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Serra de Sao Joao

on the other side to the rear; towards the Diamantino District is the Serra de Sao Joao; and on the left, the high Serra de Santo Antonio or Grao Mogol.

Etching 23 Serra de Santo Antonio

Far away, as far as the eye can see, one hut cannot be distinguished, for the colonies are below in the floodplains and above all, following the path of the carrasco (semi-arid plateau), there is no trace of human existence. The traveler is

Trochilidus lanceolate

enchanted by the swarming hummingbirds flapping their wings around the leafy Mimosas, the Acacias, the flowering Cassias and the odorous Paulineas. For the botanist and the zoologist, this region should be a paradise in January and February, when everything is in bloom.

Mimosa lupuline

Acacia umbellafera

Cassia bauhinifolia

Paullinia cupana

At dusk, we descended a little from this low-grassed plateau, towards the Barreiras village, five leagues away from Calumbi. The secular priest was a mulatto man who, taking advantage of the opportunity to obtain medical consultation, told us about his youth. In Ribeirao Curralinho, very close to the


village, we found thick deposits of grainy graphite, in which stand out veins of white quartz and rock crystal,

Rock crystal

and whose quartz seemed to be in layers. On the surface, graphite often has open holes and tunnels. We were assured that this same mineral also occurs in the nearby mountains.

In the graphite’s vicinity there is a faintly rusty source, which appears to have healing virtue for herpetic affections, which perhaps should be attributed to the presence of graphite. The appearance of this substance, not far from the Diamond District, may be of importance to geognosy. It is said that lime also appears a league north of Barreiras. So far, however, no one here knows any other use of graphite, except for polishing the fusel barrel or blackening the leather. For this reason, we also sent Mr. Ferreira da Camara some pieces as samples, to convince him of the possibility of producing here the crucibles, which until today have been imported from England. During the night we and the campers woke up frightened by strange shrieks and howling from above a house. As the night was very clear and good for hunting, we went looking for the ghost:

Strix huhula or lineata

it was a great owl Strix hulula (1). Another zoological wonder we obtained here was a cuckoo's nest (Cuculus cajanus) with six greenish and marbled eggs. This bird usually lives in the fields, and it does not cease its loud shouting even with rifle fire. They are also found in the countless grasslands

Cuculus family

(I) Strix hulula Vandin, or Ciccala Hulula and the Black Owl or Coruja that inhabits the states of Amazonas, Para, Maranhao, Piaui, Minas, Rio and Sao Paulo. (Rev Note, Hist. Inst. and Geogr. Bras.).