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small boats. It can be obtained in any quantity, and a more
We moved along with much spirit until about eleven o'clock, when there were symptoms of disaffection. Some were weary, others sleepy; some declared they would work no longer, others that the boat should not stop. We had all the premonitory symptoms of a mutiny. It was suggested that we should uncork a bottle of brandy, which was accordingly done, and it was soon unanimously declared that our prospects had never appeared so flattering. I am sure our boat was never propelled with such energy. I am not prepared to say that the brandy didn't have an influence. We moved along rapidly for an hour when we had a relapse of the same disaffection. We resolved to stop; but we were in a dilemma. We had left home under the impression that the Chagres river was governed by alligators and anacondas, assisted by all the venomous reptiles in the “whole dire catalogue,” consequently, to run to the shore was to run right into the jaws of death, which we did not care to do at this particular time. We pulled along until we came in contact with a limb, which stretched out over the surface of the river, to which we made fast. After detailing two of the party as a watch, we stowed ourselves away as best we could. I was
NATURE IN FULL DRESS.
in a half-sitting posture—my feet hanging outside the boat, my back coming in contact with the chime of our water-keg. I tried for some time to sleep, but in vain. I tried to persuade myself that I was at home in a comfortable bed, just falling into a doze, but my back was not to be deceived in that way; and after spending two hours in my uncomfortable position, I got up. I found that my companions had been as badly lodged as myself, and all as anxious to man the oars. We were soon under way, and soon the approaching day was proclaimed by the
, incessant howl of the animal creation, including the tiger, leopard, cougar, monkeys, &c., &c., accompanied by innumerable parrots and other tropical birds. All nature seemed to be in motion. The scene is indelibly impressed upon my memory. The trees on the margin of the river were of immense size, clothed to their tops with morning-glories and other flowers of every conceivable hue, their tendrils stooping down, kissing the placid bosom of the river. Birds of the most brilliant plumage were flying through the air, in transports of joy. All nature seemed to hail the sun with bursts of rapture. Everything appeared to me so new and strange. My transition from a northern winter to this delightful climate, seemed like magic, and appeared like a scene of enchantment, like the dawning of a new creation,
BREAKFAST-PRIMITIVE MODE OF LIFE-MEET THE ORCS"-MUTINY AND RAIN-A
AND FRIGHTENED INDIVIDUAL SPORTING MOSQUITOS.
WE moved along until the sun had ascended the horizon, when we made fast to the shore and took breakfast. Being somewhat fatigued, we remained until after dinner. We were visited here by two native men and a little boy, all dressed in black, the suits that nature gave them. They were cutting poles with big knives or machets; they had brought their dinner with them, which consisted of a piece of sugar-cane, a foot in length.
We again manned our oars and worked our boat until about sunset, when we drew along shore at a pleasant point designing to encamp. Some of the party were anxious to gain a higher point on the river, and we again pushed out. As we were gaining the middle of the stream, a canoe turned the point con. taining two boys; they immediately cried out, "vapor! vapor !” (steamboat, steamboat,) and before we could reach the shore, the “Orus" came dashing around the point, throwing her swell over the sides of our boat, and we were near being swamped. This caused great consternation and excitement, which soon subsided, and we were again under way. We were, however, destined not to end our day's journey, without additional difficulties. We worked an hour without finding a suitable place to spend the night. Those having proposed stopping below, now strongly demurred to going on, and after an eloquent and spirited discussion, it was decided by a majority vote, that we should run back. It commenced to rain about this time, and we returned in not the most amiable mood.
We erected an india rubber tent on shore and, laying our
PRIMITIVE MODE OF LIFE.
masts fore and aft, threw our sail over it as a protection to the boat; and, after supper, detailed our watch, when another attempt was made to sleep. Mr. Hush and myself, were on the first watch. I took my station in the boat, but there being a strange commotion in the water, and the sides of the boat: not being very high, Mr. H. preferred the shore. He armed himself with a brace of revolvers, and one of horse pistols, a bowie-knife, a large German rifle and broad sword, and stepped on shore. The night was extremely quiet, and at ten o'clock it ceased to rain. Nothing was heard except the peculiar whistle of a bird, which much resembled that of a school boy. The river, however, was in a constant agitation, which we presumed to be caused by alligators rushing into schools of fish.
At 12, Mr. H. thought he heard a strange noise in the forest, approaching the encampment, and in a few minutes uttering a most unearthly yell, he jumped for the boat. His feet hanging a little “too low on the edge,” caught under a root, and he brought up in the river. This being full of alligators, only added to his fright, and the precise time it took him to get out, I am unable to say.
The morning was again hailed by universal acclamation, and after an early breakfast we resumed our voyage. We had a pleasant run during the day, stopping frequently to secure pheasants, pigeons, toucans, parrots, &c. The latter are not very palatable, but we were not disposed to be fastidious, and every thing we shot, except alligators, went into the camp-kettle. Late in the afternoon we met a bungo, the natives pointing to a tree, the top of which was filled with wild turkeys. We pulled along under the tree, discharged a volley, and succeeded in frightening them to another. Having a carbine charged with shot, I brought one to the ground. I climbed up the bank, but found the forest impenetrable. The under growth was a dense chaparal, interlaced with vines, every shrub and tree armed with thorns. I, however, with my machet, reached the turkey. There being a sandy beach near, we resolved to encamp for the night; and while we were pitching our tent, Mr. B. dressed and cooked our turkey.
We were here attacked by one of the most ravenous swarms of musquitos it was ever my lot to encounter. We had promised ourselves a comfortable night's rest, but it was like most of the promises one makes himself. We entered the campaign with the greatest zeal; but before morning, would have been glad to capitulate on any terms. The morning dawned as it only dawns within the tropics. Being Sunday we resolved to rest, and called our place of encampment, Point Domingo.