By this time the ship was passing above the town of Arica, and the sailors were all for’d, sitting on the bulwarks, snapping peas and small shot at the terrified inhabitants flitting through the streets a hundred feet below. These harmless projectiles rattled very merrily upon the upturned boot-soles of the fleeting multitude; but not seeing any fun in this, we were about to go astern and fish a little, when the ship grounded on a hill-top. The captain hove out all the anchors he had about him; and when the water went swirling back to its legal level, taking the town along for company, there we were, in the midst of a charming agricultural country, but at some distance from any sea-port.
At sunrise next morning we were all on deck. Sam sauntered aft to the binnacle, cast his eye carelessly upon the compass, and uttered an ejaculation of astonishment.
“Tell you, captain,” he called out, “this has been a direr convulsion of nature than you have any idea. Everything’s been screwed right round. Needle points due south!”
“Why, you cussed lubber!” growled the skipper, moving up and taking a look, “it p’ints d’rectly to labbard, an’ there’s the sun, dead ahead!”
Sam turned and confronted him, with a steady gaze of ineffable contempt.
“Now, who said it wasn’t dead ahead?—tell me that. Shows how much you know about earthquakes. ’Course, I didn’t mean just this continent, nor just this earth: I tell you, the whole thing’s turned!”
* * * * *
Don Hemstitch Blodoza was an hidalgo—one of the highest dalgos of old Spain. He had a comfortably picturesque castle on the Guadalquiver, with towers, battlements, and mortages on it; but as it belonged, not to his own creditors, but to those of his bitterest enemy, who inhabited it, Don Hemstitch preferred the forest as a steady residence. He had that curse of Spanish pride which will not permit one to be a burden upon the man who may happen to have massacred all one’s relations, and set a price upon the heads of one’s family generally. He had made a vow never to accept the hospitality of Don Symposio—not if he died for it. So he pervaded the romantic dells, and the sunless jungle was infected with the sound of his guitar. He rose in the morning and laved him in the limpid brooklet; and the beams of the noonday sun fell upon him in the pursuit of diet—