1. The first page of Chapter VIII: the last line of text was partially missing, and a best guess was made on a few words.
2. Page 72: Typograpical error, 'nndertaking' changed to 'undertaking'.
3. Page 55, paragraph starting "Santa Anna", corrected 'past' to 'part'.
A VOYAGE IN THE 'SUNBEAM'
Our Home on fhe Ocean for Eleven Months
Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Co.
To the friends in many climes and countries, of the white and coloured races, and of every grade in society, who have made our year of travel a year of happiness, these pages are dedicated by the ever grateful Author
This volume needs no elaborate preface. A general sketch of the voyage which it describes was published in the 'Times' immediately after our return to England. That letter is reprinted here as a convenient summary of the 'Sunbeam's' performances. But these prefatory lines would indeed be incomplete if they did not contain a well-deserved tribute to the industry and accuracy of the author. The voyage would not have been undertaken, and assuredly it would never have been completed, without the impulse derived from her perseverance and determination. Still less would any sufficient record of the scenes and experiences of the long voyage have been preserved had it not been for her painstaking desire not only to see everything thoroughly, but to record her impressions faithfully and accurately. The practised skill of a professional writer cannot reasonably be expected in these simple pages, but their object will have been attained if they are the means of enabling more home-keeping friends to share in the keen enjoyment of the scenes and adventures they describe.
I. FAREWELL TO OLD ENGLAND
II. MADEIRA, TENERIFFE, AND CAPE DE VERDE ISLANDS
III. PALMA TO RIO DE JANEIRO
IV. RIO DE JANEIRO
V. THE RIVER PLATE
VI. LIFE ON THE PAMPAS
VII. MORE ABOUT THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC
VIII. RIVER PLATE TO SANDY POINT, STRAITS OF MAGELLAN
IX. SANDY POINT TO LOTA BAY
XI. SANTIAGO AND VALPARAISO
XII. VALPARAISO TO TAHITI
XIII. THE SOUTH SEA ISLANDS
XIV. AT TAHITI
XV. TAHITI TO SANDWICH ISLANDS—KILAUEA BY DAY AND BY NIGHT
XVI. HAWAIIAN SPORTS
XVII. HONOLULU—DEPARTURE FOR JAPAN
XVIII. HONOLULU TO YOKOHAMA
XX. KIOTO, LATE MIACO
XXI. THE INLAND SEA
XXII. TO CANTON UP THE PEARL RIVER
XXIII. FROM MACAO TO SINGAPORE
XXVI. TO ADEN
XXVII. VIA SUEZ CANAL
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
WOODCUTS IN TEXT.
CAPE BRASSEY: SMYTH'S SOUND
PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR
SUNSET ON SOUTHAMPTON WATER
THE DERELICT 'CAROLINA' LADEN WITH PORT WINE
OUR FIRST VIEW OF MADEIRA
A COZY CORNER
A PALM-TREE IN A GARDEN, OROTAVA, TENERIFFE
TARAFAL BAY, ST. ANTONIO
HIS DOCTOR (CROSSING THE LINE)
LULU AND HER PUPPIES
THE SLAVE VILLAGE, FAZENDA, SANTA ANNA
THE THREE NAVIGATORS
PRAIRIE DOGS AND OWLS
INDIANS AT AZUL
'MONKSHAVEN' ON FIRE
SHIPWRECKED CREW COMING ON BOARD
FUEGIAN BOW AND ARROWS
PIN FOR FASTENING CLOAK, MADE FROM A DOLLAR BEATEN OUT
FUEGIAN BOAT AND OARS
BARTERING WITH FUEGIANS
GLACIERS, SNOWY SOUND
CATCHING CAPE-PIGEONS IN THE GULF OF PENAS
CHILIANS WAITING FOR THE TRAIN
A FELLOW PASSENGER
BATHS OF CAUQUENES
UP THE VALLEY TOWARDS THE ANDES
CACTI OF THE CORDILLERA
HUASSO OF CHILI
MORNING MASS AT SANTIAGO
WHAT MAKES HORSES GO IN CHILI
CONVERSATION AT SEA
INSCRIPTION FROM EASTER ISLAND
TATAKOTOROA OR CLARKE ISLAND
GOING UP THE MAST IN A CHAIR
CHILDREN LOOKING UP
OUR FIRST LANDING IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC, HAO OR BOW ISLAND
QUARANTINE ISLAND, PAPEETE
UNDER THE TREES, PAPEETE
WATERFALL AT FAATAUA
A TAHITIAN LADY
TATTOO IN THE TROPICS
ANCIENT WAR MASKS AND COSTUMES FROM THE MUSEUM AT HONOLULU
FEATHERED CLOAK AND HELMETS
A DRAG ACROSS THE SAND IN A JINRIKISHA
INOSHIMA BY A JAPANESE ARTIST
FACSIMILE OF OUR LUNCHEON BILL
A FAMILY GROUP
ARRIMA. THE VILLAGE OF BAMBOO BASKET WORK
YOKEN SAN OR SACRED MOUNTAIN, INLAND SEA
HURUSIMA, INLAND SEA
HOW WE WERE BOARDED BY CHINESE AND DISPERSED THEM
CHINESE VISITING CARDS
CHINESE PAGODA AND BOATS
THE FRENCH CONSULATE, CANTON
CHINESE FOOT AND BOOT
MAHARAJAH OF JOHORE'S HOUSE
THE PET MANIS
HOW THE JOURNAL WAS WRITTEN
PEACOCK MOUNTAIN, CEYLON
SOUMALI INDIAN, ADEN
STRAITS OF BAB-EL-MANDEB
BEATING UP THE RED SEA
ARMOURY IN THE GOVERNOR'S PALACE, VALETTA
VASCO DA GAMA
BELEM CLOISTER GARDENS
OUR WELCOME BACK OFF HASTINGS
HOME AT LAST
I have to thank Mr. W. Simpson, author of 'Meeting the Sun,' for the passages given on pages 341 to 343 referring to the Japanese temples and their priesthood.
The vessel which has carried us so rapidly and safely round the globe claims a brief description. She was designed by Mr. St. Clare Byrne, of Liverpool and may be technically defined as a screw composite three-masted topsail-yard schooner. The engines, by Messrs. Laird, are of 70 nominal or 350 indicated horse-power, and developed a speed of 10.13 knots at the measured mile. The bunkers contain 80 tons of coal. The average daily consumption is 4 tons, and the speed 8 knots in fine weather. The principal dimensions of the hull are—length for tonnage, 157 ft.; beam extreme, 27 ft. 6 in.; displacement tonnage, 531 tons; area of midship section, 202 sq. ft.
A VOYAGE IN THE 'SUNBEAM'.
FAREWELL TO OLD ENGLAND.
Masts, spires, and strand receding on the right, The glorious main expanding on the bow.
At noon on July 1st, 1876, we said good-bye to the friends who had come to Chatham to see us off, and began the first stage of our voyage by steaming down to Sheerness, saluting our old friend the 'Duncan,' Admiral Chads's flagship, and passing through a perfect fleet of craft of all kinds. There was a fresh contrary wind, and the Channel was as disagreeable as usual under the circumstances. Next afternoon we were off Hastings, where we had intended to stop and dine and meet some friends; but, unfortunately the weather was not sufficiently favourable for us to land; so we made a long tack out to sea, and, in the evening, found ourselves once more near the land, off Beachy Head. While becalmed off Brighton, we all—children included—availed ourselves of the opportunity to go overboard and have our first swim, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had steam up before ten, and again proceeded on our course. It was very hot, and sitting under the awning turned out to be the pleasantest occupation. The contrast between the weather of the two following days was very great, and afforded a forcible illustration of the uncertainties, perhaps the fascinations, of yachting. We steamed quietly on, past the 'Owers' lightship, and the crowds of yachts at Ryde, and dropped anchor off Cowes at six o'clock.
On the morning of the 6th a light breeze sprang up, and enabled us to go through the Needles with sails up and funnel down, a performance of which all on board felt very proud, as many yachtsmen had pronounced it to be an impossibility for our vessel to beat out in so light a breeze.
We were forty-three on board, all told, as will be seen by reference to the list I have given. We had with us, besides, two dogs, three birds, and a charming Persian kitten belonging to the baby. The kitten soon disappeared, and it was feared she must have gone overboard down the hawse pipe. There was a faint hope, however, that she might have been packed away with the new sails, which had been stowed in a great hurry the day before. Unhappily she was never found again, and the children were inconsolable until they discovered, at Torquay, an effective substitute for 'Lily.'
The Channel was tolerably smooth outside the Isle of Wight, and during the afternoon we were able to hold on our course direct for Ushant. After midnight, however, the wind worked gradually round to the W.S.W., and blew directly in our teeth. A terribly heavy sea got up; and, as we were making little or no progress, it was decided to put in to Torquay or Dartmouth, and there await a change. We anchored in Torbay, about half a mile from the pier, at 8.30 a.m., and soon afterwards went ashore to bathe. We found, however, that the high rocks which surround the snug little bathing cove made the water as cold as ice.
Nothing more having been heard of our poor little kitten, we can only conclude that she has gone overboard. Just as we were leaving the railway-station, however, we saw a small white kitten with a blue ribbon round its neck; and all the children at once exclaimed, 'There's our Lily!' We made inquiries, and found that it belonged to the young woman at the refreshment room, who, after some demur, allowed us to take it away with us, in compliance with Muriel's anxious wish, expressed on her face.
About ten o'clock we got under way, but lay-to for breakfast. We then had a regular beat of it down Channel—everybody being ill. We formed a melancholy-looking little row down the lee side of the ship, though I must say that we were quite as cheery as might have been expected under the circumstances. It was bright and sunny overhead, which made things more bearable.
Sunday, July 9th.—A calm at 2 a.m. Orders were given to get up steam; but the new coals from Chatham were slow to light, though good to keep up steam when once fairly kindled. For four long hours, therefore, we lolloped about in the trough of a heavy sea, the sails flapping as the vessel rolled. By the time the steam was up so was the breeze—a contrary one, of course. We accordingly steamed and sailed all day, taking more water on board, though not really in any great quantity, than I had ever seen the good ship do before. She carries a larger supply of coal and other stores than usual, and no doubt the square yards on the foremast make her pitch more heavily. We were all very sorry for ourselves, and 'church,' postponed from eleven until four o'clock, brought together but a small congregation.
On the 8th we were fairly away from Old England, and on the next day off Ushant, which we rounded at about 4.30 p.m., at the distance of a mile and a half; the sea was tremendous, the waves breaking in columns of spray against the sharp needle-like rocks that form the point of the island. The only excitement during the day was afforded by the visit of a pilot-boat (without any fish on board), whose owner was very anxious to take us into Brest, 'safe from the coming storm,' which he predicted. In addition to our other discomforts, it now rained hard; and by half-past six I think nearly all our party had made up their minds that bed would be the most comfortable place.
Two days later we sailed into lovely, bright, warm, sunny weather, with a strong north-easterly breeze, a following sea, and an occasional long roll from the westward. But as the sun rose, the wind increased, and we got rather knocked about by the sea. A good deal of water came on board, and it was impossible to sit anywhere in comfort, unless lashed or firmly wedged in. We were, however, going ten knots through the water, on our course, under our new square head canvas; and this fact made up for a good deal of discomfort.
The thirty extra tons of spare sails, spars, and provisions, the fifteen tons of water, and the eighty-four tons of coal, made a great difference in our buoyancy, and the sea came popping in and out at the most unexpected places; much to the delight of the children, who, with bare feet and legs, and armed with mops and sponges, waged mimic war against the intruder and each other, singing and dancing to their hearts' content. This amusement was occasionally interrupted by a heavier roll than usual, sending them all into the lee scuppers, sousing them from head to foot, and necessitating a thorough change of clothing, despite their urgent protest that sea-water never hurt anybody.
After our five o'clock dinner, however, we very nearly met with a most serious accident. We were all sitting or standing about the stern of the vessel, admiring the magnificent dark blue billows following us, with their curling white crests, mountains high. Each wave, as it approached, appeared as if it must overwhelm us, instead of which, it rushed grandly by, rolling and shaking us from stem to stern, and sending fountains of spray on board.
Tom was looking at the stern compass, Allnutt being close to him. Mr. Bingham and Mr. Freer were smoking, half-way between the quarter-deck and the after-companion, where Captain Brown, Dr. Potter, Muriel, and I, were standing. Captain Lecky, seated on a large coil of rope, placed on the box of the rudder, was spinning Mabelle a yarn. A new hand was steering, and just at the moment when an unusually big wave overtook us, he unfortunately allowed the vessel to broach-to a little. In a second the sea came pouring over the stern, above Allnutt's head. The boy was nearly washed overboard, but he managed to catch hold of the rail, and, with great presence of mind, stuck his knees into the bulwarks. Kindred, our boatswain, seeing his danger, rushed forward to save him, but was knocked down by the return wave, from which he emerged gasping. The coil of rope, on which Captain Lecky and Mabelle were seated, was completely floated by the sea. Providentially, however, he had taken a double turn round his wrist with a reefing point, and, throwing his other arm round Mabelle, held on like grim death; otherwise nothing could have saved them. She was perfectly self-possessed, and only said quietly, 'Hold on, Captain Lecky, hold on!' to which he replied, 'All right.' I asked her afterwards if she thought she was going overboard, and she answered, 'I did not think at all, mamma, but felt sure we were gone.' Captain Lecky, being accustomed to very large ships, had not in the least realised how near we were to the water in our little vessel, and was proportionately taken by surprise. All the rest of the party were drenched, with the exception of Muriel, whom Captain Brown held high above the water in his arms, and who lost no time in remarking, in the midst of the general confusion, 'I'm not at all wet, I'm not.' Happily, the children don't know what fear is. The maids, however, were very frightened, as some of the sea had got down into the nursery, and the skylights had to be screwed down. Our studding-sail boom, too, broke with a loud crack when the ship broached-to, and the jaws of the fore-boom gave way.
Soon after this adventure we all went to bed, full of thankfulness that it had ended as well as it did; but, alas, not, so far as I was concerned, to rest in peace. In about two hours I was awakened by a tremendous weight of water suddenly descending upon me and flooding the bed. I immediately sprang out, only to find myself in another pool on the floor. It was pitch dark, and I could not think what had happened; so I rushed on deck, and found that, the weather having moderated a little, some kind sailor, knowing my love of fresh air, had opened the skylight rather too soon; and one of the angry waves had popped on board, deluging the cabin.
I got a light, and proceeded to mop up, as best I could, and then endeavoured to find a dry place to sleep in. This, however, was no easy task, for my own bed was drenched, and every other berth occupied. The deck, too, was ankle-deep in water, as I found when I tried to get across to the deck-house sofa. At last I lay down on the floor, wrapped up in my ulster, and wedged between the foot stanchion of our swing bed and the wardrobe athwart-ship; so that as the yacht rolled heavily, my feet were often higher than my head. Consequently, what sleep I snatched turned into nightmare, of which the fixed idea was a broken head from the three hundredweight of lead at the bottom of our bed, swinging wildly from side to side and up and down, as the vessel rolled and pitched, suggesting all manner of accidents. When morning came at last, the weather cleared a good deal, though the breeze continued. All hands were soon busily employed in repairing damages; and very picturesque the deck and rigging of the 'Sunbeam' looked, with the various groups of men, occupied upon the ropes, spars, and sails. Towards evening the wind fell light, and we had to get up steam. The night was the first really warm one we had enjoyed, and the stars shone out brightly. The sea, which had been of a lovely blue colour during the day, showed a slight phosphorescence after dark.
Thursday, July 13th.—When I went on deck, at half-past six, I found a grey, steamy, calm morning, promising a very hot day, without wind.
About 10.30 a.m., the cry of 'Sail on the port beam!' caused general excitement, and in a few minutes every telescope and glass in the ship had been brought to bear upon the object which attracted our attention, and which was soon pronounced to be a wreck. Orders were given to starboard the helm, and to steer direct for the vessel; and many were the conjectures hazarded, and the questions asked of the fortunate holders of glasses. 'What is she?' 'Is there any one on board?' 'Where does she come from?' 'Can you read her name?' 'Does she look as if she had been long abandoned?' Soon we were near enough to send a boat's crew on board, whilst we watched their movements anxiously from the bridge. We could now read her name—the 'Carolina'—surmounted by a gorgeous yellow decoration on her stern. She was of between two and three hundred tons burden, and was painted a light blue, with a red streak. Beneath her white bowsprit the gaudy image of a woman served as a figure-head. The two masts had been snapped short off about three feet from the deck, and the bulwarks were gone, only the covering board and stanchions remaining, so that each wave washed over and through her. The roof and supports of the deck-house and the companions were still left standing, but the sides had disappeared, and the ship's deck was burst up in such a manner as to remind one of a quail's back.
We saw the men on board poking about, apparently very pleased with what they had found; and soon our boat returned to the yacht for some breakers, as the 'Carolina' had been laden with port wine and cork, and the men wished to bring some of the former on board. I changed my dress, and, putting on my sea boots, started for the wreck.
[Footnote 1: Small casks, used for carrying water in boats, frequently spelt barricos, evidently from the time of the old Spanish navigators.]
We found the men rather excited over their discovery. The wine must have been very new and very strong, for the smell from it, as it slopped about all over the deck, was almost enough to intoxicate anybody. One pipe had already been emptied into the breakers and barrels, and great efforts were made to get some of the casks out whole; but this was found to be impossible, without devoting more time to the operation than we chose to spare. The men managed to remove three half-empty casks with their heads stove in, which they threw overboard, but the full ones would have required special appliances to raise them through the hatches. It proved exceedingly difficult to get at the wine, which was stowed underneath the cork, and there was also a quantity of cabin bulkheads and fittings floating about, under the influence of the long swell of the Atlantic. It was a curious sight, standing on the roof of the deck-house, to look into the hold, full of floating bales of cork, barrels, and pieces of wood, and to watch the sea surging up in every direction, through and over the deck, which was level with the water's edge. I saw an excellent modern iron cooking-stove washing about from side to side; but almost every other moveable article, including spars and ropes, had apparently been removed by previous boarders.
It would have delayed us too long to tow the vessel into the nearest port, 375 miles distant, or we might have claimed the salvage money, estimated by the experts at 1,500l. She was too low in the water for it to be possible for us, with our limited appliances, to blow her up; so we were obliged to leave her floating about as a derelict, a fertile source of danger to all ships crossing her track. With her buoyant cargo, and with the trade winds slowly wafting her to smoother seas, it may probably be some years before she breaks up. I only hope that no good ship may run full speed on to her, some dark night, for the 'Carolina' would prove almost as formidable an obstacle as a sunken rock.
Tom was now signalling for us to go on board again, and for a few minutes I was rather afraid we should have had a little trouble in getting the men off, as their excitement had not decreased; but after a trifling delay and some rather rough play amongst themselves, they became steady again, and we returned to the yacht with our various prizes.
A 'Mother Carey's chicken' hovered round the wreck while we were on board, and followed us to the 'Sunbeam;' and although a flat calm and a heavy swell prevailed at the time, we all looked upon our visitor as the harbinger of a breeze. In this instance, at least, the well-known sailor's superstition was justified; for, before the evening, the wind sprang up, and 'fires out and sails up' was the order of the day. We were soon bowling merrily along at the rate of seven knots an hour, while a clear starlight night and a heavy dew gave promise of a fine morrow.
Friday, July 14th.—We still have a light wind, right aft, accompanied by a heavy roll from the westward, which makes it impossible to sit anywhere with comfort, and difficult even to read. By 6 a.m. the sun had become very powerful, though its heat was tempered by the breeze, which gradually increased throughout the day, until, having set all our fore-and-aft canvas, as well as our square sails, we glided steadily along, in delightful contrast to the uneasy motion of the morning, and of the past few days. Under the awning—with the most heavenly blue sky above, and the still darker clear blue sea beneath, stretching away in gentle ripples as far as the eye could reach—it was simply perfect.
Our little party get on extremely well together, though a week ago they were strangers to each other. We are all so busy that we do not see much of one another except at meals, and then we have plenty to talk about. Captain Lecky imparts to us some of his valuable information about scientific navigation and the law of storms, and he and Tom and Captain Brown work hard at these subjects. Mr. Freer follows in the same path; Mr. Bingham draws and reads; Dr. Potter helps me to teach the children, who, I am happy to say, are as well as possible. I read and write a great deal, and learn Spanish, so that the days are all too short for what we have to do. The servants are settling down well into their places, and the commissariat department does great credit to the cooks and stewards. The maids get on satisfactorily, but are a little nervous on rough nights. We hope not to have many more just at present, for we are now approaching calmer latitudes.
In the course of the day, whilst Tom and I were sitting in the stern, the man at the wheel suddenly exclaimed, 'There's land on the port bow.' We knew, from the distance we had run, that this could not be the case, and after looking at it through the glasses, Tom pronounced the supposed land to be a thick wall of fog, advancing towards us against the wind. Captain Brown and Captain Lecky came from below, and hastened to get in the studding-sails, in anticipation of the coming squall. In a few minutes we had lost our fair breeze and brilliant sunshine, all our sails were taken flat aback, and we found ourselves enveloped in a dense fog, which made it impossible for us to see the length of the vessel. It was an extraordinary phenomenon. Captain Lecky, who, in the course of his many voyages, has passed within a few miles of this exact spot more than a hundred and fifty times, had never seen anything in the least like it. As night came on the fog increased, and the boats were prepared ready for lowering. Two men went to the wheel, and two to the bows to look out, while an officer was stationed on the bridge with steam-whistle and bell ready for an emergency; so that, in case we ran into anything, or anything ran into us, we should at least have the satisfaction of knowing that, so far as we were concerned, it had all been done strictly according to Act of Parliament.
Saturday, July 15th.—Between midnight and 4 a.m. the fog disappeared, as suddenly as it had come on. We must have passed through a wide belt of it. At 5.30 a.m., when Tom called me to see a steamer go by, it was quite clear. The vessel was the 'Roman,' and she passed so close to us that we made our number, and exchanged salutations with the officers on the bridge.
Towards the afternoon a nice breeze sprang up, and we were able to bank fires and sail.
MADEIRA, TENERIFFE, AND CAPE DE VERDE ISLANDS.
Full many a green isle needs must be In this wide sea of misery, Or the mariner worn and wan Never thus could voyage on.
Sunday, July 16th.—Porto Santo being visible on the port bow, a quarter of a mile ahead, by 3.55 a.m. this morning, our three navigators congratulated themselves and each other on the good land-fall they had made.
It looks a curious little island, and is situated about thirty-five miles north-east of Madeira, with a high peak in the centre, of which we could only see the extreme point, appearing above the clouds.
It is interesting to know that it was from his observation of the drift-wood and debris washed on to the eastern shore that Columbus, who had married the daughter of the Governor of Porto Santo, derived his first impressions of the existence of the New World. Here it was that he first realised there might possibly be a large and unknown country to the westward; here it was that he first conceived the project of exploring the hitherto unknown ocean and of discovering what new countries might bound its western shores.
An hour later we saw Fora and its light, at the extreme east of Madeira, and could soon distinguish the mountains in the centre of the latter island. As we rapidly approached the land, the beauty of the scenery became more fully apparent. A mass of dark purple volcanic rocks, clothed on the top with the richest vegetation, with patches of all sorts of colour on their sides, rises boldly from the sea. There are several small detached rocks, and one curious pointed little island, with an arch right through the middle of it, rather like the Perce Rock on the coast of Nova Scotia. We steamed slowly along the east coast, passing many pretty hamlets, nestled in bays or perched on the side of the hills, and observing how every possible nook and corner seemed to be terraced and cultivated. Sugar-canes, Indian corn, vines, and many varieties of tropical and semi-tropical plants, grow luxuriantly in this lovely climate. Nearly all the cottages in the island are inhabited by a simple people, many of whom have never left their native villages, even to look at the magnificent view from the top of the surrounding mountains, or to gaze on the sea, by which they are encompassed.
We dropped our anchor in the bay of Funchal at about twelve o'clock, and before breakfast was over found ourselves surrounded by a perfect flotilla of boats, though none of them dared approach very near until the health-officer had come alongside and pronounced us free from infection. At this moment all are complaining much of the heat, which since yesterday has been very great, and is caused by the wind called 'Este,' blowing direct from the African deserts. It was 79 deg. in the coolest place on board, and 84 deg. on shore in the shade, in the middle of the day.
The African mail steamer, 'Ethiopia,' last from Bonny, West Coast of Africa, whence she arrived the day before yesterday, was lying in the bay, and the children went on board with some of our party to see her cargo of monkeys, parrots, and pineapples. The result was an importation of five parrots on board the 'Sunbeam;' but the monkeys were too big for us. Captain Dane, who paid us a return visit, said that the temperature here appeared quite cool to him, as for the last few weeks his thermometer had varied from 82 deg. to 96 deg. in the shade.
We had service at 4 p.m., and at 5 p.m. went ashore in a native boat, furnished with bilge pieces, to keep her straight when beached, and to avoid the surf, for it was too rough for our own boats. At the water's edge a curious sort of double sleigh, drawn by two oxen, was waiting. Into this we stepped, setting off with considerable rapidity up the steep shingly beach, under a beautiful row of trees, to the 'Praca,' where the greater portion of the population were walking up and down, or sitting under the shade of the magnolias. These plants here attain the size of forest-trees, and their large white wax-like flowers shed a most delightful fragrance on the evening air. There were graceful pepper vines too, and a great variety of trees only known to us in England in the form of small shrubs. This being a festival day, the streets were crowded with people from town and country, in their holiday attire. The door-posts and balconies of the houses were wreathed with flowers, the designs in many cases being very pretty. One arcade in particular was quite lovely, with arches made of double red geranium, mixed with the feathery-looking pepper leaves, while the uprights were covered with amaryllis and white arum lilies. The streets were strewn with roses and branches of myrtle, which, bruised by the feet of the passers-by and the runners of the bullock sleigh, emitted a delicious aromatic odour.
The trellises in the gardens seem overgrown with stephanotis, mauve and purple passion-flowers, and all kinds of rare creepers, the purple and white hibiscus shoots up some fourteen to sixteen feet in height; bananas, full of fruit and flower, strelitzias, heliotrope, geraniums, and pelargoniums, bloom all around in large shrubs, mixed with palms and mimosas of every variety; and the whole formed such an enchanting picture that we were loth to tear ourselves away.
A ride of about twenty minutes in the bullock sleigh, up a steep hill, by the side of a rocky torrent, whose banks were overgrown with caladiums and vines, brought us to our destination, Til, whence we had a splendid view of the town and bay stretching beneath us. During the ascent we passed several cottages, whose inhabitants stood airing themselves on the threshold after the great heat of the day, and through the open doorways we occasionally got a peep into the gardens beyond, full of bright flowers and luxuriant with vines, fig-trees, and bananas. As we sat in the terrace garden at Til we enjoyed the sweet scent of the flowers we could no longer see, and listened to the cool splash of the water in the fountain below; whilst Allnutt, with unceasing energy, searched amongst the bushes for moths, of which he found a large number.
We jogged down the hill a great deal faster than we had come up, stopping only for a short time in the now more than ever crowded 'Praca,' to listen to one or two airs played by the Portuguese band, before we got back to the yacht at about half-past ten.
Next morning we were off to the fish-market by seven o'clock, but it was not a good time for our visit, as there had been no moon on the previous night; and, though there were fish of various kinds, saw nothing specially worthy of notice. The picturesque costumes of the people were, however, interesting. We afterwards went to the fruit-market, though it was not specially worth seeing, for most of the fruit and vegetables are brought in boats from villages on the sea-shore; and, as it is necessary to wait until the sea-breeze springs up, they do not arrive until midday. After our walk the children and I went down to the beach and bathed, taking care not to go too far out on account of the sharks, of which we had been warned. We undressed and dressed in tents, not unlike clothes-horses, with a bit of matting thrown over them, in which the heat was intense. The beach is very steep; and as one gets out of one's depth immediately, indifferent swimmers put on a couple of bladders—which stick out behind their backs and produce a strange effect—or else take a bathing-man into the water with them. I preferred the latter course; and we all had a pleasant bathe.
The natives seem almost amphibious in their habits, and the yacht is surrounded all day by boats full of small boys, who will dive to any depth for sixpence, a dozen of them spluttering and fighting for the coin in the water at the same time. They will go down on one side of the yacht too, and bob up on the other, almost before you have time to run across the deck to witness their reappearance.
The Loo Rock, with its old fortress, close to our anchorage, forms a picturesque object; and the scene from the yacht, enlivened by the presence of numerous market-boats, laden with fruit and vegetables, is very pretty. We lie about 150 yards from the shore, just under Mr. Danero's quinta. The cliff just here is overhung with bougainvillaeas, geraniums, fuchsias, aloes, prickly pears, and other flowers, which grow luxuriantly quite down to the water's edge, wherever they can contrive to find a root-hold.
After five o'clock tea we rode up the Mount and through the woods on horseback, along a road gay with masses of wild geranium, hydrangea, amaryllis, and fuchsia. We dismounted at a lovely place, which contains a large number of rare trees and plants, brought from all parts of the world. Here were enormous camellias, as well as purple, red, and white azaleas, Guernsey lilies, all growing in the greatest profusion.
Our descent of the Mount, by means of a form of conveyance commonly used on the island, was very amusing. At the summit we found basket-work sleighs, each constructed to hold two people, and attended by a couple of men, lashed together. Into these we stepped, and were immediately pushed down the hill at a tremendous pace. The gliding motion is delightful, and was altogether a novelty to us. The men manage the sleighs with great skill, steering them in the most wonderful manner round the sharp angles in the zigzag road, and making use of their bare feet as brakes when necessary. The turns were occasionally so abrupt, that it seemed almost impossible that we could avoid being upset; but we reached the bottom quite safely. The children were especially delighted with the trip, and indeed we all enjoyed it immensely. The only danger is the risk of fire from the friction of the steel runners against the gravel road.
After paying a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Blandy, whose house is beautifully situated, we dined at the hotel, and afterwards sat in the lovely semi-tropical garden until it was time to go on board to bed.
Tuesday, July 18th.—We were called at 4.30 a.m., and went ashore soon after six to meet some friends, with whom we had arranged to ride up to the Gran Corral, and to breakfast there, 5,000 feet above the level of the sea.
It soon became evident that the time we had selected for landing was the fashionable bathing hour. In fact, it required some skill on our part to keep the boat clear of the crowds of people of both sexes and all ages, who were taking their morning dip. It was most absurd to see entire families, from the bald-headed and spectacled grandfather to the baby who could scarcely walk, all disporting themselves in the water together, many of them supported by the very inelegant-looking bladders I have mentioned. There was a little delay in mounting our horses, under the shade of the fig-trees; but when we were once off, a party of eleven, the cavalcade became quite formidable. As we clattered up the paved streets, between vineyard and garden walls, 'curiosity opened her lattice,' on more than one occasion, to ascertain the cause of the unwonted commotion. The views on our way, as we sometimes climbed a steep ascent or descended a deep ravine, were very varied, but always beautiful. About half-way up we stopped to rest under a delightful trellis of vines, by the side of a rushing mountain stream, bordered with ferns; then, leaving the vineyards and gardens behind us, we passed through forests of shady Spanish chestnut trees, beneath which stretched the luxurious greensward.
At ten o'clock we quitted this grateful shade, and arrived at the neck of the pass, facing the Gran Corral, where we had to make our choice of ascending a conical hill, on our left, or the Torrinhas Peak, on our right. The latter was chosen, as promising the better view, although it was rather farther off, so we were accordingly seized upon by some of the crowd of peasants who surrounded us, and who at once proceeded to push and pull us up a steep slippery grass slope, interspersed with large boulders. The view from the top, looking down a sheer precipice of some 1,500 feet in depth into the valley below, was lovely. Quite at the bottom, amid the numerous ravines and small spurs of rocks by which the valley is intersected, we could distinguish some small patches of cultivated ground. Above our heads towered the jagged crests of the highest peaks, Pico Ruivo and others, which we had already seen from the yacht, when we first sighted the island.
A pleasant walk over some grassy slopes, and two more hard scrambles, took us to the summit of the Torrinhas Peak; but the charming and extensive view towards Camara de Lobos, and the bay and town of Funchal, was an ample reward for all our trouble. It did not take us long to get back to the welcome shade of the chestnut trees, for we were all ravenously hungry, it being now eleven o'clock. But, alas! breakfast had not arrived: so we had no resource but to mount our horses again and ride down to meet it. Mr. Miles, of the hotel, had not kept his word; he had promised that our provisions should be sent up to us by nine o'clock, and it was midday before we met the men carrying the hampers on their heads. There was now nothing for it but to organise a picnic on the terrace of Mr. Veitch's deserted villa, beneath the shade of camellia, fuchsia, myrtle, magnolia, and pepper-trees, from whence we could also enjoy the fine view of the fertile valley beneath us and the blue sea sparkling beyond.
Wednesday, July 19th.—We were so tired after our exertions of yesterday, that it was nine o'clock before we all mustered for our morning swim, which I think we enjoyed the more from the fact of our having previously been prevented by the sharks, or rather by the rumour of sharks.
We were engaged to lunch at Mr. and Mrs. Blandy's, but I was so weary that I did not go ashore until about six o'clock in the evening, and then I went first to the English cemetery, which is very prettily laid out and well kept. The various paths are shaded by pepper-trees, entwined with bougainvillaea, while in many places the railings are completely covered by long trailing masses of stephanotis in full bloom. Some of the inscriptions on the tombs are extremely touching, and it is sad to see, as is almost always the case in places much resorted to by invalids, how large a proportion of those who lie buried here have been cut off in the very flower of their youth. Indeed, the residents at Madeira complain that it is a melancholy drawback to the charms of this beautiful island, that the friendship frequently formed between them and people who come hither in search of health, is in so many cases brought to an early and sad termination. Having seen and admired Mrs. Foljambe's charming garden by daylight, we returned on board to receive some friends. Unfortunately they were not very good sailors, and, out of our party of twenty, one lady had to go ashore at once, and another before dinner was over.
They all admired the yacht very much, particularly the various cozy corners in the deck-house. It was a lovely night; and after the departure of our guests, at about ten o'clock, we steamed out of the bay, where we found a nice light breeze, which enabled us to sail.
Thursday, July 20th.—All to-day has been taken up in arranging our photographs, journals, &c. &c., and in preparing for our visit to Teneriffe. About twelve o'clock the wind fell light and we tried fishing, but without success, though several bonitos or flying-fish were seen. It was very hot, and it seemed quite a relief when, at eight o'clock in the evening, we began steaming, thus creating a breeze for ourselves.
Friday, July 21st.—We all rose early, and were full of excitement to catch the first glimpse of the famous Peak of Teneriffe. There was a nice breeze from the north-east, the true trade wind, we hope, which ought to carry us down nearly to the Line. The morning being rather hazy, it was quite ten o'clock before we saw the Peak, towering above the clouds, right ahead, about fifty-nine miles off. As we approached, it appeared less perpendicular than we had expected, or than it is generally represented in pictures. The other mountains too, in the centre of the island, from the midst of which it rises, are so very lofty that, in spite of its conical sugar-loaf top, it is difficult at first to realise that the Peak is 12,180 feet high.
We dropped anchor under its shadow in the harbour of Orotava in preference to the capital, Santa Cruz, both on account of its being a healthier place, and also in order to be nearer to the Peak, which we wished to ascend.
The heat having made the rest of our party rather lazy, Captain Lecky and I volunteered to go on shore to see the Vice-Consul, Mr. Goodall, and try to make arrangements for our expedition. It was only 2 p.m., and very hot work, walking through the deserted streets, but luckily we had not far to go, and the house was nice and cool when we got there. Mr. Goodall sent off at once for a carriage, despatching a messenger also to the mountains for horses and guides, which there was some difficulty in obtaining at such short notice.
Having organised the expedition we re-embarked to dine on board the yacht, and I went to bed at seven, to be called again, however, at half-past ten o'clock. After a light supper, we landed and went to the Vice-Consul's arriving there exactly at midnight. But no horses were forthcoming, so we lay down on our rugs in the patio, and endeavoured to sleep, as we knew we should require all our strength for the expedition before us.
There were sundry false alarms of a start, as the horses arrived by ones and twos from the neighbouring villages, accompanied by their respective owners. By two o'clock all our steeds, twelve in number, had assembled, and in another quarter of an hour we were leaving the town by a steep stony path, bordered by low walls. There was no moon, and for the first two hours it was very dark. At the end of that time we could see the first glimmer of dawn, and were shortly afterwards able to distinguish each other and to observe the beautiful view which lay below us as we wended our way up and up between small patches of cultivation. Soon we climbed above the clouds, which presented a most curious appearance as we looked down upon them. The strata through which we had passed was so dense and so white, that it looked exactly like an enormous glacier, covered with fresh fallen snow, extending for miles and miles; while the projecting tops of the other Canary Islands appeared only like great solitary rocks.
The sun had already become very oppressive, and at half-past seven we stopped to breakfast and to water the horses. Half-past eight found us in the saddle again, and we commenced to traverse a dreary plain of yellowish white pumice-stone, interspersed with huge blocks of obsidian, thrown from the mouth of the volcano. At first the monotony of the scene was relieved by large bushes of yellow broom in full flower, and still larger bushes of the beautiful Retama blanca, quite covered with lovely white bloom, scenting the air with its delicious fragrance, and resembling huge tufts of feathers, eight or nine feet high. As we proceeded, however, we left all traces of vegetation behind us. It was like the Great Sahara. On every side a vast expanse of yellow pumice-stone sand spread around us, an occasional block of rock sticking up here and there, and looking as if it had indeed been fused in a mighty furnace. By half-past ten we had reached the 'Estancia de los Ingleses,' 9,639 feet above the level of the sea, where the baggage and some of the horses had to be left behind, the saddles being transferred to mules for the very steep climb before us. After a drink of water all round, we started again, and commenced the ascent of the almost perpendicular stream of lava and stone, which forms the only practicable route to the top. Our poor beasts were only able to go a few paces at a time without stopping to regain their breath. The loose ashes and lava fortunately gave them a good foothold, or it would have been quite impossible for them to get along at all. One was only encouraged to proceed by the sight of one's friends above, looking like flies clinging to the face of a wall. The road, if such it can be called, ran in zigzags, each of which was about the length of two horses, so that we were in turns one above another. There were a few slips and slides and tumbles, but no important casualties; and in about an hour and a half we had reached the 'Alta Vista,' a tiny plateau, where the horses were to be left.
The expedition so far had been such a fatiguing one, and the heat was so great, that the children and I decided to remain here, and to let the gentlemen proceed alone to the summit of the Peak. We tried to find some shade, but the sun was so immediately above us that this was almost an impossibility. However, we managed to squeeze ourselves under some slightly overhanging rocks, and I took some photographs while the children slept. The guides soon returned with water-barrels full of ice, procured from a cavern above, where there is a stream of water constantly running; and nothing could have been more grateful and refreshing.
It was more than three hours before Tom and Captain Lecky reappeared, to be soon followed by the rest of the party. Whilst they rested and refreshed themselves with ice, they described the ascent as fatiguing in the extreme, in fact, almost an impossibility for a lady. First they had scrambled over huge blocks of rough lava to the tiny plain of the Rambleta, 11,466 feet above the level of the sea, after which they had to climb up the cone itself, 530 feet in height, and sloping at an angle of 44 degrees. It is composed of ashes and calcined chalk, into which their feet sank, while, for every two steps they made forwards and upwards, they slipped one backwards. But those who reached the top were rewarded for their exertions by a glorious view, and by the wonderful appearance of the summit of the Peak. The ground beneath their feet was hot, while sulphurous vapours and smoke issued from various small fissures around them, though there has been no actual eruption from this crater of the volcano since 1704. They brought down with them a beautiful piece of calcined chalk, covered with crystals of sulphur and arsenic, and some other specimens. Parched and dry as the ground looked where I was resting, a few grains of barley, dropped by mules on the occasion of a previous visit, had taken root and had grown up into ear; and there were also a few roots of a sort of dog-violet, showing its delicate lavender-coloured flowers 11,000 feet above the sea, and far beyond the level of any other vegetation.
It was impossible to ride down to the spot where we had left the baggage animals, and the descent was consequently very fatiguing, and even painful. At every step our feet sank into a mass of loose scoriae and ashes; and so we went slipping, sliding, and stumbling along, sometimes running against a rock, and sometimes nearly pitching forward on our faces. All this too beneath a blazing sun, with the thermometer at 78 deg., and not a vestige of shade. At last Tom and I reached the bottom, where, after partaking of luncheon and draughts of quinine, we lay down under the shadow of a great rock to recruit our weary frames.
Refreshed by our meal, we started at six o'clock on our return journey, and went down a good deal faster than we came up. Before the end of the pumice-stone or Retama plains had been reached, it was nearly dark. Sundry small accidents occurring to stirrup-leathers, bridles, and girths—for the saddlery was not of the best description—delayed us slightly, and as Tom, Dr. Potter, Allnutt, and the guide had got on ahead, we soon lost sight of them. After an interval of uncertainty, the other guides confessed that they did not know the way back in the dark. This was not pleasant, for the roads were terrible, and during the whole of our journey up, from the port to the Peak, we had met only four people in all—two goatherds with their flocks, and two 'neveros,' bringing down ice to the town. There was therefore not much chance of gaining information from any one on our way down. We wandered about among low bushes, down watercourses, and over rocks for a long time. Horns were blown, and other means of attracting attention were tried; first one and then another of the party meanwhile coming more or less to grief. My good little horse fell down three times, though we did not part company, and once he went up a steep bank by mistake, instead of going down a very nasty watercourse, which I do not wonder at his objecting to. I managed to jump off in time, and so no harm was done; but it was rather anxious work.
About ten o'clock we saw a light in the distance, and with much shouting woke up the inhabitants of the cottage whence it proceeded, promising to reward them liberally if they would only show us our way back. Three of them consented to do this, and provided themselves accordingly with pine-torches, wrapped round with bracken and leaves. One, a very fine man, dressed in white, with his arm extended above his head, bearing the light, led the way; another walked in front of my horse, while the third brought up the rear. They conducted us down the most frightfully steep paths until we had descended beneath the clouds, when the light from our torches threw our shadows in gigantic form upon the mists above, reminding us of the legend of the 'Spectre of the Brocken.' At last the torches began to go out, one by one, and just as the last light was expiring we arrived at a small village, where we of course found that everybody was asleep. After some delay, during which Mabelle and I were so tired that we lay down in the street to rest, more torches were procured and a fresh guide, who led us into the comparatively good path towards Puerto Orotava. Finally, half an hour after midnight, we arrived at the house of the Vice-Consul, who had provided refreshments for us, and whose nephew was still very kindly sitting up awaiting our return. But we were too tired to do anything but go straight on board the yacht, where, after some supper and champagne, we were indeed glad to retire to our berths. This was at 3.30 a.m., exactly twenty-nine hours since we had been called on Friday night.
It is certainly too long an expedition to be performed in one day. Tents should be taken, and arrangements made for camping out for one, if not two, nights; but, in the case of such a large party as ours, this would have been a great business, as everything must be carried to so great a height, up such steep places, and over such bad roads. Still, there are so many objects and places of interest, not only on, but around, the Peak, that it is a pity to see them only when hurried and fatigued.
Sunday, July 23rd.—Orders had been given not to call us nor to wash decks, and it was consequently half-past ten before any one awoke, and midday before the first of our party put in an appearance on deck.
Long before this, the 'Sunbeam' had been inundated with visitors from the shore. We had given a general invitation to the friends of the Vice-Consul to come and see the yacht; and they accordingly arrived in due course, accompanied in many cases by a large circle of acquaintances. Those who came first were conducted below and all over the vessel, but the number ultimately became so great that, in self-defence, we were obliged to limit their wanderings to the deck, opening the skylights wide, however, to enable them to see as much as possible of the saloon and cabins.
From breakfast-time until prayers, at three o'clock, when the yacht was closed for an hour, there was a constant stream of visitors from the shore. It was a great nuisance; but still it seemed unkind to refuse to allow them to see what they had never seen before, and might possibly never have an opportunity of seeing again. All steamers and sailing-ships, as a rule, go to Santa Cruz; and the fame of our vessel having been spread abroad by our visitors of Friday, many of the poor people had come from villages far away over the mountains. We could not help feeling a certain respect for the determined way in which physical infirmity was mastered by curiosity for, though many experienced very serious inconvenience from the motion of the vessel, they still persevered in their examination.
About five o'clock we went ashore ourselves, and drove up to Villa Orotava. The wide road is macadamised and marked with kilometre stones, and is planted on either side with pepper-trees, plane-trees, and the Eucalyptus globulus, which has grown 35 metres, or 115 feet, in seven years. The hedges are formed of blue plumbago, scarlet geranium, yellow acacia, lavender-coloured heliotrope, white jasmine, and pink and white roses.
After driving a few miles, we turned down an old paved road towards the sea, and, by dint of a considerable amount of shaking, arrived at the celebrated Botanical Gardens, mentioned by Humboldt and others. We passed through a small house, with a fine dragon-tree on either side, and entered the gardens, where we found a valuable collection of trees and shrubs of almost every known species. The kind and courteous Curator, Don Hermann Wildgaret, accompanied us, and explained the peculiarities of the many interesting plants, from Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Australia, New Zealand, and the various islands of the North and South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The climate of Teneriffe is so equable, that the island forms a true garden of acclimatisation for the vegetable productions of the various countries of the world; by the judicious expenditure of a little more money, this establishment might be made an important means of introducing to Europe many new and valuable plants. At present the annual income is 5,000 francs, the salary of the Curator being 1,000 francs.
A rough drive over paved roads, commanding extensive views of sea and rocks, and of some palm-trees on a promontory in the distance, brought us, at about seven o'clock, to the boat, which was waiting our return. We arrived in due course on board the 'Sunbeam,' laden with bouquets of the choicest flowers, and soon after dinner we all retired to bed, not having yet recovered from the fatigues of yesterday.
Monday, July 24th.—What one gains in the beauty and abundance of vegetable life here, one loses in its rapid and premature decay. Fruit gathered in the morning is scarcely fit to eat at night, and the flowers brought on board yesterday evening were dead to-day at 4.30 a.m.; whilst some of the roses we brought from Cowes lasted until we reached Madeira, though it must be owned so many fell to pieces that my cabin used to be daily swept with rose-leaves instead of tea-leaves.
We went ashore soon after six, and drove straight to the garden of the Marquis de Sonzal, where there is a beautiful palm-tree, 101 feet high, the remains of an enormous dragon-tree, old even in the fifteenth century, besides hedges of myrtle, jasmine, and clematis, and flowers of every description in full bloom. The dragon-tree is a species of dracaena, and looks rather like a gigantic candelabra, composed of a number of yuccas, perched on the top of a gnarled and somewhat deformed stem, half palm half cactus. Another beautiful garden was next visited, belonging to the Marquis de la Candia, who received us and showed us his coffee and plantains in full growth, as well as a magnificent Spanish chestnut-tree, coeval with the dragon-tree. Out of one of its almost decayed branches a so-called young tree was growing, but it would have been thought very respectable and middle-aged in any other locality.
Every one here, as in Madeira, has been more or less ruined by the failure of the vines. Most of the large landed proprietors have left their estates to take care of themselves; and the peasants, for the last few years, have been emigrating by hundreds to Caraccas, in Venezuela. Things are, however, beginning to look up a little now. The cultivation of cochineal appears to succeed, though the price is low; coffee answers well; and permission has been obtained from the Spanish Government to grow tobacco, accompanied by a promise to purchase, at a certain fixed rate, all that can be produced. Still, people talk of the Island of Teneriffe as something very different now from what it was twenty-five or thirty years ago, both as regards the number of its inhabitants and the activity of its commerce, and mourn over 'the good old times;'—a custom I have remarked in many other places!
The Marquis de la Candia and Don Hermann Wildgaret returned on board with us to breakfast. The anchor had been weighed, and the 'Sunbeam' was slowly steaming up and down, waiting for us. The stream of visitors had been as great and as constant as ever during our absence, in spite of the heavy roll of the sea, and the deck seemed quite covered with baskets of flowers and fruit, kindly sent on board by the people who had been over the yacht the day before. Amongst the latest arrivals were some very handsome Spanish ladies, beautifully dressed in black, with mantillas, each of whom was accompanied by a young man carrying a basin. It must, I fear, be confessed that this was rather a trial to the gravity of all on board. It certainly was an instance of the pursuit of knowledge, or the gratification of curiosity, under considerable difficulties.
Immediately after breakfast, our friends bade us adieu, and went ashore in the shore-boat, while we steamed along the north side of the island, past the splendid cliffs of Buenavista, rising 2,000 feet sheer from the sea, to Cape Teno, the extreme western point of Teneriffe. In the distance we could see the Great Canary, Palma, and Hierro, and soon passed close to the rocky island of Gomera. Here, too, the dark cliffs, of volcanic form and origin, are magnificent, and as we were almost becalmed by the high land whilst we sailed along the north shore of the island, we had ample opportunities of admiring its rugged beauty. During the night we approached Palma, another large island of the Canary group, containing one of the most remarkable calderas, or large basins, formed by volcanic action in the world.
PALMA TO RIO DE JANEIRO.
A wet sheet and a flowing sea, A wind that follows fast And fills the white and rustling sail And bends the gallant mast.
Tuesday, July 25th.—There was not much wind during the night, and Palma was consequently still visible when I came on deck at daybreak. We had a light fair wind in the morning, accompanied by a heavy swell, which caused us to roll so much that I found it very difficult to do anything. Several shoals of flying fish skimmed past us along the surface of the water, occasionally rising to a considerable height above it. Their beautiful wings, glittering in the bright sunlight, looked like delicate silver filigree-work. In the night one flew on board, only to be preserved in spirits by Dr. Potter.
Saturday, July 29th.—For the last three days we have been going on quietly with fair, warm weather, but a nice fresh breeze sprang up to-day. At midday the sun was so exactly vertical over our heads, that it was literally possible to stand under the shadow of one's own hatbrim, and be sheltered all round. Our navigators experienced considerable difficulty in taking their noon-tide observations, as the sun appeared to dodge about in every direction.
About two o'clock we made the high land of St. Antonio, one of the Cape de Verde Islands, and, soon afterwards, the lower land of St Vincent. Some doubt existing as to the prevalence of fever at the latter place, Tom decided not to stop there, for fear of having to undergo quarantine at Rio de Janeiro. We therefore shortened sail, and passed slowly between the islands to the anchorage beyond the Bird Rock. This is a very small island, of perfectly conical form, covered with thousands of sea-fowl, who live here undisturbed by any other inhabitants. The town of Porto Grande, with its rows of white houses on the sea-shore, at the base of the rocky crags, looked clean and comfortable in the evening light. During the day, however, it must be a hot and glaring place, for there are no trees to afford shade, nor, indeed, any kind of vegetation. The water, too, is bad, and all supplies for passing steamers are brought from the other islands, at very uncertain intervals. It is still a great coaling-station, though not so much used as it was formerly, before the opening of the Suez Canal. The ships come out with coal, and go away in ballast (there is nothing else to be had here), procured from a point near the town, to Rio or elsewhere, where they pick up their homeward cargo of fruit, &c.
The absence of twilight in these latitudes, both at dawn and sunset, is certainly very remarkable. This morning, at four o'clock, the stars were shining brightly; ten minutes later the day had commenced to break; and at half-past four the sun had risen above the horizon, and was gilding the surrounding mountain tops.
Sunday, July 30th.—About 10 a.m. we were off Tarafal Bay—a most hopeless-looking place for supplies. High rocky mountains, sandy slopes, and black volcanic beach, composed a scene of arid desolation, in the midst of which was situated one small white house, with four windows and a thatched roof, surrounded by a little green patch of sugar-canes and cocoa-nut palms.
But the result proved the sageness of the advice contained in the old proverb, not to trust to appearances only; for, whilst we were at breakfast, Mr. Martinez, the son of the owner of the one whitewashed cottage to be seen, came on board. To our surprise, he spoke English extremely well, and promised us all sorts of supplies, if we could wait until three o'clock in the afternoon. Having agreed to do this, we shortly afterwards went ashore in his boat, with a crew of more than half-naked negroes, and a hot row of about three miles brought us to the shore, where, after some little difficulty, we succeeded in effecting a landing. Our feet immediately sank into the hot black sand, composed entirely of volcanic deposits and small pieces, or rather grains, of amber, through which we had a fatiguing walk until we reached some palm-trees, shading a little pool of water. Here we left some of the men, with instructions to fill the breakers they had brought with them, while we walked on along the beach, past the remains of an English schooner that caught fire not far from this island, and was run ashore by her captain, thirty years ago. Her iron anchor, chain, and wheel still remained, together with two queer little iron cannon, which I should have much liked to carry off as a memorial of our visit. We then turned up a narrow shadeless path, bordered by stone walls, leading away from the sea, past a sugar-mill and a ruin. A few almond, castor-oil, and fig trees were growing amongst the sugar-canes, and as we mounted the hill we could see some thirty round straw huts, like beehives, on the sandy slopes beside the little stream. An abrupt turn in the mountains, amid which, at a distance of three leagues, this tiny river takes its rise, hides it from the sea, so that the narrow valley which it fertilises looks like a small oasis in the desert of rocks and sand.
Mr. Martinez's house, where we sat for some time, and beneath the windows of which the one stream of the island runs, was comparatively cool. Outside, the negro washerwomen were busy washing clothes in large turtle-shell tubs, assisted, or hindered, by the 'washerwoman-bird,' a kind of white crane, who appeared quite tame, playing about just like a kitten, pecking at the clothes or the women's feet, and then running away and hiding behind a tree. The stream was full of water-cresses, while the burnt-up little garden contained an abundance of beautiful flowers. There were scarlet and yellow mimosas, of many kinds, combining every shade of exquisite green velvety foliage, alpinias, with pink, waxy flowers and crimson and gold centres, oleanders, begonias, hibiscus, allamandas, and arum and other lilies.
Mr. Bingham sketched, I took some photographs, Dr. Potter and the children caught butterflies, and the rest of our party wandered about. Every five minutes a negro arrived with a portion of our supplies. One brought a sheep, another a milch-goat for baby, while the rest contributed, severally, a couple of cocoa-nuts, a papaya, three mangoes, a few water-cresses, a sack of sweet potatoes, a bottle of milk, three or four quinces, a bunch of bananas, a little honey, half-a-dozen cabbages, some veal and pork, and so on; until it appeared as if every little garden on either side of the three leagues of stream must have yielded up its entire produce, and we had accumulated sacks full of cocoa-nuts and potatoes, hundreds of eggs, and dozens of chickens and ducks. It was very amusing to see the things arrive. They were brought in by people varying in colour from dark yellow to the blackest ebony, and ranging in size from fine stalwart men, over six feet in height, to tiny little blackies of about three feet six, with curly hair, snowy teeth, and mischievous, beady eyes. The arrival of the provision boat and the transfer of its miscellaneous cargo to the 'Sunbeam' was quite an amusing sight. The pretty black goat and the sheep bleated, the fowls cackled, and the ducks quacked, while the negroes chatted and laughed as they handed and hauled on board fish of all shapes and sizes, bunches of bananas, piles of cocoa-nuts, sacks of potatoes, and many other things, finishing up with a tiny black boy, about three years old, whom I think they would rather have liked to leave behind with us, if we would only have taken him. The fish proved excellent, though some of them really seemed almost too pretty to eat. A brilliant gold fish, weighing about three pounds, and something like a grey mullet in flavour, was perhaps the best. The prices were very curious. Chickens a shilling each, ducks five shillings, goats thirty shillings, and sheep ten shillings. Vegetables, fruit, and flowers were extremely cheap; but the charge for water, fetched from the spring in our own breakers by our own crew, with but little assistance from four or five negroes, was 3l. 18s. However, as ours is the only yacht, with one exception, that has ever visited this island, there was nothing for it except to pay the bill without demur.
I never in my life felt so warm as I did to-day on shore, though the inhabitants say it will not be really hot for two months yet; I never before saw cocoa-nut palms growing; and I never tasted a mango until this morning; so I have experienced three new sensations in one day.
The night was fearfully close, muggy, and thundery, the temperature in the cabins being 89 deg., in spite of open sky-lights and port-holes. Generally speaking, it has not hitherto been as hot as we expected, especially on board the yacht itself. On deck there is almost always a nice breeze, but below it is certainly warm.
Tuesday, August 1st.—Yesterday we were still under sail, but to-day it has been necessary to steam, for the wind has fallen too light. There was a heavy roll from the south, and the weather continued hot and oppressive. In the cabins the thermometer stood at 89 deg. during the whole of the night, in spite of all our efforts to improve the temperature. We therefore put three of the children in the deck-house to sleep, opening the doors and windows; and some of the rest of our party slept on deck in hammocks. In anticipation of the heavy equatorial rains, which Captain Lecky had predicted might commence to-day, we had had the awnings put up; a fortunate piece of foresight, for, before midnight, the rain came down in torrents.
Wednesday, August 2nd.—At daybreak the sky was covered with heavy black clouds, and the atmosphere was as hot and muggy as ever. We had a great deal of rain during the day, and took advantage of the opportunity to fill every available tub, bucket, and basin, to say nothing of the awnings. It came down in such sheets that mackintoshes were comparatively useless, and we had soon filled our seventeen breakers, the cistern, and the boats, from which we had removed the covers, with very good, though somewhat dirty, washing water.
Friday, August 4th.—We were only 289 miles off Sierra Leone in the morning, and at noon therefore Tom decided to put about. Having done so, we found that we went along much more easily and quite as fast on the other tack. We maintained a good rate of speed on our new course, which was now nearly due west, passing a large barque with every stitch of canvas set, hand over hand.
We are still in the Guinea current, and the temperature of the water is 82 deg., even in the early morning; but the heat of the sun does not seem to have much effect upon it, as it does not vary to any great extent during the day.
In the evening we saw the Southern Cross for the first time, and were much disappointed in its appearance. The fourth star is of smaller magnitude than the others, and the whole group is only for a very short time in a really upright position, inclining almost always either to one side or the other, as it rises and sets.
Tuesday, August 8th.—We crossed the line at daylight.
This event caused much fun and excitement, both in cabin and forecastle. The conventional hair was put across the field of the telescope for the unsophisticated 'really to see the line,' and many firmly believed they did see it, and discussed its appearance at some length. Jim Allen, one of our tallest sailors, and coxswain of the gig, dressed in blue, with long oakum wig and beard, gilt paper crown, and trident and fish impaled in one hand, was seated on a gun-carriage, and made a capital Father Neptune. Our somewhat portly engineer, Mr. Rowbotham, with fur-trimmed dressing gown and cap, and bent form, leaning on a stick, his face partially concealed by a long grey beard, and a large band-box of pills on one arm, made an equally good doctor to his Marine Majesty, while the part of Mrs. Trident was ably filled by one of the youngest sailors, dressed in some of the maids' clothes; but the accompanying pictures will give a better idea than any description of mine.
Soon afterwards we saw an enormous shoal of grampuses, large black fish, about 25 feet in length, something between a dolphin and a whale, with the very ugliest jaws, or rather snouts, imaginable. They are of a predatory and ferocious disposition, attacking not only sharks, dolphins, and porpoises, but even whales, more than twice their own size. We also passed through enormous quantities of flying-fish, no doubt driven to the surface by dolphins and bonitos. They were much larger and stronger in the wing than any we have hitherto seen.
Lulu's puppies, born yesterday, have been respectively named Butterfly (who survived her birth only an hour), Poseidon, Aphrodite, Amphitrite, and Thetis—names suggested by their birth-place on the ocean close to his Marine Majesty's supposed equatorial palace.
At noon we were 250 miles off St. Paul's Rocks.
Thursday, August 10th.—A very hot, showery day. Saw two large ships in the distance. In the morning we were almost becalmed for a time, but the breeze returned during the afternoon, and we were able to proceed on our course. I think this has been the most lovely of the many exquisite days we have enjoyed since we left England. It commenced with a magnificent sunrise, and ended with an equally gorgeous sunset, only to be succeeded by a beautiful moonlight night, so clear and bright that we could see to read ordinary print on deck.
Saturday, August 12th.—At noon we were 300 miles off Bahia, a place we have made up our minds not to visit, as it would lengthen our voyage considerably, and there is not much to see there. We have therefore decided to proceed direct to Rio, where we are looking forward to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday next.
The night was showery, with a good deal of wind and sea.
Sunday, August 13th.—Sailing in the tropics is really very delightful! When going to the westward, there is almost always, at this season of the year, a favourable breeze, and the weather is generally either quite fair or moderately so.
Whispered to it, westward, westward, And with speed it darted forward.
We had service at 11.15 a.m., and again at 5.30 p.m. The choir has considerably improved; one of our new men plays the violin very well, and frequently accompanies the children and the nurse in their songs. On a clear calm night, beneath a tropical sky, when the members of this little group assemble on deck, and, by the light of a lantern, sing some of their simple songs, the effect produced is both melodious and picturesque.
The wind dropped at about 10 p.m., and we had an unpleasant amount of roll during the night, sails flapping, spars creaking, and booms swinging as if they would pull the masts out of the vessel.
Monday, August 14th.—This morning we saw a small schooner ahead, and thinking from her manoeuvres that she wished to speak us, we made our number and ran towards her. We soon found out, however, that she was a whaler, in chase of two large grampuses. She had two men on the look-out in the cross-trees, in a sort of iron cage; and though she was of much smaller tonnage than the 'Sunbeam,' she carried five big boats, one of which, full of men, was ready to be lowered into the water, the instant they had approached sufficiently near to the whale or grampus. These seas used formerly to abound with whalers, but they are now much less numerous, the seasons having been bad of late.
To-night the stars were especially brilliant, and we spent some hours in trying to make out their names. Vega, our polar star for some time to come, shone conspicuously bright, and the Southern Cross could be seen to great advantage.
Wednesday, August 16th.—We had a fine fair breeze all day, and at 5 p.m. there was a cry from the mast-head of 'Land ahead!' Great excitement immediately prevailed on board, and Tom and Captain Brown rushed, for about the twelfth time, to the foretop to see if the report was true. They were soon able to announce that Cape Frio was visible on the port bow, about thirty-five miles distant. After even a fortnight at sea, an indescribable sensation is produced by this cry, and by the subsequent sight of the land itself. When we came up on deck this evening, after dinner, we all gazed on the lighthouse on the still distant shore as if we had never beheld such a thing in our lives before. The colour and temperature of the water had perceptibly changed, the former from a beautiful, clear, dark ultramarine to a muddy green; innumerable small birds, moths, locusts, and grasshoppers came on board; and, having given special orders that we were to be called early the next morning, we went to bed in the fond hope that we should be able to enter Rio harbour at daybreak.
Thursday, August 17th.—'L'homme propose; Dieu dispose.' Steam was up at midnight, but by that time it was blowing half a gale of wind from the south-west, with such a steep short sea that the screw was scarcely ever properly immersed, but went racing round and round in the air with tremendous velocity, as we pitched and rolled about. Our progress was therefore at the rate of something rather under a mile an hour, and at daybreak, instead of entering the harbour of Rio, as we had hoped to do, we found ourselves close to Cape Frio.
About 8 a.m. matters mended, the wind moderating and changing its direction slightly; so that, under steam and sail, we were soon going along the coast at the rate of four or five miles an hour. The surf was breaking with a loud roar upon the white sandy beach, while the spray was carried by the force of the wind far inland, over the strip of flat fertile-looking country, lying between the sea and a chain of low sugarloaf-shaped mountains, parallel with the shore, and only a short distance off.
Our course lay between the mainland and the islands of Maya and Payo, where the groves of bananas and other trees looked very miserable in the wind. The tall isolated palm-trees, whose elastic stems bowed readily before the fury of the blast, looked, as they were twisted and whirled hither and thither, like umbrellas turned inside out. Passing the false Sugarloaf mountain, as it is called, we next opened out the true one, the Gavia, and the chain of mountains beyond, the outlines of which bear an extraordinary resemblance to the figure of a man lying on his back, the profile of the face being very like that of the late Duke of Wellington. As the sun sank in gorgeous splendour behind these hills, I think I never saw a grander or more beautiful sight; though the sky was so red and stormy-looking that our hopes of a fine day to-morrow were but faint.
Before entering the harbour, a bar had to be crossed, which is a dangerous operation all the world over. The skylights and hatches were fastened down, and those of our party who did not like being shut up below took their places on the bridge, where, for the first time since we left England, it felt really quite cold. As we advanced, the beautiful harbour, with its long rows of glittering gas-lights, extending for miles on either side of the bay, and illuminating the city and suburbs, gradually became visible. On our left lay the two islands, Rodonda and Raza, on the latter of which is situated a lighthouse. The wind was blowing off the land when we reached the bar, so that, after all our preparations, there was hardly any sea to encounter, and the moment we were over, the water on the other side was perfectly smooth. A gun and a blue light from Fort Santa Cruz, answered immediately by a similar signal from Fort Santa Lucia, announced our arrival, and we shortly afterwards dropped our anchor in the quarantine ground of Rio close to Botafogo Bay, in the noble harbour of Nictheroy.
After dinner it rained heavily, and continued to do so during the whole night.
RIO DE JANEIRO.
The sun is warm, the sky is clear, The waves are dancing fast and bright, Blue isles and snowy mountains wear The purple noon's transparent light.
Friday, August 18th.—The clouds still hung heavy on the hills, or rather mountains, which surround the bay, occasionally descending in the form of torrents of rain, and hiding everything from our view.
Early in the morning we weighed anchor and steamed up the bay to the man-of-war anchorage, a much pleasanter situation than the quarantine harbour, where we had brought up last night. About 9.30 a.m. the health officers came on board, and half an hour later we had a visit from the custom-house official, who required Tom to sign and seal a declaration upon oath that he had no cargo on board, and not more coal than we absolutely required for our own consumption.
About eleven o'clock we put on our mackintoshes and thick boots, and, accompanied by an interpreter, who (together with several washerwomen) had suddenly made his appearance on board, rowed ashore, pushing our way through crowds of boats laden with fruit and vegetables. The landing-place was close to the market, at some broken-down steps, and was crowded with chattering negroes, of every shade of colour. The quays seemed covered with piles of fruit and vegetables, discharged from the boats, the principal produce being sugar-cane, bananas, and oranges. Each side street that we came to was a little river, which had to be crossed, or rather forded, after paddling through the mud in the main thoroughfare.
Our first visit was to the post-office—'no letters'—then to the British Consulate—'no letters'—and finally to the Legation, but there was nobody at home there; so we set off for the Hotel des Etrangers, to breakfast. Our way lay through the straggling suburbs of the city for about two miles, and as we drove along we could see and admire, despite the heavy rain, the magnificent groves of palm-trees, and the brilliancy and beauty of the tropical vegetation in the various private and public gardens that we passed.
After breakfast we returned to the Legation, where we were most kindly received, but, much to our regret, no letters were forthcoming. We next paid a visit to some of the shops in the Rua do Ouvidor, for the sale of imitations of flowers, made from the undyed feathers of birds, and a large number of the more expensive varieties of ordinary artificial flowers, each petal consisting of the entire throat or breast of a humming-bird, and the leaves are made from the wings of beetles. They are very rare and beautiful, their manufacture being quite a specialite of this city. The prices asked astonished us greatly; the cost of five sprays, which I had been commissioned to buy, was 29l., and the price of all the others was proportionately high. But then they wear for ever. I have had some for nine years, and they are as good now as when they were bought.
Saturday, August 19th.—Though far from brilliant, the weather improved, and we were able to enjoy occasional glimpses of the beautiful scenery around us.
Mr. Gough and Mr. O'Conor breakfasted with us on board, and we afterwards proceeded in a 'bond' to the Botanical Gardens, about seven miles out of the city. These 'bonds,' which are a great institution here, are large carriages, either open or closed, drawn sometimes by one, sometimes by two, sometimes by three mules. They go at a great pace, and run very smoothly. Ordinary carriages are dear; and as tramways have been laid down in almost every street and road, driving is a rather difficult affair. On our road we passed several delightful-looking private gardens. The railings were completely covered, some with white stephanotis and scarlet lapageria, others with a beautiful orange-coloured creeper and lilac bougainvillaea, or passion-flowers of many colours and variety. Inside we could see large trees with green and yellow stripes, croton-oil plants, spotted and veined caladiums, and dracaenas, the whole being shaded by orange-trees.
Along the edge of Botafogo Bay there is a delightful drive, beneath a splendid avenue of imperial palms, extending to the gates of the Botanical Gardens. Each specimen rises straight up like the column of an Egyptian temple, and is crowned with a feathery tuft of large shiny dark green leaves, some thirty feet in length. The clumps of bamboos, too, were very fine, and nearly all the trees seemed to be full of curious orchids and parasites of every sort and kind.
We had an agreeable drive back in the cool evening to dinner at the Hotel de l'Europe. The food was excellent, and included some delicious tiny queer-shaped oysters, which are found on the mangrove-trees, overhanging the water higher up the bay. We afterwards went to a pleasant little reception, where we enjoyed the splendid singing of some young Brazilian ladies, and the subsequent row off to the yacht, in the moonlight, was not the least delightful part of the programme.
Sunday, August 20th.—At last a really fine day. We could now, for the first time, thoroughly appreciate the beauties of the noble bay of Nictheroy, though the distant Organ mountains were still hidden from our view. In the morning, we went to church on board H.M.S. 'Volage,' afterwards rowing across the bay to Icaraky, where we took the tramway to Santa Rosa. On our way we again passed many charming villas and gardens, similar to those we had admired yesterday, while the glorious and ever-attractive tropical vegetation abounded everywhere. In spite of the great heat, the children seemed untiring in the pursuit of butterflies, of which they succeeded in catching many beautiful specimens.
Monday, August 21st.—After an early breakfast, we started off to have a look at the market. The greatest bustle and animation prevailed, and there were people and things to see and observe in endless variety. The fish-market was full of finny monsters of the deep, all new and strange to us, whose odd Brazilian names would convey to a stranger but little idea of the fish themselves. There was an enormous rockfish, weighing about 300 pounds, with hideous face and shiny back and fins; there were large ray, and skate, and cuttle-fish—the pieuvre of Victor Hugo's 'Travailleurs de la Mer'—besides baskets full of the large prawns for which the coast is famous, eight or ten inches long, and with antennae of twelve or fourteen inches in length. They make up in size for want of quality, for they are insipid and tasteless, though, being tender, they make excellent curry. The oysters, on the other hand, are particularly small, but of the most delicious flavour. They are brought from a park, higher up the bay, where, as I have said, they grow on posts and the branches of the mangrove-tree, which hang down into the water. We also saw a large quantity of fine mackerel, a good many turtle and porpoises, and a few hammer-headed sharks. The latter are very curious creatures, not unlike an ordinary shark, but with a remarkable hammer-shaped projection on either side of their noses for which it is difficult to imagine a use.
In the fruit-market were many familiar bright-coloured fruits; for it is now the depth of winter at Rio, and the various kinds that we saw were all such as would bear transport to England. Fat, jet-black negresses, wearing turbans on their heads, strings of coloured beads on their necks and arms, and single long white garments, which appeared to be continually slipping off their shoulders, here presided over brilliant-looking heaps of oranges, bananas, pineapples, passion-fruit, tomatoes, apples, pears, capsicums and peppers, sugar-cane, cabbage-palms, cherimoyas, and bread-fruit.
In another part of the market all sorts of live birds were for sale, with a few live beasts, such as deer, monkeys, pigs, guinea-pigs in profusion, rats, cats, dogs, marmosets, and a dear little lion-monkey, very small and rather red, with a beautiful head and mane, who roared exactly like a real lion in miniature. We saw also cages full of small flamingoes, snipe of various kinds, and a great many birds of smaller size, with feathers of all shades of blue, red, and green, and metallic hues of brilliant lustre, besides parrots, macaws, cockatoos innumerable, and torchas, on stands. The torcha is a bright-coloured black and yellow bird, about as big as a starling, which puts its little head on one side and takes flies from one's fingers in the prettiest and most enticing manner. Unfortunately, it is impossible to introduce it into England, as it cannot stand the change of climate. The other birds included guinea-fowls, ducks, cocks and hens, pigeons, doves, quails, &c., and many other varieties less familiar or quite unknown to us. Altogether the visit was an extremely interesting one, and well repaid us for our early rising.
At eleven o'clock we started for the Petropolis steamer, which took us alongside a wooden pier, from the end of which the train started, and we were soon wending our way through sugar and coffee plantations, formed in the midst of the forest of palms and other tropical trees. An Englishman has made a large clearing here, and has established a fine farm, which he hopes to work successfully by means of immigrant labour.
After a journey of twenty minutes in the train, we reached the station, at the foot of a hill, where we found several four-mule carriages awaiting our arrival. The drive up from the station to the town, over a pass in the Organ mountains, was superb. At each turn of the road we had an ever-varying view of the city of Rio and its magnificent bay. And then the banks of this tropical high-road! From out a mass of rich verdure grew lovely scarlet begonias, and spotted caladiums, shaded by graceful tree-ferns and overhung by trees full of exquisite parasites and orchids. Among these, the most conspicuous, after the palms, are the tall thin-stemmed sloth-trees, so called from their being a favourite resort of the sloth, who with great difficulty crawls up into one of them, remains there until he has demolished every leaf, and then passes on to the next tree.
The pace of the mules, up the steep incline, under a broiling sun, was really wonderful. Half-way up we stopped to change, at a buvette, where we procured some excellent Brazilia coffee, of fine but exceedingly bitter flavour. Our next halt, midway between the buvette and the top of the hill, was at a spring of clear sparkling water, where we had an opportunity of collecting some ferns and flowers; and on reaching the summit we stopped once more, to enjoy the fine view over the Pass and the bay of Nictheroy. The descent towards Petropolis then commenced; it lies in the hollow of the hills, with a river flowing through the centre of its broad streets, on either side of which are villas and avenues of noble trees. Altogether it reminded me of Bagneres-de-Luchon, in the Pyrenees, though the general effect is unfortunately marred by the gay and rather too fantastic painting of some of the houses.
Tuesday, August 22nd.—We were called at half-past five, and, after a hasty breakfast, started on horseback by seven o'clock for the Virgin Forest, about six miles from Petropolis. After leaving the town and its suburbs, we pursued our way by rough winding paths, across which huge moths and butterflies flitted, and humming-birds buzzed in the almond-trees. After a ride of an hour and a half, we entered the silence and gloom of a vast forest. On every side extended a tangled mass of wild, luxuriant vegetation: giant-palms, and tree-ferns, and parasites are to be seen in all directions, growing wherever they can find root-hold. Sometimes they kill the tree which they favour with their attentions—one creeper, in particular, being called 'Mata-pao' or 'Kill-tree;' but, as a rule, they seem to get on very well together, and to depend mutually upon one another for nourishment and support. The most striking of these creepers is, perhaps, the liane, whose tendrils grow straight downwards to the ground, twisting themselves together in knots and bundles. Occasionally one sees, suspended from a tree, at a height of some fifty feet, a large lump of moss, from which scarlet orchids are growing; looking like an enormous hanging flower-basket. All colours in Brazil, whether of birds, insects, or flowers, are brilliant in the extreme. Blue, violet, orange, scarlet, and yellow are found in the richest profusion, and no pale or faint tints are to be seen. Even white seems purer, clearer, and deeper than the white of other countries.