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and was really sometimes obliged to gallop for my life, without exactly knowing where to go, for it was often Scylla and Charybdis.' -Head, pp. 33—35.

Captain Head discourages English artisans from flattering themselves that they can live better at Buenos Ayres than in their own country. The society, he says, among the lower class of English and Irish is very bad; their constitutions visibly impaired by drinking and the heat of the climate, while their characters and their morals are greatly degraded; they are sickly in their appearance, dirty in their dress, and disreputable in their behaviour. The large body of Cornish miners, who had been selected for their good behaviour, saw the degraded state of some English settlers, and kept clear of them; but they found it difficult to resist the temptation of spirits, and complained of a feebleness,' which they had never felt before: so incapable were they of exertion, that the strongest of them preferred abstaining from meat to the fatigue of going through the sun to fetch it. By their agreements, each man might have claimed sixty pounds instead of a passage back, and might instantly have been employed by other mining companies, but one and all were anxious to return home, saying, we would sooner work our fingers to the stumps in England, than be gentlemen at Buenos Ayres.'

Everybody knows that a plain of about a thousand miles in breadth, called the Pampas, stretches westerly from Buenos Ayres to the feet of the Andes, and that a line of posts are situated at the distance of twenty to thirty miles asunder, (in one place upwards of fifty,) at which the traveller may generally procure fresh horses, jerked beef, and brack water, to enable him to prosecute his journey across this desolate region. But though multitudes have crossed this desert, no tolerable description of its various products, animate and inanimate, has, to our knowledge, been published. The following Rough Note' is a bold and masterly sketch, and as accurate as might be expected from one who like M. Denon when he sketched Thebes-viewed the scene on full gallop.



The great plain, or Pampas, on the east of the Cordillera, is about nine hundred miles in breadth, and the part which I have visited, though under the same latitude, is divided into regions of different climate and produce. On leaving Buenos Aires, the first of these regions is covered for one hundred and eighty miles with clover and thistles; the second region, which extends for four hundred and fifty miles, produces long grass; and the third region, which reaches the base of the Cordillera, is a grove of low trees and shrubs. The second and third of these regions have nearly the same appearance throughout the year, for the trees and shrubs are evergreens, and the immense plain of grass only changes its colour from green to


brown; but the first region varies with the four seasons of the year in a most extraordinary manner. In winter, the leaves of the thistles are large and luxuriant, and the whole surface of the country has the rough appearance of a turnip-field. The clover in this season is extremely rich and strong; and the sight of the wild cattle grazing in full liberty on such pasture is very beautiful. In spring, the clover has vanished, the leaves of the thistles have extended along the ground, and the country still looks like a rough crop of turnips. In less than a month the change is most extraordinary: the whole region becomes a luxuriant wood of enormous thistles, which have suddenly shot up to a height of ten or eleven feet, and are all in full bloom. The road or path is hemmed in on both sides; the view is completely obstructed; not an animal is to be seen; and the stems of the thistles are so close to each other, and so strong, that, independent of the prickles with which they are armed, they form an impenetrable barrier. The sudden growth of these plants is quite astonishing; and though it would be an unusual misfortune in military history, yet it is really possible that an invading army, unacquainted with this country, might be imprisoned by these thistles before it had time to escape from them. The summer is not over before the scene undergoes another rapid change: the thistles suddenly lose their sap and verdure, their heads droop, the leaves shrink and fade, the stems become black and dead, and they remain rattling with the breeze one against another, until the violence of the pampero or hurricane levels them with the ground, where they rapidly decompose and disappear-the clover rushes up, and the scene is again verdant.'-Head, p. 2-4.

The thistles here spoken of we should have thought to belong to the genus serratula, or saw-wort, which is found in a native state about Monte Video; but Mr. Miers calls them a species of cnicus (now considered by botanists as a division of the carduus or thistle,) which he supposes to have been originally introduced from Spain. Their great spread makes nothing against this supposition, the Andes scarcely being a barrier against the passage of the light plumose seeds of this family of plants. The second great division is thus described :


In the whole of this immense region there is not a weed to be seen. The coarse grass is its sole produce; and in the summer, when it is high, it is beautiful to see the effect which the wind has in passing over this wild expanse of waving grass: the shades between the brown and yellow are beautiful-the scene is placid beyond description-no habitation nor human being is to be seen, unless occasionally the wild and picturesque outline of the Gaucho on the horizon-his scarlet poncho streaming horizontally behind him, his balls flying round his head, and as he bends forward towards his prey, his horse straining every nerve: before him is the ostrich he is pursuing, the distance between them gradually diminishing-his neck


stretched out, and striding over the ground in the most magnificent style-but the latter is soon lost in the distance, and the Gaucho's horse is often below the horizon, while his head shows that the chase is not yet decided.'-Head, pp. 247, 248.

We do not exactly understand what is here meant by weed. The common acceptation is that given in Dr. Johnson's definitión- an herb, noxious or useless;' a better one is that of the late Sir Joseph Banks- a plant out of its place:' for example, a tuft of corn in a potato-bed would be a weed; and equally so would a potato-plant in a field of corn: but it would be hard to say, where scores of different species of plants are growing together in a state of nature, as is the case on the Pampas plains, which of them are the weeds. The grass, we know, only partially covers the surface in tufts, between which a great variety of bulbous-rooted and other herbaceous plants are abundant; and a great portion of the second division of Captain Head is composed of salt lakes and marshes, abounding with saline plants. The cactus and mimosa are the most numerous tribe of shrubby and arboreous plants in the third division.-We may here observe, that the ostriches our traveller speaks of are not of that fine species common to Africa and Asia (camelus), but a smaller one, of the specific name rhea. It is much to be regretted that no traveller well versed in the science of natural history has as yet crossed the Pampas. Mr. Miers, it is true, has a smattering, and he mentions, in the third division, a few of the more common trees and shrubs which are scattered over the rising surface on the approach to Mendoza.




In these regions, by Captain Head's account, the usual reply to What have you to eat?' is Nada, Señor'-' Nothing, Sir.' Have you no fowls, no eggs, no bread?' No hai, no hai.' With all this negative catalogue of fare, however, he never desponds; his animal spirits and good-humour never for a moment leave him. The unbounded freedom of the Gaucho's life on the Pampas plains, the swiftness of the untamed horses, the jerked beef and brack water,-all these things charm the Captain exquisitely. After three or four months' riding, and living on this diet, he says, I found myself in a condition which I can only describe by saying, that I felt no exertion could kill me.'

The temperate lives the people lead apparently give them an uninterrupted enjoyment of health, and the list of disorders with which the old world is afflicted is altogether unknown. The beef on which they almost entirely subsist is so lean and tough, that few are tempted to eat more than is necessary, and if a hungry Gaucho has swallowed too much of a wild cow, the cure which nature has to perform is very simple. She has only by fever to deprive him of his appetite for a day or two, and he is well again.'-Head, p. 107.



The only sick person the rough rider met with in all his gallopings, was an old woman,' who, we presume, had given up the practice of equitation. Mr. Miers, by importunity and slow travelling, contrived to fare somewhat better in the eating way. He got sheep, fowls, eggs, now and then a little milk, and even bread: sometimes he enjoyed the luxury of pottage of maize boiled in grease,' which everybody present partook of out of the stewingpan, with the same spoon handed round the company. Nay, on one great occasion, he purchased from a very civil lady, who boasted of her family-connexions at Cordova, two yards of veal sausages; and heartily did he eat of the savoury food. The banquet, however, disordered his interior sadly, and for many days: nec mirum-the veal sausages had been manufactured from the body of a mule who had died a day or two before of the only disease that is entirely incurable.

Mr. Miers, who stuck to his coach and four,' saw but little of the life which a Gaucho lives, except when idling at the post-houses. We shall borrow, therefore, a few sketches of these people from Captain Head's vigorous pencil; and first, for the dwelling :

The hut consists generally of one room, in which all the family live, boys, girls, men, women, and children, all huddled together. The kitchen is a detached shed a few yards off: there are always holes, both in the walls and in the roof of the hut, which one at first considers as singular marks of the indolence of the people. In the summer this abode is so filled with fleas and binchucas, (which are bugs as large as black beetles,) that the whole family sleep on the ground in front of their dwelling; and when the traveller arrives at night, and, after unsaddling his horse, walks among this sleeping community, he may place the saddle or recado on which he is to sleep close to the companion most suited to his fancy: an admirer of innocence may lie down by the side of a sleeping infant; a melancholy man may slumber near an old black woman; and one who admires the fairer beauties of the creation, may very demurely lay his head on the saddle, within a few inches of the idol he adores. However, there is nothing to assist the judgment but the bare feet and ancles of all the slumbering group, for their heads and bodies are covered and disguised by the skin and poncho which cover them. In winter the people sleep in the hut, and the scene is a very singular one. As soon as the traveller's supper is ready, the great iron spit on which the beef has been roasted is brought into the hut, and the point is struck into the ground: the Gaucho then offers his guest the skeleton of a horse's head, and he and several of the family, on similar seats, sit round the spit, from which with their long knives they cut very large mouthfuls. The hut is lighted by a feeble lamp, made of bullock's tallow; and it is warmed by a fire of charcoal: on the walls of the hut are hung, upon bones, two or three bridles and spurs, and several lassos and balls on the ground are several


dark-looking heaps, which one can never clearly distinguish; on sitting down upon these when tired, I have often heard a child scream underneath me, and have occasionally been mildly asked by a young woman, what I wanted?—at other times, up has jumped an immense dog! While I was once warming my hands at the fire of charcoal, seated on a horse's head, looking at the black roof in a reverie, and fancying I was quite by myself, I felt something touch me, and saw two naked black children leaning over the charcoal in the attitude of two toads: they had crept out from under some of the ponchos, and I afterwards found that many other persons, as well as some hens sitting upon eggs, were also in the hut. In sleeping in these huts, the cock has often hopped upon my back to crow, in the morning; however, as soon as it is daylight, everybody gets up.'-Head, pp. 16-19.

The young Gaucho appears to be a most precocious animal; he is left from his birth to swing from the roof of a hut in a bullock's hide; he crawls about naked in the first year of his life, with a sharp knife in his hand, a foot long, as a plaything: no sooner is he able to find his legs, than his amusements are of that nature which may prepare him for the occupations of his future life -such as catching dogs, pigs, poultry, and smaller birds, with a lasso of twine. He now begins to ride on horseback, and his usual mode of mounting the animal is by climbing up the tail:

By the time he is four years old he is on horseback, and immediately becomes useful by assisting to drive the cattle into the corral. The manner in which these children ride is quite extraordinary: if a horse tries to escape from the flock which are driven towards the corral, I have frequently seen a child pursue him, overtake him, and then bring him back, flogging him the whole way; in vain the creature tries to dodge and escape from him, for the child turns with him, and always keeps close to him; and it is a curious fact, which I have often observed, that a mounted horse is always able to overtake a loose one.'

Head, p. 20.

These young Gauchos gallop at a furious rate, but--as the hare of old was beaten by the tortoise-their seniors, by a slower but more steady pace, generally arrive first at the journey's end. The horses are treated with great cruelty, and generally come in with the blood streaming down their sides, which are hacked by the enormous spurs of their fierce riders. • What is the matter?' said Captain Head, to a young large-headed Gaucho of eighteen, who was sobbing, and the tears falling down his cheeks; what have you lost?' conceiving it to be nothing short of his wife or mistress. 'I have lost-I have lost-mis espuelos-my spurs !' A wife or mistress might easily be replaced, but not so, on the Pampas, a pair of spurs; the wings,' as Captain Head phrases it, 'upon which the Gaucho flies for food



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