(Masterpieces of British Fiction)

Richard Lamb married Paquita without her father’s consent and eloped with her to Montevideo. There they went to see Dona Isidora, a relative of Paquita, and stayed with her for some time. Dona Isidora gave Lamb a letter to the overseer of the Estancia de la Virgen de los Desamparados, a ranch called in English Vagabond’s Rest.

Lamb departed with the letter, and in the Florida department, he began to learn the history of the unhappy land of Uruguay. The Argentines and Brazilians interfered in the country’s politics, and, as if the foreign influences were not enough to cause trouble, there was constant friction between the country and the town districts. At a pulperia, or tavern, he met Lucero, a horse tamer, and went to stay at his house; but he soon left Lucero and continued his journey to the estancia.

Lamb took advantage of rustic hospitality throughout his journey. One night he stayed at a house in which lived a family with many children. The children were all named after particular Christian concepts, such as Conception and Ascension. He departed early the next day, however, because there were far too many insects infesting the house for his comfort. Lamb continued his journey through Lucuarembo department and then entered the county of his destination. There he discovered that Dona Isidora’s letter meant nothing; there was no employment for him.

During his stay at the estancia, he had a fight with a man called Barbudo and gained a reputation for being a great fighter. When he discovered that his reputation as a fighter would only lead to more and bloodier fights, he decided to return to Montevideo.

At Toloso, Lamb met a group of English expatriates in a pulperia, and he remained with his fellow countrymen for a time. Finally, he found them to be quite worthless and quarreled with them. Then he headed once more for Montevideo. In the Florida department he met a lovely girl named Margarita and helped her get her doves from a branch in a tree. Margarita was so different from the rest of her family that Lamb could not help wondering how she came to be born into such a rough, coarse family. There he met Anselmo,...

(The entire section is 885 words.)