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Title: Cruise of the 'Alert' - Four Years in Patagonian, Polynesian, and Mascarene Waters (1878-82)
Author: Coppinger, R. W.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

    Minor typographical errors and inconsistencies have been corrected
    without note, whilst significant amendments have been listed at the
    end of the text. Archaic and variant spellings have been retained.



CRUISE OF THE "ALERT."



[Illustration: H.M.S. "ALERT" AT ANCHOR IN TOM BAY, WEST COAST OF
PATAGONIA (_see p. 42_). _Frontispiece._]



                       CRUISE OF THE "ALERT"

                           FOUR YEARS IN
                    _PATAGONIAN, POLYNESIAN, AND
                         MASCARENE WATERS_

                             (1878-82)


                                 BY
                       R. W. COPPINGER, M.D.
                (STAFF-SURGEON ROYAL NAVY, C.M.Z.S.)


 _With Sixteen full-page Woodcut Illustrations from Photographs by
          F. North, R.N., and from Sketches by the Author_


                           FOURTH EDITION


                               LONDON
                   SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO., LIM.
                         PATERNOSTER SQUARE
                                1899



 FIRST EDITION, _May 1884_; SECOND EDITION, _January 1885_;
                 THIRD EDITION, _May 1885_.



PREFACE.


In preparing the following pages for the press, I have endeavoured to
give a brief account, divested as much as possible of technicalities,
of the principal points of interest in Natural History which came under
observation during the wanderings of a surveying ship; while at the
same time I have done my utmost, at the risk of rendering the narrative
disconnected, to avoid trenching on ground which has been rendered
familiar by the writings of travellers who have visited the same or
similar places. And if in a few instances I have given some rather dry
details regarding the appearance and surroundings of certain zoological
specimens, it has been my intention, by an occasional reference to the
more striking forms of life met with in each locality, to afford some
assistance to those amateurs who, like myself, may desire to avail
themselves of the opportunities afforded by the surveying ships of the
British Navy for performing, although with rude appliances and very few
books of reference, some useful and interesting work.

Large collections of zoological specimens were made, and as these
accumulated on board, they were from time to time sent home to the
Admiralty, whence they were transmitted to the British Museum, the
authorities of that institution then submitting them to specialists
for systematic description. For much kindly aid in making these
arrangements, as well as for advice and encouragement received during
the progress of the cruise, I am indebted to Dr. Albert Günther,
F.R.S., Keeper of Zoology in the British Museum.

I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Frederick North, R.N., for the
use of a collection of photographs which were taken by him during the
cruise under circumstances of peculiar difficulty, and of which most of
the engravings in this work are reproductions.

I am also under obligations to all the other officers for assistance
rendered to me in various ways; and especially to those officers
who acted successively as Senior Lieutenants, for the consideration
with which they tolerated those parts of my dredging operations
that necessarily interfered with the maintenance of good order and
cleanliness on the ship's decks.

Finally, I have to thank my friend, Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe, the
distinguished ornithologist of the British Museum, by whose advice and
encouragement I was induced to submit these pages to the public, for
his assistance in perusing my MS., and offering some useful suggestions.

                                                                R. W. C.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.


                                                                    PAGE

                             INTRODUCTION.

 Object of the Voyage--Former Surveys of Straits
   of Magellan--Change of Programme--Selection of
   Ship--Equipment--Arrangements for Natural History
   Work--Change of Captain--List of Officers                         1-4


                               CHAPTER I.

 Departure from England--Storm Petrels--A Sparrow-hawk
   at Sea--Collecting Surface Organisms with
   Tow-net--Water-kite--Wire Sounding Apparatus--Land-swallow
   at Sea--Gulfweed--Phosphorescence of Sea-water--Arrive
   at Madeira--Curious Town--Dredging Work--A
   Pinery--Discoloured Sea-water--Petrels again--St.
   Vincent--Cape de Verde--Pelagic Animals--Sounding near
   Abrolhos Bank--Dredging over Hotspur Bank--Dredging
   over Victoria Bank--Moths and Butterflies on the
   Ocean--Extraordinary Vitality of Sphinx Moths--Arrive at
   Monte Video--Gauchos--Trip into Interior of Uruguay--Buenos
   Ayres--Dr. Burmeister's Museum--Arrive at the
   Falklands--"Stone Runs"                                          5-33


                              CHAPTER II.

 We enter Straits of Magellan--Reach Sandy Point--Gold
   and Coal--Surrounding Country--Elizabeth
   Island--Dredging--Fuegians at Port Famine--We
   enter Smyth's Channel--Canoe "Portage" at Isthmus
   Bay--Arrive at Tom Bay--A Fuegian Family--Trinidad
   Channel--Climate of Western Patagonia--Flora--Rock
   Formation--Soilcap--Natives--The Channel Tribe of
   Fuegians--Scarcity of Old People--Water-birds of Tom
   Bay--Sea Otters--A Concealed "Portage"--Habits of Gulls and
   Shags--Steamer-ducks--Land-shells--Fresh-water Fish--Deer       34-65


                              CHAPTER III.

 Trinidad Channel gouged out by Glaciers--Port
   Henry--Trumpet-shells--Native Camp--Wolsey Sound--"Cache
   Diablo"--"Ripple-marked" Limestone--Fuegian
   Burial-place--Marine Animals--Strange Capture
   of Fish--Whales Abundant--Exploration of Picton
   Channel--Attack on Sealers--Signs of Old Ice
   Action--"Hailstone" Rock--Soil motion--We proceed Northward
   to Refit--English Narrows--Gulf of Peñas                        66-80


                              CHAPTER IV.

 Arrival at Valparaiso--War between Chili, Peru, and
   Bolivia--Sir George Nares returns to England--Captain
   Maclear joins--Coquimbo--Shell Terraces--Trip to
   Las Cardas--Habits of _Pteroptochus_--Island of
   St. Ambrose--Habits of Petrels--Flight of the
   Albatross--Santiago de Chilé--Natural History Museum--Santa
   Lucia--Church of La Compania--Heights of Montenegro--A
   Fly-trap Plant--Copper mines of Brillador--Peculiarities of
   Chilian Mines--Talcahuano--Outbreak of Small-pox--Isla de
   los Reyes--Shooting a "Coypo"--Railway Trip to Araucanian
   Territory--Our Locomotive--Incidents of the Journey--Fossil
   Tree-trunk at Quiriquina Island                                81-102


                               CHAPTER V.

 We return to Patagonian Waters--Gulf of Peñas--Spring in
   the Trinidad Channel--Gephyrean at Cockle Cove--Diving
   Petrel--Tree Cormorants--Magellan Kingfisher--A
   Curious Moss--Wind-swept Bushes--Gull, Cormorant, and
   Skua--Examination of Brazo del Norte--Black-necked
   Swan--A Sealer's Yarn--Fur-seal Trade--Hardships of
   Seal-hunting--Otter Skins--Experiment with Condor--Fuegians
   at Tilly Bay--Flaking Glass Arrow-heads--List of Fuegian
   Words--The _Maranhense_--A Magellan Glacier--Native
   Fish-weirs--The Magellan Nutria                               103-126


                              CHAPTER VI.

 We proceed towards Skyring Water--Otway Water--Canal of
   Fitzroy Terrace-levels--Plants and Animals--Bay of the
   Mines--Previous Explorers--The Coal Mines--Altamirano
   Bay--Prospects of the Settlement--A Seal "Rookery"--Puerto
   Bueno--We proceed Northwards--Port Riofrio--Gray
   Harbour--Sailing for Coast of Chili--Small-pox amongst
   the Chilians--Discoloured Sea-water--Habits of Ant Thrush     127-143


                              CHAPTER VII.

 Early History of Tahiti--Otaheite and Tahiti--Its appearance
   from Seaward--Harbour of Papiété--Produce--Matavai
   Bay--Tahiti annexed to France--Prince Tamitao--Annexation
   Festivities--King Pomare V.--Coral growing on Ship's
   Bottom--Nassau Island--Danger Islands--Tema Reef--Union
   Group--Nukunono--Oatáfu--Natives afflicted with a Skin
   Disease--Stone Implements--Religious Scruples--Metal
   Fish-hooks not appreciated--Capriciousness of Sharks--Lalla
   Rookh Bank                                                    144-158


                             CHAPTER VIII.

 Arrival at Fiji--Levuka--Ratu Joe comes on Board--Excursion
   to Bau in Viti Levu--We visit King Cacobau--A Native
   Feast--Lalis--Tapa--The Bure Kalou--Bakola--Old Fijian
   Atrocities--Double Canoe--Stone Adzes now becoming
   rare--Angona Drinking--Sir Arthur Gordon--Walk across
   Ovalau--The Kaicolos--An Imprudent Settler--Pine-apple
   Cultivation--_Periophthalmus_--Suva--Site of Future
   Capital--Sail towards Tonga Islands--Pelagic Animals--Early
   History of Tonga--Missionaries--Nukualofa--A Costly Pair
   of Gates--Visit to Bea--Davita--Evidence of Elevation of
   Island--King George of Tonga--Wellington Gnu--Curious Stone
   Monument--Trip to Village of Hifo--We are entertained by
   the Natives--Famous Caves--Eyeless Fish--Swifts behaving
   like Bats--Searching for Reefs--Discolouration of
   Sea-water--Return to Levuka--Voyage to Australia--Surface
   Life                                                          159-179


                              CHAPTER IX.

 Refitting Ship at Sydney--Mr. Haswell joins us--We proceed
   Northwards along East Coast of Australia--Port Curtis,
   Queensland--A "Labour Vessel"--Mr. Eastlake--Marine
   Fauna abundant--Festivities at Gladstone--Birds--Percy
   Islands--Survey of Port Molle--Queensland
   Aborigines--"Black Police"--"Dispersing" Black
   fellows--Dredging Operations--A Parasitic Shell-fish--Port
   Denison--Visit to a Native Camp--Throwing the Boomerang--A
   Beche-de-mer Establishment at Lizard Island--Hostility of
   the Natives--Drawings by Aborigines at Clack Island--Albany
   Island, North-Eastern Australia                               180-193


                               CHAPTER X.

 Settlement at Thursday Island--Torres Straits
   Islanders--Pearl-Shell Fisheries--Value of
   the Shell--Pearls not abundant--Neighbouring
   Islands--Lizards--Land-crab--Land-shells--Ferns--Birds--Booby
   Island--Arrive at Port Darwin, North-Western
   Australia--Submarine Cables--Trans-continental
   Telegraph--Palmerston--Northern Territory
   Gold-fields--Aborigines at Port Darwin--Marine
   Fauna--Birds--Geese perching on Trees                         194-208


                              CHAPTER XI.

 Voyage from Port Darwin to Singapore--Through the
   Eastern Archipelago--We arrive at Singapore--Oceanic
   "Tiderips"--Bird Island, Seychelles--Sea-birds on
   Land--Port Mahé, Seychelles--The Coco-de-Mer--Gigantic
   Tortoise--Produce of the Islands--Vanilla--A Primitive
   Crushing-mill--Dredging Operations--_Periophthalmus_--The
   Seychelles, of Granitic Structure--We visit the Amirante
   Group--African Islands--Abundance of _Orbitolites_--Crabs
   pursued by Eels--Eagle Island--Partridge shooting--Young
   Lizards--Darros Island--_Casuarinas_--Dredging--Poivre
   Island--Trees and Shrubs--Isle des Roches--Flora
   scanty--Land-birds--General Remarks on the Amirantes as a
   Group--"Fringing Reefs," but no "Barrier Reefs"--Signs of
   Elevation--Weather and Lee Sides contrasted                   209-229


                              CHAPTER XII.

 Alphonse Island--Pearl-shell--Providence Island--Method
   of planting Cocoa-nuts--Edible Turtle--Flora--Red
   Coral--Cerf Islets--St. Pierre--Du Lise Island--Flora and
   Fauna--Erratic Stones on Coral Reef--Glorioso Island--We
   sail for Mozambique Island--And sight East Coast of
   Africa--Trade at Mozambique--Inhabitants--Caju--Shells
   of Foreshore--The Survey concluded--Homeward Bound--Cape
   of Good Hope--Egg of the _Epiornis_--Arrival at Plymouth      230-245

 GENERAL INDEX                                                       246

 INDEX OF NATURAL HISTORY TERMS                                      253



_LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS._


                                                                _Facing_

 H.M.S. "ALERT" AT ANCHOR IN TOM BAY, WEST COAST OF PATAGONIA    _title_

 FUEGIAN AND AUSTRALIAN IMPLEMENTS                                    34

 CANOE OF CHANNEL FUEGIANS                                            50

 FUEGIAN "PORTAGE" FOR TRANSPORT OF CANOES OVERLAND                   60

 FUEGIANS OFFERING THEIR CHILDREN FOR BARTER                          65

 OUR FUEGIAN FRIENDS AT TILLY BAY, STRAITS OF MAGELLAN               104

 FUEGIAN HUT AT TILLY BAY                                            120

 FOOT OF GLACIER, AT GLACIER BAY, STRAITS OF MAGELLAN                124

 FISH-HOOKS OF UNION ISLANDERS                                       143

 WOMAN OF TAHITI                                                     144

 FISHERMAN OF TAHITI                                                 148

 KING CACOBAU OF FIJI, WIFE, AND RATU JOE                            160

 TOTOONGA VALLEY, OVALAU, FIJI                                       166

 ANCIENT STONE MONUMENT AT TONGATABU                                 174

 FACSIMILES OF DRAWINGS BY AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES                     192

 ABORIGINES OF NORTH-WEST AUSTRALIA                                  204

 "TRAVELLERS' TREES" IN GARDENS AT SINGAPORE                         210

 "COPRA" CRUSHING MILL AT SEYCHELLES                                 218



CRUISE OF THE "ALERT."



INTRODUCTION.


In the summer of 1878 it was decided by the Lords of the Admiralty to
equip a vessel for the threefold purpose of continuing the survey of
the Straits of Magellan, of investigating the nature and exact position
of certain doubtful reefs and islands in the South Pacific Ocean, and
of surveying a portion of the northern and western coasts of Australia.
The special object of the Magellan portion of the work was to make
such a detailed survey of the sheltered channels extending southward
from the Gulf of Peñas to Port Tamar as would enable vessels to pass
from the Straits to the Pacific, and _vice versâ_, without having to
encounter the wild and inhospitable outer coasts presented by the chain
of desolate islands here fringing the western coasts of South America.
It was also desirable that additional anchorages should be found and
surveyed, where vessels might lie in safety while waiting for the
cessation of a gale, or for a favourable tide to help them through the
straits. The surveys made by the _Adventure_ and _Beagle_ in 1826-36,
and by the _Nassau_ in 1866-9, were excellent so far as they went, and
so far as the requirements of their times were concerned; but the great
increase of ocean navigation within the last few years had rendered
it necessary that the charts should contain more minute surveys of
certain places which were not formerly of importance. The South
Pacific portion of our survey was to be mainly in connection with the
recently acquired colony of the Fiji Islands, and was to be devoted to
an exploration of the eastern passages leading to this group, with an
investigation of the doubtful dangers reported in the vicinity of the
great shipping tracts. Finally, on completing the above, and arriving
at Australia, we were to spend a year and a half, or thereabouts, in
surveying the line of reefs which fringe its whole western seaboard,
the ill-defined position of which is a serious obstacle to the now
extensive trade between Western Australia and the Dutch islands of the
Malay Archipelago.

The latter part of the orders was subsequently changed, inasmuch as we
were directed to omit the survey of the western shores of Australia,
and were ordered instead, on completing the North Australian work,
to proceed to Singapore, in the Straits of Malacca, to refit. Thence
we were to return home by the Cape of Good Hope, stopping on our
way at the Seychelles, Amirante Islands, and Mozambique, in order
to fix astronomically the position of the Amirante Group, and, as
opportunities occurred, to take a line of soundings off the east coast
of Africa.

The vessel selected for this special service was the _Alert_, a
man-of-war sloop of 751 tons measurement and 60 horse-power nominal;
and the command of the expedition was given to Capt. Sir George Nares,
K.C.B. By a happy coincidence the same stout craft which had already
done such good service in the Arctic Expedition of 1875-6, and which
bears the honour of having attained the highest _northern_ latitude,
was selected as the ship in which Sir George Nares was now about to
proceed on a voyage of exploration in high _southern_ latitudes. She
was officially commissioned on the 20th of August, with a complement of
120 officers and men, her equipments including apparatus for conducting
deep sea sounding and dredging operations, and a miscellaneous
collection of instruments not usually supplied to H.M.'s ships.

It being the wish of the enterprising hydrographer of the
navy--Captain, now Sir Frederick Evans, K.C.B.--that the opportunities
which this expedition would afford of making a valuable natural
history collection in regions little known to science should not be
thrown away, and Sir George Nares warmly seconding him in this wish,
the Admiralty determined on appointing as surgeon an officer who,
in addition to his duties as medical officer of the ship, would be
inclined to devote his spare time to the cause of natural science.
Sir George Nares, knowing my fondness for natural history, with
characteristic kindness gave my application his support, and I had
therefore the good fortune to be appointed as medical officer of
the _Alert_, on the understanding that (so far as my medical duties
permitted) I would not lose sight of the advantages which would accrue
to science from a collection of natural-history objects illustrative
of the fauna and flora of the countries visited in the course of the
voyage.

During the four years over which my narrative extends, many changes
took place in the _personnel_ of the expedition. Scarcely a year had
elapsed from the date of our departure from England, when we had
to regret the loss of Sir George Nares, who left us at Valparaiso,
and returned to England by mail-steamer, in order to enter upon his
duties as Director of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade.
We were fortunate, however, in having as his successor Captain John
Maclear--formerly of the _Challenger_ exploring expedition--to whom
I take this opportunity of expressing my thanks for the unvarying
kindness which I have always experienced at his hands, as well as for
much assistance and encouragement in the prosecution of our zoological
work.

The following is a list of the officers:--

Captain Sir George S. Nares, K.C.B., F.R.S.; succeeded by Captain John
Maclear, F.R.M.S.

Lieut. George R. Bethell; succeeded by Lieut. James Deedes.

Lieut. the Hon. Foley C. P. Vereker; succeeded by Lieut. George Rooper.

Lieut. Gordon S. Gunn (subsequently became senior lieutenant).

Nav. Lieut. William H. Petley.

Sub-Lieut. James H. C. East (subsequently served as lieutenant).

Sub-Lieut. Charles W. de la P. Beresford (left the ship at Singapore).

Staff-Surgeon Richard W. Coppinger, M.D.

Paymaster Frederick North.

Engineer, John Dinwoodie.

Engineer, William Cook.

Boatswain, Alfred Payne.

(Lieut. Grenfell joined the ship at Singapore, and remained until the
close of the commission.)



CHAPTER I.

_FROM ENGLAND TO THE FALKLANDS._


After various delays, owing to defects in machinery, we finally bade
adieu to the shores of England on the 25th of September, 1878, taking
our departure from Plymouth.

On the second day at sea the little storm petrels appeared over our
wake, and accompanied us, off and on, for most of our way to Madeira.
These seemed to be of two kinds, the _Thalassidroma pelagica_ and
_Thalassidroma leachii_, the latter being sufficiently recognizable
from their having _forked_ tails, in which respect they differ from
other species of the genus. Many attempts were made to catch them by
means of hooks baited with fat, skeins of thread, etc., but all to no
purpose; and I rather fancy that in this thoroughfare of the ocean the
wily creatures have had too much experience of the arts of man, and are
therefore not to be caught so easily as their more ignorant brethren of
the southern hemisphere.

On the 28th of September, when 155 miles to the westward of Cape
Finisterre, and during a fresh easterly breeze, a sparrow-hawk made his
appearance, at first hovering round the ship, and ultimately settling
on the rigging. It had probably strayed too far from the shore in
the pursuit of some tempting prey, and had then lost its reckoning,
being eventually blown to seaward. At all events, it had travelled
some long distance, as it evinced its weariness by resting quietly and
contentedly on the main-topgallant rigging, until one of the seamen,
who had managed to climb up unobserved, suddenly laid hands on it.
On placing it in a meat-safe, which we extemporised as a cage, it ate
ravenously, as well it might after its long journey.

When in the latitude of Lisbon, and 180 miles to the westward of the
Portuguese coast, a large "sea-flier" bird paid us a visit, soaring
over the waves in our vicinity, and evidently on the look-out for
garbage from the ship. The plumage of the upper surface of wings and
body was of a dusky brown colour, the under surface of the body was
whitish, and the wings were long and pointed; in mode of flight he
resembled a large tern. He did not long remain with us, probably not
finding it a sufficiently productive hunting-ground. I may here mention
that on the 6th of October, when a hundred miles from Madeira, we
sighted a bird answering the same description.

All opportunities of plying the tow-net were duly availed of, but owing
to the unusually rapid speed of the ship, these were few. However, we
succeeded in capturing many specimens of living Foraminifers (mostly
of the genus _Orbitolites_), stalk-eyed Crustaceans, Radiolarians, an
Ianthina, a few Salpæ, and the pretty little Pteropod Mollusc, the
_Criseis aciculata_, besides many other organisms which the rapid
motion of the net through the water had rendered unrecognizable. As
it is usually found that these minute pelagic organisms are to be
obtained from the surface in most abundance at night-time, and during
the day retreat for some fathoms from the glare of the sunlight, I
constructed a wooden apparatus on the principle of a kite, which I
attached to the towing line at some three or four yards from the net,
and which had the effect of dragging down the net some yards below
the surface, and then retaining it at a uniform depth. It of course
required to be adjusted each time to suit the required depth and the
rate of the vessel, but it had this great advantage over the usual
system of employing heavy weights, that the strain not being nearly so
great, a light and manageable rope could be used; and that, moreover,
the adjustment for depth could be readily made by altering the trim of
this _water-kite_. When I first tried this apparatus, and before I had
succeeded in trimming it satisfactorily, it caused great amusement to
the bluejackets by the playful manner in which it manœuvred under
our stern, now diving deeply towards our rudder post (the shimmer of
the white wood in the deep blue water reminding one of a dolphin), and
now whimsically rising rapidly to the surface with an impetus that shot
it fully six feet out of the water.

On the 4th of October, the captain made some experiments with the
"Lucas deep-sea sounder." It consists of a strong brass drum carrying
2,000 fathoms of fine steel wire, and fitted with a cyclometer which
registers on a dial the number of fathoms of wire run out. The sinker,
which weighs 20 lbs., is made of lead, and has at its lower extremity
a bull-dog snapper, which, on striking the ground, shuts up suddenly,
so as to enclose a sample of the sea bottom. The apparatus is supposed
to be capable of sounding to a depth of 500 fathoms in a vessel going
5 knots, and to 50 fathoms when going 12 knots. It is said to be a
modification of an invention of Sir W. Thompson's. We subsequently used
this largely, and found it to be a most convenient and expeditious
method of sounding to depths of 500 fathoms, with the ship almost
stationary. The wire could be wound up again while the ship was under
way.

During the forenoon of this same day we saw, to our astonishment, a
land swallow, which flew about the ship for a few minutes, and then
went on his way rejoicing. He would have had to travel 254 miles to
make the nearest land, which was the island of Porto Santo.

An erratic fragment of gulfweed (_Sargassum bacciferum_) was entangled
in the tow-net on the 5th of October, when we were 105 miles north-east
of Madeira, a circumstance which is of interest as regards the
distribution of the plant, the locality cited being considerably beyond
the northern limit of the great eddy between the Gulf Stream and the
Atlantic equatorial current, commonly called the Sargasso Sea. It was
encrusted with a delicate white Polyzoon (_Membranipora_), and among
other organisms carried on its fronds a pretty little _Spirorbis_
shell, and several entomostracous Crustaceans of a deep-blue colour.

The phosphorescence of the sea is a trite subject, and one about which
a very great deal has been written; but nevertheless, of its actual
cause, or of the purposes which it is intended to serve, really very
little is positively known. The animals to which it would seem mainly
due are the small stalk-eyed Crustacea, the _Pyrocystis noctiluca_,
and the Tunicate Molluscs. I have sometimes observed, when occupied
at night in sifting the contents of a tow-net, that these organisms,
as they were being sucked through the nozzle of the dip-tube, emitted
flashes of light, so brilliant, that they could be distinctly seen even
in a well-lighted room. During the voyage from England to Madeira, the
wake of the ship was every night, with one exception, phosphorescent.
The exception alluded to was on the night previous to our arrival at
Madeira, when probably the unusual brilliancy of the moonlight caused
the light-emitting creatures to retreat a few yards from the surface,
as happens in the day-time. I have often noticed that while the
phosphorescence of the comparatively still water abeam of the ship and
on her quarter usually seems to emanate from large spherical masses of
about a foot in diameter (commonly called "globes of fire"), yet the
luminosity of the broken water in the vessel's immediate wake comes
apparently from innumerable minute points. I have rarely captured any
of the larger jellyfishes in the tow-net; and on those nights when I
have observed the water lighted up the most brilliantly, the prevailing
organisms have proved to be the small entomostracous Crustaceans.

The morning of the 7th of October broke cool and hazy, as we steamed up
and dropped anchor in Funchal Roads, on the south side of the island
of Madeira. Crowds of native boats, with their half-naked occupants,
quickly thronged around; remaining, however, at a respectful distance,
until the boat containing the haughty pratique officer came alongside.
On the present occasion this portentous individual was contented with a
very superficial inquiry into our sanitary condition, and after a few
formal questions as to our tonnage, complement of crew, number of guns,
and general condition, shoved off with the laconic exclamation, "All
right!" We soon availed ourselves of this permission to visit the shore.

The most conspicuous objects in Funchal, as seen from the anchorage,
are the "Loo Rock" (used as a fort and lighthouse), on the west side of
the town, and on the centre of the crescent-shaped beach which fronts
the town a remarkable and lofty cylindrical tower of dark-brown stone.
This tower, we were informed, was built about the year 1800, and was
intended as a support for a huge crane, which was to facilitate the
loading and disembarkation of the cargo of merchant ships. The tower as
it stands is about eighty feet in height, and as its base is now about
forty yards distant from high-water mark on the beach, as an article
of utility it is quite effete. Our surveyors have ascertained that the
land has not been elevated since the first admiralty surveys. This they
arrive at by a comparison of old and recent charts with known marks
on the shore, and we are therefore inclined to believe that the beach
has been silted up by accumulations of basaltic rubble brought down
by the two adjoining rivers, and here washed inshore by the sea. The
tower is now without any appearance of the crane, and raises its plain
cylindrical body in gloomy grandeur, reminding one of the old round
towers of Ireland; and, as in their case, its origin will probably some
years hence be veiled in obscurity.

Madeira was considered to be looking unusually dingy, on account of a
long season of drought, rain not having fallen for nine months. But
some two or three days after our arrival a great religious ceremony
took place at the village of Machico, eight miles to the eastward of
Funchal. The object was to offer up prayers for rain; and, sure enough,
two days afterwards, rain fell abundantly!

During our stay here the dredge was several times brought into
requisition. On the 8th of October, a party, consisting of the captain,
Lieut. Vereker, some seamen, and myself, started in the steam-cutter
on a dredging expedition to the bay of Santa Cruz, which is distant
about eight miles from Funchal. As we steamed along the coast, we had
excellent opportunities of observing the sections exhibited by the
cliffs of the varieties of volcanic rock of which the upper crust of
the island is mainly formed. At Point Garajas (Brazen Head), of which
Lieut. Vereker made a good sketch, the north-east face of the cliff
presents a magnificent dyke--a nearly vertical seam of dark lava,
about three feet in width and two hundred feet in height, extending
from summit to water line, and sealing up this long fissure in the
older trachytic rock of the head. Farther on, masses of basalt resting
unconformably on variously arranged layers of laterite tuff and
trachyte, the latter in many places honeycombed in weird fantastic
caverns, afforded a fertile subject for geological reveries into the
early history of this now beautiful island. On reaching the bay of
Santa Cruz, we lowered the dredge in thirty-five fathoms, finding,
as we had half anticipated, that it was altogether too heavy to ride
on the mass of sand that here forms the sea bottom. It buried itself
like an anchor, and it was not without great difficulty that we could
succeed in dislodging it. On bringing it up, we found it to contain
some shells of the genera _Cardium_, _Pecten_, _Cypræa_, _Oliva_,
and _Dentalium_, a few small _Echini_, a Sertularian Polyp, several
Annelids--among others, a _Nereis_--and Alcyonarians. We returned on
board soon after dusk, having spent a most enjoyable, if not materially
profitable, day. On subsequently dredging in fifty fathoms in the same
bay, our work was more satisfactory; but besides some Crustaceans, an
Ophiocoma, and an _Asterias_ of a brilliant orange colour, obtained
few specimens of any interest. On another day we tried the coast to
the westward of Funchal; and as we moved along in the steam-cutter,
obtained, by means of the tow-net, several specimens of gulfweed
entangling small sponges. The dredge, being put over in seven fathoms,
procured for us many specimens of a _Cidaris_, studded with black
spines three to four inches long, and whose oblate spheroidal tests of
about two inches diameter were of a beautiful smalt colour. Off the
same coast, in forty fathoms, the bottom was found to consist of black
basaltic sand crowded with tooth-shells. This fine black sand seemed
to form the sea-bottom along the south coast of the island as far out
as the fifty fathom line, and from our experience does not prove a
favourable berth for our friends the Mollusca and Annulosa.

Among the Crustaceans obtained in the above dredgings was a species
of _Glaucothöe_ new to science, which has since been described by Mr.
E. J. Miers, of the British Museum, under the title of "_Glaucothöe
rostrata_."

On the afternoon of the 12th of October, in company with Sir George
Nares, and under the guidance of Dr. Grabham, a British doctor for
many years resident in Madeira, we had an opportunity of inspecting
a "pinery," established within the last two years by a Mr. Holloway,
and by which he expects to amass a considerable fortune. This
establishment, which lies to the north-east of the town, at an altitude
of about three hundred feet, consists of a series of long, low
hothouses with sloping glass roofs, painted white, and facing to the
southward, and is heated entirely by the sun's rays. The material in
which the pines are planted consists of the branches of the blackberry
plant chopped to fragments, and spread out in a thick layer, and in
this substitute for mould the young pines are placed, at intervals
of about eighteen inches apart. They grow to an enormous size, as we
ourselves witnessed; and being cut when they show the least sign of
ripening, and packed carefully in well-ventilated boxes, are shipped
to London, where they fetch prices varying from twenty-five to thirty
shillings each.

Dr. Grabham was kind enough to give us much interesting information
concerning the natural history of the island, which, from his long
experience and constant observation, was most valuable. He pointed out
to us a considerable tract of land in the vicinity of the town which
used to be thickly planted with vines, but which is now only devoted
to the cultivation of sweet potatoes. During the last seven years the
vine crops have been steadily decreasing, owing to the ravages of the
_Phylloxera vastatrix_, and wine-making is now at a low ebb. The number
of trees in the island was also rapidly diminishing, owing to the
demand for fuel; and although efforts are made, by the cultivation of
pine forests, to supply that want, the demand yet exceeds the supply.
In a few years Madeira will no longer be, as its name implies, a land
of _wood_. Although so late in the season, numbers of flowers were
still in full bloom; the _Bougainvillea_ with its dark-red bracts, and
the yellow jasmine adorning the trellis-work; further up the hill the
belladonna lily attracted attention, and on the heights were the old
familiar furze blossoms, reminding us of the land we had left behind us.

On October 12th we weighed anchor, and proceeded to the southward. All
that night and the following day we steamed quietly along in smooth
water, with a long, shallow ground swell (of which, however, the old
craft took advantage to display her extraordinary rolling powers), and
late in the afternoon, just before dark, caught sight of Palmas, one of
the Canary Islands, whose peak, 7,000 feet high, loomed conspicuously
through a light bank of clouds. It was distant seventy miles. On the
morning of the 15th we experienced for the first time the influence
of the north-east trade wind, which wafted us along pleasantly at the
rate of about seven knots. Up to this the only sign of animal life
had been a solitary storm petrel, but on the following day a shoal of
flying fish (_Exocetus volitans_) appeared, to pay their respects and
greet us on our approach to the tropical zone. During the night, the
wind, which had hitherto only behaved tolerably, fell light; and as the
morning of the 17th dawned, we found ourselves flapping about in almost
a complete calm. There were several merchant vessels in sight, with
one of which, a fine-looking full-rigged clipper ship, we communicated
by signal, when the usual dumb interchange of civilities took place;
she informing us that she was the _Baron Collinson_, seventeen days
out from Liverpool, and we in return giving the latest news we were
aware of, viz., the failure of the Glasgow Bank. During the afternoon,
a shark, which seemed to be the _Squalus glaucus_, hovered about
our stern. It was accompanied by at least four "pilots" (_Naucrates
ductor_), whose conspicuous dark-blue body stripes showed out in
striking contrast to the sombre hues of the shark, whose body formed
the background.

It is during those tropical calms, usually so wearisome to the seaman,
that the lover of natural history reaps his richest harvest. On
the present occasion the tow-net brought up quantities of a minute
_conferva_ consisting of little bundles of delicate straw-coloured
fibres, about one-eighth of an inch in length, and resembling, on a
small scale, the familiar bundles of "faggots" as one sees them hawked
in the streets. Under a high magnifying power the individual fibres
composing these bundles were seen to consist of jointed segments marked
with dots and transverse striæ as a diatom. When placed in spirit,
they at once broke up into a shapeless fluffy mass. The surface water
was thickly impregnated with them, yet not so as to impart any obvious
discolouration. About dusk the trade wind suddenly returned, and a
heavy shower of rain brought to a close a day of great interest.

On the 18th of October, many of us fore and aft were diligently
expending our ingenuity in fishing for bonitoes, of which several
(apparently the _Thinnus pelamis_) were to be seen about the ship; but,
to our great chagrin, only one, a small specimen, was captured. The
tow-net still brought up quantities of the _conferva_ before mentioned,
and multitudes of minute unattached specimens of the _Spirorbis
nummulites_.

On the following day, as we lay all but becalmed, the storm petrels
(_Thalassidroma pelagica_) appeared in great numbers, settling on
the water close to our stern, in flocks of twelve or fourteen, and
feeding greedily on the rubbish thrown overboard. It seems that the
natural food of these birds (which probably consists of the minute
surface organisms) is not within their reach when the surface of the
water is unbroken, and hence during calms they are more than commonly
anxious to avail themselves of any offal thrown overboard. It was
most interesting to observe the neat and graceful way in which they
plant their webbed feet on the water, as with outstretched wings and
legs erect they maintain a stationary attitude while pecking at the
object of their fancy. They appeared to scrupulously avoid wetting the
tarsi, and still to use the feet as a means of maintaining a fixed
position on the surface of the water. I had never previously observed
those untiring little navigators at rest in mid-ocean, but on this
occasion we all saw them, with wings closed, floating as placidly on
the water as ducks in a millpond. The old idea of their following
ships only before and during stormy weather is, I believe, now quite
exploded. I think that within the tropics, at all events, they are
most numerous in the vicinity of ships during calm weather. Finding
animal life scarce at the surface, I tried the tow-net sunk to a depth
of about three fathoms, and having previously raked the surface, was
enabled to institute a comparison; the result being that similar
species were captured in both situations, but that a far greater
number of individuals were present in the deeper water. During the
day-time we obtained a number of Crustaceans, several _Atlanta_ shells,
_Globigerina bulloides_, and the same _conferva_ as on the previous
day. After dark I got a great quantity of highly phosphorescent
Crustaceans, and one small cuttle-fish.

On the 20th the trade wind returned in full force, and the monotony of
an otherwise uneventful day was varied by the appearance of a shoal of
porpoises, which accompanied us for some time, moving along abreast of
us and about two hundred yards off on our starboard beam, and making
themselves conspicuous by their usual frisky behaviour.

On the afternoon of the 22nd the high land of San Antonio, the most
northerly of the Cape de Verde Islands, hove in sight, far away on
our starboard bow; but the evening closing in thick and dark, and
this group being almost without lighthouses, the captain decided on
laying-to until next morning. When about twenty miles off, we received
a visit from a good-sized hawk, evidently out on a foraging tour; he
hovered for a while about our mastheads, reconnoitring our decks, and
then soared away.

As we sailed along the east coast of San Antonio (the largest island
of the Cape de Verde group), we observed a small outlying island rock,
composed of closely packed vertical columnar masses of rock (probably
basaltic), which, from their artificial appearance, reminded one
forcibly of the Giant's Causeway, or of the Staffa Columns. The hills
of the main island, which sloped up majestically from a low rocky beach
to peaks five or six thousand feet high, were clothed with herbage,
whose varying tints of green, to which the shadows of the secondary
peaks added dusky patches of brown, created a most pleasing landscape.

We reached the harbour of Porto Santo, St. Vincent, on the afternoon
of the 23rd of October, and soon after the anchor was dropped, those
of us who could leave the ship proceeded to land. As we approached the
beach, we were greatly struck by a contrivance, new to most of us,
for carrying coals from the yard where it is stowed to the shipping
wharves, a distance of nearly a quarter of a mile,--a row of posts,
like those used for telegraph wires, placed about four yards apart, and
supporting on iron rollers a long endless wire, to which are hung at
intervals large metal buckets containing the coal. There is an incline
from the depôt to the wharf, and consequently, as the full buckets
travel down to the lower end of the circuit, and are canted so as to
discharge their contents, the empty buckets pass up the incline back
to the coal-yard, and so a circuit is completed. Most of the large
passenger-steamers traversing the South Atlantic find St. Vincent a
convenient place to stop at to replenish their bunkers, and it is to
this coal trade that the island owes its importance.

After a cursory inspection of the little town, which presented a
very neat and orderly appearance, we strolled out into the country,
following the direction of the western shore of the bay. The country
exhibited a tolerably green appearance, and we were informed that
vegetation had been exceptionally good during the previous two years,
owing to the rainfall having been much above the average. Of trees of
course there were none to be seen, and of shrubs only a few stunted
representatives, scattered singly or in patches. A species of rank
grass, however, flourished, and here and there a rather stately
fungus raised its head as if in defiance of its otherwise sterile
surroundings, the blown sand of the foreshore supplying sufficient
nutriment for its humble wants. Of dead shells a great variety were
picked up on the beach between tide marks, including representatives
of the genera _Arca_, _Patella_, _Cardium_, _Harpa_, _Littorina_,
and _Strombus_; a very perfect _Spirula_ shell was also noticed. The
blown-sand ridges above high-water mark were everywhere perforated
by the burrows of a very active grey-coloured crab (_Remipes
scutellatus_), whose feet terminated in sharp incurved claws admirably
adapted for the creature's mining operations. Its burrows extended
obliquely downwards, and to a depth of two feet from the surface of
the blown-sand ridges. A couple of grasshoppers were the only other
additions made on this occasion to our zoological collection.

The afternoon of the next day (24th October) I was enabled to devote
to dredging operations, working over the bay at depths varying from
two to twelve fathoms. From these I obtained some large and active
specimens of a large wing-shell, the _Strombus pugilis_, whose
gymnastic performances, when subsequently placed in a vessel of
sea-water, excited general interest. Armed with his long powerful foot,
he struck out boldly in all directions, the operculated extremity acting
like a sword blade, and alarming me for the safety of the seaweeds and
other more delicate organisms which occupied the same vessel. When
disposed to turn about, it protruded the foot so as to half encircle
the shell, and by then rapidly straightening the organ the desired
change of position was effected. It was very interesting to see the
complete control which the animal thus exercised over its heavy and
apparently unwieldy shell. In twelve fathoms of water we came upon a
great quantity of blue-spined _Echini_, the tangles of the dredge in
one short haul bringing up about two dozen. Fishing-lines were also
brought into requisition, resulting in the capture of some fishes of a
pale crimson colour, belonging to the blenny family.

In the evening of this day (24th October) we sailed from St. Vincent.
Up to the 29th instant the north-east trade wind proved fairly
propitious, but it now failed us completely; and as we were at
this time in latitude 8° N., and there were otherwise unmistakable
indications of our having arrived at the "Doldrums" (the region of
equatorial calms), steam was had recourse to. Under this artificial
stimulus we proceeded at a rate of from five to six knots, a speed
unfortunately too great for the use of the tow-net; and on this
occasion the circumstance was all the more vexatious, as the surface
water seemed peculiarly rich in animal life. Ultimately, however,
determining on sacrificing some bunting in the cause of science, I
put a tow-net over the stern, and the captain aided me materially
by towing from the end of the lower studding-sail boom a ten-foot
trawl-net. Between the two we succeeded in capturing some water insects
of the genus _Halobates_, several beautiful large _Ianthinæ_, but
unfortunately with their fragile shells partly broken and severed
from their rafts; also a _Physalia_, a small free-swimming _Actinia_,
some discophorous Medusæ, and several Pteropod Molluscs of the genus
_Hyalea_. For several consecutive days the surface water after dusk was
thronged with the above-mentioned Medusæ, whose tough gelatinous discs,
of three inches diameter, continually clogged up the meshes of the
tow-net. On the 2nd of November we obtained some Globigerina forms,
several Crustaceans, some minute Pteropods of the genus _Cuvieria_,
and a host of minute Confervæ, of the kind met with previously to the
northward of Madeira. On the afternoon of the 5th of November, when we
were about a hundred miles from St. Paul's Rocks, we noticed that the
little petrels, which for weeks had accompanied us in great numbers,
were now feebly represented, and in the evening were completely gone.
Perhaps they had found out their proximity to _terra firma_, and were
gone for a run on shore. It is very strange how these birds, which
follow ships over the ocean for thousands of miles, can manage to time
their journeys so as to reach land for their breeding season. That
the same individuals do follow ships for such great distances we have
good evidence; for Captain King, in his voyage of the _Adventure_ and
_Beagle_, mentions a case in which the surgeon of a ship, coming home
from Australia, having caught a Cape pigeon (_Daption capensis_), which
had been following the ship, tied a piece of ribbon to it as a mark,
and then set it free. The bird, recognized in this way, was observed to
follow them for a distance of no less than 5,000 miles.

From the last date to the 9th of November, but little of interest
occurred. One day a petrel (_Thalassidroma pelagica_) had been caught
with a skein of thread; and on opening the body the crop was found to
contain a number of stony particles, bits of cinders, minute shells,
and otolites of fishes. In the tow-net we caught a number of Rhizopods,
of 1/20 inch diameter, which kept continually unfolding and shutting
up their bodies in telescopic fashion. When quiescent, the animal is
egg-shaped, and about the size of a mustard seed; but when elongated,
it is twice that length, and exhibits a tubular sort of proboscis
armed with an irregular circle of vibrating cilia. We also obtained
a Pteropod resembling the _Criseis aciculata_, an Ianthina, and some
hyaline amœbiform bodies, which were entirely beyond my powers of
recognition. On the following day we got more of the pretty violet
shells (_Ianthina fragilis_), several Crustaceans, including a large
and perfect Glass-crab (_Phyllosoma_), and several large Salpæ and
Medusæ.

On the 12th of November we entered the north limit of our surveying
ground, being in latitude 17° S., and in the vicinity of the Abrolhos
Bank. Here, in latitude 17° 18′ S., longitude 35° 34′ W., we made
a cast with Bailie's deep-sea sounding apparatus; reaching bottom
in 1,975 fathoms, and finding it to consist of "Globigerina mud,"
of a pasty tenacity, tinged with red, and containing a great mass
of Globigerina tests, whole and fragmentary. Later in the day, when
in latitude 17° 32′ S., longitude 35° 46′ W., we again sounded,
getting bottom in 700 fathoms, and bringing up a sort of light-grey
ooze. Towards evening we struck soundings in thirty-five fathoms,
over the Hotspur Bank. There we made a successful haul of the dredge,
finding the bottom composed of dead coral encrusted with Nullipores,
Polyzoa, and slimy Algæ, and containing in its crevices some
Crustaceans of the genera _Actæa_ and _Corallana_, and a few Annelids.
The stony masses of coral which we brought up were pierced in all
directions by boring molluscs; and one specimen of a long elaborately
woven sponge (which has since been described by Mr. S. O. Ridley, of
the British Museum, as a new variety of _Cladochalina armigera_) was
found attached to a lump of coral.

The next day we sounded in latitude 18° 4′ S., longitude 36° 1′
W., using the Lucas wire sounder. We reached bottom in 300 fathoms,
the bull-dog apparatus bringing up fragments of coral rock encrusted
with calcareous Algæ. In the afternoon we passed into deeper water,
sounding over the Globigerina ooze area, in 1,395 and 2,025 fathoms.
The surface water again exhibited the same conferva-like bodies which
were so abundantly obtained near Madeira. The _Pyrocystis noctiluca_
was also largely represented; and in the evening the tow-net was found
to contain small cuttle-fish, some dead spirorbis shells, specimens of
the _Criseis aciculata_, _Cleodora pyramidata_, and of a species of
Hyalea, and a thick fleshy Pteropod, a species of Pneumodermon, small
globe fishes, many long, transparent, stalk-eyed Crustaceans, and other
minute members of the same class of Arthropoda.

On the 14th of November we sounded in latitude 19° 43′ S., longitude
36° 5′ W., the bottom consisting of a pale chocolate-coloured
tenacious mud. Towards evening we reached the position of the Montague
Bank, which is indicated on the chart as a bank about three miles
long, and in one part covered by only thirty-six fathoms of water. We
sounded for this bank repeatedly, but in vain, nowhere getting bottom
with 470 fathoms of line. The ship was now allowed to drift during
the night-time, soundings being made from time to time; and towards
morning we filled our sails to a northerly breeze, and stood on for the
Victoria Bank. In the afternoon we met with a large school of sperm
whales (_Physeter macrocephalus_), displaying to advantage, as usual,
their huge cylindrical snouts, and alternately their great spreading
tails; this circling exercise appearing to be a favourite amusement of
theirs.

On reaching the Victoria Bank, we hauled the dredge in thirty-nine
fathoms, but dropping on a rugged coral bottom, the bag was torn to
pieces; however, the tangles contained numbers of an oval-shaped
sponge, varying in length from a quarter of an inch to an inch, and
studded with beautiful glassy spicules (determined by Mr. Ridley to
be a new species of Chalina), and also numbers of the genera _Vioa_,
_Nardoa_, _Aphroceras_, and _Grantia_. Among Polyzoa, the genera
_Canda_, _Membranipora_, _Cribrillina_, _Gigantopora_, _Rhyncopora_,
_Smittia_, and _Cellepora_ were represented. Our operations in the
Abrolhos region being now at an end, we shaped a course for Monte Video.

On the 22nd of November, when we were a hundred miles from the
Brazilian coast, and in about the latitude of Rio, great numbers
of moths appeared, hovering about the ship, and settling on the
rigging. The wind was at the time blowing freshly from the westward;
but the moths appeared, strange to say, as if coming up from the
south-eastward. Conspicuous among them by their great numbers as
well as by their formidable appearance, were the Sphinx moths. These
large insects seemed gifted with marvellous powers of flight; for
although the wind amounted to a fresh breeze, I noticed that they were
not only able to hold their own, but even to make headway against
it. We concluded, however, that nearer in shore the wind was much
stronger, perhaps reaching us so as an upper current, and that it had
consequently blown them off the land. Later in the day the Lepidoptera
were represented in still greater variety, so that altogether the
ship exhibited an unusually sportive appearance; men and officers
alike striking out with their caps here and there, as they pursued the
objects of their fancy. In the course of the day I collected no less
than seventeen species, of which fourteen were moths, and the remainder
butterflies. As illustrating the great tenacity of life of the Sphinx
moths, I may mention that, in the case of one refractory individual,
it was only after employing all the deadly resources at the time at
my command, viz., prussic acid, ammonia, oxalic acid, chloroform,
crushing the thorax, etc., that I could succeed in removing all the
ordinary manifestations of life. However, as, after long incarceration
in a bottle filled with the fumes of chloroform, he at length appeared
to have succumbed, I proceeded to remove the contents of his large
fleshy body. This done, I filled in the body with cotton wadding, and
placing the specimen on one side, proceeded to operate on another. But
no sooner had I put down the specimen thus prepared, than it proceeded
to kick about in a most vigorous way, and otherwise gave unmistakable
signs of vitality. On turning it on its legs, it crawled about, clung
to my finger, and seemed to imply that it could get on just as well
with a cotton interior as with the whole complicated apparatus of
intestine and so forth, which it had given me so much trouble to remove.

It was a strange coincidence, that among the contents of the tow-net on
this occasion was a large black Chrysalis. It also contained a great
number of little phosphorescent spheres, which, under a high magnifying
power, proved to be similar to the bodies described by Sir Wyville
Thompson, under the term _Pyrocystis noctiluca_. On the same day we
entered the Albatross region, one large white bird (_Diomedea exulans_)
and several sooties (_Diomedea fuliginosa_) soaring around our ship.
Some land-birds were also seen, one of which, a species of finch (?)
was captured and preserved.

On the 24th of November we approached within eighty miles of the
Brazilian coast, and on getting soundings in forty-eight fathoms,
immediately put the dredge overboard. The hempen tangles contained
starfishes of three or four species, and the bag brought up a mass of
bluish tenacious mud, which, on sifting, was found to contain some
Crustaceans and tube-building Annelids, and many small shells, living
and dead, of the genera _Dentalium_, _Hyalea_, _Arca_, and others.
About the same time a turtle was observed floating on the water.

On the forenoon of the 26th, land--the coast of Uruguay--was in view on
our starboard beam, a long low line of beach, whose uniform outline was
broken by a conspicuous tall lighthouse, which stamped the locality as
Cape Santa Maria. A few hours later we obtained a view of Lobos Island,
a bare-looking uninviting mass of rock, situated just off Maldonado
Point; and as we now fairly entered the estuary of the Plate, a number
of large gulls (apparently of the genus _Dominicanus_) joined us,
eagerly picking up any offal cast overboard.

We arrived at Monte Video on the 27th of November, and stayed until
the 14th of December, during this time making several trips into the
country.

On one occasion I went by train to a place called Colon, about ten
miles to the N.W. of Monte Video. Starting from the central station
of the Northern Railway, I took my seat in a clean well-fitted
carriage, with two other passengers, one of whom, my _vis-à-vis_,
might have realized one's ideas of a Guy Fawkes. In the course of
the journey, this individual somewhat surprised me by diving his hand
into a back coat pocket, and producing therefrom a formidable-looking
silver-sheathed dagger, which, however, to my relief, he quietly
laid down beside him on the seat, perhaps that he might the more
conveniently stretch himself out; possibly because he thought me a
suspicious companion, and wished to show in time that he was not
unprepared in case of an attack.

About Colon the country was open enough, presenting to the eye a great
bare tract of weedy-looking land varied by gently undulating hills,
and studded with oxen innumerable; the farm-houses, low structures
disposed about half a mile apart, hardly breaking the monotony of the
landscape. Here and there a gaily caparisoned Gaucho cantered about,
apparently without any fixed object, except to enjoy his liberty, and
gave a picturesque character to the scene. These Gauchos are really
fine-looking fellows, well mounted, and most excellent horsemen.
They have about them a certain air of well-fed contentment, which,
in spite of their known ferocity, almost elicits admiration. It is a
popular error to apply the term "Gaucho" indiscriminately to all the
horse-riding community of the lower classes, for the term is properly
only applicable to those homeless wandering horse-riders whose sole
worldly possession consists of a horse and its trappings, who roam
about from place to place, picking up whatever they can appropriate by
fair means or foul, and who, consequently, do not enjoy a very high
reputation among the settled inhabitants. The word "Gaucho" is looked
upon as a term of reproach, and an honest, self-respecting peasant
so addressed would reply, "No, Señor, no soy Gaucho, soy Paysano."
By a clever stroke of policy the present dictator of Uruguay, Señor
Letore, has almost succeeded in putting a stop to the infamous practice
of "cattle lifting," formerly so common among the "Gauchos." Their
equipment usually includes a long strip of hide, ostensibly carried as
a tether for the horse, but frequently turned to account as a lasso.
A law has now been enacted, and is rigidly enforced, restricting the
length of this rope to five "brazeros," _i.e._, five arm spans; and as
it is in consequence much too short to answer the purpose of a lasso,
these mounted tramps are no longer able to capture stray bullocks for
the sole pleasure of gouging out the tongue as a dainty dish. Indeed, a
gentleman of Durazno, for many years resident in the country, informed
me that it was now no uncommon thing to see a Gaucho carrying a hempen
rope instead of a thong, the want of a lasso leaving him without the
means of helping himself to a cowhide.

About Colon the prevailing plants were a large thistle and a
purple-flowered _Echium_, and these so predominated as at a distance to
seem to cover the entire surface of the ground. A light fall of rain,
and a puffy breeze, combined to make it a bad day for insect hunting,
and accordingly very few of these creatures were seen or captured. Of
birds, the cardinal grosbeak, partridges, and pigeons, were abundant.

Some days subsequently we received, through the courtesy of the
directors of the railway company, permission to travel free to the
extremity of their line, and of this indulgence we availed ourselves
so far as to make a trip to Durazno, the northern terminus of the
railway. Accordingly, a party consisting of the captain and four of us
ward-room officers started by a train leaving the central terminus at
seven in the morning. This railway, which has been for eleven years
in existence, and for a long time struggling against unfavourable
circumstances (rebellion and so forth), is now gradually assuming a
prosperous condition, and has been extended so far that it now pierces
the republic of Uruguay in a northern direction, to a distance of
128 miles from Monte Video. As we emerged from the precincts of the
town, and passed through a hamlet called "Bella-Vista," on the shores
of the bay, we noticed here and there woods of the eucalyptus tree
growing in great luxuriance to a height of eighty and even a hundred
feet, the foliage of adjoining trees being so interlocked as to afford
considerable patches of shelter from the sun's rays. Sir George
Nares, who has had some experience of these trees in Australia, where
they are indigenous, said that he had rarely seen them clad with
so dense a foliage. We were told that these trees had been imported
and planted only twelve years previously; yet such is their rapidity
of growth, that they are now of the magnitude of forest trees. On
reaching a distance of about twelve miles from Monte Video, the number
of trees (none of which, except the willows, were indigenous) had so
far decreased, that the few solitary representatives which dotted
the landscape served only to render the paucity of the race the more
remarkable. The surface configuration of the land was everywhere the
same--a gently undulating grass-covered plain, where the depths from
crest to hollow averaged about thirty feet, admitting a range of
vision of about twelve miles from the summit of each rise. Of ravines,
fissures, or gullies, there were none; and as the railway track had
evaded the difficulties of levelling by pursuing a most meandering
course, not even a cutting was to be seen to afford means for arriving
at a geological examination of the district. About the station of
Independencia, rock was to be seen for the first time, consisting of a
coarse-grained (apparently felspathic) granite, showing itself through
the alluvial soil in the shape of low rounded masses, or as boulders
disseminated in streams directed radially from the outcropping source.
At the next station, appropriately named "Las Piedras" (the stones),
the rock was in greater proportion; and during the remainder of our
journey north, perhaps once in every ten miles, the wide expanse of
grass-land would be varied by an odd-looking outcrop of granite. Stone
was evidently a rare commodity in these parts, most of the huts being
built of sticks and mud.

As far as Santa Lucia, a station about forty miles from Monte
Video, the land (divided into fields by hedgerows of aloes) was
studded thickly enough with large prickly thistles of a very coarse
description; but to the northward of this position the prominent
features of the landscape underwent a change. Trees disappeared
altogether, and except along the river banks, where some bushes
resembling bog-myrtle eked out an existence, no shrubs were to
be seen. Thistles were still present, but in very small numbers,
and indeed there was little to meet the eye but a wide expanse of
grass-land dotted here and there with herds of oxen, sheep, and horses
(which seemed in very small proportion to the acreage), and exhibiting,
at distances of about two miles apart, small one-storied huts. For
ploughing and other agricultural work, oxen seemed to be used, to the
exclusion of horses; which is all the more strange, as the latter here
exist in great abundance, and are so cheap as to create that equestrian
peasantry which to a European visitor is, I think, the most striking
characteristic of the country.

As one of the up-trains passed by us at the station of Joashim Suarez,
we noticed several trucks piled up with ox skulls and other bones,
and on enquiry ascertained that they were for exportation to England,
to be used in sugar-refining factories: the bones were piled up so
high on the trucks as to tower above the engine, so that as the train
approached us end-on, they formed a ghastly sort of figure-head.

At Santa Lucia the train stopped half an hour for refreshments, and
all hands adjourned to an hotel close by the railway station, where a
good breakfast, consisting of many courses (including beefsteak and
potatoes), was satisfactorily disposed of. The charge for this repast
was moderate, being only six reals = 3_s._ 6_d._ a head.

Of birds a great many were to be seen as we travelled along. Looking
forward from the carriage windows, we could see ground doves of a dull
slate colour, rising from the track, and sheering off to either side
in great flocks, as the train advanced. A species of lapwing, with
bluish-grey plumage barred with white across the wings, and displaying
a pair of long red legs, kept us continually alive to its presence by
its harsh double cry. Partridges were also abundant. These birds are
strictly preserved all over Uruguay, and during the breeding season,
from September to March, no shooting of any kind is allowed without
special permission. We saw one flock of ostriches stalking about
unconcernedly among the cattle. We were subsequently told that the
ostriches in this district were all allowed to run wild, the value of
the feathers not repaying the cost of farming. Of deer, the largest
indigenous mammal, we saw only one individual, browsing quietly among
a herd of cattle. They are allowed to come or go as they please, not
being sought after or utilized by the inhabitants.

On arriving at Durazno we were most hospitably received and entertained
by Mr. Ware, the engineer of the railway, under whose guidance we
inspected the sights of this dilapidated country town, and then
proceeded to explore the banks of the river Yi, a tributary of the
Rio Negro, where a great variety of animal life was to be seen. There
was here a large lagoon bordered with low bushes, a favourite haunt
of the largest living rodent, the capybara or "carpincho," as the
natives call it, and also largely stocked with birds. Snipe and dottrel
were here so tame as to allow one to approach within a few yards of
them. In the course of the day we had the good fortune to meet a Mr.
Edye, an Englishman, who, during thirteen years' residence in the
Plate, had acquired a considerable insight into the natural history
of the country. He told us that a great variety of birds inhabit the
low bushes of the "Monte" (as they call the shallow valley of the
river), including three species of the cardinal, one humming bird, the
calandria or South American nightingale, etc. With reference to the
tucutuco (_Ctenomys_), he assured us, contrary to the opinion expressed
by Dr. Darwin, in his "Journal of a Naturalist," as to the animals
never coming to the surface, that the little rodents were commonly
to be seen near their holes about the time of dusk, and that they
invariably retreated to the burrows on the near approach of a human
being. He considered it almost impossible to catch them, but had no
doubt about their habit of coming to the surface. As we strolled along
the river banks, we saw and captured a black snake about two and a
half feet long, which was swimming gracefully from bank to bank, with
its head elevated about two inches from the top of the water. We also
got some living specimens of a river mussel, which is here used as fish
bait.

Everywhere among the English-speaking community we heard the same
gloomy accounts of the dulness of trade, arising from the yet unsettled
state of the country. All agreed that the present Dictator was managing
the country admirably, but expressed their fears that he would some day
be "wiped out," as others had been before him, and that the country
would again relapse into a state of anarchy and brigandage.

Some days later I had an opportunity of visiting Buenos Ayres, the
capital of the Argentine Republic, situated on the opposite or south
shore of the river Plate. Accompanied by Lieut. Gunn, I started from
Monte Video on the evening of the 9th of December, taking passage on
board one of the river-steamers (_Villa de Salto_), then plying daily
between the two cities. The distance, 120 miles, is usually traversed
at night-time, and in this arrangement sight-seers lose nothing, as,
owing to the lowness of the banks and the great width of the river,
the opposite shores are barely visible from a position in mid-channel.
Our fellow-passengers, about eighty in number, represented Spanish,
Italian, and English nationalities, and among the latter we were
fortunate enough to meet two gentlemen residing in the country, to
whom, as well as to the captain, a jovial, hospitable American, we
were indebted for much interesting information concerning the men and
manners of the country. After dinner--a long, ponderous affair--had
been disposed of, a general dispersion took place, the gentlemen to
smoke, and the ladies to their cabins; but in an hour or so the latter
again appeared in the saloon, arrayed in evening dress of a more gay
and airy character than that worn at dinner, and they now applied
themselves diligently to the luxury of maté drinking. The fluid known
as maté is an infusion of the leaves of the _Ilex paraguayensis_,
commonly called Paraguay tea, and is usually sucked through metal
tubes about ten inches long, from a gracefully carved globular wooden
receptacle about the size of an orange. One stock of "yerba" seemed to
stand a great many waterings and sugarings, the necessary manipulations
for which furnished the ladies with a suitable occupation. It was
amusing to watch the eagerness with which the latter sucked away at
their maté tubes, the attitude reminding one of a boy using a decoy
whistle.

We anchored off the town of Buenos Ayres at an early hour the next
morning, and here the inefficiency of the landing arrangements were
made unpleasantly manifest. Three different means of locomotion were
resorted to, in order to convey us from the steamer to the shore. We
were pulled in a small boat for a portion of the way; then, as the boat
grounded, the rowers got out, and, wading alongside, dragged it on for
a few hundred yards more. We were then transferred, with our baggage,
to a high-wheeled cart, drawn by two horses, which brought us through
the last quarter of a mile of shallow water fringing the shore. The
cost of effecting a landing was no inconsiderable item in the expense
of our trip, and was moreover one calculated to prejudice unfavourably
one's first impression of Buenos Ayres.

After securing rooms at the Hotel Universal, and breakfasting at the
Strangers' Club, where we were most kindly received by the secretary,
Mr. Wilson, we proceeded in search of the museum, so celebrated for its
collection of fossil remains of the extinct South American mammals,
arranged under the direction of Dr. Burmeister. We found the learned
Professor enveloped in white dust, and busily engaged in restoring with
plaster of Paris the spinous process of the vertebra of one of his
specimens; and on explaining the object of our visit, he kindly drew
our attention to the principal objects of interest in his collection.
This museum has already been fully described, and I need hardly
allude to the splendid specimens which it possesses of the Glyptodon,
Machairodont, Toxodon, Mylodon, and other fossils; its beautiful
specimens of the _Chlamydophorus retusus_ (a mole-like armadillo), the
leathery turtle (_Sphargis coriacea_), the epiodon, etc. The Professor
pointed with great pride to a recent specimen of armadillo, with the
young one attached to its hind-quarters in a peculiar manner.

On the same day we inspected the Anthropological Museum, which is in a
large building in the Plaza Victoria, opposite the old market, where we
saw a fine collection of Tehuelche and Araucanian skulls, recently made
by Señor Moreno in his travels through Patagonia. Among others was the
skull of "Sam Slick," a son of the celebrated Casimiro, the Patagonian
cacique, so well known for many years in the vicinity of Magellan
Straits. We also saw a mummified specimen of a Patagonian, recently
found in a cave at Punta Walichii, near the head waters of the Santa
Cruz river.

In the course of the day we called upon Mr. Mulhall, the enterprising
and courteous editor of the _Buenos Ayrean Standard_, and from him we
acquired much valuable information as to the condition of the country.
On taking up the _Standard_ next morning, we found ourselves treated to
an editorial notice chronicling our visit to the Argentine capital, and
referring to the past and present services of H.M.S. _Alert_.

Coming fresh from so neat and trim a town as Monte Video, Buenos Ayres
was not to be expected to impress one very favourably. It seemed,
indeed, to be a great straggling town that, having arrived at a
certain degree of civilization, had now for some years back considered
itself entitled to rest on its laurels, and gradually fall into decay.
Streets, plazas, and tramways were in a wretched state of neglect;
and such were the great ruts which time and traffic had made in the
streets, that baggage-carts might be seen brought to a dead lock, even
in the principal thoroughfares. Buenos Ayres can boast of several fine
old public buildings, among which the cathedral, with its classic
front, stands pre-eminent; and although there are some fine pieces of
modern architecture, such as the Bolsa, or Exchange, the latter are so
stowed away among lofty houses in narrow streets, that they require to
be specially looked for to be noticed at all. I must qualify the above
observations by mentioning that these are the impressions of only two
days' sojourn in Buenos Ayres.

Some days later, His Excellency the Governor of the Falkland Islands
(Mr. Callaghan) and his wife arrived at Monte Video, _en route_ for his
seat of government; and as the sailing schooner, which was the only
regular means of communication between Monte Video and the Falklands,
was then crowded with passengers, the Governor gladly accepted Sir
George Nares's kind invitation to take him as his guest on board the
_Alert_.

We left Monte Video on the 14th of December, and on the 26th, amid a
furious storm of wind and hail, anchored in Stanley Harbour, Falkland
Islands. Here we found that the great topic of conversation was a
landslip of peat, which had occurred about a month previous to our
arrival, laying waste a portion of the little settlement. On the summit
of a hill above the east end of the town, a circular patch of turf,
about two hundred yards in diameter, had collapsed; and at the same
time a broad stream, four feet high, of semi-fluid peat, flowed down
the hillside to the sea, in its course sweeping away walls and gardens,
and partly burying the houses. This phenomenon, occurring at night,
caused great consternation among the inhabitants of such an uneventful
little place; but after the people had shaken themselves together
somewhat, and recovered from their surprise, they found that after all
no great damage had been done. The appearance of the peat avalanche, as
seen from the ship, was very peculiar, and in many respects the whole
occurrence resembled a lava flow.

On the evening of our arrival, we were most hospitably entertained at
Government House, where we had also the pleasure of meeting all the
rank and fashion of this part of the colony.

The next day, being fine, I determined to devote to an inspection of
the "stone runs," which have been rendered so famous in the geology
of the Falklands by the writings of Darwin, Wyville Thompson, and
others. In this excursion I was fortunate in having the assistance
of Dr. Watts, the colonial surgeon, a gentleman who, from his long
experience of the group, was well acquainted with all the salient
points in its natural history. The "run" which we visited lay in the
hollow of a winding valley, situated about two miles to the westward
of the settlement of Stanley. The rocks, heaped together confusedly,
formed a so-called "stone river," varying in width from fifty to two
hundred yards, and extending up the valley as a single "stream" for
about one mile and a half, to a point where it seemed as if originated
by a confluence of tributary streams flowing from the surrounding
hills. The stones, composed of quartzite, presented a roughly rounded
appearance, which was seemingly due to excessive weathering; and they
were so covered with lichens, as to appear of a uniform grey colour.
Those which lay below the surface were of a rust colour, and, by all
accounts, the upturned stones required an exposure of many years to
assume the uniform grey tint of the surface layer. The margin of the
"run" was distinctly defined by an abrupt edge of swampy soil, with
its tangled vegetation of diddle-dee, tea-plant, and balsam bog. Now,
why are the stones of the "run" so entirely destitute of soil? and why
do they exhibit a margin so sharp and well defined, yet without the
elevated, rounded appearance of a river bank? Sir Wyville Thompson's
theory, it seems to me, falls short of explaining this. I have as
yet seen too little of the country to justify me in forming a fixed
opinion; but I am, so far, inclined to think that these "streams of
stones" are of a date _anterior_ to the existence of peat on the
island, and that the peat has been approaching the valleys from
the elevated land by growth and slippage, and in its descent has
encountered difficulty in obtaining a footing in those places where
the stones are large, and being heaped to a great depth, act like
a gigantic drain, and so prevent any soil from forming. As far as I
can ascertain, no attempt has ever been made to estimate the rate of
movement (if any) of these "runs," and there is no evidence whatever
of their motion during the present century. There is not sufficient
land comprised by the watershed to form torrents capable of removing
the dense mass of peaty soil, which, according to Sir W. Thompson's
theory, would have been necessary for the transportation of the large
blocks of stone that are here accumulated. The inhabitants remark, and
I think with truth, that the summits of the hills and the upper slopes
are as a rule more wet and boggy than the hollows below. This supports
my view of the _drainage_ being greatest in the valleys where the big
stones were originally packed to a greater depth, and towards which
the peat is now encroaching. It is worthy of remark that the surface
of the stream is tolerably flat, and does not indicate a process of
accumulation by flow from either side.

To Dr. Watts, my guide on this occasion, I was also indebted for a
skin of the Falkland Island fox, an animal now almost extinct, a
skull of the sea elephant, and a dried specimen of the petrel, which
is known here as the "fire bird," from its habit of dashing itself
against the lantern of the lighthouse, at whose base dead specimens are
occasionally found.



CHAPTER II.

_EXPERIENCES IN PATAGONIA._


We left the Falkland Islands on the evening of the 27th, and sailed to
the westward. On the morning of the 1st of January, 1879, we entered
the eastern entrance of the Straits of Magellan, passing within easy
sight of Cape Virgins and Dungeness Point. As we approached the latter,
we noticed a herd of guanacos browsing quietly near the beach, as if
a passing ship were an object familiar to their eyes. This, our first
impression of the famous Straits, was certainly favourable. A winding
channel, the glassy smoothness of whose surface was only broken by the
splashing of cormorants, steamer-ducks, and other sea-birds, stretched
away to the westward. On the north side were the low undulating plains
of Patagonia, covered with their summer mantle of greenish-yellow
vegetation; while to the southward a few widely separated wreaths of
blue smoke, ascending from the gloomy shores of Tierra del Fuego,
marked out the dwelling-place of one of the most remarkable varieties
of the human species. Favoured by the tide, we passed rapidly through
the first Narrows, and at 6.30 in the evening had got as far as Cape
Gregory. Here the flood-tide setting strongly to the westward, fairly
brought us to a standstill, so we steamed in towards the north shore,
and anchored close under Cape Gregory. A party of us who were bent on
exploring soon landed, and proceeded in various directions in quest
of game, and in the few remaining hours of daylight we succeeded in
getting several ducks, some small birds, and a young fox. The ground
was for the most part covered with a sort of rank grass, through which
bushes of the Berberry, _Empetrum rubrum_, and _Myrtus nummularia_,
grew luxuriantly. A very pretty dwarf calceolaria was also abundant.
The only quadruped seen was a fox, but the tucutucos (_Ctenomys_) must
have been very numerous, for the ground was riddled in all directions
by their burrows. Some of our party, who strolled along the beach
towards Gregory Bay, found a small settlement of Frenchmen, who, it
seemed, had recently come out here to try their hands at farming.
After our arrival on board, one of the men brought me a specimen of a
_Myxine_, which had come up on his fishing line, not attached to the
hook, but adhering by its viscid secretion to the line at some distance
above the hook. Of this curious fish I subsequently obtained many
specimens in the western Patagonian channels.

[Illustration: FUEGIAN IMPLEMENTS 1-7.--AUSTRALIAN "WOOMERAHS" 8-11.

1. Stone Axe-head. 2. Bark Bucket. 3. Bone harpoon head. 4. Glass
Spear-head. 5. Bone Spear-head used in fishing. 6. Glass-tipped Arrow.
7. Bow. 8. "Woomerah" or Throwing-stick, used by natives of Torres
Straits. 9, 10. 11. "Woomerahs" used by Aborigines of North-West
Australia. _To face p. 34._]

We got under way again before daylight, and about eight in the morning
we arrived at Sandy Point. This interesting little Chilian settlement
was established in the year 1843, and although a great portion of it
was burnt to the ground during the mutiny of 1877, it yet shows signs
of ultimately becoming a place of considerable importance. Great credit
is due to the Chilian Government for their perseverance in maintaining
a settlement in this wild region, notwithstanding the sad fate of
the colony which was established by Sarmiento in 1580, at a bay to
the westward of Sandy Point, which he named "Bahia de la Gente." On
Sarmiento's return, eight years subsequently, it was discovered that
nearly all the colonists had perished of starvation. That bay has
since been called Port Famine. Of late years the Straits of Magellan
have been largely availed of by men-of-war and merchant-steamers.
Two lines of mail-steamers, viz., the P.S.N.C. and the Kosmos line,
now run bi-monthly through the Straits; and as all these vessels
touch regularly at Sandy Point, the colonists are kept in frequent
communication with the rest of the civilized world. For some years
after its foundation the population consisted mainly of convicts,
undergoing penal servitude, who were kept in control by a small
garrison; but since the mutiny of November 1877, the importation of
convicts has ceased, and as a consequence labour has become scarce.
At the time of our visit there were 1,100 inhabitants, including the
garrison, which now consists of 120 men, rank and file, all of whom are
armed with the Winchester repeating rifle.

The country possesses at least two great sources of mineral wealth,
viz., gold and coal. When the coal mines were first established,
sanguine ideas were entertained of their successful working. But
commercial difficulties arose. The company who were working the mines
became involved in a lawsuit, which, whatever may have been the rights
of the case, has at all events put a stop to mining operations; and
at the time of our visit the railway leading to the mine seemed to be
going to decay; and the rolling stock, in a disjointed state, scattered
about the wharf and line, testified to the stagnant condition of
affairs.

I was here fortunate in finding a friend in the Government (Chilian)
surgeon of the settlement--Dr. Fenton--with whose assistance and
guidance I made some pleasant trips into the country adjoining Sandy
Point. On our first day there he kindly provided horses, and took me
for a ride into the forest, to the end of the settlement. There I saw
for the first time the evergreen and deciduous beeches, the winter's
bark as well as the berberry, diddle-dee, and other plants, of which
we saw a great deal subsequently, during our Patagonian surveys. As we
crossed a flat dreary plain which lay between the margin of the forest
and the sea coast, we encountered a great number of very bold hawks,
which alighted on the big thistles near our bridle path, and coolly
stared at us as we went by. We also saw flocks of Bandurria, a species
of black and white ibis, which is common in these parts, but being
sought after by the Chilians as an article of food, has naturally
become distrustful of the ways of man, and is difficult to approach. On
returning to the settlement, we found some excitement prevailing, for
two of the inhabitants had just been drowned by the capsizing of a boat
near the landing-place. With southerly winds, heavy rollers break along
the beach; and as there is no protection in the shape of a breakwater
(for boats), communication with the shore is dangerous while these
winds continue. It appeared that a party of five were returning from a
hulk in the roadstead, where an auction was being held, and on nearing
the shore the boat got broadside on to the rollers, and capsized. Two
were drowned. The other three narrowly escaped a similar fate, and owed
their preservation to the gallant conduct of two of our bluejackets,
who, happening to be on shore near the scene of the disaster, plunged
boldly in at the risk of their lives, and brought the survivors to land.

On the following day two of us rode along the shore to the southward
of the town for a distance of about six miles, when we struck into the
woods, following a cart track which led us to a sawmill in the heart of
the forest, belonging to Mr. Dunsmuir, the British Vice-consul. Here we
shot a small owl, specimens of the Magellan thrush, and a diminutive
bird of a general black colour, with a rusty-red collar, the _Centrites
niger_. The beach was in places covered with dense clusters of mussels,
and strewn with the dead shells of Volutes, Arcas, and Patellas, the
tests of crabs, and the calcareous remains of a small Cidaris. We
were greatly struck with the sagacity of our little horses--requiring
little or no management, going for the most part at an easy canter,
and climbing over logs, trunks of fallen trees, and banks, with the
agility of goats. On our dismounting, and leaving the bridles trailing
on the ground, they remained quite patiently, without showing the least
inclination to make off, although we several times discharged our guns
close to their heads.

We left Sandy Point on the afternoon of the 4th, and proceeded under
steam to Peckett Harbour, an anchorage about twenty-five miles to the
north-east of the colony. Arriving about four p.m., all of us who
could, landed, and set off in pursuit of game. Even here, so little to
the eastward of Sandy Point, the aspect of the country was completely
different. The land was entirely devoid of trees, and the only plants
of any size were the barberry and balsam bog, the latter growing as
luxuriantly as at the Falklands. Walking was laborious, for the ground
was everywhere riddled with the burrows of the tucutuco, a curious
rodent (_Ctenomys_), which the Chilians call _carouru_. There was
a fresh breeze blowing, and the birds were consequently very wild,
and by no means numerous. We obtained specimens of the crested duck
(_Anas cristata_), upland goose (_Chloephaga magellanica_), grebe,
plover, soldier starling, snipe, sandpiper, and _Centrites niger_. The
tucutucos here evidently differ in their habits from those described by
Mr. Darwin, for they come out of their burrows occasionally (I believe
at dusk), and one was caught by Lieut. Vereker, and given to me.

The next day we were again under way, and having taken on board some
horses belonging to Mr. Dunsmuir, the British Vice-consul of Sandy
Point, proceeded towards Elizabeth Island, a few miles off. This island
has recently been rented from the Chilian Government by Mr. Dunsmuir,
and proves of value for stock farming. Tucutucos have not yet succeeded
in reaching it, a matter of no small importance as regards the value
of the land, for their mining operations are almost ruinous to the
pasturage. The island is about six miles long and four miles broad, and
consists of an elevated plateau of undulating grass-land, terminating
at its margin in cliffs three hundred feet high, which front the sea.
Mr. Dunsmuir has stocked it with four hundred sheep, who are left
usually in charge of a shepherd and his family; and he has also, for
commercial purposes, adopted measures for the protection of the upland
geese, which breed in large numbers on the island. The object of our
visit was to bring over for him some horses, which were required for
the working of the island. As we steamed round its eastern end, myriads
of terns rose in a cloud from the low sandy pits, where they had their
breeding place.

After getting out the horses, and letting them swim on shore, we
dropped our anchor, and soon afterwards many of us landed to explore.
It was the breeding time of the upland geese, and the birds were
consequently very tame, and afforded little sport in shooting.
Along the beach below the cliffs a variety of birds were to be
seen, including oyster-catchers, steamer-ducks, and a species of
Cinclodes. As I walked by the foot of the cliffs, a steamer-duck
would occasionally rush out from its retreat, and make for the water,
cackling vigorously as it waddled over the shingle. As these birds
steamed out seaward, they seemed undoubtedly to flap their wings in
unison; but there was a sort of wabble in their swimming motion,
arising probably from the alternate paddling of the feet. On the
heights above, I shot several military starlings, and others of our
party obtained some brown ducks (_Anas cristata_) and snipe.

The cliff was apparently breaking away in many places, exposing fresh
sections of its face, and exhibiting pebbles, rounded stones, and
rocks imbedded in the clayey mass, a feature which is characteristic
of this part of the coast. Lines of stratification, of varying degrees
of fineness, were to be seen; and in several places, at about fifty
feet from the summit of the cliff, streams of water oozed out from the
seams. I could detect no trace of a fossil. Along the beach lay many
dead shells of the genera _Voluta_, _Arca_, _Patella_, _Mytilus_, and
_Trophon_. During this walk I noticed about six different species of
butterflies and a few beetles.

The dredge had been laid out from the ship on anchoring, so that it
might profit by the swinging of the ship; and when we hauled it up in
the evening, it contained a quantity of dead barnacles covered with
ophiurids, and also shells of the genera _Trochus_ and _Trophon_,
Amphipod Crustaceans, Annelids, and some red, jelly-like Gephyreans.
These were all entangled in a mass of red seaweed, interlaced with
stalks of the Macrocystis.

Early next morning (January 7th) we steamed back to Sandy Point. As we
approached the anchorage, we noticed dense clouds of smoke rising from
the woods some distance inland, and it soon transpired that the forest
in the vicinity of the Consul's sawmills was on fire. In the afternoon
I rode out with Dr. Fenton to the scene, and we found the troops of
the garrison employed in felling trees, so as to make a sort of lane
through the woods to leeward of the fire, in order, if possible, to
limit its ravages. Dr. Fenton afterwards came on board, and gave us an
interesting account of the mutiny of 1877, in which he and his wife
narrowly escaped being shot. His house, like most others, was burnt
down on that occasion. Sixty of the peaceable inhabitants were shot
by the mutineers, and nine of the latter were subsequently executed.
Those of the population who escaped had fled to the woods, and there
fortified themselves against an attack. Eventually the mutiny was
quelled by the arrival of the Chilian gunboat _Magellanes_, at whose
approach the mutineers fled away into the pampas.

At two o'clock in the afternoon of the following day we weighed anchor
and proceeded to the westward. We had scarcely left Sandy Point a few
miles behind us, when the character of the scenery underwent a marked
change. The straits narrowed, its shores rose in lofty hills, whose
lightly inclined slopes were clothed with forest from the summits to
the water's edge, and we exchanged the clear blue sky of Patagonia for
an atmosphere of mists and rain squalls. As we passed by Port Famine,
two Fuegian canoes pulled off to us from the southern shores, the
natives hailing us vociferously for "_galleta tabac_" (biscuit and
tobacco). However, we could not spare time to interview them, and they
turned back disappointed, and moreover evidencing signs of indignation.
When abreast of Borja Bay, we experienced such a succession of heavy
squalls from the westward, that we were compelled to put in for
shelter, and accordingly anchored. On landing, we found the trees
placarded in various places with wooden records of ships that had
called there; and on pushing our way through the bushes adjoining the
beach, we were not a little surprised at stumbling across a coffin,
which from its position seemed to have been hurriedly deposited there
by a passing ship. It bore an inscription stating that it contained
the remains of some person who had belonged to the Chilian man-of-war
_Almirante Cochrane_. Animal life was at a discount; only a few
moths, a Cinclodes, a brace of duck, and a few gulls being seen. The
vegetation was luxuriant, and the Philesia, berberry, and diddle-dee
plants were in full bloom. We stopped for only a few hours; for on
the wind lulling we again proceeded on our course. Passing through
the "Long Reach," the scenery became of a most imposing character;
several straggling, highly inclined glaciers creeping down on either
side through the deep mountain gorges, their dazzling whiteness
contrasting strikingly with the richly verdured hillsides, and the
lofty snow-covered mountain summits beyond fading away imperceptibly
into a hazy sky. Later in the evening we anchored in Playa Parda Cove,
a beautiful little land-locked basin, and most of us landed at once, to
spend the last few remaining hours of daylight. A solitary steamer-duck
was seen, but for the rest animal life was unrepresented. As at Borja
Bay, several little billets of wood, attached conspicuously to trees
bordering the shore, recorded the visits of previous explorers to these
outlandish regions.

On the morning of the 10th we left Playa Parda, and steamed northward
through the Sarmiento Channels. In the afternoon, as we were passing
by Fortune Bay, we sighted and exchanged signals with the Chilian
man-of-war _Chacabuco_, a vessel which was now employed in surveying
certain portions of the Straits. Our halting-place for this evening was
at Isthmus Bay, where we anchored about six p.m. At the head of this
bay, where a narrow neck of lowland separated us from the waters of
Oracion Sound, was the remains of a Fuegian encampment, which, to judge
from the appearance of the shell heaps, could not have been left for
more than a year uninhabited. Across the isthmus was a "portage" for
boats, consisting of rudely-cut stakes laid on the ground parallel to
each other, and a few yards apart, like railway sleepers. The aspect
of the green forest encircling this charming little bay was variegated
with a luxuriant display of really beautiful flowers, among which
were conspicuous the _Philesia buxifolia_, _Fuchsia magellanica_,
_Gaultheria antarctica_, _Berberis ilicifolia_, and a number of
composites of different species. A kind of cedar, the _Libocedrus
tetragonus_ ("cipres" of the Chilotes), was here also very abundant,
furnishing good straight poles suitable for various purposes. Its
four-sided arrangement of leaves at once attracts attention.

We got under way early in the morning, and proceeded up the Sarmiento
Channels, passing by the Chilian ship _Chacabuco_ in the midst of a
rain squall. No natives were to be seen. The channel here narrowed, and
the scenery of the opposing shores became of a grand yet rather sombre
character, the round-topped granite mountains which seemed to overhang
us, with their streaky patches of forest creeping up the gullies, being
enveloped in a hazy mist, and presenting a sort of draggled appearance,
as if rain had been falling over their rocky faces for ages.

About five in the evening we entered Mayne Harbour, a few cormorants
and steamer-ducks sheering off with much splashing, as we slipped
between the islets that almost block up the entrance.

So we continued to wend our way through these desolate channels,
looking into nearly every anchorage on the way, and usually anchoring
for the night, until the 14th of January, when we reached "Tom Bay,"
which was to be our base of operations for the ensuing survey of the
Trinidad Channel. Some hours after we had anchored, a native boat
suddenly emerged from a narrow channel opening into the bay, and
paddled towards the ship, displaying a green branch in the bows
of the boat, while one individual standing up waved a small white
cloth, no doubt intended as a flag of truce. Our people on board made
amicable demonstrations in response, by waving handkerchiefs and
so forth, and then slowly and warily the natives approached. This
was our first experience of representatives of the Channel tribe of
Fuegians. There were altogether eight of them. But I must not omit to
mention the dogs, five in number, as the latter formed by far the most
respectable portion of the community; for it would indeed be difficult
to imagine a more diabolical cast of countenance than that presented
by these savages. Their clothing consisted of a squarish scrap of
sealskin looped round the neck, sometimes hanging over the back,
sometimes resting on the shoulders, but apparently worn more by way of
ornament than for any protection which it afforded; and a very narrow
waistcloth, which simple garment was sometimes deemed superfluous. An
elderly lady of a saturnine cast of countenance sat on a wisp of grass
in the stern of the canoe, and manœuvred the steering oar. They
could not be induced to come on board the ship, and from their guarded
demeanour would seem to have had rather unfavourable experiences of
civilized man. After bartering their bits of seal and other skins,
and getting some biscuit, tobacco, and knives, they paddled away,
and established themselves on an islet about half a mile from the
ship, where we saw that the skeleton frameworks of some old huts were
standing.

On the following day a small party, consisting of North (the
paymaster), three seamen, and myself, pulled over to the native camp.
We were received on landing by four men with bludgeons in their hands,
who did not seem at all glad to see us, and who seemed apprehensive
of our approaching the hut, where the women had been jealously shut
up. However, by a few presents of tobacco and biscuit, we established
tolerably amicable relations, and were permitted to examine the canoe,
which lay hauled half out of the water. It was composed of five planks,
of which one, about twenty feet long and two and a half feet wide,
formed the bottom, while the other four, each one and a half foot in
width, formed the sides. The bottom plank was turned up at the ends,
so as to form a flat bow and stern of nearly similar shape; and to
this plank, as well as to each other, the side pieces were secured
by a lacing passed through rude square shaped holes about an inch in
area, which were made in an even row close to the edges of the planks.
The lacing used for this purpose is the tough stem of a bignoniaceous
creeper (the _Campsidium chilense_), which is commonly seen twining
round the tall forest trees, forming festoons from branch to branch,
and again extending from the horizontal branches vertically downwards
like the cordage of a ship. Caulking was effected by stuffing the
seams with moss and strips of the winter's bark (bark of the _Drimys
winteri_), over which the lacing was carried; and the square-shaped
holes were plugged with some pulpy vegetable matter, of which moss
seemed to be the chief constituent. The oars were made of young
stems of the _Libocedrus tetragonus_, to one end of which elliptical
pieces of wood were lashed by way of blades. These oars were used in
the ordinary way, the loom resting on crescentic-shaped crutches,
fashioned out of a single piece of wood, and lashed to the gunwale.
The everlasting Fuegian fire, from which Tierra del Fuego derives its
name, burned in the middle of the boat, resting on a bed of clay; and
the half-decomposed head of a seal, which either the natives or the
dogs had recently been gnawing, completed the furniture of this crazy
vessel. The hut in which the women were shut up was a haycock-shaped
arrangement, composed of a skeleton framework of boughs, over which
were thrown several old skins of the sea lion (_Otaria jubata_). The
chief of this party, who was, by the way, the tallest Fuegian ever seen
by us, we found by measurement to be five feet four inches in height.
One hut accommodated the entire party, consisting, as I have said, of
four men, four women, and five dogs.

The greater part of the subsequent four months was spent in the
vicinity of the Trinidad Channel, which it was our special duty to
survey; and as our movements during this period were most erratic, and
we frequently paid five or six different visits to the same parts, I
shall for a time abandon all chronological order, and speak of events
according to the places in which they occurred.

But in the first place, in order to render my narrative more
intelligible, I shall here give a brief general description of this
region, referring to its climate, natural features, and inhabitants.

The weather is peculiar, for the rainfall is excessive, and as a rule
there is not more than one moderately dry day out of the seven.

The peaks and ridges of the broken-up range of mountains, of which the
islands and coast are formed, intercept the moisture-laden clouds which
are being continually wafted from seaward by the prevailing westerly
winds, frequent and long-continued downpours being the result. From
observations taken with the rain gauge, we estimate the average daily
rainfall to be 0·41 inch, and that of the wettest month of which we
have had experience, viz., the month of April, 0·522 inch. The annual
rainfall, estimated from the mean of eight months' observations, we
find to be 149·65 inches. The mean annual temperature, estimated
similarly from observations extending over the months of January,
February, March, April, May, (nine days of) October, November, and
December, we found to be 49·2, the extremes of temperature being 36°
and 60°. When we reflect that the annual rainfall in London is about
23·5 inches, while the yearly average of temperature is 46·9 Fahr., we
can realize the extent to which rainy weather prevails in this land,
and the comparative coldness of its nevertheless equable climate. We
were told by the master of a sealing schooner that the climate of
Western Fuegia varied but little throughout the year, and that in his
opinion the finest weather was to be found in mid-winter; and, indeed,
on entering the channels in the month of October--that is, in the
early spring--we ourselves found the appearance of the country but
little different from our recollections of the previous midsummer.
There was, perhaps, more snow on the hill-tops, but there was none at
all on the lower slopes of the hills, and the evergreen vegetation
seemed almost as luxuriant as during midsummer.

As might be expected from the large rainfall and comparatively
equable temperature, this climate is very favourable to the growth of
cryptogamous plants; ferns, mosses, and Hepaticæ abound, clothing the
stems of dead and living trees, and occupying every shady nook and
crevice. Among the ferns most commonly seen were several beautiful
species of the genus _Hymenophyllum_. Of flowering plants there
were also some of great beauty, the most attractive of which were
the _Philesia buxifolia_, the _Desfontainea hookeri_, the _Berberis
ilicifolia_, the _B. empetrifolia_, and the _Embothrium coccineum_.
The former is a sort of under-shrub, of creeping habit, and is most
commonly seen twining round the stem of the evergreen and antarctic
beeches, to a height of six or eight feet from the ground, its lovely,
rose-coloured, bell-shaped flowers showing to great advantage against
the delicate background of ferns and mosses, which, growing from the
bark of the tree, display the flowers, but almost conceal the branches
of the twining Philesia. There is another beautiful plant, of the same
natural order, met with in Southern Chili, which the people take great
pride in, showing to strangers as the glory of their gardens. It is
called the "Copigue" (_Lapageria rosea_). The only trees which attain
to any reasonable size as such are the evergreen and antarctic beeches
(_Fagus antarctica_ and _F. betuloides_), the winter's bark (_Drimys
winteri_), and the cypress (_Libocedrus tetragonus_). The bark of the
_Drimys winteri_ was formerly employed in medicine, but has latterly
fallen into disuse, partly from the difficulty of obtaining the genuine
article in Europe. It has tonic and stimulant properties. The infusion
of the dried bark is so hot and peppery as to burn the tongue and
throat; but, strangely enough, the spirit tincture extracts the tonic
bitter with but very little of the peppery principle.

The summits of the low hills, which are usually bare of trees or
brushwood, are covered with a sort of swamp formed of astelias,
gaimardias, and calthas, whose interlacing roots form a more or less
compact sod, which, as one walks on it, shakes from the fluctuation of
the bog water beneath.

The rock of the district is a cross-grained syenite, intersected with
dykes of greenstone, of very variable thickness. This is the prevalent
rock; but about Port Rosario, on the north side of "Madre de Dios"
island, there is an outcrop of limestone. The latter is of a pale-blue
colour, in some cases assuming the character of marble; and when much
exposed to the weather, presents a curious honeycombed appearance, due
to the solvent action of the rain. This rock is unfossiliferous. The
disintegration of the syenite from the usual atmospheric agencies is
rapid enough; but the resulting detritus does not contribute to form a
good clay.

If an artificial section be made of the soilcap, or if advantage be
taken of a landslip to examine it carefully, it will be seen to be
composed of a dense network of interlacing roots, containing in its
interstices a small quantity of black mould, the latter increasing in
proportion as the basement rock is reached. This spongy mass of tangled
vegetation, ever saturated with moisture, is the soil on which the
trees clothing the hillsides take root. On the little plateaus about
the hill-tops, however, it only contains the roots of the marsh plants
above mentioned, and those of an odd stunted bush. On first coming to
this region, I was much struck on seeing that the forest approaches so
close to the water's edge, and that the banks overhang so much that
frequently the branches of the trees dip into the salt water; and in
some places a black snag projecting above the surface of the inshore
water tells the fate of a tree that had perished from immersion. These
phenomena, among others to be hereafter alluded to, are, I think, to
be attributed to a slow but steady sliding motion of the soilcap over
its rocky foundation on the sloping hillsides, a motion which is in
many respects analogous to the flow of a glacier.

Of the natives inhabiting the Patagonian channels between the Gulf of
Peñas and Smyth's channels, very little is known; and I am the more
inclined to attempt a description of their physical characteristics
and habits of life, because of all the savage tribes of whom I have
had experience--including the Australian aborigines, who are generally
credited with being of the lowest order--I believe that the people
whom I am about to describe bear away the palm as the most primitive
among all the varieties of the human species. They are certainly
closely related to the Fuegians who live south of the main Straits
of Magellan, from whom, however, they differ sufficiently to show a
tribal distinction. Fitzroy, in enumerating six tribes of Fuegians,
denominates those of whom I speak as "the Channel or Chonos tribe."
They lead a wandering life, constantly shifting in their canoes from
place to place, and travelling in families of about twelve individuals,
all of whom stow in the same canoe, and sleep in the same hut. We have
never been able to ascertain the precise relationship existing between
the different members of these families; but a party of twelve would
probably consist of three men, five women, and four children.

For the greater part of the year they live almost entirely on mussels
and limpets, this simple fare being only varied occasionally by the
capture of a seal, a small otter, or of an equally small coypu. That
they get this kind of fresh meat but rarely is evident from our
inspection of their midden heaps, hillocks of refuse in the vicinity
of the huts, consisting mainly of shells. I must not omit to mention,
however, that bones of the steamer-duck and cormorant are also found
about the huts, but not in any quantity. During the months of December
and January, the Magellan seals "haul up" to breed on the rocks of the
outer coasts, and during this season there is a great gathering of
natives about the "rookeries," as the sealers call them, so that for a
short portion of the year these unfortunate wretches can luxuriate upon
a diet of fresh meat.

They are of low stature, the men averaging 5 ft. 1 in. in height,
while the women are still shorter. Of eight men whom I measured
carefully, the extremes were 4 ft. 10 in. and 5 ft. 3 in.; so that
there is a strong contrast between them and their neighbours in the
same latitude, the Patagonians, whose average stature (I speak of the
men only) is 5 ft. 10 in. Their complexion is of an ochrey copper
colour; the eyes are dark, and placed close together; the upper eyelid
curving downwards abruptly as it approaches the nasal side, or inner
canthus, in such a way as to give an appearance of obliquity in the
eye, which reminds one of that feature in the face of a Japanese. The
sclerotics, or so-called "white" of the eye, have a yellow tinge,
and in the adults the conjunctiva is injected or bloodshot, probably
from their habit of sitting over a smoky wood fire. The upper lip is
thin and curved; and when a grimace is made, it tightly embraces the
teeth, so as to communicate a peculiarly wicked expression to the
countenance. The maxillæ are broad, and the teeth are of glistening
whiteness. In the female the front teeth present an even regular line;
but in the male adult there is usually a front tooth missing, as if
knocked out designedly. The hair is long, black, and coarse, and
is peculiar in growing sometimes from the temples, as well as from
the scalp, a circumstance from which the forehead acquires a narrow
pyramidal appearance. There are no whiskers, but on the lips and chin
a few scattered hairs are seen. The upper extremities and trunk are
well formed, but the legs are very poorly developed, so much so as to
seem out of proportion to the rest of the body. The skin overlying
the kneecaps is particularly loose, baggy, and wrinkled when the
native stands erect, a circumstance which, in the case of the southern
Fuegian, is very justly attributed (_vide_ Voyage of _Adventure_ and
_Beagle_, p. 176) to the practice of frequently sitting on the heels,
with the legs flexed to a maximum.

Some of the emotions are expressed by very decided contortions of
the features and limbs. Delight, when intense, is shown by a display
of the closed teeth, accompanied by a clucking sound, and a curious
up and down bobbing motion of the body. Eagerness is expressed by a
clucking sound and a frothing of the lips. Anger is characterised by a
tightening of the upper lip, a protrusion of the lower jaw or mandible,
and a slight display of the upper incisors.

The men are almost entirely naked, sometimes wearing a square piece of
sealskin suspended from the neck, and hanging over either shoulder.
This seems to be intended as a sort of weather screen; but, strangely
enough, it is one of the first things parted with when a chance of
bartering occurs. Although so careless about protecting their bodies
against the rigour of the weather, it was nevertheless evident that
they were keenly sensible to the cold; for they were frequently to be
seen with their teeth chattering, and trembling from head to foot,
as the rain, wind, and spray swept over their unprotected skins. The
women generally have a large skin mantle, which they wear with the hair
turned outwards. Those with infants carry the child in a pouch between
the shoulders; but those not so burdened readily part with their only
covering for a plug of tobacco. That these people should attach any
value to tobacco is difficult to understand; for not only are they
unprovided with native pipes in which to smoke it, but, as far as we
could judge, they had never enjoyed sufficient opportunities of doing
so to render the _process_ anything but highly unpleasant, although its
_anticipation_ undoubtedly afforded them great pleasure. In fact, one
or two whiffs of smoke were sufficient to put a man into the nauseated
and giddy condition familiar to every schoolboy when he makes his first
trial of tobacco.

Although the dress of the women is, as I have mentioned, far from
elaborate, they otherwise evinced the usual love of their sex for
articles intended to be ornamental. They commonly wore round their
throats necklaces composed of margarita shells, porpoise teeth, or
fragments of calcareous worm-tubes, strung together. Their faces, as
well as those of the men, were sometimes daubed with black charcoal,
and sometimes with a paste composed of white wood-ashes, but with what
precise object we did not ascertain.

[Illustration: CANOE OF "CHANNEL FUEGIANS" HAULED UP ON BEACH. _To face
p. 50._]

The affection of these savages for their children does not seem to be
of a very stable character; for, by all accounts, they are willing to
part with them for a trifling consideration. A Fuegian boy, christened
Tom Picton, whom we took on board in the Trinidad Channel, quitted his
relations without any manifestation of reluctance; and they, on their
part, were readily conciliated by the gift of a few necklaces and
some biscuit. In Byron's narrative of the loss of the _Wager_, there
is a most interesting account of his wanderings among the natives of
the Gulf of Peñas. He mentions that, on one occasion, a savage was so
exasperated with his son, a child of three years, who had accidentally
dropped into the water a basket containing some sea-eggs (_Echini_),
that he "caught the boy up in his arms, and dashed him with the utmost
violence against the stones," the child dying soon afterwards.

Their hunting appliances are few and simple; the canoe is a rude
structure, but answers its purpose well enough. It is constructed of
five planks, of which one, about 20 ft. by 2-1/2 in width, forms the
bottom, and the other four, each 1-1/2 ft. wide, form the sides. The
bottom plank is turned up at the ends, so as to form a flat bow and
stern of nearly similar shape; and to this, as well as to each other,
the side planks are laced by the long flexible stem of a creeping
plant, which is passed through rude squarish holes, about one inch
in area, which are made in an even row close to the edges of the
planks. The material used for the lacing appeared to be the stem of
the _Campsidium chilense_, a creeper which grows to a great length, is
very abundant, and is remarkable for its exceeding toughness. Caulking
is effected by stuffing the seams with bark, over which a lacing is
carried, and the squarish holes are finally plugged with some vegetable
pulpy matter, of which moss is the chief constituent. Two oars, with
very large broad blades, are used for propelling the boat, and not
paddles, as in the case of the southern Fuegians. A young woman, seated
in the stern sheets, steers very dexterously with a short paddle. Such
rude boats leak, of course, a good deal, and hence require constant
baling out. This office is performed by the _old_ woman of the party,
who, crouching amidships, bales out the water with a bark bucket.

Spears of two kinds are used, one for fishing, the other for sealing.
The one for sealing, which is rather a harpoon than a spear, has
an arrow-shaped bone head, which is movable, and is attached by a
slack line of hide to the spear shaft. The use of the loose line
is probably to facilitate the capture of the seal, into which the
movable arrow-head has been driven by the impetus conveyed through
the detachable shaft. A harpoon similarly constructed is used by the
Eskimo hunters for a like purpose. The fish spear is a formidable
weapon, having a long bone head securely fixed to the shaft, and with
many deep serrations along one side. The shafts of both are about eight
feet long, and are made of the young stems of a coniferous tree, the
_Libocedrus tetragonus_.

Every party that we met with was provided with an iron axe of some
kind. The axes are usually made of bits of scrap iron which have been
picked up from wrecks, or obtained by barter from passing vessels.
Sometimes, though rarely, an axe of civilization pattern is seen.
In other cases the piece of iron, having been ground into a rude
triangular shape, is fitted into a wooden handle, as some of the old
stone celts are supposed to have been; that is to say, the small end of
the axehead is jammed into a hole made near the end of a stout piece of
stick. I may here mention that, in spite of a most diligent search, I
have once, but only once, succeeded in finding a STONE axehead. It was
of very primitive shape--being only in part ground--and was found lying
among the shells of a very old abandoned kitchen-midden.

For holding drinking water they use large cylindrical buckets,
which are made from the bark of the _Drimys winteri_; the single
scroll-shaped piece which forms the cylinder and the disc-shaped bottom
being sewn together with rushes. From this same kind of rush plant,
which they use so frequently for making temporary hitches, they make
three-plaited ropes for mooring the canoes, and also baskets to hold
shell fish. The kind of plait used in fashioning their baskets is a
simple network, which must, however, be tedious to construct, owing to
the necessity for frequently splicing the rushes.

Their huts somewhat resemble small haycocks in general shape, but are
rather oblong, the floor (which is never excavated, as in the case of
some of the southern Fuegians) usually measuring ten by twelve feet;
the height in the centre is six feet, so that one of us could always
stand upright when in the middle of the hut. A skeleton framework is
made of boughs, whose thicker ends are stuck in the ground, while the
terminal twigs are made to interlace, and are moreover secured to each
other by rush lashings. The required amount of shelter is obtained by
placing leafy boughs and dried sealskins over the framework of the hut.
A fire is kept burning in the centre; and when the boat is about to be
used, a few burning sticks are transferred to it, and kept alight on a
clay flooring amidships.

I have never seen their appliances for striking a light, but I have no
doubt they use iron pyrites, with dried moss or down for tinder, as
do the southern Fuegians, from whom I have obtained these appliances.
These materials for obtaining fire are very judiciously guarded, and
are the only articles among the properties of a canoe which are not
submitted for barter. The "Pecheray" Fuegians keep their stock of
tinder in water-tight pouches, made of the dried intestine of the
seal.(?)

Neither stone slings, bows and arrows, nor bolas, are used by the
Channel Fuegians, so that altogether, with respect to hunting
appliances, they are in a more primitive state than any of the southern
tribes.

The remains of the deceased, so far as we have known, are deposited in
caves in out-of-the-way localities. During the voyage of Sarmiento,
towards the latter end of the 16th century, a cave containing human
remains was found in a small island called the "Roca Partida," or cleft
rock; and subsequently, when the shipwrecked crew of the _Wager_, one
of Commodore Anson's ships, were wandering about the Gulf of Peñas,
Mr. Wilson, the surgeon, discovered near the seashore a large cave
which contained the skeletons of several human beings (_vide_ Byron's
narrative of the loss of the _Wager_; Burney's Voyages). During the
surveying cruise of H.M.S. _Nassau_, in 1866-9, a diligent search was
made for such burial places, but without success; but, on the other
hand, no signs were observed of any other method of disposing of the
dead, either by fire, as in the case of some of the southern tribes, or
by covering the bodies with branches of trees, as described by Fitzroy.
However, during our late survey of the Trinidad Channel, we found a
small cave containing portions of two skeletons in a limestone islet,
near Port Rosario, on the north side of Madre de Dios Island; and this
would seem to have been used as a burial-place, at some very remote
period. The remains have been deposited in the British Museum.

It has been stated by the late Admiral Fitzroy, on the authority of
Mr. Low, a sealing captain, that during times of great scarcity of
food, these savages do not scruple to resort to cannibalism, and that
for this purpose they select as victims the old women of the party,
killing them by squeezing their throats, while holding their heads over
the smoke of a green wood fire. Mr. Low's evidence on this point is so
circumstantial, being derived from a native interpreter who served on
board his ship for fourteen months, that it can hardly be doubted.
On this subject I can only add that we noticed a singularly small
proportion of old people, whether male or female, among the parties
of natives with whom we met. This circumstance may support Mr. Low's
opinion, or it may be the natural consequence of the short span of life
which is allotted to these wretched people.

Regarding the treachery of these savages, there can be no doubt. Their
faces alone indicate it, but unfortunately further evidence is not
wanting. We recently met with a small sealing schooner, the _Annita_,
of Sandy Point, the master of which--a Frenchman, named Lamire--gave us
a detailed account of an attack made upon his vessel about two years
ago, when he was "sealing" at the north end of Picton Channel. He lay
at anchor one night in fancied security, when he was surprised by a
large party of natives who came alongside in seven canoes. A dreadful
struggle ensued, in which his crew defended themselves with their
guns against the axes, spears, sticks, and stones, of their savage
assailants. The natives were eventually driven off, but not before five
of the sealers had lost their lives. The sealers are now well aware of
the anxiety of the natives to gain possession of their vessels, and
consequently put no trust in their overtures of friendship. A white man
is feared only so long as his party is known to be the strongest.

Fitzroy has described six tribes of Fuegians who speak different
dialects, and also differ somewhat in their habits. These are (1) the
Yacanas, or inhabitants of the north portion of King Charles's South
Land; (2) the Tekeenicas, who live in south-eastern Fuegia; (3) the
Alikhoolips, who inhabit the South-Western Islands; (4) the Pecherays,
a small tribe of savages who hover about the middle and western part of
the Straits of Magellan; (5) the Huemuls, so called from the Chilian
name of a deer which has been found about Skyring Water and Obstruction
Sound, the head-quarters of this tribe; and (6) the Fuegians who
inhabit the shores and islands of western Patagonia, between the
parallels of 47° and 52°, and whom Fitzroy denominates the Chonos or
Channel Fuegians. In Fitzroy's account of the Fuegians, he naturally
selected as his type the people with whom he was best acquainted, viz.,
the Tekeenicas, who inhabit the shores of the Beagle Channel. These
people build conical wigwams, which are made of large poles leaning to
from a circular base, with their upper ends meeting in a point. Their
canoes are built of bark, and are small and skiff-shaped. They also use
bows and arrows, and stone slings, and in this respect are considerably
in advance of the Channel Fuegians.

In their methods of disposing of the dead, the Fuegian tribes differ
somewhat strangely. Fitzroy tells us that among the Tekeenicas,
Alikhoolips, and Pecherays, the bodies of the dead are carried a
long way into the interior of the forest, where they are placed upon
broken timber, and then covered up with branches. On this subject
some information has recently been obtained from the missionaries,
who have now for some years maintained a settlement at a place called
Ushuwia, in the Beagle Channel. We heard, on the authority of these
gentlemen, that a form of cremation is now commonly practised among the
Tekeenicas, and that charred human bones may often be found among the
embers of the funeral pyre. The Fuegians of the Western Channels, as I
have mentioned already, deposit their dead in caves.

To continue with Tom Bay. The month of January is here the breeding
season with most of the water birds. About the middle of the month the
steamer-ducks (_Tachyeres cinereus_) and the kelp geese (_Bernicla
antarctica_) were paddling about with their young ones; and the
oyster-catchers (_Hæmatopus leucopus_, and _ater_), with their young
broods, occupied the small low rocky islets, where they made themselves
conspicuous by their shrill piping cry. We remarked that the kelp
geese, which, as a rule, never wet their feet, except with the damp
seaweed of the foreshore, take to the water as soon as the young are
hatched, being probably induced to do so in order the better to protect
their goslings from the hawks and rats. The male and female adult
birds differ remarkably in plumage; that of the female being almost
black, with a few white dots and dashes, whereas the feathers of the
male are perfectly white. The sombre colour of the female is probably
intended as a protection during the hatching time, when she remains
almost continuously on the eggs, while the gander does sentry in some
conspicuous position adjacent. Whenever at this time of the year a
solitary gander is seen standing on a projecting point or headland,
it may safely be inferred that his faithful consort is on her nest
somewhere within sixty yards. Even under these circumstances it is by
no means an easy matter to find the nest; for the black plumage of the
female assimilates with the dark wind-blown seaweed and rank grass in
which her nest is made, and she lies so close that she will not stir
until almost walked on. While the birds are immature (_i.e._, less than
one year old) the sexes are scarcely distinguishable, the plumage of
both male and female being an almost equal mixture of white and black
colours.

The ashy-headed Brent goose (_Chloephaga poliocephala_), remarkable for
the splendid chestnut colour of its breast, is the only other goose
met with in these western channels. The common Magellan and Falkland
Islands goose (_C. magellanica_) does not, as a rule, extend its range
to the damp western regions.

About the islets adjacent to the Tom Bay anchorage were great numbers
of abandoned huts, and at some the size of the shell mounds and the
compactness of the bottom layers indicated considerable antiquity.
These mounds are principally composed of mussel and limpet shells, the
latter predominating; and among the interstices were great numbers of
insects and worms. There was one very old grass-covered mound near
our anchorage, of which we made a thorough examination by digging
cross-section trenches. Besides the usual shells, there were a few
seal bones and sterna of birds, and at a depth of four feet from the
surface we found a partly disintegrated bone spear-head, which was
different in shape from any which we saw among the natives either
before or subsequently. Instead of being rounded, it was flattened from
side to side, like a very large arrow-head. In most of the other shell
heaps which we examined, bones of the nutria (_Myopotamus coypu_) and
of the otter (_Lutra felina_) were observed.

To the westward of our anchorage (_i.e._, in the large island of Madre
de Dios) was a long narrow inlet, partly overhung with trees, which
communicated by a shallow bar with a brackish lagoon of about thirty
acres in extent. At low water there was only about three feet of water
on the bar, and we could then see that the bottom was covered with huge
white sessile barnacles (the "picos" of the Chilians), growing closely
together. During the ebb and flood tides the current ran fiercely
over this bar, so as to render it an exceedingly difficult matter to
pull through the channel when the tide was adverse. This lagoon was a
favourite haunt of the Magellan sea otter (_Lutra felina_), which is
abundant in all these waters, but is very difficult to kill without
the aid of dogs. Its "runs" are generally strewn with the shells of a
large spiny crab (the _Lithodes antarctica_), which appears to form
its principal food. I have seen an otter rise to the surface with
one of these hideous crabs in its mouth, as unpalatable a morsel,
one would think--for it is armed all over with strong spines--as a
"knuckleduster." In the _Alert_, the great feat of sportsmanship was to
shoot and bag an otter; for if the animal be not struck in the head,
and killed outright at the first shot, it is almost certain to make a
long dive, crawl up the beach in the shade of the overhanging bushes,
and escape.

When exploring in a small boat the winding shores of this lagoon,
we one day came upon a little sequestered cove, where there was a
luxuriant growth of _Desfontainea_ bushes, and on landing on the
shingly beach we saw, by the way in which the larger stones had
been moved aside, that the place had been used by the natives for
hauling up their canoes. On walking through the long rank grass, which
encroached on the beach, we tripped over some logs which seemed to have
been arranged artificially, and we then discovered that we were at the
extremity of a "portage," intended for conveying boats overland. On
tracing it up, we found a sort of causeway leading into the forest; and
after following it for about three hundred yards, we ascertained that
we had crossed a narrow isthmus, of whose existence we were previously
unaware, and had reached the shore of an arm of the sea (probably
Delgado Bay), which communicates with the Trinidad Channel not many
miles to the eastward of Port Henry. It was evident that by means
of this "portage" the natives were able to proceed from Concepcion
Channel, _viâ_ Tom Bay, towards the outer coasts, without undertaking
the much longer and more hazardous journey through the main channels
round Point Brazo. The logs forming the "portage" were partly imbedded
in the ground, and were arranged parallel to each other, like the
sleepers of a railway, and at a distance of about two feet apart. There
was, however, no appearance of the natives having recently visited the
place. We had reason to believe that these "portages" were of frequent
occurrence, and were largely used by the natives, and that it was
owing to the facilities thus afforded them for crossing isthmuses and
the necks of promontories that they were enabled to surprise sailing
vessels at anchor, approaching them unobserved from the land-locked
side of bays and inlets at a time when the attention of the sailors
on "look-out" was naturally only directed towards the entrance of
the harbour which had previously seemed to them to be untenanted.
The "portages" are so concealed by a luxuriant growth of grass and
brushwood that they readily escape observation.

The brackish lagoons, which are fed continuously by fresh-water
streams, and receive an influx of sea-water while the flood tide is
making, are a peculiar feature of this Patagonian archipelago, and
we usually found that the outlets were excellent places for catching
fish. Our fishing parties were in the habit of placing a "trammel" net
across the outlet while the tide was ebbing, and in this way entrapped
great quantities of mullet and mackerel; sometimes upwards of eighty,
ranging in weight from two to eleven pounds per fish, being taken at
one haul.

I collected some green flocculent matter from the surface of one of
these lagoons, and found it to consist almost entirely of diatoms.

One fine day in April we noticed a great concourse of gulls and
shags, attracted by a shoal of fish, in the pursuit of which they
ventured unusually close to the ship. This gave us an opportunity of
observing that the common brown gull of the channels, the female of
_L. dominicanus_, behaves towards the male bird in many respects like
a skua. No sooner would one of the "black-backed" (male) birds capture
a fish, and rise from the surface, than he would be attacked by one of
the brown birds, and chased vigorously about the harbour; the predatory
bird not desisting from the pursuit until the coveted prize had been
dropped by its rightful owner. This I noticed on more occasions than
one. As a rule, however, the female was content to fish for herself.
Several Dominican gulls in immature plumage were seen amongst the
crowd, and were easily distinguished from the adults by the mottled
brown plumage, and by the colour of the mandibles being green instead
of orange, as in the males, and black as in the females. Now and then
the whole flock of gulls and shags would rise on the wing, as they
lost the run of the shoal of fish. They would then be directed to the
new position of the shoal by the success of some straggling bird, when
a general rush would be made to the new hunting ground. It was most
amusing to witness the widely different fishing powers of the shags
and gulls, and the consequently unequal competition in the struggle
for food. The shag in flight, on observing a fish beneath him, at once
checks himself by presenting the concave side of his wings to the
direction in which he has been moving, and then, flapping legs foremost
into the water, turns and dives; whereas the gull has first to
settle himself carefully as he alights on the water, and has then to
trust to the chance of some unsophisticated fish coming within reach of
his bill. It was impossible to avoid noticing the mortified appearance
of the poor gulls as they looked eagerly about, but yet caught only
an odd fish, whilst their comrades, the shags, were enjoying abundant
sport.

[Illustration: FUEGIAN "PORTAGE" FOR TRANSPORTING CANOES OVERLAND. _To
face p. 60._]

It is odd that the silly gull manages at all to survive in the struggle
for existence. Here is another instance of his incapacity. A piece of
meat, weighing a few ounces, drifted astern of the ship one day, and
for its possession a struggle took place between a dominican gull and
a brown hawk. The gull had picked up the meat, and was flying away
with it in his bill, when he was pursued by the hawk--a much smaller
bird--who made him drop it. Again the gull picked it up, and for a
second time was compelled by the hawk to relinquish it. The latter now
swooped down upon the tempting morsel, as it floated on the water, and
seizing it with his claws, flew off rapidly into an adjoining thicket,
to the edge of which he was followed by the disappointed gull.

Steamer-ducks (_Tachyeres cinereus_) are very abundant at Tom Bay, as
indeed they are throughout all the western channels. Their English
name, "steamer-duck," has reference to their habit of moving rapidly
along the surface of the water by means of a paddling motion of the
wings, and leaving a wake of foam which resembles, on a small scale,
that of a paddle-steamer. A great deal has been written about these
remarkable birds, and I shall not therefore attempt any general
description, which at the best would only involve useless repetition.
There are a few remarks about them, however, which I should like
to make. Although aware of the careful investigations made by Dr.
Cunningham in 1866-9, and his conclusion as to their being but one
species, I have yet some reason to believe that the fliers and the
non-flying birds which I have seen belong to two distinct species,
and my impression is--though I am by no means sure--that the volant
species frequents the fresh waters in the interior of Patagonia, and in
the western channels is only represented by an odd straggler. Mr. Cox,
of Talcahuano, who has travelled in Araucania and central Patagonia,
mentions in his narrative, that in the fresh-water lakes of the latter
district there are two different species of steamer-ducks, one of
which possesses the power of flight. Immature specimens, although
differing in the colour of the bill, and somewhat in plumage, from
the adult birds, need not be confounded with a second species. The
largest steamer-duck which I have come across weighed only 14 lbs., and
although text books assign a much greater weight as the extreme limit,
I think I am right in saying that few heavier birds are met with either
in the Straits of Magellan or in the western channels. The female forms
a low, oval-shaped nest of twigs, lined with a thick coating of down,
and deposits therein six large cream-coloured eggs, 3-3/8 in. long, by
2-1/4 in. width. The nest is usually placed on the ground, at the foot
of an old tree, some few yards from the beach, but in a place where the
bush is almost impenetrable to a human being.

Land-shells must be exceedingly scarce. I met with representatives
of only four species, of which one, a specimen of _Helix_, I found
on the frond of a _Hymenophyllum_ at Tom Bay. Two others of the same
genus were taken from the rotten trunk of a tree in the same locality.
At Port Henry, in the Trinidad Channel, and other parts in the
neighbourhood, I collected several specimens of a species of _Succinea_
which clings to dead leaves and decayed pieces of driftwood lying on
the shore just above high-water mark. These four species of shells have
since been described by Mr. Edgar Smith, of the British Museum, as new
to science. In a fresh-water lake, where I made some casts of a light
dredge, I obtained from the bottom of stinking mud several examples of
a large _Unio_ shell, and some small shells of the genus _Chilinia_. I
afterwards found species of _Unio_ in a stream issuing from the lake.
North of the English Narrows many pond snails of the genus _Chilinia_
were also found abundantly in the stream beds.

I have found only two species of fresh-water fish, _Aplochiton zebra_,
and a small _Galaxias_; and they inhabit most of the upland lakes which
are of any considerable extent. The former is a smooth-skinned fish,
with the general shape and fin arrangement of a grayling, but with a
dark scaleless skin. It averages half a pound in weight, ranging up
to three-quarters; and although it rose like a trout, we could not
succeed in making it take the artificial fly, but caught it readily
with worm-bait. These fish were also met with in mountain lakes far
removed from the sea, whither their ova were probably, in the first
instance, conveyed by cormorants. On one occasion Sir George Nares
caught a specimen of this fish in a brackish lagoon, which communicated
with the sea at high tide, so that it may have been derived from a
marine progenitor which possessed the power of adapting itself to a
fresh-water existence.

In the course of our survey of Concepcion Strait, we stopped for six
days, in the month of March, at Portland Bay, an anchorage on the east
side of the strait, and nearly opposite to Tom Bay. On the forenoon of
our third day, a party of natives pulled in from the westward, with
their canoe well-provisioned with shell-fish, as if they were about
making a long voyage. There were three men, four women, three children,
and four dogs. They were provided with a good iron axe, bone-pointed
spears, a boat-rope made of plaited rushes, and other rude implements.
It was evident that this party had previously met with some friendly
vessel, for they readily came on board, and poked about the ship. Two
of us went on a visit to their camp on the following day, but were
received very ungraciously by a villainous-looking old hag armed with a
club, who deprecated any attempt at landing on our part. We could only
examine the canoe, which we found to be twenty-two feet long, four feet
in beam amidships, and in other respects of the usual construction. On
the next day we pulled over again, but only to find the hut deserted,
and the party gone. We inferred, from various circumstances connected
with their disappearance, that they must have penetrated up the Bay to
the eastward, where there are unexplored channels which are supposed to
extend towards the base of the Cordillera.

On the next day (March 24), a strong westerly breeze, with occasional
rain-squalls, induced most of us to remain on board, and we were
not a little surprised when, about 10 a.m., a boat under sail was
reported standing across the Strait towards our anchorage. On nearer
approach it turned out to be a native canoe, with a large sealskin
hoisted in the forepart of the boat, so as to form a sort of square
sail. As the natives came alongside to beg for biscuit and tobacco, we
found that the wretched-looking boat contained three men, five women,
eleven children (mostly very young), and five dogs. They had shipped
a good deal of water on the passage, as might be expected, and all
the wretched creatures looked as wet as fishes; indeed, to say that
they were wet to the skin would be simply a truism in the case of the
Fuegians. We had not previously noticed so prolific a family, the
proportion of children being usually one for each woman. I use the word
"family," because each of these canoe parties appears to constitute
a sort of complicated family. One young mother did not appear to be
more than sixteen years of age. I now inclined to the opinion, which
subsequent experience gave me no reason to alter, that the Channel
Fuegians are a migratory tribe, passing the summer months about the
outer islands, where at that time of the year they may get seals, and
the eggs and young of sea-birds, and in the autumn migrating up some
of the fiords of the mainland, when the deer, driven down the hills
by the winter snows, would be within their reach. There is no doubt
that deer (probably the _Cervus chilensis_) have been seen from time
to time on this coast. A few years ago the officers of one of the
German steamers of the "Kosmos" line, stopping at Puerto Bueno about
mid-winter, captured three or four in the immediate vicinity of the
anchorage. We ourselves never met with any, although we saw doubtful
indications of their presence; but further south we obtained portions
of a deer from a native canoe. I was led to form the above-mentioned
idea from comparing the great number of deserted wigwams which we
encountered in our wanderings about these channels, with the small
number of natives actually seen. The huts alluded to, moreover, bore
indications of having been in use not many months previously, when they
were probably inhabited temporarily by parties of natives on their way
to the outer coasts. Fitzroy would seem to have entertained the same
belief with reference to tribes about Smyth's Channel, from the fact
that a party of men from his ship, when surveying Obstruction Sound in
the _summer-time_, discovered a large deserted encampment containing
many huts and canoes, and showing signs of its being the site of a
great periodical gathering of the clans.

[Illustration: FUEGIANS OFFERING THEIR CHILDREN FOR BARTER (_p. 74_).]



CHAPTER III.

_EXPLORATIONS IN THE TRINIDAD CHANNEL._


In prosecuting the survey of the Trinidad Channel, we anchored, for
short periods each time, at a great many ports on its northern and
southern shores; and in crossing and re-crossing the channel we ran
lines of soundings which enabled us to ascertain roughly the general
conformation of its bed. Across the seaward entrance of the channel,
_i.e._, from Cape Gamboa on the north to Port Henry on the south, the
soundings gave a mean depth of thirty fathoms, showing the existence
of a sort of bar, while one mile inside of this the depth increased
to two and three hundred fathoms. This was just as we expected; the
bar across the entrance representing the terminal moraine of the huge
glacier which originally gouged out the channel, and whose denuding
action is abundantly recorded in the scorings, planings, and striations
so palpable on all the hard rocks of these inhospitable shores.

At Port Henry, on the southern side of the entrance to the channel, we
anchored several times. The scenery here is very grand. A clay-slate
rock enters largely into the formation of the hills, its highly
inclined strata forming jagged peaks and ridges of great height; while
the low-lying rock about the coast is a friable syenite traversed with
dikes of greenstone. Immediately to the south of our anchorage was a
lofty ridge of clay-slate hills, terminating above in a multitude of
vertical columns of rock, which from our position on board reminded us
of a cluster of organ pipes, and suggested the name which now appears
on the chart, of the "Organ-pipe Range." The aspect of the vegetation
is also different from that of other ports in these waters, owing
to the abundance of a veronica (_V. decussata_), which forms large
glossy-green bushes, covered with a profusion of snow-white flowers,
and so varies the otherwise monotonously green appearance of the beech
forest.

Only one party of natives was here seen. They at first approached us
very stealthily, paddling between the small islands off the eastern
entrance of the harbour, and after the usual interchange of signals
(waving of green boughs and caps), they came alongside. The boat was
similar in construction and size to those already examined at Tom Bay
and elsewhere; but we were now greatly struck at perceiving what a
load it could accommodate; for there were in it sixteen natives and
six dogs, besides provisions, weapons, and camp furniture. The party
consisted of three men, five women, and eight children; and although
they pulled only three oars (the women never taking part in this work),
yet they managed to get along at a fair pace. On their arrival they
were partially clad in seal skins; but in their eagerness to barter
with our seamen, for knives, tobacco, and such treasures, they soon
divested themselves of all artificial garb, and appeared in a state
of nature. It was noticed that the males, who conducted the barter,
compelled the women to give up their scanty covering. In the way
of provisions, the boat contained a supply of large trumpet shells
(_Concholepas_) in rush baskets, and the drinking water was carried
in little bark buckets. They encamped near us for the night, but
disappeared unaccountably the next day.

On our exploring the islets just mentioned, we found a large deserted
encampment, in which we counted the remains of nine native huts. The
refuse-heaps contained a good many seal and whale bones, besides
echinoderms, limpet and trumpet shells, the latter shell here taking
the place of the mussel. The trumpet shell (_Concholepas_) is found
about the entrance of the Trinidad Channel, inhabiting rocky places
immediately below low-water mark on the weather (_i.e._, the west) side
of islets which are exposed to the heavy wash of the outer ocean. I
have not seen the shell south of this latitude. The brown duck (_Anas
cristata_) was here tolerably abundant, and with the ashy-headed Brent
goose, and the two species of oyster-catcher, were in great request
with our sportsmen, being the only edible birds worth mentioning in the
western channels.

From Port Henry we shifted our base of operations to Wolsey Sound,
the next inlet to the eastward. Here we anchored in an apparently
well-sheltered cove, surrounded by lofty hills, but which we soon found
to our cost to be a sort of aerial maelstrom. A strong westerly gale
was blowing over the hill-tops, as we could see by the fast-flying
clouds; while below at the anchorage we experienced a succession of
fierce squalls (williwaws) from various quarters, with intervals of
complete calm; so that the ship kept swinging to and fro, and circling
round her anchors in a most erratic manner. Eventually one of the
cables parted; but with the other, aided by steam, we managed to
ride out the gale, and to thoroughly satisfy ourselves that Wolsey
Sound was not one of the anchorages to be recommended to passing
vessels. From the translation given in "Burney's Voyages," (vol. ii.,
p. 10), of the journal of Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, who discovered
the Trinidad Channel in the year 1580, it would appear that this is
the same anchorage which his sailors named "Cache Diablo" (devil's
box-on-the-ear), from the boisterous nature of the reception which they
experienced.

On the east side of Wolsey Sound the rock of the mountain masses is
for the most part a hard grey unfossiliferous limestone, irregularly
stratified, but sometimes showing a dip of 10° or 15° to the westward.
The most striking peculiarity of this rock consists in its solubility
under the influence of both fresh and salt water, and it is this
property that so often causes it to present a jagged honeycombed
appearance. I noticed that in many places fresh-water streams,
running over bare patches of this rock, had eaten away narrow gutter
channels, and that in other places where a broad sheet of water flowed
slowly--as from a turf bank--over a long gently-sloping table of
rock, an incrustation of hard calcareous matter had been deposited,
presenting a sort of "ripple-marked" appearance, and reminding one of
the effect produced when a film of slowly-moving water is submitted
to the influence of intense cold. When viewed from a distance, the
limestone hills presented a whitish bleached appearance, which
contrasted strangely with the sombre hues of the other greenstone
and syenite hills. Of this description was "Silvertop," a lofty and
conspicuous mountain on the south side of the Trinidad Channel, which
was frequently used by our surveyors as a landmark.

The next port to the eastward is Rosario Bay. It was named by Sarmiento
"Puerto de Nuestra Señora del Rosario." The rock formation here is
limestone, and of the kind above mentioned, but the effects of frequent
rain in washing away the more soluble parts of the rock were not only
manifested by the honeycombed appearance of exposed surfaces, but also
by the prevalence of caves of most irregular shape. Soon after we had
anchored, Sub-Lieutenant Beresford and I, who had gone away in the
skiff, were paddling around an islet with lofty and precipitous sides,
when we noticed in the face of a bare rocky cliff a suspicious-looking
dark opening, partly blocked up with stones, and situated about
thirty feet above the sea level. We ran the boat alongside the rocks,
and Beresford kept her from bumping while I climbed up the cliff to
reconnoitre. On clearing away a heap of stones and rubbish, I laid
bare a sort of niche in the rock, in which were portions of a human
skeleton, the long bones lying together in a compact bundle, as if they
had been so placed there when in the dried state. Not many yards from
this crevice we soon discovered a small cave in the rock, and partly
imbedded in the soil which formed its floor were a human jaw-bone and
fragments of smaller bones. On excavating the floor of the cave we
found it to consist of a stiff pasty greyish-white marl-clay, abounding
in small shells, amongst which were species of the genera _Patella_,
_Fissurella_, _Chiton_, and _Calyptræa_. On reaching a depth of about
one foot, we came upon a nearly complete human skull of immature age,
an otter skull with bones of the same, and the tooth of an _Echinus_.
The human bones obtained were part of the skeletons of two individuals,
one of whom must have been young, for the epiphyses of the long bones
were not quite cemented to the shafts. I noticed that the skull
presented a completely ossified frontal suture, although, from the
nature of the teeth and alveoli, the person to whom it belonged could
not have lived for more than twelve years or thereabouts. A tibia
found in the first depôt bore marks of having been chopped by some
sharp cutting instrument. From the fact of these bones being found
interbedded with marine deposits, coupled with what we know of these
islands having been elevated within recent times--I here refer to the
evidence afforded by raised beaches and old high-water marks in the
faces of cliffs--there is reason to believe that these bones were
deposited in the cave at a time when it was under water, that they
thus became surrounded by and imbedded in an ordinary marine shallow
water deposit, and that eventually, on the island being elevated
so as to raise the cave to its present position--thirty feet above
sea level--the surface deposit was reinforced by the percolation of
lime-charged water from the rock above, thus resulting in the formation
of the marl-clay surface-layer above mentioned.

We made different attempts at dredging, but as the bottom was
everywhere very rocky and the dredge in consequence continually getting
foul, we were not successful in obtaining many objects of interest.
However, among them there were specimens of a hydroid stony coral
representing two species of the genus _Labiopora_--one of which Mr.
Stuart Ridley of the British Museum has ascertained to be a species new
to science--and a fine orange-coloured _Astrophyton_ of a new species,
recently described by Mr. F. J. Bell as _A. lymani_.

On the north side of the Trinidad Channel we stopped for a time at
an anchorage near Cape Gamboa, which forms the north headland of the
entrance. At Cape Gamboa the rock is a clay-slate showing distinct
stratification, containing concretions of a whitish sandstone, and
dipping to the N.E. at an angle of about 45°. To the eastward of Cape
Gamboa is a limestone similar to that of the south shore. We did some
dredging here on a smooth sandy bottom, the principal results of which
were specimens of the _Chimæra_ (_Callorhynchus australis_), and
some curious Isopod Crustaceans of the genus _Serolis_. Another day
(March 28th) when sounding across the entrance of the Channel, we made
a heave of the trawl in thirty fathoms with most fruitful results,
obtaining a magnificent specimen of the orange-coloured _Astrophyton_
(_A. lymani_), several small rays and flat fish, large _Actinia_, a
new Crustacean of the genus _Arcturus_, starfishes, and a Cephalopod
Mollusc of the genus _Rossia_. On the evening of this day we were
fortunate enough to witness a most beautiful sunset effect. As the sun
disappeared from a western olive-tinted sky it seemed to be followed in
its descent by several horizontal bands of delicate rose-tinted stratus
clouds, which extended themselves in parallel lines over an arc of 45°,
and finally tapered away into the most delicate threads of silvery
light. In the east the dark purple-tinted clouds melted upwards into
the grey gloom of approaching night, and foreshadowed to us the advent
of another day of sunshine in this the only really fine and summer
month in these western channels.

At the head of Francisco Bay--which was the name subsequently given to
this anchorage--at the outlet of a small river, we one day made a very
large "take" of fish in a somewhat singular manner. A trammel net had
been placed across the mouth of the stream at high tide, and on the
tide falling had been examined and found to contain a fair number of
fish (mackerel). Some hours later two of our people were wading up the
river, and on coming to a depression in its bed, which was at about
the limit to which the tidal salt-water reached, they found an immense
collection of half-dead and living mackerel in a pool, in which--the
tide being then rather low--the water was almost entirely fresh. Here
they caught, with their hands, fish enough to fill a boat, amounting to
a gross weight of 4 cwt. The probable explanation of this lucky "take"
seems to be that the fish entered the mouth of the river with the flood
tide--as is their wont--and on attempting to retreat with the ebb found
their return to the sea barred by our net, and instead of endeavouring
to pass through the meshes preferred to move back into the brackish
water of the river. Here, as the tide fell still further and laid
bare banks of sand stretching across the stream, they became shut off
altogether from the sea, and at dead low tide the flow of fresh water
so predominated over the salt as to render them helplessly stupid, so
that they fell an easy prey to our sailors.

On the shores of this bay I came across a magnificent Winter's bark
tree, the largest which I have ever seen in the channels. Its smooth
and almost cylindrical stem was nine feet in circumference, and ran up
without branching to a height of thirty feet from the ground.

In cruising to and fro about the channel we frequently came across
whales. They were usually either "finners" or "sperms"; more commonly
the former. I saw only one "right" whale during the many months
which we spent in these waters. On the 17th of February we steamed
by a school of about twenty "finner" whales, and shortly after we
passed through a shoal of small red shrimps (_Galatheas_), which were
so densely clustered together as to give the water quite a scarlet
appearance. This accounted for the great gathering of Cetaceans.
Skeletons of whales in a very imperfect state were abundant about the
shores of this channel, and many were of large size. On the shore
of Francisco Bay I saw lower jaw bones which measured eleven feet
from condyle to symphysis. I looked, but in vain, for remains of the
Ziphioid Whales.

Some few miles to the eastward of Francisco Bay a deep inlet pierced
Wellington Island in a northerly direction. We were anxious to explore
it, as we thought it not unlikely that it might prove to be a navigable
passage, connecting Trinidad Channel with the Gulf of Peñas. At
length an opportunity occurred, and on a fine morning in the month of
March we steamed into this unsurveyed inlet. On fairly passing the
southern entrance, we found ourselves traversing a lane of water of
such glassy smoothness, and bordered by such straight running shores,
which were not more than half-a-mile apart, as to seem more like an
inland canal than (which it eventually proved to be) a strait leading
through a nest of breakers to an inhospitable ocean. Its eastern shore
exhibited the kind of scenery prevailing about the Guia Narrows; viz.,
round-topped hills with great bare patches of rain-worn rock extending
from the summits to a talus, which was covered with an uniform mantle
of evergreen forest, the latter encroaching upon the sea-beach. But
the country to the west presented a more pleasing variety, being
composed of low undulating slopes of grassy-looking land, with here
and there fissures or landslips exhibiting what seemed to us, as we
scrutinized them with our glasses, to be sections of a sedimentary
formation. We had hitherto seen nothing like this anywhere among the
western channels, and consequently I for one was extremely anxious to
land. However, the captain had to make the most of daylight for the
surveying work in hand, so that our conjectures as to the nature of
this formation remained unverified. When we had attained a distance of
twenty-five miles from the southern entrance of the Strait, the western
shore was found to be broken up into a chain of low islets, which in
time dwindled away into a great arc of submerged rocks, over which the
swell of the broad Pacific broke with great fury. This then was the
end of what is now known as the Picton Channel, and bold would be the
mariner who would attempt to traverse it, and thread his way through
such a maze of reefs and breakers. Among the islets at this, its
northern extremity, we found an anchorage, where we decided on stopping
for the night. As we cast anchor, a native boat approached, carrying no
less than twenty-three inmates, most of whom were males, and of a most
savage and treacherous appearance. They had with them several young fur
seals, recently killed, which they were glad to barter for tobacco or
biscuit. After stopping alongside for about half-an-hour, they paddled
away and were seen no more. On the following day we steamed back.

The rocky shores and islets of the Trinidad Channel bear abundant
indications of old ice action. These marks are not very apparent on
the coarse-grained friable syenite which is the common rock of the
district, but on the dikes of hard greenstone, with which the syenite
is frequently intersected, scorings and striations of typical character
may be seen. Close to the anchorage in Port Charrua, on the north side
of the channel, there is a broad band of greenstone on which I observed
very perfect examples of "crosshatchings," where the prevailing east
to west striæ were intersected by those of another system at an angle
of about 40°. These rock erosions, coupled with what we know from the
sounding-lead as to the contour of the sea-bottom, lead us to infer
that the Trinidad Channel was at some remote period the bed of a huge
glacier, which flowed westward from the Cordillera. That most, indeed,
of the other straits and channels of Western Patagonia were also at one
time occupied by glaciers is clearly testified by the markings on the
rocks.

There is a peculiar form of syenite rock not uncommon in exposed
situations on the hill-tops, which is composed of quartz, felspar,
and hornblende, the quartz occurring in crystals of about the size
of large peas. The felspar, being of a very friable nature, rapidly
succumbs to the disintegrating influence of the weather, and crumbles
away, taking with it the small particles of hornblende, so that the big
quartz crystals, when in the last stage prior to being dislodged, are
seen standing out in bold relief from the matrix. When this rock is
seen projecting in round bosses, through the turfy soil of a hilltop,
it looks at a short distance as if strewn with hailstones; and the
illusion is heightened on observing on its leeward side heaps of loose
quartz crystals, which have been completely weathered out from the
parent rock, and have been drifted by the wind into this comparatively
sheltered situation, as would be the case with hailstones under similar
circumstances.

But the most characteristic feature in the scenery of the western
shores of Patagonia is owing to the phenomenon of "soil motion," an
occurrence which is here in a great measure due to the exceptionally
wet nature of the climate. This slippage of the soilcap seems in this
region to be continually taking place wherever the basement rock
presents a moderately inclined surface. Some of the effects of this
"soil motion" are apt to be confounded with those due to glacial
action, for the soilcap takes with it in its downward progress not only
its clothing of trees, ferns, and mosses, but also a "moraine profonde"
of rock, stones, and stems of dead trees great and small, whereby the
hills are being denuded, and the valleys, lakes, and channels gradually
filled up. When we first entered the Western Channels my attention was
at once directed to this subject on noticing that the lower branches
of trees growing in immediate proximity to the seashore were in many
places withering from immersion in the salt water, and that in some
cases entire trees had perished prematurely, from their roots having
become entirely submerged. On looking more closely into the matter,
I noticed that sodden snags of dead trees, mingled with stones,
were often to be seen on the bottom of the inshore waters, and that
the beds of fresh-water lakes were plentifully strewn with similar
fragments of wood, the remains of bygone forests which had perished
prematurely. These circumstances are fully explained by the occurrence
of soil motion, for as the soilcap by its sliding motion, imparted
by gravitation, and aided by expansion and contraction of the spongy
mass, reaches the water's edge, the soluble portions are removed, while
its more durable contents are left to accumulate at the foot of the
incline. In this way rocks and stones may sometimes be seen balanced
in odd situations near the sea beach, simulating the "roches perchées"
which are dropped by a melting iceberg or a receding glacier. These
circumstances are all the more interesting from their occurring in a
region where the effects of old and recent glacial action are exhibited
to a marked degree. Planings, scorings, striations, and "roches
moutonnées" may, one or other, be almost invariably found wherever the
rock is sufficiently impervious to the disintegrating action of the
weather to retain these impressions. Thus they are nowhere to be seen
on the coarse-grained friable syenite, which is the common rock of
the district; but where this rock is intersected by dikes of the more
durable greenstone, the above-mentioned signs of former glacial action
may be seen well developed. I speak now of old glacial action, because
we have not found any glacier existing in the neighbourhood of the
Trinidad Channel, from whence they seem to have entirely receded; but
they are yet to be seen in the fiords of the mainland further north;
and in the main Straits of Magellan we had opportunities of studying
fine examples of complete and incomplete glaciers, exhibiting in all
its grandeur that wonderful denuding power which these ponderous masses
of ice exercise as they move silently over their rocky beds. There
are, therefore, in this region, ample opportunities of comparing and
differentiating phenomena, which have resulted from former glacial
action, and those which are due to soil motion--a force now in
operation.

Sir Wyville Thompson (_vide_ "Voyage of Challenger," vol. ii., p. 245)
attributes the origin of the celebrated "Stone Runs" of the Falkland
Islands to the transporting action of the soilcap, which among other
causes derives its motion from alternate expansion and contraction
of the spongy mass of peat, due to varying conditions of moisture
and comparative dryness; and this hypothesis is to a certain extent
supported by the occurrences which I now endeavour to describe. Here,
in Western Patagonia, an evergreen arboreal forest, rising through a
dense undergrowth of brushwood and mosses, clothes the hillsides to
a height of about 1,000 feet, and this mass of vegetation, with its
subjacent peaty, swampy soil, resting--as it frequently does--upon
a hillside already planed by old ice action, naturally tends, under
the influence of gravitation, combined with that of expansion and
contraction of the soil, to slide gradually downwards until it meets
the sea, lake, or valley, as the case may be. In the two former cases
the free edge of the mass is removed by the action of the water, in a
manner somewhat analogous to the wasting of the submerged snout of a
"complete glacier" in the summer time; whereas in the last instance a
chaotic accumulation of all the constituents of the transported mass
gradually takes place, thereby tending to an eventual obliteration of
the valley. It appears to me that the conditions which are said to have
resulted in the formation of the "Stone Runs" of the Falklands here
exist in equal if not greater force. There is a thick spongy vegetable
mass covering the hillsides, and acted on by varying conditions of
extreme moisture and comparative dryness; there are the loose blocks
of disintegrating syenite to be transported; and there are mountain
torrents, lakes, and sea-channels to remove the soil. That motion
of the soilcap does actually take place we have at least strong
presumptive evidence; but anything resembling a "stone run" remains
yet to be discovered. It would naturally suggest itself to the reader
that the above phenomenon attributed to soil motion might be accounted
for by a slow and gradual depression of the land, and I have carefully
sought for evidence favouring this view, but have found no reliable
sign whatever of subsidence; while on the other hand one sees raised
beaches and stones testifying to the ravages of stone-boring molluscs
at heights above the present high-water marks, which indicate that even
elevation of the land has taken place.

On May 6th, the winter season having then fairly set in, we bade adieu
for a while to our surveying ground, and commenced our northern voyage
to Valparaiso. Our course lay first through the sheltered channels
which separate Wellington Island from the mainland. As we rounded
Topar Island and entered Wide Channel, the heavy mist which had been
hanging around us all the morning, almost concealing the land from
sight, lifted at intervals like a veil, and exposed to view the noble
cliffs of bare greenstone rock which hemmed us in on either side,--here
and there streaked down their faces by long slender cascades of
water, extending from summit to base, and seeming to hang over us
like glistening threads of silver. On passing the southern outlet of
Icy Reach, we saw shining in the distance the sloping tongue-shaped
extremity of one of the Eyre Sound glaciers, whose bergs float out
through Icy Reach in the winter time and sometimes prove a serious
obstruction to navigation in these gloomy and mysterious channels. In
Chasm Reach, which we next traversed, the hills on either side rose
nearly perpendicularly to a height of 1,500 feet, their snow-capped
summits contrasting grandly with the sombre tints of their rocky sides;
so scantily clad with vegetation as to seem at a distance mere sloping
walls of rock.

In the narrowest part of this "reach," where the width was only
about half-a-mile, three native huts were seen established on low
projecting shelves of rock, and situated about a mile apart. To these
our attention was attracted by the long curling wreaths of grey smoke
ascending from their fires. As darkness was coming on, we did not
stop to examine them, but steamed on towards Port Grappler, where we
anchored for the night.

We got under way early in the morning of the following day, and
proceeded through the channel as far as Hoskyn Cove, an anchorage
just to the northward of the famous English Narrows. The morning had
been hazy and showery, but towards noon the mist cleared away, and
as we passed the English Narrows, a burst of sunshine completed the
dispersion of the hazy vapour and lighted up a scene of surpassing
splendour. The scenery here contrasted strangely with that of Chasm
Reach, for the steep hillsides now were richly clothed with a luxuriant
growth of primeval forest, and rising to a greater altitude, had their
summits capped with a broad mantle of snow, which showed to great
advantage against the deep blue of the sky. In the narrowest part of
the channel, where the flood tide was making southward in a rapid
stream, numbers of fur seals were gambolling in the water, and the
energetic movements of the cormorants testified to the abundance of the
fish.

Formerly the vessels of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company were
in the habit of running through these "Narrows," but of late years
the practice has been discontinued, on account of the difficulty of
managing the long vessels which are now in vogue. Therefore, excepting
an occasional man-of-war, the only vessels which at the present day
make use of the channels leading to the Gulf of Peñas are the steamers
of the German "Kosmos" line. The deciduous beech (_Fagus antarctica_)
here formed a great proportion of the forest growth, and as its leaves
were now withering, their autumn tints gave a variegated character to
the wooded scenery, a feature not observed farther south, where the
evergreen beech (_Fagus betuloides_) predominates. The _Campsidium
chilense_, a large trailing plant, was abundant and in full bloom, its
flowering branches usually depending in rather inaccessible places from
the upper parts of the trees to which it clung; and here we obtained
for the first time specimens of the loveliest of South American ferns,
the _Hymenophyllum cruentum_.

The morning of the 8th May broke wet and gloomy as we got under way and
initiated the next stage on our journey. All day long the rain fell in
torrents, and a fresh northerly breeze, blowing right in our teeth,
raised a heavy, chopping sea, which made the old ship heave uneasily,
and gave us a sort of foretaste of what we should have to encounter
next day on emerging from the Gulf of Peñas into the troubled waters
of the Pacific. Steaming thus against wind and sea, we made such slow
progress that night had fairly come on us when we crept under shelter
of the lofty hills which overshadow Island Harbour.

On the following morning we entered the open sea, and steered for
Valparaiso.



CHAPTER IV.

_ON THE COAST OF CHILI._


On anchoring at Valparaiso on the 16th May, the first news we heard was
that the country was in a great state of excitement, anent the war in
which Chili was then engaged with Peru and Bolivia. All the available
troops and men-of-war had been despatched to the seat of war in the
north, leaving the capital in almost a defenceless condition, so that
great fears were entertained lest one of the Peruvian cruisers should
take advantage of this to bombard the town. The last detachment sent
off consisted of the town police, and at the time of our visit the
maintenance of order in the streets, and the manning of the guns of the
forts, had been entrusted to the corps of "Bomberos" (fire brigade).

The principal part of the town is built on a plateau about ten feet
above high-water mark, which forms a margin to the curving shore of
the bay, and reaches inland for a few hundred yards. Beyond this the
outskirts of the town are disposed irregularly over a number of steep
ridges, which converge radially on the town from the mountain range
behind. There was one principal street running more or less parallel
with the shore, and containing fine-looking shops well supplied with
everything needful, but the second-rate ones were very dingy in
comparison. Owing to the great stagnation of trade brought about by
the war, and the consequent scarcity of money amongst consumers,
the prices of provisions were very moderate, although under normal
conditions Valparaiso is famous among Europeans for its high prices.
Fruit also and vegetables were in great abundance, and large bunches of
delicious grapes were to be had for almost a nominal price.

One remarkable feature of Valparaiso is that within the precincts of
the town a considerable number of people of the very lowest grade live
in a sort of gipsy encampment. The buildings which they here occupy are
filthy nondescript hovels, constructed out of a patchwork of mud, bits
of tin, old planks, discarded doors, pieces of sackcloth, etc., all
stuck up together anyhow. Even in the respectable quarter of the town
these filthy dens were sometimes to be seen occupying blind alleys, or
the site of razed buildings.

Sir George Nares left us here to return home by mail-steamer, on
appointment to the Marine and Harbour Department of the Board of Trade,
and was relieved in command of the _Alert_ by Captain J. F. L. P.
Maclear.

After wishing him good-bye on the 18th of May, we got under way and
steered for Coquimbo. On gaining an offing of about ten miles, and
looking in towards the Chilian coast, to which we were then pursuing
a parallel course, we saw the lowlands partially veiled in a thin
stratum of mist, above which towered magnificently the snowy summit
of Aconcagua, 23,220 feet in height. As we approached the Bay of
Coquimbo, we passed through immense shoals of fishes, which sheered off
in great confusion to either side of our bows with the parting waves.
On subsequently hauling in the "patent log," it was found that the
revolving blades had disappeared, the towing-line having been chopped
in two just above its attachment. This was probably the work of some
hungry and indiscriminating shark, whose stomach must have been put to
a severe trial in endeavouring to digest this angular and unwholesome
piece of metal.

The port of Coquimbo, where we stayed from the 19th of May to the
16th of July, derives whatever importance it has got from being one
of the best (if not the very best) of the anchorages on the Chilian
coast, and from its connection with the copper trade. It is brought
into communication with the mines and smelting works by means of a
line of railway, which, independently of its collateral branches,
pierces the copper-producing country to a distance of sixty miles. The
copper, either in the form of ingots, bars, or regulus, is shipped to
Europe--principally to England--in steamers or sailing vessels. The
country, as far as the eye can reach from the anchorage, is a mere
sandy desert, dotted here and there with an odd oasis of cultivated
land, which has been rendered productive by means of artificial
irrigation. Trees are rare; but within the last few years the
eucalyptus has been introduced, and with great success. In properly
irrigated localities it thrives and grows with great rapidity,--in
half-a-dozen years rising to a height of sixty feet,--and forming
masses of foliage, which, by the shade it affords, increases the
productiveness of the neighbouring soil.

Coquimbo has been rendered celebrated for its shell terraces by the
writings of Darwin, Basil Hall, and others. These are long plateaux of
variable size, sometimes a couple of hundred yards, sometimes a mile
in width, with their sharply-defined free margins running more or less
parallel to the curved outline of the sea beach, and extending inland
by a series of gradations, like the tiers of boxes in a theatre. There
are five or six of these terraces; that furthest inland being about 250
feet above the sea-level, and its free margin being about six miles
from the beach. They are of entirely marine origin, and abound in
shells of existing species, and they testify to the different periods
of elevation to which this part of the continent has been subjected.

On the night of the 2nd of June we felt a slight shock of earthquake.
The cable rattled in the hawse-pipe as if it were being violently
shaken below by some giant who had got hold of the other end; and the
ship vibrated and surged up and down as if she had been struck by a
wave coming vertically from the bottom of the sea. The shock lasted
about ten seconds, and then all was again silent. Earthquakes of this
magnitude are of common occurrence in Chili.

One day a large party of us went on a shooting excursion to Las Cardas,
an estate occupying a mountain valley thirty-six miles from Coquimbo,
and belonging to Mr. Lambert, an English gentleman. For this trip we
were indebted to Mr. Weir, the courteous manager of Mr. Lambert's
mines, smelting works, and estate, who not only provided a special
train to convey us to the shooting ground, but entertained us there
most sumptuously. The estate of "Las Cardas" lies at the termination
of the southernmost part of the two valleys which open into the Bay
of Coquimbo, and beyond this station the railway pursues its further
course over the brow of a hill called the "Cuesta," which it ascends by
a series of zigzags. Although its route here appears, at first sight,
circuitous enough, the gradient of the incline is an average of one
in thirty feet, ranging as high as one in twenty-five. We found it
interesting to stop for a while at the station and watch our departing
train trailing along its zigzag course up the hillside, as it steamed
on towards the inland terminus of the line, viz., "Rio Grande," which
was some thirty miles further on. The "Rio Grande" station is 2,000
feet above the level of the Coquimbo terminus at the other end.

In the bed of a broad valley, and in the gullies communicating with it
laterally from the hills, we expected to get a good many partridges;
but owing to the thickness of the brushwood, and the absence of dogs,
we saw very few, and shot fewer still. However, we were assured that
the birds were there, and only wanted proper stirring up to make them
visible; so that as we were every minute expecting that the next moment
a great covey would start up from the bushes, and consequently kept our
guns ready for action, we managed to keep up the requisite amount of
excitement for several hours without materially violating the spirit
of the regulations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Society.

In the evening we assembled at a clump of trees, which seemed to be a
favourite roosting-place for doves; and as the birds came down from
the hills to take up their quarters for the night, they afforded us
some very nice shooting while the daylight lasted. The most interesting
birds which I noticed in the valley were two species of _Pteroptochus_,
the smaller of which was almost identical in general character with
the _Tapaculo_ of Coquimbo, where it inhabits the low rocky hills, and
attracts attention by its barking noise, and by the odd manner in which
it erects its tail. Although the barking noise is heard frequently,
and sometimes within a few yards of one, yet the bird itself is seen
comparatively rarely. The bird of Las Cardas, however, might with a
little care be seen, whilst uttering its odd programme of noises, as
it stood under the overhanging branches of some large bush. On being
startled it makes off in a peculiar manner, taking long strides rather
than hops, and moving in a series of sharp curves in and out among the
bushes. In adapting itself to these curves, the body of the bird is
inclined considerably to the inner side, so that in this position, with
its long legs and great clumsy tail, it forms a truly grotesque object.
Examples of the larger species of Pteroptochus (_P. albicollis_) were
generally to be seen in pairs, perched on the summit of a tall bush,
the white throat and white stripes over the eye showing conspicuously.

We sailed from Coquimbo on the 16th of July, and shaped our course
for the Islands Felix and Ambrose, which lie about five hundred miles
to the north-west of Coquimbo. The object of this cruise was to take
some deep-sea soundings between the mainland and the above-mentioned
islands. The weather was, for the most part, very unfavourable, the
ship rolling and kicking diabolically, and making our lives very
miserable. On the afternoon of the 20th, St. Ambrose, the eastward
island of the two, hove in sight, but as the day was too far advanced
to admit of our landing, we "lay-to" about six miles to windward
of it. Viewing the island at this distance from the eastward, it
presented the appearance of a roughly cubical flat-topped mass of
rock, leaning slightly to the northward, and bounded--so far as one
could see--by perpendicular cliffs of a gloomy and forbidding aspect,
which rose to an altitude of 1,500 feet. As we approached the island
on the following morning its appearance by no means improved, and
nowhere could be seen any break in the rampart of lofty cliffs, which
seemed to forbid our disturbing their solitude. We looked in vain
for the "sheltered cove," where, as the sailing instructions say,
"there is good landing for boats at all times of the year." After
making the circuit of the island, we "lay-to" about a mile from the
N.E. cliff, and two boats were sent to reconnoitre, in one of which
I took passage. After pulling a considerable distance along the foot
of the cliffs, we at length succeeded, though with great difficulty,
in landing at the foot of a spur of basaltic rock, which sloped down
from the cliffs at a high angle. The first thing that attracted our
attention was a grotesque-looking crab (_Grapsus variegatus_), of a
reddish-brown colour, mottled on the carapace with yellow spots. It
scuttled about in a most independent way, and seemed quite indifferent
as to whether it trotted over the bottoms of the rock pools, or ran
up the steep face of the rock to a height of forty feet above the
water-line. Sea-birds innumerable flew about us in all directions, but
on careful inspection we could only muster up three different species;
viz., a large white-winged gannet (_Sula_), a plump dark-coloured
petrel (_Œstrelata defilippiana_), and a slender white and grey
tern (_Anous_).[1] The petrels were nesting in the rock crevices. The
nest consisted of a few withered twigs and dirty feathers, forming
a very scanty bed on the hard rock, and containing a solitary white
egg. The birds stuck bravely to their nests, and would not relinquish
their charge until, with bill and claws, they had given an account of
themselves, calculated to rather astonish an incautious intruder.
Nevertheless, I subsequently ascertained, by dissection of specimens
taken from the nests, that both male and female birds take part in
the duty of hatching. The rock in this locality was almost completely
sterile; only three or four plants (stunted undershrubs) were found,
which eked out a miserable existence among fragments of crumbling rock.

[1] These and other birds collected during the cruise have been
described and determined by Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe, the distinguished
ornithologist of the British Museum.

The island is of volcanic formation. The cliffs which we examined
displayed a section, fully 1,000 feet deep, of various layers of
tuff, laterite, and scoriæ, which, for the most part, stretched out
horizontally, and were intersected in every conceivable direction by
dykes of basalt. In some places ridges or spurs of rock projected
like buttresses from the vertical cliff; and where we landed the spur
was composed of a vertical dyke of basalt flanked by a crumbling
scoriaceous rock, which latter was being worn away by the action
of waves and weather much more rapidly than its core of basalt.
The columnar blocks of which the basalt was composed were bedded
horizontally; _i.e._, at right angles to the plane of the dyke, so
that the appearance of the whole was strikingly suggestive of an
immense stone staircase. After a stay of an hour and a half we were
signalled to return on board, as Captain Maclear was obliged to get
under way, and accordingly at half-past twelve we were sailing away to
the southward, leaving this comparatively unknown island as a prize for
future explorers.

In the course of this cruise we were followed by great numbers of
petrels, among which were the giant petrel (_Ossifraga gigantea_), the
Cape pigeon (_Daption capensis_), and two species of _Thalassidroma_
(I think _T. leucogaster_ and _T. wilsoni_). I noticed on this, as
on several subsequent occasions, that the little storm petrel is in
the habit of kicking the water with one leg when it is skimming the
surface in searching for its food. This movement is usually seen most
clearly when the sea presents a slightly undulating surface; and when
the bird strikes the water in performing a slight curve in its flight,
one can see that it is invariably the _outer_ leg that is used. The
object of this manœuvre seems to be to give the body sufficient
upward impulse to prevent the wings from becoming wetted in rising from
near the surface. I have often observed the Atlantic storm petrels
steady themselves on the water with both legs together, but have never
seen them perform this one-legged "kick," like their congeners of the
Pacific. There are contradictory statements in natural history works
as to whether petrels do or do not follow ships during the night time.
Those who adopt the negative view of the question maintain that the
birds rest on the waves during the night and pick up the ship next
morning by following her wake. For a long time I was in doubt as to
which was the correct view to take, although I had often on dark
nights, when sitting on the taffrail of the ship, fancied I had heard
the chirp of the small petrels. At length I became provoked that after
having spent so many years at sea I should still be in doubt about
such a matter as this, so I began to make systematic observations, in
which I was assisted by the officers of watches and quartermasters, who
were also interested in the matter. The result is that I am now quite
certain that the storm petrel and Cape pigeon _do_ follow the ship by
night as well as by day, and that, moreover, the night is the best time
for catching them. Every night, for a time, I used to tow a long light
thread from the stern of the ship; it was about sixty yards long, and
fitted at the end with an anchor-shaped piece of bottle wire, which
just skimmed along the surface of the water and yet allowed the thread
to float freely in the air. I found this device a great improvement
on the old-fashioned method of using several unarmed threads, and in
this way I caught at night-time, and even on the darkest nights, both
storm petrels and Cape pigeons; the latter, however, usually breaking
my thread and escaping. If I sat down quietly and held the line
lightly between my finger and thumb, I would feel every now and then a
vibration as a bird collided with it. On moonlight nights, moreover,
one could always, by watching carefully, see the big Cape pigeons
flitting about the stern of the ship.

My experience of petrels and albatrosses is that whenever they are
having a really good meal, they invariably sit down on the water.
This is especially noticeable about noon, when mess garbage is thrown
overboard, and in perfectly calm weather I have even seen a flock
of storm petrels settle down on the surface as if meaning to rest
themselves, and remain as still as ducks on a pond, basking in the
sunshine. One day also in moderately fine weather I thought I saw
a Cape pigeon dive. This surprised me so that I watched, and saw
the manœuvre repeated again and again. Some refuse had been cast
overboard which scarcely floated, and this petrel, being desirous of
possessing some morsels of food which were submerged, dived bodily
down, apparently without the least inconvenience.

Before quitting this subject, I shall say a few words on a somewhat
hackneyed but still open question, viz.,--"the flight of the
albatross." I have had many opportunities of watching the yellow-billed
species (_D. melanophrys_), and I have noticed that it sometimes
uses its wings to raise or propel itself in such a manner that to a
superficial observer it would then appear to be only soaring with wings
stationary. It does not "flap" them, but depresses them rapidly towards
the breast, so that it seems as if the body were being raised at the
expense of the wings, whereas, in reality, the entire bird is elevated.
The movement does not resemble a flap, simply because the return of the
wings to the horizontal position is accomplished by a comparatively
slow movement. By resorting to this manœuvre occasionally, it is
able to maintain a soaring flight for periods which, without its aid,
might be considered extraordinarily long. Of course, when it wants to
gain a fresh stock of buoyancy and momentum, it gives three or four
flaps like any other bird.

During our return stay at Valparaiso from the 1st to the 21st of
August, I made a trip to Santiago, the capital of Chili. Santiago
is built on the great plateau which lies between the coast range of
hills and the Cordillera, and is 1,500 feet above the sea level.
The distance by rail from Valparaiso is about 120 miles, but as the
railroad makes the greater part of the ascent within a distance of 50
miles, the average gradient of the incline is considerable. The train
follows the line of the seashore for a distance of about 3 miles to the
northward of Valparaiso, when it reaches the mouth of a wide valley
running inland, the windings of whose right bank it follows until a
station called Llallai (pronounced "Yayai") is reached. It then makes
a steep ascent along the side of a mountain, and here on one side a
precipitous wall of conglomerate rock faces the carriage windows, while
on the other the eye gazes into the depths of an ever-receding valley,
above which the train seems poised as if by magic. While one is still
lost in contemplation of this abyss, a short tunnel in a buttress of
the mountain is traversed, and the train suddenly sweeps round a sharp
corner, and crossing the valley by a light iron bridge which here spans
a part of it, constricted to a narrow chasm, enters a highland defile
on the opposite side. This place is known as the "Mequin Paso." The
train now pursues a meandering track among the hills of Montenegro,
where the summit level of the railway is reached, and then inclines
gradually downwards to the great plain of Santiago.

After establishing ourselves in the Oddo Hotel, which is situated in
the middle of the city, close to the "Plaza De Armas," we commenced
our explorations, and first proceeded to the Natural History Museum.
It lies on the outskirts of the town and occupies a spacious building
which was originally constructed for the Exhibition of 1875, and
to which the Natural History collections were transferred in 1877.
Favoured by a letter of introduction, we were here fortunate enough to
make the acquaintance of Dr. Phillipi, the distinguished naturalist,
who has for many years had charge of the museum; and to whose courtesy
and good nature we were much indebted. The collections illustrative of
South American ornithology and ethnology were particularly fine. The
herbarium seemed to be very extensive, and was so excellently arranged
as to afford ready access to any groups of specimens. In the spacious
hall devoted to this department, we saw a section of a beech tree from
Magellan which was more than seven feet in diameter, and the silicified
trunk of a tree fifty centimetres in diameter, which had been found
near Santa Barbara. The mammalian collection included two specimens
of the Huemul (_Cervus chilensis_), one of which was said to be the
original figured by Gay in his "Historia Physica y Politica de Chilé."
Among the human crania were some very curious specimens illustrating
the extremes of dolichocephaly and brachycephaly. It is to be regretted
that the subsidy voted by the Chilian government for the maintenance of
this admirable museum does not exceed £100 a year, and Dr. Phillipi may
well be congratulated on the results of his self-sacrificing labours.

About the centre of the town of Santiago is a remarkable hill called
Santa Lucia, whose summit affords a very extended view. It is a mass of
columnar basalt rising abruptly from the plain to a height of about 300
feet, and presenting on all sides boldly scarped faces in which several
flights of stone steps have been ingeniously cut, so as to lead by
various labyrinthine routes to the summit. We made the ascent towards
the close of day, and were well repaid for our trouble by the really
magnificent view. The town lay extended at our feet with its various
buildings and monuments standing up in bold relief. As we raised our
eyes, its outskirts dwindled into the broad plain of Santiago valley,
which here seemed to form an immense amphitheatre, surrounded in the
distance by a chain of lofty hills whose snow-capped summits were at
this hour illumined with the lovely roseate colours so characteristic
of sunset in the Cordilleras.

On the following day we visited the site of the church of La Compania,
where the fire took place in the year 1863, when some 2,000 people,
mostly women, were burnt to death. The church was never rebuilt, but
in its place now stands a handsome bronze monument to commemorate the
victims of this dreadful calamity. Immediately adjoining are the
splendid buildings in which the sittings of congress are held.

The morning of our return was cold and frosty, and the plain of
Santiago was enveloped in a dense mist, from which we did not emerge
until the train had entered the mountain valleys, through which it
wound towards the heights of Montenegro. Here we rose above the
gloomy mists, and were gladdened by the bright and warm rays of a
sun whose beams were as yet screened from the lowlands. Wild ducks
were to be seen in the marshes near the railways, scarcely disturbed
by the passage of the train; flocks of doves rose from the bushes
here and there; owls hovered about in a scared sort of way, as if
ashamed of being seen out in the honest sunlight; and on many a tree
top was perched a solitary buzzard or vulture. Later in the forenoon
small flocks of the military starlings were frequently sighted, their
brilliant scarlet plumage showing to great advantage against the pale
green bushes of the hill sides. After passing the summit level we
rattled down the incline towards Llallai, at what seemed to me to be a
very high speed. I kept looking out of the window at first, watching
the engine disappearing from sight as it suddenly swept round an abrupt
curve and entered a cutting, and admiring the wriggling of the train as
it swiftly threaded its way in and out among the hills. Sometimes our
route would seem to lead us into a _cul-de-sac_ of the hills, and when
apparently almost at the end of it, the engine would abruptly alter
her course and sweep away in a direction nearly at right angles to its
former course, dragging the docile and flexible chain of carriages away
with it. I had missed all this on the upward journey--I suppose because
our slower speed then made curves and cuttings look less alarming.
After a while, I began to reflect on the probable consequences of our
suddenly coming upon a flock of heavy cattle in one of these nasty
cuttings, and the more I pondered the more I became convinced that
although the cow-catcher of our engine was well able to cope with a
single bullock or even two, yet that in the case of our colliding
with a flock of half-a-dozen or so, something unpleasant must surely
happen. This was not a cheering subject of thought, so I turned away
from the window and tried to interest myself in the contents of a
Chilian newspaper. A few days previously, I heard that a single bullock
had been met with on this same incline, and had been satisfactorily
accounted for by the "cow-catcher." The body was smashed to pieces and
thrown off the track, but the people in the train (one of whom was my
informant) experienced only a very slight shock. At Llallai station
we stopped for breakfast, for which the cold air of the morning had
sufficiently prepared us, and in the afternoon we arrived comfortably
at Valparaiso.

We again stayed at Coquimbo from the 23rd to the 30th of August,
having been obliged to return there on account of a court-martial. The
appearance of the country had changed very much since our previous
visit. Bare tracts of sand had given place to an uniform coating
of verdure, and a great variety of flowering plants were visible
in full bloom. There was a species of _Aristolochia_ very common
on the rocky hills, whose large pitcher-shaped perianth frequently
imprisoned a number of flies of different species, and I found that
I could add materially to my entomological collection by examining
these plants, and despoiling them of their living prey, for most of
the pitchers contained living flies, and some of them the remains of
insects apparently in a half-digested state. This flower constitutes
a very effectual fly-trap; and I once noticed a great bluebottle-fly
endeavouring in vain to work his way over the "chevaux-de-frise" of
white hairs, which, with their ends pointing inwards, studded the
interior of the tube.

During this stay I made a trip to the copper mines of Brillador, which
are worked in connection with the smelting houses at Compañia. Both
establishments are the property of Mr. Lambert, an English gentleman
residing at Swansea, whose Chilian manager is Mr. Weir, to whom I have
already alluded. I went by train to Compañia, which is the terminus of
that branch of the line, and spent the night at the residence of Mr.
Weir, by whose kind invitation I was enabled to make this interesting
excursion. On the following morning we started on horseback, and rode
over the hills to Brillador. The mines are eight miles distant from
Compañia, and are situated at an elevation of 1,500 feet above the
sea level. Here we put ourselves under the guidance of Mr. Richards,
the courteous engineer, who clothed us in canvas mining suits, and
supplied each of us with an oil lamp hung on gimbals at the extremity
of a long stick; and thus equipped we entered one of the adit levels
opening on to a steep hillside, and bade adieu for some hours to the
friendly daylight. One of the peculiarities of a Chilian mine is that
the ordinary ladder of civilization is replaced by a notched pole, and
that, by means of a succession of these poles, the descent and ascent
of the shaft of the mine is accomplished. Another is that the ore is
conveyed from the works at the bottom of the shaft in sacks of hide,
each man thus carrying on his shoulders the enormous weight of 200
lbs. The miners whom I saw employed in this work were naked to the
waist, and exhibited splendid muscular development of chest and arm. I
examined one of the sacks of ore, and found that I could barely raise
it off the ground. These fine athletic fellows are fed principally upon
maize, figs, and bread, few of them eating meat. Three kinds of copper
ore are found in this mine. Near the surface is a light green carbonate
of copper which is easily smelted, and when rich in metal (_i.e._,
free from extraneous mineral matter) is in much request; but even when
of low percentage it can be advantageously used for the manufacture
of sulphate of copper. Next in order of depth is found a purple ore,
which is a double sulphide of copper and iron; and at the bottom of
the lode is the yellow sulphide of copper, commonly known in Chili as
"bronce." Here we saw a most ingenious "rock drill," working at the
end of a new level cutting. The apparatus, which is simple and most
effective, consists of a solid piston working in a very strong cylinder
and driven to and fro by compressed air, whose action is regulated
by a slide valve. The drill is fitted directly into the end of the
piston rod, and by an ingenious arrangement it is made to perform a
partial movement of rotation during each backward motion, so that it
may strike the rock in a new direction each time. The working pressure
of air was 50 lbs. per square inch. We noted the time while a boring
was being made, and found that it took exactly nine minutes to make a
hole nine inches deep, through the hard rock. The power is originated
by a double-acting steam-engine, situated at the inner extremity of the
main adit level, from whence a supply of compressed air is conveyed in
flexible pipes along the various tunnels in which boring is being done.
In subsequently blasting the rock, gunpowder is used in preference to
dynamite or other explosives, I believe on account of the toughness of
the ore, which therefore yields more satisfactorily to a comparatively
gradual explosive. In the evening we rode back to Mr. Weir's residence
at Compañia, and on the following day I returned on board the ship,
which weighed anchor the same afternoon, and proceeded southward
towards Talcahuano.

Talcahuano, where we lay from the 4th of September to the 4th of
October, is the most important seaport in southern Chili, and possesses
an excellent and roomy anchorage. It is situated in a fertile and
picturesque country; and it is in direct communication by rail, not
only with Concepcion and all the more important towns of the south
and central provinces, but also by branch line with an extensive
grain-producing territory bordering on Araucania, whose produce it
receives. Concepcion, which takes rank as the third city in the
Republic, is nine miles from Talcahuano, and lies on the bank of the
Bio Bio, a broad, shallow, and sluggish river. The houses and public
buildings there have the appearance of considerable antiquity, although
in reality the greater number must have been rebuilt since the great
earthquake of 1835, when the city was reduced to ruins. Penco, the
old Spanish capital of the province of Concepcion, was situated in the
eastern extremity of the Bay of Concepcion; but when it was destroyed
by a tidal wave in 1730, the people moved inland and established
themselves near the site of the present city. However, by the cataclysm
of 1751, the newly-founded city of Concepcion shared the fate of
Penco, but was soon rebuilt, as it was again, in great part, after the
earthquake of 1835.

We had intended to make only a short stay at Talcahuano, but on the day
preceding our arrival there, a case of small-pox appeared among the
crew, followed by a second and third, and we were therefore obliged to
remain in this harbour until our patients should be sufficiently well
to return on board.

There was a long, low, sandy island (Isla de los Reyes) lying across
the head of Talcahuano Bay, and inhabited only by a couple of shepherds
who were looking after a herd of cattle and horses. There being no
available hospital to which our patients could be sent, we obtained
leave from the Chilian authorities to establish a temporary quarantine
station on the island. Accordingly, on the day of our arrival we
set up tents on an unfrequented and particularly airy part of the
island, and having supplied them with provisions and all the necessary
appliances, we installed our patients in their new quarters. They
made good recoveries. My medical duties required me to make frequent
visits to this little establishment, and I found it convenient to make
it the centre of my afternoon rambles. On the mainland immediately
adjoining the island, I found a great marshy plain of many miles in
extent, and intersected in various directions by deep muddy ditches
which communicated with the sea, and at high tide brought supplies of
sea-water to a chain of broad, shallow lagoons, the home of multitudes
of waterfowl. Pintail ducks, widgeon, herons, curlew, flamingoes,
turkey-buzzards, gulls, lapwings, and sandpipers found here a congenial
home. The shrill, harsh cry of the spur-winged lapwing (the "terutero"
of the Pampas so graphically described by Darwin) was for ever scaring
the other peacefully-disposed birds, and at the same time invoking
maledictions from the sportsman. The plumage of this bird is very
handsome, and the bright crimson colour of the iris and eyelid during
life gave it a strange fascinating appearance, which can hardly be
realized from a stuffed specimen.

When the first ebb of the tide left bare the mudbanks in the lagoons,
the gulls and curlews collected in vast numbers for their diurnal
meal. Of the gulls only three kinds were seen, viz., _L. dominicanus_,
_L. glaucoides_, and _L. maculipennis_. The latter were in various
conditions of plumage; some birds having a deep black hood, and others
with a head almost entirely white, while between these two extremes,
there was every gradation. The turkey-buzzards derived a plentiful
supply of food from the bodies of fish stranded on the beach. For some
reason or other dogfish were constantly coming to grief in this way,
bodies of fish, two and three feet long, being met with sometimes, all
along the beach, at average distances of about one hundred yards apart.

One day we made an excursion up the river Andalien, which flows
into Talcahuano Bay, near the village of Penco, and which at high
tide is navigable for boats to a distance of seven miles from its
mouth. Our main object was to see something of the nutria--a large
rodent (_Myopotamus coypu_), which is common in some of the rivers of
southern Chili, and which the natives call "Coypo." In a deep, narrow,
ditch-like tributary of the Andalien, we came across several of these
animals, swimming and diving about, some half-immersed clumps of
bushes. At first sight their manner of swimming and diving would lead
one to imagine that they were otters, but on closer inspection the
broad muzzle with its long bristly whiskers, and foxy-red hair, reveal
their true character. The "coypo" is distinguished from its northern
ally, the beaver, in having the scaly tail round instead of flat, and
from the Chilian river otter, the "huillin" (_Lutra huidobrio_), it
is easily known by its dental characters as well as by its tail and
feet. The hind feet are webbed as in the beaver. I dissected one which
we shot, and found the stomach full of green vegetable matter, and
in the abdominal cavity, which was a good deal injured by the shot,
were fragments of a large tapeworm. This specimen weighed 10 lbs., and
measured 2 ft. 10 in. from snout to extremity of tail.

Some days subsequently I accompanied Captain Maclear on a railway trip
up the country, Mr. Lawrence, the superintendent of the line, having,
with the courtesy so characteristic of English residents in Chili,
invited the captain and one other officer to join him in a tour of
inspection which he was about to make along the Angol branch of the
South Chilian railway. We started from Concepcion at 9 a.m., on a small
locomotive which was set apart for the use of the superintendent. It
was a lightly built affair, partly "housed in" and partly open, and
was fitted to accommodate two or three passengers besides the driver
and fireman, so that it afforded us an exceedingly pleasant method of
seeing something of the country. This swift little vehicle was called
the "Quillapan," in commemoration of a distinguished native chief
of that name. Our driver was a most intelligent and well-informed
Englishman named Clark, who had lost his foot about three years
previously in a railway accident, at which I understood that Lady
Brassey, of the _Sunbeam_, had been present; and he spoke gratefully of
the kind attention which she paid to him. His wooden leg did not seem
to be much impediment to his engine-driving, for he rattled us along
round curves and down inclines at a speed which, while possessing all
the charms of novelty, had also in no small degree the excitement of
danger. However, we soon got used to this, as well as to the jumping
and jolting of the light little engine.

For the first ten miles after leaving Concepcion, our route lay along
the right or northerly bank of the Bio Bio river. Here most of the
railway cuttings were through a clay-slate rock, which alternated
with bands of black shale, and occasionally exhibited thin seams
of coal. Further on, and throughout the rest of the journey to
Angol, the cuttings were through banks of sand exhibiting horizontal
stratification, and being apparently of fluviatile origin. A run of two
hours brought us to the junction station of San Rosendo, from whence
the northerly line to Chillan, Talca, and Santiago, and the S.E. line
to Angol diverge. Here we breakfasted, and stretched our legs by a
stroll. Immediately on resuming our journey we crossed the Lara,--a
tributary of the Bio Bio,--and then continued our course along the
right bank of the main river, until we had just passed the station of
Santa Fé. Here the line made a short semicircular sweep, and crossed
the Bio Bio by a low wooden bridge of about two hundred yards in
length. Clark, the driver, told us that during freshets the water rose
about fifteen feet above this bridge, completely stopping the traffic.
On asking him why they did not build a strong high level bridge, he
replied that a rude wooden structure such as the present one cost
little, and when swept away could be readily and cheaply replaced; but
that a bridge of durable style would take too long to pay the cost of
its own construction. This explanation may not at first sight seem very
lucid, but it is worthy of consideration, for the principle which it
involves is, I fancy, applicable to many of the affairs of Chili.

We had now entered the great central valley of the country, a broad
plateau interposed between the coast range and the Cordillera, and
extending in one unbroken sheet of fertile land from here to Santiago.
Before us now, as far as the eye could penetrate, lay a straight level
track, so Mr. Clark turned the steam full on, and the "Quillapan"
responded to the tune of forty-five miles an hour. When about a mile
or two from a desolate station called "Robleria," we were rapidly
approaching a long wooden bridge, when we saw a man appear on the track
just on our side of the bridge, and step leisurely from sleeper to
sleeper. On hearing our whistle he looked round in a startled attitude;
but to our astonishment, instead of jumping to one side of the line,
he lost his head, and passing on to the bridge made frantic efforts
to cross before our engine came up. The bridge was an open framework,
consisting simply of wooden piles, span-beams, and sleepers, and was
so narrow that there was no room for a foot-passenger at either side
of a passing train. The wretched man's misery must have been extreme,
for as he crossed the bridge he had to jump continually from sleeper to
sleeper, and could not of course look back again behind him to see how
things were going on. It was a moment of intense suspense to us also,
for it was now too late to stop the engine, Clark not having calculated
on the man attempting to cross before us. However, he gained the off
buttress of the bridge just in time to throw himself down a bank on one
side of the line, while the "Quillapan" sped on like a whirlwind.

We reached the Angol terminus at 1.30 p.m., and on coming to a
standstill, found ourselves the centre of a small admiring crowd,
consisting of Chilian peasants and Araucanian Indians. The latter wore
very scanty clothing, in which the only distinctive feature which I
noticed was a band of red cloth tied round the forehead and occiput.
In stature and regular features they somewhat resembled the Chilians,
but their distinctly coppery colour marked them out at once. Angol
is now one of the frontier settlements established recently by the
Chilian Government in Araucanian territory, and it is fortified against
the marauding expeditions of these hardy warriors by a chain of forts
which overlook the settlement, and are garrisoned by regular Chilian
troops. The district is of great value, on account of the richness of
the soil and its suitability for the cultivation of wheat, which has
now become the staple article of commerce in the southern provinces of
the Republic. Our stay at Angol was, unfortunately, very short, as the
station-master told us that a train due at Angol that afternoon was
even then telegraphed as waiting at one of the upper stations until
our return, when the line would be clear for it to move on.

On our journey back we narrowly escaped colliding seriously with a herd
of bullocks. We had just passed Robleria, when we noticed some distance
ahead of us a solitary bullock standing quietly on the line. On the
whistle being sounded he at once left the track, so that the steam,
which had been momentarily turned off, was again put on, and the engine
resumed her usual speed. We had now approached to within forty yards of
the place where the animal had been, when suddenly from a dense clump
of bushes to the light there emerged a herd of half-a-dozen bullocks,
who with one accord began leisurely to cross the line. Quick as thought
Clark with one hand turned on the whistle, while with the other he
reversed the engine, leaving the steam valve wide open; and immediately
there was a great rattle of machinery below the platform, and the
engine checked her way considerably. And now at the last moment, and
when the cattle seemed to be almost under the buffers of the engine,
they, suddenly coming to a sense of their danger, scattered, and
sheered off; but not quickly enough to prevent one unlucky animal
being caught by the hind quarters and chucked off like a football,
its body rolling down the embankment to the left in a cloud of dust
as we whirled by. Clark coolly replaced the reversing lever, and let
the engine rush ahead again as if nothing had happened. He remarked
that if he had been on one of the regular big engines he would not
have bothered himself about the beasts at all, but that half-a-dozen
bullocks were rather too much for the little "Quillapan."

Another trip which we made was to the Island of Quiriquina, which lies
in the entrance of the bay at about five miles' distance from the
anchorage of Talcahuano. An hour's run in the steam-cutter brought
us near the northern extremity of the island, where we landed with
difficulty in the Bay of Las Tablas. This name has reference to the
tabular form of the blocks of sandstone which have fallen from the face
of the cliffs and lie strewn on the beach, in which position they
resembled the blocks of concrete which one often sees near a pier or
breakwater in course of construction. Close to where we landed we found
portions of the silicified trunk of a tree, resting on the _débris_
at the foot of the cliff, its fractured ends exhibiting a jagged
appearance, as if the fragment had not long previously been broken from
the parent stem. It was two and a half feet long by a foot in diameter,
and presented well-marked sections of the concentric rings of growth.
In one of the rock pools closely adjoining we found also a smaller
water-worn fragment, which we were able to annex as a specimen. The
sandstone cliff above us exhibited well-marked lines of stratification,
dipping to the southward at an angle of about 15°, and in the talus at
its base were several large globular masses, which consisted almost
entirely of fossil shells, bound together by a matrix of soft clayey
sandstone. Conspicuous among these shells were examples of the genera
_Baculites_ and _Cardium_. While the lowest rock in the series of
strata was a hard grey sandstone, full of fossil shells, and forming
a kind of level terrace skirting the beach, and a wash at high tide,
on the north side of the bay this last-mentioned rock was continuous
with another horizontal terrace, which ran at a somewhat higher level,
as if introduced there by a fault in the strata. It was a coarse,
unfossiliferous conglomerate, composed of angular pieces of shingle
bound together by a hard but very scanty matrix.



CHAPTER V.

_OUR SECOND SEASON IN PATAGONIAN WATERS._


On the evening of the 4th October, our small-pox patients being then
sufficiently well to return on board, we sailed from Talcahuano, and
proceeded to the southward in order to resume our surveying work in the
Trinidad and Concepcion channels.

We entered the Gulf of Peñas on the afternoon of the 9th October,
and as it was a clear, bright, sunshiny day, we had a good view of
Cape Tres Montes, which forms the northern horn of the gulf, while
ahead of us, and towards the S.E. bight, lay the Sombrero, Wager, and
Byron Islands, the first of which marks the entrance of the Messier
Channel. When we had got fairly inside this channel, a Fuegian canoe
of the customary pattern was seen approaching from the western shore.
We stopped to allow her to communicate with us, and, of course, the
usual bartering of skins for knives and tobacco took place between the
natives and our seamen. There were about twelve persons in the canoe,
all of whom looked more than usually plump in regard to their bodies,
but had the characteristically stunted legs of this wandering race. On
leaving us they appeared to be quite sold out, and were almost entirely
naked, some of them completely so; however, they seemed well pleased
with the bit of traffic which they had accomplished.

We anchored for the night in Island Harbour. On the following morning
we got under way at an early hour, and steamed down the Messier Channel
and through the English Narrows, reaching Eden Harbour about dusk.

We passed several small icebergs, which had probably reached the
channels from a glacier in Iceberg Sound. The largest was about twenty
yards across, and projected about six feet above the surface. Most of
the hills in this latitude were snow-clad as far as the 1,000 feet line.

On the evening of the next day, the 11th October, we reached the
Trinidad Channel, and established ourselves for a time at Cockle Cove,
an anchorage on the south shore of this channel, of which the survey
was as yet incomplete.

It was now spring time on the west coast of Patagonia, but the weather
was as chilly and wet as it had been in the autumn of the previous
year, when we were moving north towards our winter quarters; indeed,
from the accounts furnished to us by the sealers, as well as from
our own experience, I am inclined to think that there are no marked
seasonal changes in the weather on the west coast, whither the constant
westerly winds are continually delivering the burden of aqueous vapour
which they accumulate in their passage over the Southern Ocean. On the
other hand, the condition of the fauna and flora indicate the natural
two-fold division of the year as decisively as it is observed in the
same latitude in the northern hemisphere.

In the month of October at Cockle Cove the kelp geese and steamer-ducks
were preparing their nests, and the cormorants were assembling at
their rookeries; the holly-leaved berberry (_Berberis ilicifolia_) was
already displaying its gorgeous clusters of globular orange flowers,
and the giant creeper (_Campsidium chilense_) was also in bloom, its
scarlet bell-shaped flowers peeping from aloft among the branches of
the beech-trees, where they appear to seek a position in which they may
flourish safe from intrusion. Many of the mosses and _Jungermanniæ_
were also now in full fruit.

[Illustration: OUR FUEGIAN FRIENDS AT TILLY BAY, STRAITS OF MAGELLAN
(_p. 118_). _To face p. 104._]

We dredged several times at Cockle Cove. The bottom was muddy, and
abounded in a species of _Mactra_, which the men were fond of eating;
and as they commonly called these shells "cockles," the anchorage was
given a name which would recall the memory of these much-esteemed
comestibles.

We also obtained numbers of a pale rose-coloured _Gephyrean_. On
placing one of these creatures in a globe of fresh sea-water it seemed
to feel quite at home, protruding its tentacles and puffing out its
worm-like body until it looked like a tiny jam-roll with a star-fish
attached to one end. These tentacles, which are eight in number and
surround the mouth, are each one provided with from eight to ten
finger-like processes. When there is only the former number, the
organ looks remarkably like a hand, and the resemblance is rendered
more striking when the tentacle is extended, and grasps some minute
particles in the water, which to all appearance it conveys to its
mouth. The usual shape assumed by this protean animal is that of a
long cylinder with rounded ends, but it sometimes shows an annular
construction about the middle of the body, and sometimes the whole
anterior half of the body is retracted so as to give the animal a
telescopic appearance. These changes of shape are produced by the
action of two distinct systems of contractile fibres, transverse
and longitudinal, the fibres of the former being disposed closely
together like minute hoops, and girding the body from end to end, while
the longitudinal fibres are arranged in five broad and well-marked
equidistant bands, which extend uninterruptedly from one end of the
cylindrical body to the other.

One night a small petrel flew on board, into one of the hoisted-up
boats, where it was found by one of the seamen in the usual apparently
helpless state. It is odd that some species of the family of petrels
should find such difficulty about rising on the wing from a ship's
deck. A freshly-caught Cape pigeon, placed on its legs on the deck,
seems to forget utterly that it possesses the power of flight, and
does not even attempt to use its wings, but waddles about like an
old farmyard duck. The petrel above referred to was the little diver
(_Pelecanoides urinatrix_), a bird not uncommon in the channels,
but yet very difficult to obtain. During the previous season on the
surveying ground, Sir George Nares, who was the first to notice it,
reported one day that he had seen one of his old arctic friends, the
"little auk," which indeed in its habits it strongly resembles. It
usually (at all events during the day-time) sits on the surface of the
water, and on the least sign of danger takes a long dive like a grebe,
and on rising to the surface again flies away some few hundred yards,
keeping all the while close to the surface. Its flight is like that of
the grebe, but more feeble. In the Falkland Islands the habits of this
bird are somewhat different. The bill is peculiarly broad and of a dark
horn colour, the breast and belly of a dull grey, and the upper parts
black; the tarsi and feet lavender. The body is short and plump, and is
provided with disproportionately short wings. Speaking of this bird,
Mr. Darwin says that it "offers an example of those extraordinary cases
of a bird evidently belonging to one well-marked family, yet both in
its habits and its structure allied to a very distant tribe."

There was a "rookery" of the red-cered cormorant (_Phalacrocorax
magellanicus_) near Cockle Cove, but the nests were placed on almost
inaccessible ledges in the face of the rocky cliff, which was streaked
all over with vertical white lines from the droppings of the birds.
This species of cormorant is very abundant throughout all the channels.
A second species, a jet black bird (_Phalacrocorax imperialis_),
builds its nest in trees; and there was a characteristic "rookery" of
this tree cormorant at Port Bermejo, where we anchored in the month
of November. It was in a quiet sequestered place, where two old and
leafless beech trees overhung the margin of an inland pond. The nests
were constructed of dried grass, and were placed among the terminal
branches of the trees. These funereal-looking birds, sitting on or
perching by their scraggy nests on the bare superannuated trees,
formed a truly dismal spectacle. They uttered, too, a peculiar cawing
sound, which was not cheerful, and so remarkably like the grunting
of a pig, that before I saw the rookery I was for some time peeping
through the bushes and looking for tracks, imagining myself in the
neighbourhood of some new pachydermatous animal. It seemed as if the
birds took the grunting business by turns, only one at a time giving
tongue.

I was surprised to see how neatly they alighted on the branches. There
was none of the awkward shuffling motion of wings and feet which
they exhibit when alighting on the ground or on the water; but, on
the contrary, each fresh arrival soared on to its perching place as
smoothly and cleverly as a hawk, and grasped the branch firmly with its
claws. At another tree rookery in Swallow Bay I noticed that when some
of the birds on flying in observed my presence, they would rise high
above the tree, and remain soaring around in circles till I had gone
away. The method of soaring was to all appearance as smooth, steady,
and devoid of effort as that of a vulture. And yet the cormorant is a
heavy short-winged bird, that rises from the ground with difficulty,
and whose ordinary method of flight is most laborious.

The handsomest bird in this region is the kingfisher (_Ceryle
stellata_). It is commonly to be seen perched on some withered branches
overhanging the water, where it will remain in a huddled-up sleeping
attitude, its head turned sideways, but with an eye all the time
fixed intently on the water beneath, until it espies a fish, when it
drops like a stone, cleaving the water with a short sharp splash, and
a moment afterwards emerges with an upward impulse, which raises it
clear of the water, and enables it to fly away at once without any
preliminary shaking or fluttering. It is an exceedingly unsuspicious
and fearless bird, and when perched on its place of observation, will
often allow one in a boat to approach within arm's reach of it. Mossy
banks overhanging low sea cliffs are its usual nesting places, and
there it excavates a tunnel through the soft moss and turfy soil, and
at a distance of more than two feet from the aperture forms its nest.

There is a very peculiar and constant feature in the scenery of the
woodlands about the summits of the low hills, which has given rise to
much speculation amongst us. It is that many of the rounded bosses
of syenite rock, which project for a few feet above the level of the
swampy land, exhibit on their highest parts isolated mossy tufts,
which look at a little distance like small piles of rubbish placed
artificially in prominent places as landmarks, or like the marks which
mountain climbers are so fond of setting up on rocky pinnacles as
records of their feats. The usual shape is that of a cylinder about
eighteen inches high and ten inches in diameter, with a rounded top;
and it adheres to the rock by a well-defined base of matted fibres.
It is composed of a very compact moss (_Tetraplodon mnioides_), which
is of a rich green colour on the summit of the tuft when it is in a
flourishing condition, and whose decaying remains, converted into a
peaty mould entangled in a fibrous network of roots, form the body and
base of the tuft. When this moss is in fruit, its long spore-bearing
stalks, which rise to a height of three inches above its surface, are
of a dark-red colour where they emerge from the green surface, this
colour gradually changing into a beautiful golden-yellow above, where
the spore-cases are supported. It is then an exceedingly pretty object.
If one of these tufts be torn away from its rocky foundation, which is
very easily done, and is a most tempting work of destruction, a white
scar is left on the rock which will catch the eye at the distance of a
mile, and which strongly resembles the small white-washed marks set up
on the coasts by our surveyors for shooting theodolite angles at. Now
the question is, why does the moss establish itself in this peculiar
position, on the otherwise bare and exposed rock? It is all the same
whether the rock be dome-shaped, as it most commonly is on the low
hill-tops, or pyramidal, or wedge-shaped, the tuft--if there is one
present--is invariably to be found perched on the highest part of it.
I can only attribute this to the peculiar habit of growth of the moss,
adapting it specially to this shape and this situation; a situation
to which moreover it gives a decided preference, for I have not
observed it growing elsewhere. Sometimes on climbing a rocky mountain
hereabouts, one sees from afar off one of these tufts perched on a
commanding pinnacle at the summit; then one thinks that surely this
must be a cairn erected by some desolate traveller, and it is only on
approaching closely that the delusion vanishes. It will then, perhaps,
be found that the tuft stands alone, surrounded in all directions by
a sloping surface of bare rock which isolates it by a radius of forty
yards from all other vegetation; the little tuft bearing itself up
bravely as if in obstinate defiance of the wind and rain, which one is
at first inclined to think must have swept away an old uniform mantle
of vegetation from the rocky surface, leaving the mossy tuft on the
summit the sole survivor.

There is another peculiar form of vegetable growth which is a
characteristic of the landscape in certain parts of this region, and
which I have not noticed to the same extent elsewhere. It is this.
Whenever a mass of bushes happens to be exposed to the prevailing
westerly wind, as in the case of promontories which receive the
unbroken blast on one of their sides, or of exposed islets in
mid-channel, it will be seen that the bushes not only lean away
permanently from the direction of the prevailing wind (as is usual
everywhere), but that their summits are cut off evenly to a common
plane which slopes gently upwards, and thus presents as trim an
appearance as if the bushes had been carefully clipped to that shape
with a gardening shears. Our surveying parties have sometimes been
disappointed at finding that a headland, which seemed from a short
distance to be covered with an inviting mantle of short grass, and
which therefore looked a convenient place on which to establish an
observing station, was in reality defended by a dense growth of
bushes, which exhibited the phenomenon in question, and over, under,
or through which it was almost impossible to get. Sometimes one
could get over these bushes by lying down at full length and rolling
sideways down the incline; but this method was objectionable, for
it was sometimes ten or fifteen feet from the surface to the hard
ground beneath. The reason of this curious growth is obvious enough.
Each aspiring leafy twig that happens by a too luxuriant growth to
shoot above its fellows, is cut down by the relentless blast before
it can acquire strength enough to make good its footing; and those
branches alone survive in the struggle which grow uniformly with their
neighbours, and which thus present a sufficiently compact surface to
withstand the blighting influence of the westerly gales.

One day, when we were lying at our old anchorage in Tom Bay, I saw a
cormorant rise to the surface with a large fish in its mouth, which,
for several minutes, it vainly attempted to swallow. I noticed it
chucking the fish about until it had got hold of it by the head, but
even then it seemed unable to "strike down" the savoury morsel. A flock
of dominican gulls now appeared on the scene, and seeing the state of
affairs at once swooped down on the unlucky cormorant, but the wily
bird discomfited them by diving and carrying the fish with it. It
was now most ludicrous to witness the disappointed appearance of the
gulls, as they sat in a group on the water looking foolishly about,
and apparently overcome with grief at their inability to follow up the
chase by diving. After an interval of about half-a-minute the cormorant
reappeared some distance off with the fish still in its mouth, and
now one of the gulls succeeded at last in snatching the fish from its
grasp, and flew away with it rapidly up a long winding arm of the sea.
At this critical moment a skua (_Stercorarius chilensis_), hove in
sight, and gave chase to the fugitive gull, until, unfortunately, a
turn in the creek concealed both birds from our sight, but left us to
safely conjecture that the last comer had ultimately the satisfaction
of consuming the wretched fish.

I have often wondered at the apparently stupid manner in which long
files of cormorants will continue on their course over the surface of
the water without deviating so as to avoid a dangerous locality until
they are close to the place or object to be avoided. Many persons are
doubtless familiar with the appearance of these birds as they fly
towards a boat which happens to lie in their route, and may remember
the startled way in which, when about twenty or thirty yards off, they
will alter their course with a vigorous swish of the tail and sheer off
confusedly from the danger. Again, how eager they are to take advantage
of the (probably) acuter vision of terns and gulls, when they observe
that either of the latter have discovered a shoal of fish. Is it not
therefore probable that cormorants are naturally short-sighted?--a
disadvantage for which they are amply compensated by their superior
diving powers.

The required survey of the Trinidad Channel was completed by the middle
of the month of December; but before leaving this part of the coast,
one day was devoted to an exploration of the "Brazo del Norte," a
sound running in a northerly direction from the Trinidad Channel, and
piercing the so-called Wellington Island. We got under way from Tom
Bay early in the morning, and steaming across the Trinidad Channel,
entered "Brazo del Norte," and explored it to a distance of twenty-six
miles from the entrance. We were then obliged to turn back in order to
reach Tom Bay before nightfall. It was a great pity that time did not
permit us to trace this magnificent Sound to its northern extremity;
for so far as we could judge there seemed every probability of its
communicating directly with the Fallos Channel, which is known to
extend southwards from the Gulf of Peñas to within a few miles of
the place where we turned back. In this event it would prove a good
sheltered route for vessels using the Straits of Magellan, and if free
from the objectionable restrictions which close the Messier Channel
route to large steamers, would be used not only in preference to it but
to Trinidad Channel itself, whose approach from seaward is at least
uninviting, if not hazardous.

On leaving Tom Bay we moved gradually down the Concepcion and
Inocentes Channels, always anchoring for the night, and sometimes
stopping for a day or two in order to examine some new port.

At Latitude Cove a black-necked swan (_Cygnus nigricollis_)--besides
which only one other was ever seen by us in the western channels--was
shot. It proved to be a male bird, weighing only seven pounds, and
was in poor condition, having strayed far from its own happy hunting
grounds among the lagoons of central Patagonia.

We anchored at Sandy Point in the Strait of Magellan on the 2nd
January, and remained there eleven days in order to provision the ship,
and to give the crew a change of air.

Here I made the acquaintance of the master of a sealing schooner, an
intelligent man named John Stole--a Norwegian by birth--from whom we
obtained much interesting information about the natives of Tierra del
Fuego. At the time of our visit he was laid up with a bad leg, on
account of which he had had to relinquish the command of his vessel
the _Rescue_ for this season's cruise. His favourite sealing ground
was among the rocky islets about the S.W. parts of Tierra del Fuego;
but in the course of his wanderings he had visited most of the islets
and coasts extending from the mouth of the river Plate on the eastern
coast to the Gulf of Peñas in the westward. During his last cruise, he
had the misfortune to be attacked by a party of natives in the Beagle
Channel, at a place not far from the missionary station of Ushuwia.
He gave us a most graphic description of the affair. His schooner
had been lying quietly at anchor in a rather desolate part of the
channel, having at the time only five men, including himself, on board,
when a canoe containing ten Fuegians--eight men and two women--came
alongside. Not suspecting any treachery, he went below to have his
tea, leaving one man on the forecastle to look after the vessel.
Presently hearing a scuffle on deck, he put up his head through the
small hatch of his cabin, when a native standing above made a blow at
him with a canoe paddle. The blow failed to take effect, as he had
just time to duck his head under the boom of the mainsail which was
secured amidships over the hatchway. He now retreated to his cabin,
snatched up a revolver which was lying ready loaded, and returning to
the hatch quietly shot the native who was waiting to strike another
blow at his head. Two others now followed up the attack, armed with
heavy stones, but they were shot in quick succession, one of them
falling overboard and capsizing the canoe. As Stole now raised himself
through the hatch, a fourth native attacked him from behind, but he
turned half round, rested the barrel of the revolver on his left arm,
and fired into his assailant's eye, the entire charge passing through
the wretched creature's head. In the meantime the crew were successful
in expelling the four natives who had attacked the fore part of the
vessel, and all of whom were killed. The two women in the boat had been
passing up stones as ammunition for their male companions, and when the
canoe capsized one of them was drowned. When the fight was over, the
deck presented a ghastly sight, being sloppy all over with blood in
which were lying the bodies of the dead and dying savages, as well as
quantities of stones which before the attack began had been passed up
from the canoe to be expended in storming the hold of the vessel. Of
the ten natives, eight men had been killed, and one woman drowned, the
surviving woman being taken prisoner. The sealers now got under way,
and proceeded to the mission of Ushuwia, where they reported the matter
to Mr. Bridges, the manager of the station. He investigated the case,
and on finding that the account given by the sealers was corroborated
by the evidence of the surviving woman, exonerated the former of any
misconduct in the energetic measures which they had taken to defend
their lives, and to defeat the object of the natives, which of course
was to obtain the possession of the schooner.

The first of the small sealing fleet to arrive at Sandy Point this
season was the _Felis_, of Stanley, a small rakish schooner, commanded
by an Irishman named Buckley. He had a cargo of 500 sealskins, which
he sold to a German dealer on shore, at the rate of 30_s._ a skin, this
being considered a good price for Sandy Point, and generally only given
for the first arrivals in port; cargoes arriving late in the season not
realizing more than 25_s._ a skin. In the present state of the home
market, furs being in request, these skins, on being landed in England,
whither they are conveyed by the mail-steamers, are bought by the
furriers for about £4 apiece; so that the dealers at Sandy Point make a
large profit by their share in the trade. Sealers fitting out at Sandy
Point also usually get their stores and provisions on credit, and at an
exorbitant valuation, from the same dealer to whom they subsequently
sell their skins. The produce of the skins, moreover, as they are sold
to the dealers at Sandy Point, is divided into three equal lots, of
which one is divided among the crew, while the remaining two go to
the owner, out of which he has to pay for the provisions and stores
consumed on the cruise. It is calculated that the outlay on the stores
swallows up about one-third of the entire sum, so that eventually about
one-third of the value of the skins remains as the profit of the owner.
In a very good season, the master and owner of a sealing schooner of
thirty tons will make a clear profit of as much as £2,000, while each
man of the crew (usually twelve in number) would get a share amounting
to £80, on which to spend the blank eleven months of the off-season in
idleness and debauchery.

The Magellan sealing season extends over the months of December
and January. In or about the last week of November, the fur seal
(_Arctocephalus falklandicus_) and the sea lion (_Otaria jubata_) "haul
up" on the rocks of the outer coasts, and bring forth their young. The
breeding places, or "rookeries," which they usually select, are small,
low-lying, rocky islets, which are exposed to the swell of the great
ocean, and over which, in heavy weather, the sea makes a more or less
clean sweep. Situated as these rocks are, it is often a very difficult
and dangerous matter to effect a landing, so that, to make sure of it,
a sealing master usually arranges his cruise so that he may reach the
vicinity of the rookery about a month before the breeding time. He then
takes advantage of the first fine day to land a party of men on the
rock with fuel, camping arrangements, and a large supply of provisions.
The latter is essential, for it may be two or three months after the
season is over before he can get a favourable day for embarking the
men and the stock of skins. Cases have occurred where men have been
weather-bound on the rocks for months, and reduced to the brink of
starvation, although making use of seal-flesh and shell-fish as long
as they could get them. The different sealing captains are, of course,
very careful to conceal from each other the position of the "rookeries"
of which they know; and they have got so much into the habit of
deceiving each other in this respect, that it may be laid down as a
safe rule, that if a sealing master says he has landed his men on some
rocks to the northward, it is more than probable that the real locality
is somewhere in a southerly direction. After the camping parties have
been established at the "rookeries," the sealing vessel with the crew,
now reduced to a very small number, is employed for the next month or
two in cruising in search of new hunting-grounds. In this pursuit they
sometimes wander for hundreds of miles from the place where the men
have been landed, traversing unsurveyed channels and islets, trusting
confidently that at night time they can always find some sheltered
place where they can either anchor close in shore, or, if the water be
too deep, as it generally is, make fast to a tree. When cruising in
this way, they kill numbers of the Magellan sea-otter (_Lutra felina_),
an animal which they include in their line of business, although not
at all to the same extent as the fur seal. The fur of the otter when
dressed is of great beauty; but as it is not now in fashion in Europe,
it commands a very small price in the market, the salted skins, on
delivery in England, only realizing about 2_s._ apiece. When the long
brown hairs which form the animal's apparent coat have been removed,
the underlying fur is seen to be of a beautiful golden-yellow colour.
The otters are obtained by sealers in a great measure by bartering
with native canoes (the Fuegians catching them with dogs), and also by
shooting them, as they swim through the kelp close to the beach. Both
the otter and sealskin are salted dry,--that is to say, each skin is
spread out flat, salt is sprinkled plentifully over the inside, and
the skin is then rolled up with the hair outside, and tied up into a
round bundle. The old fur seals are killed just as they are met with,
and without any regard to the preservation of the stock. The sealers
commonly call the females "claphatches," and the males "wigs;" the
skin of the former is much the more valuable of the two. The sea lions
(another species of seal) are seldom meddled with; but occasionally a
sealer, in default of the regular article, will kill them for the sake
of the oil, and take some of the hides, for which there is a certain
demand for making "machine belting."

Buckley, the master of the _Felis_, told us that he had observed that
in the case of the fur seal there was an interval of only one or two
weeks between the date of parturition and that of coupling, and that,
in the case of the "hair seal," coupling took place almost immediately
after the young were brought forth. If this be true, the period of
gestation cannot be less than eleven months.

Buckley presented the captain with a young fur seal--a male, six weeks
old--which had been caught on the rocks, and nursed carefully by one
of his crew, an Italian seaman, who had been "bottle-feeding" it with
milk, and had taught it to answer to the call of a whistle. It trotted
about our decks in a most lively manner, its hind feet, when trotting
or walking, being turned forwards and outwards in the manner peculiar
to seals of its genus. On whistling to it, it uttered a strange
cry--half wail, half bark--and came to the call like a dog. When taken
up in the arms and petted like a child, it lay quite still, closed its
eyes and seemed to go off into a gentle sleep. It, unfortunately,
died on the following day--perhaps through fretting for its Italian
nurse--and its body then came into my hands as a zoological specimen.

Dr. Fenton, whose acquaintance we had made on our first visit just a
year previously, was still residing at Sandy Point as medical officer
of the settlement, and, with great good nature, put his house and
horses at our disposal. He told me of an experiment he had been trying
on the flying powers of a condor, which had been caught alive. He
perforated the quills of the wing and tail feathers, so as to allow the
ingress and egress of air, and on then throwing the bird up in the air
found that it could neither fly nor soar. The inference is that the
bird derives its buoyancy in a great measure from the formation of a
vacuum in the quills of these feathers, and consequently, on air being
admitted, the flapping of the wings, unaided by the buoyancy derived
from the rarefied air, was insufficient either to raise or support
the bird's weight. If this theory be correct, it is probable that the
mechanism by which this vacuum is produced is actuated by the wing
muscles, which thus discharge a two-fold office.

From the 13th of January to the 25th of March, after leaving Sandy
Point, we proceeded to the western part of Magellan Straits, where
we were for about nine weeks, occupied in making additions to the
old surveys, principally in the narrow and tortuous part of the
Strait which is called the "Crooked Reach." The scenery here is
remarkably fine, and on a dry clear day--an event, however, of rare
occurrence--one can fully realize the truth of old Pigafetta's remark,
that "there is not in the world a more beautiful country, or better
strait, than this one."

We made several stays, each of a day's duration, at Tilly Bay, a
small land-locked anchorage on the north shore of Santa Ines Island,
and immediately opposite to the mouth of the Jerome Channel, which
leads into the Otway Water. At the head of the bay a stretch of open
moorland, dotted here and there with clumps of cedar trees, led by
a gentle ascent to a sort of upland plateau, formed of moss-covered
undulating land with sheets of still water occupying the hollows. Not
a trace of a bird was to be seen, and I was never more struck with the
extreme paucity of animal life in the interior of these islands than
when standing on the shore of one of these desolate lakes in Santa Ines
Island.

We frequently noticed, in the deep spongy moss over which we walked,
the nests of a Trap-door Spider. They appeared externally as round
apertures in the surface of the moss, about an inch and a half in
diameter, which were covered over with a closely woven disc of web. On
removing the cover from one of them, and clearing away the surrounding
moss, I found that the burrow descended vertically for a distance of
about eight inches, and was lined throughout with a silky network of
spider web, so that the entire web structure, _i.e._, the tube and lid
combined, resembled in general shape some of the commoner forms of
_Aspergillum_. At the bottom of the hole lay a great spider, embracing
with its legs a spherical cocoon, three-eighths of an inch in diameter,
which it seemed resolved on defending to the last extremity. I examined
other nests with similar results.

While we were at Tilly Bay, a small party of Fuegians came in and took
up their quarters in an old camping place close to the ship. They were
a comparatively friendly lot, and had no hesitation about coming on
board, especially about our meal hours, which they very soon got to
understand. The party consisted of one adult man, a boy aged about
seventeen, a woman about nineteen, with four small children, and two or
three dogs of the usual kind. The canoe was made of planks, and was of
the same build as those which we had seen about the Trinidad Channel.
Lying in the bottom of the canoe were the putrid remains of two seals,
a sea lion, and a fur-seal, whose heads I obtained. We got on such
intimate terms with this family, that little by little we induced them
to show us all their properties, even to the much-cherished materials
for producing fire. These were kept in a wooden box somewhat of the
shape of a small band-box, and made of Winter's bark sewn together
roughly with strips of hide. The tinder, which seemed to consist of
dried moss, was stowed away carefully in little bags formed of dried
seal's intestines tied up at the ends.

I also obtained by barter two very dirty bits of iron pyrites which
they used for igniting the tinder, and on striking them together they
certainly emitted showers of sparks. The box also contained glass
arrow-heads, glass spear-heads, bone harpoon-heads, a noose made of
a strip of baleen and apparently intended for trapping otters, and a
very strong net made out of seal-hide, which the old man gave us to
understand was used for catching seals. The net was nearly square,
measuring about six feet both ways, and the meshes were about eight
inches across. This last was evidently considered a great work of art,
for as the old man displayed it his eyes glittered with pride, and he
assumed an air of importance, as if to imply--"See that and die!"

Subsequently two more canoes turned up, bringing a large party of
natives, and as I was curious to ascertain the method by which they
fashioned their glass implements, I visited the encampment one day,
bringing with me an empty pickle bottle, and intimated by signs that
I wished to have it broken up and to see a spear-head or arrow-head
made. They understood readily enough what was required, and one of
the men, coming forward, took hold of the bottle, smashed it against
the stones, and selecting a suitable fragment, set to work at it.
He held the piece of glass firmly in his left hand, protecting the
fingers with a bit of cloth, while, with his right, he grasped a
chipping tool, which consisted of a large blunt-pointed iron nail fixed
in a stout wooden handle, serving the double purpose of a chipping
tool and a means of caulking the seams of the canoe. Holding it with
the iron point directed towards his waist, he made steady pressure
against the fractured edge of the glass, so as to make small chips
flake off from the edge towards the smooth side surface. In effecting
this he was able to use great force, because, while the left hand,
which held the glass, was supported rigidly against his chest, the
manner in which he held the fashioning tool enabled him to bring the
whole strength of his wrist to bear upon the edge of the glass. After
having bevelled off one side of the edge, he turned the glass round
and bevelled the other side in a similar manner. Having once imparted
a double bevel to the edge, he was easily able, by operating on each
side alternately, to reduce the substance of the margin in any one
place until the glass had assumed the outline required. Proceeding in
this way, the formation of the barbs and the recessing of the base for
the ligature which would secure it to the shaft, were effected to all
appearance with the greatest facility. The most difficult part of the
business was now the formation of the fine point, as the chipping and
flaking had to be conducted with the greatest nicety. However, after
half-an-hour's steady work, he triumphantly produced a spear-head two
and a half inches long, and of the form shown in the annexed sketch.
The arrow-heads are made in the same way, and are about one inch in
length.

We had the chipping operation repeated on many subsequent occasions,
and by various individuals, and found that all adopted the same method;
the essential feature of which was that the fashioning of the glass was
effected entirely by _pressure_, and that no _striking_ implement was
used. I induced one of the men to try an old flat file, instead of his
own chipping instrument, but he soon discarded it; however he found
a blunt-edged ship's knife very convenient for giving the finishing
touches to the point of the spear-head. With the experience gained from
the Fuegians, I soon learnt to turn out very fair imitations of their
work; and after practising on various kinds of glass, I found that the
easiest to work with was black bottle-glass, and the most difficult
plate-glass. Green pickle bottle-glass is about a mean between
the two, and as it is tolerably thick the natives prefer it for
their spear-heads; but for the arrow-heads they use the black glass.
Crown-glass was easy to work, but flaked off in rather short pieces. I
also experimented with some black flint, which happened to be on board,
and found it could be worked in precisely the same way as the glass,
but was certainly more difficult to fashion into shape. Then I tried
different kinds of working tools, and soon found, to my surprise, that
hard steel was the worst of all, for it scratched and slipped off the
edge of the glass without chipping it at all; whereas soft iron, which
was much preferable, could be manipulated so that it would bite only
the extreme edge of the glass, and by this means very thin and broad
flakes could be detached. Even an old bone harpoon-head answered very
well indeed, but of course was worn away more rapidly than the soft
iron.

[Illustration: FUEGIAN HUT AT TILLY BAY. _To face p. 120._]

One day, when the old man of the first canoe party was on board, and
in an amiable mood, I succeeded in getting some Fuegian words from
him, a matter often previously attempted in vain. As a rule, they
merely repeat--and that most accurately--the gestures or ejaculations
which one makes in drawing their attention to any particular object.
I brought this old fellow into my workshop, and pointed out to him
several objects which I had collected in the straits, and which were
sure to be familiar to him. After some time he got fairly hold of the
idea, and then became very communicative, eventually giving me the
names for all the familiar objects which I could at the time command.
I subsequently checked the vocabulary thus obtained, by reversing the
process and repeating the words to him, and making him indicate their
meaning, and in this way I made certain that my list, small though it
was, had at all events the merit of being accurate. In fact, I tested
some of the words afterwards on another party of natives, whom we met
at Port Gallant, and found that they went off all right.


VOCABULARY OF FUEGIAN WORDS.

_Obtained from natives at Tilly Bay, Straits of Magellan._

 Basket (netted)   = cheebass.
   "    (plaited)  " dawyer.
 Beard             " port.
 Bottle            " kushki.
 Breast            " poan.
 Calf              " kutchoice.
 Canoe             " ayoux.
 Crab              " karabous-kalpers.
 Deer              " halchun.
 Dog               " sharkiss.
 Ear               " hawish.
 Eye               " sthole.
 Eyebrow           " theseoux.
 Eyelash           " thesseriss.
 Fingers           " sthœn.
 Finger-nails      " tharsh.
 Fish              " areous-areersh.
 Flint             " kosil.
 Foot              " kadthakous.
 Hair              " therkous.
 Hand              " therrawaus.
 Head              " iakalus.
 Ironstone         " iuksthaads.
 Limpet            " ithashaquash.
 Mouse             " akraceps.
 Mussel            " chaloux.
 Necklace          " heskouna.
 Nose              " los.
 Nutria-skull      " theerkusthads.
 Otter-skin        " lalthers.
 Paddle            " chetarias.
 Paroquet          " parabas.
 Sea-egg           " kawotchi.
 Seal-skull        " arougsis.
 Ship's boat       " sherroux.
 Skin of seal      " harkusis-hushkei.
 Spear (for fish)  " kip-thatharsh.
 Spear (for seals) " uäakutsh.
 Starfish          " hiapparoux.
 Steamer-duck      " karawus-poug.
 Stomach           " kutshiss.
 Stone axe         " kesaoux.
 Teeth             " pathers.
 Thigh             " athursh.
 Tongue            " lekiss.
 Tooth (of seal)   " sheriquish.
 Trumpet-shell     " tharagskar.
 Upland Goose      " harrawaloux.
 Volute-shell      " tharaquakorass.
 Water             " nupp.


NAMES OF FUEGIAN CHILDREN AT TILLY BAY.

 Alkeress.
 Ilchabesakodotis.
 Kelchuarkuss.
 Gounaco.
 Gounaco Chikachikis.

We anchored at Port Gallant for three days in the latter end of
January, and while we were there a bark canoe came alongside. It was
of the kind which King describes as peculiar to the tribe inhabiting
the western part of the Magellan Straits, and to whom he assigned
the name "Pecherai," from their habit of frequently using that word.
The canoe was much smaller and lighter than the plank canoes of the
western channels, and was propelled entirely by paddles instead of
oars. Two old women, who sat in the stern end, wore cloaks of deer
skin, and were very noisy and talkative, so that we did not encourage
them to come on board. The basket, in which they carried their stock of
shell-fish, was much more elaborately plaited than were those of the
"Channel Fuegians." We did not observe any difference in their hunting
implements, except that bows and arrows were more abundant with them.

On the 25th, a large iron steamship, the _Maranhense_, came in from
the westward and anchored near us. It appeared that about six months
previously she had come out from Antwerp, bringing a cargo of arms for
the Chilian Government, and that she was now homeward bound, carrying
a general cargo. As she was coming down the Messier Channel, she had
touched the ground in the English Narrows, and been so much injured
in the bows that her collision compartment was full of water. Captain
Leadbetter came on board to solicit the services of our diver, which
were of course granted; and on an examination being made, it was
found that there was a hole in her bows big enough for a man to crawl
through. For several days subsequently ineffectual attempts were made
to stop it up, and on the 30th of January both vessels moved up to
Sandy Point. Here we met a German man-of-war, the _Freia_, whose crew
rendered further assistance to the disabled vessel, but all in vain. At
length, our diver was sent down to make a complete examination of her
bottom, and he came up with the unpleasant news that there was another
great hole in her bottom, 7-1/2 feet in length, under the after-hold,
that the iron skin and part of the keel had been torn away, and that
the cement alone, with which her bottom was lined, prevented the water
from coming in. In view now of the possibility of the cement suddenly
giving way, and the vessel sinking, steam was got up, the anchor was
raised, and she was moved into shallower water further inshore, so that
in the event of her sinking, the hull might not be entirely submerged.
The master of the _Maranhense_ now decided on sending to Monte Video
for artificers and material to repair the bottom, and for a new
crank-shaft for her engines, which had also recently come to grief.

On the 9th of February we bade good-bye to the officers of the
_Maranhense_, and steamed back to Port Gallant.

Some days subsequently we moved westward to Playa Parda Cove in
Crooked Reach, our boats having been meanwhile engaged in charting the
coastline.

On February 18th a small party of us made a trip in the steam-cutter
from Playa Parda Cove to visit a glacier which is situated about six
miles to the eastward. We steamed round to the inlet, which is marked
on the chart as Glacier Bay, and moored the cutter under a lofty cliff
near the head of the bay. The land here was low and flat, covered
with a dense forest, and bounded on either side by precipitous lofty
cliffs, whose smooth faces exhibited planings and scorings due to the
abrading action of old glaciers. I landed about the middle of the
low muddy beach, which extended from cliff to cliff, and proceeded
to penetrate the forest in the direction of the glacier. Here I at
first found some difficulty in advancing, for after tearing my way
through a dense prickly scrub of barberry bushes, I came upon an even
more serious obstacle, in the shape of a broad and rapid torrent of
mud-coloured water, which it was absolutely necessary to cross. This
was one of the streams which flowed from under the glacier. Cautiously
feeling my way, and steadying myself against the rushing water, I just
managed to get across, finding the process rather cold; and now, after
traversing a belt of forest, which was only half a mile in width, but
which gave me forty-five minutes hard work, I emerged all at once
from the gloomy shade of the beech trees to find my eyes dazzled by
a glare of white light, and the foot of the glacier straight before
me. The line of trees was separated from the snout of the glacier by
a freshly-accumulating terminal moraine, of about one hundred yards
in width; and where this moraine adjoined the sharply-defined edge of
the forest, its advancing condition was evident from the piles of
rubble which were in places shot in among the green trees, and from the
overturned condition of many of those on the margin of the forest, as
they gave way before the advancing piles of rubbish. It was a strange
sight, standing in the middle of this terminal moraine, to see, on the
one hand, a fresh evergreen forest abounding in the most delicate ferns
and mosses; and, on the other, a huge mass of cold blue-veined ice,
which was slowly and irresistibly gouging its passage downwards to the
sea. The stones of the moraine were composed of syenite and greenstone,
the former predominating, and mixed up with them I saw many trunks of
trees, which were crushed, torn, and distorted out of all shape. These
were probably the remains of a portion of the forest, which had at one
time extended further up the valley, and which had been annihilated by
the advance of the glacier; and this circumstance, with the other which
I have mentioned, showed clearly that the glacier was now extending its
limits and approaching the sea. A few days afterwards, we paid a second
visit to Glacier Bay, when a good photo was obtained.

[Illustration: FOOT OF GLACIER AT GLACIER BAY, STRAITS OF MAGELLAN. _To
face p. 124._]

We stayed for a fortnight at Swallow Bay, a port in Crooked Reach,
a few miles to the westward of Tilly Bay. It would seem that this
locality had been greatly resorted to by the natives for catching
fish, for we found several of their "stone weirs," in a more or less
perfect state. The places selected for these weirs were usually small
smooth-bottomed coves, and the weir, which consists of a sort of
dam built of loose stones about three feet high, is placed across
the mouth of one of these coves in such a manner, that when it is
complete, any fish which may be inside it will be imprisoned. When it
is low water, and the cove is almost dry, a gap is left in the centre
of the weir through which the fish may enter with the rising tide;
at high tide the gap is closed up, so that when the water flows away
through the interstices of the dam with the falling tide, the fish
remain imprisoned in a shallow pool where they can easily be caught.
These shallow mud-bottomed coves are the favourite haunts of the grey
mullets, who collect there in great numbers, and who sometimes on
bright fine days may be seen resting on the mud with only a few inches
of water over them, as they lie apparently basking in the sunshine.

Here, at Swallow Bay, a party of our men captured and brought to me
a male specimen of the Magellan nutria, an animal which is abundant
throughout the straits and western channels, but which is nevertheless
very rarely seen. We had often previously seen its bones in the Fuegian
midden heaps, where its skull, with the long curved orange-coloured
incisors, was a conspicuous object; but this was the first recent
specimen we succeeded in getting hold of. It was started from the
brushwood by a retriever dog belonging to the ship, and on taking
to the water was killed after a most exciting chase on the part of
our bluejackets. It proved to be identical with the Chilian species,
_Myopotamus coypu_.



CHAPTER VI.

_EXPLORATIONS IN SKYRING WATER._


On the occasion of our last visit to Sandy Point, the captain received
despatches from the Admiralty, which authorised him to proceed to
Skyring Water in order to investigate the nature of the coal which was
then being worked on the north-east of that basin, and to ascertain
if it could be made available for the use of men-of-war or merchant
vessels, passing through the Straits of Magellan. A favourable
opportunity occurring on March 5th, the _Alert_ accordingly got under
way from her anchorage at Tilly Bay, and steaming northwards across
the Strait, entered the Jerome Channel. Here we experienced a strong
current from the northward, which was attributed by Mr. Petley, our
navigating officer, to the ebb tide flowing from the Otway Water.
This channel is twenty miles in length, from its southern opening
opposite Tilly Bay to its northern extremity abreast of Corona Island,
where it dilates into the wide expanse of Otway Water. Its shores are
lined by precipitous mountains of an average height of 1,000 feet,
and clothed to their summits with the dense evergreen forest which
characterizes the scenery of the western half of the Magellan Straits.
Behind, and towering above this coast range, were hills of a still
greater altitude, whose summits were clothed with a mantle of snow and
ice--the source of the glaciers flowing to the southward into the main
straits. As we entered Otway Water, we saw on our starboard hand a
broad expanse of rippling water, limited in the distance by a coastline
of comparatively low land, while on our port side there was a marked
transition from the lofty mountains of the Cordillera to an upland
plain of undulating hills covered with forest, and sloping gradually
downwards into low flat land as it extended to the eastward. In fact,
we had passed through the backbone of the Cordillera, and were now
approaching the alluvial plains of Patagonia; and it was also clear to
us that we were crossing the line of demarcation between two climatic
zones, for we found that we were exchanging the cloudy sky of the
Magellan region for brilliant sunshine and a clear blue sky, a change
only to be fully appreciated by those who have spent many months in the
damp, cloud-collecting region of the Western Straits.

The north shore of Otway Water was low and shelving, presenting a
glistening margin of sandy beach, and fringed by a wide belt of very
shallow water. In the afternoon we entered the Canal of Fitzroy, where
we encountered a strong current from the northward (_i.e._, from
Skyring Water), which considerably impeded our progress. Indeed, at
4 p.m. we grounded on a sandbank, getting off, however, without much
difficulty, and in an hour afterwards we dropped anchor in a bight
where an S-shaped curvature in the canal afforded us shelter from the
current.

Both shores of the canal are low, and formed of alluvial soil, of which
the crumbling banks in places exhibited good sections. Well-marked
terrace-levels bore testimony to the fact that the land must have been
subjected to upheaval, with reference to the sea-level, at some period
in the world's history. The country on the western side of the canal
is covered with thick scrubby bush, while that on the eastern side,
where we landed for a few hours, was a sort of open park-land disposed
in undulating hills, covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, and
studded here and there with isolated clumps of trees and bushes, among
which we noticed the antarctic beech, an embothrium, a barberry, and
a cheilobothrium. The ground in the middle of these clumps was worn
bare from having been used as a resting-place by the wild cattle.
Herbaceous composite plants grew in great profusion, and many specimens
of a lychnis were seen, but unfortunately the season was too far
advanced for our obtaining useful specimens of flowering plants. I was
surprised at the great variety of grasses which flourished on the dark
loamy soil. We saw countless tracks of wild cattle and horses, and a
few deer tracks, but in the course of our ramble failed to meet with
any of these animals. The existence of a species of _Ctenomys_ was
evident from the way in which the ground was in many places so riddled
with holes as to be exceedingly dangerous for incautious horsemen; and
while walking through the long grass I stumbled over the skull of a
puma. We did not see many species of birds. Finches were abundant, and
some flocks of the black starling, and also of the military starling,
were seen. I got a specimen of a pteroptochus, which resembled the
_Tapaculo_ of Chili, but differed from it in having a red iris; and
on the beach I shot a cinclodes, which seemed to be of a different
species from the common kelp-bird of the straits. A fine buzzard (I
think _Buteo erythronotus_) soared above my head, but out of range; and
the tiny wren of Magellan (_Troglodytes_), completed the list of birds
which we saw. During our absence great numbers of black-necked swans
and brown ducks were seen in the vicinity of the ship.

The western shore of Fitzroy Channel consisted of a low plain, rising
gradually towards the westward, covered with a dense scrub of tall
bushes, and contrasting strikingly with the open moorland on the
eastern shore.

At five o'clock on the following morning, we got under way and
continued our course through the Canal of Fitzroy, steaming for hours
through a dense interminable flock of black-necked swans, that paddled
lazily to either side as we advanced, as yet in happy ignorance of
the thirst for blood which characterizes the British sportsman. As
we emerged from the canal, and skirted along the eastern shore of
Skyring Water, we noticed two men on foot, walking along the beach.
We afterwards learned that they had a day or two previously left the
coal mine where they had been employed, and were now attempting the
precarious task of travelling on foot to the Chilian settlement, Punta
Arenas, in the Straits of Magellan, a distance of ninety miles.

At 10.30 a.m. we reached the bay of the mines (Rada de las Minas), and
came to an anchor about half-a-mile from the shore. The settlement was
larger than we had expected, and exhibited fair signs of activity,
several shingle-built houses, large store sheds, and a steam sawmill,
showing out conspicuously against the dark background of forest which
spreads for a few miles to either side, and is seen extending inland to
near the summit of Mount Rogers, a hill to the northward which reaches
an elevation of 1,000 feet.

For information concerning Skyring Water, we are mainly indebted to
Fitzroy's account of the short survey he made in the year 1829, when
in command of H.M.S. _Beagle_ (which account comprises information
obtained from a sealer named Low, who visited these waters in pursuit
of his trade), and to some papers published by the Chilian Government
in the _Anuario Hydrografico_, detailing the results of two visits
made by Chilian men-of-war. In November 1877 the Chilian gunboat
_Magellanes_ visited Skyring Water, making a stay of three weeks,
during which time her boats were mainly employed in making a survey of
the eastern part of the basin. The results of this survey, so far as
it went, favoured the idea of there being a channel connecting Skyring
Water with Smyth's Channel to the westward. It was brought to an abrupt
termination by the terrible mutiny which took place at Sandy Point in
November 1877; however, in the months of December 1878, and January and
February 1879, Captain Latorre, of the corvette _Magellanes_, made a
second incomplete examination of Skyring Water. One of his boat parties
penetrated a considerable distance to the westward, where the basin is
continuous with a number of long, narrow, winding inlets or channels,
which enter the hills of the coast range. Here they met with a party
of Fuegians, who were in all respects similar to those of the western
channels, possessing the usual canoe and hunting implements. They also
found numerous traces of Fuegians in all the sheltered coves which
they examined among the inlets towards the western part of Skyring
Water. This would seem to indicate a direct water communication with
Smyth's Channel, but on the other hand, the range of tide being found
to be exceedingly small, would tend to prove that its connection with
the ocean was at all events remote. This survey was brought to a close
in a most unsatisfactory way when almost on the eve of clearing up
the doubtful question as to the existence of through communication;
the _Magellanes_ having been ordered north on the outbreak of the war
between Chili and Peru.

The Skyring coal mines were originally started in the year 1877 by an
enterprising German named Haase, who opened the seam, extracted some
coal, and erected sheds, but soon afterwards (I believe through want
of funds) abandoned the undertaking, so that when the Chilian corvette
_Magellanes_ arrived here in October 1877, the settlement was found to
be in a deserted condition. Captain Latorre then made a trial of some
coal which he found lying in a heap near the pit's mouth, and after
executing a partial survey of Skyring Water was recalled to Sandy
Point, on receiving news of a disastrous mutiny in that colony.

The settlement remained uninhabited from a few months before the
_Magellanes'_ first visit until the 15th of November, 1879, when the
mine was reopened by Mr. Haase, provided with money, furnished by a
company which had been formed at Buenos Ayres. Since that time the work
has progressed steadily, so that the mine and adjoining works are now
in a tolerably efficient state. At the time of our visit, the mines and
the settlement were in charge of Monsieur Arnaud, a French engineer,
Mr. Haase having some days previously gone on a trip to Buenos Ayres.
The people numbered about twenty altogether; but as there were as yet
no customers to buy the coal, and as consequently no wages had been
paid for a long time back, the miners were gradually deserting and
making tracks for Sandy Point.

The edge of the coal seam, which is now being worked, was visible in
the face of a low cliff on the north-west promontory south of the
bay of the mines. The outcrop of the seam is in a north and south
direction, and it dips to the south-east at an angle of about 45°. From
a cursory examination which I made of sections afforded by the cliffs
adjoining the mines, I ascertained that the coal was overlain by a bed
of clayey sandstone, overlying which was a stratum of hard limestone
containing fossil shells, among which large Ostræas were the most
conspicuous. Above this, and lying conformably to it, was a layer of
soft sandstone containing numerous comminuted fragments of shells in a
sub-fossil state. The coal seam itself was about twelve feet thick.

The mine seemed to be in a most efficient state. A pit, sunk obliquely,
descended to a depth of thirty-six feet, where it communicated with
a horizontal cutting about sixty yards in length. At the end of this
gallery the coal was being worked, whence it was conveyed in trolleys
to the foot of the pit, and then hauled up the incline by means of a
stationary engine working at the pit's mouth. From there a line of tram
rails extended about 150 yards to the end of a strong wooden mole,
where the water was deep enough to float heavy barges, and where a
large pile was stored under a shed, and ready for shipment. It was of
good black colour, but light and friable; very much resembling the Lota
coal, to which it was little inferior in quality. A sample was taken on
board, and submitted to various practical tests, by Mr. Dinwoodie, our
chief engineer. It was of jet-black colour, and glistening appearance;
leaving a faint black mark on rubbing. S.G. = 1·3. It contained sulphur
and iron, burned with very little smoke, and produced a rust-coloured
ash, which formed a proportion of 18 per cent. When used in the
furnace, it formed large caky masses of a hard tenacious clinker, which
adhered to the fire-bars, and so clogged the fires that it was found
impossible to raise steam to more than thirty pounds' pressure. In an
open grate it burnt freely enough, but without giving out much heat. It
was, therefore, unsuited for engines using high pressure steam such as
ours.

We were much disappointed on learning that game was now very scarce
in the immediate vicinity of the settlement, and that as a matter of
fact the miners were victualled on salt and preserved meats. Beyond
a range of five miles, deer, guanacos, ostriches, and wild cattle
might be had, but could not be taken without the aid of horses,
with which useful animals the settlers were at present (apparently
through pecuniary embarrassments) unprovided. Foxes were abundant in
the forest, and at night time prowled about the settlement, while
recently a puma had paid it a nocturnal visit, to the great alarm of
the pigs and other domestic animals. We walked into the "camp," to a
distance of about five miles from the settlement, and were surprised
at the scarcity of birds. We saw, however, a flock of black-necked
swans, numbering about sixty, in the water near the seashore, but
found them too wary for us. A paroquet, a few starlings, a finch, a
wren, a buzzard, and the ubiquitous cinclodes were the only land-birds
seen. On subsequently penetrating into the forest in the rear of
the settlement, I saw many examples of a bird of the "tree-creeper"
family, which the Chilians call "carpintero," from its habit of making
a "tap-tap" sound when digging its bill against the bark of trees,
in pursuit of the insect-larva on which it feeds. These birds behave
in many respects like wood-peckers, producing a similar noise, using
the same food, travelling over the boles of the trees in a spiral
fashion, and creeping with ease along the under surface of horizontal
branches. I shot two of them when in the position last-mentioned, and
noticed that for some seconds after they had been shot they remained
suspended by the legs, with the heads hanging vertically downwards,
until the complete relaxation of the muscles allowed them to fall. The
toes, of which there are three directed forwards and one backwards,
are furnished with long and sharp claws. The bill is long, stout, and
pyramidal, and the shafts of the tail-feathers project beyond the webs.

On the 7th of March, a small party of us got the use of one of the
steam-cutters, and made a trip to Altamirano Bay, an anchorage about
seven miles to the westward of the "bay of the mines," which was
originally explored and surveyed by the Chilian vessel _Magellanes_. We
reached the bay after steaming for two hours against a westerly breeze
and chopping sea, and landed on its western shore. Here we found an
open grass-land interspersed with clumps of low trees and bushes, among
which the most abundant were an embothrium, a panax, an escallonia,
a berberis, a cheilobothrium, and the black currant of Magellan--the
_Ribes magellanica_. The tree-clumps showed evident signs of their
being the resting-places of wild cattle and horses, of which we saw
also numerous tracks in the open; none, however, being of recent date.
We could find no fresh water of any kind, and therefore concluded that
the deer, guanacos, ostriches, and horses, which were reported to be
abundant here, had gone up the hills during this dry season, and only
resorted to the lowlands hereabouts during the winter time. There was
certainly splendid pasturage for them, and I was much struck by the
abundance and variety of the grasses. The land-birds were similar to
those noticed previously in the neighbourhood of the coal mines. The
plain of grass-covered land over which we walked seemed to extend for a
long way to the westward, but from the head of the bay a dense forest
of beech-trees stretched away to the northward.

Skirting the shore of the bay, although overgrown with scrub and
forest, were two distinct terraced levels, which testified to an
upraising of the land. The rock formation, as far as could be judged
from the rock _in situ_ visible on the foreshore, was a clayey
sandstone, devoid of fossils, and bedded horizontally. Erratic boulders
of syenite and gneiss--some of considerable size--lay scattered about
the beach.

The shores of the bay indicated a scanty littoral marine fauna. Shells
of a small mussel were sparsely strewn about, and were the only
molluscan remains noticed. The _débris_ of a small, reddish alga was
strewn along the beach in undulating lines; but no kelp was seen at
all, either on the shore or adhering to submerged rocks.

During our four hours' stay, very little change was noticed in the
level of the tide, an argument rather against the likelihood of a
channel existing to connect Skyring Water with the ocean to the
westward.

In the meantime those on board the ship were engaged in coaling. We
purchased twenty-five tons of the new coal at £1 a ton, a quantity
quite sufficient to enable us to test practically its value. The mining
engineer, Monsieur Arnaud, was of opinion that on sinking deeper into
the coal-seam a better quality would be met with. The present workings
are at a depth of only thirty-six feet from the surface, and as the
angle of dip is about 45°, it is not improbable that on sinking a
deeper shaft his expectations may be realized. Should this be the case,
the long-cherished scheme of establishing tug-steamers in the straits
to tow sailing vessels from ocean to ocean, will probably be revived,
and a great impetus will thus be given to the Straits of Magellan as
an avenue for commerce. Moreover, should a permanent settlement be
established at the Skyring Water coal mines, intending colonists will
find in the surrounding country a splendid field for their energies.
The soil of the pampas is of excellent quality, for from its proximity
to the Cordillera, where the eastern drifting Pacific clouds deposit
their watery contents, it receives enough moisture to remove from it
that arid dryness which has rendered the eastern part of Patagonia
unsuited for the agriculturist. There is at present excellent pasturage
for cattle, and from all that we know of the climate, I see no reason
why cereal crops should not flourish. The day, I trust, is not far
distant when this part of Western Patagonia will prove a fertile field
of labour for the stock farmer and the agriculturist.

On the afternoon of the 8th of March we again weighed anchor, and
steamed over to the Fitzroy Channel, anchoring for the night at a
place in the fairway about five miles from the north entrance. Some
of our officers were now employed for an hour or two in sounding out
the channel, while others, more fortunate, amused themselves by waging
war against the brown ducks (_Anas cristata_), and black-necked swans
(_Cygnus nigricollis_), which were abundant enough, but more wary than
on our first meeting them. I did not see a single specimen of the
_Cygnus coscoroba_. On the western, or Fuegian shore, the recent tracks
of a deer were seen by one of our party.

We got under way early on the following morning, and after passing
through the Fitzroy Channel, recrossed Otway Water, and re-entered the
Jerome Channel. On the south shore of this latter we noticed a large
fur seal "rookery" (_i.e._, breeding place), and stopped to examine
it for some minutes. There were about thirty large seals hauled up
on the rocks, besides a large number that were swimming about in
the adjoining water. Some of those on the rock were hauled up about
thirty feet above the sea-level. We fired a shell into their midst
at about 800 yards range, which had the effect of making them tumble
off hurriedly into the water, where they made a great tumult, turning
somersaults and jumping clear out of the water, after the usual manner
of fur seals. The seals in this rookery were probably congregated for
the hair-shedding season. Later in the evening we reached our former
anchorage in Tilly Bay, where we came to an anchor for the night.

_Swallow Bay, 11th to 24th of March._--We steamed over to this
anchorage, which lies a few miles to the west of Tilly Bay, in
continuation of our surveying work. A most curious and interesting
fish (_Neophrynichthys latus_) was here obtained. It was brought to
me by one of our seamen, who found it lying dead on the beach, and
bearing marks of having been torn by vultures. Of this fish, which was
discovered by Mr. Hutton a few years ago in New Zealand, Dr. Günther
says that it only differs from the New Zealand specimen in colouration,
and in the presence of small tentacles, which are developed over the
eye and on some parts of the body.

One day, when paddling round a small rocky islet, we saw perched on a
stone, and apparently sleeping, as it remained motionless with bill
resting on the stone, a large snipe (_Gallinago stricklandi_), one of
the very few examples of the species which were observed during our
cruise. It was shot and preserved.

Two mammalians were also obtained at Swallow Bay. One was the common
Magellan otter (_Lutra felina_), the other a nutria (_Myopotamus
coypu_).

On March 25th, our supply of coal running short, it was decided to
conclude our survey of Magellan Straits, and to proceed northwards,
_viâ_ Smyth's Channel, to Puerto Bueno. There we took on board the
residue of a depôt of coal which had been made for us during the
previous season, and continued to pursue our way northwards, stopping
for the nights at various anchorages. On April 2nd, we passed our old
cruising ground in the Trinidad Channel, and entered Wide Channel,
proceeding from thence _viâ_ Indian Reach.

As we passed the entrance of Icy Inlet, we saw large patches of loose
berg-ice floating tranquilly over its surface, and evidently derived
from the glacier at its head. Contrary to our expectations, Eyre Sound
was almost clear of ice, only a single small floating piece being seen;
but to repay us for this disappointment we had a fine view of the
magnificent glacier at its head.

_Port Riofrio, 3rd to 10th of April._--We were detained for a week
at this port, while our surveyors were occupied in examining the
rocks and islets of the neighbouring "Covadonga Group," of which the
survey--commenced by the Chilians--was as yet incomplete. Port Riofrio
is situated on the eastern side of Wellington Island, and derives its
name from a large mountain torrent which pours its water into the bay
nearly opposite to the entrance, for which it also forms one of the
principal leading marks. On the western side of the anchorage, and
forming a sort of mighty dam across the valley through which this
torrent flows, is a remarkable raised beach, whose brow stretches
horizontally from ridge to ridge, its continuity being only broken by
a narrow fissure through which the torrent rushes, descending thence
by a series of cascades to the sea. Inside this barrier the land
slopes gradually but slightly downward to an extensive plateau, which
forms the bed of the valley between the two mountain ranges. Opinions
differed on board as to whether this barrier was a raised beach or an
old terminal moraine; but I inclined to the former view, from the fact
of its brow being so regular and horizontal, from its stretching evenly
from hill to hill, from the absence of any vestige of lateral moraine
on the hillsides, and from the slight difference in actual level
between the brow of the barrier and the general surface of the plain
within. It was covered with the usual swampy soilcap, and the plain was
for the most part occupied by an extensive swamp. Here I collected fine
fruiting specimens of a handsome velvety moss, _Tetraplodon mnioides_,
of a rich green colour, which I have before alluded to as forming
curious tufts on the summits of boulders, on rocky pinnacles, and on
the stumps of dead trees.

On the shores of this anchorage grew several plants which we had
not previously seen in the Straits. Among these was the _Mitraria
coccinea_, a climbing shrub, easily recognised by its dark-green glossy
ovate-acute leaves, and short tubular scarlet flowers. Another was the
_Weinmannia trichosperma_, a tall erect shrub with serrated pinnate
leaves, and jointed petioles winged in a curious rhomboidal fashion. I
was in hopes of finding here the beautiful _Hymenophyllum cruentum_,
which we obtained last year at an island in the English Narrows, some
miles to the northward, but was disappointed, its range probably not
extending so far south.

Two animals new to science were here obtained, viz., a small frog of
a dirty yellow colour, which has since been described by Dr. Günther
as a new species of "_Cacotus_," and an Uncinated calamary, which
has since been examined by Mr. Edgar Smith, and found to represent a
new species, to which he assigns the name "_Onychoteuthis ingens_."
The last-mentioned specimen was found stranded on the beach. The
body, from oral aperture to extremity of caudal appendage, measured
fifteen inches, and the total length from caudal appendage to anterior
extremity of tentacles was two feet nine inches. The tentacular hooks
were very formidable. No other example of this species of squid was
encountered.

Having completed the survey of the Covadonga Group, we again proceeded
on our way northwards. On the first night we stopped at Gray Harbour,
a port immediately to the northward of the English Narrows. As soon
as we had anchored, Lieutenant Rooper and I took advantage of the few
remaining hours of twilight and started off in the skiff, directing our
course towards the head of the bay, where a fair-sized river entered
the sea. We proceeded up the river for about a quarter of a mile,
finding its banks composed of a bluish clay, and passing at its mouth
a low triangular island, which seemed to be a delta formed of clay
and sand washed down from the hills, and piled up here at the outlet
where the fresh-water flow was dammed up in a measure by its contact
with the sea. On the pebbly shores of the river we picked up several
specimens of a pond snail--a species of _Chilinia_, I believe; and on
working a light dredge in mid-stream, we obtained many more specimens
of the same. The location was one eminently suggestive of the haunts
of otters, nutria, and waterfowl, but not a solitary animal of the
kind was to be seen. The disappointment, however, was one which our
experience of similar and equally tempting localities had taught us to
be prepared for. The surrounding country bore recent signs of having
been devastated by a great fire, the mountain sides for miles being
covered with the charred remains of a dense forest.

Owing to its proximity to the English Narrows, Gray Harbour is probably
frequently used as a stopping place by passing steamers, whose
occupants amuse themselves by firing the forest. It is rarely indeed in
this habitually wet region that the forest is sufficiently dry to allow
a fire to spread over any great extent of country.

We got under way at an early hour on the following morning (April
11th). It was a fine clear day, and the channels showed to great
advantage, so that we were able once more to confirm the remark
of old Pigafetta, that in fine weather there is in no part of the
world scenery more lovely. At about four o'clock in the afternoon we
anchored at Hale Cove, a port situated close to the northern outlet
of the Patagonian Channels, and here for the last time we anchored in
Patagonian waters. Rain awnings were now stowed away, top-gallant masts
were sent up, boats were topped and lashed, and all other requisite
arrangements were made for our final departure from the Magellan
region, and for encountering the long heavy ocean swell which we were
sure to find awaiting us to seaward.

I had a run on shore for a few hours before nightfall, and was much
gratified at finding two plants which I had not previously met with in
these channels. One was a tall branching fern of the genus _Alsophila_,
whose long slender woody stems, rising obliquely from the ground
to a height of six feet, were crowned with a magnificent spray of
dark-green glossy fronds. The other was a shrub of creeping habit,
probably of the family _Vacciniaceæ_, with smooth ovate-acute leaves
resembling those of the laurel, and bearing clusters of an egg-shaped
fruit. No flowering specimens were seen. The trunks of the large trees
were clothed with the beautiful fronds of the delicate _Hymenophyllum
cruentum_, which here grows in great abundance. On the morning of the
12th of April we bade a final adieu to the Patagonian Channels.

During our passage northwards along the Chilian coast, sea-birds
of various kinds hovered round us. Of these our most constant
companions were the Cape pigeons (_Daption capensis_), albatrosses
of two species (_Diomedea fuliginosa_ and _D. melanophrys_), a small
storm petrel (_Oceanites grallaria_), a Fulmar petrel (_Thalassœca
glacialoides_), and a white-breasted petrel (_Œstrelata
defilippiana_). A brown skua (_Lestris antarctica_) appeared on the
scene now and then, creating consternation among the smaller petrels.

We arrived at Talcahuano, one of the most interesting of the Chilian
ports, on the morning of the 20th of April, and were surprised and
grieved to hear that a severe epidemic of small-pox prevailed at the
town of Concepcion, some nine miles inland. The epidemic had begun in
January, and we were informed by Mr. Elton, the British Vice-Consul,
that since then no less than 1,500 deaths had occurred, the mortality
of those attacked having been at the extraordinarily high rate of 90
per cent. Ominous rumours reaching us as to the epidemic having already
extended to Talcahuano, our stay was wisely cut short, and the vessel
was moved on to Valparaiso, and subsequently after a short stay to
Coquimbo.

The passage from Valparaiso to Coquimbo occupied two days. As we
were sitting at dinner on the evening of the 3rd of May, the officer
of the watch reported that the ship was moving through patches of
light-coloured stuff resembling shoal water. On going on deck, we saw
wavy bands of straw-coloured water, about one hundred yards in length
by twenty in width, which were plainly visible through the gloom of
the night, the light-coloured patches having distinctly circumscribed
margins, which showed out clearly against the surrounding dark water.
At the same time, the sea in our wake was brilliantly phosphorescent.
On plying the tow-net for a few minutes, I obtained a quantity of
entomostracous crustaceans, and mingled with them a number of
milk-coloured annelids, a species of _Tomopteris_, about one-eighth of
an inch in length. A fringe of lateral appendages bordered its long,
slender body, from whose anterior extremity projected two long antennæ,
curving gracefully upwards and backwards. There were fifteen pairs of
parapodia, the ends of which were furnished with tufts of cirri, which
acted as swimming paddles for propulsion.

Our stay at Coquimbo this season extended from the 4th of May to the
14th of June, having been somewhat prolonged owing to the occurrence
of a case of small-pox on board. Our principal amusement consisted
in shooting excursions after the golden plover, or "pachuros," as
the Chilians call them. These birds frequent the sandy plains, which
form an elevated table-land, fringing the bases of the coast range
of hills. One of our shooting-grounds was on a rather bare plain,
encircling the base of a pyramidal hill called the Pan de Azucar,
which lay at a distance of about eight miles from Coquimbo. It was
a great undulating plain of waste sandy ground, with stunted shrubs
growing here and there, but not affording any cover. Walking over it
was laborious, for the ground was almost everywhere riddled with the
burrows of the _upucerthia_, a sort of ant-thrush, which seems to make
extensive underground tunnels in search of insect larvæ. I obtained a
specimen, and found its stomach crammed full of insects. This bird is
smaller than the _U. dumetaria_, and has a much shorter bill; moreover,
in flying, the secondary feathers, which are of a brick-red colour,
are very conspicuous. Sometimes, when walking over a riddled patch of
ground, one heard a curious half-smothered "took, took," not unlike the
cry of a ctenomys; and on treading firmly over the place from whence
the noise seemed to issue, no sound would be audible for a minute or
two, when the same noise would go on again from a place a yard or so
away. The bird, of course, had moved along, for the tunnels communicate
so that it is able to travel underground over a considerable area.
The burrows of the ctenomys are larger and otherwise different from
those now referred to. At the time of our visit the birds were not at
all shy, allowing one to approach within a few yards of them. These
are gregarious--at least at this time of the year--moving in flocks
from place to place over the sandy plain; and it was sometimes rather
astonishing to see a flock suddenly emerge from a number of burrow
openings, and rise on the wing from a bare sandy patch of ground, where
a moment previously there had been no sign of life.

[Illustration: FISH HOOKS OF UNION ISLANDERS (_see p. 157._)]



CHAPTER VII.

_TAHITI.--NASSAU ISLAND.--UNION GROUP._


We sailed from Coquimbo on the 14th of June; and after a somewhat
uneventful voyage across the Pacific, which was considerably prolonged
by sounding operations, and which lasted fifty-three days, we arrived
at Tahiti.

Tahiti was discovered, in the year 1606, by a Spanish exploring
expedition, which set out from Peru under the command of Pedro
Fernandez de Quiros, a navigator who had previously acquired some
renown in Mendaña's exploration of the New Hebrides group. One of
his vessels anchored for a short time off the island; but as a
landing could not be safely effected by means of the ship's boats, an
adventurous young Spanish sailor stripped and swam to the shore, where
he was well received by the natives; so that the honour of having
discovered Tahiti and communicated with the natives is justly due to
this expedition. The name then given to the island by Quiros was "La
Sagittaria."

In 1767 Tahiti was visited by an English exploring ship, the _Dolphin_,
commanded by Captain Wallis, who, unaware of the visit of Quiros, and
imagining himself to be the original discoverer, set up an English flag
at Matavai Bay, took possession in the name of King George III., and
named the island "King George's Island." The account given by Wallis
of this visit (published in Hawksworth's "Voyages") is full of most
curious and interesting information, and perhaps in this respect equals
the well-known narrative subsequently given to the world by our
greatest navigator, Cook.

[Illustration: WOMAN OF TAHITI (_p. 147_). _To face p. 144._]

In the following year (1768), M. de Bougainville, of the French frigate
_Boudeuse_, arrived independently at Tahiti, and, being in ignorance of
the priority of Spanish and English explorers, gave to the island its
third name, "Nouvelle Cythére."

On the 12th of April, 1769, the expedition sent out from England under
the command of Captain Cook, to observe the transit of Venus, arrived
at Tahiti, and anchored at Matavai Bay. To protect the astronomers from
the intrusion of the natives, a small fort was erected on the north
shore of the bay, and from this position the transit was observed on
the 3rd of June of the same year.

Through a misconception of the native pronunciation, the name of the
island, "Otaheite," was now brought into general use by Cook; and
although it was clearly pointed out by Ellis--the missionary who wrote
in 1832--that Tahiti was really the native name, the term "Otaheite,"
erroneously assigned by Cook, remained in use for many years subsequent
to the time of Ellis.

About the beginning of the present century the English missionaries,
who had previously established themselves in Western Polynesia,
extended their labours to Tahiti, where they met with great success
in their efforts to Christianize the inhabitants. They retained
their influence over the natives until the year 1838, when two
French Catholic missionaries arrived at Tahiti, with the intention
of preaching the doctrines of their Church. They were not, however,
allowed to obtain a footing on the island, but were forcibly expelled.
They accordingly sought the protection of the French admiral, Du Petit
Thouars, then commanding the frigate _La Venus_ in the Pacific, and in
the year 1842 he demanded satisfaction in the name of his government;
and on Queen Pomare of Tahiti refusing to accede to his demand, he
declared war against the Tahitians. The islanders were compelled to
submit to the superior power of the French; and on coming to terms
with their conquerors, it was agreed that the Tahitians should be
allowed to retain their own form of government, but under a French
Protectorate, and that freedom should be given to all persons to
practise or preach whatever religion they pleased.

The Protectorate continued in force until July 1880, when, at the
request of King Pomare V. and the native chiefs, the island and its
dependencies were definitely ceded to France, so that they now form an
integral part of the French Republic.

Our visit to Tahiti took place a few weeks after the French annexation.
At daybreak on the 6th August, 1880, we sighted the south-eastern
extremity of the island, and on closing the land skirted along its
north-east coast, having thus on our port hand a magnificent panoramic
view of this lovely island. As we passed abreast of some of the deeper
valleys, we got glimpses of the famous Diadem Peak, which rises to an
altitude of 7,000 feet. Its summit is jagged, so as to present a very
distinct resemblance to a royal crown, and hence the name "crown" or
"diadem" so aptly assigned. I was much struck by the resemblance which
the scenery here presented to that of Madeira. The conformation of the
volcanic peaks and ridges is very similar, but the vegetable covering
is of a sap green tint, whereas that of Madeira, seen from a similar
distance, appears of a bronze hue. At the distance from the land which
the barrier reef obliged us to maintain, the belt of cocoa-nut trees
which covers the shore platform was only visible through the telescope.

In the harbour of Papiété, where we anchored, were the French flagship
_Victorieuse_, an ironclad, and a wooden sloop the _Dayot_. Here we had
abundant evidence of the extreme care taken by the French Government
to render the harbour and its surroundings as perfect in every respect
as a lavish expenditure of money could effect. A solidly-built
sea-wall, alongside of which merchant vessels were landing and shipping
cargoes, fronted the settlement; a neatly-kept alameda, shaded by the
luxuriant foliage of large Hibiscus trees, covered what was formerly
the coral foreshore; broad streets running in at right angles to
the wharf traversed the town; a dockyard with spacious sheds and
storehouses covered a low point jutting out on the northern side of
the harbour; and on a small picturesque island lying near the entrance
was a gun battery nestling under tall cocoa-nut trees, and yet so
constructed as not to detract from the romantic appearance of this
beautiful and marvellous work of nature. The Tahitians still retain
and deserve their old reputation for great amiability of disposition
and extraordinary good humour. One is greeted by almost every native
passed on the road with the friendly salutation "Yoronha" (meaning
"good-day"), accompanied by a merry smile. Indeed, one cannot help
being struck by the number of smiling, laughing faces seen at Tahiti,
and to my mind there is nothing more characteristic of the Tahitians,
as distinguished from all other islanders, than the ever smiling face
reflecting genuine good humour for which there is no apparent cause.
In many respects, however, they seem to have improved but little since
the time of Wallis. Morality is still at a very low ebb, and the abuse
of intoxicating drinks is an evil which seems likely in time to create
sad havoc among them. For unfortunately, since the French annexation,
spirit shops have been thrown open to the natives, although, under
the old missionary _régime_, the possession of spirit of any kind was
forbidden by the command of Queen Pomare. Of late years the population
has been increasing, owing to the abolition of infanticide, which was
formerly the fashion of the country.

The principal products of the island are cotton, sugar, cocoa-nuts,
oranges, and vanilla. These articles are sent to San Francisco, with
which port there is monthly communication by means of sailing vessels;
the cocoa-nut trade being perhaps in this, as in most other Polynesian
islands, the most reliable industry. Usually the sun-dried kernel,
known commercially as "Copra," is exported, but sometimes the nuts are
shipped entire. The cultivation of the cocoa-nut tree does not require
much trouble. The ripe nuts, if exposed on the ground in places where
they are free from the depredations of land-crabs and centipedes,
readily germinate, and on being planted at distances of about five
yards apart, they take root and require no further care. However,
those planted in good soil give, as might be expected, an earlier and
more productive yield than is afforded by trees grown in the poor
land which usually adjoins the coral sea-beach. A cocoa-nut planted
in average soil commences to bear fruit in about the fifth year of
its existence, and from that time until it has attained the age of a
hundred years,--when it is probably blown down,--it yields about twelve
dozen nuts per annum.

A large trade is also done in oranges. They are packed up in boxes and
shipped to San Francisco, and although about half of the cargo decays
during the voyage, the profit derived from the other half is found to
yield a sufficient remuneration.

The cultivation of vanilla--an introduced plant--requires great care,
artificial aid being necessary to ensure the proper fertilization
of the flowers. Samples of the cured bean which we saw seemed to
be of very fair quality, and likely to command high prices in the
European markets. These are now sold at Tahiti at the rate of 4_s._
per pound;--I should rather have said at the rate of a dollar a pound,
because, strange to say, the currency at Tahiti is in Chilian silver
dollars, whereas in Chili itself the currency is now almost entirely in
paper, a hard dollar being very rarely encountered there.

The great war canoes are now things of the past, even the single
outrigger canoes being only used by the poorer classes who cannot
afford to buy boats of European build. The manufacture of pandanus mats
and native cloth is also becoming obsolete, and it is said that the
art of making these things is almost unknown to the rising generation.
At present the favourite occupation of the natives, if we exclude
dancing and lolling in the sunshine, is fishing; and a well-to-do
native, who can afford to provide himself with an European fishing net,
makes plenty of dollars to spend in drink and gay-coloured clothes.
The fishermen of the poorer class paddle out on the reef at night,
and spear fish by torchlight as of old, so that every night the reefs
outside the harbour are gaily illumined by these torch fires.

[Illustration: FISHERMAN OF TAHITI. _To face p. 148._]

A few days after our arrival at Papiété, I made an excursion to
Point Venus, the northern extremity of Matavai Bay, in company with
a party of our surveying officers, who wished to take sights at this
station for chronometric measurements of longitude; Point Venus being
one of the secondary meridians to which longitudes in the Pacific
are referred. The distance from Papiété is about six miles. We went
in one of the ship's steam-cutters, taking a small boat in tow; and
after a somewhat hazardous passage among the reefs, which here form an
irregular barrier along the coast, we reached Matavai Bay. We landed
easily upon a smooth sloping beach of black volcanic sand--the detritus
brought down from the hills by a neighbouring stream; and while the
observers established themselves and their instruments on a grass plot
near the base of the lighthouse, I took a stroll into the surrounding
country, having at my disposal about five hours.

The French keeper of the lighthouse, who was most obliging, pointed out
to us a square slab of coral rock imbedded in the ground, and bearing
on its surface a deeply-chiselled groove. It was placed there some
ten years ago, to replace one which had been fixed there in the year
1839 by Captain Wilkes, of the United States Exploring Expedition,
and was, I understand, intended to assist in determining the exact
position of a submerged coral knoll, some 100 yards from the shore, on
which measurements were made for determining the rate of growth of the
coral. We were also shown a large and venerable tamarind tree near the
lighthouse, which is said to have been planted more than 100 years ago
by our own great navigator, Cook. Cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, oranges,
bananas, and mangoes, grew in great profusion, and the greatest and
most good-natured eagerness was shown by the natives in putting these
delicious fruits at our disposal.

We also saw a large extent of cleared land devoted to the cultivation
of cotton plants, and near one of the native huts vanilla was growing
successfully.

Nothing could exceed the civility of the natives in pressing food
upon us, and in furnishing us with information. They know very little
English, but many of them speak French, which the rising generation are
taught in the government schools.

In one of the larger and more pretentious style of native huts,
apparently that of a district chief, we read a proclamation, printed in
French and Tahitian on opposite columns, announcing to the inhabitants
the definitive annexation of the island and its dependencies; and,
after pointing out in glowing colours the great advantages accruing to
the natives from the complete establishment of French rule, it wound up
with, "_Vive la France. Vive Tahiti._"

One is much struck by the great scarcity of birds in Tahiti. There are,
in fact, not more than six species of indigenous birds, and of these an
average day's walk will only afford examples of the swallow; although
in the mountain valleys, paroquets, pigeons, and kingfishers are met
with, though rarely.

In the course of an afternoon's walk about the environs of Papiété,
we were accosted by a portly native dressed in European clothes, who,
sitting in a four-wheeled buggy, and accompanied by three native
attendants, pulled up abreast of us. At his feet he had a large
demijohn of wine, from which he had evidently been imbibing freely, for
by way of salutation he greeted us with a volley of most disgusting
oaths and imprecations. This seemed to be all the English he was
acquainted with. A bystander informed us that the name of this native
gentleman was "Tamitao," and that he was no less a personage than the
brother of King Pomare V., the present monarch. The latter now only
possesses a nominal sovereignty; for on ceding his possessions to the
French, he relinquished all monarchical authority, and receives instead
an annual stipend of 8,000 dollars, a pension which, we were told,
would not be continued to his heir. It is said but I know not with
what truth, that one of the principal reasons which induced him to sell
his birthright was a desire to exclude from the succession his nominal
son, whom he believes to be illegitimate. Our conference with the
royal brother was not an agreeable one, for he presently gathered up
the reins, and amid a volley of imprecations delivered in the coarsest
style of Billingsgate English, this tatterdemalion prince of an ancient
dynasty flogged his horses into a gallop, and rattled away on his
drunken career.

On the evening before our departure we were present at a ball which was
given at the royal palace by the French inhabitants of Tahiti. It was
intended to celebrate the annexation of the island by France, and was
supposed to be the occasion for mutual congratulations between King
Pomare and his chiefs on the one hand, and the Governor and French
Admiral on the other. Pomare was attired in a gorgeous dress richly
embroidered with gold lace, and the French officials appeared in full
dress. The native chiefs were, however, very shabbily turned out in
faded European clothes, and although for the most part very fine men,
yet they looked very much as if they were ashamed of themselves, and
were by no means at their ease in the richly-decorated ball-room. Among
the quasi chiefs was "Paofai," an old gentleman who did duty as our
washerman, wearing a black alpaca monkey-jacket, and carrying under his
arm a large white sun-helmet, which he seemingly thought a becoming
addition to his otherwise somewhat incongruous attire. He and his
_confrères_ would have shown to much more advantage in their ordinary
native costume. Supper began about midnight, and it was then, and not
till then, that the royal family and chiefs seemed to flourish in their
proper element, the quantity of food and drink which they stowed away
in their huge carcases being something prodigious.

A few days before the close of our visit to Tahiti, I received, through
the kindness of Monsieur Parrayon, captain of the French man-of-war
_Dayot_, a large coral of the Fungia group, which had just been
removed from the bottom of his ship as the copper was being cleaned
by native divers. The occurrence is interesting as illustrating
the rapidity of the growth of coral in these waters. There was the
following history:--The _Dayot_ had entered the tropical waters of
the South Pacific about seven months previously, having come directly
from the coast of Chili. She visited some of the islands, but made no
long stay in harbour until she reached Manga Reva (Gambier Islands),
where she remained for two months in the still waters of a coral basin.
On entering this basin, she touched the reef slightly, and without
sustaining any damage. From Manga Reva she sailed to Tahiti, where she
arrived about the same time as the _Alert_.

Several specimens of living coral were found attached to the copper
sheathing, that which I received being the largest. It was discoidal
in shape, with its upper and under surfaces respectively convex and
concave, and near the centre of the under surface there was a scar,
where the pedicle by which it was attached to the copper sheathing
appeared to have been broken through. The disc measured nine inches in
diameter, and the weight of the specimen, when half dry, was two pounds
fourteen ounces. On examining the under surface, another disc, three
and three-quarter inches in diameter, was visible, partly imbedded in
the more recent coral growth. Of this old disc about one-sixth part was
dead and uncovered by new coral, and was stained of a deep blue colour
from contact with the copper, while the outline of the rest of this old
disc was plainly discernible, although partially covered in by plates
of new coral.

It is probable that on touching the reef at Manga Reva nine weeks
previously, a young Fungia was jammed against the copper, became
attached, and subsequently grew until it attained its present
dimensions.

About midday of the 27th August we arrived off Nassau Island, in
latitude 11° 31′ S., longitude 165° 25′ W. It is of coral
formation, about half a mile long by a quarter of a mile broad, and
somewhat elliptical in general outline. It was thickly wooded with
tall screw pines, rising from a scrub of matted brushwood, and at the
northern end of the island some cocoa-nuts were seen. It was discovered
in the year 1835 by an American whale-ship, the _Nassau_, from which
circumstance it derives its name. There were then no inhabitants on the
island.

When about three miles off we lay to and sounded, getting bottom at
1,000 fathoms, on coral sand. At the same time a party of us started
off in a whale boat to land, but this we soon found to be no easy
matter, for the island was encircled by a broad fringing reef, on the
sharp outer edge of which the surf everywhere broke heavily. Over our
heads were flying and screaming great numbers of sea-birds, among which
I noticed a dusky brown tern with a white forehead patch, and a large
brown gannet, of both of which I obtained specimens.

While we were vainly looking out for a landing-place, a white man,
accompanied by two Polynesians, launched a small outrigger canoe from
the reef edge, and paddled out to us. From the white man we learned
that the island belonged to a Mr. Halicott, an American gentleman, for
whom he had been acting as care-taker for the previous five years, and
that he and his native assistants were engaged in planting cocoa-nuts,
and hoped in time to do a remunerative trade in copra. There were,
he said, only three or four trees bearing nuts, and the bread-fruit
did not grow on the island. The present population amounted to six,
viz.--the white man and his wife, and two natives from Danger Islands,
with their wives. As for live stock, they had only two dogs and two
pigs, and regarding the latter our informant remarked, with much
concern, that they were not in a condition to multiply. For supplies of
food, excepting fish, which was of course abundant, he depended on a
sailing vessel, which visited the island once a year, bringing rice and
meal. Water, fortunately, was plentiful.

Continuing on our course, on the following morning (August 28th), we
sighted the Tema Reef, in latitude 10° 7′ S., longitude 165° 32.5′
W., and steaming up to and around it, we made a series of soundings,
which occupied our surveyors for half the day. The reef, a submerged
one, is indicated by a circular patch of breakers about a quarter of
a mile in circumference, from one part of which a long tapering line
of surf extends in a north-east direction, making the entire affair
have some resemblance in outline to a tadpole. A cloud of white spray
overhung this great mass of seething water, and the frightful tumble
and confusion of the crests of the breakers as they uprose in pyramids
twenty feet in height, made one shudder to think of the consequences
to an ill-fated vessel striking on this reef. Its position is given
correctly on the old charts.

On the same evening we passed about four miles to the northward of the
Danger Islands, a low coral group, which is found to be about six miles
to the eastward of the position assigned to it on the charts on the
authority of the Tuscarora (U. S.) Expedition.

In the forenoon of the 3rd September we sighted Fakaata, or Bowditch
Island, and some hours later Nukunono, which lies in latitude 9° 24′
S., longitude 171° 27′ W. These two islands, with Oatáfu, which lies
further to the westward, constitute the Union Group. They are all low
lagoon-islands. At 3.30 p.m., when abreast of Nukunono, we altered
course and stood in towards the land, and when about three miles off
observed an outrigger canoe with three men in it, paddling towards
us. The crew consisted of one white man and two Polynesian natives.
The former came on board, and proved to be a Portuguese, in a very
attenuated condition, and sadly in want of provisions. He told us in
broken English that he had lived on the island for sixteen years,
that he was the only white man there, and that the native population
amounted to eighty. A conspicuous white building which we had noticed
on the island was, he informed us, a church, presided over by a native
missionary teacher, there being at present no clergyman on the island.
He besought us to give some biscuit, salt meat, and nails, for which
he tendered payment in dollars, which was of course refused; but
his heart was gladdened by a free gift of the stores he required, as
well as other useful articles. He said that he very rarely saw any
vessels--not more than once in ten months--and that no "labour ships"
visited the island. The latter are small vessels whose owners make a
living by conveying Polynesian natives to the Australian colonies,
where they are employed as labourers, under--usually--a three years'
contract.

The only native production was "copra," which was taken away by trading
vessels that made visits at long intervals.

Fish were at times abundant, and they had a good many pigs, which
were allowed to run wild. The natives, he said, were a very friendly,
well-disposed people, of whom we saw two very promising examples in the
canoe alongside.

We were obliged to get under way after only half an hour's stay, when
our Portuguese friend shoved off, heavily laden with presents, and
bidding us an affectionate farewell.

On the following morning (September 4th) we reached Oatáfu, the most
westerly island of the group, and the ship was hove to at about three
miles distance from that part of the island where the native settlement
is situated. A boat was then sent in, from which a party landed, but
not without some difficulty, it being found necessary to anchor the
boat outside the line of breakers, and obtain the services of a native
canoe to bring us through the surf.

We were received by the natives with every demonstration of good-will,
and were at once conducted to the house of the native missionary
teacher, who seemed to a great extent to occupy the position of a
chief. We found the worthy old gentleman seated on a mat in the corner
of his hut, a position from which he never stirred during the time
of our visit. After drinking cocoa-nut milk, and exchanging some
ceremonious remarks with the teacher through the imperfect medium of a
native interpreter, we extricated ourselves from the crowd of natives
that hemmed us in, and started on a stroll of inspection through the
settlement.

The men are fine specimens of the Polynesian race, well-built and with
frank, open countenances; but the women are much inferior to them, both
in good looks, and, as it seemed to me, in manners.

A great number of both sexes were affected with a rather unsightly
skin-disease, evidently of a parasitic character, which they call
"peeter." It begins on the chest and shoulders in small circular
patches somewhat resembling "ringworm," and eventually extends over
the entire cutaneous surface, causing desquamation of the cuticle,
and giving rise to a very distressing itching. When the disease has
become well established, the skin exhibits grooves of the "snail-track"
pattern, which intersect each other in various directions; so that on
examining at a few yards distance a man who is extensively diseased, he
seems at first sight as if covered with artificial cicatrices, arranged
so as to represent some hieroglyphic device. They possess no remedy for
this disease, and were therefore extremely anxious to obtain from us
some treatment for it. In other respects they seem to be a very healthy
people.

We crossed the narrow strip of land--only a few hundred yards wide--on
which lies the settlement, and then found ourselves on the margin of an
extensive lagoon, on the smooth sandy beach of which outrigger canoes
in great numbers were hauled up. The island is an irregular atoll, that
portion on which we were being continuous for about three-fifths of the
circle, while the remaining portion was made up by a straggling chain
of islets.

During our subsequent stroll through the settlement, I obtained some
information from an intelligent native who spoke a little English,
and seemed to be one of the principal people. He seemed to be very
proud of his small stock of knowledge concerning "Britannia," as he
called Great Britain, and was very particular in explaining that he
was a Protestant, and disapproved strongly of Catholicism, which he
looked on as the height of infamy. He was therefore surprised and much
crestfallen at hearing that _all_ Englishmen were not Protestants.

We were unable to obtain many curiosities in the way of native
implements, as according to the calendar of the island it was the
Sabbath day, and was as such strictly observed; although with us,
keeping eastern time and longitude, it was of course a Saturday.
However, by a judicious distribution of a few plugs of tobacco, which I
emphatically called "presents," and by bestowing on my native friend a
surgical lancet, which he was very anxious to possess, I received--also
as "presents"--a few implements, viz., a large wooden shark-hook with
rope snooding made of cocoa-nut fibres, a small fish-hook, the stem
of which was made of pearl shell and the hook of turtle shell, a
fish-hook made of cocoa-nut husk, neatly carved, and the blade of an
old native adze fashioned out of a clamshell. I was very glad to get
these articles, for since the introduction of iron tools the ancient
stone and shell implements have been thrown away and lost sight of, so
that it is now exceedingly difficult to procure any of them. No weapons
of any kind are used, and the spear is not used even for fishing. I
entered one of the better class of native huts, and found it clean
and neatly arranged; and as in the hut of the missionary teacher,
pictures cut from the London illustrated papers were stuck against the
walls, and pointed out to us as objects of special pride. The entire
population at this time numbered 260, and was presided over until a few
weeks prior to our visit by a king. The late monarch, however, having
shown himself to be a good-for-nothing sort of person, was deposed by
his subjects, who now get on very well without any form of government
excepting that of the missionaries.

There was one white man living on the island, a Scotchman named Adam
Mayne, who collects cocoa-nut oil on behalf of the firm of Henderson
and Macfarlane, of Auckland. He receives supplies every three months
or thereabouts from a trading vessel; but as the latter was now three
months overdue, he was very glad to receive from us a present of
biscuit and medical stores.

The Christianizing of the island has been undertaken by the London
Missionary Society, who send at long intervals a missionary clergyman
to inspect the settlement, and confer with their delegate, the native
missionary.

The natural products are very limited, consisting solely of cocoa-nuts
and fish. The latter commodity abounds. Pearl shell is obtained, but
not in sufficient quantities to be an article of commerce.

Adam Mayne told us that sharks were very numerous, and were caught with
the hook and line; but no case had ever occurred of a native being
injured by them, although they were accustomed to swim in the open sea
outside the reef, a fact of which we ourselves had ocular proof. At
the same time, curiously enough, many instances had occurred at the
Windward Islands, Nukunono and Fakaata, of natives being taken down by
sharks. Turtle are occasionally caught, and of these the shell of the
carapace is used for making hooks for fishing, which native-made hooks
are, by-the-bye, preferred to our English ones. Indeed, they say that
the fish will not take our metal hooks at all.

On the afternoon of the same day (September 4th) we again got under
way, and continued on our course to the westward, fixing the positions
of islands and taking negative soundings frequently. On the 13th of
September we obtained soundings on the Lalla Rookh bank in latitude
13° 5′ S., longitude 175° 26′ W., the depth ranging from twelve
to seventeen fathoms. With the snap-lead a sample of the bottom was
brought up, consisting of a lump of dead coral incrusted with red
nullipores, and riddled in all directions by the borings of annelids.



CHAPTER VIII.

_FIJI AND TONGA._


The harbour of Levuka, in which we anchored on the 18th of September,
is situated on the north-east side of the island of Ovalau, and from
its central position in the Fiji Group has for several years been the
principal seat of commercial activity and the favourite anchorage for
men-of-war. Since the annexation in 1875, Levuka has been the seat
of government for the colony, and the official residence of the High
Commissioner for the Pacific. During our stay in harbour the ship was
refitted and reprovisioned, and our boats were occupied in making some
additions to the survey of the port.

A few days after our arrival I received a visit from the youngest
son of the redoubted King Cacobau, a fine-looking man, twenty-three
years old, whose proper designation is the "Ratu Joseph Celua" ("Ratu"
meaning prince), but who is more generally known in Fiji as "Ratu Joe."
It seems that soon after we had anchored, he came on board accompanied
by some other native sight-seers, and as I had then shown him some
slight civility, he now came to express his gratitude by presenting
me with a large mat, made from the split leaves of the screw-pine. He
surprised us all by speaking exceedingly good English, and possessing
an intimate knowledge of the ways and manners of civilized life. It
appears that when Fiji was ceded to Great Britain in 1875, he was taken
to Sydney, in H.M.S. _Dido_, to be educated, and accordingly spent
three years at the university there. There was no topic of general
interest on which he did not possess a fair amount of knowledge. He
wore his hair in the fashion of the country, _i.e._, in a mop frizzled
out to an immense size, and in other respects he was got up as a native
chief of distinction. He spoke favourably of British rule, although,
as we were otherwise informed, he himself had recently acquired a
practical experience of the unpleasant consequences attending the
commission of an indictable offence, in having to undergo a sentence of
three months' hard labour.

On the 25th of September a party of us made an excursion in one of
the ship's steam-cutters to Bau, the old native capital of the Fiji
Group. We started from Levuka harbour at nine o'clock in the morning,
accompanied by our friend the Ratu Joe, who most kindly and hospitably
volunteered to pilot us over, and to entertain us in his hut at Bau.

We steamed along in smooth water inside the barrier reef which protects
the S.E. side of Ovalau for about three miles, when we passed out into
the open sea through a narrow opening in the reef. We then steamed for
about five miles through deep water, until we entered an intricate
system of channels which wind among the submerged reefs extending
across the Strait between Ovalau and Viti Levu. The distance from
Levuka to Bau is about twenty-four miles, and after a pleasant passage
of five hours we reached our destination and anchored the boat in
smooth water at about forty yards from the shore. After depositing
our baggage in Joe's hut, we went in a body to pay our respects to
King Cacobau the "Vunivalu" (kingly title meaning the "Root of War"),
to whom we were formally introduced by Joe, the latter also acting
as interpreter, for Cacobau does not speak English at all. We were
received in a small smoky hut, in which the aged monarch spends most
of his time during this, the cold, season of Fiji. He seemed to be a
feeble old man, aged about seventy, and almost entirely blind, yet
evidently possessing his mental faculties in full vigour, for he put
to us many shrewd questions concerning the work of our ship, and then,
after a pause, during which he seemed to be pondering over her name,
asked if we could give him some information regarding her previous
work of exploration in the Arctic regions. On this subject he seemed
to take much interest, and like many other people, did not fail to put
the rather puzzling question as to what could be the use of exploring
the uninhabited and inhospitable polar regions. During the conference
he sat cross-legged on a large mat, crouching over a smoky wood fire.
His hair was grey, and his upper teeth seemed to be gone. From time
to time messengers came into the hut, who after assuming a respectful
posture on the floor, asked for his orders concerning various municipal
affairs. To these functionaries his replies were short, sharp, and
decisive, and were acted upon with such alacrity that it was fully
evident to us that he still retains no small part of his former control
over his subjects.[2]

[2] The news of Cacobau's death has just reached England (April 1883).
"Cacobau" is pronounced "Thackombow."

[Illustration: KING CACOBAU OF FIJI (_on right_), WIFE, AND RATU JOE
(_on left_). _To face p. 160._]

It happened, by chance, that on the day of our arrival at Bau, a
feast was to be given by Cacobau to a tribe of natives who had just
brought to him a tribute offering, consisting of eighteen large green
turtle. As we were landing we saw the feast, which consisted of eight
good-sized pigs roasted whole, and several huge piles of yams, spread
out on a sort of common outside the enclosure of the native town; but
on the king being apprised of our visit, he gave orders that the feast
was to be transferred inside the town palisades, and it was accordingly
removed and spread out on the grass in front of the small hut wherein
he received us. Then, at a signal from him, conveyed in the form of a
fierce growl delivered from his seat by the fire, the members of the
stranger tribe assembled round the roasted pigs, which were quickly
cut up into joints, and then carried by certain representatives of the
tribe into various huts, to be there quietly consumed. During all this
time the large trough-shaped wooden drums, called "Lalis," were being
vigorously sounded to summon the people to the feast. Subsequently the
old king shook himself together, came out from the hut, and standing
in the open surrounded by a large and picturesque assemblage of his
subjects, and assisted by his three big sons, distributed large rolls
of "tapa" (native cloth made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry)
to several leading personages of the strange tribe. These presents were
valuable, for some of these pieces of "tapa" measured eighty yards in
length by about one yard in width.

About two months before the time of our visit, there had been a great
fire at Bau, which destroyed and reduced to ashes about one-third of
the town, and compelled some of the inhabitants to move over to the
main island of Viti Levu. Among the buildings destroyed by this fire
was the great Bure Kalou, or native temple, where even so recently as
thirty years ago the great cannibal feasts used to take place. Close
to one angle of the square mass of earthwork on which the temple was
raised, we saw a stone slab projecting from the ground in a nearly
upright position. This was one of the famous stones--incorrectly
styled "sacrificial" against which the unfortunate people who were
to be cooked for "bakola" (human meat) had their brains dashed out.
This interesting relic of cannibalism has not escaped the ravages of
modern vandalism, numerous fragments having been chipped off as curios.
Indeed, we were told that quite recently one of the white traders of
Levuka had been endeavouring to carry off this stone altogether, with a
view to making money by exhibiting it at Sydney and such places.

We saw another and somewhat similar stone near the water side, and
close to the remains of the Bure Kalou of the tribe of fishermen,
where the bodies of prisoners of war, brought in by the "Lasikaus," or
fishermen, were landed and mutilated. The upright slab was worn quite
smooth on one side, presumably by the friction of human heads.

Certain honeycombed slabs of coral here formed a pavement of a few
square yards in extent, and until recently it was usual to find human
teeth imbedded in the pores of the coral. They have probably all been
removed by curiosity hunters, for we looked in vain for a single
specimen.

In a few years hence the old Fijian double canoe (consisting of two
canoes placed side by side, and connected by a bridge) will be seen no
more; but we were lucky in having an opportunity of seeing one good
specimen at Bau. It was hauled up on a slip beneath a large thatched
shed, and although by no means one of the largest of its kind, yet it
greatly exceeded my expectations. The depth of hold was about five
feet, so that standing on the bottom of either canoe, my neck was just
on a level with the edge of the hatch, and the total length of each
canoe was 72 feet; but what most surprised me was the enormous size of
the mast, which lay alongside the vessel. It was about the size of the
_Alert's_ spanker boom. This canoe was intended to carry 250 men, and I
have no doubt it would hold that number.

Single outrigger canoes are still largely used. We saw several in
course of construction on the small recessed slips which indented the
sea-wall of the island.

The genuine old native implements and weapons are now getting very
scarce, the demand for these articles in Europe having created a trade
which has almost exhausted the supplies of the country. I inquired for
stone adzes, and, after some difficulty, obtained one, for which I paid
a shilling; but on subsequently groping for myself amongst the ruins of
the burnt huts, I succeeded in finding several perfect and imperfect
specimens.

In the evening we witnessed the ceremony of _angona_ drinking in the
king's state residence, where our friend the Ratu Joe presided on this
occasion instead of his father. The performance began with a long
monotonous chant, which was maintained alternately by an elderly man,
who seemed to hold the office of master of the ceremonies, and by a
body of elderly men, amounting to forty or fifty, who squatted close
together on the floor. In the meantime some boys were engaged in a
gloomy corner of the hut in chewing the angona root, and in spitting
the pulpy masticated mouthfuls of fibre into the large wooden bowl
which was destined to contain the liquor. Suddenly the chant ended with
a simultaneous and abrupt clapping of hands on the part of the singers;
and now the angona bowl was brought forward into the clear space in
the centre of the room, water was poured over the chewed pulp, and
finally the liquor was rudely strained by sponging it up with a handful
of hibiscus fibre, and filling the drinking cup with the squeezed
contents. Great respect was throughout shown to Joe, the presiding
chief; and on his emptying the bowl of angona, which was handed to
him solemnly by the cupbearer, all the natives exclaimed in a loud
voice, "_Amadtha_" (meaning, "It is emptied"). Subsequently similar
draughts were politely handed to each of us guests by the official
cupbearer, but notwithstanding the historic interest attaching to this
famous South Sea beverage, and the impression made on us by the great
concourse of native dignitaries gathered together in solemn awe, few of
us were inclined to imitate the chief's example and do justice to the
flowing bowl.

However, we tasted it, and thought it rather nasty, giving one the idea
of a mixture of pepper and soapsuds.

The Fijians spoke very favourably of British rule, and it would seem
that the Governor (Sir Arthur Gordon) had very wisely and successfully
adopted the policy of retaining, so far as was practicable, the old
native laws, only modifying them as much as was necessary for the
establishment of a reasonable degree of civilization. Thus the old
feudal power of the chiefs has been retained, and in many instances
those among them who were well-behaved, and displayed a suitable amount
of administrative ability, have been invested with magisterial power
over the districts to which they belong.

We slept for the night in Joe's hut, stretching ourselves out on the
mats which covered the floor, and excepting a little trouble from
mosquitoes, were comfortable enough. Our return journey to Levuka on
the following evening was accomplished without any incident worthy of
note.

Some days later, I took part in a walking excursion across the island
of Ovalau, accompanied by Mr. Parr, an English gentleman residing
in the colony and the owner of a large plantation in the Rewa River
district of Viti Levu, and under the guidance of two natives, who
carried our small parcels of baggage. Starting from Levuka on the
morning of the 30th of September, we proceeded up the Totoonga Valley,
which stretches inland from the back of the settlement, and after about
two hours' hard walking, discovered that our guides had lost their
way, and had brought us up to the summit of a thickly-wooded conical
hill. Here, however, we were compensated for our disappointment by
finding several graves of the Kaicolos, an old hill-inhabiting tribe of
Fijians, who for a long time held out against the aggressive policy of
Cacobau, and struggled vainly to maintain their independence.

We had now to descend from this hill to the main valley below, from
whence our guides made a fresh departure, by means of which we were
enabled, after a stiffish climb up the face of a rather steep hillside,
to attain a ridge 1,700 feet high, which separates the watersheds
of the east and west sides of the island. After a brief stay here,
we descended the other side by a steep and almost obliterated track
for about three hours more, when we reached Livoni, the site of an
old Kaicolo stronghold. Here, amid the ruins of the town, we found a
farmhouse of recent construction, the property of a Mr. McCorkill, who
had obtained a three years' lease of the land, and was about to try his
hand at stock-farming. He had two hundred head of cattle, for which
he obtained a ready sale at Levuka, but the difficulties of transit
were considerable, and he did not seem hopeful as to the success of
his enterprise. He was, moreover, apprehensive that his house, which
was built close to the bank of a mountain torrent, was on a rather
insecure site, and that the next heavy flood in the rainy season would
sweep away all his household belongings.

He pointed out close to his own house the characteristic raised
foundations of an old native temple (Bure Kalou), and told us that his
workmen, in clearing the ground for his garden and paddock, frequently
turned up human skulls and other bones. He also very kindly promised to
send me some Kaicolo crania on the first opportunity; a promise which
he amply redeemed some weeks later by presenting me with two excellent
specimens.

After a short stay in his house, and refreshed by a drink of delicious
milk, we continued our walk down this valley, following the course
of the river, which, as we advanced, rapidly increased in size, and
pursued so sinuous a course that we were obliged to cross and recross
it five or six times before we arrived at Buréta--a native village
on the west side of Ovalau--which we gained just before nightfall. A
further walk of about a mile brought us to the residence of a friend
of Mr. Parr's (Captain Morne), a retired merchant captain, and now the
owner of a large estate, by whom we were most hospitably entertained
and lodged for the night.

This gentleman was doing a large trade in pine-apples, of which he has
about twenty acres under cultivation. He sends the produce periodically
to Sydney by steamer, packed in wooden boxes, where they fetch about
20_s._ per dozen. On the following morning we spent some hours in
strolling about the estate, and in a creek near the outlet of the
Livoni River we saw the curious mud-fish _Periophthalmus_ jumping about
on the moist beach in the ludicrous manner which has been so well
described by Mr. Moseley in his "Notes of a Naturalist," its pectoral
fins being used for terrestrial progression.

We made the return journey by the south side of the island, Captain
Morne very considerately sending us on in one of his boats as far as
the south-west extreme of Ovalau, from whence a three hours' walk along
the seashore brought us back to Levuka.

[Illustration: TOTOONGA VALLEY, OVALAU, FIJI. _To face p. 156._]

On the morning of the 11th of October we got under way from Levuka, and
spent the day in steaming over to Suva, a commodious harbour, situated
on the south-east side of Viti Levu, where it was our intention to
coal ship from a stationary hulk which supplies the steamers plying
between Sydney and the Fijian ports. It is said that Suva, from the
accommodation which its harbour affords, and from its position on an
easily accessible part of the largest island of the group, is destined
to become the seat of government and the future capital of Fiji; but at
the time of our visit the settlement was very insignificant, and looked
a mere speck in the great extent of wooded land which seemed from our
anchorage to spread before us in a vast semicircle.

Leaving the ship on the morning of the following day, I started for a
walk on shore, taking my gun, insect bottle, and collecting boxes. I
at first directed my steps inland along the main road, and for about
three miles proceeded over an upland plain of undulating land, thickly
covered with tall reeds, and showing here and there patches of brush in
the wet hollows. In the last-mentioned localities a good many birds,
chiefly parrots, were to be heard screaming shrilly, but owing to the
denseness of the foliage, few were visible.

In the afternoon I returned to the settlement, and from thence
proceeded along the beach towards the low point which shelters the
harbour from the north-east winds. Here, as the tide fell and laid
bare broad flats of mud and coral, several flocks of sandpipers, whose
general plumage resembled that of the snipe, came in from seaward,
settled, and commenced to feed. A brace of duck and a large grey tern
were the only other birds seen.

We learned that the country in the immediate vicinity of Suva was
exceedingly unproductive. The soil was very thin, and the sub-soil
was a stiff pasty clay of a grey colour--in places resembling
soapstone--and so impervious to drainage as to render all attempts at
agriculture hitherto abortive.

We left Suva on October 13th, and sailed for Tongatabu, searching on
the way for certain reefs and banks of doubtful existence, which it was
desirable on proper evidence to expunge from the charts.

During the traverses which we made in sounding for these, I had a good
opportunity of plying the tow-net. Among the forms thus obtained were
a minute conferva, a brilliantly phosphorescent pyrosoma, measuring
three inches in length, and a small shell-less pteropod, the _Eurybia
gaudichaudi_. A specimen of the latter, which I examined in a glass
trough, measured one-twelfth of an inch across the body. After giving
it about half-an-hour's rest, it protruded its epipodia and tentacles,
and commenced to swim about vigorously. The caudal portion of the
body was furnished with cilia, and the digestive organs presented the
appearance of a dark-red opaque mass, surrounded by a transparent
envelope of a gelatinous consistency, whose surface exhibited a
reticulated structure.

_Tongatabu, Friendly Islands, 8th to 18th of November._--The credit
of discovering the Tonga Islands rests with Tasman, who saw them on
the 20th of January, 1643, and subsequently anchored his ship on the
north-west side of the large island, Tongatabu. Cook saw the islands
during his second voyage in October 1773, and on his third voyage in
1777 he made a stay of three months at the group, for more than a month
of which time he was anchored at Tongatabu, the principal and most
southward island of the group. The islands were subsequently visited
by D'Entrecasteaux, Maurelle (1781), Lieutenant Bligh of the _Bounty_,
Captain Edwards of the _Pandora_ (1791), and other explorers of the
eighteenth century.

In the month of November 1806, an English privateer, the
_Port-au-Prince_, arrived at Lifonga, one of the Hapai Islands, where
the ship was seized by the natives, and most of the crew massacred.
Among the few whose lives were spared was a young man named Mariner,
who acquired the friendship of the chief, Finow, and lived peacefully
with the natives for the space of four years, accumulating during that
time a vast amount of information concerning their manners and habits.
Mariner's narrative was subsequently published in a book written by Dr.
John Martin, which is still regarded as the standard work on the Tonga
Islands.

The Wesleyan missionaries established themselves here in the year 1822,
and were well received; and some years subsequently a French Roman
Catholic mission was also successfully established. At the time of our
visit the entire population of the Tonga Islands, including Tongatabu,
Hapai, and Vavau, amounted to 25,000, while that of Tongatabu alone was
12,000. Of the latter number, 8,000 belonged to the Wesleyan, and 4,000
to the Catholic, Church.

We anchored in the harbour of Tongatabu, off the town of Nukualofa, on
the 8th of November, at about midday. The anchorage looked very bare
indeed, there being only one vessel beside ours, a merchant barque
belonging to Godeffroy and Co., of Hamburg, the well-known South Sea
Island traders.

The most striking objects on shore, as viewed from our position in the
anchorage, were the Wesleyan Church--an old dilapidated wooden building
crowning the summit of a round-topped hill, about sixty feet high, and
said to be the highest point on the island--and the king's palace, a
very neat-looking villa-edifice abounding in plate-glass windows, and
surrounded by a low wall, in which remained two breaches, intended
for the reception of massive iron gates, which, through a series of
untoward circumstances, are not likely to be ever placed in position.
It appears that some time ago the king gave a _carte blanche_ order
for two pairs of gates to be sent out from England, and when, after a
long series of delays, owing to mistakes in the shipping arrangements,
they at length reached Tongatabu, he was rather unpleasantly surprised
to find that the excessive charges for freightage had run up the
entire cost to the sum of £800. They were then found to be so large
and massive as to be quite unsuited for the purpose for which they
were intended, so they were thrown down on the ground in a disjointed
condition, where they now lie, rusting and half-buried in weeds.
Somewhat in the rear of the royal palace is seen a rather imposing
private dwelling-house, the residence of Mr. Baker, formerly a Wesleyan
minister, and now the political prime minister of the kingdom.

In the afternoon some of us walked out to see the old fortified town of
Bea, which is distant from Nukualofa about four miles in a southerly
direction, and is reached by a very good cart-road. This town--or, more
properly speaking, village, for it is now but thinly populated--was
formerly the stronghold of a party of Tongans, who objected to the
introduction of Christianity, and were consequently obliged to defend
themselves against the followers of the Wesleyan missionaries. The
village is encircled by a rampart and moat, which have for many years
past been allowed to go to decay, so that the moat is now partly
obliterated with weeds and rubbish, and the strong palisades, which
in former times added considerably to the defensive strength of the
ramparts, have almost entirely disappeared.

As we entered the village by a cutting which pierced the ramparts
on the north side, we saw the spot where Captain Croker, of H.M.S.
_Favourite_, was shot down in 1848, when heading an armed party of
bluejackets, with whom he was assisting the missionary party in an
attack upon the irreconcilables. It seems to have been altogether a
most disastrous and ill-advised undertaking, and of its effects some
traces still remain in an assumption of physical superiority over their
white fellow-creatures, which may be seen among some of the Tongans.

Nowhere have I seen the cocoa-nut trees growing in such luxuriance as
at Tongatabu. Here they grow over the whole interior of the island, as
well as near the seashore; a circumstance which may be attributed to
the mean level of the island being only a few feet above high-water
mark, and to the coral sub-soil extending over the entire island. The
latter is everywhere penetrated to a greater or less degree by the
sea-water, as evidenced by the brackish water which is reached on
sinking a well to a depth of two or three yards.

We made shooting excursions for several miles to the eastward and
westward of Nukualofa, and on one of the latter we met with an
intelligent native, who excited in us hopes of obtaining some good
duck-shooting, and undertook to bring us to the right place. Under
his guidance we reached a series of extensive salt-water lagoons,
which seemed likely places enough. However, on this occasion he proved
to be a false prophet; and as he was anxious to make amends for our
disappointment, he induced us to follow him into the bush in quest of
pigeons. Of these, on reaching a thick part of the forest, we heard a
good many; but owing to the dense foliage of the shrubs, which obscured
our view aloft, we got very few glimpses of the birds, which, as a
rule, keep to the summits of the tallest trees. Nevertheless, by dint
of "cooing," to evoke responses from the birds and thus ascertain their
whereabouts, we at length succeeded in shooting a good specimen of the
great "fruit pigeon."

Our guide, "Davita," was most elaborately tattooed from the waist to
the knees. He was a well-to-do man, and the chief of a district; and
was also, as he informed us, a member of the "royal guard," whose duty
it is to act as sentries in front of the door of the king's palace.
"Davita" accompanied us back to the town, and after receiving his
honorarium and bidding us good-bye, he went off to procure his military
uniform, and subsequently, as we walked by the palace on our way to
the boat, we saw our friend in full toggery doing sentry. He was a
very fine man, but did not look half so well in a soldier's uniform as
in his native garb, which consisted simply of a waistcloth, above and
below which appeared the margins of his beautiful blue tattooing.

There are evidences of recent elevation of the land both to the
eastward and westward of Nukualofa. I noticed above high-water mark
extensive flats of almost barren land, composed of level patches of
coral, the interstices of which were gradually getting filled up with
coral detritus, and the decayed remains of stunted plants. The mangrove
bushes here seemed with difficulty to eke out an existence, their roots
being no longer bathed in sea water; but on the other hand a few Ivi
trees (_Aleurites_ sp.?) had gained a footing. An amazing quantity of
crabs of the genus _Gelasimus_ inhabit these desolate flats, where
they will have an opportunity of gradually adapting themselves to
a terrestrial existence. I noticed two species, one of which was
covered with a hairy brown integument, and was rather sluggish in its
movements, waddling awkwardly into its burrow while it held aloft one
of its hands in a most ridiculous fashion. The other was a smaller
crab, with a greenish body, and having one of its pincer-claws, which
was of a brilliant orange colour, of a huge size compared with its
fellow. Probably, after the lapse of a few years, these flats will form
part of the general forest land, when the crabs may undergo further
adaptive changes.

We saw little of King George during our stay, as being now advanced
in years he leads a retired life, passing his days in a small room
in the rear of the palace, and only coming out of doors after sunset
for a little airing. However, his grandson, "Wellington Gnu," who is
governor of Nukualofa, and heir presumptive to the throne, was most
civil and obliging. He is a remarkably fine-looking man, being six
feet two inches in height, and stout in proportion; his face beams
with amiability and intelligence; and he possesses all the manners and
bearing of a polished gentleman. Although the lineal heir to the throne
by direct descent, it is very doubtful whether he will succeed the
present king, as Maafu, his cousin, and the son of a deceased brother
of King George, is older in years, and is consequently by the Tongan
laws the legitimate heir to the throne.[3]

[3] Since the above was written I have heard of the death of Maafu.

Wellington entertained us most hospitably, and drove us in his buggies
to various places of interest in the island. On one occasion he
took three of our officers to Moa, a native town situated near the
south-east extremity of the island. From there they went on to a place
eight miles to the southward, where there is a famous megalithic
structure of unknown origin, which has been described and figured by
Brenchley in his "Voyage of the _Curaçoa_." As our experience differs
somewhat from Brenchley's, I may be excused for making a few remarks
thereon. The monument--if such it can be called--consists of three
large slabs of coral rock, two of which are planted vertically in the
ground at a distance of about fifteen feet apart, while the third forms
a horizontal span, resting on its edges in slots made in the summits of
the vertical slabs. The height of the structure, of which the picture
gives a good idea, is about fifteen feet. We were, I regret to say,
unable to obtain any information--legendary or otherwise--concerning
the origin of this remarkable structure.

He also took us on a very pleasant excursion to a village called Hifo,
which lies about eleven miles to the south-west of Nukualofa. The
party consisted of Wellington Gnu (pronounced "Mou"), David Tonga, the
principal of the native school, Captain Maclear, and myself. Our means
of locomotion consisted of two buggies, in which we started on the
outward journey by a circuitous route, so as to take in the village of
Bea and four or five others on our way. On arriving at Hifo, we halted
in the centre of the village, on an open patch of sward under the shade
of several large vi trees (_Spondias dulcis_), on whose branches were
hanging large numbers of fox bats (_Pteropus keraudrenii_), of which
we obtained specimens. We were now formally introduced to the chief of
Hifo, who at once announced that a feast would speedily be prepared in
honour of our visit, and pending the necessary culinary arrangements,
invited us to walk through his dominions. In an adjacent bay we were
pointed out the place where Cook had formerly anchored his vessel, a
matter of great interest to the Tongans, who are keenly alive to the
fact that the period of Cook's visit formed the great turning-point in
their history.

As we returned to the village we found that the natives had collected
in great numbers under the shade of the trees before mentioned; so
we squatted down on the grass, taking up our places with the chief's
party, so as to occupy the base-line of a large horseshoe-shaped
gathering of natives. The ceremony began with the preparation of the
kava, in which respect the Tongans now differ from the Fijians in
reducing the root to a pulpy condition by pounding it between stones
instead of the rather disgusting process of mastication. While the
national beverage was being prepared, a large procession of women,
gaily dressed, and bearing garlands, shells, and similar offerings,
filed solemnly into the centre of the group, and deposited their
presents at the feet of Captain Maclear and myself, who were the
distinguished guests on this occasion. Sometimes a frolicsome girl
would place a garland round one of our necks, and then trip away,
laughing merrily. When the kava was ready, a fine-looking elderly
man, the second in authority in the village, acted as master of the
ceremonies, and gave the orders for carrying out the various details of
the function. As the cupbearer advanced with each successive bowl of
liquor, this venerable functionary called out in order of precedence
the names of the different persons who were to be served, beginning
with the visitors, and continuing to indicate each one by name, until
every one of the whole vast assemblage--men and women--had partaken.
As soon as the kava drinking was over, a procession of young men
advanced into the midst of the assemblage, bearing on their shoulders
palm-leaf baskets which contained pigs roasted whole, large bunches of
bananas, and cocoa-nuts, which they deposited _seriatim_ at our feet.
The district chief then made a short speech, informing us, through
Wellington's interpretation, that these precious gifts were also at our
disposal. Captain Maclear replied, to the effect that we gratefully
accepted the present, and requested that it might be distributed for
consumption among the villagers. Accordingly the feast was spread, and
eating, drinking, and merry-making became general. Occasionally one
of the girls would rise from her place, and after lighting a cigarette,
of which the cylinder was composed of pandanus leaf instead of paper,
would give a few puffs from her own swarthy lips, and then present it
courteously to one of us. The act was looked on as a delicate way of
paying a compliment, and was on each occasion loudly applauded, the
damsel, as she returned among her friends, seeming as if overcome with
confusion at her own temerity. When the time fixed for our departure
arrived, a most affectionate shaking of hands took place, and we bade
good-bye to the happy little village of Hifo, delighted with the
kindness, hospitality, and good nature of these far-famed Friendly
Islanders.

[Illustration: ANCIENT STONE MONUMENT AT TONGATABU (_p. 173_). _To face
p. 174._]

On the last day previous to our departure from Tongatabu, we made an
excursion to the south side of the island, under the guidance of Mr.
Symonds, the British Consul, and Mr. Hanslip, the consular interpreter,
in order to examine some caves which were said to be of an unusually
wonderful nature. They had, of course, never been thoroughly explored,
and were consequently said to be of prodigious extent, forming long
tunnels through the island. One story was to the effect that an
adventurous woman had penetrated one branch of the cave, entering on
the south side of the island, and threading its dark recesses for many
days, until she finally emerged into the light of day somewhere near
Nukualofa, on the north side of the island.

A pleasant drive of about ten miles brought us to the shore of a small
bay exposed to the prevailing wind, and receiving on its beach the
full fury of the swell of the main ocean. The foreshore was strewn
with coral _débris_, and above high-water mark were quantities of
pumice-stone, probably washed up from the sides of the neighbouring
volcanic island of Uea. On either side, the bay was hemmed in by bold
projecting crags of coral rock, whose faces indicated, by parallel
tide erosions, that they had been elevated by sudden upheaval into
their present position. About one hundred yards from the beach, and
forty feet above the sea-level, was the entrance to the caves, a
narrow aperture in the upraised coral rock, leading by a rapid incline
into a spacious vaulted chamber, from whose gloomy recesses dark and
forbidding passages led in various directions. In the floor of the
chamber were deep pools of water, probably communicating with the sea,
and said to be tenanted by a species of blind eel, about two feet long,
which we were told the natives sometimes caught with hook and line, and
fed upon. I was provided with fishing-tackle for capturing a specimen
of this singular creature; but as several of our party were induced to
relieve themselves of the intolerable heat of the cave by bathing in
these pools, the fish were probably scared away, and I was unable to
obtain a single specimen.

The rock pierced by the caverns was everywhere of coral formation, and
as water freely penetrated through from the soilcap above, the roof and
floor were abundantly decorated with stalactites and stalagmites in all
their usual fantastic splendour. I noticed that many parts of the floor
of the cave were speckled with white spots resembling bird-droppings,
on which drops of water were frequently falling from the roof above,
and I formed the opinion that the white colour of these spots was due
to the drops of water which pattered on them having traversed a portion
of the ground above, from which they did not receive a charge of lime
salts, and consequently washing clean the portion of the coral floor on
which they fell, instead of depositing thereon a calcareous stalagmite.
This surmise was strengthened by observing the absence of stalactites
depending from the roof in these situations.

Numbers of small swifts, apparently the same species which is common
on the island (_Collocalia spodiopygia_), flitted about the vaulted
parts of the cave, looking in the torchlight like bats, which at first
sight I felt sure they must be, until our native guide succeeded in
catching one specimen, which resolved our doubts. We traversed the more
open parts of the cave to a distance of about one hundred yards from
the entrance; but finding further progress all but impracticable, from
the narrowness of the passages, and the quantity of water of uncertain
depth to be encountered, we soon gave up the attempt, and were glad to
return to the cool and clear atmosphere of the upper air.

During the voyage from Tonga to Fiji, we spent a good deal of time in
hunting up the reputed positions of certain doubtful "banks," viz.,
the "Culebras" and "La Rance" banks, with a view to clearing up the
question as to their having any real existence except in the too vivid
imaginations of the discoverers. On the 24th of November, when in
latitude 24° 25′ S., longitude 184° 0′ W., we steamed over the
position assigned by the chart to the "La Rance" bank, and here our
sounding line ran out to three hundred fathoms without touching bottom,
thus sufficiently establishing the non-existence of any such "bank."
Our position at this time may be roughly stated as some two hundred
miles to the southward of Tongatabu. During the greater portion of the
day, the sea-surface exhibited large patches of discoloured water,
due to the presence of a fluffy substance of a dull brown colour,
which in consistency and general arrangement resembled the vegetable
scum commonly seen floating on the stagnant water of ditches. This
matter floated on the surface in irregularly-shaped streaky patches,
and also in finely-divided particles impregnated the sea-water to
a depth of several feet. Samples were obtained by "dipping" with a
bucket as well as with the tow-net, and when submitted to microscopic
examination it proved to be composed of multitudes of minute confervoid
algæ. On slightly agitating the water in a glass jar, the fluffy
masses broke up into small particles, which, under a magnifying
power of sixty diameters, were seen to be composed of spindle-shaped
bundles of filaments. Under a power of five hundred diameters, these
filaments were further resolved into straight or slightly-curved
rods, articulated but not branching, and divided by transverse septa
into cylindrical cells, which contained irregularly-shaped masses of
granular matter. These rods, which seemed to represent the adult
plant, measured 1/2000 inch in width. On careful examination of many
specimens, some filaments were observed, portions of which seemed to
have undergone a sort of varicose enlargement, having a width two or
three times that of the normal filaments. These propagating filaments
(if I am right in so calling them) were invested by a delicate tubular
membrane, and were filled with a granular semi-transparent matter,
in which were imbedded a number of discoid bodies which were being
discharged one by one from the ruptured extremity of the tube. These
bodies measured 1/1000 of an inch in diameter: when viewed edgewise
they presented a lozenge-shaped appearance, and they were devoid of
cilia or striæ. A jar full of the sea-water was put by until the
following day, when it was found that the confervoid matter had all
risen to the surface, forming a thick scum of a dull green colour,
while the underlying water was of a pale purple colour, resembling the
tint produced by a weak solution of permanganate of potash.

From the 24th to the 29th of November, during which time the ship
traversed a distance of three hundred miles, we were surrounded by
these organisms; during the first three days the large patches were
frequently in sight, and for the rest of the time the sea presented a
dusty appearance, from the presence of finely-divided particles. On the
evening of the 25th an unusually dense patch was sighted, and mistaken
for a reef, being reported as such by the look-out man aloft.

On the 28th November I encountered among the proceeds of the tow-net
another minute alga, of quite a different appearance from that just
described. It was composed of vermiform rods 1/1000 inch in width, and
breaking up into cylindrical segments with biconcave ends.

We returned to Levuka on the 4th of December, and stayed in harbour
for ten days. At this time we had dismal wet weather, and consequently
little was done in the way of exploration. I received a visit from a
Mr. Boyd of Waidou, a colonist, who has resided for the last sixteen
years in Fiji, and who has spent a great deal of his time in collecting
natural history specimens. He very kindly presented me with some
crania, three of natives of Mallicollo, New Hebrides, and two from
Merilava in Bank's Group.

We anchored at Suva for part of a day, in order to fill up with coal,
and then proceeded on our voyage to Sydney.

I made frequent use of the tow-net during this cruise, obtaining
thereby a great quantity and variety of surface organisms. Among these
were representatives of _Thalassicolla_, _Pyrocystis_, _Phyllosoma_,
_Sagitta_, _Eurybia_, _Atlanta_, etc. I obtained one specimen of
a curious Annelid. It was two inches in width, had two prominent
ruby-coloured eyes, and was marked along its snakelike body by a double
row of conspicuous black dots.

One day, as were lying almost becalmed, a few hundred miles from the
Australian coast, we passed into the midst of a great flock of brown
petrels, who were sitting on the water grouped in the form of a chain,
and apparently feeding. I had the tow-net out, and after dragging it
for about half a mile, brought it in, and found it to contain a mass
of yellow-coloured cylindrical and oval bodies belonging to the group
_Thalassicollidæ_. The cylindrical bodies were about one inch in long
diameter, by 1/8 of an inch in width, and those of an oval shape were
about 3/16 inch in long diameter. They proved to be mere gelatinous
sacks, without any appearance of digestive or locomotory organs. The
thin membranous wall was dotted over thickly with dark cells of a
spherical or oval shape, each of which contained from three to nine
light-coloured nuclei. On examining one of the oval bodies under a
magnifying power of forty diameters, the clear transparent nature of
the interior of the organism allowed the cells on the distal side to be
seen out of focus with misty outlines, while the cells on the proximal
wall, which was in focus, came out sharp and clear, and _vice versâ_.



CHAPTER IX.

_THE EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA._


We remained at Sydney, refitting ship and enjoying the unaccustomed
pleasures of civilized society, from the 23rd of January, 1881, until
the 16th of April, 1881, but as little of general interest occurred
during this period, and as Sydney with its surroundings is a place
about which so much has been written by better pens than mine, I think
I shall be exercising a judicious discretion by passing over this
period in silence, and resuming the narrative from the time when we
started on our next surveying cruise.

On leaving Sydney we received a welcome addition to our numbers in
the person of Mr. W. A. Haswell, a professional zoologist, residing
at Sydney, who expressed a wish to accompany us as far as Torres
Straits, in order that he might have opportunities of studying the
crustacean fauna of the east coast of Australia. He was consequently
enrolled as an honorary member of our mess, and Captain Maclear kindly
accommodated him with a sleeping place in his cabin. I am indebted to
Mr. Haswell for much valuable information concerning the marine zoology
of Australia.

Steaming northwards, along the east coast of Australia, the first place
at which we anchored was Port Curtis, in Queensland, where we took up
a berth in the outer roads close to the Gatcombe Head lighthouse. The
place bore a rather desolate appearance. There was no building in
sight except the lighthouse. The beach was lined with a dense fringe
of mangrove bushes, behind which rose a straggling forest of gums and
grass trees (_Xanthorrhœa_), and for a long time we saw no living
thing excepting several large fish-eagles (_Haliæetus leucogaster_),
and an odd gull that hovered about our stern, picking up the garbage
that drifted away from the ship.

On the following morning two of us landed and set to work to explore
the mudflats, which, stretching out for a long distance from the
beach, were laid bare by the ebb tide. As we ranged along in search of
marine curiosities, we encountered a solitary individual attired in
the light and airy costume of a pajama sleeping suit, and carrying a
Westly-Richards rifle on his shoulder. We soon made his acquaintance,
and found that he was in quest of wild goats, the descendants of
some domestic animals originally let loose by the keeper of the
lighthouse. He was an Englishman named Eastlake, and held the position
of "government immigration agent" on board a ninety-ton schooner, the
_Isabella_, which at the time was anchored just outside the lighthouse
point, awaiting a favourable wind to enable her to put to sea. She
was engaged in the "labour traffic" and was just then about to return
to the Solomon Islands with some "time-expired" native labourers. The
Queensland government compels every vessel engaged in the "labour
traffic" to carry an immigration agent, who is accredited to and
salaried by the government. His duty is to see that the natives who
are shipped from the islands for transit to Queensland come of their
own free will, and under a proper contract, and that during the voyage
they are treated well and are furnished with proper accommodation, and
are dieted according to a scale laid down by the government. In the
afternoon I accompanied Mr. Eastlake on board. The _Isabella_, a vessel
of ninety tons, was allowed to carry eighty-five natives besides her
crew of some half-a-dozen hands. She had now on board about a dozen
natives of New Hebrides, who had completed their time as contract
labourers in Queensland, and were about to be returned to their island
home. The skipper of the vessel was an old Welshman, who, in the true
spirit of hospitality, did the honours of the ship, and pressed me to
partake of such luxuries as the stores in his cuddy afforded.

Among the articles which the New Hebrides men had purchased in
Queensland with the proceeds of their labours were a number of old
muskets, which they seemed to set great store by. These weapons are
probably destined to be brought into action against some future "labour
vessel," or "slaver," as they are commonly called by the Australians,
which may violate the provision of the "Kidnapping Act" by forcible
abduction of natives.

We worked the dredge from the ship as she swung round her anchor in
seven fathoms of water, and also dragged it from a boat in shallower
water inshore. Conspicuous by their abundance amongst the contents of
the dredge, and by their curious habit of making a loud snapping noise
with the large pincer-claw, were the shrimps of the genus _Alpheus_.
When placed in water in a glass jar, the sound produced exactly
resembles the snap which is heard when a tumbler is cracked from
unequal expansion by hot water. We also obtained a good many whitish
fleshy _Gorgoniæ_, and among Polyzoa the genera _Crisia_ and _Eschara_
afforded a good many specimens. A moderate-sized brownish _Astrophyton_
was generally found entangled in the swabs, but in most cases some
of its brittle limbs had parted company with the disc, so that we
got scarcely a single perfect specimen. A good many crabs were found
on the foreshore; among others were species of the genera _Ozius_,
_Gelasimus_, and _Thalassina_; the latter a lobster-like crustacean
which burrows deeply in the mud about the mangrove bushes, and throws
up around the aperture of its burrow a conical pile of mud.

On April 23rd we got under way, and steamed for five miles further
up the bay, anchoring immediately off the settlement of "Gladstone."
Nothing could exceed the hospitality shown to us by the inhabitants of
this quiet little Utopia. Our stay of five days was occupied by an
almost continuous round of festivities, during which we were driven
about the country, had a cricket-match, shooting expeditions, two
balls in the Town Hall, and sundry other amusements. The settlement
contains a population of only 300, and seems to have been of late years
rather receding than advancing in numbers, as many of the settlers had
moved on to other more promising centres of industry. There was the
old story of a projected railway which was to open up the country,
develop its hidden resources, connect it with the neighbouring town of
Rockhampton--distant about eighty miles--and give a fresh impetus to
trade; but the hopes of its construction were visionary.

We made several shooting excursions in quest of bird specimens, and
found the pied grallina (_G. picata_), the butcher bird (a species
of _Grauculus_), the garrulous honeyeater (_Myzantha garrula_), the
laughing jackass (_Dacelo gigas_), and many doves and flycatchers
abundant in the immediate vicinity of the settlement. Walking one day
through the forest about two miles inland, we came upon a grove of
tall eucalyptus trees, on the upper branches of which were myriads
of paroquets, making an almost deafening noise as they flew hither
and thither, feeding on the fragrant blossoms. Among them were three
species of Trichoglossus, viz., _T. novæhollandiæ_, _T. rubritorquis_,
and _T. chrysocolla_. We also shot specimens of the friar bird
(_Tropidorhynchus corniculatus_), and several honeyeaters, flycatchers,
and shrikes; so that as a place for bird collecting it was exceedingly
rich, both in numbers and species.

We got under way on the 30th of April, in the morning, and on the
following day anchored off the largest and most northern of the Percy
Islands. I landed with Haswell in the afternoon, and after exploring
the beach in search of marine specimens, we directed our steps towards
the interior of the island. We followed a narrow winding foot track,
which led us to a rudely-built hut, in which dwelt an old Australian
colonist named Captain Allen, to whom the island virtually belongs.
He had a small kitchen garden in the bed of a valley, through which
ran a tiny stream; and his live stock consisted of a herd of goats
and a number of poultry. We understood that he intended eventually to
undertake regular farming operations, but that he at present merely
_occupied_ the land in order to retain the "pre-emptive" right until
the Queensland government should be in a position to sell or let it. It
appeared that as yet it was not certain whether the colonial government
had a clear title to the group of islands, or whether--being on the
Great Barrier Reef, and detached from the mainland by a considerable
distance--it was still under the control and jurisdiction of the
imperial government.

We noticed very few birds: among these were a _Ptilotis_, a flycatcher,
a crow, and a heron; but we were told that in the less frequented parts
of the island there were brush turkeys, native pheasants, and black
cockatoos.

Among the rocks bordering the shore, a large white-tailed rat--probably
of the genus _Hydromys_--was said to be abundant. The only other mammal
recorded was a large fox-bat, a skeleton of which was found hanging on
a mangrove bush.

We left our anchorage at the Percy Islands on the morning of the 2nd of
May, and on the forenoon of the 3rd steamed into the sheltered waters
of Port Molle, _i.e._, into the strait which separates Long Island from
the main shore of Queensland; and we finally came to an anchor in a
shallow bay on the west side of Long Island, where we lay at a distance
of about half-a-mile from the shore.

The island presented the appearance of undulating hills, covered for
the most part with a thick growth of tropical forms of vegetation, but
exhibiting a few patches of land devoid of trees, and bearing a rich
crop of long tangled grasses. On landing, we found that there was no
soil, properly so-called, but that the forest trees, scrub, and grass
sprung from a surface layer of shingle, which on close inspection
contrasted strangely with the rich and verdant flora which it
nourished. Small flocks of great white cockatoos flew around and above
the summits of the tallest trees, and by the incessant screaming which
they maintained, gave one the idea that the avifauna was more abundant
than we eventually found it to be. On the beach we collected shells of
the genera _Nerita_, _Terebra_, _Siliquaria_, and _Ostræa_, and among
the dry hot stones above high-water mark we found in great numbers an
_Isopod Crustacean_, and as the females were bearing ova, Haswell took
the opportunity to make some researches into the mode of development of
the embryo.

I spent another day accompanying Navigating-Lieutenant Petley, who
was then cruising from point to point in one of our whale-boats,
determining on the positions for main triangulation. In the course of
the day we visited the lighthouse on Dean Island, and on arriving there
found a large concourse of blacks on the hill above, looking on our
intrusion with great consternation. The lighthouse people told us that
the natives, from their different camps on the island, had observed our
approach while we were yet a long distance off, and hastily concluding
that we were a party of black police coming to disperse (_i.e._, shoot)
them, had fled with precipitation from all parts of the island, to
seek the protection of the white inhabitants of the lighthouse. It
appeared that some few years previously the natives of Port Molle had
treacherously attacked and murdered the shipwrecked crew of a schooner,
and in requital for this the Queensland Government had made an example
of them by letting loose a party of "black police," who, with their
rifles, had made fearful havoc among the comparatively unarmed natives.
The "black police," or "black troopers," as they are more commonly
called, are a gang of half-reclaimed aborigines, enrolled and armed
as policemen, who are distributed over various parts of the colony,
and are under the immediate direction of the white police inspectors.
Their skill as bush "trackers" is too well known to need description,
and the peculiar ferocity with which they behave towards their own
countrymen is due to the fact that they are drawn from a part of the
continent remote from the scene of their future labours, and from
tribes hostile to those against which they are intended to act. Through
their instrumentality the aborigines of Queensland are being gradually
exterminated. In the official reports of their proceedings, when
sent to operate against a troublesome party of natives, the verb "to
disperse" is playfully substituted for the harsher term "to shoot."

But to return to our friends at Dean Island. Our peaceful aspect, and a
satisfactory explanation on the part of the white people in charge of
the lighthouse, soon set matters right, and the wretched blacks were
now so delighted at finding their fears to be groundless, that they
crowded about us--male and female--to the number of forty or fifty,
brought us some boomerangs for barter, and finally shared our lunch of
preserved meat and coffee, of which we partook on the rocks near where
the boat was moored. I was surprised at noticing a large proportion of
children, a circumstance which does not support one of the views put
forward to account for the rapid decrease in numbers of the race.

Most of the men had a certain amount of clothing, scanty and ragged
though it was, but the children were all stark naked, and some of the
women were so scantily attired that the requirements of decency were
not at all provided for. They seemed to be fairly well nourished, and
from their cheerful disposition I should imagine that they were not
undergoing any privations which to them would be irksome.

On re-embarking, we sailed along the western shore of the island,
and again landed in a small bay about a mile to the northward of the
lighthouse. We then proceeded to ascend a hill, on which Petley wished
to erect a mark for surveying purposes. The natives, although quick
enough about following us along the seashore, showed no inclination to
follow us up the hillside, and before we had gone a few hundred yards
they had all dropped off. Possibly the fear of snakes was the deterring
influence.

Port Molle proved to be an excellent place for obtaining examples of
the marine fauna of this part of the coast. A great extent of reefs was
exposed at low spring tides, exhibiting Corals of the groups _Astræa_,
_Meandrina_, _Porites_, _Tubipora_, _Orbicella_, and _Caryophyllia_,
besides a profusion of soft Alcyonarian Polyps. Holothurians were
abundant, as were also some large Tubicolous Annelids, with very
long gelatinous thread-like tentacles. We also got a few _Polynæ_,
and several other annelids of the family _Amphinomidæ_. A _Squilla_,
with variegated greenish markings on the test, made itself remarkable
by the vigour with which it resented one's attempts, for the most
part unintentional, to invade the privacy of its retreat. An active
black _Goniograpsus_ was a common object on the reefs, and the widely
distributed _Grapsus variegatus_ was also met with. Haswell obtained
from the interior of the large _Pinna_ shells examples of a curious
small lobster-like crustacean, which is of parasitic--or perhaps rather
commensal--habit, like _Pinnotheres_. Not uncommon in the rock pools
was a bivalve shell of the genus _Lima_, which on being disturbed
swims about in a most lively manner by flapping its elongated valves,
exhibiting at the same time a scarlet mantle fringed with a row of long
prehensile tentacles. Shells of the genera _Arca_, _Tridacna_, and
_Hippopus_ were common, and three or four species of _Cypræa_ were seen.

We dredged several times with one of the steam-cutters in depths
varying from twelve to twenty fathoms, obtaining several species of
Comatulas, two or three Astrophytons, Starfishes, Ophiurids, Echini
of the genera _Salmacis_ and _Goniocidaris_, small Holothurians,
many species of Annelids, two or three Sponges, a great variety of
handsome Gorgoniæ, Hydroids of the group _Sertularia_ and _Plumularia_,
Polyzoa of the genera _Eschara_, _Retepora_, _Myriozoum_, _Cellepora_,
_Biflustra_, _Salicornaria_, _Crisia_, _Scrupocellaria_, _Amathia_,
etc., and Crustaceans of the genera _Myra_, _Hiastemis_, _Lambrus_,
_Alpheus_, _Huenia_, and many others. Among the Annelids was one with
long glassy opalescent bristles surrounding the oral aperture, and
projecting forwards to a distance of one and a half inches from the
prostomium. Another Annelid (species unknown) was peculiar in having
two long barb-like tentacles projecting backwards from the under part
of the head. On examining the proboscis of the latter, while it was
resting in sea-water in a glass trough, Haswell noticed a number of
singular bodies being extruded from the mouth, which he eventually
ascertained, to his great astonishment, were the partially developed
young of the worm.

One of the large Astrophytons which came up with the dredge was seen to
exhibit nodular swellings on several parts of the arms, but principally
at the points of bifurcation. Each of these swellings was provided with
one or more small apertures, and had the general appearance of being a
morbid growth. On incising the dense cyst-wall a cavity was exposed,
containing a tiny red gastropodous mollusc (of the genus _Stilifer_),
enveloped in a mass of cheesy matter, which contained moreover one
or two spherical white pellets of (probably) fæcal matter. Haswell
obtained about a dozen specimens of the shell from a single astrophyton.

Port Denison is only forty miles to the northward of Port Molle, so
that we accomplished the passage in about six hours, and before dusk
took up a berth in the shallow bay about a mile and a half from the
shore, and three-quarters from the end of a long wooden pier, which
was built some years ago in the vain hope of developing the shipping
trade of the port. The township of "Bowen" is built on a larger scale
than "Gladstone"--of which we had such pleasant reminiscences--but
did not appear to be in a more flourishing condition, a "gold-rush"
further to the northward having drawn off part of the population, and
some of the trade which had previously gone through the port. On the
outskirts of the town were some large encampments of the blacks, who
lived in a primitive condition, and afforded an interesting study
for an ethnologist. Like most of the Australian aborigines, their
huts were little better than shelter screens to protect them from the
wind and sun. In some instances the twigs on the lee side of a bush,
rudely interlaced with a few leafy boughs torn from the neighbouring
trees, afforded all the shelter that was required. Both men and women,
especially the latter, seemed to be in a filthy, degraded state. They
had just received their yearly gifts of blankets from the Queensland
Government--I believe the only return which they receive for the
appropriation of their land. It appears, however, that they do not
much appreciate the donation, for soon after the general issue many of
the blankets are bartered with the whites for tobacco and grog. Some
of the young men are really fine-looking fellows, and seemed to feel
all the pride of life and liberty as they strutted about encumbered
with a variety of their native weapons, among which I saw the _nulla_,
_waddy_, shield, huge wooden sword, spear without throwing-stick, and
different patterns of boomerangs. They are very expert in the use
of the latter. It was the first time that I had seen the boomerang
thrown, and I can safely say that its performances, when manipulated
by a skilful hand, fully realized my expectations. I noticed that
whatever gyrations it was intended to execute, it was always delivered
from the hand of the thrower with its concave side foremost--a
circumstance I was not previously aware of. Some of the children were
amusing themselves in practising the art, using instead of the regular
boomerang short pieces of rounded stick bent to about the usual angle
of the finished weapon; and I was surprised at noticing that even
these rude substitutes could be made to dart forward, wheel in the
air, and return to near the feet of the thrower. I had always imagined
up to this time that the flat surface was an essential feature in the
boomerang.

The foreshore at low-water afforded us examples of a great many
flat Echinoderms of the genus _Peronella_, Starfishes of the genus
_Asteracanthus_, and Crustaceans of the genera _Macrophthalmus_,
_Matuta_, _Mycteris_, etc. We made several hauls of the dredge in four
to five fathoms of water, obtaining a quantity of large Starfishes and
Gorgonias, and Crustaceans of the family _Porcellanidæ_.

We left Port Denison on the 24th of May, and continued our coasting
voyage northward, anchoring successive nights off Cape Bowling Green,
Hinchinbrock Island, Fitzroy Island, Cooktown, and Lizard Island. We
landed at the island last mentioned for a few hours. On the shore
of the bay in which we anchored was a "Beche-de-mer" establishment,
belonging to a Cooktown firm, and worked by a party of two white men,
three Chinese, and six Kanakas. The buildings consisted of two or
three rudely-built dwelling huts, and a couple of sheds for curing and
storing the trepangs. We learned from the "Boss" that his men had been
working the district for the previous twelve months, and having now
cleared off the trepangs from all the neighbouring reefs, he expected
soon to move on to some other location further north.

The Beche-de-mer industry seems simple enough to conduct. The sluggish
animals are picked off the reefs at low tide, and at the close of each
day the produce as soon as landed is transferred to a huge iron tank,
propped up on stones, in which it is boiled. The trepangs are then
slit open, cleaned, and spread out on gratings in a smoke-house until
dry, when they are ready for shipping to the Chinese market. The best
trepangs are the short stiff black ones with prominent tubercles.

Since the above notes were written, a horrible catastrophe occurred at
Lizard Island. The bulk of the party had gone on a cruise among the
islands to the northward, leaving the station in charge of a white
woman--wife of one of the proprietors--and two Chinamen. A party of
Queensland blacks came over from the mainland, massacred these three
wretched people, and destroyed all the property on the station.

On the evening of the 29th of May we anchored off Flinders Island, in
latitude 14° 8′ S., and before darkness came on we spent a few hours
in exploring. The shore on which we landed was covered with large
blocks of quartzite stained with oxide of iron, and disseminated among
them were many large irregularly-shaped masses of hæmatite. Immediately
above the beach, and among the familiar screw-pines, we saw a few fan
palms, the first met with on our northern voyage.

Groping among the rocks of the foreshore, I encountered a multitude
of crabs of the genera _Porcellana_ and _Grapsus_, and caught after
much trouble a large and uncommonly fierce specimen of the _Parampelia
saxicola_. On anchoring, the dredge had been lowered from the ship,
and when hauled up after the ship had swung somewhat with the tide, a
curious species of _Spatangus_, a _Leucosia_, and a somewhat mutilated
_Phlyxia_, were obtained.

Early on the following morning I accompanied Captain Maclear and Mr.
Haswell on a boat trip to Clack Island (five miles from our anchorage).
We were anxious to see and examine some drawings by the Australian
aborigines, which were discovered in the year 1821 by Mr. Cunningham,
of the _Beagle_, (see "King's Australia," vol. ii., p. 25), and since
probably unvisited. After about an hour's sailing we reached the
island--a bold mass of dark rock resembling in shape a gunner's quoin;
but we now found it no easy matter to find a landing-place. On the
south-east extremity was a precipitous rocky bluff about eighty feet
in height, against whose base the sea broke heavily, while the rest of
the island--low and fringed with mangroves--was fenced in by a broad
zone of shallow water, strewn with boulders and coral knolls, over
which the sea rose and fell in a manner dangerous to the integrity of
the boat. After many trials and much risk to the boat, we at length
succeeded in jumping ashore near the south-east or weather extremity
of the island. Here we found abundant traces of its having been
frequently visited by natives, but it did not appear as if they had
been there during at least half-a-dozen years prior to the time of
our visit. We saw the drawings, as described by Cunningham, covering
the sides and roofs of galleries and grottoes, which seemed to have
been excavated by atmospheric influences in a black fissile shale.
This shale, which gave a banded appearance to the cliff, was disposed
in strata of about five feet in thickness, and was interbedded with
strata of pebbly conglomerate--the common rock of the islet. In
these excavations, almost every available surface of smooth shale was
covered with drawings, even including the roofs of low crevices where
the artist must have worked lying prone on his back, and with his nose
almost touching his work. Most of the drawings were executed in red
ochre, and had their outlines accentuated by rows of white dots, which
seemed to be composed of a sort of pipe-clay. Some, however, were
executed in pale yellow on a brick-red ground, and in many instances
the objects depicted were banded with rows of white dots crossing
each other irregularly, and perhaps intended in a rudimentary way to
convey the idea of light and shade. The objects delineated (of which
I made such sketches as I was able) were sharks, dolphins, dugong,
turtle, boomerangs, waddies, shields, woomerahs, pigs, dogs, birds,
jelly-fish, etc. There was one well-defined sketch of a medusa, showing
the position of the radiating canals and eight marginal tentacles.
_Trochus_ shells in great profusion were strewn about the old camping
places, as well as bones of the dugong and turtle, the pursuit of the
latter having been probably the main inducement to visit the island.

A careful hunting of the holes and crevices in the face of the cliff
resulted in the acquisition of some portable specimens of native art
in the shape of drawings on old pieces of driftwood, on _Melo_ shells,
turtle skulls, and tortoise shell. These luckily afforded us good
examples of the style of art, and were accordingly, and without many
conscientious scruples as to the sacred rights of ownership, carried
off in triumph and deposited on board.

After leaving Flinders Island, we continued our voyage northward,
anchoring each of the three following nights successively at Clairmont
Island No. 6, Clairmont Island No. 10, and Bird Island. On each
occasion we dredged to a small extent, and collected specimens from the
reefs and beaches. On the evening of the 2nd of June we entered the
narrow strait which separates Albany Island from the mainland of
north-east Australia, having the small settlement of Somerset on our
port hand, and on our starboard side a pearl-shell station known as
Port Albany. The anchorage at Somerset being of bad repute on account
of the strong currents which sweep through it, we steamed on to the
northern extremity of Albany Island, where at about 4 o'clock in the
evening we dropped our anchor in six fathoms. A party of officers
landed at once on the shore of the mainland, and while some wandered
through the woods in search of birds, the boat was employed in dredging
over the bottom of mud and sand in depths varying from three to five
fathoms. Among the contents of several hauls were a large number of
Comatulas, a few Ophiurids, several examples of a _Pentaceros_, a
_Goniocidaris_, a spider-crab of the genus "_Egeria_," an _Alpheus_,
a _Galathea_ clinging to the feathered arms of a purple _Comatula_,
and many specimens of an Isopod adhering to the oral surfaces of the
comatula discs. There were also a few shrimps, two species of _Murex_,
and a volute. Some small fishes were also brought up--apparently a
species of _Platycephalus_.

[Illustration: FACSIMILE OF DRAWINGS BY AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES.

1. Medusæ. 2. Lizard. 3. Steamship. 4. (?). 5. (?). 6. Gourd. 7.
Turtle. 8. Bird on branch of tree. _To face p. 192._]

On the following morning some of the boats were employed in searching
for an uncharted rock which was reported by the pearl fishermen as
existing somewhere near our anchorage, while Haswell and I had the use
of a whaleboat for a couple of hours' dredging. We worked across the
channel towards the mainland in eight fathoms over a bottom of mud
and sand, obtaining a quantity of Comatulas and Gorgonias, a large
grotesque _Murex_, several small _Synapta_, and a large flat sponge.



CHAPTER X.

_TORRES STRAITS ISLANDS._


We remained for nearly four months anchored at or in the neighbourhood
of Thursday Island. During this period our boats were employed in
making a survey of the Prince of Wales Channel, which is now the
route almost invariably used by steamers and sailing ships in passing
through Torres Straits. There is a small settlement at Thursday Island
consisting of about dozen houses, wooden built, which are occupied
by white families and their coloured domestics. There is a police
magistrate, whose jurisdiction, as an official of the Queensland
government, extends over all the islands in Torres Straits; an officer
of customs, through whose hands passes all the trade of the Straits; a
staff of white policemen to enforce the Queensland law; a prison for
the incarceration of the refractory pearl shellers; a store for the
supply of tinned provisions and all the miscellaneous requirements of
the pearl shell trade; and, finally, there are two public-houses which
do a flourishing business and supply ample material for the official
ministration of the police. The entire population, white and coloured,
does not exceed a hundred.

Thursday Island owes its importance to being the shipping port for
the produce of all the pearl shell fisheries in Torres Straits. It
is visited monthly by steamers of the "British India" and "Eastern
and Australian" Steamship Companies, and also by a small coasting
steamer, the _Corea_, belonging to an Australian firm. The latter
plies regularly and constantly between Thursday Island and Sydney,
and does most of the business in connection with the fisheries,
conveying the shell to Sydney, and returning with a cargo of tinned
provisions, slops, and other stores for the use of the pearl shellers.
The inhabitants of Thursday Island, and those belonging to the various
pearl shell stations scattered through the group of islands, are
dependent for support upon extraneous supplies of provisions. Cattle
will not thrive on the islands, owing to the poisonous nature of the
grass, and as yet all attempts at growing fruit and vegetables have in
most cases proved unsuccessful.

The native inhabitants of the Torres Straits Islands are a small
tribe of Papuan origin, who lead a wandering life, and show little
inclination to hold intercourse with either white or coloured
colonists. They have the frizzled hair, the aquiline hooked nose, and
the wide curved lips of the Papuans; and among their implements are the
long "hour-glass" drum, headed with lizard skin, the tortoise-shell
mask worn at corroborees, and the pearl shell ornaments dangling from
the neck; but their intercourse with the North Australian aborigines
is shown by their having acquired the practice of using the "throwing
sticks" for their spears. Their food being almost solely of marine
origin, their camps are only found on the shores of the islands. At
certain seasons in the year they catch the turtle and dugong, and
apparently in great numbers, if one can judge by the quantity of bones
of these animals seen by us in the midden-heaps. Fish they obtain in
abundance by means of the hook and line, and the shore molluscs also
supply them with food; so that it is not to be wondered at that we
generally found them to be in a well-nourished condition, and not
at all anxious to barter their fish for such a commodity as ship's
biscuit. Their boats are long dug-out canoes, fitted with double
outriggers, and very rudely constructed. Whether under sail or paddle,
they manœuvred very badly, and were on the whole very poor specimens
of naval architecture, even for a tribe of savages.

In 1879 the population of the shelling stations amounted to 720, while
that of the settlement at Thursday Island was only 80. In 1880 the
shelling population amounted to 815, showing an increase of nearly a
hundred on that of the previous year. As far as I could ascertain,
any change that has taken place during the last two years has been
indicative of the increasing prosperity of the pearl shell industry.
Indeed I was informed by a resident gentleman connected with the
fisheries, that the shareholders in one of the stations had that year
received a dividend of seventy per cent. on the capital invested. I
made the acquaintance of several of the managers (or "bosses" as they
are commonly called) of the pearl shell establishments, and through
their civility had opportunities of visiting many stations within a
range of twenty-five miles from our anchorage at Thursday Island.
They are all constructed more or less on the same general model;
consisting usually of one white-washed house,--the residence of the
white manager,--a store-house, and a couple of sheds for the stowage of
boat appliances and pearl shell, and a few large grass built huts in
which the labourers employed at the depôt are housed. These men, who
are spoken of under the comprehensive term of "Kanakas," are for the
most part Malays: the remainder being a motley collection of Manila
men, Fijians, natives of New Hebrides, and brown-skinned Polynesians
from various Pacific Islands. There is usually but one white man to
each station, viz., the manager. The shelling boats--called "apparatus
boats"--are entirely under the control of Kanakas. They are each of
between five and eight tons burden, are rigged with standing lugsails,
and are provided with the most approved air pump diving apparatus. The
crew of one of these boats usually consists of five men, one of whom
is the diver; another steers, and the remaining three look after the
air pump and signal rope. The time selected for diving operations is
usually when there is a "weather tide"; the vessel is then hove-to
under easy canvas, so that she may drift slowly to windward, while the
diver, following her movements, gropes about the bottom in search of
pearl shell. The work is carried on at depths varying between five
and sixteen fathoms, and in order to provide against accidents from
inequalities in the bottom, as well as to allow the diver greater
freedom in his movements, the length of the pipes connecting his dress
with the air pump is usually twice the mean depth of the water in which
he is working. The signal rope is of a similar length, so that it may
be used for hauling up the shell-bag which the diver fills from time to
time, without his having to release the end attached to his body, or
to make use of a second line. The bag is therefore attached about the
middle of the line.

When diving apparatus was first used in Torres Straits, white divers
were exclusively employed, and at the same time the Kanakas continued
to work as "swimming divers" in the tedious old-fashioned way. As soon,
however, as the Kanakas were tried in the diving dresses, it was found
that they were far superior to any professional white divers, for not
only could they remain much longer under water, but they were also
able to move about on the bottom more independently, and to dispense
altogether with the weighted rope ladder which the white divers used
to look upon as essential. Since the introduction of boats fitted with
diving apparatus, the pearl shell trade of Torres Straits has become
highly remunerative, and the export of shells has increased enormously.

The shells obtained are classified into two qualities: firstly, young
shells, known to the trade as "chicken shell," which are the most
valuable, and average about 2,000 to the ton; and secondly, adult
shells, about 700 of which weigh one ton. It is calculated that the
annual take of a single boat is about seven tons, of which five tons
cover the outlay, and two tons may be reckoned as clear profit. The
value per ton has a wide range, varying according to the state of the
home market, and may be estimated at from £100 to £300. The number
of boats employed last year was 100. In the year 1878, shells to the
weight of 449 tons, and valued at £53,021, were exported; and during
the same year pearls to the value of £230. Most of the pearls taken
are of poor quality, and are so few as to be comparatively valueless;
although a fairly good one, without a flaw, and about the size of a
pea, is said to be worth £5. Coarse ones of extraordinary size are
sometimes obtained. A proprietor and manager (Captain Tucker), who was
considered exceptionally fortunate in obtaining pearls, once showed me
the proceeds of nine tons of shell which he had just brought in from
the fishing-ground. The pearls were of all sorts and sizes; one was as
big as a large hazel nut, others were like millet seeds. Altogether
they were just sufficient to fill a common matchbox, in which indeed he
carried them. Official statistics regarding the take of pearls are only
to a small extent reliable, as many--probably most--never reach the
hands of the proprietors, but are retained as perquisites by the Kanaka
divers, who dispose of them secretly.

Most of the shell is sent to Sydney by the steamship _Corea_, where it
is purchased by merchants, who send it to Europe for manufacture. Since
the establishment of the Queensland Royal Mail-steamers, which traverse
Torres Straits, some of the shell has been by them conveyed direct to
England, where it is consigned to the manufacturers, to the greater
profit of the pearl shellers. Most of the shelling establishments in
Torres Straits are the property of companies consisting of two or
more capitalists, who for the most part reside in Sydney, and it is
indeed a rather odd anomaly that a lucrative industry subject to the
jurisdiction of the Queensland government should be worked by capital
from New South Wales.

Much of my time was occupied in giving medical aid to the people of
Thursday Island, and to the _employés_ of the pearl-shell stations.
My spare time, as opportunities offered, I spent in exploring the
group of islands within reach, viz., Horn Island, Prince of Wales
Island, Hammond Island, Fitzroy Island, Goode Island, Thursday Island,
Possession Island, West Island, and Booby Island. In geological
formation they are all much alike, a quartzite or quartz porphyry being
the prevailing form of rock. The land is covered with rank grass, and
is for the most part lightly timbered with gum-trees. On the latter
a parasitic plant, resembling mistletoe, is commonly met with. Water
is scarce, and during a great part of the year some of the islands
are practically without any. In searching for water-holes or for
damp spots, where water has at some period of the year been present,
_Pandanus_ trees are in many instances considered to be a safe guide.
The rule, however, seems to be that where moisture habitually collects,
_Pandanus_ trees will be found growing, and not the converse. Attached
to rocky surfaces, and to the bark of trees in shady places, the eye is
frequently arrested by the sight of most beautiful orchids, principally
of the genus _Dendrobium_. These orchids are objects of much concern
to the more enterprising colonists, as there is an oft-repeated story
that some years ago a white-flowered _Dendrobium_ was found on Goode
Island, and on being sent to England was sold for £200. Consequently
everyone collecting orchids is supposed to be in quest of the famous
white species.

Lizards are abundant, especially a large _Monitor_, which, when
disturbed, astonishes one by the noise which it makes in scampering
over the stones and dead twigs to its burrow, or if this be not at
hand, to seek the protection of some friendly tree, up which it climbs
with extraordinary facility. They are easily shot. When first I saw
their burrows, I considered them to be the work of some burrowing
marsupial, and accordingly set a cage-trap opposite the entrance of
one. On returning next day, I found, to my surprise, a large _Monitor_
coiled up inside the trap, whose dimensions were so small in proportion
to the size of the reptile, that the wonder was how he ever managed
to stow himself inside. We encountered few snakes, and from inquiries
were led to believe that few, if any, poisonous ones existed. However,
they are said not to show themselves much during the dry season, which
among these islands is supposed to be their time for hybernating.

One day, when exploring in company with Haswell, we found portions of
the carapace and pincer-claw of a land-crab (most likely a species of
_Geograpsus_), an animal not previously recorded from the islands.
On examining the beds of dry mountain gullies, and digging into
sand-choked crevices between spurs of rock, where a certain amount of
moisture existed, I subsequently obtained several live specimens. No
doubt, during the wet season they might be more easily obtained.

Thursday Island possesses six species of land-shells. They are _Helix
kreffti_, _H. delessertiana_, _H. spaldingi_, _H. buxtoni_, _Bulimus
beddomei_, and _Helicina reticulata_. During our stay the island was
fired, in order to remove the "spear-grass," which is so destructive to
cattle. The fire spread over the whole island, and continued to rage
for several days, consuming not only all the grass, but also a great
quantity of scrub, and laying bare a vast extent of arid stony surface.
It was now an easy matter to collect land-shells, for they lay dead in
prodigious numbers on the bare summits of the hills as well as in the
hollows, gullies, and other more likely places.

This fire was a great blow to my hopes of collecting plants, almost all
the herbaceous ones and many of the creepers having been consumed or
shrivelled up by the heat of the conflagration. After much trouble I
succeeded in obtaining five species of ferns, which I fancy is not far
short of the entire number. Among these were the _Nephrolepis acuta_,
_Pulæa nitida_, _Polypodium quercifolium_, _Lindsaya ensifolia_, and
the common Australian form, _Lygodium scandens_.

The avifauna of the different islands is, as might be expected, of
a similar character to, and differs very little, if at all, from
that of the adjoining part of the mainland of Australia. The list
of birds includes species of the genera _Campephaga_, _Ptilotis_,
_Pachycephala_, _Myzomela_, _Nectarinia_, _Dicæum_, _Trichoglossus_,
_Artamus_, _Mimeta_, _Halcyon_, _Nycticorax_, _Plictolophus_,
_Chalcophaps_, _Erythrauchena_, _Geopelia_, _Ptilinopus_, _Myiagra_,
_Sauloprocta_, _Sphecotheres_, _Chibia_, _Centropus_, _Graucalus_,
_Grallina_, _Donacola_, _Tropidorhynchus_, _Climacteris_, _Megapodius_,
_Œdicnemus_, _Ægialitis_, _Merops_, _Dacelo_, _Bruchigavia_,
_Sterna_, _Pelicanus_, _Hæmatopus_, and others. At Booby Island, a
small rocky islet in mid-channel, affording no cover beyond a few
bushes growing in a cleft in the rocks, we found no less than twelve
species of land-birds. These were the _Ptilinopus superbus_, _P.
swainsoni_, _Myiagra plumbea_, _Nectarinia australis_, _Megapodius
tumulus_, _Porphyrio melanotus_, _Halcyon sanctus_, _Nycticorax
caledonicus_, a _Zosterops_, a yellow-breasted flycatcher, a landrail,
and a quail. From the discrepancies between the different records of
the birds found on this island, there is reason to believe that it is
mainly used as a temporary resting-place for birds of passage. The
"mound bird" (_Megapodius tumulus_) is probably, however, a regular
inhabitant.

In examining the cliffs of this island, in quest of sea-birds' nests,
I noticed, considerably above the reach of the highest tide, some
smooth basin-shaped cavities in the rock containing rounded water-worn
stones, such as one sees in the rock pools between tide marks. This
circumstance would point to an upheaval of the island during recent
geological times.

We sailed from Torres Straits on October 1st, and proceeded under steam
towards Port Darwin, in North-West Australia, sounding and dredging on
our way, and eventually coming to an anchor in Port Darwin on October
20th. The settlement of Palmerston, off which we lay, is the seat of
government for the northern territory of the colony of South Australia,
whose capital, Adelaide, is about 1,800 miles away on the south coast,
and is separated from Port Darwin by an enormous patch of uncivilized
country extending for about 1,500 miles in a north and south direction.

The foundation of a settlement at Port Darwin, which took place about
ten years ago (1872), was practically due to the completion of the
submarine cable and land telegraph lines, which have each got terminal
stations at Port Darwin, where the "through" messages are transferred.
Its subsequent progress, such as it has been, was encouraged and
fostered by the trade in provisions and gold induced by the workers at
the northern territory gold-fields. There are now two submarine cables
connecting Port Darwin with Singapore, _viâ_ Java, and thence with
Europe. The first was laid in 1872, and was found most difficult to
maintain on account of the ravages made in it by a boring mollusc, a
species of _Teredo_, which in an amazingly short space of time pierced
the galvanized iron-wire sheathing of the cable, and destroyed the
insulation of the copper core. The repairs of this cable necessitated
an outlay of £20,000 per annum, a circumstance contrasting strangely
with the condition of a similar cable in the China and India seas,
which is not attacked by the _Teredo_. Recently a duplicate cable has
been laid, in the construction of which a tape of muntz metal was
wound round in a spiral fashion between the insulating material and
the twisted wire sheathing. By this provision the new cable has been
rendered proof against the boring effects of the _Teredo_, and has
hitherto worked successfully without the slightest hitch.

The land telegraph line stretches directly from Port Darwin to
Adelaide, a distance of about 1,800 miles, and thus serves to connect
all the principal towns of Australia with the station of the Cable
Company at Port Darwin. It was at one time thought that there would
have been much difficulty in inducing the aborigines to abstain from
meddling with the overland wire, but experience has not justified this
impression. It appears that the black fellows hold it sacred, looking
on it as a sort of boundary mark to separate the white man's territory
from theirs.

Palmerston contains a police magistrate, who is the chief executive
authority in the northern territory; a lands department, with its staff
of surveyors; a police inspector, with a detachment of white troopers;
a government doctor; the two telegraph stations, with their separate
staffs of telegraphists; and, of necessity, a jail.

Our acquaintances on shore spoke in sanguine terms of the prospects
of the settlement, and the future greatness which is in store for the
northern territory; but to us strangers the appearance of Port Darwin
and the surrounding country was by no means indicative of progress, or
suggestive of a superabundance of the elements of greatness. Indeed,
although the settlement has been in existence since 1872, yet the white
population of the whole northern territory does not exceed two hundred;
and if it were not for the Chinamen, who have been attracted thither
by the "gold-rush," and whose numbers--including those at Port Darwin,
Southport, and the gold-fields--amount to 6,000, there would be almost
no manual labour available for the white colonists.

The auriferous quartz reefs, which here constitute what are called
the "gold-fields," are situated on the side of a range of hills
beginning at a distance of about one hundred miles from Port Darwin,
in a southerly direction. The usual route thither is by steamboat for
twenty-five miles to Southport, a small settlement at the southern
extremity of one of the arms of the inlet, and thence by cart track
for eighty miles. Unfortunately, during the wet season this track
is almost impassable. The gold is obtained from the ore by crushing
and amalgamating with mercury in the usual way. In this country the
crushing or stamping machines are known as "batteries," and I believe
in the northern territory they are worked entirely by steam power. The
average yield of gold from the reefs ranges from one and a quarter
to one and a half ounces per ton of crushed material, although rock
has been met with containing no less than twenty ounces per ton. The
latter, however, is altogether exceptional. There are in the same
localities alluvial diggings worked in a small way by Chinamen, but the
yield of gold is insignificant compared with that from the reefs. I
find it stated in the returns furnished by the customs officer at Port
Darwin that during the year ending 31st of March, 1881, the northern
territory exported 10,107-1/2 ounces, valued at £36,227.

I was told that at the time of our visit there were only two genuine
squatters in the whole northern territory. From their stations is drawn
the beef supply for the people living at Port Darwin, Southport, and
the gold-fields, and it would seem that the supply was quite equal to
the demand. Most of the land in the territory is now held on lease
by speculators, who pay to the South Australian Government an annual
rental of sixpence per square mile, which gives them, under certain
conditions, a right of pre-emption, and these speculators now hold on
to the land with a view to ultimately disposing of their interest to
_bonâ fide_ settlers at a large profit to themselves. But until the
Colonial Government takes the initiative in affording facilities for
the conveyance of produce from the interior to Port Darwin, there seems
little likelihood of the land being taken up for either agricultural or
pastoral purposes.

The aboriginal inhabitants are numerous in this part of Australia.
Those in the vicinity of Port Darwin are of the tribe of "Larikias."
In company with Dr. Morice, the government medical officer, I visited
two native encampments, which were situated a few hundred yards apart,
and at a distance of about half-a-mile from the settlement. One of
the camps was on an elevated plateau, covered with thin grass and a
sprinkling of scraggy bushes, while the other was at the foot of a
high cliff, and immediately adjoining the beach. We found in camp a
large number of men, women, and children, most of whom were lolling
about on the ground, smoking short wooden pipes, polishing their skins
with red ochre, and producing a rude burlesque of music out of pieces
of hollow reed about four feet long, which they blew like cow-horns.
The stature of the men was much superior to that of the natives we had
seen previously on the east coast; but although strong and active,
they presented a slim lanky appearance, especially as regards their
lower extremities. Their features were regular, and for the most
part pleasing; the hair was long, black, and wavy, sometimes hanging in
ringlets; the nose was aquiline, with broad alæ nasi, and having the
septum perforated for the reception of a white stick like a pipe-stem;
the upper lip, cheek, and chin were furnished with a moderate growth
of hair; the teeth were regular--no incisors removed; trunk and
extremities almost devoid of hair; the skin of the arms, chest, and
abdomen was decorated with cicatrices which stood out from the skin
in bold relief, having the form and consistency of cords. On the arms
these scars were disposed in parallel vertical lines, while on the
chest and abdomen they were in horizontal curves. Dr. Morice informed
me that these ghastly decorations were produced in some way unknown
by means of a sharp cutting instrument, and that no foreign substance
is introduced into the wound. He had been unsuccessful in all his
efforts to ascertain how the peculiar raised and indurated character
of the sore is produced. The women had fewer scar decorations than
the men, but had the same nasal perforation, in which they also wore
sticks. All seemed cheerful, happy, and contented with their lot. Their
huts were of the usual unsubstantial character, but were, however,
an improvement on the "shelter-screens" of the eastern aborigines.
They were constructed of boughs of trees supplemented with stray bits
of iron sheeting, and other scraps of wood and iron gleaned from the
settlement, and they were provided with an arched roof, so that the
whole structure was of the shape of a half cylinder lying on its side.
Many, however, were little more than "shelter screens," to protect them
from the prevailing winds.

[Illustration: ABORIGINES OF NORTH-WEST AUSTRALIA. _To face p. 204._]

Their weapons consisted of spears and clubs. The spears were of
different shapes and sizes, some being provided with two or three long
slender tapering points of hard wood, deeply serrated along one side,
while others were tipped with rudely chipped pieces of sandstone. The
former is used for spearing fish, the latter for fighting purposes. The
"woomerahs," or throwing sticks, which they always use in propelling
their spears, are of two kinds. The most common is about four feet
in length, flat and lathlike, and is peculiar in having the angular
hook, which engages the butt of the spear, projecting in a plane at
right angles to the flat surface of the stick. The other is a light
cylindrical stick tapering from the handle end, and its hook consists
of a conical-shaped piece of wood, which is secured at an oblique angle
to the distal end by means of gum and fibre lashings. The clubs are
about four feet long, are made of a hard heavy wood of a red colour,
and are fashioned with double trenchant edges towards the striking end,
so that a moderate blow from one of these formidable weapons would
effectually cleave open any ordinary skull. The boomerang is not used
in this part of Australia.

Small-pox has made sad ravages among this tribe of natives, and
accounts for the large proportion whom we found to be wholly or
partially blind.

The season of the north-east monsoon had just come to a close, and
with it the drought and intermittent fever which render Port Darwin
an undesirable residence for six months of the year. Calms usually
prevail during the month of November, and in December the N.W. monsoon
is ushered in by copious showers of rain, an event looked forward to
with much satisfaction by the inhabitants of Port Darwin. The annual
rainfall during the last half-a-dozen years has ranged from fifty-six
to seventy-seven inches, nearly all of which is precipitated during
the months of December, January, February, March, and April. Strange
to say, during the rainy season the settlement is healthy and entirely
free from malarial fever. But shortly before our arrival there had been
an epidemic of beriberi--a disease not indigenous to Australia--which
had probably been introduced by the Chinese immigrants.

I devoted one forenoon during low-water springtides to an inspection
of the beach between tide marks, but excepting a few sponges obtained
nothing of particular interest. The beaches in the immediate vicinity
of our anchorage were smothered with a thick coating of slimy mud, and
were consequently not favourable to marine life. With the dredge I was
more successful. About the centre of the harbour, in eleven fathoms,
the bottom is of sand, and here the fauna is abundant. Of Polyzoa I
obtained representatives of several genera, including _Retepora_,
_Eschara_, _Crisia_, _Idmonea_, _Cellepora_, and _Lepralia_; among
Crustaceans the genera _Myra_, _Phlyxia_, _Hiastemis_, and _Lambrus_
afforded many specimens. Many silicious Sponges were also found; among
Shells, _Murex_ and _Ranella_ were the principal genera observed; and
in hauling the dredge over some muddy ground I got a _Virgularia_ about
eight inches long.

The commonest bird about the settlement was a brown kite (_Haliastur_
sp.?), which hovered about the refuse heaps on the look-out for
garbage, or, perched on the leafless branch of some dying tree,
remained huddled up in a lazy and unconcerned attitude, taking no more
notice of passers-by than do the hideous Turkey-buzzards which act
as scavengers in the towns of Central America. Our ship was all day
long surrounded by a flock of these kites, who occupied themselves in
picking up with their talons the morsels of food which from time to
time were, amid other refuse, cast overboard. The thinly-wooded hollows
in the immediate vicinity of the settlement were thronged with numbers
of a black and white Grallina (_Grallina picata_) of about the size of
a magpie, which, on being disturbed, rose from the ground in flocks
to perch on the lower branches of the gum trees, and in company with
them I saw many examples of the Drongo (_Chibia bracteata_). Amidst
the foliage of the low bushes, a large black Shrike was frequently
seen, also a Zosterops, a flycatcher (_Piezorhynchus nitidus_), and
examples of a small finch-like bird (_Donacola castaneothorax_). The
latter were congregated in dense flocks, which shifted frequently from
tree to tree, making a loud whirring noise with the rapid vibrations
of so many tiny wings. When walking through the short grass, numbers
of small ground doves (_Geopelia placida_) would start up from almost
under one's feet, and alight again on the nearest tree, allowing one
to approach them within a few yards. Along the inner or landward edge
of the mangrove fringe I saw perched on the summits of the trees a
large oriole (_Mimeta_), of which I obtained two female specimens in
full plumage; and among some low prickly bushes which grew over the
shell heaps of the inner beach, I had a long, and finally successful,
chase of a goat-sucker, which had been dodging about under the bushes,
without rising on the wing. Large flocks of the New Holland paroquet
(_Trichoglossus novæhollandiæ_) flew about the topmost branches of
the large gum trees, screaming shrilly. I also saw and obtained a
specimen of _T. rubritorquis_, just now a scarce bird, but at other
times of the year said to be tolerably abundant. One day I joined a
party on a shooting excursion to a fresh-water lagoon about twelve
miles from the settlement. We were driven to the ground by Mr. Gott,
the superintendent of the British and Australian telegraph station,
who not only afforded us a pleasant day's shooting, but on this and
other occasions evinced the greatest kindness and hospitality. A
large black and white goose (_Anseranas melanoleuca_) was met with
in immense flocks in the lagoon; and when started from their feeding
ground, these birds, to our surprise, betook themselves to the
neighbouring gum trees, where they perched with an apparent ease which
was astonishing in such great and unwieldy creatures. Although thus so
easily circumstanced for pot-shots, it was no easy matter to bring them
down, as they required very hard shooting to make any impression on
them; so that, notwithstanding a liberal expenditure of ammunition, our
united efforts did not produce at all so large a bag as we had at first
anticipated. The country through which we drove on our way to and from
the lagoon was of an extremely uninteresting nature, being flat and
arid, and thinly wooded with stunted gums.



CHAPTER XI.

_SEYCHELLE AND AMIRANTE ISLANDS._


Our voyage from Port Darwin to Singapore took place during the interval
of calms which separates the north-west and the south-east monsoons,
so that we were enabled to steam the entire distance of 2,000 miles
in smooth water. Our course lay among the islands of the Eastern
Archipelago. On the 5th of November we sighted Timor Island, and on the
following morning passed to the northward of its eastern extremity, and
then steered westward, having Timor on our port hand, and the small
island of Wetter to starboard. From that date, the chain of islands
which extends in a north-west direction from Timor right up to the
Malay Peninsula was continually in sight. After dusk on the 7th, we saw
away on our port beam, and towering up into the blue and starlit sky,
the conical mountain which forms the island of Komba. On the 10th, as
we passed to the northward of Sumbawa, we had a fine view of Tambora,
a great volcanic pile 9,040 feet in height. On the same day a handsome
bird of the Gallinula tribe flew on board, and came into my possession.
On the following day a large swift of the genus _Chætura_ shared the
same fate. On the morning of the 12th we passed through the strait
which separates the islands of Sapodie and Madura, and as we emerged
from its northern outlet found ourselves in the midst of a large fleet
of Malay fishing boats, of which no less than seventy were in sight
at one time. These boats were long narrow crafts, fitted with double
outriggers, and having lofty curved bows and sterns. They carried a
huge triangular sail, which, when going before the wind, is set right
athwart-ships with the apex downwards, and when beating seemed to be
used like a reversible Fiji sail. On November 17th we passed through
the long strait which lays between the islands of Banka and Sumatra,
and on the afternoon of the following day dropped our anchor in the
roadstead of Singapore.

We made a stay of two and a half months at the great commercial city
of Singapore, and for the greater part of the time our ship lay at
the Tanjon Paggar dockyard, where she underwent a thorough overhaul,
while officers and men had abundant opportunities for relaxation and
amusements.

On February 5th, 1882, we again got under way, and quitting the
eastern Archipelago by the Straits of Malacca, steered for Ceylon. On
the 10th of February, in latitude 6° 15′ N., longitude 93° 30′
E., we passed through several remarkable patches of broken water,
resembling "tiderips." There was a light northerly breeze, and the
general surface of the sea was smooth, so that these curious patches
could be distinctly seen when a couple of miles ahead of us, and as we
entered each one the noise of tumbling foaming waters was so loud as to
attract one's attention forcibly, even when sitting down below in the
ward-room. The patches were for the most part disposed in curves and
more or less complete circles of half-a-mile in diameter, so that at a
distance they bore a strong resemblance to lines of breakers. Soundings
were taken, but no inequality in the sea-bed was observed sufficient
to account for them. They were most probably due to circular currents
revolving in opposite directions, and producing the broken water at
their points of contact.

We stopped for two days, February the 17th and 18th, at Colombo, the
capital of Ceylon, and then steered for the "Eighth Degree Channel,"
north of the Maldive Islands, after passing through which we shaped a
straight course for the Seychelle Islands.

On the morning of the 4th of March land was reported right ahead;
but as we soon found out with our glasses, all that was really visible
above the horizon was a big tree, which by an optical delusion appeared
to be of a prodigious size, and on account of the absence of the usual
appearance of land was thought by some of us to be only a sail. We
were at this time about ten miles to the north-east of Bird Island,
the most northerly of the Seychelle Group. About midday we anchored in
seven fathoms off the western end of the island, some dozen or so large
gannets coming off to meet us, and hovering inquisitively about the
ship.

[Illustration: "TRAVELLERS' TREES" IN GARDENS AT SINGAPORE. _To face p.
210._]

Soon after, a party of officers, including myself, proceeded to
land. On touching the beach we were met by a pair of negroes, who,
we learned, formed the entire human population of the island. They
occupied some wretched huts which had been hitherto screened from our
view by a dense thicket of bushes, which forms a fringe around the
margin of the island, and gives it, from the anchorage, the delusive
appearance of being well wooded.

Their occupation consisted in catching and drying fish, and in
salting, for consumption at Mahé, the bodies of sea-birds, which breed
on the island in vast numbers, and which are easily taken on their
nests during the breeding season--now just coming to an end. The
negroes spoke a French dialect, and, whether owing to their habitual
taciturnity, or to linguistic difficulties on our part, we could not
succeed in extracting much information from them. We gathered, however,
that turtle visited the island for breeding purposes, but not at this
time of the year.

Bird Island is half-a-mile long, and a quarter of a mile in width,
being thus more or less oval in outline. It is formed entirely of
coral, and is margined all round with white glistening beaches of
calcareous sand. Outside this extends a fringing reef, which forms a
submerged platform, on which there is some three or four fathoms of
water, and which has a mean width radially of about a quarter of a
mile. There is no encircling barrier reef, while the soundings are
so regular as to exclude the existence of coral knolls. The general
surface of the island is quite flat, and has a mean elevation above
the sea-level of about eight feet. Immediately within the sandy beach
above mentioned is a raised inner beach composed of blown sand and
lumps of coral, on which flourishes a belt of low green _Tournefortia_
bushes. After traversing this, one walks over a rugged plain of
honeycombed coral rock, the interstices of which are in some places
filled with sand and vegetable mould, which supports a more or less
general mantle of scrubby grass, interspersed with several introduced
plants gone wild. Among these were cotton, sugarcane, papaws, yams,
gourds, cocoa-nuts, and perhaps a few others. It appeared that none
of these had been found to thrive, which no doubt accounts for their
present neglected state. We now ascertained that the large tree which
had attracted our attention from the offing was a _Casuarina_, of which
there were altogether two or perhaps three on the island.

There were no land-birds. Sea-birds, however, were very abundant,
and seemed in many ways to have partially adapted themselves to the
habits of their terrestrial congeners. The sand and light soil,
which in some places occupied the cavities in the coral rock, were
everywhere excavated by the burrows of petrels, so that within an
area of four square yards one might count as many as a dozen. There
were also smaller burrows--not admitting the hand--in one of which I
captured a land-crab. Walking over the island--small as it was--proved
to be very fatiguing and aggravating, for after one had extracted a
bruised ankle from some treacherous hole in the coral, which the long
grass concealed, the next step, taken with misplaced confidence on
an inviting-looking patch of sand, would probably put the other foot
through the frail roof of a petrel burrow, into which it would descend,
to the alarm and indignation of its proper tenant, no less than to the
mortification of the explorer.

Many gannets were breeding on the island. I approached a large brown
bird as it sat on its nest, and, being anxious to obtain a specimen of
the egg, endeavoured to frighten it off by going within a couple of
yards and shouting riotously. The bird, however, did not seem to heed
me. I then tried stones, but with no better result. Eventually I had
to resort to sterner measures, which I forbear to mention, but which
proved satisfactory. The nest consisted of a few twigs and pieces of
withered grass, placed on the surface of the hard coral.

The terns, of which there were great numbers, either standing quietly
on the ground in flocks or perched singly on the low bushes, had just
concluded their breeding labours, and I found a few abandoned eggs.
Their nests were similar to those of the gannet above mentioned.
Consorting with the terns and gannets were multitudes of white egrets,
stalking about unconcernedly in the long dry grass, or perching in
a dreamy sort of way on the topmost twigs of the bushes. All these
birds, terns, gannets, and egrets, seemed to be quite as much at home
when perching on the bushes or standing in the grass as in their usual
attitude on the wing. They seemed indeed very loth to fly, and after
being rudely disturbed soon settled down again. The beaches of the
weather or east side of the island were studded with great flocks of
turnstones and curlews, with which were a few oyster-catchers, and
soaring high overhead was a great flock of frigate birds.

At an early hour on the following morning (March 5th) we were again
under way, and steering towards Port Mahé, which lies sixty miles to
the southward of Bird Island. The dredge had been laid out from the
stern of the ship soon after anchoring, and on hauling it up just
before weighing, one of the tangles was found to have attached to it
a large slab of dead coral, which contained a great variety of forms
of life. There were on its surface several detached masses of growing
Corals, comprising five or six different species, and an equal number
of Polyzoa, besides some Nullipores and Millepores. In the interstices
were several species of shells, worms, and Ophiurids, and two or three
species of sponge.

At three o'clock in the afternoon we anchored at Mahé, the chief island
of the Seychelle Group.

Seychelles, a term which is used to comprise the group of eighty
islands, has been a British colony since the year 1794, when it was
taken from the French by force of arms. Most of the land is in the
possession of descendants of the old French settlers, men who have
the reputation of being devoid of enterprise, and of squandering the
produce of their land in habits of dissipation. We were told that
among the upper classes there were only about six Englishmen in the
group, including the governor, secretary, and doctor, etc. By a census
taken in 1880, the total population was 14,035, of which 2,029 was
represented by African negroes. The population of the chief island,
Mahé, alone amounted to 11,393, so that there remains less than 3,000
to be divided among the remaining islands of the Group. The total has
since been increasing, owing to a stream of immigration having set in
from Mauritius, where there exists a commercial depression; so that at
the time of our visit it was said to amount to 18,000.

I think that to most people Seychelles is principally known as the
home of that eccentric palm, the double cocoa-nut, or "Coco de Mer."
Its range is indeed very restricted, being, in fact, limited to
Praslin,--one of the smaller islands of the Group,--and even there it
only grows in one particular valley. A few have been introduced into
Mahé, and great care is now being taken in order to promote their
extension. There was a handsome specimen of the female tree growing in
the grounds of Government House, which was shown to me by Mr. Brodie,
the courteous Secretary to the Council. The tree being unisexual,
isolated specimens can only be made fruitful by artificial means. In
the present instance, the tree being over thirty years old, and in the
proper condition for impregnation, Mr. Brodie had taken the trouble
to obtain from Praslin the reproductive portion of a male plant,
which he had placed over the immature fruits on the female tree. The
male tree bears a long thick spike, studded with minute flowers, the
pollen from which must be shaken over the female flowers, in order to
insure impregnation. The tree at Mahé was about twenty feet high, but
I was informed by Mr. Brodie that fully grown trees in the island of
Praslin attain a height of a hundred feet. The mature nuts if left on
the ground readily germinate. The outer hard covering splits at the
sulcus of the nut, and from thence shoots out a rhizome, which after
extending underground for a few feet gives origin to the future stem
and rootlets, which proceed respectively upwards and downwards from the
termination of the rhizome. The Coco de Mer is an article of trade, a
good many being brought over annually to Mahé, where some are sold to
visitors as curiosities, while the remainder are shipped to the Red
Sea ports to be sold to the Arabs, who have a profound belief in their
medicinal properties.

In the gardens of Government House were also two fine examples of
the celebrated Land Tortoise of Aldabra, an animal which, although
indigenous in Aldabra Island alone, has of late years been introduced
into many of the neighbouring islands. The pair at Mahé were male and
female, and weighed respectively about four hundred and five hundred
pounds. The male seemed to have no difficulty in bearing a man upon his
back. At the time of our visit the female had just commenced to lay,
depositing her eggs in holes which she excavated in the damp soil, and
carefully filled in.

From a commercial point of view, the Seychelle Islands are now in
a transition state. The cocoa-nut industry has of late years been
unprosperous, mainly owing to the ravages of a worm which invades the
roots and stem of the cocoa-nut trees, and causes them to dwindle and
perish. The produce of oil has consequently been so reduced, and the
freight charges continue to be so high, on account of the absence of
steamship competition, that only a small margin of profit is left to
the planter. This failure of the cocoa-nuts has led to a revival
of the old spice industry, which, under the early French settlers,
was at one time deemed likely to vie with that of the Moluccas. On
looking over the Blue Book Report, I find that in the year 1880 there
were 12,000 acres of land planted with cocoa-nuts, which in spite of
the recent blight continue to be the staple product of the Group. In
the same year there were one hundred and fifty acres devoted to the
growth of vanilla; a hundred acres were planted with cacao bushes,
and a hundred and fifty were producing cloves; besides a large extent
of land bearing coffee plantations. Both the Liberian and the common
coffee plants have been introduced, and found to grow remarkably
well. Vanilla, in particular, seems to find a congenial home in the
Seychelle Islands, and, during our short visit to the colony, we
gathered that the future hopes of the settlers were mainly centred
upon the successful cultivation of this plant. It grows rapidly, and
although the flowers require to be fertilized by hand, yet this process
is so readily performed that beans of large size and excellent quality
are produced. It is as yet only grown in a small way, most of the
vanilleries, as these plantations are called, covering only an extent
of about five acres. It is estimated that each plantation of this size
represents an annual produce of two hundred and fifty pounds' weight of
vanilla beans. We inspected some plants in the garden of Dr. Brookes,
an old resident, and noticed that the beans averaged eight inches in
length, and were otherwise well formed. He told us that he had been
most successful in the curing of these beans, and expected that when
they became well known they would command a large price in the European
markets, and that eventually vanilla would become the staple produce of
the Seychelle Islands.

The method employed at Seychelles for the expression of the oil from
the internal white lining of the cocoa-nut struck me as being novel
and primitive; and as it is said to be very efficient, I shall try to
give an intelligible description of a crushing mill and its mode of
construction. In principle it is a sort of gigantic pestle and mortar,
in which the pestle is made to perform a movement of circumduction,
and whilst doing so to rotate against the sides of the mortar, where
the crushing process is effected. A large-stemmed tree of very hard
wood having been cut down, so as to leave about three feet of the trunk
projecting above the ground, a bucket-shaped cavity is excavated in
the stump. A heavy round spar about ten feet in length is stepped into
this cavity, and is made to incline forcibly to one side by means of
a wooden outrigger, which is supported by a rope attached to the head
of the spar, and is weighted with heavy stones placed at its outer
extremity. The inner end of the outrigger is fitted with wide U-shaped
jaws, which engage in a collar scored in the tree stump just above its
point of emergence from the ground, while the rope-lift which supports
its outer extremity is so attached to the head of the upright spar that
the outrigger may be free to move radially about the stump at the same
time that the upright spar rolls round on its long axis, as it presses
heavily against the sides of the trough. Finally a small hole is bored
laterally, so as to reach the bottom of the cavity in the tree stump,
and into this is thrust a short bamboo tube to act as an oil-tap.
The broken-up copra is thrown in around the lower extremity of the
upright spar, and a bullock is set to work to drag round the outrigger
arrangement. The only attendance required is that of a small boy to
feed the wooden trough with copra, and occasionally to throw stones so
as to accelerate the otherwise lazy motion of the bullock. In the mill
which I examined the oil was flowing steadily from the bamboo tap in a
clear limpid stream.

We dredged several times with the steam-cutter in the channel between
Mahé and St. Anne's Island, and also in St. Anne's Channel. The
depth of water in these channels ranged from four to twelve fathoms,
and the bottom consisted of sand and coral. The fauna was abundant,
and comprised Shells of the genera _Murex_, _Arca_; large grey
Holothurians; Echinoderms of four or five species; Crustacea of the
genera _Thalamita_, _Galathea_, _Porcellana_, _Atergatis_, _Scylla_,
_Alpheus_, etc., and a large variety of Corals and Polyzoa.

One of the most conspicuous objects about the foreshore at Port Mahé
is a curious fish of the genus _Periophthalmus_, which may be seen not
only jumping about the dry mud flats at low water, but also climbing
up the rugged vertical faces of the blocks of granite of which the
sea-wall and pier are formed. It is very difficult indeed to catch
one, as I have good reason to know. Associated with them were several
species of crabs, among which I recognized representatives of the
genera _Macrophthalmus_, _Gelasimus_, _Grapsus_, and _Ocypoda_.

The Seychelles are peculiar in being the only small tropical oceanic
islands of granitic structure. All the others, excepting St. Paul's
Rocks, are either of volcanic or coral formation. The rock about Port
Mahé is a syenitic granite, in which the mica of ordinary granite is
replaced by hornblende. In some cases the felspar is coloured blue,
in others reddish, and in every instance it occurred in large coarse
crystals. The soilcap was a reddish pasty clay, of great thickness. In
one of the road cuttings near the settlement a section of this clay
fully ten feet in depth was exposed.

We left Mahé on the 14th of March, and on the following day anchored
off a small coral islet, the northernmost of the Amirante Group.
This, with another similar islet adjoining, constitute the African
Islands. A party of surveyors immediately landed in order to fix on a
suitable place for taking midnight observations of the stars, and I
had soon afterwards an opportunity of landing to explore. The islet
is two hundred yards long, by about sixty yards in width, is more or
less elliptical in outline, low, and flat, and for about three-fourths
of its circumference is girt by a smooth beach of coral sand, on the
surface of which I noticed a prodigious number of _Orbitolites_ discs.
The northern end of the islet is composed of upraised coral sandstone,
which has been grooved and honeycombed into various fantastic shapes,
so that for walking over it presents quite as unsatisfactory a
surface as volcanic clinker. All the central part of the islet within
the inner drift beach is covered with scrubby grass and low bushes
of the same character as those at Bird Island. There were one or two
young shoots of a _Barringtonia_; but nothing else in the shape of an
arborescent plant. Among the dead shells, light driftwood, and bleached
sponges and coral blown up on the inner beach, I noticed some of the
familiar rhomboidal fruits of a _Barringtonia_.

[Illustration: "COPRA" CRUSHING-MILL IN USE AT SEYCHELLES (_p. 217_).
_To face p. 218._]

There were no land-birds. The sea-birds were identical with those of
Bird Island. Young unfledged gannets were waddling about among the
bushes, and as regards the other birds, their nesting season also
seemed to be over. I did not notice any petrel burrows, but everywhere
near the beach were the burrows of a littoral crab, a species of the
genus _Ocypoda_. On the rocks at the northern extremity were multitudes
of the widely distributed _Grapsus variegatus_. When chasing them over
the rocks of the foreshore, I observed that they were reluctant to take
to the water, but preferred to keep clear of me by scampering away
over the coral further inshore. The cause of this strange behaviour on
their part soon became apparent; for the rock-pools about the foreshore
were tenanted by savage grey eels, ranging in length from two to three
feet, and I saw that the moment an unlucky crab was forced to enter
one of these pools, he was immediately snapped up and devoured. I was
surprised to see the coolness with which an eel would every now and
then raise its head above the water in which it lay, and look about
over the adjacent rocks to see if any crabs were near. On starting an
eel from its hiding place, it would scuttle with astonishing rapidity
over the low rocks which separated it from the water's edge, so that
it was no easy matter to secure one without the aid of a gun. Shooting
them, as they wriggled off in this way, was rather good sport.

The island is evidently visited by turtle during the breeding season,
for we saw several of the excavations in which they were in the habit
of depositing their eggs.

We got under way at seven o'clock in the morning, and after running
several lines of soundings over the outer edge of the Amirante bank,
steamed over to Eagle Island, which lies about thirteen miles to the
southward of African Islands, and again dropped anchor.

Eagle Island is somewhat oval in shape, and is a quarter of a mile long
by one-eighth in breadth. It is entirely of coral formation, is low and
flat, is covered with a thick growth of stunted bushes, and in other
physical features is much the same as the African Islands. There was,
however, an increase in the fauna in the shape of a small red-legged
partridge, which was very abundant, and afforded us some good shooting.
Owing to the thickness of the scrub, and weedy undergrowth of grasses,
ill-conditioned gourds and calabashes, it was found very difficult to
recover the dead birds, so that I fear there were a good many shot
which were never bagged. The only other land-birds on the island were
domestic fowls gone wild. Of these we saw an old cock and hen, and some
three or four chickens, which, on being disturbed, rose and took to
flight like pheasants.

In the interior of the island, among a tangled scrub of bushes, we
found the remains of an old stone-built hut, which from the solidity
of its four walls would seem to have been originally intended as a
permanent dwelling for Europeans.

I took several specimens of a small species of lizard, and also some
of the tiny spherical eggs of the same. I stowed away the eggs in a
matchbox with some sand, and left it open on the table of the deckhouse
on board. After a day or two the young lizards began to break out of
their eggs, and to wander about among the materials on my work-table.
I broke open one egg, and found that the youngster was at once able
to run about. After it had wandered about the table, and up and down
the sides of some bottles standing near, it returned to the matchbox
and remained for a long time hovering about it, as if terrified at the
immensity of the world, and loth to venture away from its former narrow
dwelling.

In some small holes about the centre of the islet we found a land-crab,
apparently similar to that of Bird Island; and from some large burrows
issued the peculiar groaning sounds made by the night petrel.

One of the most singular features in the zoology of the islet was the
abundance of a hermit crab,--occupying a _Neritina_ shell,--which was
to be seen and heard creeping over the stems and branches of the bushes
in all directions. They seemed for the time to have entirely adopted
terrestrial habits.

We got under way again on the morning of the 20th of March, and, after
spending the day in sounding from the ship, steamed up to Darros
Island, and again anchored.

This island is somewhat circular in shape, and has a maximum diameter
of three-quarters of a mile. It is inhabited by a Frenchman and his
wife, who are assisted by nine negro labourers from Mahé. Adjoining
are nine small islets, bearing a rich crop of cocoa-nuts. Darros
Island itself as yet produces next to nothing, but it contains a
large plantation of young cocoa-nuts, which in five or six years will
doubtless be productive. Immediately behind the Frenchman's house, and
affording an agreeable shade, was a handsome grove of _Casuarinas_
about eighty feet in height. They were nineteen years old, as we
subsequently ascertained. Many introduced plants--such as papaws,
cotton, pumpkin, etc.--were growing in a neglected state over the
island.

We dredged from the ship as she lay at anchor in twenty-one to
twenty-two fathoms, over a bottom which was mainly composed of
coral _débris_, and among the living organisms brought up were
three species of stony corals. This circumstance is of interest as
regards the bathymetrical distribution of corals, inasmuch as Dana,
judging from the results of observations made by various authorities,
considers that twenty fathoms may be regarded as the limit in depth
at which reef-forming corals live. Polyzoa were numerous. I noticed
representatives of the genera _Retepora_, _Crisia_, _Eschara_,
_Cellepora_, _Lepralia_, and _Myriozoum_. There were also some examples
of _Sertularia_ and other flexible hydroids.

Our gropings over the platform of fringing reef, which formed the
foreshore at low water, resulted in the acquisition of several species
of holothurians. Among these was a large _Synapta_, which was abundant,
and a very tough-skinned holothurian--of the genus _Moliria_--provided
with organs resembling teeth at its posterior extremity.

On March 23rd we moved over to Poivre Island--a few miles
distant--where we anchored, and remained for part of two days.

Poivre Island was colonized for the first time in the year 1820. It
is now the property of a Frenchman residing at Paris, and is managed
by his agent, a Monsieur Bertaut, who, with his wife and family,
and some twenty negroes and their wives, form the population of the
island, altogether amounting to twenty-seven. Of course the staple
produce is cocoa-nut oil, and the island having been planted with
cocoa-nuts at an early period in its history, the trees are in good
condition for bearing, and cover every available spot of ground. Among
the other trees on the island I noticed a _Casuarina_ and a _Ficus_.
Two shrubs were common; one, called the "Bois d'Aimanthe" (_Suriana
maritima_), formed a sort of hedge around the island, and the other was
a _Tournefortia_, which seems to be the first plant to establish itself
on these islands. The fauna included a black-and-white rabbit--of
course introduced--which was very abundant, and some pigeons of a
dark-brown plumage. Pigs and domestic poultry seemed to be largely
favoured by the colonists, and were indeed in a thriving state.

Like all the Amirantes, Poivre Island is low and flat, and is only
exceptional in being the most prosperous island of the group, for which
it is indebted to the zeal of the earlier colonists who planted its
splendid grove of cocoa-nuts. The island is oval in shape, about two
miles in circumference, and it has a broad fringing reef composed of
drift coral and sand, but exhibiting no live corals and very few shells.

We cast anchor off the north-west side of Isle des Roches on the
evening of the 25th of March, and stayed there for four days. This is
the largest island of the Amirante Group, being three and a half miles
long, and having an average width of half-a-mile. It is visible for a
long distance off, on account of its possessing several large groves of
tall _Casuarina_ trees, many of which are one hundred and eleven feet
in height. On the shore, immediately opposite to our anchorage, was the
settlement, which then exhibited a rather desolate appearance, as many
of the houses were in an abandoned condition, most of the inhabitants
having recently gone back to Seychelles. Only two individuals remained,
French creoles, who seemed to have acquired, from their solitary
situation, habits of taciturnity, which they found it difficult to
break through. At all events, we could not succeed in extracting much
information from them. They were well off for supplies, having a large
stock of pigs and poultry, besides fruit and vegetables. Cocoa-nuts had
been planted extensively, but as yet few of these trees were old enough
to bear fruit. At the time of our visit, the natives were engaged in
planting vanilla cuttings about the bases of the casuarina trees, which
furnished excellent supports for the creeper to attach itself to.

The flora was more extensive than that of the other islands. There
was a large-leafed shrub with thick branches like cabbage-stalks,
the _Scævola kœnigii_, which over ran the island. There were
also herbaceous plants of the families _Malvaceæ_, _Solanaceæ_,
_Cinchonaceæ_, and _Convolvulaceæ_. Among the trees I noticed a Ficus,
which, however, may have been introduced; and here I obtained the only
fern met with among the Amirantes, the _Nephrolepis exaltata_; it was
growing near the sea beach at the eastern end of the island.

There were six land-birds: viz., a red-legged partridge, a pigeon,
a large brown finch, and a small yellow-breasted finch, a red-capped
weaver-bird, and a waxbill (?). Of these I could only obtain specimens
of the small finch and the weaver-bird. The yellow-breasted finch
is gregarious, and mostly frequents the tops of the cocoa-nut trees
and the upper branches of the tall casuarinas, where it keeps up an
incessant melody of song, pleasant to the ear in the variety and
succession of the notes, and somewhat resembling the song of the
canary. In the large casuarina grove, near the western end of the
island, I succeeded, but with much difficulty, in procuring some male
specimens of the weaver-bird (_Foudia madagascariensis_). The females
were nesting. I observed one of the latter flying away from the tree
in which its nest was constructed, and from which I had disturbed it.
It differed from the male in having the red-coloured feathers confined
to the head, the rest of the plumage being of a dull brown. The nest
was an oblong affair, having a lateral opening, and was constructed
of a parasitic plant of creeping habit, which the creoles use for
making a substitute for tea. The nest hung from the extremity of a
casuarina branch which projected horizontally. The male bird was to be
seen perched singly on the summits of the large casuarinas, where it
made its presence known by a peculiar and characteristic twittering
note which it emits about four times in a minute. It was very wary,
and difficult to approach within a sixty yards' range, so that it was
only by most careful stalking that I could succeed in bringing down a
specimen. The brown finch was not abundant, and seemed to confine its
range to the plantations of young cocoa-nuts, where it was continually
shifting its perch. The waxbill was a very small bird, which was to be
seen every now and then flitting in large flocks among the maize plants
and low bushes. I was much surprised to find that the four small birds
above mentioned were so very wary, as there were no predatory birds on
the island, and it was unlikely that they had ever been shot at before.
Nevertheless, the motion of raising one's gun at a distance of sixty
yards or more was enough to scare away any of them.

The partridge was identical with that already seen at Eagle and Darros
Islands. The pigeon, which I have included among the list of the birds,
I saw only once. But one of the creoles living on the island told me
that it was an indigenous species, and was quite distinct from the
domestic pigeons which roost about and restrict their range to the
houses and trees about the settlement.

Although this island has been classed as one of the Amirante Group, it
would be more correct to look upon it as distinct and apart from the
main group, inasmuch as the bank on which it rests is separated from
the Amirante bank by a deep water channel eleven miles wide. We sounded
across this channel, and obtained no bottom with one hundred fathoms
of line. Isle des Roches is, moreover, peculiar in forming part of an
atoll, most of which is submerged, and is covered with from two to five
fathoms of water. The circumscribed patch of deep water in the interior
has a depth of about fifteen fathoms.

During the week subsequent to our departure from Isle des Roches, we
anchored successively off the four remaining islets of the group; viz.,
Etoile, Marie-Louise, Des Neufs, and Boudeuse. They are mere cays,
formed of coral and drift sand, and are uninhabited. Owing to the heavy
surf which broke all round their shores, we found it unsafe to land.

With our brief visit to the islets just mentioned our survey of the
Amirante Group came to an end. I will, therefore, before quitting
the subject, make a few general remarks on the group as a whole. The
Amirante Group consists altogether of twenty-one low coral islets,
resting (with the exception of Isle des Roches, which is on a
separate bank) on an extensive coral bank, whose long axis lies in a
north-north-east and south-south-west direction, and is eighty-nine
miles in length, with an average breadth of nineteen miles. It is
included between the limits of 4° 50-1/2′ and 6° 12-1/2′ south
latitude, and 53° 45′ and 52° 50-1/2′ east longitude, and is about
seven hundred miles distant from the nearest part of the East African
coast. Some of the islets and cays of which it is composed, and which
are included in the above enumeration, are so grouped into clusters,
that for all practical purposes the group may be considered as
consisting of nine islets, which have been named African Island, Eagle
Island, Darros Island, Poivre Island, Des Roches Island, Etoile Island,
Marie-Louise Island, Des Neufs Island, and Boudeuse Island. Of these
only three are inhabited; viz., Darros (including the adjoining islet
"St. Joseph," which is occupied by part of the same establishment of
creoles), Poivre Island, and Isle des Roches; the population consisting
of French creoles and negroes imported from Seychelles, who make a
livelihood by cultivating cocoa-nuts, and altogether do not exceed
forty in number. The islets are all low and flat, are formed entirely
of coral and coral-sandstone, and their general surface has an altitude
above high-water mark not exceeding fifteen feet, while in the case of
African Island, the lowest, it is not more than seven feet. Most of
them, however, are conspicuous from a long distance at sea, on account
of their possessing clumps and groves of casuarina trees, which tower
to heights ranging from eighty to one hundred and eleven feet above the
soil, as ascertained by trigonometrical measurement. The casuarinas
at Darros Island, which were eighty feet in height, had been planted
nineteen years prior to the time of our visit by a Frenchman named
Hoyaeux, whom we subsequently met at Providence Island.

All the islets above mentioned possess "fringing reefs," but are
distinguished from the coral islets of the South Pacific, and of the
other parts of the Indian Ocean, by the entire absence of "barrier
reefs." The soundings which we made over the Amirante bank showed a
general uniformity in the contour of its surface; whilst at the same
time there was abundant evidence that the central portions were more
depressed than the margins. Soundings in the latter situation gave
a depth ranging from ten to fourteen fathoms, and as each line of
soundings reached the central depressed area of the bank, a depth of
about thirty fathoms. The islands were for the most part situated near
the margin of the bank, and were in every case surrounded by a zone
of shallow water. Hence it is obvious that if the entire structure
were suddenly to undergo an elevation of about fourteen fathoms, or
eighty-four feet, it would present the appearance of an atoll studded
with comparatively lofty islets, and enclosing a lagoon of still water
sixteen fathoms in depth.

The outer edge of the bank was exceedingly abrupt, for within a
ship's length the soundings changed from ten or fourteen fathoms on
the margin, to no bottom with one hundred fathoms of line immediately
outside the edge. This precipitous character of the reef-edge was found
to be the same throughout its entire extent. At various points over
this area growing corals were obtained at depths ranging from twelve to
twenty-two fathoms, the latter being somewhat greater than the limit
in depth at which it is generally agreed that reef-forming corals can
live. It therefore follows, that if the entire bank were now to subside
bodily at a faster rate than the corals can by their growth raise the
surface upwards, these organisms would soon be immersed below their
natural limit, and would consequently die. But we have no evidence of a
subsidence having occurred, beyond the fact that the bank, as a whole,
bears a resemblance to a submerged atoll, while on the other hand there
are some positive evidences of elevation to be seen in the overlying
islands. At Eagle Island, the general surface--that is to say, all the
land within the inner, or coral-drift beach--is level, and consists of
dead coral _in situ_; so that if denuded of its present covering of
low vegetable growth, it would present much the same appearance that
a broad platform of fringing reef might, if elevated above high-water
mark and allowed to remain exposed to the weather for a few years. The
same is the case as regards the greater part of one of the African
Islands which we visited; while its northern extremity was composed of
upraised coral sandstone, standing _in situ_, and exhibiting excavated
grottoes and jagged pinnacles, resulting from old marine degradation.
It may therefore be inferred that these two islands have been subjected
to a movement of elevation to the extent of at least a few feet at
some period subsequent to the formation of their present reef-coral
surfaces. Again, at Isle des Roches, which, however, it should be
remembered lies on a separate, although adjacent bank, there were
along its south-eastern margin stratified beds of hard coral sandstone
occupying a position above high-water mark, and presenting to seaward
an abrupt eroded face of hard rock which was undergoing degradation,
and was being undermined by the action of the waves on a soft subjacent
stratum. As regards the other islands of the group, I have seen no
evidence of elevation beyond the fact that they are higher than either
African or Eagle Island; one of the most southerly being as much as
fifteen feet above high-water mark. I may add that the absence of
"barrier reefs" throughout the group militates against the probability
of subsidence having taken place. There is, therefore, reason to
believe that the entire group have undergone elevation rather than
subsidence; and if the forces which produced this condition be still
in operation, and continue so until a further elevation of fourteen
fathoms has been effected, there will result an atoll over eighty miles
long by twenty in width, and studded with lofty coral islands, somewhat
resembling the high islands of the south-eastern Paumotus, such as
Elizabeth Island, which Dana describes as being eighty feet in height.

The Amirante Group furnishes an illustration of the generally accepted
position that corals grow more luxuriantly on the weather than on
the lee side of banks and reefs. In this region, a wind, varying in
direction between east and south-east, prevails throughout ten months
of the year, and consequently gives rise to a proportionately constant
surface current; and, on looking at the grouping of the islets, we find
that of the eight which rest upon the same bank, six are situated on
or about its eastern margin, while the remaining two, which are placed
on its south-western side, are comparatively insignificant sand-cays.
Again, Isle des Roches, which rests on a bank to the eastward of the
Amirantes, from which it is separated by a deep-water channel eleven
miles wide, is situated on the eastern, or weather margin of its own
bank--also a partially-submerged atoll.



CHAPTER XII.

_CONCLUSION._


On completing our surveying work at the Amirante Group we steamed back
to Port Mahé, Seychelles, in order to replenish our stock of coals.
After a stay of a few days we again got under way (17th of April),
and shaped a course for Alphonse Island, which occupies an isolated
position sixty miles south-west-by-south of the southern extremity of
the Amirante bank.

We reached Alphonse Island on the 19th of April, about midday, and
saw that in shape, and general appearance, it much resembled one of
the Amirantes--for instance, Poivre; but, however, in one important
characteristic was different. It possessed a sort of barrier reef
little less than a wash, and sufficiently indicated by a long line of
heavy breakers. We steamed round the island, holding a course parallel
to the line of breakers, and within a few ships' lengths of it, but we
got no soundings with fifty fathoms of line. On attaining a position
opposite to the southern extremity of the island, we saw a canoe
approaching, the occupants of which, an elderly white man and some
negroes, soon afterwards boarded us. The information which they gave
us confirmed our impression as to there being no anchorage suitable
for a large ship anywhere near the island. We learned that it was the
property of a Frenchman named Baudon, who resides in Europe, and that
the population consisted of twenty-eight, six being whites--viz., John
Hickey, the manager, with his wife and children--and the remainder,
mulattoes and negroes. The island seemed to us to be covered with
cocoa-nut trees, but we were told that only a small number were old
enough to bear nuts. The produce consisted of copra, green turtle,
hawk's-bill turtle, and pearl-shell. Of the latter, two thousand shells
had been exported within the previous two years; and we also learned
from Hickey that he then had nine hundred in store awaiting shipment.
The shells, which are much smaller than those of Torres Straits, and
have a black internal margin like those of Ceylon, are obtained by
negro swimming-divers. They are found in the still-water pools, inside
the barrier reef, where they lie in four or five fathoms of water; and
on account of the danger from sharks they are only sought for in these
enclosed pools. Although a good many pearls of small size are met with,
the commercial value of the fishery depends on the mother-of-pearl of
the shells.

Fish are caught in great abundance, and as poultry thrive well, a large
stock of them are kept and allowed to run wild. Fresh water being also
plentiful, the inhabitants are not on the whole badly off for the
necessaries of life.

After a long interview with old Hickey, who most generously presented
us with some turkeys and ducks, we bade him a long good-bye, and
steamed away towards Providence Island.

We anchored off the west side of this island on the forenoon of the
21st of April, and lay about a mile from the land, and a quarter of a
mile outside a long fringing reef, over the raised outer edge of which
the sea broke heavily, forming an almost continuous line of rollers.

Providence Island lies two hundred and forty miles from the Amirante
Islands, in a south-west-by-south direction, and is two hundred miles
north-east-by-north from the northern extremity of Madagascar. It is
entirely of coral formation, is low and flat, and measures two miles
in length by one-third of a mile in width. It is surrounded with
broad submerged fringing reefs, which at the southern extremity of
the island are continuous with a long reef, extending in a southerly
direction for a distance of sixteen miles, and partially dry at low
tide. At its southern termination are three small islets, or rather
sand-cays, which are termed collectively Cerf Islands.

Providence Island belongs to two Seychelle gentlemen; viz., Mr. Dupuys
and Dr. Brookes, for whom it is managed by an elderly Frenchman
named Hoyaeux. The population consists of Hoyaeux, with his wife and
nephew, and a gang of negroes, male and female, amounting in all to
thirty-four. The houses of the settlement are situated on either side
of a broad avenue which traverses the middle of the island from east
to west. The only landing-place is at the western end of this avenue,
opposite to which we were anchored; and even here it was always
somewhat dangerous, and in bad weather quite impracticable to effect a
landing, on account of the rollers which broke over the outer edge of
the fringing reef. The latter forms the nearest approach to a "barrier
reef" which I have yet seen in these waters; excepting that at Alphonse
Island, which we had not time to examine carefully. The depth of water
over its general surface is not more than a fathom at low tide; while
at its outer edge, which is marked by the line of breakers, the depth
is only a foot or so less.

The produce of the island consists of cocoa-nut oil and green turtle.
The greater part of the island is covered with cocoa-nut plantations,
young and old, for which the soil seems admirably suited. I noticed
that here the cocoa-nuts had been planted in the surface soil, and not
in pits as at Poivre and Des Roches; and on my making a remark to that
effect, Monsieur Hoyaeux, the manager, explained to me the reason. It
has been found by experience that cocoa-nuts will not thrive on any of
these islands unless they are so planted that the roots may be enabled
to reach the bed of coral into which the sea-water penetrates. Hence it
follows that when nuts are planted on any but very low coral islands
it has been found advisable to put them at the bottom of basin-shaped
excavations, some three or four feet in depth, so that the roots may
have a chance of reaching the moist coral beneath. Providence Island
being sufficiently low by nature, it was not necessary to make these
excavations.

Green turtle are captured in great numbers during the month of April,
when the females come up on the beaches to deposit their eggs. A
turtle pond near the settlement contained, at the time of our visit,
no less than eighty, all of large size. In connection with this pond
a portion of the sandy inner beach was wattled in, so as to serve as
a hatching-ground for the captured turtle. As soon as the young ones
have become sufficiently strong to take care of themselves, they are
turned adrift into the open sea. In this way the young turtle escape
the danger, which they are otherwise exposed to when of a tender age,
of being destroyed by predatory sea-birds; and thus the maintenance of
the stock is favoured. It is a curious thing that young turtle seem to
have a difficulty about, or a strong disinclination to, diving beneath
the surface of the water. One almost always sees them floating in the
ponds, instead of groping about the bottom as the adults do.

The indigenous fauna and flora were almost identical with those of the
Amirantes, except that there were no land-birds as at Isle des Roches.
Monsieur Hoyaeux very kindly supplied me with the creole names of the
trees, shrubs, and one or two herbaceous plants. Among these were the
"Bois Blanc" (_Hernandia peltata_), "Sauve Souris" (a low tree with
long dark green leaves), "Bois Cu Cu" (a tree with drupaceous fruit,
having a curved hook at the apex), "Veloutier Tabac" (_Tournefortia
argentea_, a seaside bush of the family _Apocynaceæ_, the leaves of
which are sometimes smoked instead of tobacco), and the "Veloutier
Blanc" (_Scævola kœnigii_, a very common seaside bush of the family
_Goodeniaceæ_). Some of the bushes and _Casuarina_ trees (called
"Cedre" by the creoles) were overrun with a parasitic creeping plant,
_Cassytha filiformis_, which they use for making a sort of tea, and to
which they give the name "Liane sans feuilles."

The huge land-tortoises of Aldabra have been imported, and seem to find
a congenial home in the island. There was a herd of seven roaming about
among the bushes, one of which was said to be able to carry two men on
its back.

Among the introduced plants and vegetables we saw the papaw,
custard-apple, pepper, sweet potato, onions, lettuce, capsicum, etc.

Pearl-shell is collected on the reefs, but not as yet in sufficient
quantities to establish a lucrative industry. In this respect the
island is not so fortunate as Alphonse, for there are no sheltered
rock-pools in which the shell can be collected by swimming-divers
without danger from the sharks; the sea everywhere flowing in over
the outer edge of the broad fringing reef, and the great reef to the
southward only drying in patches at low tide.

Small water-worn fragments of precious coral (_C. rubrum_) are from
time to time picked up on the reef, but we could not glean any
information as to its precise _habitat_. We met with none in our
dredgings, which ranged up to a depth of twenty-two fathoms. It
probably inhabits the deeper water on the outer slope of the bank.
Madame Hoyaeux, who was most kind and hospitable, presented me with
some fragments which had been picked up on the reef, and which
resembled the _Corallium rubrum_ of the Mediterranean.

There are many wells on the island, but in all the water has a saline
taste. It is serviceable enough for washing and cooking purposes;
but for drinking, the inhabitants rely upon the rainwater which they
collect.

On the forenoon of the 28th of April we anchored about a mile and a
half to the westward of three small islets, which rest on the southern
extremity of the Providence Reef. I then accompanied the captain
on a boat-trip to the islets, visiting the two which lay nearest.
The most northerly of these we found to be a low and almost barren
sand-cay, crescentic in outline, about two hundred yards in greatest
length, and thirty yards in width. Near the eastern extremity were
two rude fishing-huts which seemed to have been recently inhabited.
They contained a turtle-spear and some other fishing appliances, a
hatchet, a bag of salt, a tinderbox, and some other small bags which
were closed up, and which a delicate regard for the sacred rights of
private property deterred us from examining. A few pearl-shells of the
species peculiar to these islands lay in a heap near one of the huts.
I appropriated, without any scruple, some specimens of these, leaving,
however, in exchange, a big lump of tobacco, which I deposited in one
of the bags hanging from the rafters of the hut.

Close to the concave margin of the islet was a small turtle-pond,
composed of stakes driven vertically into the soft sand, and lashed
together so as to form a circular enclosure through which the shallow
water flowed freely at all times of the tide. It contained six large
turtle.

The only plants growing on the islet were a very young cocoa-nut,
scarcely six inches high, and a weed, without flowers, somewhat
resembling a _Mesembryanthemum_, and evidently growing wild. The latter
may, I think, be considered to be the only indigenous plant on the
islet. In strolling over the piled-up sand and broken coral, of which
the surface of the islet was composed, I came across three fruits of
the widely-distributed _Barringtonia speciosa_, which had evidently
drifted on to the beach, and had then been blown up above tide mark.

We subsequently visited a second islet which lay about a mile to
the westward of the above, with which it was connected by a shallow
reef, probably laid bare at low tide. This second islet proved to
be utterly devoid of vegetation, and showed no signs of having ever
been inhabited. Strewn over its surface were great quantities of dead
shells, among which I saw examples of the genera _Harpa_, _Dolium_,
_Bulla_, _Cypræa_, _Littorina_, _Voluta_, _Conus_, etc. From here we
obtained a good view of the third islet, and could see on it two
large huts and several clumps of bushes, but nothing in the shape of
a human being. (One of our boats visited this islet on the following
day and reported that the huts were uninhabited, although showing
signs of having recently been in use.) There were three plants; viz.,
the Veloutier Tabac (_Tournefortia argentea_), the Bois d'Aimanthe
(_Suriana maritima_), a bush with lanceolate woody leaves, and a small
herbaceous plant. After a good deal of groping and wading about the
shores of the islet, we returned at about 5 p.m. to the place where we
had left our boat, but found, to our dismay, that the tide had fallen
so low since we had landed, that the boat was now hard and fast on the
bare reef, and after repeated efforts to drag it over to the reef-edge,
a distance of nearly half a mile, we were obliged to make up our minds
to wait for the rising tide. As we were unfortunately without any
provisions, our position was not the most agreeable, especially as the
boat was not floated off till near midnight.

On the morning of the 1st of May we weighed anchor and steamed over to
the island of St. Pierre, which lies about ten miles to the south-west
of our last position. We spent some hours sounding off the island in
deep water, and as it was reported that there was no safe anchorage,
the captain did not attempt to land. Seen from a distance of about
half a mile--the nearest we approached to it--St. Pierre appeared to
be of a very different character from the islands recently visited.
It was somewhat circular in outline, and was covered by a dense
growth of scrubby bushes, above which appeared the crowns of three
or four isolated palm trees. The mean level of its surface was about
thirty feet above the water, so that it was three or four times as
high as Providence, or the Amirante Islands. It presented all round
a precipitous rock-bound coast worn into jagged pinnacles above, and
undermined below by the wear and tear of the heavy ocean swell, which
thundered against it and testified to its eroding power by the jets
of spray which we saw shot upwards from blowholes through the upper
surface of the rock.

On the 3rd of May we anchored off Du Lise Island, the most northern of
the three islets which compose the Glorioso Group. These islets lie
about two hundred and seventy miles to the south-west of Providence
Island, and one hundred and twenty miles in a west-by-north direction
from the northern extremity of Madagascar.

Du Lise Island is of a very irregular shape, both as to its surface
and outline, and measures about a quarter of a mile across in various
directions. It seems to be formed entirely of coral sandstone,
conglomerate, and breccia, and presents to the sea on its north-west
side low jagged cliffs of consolidated coral breccia, and on the
opposite side a sloping beach composed of hard coral sandstone arranged
in gently inclined slabs; while its surface is in one place raised
into a large mound about thirty feet in height, covered with trees
and rank grass, and probably composed of blown coral sand. Among the
tufts of grass on the sloping sides of this mound were great numbers
of _Spirula_-shells in a tolerably perfect condition. Many of them lay
in sheltered places where they could hardly have been deposited by the
agency of the wind alone, and yet if they had been dropped by birds
after the latter had devoured the soft body of the mollusc, one would
expect to have found the fragile shells in a more or less mutilated
state, which was not the case. The circumstance is, therefore, a rather
puzzling one to account for satisfactorily.

The flora was more abundant in species than at any of the coral
islands to the northward. There were, moreover, no signs of the
island having been inhabited; and consequently we saw no palms, for
the cocoa-nut does not seem to be _indigenous_ at any of the islands
recently visited. The prevailing tree was a good-sized banyan, of
which many examples appeared to be very old. There were also several
Hibiscus trees. As to bushes, there were a few isolated examples of
the "Veloutier blanc," while the low central part of the island, into
which the sea-water penetrated so as to form a filthy salt-marsh,
was covered with a dense impenetrable thicket of "Bois d'Aimanthe."
Herbaceous plants were numerous, and comprised species of the families
_Solanaceæ_, _Malvaceæ_, _Euphorbiaceæ_, and _Graminaceæ_.

The fauna, which was not extensive, included a brown rat, which was
to be seen climbing along the upper branches of the trees, apparently
in search of small birds or their eggs; a lizard; a large brown dove,
pronounced by Mr. Bowdler Sharpe to be a new species of Turtur; a
_Zosterops_, and a sun-bird, a large crab of the genus _Birgus_;
terrestrial hermit-crabs, and many spiders.

We did not find any fresh water. The soil on the upper parts of the
island was a dark loam; and although sea-birds in the shape of gannets
and frigate-birds were abundant and bred on the island, I saw very
little guano.

I spent the forenoon of the following day in examining the broad
fringing reef, a great extent of which was laid bare by the low-water
spring-tide. It was composed of coral sandstone and coral breccia,
and presented a rather sterile appearance, being entirely devoid of
living corals, and containing very few zoophytes in its rock pools. I
was, however, interested at finding on the surface of this reef a few
isolated rounded stones which were quite foreign to the surrounding
formation, and whose source remains a mystery difficult of solution.
One was an oblong block of hard black basalt, about a foot long, by
four inches in width, while the other was a lump of clear quartz the
size of an orange, and much worn by attrition. Darwin, in his "Journal
of a Naturalist," mentions a similar occurrence at the Keeling Islands;
and in endeavouring to account for it, inclines to the belief that such
stones have been transported by floating trees, in whose roots they
were originally entangled, and from whence they have become detached
after the stranding of the dead tree.

From the rock-pools we picked up some large Cone-shells, as well as a
few Murices, Littorinas, and Turbos. We also saw some Ophiurids, and
one Holothurian.

We got under way again on the 5th of May, and, after spending several
hours in taking soundings, came to an anchor in eleven fathoms, about
two miles to the northward of Glorioso Island. This is the largest
island of the three which constitute the Glorioso Group (Vert Island
is very small indeed), and is somewhat squarish in shape, measuring a
mile and a half each way. It consists of a central depressed plateau,
in which the wells yield only brackish water, enclosed by two lines of
circumvallation, which are composed of sand hills forming continuous
ridges, and ranging from thirty to forty feet in height above the
level of the sea. The outer of these two ridges is about forty yards
from high-water mark on the beach, and is separated from the inner
ridge by a broad and deep furrow, which sustains a luxuriant growth of
"Veloutier" and "Bois d'Aimanthe" bushes. Near the centre of the island
we saw the muddy bed of a marsh, now dry, which one of the negroes
informed me was at certain times of the year full of salt water.

Glorioso Island is the property of a Frenchman named Carltot, who, at
the time of our visit, was away somewhere in Madagascar. The population
consisted of the manager--an old Frenchman--one other white man, and
fifteen negro labourers; who, with their wives and families, amounted
in all to twenty-seven. They were endeavouring to cultivate cocoa-nuts,
but so far as we could judge, without much success; for the number of
these trees bearing fruit scarcely amounted to twenty. The poor people
were in great distress for want of clothes and provisions, not having
seen any vessel for ten months before our arrival. They had latterly
been subsisting wholly on turtle and fish, without vegetables, meal,
or bread of any kind. The island was so infested with rats that it was
found almost impossible to raise any vegetables. In fact, commercially,
it has proved a failure, so that the wretched inhabitants were only
awaiting the first opportunity for quitting it and returning to Mahé.

The flora resembled that of Du Lise. The banyan tree, called "Fouce" by
the Creoles, was conspicuous, and in many instances seemed to be of
great antiquity. I noticed the same land-birds as at Du Lise, but there
was an addition in the occurrence of the Madagascar crow. Frigate-birds
were numerous all over the island, and, strange to say, were frequently
to be seen perching on the branches of tall forest trees. In using the
word "forest" for the first time whilst speaking of these islands, I
should add that a great portion of Glorioso was covered with a dense
growth of virgin forest, upon which the clearing operations of the
colonists had made comparatively feeble inroads. I need scarcely add
that our proximity to the great island of Madagascar was rendered
apparent by the above-mentioned novelties as to fauna and flora which
we encountered on our voyage southward.

The greater portion of the circumference of the island is fringed by
a broad reef of dead coral and coral sandstone, on which rests in
many places a thin coating of mud or sand. This platform of reef,
and also the sandy beach proper, together exhibited examples of a
good many shells, most of which, however, were dead specimens. We saw
representatives of the genera _Conus_, _Turbinella_, _Fusus_, _Cypræa_,
_Trivia_, _Nassa_, _Natica_, _Neritina_, _Haliotis_, _Dolium_, and
_Oliva_. Besides these shells there was little else to be seen, except
fragments of organ-pipe coral (_Tubipora musica_), and the bleached
tests of an _Echinus_, a species of _Hemiaster_ (?).

On the morning of the 8th of May we were again under way and sailing
for Mozambique Island, which is about five hundred miles from
Glorioso. On the evening of the 10th we passed within a few miles of
Mayotta, one of the Comoro Islands, and had a fine view of its high
volcanic hills,--a sight peculiarly grateful to eyes now for some time
accustomed to seeing land only in the shape of low coral islands. As we
passed to the eastward, the shadow cast by the western declining sun on
the face of the island brought out the outline of its hills in the form
of a bold silhouette.

May 12th, about midday, looking to the westward we saw a great
flat-topped hill appearing above the horizon. This was our first view
of the east coast of Africa, and proved to be Table Mountain, a hill
two thousand feet high, and situated some twelve or fifteen miles
inland. Being of such a height it was visible to us from a distance
of fifty miles, when nothing was to be seen of the coast itself or of
the intervening lowlands. Shortly before dusk we steamed up to the
north side of Mozambique Island, and anchored for the night in an open
roadstead, whence, on the following morning, we moved into the inner
anchorage.

Mozambique Island has been in the possession of the Portuguese since
the middle of the fifteenth century. About the year 1505 they commenced
to build a large fort on the northern extremity of the island. It
was designed on a scale of great magnitude, and although constructed
entirely of stone, and entailing an immense amount of labour, was
completed within a period of about seven years. Having then by means of
this stronghold established themselves securely and made this island a
base of operations for further conquests, they began to annex nominally
a great extent of territory along the neighbouring coast of Eastern
Africa. For the next two hundred years, or thereabouts, most of the
trade of the coast passed through Mozambique, and the position was
therefore of great importance, both in a commercial and political point
of view. The produce consisted of ivory, cocoa-nut oil, india-rubber,
gold, amber, and calumba root. Of late years Zanzibar has monopolized
most of the East African trade, and, consequently, Mozambique has
been losing its importance, and has now almost ceased to be a centre
of commercial industry. Indeed, the only African export of any moment
which now passes through Mozambique is india-rubber, which is said to
be of good quality, and of which large supplies are forthcoming.

The coast tribes have never properly fraternized with the Portuguese,
and although a large force of troops is maintained at the fort, the few
colonists who now reside on the mainland are practically at the mercy
of the natives. At present, a large tribe, the Macolos, hostile to the
Portuguese, and numbering about fifteen thousand, were encamped in the
neighbourhood of Pau Mountain, a hill which we could see from the ship,
and which is only twenty miles distant. The Macolo dialect is the same
as that used by the black natives of the island.

Mozambique Island is a mile and a half long by a quarter of a mile in
width, and is separated from the mainland by a shallow channel one mile
broad, through which the ebb and flood tides run with great velocity.
Considering the small area of the place the population is dense,
amounting altogether to seven thousand. It is composed of African
blacks, Banyans from Kutch and Gudjerat in Hindostan, Portuguese,
Arabs, and English. There are only five of the latter nationality;
viz., the British Consul, Mr. O'Niel (late Lieut. R.N.); Mr. Cassidy,
superintendent of the telegraph cables; Mr. Parlett, agent for the
British India Steamers; and two telegraph operators. The number of
Portuguese forming the garrison of the island amounts to two hundred
and fifty; and, besides these, there is a detachment of sixty soldiers
stationed on the adjoining shore of the mainland.

There is a local trade in an intoxicating liquor called "Caju," which
is made from the fermented juice of the soft part of the cashew fruit,
by distillation. It is said that a tablespoonful of this liquor is
sufficient to intoxicate an ordinary man, and to give him a fearful
headache as well.

I spent several hours, while the tide served, in exploring the
neighbouring reefs for shells and other marine specimens. Among the
former were three species of cowries, _C. tigris_, _C. mauritiana_, and
_C. moneta_; a large _Fusus_, a _Haliotis_, a _Volute_; an _Ostræa_,
a _Conus_, a _Tridacna_, and a _Pinna_; while on the beach we found
_Naticas_, _Neritinas_, and _Pinnas_. Several _Echinoderms_ were also
seen, comprising four _Ophiurids_, and three or four _Asterias_. Of the
latter, there was one huge species of a blood-red colour on the upper
surface, and gaudily variegated with round blotches of yellow. Among
_Crustaceans_, the most common form was a _Calappa_. _Grapsus_ was also
represented, and a few _Maioid_ species were also captured. On opening
a couple of clam-shells some curious commensal crabs were found inside,
two in each shell; they seemed to be very reluctant to leave their old
quarters.

Fringing the adjoining shore of the mainland was a large extent of reef
covered with fine sand, and bearing a luxuriant crop of short green
sea-wracks (_Zostera_). Under shelter of this weed we found a great
number and variety of Holothurians. A long _Synapta_ unpleasant to
handle on account of the pricking sensation which its spicules imparted
to the skin, was here obtained, and a small conger eel dwelt in burrows
projecting downwards from the bottom of small pits in the sand, where
it might be seen protruding its head on the look-out for its prey.

The most frequent shell on this part of the reef was a species of
_Pinna_ about eight inches long, which, in numbers of three or four
together, was generally to be seen anchored vertically in the sand by
means of its long byssus. The lips of the shell were so very fragile,
and the byssal attachment was so firm, that it was no easy matter to
root up an uninjured specimen. About the roots of the green sea-wrack
nestled in great numbers a tiny cowrie, the collection of which gives
occupation to great numbers of women and children, who may be seen
scattered over the reefs every day at low tide. Great quantities of
these shells are exported to the west coast of Africa for the benefit
of the negro tribes there, who still make use of them as the current
coin of the country.

       *       *       *       *       *

With our arrival at Mozambique terminated the surveying operations of
the _Alert_, so that it only remained for us now, on receiving our
mails, to make the best of our way to England. We accordingly sailed on
the 22nd of May, and proceeded on our voyage towards the Cape of Good
Hope, which we expected to reach in about a fortnight's time. However,
the weather proved to be most unfavourable, for on passing to the
southward of Madagascar, where we had calculated on meeting with the
south-easterly trade wind, we encountered instead a westerly breeze,
accompanied by a rather heavy sea, so that our progress for the time
was far from satisfactory. On reaching the latitude of Algoa Bay, on
the east coast of Africa, it was decided on running in there for coal,
which we accordingly did, anchoring off the town of Port Elizabeth on
the 9th of June, and remaining there until the morning of the 11th,
when we resumed our voyage to the Cape.

We arrived at Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope, on the 14th of June, and
made a stay of fourteen days, which was necessary in order to enable us
to refit and revictual the ship, and otherwise prepare for the homeward
voyage through the Atlantic.

On one of the few days which I here spent on shore, I made the
acquaintance of a Mr. Black, a fine hale old man, a shipwright by
trade, who supplemented his regular work by collecting and preparing
for sale various curiosities of natural history, especially the skins
and horns of many South African animals of the antelope family. His
latest trophy was a very large specimen of the egg of the _Epiornis_
of Madagascar, a gigantic bird which would seem to have become extinct
almost within the historic period. He had purchased this egg, as a
commercial speculation, from the supercargo of a trading schooner, and
hoped to realize a considerable profit by disposing of it to one of
the European museums. It was indeed of enormous proportions--although
not actually the largest on record--for it measured eleven and
three-quarter inches in length and eight and a half inches in breadth,
while it had a capacity of about eight quarts. The shell was one-eighth
of an inch in thickness, as I ascertained by measuring it at the
smaller end, where there was an aperture large enough to admit the
thumb. He could not give me any information as to the conditions under
which it was found, and although he had paid a large sum for it seemed
to be unaware of the fact that somewhat similar specimens existed.
It appeared to be in a sub-fossil condition, and was dotted over
externally with fine pits, so that its surface somewhat resembled that
of an old half-decayed human skull. About one-third of its surface was
stained uniformly of an earthy colour, suggesting the idea that it must
have remained for a long time partially imbedded in the ground.

On the direct homeward voyage we stopped for a few days at St. Helena,
and also at Fayal in the Azores, finally reaching Plymouth Sound on the
3rd of September, 1882, after an absence from England of nearly four
years.



GENERAL INDEX.


 Aborigines, Australian, 185, 188, 204, 205.

 Abrolhos Bank, 18.

 Aconcagua, 82.

 Adelaide, 201.

 Admiralty, 1.

 "Adventure," H.M.S., 1.

 Adzes, stone, 163.

 Africa, 2;
   coast of, in sight, 241.

 African Islands, 218, 226.

 Albany Island, 193.

 Albatrosses, 22;
   flight of, 89, 141.

 Aldabra Island, 215.

 "Alert," H.M.S., 2.

 Algoa Bay, 244.

 Alikhoolips, 55.

 Allen, Captain, 183.

 Almirante Cochrane, 41.

 Alphonse Island, 230, 232.

 Altamirano Bay, 134.

 Amadtha, 164.

 America, South, 1.

 Amirante Islands, 2, 218, 225.

 Andalien River, 97.

 Angol, 99, 100.

 Angona, 163.

 Annita, attacked by Fuegians, 55.

 Anson, Commodore, 54.

 Ant-Thrush, habits of, 142.

 Anuario Hydrografico, 130.

 Apparatus Boats, 197.

 Arabs, 242.

 Araucania, 95.

 Araucanians, 29.

 Arctic Expedition, 2.

 Arnaud, Mons., 131, 135.

 Atoll, 227, 229.

 Australia, 1, 180.

 Axes, Fuegian, 52.

 Azores, 245.


 Bahia de la Gente, old colony at, 35.

 Bailie's Sounding Apparatus, 18.

 Baker, Mr., of Tonga, 170.

 Bakola, 162.

 Ball at Tahiti, 151.

 Balsam Bog, 31.

 Bandurria, 36.

 Banka Island, 210.

 Banks' Group, 179.

 Banyans, 242.

 Butcher Bird, 85.

 Baron Collinson, 13.

 Barrier Reef, Great, 184.

 Barrier reefs, 226, 228, 232.

 Basil Hall, Captain, 83.

 Batteries, crushing, 203.

 Bau, 160, 162.

 Baudon, Mons., 230.

 Bea, town of, 170, 173.

 Beagle Channel, 56.

 "Beagle," H.M.S., 1, 130.

 Beche-de-mer, 190.

 Beech-trees, deciduous and evergreen, 36, 80.

 Bell, Mr. F. J., 71.

 Bella-Vista, 24.

 Bethell, Lieut. G. R., 3.

 Berberry plants, 35, 38, 41, 104.

 Beresford, Sub-Lieut. C., 4, 69.

 Bertaut, Mons., 222.

 Bio Bio River, 95, 98, 99.

 Bird Island, Australia, 192.

 Bird Island, Seychelles, 211-219.

 Birds of Amirantes, 223, 224.

     "    Peckett Harbour, 38.

     "    Port Darwin, 207.

     "    Seychelles, 212, 213.

     "    St. Ambrose, 86.

     "    Tahiti, 150.

     "    Torres Straits, 200, 201.

 Black, Mr., 244.

 Black police, 185.

 Bligh, Lieutenant, 168.

 Bois Blanc, 233.

   "  Cu Cu, 233.

   "  d'Aimanthe, 222, 236.

 Bolsa, 31.

 Bomberos, 81.

 Bonitoes, 13.

 Booby Island, 199.

 Boomerangs, 186, 189, 206.

 Borja Bay, 40.

 _Boudeuse_, frigate, 145.

      "      Island, 225, 226.

 Bougainville, Mons. de, 145.

 _Bounty_, H.M.S., 168.

 Bowen, town of, 188.

 Boyd, Mr., 178.

 Brazen Head, 10.

 Brazo del Norte, 111.

 Brazo Point, 59.

 Brenchley, 173.

 Bridges, Mr., 113.

 Brillador, mines of, 93, 94.

 British Museum, 54.

 Brodie, Mr., 214, 215.

 Brooks, Dr., 216, 232.

 Buckets, bark, 53.

 Buckley, the sealer, 113, 116.

 Buenos Ayres, 13, 28, 29.

 Bullock, collision with, 101.

 Bure Kalou, 162, 166.

 Buréta, village of, 166.

 Burial of Fuegians, 56.

 Burmeister, Dr., 29.

 Burney's voyages, 54, 68.

 Bushes, wind-swept, 109.

 Butcher bird, 183.

 Byron, Commodore, 51.

 Byron Island, 103.


 Cache Diablo, 68.

 Cacobau, King of Fiji, 159, 160, 165.

 Caju, 242.

 Calamary, 139.

 Calandria, 27.

 Callaghan, Governor, 31.

 Canal of Fitzroy, 128, 136.

 Canary Islands, 12.

 Canoe, Fijian, 163.

   "    Fuegian, 43, 51, 64.

 Cape Bowling Green, 190.

   "  de Verde, 15.

   "  Gamboa, 66, 71.

   "  Gregory, 34.

   "  of Good Hope, 2, 244.

   "  Santa Maria, 21.

   "  Tres Montes, 103.

   "  Virgins, 34.

   "  Pigeon, 18, 105, 141.

 Carouru, 38.

 Carpincho, 27.

 Casimiro, 30.

 Cassidy, Mr., 242.

 Catholic mission, 169.

 Cave at Port Rosario, 69.

     "   Tongatabu, 176.

 Cedar, 42.

 Cedre, 233.

 Cerf Islets, 232.

 Cetaceans, 72.

 Ceylon, 210.

 Chacabuco, 41.

 _Challenger_, voyage of, 77.

 Channel Fuegians, 42, 48, 56, 103, 123.

 Chasm Reach, 79.

 Chickens, gone wild, 220.

 Chili at war, 81.

 Chillan, 99.

 Chinamen, 203.

 Chrysalis at sea, 21.

 Clack Island, 191.

 Clairmont Islands, 192.

 Clark, Mr., 98-101.

 Climate of West Patagonia, 45.

 Coal apparatus at St. Vincent, 15.

 Coal mines, Skyring, 131.

 Cockatoos, white, 185.

 Cockle Cove, 104.

 Coco-de-mer, 214, 215.

 Cocoa-nuts, method of planting, 232.

      "      at Seychelles, 215.

 Colombo, 210.

 Colon, trip to, 22.

 Comoro Islands, 240.

 Compañia smelting works, 93, 94.

 Concepcion Channel, 59, 103, 112.

      "     town of, 95, 96, 141.

 Conferva, oceanic, 13, 177.

 Cook, Captain, 145, 168, 173.

   "   Mr. William, 4.

 Cooktown, 190.

 Copigue, 46.

 Copper trade at Coquimbo, 83.

 Coppinger, Dr. R. W., 4.

 Copra, 147.

 Copra-mill, 216-217.

 Coquimbo, 82, 93, 142.

 Coral on ship's bottom, 151.

 Corals, distribution of, 221.

 Coral, red, 234.

 Cordillera, 64, 75, 89, 99, 128, 135.

 _Corea_, steamship, 194, 198.

 Cormorants, 42, 106, 107, 110, 111.

 Covadonga Group, 137, 139.

 Corona Island, 127.

 Cox, Mr., of Talcahuano, 62.

 Coypu of Magellan, 48.

 Crabs at African Island, 219.

 Crania, 179.

 Croker, Captain, 170.

 Crooked Reach, 117, 124.

 Crosshatchings, 74.

 Culebras bank, 177.

 Cunningham, Mr., of Beagle, 191.

 Cunningham, Dr., of Nassau, 61.

 _Curaçoa_, voyage of, 173

 Currant-bush, 134.


 Danger Islands, 154.

 Darros Island, 221, 225, 226.

 Darwin, Mr., 27, 31, 83, 97, 106.

 Davita, our guide, 171.

 _Dayot_ sloop, 146, 151, 152.

 Dean Island, 185, 186.

 Deedes, Lieutenant James, 3.

 Deer, in West Patagonia, 64.

 Delgado Bay, 59.

 D'Entrecasteaux, 168.

 Des Neufs Island, 225, 226.

 Diadem Peak, 146.

 Diddle-dee, 31, 41.

 _Dido_, H.M.S., 159.

 Dinwoodie, Mr. John, 4.

 Dolphin, 144.

 Drawings by aborigines, 191.

 Dredging at St. Vincent, 16.

      "      Madeira, 10-11.

      "      Hotspur Bank, 18.

      "      Victoria Bank, 19.

      "      Port Molle, 187.

      "      other, 193, 207, 217, 221.

 Drongo, 207.

 Duck, crested, 38, 68.

 Du Lise Island, 237.

 Dungeness Point, 34.

 Dunsmuir, Mr., 37.

 Dupuys, Mr., 232.

 Durazno, trip to, 24.


 Eagle Island, 220, 225, 226, 227.

 Earthquake at Coquimbo, 83.

 East, Sub-Lieut. W., 4.

 Eastern Archipelago, 209.

 Eastlake, Mr., 181.

 Eden Harbour, 104.

 Edwards, Captain, 168.

 Edye, Mr., of Durazno, 27.

 Eels, voracious, 219.

 Egg of _Epiornis_, 244.

 Eighth-Degree Channel, 210.

 Elevation of land, 83, 128, 134, 138, 171, 175, 201, 227, 228.

 Elizabeth Island, Paumotus, 228.

     "        "    Magellan, 38.

 Ellis, the missionary, 145.

 Elton, Mr., 141.

 England, return to, 243.

 English Narrows, 79, 104, 123, 139.

 Etoile Island, 225, 226.

 Equatorial current, 7.

 Evans, Sir Frederick, 3.

 Eyre Sound, glacier at, 79, 137.


 Fakaata or Bowditch Island, 154, 158.

 Falkland Islands, 31, 77.

 Fallos Channel, 111.

 _Favourite_, H.M.S., 170.

 Fayal, 245.

 _Felis_, sealing vessel, 113.

 Fenton, Dr., of Sandy Point, 36, 117.

 Ferns, 200

   "   of Amirantes, 223.

     "    Patagonian Channels, 46.

 Fiji, 2, 159, 167.

 Finisterre, Cape, 5.

 Fire, Fuegian, 44, 53.

 Firestone, Fuegian, 119, 120, 121.

 Finow, Tonga chief, 168.

 Fish, 63, 218.

 Fish-weirs, Fuegian, 125.

 Fitzroy, Admiral, 48, 54, 55, 65, 130.

     "    Island, 190, 198.

 Flinders Island, 192.

 Flint-flaking, 119.

 Flora of Amirantes, 222, 223.

     "    Du Lise Island, 237.

     "    Providence Island, 233.

 Flowering plants, Patagonian Channels, 46, 80.

 Flycatchers, 183.

 Flying fish, 12.

 Fly-trap plant, 93.

 Fox of Falklands, 33.

 Fox bats, 173.

 Francisco Bay, 71, 72.

 _Freia_, German vessel, 123.

 Friendly Islanders, 175.

 Fringing reefs, 226.

 Fuegians, Channel, 49.

 Funchal, Madeira, 8, 9, 10, 11.

 Fur-seal of Magellan, 114.


 Garajas, Point, 10.

 Gatcombe Head, 180.

 Gates at Tongatabu, 169.

 Gaucho, 23.

 George, King of Tonga, 172.

 Giant's Causeway, 15.

 Glacier, marks of old, 66, 74.

 Glacier at Glacier Bay, 124, 125.

 Gladstone, town of, 182.

 Glasgow Bank, failure of, 13.

 Globigerina ooze, 18.

 Glorioso Group, 237.

 Godeffroy & Co., 169.

 Gold-fields of North Australia, 203.

 Gold mines at Sandy Point, 36.

 Goode Island, 198.

 Goose, Brent, 57.

    "   Kelp, 56, 57, 104.

    "   Upland, 38, 39.

 Gordon, Sir Arthur, 164.

 Gott, Mr., 208.

 Grabham, Dr., 11.

 Grallina, 183.

 Grass trees, 181.

 Graves of Fuegians, 54.

 Gray Harbour, 139.

 Grebe, 38.

 Greenstone, 74, 77.

 Grenfell, Lieutenant, 4.

 Guanacos, 34.

 Guia Narrows, 73.

 Gulf Stream, 7.

 Gulfweed, 7.

 Gulls, habits of, 60.

   "       "   of Talcahuano, 97.

 Gunn, Lieutenant Gordon, 4, 27.

 Günther, Dr., 137, 139.


 Haase, Mr., 131.

 Hailstone rock, 75.

 Hale Cove, 140.

 Halicott, Mr., 153.

 Hammond Island, 198.

 Hanslip, Mr., 175.

 Hapai Islands, 168, 169.

 Haswell, Mr., 180, 183, 185, 191, 200.

 Hawk, 15.

 Hawksworth's voyages, 144.

 Henderson & Co., 157.

 Hermit crabs, 221.

 Hickey, John, 231.

 Hifo, village of, 173, 175.

 Hinchinbrock Island, 190.

 Hindostan, 242.

 Holloway, Mr., 11.

 Honey-eater, 183.

 Horn Island, 198.

 Horses of Sandy Point, 37.

 Hoskyn Cove, 79.

 Hotel Universal, at Buenos Ayres, 28.

   "   Oddo, at Santiago, 90.

 Hoyaeux, Mons., 232, 235.

 Huemul, 55, 91.

 Huillin, 98.

 Huts of Fuegians, 53.

 Hydroid coral, 71.


 Iceberg Sound, 104.

 Icebergs in Messier Channel, 104.

 Icy Inlet, 137.

  "  Reach, 79.

 Independencia, rock at, 24

 Indian Reach, 137.

 India-rubber trade, 241.

 Inocentes Channel, 112.

 _Isabella_, labour vessel, 181.

 Isla de los Reyes, 96.

 Island harbour, 80, 104.

 Isle des Roches, 223, 225, 226, 229.

 Isthmus Bay, 41.

 Ivi tree, 172.


 Jerome Channel, 117, 127, 136.

 Joashim Suarez, 26.

 Joe, Ratu, 159, 160, 163.


 Kaicolos, 165, 166.

 Kanakas, 196.

 Kava, 174.

 King Charles South Land, 56.

 Kingfisher, 107.

 King George's Island, 144.

 Kitchen-middens at Tom Bay, 57.

 Kite, Australian, 207.

 Komba Island, 209.

 Kosmos Line, 35, 64.


 La Compania, 91.

  " Rance Bank, 177.

  " Sagittaria, 144.

  " Venus, frigate, 145.

 Labour vessels, 155, 181.

 Lagoon at Tom Bay, 58.

 Lalis, 161.

 Lalla Rookh Bank, 158.

 Lambert, Mr., 84, 93.

 Lamire, sealer, 55, 74.

 Land-crab, 200.

 Land-shells, 62, 200.

 Larikias, 204.

 Latitude Cove, 112.

 Las Cardas, trip to, 84.

  "  Piedras, 25.

  "  Tablas, Bay of, 101.

 Lasikaus, 162.

 Latorre, Captain, 130, 131.

 Laughing jackass, 183.

 Lawrence, Mr., of Concepcion, 98.

 Leadbetter, Captain, 123.

 Letore, Señor, of Uruguay, 23.

 Levuka, Fiji, 159, 160, 165, 178.

 Lifonga, 168.

 Limestone, "ripple-marked," 68.

 Limpets, 48, 67.

 Lisbon, 6.

 Livoni, 165.

    "   River, 166.

 Lizards, 199, 220.

 Lizard Island, 190.

 Llallai, 90, 92.

 Lobos Island, 21.

 London Missionary Society, 158.

 Long Island, 184.

 Loo Rock, 9.

 Low, Mr., 54.

 Lucas sounding machine, 7.


 Maafu, 172.

 Machico, 9.

 Maclear, Captain John, 3, 82, 98, 173, 174, 191.

 Macolos, 241.

 Madagascar, 231, 237, 243.

 Madeira, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12.

 Madre de Dios Island, 47.

 Madura Island, 209.

 Magellan, Straits of, 1, 34, 112, 117, 127.

 _Magellanes_, Chilian vessel gunboat or corvette, 40, 130.

 Mahé, 211, 213, 214, 218.

 Malacca, Straits of, 2, 210.

 Malay Archipelago, 2.

 Maldive Islands, 210.

 Maldonado Point, 21.

 Mallicollo, New Hebrides, 179.

 Manga Reva Island, 152.

 Mariner of Tonga, 168, 169.

 Martin, Dr. John, 169.

 _Maranhense_, s.s., 123, 124.

 Marie Louise Island, 225, 226.

 Matavai Bay, 144.

 Maté drinking, 28.

 Maurelle, 168.

 Mauritius, 214.

 Mayne, Adam, 157.

   "    Harbour, 42.

 Mayotta Island, 240.

 McCorkill, Mr., 165.

 Megalithic structure, 173.

 Mendaña, 144.

 Merilava, 179.

 Mequin Paso, 90.

 Messier Channel, 103, 104, 111, 123.

 Miers, Mr. E. J., 11.

 Moa, town of, 173.

 Monsoons, 206.

 Montague Bank, 20.

 Monte, 27.

 Montenegro, 90, 92.

 Monte Video, 22, 124.

 Moraine profonde, 76.

 Moreno, Señor, 30.

 Morice, Dr., 204.

 Morne, Captain, 166.

 Moseley, Mr., 166.

 Moss, curious growth of, 108.

 Moths on the ocean, 20.

 Mound bird, 201.

 Mozambique, 2.

      "     Island, 240, 241, 242.

 Mulhall, Mr., 30.

 Museums at Buenos Ayres, 28, 29.

 Mussels, 48, 67.


 Nares, Sir George, 2, 3, 11, 63, 82, 106.

 Narrows, English, 62.

    "     First, 34.

    "     Guia, 73.

 _Nassau_, H.M.S., 1, 54.

     "     Island, 152.

 Natives of West Patagonia, 48.

 New Hebrides, 179.

 North, Mr. Frederick, 4, 43.

 Nouvelle Cythére, 145.

 Nukualofa, 169, 170, 175.

 Nukunono Island, 154, 158.

 Nutria, 58, 97, 126.


 Oatáfu Island, 154, 155.

 Obstruction Sound, 55, 65.

 O'Niel, Mr., 242.

 Oranges, 148.

 Orchids, 199.

 Ores of copper, 94.

 Organ-pipe Range, 67.

 Ostriches of Uruguay, 26.

 Otaheite, 145.

 Otter of Magellan, 48, 58.

 Otway Water, 117, 127, 128.

 Ovalau, 159, 160, 165, 166.

 Oyster-catcher, 39, 55, 68.


 Pachuros, 142.

 Palmas, 12.

 Palmerston, town of, 201, 202.

 Pampas, 97.

 Pandora, 168.

 Paofai, 151.

 Papiété, 146.

 Paraguay tea or "yerba," 29.

 Parlett, Mr., 242.

 Paroquets, 183.

 Parr, Mr., of Fiji, 165, 166.

 Parrayon, Mons., 151.

 Partridge, red-legged, 220.

 Patagonia, 128, 136.

 Patent Log injured by sharks, 82.

 Pau Mountain, 242.

 Paumotus, 228.

 Payne, Mr. Alfred, 4.

 Pearls, 198.

 Pearl-shell of Alphonse Island, 231.

 Pearl-shelling, 194, 196, 197.

 Peat avalanche, 31.

 Pecherays, 55, 123.

 Peckett Harbour, 38.

 "Peeter," 156.

 Pelagic animals, 17, 168, 179.

 Peñas, gulf of, 48, 51, 73, 80, 103.

 Penco, 95, 96, 99.

 Percy Islands, 183.

 Petrels, 13, 17, 87, 88, 89, 105.

 Petley, Lieutenant W. H., 4, 185.

 Phillipi, Dr., 90.

 Phosphorescence, 8.

 Picton Channel, 73, 74.

    "   town, 51.

 Pigafetta, 140.

 Pilot fish, 13.

 Pinery at Madeira, 11.

 Plate River, 21, 112.

 Playa Parda Cove, 41, 124.

 Plaza de Armas, 90.

   "   Vittoria, 30.

 Plymouth, sail from, 5.

     "     return to, 245.

 Point Venus, 149.

 Poivre Island, 222, 226.

 Pomare, King, 146.

    "    Queen, 145.

 Porpoises, 14.

 Port Albany, 193.

   "  au-Prince, 168.

   "  Charrua, 74.

   "  Curtis, 180.

   "  Darwin, 201, 202, 204, 206.

   "  Denison, 188, 189.

   "  Elizabeth, 244.

   "  Famine, 35.

   "  Gallant, 122.

   "  Grappler, 79.

   "  Henry, 59, 62, 66, 67, 68.

   "  Molle, 184, 185, 186.

   "  Riofrio, 137.

   "  Rosario, 47, 69.

   "  Tamar, 1.

 Portage for canoes, 42, 59.

 Portland Bay, 63.

 Porto Santo, 7, 15.

 Portuguese, 241, 242.

 Possession Island, 198.

 Praslin Island, 214.

 Prince of Wales Channel, 194.

    "        "   Island, 198.

 Protectorate, French, 146.

 Providence Island, 231, 232, 237.

 P.S.N.C. (Pacific Steam Navigation Company), 35.

 Puerto Bueno, 137.

 Punta Walichii, 30.


 Queensland, 180.

 Quillapan, 98, 99, 100, 101.

 Quiriquina Island, 101.

 Quiros, Pedro de, 144.


 Rada de las Minas, 130.

 Railway at Coquimbo, 83.

 Rainfall in W. Patagonia, 45.

 Raised beach, 138.

 Rat, white-tailed, 184.

 Ratu, 159.

 _Rescue_, sealing vessel, 112.

 Rewa River, 165.

 Richards, Mr., 94.

 Ridley, Mr. S. O., 18, 71.

 Rio Grande, 84.

 Rio Negro, 26.

 Robleria, bridge at, 99, 101.

 Roca Partida, 54.

 Roches moutonnées, 76.

    "   perchées, 76.

 Rock of W. Patagonia, 47.

 Rock-drill at work, 94, 95.

 Rookery, seal, 49, 136.

 Rooper, Lieut. G., 3, 139.

 Root-of-war, 160.


 San Antonio, 15.

  "  Rosendo, 99.

 Sandy Point, 35, 36, 37, 112, 113.

 Santa Cruz River, 29.

   "   Fé, 99.

   "   Ines Island, 117.

   "   Lucia de Santiago, 91.

   "     "   de Uruguay, 25.

 Santiago de Chilé, 89, 90, 91, 99.

 Sapodie Island, 209.

 Sargasso Sea, 8.

 Sarmiento, 35, 68.

     "     Channel, 41.

 Sauve Souris, 233.

 Sea lion, 44.

 Seals, breeding time of, 48.

 Seal-hunting, hardships of, 115.

 Sealskins, value of, 114.

 Seal trade in Magellan Waters, 114.

 Sea-water, discoloured, 13, 141, 177.

 Seychelle Islands, 2, 210, 214, 230.

 Shark, 13, 158.

 Shell Terraces of Coquimbo, 83.

 Shrikes, 183.

 Silvertop Mountain, 69.

 Simon's Bay, 244.

 Singapore, 2, 209, 210.

 Skua, Antarctic, 110, 141.

 Skull of Fuegian, 70.

 Skyring Water, 55, 127, 128, 130.

 Small-pox, 141, 206.

 Smith, Mr. Edgar, 62, 139.

 Smyth's Channel, 130, 137.

 Snipe, Magellan, 137.

 Soil motion, 75.

 Soilcap, structure of, 47.

 Solomon Islands, 181.

 Sombrero Island, 103.

 Somerset, settlement of, 193.

 Southport, 203, 204.

 Sparrow-hawk, 5.

 Spears of Channel Fuegians, 52.

 Sphinx Moths, 20.

 Spider, Trap-door, 118.

 St. Ambrose Island, 85, 86, 87.

  "  Felix Island, 85.

  "  Helena, 245.

  "  Pierre, 236.

  "  Vincent, 15.

 Staffa Columns, 15.

 Stanley Harbour, 31.

 Starling, soldier, 38.

 Steamer-ducks, 39, 55, 61, 62, 104.

 Stole, John, 112.

 Stone Runs of Falklands, 32, 77, 78.

 Straits of Magellan, 1.

 Strangers' Club, 29.

 Structure of Amirantes, 226, 227.

     "     "  Oceanic Islands, 218.

 Submarine cable, 202.

 Sumatra, 210.

 Sumbawa, 209.

 Suva, 167, 179.

 Swallow at sea, 7.

 Swallow Bay, 125, 136.

 Swan, black-necked, 112, 129, 135.

 Swift at sea, 209.

 Swifts in cave, 176.

 Sydney, 166, 167, 180.

 Syenite, 74, 76.

 Symonds, Mr., 175.


 Table Mountain, 241.

 Tahiti, 144.

 Talca, 99.

 Talcahuano, 95, 96, 101, 141.

 Tamitao, 150.

 Tanjon Paggar, 210.

 Tapa, 162.

 Tapaculo, 85.

 Tasman, 168.

 Tea-plant, 31.

 Tehuelches, 30.

 Tekeenicas, 55.

 Tema Reef, 153.

 Terutero, 97.

 Thompson, Sir William, 7.

     "      "  Wyville, 21, 32, 77.

 Thouars, Admiral du Petit, 145.

 Thrush of Magellan, 37.

 Thursday Island, 194, 196.

 Tierra del Fuego, 34, 112.

 Tilly Bay, 118, 125, 127, 136.

 Timor Island, 209.

 Tom Bay, 42, 43, 56, 57, 60, 61, 111, 112.

 Tonga Islands, 168, 169.

 Tonga, Mr. David, 173.

 Tongatabu, 167, 169.

 Torres Straits, 194, 195, 180, 201.

 Tortoise of Aldabra, 215.

 Totoonga Valley, 165.

 Topar Island, 78.

 Tower at Funchal, 9.

 Trammel net, 60.

 Treachery of Fuegians, 112.

 Tree, silicified, 102.

 Trees of W. Patagonia, 46.

 Trepangs, 190.

 Tribes of Fuegians, 55.

 Trinidad Channel, 54, 68, 71, 73, 75, 103, 104, 111.

 Trumpet-shells, 67.

 Tucker, Captain, 198.

 Tucutuco, 26, 27, 35, 38.

 Turtle, 21, 219, 231, 233.


 Uea, 175.

 Union Group, 154.

 Uruguay, 22.

 Ushuwia, mission station, 56, 112.


 Valparaiso, 3, 78, 80, 82, 89, 90, 93.

 Vanilla, 148, 216, 223.

 Vavau, 169.

 Veloutier Blanc, 233, 237.

     "     Tabac, 233, 236.

 Venus, transit of, 145.

 Vereker, Lieut. the Hon., 3, 10.

 Veronica, 67.

 Victoria Bank, 20.

 _Victorieuse_, ironclad, 146.

 Vines at Madeira, 12.

 Viti Levu, 160, 162, 165, 167.

 Vocabulary of Fuegian words, 122.

 Vunivalu, 160.


 Wager Island, 103.

   "   Loss of, 51.

 Waidou, 179.

 Wallis, Captain, 144.

 War canoes, 148.

 Ware, Mr., of Durazno, 27.

 Water-kite, 6, 7.

 Watts, Dr., 32.

 Weir, Mr., of Compañia, 84, 93, 94, 95.

 Wellington Island, 73, 78, 111, 138.

      "     Gnu, 172, 173.

 Wesleyan Missionaries, 169.

 West Island, 198.

 Wetter Island, 209.

 Whales and shrimps, 72.

 Wide Channel, 78, 137.

 Wilkes, Captain, 149.

 Wilson, Mr., 29.

 Winter's Bark Tree, 36.

 Wolsey Sound, 68.

 Woomerahs, 205.


 Yacanas, 55.

 Yi, River, 27.

 Yoronha, 147.



INDEX OF NATURAL HISTORY TERMS.


ZOOLOGICAL.


MAMMALS, _genera and species of_:--

 Arctocephalus falklandicus, 114.

 Cervus chilensis, 64, 91.

 Chlamydophorus retusus, 30.

 Ctenomys, 27, 35, 38, 129, 142, 143.

 Epiodon, 30.

 Glyptodon, 29.

 Hydromys, 184.

 Lutra felina, 58, 115, 137.

   "   huidobrio, 98.

 Machairodont, 29.

 Mylodon, 29.

 Myopotamus coypu, 58, 97, 126, 137.

 Otaria jubata, 44, 114.

 Physeter macrocephalus, 20.

 Pteropus keraudrenii, 173.

 Toxodon, 29.


BIRDS, _genera and species of_:--

 Ægialitis, 201.

 Anas cristata, 38, 39, 68, 136.

 Anous, 86.

 Anseranas melanoleuca, 208.

 Artamus, 200.

 Bernicla antarctica, 56.

 Bruchigavia, 201.

 Buteo erythronotus, 129.

 Campephaga, 200.

 Centrites niger, 37, 38.

 Centropus, 201.

 Ceryle stellata, 107.

 Chætura, 209.

 Chalcophaps, 201.

 Chibia, 201.

    "    bracteata, 207.

 Chloephaga magellanica, 38, 57.

      "     poliocephala, 57.

 Cinclodes, 39, 129, 133.

 Climacteris, 201.

 Collocalia spodiopygia, 176.

 Cygnus nigricollis, 112, 136.

    "   coscoroba, 136.

 Dacelo, 201.

    "   gigas, 183.

 Daption capensis, 18, 87, 141.

 Dicæum, 200.

 Diomedea exulans, 22.

     "    fuliginosa, 22, 141.

     "    melanophrys, 89, 141.

 Donacola, 201.

     "    castaneothorax, 207.

 Epiornis, 244.

 Erythrauchena, 201.

 Foudia madagascariensis, 224.

 Gallinago stricklandi, 137.

 Gallinula, 209.

 Geopelia, 201.

     "    placida, 207.

 Grallina, 201, 207.

     "    picata, 183.

 Graucalus, 183, 201.

 Hæmatopus, 201.

     "     ater, 56.

     "     leucopus, 56.

 Halcyon, 201.

    "    sanctus, 201.

 Haliastur, 207.

 Haliæetus leucogaster, 181.

 Larus dominicanus, 60, 97.

   "   glaucoides, 97.

   "   maculipennis, 97.

 Lestris antarctica, 141.

 Megapodius, 201.

      "     tumulus, 201.

 Merops, 201.

 Mimeta, 201, 208.

 Myiagra, 201.

    "    plumbea, 201.

 Myzantha garrula, 183.

 Myzomela, 200.

 Nectarinia, 200.

      "     australis, 201.

 Nycticorax, 201.

      "     caledonicus, 201.

 Oceanites grallaria=T. gracilis, 141.

 Œdicnemus, 201.

 Œstrelata defilippiana, 86, 101.

 Ossifraga gigantea, 87.

 Pachycephala, 200.

 Pelecanoides urinatrix, 106.

 Pelicanus, 201.

 Phalacrocorax magellanicus, 106.

       "       imperialis, 106.

 Piezorhynchus nitidus, 207.

 Plictolophus, 201.

 Porphyrio melanotus, 201.

 Pteroptochus, 85, 129.

       "      albicollis, 85.

 Ptilinopus, 201.

      "     superbus, 201.

      "     swainsoni, 201.

 Ptilotis, 184, 200.

 Sauloprocta, 201.

 Stercorarius chilensis=L. antarctica, 110.

 Sterna, 201.

 Sphecotheres, 201.

 Sula, 86.

 Tachyeres cinereus, 56, 61.

 Thalassidroma leucogaster, 87.

       "      leachii, 5.

       "      pelagica, 5, 13, 18.

       "      wilsoni, 87.

 Trichoglossus, 200.

       "      chrysocolla, 183.

       "      novæhollandiæ, 183, 208.

       "      rubritorquis, 183, 208.

 Troglodytes, 129.

 Tropidorhynchus, 201.

        "        corniculatus, 183.

 Turtur, 238.

 Upucerthia, 142.

      "     dumetaria, 142.

 Zosterops, 201, 207, 238.


REPTILES, _genus and species of_:--

 Monitor, 199.

 Sphargis coriacea, 30.


BATRACHIANS, _genus of_:--

 Cacotus, 139.


FISHES, _genera and species of_:--

 Aplochiton zebra, 63.

 Callorhynchus australis, 71.

 Exocetus volitans, 12.

 Galaxias, 63.

 Myxine, 35.

 Naucrates ductor, 13.

 Neophrynichthys latus, 137.

 Periophthalmus, 166, 218.

 Platycephalus, 193.

 Squalus glaucus, 13.

 Thinnus pelamis, 13.


MOLLUSCS, _genera, etc., of_:--

 Arca, 16, 22, 39, 187, 217.

 Atlanta, 179.

 Baculites, 102.

 Bulimus beddomei, 200.

 Bulla, 235.

 Calyptræa, 70.

 Cardium, 10, 16, 102.

 Chilinia, 62, 63, 139.

 Chiton, 70.

 Cleodora pyramidata, 19.

 Concholepas, 67, 68.

 Conus, 235, 240.

 Criseis aciculata, 6, 18, 19.

 Cuvieria, 18.

 Cypræa, 10, 187, 235, 240.

    "   mauritiana, 242.

    "   moneta, 240.

    "   tigris, 242.

 Dentalium, 10, 22.

 Dolium, 235, 240.

 Eurybia gaudichaudi, 168, 179.

 Fissurella, 70.

 Fusus, 240, 242.

 Haliotis, 240, 242.

 Harpa, 16, 235.

 Helicina reticulata, 200.

 Helix, 62.

   "   buxtoni, 200.

   "   delessertiana, 200.

   "   kreffti, 200.

   "   spaldingi, 200.

 Hippopus, 187.

 Hyalea, 17, 19, 22.

 Ianthina, 17, 18.

 Lima, 187.

 Littorina, 16, 235.

 Mactra, 105.

 Melo, 192.

 Mytilus, 39.

 Nassa, 240.

 Natica, 240, 242.

 Nerita, 185.

 Neritina, 221, 240, 242.

 Oliva, 10, 240.

 Onychoteuthis ingens, 139.

 Ostræa, 132, 185, 242.

 Patella, 16, 39, 70.

 Pecten, 10.

 Pinna, 187, 242.

 Pneumodermon, 19.

 Ranella, 207.

 Rossia, 71.

 Siliquaria, 185.

 Spirula, 16, 237.

 Stilifer, 188.

 Strombus, 16.

 Succinea, 62.

 Terebra, 185.

 Teredo, 202.

 Tridacna, 187, 242.

 Trivia, 240.

 Trochus, 39.

 Trophon, 39.

 Turbinella, 240.

 Unio, 62.

 Voluta, 39, 235, 242.


POLYZOA, _genera of_:--

 Amathia, 187.

 Biflustra, 187.

 Canda, 20.

 Cellepora, 20, 207, 187, 222.

 Cribrillina, 20.

 Crisia, 182, 187, 207, 222.

 Eschara, 18, 187, 207, 222.

 Gigantopora, 20.

 Lepralia, 207, 222.

 Idmonea, 207.

 Membranipora, 8, 20.

 Myriozoum, 187, 222.

 Retepora, 187, 207, 222.

 Rhyncopora, 20.

 Salicornaria, 187.

 Scrupocellaria, 187.

 Smittia, 20.


TUNICATA, _genera of_:--

 Pyrosoma, 168.

 Salpa, 19.


INSECTS, _genera, etc., of_:--

 Halobates, 17.

 Phylloxera vastatrix, 12.


CRUSTACEA, _genera, etc., of_:--

 Actæa, 19.

 Alpheus, 182, 187, 193, 218.

 Arcturus, 71.

 Atergatis, 218.

 Birgus, 238.

 Calappa, 242.

 Corallana, 19.

 Egeria, 193.

 Galathea, 173, 217.

 Gelasimus, 172, 182, 218.

 Geograpsus, 200.

 Glaucothöe, 9.

 Goniograpsus, 187.

 Grapsus, 191, 218, 242.

    "    variegatus, 86, 187, 219.

 Hiastemis, 187, 207.

 Huenia, 187.

 Lambrus, 187, 207.

 Leucosia, 191.

 Lithodes antarctica, 58.

 Macrophthalmus, 189, 218.

 Matuta, 189.

 Mycteris, 189.

 Myra, 187, 207.

 Ocypoda, 218, 219.

 Ozius, 182.

 Parampelia saxicola, 191.

 Phlyxia, 191, 207.

 Phyllosoma, 18, 179.

 Pinnotheres, 187.

 Porcellana, 171, 218.

 Remipes scutellatus, 16.

 Scylla, 218.

 Serolis, 71.

 Squilla, 187.

 Thalamita, 217.

 Thalassina, 182.


ANNELIDA, _family, etc., of_:--

 Amphinomidæ, 187.

 Nereis, 10.

 Polynæ, 187.

 Sagitta, 179.

 Spirorbis, 8, 13, 14, 19.

 Tomopteris, 142.


ECHINODERMATA, _genera, etc., of_:--

 Asteracanthus, 189.

 Asterias, 242.

 Astrophyton, 182, 187, 188.

      "      lymani, 71.

 Cidaris, 11.

 Comatula, 187, 193.

 Echinus, 10, 70.

 Gephyrea, 40, 105.

 Goniocidaris, 187, 193.

 Hemiaster, 240.

 Holothuria, 187.

 Moliria, 222.

 Ophiuridea, 187.

 Pentaceros, 193.

 Peronella, 189.

 Salmacis, 187.

 Spatangus, 191.

 Synapta, 193, 222.


CŒLENTERATA:--

 Actinia, 17, 71.

 Astræa, 187.

 Caryophyllia, 187.

 Corallium rubrum, 234.

 Fungia, 152.

 Gorgonia, 182, 187, 193.

 Labiopora, 71.

 Meandrina, 187.

 Medusa, 17.

 Orbicella, 187.

 Physalia, 17.

 Plumularia, 187.

 Porites, 187.

 Sertularia, 187, 222.

 Tubipora, 187.

     "    musica, 240.

 Virgularia, 207.


PROTOZOA:--

 Aphroceras, 20.

 Aspergillum, 118.

 Chalina, 20.

 Cladochalina, 19.

 Globigerina, 14, 17.

 Grantia, 20.

 Nardoa, 20.

 Orbitolites, 6, 218.

 Pyrocystis, 8, 19, 22, 179.

 Thalassicolla, 179.

 Vioa, 20.


BOTANICAL.

 Aleurites, 172.

 Alsophila, 140.

 Apocynaceæ, 233.

 Aristolochia, 93.

 Barringtonia, 219.

       "      speciosa, 235.

 Berberis, 134.

     "    empetrifolia, 46.

     "    ilicifolia, 42, 46, 104.

 Bougainvillea, 12.

 Calceolaria, 35.

 Campsidium chilense, 44, 51, 80, 104.

 Cassytha filiformis, 233.

 Casuarina, 212, 221, 222, 233.

 Cheilobothrium, 129, 134.

 Cinchonaceæ, 223.

 Conferva, 13, 14, 18.

 Convolvulaceæ, 223.

 Dendrobium, 199.

 Desfontainea hookeri, 46.

 Drimys winteri, 44, 46, 53.

 Echium, 24.

 Embothrium, 46, 129, 134.

 Escallonia, 134.

 Fagus antarctica, 46, 80.

   "   betuloides, 46, 80.

 Ficus, 222, 223.

 Fuchsia magellanica, 42.

 Gaultheria antarctica, 42.

 Goodeniaceæ, 233.

 Gramineæ, 238.

 Hepaticæ, 46.

 Hernandia peltata, 233.

 Hibiscus, 237.

 Hymenophyllum, 46, 62.

       "       cruentum, 80, 138.

 Ilex paraguayensis, 27.

 Jungermanniæ, 104.

 Lapageria rosea, 46.

 Libocedrus tetragonus, 42, 44, 46, 52.

 Lindsaya ensifolia, 200.

 Lychnis, 129.

 Lygodium scandens, 200.

 Macrocystis, 40.

 Malvaceæ, 223, 238.

 Mesembryanthemum, 235.

 Mitraria coccinea, 138.

 Myrtus nummularia, 35.

 Nephrolepis acuta, 200.

      "      exaltata, 223.

 Panax, 134.

 Pandanus, 199.

 Philesia buxifolia, 41, 42, 46.

 Polypodium quercifolium, 200.

 Pulæa nitida, 200.

 Ribes magellanica, 134.

 Sargassum bacciferum, 7.

 Scævola kœnigii, 223, 233.

 Solanaceæ, 223, 238.

 Spondias dulcis, 173.

 Suriana maritima, 222, 236.

 Tetraplodon mnioides, 108, 138.

 Tournefortia, 212, 222, 236.

       "      argentea, 233.

 Vacciniaceæ, 140.

 Veronica decussata, 67.

 Weinmannia trichosperma, 138.

 Xanthorrhœa, 181.

 Zostera, 243.



Transcriber's Note:

    Corrections to the Index have been made without note. Significant
    changes to the text are listed below.

      p. 16, 'Remites' amended to _Remipes_;

      pp. 18, 141, 'Dapteon' amended to _Daption_;

      p. 19, 'ariculata' amended to _aciculata_;

      p. 20, 'Hylea' amended to _Hyalea_; 'Aphocera' amended to
          _Aphroceras_;

      p. 30, 'Machairodon' amended to _Machairodont_;

      pp. 34, 133, 134, 'guanacoes' amended to _guanacos_;

      p. 44, 'Campsidum' amended to _Campsidium_;

      p. 46, 'buixfolia' amended to _buxifolia_;

      p. 47, 'gaimardeas' amended to _gaimardias_;

      p. 63, 'Haplochiton' amended to _Aplochiton_;

      p. 70, 'epithyses' amended to _epiphyses_;

      pp. 85, 129, 'Tapacola' amended to _Tapaculo_;

      p. 86, 'Aestrelata' amended to _Œstrelata_;

      p. 91, 'dolicocephaly' amended to _dolichocephaly_;

      p. 97, 'terotero' amended to _terutero_; 'glaucodes' amended to
          _glaucoides_;

      p. 106, 'Phlacrocorax' amended to _Phalacrocorax_;

      p. 137, 'Neophrynicthys' amended to _Neophrynichthys_;

      p. 141, 'Thallasæca' amended to _Thalassœca_; 'defippiana'
          amended to _defilippiana_;

      p. 142, 'dumetoria' amended to _dumetaria_;

      p. 181, 'Xanthorrea' amended to _Xanthorrhœa_; 'Haliætus'
          amended to _Haliæetus_;

      p. 182, 'Asterophyton' amended to _Astrophyton_;

      pp. 183, 208, 'rubitorquis' amended to _rubritorquis_; 'Novæ
          Hollandiæ' amended to _novæhollandiæ_;

      p. 183, 'Tropidorhyncus' amended to _Tropidorhynchus_;

      p. 187, 'Polynöes' amended to _Polynæ_; 'Amathea' amended to
          _Amathia_;

      pp. 187, 188, 'Asterophytons' amended to _Astrophytons_;

      pp. 187, 207, 'Lambris' amended to _Lambrus_;

      p. 188, 'asterophyton' amended to _astrophyton_; 'praestomium'
          amended to _prostomium_;

      p. 217, 'Thalamites' amended to _Thalamita_;

      p. 218, 'Atergitus' amended to _Atergatis_; 'Scilla' amended to
          _Scylla_;

      p. 223, 'Convolvulacæ' amended to _Convolvulaceæ_;

      p. 224, 'Madagascarensis' amended to _madagascariensis_;

      p. 238, 'Eupharbiaceæ' amended to _Euphorbiaceæ_; 'Granuiceæ'
          amended to _Graminaceæ_;

    Listed below are unique genera and species names that remain
    unverified for typographical errors.

      p. 98, 'Lutra huidobrio';

      pp. 129, 134, 'cheilobothrium';

      pp. 187, 207, 'Hiastemis';

      p. 191, 'Parampelia saxicola';

      p. 200, 'Pulæa nitida';

      p. 222, 'Moliria';

    Note on genera and species: Whilst it was not uncommon for binomial
    names to retain an initial capital letter when formed from a
    proper noun, e.g., _Cervus Chilensis_, such notation has only been
    occasionally, and erratically, applied within the original text. To
    avoid these discrepancies the secondary element of each binomial
    name has been rendered in lowercase, e.g., _Cervus chilensis_.





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