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Chiriqui, but none with satisfactory result. A doubtful authority once claimed to have discovered in one of the graves an article made of a certain stone, which he declared was not to be found in its natural state at any place nearer to Chiriqui than Behring Strait. Assuming this to be true, it affords a foundation for a very pretty conjecture.

The most puzzling feature of the question is the absence of any remains above ground. It must be supposed that a people who had reached the stage of development indicated by the metal and pottery work, and who displayed not a little structural skill in the fashioning and construction of their graves, must have made dwellings of stone which is abundant all over the country. But, if they did so, how has the last vestige of such buildings disappeared ? Probably we shall never know any more than we now do about the matter.

The presence of so much gold in the graves has led to the belief that it was plentiful in this region. Although the mining operations of late years have not yielded satisfactory results, it is quite possible that rich deposits do exist and that they will be discovered when closer attention is devoted to prospecting.

There are records of the Spaniards having mined successfully at a spot near the Costa Rican border in Chiriqui. Many attempts have been made to discover this mine and recently it was rumored that a party of Indians wandering through an unfrequented district had come across some old cast iron church bells, which are believed to indicate the site of the settlement that stood in the vicinity of the lost mine.

CHAPTER IX

UP-COUNTRY IN A COASTING STEAMER

That part of Chiriqui that lies between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean is the garden spot of Panama. It contains the richest soil and has the finest scenery in the territory of the Republic. Its climate is delightful in the dry season and far from bad during the rains. Its people are friendly, law abiding and industrious in their easy-going way.

Few visitors to the Isthmus make the journey up to Chiriqui. Perhaps the discomforts of the voyage deter them, but more probably they are ignorant of the pleasures that await them at the end of it. Canal employes have only begun to go to the beautiful Province since the recent order permitting them to take their vacations at Boquete, on the slope of El Volcan, went into effect.

About the middle of April, 1908, I left Panama with the intention of spending three weeks in Chiriqui and of exploring the Island of Coiba on the way. In order to carry out the latter part of the program, it was necessary to arrange with the steamship company to have me dropped on the island by the boat on which I left Panama and picked up by the one following, a week later. I was accompanied on this expedition by Jr. C. J. Brown, an employe of the Commission, who speaks Spanish fluently, and who had been in Chiriqui as a Commissioner of the United States Government at the time of the election for President of Panama. Apropos of that election, the United States assigned several army officers and others to the temporary service of the Republic of Panama, with a view to their employment in maintaining order during the election and insuring a fair vote. As a matter of fact, the arrangement worked somewhat one-sidedly, for the natives, who were aware that the United States favored the candidacy of Don José de Obaldia, took it for granted that the commissioners were present in his behalf and voted accordingly. However, the result was the election of as good a man as the country could produce and one whose premature death was a distinct loss to it.

The up-country steamer leaves Panama on Friday, with an uncertain schedule, depending upon the particular ports for which it may receive freight, so the 292 miles between the capital and David may be covered in forty-eight hours, or six days. The length of run will depend, not only upon the number of stops, but more greatly, perhaps, upon the luck that may be experienced in catching tides.

The boat was timed to leave its wharf in Panama at two o'clock and we were warned to be on time, the agent giving the impression that the National Navigation Company is as inexorably prompt as the Pennsylvania Railroad. That agent had a riotous imagination. There were several other matters in which his representations failed to touch with the realization at any point. We sent our baggage down to the dock at an early hour. It was much more extensive than would have been the case had we merely contemplated a trip to Chiriqui. In view of a stay of ten days, or longer, on the almost uninhabited island of Coiba, we carried provisions, cooking utensils, machetes, camp cots, blankets, and an assortment of trinkets with which to trade. We also took saddles for use in Chiriqui. It is well to have your own saddle in such expeditions, but more desirable

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