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The Andes and the Amazon

James Orton

Book Overview: 

This book, with the subtitle "Across the Continent of South America" describes the scientific expedition of 1867 to the equatorial Andes and the Amazon. The route was from Guayaquil to Quito, over the Cordillera, through the forest to Napo, and, finally, on the Rio Napo to Pebas on the Maranon.

Besides this record, the expedition - under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute - collected samples of rocks and plants, and numerous specimen of animals. The scientists also compiled a vocabulary of local languages and produced a new map of equatorial America.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .For dramas they have revolutions; for menageries, bull-baitings. A bull-bait is not a bull-fight. There is no coliseum or amphitheatre; no matador gives the scientific death-wound. Unlike their fraternity in the ring of Seville, where they are doomed to die, the animals are only doomed to be pothered; they are "scotched, not killed." They are teased and tormented by yelling crowds, barking dogs, brass bands, red ponchos, tail-pulling, fire-crackers, wooden lances, and such like. The Plaza de Toros is the Plaza de San Francisco. This sport[Pg 81] is reserved for the most notable days in the calendar: Christmas, New Year's, Inauguration-day, and Independence-day—the 10th of August.

Cock-fights come next in popularity, and are bona fide fights. Often the roosters are so heroic that both leave their blood in the arena, and never crow again. Little knives are fastened to the natural spurs, with which the fowls cut each other up frightfully. The interesting scene. . . Read More