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yet the former may be half ruined by an untimely frosty night, and the latter perish in a 'seca,' or be eaten up by insects.
During our own stay at the Arroyo Malo, the effect of the drought of the last five months is so severe that we scarcely ride a single hour in any direction without casually passing a bullock lying dead from starvation; and our host acknowledges to despair reigning in his garden, the result of constant unsuccessful attempts to raise vegetables for other mouths than those of ants and caterpillars.
Yet these natural drawbacks are so much counterbalanced by the natural advantages of soil—and, as a rule, climate too—that the country would be a choice one for settlers were it not for the disadvantages and dangers already mentioned as resulting from the revolutions and civil wars which seem to be the normal condition of the country. Where the settler may be visited any morning by a small troop of gaucho cavalry, whose commander demands from him a dozen of his best horses, fifty of his best cattle, and a hundred of his best sheep, giving him in return a receipt about as valuable as the paper on which it is written, there should be some very strong counteradvantages to enable him to find either profit or pleasure in the self-chosen land of his exile.
* Mendoza at once commenced laying out his first settlement, named by him the port of Santa Maria de Buenos Ayres, in honour of the day, being February 2nd (1535), and from the delightful climate.' — Sir W. Parish's • Buenos Ayres, from the Conquest.'
A TRAVELLER approaching Buenos Ayres by sea has to do so by degrees. Unless he lands at Monte Video, and thence takes a passage on one of the river steamers of light draught, his ocean-going vessel will carry him up the Rio de la Plata for a distance of 150 miles, and will cast anchor at a place whence nothing is discernible but other large vessels and an expanse of sandy water.
He will have to run up into the cross-trees if he wishes to sight his port of destination, for he is at a distance of from ten to thirteen miles from it, and his vessel cannot approach nearer by reason of the shallowness of the water. Transporting himself and baggage into a steam-tender, he will leave the Outer Roads, and run in as far as the Inner Roads, from which he will have another mile to traverse before reaching the end of the long wooden pier at which he will land : then he will have to walk nearly half a mile more along this pier before he is really on ‘terra firma.'
This shallowness of the river in front of Buenos Ayres has a grievous effect in raising the cost of goods shipped from Europe, the expense of conveying goods from a vessel lying in the Outer Roads to the shore, a distance of twelve miles, being often equal to their freight from Liverpool or
From no point does Monte Video look so well as from the roadstead to the south of it. Our vessel anchors, among a number of other vesssls of large tonnage, at a distance of about two miles from the shore, outside the sheltered but shallow harbour which runs into the land to the north-west of the city. So while we wait for the health-officer to come on board and untie the red-tape knot which detains us, we have ample time for gaining a favourable impression of the place before entering it.
The city is built on a promontory of rising ground, the streets and houses running up from the river on one side, and from the harbour on the other, and finding a sort of apex in the towers of the cathedral. In this respect it reminds us of the appearance of Valetta rising up from the Great and the Quarantine Harbour on either side of it, with the church of St. John's at its summit.
As in Valetta, too, the houses of Monte Video are of a fresh sandy colour, or whitewashed, and built of brick and plaster. On the south-east side of the city the mass of houses ends with the white dome of the cemetery chapel, standing in the midst of a garden of cypress, and other dark-green trees; beyond lies a tolerably verdant and well-wooded country. On the north-west of the city, as has been mentioned, lies the harbour, a semicircular bay