OUTWARD BOUND, WE CHAT
 WE are setting forth on a tour which will keep us very busy travelling and sight-seeing for a
A year—that is a very long time to spend wandering in any part of the world, you are
thinking? Well, it has been my good-fortune to have journeyed along all the highways and
byways which I am now to have the delight of revisiting as your guide, so I feel I may
promise you that we shall not be losing any of our time by losing our way, or through not
knowing how many opportunities are provided by railway and shipping companies for the
rapid covering of distances in and around South America. Also, I have called upon
fractions, even, to help me reckon the greatest distance we can travel across a page of
this book by steamer, train, motor-car, horse, mule, bullock-cart and tent-boat—our
friend, the publisher, warned me kindly but firmly that we must arrive home on page number
88—and I am stretching to the utmost day the length
 of our holiday. Further, by the light of my own experiences, which packed with pleasure
and interest every moment of a much longer period than we can spend together, I have
planned and replanned our circular tour, trying to draw up a programme for enabling you to
get the fullest possible measure of enjoyment from the trip. But the vastness of South
America compels me to confess to you, at the very beginning of our holiday, that I dare
not promise to do more than try to give you the merest peep at that great Continent in the
short time at our disposal. Even so we must, as a rule, keep to the highways, giving
preference to routes that are served by fast boats and express trains.
Did I hear murmurs of "Only going to see towns—how dull!"
As I am heart and soul with those of you who love the country, the wilder the better, I am
particularly glad to be able further to say, in connection with our programme, that the
principal highways of South America run through some of the grandest and wildest scenery
in the world. There is the famous natural highway of the Amazon, for instance, along which
we shall journey for nearly a thousand miles in an ocean-going liner; although we shall be
living in luxury on board the steamer, we shall be watching a succession of forest
splendours to right and left on the banks of the river, and novel scenes, such as shooting
fish with bow and arrow, in the everyday life of the scattered
 hut-dwellers whose business it is to gather Brazil nuts and collect wild rubber. Again, we
shall cross South America by the overland highway known as the Buenos Aires and Pacific
Railway. Once more we shall travel under modern conditions of comfort and convenience,
this time in a train deluxe; but the route first crosses the wide-sweeping Pampas plains,
then scales the giant Andes Mountains. After being carried at express rate for nearly
twenty-four hours through the heart of rich prairie-lands, which are the great
grazing-ground of the Argentine, we shall be slowly hauled up rugged rocks, over yawning
chasms and through lava beds, into a wondrously savage region where volcanoes belch forth
smoke amidst eternal snow scenes, and afterwards dropped suddenly, through a marvellous
series of tunnels, from a height of just 10,500 feet almost to sea-level in fertile Chile.
Yet again, we shall make a two days' journey by train from the Pacific Coast to La Paz,
the capital of Bolivia, but the railway track to that most elevated capital city in the
world is merely a thread of civilization, which engineering genius has carried up the
Andes to a height of 13,000 feet and across the Bolivian desert. We shall return to the
coast by boat across Lake Titicaca, and by another railway-line over the Andes, passing en
route through the romantic land of the Incas. And we shall make a nine days' trip in a
houseboat up the highway of the River Magdalena to Bogota, the capital of Colombia, and
the most remote capital city in South America.
 That is an experience which, I feel sure, even the most adventuresome of you will consider
worthy of being called exciting.
MULE TEAM LEAVING PUENTE DEL INCA.
You have, I hope, gleaned a rough, general idea that the highways of South America
traverse very different country from that in which you are accustomed to find roads,
railways, and rivers, and that the great difference in surroundings means you will be
travelling on water-ways that Nature has fashioned under peculiarly interesting
conditions, and by overland routes which could never have been brought into existence
unless numbers of men had pluckily fought many a gallant fight with brains and muscles to
overcome extraordinarily difficult obstacles.
For the special information of the adventure-lovers among you, let me throw a little more
light on our programme. Interesting as are the South American highways—indeed, they
can be described, without exaggeration, as unique—under no circumstances would
anyone be justified in attempting to show you South America, even though you are promised
but a peep, without taking you for some excursions off the beaten track. In travelling
along the routes that have been opened up by the march of civilization, you gradually come
to think of South America as a very big land mass, learn to appreciate that much has been
done to develop the Continent, and begin to realize that there are many fine opportunities
awaiting a much larger population of all classes. But to feel the vastness of
 South America as something which figures can never be expected to describe, to realize
that its possibilities for the production of wealth are practically boundless, and to
understand how defiantly strong are the natural difficulties which oppose every new effort
to open up the Continent, you must go into wilds which man has not yet attempted to subdue
to his welfare.
There was no doubt in my mind, therefore, that our programme must include
some excursions off the beaten track, and so narrow is the boundary line in many places
between the modern and the primeval, between an up-to-date city and trackless mountains or
virgin forests, that many such excursions can be made from highway centres in a few hours.
I have a suspicion, though, that the wish was father to the thought when I arranged where
we should spend the last days of our holiday; pressure of time necessitated a choice
between a railway journey along yet another magnificent highway to Caracas, the capital of
Venezuela, and a glorious expedition into the interior of British Guiana—I
unhesitatingly chose the latter.
With regard to that expedition I shall only tell you,
just now, that its goal is a waterfall five times higher than Niagara, that we shall take
camp-kit and provisions, journey in a tent-boat, and be dependent for our very lives on
the skill of Indians to paddle our little craft along a river which is a series of boiling
rapids and fearsome falls. With Georgetown, the capital of British Guiana, as
headquarters, we can make the return trip in eleven days.
 But we should need to spend several months, several years even, in carrying out
innumerable other expeditions of a similar nature that explorers have already made within
the undeveloped regions of South America; and there are portions of this vast Continent
which have not yet been explored.
The European nations which have played a leading part in the history of South America are
the Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English.
The Spaniards and the Portuguese were well to the fore in the discovery of the southern
portion of the New World, and during the sixteenth century they obtained such widespread
power therein—the Portuguese establishing themselves in Brazil and the Spaniards
extending their conquests throughout the rest of the land—that onwards for, more or
less, three hundred years they were masters of practically the whole of South America.
Meanwhile the Dutch, French, and English made various raids on the Latin-American
Colonies, partly inspired by a desire for empire-building, partly animated by personal
ambition due to the enthusiasm of certain particularly adventuresome compatriots, and very
considerably influenced by a spirit or national indignation against the strict trading
laws which Spain and Portugal drew up with the object of preventing their neighbours from
securing any share of the New World's wealth. Although the Dutch, French, and English all
succeeded in getting a firm foothold in South America by establishing
trading-  stations, none of these rival nations was able to overthrow the rule of the pioneer
conquerors in the New World. But, as you all know, each of these rivals to Spain and
Portugal was ambitious to become the all-powerful nation in Europe, and in the struggle
for European supremacy which took place, Spain and Portugal fell from their high estate.
The hold of the enfeebled mother-countries on their South American colonies gradually
weakened; gradually, too, the colonies began to realize their own growing strength, and
one after another they all found an opportunity of successfully claiming their
Thus it has come to pass that, as a result of many deeds of daring performed in the
long-ago days by brave explorers, bold buccaneers, and enterprising traders in South
America, Portugal can to-day merely claim that Portuguese is still the language used
throughout the Republic of Brazil, and Spain that Spanish is the language used throughout
the Republics of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia,
Panama, and Venezuela; whilst England, France, and Holland can boast that, although they
share but a comparatively small corner of the Continent, they hold their respective
shares—namely, British Guiana, French Guiana, and Dutch Guiana—as colonies. In
addition to her mainland territory, Great Britain has the Falkland Islands as a colonial
possession. And the United States of North America have recently acquired in Panama a
strip of country, known as the
 Canal Zone, through which they have built the Panama Canal as a short cut between the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Each of the republics now has a population that forms a separate and distinct nation. The
Chileans, for instance, are different in temperament, appearance, and habits from their
neighbours in the Argentine, and the Bolivianos would object to being confused with the
Panamanians, or vice versa, although all these four peoples are of Spanish origin.
Difference of surroundings has favoured the growth of nationalities in South America,
together with circumstances that have introduced into some regions numbers of negroes, and
into others representatives of various European races.
CHILENOS TREKKING ACROSS THE FRONTIER.
Some of the present-day South Americans who have some Indian blood in their veins have
inherited certain tribal characteristics, as, for instance, good fighting qualities.
Otherwise, the native Indians have had very little influence on the history of South
America since the days when the Spaniards broke up the highly civilized Inca Empire. Apart
from the Incas, however, and a few other tribes, the South American Indians were primitive
people when the white man first visited their country, and most of the members of the
numerous savage tribes have for generation after generation shown a strong desire to shun
the white man's civilization, and to continue to live a very simple life in the heart of
the Bush or among remote hills. In contrast to the negroes, who never lose an opportunity
 themselves speak, the Indians are very silent people; moreover, the negroes in South
America always chatter in the language of the country that has adopted them, but the
Indians, who have refused to be adopted by any foreign nation, speak, when occasion
demands, in the tribal dialects of their ancestors.