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plantations in search of fugitives from the late action ; several of whom they had already found in the neighbourhood, and shot. I therefore determined on removing into the forest above the valley, and endeavouring to find some companion in distress, with whom I might seek my way to Bolivar's camp. My worthy host endeavoured to dissuade me from this resolution ; assuring me, that he did not apprehend any danger of discovery. Finding me, however, decided on not endangering them any longer, he and his family bid me farewell, with many embraces and kind wishes. They furnished me with a basket, containing roast plantains, and dried meat. The old man gave me at parting a flint and steel, with a cane containing yesca, (a kind of tinder made of dried fungus) and an Indian churumběla, with tobacco, which I found of real value in the damp woods, where I lay concealed for some time afterwards.
"The trees in these mountain forests are chiefly the caoba, or mahogany, which grows to a majestic size, and affords a delightful shade. There are, besides, many different kinds of wild fruit-trees, which are resorted to by the araguato monkey. Panthers inhabit these wilds ; but, although I often heard their yells, they never approached near enough to give me any serious apprehensions. When my provisions were expended, I was in the habit of going down, cautiously, to the outskirts of the plantations, after dusk, and cutting sugar-cane : this is well known to be nutritious enough to support life for a long time, without any other food. I ventured, occasionally, near enough to cottages, where I could hear no watch-dogs, to forage ripe plantains : and was, in one instance, fortunate enough to find some tazajo, hanging on bambu poles. This lucky windfall I transferred to my basket havresack, without much scruple. I found it difficult to guard against the depredations of the monkies, which frequently robbed me of my provisions, if I lost sight of them for a moment. The mountains here abound with snakes and centipedes, which I used often to discover under the dry leaves, that composed my bed. The former were, however, perfectly harmless, when not molested ; although it was necessary to use caution on rising, to avoid touching them; as that would, of course, have provoked them to bite.
• The woods at night were brilliantly illuminated by the cucuis, or lantern flies, which, flitting in myriads from tree to tree, resemble sparks of fire. This insect is a small dark coloured beetle, similar to that which is found under rotten wood, in England. It carries its greenish phosphoric light in the tail ; and its lantern remains invisible, except when it is flying, as it is covered by the wing-cases when in a state of rest.
• I soon began to find this solitary way of life too irksome to endure with any degree of patience. I even entertained serious thoughts of surrendering myself to the Spaniards, at all hazards, rather than lead the life of an outlaw, any longer, among these wild mountains; when I unexpectedly met with a comrade, who soon dissuaded me from this intention, and was eventually the means of enabling me to escape, in safety, to Bolivar's army One night, as I was cutting a supply of sugar-cane, as usual, I saw, by the moonlight, a native close to me, busily engaged in the same occupation. We were, at first, rather cautions of approaching each other ; but, as he soon discovered me to be an Englishman, he informed me that he was an alferez, belonging to Zaraza's cavalry, and had taken refuge in the woods, after the defeat of La Puerta ; adding, that he also
was foraging for bis support. We were both rejoiced at this accidental meeting, and agreed to continue together, for mutual assistance. This event was particularly fortunate for me, as my new companion, whose name was Bicente Artaóna, knew the country well, and was a stout active young criole, whose assistance in procuring provisions, and afterwards in crossing rivers, I found extremely serviceable. The days now passed much more agreeably than in my former solitude, for Bicente knew several places of security in the mountains, to which he used to guide me. Here many patriot families from the neighbouring towns, as well as some of the fugitives, who had followed us in the retreat from Vitória, had taken refuge from the Spanish army. The wretched abodes, in which these wanderers found shelter, were generally in the dry beds of torrents, and were concealed by the overhanging banks. Their most active young men sometimes ventured out in search of provisions; but were often taken, and shot by the Godos.
* The rains not falling now so frequently, we determined to commence our march in quest of our friends; although perfectly ignorant of the present situation of the army. Having laid in a pretty good stock of provisions, by means of the skilful foraging of Artaóna, we left the mountains, guiding our march by the two gigantic rocks, called the Morros of San Juan, which loomed, at the other side of the valley, in stern and solitary grandeur. While descending the mountains, we followed the course of torrents, as being the most unfrequented route we could take. This was attended by severe exertion, as we were obliged to leap from rock to rock, for hours together, and, occasionally, to swim across any deep pool, to which we came. I was, of course, under the necessity of throwing away my boots, with which it would have been impossible to proceed; but still my companion, the soles of whose feet were invulnerable, was obliged often to halt for me, as I was utterly incapable of keeping up with him, in walking barefoot over gravel and finty roads. On reaching the more open country, we always concealed ourselves during the day, in some wood, and proceeded forward by night ; carefully avoiding every beaten track, as well as all houses and plantations.'--pp. 88–94.
They had not advanced far in their speculative journey, when they found themselves in the midst of the Spanish quarters. From these unfriendly precincts they clandestinely retired, and having approached the neighbourhood of a town called Ortis, our author's companion went on to the town to obtain some news. Here he met with a friendly priest-a patriot also, to whom he unfolded 'the history of his English friend, and returned with an invitation from the clergyman to come to his house, with which the author very willingly complied.
The priest, Don Cayetano Guaxardo, a venerable looking elderly man, received us with the greatest kindness. He lamented, in particular, the hardships that I had lately suffered ; and expressed his surprise, that an European could undergo as much fatigue as a criole. On noticing the ill state of our clothing, which, it must be owned, was tolerably ragged, after the rough usage it had met with in the woods and ravines, he insisted ou our accepting linen and pantaloons of his own. This was a positive luxury to us, after wandering near two months without a change of
raiment. At the same time, as he was a remarkably stout Clerico, and we were both rather slender, the ludicrous figure we cut, in his ample mosquito trowsers, gave us, and him, a hearty laugh, in spite of our fatigue and distress. Don Cayetano also furnished me with a large pair of boots, which had evidently appertained, not long before, to some Spanish dragoon; assuring me that Artaóna would guide me that night to a place, where we should be able to procure horses. He expressed his regret at being afraid to shelter us in his house; as he was in hourly expectation of the arrival of the Spanish advanced guard. He therefore advised us, for our sakes as well as his own, to leave Ortiz without farther delay. Then, dismissing us with his blessing, and hearty wishes for our safe arrival among our own people, he filled our havresacks with provisions, and gave me, at parting, a bundle of cigars, which were very scarce in this part of the country. I must not omit to mention, that on examining our stores, at the first halt we made, we found a few dollars wrapped in paper, which the worthy old priest had put privately into each of our havresacks, to ensure us a supply until we should join the army.'pp. 98, 99.
After this practical specimen of clerical benevolence, we conceive it to be the very height of injustice on the part of the present writer to indulge, as he does in many places, in invectives the most severe against the general body of the South American clergy. We see, however, in this fact, only another added to the thousand instances which we daily witness, of the unconquerable obstinacy of early impressions. Surely the prejudices of education must be strong, indeed, when they can survive, in a reasonable man's mind, the conviction of their injustice !
Having, after a long and wearisome pilgrimage, at length succeeded in finding the object of his search, our author once more joined the patriotic leader, whose recent discomfiture had not lessened his claims to the support of every generous and honest man. The rainy season–a time of necessary cessation from all warlike operations-was spent by the patriot troops in Achaguas, a district which is occasionally converted into an island by the swell of adjacent rivers. Here it was that Paez, a sort of prime minister to Bolivar, established no less a refined institution than a mint, which was destined for the sole accommodation of the army. Our author observes
• This new establishment, for the simplicity of its machinery, and economy observed in the number of officers employed, was perhaps unrivalled in any country. In a room in the Plaza, where some of the English were quartered, a block of wood was fixed in the brick floor, and a small anvil was driven into the top of it; having a die engraved on it, representing one side of a pezeta, or quarter-dollar. The stamp, for the reverse of this coin, was on a short piece of steel, secured in a handle of iron, for the convenience of striking it with a sledge hammer, when placed on a piece of metal of the proper size and weight, which was laid on the under die, or anvil. The shape of this coin was totally disregarded; nor was the master of the mint much more particular about the weight of
each separate piece. This, certainly, was of very little consequence, when it is considered of what metal this money, purporting to be silver, was coined.
· Paëz had collected, for this purpose, a considerable quantity of old silver, of different kinds, such as stirrups, sword scabbards, and various other ornaments, taken from the enemy by his troops, who were exceedingly expert in plundering: he had also bought up private and church plate to a large amount. All this was melted down, with one fourth of copper, which mixture, together with the previous alloy contained in the silver, formed, it must be allowed, a base metal worthy of such a mint. The only officers employed in the coinage, were a smith of all work, who had been used to make and repair coarse articles in silver, and his son, a lad of about fifteen years old. There was no mystery practised, with respect to the adulteration of the current coin; the doors being left open, without even a sentry on them. The process was simply this. After having run the metal into narrow bars, these were heated red hot, in a common forge, and hammered out to the proper thickness. The blanks were then cut, as nearly of the proper weight as could be guessed, with a cold chisel ; and were finished for stamping, by roughly filing off the corners of each piece, so as to leave a kind of polygon, resembling what is called in the West Indies, cut-money.
This coin, though undoubtedly a base currency, was of the most essential service to the army, and the neighbouring country; as there was previously a great want of a circulating medium. It readily passed current, for the full value assigned it; because Paëz, whose word was confided in by the inhabitants of his province, had promised to call it all in, when he should be enabled to do so, by a more flourishing state of affairs. This promise was punctually performed, about a year after; when Bolívar brought up sterling money from Guayana sufficient to call in all the depreciated coinage. Few, however, of the Llanéros troubled themselves about exchanging it, and it long after continued in circulation in Varínas.
Our diversions, while quartered at Achaguas, were, necessarily, very circumscribed ; the deep mud in the savannas, and the swollen state of the streams, not admitting of our riding to the neighbouring plantations, with any degree of comfort. As for walking in the town, those who were fortunate enough to be still possessed of shoes or boots, in which number were included the newly arrived English, soon found that they were a useless incumbrance, even in the streets, which were mostly knee-deep in mud. Our chief amusement consisted in visiting the families of emigrants. Numbers of these were here, who had seen better days, and whose conversation, interspersed with anecdotes of their eventful times, was highly interesting. Among them, the Padre Cura of Guadualíto, Don Manuel Quadras, was particularly visited by the English officers in the evenings. He was a man of superior education and talents; and had been accompanied in his exile, (as it might be called,) by his sister and two nieces; whose guitars, and singing, were always ready to enliven the dull hours we passed in these winter quarters.
Paëz, meanwhile, did every thing in his power to make us as comfortable as possible; and provided a corral full of milch-cows, purposely for the English. Whenever he could procure any aquardiente, to animate his guests, he would invite all the town to a dance, in which he used to join
in the most unwearied style of any. He is excessively fond of this
amusement, and was considered, by the ladies of Achaguas, the best dancer in Varínas. At other times, he would order a number of wild horses to be driven into the Plaza, which was covered with a smooth turf; and would amuse himself by giving them to his guard to break in, and frequently by mounting them himself, as he is a very expert rough-rider.
"The feast of San Juan Bautista, which is always celebrated in South América. by horse-racing and bon-fires, was kept up in a most extraordinary manner in Achaguas. There was no ground whatever, either in the town or the neighbourhood, on which racing was practicable. Paëz, however, mounted his horse before day-break, attended by several of his staff, most of them without saddles, and having on merely their shirts and drawers';, and proceeded with them round the town, playing on vihuelas, and calling on every body, especially the foreigners, to turn out and follow him. The streets were excessively muddy; and the diversion consisted, chiefly, in every one making his neighbour as dirty as he possibly could. This object was so easily effected, that the natural colours of both horses and men were soon completely undistinguishable. Those that refused, or even delayed to join the revellers, were pulled out of bed, sans ceremonie, and rolled in the mud. Among the rest, the alcalde of the town, Don Pepe Nunez, who was always remarkably neat in his dress, and who had been lately married, was detected in endeavouring to escape, and shared the common fate. After riding about some time in this pickle, Paëz led the way in swimming the river Apúrito, where all that had been concerned in this frolic effectually cleansed themselves, and their horses, from the mud with which they were covered. They then separated to their quarters, to clothe themselves, and prepare to attend the general at breakfast, to which every officer at head-quarters had been invited.
. What this dejeunè à la fourchette wanted in elegance, was amply compensated by the plenty and variety of the viands. Of meat, there were ribs, zezínas and rayas of savanna beef, wild hogs from Mericúri, and venison from the neighbouring woods of Gamarra. Of poultry, there were wild ducks, pauxis, and guacharacas, and plenty of fish from the Apuríto. Maize bread, in arepas, bollos, and roscas, with cheese and quarápo, crowned the banquet.'-pp. 114-118.
During the leisure which the suspension of hostilities afforded the author, he took occasion to make frequent and close observations of the domestic manners and customs of the people. Some of the results of his inquiries will be read with interest:
In the few farms which remain inhabited, being necessarily remote from the cultivated districts, and, in a great measure, from all civilized society, may be seen a curious specimen of pastoral life; where hospitality is exercised as a matter of course, and the visitor is considered as the person conferring the obligation. The houses attached to these hatos are all on the ground floor, consisting in general of a large hall, the walls of which are hung round with saddles, bridles, and lazos; containing, for furniture, one large table, and several long massy escanos, or settles, too heavily made to be ever moved. Here all the inmates eat, when driven in by the rain ; and the males of the family all sleep, in bad weather ; each having an undressed bullock's hide for a bed. This cuero, as it is called, although suppled in some measure by constant use, is by no means softer