There's tempest in yon horned moon, 
    And lightning in yon cloud; 
    But hark the music, mariners! 
    The wind is piping loud.

Saturday, September 16th. - Waking at half-past five, we busied ourselves until nine o'clock, when we again started in a special train for Carcarana. After a short stop at Roldan, it was reached two hours later, and breakfast was followed by a long ride through the Land Company's colony, and from thence to Candelaria, a purely Spanish settlement.

I freely confess that I had hardly believed all the stories they told me last night about the terrible doings of the locusts, and thought they must have been slightly exaggerated. It all seemed too dreadful to be true - as if one of the plagues of Egypt had been revived by the wand of an evil magician. In this somewhat incredulous mood I rashly said that, although I was very sorry to hear of the visit of these destructive creatures, as they were unfortunately here, I should like to see them. My wish was shortly to be gratified; for, in the course of our ride, we saw in the distant sky what looked very much like a heavy purple thunder-cloud, but which the experienced pronounced to be a swarm of locusts. It seemed impossible; but as we proceeded they met us, first singly, and then in gradually increasing numbers, until each step became positively painful, owing to the smart blows we received from them on our heads, faces, and hands. We stopped for a time at Mr. Holt's large estancia, where, notwithstanding the general appearance of prosperity, the traces of the ravages of the locusts were only too visible. On remounting, to proceed on our journey, we found that the cloud had approached much nearer, the effect produced by its varying position being most extraordinary. As the locusts passed between us and the sun they completely obscured the light; a little later, with the sun's rays shining directly on their wings, they looked like a golden cloud, such as one sometimes sees in the transformation scene of a pantomime; and, at a greater distance, when viewed from the top of a slight eminence, they looked like a snow-storm, or a field of snow-white marguerites, which had suddenly taken to themselves wings. When on the ground, with their wings closed, they formed a close mass of little brown specks, completely hiding the ground and crops, both grass and grain. In riding over them, though not a quarter of their number could rise, for want of space in which to spread their wings, they formed such a dense cloud that we could see nothing else, and the horses strongly objected to face them. They got into one's hair and clothes, and gave one the creeps all over. I am sure I shall often dream of them for some time to come, and I have quite made up my mind that I never wish to see another locust as long as I live. I have, however, secured some fine specimens for any one who is curious about them.

The land we passed through appeared to be well farmed. We spoke to several of the colonists, especially to one Italian family, living in a little mud rancho with a tile roof. They were all gathered together to witness the dying agonies of one of their best cows, perishing from the effects of the drought. The rest of the animals in the corral looked, I am sorry to say, thin and miserable, and as if they intended soon to follow their companion's example. The poor people, nevertheless, seemed very cheery and contented, and hospitably gave us each a drink of some remarkably muddy water.

After a thirty-mile ride under a hot sun, fortunately on the easiest of horses, we were none of us sorry to stop for a short time at Carcarana, and obtain some refreshment, before proceeding - horses, carriage, and all - by train to Rosario, another colony on the line. Arrived at the latter place, I thought I had had enough riding for the first day, and therefore visited the various farms and houses in the carriage, the rest of the party going, as before, on horseback. After a round of about fifteen miles, we returned to the station, where we were kindly received by the sister of the station-master. An excellent dinner was provided for us in the refreshment-room, before we entered our special train, and Rosario was reached at about ten o'clock.

Sunday, September 17th. - A kind friend sent his carriage to take us to the English church, a brick building, built to replace the small iron church that existed here previously, and only opened last month. The service was well performed, and the singing of the choir excellent. We paid a visit to the Sunday schools after luncheon, and then drove to the quinta of Baron Alvear. The road lies through the town, past the race-course, crowded with Gauchos, getting up scratch races amongst themselves, and on, over undulating plains and water-courses, into the open country. Sometimes there was a track, sometimes none. In some places the pastures were luxuriantly green; in others the ground was carpeted with white, lilac, and scarlet verbena, just coming into bloom - for it is still early spring here. Here and there came a bare patch, completely cleared by the locusts, who had also stripped many of the fine timber trees in the garden of the quinta. On the gate-posts, at the entrance, were the nests of two oven-birds, like those we had already seen on the telegraph-posts, so exactly spherical as to look like ornaments. In one of the shrubberies a fine jaguar was shut up in a cage, who looked very like a tiger. Though he had evidently just had his dinner, he was watching with greedy interest the proceedings of some natives in charge of a horse - an animal which he esteems a great delicacy, when procurable.

On our way across the camp we saw a great quantity of the seeds of the Martynia proboscidea, mouse-burrs as they call them, - devil's claws or toe-nails: they are curious-looking things, as the annexed woodcut will show.

Frank Buckland has a theory - and very likely a correct one - that they are created in this peculiar form for the express purpose of attaching themselves to the long tails of the wild horses that roam about the country in troops of hundreds. They carry them thousands of miles, and disseminate the seed wherever they go at large in search of food and water.

When we returned to Rosario we noticed a great crowd still on the race-course, and were just in time to see the finish of one race, ridden barebacked, and for a very short distance. All the races are short; and as the natives are always engaging in these little contests of speed, the horses get into the habit of extending themselves directly you put them out of a walk. But the least touch is sufficient to stop them immediately, and I never saw horses better broken than they are here. The most fearful bits are used for the purpose; but when once this is accomplished, the mere inclination of the body, or the slightest pressure of the finger upon the bridle, is sufficient to guide them. They will maintain, for almost any length of time, a quick canter - what they call here 'a little gallop' - at the rate of three leagues (ten miles) an hour, without showing the slightest sign of fatigue. They don't like being mounted, and always fidget a little then, but are quite quiet directly you are in the saddle. I rode several horses which had never carried a lady before; but after the first few minutes they did not seem to mind the riding-habit in the least. They evidently dislike standing still, unless you dismount and throw the rein on the ground, when they will remain stationary for hours.

Monday, September 18th. - The early part of this morning was spent in much the same way as on Saturday, Tom going as before to the Land Company's Office, whilst I remained at home to write.

At nine o'clock we proceeded to the station, and started in our comfortable railway carriage for Tortugas. We formed quite a large party altogether, and the journey over the now familiar line, past Roldan, Carcarana, and Canada de Gomez, was a very pleasant one. At Tortugas we left the train, and paid a visit to one of the overseers of the colony and his cheery little French wife, who, we found, had been expecting us all day on Saturday. A few weeks ago this lady's sister was carried off by Indians, with some other women and children. After riding many leagues, she seized her opportunity, pushed the Indian who was carrying her off his horse, turned the animal's head round, and galloped back across the plain, hotly pursued, until within a mile or two of the colony, by the rest of the band. It was a plucky thing for a little bit of a woman to attempt with a great powerful savage, and she is deservedly looked upon in the village as quite a heroine.

The journey between Rosario and Cordova occupies twelve hours by the ordinary train; and as Frayle Muerto is exactly half-way between the two places, the trains going in either direction commence their journey at the same hours (6 a.m. and 6 p.m.), by which means the passengers meet each other here in time to breakfast and dine together. There is a fine bridge over the river near Frayle Muerto, but the place is principally celebrated as having been the site of the Henleyite colony, which caused disappointment to so many young men of family, who were induced to come out here from England and to go up country, with no other result than the loss of all their money. The scheme was supposed to be perfect in all its details, but proved upon a closer acquaintance to be utterly worthless. The iron church at Rosario is still standing, which the members of the expedition took up there, and we have also met some of the young men themselves at various times.

The train did not reach Cordova until 7.30 p.m., and it was therefore too late for us to see much of the approach to the city, but to-morrow we intend to do a good deal in that way. In the middle of the night we were aroused by a violent thunderstorm. The lightning was most vivid, and illuminated our room with many colours. The rain fell heavily, flooding everything, and making the streets look like rivers, and the courtyard of the hotel like a lake. It is one of the oldest, and, at the same time, one of the most unhealthy, of the cities of South America, for it is built in the hollow of the surrounding hills, where no refreshing breezes can penetrate.

Travelling in Brazil is like passing through a vast hothouse, filled with gorgeous tropical vegetation and forms of insect life. In the neighbourhood of Monte Video you might imagine yourself in a perpetual greenhouse. Here it is like being in a vast garden, in which the greenest of turf, the brightest of bedding-out plants, and the most fragrant flowering shrubs abound. Each country, therefore, possesses its own particular beauty, equally attractive in its way.

Shortly after leaving Cordova we passed through an Indian village; but, except at this point, we did not meet many natives during our ride. One poor woman, however, whom we did unfortunately encounter, had a fall from her horse, owing to the animal being frightened at the umbrella I carried, yet my own horse had, after a very brief objection, quietly submitted to the introduction of this novelty into the equipment of his rider.

We found that the hotel on the Caldera for which we were bound was shut up; but one of the party had the keys, and an excellent lunch quickly made its appearance. The view from the verandah, over the river, to the Sierras beyond, was very fine. It had become quite hot by this time, and I was much interested in seeing all our horses taken down to the water to bathe. They appeared to be perfectly familiar with the process; and, the river being shallow, they picked out all the nice holes between the boulders, where they could lie down and be completely covered by the water. Just as we were starting to return, black clouds gathered from all around; the lightning flashed, the thunder muttered, and big drops began to fall. But the storm was not of long duration, and we escaped the worst part of it, though we had ample evidence of its severity during our homeward ride, in the slippery ground, the washed-away paths, and the swollen ditches. We stopped half-way to see the drowning out of some poor little bizcachas from their holes. The water had been turned into their dwellings by means of trenches, and as the occupants endeavoured to make their escape at the other end they were pounced upon by men and dogs; the prairie-owls meanwhile hovering disconsolately overhead. Two of the gentlemen of our party each managed to purchase a living bizcacha, which was then wrapped up in a handkerchief and conveyed home. When young they are pretty little creatures, and are easily tamed.

It was late when we reached Cordova; but I was anxious to visit the Observatory before our departure, as it is one of the best, though not by any means the largest, in the world. Professor Gould, the astronomer, is away just at present, but we were kindly received by Mrs. Gould, who conducted us over the building. They have a fine collection of various instruments and some wonderful photographs of the principal stars - Saturn, with his ring and eight moons, Jupiter, with his four moons, Venus, Mercury, &c. If we could have stayed longer we might have seen much more; but it was now quite dark, and we had only just time for a short visit to the observing room itself. Our ride down to the city in the dark would have been exceedingly risky if our horses had been less sure-footed, for the roads had been washed away in many places, but we reached the bottom of the Observatory hill in safety, and shortly afterwards arrived at the hotel just in time for dinner.

After dinner we drove to the station, where we found all our own party assembled, and many more people, who had come to see us off. I was given the Chilian bit used for the horse I rode to-day, as a remembrance of my visit. It is a most formidable-looking instrument of torture, and one which I am sure my dear little steed did not in the least require; but I suppose the fact of having once felt it, when being broken in, is sufficient for a lifetime, for the horses here have certainly the very lightest mouths I ever met with. A gift of a young puma, or small lion, was also waiting for me. It is about four months old, and very tame; but, considering the children, I think it will be more prudent to pass it on to the Zoo, in London.

The train started at 8.30 p.m. and took an hour to reach Rio Segundo, where we found tea and coffee prepared. After that we proceeded to make our arrangements for the night; some of the gentlemen sleeping in the saloon-carriages, and some on beds made up in the luggage-van. Tom and I turned into our two cozy little berths, and knew nothing more until we were called at 4.30 a.m. at Canada de Gomez. The lamp had gone out, and we found it rather difficult work dressing and packing in the cold and dark; but it was soon done, and a cup of hot coffee in the refreshment-room afterwards made us feel quite comfortable.

Then we all separated: Captain Dunlop to join his ship; Tom to complete his report on the colonies of the Central Argentine Land Company, which he is preparing in compliance with the request of the Directors in London; while the rest of the party awaited the arrival of the waggonette which was to take us to the estancia of Las Rosas.

Wednesday, September 20th. - At 6.30 a.m. the waggonette arrived, a light but strong, unpainted vehicle, drawn by a pair of active little well-bred horses, both of whom had been raced in their day. There were but a few leagues of cultivated ground to be passed before we reached the broad, undulating, solitary Pampas, where for some time the only visible signs of life were to be found in the Teru-tero birds (a sort of plover), who shrieked discordantly as we disturbed their repose; the partridges, large and small, put up by the retriever who accompanied us; some prairie fowls; a great many hawks, of all sizes; and the pretty little wydah-birds, with their two immense tail feathers, four times the length of their bodies. The first glimpse of the far-spreading prairie was most striking in all its variations of colour. The true shade of the Pampas grass, when long, is a light dusty green; when short it is a bright fresh green. But it frequently happens that, owing to the numerous prairie-fires, either accidental or intentional, nothing is to be seen but a vast expanse of black charred ground, here and there relieved by a few patches of vivid green, where the grass is once more springing up under the influence of the rain.

The road, or rather track, was in a bad condition, owing to the recent wet weather, and on each side of the five canadas, or small rivers, which we had to ford, there were deep morasses, through which we had to struggle as best we could, with the mud up to our axletrees. Just before arriving at the point where the stream had to be crossed, the horses were well flogged and urged on at a gallop, which they gallantly maintained until the other side was reached. Then we stopped to breathe the horses and to repair damages, generally finding that a trace had given way, or that some other part of the harness had shown signs of weakness. On one occasion we were delayed for a considerable time by the breaking of the splinter-bar, to repair which was a troublesome matter; indeed, I don't know how we should have managed it if we had not met a native lad, who sold us his long lasso to bind the pieces together again. It was a lucky rencontre for us, as he was the only human being we saw during the whole of our drive of thirty miles, except the peon who brought us a change of horses, half-way.

In the course of the journey we passed a large estancia, the road to which was marked by the dead bodies and skeletons of the poor beasts who had perished in the late droughts. Hundreds of them were lying about in every stage of decay, those more recently dead being surrounded by vultures and other carrion-birds. The next canada that we crossed was choked up with the carcases of the unfortunate creatures who had struggled thus far for a last drink, and had then not had sufficient strength left to extricate themselves from the water. Herds of miserable-looking, half-starved cattle were also to be seen, the cows very little larger than their calves, and all apparently covered with the same rough shaggy coats. The pasture is not fine enough in this part of the country to carry sheep, but deer are frequently met with.

A little later we again began to approach cultivated land, and a mile or two further brought us to a broad road, with high palings on either side, down which we drove, and through the yard, to the door of the estancia. The house is a one-story building, one room wide, with a verandah in front and at the back, one side of which faces the yard, the other a well-kept garden, full of violets and other spring flowers, and roses just coming into bloom. There are several smaller detached buildings, in which the sleeping apartments are situated, and which are also provided with verandahs and barred windows. Having visited the various rooms, in company with our hosts, we sat down to a rough but substantial breakfast, to which full justice was done. Travelling all night, and a ride of thirty miles in the fresh morning air, have a tendency to produce a keen appetite; and the present occasion proved no exception to that rule.

After breakfast I rested and wrote some letters, while the gentlemen inspected the farm and stud. The proprietor of this estancia has the best horses in this part of the country, and has taken great pains to improve their breed, as well as that of the cattle and sheep, by importing thorough-breds from England. Unlike the Arabs, neither natives nor settlers here think of riding mares, and it is considered quite a disgrace to do so. They are therefore either allowed to run wild in troops, or are used to trample out corn or to make mud for bricks. They are also frequently killed and boiled down, for the sake of their hides and tallow, the value of which does not amount to more than about 10_s. per head. Large herds of them are met with at this time of the year on the Pampas, attended by a few horses, and accompanied by their foals.

The natives of these parts pass their lives in the saddle. Horses are used for almost every conceivable employment, from hunting and fishing to brick-making and butter-churning. Even the very beggars ride about on horseback. I have seen a photograph of one, with a police certificate of mendicancy hanging round his neck, taken from life for Sir Woodbine Parish. Every domestic servant has his or her own horse, as a matter of course; and the maids are all provided with habits, in which they ride about on Sundays, from one estancia to another, to pay visits. In fishing, the horse is ridden into the water as far as he can go, and the net or rod is then made use of by his rider. At Buenos Ayres I have seen the poor animals all but swimming to the shore, with heavy carts and loads, from the ships anchored in the inner roads; for the water is so shallow that only very small boats can go alongside the vessels, and the cargo is therefore transferred directly to the carts to save the trouble and expense of transshipment. In out-of-the-way places, on the Pampas, where no churns exist, butter is made by putting milk into a goat-skin bag, attached by a long lasso to the saddle of a peon, who is then set to gallop a certain number of miles, with the bag bumping and jumping along the ground after him.

About four o'clock the horses - much larger and better bred animals than those we have been riding lately - were brought round from the corral. Mine was a beauty; easy, gentle, and fast. We first took a canter round the cultivated ground, about 300 acres in extent, and in capital condition. Lucerne grows here splendidly, and can be cut seven times a year. As we left the yard, Mr. Nield's man asked if he would take the dogs. He replied in the negative; but I suppose he must have referred to the greyhounds only, for we were certainly accompanied on the present occasion by eleven dogs of various sorts and sizes, those left behind being shut up and kept without food, in anticipation of the stag-hunt to-morrow. We rode over the race-course, where the horses are trained, and on to the partridge ground. The larger kind of these birds are extremely stupid, and are easily ridden down by a horseman, or caught in a noose. They rise three times, and after the third flight they are so exhausted and terrified that it is easy to dismount and catch them with the hand, as they lie panting on the long grass. Partridge-hunting is considered good sport. It is necessary to keep your eye constantly fixed upon the bird, and to watch where he settles, and then to gallop to the spot as hard as possible, leaving your horse to look after himself amid the long grass; and this manoeuvre has to be repeated until at last the unfortunate bird is overtaken and caught.

As we were riding along, the dogs found and killed a bizcacha, in a bank. Just as Mr. Elliott had pulled it out, and had laid it, dead, in the field, its little companion owl arrived, and appeared to be in the most dreadful state of mind. It shrieked and cried, as it hovered over us, and finally selected a small white fox terrier, who, I think, really had been principally concerned in the death, as the object of its vengeance, pouncing down upon his head, and giving him two or three good pecks, at the same time flapping its wings violently. The other dogs drove it off; but more than half an hour afterwards, while we were looking at some horses, nearly a mile from the spot, the plucky little owl returned to the charge, and again swooped down upon the same dog, with a dismal cry, and administered a vigorous peck to him. Altogether it was a striking and interesting proof of the attachment existing between these curious birds and beasts; the object of the owl in the present instance clearly being to revenge if possible the death of its friend.

On our return to the farm, we went all round the place, and found that everything was being made secure for the night; after which we watched all the servants come in one by one for their daily ration of grog, and then retired to dress for dinner, shortly after which, being thoroughly tired out, I retired to my bed-room, attended by a very kind old Irishwoman, who had been deputed to look after me. My mind was at first somewhat disturbed by the discovery of one or two enormous toads and long-armed spiders in my apartment; but they fortunately did not interfere with my repose, for I slept like a top. All the rooms being on the ground-floor, it is almost impossible entirely to exclude intruders of this description. I admired very much what I took to be two fine ponchos, of a delicate fawn-colour, used as tablecloths, but upon a closer examination I found that they were made of the finest silk, and learned afterwards that they were imported from England. I don't know why the same material should not be employed for a similar purpose at home; but I believe that those manufactured hitherto have been designed expressly for the South American market, to which they are exported in considerable quantities.

Thursday, September 21st. - At five o'clock, when I awoke, it was so misty that I could only see about half-way across the yard. By six, the hour at which we were to have started on our hunting expedition, matters had improved a little; but it was still considered unsafe to venture out, for fear of being lost on the vast plains which surrounded us. An hour later, however, it was reported that the fog was clearing off, and a little before eight o'clock we started. Horses, riders, and dogs, all appeared to be in the highest spirits, the former jumping and frisking about, hardly deigning to touch the ground, the latter tearing after one another and barking at every stray bird they met. The pack numbered seventeen, and could hardly be called a level lot of hounds, comprising, as it did, two deerhounds, five well-bred greyhounds, two retrievers, one setter, one spaniel, one French poodle, two fox terriers, one black and tan terrier, and two animals of an utterly indescribable breed; but they all did their work well, as the event proved. Even the shaggy fat old French poodle arrived in each case before the deer was cut up.

Two deer were soon descried in the distance, and we cantered steadily towards them at the rate of about ten miles an hour, until the dogs winded and sighted them. Then, directly the first short yelp was heard, every horse extended himself in an instant, galloping away as hard as he could go, almost literally ventre a terre. They were nearly all thoroughbreds, and had been raced, so that the speed was something delightful. But it only lasted ten minutes, at the end of which time the dogs ran into one of the deer, and thus put a temporary stop to our enjoyment. He proved to be a fine buck, and was soon killed. His legs were cut off for trophies, but, his horns being like velvet, the head was not worth having. Some of the dogs pursued the doe, but failed to pull her down, and returned half an hour later fatigued and panting.

It had become hot by this time, so we rode to the nearest water, to enable the animals to drink and bathe, and then started afresh at a sharp canter. There were plenty of bizcacha holes and boggy places to be avoided; but we allowed the horses to take care of themselves and us in this respect, and occupied ourselves almost exclusively in looking for fresh deer. For some time we found nothing; then two sprang out of the long grass close to the canada, which they crossed, and, on reaching the other side, started off in different directions. The pack pursued and divided, some going after each animal. I, and two others of the party, followed the doe, and after another short burst of ten minutes, at a tremendous pace, we ran into and killed her. As soon as she had been despatched, we wanted to follow the buck, in pursuit of which the rest of the riders had gone, but there was now nothing to be seen of him or them. Flat as the country looked, the slight undulations of the ground quite hid them from our view. After riding about for two hours in various directions, looking and listening most patiently, we abandoned the search in despair, and returned to the house, where we found that our friends had already arrived. They had enjoyed the best run they have had for many months - seven miles, from point to point - but the dogs had lain down, dead beat, at the end of the first six miles. The horsemen had galloped on, their animals tailing off one by one, until only two remained in it at all. Having mutually agreed to let the stag live till another day to afford perhaps as good a run and as much pleasure to some one else, they thereupon also abandoned the chase, and turned their horses' heads homewards.

After a change of dress, we proceeded to pack up, preparatory to our departure, and then had breakfast, after which we bade adieu to our kind hosts, and started in the waggonette to retrace our steps to the station. It was very bright and hot, and the sun and wind had already begun to have a visible effect upon the vegetation of the Pampas. The streams were much more passable, and we reached Canada de Gomez at about half-past five, in a shorter time, than it had taken us to perform the outward journey yesterday. On reaching Rosario at about ten o'clock, we found several friends waiting to receive us, with invitations to tea; but we felt too tired in body and too disreputable in appearance to accept them, and preferred going straight to our hotel and to bed.