14th May 1833

The country continues very much the same; it was about the Polanco more level & the hills less steep & there were a few trees about the rivers, chiefly of the willow kind. In the evening I saw rather a curious scene: an old Paraguay man, who had been our guide in the morning, got very drunk, & being offended at a man present was drawing his knife under his poncho; a Gaucho who sat by him knew what he was about & stopped him, & took his knife from him. After this, to frighten the old gentleman, the others in jest pretended to stab him. The method with which they dashed across the room, struck him upon the heart & then sprang out of the door, showed it to be the result of practice, at least in them. The only manner of fighting amongst the Gauchos is thus stabbing each other; & this little scene showed me very plainly the way in which it takes place. I wear a large clasp-knife, in the manner of sailors fastened by a string round my neck; I had often noticed that the Gauchos seemed to think this practice of confining the knife very strange.

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