I staid in the town of S. Carlos three days, during the greater part of this time the weather was very fine; the inhabitants themselves wondering at such an event. — I do not suppose any part of the world is so rainy as the Island of Chiloe. — The Cordilleras are very rarely in sight; one morning before sun-rise we had a very fine view of the Volcano of Osorno; it stood out in dark relief; it was curious to see as the sun rose, the outline gradually lost in the glare of the Eastern sky. —1 During the fine weather I enjoyed some very pleasant walks about the town & examined the structure of the rocks. — This island like the plains of Patagonia is only an appendage to the Andes; it is formed of the debris of its rocks & of streams of Lava. — These submarine beds have been elevated into dry land only in a very recent period. — The soil resulting from the decomposition of these rocks is very fertile; but agriculture is as yet in its rudest forms; to this the structure of the mills & boats & their method of spinning quite correspond. — The inhabitants, judging from their complexions & low stature, have ¾s of Fuegian or Boat Indian blood in their veins; they are all dressed in coarse strong woollen garments, which each family makes for themselves & dyes with Indigo of a dark blue color.
Although with plenty to eat, they are excessively poor; there is little demand for labor, & from the scarcity of money nearly all payments are made with goods. — Men carry on their backs from long distances, bags of charcoal, (the only fuel used in the town) to obtain the most trifling luxuries: the joy which the sight of a few Rests gave to these poor men was quite surprising; after making them a present, they always insisted on having your hand to shake it as a sign of their gratitude. — One day I walked a few miles on the road to Castro. This place was the former Capital & is now the second town in the island. The road is the only one which goes directly through the interior of the country. About two miles from S. Carlos it enters the forest, which covers the whole country & has only been rendered passable by the aid of the axe.2 For its whole length there are not more than two or three houses; the road itself was made in the time of the old Spaniards & is entirely formed of trunks of trees squared & placed side by side. From the gloomy damp nature of the climate, the wood had a dreary aspect; in the Tropics such a scene is delightful from the contrast it affords with the brilliancy & glare of every open spot. The country generally is only inhabited round the shores of the creeks & Bays, & in this respect it resembles T. del Fuego; the road by the coast is in some places so bad that many houses have scarcely any communication with others excepting by boats.
The capital itself is worthy of the island, it is a small straggling dirty village; the houses are singular from being entirely built sides, roofs, partitions &c of plank.3 The Alerce or cedar from which these planks are made grows on the sides of the Andes; they possess the curious property of splitting so evenly that by planning the planks are nearly as well-formed as if sawed. — These planks are the staple export of the Islands, to which may be added potatoes & hams.