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are perfectly unacquainted. At the period of the conquest they made use of the javelin, which they either hurled, or used hand to hand in close combat; but' on becoming a nation of horsemen, they have converted this weapon into a formidable lance, eighteen to twenty feet in length, which they use with singular dexterity. The peculiar arm of the Pampas is the bolas * and the lasso; with the former he can, when at full gallop, strike an object at 150 paces distance; or again, when the object is nearer, they strike it without letting go the thong to which the ball is attached. It was with this singular arm that they captured and put to death Don Diego de Mendoza (the brother of the founder of Buenos Ayres) and the whole of his staff; and, by attaching bundles of burning straw to these missiles, they once succeeded in setting fire to several houses at Buenos Ayres, and even burnt some ships in the harbour.
When they have determined on a warlike expedition, they immediately hide their women, and then set forward with the speed of the Pampero wind of their native plains, driving before them herds of wild horses, which enable them to execute marches which, for rapidity and length, will appear incredible in Europe. On approaching the enemy's territory, they detach some scouts on their front and flanks to reconnoitre. These men then advance with the greatest precaution, crouching down beneath their horses' bellies, and stopping every now and then to allow them to graze, the better to deceive the enemy; for this reason the Indian horses are never bitted. Sometimes they will advance crawling on their hands and knees, and, having completed their reconnoissance of the hut, the object of attack, they gallop back to the main body, taking care, if discovered, to take an opposite direction. When all is ready for the attack, they dash forward with the fury of demons, striking their mouths with their bridle hands, and, setting up a wild scream that strikes terror into the stoutest heart, set fire to the hut, and murder all without discrimination, reserving only the young and beautiful females, whom they carry off in triumph to their inhospitable deserts.
Yet, in spite of all, there must be either some charm unknown to us children of civilization in the wandering life of the desert, or, on the other hand, there must be more soil in the heart of the Pampa Indian for the growth of the all-generous sympathies and affections of our nature than is usually ascribed to him ; for there exist numerous instances of women thus carried off by the Indians, who have refused, after some years' experience, to return to the civilized habits of their infancy. There is also another feature in the mode of life of these Indians which appears to have escaped the attention of the philosopher, and this is the revolution produced in their manners by the introduction of the horse among them. Although at present ignorant of the simplest rudiments of agriculture, the peculiar nature of the country they inhabit would, without the use of this useful quadruped, have rendered an existence by
sent to sea. On clearing the mouth of the Plate, the captain allowed them to come on deck, when one of them, approaching a corporal of marines, and, observing him off his guard, seized his arms and immediately killed two pilots and fourteen sailors. "The four others attempted also to seize some arms, but, failing in the attempt, they threw themselves into the sea, and perished.
* Both these arms have been so often described, that it is unnecessary to recur to them here. The lasso, however, is not of American origin like the bolas. Mention of it will be found in Herodotus, in his catalogue of the invading army of Greece under Xerxes.
the chase so very precarious, as to convince us of the impossibility of its being their only means of subsistence. Again, the paucity of the lactiferous animals, and the consequent absence of pastoral nations in the New World, offers a powerful argument against the theory which would people America from Eastern Asia, for it is hardly to be supposed that any of the pastoral hordes of Tartary would emigrate across the Strait of Behring, without carrying with them a supply of those cattle on which their whole subsistence depended. That America was admirably suited for the propagation of them is proved by the extraordinary herds of wild cattle and horses which have overrun the plains from the few originally carried over by the Spaniards. Be this as it may, certain it is that the introduction of the horse has completely revolutionized the mode of life of the Pampa Indian. So identified is he become with this animal, that almost every occupation of his life is performed on horseback, to such an extent, that on foot he is literally the most useless animal in existence.
For the defence of their frontiers against the incursions of these sayages, the Buenos Ayrean Government had established a chain of posts along the Indian frontier, but they proved ineffectual in checking the depredations of the Indian, which were more frequent in ratio as the immense herds of cattle became thinned, a circumstance which the late revolutionary war bad greatly increased. About eighteen months ago, they accordingly despatched an army under the command of Manoel Rozas, for the purpose of ridding themselves of the scourge that had so long been the terror of their frontier line. The result was crowned by the most signal success; the once formidable Puelches have been nearly exterminated, and their scattered remnants driven into the inaccessible fastnesses of the Andes.
Once, on my return from an excursion to a large Estancia, situated in the very heart of the Pampas, our party, while pushing on at a rapid pace, to gain the next station before night-fall, observed, as the sun was casting its lengthening shadows across the plain, a single horseman spurring towards us at a furious rate, from a hut which we had left about half a league on our right. From the signs which the man kept making, and his
furious exertions to come up with us, we deemed that he might have something important to communicate; we accordingly drew bridle until he had joined us. “Viva Dios," exclaimed the Gaucho, courteously doffing his montero—“ Viva Dios, cavalleros; fortunate for you is it that you passed within sight of my hut, or, by our Lady del Carmen, not one of you would see to-morrow's sun; for know ye that the Indians are scouring the neighbourhood; they have already burnt several huts, murdered their inmates, and driven off the cattle. Return, there-. fore, to my hut, if you wish to see again the mothers who bore you;
and there you will find a party of dragones a cavallo, (dragons on horseback,) on their march toone of the frontier posts, whose Commander has deemed it prudent to halt till the barbaros have retired into the desert.” The latter part of this unexpected communication convinced us that it would be madness to proceed; we therefore galloped towards the hut.
The hut proved more spacious than the generality of the Gauchos' habitations, and was surrounded by a ditch. Before its principal entrance a party of troopers and Gauchos were lounging about, smoking their cigars; and the corral, about a hundred paces off, was literally
Sept.--VOL. XLII. NO. CLXV.
crowded with cattle. On alighting, the two officers commanding the cavalry detachment came out, and, corroborating the intelligence of our guide, politely invited us to enter the hut. On entering the principal apartment of this rude habitation, the scene that presented itself was singularly wild and picturesque. "The red glare of a charcoal fire threw out in fearful relievo the groups of savage-looking figures that occupied it. In one corner was a party of troopers busily engaged in cleaning and examining the locks of their carbines ; in another, a group of women and children, the latter of whom were playing with two large and fierce dogs of the blood-hound breed ; and in the centre, a party of Gauchos, stretched
upon the ground, were playing at monté ; while around the walls were arranged the different implements of war and the chase. In this hut I passed nearly a week, and, anxious as I was to reach the city, I did not regret a delay that afforded me so fine an opportunity of studying the manners of the Gauchos—to an European, a race, from their wild, predatory existence, almost as interesting as the Indians themselves.
Although personally brave, and among the finest horsemen in the universe, the Gauchos frankly own their inferiority to their Indian foes, and quail before their whirlwind charge on the open plain. Yet under cover of their huts, and by the aid of a few fire-arms, a mere handful of these men have, over and over again, repulsed a host of Indians. On the present occasion, these fiery spirits sought, by the attraction of play, to dispel the ennui of their confinement (for, while the Indians were in the neighbourhood, none dared stir beyond the precincts of the hut); and the gama, the lion, and the ostrich ranged their boundless plains, unpursued by the flying bolas or the fatal lasso. Seated on the skeletons of horses' heads, these singular beings would literally pass the whole day at their favourite game of monté : each man had his naked knife beside him, as an ultima ratio, in case of dispute; and it was both curious and interesting to remark how accurately you could read the alternate turns of good and ill luck, by the varying hues of their dark, handsome countenances. On the approach of night, the whole party withdrew within the hut-the evenings were passed in listening to stories of the War of Independence-two of the troopers having served in every action from Maipo down to the decisive victory of Ayacucho, which sealed the independence of Spanish America. On the conclusion of the recital of some brilliant exploit, the whole party would sing, con amore, a stanza of the patriot hymn
“ Con libertad protestamos vivir,
O con gloria juramos morir!" Sometimes a Gaucho would, to a guitar accompaniment, sing one of the wild and beautiful ditties of the Pampas ;-the melodies of which airs are simple and plaintive, and, when accompanied by the national dance, the clashing of their huge, ponderous spurs, and the fiery, animated looks of the dancers, impart to the whole scene a singularly wild and picturesque effect. But the chief attraction of these reunions was the tales of Indian warfare, which were listened to with intense and profound attention. Many that I heard were so singular in their details, so heartrending in their catastrophes, that if only slightly embellished by the aid of fiction, the popular tales of the Pampas would be read in this country with profound interest; as it was, the effect produced upon the assembled party by these tales of blood was electric-the women and children
would draw closely together as if the Indian yell was already pealing in their ear; while the men,--their dark countenances glowing like copper exposed to the action of a furnace,—would draw their long knife across their gnashed teeth, and utter fearful exclamations of revenge.
On one occasion I ventured to hint that there might be ne exaggeration in these stories of Indian cruelty. “Come here, Manuella,” said our host, turning towards the group
of females that occupied one corner of the apartment—"Come here, and tell this foreign cavallero thine own bloody tale-how the fierce Puelches murdered all thy kindred, and how, by the misericordia di Dios, thou escaped'st the dreadful fate that awaited thee.”
The person thus addressed was a female,-tall beyond the usual standard of the South American women,
1,- her age might have been forty; and her countenance, though bronzed by the winds and burning sun of her native plains, was marked by a Grecian regularity of outline; her eyes were dark and lustrous, and a profusion of raven hair fell back wildly on her neck and shoulders, reminding me strongly of one of the dark creations of Velasquez or his pupil Murillo's pencil.
Manuella arose, and came and seated herself beside me.
“And is it then true,” said I, addressing myself to her, " that you have been an eye-witness of one of those bloody scenes such as this night I have heard related ?”
“ Si, Cavallero; and with the permission of those present will I relate
“ Prosigrie con Dios, Manuella," exclaimed several of the party; " it is a story we never tire of hearing."
Thus encouraged, Manuella spoke as follows:
“ Come next St. John's eve, it will be just four and twenty years since the occurrence of the horrible catastrophe which robbed me of all that endeared existence. I was at that time residing with my family in a hut, on the western extremity of the clover ground, not far from the post-road to Mendoza. Confiding in the long truce which had existed with the Indians, my husband and father had neglected those precautions of defence usually adopted on the Pampas. In this state of fatal security we were one night awakened by the well-known Indian war-cry - Dios mio! Dios mio! Cavallero, those yells, to which the cries of the damned must be joyous seguidillas--those cries which tolled the knell of my whole family, will for ever ring in my ears, were I to live for centutries. Before we could recover from our surprise, the enemy had forced the door of the hut, and commenced the work of extermination."
“ And did they give no quarter ?” said I, interrupting her.
“Quarter, indeed, Cavallero-Si mataron a todos, hasta a los chequitos—they murdered all, even the very infants. Yes, Cavallero, with these eyes," and as she spoke she drew down her cheeks with both hands till her eye-balls appeared starting from her head—“ with these eyes I saw my aged mother dragged at a horse-tail round her burning dwelling -I saw my father and husband, after a brave defence, expire under the most excruciating torments. But this was not all—the worst still remains to be told by the light of the moon, which grew pale at the scene of blood, I saw the murdered body of my first born, mi querida Manuelita (my darling Manuella) borne high in the air, on the point of an Indian lance, amid the frightful yells of the fiends, till, tired with
the sport, they tossed it as fuel into the flames ! Santa Madre di Dios !". exclaimed this poor creature, in a tone of heart-rending anguish, and hurying her face in her hands—“ what had thy poor servant love to draw down upon her head such signal vengeance ?"
“ And yet, Manuella," said I, after a short pause, “you alone escaped, to tell this dreadful tale.”
“Si, Señor, sola-alone I escaped. Look upon this face on which time and grief have made such fearful ravages--por mis peccados-it was then as young and beautiful as it is now old and ugly. Si, Cavallero, that fatal gift of beauty of which I was then so proud and vain, that heaven in its wrath designed it an instrument of punishment—that fatal gift reserved me for a fate, to a buena Christiana, worse than a million deaths—to be the bride of one of those murderous dogs—to drag on the remainder of my wretched existence amid a race of descomulgados Indios, who have ni fe, ni ley, ni rey!”
“ Dreadful, indeed, Manuella, would have been thy fate!" I rejoined; “ but by what miracle did you escape?”. “Senor, Dios es grande," she replied, crossing herself.
“ Althougb the maidens of the Pampas, probably from the scenes of bloodshed to which they are inured almost from their cradles, possess not the keen and tender sensibilities of the damas of the city, still they can feel—aye, and acutely, too. When I saw the body of my murdered innocent tossed into the flames that were consuming its father's feet, a sickening feeling came over me that rendered me insensible to all around. I have some indistinct recollection of being placed on a horse, and of sweeping away across the Pampa, as if borne on the wings of a Pampero wind—but beyond this I know nothing. When I came to my senses, I found myself in a Gaucho hut, whose inmates found me lying on the plain, abandoned by the Indians, who doubtless thought I had expired. Thus, Señor, by the mercy of Our Lady did I escape.
“And yet, Manuella,” said I, breaking the pause which followed the conclusion of the narrative, “ you still continue to live on the Pampas; bereaved as you now are of kindred, why not seek the quiet and protection of the city ?”
Manuella smiled bitterly. “What, Cavallero! exchange the pure breezes of the Pampas, for the close, sickly atmosphere of that human charnel-house, the city? Forego the cravings of revenge for the dull stagnant quietude of its walls? How little you know of our Gaucho feelings! Behold this knife," she continued with terrible energy, drawing from her boot one of those long sharp weapons, while her whole frame quivered with emotion_“behold this cuchillo! thrice has its thirsty point drunk deeply of Indian blood, and, con la gracia di Dios, it shall drink a long draught ere Manuella sleeps with her fathers !"
I shuddered as she spoke, and soon after found that she had indeed outlived every feeling but that of revenge.
I arose early on the following morning, and walked forth, eager to exchange the close, confined atmosphere of the hut for the pure breezes of the Pampas. The sun was just rising through the thick mists that still hung over the Pampas like a pall; the solemn stillness that prevailed—the boundless expanse of plain—the numerous bones and skeletons that surrounded the hut and corral, gave to the whole scene au air of savage desolation. As I stood gazing upon the solemn scene, I was joined by