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By Rock and Pool on an Austral Shore, and Other Stories   By: (1855-1913)

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By ROCK & POOL On An Austral Shore

By LOUIS BECKE

AUTHOR OF "PACIFIC TALES," "BY REEF AND PALM," ETC., ETC.

New Amsterdam Book Company 156 FIFTH AVENUE: NEW YORK CITY: MCMI

CONTENTS

BY ROCK AND POOL

SOLEPA

THE FISHER FOLK OF NUKUFETAU

MRS. MACLAGGAN'S BILLY

AN ISLAND MEMORY

A HUNDRED FATHOMS DEEP

ON A TIDAL RIVER

DENISON GETS ANOTHER SHIP

JACK SHARK'S PILOT

THE "PALU" OF THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC

THE WILY "GOANNER"

THE TA~NIFA OF SAMOA

ON BOARD THE TUCOPIA

THE MAN IN THE BUFFALO HIDE

A CRUISE IN THE SOUTH SEAS HINTS TO INTENDING TRAVELLERS

By Rock and Pool on an Austral Shore

The quaint, old fashioned little town faces eastward to the blue Pacific, whose billows, when the wind blows from any point between north and east, come tumbling in across the shallow bar in ceaseless lines of foaming white, to meet, when the tide is on the ebb, the swift current of a tidal river as broad as the Thames at Westminster Bridge. On the south side of the bar, from the sleepy town itself to the pilot station on the Signal Hill, there rises a series of smooth grassy bluffs, whose seaward bases touch the fringe of many small beaches, or start sheer upward from the water when the tide is high, and the noisy swish and swirl of the eager river current has ceased.

As you stand on the Signal Hill, and look along the coast, you see a long, long monotonous line of beach, trending northward ten miles from end to end, forming a great curve from the sandspit on the north side of the treacherous bar to the blue loom of a headland in shape like the figure of a couchant lion. Back from the shore line, a narrow littoral of dense scrub, impervious to the rays of the sun, and unbroken in its solitude except by the cries of birds, or the heavy footfall of wild cattle upon the thick carpet of fallen leaves; and then, far to the west, the dimmed, shadowy outline of the main coastal range.

It is a keen, frosty morning in June the midwinter of Australia and as the red sun bursts through the sea rim, a gentle land breeze creeps softly down from the mountain forest of gums and iron barks, and blows away the mists that, all through a night of cloudless calm, have laid heavily upon the surface of the sleeping ocean. One by one the doors of the five little white painted, weather boarded houses which form the quarters of the pilot boat's crew open, and five brown, hairy faced men, each smoking a pipe, issue forth, and, hands in pockets, scan the surface of the sea from north to south, for perchance a schooner, trying to make the port, may have been carried along by the current from the southward, and is within signalling distance to tell her whether the bar is passable or not. For the bar of the Port is as changeable in its moods as the heart of a giddy maid to her lovers to day it may invite you to come in and take possession of its placid waters in the harbour beyond; to morrow it may roar and snarl with boiling surf and savage, eddying currents, and whirlpools slapping fiercely against the grim, black rocks of the southern shore... Continue reading book >>




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