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THE RIO URUGUAY.

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the midstream of the Uruguay, just where that river joins the mightier Plata ; it is composed of a fine kind of granite, and from it Buenos Ayres draws all its supplies of that valuable material.

Passing into the Uruguay, we steam rapidly up its broad surface, seeing nothing on either side but low banks well fringed with wood, varied occasionally by a bluff headland with a face of red rock, a hundred feet high, which marks where some range of low hills comes down from the interior. As the afternoon wanes, the width of the river, which for twenty miles above its mouth was from six to ten miles, gradually diminishes, till at sunset, when we are from sixty to seventy miles above Martin Garcia, it scarcely measures more than two miles; now and then low junglecovered islands fill up the space and reduce the river to a number of channels, some of which are but a few hundred yards in width. The current is very slight, the river not being in a full state; the water is by no means clear, and of much the same appearance as that of the Yang-tseKeang, the Nile, or any other large river which flows through alluvial land.

During the evening we touch at several small ports, of which, perhaps, the most important is Fray Bentos, where there is a large manufactory of ‘Liebig's Essence of Beef, giving strong olfactory evidence of its working full power, or “full odour,' as the more appropriate term might be.

Steaming on through the right, we anchor for an hour, before daybreak, off Paysandu, the leading port on the river, and a flourishing town of about 7,000 inhabitants. Three hours more steaming brings us to a point just below the small tributary stream, the Arroyo Malo. Here we land, 180 miles from the mouth of the river; the steamer continues her passage up to Salto, forty or fifty

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miles higher, at which place a slight cataract puts a bar to further navigation.

Stepping ashore on a piece of the ground cleared of the thick growth of trees which encumbers the river bank through most of its length, we have to walk but a few hundred yards before reaching a 'pulperia' kept by one of our own countrymen. These 'pulperias' are to the 'gauchos' and farmers of the Banda Oriental and the La Plata States what a 'general store' in a Californian village is to the miners and settlers of the neighbourhood. Here they can buy what few groceries they use_limited almost entirely to sugar and 'yerba' (Paraguayan tea); here they can purchase also roughly-made bats, boots, and ‘ponchos;' here they can drink fiery 'caña' (a kind of rum made in Brazil), or the red Carlone wine from Spain; here they can rest in the middle of a day's ride, beguile a mid-day hour with the aid of a guitar and a 'cigarro,' interchange the scanty gossip of the neighbourhood, or talk, scarcely more seriously, about the prospects of the current revolution, and the recent visits of marauding troopers.

From the 'pulperia’we ride a league inland, over brown slopes rising and falling with a gentle undulation, to an estancia' (country or farm-house) occupied by an English friend.

Here we are kindly housed for several days, at the end of which time we come to the conclusion that sheep and cattle-farming in the Banda Oriental, were it only tolerably remunerative, would be by no means an unpleasant pursuit. The country is decidedly pretty in many parts, and compared with the flat unvarying plains whereon the Buenos Ayrean sheep-farmers live, it is pretty everywhere. The land is a succession of pleasant slopes, covered, except when under the influence of a long “seca,' or drought, with good grass, or thickly dotted with low-growing but

URUGUAYAN SCENERY.

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elegant trees, such as the 'cina-cina,' the ó espinilla,' and a variety of acacia. It is intersected in many directions by small streams converging into larger streams, or 'arroyos,' which again find their way into the Uruguay.

On the banks of these arroyos there is always a good supply of wood, and every here and there are patches of a tall and stiff kind of reed-grass, which serves admirably for thatching purposes. Especially plentiful and various are the trees growing in the low belt of land running along either side of the Uruguay. Conspicuous amongst them is the “saibo,' a full-branched tree growing to the height of forty feet, and covered at this season (November) with spikes of crimson blossoms; and the nandubuy,' whose wood is almost as hard as iron, and is said to be nearly indestructible by decay or insects. Passionflowers, and other bright creepers, twine frequently up the tree-stems, or hang from their spreading branches; orchids are not uncommon, though apparently not remarkable either for brilliancy or variety ; ferns alone seem strangely absent even from the damp and shaded lowlands. The prickly-pear, with its brilliant blossoms, often forms a handsome object as it stands solitary on a rising slope; and only a few leagues from where we landed there are extensive groves of palm-trees.

Here and there are bits of woodland and water which combine to form a picture most pleasant to the eye; in one of our rides from the Arroyo Malo we mount a low hill not half a mile from the Uruguay, and have an exquisite view over a winding stretch of twenty miles or more of the broad river, bordered on either side with a rich green belt of wood, from which rise the slopes of the rolling uplands, some bare and brown-looking, some dotted with trees, some fringed at the top with tall palms.

Nor is there any want of animal life in the district,

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even apart from that supplied by the flocks and herds which graze within it. A few deer are often to be found in the beds of reed-grass by the streams, or in the ‘montes' or plantations which cover many of the slopes in the thickly-wooded belts by the Uruguay or its tributary arroyos; the capybara, or "carpincho,' as it is named here, is by no means uncommon; sport may be occasionally had with a herd of peccaries,' or even with a jaguar.

Birds are especially plentiful. Foremost among them is the ostrich of South America (the nandu, or common rhea), not so tall and stately as its African relative, nor furnished with such handsome plumes, but a noble-looking bird notwithstanding. We rarely ride three leagues in any direction without sighting a scattered group of a dozen or more of these birds, quietly feeding on the herbage, or scouring easily and rapidly over the rising slopes. As they are seldom chased by the sheep-farmers, owing to the disturbance which is sure to take place in consequence among the flocks, they are at most times of the year tolerably tame, and may often be approached by a man on horseback within a distance of a hundred yards; but just now their nesting season is at its height, and we have difficulty in getting within thrice that distance of them. Their nests are often found by the gauchos and the sheepfarmers as they canter over the country, and are mere hollows in the ground, wherein are deposited as many as thirty, forty, and even sixty eggs, produced by several females of this Mormonite class of bird; we find more than one ‘huacho,' or stray egg, laid on the bare ground, and abandoned apparently to its fate; one we carry home and cook; but from the amount of oil, vinegar, and pepper judged indispensable to the eating of it, it may be concluded that its flavour is one which requires correcting.'

If the ostrich may be considered as game, it has

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URUGUAYAN PROSPECTS.

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several rivals in this part of the Banda Oriental. In some of the tangled thickets by the river dwells, though in spare numbers, a species of wild turkey; partridges of two kinds are found on the grassy uplands; ducks, snipe, and pigeons, are also met with in considerable numbers; of smaller birds there is a considerable variety; two especially must be noticed : the oven-bird,' so called from its nest built of clay, shaped like an oven, with a winding passage leading into the recess where the eggs are deposited; and the scissor-bird,' named from its tail of two long feathers which, as it flies, meet and separate like the blades of a pair of scissors.

A still greater advantage to the settler in this country than its outward beauties and attractions is its excellent climate. Always dry, and never foggy, raw, or more than moderately cold, it is yet never excessively hot. It is a climate in which the open air can be enjoyed almost every day of the year, which encourages and admits of abundant exercise, and at the same time seems to sustain the frame both of animals and men, through long-continued exertion, in an almost equal degree with the climate of California.

Yet with all these 'pros' there are many cons' to be taken into consideration by an intending settler. It seems to be a generally received idea that an emigrant from England leaves behind him, in his native island, all those uncertainties of season and climate which render agricultural operations almost proverbially risky there. But if he settles down in the Banda Oriental he will find that, though his cattle may be tolerably free from lungdisease, and his sheep from foot-rot, yet the former may be decimated by starvation consequent on a 'seca,' and the latter may be scattered and lost by a dust-storm. And though his wheat is tolerably secure against heavy rains at harvest-time, and his garden-stuffs against mildew,

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