Since the days when Pizarro's adventurers discovered the hitherto undreamed-of splendor of the Inca Dynasty, Bolivia has been a land of surprises and romantic discovery. Strange to say, even yet much of the eastern portion of this great republic remains practically unexplored. The following account of exploration in those regions, left for men of the twentieth century, may not, I am persuaded, be without interest to the general reader. Bolivia has for many years been seriously handicapped through having no adequate water outlet to the sea, and the immense resources of wealth she undoubtedly possesses have, for this reason, been suffered to go, in a measure, unworked. Now, however, in the onward progress of nations, Bolivia has stepped forward. In the year 1900, the Government of that country despatched an expedition to locate and explore Lake Gaiba, a large sheet of water said to exist in the far interior of Bolivia and Brazil, on the line dividing the two republics. The expedition staff consisted of Captain Bolland, an Englishman; M. Barbiere, a Frenchman; Dr. Perez, Bolivian; M. Gerard D'Avezsac, French artist and hunter, and the writer of these pages. The crew of ten men was made up of Paraguayans and Argentines, white men and colored, one Bolivian, one Italian, and one Brazilian. Strange to relate, there was no Scotchman, even the ship's engineer being French. Perhaps the missing Scotch engineer was on his way to the Pole, in order to be found sitting there on its discovery by - - (?)

The object of this costly journey was to ascend the rivers La Plata, Paraguay and Alto Paraguay, and see if it were possible to establish a port and town in Bolivian territory on the shores of the lake. After some months of untiring energy and perseverance, there was discovered for Bolivia a fine port, with depth of water for any ordinary river steamer, which will now be known to the world as Puerto Quijarro. A direct fluvial route, therefore, exists between the Atlantic and this far inland point.

The expedition left Buenos Ayres, the capital of the Argentine Republic. Sailing up the western bank of the River of Silver, we entered the Parana River, and after an uneventful voyage of six days, passed the mouth of the River of Gold, and turned into the Paraguay.

Three hundred miles up the Higher Parana, a mighty stream flowing from the northeast, which we here left to our right, are the Falls of Yguasu. These falls have been seen by few white men. The land on each side of the river is infested by the Bugres Indians, a tribe of cannibals, of excessively ferocious nature. The Falls of Big Water must be the largest in the world - and the writer is well acquainted with Niagara.

The river, over two and a half miles wide, containing almost as much water as all the rivers of Europe together, rushes between perpendicular cliffs. With a current of forty miles an hour, and a volume of water that cannot be less than a million tons a minute, the mighty torrent rushes with indescribable fury against a rocky island, which separates it into two branches, so that the total width is about two miles and a half. The Brazilian arm of the river forms a tremendous horseshoe here, and plunges with a deafening roar into the abyss two hundred and thirteen feet below. The Argentine branch spreads out in a sort of amphitheatre form, and finishes with one grand leap into the jagged rocks, more than two hundred and twenty- nine feet below, making the very earth vibrate, while spray, rising in columns, is visible several miles distant.

"Below the island the two arms unite and flow on into the Parana River. From the Brazilian bank the spectator, at a height of two hundred and eighty feet, gazes out over two and a half miles of some of the wildest and most fantastic water scenery he can ever hope to see. Waters stream, seethe, leap, bound, froth and foam, 'throwing the sweat of their agony high in the air, and, writhing, twisting, screaming and moaning, bear off to the Parana.' Under the blue vault of the sky, this sea of foam, of pearls, of iridescent dust, bathes the great background in a shower of beauty that all the more adds to the riot of tropical hues already there. When a high wind is blowing, the roar of the cataract can be heard nearly twenty miles away. A rough estimate of the horse-power represented by the falls is fourteen million."

Proceeding up the Paraguay River, we arrived at Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, and anchored in a beautiful bay of the river, opposite the city. As many necessary preparations had still to be made, the expedition was detained in Asuncion for fifteen days, after which we boarded the S.S. Leda, for the second stage of our journey.

Steaming up the Alto Paraguay, we passed the orange groves of that sunny land on the right bank of the river, and on the left saw the encampments of the Tobas Indians, The dwellings of these people are only a few branches of trees stuck in the ground. Further on, we saw the Chamococos Indians, a fine muscular race of men and women, who cover their bronze-colored bodies with the oil of the alligator, and think a covering half the size of a pocket-handkerchief quite sufficient to hide their nakedness. As we stayed to take in wood, I tried to photograph some of these, our brothers and sisters, but the camera was nothing but an object of dread to them. One old woman, with her long, black, oily hair streaming in the breeze, almost withered me with her flashing eyes and barbarous language, until I blushed as does a schoolboy when caught in the act of stealing apples. Nevertheless, I got her photo.

The Pilcomayo, which empties its waters into the Paraguay, is one of the most mysterious of rivers. Rising in Bolivia, its course can be traced down for some considerable distance, when it loses itself in the arid wastes, or, as some maintain, flows underground. Its source and mouth are known, but for many miles of its passage it is invisible. Numerous attempts to solve its secrets have been made. They have almost invariably ended disastrously. The Spanish traveller, Ibarete, set out with high hopes to travel along its banks, but he and seventeen men perished in the attempt. Two half- famished, prematurely-old, broken men were all that returned from the unknown wilds. The Pilcomayo, which has proved itself the river of death to so many brave men, remains to this day unexplored. The Indians inhabiting these regions are savage in the extreme, and the French explorer, Creveaux, found them inhuman enough to leave him and most of his party to die of hunger. The Tobas and the Angaitaes tribes are personally known to me, and I speak from experience when I say that more cruel men I have never met. The Argentine Government, after twenty years of warfare with them, was compelled, in 1900, to withdraw the troops from their outposts and leave the savages in undisputed possession. If the following was the type of civilization offered them, then they are better left to themselves: "Two hundred Indians who have been made prisoners are compelled to be baptized. The ceremony takes place in the presence of the Governor and officials of the district, and a great crowd of spectators. The Indians kneel between two rows of soldiers, an officer with drawn sword compels each in turn to open his mouth, into which a second officer throws a handful of salt, amid general laughter at the wry faces of the Indians. Then a Franciscan padre comes with a pail of water and besprinkles the prisoners. They are then commanded to rise, and each receives a piece of paper inscribed with his new name, a scapulary, and - a glass of rum" [Footnote: Report of British and Foreign Bible Society, 1900.] What countries these for missionary enterprise!

After sailing for eighteen days up the river, we transhipped into a smaller steamer going to Bolivia. Sailing up the bay, you pass, on the south shore, a small Brazilian customs house, which consists of a square roof of zinc, without walls, supported on four posts, standing about two meters from the ground. A Brazilian, clothed only in his black skin, came down the house ladder and stared at us as we passed. The compliment was returned, although we had become somewhat accustomed to that style of dress - or undress. A little farther up the bay, a white stone shone out in the sunlight, marking the Bolivian boundary, and giving the name of Piedra Blanca to the village. This landmark is shaded by a giant tamarind tree, and numerous barrel trees, or palo boracho, grow in the vicinity. In my many wanderings in tropical America, I have seen numerous strange trees, but these are extraordinarily so. The trunk comes out of the ground with a small circumference, then gradually widens out to the proportions of an enormous barrel, and at the top closes up to the two-foot circumference again. Two branches, like giant arms spread themselves out in a most weird-looking manner on the top of all. About five leaves grow on each bough, and, instinctively, you consider them the fingers of the arms.

It was only three leagues to the Bolivian town of Piedra Blanca, but the "Bahia do Marengo" took three hours to steam the short distance, for five times we had to stop on the way, owing to the bearings becoming heated. These the Brazilian engineer cooled with pails of water.

In the beautiful Bay of Caceres, much of which was grown over with lotus and Victoria Regia, we finally anchored. This Bolivian village is about eighteen days' sail up the river from Montevideo on the seacoast.

Chartering the "General Pando," a steamer of 25 h.p. and 70 ft. long, we there completed our preparations, and finally steamed away up the Alto Paraguay, proudly flying the Bolivian flag of red, yellow, and green. As a correct plan of the river had to be drawn, the steamer only travelled by day, when we were able to admire the grandeur of the scenery, which daily grew wilder as the mountains vied with each other in lifting their rugged peaks toward heaven. From time to time we passed one of the numerous islands the Paraguay is noted for. These are clothed with such luxuriant vegetation that nothing less than an army of men with axes could penetrate them. The land is one great, wild, untidy, luxuriant hot-house, "built by nature for herself." The puma, jaguar and wildcat are here at home, besides the anaconda and boa constrictor, which grow to enormous lengths. The Yaci Reta, or Island of the Moon, is the ideal haunt of the jaguar, and as we passed it a pair of those royal beasts were playing on the shore like two enormous cats. As they caught sight of us, one leapt into the mangrove swamp, out of sight, and the other took a plunge into the river, only to rise a few yards distant and receive an explosive bullet in his head. The mangrove tree, with its twisting limbs and bright green foliage, grows in the warm water and fotid mud of tropical countries. It is a type of death, for pestilence hangs round it like a cloud. At early morning this cloud is a very visible one. The peculiarity of the tree is that its hanging branches themselves take root, and, nourished by such putrid exhalations, it quickly spreads.

There were also many floating islands of fantastic shape, on which birds rested in graceful pose. We saw the garza blanca, the aigrets of which are esteemed by royalty and commoner alike, along with other birds new and strange. To several on board who had looked for years on nothing but the flat Argentine pampas, this change of scenery was most exhilarating, and when one morning the sun rose behind the "Golden Mountains," and illuminated peak after peak, the effect was glorious. So startlingly grand were some of the colors that our artist more than once said he dare not paint them, as the world would think that his coloring was not true to nature.

Many were the strange sights we saw on the shore. Once we were amused at the ludicrous spectacle of a large bird of the stork family, which had built its nest in a tree almost overhanging the river. The nest was a collection of reeds and feathers, having two holes in the bottom, through which the legs of the bird were hanging. The feet, suspended quite a yard below the nest, made one wonder how the bird could rise from its sitting position.

Every sight the traveller sees, however, is not so amusing. As darkness creeps over earth and sky, and the pale moonbeams shed a fitful light, it is most pathetic to see on the shore the dead trunk and limbs of a tree, in the branches of which has been constructed a rude platform, on which some dark-minded Indian has reverently lifted the dead body of his comrade. The night wind, stirring the dry bones and whistling through the empty skull, makes weird music!

The banks of the stream had gradually come nearer and nearer to us, and the great river, stretching one hundred and fifty miles in width where it pours its volume of millions of tons of water into the sea at Montevideo, was here a silver ribbon, not half a mile across.

Far be it from me to convey the idea that life in those latitudes is Eden. The mosquitos and other insects almost drive one mad. The country may truly be called a naturalists' paradise, for butterflies, beetles, and creeping things are multitudinous, but the climate, with its damp, sickly heat, is wholly unsuited to the Anglo-Saxon. Day after day the sun in all his remorseless strength blazes upon the earth, is if desirous of setting the whole world on fire. The thermometer in the shade registered 110, 112 and 114 degrees Fahrenheit, and on one or two memorable days 118 degrees. The heat in our little saloon at times rose as high as 130 degrees, and the perspiration poured down in streams on our almost naked bodies. We seemed to be running right into the brazen sun itself.

One morning the man on the look-out descried deer on the starboard bow, and arms were quickly brought out, ready for use. Our French hunter was just taking aim when it struck me that the deer moved in a strange way. I immediately asked him to desist. Those dark forms in the long grass seemed, to my somewhat trained eyes, naked Indians, and as we drew nearer to them so it proved, and the man was thankful he had withheld his fire.

After steaming for some distance up the river several dug-outs, filled with Guatos Indians, paddled alongside us. An early traveller in those head-waters wrotes of these: "Some of the smaller tribes were but a little removed from the wild brutes of their own jungles. The lowest in the scale, perhaps, were the Guatos, who dwell to the north of the Rio Apa. This tribe consisted of less than one hundred persons, and they were as unapproachable as wild beasts. No other person, Indian or foreigner, could ever come near but they would fly and hide in impenetrable jungles. They had no written language of their own, and lived like unreasoning animals, without laws or religion."

The Guato Indian seems now to be a tame and inoffensive creature, but well able to strike a bargain in the sale of his dug-out canoes, home-made guitars and other curios. In the wrobbling canoe they are very dexterous, as also in the use of their long bows and arrows; the latter have points of sharpened bone. When hungry, they hunt or fish. When thirsty, they drink from the river; and if they wish clothing, wild cotton grows in abundance.

These Indians, living, as they do, along the banks of the river and streams, have recently been frequently visited by the white man on his passage along those natural highways. It is, therefore superfluous for me to add that they are now correspondingly demoralized. It is a most humiliating fact that just in proportion as the paleface advances into lands hitherto given up to the Indian so those races sink. This degeneration showed itself strikingly among the Guatos in their inordinate desire for cachaca, or "firewater." Although extremely cautious and wary in their exchanges to us, refusing to barter a bow and arrows for a shirt, yet, for a bottle of cachaca, they would gladly have given even one of their canoes. These ketchiveyos, twenty or twenty-five feet long by about twenty inches wide, they hollow from the trunk of the cedar, or lapacho tree. This is done with great labor and skill; yet, as I have said, they were boisterously eager to exchange this week's work for that which they knew would lead them to fight and kill one another.

As a mark of special favor, the chief invited me to their little village, a few miles distant. Stepping into one of their canoes - a large, very narrow boat, made of one tree-trunk hollowed out by fire - I was quickly paddled by three naked Indians up a narrow creek, which was almost covered with lotus. The savages, standing in the canoe, worked the paddles with a grace and elegance which the civilized man would fail to acquire, and the narrow craft shot through the water at great speed. The chief sat in silence at the stern. I occupied a palm-fibre mat spread for me amidships. The very few words of Portuguese my companions spoke or understood rendered conversation difficult, so the stillness was broken only by the gentle splash of the paddles. On each side the dense forest seemed absolutely impenetrable, but we at last arrived at an opening. As we drew ashore I noticed that an Indian path led directly inland.

Leaving our dug-out moored with a fibre rope to a large mangrove tree, we started to thread our way through the forest, and finally reached a clearing. Here we came upon a crowd of almost naked and extremely dejected-looking women. Many of these, catching sight of me, sped into the jungle like frightened deer. The chief's wife, however, at a word from him, received me kindly, and after accepting a brass necklace with evident pleasure, showed herself very affable. Poor lost Guatos! Their dejected countenances, miserable grass huts, alive with vermin, and their extreme poverty, were most touching. Inhabiting, as they do, one of the hottest and dampest places on the earth's surface, where mosquitos are numberless, the wonder is that they exist at all. Truly, man is a strange being, who can adapt himself to equatorial heat or polar frigidity. The Guatos' chief business in life seemed to consist in sitting on fibre mats spread on the ground, and driving away the bloodthirsty mosquitos from their bare backs. For this they use a fan of their own manufacture, made from wild cotton, which there seems to abound. Writing of mosquitos, let me say these Indian specimens were a terror to us all. What numbers we killed! I could write this account in their blood. It was my blood, though - before they got it! Men who hunt the tiger in cool bravery boiled with indignation before these awful pests, which stabbed and stung with marvellous persistency, and disturbed 
 the solitude of nature with their incessant humming. I write the word incessant advisedly, for I learned that there are several kinds of mosquitos. Some work by day and others by night. Naturalists tell us that only the female mosquito bites. Did they take a particular liking to us because we were all males?

Some of the Indians paint their naked bodies in squares, generally with red and black pigment. Their huts were in some cases large, but very poorly constructed. When any members of the tribe are taken sick they are supposed to be "possessed" by a stronger evil power, and the sickness is "starved out." When the malady flies away the life generally accompanies it. The dead are buried under the earth inside the huts, and in some of the dwellings graves are quite numerous. This custom of interior burial has probably been adopted because the wild animals of the forest would otherwise eat the corpse. Horrible to relate, their own half-wild dogs sometimes devour the dead, though an older member of the tribe is generally left home to mount guard.

Seeing by the numerous gourds scattered around that they were drinking chicha, I solicited some, being anxious to taste the beverage which had been used so many centuries before by the old Incas. The wife of the chief immediately tore off a branch of the feather palm growing beside her, and, certainly within a minute, made a basket, into which she placed a small gourd. Going to the other side of the clearing, she commenced, with the agility of a monkey, to ascend a long sapling which had been laid in a slanting position against a tall palm tree. The long, graceful leaves of this cabbage palm had been torn open, and the heart thus left to ferment. From the hollow cabbage the woman filled the gourd, and lowered it to me by a fibre rope. The liquid I found to be thick and milky, and the taste not unlike cider.

Prescott tells us that Atahuallpa, the Peruvian monarch, came to see the conqueror, Pizarro, "quaffing chicha from golden goblets borne by his attendants." [Footnote: Este Embajador traia servicio de Senor, i cinco o seis Vasos de Oro fino, con que bebia, i con ellos daba a beber a los Espanoles de la chicha que traia." - Xerez.] Golden goblets did not mean much to King Atahuallpa, however, for his palace of five hundred different apartments is said to have been tiled with beaten gold.

In these Guato Indians I observed a marked difference to any others I had visited, in that they permitted the hair to grow on their faces. The chief was of quite patriarchal aspect, with full beard and mild, intelligent-looking eyes. The savages inhabiting the Chaco consider this custom extremely "dirty."

Before leaving these people I procured some of their bows and arrows, and also several cleverly woven palm mats and cotton fans.

Some liquor our cook gave away had been taken out by the braves to their women in another encampment. These spirits had so inflamed the otherwise retiring, modest females that they, with the men, returned to the steamer, clamoring for more. All the stores, along with some liquors we carried, were under my care, and I kept them securely locked up, but in my absence at the Indian camp the store-room had been broken open, and our men and the Indians - men and women - had drunk long and deep. A scene like Bedlam, or Dante's "Inferno," was taking place when I returned. Willing as they were to listen to my counsel and admit that I was certainly a great white teacher, with superior wisdom, on this love for liquor and its debasing consequences they would hear no words. The women and girls, like the men, would clamor for the raw alcohol, and gulp it down in long draughts. When ardent spirits are more sought after by women and girls than are beads and looking-glasses it surely shows a terribly depraved taste. Even the chattering monkeys in the trees overhead would spurn the poison and eagerly clutch the bright trinket. Perhaps the looking-glasses I gave the poor females would, after the orgies were over, serve to show them that their beauty was not increased by this beastly carousal, and thus be a means of blessing. It may be asked, Can the savage be possessed of pride and of self-esteem? I unhesitatingly answer yes, as I have had abundant opportunity of seeing. They will strut with peacock pride when wearing a specially gaudy-colored headdress, although that may be their only article of attire.

Having on board far more salt than we ourselves needed, I was enabled to generously distribute much of that invaluable commodity among them. That also, working in a different way, might be a means of restoring them to a normal soundness of mind after we left.

Poor lost creatures! For this draught of the white man's poison, far more terrible to them than the deadly nightshade of their forests, more dangerous than the venom of the loathsome serpent gliding across their path, they are willing to sell body or soul. Soul, did I say? They have never heard of that. To them, so far as I could ascertain, a future life is unknown. The explorer has penetrated some little way into their dark forests in search of rubber, or anything else which it would pay to exploit, but the missionary of the Cross has never sought to illumine their darker minds. They live their little day and go out into the unknown unconscious of the fact that One called Jesus, who was the Incarnate God, died to redeem them. As a traveller, I have often wondered why men should be willing to pay me hundreds of dollars to explore those regions for ultimate worldly gain, and none should ever offer to employ me in proclaiming the greatest wonder of all the ages - the story of Calvary - for eternal gain. After all, are the Indians more blind to the future than we are? Yet, strange to say, we profess to believe in the teachings of that One who inculcated the practice of laying up treasure in heaven, while they have not even heard His name. For love of gain men have been willing to accompany me through the most deadly fever-breeding morass, or to brave the poisoned arrows of the lynx-eyed Indian, but few have ever offered to go and tell of Him whom they profess to serve.

The suffocating atmosphere quite precluded the idea of writing, for a pen, dipped in ink, would dry before reaching the paper, and the latter be saturated with perspiration in a few seconds; so these observations were penned later. So far as I could ascertain, the Romish Church has never touched the Guatos, and, notwithstanding all I have said about them, I unhesitatingly affirm that it is better so. Geo. R. Witte, missionary to Brazil, says: "With one exception, all the priests with whom I came in contact (when on a journey through Northern Brazil) were immoral, drunken, and ignorant. The tribes who have come under priestly care are decidedly inferior in morals, industry, and order to the tribes who refuse to have anything to do with the whites. The Charentes and Apinages have been, for years, under the care of Catholic friars - this is the way I found them: both men and women walk about naked."

"We heard not one contradiction of the general testimony that the people who were not under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church as it is in S. America were better morally than those who were." [Footnote: Robert E. Speer, "Missions in South America."]

In Christendom organs peal out the anthems of Divine love, and well-dressed worshippers chant in harmonious unison, "Lord, incline our hearts to keep Thy law." That law says: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." To the question: "Who is my neighbor?" the Divine voice answers: "A certain man." May he not be one of these neglected Indians?