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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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de Janeiro, who we were told had been chased by runaways and had fled the Diamond District.

Diamond district, Minas Gerais

We knew that it would be advisable to spend the night at the Captain of the Guard, Mr. Inocencio, on the northwest slope and visit the jeweler the next day, on the way up the mountain.

Serra do Caraca

The Serra do Caraca rose to our right. It stretches for almost three leagues from north to south, and dominates with its rugged contours the entire surrounding region.

We rounded several cliffs and slopes, and at last we saw the Captain's farm, which, like an imposing castle, stood out from afar on a mountain ridge. When we arrived at the spacious patio, he gave us a warm welcome as the owner and, after drawing our attention to the beautiful panorama, at our feet, of Arraial de Catas Altas,

Arrail of Catas Altas

Serra de Itaperava, rich with amethysts and remote Itambe, he led us into an anteroom, on whose walls were geographical and historical maps. A globe and several books revealed that the homeowner was also busy with scientific studies (the housekeepers are the real estate tax surveyors and launchers), involuntarily reminding us of the Quakers. In fact, he was also one of the followers of Sebastianism, who are always waiting for the resurrection of King D. Sebastiao, killed in the battle of Alcacerquibir (1), against the Moors, and thus the return of the most glorious epoch of the Kingdom of Portugal. These Sebastianists, who are distinguished by their activity, economy and wealth, are more numerous in Brazil, and especially in Minas Gerais, than in their own motherland. Mr. Innocencio tried to convince us by showing a handwritten prophecy among the large copy of documents he had about the future grandeur of Brazil; We assured him, while not waiting for D. Sebastiao, we shared the same certainty that Brazil was still on its way to full bloom.
  
After a frugal meal, the Captain led us to his quarry just behind the house. This gold mine has already been explored for eighteen years, and before it was mined by many blacks; currently only about eighteen work there. The largest and richest blocks of rusty earth, which, when washed, cannot break apart, are carried out of the mine on the heads of the blacks, and stacked along the mountain, forming a high wall in front of the house. In dry conditions these stacks will make the largest forge work all year long. The gold is characteristic

Itabarite

yellow in color, and appears among the finely grained itabirite, which has many flat faces, isolated crystallizations, and sometimes grows so close together that in many inches of

(1) In 1578. (Rev. Note, Ed. Melh.).

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