The way was thronged with white-clothed figures that seemed like wraiths, ghosts drifting back to the cavern of the Destroyer. Then they commenced the ascent following the bed of a stream that had cut a chasm through black trap-rock, leaving jagged cliffs.
This would defeat the whole purpose of our expedition. Could not a party get round to the eastern end of the valley and prevent this? Not through the plain itself, for the mountains rested upon its surface, without either foothills or paths along their sides. In some places vast cliffs rose to the height of a thousand feet, stepping directly upon the level plain. This idea was given up.
When Ole Thorwald was landed at the foot of that wild gorge in the cliffs which have been designated the Goat's Pass, he felt himself to be an aggrieved man, and growled accordingly. Have a care, Hugh. It seems to me you're going to step into a quarry hole, or over a precipice. How my old flesh quakes, to be sure!
After travelling about twenty-five miles along the cliffs, we came all at once to innumerable pieces of beautiful flint, lying on the surface, about two hundred yards inland.
His familiarity with the cliffs had led him too far. If he had not fallen on a ledge of rock goodness only knows what might have happened. Would Chris be so good as to lend him the benefit of her arm back to the castle? Chris was graciously willing, but she was full of curiosity at the same time. Had Henson really been in danger, or was the whole thing some part of an elaborate and cunning plot?
Even the sound of voices had ceased; and out through the open door there was no sign of movement. The light seemed dimmer, also, as though the sun had sunk below the opposite cliffs, and night was slowly descending upon the valley. What could be happening out there? Were those men planning some new attempt? Or had they decided it was better to wait for a larger force?
No meeting, however, occurred; nor were the months that elapsed before the outbreak of war marked by any event of special interest except a narrow escape from shipwreck on Christmas eve, when the Essex nearly dragged on shore in a furious northeast gale under the cliffs at Newport.
We saw our old Discovery post-office pole sticking up as erect as when planted, and we have been comparing all we have seen with old photographs. No change at all seems to have taken place anywhere, and this is very surprising in the case of the Barrier edge. From the penguin rookeries to the west it is a relentless coast with high ice cliffs and occasional bare patches of rock showing through.
There is no Edinburgh emigrant, far or near, from China to Peru, but he or she carries some lively pictures of the mind, some sunset behind the Castle cliffs, some snow scene, some maze of city lamps, indelible in the memory and delightful to study in the intervals of toil. For any such, if this book fall in their way, here are a few more home pictures.
The rear guard was commanded by a famous warrior named Roland. High cliffs walled in the pass on either side. From the tops of these cliffs the Basques hurled down rocks and trunks of trees upon the Franks, and crushed many of them to death. Besides this, the wild mountaineers descended into the pass and attacked them with weapons.