[Illustration: AN INDIAN AND HIS GOD NANDEYARA]
"I need not follow the beaten path;
I do not hunt for any path;
I will go where there is no path,
And leave a trail."
Paraguay, though one of the most isolated republics of South America,
is one of the oldest. A hundred years before the "Mayflower" sailed
from old Plymouth there was a permanent settlement of Spaniards near
the present capital. The country has 98,000 square miles of
territory, but a population of only 800,000. Paraguay may almost be
called an Indian republic, for the traveller hears nothing but the
soft Guarani language spoken all over the country. It is in this
republic that the yerba mate grows. That is the chief article of
commerce, for at least fifteen millions of South Americans drink this
tea, already frequently referred to. Thousands of tons of the best
oranges are grown, and its orange groves are world-famed.
The old capital, founded in 1537, was built without regularity of
plan, but the present city, owing to the despotic sway of Francia, is
most symmetrical. That South American Nero issued orders for all
houses that were out of his lines to be demolished by their owners.
"One poor man applied to know what remuneration he was to have, and
the dictator's answer was: 'A lodgment gratis in the public prison.'
Another asked where he was to go, and the answer was, 'To a state
dungeon.' Both culprits were forthwith lodged in their respective new
residences, and their houses were levelled to the ground."
"Such was the terror inspired by the man that the news that he was
out would clear the streets.