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Across Unknown South America by Landor

Joined the Arinos from the right side


we came to the end of the island we found another great barrier of foliated rock extending from east to west, 500 m. across. The basin showed, moreover, three sets of giant rocks on the left side. In the north-easterly part where the river narrowed again there stood a range of hills 300 ft. high, extending from west to east, and parallel to the rocky barrier across the basin. A streamlet 3 m. wide coming from the south-west entered the Arinos from the left bank. The hill range which stood along the right bank of the river showed a rocky formation of a greyish colour right up to its summit, and was, in fact, a mere great rocky barrier with only a few trees growing in interstices which had been filled with earth and sand. The southern aspect of the range was an almost vertical wall.

The river was proceeding mostly in a westerly and north-westerly direction for long stretches of 3,500 m., 4,000 m., 2,000 m., until we came to an equilateral-triangular island, 300 m. each side--Erminia Island. A small channel not more than 20 m. across separated this from an irregularly-shaped island, 600 m. long--Niobe Island. After this came a low island of sand and gravel 5 ft. high and 300 m. long, with merely a few trees upon it, whereas the other two islands were covered with dense and most beautiful vegetation. The main channel of the river was 400 m. wide.

_Araras_ (macaws) of great size and of a beautiful vermilion colour

flew overhead, shrieking wildly at the sight of us. We began to find a great many _jacares_ (_Caiman fissipis_) or crocodiles. I saw one sleeping placidly on an islet of gravel. I landed and photographed it, subsequently waking it with a start by throwing a stone at it. My men, who were following cautiously behind me, opened a fusillade and killed it.

It was really amusing to watch the astonishment of the few animals and birds we met in that deserted part of Brazil, as none of them had seen a human being. They evidently did not know what to make of us. They generally looked with curiosity and surprise, and my men could fire shot after shot before they would attempt to run, or, if they were birds, fly away.

There were in that region some fine specimens of the _cigana_ (_Opisthocomus cristatus_) and of the _jacu_ (_Penelope cristata_). The _cigana_ was beautiful to look at, with brown and yellow stripes, not unlike a pheasant, and a tuft of bright yellow feathers on the head. All of a sudden we came upon great numbers of these birds, and they supplied us with good meals.

[Illustration: Terrifying Rapid shot by Author and his Men in their Canoe.]

There were again plenty of rubber trees in the forest, plenty of fish in the river. The climate was not too hot--merely 87 deg. F. in the shade, 105 deg. in the sun--the insects not too troublesome; so that it seemed to us a paradise on earth.

We had now before us a great expanse of 5,000 m. of straight river to 345 deg. b.m., with two parallel ranges of hills extending from west to east. The second range was the higher of the two--some 600 ft., whereas the first was only 200 ft. high.

What I took to be a great river coming from 75 deg. b.m. (N.E.), 250 m. wide, joined the Arinos from the right side; but I was puzzled whether this was not a mere arm of the Arinos. In the quick survey I was making, and with the many things which occupied my mind at every moment, the river being moreover so wide, it was impossible, single-handed, to survey everything carefully on every side. Therefore this may have been a mere arm of the Arinos which I mistook for a tributary. It was not possible for me to deviate from my course every moment to go and ascertain problematic details, but it will be quite easy for subsequent travellers to clear up this point now that attention has been drawn to it.

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