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Across Unknown South America by Landor

Owned by Conselheiro Antonio Prado


The

following statistics taken from the last Brazilian Year Book show the wonderful development of the passenger and goods traffic on the Paulista Railway:--

-----+-----------+-----------+--------------+------------+------------ | | |Goods carried,| | | | Passengers| including |Transport of|Baggage and |Line open. | carried. | Coffee. | Animals. | Parcels. -----+-----------+-----------+--------------+------------+------------ |Kilometres.| | Tons. | | Tons. 1872 | 38 | 33,531 | 26,150 | 4,919 | -- 1890 | 250 | 348,150 | 300,857 | 5,768 | 2,613 1908 | 1,154 | 1,084,081 | 959,742 | 36,072 | 12,558 -----+-----------+-----------+--------------+------------+------------

At Jundiahy the Paulista Company has extensive repairing shops for engines. Formerly they had there also shops for building carriages, but these are now constructed at the Rio Claro Station, partly from material which comes from abroad. The rolling stock of the Company is excellent in every way--quite up-to-date, and kept in good condition--almost too luxurious for the kind of passengers it has to carry.

It is principally after leaving Campinas that the scenery of the line is really beautiful--wonderful undulating country--but with no habitations, except, perhaps,

a few miserable sheds miles and miles apart. At Nueva Odena the Government is experimenting with Russian and Italian labourers, for whom it has built a neat little colony. After a time each labourer becomes the owner of the land he has cultivated. I am told that the colony is a success.

CHAPTER II

Coffee--The Dumont Railway

MY object in travelling by the Paulista Railway was to inspect the line on my way to the immense coffee plantations at Martinho Prado, owned by Conselheiro Antonio Prado. The estate is situated at an elevation above the sea level of 1,780 ft., upon fertile red soil. It is difficult, without seeing them, to realize the extent and beauty of those coffee groves--miles and miles of parallel lines of trees of a healthy, dark green, shining foliage. A full-grown coffee tree, as everybody knows, varies in height from 6 ft. to 14 or 15 ft. according to the variety, the climate, and quality of the soil. It possesses a slender stem, straight and polished, seldom larger than 3 to 5 in. in diameter, from which shoot out horizontal or slightly oblique branches--the larger quite close to the soil--which gradually diminish in length to its summit. The small white blossom of the coffee tree is not unlike jessamine in shape and also in odour. The fruit, green in its youth, gradually becomes of a yellowish tint and then of a bright vermilion when quite ripe--except in the Botucatu kind, which remains yellow to the end.

The fruit contains within a pericarp a pulp slightly viscous and sweet, within which, covered by a membrane, are the two hemispherical coffee beans placed face to face and each covered by a tender pellicle. It is not unusual to find a single bean in the fruit, which then takes the shape of an ellipsoid grooved in its longer axis--and this is called _moka_ owing to the resemblance which it bears to the coffee of that name.


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