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Swans with black heads were disporting in the water, disputing possession with the numerous intruders which gamboled over the LLANOS. The feathered tribes were of most brilliant plumage, and of marvelous variety and deafening noise.

Kolya at that time was living through the epoch of llanos, pampases, Apaches, track-finders, and a chief by the name of "Black Panther"; and, of course, attentively kept track of the romance of his brother, and made his own syllogisms; at times only too correct, at times fantastic. After six months, from behind a door, he was the witness or more correctly the auditor of an outrageous scene.

At the same time flames appeared on the banks of the Manzanares, near the hospital of the Capuchins, and in the gulf of Cariaco, near Mariguitar. This last phenomenon, so extraordinary in a country not volcanic, is pretty frequent in the Alpine calcareous mountains near Cumanacoa, in the valley of Bordones, in the island of Margareta, and amidst the Llanos or savannahs of New Andalusia.

Gahra's news was disquieting, and we had no time to lose; for, in order to reach the llanos without the almost certainty of falling into the hands of our friend Griscelli, we should have to pass within a mile of the patriot camp, and if an alarm were given, our retreat might be cut off.

Pampas are vast plains without vegetation except during three months of the rainy season, when they yield fine grass. The word is Peruvian; was originally applied to the plains at the mouth of the La Plata. But the plains of Guiana and tropical America, which the Spaniards called Llanos, are also pampas. The Hungarian pasture-lands, called Puszta, are savannas.

The Llanos, from the Caqueta to the Apuré, and from thence to the Delta of the Orinoco, contain 17,000 square marine leagues a space nearly equal to the area of France; that which stretches to the north and south is of nearly double the extent, or considerably larger than the surface of Germany; and the Pampas of Buenos Ayres, which extend from thence towards Cape Horn, are of such extent, that while one end is shaded by the palm-trees of the tropics, the other, equally flat, is charged with the snows of the antarctic circle."

Those Llanos which form the basin of the Orinoco, and which we crossed twice in one year, in the months of March and July, communicate with the basin of the Amazon and the Rio Negro, bounded on one side by the Cordillera of Chiquitos, and on the other by the mountains of Parime. The opening which is left between the latter and the Andes of New Grenada, occasions this communication.

Only here and there, as at Aripo, are left patches, as it were, of a third Flora, which once spread uninterruptedly along the southern base of the Cordillera and over the lowland which is now the Gulf of Paria, along the alluvial flats of the mighty stream; and the Moriche palms of Aripo may be the lineal descendants of those which now inhabit the Llanos of the main; as those again may be the lineal descendants of the Moriches which Schomburgk found forming forests among the mountains of Guiana, up to four thousand feet above the sea.

I could not see the line of junction of these two limestones, or that of the calcareous formation and the diabasis. The transverse valley which descends from Piedras Negras and the village of San Juan, towards Parapara and the Llanos, is filled with trap-rocks, displaying close affinity with the formation of green slates, which they cover.

It is believed in Venezuela as in Egypt that petrified wood is formed in our times. I found this dicotyledonous petrified wood only at the surface of the soil and not inclosed in the sandstone of the Llanos. M. Caillaud made the same observation on going to the Oasis of Siwa. It is not easy, when several formations are not perfectly developed, to determine the age of arenaceous rocks.