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ices, which, after the heat of the day, were exceedingly delightful and refreshing; and as I put spoonful after spoonful into my mouth, looking above me at the dark outline of the Cordillera, and listening to the thunder which I could sometimes hear rumbling along the bottoms of the ravines, and sometimes resounding from the tops of the mountains, I used always to acknowledge, that if a man could but bear an indolent life, there can be no spot on earth where he might be more indolent and more independent than at Mendoza ; for he might sleep all day, and eat ices in the evening, until his hour-glass was out. Provisions are cheap, and the people who bring them, quiet and civil : the climate is exhausting, and the whole population indolent—“ Mais que voulezvous ?” how can the people of Mendoza be otherwise ? Their situation dooms them to inactivity ;they are bounded by the Andes and by the Pampas, and, with such formidable and relentless barriers around them, what have they to do with the history, or the improvements, or the notions of the rest of the world ? Their wants are few, and nature readily supplies them ;—the day is long, and therefore, as soon as they have had their breakfasts, and have made a few arrangements for their supper, it is so very hot that they go to sleep, and what else could they do better?
The Pampas Province of Santa Fe.
TRAVELLING from Buenos Aires to Mendoza by myself, with a rirloche, or two-wheeled carriageentrance behind-two side seats-bad two peonsPizarro, who had already ridden with mę twelve hundred miles, and Cruz, a friend of Pizarro. Wę had travelled for three days a hundred and twenty miles a day-Pizarro's fidelity and attention-at night when he got in, his dark black face tired, and covered with dust and perspiration his tongue looked dry, and his whole countenance jaded—yet his frame was as hard as iron. His first object at night to get me something to eat—to send out for a live sheep—He made a fire and cooked my supper -as soon as I had supped he brought me a candle at the carriage door, and watched me while I undressed to sleep there—then wished me good night, got his own supper, and slept on his saddle at the wheel of the carriage. As soon as I awoke and, before daylight, anxious to get on, I used to call out “ Pizarro !” “ Aqui sta la agua Senor,” said he, in a patient low tone of voice—he knew I liked to have water to wash in the morning, and he used to get it for me, sometimes in a saucer, and sometimes literally in a little mate cup, which did not hold more than an egg shell; and in spite of his fatigue he was always up before I awoke, and waiting at the door of the carriage till I should call for him.
Province of Santa Fe to be describédits wild, desolate appearance-has been so constantly ravaged by the Pampas Indians, that there are now no cattle in the whole province, and people are afraid to live there. On the right and left of the road, and distant thirty and forty miles, one occasionally sees the remains of a little hut which has been burnt by the Indians; and as one gallops along, the Gaucho relates how many people were murdered in each how many infants slaughtered and whether the women were killed or carried away. The old posts huts are also burnt-new ones have been built by the side of the ruins, but the rough plan of their construction shews the insecurity of their tenure. These huts are occupied only by men who are themselves, generally, robbers, but in a few instances their families are living with them. When one thinks of the dreadful fate which has befallen so many poor fami. lies in this province, and that any moment may bring the Indians again among them, it is really shocking to see women living in such a dreadful situation—to fancy that they should be so blind, and so heedless of experience and it is distressing to see a number of innocent little children playing about the door of a hut, in which they may be all massacred, un
conscious of the fate that may await them, or of the blood-thirsty, vindictive passions of man.
We were in the centre of this dreary countryI always rode a few stages in the morning, and I was with a young Gaucho of about fifteen years of age, who had been born in the province—his father and mother had been murdered by the Indians—he bad been saved by a man who had galloped away with him, but he was then an infant, and remembered nothing of it. We passed the ruins of a hut, which he said had belonged to his aunt-he said that about two years ago, he was at that hut with his aunt and three of his cousins, who were young men— -that while they were conversing together, a boy galloped by from the other post, and in passing the door, screamed out, “ Los Indios ! los Indios !”—that he ran to the door, and saw them galloping towards the hut without hats, all naked, armed with long lances, striking their mouths with their bridle hands, and uttering a shriek, which he described as making the earth tremble—be said that there were two horses outside the hut, bridled but not saddled—that he leapt upon the back of one and galloped away—that one of the young men jumped on the other, and followed bim about twenty yards, but that then he said something about his mother, and rode back to the hut—that just as he got there the Indians surrounded it, and that the last time he saw his cousins they were standing at the door with their knives in their hands—that several of the Indians galloped after him, and followed him more than a mile, but that he was upon a horse which was “muy ligero (very swift), muy ligero,” repeated the boy; and as we galloped along he loosened his rein, and darting on before me, looked back, and smiled at showing me the manner in which he escaped, and then curbing his to a handgallop, continued his history.
He said that when the Indians found he was getting away from them, they turned back—that he escaped, and that when the Indians had left the province, which was two days after, he returned to the hut. He found it burnt, and saw his aunt's tongue sticking on one of the stakes of the corral; her body was in the hut; one of her feet was cut off at the ancle, and she had apparently bled to death. The three sons were outside the door naked; their bodies were covered with wounds, and their arms were gashed to the bone, by a series of cuts about an inch from one another, from the shoulder to the wrist.
The boy then left me at the next post, and I got into the carriage-the day growing hot, and the stage twenty-four miles. After galloping about an hour, I saw a large cloud of smoke on the horizon before me; and as the Indians often burn the grass when they enter the country, I asked Pizarro what it was? He replied, “Quien sabe, Senor, what it may be;" however, on we galloped.