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medical officer of the settlement, which I now proceeded to deliver. Being somewhat unwell, he had not joined the marine entertainment, and I was at once cordially received. Not many minutes were needed to discover in my host a fellow-countryman, one of a family in the county of Sligo, with which I had some former acquaintance. Possessing in large measure the national virtue of hospitality, Dr. Fenton might have perhaps been satisfied with even a slighter claim; but, as it was, I from that time continued during my stay to receive from him the utmost kindness and attention. The first short conversation made me much better acquainted with the history of the settlement than I was before my arrival.
In 1843 the Chilian Government decided on establishing a penal settlement in the Straits of Magellan, and selected for its position Port Famine, which had been frequently visited by early navigators. After a few years' experience that place was abandoned, and the settlement was transferred to Sandy Point. This was partly preferred on account of a deposit of lignite of inferior quality, which lies little more than a mile from the shore. A considerable number of convicts were maintained at the station, and as there was little risk of escape they were allowed considerable liberty. At length, in 1877, the injudicious severity of the governor of that day provoked a revolt among the convicts. They speedily overcame the keepers, and the officials and peaceable inhabitants had no resource left but to fly to the forest. The convicts proceeded to set fire to the houses. Dr. Fenton lost his house, furniture, and books, and, in
STORY OF THE MUTINY.
addition, the record of ten years' meteorological observations. By a fortunate accident, a Chilian warvessel reached Sandy Point just when disorder was at its height; the insurgents were speedily overpowered, and several of the ringleaders executed. The weather was unusually mild, and the refugees, amongst whom were many ladies and young children, suffered less than might have been expected in such a climate. Nearly all the houses seen by me had been hastily erected since the outbreak, and, as was natural, were
a scale barely sufficing for the wants of the inmates.
I fully understood that no amount of hospitable intentions could enable Dr. Fenton to give me quarters in his house, and he assured me that the governor, Don Francisco Sampayo, was no less restricted as to accommodation. One resource, however, seemed available: the German consul, Herr Meidell, had returned for a visit to Europe, and it was thought that, on application to his partner, a room might certainly be obtained in his house. My dark-haired friend, who had reappeared on the scene, and who turned out to be a native of Gibraltar, kindly undertook to arrange the matter, and, after an early dinner at Dr. Fenton's hospitable table, I proceeded with him to present my letter to the governor. The great man had not yet returned to shore, but I made the acquaintance of his wife, a delicate Peruvian lady, who sat, wrapped in a woollen shawl, in a room without a fire, of which the temperature must have been about 45° Fahr. On leaving the governor's house, we again encountered my envoy, whose
countenance at once proclaimed that he had failed in his mission. Mr. Meidell, being a cautious man, had locked up most of his furniture and household effects before going to Europe, and had left strict injunctions that no one was to enter the part of his house used as a private dwelling. As we stood consulting about further proceedings, a tall figure approached, and I learned that it belonged to the stranger who occupied the solitary room available for visitors to Sandy Point.
I speedily made the acquaintance of Signor Vinciguerra, one of the group of energetic young Italian naturalists whose head-quarters are at Genoa. He belonged to the expedition commanded by Lieutenant Bove of the Italian navy, and had remained at Sandy Point to investigate the zoology of the neighbouring coast, while his companions proceeded to Staten Island, or Isla de los Estados, at the eastern extremity of the Fuegian Archipelago. Community of pursuits and several mutual friends at once cemented cordial relations, and Signor Vinciguerra kindly undertook to make room for me in his rather restricted quarters. We proceeded to the house close by the landingplace, and I was in the act of arranging the matter with the landlord, when the British vice-consul appeared. He had overcome the scruples of Mr. Meidell's partner, a mattress and some coverings had been found, a room was at my disposal, with a bed on the floor, and the lodging difficulty was solved.
Not without some regret at being separated from an agreeable companion, I accepted the offered quarters, and had the needful portion of my luggage
carried to my temporary home. As the sun set before four o'clock, it was already dark before I was installed in my new quarters, and the evening was spent under the hospitable roof of Dr. Fenton, from whom I received much interesting information as to the region which he has made his home, and the indigenous population. On my way to his house I saw the first specimens of the Patagonian Indians, who at this season frequent the settlement to dispose of skins, chiefly guanaco and rhea, and indulge in their ruling passion for ardent spirits. Two ladies of large and stout build, attired in shabby and torn European dress, and both far gone in intoxication, were standing at a door of a shop or store, and indulging in loud talk for the entertainment of a circle of bystanders. The language was, I presume, their native dialect, with here and there a word of Spanish or English, and the subject seemed to be what with us would be called chaff, as their remarks elicited frequent peals of laughter. I was suddenly reminded of a drunken Irish basket-woman whose freaks had been the cause of mingled alarm and amusement in my early childhood.
During the day the streets of Punta Arenas were deep in mud, but as I went home at night, the sky was cloudless, a sharp frost had set in, and the mud was hard frozen. I had not before enjoyed so fine a view of the southern heavens.
The cross brilliant, nearly in the zenith, and I made out clearly the dark starless spaces that have been named the coal-sacks.
I was on foot before daylight on the nith of June. The benevolent German who managed Mr. Meidell's
establishment sent up a cup of hot coffee, and a brazier with charcoal, which was grievously wanted to dry my plant-paper. The sky was still clear, and the sun, rising blood-red over the flat shores of Tierra del Fuego on the opposite side of the Straits, was a striking spectacle. I had arranged overnight to take with me a boy having some knowledge of the neighbourhood, and was just starting for a walk when I met the governor, who at this early hour was on his way to call upon me. After a short conversation with this courteous gentleman, and accepting an invitation to dine at his house, I pursued my course in the direction of the now disused coal mine. For about half a mile I followed the tramway which was erected some years ago to carry the coal to the port. along the low ground between the hills and the shore, and then enters a little flat-bottomed valley between the hills. Heavy rain had recently fallen, and the flat had been flooded, but the surface was now frozen
Before long we found the tramway impracticable ; it had been allowed to fall to decay, and, being supported on trestles, the gaps were inconveniently frequent. I then attempted to continue my walk over the flat, and found the ice in some places strong enough to bear my weight, but it frequently gave way, and I soon got tired of splashing through the surface into the ice-cold water, and resolved to betake myself to the adjoining hills. The weather showed itself as changeable on this day as it usually is in this singular climate. For about half an hour the sky was clear and the sun so warm that I could not bear an overcoat. Then a breeze sprung up from