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or amusement.' At a very early age they begin to act as guides to travellers across the Pampas; they are perfect centaurs. It is interesting,' says Captain Head, 'to see the heedless, careless way in which these little chubby-faced creatures ride, and how thoughtlessly they drive their horses among biscacheros which would break in with the weight of a man.' These biscacheros are the holes and galleries made by little animals named the bischachos, which burrow in the ground like rabbits, and make it exceedingly dangerous to gallop over the Pampas. The animal is a species of arctomys, apparently the same as that which is known in North America by the name of the prairie-dog. In the day-time, Captain Head says, their holes are always guarded by two little owls, who are never an instant away from their post; the same thing is said of the prairie-dog; but we have never been told what their business is there, whether to guard the marmots, and apprize them of danger, or to feast upon them or their young. The marmots only come forth in the evening; and Captain Head says, as they sit outside their holes, they appear to be moralizing. They are the most serious-looking animals I ever saw; even the young ones are gray-headed, have mustachios, and look thoughtful and grave.'
The Gauchos are endued with a species of sagacity which, indeed, is common to all savages, and to men but little removed from a state of nature, especially those who pass their lives on wide open plains like the Pampas ;-it is that of being able to track, for days and miles, the footsteps of men and other animals where the impression is so faint as not to be discovered by the civilized eye; and to judge, by a combination of slight circumstances, what has occurred, or what may be going on, at a distance. Captain Head had a striking instance of this kind of sagacity. Riding by the side of a Gaucho one day, the latter, suddenly pointing up to the sky, said 'See! there is a lion!'
'I started from my reverie, and strained my eyes, but to no purpose, until he showed me at last, very high in the air, a number of large vultures, which were hovering without moving; and he told me they were there because there was a lion devouring some carcass, and that he had driven them away from it. We shortly afterwards came to a place where there was a little blood on the road, and for a moment we stopped our horses to look at it; I observed, that perhaps some person had been murdered there; the Gaucho said, "No," and pointing to some footmarks which were near the blood, he told me that some man had fallen, that he had broken his bridle, and that, while he was standing to mend it, the blood had evidently come from the horse's mouth. I observed, that perhaps it was the man who was hurt, upon which the Gaucho said, "No," and pointing to some marks a few yards before him on the path, he said, "for see the horse set off at a gallop."'-Head, pp. 256, 257.
It was precisely this species of sagacity that had nearly procured for Zadig the honour of being burnt for a witch,-when he volunteered a description of what he had never seen, la chienne respectable de la reine, et le cheval sacré du roi des rois.' As Captain Head frequently speaks of lions, and of the different character and disposition they are gifted with in the new and the old world, we may here observe, that there are no lions, strictly speaking, on the continent of America, and that the animal he alludes to under that name is, in all probability, the cougouar of Buffon,-the felis concolor of Linnæus, whose body is of a reddish brown colour, without spots or stripes. The story he tells of the large male lion standing on a man's poncho, looking at him and then turning away, (p. 105.) strengthens our conjecture, for Linnæus says of the cougouar, 'hominem vix adoritur.'
Mr. Miers is too sober a personage to be enraptured, like Captain Head, either with the Gauchos or the Pampas. The bad food, the brackish water, the heavy dews which make the clothes wringing wet on those who sleep in the open air-as almost every one does to avoid the fleas, bugs, and mosquitoes which haunt the huts-the dread of Indians, Monteneros, &c.-these things kept him in a state of perpetual irritation and torment by day, and prevented him from sleeping at night. The sting of mosquitoes he describes as something terrible; they pursued him, he says, in numbers like a dense cloud; there was no escaping their venomous bite; covering the face, and wearing thick leathern gloves on the hands, were no defence. After describing the incidents and annoyances of one unusually long stage, he says,
"This journey had been very wretched; we had all suffered much from the mosquitoes: our hands and faces, much swelled, were exceedingly painful; but my wife, in this respect, suffered the most. Her face was quite disfigured, so that she was scarcely to be recognised as the same person. The whole country around this place, with the exception of the shallow hollows filled with water, and forming lakes, was one level, saline swamp, covered with coarse grass. In no part of this long, wearisome, and distressing journey, from Melinque to Lastunas, did we see a single hut or inclosure, neither an ox nor a horse; scarcely any birds, and no quadrupeds, except the deer before mentioned: it presented one boundless solitude, disturbed only by the horrible buzzing of clouds of mosquitoes. The soil, although saline, was a dark friable mould, without the smallest pebble in it. We had seen neither sand, clay, nor gravel, since our departure from Buenos Ayres.'-Miers, vol. i. p. 55.
But even these creatures, insufferably tormenting as they are, must, we should suppose, be less formidable than the large-winged bug, as big as a black-beetle, which he afterwards had to encounter.
VOL. XXXV. NO. LXIX.
This was at a place where he found all the people sleeping out of doors, though it was blowing a gale of wind.
I was for some time at a loss to understand why these people should thus prefer sleeping exposed to the boisterous winds, in the open air, in preference to the shelter of a roof; but on a better acquaintance with the country, the cause became evident. It is owing to the dread of the benchuca, a winged variety of the cimex; it is in shape and form like the common house-bug, but of the size of our cockchafer. This insect conceals itself by day in the thatch and cane roofing of the houses, and sallies forth by night in quest of food; the people, therefore, place their beds at some distance from the hut, and always to windward, to avoid their attacks. They annoy mankind after the manner of our common house-bug, but, from their size, are terrific enemies. They are thin and flat, like the common bug; but, after satiating themselves with the blood of man, they become quite round: they take from him as much blood as the ordinary medicinal leech. Cleanliness and care is not of the same avail against the benchuca as against the common bug, since, being winged, it can transport itself from one place to another. It is common over the districts of Mendoza, San Juan, and the more northern provinces. In the town of Mendoza, this insect is very numerous; and one of the reasons why all the roofs are covered over with a plastering of mud is to prevent a harbour for this enemy to mankind in Mendoza, the inhabitants, both men and women, generally prefer sleeping in the court-yards of their houses; but when they do sleep in-doors, it is an undeviating custom, before retiring to rest, to examine the walls carefully, as the benchucas generally crawl out of their hiding-place in the canes of the roof after dusk.'-Miers, vol. i. pp. 129, 130.
The dreadful stories with which the Gaucho postilions are apt to amuse travellers, with regard to the incursions of the Indians, must be taken with considerable allowance, on the score of the fear and hatred which these unfortunate people inspire. They stand precisely in the same relation to the inhabitants of the Pampas, in which the wild Bosjesman Hottentots do to the Dutch boors on the plains of Southern Africa. Those Dutchmen, like the Spanish Creoles, possess large herds of cattle; while the Indians and the Hottentots are in want of the necessaries of life. The latter, therefore, drive off the herds of the former whenever they can ; and if opposed, and opportunity suits, they hesitate not at murder. Captain Head talks of the ecstatic pleasure they have in murdering the Christians.' If it be so, they have some plea of retaliation to set up. Who began the ecstatic pleasure of murder in these regions? But the poor Indians are not, even by Captain Head's account, alone in their taste for bloodshed now. On his inquiring of a Gaucho, who had returned from an expedition against
the Indians, how many prisoners they had taken ?- The man,' says he, replied by a look which I shall never forget: he clenched his teeth, opened his lips, and then, sawing his fingers across his bare throat for a quarter of a minute, bending towards me, with his spurs striking into his horse's sides, he said in a sort of low, choking voice, "Se matan todos -we kill them all!?
Mr. Miers gives an extract from the Journal of Dr. Leighton, who attended an expedition of the patriots of Chile against the Araucaneans, for harbouring some Spaniards that had fled among them, and were supposed to be exciting them to hostilities; which details instances of such inhuman and savage treatment of the poor creatures that fell into these patriots' hands, and of the wanton destruction of their houses and property, that the perusal of it makes one shudder with horror. Captain Head speaks of their bravery and the manner in which they gallop over the plains to meet the enemy, 'with light hearts and full stomachs;' but though the Araucaneans are the most warlike of all those tribes, and were never subdued by the old Spaniards, the extract in question shows, at least, that they are now cowed and dastardly. Mr. Miers, indeed, tells us, that 'the Indians are a most cowardly race, only equalled by the Creoles, who are afraid to encounter them; and in all instances (says he) where the soldiery have met an attack of the Indians with courage, sabre in hand, they have never failed to rout them completely.'-(p. 199.) We were rather surprised, therefore, to find Captain Head talking of the mounted Indians in such a vein as the following:
'How different this style of warfare is to the march of an army of our brave but limping, foot-sore men, crawling in the rain through muddy lanes, bending under their packs, while in their rear the mules, and forage, and packsaddles, and baggage, and waggons, and women-bullocks lying on the ground unable to proceed, &c. &c., form a scene of despair and confusion which must always attend the army that walks instead of rides, and that eats cows instead of horses. How impossible would it be for an European army to contend with such an aerial force! As well might it attempt to drive the swallows from the country, as to harm these naked warriors.'-Head, pp. 115, 116.
We suspect the following anticipation, pitifully as we are disposed to think of the revolutionised Creoles, will not be accomplished in our generation:
however ill it may suit our politics to calculate upon such an event as the union of the Araucana and Pampas Indians, who can venture to say that the hour may not be decreed, when these men, mounted upon the descendants of the very horses which were brought over the Atlantic to oppress their forefathers, may rush from the cold region to which they have been driven, and with irresistible fury proclaim to the guilty conscience of our civilized world, that the hour of retribution has arrived; that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children
children; that the descendants of Europeans are in their turn trampled underfoot, and, in agony and torture, in vain are asking mercy from the naked Indians ?-Head, p. 125.
On this great Pampas plain, or near its borders, there are, besides Buenos Ayres, four towns which are dignified with the name of cities: San Luis, near the centre; Mendoza, near the feet of the Cordilleras; Cordova, at the feet of a range of northern mountains of that name; and Santa Fé, on the borders of the river Parana. There is also San Juan, about two hundred miles to the northward of Mendoza. The first two are in the direct road from Buenos Ayres to Chile. The grave observation of one of the Cornish miners, on seeing some women and girls almost naked, on their approach to San Luis, speaks not much in favour of the population of that city-They be so wild as the donkey, and there be one thing, Sir, that I do observe, which is, that the farther we do go the wilder things do get.' There was some truth in this, for, on entering the city, Captain Head soon discovered they were likely to fare no better than they had been accustomed to in the desert. We inquired, he says, of the wild group that were assembled, 'if there was an inn in the town? "No hai! Señor, no hai!" We then inquired for beds." No hai! Señor, no hai!" Is there a café? No hai! Señor!" in exactly the same tone of voice.' He next addressed himself to the Maestro de Posta, telling him that he had ridden all day without eating; that he' was very hungry, and begged to know what he could have.' 'Lo que quiere, Señor, tenemos todo '-whatever you choose, Sir; we have everything;—which, on further inquiry, turned out to be 'carne de vacca,' and 'gallinas.' The fowl, however, which he ordered, never found its way into the pot, and for once he became impatient, and asked for some eggs. No hai, Señor,' said the girl of the house. 'Good heavens!' said the Captain, in the capital of San Luis, is there not one single egg?' 'Yes;' said the girl-mañana—' to-morrow morning there will be some.' With all his veneration for the virtues of beef, we wonder he did not take the precautionary measures of the Gaucho, who, on the slaughter of an animal, usually cuts off a large thin slice, which, being spread on the horse's back under the saddle, is found pretty well stewed at the end of the journey. We think, too, that, when he experienced the delightful feeling of freedom and independence in galloping, without clothes on a horse without a saddle, it might have occurred to the Captain to make the experiment, what number of miles hard riding, at a particular state of the thermometer, it would take to dress a beefstake precisely to a turn.
The houses of San Luis have each a garden inclosed by high mud-walls, planted with vines, peaches, figs, and other fruit-trees;