BLTC Press Titles

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe

Explorations of the highlands of the Brazil

by Sir Richard Francis Burton


St. Hiloire.

I Am about to describe in this volume a holiday excursion which we made to the Gold Mines of Central Minas Geraes vid Petropolis, Barbacena, and the Prairies mnd Highlands of the Brazil. Our journey has a something of general interest; in a few years it will have its Handbook and form a section of the Nineteenth Century " Grand Tour." And I venture to predict that many of those now living will be whirled over the land at hurricane speed, covering sixty miles per hour, where our painful "pede-locomotion" wasted nearly a week. Perhaps they may fly—Quern sabe?

My project was, then, to visit the head-waters of the Rio de Sao Francisco, the mighty river here trivially called the Brazilian Mississippi, and to float down its whole length, ending by way of bonne bouche with the King of Rapids, Paulo Affonso. In this second act of travel, which is not a holiday excursion, the diamond diggings were to be inspected.

After eighteen dull months spent at Santos, Sao Paulo, I was graciously allowed leave of absence by the Right Honourable the Lord Stanley, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. By command of His Majesty the Emperor of the Brazil, I was supplied with a "Portaria"*—Podoroshna, or especial licence to travel; it bore the signature of His Excellency the late Councillor Antonio Coelho de Sa e AIbuquerque, Minister for Foreign Affairs, a name immortalised by the decrees of December 7, 1866, and July 81, 1867, which admitted the world to, and which regulated the inland navigation of the Brazil. The Minister of Agriculture and Public Works, His Excellency the Councillor Mnuoel Pinto de Souza Dantns, who took the liveliest interest in the journey, honoured me with a circular letter addressed to the authorities of his own Province, Bahia, where he had lately been President, and where his wishes were law. Finally, the eminent Deputy of Alagoas, Dr. Aureliano Candido Tavares Bastos, Jun.Jwhose patriotic enthusiasm for progress has so urgently advocated the freeing of the coasting trade and the opening of great fluvial lines,* kindly gave me a variety of introductory letters.

* In former times the Tortaria dispensed such trifling economy, and can hardly say the traTeller -with paying ferries, tolls, and whether it is still useful for "dead headother small charges. I did not attempt ing."

Under such auspices we—that is to say, my wife and the inevitable Ego—with a negret answering to the name of Chico or Frank, after exhausting the excitements of the "Rio Season," left that charming but somewhat drowsy, dreamy, and do-little Capital on the fortunate Ember-day, Wednesday, June 12, 1867. Affectionate acquaintances bade us sad adieux, prognosticating every misery from tick-bites to kuiving. What Dr. Couto calls the " old system of terrors " is not yet obsolete, and I was looked upon as a murderer in posse, because Mrs. Burton chose to accompany me. A " synthesis of cognate habits" induced Mr. George Leiinon Hunt to see us embark, and he was not alone, for there are " good children" even amongst the John Bull-lings of the Brazil.

"Rio Bay," like all the beautiful sisterhood, from Cornish "Mullions" westward to the Bay of Naples, must be seen in " war-paint." Most charming is she when sitting under her rich ethereal canopy, whilst a varnish of diaphanous atmosphere tempers the distance to soft and exquisite loveliness; when the robing blue is perfect brilliant blue, when the browns are dashed with pink and purple, and when the national colours suggest themselves: green, vivid as the emerald, and yellow, bright as burnished gold. Then the streams are silver, then the scaurs are marked orange and vermilion as they stand straightly out from the snowy sand or the embedding forest, then the passing clouds form floating islets as their shadows walk over the waters of the inner sea, so purely green. Then the peasant's whitewashed hut of tile and "wattle and dab," rising from the strand of snowy sand, becomes opal and garnet in the floods of light which suggest nothing but a perpetual springtide. And every hour has its own spell. There is sublimity in the morning mists rolling far away over headland brow and heaving ocean; there is grandeur, loveliness, and splendour in the sparkling of the waves under the noon-day sun, when the breeze is laden with the perfume of a thousand flowers; and there is inexpressible repose and grace in the shades of vinous purple which evening sheds over the same.

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