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are bound together by a great variety of creeping plants, thus forming a thick jungle. These thickets afford a l'etreat for capybaras and jaguars. The fear of the latter animal quite destroyed all pleasure in scrambling through the woods. On every island there were tracks. In the evening the mosquitoes were very troublesome. I exposed my hand for five minutes, and it was soon black with them; I do not suppose that there could have been less than fifty, all busy sucking.
Some leagues below Rosario the western shore of the Parana is bounded by perpendicular cliffs, which extend in a long line to below San Nicolas; hence it more resembles a sea-coast than that of a fresh-water river. It is a great drawback to the scenery of the Parana that, from the soft nature of its banks, the water is very muddy. The Uruguay, flowing through a granitic country, is much clearer; and, where the two channels unite at the head of the Plata, the waters may for a long distance be distinguished by their black and red colors. We met during our descent very few vessels. One of the best gifts of nature, in so grand a channel of communication, seems here wilfully thrown away--a river in which ships might navigate from a temperate country as surprisingly abundant in certain productions as des. titute of others, to another possessing a tropical climate and a soil which, according to the best of judges, M. Bonpland, is perhaps unequalled in fertility in any part of the world. How different would have been the aspect of this river if English colonists had by good fortune first sailed up the Plata! What noble towns would now have occupied its shores!
THE PLATE RIVER.
Having been delayed for nearly a fortnight in Buenos Ayres, I was glad to escape on board a packet bound for
Montevideo. Our passage was a very long and tedious one. The Plata looks like a noble estuary on the map, but is in truth a poor affair. A wide expanse of muddy water has neither grandeur nor beauty. At one time of the day the two shores, both of which are extremely low, could just be distinguished from the deck.
In the evening of September 27, 1833, I set out from Buenos Ayres for Sante Fé, situated nearly three hundred
English miles distant, on the banks of the Parana. The roads in the neighborhood of the city, after the rainy weather, were extraordinarily bad. I should never have thought it possible for a bullock wagon to have crawled along; as it was, they scarcely went at the rate of a mile an hour, and a man was kept ahead to select the best line for making the attempt. The bullocks were terribly jaded: it is a great mistake to suppose that, with improved roads and a quickened rate of travelling, the sufferings of the animals increase in the same proportion. We passed a train of wagons and a troop of beasts on their road to Mendoza. The distance is about five hundred and eighty geographical miles, and the journey is generally performed in fifty days. These wagons are very long and narrow, and thatched with reeds; they have only two wheels, the diameter of which is in some cases as much as ten feet. Each is drawn by six bullocks, which are urged on by a goad at least twenty feet long; this is hung from within the roof: for the wheel bullocks a smaller one is kept; and for the middle pair a point projects at right angles from the middle of the long one. The whole apparatus looked like some implement of war.
At San Nicolas I first saw the noble river of the Parana. At the foot of the cliff on which the town stands some large vessels were at anchor. Before arriving at Rosario we crossed the Saladillo, a stream of fine, clear, running water, but too salty to drink. Rosario is a large town built on a dead level plain, which forms a cliff about sixty feet high over the Pa.
The river here is very broad, with many islands, which are low and wooded, as is also the opposite shore. The view
would resemble that of a great lake if it were not for the linear-shaped islets, which alone give the idea of running water. The cliffs are the most picturesque part; sometimes they are absolutely perpendicular, and of a red color; at other times in large broken masses, covered with cacti and mimosa trees.
For many leagues north and south of San Nicolas and
Rosario the country is really level. Scarcely anything which travellers have written about its extreme flatness can be con sidered as exaggeration. Yet I could never find a spot where, by slowly turning round, objects were not seen at
, greater distances in some directions than in others; and this
manifestly proves inequality in the plain. At sea, if a per: son's eye is six feet above the surface of the water, his horizon is two miles and four-fifths distant. In like manner, the more level the plain, the more nearly does the horizon approach within these narrow limits; and this, in my opinion, entirely destroys that grandeur which one would have imagineil that a vast level plain would have possessed.
Tue view from the post of Cufre, in Banda Oriental, was pleasing: an undulating green surface, with distant glimpses of the Plata. I find that I look at this province with very different eyes froin what I did upon my first arrival. I recol. lect I then thought it singularly level; but now (November, 1833), after galloping over the Pampas, my only surprise is, what could have induced me ever to have called it level. The country is a series of undulations, in themselves, perhaps, not absolutely great, but, as compared to the plains of Santa Fé, real mountains. From these unevennesses there is an abundance of small rivulets, and the turf is green and luxuriant.
The number of the animal remains imbedded in the grand estuary deposit which forms the Pampas, and covers the granitic rocks of Banda Oriental, must be extraordinarily great. I believe a straight line drawn in any direction through the Pampas would cut through some skeleton or bones. Besides those which I found, during my short excursions, I heard of many others, and the origin of such names as “The stream of the animal,” “ The hill of the giant,” is ob.