The most sordid sights and sounds of London streets, the most inane babble of a fashionable crowd would be more stimulating to her brain, sweeter in her ears than the arid expanse, the weird bush noises howl of dingoes, wail of curlews, lowing of cattle that a year ago had seemed so eerily fascinating. Even her marriage!

The bird life on this body of water and its shores is represented by swans, geese, ducks, cranes, pelicans, curlews, herons, plovers, and snipe. For beauty and grandeur the lower falls and canyon of the Yellowstone River are unsurpassed.

I well remember on one occasion camping on the banks of the Lower Burdekin River, and having my broken slumbers for I was ill with fever disturbed by a brace of curlews, which were uttering their depressing cries within a few hundred yards of me, and how I at last became so wrought up and almost frenzied by the persistency of their doleful notes, that I followed them up with a Winchester rifle, mile after mile, wasting my cartridges and exhausting mind and body in the vain attempt to shoot them in the dark.

It was the starling, reproducing with perfect accuracy the call, as it was used to hear it from the high-flying curlews crossing the valley. Apparently the tradition that they were good talkers has died out in rural England.

Spartivento looks more wild and savage than ever, but is not without a strange deadly beauty: the hills covered with bushes of a metallic green with coppery patches of soil in between; the valleys filled with dry salt mud and a little stagnant water; where that very morning the deer had drunk, where herons, curlews, and other fowl abound, and where, alas! malaria is breeding with this rain.

I have been down sitting on the pier till it was quite dark. I am only beginning to understand the nights of Inishmaan and the influence they have had in giving distinction to these men who do most of their work after nightfall. I could hear nothing but a few curlews and other wild-fowl whistling and shrieking in the seaweed, and the low rustling of the waves.

The river or estuary, in sight of the doors and windows of the village, was haunted every day by numbers of gulls and curlews. These last numbered about one hundred and fifty birds, and were always there except at full tide, when they would fly away to the fields and moors.

Over a long ridge of moorland I took my road, skirting the side of a high hill which the herd had called Cairnsmore of Fleet. Nesting curlews and plovers were crying everywhere, and the links of green pasture by the streams were dotted with young lambs. All the slackness of the past months was slipping from my bones, and I stepped out like a four-year-old.

Curlews, ptarmigans, cormorants, and ospreys are also seen in greater or less numbers. The steamer lands us for a few hours at Tromsöe, a small island in latitude 69° 38´ north, a thriving place of six thousand inhabitants, a goodly number for a town within the Arctic Circle. It is the capital of Norwegian Lapland. Both to the north and south of the town snow-clad mountains shut off distant views.

And then at night, the melancholy wailing of the curlews, the dismal howling of dingoes, the discordant croaking of tree-frogs, might well shake the nerves of the solitary watcher." That is the theater for the drama. When you comprehend one or two other details, you will perceive how well suited for trouble it was, and how loudly it invited it.