for it is very many years since a guanaco drank its waters.
The glim was dowsed - the words were Archie's - and in the best contraband manner we stole down the gully. The business had suddenly taken an eerie turn, and I think in our hearts we were all a little afraid. But Tam had a lantern, and it would never do to turn back from an adventure which had all the appearance of being the true sort. Half way down there is a scrog of wood, dwarf alders and hawthorn, which makes an arch over the path. I, for one, was glad when we got through this with no worse mishap than a stumble from Tam which caused the lantern door to fly open and the candle to go out. We did not stop to relight it, but scrambled down the screes till we came to the long slabs of reddish rock which abutted on the beach. We could not see the track, so we gave up the business of scouts, and dropped quietly over the big boulder and into the crinkle of cliff which we called our cave.
There was nobody there, so we relit the lantern and examined our properties. Two or three fishing-rods for the burn, much damaged by weather; some sea-lines on a dry shelf of rock; a couple of wooden boxes; a pile of driftwood for fires, and a heap of quartz in which we thought we had found veins of gold - such was the modest furnishing of our den. To this I must add some broken clay pipes, with which we made believe to imitate our elders, smoking a foul mixture of coltsfoot leaves and brown paper. The band was in session, so following our ritual we sent out a picket. Tam was deputed to go round the edge of the cliff from which the shore was visible, and report if the coast was clear.
He returned in three minutes, his eyes round with amazement in the lantern light. 'There's a fire on the sands,' he repeated, 'and a man beside it.'
Here was news indeed. Without a word we made for the open, Archie first, and Tam, who had seized and shuttered his lantern, coming last. We crawled to the edge of the cliff and peered round, and there sure enough, on the hard bit of sand which the tide had left by the burn mouth, was a twinkle of light and a dark figure.
The moon was rising, and besides there was that curious sheen from the sea which you will often notice in spring. The glow was maybe a hundred yards distant, a little spark of fire I could have put in my cap, and, from its crackling and smoke, composed of dry seaweed and half-green branches from the burnside thickets. A man's figure stood near it, and as we looked it moved round and round the fire in circles which first of all widened and then contracted.
The sight was so unexpected, so beyond the beat of our experience, that we were all a little scared. What could this strange being want with a fire at half-past eight of an April Sabbath night on the Dyve Burn sands? We discussed the thing in whispers behind a boulder, but none of us had any solution. 'Belike he's come ashore in a boat,' said Archie. 'He's maybe a foreigner.' But I pointed out that, from the tracks which Archie himself had found, the man must have come overland down the cliffs. Tam was clear he was a madman, and was for withdrawing promptly from the whole business.
But some spell kept our feet tied there in that silent world of sand and moon and sea. I remember looking back and seeing the solemn, frowning faces of the cliffs, and feeling somehow shut in with this unknown being in a strange union. What kind of errand had brought this interloper into our territory? For a wonder I was less afraid than curious. I wanted to get to the heart of the matter, and to discover what the man was up to with his fire and his circles.
The same thought must have been in Archie's head, for he dropped on his belly and began to crawl softly seawards. I followed, and Tam, with sundry complaints, crept after my heels. Between the cliffs and the fire lay some sixty yards of debris and boulders above the level of all but the high spring tides. Beyond lay a string of seaweedy pools and then the hard sands of the burnfoot. There was excellent cover among the big stones, and apart from the distance and the dim light, the man by the fire was too preoccupied in his task to keep much look-out towards the land. I remember thinking he had chosen his place well, for save from the sea he could not be seen. The cliffs are so undercut that unless a watcher on the coast were on their extreme edge he would not see the burnfoot sands.
- the steps again, finding himself now nearly up to his armpits
- Blanca. The landscape has a uniform character from the
- cries: One is called “chiduco,” and is an omen of good;
- of equally good fortune, which, a fortnight afterwards,
- or hedges under water, many fish which are left on the
- from the vineyards. It was a pretty scene; but I missed
- formed the picturesque and wild central pinnacles, but
- this explained the bed of the solitary man. Considering
- innocent purpose: each parish has a public musket, and
- At one place I caught in a trap a singular little mouse
- but rising, followed us with outstretched necks, expressing
- as fuel, but it made a miserable fire, and the wind was
- his face. A bank of yellow fog instantly enveloped him,
- volcano of Osorno was in action. At midnight the sentry
- Astelia is assisted by a few other plants,— here and
- has given rise to strange exaggerations, for the phenomenon,
- composed. When we reached Lemuy we had much difficulty
- officers, and landed near the fort called Niebla. The buildings
- more anciently recognised. Granite has given rise, perhaps,
- trousers, thinking that they were more delicate than his
- forest, and utters very peculiar noises) has not cried
- during a slight earthquake, and created much causeless
- would have yielded an immense return: a confidential man
- and afterwards a long deep sandy plain, strewed with broken
- her arms, and laughed shrilly, insanely. Then she turned
- At night we slept at a cottage. Our manner of travelling
- after a second they would put the seed in; and if a third
- not so completely desolated, was a more terrible, and if
- to peer through the fog ahead, he turned and descended
- found on the sterile mountains of central Chile, where
- side; in other words, the mountains rise more abruptly
- driest spots. In the spring one humble little plant sends
- and gunpowder. The latter article was required for a very
- are remarkable because this island, during the earthquake
- — Red snow — Winds — Pinnacles of snow — Dry and
- feet in the most familiar manner. It then busily hops about
- gangway above which lowered a green and rotting wooden
- of the trembling of the ground: I was much struck by this
- close general resemblance to the English species of the
- eruption relieving and taking the place of an earthquake,
- solid wall opened before her; it was another masked door.
- former geological ages they have exerted, how completely
- and I am sure I most heartily participated in these feelings.
- the hard dry charqui. Although with a knowledge that the
- fit, often wandering along in the great flower garden that
- Valparaiso — Portillo Pass — Sagacity of mules —
- miles in another line at right angles to the first: hence,
- It will give a better idea of the scale of these phenomena,
- And thus matters stood when, one hot night, Meriem, unable
- 6000 feet — so as to have allowed that amount of submarine