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Strollin address by tor hos
user which ha Temple was
trees bearing fruit, and at the same time putting forth buds and blossoms, complete the scene of luxuriance.'-vol. ii. pp. 62, 63.
In La Paz our author was indebted to a Peruvian gentleman for his accommodations, the places of public reception in the town being already occupied. The manner in which he sued for hospitality at the door of this gentleman, and the address by which he at last succeeded, are very amusing. Strolling one day through the streets of La Paz, Mr. Temple was forced to go into a shop, to avoid a shower which had unexpectedly descended. Looking over some waste paper on the counter, he discovered, to his surprise, a manuscript Journal of the Siege of La Paz in 1780, during an insurrection of the Peruvian Indians, under their celebrated chief Tupac Amaro. Leaving the subject of this document, of which a translation is inserted in this work, we follow Mr. Temple to Potosi, where he was met by the unfortunate news of the downfall of the Potosi Mining Association. This cvent gives rise to some remarks, historical, criminative, objurgative, &c., all of which being particularly gloomy, and totally at variance with the general character of these volumes, we shall, for the present, pass by, flinging to oblivion, in the self-same parcel, even the dissertation on native iron; for lo, the jocund sounds in the distance announce the dawn of merry Christmas-day at Potosi.
• For several weeks past, every artist and mechanic of tolerable ingenuity has been employed in making and repairing dolls, images, and figures of sundry kinds, also in setting up and painting altars in every respectable house; whilst all the females have been equally busy in preparing dresses for those dolls, making artificial flowers and embroideries, and embellishing the best apartment in their respective houses for the display of what is here termed el Nacimiento, (the birth of Christ), for which every family of respectability makes preparation with a diligence, anxiety, interest, and fuss, scarcely to be exceeded by that which precedes a fancy-ball among our fashionables in England. The fanciful display of taste, the splendour of the dresses, and the variety of costume, is as conspicuous in the one case as in the other. If we have all the metamorphoses of fairy tales and tales of genii, all the heroes and heroines of history and romauce, personified in the enchanting precints of a fancy-ball for the purpose of mirth and pleasure, we have in the Nacimientos of Potosi, under the grave and solemn character of religion, and with the most decorous observances, a fantoccini display of the most distinguished events in sacred writ. We have the adoration of the shepherds, strictly represented with all their rustic attributes, we have the Magi and the Kings in gorgeous apparel, accompanied by their respective trains, mounted upon elephants, camels, horses, and asses, bearing baskets of fruit and other presents, all journeying to Bethlehem to pay their homage to the infant Saviour of the world, whose sacred image is not here to be seen in a lowly manger, but io a cradle of pure silver, sometimes of pure gold, and the drapery covered with the most costly jewels. On either side of the cradle are images of the Virgin Mother and her husband Joseph, with crowns of gold upon their heads, and their robes profusely covered with diamonds, and pearls,
and precious stones. Over the cradle may be seen engraved on a plate of gold, “ Glory to God on high !” and all round, suspended by means of delicate wires from the ceiling, are angels, cherubim, and seraphim, floating in the air, supposed to be rejoicing with “ song and choral symphony” at the tidings of peace and good-will to men. The apartment in which this highly-venerated exhibition takes place, is strewed with artificial flowers, and arranged for the accommodation of visiters, who go in parties full dressed, from house to house to view them, with every feeling of devotional obligation. However puerile these forms and ceremonies may appear to some of us, their object and intent is precisely the same as those of our own more rational and less ostentatious rites on the recurrence of this great festival, namely, to commemorate an event which is acknowledged and believed by all Christians to have happened for the eternal salvation of mankind. It is not fair, therefore, hastily to condemn them under those feelings of contempt which too frequently arise out of a difference of religious creed; because, with reference to the childish insignificance of those ceremonies, we can scarcely contend that the most splendid processions, or religions assemblages, in cathedrals and churches, accompanied by all the pomp and magnificence that the art of man is capable of inventing, can, by so much as the importance of one grain of sand, obtain greater consideration in the sight of the Omnipotent Being, than the meanest of those exbibitions in the hut of the simple Indian. However exalted our ideas of human grandeur, we must admit its utter insignificance in the sight of him who has heaven for his throne, and the earth for his footstool. -vol. ii. pp. 238—241.
The account of his establishment, as given by our author, is pleasant enough, and the details which follow may not be altogether unimportant to those who have still a permanent abode to chose, and may have turned their attention to the South Western World.
• My establishment consists, first, of number one, with a salary of five hundred sterling pounds per annum ! (the Englislı of per annum I thought, till now, meant“ payable yearly.”) Then comes, next in dignity, José Luni, a Peruvian Sambo, (the next shade to a negro,) who is my majordomo and cook-major, with a salary of six Spanish dollars per month, or 141. 8s. sterling per annum ; very good wages no doubt, but then the very good qualities of José Luni justly entitle him to them, and, fortunately for bim, they are more regularly paid than his master's. "This Sambo had married a Samba, whom I appointed, at her own request, to the office of housemaid, with a salary of two dollars per month, nearly 5l. sterling per annum. I found her in all things as honest, careful, and attentive as her husband. She made a child, as the French say, whilst in my house, and after her accouchement I was formally solicited to become padrino (godfather) to the young Sambo. This is not here a mere formality, forgotten when the ceremony is ended, as is commonly the case in Europe; but becomes a connexion, “ a spiritual affinity," even with the parents of the child, that is valued much more than a close relationship, and continues uninterrupted through life ; and when the padrino happens to be of a class in society higher than those for whom he becomes a sponsor, he receives continual acts of attention and respect from his compadres, (co-parents,)
who take a pride at every opportunity of mentioning their connexion, seldom even allowing him to pass in the street without pointing at him, and saying, with a feeling of enviable satisfaction, to the by-standers, “ Allí va mi compadre!” There goes my benefactor, protector, friend! I myself became quite proud of this distinction, and frequently took my little black godson to dandle in my arms, for the sake of witnessing the delight which that act of condescension always occasioned to the parents. On those days I was sure to have at dinner some favourite dish, dressed with extraordinary care, and pointed out to me by José as an addition of his own to the bill of fare; whilst his wife Maria would sweep, dust, and clean my apartments, without being scolded or implored to do so, as was generally requisite.'-vol. ii. pp. 278, 279.
The weekly bill of the home expenditure for the whole family, consisting of five persons, amounted on the average to seven dollars and two rials, to which, however, some items of occasional expenditure are to be added,-such as the purchase of maize, the expense of which however is triling, and of a sheep now and then, which, fleece and all, costs no more than four shillings, and, fed upon barley, makes very good mutton. Other articles of domestic use are thus spoken of by Mr. Temple:
The master's table was sometimes furnished with fowls and chickens, from one shilling to one shilling and three-pence each, and partridges, very fine, at one shilling each. Butter is brought from a great distance in bladders, and sells for about five or six shillings per pound, the quality such as would be used to grease cart-wheels in England. The best loaf sugar is brought from Cusco, and sells from two shillings to two shillings and sixpence per pound. Tea, of which green only is to be had, comes from the ports of the Pacific; the price varies according to the stock on hand; I have paid sixteen, twenty, and twenty four shillings the pound, the quality always very good. Chocolate of the country is so good, as frequently to have been considered a desirable present from the Spaniards to their friends in Spain, price three shillings and sixpence to four shillings the pound. The coffee of the country is excellent, price eight shillings the pound, roasted and ground. Wines are very little used, except at large dinner parties, and then they are freely indulged in, but seldom to any excess : claret, tolerable, twelve shillings the bottle ; champagne from twelve to sixteen shillings the bottle ; English cider, six to eight shillings the bottle. There is a very good wine grown at Cinti, about forty or fifty leagues distant from Potosi, which sells from two shillings to two shillings and sixpence the bottle; it resembles Burgundy, and, under proper treatment, might equal, if not surpass it, in every respect; but at present the method of makiog and keeping it, is said to be altogether faulty. The cultivation of the vine and wine-making might be a lucrative speculation in many parts of South America. Rum and brandy sell for about eight or ten shillings the bottle. Empty bottles, till lately, sold for a dollar each, but now they do not fetch more than a shilling. Thus, it may be seen, that there is no want of necessaries at Potosi, and, considering the great distance of land carriage over the Cordillera on the backs of mules, a mode liable to so many accidents, the prices are not very exorbitant. A grand “set-out” of a dinner, or as others call it, “a regular swell," for
sixteen or eighteen persons, generally cost me, all expenses included, from thirty to forty dollars.
• Apothecaries' drugs are drugs indeed, and excessively dear, which will hardly be the case when science advances and avails herself of the great variety of medicinal plants and herbs which abound in the valleys of Peru; but, for the present, I strongly recommend all visiters to this country to beware of mock-doctors and their infallible poisons. It is by no means unusual for an apothecary, who happens to be unprovided with the ingredients specified in the recipe, to send you the value of your money (which must always accompany it) in some other drugs of his own selection, but which you of course swallow, supposing them to be those that were ordered. If you chance to meet the apothecary at any future period, you will be relieved from any doubt of his intention to defraud, for he will boast of the favour that he considered he was conferring on you, in sending you at the same price, drugs infinitely stronger and dearer than those mentioned in the recipe ; you are then, probably for the first time, enabled to account for the very extraordinary and unexpected effects of your doctor's prescription !'—vol. ii. pp. 285–287.
Shortly before Mr. Temple quitted Potosi, the conspiracy of Villanueva exploded, and that leader himself was executed in the public square. We notice the event merely for the sake of introducing a trait of terrible superstition on the part of the Indian population.
• When the mortal existence of the unhappy Villanueva was terminated by the discharge of three muskets at his breast, the Indians, who were among the assembled crowd, rushed forward to scramble for pieces of the clothes of the deceased, which, according to some extraordinary superstition, they dipped in his blood, for the purpose of afterwards selling to the women who make chicha, into which these rags are thrown on particular occasions to produce a charm, when all the Indians, male and female, in the neighbourhood, assemble and drink to excess of the horrible beverage.' ---Vol. ii. pp. 302, 303.
The feelings of horror which the perusal of such deeds must awaken, soon subside before the buoyant sallies of our lively author, and the description of a sort of public dinner, given by Don Pedro to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Peru to Bolivia.
* At three o'clock a numerous and exceedingly select company assembled in (as usual) a barn-like room, down the middle of which was a long narrow table, studded with plates, bottles of wine, and saucers, in alternate rows; in the latter were small pieces of cheese, sausages, ham, and bacon, cut in fanciful slices, for the gratification of the eye, as well as the taste. Upon a side-table were several bottles of rum and spruce-beer, and plates of all sorts of cakes and confections, which were presented by the host as a welcome to his guests on their entering the room. Dulces (sweetmeats) are at all times highly prized in South America, and the handing them round with a glass of rum (for on these particular occasions one glass serves a whole company), affords a very happy opportunity of displaying politeness and attention--coin, which in this country is more current, and more valued, than in any other in the world ; and he who dispenses it liberally, not prodigally, will never want friends in South Americi. An Eaglishman must here abandon his own prejudices, and occasionally yield to the customs of those whom he may happen to visit, and into whose society he must recollect he is always good-naturedly invited, never importunately urged. A little custom will soon reconcile him to various practices which may at first be found as repugnant to the taste as a black dose; but afterwards they all go down as easily as a pill. He is not expected to accept a cigar from the mouth of another, nay, even from a domestic, as in Spain, where, by declining it, you commit a grievous offence against friendship and good-breeding. In South America I have never seen this act of friendly politeness proffered, because every one is usually furnished with a stock of tobacco in his pockets. But you must accept with grateful acknowledgment the remains of a glass of rum; the more lips it has touched, the more cordiality in the dram; off with it! and beware of wiping your mouth either before or after it. Should you be induced to wipe the brim of the glass before drinking, or turn it between yourself and the light to seek a little space free from humidity, your reputation is gone for ever!
When a lady selects a gentleman from the company, by beckoning or calling him to take her glass and sip after her, the compliment is then highly enviable; and whether her lips be pale and shrivelled by the wintry effect of years, or cherry-ripe and pouting in the fragrance of summer, he is bound by the well-understood laws of respect, etiquette, honour, galJantry, love, and all their little jealousies, to imprint his own lips upon the precise spot where those were placed which preceded bim, and then to take off the very last drop in the glass.
• We consumed a bottle of rum and some bottles of spruce-beer, with a few cakes and dulces, in this friendly manner, before the order for dinner was given. Slaves, male and female, black, tawny, copper, and mulatto, then entered the room, bearing ponderous dishes of silver, with soups, meats, and vegetables, and covered every vacant spot upon the table, to which the guests now drew nigh with an unlimited profusion of ceremonious bows, and squeezed themselves as well as they could, with pinioned arms, into the few inches of space allotted to each. I was among the fortunate who obtained a seat to their satisfaction.
* At the dinner-table sundry little compliments, constituting the etiquette of society, must also be given, and received with all goodliness of manner, If you happen to be helped to any peculiarly well-dressed dish, you must first praise it aloud, in order to enhance its value, and to attract the notice of the company; you then stretch across the table with a til-bit on the end of your fork, presenting it to whomsoever you wish to distinguish by this mark of favour, and who, in accepting it, retains your fork ; but, as a ratification of the act, returns to you his or hers. At the second course, these compliments become general, when in the space of a few minutes, you may have been favoured with a mouthful from every fork at the table, whilst your own has gone the round of the whole company. Plates and dishes being removed, bottles of claret, of Frontignac, of cider, and of spruce-beer, were intermingled upon the table, and the speedy consumption of the beverage proved it to be agreeable to the guests. Toasts and sentiments, accompanied by speeches, went their round as rapidly as the