they are seldom unoccupied. On Sundays the women lay aside their
spinning apparatus, but immediately after mass, groups of them may be
seen playing cards, at which they continue during the whole day; as
they do not play for money, they use'only french beans as counters.
Until I gained sufficient strength to leave the island, I also spent
much of my time under the shade of this tree, either listening to the
conversation of these people, or answering the thousand and one
questions put by them respecting my own and other distant countries.
These questions were often sufficiently ridiculous, and I could often
perceive that my answers were considered stretches of the long bow,
although they were too polite to say so; nor was it only among the poor
islanders of San Pedro, that I observed this to be the case, for the
same often occurred among those who were considered well educated
people. I remember once to have been conversing with the President of
one of the inland provinces about Steam Navigation, and on telling him
that many of the English Steam-boats were now entirely constructed of
iron, he did not say he did not believe me, but simply remarked " that
in Brazil, when iron was put into the water it always sank."
the twelfth of March I took leave of my Indian friends, and embarked in
a canoe which I hired to take me down to Penedo, having been exactly a
fortnight on the island. We reached that place on the morning of the
fourteenth, when I received a kind welcome from my friend the Juiz de
Direito. I landed several times during the passage, for the purpose of
making collections of living plants of the different kinds of Cacti, which
grow in great abundance on the banks of the river, wherever they are
rocky. At one of the places where we stopped, I observed several fine
trees of Peltopkomm Vogelianum, Benth. This tree, which belongs to the natural order Leguminosce, reaches
to the height of about forty feet, and has a great branching top : the
leaves are large but very much subdivided, and very graceful, having
more the appearance of the frond of a fern, than the leaf of a tree.
The racemes of flowers which grow at the ends of the branches, are
often more than a foot long, and the flowers are of a beautiful golden
colour; at a dis-