

dismounted round a huge

califate


CLEOPATRA'S NEEDLES. bush, and there

we

ate our

fill

of

its

berries, taking a supply with us to

dinner,

we

mashed up with

165

sweet

be eaten after

sugar, as dessert.

gaily cantered on towards the

many a pleasant - looking many a charming glimpse

nook,

juicy-

hills,

Then passing

and enjoying

of landscape, doubly

delightful after the ugliness of the plains.

Numerous

small lagoons, covered with wild-

fowl of strange and novel appearance, frequently

came

in

our way, and by their shores basked

hundreds of the lovely white swans whose species I

Unlike their com-

have already mentioned.

rades of the plains they appeared perfectly tame,

merely waddling into the water when

proached

up alongside them,

close

once attempting to

fly

away.

I

we

ap-

and never

was greatly struck

by the thousands of ducks and geese that covered these lakes.

Crossing a broad mountain-stream which ran

down from

the

hills

on our

left,

and disappeared

into a

mighty gorge stretching away into those

on our

right,

we

still

directed our

march along the

grassy plain which led direct towards the three

huge Cleopatra peaks glaciers far

slopes which filled

ahead of

we

rising us.

from out of the snow

The

thickly -wooded

could perceive in the distance

us with eager longing to reach them, as

it


1

FOXES.

66

was many a day since we had any kind.

seen trees of

last

In the vast forests which lay before

we promised ourselves a goodly supply of fuel and many a roaring fire around the camp. On the way we occasionally gave chase to the foxes us

which started up great

many

of these animals in Patagonia, and

one has to be careful to put in

some

ing one

apt to find them

is

gray

England

in colour.

I

fur

is

to pieces

very

resolved to carry

morn-

soft,

make

by

and

a col-

them back

to

be made up into rugs and other

to

useful articles.

catch

gnawed

Their

of their skins, and

lection

leather articles

all

safe place at night, or else in the

these sly marauders. silver

There are a

at our approach.

It is

very rarely that a dog can

one of these foxes by himself: our best

ostrich hound,

''

La

Plata," after

an exciting chase

of half an hour, found himself outpaced and outstayed.

So quickly can they

double, that

it

is

twist,

turn,

and

out of the power of one dog

to equal them.

Whilst

we were

slowly jogging

along,

horse, with a snort of terror suddenly violently

on one

side.

my

swerved

Close to him there rose up

a magnificent ostrich, who, after one astonished

gaze at our party, turned and

by which we had

just

fled in the direction

come.

With

a

merry


A GOOD RUN.

167

Loca and Leona, who had

brother and myself.

caught sight of the ostrich

moment,

in a

time in straining every limb to the fast -fleeting

my

by

shout Francois was after him, followed

come alongside

who scudded away

bird,

no

lost

at a

tremendous pace over the rough uneven ground.

Our progress on horseback was an easy

many

presented bushes,

as the line taken

task,

sharp

-

only be

These

who

should

untempting - looking blood

thick

and

rocks,

places,

as

their

and woe betide

;

one of these deep,

into

But

bottoms.

when

his

and the excitement of the chase

up,

is

fall

ostrich

latter obstacles could

negotiated at certain

the horse

its

half-hidden

pointed,

were jagged and rotten

sides

by the

such as high

obstacles,

broad, deep chasms.

by no means

also

at

highest pitch, what keen sportsman cares to

crane or wonder what danger side of the

obstacle that

only thought

rank

in the

ing along. could,

is

lies

on the other

confronts

him

?

His

and keep a front

to get forward

merry chase that goes gaily sweep-

And

so on

we

pressed as fast as

and urged our horses

to

do

we

their utmost.

Fully entering into the excitement of the moment, the call,

game and

managed

little

beasts answered willingly to our

in spite of the rough, difficult going,

to keep the dogs

and

ostrich in sight.

we


A GOOD RUN.

i68

"They'll soon have him now,"

calls

away

brother to me, as a cloud of feathers float in

the

Leona, that

still

torn from the bird's

air,

who shakes

cling

and

tongue

by La

tail

her head to get rid of those her mouth

round throat.

double, but finds his little

my

out

ladies at his side,

The

bird

match

and

clog

has

begun

her to

two clever

in the

and before long succumbs

an easy prey to them both.

This to full

the

little

incident

a

lent

pleasant

winding up of a long

tiring

variety

day; and

we

of triumph in the success of our hunt,

trotted

towards

the

camping

-

place

our

com-

panions had chosen.

On

our arrival

going on

one

we found

in the culinary

active preparations

department, and every

Three

very busily engaged.

blazed merrily in front of

my

tent,

huge

fires

and a

little

farther off a succession of smaller ones indicated

the spot where the cooks were employed in pre-

paring dinner.

Over one of

these

soup, carefully superintended by

another Storer was watching

my

hung a pot of husband

;

at

and turning the

roasting ribs of a guanaco, while at a third Gre-

gorio occupied himself in frying a rich steak of ostrich,

and roasting three or four of

as a bonne douche,

which was

their

wings

to succeed the roast.


OUR FOREST SANCTUARY. Nor were Guillaume pile of firewood fire

as the goodly-

up near each

for their activity

we had unsaddled

them loose

idle,

that lay stacked

spoke volumes

After

or I'Aria

169

and energy.

our horses and turned

companions hard by, we

to join their

refreshed ourselves with mate, and then proceeded to take part in the general

work and arrangement

Mysteriously promising us some-

of the camp.

thing extra good in the shape of a

Fran9ois retired into his the ostrich which

of his

he assured

efforts,

just killed.

us,

The

an agreeable change

monotony of our

daily

judged

the proverb that

'*

plea-

the

in full

of

might prove, we

result

alone,

remembering

Too many cooks

spoil a dish."

best to leave

it

Though

diet.

what that

result

would produce a

sant surprise, and

curiosity as to

dish,

dragging after him

tent,

we had

new

him

Collecting the rows of pack-saddles and articles of riding gear,

I

proceeded to arrange them

tidily,

together with the numerous sacks and baggage, in

a corner of Storer's tent, and then gathering up a roll

my attention On the pampa

of guanaco furs, turned

making up of our beds.

always been a matter of some

beds, on account of the rough, ;

it

had

difficulty to discover

ground smooth enough whereon

the plains

to the

but on this occasion

to lay out the

uneven nature of I

had no cause to


OUR FOREST SANCTUARY.

I70

grumble, for beneath the lofty spreading beech

mossy

trees the smooth, velvety, softest

turf afforded the

and most luxurious of feather beds

in the

Our couches were simple enough,

world.

The ground

doubtless the reader imagines. plied the

as

sup-

want of a bedstead or mattress, a single

blanket occupied the place of a sheet, and our

guanaco capas served as covering, being remark-

With our saddles

able for their great warmth. for

our pillows, a complete and

touch was

final

given to the whole arrangement, and on these hard beds,

tired

with

our day's

we

exertions,

would sleep as soundly and comfortably as though they were the most luxurious spring mattresses imaginable.

The beds arranged

to

my

satisfaction,

I

next

proceeded to go the round of the camp to see everything was

in

on finding which

order,

the case, with a sigh of relief

was over

for the day,

Roughing it

is

it

I

felt

and the time

may be

all

be

my work

for rest arrived.

very well

not so easy in practice.

that

to

if

in theory,

but

After a long tiring

march, when you have been in the saddle twelve or thirteen hours under a hot sun,

means a

light task,

on the

arrival at

it

is

by no

your journey's

end, to have to unload your horses, pitch your tents,

cook your dinner, clean your saddles and


ROUGHING bridles,

IT.

171

unpack and remove the baggage, and

place everything in order and neatness, while

occupies a long and weary time.

it

In England, on

your return every day from hunting, you come

home

tired

and weary, no doubt, but

hunting-box, where a

warm room,

it is

to a cosy

a blazing

fire,

an easy arm-chair await you, with servants

in

plenty to attend to your wants, a refreshing hot bath,

But

and the luxury of a clean change of all this is

clothes.

not forthcoming on the pampa, and

before you can

rest,

the whole business

have

I

mentioned has to be gone through, everybody, no matter

who

taking his or her share of work,

it is,

while the thought of fatigue must be banished,

and every one must

put his shoulder

to

the

wheel, and undertake and accomplish his separate task cheerfully and willingly.

Only by so doing

can things be kept going in the brisk orderly

manner they

should.

Our camp had been of a lovely its

little

pitched close to the bank

mountain stream, which made

appearance from out the thick woods that rose

to a great height

behind

splashing

filled

waters

longing for a plunge.

rough towel,

I

us.

me

The sound with an

of

its

irresistible

Accordingly, armed with a

proceeded to follow

its

winding

course upwards, and through the dense foliage of


— •

A BATH.

172

the beech trees

I

make

could

out

its

silver

stream

descending like a white streak from an immense height.

Presently

arrived at a spot where, fed

I

by a small cascade, a

clear cool pool

of water

presented a most convenient and inviting appear-

ance for a bath.

no time

lost

I

in

undressing and

indulging in the luxury of a plunge, which greatly

me

refreshed and invigorated

day

I

had undergone.

On my

return to the

and nine

still

mean nor append Soup. rice.

small. it

found that dinner

I

hungrier dogs, require a good sub-

Our

stantial meal.

camp

Nine hungry human beings,

was quite ready.

I

after the long tiring

7nenu that night was neither

As

it

may

interest

my

readers,

:

— Guanaco

— Roast

ribs of

Head,

slices of Ostrich,

and

Guanaco. (Back of the

Fried Ostrich Picane.

ostrich,

resembling a very rich Rumpsteak).

Roast Goose and Ducks. Ostrich Wings. Ostrich

.

Liver and

pieces of ostrich liver

fat

and

(consisting of square

fat,

toasted on a stick).

Blood Pudding. Dessert.

Califates, Coffee,

Mate, Tea, Biscuits.

The blood-pudding proved about which

Fran9ois

to

be the dish

had observed so much


A VARIED MENU. secrecy and mystery.

and we were loud

ingly good, merits. also,

was

It

The

ostrich liver

was most

and

acceptable,

drank the health of Francois

and water

all

round.

the numerous front of our

;

certainly exceed-

praise of

in fat,

a

and that

new night

in a glass of

its

dish

we

whisky

Dinner over, we replenished

fires that

camp

173.

burned

and then,

in a semicircle in

tired

and weary, we

sought our couches, and, canopied o'erhead by the rustling trees, with the bright moonlight shining

down upon

us,

slept as

sleep as the fatigues

us

to.

sound and contented a

we had undergone

entitled


EXCURSIONS INTO THE MOUNTAINS

174

CHAPTER

XV. MYSTERIES OF THE COR-

EXCURSIONS INTO THE MOUNTAINS

HORSE TRACKS

DEER

MAN THE

few days of our sojourn

in the

mountains

WILD

DILLERAS

-

DESTROYER.

The

first

were spent different

in

full

—

far as the

;

but this was out of the question,

to the limited supply of provisions

we were

We

eye could reach.

of curiosity to penetrate and fathom their

hidden mysteries

owing

into the

gorges that stretched away inwards for

miles and miles

were

making short excursions

able to carry with us.

which

In these solitary

wanderings we came across no sign or vestige of the haunts

of

human

beings,

and few and

far

between were the animals that crossed our path. Occasionally, from height,

or

we would

guanaco, and

would peer rock,

some jagged plateau or rugged catch a glimpse of small deer

now and

again

at us suspiciously

a

wild

horse

from behind a huge

and then, with a neigh of astonishment

rather than fright, dash hurriedly

off,

its

beauti-


MYSTERIES OF THE CORDILLERAS ful it

mane and

175

flowing in the breeze, giving

tail

a grand, wild, and picturesque appearance.

Musters

tells

us in his Narrative of Patagonia,

that the Indians fully believe in the existence of

an unknown city,

tribe,

or of an enchanted or hidden

which, they superstitiously aver,

cealed

somewhere

con-

lies

in the recesses of these

moun-

tains.

Farther north the Araucanian Indians profess to

having discovered

their vicinity a settle-

in

ment of white people who spoke an unknown

Numerous legends and

tongue. rent

stories are cur-

amongst the Patagonians, who

with awe and superstition

behold

all

wooded

the distant

slopes and far -stretching glaciers of the Cordilleras,

into

whose shades they never attempt

to

penetrate.

The

Chilotes

declare

forests of the Cordillera,

that

man

coarse shaggy hair.

Tranco

it

believe

goes. that

western

the

an animal exists bearing

the form of a wild

which

in

covered is

all

over with

the appellation by

It is difficult to

bring oneself to

amidst these immense solitudes a

human being does minds may conjure up

species of

not exist.

ative

all

ordinary fancies,

sorts

Imaginof

extra-

and people unknown regions

with strange and fantastic figures

;

and

it

is

hard


MYSTERfES OF THE CORDILLERAS.

176

to prevent oneself from giving a kind of credence to

these vague stories which

much

confidence

and

belief

are told with

so

by the inhabitants

of the country.

The

undulating country which stretched

hilly,

away

in the direction

filled

us with an eager desire to explore

known

territory

;

of the three Cleopatra peaks its

un-

and accordingly, accompanied by

Gregorio and Francois,

we

all

set off

on horse-

back early one morning, soon after daybreak.

The

air

was keen and

and we

invigorating,

trotted

along for some time, following and skirting the

which extended on our right and

line of forest

front of us as far as

on our

we

could distinguish.

in

Away

stretched a bright green valley, gay

left

with many-coloured flowers, and watered by

in-

numerable streams and water -courses, whilst be-

yond rose high crowned woods.

In

hills,

covered with vegetation, and

the distance by thick

Impenetrable

Callfate bushes, loaded with ripe berries

of a great and unusual to a halt,

as

It

size,

frequently brought us

was impossible

to

resist

their

tempting and refreshing aspect.

About midday, when the sun was and we began

to feel the effects of

its

ing rays, the valley through which

pursuing our

way suddenly came

at its height,

hot, scorch-

we had been to

an abrupt


MYSTERIES OF THE CORDILLERAS. termination. its

we

limits,

which confined

Breasting the

hill

halted on the

summit

horses a few moments'

rest,

177

and

to give the

to contemplate

and delight the lovely scene that

in silence

lay-

stretched at our feet.

Of

country on which

had just sides,

we were

entering from that

woods closed

quitted, for the

strongholds to those

Sunny

time.

grass,

on

in

we all

and huge masses of rocks rose from out

their leafy tops, giving the

first

new

a totally different aspect was this

appearance of ruined

who

beheld them for the

glades, carpeted

opened out here and

by

there, as

rich

green

though they

had been cleared and fashioned by the hand of man, while a lovely

made

stream, which

little

appearance from out of the woods on our continued

its

could distinguish in the distance.

our

left,

Away

and surrounded by thick woods,

the clear sparkling waters of an

rose

all

the lofty

up

like a

immense

stillness

which

veyed

to

was

distant,

snow -clad peaks of the Cor-

Not a sound disturbed the

life

lake,

huge frowning

dillera.

animal

to

glittered

which we judged to be about two miles

barrier,

right,

course towards a deep ravine, which

we

and beyond

its

over

reigned stirring,

deathlike

everything

;

no

and the impression con-

an eye-witness who beheld

N

this

scene


MYSTERIES OF THE CORDILLERAS.

178

was a sense of

for the first time

utter loneliness

and desolation. Descending the to

breathe

the

woodland scene

on which we had halted

hill

we

horses,

entered upon

have just described, and follow-

I

ing the course of the

little

brook that flowed

towards the great ravine, were not long ing at the edge of It

proved

its

many hundreds

steep perpendicular descent.

of feet below,

by what appeared

to

its

proved

shallow river.

size, for

base was formed

be a tiny winding stream,

but which a later expedition, of which to speak,

in arriv-

be a ravine of no ordinary

to

the

in reality to

have yet

I

be a broad though

Far away below

us, to

our right,

roared an enormous cataract, which, half hidden in the trees, left scarcely

and were

it

any part of

itself visible,

not for the clouds of spray that rose

to a great height, an eye-witness could not

distinguished

its

real

position

amidst

its

have leafy

hiding-place.

We

were not long

in ascertaining that

it

would

be impossible to get horses down the steep precipitous sides of this great ravine,

reluctantly

and therefore

abandoned any hope of being able that

day to make any farther progress towards the three great peaks which of us.

still

towered

Directing our horses to the

left,

in

front

we

en-


WILD-HORSE TRACKS.

179

tered a long stretch of narrow woodland, which

appeared to lead

we had

distinguished a

not long before

we

animals on their

struck

followed

way

it

was

It

upon a wild horse

was formed by these

to drink at the lake,

we

many winding ways

for

tortuous and

its

time back.

little

and concluding that

track,

some

the direction of the lake

in

time.

Frequently the brushwood became so dense,

we had to disopenings made by

the trees so close together, that

mount and creep through the our

Now

through.

driven

them

and then the path we were

follow-

having

horses,

previously

ing would suddenly cease, and

time before last

we came upon

we emerged from some

it

its

would be some

At

track again.

thick

underwood

into

a broad clearing, and eagerly pushed forward.

Proceeding at a quicker rate than panions,

I

was soon

fear of being lost,

unpleasant

far

ahead of them

;

com-

and

in

and anxious to avoid such an

contretemps,

mounting, sat

my

down

I

drew

and

rein,

dis-

Pre-

to await their arrival.

sently a cracking sound as of sticks breaking close to

me

attracted

direction

my

attention.

Looking

whence the sound proceeded,

I

in

the

espied

a species of deer, of a dark golden colour, eyeing

me

with extreme astonishment.

He

was a

fine


i8o

DEER.

•

buck, with beautiful branching antlers, and large

Close behind him cau-

dark languishing eyes. tiously peered

could

make

two does, and a

farther off

little

out several other animals of the

I

same

kind.

How I

longed for a

I

knew we had

though

but of this firearm

not brought one with us, and

had a gun,

I

rifle,

was not

it

at hand,

and was

being carried by Storer.

Crawling away from the

spot as quietly as

I

could,

I

placed a good hundred

yards between myself and the place from which

had

caught sight of these animals, and then

first

springing to

my

feet,

judged

direction

I

As soon

as they

signs to get

ran as hard as

my

came

them

rein

in sight

no time

in

and

endeavoured by

wanted.

I

me

to

come

Immediately up.

my

The

my

had

I

had

stationary, waiting for the report of

my

same

had

I

re-

all

up.

Yes, there he was, a beautiful animal,

I

lost

companions

rest of

gun, which was to bring them

the

I

gun, proceeded to regain as

stealthily as possible the spot

lately quitted.

mained

for

I

Informing them of the discovery

made, and taking quietly

could in the

They quickly perceived

to halt.

and waited

I

companions were coming.

me, and guessing what

drew

I

left

attitude of inquiring curiosity in

him.

Anxious

still

in

which

to avoid spoiling the


DEER. head,

The

i8i

took aim behind the shoulder, and

I

report

was followed by a crashing sound

the direction in which

I

had

like lightning

When

disappeared into the opposite wood.

I

had

cleared fired

on

away

I

in

Into the glade

fired.

some half-dozen deer bounded, and smoke

fired.

the

perceived the one at which

his knees, evidently unable to pro-

Full of anxiety to place the poor beast out

ceed.

of his agony

had the

I

fired a

effect of

second barrel at him, which

knocking him over.

Springing

up immediately, however, he walked slowly away, seemingly unconcerned and unhurt.

make

my

could not

out what was the matter with myself and

He

gun.

had evidently been

and yet seemed

to

the whole thing.

I

again,

but

three,

hit

both times,

be perfectly unconcerned at could not bring myself to

fire

Gregorio did with his revolver, and

broke the unfortunate animal's

on

I

Limping away

leg.

he went and lay down under an over-

hanging rock, appearing more stupefied than Disgusted at such butchery,

pain.

of

my

companions,

all

of

despatch the unfortunate

I

in

begged one

whom had come up, to beast, and my husband,

going close up to him, placed his revolver within a foot of the deer's forehead and it

Slowly

fired.

sank forward, stunned and apparently

but

when we came

alongside

it.

It

lifeless,

was

still


1

DEER.

82

breathing, and there

was no mark

to

the bullet had penetrated the skull.

came

cois

show

that

Here Fran-

and with the help of

to our aid,

hunting-knife, the poor creature

his

was put out of

his misery.

As

I

wished to keep the

skin, the coat

which was very thick and long, Gregorio

The

work

to

time,

and proved most

remove

frequently

came

set to

process occupied

difficult

During our stay

accomplish.

we

it.

of

some

and tedious

to

in the Cordilleras

across these deer

;

but our

experience of their tameness, the great difficulty of killing them, and the utter absence of sport

which lay therein, prevented us from ever again

The

attempting to bring another down.

was decidedly good, and much after the

meat

;

monotonous

be appreciated

to

diet of ostrich

but even with

and guanaco

inducement

this

flesh

at

hand,

the golden deer of the Cordilleras remained un-

molested and sacred the time

in

we remained

turbed and

our eyes for the rest of their

in

If regret

peaceful solitudes.

atone for that death, of which

was the cause, then given;

sad

for, for

remorse

trusting

life,

many

for

it

hitherto undis-

I

could

unfortunately

has long ago been for-

a day

I

was haunted by a

the loss of that innocent and

which

had

hitherto

remained

in


MAN, THE DESTROYER,

183

ignorance of the annihilating propensities of

—

that

tiful

man who,

and

rare,

directly

becomes

man

he sees something beaufilled

with the desire to

destroy.

The on

shoulders, ribs,

and head were packed and Gregorio,

to the horses of Storer, Frangois,

the remainder being condors. blood,

left

as food for the dogs

Some dozen of the

latter,

and

having scented

were already hovering high above our

we were out of sight would doubdess swoop down and make greedy feast on

heads, and as soon as

the remains riding

left

by the dogs.

brought us to the shores of the great

lagoon towards which steps.

Five minutes'

we had been

Here we dismounted, and

horses, left

them

to

directing our

tethering our

browse on the long

which grew luxuriantly and thickly

all

rich grass

round.

A

couple of hours were quickly and happily whiled

away duck shooting. night that

we

It

was not

till

late that

reached our camp in safety, tired

and hungry, but having thoroughly enjoyed our day.


AN ALARM.

CHAPTER

XVI.

—

THE THE WILD-HORSES AN ALARM AN EQUINE COMBAT RENEWED WILD STALLION VICTORIOUS THE STRUGGLE RETREAT OF THE WILD HORSES.

One

evening, after dinner,

round

the

TArla,

who had gone

discussing

camp-fire,

horses before turning

we were

have a

to

all

coffee,

look

last

sitting

when at

the

came running back, and

In,

announced that he could see the Indians coming

down

the valley in great numbers.

ately

jumped up and hurried out

new

arrivals, not

a

of our privacy being

unwelcome

annoyed

little

intruded

us.

and Gregorlo, looking

moment, said

own

at the prospect

upon

by these

!'*

indeed visible

a dark mass

Presently at

it

it

came

closely for a

excitedly, "That's not the Indians,

but a herd of wild horses

our

to inspect the

we saw

valley,

moving slowly towards

for

immedi-

guests.

Looking up the

nearer,

We

An

;

we had

better look out

extraordinary commotion was

among our

animals.

They were


!

THE WILD HORSES. running to and

now

collecting together in a knot,

dispersing at a gallop over the valley, neigh-

ing and whinnying

As Gregorio detached at

evidently in a state of great

fro,

now

perturbation,

185

full

quick

!

itself

spoke, one of the wild horses

from the main troop and galloped towards

speed

your

shrilly.

or

rifles,

our

we

"

horses.

our

shall lose

Quick

tropilla,"

and though

shouted Gregorio, in evident alarm

;

we

extent of our

did not quite understand the

we as we

danger,

ran for our

quick

could, to get

rifles,

full

and started

off as

between the wild horses

and our own, Gregorio explaining as we ran along, that the wild stallion,

would drive

off"

most perilous

was needed

if

we

did not stop him,

our troop, and leave us in the

Of

plight.

to urge us

course nothing more

on to our utmost speed,

to avert the threatening danger.

But the

flew like the wind towards our horses,

now

all

huddled together

in

and we could scarcely hope them.

extricating

range.

to

be

in

!

time to save fell

;

he had

In the few seconds he lost in

himself

Bang

who were

a corner of the valley,

Suddenly he staggered and

got into a bog.

stallion

we had

bang

!

bang

time to get within !

went our

rifles,

but

unscathed he sped on, and was soon within twenty yards of our terrified animals, and far in front of


AN EQUINE

i86

"We

us.

eously

cried the guides simultan-

are lost!"

and

;

filled

COMBAT.

with dismay,

we

all

stood

still,

perfectly paralysed at the thought of the position

we

should be in without horses, three hundred

miles

away from Sandy

But

at this

moment

Point.

Gregorio's big bay stallion,

the master of the troop, rushed out to meet the

enemy, both halting when they met, and fronting

Thankful

one another. favour,

we

for this diversion in

our

again ran forward, in hopes of being

able to get up before Gregorio's stallion should

have been compelled adversary

his

have to do.

left

fly,

as the superior size of

no doubt he would ultimately

In the meantime the two animals,

after

pawing the

dash

at

air for a

second or two, made a

one another, and engaged

carried

bat,

to

on

chiefly with

in

a fierce com-

their teeth,

though

occasionally they would rise on their hind legs fight with their fore feet.

to

stir,

watched them on one

herd, which field

Our

and

horses, not daring side,

and the wild

had meanwhile trotted up close

of battle, looked on from

to the

the other side,

apparently deeply interested in the issue of the struggle.

We

hurried

along as quick

we

could,

we could make but slow encumbered as we were with our rifles,

though, unfortunately, progress,

as


—

THE WILD STALLION VICTORIOUS. and retarded by the long another misfortune three bullets his pocket

my

—we

Meanwhile

grass.

discovered that beyond

husband happened

when we

to

have had

in

and which we had

started,

fired off in the first volley,

any ammunition,

187

no one had brought having been over-

this essential

looked in the hurry and excitement of the moment.

Hoping we should be

we

should

stallion,

revolvers,

we

able

to

get up in

cope with

the

with

our

time,

pressed on, our eyes fixed on the

two combatants, the endurance of our champion being

now our

He

only chance.

was evidently

already worsted, and any second might turn

and

Still

fly.

he fought on, and

still

tail

we drew

nearer and nearer.

Suddenly

my

of us, seemed to

him up

brother,

who was

Running

fall.

to the waist in a bog,

to

a

him we found

which stretched up

the valley between us and the horses. impossible to cross culty in pulling

him

distance before

we

and

in the

stallion,

it

;

We

It

we had some

indeed,

out.

front

little in

had

to run a

was dififi-

good

could get on to firmer ground

meantime the

battle

who suddenly turned

;

went against our

tail

and

fled.

After

giving him a parting kick, the wild horse rushed at our troop,

and began to drive them

at a gallop

towards his own, punishing with vicious bites and


THE 'STRUGGLE RENEWED,

i88

kicks any animal that

showed signs of becoming go quick enough.

refractory, or that did not

moment was

We strained

critical.

get between the two troops,

have

been

in

every nerve to

as, if

they once joined,

But

for another un-

our chances were hopeless.

expected diversion

The

our favour, our

efforts

would

This diversion was the

defeated.

sudden reappearance on the scene of our

stallion,

who, at the sight of his retreating wives, had

more screwed up

evidently once

courage to

his

the fighting point.

The combat than the

last one.

our horses,

who had

drove them

now ensued was

that

Profiting

by

stood

again,

in front of us

still

it,

fiercer

we

got up to

and hurriedly

towards our camp.

had gone some distance when the wild having again proved us,

We

stallion,

came swooping

victor,

even

after

neighing proudly, and evidently meaning mis-

chief.

We

began

he approached,

When

and wave our hands as

to shout

in the

hopes of driving him off

within forty yards of us, he stopped, but

continued to

circle

and neighing

round

angrily.

the horses up to the

ammunition,

it

us,

stamping and pawing,

Our

object

was

camp and get

to drive

to our rifie

being evident that the only

relieve ourselves of this troublesome

was by despatching him

altogether.

way

to

Don Juan

We

soon


RETREAT OF THE WILD HORSES. got near to the camp, and shouted to

At

bring us some bullets.

I'

189

Aria to

the report of the

first

shot the stallion fled in dismay, and with such rapidity that the

two or three bangs we had

He made

at

him missed

their mark.

own

who, during the whole performance,

troop,

had stood

in watchful expectation.

he reached them they

all

straight for his

The moment

started off at a gallop,

and, in the twinkling of an eye, swept up the

steep escarpment on

and disappeared.

the far side of the valley

Our

horses were so frightened

and bewildered by the day's events, that they

seemed

to

have

desire to graze, but stood

little

quite quiet together for

upwards of an hour near

the camp.

We

the stallion

should return in the night, but Gre-

were

in

some apprehension

lest

gorio said that he thought there was no danger of

such an occurrence taking place, and ingly turned in and went to sleep,

we

and were glad

to see our troop grazing tranquilly next

as usual.

accord-

morning


EXCURSION TO CLEOPATRA NEEDLES.

I90

CHAPTER

XVII.

EXCURSION TO THE CLEOPATRA NEEDLES RIVER

—DIFFICULT TRAVELLING

— A BOG

A WINDING

A STRANGE PHENOMENON

A FAIRY HAUNT WILD HORSES AGAIN THEIR AGILITY THE BLUE LAKE THE CLEOPATRA PEAKS THE PROMISED LAND.

It was arranged that night that Mr. B. and

brother and myself should

make an

my

expedition

with Gregorio, towards the three strange peaks already mentioned.

no cumbersome

some

In order to spare our horses,

were

articles

biscuits, coffee,

furs

be taken, a

and meat, being

templated carrying with

guanaco

to

us, except,

we

con-

of course, our

and guns.

Thus equipped, we had not gone

started the next

Our

shortly after sunrise.

far before

trip

my

extricating himself;

we thought

and as

We

brother got Into a little difficulty in

for his horse, at

one

the poor brute would never get

out again, so deep had

boggy ground.

morning

began badly.

morass, out of which he had no

time

all

kettle,

it

sunk

into the trembling,

However, we managed

to get

it


A WINDING RIVER. out at

and, though both well plastered with

last,

mud, neither worse

191

rider

its

nor

itself

for this little contretemps.

our journey,

we

were any the Proceeding on

followed Gregorio at a merry trot

towards the great ravine, through which flowed that broad

and rapid mountain stream, which

was necessary

The

it

for us to ford.

ravine side was so steep that

we had

to

dismount and lead our horses down by a narrow

made by

track

seemed river,

feet

to

the wild horses.

This pathway

almost perpendicularly

fall

down

to the

which roared along, two or three hundred

below

us,

and a

slip

or stumble might have

sent us pell mell, one over the other, into

it.

No

such mishap occurred, however, and, safely reach-

we proceeded to ford the river. deep as we had expected, but it

ing the bottom, It

was not so

ran with great force, and

its

bed being composed

of shifting pebbles and large boulders of rock, our

horses floundered and splashed about in a distressing way, and the time

we

we

all

got

summer season

got more or less drenched by

through

it.

This

being the

the water was comparatively low,

and we were able

to follow the windings of the

ravine, riding over the dry strip of river-bed for a

good

distance.

But then the river began to dart

about capriciously from one side of the ravine


1

DIFJ^ICULT TRA YELLING.

92

to the other, the

continually

again

consequence being that

we were

finding ourselves obliged to ford

it

and the ravine sides were now so steep and

;

wooded

thickly

that

we had no

option

but to

After two hours of splashing,

follow the river.

and many a narrow escape from complete duck-

made

ings, the river

and

a sudden turn southward,

order to keep on our road towards the

in

we had to say farewell to our convenient ravine, and make our way as best we could peaks

through

the

beechwood

arduous task.

At

thicket which

made

times

we would

Then

get

an

into

a

progress impossible, forcing

us to retrace our steps, and try

meet only the same

often to

This was

forest.

some other

route,

difficulty as before.

a good broad clearing would turn out to be

equally impracticable, on account of a belt of stretching across

it,

or a

little

ravine,

which favoured

our journey for a time, would resolve

and again we would have

impasse,

bog

itself into

an

to turn back.

Fortunately the weather was fine and sunny, and

we made

light of our difficulties, occasionally rest-

ing for a while to admire bits of

some of the many

lovely

landscape chance presented to our eyes, or

to feast

on some bush, heavy laden with wild red

currants,

peculiar

which were now ripe and sweet.

A

phenomenon, suggestive of some great


A STRANGE PHENOMENON. bygone

fire in

among

Everywhere,

me

ages, struck

huge dead

giants,

charred, as

if

in these forests.

younger

the

gray and

trees,

leafless,

a sudden sea of

193

and

stood

partially

had swept over

fire

them, drying up their sap and destroying their powers, being quenched, however, by some

vital

sudden agency before branches and

trunks

These gray

age looked weird and

amid

standing

to destroy their

completely.

of a bygone

skeletons ghastly,

had time

it

the

green trees

fresh

around them, and the wind, sweeping through their branches,

produced a dry harsh

rattle,

which

contrasted strangely with the melodious rustle of

the leafy crests of their comrades.

For three or four hours we worked our way through the

forest,

and

never was more as-

I

tonished at the marvellous powers of endurance of our horses than on this occasion, to say nothing

of their extraordinary cleverness

over the trunks of fallen their

trees,

in

and

scrambling in

picking

way through boggy ground, where a wrong

step to the right or trous.

wood,

At all

last

would have been

left

we reached

more or

disas-

the outskirts of the

less scratched

and bruised, and

thoroughly tired with our exertions.

But the peaks were

was getting

low,

still

far

off,

and soon another

o

and the sun

strip of forest


'A

194

FAIR Y HA UNT.

loomed ominously

in front of us.

go no

farther that day,

therefore, to

cast about for

We

some

We

resolved,

and accordingly

suitable camping-place.

were not long

finding a

in

which was admirably adapted

to

nook

little

our purpose.

Sheltered by a cluster of moss and grass-covered boulders,

and

and well fenced

trees,

we found

in

by a

circle of

a fairy circle of

shrubs velvety

soft,

greensward, jewelled here and there with knots of scarlet verbenas and wild violets.

from out among the rocks a stream flowed slight

touch of

make

this

down life

its

Bubbling clear

silver

centre,

little

giving just the

and movement required

sylvan retreat as cheerful as

cosy, not to speak of

its

it

to

was

convenience as regards

the kettle.

We

soon had our horses unsaddled, and then

Gregorio and Mr. B. set to work to light a whilst

my

brother went out with his gun, and

up with sugar, with a view

of

to dessert.

I

I

mashed

By

the time

gathered a capful of red currants, which

my

fire,

brother came back, bringing with him a brace

wood -pigeons and

parrots,

which were soon

plucked and spitted, the rib of guanaco Gregorio

had

set to roast

fell

to

was done

to a nicety,

and we

all

and made a hearty meal, finishing with

the red currants aforesaid.


A FAIR V HA UNT. Then

the

men

lit

195

and the

their pipes,

mate-bowl went round, whilst

we

social

lay watching the

sun setting over the mountains, gilding their peaks with ever varying

and making

tints,

their

glaciers

glow warm and golden under

touch.

Far below,

we had

the river

its

snowy magic

at our feet, lay the ravine, with

so often crossed that day, look-

ing like a winding silver thread in the distance.

Around us reigned

perfect peace

the chattering

;

which had made the woods noisy

flocks of parrots,

during day-time, had gone to their leafy roosts, and

A

not a breath of wind stirred the silent trees.

few

birds,

little

who no doubt had

their

homes

in

the chinks of the boulders which formed the back-

ground of our camp, hovered around us anxiously

some

for

time,

finding they

till,

from their strange

fear

and hopped from stone

visitors,

had nothing

to

they took heart,

to stone into their respec-

tive lodgings, and, after chirping a note or two,

were

silent for the night.

We and

were not long

rolling myself

head on sleep "

my

up

saddle,

in following their

in

my guanaco

slept as

I

example,

robe, with

my

sound and sweet a

under the greenwood tree " as ever blessed

a weary mortal.

Neither Puck nor Ariel played

any pranks with

me

Titania and

;

though, for ought

Oberon, and their

fairy

I

know,

following.


WILD HORSES AGAIN.

196

flying

from the sceptical

modern

may

made

ignores them,

well have

which

spirit

these secluded

sylvan haunts their own.

We

were

next morning,

In the saddle early the

way

and, plunging Into the woods, pursued our

through the same

difficulties

our progress the day before.

we came by wild

horses,

this,

cries

much frequented

and eventually we

on a path

hit

right through the woods,

we jogged

Soon our horses began ears as

After a time, however,

to a region evidently

worn by them lowing

which had hampered

along at a very

to neigh

we advanced towards

and

fol-

fair pace.

and prick up

then-

Their

a clearing.

were answered from somewhere beyond

and pushing forward

into the open,

us,

we came upon

a herd of wild horses, who, hearing our advance,

had stopped grazing, and now they stood collected in

a knot together, snorting and stamping, and

staring at us in evident amazement.

One

number came boldly

meet

trotting out to

evidently with no pacific Intentions eye,

and

fiercely,

his

;

of their us,

his

and

wicked

white teeth, which he had bared

looked by no means reassuring.

But

suddenly he stopped short, looked at us for a

moment, and

then, with a wild snort, dashed

away, followed by the whole herd.

madly

They

dis-

appeared like lightning over the brow of a deep


THEIR AGILITY.

197

emerge again on our view

ravine, to

after a couple

of seconds, scampering like goats up side,

its

opposite

which rose almost perpendicular to a height

of six or seven hundred

They reached

feet.

crest at full gallop in the twinkling of

without pausing an instant

its

an eye, and

disappeared

again,

leaving us wondering and amazed at their marvellous agility.

up but

I

hill-sides

now

till

their

had often seen

which a that

I

powers with

man

their paths leading

could scarcely climb,

had witnessed a specimen of

my own

eyes,

had scarcely

I

been able to believe them possessed of a nimbleness and cleverness of foot which

would not

discredit a chamois.

From standing

the open space on which

we

could see a broad lake lying at the

base of some very high

hills,

behind which lay the

mighty mountain which culminated peaks

we were now

we were

in the three

desirous of reaching, and as a

ravine appeared to wind in that direction from the

head of the the

lake,

we now pushed forward towards

occasionally profiting

latter,

by numerous wild

horse paths to expedite our advance.

After a

weary scramble of several hours' duration, we threaded a

last belt

dered through a

of forest, blundered and floun-

last bog,

and

after a short ride

over a grassy plain studded with bushes, which


THE BLUE LAKE.

198

were

literally

blue with a profusion of califat6-

found ourselves on the shores of a splendid

berries,

The

sheet of water.

The

our trouble.

lake,

well

sight

repaid us for

which was two or three

miles broad, lay encircled

by

tall

covered

hills,

down

with thick vegetation, which grew close

Beyond the

the water's edge.

hills

red peaks and the Cordilleras. ciers, all

rose the three

Their white gla-

with the white clouds resting on them, were

mirrored to marvellous perfection

less lake,

whose

Round

in the

have ever beheld.

I

the lake ran a narrow strip of white sand,

and exactly

in its centre

stood a

little

green island

with a clump of beeches growing on colour

—the

brilliant

;

white, the

the scene

—the wooded

the blue below

— was

hills,

so unique,

we

me

up

air

into the

us, air,

so imif spell-

Suddenly we

shake as

with the tip of

wing, a condor swept past up, up,

all

by a rushing sound behind

another instant, making the

flight

the spirit

stood as

bound, none of us uttering a word.

and almost touching

so

and sinking mirrored

pressive, that for a long time

in

—was

the glaciers

of silence and solitude which lay over

startled

Each

it.

the blue

green,

rising into the blue above,

were

motion-

were of the most

crystal waters

extraordinarily brilliant blue

into

to

its

us, it

and

went,

mighty

rising with rapid

we

following

him


THE CLEOPATRA PEAKS. with our eyes,

and

sky,

till

199

he became a mere speck on the

finally disappeared,

thousands of feet up

This incident seemed to break the

in the air.

charm that held us

silent,

and we broke

into a

chorus of exclamations of praise and wonder as

new beauty

some

every second

in

the

before us struck our admiring gaze.

our journey,

we rode

we were

spots there

we up

Occasion-

forced into the water, as at

was no beach

at all

;

some

but at any rate

much quicker here than we had

on

got

Resuming

along the narrow strip of

beach towards the head of the lake. ally

scene

and

to the present,

in

a comparatively short

space of time found ourselves at the head of the

We

lake.

we

could

were close

now

to the three peaks,

see were parts of the

an extinct volcano

— the

had

fallen in, a

We

camped by the

which

crater

of

other portions of which

prey to the action of the weather. side of a

flowed into the lake.

little

stream which

All night long

we

could

hear the thunder of avalanches, or what, perhaps,

might volcano

have been the rumbling of some distant ;

and

I

found myself nervously expecting

a repetition of the earthquake which had surprised us so disagreeably at the Laguna Blanca.

In the morning

we

rode up a

tall

which we could get a good view of the

hill,

from

interior.


THE PROMISED LAND.

200

At

the

that

it

same time we were able would be

to assure ourselves

useless, slightly provisioned as

we

were, to attempt to penetrate any farther, the

country before us being

we had

than that

still

more

thickly

wooded

already traversed.

For some distance we could catch glimpses

among

the

hills

of bright green valleys, with

pastures our nimble

excellent

friends the wild

horses were doubtless well acquainted

on rose a

forest of white peaks,

the other,

till

I

would

farthest mystery, but

a sigh of regret,

late

powers in

we

to the

fain

it

have dived

was not

evening,

We

to

be

into their ;

so,

with

got back to the camp

having taxed our horses'

utmost to accomplish our return

Our account

one day.

one towering above

turned our horses' heads in a

direction.

the

in

and farther

;

the tallest faded, hazy and indistinct,

into the skies.

homeward

whose

trip

of the wonderful blue

lake and the strange country beyond

excited the

envy of those who had remained behind, and led to a discussion as to the practicability of our enter-

ing the mountains, bag and baggage. difficulties

in

our

way were

midable, and reluctantly

abandon

too

But the

many and

for-

we were compelled

this seductive plan.

to


;

WE THINK OF RETURNING.

CHAPTER

201

XVIII.

— GOOD-BYE TO THE CORDILLERAS — THE LAST OF THE WILD HORSES — MOSQUITOES — A STORMY NIGHT — A CALAMITY — THE LAST OF OUR BISCUIT — THE

WE THINK OF RETURNING

UTILITY OF FIRE-SIGNALS.

A

FEW more days spent

us near the time

in the Cordilleras

when

it

Sandy

to think of returning to

visions coffee biscuit

were beginning

and sugar we

was necessary Point.

to sink rapidly

had plenty

still

brought to begin

Our

pro-

tea

and

;

of,

but the

bags were getting ominously low, and

all

our other dainties had already been consumed

and many of our camps were painfully remembered in connection with this or that article of food,

had been partaken of there "

Thus, near " Los Bargnales "

;

broaching of our

last tin

here, in the Cordilleras,

is

ostrich

of porridge.

meat good, ;

the last

we had

time.

finished our

Los Morros " witnessed the

last tin of butter

last dish

for

which

of preserved milk

we

;

and

ruefully swallowed our

Guanaco meat too, is

is

good, so

an open-air, gipsy

life


WE XHINK OF RETURNING.

202

in

a bright climate, with

companionship things

;

lots of sport

but the goodness of

ment of good the lack of

these

all

by the accompani-

materially enhanced

is

and pleasant

and materially depreciated by

cheer,

Thus, when our daily menu began

it.

changes on the

to consist of a series of ingenious

monotonous theme of

ostrich

and guanaco meat,

varied only by baked biscuits, our thoughts some-

how began

to run in the

groove of home

often found ourselves talking of

land

"

and

longing.

its

to

and we

dear old Eng-

roast beef in a strain of affectionate

Somehow

the air of Patagonia did not

seem so bracing and began

*'

;

grow

inspiriting as at first

sceptical

and ostrich hunting

;

duck were too tame

we

on the subject of guanaco

we

discovered that the wild

to give real

that snipe-shooting in a country

get up in flocks,

;

good

sport,

and

where these birds

is

simply a matter of loading and

pulling the trigger.

Discomforts and hardships, of

which we once made as serious matters,

we now began

light,

and our tempers, once so sweet

and accommodating, had begun touchy.

We all

felt

more

to

grow

to value those of our companions.

avoided discussions, as reigned

acrid

inclined to dwell

weight of our individual opinions, and

mony which

to take

us

;

on the

less disposed

Once we had

liable to disturb

among

and

the har-

now we welcomed


GOOD-BYE TO THE CORDILLERAS. them our

and even went out of

as pleasant irritants,

way

The

provoke them.

to

203

result

was that

one day, on somebody's suggesting that perhaps

we had

better think of returning;

after a little

opposition, as a matter of course (for in our then

mood

it

was quite

sufficient for

anybody

to propose

a plan for everybody else to immediately gainsay it),

we unanimously agreed

we had ing,

that, considering that

seen a good deal of Patagonia, consider-

too,

our

that

provisions were

nearly

ex-

hausted, and that our horses were very stale,

was

it

better to start at once.

So one morning the packhorses were driven up,

and the

familiar occupation of loading

gone through.

It

simpler matter than

them

now become a much formerly, and we were enabled had

to comfort ourselves with the reflection that the loss in

our larder was a gain as regards the time

economised every day

in

packing up.

Before leaving our pretty

names on one of the

trees,

camp we carved our

and erected a

we left a bottle we could spare.

the top of which

of civilisation

we

cairn,

on

—the only emblem Then, mounting,

turned our backs on the Cordilleras, and set

out towards the ravine

we had

name, among the traders, Ravine."

As we were

is

entered by, whose

"The Wild Horse

riding

along, a solitary


THE LAST OF THE WILD HORSES.

204

horse suddenly appeared on the crest of a after eyeing us for a

hill,

and,

moment, came tearing down

towards us at a frantic gallop, with a loud neigh,

and perhaps dangerous

intentions.

horses scattered in

directions

I'Aria got out their

all ''

Our

troop of

Gregorio and

;

bolas," prepared for

emergen-

and we curiously awaited the sequel of the

cies,

Nearer and nearer came the untamed

incident.

without abating his

steed,

speed one

jot,

evidently determined to charge right at us.

began

and

We

to feel uncomfortable, but put our trust in

Gregorio's deftness, though

was not put

was perhaps well

it

When

to the test.

it

within about ten

yards of us the wild horse suddenly stopped, stood still

for

one second, and then turned, and, with two

sets

of " bolas

ears,

went bounding away as

never stopping

he had

first

saw of the Late

''

"

whizzing harmlessly round his

till

fast as

he had come,

he reached the top of the

appeared on.

This was the

last

hill

we

Bagnales."

in the afternoon

we

crossed the ravine

where we had camped before entering the Cor-

Here we were

dilleras.

of mosquitoes,

horses

horribly,

viciously

assailed

who annoyed buzzing

us and our poor

round

wherever they could

by a thick cloud

us,

settle.

and biting

For a time

nothing was to be heard but angry exclamations


MOSQUITOES.

205

and objurgations, mingled with occasional fiendish joy as

one of us succeeded

cries of

in destroying

half a dozen of our thirsty tormentors with one

But from the fury of

slap of the hand.

their

num-

bers there was no refuge, opposition only increased their virulence,

and those who were

most energetic

in driving

them

off

fiercest

and

were always

surrounded by the thickest cloud.

Relief only

came when we got out of the ravine

into the plain,

and there one puff of wind swept our enemy clean

away

in

a second, not one mosquito

to curse at or to

Thankful

we were

for

remaining

kill.

our release from this annoyance,

not disposed to grumble very

the oppressive heat to which

much

at

we were exposed

during the whole of the day, though the sun beat

down on ing

us from a cloudless sky with overpower-

force,

smarted

camped

and

our

painfully

burnt

under

and its

blistered

fiery

rays.

faces

We

that night near a broad lagoon, and for

the next few days continued our journey over the plains,

erto

without anything of note occurring.

we had been

Hith-

pretty fortunate as regards the

weather, and the nights

especially, with

an exception, had been calm and

fine.

hardly

But one

march before reaching Coy- Inlet River we camped in

a broad valley, where our experience of Pata-


'A

2o6

STORMY NIGHT.

gonlan nights was unpleasantly varied.

we had gone

after

Shortly-

which

to bed, the misgivings

the threatening aspect of the sky had called up, as

we

took a

ing

in,

glance at the weather before turn-

last

were more than

The wind began

realised.

to pipe

ominously through the grass, and before

long

was blowing a regular

it

A

gale.

sudden

squall carried our tents clean out of their pickets,

and sent them whirling through the

A

air.

scene

of the most uncomfortable confusion ensued.

was pouring with

keep one's

legs.

and the wind

rain, pitch dark,

was blowing with such

force that

It

it

was hard

to

Rugs, and clothes, and smoulder-

ing embers were being blown in

all

directions

;

everybody was blundering about in the darkness, tripping

up over something, or

some one

else

;

falling

against

and the howling of the wind, the

rush of the river, the chorus of loud imprecations in various languages,

and the unearthly moaning

and whimpering of the dogs, made up as wild a scene of noisy confusion as could possibly be imagined. Several vain attempts were

made

to set

the tents, but the wind was too strong last,

perfectly drenched through,

;

we had

whatever

and

up at

to give

up the attempt, and crawl

into

came

the storm should pass

to hand, to wait

till

furs first


A CALAMITY. did not do

over.

This

in the

morning, just as

was too

we

it

late or early to

crept out, sleepy,

it

207

about four o'clock

till

was getting

go

We

It

bed again then, so

to

and damp, and miserable, and

drank hot coffee round a smoking

warmed us

got up and

light.

the sun

fire, till

thoroughly.

were to camp that evening by the Coy-

and as

Inlet River,

it

was a good way

off

we

set

We passed several herds

out soon after breakfast.

of guanaco, and also a herd of about eighty or

a hundred ostriches.

I

We

together before.

had never seen so many gave chase

the dogs got so excited, running

and then

ostrich all

A

got away.

bags with

all

that

carried the

remained

biscuits,

and

something,

one

after

they

calamity happened to us that

The mare who

— our

first

after another, that at last

afternoon.

treasure

to them, but

of

two

our

little

greatest

suddenly took fright

galloped

wildly

away.

at

We

followed her course with anxious eyes and beating hearts, not daring to go after her, lest

should aggravate her sat firmly,

while

we

breathe, but

even

began

to incline

and then gradually

slid over.

side,

The moment

the mare

to

to

watched, oh, horror

towards one

began

For a time the pack

fears.

and we began

it

kick out,

felt it

!

it

underneath her she

and galloping quicker and


THE LAST OF OUR

2o8

BISCUIT.

quicker, in a very few seconds she

and

Then

pacified.

to

know

A

long

we

only did

was packless

gallop forward

the worst, and the worst was bad indeed.

trail

of broken biscuits,

sown

in the grass,

marked the course the unfortunate mare had

when we got

to the

small handfuls remained.

We

taken, and

together what

we

into

much

it

had

Our

fallen into.

gather

to

by long

and

dust,

fine

quite impossible to pick

grass

tried

could, but the biscuit,

had broken

travel,

bags only a few

was

it

out of the long

last kettle

had

also

severely suffered in the fracas, a big hole appear-

ing in

its

side when, after a long search,

last found.

was

it,

but failing this desirable consum-

mation, farewell the cheering cup of mate well the

content

at

Guillaume talked hopefully of being

mend

able to

it

morning bowl of grateful

— the

camp-life's chiefest

Slowly and mournfully

we

of the

small

biscuits

in

a

tied

coffee

;

fare-

;

farewell

comfort gone!

up what was

canvas bag,

left

which

Gregorio secured to his saddle, and then, after

having devoted a quarter of an hour to grazing

on

all

fours

on such fragments as could be found

among

the grass,

flecting

on the vanity of

We

arrived at

and fording

it,

we

continued our journey, reall

things.

Coy -Inlet River

that evening,

camped near the bank.

It

rained


UTILITY OF FIRE-SIGNALS.

209

again during the night, but as there was Httle or

no wind,

did not matter much, and excepting

it

we

a pervading sense of dampness, great

Continuing

discomfort.

our

suffered no

march

that

day over the plains that lay between Coy -Inlet

we saw

River and the Gallegos,

numerous

no response so

distance

we

to the fires

we concluded

which

the

in

fires

were

that they

;

lit

but in

smoke of was

there

answer, and

were only old

The

smouldering.

still

the

fires,

next day

one of our party had an opportunity of practhe

testing

tically

value of

of signalling one's whereabouts

He

had got up early

gone out on rifle,

we

to

make

started a

and

I

began

it

only a short

did not

matter

think

on the plains to look

show the

that

We

lay

He

no signs of him.

still

away more than seven to

we

if

Eleven, twelve

return.

have happened to him.

intervals, to

pampa.

ten o'clock

than usual, so

later

for his

came, but

had now been

At

As we had

that day,

little

about, waiting o'clock

the

morning, and had

stalk a guanaco.

he had not returned.

march

in

foot at about five o'clock with his

and

to try

in the

a means

as

fires

hours,

something must

therefore rode

for him, lighting

up

fires at

position of the camp,

and

anxiously scanning the horizon to see whether

P


UTILITY OF FIRE-SIGNALS. he had also made a

But though we rode

fire.

about for a long time nothing was to be seen,

and we went back to the camp, wondering what could have happened.

we were

Just as

middle of a perplexed discussion steps

to

take

in

the

matter,

as

what

to

our

to

in the

relief

he

suddenly came into the camp, blood-stained and

and carrying the head and

tired,

on

ribs of a

had wounded a guanaco, which went ever,

and led him a long dance

hours,

it

again.

couple of shots at as

it

for

without his being able to

range of

two or three

come

it

These

our supply of

Loath

allowed himself three rounds.

animal, he had followed

and

but,

and he having only

ball-cartridges being very low,

ciously over ravines

within

from a long range,

seemed, without reaching his mark.

wounded

how-

off,

In despair, he at last fired a

shots exhausted his ammunition,

the

camp he

Shortly after leaving the

his back.

guanaco

hills,

to

abandon

it

pertina-

always vowing to

himself that beyond a certain point he would follow no farther, but always being lured on

the signs of exhaustion the guanaco to

go

just a

satisfaction

little

At

farther.

of seeing

it

lie

was showing,

last

he had the

down, and with a

shout of triumph ran forward to despatch his

hunting - knife.

But

at

by

his

it

with

approach the


1

UTILITY OF FIRE-SIGNALS.

21

guanaco jumped up again, and slowly as

was enabled

it

ran,

it

to outdistance its relentless pursuer,

who was

already thoroughly done up with his ex-

ertions

but feeling that with patience he must

;

conquer at

abandon

last,

he

his prey.

felt less

inclined than ever to

Already numerous hawks and

condors were circling over the doomed guanaco,

and the thought that the would only go

At

persevere.

Waiting

till

an additional incentive to

rewarded

last success

down once more, by degrees, and then, when

it

within twenty yards or so of It

it.

stumbled

and he had just time

by the

ear,

his efforts.

the guanaco lay

he approached

towards

labours

to provide a feast for these hate-

marauders was

ful

of his

fruit

in

it,

made a dash

trying

to rush

to

up and catch

and with a happy stroke of

hunting- knife end

when he had

cut

its it

sufferings.

up,

get up,

his

it

long

was only

It

and laden himself with

the best parts, that he began to reflect that in the excitement of the chase he had

gotten in which direction the followed the guanaco

the

left,

and

all

now

lay.

to the right,

often having to run to keep

it

He

had

now

to

in view,

he knew was that several hours must

have elapsed since he started lit

camp

quite for

several

fires,

in its pursuit.

He

but he only had a few matches,


2

UTILifY OF FIRE-SIGNALS.

21

and the that he

unfortunately

fires

had no means of showing us

However,

whereabouts. direction He,

soon went out, so

he struck

own

his

out

a

in

which he imagined the camp must

in

and kept wearily trudging on under

his load,

which, tired as he was, he was naturally loath to

After he had gone a good distance

part from.

he looked around, and then the skyline behind

him

appeared

be

to

singularly

like

that

he

remembered having seen on leaving the camp. But then the skyline the same look too.

He was

to the

somehow, had

left,

Which was

the right one

just revolving this puzzling question in

his mind, in

no very pleasant humour, when he

caught a glimpse of the smoke of the

had

lit,

and happily not

far

off,

The

one.

and though he had

managed

to

we

first

as the

gave him new vigour,

sight still

fires

in the direction

he had instinctively chosen from the right

?

a

reach the

good distance

camp

at

last,

to go,

he

without

having to throw away the meat which had cost

him such a hard

day's work.


ISIDORO.

CHAPTER ISIDORO

213

XIX.

—AN UNSAVOURY MEAL—EXPENSIVE LOAVES —GUANACO —DISAPPOINTMENT—NIGHT SURPRISES US— SUPPER-

SCARCE

CONTINUED FASTING

LESS

We

—NO MEAT IN THE CAMP.

down a broad

rode

valley,

which led to

the Gallegos River, where

we were

On

farther

the night.

reaching

its

to

camp

end we were

suddenly surprised by the sight of an

camp, composed of three

tents,

on the other side of the

make

curiosity to

mates,

we

the

for

Indian

which were pitched

river.

Having

little

acquaintance of their

in-

continued our journey along the river

towards our intended camp, but Gregorio and Mr. B. rode over to see them.

hour afterwards

;

They

Mr. B. had found an old

an Argentine Gaucho, named

accompanied him on a former curiously before,

rejoined us an

Isidoro, trip,

friend,

who had

and whom,

had parted from a year

enough, he

on exactly the same spot where he now

met him.

I

was glad

going to pay us a

visit

to hear that Isidoro

the next day, as

I

was

had heard


214

.

ISIDORO.

make

a great deal about him, and was anxious to his

We

acquaintance.

camped near the

river,

seven or eight miles away from the Indian camp,

and consequently, we hoped, rather too

experience of their

visit

Gregorio being

fresh in

in

still

we were

whilst

the morning

my

He presently

at

Cape

mind.

we saw

the direction of the camp, who, Isidoro.

to

from these people, the disagreeable

attract a call

Early

far

a

man was

riding in

I

told,

appeared among

us,

was and,

except for his moustache and beard, and the superior cleanliness of his dress, he might have been

He

taken for an Indian.

was warmly welcomed

whom

by the guides, amongst proficiency in

and

all

his

that pertains to the

his personal character,

unequalled

pampa

craft,

had gained him great

Isidoro did not stop long, as

he was

going to hunt with the Indians that day;

so, after

prestige.

having taken a few cups of mate, and smoked a pipe or two in silence, he said good-bye, and took his departure.

As he rode away, manly bearing and

I

could not help admiring his

his perfect seat

well-bred looking horse,

worthy of

its

which seemed not un-

He

master.

on a splendid,

wore

his

guanaco capa

with a certain foppish grace that one might have

looked

in vain

for

in

Gregorio or any of the


AN

UNSA VOUR V MEAL.

and every article of

Others,

his carefully

finished

and

new

potro-boots,

from

was

perfectly

natty.

my

After he had gone, started

his accoutrements,

lasso to the bright-coloured

coiled

garters round his

215

husband and myself

We

off guanaco-hunting.

soon, killed a

guanaco, and were busily engaged in the laborious operation of

cutting

and looking up, saw an Indian behind us

grunt,

on horseback.

some time

for

when we heard a

up,

it

He

watched our clumsy

efforts

occasionally breaking

in silence,

out into loud laughter, and then dismounting, took

out his

own

cuts, did

knife,

and with a few adroit and easy

the whole trick

warded himself

in

for his labours

He

no time.

re-

by cutting out the

kidneys and the heart, and eating them raw and bloody, there and then over,

he smacked

his

This disgusting repast

!

lips,

mounted

his

horse,

and rode away, grinning eloquently, and leaving us wondering and horrified.

The evening camped very

in

little

which we

after our halt

we

a stony, rocky region, where there was grass, but plenty of quail, several shot,

of

though we found them to be very

dry and unpalatable.

It

we were compelled much against our will.

to remain

so

at Gallegos

poured

To

have

all

the next day,

where we were, to lie all

day

in


6

2

a

EXPENSIVE L OA VES.

1

with a dreary bit of gray landscape to

little tent,

look out upon, while the rain patters on the can-

vas in a remorseless, dispiriting monotone, of the most severe to,

trials

one

is

one's patience can be put

and ours came very badly out of the

ordeal,

Patagonia being by no means complimentarily course of these weary hours.

alluded to in the

However, towards sundown, were able

to

it

trail

we camped

to

Sandy

opposite

camp we

this

Point,

Cape Gregorio, not

whence we had made our

Indians.

Here we intended

starting for

ostriches

Sandy

were

to

in

struck

and on the third

the place

of days to take in a

we

got dark.

days after leaving

the Indian

cleared up, and

have a turn and stretch our limbs

the open air before

Two

it

far

visit

from

to the

halting for a couple

good supply of meat before

Point, as neither

guanaco nor

be met with, except by a mere

chance, any farther south, and visions being exhausted,

all

our other pro-

we had now

upon the product of the chase

for

to rely solely

our food.

In the morning two traders passed through

our camp, and

we were

delighted to find that they

had a small bag of bread, which they were taking to the Indians.

They sold

us twenty small loaves,

each about the size of a penny

and

I

roll,

for five

pounds

;

think they got the best of the bargain, for


!

GUANACO SCARCE.

217

the bread was half mildewed and scarcely eatable,

and so heavy, that even the stomach of an could scarcely have compassed

who showed

to the dogs,

it

by turning up foxes

departure,

for

may

their

still

aught

upon

know

I

be lying

in

a

to

good sense

and unless the

their noses at it;

experimented

rashly

loaves

digestion with

its

Famished as we were, we preferred

impunity.

give

ostrich

after

it

our

expensive

these

fossil state

on the

Patagonian pampas

We

went out guanaco- hunting that day,

all

but were not very successful.

I'Aria

managed

to run

down a young one with

his dog,

B. shot

one

some twenty miles

;

but as he killed

it

and Mr.

away from our camp he could only bring head and the two

the

not daring to load his

sides,

dead-beat horse with more.

But meat had

to

be procured somehow, so

next day, whilst the others went on along the trail

with the packhorses,

husband, Mr.

B.,

and Gregorio, went out hunting again,

myself,

up

intending to catch evening.

Cape

my

We

the

before

the

rode for several hours towards

Gregorio,

but

ostriches, they got

although

up very

them was always out of the there were

others

none

to

we saw

wild,

and pursuit of

question.

be seen.

several

Guanaco,

This was very


QUANACO SCARCE.

2i8

dispiriting

here

it

if

;

was

we

still

manage

did not

more

to

unlikely that

anything

kill

we

should be

Our companions were

able to do so farther on.

relying on our efforts, and to have to join

empty-handed would have been

in itself

them

vexatious

enough from a sportsman's point of view, apart from the serious and practical consideration that

we

could scarcely go on to Sandy Point, which

was quite three days' march away, without

So we kept

We

Cape Gregorio,

riding on towards

the hopes of

still

in

being able to find something.

sighted

presently

food.

some guanacos

at the base of a ridge of hills,

grazing

and whilst Gre-

gorio went after an ostrich, which sprang up at

moment, we three spurred our

that

separating, so as to attract as

soon

lost

disappeared

sight

my

of

down some

that led to the valley

of

be successful,

the

many

gulches

where the guanaco were

to

I

my

When

hurried on.

chagrin

I

saw

already aware of danger, were

that

I

got into the

the guanaco,

moving slowly up

the valley, not at a great distance from where

but

who

companions,

Fervently praying that one of us might

grazing.

valley,

attention as

little

towards them.

possible, rode I

and

horses,

still

who was

a good a long

way beyond way

to the

rifle-range.

left,

I

was,

Mr.

B.,

was much nearer


DISAPPOINTMENT, to them,

my

and

husband was

As we

tion to the right.

trotted

up among the

had no option but range of

would probably

in a similar .posi-

approached, the guanaco

We

and disappeared.

hills

to follow them, entering points,

different

at

hills

219

scatter as soon as

on the

the herd

as

we came

close

upon them. I

came upon them of a sudden,

surmised, they I

and, as

I

had

broke into different directions.

all

took a flying shot at one, but missed, and

presently a report on each

the

that

had had a shot

others

soon joined by

we began

husband,

me showed too.

who had

We

was

I

also

been

Mr. B. did not turn up, and

hope that he might have

to

something.

my

but

unsuccessful,

of

side

presently

speed up a distant

killed

saw him galloping

hill after

full

a guanaco, which was

no doubt wounded, but which seemed to be going too gamely to admit of our being very sanguine as to his chance of ultimately getting at

it.

We

waited for some time, but he did not reappear,

and so we went down Gregorio. ately,

as

He

gone,

soon came

empty-handed

Matters were far

into the valley to look for

now

and

to

in sight, and, unfortun-

as

we

ourselves

getting serious.

catch up

were.

The day was

our companions on

our jaded horses would have been a hard task,


NIGHT SURPRISES

220

unless

we

We

started at once.

obliged to

relinquish

hope

all

US.

were therefore of

getting any

guanaco ourselves that day, our only consolation being that

Mr.

that he at least

We

prolonged absence boded

B.'s

had been

successful.

waited for him a

little,

but as he did not

come, knowing that he could find the way to the place where the others were to camp,

we

show our where-

lighting

fires

at

abouts.

Our

horses were so tired that

scarcely get

them

we suddenly found had been clouded

to

intervals,

into a trot, it

all

rode on,

and

we

to our

was getting dark.

could

dismay

The sky

we had had no sun to result being that we were

day, and

judge the time by, the

two or three hours out

in

our calculations.

It is

very easy to guess the time within half an hour or so,

under ordinary circumstances, but the excite-

ment of our various runs ostriches

face to face with the it

others,

guanacos and

had so absorbed us that the hours had

We

slipped by unperceived.

that,

after

thus found ourselves

uncomfortable knowledge

being quite impossible to catch up the

we should have

to

go

to

bed

in

the

open, and unless Mr. B. had killed his guanaco, supperless.

The

unpleasantness of this at any

time disagreeable contingency was increased on this occasion

by the prospect of our getting wet


SUFFERLESS.

221

through into the bargain, for the aspect of the

was very threatening, and

was only

it

in

sky-

keeping

with our day's luck that there should be a down-

But there was

pour of rain during the night. absolutely nothing

the

be done but give

to

we

inevitable as cheerfully as

in

to

could, so

we

dismounted and unsaddled our horses, carefully

them

tethering stray

away

to await

had

lit

to

some bushes,

in the night,

Mr.

B.'s

they should

lest

down numerous fires we

and then we

coming, the

on the way making us quite sure he would

be able to

find

But

us.

it

grew darker and and

darker, the tooth of hunger got fiercer

and

sat

happened

What

he did not come.

still

guanaco,

could have

Surely he must have run

?

given

or

up

the

chase

down

hours

Perhaps he has met with some accident impossible

beguiled

!

With these and other

hope that before long a goodly

prepared

ago.

That's

!

reflections

we

at

the

rib of

blazing

fire

guanaco

we had

in rash anticipation of its advent.

But

we

dis-

time went on tinguish

the

moments, hoping against

the anxious

would be roasting

fiercer,

the

;

already

bushes

in

faded away altogether

could

scarcely

the

distance,

into

the

the

darkness,

our missing companion did not come.

hills

and

Having

strained our eyes blind, peering into the gloom,


;

CONTINUED FASTING.

22 2

we now the

sat silently, straining

sign of an

slightest

our ears to catch

approaching footstep

but our hopes grew gradually fainter and fainter,

and

at

last

we were

meat

of guanaco

being

one of

in

we cooked and

bags, which ful

them up

to give

Gregorio fortunately found a small

altogether.

piece

obliged

a small mouth-

ate,

Mingled with

each of us got.

all

saddle-

his

our regrets for our enforced fast were as

lations

thought

rible

what Mr. B. was doing

to

Had

moment.

!)

perhaps roasting

he

in a

as

well

he

was he head

its

companionless

verted to the other

were

become

of

us.

did

I

my

that night, nor did

imagined. ;

and Mr.

Just

as to

not

who no doubt

what could have very sound

companions, as

may be

up,

with

among

the bushes,

an eager, hungry

look on his face, which boded no good.

you got anything to eat?" were to

!

haven't you ?"

And

and more disconsolate than

*'

Have

his first words,

which our despairing answer was,

cious

re-

day broke the dogs gave

as

rode

—supperless

sleep

there was a crashing B.

or was

}

Our thoughts

?

party too,

some anxiety

in

tongue

the ashes

in

(hor-

moment

very

that

at

that

at

and

killed his guanaco,

worse plight than ourselves, as

specu-

*'

Good

gra-

our faces grew longer ever,

as the

hopes


NO MEAT IN THE of a

good

breakfast,

which

CAMP. had

223

hitherto

tained us, were remorselessly shattered

sus-

on both

sides.

There was nothing

be done but immediately

to

saddle and ride off to join our companions. the the

way Mr.

B. told

us

wounded guanaco

till

how he had he had run

a complete standstill, and

like

us,

On

followed

his horse to

having been

overtaken by darkness, had been obliged to stop

where he was

till

morning.

After several hours' ride

we

got to the place

where the others were camped, and found them very much alarmed at our protracted absence,

though they had naturally supposed that we had been taken a long distance out of our way by the chase.

We

lost

no time

in

making a hearty meal

on what remained of the guanaco meat, which being finished, there was no food of any kind the camp.

in


224

THE HORSES

LOST.

CHAPTER

XX.

UNPLEASANT PROSPECTS

THE HORSES LOST RATIONS

—A

STRANGE

HUNT

A

— FOUND

STERN

SHORT

CHASE

THE

—THE CABEZA DEL MAR— SAFELY ACROSS NIGHT — CABO NEGRO AGAIN.

MYSTERY SOLVED

—A We

DAMP

had a short march

was nearly noon, off

on

his usual

to

make next

therefore,

when

day, and

it

I'Aria started

morning task of driving up the

horses.

In the evening, as one

very

straying

far,

the horses

being unsaddled.

after

would be

may

practicable,

on

rely

turned loose,

are

In

fact,

for

if

their not

no other method they

were

kept

picketed during the night they would not be able to

graze,

they

all

finding

and would soon become

follow the bell-mare, one

them

together,

is

useless.

As

always sure of

even should they stray

three or four miles in the night, which, although it

does occasionally occur,

That,

however,

horses at liberty

this

may

is

quite exceptional.

necessity

of

leaving

the

give rise to considerable


THE HORSES LOST.

225

inconvenience, and possibly bring one into

the

most serious dilemmas, we had an opportunity of discovering at the cost of

some anxiety and a

day's

hard labour. After I'Aria had been gone about an hour

began

wonder

to

at his

prolonged absence

we

but as

;

there had been a strong breeze during the night, it

was very probable, as Gregorio suggested, that

the horses had wandered

of a sheltered valley.

and

some distance

But another hour elapsed, Guillaume and

I'Aria did not appear.

still

in search

Francois then went off in different directions to continue the search, agreeing to light a

them

sight the horses.

in the

meantime were

either of

We

left

strong grounds for fearing the worst.

been gone. up,

however,

We kept an

had taken, as he must

five or six miles

To

we had no

signs of smoke, especi-

first

ally in the direction I'Aria

have covered

should

a prey to very

disagreeable reflections, though as yet

anxious watch for the

fire

by the time he had

our dismay he presently turned

very tired and

having seen a trace of

the

footsore,

horses

without

anywhere.

Matters

now began

we

comforted ourselves with the hope that

still

look really serious, but

to

Francois or Guillaume would be more successful.

But they

too, after

a time,

Q

came back, bringing


UNPLEASANT PROSPECTS.

226

the

same dismal

gloomy to

The

story.

a hundred suppositions were hazarded as

;

what could have become of the

said he

looked

situation

" cut

had

the

horses.

I'

Aria

on the side he had

trail "

taken without success, and Guillaume and Fran9ois

was

having done the same,

it

direction in which the

horses could have gone

was over the

clear that the only

plain at the back of our camp,

what could have induced them

though

to leave the pas-

turage of the valley for the barren upland

be done but immediately make search

that direction,

was

Meanwhile there was nothing

hard to understand. to

it

for

them

in

though our prospects of finding them Should we not do so we

seemed small indeed.

should have to accomplish the rest of our journey to

Sandy Point on

We

foot.

had eaten our

last

round of guanaco meat that morning, so that a four days' walk on

empty stomachs, apart from

being an unpleasant undertaking, was one which it

was a question whether our powers were equal

to compassing.

We

might,

it is

true,

opportunely

meet some trader on the way, from might obtain provisions

we might that

it

but,

not be so fortunate

never rains but

it

in considering the latter

able one.

;

We

;

whom we

on the other hand,

and, on the principle

pours,

we were

justified

contingency as the prob-

commenced our

task,

therefore,


UNPLEASANT PROSPECTS.

227

with feelings the reverse of cheerful.

Leaving

we

Storer in the camp,

and started

went on

all

to the plain,

towards the

off in different directions

distant hills that

bound

A

it.

fire,

should any of

us be successful, was to immediately communicate

news

the

to the others.

my

With scanning

eyes bent on the ground, eagerly

any trace of a hoof mark,

for

it

I

walked

slowly along, occasionally giving a glance over the plain, in the hopes of seeing the welcome

column

smoke

of

time went on,

and

fainter

rise

and

my

to

gone

off

a

at

trot

But

air.

hopes of success grew

had got on

Sandy Point

trail

the

into

Gregorio had expressed a

fainter.

fear that the horses

up

;

to the

and taking

had

it,

Cabo Negro, on

towards

whose pastures they were

to

Indian

" at

home," or

''

aque-

renciado," as the natives say.

The

of their having done so assumed

more and more

possibility

the feature of a probability, as hour after hour passed,

and

I

was

still

only half-way across

the plain, and no traces of the objects of

search useless

as

yet forthcoming.

to

instinctively

continue I

broke

In

it

seemed

farther,

and

and turned to the

left,

plodding off,

fact,

my

on

observing that there the plain ended in a hilly country, where, although

I'

Aria had assured us


FOUND.

228

he had searched

seemed more

that

in

direction,

that the

likely

certainly

it

horses would be,

supposing they had not gone to Sandy Point.

was a happy

inspiration of

half a dozen yards

mine

had not gone

I

;

down a grassy

turning a sharp bend,

ravine before,

suddenly came upon the

I

whole troop, quietly grazing

supreme indifference as

It

at

to the trouble

they had caused half a dozen the last five or six hours.

and anxiety

human

My

beings for

was

step

first

in

ease,

their

to

throw a few lighted matches into the long dry

which

grass,

dint of

I

left to

do

and then, by

their work,

some patience and cunning,

I

managed

to

me

to

persuade one of the tamest horses to allow get

my arm

round

its

neck and

effect its capture.

Improvising a kind of bridle from

my

scarf,

I

mounted, and driving the horses together, con-

veyed them towards the camp, not a

and elated rather to

at

my

been

good fortune than judgment,

who knows what

effect

? ;

quickly,

proud

achievement, which was due

followed out the plan of search

upon,

little

for,

had

I

we had agreed

the upshot would have

Meanwhile, the matches had had due fanned

by the breeze, the

fire

spread

and soon the ravine was ablaze across

its

whole breadth, a mighty column of smoke being whirled

high into

the

air,

carrying,

doubtless.


SHORT RA TIONS.

my

intense relief into the hearts of

who were I

still

toiling

to

companions,

over the plains.

my

soon got to the camp with

was thankful

229

be able to

down and

lie

charges, and rest after

my

One by one the others dropped in, and, may be imagined, we were all equally elated at

exertions.

as

so fortunate an issue of a contretemps, which might

have had the most serious consequences,

—

^just

on

the eve too, of the conclusion of a trip otherwise particularly free It

was too

from dangerous mishaps.

late to set out that afternoon, so

passed the remainder of the day

some duck

at

we were

minor hardships, and

not disposed to grumble

cheerfully, therefore,

endeavoured to make as good a supper of small duck, which

was

all

we

could

hungry people might be expected

little

tighter,

and

we

off a brace

kill,

as eight

to do.

After a cup of coffee next morning

our belts a

shoot

In the pleasure of finding

for supper.

our horses again,

in trying to

we

set out,

we drew

keeping a

sharp look-out, on the forlorn chance of an ostrich

coming within coursing

distance.

But during the

whole of that day's march neither beast nor save a fox or two, showed tites,

which we had kept

itself,

in

fowl,

and as our appe-

tolerable subjection

during daytime, began loudly to assert themselves

towards sundown, the

spirit

which reigned among


A STRANGE HUNT.

230

us was by no

means a

We

cheerful one.

were

just discussing the faint probability that existed of

our meeting an Indian trader before reaching the Colony,

when suddenly we

along the

trail

before him.

we

all

towards

us,

man

to

meet

of delight

this

on whose provisions we meant

a friendly but extensive

riding

and driving two horses

With a unanimous shout

galloped forward

stranger,

descried a

But,

raid.

welcome to

make

to our as-

tonishment, on perceiving us, he suddenly drew

up

his horse, hesitated for a

moment, and then

dashed away over the pampa. ping to inquire what could such

extraordinary

be the motive of

and seeing only

behaviour,

that our chance of supper

as four legs could carry

it,

Without stop-

was vanishing

we

all

as fast

clapped spurs to

our steeds, and galloped after him with as

much

we

went,

alacrity as

the

The

he had shown.

more he urged

harder

his horse along, occasionally

looking back in a state of evident terror. five

minutes or so

this

For

strange man-chase con-

tinued, neither pursued nor pursuers gaining

any

ground on one another, but then we gradually

drew nearer

to

our quarry,

already beginning to

show

whose horse was

signs of distress.

We

were soon within earshot, and called loudly on

him

to stop, saying that

we were

friends.

Whether


A STERN CHASE. he heard us or not shouting

our

of

and

efforts,

231

don't know, but the effect

I

was

for a time

he

that

redoubled

his

became

the chase again

doubtful.

But we were not to be beat this

man s

we were

that

till

know if

wild beasts, combined with an equally

filled

in front

curiosity to

motives for running away from us as

strong desire to obtain

amply

;

some provisions from the

saddle-bags which were gliding along

we

of us, kept us to our work, and

felt

our horses dropped this queer quarry must

The spurt he had put on soon and then we crept up to him again,

be followed.

died

away,

wild

with excitement, and giving vent to some sounding " view-holloas,"

may have

which,

now

I

come

to think of

it,

possibly increased the terrors of the poor

man's situation.

But everything comes

to

an end,

even a stern chase, and soon Gregorio was within ten or twelve yards of the unknown.

*'

Pdrase

amigo, soy Gregorio," he called out several times,

and

at last, feeling G.'s

hand on

his shoulder, the

we were all The up, more or less breathless with the run. man, with whom Gregorio was now rapidly conman

did stop.

In a second or two

versing in Spanish, looked very pale and frightened at

first,

but gradually the expression on his face

brightened as he listened to Gregorlo's explana-


THE MYSTER V SOL VED.

232

tions,

and eventually he even began

meanwhile, eager to

know

the solution

mystery, pressed Gregorio to solve

man was

that this

to smile.

It

it.

We,

of the

appeared

who had escaped

a convict,

from Sandy Point two days before, and having " requisitioned "

on

his

way

side of

When

two Government horses, was now

to the

Santa Cruz

on the other

river,

which he would be

free

from pursuit.

he saw us coming towards him

at a gallop,

he had been seized with a sudden panic, thinking

we might want off,

and had galloped

with the results known.

Of

course

visions as he

we

to capture him,

should

him,

we

;

left

we

could not ask for any of his pro-

would require them much more than

so, after

exchanging a few words with

him, and proceeded to rejoin Storer,

who had remained behind

with the horses whilst

we had been engaged on our

The

incident

furnished

conversation for a time, but

novel hunt. us

it

with

matter for

was not long before

we came back to the more important topic of food, for we were now all of us really faint with hunger, and our prospects of getting anything for the next thirty-six hours were faint indeed.

Our

goal that evening was the

''

Cabeza

del

Mar," an arm of the sea which runs for some distance inland, and which, at a certain point,

is


—

THE CABEZA DEL MAR. fordable at low water

the wind

if

is

233

not blowing

As we

strongly from an unfavourable direction.

we caught

rode along

a glimpse of the sea

itself

a welcome sight, and forgetting our hunger for a

moment we gave

a loud cheer.

At about seven dark,

we

o'clock, just as

arrived at the " Cabeza del

found that

we

or five hours

Cabo Negro

We

Mar."

and as we were anxious

;

it

for four

to get to

as soon as possible, in order to break fast,

we

night, rather than wait

the

down by

was getting

should not be able to ford

our prolonged

relieved

it

the

decided on passing that

till

Having

next morning.

packhorses of their loads w^e sat fire

and brewed some coffee with

the last spoonfuls that remained to us of that comfort, and having drunk for us but to wait

to

devour on the

We ceeded

it,

nothing remained

and dream of the meal we meant first

opportunity.

tried to snatch a nap, but in

doing

so, as

few of us suc-

hunger kept us awake, and

so the hours dragged their slow length wearily along, whilst serve.

To

we

add

sat

and waited

for the

tide to

to the discomforts of our plight,

the sky covered over and the rain began to

fall,

and the night got so dark that we almost thought

we

should not be able to cross over.

the time

came when we thought the

However, tide

ought


;

THE CABEZA DEL MAR,

234

to serve,

and we rode down

to the water to in-

Occasionally a

moonbeam breaking

spect matters.

through the thick rain-clouds allowed us to get a glimpse of the rocks

in the

middle of the water

and our guides were thus able

moment they

for

to

judge the right

making the attempt.

said, just

There was,

as

the possibility of the water not

being quite low enough to enable us to cross without more or less of a ducking, and besides, in the darkness, the leader might mistake the way, and

a false step would land us into a rocky bottom,

where we might flounder hopelessly about, and probability get unhorsed, and

in all

what

besides.

These considerations served

when

rather uncomfortable for

to

make

moment

the

us feel arrived

us to commit ourselves to the chances that

might be awaiting us

which swept eddying

in the

have

deferred

the

But no time was

to

behind I'Aria,

started

— the

dark mass of water

swiftly past us,

acute pangs of hunger

the

file

God knows

we

lost, so,

who was

for

should certainly

experiment

be

and but

daytime.

until

ranging

in single

acting as guide,

other horses, with

we

Guillaume and

Gregorio driving them, following.

For a few

seconds there was a great deal of splashing and shouting, incidental on the objections

shown by


SAFEL V A CROSS.

235

the packhorses to take the water

were

all

and

in

fairly

on

a few seconds' silence, as

but soon they

;

Then came

their way.

we drew

into

deep water,

every one cautiously following his leader, so as to

be able to rein

Suddenly

to grief.

the darkness about,

his

time should the latter

in in

we

I'

Aria gave a

cry,

come

and through

could dimly see him floundering

horse having evidently lost footing.

After splashing about for some seconds, however,

he got

all

right again,

keep more to the

was now up

left,

and

calling out to us to

The

he moved on.

and

to our knees,

at

each step

deeper, but fortunately our horses

still

water it

got

kept their

and soon the worst was over, and the

footing,

bank was reached without any mishap having occurred.

All the dogs had remained on the other side,

crying and yelling in a gloomy concert, as they

saw us leaving them behind

saw us

ride

up on

the water, and

;

but as soon as they

plunged into

to the plain, they

swam

over

in

no time.

After having counted the horses and examined their packs,

we

which had

ourselves had,

we

all

got well drenched, as

continued our

ride,

with the

intention of marching the whole night, so as to arrive at

now

Cabo Negro

in the

morning, for

positively frantic with hunger.

we were

For a

time.


A DAMP NIGHT.

236

we manpresently we

notwithstanding the intense darkness,

aged

to get along pretty well, but

we had

found that

we had

got off the

somehow, and

trail

to stop, whilst the guides blundered about

Then,

in the darkness,

searching for

had got on

once more, the horses shied

to

it

it.

after

we at a

big white stone lying on the road, and bolted in all

directions,

again

—a

and of course had

task which

to

be got together

involved nearly an hour's

delay.

Apart from these mishaps, our progress was

owing

necessarily so slow,

we it

at last

came

to the conclusion that after all

would be better

to halt

we immediately

where we were, and

Acting on

proceed at daybreak. tion,

to the darkness, that

this

determina-

unsaddled, and, too tired to

put up the tents, rolled ourselves up in our

furs,

and

slept, or tried to sleep,

this

was the unpleasantest night of the whole

till

morning.

I

Faint with hunger, drenched and cold, not get repose, although as could possibly be.

I felt

as tired

The ground

too,

were camped, was stony and hillocky at the first sign of

my

bones were so

move, plight.

my

dawn,

stiff

I

that

companions being

But we were

in

;

I

think trip.

could

and jaded

where we and when,

crept out of

my

furs,

could with difficulty

I

all in

good

an equally bad

spirits for all that.


;

CAPE NEGRO AGAIN. Four of

hours' riding

would bring us

Cabo Negro, and

we

there

to the

wood

should get food in

Never had the

abundance.

237

been

horses

so

quickly saddled and packed as on that morning within half an hour from

we were

commencing operations

already cantering along the

Scaling the brow of a steep

view of the familiar landscape Cordilleras,

and not

little

hill

—the

we came

Straits

far off the black

beechwood round Cabo Negro them, the

trail.

;

in

and the

patches of

and, nestling amid

we

farm-house on whose stores

projected a determined raid.

My

now rode ahead

brother and Mr. B.

in

order to have something ready against our arrival.

two or

After

three

sharp

hours'

they

riding

reached the farm-house, and without speaking a

word rushed on and

off to the kitchen,

utterly

and

laid their

hands

devoured what was to have been

the breakfast of the farmer

and

his family.

The

farmer appeared on the scene just as they had

swallowed the

last

no doubt used

to such strange visits,

surprised than

two

mouthful, and

appears being

seemed

less

one would have imagined to see

dirty wild-looking

his kitchen,

it

men

sitting

uninvited in

who between them had

calmly de-

molished the morning meal of a whole household.


cApe negro again.

238

Having thus

satisfied

own immediate

their

wants they appHed themselves to catering ours

;

and

to such

we reached our

good purpose

old

by the time

camp under the beeches

Cabo Negro, we found a good half a sheep hanging

that,

on a

fire

tree,

for

of

already blazing,

ready for roasting,

and such stores of bread, eggs, and other provisions as

water.

made our eyes

How we

think very

warmed up

little

feasted

glisten

and our mouths

need not be

told.

I

of that half sheep remained to be

for supper,

and most of the other pro-

visions shared a similar speedy fate.


CABO NEGRO.

CHAPTER CABO NEGRO

— HOME

NEWS

We

had

XXI.

—CIVILISATION

still

three days to wait

till

resolved to remain at

the date for

we by no means

liked the idea of having to pass

we

DIS-

—PUCHO'S CHARACTERISTICS.

the arrival of the steamer, and as

Point,

—OUR — THE COMING

AGAIN

PUCHO MISSING

REPUTABLE APPEARANCE OF PUCHO

239

them

in

Sandy

Cabo Negro

for a

couple of days more, and only get into the colony in time to settle with our guides,

selves look

a

little

civilised

and make our-

against going on

board.

But as we were naturally most anxious to get our correspondence,

Sandy Point

to fetch

it.

my brother He returned,

bagful of letters and newspapers, and

rode into bringing a

we devoted

a

whole afternoon to their perusal, and to discussing their contents.

These

letters

seemed

to bring us

back to the world again, to the world and

its

almost forgotten responsibilities, pains, and plea-


HOME NEWS.

240

which but the day before had seemed as

sures,

remote to us as

we had

if

and were living

altogether,

How many

things

seemed

some other

in

to

we had been away, and how

the earth

quitted

planet.

have happened since the interest in these

we

events was magnified, hearing of them as

did,

thousands of miles away from home, after so long

an absence

Occurrences which,

!

in the bustle

and

noise of ordinary existence, would hardly have

more than few exclamations of

excited

now seemed

scarcely a passing thought,

the

surprise, or

to

assume

most important proportions, and were

dis-

cussed at inordinate length, and with the keenest

There was a

interest.

game-

from the

letter

keeper, telling with interminable prosiness

he had surprised,

cleverly

the

man whom he had

flagrante

in

how

delicto,

long and so wisely sus-

pected of poaching; how, notwithstanding every care on his part, the severe winter had proved too

much

for

efforts,

how was

there the

a favourite old setter

head

similar

extraordinary a in

the

copses,

stable-man,

nature

from

pay

his

number etc.

with

rent,

though he could, how one

of pheasants

Another from

intelligence

department

his

documents from the agent, couldn't

and, thanks to his

;

telling

;

of

a

lengthy

how one

tenant

how another

wouldn't

lot of cottages

required


— HOME NEWS. repairing, if

a fresh

and how advantageous were

lot

built

epistles being the

;

to the property,

the peculiarity of

all

these

predominance of the bad over

Then were

the good news.

241

" the

A. had married, and

letters telling

very

last

how

woman one

would have thought, too ;" how B. had got a divorce, "

and no wonder, one might have seen that

all

how C. had gone off to shoot big game Rocky Mountains and how D. had merely

along;" in the

;

gone and shot himself every

trivial

—and so

forth,

and so forth

;

item affording us a goodly space for

lengthy gossip, a luxury which, since our departure for the plains,

only

had so

when unable

what an important talk of ordinary

signally failed us.

to indulge in

it

factor the tittle-tattle

There were several papers too

and eagerness than

that with which

we had perused our

avidity

That day passed, and the

ride in to

time

we

Sandy

and small

their three-months' old intelli-

less

for us

find

in our budget,

gence with no

hour came

we

is

general conversation.

life is, in

and we devoured

that

It

to saddle

Point.

next,

letters.

and then the

up once more, and

As may be

imagined, this

did not jog along behind the pack-horses.

Leaving these to the care of the guides, to come on

at their leisure,

we

cantered merrily on alone

along the familiar path by the shore of the Straits.

R


CIVILISATION AGAIN.

242

As

Sandy Point came

the huts of

began

to

back to

that

realise

civilisation,

we were

at last

and prospectively

home were formed and

was only one night more foot

There

to take us

but so impatient were we, that

;

all

too long, and

we

ever would pass.

if it

Soon we were Sandy Point

do on

to pass before setting

even that short time seemed

wondered

to

discussed.

on board the steamer which was

back to the world

getting

to England,

and already plans of what we were arriving

we

in sight,

trotting along the streets of

and, reaching Pedro's house, dis-

;

mounted, and found ourselves under a roof once

more

!

Pedro, advised of our coming, had pre-

pared breakfast for sat

down

to

it.

us, and,

We

very awkwardly at

without more ado,

handled our knives and forks

first; it

required almost an effort

to eat in a civilised manner, and, late to take

And

accustomed of

our meals in a recumbent position,

by no means

felt

very comfortable

now, for the

we

first

in

we

our chairs.

time, the scales

fell

from

our eyes, and the sight of the clean table-cloth and neat room caused us to become aware of our personal appearance^ and the enviable ours, of seeing ourselves as others

sight

was

''

giftie "

saw

us.

certainly not a delectable one.

own was

The Our

looks and garments were not out of keeping with


;

OUR DISREPUTABLE APPEARANCE, our late

the pampas, but, surrounded

in

life

and

cleanliness

by-

they were decidedly

civilisation,

We

out of place.

243

had performed our ablutions as

often and as thoroughly as circumstances would

men

The

had not permitted much.

permit, but they

of our party, particularly, were unpleasant to

look

Their hair had grown long and

at.

their faces

were tanned

chins were

—well—black

coarse stubble.

grease of

many

Our

many left

altogether, a

more

we looked

would be hard

water, soap,

did wonders

work,

and ;

unshaven

growth of

a guanaco, the

their

marks

and,

;

than

ruffianly, disreputable lot

razors,

again

to imagine.

But hot

and a change of raiment,

and when,

we met

their

ostrich-dinner, the thorn of

a califate bush, had

it

and

clothes did not bear close

the blood of

many an

;

camp-fires had

by a profuse

disfigured

inspection,

dark red-brown, which

smoke from the

the dust, and the

deepened into

to a

elfin

after several hours'

we were

hard

scarcely able to

recognise one another.

We and

in

passed the day in settling with the guides,

packing up our few traps in anticipation of

the arrival of the steamer early next morning.

Feeling comfort

I

tired,

I

went

to sleep early, but the

expected from lying between sheets

again was by no means vouchsafed me, and the


PUCHO

244

and cool

soft mattress

MISSING.

sheets, instead of inviting

slumber, seemed to frighten inclined to get

up and go

However,

my

dream,

which

in

on the

to sleep

that

it

me

floor.

memorable Cleopatra Peaks,

to

be

off.

dressed hurriedly, and found

I

at

my

had arrived and

that the steamer

was time

go on board.

half

was once more chasing the

I

was awakened by Mr. Dunsmuir banging

door, telling

to

I felt

eyes closed at last; and from a

ostrich in sight of the I

away.

it

jumped up and the others ready

all

The luggage had

already been

put into a boat, and there was nothing further to

be done but to say good-bye to our guides and

walk down to the jetty I

embark.

had only one regret on leaving Sandy Point.

The day we dogs,

to

called "

of mine, and

arrived at

Cabo Negro one of our

Pucho,"

who was

whom

wished to take with

I

rather a favourite

England, was suddenly missing.

me

to

Pucho, a peculiar

dog, had joined us under peculiar circumstances at

We

our camp at Laguna Larga. sitting

round the camp-fire

were quietly

after dinner,

when

suddenly the dogs jumped up and began to bark furiously at

some unseen enemy.

We got up

and

peered out into the dusk, but could see nothing,

though

it

was evident that something there was,

for the growls of our

dogs increased

in

earnestness


THE COMING OF PUCHO.

245

''A puma!"

suggested

and fury every

instant.

somebody, but our horses were grazing so

it

"An

could not be a puma.

trader,

perhaps

!"

it

be?

Here, as

the mystery at once, the dogs

one accord, and

Indian, or

some

was another equally unfounded

What could

surmise.

quietly,

for a

if

to settle

rushed out of

all

few moments we could hear

a terrible snarling and growling going on in the distance.

the

It

cause

came nearer and

and then

was

explained.

commotion

the

of

nearer,

Surrounded by our dogs, who were giving

it

by no means

dog

friendly welcome, a strange

walked slowly towards the camp-fire. tail

between

defiantly, Its

to

humble

its

seeming

legs,

demeanour,

occasionally bared

on

our

showed

however,

it

cared

little

bearing for once and for at

mentors, and then calmly the

fire,

manner

in

bore

which

and

too

We

this settled

It

its

turned round,

one or two of

made

near,

them.

for

all.

its

its

tor-

way towards

looked out for the most comfortable

spot, stretched itself leisurely, its

only

they came

called out in friendly tones,

made one savage dash

circle.

white teeth, and turned

its

dogs whenever that

our

into

reference to ms, for the defiant it

its

half- humbly, half-

admission

crave

bore

It

a

head resting on

its

and lay down with

crossed paws, seemingly as


PUCHaS CHARACTERISTICS.

246

much

at

home

as

if it

ventured to stroke

had known us but

it,

my

all its life.

I

advances were

received in a most unfriendly, and, considering

its

position of alien outcast, audaciously impertinent

manner, the

first

for

snapped viciously

it

"Pucho," as

we

at

called him,

me.

But from

made

it

of distinctly refusing to be patronised. us,

a point

He joined

he gave us to understand, not on sufferance, not

as a suppliant for our favours, not as a guest even,

but as an equal

;

and

this status

he claimed as

regards us only, for as to our dogs, he ignored

them completely, though

make

appeared, to

He

willing, as

subsequently

use of their good

looked sleek and

fat,

services.

a circumstance which

led us to think highly of his powers of speed, as it is

by no means easy

guanaco

singly,

for a

dog

to run

and most dogs who

down a

lose their

master, as this

dog had evidently done, soon die

of starvation.

We

therefore congratulated our-

selves on his arrival, as

we hoped he would be

own dogs

to afford our

help in the chase.

able

But

we had grievously reckoned without our host. The next day, on the march, a guanaco was sighted close to us.

choo

!

Pucho

!

"

we

Now was

the time.

''Choo!

shouted, expecting to see

speed out like an arrow after the guanaco.

him But

nothing could have been further from his thoughts.


;

PUCHaS CHARACTERISTICS.

He

looked

247

us and then at the guanaco for

first at

a moment, not

without

certainly without

showing the sHghtest

perhaps,

interest,

inclination

Then, with another look

to hostile demonstration.

"

which said as plainly as words could,

at us, that's

but

Well,

a guanaco, no doubt, but what then ?" he

We were

quietly trotted on.

very angry at seeing

our hopes deceived, besides being surprised at his extraordinary demeanour; but Gregorio, giving the

dog the

benefit of the doubt, said that perhaps

had only been trained

to run ostriches, as Indians

This seemed

frequently teach their dogs to do. plausible enough,

and our confidence

momentarily restored.

Now

up.

then

:

"

excited cry again.

it

in

Pucho was

Presently an ostrich started

Choo

!

choo

!

Pucho

" !

was the

All the other dogs flew out like

the wind after the bird, and Pucho followed them.

But only

how

at a trot,

and apparently merely

to

judge

the other dogs behaved, for he soon stopped,

and contented himself with watching the chase till it

disappeared from view, and then he leisurely

came back

to his usual post at

my

horse's heels.

Everybody was enraged with him; suggested that being a *'bouche

Francisco

inutile,"

Pucho

should be knocked on the head with the bolas but

I

could not hear of

spared.

And

this,

and Pucho's

life

so he remained with us, and

I

was had


PUCflO'S CHARACTERISTICS.

248

ample

opportunities

As on

character.

studying his

for

the

first

peculiar

day, so he continued.

Although generally there or thereabouts when a distribution of the spoils took place, he never once

helped the dogs arise

from

In the chase.

inability or

from a sense of

shown by the

fact of his

pursue and catch a

dogs were capable ities

this did

not

want of speed, but rather

own

his

That

was

superior dignity,

once having been seen to

fox,

a feat none of our other

Amongst

of.

other peculiar-

he had a way of mysteriously disappearing

the day's march was too long.

was a frequent !"

at last

was an

"

and

cry,

''Where

Is

Thank God,

Pucho

he's

gone

ejaculation often heard on these

But so sure as the guanaco-rib

occasions.

if

?"

for

dinner was done to a turn, the soup ready, and the

fire

blazing comfortably, so sure would Pucho

suddenly appear on the scene, look out for the

most cosy spot near the his supper, as

When, Negro,

I

if

little

sure to turn up.

Pucho

;

went on

and cheerfully await

nothing had happened.

therefore,

took

fire,

he was missing at

notice, thinking

Cabo

he would be

But dinner-time came, and no

nor did he appear again, even when to

Sandy

This was the thought that was troubling as

I

we

Point.

walked down to the

pier, for

I

me

had taken a


HOMEWARD BOUND. liking to this dog, or in reverential

awe

;

himself to the term

*'

had better say

I

for

like," as

look for Pucho.

down

the street,

right

enough

I

savouring of patron-

Surely that

thought, as

along the battered

looked up

I

;

and

more,

is

He

trot.

pier, half

picked his

wagged

way

his tail as

he

— a great condescension, and then, without

moment's

companions,

led

hesitation,

ladder into the boat,

much

way down

the

to the surprise of

who had thought and hoped

they had really seen the I

a dog coming

is

There was no mistaking the

calm mien, the leisurely

saw me

turned round to take a

I

was a dog, and what

it

Pucho himself!

last of

the

my that

him.

took him, or rather he came to England

with me, and as cosiest corner

my

held him

think he would object

I

the ladder into the boat,

a

I

Half absently, therefore, before going down

age.

last

249

I

by

write this he

my

fire,

is

sitting

in the

a privilege he allows

pet terrier to share with him, an act very

foreign to his usual nature,

have never been able

So here we good-bye

to

and one

for

which

I

to account.

are on board at

last.

Mr. Dunsmuir, the anchor

the screw goes round, and

we

are

is

off.

We

say

weighed,

Sandy

Point disappears from view; one by one Cape

R

2


'RETROSPECTION.

2SO

Negro before

Cape

and

know

I

it

Gregorlo

—so

engrossed

of these well-known

Cape

Virgins.

points

It fades

no land on either

side,

mysterious shores,

As mind

at the sight

are abreast of

again astern, there

is

and Patagonia, bleak and

I

is

behind

write, these

and

again,

fancy

in

plains,

its

us.

days come vividly to

that distant desert land,

I

—the

my

once more behold land of the lonely

where the guanaco and the

ostrich

and the

Indians roam far from the ken of mankind,

and where I

—we

the

in

I

and solemn, with the days we spent on

silent

Red

am

my mind

thoughts that crowd into

and

passed,

are

I

spent a careless, happy time, which

can never forget.

after a

I

long and weary

saddle, the

ride,

I

slept,

pillowed on

my

open sky above me, a sounder and

sweeter sleep than

member

remember the days when,

had ever

slept before

I

re-

those grand mountain-scenes, where

we

I

;

traced the wild horse to his home, through beech-

wood

glens,

by lonely

lakes,

by mountain

torrents,

where no mortal foot had ever trod before me.

remember many an

exciting chase and

many

I

a

pleasant evening spent round the cheery camp-fire. I

remember,

too,

many

a discomfort

—the

earth-

quake, the drenching rains, the scorching sun, the


THE END. pitiless

251

mosquitoes, and the terrible blasting winds.

But from the pleasure with which

my

wild

in

life

Patagonia,

memories can detract but in

all,

it

on whose

like

I

these

little.

was a very happy

look back on

I

unpleasant

Taking

time,

Printed by R.

&

R. Clark, Edinburgh.

all

and a time

would gladly look again.

THE END.

it


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OCTOBER

^

1880

LIST OF FORTHCOMING

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SEASON

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