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the place with the sound of mighty splashings.
The blast of the furnaces roared under our
feet, and all around about us, every light
substance, such as coal dust and shreds of peat,
was blown about like chaff. At the furnace
were men, enduring the blaze of the red heat
on this sultry day. They work for five or six
hours; but only for five days in the week.
They were piling up the glowing coals upon
the bruised and washed ore in its receptacle
in the furnace; and from under the front of
the fire, we saw the molten lead running
down its little channels into its own reservoir,
leaving behind the less heavy dross,
which was afterwards to be cast out in a heap
in the yard. The mould for the pig stood
close by, at a convenient height from the
floor. We waited till there was lead enough
in the reservoir to make a pig. One man
ladled out the molten metal into the mould,
while another skimmed off the ashes and
scum with two pieces of wood. It was curious
to see this substance, which looked exactly
like quicksilver, treated like soup. It was
curious to see the process of cooling begin
from the edges, and the film spreading slowly
towards the centre, till all was solid. It was
curious to see the pigs set on end against the
wall, looking light and moveable from their
lustre, when just out of the mould, and to
remember that one might as well try to lift
up the opposite mountain as to move one of
them unaided.

It was curious, too, in travelling down the
valley again, to be more than ever struck with
its deep solitude. The peat-cutter on the
ridge, the mower on the slope, the two
women at the toll-gate, and the two quarrymen,
were again all whom we saw. The two
trees below, and the one tree before us,
seemed more forlorn than before, when we
remembered what a cluster of people, and
what a plantation of forest trees we had left
up in the wilds. No visitor to the Leadhills
can help speculating on what will become of
that singular colony; whether its numbers
will continue to diminish, and its poverty to
increase, till the long-standing quarrel shall
have caused complete ruin all round; or
whether, by making up matters, the
proprietors will invite prosperity to return.
Whether the whole concern dies out, or the
other issue is decided upon in time, and the
ruined cottages are destined to be rebuilt,
forsaken works resumed, and the people
cheered with improved earnings; it seems that
the settlement cannot long be any thing like
the spectacle that it is now. In the one case,
some wayfarer, exploring his course over the
hills, may, in another century or two, come
upon the grass-grown ruins of the abodes and
labours of a thousand people; he may stumble
over the weedy grave-stones, and mark a
household vegetable growing here and there
among the rushes; and the yawning jaws of
the mines may warn him to look well to his
footing: and, at his next stage, he may
inquire for some tradition of what this strange
place may be. In the other and better case,
the seclusion of the settlement cannot, one
would think, be preserved. The railway
whistle has told of the outer world to some
ears there already. Improved production
and traffic will bring people up and down the
valley; and the time may come when the
inhabitants of Leadhills will talk of the
present as of the primitive days of their settlement,
when manners were simple and rude;
and, if that time should come, the commonest
names of to-day will have taken a saintly
sound to the ears of descendants, as ancestral
names are apt to do; and it will be said, that
those were privileged travellers who went out
of their way to visit Leadhills, in the middle
of the nineteenth century.



WHO is Gonzalves Zarco?

It is the beginning of June: the year 1419.
Two small vessels are leaving the port of
Lisbon. The Infant Dom Henry waves his
hand from the quay, as the commander of the
little expedition bows profoundly from the
deck of the leading ship. That commander
is Gonzalves Zarco. Let us pursue his shadow
in companionship with that of Juan de
Moral├Ęs, his pilot.

Where is Gonzalves sailing when he trusts
his ships to the broad bosom of the Atlantic?
Where, without the guides of modern
navigation? Charts he has none. He has heard
that Marco Polo brought from China to
Europe the knowledge of an instrument that
invariably pointed to the North but he
doubts. He will hug the land as long as he can.
The meridian sun and the polar star must
direct him in his need. His business is to
find the Isles of the West, of which ancient
tradition imperfectly whispers. In 1418,
Gonzalves was engaged in exploring the
coasts of Africa. He was shipwrecked on a
little island, which he will now endeavour
again to reach.

The seas are calm; the days are bright and
long. If the nights are dark, Gonzalves
anchors. He is pretty certain of the course.
In due time he reaches the small island of
Porto Santo, in which, last year, he left two
or three of his crew.

What is this strange relation which soon
meets the ear of Gonzalvesa relation which
is to give new ardour to his sagacious courage,
but which has terrors for his superstitious
seamen? On the north-east of the isle, there
appears, at a long distance, a thick darkness
a motionless cloudwhich hangs over the sea,
and reaches to the sky. That region of
darknessis it not the abyss? There, is the
boundary of this earth; and beyond, is the
entrance to the Shades. Sometimes a distant
murmur, as of troubled waters, comes across
the sea. It is the rush of the mournful river