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CHAPTER III
Trip from Tejuco to the termo of Minas Novas

 

The enchanting surroundings of Tejuco, the coexistence with its distinguished inhabitants, and, above all, a man like Ferreira da Camara, were more than

Tejuco today

plausible reasons for prolonging, as much as possible, the delay here; However, the urgency of reaching the Sao Francisco River, due to the prevailing diseases that occur only in the dry months, was what forced us to leave the place of predilection. Already full of "longing", in the untranslatable expression of the Portuguese language, we said goodbye, to search for the deposits of other precious stones, which appear in the termo of Minas Novas.

Vila Rica to Minas Novas

The road passes northeast over the Serra de Mendanha, a high quartzite mountain that forms the slope to the right of the valley, with Tejuco on the left

Serra do Mendanha

slope. Reaching the top from where we could once again view the pretty village, deep down below, we said goodbye to our friends, who followed us, and we moved, emotionally, along the lonely path. On one side of the road, we came across the Crystal Mine, where gold washes out of the cold itacolumite. Here are

Crystal rhinestones

beautiful, clean crystals of rhinestones, which sometimes carry inclusions of ruthenium or veronite crystals, which are spread dendritically. The long, flattened back of the mountain and desert is overgrown with parched grasses, where here and there is only one solitary hut.

We met Mr. Jose Fernandes, a member of the Diamantina Board, who was knowledgeable of the whole region, and who had been commissioned by the quartermaster to accompany us for a few more days of travel. Guided by him, we climbed the steep mountain, five leagues from Tejuco, crossed the 30-foot-long bridge over the Manso River, a tributary of the Jequitinhonha River, and were now leaving the Diamantino District, in front of the Customs Registry, at the border. formed by the Rio Manso. The vigilante soldiers already knew of our stay and our investigations of natural history in Tejuco, and let us continue the journey without searching our luggage.

From the village, subject to continuous flooding and, therefore, to endemic fevers, the road passes through a low mountain plateau, which extends from

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