And I saw the slimy pools that the tide had left beside us it was on the ebb again and the pieces of the root-beer bottle that Jerry had broken off, and the horrible, high, black head of the Sea Monster above us. There was no boat of any sort to be seen, near or far away, but I woke Jerry so that we could both keep watch in case one came.
Fish of many kinds, now and then turtles, were seen and caught in the pools, rivers, and lagoons. Sand-flies, mosquitoes, and hornets, were very annoying, but the cool night-breeze usually swept them away.
Whether they followed along the bank under cover of the ice to other pools, or simply slept where they were till hungry again, I never found out. Certainly they had taken up their abode in an ideal spot, and would not leave it willingly. The open pools gave excellent fishing, and the upper ice shelf protected them perfectly from all enemies.
Their passions, tumultuous and merciless as the Tyrrhene Sea, raged indeed with the danger, but also with the uses, of naturally appointed storm; while ours, pacific in corruption, languish in vague maremma of misguided pools; and are pestilential most surely as they retire.
Let this system be maintained, and patriotism, exhausted, dries up, and, one by one, all other beneficent springs, until, finally, nothing is visible over the whole country, but stagnant pools or overwhelming torrents, inhabited by passive subjects or depredators.
Thirst, however, overcame disgust; the contaminating carcases were dragged away, and many plunged their faces in the filthy pools. Others had the self-control to dig or scrape holes for themselves, and wait till a purer water had percolated into them, when they slowly satisfied themselves and their faithful horses, and then managed to collect a supply for the next march.
When the lecture was over they were dismissed, and the boy with the amputated foot was sent off to the forest to find the delinquents and bring them back. Till sunrise on the following day was the term given him. If the others did not begin to return by that time there would be trouble. The Silent Pools and the woods around were the haunts of innumerable birds.
This new field he began to cultivate in a novel and ingenious way. He got together all the old broken pails, pots, pans, and kettles he could find in the neighbourhood, filled them with straw or bits of rag, and then sank them with a heavy stone into the rocky pools that abound along that weather-beaten coast.
It was pleasant walking along the firm, hard road, and the fresh air was exhilarating the sunshine, thin and wintry though it was, gilded palely the little shallow lakes and pools left by the outgoing tide along the shore, for it was almost low water now. Even the bare stretches of sand did not look ugly, as they sometimes do a touch of sunshine makes all the difference!
I was glad when we came to the brickmaker's house, though it was one of a cluster of wretched hovels in a brick-field, with pigsties close to the broken windows and miserable little gardens before the doors growing nothing but stagnant pools.