A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.

While we lay here, I went one day to Cape Forward, and when I set out I intended to have gone farther; but the weather became so bad, with heavy rain, that we were glad to stop there, and make a great fire to dry our clothes, which were wet through.  From the place where we stopped, the Indians had been gone so lately, that the wood, which lay half burnt, where they had made their fire, was still warm; and soon after our fire was kindled, we perceived that another was kindled directly opposite to it, on the Terra del Fuego shore; probably as a signal, which, if we had been Indians, we should have understood.  After we were dried and refreshed at our fire, the rain having abated, I walked cross the Cape, to see how the Streight ran, which I found to be about W.N.W.  The hills, as far as I could see, were of an immense height, very craggy, and covered with snow quite from the summit to the base.  I made also another excursion along the shore to the northward, and found the country for many miles exceedingly pleasant, the ground being, in many places, covered with flowers, which were not inferior to those that are commonly found in our gardens, either in beauty or fragrance; and if it were not for the severity of the cold in winter, this country might, in my opinion, be made, by cultivation, one of the finest in the world.  I had set up a small tent at the bottom of this bay, close to a little rivulet, and just at the skirts of a wood, soon after the ship came to an anchor, where three men were employed in washing:  They slept on shore; but soon after sunset were awakened out of their first sleep by the roaring of some wild beasts, which the darkness of the night, and the solitariness of their situation in this pathless desert, rendered horrid beyond imagination:  the tone was hollow and deep, so that the beasts, of whatever kind, were certainly large, and the poor fellows perceived that they drew nearer and nearer, as the sound every minute became more loud.  From this time sleep was renounced for the night, a large fire was immediately kindled, and a constant blaze kept up:  This prevented the beasts from invading the tent; but they continued to prowl round it at a little distance, with incessant howlings, till the day broke, and then, to the great comfort of the affrighted sailors, they disappeared.

At this place, not far from where the ship lay, there is a hill that has been cleared of wood, and we supposed this to be the spot where the Spaniards formerly had a settlement.[25] One of the men, as he was passing over this hill, perceived that, in a particular part, the ground returned the sound of his foot, as if it was hollow:  He therefore repassed it several times, and finding the effect still the same, he conceived a strong notion that something was buried there; when he came on board, he related what he had remarked to me, and I went myself to the spot, with a small party, furnished with spades and pickaxes, and saw the spot opened to a considerable depth, but we found nothing, nor did there appear to be any hollow or vault as was expected.  As we were returning through the woods, we found two very large skulls, which, by the teeth, appeared to have belonged to some beasts of prey, but of what kind we could not guess.

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