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POVERTY OF THE INHABITANTS.
moment we were climbing the opposite bank. When within shooting distance I raised my gun; it missed fire, and the turkeys flew away, the native exclaiming "mucho malo." We recrossed, and I soon reached the encampment. Our game was cooked, and the party ready to embark. We shoved out, but, unfortunately, Hush had forgotten his bowie knife. We floated back, he ascended the bank, and succeeded in finding it. In returning, he found it difficult to reach the boat; the bank being quite abrupt, he, however, determined to jump, and, after mak. ing a few peculiar gyrations with his arms, he did jump, and landed both feet in our provision basket, breaking several bottles, and in his effort to extricate himself kicked the basket overboard. He would have followed it, had it not been for timely assistance.
The day was excessively hot, the river rapid, and our progress slow. In the after part of the day, we passed a rancho where there were a few hills of corn, the first sign of industry we had seen along the river. One can hardly conceive of à country susceptible of a higher cultivation. They have a perpetual summer; tropical fruits grow spoiftaneously; they have the finest bottom lands for rice, tobacco, cotton, corn, or sugar plantations perhaps on this continent; yet, with the exception of a very little corn and sugar, nothing is cultivated. The enterprise of the States would make the country a paradise.
We encamped at night where the river had a peculiar bend, forming a horse-shoe, and one of the most delightful spots I ever saw. I selected it for my own use—as a rice and sugar plantation--but have not yet had the title examined. In the middle of the night a canoe passed down in which was the man suspected of having borrowed my vest. He spoke to one of our party, said he was on his way to Chagres, on business, but would return to Gorgona immediately. We took an early start in the morning, and at nine stopped at a rancho to purchase cigars. Such a squalid family I never saw. There were three women, two or three young ladies, and half a dozen children-none of them were dressed, excepting a little boy who had on a checked palm leaf hat. We asked for cigars, they had none, but would make some for us, "poco tiempo, (little time). We couldn't wait. We were much struck with
the appearance of the dog, which was so poor that, in attempting to bark at us, it turned a summerset. We were now not far from Gorgona, and exerted every nerve to reach our destination. At noon, while at dinner, a young native approached us from the forest, and proposed to help work the boat up to Gorgona. As he was a tall, athletic young fellow, and didn't charge anything, we accepted his proposition, and gave him his dinner. We were now six miles from Gorgona, and with the aid of our native there was a prospect of arriving in good time. The river was shallow, with frequent rapids, and, although our boat drew only nine inches water, we were frequently obliged to get out and tow it up. (See Plate). Your humble servant is standing on the bow of the boat with a long pole. Cooper is "boosting” at the side. Hush is doing duty—the first on the rope. Dodge is in a passion and in the act of addressing some emphatic remark to gentlemen on board. Natives are seen in their canoes, and just above, seated on the limb of a tree, is a monkey who appears to be looking on enjoying the scene. As we passed under the tree he came down upon one of the lower branches, and seemed disposed to take passage. An alligator is seen on the bank below, and in the air innumerable parrots. The noise of these is one of the annoyances of this country, their screeching incessant and intolerable. Late in the afternoon we arrived within half a mile of Gorgona, which was behind a bend of the river, where our native wished to land. We soon passed the bend, when the town was in full view, and in a few moments our labors were at an end. Our friends had felt some solicitation for us. Seven days was an unusual passage at this season of the year, and if they had wished to effect an insurance on us it is doubtful whether it could have been done in Gorgona at the usual rates.