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rock, which rises from the sea like a wall,
and the boldness of the shorethere is seven
fathom water close inhave afforded great
facilities to the loading of ships. On the top
of the cliff is a large enclosure formed of
stakes, firmly bound together by strong
chains passed round the whole. This enclosure
is capable of holding four or five
hundred tons of guano. It is made wide,
and open at the upper end, and gradually
slopes down to a point on the extreme verge
of the precipice, where a small opening is
left; exactly fitting which is a large canvas
shute or pipe, which hangs down the face
of the rock, nearly to the water. The ship,
having taken in by means of her boats
enough guano to ballast her, hauls in to this
shute, the end of which is taken aboard and
passed down the hatchway. The guano is
thus poured into the hold in a continuous
stream, at the rate of about three hundred
and fifty tons a day; the enclosure being
filled by the Indians during the night. They
carry the whole of the guano down on their
backs in bags, taking about eighty pounds at
each journey.

Some are employed in pushing the guano
down the shute, at the mouth of which is
stationed an Indian, who, by tightening a
rope passed round it, regulates or stops the
descent of the manure. To various parts of
the long pipe ropes are attached, which lead
to the different mast-heads of the ship, and
thence on deck, where each rope is tended by
a man who, by successively hauling on and
slacking it, keeps the shute in motion, and
thus hinders it from choking. This choking,
however, now and then occurs; and it is
then a difficult and tedious matter to set
right again, as the pressure binds the guano
into a compact mass, which can sometimes
only be liberated by cutting the shute open.
Birds are frequently carried down into the
ship's hold; and at one of the islands, an
Indian, accidentally slipping in, was forced
through the shute, and taken out at the
other end quite dead. On each island there
are two enclosures and two shutes, one much
smaller than the other, being used only for
loading boats.

After making ourselves fully acquainted
with all the economy of the island, we retrace
our painful path to the boat, and pull off to
the ship, where, the day being Sunday, there
is no work going on, and we can amuse
ourselves with the scenery around us. Every
little hollow in the islands has been gradually
filled up, until the surface is nearly levelled;
the general dark brown hue singularly broken
by scattered projecting crags, white with
huanu blanconewly-deposited guano. Round
the base of the islands little rocky peninsulas
jut out, bored through in many places by the
constant washing of the Pacific, whose gentle
waves have insinuated themselves many yards
into the solid rock, and have formed caverns
which are the resort of numerous sea-lions.
The time of these hermits seems to be divided
between dozing in their gloomy-looking cells,
and making hungry irruptions on the shoals
of little fish which frequently pass through
the channels. I have often watched these
little fellowspacked in such dense masses
that they seem to have scarcely room to
swim inmoving rapidly along, a spray of
them every moment leaping from the water
and glittering for an instant in the sun; all
evidently ignorant of the neighbourhood of
any enemy. Suddenly, in the very middle of
the party, rises a black, ugly head, and
instantly all is confusiona dozen unfortunates
are swallowed at a mouthful. Other heads,
equally ugly, pop up in unexpected places,
and you can distinctly hear the snapping
of the sea-lion's jaws as he works through
the flying shoal, and finishes a dinner worthy
of a cardinal in Lent. It is not, however, all
small fry; whales often come gambolling between
the islands, rolling and playing in the
sun, and sometimes leaping clean out of the
water, into which their huge bodies descend
again with a crash that seems to shake the
sea itself, and turns the surface into one
great frothy washing-tub, amidst the suds of
which the giant slowly sinks, throwing up
his broad black flukes as if in derision of the
lookers-on.

But now our work begins in earnest.
Ballast is hoisted up and thrown over the
side, and the long boat is busily employed in
bringing guano to replace it. Most unpleasant
work that is. I was one of the boat's crew,
and, since of course much rivalry exists
between the ships, that all desire priority in
trading, we were at work night and day,
leaving our ship at night and remaining under
the shute until morning, so as to obtain the
first load for our boat. I shall not soon
forget the dismal hours we passed there.
Close to usevery surge of the boat sending
her into its mouthwas a dark cavern, into
which the sea poured with one continuous
roar. A few fathoms distant stood an isolated
rock, every wave dashing boldly up it, and
then falling back in sheets of foam, and
scattering all around it showers of heavy
spray. On our right, moored to the rocks,
lay a loading ship, her warps and cables
slacked for the night, leaving some twenty
feet of dark water between her and the huge
black cliff; the base of the cliff marked by
the bright line of light which ever glitters on
the broken wave of the Pacific. Glancing
aloft, we saw, rising and falling with the
ship's motion, the long white shute, like a
fairy footpath up the rock; whilst, drawn
upon the clear blue sky, were lifts, and
.braces, bowlines, stays, and all the maze of
rigging so familiar to the sailor. And there,
beyond, lay the dark sister island; her shores,
too, lighted by the white ocean-fire, which, in
a long dim surf-line, marked the more distant
coast of the great continent itself, from which
rose in the moonlight the stupendous masses

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