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provinces and the Canary Islands, while their lapels, countrymen by the color of the Argentino came chiefly from south- their neckerchiefs. ern Spain, and that the former brought In theory at least the "reds" are with him, and still retains, a sturdier, "advanced,” the "whites” somewhat less facile, but more dependable, more conservative. There are apparently no thoroughgoing character than the lat- neutrals in Uruguayan politics, no "nonter. Those who have business dealings partizan leagues," and the like. Every with him say the Uruguayan is the most one is either "red" or "white" from the honest man south of Panama; every cradle not because Uruguayans take a foreign resident I met rated Uruguay the greater interest in political matters than finest country in South America, and as the average republican societies, but bea rule foreign residents do not see the cause it is bad form, as well as lonesome, best side first. Personally, I found him to be outside the ranks; moreover, men more sincere, less selfish, somewhat more who do not vote are fined. How a solid, and at the same time more of an Uruguayan becomes attached to the impulsive idealist than the materialistic party of this or that color is a mystery; Argentino. His country is far enough almost none of them can give any real south not to give him the laziness of the reason for their affiliation, except the tropics, far enough north to make life equally fluent flow of curses at the other itself seem of equal importance with side. Evidently, like Topsy, they are making a living. Uruguay's reputation just born in their natural colors. as the most progressive republic in This, however, makes the two parties South America, however, is largely none the less ready to engage in fratricibased on its advanced legislation, most dal strife at the behest of their politicians, of it fathered by a recent president and probably as capable of exterminatUnder his guidance Uruguayan law ing one another for no real cause, as did makers have enacted stern minimum the Paraguayans half a century ago. wage and maximum-hour laws, and It is fifteen years since the "reds" came many doctrines of the less extreme social
to power on the heels of Uruguay's ists have been put into modified prac- last revolution, possession is nine points tice. The legislators forbade bull-fights, even in so progressive a corner of Latincock-fights, and prize-fights in one America, and the "whites" have been breath. Uruguay is the only country the "outs" unbrokenly from the day in South America which has a divorce they were driven from office. Yet it is law, and the church has been greatly common talk in Uruguay to refer to the hampered in its abuse of power.
time "when the 'whites' start their new Yet there is still no Utopia at the revolution.” It is taken for granted mouth of the Plata. The ultra-modern that the tables will eventually be violaws often work far better in theory than lently turned; the "whites” expect, and in practice; as a widely traveled native are expected, to come back some day put it, “At their very best, our South with bullets instead of ballots, and virtuAmerican presidents are enlightened ally every man in the country is prepared tyrants”; “there is a curious mixture of to fight on short notice for one side or lofty idealism and Tammany tricks in the other. Uruguayan politics," adds another ex- Roughly speaking, “big business," perienced observer. Politically, the big estate-owners, and the church, Uruguayans are divided between the in other words, the predatory classes, blancos and the colorados, the "whites" are "whites,” though neck-cloths of that and the “reds.” It is a splendid distinc- color are by no means rare on the peons tion for several reasons. For one thing, and gauchos of the more backward counthe parties can print their arguments try districts. The leader of the “reds," and their lists of candidates in posters now a private citizen merely because the of their own color, and even the stranger constitution does not permit the same has no difficulty in deciding which side man to be president twice in succession, is talking. Townsmen can announce has often been described as “a composite their political affiliation by wearing a of idealist and predatory politician," but red or white cravat or a bit of ribbon in he knows the secret of imposing his will upon the Government, and is generally estanciero until 1797, when he became a credited with most of Uruguay's pro- soldier. In 1811 he left the Spanish gressive legislation since he came in on army and fled to Buenos Aires, but soon the wings of the revolution of 1905. became an advocate of Uruguayan indeFor all his efforts, however, there is still pendence, a "patriot” or a "traitor," much that is rotten in the Republic of according to the speaker. In 1815 the Uruguay. The most advanced laws Argentinos were defeated by Rivera, and are of slight value when they are admin- Artigas became ruler not only of the istered by the legal bandits who still present Uruguay, but of the now Argenflourish in office throughout the rural tine provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes, districts. Even in Montevideo the Santa Fé, and Córdoba, these having government telegraph and postal service formed the "Liga Federal" in opposition are atrocious. One must carry his own to the Buenos Aires Directory. An atletters to the post-office, and see that the tempt was made to hold the former viceman to whom they are handed cancels royalty together, but, to read Uruguayan the stamps lest he steal them when one's school-books, “at the same time the back is turned. A few years ago the Tucumán Congress worked secretly to "reds" bought a large block in the capi- establish a monarchy in La Plata, and tal,---much of it having mysteriously our five provinces sent no delegates." become the property of high politicians One by one the other provinces returned not long before,-and began the con- to the new mother country, but the struction of a cut-stone government “Eastern Bank” persisted in its isolation palace. When two hundred thousand and demand for independence. For a dollars had been spent, the structure time the Uruguay of to-day was the was abandoned, a mere foundation "Provincia Cisplatina,” the southernsurrounded by a wall, an eyesore in the most province of Brazil, and took the heart of town, and another palace was oath to the Brazilian constitution. started in the Plaza Flores, though that, Artigas was meanwhile in exile. Finally, too, is expected to "fracaso."
in 1825, a band of “Orientals" besieged Uruguay has not always been a small Montevideo, and Uruguay declared her country, nor, for that matter, a country full independence. at all. In the olden days the Banda The revolutions of 1863 and 1870, Oriental, or “Eastern Bank,” of the each two years long, are the only serious River Uruguay was a province of the disturbances that have occurred in the viceroyalty of Buenos Aires. To-day “República Oriental” since its indepenthe official name of the country is “La dence,-that of 1905 might perhaps be República Oriental del Uruguay,” and included were not all the school histories the people still call themselves “Orien- written by "reds,"—and with those tals.” When, therefore, one hears or exceptions the country has steadily aduses that word in South America, it vanced in health and prosperity. Its does not mean a Turk or a Hindu, but a Government is somewhat more centralcitizen of the smallest and most progres- ized than our own, on the style of the sive republic on the continent. In 1800 Argentine, the two hundred members the whole "Eastern Bank” had only of the senate and the house being elected forty thousand inhabitants, of whom in the departments, the latter having fifteen thousand lived in Montevideo. executives appointed by the Federal When Napoleon overran Spain, the Government. To the average “Orienviceroyalty of Buenos Aires revolted, tal,” history begins with the first demand but the Banda Oriental remained loyal, for independence, in 1808.
, There are thus opening the first breach between no reminders of the conquistadores, few the two parts of the colony. Not long monuments of pre-independence days, afterward the “grito de libertad” was and few men who remember further given in the interior of the province, and back than that period. During my the man who was destined to become stay there Montevideo was trying to the national hero of Uruguay soon took find out when Zabala founded her, sendthe head of the revolt. Born in Monte- ing, by act of congress, a well-known video, José Gervasio Artigas was a mere author of Uruguayan school-books to delve in the colonial archives of Buenos means of transportation tiresome. The Aires.
absence of trees alone gives the campaña Several fierce thunderstorms had an oppressive aspect. The "Oriental" marked my stay in the capital, some of has tried rather half-heartedly to make them accompanied by the mightiest of up for this natural lack of woods by flashes and crashes, during which water planting the imported eucalyptus and fell in such torrents that one could the poplar, at least about his country scarcely see across a narrow street; dwellings, but nowhere do these reach tropical storms one might have called the density of a forest. them were it not that it kept right on Fertile rolling lomas, with now and raining after it got through raging. My then a solitary ombú, the striking nafirst railway journey in Uruguay began tional tree of Uruguay, spreading its under just such wet and gloomy condi- arms to the wind on the summit, made tions, though one might as well stay at up most of the landscape, a scene not home as travel in an incessant deluge. greatly different from, yet vastly more We rambled on at moderate speed across pleasing than, the dead flatness of the a somewhat rolling country, more fertile Argentine pampas. At Mal Abrigo, in appearance than the Argentine, and properly named "Bad Shelter," a branch brought up at Minas. A broad stone line set out for Colonia, just across the highway, here and there disintegrated river from Buenos Aires, which here gets by the heavy rains, led the mile or more most of its building stone, and such of from the station to the town, an over- its paving-blocks as are not made of grown village in a lap of low, rocky hills the quebracho-wood from the Argenmonotonously like any other Uruguayan tine Chaco. Granite rocks thrust themor Argentine town of its size, with a two- selves here and there through the soil; towered church and a few rows of one- for long stretches the coarse, brown esstory buildings toeing wide, bottomless partillo grass covered the country like streets. As in the Argentine, there are a blanket. This and the abundant no cities in Uruguay which compare with thistles ruin the black loam underneath, the capital. The present department but the average "Oriental” estanciero capitals were originally forts against the abhors agriculture, preferring to give his Indians and the Portuguese, around rather indolent attention to cattle and which people gathered for protection and sheep, considering planting fit only for other reasons, and few of them have Indians, peons, and immigrant chacreros. cause to grow to importance.
Nor is the lot of these Basque or Italian My second journey carried me into new-comers always happy, despite the the northwestern corner of the country. fairly generous terms on which they As far as La Piedras, a suburban town hold their plots of earth, for the locusts twenty miles from the capital, there are have been known to destroy a year's a score of daily trains in both directions. labor in a few hours. Here street-cars come also, for the place From La Lata onward, however, is noted for its granite monument topped there were a few riding gang-plows, by a golden-winged Victory commemo- drawn by eight or ten oxen, and many rating a battle for independence in 1811, primitive wooden plows behind a pair from the terrace of which Montevideo's or two, oxen with sad, lowered heads fortress-crowned Cerro still stands con- that moved with slow, powerful, yet spicuously above all the rest of the visi- almost painful, step as they turned up ble world. Then this chief “Oriental" the rich, black loam. Now and then a landmark disappears, and to the com- nandu, occasionally a whole flock of parative cosmopolitanism of the federal them, legged it away across the plump, district succeeds the bucolic calm of the rolling campaña. Sleek cattle, and campaña, as the pampa, or “camp,” horses of much better stock than the is called in Uruguay. The nudity of an average in South America, were grazing Uruguayan, like an Argentine, land- along the hollows and hillsides. A rolling scape, especially as compared with the country, one realized, with slopes for richness in flora of Paraguay or tropical drainage and ravines in which to catch Bolivia, makes a long journey by any the water, is less subject than table-flat
pampas both to floods and waterless and threw into relief the three cerros summers.
chatos, or flat-topped hills that give the I had ridden the sun clear around his region its nickname, and which suggest short winter half-circle when I descended that the level of the country was once at Tacuarembó, far north near the much higher before it was washed away Brazilian boundary. The town had a into the sea by the heavy rains, which hint of tropical ways—women going even now gave earth and sky such languidly down to the sandy little river striking colors. with bundles of clothing on their heads, Next day “Pirirín" and I rode off the streets running out into grassy lanes through the Sunday morning sunshine scattered with carelessly built ranchos across the immense estancia, the teruand happy-go-easy living, the features, teru birds screaming a warning ahead of which had grown more and more Indian us wherever we went. The gauchos of the all day along the way and in the second- estate had been ordered to rodear, or class coaches, here sometimes suggesting round up, a large herd of cattle, and soon more aboriginal than Caucasian blood. we came upon them riding round and Next morning I rode away on a stout round several hundred animals on the tordillo, a gray-white horse of rocking- crest of a hillock. More than two hours chair canter. The often muddy or of riding brought us to the almacén, or flooded road curved and turned and rose pulpería, the general store isolated out and fell, always seeking the moderate on the great rolling campaña that is to height of the succeeding ridges, and be found on or near every large estancia here and there crossing gently rounded in Uruguay. As the day was Sunday, cuchillas. The mucamo accompanying scores of gauchos of that half-bashful, me on his piebald pinto was outwardly a laconic, yet self-reliant, independent air most unprepossessing creature, yet he common to their class, ranging all the was a helpful, cheery fellow, in great way from half-Indian to pure white in contrast to the usual surly workman of race, with here and there the African southern South America, and though features bequeathed by some Brazilian only sixteen and scarcely able to read, he who had wandered over the near-by was by no means dull-witted. Ap- border, rode up silently one after anparently there was not a bird, a flower, other out of the treeless immensity on or an animal which he did not know their shaggy, unsophisticated ponies, intimately, and he was supernaturally and each throwing the reins of his aniquick in catching sight or sound of them. mal over a fence-post beside many others Many were the new species he pointed drowsing motionless in the sun, stalked out to me on that glorious half-day's noiselessly into the dense shade of the ride.
acacia- and eucalyptus-trees about the Tacuarembó, in its lap of rolling hills, pulpería, then into the store itself. had long since disappeared behind us Most of them were in full regalia of before my companion gave any indica- recado, pellones, shapeless felt hat, tion that we were nearing our destina- shaggy whiskers, poncho. When on tion. At the door of an estancia house, dress-parade the "Oriental" gaucho is with all the comforts reasonably to be indeed a picturesque figure. With few expected in so isolated a location, I was exceptions he still clings to the capamet by “Pirirín,” the son of a former cious bombachas, the primitive chiripá, minister to London and Washington, the ballooning folds of which disappear and brother of a well-known Uruguayan in moccasin-like alpargatas, or into the writer. His English was as fluent as my wrinkled calfskin boots still called own, with just the scent of something to botas de potro, though the custom that show that it was not his native tongue. gave them their name has long since An old woman brought us mate, and we become too expensive to be continued. sucked alternately at the protruding tube These “colt boots” were formerly obeach time she refilled the gourd with tained by killing a colt, unless one could hot water. The sun soon set across the be found already dead, removing the rich loam co try, which was here and skin from two legs without cutting it there being turned up by plodding oxen, open, thrusting the gaucho foot into it, and letting it shape itself to its new self out on the campaña only to sell wearer. A rebenque, or short, stocky, tobacco, mate, strong drink, and tinned one-piece leather whip hanging from his goods from abroad; in practice these weather-browned wrist, a poncho with a country storekeepers have other and far long fringe, immense spurs so cruel that more important sources of income. the ready wit of the pampa has dubbed They are usurers, speculators in land and them "nazarinas,” a gay waistcoat, and stock, above all exploiters of the gaucho's last of all his flowing neck-cloth tied in a gambling instinct. Along with his mangraceful négligé, the last word of dandy- ana philosophy of life the countryman is ism in "camp” life, its color proclaiming fatalistic in temperament and passionthe political party into which the wearer ately addicted to gambling. Thanks, was born, complete his personal ward- perhaps, to the greater or less amount of robe. It is against the law to carry arms Spanish blood in his veins, he will accept in Uruguay, yet every goucho or peon a wager on anything, be it only on the has his cuchillo in his belt, or carries a weather, on a child's toys, on which way revolver if he considers himself above a cow will run, on how far away a bird the knife stage. Then every horseman will alight, on whether sol ó numero must have his recado, that complication ("sun or number" corresponding to our of gear so astonishing to the foreigner, "heads or tails") will fall uppermost at so efficient in use, with which the rural the flipping of a coin. Indeed, there are South-American loads down his mount. evidences that the gaucho's love of gamAn oxhide covers the horse from withers bling is even stronger than his love for to croup, to keep his sweat from the women. This makes him easy prey to rider's gear;
saddle similar to that the pulpero, who is usually a Spaniard, used on pack animals, high-peaked fore Basque, Italian, or "Turk," and often an and aft, is set astride this, and both hide unconscionable rogue utterly without and saddle are cinched to the horse by a any other ideal than the amassing of a strong girth fastened by thongs passed fortune, yet who somehow usually grows through a ring-bolt. On the bridle, rich at the expense of the peon and the saddle, and whip is brightly shining gaucho's chief weakness instead of meetsilver; over the saddle quilts and blan- ing violent death from the quick-temkets are piled one above the other, the pered hijo del país, who despises yet top cover being a saddlecloth of decor- fears him much as the Russian muzhik ated black sheepskin or a hairy pellón of does the Jew. soft, cool, tough leather; and outside all There was a suggestion of our own this is passed a very broad girth of fine, cow-boys among the group that finally tough webbing to hold it in place. With overflowed the pulpería, though the his recado and his poncho the experi- gauchos were less given to noisy rowdyenced gancho has bedding, coverings, ism and had far more dignified courtesy. sun-awning, shelter from the heaviest In the evening, with the gauchos derain, and all the protection needed to parted and the pulpería officially closed keep him safe and sound on his pampas to the public, we added our bonfire to wanderings.
the sixteen others in' honor of St. Peter As they entered the pulpería the and St. Paul which we could count new-comers greeted every fellow-gaucho, around the horizon, and gathered about though some two score were already the table with the pulpero's family to gathered, with that limp hand-shake pe- play "lottery," a two-cent gambling culiar to the rural districts of South card-game, until long after midnight. America, rarely speaking more than two Late next morning "Piririn" carried me or three words, and these so low as back in an arana, a rocking two-wheeled to be barely audible, apparently be- cart that did roughly resemble the spider cause of the presence of “Piririn" and it is named from, to Tacuarembó, me. For the rules of caste were amazing where I caught the evening train for in a country supposed to be far ad- the Brazilian border and the continuavanced in democracy.
tion of my journey overland to Rio de In theory the pulpero establishes him- Janeiro.