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a distraught mulatto, about thirty years old. This singular man gave the impression of brutal boldness, which defeats any obstacle, and a tendency toward an extreme depravity. We had never met such a physical nobility, coupled with so much degeneracy. As he failed to answer our medical questioning, we tried, after our initial astonishment, to quietly perform the task imposed, preparing remedies and applying them; and just as we finished the treatment, the man disappeared with the words, "Thank you, goodbye." We heard the horse galloping as it moved away, and we almost wondered if it was a dream or reality. Our drovers explained the mystery, telling us stories of various adventurers, who, disinherited or impoverished, sometimes driven by despair, sometimes inclined to banditry, roam the wilderness practicing wickedness of every kind, whether in the service of others or on their own, and escape the punishment of justice, sometimes for a long time, thanks to the exact knowledge of the region and the help of relatives and allies. Before there was any civil organization in the country, these outlaws and instruments of heinous crimes, spurred by envy, ambition and jealousy, were very numerous.

Vila das Rio das Contas

Between Caetite and the nearest major settlement, Vila das Rio das Contas, we had to climb a mountainous territory for three days of travel. We climbed the mountain to the east of Caetite, also made of quartzite, and we were once again interned in the leafless catingas.

Etching 10 Catinga. semi-arid near Caetite

When we got back into this kind of vegetation, we soon found another orogeny,

that is, a coarse-grained granite, and another abundant, extremely compact and hard granule, almost porphyroid in texture with fractures, confirming the great dependence of plant generation on rock quality. Extraordinary is the phenomenon, and it deserves the investigation of future observers, that we had not found, in such granitic or limestone terrain, during such extensive travel, approximate forms of the characteristic vegetation of the fields, as it appears notably in the plateau of Minas.


From the summit of the granite hills and granite gneiss, near the Juazeiro Farm, we could see, to the east, higher mountains, through which the Rio das Contas flows; They are also mostly covered with catingas. As this vegetation, stripped by the harsh light, offers little food to the freighter mules, we were frightened by the idea that the supply of corn we brought was not enough. The animals were scattered so far into the night, even though they had restrained front paws, that we spent half the day gathering them together. Some mules, who had eaten single leaves, became ill