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Title: Manco, the Peruvian Chief

Author: William Henry Giles Kingston

Illustrator: Alfred W. Cooper

Release date: May 8, 2007 [eBook #21397]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England


W.H.G. Kingston

"Manco, the Peruvian Chief"

Chapter One.

My family and home—We conceal a fugitive Indian.

It was evening. The sun had just set beneath the waters of the Pacific, which could be distinguished in the far distance; and the whole western sky, undimmed by a cloud, was burning with a radiant glow of splendour such as to the eyes of the untutored Peruvians might well appear an emanation from the Deity they worshipped.

I was looking out, with others of my family, from the windows of the country house we inhabited, on the glorious spectacle. We were residing in Peru, that romantic region with which the name of the conqueror Pizarro must be for ever associated—the kingdom of the once powerful and enlightened Incas, on the western shore of South America. At the time of which I speak, however, its greatness, its prosperity and happiness, had passed away; it was a mere province of Old Spain, and governed by a viceroy sent from that country, while the race of its ancient sovereigns, though still existing, was humbled and disregarded, and almost unknown.

My parents were English, and England was my native land. My father, Mr Henry Rexton, had been a soldier in his youth; but when he married my mother, who was the daughter of an eminent British merchant, he quitted the army; and my grandfather induced him, by advantageous offers, to take a share in his house of business. The firm traded with Peru; and certain mercantile transactions of importance requiring for a time the superintendence of a partner, my father and mother went out there, taking with them me and a younger sister, their only children then born. Year after year unexpected circumstances occurred which compelled them, much against their wish, to remain in the country; and well do I remember how frequently in our family circle the subject of conversation was the happiness we expected to enjoy on returning home. On first going to Peru, we resided in Lima, the modern capital; but at length the heat of the climate affecting my mother’s health, in the hopes of it being restored by a cooler atmosphere, my father engaged a house in the country, at a considerable distance from the city. It was situated among the lower ranges of the lofty Cordilleras, one of those mighty ranges of mountains which stretches from one end to the other of the South American continent, the eastern portion of them being more properly known by the name of the Andes.

Our house stood on a level spot on the summit of a spur of the main chain. To the east behind it rose range above range of mountains, the more distant towering to the sky, and covered with eternal snows. On either side other spurs stretched out far towards the west, forming deep gorges below us; while along the side of the ridge on which the house was situated ran a narrow road, one of the few paths in that neighbourhood, penetrating among the mountains into the regions on the eastern side. From our windows westward, over a wide extent of broken ground among the mounds, many of which might in other countries be called mountains, would be seen the fertile plains of Peru stretching away to the ocean, distinguished on clear days by a silvery line in the horizon. The house was of one floor only, and built of brick and tiled. The rooms were large and numerous, and it was surrounded by a court-yard. It was of ancient construction, indeed it appeared to have been built originally for a fortification to command the pass through the mountains; but the outer walls had fallen into decay or been pulled down, though it still retained enough of its former character to enable it to be speedily prepared to resist any sudden attack by undisciplined forces destitute of artillery. Around it were plantations of olive and orange trees, on the slopes near it were vineyards, and on the level spaces fields of maize or Indian corn, and many trees and plants of a temperate clime. At the bottom of the ravine rushed a broad and powerful stream, fed by the snows of the neighbouring mountains; and on its banks, in a wider part, some little way to the west, was a large village inhabited chiefly by Indians, the descendants of the hapless race conquered by the Spaniards. In the neighbourhood, on the other side of the river, was a silver mine, in working which many of the inhabitants of the village were employed.

My father’s house had, I believe, advanced money to the owners; and this was one of the reasons which made him select the locality for his temporary residence, besides its peculiar healthiness and beauty. He was a firm friend to the Indians, for he pitied their hard fate; and he endeavoured by every means in his power to mitigate their sufferings under the cruel tyranny to which, even at that time, they were subjected. As he did not own the mine, he could not prevent their strength from being often overtaxed; but having some knowledge of medicine, he used to prescribe for them when they were sick, and he to the best of his means relieved them when overtaken by poverty, so that they all learned to love and reverence the English stranger who had come among them. His conduct was uninfluenced by any expectation of a return, but he afterwards had reason to know that the despised Indians were not ungrateful for his kindness. My father was a true Christian, who looked upon all men helpless or suffering, whatever their hue, or race, or religion, as brothers, whom it was his duty to aid and protect. He received his reward; and my belief is, that no person ever performs a good disinterested action without being rewarded for it even in this world. I, at all events, have met with numerous instances which tend to show that such is the case. The means of crossing the river to the mines was by a large hanging bridge, called by the Spaniards “Puente de Soga,” which could be seen from the windows of our house. On either side of the river, some fifty feet above the water, stout posts were driven into the steep bank, to which four ropes, formed of twisted cow-hides the thickness of a man’s arm, were fastened. These ropes were laid parallel to each other, a few feet apart; and were again fastened by thinner ropes laid transversely, and forming a sort of network. On this foundation were spread roots of the Agave tree, branches of trees, straw, and earth, so that even beasts of burden could walk across. On either side of the bridge, and about three feet above it, two other ropes were carried across to serve as a balustrade; but as it had sunk in the middle, and the ropes were very slack, it frequently swung from side to side as passengers went across, in a most terrific way. It formed a very picturesque object in the landscape.

I have now given a sufficiently full description of our house and the scenery surrounding it, to enable my readers to form a tolerably correct idea of the picture I wish to present to them.

At the time when the adventures I have resolved to narrate commenced, I had just attained my fifteenth year. I looked older, for I had grown rapidly in that warm climate; and, accustomed to exercise and athletic sports, I was of a well-knit strong frame, and had a very manly appearance, though possessed of the light hair and complexion of the Saxon race, somewhat tanned, however, by constant exposure to the sun. My brothers and sisters, for I had several, all bore the same marked characteristics of our Northern ancestors, contrasting strongly with the swarthy hue on the countenances of the people among whom we lived. They used to call us the fair-haired children of the North; and from the love and respect with which they regarded us, I believe they associated us in their minds with the revered race whom their traditions told them once ruled the country with paternal sway—the family of the fallen Incas.

I shall have to tell more fully, in the course of my narrative, the beautiful legend, for so I may call it, regarding the origin of the Incas; how they appeared suddenly among the ignorant inhabitants of Peru, claiming to be the children of the Sun, and, gathering their scattered tribes together, formed them into one people, and gave them laws and institutions, and brought peace and prosperity to the land, which continued till the Spaniards arrived, and, with unexampled treachery and cruelty, overthrew their monarchy and reduced the people to abject slavery and misery. The Indians around us were nominally Roman Catholics; but though they conformed openly to the ordinances of that Church, and partly believed in the power assumed by its priests, they pertinaciously retained many of the superstitions of their ancestors, and practised their rites in secret.

Having given a brief account of my family, and their position in the country, I must begin to unwind the thread of my Tale. We were seated, as I have said, in our sitting-room, gazing on one of the most magnificent of Nature’s spectacles—the setting sun. The younger children were playing about the room, while my sister Lilly and I, with our father and mother, were seated near the open window. We were talking, I well remember, about our distant home, when our conversation was interrupted by seeing a man leap over the wall of the court-yard, and rapidly approach the house.

“Who can he be? What brings him here?” exclaimed my mother, while my father rose to make inquiries on the subject.

Scarcely had she spoken, when the door was thrown open, and the person we had seen rushed into the room. He was a tall man, of well-knit, active frame, and though he looked travel-stained and weary, there was something in his appearance and manner which betokened that he was not an ordinary being. His complexion was dark, though scarcely darker than that of a Spaniard; but the contour of his features and the expression of his countenance showed that he belonged to the Indian race. His dress was simple, consisting of a pair of trowsers, and a shirt of the cotton cloth of the country, of a dark blue colour; a poncho of alpaca wool covered his shoulders, while a sash was fastened round his waist, and his feet were protected by sandals, fastened on by leather thongs. He threw himself on the ground before my father, who went to meet him, and taking his hand, he looked up imploringly in his face.

“Save me, Señor!” he exclaimed in Spanish, “you have the power if you will venture to do it. I am flying from what they call justice—the tyranny of our cruel task-masters. If I am captured, my death is certain. You are noble and generous, and I throw myself on your mercy.”

The appeal thus made, with all the energy of despair, was difficult to resist. My father’s feelings were enlisted on the side of the fugitive; but he looked round at my mother and us, who now stood grouped about him, and remembered the difficulties to which we might be exposed, should he yield to the promptings of his heart, from the anger of the Spanish authorities. The Indian divined his thoughts.

“You run no danger,” he continued. “Far be it from me to cause you to suffer for your charity. No one saw me approach your house; neither did your servants observe me enter it. I was on my way through the mountains to the far interior, but not daring to enter any house for food and rest, I felt that my strength was forsaking me, and that I could not hope to combat with the difficulties of the road. If you cannot shelter me, noble Señor, either I must die from fatigue, or be captured by my enemies.”

“Of what crime have you been guilty, that you thus seek to fly from justice?” asked my father.

“Of no crime, Señor, believe me,” replied the Indian in a proud tone, rising to his feet as he spoke. “Of no crime in the sight of Heaven, or even of men, if they had regard to justice. I was selected for the hated Meta, I, a descendant of the great Incas, was ordered to work as a slave—a Pongo in the house of a sub-delegado, a man noted for his crimes and cruelty. I refused to perform the disgraceful office—I was dragged there by force—with a thong he endeavoured to frighten me into performing the work he ordered. His rage surpassed all bounds; he struck me again and again. Was I tamely to submit? My dormant spirit was aroused. I at length struck him again; and when he rushed at me in his fury, I felled him to the ground. I attempted to fly, but I was captured ere I could do so, and was borne off to prison, there to await my doom, which would have been death. My name was unknown. They thought I was an humble Indian; but some of my race were at hand, and, aided by them, I effected my escape from prison. My friends could not conceal me, and my only course was instant flight into the mountains.”

“Let us shelter him, Henry,” exclaimed my mother, in English; “Heaven surely will not allow us to suffer injury from doing what is right.”

The Indian at once comprehended by her looks that she was pleading his cause.

“May the blessing of the God of my fathers light on you and yours!” he cried, kneeling at her feet.

My father thought as she did; but he had learned not to give way on a sudden to the impulse of his feelings, and he wished to ascertain that the Indian was not deceiving him before he promised his protection.

“Who are you?” he asked; “though your tale, alas! is too probable to be doubted.”

“I am one who would not be guilty of a falsehood to save my life,” answered the Indian proudly; “I am the cousin of the Cacique Tupac Amaru, the rightful heir of the last Inca of Peru. You see in me one of the children of the Sun; and though the blood of the conquerors of my country is mixed in my veins, I feel that of my fathers still burning strongly within me. I had heard of your charity and kindness to my people; and for long I have known you, hoping some day to repay you; but I see that you fear my presence might risk the safety of your family, and I will not trespass on you. Give me but some food to sustain my wearied body, and I will depart.”

My father took the stranger’s hand. “You shall not go,” he said. “I will trust you, and at all hazards I will endeavour to conceal you till your strength is recruited. David,” he continued, speaking to me, “see that the servants do not come into this part of the house till I have concealed this poor fellow; and remember, children, do none of you on any account speak of what has occurred. Now, my friend,” he added, turning to the Indian, “follow me; I trust in the truth of your story, and will endeavour to preserve you from injury.”

While I went out to the end of the passage to send any of the domestics back who might by chance have been coming to that part of the house, my father led the Indian to a large unfurnished room, which the children used as a play-room in rainy weather. At one end was a deep recess in the wall, with a door to it, and from the recess a narrow flight of steps led to a vault of considerable depth, from whence there was a passage to the side of the mountains. In the roof of the chamber there was a small trap-door, through which a thin ladder conducted to the roof of the house. It had evidently been constructed when the building was used as a fortification, and was probably intended to enable the garrison to make a sudden sortie on the enemy at an unexpected point. The outside entrance was blocked up by rubbish overgrown with vegetation; and my father had caused a strong door to be placed to the vault, to prevent any intruder, who might by chance have found his way through it, from entering the house. He always kept the keys himself; and as no one ever thought of wishing to enter the recess, a securer place for the concealment of the fugitive could not have been found. Our evening meal was, fortunately, spread in the parlour, so that we were able to supply our guest with the refreshment he so much required, without exciting the suspicion of the servants. I must remark that several of them, of the higher class, were Spanish, though the rest were Indians; and though we believed them to be honest and faithful, my father did not consider it right to trust them with a secret which might compromise them as well as himself and all his family.

He was very sensible, even as it was, of the risk that he was running; but he had resolved, at all hazards, to preserve the unfortunate man who had thrown himself on his protection. While I kept watch, my mother collected some bedding, and took it into the closet; so that in a few minutes our guest was made as comfortable as circumstances could allow. He ate sparingly of the food placed before him, and then, expressing his deep gratitude for the protection afforded him, he threw himself on his couch, and sought the repose he so much needed. My father having secured the door, called me to him, and we all again assembled in the sitting-room as if nothing had occurred, till summoned by the servant to our evening meal. The arrival of the stranger had, however, an influence on my future fortunes.

While our servant José, who was a Spanish Creole, was waiting at table, I could not help looking into his face to try and discover if he suspected anything; but the look of perfect unconsciousness which his countenance bore reassured me. I was afraid also that the children might betray it to their nurses; but our mother had kept them carefully shut up in the sitting-room while our father was concealing the stranger, so that they were under the impression that he had gone away. Lilly and I were therefore the only ones in the secret.

Chapter Two.

Unwelcome visitors.

When we retired to rest, all night long I dreamed of the unhappy descendant of the Inca who was beneath our roof. Some of the incidents of which I had read in Peruvian history were strongly mixed up in my mind with the reality, with the indistinctness which generally occurs in dreams.

I thought our guest was the mild and unfortunate Huascar, the rightful Inca of Peru, who was a prisoner in the hands of his fierce brother Atahualpa when the Spaniards attacked Peru with their small but determined band of robber-warriors. I thought I was aiding Huascar to escape from among his brother’s army. We had passed the guards, who were fast asleep, when we came to a broad river. We attempted to swim across, when I felt my strength failing me. Huascar was bravely buffeting the stream by my side. Suddenly the bank was lined with troops. They shouted to us, and let fly a cloud of arrows at the Inca. He stopped swimming. I endeavoured to drag him on; but as I grasped at him he sank below the water. The shouts grew louder. I awoke. The noise was real, for I heard the voices of some men calling in Spanish at the court-yard gate, and desiring to be let in.

I trembled with alarm; for I at once suspected that the strangers must be the emissaries of government come in search of our guest. I jumped up and began to dress myself, intending to go out to inquire who they were; but before I had left my room I heard José, the servant, hold a parley with them at the gate.

“Who are you,” he asked, “who come at this unreasonable hour to disturb a quiet family?”

“Open in the king’s name, and we will let you know,” was the answer he received.

“I must get my master’s leave first, and he is fast asleep,” he replied.

“We are government officers in search of a fugitive malefactor, and are benighted on our road; so you must awake your master whoever he is, and he will not refuse to give us shelter,” they exclaimed.

I now went out to join José. He was afraid they were robbers; and I suspected that they by some means knew that the fugitive was harboured in the house, and only made this a pretext to gain an entrance. Fortunately my father was not awakened by the noise, or he might have had more difficulty than had the servant in answering the questions put by the officers of justice. Opening a slide in the gate through which he could look out, José let the light of the lantern fall on the strangers, and the inspection convinced him that they were what they represented themselves to be.

“Be quick there,” said the strangers, “for we have but a short time to rest, and we must speedily be again on our road.”

“What shall I do, Master David?” said José. “If we do not let them in they will batter down the door; but still I do not like to disturb the Señor Rexton. They do not look like robbers, so it is all right.” With the knowledge that the Indian concealed in the house was in all probability the fugitive the officers were seeking, I felt that it was all wrong, and would have given much to have kept them out; but still I saw that it would be equally dangerous to attempt to do so. My heart all the time was beating audibly with agitation; and I was afraid that even José would suspect the secret. However, I replied, “Let them in, José, by all means, and do you attend to what they require.”

He accordingly withdrew the bolts and bars of the gate, and two chief officers—alguazils they are called—and four subordinates made their appearance.

Two of them remained without to take care of their horses. They were all fierce, rough-looking fellows, armed with muskets, pistols in their belts, and swords by their sides. The officers of justice (though I do not think the name is a proper one) were often pardoned banditti, cut-throats and robbers of the blackest dye, who were glad to accept the office as an alternative for the garotte; and I believe our visitors were of that description. The inferiors were Mestizos, half Indian and half Spaniards by descent, with dark brown complexions and savage countenances—altogether gentlemen of a very unprepossessing appearance. They were accompanied by a dog, a huge, savage-looking hound, whom they called by the very ugly name of Demonio. If he was a bloodhound, as at first I thought he was, I felt that the detection of the Indian would be certain.

“You were a long time opening the gate, friend,” observed, one of them as they strode into the house. “You took us for robbers, I suppose?”

“O no, Señor, not at all,” said José; “but a servant should not let strangers into the house without his master’s leave.”

“Is that young señor your master then?” inquired the alguazil.

“He is my master’s son; my master is Señor Rexton, an Englishman, and he is fast asleep,” said José.

“Well, you need not disturb him then; all we want is food and shelter for the night,” replied the alguazil. “Be quick with the former, some straw and blankets will serve us for beds. While, hark you, do you send some one to show the way to the stables, that our beasts may be looked after; they require food as much as we do.”

“All shall be done you request, Señores; in the mean time, follow me,” said José; and what was my dismay to see him lead the way to the large empty room I have spoken of, close to which the Indian was concealed! I dared not interfere, lest I might excite their suspicions; so I thought it best to let José follow his own course. Having dragged in a table from one of the other rooms, he placed a lighted candle on it, and then hurried off to call up some of the other servants to help him, leaving me alone with the officers. I was afraid of speaking to them, lest they should ask me questions; so I made signs that the servant would quickly return with what they required. I dared not even look towards the door of the secret passage, to which every instant I expected to see some of them go for the purpose of examining it. However, somewhat to my relief, they seemed not to notice the door, but throwing themselves on the ground, stretched out their limbs to rest themselves, while their hound Demonio crouched down at their feet with his head between his fore-paws, ready to spring up in a moment. I saw by the glare of his half-closed eyes that he was all the time wide awake, and eager to spring upon any one who might molest him or his masters.

My anxiety made me fancy that José was a long time absent, but he had really been away only a few minutes, when he returned with another servant, bringing a supply of bread and meat, and wine. Some chairs were carried into the room; and the officers being joined by their companions, they attacked the viands with a good will. Had José been in the secret, he might have betrayed it, but his perfectly collected manner gave no cause for suspicion.

“You do not chance to have seen or heard anything of an Indian, an atrocious villain who has escaped from justice, and is supposed to have taken the path by this up the mountains?” asked one of the officers.

O how my heart did beat as I heard this! José assured them with an air of perfect disembarrassment that he knew nothing of any Indian fugitive. His answers seemed to satisfy them. He next brought in some bundles of straw and blankets to serve as bedding.

“There, Señores, I hope that you will make yourselves at home, and sleep soundly after your supper,” he observed, as he deposited them in different parts of the room.

“No fear of it, friend; we will not forget your hospitality,” said the chief alguazil, as he helped himself to a large tumbler of wine.

I was glad to see them apparently so well satisfied; but at the same time I thought I detected a sinister expression in the eye of the speaker, with which I was not altogether satisfied. The hound Demonio, too, gave me some uneasiness; for though he came back to catch the pieces of meat thrown to him by the officers, he employed himself meanwhile in snuffing round the room in a very suspicious manner. José stood quietly by to attend to their wants.

“Can I do anything more for you, Señores!” he asked.

“Another flask of this wine will not be objectionable, and a bundle of cigars would be welcome,” answered the chief alguazil, laughing at the thought of the comfortable quarters into which he had fallen, and determined to make the most of them.

“Certainly, Señores; I am sure my master would not object to afford all you require,” said José, going out to fetch what was asked for.

While he was absent, what was my horror to see the dog, who had now finished his meal, begin to snuff vehemently under the door of the secret passage, and then to work away with his paws, as if to try and open it! I turned pale with alarm, for I knew that all must be discovered; but still I thought it best to take no notice of the circumstance.

“What does the dog want there?” said one of the men.

“Rats are there, I suppose,” remarked another, whose wits the wine had somewhat dulled.

“Demonio has a strange fancy for rats,” said a third.

“Rats or not, I should like to have a look behind the door,” observed the chief alguazil, as the dog’s excitement increased.

I said nothing, and the officers seemed to fancy that I could not understand Spanish, so they did not trouble me with questions. Just then José returned.

“What is inside that door?” asked the chief alguazil abruptly.

“Nothing that I know of but an empty cupboard,” he answered quietly. “The room is little used, so that I never saw it opened.”

“Bring the key, and let us see,” said the alguazil.

“I have not the key; and if there is one, my master must have it, and I cannot disturb him for such a fancy,” replied José. “The dog smells a rat; there are many in the house, and he will soon be quiet.”

But the dog would not be quiet, neither was the alguazil satisfied; and at last José was obliged to say that he would go and ask my father for the key. I followed him out of the room.

“José, I will go to my father and get the key, while you stay with the strangers,” I said to him. “Give them plenty of wine, and amuse them as long as you can.”

I hurried to my father’s room to consult what was to be done; though I intended not to mention that the key had been asked for till he had come into the passage, as of course my mother would be very much alarmed at hearing of it.

I had got him out into the passage, and was mentioning the unwelcome arrival of the Spaniards in as calm a tone as I could command, when it struck me that I might prevent his being implicated in the secretion of the fugitive if I took the whole blame upon myself. I at last told him of the suspicions the behaviour of the horrid dog had aroused in the minds of the officers; and entreated him, by every argument I could think of, to let me manage the affair as best I could.

“They can scarcely inflict any severe punishment on me,” I observed, “while they might drag you off to prison, and leave my mother and brother and sisters without a protector.”

“I must take the consequences of what I have done,” he returned. “At the same time I do not repent having endeavoured to save the poor fellow. The act was right, and that must be my consolation.”

But I was not so easily to be turned aside from my purpose; and at last he consented to let me take the key, and to use it if driven so to do, while he remained in his room. I returned, as may be supposed, in no great hurry to the hall; and as I got close to it I heard, amid the loud talking of the Spaniards and José, who was doing his best to amuse them, the scratching and snarling of the savage brute at the door.

“My master is incapable of breaking the laws; that I can assure your Excellencies,” I heard José say. “If the man you seek is inside there, he did not put him in, you may depend on it. If you find anything, it will be a rat or a little mouse, perhaps, for which all this fuss is to be made.”

“What you say may be true, friend; but if the key is not brought we must break open the door,” observed one of the Spaniards. “The dog is not a pure bloodhound; but he has enough of the race in him to know the difference between an Indian and a rat.”

At last I thought it better to go in with the key. When I reached the door of the passage, the brute snarled at me savagely, and I fully believe would have sprung upon me and torn me limb from limb, had not his masters called him off. I trembled so with agitation that I could scarcely apply the key to the keyhole. Luckily the light did not fall on me, or it would have been perceived.

“Come, young Señor, be quick about it; somebody is in there—of that I can be sworn,” exclaimed the alguazil.

“There, take the key yourself, and try and open it,” I answered, hoping that as he did so the Indian would rush out and make his escape, though his chance was a forlorn one. The officer took the key; some of his men approached with lights, while others held their swords and pistols ready for use. José looked very much astonished, though in no way alarmed at the proceedings; but I knew too well what was about to be revealed. The door flew open, and the men and their hateful dog rushed in. The fate of the poor Indian was sealed, I thought. I followed, expecting to see them tearing him to pieces. What, then, was my astonishment and satisfaction to find not a trace of him remaining! The bedding, and even the dishes in which his food had been carried to him, were nowhere to be seen.

“There, I told you so,” exclaimed José triumphantly, “there were nothing but rats.”

But the dog was not so easily satisfied; and to my horror he rushed down the narrow flight of steps leading to the secret outlet. The door at the bottom I knew was locked, and I too justly feared that the Indian would be found there. The officers hesitated about descending; for as only one could go at a time, they saw that a determined man might kill them in detail, if so inclined; so they sent their inferiors forward to make the experiment. I stood by, waiting the result with increased anxiety; for I felt that if the Indian should kill some of the officers, the difficulties of our position would be still more increased. The dog led the way, and I hoped would be the only victim; the others followed very reluctantly. Some time passed; but still there was no sign of their having discovered the fugitive.

“Have you found the rat?” shouted José, laughingly, from above.

“Bring the key of the other door,” thundered the alguazil in return from below. I had got it, but I did not say so.

“Of what door do you speak?” asked José, in real ignorance of the fact that there was a door. I was anxious to gain all the time possible, believing that the Indian must have made his escape through the passage; so I let them talk on till the alguazil peremptorily ordered me to open the door, threatening me with all sorts of pains and penalties if I refused to obey.

“I have heard that there is a long passage leading no one knows where,” exclaimed José; “so, Señores, if you are going to explore it, you had better take some torches, or you may chance lose your way.”

“Bring them here instantly,” shouted the alguazil.

“If you are wise men you will amuse yourselves with the wine flasks while I go to prepare them,” said José. The advice was too agreeable to be neglected, and I was very glad to see the men return and again seat themselves at the table. While they were drinking and José was absent, the dog however continued running up and down the steps, and smelling in every direction.

The officers seemed to enjoy their wine so much that I was in hopes that their suspicions were lulled, and at all events I rejoiced that the Indian would have more time afforded him for making his escape. José at last returned with the torches, which were composed of twisted straw dipped in pitch; and the chief officer descending with less caution than before, led the way, the rest following. At the bottom of the steps was a tolerably broad space, which enabled me to pass the men so as to reach the door, where the hound, snarling at me as I approached, stood ready to rush through at his prey as I supposed. How the Indian could have escaped, still, however, remained a mystery to me. After several attempts I succeeded in turning the rusty lock, and a dark passage cut through the solid rock opened before us. The wet dropped from the roof as we proceeded, and, combined with the noxious exhalations which proceeded from the farther end, almost extinguished the torches.

“It is folly in me accompanying these men,” I thought to myself; and just then a recess appearing in the rock, I stepped into it and let the rest pass me. José was the last; I touched him as he reached me, and whispered to him to return.

He either did not hear me, or wished to watch the proceedings of the alguazil and his subordinates. As I had no torch, I groped my way with no little difficulty to the foot of the stairs, thinking José was following me. To my horror, just as I was about to ascend, I heard the low-muttered growl of the savage hound, and the next instant I found my leg seized in his jaws.

“Help, José, help!” I cried out, but not loud, lest the officers should hear me; “the brute will kill me else.”

But José was not, as I supposed, at hand. I felt the dog moving his jaws higher up my leg, as if he evidently was about to pull me to the ground, while the pain he inflicted almost paralysed me. I certainly was no coward, but I shrieked in my agony. In another moment he would have mastered me, when, by the faint light which came through the door of the room above, I saw a dark figure spring down the steps. The dog let go his hold of me to fly at the new-comer but was met by the point of a sharp dagger, which pierced his breast, and uttering a low yell of pain and rage, the brute fell dead at my feet. The Indian—for my preserver was the fugitive—without speaking, assisted me in dragging the dog out of sight under the steps, and then whispering, “Say not a word about the dog, he will not be discovered,” again sprung up the steps.

I followed him, fearing that the men in the room above would discover him. I caught sight of him as he ascended to the roof of the alcove, by means of a single rope which hung to the ground. In the roof was a trap-door, through which he disappeared, and closed it silently after him, having first drawn up the rope. Again going below, I met José, and told him that the dog was dead, charging him to ask no questions, and to say nothing about it.

I was much afraid lest the men should discover the dog; for the fact of his remaining near the stairs might make them suspect that the Indian was concealed near at hand. My trousers were fortunately only a little torn, though, as the brute’s teeth had met in the calf of my leg, I felt a considerable amount of pain; but I did my best to conceal it, lest the men should accuse me of killing the dog. I might with truth have replied that I had not killed him, but they would then have asked who did, to which question I could not have replied. As the life of a fellow-being was at stake, I felt the importance of being very circumspect in everything I did.

When we returned to the room, the two men who had been left there inquired what had become of their comrades.

“Hunting rats or spirits, for they will find nothing else down there I am sure,” answered José, unconcernedly. “They will be back soon, I warrant, after their fool’s chase, begging your pardon, Señores.”

His words were verified more speedily than he expected, for at that moment cries and shouts were heard, and the officers came tumbling up the steps as fast as their legs could carry them, with their hair almost standing on end, and their eye-balls starting from their heads. One had lost his cap, another his sword, and all their torches; they were also wet and dirty from scraping against the sides of the cavern. They declared that they had been set upon by a whole legion of demons, who had blown out their torches and attacked them with teeth and claws, so that they were glad to escape with their lives.

“For the love of heaven shut the door, or they will be up here after us!” shouted the last of the men, as he rushed into the room.

I, as may be supposed, hurried down with joyful alacrity to obey the order, and coming back without encountering any of the demons, closed the upper door after me.

“I said you were going on a fool’s errand,” said José; “your pardon for the remark, Señores. But let me fill up your glasses, the wine will soon make you forget your mishaps.” The men were easily induced to apply the proposed remedy.

“But what has become of the dog?” asked the chief.

“Carried off by the demons,” observed José.

“Let him go,” growled one who was the most bruised and dirty. “He led us into the scrape, and deserves his fate; if it had not been for him, we should not have known of that horrid vault.”

The chief, notwithstanding these remarks, ordered his men to go and look for the dog; but as he showed no readiness to set the example, none of the others would obey him, declaring that they would rather be shot at once than venture again among such horrors. I felt very much relieved at the turn events had taken. The Indian had escaped, the means of the bloodhound’s death was not suspected, and the officers would probably at early dawn continue their search after the fugitive.

“Ask them if they wish to return to the vault; for if not, I will take the keys up to my father,” I whispered to José.

“No, no,” answered the men. “We have had enough of the vault, and demons, and monsters, and spirits it contains. Tell your master all we want is plenty of this good wine to keep them away.”

Telling José to give them as much as they required and to keep a careful watch over them, I hurried back to my father to inform him that the danger was over.

“I never fear the consequence of having performed a good action, my boy,” he replied; “yet we should be grateful to Providence for having preserved us from much suffering, both of mind and body. The poor Indian is for the present safe. I can guess the way he escaped; but we will talk on the matter more to-morrow. Now, David, go to your room and rest, for you look pale and fatigued.”

I did not tell my father that the dog had bit me, though I should have been wiser had I done so, as he would have had proper remedies applied, had the wounds required them. José, however, soon after came into my room and fomented my leg with a mixture which he said was very efficacious in preventing inflammation from the bite of an animal. It at all events relieved me from the pain I was suffering; and when José left me to keep watch with the other servants on the officers, I threw myself on my bed in the hopes of obtaining some sleep. Whenever I dropped off, my mind recurred to the unfortunate descendant of the Incas, and the scenes I had just witnessed; and every instant I was jumping up, fancying I heard the shout of the officers as they discovered his place of concealment.

Chapter Three.

A journey and the adventures we met with.

I awoke to perfect consciousness (for I could scarcely be said to have been asleep all night) just as the first faint streaks of dawn were appearing in the sky; and hearing the voices of men, and the stamping of horses in the court-yard, I looked out of the window to learn what was occurring. At first my mind misgave me that the alguazil and his myrmidons had by some means seized the Indian; but as I scrutinised the dark forms which appeared in the cold grey light of the morning, I could not distinguish his among them.

The men mounted one after the other apparently in good humour, for José was there among the other servants with a huge flagon of wine to serve out to them the stirrup-cup at parting, a custom observed in most countries. It was a great relief to my mind when the gates were opened and I saw them fairly outside the walls. As the light increased, I watched them slowly winding along the steep path which led up the mountain, till they disappeared in a dark gorge which opened before them.

“You will have a long ride if you do not intend to halt till you have caught the fugitive in that direction,” said I to myself, just as José entered.

“I have sent the rogues off in good humour,” he observed. “Wine is a fine thing to raise the spirits, though to my mind last night they took enough to raise more than they expected—ha, ha, ha! They thought they were attacked by ghosts and goblins, when in reality only a number of bats flew out against them after the foul air had already damped their ardour. The place swarms with the vermin. By the by, if the Señor, my master, will give me the key of the vault, I will get up that beast of a dog, and bury him or hang him up to feed the condors.”

I thought José suspected something, and said this to learn the truth. I was inclined to confide the secret to him, but I felt that I ought not to do so without my father’s permission; so I answered that my father would give him the keys when he required them. When I met my father, he told me that I was right in not telling José, both for our sake as well as his own, though he was doubtless trustworthy.

I then asked him what had become of the Indian.

“He is safe on the roof,” he replied. “I have just seen him; he tells me that he heard the alguazils arrive, and that at first he thought he was betrayed, especially when the dog began to snuff under the door. He soon, however, learned from their conversation that his presence was not suspected; but still, to make sure, he descended the stairs in the hopes of discovering a means of escape,—finding none, he ascended the ladder, and forcing open the trap-door, he got through to the roof. He then returned, when hearing the key asked for, he knew that his bedding would betray his having been there, so he carried everything up to the roof, lifting the ladder up after him. His doing so puzzled the dog, and saved him his life probably, and us from very considerable annoyance.”

We afterwards met at breakfast, when José gave my father and mother a full account of all that occurred. My father having given the Indian notice to retire to the roof, the body of the hound was removed and buried, and the family resumed their usual routine of life. Either I or Lilly twice a day, when no one was observing us, carried food to the Indian. Upwards of a week had passed since his arrival, when he expressed a strong desire to resume his journey, saying that he thought by this time the search for him must be over. My father was very unwilling to let him go; but he assured us, that now his health and strength were completely restored, he had not the slightest fear of again falling into the hands of the Spaniards. All the provision he would accept was a little maize, and sufficient cacao to replenish his pouch. The cacao has been in use among the Peruvians from the earliest times. Its peculiar qualities enable those who take it to undergo great and continuous exertion, without any other food. It is a plant somewhat like the vine, and grows to about seven or eight feet in height. The leaves have a bitter flavour, and are aromatic. Among other qualities, they act as a sudorific, preserve the teeth, and prevent sleep. On first awaking in the morning, an Indian will put a quid of his favourite leaf into his mouth, and he performs the same operation three or four times in the day. To give it a relish he mixes a little pulverised unslacked lime, which he carries in a gourd for that purpose. He takes the lime out the gourd with a thin slip of damped wood, and conveys what adheres to it to his mouth. The operation of chewing is called chakchar. Many even of the whites indulge in it in secret, though it would be considered derogatory to chew in public, because the despised Indian does so.

The Peruvians, in their love and admiration for this plant, used to pay it a religious respect, and considered it the most grateful offering to the spirits they might wish to propitiate. It has certainly a most wonderful effect in sustaining nature; and I have known people undergoing great fatigue, exist four or five days, without tasting any other food, or suffering the slightest inconvenience. The ignorant conquerors, from observing the reverence paid by the Indians to cacao, fancied that it must possess some demoniacal properties, and not only refused to use it themselves, but endeavoured to prevent it being used by the natives; and a royal decree was actually issued, declaring that the idea entertained by the Indians that cacao gave them strength, is an “illusion of the devil.” The mine-owners, however, perceived its importance in enabling the slaves to undergo fatigue; and its use, therefore, rather increased than diminished. It, however, excites the brain, somewhat as does opium, and thus its intemperate use for any length of time would probably wear out mental vigour and activity. Having procured a supply of this valuable leaf for the Indian, he filled his pouch with it, while the maize he fastened up in a corner of his poncho.

“I am ready to depart,” he said, “though my heart yet lingers with you; and believe, O children of a Northern land, that, though fallen and despised his race, Manco Tupac Amaru is truly grateful for your generous hospitality, and more for preserving his life. The time may come, and shortly too, when he may have the opportunity of proving his gratitude—till then, farewell!”

Taking my father’s hand and mine, he pressed his lips to them, and burst into tears. His words made an impression on me, though at the time I did not comprehend their meaning. I afterwards had good reason to do so. It was again evening, the hour at which he had arrived; and when it was perfectly dark, I went out to see that none of the servants were near. He then let himself drop from the window, and crossing the court-yard, scaled the wall, and took his way up the mountain. I had reason to believe that none of the servants suspected that he had been with us. This was the first of the many adventures in which, at that period of my life, I was engaged. We often talked of the Indian Manco, and were anxious to know his fate; but for long heard no more of him.

Some time after this, my father invited me to attend him on a journey, which business required him to perform, to Cuzco, Lima, and other parts of the country; and, as may be supposed, with no little alacrity I set to work to make the necessary preparations. We are fond of boasting of the civilisation of Europeans of the present day; but, however humiliating to our pride, it must be owned that in many important respects Peru has retrograded since the time that the Christian Spaniard took possession of the country, and superseded the mild though despotic sway of the glorious Incas. Under her ancient sovereigns, magnificent roads traversed the kingdom from north to south, and from the sea-coast into the distant interior, across the mighty Andes. Inns for the accommodation of travellers were built at convenient distances on the roads, and stored abundantly with provisions, while at each relays of couriers were stationed, who with wonderful celerity could carry messages or small parcels through the country. It is said that the tables of the Incas, when at Cuzco, or still farther in the interior, were supplied regularly with fish fresh caught from the sea, and other quickly perishable luxuries, in a mode which has only been accomplished in England since the introduction of railroads, or perhaps in the latter days of quick coach travelling. I mention this to show the contrast to the means we possessed for performing our journey.

At last the day arrived for our departure. My father rode a steady mule, but I preferred a horse, though not so safe an animal for the narrow tracks, up and down steep mountains, on the summit of terrific precipices, and across rickety bridges which we were about to traverse.

They were caparisoned much in the same way. Our saddles were huge and deep, covered with red woolly rugs; our stirrups were of Moorish shape, large wooden boxes strapped with iron; the girths were broad; and belts fastened to the saddle, passed round the breast and haunches of the animals, prevented it from slipping off when going up or down the almost precipitous declivities in our way. Our luggage was carried in huge trunks, made of untanned bullocks’ hides, fastened with thongs of the same material, each mule carrying two slung on either side of his back. In some our clothes were packed, in others our mattresses and bedding, and in others our mess utensils and provisions; for as there were no inns, it was necessary to take everything which would be required. We rode ahead, our peons or muleteers following the beasts of burden. Before the introduction of horses and mules, the Indians employed the delicate llama to carry goods through the country. We had heavy spurs, and sharp bits to our bridles, and wore broad-brimmed hats and ponchos. The last named garment may be described as a large piece of cloth of wool or cotton, of a round form, with a hole in the centre. Through this hole the head is put, while the cloth falls over the shoulders, and forms a very effectual protection from the weather. It was used by the Indians before the conquest.

My mother and Lilly assisted in preparing and packing our provisions and clothes; and with prayers for our safety, at an early hour one morning they saw us mount and commence our journey. “Good-bye, mother; good-bye, Lilly,” I exclaimed, as I seated myself in my saddle. “I will bring you back, like the princes in the Arabian Nights, all the most wonderful things I can collect.” Their hearts were too full to answer, and their eyes were moist with tears; for they could not conceal from themselves that there were many very considerable dangers which we must encounter on the road. They stood watching us while we wound our way down the steep path, and crossed the bridge which spanned the river at the bottom of the ravine. I propose giving a very brief sketch of our journey, and shall dwell only on the more interesting incidents; or I might otherwise fill my book with an account of what we saw in the course of a few weeks.

We arrived one evening at a tambo, or post-house, which, from its appearance and position on a portion of the great high road of the Incas, we judged had been erected before the conquest. The walls were very thick, and composed of large blocks of stone. It was divided into two compartments; one had formerly been the storehouse and granary, the other the common hall and kitchen. The roof was thatched, as it had been originally.

At a little distance off was a village of Indian huts, mostly small; but some were of larger size, in which the cacique and some of the chief men resided. The tambo stood in a beautiful valley, through which ran a clear and rapid stream among meadows of ever verdant tints. The mountains which rose on either side were to their very summit cut into terraces. These terraces, or hanging gardens, as they are sometimes called, were of no great width, but the walls which faced them were built of large blocks of stone; and though in some places they were crumbling into decay, in general they were in a perfect state, bearing witness to the industry and intelligence of the ancient inhabitants of the soil. These terraces are called Andenes, and from thence the conquerors derived the name Andes, which they bestowed on the whole vast range of mountains.

Our peons having taken charge of our mules and horses, and led them to a shed adjoining the grey and moss-grown tambo, we entered the building. The interior was sombre in the extreme; everybody and everything wore a subdued look; and even the dogs slunk about as if their spirits were depressed. The smoke of ages was on the walls and roof, and the tables and benches at one side had a sadly dilapidated appearance. The master was an Indian of lightish hue, his long, lank hair already turning grey with age, and perhaps with care. Several Indian women were moving about round a fire at the farther end of the room, preparing a meal for a somewhat numerous company assembled there. The women about the house were all dressed in loose garments of dark coarse woollen cloth, which extended from the neck to the ankles, and were secured round the waist by a broad belt of some gay colour. They wore, folded up on the crown of the head, a small cloth mantle, a part of which drooped down to the shoulders behind. Each woman wore over her right shoulder a black scarf, which I understood was a sign of mourning, not for any relation lately dead, but for their Inca, long ago murdered by their conquerors. The dress of most of the men was a dark woollen jacket, with breeches open at the knees, a gaily embroidered woollen cap, a broad cotton belt, woollen stockings without feet, and sandals of goatskin. A broad-brimmed hat, and a small poncho thrown over the shoulders, completed their attire. Our host soon placed before us a large deep silver dish, containing some delicious mountain mutton, and a fat fowl, cooked in the ashes, and garnished with small but very good potatoes. There were neither knives nor forks in the dish, but one large wooden spoon, with which it was intended all guests should help themselves. We had chicha, the beverage of the country, offered us in silver goblets; but for a good reason neither my father nor I felt inclined to partake of it, though our servants did most willingly. To the taste of Englishmen nothing can be more disagreeable than the mode in which chicha is prepared. A quantity of Indian corn is pounded into a fine powder, round which a number of old men and women sit and masticate it into a paste. They then roll it into balls, which are dried; and afterwards water being thrown on them, they are allowed to ferment.

A number of Indians were sitting apart in a corner of the room. One of them was a tall, thin, emaciated man, of a yellowish copper hue. His only garment was a pair of dark trousers; and his long, lank, black hair hung down over his bare shoulders, giving him a very wild and haggard appearance. I saw him swallow a large cupful of a mixture which I thought was chicha; but soon afterwards he seemed to fall into a deep stupor, and I fancied he was going into a fit. His eyes were fixed on the ground, his mouth closed convulsively, and his nostrils dilated. As I watched him, his eyes began to roll most horribly, foam issued from his half-opened lips, and every limb and his whole body became distorted in the most frightful manner.

“The man will die!” I exclaimed, springing forward to assist him, and disgusted with the apathy of his companions.

“No fear, my son,” answered an old Indian, making a sign which checked me; “our brother has but drunk the tonga; his spirit has departed for a season to hold communication with the spirits of our ancestors, and when it returns he will be able to tell us things of wonder, and perchance they may show him the treasures which lie hid in their huacas—their graves.”

I afterwards found that the Indian had been drinking a powerful narcotic, prepared from the thorn-apple, and which is called huacacachu, or grave-plant, from the power it is supposed to possess of enabling those who drink it to see the inhabitants of the graves. After the Indian had been some time convulsed he fell into a profound slumber, when his friends covered him up carefully with their mantles and left him.

Our meal was scarcely over when the clattering of horses’ feet was heard on the road, and by the sound I judged that a band of horsemen had ridden up to the tambo. Our Indian host rushed out with dismay on his countenance. I followed him to learn what was the matter; and by the light of the moon, just then risen over the mountains, I saw about as ugly a set of fellows as I ever encountered. Their countenances were of every hue—black, yellow, and olive, disfigured by scars and savage passions. Their garments, I cannot call them uniforms, of many a shape and colour, were in rags and tatters. The horses were weary, ill-conditioned and ill-groomed, and as miserably accoutred as their riders, with a look in the eye full of vicious meaning. They were armed with short carbines and long swords, and some had pistols and daggers in their belts.

“Los Montoneros, los Montoneros!” exclaimed several of the people behind me, and rushed back into the tambo, the women trying to hide themselves from the new-comers.

The horsemen threw themselves from their jaded hacks, and calling to the Indians to take charge of them, with scant ceremony entered the building. They regarded, as they did so, my father and me, and our servants, with no favourable eye; but after a moment’s hesitation, they threw themselves on the benches before the table at which we were seated, crying loudly for food and liquor. It was speedily placed before them by the trembling hands of the host; and in silence they addressed themselves to the tearing the meat with their fingers, as if they had not eaten anything for a week. After imbibing quantities of chicha, they lighted their cigars; and then their tongues broke loose in a style which made us anxious to escape their neighbourhood. Some were Spaniards, or Spanish Creoles, and others were negroes; but most of them were of a variety of mixed races. The Montoneros are notoriously robbers in time of peace, and soldiers in war; but from the expressions they let fall, we judged that these fellows were employed exclusively in plundering all they met not likely to offer resistance. My father told the servant to keep a sharp look-out on our horses and mules, which the gentlemen would with little ceremony have appropriated.

To avoid them we walked over to where the group of Indians were collected round the tonga-drinker, who was now awaking from his sleep, and sitting up, though apparently very much exhausted. His companions were listening attentively to the mysterious revelations which fell from his mouth, the result of his spiritual communications with his ancestors. He spoke of a day of regeneration for the Indians; of liberty and happiness not far distant, when the yoke of the Spaniard would be thrown off their necks, and the race of their Inca should again wear the crimson borla of their monarchy. There was an air of earnestness and sincerity in his manner which convinced me that he at all events was deceiving himself as well as his hearers. In his dreams he had truly seen what he hoped would come to pass. I afterwards had good reason to know that he had strong foundation for his prophecies. He was still uttering his awful communications to his wondering and credulous hearers; the Montoneros were still drinking, smoking, and feasting; and some other travellers (Spanish, negro, and native, among whom was a Spanish priest, a landowner near Cuzco, and a shopkeeper) were either taking their suppers or seeking repose, when we retired to the deserted granary.

We were actually provided with bedsteads of a rude construction, on which we spread our bedding. The noise made by the Montoneros prevented me from sleeping for some time; till they themselves sought for rest, on and under the table and benches where they had been sitting. I was awakened in the middle of the night by a scratching and hissing and struggling noise under my bed, as if two animals were fighting. I sprung to my feet, and by the light of the full moon, which streamed in through a hole in the wall, I saw a large tabby cat engaged in a fierce combat with a glittering snake. At first I thought it would prove a hopeless one for poor pussy; but I soon saw by her manoeuvres, that she had at all events an equal chance of victory. Now the venomous monster would dart out its forked tongue and try to spring at her; when she, with equal agility, would leap aside and would sit watching her antagonist with careful eye, endeavouring to find an opportunity of catching it by the neck, while she avoided its deadly fangs. The snake seemed aware of its danger, and was not the less cautious. Indeed puss had already given it an ugly bite on the neck, which had somewhat crippled its movements—probably catching it asleep. The snake kept turning round and round its baneful head, the cat always keeping beyond the distance she knew it could spring. At last she saw her opportunity, and rushing in upon it, she seized it by the neck, so that it could not bite her. The snake wriggled violently, but all in vain; after a few convulsive struggles even the tail ceased to move, and I left the eat crunching the bones of her defeated antagonist.

I was glad to find that I had so good a guardian as puss had proved. I turned into bed again and went to sleep. In the morning I discovered that the snake was a very venomous adder, but that the cat was not a bit the worse for eating it. I afterwards learned that there are certain sorts of poison which may be swallowed without danger, yet if it should touch the slightest scratch or excoriation of the skin, would prove fatal.

At daybreak the Montoneros were on foot; and to the satisfaction of all the occupants of the tambo, they took their departure up the valley. It was the direction in which we were going, but we hoped not again to fall in with them. As we were mounting to proceed on our journey, the Indian soothsayer (for so I may call him) approached my father, and whispered earnestly in his ear for some minutes. My father looked surprised and somewhat anxious, and told him he thanked him for his advice. The Indian retired into the tambo apparently satisfied. We had begun to move on, when we were called back; and, turning our heads, we saw the padre and the other Spaniards mounting their mules.

“Stay, Señors, for the love of charity,” cried the padre; “we are going your way, and if we go alone and meet with those villains, the Montoneros, we shall all be robbed and murdered to a certainty. Now you Englishmen are known to fight bravely, so the rogues may not think it worth while to attack us.”

“We shall be happy to have your company, Señor Padre,” said my father, smiling; “but I hope our valour may not be put to the proof.”

“I am sure I hope not either,” ejaculated the padre, crossing himself. “May the holy saints protect us; for those fellows care not for the anathemas of the church, the laws of the realm, or the bullets of the soldiers.”

The other Spaniards seemed to partake of the alarm of the padre; and as we rode along, I saw them casting anxious glances around, as if they expected every moment to see the robbers start out from behind the rocks which skirted the road. After we had proceeded some distance, my father called a halt, and summoning the guides, he inquired whether they were acquainted with a road to the right, which he described. They replied that they were, but that it was longer and more difficult.

“Never mind,” he replied; “it is the road I intend to pursue. I shall be glad of the company of those who wish to journey with me.”

Though he did not give his reasons, the Spaniards saw that he had good cause for his change of route, and agreed to accompany us. They probably, however, attributed it to the Montoneros; as I observed that the expression of apprehension on their countenances gradually wore off, and they no longer cast the same furtive glances at every bush and rock as before.

We travelled along the valley for many miles, sometimes passing over a high ridge, and then again descending to follow up the course of some stream which had its birth among the snowy ranges above us. My father had formed the party into military order. Four armed men took the lead, then came the baggage mules, while the main body of those on horseback brought up the rear.

For three or four days we travelled on, each night sleeping at one of the wretched tambos kept by Indians, similar to that I have before described. Every day we mounted higher and higher, the scenery becoming more wild, barren, and desolate. We were now traversing that part of the Cordilleras called the Puna, a region of level heights, some fourteen thousand feet above the sea; nearly the only vegetation being a short, dark yellow grass, scarcely a tree or a shrub to be seen, except cacti, gentiana, and a few other flowering plants. There were animals, however, in abundance—vicuñas, huanacus, stags, and rock-rabbits; while condors and other birds of prey hovered aloft, ready to pounce down on any carcase they might scent from afar. We next entered the region of the Sierra, the name given to the extensive valleys which either intersect the Puna, or lie between the Cordilleras and the Andes. These valleys are generally some thousand feet below the Puna, and the climate is very pure and healthy. The soil is also very fertile, so that they were in the days of the Incas, and still are, more densely inhabited by Indians than any other portion of Peru. These valleys contain many towns, villages, and hamlets; but as they are surrounded on all sides by mountains, only to be crossed by dangerous and circuitous routes, their trade is but limited, and they are seldom visited by the inhabitants of other parts of Peru. Among them are a few white people, but a considerable number of mestizos live in the towns. There is very little money in circulation among them, and in some parts hens’ eggs are used instead of small coin, about fifty being counted for a dollar. The Indians are the sole cultivators of the soil, which produces wheat, maize, and barley in abundance, as well as potatoes and other tuberous plants, and most of the vegetables and fruits of Europe.

It must be understood that many of the scenes I have to describe took place in this favoured region; while others, again, were among the mountains and valleys to the east of the vast range of the Andes. People when reading of mountains are so apt to picture to themselves the molehills of Europe, which can mostly be crossed on foot in a day or so, that I must remind them that the Cordilleras and Andes which I am describing are an extensive region, the passage over which requires not only days, but in some places even weeks to accomplish. We had traversed several of these valleys, and were now about to cross over the highest ridge of the Andes. Having travelled so far without encountering the Montoneros, even the most timid of our party had lost all apprehension on that score.

One afternoon we found ourselves ascending through a narrow and wild gorge in the mountains. For three hours we had been mounting higher and higher, till our beasts began to show great signs of weariness. At last we saw before us a huge rock which, projecting from the side of the mountain, completely overhung the road, and looked as if it would overwhelm all who attempted to pass under it; while on the other side was a precipice three or four hundred feet in perpendicular height, at the bottom of which appeared a dark chasm with a wild roaring torrent running through it. The road, if so the mountain track could be called, was barely wide enough to allow a loaded mule to proceed along it; and it was next to impossible for two animals to pass one another, or for a person to dismount without great risk of falling over the precipice. We had been scrambling up for a long way over places which it appeared scarcely possible even goats would surmount, when one of the baggage mules stopped short and refused to proceed. Several others followed his example, and the whole cavalcade in the rear was brought to a stand-still. Blows could not be administered, for the muleteers could not get up to the beasts; and entreaties, coaxings, and persuasions were all in vain. I could not help laughing at the variety of expressions the men made use of to induce the animals to move. First they addressed them by every endearing epithet they could think of, then they appealed to their courage, their magnanimity, their perseverance—the deeds of their ancestors.

“Have not I always treated you well?” exclaimed our muleteer Juan to his beast. “Have not I always seen you housed and fed before I thought of caring for myself? Have not I slept by your side and watched over you as a father his son? Ungrateful as you are thus to behave at this pinch! If we meet another party, we shall be all hurled headlong over the rocks, or we shall have to fight desperately and have to hurl them over, and all for your obstinacy, sons of donkeys that you are!”—and he broke forth in a torrent of vituperation and abuse which it is not necessary for me here to repeat.

“If the Montoneros should meet us now, what will become of us?” cried the padre.

“It is the last place they would think of attacking us in,” observed my father. “Their object is to get possession of our purses and our beasts; now if they attacked us here, the greater number of us would be tumbled over into the torrent below, so they would lose their booty.”

“That’s a satisfaction truly,” observed the padre; “but I wish the beasts would move.”

The beasts, however, seemed not a bit inclined to stir, and we had no remedy for it but to wait patiently, or throw them and our luggage over the precipice. As I looked up and saw the huge boulders of rock which hung above our heads, appearing as if the touch of a vicuña’s hoof would send them rushing down to overwhelm us in their fall, I certainly did feel anxious to get out of their way. At last the leading mule, somewhat rested, began to move, the others followed him for a few minutes, and they all stopped again. The same process of entreating, coaxing, and abusing was gone over again; when the refractory cavalcade moved on once more for a few paces, but only in like manner to try our patience and our nerves by stopping at a worse spot than before. After resting a few minutes, the leading mule, which kept the others back, appeared to gain strength, and his stoppages each time being of shorter duration, he at length began to climb up the steep ascent before him, the rest readily following.

The cold, at this great height we had now attained, was excessive to our feelings, accustomed to the warmth of the lower country. Great, however, as was the elevation, the peaks which rose above us on every side appeared not to have lessened in the least in height. Snow of brilliant whiteness was around us, some of which in the more lofty spots had perhaps not melted since the days of the flood. Mists were floating about, and below our feet was collected a dense mass, which obscured the view beyond. A few flakes of snow began to fall, which every instant increased in number.

“Forward, forward, Señores!” shouted our chief peon, who acted as guide. “If a Cordillera storm catches us before we get under shelter, the days of some of us may be numbered.”

We did not neglect the warning. The animals even seemed to perceive the necessity of pushing on; and away we all went, tumbling, sliding, and leaping over the rough track which led down the mountain. The snow increased in density, so that we could scarcely see the person immediately preceding us; and the chilling wind blew stronger and stronger from off the icy peaks above. Not a moment was to be lost—the guides shouted, “On, on, on!” and we whipped and spurred, and urged on our weary beasts by word and bridle. Still the ground was far too rough to enable us to get them into a trot, far less to gallop; and besides, a tumble would in many places have proved fatal both to horse and rider. The descent was very rapid, for we were scarcely ever on a level.

“I’ll will it fare with any unfortunate fellow in the rear who falls,” said my father. “Remain close to me, David; I am afraid of your horse stumbling.”

“No fear,” I answered, “I keep a tight rein on him, and he knows well that he must not be careless.”

There was little time to contemplate the scene as we rode along, but still I could not help being struck by the solemn stillness, and the wildness of the desolation around. The voices of the men, as they shouted out, appeared strange and unnatural from their very distinctness, as did the tramp of the animals; while not another sound was heard from any direction.

“On, on, Señores!” were the only words we could hear. The snow had ceased; but dark clouds seemed gathering around us, when, without warning, a flash of forked lightning darted across our path, ploughing up the ground before us, and followed by a peal of thunder which seemed to rend the mountain tops. Flash succeeded flash in every direction, the very atmosphere quivering with the uninterrupted peals repeated a thousand-fold by the mountain echoes; while cataracts of fire appeared to be rushing down the rocks on either side. Our trembling animals refused to move; the Spaniards crossed themselves, and shrieking, as they slid off the backs of the animals they rode, they called on their saints for protection.

We dismounted and endeavoured to lead our horses under an overhanging rock. At last we succeeded in obtaining some shelter; and there we stood, every instant expecting to be struck by the electric fluid, which rushed zigzagging before us. Feelings such I had never before experienced came over me. I was at the same time inspired rather with awe than with terror. It was as if the heavens were pouring out their full wrath on man—as if the foundations of the world were about to be uprooted, and the mighty mountains hurled over on the plains below.

Rocks and earth came hurtling down from the lofty peaks above us; crash succeeded crash, and flashes of the most intensely vivid lightning dashed before us without intermission, till the air itself seemed on fire, and the faculties of sight and hearing both failed from over-exhaustion of their energies. It appeared as if the dreadful strife of the elements would never end; but as we were despairing of reaching a resting-place before night should set in, the thunder rolled away, the lightning ceased, and our party emerging from the caves and crevices where they had taken shelter, we found that providentially all had escaped injury. We mounted once more. As we proceeded, the rays of the setting sun came streaming along a beautiful valley which opened on our right. Descending rapidly, in little more than an hour we found ourselves before a tambo. It was wretched enough in appearance, and neither food nor beds did it afford. As, however, we had with us a supply of provisions, and our cloaks and saddle-cloths spread on the floor, with our saddles for pillows, served us for couches, we were not worse off than we frequently had been; and I know that I slept soundly till morning.

Chapter Four.

Attacked by robbers—A merciful deed returned with interest.

The scenery we passed the next day was very similar to what I have already described; but the valley, which, on being contrasted with the snowy region we had just left, appeared so attractive, was, I found, when seen by the morning light, owing to its high elevation, a very barren and desolate place.

We rode on for some hours through scenery such as I have before described, when in the afternoon, as we were beginning to fancy that we were near the termination of our day’s journey, we entered a deep gorge, with the dark rocks towering up, wild and rugged, on either side of us. It was just such a place as one might have expected an ambush to have been placed in; as a few resolute men might have held the road, aided by others sheltered by the rocks, against a whole army attempting to pass. An oppressive gloom invaded the spot, and the air seemed damp and heavy, as if the warming rays of the sun had never penetrated below the tops of the cliffs.

I was riding on in advance of the main body, when, on reaching the spot where the gorge opened somewhat, I saw at a considerable distance before me what I took to be a mark on the cliff in the shape of a horse with a rider. As I advanced, however, I perceived that it was a lonely man on horseback. He was too far off, standing as he was in shade, for me to distinguish his dress or appearance. He seemed to be stationary, as if watching our approach. A sharp turn in the road shut out the view beyond him. Had I been an old soldier, I should have fallen back on my companions and reported what I had seen; but I fancied that the horseman was a traveller like ourselves, and so I continued to ride carelessly on. I was very nearly falling a victim to my neglect. I had advanced some two hundred yards farther, when my friends reached the spot from which I had first caught sight of the horseman. He was still there, but no sooner did he see them than he wheeled round his horse and disappeared behind the cliffs. This I thought suspicious. My first impulse was to gallop on to overtake the man; but fortunately the chief guide had just then come up with me, and urged me not to go on. I therefore shouted out to my friends to let them know what I had seen, and reined in my steed till they came up. The information did not hasten the advance of any of the party; indeed some of them were evidently anxious to cede the post of honour in the van to their friends. The cry of “The Montoneros, the Montoneros!” arose from every mouth. Some tumbled off their horses, as if to shelter themselves behind them from the expected volleys of the dreaded banditti; others sat still and began to count their beads; and not a few turned their horses’ heads preparatory to running away. I must do the padre the justice to say that he looked as brave as any of them, except a few who advanced to the front.

“Where are the enemy, David?” asked my father, who led them on.

“I only saw one man, whom our friends here have multiplied into a band of Montoneros,” I replied.

“Come on, my friends, then!” exclaimed my father. “If the man my boy saw is a robber, he and his companions are more likely to run away than to attack us, if we show a bold front.”

His words and tone of confidence restored the fast evaporating courage of the party; and having halted to get them into something like order, with the armed men in front and the baggage mules and their drivers in the rear, we again moved forward. We had not, however, advanced far, when the man I had before seen again appeared; and directly afterwards a troop of horsemen wheeled round the sharp angle of the rock, and with loud cries galloped rapidly towards us.

“Steady, steady, for your lives!” shouted my father, as he saw in many of our companions strong evidence of a disposition to turn round and fly. “If we break our ranks, we are lost.”

That the horsemen now approaching were banditti, I had no doubt, from their varied and fantastic dresses, the different hues of their faces, and their wild appearance. We could not escape them, even had we been better mounted than they were, as the baggage mules in the rear would have prevented us. This they probably calculated on, or perhaps they would rather we had escaped and left them our baggage, which was what they most wanted, with the exception, perhaps, of our horses. They invariably appropriate the best horses they can find, as it is important for them to be well mounted. My father and I, two Spaniards, a mestizo, and our chief Indian guide, formed the first rank. When we saw the Montoneros, and could no longer doubt their intentions, we halted and presented our firearms. These were of various lengths and calibres, and some were better fitted to frighten an enemy than to do harm. When the Montoneros saw the determined front we presented, they checked their speed, but it was only for an instant.

“Do not fire until they get close to us,” cried my father.

On came the banditti, their horses’ hoofs clattering over the hard road, while uttering loud and discordant yells, they waved their swords above their heads. They made their intentions very manifest of cutting us to pieces if they could; so we felt perfectly justified in trying to knock them out of their saddles.

Many of our party gave themselves up for lost; and certainly the appearance of the banditti was enough to make a stout heart uncomfortable, to say the least of it. Their untrimmed moustaches and long hair escaping from under their broad-brimmed hats, their fierce countenances and dark flashing eyes, the many hues of their skins, and their motley costume, gave them altogether a very savage look, which was increased by the fiery bloodshot eyes of their horses, whose shaggy manes and the fringe of their housing streamed in the wind, while their riders shook their weapons, and shrieked out threats of destruction on our heads.

“Steady, my men, and fire when I do,” cried my father, levelling his rifle; in which I, José, and the rest, followed his example. The Montoneros had got within a dozen paces of us, when we gave the word. We fired together, our friends behind handing us their still loaded weapons. Two of the robbers rolled in the dust, and the horse of a third was shot dead, and fell across the road, so as somewhat to impede the progress of those behind. On they came, however, and were up to us as we fired our second round, and received a discharge of their carbines in return. Some of the shot took effect on our companions in the rear, who, instead of reloading the firearms, threw them down and endeavoured to escape. In an instant the banditti were upon us. My father’s horse was shot under him. I saw José knocked over; and then I recollect nothing that happened for some minutes, except a confusion of sounds, shouts, and shrieks and groans. When I returned to consciousness, my first thought was for my father. He was not near me, but I saw José at no great distance, leaning on his arm, as if unable to move, and looking along the road the way we had come. I turned my eyes in the same direction, towards which the tide of the fight had gone. A few of our companions were still contending against a greatly superior number of the banditti, most of whom, however, were engaged in a work more congenial to their taste, that of plundering our baggage. I could not doubt that my father was among the combatants; for without his example I did not think the others would have fought, and I trembled for his fate. I tried to rise, to rush to his assistance, or to die with him; but I found I was too weak to stand, much less to use a weapon. I gave up all for lost, for I perceived that the resistance of the gallant little band of my friends was every instant growing weaker; while the robbers were quitting their plunder to join their assailants. Meantime some of the baggage mules were trotting off in the direction where José and I lay; seeing which, some of the banditti came in pursuit of them. On seeing that I was alive, a savage-looking fellow lifted his carbine, and was about to give me a quietus on my head with the butt of it, while another threatened to perform the same office for José, when a shout, different from any I had before heard, reached my ears.

“Los Indios, los Indios!—the Indians, the Indians!” cried the brigands; “fly, fly, or we are lost!”

I looked up; for when I thought my brains were about to be dashed out, I had instinctively shut my eyes. What was my surprise to see the cliffs on either side of the road, and which I had thought inaccessible, swarming with Indians, mostly dressed in their ancient costume, and armed with bows and slings, with which they sent a shower of arrows and stones among our enemies! Several of them were wounded; and the suddenness of the attack threw them into confusion. Before they could recover from it, the Indians came leaping down the cliffs, and threw themselves between the three parties of the robbers, while others advanced along either end of the road, so as completely to hem them in. With the wildest fury, animated apparently by the most deadly hatred, the Indians rushed on our assailants, who, though they fought for their lives, could not withstand the onset.

I mentioned that at some distance from me I had observed a few of my friends, among whom I had no doubt was my father, hard pressed by a number of the robbers, who seemed intent on their destruction. The latter had now to defend themselves from the Indians; and my father and his party attacking them in return, they were either cut down at once, or attempted to escape by flight. A few of the more determined had fought their way back to where I lay, and I fully expected to receive my death-wound from some of them, as the fight passed over me, when I felt myself lifted in the arms of an Indian who I saw was dressed in the costume of a Peruvian chief; and just as the combatants reached me, he carried me out of the mêlée, and bore me up the cliff to a spot which none were likely to reach. As he placed me on the ground, I caught a sight of his countenance, and recognised the fugitive whom we had protected, the Indian, Manco Tupac Amaru. Before I had time to utter a word of thanks, he had again leaped down the cliff and joined in the combat. Some ten or a dozen of the robbers, who were still on horseback, and had kept together, were attempting to cut their way along the road among the mass of Indians who opposed them. Being well mounted, and with superior weapons, they had a great advantage; but the Indians were inspired with a courage I little expected to witness. They rushed in upon them, cut their bridles, and dashed their spears in their faces; and seizing them by their clothes, hung on them, in spite of the cuts and thrusts of their swords, till they dragged them from their saddles. No quarter was given; the instant a robber was unhorsed he was speared; and before the tide of the fight had rolled on many yards, not one was left alive. Many of our party had fallen. Indeed I was surprised to observe, nor could I account for it, that the Indians took no pains to preserve the lives of the Spanish travellers, though they did their utmost to protect the Indian guides. The padre and two or three others alone escaped. The road below me indeed presented a sad spectacle; for, as far as I could see, it appeared strewed with the corpses of my late companions—of robbers and Indians, many of whom had fallen in the last desperate struggle. I looked anxiously for my father, and my heart beat with joy as I saw him coming along the road, and evidently looking for me. My preserver, Manco, had observed him; the recognition was mutual, and they soon approached the spot where I lay. I need not describe my father’s feelings at finding that I was alive. I endeavoured at first to conceal the pain I suffered, and which made me fancy that my thigh must have been broken. At length, however, I could not help giving expression to the anguish I experienced.

“Wait a few minutes,” said the Indian chief, “and when I have performed some duties which are urgently required, I will cause my people to form a litter to transport you to a place of safety. What has occurred must remain secret for a time. I can trust you; but some of the people in your company who have escaped, might betray our proceedings to the authorities. Their lives are safe, but we must keep them prisoners till they can no longer injure us by being at liberty.”

Neither my father nor I could understand what he meant, and before we could ask an explanation, he had left us. We watched his movements, and saw him place each of the survivors of our party between a guard of four armed Indians. Some of his followers took charge of the baggage mules; others lifted up the dead bodies of their friends; while the rest were busily employed in collecting the arrows and the other Indian missiles and weapons; and they then again formed in marching order. A few had constructed a litter, and brought it to the foot of the cliff, down which Manco, with my father’s aid, now conveyed me.

“I wish to have no sign of our having taken share in the fray,” observed the Indian. “The lions and condors will take good care that none shall discover how those men died.”

As he spoke, I looked up, and observed several of those mighty monsters of the air hovering above our heads, ready to pounce down on their prey as soon as we should have left them to enjoy their banquet undisturbed.

At a sign from Manco, whom the Indians seemed to obey with the greatest zeal and respect, they lifted up my litter, and bore it along at a rapid rate. My father mounted a horse which was brought him, Manco rode another, and the priest was accommodated with a mule; but the rest of the Spaniards were compelled to walk, except poor José, who was carried, as was I, on the shoulders of some Indians; but they did not seem at all to like the office, nor to regard the rest of their prisoners with any feeling of good-will. Every arrangement was made with great promptitude; and as I watched from my litter the Indian warriors filing before me, I could scarcely help thinking that I saw a portion of the very army which the great Incas were accustomed to lead to victory.

We proceeded along what might be called the high road for some miles, when we struck off across the mountains to the left, the latter part of the time being guided by torches, for it had become too dark otherwise to see our way. At last we arrived at a small hut, built on the side of a rugged mountain. It afforded shelter from the cold night-wind; and as many as it could hold took up their quarters within it, while the remainder bivouacked without.

Fortunately for me, the padre was something of a surgeon, and on examining my leg, he assured me that my leg was not broken, but only severely bruised, and that perfect rest with fomentations would recover it. It was impossible, however, to obtain that rest, as we journeyed on without stopping, except for our meals and a few hours’ rest at night, for several days; and though I was carried all the time, the jolting of my litter, as we ascended or descended the steep hills, was very inconvenient. But the Indians collected a variety of herbs, and making a decoction of them, fomented my leg whenever we stopped, so that the swelling gradually subsided, and the pain diminished.

At length we reached a collection of deserted huts, among rugged and inaccessible crags, with the snowy peaks of the Andes towering high above us. The lower parts of the mountains were clothed with pine trees; and long grass grew on the borders of several streams which run through the neighbouring valley. With the pine trees the Indians formed rafters to the cottages, and thatches with the long grass and reeds. In a short time they thus rendered them in some degree habitable. I observed that though my father was allowed to go where he liked, the rest of the party were narrowly watched, so that they could not attempt to make their escape. When he spoke to Manco on the subject, and expostulated with him on detaining the rest of the travellers, the Indian chiefs reply was short but firm.

“It is necessary for the sake of Peru that they should be kept prisoners,” he observed; “had it not been for you and the padre, they would probably have lost their lives. I can trust you if you will give me your oath not to betray what has occurred or what you suspect, but I cannot trust them. When your son is able to move, you shall proceed on your journey; but they must remain here till it is safe to set them at liberty.”

“I do not seek to pry into your secrets, and should be guilty of the greatest ingratitude by saying a word even to injure you or your people,” said my father. “I am doubly anxious to reach Cuzco, lest my family not hearing of me from thence, should become alarmed.”

“Write a few lines to assure your family of your safety, and it shall reach them long before they could hear from you were you to write from our ancient capital. Trust that to me,” answered Manco, and he was afterwards found as good as his word.

The observations which the Indian chief let fall made me suspect that some plan was forming among the Indians to emancipate themselves from the Spanish yoke; and when I mentioned my surmises to my father, I found that he was of the same opinion, but he warned me not to mention my thoughts to any one.

“The less we know on the subject the better for us,” he observed. “Living under the protection of the Spanish government, it might be our duty to warn them of danger, while it is equally our duty not to betray those who have trusted us.”

“A curious sort of protection they afford us, when they allow bands of robbers, who were near cutting our throats, to scour the country unmolested,” I answered. “For my part, I think the Indians would be perfectly right to emancipate themselves from the galling chains which enthral them.”

“But were they to make the attempt, they could not do so,” said my father. “The discipline and gold of a civilised people will always in the end prevail over a half savage one, in spite of their bravery and resolution.”

Our conversation was interrupted by the entrance of Manco. No longer a hunted fugitive, he now walked with the air of a chieftain, his costume also being that of an Inca noble of old. Although the dress had long been disused, except on festive occasions, he had now assumed it to give him greater authority among his countrymen.

We found at the huts a considerable number of women and children, some of them belonging to the Indians who were with us, and some, I concluded, related to others who were absent. They were evidently collected here to be beyond the reach of the Spaniards, and to avoid the flagitious Repartimiento and Meta, the more rigid imposition of which was about that time, I knew, causing great discontent among the people. The Spaniards, long accustomed to treat the Peruvians as inferior beings, destitute alike of feeling and courage, forgot that even a worm will at times turn and attempt to bite the foot that presses it.

I had observed at times a larger number of persons than had accompanied us to the village; and I remarked several strangers, dressed in skins and feathers, who came and went, and again speedily returned, as if they had gone only to a short distance. I told our host that I had observed this, and inquired where the people came from.

“From a place where the foot of a white man has never trod,” he replied. “If you were strong and well. I might take you to it, and might show you wonders you little expect to behold, so fully do I trust; but the time may come when, free of danger, I may gratify your curiosity.”

I expected that he alluded to one of those ancient villages which I had heard of as existing in the heart of the mountains, and never discovered by the Spaniards; where the inhabitants had continued in the enjoyment of liberty, and the laws and customs of their ancestors. I had often wished to visit one of those remnants of antiquity, and I became doubly eager to do so, on finding myself in the proximity of one of them; but Manco assured me that it would be utterly impossible to conduct me there for a long time to come.

We had now spent a week at the huts, and I was so far recovered as to be able to mount a horse and move about on foot with the aid of a stick; and as my father was very anxious to proceed on his journey, we agreed to start the following day. On hearing that we were about to depart, the other travellers wished to accompany us; but the Indians would not hear of it, and, I observed, kept a stricter watch than usual over them. Manco showed great unwillingness to part with us.

“Go as you desire it, my friends,” he said. “You are at liberty to do as you judge best; but for your own sake, as well as mine, I would have had you remain. However, as go you must, I will send some of my people to escort you on your way; and one of them shall follow you as your servant till you return home. He will obey you in all things, but you must not blame him if he is absent during a few hours at times from you. You must pay him no wages, but you must not send him from you; and if you are asked where you found him, say in a mountain village, and that he wished to come with you to see the world.”

The next morning our new attendant made his appearance. He was a small, active-looking man, of a lightish rusty-red colour. His dress was much as is usually worn at the present day, consisting of loose trousers of coarse brown cloth, fastened round the waist by a girdle, and a woollen shirt of a dark blue colour. His poncho, which served as his outer garment, was of alpaca wool of the same hue as his shirt; and on his head he wore a broad-brimmed hat, while his sandals were of untanned leather, just covering his toes, and secured by a thong round the ankle. He took charge of a mule laden with our clothes and a supply of provisions.

Manco took an affectionate farewell of us as we were mounting our horses at the door of the hut. He pressed our hands as he said—

“We may meet again, dear friends, at some future time, when the children of the sun may dare to lift up their heads in the land where their fathers ruled. Till then, farewell.”

We found, a little farther on, a band of a hundred men, well armed with muskets and rifles, ready to escort us; and a young man of the Inca family, their leader, told us that they were to accompany us to help us to cross the difficult barriers which surrounded the spot we were in, and to watch us till we reached the neighbourhood of Cuzco.

Accustomed as I was to mountain scenery, I should not before have thought it possible for any four-footed animals to climb up the rugged precipices, over which the Indians led and pushed our horses and mules. In some places they were literally hauled up with ropes, and let down again on the other side. My kind guides assisted me up and down also, though I had nearly recovered my usual strength. A number of streams crossed our path, adding not a little to its difficulties.

Our animals were generally driven into the water and compelled to swim across, being then hauled up on the other side. We passed by means of a curious kind of bridge called a Huano. It was formed of a thick rope, which is carried by means of a lighter line across the chasm. The lighter line was carried across by some powerful swimmer, or by a man holding on to the mane of one of the horses or mules. On the rope ran a roller, to which was fastened a piece of wood, and to the wood the passenger was secured; the transit was made more easy by two light lines, by which the piece of wood was drawn from side to side. Several of the Indians went first across. I watched them in their dizzy transit, and I thought, if the rope breaks, what will become of them? When it came to my turn to cross, I held my head as high as I could, and crossed my legs over the thick rope, which I grasped with my hands. I did not dare to turn to look into the deep gulf below; for strong as my nerves were, I felt that if I did, I should have let go my hold. I was not sorry to find my head knocking against the shrubs and rocks on the opposite side. My father followed me; and then the whole body, one by one, passed over. Having got into rather less intricate country, the captain of our escort told us that from this place forward we must no longer remain in company, though he had orders from his chief to watch us till all probability of danger was past.

Accordingly, my father and I, and our new Indian servant, prepared to proceed alone. We were still several days’ journey from Cuzco. We slept as before at those most wretched of all inns the Indian tambos, though wherever we stopped we could not help remarking that we were treated with more than usual kindness and respect, which we suspected was owing to our being under the special protection of their chief. That also we were not deserted by our guardians, we had reason to know. On more than one occasion I had observed one or two figures hovering on the brow of some hill, or appearing from behind trees, bushes, or rocks. I perceived once one of them started up close to us. I pointed him out to our attendant, who had likewise seen him. With a significant look he answered, “Fear not them—they will not injure us.”

We encountered but few travellers, and I do not recollect any other occurrence worthy of being narrated daring our journey.

Chapter Five.

Cuzco described—We are made prisoners—Anxiety for those at home.

“Behold Cuzco!” exclaimed our Indian guide, as, throwing himself from his horse, he knelt in adoration of the glorious luminary, whose rays were just then throwing a mantle of gold over the crumbling walls of a mighty fortress, which protected the holy city of his ancestors, the capital of the Incas.

We had just reached the brow of an elevated ridge which forms one side of the fertile and extensive valley in which Cuzco stands, built, like ancient Rome, on a number of hills or slight rises. To the north of the city, on the summit of a lofty eminence, appeared the still dark and frowning fortress of Cyclopean architecture, composed of stones of vast magnitude. When I afterwards visited it, I was surprised to find the extraordinary nicety with which, without any cement, they were joined together; and I cannot tell with what machinery the Peruvians could have raised blocks so enormous to such heights, or how they could have fitted them, shaped as they are in so many various forms, with exactness so remarkable. Had I believed in the existence of giants, I should have supposed that they alone could have lifted such vast masses into the positions they hold. Many of the modern residences of the conquerors stand on the foundations of the ancient buildings of the Peruvians, and from among them we saw towering upwards the spires and towers of the magnificent cathedral, of the convents of Saint Augustine and La Merced, and of a number of other fine churches. We had not long to contemplate this scene of the ruins of the past and of modern splendour, as it was necessary to reach the city before dark; and the setting sun warned us that we had not much time to lose. We were questioned, when we entered, whence we had come; but before we could speak, our Indian attendant stepped forward and gave an answer that satisfied the guard, and we passed on.

The inn we went to was the best in the city, but it could boast of affording us little comfort, though, as we were accustomed to rough fare, that mattered little. At daybreak I was on foot, as I was anxious to see the city; and with our Indian attendant as my guide, I wandered through the larger portion of it before breakfast. We reached a collection of ruined walls, composed of huge masses of rock.

“On this spot,” said the Indian, bending reverentially towards the sun, just then rising over the walls of the city, “stood the great temple where our fathers worshipped the God in whom they trusted; away to the right, where now those convent walls appear, were the residences of the beautiful virgins of the sun; and in these fields of corn and lucerne which surround us were once laid out the magnificent gardens of the temple, filled with menageries of all the animals of our country, with aviaries of birds of many-coloured plumage, with fountains, and trees, and flowers, and ornaments of vast size, of gold and silver and precious stones, many in the form of the shrubs and plants among which they stood, and of workmanship so admirable that they seemed to vie with them in elegance and beauty. But the greedy spoiler came, and behold, stranger, what he made it! Alas! this garden is but an example of the condition to which our unhappy country has been reduced.”

The Indian was silent, and seemed lost in gloomy reflection. I, too, thought of the past; and as I did so, the magnificent Temple of the Sun appeared before me, with its walls resplendent with the golden ornaments which surrounded them, and its wide courts crowded with votaries in their many-coloured costumes and head-dresses and robes of feathers, eagerly watching for the rising of the luminary they worshipped. I fancied I could hear their voices, and could see the mighty mass below me, their plumes waving in the breeze as they joined the joyous shout raised by their friends above them.

“Yes, a day of bitter retribution will ere long arrive,” exclaimed my companion. The deep, low, and concentrated tone of his voice roused me from my reveries, he appeared unconscious that he had spoken. “Come, sir,” he said, “we will proceed.”

As I walked through the streets of Cuzco. I was struck with the air of antiquity which many of the buildings wore; and I could not help regretting the worse than Gothic cruelty and ignorance of the Spaniards, which had destroyed the numberless magnificent edifices of its former inhabitants. We spent three days in the city, and on the fourth took our departure, accompanied by Ithulpo. I learned that twenty leagues only from the city commence the territories of the unsubdued Indians, who will allow no stranger to enter their country. As I looked towards the distant mountains which form their bulwarks, I fancied that it must be a land full of romance and interest, and I longed to penetrate into it. I was before long to have my wish gratified, through means I little contemplated.

Our course was, however, now in a contrary direction, north and west, towards the sea. We had proceeded two days’ journey, when, at the urgent request of Ithulpo, we turned aside to rest at a town among the mountains.

“It is inhabited chiefly by my people,” he observed. “To-morrow they perform a ceremony, at which I wish to assist, and which you will like to behold.”

We ascended by a narrow and winding path among the mountains to the town, where we were lodged in the best house it possessed, and where the inhabitants vied with each other in paying us attention. The next morning, when I went out, I was surprised to see the place crowded with Indians dressed in the ancient costume of the country, of which certainly the pictures I have since seen in England and France do not give at all a correct idea. They wore feather head-dresses, and their cloaks and trains were likewise trimmed with feathers; and if not quite so picturesque, were more suited to their convenience than the scanty feather kilts in which they are made to appear. Having breakfasted, my father and I followed the crowd at a little distance to see what was going to occur. Among them we observed, raised above their heads, a gaily ornamented litter or covered palanquin, in which sat a person richly dressed with the regal border or red fringe of the Incas on his head. We learnt that he was intended to represent Atahualpa. On pressed the crowd with shouts and songs towards a large square before us; there they halted, when from some buildings in which they had been concealed, appeared another party dressed in armour with guns in their hands, and one or two small pieces of cannon following them. They all wore masks, and were intended to represent Spaniards. One more hideous than the rest was evidently Pizarro, and by his side stood the priest Vicente de Yalverde. They approached the litter, and the monk addressed the Inca in a long harangue. Atahualpa replied, when a terrific shriek was heard; the litter was overthrown, and the Inca was dragged among the Spaniards. A mock combat took place, but the Indians were driven back; and then arose the most melancholy cries and groans ever heard. It was no imitated grief, for to such a pitch had they worked up their imaginations, that they really fancied that their Inca was again torn from them. At last they retired, and a new scene in the drama commenced.

A number of Spaniards came forth from the building to which they had carried off the Inca, and seated themselves as if holding a council. Atahualpa was next brought out. He stood, with downcast looks and hands bound, before his judges, waiting his doom. One man only pleaded his cause, the others brought forth numberless arguments for his condemnation—a good satire on those by which the real Inca was judged to be worthy of death. At length one standing up, pronounced the representative Atahualpa guilty, ordering him to immediate execution. No sooner were the words uttered, than there arose from the crowd such shrieks and cries, that I could scarcely believe them to be feigned. Amid them the Inca was led to the place of execution, already prepared, where stood a man with ferocious aspect with an axe uplifted in his hands. The axe fell, and while the cries and groans increased, as I saw a bloody head lifted up before me, I thought for an instant that the man had really been killed. I soon, however, saw that the bloody head was merely a block of wood, while a piece of cloth was thrown over the person who had represented the Inca to conceal him from view. The Indians, however, appeared to be as deeply affected with grief as if they had really just seen their beloved monarch slaughtered before their eyes, to such a pitch were their imaginations worked up by the scene which had been acted. Had I not witnessed what I describe, I could scarcely have believed it possible; and as the Cholas sang their songs of mourning, the tears streamed down their cheeks, the groans seemed to come from the hearts of the men, and every countenance wore an expression of the most profound sorrow. Just at that moment I saw a man hurrying up the path which led into the village from the valley below. Almost breathless with exertion, he uttered a few words to the first he met. His communication flew like lightning among the crowd. They scattered in every direction, as if a thunderbolt had fallen among them. Masks were torn off and hastily concealed, dresses were changed, and the block and axe, and all the things connected with the representation, were carried away, while the people ran along the streets, and shut themselves up in their houses in evident fright.

We were not long in ascertaining the cause of the commotion. As I watched the approach to the town, I caught sight of the bayonet and shako of a soldier rising above the brow of a hill. Another and another followed, till about twenty men and two Spanish officers formed in the square of the town. That they had come for no good purpose, was soon made manifest by their charging a small party of the Indians who had neglected to escape from the square. So unexpected was the attack, that some were captured, while others were cruelly wounded before they could conceal themselves. The soldiers having thus whetted their thirst for blood, hurried from cottage to cottage, breaking open the doors and dragging out the terrified inmates. Those who were found with a mask, or any portion of the ancient Indian costume about them, proving that they had taken part in the forbidden representation, were without mercy shot, in spite of the entreaties and cries of their wives and children. A considerable number were also dragged from their huts and bound together with ropes, preparatory to being carried off as prisoners.

We had hitherto remained concealed in the house where we had rested for the night, and which had been unvisited by the soldiers. Had we been able to leave the village unobserved, we would gladly have done so to avoid contact with the troops, though we had no reason to apprehend ill-treatment from them. My father had desired Ithulpo to have our horses and baggage ready to start at a moment’s notice. While we remained shut up in the house, we could only judge of what was going on by the sounds we heard. The shots and cries had grown fainter, and thinking that the soldiers must have got to a distance, we considered this a good opportunity to set out. Ithulpo had been watching them through a hole in the wall of an enclosure, at a little distance from the cottage within which our animals were to be kept ready. I looked cautiously out of the door of the cottage, and seeing no one near, I ran round to where Ithulpo was posted. I told him that we were ready to start.

“I was coming to tell you that now is our time to start,” he replied. “I wish that I was certain that all the soldiers are together, for I am afraid that some may be left to guard the outlet to the village; but we must run the risk.”

We accordingly brought the horses round. Our baggage was soon strapped on, and mounting immediately, we set off at a brisk pace, followed by the well-wishes of our host, towards the only outlet to the village. Several houses were in flames, and more than one apparently dead Indian met our view. A short hour had made a sad change in the peaceful village, which now looked as if it had been stormed and sacked by a cruel enemy. We had no time to stop to examine whether any of the prostrate forms we saw were still alive, so we pushed on. Just, however, as we reached the top of the pathway down the mountain, a party of soldiers, with an officer at their head, appeared suddenly before us. It was impossible to escape notice, so we attempted to pass them.

“Stop!” cried the officer, presenting a pistol. “Who are you?”

“English travellers, on the road to Lima,” answered my father.

“Say rather English abettors of rebels,” exclaimed the officer fiercely. “We find you in a village encouraging the ignorant people by your presence to break the law. You are our prisoners.”

My father pleaded in vain that we had no intention of breaking the law, or encouraging others to do so.

“You may make your excuse to the government of Lima,” answered the officer; and he ordered us to remain where we were on pain of being shot.

A number of prisoners were collected together, and we had no doubt that he had heard from one of them of our being present at the forbidden ceremony we had witnessed. The bugle now sounded the recall, and soon afterwards the rest of the soldiers returned, dragging after them a number more of wretched prisoners. They appeared to be the principal people in the village; and whether guilty or not of the crimes charged against them, they were dragged away from their homes, to undergo more suffering on their road to their place of trial than they would deserve even if proved guilty.

The unhappy men were lashed together by the wrists two and two, all being likewise joined by a single stout rope; while blows and curses urged them on if they did not move fast enough to please their tyrants. Had the inhabitants of the village united bravely, they might have overpowered the soldiers and rescued their friends; but terror-stricken, they were afraid to show themselves.

Neither my father nor I were in any way molested, but a soldier was placed on each side of us and our Indian attendant, with orders to shoot us if we attempted to escape, a command they seemed very ready to obey. The word was then given to move on, and we commenced our descent of the mountain, a body of eight soldiers bringing up the rear. We addressed the officers several times to learn why we were thus treated, but the only answer the one in command deigned to make was—

“You are found in communication with rebel Indians, and there are suspicions against you.”

I thought of our having aided the escape of the Indian chief Manco, and feared that by some means the circumstance might have become known. If such were the case, I trembled for the safety of my dear mother and brothers and sisters. I thought of all the insults and annoyance to which they must have been subjected while our house was being searched, and my father’s papers and books being examined, which I knew they would be, by the officers of justice. I did not, however, communicate my thoughts to my father, as I felt that if it suggested the same idea to him, it would cause him much pain and anxiety.

I endeavoured therefore, as we rode on, to amuse him by conversation; but I am afraid I succeeded very ill. Ithulpo was very gloomy and silent, evidently brooding over the wrongs his countrymen had so long endured, and were still receiving, from their oppressors. At the foot of the mountain we found another party of soldiers concealed in a wood, and guarding the horses of our escort. The whole then mounted; and as we proceeded at a more rapid rate, the captive Indians were goaded on more cruelly to keep up with us. Ithulpo still said not a word; but as his eyes were now and then turned towards his countrymen, I observed that looks of intelligence were exchanged between them. Some shrieked with pain; others returned glances of rage at their tormentors; a few almost fainted, till stirred up again to proceed; and two, who had been wounded, actually dropped down, and as they were left in the rear, the report of musketry told what had been their fate. The fear of a similar catastrophe deterred others from giving in while they had any strength remaining to drag onwards their weary limbs.

My father’s kind heart was bursting with indignation and grief; but from the surly answers he received, he saw that it would be hopeless to plead for the unhappy beings.

“A day of bitter retribution will come, ere long, for this tyranny,” he observed. “Such conduct must arouse even the most long-enduring from their apathy. Even as it is, how entirely has Spain failed to reap any benefit from her apparently glorious conquest of this new world! or rather, I may say, from the mode in which that conquest was conducted, it has brought on her a heavy curse instead of a blessing. Since she gained America, she has gradually declined in wealth, intelligence, and power; and if I mistake not the signs of the times, these beautiful provinces will soon be wrested from her, though, alas, the seeds of misgovernment and bigotry which she planted, will take ages more to eradicate.”

Subsequent events, as my readers know, proved the correctness of my father’s observations. Spain no longer holds sway over any part of the American continent; and the colonies she has planted, ever since constantly plunged in civil war and anarchy, have been far outstripped in civilisation by those peopled by the Anglo-Saxon race.

Chapter Six.

Attempt to cross a desert—The disasters we encountered.

Our journey was irksome and disagreeable in the extreme. We marched on each day as long as the horses and men could move; and we rested at night, sometimes in farm-houses, or in the public tambos; but frequently we took shelter within the ruins of forts or other buildings, and often we were obliged to sleep on the hard ground, with our saddles for our pillows and the starlit sky above our heads. As it was the height of summer, this mattered little. We suffered, however, much from the heat in the day-time, and we were compelled frequently to dismount to lead our horses over the rugged places we had to pass. Day after day the poor captives dropped through fatigue, till their numbers were much thinned; but still we pushed on. We passed through a number of Indian villages, the inhabitants of which looked out from their mat doors with sad eyes on their unhappy countrymen; and we now discovered that the object of the Spaniards in carrying them on was to strike terror into the hearts of the people. When governors cannot manage a people so as to gain their love, they attempt to rule them through their fears; but such a government is never of long duration, and must ultimately bring destruction on itself. We had marched for three days without finding any habitations, when I saw the officers holding consultation together, and evidently much perplexed. A halt was ordered, and inquiries made if anybody knew the road. We had lost our way. The Indians had no knowledge of that part of the country, nor had any of the soldiers. I detected a gleam of intelligence in the countenance of Ithulpo, which made me suspect that he could give the desired information if he chose; but when asked, he denied all knowledge of the way. We took shelter that night within the walls of a ruined village, which, from its appearance, I judged had not been inhabited since the time of the conquest, except as a temporary abode in the same manner as we used it. It must have been a place of some extent, but the greater part was concealed by trees and shrubs, and creeping plants, which had grown up among the walls. Most of the buildings were of sun-dried bricks; but others, within one of which we were placed, were of masses of stone, like the fortress of Cuzco. It had probably been the residence of a chief or noble. It seemed strange that the Spaniards should not have known so remarkable a spot; but though they did not, I was certain that the Indians were well acquainted with it.

The prisoners were all driven together like a flock of sheep within one of the enclosures, and a sentry was placed over them, with orders to shoot any who might attempt to escape. After the horses had been picketed in a grassy spot close to the ruins, the soldiers lighted their fires to dress their evening meal, while the two officers sat themselves down on a fragment of stone and smoked their cigars, taking no notice of us. Our horses and luggage mule had been placed with the others under a guard; so they thought, I suppose, that we should not attempt to escape. Meantime my father and I sat at a little distance, watching the proceedings of our very unwelcome companions, while Ithulpo stood near, casting every now and then towards them glances expressive of the most intense hatred, and a desire of vengeance. The sun was still low, but his rays yet tinged the topmost branches of the trees and the lofty ranges of mountains in the distance. The soldiers had brought skins of wine and plenty of good cheer with them; and when they had eaten, they passed the wine-skins round right merrily, the officers joining in the carouse. Instead of pouring the wine into cups, they lifted the skins high above their heads, and without touching the vessel to their lips, allowed the wine to run down their throat in a gentle stream. As we were close enough to them to be easily watched, the officers, I suppose, thought that we should not attempt to move away. Ithulpo had stowed a sort of knapsack he carried with some dried meat and bread, which he now produced, and it served to satisfy our appetites; but we had no wine, and our surly guards did not deign to offer us any.

“Do not repine, sirs, at the want,” he observed. “I will show you a pure stream, the water of which, ere to-morrow’s sun has set, those soldiers will value more than the finest wine their country can produce.”

The sun went down, and the shades of night came rapidly on, but still the Spaniards continued their debauch. They had apparently forgotten us and their other prisoners; for though by the light of their fires we could clearly see them, sitting as we were under the shadow of a wall, we were no longer visible to them. Ithulpo came and sat himself down beside me.

“Could we not manage to get away from these people?” I asked in a whisper.

“Not now,” he answered. “The sentries would give the alarm if we attempted to take the horses, and without them we cannot move. To-morrow we shall have a better opportunity, and we may help some of my poor countrymen to escape at the same time.”

“Why do you expect that a good opportunity to escape will occur?” I inquired.

“I cannot at present reply to your question,” he said. “Those who now guard us will no longer be able to do so. Trust to me. You will enter Lima as free men, and no one will appear as a witness against you, to support the false accusation these people have made.”

I forbore to question him further, but there was something very mysterious in his look and manner; and at first the horrid idea occurred to me that he had by some means contrived to poison the Spaniards, for otherwise I could not account for the confidence with which he pronounced his prediction. However, I endeavoured to banish the suspicion as too dreadful to be entertained. At length the commanding officer seemed to recollect that he had duties to attend to. Fresh guards were set over the prisoners and the horses, wood was collected and the fires were made up, and a sentinel was posted near the spot, under shelter of a wall, which we had selected for our place of rest. Ithulpo got leave to bring us our saddles and horse-trappings to serve us for beds, and he likewise brought us our portmanteaus and saddle-bags, which he placed near us. The soldiers threw themselves on the ground, and were very soon fast asleep. Our sentry also, from the manner his head every now and then gave a sharp nod, was evidently very drowsy. The heat of the weather, the exertion he had undergone, and the wine he had drunk, were quite enough to account for this. I also at last fell asleep. My eyes had been closed for about a couple of hours, when I was awakened by Ithulpo touching my shoulder. I sat up, and observed that he had the wine-skins emptied by the soldiers hanging on his arm.

“Follow me,” he whispered. “We are not going to escape; but you are thirsty, and I will show you a pure spring, where you may drink your fill, and you will be better able to endure the heat of to-morrow’s sun.”

Silently following him, as he led the way among the ruins, I found that we had reached a thick and apparently impenetrable wood. Without stopping, however, he went direct to a spot where the branches yielded easily to his hand. A winding path appeared before us, proceeding along which, we arrived in an open forest glade. On one side rose a high rock, which seemed part of a range of cliffs forming the side of a mountain. The murmuring sound of water met my ear, and by the faint starlight I discovered a stream gushing forth from the rock, and finding its way in a narrow rivulet through the glade.

“The white man thinks that the discovery of a gold mine will bring him all the wealth he can desire; but the time has come when he would gladly exchange all the gold and silver hidden within yon mountains for one draught of that pure stream,” muttered Ithulpo, as I stooped my head to drink at the fountain. “Drink—drink while you can,” he continued in the same low tone. “It is more than wealth, it is life itself; it fertilises, it invigorates, it cleanses, it blesses. Without it the world would be but a sterile desert, unfit for the habitation of man; while gold, which the white men value so much, has ever proved the curse of our country. They value it because they think it scarce, while we, who know the deep mines where in vast heaps it lies hid from their sight, place it at its true worth, below iron and copper, or even silver or tin.”

While Ithulpo was thus speaking, he was employed in washing out and filling the skins he had brought with water. I also filled a couple of flasks with the pure fluid. We then retraced our steps by the way we had come, I assisting him in carrying the somewhat heavy burden. We reached the camp unobserved by the drowsy sentries. I was wondering what the Indian intended doing with the skins, when, begging me to lie down and rest, he took up two of the skins, and crept cautiously away towards the enclosure where his countrymen were confined. After a little time he returned, and again took the path to the fountain to replenish the skins. I was afraid he would have been discovered, but he went about the work so cautiously and silently, that he altogether escaped the observation of the sentries. After he had given the prisoners all the water they required, he came back to where we were lying, and threw himself on the ground near us. The rest of the night passed quietly away; and notwithstanding the painful position in which we were placed, I slept soundly. I was aroused by the sound of a bugle, and found the soldiers getting under arms and preparing to march. Our baggage was replaced by Ithulpo, who I saw watched it carefully. The men mounted, the prisoners were dragged out from their resting-place, and we commenced our day’s journey.

An extensive plain was before us, with a few rugged and barren heights scattered over it. As we proceeded vegetation grew more and more scanty, till after we had marched scarcely half a mile, it ceased altogether. We had slept, we found, on the borders of a desert. The ground was at first composed of a mixture of rock and clay, over which the sea had evidently rolled in former ages; but as we proceeded it became more loose and broken, till it changed into a soft shifting sand, into which our horses’ feet sank deep at every step they made.

The poor prisoners, already worn out with their long journey, appeared scarcely able to drag on their weary limbs through it. Of its extent we were unable to judge, but the commander seemed to fancy that in a short time we should reach firmer and more fertile ground, where we should find water and halt to breakfast. The sun, which rose in a cloudless sky on our right, showed that we were proceeding in the direction we wished to follow—towards the north.

“Forward, my men,” shouted the officer. “In an hour or two we shall be out of this ill-conditioned spot, and find rest and refreshment.”

The soldiers lighted their cigars and urged on their horses, while they dealt their blows freely on the backs of the Indians to quicken their speed.

I observed a peculiar smile on the countenance of Ithulpo, as the officer spoke of soon reaching a place of rest. Our attendant had, I found, managed to distribute a supply of the highly prized cacao among his countrymen; and while their features wore a look of sullen indifference as they received the ill-merited blows, I remarked that they seemed to bear up against the fatigue better than they had before done. As the sun rose higher the heat increased, till it became almost insupportable. The officers spoke earnestly together for some time, and were evidently growing anxious as to the road we were taking. At length their voices grew louder and louder, as if disputing on the point, for there was very little semblance of discipline among them. Then they called up several of their men one after the other, but could not gain the information they required. Some of the prisoners were next brought up, but they either could not or would not say whether we were pursuing the proper course, their countenances assuming an expression of the most perfect ignorance and apathy. Still we pushed on, the Spaniards trying to urge their horses still faster through the heavy sand. Before us rose a bright glittering haze, through which objects every now and then appeared seemingly in the far distance—hills, and trees, and rocks, and lakes, and streams of pure water; but as we advanced they vanished, and a few barren mounds and loose stones alone were found, while the supposed water was altogether a mocking deception. To the right hand and to the left, the same inhospitable desert seemed to stretch out far away; and we had already advanced so deeply into it, that the officers probably supposed that there would be as much risk in returning as in going on. On therefore we went, the soldiers having no mercy on the prisoners, whom they urged forward, whenever they attempted to slacken their pace, with the points of their swords, till the blood trickled in streams down the backs of these miserable beings. We were riding just behind the main body of the soldiers, followed by Ithulpo and the baggage mules. The generous, kind heart of my father was almost bursting with indignation, as he saw this piece of cruelty.

At last, as an Indian more weary than the rest sunk to the ground, and a soldier was about to plunge his sword into his body, he could restrain himself no longer.

“Hold, wretch!” he exclaimed. “Add not murder to your cruelty.”

The soldier, taken by surprise, did not strike the fatal blow till his horse had carried him past the fainting Indian; but, balked of his prey, his anger was kindled against my father, and turning round, he made a cut at him with his sword. Fortunately I carried a heavy riding-whip, with which I was able to parry the blow. The man did not attempt to repeat it, for the junior officer turning round, observed the act, and called him to order; but it showed us what we were to expect if we excited the anger of our captors. I could not withstand the despairing look the poor wretch cast on us as he thought we were about to pass him and to leave him to his fate; so throwing myself from my horse, I lifted his head from the ground. My father stopped also, and so did Ithulpo.

“On, on!” shouted the rear-guard of the Spaniards. “On, or we will fire at you.”

“We will follow immediately,” replied my father. “On my word of honour—on the word of an Englishman.”

The Spaniards had never known that word broken, so they allowed us to stop to help the Indian. One of our baggage mules was lightly laden, and in spite of the threats of the soldiers we lifted him upon it. I had, as I mentioned, filled a small spirit-flask with water, and unseen I poured a few drops down his parched throat. This much revived him, and by urging on our animals, we were soon able to overtake the already weary horses of the Spaniards.

The time for breakfast had long since passed, but still no signs of a resting-place appeared. On the contrary, the sand became finer and deeper, and the dreary expanse before us seemed to lengthen out to the horizon. As the sun also rose higher in the sky, his unobstructed rays darted down with greater force upon our heads. There had been a slight breeze in the morning, blowing fresh from over the snowy summits of the Cordilleras; but that had now died entirely away, and not a breath of air stirred the stagnant atmosphere. The heat at length became almost insupportable, while our eyes could scarcely bear the glare of the sun on the white glittering sand.

To do the Spaniards credit, they bore up bravely for a long time against the heat and thirst and fatigue which assailed them. The horses, however, which had only been scantily supplied with water the night before, began to knock up—their ears dropped, their heads hung down, and their respiration became thick and fast. Ithulpo had supplied my father and me with cacao, by chewing a piece of which occasionally, we avoided any feeling of hunger; and as we also wetted our lips, when they became parched, with the water from our flasks, we did not suffer much from thirst. Still the sensation of oppression and fatigue was very painful. We received too, ere long, a warning of what might be our fate, in the spectacle which met our sight. The sun had reached his meridian height, and was descending towards the waters of the Pacific, and still it appeared that we had made no more progress than in the morning, when we came upon the bleached bones of several mules and horses, and by their side appeared, just rising above the sand, the skeletons of three human beings. It appeared as if they had all been struck down together by the same fiery blast. The soldiers, as we passed, turned their looks aside, without uttering a word, each one feeling that he might shortly become like those ghastly remnants of mortality. I observed that the heads of the animals were all turned towards the south, by which I judged that thus they had probably travelled over a greater distance of the burning desert than we had yet passed, so that we were yet not half over our difficulties.

“Those skeletons show that we are on the high road across the desert,” I remarked to my father.

“I am afraid not, David,” he answered. “They may have lost their way, and we have stumbled on them by chance.”

Such, I at once saw, was too likely to be the case.

The gauze-like mist of which I had before spoken, now appeared to grow more dense, and to lose its transparent appearance; at the same time that the rays of the sun struck down with fiercer heat, and the atmosphere grew more stagnant and oppressive. Some of the soldiers had lighted their cigars, in the hope that the fumes of tobacco would alleviate their thirst; and as the tiny jets of smoke left their mouths, they went straight up towards the sky, not a breath existing to blow them aside. Suddenly, as I turned my head to the left, I saw what appeared to be a dark cloud rising from the earth. I pointed it out to my father. Ithulpo had at the same time observed it.

“Muffle up your heads in your ponchos, and push on for the love of life,” he exclaimed. “It is the sand-drift swept before a whirlwind. On! on! or it will overwhelm us!”

It was indeed an object to appal the stoutest heart. On it came, like a black wall, rising higher and higher, and curling over our heads, till the sky and the sun himself were obscured. The soldiers saw it and trembled, for they knew its deadly power; whole regiments had before been buried beneath that heavy canopy. Their only chance of safety, they fancied, was to gallop through it. With frantic energy they dug their spurs into the sides of their panting steeds. They no longer thought of their miserable prisoners. Without a sensation of commiseration, they left them to the dreadful fate they themselves strove to escape. Neither could we do anything for them: if we stopped, we also should lose our lives. As we followed the soldiers, we found the Indians all huddled together, with looks of despair on their countenances, watching the approach of the sand-drift. They had no prospect of extricating themselves either; for the Spaniards had not even cut the cords which bound them all together. I glanced at the black wall of sand; it was still some way off. Could I leave my fellow-creatures thus to perish horribly, without an attempt to save them? No burning thirst, thanks to Ithulpo’s precautions, had yet dried up the sympathies of my heart.

“What are you going to do, David?” asked my father, as he saw me throw myself from my horse.

“To give these poor fellows a chance of life,” I answered, drawing out my knife, and cutting away at their cords.

“Your mother and sisters, my lad, must not be forgotten,” he muttered; “but stay, I will help you.”

As he said this he set to work to release the Indians, in which we were directly joined by Ithulpo; the rear-guard, as they passed by, bestowing many curses and threats of vengeance on our heads for our interference; but they were too anxious to save their own lives to prevent us. Scarcely a minute was lost.

“Mount! mount! and ride on!” cried Ithulpo.

Throwing our knives to the Indians, we leaped on our horses, and again followed the direction we supposed the soldiers had taken. We had not proceeded many yards when the wall of sand seemed to wheel round like an extended line of infantry, and then to advance at double speed. To escape it by galloping from it was now hopeless; so we turned our horses’ heads to face it. As we did so, a clear break appeared in one part.

“Let us make for yonder lighter spot,” shouted my father.

We did so. On came the dark wall; the sand swept by us, whirling round and round our heads, blinding our eyes, and filling our ears and nostrils. It was with difficulty even that we could breathe, as with each respiration our mouths became choked with the sand. I endeavoured, as well as I was able, to keep close to my father, though for a time it was only by our voices, as we shouted to each other, that we were aware of each other’s position. We did our utmost to keep our horses’ heads in the direction the sand-storm came from, that we might the more speedily pass through it. They breasted it bravely, though their thick-drawn breath showed the pain they suffered; but they seemed to be as well aware as ourselves of the necessity of exertion. It was with difficulty, however, that we could even keep our seats, as, with our hats pressed over our eyes, our ponchos drawn tight around us, and our bodies bent down over their necks, we encouraged them to proceed with bit and rein. We were making all the time, in reality, but little real progress, as I soon discovered; their utmost exertion being required to lift their legs out of the sand, which was rapidly collecting round us.

On a sudden, a dark mass swept towards us. I know not how it was,—I believe I must have turned to my right,—I kept calling to my father as before; but oh, what horror—what agony seized my soul when he did not answer! and as I endeavoured to pierce the thick mass of sand which surrounded me, I could nowhere see him. I could not tell which way to turn. I felt lost and bewildered, and I believed that my last moment had arrived—a dreadful death was to be my lot. I did not regard myself; it was for my noble father I felt. “O that I could have died with him!” I thought. My brave horse, however, still exerted himself to save his own life and mine, when I had ceased to care what became of me, by continuing to lift his feet above the overwhelming sand-drifts. My only wish was to find my father; but so completely was I bewildered that I knew not whether to turn to the right hand or to the left. His horse might have sunk down, I thought, and then in a few moments he would for ever have been covered up from mortal sight; or, overcome with fatigue and the suffocating atmosphere, he might have fallen, and been unable to regain his steed. Or happily he might have passed through the sand-drift in safety, and have been all the time suffering with anxiety for my sake. But this hope was very transient; the predominant feeling was that my father was lost, and that I was about to share his fate. I was thus giving way to despair, when I was aware of a considerable decrease in the density of the sand-laden atmosphere; the last breath of the fierce whirlwind passed by; the sun shone forth bright and clear, and I stood alone amid a sea of glittering sand. Oh, with what an aching anxious heart I looked around, to see if the one object I sought was visible on that dreary white expanse! Before me, there was nothing; a few mounds and rocks alone were to be seen between me and the horizon; but as I turned round just as the column of sand swept on, not thirty paces behind me, with joy such as I cannot describe, I saw my father stooping down and endeavouring to extricate his horse from the sand, which had partially covered him. I hurried towards him, and leaping to the ground, threw myself into his arms. For the moment all sensations of fatigue or thirst were forgotten in the joy of recovering him.

Knowing that my horse was strong, he had felt less anxiety on my account than I had on his. With some exertion we cleared away the sand, and once more got his horse upon his feet, though the poor animal appeared scarcely able to move, much less to bear a man of my father’s weight. We had still one flask of water untouched. We drank a little, and with a portion of the remainder washed the mouths and nostrils of our horses, and poured a few drops down their throats, still keeping a little for any further emergency. This very much revived them; and once more mounting, we endeavoured to find our way across the desert.

Since the sand-drift first overtook us, scarcely as much time had elapsed as it has occupied to read the account I have given; but so dreadful were the sensations I experienced, and so intense my anxiety, that to me it appeared an age. The heat soon became almost as great as before the storm, and the atmosphere as oppressive, warning us that, though thus far preserved, we were still placed in a position of great peril. It was now that I felt the benefit of the firm reliance in the goodness of Providence, which my father had ever inculcated, and which at this juncture supported him.

“Courage, my dear boy,” he exclaimed. “God has thus far preserved us. He will still find the means of rescuing us.”

As he spoke, the dark wall of sand, which had been receding from us, after whirling in various directions, seemed to settle down in a line of undulating mounds in the distance; and on every side the horizon once more became entirely clear.

We naturally first tried to discover any traces of the Spanish cavalry; and after straining my eyes for some time, I perceived a few dark objects which seemed to be moving on towards the point which, from the position of the sun, we judged to be the north. Some other objects beyond them afforded us a fair hope of being able to find our way out of this dreadful desert. I could not doubt that what I saw were the tops of some tall trees, though at such a distance that their base was not visible; indeed my father, who agreed with me that they were trees, was of opinion that they grew on ground somewhat elevated above the sandy plain.

Towards them, therefore, we steered our course, as the Spaniards were also probably doing. Our horses, we fancied, must have seen them likewise, or their instinct told them that water was to be found in the neighbourhood. We looked round in vain for Ithulpo and the Indians. Not a sign of them could we perceive, and it would have been madness to have attempted to search for them. Indeed, had we found them, we could have rendered them no assistance. I was in hopes, indeed, that Ithulpo, whose horse was strong, and who I suspected knew the country better than he pretended to the Spaniards, would have found some means of escaping, and of aiding his countrymen. We had, in truth, still too much to do in attempting to preserve our own lives, to allow us to think much of others. It would be assuming to be above humanity, did I not confess this.

The sun was already sinking low; and should we be unable to reach the trees before dark, and be compelled to rest on the plain or wander about it all night, we could scarcely hope to survive. The ground we passed over was as smooth as if the receding tide had just left it. Not the sign of a footstep of man or beast was to be seen, though here and there a slight rise showed that some harder substance had offered an impediment to the drifting sand. After toiling onwards for half an hour at a very slow pace, we came upon a horse’s head just rising from the sand. He had died probably in attempting to extricate himself. Several heaps showed that others—human beings, too probably—also lay beneath.

They, at all events, were beyond all help. The horse I recognised, from the head-trappings, as belonging to the officer commanding the party. We were passing on, when we observed, a little on the right, a man extended on his back. A movement of his arm showed me that he was not dead, and that probably he was endeavouring to call our attention to himself.

“Though he is one of those who showed no pity to the poor Indians, we must try what we can do for him,” said my father; and we turned our horses towards him.

As he saw us approach, he mustered all his strength and tried to rise.

“Water, water!” he muttered. “In mercy give me a drop of water!”

It was the cruel officer himself. Still he was a fellow-creature. We had a small portion of water in the flask. We might want it ourselves, but still we could not leave him thus to die. So I dismounted, and approached him with the flask, while my father held my horse, who showed signs of an eagerness to rush on to the oasis we had discovered. The officer, when he saw the flask, would have seized it, and drained off the whole of its contents; but I held it back, and pouring out a few drops in the cover, let them trickle down his throat. I thought of what Ithulpo had said of water being of more value often than gold. Truly those drops were more precious to the dying man; they had the effect of instantly reviving him. Brightness came back to his glazed eyes, his voice returned, and he was able to sit up, and even to make an attempt to rise on his feet; but to do so was more than his strength would allow.

“Give me more water or I shall die,” he said as he saw me replacing the flask in my pocket. “My rascally troopers have deserted me, to try and save their own worthless lives, and I have only you foreigners to depend on.”

“I cannot give you more water,” I answered. “I have but a few drops left to moisten my father’s and my own lips.”

“O leave them for me. I will give you your liberty, I will give you all I possess in the world, for that small flask of water,” he exclaimed. “You will not require it, for beneath yonder trees, in the distance, you will find a fountain where you may drink your fill. Have mercy, stranger, have mercy!”

It was difficult to withstand the poor wretch’s earnest appeal. I poured out a little more water, which he drank off at once. I then gave him a small lump of cocoa; and scraping up a heap of sand, I placed him leaning against it, so that he might feel any breath of air which might blow; promising faithfully to return to bring him to the oasis, if we were fortunate enough to reach it in safety.

“But the voracious condors and the lions will come and destroy me, if I remain here during the night alone,” he shrieked out. “O take me with you, generous Englishman, take me with you!”

To do this was utterly impossible. My horse could scarcely carry me, much less another person in addition.

“Come, David,” said my father; “you have done your utmost for this miserable man. We risk our own lives by further delay.”

In spite, therefore, of the entreaties of the Spaniard, I again mounted my horse. It just then occurred to me that if he had his pistols, he might defend himself against any wild beasts. On my offering to load them for him, he told me that he had thrown them away. So I gave him one of my own, with a little ammunition, that he might reload it, if required. He seized the weapon eagerly as I presented it.

“Then you will not stay to help me, or carry me with you!” he exclaimed fiercely as I rode off. “You will not!—then take that;” and levelling at me the pistol which I had just given, he fired. The ball just grazed my side, but did no further mischief.

“The poor wretch is delirious with fear,” observed my father, when he found that I was uninjured. “Let us ride on.”

On we rode, but though we made some progress, the oasis was still in appearance as far off as when first seen. The sun was sinking rapidly—it reached the horizon—it disappeared; the short twilight changed into the obscurity of night; and the beacon by which we had hitherto directed our course was no longer to be seen. The stars, however, shone brightly forth; and I had marked one which appeared just above the clump of trees. By that we now steered, though, I had too soon strong proof, the instinct of our horses would have led them towards the oasis without our guidance. Although it was night, the heat was intense; our throats were dry, our lips were parched, and we were experiencing all the terrible sensations of intolerable thirst. We had kept the remnant of the water for a last resource, in case we should not reach the fountain.

I think that for nearly another hour we had ridden on, my father not having spoken a word all that time, when to my horror, without any warning, he fell heavily from his horse. His hands had let go the reins, and the animal, relieved of his burden, set off towards the oasis. I threw myself from my horse. To lift him up and to pour some water down his throat was the work of a moment. It instantly restored him to consciousness. He appeared to have suffered no injury from his fall. While I was thus engaged, my horse escaped from me and set off after his companion. So engrossed, however, was I in tending my father, that I scarcely noticed the occurrence. It was, of course, utterly hopeless to attempt to recover the animals, and thus were we two left in the middle of the desert without a prospect of escaping.

O the horrors of that night! They can never be obliterated from my memory. At first I thought of attempting to reach the oasis by walking; but my father, though having sufficient strength to sit up, and, had he not lost his horse, to ride, felt himself utterly unable to accomplish the distance on foot. I had bitterly, indeed, to regret my momentary carelessness in allowing my horse to escape from me. It might have been the cause of my father’s and my destruction. I have often since thought, from being for one instant only off our guard, how much misery and ruin may occur—how much wickedness and suffering may be the result!

The air was still very sultry, and even the sand, on which we rested, was very hot. Our last drop of water was consumed. My father did not know it, but I had given it to him. I had begun to suffer dreadfully from thirst. My throat seemed lined with a coating like the face of a file, and my lips were hard and cracked; while the skin, from the drying effects of the sun, the wind, and the sand, was peeling off my face. My father did not feel so much pain as I did; but my strength, I fancied, had in no way failed me, and I thought that, if I had kept my horse, I could easily have walked by his side till we reached the fountain we expected to find. We sat for some time without speaking. The stars were shining in undimmed brilliancy above our heads from the dark blue sky; not a breath of air was stirring, not a sound was heard. I never endured a silence so profound, so solemn, and so painful. For a time I almost fancied that I had become deaf. At length my father’s voice, which sounded deep and hollow, convinced me of the contrary.

“David,” he said, “I must not let you, my boy, remain here to die. You may still be able during the night to reach the oasis, and the cool of the morning will bring you renewed strength. If you reach it in safety, you are certain to find our horses there, and you can return with them and the flasks full of water to me. I feel quite certain that I can hold out till then.”

I scarcely knew what to answer my father. Though I thought that I might possibly reach the oasis, I saw the great difficulty there would be in again finding him, without any means in that vast plain of marking his position; and I felt far from confident that his strength would endure till my return.

“No, father,” I answered; “I cannot leave you now. I should not find you again, so that my going would not preserve you; and I will therefore stay and share your fate.”

I need not mention all the arguments my father used to persuade me to leave him, and how I entreated him to allow me to remain. At last he consented that I should stay with him till just before daybreak, which is in that, as in most climates, the coolest time generally of the twenty-four hours. He then proposed that I should plant my whip, with a piece of handkerchief tied to the end of it, on the top of the highest rock or piece of ground I should find near, to serve as a mark for his position, should he not by that time have sufficiently recovered his strength to set out with me.

“Perhaps I may be able to accompany you part of the way, and then you will have a less distance to return to look for me,” he observed.

As he spoke, however, I could not help remarking, with grief, that there was a hollow tone in his voice which betokened failing strength, while his words were uttered with pain and difficulty. I could too well judge of his sensations by my own; and gladly would I have given the room full of gold which the unfortunate Inca, Atahualpa, promised to the greedy Spaniards, for a flask of water to quench the burning thirst which was consuming us.

Hour after hour passed away, as we sat side by side on the sand. We spoke but little; indeed I soon fell into a state of dreamy unconsciousness, which was not sleep, though at the same time I could not be said to be awake. All sorts of strange sights passed before me, and strange noises sounded in my ears, though I was sensible that they were not realities. I saw horses galloping before me, some with riders, and others wild steeds with flowing manes. Troops of Indians came by in their feathers and gay dresses, and soldiers marched past with colours flying and bands playing; and hunters, and dogs, and animals of every description. Indeed there appeared no end to the phantom shapes which met my sight.

In vain I endeavoured to arouse myself. A weight I could not throw off pressed me to the ground. I cannot more particularly describe my sensations; I only know that they were very dreadful. I was aware that my father was near me, and that I wished to preserve him from some danger; but I thought sometimes that we were at sea on a raft; at others, that we were sliding down a snowy mountain, and that, though I tried to catch some of the snow in my hand to cool my tongue, it vanished before it reached my mouth; and then I felt that we were sinking into the earth, which, as we sunk, grew hotter and hotter, till it scorched my skin, and I shrieked out with the pain. I started and lifted up my head; a pair of fierce glowing eyes met my view—a huge jaguar or tiger stood before me! We eyed each other for a moment with a fixed gaze. I was more astonished than alarmed; for owing to the state of stupor from which I had been aroused, I had not time to be aware of the peril in which we were placed. Fortunately, when I lay down, I had taken my pistol from my belt, and placed it by my side, ready to grasp it at a moment’s warning. My first impulse was to seize it; and while the jaguar still stood apparently considering whether he should spring upon me and carry me off to the mountains to serve him as a banquet, I lifted the weapon and fired it directly in his face. Startled by so unexpected a reception, instead of springing forward, he turned round with a roar of rage and pain, and galloped off across the desert.

The report of the pistol aroused my father, who could scarcely believe what had occurred. I regretted not having been able to kill the brute; for, driven to extremity as we were, we should eagerly have drunk his blood to attempt to quench our thirst. I reloaded my pistol in the expectation of his return; and grown desperate as I was, I almost hoped that he would do so, that I might have another chance of shooting him. The possibility of this served effectually to prevent me from again falling into a drowsy state, and I believe it was of essential service to me.

Another risk now occurred to me. Though at present perfectly calm, the wind might suddenly arise, and should we fall asleep, the sand might be drifted over us, and we should certainly be suffocated. No mariner, whose ship is drifting on an unknown lee-shore, ever more earnestly wished-for daylight than I did for the appearance of dawn, though I was afraid it could but little avail my poor father.

At length a faint streak appeared in the sky. It was a sign that we must attempt to proceed on our way or abandon all hope of escape. I called to my father, whose eyes were closed.

“Yes, my boy,” he answered, “I will come;” but when he attempted to rise, I saw that his strength was not equal to the exertion.

I felt also, when I tried, but little able to walk even by myself, much less to help him onward. Still the effort must be made. I got myself on my feet, and raised him also. We staggered onward in the direction, I supposed, of the oasis. With a melancholy foreboding, however, I felt that at the pace we were going we should never be able to reach it. Still I resolved not to give in. Onward we went like two drunken men. Every instant I thought we should fall to rise no more. I was certain that if I quitted my father, it would only be to die apart from him, when death would be doubly bitter. I could no longer see the star which had before guided us. Either clouds had obscured it, or a mist had arisen, or my eyes were growing dim. My father was pressing more heavily on my arm. I tried to support him, but my strength was insufficient. In the attempt we both fell together. All hope abandoned me.

“O God, protect my wife and children!” murmured my father.

I also tried to pray, but with difficulty I could collect my thoughts for a few moments together. I lifted myself on my knees by my father’s side, and raised his head from the sand. Daylight was now coming on, and with anguish I saw by the expression of his features that if aid was not speedily afforded, it would be too late to preserve his life.

Chapter Seven.

Hope revives—Lima and its scenes and characters.

As a shipwrecked seaman, on the wild rock in the middle of the ocean, anxiously scans the horizon to search for a sail in sight, so did I cast my eager gaze over the barren sandy waste, to discover if providentially any succour was at hand. The shades of night melting away before the rays of the sun, the wished-for oasis appeared in the distance; and by the marks on the sand, I could not doubt that we had been wandering away instead of approaching it. How eagerly I looked towards the spot where I believed the means of reviving our fast-failing strength could be found! As I gazed at it, it seemed to approach nearer, and tantalised me the more that I knew that I could not reach it.

The sun rose slowly and majestically in the sky, and his burning rays began again to strike down upon our heads. Still I kept my senses; but I felt that death must soon terminate my dear father’s sufferings, and mine as well. Once more I cast my glance round the horizon. I gazed steadily—I saw a dark object moving in the distance. O how earnestly I watched it! I could not be mistaken—it was approaching us. As it came on, I discerned the figure of a man on horseback. He was leading another animal with a load on his back. Now he seemed to be verging off to the right hand. He might pass and not observe us. I shouted; but it was folly to fancy that my feeble voice could reach him. Again he turned. I saw him dismount and stoop down on the sand. He stopped, however, but a minute, perhaps not so much, though to me it seemed an age, and he again mounted and came on. He was directing his course, I judged, for the oasis. As he came still nearer, I recognised Ithulpo, and he was leading our baggage mule. I could not doubt, also, but that he was searching for us. Again I tried to shout, but my voice failed me. I lifted up my hand and waved it above my head; but I could no longer stand upright, or I should have attracted his attention. He rode on. He had already passed, when he turned his head and caught sight of the handkerchief I was waving in my hand. He spurred on towards us. To spring from his horse, and to take one of the saddle-bags from the back of the mule, was the work of a moment. From the saddlebag he produced a skin of water. Without speaking, he poured out a cup, from which he allowed a few drops to fall into my father’s mouth. When once I felt it to my lips, I could not withdraw it till I had drained it to the bottom. The pure draught so much revived me that I could sit up and help Ithulpo to tend my father. This he did with the greatest care; but human care, alas! seemed to be of little avail. He loosened his dress to admit of perfectly free circulation; he then washed his mouth, and after bathing his temples, he allowed a few more drops to trickle down his throat. This judicious treatment had, after a time, the most beneficial effect. My father languidly opened his eyes, and attempted to sit up; and I saw that his first act of consciousness was to turn them towards me with an inquiring glance. Finding that I was alive, his countenance brightened; and after slowly drinking some more water, in the course of three or four minutes he revived sufficiently to propose proceeding on our way.

“Wait a little longer, Señor,” said Ithulpo. “Water has restored you to life, but you require food to give you strength; see, I have brought some.”

As he spoke, he opened a basket full of bread and dried meat, and several sorts of the most delicious and cooling fruit. There were figs and grapes and pomegranates, fragrant chirimoyas, yellow bananas, and several pine-apples; indeed many others too numerous to name.

Never shall I forget the exquisite delight with which I ate the first fig Ithulpo handed to me. It cooled my burning thirst more than all the water I had swallowed, and served both for meat and drink. It was a large soft fig with a white pulp. I instantly put out my hand for another, and he gave me a black fig with a red pulp, which vied with the first in excellence. Then he handed me a bunch of juicy grapes, but I still asked for more figs; and when I had finished as many as he thought were good for me, he tore open a chirimoya, and let me eat its snow-white juicy fruit. Outside it did not look tempting, for the skin, though green, was tough and hard, and covered with black spots. The platanos or bananas were cooked; and though I could not have swallowed a piece of dry bread, I was enabled to eat some of them with much relish. Altogether, never was a repast eaten with greater appetite, or, I may add, with more gratitude; for it certainly was the means of preserving my father’s life as well as mine. Ithulpo had taken the precaution to tether the animals, so that they could not escape; and as he sat by us, distributing the food, he informed us of what he had done after we had lost sight of him in the sand-storm.

“You must know, Señores,” he began, “I was so busy in liberating my poor countrymen from the ropes which bound them, that I did not observe which way you were taking. I shouted after you to turn back, but you did not hear me; and then the dreadful sand-cloud came on, and it was too late. I am well acquainted with this dreadful desert, and I was aware that we were out of the right path; but I also knew where that path was; so, as soon as all the poor fellows were free, we set off towards it. They were all well able to run without the ropes, and out of sight of our tyrants. Fortunately the sand-cloud wheeled round before it reached us, and we were safe.

“You must know that on the previous night I had stowed away the wine-skins full of water in your portmanteaus, and I thus had enough to give a good draught to each of the men, and to my beasts also. Our first care was then to get out of the desert. I knew where the ground was hard, so I led them to it, and we then could travel at a fast rate. About a league beyond where we were, there is a fountain of pure water gushing up out of a hard black rock. Here we were all able to refresh ourselves; and still a little farther on, marks are to be seen, by which I could direct my companions how to escape from the desert. They quickly availed themselves of my advice, and are now on their way to hide themselves among the mountains, where there is no fear of the Spaniards searching for them.”

“But what did you do, my friend?” I asked, stretching out my hand for another bunch of tempting grapes.

“Just as I was parting from them I saw a party of fruit-sellers crossing the desert, with several mules laden with fruit. I purchased some, as also some bread and baked platanos, and then set off to search for you. I knew, by the feel of the atmosphere, that there would be no more sand-storms; and hoped, it you had escaped that of yesterday, to find you. I know my way across any part of the desert blindfold, for I can tell by the smell of the sand alone where animals have before passed. As soon as it was daylight I returned to where I last had seen you. I saw where the sand-cloud had settled down, forming huge mounds, beneath which many of the Spaniards, I found, lay overwhelmed. At last I fell in with the tracks of your two horses. I guessed they were yours, for I thought the Spaniards would have kept together. I followed them up steadily. I came to where you had found the Spanish officer, and given him a pistol with which to defend himself.”

“What, did he tell you so?” I asked, interrupting Ithulpo.

“Oh no; his voice has ceased for ever,” he replied, with a dark smile. “He had been dead some time, and the fowls of the air were feeding on him; but I knew him by his dress, and I recognised your pistol, which he had fired. Here it is. I next reached the spot where you dismounted, and your horses had run away. I began to fear that I was too late to save you; and when following up the track of your footsteps, I saw that a number of the Spanish cavalry had escaped, and had gone towards yonder clump of trees. Several have fallen in the way, as the wings of the condors I could see flapping above the ground, one beyond the other, told me plainly. And now, Señores, it is time to mount and proceed. Two hours’ riding beyond those trees will carry us free of the desert; and may you never again enter it without a proper guide.”

My father rode Ithulpo’s horse; and while I clambered upon the back of the baggage mule, he walked. It was almost as hot as on the previous day; but I kept my mouth cool by occasionally eating a grape, and sometimes one of my favourite figs; and with little suffering we drew near the oasis.

“Are you not afraid of falling into the hands of the Spaniards, and of being accused of liberating their prisoners?” I asked.

He looked up, and, smiling significantly, answered. “I tell you, Señor, not one of our enemies live to bear false witness against us. I have marked among yonder trees signs not to be mistaken of their fate.”

I asked no further questions. We passed, as we rode along, several bodies of horses and men; and as we approached the trees, Ithulpo shouting with all his might, several condors rose slowly on the wing, and a huge tiger stalked slowly away, looking round every now and then at us with an angry glance, for having disturbed him at his repast. I thought I recognised him as the monster who had paid us a visit during the night; and I have no doubt that he was the same.

I can scarcely describe the dreadful scene which met our sight as we at length reached the longed-for oasis. In the centre existed a small shallow pool, filled by a stream which bubbled up through the earth. It would allow scarcely more than a dozen horses to drink therein at a time. We at once perceived what had occurred. The survivors of the cavalry had reached it in a body. Some of the front ranks, both horses and men, overcome by weakness, had, in their attempt to drink, fallen in, and prevented the others from getting their mouths to it. The first lay trampled on and drowned, making the once clear pool a mass of mud and filth. The rear ranks, rushing over them, had died of raging thirst, in sight of the water which might have saved them. Both men and horses were mingled in a dreadful heap, torn and mangled by the birds and beasts of prey. We crossed as rapidly as we could to the other side of the oasis, where Ithulpo produced a skin full of clear water from one of the saddle-bags.

“We must not disappoint our poor beasts,” he observed, as he gave them to drink.

Just then the horse my father rode gave a neigh. It was answered from a distance; and to our no little satisfaction and astonishment, our two horses were seen trotting up towards the oasis. They had evidently been prevented taking shelter in the oasis by the presence of the tiger, but had kept in the neighbourhood, in the hopes of his taking his departure. Ithulpo at once enticed them to him by the offer of water, which they drank eagerly; and having secured them, after allowing them to crop a little of the grass which grew beneath the shade of the trees, we mounted, and prepared to recommence our journey. As we left the now polluted oasis, Ithulpo looked carefully round to examine the traces on the sand, and declared that of all those who had reached the spot, not one had left it.

“A just vengeance has overtaken the tyrants who yesterday so cruelly ill-treated us, Señores,” he remarked. “I knew it would be so. We may now, without fear, proceed to Lima.”

In two hours we reached the confines of the desert, and once more got among streams, and trees, and cultivated fields. We slept that night at an Indian village, where Ithulpo’s influence procured us a warm reception; and after a rest of two days, we proceeded on our journey to Lima. As we rode along a fine straight road, shaded by an avenue of lofty willows, peculiarly grateful in a hot climate, we at length came in sight of the steeples and domes of the far-famed city of Lima, with the blue ocean on one side of us, and the interminable ranges of the snowy Cordilleras reaching to the sky on the other.

“What a magnificent city!” I exclaimed. “Well worthy, indeed, does it appear of its great founder, the conqueror Pizarro.”

“Wait till we get within the walls before you pronounce an opinion,” remarked my father. “Like the deeds of the founder, it gains more admiration when observed at a distance than when examined closely. We admire Pizarro when we regard alone the wonderful conquest he achieved; but when we learn the wrongs, the injustice, the misery he inflicted, the blood he spilled, and the ruin he caused, he and his companions appear monsters of iniquity, worthy of detestation rather than admiration.”

We entered the city by a handsome gateway, and immediately found ourselves in a long street, with low, mean, ruinous houses on either side. The houses had porches in front, and patios or court-yards. The shops were small, with their goods placed on tables at the doors; there was no glass to the windows, and no display of articles of commerce. The street was badly paved, though there was a rough footway on each side. The walls of many of the houses were composed of double rows of bamboo, but some were of brick; the roofs were flat, and very few of the houses had two stories. As we rode on, however, the appearance of the place improved; and in and near the principal square I observed some fine buildings, with handsomely ornamented façades, and many fine churches and convents; but altogether I had to own that the outside beauty was sadly deceptive.

The streets were crowded with persons of every variety of costume, and every hue of skin; from the people of Northern Europe, and the bright-complexioned native of Biscay, to the red Indian and the jet-black African. Some were on horseback, and others in carriages of very clumsy and antique construction; and of the lower order, some were riding on mules and donkeys, and others were driving animals laden with ice from the mountains, skins of brandy, and fruits and provisions of every description. Among this motley crowd we forced our way, till we reached the house of my father’s agent, a Spanish merchant, Don José Torres de Santillan by name, a very honest and good man.

As the plan of his house was similar to that of most of the larger dwellings in Lima, I will describe it. In what may be called the front of the house were two doors; one, the azaguan, was the chief entrance, and the other led to the coach-house. By the side of the azaguan was a small room with a grated window, where the ladies of the family were fond of sitting to observe the passers-by. This building formed the street side of a spacious court-yard or patio, on either side of which were a number of small rooms, and on the farther side was the dwelling-house, round which ran a balcony. In it were numerous doors; the largest opened into the sala or hall, which was furnished with several net hammocks, a row of chairs, and two sofas; while straw-matting covered the floor. Inside of it was a smaller well-furnished room, called the quadro, which was the usual reception-room; and beyond it were the dining and sleeping rooms, and the nursery. They all opened into an inner court-yard, the walls of which were ornamented with fresco paintings; and part of it was laid out as a flower-garden, with a fountain in the centre. From it one door led to the kitchen, and another to the stable. The windows were mostly in the roof, as were those in Pompeii and many ancient cities; indeed it was very similar to the plan of building followed in the south of Spain.

On hearing of our arrival, Don José hurried out and received us with the greatest attention. Our animals were led off to the stables by a number of servants, and we were conducted to the quadro, where he instantly ordered refreshments to be brought. We begged leave in the mean time to be allowed to change our dusty dresses. On our return we found hammocks slung, in which our host invited us to rest ourselves. In a hot climate there cannot be a more luxurious couch than a net hammock, as it allows the air to circulate freely round the body in the coolest part of the room. The softly-stuffed sofa of an English or French drawing-room would be insufferable. A young negress slave then brought in a tray with cups, into which she poured out some chocolate, making it froth up till they overflowed, and then handed them round to us. Cigars were next offered to us, and we smoked them till suppertime.

For this meal we adjourned to the dining-room, where our host insisted on waiting on us. It was a repetition of dinner, which the family had taken according to custom at two o’clock. The wife of Don José, and her maiden sister and three daughters, pretty, palefaced, black-eyed girls, with hair like the raven’s wing, were present, as were the family priest and two gentlemen, cousins of our host. We first had an insipid kind of soup, and then their principal dish, called puchero. It contained all sorts of meats and vegetables mixed up together—beef, pork, ham, bacon, sausage, poultry, cabbage, yuccas camotes (a sort of potato), potatoes, rice, peas, chochitas (grains of maize), quince, and banana. The meat was brought in on one dish and the vegetables on another, and they were afterwards mixed to suit our individual tastes.

At the same time a dish of picante was served. It was composed of dried meat and some pounded roots, highly seasoned with cayenne pepper, and coloured with grains of the achote, which gave it a brilliant vermilion tint. After the meat, a sort of pudding was brought in, consisting of a great variety of fruits stewed in water,—a dish I cannot praise; and then followed a dessert of delicious fresh fruits and sweet cakes, which were washed down by a tumbler of fresh water. Such is the usual dinner of a gentleman’s family in Lima. A little light sweet wine was the only liquor drunk, though in compliment to the supposed taste of our countrymen, strong wine, brandy, and other spirits were placed before us. After dinner the servant brought in a piece of lighted charcoal and a tray of cigars, which the men and the elder ladies smoked with much apparent relish; but my three fair friends declined using them.

I soon became perfectly intimate with these young ladies. They were troubled with no tiresome bashfulness to keep them silent, and they were full of life and spirits; so we rattled away in conversation in the most agreeable manner, till it was announced that some guests had arrived, and were waiting in the sala to commence dancing. Musicians appeared, and, with much spirit, boleros, fandangos, and cachuchas, and other dances, well-known in Old Spain, were commenced and kept up for some hours. As we were in the height of the amusement, the cathedral bell struck three slow measured sounds, the signal of the Oration. It was repeated by the belfries of all the churches in the city. Instantly, as if by magic, every movement was suspended. Each one said the evening prayer in a low whisper, and then made the sign of the cross; those of most consequence turning to the persons near them, uttering the words buenas noches (good night), which was repeated by all present. It is a simple but beautiful custom, and is intended to remind people of their duty to God in whatever occupation they may be engaged. It may often do good; but unless people are possessed of the true spirit of piety, custom will make them callous, and it will fail to have any beneficial effect.

I have observed this custom in many other Roman Catholic countries. In a public place full of people of different ranks, the effect is still more curious. The lively conversation of the smart lady and the gallant cavalier is cut short, the donkey-driver with uplifted arm ceases to belabour his beast, the oath dies on the lips of the rough seaman or uncouth black, the workman drops his tool, the shopman lays down his measure, children refrain from their play, men quarrelling suspend their dispute, lazy monks engaged in their constant game of draughts neglect to make the intended move, vendors of fruit no longer utter their cries, and one and all engage in silent prayer till the bell has ceased to toll, and then in a moment the noise and bustle of active life once more goes on.

When I retired to my room for the night, not a little tired with my exertion, Ithulpo made his appearance.

“How long, Señor, may I ask, does your father purpose remaining here?”

“Some short time; a week or two perhaps,” I replied, rather surprised at his question.

He went to the door and looked cautiously out, and then, speaking almost in a whisper, as if he were afraid the walls might convey the intelligence, he said—

“You have a mother and sisters and young brothers at your home in the mountains. As you love them, press your father not to remain here longer than you can help. Two or three days at furthest is all you should take, and then by travelling fast we may arrive in time. My orders are to accompany you to your home; but I tell you that it shortly will no longer be a place of safety for you or those you love. More I may not say.”

“You have already been of infinite service to us, Ithulpo; and I know that you would not, without good reason, alarm us; but cannot you tell me more particularly what sort of danger we have to apprehend?” I asked.

He shook his head as he answered—

“Indeed, Señor, I cannot; and you must caution your father not to give a hint to any one of what I have said, or the worst consequences may follow. I rely on your discretion.”

I promised to be cautious, and Ithulpo, saying that he would call me at an early hour as I desired, left me. Tired as I was, I could not for a long time go to sleep, but continued thinking of what Ithulpo had told me, and trying to discover to what he alluded. I heard my father enter his room, which was next to mine, but I would not run the risk of depriving him of his night’s rest by telling him of what I had heard.

As my object is not only to describe my own personal adventures, but to present my readers with a picture of Peru as it was at the time I speak of, I will now give a short description of Lima, the capital. Lima stands on the river Rimac, from a corruption of which word its name is derived. The valley through which the river runs is called by the Indians Rimac Malca, or the place of witches; from the custom they had formerly of banishing there persons accused of witchcraft. The city was founded by Pizarro soon after the conquest. He there built a palace for himself, in which he was assassinated by Almagro. He called his beloved Lima, La Ciudad de los Reyes, from its being founded on the day of the Epiphany. I always think of Pizarro with much more satisfaction when I contemplate him engaged in the peaceful occupation of laying out the city, and superintending the labours of the workmen, than when I regard him as the blood-stained conqueror of a race who had given him no cause of offence. He laid the foundation of the city on the 8th of January 1534, and was murdered on the 26th of June 1541.

Besides the river Rimac, which runs through the city, there are a number of small streams, which add much to the cleanliness of the streets, and serve to irrigate the gardens, and to feed the fountains and canals which adorn them. The ground on which it stands slopes towards the sea; the great square, or plaza mayor, near the centre, being about four hundred and eighty feet above its level.

The climate is agreeable, as the heat is seldom very excessive; but as there are several marshes and swampy places in the vicinity, fevers and agues are common. In summer a canopy of clouds hangs over it, which mitigates the heat of the sun; but rain very seldom falls throughout the year. Earthquakes occur nearly every year, and some have caused most devastating effects.

Lima is about two miles long from east to west, and a mile and a quarter broad. The streets are all straight, and about twenty-five feet wide, and there are no less than one hundred and fifty-seven quadras or open spaces. It is enclosed by walls built of adobes, sun-dried bricks made of clay and chopped straw. These bricks are considered better calculated than stone to resist the shocks of earthquakes. The walls are about twelve feet high and ten thick at the bottom, narrowing to eight at the top, with a parapet of three feet on the outer edge. It is flanked by thirty-four bastions, and has seven gates and three posterns. On the south-east is the citadel of Santa Catalina, with small guns mounted on it. Across the Rimac is a bridge of stone with fine arches, leading to the suburb of San Lazaro. This bridge is the favourite evening resort of the citizens. There are a number of churches, with handsome fronts of stone, and lofty steeples, which must be strongly built not to be overthrown by the earthquakes.

Lima contained about 80,000 inhabitants, of whom 20,000 were whites, and the rest negroes, Indians, and various half-castes. There were sixty-three noblemen who enjoyed the title of count or marquis, and about forty who were noble without titles. The Spaniards considered themselves belonging to a race of beings far above the native Indians, or even the Creoles; and would much more readily give their daughters in marriage to a poor countryman of their own than to a rich American-born person. The people of Lima are much addicted to gambling, especially the higher orders; but public gambling-houses are not allowed. The white inhabitants have sallow complexions, with little or no colour on their cheeks. The ladies have generally interesting countenances, with good eyes and teeth, and a profusion of black hair. The walking-dress of females of all ranks is the saya y manto. The saya consists of a petticoat of velvet, satin, or stuff, generally black or of a cinnamon tint, plaited in very small folds. It sits close to the body, and shows the shape to advantage. At the bottom it is so narrow that the wearer can only make very short steps. The skirt is ornamented with lace, fringe, spangles, or artificial flowers. The ladies of higher rank wear it of various colours, purple, pale blue, lead colour, or striped. The manto is a hood of thin black silk, drawn round the waist and then carried over the head. By closing it before, they can hide the face, one eye alone being visible, or sometimes they show only half the face. A gay shawl thrown over the shoulders and appearing in front, a rosary in the hand, silk stockings, and satin shoes, complete the costume. It seems intended to serve the purpose of a domino, as the wearer can thus completely conceal her features. At the present day, however, the European costume has been generally adopted. They delight in possessing a quantity of jewellery; but they appear to be still fonder of perfumes and sweet-scented flowers, and spare no expense in procuring them.

The Indians who reside in Lima endeavour to imitate the Spanish Creoles in dress and manners. They are chiefly engaged in making gold and silver lace, and other delicate gold work; while some are tailors and vendors of fruit, flowers, and vegetables.

The African Negroes are numerous, and, though slaves, are well treated by their masters. Those of the same tribe or nation find each other out, and form a sort of club or association, called a Confradia. They generally hold their meetings in the suburbs on a Sunday afternoon. At the time I speak of, there was an old slave-woman who had lived in a family for nearly fifty years, and who was the acknowledged queen of the Mandingoes. She was called Mama Rosa; and I remember seeing her seated at the porch of her master’s house, when a number of her black subjects who were passing knelt before her, and kissing her hand in a true loyal fashion, asked her blessing. Her mistress had given her a silver sceptre, and the young ladies of the family would lend her jewels, artificial flowers, and other ornaments; bedecked in which, on certain days, she would be carried off by her subjects in great state, her sceptre borne before her, to the house of the Confradia, where a throne was prepared to receive her. Here she held a regular court, when as much respect was shown her as to any sovereign in Europe. I shall have to speak of her again.

The next morning at an early hour Ithulpo called me, and accompanied me through the city. On my return I took an opportunity of telling my father what I had heard. He treated the subject lightly, observing that the Indians were very fanciful; at the same time, that he was anxious to return home as soon as he could arrange the affairs for which he had visited Lima. However I observed the following day, either from some information he had received, or from something Ithulpo had said to him, that he had begun to think more seriously of the matter, and he desired me to make preparations for our departure.

While strolling out in the afternoon, I happened to pass the abode of Mama Rosa, the black queen of the Mandingoes. A large crowd of negroes were assembled before the door, decked in all the finery they could command. They wore garments of all fashions and of every gay-coloured hue imaginable—the women with wreaths of flowers round their heads, and necklaces of coral and beads on their necks and arms. There were silk coats a century old, and round jackets, and shirts, blue, red, yellow, and white; and naval and military uniforms curiously altered to suit the taste of the wearer—not an uncommon mode of wearing trousers being round the neck instead of on the legs, with the upper part hanging down the back, and the lower on either side in front like a shawl. Some acted the part of guards of honour, and others appeared as ministers of state. A select body bore a sort of palanquin or litter, which they placed before the door till Mama Rosa descended into the street, when she was conducted with great ceremony to her seat in it. She was very old and ugly; but her subjects did not love her the less for that. Her dress was resplendent with flowers and jewels, and all the ornaments she could hang about herself.

A band was in attendance, the instruments of which were somewhat curious. The most important was a drum, made of a section of the trunk of a tree, with the skin of a kid drawn over one end. Another was a bow, the string being of catgut, which was struck with a small cane. A third was the jaw-bone of an ass with the teeth loose in the socket, and which, when struck by the hand, made a capital rattle. If there was not much harmony in the music, there was plenty of noise, which was not a little increased by the voices of a party of singers, who frisked about before the sovereign’s state carriage as she advanced. The sceptre-bearer stepped out with her majesty’s insignia of office in his arms, looking back as he did so to ascertain that the queen was following. Her people shouted, the palanquin-bearers moved on, the band struck up a negro sort of “God save the Queen,” and away they all went towards the quarters of the Confradia. I followed to see the end of the ceremony. After passing through a number of narrow and somewhat dirty streets, with the houses built of bamboo and mud, we reached the palace, for so I may call it. The hall was of good size, and the walls were ornamented with what I suppose were intended for likenesses of other sable monarchs. If they were correct, I am compelled to own that the royal Rosa’s predecessors, both ladies and gentlemen, were a very ugly set of personages. The band played louder, and the people shouted more vehemently, as her majesty ascended the throne at the end of the hall. She seemed perfectly at home, and sat down with right royal dignity. The sceptre-bearer presented the sceptre. She seized—it in her right hand and waved it around to command silence. Her ministers of state formed on either side of the throne, and doffed their cocked hats, or straw hats, or hats with three corners, or their red caps, or whatever covering adorned their heads. She then made them a speech, which I have no doubt was much more original than the Queen’s speech in England, but as I did not know a word of the Mandingo language, I was not much the wiser for it. When it was concluded, her Chancellor of the Exchequer made a report of the financial condition of her kingdom, while her Home Secretary described the good behaviour of her subjects, and her Minister for Foreign Affairs assured her that she was on good terms with all her neighbours. This part of the business being concluded, they squatted down about the throne, and filling their pipes with tobacco, began to smoke; while her other subjects, one by one, stepped forward, and dropping on both knees, each one gave her hand a kiss, not bashfully as if they were afraid of it, but with a hearty smack, which sounded through the hall. Her ancient majesty in return bestowed a blessing on them, and told them all to behave well; and especially to be contented with their lot, if their masters and mistresses treated them kindly. After the speech, all the people shouted, and the musicians struck up a magnificent flourish with the drums, and the bows, and the jaw-bones of the asses; and if there was not much harmony, there was a great deal of enthusiasm. Several slaves then stepped forward, and preferred complaints against their masters for ill-treatment.

The Queen listened to them attentively, and I thought seemed to judge their cases very judiciously. To some she replied, that it was through their own neglect of their duty that they had been punished. Others she advised to bear their ill-treatment patiently, and to endeavour, by zeal and attention to the wishes of their masters, to soften their tempers, and to gain their good-will; but there were two or three who had been treated so barbarously and unjustly, that she promised them that the Confradia should make every effort to purchase their freedom.

“You shall be freed,” she observed; “but remember you will have to work as hard as you have ever before done, to repay the Confradia the money they have advanced for your emancipation.”

These were not exactly her words, but what she said was to this effect.

The serious business of the day being over, the negroes and negresses set to work to dance; and though I cannot speak much of the grace they exhibited, I never saw any human beings frisk and jump about with so much agility. Who would have thought they were for the most part slaves, groaning under their chains? Never did dancers enter more thoroughly into the spirit of dancing. The black beaus did not waste their time in talking or doing the amiable to their sable partners; nor did the latter seem to expect any such attention—they came to dance, and their great aim seemed to be to get through as much of it as the time would allow. As I looked on I could scarcely refrain from rushing into the sable throng, and joining them in their frisks and jumps; though I dare say, had I done so they would have considered me a very contemptible performer. At length the Queen’s chamberlain clapped his hands, and gave notice that the court must break up, as her majesty was desirous of retiring to attend to her duties in putting to bed the children of her mistress to whom she was nurse. The bearers of her palanquin came forward, the Queen stepped into it, the sceptre-bearer marched before it, the band struck up their loudest tune, the people shouted till they were hoarse, and the procession returned in due state to old Mama Rosa’s abode; where, like Cinderella when the clock had struck twelve, she was again converted into the old negro nurse.

I give but a very brief account of our return journey, which commenced the next day, just in time to avoid the ill effects of an earthquake which gave Lima a fearful shaking, we being, when it took place, in the open country. For the latter part of our journey we rode on in perfect silence. Ithulpo seemed as well acquainted with the road as I was. By degrees the valley opened out, and the white walls of our house became visible. With beating hearts we ascended the mountain. We reached the court-yard and leaped from our horses. Well-known voices greeted us. My mother rushed out, my brothers and sisters followed. All, though becoming very anxious for our return, were well and in safety. José had returned just before, but nothing would induce him to say what had occurred to him. He asserted that he had been left behind by us from his own wish, through illness, and that he was only just sufficiently recovered to perform the journey home. Ithulpo declared his intention of remaining three or four days, till he could hear from his chief what he was to do; and of course, after the service he had rendered us, my father allowed him to act as he thought fit. I have now to describe some of the more eventful portions of my narrative.

Chapter Eight.

Our house attacked and defended.

My readers must endeavour to remember the description I gave of the situation of our house, at the commencement of my work. We were all seated in the same room in which the fugitive Manco first appeared to us. Our early dinner was just over; and though we did not indulge in the Spanish custom of the siesta, it was a time that we generally refrained from active exertion, and employed it in reading or some sedentary occupation. I had just laid down my book, and was looking out of the window down the valley, when on the lower country beyond, an unusual glitter of something which seemed to be moving along the road attracted my eye. I watched it attentively. Now the glittering object, which appeared in a long thin line, rose, and now it fell, as it wound its way over the uneven ground. At length I called my father’s attention to it. As soon as he saw it, his more practised eye knew what it was.

“A body of troops!” he exclaimed. “They are marching in this direction, and are probably bound across the mountain.”

We all now engaged in watching the advance of the soldiers, on whose bayonets the sun shining had first drawn my attention; and many were the surmises as to the reason of their coming to our remote locality. On they came, growing more and more distinct. First a dark mass appeared below the shining steel; then we perceived that it was composed of human beings, though still mingled together in a dense body. Next their banners and several officers on horseback were seen; and soon we could distinguish the hats and cross belts, and the colour of the uniform of the advanced guard. They were marching as rapidly as the nature of the ground would allow.

My father’s military ardour was aroused at the sight. He seized his hat and rushed out to a spot beyond the walls, whence he could command a clear view both up and down the valley. I followed him, and we stood together on the knoll watching the advancing troops. What was our surprise, however, to find, that instead of proceeding along the road over the mountains, the advanced guard began to mount the path leading to the height on which our house stood! At the same instant, happening to turn my head towards the mountain, I saw descending it, at a rapid pace, a person whom I recognised as Ithulpo. He rushed on, leaping from rock to rock at the risk of instant destruction. Nothing served to impede his course. Life and death depended on him. He had discovered the soldiers. For an instant he stopped, as if to consider whether he could reach us before they did. Then on again he came as fast as before. He was almost breathless when he arrived.

“Call in all the people, and shut the gates and doors!” he exclaimed, panting as he spoke. “The soldiers will destroy you all without mercy if they once gain an entrance. Hold out but a short hour or less, and a force will be here which will drive back our enemies to the sea.”

My father, astounded at what he heard, considered what was best to be done. The advanced guard was already nearly half way up the hill. If we attempted to block out the Spaniards, it would at once be acknowledging ourselves guilty of some crime; but if we let them in, unless Ithulpo deceived us, we might be subjected to ill-treatment. At the utmost, with the few servants and some Indians who happened to be in the house, we could not hope to hold out many minutes against the formidable force now approaching.

“Do you hesitate?” exclaimed Ithulpo vehemently. “I tell you, Señor, I speak the truth. Ah, there comes the army of the Inca! Death to the tyrants of Peru.”

As he spoke, he pointed up the mountain, when I saw, winding among the rocks, a large body of Indians. Every instant others appeared, till the surrounding heights and the whole gorge, through which the road wound, was covered with them. They rushed impetuously down the mountain side, a strong body making evidently for our house. The Spaniards, who had also discovered them, redoubled their efforts to climb the mountain, for the purpose, it was also very clear, of occupying the house before the Indians could reach it.

The Indians were armed with firelocks of every sort and size, and of curious antique forms, hoarded up with jealous care by father and son for many a long year, to be ready for the days of retribution, which they hoped had now arrived. A large proportion, however, had only clubs and spears, and bows and arrows, and slings of the same description as those used by their ancestors when they first encountered the Spaniards. To counterbalance in a degree their deficiency, they had a few light mountain guns, carried on the backs of mules, engines of warfare which their enemies did not suspect them of possessing.

Their costume also was equally a mixture of the ancient and modern. Some were dressed in skins, with their hair long, and the upper part of their bodies painted in many colours. These were some of the wild tribes from a distance, who had never been subdued. Others wore a sort of armour of leather or cotton, thickly padded, with shields of hides, and a profusion of feather ornaments; while most of those who carried firearms, and were from the more civilised districts, were clothed in garments of various coloured cottons, or had retained the ordinary dress of the present day. It must be understood that I learned most of these particulars afterwards, for they were still too far off for me to observe either their arms or dress.

On they came with the most terrific shouts, such as I did not think them capable of uttering. It appeared as if they were giving vent to their feelings of hatred and revenge, pent up for centuries. My father stood for an instant watching the two advancing forces, and considering what course to pursue to preserve his family from the dangers of the conflict which it was evident would soon be raging around us.

“Into the house, David,” he exclaimed; “Ithulpo’s advice must be followed. We will keep both parties out as long as we can.”

We were quickly inside the gates, and lost not a moment in calling the servants together, and in bolting and barring all the doors, and in putting up shutters to the windows. We found Ithulpo in the house. He said he had been ordered by his chief to remain with as till we were in safety. My mother, whom he had warned of what was about to occur, though alarmed for the safety of her children, did not lose her presence of mind, but went round encouraging the servants to remain firm and obey their orders. Ithulpo hurried here and there, directing and aiding the other men in preparing for a defence should the house be attacked.

In a few minutes all the arrangements which with the means at our disposal we could hope to make, were concluded; and I had time to look out from a loophole in the side of the roof, to see how near the two parties had approached. I first turned my eyes to the eastward towards the mountains, where, to my surprise, I found that the Indians, instead of rushing on at once to meet their enemies, had drawn up in battle array, quietly watching their advance. Had they come on at once, their numbers alone, it appeared to me, would have overwhelmed the Spaniards. They held a position, however, from which it would, I saw, be impossible to dislodge them, and effectually blocked up the passage across the mountain. Their appearance was very picturesque, from the variety of their costumes, and the numberless banners under which each cacique had mustered his followers. Conspicuous among them was one which I recognised as that of the Incas, once more raised to meet the hereditary foes of their race. I next looked down the valley. The advanced guard of the Spaniards had just reached the brow of the hill, and would, I calculated, in three or four minutes be close to our gates. Under these circumstances, an attempt to prevent them from entering the house would, of course, be considered an act of open defiance of the authority of the Spanish Government, which it would, I felt, be next to madness to make; and I therefore hurried down from my post to tell my father how matters stood.

“We have but one course to pursue,” he replied, when I told him what I had observed. “I will trust to your courage and judgment, David; I will stay to open our gates to the Spaniards, while you take charge of your mother and the children, and conduct them down by the secret passage which leads out at the side of the mountain. She has already packed up her jewels and the most portable valuables we possess. Go and prepare her to set out the moment the soldiers reach the gate. Collect some torches. Tell Ithulpo. He will accompany you, and protect you should you fall in with any straggling parties of Indians. I will endeavour to join you as soon as I can escape without being observed, which I very soon, I doubt not, shall have an opportunity of doing.”

“No, no, father, I will obey you in everything but that,” I replied. “Let me remain to receive the soldiers, while you escort my mother and brothers and sisters to a place of safety.”

I so earnestly argued the point, that at length my father saw that I was right; besides, as I observed, if the Spaniards accused us of siding with the rebels, I was much less likely, on account of my youth, to be ill-treated by them than he would be.

Scarcely had he agreed to my wishes, than a loud knocking was heard at the gates.

“Heaven protect you, my boy!” he exclaimed, as he hurried off to conduct my mother with the children and the females of the family down the secret passage.

So unexpectedly had the events I have described occurred, and so occupied had we been, that there was no time for leave-taking, scarcely even to comprehend the full extent of the danger to which we were exposed. There had been no weeping or lamentation, or any other sign of alarm; for the women, all looking up to my mother, and seeing her so fearless, seemed only anxious to follow her directions. I watched them crowding after her to the door of the passage. Some carried the children, and others baskets of provisions, and light articles of value which she wished to preserve. My father led the way, and Ithulpo and José brought up the rear with a bundle of torches.

As soon as they had disappeared, I ran towards the gates, calling on some of the remaining servants to assist me in opening them. Before, however, I had reached the gateway, the most terrific shouts and shrieks I had ever heard assailed my ears. I at once divined the cause. The Indians had at length understood the purpose of the Spaniards, and had made an advance to intercept them. The soldiers were now thundering at the gates, in an attempt to force them open, with the butt-ends of their muskets. On finding this, I naturally became alarmed, lest, as I withdrew the bars while they rushed in, they would trample me down, and perhaps kill me; yet I felt that it would be cowardly to expose others to a danger I was ready to avoid if I could. I therefore called on the servants to aid me in removing some of the stout bars and withdrawing the bolts, knowing that the people outside would quickly force open the rest.

“We are opening the gates, my friends,” I shouted. “Quick, quick!”

Scarcely had the bars been removed than the gates began to give way. We leaped aside into a recess of the hall, and the soldiers rushed in, uttering loud imprecations on us for having so long delayed them. Had they seen us, I believe they would have knocked us on the head; but fortunately they were in too great a hurry to take possession of the house to look for us. There were in all not more than a hundred men; a small garrison for so extensive a range of buildings. The rest of the troops had, I found, advanced up the mountain, in an attempt to force the passage across it. From the strong array of Indians I had seen posted there, I considered that in this they would be disappointed. The first thing the soldiers did on entering the house, was to find their way to that side facing the mountains. Some stationed themselves at the windows, through the shutters of which they forced holes to admit the muzzles of their muskets; while others took up a strong position in the court-yard, whence they could annoy the advancing enemy. Their hurried arrangements had scarcely been concluded, when the Indians in strong force rushed to the walls, uttering the most dreadful shouts of defiance and hatred. The Spaniards reserved their fire till they came close upon them. The word was given by the officer in command, and a volley was poured in upon them which proved fatal to many; yet the rest came on undauntedly to the attack. I had intended to have followed my family into the vaults, and I should have been wiser had I done so; but a strong desire to see the fight, not unnatural to one of my age and temper, kept me back; and having escaped the observation of the soldiers, I had clambered up to the roof, where, through a small window, I could see all that was going forward. It was a post I very soon found of considerable danger, for, when the Indians began to fire, the bullets came rattling about my head very thick. What had become of the Indian servants I could not tell; but I concluded that they had wisely betaken themselves to the vaults, or to some other place of safety.

I must observe that on either side the walls of the outbuildings and gardens extended across the hill to the summit of precipitous cliffs, so that the Indians could not get round to attack the house in the rear without clambering over these impediments. As, however, the line was very extended, it required great activity and vigilance on the part of the Spaniards to defend it. Several parties, of ten or fifteen men each, were employed in continually moving about from place to place whenever any of the enemy showed a disposition to scale the walls. The main attack of the Indians was, however, directed against the house itself; indeed it was only subsequently that any attempts were made at other points. The Indian chiefs showed the most undaunted bravery; and, though singled out by the Spaniards for destruction, they were always in the thickest of the fight, and exposed to the hottest fire. I looked in vain for my friend Manco; and at first I was afraid that he might have been killed, till it occurred to me that he was probably with the main body of the army defending the mountain pass.

I must now more particularly describe the scene as I beheld it from my lofty post. I could tolerably well tell what was going on inside, from the sounds which reached my ears. There was a gate in the east wall about the centre of the house, to force which the Indians in the first place directed their efforts, undaunted by the fire of the Spaniards, they brought up a sort of battering-ram, composed of the roughly-shaped trunk of a newly-felled tree, slung by ropes to men’s shoulders. They were led by a chief in the full war costume of the time of the Incas. Notwithstanding the showers of bullets flying round him, he remained unharmed, encouraging his followers by word and action to the assault. If one fell, his place was instantly supplied by another, till the battering-ram reached the gate. Several thundering blows were heard above the rattle of musketry, the shouts of the assailants, and the cries of the wounded, as the engine was set to work. The gate yielded to the blows, for it was old and decayed; and the Indians rushed in. Several fell pierced by the pikes of the Spaniards who guarded it, but many others pressed on, and the soldiers were driven back. The court-yard was soon filled, and at length the Peruvians met the hereditary enemies of their race, face to face, in a struggle for life and death. The Spaniards who had been left to guard the walls of the garden rallied, and attempted in a compact body to enter the house by one of the side doors; but the Indians threw themselves in their way, and attacked them with a courage I scarcely expected to see exercised. They rushed in upon them, some seizing the muzzles of their muskets, while others cut at them with their axes, or pierced them with their spears. The Spaniards endeavoured to preserve their discipline; but they were at length broken and separated into parties of twos and threes, surrounded by Indians, who filled the entire court-yard, so that the combatants were now engaged in hand-to-hand fights, when it was evident that numbers would gain the day. I had a strange longing, as I witnessed the dreadful scene, to rush down and join the fight. My sympathies were, I own, with the Indians; but still I felt if I had thrown myself among them, I might have sided with the weaker party. I did not, however, attempt to move. The very action would have called me to my senses, and reminded me of the folly of interference. A number of the Spaniards had fallen, and were instantly despatched and trampled on by the infuriated Indians. At last a few, by desperate efforts, again united, and fought their way up to the house; when some of the garrison, who had been anxiously watching them, made a sortie by a side door, and succeeded in keeping the enemy at bay, while the greater number, desperately wounded, retired inside. For a minute, from the rush the Indians made towards the door, I thought that they had succeeded in entering at the same time, and I expected to hear the sounds of strife below me; but the soldiers drove them back, and once more shut themselves in.

Meantime the assault on the front of the house was going on vigorously. An attempt was made to bring the battering-ram into play; but so many of the people working it were shot, that it was allowed to drop close to the wall. It served, however, as a sort of platform, from whence some of the Indians could throw their spears into the crevices of the windows, while others attempted to force them open with their clubs, and those armed with muskets continued a hot fire from the walls, and from every spot where they could find shelter. From the groans I heard from below, it was evident that many of the shots had pierced the shutters and wounded the defenders of the house.

While the scenes I have described were going on in my immediate vicinity, I observed that in the distance the main body of the Indians were engaged in a hot engagement with the troops who had marched towards the pass. The light artillery of the former, though of no use for distant firing, had been judiciously placed in commanding positions, and masked with breastworks of stone and earth hastily thrown up. Their fire was reserved till the Spaniards got close to them; then from each battery the iron shower went forth, sweeping through the ranks of the Spanish troops. I could see them waver and attempt to turn back; but urged on by their officers, they again advanced. A portion attempted to storm the heights on which the cannon were posted; but thousands of Indians were behind the batteries, and they were driven back with great slaughter. Still the rest marched on. Sometimes they were concealed from my sight, and I could only judge by the movements of the Indians on the higher ground that the fight was continuing; then again a turn of the path brought them once more in view. Their numbers were fast diminishing; but pride, and contempt for a race they had for so long been taught to despise, urged them forward. They fancied probably that they must prove victorious as soon as they could come into actual contact with their foes. They were now also fighting for life as well as honour; for if driven back, few would expect to escape after the reception they had already met with. Every instant, however, fresh bodies of Indians sprung up above and around them. On every height warriors were posted, every rock concealed an enemy.

My attention was now drawn off from the more distant scene by what was going on below me. The Indians having penetrated through the gardens, now entirely surrounded the house; and it required all the vigilance of those within to repel them. I could hear those below rushing about to each assailable point as their presence was most required; the officers shouted their orders, bullets rattled through the house, and the heavy blows of clubs and axes sounded on every side, while the whole house was filled with the smoke of the firearms. When, however, after some time, the Indian? found that they could not gain an entrance in this manner without great loss, they retired behind the outer walls of the garden, and a comparative silence succeeded to the previous din of warfare. It was but preparatory to another more desperate attempt. From the mountain side I saw a fresh body of men advancing, who bore among them ladders roughly formed out of young fir-trees. It was evident that they intended to climb to the roof for the purpose of making an entrance through it, and dropping down upon the garrison. I foresaw that if they did so, the sacrifice of life must be very great, though they would ultimately succeed; for the Spaniards could scarcely defend themselves if attacked from above as well as on every side.

I now began to repent of my folly in having remained behind; but as I had hitherto been unhurt by the bullets, which were striking the roof and walls on every side of me, I fancied that I should yet escape. I tried to consider what I had best do, and came to the conclusion that it would be wiser to remain where I was. If I should be recognised by any of the Indians, I had no fear of their injuring me; but in the confusion and heat of the fight I could scarcely expect to be so, and I felt that I must run all the risks of the assault if they should succeed in their object. I almost hoped that they would give up the attempt, and allow the Spaniards to escape. The success, however, of the main body of their army encouraged them to persevere.

As far as I could judge at that distance, the troops were completely hemmed in, and were fighting for their lives, not to advance, but to return down the mountain. Should the house be taken, all hopes of their so doing would be lost, as it would leave the besiegers at liberty to descend by the path leading to it, and to cut off all those who might escape.

I was not left long in doubt. By making a circuit to the left, the ladders were brought to a gable end of the house where there were no windows. The Spaniards must have seen the ladders, but they had no means of attacking those destined to mount them unless by making a sortie; and this, with their diminished numbers, they were probably afraid of attempting. The tramp of some men on the steps leading to the roof, showed me that they were aware of what was about to take place, but they were too late. The Indians had already begun to tear off the tiles, and the soldiers who appeared were received with the discharge of a dozen muskets close to their faces. Many fell; the rest attempted to retreat, and were precipitated to the floor below. The Indians swarmed up in numbers, and filled the whole upper story. I stood concealed in a small closet which had not been entered. Just then I perceived, besides the smoke of gunpowder, a cloud of greater density ascending through the floor, and a strong smell of burning wood.

“Merciful heaven!” I exclaimed, “the house is on fire!”

The Indians discovered what was the case at the same time, and rushed down the steps. I followed the last of them. I thought if I attempted to escape by the ladders, I might be mistaken for a Spaniard, and shot. The scene of fighting, bloodshed, and confusion, which met my sight below, passes all description. The combat was carried on by both sides with desperation, the chief aim of the Indians being to open the gates to their friends without, and that of the Spaniards to prevent them. In the confined space of the passages, the Indians had somewhat the advantage with their daggers or short swords, and their axes; and they continued fighting for a minute or more, but had, notwithstanding, made little progress, when, from the secret passage I have so often described, a band of half-naked warriors burst into the house, and uttering loud yells, set upon the Spaniards with the utmost fury. Several of the officers had been killed or severely wounded. Terror-stricken at these new opponents, the men gave way; some attempted to gain the roof, others to burst their way through the doors, though they must then have fallen into the hands of their enemies; but they had a new foe to contend with, as relentless as the former.

The fire, which had been smouldering in one of the rooms, burst forth as the doors were thrown open, and, fanned by the breeze, the fierce flames crept across the walls and along the rafters and ceiling. As the impending danger was perceived, many of the combatants ceased their strife, and victors and vanquished endeavoured to preserve their lives by flight; but some, worked up to fury, fought desperately on till the flames actually caught them in their toils, and claimed them for their victims. Others, with their clothes on fire, Spaniards and Indians mingled together, were seen rushing forth and calling on their friends for aid—on their foes for mercy. Mercy the Indians had never received, nor were they in a temper to grant it. As each Spaniard appeared he was cut down, or was else driven back into the flames, till, as I afterwards heard, not one remained alive of all those who had lately garrisoned the house.

In the meantime I had been watching an opportunity to escape. The fighting was still continuing with the greatest fury, the combatants passing before me, as alternately the Spaniards forced their way forward, or were again driven back by the Indians who poured into the building, while the raging flames gained possession of it; when, as the heat became so intense that I could no longer hold my post, and a space for an instant appearing clear before me, I darted forward amid the fire, the whistling bullets and the weapons of the combatants. I ran on in the hopes of reaching one of the doors at the west side of the house; but I was so blinded and stifled by the smoke, that I could scarcely see my way, or know what I was about. I fancied that I perceived before me a number of Indians. They were driving at the point of their spears several soldiers back into the fire that had reached that part of the house. With fierce gestures some of them advanced towards me. I tried to cry out and explain who I was, when, before the words were spoken, I was sensible of a sharp blow, it seemed on my side. The next instant I saw axes and swords glittering above my head. I sunk to the ground, and all consciousness passed from me.

Chapter Nine.

The Indian’s hut—alarming news.

When consciousness at length returned, a very different scene met my sight. I had an idea that something dreadful had occurred, but what it was I could not tell. My belief was, that I had been dreaming that I had witnessed a battle, that I had fallen from my horse and hurt myself, and that I had been lifted up and carried along on men’s shoulders to some distant place. I had an indistinct recollection of a face full of tenderness often bending over me; but whether it were white or red I could not tell, the expression only had made any impression on me. There was, however, so great a want of clearness and reality in what I have described, that when I once more began to collect my thoughts, I was unable to determine whether or not I had been dreaming all the time, and was still half asleep.

At length I opened my eyes, and discovered that I was lying under the shade of a small hut or wigwam, composed of the boughs of trees, and thatched carefully over with straw. My couch was on the ground; but it was a very soft one, for the bed was stuffed with a quantity of the fine wool of the vicuñas, and covered with a delicately woven woollen stuff.

The hut stood in an open space amid a forest of gigantic trees, such as a tropical clime can alone produce. Beyond were dark and frowning rocks, above which rose ridges of lofty mountains, one overtopping the other, till the more distant, covered with a mantle of everlasting snow, seemed lost in the clouds. The sky overhead was of intense blue; and through it sailed, with outstretched wings, a mighty condor, carrying in his talons a kid he had snatched from the valley below to his eyrie on the summit of the rugged cliffs in the distance. I watched the majestic bird as it sailed along, forgetful of my own condition, and wondering whether any one would be able to rescue the poor animal from its impending fate. On it went, growing smaller and smaller, till it became a mere speck in the sky, and then disappeared altogether.

This trifling circumstance served to arouse me, and I began to look about me with some attention. I discovered, at length, that the forest glade was not tenantless, for the part farthest removed from me was crowded with dense masses of Indians, who were collected round one who, by his height, his rich dress, and noble bearing, I conjectured to be a chief, though I never recollected to have seen him before. Other Indians kept arriving from all sides through the forest. He stood elevated above the rest on a mound of earth under a canopy of cloth of many colours; and I observed that the borla, the red fringe worn only in ancient days by the proud Incas, bound his brow. From this sign I could have no doubt that he was the well-known chieftain, Tupac Amaru, the lineal descendant of the Incas, and the elder uncle of my friend Manco. By the Indians he had been known usually by the name of Condorcanqui, and by the Spanish as Don José Gabriel, Marquis de Alcalises, a title which had been given to one of his ancestors by the King of Spain.

He was addressing the multitude in a harangue which, from the distance he was from me, I could not hear. The people listened with deep earnestness and silence, till some expression aroused their passions, when brandishing their weapons, their bows, their clubs and spears, they uttered shouts of approval, or wild cries of defiance and hatred to their foe.

I had no doubt that I was in one of the strongholds of the Indians, among the mountains on the eastern side of the Andes. The Inca, for so I may call him, continued speaking for an hour or more, when I again fell off into a sleep or stupor. I had discovered that I was wounded both in the head and side; and I felt dreadfully weak and ill. The sun was just gliding behind the mountains when I again opened my eyes. By my side sat a young and very beautiful woman, her large black eyes and the tinge of copper in her complexion showing that she was of Indian birth.

In front of the hut stood a man whose figure I thought I knew. An exclamation of surprise escaped my lips. He turned his head at the sound of my voice, and I recognised, to my joy, the chief Manco. He knelt down by my side.

“Ah! my young friend, I rejoice to hear you speak once again,” he said. “My wife and I have watched over you anxiously, for we thought with sorrow that you would never recover.”

I did not before know that Manco had a wife. “You have been very good to me; and had it not been for her care, I must have died,” I replied. “I dare say I shall now soon get well; but can you tell me anything of my parents and my brothers and sisters? Is Ithulpo with you?”

“I can give you no tidings of them,” he replied, turning away his head. “Ithulpo has not come back to us, and I know not where he is.”

“My poor father and mother! they will think I have been killed,” I ejaculated. “It will make them grieve very much.”

“They will trust in God and hope for the best, as you must, my friend,” he observed. “But I must not let you talk, or it will bring back the fever which has been on you. Nita will watch over you, for I have matters which call me away.” As he spoke, his young wife handed me a cup filled with a cooling draught distilled from herbs, which I drank eagerly off. “That will do you good,” he remarked. “To-morrow, if you are stronger, I will answer the questions I see you are eager to put. Now, farewell!” He shook his head when he saw that I was about again to speak, and went off across the glade.

I next tried to interrogate Nita, speaking in the Quichua language, supposing she did not understand Spanish; but with a smile she signed to me not to talk.

“Sleep, stranger, sleep,” she said in a sweet musical voice in her native tongue; “it will strengthen you to undergo the toils which are in store for you. My husband has promised to tell you more to-morrow. I must quit you if you persist in talking.”

Seeing that she was determined not to answer any of the questions I longed to ask, I felt that it would be ungrateful not to do as she desired me, and I once more resigned myself to sleep.

The next day I felt better and stronger, and my wounds were healing rapidly; but Manco did not return, and Nita told me that he was engaged in mustering and arming his followers. She would, however, give me no other information. I felt very sad and solitary, notwithstanding her kindness; for, whenever I could collect my thoughts, I could not help fearing that some misfortune had befallen those I best loved on earth. Fortunately I slept or dozed away the greater part of the day, and this, I suspect, contributed to the rapidity of my recovery, aided by my good constitution and the pure air I breathed. At night Nita sent an old woman to sit by me, who was relieved by a young lad of my own age. I expected to gain some information from the latter, for he looked very intelligent; but when I spoke to him he shook his head, and I afterwards discovered that the poor fellow was deaf and dumb. There were several huts near mine, one of which I found was occupied by Nita and her husband.

Three days passed away, and at last, to my great joy, Manco came back. He seemed in high spirits when he spoke of the prospects of his people. He told me that the Indians throughout the whole of the mountain districts of Peru were up in arms, and that whenever they had encountered the Spaniards the latter had been defeated; though he confessed, with regret, that many atrocities had been committed by the enraged natives, and that the white inhabitants of whole villages and districts, including women and children, had been cruelly massacred, as had also the negroes and those with any white blood in their veins.

I may as well here pause in my personal narrative to give a short account of the cause of the disastrous revolt of the Indians of Peru, from which so many thousand lives were sacrificed. I have already spoken of the systematic cruelty practised by the Spaniards from their first occupation of the country, and of the dreadful effects of the mita (as the parcelling out of the people among the conquerors as slaves was called, under the pretence of enabling them to learn trades and to become domestic servants, as also to make them work in the mines); but another injustice was the immediate cause of the outbreak. This was the repartimiento. It was a law originally made by the Spanish Government, authorising the corregidores to distribute among the natives goods imported from Europe at fixed prices, and which they were compelled to purchase whether they required them or not. Consequently, all sorts of things damaged and useless were sent out from Spain to Peru, where they were certain of realising a profit to be obtained nowhere else. Among them might be found silk stockings, satins, and velvets—razors for men who never shaved, and spectacles for those whose eyesight was excellent. I remember especially a consignment of spectacles arriving to a merchant at Lima. He could nowhere dispose of them, till he bethought himself of applying to a corregidor of a neighbouring district, who was his friend, to help him. The latter threw no difficulty in the way.

“Your goods shall be sold immediately, my friend,” he replied; and forthwith he issued an order that no Indian should appear at church or at festivals unless adorned with a pair of spectacles, intimating the place where they were to be sold. The poor people had to come and buy the spectacles, and to pay a very high price for them into the bargain.

The Spanish Government, when they framed the law, had doubtless no idea that it would be thus abused; their intention being to civilise the people by the introduction of European clothing and luxuries, and in that manner to create a good market for the product of the industry of the mother country. It is one of the many examples of the folly of attempting to force the interests of commerce by unjust laws. For a time a few merchants sold their goods; but the ultimate result, independent of the bloodshed which it caused, was that the Indians took a dislike to Spanish manufactures, and the Peruvian market was ultimately lost for ever to Spain.

The repartimiento had lately been put in force by the corregidores with even more than the usual injustice. The corregidores were, I must explain, Spanish municipal officers, who had very great authority in the districts they governed; and as they were the receivers of all taxes, tributes, and customs, they were able to ensure it with unsparing rapacity, which they did not fail to do in most instances.

At length, after years of suffering, the Indian population were thoroughly aroused, and determined to throw off the hated yoke of the tyrants. Condorcanqui placed himself at their head; and before the Spaniards were aware of the storm which was gathering, he had collected a large but undisciplined army. He had two sons, called Andres and Mariano, and a brother named Diogo, all of whom assumed the title of Tupac Amaru, which means in the Quichua language, the highly endowed. Several others of his relations also assumed the same title, and took command of the patriots’ forces in other parts of the country. The Spaniards, despising the Indians, and regardless of any warnings they might have received, were completely taken by surprise, and defeated in all directions. The villages in whole districts were totally destroyed, and several large towns were besieged, many of which were captured and the inhabitants put to the sword.

Of their first victory I had been a witness. Condorcanqui had been cacique of the province of Tungasuca, the corregidor of which was among the most exacting and rapacious of his class. For a long time the Indian chief had brooded over the sufferings of his countrymen, till he resolved to avenge them. He confided his plans to a few other caciques only, and to his own relatives. They prepared the people by means of faithful emissaries throughout the country; and arms and munitions of war were collected with the greatest secrecy and expedition. At an appointed day the signal of revolt was given; and the corregidores in many of the provinces, whom they looked upon as their principal oppressors, were seized and executed.

The corregidor of Tungasuca had been entertaining a party of friends and some travellers at his house. The feast was over; they had taken their siesta; and other guests had assembled to pass the evening with music and dancing. His wife and daughters were there, and several ladies young and lovely. The gay guitar was sounding in the hall, and happy hearts and light feet were keeping time to the music. The corregidor was standing apart from the rest in earnest conversation with a stranger.

“This is my farewell assembly,” he observed. “I have now, thank Providence, amassed a fortune sufficient for my wants; and in a few weeks’ time I shall sail for my beloved Spain. This country is a good one for making money, but for nothing else.”

“It is a fine country, though; and history tells us was once a perfect paradise,” remarked the stranger.

“A paradise it might have been when the fields were better cultivated and more mines were worked; but the people have chosen to die off, and those who remain are idle and lazy, and will not work,” answered the corregidor, with a scornful laugh.

“They have lately taken to care very little for religion either,” observed Padre Diogo, the family chaplain, who now joined the speakers. “When we go among them with the saints to collect offerings, our boxes come back not a quarter full.”

Just then a servant, pale with terror, rushed up to his master.

“What is the matter?” asked the corregidor. “Speak, fool, speak!” for the man could only utter some unintelligible sounds.

“The Indians! the Indians!” cried the man, at length finding his voice. “The house is surrounded by thousands of them!”

“Impossible!” exclaimed the corregidor. “The slaves would not dare—”

Just then an unearthly cry rent the air. The music ceased, and the strangers hurried to go—the ladies clasping their partners’ arms, and the children clinging to their mothers. Some of the men went to the windows. What the servant had reported was too true. On each side were seen, by the beams of the pale moon, dense masses of armed savages, forming an impenetrable barrier round the house; while others kept arriving from every direction.

“What means all this?” exclaimed the corregidor. “I will go out and order the slaves to disperse.”

“O stay, stay!” cried his wife, clinging to him with an air of despair, which showed her too true forebodings of evil. “They are exasperated against you, and may do you harm. Let Padre Diogo go; he has influence with the people, and may persuade them to depart.”

The corregidor was easily persuaded to follow his wife’s counsel, for his conscience told him that the Indians had just cause to hate him. One of the strangers suggested that efforts should instantly be made to barricade the house, and prepare for defending it, should the Indians be assembled with any hostile intention. The corregidor was about to give orders to that effect, when another loud unearthly shriek paralysed the nerves of all the inmates.

“Oh, go, Señor Padre, go! save my husband and children!” cried the terrified wife.

“Save us! save us!” cried the guests, now fully aware of the horrible danger that threatened them.

Thus urged, Padre Diogo prepared, with many misgivings, to go forth and appeal to the people. He looked round with a sad countenance on those he had lately seen so full of life and gaiety.

“May Heaven and the saints protect you, my children,” he said solemnly.

Then taking in his hand a crucifix which hung in a little oratory near the hall, he opened the front door of the house and stepped out among the crowd. He held the sacred symbol of his faith aloft in his hand. It served as his safeguard. No one attempted to injure him; but before he could utter a word, he was surrounded and hurried away from the house. No one would listen to his prayers and entreaties.

“Mercy, mercy, for the unfortunates in yonder mansion!” he cried.

“Mercy, mercy, Señor Padre! did they ever show mercy to us?” exclaimed a voice from the crowd.

He looked back; the Indians were pouring into the house. Loud agonised shrieks of women and children reached his ears. A few shots were heard, followed by the triumphant shouts of the Indians. Flames were seen bursting forth from the house. They burned up bright and clear in the night air. By their light he observed a man dragged along among a crowd of Indians. They stopped and appeared to be busily at work. In a short time a gibbet was erected near the burning building.

“You are required to shrive a dying man, Señor Padre,” said an Indian who approached him.

He was led towards the engine of death. There, beneath it, he found, pale with terror, and trembling in every limb, the corregidor, his patron.

“They tell me, my son, that I am to perform the last offices of religion for the dying,” said Padre Diogo.

“For me, Padre, for me!” exclaimed the corregidor in a voice of agony. “Alas! it is cruel mockery. They have murdered my wife and children, my guests and servants—all, all are dead! and now they will murder me.”

“I will plead for you; I will try to save your life,” said the padre. “But they cannot have been so cruel—they cannot have murdered those innocents!”

“Alas! I speak true. Before my eyes they slew all I love on earth, and they only preserved me to make me endure longer suffering,” said the wretched man.

“You are delaying to perform your duty,” cried a voice from among the crowd of Indians.

“Mercy, mercy, for him, my children!” ejaculated the padre.

“He showed us none,” answered a hundred voices in return. “Proceed, proceed, or he must die without shrift.”

The padre felt there was no hope; but he attempted to make another appeal. He was answered in the same strain.

“My son, you must prepare your soul for another world,” he whispered into the ear of the corregidor.

The unhappy man saw that indeed there was no hope for him, but still he clung to life. He dared not die. At that moment all his deeds of cruelty, all his tyranny, came crowding to his memory in a light they had never before worn. Of what use now was to him the wealth he had thus unjustly acquired? Oh! if men would at all times and seasons remember that they must one day die, and give an account of their deeds on earth, would it not restrain them from committing acts of injustice and wrong? The corregidor attempted to enumerate his misdeeds. They were too many for him to recollect.

“I have offended—I have miserably offended!” he exclaimed in his agony.

“God is full of mercy. He rejoices in pardoning the repentant sinner,” answered the padre.

But his words brought no hope to a doubting mind. He felt that his crimes were too great for pardon; though till that moment he had not considered them as crimes.

The priest then proceeded to administer to him the last sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church. He had scarcely concluded, when the Indians, who had stood around in reverential silence, raised a loud clamour for the instant execution of the culprit; but Padre Diogo was a brave man.

“My children,” he cried, “you have already committed a great sin in murdering the innocents who this night have fallen by your hands. Their blood will cry to Heaven for vengeance. Preserve this man’s life, repent, and pray for mercy.”

A cacique now stepped forward from among the crowd.

“Señor Padre,” he said, “we listen to your words with reverence, for you are a priest, and have ever proved our friend; but this man was placed in authority over us, and most cruelly did he abuse that authority. He has been tried and found guilty. As his ancestors murdered our last Inca, the great Atahualpa, so he must die. He has but one minute more to live. We have already shown him more mercy than he deserves.”

The tone, as much as the words of the speaker, convinced the padre that his penitent must die. To the last he stood by his side, whispering such words of consolation as he could offer. Several Indians, appointed as executioners, advanced; and in an instant the miserable man was hurried into eternity.

“For this man’s death, the vengeance of his countrymen will fall terribly on your heads, my children,” exclaimed the padre; for the proud spirit of the Spaniard was aroused within his bosom, and he did not fear what they might do to him. Too truly were his words afterwards verified. No one seemed to heed what he said; and he was led away from the spot by a party of Indians, in whose charge he was given by the chief Tupac Amaru. To his horror, he found that every man, woman, and child among the white inhabitants of the village had fallen victims to the exasperated fury of the Indians.

This account was given me some time afterwards by Padre Diogo himself; though I thought the present a proper opportunity of introducing it.

I will now return to my own narrative. I rapidly recovered my strength, and in a few more days was able to leave the hut and walk about without assistance; but my anxiety for the fate of my family was in no way relieved; and though Manco made all the inquiries in his power, he could afford me no consolation. I was sitting one evening in front of the hut, meditating what course to pursue, when Manco came and threw himself on the ground by my side. He took my hand and looked kindly in my face; but I saw that his countenance wore an expression of deep melancholy. With a trembling voice I asked him what news he had to communicate.

“Bad news, bad news, my young friend,” he said; and then stopped, as if afraid of proceeding.

“Of my parents?” I inquired, for I could not bear the agony of suspense. “Speak, Manco; has Ithulpo not arrived?”

“Alas! no,” he answered, sorrowfully shaking his head. “I have too certain evidence of Ithulpo’s death; and, faithful as he was, he would never have deserted your parents. His body has been discovered near a village which has been attacked and burned by my countrymen. There can be no doubt that they had taken refuge within it. Alas that I should say it, who have received such benefits from them! The Indians put to the sword every inhabitant they found there, and among them your parents must have perished.”

At first I was stunned with what he said, though I could not bring myself to believe the horrid tale.

“I will go in search of them,” I at length exclaimed. “I will find them if they are alive; or I must see their bodies, if, as you say, they have been murdered, before I can believe you. The Indians, whom they always loved and pitied, could not have been guilty of such barbarity. If your countrymen have murdered their benefactors, I tell you that they are miserable worthless wretches; and the Spaniards will be justified in sweeping them from the face of the earth.”

As I gave utterance to these exclamations, I felt my spirit maddening within me. I cared not what I said; I felt no fear for the consequences. At first, after I had spoken, a cloud came over Manco’s brow; but it quickly cleared away, and he regarded me with looks of deep commiseration.

“Should I not feel as he does, if all those I loved best on earth had been slaughtered?” he muttered to himself. “I feel for you, my friend, and most deeply grieve,” he said aloud, taking my hand, which I had withdrawn, and watering it with his tears. “Yet you are unjust in thus speaking of my people. They did not kill your parents knowingly. The sin rests with the Spaniards, whom they desired to punish; and the innocent have perished with the guilty. Sure I am that not an Indian would have injured them; and had they been able to come into our camp, they would have been received with honour and reverence.”

I hung down my head, and my bursting heart at length found relief in tears. I was still very weak, or I believe that my feelings would have assumed a fiercer character.

“I have been unjust to you, Manco,” I said, when I could once more give utterance to my thoughts. “I will try not to blame your countrymen for your sake; but I must leave you, to discover whether your dreadful report is true or false.”

He took my hand again, and pressed it within his own. It was night before I was tolerably composed; and as I threw myself on my couch within the hut, I wept bitterly as a child, till sleep came to relieve my misery. I must not dwell on the anguish I felt on waking—the utter wretchedness of the next day. I was too ill to move, though I prayed for strength to enable me to prosecute my search. Strength and health came again at last; and in four days after I had heard the account given by Manco, I insisted that I was able to undergo the fatigue to which I must be exposed. Nothing that Manco or his wife could say had power to deter me.

“You will be taken by the cruel Spaniards, and executed as a spy,” said Nita, the tears dropping from her eyes as she spoke.

“No Indian on whom you can rely will be able to accompany you, and you cannot find your way alone,” observed Manco. “Besides, in these unhappy times robbers and desperadoes of every sort are ranging through the country; and if you escape other dangers, they will murder you.”

“My kind friends,” I answered, taking both their hands, “I feel your regard for me; but I fear neither Spaniards nor Indians, nor robbers nor wild beasts, nor deserts nor storms, nor heat nor cold, nor hunger nor thirst. I have a holy duty to perform, and I should be unworthy of the name I bear if I shrunk from encountering the danger which may be before me.”

“If go you must, and I see that there is no use in attempting to dissuade you, I will give you every assistance in my power,” said Manco.

And thus it was arranged that I was to set out on my perilous undertaking the next day but one, by which time he would be able to accompany me to the foot of the mountains, though he would not be absent long from his important duty in the patriots’ army.

Chapter Ten.

My wanderings with Manco—How a Padre told his beads, but his beads told him nothing.

The morning I was to set out arrived at last, and I bid farewell to Nita and her little infant, which I kissed over and over again for its mother’s sake; for my heart was full of gratitude for her kindness and compassion. Manco had procured a mule for me—a small but strong animal, with great sagacity. It was very sure-footed, and could climb up the most rugged rocks, and slip down mountain precipices like a goat. It was of the greatest value to me; for, weak as I was, I could not possibly have walked a mile of my journey. We had to descend some way, and then to travel along the side of the mountain range, in order to gain the road which led across the Cordilleras. I speak of the path as a road; but in many spots it was so narrow and difficult that I thought it would be impossible for any mule to get along. Here and there large blocks of stone had been placed, with the intention of facilitating the ascent. My mule sprung up them with such violent jerks that I was at first almost thrown over his head; but when we had to descend, he picked his way with great caution. Manco went before me with a long pole in his hand, ready to assist me if I required it.

After proceeding some way, I observed a large valley spread out at our feet. It was full of people and numerous tents and huts. Manco pointed to it with an expression of pride in his countenance.

“There,” said he, “you see the headquarters of the army which is to liberate our country from the power of the conqueror. The Inca Tupac Amaru himself, and his two young and noble sons, are there. In a few days the whole army will be assembled, when we march upon Cuzco, once more to reinstate our sovereign in the capital of his ancestors.”

Manco’s dark eyes flashed proudly as he spoke; for after the recent success of the Indian arms he had no doubt of victory. I thought differently. Hitherto the Indians had fought among mountains, where discipline was of little avail, and their bows and slings could send their missiles with effect; or they had attacked unfortified and unprepared villages; but in the neighbourhood of Cuzco they would be in an open valley, where the cavalry and artillery of the Spaniards could be brought into play, and I trembled for the consequences. I was unwilling to damp Manco’s ardour; but I endeavoured to point out the dangers I foresaw, and urged him to persuade the chiefs not to be over-confident.

We kept along the ridge of the height forming the side of the valley without descending, and I was thus able to obtain a full view of the Indian army. I was surprised not only at the vast number of people collected, but at the apparent order which prevailed, and at the great state which the Inca and his chief officers maintained. In the centre of the camp, amid a number of banners fluttering in the breeze, was erected a large canopy of gay-coloured cloth, beneath which was a throne, richly ornamented with gold and silver. A flight of steps led to it, along which were ranged a body of guards armed with battle-axes and spears. The Inca sat on his throne, dressed in the ancient costume of his ancestors, which I have before described; and officers of various ranks kept continually coming up to receive orders. As they approached, they bowed reverentially before him, and knelt at his feet while he addressed them. I could scarcely believe that what I saw was a reality, and that I was not dreaming of the accounts I had read of the early history of the country. It did not then occur to me that much valuable time was thus lost to the Indian cause in idle ceremony; and that Tupac Amaru would have had a better chance of success had he at once swept the country from north to south with his forces, before the Spaniards had recovered from their terror and dismay at their first defeat.

After stopping for a few minutes to gaze at the novel and interesting scene, we turned up a path through a ravine, and were quickly again in the solitude of the mountains. We travelled upwards for three days, sleeping at nights at the huts of Indians, where we received a warm welcome from their wives, but the men were in all cases absent. We were now crossing the Puna heights, as the table-lands on the upper part of the Cordilleras are called. We were some fourteen thousand feet above the level of the sea. On either side arose the lofty summits of the Cordilleras, covered with the ice of centuries. Before us stretched out to a great extent the level heights, covered with the dull yellow Puna grass, blending its tint with the greenish hue of the glaciers. It was truly a wild and desolate scene. Herds of vicuñas approached to gaze with wonder at us, and then turning affrighted, fled away with the swiftness of the wind. The Puna stag, with stately step, advanced from his lair in the recesses of the mountains, and gazed on us with his large wondering eyes. Farther off were groups of huancas, looking cautiously at us as we passed, while the rock-rabbits disported nimbly around us. I begged Manco not to shoot them, for we did not require food, and I never liked killing an animal for sport.

The mountain air and exercise had completely restored my strength, when on a sudden an indescribable oppression overcame me. My heart throbbed audibly, and my breathing became short and interrupted, while a weight as if of lead lay on my chest. My lips swelled and burst, blood flowed from my eyelids, and I began to lose my senses. I should have fallen from my mule had not Manco lifted me off. A grey mist floated before my eyes, and I could neither see, hear, nor feel distinctly. Manco sat down, and took my head in his lap; when after a time I began to recover, and I saw that he was anxiously looking at a dense mass of clouds gathering above us.

“Up, up, my friend, and mount if you value your life!” he said. “You are better now. A storm is about to burst, and we must face it boldly.”

Scarcely had he spoken, when, loud peals of thunder were heard, and lightning darted from the skies. Down, too, came the snow in flakes, so heavy that it was impossible to see many yards before us.

“We must push on,” observed Manco. “We have lost much time already, and night will overtake us before we can reach the nearest village.” The snow, however, fell faster, and completely concealed all signs of the path. “When the snow-storm has ceased, I shall easily find the way by the flight of the birds we are certain to see,” he continued. “So, fear not. You are suffering from the keen air of the mountains, and you will quickly recover when we begin to descend to lower ground.”

Even his sagacity was at fault, and we soon found that we had wandered from the right path. As I did not grow worse, I kept up my spirits. Two or three hours passed away, and the snow ceased. It had scarcely done so, when the clouds opened, and the bright glance of the burning sun burst forth dazzlingly on the white expanse of snow before me. In a moment I felt my eyes stricken with almost total blindness. A cry of horror escaped me. I fancied that I should not recover. Manco tried to console me, assuring me that I was merely suffering from the surumpe, a common complaint in those regions.

“I ought to have guarded you against it,” he said. “Strangers unaccustomed to the sight of the glittering snow constantly suffer from it; but it will soon pass away.”

I, however, thought differently, though I was unwilling to complain to him. We went on as fast as we could; but the sun set when we were still a long way from the edge of the plain. We had with difficulty avoided several swamps, in which he had told me animals and men were sometimes lost. They are the chief dangers of that region. Fortunately, he recognised a range of lofty rocks near us.

“There is a cavern within them not far off, where we must rest for the night,” he said. “We might have a worse lodging, for we shall there, at all events, be sheltered from the snow and wind.”

It was now perfectly dark; but after searching for some time, we succeeded in discovering the cavern. While he tethered my male outside, I staggered in, and, overcome with fatigue and the pain I was suffering, sunk upon the ground, a stone which lay near me serving for a pillow. I begged him to let me remain where I was, while he refreshed himself with some of the provisions we had brought with us. We had no means of striking a light: and as he could afford me no assistance beyond throwing a poncho over me, he did not interfere; but soon afterwards, stretching himself out near me, he fell asleep. Having been on foot all day, he required rest as much as I did. As soon as I fell into a slumber, the smarting pain of the surumpe awoke me, and I was obliged to give up all hope of sleep. How long the night seemed! My thoughts all the time were active, and I need scarcely say that they were fixed on my expedition, and means of accomplishing my object.

It was towards the morning, when a dreadful turn was given to them. Happening to stretch out my hand, it came in contact with a cold clammy substance. I drew it back, and an indescribable horror crept over me; but influenced by an impulse I could not control, I again put it out towards the object. It rested on the face of a human being. I was certain that I could not be mistaken. I felt the mouth, and nose, and hair; but the features were rigid and immoveable. It was that of a corpse. Constitutionally fearless, under other circumstances I should have got up and removed myself from the disagreeable neighbourhood, supposing that some unfortunate traveller had like us taken shelter there, and died from cold or hunger; but weak with mental and bodily suffering, I had now no power over myself, and lay trembling with horror, not even venturing to call out to Manco to break the dreadful spell which was upon me. It is impossible to describe my feelings, or the ideas which took possession of my mind. Whose corpse could it be? Might there not be others in the cave? I thought, if I could be said to be thinking. At last, I believe I swooned away, for most certainly I did not sleep. An exclamation from Manco aroused me. Daylight was streaming into the cavern, and he was sitting up and gazing towards me. In another instant he was by my side, and, with careful forethought, was endeavouring to keep my attention fixed on himself, so as to prevent me from seeing the dreadful objects in the inner part of the cavern.

“Manco,” I said, “I have had a horrid dream. I fancied that the cavern was full of corpses.” As I spoke I really thought I had been dreaming.

Without answering me, he lifted me up, and led me towards the open air. An impulse I could not restrain made me turn my head; and on the ground, close to where I had rested, I saw the corpse of a man. Trembling in every limb, I stopped to look at it. It was that of a white man. Several ghastly wounds were seen on the broad chest, and another on the head. The dress and the full black beard and moustache showed me that he was a Spaniard. There were no other corpses to be seen; and as I looked at the object in the broad daylight, with the fresh breeze blowing in my face, the undefined horror I had before felt completely vanished. I felt ashamed of my previous fears, and releasing myself from his support, assured him that I had recovered my strength. The effort itself assisted to restore my nerves to their usual tension; and I was able to turn back and examine the corpse.

“Who can have murdered the man and placed him here?” I asked.

Manco shook his head. “It is a bad thing—a very bad thing!” he replied, as he examined the wounds of the man. “I fear my countrymen have done it. He must have been taken prisoner, for I find the marks of cords round his wrists, and he attempted to escape, and thus was killed; but ask no further questions. Come, it is time to proceed.”

The little mule was safe outside, so I mounted and hastened from the spot.

As I rode on, my spirits returned with the air and exercise, and my mind no longer dwelt on the events of the previous night; and the effects of the surumpe also began to wear off. Several rock-rabbits crossed our path, two of which Manco shot; and when we came to a height which sheltered us from the wind, we halted for breakfast. Having tethered the mule, we set to work to collect the dry grass and the stems of creepers growing from the clefts of the rocks for fuel. Manco had with him the means of striking a light, and a fire was soon kindled, over which we cooked the rabbits and boiled some cocoa in a tin pannikin, by the aid of which, with some Indian corn bread, we made a very fair meal. In an hour more we reached the edge of the Alto, or high plain, over which we had been travelling. Before us lay, deep and deeper, the dark valleys of the lower mountain regions, among which, scarcely discernible, were scattered numerous Indian villages. Far beyond a more level country stretched out, till it was lost in the distant line of the horizon. For several hours we descended, till we began to experience a very great change of temperature. We rested that night at a village inhabited entirely by Indians. It was situated among such inaccessible rocks that they had no fear of being surprised by the Spaniards. To my great grief, Manco told me that he must quit me by dawn on the morrow. I of course could not be so selfish as to wish to detain him.

“I have been, fortunately, able to find a trustworthy guide for you,” he said. “He is a lad a year or so younger than you are, but very quick and intelligent. He is of a white complexion, though he has an Indian heart, for he has been among us from his childhood. When an infant he was discovered by some of our people in a wood near a Spanish village, and was brought hither by them. Their idea is, that either he had been deserted by his mother, or that his parents had been murdered by robbers, who, for some reason or other, saved his life. He is called Pedro. He speaks Spanish well; and should you fall among the Spaniards, he will be supposed to belong to their people. Should you discover your parents, of which I have no hopes, give him his liberty, and he will return to us; and if you abandon the attempt, he will lead you back to us. But I will bring him to you, and he will speak for himself.”

On this Manco left the hut where we were lodging, and soon returned, accompanied by a youth, whose clear complexion and full black eyes showed that he was descended from the race who had conquered Peru.

“Are you willing to accompany me, Pedro?” I asked in Spanish. “You will probably have many dangers to encounter.”

He looked at me attentively for some time, as if examining my countenance to judge if he could trust me, before he answered.

“Yes,” he at length said. “I will aid you gladly in the work you are about. I care not for dangers. God will protect me, as He has before done.”

I was much struck with his words and manner, and gladly accepted his services.

“But I have no means of rewarding you, Pedro,” I remarked. “Some day I may have, but the time is probably far distant.”

“A good action is its own reward,” he answered, in an unaffected tone. “I require no reward. My chief and benefactor wishes me to go; and I desire to obey him.”

Pedro was an unusual character. He possessed all the genius and fire of his Spanish fathers, with the simple education of an Indian uncontaminated by mixing with the world. The next morning he appeared habited in the dress of a Spanish farmer’s son, which was the character he was to assume should he be interrogated. He rode a mule similar to mine. He and I set forward together towards the west at the same time that Manco started to return to the Indian camp. I found that Manco had supplied him amply with money to pay our expenses, when we should reach the territory inhabited by Spaniards; but he told me that we should require none while we wandered among the Indian villages.

“I thought that all the Indians were poor, and that even a chief like Manco would have little or no money,” I remarked.

He smiled as he answered, “When men are slaves, if they are wise they conceal their wealth, lest their masters should take it from them. These mountains are full of rich mines of gold and silver, with which none but the Indians are acquainted. Many such exist, known only to particular families, to whom the knowledge has been handed down from father to son. Perhaps Manco has such a mine; but he is too wise to speak of it.”

I did not think it right to inquire further about the source of Manco’s wealth; but I was satisfied that he could spare what he had provided for me. My young guide, however, was inclined to be communicative, and he beguiled the way by a number of interesting anecdotes.

“O yes,” he continued; “the Indians are wise to conceal their riches; for if the Spaniards discovered them, they would no longer be theirs. Not far from this, there lives a good padre, the curate of the parish. He is very much liked by all the Indians, though he has his faults like other men. He is very kind-hearted and generous, and is ready to administer to the sick in body as well as in mind; but he is sadly addicted to gambling. He will play all day and night with anybody who will play with him, till he has lost his last real, and has often, I know, to go supperless to bed. When the Indians know by his looks and his staying at home that he is in poverty, they will send him fowls and eggs, and bread and provisions of all sorts. One day he had just received his yearly stipend, when the evil spirit came upon him, and he went away to the nearest town and lost it all. He came home very miserable, and could scarcely attend to his duties. Fortunately for him, an Indian, whose sick child he had attended, had compassion on his grief, and told him to be comforted. The next day, as soon as it was dark, the Indian came to his house, bringing a bag full of rich silver ore. The padre was very grateful; but instead of spending it wisely to supply his wants, he took it into the town, and it went the way of his stipend—into the pockets of his gambling companions. Again he returned home as full of grief as before. The Indian soon heard of what had happened, for he loved the padre very much; so he brought him another bag of silver. The padre’s propensity was incurable, and he lost that as he had done the first. The Indian’s generosity was not yet worn out, and he brought him a third bag full of ore. When the padre saw it, he could scarcely believe his own senses.

“‘I fear that I am robbing you, my kind friend,’ he said. ‘I shall bring you into the poverty to which I have foolishly reduced myself.’

“‘O no, Señor Padre; there is plenty more where this comes from,’ returned the Indian. ‘What I have given you is but like a drop of water in the ocean to the abundance of rich ore which there lies concealed.’

“‘If that be the case, my kind friend, why not show it to me?’ exclaimed the padre. ‘I shall soon become a rich man, and will no longer think of gambling.’

“After much persuasion, the Indian agreed to lead the padre to the mine, on condition that he would consent to be blindfolded both going and returning. The next night they accordingly set out, the Indian leading the padre by the hand. After walking for some hours, the bandage was taken from the padre’s eyes, and he found himself in a spot he had never before visited. The Indian set to work, and clearing away a quantity of earth and bushes, exposed to the delighted eyes of the padre a cave full of glittering masses of pure silver.

“‘There, Señor Padre, is the mine I spoke of. Take as much as you can carry, and we will return speedily home,’ said the Indian.

“The padre filled a number of bags he had brought with him under his cloak, till he could scarcely stagger onwards with the weight. While also he was collecting the treasure, avarice seized his soul, and he forgot the dictates of honour. He was then again blindfolded; and he set forward on his return in the same manner as he had come. But though he had got as much silver as would have supplied him with food and clothing for many years, he wanted more. He contrived, therefore, as he thought unperceived, to break the string of his rosary, and as he returned he dropped one bead, then another, hoping thus to trace his way by means of them back to the mine. At last he reached home, congratulating himself on his cleverness. Of what use, he thought, is all that silver to the Indians? They are not the better for it, but I shall know how to spend it. He was eager to set out the next morning, when just as he was leaving his house, the Indian stepped in at his door.

“‘Ah, Señor Padre, I am come to see how you are after your long walk,’ said the Indian, smiling.

“‘Very well, my son—very well, thank the saints,’ answered the padre. ‘I am just going out to take another.’

“‘I hope it may be a pleasant one, Señor Padre,’ observed the Indian. ‘But I forgot—I came to return you your rosary, which you dropped last night.’

“And to the dismay of the padre, the Indian gave him all the beads which he had carefully collected. The padre had nothing to say for himself; but the Indian did not utter any other rebuke, though he never again offered to bring him any more silver ore.”

“I think the Indian behaved very well; but I can find no excuse for the padre,” I remarked.

With similar stories, which he told with far more spirit than I have at this distance of time been able to give to them, Pedro endeavoured to divert my mind from dwelling on the thoughts which he saw oppressed it. He certainly succeeded better than I could have expected.

Our road led us over a lofty height, at the summit of which we halted to rest ourselves and our mules. As we were sitting on the ground, and employed in eating our dinner, we observed a large condor high above us in the air. He approached us with outstretched wings, and at first I thought that he had been attracted by the provisions we carried, and that he was about to attack us. I cocked a gun Manco had given me, and prepared to shoot him should he come near us; but he passed beyond us, and presently he pounced down on the ground at some distance off. Instead, however, of his rising again with his prey in his talons as we expected, we saw him violently flapping his wings; and, to our great surprise, directly afterwards he was surrounded by a number of Indians, who began to strike him about the head with sticks to keep him quiet. Our curiosity induced us to run as fast as we could towards the spot, when we found that the condor had been caught in a trap laid on purpose for him. A hole had been dug in the ground, over which had been spread a fresh cowhide, with parts of the flesh still adhering to it. Underneath this an Indian had concealed himself with a rope in his hand. The condor, attracted by the smell of the flesh, had darted down on the hide, when the Indian below had firmly bound his claws together, and held on with all his might, the cowhide protecting him from the attacks of the bird’s beak. The other Indians had been concealed near the spot to help their companion. They quickly secured the monster bird, and prepared to carry him off in triumph to their village. At first when we appeared, they looked suspiciously at us; but after Pedro had spoken to them, their looks brightened up, and they invited us to accompany them to their dwellings, which were on the other side of the height.

We gladly accepted their invitations, for they lived near the road we wished to pursue. I have so often spoken of the wretchedness of Indian huts, and of the coarseness of the food, that I need not describe them. They were no exceptions to the general rule. The scene before them was wild and dreary. At some distance off appeared a mass of long rushes, beyond which extended a sheet of water, the opposite shore of which was scarcely visible. Numerous flocks of waterfowl were hovering over the marshy banks of this lake, which I found was of very considerable extent, though inferior to that of Titicaca, the largest in South America.

Pedro and I were sitting round a fire in the hut with our Indian hosts, before retiring to rest, when a loud moaning noise was heard in the distance. The Indians regarded each other with terrified looks.

“What can cause that noise?” I inquired of Pedro. He shook his head, and turned to one of the Indians.

“It forebodes evil to the herdsmen,” answered the man. “In yonder lake, which is so profound that no plummet has ever reached the bottom, there dwell huge monsters, neither beasts nor fish. No man has ever seen one near; but at night, when the moon is shining, they have been descried at a distance, prowling about in search of prey. When that noise is heard, which has just sounded in our ears, it is a sign that they have attacked some of the cattle feeding in the surrounding pastures; and to-morrow morning there is no doubt several will be found missing.”

“But cannot the monsters be caught or killed?” I asked. “Surely it is foolish in the herdsmen to allow the cattle to be killed with impunity.”

“Who would venture to do it?” exclaimed the Indian with a look of horror. “Besides, I told you, Señor, that no one has seen them near enough to observe their form; and sure I am that neither stones cast from slings, nor arrows shot from bows, nor bullets from guns, would pierce their hides.”

“I should like to encounter one of these monsters,” I replied. “A ball from a good rifle would soon enable me to judge what they are like.”

“May Heaven protect you from such an adventure!” answered the Indian.

“If I ever return here, we will see.”

I said this because I very much doubted the existence of the monsters he spoke of, and suspected that the moanings we heard arose most probably from some of the cattle which had sunk into the marshes near the lake, and were unable to extricate themselves. In every part of the world where I have since been, I have heard similar legends, and have in most instances been able to discover a very probable explanation of the mystery.

The rays of the sun were shining on the waters of the lake as we passed one end of it the next morning, and it now wore a far more cheerful aspect than it had done on the previous evening. The two next days of our journey were one continual descent, and we were now approaching the ruined village, near which the body of the faithful Ithulpo was said to have been discovered, and in which I supposed my parents had taken refuge.

I could no longer attend to any of Pedro’s remarks, but rode on sadly and moodily, dreading to find the truth of the dreadful report I had heard, confirmed, yet not daring to believe in its possibility. It was now necessary to proceed with great caution, for we were in a part of the country which had been inhabited chiefly by Spaniards; but we found that they had all fled or been destroyed, and the blackened ruins of farm-houses and hamlets met our sight every league we proceeded. Here and there we encountered an Indian, of whom Pedro made inquiries; but from no one could we obtain information to guide us.

Chapter Eleven.

Dreadful surmises—Taken prisoners by Indians.

We were passing over a somewhat level country, when Pedro pointed to a line of blackened walls and charred timbers in the distance.

“Yonder is the place you seek, Señor,” he said, in a tone of commiseration which touched my heart. “You are seeking for parents whom you have known, and their memory is dear to you. I, alas! have never known any parents to love, and my heart is vacant.”

I knew he wished to utter words of consolation, but I have no recollection of what more he said. My mind was too full of the work before me. I urged on my mule, for I felt an eager desire to search through the village; yet what information could I expect to find in those deserted ruins? As we approached, we saw a wretched half-starved dog skulking among the walls. He looked at us to see if we were friends whom he knew, and then fled away. Not a human being was to be seen. We passed through the desolate streets. Some of the walls had been cast down, and the roofs of all the houses had been burned and fallen in. The church only was standing; but the doors were open, and the interior presented a scene of horror which baffles description. Numbers of the unfortunate inhabitants had fled there as their last place of refuge, but it had proved no sanctuary to them. In every part of the building, on the steps of the altar, and by the altar itself, were seen heaped together the mangled remnants of the forms of human beings. Their dresses showed that they were those of men, women, and children; but weeks had now passed since they were slain, and their bones alone remained. The beasts and even the birds of prey had been there, or it would have been impossible to enter into that charnel-house.

Pale and trembling I wandered through it, scarcely able to draw breath from the foul air which filled the place; but no sign of those I sought could I find. At length I staggered out again into the open air, where Pedro, who was holding our mules, waited for me. I determined next to search each of the houses separately.

As we were wandering through one of them, an object met my sight which riveted my attention. It was a silk handkerchief. With a trembling hand I picked it up. It was exactly such a one as I remembered to have seen my sister Lilly wear round her neck. It was of an ordinary sort; a little three-cornered handkerchief with a pink fringe. There might be many such in the country. This might have been the property of some Spanish girl or young Chola, for there was no mark on it to distinguish it; but still, as I looked at it, I felt almost confident that it had been my sister’s. How it had escaped being burned or trampled on I could not tell. Perhaps it had been dropped near one of the outside walls, which the fire did not reach, and had been blown by the wind into the corner of the room, where I found it. Pedro was of the same opinion. I placed it carefully in my bosom, though how it could prove of use I could not tell. We searched and searched in vain through every other house in the village; but no other trace or sign which I could recognise could we find. The whole day was thus spent, and night almost surprised us while we were still in the ruins.

Near the village was a meadow, where Pedro had led our mules to feed; and we had, besides, found some Indian corn, which we had given them; so they were in good condition to proceed. But after the example of the state of the country we had seen, it was impossible to say where we could hope to find shelter for ourselves. I asked Pedro if he would object to remain in the ruins all night.

“Oh, may the good saints defend us from such a thing!” he answered with a look of dismay. “After the sights we have seen, how can you think of doing so, Señor?”

“The dead cannot hurt us, you know; and we can easily fortify ourselves against any attack of wild beasts,” I answered. “We will shut our mules up in a room of one of the houses where no people have been killed; and we can sleep in a room next to them. We shall find plenty of timber to barricade ourselves in, and they will give us good warning if any wild beast comes near to attempt an entrance.”

For a long time Pedro was not convinced of the wisdom of my proposal; or rather, his dislike to the idea of remaining prevented him from being so. His objections were very natural; and I own that had I not been desirous of making a further search in the neighbourhood the following morning, I would myself have much rather proceeded, if there had been sufficient daylight to enable us to find another resting-place. This was, however, now totally out of the question; so Pedro was obliged to accede to my wishes. I fixed upon a house on the outskirts of the village, which had, it appeared, been the residence of a person of superior wealth and rank. Some of the rooms had been but little injured. One of them I selected as our abode for the night, and an adjoining one as a stable for our mules. Having collected some food for our trusty little animals, we brought them inside the house. We first cleared away the rubbish out of the rooms, and then placed against the doorway some timbers and planks, which we tore up from the floors, so as effectually to prevent the ingress of any wild beasts.

By the time we had thus fortified ourselves it had become perfectly dark; and I must own that a feeling such as I had never before experienced, crept over me, as I thus found myself shut up with my young companion in that abode of the dead. I knew that I must arouse myself, or it would master me completely.

“Come, Pedro,” said I, “we must now light a fire. It will serve to cheer our spirits, and to keep us warm, for I feel the evening chilly.”

The floor of the room we were in was composed of bricks, so that we could make our fire in the middle of it; and as there was no roof, we had no fear of being incommoded by the smoke. From among the rubbish I managed to pick out several smaller bits of timber, which had escaped being totally consumed, and some of the dry grass we had collected for our mules served as lighter fuel to kindle a flame. Having thus collected sufficient materials, we piled some of them up in the middle of the room, and kept the rest in a corner, to feed our fire as it required.

A flame was soon kindled; and as it burned up brightly, it contributed very much to banish the feelings which had before oppressed me, aided, I suspect, by the exertions which it had been necessary to make to collect the fuel. I have always found that exertion both of mind and body is the best, I may say the only, remedy for melancholy and foreboding thoughts. The light enabled us to find more fuel, which we agreed it would be requisite to husband with care, so as to make it last till sunrise. We had no wish to be again left in darkness.

The light, however, served to show us more clearly the desolation of the place. The walls were bare, and not a particle of furniture had been left; for the Indians had carried off from the village everything that had escaped the flames. Above our heads a few charred timbers only remained of the roof, beyond which the stars were seen shining from out of the dark sky.

“We might have been very much worse off,” I observed to Pedro, as we sat by the fire eating the provisions which we had brought with us. After supper we lay down in the cleanest spot we could find, and tried to recruit our strength by sleep.

I was awoke by Pedro’s hand touching my shoulder. I looked up, at first scarcely able to remember where I was. He had just before thrown some chips on the fire, which made it blaze brightly. I saw that he had his fingers on his lips to enforce silence, so I did not speak; but his looks showed that something had alarmed him. I soon discovered the cause, from hearing the footsteps of several persons in the neighbourhood. I was about to inquire, in a whisper, who they could be, when I observed him glance up at the top of the wall above us. I turned my eyes in the same direction, and then I saw, by the light of the fire, the elf-like locks and red-coloured countenance of a wild Indian, who was gazing down upon us. He looked as much surprised to find us there as we were to see him.

“Pray, friend, who are you, and what do you seek here?” asked Pedro, in the Quichua language.

The stranger made no answer, and presently afterwards a dozen other Indians sprung up to the top of the wall. They were dressed and painted as the warriors of a distant tribe, dwelling in the northern part of the country. After looking at us for an instant, they fixed their arrows in their bows, and were drawing the strings when Pedro shouted out to them:—

“Stay your hands. We are friends of the Indians, and under the protection of the Inca Tupac Amaru.” At the same time he held up a gold ring with which Manco had provided him.

The Indians evidently supposed we were Spaniards, and were accordingly about to put us to death. They did not seem inclined to alter their purpose, for they drew their arrows to the heads; and I believed that our last moments had arrived, when the name of the Inca restrained them.

“We will hear what account you have to give of yourselves,” said the man who had at first appeared, letting himself down from the top of the wall. He was followed by the rest, and others who had climbed up; and we were soon surrounded by a large body of Indians. I endeavoured to look as unconcerned and as little alarmed as possible, so I re-seated myself on the block of wood which I had before occupied. One who seemed to have authority over the rest, took a seat opposite to me, while they stood round the room Pedro forthwith began to give a history of our proceedings, and the cause of our present wanderings. The chief, after some time, appeared satisfied.

“We have vowed to destroy all the white men we meet,” he exclaimed; “but though your skins are white, your hearts are with the Indians, and we will not injure you.”

On hearing these words, I breathed more freely; for I had my misgivings that the Indians would not believe Pedro, and would torture us before they put us to death, as they had lately too often treated their white captives. We soon became on very friendly terms. The chief told Pedro that he and his followers belonged to the very war party which had destroyed the village; that they had swept the country for some way farther to the north, burning all the houses, and murdering all the white inhabitants they encountered; and that now, laden with booty, they were returning to their own homes in the far distant interior. The army now lay encamped at a little distance from the village, in a strong position, where they could not be surprised by any Spanish force which might be near them. He and his band had, he said, come to the place for the purpose of carrying off some of the spoil which they had concealed when last there. They had found it undisturbed, and were consequently in a very good humour.

I told Pedro to endeavour to learn from them, whether they had heard of any English people being in the village when they attacked it. Pedro put the questions I desired.

“If any English people were there, or other strangers, they shared the fate of the rest,” answered the chief with a look of fierceness. I shuddered as he spoke. “It was not a time for us to distinguish people. We had years and years of bitter cruelty and wrong to revenge on the heads of the Spaniards. No one escaped. We came upon them in the night, suddenly and without warning. We surrounded the village, and then burst in upon them while they slept in fancied security, despising the poor Indians whom they so long had trampled on. As they rose from their beds and attempted to fly, we cut them down at the doors of their houses. We threw burning brands upon the roofs, and closed them in till the fire had destroyed them. We drove them shrieking through the streets, and shot them down with our arrows. Some took refuge in the church; but it did not save them. When the morning broke, not a soul remained alive. But we were not content. We had begun to taste the sweets of vengeance, and we rushed on through the country, burning and destroying in our course. We have still more work to perform. Our swords must not be sheathed till the Inca sits once more on the throne of his ancestors, and till not a Spaniard remains alive to boast that his people once held sway in the land.”

As I watched the countenance of the speaker, it wore an almost terrific expression, full of an intense hatred, and a desire for vengeance; yet, before the outbreak, he had probably been like most other Indians, a mild, peaceable, and patiently suffering man. The account he had given of the destruction of the place almost banished the hope which still existed within my breast. Yet I resolved to persevere in my search. My dismay was very great, when I learned from Pedro that the old chief intended to remain in the village with his followers till the morning, and then to carry us along with him as prisoners.

“He believes our story,” said Pedro; “but still he thinks that if we continue our journey, we may give information to the Spaniards of the road the army is taking. He will, I dare say, treat us well, and release us when he fancies we can run no chance of injuring his people.”

The news caused me great vexation, for, though I had no fear that the Indians would injure us, I was afraid that we should be led a long way out of the road in which we could hope to make any effectual inquiries, if, indeed, further search was of any avail. I was anxious also to examine the country surrounding the place where the body of Ithulpo was said to have been discovered; and I told Pedro to entreat the chief, before he commenced his march, to allow us to go out for a few hours as soon as it was light, promising faithfully to return. Pedro made the request, but the old chief, when he understood the object, said it would be useless to grant it.

“Your friends were all killed,” he said, “You search for those who are not to be found.”

“Then we must appeal to the head chief commanding the army,” I said to Pedro in Spanish. “Try and learn who he is.”

After making inquiries, Pedro told me that he was a powerful cacique, who had assumed the title of Tupac Catari; and though he was, as most of the caciques were, descended from an Inca noble, he was only in a remote degree connected with Tupac Amain. He did not consider himself in any way under the orders of the Inca, and was inclined, it appeared, to set up as the Inca himself. It argued ill for the Indian cause, that there should be this division in their forces. From what I heard of him, I was afraid that there was very little probability of his granting the request which had been denied by his inferior, the old chief.

“If, then, we are to be treated as prisoners, we must endeavour to make our escape should any opportunity present itself,” I whispered to Pedro, whom I had drawn aside.

Not to excite the suspicions of our captors, I pretended to be contented with the arrangement, when I found that there was no chance of altering the old chief’s determination; and returning to the fire, I sat down, desiring Pedro to say that I was very tired, and wished to be allowed to sleep till daylight. The Indians apparently finding themselves in tolerably comfortable quarters, wrapped their ponchos round them, and lay down on the ground round the fire, to follow my example. I was, however, too much excited to sleep, and had lost myself in forgetfulness but a very short time when daylight appeared, and the whole party sprung to their feet.

Pedro and I were allowed to mount our mules, and accompanied by the Indians, who bore the spoils they had collected, set out to join the main body, which was already on its march to the northward. We came in sight of them about three miles to the west of the village, as they were passing over a wide sandy plain, bordered by a range of thickly wooded hills. There appeared to be about thirty thousand of them,—a body, as far as numbers were concerned, fully able to compete with any Spanish force which could be sent against them; but they were in a very undisciplined and disorganised state, and were, from what I heard, more intent on obtaining plunder, and on destroying the defenceless whites, than on pushing their first successes with vigour against the common enemy. There were some four or five hundred horsemen among them armed with spears; the rest were infantry, who carried slings, and bows, and axes, and heavy wooden clubs. The cavalry guarded the flanks, and the footmen marched in separate bodies under their respective chiefs, with banners at their head; but there were a great number of stragglers, and, as far as my eye could reach, I observed small bodies who appeared to be scouring the country in search of plunder or provisions. The booty was distributed among the soldiers, each of whom bore a load on his back, consisting of woollen and other goods, household utensils, furniture, and clothing of every description.

The chief, Tupac Catari, rode at the head of his forces, surrounded with banner-bearers. He was a fierce, wild-looking Indian, with a forbidding expression of countenance; and his dignity was not increased by his having dressed himself in the uniform of a Spanish officer, whose cocked hat he wore with the points resting on his shoulders. The lower parts of his legs were bare, except that he had sandals on the soles of his feet, fastened with leather thongs, and a huge pair of silver spurs to his heels. His wife came behind him in a sort of litter, covered with coloured cotton, and supported on men’s shoulders. His followers were habited in every variety of costume, which they had picked up in their expedition; a few of the better organised bodies only retaining their national costume. Is this, I thought, the sort of character who is to aid in the liberation of his native land?

A force like his may, as it has proved, have the power to lay desolate a country, and to murder the defenceless inhabitants; but will they be able to sustain an attack from disciplined troops, when such are sent against them? The general—for so I may call him—halted when we appeared, and made inquiries of the old chief about us. A long conversation then ensued, the result of which was that we were ordered to accompany him. He wanted a secretary, we were told, to write despatches to the other chiefs, and to communicate with the Spaniards; and he thought that either Pedro or I should be able to answer his purpose. In vain we pleaded the necessity of proceeding as we had intended. He refused to listen to any appeal we could make.

“You may consider yourselves fortunate in not losing your lives,” he at last answered. “We have sworn to kill every white man we meet; and you have to thank your friend Manco, on account of the love all the Indians bear him, that we have not killed you; so be content and say no more.”

The old chief who had first taken us prisoners, finding himself thus unceremoniously deprived of our company, left us to our fate, and for some time we rode on in silence among the general’s body-guard. Every man in the army seemed to be talking at the same time. They were, I found, boasting to each other of the deeds of valour they had performed, of the enemies they had slain, and of the booty they had collected. The general after some time called us to his side, and asked us if we could inform him what the Spaniards were about, and whether they were likely to attack the Indian armies.

“Tell him,” I said to Pedro, “that the Spaniards will never consent to yield up the country to the natives. They are only waiting to assemble their forces, to endeavour to regain the places they have lost. If they have not men enough here, they will send to Spain for more, and for guns and artillery, and all the munitions of war. They will soon appear, well armed and disciplined; and a hundred of their troops will be a match for a thousand or even two thousand Indians. The only chance of success the Indians have is to be united, to act under one chief, and to follow up each advantage, till they have driven the Spaniards from their shores.”

“Very good,” said the general. “I will be that chief, and will follow the advice of the English stranger.”

And he drew himself up proudly in his saddle, as if he was about to become Inca of Peru. I saw after this, that any advice I could offer to him would be thrown away; besides, I doubted much whether I was justified in offering encouragement to the Indians. I felt that they had been most unjustly and cruelly treated, and certainly desired to see them obtain their emancipation; but at the same time, I saw that there was little or no hope of their ever regaining their country, or restoring the ancient dynasty of the Incas; and that the attempt would only cause a vast amount of bloodshed, and too probably end in their total destruction. As an Englishman, too. I regretted that I had no business to interfere in a cause which, just as it certainly was, if maintained properly, was not my own; and I resolved, therefore, to be silent for the future.

The dreadful cruelties committed by the Indians had horrified me; and the romance with which I had at first invested their brave attempt at emancipation, had vanished on a nearer inspection of the means by which they were carrying it out. I never did and never can believe that the end justifies the means. God’s righteous laws must be implicitly obeyed; and no reasons which we may offer can excuse us for neglecting them. Yet we may be allowed to believe that he weighs our actions of good or evil by the knowledge we possess through the light of His word; and acts which, committed by us, might be unpardonable, may, when perpetrated by ignorant savages, be overlooked through His mercy in the day of judgment.

From the time that the Christian and the civilised Europeans first landed in Peru, they treated the ignorant and heathen natives with the greatest cruelty; and thus taught by their task-masters, they, on the first opportunity, showed that they had not forgotten the lessons they had received, but treated them as they themselves had been treated. Had the Spaniards taught the Peruvians mercy, justice, and piety, by their own example, this terrible outbreak would never have occurred, and the weaker race would have become willing servants to the stronger. We ought always to bear in mind that it is by the just administration of good laws, and by the conduct of the rich, the educated, and the powerful, that the lower orders are educated, as much, or even more, than by the lessons given them by their nominal instructors.

Ministers of religion will preach in vain from the pulpit, and schoolmasters will find their efforts useless, unless the upper orders set a good example. I entreat my young friends to recollect that they belong to the educated classes, whose behaviour is sure to be imitated by those below them. If their conduct is unchristian, irreligious, or immoral, they will not only have their own sins to answer for at the day of judgment, but the sins of those whom they by their example have led astray. The dreadful excesses committed by the lower orders during the French Revolution were the results of the irreligious and immoral conduct and teaching of the upper classes in France. The Peruvian Indians, who were guilty of the terrible atrocities I have mentioned, were mostly, in name at least, Christians, and had Christian priests ministering to them; but their teaching appears to have had no effect in restraining them from acts totally at variance with all the principles of Christianity. How could they, indeed, have faith in a creed professed by men who, from the time of their first appearance in their country, had not scrupled to murder, to plunder, to ill-treat, and to enslave them?

It is worthy of remark, that when the Indians destroyed every other human being in the places they attacked, they in many instances saved the lives of the priests. I suspect, however, that they did so, not so much that they respected their sacred character, but because in their superstition they fancied they were possessed of supernatural powers, which might be exercised for their punishment if they ventured to injure them. There were many enlightened and patriotic men among the Indians; and from all I heard of Tupac Amaru and his family, they were worthy of a happier fate than befell them. I shall have to describe their subsequent history as I proceed in my narrative.

Chapter Twelve.

Another battle—We are captured by Spaniards.

It must be remembered that the war party whom Pedro and I were now so unwillingly compelled to accompany, was but an irregular portion of the Indian army, and that the chief commanding it was in every respect inferior to Tupac Amaru, and his brave sons Andres and Mariano, or his brother Diogo. I mention this, because otherwise I might give my reader a very unjust and incorrect history of the principal men engaged in the attempt I am describing to regain the long-lost liberties of the Peruvian nation.

The forces of Tupac Catari had crossed the sandy plain, and ascended the woody height I have mentioned, when we reached a rocky defile, through which lay the road we were to pursue. Instead of sending on an advanced guard to feel the way, as a more experienced general would have done, the chief rode carelessly on at the head of his followers. Pedro and I were allowed to keep together, and to converse in Spanish; for I suppose that Catari thought that we should not dream of attempting to escape from among his numerous army. He was wrong, however; for the idea of doing so was never absent from my mind.

“Pedro,” said I, “you have been so true and faithful, and have shown so much regard for me, that I know you would not willingly desert me, and yet I do not like to lead you into danger unnecessarily; but tell me, do you think we could manage to get away from these people?”

“O Señor, do not suppose I would hesitate a moment to serve you on account of the danger,” he answered, in a tone of much feeling. “What have I, without kindred or friends, to live for, that I should be afraid of risking my life? Yet at present I do not see what chance we have of escaping; though an opportunity may occur when we least expect it.”

“Thanks, Pedro, thanks, my friend,” I replied. “I was certain that you would be ready to aid me; and I hope some day to show my gratitude to you, little as I am now able to do so. But do not say that you have no friends. Surely Manco is your friend, and the Indians among whom you have lived, and the good priest who educated you.”

“The good priest is dead. Manco is my friend, and so are the kind Indians; but I am the child of another race, and though I love the Indians, my heart yearns for the sympathy and affection of the people from whom I am sprung. When I was a child I cared not for it; but since I learned to read the history of my father’s country, and more than all, since I met you, Señor, new feelings and aspirations have sprung up within my bosom. I cannot be content unless I am in the company of those who can converse, like you, on things beyond the narrow circle of the life I have hitherto led.”

“I understand you, Pedro; and I think that I should feel as you do,” I said. “If we can make our escape, you shall accompany me to other lands—we will go forth together to see the great world which lies beyond these lofty mountains.”

“O Señor, your words have given me a new life,” he exclaimed enthusiastically. “I will follow you anywhere you may lead, and serve you faithfully. And yet,” he added in a tone of feeling, “I must not leave the generous Manco without again seeing him; I must bid farewell to my foster father and mother, and the Indians who protected me in my youth; I must return to them once more before I go.”

“I would on no account induce you to be ungrateful, and I should myself be very unwilling to leave the country, even should I discover my family, without returning to bid farewell to Manco,” I said in return.

“Then we will go back to Manco as soon as we can escape from these people; and we may thus with more speed be able to begin our travels,” exclaimed Pedro.

We were both very young, and ignorant of the great world we talked of exploring; and we little knew all the difficulties we might be destined to encounter. The subject, once commenced, was a continual source of interest to us, and we were never tired of talking about it. It served also to prevent my mind from dwelling on my loss, the probability of which I could scarcely conceal from myself.

I have mentioned but a few of Pedro’s observations, for the sake of showing his character. He had benefited to the utmost from the little education which had been given him by the priest of whom he spoke. His disposition was ardent and romantic, and full of generous sympathies; and possessing a clear perception of right and wrong, he was always anxious to do right. He had been made acquainted at an early age with his own history; and though he loved the Indians, he was proud of belonging to a superior race, among whom his great desire was to mix as an equal. He was tall and well formed, with very handsome features, to which his amiable disposition had given a most pleasing expression; so that, whether or not his parents were of good birth, he looked, at all events, in every respect the gentleman.

In early youth, when people are thrown together under difficult circumstances, friendships calculated to endure to the end of life are quickly formed; and thus, during the short time we had been together, we had become mutually much attached; indeed, I fancied that no one could have been many days in the society of Pedro without feeling a sincere regard for him.

So much were we absorbed in conversation, that we scarcely noticed how the time flew by. The leading parties of the Indians had now passed through a considerable portion of the defile, and the rear were about to enter it when we reached a spot more difficult and narrow than any we had yet arrived at.

“If any of the Spanish troops were on the watch to intercept the Indian forces, this is the very spot they should select,” I observed to Pedro.

“May the saints forbid!” he answered. “The poor people would be cut to pieces, and we should suffer with them.”

“I certainly do not wish it,” I said; “though I think we might manage to escape in the confusion; but I thought of it, as it was exactly in such a spot as this that some months ago we were attacked by the Montoneros, when we were rescued by Manco and his followers.”

“Oh, the Spaniards are too much disheartened and terrified by their late disasters to think of attacking the Indians,” said Pedro.

“But suppose they were to attack our captors, do not you think that we could manage to climb up the cliffs, and hide ourselves among the rocks till the fighting is over?” I asked, without at all expecting that such a thing was likely to happen.

I had scarcely made the observation, when our ears were assailed by the loud rattle of musketry, and a shower of bullets flew about our heads, killing and wounding many of the Indians near us. In an instant they were thrown into the most terrible confusion, and the shouts and cries of fear rent the air. Catari, and some of the chiefs about him, in vain endeavoured to lead them on to meet their concealed enemies. So completely were they taken by surprise, that all their courage deserted them. They gave way to their first impulse, which was to fly from the danger. The rear ranks turned, and the rest followed, and fled as fast as they could, with the intention of getting into the more open country they had left. The Spaniards, a strong body of whose troops had been lying in ambush, on this showed themselves, and, with their swords in their hands, rushed down upon the confused bands of the Indians. Catari, and those immediately about him, fought bravely, for they had not a hope of escaping. His people threw themselves before him, and allowed the Spaniards to cut them to pieces in their attempt to preserve the life of their chief. Pedro and I were fortunately at the time a little in the rear of the advanced guard; and we had escaped the bullets which had laid low many of those near us. The Indians, however, were so completely blocking up the narrow defile in their eagerness to escape, that we saw it would be impossible to fly in that direction. Our only chance of saving our lives was to put in execution the plan I had just before been proposing.

“Let us throw ourselves from our mules, and try to climb up the cliffs,” I exclaimed to Pedro.

Just then a bullet struck Catari. I saw him reel in his saddle, when one of his companions seized his horse’s bridle, and attempted to lead him out of the fray towards the rear. But he was mortally wounded; and before he could be got from among the combatants, he fell to the ground. His death was the signal for the rest to fly; but they attempted to do so in vain. The Spanish soldiers pressed in upon them, and cutting them down without mercy, forced them back in confusion. A few of the Indians, driven to despair, still fought fiercely, and for a time impeded their progress, thus leaving a clear space near where Pedro and I stood.

“Now, now!” I exclaimed to Pedro. “We have not a moment to lose. If the Spaniards reach us before we have time for explanation, they will kill us. Jump from your mule and follow me.”

I had observed that on one side the cliff was considerably broken, and that a number of jutting rocks would enable us to climb up to the summit, and afford us some sort of shelter in the meantime. I threw myself out of my saddle as I spoke, and Pedro following my example, we ran as fast as we could towards the rocks. It was the work of a moment to spring up them; there was an abundance of shrubs and creeping plants to help us. By laying hold of them, we drew ourselves from rock to rock. Our lives we felt depended on our activity; and under ordinary circumstances I do not think we could have accomplished the task. We had thus climbed up some forty feet or so in a shorter time than I have taken to describe it, when we reached a platform, above which, as we looked upwards, it seemed impossible that we could ascend. There was, however, the branch of a tree, which grew in a cleft of the rock.

“Take me on your shoulders, and I think I can reach it,” I cried to Pedro.

He stooped down, and, as I sprung on his shoulders, he lifted me up till I caught hold of the branch. I drew myself up, and succeeded in throwing my body over the bough. I then, holding on tight with one hand, gave him the other, and lifted him up till he could catch hold of it also. The branch cracked and bent with our united weight; but we were anxious enough had it not done so, for we were now fully exposed to the sight of the combatants below. They were, however, too much engaged to observe us. When Pedro no longer required my assistance, I lifted myself till I could reach the branch of another tree still higher up, and from thence sprung on to the rock we wished to gain. Pedro kept close behind me, and imitating my example, we in a short time found ourselves behind a rock overshadowed by trees, where, from among the branches which hung down close to it, we could command a view of the greater part of the ravine without being seen, though we were not high enough to escape any stray shots fired in our direction.

By the time we got there, the last of the Indians who had stood their ground, were either killed or wounded; and the Spanish troops swept along the defile like a mountain torrent, overthrowing all they encountered in their course. Their shouts of triumph, and the shrieks of the Indians, reached our ears with terrible distinctness where we stood. During our ascent we had heard nothing; even the rattle of the musketry was unheeded. Now and then the Spaniards halted to load, and they again sent forth a volley, which in that narrow space took terrible effect; and once more they advanced to the charge. The Indians did not once attempt to rally, but fled like a flock of sheep chased by dogs; those in the rear falling the first victims, and the conquerors passing over their prostrate bodies. The rout was most complete; and over the distance which we could see from where we stood, it appeared that many thousands had been killed. Every foot of the ground was covered with them, and the conquerors had literally to wade through their blood as they rushed to the work of destruction. It was a dreadful sight; but still we could not withdraw our eyes from it. We were considering what we should next do; and in order to obtain a better view of the country beyond the defile, to judge whether we should proceed in that direction, I climbed up to a higher part of the rock, supposing that all the Spaniards had passed by; when, to my dismay, I saw some fifty men or so drawn up across the road. They were posted there evidently to guard the entrance of the defile, and to prevent their companions from being attacked in the rear by any fresh body of Indians. Though I was only exposed for a moment, they saw me; and as I jumped down several shots rattled against the rock. Their voices shouting to us, and ordering us to come to them, warned us that we could hope no longer to remain concealed. We, however, were in a very secure position; and we judged, from the difficulty we had in getting there, that they were not at all likely to be able to climb up to us.

“What is to be done now, Pedro?” I asked. “Do you think we could manage to scramble up among the trees, and so escape over the top of the cliffs?”

“Perhaps we might,” he answered, looking up to examine the trees above us. “But what should we do when we got there? We should be without our mules or provisions or arms, and a long way from any habitation where we might obtain shelter. We should also very likely fall into the power of some of the broken parties of Catari’s army, dispersed by the Spaniards; and they, enraged by the disaster which has befallen them, would, seeing that we were whites, kill us without asking us any questions.”

Pedro’s arguments were very strong; but still I thought we should be only falling from the frying-pan into the fire, if we put ourselves into the power of the Spaniards. While we were still discussing what we should do, we heard them again calling to us.

“Come down, you Indian thieves, come down and be shot, or we must climb up after you,” they shouted.

“More easily said than done,” observed Pedro; “but do not let us show ourselves, or they are very likely to shoot us without further questioning. If we could make them hear us from where we are, we might tell them that we are whites, who had been taken prisoners by the Indians.”

“Stay then,” said I, going to the side of the rock nearest to where the Spaniards stood, keeping my body carefully sheltered behind it, I put my head among the leaves, so that they could not see me, and shouted out—

“We are friends! we are friends!—whites, escaped from the Indians. We were afraid you would mistake us for enemies, so we hid ourselves.”

“If that is the case,” said an officer, stepping forward, “come down, we will not hurt you.”

“What shall we do?” said I to Pedro. “We are safe where we are for the present, for their bullets cannot reach us; and I am certain no Spanish soldier will be able to climb up in the way we did to this spot.”

“We shall get very hungry though, if they try to starve us out,” he answered; “besides, it will look as if we were guilty of some crime if we appear afraid of coming down.”

“There is no help for it, I see,” was my reply. “We must put a good face upon the matter. Señor officer,” I shouted, “your men have already shown that they can aim very correctly, and we would rather not run the risk of another peppering; may I beg that you will take care that they do not fire at us by mistake. If we have your word for it, we will descend, as you desire.”

“I pledge you the word of a Castilian that they shall not fire at you,” answered the officer.

“That satisfies us; we will descend,” I shouted back. “Come, Pedro, we must take care not to break our necks though, which we shall do if we slip,” I said, as I swung myself on to a bough of the nearest tree below the rock.

It is nearly always more difficult to descend a cliff than to climb up; as in the former case one cannot see where one’s feet are to rest; and one may chance to find one’s self on a jutting ledge, from whence the height is too great to leap off to the next standing-place below, and one has to climb up again to search for another way down. We had the advantage of knowing the rocks on which we were to rest; yet our descent took much more time than had our ascent. At one place Pedro had to hold fast by a tree while he let me down; and I, in return, had to grasp firmly a jutting rock, and to catch him as he dropped down to me. At length, with no slight exertion and risk, we reached the bottom, where we found the Spanish officer and several of his men, who had been watching us with some admiration, and wondering, as they told us, how we had contrived not to break our necks. They would scarcely believe that we had got up by the same way.

“I thought none but monkeys could climb such a place,” observed the officer.

“We English have a way of doing extraordinary things when we try,” I replied, trying to look as unconcerned as possible.

“English, are you indeed? I thought you must be so.”

“Yes, Señor, I am an Englishman at your service,” I said; for I had agreed with Pedro that it would be better to give a correct account of ourselves, than to attempt any deception.

There is an old saying—“Tell the truth and shame the devil.” Now, although there can be no doubt that there are occasions when concealment is excusable, yet these are very rare exceptions, which occur but seldom in most men’s lives; and as a general rule a strict adherence to the truth is the only just and safe course, even though it may apparently lead one into a difficulty. There is something degrading in a falsehood or prevarication, which must injure the self-respect of a man of proper feeling. It is a sin! There is no disguising it. People often tell falsehoods to conceal what they have done wrong, but that does not make the sin less; it is only adding one sin to another. I say—and I know that am right—Tell truth, and stand the consequences.

I therefore told the officer my true history. How my father’s house had been taken possession of by the Spanish troops; how the Indians had attacked and burned it; and how they had carried me off desperately wounded. Then I described how I had been nursed by an Indian and his wife among the mountains till I had recovered, when the dreadful report reached me of the destruction of my family; and how the Indian had allowed me to set out for the purpose of discovering what had really been their fate, when, in the course of my search, we had been captured by Catari and his followers. The officer seemed much interested by the account I gave him, and to feel real compassion for my loss.

“And the youth with you, who is he?” he asked.

I told him, a Spaniard, who in his childhood had been carried off by the Indians, and educated by the good priest of their village.

“It is a very strange story you tell me,” he remarked. “However, I believe you, for your face assures me that you speak the truth. You both must now accompany me to the place where I am ordered to wait with my men for the return of the rest of the troops. I hear the bugles sounding the recall, and they probably have by this time completely dispersed all the Indians who remained together; but their orders were not to venture beyond the defile, lest the brigands should reassemble and cut them off. We must march at once, for the colonel commanding our force will soon be there.”

I was very well satisfied with his manner of speaking, and felt certain that we should be kindly treated. Fortunately for us, our mules had managed to get out of the way of the troops as they passed by. With much sagacity they had, when we jumped off their backs, crept into a wide crevice in the cliffs, and we found them close to the spot feeding on the leaves of some shrubs which grew among the rocks. On our claiming them as our property, the officer allowed us to mount them; and he invited us to ride by his side at the head of his men. His questions were sometimes very puzzling, for I resolved not to give him any information which might prove injurious to the Indians. I could not, however, deny that I had seen a large Indian force collected very different to that of Catari; and I warned him, that should the Spaniards ever meet it, they would find a victory far more difficult than the one they had just achieved.

“Do you think you could lead us to the place where this army you speak of is encamped?” he asked suddenly, after a considerable silence.

“Señor,” I replied, with a look of indignation, “has anything I have said induced you to believe that I could be capable of so dishonourable and ungrateful an action! The Indians treated me with mercy and kindness. Is such the return you would expect an honest man to make?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Why, no,” he replied; “to confess the truth, I should not expect you to do so willingly, and I would myself rather not be asked to do such a thing; but I am sorry to tell you that there are others, my superiors, who are not so likely to pay respect to your scruples; and I am afraid that they will insist on your acting as our guide if it is thought expedient to march against the new made Inca.”

“But surely I have the power to refuse to do any such thing,” I exclaimed indignantly.

“But you might be compelled to do it,” he urged. “It would be dangerous for you to refuse. Our generals are not in a mood to be trifled with.”

“I trust that no power could compel me to act so treacherous a part,” I replied calmly. “You, Señor, I am sure, would not so advise me.”

He seemed to be a man imbued with the old chivalrous spirit of the Castilians; and my appeal to his honourable sentiments pleased him.

“You are a brave youth, and I will do my best to serve you,” he replied. “I am in duty bound to tell my colonel what I know, but you can assure him that you could not find your way back, which I think you probably would not be able to do.”

This conversation caused me much anxiety, though I resolved at all hazards not to betray my friends. I could not also but regret that I had been so incautious as to have allowed myself to confess that I had seen the army of the Inca. I should have been more on my guard; and, without departing from the truth, I might have declined answering any questions which could draw the information from me. The frankness and kind manner of the officer threw me off it, however; and I found myself placed in a position I had not at all contemplated. I received a lesson which I hope may be useful to any of my readers who may be placed in similar circumstances. The officer, whose name I found was Don Eduardo da Vila, and a captain of the regiment with which he was serving, was only doing his duty in cross-questioning me; and I believe that he was very sorry that the information he had obtained was likely to prove injurious to me.

We soon reached the spot he had spoken of, where we were to wait for his colonel. It was a rocky height with precipitous sides, of which a portion of only one was accessible, so that it was a complete natural fortress. It commanded the entrance to the ravine; and had the Indians possessed any knowledge of warfare, they would have taken another route, however circuitous, rather than have attempted to pass so formidable a position without first ascertaining that it was not occupied by an enemy. It was nearly dusk, and the chief body of the Spanish troops had not yet returned from their work of bloodshed. Don Eduardo began to be uneasy.

“Can the rebels have rallied and attacked them?” I heard him say to one of his inferiors. “I thought I heard the bugles sounding as we left the ravine.”

“There can be no doubt about it. If they had been attacked, the sound of the firing would have reached us,” was the answer.

“They have probably pursued the enemy further than they intended,” said Don Eduardo, walking a short distance off from where we stood. He was evidently becoming anxious on the subject.

“What do you think about it?” I asked Pedro, who had overheard what had been said.

“It is possible that the Indians may have rallied and cut off the Spaniards,” he answered. “Yet I do not think that they will have had the courage to do so. At first I was almost hoping it, as I thought we might have a better chance of escaping, but then I remembered that though many of the Indians might have been my friends, the Spaniards are my countrymen. I trust no disaster has befallen them.”

Don Eduardo and his lieutenant returned after the consultation; and the latter, with a sergeant’s party, was ordered to proceed along the ravine, to ascertain what had become of the main body. We watched the lieutenant and his men enter the ravine and advance, till they were hid by a turn of the cliffs. Don Eduardo then called us to him, and asked us our opinion as to what was likely to have occurred. We both assured him that we did not think the Indians would have rallied. What we said appeared somewhat to relieve his mind, and sitting down on a rock, he lighted a cigar, and offered some to us, which we declined, as neither Pedro nor I smoked. The men meantime had piled their arms, and lighted fires to boil their cocoa and to cook their provisions. Some were thus employed, others were smoking, and others had thrown themselves on the ground to rest after the fatigues of the day. We learned that they had received notice of the march of Catari’s army from an Indian spy, many of whom were in the pay of the Spaniards. They had watched for them for several days, and at last the colonel commanding the force had resolved to occupy the post where he attacked them, till they should attempt to pass. The view around the spot we occupied was very picturesque. It was also a very strong natural position, while its picturesqueness was increased by the horses and baggage mules picqueted under the trees, the gay costumes of their drivers, the camp-fires, the piles of arms, and the groups of soldiers, in varied attitudes, scattered here and there.

The sun had set and the short twilight had come to an end, when the tramp of men’s feet at a distance reached our ears. We listened anxiously. It was that of trained soldiers; and in a short time we saw them looming through the gloom of the evening. As they drew near, the advanced guard uttered a shout to warn us of their approach, which was responded to by the party on the hill. Soon afterwards they appeared on the summit, and as they marched into the centre of the space, they piled their arms, and joined their comrades round the fires. Each man came laden with the spoils they had retaken from the Indians.

After a portion of the troops had filed by, there came, with two soldiers guarding each of them, some fifty Indians who had been taken prisoners, and preserved to grace their triumph. Poor wretches, we found that though their lives were for the present spared, their fate was sealed, and that it was intended by a public execution to strike terror into the hearts of their countrymen. Those who could not move fast enough were dragged forward by ropes fastened to their wrists, or urged on at the point of the sword. When they halted, they were all huddled together like sheep in a pen, and a strong guard placed over them to prevent their escape. From the words we overheard, the soldiers appeared to be recounting eagerly, to those who had been left as a reserve, the adventures of the day. Pedro and I were shortly summoned by Don Eduardo to attend the colonel; but fortunately he was too tired and hungry to interrogate us closely, and after a few questions he dismissed us, with permission to join several of his officers round their watch-fires.

We were surprised at seeing only three or four wounded men; and we learned that, with the exception of one killed, they were the only sufferers among the troops. They were in high spirits, as this was the first success the Spanish forces had met with since the commencement of the outbreak. They boasted that they had killed several thousands of the Indians, though their own loss had been so small. They had followed them beyond the defile, where the remainder, entirely broken and dispersed, had saved themselves in the recesses of the forest. The officers civilly invited us to partake of their supper, Don Eduardo having recommended us to their notice; and afterwards, the picquets having been placed, we all wrapped ourselves in our cloaks and lay down to sleep.

Chapter Thirteen.

A battlefield at night—Our experiences of a Peruvian prison.

I am not fond of dwelling on horrors; but I should fail to give a true picture of warfare and its effects, were I to neglect to describe those scenes which are its never-failing accompaniments. I tried to sleep; but at first the blaze of the fire, the voices of those around me, and the din of the camp, kept me awake; and when that had ceased, all the soldiers except the sentries, and even the Indian prisoners, having dropped off asleep, there came up from the depths of the mountain gorge a sound which, as I suspected its cause, effectually banished repose. Though rendered faint by distance, it came through the quiet night air with a distinctness which was truly terrible. I listened with painful attention. There were the shrieks and groans of human beings in their mortal agony, and the suppressed roar and hissing snarl of the fierce puma and the sanguinary ounce, as they disputed over their prey. Many Indians, I guessed too surely, had crawled, desperately wounded, into the crevices of the rocks, where they lay concealed as the Spanish troops passed by, and escaped instant death to suffer a lingering and more terrible fate at the last. All night long those melancholy sounds continued, and though they might have been heard by my companions, they did not appear to disturb their repose. I scarcely knew whether to envy or commiserate their apathy.

The night at last passed away. The soldiers started to their feet at the sound of the bugle’s call, a hasty meal was taken, baggage mules were laden, the men fell into their ranks, and the order to march was given. Pedro and I mounted our faithful little beasts, and rode by the side of Don Eduardo, who, after he had got the troops into order, called us to him.

We descended the side of the hill, and took a direction towards the west, very much to my satisfaction, for I was afraid that we should have again to pass through the gorge; and my heart sickened at the thought of the sad spectacle we should there have to witness. There was no road, and the ground was very uneven; but the men and animals seemed accustomed to it, and managed to scramble along at the rate of about two miles-an-hour. We marched for about five hours, when we reached the bank of a river, where a halt was called, and the men were ordered to pile arms and cook their dinners, scouts being sent out to give notice of the approach of any Indians. The river ran through a broad valley, having on either side high cliffs, and below them grassy land sprinkled with trees. On the top of the cliffs was a wide belt of forest, beyond which, stretched out to the south, a vast extent of sandy desert. As we passed over it, I observed the remains of numerous small canals, which Pedro informed me served in the days of the Incas to irrigate it, when what was now a barren plain was covered with fertile fields.

The spot where we had approached the river was at the mouth of a narrow stream, which wound its way down from the mountains, its course marked by a line of trees, which it served to nourish. While the troops were resting, the colonel summoned Pedro and me into his presence, to make more inquiries about us. I mentioned that he was a very different sort of person to Don Eduardo. He was a stern, morose man, none of the kindlier sympathies of human nature finding a place in his bosom. He was sitting on a rock, under the shade of a tree, with his secretary, with paper and a pen in his hand, kneeling by his side, and making a table of the rock, ready to take notes of what we might say. He questioned us narrowly, and all we said was put down. I gave him the same account that I had to Don Eduardo.

“And so you have been living among the Indians, and encouraging them in their rebellion against their rightful sovereign, I doubt not,” he observed, fixing his piercing eyes on us. “Young man, your name is not unfamiliar to me.”

I felt no little alarm on hearing these words, which was increased when he desired his secretary to turn to some notes he had in his portfolio.

“I thought so,” he exclaimed. “You are the son of an Englishman who is accused of conspiring with the Indians to overthrow the government of the country. Your father has met with his deserts, for I see that he and all his family were murdered by the wretched people he had encouraged to revolt; but you, let me assure you, will not escape the punishment which is your due. You have been treated with too much leniency by us; you and your companion are now prisoners. Guard lead them off, and take care that they do not escape.”

The information so brutally given me, confirmatory of my worst fears, almost overcame me, and I believe that I should have sunk to the ground, had not the soldiers who were ordered to take charge of us supported me as they led me away. I was far too much absorbed by the dreadful news, the truth of which I could not doubt, to be able to contemplate the very dangerous position in which I was placed. I did not attempt to answer the colonel, nor to exculpate myself; indeed, any appeal to him would have been of no avail. Pedro and I were marched off, and placed by ourselves under the shade of a rock, where several men were stationed as sentries over us. The officers with whom we had before been associating on friendly terms seemed to regard us with looks of pity, but they dared not speak to us. When the troops again marched we were guarded by two soldiers, who rode by our sides with drawn swords, while we were not allowed to address each other. The time occupied by that journey was the most miserable portion of my life. Hope had almost deserted me. All those I loved best on earth were gone; and at the end of it I had nothing to expect but a long imprisonment in a loathsome dungeon, or perhaps death. The next evening, when the soldiers halted to bivouac for the night, as Pedro and I were sitting disconsolately on the ground at a short distance from each other, with our guards between us, I saw Don Eduardo approaching. He told the soldiers to withdraw, and sat down by my side. I saw by his manner that he had undertaken a task which was not altogether to his taste.

“I have got permission from the colonel to speak to you,” he began. “He considers himself authorised not to act very rigorously with you if you will accede to his proposals.”

“What are they, Don Eduardo?” I asked, at once guessing their tenor.

“Why, he understands you have seen the army of the rebel chief, Tupac Amaru, and are acquainted with their intentions,” he answered.

“I own that I have seen large numbers of Indians collected together, but I am entirely ignorant of what they were about to do,” I said. “But pray go on, Don Eduardo.”

“The proposal is similar to what I made you when we first met,” he replied, the colour rising to his cheeks. “If you can conduct a Spanish force to where they are to be found, or can contrive to put some of their chiefs into our power, you and your friend shall forthwith be set at liberty.”

“You, I am sure, Don Eduardo, can expect but one reply from me to such a question, and you know that it is the only one which, while I remain an honourable man, I can give.”

“I am afraid so,” he answered, looking down much grieved. “I am to add, that if you refuse, as soon as we arrive at the town of San Pablo, you will be tried and shot as a rebel.”

“Before I have been found guilty?” I asked.

“I fear your guilt in our eyes has been too well established by your own confession,” he observed. “Let me advise you to think over the subject well. It is hard for a youth like you to die.”

“Tell me, Don Eduardo, do you believe me guilty?” I asked.

“You have been in communication with the Indians and you wish them well,” he said, avoiding an answer to my question.

“I wish the Spaniards well, and have never instigated the Indians to rebel by word or deed,” said I. “But you have not told me if you think me guilty.”

“I do not. From what I have seen of you I think you incapable of doing so wrong a thing,” he replied, kindly taking my hand. “I wish to save your life.”

“I warmly thank you for what you say, Don Eduardo,” I exclaimed; “but I cannot do what is proposed. If I am not guilty it will be more easy to die; but I trust that, as an Englishman, the government will not venture to put me to death unless my guilt is clearly proved.”

“In these times no respect is paid to persons,” he said. “You must not trust to such a hope; yet I would take a more satisfactory answer back to my colonel.”

“I can send no other answer than what I have given,” I replied; “you would from your heart despise me if I did.”

At this he looked very melancholy. “Well, I fear it must be so, yet I will do all I can for you,” he said, as again pressing my hand in token of his good-will, he rose to leave me.

Having ordered the sentries to return to their posts, he went to where my companion in misfortune was sitting. He conversed with him for some time; and though I had great confidence in Pedro, I was afraid that he might ultimately be tempted or threatened into compliance with the colonel’s demands. I wronged him; for I afterwards learned that he remained firm to his honour. The night passed away without any adventure; and wearied out by bodily fatigue and mental anxiety, though the hard ground was my couch, I slept till daylight. My conscience was, at all events, clear of wrong, and I never recollect to have slept so soundly. I awoke more refreshed than I had been for some time, and with a lighter heart in my bosom. Even hope revived, though I had little enough to ground it on. The air was pure and bracing, my nerves felt well strung, and the face of nature itself wore to my eyes a more cheerful aspect than it had done for many days. The troops advanced more rapidly than they had before done, and towards evening the spires of several churches rising from the plain, the rays of the sun lighting them brilliantly up, came in sight. They were in the town of San Pablo, the houses in which soon after appeared. As we approached, a number of the Spanish inhabitants came out to hear the news, and seemed highly gratified at the result of the expedition. The unfortunate Indians who were brought in as prisoners, chiefly attracted their attention; and I was shocked to hear the abuse they heaped on them. The miserable beings walked on with sullen and downcast looks, without deigning to reply. They had no hope—they had lost the day, and they knew the fate which awaited them.

As we marched through the unpaved, dirty streets, the inhabitants came out of their houses to look at us, and to offer the troops refreshments and congratulations. We found the town full of people of all colours, of whom a large number were Indians who had refused to join the revolt.

In the centre of the town was the usual large plaza or square; and on one side of it was a building which we were told was the prison. Towards it we were at once conducted. One side of the square was without buildings, a broad stream running past it, beyond which were cultivated fields, and gardens divided by walls. In the centre was a fountain, continually throwing up a jet of crystal water—a refreshing sight in that climate. The prison fronted the river. On one side was a church, and on the other the residence of the governor of the town, or of some other civil functionary. On either side of the buildings I have mentioned, were long rows of houses of various heights, though mostly of one story, very similar to those I have already described. Three streets, running at right angles to each other, led into the square. I have not without reason been thus particular in my description.

The soldiers who had us in charge, led us across the square, amid the shouts and jeers of the people. Even the blacks, the half-castes, and the Indians, came to stare at us with stupid wonder, calling us rebels, traitors, and robbers. The unfortunate Indians who had been made prisoners, went before us. The massive gates of the prison were thrown open, and they were forced within. We came last.

My heart sunk within me as we entered those gloomy walls. The interior was already crowded with human beings, many of them Indians, found with arms in their hands, or suspected of an intention of joining the rebels. We advanced along a low, arched gallery, intersected by several gates; and having passed two of them, we turned to the left, along a narrower passage, at the end of which we reached a small door. The gaoler, who showed the way with a torch, opened it; and, to my dismay, I saw that a steep flight of steps led down from it to some chambers below the ground.

“We are to be shut up in a dungeon, I fear,” I whispered to Pedro.

“So that I am with you, I care not where I am,” he answered.

Four of the soldiers followed us, to prevent our running away, I suppose; though we should have had but a poor chance of escaping even had we tried. The rest faced about, and marched back through the passage. I hesitated on the top of the steps, so narrow and broken and dark did they look.

“Come along, Señores, come along!” said the gaoler; “but take care how you tread, for the steps are somewhat worn, and you may chance to break your necks some days before their time.”

Though inclined to make merry at our expense, he held his torch so as to afford sufficient light for us to see our way. The soldiers laughed gruffly at his joke, bad as it was; and this made him attempt one or two others of a similar character.

“The gentlemen have not perhaps been accustomed to live in a palace, but they will find one here, with plenty of servants to attend on them; so I must beg to congratulate them,” he said, chuckling as he spoke. “They will have plenty of playmates, though some of them will not remain very long, I suspect. They have a way here of making a speedy clearance at times.”

We had now reached the bottom of the steps, and another small door, plated with iron and secured with two stout iron bars, appeared before us. The gaoler removed the bars, and taking a key from his girdle, opened the door.

“Go in there, Señores,” he said. “It is somewhat dark at present, but you will get accustomed to it by-and-by.”

Saying this, he forced us into the dungeon. I went in first, and stumbled down a couple of steps, nearly falling on my face. While I was holding out my hand to save Pedro from doing the same, the door was shut behind us, and barred and bolted as before. We found ourselves in almost total darkness, a small aperture near the ceiling alone affording a dim gleam of light, which served to show us the gloomy horrors of the place. Two massive pillars supported the low arched roof, which seemed covered with moisture. The size of the place we could not tell, as the darkness prevented our seeing the walls at either side. The floor was unpaved, and composed of damp earth strewed with filth. We stood for some minutes holding each other’s hands, without speaking, and without moving. We felt bewildered and stupified with the calamity which had befallen us. Pedro was the first to recover himself.

“They cannot keep us here for ever,” he said, breaking the long silence. “Others have been in worse places, and have escaped. Let us hope, Señor, for the best.” He spoke in a cheerful tone, which had a reviving effect upon me.

“We will hope for the best, Pedro,” I exclaimed. “Something may occur to deliver us. We must consider, however, what we have to do. I propose that we first make a tour of inspection round our dominions. It will give us some occupation, though idleness seems rather encouraged here.”

“I would rather find the way out of our dominions, as you call them, than become better acquainted with them,” said Pedro. “However, I am ready to set out whenever you please.”

“We may possibly find the way out during our inspection,” I remarked, as we began slowly and cautiously to move round the walls of the cell.

It was narrow but long, and extended, as I concluded, along part of one side of the inner court. We found two other pillars towards the further end, and we felt several rings secured in the walls, with heavy chains attached to them. Of their use there could be no doubt; and we congratulated ourselves that we were still allowed to have our limbs at liberty. In our walk we stumbled over an iron bar, and our feet knocked against some other rings attached to stones sunk in the floor.

“So some of the inmates of the mansion have been chained down like maniacs to the ground,” Pedro observed. “We are indeed fortunate in escaping such treatment.”

Though we searched most minutely, we could discover nothing which might suggest any means of escaping. We had just concluded an examination, and had returned to our seats, when the door of the dungeon was opened, and the gaoler appeared, bringing a jar of water and two loaves of brown bread.

Pedro examined his countenance. “Stop,” he exclaimed, as the man was going away; “Sancho Lopez, I do believe you are an old friend of mine.”

“In truth yes, and you saved my life,” answered the gaoler. “But I must not stop—but I must not stop. Be at rest, I do not forget the matter.”

Pedro afterwards told me how he had saved the Spanish gaoler’s life in a snow-storm in the mountains, and we agreed that it was a great thing to have him as our friend.

We had been in the dungeon about a fortnight, and though it was damp and unwholesome in the extreme, we did not appear to have suffered in health.

One morning Sancho entered our cell with a cheerful countenance.

“I bring you good news, Señores,” he said. “I have just received a visit from a young officer, who has, it appears, been making interest in your favour; and he has gained permission for your removal to a more airy abode. He seemed very anxious about you, and said he pitied you very much, though he was unable to obtain your liberty, which he wished to do. I hurried here to tell you this, as I thought it would give you pleasure. I must now go back to get the chambers ready for you, and will return with two of the under gaolers to conduct you to it. One caution I have to give you. Do not mind what I say to you before others, and never answer any of my remarks.”

Without waiting for our reply and thanks, Sancho closed the prison door, and left us to ourselves.

“We have to thank Don Eduardo for this. I am sure he is the officer Sancho spoke of,” I remarked.

“I think so also,” answered Pedro. “I am glad that he has not asked us to pass our word not to escape.”

“So am I,” I observed. “While we were on our road here, I often contemplated the possibility of getting out of prison; but then I did not expect to be put into a dungeon like this.”

For some time we could talk of nothing else but the prospect of making our escape.

Two hours or more had passed away, and Sancho had not returned. We knew that he would not willingly have deceived us, but we began to be afraid that the governor had rescinded his permission for our occupying a room open to the air, and that we might be doomed to remain in our dungeon for weeks or months longer. At last we heard footsteps approaching the cell; the door was opened, and Sancho and his two assistants appeared.

“You are to accompany me, Señores,” he said, in the gruff tone he had used at our entrance. “You are fortunate in coming out of that place alive; though some I have known would rather have had to remain there than be obliged to march out into the square yonder.”

The assistants laughed as he said this, and we soon had too great a reason to know to what he alluded. Sancho led the way with a torch in his hand; and his assistants followed, holding us tightly by the arms, as if we would have tried to escape from them. I certainly could not have done so had I tried, for when I came to mount the steps, I found my knees trembling under me from weakness, arising from being shut up so long in the damp dungeon, though I had till then thought myself as strong as ever. We traversed a number of passages, and mounted a second flight of steps, when we reached a small door plated with iron. Sancho opened it, and exhibited a room about six feet broad and eight feet long, with a window strongly barred at the further end. There were two chairs and a bedstead, with a straw mattress on it.

“Put the youngsters in there,” he said gruffly to his assistants. “It is a room fit for an hidalgo of the first order. They may see and be seen if they choose to put their noses through the gratings.”

On this the gaolers very unceremoniously thrust us in, and Sancho, without saying a word more, closed the door upon us. It appeared such an age since we had beheld the blue sky and the smiling face of nature, that we eagerly rushed to the window to discover what view could be obtained from it. We found, to our no small satisfaction, that it was not more than twelve or fifteen feet from the ground, and that it looked out on the great square I have before described. I have never forgotten the sensations of delight with which I inhaled the fresh air as it came through the open bars, and gazed once more on the bright sky, and the clear water of the river, the fields, and the trees beyond, and the human beings who were thronging the open space below us. They all appeared so full of life and activity, and the murmur of their voices seemed like music to my ears, so long accustomed to the silence of the dungeon. The bars of the window were very strong, and placed very close together, so that, as Sancho had observed, we could only just get our noses through them. We were, however, glad to get them out as far as we could, and every moment I found the breeze restoring to my limbs their accustomed strength. My first impulse was to shake the bars to try and find whether any of them could be moved; but I restrained myself, lest some one from below should observe us and suspect that we were thinking of escaping. As we stood there, we heard several voices in piteous tones asking for alms; and by pressing our faces close to the bars, we discovered that some of the prisoners in the neighbouring rooms were letting down hats and baskets by lines at the ends of poles, like fishing rods, to collect food and money from the passers-by. We were still eagerly watching the scene, when I felt a hand laid on my shoulder. I started back, and saw Sancho. We had been so interested that we had not heard him enter. He placed his finger on his lips to impose silence.

“I have been so occupied that I could not come before,” he whispered. “I have brought you some white bread, and some meat, and fruit, and fresh water, and a little brandy to mix with it, which have been ordered by the friend who has obtained for you the indulgence of this room. Here are the provisions.” He put down in the chair a basket covered with a cloth. “I cannot remain, for a fresh set of prisoners have lately arrived, and I am employed in looking after them.”

“Who are they?” I asked. “More Indians, I fear.”

“Yes, Señor; there are a hundred of them. Poor fellows, I pity them, for they will certainly be shot in the great square out there before many days are over. There is a young chief among them. I grieve for him most, for he is a very fine fellow. He walked along as he came to prison like a prince, and heeded not the shouts and revilings of the mob who followed him and his companions. Their misery will soon be over, for they are to be tried to-morrow, and they have not a chance of escape.”

“Can you tell me his name!” I asked anxiously; for I instantly thought of Manco.

“No, I cannot,” he answered. “I only know that he was taken a few clays ago in a skirmish with the enemy, who are not many leagues off. It is feared even that they may attack the town, though we have too many soldiers here to give them much chance of success.”

“I trust they will not,” I exclaimed, thinking of the dreadful scenes which had before occurred. “But can you learn the name of this young chief? I fear he is a friend of ours.”

“Oh, do not acknowledge him, then,” said the gaoler, “as you value your lives. You cannot benefit him, and may run the risk of sharing his fate.”

I saw the mistake I had committed; but still I pressed Sancho to learn who he was, and he undertook to comply with my wish, provided I followed his advice. I again asked him to inform us who was the friend who had interested himself in our favour; but he replied that he was not at liberty to say, and he then hurried from the room.

The news he had brought made us very sad, for we could not help contemplating the scene of bloodshed which was about to occur, which was of itself sufficiently horrible, even should my suspicions that Manco was a prisoner not prove correct. We were doomed not to have our anxiety relieved, for Sancho did not again make his appearance during the day. He was probably afraid of being observed if he visited us too frequently. We ate the food Sancho had brought us most thankfully, and it much contributed to restore our strength; but we had lost all pleasure in looking out of the window on the square, which was so soon to be the scene of the slaughter of so many of our fellow-creatures. We found a bundle of blankets and some clean linen hid away under the bedding; for the latter, which to us was a great luxury, we had no doubt we were indebted to Don Eduardo. At night we threw ourselves on the bed, and tried to sleep; but my rest was very disturbed, and I constantly dreamed that I heard firing, and saw the unhappy Indians being shot down before the windows. Towards morning, however, I fell into a deep slumber; and, probably owing to the change of air and the improvement in our food, we both slept to a much later hour than usual. We were awakened by the confused sound of the voices of a concourse of people, and jumping up, we hurried to the window. From thence we saw a large crowd collected in the square, who seemed to be eagerly watching the doors of the prison. We could distinguish the tones of those nearest to us; and from the words which reached us, we learned that a sort of trial had taken place the previous evening of the prisoners lately captured, as well as of those in Tupac Catari’s army, and that they were all condemned to be shot. No one seemed to pity them; but, on the contrary, all appeared to exult at the prospect of the slaughter which was about to commence.

“The pretended Inca, Tupac Amaru, has been taken,” said one man.

“No; that is a mistake,” was the answer. “But another chief has, though he fought like a lion, it is said.”

“Who is he?” asked another.

“A relation of the Inca’s: one of the viper’s brood,” replied the first.

“They say two strangers were made prisoners leading on the rebels,” observed a third. “They are to be shot also, I hope.”

“No doubt of it; but the viceroy has thought it necessary to send to explain the matter to the English consul at Lima; and his answer has not arrived,” remarked a fourth.

“It is known that it cannot arrive for three or four more days; and care will be taken to shoot them before that time,” said the former speaker.

“Can they allude to us?” I asked of Pedro, feeling my heart sink within me.

“There is no doubt about it,” he replied. “We must be prepared for the worst; but I do not think they will dare to kill one of your great nation. They will shoot me though, as I have no friends to help me.”

“Nor have I, Pedro; but I would rather say, Let us hope for the best,” I answered. “They would gain nothing by killing either of us, and it would be very unjust to kill you and let me escape.”

“It would be very unjust to kill either of us; but they care little for justice, and they wish to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies,” he remarked calmly.

“Such cruelty as they are about to perpetrate will only exasperate the Indians the more,” said I. “If they were to treat them well, and let them go, they would be more likely to put down the rebellion.”

The crowd was every moment increasing, as people were coming in from all directions. Among them were a large number of Indians, mestizos, and other half-castes, who seemed to look on with the same unconcern as the Spaniards. My eye had been attracted by a man whose florid complexion and dress showed that he was a seaman of some northern nation, and I hoped an Englishman. He shouldered his way through the crowd with a confident, independent air, as if he felt himself superior to any about him. At length he came close under our window, and caught my eye watching him. He stared at me fixedly for some time, and I thought recognised me to be a countryman by my light hair and fair complexion. Once he put his hand up to his mouth, as if he was going to hail me, as he would a man at the masthead; but he again let it drop, having apparently changed his mind, and, returning his hands to his trousers pockets, he rolled away with the unmistakeable air of a British seaman. I longed to call after him to tell who I was; but, afraid of being heard by others, I restrained myself.

“Is that man a friend of yours?” asked Pedro.

“I never saw him that I know of before,” I answered.

“Well, I thought that he recognised you,” he observed. “I marked the expression of his eye, and I should say that he knew you, or mistook you for some one else.”

I eagerly watched the sailor, afraid that he would go away, and that we should see him no more. I observed, however, that though he dodged about among the crowd with a careless air, he never got to any great distance from our window. This circumstance kept alive my hope that he had come for the purpose of bringing us information, or of helping us to escape. The crowd had now begun to grow as impatient at the non-appearance of the prisoners as they would at a bull-fight, had there been a delay in turning the bull into the circus, when three bodies of troops were seen marching up from the several streets leading into the square. They formed on either side of it, making a lane from the prison gates to the river; while the crowd fell back behind them. I had observed a number of Indians collecting on the opposite bank of the river, who now came down close to its edge, watching anxiously the proceedings of the soldiers. They appeared, however, not to be remarked by the people in the town. As they were partly concealed by the trees and the walls dividing the fields, their numbers might not have been perceived by the people in the square. The bell of the nearest church began to toll; the crowd looked eagerly towards the prison; the massive gates were thrown open, and we saw issuing forth a posse of priests and monks, bearing crucifixes and lighted tapers, who were followed by the unhappy Indians intended for execution, chained two and two, and each couple guarded by a soldier with his musket presented at their heads.

I watched them file out with aching eyes, for every moment I expected to see Manco led forth. I had a painful presentiment that he was among the victims. The last of the Indians had passed on, and I began to breathe more freely; but still the crowd began to look towards the gates of the prison. Alas! I was not mistaken. The mob raised a shout of exultation, and I saw a man I could too clearly recognise, between two soldiers, with a priest advancing before him, and reciting the prayers for the dead. It was the kind, the brave Manco himself. He walked on with a proud and dignified air, undaunted by the revengeful shouts of his enemies, thirsting for his blood. His step was firm, and his brow was unclouded, and his lips were firmly set; but I observed that his bright dark eyes were every now and then ranging anxiously among the crowd, as if in search of a friendly glance. His fellow-beings who formed the mob, looked at him with eager and savage curiosity; but no one appeared to offer him any sign of recognition. He was closely followed by a company of soldiers, with arms presented. They formed, I discovered, the fatal firing party. As they advanced, the other soldiers formed in the rear, and the mob followed close behind. The sailor, I observed, went with the rest for a short distance, but when he found that their attention was entirely occupied with the prisoners, he disengaged himself from among them, and rolled back with his unconcerned air towards our window.

“Shipmate, ahoy,” he exclaimed in a suppressed tone as he passed.

“Who are you?” I asked eagerly.

“A friend in need,” he answered, in the same low tone. “Keep a stout heart in your body, and if you can manage to rig a line of some sort, let it down out of your window soon after dark. If it’s just strong enough to haul up another it will do. I’ll bring a stout one with me.”

“We’ll do as you say, friend, and many thanks,” I answered.

“That’s all right then,” said the seaman. “When you hear a cat mew under your window, let down the line. I shan’t be far off. I must now go along with the crowd to see what’s going on. I wish that I could lend a helping hand to some of those poor fellows; but it won’t do, I must look after you, you know. A countryman in distress has the first right to my services.”

I longed to learn who he was; but before I could ask him, he had sauntered away among the crowd. Meantime the soldiers had formed three sides of a hollow square, the river forming the fourth. Close to the bank there stood a large group of human beings—the victims destined for execution. Their arms and legs were secured with cords, so that they could not escape. They uttered no cries or lamentations, but appeared ready to meet their fate with stoical indifference. The priests, with their crucifixes and candles, collected round them, exhorting them to repentance, and uttering prayers which none of them could understand. I looked anxiously for Manco, but he was not among them, and at last I discovered him standing apart, under charge of a file of soldiers. With a refinement of cruelty, it was intended that he should witness the execution of his friends and countrymen, before he himself was led forth to be shot. A priest stood by his side, endeavouring to make him listen to the words of exhortation he was pouring into his ears; but, I judged, with no effect. His arms were folded, and his eyes were turned towards the group in the centre. Several officers were riding about the square. At a signal from one of them (the colonel who had sent us to prison), the priests retired; and the firing party, consisting of a hundred men, fell back to the distance of about twenty paces. There was a death-like silence; even the savage crowd were awed. I could scarcely breathe, and a mist came before my eyes.

There was a pause of a minute. Perhaps, I thought, the commanding officer himself hesitates to give the word which must send so many of his fellow-creatures to eternity. I was mistaken. “Fire,” he shouted, in a sharp loud voice. A rapid discharge of musketry was heard, and as the smoke cleared off, a number of the prisoners were seen struggling and writhing in agony on the ground. Some of them lay still enough, for they, more fortunate, were shot dead; while the wounded uttered the most fearful shrieks and cries for mercy. More than two-thirds stood erect, unharmed by the bullets. The soldiers, loaded as fast as they could, and again sent forth a deadly fire from their muskets. The number of prisoners was fearfully thinned. The soldiers fired again and again, and each time fewer remained alive. At last but two Indians continued standing side by side, unscathed by the fire. I was in hopes that they might have been pardoned; but no, the soldiers advancing, presented their pieces at their breasts and shot them dead, while those who lay wounded on the ground were likewise put out of their misery.

All eyes were now turned towards the chief Manco. I know not on what account his limbs were allowed to remain unfettered. Perhaps they thought that among such a crowd a single man could do no one an injury. He walked along towards the spot where his murdered countrymen lay in heaps, with his head erect, and a firm, unfaltering step. The priest followed him; but he waved him off, as if his services were of no further avail. Even the officers seemed to feel some respect for him; and I saw one of them give him a handkerchief, with which to give the signal for the soldiers to fire. He stood boldly facing them, with his eye firmly fixed on his executioners, a little way on one side of the heap of dead men. My heart felt ready to burst; yet painful as it was, I could not withdraw my sight from him. I anxiously watched for the fatal moment. He gave a leap upwards it appeared, and threw the handkerchief in the air. The soldiers fired; but when the smoke cleared we could not distinguish his body on the ground. The head and shoulders of a man were, however, seen in the waters of the river, and he was striking out with powerful strokes towards the opposite shore, where at the same instant a number of Indians were observed plunging in to meet him.

“See, Pedro, he has escaped—he has escaped!” I exclaimed. “It is Manco I am certain; how bravely he swims. They will not be so cruel as to kill him now. He will reach the opposite shore. Ah! alas, he sinks. No, he has only dived; see, he comes up some way down the stream.”

The firing party advanced to the banks; but they had expended all their cartridges, I suppose, for they stood watching him in stupid astonishment; and no one, for a minute or more, thought of ordering any of the other soldiers to advance and fire. This gave the swimmer a great advantage; and as the current was strong, he had soon glided some way down below the square. At last some hundred men advanced to the edge of the river, and opened a rapid fire on him; but still he continued his course undaunted. The Indians on the banks set up loud shouts, as did those who had swam out to meet him. He was quickly among them, when it became impossible to distinguish him from the rest. Many, I suspected, lost their lives in their attempt to save their chief. A number of soldiers jumped into the canoes on the banks of the river, and attempted to pursue the fugitive; but long before they could have reached him, the swimmers had landed, and were seen rushing up among the trees. Whether or not he was among them I could not tell; for the bodies of those who were killed floated down the stream out of sight. A rapid fire was kept up at the opposite bank, which the Indians, as they landed, had to pass through; but they were soon sheltered from its effects by the trees, and in a few moments not one of them was to be seen. Carts came to convey the dead away; sand was strewed over the spot; the crowd, murmuring at the escape of the principal victim, dispersed; and the square in a short time resumed its usual appearance.

Chapter Fourteen.

A friend in need—Our escape.

Pedro and I turned from the window, and sitting down, with our hands before our faces, endeavoured to shut out the dreadful sights we had witnessed. It was satisfactory, however, to believe that Manco had escaped; and I trusted that he would not fall again into the power of his enemies. When Sancho entered with a supply of provisions, he found us so employed.

I do not know whether he suspected that we had some hopes of making our escape, and wished to warn us of the danger. His manner, I remarked, was more cordial than usual; and perhaps he did not expect to see us again. As soon as he had left us, we consulted how we should form a line to let down out of the window, as our sailor friend had advised. We hunted about, but could not find even the smallest piece of rope. At last I suggested that we might tear up one of our shirts, and by twisting the bits and tying them together, we might make a line long enough to reach the ground, and strong enough to haul up a thick rope. We forthwith, therefore, set to work; and having tried each bit as we fastened it on, we were satisfied that our line would answer our purpose.

It was nearly dusk by the time we had finished it; and lest some one should by chance come in and see what we had been about, we hid it away under the mattress. It was fortunate that we took this precaution, for just as we had done so the door opened, and a gaoler, accompanied by our kind friend, Don Eduardo, and another person, entered the room. Don Eduardo bowed to us, and as he took a seat which Sancho offered him, he looked at us rather sternly, as much as to signify that we must not appear on familiar terms.

“I have brought this gentleman to prepare your defence for you, Señores, as I hear that you are to be tried to-morrow,” he said, in a kind tone. “I am sorry to tell you that it will go hard with you if you cannot establish your innocence.”

“I have to thank you very much, Don Eduardo,” I answered; “but all we can do is to protest our innocence—we have no witnesses. The Indians, who might have proved that we were ourselves taken prisoners by their chief, have this morning been shot.”

“It is indeed a difficult case,” remarked the advocate. “I will do my best, Don Eduardo; and we must hope that something will appear in their favour.”

I need not repeat all that took place. The advocate asked us a variety of questions, and made a number of notes; and then rising, followed Don Eduardo, who stiffly bowed to us as before, out of the room. Sancho, who went last, turned his head over his shoulder, and shook his head, with a grave expression on his face, which showed us that he thought our case was desperate. This circumstance made us more anxious than ever to effect our escape; and we waited anxiously for the signal the English sailor had promised us. By degrees the noises inside and outside the prison died away. People, fatigued with the excitement of the morning, had retired earlier than usual to their homes, and the square was totally deserted. It was very dark, for there was no moon, and a thick mist rising from the river, hung over the town; and what was of more use to us, there was a strong wind, which howled and moaned among the buildings, and rattled about the tiles. The time seemed to pass very slowly; and we began to fancy that the seaman might have been prevented from fulfilling his intention.

“Perhaps he was watched speaking to us, and has been taken up by the officers of justice,” I remarked.

“Perhaps he was found coming here with a rope in his possession,” said Pedro; “or perhaps he was deceiving us.”

“No, I will not believe that,” I answered indignantly. “I am sure he is honest. He is an Englishman and a sailor, there is no mistaking that; and he did not look or speak like a rogue. Let us hope for the best.”

Just as I made this observation, we heard what sounded like the mew of a kitten, just under the window. We instantly jumped up, and I let down our line. I felt it gently tugged.

“Haul up,” said a voice; and as we got to the end, we found a rope sufficiently strong to bear a man’s weight attached to the end.

“Fasten that to a strong bar; and look out not to make a lubber’s knot,” added the voice.

We did as we were bid; and soon after a strong tug had been given to the rope, a man’s head and shoulders appeared at the window. He looked in to discover who was in the room.

“All friends here?” he asked.

“Yes, to a friend in need,” I replied.

“All right then,” he said; and, apparently satisfied, he climbed up farther, and sat himself down securely on the window-ledge. “Now my lads, you’d like to get out of this, I suppose,” he said, in a careless tone, which showed that he was in no way agitated by the risk he was running. “Well, there isn’t a moment to be lost; and so I’ve brought three files, that we may all work away at the bars together.”

Pedro and I took the files he offered us, and waited till he had examined the bars.

“Here are two together, which seem loosened in their sockets,” he observed. “Now it seems to me, mates, if we were to file away at the upper part, just below the lowest cross bar, and could wrench out those two bars, as you are not very stout, there would be room for you two to slip through.”

“I feel sure that we could easily get through,” I answered; “but what are we to do, friend, when we are outside?”

“Never you trouble your head about that, youngster,” he replied. “I’ve planned it all, and it can’t fail; so do you just take the file and work away.”

Thus admonished, Pedro and I began to file away at one bar, while the sailor attacked the other.

“Don’t stop,” he whispered; “the noise is much less likely to be noticed if you go on regularly with it, than it breaks off every now and then.”

We filed away accordingly with all our might; but I could not help trembling at times with alarm lest we should be heard; for though the wind howled and whistled in a most satisfactory manner, yet there is something so peculiar in the sound of filing, that I was afraid the sharp ears of the gaoler or guards might hear it. Pedro and I had got through more than two-thirds of our bar, and we agreed that we might easily wrench it out of its place, when our arms began to ache, and as we rested for a minute, we heard a footstep approaching the room. In great alarm, we told the sailor.

“Never mind,” he answered, quite calmly. “Stow the files away, and lie down on the bed, and pretend to be fast asleep. I’ve got a lump of pitch in my pocket, and I’ll just fill up the grooves we’ve made in the bars, so that they’ll not be observed. There, that will do. Now I’ll just wait down below till your visitor has gone.”

We threw ourselves on the bed, as he advised, and listened with intense anxiety. The footsteps passed by, and we heard doors opening near us. All was again silent for some time; and we had just sprung up, and were about to call the sailor, when we heard the footsteps returning. We threw ourselves down once more on the bed. Just as we had done so, the door opened, and Sancho, holding a lantern in his hand, put his head into the room. His two assistants appeared behind him. As the light flashed on my eyes, I closed them fast.

“All right here, the lads are fast asleep,” he said, turning to the men. “Hillo! Señores, wake up, will you. The governor has received notice that some stranger was seen this morning, wandering about outside the prison; and he has sent us round to see that all our inmates were safe. Just remember, then, that we paid you a visit, that’s all. Now go to sleep again, for you won’t have many more nights to rest here. Ha! ha! ha!”

The men laughed as he said this, as if they thought it a very good joke; and Pedro and I sat up and rubbed our eyes.

Buenos noches, good night, Señores,” he repeated; and to our infinite satisfaction, without approaching the window, he and his assistants retired, and closed the door behind them.

We listened till their footsteps had died away in the distance; and then jumping up, we went to the window, where I gave a low mew, which was answered by the sailor, who quickly climbed back again to his former post. I told him in hurried accents what had occurred.

“Never mind,” he answered coolly. “More reason for haste. Another half-hour’s work will set you free. Bear a hand about it, then.”

His calmness reassured us; and having carefully cleared away the pitch, we went on filing at the bar as fast as we could. My heart certainly did beat more rapidly than it had ever done before; for I expected every moment to be interrupted by the entrance of the gaolers. Fortunately the wind blew, and the tiles rattled more loudly than ever. At last, to our great satisfaction, both the bars were almost filed through. The sailor seized the one he had been working at, and with a powerful wrench, tore it from the stone window-frame.

“There,” he said, giving me the piece of bar. “Put it carefully down. We will leave it as a legacy behind us.”

Pedro and I grasped the other, and with all our strength tore it away.

“Hurra! all right now, mates,” said the the sailor, scarcely refraining from giving a cheer. “Bear a hand, and squeeze through. I’ll help you.”

“You go first,” said Pedro. “I’ll follow you.”

I could just manage to squeeze my head and shoulders between the bars; and with the assistance of the sailor, who hauled away by my collar, I found myself standing outside them on the window-ledge.

“There won’t be room for all of us outside, so do you, mate, just get hold of the rope and slide down to the ground,” observed the sailor.

“Where is it?” I asked, for I could neither see nor feel it.

“Get hold of the bars with your hands, and lower yourself till you get your feet round the rope. Don’t let go with one hand till you’ve a firm hold with the other. I’ll guide you.”

Following his instructions, I lowered my body over the window-sill till I could grasp the rope with my hands, when without much difficulty I slid down to the ground. For an instant my satisfaction at being once more outside the prison walls made me forget the risk we ran of being recaptured, and the difficulties we had still to undergo. I stood anxiously watching for the appearance of my companions; for it was so dark that I could not distinguish them even at the short distance between the ground and the window. In moments such as those, each one appears an age, and I trembled for our safety. At last I saw a figure gliding down the rope. It was Pedro. Scarcely had he reached the ground when the sailor was by my side.

“Now, mates,” he whispered, “let’s hold on to each other, and put our best legs foremost. I’ve a canoe ready on the banks of the river, and we may be far away before our flight is discovered.”

We lost no time in words, but taking each other’s hands that we might not be separated, we ran as fast as we could across the square, guided by the sailor, who had taken the bearings of some lights he told us to steer by. Owing to the stormy weather and the late hour, no one was crossing the square; indeed, even the most callous were probably inclined to avoid the spot where the Indians had been executed in the morning. We must have passed close to it. At last we reached the side of the river, but had not hit the place where the sailor had left the canoe. Here was another difficulty. Could any one have removed it? We groped about for some time in vain.

“Can you both swim?” asked the sailor.

“Yes; but it’s a long way across, and there are perhaps crocodiles in the water,” I answered.

“Better be drowned or swallowed up by a crocodile, my lads, than retaken by those land-sharks,” he observed. “It must come to that if we cannot find the canoe.”

Pedro and I agreed to this; and, though we had not our full strength, we prepared to take the swim, trusting to the brave fellow’s assistance.

“Well, I see there’s some risk, so we’ll have another hunt for the canoe first,” he observed. “Stay, I think it’s lower down the stream.”

He was right. Directly afterwards, to our great satisfaction, we stumbled upon the canoe. To launch it was the work of a moment; but though we hunted in every direction, we could only find one paddle.

“One must do,” said the sailor. “I can manage. No time to be lost, though.”

Saying this, he stepped in first, and seated himself in the stern, with the paddle in his hand. He then turned the head of the canoe to the bank, and told Pedro and me to creep in carefully over the bow. We did so, and placed ourselves by his direction along the bottom. A stroke of his paddle then turned the canoe round, and we floated rapidly down the stream. I listened for any sound to indicate that we were followed, but nothing could be heard above the howling of the wind in the trees. Neither of us uttered a word, not that there was much chance of being heard by any one on shore. The water bubbled and hissed round us, and the wind threw it in sheets of spray over our heads. At times it came rippling over the sides of the canoe, and there seemed a prospect of its being filled; but the seaman held on his course without hesitation. We had shot quickly by the few lights which here and there twinkled from the houses, and were beginning to breathe more freely, thinking that we had altogether got clear of the town, when I fancied I heard the splash of oars behind us. I could not tell if the sailor had heard the sound, but he seemed to ply his paddle with even greater vigour than before. Once or twice he turned his head for an instant, which confirmed me in the idea that we were followed; but even his practised eye could not pierce the darkness which shrouded us. At last I saw that he had relaxed in his efforts, and that he kept his paddle moving sufficiently only to guide the canoe as it dropped down with the current. We had been a couple of hours in the canoe, or perhaps not quite so long, though the anxiety we felt made the time pass slowly.

“Well, I believe it was only a cayman or an alligator, or one of those sort of brutes, after all,” he exclaimed, drawing a deep breath, like a man relieved from a heavy care.

“I have not been able yet to thank you, friend, for what you have already done for us; but I should like to know what you propose doing next,” said I, as soon as I found we might venture to speak.

“Well, that’s just what I was thinking of, mate, myself,” he answered. “But you needn’t thank me, for to my mind, I haven’t done much for you yet. All I have had time for was to get you out of limbo, and afloat on this here river. We must now hold a council of war, to know what’s to be done.”

As he said this, he made the canoe glide in towards the nearest bank. We quickly found ourselves in a quiet bay, overhung with trees, into which we had by chance entered. The sailor held on by the bough of a tree, which served to keep the canoe from floating out again. The wind had much abated, and the sky had become much clearer, so that there was sufficient light to enable us to steer free of any dangers in the middle of the stream; though where we now were we should have been completely concealed from the sight of persons on board any boat which might have been passing, or even of one sent in search of us.

“Well,” said the sailor, “what do you propose, mate?”

“I must first ask you whereabouts we are,” I answered. “I promised an Indian who preserved my life, to return to him before I left the country, but I cannot tell where he is now to be found. Our wisest plan would be to try and reach the sea, so as to get on board some English ship. I do not think we shall be safe till then.”

“What has your friend, then, to say to the matter?” said the sailor.

“He does not understand English, but I will ask him.”

Pedro replied that he thought we should be guided by the sailor, who had already helped us so much.

The sailor seemed pleased with the answer.

“Why, then, I’ll try and do my best for you, mates,” he said. “You see we are about ten miles away from your prison, and somewhere close upon two hundred miles from the nearest port where we are likely to fall in with any English ship. The Spaniards don’t encourage them to come openly into their ports with the high duties they clap on, though there’s a good deal of smuggling on the coast; and more than half the British manufactures used in the country are landed without paying a farthing of duty. I would rather stick to the river as long as we could; but then, you see, it’s the very place the Spaniards are likely to send to look for us. So I propose that we pull down some five or six miles further, where there are some rapids which we cannot pass, and then we will land on the south bank, and make our way over towards the country they call Chili, though it’s hot enough, to my mind, at times. We might manage, to be sure, to get across the mountains, and launch a canoe upon one of the streams which run into the river of the Amazons. It’s a long way, to be sure, but others have gone down the river; and I don’t see, if we can keep stout hearts in our bodies, why we shouldn’t. When one man has done a thing, I always think another may, if he set the right way about it.”

“A voyage down the river of the Amazons!” I exclaimed. “The very thing I should be delighted to accomplish. I do not care for the dangers or hardships we shall have to encounter. I say, let us try it by all means. I am sure Pedro will agree. We must first try and find my friend Manco, the Indian chief, if he should have escaped from his enemies.”

I then explained to the sailor who Manco was.

“That’s the spirit I like to see,” he answered. “We shall do, depend upon it. I’ve no great fancy for being caught by the Spaniards and clapped into prison; and they are certain to be looking for us all along the western coast. We shall have to go rather a roundabout way, but that can’t be helped. Now, from what I hear, the Indians have pretty well cleared the country of the white men to the south of this, so we shall have little to fear from the Spaniards; and as you say the Indians are your friends, if we fall in with them, it is to be hoped they will treat us well. We can’t expect, you know, to get through the world without running through a little danger now and then.”

I told the sailor I agreed with him.

“And now, my friend,” I said, “I have some more questions to ask you. I do not know your name, and I cannot guess how you came to find us out.”

“What does that matter, mate? I do not know yours; and to say the truth, I never heard of you till a few days ago, when I heard the people talking—for I know something of their lingo—of a young Englishman who was to be shot for siding with the Indians. Now, thinks I to myself, that is a very bad thing for the lad, and if I can lend him a hand, we’ll disappoint the Dons. It’s my belief, a seaman—as far as that matters, anybody—ought always to help a countryman in distress, or he’s not worth his salt.”

“Then I ought first to tell you who I am,” I replied; and I gave him a short account of myself, and my late adventures, and how I came to meet with Pedro.

“That’s very strange,” he muttered; “very strange. I’m more than ever glad to be of use to you. Now for my name. It’s not a long one. I’m called Ned Gale. I was born at sea and bred at sea; and it isn’t often I set foot on shore, so that what good there is in me I picked up afloat.”

“Then how comes it, Ned Gale, that you got so far inland as this?” I asked.

“Why, you see the ship I sailed in was seized by the Spanish authorities, in the port of Callao, where we had been driven by stress of weather. It was alleged that we had been smuggling on the coast, which was neither here nor there, as there was no one to prove it. At last the master was advised to appeal to the viceroy, and so he set off to Lima to see him, taking me in his company. When we got to Lima, we found that the viceroy had gone up the country; so away we went after him. We travelled over mountains, and across sandy plains, and rivers and torrents, day after day, but he always kept ahead of us. You see that he had gone out to fight the Indians; and when at last we came up with him, we found him in a very bad humour, for his troops had been beaten in every direction. So he would not listen to a word my captain had to say. The fact was, the bribe Captain Hindson had been advised to offer him was not large enough. My poor captain had before been very ill, and as the ship was, his own property, and all he possessed in the world, his loss ruined him. From the day he got the viceroy’s answer, he never again lifted up his head; and in a week he died in my arms. It was of a broken heart, I suppose; for there was nothing the matter with him that I could see. Poor fellow, I have seen many a shipmate struck down by the shot of the enemy, or sinking under the foaming waves, when there was no help at hand; but I never mourned for one as I did for him, for he was a right honest and kind man. The Dons did not show much Christian charity towards him after he was dead either, for they said he was a heretic; so they would not bury him in the churchyard, but carried him away to a field, where they dug a hole and covered him up like a dog. I didn’t think that mattered at all, however; so I owed them no grudge for it. I never could see the use of praying for a man after he was dead. He did not mind where he lay, and God will know where to look for him at the last day, when he has to stand his trial like all of us. At first I felt a wish to die too; but I soon got over that, and taking the money and the few things the captain had given me (I’ve got his note about that matter—his will he called it), I started off for the coast to look out for another ship. As I have been often in the country, I have picked up some of their lingo, so got on well enough among the Dons; but I found I couldn’t very well travel alone, and often had to wait till I found some one going my road. It was in this way, while I was looking out for companions, that I happened to fall in with you. And now you know something of my history, are you willing to trust me?”

“Had I known nothing about it, after the essential service you have rendered us, I would confidently have trusted you,” I answered.

“Avast now then, mate,” exclaimed Ned Gale; “don’t give me any soft sawder; I’m not fond of it. I like the cut of your jib, and you like the cut of mine; so we shall sail very well in company. By-and-by we shall know more of each other. And the young Don there, I like his looks too, though I’m not over partial to the natives. Howsomdever, we’ve had talking enough, and as my arms are rested, and there don’t appear to be any enemy abroad looking for us, we may as well get under weigh again.”

I agreed with him; and Pedro and I sinking down into our former position, we again glided out into the stream. The river was in places very shallow, and more than once we touched the bottom, and the water began to foam over the stern; but Gale lifted her clear with his paddle, without our being obliged to jump out, and away we went again as rapidly as before. Pedro was very silent—he felt confused and astonished at all that had occurred; neither did Ned Gale nor I exchange many words, for we could not tell at what moment we might come upon any of the villages which are to be found on the banks of the river. Now and then we heard a dog bark, and the crowing of some cocks in the distance gave signs of the approach of morning; but no habitations were visible, and no human voices gave us cause for alarm.

Several of the villages on the south bank, Ned Gale had learned, had been destroyed by the Indians; but they had not attempted to cross to the north side. After about an hour’s paddling, we reached a spot similar to the one where we had before taken shelter. We paddled along the shore of the little bay for some way, trying to find a place hard enough to bear our feet, for the bank was generally soft and muddy fringed by a broad belt of reeds, which the alligators must have found convenient for tickling their snouts with.

“Step out,” said Gale, “and learn if we are likely to make our way inland from this. I will wait for you and look after the canoe.”

Doing as he desired, Pedro and I felt our way along with cautious steps, for under the trees it was so dark that we could scarcely see our hands held up before us. We found that the ground rose a little way beyond, and appeared quite hard. Satisfied with our discovery, after about a quarter of an hour’s absence, we commenced our return to the boat. We walked on slowly, every instant expecting to fall into some hole; and at last we agreed that we ought to have reached the canoe. We hunted about to the right and to the left, but we could not even see the river. We called out as loud as we dared, but Gale did not answer.

“There is the river; I see it shining through the trees,” said Pedro.

Very soon we got up to it; and Pedro, who was a little in advance, was very nearly falling in. I dragged him back, and we began to hunt for the canoe. It was nowhere to be seen. Again we shouted louder than before, but Ned Gale did not answer. Could he have deserted us? Such a thing seemed impossible, yet we began almost to despair.

“Could an alligator have picked him off?” I asked Pedro, shuddering as I thought of our friend’s probable fate.

We had kept along the bank of the river for some way. Just then Gale’s voice sounded close to us. We were soon up with him, and had told him of the result of our expedition, and of our alarm.

“It was my fault, I suppose,” he answered, laughing. “I found a tree to which I could make the canoe fast, so I thought I might as well take a little sleep while you were away. I heard you call, and dreamed that I answered you. The honest truth is, I spent all last night looking about the prison to find you out, so I haven’t closed my eyes for many an hour. You’ll pardon me, mates, I hope; nature’s nature, and will have its way.”

I assured him, now that we had found him, we did not mind the fright; and asked him what he proposed doing next.

“Why, the first thing, you see, is to send the canoe out into the stream, so that our enemies may not discover where we have landed,” he answered. “It will float away over the falls; so they may be looking for us miles below them perhaps.”

According to Ned Gale’s suggestion, we towed the canoe to the end of the point which formed one side of the bay, and he then throwing the paddle into it, we gave it a shove, which sent it out into the middle of the stream, down which we could distinguish it gliding rapidly away, till it was lost to sight.

“We must lose no more time now, mates,” said Ned Gale, as we climbed up the bank. “We must get some way inland before daylight, and then stow ourselves away in a wood till we have time to look about us. We must keep clear of all cottages, for the white-brown fellows hereabouts would make no bones of selling us to the Dons, if they thought they could get anything for us. You see I’ve brought prog enough to last all hands for three days or more, on somewhat short commons; and mayhap we may snare some game to eke it out much longer.”

This was good news, for, by taking proper precautions, I thought we might at all events avoid falling into the hands of the Spaniards; and of the Indians I had no fear. The ground over which we were passing, was very rough and uncultivated, and we could discover no beaten path. After some time we came to a mud wall; and on the other side we found a field full of maize, just fit for cutting. This gave us a very welcome supply of food, and we filled our pockets and caps, and a bag Ned Gale had brought with him, for that very purpose.

It was necessary, however, to get away from the farm before daylight; so we skirted along the wall, and once more found ourselves on wild ground. The whole eastern sky was covered with a mass of flame, a sign that the sun himself was about to appear, when we caught sight of a forest spreading out before us. We pushed on much faster than we had been able to do during the darkness, and had just concealed ourselves among the trees, as the sun, rushing from among the mountains, cast a bright glow of light over the plains we had just passed. The first thing Ned Gale did, was to climb up one of the tallest trees on the outskirts of the forest, to take a look round and see what was in sight, as, he observed, a good seaman always does the first thing in the morning. When he came down, he reported that he had observed in the far distance some smoke, which he supposed arose from the farmhouse we had passed in the night; but that he had discovered no other human habitation while as far as the eye could discern there appeared to be only an uncultivated plain. Having eaten nothing since our last meal in the prison, Pedro and I were very glad when Ned Gale opened his wallet, and produced some dried meat and bread and cheese, and what was almost of greater value, a good supply of cocoa. He had a flint and steel with him, and a tin cup for boiling water; so we collected some sticks and lighted a small fire, sufficient to cook our cocoa and to parch some peas. On looking over our provisions, we found that we had already ample to last us a week, so that we might venture to push across the mountains towards Cuzco, where, Manco had told me, he expected about this time the Indians would be collected in great force. We had, however, more than a day’s journey before we could reach the foot of the mountains, which were upwards of thirty miles off.

On hunting about, we discovered a spring of bright water bubbling up close to the roots of an enormous tree, which it evidently very much assisted to nourish. We ate a good meal, and then Gale insisted that Pedro and I should lie down and rest, while he watched. As we both of us very much required sleep, we were not sorry to follow his advice; and in about two hours we awoke much refreshed.

I have not yet described Ned Gale. He was about five feet six in height, and very strongly built, with rather a large head, covered with a profusion of light hair. He wore a full bushy beard and large whiskers. His eyes were full and round, and of the brightest blue I have ever seen in those of a man. His month was large, and filled with strong white teeth, and his nose, though rather thick and prominent, was otherwise well cut. Indeed he came up fully to the description of a fine-looking fellow without being handsome. His dress was that of an ordinary seaman of those days. He wore a belt with a brace of pistols stuck in it, which were partly concealed by his loose cloth jacket. His head was covered by a small low-crowned straw hat; and the puzzle seemed to be how he could manage to keep it on. Altogether he presented a figure very seldom seen so far inland as we then were.

“Come, mates,” he exclaimed, “it’s time to be making headway again.”

We jumped up, and having divided our stores into three equal parts, and cut some thick walking-sticks, we shouldered our bundles, and recommenced our journey.

Chapter Fifteen.

Our flight with Ned Gale, and the adventures we met with.

We travelled all day through the forest, the glimpses we every now and then obtained of the mountains serving to guide our steps. On emerging from the forest we arrived at a rapid stream.

“How are we to cross this?” I exclaimed. “We shall spoil all our provisions, and have our clothes wet for the night, if we are obliged to swim across.”

“Oh, I think we may be able to ford it,” said Ned Gale. “Here, mates, let’s catch hold of each other’s hands, that if one falls the rest can pick him up. I’ll lead across, and sound with my stick. To my mind, that’s the way people should help each other through the world.”

After hunting about for some time, we found a broad place, where, from the appearance of the bank on either side, we fancied there might be a ford. So we took off our lower garments, and fastening our loads high up on our shoulders, we commenced the passage. For some way the water was shallow, and rose but little above our knees; but we went on slowly, Ned carefully sounding with his stick in advance. It was fortunate that we did so, for on a sudden Ned sung out that he could find no bottom; and scarcely had he spoken, when he sunk up to his armpits, and had not we not hauled him back with all our might, the current would have carried him down the stream. We tried several other places, but everywhere found the water too deep to ford.

“It won’t do,” observed Ned. “We must stand back to the shore, and try to find another way of crossing. Here, mates, let’s set to work and collect as many dry rushes as we can pull. I’ve seen the Indians cross much broader and more rapid rivers than this on a few bundles of rushes.”

I told him, so had I; and I did not know how it was that I did not think of it before. Ned had a large clasp knife, with which he cut away the rushes at a great rate, while, as Pedro and I had had ours taken from us in the prison, we were obliged to tear them up by the roots, or to break off the dry ones. When we had made a large heap of them, Ned gave me his knife.

“There,” he said, “you go on cutting, while I begin to build our craft.”

There were some young trees growing near, one of which about ten feet long he had cut down. This he said was to serve as a keel, to make the craft somewhat ship-shape. He first fastened the rushes together in small bundles, and these he secured along the pole on either side, one outside the other. He placed smaller bundles at the ends, and fastened them together; thus forming in a few minutes a very respectable-looking canoe, which, though not water-tight, would have enabled us to perform a much longer voyage than we had to undertake. By placing some bundles at intervals across the canoe, we hoped to be able to keep ourselves dry, having our feet only in the water. Our next care was to cut some long poles, by which we proposed to pole ourselves across. Ned Gale said a couple would be sufficient, one for him and another for me. Having cut them, we launched our canoe into shallow water, so that we could step easily into it; and then, seizing our poles, we shoved out into the stream. Our canoe kept us well out of the water, though it had a tendency to turn over, which we were well able to counteract with our poles as long as we could reach the bottom. We had got more than half way across, when the water deepened so much that we were obliged to use them as oars, or rather paddles, to get across; and we had floated some way down the stream before we again could find the bottom. At last we landed, and drew up our canoe. I proposed leaving it, to make the natives wonder at the strange contrivance.

“No, no,” said Gale. “Never mind what the natives may think about it. I say, let us stop and pull it to pieces, or some of the Spaniards may chance to see it, and it will show them which way we are gone. It is a foolish notion people have of caring what those they may never see or hear of again, think of something they have made or done. Nothing good or useful, I mean, but some folly or other. It’s what makes people carve their names on the top of a rock, or some out-of-the-way place, that somebody else, about as wise as themselves, may know that they have been there.”

It was the work of two or three minutes only to pull the raft to pieces, and to send the bundles of reeds which composed it floating down the stream. Before leaving the river, we sat down and took the meal which we called our dinner; and having drunk as much water as we required, we filled up the skin Ned had provided, as we could not tell when we might again meet with water. Very fortunate it was that we did so. Having packed up our traps, we trudged onwards.

We had walked about a couple of miles over a country thinly sprinkled with trees, and naturally fertile, though now without a human habitation, when, on looking ahead, instead of the green colour of the grass, and the varied foliage of the trees, we observed, as far as the eye could reach, one unvaried mass of reddish brown.

“That’s a wild heath ahead of us, which we shall have to pass,” observed Ned. “I never saw the like of it.”

“See, see,” exclaimed Pedro, pointing rather more to the right than we had been looking. “What is that?”

At first we could not guess what was happening. It appeared as if at a little distance off there was a heavy snow-storm falling, the whole air being full of large white flakes, so dense as almost to conceal the fierce rays of the sun.

“No, it can’t be snow—that’s certain,” said Ned. “But what it is, I can’t say.”

The seeming snow-drift swept on as we advanced towards the brown heath. Pedro ran on a little ahead, and stooping down, soon returned with a large insect in his hand, which I recognised as a locust. It was fully three inches in length, of a reddish brown colour, and with very long and powerful hind-legs, with which, when Pedro opened his hand, it sprung off to a great distance. The appearance we had seen was that of a flight of locusts, or rather a small division of their army, which was about to settle directly in our course.

We were soon among their outposts, where they lay pretty thick; but beyond, as far as we could see, the ground was completely covered with them. Pedro, who had often seen them before, declared that, like ants and bees, they have peculiar laws and regulations; and that those we first came upon were, like the sentinels of an army, placed to give warning of coming danger. If such is the case at times, they gave no notice of our approach, but merely skipped and jumped about, and knocked against our legs as we walked by.

“It’s a good job these beasts have no fancy for eating meat as well as vegetables,” observed Ned. “If they once began upon us, there wouldn’t be much of us left in the course of an hour.”

As, however, they neither sting nor bite, they did us no harm, though they skipped about us in millions as we advanced, while numbers were crushed every time we put our feet to the ground. We proceeded for upwards of an hour through this moving mass of life, till we stood literally in the centre of a sea of locusts. It was necessary to push on to get from among them before dark, as we had no fancy to attempt to rest among such unquiet companions. It took us more than another half-hour to get clear of them; and we calculated that they covered a space four to five miles broad at the place we found them. We then came upon the ground which they had occupied, and the most ruthless of invaders could not have destroyed a country more completely than they had done. Not a blade of grass remained; every tree and shrub was leafless, and their branches were stripped of their bark. We could not help looking with painful amazement on the scene of desolation which those small animals had caused. Not only would they, as Ned Gale said, have eaten us up had they been carnivorous, but they might have devoured Pizarro and the army with which he conquered Peru in the course of a night. For miles in advance they had left traces of their visit. We congratulated ourselves on having brought water with us, as we could find none in the neighbourhood. What became of this vast flight of locusts I could not tell. I only hope they flew into the sea, or died from repletion; for had they gone on consuming as much daily as we saw them destroy, they might lay a whole province desolate in the course of a few weeks.

We walked on till it was quite dark before we could find a sheltered spot in which to bivouac. At last we reached a deep hollow, which at one period of the world’s history had been probably part of a watercourse, but owing to some convulsion of nature, it was now perfectly dry. Trees grew on the upper edges, and the sides were covered with brushwood. It appeared, as far as we could judge in the uncertain light of the evening, to be a place well suited for our purpose; and we accordingly hunted about till we found a spot where we could light a fire and lie down to rest. This was not very easy, but at length we discovered a small open space covered with grass. Gale cut away the bushes round it, and piling up some in the centre, we lighted a fire. The flames, as they burned up, showed us the wild character of the place we were in. Dark rocks appeared here and there among the brushwood, and tall trees towered above our heads, effectually screening the light of our fire from any persons who might by chance have been in our neighbourhood.

We boiled our cocoa, and parched our heads of Indian corn, and then prepared to rest.

“We might be worse off; and so, mates, I don’t think we’ve any cause to complain,” observed Ned Gale as he surveyed our abode.

This was a favourite expression of his; and he was always contented, whatever happened. I felt grateful; for though our prospects for the future were uncertain, we were at all events at liberty, with a fair chance of escaping our enemies. Ned Gale had a little black pipe which he prized much, and a small supply of tobacco, which he husbanded with the greatest care. He lighted his pipe, and sat over the fire enjoying his smoke in silence.

As usual, we took it by turns to watch and to keep our fire alight. Pedro and Ned Gale had been sleeping for some time, when, finding that the fire required feeding, I rose to put some more sticks upon it. As the flames burst forth more brightly than before, their light shone on the high branches of the trees, when, happening to look up, I saw just above as a face peering down from among the foliage. It seemed to be watching us very attentively; the owner fancying, probably, from his position, that he was unobserved. As he put his head more forward to get a better sight of us, I saw that he was an old black man with a white head; and immediately it struck me that he was employed as a scout to watch us by the Spaniards. My first impulse was to rouse my companions.

“Ned Gale, Ned Gale,” I sung out, “the Spaniards are after us I am afraid.”

He sprung to his feet, and looking anxiously around, grasped one of his pistols, like a man ever ready to encounter danger.

“Where are they?” he asked. “I don’t see them.”

“There, there,” I answered, pointing at the trees.

He and Pedro turned their eyes in the direction I indicated. There was now not only one negro looking at us, but several black faces, encircled with white hair, appeared among the branches. Instead of flying from our supposed enemies, they both burst into fits of laughter.

“Those Spaniards? Why, they are monkeys,” exclaimed Ned. “Ha, ha, ha! Now, if I could bring one of them down, he might serve us for dinner to-morrow.”

I could not help joining in his laughter, though I had no fancy for eating a monkey. He threw up a piece of stick with all his force. It missed its aim, and served to send the whole troop scampering away, uttering mournful howls, to a distance, where they for some time kept up a concert, which effectually banished sleep.

When the monkeys had ceased howling, Pedro began his watch, and I tried to obtain some rest. Ned Gale, with his sailor habits, very quickly was lost in the land of dreams; but I was not so fortunate. I saw that Pedro was reading, and I did not wish to interrupt him. He every now and then shut his book and looked about him. He appeared to me to be on the watch in expectation of some threatened danger. At last I gave up the attempt to sleep as hopeless. There was something in the air of the place, I believe, which affected me. My young companion had been sitting for some minutes lost in meditation.

“What are you thinking about, Pedro?” I asked.

“Of my father and mother,” he answered, with a sigh.

“Why, I thought you never knew them,” I observed.

“I have often dreamed of them though,” he said. “Do you know, Señor David, that I sometimes fancy I may some day discover them. Had I the means of becoming educated as you are, and of obtaining a fortune, I would employ it in searching for them.”

“If we succeed in getting to England, I am sure my friends, in gratitude to you, will put you in the way of making your fortune,” I replied. “But I own I cannot see how this will enable you to find your parents, without any clue to guide you.”

“God, if He thinks fit, will point out the way,” he answered. “I put my trust in Him.”

I could say no more. This idea had, I found, become the absorbing one of his mind.

“If my parents live, He too will show me the means through which I may discover them,” I thought.

I had never yet been thoroughly convinced of their loss. I was perfectly helpless I knew, and I felt forcibly that on Him alone could I place my trust. The feeling brought comfort and consolation; and lying down again, a soothing sleep soon stole over me.

I was aroused by a shout from Ned Gale, who had taken Pedro’s place. I started up, and found the sailor with his pistol in one hand and his long stick in the other, about to spring into the thicket beyond us. The fire was almost extinguished, and daylight was appearing. I looked round for Pedro. To my horror he was nowhere to be seen.

“Where is the young Spaniard?” I exclaimed.

“Follow me,” answered Ned, rushing forward.

I seized a lighted branch, and with my stick in the other hand, I leaped after him. A shriek of terror and agony, which I could not doubt proceeded from Pedro, served to guide us. It was followed by a savage roar.

“Save me! save me!” he shrieked.

A movement in the bushes showed us more certainly where he was.

“A wild beast has got hold of the poor fellow!” shouted Ned, bending the bushes before him as he hurried on.

The branch I held in my hand was of a resinous nature, and burned brightly. It light showed us in a clear space, under a wide spreading shrub, poor Pedro on the ground, with a large jaguar standing over him. The attention of the savage animal had been attracted by our approach, and he stood glaring fiercely, uncertain whether to carry off his prey or spring at us. Ned was afraid of firing, lest we should miss the jaguar and hit Pedro. My torch was of more service than his pistol. I saw in a moment that the only chance of saving my friend was to frighten the beast, so, thoughtless of the clanger to myself, I sprung towards him, and dashed the burning brand in his face. I believe I almost blinded him. With a roar, denoting pain and terror, he sprang on one side, when Ned rushed in, and dragged Pedro away from him.

“Fire—now fire,” I shouted to Ned, thinking the jaguar was about to close with us.

He lifted his pistol and fired. He was so close that the ball entered the beast’s head, and, giving a bound forward, he fell to the ground struggling in mortal agonies. Once again he rose to his feet and attempted to seize me; but my torch turned him aside, and before he could reach me he rolled over, and in another instant he was dead. I looked anxiously to see if Pedro was much hurt, or rather I scarcely expected to find him alive. At that moment a bright light burst forth, and I saw to my dismay that the bushes round us were in a fierce blaze. Ned was carrying Pedro in his arms, and dashing through the bushes towards the place where we had rested.

“After me, mate, after me,” he cried.

I did require to be told to hurry, for the flames were leaping up from all the surrounding shrubs, and climbing many of the higher trees. I overtook him before we reached our encampment.

“Pick up our traps and come along,” shouted Ned, as he made his way towards the path by which we entered the glen. I stopped at our bivouac and collected our packages of provisions, and our other property. Just as I was coming away, my eye fell on Ned’s knife. I put it in my pocket, and was looking to see if I could find any other article, when the flames caught hold of the surrounding bushes, and warned me to beat a retreat. They crackled and hissed and roared in my rear as I ran on. A light breeze had sprung up, and blew them towards us. Fortunately the bright light they caused enabled us to see our way, or we should have had great difficulty in escaping from the glen.

Heavy as Pedro was, Ned bore him like a child up the rough ascent. The fire flew from shrub to shrub, and extended in every direction; the smoke, too, increased in denseness, and almost stifled us. I could scarcely breathe, and expected every moment to sink from exhaustion; but the brave sailor was not to be daunted. Crying out to me to follow, he pushed on over all impediments. I kept close to him, and in a few minutes, which seemed an age, we reached the more level ground above the dell. Ned stopped for an instant to gather breath, but before I had time to discover more than that Pedro still breathed, we were compelled to continue our flight, not only by the approach of the smoke and flames, but by a new danger. The jaguar we had killed was not the only inhabitant of the glen of his species, and as the path we had taken was the chief outlet in that direction, a number of animals of all descriptions came rushing out close to us. I had turned my head to look at the blazing furnace below us, when, to my dismay, I saw close behind me a huge animal, which I at once guessed was a female jaguar, followed by several cubs. I cried out to Ned to hurry on with his burden, and swinging my stick about me, I dealt her a heavy blow on the head, which appeared somewhat to astonish her. At any other time she would probably quickly have avenged the insult; but, frightened by the flames, she merely uttered a growl of anger and turned on one side, followed by her hopeful progeny. We did not halt again till we reached a rocky mound, free from grass or shrubs, to which we had hopes the fire would not approach.

It was now almost daylight, though the blazing dell afforded us ample light to see our way. Ned laid Pedro down, and we anxiously examined his wounds. His side and one of his arms, by which the jaguar had lifted him, were dreadfully torn, but we could discover no marks of the brute’s teeth. He was senseless, but this we hoped was caused more by terror and pain than from any mortal injury. We neither of us possessed any knowledge of surgery, so we had only our own sense to point out what was best to be done; and in truth we had but little time for consideration, for the flames were already spreading beyond the glen, and might soon approach our retreat.

“We must wash the poor fellow’s hurts, and bind them up to stop the bleeding,” said Ned. “Where’s the water, mate?”

We had a little left in our skin bottle, and pouring out some of it on my handkerchief, I wiped away the blood. My shirt, I remembered, was fortunately of linen.

“Here,” I exclaimed to Gale, “just tear off the sleeves for me; they will serve for bandages.”

With a seaman’s promptness he did as I proposed, and we bound up the places where he was hurt, in a fashion which perhaps might not quite have satisfied a surgeon, though we performed the operation as well as time would allow. Our patient had now began to recover, and after drinking a little water, he sat up and looked around with a gaze of amazement on the strange scene below us. The fire in the glen was raging furiously, and sending up dark columns of smoke to the sky. Animals of all descriptions were rushing forth from the conflagration, too terrified to take any notice of us. Three or four fierce jaguars, with terrible howlings, dashed by, followed by several huge serpents, who crawled, hissing, along over the ground, disturbed from their abodes among the roots of the trees. A troop of monkeys ran chattering away; and parrots and birds innumerable flew over our heads, driven from their long accustomed homes.

“It won’t do for us to remain here much longer,” observed Ned. “Ask the young Spaniard how he feels, and whether he thinks he can get along.”

In reply Pedro answered me that he was able to walk, though it was not without difficulty that he lifted himself from the ground. However, as it was absolutely necessary for us to proceed on our journey, Ned and I, supporting him between us, began to descend the rock. There was, fortunately, a sandy track, free from grass, of considerable extent, on one side, across which we proposed to proceed. Ned had loaded his pistols, and we each of us kept our sticks in our hands, ready to defend ourselves from any of the wild beasts which might venture to attack us. The fire continued raging fiercely on our right as we hurried on, and we watched it with intense anxiety, to see whether it was advancing towards us. Had it taken place on the open prairies, which cover many portions of the continent, our escape would have been impossible. As it was, our chance was at times doubtful. By ourselves we might have run for our lives; but our wounded companion impeded us, and I would have sacrificed myself sooner than have quitted him. The ground which we were then traversing was composed chiefly of rock and sand, but there was enough dry grass growing on it, should it catch fire, to scorch us very much, if not to destroy us; and ahead, for some distance, it grew much thicker; while beyond again there appeared a wide extent of sandy soil, which, if we could once reach, we should probably be in safety. As the sun rose, the wind shifted to a quarter which blew the flames more rapidly than heretofore towards us. Ned and I exerted ourselves to the utmost to drag on poor Pedro, who was not so well aware of our danger. Onward, in the shape of a wedge, advanced the devouring flames with the sharp point first. This gradually thickened, spreading out on either side. Now a rock or a sandy patch intervened, but they leaped over all impediments, the long dry grass catching fire from the sparks which, like a vast courier of destruction, were borne forward by the breeze. I looked at Ned to learn from his looks what chance he thought we had of escaping, but his countenance did not betray the slightest sign of fear or doubt. The fire, it must be understood, had, in consequence of the direction the wind had before blown in our rear, been driven in a straight line on our right a considerable distance in advance of us; and now, from the wind blowing from our right, it was taking a course directly across the path we were anxious to pursue. On our left the ground was covered with dry grass and underwood, so that we dared not to venture across it. The only course left us was, therefore, directly ahead.

“I am sorry we left the rock,” said I, as we hurried on.

“We should have been fried brown by this time, if we had remained on it,” answered Ned, giving a glance over his shoulder. “Why, mate, the flames are dancing round it as merrily as waves in a storm. Cheer up: we shall do well yet.”

Taking courage from him, I pushed on with renewed hope. But this did not last long. Every moment the fire got nearer and nearer; and already it seemed to me that the path before us was cut off. By running very fast we might perhaps get across; but with Pedro to help along, I thought we could not do it. I felt that I could not leave the poor fellow, and resolved to remain by him, and perish with him if so it must be; but I saw no reason why the brave seaman should share our fate, when he might easily save himself.

“Ned,” I cried, when we had reached a spot somewhat more free from grass than the surrounding ground, “run for it, my good fellow, and save yourself. I cannot leave my friend, for I owe him much; but he has no claim whatever upon you. Fly! fly!”

“What, mate? I should be a pretty sort of a seaman if I was to do as you say,” he exclaimed, stopping for a moment to address me. “He’s a fellow-creature in distress, and that’s enough for Ned Gale, I hope. Run—ha! ha! Here, just lift him up on my back, and we’ll see what can be done.”

It was the work of a moment to do as he bid me; and throwing me his knapsack, Ned, with Pedro on his shoulders, set off running, and I after him, as fast as our legs would carry us. I had before remarked the great strength Ned possessed when he chose to exert it. He now bore Pedro along as if he had been a child. Away we dashed right into the belt of tall grass, one end of which, not many hundred yards’ distant, was already burning. The fire came hissing along towards us like a fiery serpent. Ned glanced at it over his shoulder, and increased his exertions. He saw that not a moment could be spared. As I saw it coming on, I almost shrieked with a terror I had never before felt; and had I been alone I think I should have fallen. The fire was close upon us. There was a slight rise in the ground. We rushed up it. I thought that our doom was sealed, when, to my joy, I discovered that I had been deceived by the rise as to the width of the belt of grass. A few yards only of grass had to be passed, when beyond appeared the sandy plain, without a particle of herbage on it. We felt the heat of the fire—the flames were upon us. We dashed through the intervening space of grass, and ran on for a hundred yards before Ned thought of stopping.

“Here, mate!” he said at last. “Help the poor fellow down, and hand me a drop of water. It’s hot work, but we have escaped a frying this time at all events.”

We put Pedro on the ground, and then, as he insisted on walking, we moved on a little further, and sat down by him to watch the progress of the conflagration. It quickly worked its way across the belt we had passed across; and then the scrub beyond towards the mountain caught fire and blazed up furiously, extending far away to the east, till the whole country before us seemed one mass of flame. Had it been night it would have been magnificent, but we were truly glad that it was day, that we might more easily see our road.

“Well, I hope there are no poor people’s farms in that direction, or any Indians hiding away, for the fire doesn’t seem inclined to spare them,” said Ned. “And now, mates, let’s have some prog; we’ve a long day’s journey before us, and have had a sharp morning’s work.”

We took our frugal meal, and then seeing that Pedro required some rest, we made him lie down for half an hour before we recommenced our journey.

“I’m thinking, mate, that this fire will be bringing some Indians down to look at it,” observed Ned, as we walked on. “If they are friends they will be welcome, as they will help to carry our poor friend here. Howsomdever, ‘it’s an ill wind that blows no one good,’ and, to my mind, if any Spaniards are on our track they won’t much like crossing that little bit of blaze astern, till we are pretty well out of their reach.”

I agreed with him that I should much like to meet any friendly Indians. We had another reason for being anxious to do so, as our provisions were running short, and, at the slower rate we were now compelled to travel, would scarcely last us till we could reach that part of the country where I expected to find some of Manco’s followers. With regard to the Spaniards harming us, I did not think they would venture so far; but should they have done so, the fire would afford us a better chance of escape, and prevent their dreadful bloodhounds from scenting out our track. Pedro bore up manfully in spite of the pain he suffered from his hurts. From the very temperate life he had led, his blood was cool and healthy, and no inflammation set in; which I was afraid would have been the case. If people would but remember the great importance of temperance, and would avoid strong drinks, and take only a moderate portion of meat, they would escape much suffering from wounds and injuries to which all are liable, and which in so many cases prove fatal, although no vital part has been touched. I have seen the strongest men die from a slight scratch; and the weakest apparently recover from the most terrible hurts. The strong men have eaten and drunk to gratify their palates; the weak have eaten food to live.

Chapter Sixteen.

Fall in with the army of the Inca—Manco again.

We had for two days been travelling through a wild and mountainous country, skirting the base of the Cordilleras, which served as our guide, and looking out for a pass known to Pedro, by which we might cross them. Our provisions were expended, though we had frequent opportunities of replenishing our water-skins, which enabled us the better to support our fatigue. For some distance we passed over a portion of the great high road of the Incas, which led from Cuzco to Quito; and as it was no longer used by the Spaniards, we had no fear of encountering them. It was far superior to any of the modern roads, and showed the high state of civilisation to which the Peruvians had arrived in those days. It was from about twenty-five to thirty feet broad, and paved with large flat stones. At intervals of about twelve paces I observed rows of smaller stones, laid horizontally and slightly elevated thus making the road ascend gradually by a succession of terraces or steps. On each side of the road there was a low parapet wall of small stones. When I remembered that this gigantic and finished piece of work extended for many hundred miles, from one end of the dominions of the Incas to the other, I felt greater regret than ever that the country had been wrested from them by a people who had so cruelly neglected its many advantages.

By the side of the road, situated on hillocks within sight of each other, were small edifices, where the messengers who promulgated the commands of the Incas throughout the country were stationed. A signal was made whenever a messenger left one of the stations, and one from the next met him half way and received the despatch, which was then forwarded from successive stations till it reached its destination. We arrived towards the evening at one of these station-houses (many of which still remain in tolerable repair); and, as a storm was threatening, we resolved to make it our abode for the night. It was a small, low, round tower, but the roof was wanting, which was our first care to supply. For this purpose Ned and I tore off and cut down a number of branches from the trees which grew near; and finding, in a hollow some way down the hill, a pool with rushes growing round it, we collected a sufficient supply to aid materially in forming a thatch. We left Pedro meantime to clean the floor, and to light a fire, though we only had some cocoa and a little Indian corn to cook by it.

Returning with our materials, we placed the boughs across the top of the walls, with the rushes in the form of a rude cone verging from the centre above them. I then collected a number of stones, with which the road supplied us, and handing them up to Ned, he put them on the thatch to prevent its being blown away. Our work being speedily concluded, for Ned had a very systematic way of doing everything, I bethought me of collecting some more rushes to form a bed for Pedro. I was hurrying down for the purpose, when on my way I observed between the trees the walls of a building, standing on a level plot of ground. I called to Ned, and we set off together to examine it, for it struck me it was a small farm belonging to mestizos or Indians. We soon reached it, and I found I was not mistaken. The inhabitants had lately fled, the roof was off the hut, and the maize crop had been reaped. We were at first without hopes of benefiting by our discovery; but as I was looking about, I observed a fig-tree with some ripe figs on it, which I at once collected; and on further search, Ned espied a herd of guinea-pigs nestling under the walls. To knock some of the little animals on the head, was the work of a minute. We would gladly have exchanged some of them for corn, but just as we were about to return to our tower, I discovered a few ears of maize still standing close to a wall. With much satisfaction I gathered all I could find. We had still more good fortune in store. Close to the front I caught sight of a she-goat with a young kid by her side. She had been a pet of the family, I suppose, for she did not run away from us. Ned at once caught the kid, and carrying it in his arms, the mother came after it to our hut.

“I haven’t the heart to kill the little animal,” he observed; “but I’ll tell you what, mate, the mother shall give the young Don a bowl of milk. It will do him more good than all the doctor’s stuff in the world.”

Pedro could scarcely believe his senses when he saw us returning with our valuable prizes. We had now a supply of food to last us for many days, and we might, if we thought fit, remain and rest till Pedro was better able to proceed. We soon had a guinea-pig skinned and roasting before the fire; and then Ned caught the goat, and, acting the part of a milk-maid, filled a tin jug with milk, which he insisted on Pedro swallowing. The figs were very fine, and after the coarse food on which we had so long lived, we found them most grateful to our palates. As we sat round our fire, in spite of the smoke, we felt ourselves in the enjoyment of abundance of luxury. Our fire-place was composed of a few stones; some others served us for seats. Our meat was somewhat tough, and we were without salt. Parched maize served us for bread, and our beverage was cold water, while our beds were composed of rushes and leaves sprinkled on the bare ground; but this was more than we had enjoyed for some time, and we had walls to protect us from the night breeze, and a roof to keep out the rain. Pedro and I were not merry, for we had too much cause for painful reflection. But we were contented, and Ned Gale declared that he was as happy as a prince—that he had weathered on the Dons, and had the prospect of a long cruise on shore. He fastened the kid up within our tower, but the old she-goat was turned out, as we knew that she would not stray far from her young one. It had not long been dark when the storm we had observed broke over our heads. The thunder rattled, the lightning flashed, and the rain came down in torrents; but though a good deal found its way through the roof, we were able to pick out dry spots for our beds, and we had cause to be thankful that we were under shelter of any sort. As our abode also had stood for so many centuries, we had no fear of being washed away. We had collected a supply of stones to block up the lower part of the entrance; and with some boughs in addition we constructed a door, which was sufficient, we thought, to keep out any wild beasts or other intruders. Before turning in, we cut the flesh off the other guinea-pigs, and smoked it over the fire; and we also parched a supply of maize, in case we should be unable to prepare it on any future occasion. Notwithstanding the tempest which was raging outside, we slept very soundly, Ned and I keeping alternate watches, for we were anxious to give Pedro as much rest as possible. Ned insisted on taking the first watch; and when he awoke me, I found that the greater part of the night had passed away. I expostulated with him on making me take less than my share of watching.

“Never mind, mate,” he replied; “you are young, and want sleep. I’m accustomed to do with very little, do you see. Often’s the time, for a month on a stretch, I’ve not had more than three or four hours out of the four-and-twenty, and have been roused up to shorten sail two or three times between them.”

The storm had passed away, and when I put my head out through the branches which formed the door of our abode, I saw that the stars were shining brightly in the deep blue sky. As I stood there inhaling the fresh breeze, that I might the more easily keep myself awake, I saw a dark object emerge from among the trees, and stop, as if looking cautiously around. It was standing in the shade, and at first I thought it was an Indian, though what his intention could be I could not divine. Presently he came more into the road, and advanced towards the tower, when I saw, to my no little dismay, that he was an enormous black bear. He had probably, I thought, scented us out; and I fully expected a visit from him. I did not like to arouse Ned; but I took up one of his pistols which lay on his knapsack, and held it in my hand ready to give the gentleman a warm reception, should he venture to put his snout into the tower. On he came, waddling at a great rate down the road.

“He is certainly coming,” I thought. “Now, if I miss him, he will give me a hug I shall not like.”

I cocked my pistol, and kept my stick ready to give him a poke in the eye, which would keep him at bay till Ned could jump up to my assistance. He stopped for an instant, and gave a low growl: his instinct probably told him that some enemies were near. I drew back a little, lest he should catch the glimmer of my eye. Then he again advanced quicker than before. He soon came so close to me that I felt almost certain that I could hit him; but still as I thought I might only wound him and make him savage, I did not like to fire. I scarcely dared to breathe or move. He passed on down the hill, and I again breathed freely. Presently I heard him give another growl, and directly afterwards I saw him waddling back again at a leisurely pace with something in his paws. As he went by the tower, I perceived that it was the unfortunate she-goat, whose kid we had fastened within. I was determined, if I could not save the poor goat’s life, at all events to deprive Master Bruin of his supper, and calling out to Ned, I dashed through the boughs in pursuit of him. It was hazardous work I own, but I had not a moment for thought. Had I, probably I should have acted more wisely. Ned was on his feet in a moment, and with his pistol in his hand in pursuit of the bear. Bruin saw us coming, but showed no inclination to relinquish his prey. He ran on at a great rate, and it was some time before we overtook him. Even when we were close to him, he continued his flight, apparently taking no notice of us.

“Whatever you do, don’t fire, mate, before he shows his face!” exclaimed Ned. “Give him a poke in the neck; it will make him turn perhaps.”

I accordingly gave him a plunge with my stick, keeping, however, beyond the reach of his paws should he turn suddenly round. Even this did not make him stop, so I gave him another dig, which at last brought him to bay, though he still kept hold of the goat. Immediately he faced about. Ned fired his pistol, aiming at his eye. The ball took effect, and, with a growl of fury, the beast rushed at us, at the same time dropping the goat. On this we retreated down the road, repenting not a little of our folly in having attacked him. Seeing that the bear had received no mortal injury, Ned snatched the other pistol from my hand, and waited steadily till the bear got within arm’s length of him. I trembled for his safety, but resolved not to let him stand the brunt of the combat alone. I made a desperate charge with my stick. This distracted the attention of Bruin, who seized hold of my stick, and at the same moment Ned fired. The ball hit him, I saw, but was afraid had not mortally wounded him, for, with a loud growl, he sprung upon my companion. Ned, however, was on the alert, and leaped nimbly on one side, as I did on the other, and the brute fell headlong over on his snout. We could not help giving a shout of triumph at our victory, which made Pedro, who had been awakened by the shots, hurry up to us, wondering what was the matter. We were not quite certain that our foe was really dead; but a few pokes with our sticks at length convinced us that he was so, and we therefore ventured to examine him. The ball from the last shot had hit him in the eye, and entered his brain.

“Some bear steaks won’t be bad things,” observed Ned. “Now mates, let’s look after the goat. I had made sure of a cup of milk for Pedro this morning.”

We found the goat a little way off, but Bruin had hugged the breath out of its body, and it was dead. Pedro and I thereon dragged the goat close to the hut, while Ned was employed in cutting the proposed steaks out of the bear.

“You see, mates, it won’t do to leave the work for the morning, for before that time the condors, the jaguars, and the pumas will be down upon him, and tear every scrap of meat from his bones,” he remarked. “I wish he had been rather farther off, for the beasts will keep up such a concert that we shan’t be able to sleep much more to-night.”

When he had finished operating on the bear, he began on his victim, observing that though goats’ flesh was somewhat strong, it would serve to make a variety in our provisions. We had now more meat than we could well carry, in addition to which, as the kid could not live without its mother, we were obliged to sacrifice that also. On re-entering our abode, Pedro and I employed ourselves in cutting the meat into slips and drying it before the fire, while Ned again laid down to obtain his share of rest. Pedro told me that the species of hear we had killed lived chiefly on fruits and vegetables, and that he often commits great ravages in the maize-fields of the Indians, by breaking off the green tops and carrying them away to his hole in the mountains; but when he cannot obtain that sort of food, he will catch deer and wild boars, and will even attack the oxen employed in the sugar-mills on the plantations. He has also been known, when pressed by hunger, to assail solitary travellers in the mountains.

In the morning, when we went out of our tower, we saw that several condors had been attracted by the carcase of the bear, and were tearing it to pieces. They flapped their huge wings, and glared fiercely at us with their red eyes as we watched them; but did not quit their banquet, from which we had no wish to disturb them. After a hearty breakfast, with renewed spirits and confidence we proceeded on our way. I have not space to recount all our adventures, and must for the future describe only those which were the most interesting.

We climbed mountains, and traversed glens, and crossed torrents by the bridges I have often mentioned; and yet, day after day, not a human being did we meet. Of course we kept as much as possible at a distance from their habitations; but the few farms we passed were deserted, and we had no doubt that the women and children had been removed to more secluded spots, while the men had gone to join the army of Tupac Amaru.

A week had passed, and we were resting to take our midday meal, in a sheltered glen, under the shade of some lofty trees. Pedro, notwithstanding the exertions he had undergone, had almost recovered from his hurts; and I never felt myself in better health and strength, while Ned scarcely knew what fatigue or illness meant. Our provisions had again run short, though we had collected a little Indian corn at some of the deserted farms we had passed.

“Well,” said Ned, who had lighted his pipe and stretched himself out on his back, “I shan’t be sorry when we get to the big river you speak of. Walking is very pleasant exercise, especially when one hasn’t half a hundredweight of traps and provisions to carry; but it’s very slow work you’ll allow. I like to spank along with a ten-knot breeze across the open ocean, with studden-sails alow and aloft; or to glide down a river with a strong current and fair breeze. Ah, mate, if you ever come to sea with me in a smart craft, you’ll know what moving fast means.”

I told him that I should like nothing better, and that I longed to begin our voyage down the Amazon; but that I must first communicate with my Indian friends, to learn if they had gained any tidings of my parents; for still I clung to the hope that they might have escaped destruction. Pedro also was unwilling to leave the country without again seeing his friends. We were all talking very eagerly about our proposed plans, when a loud yell made us start to our feet, and, looking up, we saw a number of Indians posted on the heights above us. Some had bows, with their arrows ready drawn to shoot us; and others had slings in their hands, which they were whirling round with heavy stones, prepared to hurl at our heads. In another moment we should have had a shower of deadly missiles rattling about us, when Pedro, rushing towards them, shouted out, in the Quichua language, that we were friends of the Inca. In an instant the arrows were withdrawn and the slings ceased to whirl, and the Indians came hurrying down the sides of the mountain. In another minute we found ourselves surrounded by a large band of warriors. They examined us attentively, not being able to make out who we could be, though the words spoken by Pedro proved that we were not enemies. Ned Gale, especially, caused them much surprise, for they certainly had never seen a human being like him before. When their chief arrived, he listened to the account Pedro gave him, and replied that though he had no doubt it was correct, we must accompany him to the presence of the Inca and his chiefs, who were encamped at the distance of some days’ journey.

“I suppose it’s all right, mates,” observed Ned, when I told him what had been said. “For my part, I’m ready to go and see this new king of the Injuns, as they call him; and if he’s an honest chap, and wants a helping hand, why I’m ready to give it him. Just you tell them that.”

I did not exactly translate Ned’s message; but I told the Indians that we were anxious to see the Inca, and would be happy to be of any service to him in our power.

The Indians were, I found, on their way to join the army; and as they wished to continue their march, they desired us to pack up our traps and accompany them. They looked upon us, I found, somewhat in the light of prisoners; though of this we had no reason to complain, as they were naturally suspicious of strangers, who might act as spies on their movements. We were treated kindly, but were narrowly watched whenever the party halted to rest. Though not better equipped, they were far more civilised than most of the tribes who composed the army of Tupac Catari; and they marched with some regularity, and took all necessary precautions to guard against surprise. We learned from them that the Spaniards, having recovered from the alarm into which they had been thrown at the commencement of the outbreak, were collecting in considerable force in the neighbourhood of Cuzco, to defend that city from an attack which Tupac Amaru was threatening to make on it.

“It matters not,” observed the cacique, who was my informant. “The more who collect, the greater number of our foes shall we overwhelm with one blow.”

I ventured to doubt this; but he replied—

“Stay till you see the army of the Inca, and try to number our standards; then tell me if you think the white faces can withstand them.”

I thought it better not to dwell on the subject, for fear of irritating the chief; but I recalled to my memory the handful of Spaniards who conquered the well-trained armies of the Inca Atahualpa, and had little hope for the success of his descendant, Tupac Amaru, with his host of undisciplined levies; though doubtlessly their opponents had greatly degenerated from the hardy warriors who fought under Pizarro.

As it was necessary to supply food for the army, and we were passing through a part of the country where the vicuñas abounded, the party halted to engage in a grand hunt, which is termed a chacu. About two hundred men were told off for this purpose; some remaining encamped, and others being sent as scouts, to the rear, to ascertain that no Spaniards were following us. Pedro, Ned, and I were invited by the cacique to accompany him. Half the party were supplied with weapons called bolas. These bolas were composed of three balls of lead or stone, at one end of as many long lines, formed of the twisted sinews of the vicuña, the opposite ends being fastened together. One ball is rather lighter than the others, and when used, this is held in the hand, while the heavier ones are swung in a circle round the head. When the Indian is about twenty paces from the object he wishes to strike, he lets go the lighter ball, and the weapon flies off, and the strings encircle in many folds the neck or legs of the animal.

Besides the bolas, the party had procured from the neighbouring villages a quantity of rope and a number of stakes, and with them we repaired to an extensive, elevated plain, where many herds of vicuñas were observed feeding. Having selected a spacious level spot, the stakes were planted in the ground, at a distance of fifteen feet apart, and were connected together by the ropes about two feet and a half from the ground. A circular space was thus formed, of perhaps a mile and a half in circumference, an opening of about two hundred paces being left to serve as an entrance. Along the rope were fastened bits of coloured rags, which blew about in the breeze, and were intended to frighten the animals, and prevent them from leaping over the barrier. This enclosure is properly called a chacu. It being arranged, we withdrew, and breaking into a number of small parties, we formed a circle at a little distance apart from each other, and several miles across. We then began to close, driving before us, with loud shouts, all the herds of vicuñas we met with. The men opposite the entrance advanced more slowly than the rest; and the timid animals, seeing the fluttering bits of cloth, ran before us with affright, till they reached the open space, when they darted into the chacu. Some fifty vicuñas were thus in a very short time collected, when the Indians, running among them, began throwing their bolas with the greatest dexterity, never failing to entangle the legs of the game, which they speedily killed with their clubs or knives. Sometimes the Indians use the bola on horseback; and I must remark that it requires great dexterity to do so with effect, as a clumsy person is very likely to twist the cords round his own neck or that of his steed, instead of the animal he is hunting. As soon as the vicuñas were killed, they were carried off to the camp to be skinned and cut up; and we then moved to a distance, to form a new chacu. During three days, which we passed in the neighbourhood, we killed two hundred vicuñas; and then, laden with their flesh, we continued our journey.

The vicuña is a more beautiful animal than either the llama or the alpaca. It is between them in size, measuring four feet from the ground to the top of the head, and two and a half feet from the ground to the shoulders. The neck is longer and more slender; and the wool is finer, short, and curly. The top of the head, neck, and back, and the thighs, are of a peculiar reddish hue; and the inner part of the limbs and the lower part of the neck are of a bright ochre colour; and the breast and lower part of the body is white. Each herd consists of from six to fifteen females and one male, who, standing at a distance, acts the part of guardian, while the rest are grazing, and when danger approaches, gives a peculiar whistle and stamp of the foot. The herd look, with outstretched necks, in the direction of the danger, and then take to flight, the male stopping every now and then to cover their retreat, and watch the movements of the enemy. Should he be killed or wounded, the Indians declare that the females will gather round him in a circle, and uttering shrill cries of lamentation, will suffer themselves to be destroyed rather than desert him.

As we proceeded on our march, we fell in with many other parties of Indians, advancing in the same direction; some of whom were of the savage tribes from the far interior, summoned to swell the host of the Inca. Many of them were accompanied by troops of llamas, carrying provisions. Some of these had bells hung round their necks, and were adorned with bows of ribbons at their ears. They proceeded at a slow pace, carrying their long, graceful necks something like the camel, and gazing anxiously around on either side with their wild prominent eyes, to watch the movements of their guides, or to observe the appearance of the country. They were of a variety of colours; brown, black, white, and pie-bald. I may here remark that the extreme height of the animal, from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, is not more than four feet and from six to eight inches; and from the sole of the foot to the shoulder, rather under three feet. Their frames are so slight that they will not carry a load of more than about seventy pounds weight; but they have the valuable qualification of being able to live many days, find even months, without drinking, owing to their power of generating saliva in their mouths.

Other parties had mules for the same purpose. Some were on horseback, and formed an irregular and very Scythian-like looking cavalry. Several bands of those on foot were followed by their wives and children; showing that they felt confident of victory, and came prepared to take possession of the territories they hoped to conquer. At length, after passing through a dark gorge, and climbing a steep acclivity, we once more began to descend; when, from the height on which we stood, we looked down upon the vast army of the Inca, collected on a plain, or rather wide valley, between ranges of lofty mountains.

“What say you now?” exclaimed the cacique, with a look of triumph. “Do the white faces dream of the mighty host collected to liberate for ever the kingdom of the Incas from their cruel hands?”

“I have heard that it was prophesied that the kingdom of the Incas should be restored by the people of my country. There are none of them there,” I replied.

“It is true,” said the cacique. “But if you and your bold friend were to fight by the side of the Inca, might not the prophecy be thus fulfilled?”

I at once saw the mistake I had made in thus speaking; for I felt that I might be compelled, contrary to the advice my father had given me, to engage actively in a contest in which I had no personal interest.

Before I had time to reply, the signal of advance was given, and the party hurried down the steep to join their comrades in the valley. Far as the eye could reach in either direction, and even up the mountains sides, were extended the vast host of the Inca, drawn up in battle array. From among their dusky lines arose a forest of waving banners, long lances, and battle-axes, tossing to and fro, and glittering in the rays of the noonday sun which shone down upon their heads. At intervals might be seen rich panoplies of feather work and lofty plumes, marking the post of some leading cacique, or Inca noble. Some way to the right, on a rising ground, rose the magnificent canopy under which the Inca Tupac Amaru was to be found, surrounded by his generals and nobles.

As the march was about to commence, our conductors hurried us down the hill past the crowded ranks of the army, towards the spot where the Inca was stationed. When a little distance off, he went forward alone, and prostrating himself before the monarch, announced the arrival of some captives. The Inca immediately ordered us to be brought before him. He was seated under the canopy on a cushioned throne, richly ornamented with gold; and on either side of him were ranged a dense mass of his chiefs and councillors, all dressed in garments similar to those worn by their ancestors. Tupac Amaru himself was habited as tradition has described Atahualpa; and he wore as a crown the crimson borla, or fringe, which hung down as low as the eye-brow, and gave a very peculiar expression to his grave and handsome countenance. I have before mentioned that he was a tall and dignified person; and he looked well worthy in every respect to be the sovereign of the assembled multitude. When he saw us he beckoned us to approach, and made inquiries of our conductor respecting us, not knowing that Pedro and I understood the Quichua language. The cacique simply stated where he had found us, and replied that we could answer for ourselves.

I begged Pedro to act as spokesman, and he gave a short account of our adventures, as well as of my history. The Inca seemed much interested, and assured us of his protection; at the same time inviting us to accompany him in his march to lay siege to Cuzco. Pedro in reply, having expressed our gratitude to the Inca, entreated to be allowed to remain behind, assuring the Inca that he was ready to lay down his life for the benefit of the Indians, but that the Spaniards were his countrymen and he could not fight against them. The nobles who stood round seemed very much offended at this; but the Inca observing that he should consider the subject, turned to Ned and asked him what he would do. I put the question to him in English.

“Tell His Majesty, if it’s to fight the Dons, I’ll help him with all my heart,” he at once replied. “It comes natural like, and it won’t be the first time I’ve been at blows with them. I owe them a grudge, too, for killing as honest a fellow as ever stepped, and that was my late skipper. Tell him all that, mate, and say I’m his man whenever he wants me.”

The Inca appeared much pleased at Ned’s reply, which I interpreted; but he seemed less inclined to treat Pedro and me with favour. My turn came next. I own that I felt great reluctance to refuse fighting, and having no sufficient excuse to offer, was about to answer that I was ready to serve in any capacity the Inca might desire, when a loud shout was raised, and a fresh body of Indians was seen hurrying down the mountain’s side. A chief came at their head, and I looked towards him as the loud shouts of those around me gave him welcome. I could scarcely believe my eyes. It was my friend Manco! I was certain of it; and forgetting the presence of the Inca and his nobles, I rushed forward to meet him.

It was Manco in reality. We clasped each other’s hands, and for a time could scarcely speak. He had thought me dead, or lingering in a Spanish prison, while I till now had been uncertain of his fate. He told me that when he was led out to be shot, it had occurred to him that by keeping his eye on the soldiers he might drop as they fired, and allow the balls to fly over him; and that as he knew a number of Indians were collected on the other side of the river, by swimming across, they might assist him to escape. He never lost his presence of mind, and watching for the moment the soldiers drew their triggers, he fell to the ground, instantly again springing up and flying to the river. Before the smoke from the muskets had cleared away, he had plunged in and was swimming across. Several bullets struck the water close to him, but landing uninjured, he and his friends set off towards the mountains as rapidly as they could proceed. They were pursued by a strong body of Spanish soldiers, who followed them to their retreat. It was several days before they could elude their enemies, and they had then marched through a number of Indian villages to collect recruits, before joining the army.

After he had paid his respects to the Inca, he introduced Pedro and me as his friends, and we at once perceived that we were regarded in a more favourable light than before. We accordingly obtained permission to remain with him; but as the Inca was desirous of having Ned to assist in working his artillery, several pieces of which were with their army, we very unwillingly were compelled to part from him.

Manco having performed his public duties, now set out in search of his wife and child, whom he heard were with the women in the camp. Notice had been given to Nita of his escape from death and safe return, and she with her infant was ready to receive him. This meeting was very affecting; and as the brave warrior once more took his child in his arms, he wept over it for joy. He could not, however, remain with her long, for his duties called him back to the army.

“Pedro, my friend,” he said, “I know you would not fight against your countrymen; to your charge, therefore, I commit my wife; watch over her, and guard her from danger. If I fall, carry her and my child to a place of safety, and restore her, when times of peace again return, to her father and her people.”

Pedro with tears promised to obey his wishes.

“And you, David, what will you do?” he asked.

“I will accompany you,” I replied, forgetting my former resolutions, and inspired with admiration for the gallant chieftain. “I will fight by your side, and help to restore peace and prosperity to Peru.”

Chapter Seventeen.

Siege of Sarata—Capture of Tupac Amaru.

We found the head quarters of the Inca established in an ancient castle, built of large hewn stones on the side of a mountain, and which, from its size and mode of construction, is still one of the wonders of Peru. Here he held his court, and was treated with all the honours due to a sovereign prince. I was particularly struck with the amount of etiquette which was maintained, when I recollected that the Inca himself had, but a few months before, been living the life of a simple farmer, as had his chiefs and councillors, and that many of them had indeed been little better than slaves to the Spaniards. Manco informed me that it had been resolved to despatch him with a force of ten thousand men to join a body of the same number under the command of Andres Tupac Amaru, the young son of the Inca, who was laying siege to Sarata, a large town not far from the lake of Titicaca; and he begged me to accompany him. I was sorry to be separated from Ned Gale, but he said that the Inca had put the guns under his charge, and as they were not to go, he would stick by them.

I was furnished with a very good horse, and took my place by the side of Manco. The men being amply supplied with cacao every day, without apparent fatigue performed forced marches which would have completely knocked up any European troops. As we advanced, we found that all the white inhabitants had fled and taken refuge in the town, where it was said twenty thousand people were collected. My readers may be assured that my great object was, if possible, to mitigate the horrors which I dreaded would take place should my Indian friends prove successful. On our arrival we found the young Andres closely investing the town, the inhabitants of which were already suffering from famine, though they had sternly refused to listen to a summons which had been sent in to them to surrender. They had just before made a sortie, when the Indians had lost a number of men; but they were, after much desperate fighting, again compelled to retire within their trenches. The Indians had taken several prisoners, among whom was a priest; and as soon as we arrived he was sent in with a second summons, containing offers of peace on such conditions as might be agreed on between commissioners to be appointed on both sides. The young general, with Manco and other chiefs, were standing on a hill overlooking the town when the priest proceeded on his mission.

“What is proposed to be done if the inhabitants refuse your terms?” I asked.

“Look there,” he replied. “You see that from the river which passes at a short distance from us, there is a deep ravine leading to the town, and somewhat lower than its banks. By blocking up the course of the river, we propose to turn its waters into the ravine, when they will rush down and speedily flood the ramparts, and wash them away.”

I doubted the power of the Indians to perform this.

“Think you not the descendants of those men who formed these great roads, and built the castles and palaces which still endure, can perform so small a task as that?” he replied. “Wait, my friend, till you see.”

After a considerable delay the priest returned, and acknowledging that the inhabitants were reduced to feed upon mules, dogs, cats, and rats, said that they agreed to the proposed terms, with a truce of two days. During this time numbers of half-famished wretches were allowed freely to wander out and collect all the food they could from the Indians. At the end of the time two officers of the garrison came out, and sent a message by the priest, stating that they were deputed to act as commissioners, and proposed that the enemy should retire to a distance, while the chiefs should meet them midway between the troops and the town. No objection was made, and young Andres, Manco, and other chiefs, with about twenty followers, repaired to the proposed spot. Scarcely had they arrived there than some of their sentinels, posted on a neighbouring hill overlooking the town, gave notice that the Spaniards were collecting in great force at the gates, and were evidently meditating a sortie to capture the chiefs. On this the two Spaniards who were approaching the place of meeting, attempted to escape into the town; but the Indians intercepting them, cut them down as a strong party of the garrison rushed from the gates. The chiefs, vowing vengeance for the meditated treachery, had barely time to retreat; their forces came hurrying up for their protection; and the siege once more commenced with greater activity than before.

The Indians mustered nearly a thousand muskets, with which they kept up a hot fire on the trenches: besides which, they assailed the town with flights of arrows, showers of stones and burning darts, which set fire to many of the houses where they fell. Still the town held out, and the leaders, anxious to proceed to other conquests, sent in a third summons to the garrison to surrender. Another priest was the bearer. I waited with much anxiety for his return, as the Indians had vowed to destroy all the inhabitants, should the town be taken after their offer had a third time been refused. I was not, indeed, quite certain that, in case of a surrender, some of the chiefs and their followers did not meditate treachery. They were, it must be remembered, ignorant savages, and on too many occasions the Spaniards had set them an example they were likely to imitate.

I took my food each day with Manco on a hill overlooking the town, from whence a perfect view could be obtained of the whole scene of operations. During the absence of the envoy hostilities had ceased, and the Indians had withdrawn to a distance from the trenches. They now formed a circle round the town, their cavalry occupying every level space, and the infantry covering the surrounding hills with dense masses. The river flowed calmly by; the valleys looked bright and smiling; and the town itself seemed wrapped in perfect repose. Alas! it was the repose which precedes dissolution. At length the priest was seen issuing from the gates, and taking his way with a sorrowful countenance towards the quarters of the young Indian general. We immediately repaired there. The inhabitants, mistrusting the Indians, as I concluded, refused to surrender.

“Then their doom is sealed,” said Andres; and forthwith gave orders to block up the course of the river, so as to direct it into the ravine communicating with the town.

Several thousand men were employed day and night at this work, while the rest kept the besieged in play. After two weeks’ incessant labour, the works were declared complete, and the whole army prepared for a general assault. I took up my usual post to watch the result, hoping for the sake of humanity that it might fail, but induce the inhabitants to submit. At a given signal the embankments were knocked down, and the water in a vast torrent rushed towards the town, flooding the entrenchments and shaking the walls. They, however, withstood the shock, and the brave defenders again returned to the shattered works from which they had been driven. Once more the sluices were shut, and the inhabitants were left to fancy that the threatened danger had passed by. The next morning, however, the Indians again surrounded the devoted town; in an increased volume the water was made to pass through the ravine, and sweeping onward in a terrific torrent, it rushed down upon the trenches and ramparts, carrying all before it. The defenders fled in dismay from their posts; the signal for advance was given, and the Indians, led on by their fiercest chiefs, dashed through the newly-formed breach and entered the town.

I would willingly draw a veil over the scene of horror which ensued. Little or no opposition was offered; but the spirit of vengeance was aroused, and not a man they encountered escaped. Prayers and entreaties were disregarded—death was dealt on every side. Those who attempted to fly were driven back; and of the twenty thousand persons who in the morning walked alive through the streets, women only and a few priests, and one or two laymen, who had taken refuge within the church, were spared. I had earnestly entreated Manco to do his utmost to save the lives of those who offered no resistance, pointing out to him the policy of so doing; and through his means chiefly those few persons were preserved from destruction. He had claimed some of them as his own property; and for their better protection they were brought to the hut he and I inhabited, on a hill a short distance from the town.

Among them was a man whose deep dejection, and countenance and manners, deeply interested me. Though his dress was soiled and bloody, I at once perceived that he was a gentleman.

“Alas!” he said, “I have been the child of misfortune from my earliest clays. Whenever any bright prospect has appeared before me, it has vanished ere I could enjoy it. I married a wife; she was young and beautiful; but poverty oppressed us, and she had been accustomed to wealth and luxury. A child was born to us, and I trusted it would reconcile her to our lot; but as we were travelling through the country, we were attacked by the Montoneros, and the infant, and the nurse who had charge of him, were carried away to the mountains and slain, for we could never again hear tidings of either of them. For years I toiled on till I amassed a handsome fortune; but scarcely was it obtained, when death deprived me of my wife. I had laid out my money in the purchase of an estate, in the cultivation of which I had resolved to employ myself till heaven should allow me to join my wife and child in another world, when this dreadful outbreak commenced, and reduced me to beggary. By a strange fate, though all my companions have been destroyed, I still am bound to life, which I would gladly have quitted.”

Don Gomez de Castro, I learned, was the prisoner’s name. Our conversation, which had been prolonged till a late hour, for it was now night, was interrupted by a blaze of light, which illuminated the whole sky. Hurrying to the door of the hut, the cause became apparent. The unfortunate town of Sarata was on fire. In every direction the flames were bursting furiously forth, till the entire place became one burning mass. Don Gomez, as he looked at the scene, wrung his hands, and wept bitterly. The fire raged all night; and next morning nothing remained of Sarata but a heap of smouldering ashes. The Indians triumphed, as savages alone may be excused in triumphing, over their fallen enemies. The priests who had been rescued, were, however, treated with respect; which showed the extraordinary influence they had obtained over the minds of the people. Had it been more beneficially exerted, by teaching them the simple truths of pure Christianity, it would assuredly have prevented the horrors of the outbreak; but I fear their aim had rather been to establish their power, for their own selfish advantage, than for the sake of religion. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

A council of war was now held; when the young General Andres resolved to advance upon the town of La Paz; while Manco, with five thousand men, was to keep the communication open with the north, where he was to rejoin Tupac Amaru.

I rejoiced at this, for I was anxious to see Pedro and Ned Gale again; and I own, from the scenes I had witnessed, I longed to quit the Indian army, and to commence our proposed journey towards Europe. We marched as rapidly as before; the cavalry scouring the country in every direction, and now and then reporting that they had met and destroyed a few of the enemy; but no prisoners were brought in.

I had often expostulated with Manco in vain, on the wanton destruction of human life. His answer was, “We treat the Spaniards as they treated us. I cannot prevent my people from taking vengeance.”

Yet, strange to say, every chief made a point of attaching to himself, as a Christian chaplain, one of the priests who had been saved from the captured towns and villages.

As we approached the neighbourhood of Cuzco, intelligence was brought us that the Spaniards had collected in great force in that city; and that having been joined by a number of Indian tribes from Chili, and further to the south, they were well prepared to give battle to Tupac Amaru. On hearing this, we redoubled our efforts to join the main army. We found them drawn up in the neighbourhood of Tungasuca, in an extensive flat, with a hill on one side, and a river in their rear, prepared to receive the enemy, who were advancing along a valley in their front. A strong body was posted on the hill, where the artillery was likewise stationed. I at once repaired there, in the hopes of finding Ned; but the cacique who had command of it received me very coldly, and informed me that the services of my countryman were no longer required, and that he could not tell where he was. This chief went by the name of Quizquiz, after a famous general of the Inca Atahualpa. I had met him before. I did not like either his countenance or his manners; but the Inca had confidence in him, and listened to his advice. He had become, I suspected, jealous of Ned, and did not like his interference.

After wandering about for some time among the motley assemblage of dusky warriors, I found my old friend in the rear, sitting on the ground, and quietly smoking his pipe. As soon as he saw me, he jumped up and wrung my hand heartily.

“I’m glad to see you, mate, that I am,” he exclaimed. “I’ve been waiting for you, to be off; for the sooner we are out of this, the better, I’m thinking. A set of lubbers there have got hold of the guns, which they don’t know how to work; and they’ll do themselves no good, and the enemy no harm, when they begin to fight, I warrant. The Inca is as fine a fellow as ever stepped; but for that Señor Quizquiz, or whatever they call him, he’ll play him some trick, or my name’s not Ned Gale; mark that, mate.”

Ned having thus vented his spleen, as many another man would have done at having been deprived of his command, told me that Pedro was at a village among the hills in the neighbourhood, anxiously waiting my return. He informed me also that the wife of the Inca, Nita, and a large number of other women were collected there. Accompanied by Ned, I returned to where Manco with his men was encamped; and obtaining permission from him to carry off Don Gomez, we set out to look for Pedro. I was mounted, and I had likewise obtained horses for my companions. Beyond the river I have spoken of there was a succession of lofty hills, among which was situated the village now inhabited by the wives of the chiefs and other women. We were obliged to ride along the banks of the river some way, till we found a ford, which we crossed. As we ascended the first eminence, and looked back upon the scene we had left, it presented a very beautiful appearance. The long lines of warriors, their shining arms, the innumerable banners, and the variety of costumes, from the half-naked savages of the interior, with their skin mantles and feather crowns, to the well-clothed inhabitants of the mountains and western plains, and the rich dresses of the chiefs embroidered with gold and ornamented with precious stones. Then the extraordinary mixture of weapons—the artillery and muskets of modern warfare, with the bows, the slings, the clubs, and darts of ancient times. Each man had come provided with such arms as he could procure; and for years before every Indian who could obtain a musket had carefully concealed it for the moment when he hoped to use it for the liberation of his country.

Tupac Amaru had acted the part of a good general, by providing an ample commissariat, and several mills for the manufacture of gunpowder. Had he at once followed up the successes with which the outbreak commenced, instead of wasting his time in preparing the pageants of mock royalty, I see no reason to doubt that he might really have re-established the dynasty of the Incas in Peru. If we look at the way in which the Circassians, a mere handful of men, have for so many years defended against the arms of the Russians, a country more difficult to protect, we cannot but believe that the Peruvians might have successfully held the passes of the Andes against any force Spain could have sent against them. In the case of the Circassians, however, it is the superior race, few in number, and unaccustomed to what is called civilisation, but defending their mountains against the inferior, though armed and disciplined by service; whereas the Peruvians were decidedly far lower in the scale of human beings than the Spaniards, and for long ages had been unacquainted with war, and had yielded submission to those against whom they had now risen. There were many noble spirits among them; but others had the faults which years of slavery will ever leave behind, and treachery and deceit were among them. Such reflections as these passed through my mind as I watched the embattled host.

Just as we gained the brow of the hill, the loud roar of cannon sounded in our ears, and turning our horses’ heads, we saw a large body of Spanish cavalry galloping towards the Peruvian army. The artillery of the latter had opened on them at too great a distance to harm them. They halted for a time to allow the infantry to advance with several light field pieces, which at once commenced a very effectual fire on the crowded ranks of the Indians. Several large bodies of the Peruvians rushed gallantly on to meet them; when the Spanish cavalry charged in among their somewhat disordered ranks, and drove them back with great loss. Quizquiz finding, it appeared, that his guns did little execution from whence he was posted, dragged them on more in advance. Ned watched him anxiously.

“There,” he exclaimed, “I thought it would be so. Does the lubber think the Dons will let him stay there quietly to fire at them?”

Quizquiz, however, seemed to think differently, and began firing away with great animation, his shot telling with some effect on the Spanish ranks. No sooner was this perceived, than a strong body was despatched to attack him. Some Peruvian troops were also marching to his support; but his danger had not been seen in time, and the Spaniards charging them with great spirit, the general took to flight, and left his guns in the possession of the enemy. I had before suspected him of intending treachery, and I was now certain of it. He, with a number of his men on horseback, rode off, and did not stop till he had crossed the river below us.

The action now became general. The whole Indian line advanced, led on by Tupac Amaru and his bravest chiefs. Both sides fought with the greatest bravery; but the Spanish infantry, trusting in the superiority of their firearms, kept at a distance from the Indians, the cavalry only charging every now and then as the broken ranks of their opponents offered them an opportunity of success. So vastly superior, however, were the Indians in numbers, that the wings being moved forward were on the point of completely encircling the Spaniards, when the whole force of the latter, advancing at a quick march, made a desperate attack on the Peruvian centre, the cavalry meantime charging the wings. The Indians, already shaken, could not withstand the shock. The chiefs urged them on. Many fought with the most desperate bravery. It had now become a hand-to-hand combat, the Spaniards like a wedge forcing their way onward. The great aim seemed to be to seize the Inca. Several of his chiefs perceiving this, seized his horse’s bridle, and endeavoured to drag him out of the fight. His followers, believing that it was the signal of defeat, gave way, and fled in all directions. The chiefs in vain attempted to stop them. Some fled across the plain, others climbed up the neighbouring heights, and many attempted to cross the river.

Among the latter was the Inca, with the chiefs who had surrounded him for his protection. The Spanish cavalry followed close upon their heels. The Inca plunged in with his horse, which boldly stemmed the torrent; while his gallant followers turned and bravely attempted to oppose the passage of the Spaniards, till he had crossed safely over. The latter, flushed with victory, charged them fiercely, and cutting at them with their swords, scarcely a man remained alive. The Inca, with his son and brother, and other relatives, had reached the opposite bank, and was galloping towards the mountains, where he might have found a safe retreat; when the traitor Quizquiz, who, with his followers, had been lying in ambush, rushed out and surrounded him. So completely taken by surprise was he, that neither he nor any of his companions attempted to defend themselves. Of those who did, one man only escaped from among them, and we saw them galloping with desperate speed towards us. Meantime the Spanish cavalry had crossed the stream, and the traitor advancing to meet them, in a few minutes the unfortunate Inca was in their power.

We had been so intently watching these events, that we had not observed what was taking place in another direction. When the chief who had made his escape was perceived by the Spaniards, several horsemen were sent in pursuit of him. He urged on his horse with desperate speed over the rocky and broken ground, at the foot of the sierra on which we stood, the soldiers every now and then discharging their pieces at him. My interest increased as he approached, for I fancied that I recognised my friend Manco. His pursuers got nearer to him, and fired more frequently. I dreaded lest their shot should take effect. They were close upon his heels; for his horse, wearied with his long journey and constant exertion during the day, could scarcely bear him on. Just at that moment a shout reached my ears, and looking up in the direction whence it came, I saw Pedro running along the ridge of the hill towards us. I waved to him as a signal that I had recognised him, and then once more turned to watch Manco’s progress. Tired as was his steed, it was more accustomed to the rough ground than were those of the Spaniards, with their heavy arms and accoutrements. The noble animal exerted all its energies, well aware, it seemed, that a life depended on its speed.

Chapter Eighteen.

Pedro finds his father—Murder of the Inca.

I have said that Don Gomez was at my side. As he saw the Spaniards drawing near, he turned to me. “Señor David,” he said, “these are my countrymen. The Indians have lost the day.”

“You would wish to join them. Is it so?” I asked.

“I would. Have I your permission?” he said.

“You were committed to my charge by yonder chief, who, I trust, will be with us soon. If he gives you your liberty, your word will not be broken, though I shall be sorry to part from you,” I replied.

“But the Indians are defeated,” urged Don Gomez. “Am I to remain a prisoner for ever?”

“Till he who received your word restores it to you,” I again answered; and while I was speaking, Pedro reached us. For a moment he was too breathless to speak; and during this interval I observed that Manco had so far got ahead of his pursuers, that their shot began to fall short. They halted; for just then they perceived us on the hills, probably supposing us enemies; and at the same moment a party of Indians, who lay concealed in some brushwood below us, sprang upon them. Had the Indians waited till the soldiers had advanced a little further, every man of the latter might have been killed or captured. As it was, they had time to turn their horses, and gallop off the way they had come, followed by a shower of arrows, which killed one and wounded another of them.

Manco, without stopping, made his horse breast the hill. He had got up some way, when we saw the noble animal stagger and fall, and both horse and rider lay motionless on the ground. Ned and I galloped down the hill towards him; for Don Gomez had, in the moment before, thrown himself from his horse, and was standing grasping Pedro’s hand, and looking earnestly in his face. We reached Manco. We found that his horse was dead, and that he had received a severe wound in his side. While we were stooping over him, the Indians came up, and, not knowing who we were, were on the point of knocking us on the head with their clubs, when he recovered his senses, and exclaimed that we were friends. We were once more aroused to action by Pedro’s voice; and lifting Manco on my horse, which was fresh and strong, I rode up the hill, accompanied by Ned, and followed by the Indians.

“Fly, fly!” exclaimed Pedro. “I came to warn you of the danger you are in. Look there, look there!”

We looked in the direction he pointed; and I now perceived that while we had been watching the flight and capture of the Inca, and Manco’s subsequent escape, which had occupied a considerable time, a strong body of troops had crossed the ford higher up the river, and were advancing rapidly along the path which led to the village where the wives of the chiefs had been left. In a few hurried words, Pedro told me that on hearing the firing, he had come out to see what was taking place, and that, like ourselves, he had been watching the battle from another height. To my deep regret, I found that, from the character of the ground, the troops were already much nearer the village than we were, and already occupied the only approach to it, so that the Indian women must inevitably fall into their power. I endeavoured to conceal this information from Manco; for, heart-broken and wounded as he was, I thought it would kill him outright. Those only, however, for whom I felt a personal interest, were Nita and her child; and I would have run every risk to save them. We were at the time posted in a dip in the hill, and while Ned and I bound up Manco’s wound, I sent Pedro to a height above us, to report the movements of the troops. In a short time he gave notice that a party of them had been detached from the main body, and were advancing in our direction. I concluded that as we climbed the hill, followed by the Indians, we had been perceived, and that, unless we were prepared to run the risk of falling into the hands of the Spaniards, we must make our escape. Manco was sufficiently recovered to sit on horseback, and I proposed giving him my horse and following on foot. As we were about to move off, I recollected Don Gomez’s request.

“He is at liberty to go,” answered Manco. “Perhaps he may recollect how he has been treated, and intercede for some of the unfortunate Indians who have fallen into the hands of his countrymen.”

To my surprise, Don Gomez refused the offer.

“I will remain some time longer with you, unless that, youth (pointing to Pedro) may accompany me. I would ask him some further questions; for his countenance has strangely agitated my mind.”

I had no opportunity of inquiring what he meant, when Pedro exclaimed that he saw an Indian woman, with a child in her arms, on the ridge of the hill, at some distance; and that the party of soldiers he had seen detached from the main body, were evidently in pursuit of her.

Manco hearing these words, seemed to surmise what had occurred, and, in spite of his wound, throwing himself on my horse and calling on the Indians to follow, he galloped along the rocky height. The eye of love at once recognised the person of the fugitive. It was his own Nita. We all hurried after him, and even Don Gomez seemed anxious for his success. Ned, who was the only other person on horseback, and who, though he rode like a seaman, always managed to make his steed cross places few people would have ventured over, was soon by his side, and together the two galloped on towards the Indian woman.

“Hurra,” shouted Ned, “Hurra! Mr Indian, hurra! We’ll manage to diddle the Dons.”

The Spanish soldiers had begun firing; but as they had at the same time to climb the hill, and were at a considerable distance, their aim was not good. Their bullets, notwithstanding, as we got nearer, came whizzing by our heads; but still we pushed on. They were evidently, however, gaining on the poor girl; and should she fall, or her strength fail her, they would be up to her before her husband could arrive to her rescue. I have often had to undergo moments of great excitement, but never have I felt such intense anxiety as I did for Nita’s rescue. On galloped Manco and Ned. The soldiers saw them coming, and fired a volley. I saw Manco reel for an instant, but still he sat his horse. In another minute Ned had lifted Nita on his horse, and placed her before him, and handing the child to Manco, the two returned at the same rapid rate towards us. The Spaniards, disappointed of their prey, halted, and fired again; and then seeing only a small body of Indians, continued their advance. As we had nothing to gain by fighting, I called out to Manco, as he came up, to order the Indians to retreat. We managed to do so in very good order, and at so rapid a rate that we soon distanced the Spaniards. They were, however, continuing the pursuit, when the sound of a bugle from the main body called them back. Halting as they heard it, they fired a parting volley after us. It was well aimed; several of the Indians were struck, as was also the unfortunate Don Gomez. I ran to his assistance; but he still sat his horse.

“It is nothing,” he said; “a mere flesh wound, which I shall soon recover from.”

I beckoned Pedro, who went up to him and walked by his side. I was afraid lest a sudden faintness should make him fall from his horse.

“What do you propose doing?” I asked of Manco as soon as, having got beyond range of the Spaniards’ muskets, we came to a halt.

“Proscribed and hunted, we must henceforth, like beasts of prey, seek for safety in the caves and recesses of the mountains,” he answered gloomily.

“You say well we must settle what is to be done. There is a cavern high up the mountains some way from this, where some hundred men may take shelter. Few know of it, and if any traitors were to lead the Spaniards to it, they would find it cost them dear to attack us there. I will show the way. On, on, my friends, on!”

I saw that the chief was in no mood for conversation. That day all his brightest hopes had faded away for ever. The liberty of Peru was lost; his friends had been slaughtered round him; and his Inca was a prisoner in the hands of his bitterest foes. We pushed on as fast as the rugged nature of the country would allow us to move; crossing valleys and streams, and climbing mountains, till we arrived at the foot of a lofty and perfectly perpendicular precipice, along the foot of which we moved for some distance. As I looked up, I saw that stones hurled from the summit would completely have annihilated us. Almost at right angles from the cliff arose another hill, up which we now began to climb. On reaching the summit, we turned once more in the direction of the cliffs, which we found were connected with the hill by a natural bridge of rock thrown across a dark and frightful gorge. Ordering the horses to be turned adrift on the hill, Manco, with his child in his arms, led the way across the bridge, and along a narrow ledge, which now appeared as if cut by natural labour in the side of the cliff. I kept close to him to assist him if required; Ned followed, supporting Nita; Pedro, leading Don Gomez, went next; and the Indians in single file after us. A couple of hundred yards along a ledge, where a single false step would have proved certain death, brought us to a hollow in the face of the rock, entering which, we found ourselves in a cavern of very extensive dimensions.

The ground was perfectly level, and the roof dry; and from the appearance I judged that art had been employed to render it habitable. Near the mouth were several pieces of wood which served for torches; and fire being produced by some of the Indians, the cavern was soon sufficiently lit up to show us its extent. On one side, a fountain of pure water spouted from the rock; on the other, a quantity of wood was piled up; and in some oven-shaped buildings, I found was stored a quantity of corn.

It is impossible to conceive a place more impregnable by nature. The summit of the cliffs, I afterwards found, was perfectly inaccessible; while below they extended in a perpendicular wall to a depth of four hundred feet at least. In front the valley widened out to a considerable extent, the opposite cliff being also almost inaccessible, so that the only possible approach was by the narrow ledge along which we had come. Indeed it seemed capable of holding out against any besiegers, as long as the provisions within might last.

As soon as we entered, Ned placed Nita on the ground, and Manco, faint with loss of blood, as well as with fatigue and agitation, sunk down by her side. Taking the infant from him, she handed it to Ned, whose honest countenance had won her confidence. She then placed her husband’s head in her lap, and bent over him in silence, expressing her grief neither in tears nor cries.

“Come, don’t be cast down, Missus,” said Ned, his kind heart moved by her sorrow. “Better times may come, and your good man isn’t going to slip his cable, I hope. I say, mate, she don’t understand my lingo,” he continued, turning to me; “just you tell her what I say. It’ll cheer her up a bit.”

I saw that words could bring no comfort to the poor creature, but that our attention might be more effectually employed in binding up Manco’s wounds. Telling Ned this, we set to work in as scientific a way as we were able. Some of the Indians brought us water, and Nita, when she saw what we were about, aroused herself to help us. We had scarcely finished the operation, when a cry from Pedro called us to the assistance of Don Gomez, who had likewise fainted from the pain of his wound and loss of blood. My attention had, indeed, been so completely occupied with my Indian friend, that I had forgotten that the Spaniard had been hurt. Pedro was kneeling by his side, and supporting him with a look of interest and anxiety, which I at first was at a loss to understand.

“O come, my friend, come and help him, or he will die!” he exclaimed.

Ned, who had seen many a gun-shot wound, and had often assisted the surgeons to doctor his shipmates, examined the Spaniard’s hurts.

“It’s a bad job, mate, I’m afraid,” he observed, pointing to his side. “The ball is in him somewhere, for there’s the place it entered, and I can find no hole where it could have got out again. I’ve been feeling for it all round his back, but there’s no sign of it. How he came on so far as this without dropping, I don’t know. It was his spirit kept him up, I suppose.”

Finding that we could do nothing else to relieve the unfortunate Don Gomez, we washed and bound up his wound, and then laid him on a bed of some straw and skins, which we found in the cavern. The same care had been taken of Manco. The Indians, meantime, had lighted a fire in the mouth of the cavern, and were seated round it in moody silence, brooding over their defeat and the death of many of their comrades and friends. We found some brandy among the stores, and after Don Gomez had swallowed a little of it, which we gave him with some water, he revived, and beckoned Pedro to him.

“You were telling me, as we came along, a strange tale of your life, young man,” he said, in a feeble voice. “It served to sustain me, when otherwise I should have sunk with pain. Can I believe you?”

“Indeed, Señor, I have only told the truth,” replied Pedro. “I was found by the Indians, when an infant, alone in a wood. My complexion shows that I am Spanish; and see, the crucifix and chain which were around my neck when I was discovered, I have ever since worn.”

“Merciful Providence, what do I behold?” exclaimed the wounded man, starting up and gazing eagerly at the ornament Pedro exhibited. “It is—it is! Come to my arms, my son, my son! I have found you, alas! but to quit you too soon again.”

Pedro had thrown himself upon his father’s neck, for such there could be no doubt Don Gomez was.

“Oh, do not say so, my father, whom I have so long sought. Do not say that you must quit me!” he cried, in an agony of tears.

“Alas! it is the climax of my destiny,” answered the Spaniard. “I have longed to discover you, and now that my wishes are fulfilled, death claims me as his own. Such has been my fate through life. I cannot even leave you the wealth I have amassed, for of that also I have been deprived.”

“O do not think of that!” exclaimed Pedro. “It is sufficient for me to know that you are my father; and do but recover and I will learn to work for you and support you. Say that you will not die, and I shall be happy.”

I need not further describe the scene. Pedro sat by his father’s side, and deep and earnest was their conversation. Ned and I left them alone and joined the Indians at their fire, for we saw that we could render no further assistance to our patients. The Indians had brought food with them, and as there was a supply of maize and dried meat and cocoa in the cavern, we had no reason to complain of hunger.

Manco had given orders that one of the Indians should at all times be stationed at the bridge I spoke of, leading to the ledge, to give notice of danger; and they regularly relieved each other at the post, though few would have ventured to cross that rocky ledge even in broad daylight, much less at night, uncertain what reception they might meet with at its termination. The night passed slowly, though I managed at intervals, as did Ned, to obtain some sleep. I after a time got up and stood at the mouth of the cave, looking up at the dark sky studded with thousands of stars, and then glancing down into the obscure depths below my feet. The air was perfectly still, and I fancied that I could hear the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry echoing among the mountains.

At length I perceived a ruddy glare extending over the sky. I thought at first that it must be a sign of the rising sun, but, as I watched, it grew brighter and brighter, but did not increase in extent, and then by degrees it faded away before the genial glow of the coming day appeared. I guessed, too truly, that it arose from the burning of the village, which the Spaniards had attacked. I did not, however, inform my companions, for I felt that I should only add to their grief by so doing. The Indians continued sleeping till a late hour. They seemed to have the power of thus steeping their misery in oblivion. A night’s rest had somewhat restored Manco, but he was evidently fretting at the thought of the inactivity to which his wound would consign him. “But what would you do if you were able to move about,” I asked. “The Inca is a prisoner, and will, I fear, suffer death, for you cannot hope to rescue him.”

“The Inca never dies,” he answered, lifting himself up on his arm, and looking me earnestly in the face. “The young Andres is still in arms in the south, and may yet be victorious. Should the Spaniards add a deeper dye to the crimes they have committed, by the destruction of the Inca, he will succeed; and should he too be cut off, I and that infant sleeping by my side must succeed to the title. Little did the Spanish soldiers dream whom they were yesterday pursuing, when Nita fled from them with our babe in her arms.”

Hope still I saw supported my friend, and I would not deprive him of it, little as I entertained it myself. Don Gomez had not improved. He was feverish and weak, and I fancied that I saw death on his countenance; but he was happy at having his son by his side, and I was unwilling to warn Pedro of his danger. Several days passed away without the appearance of an enemy in the neighbourhood; and at length the Indians began to grow uneasy at confinement. We also were anxious to obtain information as to the state of affairs. It was just possible that, as Manco hoped, the Spaniards might have been driven back. And that we were shutting ourselves up for no object. The difficulty was to decide who was the most proper person to go in search of information. An Indian would, to a certainty, have been kept prisoner and publicly executed; Pedro could not leave his father; and when I proposed going, Ned declared that I should be either recognised as having escaped from prison, or treated as a spy.

“For my part I don’t mind going myself,” he observed. “I’ve no fancy for being cooped up here any longer; and if I’m asked any questions, all I shall say is, that I’ve got away from the Injuns, and want to get back to my own country.”

Very unwillingly I at last yielded to all the arguments he used to let him go instead of me. I was also afraid that it might have been suspected that he had assisted us to escape from prison; but he overruled that objection by saying that it was a very long time ago, and that it was not likely any of those who had seen him should be at Cuzco, or remember the circumstance. To prevent the risk of his falling into the hands of any Indians, Manco ordered one of those with us to accompany him to the neighbourhood of the capital, where he was to be hid till his return, and then to bring him back safe. It was with a heavy heart that I saw Ned set out. Still I was very anxious to commence our journey eastward, and without knowing the state of affairs, I could not quit my friend Manco, nor could we venture to move Don Gomez into the city. I watched Ned as he passed under the cliff, and saw him wave his hat as a sign that he, at all events, feared none of the dangers of his expedition.

Meantime the Indians ventured out a short distance across the mountains to hunt for game. Several of them were always stationed on the surrounding pinnacles of rocks, whence they could watch for the approach of danger. Now and then they killed with their arrows a tarush, an active and timid little roe which frequents the higher forests which skirt the Andes. At night they used to set snares made of horse hair, at the mouths of holes inhabited by little animals like rabbits. These were called viscachas and chinchillas. The skin of the latter supplies the beautiful fur so much prized in Europe. Their colour and form resembles the rabbit, but they have shorter ears and long, rough tails. As, however, we had an abundant supply of charqui, which is the name given to dried beef in the Andes, we were not dependent on the success of our huntsmen for food. Pedro employed all his time in reading to and conversing with his father; and I observed that a very satisfactory change had taken place with regard to his state of mind. He had now learned to bow to the decrees of Providence without repining, and to acknowledge that whatever the great Ruler of the universe orders, is for the good of His creatures. The event I had foreseen was fast approaching. Every day Don Gomez had grown weaker and weaker, and he could no longer raise himself on his bed of straw. One evening he called Manco and me to his side after he had made Pedro aware that his speedy death was inevitable. “You have both been friends of my son,” he said. “Most deeply do I thank you, though I have no means of showing my gratitude; indeed, I must call on you still further to befriend him. I found him poor, and may leave him so, unless the power of Spain is re-established in Peru. In either case, you can serve him. In the one, still support and protect him; and in the other, witness that I have acknowledged him as my son, and enable him to regain the property which was mine. There is a certain Father Manuel in Cuzco, who knows my signature, and is cognisant of all the particulars of my history. Let him see the papers I have left, should he have escaped the death which has overtaken so many of my countrymen, and he will assist him to the utmost of his means in his object. May Heaven help him to obtain what by right is his!”

We promised the dying man to obey his wishes to the best of our ability, though, as we could not venture to present ourselves in any city of Peru as witnesses, I had very little expectation that Pedro would ever recover his property. That night Don Gomez breathed his last. I will not speak of the bitter anguish poor Pedro suffered, at the death of a parent so lately found and so soon lost. The Indians made a grave in a green mound on the neighbouring mountain; and there we buried the unfortunate man.

Several days more passed away; and at last one of our scouts came hurrying in, to give notice that he had seen some persons approaching along the valley, in the far distance. On the edge of the ledge, and at the mouth of the cavern, stones had been piled up, to hurl down on the heads of any who might appear in the guise of enemies. I looked eagerly out, for I hoped they might prove to be Ned and his guide; for I had begun to be very anxious for my friend’s safety. As the persons drew near, to my great satisfaction, I recognised Ned and his guide. They appeared footsore and weary, and came on very slowly. I went out to meet him at the bridge.

“I can’t say a word, mate, till I’ve had some food and rest,” he answered. “And this poor fellow here, he’s worse off than I am.”

After Ned and the Indian had eaten, they lay down to sleep, and it was four hours before the former awoke and gave me an account of his adventures, which I translated to Manco and Pedro.

“Well, mates,” he began, “I’m glad to get back with a whole skin on my body; and never may I have to see again the sights I’ve witnessed since I’ve left this place. The sooner, for my part, we get out of the country, the better. It was all very well when we had to climb up and down the mountains; I didn’t mind that; but as soon as we got down into the plains, we couldn’t go a hundred yards without meeting with the dead bodies of our fellow-creatures—Red-skin or White-skin, it’s all the same to me. I can’t bear to see men, women, and young children murdered like sheep and lambs. The Spaniards had cleared out and burnt every Indian village on the road. We had to pass near the place where the battle was fought, and there were thousands and thousands of bodies of Indians. The birds and beasts of prey could scarcely consume them. At last we got near the city, and my Red-skin mate there stowed himself away under a rock in a thick wood; and taking the bearings of the place, I went on by myself. I met no one till I got to the walls, for the Dons still kept inside, afraid of the Injuns, though they’d killed so many of them. When the guards at the gates asked me what I wanted, I said I’d come from the mountains, where I’d been hiding away during the row, and that I was looking out for a night’s rest in a civilised place, before I set out back to my own country; which was true enough, you know. They then took me to the governor of the city, and he questioned me right and left; but I stuck to my story. So when he found he could get nothing out of me, he let me go, telling me to come and see him in a couple of days or so. I found there were to be great doings the next day, and what do you think they were? Why, these Christians were going to burn the Inca and his whole family, because they tried to get back their rights. It wasn’t a sight I wished to see, you may depend on it; but I couldn’t help myself. Well, in the morning there was a large crowd in the great square; and in the middle there was a quantity of stakes and wood piled up, and near them a high platform. Presently a number of Indian people were brought out of the prison—men, women, and children—and were marched up to the stakes, and bound to them with cords. Last of all came a man, whom I soon saw was the Inca, for he was dressed as he was on the day of the battle, and looked a real king, every inch of him. They made him stand up on the platform, and look down on what was going on below.

“They first shot all the children, and then they set fire to the wood, and burnt the women, and then the men; and, would you believe it, among them was the wife of the Inca, and his children, and his brothers, and nephews and nieces. He didn’t utter a cry or a groan, but kept looking on as if his eyes would start out of his head; but they, poor creatures, shrieked out for mercy from men who hadn’t got any in their natures.

“When the rest were dead, they put some faggots under the platform, and burnt the brave fellow where he stood. The people shouted and rejoiced as if they had done something to be proud of. I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I hurried away from the place; for I heard that all the Indian prisoners in the city were next to be shot, and that there were some hundreds of them. I got into talk with a number of people. From some I heard one thing, and from some another; but what I made out was, that young Andres, the Inca’s son, with several other chiefs, were still in arms in the south; but that the Spaniards had sent for troops from all parts of America; and that, by fair means or foul, they were resolved to destroy every Indian, till the war was finished. When I found that I could learn nothing more, I waited till night, and climbed over the walls. I then ran on as fast as my legs could carry me, till I got back to the wood, where I found my guide. Thinking I might be pursued, as I have no doubt I was, we made a very roundabout course, and kept a bright look-out for enemies on every side. We managed to keep clear of them, however, but were very hard up for food; and I’m not sorry, let me tell you, mate, to find myself safe back again here.”

Such was the substance of Ned’s account. Prepared, as in a great degree Manco had been, he was dreadfully affected by it, and for some time could come to no resolution what course to take. Had he been alone, he would at once have decided to join Andres, and endeavour still to make head against the Spaniards; but Nita and his child were in the other scale. At last he announced his resolution of quitting that part of Peru, and taking refuge far beyond the borders of civilisation among some of the wild tribes of the interior, in regions where the foot of the white man had not yet penetrated.

“There I will remain,” he said, “till a more favourable opportunity occurs for rescuing my country from the oppression of the stranger. Be assured that time will come. My boy may have grown to manhood, and my hair may have turned grey, or we may both have passed away; but Spain cannot for ever keep her iron yoke on the necks of our people. In the meantime we shall have collected arms, and have learned the art of war from our conquerors; and avoiding the errors which have now overcome us, we shall be able to cope with them successfully.”

He promised, moreover, to accompany us till we should be fairly embarked on the great river of the south. I then asked Pedro what he proposed doing.

“I will go with you, my friend,” he answered at once. “I have no hopes of obtaining my father’s property, and I cannot quit you; I will share your dangers, and accompany you to your native land.”

I rather doubted whether it would not be wiser for him to try and reach Cuzco, and put himself in communication with the Father Manuel, to whom his father had referred him; but he adhered to his resolution of accompanying me.

“I have no friends among my countrymen; I care not for wealth; and I long to obtain that knowledge which here I cannot hope to find. I wish also to see the world, and more than all, David, I would not be parted from you.”

So it was arranged; and Manco having sent out the Indians as scouts in all directions to ascertain whether any Spaniards were in the neighbourhood, we made instant preparations for our departure.

Chapter Nineteen.

Our wonderful adventures and escapes.

During our long stay in the cave, my mind often turned to the future, and I was sorely puzzled to know by what means, without funds of any sort, we should find our way to England. Ned, as a sailor, would have no difficulty; but Pedro and I, from our ignorance of nautical affairs, would be totally unable to work our way. One day Manco asked me what I was thinking about. I told him.

“Let not that distress you, my friend,” he answered. “If gold could restore happiness to our country, I could fill this cavern with it. I will show you where you may supply yourself with all you can require; you will spend it well, and therefore I do not hesitate to confide to you the secret of our hidden wealth.”

Two nights after this, as I was about to throw myself on my bed of leaves to sleep, Manco came to me.

“We will at once set forth to obtain the gold I promised,” he said. “Pedro and your countryman may accompany us to carry what we find. We must return before the morning, lest we encounter any of the Spanish forces, who are ravaging the country on every side.”

A few words served to let Pedro and Ned understand what was to be done, and providing themselves with two bags, they instantly declared themselves ready to proceed. Manco had provided torches, one of which we each of us bore; but he told us not to light them till we should reach the spot to which he was about to conduct us. As we were setting out, he also distributed among us two spades and crowbars, and a pickaxe. He led the way along the ledge and across the bridge; we following in silence. He then descended the mountain, and proceeded down the valley for some distance, when he once more began to ascend. The ground was rugged and difficult in the extreme, and path there was none, so that, had we desired it, we could not again have found our way. For two hours we toiled on, up and down hill, following close upon the heels of Manco, who seemed to know the road by instinct. At length we reached a valley, the hill on one side of which was covered completely with buildings, one rising above the other, and some apparently hewn out of the solid rock. The moon, which had lately risen, lighted up the scene, and increased its wild and mysterious appearance. Not a sound was heard, not a human being appeared from this city of the dead. Manco stopped and gazed up at the city.

“Two centuries ago, thousands of human beings, full of life and activity, thronged those walls,” he remarked. “All are gone, and of descendants they have left none. All, all have been victims to Spanish cruelty. Follow me.”

He moved on, and led us into several. Some had two and even three stories, and the floors of slabs of stone or slate still remained. We at last reached a house larger than the rest, with a number of windows. Manco stopped in the centre of the chief hall, and said, stamping his foot, “Dig there.” Lighting our torches, we stuck them in the ground, and set to work. After digging about two feet, we came to a mass which proved to be the body of a human being, swaddled up in bandages of cloth, and in good preservation. It was in a sitting posture, with the knees drawn up to the chin. Placing it on one side, we dug on. Clearing away another stratum of earth, we reached a collection of household utensils, which at first I thought were of copper and clay; but as Ned was examining them, he exclaimed—

“They are gold, every one of them!”

“Dig, dig,” said Manco; “you have more to find.” A third layer of earth was now removed, and we came upon a number of idols, all of gold or silver, and surrounding them a quantity of bars of pure gold. None of us had ever seen so much wealth in one mass. “There, take what you can carry, and cover up the rest,” exclaimed Manco. “You call that wealth,” he continued, as if divining our thoughts; “yet of what use is it to mankind thus locked up from sight? Now hasten, or daylight will surprise us before we can reach the cave.”

Following his direction, we loaded ourselves with as much of the pure gold as we could carry; and then replacing the body as we found it, we again covered up the grave. Then extinguishing our torches, we set out to return to our cavern, which we reached in safety. It was with very great satisfaction that I bade adieu to the cavern which had for so long a time been our home. We had three horses, on one of which Nita was mounted, and the other two were loaded with a supply of provisions; each of the Indians, besides, carrying enough for his own wants, till a part of the country should be reached where more could be procured. Manco took every precaution for our safety which prudence could suggest. He sent the Indians on ahead as scouts to inspect the country before we advanced, and to bring us timely notice of the approach of an enemy. At that time it was difficult to know who were friends and who were not, for many of the Indians had gone over to the Spaniards, in the hopes of saving their lives and property; and others, still worse, we had too good reason to know, were ready to act the part of traitors, and to deliver up their countrymen for the sake of the reward they expected to receive.

We proceeded for some way along a series of wooded ridges, called by the Spaniards Ceja de la Montaña (the Mists of the Mountains), on account of the thick mists which, rising from the rivers in the valleys below, are attracted by the trees, and hang over them in dense clouds. In summer these mists are absorbed by the sun’s rays; but in winter they discharge themselves in endless torrents of rain. At night we took up our abode in some deserted hut; but never, if we could avoid it, did we rest in the abode of man, and whenever we did, Manco kept three or four of our allies watching at a distance outside; and we always again started at early dawn. As we reached the extreme eastern edge of the Ceja, we looked down on an interminable extent of forest, composed of trees of a height with which few in other parts of the world can vie. These wooded plains are called Montañas, which is the name given to the whole of the country eastward of the Andes.

As we advanced, our ears were saluted by the cries of numerous birds and animals. Sometimes I thought I heard the roaring of a bull at a distance, when I found it to proceed from the black ox-bird; and at others the grunting of a hog sounded close to us; and a beautiful bird called the Tunqui, like a cock with a tuft of red feathers, and an orange bill, started up and astonished us with the contrast between his gruff note and gay plumage. In the evenings, groups of the pheasant-like Hachahuallpa summoned their distant companions with the cry of Ven acá, ven acá—Come here, come here; and owls and bats flew out with noiseless wings to pounce on their unwary prey. Bears and ounces, pumas and tiger-cats crossed our path; and stags started from their thickets, where they had sought shelter from some of those above-named enemies. Monkeys chattered at us, and squirrels leaped among the trees; rats and mice were found in the huts, and argutis in the maize-fields; snakes crawled along the ground, and birds of prey circled high above our heads. But in truth it would be impossible to describe one-tenth of the beasts, the birds, and reptiles we encountered in our journey; though I shall mention those I had opportunities of examining.

We approached one evening the farm of a cacique, who, with most of the men of his village, had marched to join the army of Tupac Amaru. The women only, and some of the old men and children, remained. It was on the extreme borders of the country inhabited by Christian Indians. Beyond all was totally unknown to the white men, and but seldom visited by the civilised natives.

Manco sent on a messenger to give notice of our approach, and to crave the hospitality of the cacique and his family. He returned shortly, saying that the females only were at home, and that as yet they had received no account of the result of the expedition; but that they bade the strangers welcome.

“Alas!” said Manco, “we are, I fear, the bearers of evil tidings. Had the cacique escaped, he would have returned ere this.”

We proceeded on, and in a space cleared of trees, we found a collection of low buildings. The walls were constructed of reeds, the interstices being filled up with loam; and the roofs were covered with palm leaves. On one side of the house was a coffee plantation, and on the other some fields of maize, with fruit-trees growing round them. At a little distance, on some marshy ground, was a field of sugar-canes; and by the side of a brook a row of the useful banana. The poor woman came out to receive us as we approached. Her first inquiries were for her husband. Manco had seen him and all his people cut to pieces. She did not faint or shriek out, but retired into an inner room, sat herself down on the ground, surrounded by her women, and groaned bitterly all the night long. We did not see her again; but after a time one of her females came out and set food before us. Our Indian companions found shelter in some of the huts of the village; and one belonging to the farm was given up to Ned, Pedro, and me. We had Indian corn bread, and cakes made of the juice of the sugar-cane, called chancacas; potatoes, bananas, oranges, and pine-apples, and several varieties of dried meat; with a liquor also made from the sugar-cane, called guarapo: indeed we had no cause to complain of any want of provisions. As we were safe here from all risk of pursuit, Manco proposed to remain for some days, that we might recruit our strength before prosecuting our journey.

The cacique had been accustomed to increase his wealth by buying from the wilder tribes the celebrated Peruvian bark. In the month of May, a number of Indians set out together, some of whom, of greatest experience, who are called cateadores, or searchers, climb the highest trees to spy out the manchas, or spots where the chinchona groups are growing, distinguishing them merely by a slight difference in the tints from the dark-green of the surrounding foliage. When the cateador has discovered a group, he leads his companions to it with wonderful precision through the almost impenetrable forest; a hut is built, the trees are felled, and incisions are made in the bark, and after a few days, as it dries, it is stripped off and placed in the huts to dry still more. It is then packed in bundles, and sent to market.

A party of Indians came one day to the village, on their way across the Andes, from the more distant forests to the east, laden with balsams and odoriferous gums, which they had collected from a variety of resinous plants. They were ignorant that the war had broken out, and when they heard of it, they were unwilling to venture further, and returned, to their own country. The men who carried the loads had on merely a piece of cloth round the waist; but the women who accompanied them wore a loose tunic without sleeves. Their legs were bare, but painted with the juice of the huito, which made it appear that they had on half-boots. The object was to protect their legs from the stings of insects. I found that they professed Christianity. They were regular medical pedlars; for they had powders, salves, plasters, seeds, and roots of every description; claws of the tapir, as a remedy against the falling-sickness; and the teeth of poisonous snakes, carefully stuck into rushes, as specifics against head-ache and blindness. Manco had purchased a sufficient number of horses to mount all our party, and to carry such provisions as we required; though, from the abundance of game to be procured in the forests, we had no fear of being in want of fresh meat. Still, however, as there was no notice of the approach of the Spaniards, he thought it better to remain a few clays longer, to recruit our strength, before we recommenced our journey. Three of the Indians only had remained with us, the rest having departed to their homes in the south. Pedro, Ned, and I employed our time in wandering about the neighbouring country, under the guidance of one of the Indians; but we were charged by Manco not to go far from the village.

I can scarcely venture to describe the magnificence of the vegetation of that region. There were numerous ferns and nettles growing in the form of large shrubs; wonderful bignonias and gigantic orchids drawing their nourishment from the air; with every variety of climbing plants, throwing their thousand tendrils round the trees which gave them support. I could not but admire the various forms of the stately palm, the thickly-leaved balsam-yielding leguminosae, the luxuriant laurels, and the solaneae, with their numberless flowers of vast size. Further on, again, on the flat lands towards the east, the mighty trees rise to an immense height from the humid soil, without a flowering plant or shrub below their branches, forming a canopy almost impervious to the light of day.

One day we had gone farther than usual from home, when we reached a narrow lagune, overspread by the boughs of the gigantic trees which grew on either side of it. The air and earth were teeming with animal life. Birds of beautiful plumage, and every variety of note, were perched on the branches, or flying above our heads; butterflies of many hues were flitting about in all directions; and reptiles and insects innumerable were crawling along the ground. More beautiful than all were the humming-birds, which, like flashes of coloured light, appeared and disappeared as they flew by us; and surpassing his brethren in gorgeousness of hues, was the golden-tailed humming or fly bird, numbers of which haunted every glade we passed. From many of the shady branches hung nests built by the pouched starlings, four or five feet long, and swinging to and fro with every breath of wind. Flocks of green parrots were chattering on the higher boughs, and preparing to seek their night—quarters in the higher parts. Our guide called them jornaleros (day-labourers), and told me that the name was given them because, on the return of every day, they come back at the same hour from the mountains, where they sleep, to gather their food in the lower forests. I had shot several birds, and was aiming at one, when he seized my arm, and implored me not to fire.

“Do you not hear its note, Señor?” he exclaimed. “If you were to kill that bird, Heaven would afflict you with some dreadful disaster. Listen: does it not say, Dios te de (May God give it thee)?”

The bird, as he rested on a branch before me, threw back his head and rocked his body, and certainly uttered a note which might easily be thus translated.

I had got close to the lagune, and was watching a bird which, with fluttering wings, was hovering in the air a short distance from me, when our guide forcibly drew me back, whispering, with a look of terror, “Did you not see the Yacumaman? Would you venture within the mighty coils of the Mother of Waters?”

At first I did not know what he could mean, till, creeping back, I saw what I had at first taken for the root of a tree, but which I now perceived to be an enormous serpent. Its body was wound in several huge coils round the stem of a decayed tree, while it bathed its tail in the waters of the lagune. Its head was now thrust forward, as with glittering eyes it watched an opening in the forest. Presently a slight rustling was heard, and a beautiful stag came to quench its thirst after the heat of the day. It came up fearlessly, and dipped its head to drink. Again it lifted it up, and looked around. On a sudden it caught sight of those beautiful eyes. Instantly its limbs began to tremble. It seemed to have no power to fly, but stood looking with mute wonder at the object which fascinated it. The monster uncoiled itself, and glided from the tree. Still the stag did not attempt to fly, yet in fleetness it could have outstripped the wind. There it stood, a willing victim. In another moment the serpent had sprung upon it, and encircled it in its monstrous folds. As we could not rescue the stag, and had no wish to interfere with the serpent, we hurried from the spot. We were already later than it was wise to remain from the village, but we could not help stopping to listen to the delicious notes of a cinnamon-brown bird, with head and neck of dark olive, which was perched on a bough overhanging our path. Never from a feathered songster had I heard notes more sweet or harmonious.

“It is the organista,” said our guide. “Hurry on, Señores, hurry on, his note forebodes a coming storm; and, from the glimpses I have caught of the sky between the trees, I fear that we shall have one before we reach the village.”

We took the Indian’s advice, for a storm in that wooded region was an event to be avoided, and walked as fast as we could over the soft ground towards home. We had not got far, when a cry from Pedro, who was a little in our rear, made us stop. As we hurried back to him, we saw that he was limping along as if in great pain, and trying to overtake us; and at the same time I observed a snake winding its way along among the trees at a rapid rate from us. It was about two feet long, and covered with the most brilliant stripes of deep red, yellow, and black. The Indian caught sight of the reptile at the same time.

“Ah! mercy, Heaven, mercy!” cried poor Pedro. “I have been bitten by that deadly snake, and in a few minutes must die. Farewell, my friends, farewell!”

“Courage, Señor, courage!” exclaimed the Indian; “I have some huaco cake with me. Eat, eat, and you may yet live.”

Saying this, he produced from his pocket some cake of the huaco leaves, a piece of which he put into Pedro’s mouth, and spreading some more on the wound, pressed it with all his force.—A litter was soon formed, on which we placed him and carried him along, for the pain was too great to allow him to walk. After a time, however, he declared that the pain was gone, but that he felt as if his leg was made of lead. We hurried on, for we had no time to lose. Thunder was heard rolling through the sky; and distant flashes, seen through the trees, showed that the storm was approaching. Suddenly a tremendous crash was heard close to us; and, looking back, a tall tree, one of the giants of the forest, appeared riven from the crown to its roots, and a vast branch lay across the path we had just passed. Nothing now was required to expedite our steps. The wind roared, the mighty trees rocked to and fro as if they had been reeds, the thunder rattled in deafening peals, and the lightning, in zigzag form, rushed down the stems of the trees, running like serpents along the ground, and flashed vividly in every direction. The storm I had witnessed in the Cordilleras was grander, but it was scarcely so terrific in its effects. We got under shelter in the cottage before the tempest had reached its height. Pedro was instantly placed in bed, when, after a time, a profuse perspiration came on. Some cooling drink was given to her, and a pumpkin poultice was applied to the wound.

The huaco plant grows in the woods. The leaves am half an inch long and half an inch broad, of a solid texture, the upper surface being of a dark-green, with purple veins running through it. The stem is slender, hard, ribbed, and of a bluish colour; and the leaves grow singly, two being placed opposite to each other. It is said that the natives discovered its qualities by observing that a bird called the huaco, which feeds on snakes, whenever it was bitten flew off and ate some of this plant. I have heard that the harmless snakes are great enemies to the poisonous ones, and will attack those much larger than themselves.

It took two or three days before Pedro had completely recovered from the effects of the bite.

Chapter Twenty.

Spaniards pursue us—Attacked by wild Indians.

“Up, up, my friends!” exclaimed Manco, rushing into our hut one morning, just before daybreak. “The Spaniards are traversing the mountains with fire and sword, and we must haste away from this.”

We all instantly sprung to our feet, and without exchanging many words, packed up our goods. By the time we were ready, the horses were caught and saddled, and we were soon mounted and ready to proceed. Our party consisted of Ned, Pedro, and I; Manco, Nita, and their child; and three Indians, of a tribe with whom the latter were going to take up their residence. We had, besides, two other horses laden with clothing and provisions. Bidding adieu to our unhappy hostess and the villagers, our cavalcade was put in motion, and we plunged into the interminable forest. Without the assistance of our Indian guides, we could not possibly have found our way among the gigantic trees which shot up like tall masts from the level soil, often branchless till near the summit, where their boughs intertwined, and formed a canopy which the rays of the sun could scarcely penetrate.

“On, on, my friends!” cried Manco; “the enemy may be on us before we are aware of their approach. They have traitors with them, and will certainly despatch a force to search us out.”

This was sufficient to make us urge our horses to their utmost speed; and all day we rode on, halting only now and then for a very short time, to rest our animals or to take food. At night we encamped in the forest. For our shelter we cut a number of canes which grew near a stream, and with them formed some huts, which we thatched with palm leaves. We had supplied ourselves with grass hammocks and Indian mosquito curtains, and by hanging them up in our huts we obtained very comfortable quarters. We frequently had streams to pass, which feed the great arteries running into the Amazon. They were in most instances too deep to be forded, so we had to wait till we could construct rafts to convey ourselves and our luggage, our horses swimming alongside. We took care to make a great noise to keep the caymans at a distance, lest any of them should think fit to grab at our animals’ legs. We had the satisfaction of feeling sure that, should we be pursued, our enemies would take much longer time to cross than we did. Still, however, we pushed on as fast as the nature of the ground would allow. We were now approaching the river Ucayali, at a spot not far from the banks of which Manco intended to make his abode. He might, of course, have found numberless places among the Andes, where the Spaniards could not have discovered him; but so many of his brother chieftains had already been betrayed by their own countrymen, that he had resolved to remove himself far beyond the reach of treachery, among savages who, if they had not the virtues, were free from the vices of civilisation, and were too independent to be tempted by a bribe to deliver him into the hands of his enemies.

Though in general the country was level, here and there mountains and rocky ledges crossed our path, the far-stretching spurs of the Andes. We found the country very thinly populated, though we occasionally fell in with small parties on their hunting expeditions. The first infidel Indians we met somewhat raised our curiosity. They were short in stature, and had swarthy complexions and long black hair, without any beard on their chins. They wore a long frock without sleeves, and when we first saw them we took them for women. They were armed with bows and arrows. They had never seen any white men before, and were at first very much frightened and inclined to run away; but our Indians, who spoke their language, that of the Panos, assured them that we would not injure them, and they became very communicative. When they heard where we were going, they entreated us not to proceed, assuring us that we should encounter numbers of cannibal Cashibos, who would to a certainty kill and eat us.

“Tell them that we fear not the Cashibos nor any other wild men,” said Manco. “If they molest us, we will treat them as the beasts of the forest, though we would willingly pass them peaceably.”

As we rode along after we had parted from our little friends, I asked Manco who were the dreaded Cashibos; and he told me that they were the most savage and warlike of all the wild tribes in the Pampa del Sacramento, between the rivers Ucayali and Hualtaga. “We must be on our guard against them, for they are equally cunning as fierce, and I truly believe that they really do eat those they can take prisoners.”

Our own Indians were evidently very much afraid of these Cashibos, and kept a much more watchful guard than heretofore, both as we rode along and after we encamped for the night. Several days after this we were approaching that part of the Ucayali, where we proposed to embark. I longed to reach it almost as much as did Ned. “Ah, mate,” he exclaimed, when I told him that we had little more than one day’s journey more on horseback to perform; “let us once get our craft built and afloat, and we may snap our fingers at the Cashibos, and any other enemies to boot.”

It was necessary, before embarking, to lay in a supply of provision, that we might not be impeded in our passage down the river; and as our Indians observed signs of an abundance of game, we halted much earlier than usual to hunt. Ned remained with Pedro and Nita to build the huts and look after the horses; while Manco and I, with our three Indians, set out for the chase. At some distance off, between us and the river, was a lofty, rocky hill, which served as our land-mark; and by taking the bearings of it with two other heights still farther off, I hoped to be able easily to find my way back to the camp. Manco and I had the rifles, the Indians their bows and arrows. While wandering among the trees, which were here more than usually interspersed with shrubs and creepers, I very soon got separated from my companions. This did not alarm me, as I was certain that I could without difficulty find my way back to the encampment. I soon fell in with a pathway, which I recognised as one formed by the peccary or wild hog, which traverses the forests in droves consisting of two or three hundred. I stopped and listened, for I thought I heard a grunting sound, which showed that some were not far off. I was not mistaken, for the noise increased in loudness, and I satisfied myself of the direction from which it was coming. Hiding behind a tree, I stood ready to fire, in the hopes of killing one of the leaders, and having time to load and take a second shot before the herd passed by. As soon as they appeared along the path, I singled out one and let fly; but my aim was not steady, and I only wounded the beast. At the same time I had, I suppose, exposed myself to view; for the whole herd, led by their wounded companion, came rushing towards me with furious grunts of rage, evidently with the intention of destroying me. To hope to escape by flight was out of the question, for they would soon have overtaken me. Fortunately I had observed a tree, with branches which I could reach; and retreating to it, I had climbed up a few feet from the ground before the furious herd reached me. When they found themselves disappointed of their prey, they dashed their snouts into the ground round the tree as if they would tear it up by the roots, and thus get at me. They worked so perseveringly, that at first I had some little apprehension that they would succeed, and I began to consider how, if the tree fell, I should manage to escape my assailants. On climbing higher, I saw that the boughs of the tree I was on interlaced with another, and that I might, by catching hold of the latter, save myself, should the peccaries succeed in their attempts. The peccaries grunted and dug away below, and I climbed up higher and higher. At last I reached a branch on which I could conveniently sit and load my gun. “Stop,” I thought to myself; “before I take more trouble, I may as well shoot some of these gentlemen. They cannot carry off their dead, and when they go away, as I suppose they will do some time or other, they will leave them behind for me.”

The execution followed the thought. I tumbled one of my enemies over, and his companions finding that he was dead, set off to escape from a similar fate. I had, however, time to load and fire again, and killed another hog. As the one I had at the first wounded was by this time dead, to my great satisfaction, the herd scampered off, leaving three of their number behind. I fired a fourth time, but missed, and then descended from the tree. How to get the peccaries to the camp was now my puzzle, for one of them was rather too heavy a load for me to carry, and I had no knife with me to cut them up. If I left them where they were, in all probability they would be eaten up by some beasts or birds of prey before I could return to them. To save them from the former, it occurred to me that I might hang them up on the branches of the tree which had enabled me to escape from becoming their food, instead of their becoming mine.

There were a variety of creepers, out of which I could form ropes; and selecting some of the toughest and most pliant, I secured them to the peccaries, which I dragged under the tree. Having, with no little satisfaction, hoisted up my spoils, I set out to return to the camp. On my way I stopped to look at a tree which seemed to bear a great variety of leaves. On examination, I discovered it to be a mora, round the stem of which climbed a number of creepers. On the summit grew a fig-tree, fully as large as a common English apple-tree; and from its branches again hung pendant a number of vines, both fig-tree and vines bearing a quantity of fruit; but the parent mora, from the undue exhaustion of its sap, was already giving signs of decay, and in a short time both fig-tree and vine, I saw, would inevitably follow its fate. A little farther on, a couple of sloths were making their progress through the woods. I watched them passing from one tree to the other, as the branches met, stirred by the breeze; and having hitherto seen them hanging lazily by their claws to boughs, I was surprised at the rapidity of their movements. I have often heard people assert that the sloth spends his torpid existence in a perpetual state of pain, from the peculiar sighing noise he makes, and the slowness of his movements when placed on the ground. In the first place, I cannot believe that God has created any animal to pass an existence of pain. The fact is, that the sloth is formed to live in trees, to climb, and to feed on leaves, and not to walk on the ground. Though he cannot be called a frisky animal, he certainly does not deserve the name given to him, as, when he chooses, he can move, as I now had proof, at a great rate. Dogs bark, donkeys bray, and cocks crow, and the sloth sighs, when he wishes to speak; while, from his long arms and short legs, with his sharp claws, he by nature is intended either to be climbing, or, if asleep, hanging, with his back perpendicular to the ground. I shot one of my friends, and hanging him over my shoulder, carried him towards the camp. Scarcely had I resumed my walk, when I saw a large grasshopper, as I thought, playing about a bush, and on the point of settling. As I was passing near it, I was about to put out my hand to catch it, to examine it more minutely, when, just in time, I sprang back; for there I beheld, to my horror, the head and crest of an enormous rattlesnake. In another instant I should have been his victim. I did not stop to see what way he went, but hurried on as fast as my legs would carry me. I listened, as I advanced, to the notes of the various birds which filled the forest, and sometimes to the cries of beasts; and I fancied that I heard others answering them from a distance.

By some means or other I missed the path I intended to follow, and found myself in a thick mass of trees. In trying to get out of it, I entirely lost the line I was pursuing; and at length finding a tree I could climb, I mounted to the top of it, to look out for my land-mark. While I sat on a bough, concealed by the thick foliage, I found that I had a view of an open space at some little distance off, a mass of low trees only intervening. I was about to descend, when my eye caught sight of a figure moving through the glade. Presently another, and then another, followed. The stopped and listened attentively, as if they had heard something to interest them. They were tall men, dressed in long tunics, and had beards and lank black hair. Each man carried a club by his side, and a long spear in one hand, and a bow, with an arrow ready for use, in the other. As one of them turned his face, I saw that he was a Red Indian; and by the peculiar expression of his countenance, I felt certain that they must belong to the dreaded Cashibos. I trembled for the safety of Nita and my two friends, for I could not doubt that many others were in the neighbourhood; and I could scarcely dare to hope that they could fail to discover our camp, or to fall in with Manco and the Indians.

They were evidently intent on taking game, for they sounded the notes of several birds in succession, to try if any were in the neighbourhood. Two or three answered, and shortly making their appearance, fell, pierced by the Indians’ unerring arrows. Again they sounded their notes, which were answered from a distance, but no game appeared.

I must own that I was far from comfortable all the time, and afraid to move or almost to breathe. Every moment I expected to see them turn their heads, and to be discovered by their sharp eyes; and from the account I had heard of them, I could hope for nothing better than to be shot, and cooked forthwith for their suppers. After waiting, however, a short time, I saw them dart among the trees, and, to my great relief, in an opposite direction to the camp. Instantly I hurried down from my lofty perch, and made the best of my way towards the camp, keeping a bright look-out, lest any of their friends should catch me unawares.

I ran in breathless haste, anxious to warn my friends in the camp. Twice, in my hurry, I missed my way, and found myself going in the very direction the Cashibos had taken. At length I saw a column of smoke curling up among the trees. I felt certain that it must proceed from the camp; yet, as I got nearer, a horrid idea seized me, and I fancied that I must be mistaken, and that I might find instead, the cannibals seated round one of their dreadful banquets. Still I went on, advancing as cautiously as I could, and taking care to leave as little trace of my course behind me as possible. After going on in this way for some time, my ear caught the sound of singing; and looking between the bushes, I saw a fire burning with a spit before it, and on the spit there was roasting what I might have mistaken for a small baby, had not my friend Ned been officiating as cook; and I guessed that it was a monkey which had been prying too near the camp, and had been shot either by him or Pedro. The scene I looked on was one of perfect quiet and repose. The three huts were finished; Nita was concluding some arrangements in the interior of hers, and her infant lay in a basket at the entrance. Ned, as I said, was acting as cook, and Pedro was attending to the horses which were picqueted around. I was very unwilling to be the bearer of bad news to my friends; but there was no time to be lost, so I walked in among them.

“Ned,” I said, “we must be on our guard, there are Indians in the neighbourhood; they are fellows who would eat us if they could.”

“They must catch us first,” said Ned coolly. “If they do, they’ll find some of us tough morsels, I calculate.”

On seeing me, Nita rushed out and inquired for her husband, being alarmed at my having returned alone. I somewhat tranquillised her by explaining that I had been separated from the rest; but still she saw that all was not right. Though I was anxious to bring in the peccaries, Ned agreed with me that it would be imprudent to leave the camp, for we could not escape being discovered before long by the Cashibos. After a time I told Nita quietly that I had seen some strange Indians, and that I thought it wise to be on our guard against them; indeed, as we might possibly find a large party of them, and be obliged to retreat in a hurry, it would be better to pack up and be prepared for a start, as we were not in a spot where we could well defend ourselves if attacked. Nita agreed with me in the wisdom of this proceeding, and accordingly we packed up our goods, and saddled and loaded our horses. I loaded my rifle, and Ned his pistols and musket; and Pedro and Nita got the bows and arrows and spears ready. I expressed a hope that all this preparation would not be required.

“So do I,” answered Ned; “but you see, mate, a good seaman always gets his ship snug at night if he thinks a storm is brewing, because he can’t see exactly the time when it may come. So I think we are right to get ready, for the savages, who may pay us a visit when we least expect them; and as just now, you see, if the rest don’t come back, and we’ve only got you and I, and the young Don and the woman and the child, who won’t be much help, the odds will be rather against us. Looking at these things, I think if we were to build up a bit of a fortification like, it would be some aid to us in case of need.”

Ned’s advice was too good to be neglected, and accordingly we set to work and cut down some young trees and branches; and taking the huts as a centre, we threw up a sort of breast-work, sufficient to assist in protecting us while we knelt down to fire.

We had by this time become very anxious at the prolonged absence of Manco and the Indians; and I greatly feared that they might have been surprised by the Cashibos, and murdered. The sun was casting the tall shadows of the trees across the forest glades, and still they did not come. At length I determined to mount one of the horses and go in quest of them. Just, however, as I was putting my foot in the stirrup, a shot was heard close to us, and then another, and several arrows came glancing between the trees, but falling short of the camp. Directly afterwards one of our Indians burst through the brushwood, an arrow sticking in his side. With a look of terror, he pointed towards the point from which he had come, uttering the words “Cashibos—Cashibos.” Having broken off the head of the arrow, and drawn out the shaft, I told the poor fellow to run into the camp; I sprung on my horse, and dashing forward with my rifle in my hand, I saw Manco and the two other Indians contending with a dozen or more Cashibos. Manco had shot two of them; but the rest, undaunted by the unexpected effect of the new instrument of death he held in his hand, were on the point of rushing in upon him with their clubs. I saw there was not a moment to be lost, and forcing my way through the tangled mass of creepers and shrubs which lay between us, I reined up for an instant, and took a steady aim at the leading savage. He fell to the ground with a yell of rage, and I then, without stopping to load again, dashed on towards the next.

“Well done, mate, well done,” I heard Ned shouting behind me. “Knock the rascals on the head; that’s the way to settle them.”

So astonished were the savages with the sudden apparition of me and my horse, that I had struck one fellow to the ground before he had time to defend himself. Ned took aim at a third, and wounded him; but the savages, rendered more furious, still came on with menacing gestures. Manco had during the interval reloaded his rifle, and singling out another savage, brought him to the ground. This made the rest once more halt, and seeing me loading, they were on the point of taking flight, when some loud cries resounded through the woods, and gave them notice of the approach of some more of their companions.

“To the camp, to the camp, my friends!” exclaimed Manco, when he was aware of this; and obeying his order, we all retreated at once towards the huts. The Cashibos had received too strong a taste of our quality to follow at that instant, and allowed us to reach the camp unmolested. We instantly held a council of war, and at first Manco, when he saw the fortification we had thrown up, proposed waiting where we were to receive the attack of our enemies; but he soon agreed with me and Ned, that it would be wiser to escape while we could, on horseback. We could not tell how many Cashibos there might be, and they would probably collect ultimately in such numbers as to overwhelm us, even should we at first succeed in beating them off. Our Indians, I found, were fully expecting to see their companion drop down dead, from the effects of the poison they supposed to have been on the arrow; but either it had not been poisoned at all, or the poison had dried and peeled off, for the man did not seem to suffer more than from an ordinary wound.

The advantage of our having made our preparations for moving beforehand was now apparent, and to it we probably owed our safety; for, without the loss of a moment, as soon as our plan of proceeding was settled, we mounted and rode off at a rapid rate through the woods. The Cashibos caught sight of us, and saluted us with loud shouts and war-whoops, and a flight of arrows came whistling after us; but we were already beyond their reach, and it only made us gallop the faster.

“Sing away, old fellows!” shouted Ned; “though you’ve lost your supper, we’ve saved ours,” and he held out the monkey at the end of the spit which he had snatched from the fire as we were mounting, and brought along with him.

Fortunately the country before us was tolerably free of trees, and the rock I have mentioned served to guide us; but the sun soon sunk below the horizon, and left as for a time in darkness. The sky was clear, and a bright star soon came out, by which we steered our course towards the river. The chief danger now to be apprehended, was from the fallen trunks of trees, or any soft bogs into which our horses might sink. After a time the moon got up, and showed us more clearly our way. On we pushed, therefore, for though the Indians might not follow us in the dark, we were very certain that they would directly it was day; and our great aim was to get to some rocky spot by the bank of the river, where we might, by having the stream on our side, the more easily defend ourselves. Vampire bats and owls, and other night-birds flew by; and snakes and noxious reptiles crossed our path as we rode on; but nothing stopped us.

We pulled up when we reached the rock which had at first guided our course, and consulted whether we should take up our position there for the night, and prepare to defend it against the savages; but it was finally agreed that we would travel on till we reached the river. The journey would knock up our horses, but as we should have no further need of them, that could not be taken into consideration. Nita bore up very well; indeed she seemed to suffer from fatigue as little us any of us. Sometimes her husband carried her child, and sometimes Ned took charge of it. About midnight a halt was called, on an elevated spot, whence we could command a tolerably clear view on all sides. We required to rest and feed our horses as well as ourselves, though we could not venture to light a fire, which would have betrayed our position to our pursuers. While we rested and ate, we kept a vigilant watch; for though it was not probable that the Indians would have followed close to our heels, it was just possible that they might have done so, as in consequence of the numerous impediments in our way, a quick-footed man might have gone almost as fast as we did.

While I was gnawing away at the leg of the monkey, and looking out at the same time into the darkness below, I saw something move across an open glade. It came nearer, and stopped at a spot where the moonbeams streamed full upon it, when I saw that it was a large jaguar. He sat upon his hind-legs and looked at us very wistfully, as if he should like to secure one of us for supper. Presently he moved again and came a little nearer, when he sat down to look at us as before. I was going to have a shot at him, but Manco restrained me, observed that it might be heard by the Cashibos, and lead them to us. Still the jaguar crept nearer, and once more stopped to watch us. If he was hungry, we must have been very tempting to him. Our Indians at last thought it was no joke, for in another moment the jaguar might have picked one of us off; so they set up so loud a scream that they made him turn about in a fright, and scamper off into the forest. As this would to a certainty have led the Cashibos to us, if they were in the neighbourhood, we once more mounted and continued our journey. Sometimes I thought I heard the savages behind us; but the sound proved to be the cry of some bird or beast of prey.

No other adventure occurred, and, as day dawned, the calm waters of the river appeared shining brightly through the trees. A little further on rose close to the stream a high rock, the river face of which was almost a perpendicular precipice, while that inland was steep and rugged in the extreme. The top was of sufficient extent, it appeared, to enable us to pitch our huts on it, and to keep our horses there, it necessary. Having surveyed it, we discovered a path by which we could hope to lead up our horses, every other side being too difficult for men, even unencumbered with burdens, to climb up. After some trouble, we reached the top, whence we found a fine view up and down the river, and over a wide extent of forest on either side.

“The sooner we turn this place into a castle, the better for us, mate,” observed Ned. “What say you? We must get some trees down first, though.”

I told Manco what the sailor said, and he instantly agreeing, we set to work forthwith to cut down all the trees which grew around, and which might serve as a covert to the enemy, and would form palisades for us.

We set to work with a will with hatchets and knives, and in an hour had cut stakes enough to fence in the whole rock. Where the soil was of sufficient depth we drove them into it; and at the other places we piled up stones, which we brought up from the margin of the river. We gave ourselves not a moment’s rest; even while we were eating we were sharpening the stakes. Ned set the example, and we all imitated him. In more important points, as a leader. Manco showed himself fit to be a chief; but the British seaman, where manual work was concerned, was his superior. By noon we had a very respectable stockade run up, such as might withstand an attack for a short time from any ordinary enemy not possessed of firearms. All the trees and shrubs on the sides of the rock had been cut away, and stones had been piled up near all the more accessible points, to serve as a rampart, or to be used as weapons of defence.

“Now, mates,” exclaimed Ned, after he had walked with an air of satisfaction round our fortifications, “the work is done, so let’s pipe to dinner.”

To dinner, accordingly, we went; and one of our dishes was the sloth I had shot, and we had some more monkeys, and several birds, which we had brought hung on to our saddles. We were obliged to light a fire, and we did not fear to do so, as we knew that in daylight the Indians would just as easily track us without its guidance as with it. After dinner we began to construct our huts in a more substantial way than usual, as we should be compelled, we knew, to live here some time to build our canoe. Everything depended on the rapidity with which we could work, so as to be in perfect readiness to receive an attack from the cannibals, should they have ventured to follow us. It was night before all our arrangements were concluded; and as during the whole time we had not given ourselves a moment’s rest, we were well nigh worn out. It was necessary, however, to keep a watchful guard during the night, for which purpose we divided ourselves into three watches. We slept with our weapons by our sides, ready for instant use. When it came to my turn to watch, I walked round the ramparts to keep myself awake, for I was well aware of the cunning of the Cashibos, and that they always make their attacks at night. As I stopped for a moment, a long, shrill plaintive cry came through the night air, followed by three others of the same length, gradually deepening in tone, and which had a peculiarly melancholy expression. At first I thought the cry must have arisen from some human being in distress. I remarked it to the Indian who was watching with me.

“Ah, that sound comes from a little bird,” he answered. “We call it the alma perdida. It is bewailing the dead, and good cause has it now to sound its notes—Aye de me!”

The night passed on, and though on several occasions I fancied that I could distinguish the forms of the savage Cashibos skulking round us, none appeared, and daylight once more returned.

Chapter Twenty One.


Voyage on the Amazon—Para—Sail for Rio de Janeiro—All’s well that ends well.

Our first care in the morning was to search for a tree which might serve us to scoop into a canoe, till lower down the Amazon we might fall in with one large enough to convey us to Para. Fortunately we discovered one to suit our purpose close to the rock, and we instantly set to work to bring it to the ground. Thanks to Manco’s forethought in providing us with good hatchets, in the course of three hours it lay prostrate on the ground, a piece of about thirty-five feet long being marked off to form the canoe. All day we worked at it, one man at a time being stationed on the highest point of the rock to give notice of the approach of an enemy. Before night we had made some progress in fashioning the bow, and in scooping out the inside. The night passed off as before, and we began to hope that the Cashibos had had a sufficient taste of our quality, and did not intend to attack us. Ned expressed his opinion that it would be necessary to build up some sides to our canoe; and as we had no means of sawing planks, we looked out for some tough smooth bark to answer the purpose. The Indians sewed the pieces we stripped from the trees neatly together; and afterwards they collected a quantity of black bees’ wax, with which to cover the seams. An Indian occupies the greater part of a year in making his canoe: we calculated that we could do the work, with the aid of our iron tools, in ten days or a fortnight. Three days had passed away, and still no Cashibos had appeared.

“They will, I suspect, not come at all,” I remarked to Manco.

“Do not be sure of that,” he answered. “You do not know their savage and revengeful natures. They will lie in wait often for weeks or months together, to destroy an enemy. I’m afraid that they have only gone to collect their friends, and will be down on us in greater numbers.”

The fifth night passed away, and the sixth night came. Our canoe, though far from complete, was sufficiently hollowed out to form a boat, and Ned had that day shaped some paddles; but we had still to build up the sides, and to pay over the whole with wax, to make it water-tight; also to put in seats, and half-decks to the bow and stern, as well as to provision her, to make her fit for our voyage down the river. It was my watch, and Pedro and one of the Indians were with me.

“Hist, Señor!” said the latter. “I hear an enemy’s footsteps on the ground. The sound comes down upon the wind. They think we are asleep, or they would be more cautious. Lie down, and we will not undeceive them till they are close to us.”

“You are right,” I answered; and I crept silently to where Pedro was standing, and told him what the Indian had said, desiring him also to rouse up the rest to be ready for action.

In another minute all hands were at their posts. We were only just in time; for presently we could distinguish through the stockades a number of tall savage-looking figures collected among the trees; and an arrow, with a burning head, was sent flying into the centre of our fort. It stuck in the ground, and did no damage. Instantly it was followed by a whole flight, and the most terrific yells and cries rent the air, as some hundreds of the fiercest-looking savages were now rushing on towards the fort.

“Now, be steady, and fire,” cried Manco.

We did, and each of us hit his man; our Indians at the same time sending their arrows from their bows as fast as they could draw the string, returning those which the Cashibos had sent. Several of our enemies had fallen by the time they had reached the foot of the hill. Still they came on, and began to climb the rocks. If they succeeded in getting up, and climbing over the stockades, we saw we should to a certainty be overwhelmed. On they came with terrific cries and yells. Again and again we fired, and rarely missed; but their numbers were so great, that little impression was made on them. They found, however, as they got higher up, their difficulties increased. Our Indians plied them rapidly with arrows, and at intervals tumbled down the stones on their heads, and we continued loading and firing without cessation. We could almost reach them with our spears; and so crowded together were they, that they impeded each other’s movements. This gave us a great advantage, of which we did not fail to profit; and seizing the largest stones at hand, we dashed them down on their faces, and knocked them off the cliff. Their places were, however, speedily supplied by others, and at length some of them succeeded in reaching the stockades. Now came the tug of war; for the fighting was hand to hand, where numbers would have the advantage. Just then I recollected the effect our horses had had on them before; and calling Manco, we mounted two which stood behind the hill, ready saddled, and dashed forward at the enemy with our spears in our hands, uttering loud shouts. The apparition so startled the foremost ranks, that they turned round to fly, hurrying those behind them back also. Seeing the success of our manoeuvre, we told the rest to follow our example. Nita, who had been by the side of Manco, leaped on a horse. Ned took hold of her baby; and the Indians, leading the baggage-horses, we prepared to gallop down the rock, and to charge the main body of the Cashibos. It seemed an act of desperation, but it was our only chance. Our arrows and stones were exhausted, and our ammunition would not have held out much longer. Our enemies, seeing us coming on with so bold a front, were seized with a panic; and, with loud cries, they all turned round and fled into the woods, leaving some dozen or more of their number dead on the field.

“We may now rest where we are, I suppose,” I observed to Manco.

“No, no!” he answered. “They will go away, and hold a war council, and return again before long. We must get away from hence, and put the river between us before daylight, or we shall suffer from it.”

Accordingly we descended from our rock, and security the horses to the trees, we united our strength, and launched our unfinished canoe into the water. The wood of which she was composed was so light that she floated high; but to give her greater buoyancy, we secured a quantity of dry rushes round the gunnel; and we found that when our stores were in her, there was room for all the party.

“Come, mates, it’s time to be under weigh, if we are not to wait till the Injuns are back upon us,” shouted Ned. But one of our Indians was missing.

While I was looking round for him, a bright light shone from the top of the rock, and soon afterwards he made his appearance. I found that he had gone back to light a fire, to make the Cashibos suppose we were still on the rock. Ned’s voice again summoning is, we embarked in the canoe; and the horses being fastened to their halters, plunged into the water after us, encouraged by the voices of the Indians. Ned, Manco, Pedro, and I seized the paddles, and away we went down the stream, gradually edging over to the opposite side. The horses, having been accustomed to cross rivers, swam well; and for half an hour we continued our course, till we reached a convenient landing place. Our poor horses were very much exhausted; but we reflected that had we left them on the other side, they would have fallen into the hands of the Cashibos. Our intention had been to have sent them back with the Indians; but the men had petitioned so hard to be allowed to accompany Manco, that he could not refuse them; and we, therefore, were compelled to turn our animals loose, with a hope that they might escape being devoured by jaguars or shot by Indians.

We had landed in a little bay, the entrance of which was concealed, from the opposite shore. By aid of our horses, we dragged up our canoe, which already had begun to leak from want of caulking. Close to us was a rock, very similar to the one we had left, and to this we resolved to fly if we were again attacked; but Manco and the Indians expressed an opinion that the Cashibos would not attempt to follow us across the stream.

As soon as daylight returned, all hands set to work to finish the canoe. Some went to collect more bees’ wax and bark, others fastened the bark to the part scooped out, and others put in the seats and decks, Ned acting the part of master-shipwright, and directing the whole, being actively employed with his own fingers at the same time. Three more days were occupied in finishing the canoe. At night we were afraid of lighting a fire, lest we should show the Cashibos our position, or we should have worked even then. We slept as before, with our arms ready for instant action. Our Indians shot some monkeys and three peccaries, with some birds, which served us for provision for some days; but we had no fear of being in want of food, as we were certain of finding an abundance of turtle on the banks of the river, and further down, of being able to purchase from friendly Indians, plantains, bananas, guavas, granadillas, pine-apples, water-melons, and many other fruits and vegetables. We waited till morning, and having bade farewell to our poor horses, we launched our canoe, and stepping into her, pushed off into the stream. We were but just in time to escape our enemies, for as we passed down we saw the shore lined with the Cashibos, who were launching a number of balsas and rafts with the evident intention of crossing to destroy us. They sent a flight of arrows after us, but as the river was here though somewhat shallow, yet very broad, by keeping over to the opposite bank, we escaped them. We had now paddles for all hands, and we plied them vigorously. Pedro and I found it at first very tiring work; but Manco, Ned, and the Indians were accustomed to it. The scenery we passed was often very fine, when the river ran between high rocks and ranges of hills. From the character of the country we felt sure that we should far outstrip any pursuers. To make certain, however, we paddled on the greater part of the night, the sharpest-eyed of the Indians being stationed at the bow to warn us of any danger we were approaching. Towards the morning we pulled into a little sandy bay, where we landed, and threw ourselves down wrapped in our cloaks, to obtain some rest. Scarcely was I asleep when I felt something pitch down upon my nose. I looked up, but no one was near me. I went to sleep again, when my head got a disagreeable thump, and so it went on. At last I shifted my position, but still the knocks continued, though I was too sleepy to heed them. Awaking at daylight I looked up, and in the trees overhead I discovered a large family of monkeys, who had, I doubt not, thus been amusing themselves at my expense. We were speedily again under weigh, and the stream running rapidly, we made, I dare say, from forty to fifty miles a day. We passed two or three rapids, down which we had to lower our canoe, and to carry her cargo by land. One was so dangerous that we judged it safer to haul her on shore, and to drag her over the ground to the lower side. This we did by means of rollers placed under her bottom, but the operation occupied us a whole day, and so weary were we, that we were very thankful the Indians did not think of attacking us that night. After this, the river became deep and free from obstructions of all kinds, so that we were able to allow the canoe to drop down the stream at night, two at a time only paddling, while the others slept. In this manner we made rapid progress. Sometimes, when there were no signs of natives, we landed, and built huts to rest in at night. We generally took these occasions to catch turtle, while our Indians went to hunt in the neighbourhood, and never failed to bring us back a supply of game. In about ten days after our escape from the Cashibos, we sighted a village built close to the banks of the river. It consisted of only eight or ten houses, but then each house was of great extent, with many divisions, and was the habitation of a considerable number of families. The sides were of cane, without any cement between the interstices, and the roofs were neatly formed of palm leaves. A turn of the river brought us upon it before we had time to pull to the opposite side, when a number of the inhabitants came forth with pacunas, their deadly blow-pipes, in their hands, prepared to shoot at us. Our Indians instantly hailed them, and informed them that a great chief was in the canoe, and entreated their hospitality. After a short consultation a friendly reply was given, and we pulled to the shore. As soon as we landed they came down and led us up to their houses.

There was something agreeable in their countenances, though their flowing hair and painted faces and legs and bodies gave them an extravagantly savage appearance, increased by their teeth being blackened, and by the bead ornaments which they wore round their necks, ankles, and wrists. The men wore a long loose robe, and the women one of shorter dimensions. There was little neatness in the internal economy of their dwellings. At the end farthest from the door was the fire-place, surrounded with pots and jars of many sizes. On each side were raised platforms for bed-places, and pieces of beaten bark for bedding, covered with musquito curtains. Bows, arrows, lances, pacunas or blow-pipes, were hung to the posts or rafters, an axe and a knife in some cases: bowls made from calabashes, earthen jars to hold chica, water and young turtles; a few blocks of wood for seats, a few baskets, a ladder to reach to the roof, a wooden trough in which masata is made, and a rude sort of loom, complete the furniture; from which list must not be omitted the lady’s dressing box which contains her paints and brushes, as well as her trinkets. The centre of the house is always left unoccupied, as beneath it are buried the members of the family who die, the living thus becoming the guardians of the dead. They gave us an abundant repast off vaca marina or manatee, called in English a sea-cow (a curious fish which I must describe), turtle, monkeys, and a variety of vegetables and fruits.

Our friends were great fishermen as well as sportsmen. The next morning I accompanied some of them in their canoes to catch a vaca marina. They watched for the animal till his snout appeared above water, when they killed it with their spears. In appearance it was something like a huge seal; but it has no power to leave the water. It was about twelve feet long, with a large muzzle armed with short bristles, and small eyes and ears. It had two thick fins and a longish thick tail; was very fat, and of a dark blue colour. To bring it home a canoe was sunk under its body; and when bailed out, it floated it up with perfect ease. The meat was in taste something between pork and beef. A large quantity of oil was extracted from the blubber.

Turtle flesh forms one of the principal articles of food of the people living on the banks of the rivers; and a very valuable oil is also extracted from the eggs, of which one female lays a hundred and fifty in a season. It is used instead of butter.

The fiercest inhabitants of the Amazon, and of its large and numerous tributaries, are the lagartos, caimanes, or alligators. In some parts they are seen basking in the sun, like logs of wood thrown up by the tide, with their enormous mouths kept open ready to catch the flies which settle on their lower jaw. Alligators lay eggs, and it is said that as soon as they are hatched the young ones try to run on to their mother’s back, and that the male alligator, who has come for no other purpose, eats all which fail to take refuge there, aided by the gallinasos and other birds of prey. Their natural food appears to be fish; and the Indians say that they will make a party of twelve or more, and that while one division blockades the entrance of a creek, the other will swim down, flapping their tails, and drive the fish into the jaws of their devourers. When they cannot procure fish, they will land and destroy calves and young foals, dragging them to the water’s edge to eat them. When once they have tasted human flesh, it is asserted that they will take great pains to obtain it, upsetting canoes, and seizing people asleep near the banks, or floating on their balsas. I have seen an Indian attack and kill an alligator in the water with a sharp knife. The Indian in one hand took a a fowl, and in the other his knife. He swam till it got opposite the alligator, when it made a spring at the fowl. On this he left the fowl floating, and diving below the surface, cut the belly of the monster open with his knife. I have seen one twenty feet long; and what with his enormous head, and horrid eyes almost projecting out of his head, the impenetrable armour which covers his body, the red colour of his jaws, his sharp teeth, and his huge paws and tail, make him certainly a very hideous monster.

The most deadly weapon the Indian of the Pampas uses is his pacuna or blow-pipe, out of which he sends his arrows, dipped in the fatal wourali poison. The poison takes its name from the wourali vine, the scraped wood of which, and some bitter roots, form the chief ingredients, boiled together. The rites and incantations employed, and the numerous other articles added to the poisonous cauldron, may remind one of the weird sisters’ concoction in Macbeth. The pacuna is composed of a very delicate thin reed, perfectly smooth inside and out, which is encased in a stouter one. The arrows are from nine to ten inches long, formed of the leaf of a species of palm, hard and brittle, and pointed as sharp as a needle. At the butt-end some wild cotton is twisted round, to fit the tube. About an inch of the pointed end is poisoned. Quivers are made to hold five or six hundred of these darts. The slightest wound causes certain death within a few minutes, as the poison mixes with the blood, and completely paralyses the system, causing, probably, little or no pain. The pacuna is very similar to the sumpitan, used by the inhabitants of Borneo and other people in the Eastern Archipelago, though the latter are not acquainted with the wourali poison.

I must hurry on, I find, with my adventures. For several days we proceeded down the Ucayali, till we arrived at a point where a small river, called the Shaunga, falls into it. The stream was broad and tranquil, and vast trees grew down to the water’s edge; while in the far distance, to the south and east, rose ranges of lofty mountains, reminding us of the distant Andes in miniature. Manco pointed them out to Nita.

“There,” he said, “is our future home, till the Spaniards have learned not to despise the Indian race. Then we will return, and once more endeavour to regain liberty for Peru, and to restore the dominion of the Incas.”

We here landed, and built some huts to last us a few days, while Manco sent one of our Indians as an ambassador to the chiefs of the villages, to crave the hospitality of the tribe. We employed the time till the return of the messenger in fishing and shooting, and in preparing the canoe for a longer voyage; for which purpose we fitted her with a mast and sail, a very patch-work affair, made out of our saddle-cloths and some bits of cotton stuff, which Manco had brought with him.

One day about noon, the sound of an Indian trumpet was heard; and soon afterwards, a dozen warriors appeared, their faces and bodies highly painted, and adorned with a profusion of beads. They were clothed in the usual loose tunics, and armed with shields and clubs, ornamented with the antlers of a stag and richly tinted feathers, one end being sharp, to use as a spear; as also with bows and arrows, and lances. They were, I found, of the Sencis tribe. These people live in good houses, cultivate the ground, and use canoes, and are a very intelligent and warlike people.

The present party came to welcome Manco to their country, and to express their willingness to afford him an asylum as long as he chose to remain among them, it was with deep regret that we parted from him and Nita and their child. He was too sensible to ask me to remain with him, feeling that, as a civilised man, I had my vocation elsewhere.

“I hope to be of some use to these poor people in improving their condition,” he observed with a sigh. “The employment will serve to soothe my weary exile.”

Manco, and Nita with her child in her arms, stood on the shore, as, hoisting our sail, we steered our course down the river. I watched them with aching eyes and a sad heart, till they faded from my sight. Many years since then have passed away, but I have never received any account of my brave and noble friend. He may have returned to Peru, when the War of Independence broke out, and the Creoles threw off the yoke of Spain. At that time a large number of Indians joined the liberal party, under the idea that if the Spaniards were driven out, their freedom and ancient institutions would be restored; but they found that under the new republic their condition was but little if at all improved. Many, I am told, however, still look forward to the time when Manco or his son shall appear, and the Inca and his race shall rule the land.

I wish that I had space to describe our very interesting voyage down the Amazon. I saw enough to convince me of the fertility of the soil, and the vast number of productions to be found in its neighbourhood, and on the banks of the many rivers which run into it.

After some weeks we reached the station of a Portuguese missionary priest, who received us most hospitably; and finding that he was about to despatch a vessel to Para, we were glad to abandon our canoe, and to embark in her. She was about thirty feet long and eight broad, the after part being decked with a house thatched with palm leaves, which served as the cabin for the passengers. In the fore part was a frame-work, covered also with palm leaves, under which the crew stood to paddle. In the centre was a mast, with a large square sail set on it. We had received as gifts several monkeys and parrots, and other birds and beasts, which now served to amuse us, as our own toils were over. Some parts of the Amazon, down which we sailed, were three miles wide, and appeared like large lakes. For many hundreds of miles steamboats might penetrate into the interior of that magnificent region; and I hope that the enterprise which is every day making new fields for its employment, may be directed ere long to that direction, to carry the advantages of civilisation among the numerous interesting tribes who inhabit its shores.

It was with much satisfaction that we reached the Portuguese city of Para, situated on the river of that name. From the sandy nature of the soil, and the steady trade-winds which blow from the east, the city, though but little above the level of the sea at high water, is perfectly healthy. There are a good many public buildings, and several largos or open spaces in the city; but the private residences have little pretension to beauty, though they are constructed with a due regard to afford as much shade and coolness as possible. We remained here but two days; for, finding a schooner sailing for Rio de Janeiro, and there being no chance of a vessel direct to England for many months, we resolved to go in her.

I shall never forget the intense delight with which Ned walked the deck as he once more found himself afloat on the open ocean.

“This is what I call life, mate—true life,” he exclaimed; “and it will be a long time before you find me out of sight of blue water again.”

Our schooner, the “Felicidade,” had a rapid passage to Rio de Janeiro. I cannot stop to describe that city, which has now become the capital of an empire. Indeed I saw very little of it. Nor can I picture its magnificent harbour, large enough to hold all the navies in the world. My first care, on going on shore, was to learn what ships were about to start for Europe. I found that one was sailing the very next morning. Ned, on hearing this, said he would go on board and look at the craft, while Pedro and I waited for him on the quay. He soon came back, and said that the “Susan” was a fine large brig; that he liked her appearance, and as she was short of hands he had engaged for the passage home at good wages. There was, he understood, an English family going home in her; but as she would have room for two more passengers, he advised me to return with him to secure berths for Pedro and myself. We, accordingly, forthwith went on board.

“Your name, sir,” said the master, when I told him my object.

“David Rexton,” I replied.

“Rexton! that is very extraordinary,” he replied. “Why, that is the name of my other passengers.”

Oh! how my heart beat with strange, wild, fearful, yet hopeful emotions at these words. I should have fallen on the deck, had not the kind-hearted man supported me.

“Where are they?” I at length found words to say.

“In the cabin at this moment,” he replied. “But stay, I have heard much about them, and suspect who you are. Do you go forward with my mate there, and stay quiet for a little time; while I go and prepare them for your appearance. By-and-by we will introduce your friend here, and he can tell them he has seen you alive and well.”

I put myself under the good master’s directions; and I need scarcely say that Heaven had mercifully preserved my beloved parents, and thought fit to re-unite me to them. The very night the village, where they had taken refuge, was attacked, the faithful Ithulpo had warned them in time to enable them to fly to the mountains, where they had concealed themselves in the hut of an aged Indian. Ithulpo had, unfortunately, quitted them, to look for some of their horses; and they had seen no more of him. From the hut of the Indian, after a detention of some weeks, they succeeded in reaching the coast, and getting on board a merchantman, engaged in smuggling. She directly afterwards sailed; and rounding Cape Horn, they put into the magnificent harbour of Rio de Janeiro, for water and provisions. Here my father found that the affairs of a branch of their house would much benefit by his presence. He accordingly had remained, till I so fortunately arrived.

We finally reached England in safety. Ned refused to touch any of the gold given to us by Manco; and I, feeling that I could do no less than follow the noble fellow’s generous example, devoted it to the service of Pedro, who was thus enabled to obtain the best education England could afford. Some years afterwards he went to Peru, and succeeded in recovering the larger portion of his father’s property. He fought in the War of Independence, when his native country threw off the yoke of Spain; but deeply disappointed in the result of that struggle, he lived in retirement on his estate, devoting himself to doing good to the surrounding population.

He wrote me word that he had made every inquiry for Manco, but could hear nothing of him. The Inca noble probably perceived that the War of Independence could do little to ameliorate the condition of his people, and refused to leave his retreat.

My tale is ended. Since the period of my adventures in Peru I have visited many countries, and witnessed many strange scenes; and this I can assert, that every event of my life has tended to confirm the lessons given me by my father, to increase my reliance on God, and to convince me more and more that He orders all things for the best; and that when He thinks fit to afflict His creatures, He has some wise object in view, even though we may not be able to discover it. Therefore, I say to my young friends, learn what is right to be done, and do it, fearless of consequences, and trusting in Heaven. Seek not for the reward of man, and be assured that God will care for you here, and more than amply repay you hereafter.