In Search of the Unknown

Cover of book In Search of the Unknown
Categories: Nonfiction

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t I came out on a sheer granite cliff where the sea - birds were whirling and clamoring, and the great breakers dashed, rolling in double- thundered reverberations on the sun - dyed, crimson sands below the rock. Across the half-moon of beach towered another cliff, and, behind this, I saw a column of smoke rising in the still air. It certainly came from Halyard's chimney, although the opposite cliff prevented me from seeing the house itself. I rested a moment to refill my pipe, then resumed rifle and pack, and cautiously started to skirt the cliffs. I had descended half-way towards the beech, and was examining the cliff opposite, when something on the very top of the rock arrested my attention?a man darkly outlined against the sky. The next moment, however, I knew it could not be a man, for the object suddenly glided over the face of the cliff and slid down the sheer, smooth lace like a lizard. Before I could get a square look at it, the thing crawled into the surf?or, at least, it seemed to?but the whole episode occurred so suddenly, so unexpectedly, that I was not sure I had seen anything at all. However, I was curious enough to climb the cliff on the land side and make my way towards the spot whereI imagined I saw the man. Of course, there was nothing there?not a trace of a human being, I mean. Something had been there?a sea-otter, possibly?for the remains of a freshly killed fish lay on the rock, eaten to the back-bone and tail. The next moment, below me, I saw the house, a freshly painted, trim, flimsy structure, modern, and very much out of harmony with the splendid savagery surrounding it. It struck a nasty, cheap note in the noble, gray monotony of headland and sea. The descent was easy enough. I crossed the crescent beach, hard as pink m...

In Search of the Unknown
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