Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/93

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selves before the red and yellow blossoms of the cactus, and a little insect-eater, in sober brown with a ruby patch on its head, searched busily among the plants.

Several sheep and goats, two dogs, some hens, two peacocks, and a white cat comprised the domestic animals of this Crusoe-like home. From time to time the sheep and goats had become wild and had taken to the almost inaccessible parts of the cliffs and gorges, where it was exciting sport to pursue them.

After lunch, when the sun had begun to descend toward the west. Captain H—— took us down to the plateau below the house to look at the quarters occupied by the workmen. The buildings consisted of two long sheds with close shutters instead of glass windows, and contained for furniture nothing but a tier of bunks, or rather shelves, of rough boards along the walls. Each man furnished his own bedding, which was seldom more than a rude cushion for a pillow. This pillow, together with his other personal belongings, he kept in a box which served him for a trunk.

Near the buildings were ovens where their baking was done by one of their number who served as cook. Their fare was very simple, consisting of bread and salt beef. The foremen and skilled workmen occupied two smaller houses, but lived in the same manner. Water for drinking was obtained by catching the rain on large inclined surfaces of corrugated iron, and collecting it in reservoirs. Such a reservoir was built at each end of the island for the use of the men, and the superintendent's dwelling was provided with capacious tanks connected with the roof.

We were on Redonda just at the time of the full moon, and there was something about the beauty of a moonlight night on that rock which can not be put in words. The sea sparkled with silver gleams as we looked down upon it. Montserrat's rugged outline could be dimly seen, with lights twinkling here and there on its hillsides. Below us the workmen could be heard singing and dancing to the sound of a tambourine. After the hot glare of the daytime everything seemed to be enjoying the delightful coolness of the trade wind. Indeed, so cool was it that it caused me great surprise to find the thermometer registering seventy-eight degrees.

The second morning we descended to the beach by means of the tramway, and at Captain H——'s suggestion I stood upon the edge of the bucket and clung to the trolley. It was exhilarating to glide swiftly down through space, with the cliffs close beside us and the beach far below, yet it was with a breath of relief that I sprang from the bucket to the ground when we had reached the end of the wire.

For a distance of about fifty yards the beach had been cleared of bowlders, and room thus secured for two or three small build-