Page 177. " like some pale and bloated manatee "
Homosassa Springs State Park west manatee below01.jpg
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHomosassa Springs State Park west manatee below - Credit: Ebyabe

A manatee is a marine mammal of the genus Trichechus, found in the tropical coastal waters of America, the Caribbean, and Africa. 

Manatees have a prehensile upper lip and a broad flattened tail.  All species are endangered.

Page 178. " This Angel Trias "

Ángel Trías was born on December 24, 1808, in what is now Mexico City. He studied in France and Italy. 

He became Govenor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua in 1846, and was involved in the Battle of the Sacramento River and the Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales.


Page 179. " patriotic toasts were drunk, the governor’s aides raising their glasses to Washington and Franklin "
George Washington
Public DomainGeorge Washington - Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dr. Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790)
Public DomainDr. Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) - Credit: The White House Historical Association

George Washington was the first President of the United States, and is universally regarded as the ‘Father of his Country’.

He led America to victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787, becoming the unanimous choice to serve as the first President of the United States.


Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity.

Page 180. " The citizenry made address to the governor but he was much like the sorcerer’s apprentice who could indeed provoke the imp to do his will but could in no way make him cease again. "
Illustration of Der Zauberlehrling from Goethe's Werke (1882)
Public DomainIllustration of Der Zauberlehrling from Goethe's Werke (1882) - Credit: Ferdinand Barth

The legend of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice comes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1797 ballad poem Der Zauberlehrling, possibly inspired by a similar tale recounted by Lucian in his Philosopseudes (written c. AD 150).

Goethe’s poem tells the story of an old sorcerer who leaves his apprentice to perform some chores in his workshop. Tired of fetching water by pail, the apprentice, using magic in which he is not yet fully trained, enchants a broom to do the work for him. The floor is soon awash with water, and the apprentice, lacking the power to make it stop, splits the enchancted broom in two with an axe. To the apprentice’s horror, each of the pieces then becomes a new broom, each one taking up a pail and continuing to fetch water, now at twice the speed. Eventually, the old sorcerer returns and quickly breaks the spell. The poem finishes with the sorcerer’s statement that powerful spirits should only be called by the master himself.  

Page 181. " The village of Coyame "
Coyame, Chihuahua, Mexico
Public DomainCoyame, Chihuahua, Mexico - Credit: Rockerkid26

Coyame, and the Santiago de Coyame mission, were founded in 1715 by Sergeant Major Juan Antonio Retes Trasviña.  After ten years, Coyame was abandoned by the missionaries, but it was later repopulated.

Page 181. " Presidio on the Texas border "
Presidio texas.jpg
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePresidio Texas - Credit: Yufei - User:Jadecolour

Presidio is located on the Rio Grande, on the US side of the border. 

In 1683 Juan Sabeata, the chief of the Jumano Indian nation, reported having seen a fiery cross on the mountain at Presidio and requested that a mission be established at La Junta. The settlement in 1684 became known as La Navidad en Las Cruces.

Around 1760 a penal colony and a small military garrison were established near Presidio. In 1830 the name of the area around Presidio was changed from La Junta de los Rios to Presidio del Norte. White American settlers came to Presidio in 1848 after the Mexican War.

 In 1849 a Comanche raid almost destroyed Presidio, and in 1850 Indians drove off most of the cattle in town.

Page 182. " Gondwanaland "

Gondwanaland was one of the two ancient supercontinents produced by the split of the even larger supercontinent Pangaea about 200 million years ago.

It comprised the lands that are now Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and the Indian subcontinent.

Page 182. " In three days they would fall upon a band of peaceful Tiguas camped on the river and slaughter them every soul. "
Tigua woman (c. 1890)
Public DomainTigua woman (c. 1890) - Credit: Library of Congress

The Tigua are a Puebloan Indian tribe who inhabit the Ysleta section of El Paso, Texas. They were one of the many Southern Tiwa-speaking Puebloan peoples who were displaced from New Mexico in 1680-81, during the Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish.

They were considered extinct as a distinct tribe by the 1930s, but began asserting themselves and laying claim to the land they had lost during the 1960s. In 1968 President Lyndon Jonson signed an Act of Congress recognising the Tigua as a tribe and granting them reservation land in Texas.

Page 182. " They camped that night at the Hueco tanks, a group of natural stone cisterns in the desert. "
East Mountain at Hueco Tanks State Park
Creative Commons AttributionEast Mountain at Hueco Tanks State Park - Credit: Brian Stansberry

The Hueco Tanks are a rocky outcropping in the middle of the desert near El Paso. Hueco means hollows in Spanish after the bowl like depressions in the rock which hold small pools of water formed by natural springs.


Page 182. " The rocks about in every sheltered place were covered with ancient paintings "
Pictograph in the Cave of the White Horned Dancer, Hueco Tanks
Creative Commons AttributionPictograph in the Cave of the White Horned Dancer, Hueco Tanks - Credit: Ancheta Wis

The Hueco Tanks are culturally and significant to many Native Americans, such as the Mescalero Apache, the Kiowa, the Hopi, and the Pueblo people.  This significance is partially manifested in the many pictographs (rock paintings) found through the region, some of which are thousands of years old. The site contains the single largest collection of mask paintings by Native Americans in North America, of which hundreds exist at this site.

Bartlett, travelling through the region in 1851, was one of the first explorers to record these pictographs and his accompanying sketches can be seen below.


Pictographs recorded by Bartlett
Public DomainPictographs recorded by Bartlett - Credit: John Russell Bartlett
'Indians with shields and bows, painted with a brownish earth; horses with their riders; uncouth looking animals; and a huge rattlesnake.'
Public Domain'Indians with shields and bows, painted with a brownish earth; horses with their riders; uncouth looking animals; and a huge rattlesnake.' - Credit: John Russell Bartlett
More 'rude paintings and sculptures'
Public DomainMore 'rude paintings and sculptures' - Credit: John Russell Bartlett







Page 185. " Harpie eagles flew up screaming from a dead mule "
Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja)
Creative Commons AttributionHarpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) - Credit:

The Harpy Eagle is a species of eagle, and the largest and most powerful raptor found in the Americas.

Harpy Eagles range from Mexico, through Central America and into South America. However, destruction of its natural habitat has seen it vanish from most of its former range, and it is almost extinct in Central America.

Page 186. " among the sloe-eyed girls of that country. "
Mexican actress Delores Del Rio, an example of sloe-eyes
Public DomainMexican actress Delores Del Rio, an example of sloe-eyes - Credit: Library of Congress

Sloe-eyed means having attractive, sometimes slanted, dark almond-shaped eyes.

The expression sloe-eyed for a person with dark eyes comes from the blackthorn or sloe fruit Prunus spinosa, and may have been first used in A. J. Wilson's 1867 novel Vashti.


Page 191. " They wore tall shakos faced with metal plates and horsehair plumes "
Tafel VI u.jpg
Public Domain soldiers in a variety of shakos - Credit: Milgesch

Shakos are military caps in the shape of a cylinder or truncated cone, with a visor and a plume or pompon.

Page 196. " A fandango "

A fandango is a type of dance, traditionally accompanied by guitars and castanets or hand-clapping (‘palmas’ in Spanish and Portuguese).

The dance, probably of Moorish origin (although some believe its roots lie in Greek and Roman culture), was popular in the 18th century and survives today as a folk dance in Spain, Portugal, southern France, and Latin America. It is usually danced by couples, beginning slowly, with the rhythm marked by castanets, hand-clapping, snapping of fingers; the speed gradually increases. The music is in 3/4 or 6/8 time. Occasionally there is a sudden pause in the music, and the dancers stand rigid until the music resumes. The dance is an expression of passion, and the partners tease, challenge, and pursue each other with steps and gestures. In another version, the fandango is danced by two men as a contest of skill. The first dancer sets the rhythm and steps, the second picks up the step and elaborates.


Spanish dancers performing fandango (early 19th century)
Public DomainSpanish dancers performing fandango (early 19th century) - Credit: Pierre Chasselat


Page 197. " like the backs of sea beasts in a Devonian dawn "

The Back of a Sea Beast
Public DomainThe Back of a Sea Beast - Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Devonian was a geological period stretching from 405 to 345 million years ago.  It was characterized by the dominance of fishes and the advent of amphibians and ammonites.


Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike"Devonian" Black Mountains - Credit: Philip Halling


Page 200. " goathorn eartrumpet "
W. P. Zubar with eartrumpet (c. 1900)
Public DomainW. P. Zubar with eartrumpet (c. 1900) - Credit: Library of Congress

Ear trumpets were early hearing aids. They were tubular or funnel-shaped in order to collect sound waves and lead them into the ear. Typically they were made of sheet iron, silver, wood, animal horns, and even snail shells.