Page:Luther S. Livingston (Parker).djvu/16

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He was just beginning to realize the opportunities for original investigation which the making of catalogues offered, when his employers sent him to Colombia to collect orchids. During the eighteen months he was in South America, he made three trips to the head of navigation on the Magdalena River, nine hundred miles, bringing down a thousand cases of Cattleya Trianae. An equal number of cases containing some of the rarest and most beautiful orchids ever collected were transported in canoes a distance of nearly two thousand miles, from Arauca down the Orinoco River to Bolivar, whence they were shipped to the United States. He also made a collection of butterflies and bird skins for his own amusement while he was in the interior. The systematic notebooks in which the record of this trip is preserved and the delightful gossipy letters to his mother furnish an abundant store of general ethnological and geographical, as well as special botanical, information.

On April 18, 1893, he wrote from his camp on a sand-bar in a stream which is one of the upper tributaries of the Orinoco. In a hollow he had found a nest of alligator's eggs. 'As the man started to