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Across Unknown South America by Landor

That day when we arrived at Campinas elev


To

the N.N.E. was a perfectly flat plateau. The distance rendered it of a deep blue, and its level sky-line gave the appearance of the horizon upon the ocean, except that there rose two small peaks which stood up slightly above the elevation of the plateau. On all that beautiful land only two small miserable farms were to be seen. Yet it seemed to be a paradise on earth--delightful climate, excellent soil, useful woods in the forest, plenty of delicious water.

Three more streamlets flowing from west to east were encountered at elevations of 2,700 ft., 2,750 ft. and 2,800 ft., with undulating grassy land between of wonderful beauty.

Having deviated somewhat from our route, we at last descended into a grassy valley--absolutely flat--the best of all we had seen. It had been fenced all round. Upon inquiry, I learned that it had been acquired by the Redemptionist Friars. There is one thing friars certainly know. It is how to select the best land anywhere to settle upon.

We had travelled 46 kil. 200 m. that day when we arrived at Campinas (elev. 2,550 ft. above the sea level)--the usual kind of filthy village with tiny, one-storied houses, more like toys than real liveable habitations. This time the doors and windows were bordered with grey instead of blue. On nearing those villages in Central Brazil one frequently found an abundance of rough wooden crosses scattered upon the landscape.

They marked the spots where individuals had been killed.

In the room where I put up in the village, in the _hospedagem_, or rest-house, the floor was besmeared with blood, the result of a recent murder. The shops grew more and more uninteresting as we got farther into the interior. The difficulties of transport were naturally greater, the prices rose by leaps and bounds, as we got farther; the population got poorer and poorer for lack of enterprise. The articles of luxury and vanity, so frequently seen in shops before, were now altogether absent, and only bottles of inferior liquor and beer were sold, matches and candles--that was all. No trade, no industry, no money, existed in those places. If one happened to pay with a five- or a ten-milreis note (6_s._ 8_d._ or 13_s._ 4_d._), one could never obtain change. Frequently, unless you wished to leave the change behind, you were obliged to carry away the balance in cheap stearine or beer. I took the stearine. A short distance from the town was a seminary, with four German friars, very fat, very jolly, very industrious.

Alcides, one of my men, was by way of being a veterinary surgeon. Here is how he cured a wounded mule, which, having received a powerful kick from another animal, displayed a gash 3 in. long in her back, and so deep that the entire hand could be inserted and actually disappear into the wound. Francisco, another of my men, having duly and firmly tied the animal's legs--a sensible precaution--proceeded with his naked arm to search for _bishus_: anything living is a _bishu_ in Brazil, from an elephant to a flea; but in this particular case it was applied to insects, such as _carrapatos_, maggots, or parasites, which might have entered the wound. Having done this at considerable length and care, he proceeded to tear off with his nails the sore edges of the laceration, after which he inserted into the gash a pad of cotton-wool soaked in creoline. That was the treatment for the first day. The second day, the wound proceeding satisfactorily, he inserted into it, together with his hand, a whole lemon in which he had made a cut, and squeezed its juice within the raw flesh. The amazing part of it all was that the animal, with an additional bath or two of salt and water, absolutely recovered from the wound and got perfectly well.

The Redemptionist monks had a fine vineyard adjoining their monastery--the only one of any size and importance we had seen since leaving the railway--and also some lovely orange groves in a walled enclosure. They had built a mill on the bank of the stream. Most of that beautiful valley for miles and miles belonged to them. The town of Campinas--not to be confounded with Campinas of Sao Paulo Province--had a population of 600 souls.


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