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and caught by the lazo, it will sometimes gallop round and round in a circle; and the horse, being alarmed at the great strain, if not well broken, will not readily turn like the pivot of a wheel. In consequence, many men have been killed; for if the lazo once takes a twist round a man's body, it will instantly, from the power of the two opposed animals, almost cut him in twain. A man on horseback, having thrown his lazo round the horns of a beast, can drag it anywhere he chooses. The animal, ploughing up the ground with outstretched legs, in vain efforts to resist the force, gener ally dashes at full speed to one side; but the horse, immediately turning to receive the shock, stands so firmly that the bullock is almost thrown down, and it is surprising that their necks are not broken. The struggle is not, however, one of fair strength, since the horse's girth is matched against the bullock's extended neck. In a similar manner a man can hold the wildest horse, if caught with the lazo just behind the ears.
The lazo is a very strong, but thin, well-plaited rope, made of raw hide. One end is attached to the broad surcingle which fastens together the complicated gear of the recado, or saddle used in the Pampas; at the other end is a small ring of iron or brass, by which a noose can be formed. The Gau cho, when he is going to use the lazo, keeps a small coil in his bridle-hand, and in the other holds the running noose, which is made very large, generally having a diameter of about eight feet. This he whirls round his head, and by the dexterous movement of his wrist keeps the noose open; then, throwing it, he causes it to fall on any particular spot
he chooses. The lazo, when not used, is tied up in a small coil to the after part of the recado.
The bolas, or balls, are of two kinds. The simplest, which are chiefly used for catching ostriches, consist of two round stones, covered with leather, and united by a thin plaited thong about eight feet long. The other kind differs only in having three balls united by the thong to a common centre. The Gaucho holds the smallest of the three in his hand, and whirls the other two round and round his head; then, taking aim, sends them like chain-shot whirling through the air. The balls no sooner strike any object than, winding round it, they cross each other, and become firmly hitched. The size and weight of the balls vary, according to the purpose for which they are made: when of stone, although not larger than an English apple, they are sent with such force as sometimes to break the legs even of a horse. I have seen the balls made of wood, and as large as a turnip, for the sake of catching these animals without injuring them. The balls are sometimes made of iron, and these can be hurled to the greatest distance.
The main difficulty in using either lazo or bolas is to ride so well as to be able at full speed, and while suddenly turning about, to whirl them so steadily round the head as to take aim: on foot, any person would soon learn the art. One day, as I was amusing myself by galloping and whirl ing the balls round my head, by accident the free one struck a bush, and its revolving motion being thus destroyed, it im mediately fell to the ground, and like magic caught one hind leg of my horse; the other ball was then jerked out of my
hand, and the horse fairly secured. Luckily he was an old practised animal, and knew what it meant, otherwise he
would probably have kicked till he had thrown himself down. The Gauchos roared with laughter; they cried out that they had seen every sort of animal caught, but had never before seen a man caught by himself.
About two leagues beyond the curious tree of Walleechu we halted for the night. At this instant an unfortunate cow
was spied by the lynx-eyed Gauchos, who set off in full chase, and in a few minutes dragged her in with their lazos and slaughtered her. We here had the four necessaries of life in the open plain (en el campo)—pasture for the horses, water (only a muddy puddle), meat, and firewood. The Gauchos were in high spirits at finding all these luxuries, and we soon set to work at the poor cow. This was the first night which I passed under the open sky, with the saddle-gear for my bed. There is high enjoyment in the independence of the Gaucho life—to be able at any moment to pull up your horse and say, "Here we will pass the night." The death-like stillness of the plain, the dogs keeping watch, the gypsy group of Gauchos making their beds round the fire, have left in my mind a strongly-marked picture of this first night, which will never be forgotten.
At Tapulquen we were able to buy some biscuit. I had now been several days without tasting anything beside meat. I did not at all dislike this new diet, but I felt as if it would only have agreed with me with hard exercise. I have heard that patients in England, to whom an exclusively animal diet has been prescribed, have hardly been able to endure it, even to save their lives; yet the Gauchos in the Pampas, for months together, touch nothing but beef. But they eat, I observe, a very large proportion of fat, and they particularly dislike dry meat, such as that of the agouti. It is, perhaps, on account of their meat diet that the Gauchos, like other flesh-eating animals, can long go without food. I was told of some troops who, of their own accord, pursued a party of Indians for three days, without eating or drinking.
One night in the Falkland Islands we slept on the neck of land at the head of Choiseul Sound, which forms the south
west peninsula. The valley
was pretty well sheltered from the cold wind; but there was very little brushwood for fuel. The Gauchos, however, soon found what, to my great sur
prise, made nearly as hot a fire as coals; this was the skele ton of a bullock lately killed, from which the flesh had been picked by the carrion-hawks. They told me that in winter they often killed a beast, cleaned the flesh from the bones with their knives, and then with these same bones roasted the meat for their supper.
THE LA PLATAN.
AT Santa Fé I was confined for two days to my bed by a headache. A good-natured old woman, who attended me, wished me to try many odd remedies. A common practice is to bind an orange-leaf or a bit of black plaster to each temple; and a still more general plan is to split a bean into halves, moisten them, and place one on each temple, where they will easily stick. It is not thought proper ever to remove the bean or plaster, but to let them drop off; and sometimes, if a man with patches on his head is asked what is the matter, he will answer, "I had a headache the day be fore yesterday."