POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.
Vol. XI., No. 23.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SEARCHING FOR THE QUININE-PLANT IN PERU. Concluding Paper.
A GLANCE AT THE SITE AND ANTIQUITIES OF ATHENS By J.L.T. PHILLIPS.
COMMONPLACE By CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON.
PROBATIONER LEONHARD; OR, THREE NIGHTS IN THE HAPPY VALLEY By CAROLINE CHESEBRO.
Chapter IV.—The Test—With Mental Reservations.
Chapter V.—Sister Benigna.
Chapter VI.—The Men Of Spenersberg.
Chapter VII.—The Book.
Chapter VIII.—Conference Meeting.
Chapter IX.—Will The Architect Have Employment?
COUNTRY-HOUSE LIFE IN ENGLAND By REGINALD WYNFORD.
THE FOREST OF ARDEN By ITA ANIOL PROKOP.
JACK, THE REGULAR By THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH.
OBSERVATIONS AND ADVENTURES IN SUBMARINE DIVING By WILL WALLACE HARNEY.
GLIMPSES OF JOHN CHINAMAN By PRENTICE MULFORD.
A WINTER REVERIE By MILLIE W. CARPENTER.
"PASSPORTS, GENTLEMEN!" By A.H.
OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.
The Cornwallis Family.
Novelties In Ethnology.
Madison As A Temperance Man.
LITERATURE OF THE DAY.
The Cones of Patabamba.
"Pepe Garcia, Who Marched Ahead, Announced the Print Of A South American Tiger."
"Napoleon-like, They Washed Their Dirty Linen in The Family"
"Aragon and his Men Fell Upon the Deserters Without Mercy."
"They Greeted These Indian Relics As Crusoe Did The Footprints of the Savages."
"Another Savage Had Found a Pair of Linen Pantaloons."
View of the Acropolis and The Columns Of The Temple Of Jupiter Olympus.
Theatre of Dionysus (Bacchus).
Victory Untying Her Sandals.
Temple of Victory.
Bas Relief of the Gods (Frieze Of The Parthenon).
Porch of the Caryatides.
Monument of Lysicrates.
SEARCHING FOR THE QUININE-PLANT IN PERU.
Early on a brilliant morning, with baggage repacked, and the lessening amount of provisions more firmly strapped on the shoulders of the Indians, the explorers left their pleasant site on the banks of the Maniri. The repose allowed to the bulk of the party during the absence of their Bolivian companions had been wholesome and refreshing. The success of the bark-hunters in their search for cinchonas had cheered all hearts, and the luxurious supper of dried mutton and chuno arranged for them on their return gave a reminiscence of splendor to the thatched hut on the banks of the stream. This edifice, the last of civilized construction they expected to see, had the effect of a home in the wilderness. The bivouac there had been enjoyed with a sentiment of tranquil carelessness. Little did the travelers think that savage eyes had been peeping through the forest upon their fancied security, and that the wild people of the valleys who were to work them all kinds of mischief were upon their track from this station forth.
The enormous fire kindled for breakfast mingled with the stain of sunrise to cast a glow upon their departure. Across the vale of the Cconi, as though a pair of sturdy porters had arisen to celebrate their leavetaking, the cones of Patabamba caught the first rays of the sun and held them aloft like hospitable torches. These huge forms, soldered together at the waist like Chang and Eng, and clothed with shaggy woods up to the top, had been the guardian watchers over their days in the ajoupa at Maniri. The sun just rising empurpled their double cones, while the base and the surrounding landscape were washed with the neutral tints of twilight.
After passing the narrow affluent after which the camping-ground of Maniri was named, the party pursued the course of the Cconi through a more level tract of country. The stones and precipices became more rare, but in revenge the sandy banks soon began to reflect a heat that was hardly bearable. As the implacable sun neared its zenith the party walked with bent heads and blinded eyes, now dashing through great plains of bamboos, now following the hatchets of the peons through thickets of heated shrubbery.
Whenever the country became more wooded in its character, the bark-hunters, whose quest obliged them to stray in short flights around the wings of the column, redoubled their mazes. The careless air of these Bolivian retrievers, their voluntary doublings through the most difficult jungles, and their easy way of walking over everything with their noses in the air, proved well their indifference to the obstacles which were almost insurmountable to the rest.
Nothing could be more singular and interesting than to see them consulting one by one the indications scattered around them, and deciding on their probabilities or promises. Where the height and thickness of the foliage prevented them from seeing the sky, or even the shade of the surrounding green, they walked bent toward the ground, stirring up the rubbish, and choosing among the dead foliage certain leaves, of which they carefully examined the two sides and the stem. When by accident they found themselves near enough to speak to each other—a rare chance, for each peon undertook a separate line of search—they asked their friends, showing the leaves they had found, whether their discoveries appertained to the neighboring trees or whether the wind had brought the pieces from a distance. This kind of investigation, pursued by men who had prowled through forests all their lives, might seem slightly puerile if the reader does not understand that it is often difficult, or even impossible, to recognize the growing tree by its bark, covered as it is from base to branches with parasitic vegetation of every sort. In those forests whatever has a stout stem is used without scruple by the bignonias and air-plants, which race over the trunk, plant their root-claws in the cracks, leap over the whole tree at a single jet, or strangle it with multiplied knots, all the while adorning it with a superb mantle of leaves and blossoms. This is a difficulty which the most experienced cascarilleros are not able to overcome. As an instance, the history is cited of a practico or speculator who led an exploration for these trees in the valley of Apolobamba. After having caused to be felled, barked, measured, dried and trimmed all the cinchonas of one of those natural thickets called manchas—an operation which had occupied four months—he was about to abandon the spot and pursue the exploration elsewhere, when accident led him to discover, in the enormous trunk buried in creepers against which he had built his cabin, a Cinchona nitida, the forefather of all the trees he had stripped.
In this kind of search the caravan pursued the borders of the river, sometimes on this side and sometimes on that, now passing the two-headed mountain Camanti, now sighting the tufted peak of Basiri, now crossing the torrent called the Garote. In the latter, where the dam and hydraulic works of an old Spanish gold-hunter were still visible in a state of ruin, the sacred golden thirst of Colonel Perez once more attacked him. Two or three pins' heads of the insane metal were actually unearthed by the colonel and displayed in a pie-dish; but the business of the party was one which made even the finding of gold insignificant, and they pursued their way.
The flanks of these mountains, however, were really of importance to the botanical motive of the expedition. Along the side of the Camanti, where the yellow Garote leaked downward in a rocky ravine, the Bolivians were again successful. They brought to Marcoy specimens of half a dozen cinchonas, for him to sketch, analyze and decorate with Latin names. The colors of two or three of these barks promised well, but the pearl of the collection was a specimen of the genuine Calisaya, with its silver-gray envelope and leaf ribbed with carmine. This proud discovery was a boon for science and for commerce. It threw a new light upon the geographical locality of the most precious species of cinchona. It was incontestably the plant, and the Bolivians appeared amazed rather than pleased to have discovered outside of their own country a kind of bark proper only to Bolivia, and hardly known to overpass the northern extremity of the valley of Apolobamba. This discovery would rehabilitate, in the European market, the quinine-plants of Lower Peru, heretofore considered as inferior to those of Upper Peru and Bolivia. The latter country has for some time secured the most favorable reputation for its barks—a reputation ably sustained by the efforts of the company De la Paz, to whom the government has long granted a monopoly. This reputation is based on the abundance in that country of two species, the Cinchona calisaya and Boliviana, the best known and most valued in the market. But for two valuable cinchonas possessed by Bolivia, Peru can show twenty, many of them excellent in quality, and awaiting only the enterprise of the government and the natural exhaustion of the forests to the south.
This magnificent bit of luck, the finding of the calisaya, awakened in the susceptible bosom of Mr. Marcoy an ardent desire to explore for himself the site of its discovery. But Eusebio, the chief of the cascarilleros, assuming a mysterious and warning expression, informed the traveler that the place was quite inaccessible for a white man, and that he had risked his own neck a score of times in descending the ravine which separated the route from the hillside where the fortunate plants were growing. He promised, however, to point out the locality from afar, and to show, by a certain changeable gloss proper to the leaf, the precise stratum of the calisaya amongst the belts of the forest. This promise he forgot to execute more particularly, but it appeared that the locality would never be excessively hard to find, marked as it was by Nature with the gigantic finger-post of Mount Camanti. Placing, then, in security these precious specimens among their baggage, the explorers continued their advance along the valley.
The footing was level and easy. Rocks and precipices were left behind, and were displaced by a soft, slippery sort of sand, where from space to space were planted, like so many oases in a desert, clumps of giant reeds. By a strange but natural caprice these beds of rustling verdure were cut in an infinity of well-defined geometric forms. Seen from an eminence and at a distance, this arrangement gave a singular effect. In the midst of these native garden-beds were cut distinct and narrow alleys, where the drifting sands were packed like artificial paths. It is unnecessary to add that the soft footways, notwithstanding their advertisement of verdure and shade, proved to be of African temperature.
The last hours of daylight surprised the travelers among the labyrinths of these strange gardens. A suitable spot was chosen for the halt. As the porters were preparing to throw down their packs, Pepe Garcia, who marched ahead, announced the print of a South American tiger. The first care of the Indians, on hearing this news, was to send forth a horrible cry and to throng around the marks. The footprints disappeared at the thickest part of the jungle. After an examination of the traces, which resembled a large trefoil, they precipitated themselves on the interpreter-in-chief, representing how impossible it was to camp out in the neighborhood of the dreaded animal. But Pepe Garcia, accustomed as he was by profession to try his strength with the ferocious bear and the wily boar, was not the man to be afraid of a tiger, even of a genuine tiger from Bengal. To prove to the porters how slight was the estimation he placed on the supposed enemy, and also to drill them in the case of similar rencounters, he pushed the whole troop pellmell into the thickest part of the reeds, with the surly order to cut down the canes for sheds. Drawing his own knife, he slashed right and left among the stems, which the Indians, trembling with fear, were obliged to make into sheaves on the spot and transport to the beach selected for the bivouac. Double rows of these arundos, driven into the sand, formed the partitions of the cabins, for which their interwoven leaves made an appropriate thatch. The green halls with matted vaults were picturesque enough; each peon, seeing how easily they were constructed, chose to have a house for himself; and the Tiger's Beach quickly presented the appearance of a camp disposed in a long straight line, of which the timorous Indians occupied the extremity nearest the river.
No "tiger" appeared to justify the apprehensions of the porters; but what was lacking to their fears from beasts with four feet was made up to them by beasts with wings. The night closed in dry and serene. Since leaving Maniri, whether because of the broadening of the valley, the rarity of the water-courses or the decreasing altitude of the hills, the adventurers had been little troubled with fogs at night. The fauna of the region, too, had offered nothing of an alarming complexion, except the footprints of the tiger in question: an occasional tapir or peccary from the woods, and otters and fish from the streams, had attracted the shots of the party, but merely as welcome additions to their game-bags, not as food for their fears. To-night, however, the veritable bugbear of the tropical forest paid them a visit, and left a real souvenir of his presence. As the Indian servants stretched themselves out in slumber under the bright stars and in the partial shelter of their ajoupas, a bat of the vampire species, attracted by the emanations of their bodies, came sailing over them, and emboldened by the silence reigning everywhere, selected a victim for attack. Hovering over the fellow's exposed foot, he bit the great toe, and fanning his prey in the traditional yet inevitable manner by the natural movement of his wings, he gorged himself with blood without disturbing the mozo. The latter, on awakening in the morning, observed a slight swelling in the perforated part, and on examination discovered a round hole large enough to admit a pea. Without rising, the man summoned his companions, who formed a group around him for the purpose of furnishing a certain natural remedy in the shape of a secretion which each one drew out of his ears. With this the patient made himself a plaster for his wound, and appeared to think but little of it. Questioned as to his sensations by the white travelers, who found themselves a good deal more disturbed with the idea of the vampire than they had been by any indications of tigers or wild-boars, the fellow explained that he had felt no sensation, unless it might have been an agreeable coolness of his sand-baked feet. The incident seemed so disagreeable and so likely of recurrence that Colonel Perez ever afterward slept with his feet rolled up in a variety of fantastic draperies, while Mr. Marcoy for several nights retained his boots.
The path along the river-sands would have been voluntarily followed by all the more irresponsible portion of the party, notwithstanding the blinding heats, on account of its smoother footing. The cascarilleros, however, objected that its tufts of canes and passifloras offered no promise for their researches. A compromise was effected. The porters, under the command of Juan of Aragon, were allowed to follow the shore, and were armed with a supply of fish-hooks to induce them to add from time to time to the alarmingly diminished supply of provisions. The grandees of the party followed the Bolivians, whose specialty entitled them to control practically the direction of the route, and plunged into the woods to botanize, to explore and to search for game. A system of conversation by means of shouts and pistol-shots was established between the two divisions. The next night proved the wisdom of this bifurcation. The united booty of earth, air and water, under the form of a squirrel, a pair of toucans and a variety of fish, afforded a meal which the porters described as comida opipara or a sumptuous festival. Lulled and comforted by the sensation which a contented stomach wafts toward the brain, the explorers, after washing their hands and rinsing their mouths at the riverside, betook themselves to a cheerful repose sub jove, the locality offering no reeds of the articulated species with which to construct a shelter.
The party, then, betook themselves to slumber with unusual contentment, repeating the splendid supper in their dreams, with the addition of every famous wine that Oporto and Rheims could dispense, when they were awakened by a sudden and terrible storm. A waterspout stooped over the forest and sucked up a mass of crackling branches. The camp-fire hissed and went out in a fume of smoke. A continuity of thunder, far off at first, but approaching nearer and nearer, kept up a constant and increasing fusillade, to whose reports was soon added the voice of the Cconi, lashed in its bed and bellowing like the sea. The surprising tumult went on in a crescendo. The hardly-interrupted charges of the lightning gave to the eye a strange vision of flying woods and soaring branches. Startled, trembling and sitting bolt upright, the adventurers asked if their last hour were come. The rain undertook to answer in spinning down upon their heads drops that were like bullets, and which for some time were taken for hail. Fearing to be maimed or blinded as they sat, the party crowded together, placing themselves back to back; and, unable to lay their heads under their wings like the birds, sheltered them upon their knees under the protection of their crossed arms. The fearful deluge of heated shot lasted until morning. Then, as if in laughter, the sun came radiantly out, the landscape readjusted its disheveled beauties, and the ground, covered with boughs distributed by the whirlwind, greedily drank in the waters from heaven. Soon there remained nothing of the memorable tempest but the diamonds falling in measured cadence from the refreshed and stiffened leaves.
Up to sunrise the unfortunates rested stoically silent, their knees in their mouths, and receiving the visitation like a group of statuary. The rain ceasing with the same promptitude with which it had risen, they raised their heads and looked each other in the face, like the enemies over the fire in Byron's Dream. Each countenance was blue, and decorated with long flat locks of adhesive hair. The teeth of the whole party were chattering like a concert of castanets. The sun, like a practical joker, laughed ironically at the general picture.
The first hours of morning were consecrated to a general examination of the stores, especially the precious specimens of cinchona. Bundles were restrapped, the damp provisions laid out in the sun, and the clothing of the party, even to the most intimate garment, was taken down to the river to be refreshed and furbished up. A common disaster had created a common cause amongst the whole troop, and with one accord everybody—peons, mozos, interpreters, bark-strippers and gentlemen—set in motion a grand cleaning-up day. Napoleon-like, they washed their dirty linen in the family. Whoever had seen the strangers coming and going from the beach to the woods, clothed in most abbreviated fashion, and seeming as familiar to the uniform as if they had always worn it under the charitable mantle of the woods, would have taken them for a savage tribe in the midst of its encampment. It is probable they were so seen.
Thanks to the intense heat of the sun-shine, the garments and baggage of the expedition were quickly dried. The first were donned, the last was loaded on the porters, and the line of march was taken up. Up to noon the road lay along the blazing sands under a sun of fire. All the members of the party felt fresh and hardy after the involuntary bath, except one of the Indians, who was affected with a kind of ophthalmia. This attack, which Mr. Marcoy attributed partly to the glare, partly to the wet, and partly to a singular hobby peculiar to the individual of sleeping with his eyes wide open, was of no long duration. The pain which he complained of disappeared with a few hours of exercise and with the determination he showed in staring straight at the god of day, who, as if in memory of the worship formerly extended toward him in the country, deigned to serve as oculist for the sufferer. A little before sunset halt was made for the night-camp in the centre of a beach protected by clumps of reeds in three quarters of the wind. The Indian porters, despatched for fish and firewood, returned suddenly with a frightened mien to say that they had fallen into the midst of a camp of savages. The white men quickly rejoined them at the spot indicated, where they found a single hut in ruins, made of reeds which appeared to have been cut for the construction some fortnight before, and strewn with fire-brands, banana skins and the tail of a large fish. Pepe Garcia, consulted on these indications, explained that it was in reality the camping-place of some of the savage Siriniris, but that the narrowness of the hut seemed to indicate that not more than two of the Indians, probably a man and woman, had resided there during a short fishing-excursion.
This discovery cast a shade over the countenances of the porters. After having collected the provisions necessary for a slender supper, they drew apart, and, while cooking was going on, began to converse with each other in a low voice. No notice was taken of their behavior, however, though it would have required little imagination to guess the subject of their parliament. The tired eyes of the explorers were already closed, while their ears, more alert, could hear the confused murmur proceeding from the Indians' quarter, where the disposition seemed to be to prolong the watch indefinitely.
The dark hours filed past, and jocund day, according to Shakespeare and Romeo, stood tiptoe on the mountain-tops of Camanti and Basiri, when the travelers were awakened by a fierce and terrible cry. Lifting their heads in astonishment, they perceived the faithful Pepe Garcia, his face disfigured with rage, and his fist shaking vigorously in the direction of the Indians, who sat lowering and sullen in their places. Aragon and the cascarilleros, collected around the chief interpreter, far from trying to calm his anger, appeared to feed it by their suggestions. An explanation of the scene was demanded. Eight of the bearers, it appeared, had deserted, leaving to their comrades the pleasure of watching over the packages of cinchona, but assuming for their part the charge of a good fraction of the provisions, which they had disappeared with for the relief of their fellow-porters. This copious bleeding of the larder drew from Colonel Perez a terrible oath, and occasioned a more vivid sentiment in the entrails of Marcoy than the defection of the men. If the evil was grand, the remedy was correspondingly difficult. Indolent or mercurial at pleasure, the Indians had doubtless threaded the woods with winged feet, and were now far away. Mr. Marcoy proposed therefore to continue the march without them, but to set down a heavy account of bastinadoes to their credit when they should turn up again at Marcapata. This proposition, as it erred on the side of mercy, was unanimously rejected, and a scouting-party was ordered in pursuit, consisting of the bark-hunters and Juan of Aragon, to whom for the occasion Pepe Garcia confided his remarkable fowling-piece.
In the afternoon the extemporized police reappeared. The fugitives had been found tranquilly sitting on the banks of the river, distending their abdomens with the stolen preserves and chocolate. Aragon and his men fell upon the deserters without mercy. The former, battering away at them with the stock of his gun, and the latter, exercising upon their shoulders whatever they possessed in the way of lassoes, axe-handles and sabre-blades, maintained the argument effectually for some time in this way, and did not descend to questions until muscular fatigue caused them to desist. The catechism subsequently put to the porters elicited the reply, from the spokesman of the recusants, that they were tired of being afraid of the wild Indians; that they objected to marching into the dens of tigers; that, perceiving their rations diminished from day to day, they had imagined the time not far distant when the same would be withdrawn altogether. It was curious, as it seemed to Marcoy when the argument was rehearsed to him presently, that the fellows made no complaint of being footsore, overcharged with burdens or conducted into paths too difficult for them. A lurking admiration for the vigor with which, after all, they played their crushing part of beasts of burden, procured them immunity from further punishment after their return. Their bivouacs were simply watched on the succeeding nights by Bolivian sentinels.
After a few minutes allowed the strayed sheep to rub their bruises, the march was continued. The afternoon afforded a succession of the same sandy riverbanks, dressed with reeds, false maize, calceolarias and purple passion-flowers, and yielding for sole booty a brace of wild black ducks, and an opossum holding in her pouch five saucy and scolding little ones. The natural civet employed as a cosmetic by this animal forbade the notion of using it for food, and it was thrown with its family into the river, after being deprived of its glossy skin.
As evening approached, and as all eyes were exploring the banks for a suitable camping-ground, a spacious and even beach was fixed upon as offering all the requisite conveniences. It was agreed to halt there. Attaining the locality, however, they were amazed to find all the traces of a previous occupation. Several sheds, formed of bamboo hurdles set up against the ground with sticks, like traps, were grouped together. Under each was a hearth, a simple excavation, two feet across and a few inches deep, and filled with ashes. A few arrows, feathers and rude pieces of pottery were scattered around. They greeted these Indian relics as Crusoe did the footprints of the savages. Nor was it more reassuring to observe, among other callers like themselves who had left their visiting-cards at the doors since the departure of the proprietors, the sign-manual of jaguars and tapirs, whose footprints were plainly visible on the gravel.
A close examination was made of every detail pertaining to the huts and their accessories, and the interpreters were asked if it would be prudent to encamp in a spot thus leased in advance. Pepe Garcia and Aragon were of opinion that it would be better to pass the night there, assuring their employers that there would be no danger in sleeping among the teraphim of the savages, provided that nothing was touched or displaced. Their motion was promptly adopted, to the great discomfiture of the porters, who were poised on one foot ready for flight. A salute of five shots was fired, with a vague intention of giving any listeners the highest possible opinion of the white explorers as a military power. An enormous fire was kindled, sentinels were posted, and the party turned in, taking care, however, during the whole night to close but one eye at a time.
Day commenced to blush, when all ears were assaulted by a concerted howl, proceeding from behind a bed of canes on the other side of the river. "Alerta! los Chunchos!" cried the sentinel. The three words produced a startling effect: the porters sprang up like frightened deer; Mr. Marcoy grasped a sheaf of pencils and a box of water-colors with a warlike air, and the colonel's lips were crisped into a singular smile, indicative of lively emotions. Hardly were the travelers clothed and armed when the reeds parted with a rattling noise, and three nude Indians, sepia-colored and crowned with tufts of hair like horses' tails, leaped out like jacks-in-the-box. At sight of the party standing to receive them they redoubled their clamor, then, flourishing their arms and legs and turning continually round, they gradually revolved into the presence of the explorers. They selected as chiefs and sachems of the party such as bore weapons, being the colonel, Marcoy and the two interpreters. These they clasped in a warm, fulsome embrace: they were smeared from head to foot with rocoa (crude arnotta), and their passage through the river having dissolved this pigment, they printed themselves off, in this act of amity, upon the persons and clothing of their hosts. While the white men, with a very bad grace, were cleaning off these tokens of natural affection, the new-comers went on to present their civilities all around. Two of the porters they recognized at once, with their eagle eyesight, from having relieved them of their shirts while the latter were working out some penalty at the governor's farm of Sausipata, and proceeded to claim a warm acquaintance on that basis; but the bearers, with equally lively memories of the affront, responded simply with a frown and the epithet of Sua-sua—double thief.
Pepe Garcia undertook a colloquy, and Aragon, not to be behindhand, flashed a few words across the conversation, right and left as it were, his expressions appearing to be in a different tongue from those used by the chief interpreter, and both utterly without perceptible resemblance to the rolling consonants and gutturals of the savages. Marcoy imbibed a strong impression that the only terms understood in common were the words of Spanish with which the palaver was thickly interlarded. This was the first time the interpreters were put on their mettle in a strictly professional sense, and the test was not altogether triumphant. However, by a careful raising of the voice in all difficult passages, and a wild, expressive pantomime, an understanding was arrived at.
The visitors belonged to the tribe of Siriniris, inhabiting the space comprised between the valleys of Ocongate and Ollachea, and extending eastwardly as far as the twelfth degree. They lived at peace with their neighbors, the Huat-chipayris and the Pukiris. For several days the reports of the Christian guns (tasa-tasa) had advertised them of the presence of white men in the valley, and, curious to judge of their numbers, they had approached. They had formed a cunning escort to the party, always faithful but never seen, since the encampment at Maniri: every camping-ground since that particular bivouac they faithfully described. They were, of course, in particular and direful need of sirutas and bambas (knives and hatchets), but their fears of the tasa-tasa, or guns, was still stronger than their desires, and their courage had not, until they saw the strangers domiciled as guests in their own habitations, attained the firmness and consistency necessary for a personal approach. The three dancing ambassadors were ministers plenipotentiary on the part of their tribe, located in a bamboo metropolis five miles off.
The white men could not well avoid laying down their tasa-tasa and disbursing sirutas and bambas. The savages, after this triumph of diplomacy, suddenly turned, and, thrusting their fingers in their mouths, emitted a shrill note, which had the effect of enchanting the forest of rushes across the river, and causing it to give birth to a whole ballet of naked coryphei. Nine men, seven women and three dogs composed the spectacle, of which the masculine part, the human and the canine, proceeded to swim the stream and fraternize with the strangers. The women rested on the bank like river-nymphs: their costume was somewhat less prudish than that of the men, the coat of rocoa being confined to their faces, which were further decorated with joints of reed thrust through the nose and ears. A glance of curiosity darted across the water by the colonel was surprised in its flight by the ambassadors, who addressed a hasty word or two to their ladies: the latter, with one quick and cat-like gesture, whipped off each a branch of the nearest foliage, and were dressed in a single instant.
To reward all these vociferous mendicants with the invaluable cutlery was hardly prudent. Seeing the hesitation of their visitors, the savages adopted other tactics. Hurling themselves across the river, they quickly reappeared, armed with all the temptations they could think of to induce the strangers to barter. The scene of these savages coming to market was a picturesque one. Entering the water, provided with their objects of exchange, which they held high above their heads, and swimming with the right arm only, they began to cut the river diagonally. The lifting of the waves and the dash of spray almost concealed the file of dusky heads. Nothing could be plainly seen but the left arms, standing out of the water as stiff and inflexible as so many bars of bronze, relieved against the silvery brightness of the water. These advancing arms were adorned with the material of traffic—bird-skins of variegated colors, bows and arrows, and live tamed parrots standing upon perches of bamboo. The white spectators could not but admire the native vigor, elegance and promptitude of their motions as they rose from the water like Tritons, and, throwing their treasures down in a heap, bounded forward to give their visitors the conventional signals of friendship. A rapid bargain was concluded, in which the sylvan booty of the wild men (not forgetting the prudent exaction of their weapons) was entirely made over to the custody of the explorers in exchange for a few Birmingham knives worth fourpence each.
However curious and amicable might be their new relations with the savages, the party were desirous to put an end to them as soon as possible. Pepe Garcia announced that the pale chiefs, wishing to resume their march, were about to separate from them. This decision appeared to be unpleasant or distressful in their estimation, and they tried to reverse it by all sorts of arguments. No answer being volunteered, they shouted to their women to await them, and betook themselves to walking with the party. One of the three ambassadors, a graceful rogue of twenty-five, marked all over with rocoa and lote, so as to earn for himself the nickname of "the Panther," gamboled and caracoled in front of the procession as if to give it an entertainment. His two comrades had garroted with their arms the neck of the chief interpreter: another held Juan of Aragon by the skirt of his blouse, and regulated his steps by those of the youth. This accord of barbarism and civilization had in it something decidedly graceful, and rather pathetic: if ever the language natural to man was found, the medium in circulation before our sickly machinery of speech came to be invented, it was in this concert of persuasive action and tender cooing notes. The main body of the Siriniris marched pellmell along with the porters, whom this vicinage made exceedingly uncomfortable, and who were perspiring in great drops.
At the commencement of a wood the whites embraced the occasion to take formal leave of their new acquaintances. As they endeavored to turn their backs upon them they were at once surrounded by the whole band, crying and gesticulating, and opposing their departure with a sort of determined playfulness.
At the same time a word often repeated, the word Huatinmio, began to enter largely into their conversation, and piqued the curiosity of the historiographer. Marcoy begged the interpreter to procure him the explanation of this perpetual shibboleth. Half by signs, half in the polyglot jargon which he had been employing with the Siriniris, Garcia managed to understand that the word in question was the name of their village, situated at a small distance and in a direction which they indicated. In this retreat, they said, no inhabitants remained but women, children and old men, the rest of the braves being absent on a chase. They proposed a visit to their capital, where the strangers, they said, honored and cherished by the tribe, might pass many enviable days.
The proposed excursion, which would cause a loss of considerable time and a deflection from the intended route, was declined in courteous terms by Marcoy through the interpretation of Pepe Garcia. Among civilized folk this urbane refusal would have sufficed, but the savages, taking such a reply as a challenge to verbal warfare, returned to the charge with increased tenacity. It were hard to say what natural logic they put in practice or what sylvan persuasions they wrought by, but their peculiar mode of stroking the white men's backs with their hands, and the softer and still softer inflections which they introduced into their voices, would have melted hearts of marble. In brief, the civilized portion adopted the more weakly part and allowed themselves to be led by the savage portion.
The colonel and Pepe Garcia were still more easily persuaded than Mr. Marcoy, and only awaited his adhesion. When it was finally announced the Siriniris renewed their gambols and uttered shouts of delight. They then took the head of the excursion. A singularity in their guides, which quickly attracted the notice of the explorers, was the perfect indifference with which they took either the clearings or the thickets in their path. Where the strangers were afraid of tearing their garments, these unprotected savages had no care whatever for their skins. It is true that their ingenuity in gliding through the labyrinth resembled magic. However the forest might bristle with undergrowth, they never thought of breaking down obstacles or of cutting them, as the equally practiced Bolivians did, with a knife. They contented themselves with putting aside with one hand the tufts of foliage as if they had been curtains or draperies, and that with an easy decision of gesture and an elegance of attitude which are hardly found outside of certain natural tribes.
The city of Huatinmio proved to be a group of seven large sheds perched among plaintains and bananas, divided into stalls, and affording shelter for a hundred individuals. The most sordid destitution—if ignorance of comfort can be called destitution—reigned everywhere around. The women were especially hideous, and on receipt of presents of small bells and large needles became additionally disagreeable in their antics of gratitude. The bells were quickly inserted in their ears, and soon the whole village was in tintinnabulation.
A night was passed in the hospitality of these barbarians, who vacated their largest cabin for their guests. A repast was served, consisting of stewed monkey: no salt was used in the cookery, but on the other hand a dose of pimento was thrown in, which brought tears to the eyes of the strangers and made them run to the water-jar as if to save their lives. The evening was spent in a general conversation with the Siriniris, who were completely mystified by the form and properties of a candle which Mr. Marcoy drew from his baggage and ignited. The wild men passed it from hand to hand, examining it, and singeing themselves in turn. Still another marvel was the sheet of paper on which the artist essayed a portrait of one of his hosts. The finished sketch did not appear to attract them at all, or to raise in their minds the faintest association with the human form, but the texture and whiteness of the sheet excited their lively admiration, and they passed it from one to another with many exclamations of wonder. Meantime, a number of questions were suggested and proposed through the interpreter.
The formality of marriage among the Siriniris was found to be quite unknown; the most rudimentary idea of divine worship could not be discovered; the treatment of the aged was shown to be contemptuous and neglectful in the extreme; and the lines of demarcation with the beasts seemed to be but feebly traced. Finally, Mr. Marcoy begged the interpreter to propound the delicate inquiry whether, among the viands with which they nourished or had formerly nourished themselves, human flesh had found a place. Garcia hesitated, and at first declined to push the interrogation, but after some persuasion consented. The Siriniris were not in the least shocked at the question, and answered that the flesh of man, especially in infancy, was a delicious food, far better than the monkey, the tapir or the peccary; that their nation, in the days of its power, frequently used it at the great feasts; but that the difficulty of procuring such a rarity had increased until they were now forced to strike it from their bill of fare.
The night passed without disturbance, and the next day's parting was accompanied by reiterated requests for a repetition of the visit. The Panther, who since their arrival had oppressed the travelers with a multitude of officious attentions, escorted them into the woods, and there took leave of them with a gesture of his hand, relieving their eyes of his slippery, snake-like robe of spots. A knife from their stores, slung round his neck like a locket, smote his breast at each step as he danced backward, and a couple of large fish-hooks glanced in his ears.
With a feeling of relief and satisfied curiosity the exploring party left behind them the traces of these children of Nature, and returned toward the river. The cascarilleros, all for their business, had regretted the waste of time, and now betook themselves to an examination of the woods with all their energy. After several hours of march their efforts were crowned with success. Eusebio presently rejoined his employers, showing leaves and berries of the Cinchona scrobiculata and pubescens: the peons, on their side, had discovered isolated specimens of the Calisaya, which, joined with those found on Mount Camanti, indicated an extended belt of that precious species. This was not the best. A veritable treasure which they had unearthed, worth all the others put together, was a line of those violet cinchonas which the native exporters call Cascarilla morada, and the botanists Cinchona Boliviana. The trees of this kind were grouped in threes and fours, and extended for half a mile. This repeated proof that the most valuable of all the cinchonas, together with nearly every one of the others, were to be discovered in a small radius along the valley of the Cconi, filled the explorers with triumph, and demonstrated beyond a doubt the sagacity of Don Santo Domingo in organizing the expedition.
The purpose and intention of the journey was now abundantly fulfilled. Had the travelers rested satisfied with the liberal indications they had found, and consented to place themselves between the haunts of the savages and the abodes of civilization, with a tendency and determination toward the latter, they might have returned with safety as with glory. The estimate made by Eusebio, however, of the trend or direction of the calisaya groves, induced him to forsake the bed of the Cconi, and strike south-eastwardly, so as to cross the Ollachea and the Ayapata.
"But the mountains are disappearing," hazarded Mr. Marcoy. "Will not the cinchonas disappear with them?"
"Oh," answered the majordomo, like a pedagogue to a confident school-boy, "the senor knows better how to put ink or color on a sheet of paper than how to judge of these things. The plain, the campo llano, is far enough to the east. Before we should see the disappearance of the mountains, we should have to cross as many hills and ravines as we have left behind us."
"What do you think of doing, then?" naturally demanded Marcoy, who had long since begun to feel that the expedition had but one chief, and that was the sepia-colored cascarillero from Bolivia,
"Everything and nothing," answered Eusebio.
These enigmas always carry the day. The apparatus of march was once more set in motion toward the adjacent water-sheds. After a considerable journey—rewarded, it must be said, with a succession of cinchona discoveries—they halted near a clearing in the forest, where large heaps of stones and pebbles, arranged in semicircles, attracted their attention. The cascarilleros explained this appearance as due to former arrangements for gold-washing in an old river-bed, the San Gavan or the Ayapata, that had now changed its locality.
While examining the unusual appearance an abominable clamor burst from the woods around, and a band of Siriniris appeared, led by a lusty ruffian crowned with oriole feathers, whom the travelers recognized as having been among their previous acquaintances.
The encounter was very disagreeable, but the strangers determined to make the best of it. The manner of this band of Indians was somewhat different from that of the others. They brought nothing for barter, and had an indescribably coarse and hardy style of behavior.
The travelers determined to buy a little information, if nothing better, with their knives and fish-hooks. Garcia was accordingly instructed to demand the meaning of the heaps and causeways of stones. The savages laughed at first, but finally informed the visitors that the constructions which puzzled them so had been made by people of their own race many years ago, for the purpose of gathering gold from the river which used to run along there, but which now flowed seven miles off.
This information was dear to the historic instinct of Marcoy. He spoke, by his usual proxy, to the Indian of the oriole, commanding him not to begin every explanation by laughing, as he had been doing, but to answer intelligently, promising a reward of several knives. The savage exchanged a rapid glance with his fellows, and then he and they stood up as stiff and mute as the trees. Marcoy then asked him if he had never heard his father or his grandfather speak of the great city of San Gavan, built hereabouts formerly by the Spanish chevaliers, and which the Caranga and Suchimani Indians from the Inambari River had destroyed by fire.
The evident recognition of this legend by the savages, and their rapid exchange among themselves of the words sacapa huayris Ipanos, induced Marcoy to ask if they could guide them to the site of the former city. They answered that a day's march would be sufficient, and pointed with their arms in the direction of north-north-west.
The temptation to see the place whose golden renown, after having made the tour of the American continent, had reached Spain and the world at large, was too strong to be resisted. Colonel Perez, besides the magic attraction which the mention of gold had for him, felt his national pride touched by the idea of a place where his compatriots had added such magnificence to the Spanish name, and gained so many ingots of gold by paddling in the streams. The cascarilleros were delighted to extend their journey, in hopes of yet larger discoveries. As for the porters, since the manifestations of the savages they clung to the party with as much anxiety as they had ever shown to escape from it.
In 1767 the city of San Gavan, remaining intact amid the ruin of all its neighbors, was the sole disburser of the riches of the Caravaya Valley. The gold-dust, collected throughout the whole territory on a government monopoly, was brought thither upon the backs of Indians, melted into ingots, and distributed to Lima and the world at large. On the night of the 15th and 16th of December in that year the wealthy city was fired by the Carangas and the Suchimanis, and all the inhabitants slain with arrows or clubs. The first lords of the soil had resumed their rights.
When the news of the event was brought to Lima, the viceroy of the period, Antonio Amat, swore on a piece of the true cross to exterminate every Indian in Peru. It is to the persuasions of his favorite, Mariquita Gallegas, that the preservation of the native tribes from a bloody extirpation is due. This woman, La Perichola, whose caricatured likeness we see in the most agreeable of Offenbach's operas, and whose deeds of mercy and edifying end in a convent entitle her to some charitable consideration, persuaded her royal lover to operate on the natives with missionaries and teachers rather than with fire and sword. Antonio Amat yielded, and the Indians have survived.
Let no traveler go to South America and cross the Andes with the idea of unearthing a Nineveh or a Babylon on the site of San Gavan. The emissaries of Don Santo Domingo were quickly standing, among the grinning and amused Indians, on the locality of the Golden Depot of San Gavan. But Nature had thoroughly reclaimed her own, and the place, indicated again and again by the savages with absolute unanimity, showed nothing but mounds of fern and moss under canopies of forest trees.
A day's rest and a sketch or two were consecrated by Marcoy to this historic spot, the grave of a civilization. It had been well if he had restrained his feelings of romance, and betaken himself with his companions to the homeward track.
As the explorers were breakfasting in the morning on a squirrel and a couple of birds shot among the vanished streets of San Gavan, a disagreeable incident supervened. The wild Indians had disappeared over-night. But now, seemingly born instantaneously from the trees, a throng of Siriniris burst upon the scene, rushing up to the travelers, straining them repeatedly in a rude embrace, then leaving them, then assaulting them again, and accompanying every contact with the eternal cry, Siruta inta menea—"Give me a knife." Each member of the troop had now six savages at his heels, and they were not those of the day before, but a new and rougher band. The chiefs of the party rushed together and brandished their muskets. This forced the savages to retire, but gave to the rencounter that hostile air which, in consideration of the disparity of numbers, ought at all hazards to have been avoided. The wild men quickly formed a circle around the artillery. The latter, fearing for their porters and the precious baggage, leaped through this circle and joined their servants, making believe to cock their fire-arms. Upon this the Indians, half afraid of the guns, vanished into the woods, first picking up whatever clothing and utensils they could lay their hands on. In an instant they were showing these trophies to their rightful owners from a safe distance, laughing as if they would split their sides. One of the naked rascals had seized a flannel undershirt of the colonel's, which was drying on a branch. His efforts to introduce his great feet into the sleeves were excruciating. Another savage had found a pair of linen pantaloons, which he was endeavoring to put on like a coat, appearing much embarrassed with the posterior portion, which completely masked his face. Aragon had seen a young reprobate of his own age make off with a pair of socks of his property. Detecting the rogue half hidden by a tree, the mozo made a sortie, seized the Indian, and by a violent shake brought the property out of his mouth, where it had been concealed as in a natural pocket.
The travelers immediately threw themselves into marching order and took up their line of route. The savages followed. At the first obstacle, a mass of matted trees, they easily rejoined the party of whites.
Then, for the first time, the idea of their power seemed to strike them, and they precipitated themselves upon the porters, who took to flight, rolling from under their packs like animals of burden. In a moment every article of baggage, every knife and weapon, was seized, and the red-skins, singing and howling, were making off through the woods. Among them was now seen the Siriniri with orioles' feathers, who must have guided them to their prey.
The expedition was pillaged, and pillaged as a joke. The thieves were heard laughing as they scampered off like deer through the woods.
It was hard to realize at once the gravity of the misfortune. No one was hurt, no one was insulted. But provisions, clothing, articles of exchange and weapons were all gone, except such arms and ammunition as the travelers carried on their persons. A collection of cinchonas was in possession of one of the Bolivians, though it represented but a fraction of the species discovered. The besiegers, however, had disappeared, and a westerly march was taken up. Good time was made that day, and a heavy night's sleep was the consequence. With the morning light came the well-remembered and hateful cry, and the little army found itself surrounded by a throng of merry naked demons, among whom were some who had not profited by the distribution of the spoils. At the magic word siruta all these new-comers rushed in a mass upon the white men. Marcoy managed to slip his fine ivory-handled machete within his trowser leg, but every other cutting tool disappeared as if by magic from the possession of the explorers. The shooting-utensils the savages, believing them haunted, would not touch. Then, half irritated at the exhaustion of the booty, the amiable children of Nature burst out into open derision. The artists of the tribe, filling their palms with rocoa, and moistening the same with saliva, went up to their late patrons and began to decorate their faces. The latter, judging patience their best policy, sat in silence while the delicate fancy of the savages expended itself in arabesques and flourishes. Perez and Aragon had their eyes surrounded with red spectacles. The face of Marcoy, covered with a heavy beard, only allowed room for a "W" on the forehead, and Pepe Garcia was quit for a set of interfacings like a checkerboard. Having thus signed their marks upon their visitors, the aborigines retired, catching up here and there a stray ball of cord or a strip of beef, saluting with the hand, and vanishing into the woods with the repeated compliment, Eminiki—"I am off."
The victims rested motionless for fifteen minutes: then pellmell, through the thickest of the brush and down the steepest of the hill, blotted out under gigantic ferns and covered by umbrageous vines, stealing along water-courses and skirting the sides of the mountains, they rushed precipitately westward.
Two months after the priest of Marcapata had dismissed with his benediction the party of confident and enthusiastic explorers, he received again his strayed flock, but this time in rags, armed with ammunitionless guns and one poor knife, wasted by hunger, baked by the sun, and tattooed like Polynesians by the briers and insects. The good man could not repress a tear. "Ah, my son," said he as he clasped Marcoy's hand, "see what it costs to go hunting the cascarilla in the land of the infidels!"
The explorations started by Don Juan Sanz de Santo Domingo came to profitable result, but not to his advantage. Three weeks after the pioneers arrived again in Cuzco, Don Juan started another expedition, on a much larger scale, to accomplish the working of the cinchona valleys, under charge of the same Bolivians, who could make like a bee for every tree they had discovered. A detachment of soldiers was to protect the party, and the working force was more than double. Finally, the night before the intended start, the Bolivian cascarilleros, with their examinador, disappeared together. It is probable that Don Juan's scheme, nursed, according to custom, with too much publicity, had attracted the attention of the merchants of Cuzco, who had found it profitable to buy off the bark-searchers for their own interest.
The crash of this immense enterprise was too much for Don Juan. Threatened with creditors, Jews, escribanos and the police, he retired to a silver-mine he was opening in the province of Abancay. This mine, in successful operation, he depended on for satisfying his creditors. He found it choked up, destroyed with a blast of powder by some enemy. Unable to bear the disappointment, Don Juan blew out his brains in the office belonging to his mine. A month afterward, Don Eugenic Mendoza y Jara, the bishop of Cuzco, sent a couple of Indians for the body, with instructions to throw it into a ditch: the men attached a rope to the feet and dragged it to a ravine, where dogs and vultures disposed of the unhallowed remains.
A GLANCE AT THE SITE AND ANTIQUITIES OF ATHENS.
The day is a happy one to the student-traveler from the Western World in which he first looks upon the lovely plain of Athens. Rounding the point where Hymettus thrusts his huge length into the sea, the long, featureless mountain-wall of Southern Attica suddenly breaks down, and gives place to a broad expanse of fertile, and well-cultivated soil, sloping gently back with ever-narrowing bounds until it reaches the foot-hills of lofty Pentelicus. The wooded heights of Parnes enclose it on the north, while bald Hymettus rears an impassable barrier along the south. In front of the gently recurved shore stretch the smooth waters of the Gulf of Salamis, while beyond rises range upon range of lofty mountain-peaks with strikingly varied outline, terminating on the one hand in the towering cone of Egina, and on the other in the pyramidal, fir-clad summit of Cithaeron. Upon the plain, at the distance of three or four miles from the sea, are several small rocky hills of picturesque appearance, isolated and seemingly independent, but really parts of a low range parallel to Hymettus. Upon one of the most considerable of these, whose precipitous sides make it a natural fortress, stood the Acropolis, and upon the group of lesser heights around and in the valleys between clustered the dwellings of ancient Athens.
It was a fitting site for the capital of a people keenly sensitive to beauty, and destined to become the leaders of the world in matters of taste, especially in the important department of the Fine Arts. Nowhere are there more charming contrasts of mountain, sea and plain—nowhere a more perfect harmony of picturesque effect. The sea is not a dreary waste of waters without bounds, but a smiling gulf mirroring its mountain-walls and winding about embosomed isles, yet ever broadening as it recedes, and suggesting the mighty flood beyond from which it springs. The plain is not an illimitable expanse over which the weary eye ranges in vain in quest of some resting-place, but is so small as to be embraced in its whole contour in a single view, while its separate features—the broad, dense belt of olives which marks the bed of its principal stream, the ancient Cephissus, the vineyards, the grain-fields and the sunny hillside pastures—are made to produce their full impression. The mountains are not near enough to be obtrusive, much less oppressive; neither are they so distant as to be indistinct or to seem insignificant. Seen through the clear air, their naked summits are so sharply defined and so individual in appearance as to seem almost like sculptured forms chiseled out of the hard rock.
The city which rose upon this favored spot was worthy of its surroundings. The home of a free and enterprising race endowed with rare gifts of intellect and sensibility, and ever on the alert for improvement, it became the nurse of letters and of arts, while the luxury begotten of prosperity awakened a taste for adornment, and the wealth acquired by an extended commerce furnished the means of gratifying it. The age of Pericles was the period of the highest national development. At that time were reared the celebrated structures in honor of the virgin-goddess who was the patron of Athens—the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheum—which crowned the Acropolis, and were the glory of the city as they were the masterpieces of Grecian architecture. During the preceding half century many works of utility and of splendor had been constructed, and the city now became renowned not only in Greece, but throughout the ancient world, for the magnificence of its public buildings. Thucydides, writing about this time, says that should Athens be destroyed, posterity would infer from its ruins that the city had been twice as populous as it actually was. Demosthenes speaks of the strangers who came to visit its attractions. But the changes of twenty-three centuries have passed upon this splendor—a sad story of violence and neglect—and the queenly city has long been in the condition of ruin imagined by Thucydides. Still, the spell of her influence is not broken, and the charm which once drew so many visitors to her shrines still acts powerfully on the hearts of scholars in all lands, who, having looked up to her poets, orators and philosophers as teachers and loved them as friends, long to visit their haunts, to stand where they stood, to behold the scenes which they were wont to view, and to gaze upon what may remain of the great works of art upon which their admiration was bestowed.
So the student-pilgrim from the Western World with native ardor strains his sight to catch the first glimpse of the Athenian plain and city. He is fresh from his studies, and familiar with what books teach of the geography of Greece and the topography of Athens. He needs not to be informed which mountain-range is Parnes, and which Pentelicus—which island is Salamis, and which Egina. Yet much of what he sees is a revelation to him. The mountains are higher, more varied and more beautiful than he had supposed, Lycabettus and the Acropolis more imposing, Pentelicus farther away, and the plain larger, the gulf narrower, and Egina nearer and more mountainous, than he had fancied. He is astonished at the smallness of the harbor at Peiraeus, having insensibly formed his conception of its size from the notices of the mighty fleets which sailed from it in the palmy days when Athens was mistress of the seas. He is not prepared to see the southern shore of Salamis so near to the Peiraeus, though it explains the close connection between that island and Athens, and throws some light upon the great naval defeat of the Persians. In short, while every object is recognized as it presents itself, yet a more correct conception is formed of its relative position and aspect from a single glance of the eye than had been acquired from books during years of study.
Arrived at the city, his experience is the same. He needs no guide to conduct him to its antiquities, nor cicerone to explain in bad French or worse English their names and history. Still, unexpected appearances present themselves not unfrequently. Hastening toward the Acropolis, he will first inspect the remains of the great theatre of Dionysus, so familiar to him as the place where, in the presence of all the people and many strangers, were acted the plays of his favorite poets, Eschylus and Sophocles, and where they won many prizes. Hurrying over the eastern brow of the hill, he comes suddenly upon the spot, enters at the summit, as many an Athenian did in the olden time, and is smitten with amazement at the first glance, and led to question whether this be indeed the site of the ancient theatre. He finds, it is true, the topmost seats cut in the solid rock, row above row, stripped now of their marble lining and weather-worn, but yet the genuine ancient seats of the upper tier. These he expected to find. But whence are those fresh seats which fill the lower part of the hollow, arranged as neatly as if intended for immediate use? and whence the massive stage beyond? He bethinks himself that he has heard of recent excavations under the patronage of the government, and closer inspection shows that these are actually the lower seats of the theatre in the time of the emperor Hadrian, whose favorite residence was Athens, and who did so much to embellish the city. The front seats consist of massive stone chairs, each inscribed with the name of its occupant, generally the priestess of some one of the numerous gods worshiped by that people so given to idolatry. In the centre of the second row is an elevated throne inscribed with the name of Hadrian. The stage is seen to be the ancient Greek stage enlarged to the Roman size to suit the demands of a later style of theatrical representation.
After looking in vain for the seat occupied by the priestess of the Unknown God, our traveler passes on and enters with a beating heart the charmed precincts of the Acropolis itself. The Propylaea, which he has been accustomed to regard too exclusively as a mere entrance-gate to the glories beyond, impresses him with its size and grandeur, and the little temple of Victory by its side with its elegance.[A] But the steepness of the ascent perplexes him. It seems impracticable for horses, yet he knows by unexceptionable testimony that the Athenian youth prided themselves upon driving their matched steeds in the great Panathenaic procession which once every four years wound up the hill, bearing the sacred peplus to the temple of the goddess. A closer examination reveals the transverse creases of the pavement designed to give a footing to the beasts, as well as the marks of the chariot-wheels. Nevertheless, the ascent (and much more the descent) must have been a perilous undertaking, unless the teams were better broken than the various accounts of chariot-races furnished by the poets would indicate. Entering beneath the great gate, a little distance forward to the left may readily be found the site of the colossal bronze statue of the warrior-goddess in complete armor, formed by Phidias out of the spoils taken at Marathon. The square base, partly sunk in the uneven rock, is as perfect as if just put in readiness to receive the pedestal of that famous work. A road bending to the right and slightly hollowed out of the rock leads to the Parthenon. The outer platform which sustains this celebrated temple is partly cut from the rock of the hill and partly built up of common limestone. The inner one of three courses, as well as the whole superstructure, is formed of Pentelic marble of a compact crystalline structure and of dazzling whiteness. Long exposure has not availed to destroy its lustre, but only to soften its tone. The visitor, planting himself at the western front, is in a position to gain some adequate idea of the perfection of the noble building. The interior and central parts suffered the principal injury from the explosion of the Turkish powder magazine in 1687. The western front remains nearly entire. It has been despoiled, indeed, of its movable ornaments. The statues which filled the pediment are gone, with the exception of a fragment or two. The sculptured slabs have been removed from the spaces between the triglyphs, and the gilded shields which hung beneath have been taken down. Of the magnificent frieze, representing the procession of the great quadrennial festival, only the portion surrounding the western vestibule is still in place.[B]
[Footnote A: The latter contains, among other relics of a balustrade which protected and adorned the platform of the temple, the exquisitely graceful torso of Victory untying her sandals, of which casts are to be seen in most of the museums of Europe.]
[Footnote B: Among the figures of this bas-relief, twelve are recognized by their lofty stature and sitting posture as those of divinities. One group is represented in the engraving.]
Still, as these were strictly decorations, and wholly subordinate to the organic parts of the structure, their presence, while it would doubtless greatly enhance the effect of the whole, is not felt to be essential to its completeness. The whole Doric columns still bear the massive entablature sheltered by the covering roof. The simple greatness of the conception, the just proportion of the several parts, together with the elaborate finishing of the whole work, invest it with a charm such as the works of man seldom possess—the pure and lasting pleasure which flows from apparent perfection Entering the principal apartment of the building, traces are seen of the stucco and pictures with which the walls were covered when it was fitted up as a Christian church in the Byzantine period. Near the centre of the marble pavement is a rectangular space laid with dark stone from the Peirseus or from Eleusis. It marks the probable site of the colossal precious statue of the goddess in gold and ivory—one of the most celebrated works of Phidias. The smaller apartment beyond, accessible only from the opposite front of the temple, was used by the state as a place of deposit and safekeeping for bullion and other valuables in the care of the state treasurer.
Having examined the great temple, and tested the curvature of its seemingly horizontal lines by sighting along the unencumbered platform, and having stopped at several points of the grand portico to admire the fine views of the city and surrounding country, the traveler picks his way northward, across a thick layer of fragments of columns, statues and blocks of marble, toward the low-placed, irregular but elegant Erechtheum, the temple of the most ancient worship and statue of the patron-goddess of the city. This building sits close by the northern as the Parthenon does by the southern wall of the enclosure. It has suffered equally with the other from the ravages of time, and its ruins, though less grand, are more beautiful. Most of the graceful Ionic columns are still standing, but large portions of the roof and entablature have fallen. Fragments of decorated cornice strew the ground, some of them of considerable length, and afford a near view of that delicate ornamentation and exquisite finish so rare outside the limits of Greece. The elevated porch of the Caryatides, lately restored by the substitution of a new figure in place of the missing statue now in the British Museum, attracts attention as a unique specimen of Greek art, and also as showing how far a skillful treatment will overcome the inherent difficulties of a subject. The row of fair maidens looking out toward the Parthenon do not seem much oppressed by the burden which rests upon them, while their graceful forms lend a pleasing variety to the scene. Passing out by the northern wing of the Propylaea, a survey is had of the numerous fragments of sculpture discovered among the ruins upon the hill, and temporarily placed in the ancient Pinacotheca. The eye rests upon sweet infant faces and upon rugged manly ones. Sometimes a single feature only remains, which, touched by the finger of genius, awakens admiration. A naked arm severed from the trunk, of feminine cast, but with muscles tightly strained and hand clenched as in agony, will arrest attention and dwell in the memory.
North-west of the Acropolis, across a narrow chasm, lies the low, rocky height of the Areopagus, accessible at the southeast angle by a narrow flight of sixteen rudely-cut steps, which lead to a small rectangular excavation on the summit, which faces the Acropolis, and is surrounded upon three sides by a double tier of benches hewn out of the rock. Here undoubtedly the most venerable court of justice at Athens had its seat and tried its cases in the open air. Here too, without doubt, stood the great apostle when, with bold spirit and weighty words, he declared unto the men of Athens that God of whom they confessed their ignorance; who was not to be represented by gold or silver or stone graven by art and man's device; who dwelt not in temples made with hands, and needed not to be worshiped with men's hands. In no other place can one feel so sure that he comes upon the very footsteps of the apostle, and on no other spot can one better appreciate his high gifts as an orator or the noble devotion of his whole soul to the work of the Master. How poor in comparison with his life-work appear the performances of the greatest of the Athenian thinkers or doers!
A little more than a quarter of a mile west of the Acropolis is another rocky hill—the Pnyx—celebrated as the place where the assembly of all the citizens met to transact the business of the state. A large semicircular area was formed, partly by excavation, partly by building up from beneath, the bounds of which can be distinctly traced. Considerable remains of the terrace-wall at the foot of the slope exist—huge stones twelve or fourteen feet in length by eight or ten in breadth. The chord of the semicircle is near the top of the hill, formed by the perpendicular face of the excavated rock, and is about four hundred feet in length by twenty in depth. Projecting from it at the centre, and hewn out of the same rock, is the bema or stone platform from which the great orators from the time of Themistocles and Aristides, and perhaps of Solon, down to the age of Demosthenes and the Attic Ten, addressed the mass of their fellow-citizens. It is a massive cubic block, with a linear edge of eleven feet, standing upon a graduated base of nearly equal height, and is mounted on either side by a flight of nine stone steps. From its connection with the most celebrated efforts of some of the greatest orators our race has yet seen, it is one of the most interesting relics in the world, and its solid structure will cause it to endure as long as the world itself shall stand, unless, as there is some reason to apprehend will be the case, it is knocked to pieces and carried off in the carpet-bags of travelers. No traces of the Agora, which occupied the shallow valley between the Pnyx and the Acropolis, remain. It was the heart of the city, and was adorned with numerous public buildings, porticoes, temples and statues. It was often thronged with citizens gathered for purposes of trade, discussion, or to hear and tell some new thing.
Half a mile or more to the south-east, on the banks of the Ilissus, stood a magnificent structure dedicated to Olympian Zeus—one of the four largest temples of Greece, ranking with that of Demeter at Eleusis and that of Diana at Ephesus. Its foundations remain, and sixteen of the huge Corinthian columns belonging to its majestic triple colonnade. One of these is fallen. Breaking up into the numerous disks of which it was composed—six and a half feet in diameter by two or more in thickness—and stretching out to a length of over sixty feet, it gives an impressive conception of the size of these columns, said to be the largest standing in Europe. The level area of the temple is now used as a training-ground for soldiers. Close by, and almost in the bed of the stream, which is dry the larger part of the year, issues from beneath a ledge of rock the copious fountain of sweet waters known to the ancients as Calirrhoe. It furnished the only good drinking-water of the city, and was used in all the sacrifices to the gods. A little way above, on the opposite bank of the Ilissus, is the site of the Panathenaic stadium, whose shape is perfectly preserved in the smooth grass-grown hollow with semicircular extremity which here lies at right angles to the stream, between parallel ridges partly artificial.
Northward from the Acropolis, on a slight elevation, is the best-preserved and one of the most ancient structures of Athens—the temple of Theseus, built under the administration of Cimon by the generation preceding Pericles and the Parthenon. It is of the Doric order, and shaped like the Parthenon, but considerably inferior to it in size as well as in execution. It has been roofed with wood in modern times, and was long used as a church, but is now a place of deposit for the numerous statues and sculptured stones of various kinds—mostly sepulchral monuments—which have been recently discovered in and about the city. They are for the most part unimportant as works of art, though many are interesting from their antiquity or historic associations. Among these is the stone which once crowned the burial-mound on the plain of Marathon. It bears a single figure, said to represent the messenger who brought the tidings of victory to his countrymen.
Near the Theseium was the double gate (Dipylum) in the ancient wall of the city whence issued the Sacred Way leading to Eleusis, and bordered, like the Appian Way at Rome, with tombs, many of them cenotaphs of persons who died in the public service and were deemed worthy of a monument in the public burying-ground. Within a few years an excavation has been made through an artificial mound of ashes, pottery and other refuse emptied out of the city, and a section of a few rods of this celebrated road has been laid bare. The sepulchral monuments are ranged on one side rather thickly, and crowd somewhat closely upon the narrow pavement. They are, for the most part, simple, thick slabs of white marble, with a triangular or pediment-shaped top, beneath which is sculptured in low relief the closing scene of the person commemorated, followed by a short inscription. The work is done in an artistic style worthy of the publicity its location gave it. On one of these slabs you recognize the familiar full-length figure of Demosthenes, standing with two companions and clasping in a parting grasp the hand of a woman, who is reclining upon her deathbed. The inscription is, Collyrion, wife of Agathon. On another stone of larger size is a more imposing piece of sculpture. A horseman fully armed is thrusting his spear into the body of his fallen foe—a hoplite. The inscription relates that the unhappy foot-soldier fell at Corinth by reason of those five words of his!—a record intelligible enough, doubtless, to his contemporaries, but sufficiently obscure and provocative of curiosity to later generations.
There are other noted structures at Athens, such as the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates—the highest type of the Corinthian order of architecture, as the Erechtheum is of the Ionic and the Parthenon of the Doric—but want of space forbids any further description of them. Let the American traveler visit Athens with the expectation of finding a city occupying the most charming of sites, and containing by far the most interesting and important monuments of antiquity, in their original position, to be found in the whole world.
My little girl is commonplace, you say? Well, well, I grant it, as you use the phrase Concede the whole; although there was a day When I too questioned words, and from a maze Of hairsplit meanings, cut with close-drawn line, Sought to draw out a language superfine, Above the common, scarify with words and scintillate with pen; But that time's over—now I am content to stand with other men.
It's the best place, fair youth. I see your smile— The scornful smile of that ambitious age That thinks it all things knows, and all the while It nothing knows. And yet those smiles presage Some future fame, because your aim is high; As when one tries to shoot into the sky, If his rash arrow at the moon he aims, a bolder flight we see, Though vain, than if with level poise it safely reached the nearest tree.
A common proverb that! Does it disjoint Your graceful terms? One more you'll understand: Cut down a pencil to too fine a point, Lo, it breaks off, all useless, in your hand! The child is fitted for her present sphere: Let her live out her life, without the fear That comes when souls, daring the heights of dread infinity, are tost, Now up, now down, by the great winds, their little home for ever lost.
My little girl seems to you commonplace Because she loves the daisies, common flowers; Because she finds in common pictures grace, And nothing knows of classic music's powers: She reads her romance, but the mystic's creed Is something far beyond her simple need. She goes to church, but the mixed doubts and theories that thinkers find In all religious truth can never enter her undoubting mind.
A daisy's earth's own blossom—better far Than city gardener's costly hybrid prize: When you're found worthy of a higher star, 'Twill then be time earth's daisies to despise; But not till then. And if the child can sing Sweet songs like "Robin Gray," why should I fling A cloud over her music's joy, and set for her the heavy task Of learning what Bach knew, or finding sense under mad Chopin's mask?
Then as to pictures: if her taste prefers That common picture of the "Huguenots," Where the girl's heart—a tender heart like hers— Strives to defeat earth's greatest powers' great plots With her poor little kerchief, shall I change The print for Turner's riddles wild and strange? Or take her stories—simple tales which her few leisure hours beguile— And give her Browning's Sordello, a Herbert Spencer, a Carlyle?
Her creed, too, in your eyes is commonplace, Because she does not doubt the Bible's truth Because she does not doubt the saving grace Of fervent prayer, but from her rosy youth, So full of life, to gray old age's time, Prays on with faith half ignorant, half sublime. Yes, commonplace! But if I spoil this common faith, when all is done Can deist, pantheist or atheist invent a better one?
Climb to the highest mountain's highest verge, Step off: you've lost the petty height you had; Up to the highest point poor reason urge, Step off: the sense is gone, the mind is mad. "Thus far, and yet no farther, shalt thou go," Was said of old, and I have found it so: This planet's ours, 'tis all we have; here we belong, and those are wise Who make the best of it, nor vainly try above its plane to rise.
Nay, nay: I know already your reply; I have been through the whole long years ago; I have soared up as far as soul can fly, I have dug down as far as mind can go; But always found, at certain depth or height, The bar that separates the infinite From finite powers, against whose strength immutable we beat in vain, Or circle round only to find ourselves at starting-point again.
If you must for yourself find out this truth, I bid you go, proud heart, with blessings free: 'Tis the old fruitless quest of ardent youth, And soon or late you will come back to me. You'll learn there's naught so common as the breath Of life, unless it be the calm of death: You'll learn that with the Lord Omnipotent there's nothing commonplace, And with such souls as that poor child's, humbled, abashed, you'll hide your face.
CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON.
OR, THREE NIGHTS IN THE HAPPY VALLEY.
THE TEST—WITH MENTAL RESERVATIONS.
Elise went out to gather willow-twigs, as her mother had said when her father asked for her.
A little later in the afternoon, Mr. Albert Spener walked swiftly down the street toward the house occupied by the Rev. Mr. Wenck. While he was yet at a distance Elise saw him approaching, and possibly she thought, "He has seen me and comes to meet me;" and many a pleasant stroll on many an afternoon would have justified the thought.
But it was not until he had, as it were, stumbled upon Elise that he noticed her. He carried in his hand a letter, and when suddenly he stopped upon the sidewalk and looked at her, the changeful aspects of his face were marvelous to behold.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"I was going home," she answered, not a little surprised by the abrupt and authoritative manner of his address.
"I want to talk with you," said he. "Is it to-day that I am to begin to leave off loving you, Elise?"
"That you are—What do you say, Albert?" she asked.
"Have you not seen Brother Wenck's letter to your father, Elise?"
She shook her head.
"The lot—the lot—" he repeated, but his voice refused to help him tell the tale.
"Albert, may I see the letter?" Father and Mother Loretz might have rejoiced in their daughter could they have seen and heard her in those trying moments. Her gentleness and her serene dignity said for her that she would not be over-thrown by the storm which had burst upon her in a moment, unlocked for as tempest and whirlwind out of a clear sky.
Spener thrust into her hands the letter addressed to him that morning by the minister. It contained an announcement of the decision rendered by the lot, couched in terms more brief, perhaps, than those which conveyed the same intelligence to the father of Elise.
She gave it back to him without a word.
"If Brother Wenck is going to stand by it," said he, "there'll be no room for him in this place. I was just going to his house to tell him so. Will you go with me? I should like to have a witness. I'll make short work of it."
"No," said Elise, shrinking back amazed from her companion. "I will not go with you to insult that good man."
"You will go with me—not to his house, then! Come, Elise, we must talk about this. You must help me untie this knot. I cannot imagine how I ever permitted things to take their chance. I have never heard of a sillier superstition than I seem to have encouraged. Talk about faith! Let a man act up to light and take the consequences. I can see clear enough now. You never looked for this to happen, Elise?"
She shook her head. Indeed, she never had—no, not for a moment.
"To think I should have permitted it to go on!"
"But you did let it go on—and I—consented. Do not let me forget that," she exclaimed. "I will go home, Albert."
"Ha, Elise! I wish I could feel more confidence in your teachers when you get there."
"I need no one to tell me what my duty is just here," she answered.
"Have you ever loved me, child? Child! I am talking to a rock. You do not yield to this?" He waved the letter aloft, and as if he would dash it from him. Elise looked at him, and did not speak. "Sister Benigna will of course feel called upon to bless the Lord," said he. "But Wenck shall find a way out of this difficulty. Then we will have done with them both, my own."
"Am I to have no voice in this matter?" she asked. "What if I say—"
Spener grasped her hand so suddenly that, as if in her surprise she had forgotten what she was about to say, Elise added, "Sister Benigna is my best friend. She knows nothing about the lot."
"I told you, Albert, that it was to be so. And—you do not mean to threaten Mr. Wenck?"
"I mean to have him find a way out of this difficulty. He ought to have said to your father that this lot business belongs to a period gone by. He did hint at it. I supposed, of course, that he would see the thing came out right, since he let it go on."
"Did you then believe it was only a play or a trick?" exclaimed Elise indignantly.
"Not quite, but I did not suppose that we were a company who would stand by an adverse decision. You know, if you are the Elise I have loved so long, that I must love you always—that I am not going to give you up. Your father was bent on the test, but look at him and tell me if he expected this turn. He is twenty years older than he was yesterday. Folks used to resort to the lot in deciding about marriages, and it was all well enough if they didn't care how it turned out, or hadn't faith to believe in their own ability to choose. A pretty way of doing business, though! Suppose I had tried it on this place! I have always asked for God's blessing, and tried to act so that I need not blush when I asked it; but a man must know his own mind, he must act with decision. I say again, I don't like your teachers, Elise. Between Sister Benigna and Mr. Wenck, now, what would be my chances if I could submit to such a pair?"
"You and I have no quarrel," said Elise gently. "I suppose that you acted in good faith. You know how much I care—how humiliated I shall feel if you attack in any way a man so good as Mr. Wenck. You do not understand Sister Benigna."
It was well that she had these to speak of, and that she need not confine herself to the main thought before them, for Albert could do anything he attempted. Had not her father always said, "Let Spener alone for getting what he wants: he'll have it, but he's above-board and honest;" and what hopes, heaven-cleaving, had spread wing the instant her eyes met his!
"It is easy to say that I do not understand," said he. "One has only to assume that another is so excellent and virtuous a character as to be beyond your comprehension, and then your mouth is stopped."