February 1832 Archives

Wandering in a Brazilian forest

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The day has passed delightfully.  I have been wandering by myself in a Brazilian forest: amongst the multitude it is hard to say what set of objects is most striking; the general luxuriance of the vegetation bears the victory, the elegance of the grasses, the novelty of the parasitical plants, the beauty of the flowers. -- the glossy green of the foliage, all tend to this end.

A most paradoxical mixture of sound & silence pervades the shady parts of the wood, the noise from the insects is so loud that in the evening it can be heard even in a vessel anchored several hundred yards from the shore. Yet within the recesses of the forest when in the midst of it a universal stillness appears to reign. To a person fond of natural history such a day as this brings with it pleasure more acute than he ever may again experience.

After wandering about for some hours, I returned to the landing place. Before reaching it I was overtaken by a Tropical storm. I tried to find shelter under a tree so thick that it would never have been penetrated by common English rain, yet here in a couple of minutes, a little torrent flowed down the trunk. It is to this violence we must attribute the verdure in the bottom of the wood, if the showers were like those of a colder clime, the moisture would be absorbed or evaporated before reaching the ground. 

Nearing Bahia

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For the first time in my life I saw the sun at noon to the North: yesterday it was very near over our heads & therefore of course we are a little to the South of it.

I am constantly surprised at not finding the heat more intense than it is; when at sea & with a gentle breeze blowing one does not even wish for colder weather. I am sure I have frequently been more oppressed by a hot summers day in England.

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