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the places where we could find water. All the information agreed that it was necessary to walk seven days of march, through land almost completely

Rio do Peixe

deprived of water, to the Fazenda do Rio do Peixe, where we would begin to find fountains and streams; that we would only find water at the recommended stops; that it was not convenient for us to turn off the road to look for it; that neither would be found any water for the mules in the scorched catingas, and that a long march through this desert so arid could be dangerous for all the troops. Under these circumstances, we could only stock up on maize and a large amount of brown sugar, which are often used to mitigate the thirst of pack mules, and to carry a rubber bag full of water.

The surroundings of the Feira de Conceicao were explored by us with great interest, as the plants. The terrain already has special features here, which we have since had occasion to observe throughout the wilderness. The plateau, usually from 600 to 700 feet above the sea, lowers here and hosts low-lying swamps, in which, during rainy weather, salt water is often added to the cattle’s water. Elsewhere, you can see in several directions a series of hills whose slopes


rise gently. The only formation we found was gneiss, granitic granulated granules, mostly reddish or yellowish, sometimes also black or white. This rock emerges to a great extent, or is covered with a light layer of red clay, which appears to come from its decomposition. In addition, lie scattered granite

Red granite

fragments and fine granite sand. Soil itself is found only in a few varieties, and sometimes mixed with a thin, unctuous clay, often black, which they call massape. Our excellent friend Ferreira da Camara has expressed the opinion that massape is a remnant of disaggregated trapeze formation. To verify this hypothesis, we looked for some low places where cane was planted in massape; But we found no trace of any other formation than granite. The sugarcane planted in May of the preceding year was very viscous and ready for cutting; However, it is usually expected to delay until October of the second year for the first harvest. As the mills are farther from the sugarcane fields than on the coast, it is preferable to cultivate the Pacific sugarcane with the bastard canes, as the cut stalks can remain without disadvantage many days before being squeezed,

Sugarcane mill

while the so-called “sugarcane” already on the second day goes into fermentation, unfavorable to the production of sugar. Other than this massape soil, which is isolated in some places, the region is not suitable for agriculture. At the lowest and most humid points are small forests, similar to the