Brazil has over 10,000 miles of railway, but as it is a country larger than the whole of Europe, the reader can easily understand that many parts must be still remote from the iron road and almost inaccessible. The town of Cuyaba, as the crow flies, is not one thousand miles from Rio, but, in the absence of any kind of roads, the traveller from Rio must sail down the one thousand miles of sea- coast, and, entering the River Plate, proceed up the Parana, Paraguay, and San Lorenzo rivers to reach it, making it a journey of 3,600 miles.

"In the time demanded for a Brazilian to reach points in the interior, setting out from the national capital and going either by way of the Amazon or Rio de la Plata systems of waterways, he might journey to Europe and back two or three times over." [Footnote: Sylvester Baxter, in The Outlook, March, 1908.]

The writer on one occasion was in Rio when a certain mission called him to the town of Corumba, distant perhaps 1,300 miles from the capital. Does the reader wish to journey to that inland town with him?

Boarding an ocean steamer at Rio, we sail down the stormy sea-coast for one thousand miles to Montevideo. There we tranship into the Buenos Ayres boat, and proceed one hundred and fifty miles up the river to that city. Almost every day steamers leave that great centre for far interior points. The "Rapido" was ready to sail for Asuncion, so we breasted the stream one thousand miles more, when that city was reached. There another steamer waited to carry us to Corumba, another thousand miles further north.

The climate and scenery of the upper reaches of the Paraguay are superb, but our spirits were damped one morning when we discovered that a man of our party had mysteriously disappeared during the night. We had all sat down to dinner the previous evening in health and spirits, and now one was missing. The All-seeing One only knows his fate. To us he disappeared forever.

Higher up the country - or lower, I cannot tell which, for the river winds in all directions, and the compass, from pointing our course as due north, glides over to northwest, west, southwest, and on one or two occasions, I believe, pointed due south - we came to the first Brazilian town, Puerto Martinho, where we were obliged to stay a short time. A boat put off from the shore, in which were some well- dressed natives. Before she reached us and made fast, a loud report of a Winchester rang out from the midst of those assembled on the deck of our steamer, and a man in the boat threw up his arms and dropped; the spark of life had gone out. So quickly did this happen that before we had time to look around the unfortunate man was weltering in his own blood in the bottom of the boat! The assassin, an elderly Brazilian, who had eaten at our table and scarcely spoken to anyone, stepped forward quietly, confessing that he had shot one of his old enemies. He was then taken ashore in the ship's boat, there to await Brazilian justice, and later on, to appear before a higher tribunal, where the accounts of all men will be balanced.

Such rottenness obtains in Brazilian law that not long since a judge sued in court a man who had bribed him and sought to evade paying the bribe. Knowing this laxity, we did not anticipate that our murderous fellow-traveller would have to suffer much for his crime. The News, of Rio Janeiro, recently said: "The punishment of a criminal who has any influence whatever is becoming one of the forgotten things."

After leaving Puerto Martinho, the uniform flatness of the river banks changes to wild, mountainous country. On either hand rise high mountains, whose blue tops at times almost frowned over our heads, and the luxuriant tropical vegetation, with creeping lianas, threatened to bar our progress. Huge alligators sunned themselves on the banks, and birds of brilliant plumage flew from branch to branch. Carpinchos, with heavy, pig-like tread, walked among the rushes of the shore, and made more than one good dish for our table. This water-hog, the largest gnawing animal in the world, is here very common. Their length, from end of snout to tail, is between three and four feet, while they frequently weigh up to one hundred pounds. The girth of their body will often exceed the length by a foot. For food, they eat the many aquatic plants of the river banks, and the puma, in turn, finds them as delicious a morsel as we did. The head of this amphibious hog presents quite a ludicrous aspect, owing to the great depth of the jaw, and to see them sitting on their haunches, like huge rabbits, is an amusing sight. The young cling on to the mother's back when she swims.

Farther on we stopped to take in wood at a large Brazilian cattle establishment, and a man there assured us that "there were no venomous insects except tigers," but these killed at least fifteen per cent. of his animals. Not long previously a tiger had, in one night, killed five men and a dog. The heat every day grew more oppressive. On the eighth day we passed the Brazilian fort and arsenal of Cuimbre, with its brass cannon shining in a sun of brass, and its sleepy inhabitants lolling in the shade.

Five weeks after leaving Rio Janeiro we finally anchored in Corumba, an intensely sultry spot. Corumba is a town of 5,000 inhabitants, and often said to be one of the hottest in the world. It is an unhealthy place, as are most towns without drainage and water supply. In the hotter season of the year the ratio on a six months' average may be two deaths to one birth. It is a place where dogs at times seem more numerous than people, a town where justice is administered in ways new and strange. Does the reader wish an instance? An assassin of the deepest dye was given over by the judge to the tender mercies of the crowd. The man was thereupon attacked by the whole population in one mass. He was shot and stabbed, stoned and beaten until he became almost a shapeless heap, and was then hurried away in a mule cart, and, without coffin, priest or mourners, was buried like a dog.

Perhaps the populace felt they had to take the law into their own hands, for I was told that the Governor had taken upon himself the responsibility of leaving the prison gates open to thirty-two men, who had quietly walked out. These men had been incarcerated for various reasons, murder, etc., for even in this state of Matto Grosso an assassin who cannot pay or escape suffers a little imprisonment. The excuse was, "We cannot afford to keep so many idle men - we are poor." What a confession for a Brazilian! I do not vouch for the story, for I was not an eye-witness to the act, but it is quite in the range of Brazilian possibilities. The only discrepancy may be the strange way of Portuguese counting. A man buys three horses, but his account is that he has bought twelve feet of horses. He embarks a hundred cows, but the manifest describes the transaction as four hundred feet. The Brazilian is in this respect almost a Yankee - little sums do not content him. Why should they, when he can truthfully boast that his territory is larger than that of the United States? His mile is longer than that of any other nation, and the bocadinho, or extra "mouthful," which generally accompanies it, is endless. Instead of having one hundred cents to the dollar, he has two thousand, and each cent is called a "king." The sound is big, but alas, the value of his money is insignificantly small!

The child is not content with being called John Smith. "Jose Maria Jesus Joao dois Sanctos Sylva da Costa da Cunha" is his name; and he recites it, as I, in my boyhood's days, used to "say a piece" while standing on a chair. There is no school in the town. In Brazil, 84 per cent. of the entire population are illiterate.

Corumba contains a few stores of all descriptions, but it would seem that the stock in trade of the chemist is very low, for I overheard a conversation between two women one day, who said they could not get this or that - in fact, "he only keeps cures for stabs and such like things." In the armazems liquors are sold, and rice, salt and beans despatched to the customer by the pint. Why wine and milk are not sold by the pound I did not enquire.

One is not to ask too much in Brazil, or offence is given. When seated at table one day with a comrade, who had the misfortune to swallow a bone, I quietly "swallowed" the remedy a Brazilian told us of. He said their custom was for all to turn away their heads, while the unfortunate one revolved his plate around three times to the left, and presto! the bone disappeared. My friend did not believe in the cure; consequently, he suffered for several days.

I have said that dogs are numerous. These animals roam the streets by day and night in packs and fight and tear at anyone or anything. Some days before we arrived there were even more, but a few pounds of poison had been scattered about the streets - which, by the way, are the worst of any town I have ever entered - and the dog population of the world decreased nine hundred. This is the Corumba version. Perhaps the truth is, nine hundred feet, or, as we count, two hundred and twenty-five dogs. In the interests of humanity, I hope the number was nine hundred heads. Five carts then patrolled the streets and carried away to the outskirts those dead dogs, which were there burnt. I, the writer, find the latter part of the story hardest to believe. Why should a freeborn Brazilian lift dogs out of the street? In what better place could they be? They would fill up the holes and ruts, and, in such intense heat, why do needless work?

Corumba is a typical Brazilian town. Little carts, drawn by a string of goats or rams, thread their way through the streets. Any animal but the human must do the work. As the majority of the people go barefooted, the patriarchal custom prevails of having water offered on entering a house to wash the feet. At all hours of the day men, women and children seek to cool themselves in the river, which is here a mile wide, and with a depth of 20 feet in the channel. While on the subject of bathing, I might mention that a wooden image of the patron saint of the town is, with great pomp, brought down at the head of a long procession, once every year, to receive his annual "duck" in the water. This is supposed to benefit him much. After his immersion, all the inhabitants, men, women and children, make a rush to be the first to dip in the "blessed water," for, by doing this, all their sins are forgiven them for a year to come. The sick are careful to see that they are not left in the position of the unfortunate one mentioned in the Gospel by John, who "had no one to put him into the pool."

I have also known the Virgin solemnly carried down to the water's edge, that she might command it to rise or fall, as suited the convenience of the people. While she exercised her power the natives knelt around her on the shingly beach in rapturous devotion. At such times the "Mother of Heaven" is clothed in her best, and the jewels in her costume sparkle in the tropical sun.

What the Nile is to Egypt, the Paraguay River is to these interior lands, and what Isis was to the Egyptians, so is the Virgin to these people. Once, when the waters were low, it is related the Virgin came down from heaven and stood upon some rocks in the river bed. To this day the pilot tells you how her footprints are to be clearly seen, impressed in the stone, when the water is shallow. Strange that Mahomet does not rise from his tomb and protest, for that miracle we must concede to him, because his footprints have been on the sacred rocks at Mecca for a thousand years. Does he pass it over, believing, with many, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Whatever Roman Catholicism is in other parts of the world, in South America it is pure Mariolatry. The creed, as we have seen, reads: "Mary must be our first object of worship, Saint Joseph the second." Along with these, saints, living and dead, are numberless.

A traveller in South Brazil thus writes of a famous monk: "There, in a shed at the back of a small farm, half sitting, half reclining on a mat and a skin of some wild animal, was a man of about seventy years of age, in a state of nudity. A small piece of red blanket was thrown over his shoulders, barely covering them. His whole body was encrusted with filth, and his nails had grown like claws. His vacant look showed him to be a poor, helpless idiot. Beside him a large wood fire was kept burning. The ashes of this fire, strewn around him for the sake of cleanliness, are carried away for medicinal purposes by the thousands of pilgrims who visit him. Men and women come from long distances to see him, in the full persuasion that he is a holy man and has miraculous powers." [Footnote: "The Neglected Continent"] Romanism is thus seen to be in a double sense "a moral pestilence."

The church is, of course, very much in evidence in Corumba, for it is a very religious place. A missa cantata is often held there, when a noisy brass band will render dance music, often at the moat solemn parts. The drums frequently beat until the worshippers are almost deafened.

In the town of Bom Fim, a little further north, the priest runs a "show" opposite his church, and over it are printed the words, "Theatre of the Holy Ghost."

Think, O intelligent reader, how dense must be the darkness of Papal America when a church notice, which anyone may see affixed to the door, reads:


A raffle for souls will be held at this Church on January 1st, at which four bleeding and tortured souls will be released from purgatory to heaven, according to the four highest tickets in this most holy lottery. Tickets, $1.00. To be had of the father in charge. Will you, for the poor sum of one dollar, leave your loved ones to burn in purgatory for ages?

At the last raffle for souls, the following numbers obtained the prize, and the lucky holders may be assured that their loved ones are forever released from the flames of purgatory: Ticket 4l. - The soul of Madame Coldern is made happy for ever. Ticket 762. - The soul of the aged widow, Francesca de Parson, is forever released from the flames of purgatory. Ticket 84l. - The soul of Lawyer Vasquez is released from purgatory and ushered into heavenly joys. [Footnote: "Gospel Message."]

But, my reader asks, "Do the people implicitly believe all the priest says?" No, sometimes they say, "Show us a sign." This was especially true of the people living on the Chili-Bolivian border. The wily, yet progressive, priest there made a number of little balloons, which on a certain day of the year were sent up into the sky, bearing away the sins of the people. Of course, when the villagers saw their sins float away before their own eyes, enclosed in little crystal spheres, such as could not be earthly, they believed and rejoiced. Yes, reader, the South American priest is alive to his position after all, and even "patents" are requisitioned. In some of the larger churches there is the "slot" machine, which, when a coin is inserted, gives out "The Pope's blessing." This is simply a picture representing his Holiness with uplifted hands.

The following is a literal translation, from the Portuguese, of a "notice" in a Rio Janeiro newspaper:


"The day will be ushered in with majestic and deafening fireworks, and the 'Hail Mary' rendered by the beautiful band of the - - Infantry regiment. There will be an intentional mass, grand vocal and instrumental music, solemn vespers, the Gospel preached, and ribbons, which have been placed round the neck of the image of St. Broz, distributed.

"The square, tastefully decorated and pompously illuminated, will afford the devotees, after their supplications to the Lord of the Universe, the following means of amusement, - - -the Chinese Pavilion, etc., - - -. Evening service concluded, there will be danced in the Flora Pavilion the fandango a pandereta. In the same pavilion a comic company will act several pieces. On Sunday, upon the conclusion of the Te Deum, the comic company will perform," etc.

The spiritual darkness is appalling. If the following can be written of Pernambuco, a large city of 180,000 inhabitants, on the sea coast, the reader can, in a measure, understand the priestly thraldom of these isolated towns. A Pernambuco newspaper, in its issue of March 1st, 1903, contains an article headed, "Burning of Bibles," which says:

"As has been announced, there was realized in the square of the Church of Penha, on the 22nd ult., at nine o'clock in the morning, in the presence of more than two thousand people, the burning of two hundred and fourteen volumes of the Protestant Bible, amidst enthusiastic cheers for the Catholic religion, the immaculate Virgin Mary, and the High Priest Leo XIII. - cheers raised spontaneously by the Catholic people." [Footnote: Literal translation from the Portuguese.]

A colporteur, known to me, when engaged selling Bibles in a Brazilian town, reports that the fanatical populace got his books and carried them, fastened and burning, at the end of blazing torches, while they tramped the streets, yelling: "Away with all false books!" "Away with the religion of the devils!" A recent Papal bull reads: "Bible burnings are most Catholic demonstrations."

Is it cause for wonder that the Spanish-American Republics have been so backward?

I have seen a notice headed "SAVIOUR OF SOULS," making known the fact that at a certain address a Most Holy Reverend Father would be in attendance during certain hours, willing to save the soul of any and every applicant on payment of so much. That revelation which tells of a Saviour without money or price is denied them.

Corumba is a strange, lawless place, where the ragged, barefooted night policeman inspires more terror in the law-abiding than the professional prowler. The former has a sharp sword, which glitters as he threatens, and the latter has often a kind heart, and only asks "mil reis" (about thirty cents).

How can a town be governed properly when its capital is three thousand miles distant, and the only open route thither is, by river and sea, a month's journey? Perhaps the day is not far distant when Cuyaba, the most central city of South America, and larger than Corumba, lying hundreds of miles further up the river, will set up a head of its own to rule, or misrule, the province. Brazil is too big, much too big, or the Government is too little, much too little.

The large states are subdivided into districts, or parishes, each under an ecclesiastical head, as may be inferred from the peculiar names many of them bear. There are the parishes of:

"Our Lady, Mother of God of Porridge."

"The Three Hearts of Jesus."

"Our Lady of the Rosary of the Pepper Tree."

"The Souls of the Sand Bank of the River of Old Women."

"The Holy Ghost of the Cocoanut Tree."

"Our Lady Mother of the Men of Mud."

"The Sand Bank of the Holy Ghost."

"The Holy Spirit of the Pitchfork."

The Brazilian army, very materially aided by the saints, is able to keep this great country, with its many districts, in tolerable quietness. Saint Anthony, who, when young, was privileged to carry the toys of the child Jesus, is, in this respect, of great service to the Brazilians. The military standing of Saint Anthony in the Brazilian army is one of considerable importance and diversified service. According to a statement of Deputy Spinola, made on the 13th of June, the eminent saint's feast day, his career in the military service of Brazil has been the following: By a royal letter of the 7th of April, 1707, the commission of captain was conferred upon the image of Saint Anthony, of Bahia. This image was promoted to be a major of infantry by a decree of September 13th, 1819. In July, 1859, his pay was placed upon the regular pay-roll of the Department of War.

The image of St. Anthony in Rio de Janeiro, however, outranks his counterpart of Bahia, and seems to have had a more brilliant military record. His commission as captain dates from a royal letter of March 21st, 1711. He was promoted to be major of infantry in July, 1810, and to be lieutenant-colonel in 1814. He was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of Christ also, in 1814, and his pay as lieutenant-colonel was made a permanent charge on the military list in 1833.

The image of St. Anthony of Ouro Preto attained the rank and pay of captain in 1799. His career has been an uneventful one, and has been confined principally to the not unpleasant task of drawing $480 a month from the public treasury. The salaries of all these soldiery images are drawn by duly constituted attorneys. [Footnote: Rio News]

Owing to bubonic plague, my stay in Corumba was prolonged. I have been in the city of Bahia when an average of 200 died every day from this terrible disease, so Brazil is beginning to be more careful.

Though steamers were not running, perspiration was. Oh, the heat! In my excursions in and around the town I found that even the mule I had hired, acclimatized as it was to heat and thirst and hunger, began to show signs of fatigue. Can man or beast be expected to work when the temperature stands at 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade?

As the natives find bullocks bear the heat better than mules, I procured one of these saddle animals, but it could only travel at a snail's pace. I was indeed thankful to quit the oven of a town when at last quarantine was raised and a Brazilian steamboat called.

Rats were so exceedingly numerous on this packet that they would scamper over our bodies at night. So bold were they that we were compelled to take a cudgel into our berths! A Brazilian passenger declared one morning that he had counted three hundred rats on the cabin floor at one time! I have already referred to Brazilian numbering; perhaps he meant three hundred feet, or seventy-five rats.

With the heat and the rats, supplemented by millions of mosquitos, my Corumba journey was not exactly a picnic.

In due time we arrived again at Puerto Martinio, only to hear that our former fellow-passenger, the assassin, had regained his freedom and could be seen walking about the town. But then - well, he was rich, and money does all in Brazil - yea, the priest will even tell you it purchases an entrance into heaven! In worldly matters the people see its power, and in spiritual matters they believe it. If the priest has heard of Peter's answer to Simon - "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money" - he keeps it to himself. How can he live if he deceives not? Strange indeed is the thought that, three hundred years before the caravels of Portuguese conquerors ever sailed these waters, the law of the Indian ruler of that very part of the country read: "Judges who receive bribes from their clients are to be considered as thieves meriting death." And a clause in the Sacred Book read: "He who kills another condemns his own self." Has the interior of South America gone forward or backward since then? Was the adoration of the Sun more civilizing than the worship of the Virgin?

When we got down into Argentine waters I began to feel cold, and donned an overcoat. Thinking it strange that I should feel thus in the latitude which had in former times been so agreeable, I investigated, and found the thermometer 85 degrees Fah. in the shade. After Corumba that was cold.