Part 4 out of 5
not use, he demands, "Who brought the sticks?" until a young brave
steps forward in front of him and replies, "Father of Kittens, I
brought the sticks." This young man is then commanded to stand apart,
the girl is hunted out, and together they wait while the witch-doctor
X-rays them through and through. After this close scrutiny, they are
asked: "Do you want this man?" "Do you want this girl?" To which they
reply, "Yes, Father of Kittens, I do." Then, with great show of
power, the medicine-man says, "Go!" and off the newly-married pair
start, to live together until death (in the form of burial) does them
It may be a great surprise to the reader to learn that these savages
are exceedingly moral. Infidelity between man and wife is punished
with death, but in all my travels I only heard of one such case. A
man marries only one wife, and although any expression of love
between them is never seen, they yet seem to think of one another in
a tender way, and it is especially noticeable that the parents are
kind to their children.
One evening I rode into an encampment of savages who were celebrating
a feast. About fifty specially-decked-out Indians were standing in a
circle, and one of the number had a large and very noisy rattle, with
which he kept time to the chant of Ha ha ha ha ha! u u u u u! o o o
oo! au au au au au! The lurid lights of the fires burning all around
lit up this truly savage scene. The witch-doctor, the old fakir named
"Father of Kittens," came to me and looked me through and through
with his piercing eyes. I was given the rattle, and, although very
tired, had to keep up a constant din, while my wild companions bent
their bodies in strange contortions. In the centre of the ring was a
woman with a lighted pipe in her hand. She passed this from one to
another and pushed it into the mouth of each one, who had "a draw."
My turn came, and lo! the pipe was thrust between my teeth, and the
din went on: Ha ha! u u! o o! au au! This feast lasted three nights
and two days, but the music was not varied, and neither man nor woman
seemed to sleep or rest. Food was cooking at the different fires,
attended by the women, but my share was only a _roasted fox's head!_
The animal was laid on the wood, with skin, head and legs still
attached, and the whole was burnt black. I was very hungry, and ate
my portion thankfully. Christopher North said: "There's a deal of
fine confused feeding about a sheep's head," and so I found with the
fox's. Truly, as the Indian says, "hunger is a very big man."
At these feasts a drum, made by stretching a serpent's skin over one
of their clay pots, is loudly beaten, and the thigh-bone of an
ostrich, with key-holes burned in, is a common musical instrument.
From the _algarroba_ bean an intoxicating drink is made, called _ang-
min_, and then yells, hellish sounds and murderous blows inspire
terror in the paleface guest. "It is impossible to conceive anything
more wild and savage than the scene of their bivouac. Some drink till
they are intoxicated, others swallow the steaming blood of
slaughtered animals for their supper, and then, sick from
drunkenness, they cast it up again, and are besmeared with gore and
After the feast was over I held a service, and told how sin was
_injected_ into us by the evil spirit, but that all are invited to
the heavenly feast. My address was listened to in perfect silence,
and the nodding heads showed that some, at least, understood it. When
I finished speaking, a poor woman, thinking she must offer something,
gave me her baby--a naked little creature that had never been washed
in its life. I took it up and kissed it, and the poor woman smiled.
Yes, a savage woman can smile.
As already stated, many different tribes of Indians dwell in the
Chaco, and each have their different customs. In the Suhin tribe the
rite of burial may be thus described. "The digger of the grave and
the performer of the ceremony was the chief, who is also a witch-
doctor, and I was told that he was about to destroy the witch-doctor
who had caused the man's death. A fire was lit, and whilst the
digging was in progress a stone and two pieces of iron were being
heated. Two bones of a horse, a large bird's nest built of sticks,
and various twigs were collected. The skin of a jaguar's head, a
tooth, and the pads of the same animal were laid out. A piece of wax
and a stone were also heated; and in a heap lay a hide, some skins
for bedding, and a quantity of sheep's wool. The grave being
finished, the ceremony began by a wooden arrow being notched in the
middle and waxed, then plunged into the right breast of the corpse,
when it was snapped in two at the notch, and the remaining half was
flung into the air, accompanied with a vengeful cry, in the direction
of the Toothli tribe, one of whose doctors, it was supposed, had
caused the man's death. Short pointed sticks, apparently to represent
arrows, were also daubed with wax, two being plunged into the throat
and one into the left breast, the cry again accompanying each
insertion. One of the jaguar's pads was next taken, and the head of
the corpse torn by the claws, the growl of the animal being imitated
during the process. An incision was next made in the cheek, and the
tooth inserted; then the head and face were daubed with the heated
wax. The use of the wax is evidently to signify the desire that both
arrows and animal may stick to the man if he be attacked by either.
The arrows were plunged, one into the right breast downwards, and
another below the ribs, on the same side, but in an upward direction,
a third being driven into the right thigh. They also spoke about
breaking one of the arms, but did not do so. An incision being made
in the abdomen, the heated stone was then placed within the body.
They place most reliance upon the work of the stone. The ceremony is
known by the name of 'Mataimang' stone, and all the other things are
said to assist it. Meteorites, when seen to pass along the sky, are
regarded with awe; they are believed to be these stones in passage.
The body was placed in the grave with the head to the west, the
jaguar's head and pads being first placed under it. A bunch of grass,
tied together, was placed upon the body; then the bird's nest was
burned upon it. The bones were next thrown in, and over all the
various articles before mentioned were placed. These were to
accompany the soul in its passage to the west. In this act the idea
of a future state is more distinctly seen than ever it has been seen
amongst the Lenguas, who burn all a man's possessions at his death.
The ceremony finished, the grave was covered in, logs and twigs being
carelessly thrown on the top, apparently simply to indicate the
existence of a grave. The thing which struck me most was the intense
spirit of vengeance shown."
Notwithstanding such terrible savagery, however, the Indian has ideas
of right and wrong that put Christian civilization to shame. The
people are perfectly _honest_ and _truthful_. I believe they _cannot
lie_, and stealing is entirely unknown among them.
Many are the experiences I have had in the Chaco. Some of them haunt
me still like ghostly shadows. The evening camp-fire, the glare of
which lit up and made more hideous still my savage followers,
gorging themselves until covered with filth and gore. The times when,
from sheer hunger, I have, like them, torn up bird or beast and eaten
it raw. The draughts of water from the Indian hole containing the
putrefying remains of some dead animal; my shirt dropping off in rags
and no wash for three weeks. The journeys through miles of malarial
swamps and pathless wilderness. The revolting food, and the want of
food. Ah! the memory is a bad dream from which I must awake.
The other side, you say? Yes, there is another. A cloudless blue sky
overhead. The gorgeous air-flowers, delicate and fragrant. Trees
covered with a drapery of orchidaceae. The loveliest of flowers and
shrubs. Birds of rainbow beauty, painted by the hand of God, as only
He can. Flamingoes, parrots, humming-birds, butterflies of every size
and hue. Arborescent ferns; cacti, thirty feet high, like huge
candelabra. Creeping plants growing a hundred feet, and then passing
from the top of one ever-vernal tree to another, forming a canopy for
one from the sun's rays. Chattering monkeys. Deer, with more
beautiful eyes than ever woman had since Eve fell. The balmy air
wafting incense from the burning bush; and last, but oh, not least,
the joy in seeing the degraded aborigine learning to love the "Light
of the World"! Yes, there are delights; but "life is real, life is
earnest," and a meal of _algarroba_ beans (the husks of the prodigal
son of Luke XV.) is not any more tempting if eaten under the shade of
a waving palm of surpassing beauty.
The mission station previously referred to lies one hundred miles in
from the river bank, three hundred miles north of Asuncion, among the
Lengua Indians. As far as I am aware, no Paraguayan has ever visited
there. The missionaries wish their influence to be the only one in
training the Indian mind. The village bears the strange name of
Waikthlatemialwa (The Place Where the Toads Arrived). At the
invitation of the missionaries, I was privileged to go there and see
their work. A trail leads in from the river bank, but it is so bad
that bullock carts taking in provisions occupy ten and twelve days on
the journey. Tamaswa (The Locust Eater), my guide, led me all during
the first day out through a palm forest, and at night we slept on the
hard ground. The Indian was a convert of the mission, and although
painted, feathered and almost naked, seemed really an exemplary
Christian. The missionaries labored for eleven years without gaining
a single convert, but Tamaswa is not the only "follower of Jesus"
now. During the day we shot a deer, and that evening, being very
hungry, I ate perhaps two pounds of meat. Tamaswa finished the rest!
True, it was only a small deer, but as I wish to retain my character
for veracity, I dare not say how much it weighed. This meal
concluded, we knelt on the ground. I read out of the old Book: "I go
to prepare a place for you," and Locust Eater offered a simple prayer
for protection, help and safety to the God who understands all
My blanket was wet through and through with the green slime through
which we had waded and splashed for hours, but we curled ourselves up
under a beer barrel tree and tried to sleep. The howling jaguars and
other beasts of prey in the jungle made this almost impossible.
Several times I was awakened by my guide rising, and, by the light of
a palm torch, searching for wood to replenish the dying fire, in the
smoke of which we slept, as a help against the millions of mosquitos
buzzing around. Towards morning a large beast of some kind leaped
right over me, and I rose to rekindle the fire, which my guide had
suffered to die out, and then I watched until day dawned. As all the
deer was consumed, we started off without breakfast, but were
fortunate later on in being able to shoot two wild turkeys.
That day we rode on through the endless forest of palms, and waded
through a quagmire at least eight miles in extent, where the green
slime reached up to the saddle-flaps. On that day we came to a
sluggish stream, bearing the name of
"Aptikpangmakthlaingwainkyapaimpangkya" (The Place Where the Pots
Were Struck When They Were About to Feast). There a punt was moored,
into which we placed our saddles, etc., and paddled across, while the
horses swam the almost stagnant water. Saddling up on the other side,
we had a journey of thirty miles to make before arriving at a
waterhole, where we camped for the second night. I don't know what
real nectar is, but that water was nectar to me, although the horses
sniffed and at first refused to drink it.
At sunset on the third day we emerged from the palm forest and
endless marshes, and by the evening of the fourth day the church,
built of palm logs, loomed up on the horizon. Many of the Indians
came out to meet us, and my arrival was the talk of the village. The
people seemed happy, and the missionaries made me at home in their
roughly-built log shanties. Next morning I found a gift had been
brought me by the Indians. It was a beautiful feather headdress, but
it had just been left on the step, the usual way they have of making
presents. The Indian expects no thanks, and he gives none. The women
received any present I handed them courteously but silently. The men
would accept a looking-glass from me and immediately commence to
search their face for any trace of "dirty hairs," probably brought to
their mind by the sight of mine, but not even a grunt of satisfaction
would be given. No Chaco language has a word for "thanks."
[Illustration: TAMASWA (THE LOCUST EATER) PROCURING FOOD. This young
man could put the point of his arrow into a deer's eye a hundred
[Illustration: FASHIONS OF THE CHACO.]
There is, among the Lenguas, an old tradition to the effect that for
generations they have been expecting the arrival of some strangers
who would live among them and teach them about the spirit-world.
These long-looked-for teachers were called _The Imlah_. The tradition
says that when the Imlah arrive, all the Indians must obey their
teaching, and take care that the said Imlah do not again leave their
country, for if so they, the Indians, would disappear from the land.
When Mr. Grubb and his helpers first landed, they were immediately
asked, "Are you the Imlah?" and to this question they, of course,
answered yes. Was it not because of this tradition that the Indian
who later shot Mr. Grubb with a poisoned arrow was himself put to
death by the tribe?
About twenty boys attend the school established at Waikthlatemialwa,
and strange names some of them bear; let Haikuk (Little Dead One)
serve as an example. It is truly a cheering sight to see this sign of
a brighter day. When these boys return to their distant _toldos_ to
tell "the news" to their dark-minded parents, the most wonderful of
all to relate is "Liklamo ithnik nata abwathwuk enthlit God;
hingyahamok hiknata apkyapasa apkyitka abwanthlabanko.
Aptakmilkischik sat ankuk appaiwa ingyitsipe sata netin thlamokthloho
abyiam." [Footnote: John 3:16]
Well might the wondering mother of "Dark Cloud" call her next-born
"Samai" (The Dawn of Day).
The Indian counts by his hands and feet. Five would be one hand, two
hands ten, two hands and a foot fifteen, and a specially clever
savage could even count "my two hands and my two feet." Now Mr. Hunt
is changing that: five is _thalmemik_, ten _sohok-emek_, fifteen
_sohokthlama-eminik_, and twenty _sohok-emankuk_.
When a boy in school desires to say eighteen, he must first of all
take a good deep breath, for _sohok-emek-wakthla-mok-eminick-
antanthlama_ is no short word. This literally means: "finished my
hands--pass to my other foot three."
At the school I saw the skin of a water-snake twenty-six feet nine
inches long, but a book of pictures I had interested the boys far
The mission workers have each a name given to them by the Indians,
and some of them are more than strange. Apkilwankakme (The Man Who
Forgot His Face) used to be called Nason when he moved in high
English circles; now he is ragged and torn-looking; but the old Book
my mother used to read says: "He that loseth his life for My sake
shall find it." Some of us have yet to learn that if we would
remember _His face_ it is necessary for us to forget our own. If the
unbeliever in mission work were to go to Waik-thlatemialwa, he would
come away a converted man. The former witch-doctor, who for long made
"havoc," but has since been born again, would tell him that during a
recent famine he talked to the Unseen Spirit, and said: "Give us
food, God!" and that, when only away a very short while, his arrows
killed three ostriches and a deer. He would see Mrs. Mopilinkilana
walking about, clothed and in her right mind. Who is she? The
murderess of her four children--the woman who could see the skull of
her own boy kicking about the _toldo_ for days, and watch it finally
cracked up and eaten by the dogs. Can such as she be changed? The
Scripture says: "Every one that believeth."
The Lengua language contains no word for God, worship, praise,
sacrifice, sin, holiness, reward, punishment or duty, but their
meanings are now being made clear.
The church at Waikthlatemialwa has no colored glass windows--old
canvas bags take their place. The reverent worshippers assemble
morning and evening, in all the pride of their paint and feathers,
but there is no hideous idol inside; nay! they worship the invisible
One, whom they can see even with closely shut eyes. To watch the men
and women, with erect bearing, and each walking in the other's
footsteps, enter the church, is a sight well worth the seeing. They
bow themselves, not before some fetish, as one might suppose, but to
the One whom, having not seen, some of them are learning to love.
One of the missionaries translated my simple address to the dusky
congregation, who listened with wondering awe to the ever-new story
of Jesus. As the Lengua language contains no word for God, the
Indians have adopted our English word, and both that name and Jesus
came out in striking distinctness during the service, and in the
fervent prayer of the old ex-witch-doctor which followed. With the
familiar hymn, "There is a green hill far away," the meeting
concluded. The women with nervous air silently retired, but the men
saluted me, and some even went so far as to shake hands--with the
left hand. Would that similar stations were established all over this
neglected land! While churches and mission buildings crowd each other
in the home lands, the Chaco, with an estimated population of three
millions, must be content with this one ray of light in the dense
On that far-off "green hill" we shall meet some even from the Lengua
tribe. Christ said: "I am the door; by Me if _any_ man enter in, he
shall be saved." But oh, "Painted Face," you spoke truth; the white
"thing" _is_ selfish, and keeps this wondrous knowledge to himself.
"There can be no more fascinating field of labor than Brazil,
notwithstanding the difficulty of the soil and the immense tracts of
country which have to be traversed. It covers half a continent, and
is _three times the size of British India_. Far away in the interior
there exist numerous Indian tribes with, as yet, no written language,
and consequently no Bible. Thrust back by the white man from their
original homes, these children of the forest and the river are,
perhaps, the most needy of the tribes of the earth. For all that
these millions know, the Gospel is non-existent and Jesus Christ has
never visited and redeemed the world." [Footnote: The Neglected
The Republic of Brazil has an area of 3,350,000 square miles. From
north to south the country measures 2,600 miles, and from east to
west 2,500 miles. While the Republic of Bolivia has no sea coast,
Brazil has 3,700 miles washed by ocean waves. The population of this
great empire is twenty-two millions. Out of this perhaps twenty
millions speak the Portuguese language.
"If Brazil was populated in the same proportion as Belgium is per
square mile, Brazil would have a population of 1,939,571,699. That is
to say, Brazil, a single country in South America, could hold and
support the entire population of the world, and hundreds of millions
more, the estimate of the earth's population at the beginning of the
twentieth century being 1,600,000,000." [Footnote: Bishop Neely's
Besides the millions of mules, horses and other animals, there are,
in the republic, twenty-five millions of cattle.
Brazil is rich in having 50,000 miles of navigable waterways. Three
of the largest rivers of the world flow through its territory. The
Orinoco attains a width of four miles, and is navigable for 1,400
miles. The Amazon alone drains a basin of 2,500,000 square miles.
Out of this mighty stream there flows every day three times the
volume of water that flows from the Mississippi. Many a sea-captain
has thought himself in the ocean while riding its stormy bosom. That
most majestic of all rivers, with its estuary 180 miles wide, is the
great highway of Brazil. Steamboats frequently leave the sea and sail
up its winding channels into the far interior of Ecuador--a distance
of nearly 4,000 miles. All the world knows that both British and
American men-of-war have visited the city of Iquitos in Peru, 2,400
miles up the Amazon River. The sailor on taking soundings has found a
depth of 170 feet of water at 2,000 miles from the mouth. Stretches
of water and impenetrable forest as far as the eye can reach are all
the traveller sees.
Prof. Orton says: "The valley of the Amazon is probably the most
sparsely populated region on the globe," and yet Agassiz predicted
that "the future centre of civilization of the world will be in the
Amazon Valley." I doubt if there are now 500 acres of tilled land in
the millions of square miles the mighty river drains. Where
cultivated, coffee, tobacco, rubber, sugar, cocoa, rice, beans, etc.,
freely grow, and the farmer gets from 500 to 800-fold for every
bushel of corn he plants. Humboldt estimated that 4,000 pounds of
bananas can be produced in the same area as 33 pounds of wheat or 99
pounds of potatoes.
The natural wealth of the country is almost fabulous. Its mountain
chains contain coal, gold, silver, tin, zinc, mercury and whole
mountains of the very best iron ore, while in forty years five
million carats of diamonds have been sent to Europe. In 1907 Brazil
exported ten million dollars' worth of cocoa, seventy million
dollars' worth of rubber; and from the splendid stone docks of
Santos, which put to shame anything seen on this northern continent,
either in New York or Boston, there was shipped one hundred and
forty-two million dollars' worth of coffee. Around Rio Janeiro alone
there are a hundred million coffee trees, and the grower gets two
crops a year.
Yet this great republic has only had its borders touched. It is
estimated that there are over a million Indians in the interior, who
hold undisputed possession of four-fifths of the country. Three and a
quarter million square miles of the republic thus remains to a great
extent an unknown, unexplored wilderness. In this area there are over
a million square miles of virgin forest, "the largest and densest on
earth." The forest region of the Amazon is twelve hundred miles east
to west, and eight hundred miles north to south, and this sombre,
primeval woodland has not yet been crossed. [Footnote: Just as this
goes to press the newspapers announce that the Brazilian Government
has appropriated $10,000 towards the expenses of an expedition into
the interior, under the leadership of Henry Savage Landor, the English
Brazil's federal capital, Rio de Janeiro, stands on the finest harbor
of the world, in which float ships from all nations. Proudest among
these crafts are the large Brazilian gunboats. "It is a curious
anomaly," says the _Scientific American_, "that the most powerful
Dreadnought afloat should belong to a South American republic, but it
cannot be denied that the _Minas Geraes_ is entitled to that
distinction." This is one of the vessels that mutinied in 1910.
Brazil is a strange republic. Fanatical, where the Bible is burned in
the public plaza whenever introduced, yet, where the most obscene
prints are publicly offered for sale in the stores. Where it is a
"mortal sin" to listen to the Protestant missionary, and _not_ a sin
to break the whole Decalogue. Backward--where the villagers are tied
to a post and whipped by the priest when they do not please him.
Progressive--in the cities where religion has been relegated to women
and children and priests.
Did I write the word religion? Senhor Ruy Barbosa, the most
conspicuous representative of South America at the last Hague
Conference, and a candidate for the Presidency of Brazil, wrote of
it: "_Romanism is not a religion, but a political organization, the
most vicious, the most unscrupulous, and the most destructive of all
political systems. The monks are the propagators of fanaticism, the
debasers of Christian morals. The history of papal influence has been
nothing more nor less than the story of the dissemination of a new
paganism, as full of superstition and of all unrighteousness as the
mythology of the ancients--a new paganism organized at the expense of
evangelical traditions, shamelessly falsified and travestied by the
Romanists. The Romish Church in all ages has been a power, religious
scarcely in name, but always inherently, essentially and untiringly a
political power_." As Bishop Neely of the M. E. Church was leaving
Rio, Dr. Alexander, one of Brazil's most influential gentlemen, said
to him: "_It is sad to see my people so miserable when they might be
so happy. Their ills, physical and moral, spring from lack of
religion. They call themselves Catholics, but the heathen are
scarcely less Christian_!" Is it surprising that the Italian paper
_L'Asino_ (The Ass), which exists only to ridicule Romanism, has
recently been publishing much in praise of what it calls authentic
"Rio Janeiro, the beautiful," is an imperial city of imposing
grandeur. It is the largest Portuguese city of the world--greater
than Lisbon and Oporto together. It has been called "the finest city
on the continents of America,--perhaps in the world, with
unqualifiedly the most beautiful street in all the world, the Avenida
Central." [Footnote: Clark. "Continent of Opportunity."] That
magnificent avenue, over a mile long and one hundred and ten feet
wide, asphalt paved and superbly illuminated, is lined with costly
modern buildings, some of them truly imposing. Ten people can walk
abreast on its beautiful black and white mosaic sidewalks. The
buildings which had to be demolished in order to build this superb
avenue cost the government seven and a half millions of dollars, and
they were bought at their _taxed_ value, which, it was estimated, was
only a third of the actual. [Footnote: "But as a wonderful city, the
crowning glory of Brazil--yes of the world, I believe--is Rio de
Janeiro."--C. W. Furlong, in "The World's Work."]
Some years ago I knew a thousand people a day to die in Rio Janeiro
of yellow fever. It is now one of the healthiest of cities, with a
death-rate far less than that of New York.
Rio Janeiro, as I first knew it, was far behind. Oil lamps shed
fitful gleams here and there on half-naked people. Electric lights
now dispel the darkness of the streets, and electric streetcars
thread in and out of the "Ruas." There is progress everywhere and in
To-day the native of Rio truthfully boasts that his city has "the
finest street-car system of any city of the world."
A man is not permitted to ride in these cars unless he wears a tie,
which seems to be the badge of respectability. To a visitor these
exactions are amusing. A friend of mine visited the city, and we rode
together on the cars until it was discovered that he wore no tie. The
day was hot, and my friend (a gentleman of private means) had thought
that a white silk shirt with turn-down collar was enough. We felt
somewhat humiliated when he was ignominiously turned off the car,
while the black ex-slaves on board smiled aristocratically. If you
visit Rio Janeiro, by all means wear a tie. If you forget your shirt,
or coat, or boots, it will matter little, but the absence of a tie
will give the negro cause to insult you.
Some large, box-like cars have the words "_Descalcos e Bagagem_"
(literally, "For the Shoeless and Baggage") printed across them. In
these the poorer classes and the tieless can ride for half-price. And
to make room for the constantly inflowing people from Europe, two
great hills are being removed and "cast into the sea."
Rio Janeiro may be earth's coming city. It somewhat disturbs our
self-complacency to learn that they have spent more for public
improvements than has any city of the United States, with the
exception of New York. Municipal works, involving an expenditure of
$40,000,000, have contributed to this.
Rio Janeiro, however, is not the only large and growing city Brazil
can boast of. Sao Paulo, with its population of 300,000 and its two-
million-dollar opera house, which fills the space of three New York
blocks, is worthy of mention. Bahia, founded in 1549, has 270,000
inhabitants, and is the centre of the diamond market of Brazil. Para,
with its population of 200,000, who export one hundred million
dollars' worth of rubber yearly and keep up a theatre better than
anything of the kind in New York, is no mean city. Pernambuco, also,
has 200,000 inhabitants, large buildings, and as much as eight
million dollars have recently been devoted to harbor improvements
Outside of these cities there are estates, quite a few of which are
worth more than a million dollars; one coffee plantation has five
million trees and employs five thousand people.
With its Amazon River, six hundred miles longer than the journey from
New York to Liverpool, England, with its eight branches, each of
which is navigable for more than a thousand miles, Brazil's future
must be very great.
_A JOURNEY FROM RIO JANEIRO TO THE INLAND TOWN OF CORUMBA_.
Brazil has over 10,000 miles of railway, but as it is a country
larger than the whole of Europe, the reader can easily understand
that many parts must be still remote from the iron road and almost
inaccessible. The town of Cuyaba, as the crow flies, is not one
thousand miles from Rio, but, in the absence of any kind of roads,
the traveller from Rio must sail down the one thousand miles of sea-
coast, and, entering the River Plate, proceed up the Parana,
Paraguay, and San Lorenzo rivers to reach it, making it a journey of
"In the time demanded for a Brazilian to reach points in the
interior, setting out from the national capital and going either by
way of the Amazon or Rio de la Plata systems of waterways, he might
journey to Europe and back two or three times over." [Footnote:
Sylvester Baxter, in The Outlook, March, 1908.]
The writer on one occasion was in Rio when a certain mission called
him to the town of Corumba, distant perhaps 1,300 miles from the
capital. Does the reader wish to journey to that inland town with
Boarding an ocean steamer at Rio, we sail down the stormy sea-coast
for one thousand miles to Montevideo. There we tranship into the
Buenos Ayres boat, and proceed one hundred and fifty miles up the
river to that city. Almost every day steamers leave that great centre
for far interior points. The "Rapido" was ready to sail for Asuncion,
so we breasted the stream one thousand miles more, when that city was
reached. There another steamer waited to carry us to Corumba, another
thousand miles further north.
The climate and scenery of the upper reaches of the Paraguay are
superb, but our spirits were damped one morning when we discovered
that a man of our party had mysteriously disappeared during the
night. We had all sat down to dinner the previous evening in health
and spirits, and now one was missing. The All-seeing One only knows
his fate. To us he disappeared forever.
Higher up the country--or lower, I cannot tell which, for the river
winds in all directions, and the compass, from pointing our course as
due north, glides over to northwest, west, southwest, and on one or
two occasions, I believe, pointed due south--we came to the first
Brazilian town, Puerto Martinho, where we were obliged to stay a
short time. A boat put off from the shore, in which were some well-
dressed natives. Before she reached us and made fast, a loud report
of a Winchester rang out from the midst of those assembled on the
deck of our steamer, and a man in the boat threw up his arms and
dropped; the spark of life had gone out. So quickly did this happen
that before we had time to look around the unfortunate man was
weltering in his own blood in the bottom of the boat! The assassin,
an elderly Brazilian, who had eaten at our table and scarcely spoken
to anyone, stepped forward quietly, confessing that he had shot one
of his old enemies. He was then taken ashore in the ship's boat,
there to await Brazilian justice, and later on, to appear before a
higher tribunal, where the accounts of all men will be balanced.
Such rottenness obtains in Brazilian law that not long since a judge
sued in court a man who had bribed him and sought to evade paying the
bribe. Knowing this laxity, we did not anticipate that our murderous
fellow-traveller would have to suffer much for his crime. The _News_,
of Rio Janeiro, recently said: "The punishment of a criminal who has
any influence whatever is becoming one of the forgotten things."
After leaving Puerto Martinho, the uniform flatness of the river
banks changes to wild, mountainous country. On either hand rise high
mountains, whose blue tops at times almost frowned over our heads,
and the luxuriant tropical vegetation, with creeping lianas,
threatened to bar our progress. Huge alligators sunned themselves on
the banks, and birds of brilliant plumage flew from branch to branch.
_Carpinchos_, with heavy, pig-like tread, walked among the rushes of
the shore, and made more than one good dish for our table. This
water-hog, the largest gnawing animal in the world, is here very
common. Their length, from end of snout to tail, is between three and
four feet, while they frequently weigh up to one hundred pounds. The
girth of their body will often exceed the length by a foot. For food,
they eat the many aquatic plants of the river banks, and the puma, in
turn, finds them as delicious a morsel as we did. The head of this
amphibious hog presents quite a ludicrous aspect, owing to the great
depth of the jaw, and to see them sitting on their haunches, like
huge rabbits, is an amusing sight. The young cling on to the mother's
back when she swims.
Farther on we stopped to take in wood at a large Brazilian cattle
establishment, and a man there assured us that "there were no
venomous insects except tigers," but these killed at least fifteen
per cent. of his animals. Not long previously a tiger had, in one
night, killed five men and a dog. The heat every day grew more
oppressive. On the eighth day we passed the Brazilian fort and
arsenal of Cuimbre, with its brass cannon shining in a sun of brass,
and its sleepy inhabitants lolling in the shade.
Five weeks after leaving Rio Janeiro we finally anchored in Corumba,
an intensely sultry spot. Corumba is a town of 5,000 inhabitants, and
often said to be one of the hottest in the world. It is an unhealthy
place, as are most towns without drainage and water supply. In the
hotter season of the year the ratio on a six months' average may be
two deaths to one birth. It is a place where dogs at times seem more
numerous than people, a town where justice is administered in ways
new and strange. Does the reader wish an instance? An assassin of the
deepest dye was given over by the judge to the tender mercies of the
crowd. The man was thereupon attacked by the whole population in one
mass. He was shot and stabbed, stoned and beaten until he became
almost a shapeless heap, and was then hurried away in a mule cart,
and, without coffin, priest or mourners, was buried like a dog.
Perhaps the populace felt they had to take the law into their own
hands, for I was told that the Governor had taken upon himself the
responsibility of leaving the prison gates open to thirty-two men,
who had quietly walked out. These men had been incarcerated for
various reasons, murder, etc., for even in this state of Matto Grosso
an assassin who cannot pay or escape suffers a little imprisonment.
The excuse was, "We cannot afford to keep so many idle men--we are
poor." What a confession for a Brazilian! I do not vouch for the
story, for I was not an eye-witness to the act, but it is quite in
the range of Brazilian possibilities. The only discrepancy may be the
strange way of Portuguese counting. A man buys three horses, but his
account is that he has bought twelve feet of horses. He embarks a
hundred cows, but the manifest describes the transaction as four
hundred feet. The Brazilian is in this respect almost a Yankee--
little sums do not content him. Why should they, when he can
truthfully boast that his territory is larger than that of the United
States? His mile is longer than that of any other nation, and the
_bocadinho_, or extra "mouthful," which generally accompanies it, is
endless. Instead of having one hundred cents to the dollar, he has
two thousand, and each cent is called a "king." The sound is big, but
alas, the value of his money is insignificantly small!
The child is not content with being called John Smith. "Jose Maria
Jesus Joao dois Sanctos Sylva da Costa da Cunha" is his name; and he
recites it, as I, in my boyhood's days, used to "say a piece" while
standing on a chair. There is no school in the town. In Brazil, 84
per cent. of the entire population are illiterate.
Corumba contains a few stores of all descriptions, but it would seem
that the stock in trade of the chemist is very low, for I overheard a
conversation between two women one day, who said they could not get
this or that--in fact, "he only keeps cures for stabs and such like
things." In the _armazems_ liquors are sold, and rice, salt and beans
despatched to the customer by the pint. Why wine and milk are not
sold by the pound I did not enquire.
One is not to ask too much in Brazil, or offence is given. When
seated at table one day with a comrade, who had the misfortune to
swallow a bone, I quietly "swallowed" the remedy a Brazilian told us
of. He said their custom was for all to turn away their heads, while
the unfortunate one revolved his plate around three times to the
left, and presto! the bone disappeared. My friend did not believe in
the cure; consequently, he suffered for several days.
I have said that dogs are numerous. These animals roam the streets by
day and night in packs and fight and tear at anyone or anything. Some
days before we arrived there were even more, but a few pounds of
poison had been scattered about the streets--which, by the way, are
the worst of any town I have ever entered--and the dog population of
the world decreased nine hundred. This is the Corumba version.
Perhaps the truth is, nine hundred feet, or, as we count, two hundred
and twenty-five dogs. In the interests of humanity, I hope the number
was nine hundred heads. Five carts then patrolled the streets and
carried away to the outskirts those dead dogs, which were there
burnt. I, the writer, find the latter part of the story hardest to
believe. Why should a freeborn Brazilian lift dogs out of the street?
In what better place could they be? They would fill up the holes and
ruts, and, in such intense heat, why do needless work?
Corumba is a typical Brazilian town. Little carts, drawn by a string
of goats or rams, thread their way through the streets. Any animal
but the human must do the work. As the majority of the people go
barefooted, the patriarchal custom prevails of having water offered
on entering a house to wash the feet. At all hours of the day men,
women and children seek to cool themselves in the river, which is
here a mile wide, and with a depth of 20 feet in the channel. While
on the subject of bathing, I might mention that a wooden image of the
patron saint of the town is, with great pomp, brought down at the
head of a long procession, once every year, to receive his annual
"duck" in the water. This is supposed to benefit him much. After his
immersion, all the inhabitants, men, women and children, make a rush
to be the first to dip in the "blessed water," for, by doing this,
all their sins are forgiven them for a year to come. The sick are
careful to see that they are not left in the position of the
unfortunate one mentioned in the Gospel by John, who "had no one to
put him into the pool."
I have also known the Virgin solemnly carried down to the water's
edge, that she might command it to rise or fall, as suited the
convenience of the people. While she exercised her power the natives
knelt around her on the shingly beach in rapturous devotion. At such
times the "Mother of Heaven" is clothed in her best, and the jewels
in her costume sparkle in the tropical sun.
What the Nile is to Egypt, the Paraguay River is to these interior
lands, and what Isis was to the Egyptians, so is the Virgin to these
people. Once, when the waters were low, it is related the Virgin came
down from heaven and stood upon some rocks in the river bed. To this
day the pilot tells you how her footprints are to be clearly seen,
impressed in the stone, when the water is shallow. Strange that
Mahomet does not rise from his tomb and protest, for that miracle we
must concede to him, because his footprints have been on the sacred
rocks at Mecca for a thousand years. Does he pass it over, believing,
with many, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
Whatever Roman Catholicism is in other parts of the world, in South
America it is pure Mariolatry. The creed, as we have seen, reads:
"Mary must be our first object of worship, Saint Joseph the second."
Along with these, saints, living and dead, are numberless.
A traveller in South Brazil thus writes of a famous monk: "There, in
a shed at the back of a small farm, half sitting, half reclining on a
mat and a skin of some wild animal, was a man of about seventy years
of age, in a state of nudity. A small piece of red blanket was thrown
over his shoulders, barely covering them. His whole body was
encrusted with filth, and his nails had grown like claws. His vacant
look showed him to be a poor, helpless idiot. Beside him a large wood
fire was kept burning. The ashes of this fire, strewn around him for
the sake of cleanliness, are carried away for medicinal purposes by
the thousands of pilgrims who visit him. Men and women come from long
distances to see him, in the full persuasion that he is a holy man
and has miraculous powers." [Footnote: "The Neglected Continent"]
Romanism is thus seen to be in a double sense "a moral pestilence."
The church is, of course, very much in evidence in Corumba, for it is
a very religious place. A _missa cantata_ is often held there, when a
noisy brass band will render dance music, often at the moat solemn
parts. The drums frequently beat until the worshippers are almost
In the town of Bom Fim, a little further north, the priest runs a
"show" opposite his church, and over it are printed the words,
"Theatre of the Holy Ghost."
Think, O intelligent reader, how dense must be the darkness of Papal
America when a church notice, which anyone may see affixed to the
RAFFLE FOB SOULS.
A raffle for souls will be held at this Church on January 1st, at
which four bleeding and tortured souls will be released from
purgatory to heaven, according to the four highest tickets in this
most holy lottery. Tickets, $1.00. To be had of the father in charge.
Will you, for the poor sum of one dollar, leave your loved ones to
burn in purgatory for ages?
At the last raffle for souls, the following numbers obtained the
prize, and the lucky holders may be assured that their loved ones are
forever released from the flames of purgatory: Ticket 4l.--The soul
of Madame Coldern is made happy for ever. Ticket 762.--The soul of
the aged widow, Francesca de Parson, is forever released from the
flames of purgatory. Ticket 84l.--The soul of Lawyer Vasquez is
released from purgatory and ushered into heavenly joys. [Footnote:
But, my reader asks, "Do the people implicitly believe all the priest
says?" No, sometimes they say, "Show us a sign." This was especially
true of the people living on the Chili-Bolivian border. The wily, yet
progressive, priest there made a number of little balloons, which on
a certain day of the year were sent up into the sky, bearing away the
sins of the people. Of course, when the villagers saw their sins
float away before their own eyes, enclosed in little crystal spheres,
such as _could not be earthly_, they believed and rejoiced. Yes,
reader, the South American priest is alive to his position after all,
and even "patents" are requisitioned. In some of the larger churches
there is the "slot" machine, which, when a coin is inserted, gives
out _"The Pope's blessing."_ This is simply a picture representing
his Holiness with uplifted hands.
The following is a literal translation, from the Portuguese, of a
"notice" in a Rio Janeiro newspaper:
FESTIVAL IN HONOR OF THE LADY OF NAZARETH.
"The day will be ushered in with majestic and deafening fireworks,
and the 'Hail Mary' rendered by the beautiful band of the----Infantry
regiment. There will be an intentional mass, grand vocal and
instrumental music, solemn vespers, the Gospel preached, and ribbons,
which have been placed round the neck of the image of St. Broz,
"The square, tastefully decorated and pompously illuminated, will
afford the devotees, after their supplications to the Lord of the
Universe, the following means of amusement,-----the Chinese Pavilion,
etc.,-----. Evening service concluded, there will be danced in the
Flora Pavilion the _fandango a pandereta_. In the same pavilion a
comic company will act several pieces. On Sunday, upon the conclusion
of the Te Deum, the comic company will perform," etc.
The spiritual darkness is appalling. If the following can be written
of Pernambuco, a large city of 180,000 inhabitants, on the sea coast,
the reader can, in a measure, understand the priestly thraldom of
these isolated towns. A Pernambuco newspaper, in its issue of March
1st, 1903, contains an article headed, "Burning of Bibles," which
"As has been announced, there was realized in the square of the
Church of Penha, on the 22nd ult., at nine o'clock in the morning, in
the presence of more than two thousand people, the burning of two
hundred and fourteen volumes of the Protestant Bible, amidst
enthusiastic cheers for the Catholic religion, the immaculate Virgin
Mary, and the High Priest Leo XIII.--cheers raised spontaneously by
the Catholic people." [Footnote: Literal translation from the
A colporteur, known to me, when engaged selling Bibles in a Brazilian
town, reports that the fanatical populace got his books and carried
them, fastened and burning, at the end of blazing torches, while they
tramped the streets, yelling: "Away with all false books!" "Away with
the religion of the devils!" A recent Papal bull reads: "Bible
burnings are most Catholic demonstrations."
Is it cause for wonder that the Spanish-American Republics have been
I have seen a notice headed "SAVIOUR OF SOULS," making known the fact
that at a certain address a _Most Holy Reverend Father_ would be in
attendance during certain hours, willing to save the soul of any and
every applicant on payment of so much. That revelation which tells of
a Saviour without money or price is denied them.
Corumba is a strange, lawless place, where the ragged, barefooted
night policeman inspires more terror in the law-abiding than the
professional prowler. The former has a sharp sword, which glitters as
he threatens, and the latter has often a kind heart, and only asks
"mil reis" (about thirty cents).
How can a town be governed properly when its capital is three
thousand miles distant, and the only open route thither is, by river
and sea, a month's journey? Perhaps the day is not far distant when
Cuyaba, the most central city of South America, and larger than
Corumba, lying hundreds of miles further up the river, will set up a
head of its own to rule, or misrule, the province. Brazil is too big,
much too big, or the Government is too little, much too little.
The large states are subdivided into districts, or parishes, each
under an ecclesiastical head, as may be inferred from the peculiar
names many of them bear. There are the parishes of:
"Our Lady, Mother of God of Porridge."
"The Three Hearts of Jesus."
"Our Lady of the Rosary of the Pepper Tree."
"The Souls of the Sand Bank of the River of Old Women."
"The Holy Ghost of the Cocoanut Tree."
"Our Lady Mother of the Men of Mud."
"The Sand Bank of the Holy Ghost."
"The Holy Spirit of the Pitchfork."
The Brazilian army, very materially aided by the saints, is able to
keep this great country, with its many districts, in tolerable
quietness. Saint Anthony, who, when young, was _privileged to carry
the toys of the child Jesus_, is, in this respect, of great service
to the Brazilians. The military standing of Saint Anthony in the
Brazilian army is one of considerable importance and diversified
service. According to a statement of Deputy Spinola, made on the 13th
of June, the eminent saint's feast day, his career in the military
service of Brazil has been the following: By a royal letter of the
7th of April, 1707, the commission of captain was conferred upon the
image of Saint Anthony, of Bahia. This image was promoted to be a
major of infantry by a decree of September 13th, 1819. In July, 1859,
his pay was placed upon the regular pay-roll of the Department of
The image of St. Anthony in Rio de Janeiro, however, outranks his
counterpart of Bahia, and seems to have had a more brilliant military
record. His commission as captain dates from a royal letter of March
21st, 1711. He was promoted to be major of infantry in July, 1810,
and to be lieutenant-colonel in 1814. He was decorated with the Grand
Cross of the Order of Christ also, in 1814, and his pay as
lieutenant-colonel was made a permanent charge on the military list
The image of St. Anthony of Ouro Preto attained the rank and pay of
captain in 1799. His career has been an uneventful one, and has been
confined principally to the not unpleasant task of drawing $480 a
month from the public treasury. The salaries of all these soldiery
images are drawn by duly constituted attorneys. [Footnote: Rio News]
Owing to bubonic plague, my stay in Corumba was prolonged. I have
been in the city of Bahia when an average of 200 died every day from
this terrible disease, so Brazil is beginning to be more careful.
Though steamers were not running, perspiration was. Oh, the heat! In
my excursions in and around the town I found that even the mule I had
hired, acclimatized as it was to heat and thirst and hunger, began to
show signs of fatigue. Can man or beast be expected to work when the
temperature stands at 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade?
As the natives find bullocks bear the heat better than mules, I
procured one of these saddle animals, but it could only travel at a
snail's pace. I was indeed thankful to quit the oven of a town when
at last quarantine was raised and a Brazilian steamboat called.
Rats were so exceedingly numerous on this packet that they would
scamper over our bodies at night. So bold were they that we were
compelled to take a cudgel into our berths! A Brazilian passenger
declared one morning that he had counted three hundred rats on the
cabin floor at one time! I have already referred to Brazilian
numbering; perhaps he meant three hundred feet, or seventy-five rats.
With the heat and the rats, supplemented by millions of mosquitos, my
Corumba journey was not exactly a picnic.
In due time we arrived again at Puerto Martinio, only to hear that
our former fellow-passenger, the assassin, had regained his freedom
and could be seen walking about the town. But then--well, he was
rich, and money does all in Brazil--yea, the priest will even tell
you it purchases an entrance into heaven! In worldly matters the
people _see_ its power, and in spiritual matters they _believe_ it.
If the priest has heard of Peter's answer to Simon--"Thy money perish
with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be
purchased with money"--he keeps it to himself. How can he live if he
deceives not? Strange indeed is the thought that, three hundred years
before the caravels of Portuguese conquerors ever sailed these
waters, the law of the Indian ruler of that very part of the country
read: "Judges who receive bribes from their clients are to be considered
as thieves meriting death." And a clause in the Sacred Book read:
"He who kills another condemns his own self." Has the interior of
South America gone forward or backward since then? Was the adoration
of the Sun more civilizing than the worship of the Virgin?
When we got down into Argentine waters I began to feel cold, and
donned an overcoat. Thinking it strange that I should feel thus in
the latitude which had in former times been so agreeable, I
investigated, and found the thermometer 85 degrees Fah. in the shade.
After Corumba that was _cold_.
THE LONE TRAIL.
And sometimes it leads to the desert and the tongue swells
out of the mouth,
And you stagger blind to the mirage, to die in the mocking
And sometimes it leads to the mountain, to the light of the
And you gnaw your belt in the anguish of the hunger-goaded
--_Robert W. Service._
The Republic of Uruguay has 72,210 square miles of territory, and is
the smallest of the ten countries of South America. Its population is
only 1,103,000, but the Liebig Company, "which manufactures beef tea
for the world, owns nearly a million acres of land in Uruguay. On its
enormous ranches over 6,000,000 head of cattle have passed through
its hands in the fifty years of its existence." [Footnote: Clark.
"Continent of Opportunity."]
The republic seems well governed, but, as in all Spanish-American
countries, the ideas of right and wrong are strange. While taking
part in a religious procession, President Borda was assassinated in
1897. A man was seen to deliberately walk up and shoot him. The Chief
Executive fell mortally wounded. This cool murderer was condemned to
two years' imprisonment for _insulting_ the President.
In 1900, President Arredondo was assassinated, but the murderer was
acquitted on the ground that "he was interpreting the feelings of the
Uruguay is a progressive republic, with more than a thousand miles of
railway. On these lines the coaches are very palatial. The larger
part of the coach, made to seat fifty-two passengers, is for smokers,
the smaller compartment, accommodating sixteen, is for non-smokers,
thus reversing our own practice. Outside the harbor of the capital a
great sea-wall is being erected, at tremendous cost, to facilitate
shipping, and Uruguay is certainly a country with a great future.
The capital city occupies a commanding position at the mouth of the
great estuary of the Rio de la Plata; its docks are large and modern,
and palatial steamers of the very finest types bring it in daily
communication with Buenos Ayres. The Legislative Palace is one of the
finest government buildings in the world. The great Solis Theatre,
where Patti and Bernhardt have both appeared, covers nearly two acres
of ground, seats three thousand people and cost three million dollars
to build. The sanitary conditions and water supply are so perfect
that fewer people die in this city, in proportion to its size, than
in any other large city of the world.
The Parliament of Uruguay has recently voted that all privileges
hitherto granted to particular religious bodies shall be abrogated,
that the army shall not take part in religious ceremonies, that army
chaplains shall be dismissed, that the national flag shall not be
lowered before any priest or religious symbol. So another state cuts
loose from Rome!
The climate of the country is such that grapes, apricots, peaches,
and many other fruits grow to perfection. Its currency is on a more
stable basis than that of any other Spanish republic, and its dollar
is actually worth 102 cents. The immigrants pouring into Uruguay have
run up to over 20,000 a year; the population has increased more than
100 per cent in 12 years; so we shall hear from Uruguay in coming
years more than we have done in the past.
SKETCHES OF A HORSEBACK RIDE THROUGH THE REPUBLIC.
I CROSS THE SILVER RIVER.
I left Buenos Ayres for Uruguay in an Italian _polacca_. We weighed
anchor one Sunday afternoon, and as the breeze was favorable, the
white sails, held up by strong ropes of rawhide, soon wafted us away
from the land. We sailed through a fleet of ships from all parts of
the world, anchored in the stream, discharging and loading cargoes.
There, just arrived, was an Italian emigrant ship with a thousand
people on board, who had come to start life afresh. There was the
large British steamer, with her clattering windlass, hoisting on
board live bullocks from barges moored alongside. The animals are
raised up by means of a strong rope tied around their horns, and as
the ship rocks on the swell they dangle in mid-air. When a favorable
moment arrives they are quickly dropped on to the deck, completely
stupefied by their aerial flight.
As darkness fell, the wind dropped, and we lay rocking on the bosom
of the river, with only the twinkling lights of the Argentine coast
to remind us of the solid world. The shoreless river was, however,
populous with craft of all rigs, for this is the highway to the great
interior, and some of them were bound to Cuyaba, 2,600 miles in the
heart of the continent. During the night a ship on fire in the offing
lit up with great vividness the silent waste of waters, and as the
flames leaped up the rigging, the sight was very grand. Owing to
calms and light winds, our passage was a slow one, and I was not
sorry when at last I could say good-bye to the Italians and their
oily food. Three nights and two days is a long time to spend in
crossing a river.
Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is "one of the handsomest cities
in all America, north or south." Its population is over 350,000. It
is one of the cleanest and best laid-out cities on the continent; it
has broad, airy streets and a general look of prosperity. What
impresses the newcomer most is the military display everywhere seen.
Sentry boxes, in front of which dark-skinned soldiers strut, seem to
be at almost every corner. Although Uruguay has a standing army of
under 3,500 men, yet gold-braided officers are to be met with on
every street. There are twenty-one generals on active service, and
many more living on pension. More important personages than these men
assume to be could not be met with in any part of the world.
The armies of most of these republics are divided into sections
bearing such blasphemous titles as "Division of the Son of God,"
"Division of the Good Shepherd," "Division of the Holy Lancers of
Death" and "Soldiers of the Blessed Heart of Mary." These are often
placed under the sceptre of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the national
Boys of seven and old men of seventy stand on the sidewalks selling
lottery tickets; and the priest, with black beaver hat, the brim of
which has a diameter of two feet, is always to be seen. One of these
priests met a late devotee, but now a follower of Christ through
missionary effort, and said: "Good morning, _Daughter of the Evil
One_!" "Good morning, _Father_," she replied.
The cemetery is one of the finest on the continent, and is well worth
a visit. Very few of Montevideo's dead are _buried_. The coffins of
the rich are zinc-lined, and provided with a glass in the lid. All
caskets are placed in niches in the high wall which surrounds the
cemetery. These mural niches are six or eight feet deep in the wall,
and each one has a marble tablet for the name of the deposited one.
By means of a large portable ladder and elevator combined, the
coffins are raised from the ground. At anniversaries of the death the
tomb is filled with flowers, and candles are lit inside, while a
wreath is hung on the door. A favorite custom is to attend mass on
Sunday morning, then visit the cemetery, and spend the afternoon at
NATIVE HOUSES AND HABITS.
Uruguay is essentially a pastoral country, and the finest animals of
South America are there raised. It is said that "Uruguay's pasture
lands could feed all the cattle of the world, and sheep grow fat at
50 to the acre." In 1889, when I first went there, there were thirty-
two millions of horned cattle grazing on a thousand hills. Liebig's
famous establishments at Fray Bentos, two hundred miles north of
Montevideo, employs six hundred men, and kills one thousand bullocks
Uruguay has some good roads, and the land is wire-fenced in all
directions. The rivers are crossed on large flat-bottomed boats
called _balsas_. These are warped across by a chain, and carry as
many as ten men and horses in one trip. The roads are in many places
thickly strewn with bones of dead animals, dropped by the way, and
these are picked clean by the vultures. No sooner does an animal lie
down to die than, streaming out of the infinite space, which a moment
before has been a lifeless world of blue ether, there come lines of
vultures, and soon white bones are all that are left.
On the fence-posts one sees many nests of the _casera_ (housebuilder)
bird, made of mud. These have a dome-shaped roof, and are divided by
a partition inside into chamber and ante-chamber. By the roadside are
hovels of the natives not a twentieth part so well-built or rain-
tight. Fleas are so numerous in these huts that sometimes, after
spending a night in one, it would have been impossible to place a
five-cent piece on any part of my body that had not been bitten by
them. Scorpions come out of the wood they burn on the earthen floor,
and monster cockroaches nibble your toes at night. The thick, hot
grass roofs of the ranches harbor centipedes, which drop on your face
as you sleep, and bite alarmingly. These many-legged creatures grow
to the length of eight or nine inches, and run to and fro with great
speed. Well might the little girl, on seeing a centipede for the
first time, ask: "What is that queer-looking thing, with about a
million legs?" Johnny wisely replied: "That's a millennium. It's
something like a centennial, only its has more legs."
After vain attempts to sleep, you rise, and may see the good wife
cleaning her only plate for you by rubbing it on her greasy hair and
wiping it with the bottom of her chemise. Ugh! Proceeding on the
journey, it is a common sight to see three or four little birds
sitting on the backs of the horned cattle getting their breakfast,
which I hope they relish better than I often did.
A WAKE, AND HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN.
During my journey I was asked: Would I like to go to the wake held
that night at the next house, three miles away? After supper, horses
were saddled up and away we galloped. Quite a number had already
gathered there. We found the dead man lying on a couple of
sheepskins, in the centre of a mud-walled and mud-floored room. "No
useless coffin enclosed his breast," nor was he wound in either sheet
or shroud. There he lay, fully attired, even to his shoes. Four
tallow candles lighted up the gloom, and these were placed at his
head and feet. His clammy hands were reverently folded over his
breast, whilst entwined in his fingers was a bronze cross and rosary,
that St. Peter, seeing his devotion, might, without questioning,
admit him to a better world. The scene was weird beyond description.
Outside, the wind moaned a sad dirge; great bats and black moths, the
size of birds, flitted about in the midnight darkness. These, ever
and anon, made their way inside and extinguished the candles, which
flickered and dripped as they fitfully shone on the shrunken features
of the corpse. He had been a reprobate and an assassin, but, luckily
for him, a pious woman, not wishing to see him die "in his sins," had
sprinkled _Holy Water_ on him. The said "Elixir of Life" had been
brought eighty miles, and was kept in her house to use only in
extreme cases. The poor woman had paid the price of a cow for the
bottle of water, but the priest had declared that it was an effectual
soul-saver, and they never doubted its efficacy. Around the corpse
was a throng of women, and they all chattered as women are apt to do.
The men, standing around the door, talked of their horse-races,
fights or anything else. For some hours I heard no allusion to the
dead, but as the night wore on the prophetess of the people came
If my advent among them had caused a stir, the entrance of this old
woman caused a bustle; even the dead man seemed to salute her, or was
it only my imagination--for I was in a strangely sensitive mood--that
pictured it? As she slowly approached, leaning heavily on a rough,
thick staff, all the females present bent their knees. Now prayers
were going to be offered up for the dead, and the visible woman was
to act as interceder with the invisible one in heaven. After being
assisted to her knees, the old woman, in a cracked, yet loud, voice,
began. "_Santa Maria, ruega por nosotros, ahora, y en la hora de
nuestra muerte!_" (Holy Mary pray for us now, and in the hour of our
death!) This was responded to with many gesticulations and making of
crosses by the numerous females around her. The prayers were many and
long, and must have lasted perhaps an hour; then all arose, and mate
and cigars were served. Men and women, even boys and girls, smoked
the whole night through, until around the Departed was nothing but
The natives are so fond of wakes that when deaths do not occur with
great frequency, the bones of "grandma" are dug up, and she is prayed
and smoked over once more. The digging up of the dead is often a
simple matter, for the corpse is frequently just carried into the
bush, and there covered with prickly branches.
THE SNAKE'S HISTORY.
I met with a snake, of a whitish color, that appeared to have two
heads. Never being able to closely examine this strange reptile, I
cannot positively affirm that it possesses the two heads, but the
natives repeatedly affirmed to me that it does, and certainly both
ends are, or seem to be, exactly alike. In the Book of Genesis the
serpent is described as "a beast," but for its temptation of Eve it
was condemned to crawl on its belly and become a reptile. A strange
belief obtains among the people that all serpents must not only be
killed, but _put into a fire_. If there is none lit, they will kindle
one on purpose, for it must be burned. As the outer skin comes off,
it is declared, the four legs, now under it, can be distinctly seen.
A GIRL'S NEW BIRTH AND TRANSLATION.
At Rincon I held a series of meetings in a mud hut. Men and women,
with numerous children, used to gather on horseback an hour before
the time for opening. A little girl always brought her three-legged
stool and squatted in front of me. The rest appropriated tree-trunks
and bullocks' skulls. The girl referred to listened to the Gospel
story as though her life depended upon it, as indeed it did! When at
Rincon only a short time, the child desired me to teach her how to
pray, and she clasped her hands reverently. "Would Jesus save _me_?"
she asked. "Did He die for me--_me_? Will He save me now?" The girl
_believed_, and entered at once into the family of God.
One day a man on horseback, tears streaming down his cheeks, galloped
up to my hut. It was her father. His girl was dead. She had gone into
the forest, and, feeling hungry, had eaten some berries; they were
poisonous, and she had come home to die. Would I bury her? Shortly
afterwards I rode over to the hovel where she had lived. Awaiting me
were the broken-hearted parents. A grocery box had been secured, and
this rude coffin was covered with pink cotton. Four horses were yoked
in a two-wheeled cart, the parents sat on the casket, and I followed
on horseback to the nearest cemetery, sixteen miles away. There, in a
little enclosure, we lowered the girl into her last earthly resting-
place, in the sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection. She
had lived in a house where a cow's hide served for a door, but she
had now entered the "pearly gates." The floor of her late home was
mother earth; what a change to be walking the "streets of gold!" Some
day, "after life's fitful fever," I shall meet her again, not a poor,
ragged half-breed girl, but glorified, and clothed in His
HOW I DID NOT LOSE MY EYES.
One day I was crossing a river, kneeling on my horse's back, when he
gave a lurch and threw me into the water. Gaining the bank, and being
quite alone, I stripped off my wet clothes and waited for the sun to
dry them. The day was hot and sultry, and, feeling tired, I covered
myself up with the long grass and went to sleep. How long I lay I
cannot tell, but suddenly waking up, I found to my alarm that several
large vultures, having thought me dead, were contemplating me as
their next meal! Had my sleep continued a few moments longer, the
rapacious birds would have picked my eyes out, as they invariably do
before tearing up their victim. All over the country these birds
abound, and I have counted thirty and forty tearing up a living,
quivering animal. Sometimes, for mercy's sake, I have alighted and
put the suffering beast out of further pain. Before I got away they
have been fighting over it again in their haste to suck the heart's
A BACHELOR RABBIT.
The pest of Australia is the rabbit, but, strange to say, I never
found one in South America. In their place is the equally destructive
_viscacha_ or prairie dog--a much larger animal, probably three or
four times the size, having very low, broad head, little ears, and
thick, bristling whiskers. His coat is gray and white, with a mixture
of black. To all appearance this is a ferocious beast, with his two
front tusk-like teeth, about four inches long, but he is perfectly
harmless. The viscacha makes his home, like the rabbit, by burrowing
in the ground, where he remains during daylight. The faculty of
acquisition in these animals must be large, for in their nightly
trips they gather and bring to the mouth of their burrow anything and
everything they can possibly move. Bones, manure, stones and feathers
are here collected, and if the traveller accidentally dropped his
watch, knife or handkerchief, it would be found and carried to adorn
the viscacha's doorway, if those animals were anywhere near.
The lady reader will be shocked to learn that the head of the
viscacha family, probably copying a bad example from the ostrich, his
neighbor, is also very unamiable with his "better half," and inhabits
bachelor's quarters, which he keeps all to himself, away from his
family. The food of this strange dog-rabbit is roots, and his
powerful teeth are well fitted to root them up. At the mouth of their
burrows may often be seen little owls, which have ejected the
original owners and themselves taken possession. They have a
strikingly saucy look, and possess the advantage of being able to
turn their heads right around while the body remains immovable. Being
of an inquisitive nature, they stare at every passer-by, and if the
traveller quietly walks around them he will smile at the grotesque
power they have of turning their head. When a young horse is
especially slow in learning the use of the reins, I have known the
cowboy smear the bridle with the brains of this clever bird, that the
owl's facility in turning might thus be imparted to it.
Another peculiar animal is the _comadreka_, which resembles the
kangaroo in that it is provided with a bag or pouch in which to carry
its young ones. I have surprised these little animals (for they are
only of rabbit size) with their young playing around them, and have
seen the mother gather them into her pouch and scamper away.
DRINKING WATER, SAINTS AND THE VIRGIN.
In Uruguay it is the custom for all, on approaching a house, to call
out, "Holy Mary the Pure!" and until the inmate answers: "Conceived
without sin!" not a step farther must be made by the visitor. At a
hut where I called there was a baby hanging from the wattle roof in a
cow's hide, and flies covered the little one's eyes. On going to the
well for a drink I saw that there was a cat and a rat in the water,
but the people were drinking it! When smallpox breaks out because of
such unsanitary conditions, I have known them to carry around the
image of St. Sebastian, that its divine presence might chase away the
sickness. The dress of the Virgin is often borrowed from the church,
and worn by the women, that they may profit by its healing virtues. A
crucifix hung in the house keeps away evil spirits.
The people were very _religious_, and no rain having fallen for five
months, had concluded to carry around a large image of the Virgin
they had, and show her the dry crops. I rode on, but did not get wet!
NO NEED OF THE DOCTOR OR VET.
"A poor girl got very severely burnt, and the remedy applied was a
poultice of mashed ears of _viscacha_. The burn did not heal, and so
a poultice of pig's dung was put on. When we went to visit the girl,
the people said it was because they had come to our meetings that the
girl did not get better. A liberal cleansing, followed by the use of
boracic acid, has healed the wound. Another case came under our
notice of a woman who suffered from a gathering in the ear, and the
remedy applied was a negro's curl fried in fat."
To cure animals of disease there are many ways. Mrs. Nieve boasted
that, by just saying a few cabalistic words over a sick cow, she
could heal it. A charm put on the top of the enclosure where the
animals are herded will keep away sickness. To cure a bucking horse
all that is necessary is to pull out its eyebrows and spit in its
face. Let a lame horse step on a sheepskin, cut out the piece, and
carry it in your pocket; if this can't be done, make a cross with
tufts of grass, and the leg will heal. For ordinary sickness tie a
dog's head around the horse's neck. If a horse has pains in the
stomach, let him smell your shirt.
A RACE FOR INFORMATION.
Uruguay is said to have averaged a revolution every two years for
nearly a century, so in times of revolutionary disturbance the
younger children are often set to watch the roads and give timely
warning, that the father or elder brother may effect an escape. The
said persons may then mount their fleetest horse and be out of sight
ere the recruiting sergeant arrives. Being one day perplexed, and in
doubt whether I was on my right road, I made towards a boy I had
descried some distance away, to ask him. No sooner did the youth
catch sight of me than he set off at a long gallop away from me; why,
I could not tell, as they are generally so interested at the sight of
a stranger. Determined not to be outdone, and feeling sure that
without directions I could not safely continue the journey, I put
spurs to my horse and tried to overtake him. As I quickened my pace
he looked back, and, seeing me gain upon him, urged his horse to its
utmost speed. Down hill and up hill, through grass and mud and water,
the race continued. A sheepskin fell from his saddle, but he heeded
it not as he went plunging forward. Human beings in those latitudes
were very few, and if I did not catch him I might be totally lost for
days; so I went clattering on over his sheepskin, and then over his
wooden saddle, the fall of which only made his horse give a fresh
plunge forward as he lay on its neck. Thus we raced for at least
three miles, until, tired out and breathless, I gave up in despair.
Concluding that my fleet-footed but unamiable young friend had
undoubtedly some place in view, I continued in the same direction,
but at a more respectable pace. Shortly afterwards I arrived at a
very small hut, built of woven grass and reeds, which I presumed was
his home. Making for the open door, I clapped my hands, but received
no answer. The hut was certainly inhabited--of that I saw abundant
signs--but where were the people? I dare not get down from my horse;
that is an insult no native would forgive; so I slowly walked around
the house, clapping my hands and shouting at the top of my voice.
Just as I was making the circuit for the third time, I descried
another and a larger house, hidden in the trees some distance away,
and thither I forthwith bent my steps. There I learned that I had
been taken for a recruiting sergeant, and the inhabitants had hidden
themselves when the boy galloped up with the message of my approach.
I FIND DIAMONDS.
"For one shall grasp and one resign.
One drink life's rue, and one its wine;
And God shall make the balance good."
Encamped on the banks of the Black River, idly turning up the soil
with the stock of my riding-whip, I was startled to find what I
believed to be real diamonds! Beautifully white, transparent stones
they were, and, rising to examine them closely in the sunlight, I was
more than ever convinced of the richness of my find. Was it possible
that I had unwittingly discovered a diamond field? Could it be true
that, after years of hardship, I had found a fortune? I was a rich
man--oh, the enchanting thought! No need now to toil through
scorching suns. I could live at ease. As I sat with the stones
glistening in the light before my eyes, my brain grew fevered.
Leaving my hat and coat on the ground, I ran towards my horse, and,
vaulting on his bare back, wildly galloped to and fro, that the
breezes might cool my fevered head. Rich? Oh, how I had worked and
striven! Life had hitherto been a hard fight. When I had gathered
together a few dollars, I had been prostrated with malarial or some
other fever, and they had flown. After two or three months of
enforced idleness I had had to start the battle of life afresh with
diminished funds. Now the past was dead; I could rest from strife.
Rest! How sweet it sounded as I repeated aloud the precious word, and
the distant echoes brought back the word, Rest!
I was awakened from my day dreams by being thrown from my horse! Hope
for the future had so taken possession of me that the present was
forgotten. I had not seen the caves of the prairie dog, but my horse
had given a sudden start aside to avoid them, and I found myself
licking the dust. Bather a humiliating position for a man to be in
who had just found unlimited wealth; Somewhat subdued, I made my way
back to my solitary encampment.
Well, how shall I conclude this short but pregnant chapter of my
life? Suffice it to say that my idol was shattered! The stones were
found to be of little worth.
"The flower that smiles to-day,
All that we wish to stay
Tempts, and then flies."
A MAN WITH TWO NOSES AND TWO MOUTHS.
I was lost one day, and had been sitting in the grass for an hour or
more wondering what I should do, when the sound of galloping hoofs
broke the silence. On looking around, to my horror, I saw a
_something_ seated on a fiery horse tearing towards me! What could it
be? Was it human? Could the strange-looking being who suddenly reined
up his horse before me be a man? A man surely, but possessing two
noses, two mouths, and two hare-lips. A hideous sight! I shuddered as
I looked at him. His left eye was in the temple, and he turned it
full upon me, while with the other he seemed to glance toward the
knife in his belt. When he rode up I had saluted him, but he did not
return the recognition. Feeling sure that the country must be well
known to him, I offered to reward him if he would act as my guide.
The man kept his gleaming eye fixed upon me, but answered not a word.
Beginning to look at the matter in rather a serious light, I mounted
my horse, when he grunted at me in an unintelligible way, which
showed me plainly that he was without the power of speech. He turned
in the direction I had asked him to take, and we started off at a
breakneck speed, which his fiery horse kept up. I cannot say he
followed his nose, or the reader might ask me which nose, but he led
me in a straight line to an eminence, from whence he pointed out the
estancia I was seeking. The house was still distant, yet I was not
sorry to part with my strange guide, who seemed disinclined to
conduct me further. I gave him his fee, and he grunted his thanks and
left me to pursue my journey more leisurely. A hut I came to had been
struck by lightning, and a woman and her child had been buried in the
debris. Inquiring the particulars, I was informed that the woman was
herself to blame for the disaster. The saints, they told me, have a
particular aversion to the _ombu_ tree, and this daring Eve had built
her house near one. The saints had taken _spite_ at this act of
bravado, and destroyed both mother and daughter. Moral: Heed the
A FLEET-FOOTED DEER.
One day an old man seriously informed me that in those parts there
was a deer which neither he nor any other one had been able to catch.
Like the Siamese twins, it was two live specimens in one. When I
asked why it was impossible to catch the animal, he informed me that
it had eight legs with which to run. Four of the legs came out of the
back, and, when tired with using the four lower ones, it just turned
over and ran with the upper set. I did not see this freak, so add the
salt to your taste, O reader.
I SLEEP WITH THE RATS.
Hospitality is a marked and beautiful feature of the Uruguayan
people. At whatever time I arrived at a house, although a stranger
and a foreigner, I was most heartily received by the inmates. On only
one occasion, which I will here relate, was I grudgingly
accommodated, and that was by a Brazilian living on the frontier. The
hot sun had ruthlessly shone on me all day as I waded through the
long arrow grass that reached up to my saddle. The scorching rays,
pitiless in their intensity, seemed to take the energy from
everything living. All animate creation was paralyzed. The relentless
ball of fire in the heavens, pouring down like molten brass, appeared
to be trying to set the world on fire; and I lay utterly exhausted on
my horse's neck, half expecting to see all kindled in one mighty
blaze! I had drunk the hot, putrid water of the hollows, which did
not seem to quench my thirst any, but perhaps did help to keep me
from drying up and blowing away. My tongue was parched and my lips
dried together. Fortunately, I had a very quiet horse, and when I
could no longer bear the sun's burning rays I got down for a few
moments and crept under him.
Shelter there was none. The copious draughts of evil-smelling water I
had drunk in my raging thirst brought on nausea, and it was only by
force of will that I kept myself from falling, when on an eminence I
joyfully sighted the Brazilian estancia. Hope then revived in me. My
knowing horse had seen the house before me, and without any guidance
made straight towards it at a quicker pace. Well he knew that houses
in those desolate wastes were too far apart to be passed unheeded by,
and I thoroughly concurred in his wisdom. As I drew up before the
lonely place my tongue refused to shout "Ave Maria," but I clapped my
perspiring hands, and soon had the satisfaction of hearing footsteps
within. Visions of shade and of meat and drink and rest floated
before my eyes when I saw the door opened. A coal-black face peeped
out, which, in a cracked, broken voice, I addressed, asking the
privilege to dismount. Horror of horrors, I had not even been
answered ere the door was shut again in my face! Get down without
permission I dare not. The house was a large edifice, built of rough,
undressed stones, and had a thick, high wall of the same material all
Were the inmates fiends that they let me sit there, knowing well that
there was no other habitation within miles? As the minutes slowly
lengthened out, and the door remained closed, my spirits sank lower
and lower. After a silence of thirty-five minutes, the man again made
his appearance, and, coming right out this time, stared me through
and through. After this close scrutiny, which seemed to satisfy him,
but elicited no response to a further appeal from me, he went to an
outlying building, and, bringing a strong hide lasso, tied it around
my horse's neck. Not until that was securely fastened did he invite
me to dismount. Presuming the lasso was lent me to tie out my horse,
I led him to the back of the house. When I returned, my strange,
unwilling host was again gone, so I lay down on a pile of hides in
the shade of the wall, and, utterly tired out, with visions of
banquets floating before my eyes, I dropped off to sleep.
Perhaps an hour afterwards, I awoke to find a woman, black as night,
bending over me. Not seeing a visitor once in three months, her
feminine curiosity had impelled her to come and examine me. Seemingly
more amiable than her husband, she spoke to me, but in a strange,
unmusical language, which I could not understand; and then she, too,
left me. As evening approached, another inmate of the house made his
appearance. He was, I could see, of a different race, and, to my joy,
I found that he spoke fluently in Spanish. Conducting me to the
aforementioned outhouse, a place built of canes and mud, he told me
that later on a piece of meat would be given me, and that I could
sleep on the sheepskins. I got the meat, and I slept on the skins.
Fatigued as I was, I passed a wretched night, for dozens of huge rats
ran over my body, bit my hands, and scratched my face, the whole
night long. Morning at last dawned, and, with the first streaks of
coming day, I saddled my horse, and, shaking the dust of the
Brazilian estancia off my feet, resumed my journey.
THE BURSTING OF A MAN.
A friend of mine came upon an ostrich's nest. The bird was not near,
so, dismounting, he picked up an egg and placed it in an inside
pocket of his coat. Continuing the journey, the egg was forgotten,
and the horse, galloping along, suddenly tripped and fell. The rider
was thrown to the ground, where he lay stunned. Three hours
afterwards consciousness returned. As his weary eyes wandered, he
noticed, with horror, that his chest and side were thickly besmeared.
With a cry of despair, he lay back, groaning, "I have burst!" The
presence of the egg he had put in his pocket had quite passed from
I FIND A LONE SCOTSMAN.
One evening after a long day's journey, I reached a house, away near
the Brazilian frontier, and was surprised indeed to see that the
owner was a real live Scotsman. Great was my astonishment and
pleasure at receiving such a warm Scotch welcome. He was eighty miles
away from any village--alone in the mountains--and at the sight of me
he wept like a child. Never can I forget his anguish as he told me
that his beloved wife had died just a few days before, and that he
had buried her--"there in the glen." At the sight of a British face
he had completely broken down; but, pulling himself together, he
conducted me through into the courtyard, and the difficulty of my
journey was forgotten as we sat down to the evening meal.
Being anxious to hear the story of her who had presided at his
board, I bade him recount to me the sad circumstances.
She was a "bonnie lassie," and he had "lo'ed her muckle." There they
had lived for twelve years, shut out from the rest of the world, yet
content. Hand in hand they had toiled in joy and sorrow, when no rain
fell for eight long months, and their cattle died; or when increase
was good, and flocks and herds fat. Side by side they had stood alone
in the wild tangle of the wilderness. And now, when riches had been
gathered and comfort could be had, his "lassie" had left him, and
"Oh! he grudged her sair to the land o' the leal!" Being so far
removed from his fellows, he had been compelled to perform the sacred
offices of burial himself. Surrounded by kind hearts and loving
sympathizers, it is sad indeed to lose our loved ones. But how
inexpressibly more sad it is when, away in loneliness, a man digs the
cold clay tomb for all that is left of his only joy! When our dear
ones sleep in "God's acre" surrounded by others it is sad. But how
much more heartbreaking is it to bury the darling wife in the depths
of the mountains alone, where a strong stone wall must be built
around the grave to keey the wild beasts from tearing out the
remains! Only those who have been so situated can picture the
solemnity of such a scene.
At his urgent request, I promised I would accompany him to the spot--
sanctified by his sorrow and watered by his tears--where he had laid
his dear one. Early the following morning a native servant saddled
two horses, and we rode in silence towards the hallowed ground. In
about thirty minutes we came in view of the quiet tomb. Encircling
the grave he had built a high stone wall. When he silently opened the
gate, I saw that, although all the pasture outside was dry and
withered, that on the mound was beautifully green and fresh. Had he
brought water from his house, for there was none nearer, or was it
watered by his tears? His greatest longing was, as he had explained
to me the previous night, that she should have a Christian burial,
and if I would read some chapter over her grave he would feel more
content, he said. As with bared heads we reverently knelt on the
mound, I now complied with his request. Then, for the first time in
the world's history, the trees that surrounded us listened to the
Christian doctrine of a resurrection from the dead. "It is sown in
corruption, it is raised in incorruption." And the leaves whispered
to the mountains beyond, which gave back the words: "It is sown a
natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."
Never have I seen a man so broken with grief as was that lone
Scotsman. There were no paid mourners or idle sightseers. There was
no show of sorrow while the heart remained indifferent and untouched.
It was the spectacle of a lone man who had buried his all and was
"To linger when the sun of life,
The beam that gilds its path, is gone--
To feel the aching bosom's strife,
When Hope is dead and Love lives on."
As we knelt there, I spoke to the man about salvation from sin, and
unfolded God's plan of inheritance and reunions in the future life.
The Lord gave His blessing, and I left him next day rejoicing in the
Christ who said: "I am the resurrection and the life; he that
believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."
As the world moves forward, and man pushes his way into the waste
places of the earth, that lonely grave will be forgotten. Populous
cities will be built; but the doctrine the mountains then heard shall
live when the gloomy youth of Uruguay is forgotten.
THE WORD OF GOD CONTRASTED WITH THAT OF THE R. C. CHURCH.
"Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou
"Mary must be the first object of our worship, St. Joseph the
second."--Roman Catholic Catechism.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of
anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or
that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself
to them, nor serve them, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."
"I most firmly assert that the images of Christ and of the mother of
God, ever virgin, and also of the other saints, are to be had and
retained, and that due honor and veneration are to be given to
them."--Creed of Pope Pius IV.
"My glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven
"The saints reigning together with Christ are to be honored and
invocated; ... they offer prayers to God for us... their relics are
to be venerated."--Creed of Pope Pius IV.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men--the man
"Mary is everything in heaven and earth, and we should adore her."--
The South American Priest.
"Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served
the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever."--Paul
"All power was given to her."--Peter Damian, Cardinal of Rome.
"Search the Scriptures."--The Christ.
"All who read the Bible should be stoned to death."--Pope Innocent
MARIOLATRY AND IMAGE WORSHIP.
[Illustration: OUR LADY OF GUADALOUPE. Many legacies are left to this
MARIOLATRY AND IMAGE WORSHIP.
Before the light of Christianity dawned on ancient Rome, the Pantheon
contained goddesses many and gods many. Chief of these deities to
receive the worship of the people seems to have been Diana of the
Ephesians, a goddess whose image fell down from Jupiter; the
celestial Venus of Corinth, and Isis, sister to Osiris, the god of
Egypt. These popular images, so universally worshipped, were
naturally the aversion of the early followers of Christ. "The
primitive Christians were possessed with an unconquerable repugnance
to the use and abuse of images. The Jewish disciples were especially
bitter against any but the triune God receiving homage, but, by a
slow, though inevitable, progression, the honors of the original were
transferred to the copy, the devout Christian prayed before the image
of a saint, and the pagan rites of genuflexion, luminaries, and
incense stole into the Christian Church." [Footnote: Gibbons'
Having Paul's masterly epistle to the Romans, in the first chapter of
which he so distinctly portrays man's tendency to change "the glory
of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,"
and worship and serve the creature more than the Creator, who is
blessed forever, they were careful to remember that "God is a
spirit," and to be worshipped only in spirit. Peter, in his epistle
to them, also wrote of the One "whom having not seen ye love." As
time wore on, however, the original inclination of man to worship a
god he could see and feel (a trait seen all down the pages of
history) asserted itself, and Mary, the mother of Christ, took the
place in the eye and the heart previously occupied by her
predecessors. [Footnote: Just as this work goes to press, the dally
papers of the world announce that the oldest idol ever discovered has
just been unearthed. The idol is a goddess, who is holding an infant
in her arms.] Being in possession of the Acts of the Apostles, which
plainly declares that Mary herself met with the rest of the disciples
"for prayer and supplication," and, knowing from the four Gospels
that no worship had been at first given to her, the innovation was
slow to find favor; but, in the year 431, the Council of Ephesus
decided that Mary was equal with God.
"After the ruin of paganism they were no longer restrained by the
apprehension of an odious parallel" in the idol worship. Symptoms of
degeneracy may be observed even in the first generations which
adopted and cherished this pernicious innovation. "The worship of
images had stolen into the Church by insensible degrees, and each
petty step was pleasing to the superstitious mind, as productive of
comfort and innocent of sin. But, in the beginning of the eighth
century, in the full magnitude of the abuse, the more timorous Greeks
were awakened by an apprehension that, under the mask of
Christianity, they had restored the religion of their fathers. They
heard with grief and impatience the name of 'idolaters,' the
incessant charge of the Jews and Mahometans, who derived from the Law
and the Koran an immortal hatred to graven images and all the
relative worship." [Footnote: Gibbons' "Rome."]
It should be a most humiliating fact to the Romanists to have it
recorded as authentic history that "the great miracle-working Madonna
of Rome, worshipped in the Church of St. Augustina, is only a pagan
statue of the wicked Agrippina with her infant Nero in her arms.
Covered with jewels and votive offerings, her foot encased in gold,
because the constant kissing has worn away the stone, this haughty
and evil-minded Roman matron bears no possible resemblance to the
pure Virgin Mary; yet crowds are always at her feet, worshipping her.
The celebrated bronze statue of St. Peter, which is adored in the
great Church, and whose feet are entirely kissed away by the lips of
devotees, is but an antique statue of Jupiter, an idol of paganism.
All that was necessary to make the pagan god a Christian saint was to
turn the thunderbolt in his uplifted right hand to two keys, and put
a gilded halo around his head. Yet, on any Church holiday, you will
see thousands passing solemnly before this image (arrayed in gorgeous
robes, with the Pope's mitre on its head), and after bowing before
it, rise on their toes and repeatedly kiss its feet." [Footnote:
This method of receiving heathen deities as saints has been common
all over South America, and many Indian idols may be seen in the
churches, now adored as Roman Catholic saints, while the worship of
Mary has grown to an alarming extent. In Lima's largest church,
printed right over the chancel, is the motto, "Glory to Mary."
In Cordoba, the Argentine seat of learning--a city so old that
university degrees were being given there when the Pilgrim Fathers
landed on the shores of New England--charms, amulets and miniature
images of the Virgin are manufactured in large numbers. These are
worn around the neck, and are supposed to work great wonders. As may
be understood, the workers in these crafts stand up for Romanism, and
are willing to cry themselves hoarse for Mary, just as the people of
old cried for Diana of the Ephesians.
It is often told of the Protestant worker that he keeps behind his
door an image of the Blessed Virgin, and, when entering or leaving
the house, he spits in her face. No pains are spared to stamp out any
dissenting work, and the missionary is made a by-word of opprobrium.
I have repeatedly had the doors and windows of my preaching places
broken and wrecked. The priests have incited the vulgar crowd to hoot
and yell at me, and on these occasions I have been both shot at and
In Cordoba, there is a very costly image of Mary. Once every year it
is brought out into the public square, while all the criminals from
the state prison stand in line. By a move of her head she is supposed
to point out the one whom she thinks should be given his liberty.
From Goldsmith's "Rome" we learn that the _vestal virgins_ possessed
the power to pardon any criminal whom they met on the road to
execution. Thus does Romanism follow paganism. With the Virgin is
often the image of St. Peter. The followers of this saint affirm that
they are always warned, three days before they die, to prepare for
death. St. Peter comes in person and knocks on the wall beside their
As the virgin, Diana, was the guardian of Ephesus, so the Virgin Mary
The Bishop of Tucuman, in a recent speech, said: "Argentina is now
safe against possible invasion. The newly-crowned _Lady of the
Miracles_ defends the north, and the _Lady of Lujan_ guards the
A writer in _The Times of Argentina_ naively asks: "If these can
safely defy and defeat all comers, is there any further necessity for
public expenditure in military matters?"
South America groans under the weight of a mediaeval religion which
has little to do with spiritual life. In Spain and Portugal, perhaps
the two most deluded of European lands, I have seen great darkness,
but even there the priest is often good, and at least puts on a
veneer of piety. In South America this is not generally considered
necessary. Frequently he is found to be the worst man in the village.
If you speak to him of his dissolute life, he may tell you that he,
being a priest, may do things you, a layman, must not. In Spain,
Portugal and Italy, next door to highly enlightened countries, the
priest cannot, for very shame, act as he is free to do in South
America. That great continent has been ruled and governed only by
Roman Catholics, without outside interference, and Romanists in other
lands do not, and would not, believe the practices there sanctioned.
_"You ask about this nation and the Roman Catholic Church," said the
American Minister in one South American capital. "Well, the nation is
rotten, thanks to the Church and to Spain. The Church has taught lies
and uncleanness, and been the bulwark of injustice and wrong for 300
years. How could you expect anything else?" "Lies," said a priest to
a friend, who told the remark to us, "what do lies have to do with
religion." [Footnote: "Missions In South America," Robt. E. Speer.]
A missionary writes: "Recently the Roman bishop and several other
priests visited the various towns. It was a business trip, for they
charged a good price for baptisms, confirmations, etc., and carried
away thousands of dollars. In Santa Cruz a disgraceful scene was
publicly enacted in the church by the resident priest and one of the
visitors. Both saw a woman drop a twenty-five cent piece into the
pan; each grabbed for it, and then they fought before the people! The
village priest wanted me to take his photo, but he was so drunk I had
to help him put on his official robes. He was taken standing in the
doorway of the church beside an image of the Virgin."
"There wan a feast in honor of the image of the Holy Spirit in the
church. This is a figure of a man with a beard; beside it sits a
figure of Christ, and between them a dove. Great crowds of people
attend these feasts to buy, sell and drink. On a common in the town a
large altar was erected, and another image of the Holy Spirit placed,
and before it danced Indians fantastically dressed to represent
monkeys, tigers, lions and deer. Saturday, Sunday and Monday were
days of debauchery. Men, women and children were intoxicated; the
jails were full, and extravagances of all kinds were practised by
masked Indians. The vessels in the church are of gold and silver, and
the images each have a man to care for them. The patron saint is a
large image of the Virgin, dressed in clothing that cost $2,500."
Since returning to more civilized lands, I have been asked: But do
they really worship the Virgin, or God, through her? I answer that in
enlightened countries where Roman Catholicism prevails, the latter
may be true, but that in South America, discovered and governed by
Romanists from the earliest times, millions of people worship the
Virgin without any reference to God. She is the great goddess of the
people, and while one may see her image in every church, it is seldom
indeed that God is honored with a place--then He may be seen as an
old man with a long white beard. What kind of God they think He is
may be seen from the words of Missionary F. Glass: "I found a 'festa'
in full swing, called the 'Feast of the Divine Eternal Father,' and a
drunken crowd were marching round, with trumpets, drums and a sacred
banner, collecting alms professedly on His behalf." [Footnote:
"Through the Heart of Brazil"]
Mary is the one to whom the vast majority of people pray. They have
been taught to address supplications to her, and, being a woman, her
heart is considered more tender than a man's could be. During a
drought their earnest prayer for rain was answered in an unexpected
way, for not only did she send it, but with such accompanying
violence that it washed away the church!
In some churches the mail-box stands in a corner, and _"Letters to
the Virgin"_ is printed over it. There are always many young women to
be seen before the image of St. Anthony, for he is the patron of
marriages, and many a timid confession of love is dropped into the
letter-box, and it often happens that a marriage is arranged as a
result. The superstitious maiden believes that her letter goes
directly to the Virgin or to the saint in his heavenly mansion, and
she has no suspicion that it is read by the parish priest.
Saints are innumerable and their powers extraordinary. When
travelling in Entre Rios, I learned that St. Ramon was an adept in
guiding the path of the thunderbolt. A terrific storm swept across
the country, and a woman, afraid for her house, placed his image
leaning against the outside wall, that he might be able to see and
direct the elements. The tempest raged, and as though to show the
saint's utter helplessness, the end of the house was struck by
lightning and set on fire. Little damage was done, but I smiled when
the indignant woman, after the storm ceased, soundly thrashed the
image for not attending to its duty.
While preaching in the town of Quilmes, a poor deluded worshipper of
Rome "turned from idols to serve the living and true God." He had
been a sincere believer in St. Nicolas, and implicitly believed the
absurd account of that saint having raised to life three children who
had been brutally murdered by their father and secreted in a barrel.
He brought me a picture of this wonder-worker tapping the barrel, and
the little ones in the act of coming out alive and well.
One familiar with Romanism in South America has said: "It is amazing
to hear men who have access to the Word of God and the facts of
history and of the actual state of the Romish world attempt to
apologize for or even defend Romanism. Romanism is not Christianity."
_The Church deliberately lies about the Ten Commandments, entirely
omitting the second and dividing the tenth in order to make the
requisite number. Can a Church which deceives the people teach them
true religion? Is the preaching of Mary the preaching of Christ?_
[Footnote: "Mission In South America," Robert B. Speer.]
_"There is not an essential truth which is not distorted, covered up,
neutralized, poisoned,_ and completely nullified by the doctrines of
the Romish system." [Footnote: Bishop Neely's "South America."]
A missionary in Cartago writes: "I must tell you about the annual
procession of the wonderful miracle-working image called 'Our Lady
Queen of the Angels,' through the principal streets of the town.
Picture to yourselves, if you can, hundreds of people praying,
worshipping, and doing homage to this little stone idol, for which a
special church has been built. To this image many people come with
their diseases, for she is supposed to have power to cure all. On a
special day of the procession, people receive pardon for particular
sins if they only carry out the bidding of 'Our Lady,' She seems to
order some extraordinary things, such as crawling in the streets with
big rocks on the head after the procession, or painting one's self
all the colors of the rainbow. One man was painted black, while
others wore wigs and beards of a long parasitic grass which grows
from the trees. Some were dressed in sackcloth, and all were doing
penance for some sin or crime. This little image was carried by
priests, incense was burned before her, and at intervals in the
journey she was put on lovely altars, on which sat little girls
dressed in blue and green, with wings of white, representing angels.
Some weeks ago 'Our Lady' was carried through the streets to collect
money for the bull-fights got up in her honor. She is said to be very
fond of these fights, which are immoral and full of bloody cruelty.
This year the bulls were to kill the men, or the men the bulls, and
the awful drunkenness I cannot describe. After this collection the
bishop came over here, and is said to have taken away some of the
money. Soon after he died, and the people here say that 'Our Lady'
was angry with him."
From a recent list of prayers used in the Church of Rome I select the
"Queen of heaven and earth, Mother of God,
my Sovereign Mistress, I present myself before
you as a poor mendicant before a mighty Queen.
"All is subject to Mary's empire, even God
Himself. Jesus has rendered Mary omnipotent:
the one is omnipotent by nature, the other
omnipotent by grace.
"You, O Holy Virgin, have over God the authority
of a mother.
"It is impossible that a true servant of Mary
should be damned.
"My soul is in the hands of Mary, so that if
the Judge wishes to condemn me the sentence
must pass through this clement Queen, and she
knows how to prevent its execution.
"We, Holy Virgin, hope for grace and salvation