Letters on Paraguay: comprising an account of a four years' residence in that republic, under the government of the dictator Francia, Volume 1

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Page 260 - The fig-tree spread its broad dark leaf, and offered its delicious fruit to the traveller without money and without price ; while the parasite plant lent all its variety of leaf and flower to adorn the scene. Pendent from the boughs of many of the trees was to be seen, and yet more distinctly known by its fragrance, the air-plant. Squirrels leaped, and monkeys chattered among the branches ; the parrot and parroquet, the pheasant, the moigtu, the toocan, the humming-bird, the guacamayo or cockatoo,...
Page 179 - Although these are still the general observances of female society in Buenos Ayres, they have already been greatly modified, and continue to be so, by intercourse and intermarriage with foreigners. French and English manners and customs are getting gradually interwoven with those of the natives, particularly among the higher classes. Music is much cultivated at Buenos Ayres. There is always one lady in every house who can furnish a good performance of all the tunes required for the minuet, the waltz,...
Page 333 - There were many ponderous books on law ; a few on the inductive sciences ; some in French and some in Latin upon subjects of general literature, with Euclid's Elements, and some school-boy treatises on algebra. On a large table were heaps of law-papers and processes. Several folios bound in vellum were outspread upon it ; a lighted candle (though placed there solely with a view to light cigars) lent its feeble aid to illumine the room ; while a mate-cup and inkstand, both of silver, stood on another...
Page 331 - He had a mn/i-cup in one hand, a cigar in the other ; and a little urchin of a negro, with his arms crossed, was in attendance by the gentleman's side. The stranger's countenance was dark, and his black eyes were very penetrating, while his jet hair, combed back from a bold forehead, and hanging in natural ringlets over his shoulders, gave him a dignified and striking air. He wore on his shces large golden buckles, and at the knees of his breeches the same.
Page 335 - ... of the latter. But he was most of all proud to be known as an algebraist and astronomer. He was, it is true, but a very short way inducted into these sciences. It was sufficient, however, in Paraguay, to verify the Spanish proverb, that " En tierra de los ciegos, el tuerto es rey" — " in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Page 151 - As to society among the Brazilians at Rio de Janeiro, it may be said there is none, for I cannot call that society from which females are excluded. Generally speaking, the husband of a Brazilian wife is not so much her companion as her keeper.
Page 331 - Suddenly I came upon a neat and unpretending cottage. Up rose a partridge ; I fired, and the bird came to the ground. A voice from behind called out ' Buen tiro ' — ' a good shot.' I turned round, and beheld a gentleman of about fifty years of age, dressed in a suit of black, with a large scarlet capote, or cloak, thrown over his shoulders. He had a...
Page 319 - Rings sparkled on his fingers; collars hung around his neck ; a tiara graced his venerable brow. The lacings of his sandals were studded with pearls ; a precious girdle bound his slender waist; and six large wax candles were lighted up at the shrine. There, imbosomed in fragrant evergreens, — the orange, — the lime, — the acacia, — stood the favourite saint, destined to receive the first homage of every guest that should arrive. The orange-groves on either side of the house were festooned...
Page 306 - He laughed at my incredulity; gave me to understand that it was nil his doing; and that unless I complied, I should put an affront upon the octogenarian lady that she would never recover. I went a few days afterwards, and took possession of my spacious apartments at Dona Juana's house in Campo Grande. In rude fashion, but with overflowing hospitality was I received by her, and waited upon by her numerous slaves. The house stood embosomed in an orangegrove ; it was surrounded by a wooded country richly...
Page 304 - Don Gregorio introduced me one day to the greatgrandmother of one of his comadres or gossips. The old lady was eighty-four years of age; rich, hale, healthy, vigorous and active ; and she was in the habit of riding to Assumption from her country-house and back again on a gallant palfrey, three times a-week. Though a wrinkled skeleton, and...

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