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vious. At other times I heard of the marvellous property of certain rivers, which had the power of changing small bones into large; or, as some maintained, the bones themselves grew. As far as I am aware, not one of these animals perished, as was formerly supposed, in the marshes or river beds of the present land, but their bones have been exposed by streams cutting through the watery deposit in which they were originally imbedded. We may conclude that the whole area of the Pampas is one wide sepulchre of extinct gigantic quadrupeds.
In calling up images of the past, I find that the plains of Patagonia frequently cross before my eyes; yet these plains are pronounced by everybody wretched and useless. Without habitations, without water, without trees, without mountains, they support merely a few dwarf plants. Why then have these arid wastes taken so firm a hold on my memory, and not on mine alone? Why have not the still more level, the greener and more fertile Pampas, which are more serviceable to mankind, produced an equal impression? I can scarcely analyze these feelings, but it must be partly owing to the free scope given to the imagination. The plains of Patagonia are boundless, for they are scarcely passable, and hence unknown; they bear the stamp of having lasted, as they are now, for ages, and there appears no limit to their duration through future time. If, as the ancients supposed, the flat earth was surrounded by an impassable breadth of water, or hy deserts heated to an unbearable excess, who would not look at these lost boundaries to man's knowledge with deep but vague sensations?
TIERRA DEL FUEGO.
TIERRA DEL FUEGO may be described as a mountainous land, partly sunk in the sea, so that deep inlets and bays оссиру the place where valleys should exist. The mountain sides, except on the exposed western coast, are covered from the water's edge upward by one great forest. The trees reach to an elevation of between one thousand and fifteen hundred feet, and are succeeded by a band of peat with tiny alpine plants; and this again is succeeded by the line of perpetual snow. To find an acre of level land in any part of the country is most rare. I recollect only one little flat piece near Port Famine, and another of rather larger extent near Goeree Road. In both places, and everywhere else, the surface is covered by a thick bed of swampy peat. Even within the forest the ground is hidden by a mass of slowly rotting vegetable matter, which, from being soaked with water, yields to the foot. The trees all belong to one kind, the Fagus betuloides. This beech keeps its leaves throughout the year, but its foliage is of a peculiar brownish green color, with a tinge of yellow. As the whole landscape is thus colored, it has a sombre, dull appearance; nor is it often enlivened by the rays
of the sun. On the morning of the 28th of January, 1833, Captain Fitz Roy determined to proceed with two boats to survey the western parts of Beagle Channel. The day, to our astonishment, was overpoweringly hot, so that our skins were scorched. With this beautiful weather the view in the middle of the channel was very remarkable. Looking toward
TIERRA DEL FUEGO,
either hand, no object interrupted the perspective of this long canal between the mountains. We sailed on till it was dark, and then pitched our tents in a quiet creek on a beach of pebbles, where, in our blanket-bags, we passed a most comfortable night. Early in the morning of the next day we
reached the point where the Beagle Channel divides into two arms, and we entered the northern one. here becomes even grander than before. The lofty moun- . tains on the north side, forming the granite axis or backbone of the country, boldly rise to a height of between three and four thousand feet, with one peak above six thousand feet. They are covered by a wide mantle of perpetual snow,
and numerous cascades pour their waters through the woods into the narrow channel below. In many parts magnificent glaciers extend from the mountain side to the water's edge. It
is scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers, especially in contrast with the dead white of the upper expanse of snow.
The fragments which had fallen from the glacier into the water were floating away, and the channel with its icebergs presented, for the space of a mile, a miniature likeness of the Polar Sea.
The boats being hauled on shore at our dimer-hour, we were admiring from the distance of half a mile a perpendicular cliff of ice, and were wishing that some more fragments would fall. At last down came a mass with a roaring noise, and immediately we saw the smooth outline of a wave trav. elling toward us. The men ran down as quickly as they could to the boats, for the chance of their being dashed to pieces was evident. One of the seamen just caught hold of the bows as the curling breaker reached it: he was knocked over and over, but not hurt, and the boats, though thrice lifted on high and let fall again, received no damage. This was most fortunate for us, for we were a hundred miles distant from the ship, and we should have been left without provisions or fire-arms.
Early on Sunday morning, November 30, 1834, we reach. ed Castro, the ancient capital of Chiloe, but now a most forlorn and deserted place. The usual quadrangular arrange. ment of Spanish towns could be traced, but the streets and plaza (public square) were coated with fine green turf, on
which sheep were browsing. The church, which stands in
, the middle, is entirely built of plank, and has a picturesque and venerable appearance. The poverty of the place may be imagined from the fact that, although containing some hundreds of inhabitants, one of our party was unable anywhere to purchase either a pound of sugar or an ordinary knife. No person possessed either a watch or a clock; and an old man, who was supposed to have a good idea of time, was employed to strike the church bell by guess. The arrival of our boats was a rare event in this quiet, retired corner of the world; and nearly all the inhabitants came down to the beach to see us pitch our tents.
The Beagle anchored late at night (July 23, 1834) in the bay of Valparaiso, the chief seaport of Chile. When morn