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Real Gold A Story of Adventure   By: (1831-1909)

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Real Gold, by George Manville Fenn.

REAL GOLD, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.

CHAPTER ONE.

A CHAT IN A BOAT.

"Bother the old fish!"

"Yes; they won't bite."

"It's no good, Perry; they are having their siesta. Let's get in the shade and have one too."

"What! in the middle of the day go to sleep? No, thank you. I'm not a foreigner."

"More am I; but you come and live out here for a bit, and you'll be ready enough to do as the Romans I mean the Spaniards do."

"Not I, Cyril, and I don't believe fish do go to sleep."

"What? Why, I've seen them lie in shoals here, perfectly still; basking in the hot sunshine, fast asleep."

"With their eyes shut?"

"Gammon! Fish can't shut their eyes."

"Then they can't go to sleep. My! it is hot. I shan't fish any more."

Two boys sitting in a boat half a mile from the shore, and sheltered by a ridge of rocks from the tremendous swell of the vast Pacific Ocean, which to north and south curled over in great glistening billows upon the sand in the former instance, to scoop it out, carry it back, and then throw it up farther away; in the latter, to strike upon sheer rocks and fly up in silver spray with a low deep sound as of muttered thunder. Away to the west there was the great plain of smooth damasked silver, lost at last in a faint haze, and all so bright that the eyes ached and were dazzled by its sheen. To the east, the bright looking port of San Geronimo, with a few ships, and half a dozen long, black, red funnelled screw steamers at anchor; beyond them wharves and warehouses, and again beyond these the houses of the little town, with a few scattered white villas rising high on terrace and shelf of the steep cliffs. The place looked bright and attractive seen from the distance, but dry and barren. Nothing green rested and refreshed the eye. No trees, no verdant slope of lawn or field; nothing but sand in front, glittering rock behind. Everything suggested its being a region where no rain fell.

But, all the same, it had its beauty. More, its grandeur, for apparently close at hand, though miles away in the clear distance, rose the great Sierra the mighty range of mountains, next to the Himalayas the highest in the world and seeming to rise suddenly like a gigantic wall right up into the deep blue sky, cloudless, and dazzling with the ice and snow.

The two boys, both of them, though fair by nature, tanned now of a warm reddish brown, were of about the same age, and nearly the same physique; and as now they twisted the stout lines they had been holding round the thole pins of the boat, which softly rose and fell with a pleasant lulling motion, the first who had spoken unfastened the neck button of his shirt.

"Hullo! Going to bathe?"

"Bathe! No, thankye. I should wake up the sharks: they'd bite then."

"Ugh!"

"Yes, you may shudder. They grow fine about here. Why, before I'd made a dozen strokes, you'd hear me squeak, and see me go down and never come up again."

"How horrid! You don't mean it, though, do you?"

"Yes, it's true enough. I'm going to have a nap."

As the boy spoke, he lay back in the stern of the boat, and placed his broad Panama hat over his face.

"I say, Perry, old chap!" he continued, with his voice sounding whistly through the closely woven hat.

"What?"

"If you smell me burning, wake me up."

"All right," said the lad addressed as Perry; and resting his elbows on his knees, he sat gazing up at the huge towering mountain nearest at hand for a few minutes, then:

"Cil!"

"Hullo!" drowsily.

"Don't go to sleep, old chap; I want to talk to you."

"I can't go to sleep if you talk. What is it?"

"I say, how rum it seems for it to be boiling hot down here, and all that ice and snow to be up there. Look."

"Yes," said Cyril, "'tis its nature to. I don't want to look. Seen it before."

"But how far is it up to where the snow is a thousand feet?"

"What?" cried Cyril, starting up into a sitting position, with his hat falling off... Continue reading book >>




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