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The Journal of Syms Covington

Chapter 4

Second Year at the End of the World

[Woollya Cove with Indians and camp]

(16) Sailed from Wigwam Cove December 31. Saw the Island of Diego Ramirez(54) January 2nd, also saw the Islands of Ildefonso and Yorkminster January 10th. On the passage we experienced a very heavy gale, AND on the 13th, lost the Captain's gig, which was occasioned by the sea breaking over our quarter and poop, and likewise sprung our bowsprit etc.(55)

Anchored in Wind Bound Bay in the evening January 13th. Sailed the next morning for Goree Road where we anchored the same day (the 14th) in Beagle Channel. Here the three Indians and missionary left the ship for their native island, or Buttons Land, called after the name of the boy.(56) Three boats with the greater part of the ships company went with them,(57) built large wigwams and set seed of different sorts for their use, which took all of them several days; and after landing their utensils which were A numerous and various bounty,(58) left for another part of the island. On the return of the boats, which had been absent about a week,(59) WE found the missionary and THE three Indians stripped of nearly all they had by the Indians, with the exception of a few things they had put under ground, and even the place that had been cultivated, had their (17) plants torn up, and likewise ill treated the missionary to make him discover where where the remainder of the utensils. By the hostile appearance of the Indians, it was thought proper our countryman COME back to the ship, which was done, and the three Indians WERE left with their own countrymen.(60) But on our arrival some months afterwards, we found they had been stripped of everything; here we found the boy only, the man and the girl WHO had agreed to live together as man and wife previous to our leaving the first time, had left for another island. (61)

Sailed February 10th and brought too in Puck Saddle Bay the same evening.

Having moved ship to Puck Saddle Bay on the Hardy Peninsula, the Captain returned to visit the Fuegians in a whaleboat the next day, returning the 12th. On the 18th and 19th, the Beagle surveyed the northern part of Wollaston Island, returning to the quieter waters of Goree Roads on the 20th. There they stayed, waiting out the weather. On Monday the 25th, Darwin walked up Bank's Hill; "the wind was so strong and cold that we were glad to retreat" [Barlow 1933: 137-8; Darwin 1906: 216].

Sailed the following morning, for the Falkland Islands where we came to anchor in Berkeley Sound, Port Egmont (Eastern Island) March 1st. This group of islands is very numerous, but the principal are the Eastern and Western, the West BEING much the largest; the remainder are smaller, and some but mere rocks. At the head of the sound is a small settlement of English with a few Spaniards. No natives. The Governor is named Brisbane, formerly a Captain of a small trading craft.(62) In this harbour are several wrecks, from which we have supplied the ship with fire wood. Plenty of good water.

(18) While laying here we found it very squally, and at times very cold. The island IS in general mountainous. Not a single tree to be seen(63) but THERE ARE low brushes with red berries which are very good eating. Here are bullocks horses and pigs that run wild, rabbits, wild geese and ducks(64) and most excellent snipe shooting(65) on the marshy ground and long grass, OF which the island in general has very little else. Likewise There is the tea plant, which bears very sweet berry, and wild thyme which we used as tea, and IS very good and much more plentiful than the former.(66)

While staying here Mr. Hellyer the Captain's clerk was drowned, it was supposed, while out by himself shooting some ducks or geese along the sea coast.(67)

On our arrival here we learned the fate of the Megellan, a French brig AND whaler, that had parted from her cables and went ashore on a sandy bank in the same gale that we ourselves experienced near Cape Horn. All hands were saved, and living ashore near the wreck; most of their stores were saved, which our Captain bought, and likewise the ship for firewood.

Here our Captain BOUGHT a schooner of Mr. Low, a sealer, called the Unicorn, which was changed for that of the New Adventure. (68) This schooner (19) greatly forwarded our surveying, and helped the Beagle in taking the crew of the Megellan to Monte Video, which men and officers together amounted to about thirty.

Sailed April 6th, anchored in the Bay of St. Joseph the 17th. Sailed the same evening and steered for Monte Video, where we arrived on the 26th. Sailed the 27th and arrived at Maldonado the 28th. East Point,(69) the port of the above-mentioned place is about five miles distance and very sandy, has the Island of Lobo within a league,(70) and nearly abreast. On this island are great numbers of fur seals, which is the source OF employment FOR a great many souls. This SEALING is in the hands of a rich old Spaniard, Don Ajilar, who likewise has two vessels constantly trading to and from different ports. (This man is said to be very rich; he is said to have made most of his money in this way.)

This place is very open, and not A safe anchorage when blowing fresh. (20) There is a landing place within a mile and a half of the town, on the open beach, but there generally being heavy surfe, is not much used.

Left the ship with Charles Darwin(71) for Maldonado the same day, landed at East POINT. Here we got horses for riding and a carreta or waggon for the luggage. Our quarters was at Doña Francisca, an old Spanish lady.(72) Maldonado IS a small town situated within half a league of the beach.(73) In the plaza, or square, is a partly built church; THE BUILDING OF which has been suspended, by reason of the inhabitants being too poor to supply money sufficient for its erection. Within two hundred yards of the plaza, stands their present place of worship, which appears sufficiently large for the population. The inhabitants are principally Spanish emigrants from the Canary Islands.

The country(74) about here is pleasant and pretty well cultivated, BUT WITH very little wood. There is a great variety of birds of a most beautiful plumage, and partridge in immense numbers. Also the large partridge about the size of a fowl.(75) Snipes and ducks are very prolific about the (21) lakes and marshes. Of the former, there are two, very large AND freshwater. On the banks of the lakes are found the capincha(76) and also the tucutuco (WHICH has burrows), and the aperea or guinea pig.(77) snakes to DEAL with a great many mice of different sorts; ALSO THE comadreja or weasel.(78)

Left Maldonado June 29th for the ship.(79) The ship went South during our stay at Maldonado.(80) Also the schooner was fitted out at the Island of Lobo, which took about six months. Men were hired from Monte Video(81) and the ship (THE BEAGLE) sailed from here July 24th. Hove too off Río Negro August 3rd. Left ship the same day with Charles Darwin in the small schooners.(82)

The bahía, or mouth of the river, IS not easily seen except when close too. There is a bar that runs across the bay and obstructs the passage of the small shipping to the river except at high tides and calm weather. SHIPPING is POSSIBLE as high up as the settlement which is twenty six miles UPRIVER. Its source is not known. The tide is very strong and rapid. About a mile and a half from the bahía lives the pilot on the North(83) side of the river. ( En este río nosotros perdido un hombre.)(84)

(22) Río Negro,(85) t he town which takes its name from the river, is about is about seven leagues from the river mouth, AND is situated on the North bank. RÍO NEGRO contains upwards of one hundred fifty dwellings with a small garrison, situated on a hill in the centre of the town. At present there are about fifty soldiers. A month previous to this date, immense numbers of Indians came to the town, stripped the place of every thing they could put their hands on, AND drove all the cattle with them, the inhabitants seeking their safety in flight until the Indians were gone, whereUPON the (TOWNSPEOPLE) came back to deplore the loss. THE TOWNSPEOPLES' IMMEDIATE wants were supplied soon after by the arrival of a brig with flour. On our arrival there was scarcely a bit of meat to be bought at any price. (86)

At present there is anywhere between thirty and forty thousand men, Buenos Ayrians, fighting with the Indians on the banks of the Río Colorado under Rosas, their general.(87) No quarter given on either side.

At the back of the town is a large plain, thickly set with bushes three or four feet high. In the camp(88) or country there are lions, tigers, deer, cavys , ostriches both large and small. Aperea here has a much finer fur THAN ELSEWHERE. THERE ARE armadillos. Partridges ARE both large and small (the former has a tuft or crest on its head).(89)

(23) C.D. caminando por tierra, desde Río Negro a Bahía Blanca, también de Bahía Blanca a Buenos Ayres.(90)

During our stay at Río Negro, the ship went to the Bay of St. Gruthius, from whence she returned and hove too off Río Negro August 19th. We came on board the same day in the small schooners, which schooners LA LIÉVRE AND LA PAZ were paid off and returned to their owners. Sailed the same day for Bahía Blanca, where we anchored August 24th. Left ship for the town the following day in A yawl, BUT slept in the boat at night.(91) Early next morning went up to the head of the creek and stopt at THE pilots house until the officers went to the town, which is about a league and a half from the house. On their return, went back to the ship, which took us until 2 o'clock the next morning.(92)

August 31st, left the ship for Johnsons Point,(93) distant about eight miles, collecting los huevos del Megatherium,(94) etc. Lived in a tent. Came back September 5th.

Sailed from Bahía Blanca September 6th(95) and anchored at Monte Video September 22nd. Left the ship solo THAT afternoon, GOING on board the brig Caroline for Buenos Ayres which was to sail the same evening. But the wind, shifting, we remained wind bound until the 25th when we sailed, arriving at Buenos Ayres on the 28th. Went ashore and remained (24) in the town until the 2nd of October when I left for the camp fourteen miles from town.(96)

I resided a Mr. G's,(97) who kept a large estancia, or farm, where by the kindness of him and his family I passed a month very comfortably. This estancia is situated on the bank of Río de la Plata. Here is the celebrated pampas, or plain that reaches to the Cordillera, where so many million head of cattle are fed both for consumption and FOR their hides and tallow for exportation. Here is a very fine prospect: the pampas as far as the eye can discern, shews its numerous estancias with its patches of cultivated ground, many thousand head of cattle, and the largest river in the world,(98) on who's banks which are very muddy, I may say, ARE the most splendid birds in the world. In the small rivulets are found unbelievable numbers of ducks of different species and most beautiful plumage, also A wild turkey about the size of the domesticated,(99) the ostrich, the mulita species of the armadillo,(100) deers, lions, tigers, foxes, aperea or guinea pig, bizcacha,(101) etc. The latter are in prodigious quantities, and do much injury to the dykes or ditches round abouts (25) cultivated ground, where they are constantly burrowing, which is the occasion of a continual warfare between those animals and the labourers. These animals are of a greyish colour with very large whiskers and A tuft at the end of the tail, and somewhat resemble the rabbit, as they live in warrens, and feed upon herbs, and when young are very good eating.(102)

On the 16th of the same month, a revolution broke out,(103) which of course put a stop to all intercourse BETWEEN the Citizens and Country People, the former denominated Unitarians, the latter Federals. The latter were more numerous, and could muster an army of five thousand strong; altogether they were a motley group, most part of them having nothing but what they could muster themselves. As there WERE only two or three skirmishes, the loss of men was trivial. The principal sufferers in those revolutions are the farmers, who ONE day are estimated to be worth perhaps fifty thousand (26) dollars and upwards, and the next left pennyless. They ONLY RECEIVE a bill for their cattle, ONE which CAN never BE cashed, and THEY ARE obliged to put up with the rude insults of the soldiers. To this I was an eyewitness myself.(104) These petty feuds are a good pretext for to rob and plunder (and of course our own countrymen are the first sufferers). The peóns or labourers wish for those times, as they can then take a bullock, etc. without being apprehended.

Left Camp October 30th.(105) Slept at an estancia the same night. Next morning stopt BY the army all the forenoon (a curious sight AS I HAD BEEN up to MY middle in water for several miles).(106) Got in Buenos Ayres the same afternoon. With some trouble, passed all the sentries with my guide; when in town, I WAS obliged to keep in house, or be pressed.(107)

November 2nd went on board packet (con Don Carlos). [Darwin 1906: 134] for Monte Video where our ship then lay to an anchor. Arrived at Monte Video the 4th went on board Beagle. The 5th went ashore to live (at Mr. Parry's);(108)

I had many excursions in the camp. Here I collected many birds etc.(109) AS there is no wood WE WERE OBLIGED TO burn dried thistles. THESE THISTLES grow high, even to the height of a man on horse back.(110) (27) Went on board ship November 21st; left December 6th for the last time.(111)

Coast of Patagonia, Port Desire. Arrived at Port Desire December 23rd; went upriver to water the same day.(112) The river IS about three quarters of a mile wide. On THE North side stands the remains of a small Spanish settlement that formerly was there: several houses with small citadel large enough, I should think for a hundred people. The buildings are all of stone. But the inhabitants were found missing (some years since), and HAVE never since been heard of. It is supposed they were massacred by the Indians; the Indians appear to have a mortal hatred OF the Spaniards.(113)

This PORT DESIRE is much the same as other parts of Patagonia, viz. sandy hills with very bad brackish water, and that obliged to dig for; but some of the valleys are very pleasant: in season there are plenty of wild cherries. THEY WERE nearly ripe at this time; I ate some which were rather tart, but tasted pleasant. (28) Birds are not so numerous nor so splendid HERE as IN many other parts of South America, but of course THEY ARE less WELL known. About this part no deer were seen, but immense quantities of guanacos, ALSO lions, foxes, ostriches and aperea or guinea pig. THE cliffs ARE full of fossil shells.(114)

Here we spent our Christmas; THE ships company went on shore. The Captain put prizes up for wrestling, jumping in sacks, running etc.(115)

(Infermo la mismo tiempo.)(116)


54 A small group of islets South of the Cape.

55 They had twenty four consecutive days of bad weather, the worst weather Fitz Roy had ever seen [Darwin 1906: 206; Barlow 1933: 128]. Sealing vessels had put men onto Diego Ramirez Rocks but were unable to retrieve them in the gale and the men were lost [Barlow 1933: 210 ].

56 Fitz Roy had a pet project. On the earlier voyage he collected four Fuegians with the idea of one day returning his charges, once they were suitably civilised. An eager lay catechist, Richard Matthews was to stay with his converts and guide the spiritual development of the Fuegian people. The result was a bitter disappointment to Fitz Roy, as his children reverted to savagery, and Matthews barely got out alive [Darwin 1906: 207-16].

57 There were twenty eight men in the building party, including Darwin, Fitz Roy and Covington [Darwin 1906: 207].

58 The list of junk includes wine glasses, a soup turin, tea trays, white linen and beaver hats. All totally useless for the place [Barlow 1933: 129].

59 February 6th [Darwin 1906: 215].

60 Jemmy, the once fastidious dresser who never went without gloves, was now thin, naked and dirty. He was furious with his knavish countrymen who were, in his words, "all bad men," and "damned fools" (he'd never sworn before) [Darwin 1906: 216].

61 The marriage was a foregone conclusion, according to Darwin [Darwin 1906: 198], for York Minster had been exceptionally jealous of pubescent Fuegia. We also know that York Minster had a grudge against Button, for all the attention he got from the crew; York would sullenly grumble about the lad, "Too much skylark!" [Darwin 1906: 197] Once they got ashore, York Minster asked Jemmy to join him to the journey to another island, probably to the West where York's family lived. But this was subterfuge. York Minster and Fuegia disappeared one night, taking Jemmy's remaining gifts [Darwin 1906: 218].

62 Falkland politics were more complicated than either Covington or Darwin admit. After Spanish and French failures in colonising the Falklands, Louis Vernet, an American by birth, established a successful colony for the Argentine Republic between 1826-32. With him was Captain Matthew Brisbane, an Irishman who surveyed the South Seas for the British, now in charge of the Colony's fisheries. There was also William Dickson, Vernet's storekeeper.

In mid-1831, Vernet detained an Yankee sealer in Falkland waters, which shortly brought the American corvette Lexington to arrest Vernet and Brisbane for piracy. A few months later, the British sloop, Clio came to proclaim the Falklands British territory. Since Brisbane was still explaining things to the Americans in Monte Video, Dickson was tasked to hoist the Union Jack on Sundays and whenever a ship passed. This he did for the Beagle in March [Cawkell et al. 1960: 42-3]. Brisbane returned (now as British Governor) just before the Beagle set sail.

63 Lacking firewood, the gauchos had a ready solution. They would kill a bullock, clean the meat away and roast it over a fire made from the bones [Barlow 1933: 219].

64 Rabbits were introduced from Europe; many of the native sea birds are common mainland species, or closely allied races, like the kelp goose, Chloephaga hybrida malvinaru. The flightless steamer or logger-head duck, Tachyeres brachyptera was mentioned by Darwin [Barlow 1933: 171].

65 The paraguay snipe, Capella paraguaiae is common.

66 The first is the 'diddle dee' (Empetrum rubrum), a resinous plant which burns fiercely; also found in temperate South America [Darwin 1906: 274]. The second may be 'scurvy grass' (Oxalia enneaphylla), once abundant in the Falklands, producing hillsides of pink or yellow flowers.

67 Mr. Hellyer tried to swim out to get a bird that fell into a kelp bed; instead it was Hellyer who tangled in the kelp and drowned [Barlow 1933: 139].

68 William Lowe, or Low, and his fur seal operations are mentioned several times by Darwin; Lowe's harbour is at the northern end of the Chonos Archipelago [Darwin 1906: 203, 212, 217, 221, 273]. They hunted the Southern fur seal, Arctocephalus australis, nearly to extinction for its thick, waterproof coat. Speaking of Lowe, Darwin is of the opinion that "sealer, slaver and pirate are all of a trade.... In their manners, habits, etc. I should think these men strikingly resembled the old Buccaneers" [Barlow 1933: 141].

Fitz Roy purchased the Adventure out of his own funds, hoping to recoup by convincing the Admiralty of the advantages of using two ships on the survey. But the Admiralty saw only the expense, and in the following year, ordered Fitz Roy to sell the schooner. This he did in October 1834, under vehemement protests.

69 Or Punta del Este, which is actually to the West of Maldonado.

70 Fur seal winter on these coastal islands; the best hunting would have been in May and June. One recent count of fur seal on Lobos Island, estimated an assembly of 44,000 animals [Scheffer 1958: 54].

A league is a unit of distance, about three miles or five kilometres.

71 It was here that Darwin mentions, in a letter to his sister Caroline, that he had taken on Syms Covington as a servant [Barlow 1946: 85].

72 Darwin says of these lodgings, "The rooms are very high and large; but they have very small windows and are almost destitute of furniture. They are all on the ground floor and open to each other. The very existence of what an Englishman calls comfort never passed through the builder's mind" [Barlow 1933: 145].

73 Crossed out: "the view of the beach" ... "which is a complete body of small sand hills."

74 Darwin made a (well armed) excursion by horse between May 9th and 19th; nothing is said in Darwin's Diary about Covington or the waggon mentioned above [Barlow 1933: 146-152].

75 Darwin explains a method of capturing partridges with the long rhea quill and a running noose. Because partridges (Nothura major) freeze when exposed, hoping to rely for safety on their drab coloration, it is only necessary to tighten the noose around the bird's quivering neck [Barlow 1933: 150; Darwin 1906: 43].

76 The capybara, Hydrochoerus hydorchaeris, the largest living rodent; near Monte Video, Darwin killed one weighing 98 pounds [Darwin 1906: 47].

77 Among the large number of 'cavy,' Covington distinguishes one which he calls the apperier, which is probably Cavia aperea, the pampas guinea pig. This is a small, ground dwelling animal, about the size of the domestic variety. The tucutuco is any of over thirty species of nocturnal, burrowing rodent of the genus Ctenomys.

78 The patagonian weasel is Lyncodon patagonicus.

79 Covington left with Darwin, who was pleased to get his "menagerie" on board the Beagle [Barlow 1933: 153].

80 Darwin's reservations about Lowe's men proved right. A mate of the Unicorn was recognised from the President, a pirate slaver that "brought the English man-of-war, the Black Joke, to action" [Barlow 1933: 154]. This is why the Beagle left hurriedly on July 8th, to take the man in irons to the English Consul at Monte Video.

81 For the outfitting of the Adventure.

82 The crew of the two open, thin hulled boats were lucky to survive privation and bad weather the last nine months. The schooners were crewed by Stokes and eight others on La Lièvre and Wickham, King and five more men in La Paz. These two boats formed an independent surveying team, carrying five of Fitz Roy's precious chronometers. [Fitz Roy 1839: (2)295] La Lièvre fetched Covington and Darwin, after which the Beagle stood away and left them there [Barlow 1933: 156].

83 The word "right" was crossed out and replaced in the text by "North". They would sleep here [Barlow 1933: 156].

84 Which means: "In this river we lost a man". Corporal Williams of the Royal Marines fell overboard from La Lièvre on the night of Christmas Day. His body was found 3 miles down river and he was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery in Patagones [Fitz Roy 1839: (2)303].

85 Or Carmen de Patagones [Barlow 1933: 156].

86 Darwin's version of this story differs only slightly. He confirms that a whole troop of mares "was stolen on the South shore of the river a week before" their arrival, but claims the only Indians in the area were stragglers. Could there be more? Quien sabe? -- Who knows? -- said Darwin's guide who "never ceased slowly scanning the whole horizon" [Barlow 1933: 167]. Indians, like the soldiers, ate mare's flesh, so their food would not be an encumbrance and could run along with the mounts [Barlow 1933: 161]. Darwin fails to discuss any food shortage.

87 General Rosas, of whom Darwin spoke at length [Darwin 1906: 67, 69, 133; Barlow 1933: 88], was a fierce, charismatic figure; the only man, in Darwin's opinion, who could knit together a Nation from the patchwork of the bickering provinces of the Río de la Plata. As a strongman, his power base was the gaucho, and his means to power was to eradicate the Indian.

88 Both Covington and Darwin use the English transliteration for the Spanish campo. Falklanders still speak of 'the camp' [Cawkell et al. 1960: 46].

89 One of the tufted tinamous, Eudromia.

90 "Charles Darwin traveled through the land, from Río Negro to Bahía Blanca, also from Bahía Blanca to Buenos Ayres." Darwin left on the 11th of August with Mr. Harris, the owner of the two small schooners Fitz Roy had rented, and a band of gauchos. They met the Beagle on the 26th at Bahía Blanca before going on September 8th to their final destination, arriving September 20th. Covington stayed behind.

91 Darwin's party spotted the Beagle through a mirage on the 24th; a boat could not be lowered for him on the 25th (though Covington seems to say that he made it ashore). At last Chaffers brought a yawl around on the 26th to load Darwin.

92 They waited until evening to kill a cow for the ship, but the Beagle had moved in the meantime, so it took most of the night to find her -- to Covington's annoyance [Barlow 1933: 169].

93 Punta Alta, with Darwin [Darwin 1906: 77].

94 Covington believed he was gathering fossilised eggs. Megatherium being a placental mammal, did not produce eggs. These beds were largely composed of egg-sized porphyritic pebbles [Barlow 1967: 84]; maybe this is what Covington was trying to identify. Among the finds was an entire skeleton entombed in sand [Barlow 1946: 196]. Darwin's Diary [Barlow 1933: 170 ] has Covington and another man travel to Punta Alta on the 29th. Excavations were carried out over the next several days, Darwin returning twice to check progress. Darwin wasted these days waiting for permission to travel on by land to Buenos Ayres. Thus it is to Covington and his unknown partner that we are indebted for this fossil collection.

95 Darwin finally got his papers and a guide and went ahead by horse, arriving the 20th [Darwin 1906: 114 ].

96 Darwin's diary entry for September 20-26 says that his servant (Covington) arrived from Monte Video and was "dispatched to an English Estancia to shoot and skin bird." Meanwhile Darwin went on to Santa Fé, leaving by horse September 27th, returning ill by boat and canoe [Barlow 1933: 183-6]. He was detained for a short time on November 22nd at a camp of General Rosas's supporters [Barlow 1933: 190]. The minor difference between Darwin and Covington is unimportant [Barlow 1933: 183; Darwin 1906: 116].

97 Perhaps this was Robert Gore, the English Chargé d' Affaires with whom Darwin dined in town the previous year [Barlow 1933: 112-3]. But Darwin [Barlow 1946: 93], in a letter to his sister, identifies the man as a merchant rather than a diplomat. Mr. G. had both a country estate and a residence in town, where Darwin stayed on his return. Darwin's notes mention a Mr. Griffith in connection with "collecting shells in limestone" [Barlow 1946: 167].

98 Actually, the River Plate is second to the Amazon in volume of water discharged and is in fourth place in total area drained.

99 Covington is probably speaking about the great tinamou, Tinamus major [Barlow 1933: 189].

100 Dasypus hybridus, the nine banded armadillo, called mulita ("little mule") for its big, pointed ears [Darwin 1906: 91].

101 The viscacha, Lagostomus maximus, is a large, grey rodent, with strong hindquarters like a rabbit, but small ears and an oversized head. It is one of the most abundant animals on the pampas. Little ground owls Speotyto cunicularia share its burrows [Darwin 1906: 117 ].

102 We learn from one of Darwin's letters that Covington fell into quicksand, nearly losing his life. He did lose Darwin's gun [Barlow 1946: 93].

103 "Fourteen days after I went to Camp the revolution began," is a note beside the text. It was a revolution in support of General Rosas [Darwin 1906: 132].

104 As to robbers, Darwin says, the soldiers "robbed people in the day-time and at night the very sentinels stopped people to demand money from them" [Barlow 1933: 191; Darwin 1906: 134].

105 The estancia of Mr. G. was ransacked by the revolutionaries and Darwin feared that his equipment was lost [Barlow 1946: 93].

106 He was stopped at the encampment at which Darwin had been detained a few days before. Covington probably went through the swamps to avoid being captured or robbed, which got him muddied. Darwin finally bribed Covington through the pickets, leaving stranded their clothes, Darwin's collection and his riding gear [Barlow 1933: 191]. Fortunately, this was a civilised war, and their baggage eventually caught up with them.

107 British seaman were reputedly good quality material; Covington would have been 'crimped' for naval duty [Mellersh 1968: 28].

108 Mr. Parry was a well-to-do English merchant [Barlow 1933: 82, 89, 109]. Darwin and Covington stayed ashore while the Beagle was refitting [Barlow 1933: 191]. In Darwin's notes, is a shopping list dated November 3rd with the item "Covington Trousers" [Barlow 1946: 169].

109 With Darwin, who then left on the the 14th for an excursion to the town of Mercedes, returning the 28th, midday.

110 This sentence was on the front page and seem s to fit here. Darwin spoke of this brilliant green cardoon or thistle, Cynara cardunculus which, when fully grown became high, prickly wall. Tracks were cut through, but these were few and as intricate as a barbed maze. Known as the "cardo de Castilla" [Barlow 1967: 126], this thistle was an accidental emigrant from Europe, growing in the pampas without its normal natural controls [Darwin 1906: 113; Barlow 1933: 182-3, 195].

111 With the newly rigged Adventure, commanded by Lieutenant Wickham lagging far behind, her sails not yet properly trimmed [Barlow 1933: 201].

112 The last phrase is detached from the principal text.

113 Darwin summarises, the settlement "quite failed from want of water in the Summer, and the Indians in Winter" [Barlow 1933: 202].

114 Mr. Chaffers took Darwin in a dinghy up harbour. They bivouacked "surrounded by bold cliffs and steep pinnacles of porphyry" [Darwin 1906: 160-1]. Among the shells found was a giant oyster a foot (30 cm) in diameter [Darwin 1906: 162].

115 In the "Olympic games" as Darwin called them, "old men with long beards and young men without any were playing like so many children." He then adds, "certainly a much better way of passing Christmas than the usual one, of every seaman getting as drunk as he possibly can" [Barlow 1933: 201].

116 Meaning, "I was sick at the same time."

Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 23 August 1995
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (bsparcs@asap.unimelb.edu.au)
Prepared by: Victoria Young
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 17 March 1998

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