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their names and adjective titles. But
they move slowly, and are soon left miles
behind. In their rear are a dozen mules
with well-filled panniers, linked together in
line by their tails and rope reins, and led
by a mounted driver with a long whip, who
grasps the end of the cord by which they
are united, and shouts ferocious menaces
as he goes.

It is still dark. The dew lies thick on
everything; myriads of frogs and night insects
yet hold their croaking concert; and
the fire-fly cucullo, with its phosphorescent
lantern, darts about here and there, like
falling stars and fireworks. A stony stream
has now to be forded. Into it splash the
gigs; our horses following willingly, for
they are thirsty, poor beasts, and the cool
spring water is inviting. The roads are,
so far, favourable to our march; but we
have arrived at a piece of ground where
muddy puddles lie horse-leg deep. A
bridle road invites, but the thoroughfare
being intercepted by brushwood and overhanging
branches, it is not easy to effect a
passage. Our leader, Don Miguel, accordingly
unsheathes the long machete, which
he wears like a sword, and hacks him an
avenue for self and followers. The thicket
is even darker than the high-road we have
deserted, and our leader curbs his horse
with caution while he lights a taper of
brown wax; for the ground is slippery,
and abounds in deep holes and unexpected
crevices. From my position in the rear,
the effect produced by the rays of the solitary
illumination, is agreeable to the sight.
The dark outlines of the riders who precede
me appear like black silhouettes against a
background of green and brown, and nature
by candle-light looks like stage scenery.

We emerge again upon the main road,
and at full speed gallop after our friends.
We fall in with them at a tienda, or wayside
inn, at which they have halted. The
tienda is a queer combination of tavern,
coffee-house, chandler's-shop, and marine
store dealer's. The walls and ceiling are
completely concealed by miscellaneous
wares. Spurs and sardine boxes; candles,
calico, and crockery; knives and nutmeg-graters;
toys, tubs, and timepieces; rows
of sweet hams, sheathed machetes, pulleys,
coils of rope, farming implements, panama
hats, buff-coloured country shoes; tin spoons,
preserves, and French brandy. The innkeeper
or shopkeeper of this out-of-the-world
store, is a native of Barcelonaby
name Boywho pronounces Spanish with
a very broad Catalan accent. We travellers
are his sole customers at present, and as we
require only hot coffee at a medio the cup,
aguardiente brandy at a creole penny the
nip, a handful of cigars, and a packet of
paper cigarettes, the profits derived from
our patronage cannot be very great.

We are off once more, not to halt again
until a cane field stops the way. The growing
cane, with its bamboo-shaped fruit, and
waving leaf of long grass, crops up to the
right and left of us for miles, and terminates
in the ingenio or sugar-works. The
entrance to the proprietor's grounds is by
a five-barred gate and a wigwam, both of
which have been designed and constructed
by an aged and decrepit African who occupies
the latter. He crawls out of his domicile
as we approach, and his meagre form
is barely covered by a grimy blanket fastened
to his girdle by means of a strip of
dried palm bark. To all our questions, his
solitary response is: "Si s├▒or, miamo,"
being exactly the creole Spanish for the
creole English: " Yes, massa." Having by
this means satisfied ourselves that "miamo,"
his massa, is at home and willing to receive
us, we proceed until we hear the clicking of
a whip; and observe indistinctly a row of
naked blacks whose brachial belongings are
engaged in some earthy occupation. A big
bronze-faced man, in a white canvas suit
and a pancake panama hat, stands behind
them and holds a long knotted whip, which
he occasionally applies to their backs as
a gentle reminder that time represents
so many Spanish doubloons. This is the
mayoral, or overseer. He seems to pride
himself upon his masterly touch with the
thong, for when no black skin forms an
excuse for the practise of his skill, he
flicks at nothing, to keep his hand in. The
sorrow of this sight is greatly augmented
by the dead silence; whenever the chastising
weapon descends, the sufferer is mute.

The lawful owner of these lashed shoulders
and of a couple of hundred more, has turned
out to greet us. His unshaved countenance
wears a sleepy expression, but the stump of
a lighted cigar is already in his mouth. At
a given signal, a couple of small slaves appear,
with cups of hot coffee and a tray of
long home-made cigars. Candela! Mine
host invokes fire, and a little mulatto girl,
upon whom it devolves to provide it, presents
each smoker with a lump of red-hot
charcoal in the clutches of a lengthy pair
of tongs. Daylight is appearing, and warns
us that we must be on the move again.

Adelante caballeros! Leaving the level
cane district, for the next few hours we are