We were favoured for once with a grand view of the Andean peaks, which are seldom well seen from the coast, being wrapped in haze and clouds. Arrived at Mollendo, port of Arequipa and Bolivia, I at once took train and rose rapidly to an elevation of 8000 feet, arriving in the evening at Arequipa. The whole country is desolate in the extreme.
On ascertaining the fact, I wrote to the Governor of Arequipa, expressing my surprise that neutrals should be allowed to embark provisions during an armistice; the reply being that the most positive orders should be given to put a stop to it, upon which I retired from Mollendo, but leaving an officer to keep watch, and finding that the embarkation was persisted in, I returned and shipped all the wheat found on shore.
Fortunately there weren't any surf days that week, and the way the cargo poured out of the Tyee was a shame and a disgrace. And when it was all out Joey plugged the leak again, pumped out the ship, and wired me at Mollendo to hurry back with the ladies or he'd sail without me. So you can see for yourself, Mr. Ricks, it was a hard hand to beat. And his luck held.
He rang for another assistant to go on with the occultation, and wired down to the coast requesting the British Consul at Mollendo to look out for an arrival from the skies.
He replied with an air of great importance, and looking quite serious, that he had received word that the Chilean navy was coming to bombard Mollendo, and it was his intention to instruct the Indians in the use of the rifle. When the ships came near enough, he would station his men among the rocks and shoot the sailors off the decks.
"Now, what d'ye call 'em?" The bell upon the bridge clanged. "Eight bells," said the company; "aft to muster, boys." The bugle at the saloon-door announced supper. We were getting pretty well to the north Mollendo, or thereabouts when I had my last conversation with the Frenchman.
Three hours later the gleam of an electric searchlight flickered down over the huge black cone of the Misti, and by dawn the next morning one of Her Majesty's cruisers most appropriately named Astræa attached to the Pacific Squadron then en route from Lima to Valparaiso, steamed out westward from Mollendo and found the long, shining hull of the Astronef waiting quietly on the unrippled rollers of the Pacific, and Lord and Lady Redgrave having breakfast in the deck-chamber.
Robinson decided to return to their home in San Louis Obispo, California, and about this time I received an offer from the Peruvian government to bring a torpedo boat from Panama to Mollendo. The Robinson family were going north on the steamer which would carry me to Panama. On leaving, our friends gave us a splendid banquet and assembled at the station to bid us farewell.
I was in dread of Cockney Spider, and, in my determination to escape, I became a stowaway on a coast steamer and landed at Arica, with a few dollars in my pocket, paid to me by Spider. When I arrived at Mollendo in company with Mr. John L. Thorndike, he introduced me to Mr. Hill, his general manager, as his "boy protector" and told him to give me employment and see that I was well provided for.
There I had this case made, bought two extra mules, brought them to the valley, packed up my mummy, took it back to Cuzco, and from there to the railway terminus at Sicuani and took it down by train to Arequipa, where I left it in safe keeping until I had finished the rest of my exploration. Then I went back, took it down to Mollendo, got it on board the steamer, and here it is.