The Naturalist on the River Amazons
Henry Walter Bates

Part 2 out of 9

A few words on the aboriginal population of the Para estuary will
not be out of place here. The banks of the Para were originally
inhabited by a number of distinct tribes, who, in their habits,
resembled very much the natives of the sea-coast from Maranham to
Bahia. It is related that one large tribe, the Tupinambas,
migrated from Pernambuco to the Amazons. One fact seems to be
well-established, namely, that all the coast tribes were far more
advanced in civilisation, and milder in their manners, than the
savages who inhabited the interior lands of Brazil. They were
settled in villages, and addicted to agriculture. They navigated
the rivers in large canoes, called ubas, made of immense
hollowed-out tree trunks; in these they used to go on war
expeditions, carrying in the prows their trophies and calabash
rattles, whose clatter was meant to intimidate their enemies.
They were gentle in disposition, and received the early
Portuguese settlers with great friendliness. The inland savages,
on the other hand, led a wandering life, as they do at the
present time, only coming down occasionally to rob the
plantations of the coast tribes, who always entertained the
greatest enmity towards them.

The original Indian tribes of the district are now either
civilised, or have amalgamated with the white and negro
immigrants. Their distinguishing tribal names have long been
forgotten, and the race bears now the general appellation of
Tapuyo, which seems to have been one of the names of the ancient
Tupinambas. The Indians of the interior, still remaining in the
savage state, are called by the Brazilians Indios, or Gentios
(Heathens). All the semi-civilised Tapuyos of the villages, and
in fact the inhabitants of retired places generally, speak the
Lingoa geral, a language adapted by the Jesuit missionaries from
the original idiom of the Tupinambas. The language of the
Guaranis, a nation living on the banks of the Paraguay, is a
dialect of it, and hence it is called by philologists the Tupi-
Guarani language; printed grammars of it are always on sale at
the shops of the Para booksellers. The fact of one language
having been spoken over so wide an extent of country as that from
the Amazons to Paraguay, is quite an isolated one in this
country, and points to considerable migrations of the Indian
tribes in former times. At present the languages spoken by
neighbouring tribes on the banks of the interior rivers are
totally distinct; on the Jurua, even scattered hordes belonging
to the same tribe are not able to understand each other.

The civilised Tapuyo of Para differs in no essential point, in
physical or moral qualities, from the Indian of the interior. He
is more stoutly built, being better fed than some of them; but in
this respect there are great differences amongst the tribes
themselves. He presents all the chief characteristics of the
American red man. The skin of a coppery brown colour, the
features of the face broad, and the hair black, thick, and
straight. He is generally about the middle height, thick-set, has
a broad muscular chest, well-shaped but somewhat thick legs and
arms, and small hands and feet. The cheek bones are not generally
prominent; the eyes are black, and seldom oblique like those of
the Tartar races of Eastern Asia, which are supposed to have
sprung from the same original stock as the American red man. The
features exhibit scarcely any mobility of expression; this is
connected with the excessively apathetic and undemonstrative
character of the race. They never betray, in fact they do not
feel keenly, the emotions of joy, grief, wonder, fear, and so
forth. They can never be excited to enthusiasm; but they have
strong affections, especially those connected with family. It is
commonly stated by the whites and negroes that the Tapuyo is
ungrateful. Brazilian mistresses of households, who have much
experience of Indians, have always a long list of instances to
relate to the stranger, showing their base ingratitude. They
certainly do not appear to remember or think of repaying
benefits, but this is probably because they did not require, and
do not value such benefits as their would-be masters confer upon
them. I have known instances of attachment and fidelity on the
part of Indians towards their masters, but these are exceptional
cases. All the actions of the Indian show that his ruling desire
is to be let alone; he is attached to his home, his quiet
monotonous forest and river life; he likes to go to towns
occasionally, to see the wonders introduced by the white man, but
he has a great repugnance to living in the midst of the crowd; he
prefers handicraft to field labour, and especially dislikes
binding himself to regular labour for hire. He is shy and uneasy
before strangers, but if they visit his abode, he treats them
well, for he has a rooted appreciation of the duty of
hospitality; there is a pride about him, and being naturally
formal and polite, he acts the host with great dignity. He
withdraws from towns as soon as the stir of civilisation begins
to make itself felt. When we first arrived at Para many Indian
families resided there, for the mode of living at that time was
more like that of a large village than a city; but as soon as
river steamers and more business activity were introduced, they
all gradually took themselves away.

These characteristics of the Para Indians are applicable, of
course, to some extent, to the Mamelucos, who now constitute a
great proportion of the population. The inflexibility of
character of the Indian, and his total inability to accommodate
himself to new arrangements, will infallibly lead to his
extinction, as immigrants, endowed with more supple
organisations, increase, and civilisation advances in the Amazon
region. But, as the different races amalgamate readily, and the
offspring of white and Indian often become distinguished
Brazilian citizens, there is little reason to regret the fate of
the race. Formerly the Indian was harshly treated, and even now
he is so, in many parts of the interior. But, according to the
laws of Brazil, he is a free citizen, having equal privileges
with the whites; and there are very strong enactments providing
against the enslaving and ill-treatment of the Indians. The
residents of the interior, who have no higher principles to
counteract instinctive selfishness or antipathy of race, cannot
comprehend why they are not allowed to compel Indians to work for
them, seeing that they will not do it of their own accord. The
inevitable result of the conflict of interests between a European
and a weaker indigenous race, when the two come in contact, is
the sacrifice of the latter. In the Para district, the Indians
are no longer enslaved, but they are deprived of their lands, and
this they feel bitterly, as one of them, an industrious and
worthy man, related to me. Is not a similar state of things now
exhibited in New Zealand, between the Maoris and the English

It is very interesting to read of the bitter contests that were
carried on from the year 1570 to 1759, between the Portuguese
immigrants in Brazil, and the Jesuit and other missionaries. They
were similar to those which have recently taken place in South
Africa, between the Beers and the English missionaries, but they
were on a much larger scale. The Jesuits, as far as I could glean
from tradition and history, were actuated by the same motives as
our missionaries; and they seemed like them to have been, in
great measure, successful, in teaching the pure and elevated
Christian morality to the simple natives. But the attempt was
vain to protect the weaker race from the inevitable ruin which
awaited it in the natural struggle with the stronger one; in
1759, the white colonists finally prevailed, the Jesuits were
forced to leave the country, and the fifty-one happy mission
villages went to ruin. Since then, the aboriginal race has gone
on decreasing in numbers under the treatment which it has
received; it is now, as I have already stated, protected by the
laws of the central government.

On our second visit to the mills, we stayed ten days. There is a
large reservoir and also a natural lake near the place, both
containing aquatic plants, whose leaves rest on the surface like
our water lilies, but they are not so elegant as our nymphaea,
either in leaf or flower. On the banks of these pools grow
quantities of a species of fan-leaved palm tree, the Carana,
whose stems are surrounded by whorls of strong spines. I
sometimes took a montaria, and paddled myself alone down the
creek. One day I got upset, and had to land on a grassy slope
leading to an old plantation, where I ran about naked while my
clothes were being dried on a bush. The Iritiri Creek is not so
picturesque as many others which I subsequently explored. Towards
the Magoary, the banks at the edge of the water are clothed with
mangrove bushes, and beneath them the muddy banks into which the
long roots that hang down from the fruit before it leaves the
branches strike their fibres, swarm with crabs. On the lower
branches the beautiful bird, Ardea helias, is found. This is a
small heron of exquisitely graceful shape and mien; its plumage
is minutely variegated with bars and spots of many colours, like
the wings of certain kinds of moths. It is difficult to see the
bird in the woods, on account of its sombre colours, and the
shadiness of its dwelling-places; but its note, a soft long-drawn
whistle, often betrays its hiding place. I was told by the
Indians that it builds in trees, and that the nest, which is made
of clay, is beautifully constructed. It is a favourite pet-bird
of the Brazilians, who call it Pavao (pronounced Pavaong), or
peacock. I often had opportunities to observe its habits. It
soon becomes tame, and walks about the floors of houses picking
up scraps of food or catching insects, which it secures by
walking gently to the place where they settle, and spearing them
with its long, slender beak. It allows itself to be handled by
children, and will answer to its name "Pavao! Pavao!" walking up
with a dainty, circumspect gait, and taking a fly or beetle from
the hand.

During these rambles by land and water we increased our
collections considerably. Before we left the mills, we arranged a
joint excursion to the Tocantins. Mr. Leavens wished to ascend
that river to ascertain if the reports were true, that cedar grew
abundantly between the lowermost cataract and the mouth of the
Araguava, and we agreed to accompany him.

While we were at the mills, a Portuguese trader arrived with a
quantity of worm-eaten logs of this cedar, which he had gathered
from the floating timber in the current of the main Amazons. The
tree producing this wood, which is named cedar on account of the
similarity of its aroma to that of the true cedars, is not, of
course, a coniferous tree, as no member of that class is found in
equatorial America, at least in the Amazons region. It is,
according to Von Martius, the Cedrela Odorata, an exogen
belonging to the same order as the mahogany tree. The wood is
light, and the tree is therefore, on falling into the water,
floated down with the river currents. It must grow in great
quantities somewhere in the interior, to judge from the number of
uprooted trees annually carried to the sea, and as the wood is
much esteemed for cabinet work and canoe building, it is of some
importance to learn where a regular supply can be obtained. We
were glad of course to arrange with Mr. Leavens, who was familiar
with the language, and an adept in river navigation--so we
returned to Para to ship our collections for England, and prepare
for the journey to a new region.



Religious Holidays--Marmoset Monkeys--Serpents--Insects

Before leaving the subject of Para, where I resided, as already
stated, in all eighteen months, it will be necessary to give a
more detailed account of several matters connected with the
customs of the people and the Natural History of the
neighbourhood, which have hitherto been only briefly mentioned. I
reserve an account of the trade and improved condition of Para in
1859 for the end of this narrative.

During the first few weeks of our stay, many of those religious
festivals took place, which occupied so large a share of the time
and thoughts of the people. These were splendid affairs, wherein
artistically-arranged processions through the streets,
accompanied by thousands of people, military displays, the
clatter of fireworks, and the clang of military music, were
superadded to pompous religious services in the churches. To
those who had witnessed similar ceremonies in the Southern
countries of Europe, there would be nothing remarkable perhaps in
these doings, except their taking place amidst the splendours of
tropical nature; but to me they were full of novelty, and were
besides interesting as exhibiting much that was peculiar in the
manners of the people.

The festivals celebrate either the anniversaries of events
concerning saints, or those of the more important transactions in
the life of Christ. To them have been added, since the
Independence, many gala days connected with the events in the
Brazilian national history; but these have all a semi-religious
character. The holidays had become so numerous, and interfered so
much with trade and industry towards the year 1852, that the
Brazilian Government was obliged to reduce them; obtaining the
necessary permission from Rome to abolish several which were of
minor importance. Many of those which have been retained are
declining in importance since the introduction of railways and
steamboats, and the increased devotion of the people to commerce;
at the time of our arrival, however, they were in full glory. The
way they were managed was in this fashion. A general manager or
"Juiz" for each festival was elected by lot every year in the
vestry of the church, and to him were handed over all the
paraphernalia pertaining to the particular festival which he was
chosen to manage; the image of the saint, the banners, silver
crowns and so forth. He then employed a number of people to go
the round of the parish, and collect alms towards defraying the
expenses. It was considered that the greater the amount of money
spent in wax candles, fireworks, music and feasting, the greater
the honour done to the saint. If the Juiz was a rich man, he
seldom sent out alms-gatherers, but celebrated the whole affair
at his own expense, which was sometimes to the extent of several
hundred pounds. Each festival lasted nine days (a novena), and in
many cases refreshments for the public were provided every
evening. In the smaller towns a ball took place two or three
evenings during the novena, and on the last day there was a grand
dinner. The priest, of course, had to be paid very liberally,
especially for the sermon delivered on the Saint's Day or
termination of the festival, sermons being extra duty in Brazil.

There was much difference as to the accessories of these
festivals between the interior towns and villages and the
capital; but little or no work was done anywhere whilst they
lasted, and they tended much to demoralise the people. It was
soon perceived that religion is rather the amusement of the
Paraenses, than their serious exercise. The ideas of the majority
evidently do not reach beyond the belief that all the proceedings
are, in each case, in honour of the particular wooden image
enshrined at the church. The uneducated Portuguese immigrants
seemed to me to have very degrading notions of religion.

I have often travelled in the company of these shining examples
of European enlightenment. They generally carry with them,
wherever they go, a small image of some favourite saint in their
trunks, and when a squall or any other danger arises, their first
impulse is to rush to the cabin, take out the image and clasp it
to their lips, whilst uttering a prayer for protection. The
negroes and mulattos are similar in this respect to the low
Portuguese, but I think they show a purer devotional feeling; and
in conversation, I have always found them to be more rational in
religious views than the lower orders of Portuguese. As to the
Indians; with the exception of the more civilised families
residing near the large towns, they exhibit no religious
sentiment at all. They have their own patron saint, St. Thome,
and celebrate his anniversary in the orthodox way, for they are
fond of observing all the formalities; but they think the
feasting to be of equal importance with the church ceremonies. At
some of the festivals, masquerading forms a large part of the
proceedings, and then the Indians really shine. They get up
capital imitations of wild animals, dress themselves to represent
the Caypor and other fabulous creatures of the forest, and act
their parts throughout with great cleverness. When St. Thome's
festival takes place, every employer of Indians knows that all
his men will get drunk. The Indian, generally too shy to ask
directly for cashaca (rum), is then very bold; he asks for a
frasco at once (two-and-a-half bottles), and says, if
interrogated, that he is going to fuddle in honour of St. Thome.

In the city of Para, the provincial government assists to augment
the splendour of the religious holidays. The processions which
traverse the principal streets consist, in the first place, of
the image of the saint, and those of several other subordinate
ones belonging to the same church; these are borne on the
shoulders of respectable householders, who volunteer for the
purpose--sometimes you will see your neighbour the grocer or the
carpenter groaning under the load. The priest and his crowd of
attendants precede the images, arrayed in embroidered robes, and
protected by magnificent sunshades--no useless ornament here, for
the heat is very great when the sun is not obscured. On each side
of the long line the citizens walk, clad in crimson silk cloaks
and holding each a large lighted wax candle. Behind follows a
regiment or two of foot soldiers with their bands of music, and
last of all the crowd--the coloured people being cleanly dressed
and preserving a grave demeanour. The women are always in great
force, their luxuriant black hair decorated with jasmines, white
orchids and other tropical flowers. They are dressed in their
usual holiday attire, gauze chemises and black silk petticoats;
their necks are adorned with links of gold beads, which when they
are slaves are generally the property of their mistresses, who
love thus to display their wealth.

At night, when festivals are going on in the grassy squares
around the suburban churches, there is really much to admire. A
great deal that is peculiar in the land and the life of its
inhabitants can be seen best at those times. The cheerful white
church is brilliantly lighted up, and the music, not of a very
solemn description, peals forth from the open windows and doors.
Numbers of young gaudily-dressed negresses line the path to the
church doors with stands of liqueurs, sweetmeats, and cigarettes,
which they sell to the outsiders. A short distance off is heard
the rattle of dice-boxes and roulette at the open-air gambling-
stalls. When the festival happens on moonlit nights, the whole
scene is very striking to a newcomer. Around the square are
groups of tall palm trees, and beyond it, over the illuminated
houses, appear the thick groves of mangoes near the suburban
avenues, from which comes the perpetual ringing din of insect
life. The soft tropical moonlight lends a wonderful charm to the

The inhabitants are all out, dressed in their best. The upper
classes, who come to enjoy the fine evening and the general
cheerfulness, are seated on chairs around the doors of friendly
houses. There is no boisterous conviviality, but a quiet
enjoyment seems to be felt everywhere, and a gentle courtesy
rules among all classes and colours. I have seen a splendidly-
dressed colonel, from the President's palace, walk up to a
mulatto, and politely ask his permission to take a light from his
cigar. When the service is over, the church bells are set
ringing, a shower of rockets mounts upwards, the bands strike up,
and parties of coloured people in the booths begin their dances.
About ten o'clock the Brazilian national air is played, and all
disperse quietly and soberly to their homes.

At the festival of Corpus Christi, there was a very pretty
arrangement. The large green square of the Trinidade was lighted
up all round with bonfires. On one side a fine pavilion was
erected, the upright posts consisting of real fan-leaved palm
trees--the Mauritia flexuosa, which had been brought from the
forest, stems and heads entire, and fixed in the ground. The
booth was illuminated with coloured lamps, and lined with red and
white cloth. In it were seated the ladies, not all of pure
Caucasian blood, but presenting a fine sample of Para beauty and

The grandest of all these festivals is that held in honour of Our
Lady of Nazareth: it is, I believe, peculiar to Para. As I have
said before, it falls in the second quarter of the moon, about
the middle of the dry season--that is, in October or November--
and lasts, like the others, nine days. On the first day, a very
extensive procession takes place, starting from the Cathedral,
whither the image of the saint had been conveyed some days
previous, and terminating at the chapel or hermitage, as it is
called, of the saint at Nazareth--a distance of more than two
miles. The whole population turns out on this occasion. All the
soldiers, both of the line and the National Guard, take part in
it, each battalion accompanied by its band of music. The civil
authorities, also, with the President at their head, and the
principal citizens, including many of the foreign residents, join
in the line. The boat of the shipwrecked Portuguese vessel is
carried after the saint on the shoulders of officers or men of
the Brazilian navy, and along with it are borne the other symbols
of the miracles which Our Lady is supposed to have performed. The
procession starts soon after the sun's heat begins to moderate--
that is, about half-past four o'clock in the afternoon. When the
image is deposited in the chapel the festival is considered to be
inaugurated, and the village every evening becomes the resort of
the pleasure-loving population, the holiday portion of the
programme being preceded, of course, by a religious service in
the chapel. The aspect of the place is then that of a fair,
without the humour and fun, but, at the same time, without the
noise and coarseness of similar holidays in England. Large rooms
are set apart for panoramic and other exhibitions, to which the
public is admitted gratis. In the course of each evening, large
displays of fireworks take place, all arranged according to a
published programme of the festival.

The various ceremonies which take place during Lent seemed to me
the most impressive, and some of them were exceedingly well-
arranged. The people, both performers and spectators, conduct
themselves with more gravity on these occasions, and there is no
holiday-making. Performances, representing the last events in the
life of Christ, are enacted in the churches or streets in such a
way as to remind one of the old miracle plays or mysteries. A few
days before Good Friday, a torchlight procession takes place by
night from one church to another, in which is carried a large
wooden image of Christ bent under the weight of the cross. The
chief members of the government assist, and the whole slowly
moves to the sound of muffled drums. A double procession is
managed a few days afterwards. The image of St. Mary is carried
in one direction, and that of the Saviour in another. The two
images meet in the middle of one of the most beautiful of the
churches, which is previously filled to excess with the
multitudes anxious to witness the affecting meeting of mother and
son a few days before the crucifixion. The images are brought
face to face in the middle of the church, the crowd falls
prostrate, and a lachrymose sermon is delivered from the pulpit.

The whole thing, as well as many other spectacles arranged during
the few succeeding days, is highly theatrical and well calculated
to excite the religious emotions of the people-- although,
perhaps, only temporarily. On Good Friday the bells do not ring,
all musical sounds are interdicted, and the hours, night and day,
are announced by the dismal noise of wooden clappers, wielded by
negroes stationed near the different churches. A sermon is
delivered in each church. In the middle of it, a scroll is
suddenly unfolded from the pulpit, upon which is an exaggerated
picture of the bleeding Christ. This act is accompanied by loud
groans, which come from stout-lunged individuals concealed in the
vestry and engaged for the purpose. The priest becomes greatly
excited, and actually sheds tears. On one of these occasions I
squeezed myself into the crowd, and watched the effect of the
spectacle on the audience. Old Portuguese men and Brazilian women
seemed very much affected-- sobbing, beating their breasts, and
telling their beads. The negroes themselves behaved with great
propriety, but seemed moved more particularly by the pomp, the
gilding, the dresses, and the general display. Young Brazilians
laughed. Several aborigines were there, coolly looking on. One
old Indian, who was standing near me, said, in a derisive manner,
when the sermon was over: "It's all very good; better it could
not be" (Esta todo bom; melhor nao pude ser).

The negroes of Para are very devout. They have built, by slow
degrees, as I was told, a fine church by their own unaided
exertions. It is called Nossa Senhora do Rosario, or Our Lady of
the Rosary. During the first weeks of our residence at Para, I
frequently observed a line of negroes and negresses, late at
night, marching along the streets, singing a chorus. Each carried
on his or her head a quantity of building materials--stones,
bricks, mortar, or planks. I found they were chiefly slaves, who,
after their hard day's work, were contributing a little towards
the construction of their church. The materials had all been
purchased by their own savings. The interior was finished about a
year afterwards, and is decorated, I thought, quite as superbly
as the other churches which were constructed, with far larger
means, by the old religious orders more than a century ago.
Annually, the negroes celebrate the festival of Nossa Senora de
Rosario, and generally make it a complete success.

I will now add a few more notes which I have accumulated on the
subject of the natural history, and then we shall have done, for
the present, with Para and its neighbourhood.

I have already mentioned that monkeys were rare in the immediate
vicinity of Para. I met with only three species in the forest
near the city; they are shy animals, and avoid the neighbourhood
of towns, where they are subject to much persecution by the
inhabitants, who kill them for food. The only kind which I saw
frequently was the little Midas ursulus, one of the Marmosets, a
family peculiar to tropical America, and differing in many
essential points of structure and habits from all other apes.
They are small in size, and more like squirrels than true monkeys
in their manner of climbing. The nails, except those of the hind
thumbs, are long and claw-shaped like those of squirrels, and the
thumbs of the fore extremities, or hands, are not opposable to
the other fingers. I do not mean to imply that they have a near
relationship to squirrels, which belong to the Rodents, an
inferior order of mammals; their resemblance to those animals is
merely a superficial one. They have two molar teeth less in each
jaw than the Cebidae, the other family of American monkeys; they
agree with them, however, in the sideway position of the
nostrils, a character which distinguishes both from all the
monkeys of the old world. The body is long and slender, clothed
with soft hairs, and the tail, which is nearly twice the length
of the trunk, is not prehensile. The hind limbs are much larger
in volume than the anterior pair. The Midas ursulus is never seen
in large flocks; three or four is the greatest number observed
together. It seems to be less afraid of the neighbourhood of man
than any other monkey. I sometimes saw it in the woods which
border the suburban streets, and once I espied two individuals in
a thicket behind the English consul's house at Nazareth. Its mode
of progression along the main boughs of the lofty trees is like
that of the squirrel; it does not ascend to the slender branches,
or take those wonderful flying leaps which the Cebidae do, whose
prehensile tails and flexible hands fit them for such headlong
travelling. It confines itself to the larger boughs and trunks of
trees, the long nails being of great assistance to the creature,
enabling it to cling securely to the bark, and it is often seen
passing rapidly around the perpendicular cylindrical trunks. It
is a quick, restless, timid little creature, and has a great
share of curiosity, for when a person passes by under the trees
along which a flock is running, they always stop for a few
moments to have a stare at the intruder.

In Para, Midas ursulus is often seen in a tame state in the
houses of the inhabitants. When full grown it is about nine
inches long, independently of the tail, which measures fifteen
inches. The fur is thick, and black in colour, with the exception
of a reddish-brown streak down the middle of the back. When first
taken, or when kept tied up, it is very timid and irritable. It
will not allow itself to be approached, but keeps retreating
backwards when any one attempts to coax it. It is always in a
querulous humour, uttering a twittering, complaining noise; its
dark, watchful eyes are expressive of distrust, and observant of
every movement which takes place near it. When treated kindly,
however, as it generally is in the houses of the natives, it
becomes very tame and familiar. I once saw one as playful as a
kitten, running about the house after the negro children, who
fondled it to their hearts' content. It acted somewhat
differently towards strangers, and seemed not to like them to sit
in the hammock which was slung in the room, leaping up, trying to
bite, and otherwise annoying them. It is generally fed sweet
fruits, such as the banana; but it is also fond of insects,
especially soft-bodied spiders and grasshoppers, which it will
snap up with eagerness when within reach. The expression of
countenance in these small monkeys is intelligent and pleasing.
This is partly owing to the open facial angle, which is given as
one of 60; but the quick movements of the head, and the way they
have of inclining it to one side when their curiosity is excited,
contribute very much to give them a knowing expression.

On the Upper Amazons I once saw a tame individual of the Midas
leoninus, a species first described by Humboldt, which was still
more playful and intelligent than the one just described. This
rare and beautiful little monkey is only seven inches in length,
exclusive of the tail. It is named leoninus on account of the
long brown mane which depends from the neck, and which gives it
very much the appearance of a diminutive lion. In the house where
it was kept, it was familiar with everyone; its greatest pleasure
seeming to be to climb about the bodies of different persons who
entered. The first time I went in, it ran across the room
straightway to the chair on which I had sat down, and climbed up
to my shoulder; having arrived there, it turned round and looked
into my face, showing its little teeth and chattering, as though
it would say, "Well, and how do you do?" It showed more affection
towards its master than towards strangers, and would climb up to
his head a dozen times in the course of an hour, making a great
show every time of searching there for certain animalcula.
Isidore Geoffroy St. Hilaire relates of a species of this genus,
that it distinguished between different objects depicted on an
engraving. M. Audouin showed it the portraits of a cat and a
wasp; at these it became much terrified; whereas, at the sight of
a figure of a grasshopper or beetle, it precipitated itself on
the picture, as if to seize the objects there represented.

Although monkeys are now rare in a wild state near Para, a great
number may be seen semi-domesticated in the city. The Brazilians
are fond of pet animals. Monkeys, however, have not been known to
breed in captivity in this country. I counted, in a short time,
thirteen different species, whilst walking about the Para
streets, either at the doors or windows of houses, or in the
native canoes. Two of them I did not meet with afterwards in any
other part of the country. One of these was the well-known Hapale
Jacchus, a little creature resembling a kitten, banded with black
and grey all over the body and tail, and having a fringe of long
white hairs surrounding the ears. It was seated on the shoulder
of a young mulatto girl, as she was walking along the street, and
I was told had been captured in the island of Marajo. The other
was a species of Cebus, with a remarkably large head. It had
ruddy-brown fur, paler on the face, but presenting a blackish
tuft on the top of the forehead.

In the wet season serpents are common in the neighbourhood of
Para. One morning, in April, 1849, after a night of deluging
rain, the lamplighter, on his rounds to extinguish the lamps,
woke me up to show me a boa-constrictor he had just killed in the
Rua St. Antonio, not far from my door. He had cut it nearly in
two with a large knife, as it was making its way down the sandy
street. Sometimes the native hunters capture boa- constrictors
alive in the forest near the city. We bought one which had been
taken in this way, and kept it for some time in a large box under
our verandah. This is not, however, the largest or most
formidable serpent found in the Amazons region. It is far
inferior, in these respects, to the hideous Sucuruju, or Water
Boa (Eunectes murinus), which sometimes attacks man; but of this
I shall have to give an account in a subsequent chapter.

It frequently happened, in passing through the thickets, that a
snake would fall from the boughs close to me. Once for a few
moments I got completely entangled in the folds of one, a
wonderfully slender kind, being nearly six feet in length, and
not more than half an inch in diameter at its broadest part. It
was a species of Dryophis. The majority of the snakes seen were
innocuous. One day, however, I trod on the tail of a young
serpent belonging to a very poisonous kind, the Jararaca
(Craspedocephalus atrox). It turned round and bit my trousers;
and a young Indian lad, who was behind me, dexterously cut it
through with his knife before it had time to free itself. In some
seasons snakes are very abundant, and it often struck me as
strange that accidents did not occur more frequently than was the

Amongst the most curious snakes found here were the Amphisbaenae,
a genus allied to the slow-worm of Europe. Several species occur
at Para. Those brought to me were generally not much more than a
foot in length. They are of cylindrical shape, having, properly
speaking, no neck, and the blunt tail which is only about an inch
in length, is of the same shape as the head. This peculiar form,
added to their habit of wriggling backwards as well as forwards,
has given rise to the fable that they have two heads, one at each
extremity. They are extremely sluggish in their motions, and are
clothed with scales that have the form of small imbedded plates
arranged in rings round the body. The eye is so small as to be
scarcely perceptible. They live habitually in the subterranean
chambers of the Sauba ant; only coming out of their abodes
occasionally in the night time. The natives call the Amphisbaena
the "Mai das Saubas," or Mother of the Saubas, and believe it to
be poisonous, although it is perfectly harmless. It is one of the
many curious animals which have become the subject of mythical
stories with the natives. They say the ants treat it with great
affection, and that if the snake be taken away from a nest, the
Saubas will forsake the spot. I once took one quite whole out of
the body of a young Jararaca, the poisonous species already
alluded to, whose body was so distended with its contents that
the skin was stretched out to a film over the contained
Amphisbaena. I was, unfortunately, not able to ascertain the
exact relation which subsists between these curious snakes and
the Sauba ants. I believe however, they feed upon the Saubas, for
I once found remains of ants in the stomach of one of them. Their
motions are quite peculiar; the undilatable jaws, small eyes and
curious plated integument also distinguish them from other
snakes. These properties have evidently some relation to their
residence in the subterranean abodes of ants. It is now well
ascertained by naturalists, that some of the most anomalous forms
amongst Coleopterous insects are those which live solely in the
nests of ants, and it is curious that an abnormal form of snakes
should also be found in the society of these insects.

The neighbourhood of Para is rich in insects. I do not speak of
the number of individuals, which is probably less than one meets
with, excepting ants and termites, in summer days in temperate
latitudes; but the variety, or in other words, the number of
species, is very great. It will convey some idea of the diversity
of butterflies when I mention that about 700 species of that
tribe are found within an hour's walk of the town; while the
total number found in the British Islands does not exceed 66, and
the whole of Europe supports only 321. Some of the most showy
species, such as the swallow-tailed kinds, Papilio Polycaon,
Thoas, Torquatus, and others, are seen flying about the streets
and gardens; sometimes they come through the open windows,
attracted by flowers in the apartments. Those species of Papilio
which are most characteristic of the country, so conspicuous in
their velvety-black, green, and rose-coloured hues, which
Linnaeus, in pursuance of his elegant system of nomenclature--
naming the different kinds after the heroes of Greek mythology--
called Trojans, never leave the shades of the forest. The
splendid metallic blue Morphos, some of which measure seven
inches in expanse, are generally confined to the shady alleys of
the forest. They sometimes come forth into the broad sunlight.

When we first went to look at our new residence in Nazareth, a
Morpho Menelaus, one of the most beautiful kinds, was seen
flapping its huge wings like a bird along the verandah. This
species, however, although much admired, looks dull in colour by
the side of its congener, the Morpho Rhetenor, whose wings, on
the upper face, are of quite a dazzling lustre. Rhetenor usually
prefers the broad sunny roads in the forest, and is an almost
unattainable prize, on account of its lofty flight, for it very
rarely descends nearer the ground than about twenty feet. When it
comes sailing along, it occasionally flaps its wings, and then
the blue surface flashes in the sunlight, so that it is visible a
quarter of a mile off. There is another species of this genus, of
a satiny-white hue, the Morpho Uraneis; this is equally difficult
to obtain; the male only has the satiny lustre, the female being
of a pale-lavender colour. It is in the height of the dry season
that the greatest number and variety of butterflies are found in
the woods; especially when a shower falls at intervals of a few
days. An infinite number of curious and rare species may then be
taken, most diversified in habits, mode of flight, colours, and
markings: some yellow, others bright red, green, purple, and
blue, and many bordered or spangled with metallic lines and spots
of a silvery or golden lustre. Some have wings transparent as
glass-- one of these clear wings is especially beautiful, namely,
the Hetaira Esmeralda. It has one spot only of opaque colouring
on its wings, which is of a violet and rose hue; this is the only
part visible when the insect is flying low over dead leaves in
the gloomy shades where alone it is found, and it then looks like
a wandering petal of a flower.

Bees and wasps are not especially numerous near Para, and I will
reserve an account of their habits for a future chapter. Many
species of Mygale, those monstrous hairy spiders, half a foot in
expanse, which attract the attention so much in museums, are
found in sandy places at Nazareth. The different kinds have the
most diversified habits. Some construct, amongst the tiles or
thatch of houses, dens of closely-woven web, which, in its
texture, very much resembles fine muslin; these are often seen
crawling over the walls of apartments. Others build similar nests
in trees, and are known to attack birds. One very robust fellow,
the Mygale Blondii, burrows into the earth, forming a broad,
slanting gallery, about two feet long, the sides of which he
lines beautifully with silk. He is nocturnal in his habits. Just
before sunset he may be seen keeping watch within the mouth of
his tunnel, disappearing suddenly when he hears a heavy foot-
tread near his hiding place. The number of spiders ornamented
with showy colours was somewhat remarkable. Some double
themselves up at the base of leaf-stalks, so as to resemble
flower-buds, and thus deceive the insects on which they prey. The
most extraordinary-looking spider was a species of Acrosoma,
which had two curved bronze-coloured spines, an inch and a half
in length, proceeding from the tip of its abdomen. It spins a
large web, the monstrous appendages being apparently no
impediment to it in its work; but what their use can be I am
unable to divine.

Coleoptera, or beetles, at first seemed to be very scarce. This
apparent scarcity has been noticed in other equatorial countries,
and arises, probably, from the great heat of the sun not
permitting them to exist in exposed situations, where they form
such conspicuous objects in Europe. Many hundred species of the
different families can be found when they are patiently searched
for in the shady places to which they are confined. It is vain to
look for the Geodephaga, or carnivorous beetles, under stones, or
anywhere, indeed, in open, sunny places. The terrestrial forms of
this interesting family, which abound in England and temperate
countries generally, are scarce in the neighbourhood of Para; in
fact, I met with only four or five species.

On the other hand, the purely arboreal kinds were rather
numerous. The contrary of this happens in northern latitudes,
where the great majority of the species and genera are
exclusively terrestrial. The arboreal forms are distinguished by
the structure of the feet, which have broad spongy soles and
toothed claws, enabling them to climb over and cling to branches
and leaves. The remarkable scarcity of ground beetles is,
doubtless, attributable to the number of ants and Termites which
people every inch of surface in all shady places, and which would
most likely destroy the larvae of Coleoptera. Moreover, these
active creatures have the same functions as Coleoptera, and thus
render their existence unnecessary. The large proportion of
climbing forms of carnivorous beetles is an interesting fact,
because it affords another instance of the arboreal character
which animal forms tend to assume in equinoctial America, a
circumstance which points to the slow adaptation of the fauna to
a forest-clad country throughout an immense lapse of geological



Preparations for the journey--The Bay of Goajara--Grove of fan-
leaved Palms--The lower Tocantins--Sketch of the River-Vista
Alegre--Baiao--Rapids--Boat journey to the Guariba Falls--Native
Life on the Tocantins--Second journey to Cameta.

August 26th, 1848--Mr. Wallace and I started today on the
excursion ,which I have already mentioned as having been planned
with Mr. Leavens, up the river Tocantins, whose mouth lies about
forty-five miles in a straight line, but eighty miles following
the bends of the river channels to the southwest of Para. This
river, as before stated, has a course of 1600 miles, and stands
third in rank amongst the streams which form the Amazons system.
The preparations for the journey took a great deal of time and
trouble. We had first to hire a proper vessel, a two-masted
vigilinga twenty-seven feet long, with a flat prow and great
breadth of beam and fitted to live in heavy seas; for, although
our voyage was only a river trip, there were vast sea-like
expanses of water to traverse. It was not decked over, but had
two arched awnings formed of strong wickerwork, and thatched with
palm leaves. We then had to store it with provisions for three
months, the time we at first intended to be away; procure the
necessary passports; and, lastly, engage a crew. Mr. Leavens,
having had much experience in the country, managed all these
matters. He brought two Indians from the rice-mills, and these
induced another to enroll himself. We, on our parts, took our
cook Isidoro, and a young Indian lad, named Antonio, who had
attached himself to us in the course of our residence at
Nazareth. Our principal man was Alexandro, one of Mr. Leavens's
Indians. He was an intelligent and well-disposed young Tapuyo, an
expert sailor, and an indefatigable hunter. To his fidelity we
were indebted for being enabled to carry out any of the objects
of our voyage. Being a native of a district near the capital,
Alexandro was a civilised Tapuyo, a citizen as free as his white
neighbours. He spoke only Portuguese. He was a spare-built man,
rather under the middle height, with fine regular features, and,
what was unusual in Indians, the upper lip decorated with a
moustache. Three years afterwards I saw him at Para in the
uniform of the National Guard, and he called on me often to talk
about old times. I esteemed him as a quiet, sensible, manly young

We set sail in the evening, after waiting several hours in vain
for one of our crew. It was soon dark, the wind blew stiffly, and
the tide rushed along with great rapidity, carrying us swiftly
past the crowd of vessels which were anchored in the port. The
canoe rolled a good deal. After we had made five or six miles of
way, the tide turned and we were obliged to cast anchor. Not long
after, we lay ourselves down, all three together, on the mat
which was spread over the floor of our cabin, and soon fell

On awaking at sunrise the next morning, we found ourselves
gliding upwards with the tide, along the Bahia or Bay, as it is
called, of Goajara. This is a broad channel lying between the
mainland and a line of islands which extends some distance beyond
the city. Into it three large rivers discharge their waters,
namely, the Guama, the Acara, and the Moju-- so that it forms a
kind of sub-estuary within the grand estuary of Para. It is
nearly four miles broad. The left bank, along which we were now
sailing, was beautiful in the extreme; not an inch of soil was to
be seen; the water frontage presented a compact wall of rich and
varied forest, resting on the surface of the stream. It seemed to
form a finished border to the water scene, where the dome-like,
rounded shapes of exogenous trees which constituted the mass
formed the groundwork, and the endless diversity of broad-leaved
Heliconiae and Palms--each kind differing in stem, crown, and
fronds--the rich embroidery. The morning was calm and cloudless;
and the slanting beams of the early sun, striking full on the
front of the forest, lighted up the whole most gloriously. The
only sound of life which reached us was the call of the Serracura
(Gallinula Cayennensis), a kind of wild-fowl; all else was so
still that the voices of boatmen could be plainly heard from
canoes passing a mile or two distant from us. The sun soon gains
great power on the water, but with it the sea-breeze increases in
strength, moderating the heat which would otherwise be almost
insupportable. We reached the end of the Goajara about midday,
and then entered the narrower channel of the Moju. Up this we
travelled, partly rowing and partly sailing between the same
unbroken walls of forest, until the morning of the 28th.

August 29th--The Moju, a stream slightly inferior to the Thames
in size, is connected about twenty miles from its mouth by means
of a short, artificial canal with a small stream, the Igarape-
mirim, which flows the opposite way into the water-system of the
Tocantins. Small vessels like ours take this route in preference
to the stormy passage by way of the main river, although the
distance is considerably greater. We passed through the canal
yesterday, and today have been threading our way through a
labyrinth of narrow channels, their banks all clothed with the
same magnificent forest, but agreeably varied by houses of
planters and settlers. We passed many quite large establishments,
besides one pretty little village called Santa Anna. All these
channels are washed through by the tides--the ebb, contrary to
what takes place in the short canal, setting towards the
Tocantins. The water is almost tepid (77 Fahr.), and the rank
vegetation all around seems reeking with moisture. The country
however, as we were told, is perfectly healthy. Some of the
houses are built on wooden piles driven into the mud of the

In the afternoon we reached the end of the last channel, called
the Murut Ipucu, which runs for several miles between two
unbroken lines of fan-leaved palms, forming colossal palisades
with their straight stems . On rounding a point of land, we came
in full view of the Tocantins. The event was announced by one of
our Indians, who was on the lookout at the prow, shouting: "La
esta o Parana-uassu!" "Behold, the great river!" It was a grand
sight- -a broad expanse of dark waters dancing merrily to the
breeze; the opposite shore, a narrow blue line, miles away.

We went ashore on an island covered with palm trees, to make a
fire and boil our kettle for tea. I wandered a short way inland,
and was astounded at the prospect. The land lay below the upper
level of the daily tides, so that there was no underwood, and the
ground was bare. The trees were almost all of one species of
Palm, the gigantic fan-leaved Mauritia flexuosa; only on the
borders was there a small number of a second kind, the equally
remarkable Ubussu palm, Manicaria saccifera. The Ubussu has
erect, uncut leaves, twenty-five feet long, and six feet wide,
all arranged round the top of a four-foot high stem, so as to
form a figure like that of a colossal shuttlecock. The fan-leaved
palms, which clothed nearly the entire islet, had huge
cylindrical smooth stems, three feet in diameter, and about a
hundred feet high. The crowns were formed of enormous clusters of
fan-shaped leaves, the stalks alone of which measured seven to
ten feet in length. Nothing in the vegetable world could be more
imposing than this grove of palms. There was no underwood to
obstruct the view of the long perspective of towering columns.
The crowns, which were densely packed together at an immense
height overhead, shut out the rays of the sun; and the gloomy
solitude beneath, through which the sound of our voices seemed to
reverberate, could be compared to nothing so well as a solemn
temple. The fruits of the two palms were scattered over the
ground; those of the Ubussu adhere together by twos and threes,
and have a rough, brown-coloured shell; the fruit of the
Mauritia, on the contrary, is of a bright red hue, and the skin
is impressed with deep-crossing lines, which give it a
resemblance to a quilted cricket-ball.

About midnight, the tide being favourable and the breeze strong,
we crossed the river, taking it in a slanting direction a
distance of sixteen miles, and arrived at eight o'clock the
following morning at Cameta. This is a town of some importance,
pleasantly situated on the somewhat high terra firma of the left
bank of the Tocantins. I will defer giving an account of the
place till the end of this narrative of our Tocantins voyage. We
lost here another of our men, who got drinking with some old
companions ashore, and were obliged to start on the difficult
journey up the river with two hands only, and they in a very
dissatisfied humour with the prospect.

The river view from Cameta is magnificent. The town is situated,
as already mentioned, on a high bank, which forms quite a
considerable elevation for this flat country, and the broad
expanse of dark-green waters is studded with low, palm-clad
islands-- the prospect down river, however, being clear, or
bounded only by a sea-like horizon of water and sky. The shores
are washed by the breeze-tossed waters into little bays and
creeks, fringed with sandy beaches. The Tocantins has been
likened, by Prince Adalbert of Prussia, who crossed its mouth in
1846, to the Ganges. It is upwards of ten miles in breadth at its
mouth; opposite Cameta it is five miles broad. Mr. Burchell, the
well-known English traveller, descended the river from the mining
provinces of interior Brazil some years before our visit.
Unfortunately, the utility of this fine stream is impaired by the
numerous obstructions to its navigation in the shape of cataracts
and rapids, which commence, in ascending, at about 120 miles
above Cameta, as will be seen in the sequel.

August 30th.--Arrived, in company with Senor Laroque, an
intelligent Portuguese merchant, at Vista Alegre, fifteen miles
above Cameta. This was the residence of Senor Antonio Ferreira
Gomez, and was a fair sample of a Brazilian planter's
establishment in this part of the country. The buildings covered
a wide space, the dwelling-house being separated from the place
of business, and as both were built on low, flooded ground, the
communication between the two was by means of a long wooden
bridge. From the office and visitors' apartments a wooden pier
extended into the river. The whole was raised on piles above the
high-water mark. There was a rude mill for grinding sugar-cane,
worked by bullocks; but cashaca, or rum, was the only article
manufactured from the juice. Behind the buildings was a small
piece of ground cleared from the forest, and planted with fruit
trees-- orange, lemon, genipapa, goyava, and others; and beyond
this, a broad path through a neglected plantation of coffee and
cacao, led to several large sheds, where the farinha, or mandioca
meal, was manufactured. The plantations of mandioca are always
scattered about in the forest, some of them being on islands in
the middle of the river. Land being plentiful, and the plough, as
well as, indeed, nearly all other agricultural implements,
unknown, the same ground is not planted three years together; but
a new piece of forest is cleared every alternate year, and the
old clearing suffered to relapse into jungle.

We stayed here two days, sleeping ashore in the apartment devoted
to strangers. As usual in Brazilian houses of the middle class,
we were not introduced to the female members of the family, and,
indeed, saw nothing of them except at a distance. In the forest
and thickets about the place we were tolerably successful in
collecting, finding a number of birds and insects which do not
occur at Para. I saw here, for the first time, the sky-blue
Chatterer (Ampelis cotinga). It was on the topmost bough of a
very lofty tree, and completely out of the reach of an ordinary
fowling-piece. The beautiful light-blue colour of its plumage was
plainly discernible at that distance. It is a dull, quiet bird. A
much commoner species was the Cigana or Gipsy (Opisthocomus
cristatus), a bird belonging to the same order (Gallinacea) as
our domestic fowl. It is about the size of a pheasant; the
plumage is dark brown, varied with reddish, and the head is
adorned with a crest of long feathers. It is a remarkable bird in
many respects. The hind toe is not placed high above the level of
the other toes, as it is in the fowl order generally, but lies on
the same plane with them; the shape of the foot becomes thus
suited to the purely arboreal habits of the bird, enabling it to
grasp firmly the branches of trees. This is a distinguishing
character of all the birds in equinoctial America which
represents the fowl and pheasant tribes of the old world, and
affords another proof of the adaptation of the fauna to a forest
region. The Cigana lives in considerable flocks on the lower
trees and bushes bordering the streams and lagoons, and feeds on
various wild fruits, especially the sour Goyava (Psidium sp). The
natives say it devours the fruit of arborescent Arums (Caladium
arborescens), which grow in crowded masses around the swampy
banks of lagoons. Its voice is a harsh, grating hiss; it makes
the noise when alarmed or when disturbed by passing canoes, all
the individuals sibilating as they fly heavily away from tree to
tree. It is polygamous, like other members of the same order. It
is never, however, by any chance, seen on the ground, and is
nowhere domesticated. The flesh has an unpleasant odour of musk
combined with wet hides--a smell called by the Brazilians
catinga; it is, therefore, uneatable. If it be as unpalatable to
carnivorous animals as it is to man, the immunity from
persecution which it would thereby enjoy would account for its
existing in such great numbers throughout the country.

We lost another of our crew here; and thus, at the commencement
of our voyage, had before us the prospect of being forced to
return, from sheer want of hands, to manage the canoe. Senor
Gomez, to whom we had brought letters of introduction from Senor
Joao Augusto Correia, a Brazilian gentlemen of high standing at
Para, tried what he could do to induce the canoe-men of his
neighbourhood to engage with us, but it was a vain endeavour. The
people of these parts seemed to be above working for wages. They
are naturally indolent, and besides, have all some little
business or plantation of their own, which gives them a
livelihood with independence. It is difficult to obtain hands
under any circumstances, but it was particularly so in our case,
from being foreigners, and suspected, as was natural amongst
ignorant people, of being strange in our habits. At length, our
host lent us two of his slaves to help us on another stage,
namely, to the village of Baiao, where we had great hopes of
having this, our urgent want, supplied by the military commandant
of the district.

September 2nd--The distance from Vista Alegre to Baiao is about
twenty-five miles. We had but little wind, and our men were
therefore obliged to row the greater part of the way. The oars
used in such canoes as ours are made by tying a stout paddle to
the end of a long pole by means of woody lianas. The men take
their stand on a raised deck, formed by a few rough planks placed
over the arched covering in the fore part of the vessel, and pull
with their backs to the stern. We started at six a.m., and about
sunset reached a point where the west channel of the river, along
which we had been travelling since we left Cameta, joined a
broader middle one, and formed with it a great expanse of water.
The islands here seem to form two pretty regular lines, dividing
the great river into three channels. As we progressed slowly, we
took the montaria, and went ashore, from time to time, to the
houses, which were numerous on the river banks as well as on the
larger islands. In low situations they had a very unfinished
appearance, being mere frameworks raised high on wooden piles,
and thatched with the leaves of the Ubussu palm. In their
construction another palm tree is made much use of, viz., the
Assai (Euterpe oleracea). The outer part of the stem of this
species is hard and tough as horn-- it is split into narrow
planks, and these form a great portion of the walls and flooring.
The residents told us that the western channel becomes nearly dry
in the middle of the fine season, but that at high water, in
April and May, the river rises to the level of the house floors.
The river bottom is everywhere sandy, and the country perfectly
healthy. The people seemed to all be contented and happy, but
idleness and poverty were exhibited by many unmistakeable signs.
As to the flooding of their island abodes, they did not seem to
care about that at all. They seem to be almost amphibious, or as
much at home on the water as on land. It was really quite
alarming to see men and women and children, in little leaky
canoes laden to the water-level with bag and baggage, crossing
broad reaches of river.

Most of them have houses also on the terra firma, and reside in
the cool palm swamps of the Ygapo islands, as they are called,
only in the hot and dry season. They live chiefly on fish,
shellfish (amongst which were large Ampullariae, whose flesh I
found, on trial, to be a very tough morsel), the never failing
farinha, and the fruits of the forest. Among the latter, the
fruits of palm trees occupied the chief place. The Assai is the
most in use, but this forms a universal article of diet in all
parts of the country. The fruit, which is perfectly round, and
about the size of a cherry, contains but a small portion of pulp
lying between the skin and the hard kernel. This is made, with
the addition of water, into a thick, violet-coloured beverage,
which stains the lips like blackberries. The fruit of the Miriti
is also a common article of food, although the pulp is sour and
unpalatable, at least to European tastes. It is boiled, and then
eaten with farinha. The Tucuma (Astrocaryum tucuma), and the
Mucuja (Acrocomia lasiospatha), grow only on the mainland. Their
fruits yield a yellowish, fibrous pulp, which the natives eat in
the same way as the Miriti. They contain so much fatty matter,
that vultures and dogs devour them greedily.

Early on the morning of September 3rd we reached the right or
eastern bank, which is forty to sixty feet high at this point.
The houses were more substantially built than those we had
hitherto seen. We succeeded in buying a small turtle; most of the
inhabitants had a few of these animals, which they kept in little
enclosures made with stakes. The people were of the same class
everywhere, Mamelucos. They were very civil; we were not able,
however, to purchase much fresh food from them. I think this was
owing to their really not having more than was absolutely
required to satisfy their own needs. In these districts, where
the people depend solely on fishing for animal food, there is a
period of the year when they suffer hunger, so that they are
disposed to highly prize a small stock when they have it. They
generally answered in the negative when we asked, money in hand,
whether they had fowls, turtles, or eggs to sell. "Nao ha, sinto
que nao posso lhe ser bom"; or, "Nao ha, men coracao-- we have
none; I am sorry I cannot oblige you"; or, "There is none, my

Sept. 3rd to 7th.--At half-past eight a.m. we arrived at Baiao,
which is built on a very high bank, and contains about 400
inhabitants. We had to climb to the village up a ladder, which is
fixed against the bank, and, on arriving at the top, took
possession of a room, which Senhor Seixas had given orders to be
prepared for us. He himself was away at his sitio, and would not
be here until the next day. We were now quite dependent upon him
for men to enable us to continue our voyage, and so had no remedy
but to wait his leisure. The situation of the place, and the
nature of the woods around it, promised well for novelties in
birds and insects; so we had no reason to be vexed at the delay,
but brought our apparatus and store-boxes up from the canoe, and
set to work.

The easy, lounging life of the people amused us very much. I
afterwards had plenty of time to become used to tropical village
life. There is a free, familiar, pro-bono publico style of living
in these small places, which requires some time for a European to
fall into. No sooner were we established in our rooms, than a
number of lazy young fellows came to look on and make remarks,
and we had to answer all sorts of questions. The houses have
their doors and windows open to the street, and people walk in
and out as they please; there is always, however, a more secluded
apartment, where the female members of the families reside. In
their familiarity there is nothing intentionally offensive, and
it is practised simply in the desire to be civil and sociable. A
young Mameluco, named Soares, an Escrivao, or public clerk, took
me into his house to show me his library. I was rather surprised
to see a number of well-thumbed Latin classics: Virgil, Terence,
Cicero's Epistles, and Livy. I was not familiar enough, at this
early period of my residence in the country, with Portuguese to
converse freely with Senhor Scares, or ascertain what use he made
of these books; it was an unexpected sight, a classical library
in a mud-plastered and palm-thatched hut on the banks of the

The prospect from the village was magnificent, over the green
wooded islands, far away to the grey line of forest on the
opposite shore of the Tocantins. We were now well out of the low
alluvial country of the Amazons proper, and the climate was
evidently much drier than it is near Para. They had had no rain
here for many weeks, and the atmosphere was hazy around the
horizon-- so much so that the sun, before setting, glared like a
blood-red globe. At Para this never happens; the stars and sun
are as clear and sharply defined when they peep above the distant
treetops as they are at the zenith. This beautiful transparency
of the air arises, doubtless, from the equal distribution through
it of invisible vapour. I shall ever remember, in one of my
voyages along the Para river, the grand spectacle that was once
presented at sunrise. Our vessel was a large schooner, and we
were bounding along before a spanking breeze, which tossed the
waters into foam as the day dawned. So clear was the air, that
the lower rim of the full moon remained sharply defined until it
touched the western horizon, while at the same time, the sun rose
in the east. The two great orbs were visible at the same time,
and the passage from the moonlit night to day was so gentle that
it seemed to be only the brightening of dull weather.

The woods around Baiao were of second growth, the ground having
been formerly cultivated. A great number of coffee and cotton
trees grew amongst the thickets. A fine woodland pathway extends
for miles over the high, undulating bank, leading from one house
to another along the edge of the cliff. I went into several of
them, and talked to their inmates. They were all poor people. The
men were out fishing, some far away, a distance of many days
journey; the women plant mandioca, make the farinha, spin and
weave cotton, manufacture soap of burnt cacao shells and andiroba
oil, and follow various other domestic employments. I asked why
they allowed their plantations to run to waste. They said that it
was useless trying to plant anything hereabout; the Sauba ant
devoured the young coffee trees, and everyone who attempted to
contend against this universal ravager was sure to be defeated.
The country, for many miles along the banks of the river, seemed
to be well peopled. The inhabitants were nearly all of the tawny-
white Mameluco class. I saw a good many mulattos, but very few
negroes and Indians, and none that could be called pure whites.

When Senor Seixas arrived, he acted very kindly. He provided us
at once with two men, killed an ox in our honour, and treated us
altogether with great consideration. We were not, however,
introduced to his family. I caught a glimpse once of his wife, a
pretty little Mameluco woman, as she was tripping with a young
girl, whom I supposed to be her daughter, across the backyard.
Both wore long dressing-gowns made of bright-coloured calico
print, and had long wooden tobacco-pipes in their mouths. The
room in which we slept and worked had formerly served as a
storeroom for cacao, and at night I was kept awake for hours by
rats and cockroaches, which swarm in all such places. The latter
were running about all over the walls; now and then one would
come suddenly with a whirr full at my face, and get under my
shirt if I attempted to jerk it off. As to the rats, they were
chasing one another by the dozens all night long over the floor,
up and down the edges of the doors, and along the rafters of the
open roof.

September 7th.--We started from Baiao at an early hour. One of
our new men was a good-humoured, willing young mulatto named
Jose; the other was a sulky Indian called Manoel, who seemed to
have been pressed into our service against his will. Senor
Seixas, on parting, sent a quantity of fresh provisions on board.
A few miles above Baiao the channel became very shallow; we ran
aground several times, and the men had to disembark and shove the
vessel off. Alexandro shot several fine fish here, with bow and
arrow. It was the first time I had seen fish captured in this
way. The arrow is a reed, with a steel barbed point, which is
fixed in a hole at the end, and secured by fine twine made from
the fibres of pineapple leaves. It is only in the clearest water
that fish can be thus shot--and the only skill required is to
make, in taking aim, the proper allowance for refraction.

The next day before sunrise a fine breeze sprang up, and the men
awoke and set the sails. We glided all day through channels
between islands with long, white, sandy beaches, over which, now
and then, aquatic and wading birds were seen running. The forest
was low, and had a harsh, dry aspect. Several palm trees grew
here which we had not before seen. On low bushes, near the water,
pretty, red-headed tanagers (Tanagra gularis) were numerous,
flitting about and chirping like sparrows. About half-past four
p.m., we brought to at the mouth of a creek or channel, where
there was a great extent of sandy beach. The sand had been blown
by the wind into ridges and undulations, and over the more moist
parts, large flocks of sandpipers were running about. Alexandro
and I had a long ramble over the rolling plain, which came as an
agreeable change after the monotonous forest scenery amid which
we had been so long travelling. He pointed out to me the tracks
of a huge jaguar on the sand. We found here, also, our first
turtle's nest, and obtained 120 eggs from it, which were laid at
a depth of nearly two feet from the surface-- the mother first
excavating a hole and afterwards, covering it up with sand. The
place is discoverable only by following the tracks of the turtle
from the water. I saw here an alligator for the first time, which
reared its head and shoulders above the water just after I had
taken a bath near the spot. The night was calm and cloudless, and
we employed the hours before bedtime in angling by moonlight.

On the 10th, we reached a small settlement called Patos,
consisting of about a dozen houses, and built on a high, rocky
bank, on the eastern shore. The rock is the same nodular
conglomerate which is found at so many places, from the seacoast
to a distance of 600 miles up the Amazons. Mr. Leavens made a
last attempt here to engage men to accompany us to the Araguaya,
but it was in vain; not a soul could be induced by any amount of
wages to go on such an expedition. The reports as to the
existence of cedar were very vague. All said that the tree was
plentiful somewhere, but no one could fix on the precise
locality. I believe that the cedar grows, like all other forest
trees, in a scattered way, and not in masses anywhere. The fact
of its being the principal tree observed floating down with the
current of the Amazons is to be explained by its wood being much
lighter than that of the majority of trees. When the banks are
washed away by currents, trees of all species fall into the
river; but the heavier ones, which are the most numerous, sink,
and the lighter, such as the cedar, alone float down to the sea.

Mr. Leavens was told that there were cedar trees at Trocara, on
the opposite side of the river, near some fine rounded hills
covered with forest, visible from Patos; so there we went. We
found here several families encamped in a delightful spot. The
shore sloped gradually down to the water, and was shaded by a few
wide-spreading trees. There was no underwood. A great number of
hammocks were seen slung between the tree trunks, and the litter
of a numerous household lay scattered about. Women, old and
young, some of the latter very good-looking, and a large number
of children, besides pet animals, enlivened the encampment. They
were all half-breeds, simple, well-disposed people, and explained
to us that they were inhabitants of Cameta, who had come thus
far, eighty miles, to spend the summer months. The only motive
they could give for coming was that: "it was so hot in the town
in the verao (summer), and they were all so fond of fresh fish."

Thus, these simple folks think nothing of leaving home and
business to come on a three months' picnic. It is the annual
custom of this class of people throughout the province to spend a
few months of the fine season in the wilder parts of the country.
They carry with them all the farinha they can scrape together,
this being the only article of food necessary to provide. The men
hunt and fish for the day's wants, and sometimes collect a little
India-rubber, salsaparilla, or copaiba oil, to sell to traders on
their return; the women assist in paddling the canoes, do the
cooking, and sometimes fish with rod and line. The weather is
enjoyable the whole time, and so days and weeks pass happily

One of the men volunteered to walk with us into the forest, and
show us a few cedar trees. We passed through a mile or two of
spiny thickets, and at length came upon the banks of the rivulet
Trocara, which flows over a stony bed, and, about a mile above
its mouth, falls over a ledge of rocks, thus forming a very
pretty cascade. In the neighbourhood, we found a number of
specimens of a curious land-shell, a large flat Helix, with a
labyrinthine mouth (Anastoma). We learned afterwards that it was
a species which had been discovered a few years previously by Dr.
Gardner, the botanist, on the upper part of the Tocantins.

We saw here, for the first time, the splendid Hyacinthine macaw
(Macrocercus hyacinthinus, Lath., the Araruna of the natives),
one of the finest and rarest species of the Parrot family. It
only occurs in the interior of Brazil, from 16' S. lat. to the
southern border of the Amazons valley. It is three feet long from
the beak to the tip of the tail, and is entirely of a soft
hyacinthine blue colour, except round the eyes, where the skin is
naked and white. It flies in pairs, and feeds on the hard nuts of
several palms, but especially of the Mucuja (Acrocomia
lasiospatha). These nuts, which are so hard as to be difficult to
break with a heavy hammer, are crushed to a pulp by the powerful
beak of this macaw.

Mr. Leavens was thoroughly disgusted with the people of Patos.
Two men had come from below with the intention, I believe, of
engaging with us, but they now declined. The inspector,
constable, or governor of the place appeared to be a very
slippery customer, and I fancy discouraged the men from going,
whilst making a great show of forwarding our views. These
outlying settlements are the resort of a number of idle,
worthless characters. There was a kind of festival going on, and
the people fuddled themselves with cashiri, an intoxicating drink
invented by the Indians. It is made by soaking mandioca cakes in
water until fermentation takes place, and tastes like new beer.

Being unable to obtain men, Mr. Leavens now gave up his project
of ascending the river as far as the Araguaya. He assented to our
request, however, to ascend to the cataracts near Arroyos. We
started, therefore, from Patos with a more definite aim before us
than we had hitherto. The river became more picturesque as we
advanced. The water was very low, it being now the height of the
dry reason; the islands were smaller than those further down, and
some of them were high and rocky. Bold wooded bluffs projected
into the stream, and all the shores were fringed with beaches of
glistening white sand. On one side of the river there was an
extensive grassy plain or campo with isolated patches of trees
scattered over it. On the 14th and following day we stopped
several times to ramble ashore. Our longest excursion was to a
large shallow lagoon, choked up with aquatic plants, which lay
about two miles across the campo. At a place called Juquerapua,
we engaged a pilot to conduct us to Arroyos, and a few miles
above the pilot's house, arrived at a point where it was not
possible to advance further in our large canoe on account of the

September 16th.--Embarked at six a.m. in a large montaria which
had been lent to us for this part of our voyage by Senor Seixas,
leaving the vigilinga anchored close to a rocky islet, named
Santa Anna, to await our return. Isidoro was left in charge, and
we were sorry to be obliged to leave behind also our mulatto
Jose, who had fallen ill since leaving Baiao. We had then
remaining only Alexandro, Manoel, and the pilot, a sturdy Tapuyo
named Joaquim-- scarcely a sufficient crew to paddle against the
strong currents.

At ten a.m. we arrived at the first rapids, which are called
Tapaiunaquara. The river, which was here about a mile wide, was
choked up with rocks, a broken ridge passing completely across
it. Between these confused piles of stone the currents were
fearfully strong, and formed numerous eddies and whirlpools. We
were obliged to get out occasionally and walk from rock to rock,
whilst the men dragged the canoe over the obstacles. Beyond
Tapaiunaquara, the stream became again broad and deep, and the
river scenery was beautiful in the extreme. The water was clear
and of a bluish-green colour. On both sides of the stream
stretched ranges of wooded hills, and in the middle picturesque
islets rested on the smooth water, whose brilliant green woods
fringed with palms formed charming bits of foreground to the
perspective of sombre hills fading into grey in the distance.
Joaquim pointed out to us grove after grove of Brazil nut trees
(Bertholletia excelsa) on the mainland. This is one of the chief
collecting grounds for this nut. The tree is one of the loftiest
in the forest, towering far above its fellows; we could see the
woody fruits, large and round as cannon-balls, dotted over the
branches. The currents were very strong in some places, so that
during the greater part of the way the men preferred to travel
near the shore, and propel the boat by means of long poles.

We arrived at Arroyos about four o'clock in the afternoon, after
ten hours' hard pull. The place consists simply of a few houses
built on a high bank, and forms a station where canoemen from the
mining countries of the interior of Brazil stop to rest
themselves before or after surmounting the dreaded falls and
rapids of Guaribas, situated a couple of miles further up. We
dined ashore, and in the evening again embarked to visit the
falls. The vigorous and successful way in which our men battled
with the terrific currents excited our astonishment. The bed of
the river, here about a mile wide, is strewn with blocks of
various sizes, which lie in the most irregular manner, and
between them rush currents of more or less rapidity. With an
accurate knowledge of the place and skillful management, the
falls can be approached in small canoes by threading the less
dangerous channels. The main fall is about a quarter of a mile
wide; we climbed to an elevation overlooking it, and had a good
view of the cataract. A body of water rushes with terrific force
down a steep slope, and boils up with deafening roar around the
boulders which obstruct its course. The wildness of the whole
scene was very impressive. As far as the eye could see, stretched
range after range of wooded hills and scores of miles of
beautiful wilderness, inhabited only by scanty tribes of wild
Indians. In the midst of such a solitude, the roar of the
cataract seemed fitting music.

September 17th.--We commenced early in the morning our downward
voyage. Arroyos is situated in about 4 10' S. lat.; and lies,
therefore, about 130 miles from the mouth of the Tocantins.
Fifteen miles above Guaribas, another similar cataract called
Tabocas lies across the river. We were told that there were in
all fifteen of these obstructions to navigate, between Arroyos
and the mouth of the Araguaya. The worst was the Inferno, the
Guaribas standing second to it in evil reputation. Many canoes
and lives have been lost here, most of the accidents arising
through the vessels being hurled against an enormous cubical mass
of rock called the Guaribinha, which we, on our trip to the falls
in the small canoe, passed round with the greatest ease about a
quarter of a mile below the main falls. This, however, was the
dry season; in the time of full waters, a tremendous current sets
against it. We descended the river rapidly, and found it
excellent fun shooting the rapids. The men seemed to delight in
choosing the swiftest parts of the current; they sang and yelled
in the greatest excitement, working the paddles with great force,
and throwing clouds of spray above us as we bounded downwards. We
stopped to rest at the mouth of a rivulet named Caganxa. The
pilot told us that gold had been found in the bed of this brook;
so we had the curiosity to wade several hundred yards through the
icy cold waters in search of it. Mr. Leavens seemed very much
interested in the matter. He picked up all the shining stones he
could espy in the pebbly bottom, in hopes of finding diamonds
also. There is, in fact, no reason why both gold and diamonds
should not be found here, the hills being a continuation of those
of the mining countries of interior Brazil, and the brooks
flowing through the narrow valleys between them.

On arriving at the place where we had left our canoe, we found
poor Jose the mulatto much worse, so we hastened on to Juquerapua
to procure aid. An old half-caste woman took charge of him; she
made poultices of the pulp of a wild fruit, administered cooling
draughts made from herbs which grew near the house, and in fact,
acted the part of nurse admirably. We stayed at this place all
night and part of the following day, and I had a stroll along a
delightful pathway, which led over hill and dale, two or three
miles through the forest. I was surprised at the number and
variety of brilliantly-coloured butterflies; they were all of
small size and started forth from the low bushes, which bordered
the road, at every step I took. I first heard here the notes of a
trogon; it was seated alone on a branch, at no great elevation; a
beautiful bird, with glossy-green back and rose-coloured breast
(probably Trogon melanurus). At intervals it uttered, in a
complaining tone, a sound resembling the words "qua, qua." It is
a dull inactive bird, and not very ready to take flight when
approached. In this respect, however, the trogons are not equal
to the jacamars, whose stupidity in remaining at their posts,
seated on low branches in the gloomiest shades of the forest, is
somewhat remarkable in a country where all other birds are
exceedingly wary. One species of jacamar was not uncommon here
(Galbula viridis); I sometimes saw two or three together seated
on a slender branch, silent and motionless with the exception of
a slight movement of the head; when an insect flew past within a
short distance, one of the birds would dart off, seize it, and
return again to its sitting-place. The trogons are found in the
tropics of both hemispheres. The jacamars, which are clothed in
plumage of the most beautiful golden-bronze and steel colours,
are peculiar to tropical America.

At night I slept ashore as a change from the confinement of the
canoe, having obtained permission from Senor Joaquim to sling my
hammock under his roof. The house, like all others in these out-
of-the-way parts of the country, was a large open, palm-thatched
shed, having one end enclosed by means of partitions also made of
palm-leaves, so as to form a private apartment. Under the shed
were placed all the household utensils-- earthenware jars, pots,
and kettles, hunting and fishing implements, paddles, bows and
arrows, harpoons, and so forth. One or two common wooden chests
serve to contain the holiday clothing of the females. There is no
other furniture except a few stools and the hammock, which
answers the purposes of chair and sofa. When a visitor enters, he
is asked to sit down in a hammock; persons who are on intimate
terms with each other recline together in the same hammock, one
at each end. This is a very convenient arrangement for friendly
conversation. There are neither tables nor chairs; the cloth for
meals is spread on a mat, and the guests squat round in any
position they choose. There is no cordiality of manners, but the
treatment of the guests shows a keen sense of the duties of
hospitality on the part of the host. There is a good deal of
formality in the intercourse of these half-wild mamelucos, which,
I believe, has been chiefly derived from their Indian
forefathers, although a little of it may have been copied from
the Portuguese.

A little distance from the house were the open sheds under which
the farinha for the use of the establishment was manufactured. In
the centre of each shed stood the shallow pans, made of clay and
built over ovens, where the meal is roasted. A long flexible
cylinder made of the peel of a marantaceous plant, plaited into
the proper form, hung suspended from a beam; it is in this that
the pulp of the mandioca is pressed, and from it the juice, which
is of a highly poisonous nature, although the pulp is wholesome
food, runs into pans placed beneath to receive it. A wooden
trough, such as is used in all these places for receiving the
pulp before the poisonous matter is extracted, stood on the
ground, and from the posts hung the long wicker-work baskets, or
aturas, in which the women carry the roots from the roca or
clearing; a broad ribbon made from the inner bark of the monguba
tree is attached to the rims of the baskets, and is passed round
the forehead of the carriers, to relieve their backs in
supporting the heavy load. Around the shed were planted a number
of banana and other fruit trees; among them were the never-
failing capsicum-pepper bushes, brilliant as holly-trees at
Christmas time with their fiery-red fruit, and lemon trees; the
one supplying the pungent, the other the acid, for sauce to the
perpetual meal of fish. There is never in such places any
appearance of careful cultivation-- no garden or orchard. The
useful trees are surrounded by weeds and bushes, and close behind
rises the everlasting forest.

There were other strangers under Senor Joaquim's roof besides
myself--mulattos, mamelucos, and Indian,--so we formed altogether
a large party. Houses occur at rare intervals in this wild
country, and hospitality is freely given to the few passing
travellers. After a frugal supper, a large wood fire was lighted
in the middle of the shed, and all turned in to their hammocks,
and began to converse. A few of the party soon dropped asleep;
others, however, kept awake until a very late hour telling
stories. Some related adventures which had happened to them while
hunting or fishing; others recounted myths about the Curupira,
and other demons or spirits of the forest. They were all very
appropriate to the time and place, for now and then a yell or a
shriek resounded through the gloomy wilderness around the shed.
One old parchment-faced fellow, with a skin the colour of
mahogany, seemed to be a capital story-teller; but I was sorry I
did not know enough of the language to follow him in all the
details which he gave. Amongst other things, he related an
adventure he had once had with a jaguar. He got up from his
hammock in the course of the narrative to give it the greater
effect by means of gestures; he seized a bow and a large taquara
arrow to show how he slew the beast, imitated its hoarse growl,
and danced about the fire like a demon.

In descending the river we landed frequently, and Mr. Wallace and
I lost no chance of adding to our collections, so that before the
end of our journey, we had got together a very considerable
number of birds, insects, and shells, chiefly taken, however, in
the low country. Leaving Baiao, we took our last farewell of the
limpid waters and varied scenery of the upper river, and found
ourselves again in the humid flat region of the Amazons valley.
We sailed down this lower part of the river by a different
channel from the one we travelled along in ascending, and
frequently went ashore on the low islands in mid-river. As
already stated, these are covered with water in the wet season;
but at this time, there having been three months of fine weather,
they were dry throughout, and by the subsidence of the waters,
placed four or five feet above the level of the river. They are
covered with a most luxuriant forest, comprising a large number
of india-rubber trees. We found several people encamped here, who
were engaged in collecting and preparing the rubber, and thus had
an opportunity of observing the process.

The tree which yields this valuable sap is the Siphonia elastica,
a member of the Euphorbiaceous order; it belongs, therefore, to a
group of plants quite different from that which furnishes the
caoutchouc of the East Indies and Africa. This latter is the
product of different species of Ficus, and is considered, I
believe, in commerce, an inferior article to the India-rubber of
Para. The Siphonia elastica grows only on the lowlands in the
Amazons region; hitherto, the rubber has been collected chiefly
in the islands and swampy parts of the mainland within a distance
of fifty to a hundred miles to the west of Para; but there are
plenty of untapped trees still growing in the wilds of the
Tapajos, Madeira, Jurua, and Jauari, as far as 1800 miles from
the Atlantic coast. The tree is not remarkable in appearance; in
bark and foliage it is not unlike the European ash. But the
trunk, like that of all forest trees, shoots up to an immense
height before throwing off branches. The trees seem to be no
man's property hereabout. The people we met with told us they
came every year to collect rubber on these islands as soon as the
waters had subsided, namely in August, and remained until January
or February.

The process is very simple. Every morning each person, man or
woman, to whom is allotted a certain number of trees, goes the
round of the whole and collects in a large vessel the milky sap
which trickles from gashes made in the bark on the preceding
evening, and which is received in little clay cups, or in
ampullaria shells stuck beneath the wounds. The sap, which at
first is of the consistence of cream, soon thickens; the
collectors are provided with a great number of wooden moulds of
the shape in which the rubber is wanted, and when they return to
the camp, they dip them into the liquid, laying on, in the course
of several days, one coat after another. When this is done, the
substance is white and hard; the proper colour and consistency
are given by passing it repeatedly through a thick black smoke
obtained by burning the nuts of certain palm trees, after which
process the article is ready for sale.

India-rubber is known throughout the province only by the name of
seringa, the Portuguese word for syringe; it owes this
appellation to the circumstance that it was only in this form
that the first Portuguese settlers noticed it to be employed by
the aborigines. It is said that the Indians were first taught to
make syringes of rubber by seeing natural tubes formed by it when
the spontaneously-flowing sap gathered round projecting twigs.
Brazilians of all classes still use it extensively in the form of
syringes, for injections form a great feature in the popular
system of cures; the rubber for this purpose is made into a pear-
shaped bottle, and a quill fixed in the long neck.

September 24th.--Opposite Cameta, the islands are all planted
with cacao, the tree which yields the chocolate nut. The forest
is not cleared for the purpose, but the cacao plants are stuck in
here and there almost at random amongst the trees. There are many
houses on the banks of the river, all elevated above the swampy
soil on wooden piles, and furnished with broad ladders by which
to mount to the ground floor. As we passed by in our canoe, we
could see the people at their occupations in the open verandas,
and in one place saw a ball going on in broad daylight; there
were fiddles and guitars hard at work, and a number of lads in
white shirts and trousers dancing with brown damsels clad in
showy print dresses. The cacao tree produces a curious impression
on account of the flowers and fruit growing directly out of the
trunk and branches. There is a whole group of wild fruit trees
which have the same habit in this country. In the wildernesses
where the cacao is planted, the collecting of the fruit is
dangerous due to the number of poisonous snakes which inhabit the
places. One day, when we were running our montaria to a landing-
place, we saw a large serpent on the trees overhead as we were
about to brush past; the boat was stopped just in the nick of
time, and Mr. Leavens brought the reptile down with a charge of

September 26th.--At length we got clear of the islands, and saw
once more before us the sea-like expanse of waters which forms
the mouth of the Tocantins. The river had now sunk to its lowest
point, and numbers of fresh-water dolphins were rolling about in
shoaly places. There are here two species, one of which was new
to science when I sent specimens to England; it is called the
Tucuxi (Steno tucuxi of Gray). When it comes to the surface to
breathe, it rises horizontally, showing first its back fin, then
draws an inspiration, and dives gently down, head foremost. This
mode of proceeding distinguishes the Tucuxi at once from the
other species, which is called Bouto or porpoise by the natives
(Inia Geoffroyi of Desmarest). When this rises the top of the
head is the part first seen; it then blows, and immediately
afterwards dips head downwards, its back curving over, exposing
successively the whole dorsal ridge with its fin. It seems thus
to pitch heels over head, but does not show the tail fin. Besides
this peculiar motion, it is distinguished from the Tucuxi by its
habit of generally going in pairs. Both species are exceedingly
numerous throughout the Amazons and its larger tributaries, but
they are nowhere more plentiful than in the shoaly water at the
mouth of the Tocantins, especially in the dry season. In the
Upper Amazons a third pale flesh-coloured species is also
abundant (the Delphinus pallidus of Gervais). With the exception
of a species found in the Ganges, all other varieties of dolphin
inhabit the sea exclusively. In the broader parts of the Amazons,
from its mouth to a distance of fifteen hundred miles in the
interior, one or other of the three kinds here mentioned are
always heard rolling, blowing, and snorting, especially at night,
and these noises contribute much to the impression of sea-wide
vastness and desolation which haunts the traveller. Besides
dolphins in the water, frigate birds in the air are
characteristic of this lower part of the Tocantins. Flocks of
them were seen the last two or three days of our journey,
hovering above at an immense height. Towards night, we were
obliged to cast anchor over a shoal in the middle of the river to
await the ebb tide. The wind blew very strongly, and this,
together with the incoming flow, caused such a heavy sea that it
was impossible to sleep. The vessel rolled and pitched until
every bone in our bodies ached with the bumps we received, and we
were all more or less seasick. On the following day we entered
the Anapu, and on the 30th September, after threading again the
labyrinth of channels communicating between the Tocantins and the
Moju, arrived at Para.

I will now give a short account of Cameta, the principal town on
the banks of the Tocantins, which I visited for the second time,
in June,1849. Mr. Wallace, in the same month, departed from Para
to explore the rivers Guama and Capim. I embarked as passenger in
a Cameta trading vessel, the St. John, a small schooner of thirty
tons burthen. I had learnt by this time that the only way to
attain the objects for which I had come to this country was to
accustom myself to the ways of life of the humbler classes of the
inhabitants. A traveller on the Amazons gains little by being
furnished with letters of recommendation to persons of note, for
in the great interior wildernesses of forest and river the
canoemen have pretty much their own way; the authorities cannot
force them to grant passages or to hire themselves to travellers,
and therefore, a stranger is obliged to ingratiate himself with
them in order to get conveyed from place to place. I thoroughly
enjoyed the journey to Cameta; the weather was again beautiful in
the extreme. We started from Para at sunrise on the 8th of June,
and on the 10th emerged from the narrow channels of the Anapu
into the broad Tocantins. The vessel was so full of cargo that
there was no room to sleep in the cabin; so we passed the nights
on deck. The captain or supercargo, called in Portuguese cabo,
was a mameluco, named Manoel, a quiet, good-humoured person, who
treated me with the most unaffected civility during the three
days' journey. The pilot was also a mameluco, named John Mendez,
a handsome young fellow, full of life and spirit. He had on board
a wire guitar or viola, as it is here called; and in the bright
moonlight nights, as we lay at anchor hour after hour waiting for
the tide, he enlivened us all with songs and music. He was on the
best of terms with the cabo, both sleeping in the same hammock
slung between the masts. I passed the nights wrapped in an old
sail outside the roof of the cabin. The crew, five in number,
were Indians and half-breeds, all of whom treated their two
superiors with the most amusing familiarity, yet I never sailed
in a better managed vessel than the St. John.

In crossing to Cameta we had to await the flood-tide in a channel
called Entre-as-Ilhas, which lies between two islands in mid-
river, and John Mendez, being in good tune, gave us an extempore
song, consisting of a great number of verses. The crew lay about
the deck listening, and all joined in the chorus. Some stanzas
related to me, telling how I had come all the way from
"Inglaterra," to skin monkeys and birds and catch insects; the
last-mentioned employment of course giving ample scope for fun.
He passed from this to the subject of political parties in
Cameta; and then, as all the hearers were Cametaenses and
understood the hits, there were roars of laughter, some of them
rolling over and over on the deck, so much were they tickled.
Party spirit runs high at Cameta, not merely in connection with
local politics, but in relation to affairs of general concern,
such as the election of members to the Imperial Parliament, and
so forth. This political strife is partly attributable to the
circumstance that a native of Cameta, Dr. Angelo Custodio
Correia, had been in almost every election, one of the candidates
for the representation of the province. I fancied these shrewd
but unsophisticated canoe-men saw through the absurdities
attending these local contests, and hence their inclination to
satirise them; they were, however, evidently partisans of Dr.
Angelo. The brother of Dr. Angelo, Joao Augusto Correia, a
distinguished merchant, was an active canvasser. The party of the
Correias was the Liberal, or, as it is called throughout Brazil,
the Santa Luzia faction; the opposite side, at the head of which
was one Pedro Moraes, was the Conservative, or Saquarema party. I
preserved one of the stanzas of the song, which, however, does
not contain much point; it ran thus:

Ora pana, tana pana!, pana tana, Joao Augusto he bonito e homem
pimpao, Mas Pedro he feio e hum grande ladrao, (Chorus) Ora pana,

John Augustus is handsome and as a man ought to be, But Peter is
ugly and a great thief. (Chorus) Ora pana, etc.

The canoe-men of the Amazons have many songs and choruses, with
which they are in the habit of relieving the monotony of their
slow voyages, and which are known all over the interior. The
choruses consist of a simple strain, repeated almost to
weariness, and sung generally in unison, but sometimes with an
attempt at harmony. There is a wildness and sadness about the
tunes which harmonise well with, and in fact are born of, the
circumstances of the canoe-man's life: the echoing channels, the
endless gloomy forests, the solemn nights, and the desolate
scenes of broad and stormy waters and falling banks. Whether they
were invented by the Indians or introduced by the Portuguese it
is hard to decide, as many of the customs of the lower classes of
Portuguese are so similar to those of the Indians that they have
become blended with them. One of the commonest songs is very wild
and pretty. It has for refrain the words "Mai, Mai" ("Mother,
Mother"), with a long drawl on the second word. The stanzas are
quite variable; the best wit on board starts the verse,
improvising as he goes on, and the others join in the chorus.
They all relate to the lonely river life and the events of the
voyage-- the shoals, the wind, how far they shall go before they
stop to sleep, and so forth. The sonorous native names of places,
Goajara, Tucumanduba, etc., add greatly to the charm of the wild
music. Sometimes they bring in the stars thus:

A lua esta sahindo, Mai, Mai! A lua esta sahindo, Mai, Mai! As
sete estrellas estao chorando, Mai, Mai! Por s'acharem
desamparados, Mai, Mai!

The moon is rising, Mother, Mother! The moon is rising, Mother,
Mother! The seven stars (Pleiades) are weeping, Mother, Mother!
To find themselves forsaken, Mother, mother!

I fell asleep about ten o'clock, but at four in the morning John
Mendez woke me to enjoy the sight of the little schooner tearing
through the waves before a spanking breeze. The night was
transparently clear and almost cold, the moon appeared sharply
defined against the dark blue sky, and a ridge of foam marked
where the prow of the vessel was cleaving its way through the
water. The men had made a fire in the galley to make tea of an
acid herb, called erva cidreira, a quantity of which they had
gathered at the last landing-place, and the flames sparkled
cheerily upwards. It is at such times as these that Amazon
travelling is enjoyable, and one no longer wonders at the love
which many, both natives and strangers, have for this wandering
life. The little schooner sped rapidly on with booms bent and
sails stretched to the utmost; just as day dawned, we ran with
scarcely slackened speed into the port of Cameta, and cast

I stayed at Cameta until the 16th of July, and made a
considerable collection of the natural productions of the
neighbourhood. The town in 1849 was estimated to contain about
5000 inhabitants, but the municipal district of which Cameta is
the capital numbered 20,000; this, however, comprised the whole
of the lower part of the Tocantins, which is the most thickly
populated part of the province of Para. The productions of the
district are cacao, india-rubber, and Brazil nuts. The most
remarkable feature in the social aspect of the place is the
hybrid nature of the whole population, the amalgamation of the
white and Indian races being here complete. The aborigines were
originally very numerous on the western bank of the Tocantins,
the principal tribe having been the Camutas, from which the city
takes its name. They were a superior nation, settled, and
attached to agriculture, and received with open arms the white
immigrants who were attracted to the district by its fertility,
natural beauty, and the healthfulness of the climate. The
Portuguese settlers were nearly all males, the Indian women were
good-looking, and made excellent wives; so the natural result has
been, in the course of two centuries, a complete blending of the
two races. There is now, however, a considerable infusion of
negro blood in the mixture, several hundred African slaves having
been introduced during the last seventy years. The few whites are
chiefly Portuguese, but there are also two or three Brazilian
families of pure European descent. The town consists of three
long streets, running parallel to the river, with a few shorter
ones crossing them at right angles. The houses are very plain,
being built, as usual in this country, simply of a strong
framework, filled up with mud, and coated with white plaster. A
few of them are of two or three stories. There are three
churches, and also a small theatre, where a company of native
actors at the time of my visit were representing light Portuguese
plays with considerable taste and ability. The people have a
reputation all over the province for energy and perseverance; and
it is often said that they are as keen in trade as the
Portuguese. The lower classes are as indolent and sensual here as
in other parts of the province, a moral condition not to be
wondered at in a country where perpetual summer reigns, and where
the necessities of life are so easily obtained. But they are
light-hearted, quick-witted, communicative, and hospitable. I
found here a native poet, who had written some pretty verses,
showing an appreciation of the natural beauties of the country,
and was told that the Archbishop of Bahia, the primate of Brazil,
was a native of Cameta. It is interesting to find the mamelucos
displaying talent and enterprise, for it shows that degeneracy
does not necessarily result from the mixture of white and Indian
blood. The Cametaenses boast, as they have a right to do, of
theirs being the only large town which resisted successfully the
anarchists in the great rebellion of 1835-6. While the whites of
Para were submitting to the rule of half-savage revolutionists,
the mamelucos of Cameta placed themselves under the leadership of
a courageous priest, named Prudencio. They armed themselves,
fortified the place, and repulsed the large forces which the
insurgents of Para sent to attack the place. The town not only
became the refuge for all loyal subjects, but was a centre whence
large parties of volunteers sallied forth repeatedly to attack
the anarchists in their various strongholds.

The forest behind Cameta is traversed by several broad roads,
which lead over undulating ground many miles into the interior.
They pass generally under shade, and part of the way through
groves of coffee and orange trees, fragrant plantations of cacao,
and tracts of second-growth woods. The narrow brook-watered
valleys, with which the land is intersected, alone have remained
clothed with primaeval forest, at least near the town. The houses
along these beautiful roads belong chiefly to Mameluco, mulatto,
and Indian families, each of which has its own small plantation.
There are only a few planters with larger establishments, and
these have seldom more than a dozen slaves. Besides the main
roads, there are endless bypaths which thread the forest and
communicate with isolated houses. Along these the traveller may
wander day after day without leaving the shade, and everywhere
meet with cheerful, simple, and hospitable people.

Soon after landing, I was introduced to the most distinguished
citizen of the place, Dr. Angelo Custodio Correia, whom I have
already mentioned. This excellent man was a favourable specimen
of the highest class of native Brazilians. He had been educated
in Europe, was now a member of the Brazilian Parliament, and had
been twice president of his native province.His manners were less
formal, and his goodness more thoroughly genuine, perhaps, than
is the rule generally with Brazilians. He was admired and loved,
as I had ample opportunity of observing, throughout all Amazonia.
He sacrificed his life in 1855, for the good of his fellow-
townsmen, when Cameta was devastated by the cholera; having
stayed behind with a few heroic spirits to succour invalids and
direct the burying of the dead, when nearly all the chief
citizens had fled from the place. After he had done what he
could, he embarked for Para but was himself then attacked with
cholera, and died on board the steamer before he reached the
capital. Dr. Angelo received me with the usual kindness which he
showed to all strangers. He procured me, unsolicited, a charming
country house, free of rent, hired a mulatto servant for me, and
thus relieved me of the many annoyances and delays attendant on a
first arrival in a country town where even the name of an inn is
unknown. The rocinha, thus given up for my residence, belonged to
a friend of his, Senor Jose Raimundo Furtado, a stout florid-
complexioned gentleman, such a one as might be met with any day
in a country town in England. To him also I was indebted for many
acts of kindness.

The rocinha was situated near a broad grassy road bordered by
lofty woods, which leads from Cameta to the Aldeia, a village two
miles distant. My first walks were along this road. From it
branches another similar but still more picturesque road, which
runs to Curima and Pacaja, two small settlements, several miles
distant, in the heart of the forest. The Curima road is beautiful
in the extreme. About half a mile from the house where I lived,
it crosses a brook flowing through a deep dell by means of a long
rustic wooden bridge. The virgin forest is here left untouched;
numerous groups of slender palms, mingled with lofty trees
overrun with creepers and parasites, fill the shady glen and arch
over the bridge, forming one of the most picturesque scenes
imaginable. A little beyond the bridge there was an extensive
grove of orange and other trees, which yielded me a rich harvest.
The Aldeia road runs parallel to the river, the land from the
border of the road to the indented shore of the Tocantins forming
a long slope which was also richly wooded; this slope was
threaded by numerous shady paths, and abounded in beautiful
insects and birds. At the opposite or southern end of the town,
there was a broad road called the Estrada da Vacaria-- this ran
along the banks of the Tocantins at some distance from the river,
and continued over hill and dale, through bamboo thickets and
palm swamps, for about fifteen miles.

At Cameta I chanced to verify a fact relating to the habits of a
large hairy spider of the genus Mygale, in a manner worth
recording. The species was M. avicularia, or one very closely
allied to it; the individual was nearly two inches in length of
body, but the legs expanded seven inches, and the entire body and
legs were covered with coarse grey and reddish hairs. I was
attracted by a movement of the monster on a tree-trunk; it was
close beneath a deep crevice in the tree, across which was
stretched a dense white web. The lower part of the web was
broken, and two small birds, finches, were entangled in the
pieces; they were about the size of the English siskin, and I
judged the two to be male and female. One of them was quite dead,
the other lay under the body of the spider, not quite dead, and
was smeared with the filthy liquor or saliva exuded by the
monster. I drove away the spider and took the birds, but the
second one soon died. The fact of species of Mygale sallying
forth at night, mounting trees, and sucking the eggs and young of
hummingbirds, has been recorded long ago by Madame Merian and
Palisot de Beauvois; but, in the absence of any confirmation, it
has come to be discredited. From the way the fact has been
related, it would appear that it had been merely derived from the
report of natives, and had not been witnessed by the narrators.
Count Langsdorff, in his Expedition into the Interior of Brazil,
states that he totally disbelieved the story. I found the
circumstance to be quite a novelty to the residents hereabout.
The Mygales are quite common insects: some species make their
cells under stones, others form artistical tunnels in the earth,
and some build their dens in the thatch of houses. The natives
call them Aranhas carangueijeiras, or crab-spiders. The hairs
with which they are clothed come off when touched, and cause a
peculiar and almost maddening irritation. The first specimen that
I killed and prepared was handled incautiously, and I suffered
terribly for three days afterwards. I think this is not owing to
any poisonous quality residing in the hairs, but to their being
short and hard, and thus getting into the fine creases of the
skin. Some Mygales are of immense size. One day I saw the
children belonging to an Indian family, who collected for me with
one of these monsters secured by a cord round its waist, by which
they were leading it about the house as they would a dog.

The only monkeys I observed at Cameta were the Couxio (Pithecia
Satanas)--a large species, clothed with long brownish-black hair-
-and the tiny Midas argentatus. The Couxio has a thick bushy
tail, and the hair of the head, which looks as if it had been
carefully combed, sits on it like a wig. It inhabits only the
most retired parts of the forest, on the terra firma, and I
observed nothing of its habits. The little Midas argentatus is
one of the rarest of the American monkeys; indeed, I have not
heard of its being found anywhere except near Cameta, where I
once saw three individuals, looking like so many white kittens,
running along a branch in a cacao grove; in their motions, they
resembled precisely the Midas ursulus already described. I saw
afterwards a pet animal of this species, and heard that there
were many so kept, and that they were esteemed as great
treasures. The one mentioned was full-grown, although it measured
only seven inches in length of body. It was covered with long,
white, silky hairs, the tail being blackish, and the face nearly
naked and flesh-coloured. It was a most timid and sensitive
little thing. The woman who owned it carried it constantly in her
bosom, and no money would induce her to part with her pet. She
called it Mico. It fed from her mouth and allowed her to fondle
it freely, but the nervous little creature would not permit
strangers to touch it. If any one attempted to do so, it shrank
back, the whole body trembling with fear, and its teeth chattered
while it uttered its tremulous, frightened tones. The expression
of its features was like that of its more robust brother, Midas
ursulus; the eyes, which were black, were full of curiosity and
mistrust, and were always kept fixed upon the person who
attempted to advance towards it.

In the orange groves and other parts, hummingbirds were
plentiful, but I did not notice more than three species. I saw
one day a little pigmy belonging to the genus Phaethornis in the
act of washing itself in a brook; perched on a thin branch, one
end of which was under water. It dipped itself, then fluttered
its wings and pruned its feathers, and seemed thoroughly to enjoy
itself alone in the shady nook which it had chosen--a place
overshadowed by broad leaves of ferns and Heliconiae. I thought,
as I watched it, that there was no need for poets to invent elves
and gnomes while Nature furnishes us with such marvellous little
sprites ready at hand.

My return journey to Para afforded many incidents characteristic
of Amazonian travelling. I left Cameta on the 16th of July. My
luggage was embarked in the morning in the Santa Rosa, a vessel
of the kind called cuberta, or covered canoe. The cuberta is very
much used on these rivers. It is not decked, but the sides
forward are raised and arched over so as to admit of cargo being
piled high above the water-line. At the stern is a neat square
cabin, also raised, and between the cabin and covered forepart is
a narrow piece decked over, on which are placed the cooking
arrangements. This is called the tombadilha or quarterdeck, and
when the canoe is heavily laden, it goes underwater as the vessel
heels over to the wind. There are two masts, rigged with fore and
aft sails--the foremast has often besides a main and top sail.
The forepart is planked over at the top, and on this raised deck
the crew work the vessel, pulling it along, when there is no
wind, by means of the long oars already described.

As I have just said, my luggage was embarked in the morning. I
was informed that we should start with the ebb-tide in the
afternoon; so I thought I should have time to pay my respects to
Dr. Angelo and other friends, whose extreme courtesy and goodness
had made my residence at Cameta so agreeable. After dinner the
guests, according to custom at the house of the Correias, walked
into the cool verandah which overlooks the river; and there we


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