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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Lady Brassey

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In Belgrano, she says: "We saw for the first time the holes of the bizcachas, or prairie-dogs, outside which the little prairie-owls keep guard. There appeared to be always one, and generally two, of these birds, standing like sentinels, at the entrance to each hole, with their wise-looking heads on one side, pictures of prudence and watchfulness. The bird and the beast are great friends, and are seldom to be found apart." And then Lady Brassey, who understands photography as well as how to write several languages, photographs this pretty scene of prairie-dogs guarded by owls, and puts it in her book.

On their way to the Straits of Magellan, they see a ship on fire. They send out a boat to her, and bring in the suffering crew of fifteen men, almost wild with joy to be rescued. Their cargo of coal had been on fire for four days. The men were exhausted, the fires beneath their feet were constantly growing hotter, and finally they gave up in despair and lay down to die. But the captain said, "There is One above who looks after us all," and again they took courage. They lashed the two apprentice boys in one of the little boats, for fear they would be washed overboard, for one was the "only son of his mother, and she a widow."

"The captain," says Lady Brassey, "drowned his favorite dog, a splendid Newfoundland, just before leaving the ship; for although a capital watchdog and very faithful, he was rather large and fierce; and when it was known that the Sunbeam was a yacht with ladies and children on board, he feared to introduce him. Poor fellow! I wish I had known about it in time to save his life!"

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They "steamed past the low sandy coast of Patagonia and the rugged mountains of Tierra del Fuego, literally, Land of Fire, so called from the custom the inhabitants have of lighting fires on prominent points as signals of assembly." The people are cannibals, and naked. "Their food is of the most meagre description, and consists mainly of shell-fish, sea-eggs, for which the women dive with much dexterity, and fish, which they train their dogs to assist them in catching. These dogs are sent into the water at the entrance of a narrow creek or small bay, and they then bark and flounder about and drive the fish before them into shallow water, where they are caught."

Three of these Fuegians, a man, woman, and lad, come out to the yacht in a craft made of planks rudely tied together with the sinews of animals, and give otter skins for "tobaco and galleta" (biscuit), for which they call. When Lady Brassey gives the lad and his mother some strings of blue, red, and green glass beads, they laugh and jabber most enthusiastically. Their paddles are "split branches of trees, with wider pieces tied on at one end, with the sinews of birds or beasts." At the various places where they land, all go armed, Lady Brassey herself being well skilled in their use.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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