A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 787 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.
way being intercepted by still higher hills and lofty woods:  we had therefore no other expedient by means of which to come at this knowledge, but by fitting out one of our ship’s boats upon some discovery, to inform us of our situation.  Our long-boat was still on board the wreck; therefore a number of hands were now dispatched to cut the gunwale of the ship in order to get her out.  Whilst we were employed in this business, there appeared three canoes of Indians paddling towards us:  they had come round the point from the southern lagoons.  It was some time before we could prevail upon them to lay aside their fears and approach us, which at length they were induced to do by the signs of friendship we made them, and by shewing some bale-goods, which they accepted, and suffered themselves to be conducted to the captain, who made them likewise some presents.  They were strangely affected with the novelty thereof, but chiefly when shewn the looking-glass, in which the beholder could not conceive it to be his own face that was represented, but that of some other behind it, which he therefore went round to the back of the glass to find out.

These people were of a small stature, very swarthy, having long black coarse hair hanging over their faces.  It was evident, from their great surprise and every part of their behaviour, as well as their not having one thing in their possession which could be derived from white people, that they had never seen such.  Their clothing was nothing but a bit of some beast’s skin about their waists, and something woven from feathers over their shoulders; and as they uttered no word of any language we had ever heard, nor had any method of making themselves understood, we presumed they could have had no intercourse with Europeans.  These savages, who upon their departure left us a few mussels, returned in two days, and surprised us by bringing three sheep.  From whence they could procure these animals in a part of the world so distant from any Spanish settlement, cut off from all communication with the Spaniards by an inaccessible coast and unprofitable country, is difficult to conceive.  Certain it is, that we saw no such creatures, nor ever heard of any such, from the Straits of Magellan till we got into the neighbourhood of Chiloe; it must be by some strange accident that these creatures came into their possession, but what that was we never could learn from them.  At this interview we bartered with them for a dog or two, which we roasted and eat.  In a few days after they made us another visit, and, bringing their wives with them, took up their abode with us for some days, then left us again.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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