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Pernambuco Bahia Cabral Bay Cape Frio Rio de Janeiro Porto Bello A Pampero.
After the discovery of the New World its possession was contested by five sea-going nations of Western Europe the Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, and Dutch. Of these the Spanish and Portuguese were first in the field, and the Portuguese established themselves in that part of the southern continent now known as Brazil. Their acquisition of this particular territory was largely due to accident: the Portuguese navigator Cabral, sailing in 1500 for the East Indies, via the Cape of Good Hope, shaped his course so far to the west, in order to avoid the calms off the African continent, that he hit off this part of the coast. An important Portuguese settlement grew up on the bay known as Bahia de Todos os Santos (All Saints' Bay). Further south French Huguenots were the first to discover and colonise the bay of Rio de Janeiro, but the Portuguese finally succeeded in expelling them in 1567, when Rio became the capital of the southern portion of their territory, Bahia retaining its pre-eminence in the north.
In the seventeenth century Portugal, and consequently her overseas possessions, fell for a while under the dominion of Spain; with the result that the settlers acquired a new foe in the young power of the Dutch, with whom the Spaniards were at war. The Dutch West India Company was formed with the especial object of capturing Brazil: the first fleet, which sailed in 1623, gained for a time possession of Bahia, and in 1629 the Dutch conquered Olinda and the neighbouring town of Recife, or Pernambuco, where they established themselves under the able leadership of Prince Mauritz of Nassau. In 1640, however, the Portuguese threw off the Spanish yoke, and, as the quarrel of Holland had been with the latter, she allowed herself to be bought out of her conquests in Brazil; an arrangement due in part to the intervention of Charles II of England, who had married a Portuguese princess. There was an old alliance between this country and Portugal, and when in 1739 war broke out between England and Spain, occasioned by the wrongs of a certain Captain Jenkins whose ear the Spaniards had cut off. Commodore Anson selected a Brazilian harbour in which to revictual his ships on his way to harry the Spanish in the Pacific.
During the Napoleonic wars the history of Europe again affected Brazil. In 1808, when the French were on the point of entering Lisbon, the royal family escaped overseas, established their court at Rio de Janeiro, and made Brazil a kingdom, In 1820 King Joγo VI returned to Portugal, leaving his son Pedro in command, and the mother country sought to reduce Brazil once more to the provincial status. This was resisted by the colonists, who had tasted the sweets of authority; they declared themselves independent, and made Pedro, who was personally popular, into Emperor of Brazil. Pedro was succeeded by his son, who reigned till 1889; in that year a revolution occurred, due partly to defects of government, partly to the discontent caused by the emancipation of the slaves. Pedro II left for Europe, and Brazil was declared a republic.
The political situation is apparently liable to surprises. At the principal music-hall, just before our visit, an accident occurred to the driving-chain of the electric light, causing a certain amount of clatter; the audience immediately sprang to their feet, the women shrieked, and there was a general stampede. It had been immediately concluded that the noise was caused by pistol shots and heralded a revolution.
The economic standing of Pernambuco and the why and wherefore of its existence are a puzzle to the stranger. There is no appearance of any considerable quantity of trade or wealth, indeed, to judge by the notices displayed, the inhabitants live principally on mutual doctoring and pulling out each other's teeth. The cost of living is nevertheless very high, owing largely to the fact that everything seems to be brought from overseas. Stone for building is conveyed all the way from Northern Europe, and a Norwegian barque, which lay beside us, was busy unloading timber at the door of the forests of Brazil. Even the common articles in use are brought from the Old World, and the tables of the restaurants are crowded with imported products, in spite of almost prohibitive tariffs, which raise the price of a ham, for example, to four or five times its original value. In addition special prices are at times reserved for strangers: the yacht's steward was allowed to depart without purchasing a packet of cigarettes for which eightpence was asked; Rosa, with his dark skin, got the identical article for a penny.
We followed one of the rivers in the launch almost as far as it is navigable, a distance of some nine miles. The banks are low, and were at first covered with mangrove; later the land was cultivated after a fashion, and there were a certain number of country houses, but in a state of dilapidation and decay.
Anyone who wishes to leave the prosaic present and be transported back to the old times of colonisation should visit Olinda, the ancient seat of government, which lies three miles to the north of Pernambuco. The remains of it to-day are a little group of houses standing picturesquely on a wooded promontory, which rises high above the low-lying coast. The old street, winding up to the top of the semi-deserted city, along which must have passed gay cavalcades, sober monks, and captured Indians, is still the high way, but it is now carpeted with grass, kept short, not by traffic, but by the sheep which browse upon it. From the highest point, the view extends in one direction to the sea and in the other to the forests of the interior. The most arresting feature is the number of churches and religious houses: everywhere the eye turns these great buildings rise among the luxuriant foliage, from one standpoint we counted ten such edifices. Some are deserted; some are still inhabited. The Franciscan establishment, where a fraternity still occupy the conventual buildings, is said to have been the first of its kind in Brazil, but we could arrive at nothing more definite as to date from the brother who acted as guide than that the place was "three hundred years old." The church contained some particularly good Dutch tiles representing scenes from the life of the Virgin and St. Ann; similar ones are to be seen in the cathedral, which was undergoing repair, and where no means were being taken to preserve them from injury at the hands of the workmen. These edifices were presumably rebuilt after the capture of the place by the Dutch; for Olinda is said to have been so utterly destroyed by the fighting, of which it was the centre, that Prince Maurice of Nassau gave his attention instead to the improvement of Recife.
Our regrets at leaving Pernambuco on Saturday, June 21st, after a stay of six days, were mitigated by the heat of the docks and by the fact that for some nights the mosquitoes had been unceasingly active. As soon as we left S. started an exterminating campaign, and killed sixty straight away in his own cabin and the saloon. For weeks afterwards, Mr. Gillam could be seen daily going on his rounds with a bottle of quinine tabloids, the lambs obediently swallowing the same. His medicinal doses were under all circumstances magnificently heroic, some of his remedies being kept in quart bottles, on the principle, as he explained, that it was "no use spoiling the ship for a halfpennyworth of tar." It was doubtful in this case if the enemy were really of the malaria-carrying type; they did not appear to stand on their heads in the correct manner anyway, we all escaped contagion with one slight exception, though I myself had had a bad attack shortly before leaving England, brought on by influenza, after six years' complete immunity.
FIG. 6. BAHIA DE TODOS OS SANTOS.
We had now before us a voyage of some 3,000 miles down the eastern coast of South America before the Magellan Straits were reached. It was marvellously impressive sailing day after day along the coast-line of a great continent, although at the moment the said coast was sandy and flat, the only diversity being occasional lights at night from some town on the shore. Bahia de Todos os Santos, more generally known simply as Bahia, was our next destination. Some fine Portuguese houses are said to survive from the days when it was the old capital, and it may be remembered as the locality where Robinson Crusoe was engaged in planting tobacco, when he was induced to go on the slave-raiding voyage which led to his best-known adventure. The bay, which runs north and south, extends for twenty-five miles, and the situation of the town on its east side is distinctly fine; part of it has been built on the shore, and part on the top of rising ground immediately above it. The funicular railway which connects the one with the other is to be seen from the sea.
This unfortunately is all that circumstances allow us to record. The anchor was dropped at midday, Wednesday, June 25th, and orders given for luncheon to be served at once, so that we might go on shore as soon as we had got our pratique. The health officer, when he came on board, was found to speak nothing but Portuguese, which made communication difficult; the same had been the case with the pilot at Pernambuco; and as half the vessels visiting those ports are English it might perhaps be suggested, without insular pride, that a smattering of that language, or at least of French, might be desirable in such officials. We produced the bill of health from Pernambuco in ordinary course: this, however, did not satisfy the doctor. He asked for that from St. Vincent, then from Las Palmas, and finally from Falmouth, though we pointed out that, as this had been granted three months ago, it scarcely had a practical bearing on the case: the virgin health of Bahia must, we felt, indeed be immaculate to require such protection. Finally the bill was stamped and passed. Then the officer handed in a marvellous paper of directions given in English, which stated that "if the captain went on shore all boats' crews were to return immediately to the ship; that no one was to be on shore after 7 p.m.; no fruit was to be bought from hucksters, and none was to be eaten till it had been in a cool place for three days."
We felt that it had become our turn to inquire after the health of Bahia, and it was reluctantly admitted that yellow fever was raging. Upon hearing this we metaphorically gathered our skirts around us, and, although greatly disappointed to miss seeing the town, naturally decided that we would not land. A quaint position then arose, as the doctor, with an eye probably to the fee involved, stated that the ship could not leave unless S. went on shore and obtained a new bill of health, a proceeding at which, as may be supposed, he drew the line. As the official had no means of enforcing authority, victory remained with Mana, but. even so we were left wondering whether the stain on our moral character of the Bahia endorsement of our certificate would secure us quarantine at our next port. We spent the night in the bay some distance from shore, in order that Mr. Ritchie might test the compass by swinging the vessel.
After we left Bahia the coast-line was at times broken by islands, and varied inland by hills which rose behind wooded banks and sandy shores. We had plenty of time to make notes of any features of interest, for the landmarks on the shore became quite old friends before we parted company. The weather became cooler, the cabin thermometer ranging from 75° to 80°; but we met with an unexpected and persistent head wind; long tacks seemed to bring us but little forward, and Mana presented the pathetic spectacle of a good ship struggling against adversity. The log day after day gave the depressing chronicle of only some twenty to thirty miles of progress, and the 700 miles to Rio de Janeiro began to appear interminable. After some five days of this weary work, making eleven since we had left Pernambuco, S. decided that it would be in the interests of all to obtain a change by making the shore along which we were sailing. He therefore, after careful study of the Sailing Directions, selected a spot where health officers would not be found Cabral Bay. Our Navigator thought the entrance somewhat risky, and requested written orders before going in: as, however, rashness is not one of my husband's sins I awaited the result with equanimity. It is the small bay where Cabral landed on April 24th, 1500, two days after discovering the continent. He erected a cross on the site of the present village, took possession of the land for the King of Portugal, and christened it Santa Cruz, a name which was changed in the middle of the sixteenth century to Brazil, from brasa, the term applied by the Portuguese to the brilliant red wood of its forests. The village and northern part of the bay continue, however, to bear the name of Santa Cruz, while the southern portion is called after the great navigator.
The land which forms the bay consists of a low ridge, two miles or so in length, covered with brushwood and undergrowth; it is arrested suddenly to the north by the course of a river, which has here made a passage to the ocean, and ends abruptly in a steep white cliff. Between the cliff and the river nestles the small village of Santa Cruz, and on the height stands a church which forms the landmark for ships entering the bay. Up the hillside winds a little white path where the grass has been worn away by the feet of worshippers ascending to the house of prayer. At its southern end the ridge dies gradually away in a little promontory, on which stands a tall cross of wood with an inscription stating that it was erected by the Capuchins on the date 22.3.98, but whether that was yesterday, or one hundred, or two or three hundred years ago, there is nothing to show. In front of the bay is a coral reef, so that only baby waves break over the sandy beach, and hard by the cross is a stream, with low reaches and dark shady pools overhung by mangroves.
Here we spent two days, watered the ship from the stream, bathed, fished, and revelled in the wind and sunshine, feeling like prehistoric men, and at one with all creation, from amoebas to angels. The men from the village, dark and lithe, came to visit us in dug-out canoes, hollowed in true Robinson Crusoe fashion from the trunks of trees, and lent us a hand in our work, after which we had out the launch and gave them a tow back to the village. There we found the kindest welcome and walked up the little white path to the church. It was tattered and dirty; but old women with interesting faces, who came in to see the strangers, knelt devoutly at the altar-rails before putting out a hand to greet us. When we departed the inhabitants came to the riverside, where also stands a cross, though whether it is that erected by Cabral or not this history cannot say; they gave us presents, fired rockets, and waved us adieu to the last. Life might be hard at Santa Cruz, but at least it seemed quiet and peaceful. As Mana went out of the bay there was a stormy sunset over the church and a wonderful rainbow in the east; gradually the cross on the promontory faded away, the breaking waves on the coral reef could no longer be heard, and so, as John Bunyan would say, we went on our way."
On leaving Cabral Bay we stood out to sea as the best chance of obtaining a fair wind, and the weather gradually became more favourable. One particularly clear evening, July 8th, at sunset, we were able to see a peak on the mainland which is just under 7,000 feet in height at a distance of ninety-six miles. Altogether it was a pleasant run, occupied by the Stewardess in reading geology and darning stockings. We had not been able completely to fill our water-tanks at Santa Cruz, and it was now decided to procure the remainder at Cape Frio, which was seventy miles this side of Rio de Janeiro, rather than risk the quality which might be obtainable in the city. As we returned to the coast we found that its low character had given way to a region of hills, cliffs, and islands. Cape Frio itself is a bold rocky promontory, or rather island, for it is separated from the mainland by a narrow passage, and shelters behind it a romantic basin consisting of a series of small coves. In places the surrounding mountains recede sufficiently to allow of little sandy beaches, elsewhere sheer cliffs covered with verdure come down to the margin, and trees and ferns overhang the water. We entered by moonlight, and the dark shadows and sparkling sand made a striking and effective contrast.
In one cove is a fishing village, with a church and small store. Here for the first time oranges were valued as a native product, so far they had been no cheaper than in England, and at threepence a dozen the forecastle and midships bought them by the bathful. The facilities for obtaining water next day proved not so good as had been hoped. I left S. superintending the crew, as they staggered through the surf to the cutter with bags of water from the village well, and ascended 300 or 400 feet to a signal station on the landward side of the gorge which cuts off the outlying island. This commanded a magnificent view of a wide stretch of blue Atlantic and the adjacent coast; in the direction of Rio was a panorama of low lands and lagoons, bordered by ranges of rugged mountains which rose tier upon tier as far as the eye could reach. On the way down I gathered a spray of bougainvillea from a shrub in full bloom.
S. had meanwhile made acquaintance with the storekeeper and general village factotum, who we had already found, to our surprise, spoke English well. He turned out, as might have been expected, to be a German, The history of his life would probably be interesting. His experiences included at any rate residence at Bonn University and the post of steward on the yacht of the late Mr. Pierpont Morgan, but who or what had brought him to this spot did not transpire. He had at one time become naturalised as a citizen of Brazil, but had subsequently laid down his rights, preferring to keep out of public concerns, for, as he naively remarked, they never talk politics here without killing a man."
The lore of Frio was as romantic as its appearance, and worthy of the pen of Stevenson. Not only have traces come to light on a neighbouring promontory of Indian burials consisting of bones and pottery, but more valuable treasure finds were of not infrequent occurrence; buried Spanish coins turned up at intervals, and an ingot of silver had lately been discovered. There was no doubt, in the opinion of the storekeeper, that considerable treasure was hidden among the islands along the coast, but hunting for it was forbidden by the government. Not far from the village itself there was a cave, which was obviously the work of man, and said to connect two coves, but no one dared to explore it. Nothing was known of its history, but, according to tradition, it was the work of the Jesuits: why a religious order should have made such a resort our informant was unable to explain, but he evidently considered that it would be quite in accord with their usual underground and mysterious methods of procedure. Thirty years ago he himself, with the owner of the cave and one other, had taken up a barrel of wine and had a drinking bout at its entrance, a scene which some old painter of the Dutch school would surely have found congenial: he had then penetrated some twenty or thirty yards into the interior; it was at first, he said, narrow, then became wider, but since that time no one had entered it.
S. was naturally fired with a desire to explore this hidden cavern; Mr. Gillam responded to the call for an assistant, and they set out for the place, accompanied by our informant. There proved to be some difficulty in discovering it, even with his assistance, owing to the dense vegetation which had arisen since it was last visited. Mr. Gillam's thoughts not unnaturally turned to snakes, and the information given in reply to a question on the subject lacked something in reassurance: there were a great many about, it was said, and of a dangerous kind, but they only struck when trodden upon, and as it was now getting late in the day it might be hoped that they had retired to their lairs. When the cave was at length found, bushes and undergrowth had to be cut down in order to effect an entrance, and a cloud of bats flew out of the darkness within. The walls were examined by the light of a ship's signalling lantern, and the statement that they had been artificially made was proved to be true. The party proceeded for ten or twelve yards, but then found that the way had been blocked by a comparatively recent fall of debris, and the enterprise had therefore to be abandoned. We commend it to fellow-voyagers and anthropologists.
We sailed the next morning at daybreak and our navigator, instead of taking the eastern road, by which we had come in, and going round the island, decided to attempt as a short cut the much narrower exit on the west, which lay between the precipitous cliffs that separated the cape proper from the mainland. By the soundings recorded on the chart there was everywhere sufficiency of water for our draught, but, while approaching the coast to take a direct course through the gorge, we were suddenly aware that the stern of the vessel had taken the ground. There was a moment of anxiety as to whether she had hit on an outlying rock, but happily she had only come in contact with a bank of drifted sand. We were, however, very near a rocky coast, and it was not far from high water. As much weight as possible was taken into the bows, a kedge was carried out astern, and she was hove off the way she came on.
The next morning we were at the entrance to Rio de Janeiro. There was, however, not a breath of wind, and the engine was giving trouble; it refused to run more than a very short distance without becoming dangerously heated a state of things subsequently found to be due entirely to improper installation. We sat, therefore, for twelve hours gazing at the tumbled mass of blue mountain-barrier, through the narrow opening in which the sea has found its way and formed the great sheet of water within. In front of us was the well-known conical form of the Sugar-loaf, to the west Corcovado, the Hunchback, with its strange effect of a peak which is bending forward, and beyond it Gavea with its table-top. The night fell, lights came out within, we still waited like a Peri at the gate of Paradise. The evening breeze, however, wafted us nearer, and at midnight we passed silently between the dark heights which guarded the entrance and dropped anchor in Botafogo Bay under the shelter of the Sugar-loaf, there to await the dawn.
It is an entrancing experience to wake on a sunny morning and find oneself for the first time among the soft and glowing beauty of Rio Harbour. We went up the bay in the early light, with a man posted at the flagstaff to exchange greetings with the Brazilian men-of-war which lay at anchor; it was always our duty to dip first to warships, as it was the place of merchantmen to take the initiative with us. We finally took up our position some three miles higher up opposite to the old city.
It is the suicidal fate of each visitor to try to describe Rio de Janeiro, and fail in the attempt; but with every warning to refrain the present chronicler must likewise rush on her doom. The first impression is that there is so much of it. It is not merely an enormous and beautiful bay, with a city upon it it is a huge expanse of water, of which the whole margin, as far as the eye can reach, is used by man for his dwelling. To compare it with the bays of Naples or Palermo, or with the cities of Edinburgh or Athens, is, as far as size is concerned, to speak in the same breath of some picturesque manor-house and of Windsor Castle. There are many places with wilder charm or more historic interest; but for what can only be termed "sleek beauty" Rio is incomparable. Every portion of the scenery is right, there are no parts of it which the eye consciously or unconsciously omits, and in whichever direction the gazer looks his aesthetic sense is satisfied. The shore-line disdains monotony and breaks itself into bays and islands. The great mountains, though they may lose in quiet dignity, range themselves in weird and striking shapes which attract the eye, while the verdure fulfils its purpose of showing off their beauty, here clothing a hillside with forest, there leaving bare a towering cliff. The white buildings which wander up hill and down dale are clean and prosperous, neither too new nor too old; they surround bays and stretch out to islands, not in oppressive continuity, but broken with the surface of. the ground, while the gardens and boulevards with their tropical foliage know just how to intersperse themselves at the right intervals. The sun and air also appreciate their share in the situation, and flood mountain and water, verdure and the work of man, with wonderful transparent light, till the whole shines pure and soft, blue and green, like an opal. The night is not less beautiful; then the summits of the mountains show dark against the sky, myriads of lights outline the near bays, shine out from the islands and twinkle irregularly up the hillsides, while from the further shore another galaxy are reflected half-way across the still dark water. The whole gives the impression of some magic scene in the Arabian Nights lit up for a great fiesta, Rio is wonderful, marvellous; it leaves one like the Queen of Sheba; and yet when I am dead I hope that I may return and visit the little bay of Santa Cruz, I know I shall pass by Rio de Janeiro.
The old part of the city is composed of narrow and noisy lanes, but the new boulevards are fine and broad. We did the usual sightseeing, with the details of which it is not proposed to trouble the reader. We had the pleasure of enjoying the hospitality of our Minister, Sir W. Haggard; but to my disappointment, for I had been looking forward for weeks to some feminine society, Lady Haggard was in England, and everyone else seemed to be a bachelor. By the most kind care of the British Consul, Mr. Hamblock, we had a memorable motor drive of some seventy miles through the mountains to the west of the bay, including the tract of forest reserved for the public by Dom Pedro. It has left us with a bewildered impression of roads winding below great crags, amongst tropical vegetation, and opening at intervals on vistas of rocky coast and deep blue sea. We visited the botanical gardens, admiring their marvellous avenue of palms: similar ones, and but little inferior, may be seen in many directions, rising amongst streets and houses like the pillars of a Greek temple. We ascended the Sugar-loaf by aerial railway, and gained a panoramic view of the harbour. Finally, a day was spent at Petropolis, a small place among the mountains at the head of the bay, which is reached by a railway with cogwheel gauge and is the special resort of the diplomatic colony. We lunched at an inn of which the walls were adorned impartially with portraits of the Hohenzollerns and French Presidents, the host turned out to be an Alsatian.
If at Rio every prospect pleases it is not altogether free from drawbacks: sanitary conditions have improved; but the pride the city takes in its public gardens and boulevards does not extend to the water of the harbour, which is repulsively dirty, and ships are warned in the Sailing Directions against using it even for washing their decks. When the American fleet visited Rio they consumed so much from the shore for that purpose, that there is said to have been almost a fresh-water famine in the city. When we left the bay our bill of health stated that the previous week there had been two cases of yellow fever, both dead, and two of bubonic plague, who were still alive. Even with our experience at Pernambuco the prices charged at Rio left us breathless: engineering work cost from four to five times as much as in England; even a poor man on the docks complained to our Sailing-master that he could not get a meal under 2s. 8d. One Englishman, professionally employed, calculated that the cost of his passage home every three years was met through the saving effected on buying his clothes in England. Finally, the Stewardess of the Mana was of the opinion that the limit was reached, when one shilling was charged for washing a pair of stockings.
The Brazilians of Rio appear to have more European blood than those who live further north, though a mixture of Indian or Negro is viewed with the same equanimity. The idea of government is democratic, and in theory at any rate the President will give an audience to the humblest Brazilian. The senators are paid £7 a day while sitting, so that an easy way of defraying debt is to prolong the session. The Central Railway belongs to the Government, and is regarded as giving billets for its supporters: engine-drivers, for example, are paid at a rate of from £700 per annum, the consequent large deficit on the working of the line being made good by the Treasury. There had been no political excitement very recently at Rio, but one old man was pointed out to us who, as governor of a northern state, had held his position by force and fraud until about a year previously, when he had been escorted by armed men on board ship and told that if he returned he would be shot.
We left Rio Harbour at daybreak on Wednesday, July 23rd, after a visit of nine days, and to our relief found a good sailing breeze outside. As Buenos Aires, at which we were bound to call for stores and letters, was still some 1,100 miles distant, it was decided to break the voyage, and the Sailing Directions were studied for some out-of-the-way stopping-place en route. We had found by experience that little anchorages were preferable: not only was there more confidence in the water supply than in the case of big towns, but there was no trouble with authorities, and bills of health, and the temptations of a big port were avoided. The smaller places also, if in some ways less interesting, were more attractive. The little bay of Porto Bello was selected, but when its neighbourhood was reached the following Sunday the weather had become rather thick and there was some difficulty in finding our way. At tea-time our Navigator came down somewhat amused to tell us that, during our afternoon siestas, Mana had wandered in and out of a wrong bay, about twenty miles north of our destination; a small steamer in front of us had also obviously been in need of a signpost or kind policeman.
On Sunday afternoon we dropped anchor safely in a sheltered part of Porto Bello Bay known as Aco Cove. Our previous halts, the town of Pernambuco, the coral bay at Santa Cruz, the rocky basin of Cape Frio, and the world-famed harbour of Rio de Janeiro, bore little resemblance to each other, but they had one point in common, that they were all obviously South American. Porto Bello had nothing South American about it save its very unoriginal Spanish name; it might, as far as general appearance went, have been a loch imported straight from the west coast of Scotland: the accent of our Glasgow engineer became unconsciously more homelike, as he remarked that it was "just like the scenery near Oban," and to add to the illusion the weather, though warm, was a "wee bit saft," with the nip in the air associated with Scotland in August.
The town of Porto Bello itself lies at the foot of the bay. It will be found marked in the atlas of the infallible Stieler, but it is nothing more than a hamlet, consisting of a few small houses, with a church and one little store; there was no inn visible, but it is apparently connected with the outside world by telegraph or telephone. Shanties, surrounded with banana groves, wandered up the hillsides or clustered round such sandy coves as Aco; some were made of wattle and daub, others of wooden planks roofed with banana leaves or rough red tiles. We made friends with a family who occupied a cottage near the stream which supplied our water, and some of the party, a grandfather, father, and small daughter, came off on their own initiative to pay us a visit on board. They brought presents of eggs and molasses, and three special shells as an offering for me. The gifts which we on our side found were most appreciated, both here and elsewhere, were tobacco, sweets, and ships' biscuits; the last were specially prized, being often preferred to money. We showed our visitors over the vessel, and expected that such fittings as electric light would produce a mild sensation, but it was proved as usual that the eye can only take in what it has sufficient knowledge to appreciate. The greatest success was achieved by the supply of carpenters' tools, which excited much admiration, while the pier-glass in my cabin came in a poor second. A rather embarrassing situation arose when the old man, who was getting a little imbecile, found the yacht so attractive that he sat down in the deck-house and declined to depart.
The quiet lives of these people, surrounded by agricultural holdings with tropical produce, reminded us much of the existence of some of the natives in East Africa. They were apparently not above the belief in charms, for opposite our friends* door was a dried bush about four feet high, which had on the extremity of each bough an eggshell, some fifteen in number; we never succeeded in finding out its precise meaning, for unfortunately our ignorance of the Portuguese language made any real conversation impossible. The appliances of life were simple: an ox-cart had solid wooden wheels, after the manner of an ancient British chariot, the noise made by which was portentous; and the anchors of the boats were of wood, the shank being formed of a frame of sticks, into which rocks were packed.
FIG. 7. THE NATIVE CART, ACO COVE,
The business of watering the ship being ended, we tried to continue our journey, only to find that a dead calm reigned outside, and there was nothing to do but to return. Two or three days of detention passed very pleasantly exploring hill-tracks, photographing, and sketching. We were able to buy poultry, eggs, and oranges, and the men were very successful with the seine, getting quantities of delightful mullet. One afternoon we took our tea in the launch to the other side of the bay, but here for the only time we found the people a little suspicious and not quite friendly.
Saturday, August 2nd, we again made our way out of Porto Bello. Our course lay in the direction of the island of Sta. Catharina, some twenty miles to the southwards, and the whole of the next day we drifted along in sight of its beautiful mountainous coast-line. This was the rendezvous appointed by Anson for his fleet on his outward voyage, as it possessed an excellent reputation for stores. He sailed there direct from Madeira, arriving in December 1740; his voyage took forty-five days, as against our forty-eight days at sea to Porto Bello, by Cape Verde Islands and Pernambuco. Anson was, however, disappointed in his reception, as the governor proved himself unfriendly, and sent a messenger to communicate the presence of the squadron to the Spanish admiral, who lay with his ships in the River Plate. We occupied the time in endeavouring to check from the yacht the sketches given of the coast in the contemporary account of his voyage. Later on we more than once found ourselves on Anson's track.
The following days afforded great variety of weather, but it grew rapidly colder, and warm clothes which had been stowed since Madeira had to be brought out. The wind, which for a time was strong and fair, later veered round to the south-east and subsequently to the south-west. Our navigators were early anxious about the indications, fearing a pampero, the name by which the particular gales are known which sweep down from the Andes over the pampas or great plains of the mainland, and on Monday, August 4th, the mainsail was stowed. Thursday we had a strong wind, accompanied by a most extraordinary display of lightning; from midnight till 5 a.m. the place was lighted up almost without intermission, and there were reported to be at times as many as five to eight flashes visible at once; at first there was no thunder, but subsequently it became audible. The next two days we beat against a head wind.
On Saturday evening we were placidly seated at dinner when the cry came, "All hands on deck." Suddenly, without at the last a moment's warning, the pampero was upon us. A half-finished meal was left to hurry up the companion and join in stowing sails. All night long the gale raged, straining at the rigging, tossing the ship from side to side, rattling everything in her above and below. The waves swept over the deck until it seemed as if their force might at any moment carry away the boats or burst in the door of the deck-house; notwithstanding the heavy storm-boards with which it was always barricaded at such times. There was no sleep for anyone on board. The steward was up all night making cocoa for those on deck, for it was bitterly cold. As to the watch below, a man," as Mr. Gillam said, who could care so little what was going on above as to be able to sleep on such a night, simply because he was off duty, was no sailor worth the name." Four a.m. found two of us engaged in meditating on the "wet sea boy" who managed to have his eyelids sealed on the giddy mast during "the visitation of the wind," wondering whether he was an Elizabethan product or if we only owe his creation to the fact that Shakespeare was a landsman. I believe, from continued observation, that a good crew really like a gale, it has the "joy of battle." As to the Stewardess, her journal, which is not given to soliloquising, runs, I find, as follows in connection with the pampero: "It has been made painfully clear to me that my presence on deck when things are bad is an added anxiety; this is humiliating, and will not, I trust, apply to the next generation of females."
When I came up next morning the wind was still raging fiercely, but there was a pale blue sky flecked with white clouds, and bright sunshine sparkled on the countless white crests of foam which covered a dark blue sea. I looked, with an instinct which during all these months had become second nature, to see who was at the wheel, and found, with a shock, that it was deserted the helm was lashed! It felt for a moment as if the ship were some dead thing, with all power of spontaneous movement, all volition gone. For the time being she was vanquished by the elements, or at least reduced to armed truce; we were hove to and drifting slowly eastward, undoing all the work of the last two days. Rough on us, ma'am," as Light said with a jovial laugh. At noon we had lost ground by 24 miles, and were now 373 miles from Buenos Aires instead of 349.
Monday, 7 a.m., we began to sail, beating against the wind, but by midday we had lost still further, being now 402 miles away from the haven where we would be. We envied the cape pigeons, twenty or thirty of which followed the vessel, as she was towing brigs of heavy oil to windward to prevent the waves from breaking, and the smoother water made it easier for them to see the small fish below. They seemed to enjoy the gale, and swept round the yacht gracefully, showing off their white bodies and dark wings barred with white. They trod the water at intervals as they ran along it on the tips of their feet, and rode in the troughs of the waves securely sheltered from the wind. On August I2th we signalised the day by making a bag, one gull, but it came as a guest and was entitled to hospitality. It was apparently tired out, and perched on one of the boats; but when S. began throwing some meat overboard, with the object of attracting and photographing the cape pigeons, it joined in the scramble. The pigeons, however, would have none of the stranger, and set upon it, whereupon, worsted in the fray, the gull again sought refuge on the vessel: there it stayed all night, sleeping quite low down in the folds of some canvas and allowing itself to be stroked and fed by any passer-by. With the morning, being rested and refreshed, it flew away.