Gems of the changing autumn, how beautiful you are, 
    Shining from your glassy stems, like many a golden star.

Thursday, October 26th. - Our kind hostess at Lota had given us a letter of introduction to her manager at Santiago, who called this morning to inquire what arrangements he could make which would be most agreeable to us during our stay. She had also given orders that her carriages and horses should be placed at our disposal, and at about ten o'clock we all started in an open break, drawn by a pair of good-looking half-bred brown horses, bigger than any we had seen before in this country.

We went first to the Compania, a large open square, planted with flowers, the site of the old Jesuit Church, which was burnt down on December 8th, 1863. Well known as the story is, I may here recall the tragic details, standing on the very spot where they took place. It was the Feast of the Virgin, and the church was densely crowded with a congregation composed almost entirely of women, principally young, many of whom were servant-girls. Some of the draperies used in the decoration of the building caught fire, the flames spread rapidly, destroying in their course the cords by which the numerous paraffin and oil lamps were suspended across the nave and aisles, and precipitating their burning contents upon the people beneath. The great doors opened inwards; the crowd, trying to press out, closed them, and kept them hermetically sealed. The priests, anxious to save the church properties and sacred relics, shut the large iron gates across the chancel and kept them fastened, notwithstanding the agonising shrieks of the unhappy victims, many of whom might otherwise have escaped. Their conduct on this terrible occasion created at the time a feeling of bitter and universal indignation, and caused a shock to the popularity and authority of the priesthood in this country, from which it will take them a long time to recover.

Mr. Long told us that, between seven and eight o'clock on the evening of the catastrophe, he was walking with some friends on the Alameda, when he saw smoke rising in dense volumes from the quarter of the city where the house in which he resided was situated. He and his friends ran quickly in the direction of the fire, giving the alarm as they went, and on reaching the church they found the doors closely shut, while fearful screams were issuing from the interior, and smoke and flames pouring from the windows. They got a party of men together accustomed to the use of the lasso - no difficult task here - and with them climbed from the neighbouring houses to the top of the church. Making a hole in the roof, they then dropped their lassoes over some of the women beneath, and so dragged them out of the building; but the number thus saved was necessarily very small, and it happened too often that many of the poor creatures below, in their eagerness to escape, hung on to the legs or body of the one they saw lassoed, and by their weight literally dragged her to pieces. Sometimes even a lasso broke, and those clinging to it, when almost within reach of safety, were again precipitated into the burning mass below. Any one who has seen a raw hide lasso, capable of withstanding the sudden rush of the fiercest bull ever captured, will be able to realise the immense strain which would be required to cause one to give way. The next morning at daybreak, the interior of the church presented a terrible spectacle. Mr. Long described it as being full of women, standing up, tightly wedged together, their hands stretched out as if in an attitude of supplication, their faces and the upper part of their bodies charred beyond recognition, the lower part, from the waist downwards, completely untouched.

Their remains were buried in one large grave, in the cemetery of the Recoleta, and the spot is now marked by a square piece of ground, full of bright flowers, enclosed by iron railings, almost hidden by the creepers that entwine them, and shaded by willows, orange-trees, cypresses, and pomegranates. In the centre is a large cross, and on either side of the iron railings there is a marble tablet with the simple but touching inscription, in Spanish -

'Incendio de la Iglesia 
  de la Compania, 8 de Diciembre, 1863. Restos de las Victimas; 
  2000, mas o menos.'

(Burning of the Church of the Compania, December 8th, 1863 Remains of the victims. 2,000, more or less.)

Almost every household in Santiago had lost one of its members. One lovely girl of seventeen was pulled out through the roof and taken to Madame Cousino's residence, where she lay for nearly a fortnight. She suffered the greatest agonies, but was sensible to the last, and gave a graphic account of the whole harrowing scene. The site of the church, hallowed by such sad memories, has never been built upon, but is preserved as an open space, surrounded by a strip of garden, and having in its centre a finely carved monument.

The Houses of Congress were the next thing we went to see, after which we drove through a great part of the city and over a handsome bridge with statues and small niches on either side. Beneath it, however, there is little more than a dry torrent bed; and it is said that an American, when visiting this spot with a Santiago friend, who was showing him round, remarked, 'I guess you ought either to buy a river or sell this here bridge.' We also went to the Church of La Recoleta. From the church we went to the cemetery of the same name, which is prettily laid out, and well stocked with flowers and trees.

It being now past eleven o'clock, we began to think about breakfast, and accordingly returned to the hotel, where I was disappointed to find no news from Tom and no answer to the telegram I sent last night.

At one o'clock we started again, and had a pleasant but rather dusty drive of eight miles to Macul, the stud-farm established by the late Don Luis Cousino.

We had some luncheon at Mr. Canning's house, in a room that had recently been split from top to bottom by an earthquake, and afterwards sat in the verandah to see the horses and some of the cattle, which were brought round for our inspection. Amongst them were Fanfaron, Fandango, and other beautiful thoroughbreds, three fine Cleveland coach-horses, Suffolk cart-horses and percherons, and some of the young stock. We saw only a few of the beasts, as at this time they are away feeding on the hills, but I believe they are as good as the horses. Mr. Long had arranged for us all to ride round the farm, and I was mounted on a lovely chestnut mare, sixteen hands high, daughter of Fanfaron, and niece to Kettledrum. I should have liked to have bought her and sent her home, but she was not for sale, though her value was 400_l. English horses here are as dear, in proportion, as native horses are cheap. The latter may be bought for from twenty to sixty dollars apiece; and some of them make capital little hacks.

We rode all over the farm, attended by half-a-dozen peones, who drove the young thoroughbred stock together, in the enormous fields, for us to see, and afterwards did the same thing with some of the cattle. We also went through the farm buildings, in one part of which we saw the operation of making lassoes. The best are composed of neatly plaited strips of cured hide, about a quarter of an inch wide, the commoner sort being made from an undressed cow's hide, with the hair on, cut from the centre in an ever-increasing circle, so that they are in one piece, many yards in length. In another part of the farm there were a few acres more of flower-gardens, orange-trees, and kitchen-gardens.

Beautiful as the whole place is, it loses much in interest from its vastness. You never seem to know where you are, or when you have come to an end. I hear that Madame Cousino talks of extending the park still further, right up into the mountains, which seems almost a pity, as it is already too big to be kept in really perfect order, even with a hundred and twenty men employed upon it. Everything is completely surrounded and overgrown with flowers. Even the fields are separated by hedges of sweet-smelling double pink roses, and these hedges are larger than many a 'bull-finch' in the old country.

After a delightful gallop of about two hours, we returned to the farmhouse, where we found a fresh pair of horses waiting for us in the break, and drove back to Santiago by moonlight.

It was eight o'clock when we reached the hotel, and as the table-d'hote dinner only lasts from five till half-past seven, I asked for a private dinner in our own room or in the general dining-room, for our own party and two guests in addition. But the landlord said he was not at all sure about giving us dinner; he must see what there was in the kitchen first. We then declared we would go and dine at a cafe, and in less than half an hour managed to get an excellent little dinner at the Cafe Santiago, though even Mr. Long, who ordered it for us, could not induce them to give us native wine. I am bound to confess, however, that we punished ourselves at least as much as the landlord, for as we paid so much a day for board and lodging, he was of course bound to provide us with dinner, and we had thus to pay for our food twice over.

Friday, October 27th. - Still no news from Tom. Mr. Long called at half-past eight, to take me to the market, and my first step was to send another telegram, this time taking care to see that it really was despatched.

We then walked through the streets to the market-hall, a handsome iron building, commodiously arranged, which was sent out from England in pieces, and put together here. All round it are stalls, where you can get a capital breakfast, generally consisting of coffee, tender beef-steak, buttered toast, and boiled beans, for a small sum. One of our party, who had been at the market since half-past five, tried one, and fully confirmed the report we had heard as to their excellence and cleanliness. At the time of our visit all these refreshment stalls were crowded, and I felt rather tempted to join one of the hungry merry-looking groups myself. The market was well supplied with meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and flowers of all kinds, green peas, French beans, and strawberries being specially abundant. There were quantities of queer-looking baskets to be seen, and some curious pottery, made by the nuns from a kind of cement. Outside the building there were men and women hanging about with ponchos, of their own manufacture, which they had brought in from the country, for sale. We bought some bright specimens as presents for the children, but it took some time to collect them, as each individual had only one to offer. They are the work of the women, in the intervals of household labour, and as soon as one is completed it is sold, in order that materials for a fresh one may be purchased. We also bought some of the carved wooden stirrups, made in the country, and used by all the natives. They are rather like a small coalscuttle in shape, and must be heavy and cumbersome.

From the market we went to hear high mass at the cathedral. This is a fine building, though the interior seemed very dark. The high altar was illuminated by hundreds of candles, whose light shone on a crowd of kneeling women, all dressed in black, and with black veils over their heads, the contrast between their sombre appearance and the gilding and paintings on the walls - handsome at a distance, but tawdry on a closer examination - being very striking. The organ is of splendid tone and quality and reverberated grandly through the aisles, and the whole scene was not without a certain impressiveness. I had not thought of paying a visit to the cathedral when I went out this morning, and it was not until I saw every one staring at me that I remembered I had committed the terrible mistake of going to church in a hat, and without any veil; but we remained in a dark corner most of the time, and emerged into open daylight again before any of the authorities of the place had time to observe or remonstrate with me. My wearing a hat was, however, quite as much against all church rules as a similar proceeding on the part of a man would have been. The women of this city are almost always good-looking when young, and they glide gracefully about the streets in their long black clinging gowns and mantos, by which they are completely enveloped from head to foot.

In the afternoon we went for a drive in the park, and to see Santa Lucia, of which, as the only hill in Santiago, the inhabitants of the city are very proud, and from thence drove to the Cousino Park, an extensive piece of ground near the Alameda, laid out and arranged under the direction of the late Don Luis Cousino, and presented by him to the city of Santiago.

After a stroll round the park, Mr. Long took us to an emporium for Panama hats, which are made in Lima, Guayaquil, and other states of Chili, as well as in Panama, from a special kind of grass, split very fine, and worn by almost everybody on this coast. The best made cost 340 dollars, or about sixty guineas, and fifty pounds is not at all an uncommon price to pay, though the inferior kind may be had for two pounds. Those ordinarily worn by the gentlemen here cost from twenty to thirty pounds each, but they are so light, pliable, and elastic that they will wear for ever, wash like a pocket-handkerchief, do not get burnt by the sun, and can be rolled up and sat upon - in fact, ill-treated in any way you like - without fear of their breaking, tearing, or getting out of shape. For the yacht, however, where so many hats are lost overboard, they would, I fear, prove a rather unprofitable investment.

We now drove back to the hotel, past the Mint, a handsome building, guarded by soldiers, and with windows protected by iron gratings. On our return I found that one of the valuable ponchos, given to me in the Argentine Republic, had been taken from our room. The landlord declined to trouble himself about its recovery, as he said it was 'most unlikely that any one would take a thing of no value to him here;' the real truth being that the guanaco ponchos are worth nearly double as much in Chili as they are on the other side of the Andes.

After dinner we walked to the theatre, where we saw La Sonnambula well put on the stage, and well sung and acted by an Italian opera company. The prima donna, contralto, baritone, and bass were all good, but the scenery was occasionally somewhat deficient. The house, which is highly decorated - perhaps too much so for the ladies' dresses - looked well by night, though if it had been full the effect would have been still better. The box-tiers are not divided into pigeon-holes, as they are with us, and everybody can therefore see equally well. The Presidential box seemed commodious and handsome, and had the Chilian coat of arms in front of it, making it look very much like a Royal box.

The walk back by moonlight was delightful. Some of our party afterwards went to the Union Club, where they met several English gentlemen, who were most kind and pressing in their invitations to them to stay a few days longer, and go up the mountains to see the views and to have some guanaco shooting. About twenty-four hours from here they say you can have your first shot, and a little further on you meet them in herds which may be counted by thousands. There are also wild horses and wild donkeys. Quaggas and huemuls used to be found, but are now extinct. The last named is a rare animal, exactly resembling a horse in every particular, except that its hoofs are cloven. It used only to be found in the mountains of Chili, and it is one of the supporters of the national coat of arms.

Saturday, October 28th. - At 5 a.m. we were called, and soon afterwards parting gifts of flowers began to arrive, and even I was obliged to confess that four large clothes-baskets full of rosebuds were more than I quite knew what to do with. At seven Mr. Long came to know if he could help us in any way, and a little later Madame Cousino's coachman appeared with the carriage, to take us to the station.

We had a pleasant drive down the Alameda, the sun shining brilliantly in a bright blue sky, and the distant mountains for the first time being clearly visible. The station was crowded with vendors of pottery, curious things in buffalo horn, sweetmeats, &c. The rolling stock on this line is of English manufacture, and we were therefore put into the too familiar, close, stuffy, first-class carriage, and duly locked up for the journey down to Valparaiso. The line, running as it does through mountain gorges for a great portion of the way, must have been a difficult one to make.

Just now the whole country wears a golden tint from the bloom of the espinosa, which seems to grow everywhere, and which is now in perfection. The branches of this shrub are so completely covered with little yellow balls of flowers, which come before the leaves, and which have no separate stalk, but grow along the shiny, horny branches, that they look as if they were made of gold. It is called the 'burning bush' here, and its wood is said to be the hardest in the country. The flowers are often plucked off and dried, in which state they are most fragrant and are used for scenting linen and for keeping away moths. The thorns, however, are a terrible nuisance to the shepherds and owners of cattle, catching their clothes and tearing them as they gallop swiftly across over the plains. If I bore you by saying too much about the flowers, forgive me. I want to make you all realise, if possible, what a lovely flowery land Chili is. The whole air is quite perfumed with roses, principally large double pink roses, something like the old-fashioned cabbage rose, though there are a good many of the monthly kind and a few white and deep scarlet ones. They formed hedgerows on either side of the road, and in many places climbed thirty or forty feet up the trees, and then threw down long brambles laden with bloom, almost producing the effect of a wall of pink. There were also plenty of wild flowers of other sorts, such as scarlet and white lilies, larkspurs, eschscholtzias, evening primroses, and many others whose names I do not know.

At Llaillai we stopped for breakfast, procured at a small restaurant at the station. While waiting for the train for Santiago to come in, we had plenty of time to observe the half-Indian girls selling fruit, flowers, cakes, &c., and jabbering away in a sort of patois Spanish, in recommendation of their wares. Some of them were really pretty, and all were picturesquely dressed in bright-coloured stuffs, their hair neatly done up and decorated with flowers, their faces clean and smiling. At 11.15 a.m. we reached Quillota, where the train was literally besieged by men, women, and children, offering bouquets for sale - two or three of which were thrust in at every carriage window - and baskets of strawberries, cherimoyas, nisperos, melons, oranges, sugar-cane, plantain, bananas, asparagus, green peas, French beans, eggs, chickens, and even fish - nice little pejereyes, fresh from the stream close by. It must evidently be the custom of the Chilenos to visit by rail these fertile districts, for the purpose of doing their marketing; for the occupants of the train soon absorbed the entire stock of the vendors, who were left with empty baskets.

I never saw such a country as this is for eggs and chickens. A hen seems never to have a smaller brood than ten, and I have often counted from seventeen to twenty-one chickens with the mother, and, more than once, as many as twenty-four. However well you may have breakfasted or dined, the waiters always come at the end of the meal to ask, not whether you will have any eggs, but how you will have them - fried, boiled, poached, or in some sort of omelette. If you refuse altogether, the chances are that two very lightly boiled eggs will be placed by your side, with the suggestion that you should beat them up and drink them. The inhabitants of the country always seem to finish their meals with eggs in some form or another.

The celebrated 'Bell of Quillota,' a mountain which derives its name from its peculiar shape, and which serves as a good landmark in entering the harbour of Valparaiso, is well seen from the railway, a little below Quillota Station. We stopped again at Limache, a little village, situated in the midst of a fertile country, about twenty-five miles from Valparaiso, where fruit, flowers, &c., were as freely offered for sale as before, and again at Vina del Mar, the next station to Valparaiso. There is a good hotel here, in the midst of a pretty garden, where you can get an excellent breakfast or dinner.

From this spot the line runs close along the edge of the sea, and we strained our eyes in vain, trying to discover the yacht. At the station we were assailed by porters and touts of every description, but, seeing no one to meet us, and not knowing where to go, we contented ourselves with collecting our luggage in a little heap, while a fight went on close by between a policeman and a coachman, who had been too persistent in his endeavours to obtain a fare. They knocked one another about a good deal, and broke one or two windows, after which they appeared quite satisfied, shook hands, and were good friends again. Tom, Mabelle, and Muriel arrived before it was over, and we were very glad to meet again after our short absence.

A long, dusty drive brought us to the mole, and while the luggage was being packed into the boat, Tom and I went to call on the British Consul, where we found some letters. We were on board in time for two o'clock luncheon, after which, amid many interruptions from visitors, we devoured our news from home and other parts - for amongst our letters were some from Natal, India, Japan, Canada, Teneriffe, South American ports, St. Petersburg, Constantinople, and several other places, besides those from dear old England.

About four o'clock Tom and I went ashore. We had intended going alone in the 'Flash' (our lightest boat), but a strong southerly wind had sprung up, which at once made the sea so rough that we went in the 'Gleam' (the gig) instead, with six oars. It took the men all their time to get us ashore, though we had not far to go, for wind, tide, and waves were all against us.

Valparaiso consists mainly of two interminable streets, running along the edge of the sea, at the foot of the hills, which rise immediately behind them, and on which are built all the residences and villas of the gentlemen of the place. Very few live in the town itself, which is composed almost entirely of large warehouses and fine shops, where you can get almost anything you want by paying between three and four times as much for it as you would do in England. For instance, the charge for hair-cutting is a dollar and a half (4s.), a three-and-sixpenny Letts's Diary costs two dollars and a half (10s.), a tall hat costs fifty-eight shillings, you must pay sixpence each for parchment luggage-labels, threepence apiece for quill pens, four shillings for a quire of common notepaper, and so on in proportion.

We had, as I have said, seen the yacht leave Lota Bay, with a strong head-wind blowing, on Thursday, the 19th instant. In a few hours the wind fell to a calm, which then changed to a light favourable breeze, and the 'Sunbeam' reached Valparaiso on the following Saturday afternoon, anchoring out in the bay, not far from H.M.S. 'Opal.' Here they rolled and tumbled about even more than if they had been at sea, the swinging capacities of the saloon tables and lamps being tried to the utmost. On Sunday half the men went ashore for a few hours' leave, but neither they nor the boat returned until the next morning, as they had not been allowed to leave the shore after nine o'clock. In the meantime Tom had been told that small-pox was raging in the town, and he was much annoyed at their having to pass the night on shore, owing to proper inquiries as to the regulations of the port not having been made by them on landing. The next day the doctor went to see some medical confreres at the hospital, and found that the reports were much exaggerated, the reality being that small-pox is always more or less prevalent both here and at Santiago. Three months ago it was very bad, but at the present time it is not worse than usual. Tom and Mabelle started for Santiago on Monday, but unfortunately left their letters of introduction behind; and as they did not like the hotel, they found it rather dull. We could not telegraph to them from Cauquenes, or anywhere en route, for there were no wires; so on Wednesday morning, not hearing or seeing anything of us, they returned to Valparaiso. Tom left a long letter for me, with enclosures (which I never received), in the innkeeper's hands, asking for a telegraphic reply as to our plans and intentions, and, as I have already mentioned, never said a word about coming back. Thursday was spent in seeing what little there is to see in Valparaiso, and in visiting the 'Opal.' On Friday Tom went for a sail, moved the yacht close inshore, had a dinner-party on board, and went to a pleasant ball afterwards, given by the Philharmonic Society, an association of the same sort as the one at Rio. It was not, however, called a regular ball, but a teriulia, so the ladies were in demi-toilette. Tom described the room as good, the floor first-rate, the music excellent, the ladies good-looking, and the men agreeable. To-day he met us at the station with the children; and now, therefore, one account will describe the movements of the whole reunited party.

Sunday, October 29th. - We all went ashore to church, having been told it was only five minutes' walk from the landing-place, instead of which it took us at least a quarter of an hour, in an intensely hot sun, to climb up a steep hill. The building itself was large, airy, and cool, and there is a good organ and choir, but most of the choristers had gone away to-day to a picnic in the country. During the Litany our attention was suddenly drawn to the fact that earthquakes are matters of frequent occurrence in this country, by a special prayer being offered up for preservation from them and their destructive effects.

At four o'clock we went ashore for a ride, and having climbed the hills at the back of the town, which command extensive views over land and sea, we galloped across the downs and through some villages on to the old high road from Valparaiso to Santiago, along which we rode only for a few yards, turning off into a romantic valley, where the path was so narrow that we could barely squeeze through between the thickly growing shrubs and trees. At last we went up a steep hill on to another high road, and re-entered the town quite at the opposite end to that at which we had left it, after which a ride of two miles along the stony, ill-paved streets brought us to the landing-place.

Monday, October 30th. - We were to be off directly the sea-breeze sprang up, at about eleven o'clock, and as I had many letters to write, I was called at 4 a.m., and finished them all before breakfast at eight. But first one visitor and then another arrived, and it was nearly eleven o'clock when we landed to make the final preparations for starting on our long voyage of eleven thousand miles across the Pacific.

Our route, as at present, arranged, will be via the Society, Friendly, and Sandwich Islands. Juan Fernandez (Robinson Crusoe's Island), which we at first thought of visiting, we have been obliged, I am sorry to say, to give up, not on account of its distance from Valparaiso, as it is only 270 miles off, but because it lies too far to the southward, and is consequently quite out of the track of the trade wind, which we ought to pick up, according to the charts and sailing directions, about 500 miles to the northward and westward of this place. I have been trying to persuade Tom to steam out five or six hundred miles, so that we may make a quick passage and economise our time as much as possible, but he is anxious to do the whole voyage under sail, and we are therefore taking very little coal on board, in order to be in the best trim. If we do not pick up a wind, however, there is no knowing how long we may lollop about. I suppose till we are short of water and fresh provisions, when the fires will be lighted and we shall steam away to the nearest island - uninhabited, we will hope, or at any rate peopled by friendly natives, which is rather the exception than the rule in the south-east corner of the Low Archipelago. There we shall fill up with fresh water, bananas, bread-fruit, and perhaps a wild hog or two, and resume our voyage to Tahiti. But this is the least favourable view of the matter, and we must hope to fall in with the trades soon, and that they will blow strong and true.

The island of Juan Fernandez now belongs to the Chilian government, but is let on a long lease to a man who, they say here, is somewhat of a robber. He was very desirous that we should give him a passage in the yacht, and another man wanted to come too, with some pointers, to show us the best spots for game, goats, turtle, crayfish, and sea-fish, with all of which the place abounds. Some cattle have also been introduced, and the island is much frequented by whalers, who go there for fresh provisions and water. There is nothing particular to be seen, however, and the scenery of the island is not remarkable; at least, so people who have been there tell us, and the photographs I have bought quite confirm their report. Admiral Simpson, who stayed there once for a fortnight, told us a good deal about the place, and strongly recommended us not to go there unless we had plenty of time to spare, as we should not be repaid for our trouble, which would probably only result in the dissipation of all our childish illusions.

Our first step on landing this morning was to go to the Consul's to post our letters. By the bye, I hope people in England will appreciate them, for they cost between nine and ten pounds to send home. For our outward letters, although prepaid in England, we had to pay over eight pounds before we were allowed to have them from the office. Twenty-nine cases of stores, provisions, wine, &c., which had also been sent out, all arrived safely, and cost comparatively little. There are very good French hair-dressers here, a tempting hat-shop, and a well-stocked book-shop; but everything, as I have said, is frightfully dear.

It was half-past three when the harbour-tug arrived to tow us out of the harbour and so save our getting up steam. There was not a breath of air stirring, but Tom hoped we should find more outside when the tug cast us off. As we dropped slowly out, we had a good view of the harbour and town; and we soon found ourselves once more fairly embarked on the bosom of the wide ocean.