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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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with great pleasure, in addition to many English and French books, also works of Buffon and a edition of Linnaeus, made by our compatriot Gmelin. The cottage of the house where he lived had boulevards of precious orange trees, covered with fruits, various species of small European fruit trees and Brazilian Mirtaceas, whose cultivation he was

Myrtus bicolor

testing, and whose fruits, already for the care of a few years, had improved in juice and flavor; also especially thriving here is the excellent jabuticaba tree (Myrtus cauliflora Mart.).

Myrtus cauliflora

Our kind host invited us to dinner at his house with some of his friends; In addition to the above-mentioned judge, except us, they were all exclusively Brazilian born. The table was decorated with tasteful silverware and served with delicacies of all kinds, not only from the country but from Europe. Without waiting, the subject of the conversation was the comparison of Europe with Brazil. As much as we struggled to cite the superiorities of our European homeland over Brazil, most voices insisted that Brazil, both by its position and its wealth of products, was independent, and would gradually gain this superiority of spirit and industry. During the heated discussions, we foreigners exchanged glances, expressing mutual astonishment, for before our heirs in Europe had advanced in mechanical and artistic knowledge, they were familiar with the progressive ideas of the Old World. The empire of ideas, which spreads with the rapidity of the ebb and flow of light, is already recognized in the spiritual vivacity of the Brazilian, in similar conversations, often heard, indicating the tendencies of thought in this country.

 We said good-bye to the happy company and the generous host, and rode to Caete later that afternoon to meet the troops. A new, wide, well-paved road runs through a gorge; as yet it covered, however, only half the distance between the two villages. The mountains through which it follows are all bordered, in the lower part, by thick forests, and from above, are covered by the most beautiful vegetation of the fields. We had just climbed the Morro do Valerio and were heading up another mountain, when the sun set and soon we were enveloped in such deep darkness that we had to continually listen to the guide's voice, so as not to get disoriented and crash into the very near abyss.

Etching 49 Gold mines near Sabara

Against this fear, the splendor of the constellations, which gradually emerged from the darkness, served us, and to our delight the figure of the Ursus Major, which we had been deprived of for so long, appeared to us again. Late at night we arrived at Caete, where we found the troops in order.


                                                                                                                                                  
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