Chapter XIV. The Castle of the Demons
 

"To-morrow, senor," Dias said, "you will see the spot I was telling you about, where, as the traditions say, the spirits of our ancestors inhabit the ruins of a building so old, that it was ancient when the Incas first came here. They are still there, and men who have been rash enough to approach the spot have been found torn to pieces as if by wild beasts; but none go near now."

"Did the Spaniards never go there?"

"I know not, sir; but 'tis likely they never even heard of it. The country is all dry and barren, and there were no mines to tempt them. The Indians never speak of it; those who were alive when the Spaniards came had some reasons for not doing so; and even now you could go to the nearest village, which lies more than twenty miles away, and ask the people about it, but they would only say that they had never heard of it, that no such place existed, for they believe that even to speak of it would bring dire disaster. We Indians are Christians; the Spaniards made us so. We make the sign of the cross, and we bow before their images and pictures, and once a year we go to their churches; but among the tribes east of the mountains that is all. We believe in the traditions of our fathers and in the demons of the forest; and though on this side of the hills, where the Spaniards held a tight grip upon us, the people have well-nigh forgotten their old faith, they still believe in many of the tales they have learned from their fathers, and this of the Castle of the Demons, as it is called, is as strong as ever in these parts."

"Have you ever seen the castle, Dias?"

"I have seen it, senor. There is only one point from which it is visible. We shall go there to-morrow, it is ten miles from here. The castle lies in a rift of the rock. I should say that in ancient times this opened to the sea, but the building closed the entrance. Whatever it may have been, it does not rise above the summit of the cliff, which goes down as straight as a wall for miles on the sea-face. The rift on the land side of the castle seems to have a width of about fifty feet, and I could see openings which were, I suppose, windows. The rocks on each side are higher than the castle itself, so that anyone coming along would not see it until he looked down upon it."

"But of course it is visible from the sea, Dias?"

"It would have been visible in the old days without a doubt, senor, but it cannot be seen now. The stones are the colour of the rocks beside them. They are stained and broken, and unless a boat went along within a very short distance none would dream that there was a break in the cliff there. I heard that from a fisherman whose boat was driven in by a gale and well- nigh lost. He said that he could see that the stones, which are very large--much larger than any of those in the remains of the buildings of the Incas--were not in regular lines."

"It is very strange that anyone should have taken the trouble to build a place in such a singular position. Is there not any legend as to its construction?"

"There is a tradition, senor, that it was built as a prison, by the king of those times, a thousand years before the Spaniards came, and even before the people whom the Incas conquered came into the land, and that it was a place of imprisonment, some say of a wife, others of a son, who had rebelled against him. Some say that it was built by the demons, but as it happened long before our people came here, none can know."

"Well, Dias, it seems to me that this old place is very likely to have been used as a hiding-place for treasure. As to these tales about demons, of course they are ridiculous. I took your advice when we were being opposed by fierce Indians, but when it is a question of demons, I can trust to my revolvers and rifles against a legion of them."

"Well, senor, you are the master. I have led you here as I promised. There may be treasure here or there may not. If you will go, you must; but I pray you not to command me to go with you. I would have followed you to the death through the swamps and forests on the other side, but I dare not risk being torn to death by demons and being left without burial."

"I do not press you to go, Dias. I respect your convictions, though I do not share in them. I have had a year of travel with you, and we have had many adventures together. This will be my last before I return home. Here at least there seems to me a chance of finding treasure, an infinitely better chance than any we have had, except in the gold valley. Here is a mysterious castle, of whose very existence the Spaniards seem never to have heard. It is just the place where treasure might be hidden. If it has guardians, they must be human, and also there can be but few. The urgent necessity for secrecy was so great, that it must, like all the other secrets, have been confided to a few only. Maybe but one or two old men are there, of whom certainly I need not be afraid. I have told you why I came here, and why I feel so anxious to find a valuable mine, or part of the lost treasures of the Incas. So far I have failed altogether, and I should be a fool as well as a coward were I not ready to run some slight risk in searching this mysterious castle."

"So be it, senor. I say not that you may not succeed. It may be that the demons have no power over white men. If you go and return safely I will go with you, and, should you find treasure, aid you to carry it away. I will lead you to within two miles of it, and will wait three days for your return. If you come not then, I will return to my place and mourn for you."

"Very well, Dias, you may count upon my return long before the three days are up. Now, in the first place, take me to the point from which I can have a view of the castle."

"We have had a long journey to-day, senor, and it is two hours' journey from here. We had better rest and go in the morning."

Harry nodded.

"We will be off early. You say it is ten miles from the spot where we shall see it. If we start at daybreak I can be there before noon, which will give me plenty of time for a first look round the place. We have got some torches left. I shall want them, for possibly there may be some chambers underground into which we shall have to penetrate. We may take it as certain that, whether the old people hid a great treasure from the Incas, or the Incas hid one from the Spaniards, they did not leave it about in rooms, but stowed it away in vaults like those we saw at Pachacamac, and these will certainly want a lot of looking for."

"I will help you look, senor, and will work there as long as you like in the search, if you return and tell me that you have seen and heard nothing of the demons that are said to be there. I am not afraid of danger when I know that it is men that we have to do with. But I dread being strangled and torn, as the legends say that all who have ventured here have been."

"But according to your own account, Dias," Bertie laughed, "that was long, long ago, and the demons may have got tired of guarding a place that no one came near, and have gone elsewhere in search of victims."

Dias shook his head gravely. In spite of his life as a muleteer, and his acquaintance with Englishmen, he was as superstitious as the rest of his countrymen. The nominal Christianity enforced by the Spaniards upon the natives was but skin-deep, and thus they clung with undying fidelity to the superstitions and traditions that had been handed down from generation to generation, and had been preserved with a tenacity that even the tortures of the Spaniards had failed to shake. The failure to obtain the gold which they confidently expected to find in the valley had still further strengthened his belief that it was destined that these treasures should never be discovered; and although when there he had listened gravely to Harry's explanations of the manner in which the lake had been formed, his own conviction that all this was the work of demons had been unshaken. If, then, a spot, which even the tradition handed down to him had in no way connected with the guardianship of demons, was so firmly watched, how much more must this be so at a spot which all legends agreed was inhabited by demons, and had been the scene of so many executions by them of those who had ventured near.

As Bertie and his brother sat together by the fire that evening after the others had retired to rest, they talked long over the matter; for just as when they had approached the gold valley, their excitement had increased with every day's journey. Harry felt that this was his last chance, his only hope of gaining the object for which he had left England.

"It is strange, Harry," Bertie said, "that the natives should believe these absurd stories about demons. Dias seems, in every other way, as sensible a fellow as one can want to meet, but in this respect he is as bad as any of them."

"It is not extraordinary, Bertie, if you remember that it is not so very long ago since people at home believed in witches who sailed through the air to take part in diabolic ceremonies, and brought about the death of anyone by sticking pins into a little waxen image, and that even now the peasantry in out-of-the-way parts of the country still hold that some old women bewitch cows, and prevent milk turning into butter however long they may continue churning. Fairy superstitions have not quite disappeared, and the belief in ghosts is very wide-spread.

"When you think of that it is not surprising that these poor ignorant natives still have implicit faith in the traditions of their ancestors. It is possible that this old place is still inhabited by Indians, who have been its guardians for ages, and if not now, may have had charge of it long after the Spaniards came here, and murdered any who ventured to approach the place. We know that the tradition of the gold valley has been faithfully maintained in the family of Dias; this may also be the case in the family to which the guardianship of this old place was entrusted, but to my mind it is less likely. In the case of the gold valley there was nothing for those in the secret to do but to hold their tongues; but to supply guardians to this place from generation to generation must have been a much more irksome task, and it may have been abandoned, either from the dislike of those who had to spend their lives in such a monotonous business, or by their families dying out. I certainly don't want to have a fight with men who are only following orders passed down to them for hundreds of years. If they attack us, we shall have to fight; but I sincerely trust that we may find the place deserted, for, fight or no fight, I mean to get the treasure if it is there."

"I should think so," Bertie agreed. "The treasure is absolutely of no use to them, and may be no end of use to you."

"To both of us, Bertie. If there is a treasure, you may be sure it is a large one, ample for both of us, and to spare. Of course we shall have trouble in getting it away--the gold would be invaluable to any of these rascally adventurers who are a curse to Peru. I really want to see the place, even putting aside the question of the treasure, for it must have been extraordinarily well hidden if the Spaniards never came upon it; and I think there can be no doubt whatever that in this respect the traditions must be true. The whole thing would have been upset if the Spaniards had once paid a visit there, for, from what we saw at Pachacamac and Cuzco, they spared no exertions whatever to root out likely hiding-places. The treasure, if there is one, will be difficult to find, but I have got nearly a year yet, and if necessary I will spend the whole of it in digging. Dias could go and get provisions for us. Of course he must not always go to the same place. Sometimes he can go up to Huaura, sometimes down to Chancay or Ancon. This place, he has told me, lies a mile or two south of the Salinas promontory, which would partly account for its escaping notice, for the road from Huaura, as we see on the map, skirts the foot of the hill, and goes straight on to Chancay and Ancon, and there is no earthly reason why anyone should go out to the promontory. People here don't leave the roads and travel eight or ten miles merely to look at the ocean, especially when by following the straight line they would see it without trouble. Well, we have both had hard work during the past year, what with felling trees to make bridges, chopping logs for fires, making roads practicable by moving rocks out of the way, occasionally using our picks where Dias thought that there was a lode, and carrying mules' burdens up and down steep places.

"Altogether it has been a sort of backwoodsman's life, and if there are treasure-vaults in this place I think we shall be able to get at them, however thick and heavy the stones may be on the top of them."

"I am game," Bertie said. "There is a lot more excitement in working when possibly a treasure lies under your feet than in chopping away at trees, some of which are so hard as almost to turn the edge of an axe. The place cannot be very large, so it won't take us very long if we are obliged to tear up every foot of it. I suppose there cannot be above three feet of stone over the mouths of any of these vaults."

"I think, Bertie, that when we have once investigated the place and settled on our plans, we had better send Dias and Jose down to Callao to get three or four kegs of powder and some boring tools, besides a supply of provisions. We should get on a lot faster with these than with only pickaxes. We shall want a couple of strong iron crowbars for lifting slabs of stone, and of course some fuse for the mines."

"We should have to be careful not to put too much powder in, so as not to bring the whole thing down about our ears."

"Oh, we should not want to make a mine of that sort, but only to blast the stone as they do in quarries and mines. We should have to make a hole to begin with, by means of our picks and crowbars, in one corner of the room, two or three feet wide; then we must make a couple of holes the size of the boring tool, a foot or so away, according to the hardness of the ground, put in charges and fire them, and in that way blow down the rock into the hole we had made; and so we should go on until we had done the whole floor. Of course, the bigger the hole we first make--that is to say, the wider the face it has--the easier we shall blow the stone down afterwards. I have watched them blasting stone at Portland, and at some galleries they were making at Gibraltar, and I know pretty well how it is done. Of course it is hard work driving the borers down, for that we shall want two or three sledges of different weights. It will make our arms ache at first, but after a week or two we shall be able to stick to it fairly well. Now we had better turn in. We shall start at daybreak tomorrow. It will take us two hours to reach the spot from which Dias said we could see the place, and another three hours to get to the castle. That will give us a long afternoon to take our first look over it."

"There, senor," Dias said, when at eight o'clock in the morning they stopped on a projecting spur of the hill, "that is the castle!"

From where they stood they could see that the ground fell away into what was at first a mere depression, but gradually deepened into a valley half a mile wide. Still farther down the sides became more precipitous, and in the distance the valley was closed in by rock walls, and appeared to come to an end. That it did not do so was evident from a streak of bright green in the centre of the valley, showing that a small stream must run down it. From the point at which they stood they could see the level line of the plateau near the cliff facing the sea, and on the surface of this a dark zigzag line marked the course of the ravine. Then, when apparently close to the termination of the flat land by the cliffs, the dark streak widened out somewhat. Through a small but powerful telescope which Harry carried he could make out distinctly the upper part of what might be a house.

"It is a strange-looking place for a castle to be built," he said, "but it quite answers to your description, Dias. There are certainly some openings, which may have been windows. I am sure no one looking from here, and ignorant that such a place existed, would notice it, and of course from the valley it could not be seen at all. Even from this height I do not think I can see more than ten or twelve feet of the upper part. But surely it must be noticeable to anyone coming along the cliffs?"

"It may be, senor, but I cannot say. Certainly no native would go along there even in the daytime. Still, it does seem likely that in the Spanish time some must have ridden along the top of the cliffs, and if they had seen the castle it would certainly have been searched. Assuredly it has not been so. I have been at Ancon and Salinas many times, and have talked with the people there. They would never speak on the subject to one of white blood, but knowing that I was of native blood, and belonged to one of the families to whom the secret could be strictly trusted, they were ready enough to talk about the Castle of Demons. Had the Spaniards ever searched it they would have known, and the place would no longer be feared; but all say that from the time of the conquest by the Spaniards no living being has, as far as is known, entered it."

"Then the Incas knew of it, Dias?"

"I think so, senor, though I have not heard that any of them ever lived there; but tradition says that the vessel in which a great store of treasure was sent away from Pachacamac, and which, as is proved by Spanish writings, was never heard of afterwards, and doubtless was sunk in a great storm that came on two or three days after it sailed, was intended to be landed and hidden in this castle, which they thought might well escape the observation of the Spaniards."

"And even among your traditions there is no allusion to what became of this treasure ship?"

"No, senor; all traditions say that it was never heard of from the day it sailed. Had it landed at that castle the secret would have been handed down to some of the native families, just as that of the golden valley and of other hidden treasures has been. But there can be no doubt that the ship was lost with all her treasure."

"Well, we need not talk any more about it now, Dias; we shall learn nothing more, however long we stay here and stare at it."

They stopped half an hour for breakfast and then rode down the valley. When they got near the spot where it closed in Harry saw by the pallor on the native's face that he was beginning to be greatly alarmed.

"You had better stop here, Dias. My brother and I will go on and explore this ravine and have a look at the place. We will take some ropes with us, for the ravine may be blocked by falls of rocks, and we may have to let ourselves down. Evidently the water gets to the sea, or this valley would be a lake like that in the golden ravine, for although it is but a mere driblet of water now, you can see by the banks that a considerable amount comes down in the wet season. How it gets past the castle I don't know; I can only suppose that there is a passage for it underneath the building. We will take both our guns, Bertie, and our pistols. That there are no demons we are quite sure, but the place may have been used as a hiding- place for outlaws and brigands, who could find no better spot, as there was no fear whatever of its being discovered. We will take some bread and meat in our haversacks and a flask of spirits. Perhaps we shall be away longer than we expect, Dias, but at any rate we will not stop there after dark."

Tears were in the Indian's eyes as Harry and Bertie said good-bye to him and started, and when he saw them enter the ravine he sat down with his elbows on his knees and cried unrestrainedly. His wife went up to him and put her hand on his shoulder.

"Do not sorrow, Dias; as for me, I have no fear, though I love them as well as you do. I do not say that there may not be demons in the castle-- everyone says there are;--but though these may strangle our people who break the orders that were given that none should go near, I do not believe they can hurt our white friends. You saw that they had no fear; you know how brave they are, and how they laughed at the idea of the demons having any power over them. Do you think I could smile and talk if I thought they were in danger? Still, as there is no need to prepare dinner yet, I will tell my beads over and over again. We shall know if any harm comes to them if we hear them fire their guns, for it is certain that they would do so. Even if a legion of demons attacked them they would never run away, but would fight till the last."

"I love them," Dias said; "I love them as my own sons. At first, when they came to me from Senor Barriett, it was for his sake that I consented to accompany and aid them; but from that night when they saved my life by rushing, with no weapons save their sticks, into the midst of five men with drawn knives, I felt how noble they were, and I loved them not only for the sake of my life, but for their bravery. Since then my feelings have grown every day. Have they not treated us as equals, as they would do people of their own race--us who, by every Peruvian with white blood in his veins, are looked down upon?"

"It is true, Dias. They have laughed and joked with us, and have treated me with as much respect as if I had been of pure Spanish blood, and have always done everything they could to make things easy for me. I will not believe God and the Holy Virgin can permit them to be overpowered by the evil ones. Should it be otherwise, should they never return, I should be inconsolable. It would be to me as if you yourself had died, and I should be ready to stab myself to the heart at the thought that we had brought them here."

"I could not live after it either, Maria; but, as you say, I will trust that God will protect them."

He cut down two rods and fastened them together in the form of a cross, and then he and his wife knelt before it and repeated innumerable paternosters and Ave Marias, crossing themselves as they did so.

Jose, as soon as he had removed the burdens from the mules and turned them out to graze at the edge of the streamlet, came and joined them in their supplications, occasionally breaking off from the repetition of the only prayers he knew, and in his native language imploring the saints to protect their friends.

"There is no humbug about Dias," Bertie said as they left the others. "He is really in a blue funk."

"Yes, he is quite in earnest; and we know that he is no coward in other matters,"

"Certainly not. He showed any amount of pluck in the affair with the Indians. But he seems such a bright, sensible sort of chap, that it is quite funny to hear him going on about his demons. I should not be surprised at anything the ordinary peasant might believe, but it is different with a man like Dias."

"You know, Bertie," Harry said, coming to a sudden stop, "I think we are making a mistake going on into this ravine. I have no belief that the place is inhabited; still, there may be desperadoes, and perhaps a few fanatics. It is quite possible that a certain number of families bound themselves to keep watch here, and formed a little community that has lasted to the present day."

"But how could they have lived?"

"We will talk that over, Bertie, if we find any of them there. Now we must turn back. It is not more than a mile at the outside to the place where we can climb the hillside. In that way we shall be able to look down into this ravine, and take a general view of the place. We shall know what we are doing then, whereas if we were to go on through the gorge without knowing anything about it, we might find ourselves caught in a trap. It won't make half an hour's difference, for the ground up there will be as good walking as it is here, while we might find all sorts of obstacles in this ravine, and with two guns apiece, ammunition, pistols, coils of rope, food, and so on, we should find it awkward work climbing among heaps of rocks.

"You were saying, How could a group of people exist here for centuries without any communication with the outside world? Well, I don't suppose they could. They might get water from the stream, and possibly there may be some way of getting down to the sea-shore; anyhow, this stream must find a passage when it is in flood. They might have been able to get enough fish for their wants; but a fish-and-water diet would scarcely be sufficient.

"At the same time we are by no means sure that they could have had no communication with the outside, for just as some families may have been ordered to live here, others may have been instructed to supply them with food. The watchers may have had a store of gold-dust sufficient to last them all this time, and their friends outside may have brought them a sheep or two, and corn and other articles of necessity once a week. There could have been no difficulty in doing so. The stories of demons, and probably the murder of inquisitive people who tried to pry into what was going on, created such a dread of the place that those in the secret would come and go without the slightest difficulty. Conceivably, young men may from time to time have gone out for a year into the world and brought back wives with them, or girls may have been sent by the people in league with them outside, and obtained husbands, which is less likely. I should think it was more probable that young boys and girls would be kidnapped, and brought in here from time to time. All this is pure guesswork, of course, but nevertheless there may be people here, and it is just as well to take a look round from above before we trust ourselves inside the place."

On gaining the plateau they followed the crest of the valley until they came to a spot where the ravine appeared to end. They found that in fact it made a sharp turn. It was here only some ten feet wide, but soon broadened out to thirty. Fifty yards farther there was another sharp bend, the ravine narrowed to twenty feet, and the sides became absolutely perpendicular. Twenty yards farther still they saw something like a wall about thirty or forty feet high stretching across the gorge, which was here some seventy feet deep. About twenty feet from the foot there was a steep ascent of rocks, such as might have fallen there by a slip from one side or the other. Above these a perpendicular wall rose for another twenty-five feet. Harry and his brother looked at it in surprise from the height at which they stood. Its appearance was precisely that of the wall- precipices on each side. It was rough and uneven, and they could see no signs of any joints.

"It looks as if it were natural," Bertie said, "but it can't be."

"No, it must certainly be artificial, but it is a wonderful imitation, and certainly anyone coming up the ravine would suppose that bank of rocks at the foot had fallen from its face; but we know that it can't be that, for the water makes its way through. Besides, you see it is only three feet wide at the top, and then there is a narrow ledge a couple of feet wide, which was evidently made for the garrison to stand upon and shoot their arrows at anyone attempting to come up the ravine. Behind the slope is all rough rocks, except just below our feet, where there is a narrow stone staircase of regularly-cut steps. It is so narrow that it could not be noticed by anyone standing here, unless they bent over to look straight down as I am doing. Well, it is just as well that we made the circuit, for we certainly could not have climbed over there."

Another sharp turn, and the ravine ran straight towards the castle. They hurried on, and when they had gone fifty yards stood at the edge of a roughly circular pit. It was seventy or eighty feet across, narrowing at each end. At one end was the ravine at whose mouth they were standing, and directly opposite, in what might be called the neck of the bottle, stood the Castle of the Demons. It was some fifty feet in width, and as it stood back about forty feet up the neck it could hardly be seen at any point except that at which they were standing. There was no door or other opening at less than some twenty-five feet from the ground. At that height was a broad aperture about four feet high and twelve wide. Above this were several smaller openings about four feet square. The singular point in the structure was a rough arch of rock, which extended above it and formed its roof. This arch projected thirty or forty feet in front of the building, so that the latter had the appearance of standing in a great cave.

"What an extraordinary-looking place!" Bertie said in a low voice.

"Extraordinary, but how splendidly chosen for concealment! You see the top of the rock above it is level with the ground on either side. This would perfectly well account for people riding along the line of the cliffs, and passing over without dreaming that there was a house below them. Even if they went to the edge on this side, they would simply see this deep pit and the ravine beyond, but could not by any possibility obtain a sight of the house unless they came round to nearly where we are standing, which they could have no possible motive for doing. Besides, you see, all the way we have been passing through a thick bush; and I have no doubt that in the old time a wood stood here, possibly planted by the builders of the house. Of course the arch existed before the house was built. The stratum below was probably softer, and the stream gradually trickled through, and perhaps in some great flood, when this basin was full, burst its way out, after which the rock gradually fell until it formed that great natural arch."

"Well, let us go round and have a look at the other side."

They found that the width of the arch to the sea cliff was a hundred and fifty feet.

"If the castle extends to this face, Bertie, it is a hundred feet across, but from here we can't see whether it does so. It is probably built flush, however, as Dias said that it was not noticeable from the sea, and had the arch projected beyond it it could certainly have been seen."

"Well, Harry, if you will tie a rope round my waist you can let me down, and I will have a look at it. You can hold me easily enough if you stand twenty feet back from the edge, and you won't have to pull me up, because I can easily climb up the rope by myself. I need not go down more than thirty or forty feet, and I can do that easily enough."

"Oh, I could pull you up, Bertie."

"Well, you could do that if by any chance I should get tired; then I could give a shout, and you could haul on the rope."

"There are lots of stumps of trees here, Bertie, and I can take half a turn round one of them and so let you down easily; then when you shout I will fasten the rope there and come to the edge, and I can hear whether you want me to haul or not. Of course it must depend whether there are any jagged rocks sticking out. If so, it would be better for you to climb, as the rope might chafe against them if I pulled."

"I understand." Bertie laid down his weapons and water-flask, made a loop at the end of one of the ropes they had brought large enough for him to sit in, then he looked for a spot where the short grass extended to the very edge. "This is a good place, and the rope won't chafe as it runs over that. Now I am ready. If you will go back to that stump fifteen feet away and let it out gradually, I will be off."

He knelt down, and putting the rope over his head took a firm hold of it just above the loop, and then crawled backwards, his brother keeping the rope taut. "Slack it out gradually now," Bertie said; "I am just over."

Directly afterwards his shoulders disappeared. Harry let the rope slowly out until he calculated that fifty feet were over the cliff, then he fastened it very securely round the stump and went forward to the edge.

"Are you all right, Bertie?" he shouted.

"Quite right."

The face of the rock was very even, and there was nothing for the rope to chafe against. Harry lay down at the edge, keeping a firm hold of the rope to prevent himself from slipping over, and was able to look down on Bertie.

"Well, Bertie, what is it?"

"It is the wall of the house, I have no doubt, but it is so cleverly built that I can scarcely see where the arch ends and the house begins. Looking quite close I can see where the stones join, but their face has been left rough; and as it is just the same colour as the rocks, and lines have been cut down its face, and cracks made across it answering to the lines in the rock on both sides, I am sure I should not have known it was built up unless I had examined it. It is much narrower on this side than on the other--not more than twenty-five feet, I should say. There seem to be some irregularly-shaped holes in what looks like a fissure in the middle. I suppose they are to light the rooms on this side of the house, but they are certainly too small to be noticed from the sea."

"Does the sea come right up to the foot of the cliff?"

It was a minute before the answer came. "The water comes to the foot, but there is a line of rocks running along forty or fifty feet farther out. Some of them seem to be thirty feet out of the water; at one end they touch the cliff, and at the other there is a free passage. The water is very clear, but as far as I can judge I should say there is a depth of a fathom or a fathom and a half between the rocks and the cliff. Certainly a boat could row in to a position underneath where I am."

"Is there anything more?"

"No."

"You don't see an entrance down here?"

"No."

"All right! Then you may as well come up again. Can you climb up?"

"Easily."

"Well, hail me if you want me to haul."

Harry went back to the stump, unwound the rope until it was only half a turn round it, and then, holding it firmly, stood ready to haul up.