23rd June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Again I went to the forest, which so often has been proved so fruitful in all kinds of animals. It is in all probability the last time I shall ever wander in a Brazilian forest. I find the pleasure derived from such scenes increases, instead of as might have been expected, diminishing. To day instead of the rude tracks, I followed a brook, which in a narrow ravine flowed amongst the large huge granitic blocks. No art could depict so stupendous a scene; the decaying trunks of enormous trees scattered about, formed in many places natural bridges; beneath & around them the damp shade favoured the growth of the Fern & Palm trees. & looking upwards the trees in themselves lofty, thus seen, appeared of an almost incredible height. I soon found even by creeping, I could not penetrate the entangled mass of the living & dead vegetation. On coming out of the forest, the effect without any exaggeration is that of the full light of the sun breaking on a person who has just left a darkened room.

These woods belong to the government; & the house where I put up the horse is called Chacera o Macaco. My host the owners name is Antonio da Rocha, & to his hospitality I am indebted for so many delightful walks. Before going he showed me his garden, where to an European eye there was a singular union of plants. On one side a fine set of cabbages were growing & joining to these the long stubble of a rice field. This latter is scarcely to be distinguished from barley; but the ears are different, the seeds being further apart & therefore not having so compact a head.

After returning home in the evening the quiet neighbourhead of Botofogo was in unusual agitation in celebrating the eve of St Juan. Round the numerous bonfires there is a continual firing of rockets, guns, crackers, accompanied by shouts of "Viva St Juan". This is continued during the greater part of the night. I presume, not having had the luck to have had a gun-powder plot, the Brazilians thus celebrate an innocent saint.

No comments: