afloat in the forest

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. THE GALATEA. ON an evening in the early part of December, a craft of singular construction might have been seen descending the Solimoes, and apparently making for the little Portuguese port of Coary, that lies on the southern side of the river. When we say of singular construction, we mean singular to one unaccustomed to the navigation of Amazonian waters. There the craft in question was too common to excite curiosity, since it was nothing more than a galatea, or large canoe, furnished with mast and sail, with a palm-thatched cabin, or toldo, rising over the quarter, a low-decked locker running from bow to midships, — along each side of which were to be seen, half seated, half standing, some half-dozen dark-skinned men, each plying, instead of an oar, a paddle- blade. Perhaps the most singular sight on board this embarkation was the group of animated beings who composed its crew and passengers. The former, as already stated, were dark- skinned men scantily clad, — in fact, almost naked, since a single pair of white cotton drawers constituted the complete costume of each. For passengers there were three men, and a like number of individuals of younger age. Two of the men were white, apparently Europeans; the other was as black as soot could have made him, — unquestionably an African negro. Of the young people two were boys, not much differing in size, and apparently not much in age, while the third was a half- grown girl, of dark complexion, raven-colored hair, and beautiful features. One of the white men appeared to be, and was, the proprietor of the montaria, and the employer of its swarthy crew. He was Ralph Trevannion. The young girl was his daughter, and bore her Peruviam mother's name, Rosa, more often pronounced by its diminutive of endearme...
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