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Cover image for The voyage of the Beagle : journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the world
Title:
The voyage of the Beagle : journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the world
ISBN:
9780375756801
Publication Information:
New York : Modern Library, 2001.
Physical Description:
xix, 468 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Originally published: New York : P.F. Collier & Son, 1909.
Conference Subject:
Summary:
In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on an expedition that, in his own words, determined my whole career. The Voyage of the Beagle chronicles his five-year journey around the world and especially the coastal waters of South America as a naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. While traveling through these unexplored countries collecting specimens, Darwin began to formulate the theories of evolution and natural selection realized in his master work, The Origin of Species. Travel memoir and scientific primer alike, The Voyage of the Beagle is a lively and accessible introduction to the mind of one of history's most influential thinkers.
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Summary

Summary

In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on an expedition that, in his own words, determined my whole career. The Voyage of the Beagle chronicles his five-year journey around the world and especially the coastal waters of South America as a naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. While traveling through these unexplored countries collecting specimens, Darwin began to formulate the theories of evolution and natural selection realized in his master work, The Origin of Species. Travel memoir and scientific primer alike, The Voyage of the Beagle is a lively and accessible introduction to the mind of one of history's most influential thinkers.


Author Notes

Charles Robert Darwin, born in 1809, was an English naturalist who founded the theory of Darwinism, the belief in evolution as determined by natural selection. Although Darwin studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and then studied at Cambridge University to become a minister, he had been interested in natural history all his life. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a noted English poet, physician, and botanist who was interested in evolutionary development.

Darwin's works have had an incalculable effect on all aspects of the modern thought. Darwin's most famous and influential work, On the Origin of Species, provoked immediate controversy.

Darwin's other books include Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

Charles Darwin died in 1882.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 St. Jago-Cape de Verd Islands Porto Praya-Ribeira Grande-Atmospheric Dust with Infusoria-Habits of a Sea-slug and Cuttle-fish-St. Paul's Rocks, non-volcanic-Singular Incrustations-Insects the first Colonists of Islands-Fernando Noronha-Bahia-Burnished Rocks-Habits of a Diodon-Pelagic Confervæ and Infusoria-Causes of discoloured Sea. After having been twice driven back by heavy southwestern gales, Her Majesty's ship Beagle, a ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain Fitz Roy, R. N., sailed from Devonport on the 27th of December, 1831. The object of the expedition was to complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, commenced under Captain King in 1826 to 1830-to survey the shores of Chile, Peru, and of some islands in the Pacific-and to carry a chain of chronometrical measurements round the World. On the 6th of January we reached Teneriffe, but were prevented landing, by fears of our bringing the cholera: the next morning we saw the sun rise behind the rugged outline of the Grand Canary island, and suddenly illuminate the Peak of Teneriffe, whilst the lower parts were veiled in fleecy clouds. This was the first of many delightful days never to be forgotten. On the 16th of January, 1832, we anchored at Porto Praya, in St. Jago, the chief island of the Cape de Verd archipelago. The neighbourhood of Porto Praya, viewed from the sea, wears a desolate aspect. The volcanic fires of a past age, and the scorching heat of a tropical sun, have in most places rendered the soil unfit for vegetation. The country rises in successive steps of table-land, interspersed with some truncate conical hills, and the horizon is bounded by an irregular chain of more lofty mountains. The scene, as beheld through the hazy atmosphere of this climate, is one of great interest; if, indeed, a person, fresh from sea, and who has just walked, for the first time, in a grove of cocoa-nut trees, can be a judge of anything but his own happiness. The island would generally be considered as very uninteresting; but to anyone accustomed only to an English landscape, the novel aspect of an utterly sterile land possesses a grandeur which more vegetation might spoil. A single green leaf can scarcely be discovered over wide tracts of the lava plains; yet flocks of goats, together with a few cows, contrive to exist. It rains very seldom, but during a short portion of the year heavy torrents fall, and immediately afterwards a light vegetation springs out of every crevice. This soon withers; and upon such naturally formed hay the animals live. It had not now rained for an entire year. When the island was discovered, the immediate neighbourhood of Porto Praya was clothed with 'rees,1 the reckless destruction of which has caused here, as at St. Helena, and at some of the Canary islands, almost entire sterility. The broad, flat-bottomed valleys, many of which serve during a few days only in the season as water-courses, are clothed with thickets of leafless bushes. Few living creatures inhabit these valleys. The commonest bird is a kingfisher (Dacelo Iagoensis), which tamely sits on the branches of the castor-oil plant, and thence darts on grasshoppers and lizards. It is brightly coloured, but not so beautiful as the European species: in its flight, manners, and place of habitation, which is generally in the driest valley, there is also a wide difference. One day, two of the officers and myself rode to Ribeira Grande, a village a few miles eastward of Porto Praya. Until we reached the valley of St. Martin, the country presented its usual dull brown appearance; but here, a very small rill of water produces a most refreshing margin of luxuriant vegetation. In the course of an hour we arrived at Ribeira Grande, and were surprised at the sight of a large ruined fort and cathedral. This little town, before its harbour was filled up, was the principal place in the island: it now presents a melancholy, but very picturesque appearance. Having procured a black Padre for a guide, and a Spaniard who had served in the Peninsular war as an interpreter, we visited a collection of buildings, of which an ancient church formed the principal part. It is here the governors and captain-generals of the islands have been buried. Some of the tombstones recorded dates of the sixteenth century.2 The heraldic ornaments were the only things in this retired place that reminded us of Europe. The church or chapel formed one side of a quadrangle, in the middle of which a large clump of bananas were growing. On another side was a hospital, containing about a dozen miserable-looking inmates. We returned to the Vênda to eat our dinners. A considerable number of men, women, and children, all as black as jet, collected to watch us. Our companions were extremely merry; and everything we said or did was followed by their hearty laughter. Before leaving the town we visited the cathedral. It does not appear so rich as the smaller church, but boasts of a little organ, which sent forth singularly inharmonious cries. We presented the black priest with a few shillings, and the Spaniard, patting him on the head, said, with much candour, he thought his colour made no great difference. We then returned, as fast as the ponies would go, to Porto Praya. Another day we rode to the village of St. Domingo, situated near the centre of the island. On a small plain which we crossed, a few stunted acacias were growing; their tops had been bent by the steady trade-wind, in a singular manner-some of them even at right angles to their trunks. The direction of the branches was exactly N. E. by N., and S. W. by S., and these natural vanes must indicate the prevailing direction of the force of the trade-wind. The travelling had made so little impression on the barren soil, that we here missed our track, and took that to Fuentes. This we did not find out till we arrived there; and we were afterwards glad of our mistake. Fuentes is a pretty village, with a small stream, and everything appeared to prosper well, excepting, indeed, that which ought to do so most-its inhabitants. The black children, completely naked, and looking very wretched, were carrying bundles of firewood half as big as their own bodies. Near Fuentes we saw a large flock of guinea-fowl-probably fifty or sixty in number. They were extremely wary, and could not be approached. They avoided us, like partridges on a rainy day in September, running with their heads cocked up; and if pursued, they readily took to the wing. The scenery of St. Domingo possesses a beauty totally unexpected, from the prevalent gloomy character of the rest of the island. The village is situated at the bottom of a valley, bounded by lofty and jagged walls of stratified lava. The black rocks afford a most striking contrast with the bright green vegetation, which follows the banks of a little stream of clear water. It happened to be a grand feast-day, and the village was full of people. On our return we overtook a party of about twenty young black girls, dressed in excellent taste; their black skins and snow-white linen being set off by coloured turbans and large shawls. As soon as we approached near, they suddenly all turned round, and covering the path with their shawls, sung with great energy a wild song, beating time with their hands upon their legs. We threw them some vintéms, which were received with screams of laughter, and we left them redoubling the noise of their song. One morning the view was singularly clear; the distant mountains being projected with the sharpest outline on a heavy bank of dark blue clouds. Judging from the appearance, and from similar cases in England, I supposed that the air was saturated with moisture. The fact, however, turned out quite the contrary. The hygrometer gave a difference of 29.6 degrees, between the temperature of the air, and the point at which dew was precipitated. This difference was nearly double that which I had observed on the previous mornings. This unusual degree of atmospheric dryness was accompanied by continual flashes of lightning. Is it not an uncommon case, thus to find a remarkable degree of aerial transparency with such a state of weather? Generally the atmosphere is hazy; and this is caused by the falling of impalpably fine dust, which was found to have slightly injured the astronomical instruments. The morning before we anchored at Porto Praya, I collected a little packet of this brown-coloured fine dust, which appeared to have been filtered from the wind by the gauze of the vane at the masthead. Mr. Lyell has also given me four packets of dust which fell on a vessel a few hundred miles northward of these islands. Professor Ehrenberg3 finds that this dust consists in great part of infusoria with siliceous shields, and of the siliceous tissue of plants. In five little packets which I sent him, he has ascertained no less than sixty-seven different organic forms! The infusoria, with the exception of two marine species, are all inhabitants of fresh-water. I have found no less than fifteen different accounts of dust having fallen on vessels when far out in the Atlantic. From the direction of the wind whenever it has fallen, and from its having always fallen during those months when the harmattan is known to raise clouds of dust high into the atmosphere, we may feel sure that it all comes from Africa. It is, however, a very singular fact, that, although Professor Ehrenberg knows many species of infusoria peculiar to Africa, he finds none of these in the dust which I sent him. On the other hand, he finds in it two species which hitherto he knows as living only in South America. The dust falls in such quantities as to dirty everything on board, and to hurt people's eyes; vessels even have run on shore owing to the obscurity of the atmosphere. It has often fallen on ships when several hundred, and even more than a thousand miles from the coast of Africa, and at points sixteen hundred miles distant in a north and south direction. In some dust which was collected on a vessel three hundred miles from the land, I was much surprised to find particles of stone above the thousandth of an inch square, mixed with finer matter. After this fact one need not be surprised at the diffusion of the far lighter and smaller sporules of cryptogamic plants. The geology of this island is the most interesting part of its natural history. On entering the harbour, a perfectly horizontal white band, in the face of the sea cliff, may be seen running for some miles along the coast, and at the height of about forty-five feet above the water. Upon examination, this white stratum is found to consist of calcareous matter, with numerous shells embedded, most or all of which now exist on the neighbouring coast. It rests on ancient volcanic rocks, and has been covered by a stream of basalt, which must have entered the sea when the white shelly bed was lying at the bottom. It is interesting to trace the changes, produced by the heat of the overlying lava, on the friable mass, which in parts has been converted into a crystalline limestone, and in other parts into a compact spotted stone. Where the lime has been caught up by the scoriaceous fragments of the lower surface of the stream, it is converted into groups of beautifully radiated fibres resembling arragonite. The beds of lava rise in successive gently-sloping plains, towards the interior, whence the deluges of melted stone have originally proceeded. Within historical times, no signs of volcanic activity have, I believe, been manifested in any part of St. Jago. Even the form of a crater can but rarely be discovered on the summits of the many red cindery hills; yet the more recent streams can be distinguished on the coast, forming lines of cliffs of less height, but stretching out in advance of those belonging to an older series: the height of the cliffs thus affording a rude measure of the age of the streams. During our stay, I observed the habits of some marine animals. A large Aplysia is very common. This sea-slug is about five inches long; and is of a dirty yellowish colour, veined with purple. On each side of the lower surface, or foot, there is a broad membrane, which appears sometimes to act as a ventilator, in causing a current of water to flow over the dorsal branchiæ or lungs. It feeds on the delicate sea-weeds which grow among the stones in muddy and shallow water; and I found in its stomach several small pebbles, as in the gizzard of a bird. This slug, when disturbed, emits a very fine purplish-red fluid, which stains the water for the space of a foot around. Besides this means of defence, an acrid secretion, which is spread over its body, causes a sharp, stinging sensation, similar to that produced by the Physalia, or Portuguese man-of-war. I was much interested, on several occasions, by watching the habits of an Octopus, or cuttle-fish. Although common in the pools of water left by the retiring tide, these animals were not easily caught. By means of their long arms and suckers, they could drag their bodies into very narrow crevices; and when thus fixed, it required great force to remove them. At other times they darted tail first, with the rapidity of an arrow, from one side of the pool to the other, at the same instant discolouring the water with a dark chestnut-brown ink. These animals also escape detection by a very extraordinary, chameleon-like power of changing their colour. They appear to vary their tints according to the nature of the ground over which they pass: when in deep water, their general shade was brownish purple, but when placed on the land, or in shallow water, this dark tint changed into one of a yellowish green. The colour, examined more carefully, was a French grey, with numerous minute spots of bright yellow: the former of these varied in intensity; the latter entirely disappeared and appeared again by turns. These changes were effected in such a manner, that clouds, varying in tint between a hyacinth red and a chestnut-brown,4 were continually passing over the body. Any part, being subjected to a slight shock of galvanism, became almost black: a similar effect, but in a less degree, was produced by scratching the skin with a needle. These clouds, or blushes as they may be called, are said to be produced by the alternate expansion and contraction of minute vesicles containing variously coloured fluids.5 Excerpted from The Voyage of the Beagle: Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H. M. S. Beagle Round the World by Charles Darwin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.


Table of Contents

Steve Jones
Biographical Notep. v
Introductionp. xv
Mapp. xx
Prefacep. xxv
Chapter I

p. 3

Porta Praya
Ribeira Grande
Atmospheric Dust with Infusoria
Habits of a Sea-slug and Cuttle-fish
St. Paul's Rocks, nonvolcanic
Singular Incrustations
Insects the first Colonists of Islands
Fernando Noronha
Bahia
Burnished Rocks
Habits of a Diodon
Pelagic Confervae and Infusoria
Causes of discoloured Sea
Chapter II

p. 18

Rio de Janeiro
Excursion north of Cape Frio
Great Evaporation
Slavery
Botofogo Bay
Terrestrial Planariae
Clouds on the Corcovado
Heavy Rain
Musical Frogs
Phosphorescent Insects
Elater, springing powers of
Blue Haze
Noise made by a Butterfly
Entomology
Ants
Wasp killing a Spider
Parasitical Spider
Artifices of an Epeira
Gregarious Spider
Spider with an unsymmetrical Web
Chapter III

p. 36

Monte Video
Maldonado
Excursion to R. Polanco
Lazo and Bolas
Partridges
Absence of Trees
Deer
Capybara, or River Hog
Tucutuco
Molothrus, cuckoo-like habits
Tyrant-flycatcher
Mocking-bird
Carrion Hawks
Tubes formed by Lightning
House struck
Chapter IV

p. 57

Rio Negro
Estancias attacked by the Indians
Salt-Lakes
Flamingoes
R. Negro to R. Colorado
Sacred Tree
Patagonian Hare
Indian Families
General Rosas
Proceed to Bahia Blanca
Sand Dunes
Negro Lieutenant
Bahia Blanca
Saline Incrustations
Punta Alta
Zorillo
Chapter V

p. 73

Bahia Blanca
Geology
Numerous gigantic extinct Quadrupeds
Recent Extinction
Longevity of Species
Large Animals do not require a luxuriant vegetation
Southern Africa
Siberian Fossils
Two Species of Ostrich
Habits of Oven-bird
Armadilloes
Venomous Snake, Toad, Lizard
Hybernation of Animals
Habits of Sea-Pen
Indian Wars and Massacres
Arrowhead, antiquarian Relic
Chapter VI

p. 95

Set out for Buenos Ayres
Rio Sauce
Sierra Ventana
Third Posta
Driving Horses
Bolas
Partridges and Foxes
Features of the Country
Long-legged Plover
Teru-tero
Hail-storm
Natural Enclosures in the Sierra Tapalguen
Flesh of Puma
Meat Diet
Guardia del Monte
Effects of Cattle on the Vegetation
Cardoon
Buenos Ayres
Corral where Cattle are Slaughtered
Chapter VII

p. 110

Excursion to St. Fe
Thistle Beds
Habits of the Bizcacha
Little Owl
Saline Streams
Level Plains
Mastodon
St. Fe
Change in Landscape
Geology
Tooth of extinct Horse
Relation of the Fossil and Recent Quadrupeds of North and South America
Effects of a great Drought
Parana
Habits of the Jaguar
Scissorbeak
Kingfisher, Parrot, and Scissor-tail
Revolution
Buenos Ayres
State of Government
Chapter VIII

p. 127

Excursion to Colonia del Sacramiento
Value of an Estancia
Cattle, how counted
Singular Breed of Oxen
Perforated Pebbles
Shepherd Dogs
Horses broken-in, Gauchos riding
Character of Inhabitants
Rio Plata
Flocks of Butterflies
Aeronaut Spiders
Phosphorescence of the Sea
Port Desire
Guanaco
Port St. Julian
Geology of Patagonia
Fossil gigantic Animal
Types of Organization constant
Change in the Zoology of America
Causes of Extinction
Chapter IX

p. 158

Santa Cruz
Expedition up the River
Indians
Immense Streams of Basaltic Lava
Fragments not transported by the River
Excavation of the Valley
Condor, Habits of
Cordillera
Erratic Boulders of great size
Indian Relics
Return to the Ship
Falkland Islands
Wild Horses, Cattle, Rabbits
Wolf-like Fox
Fire made of Bones
Manner of Hunting Wild Cattle
Geology
Streams of Stones
Scenes of Violence
Penguin
Geese
Eggs of Doris
Compound Animals
Chapter X

p. 182

Tierra del Fuego, first arrival
Good Success Bay
An Account of the Fuegians on board
Interview with the Savages
Scenery of the Forests
Cape Horn
Wigwam Cove
Miserable Condition of the Savages
Famines
Cannibals
Matricide
Religious Feelings
Great Gale
Beagle Channel
Ponsonby Sound
Build Wigwams and settle the Fuegians
Bifurcation of the Beagle Channel
Glaciers
Return to the Ship
Second Visit in the Ship to the Settlement
Equality of Condition amongst the Natives
Chapter XI

p. 206

Strait of Magellan
Port Famine
Ascent of Mount Tarn
Forests
Edible Fungus
Zoology
Great Sea-weed
Leave Tierra del Fuego
Climate
Fruit-trees and Productions of the Southern Coasts
Height of Snow-line on the Cordillera
Descent of Glaciers to the Sea
Icebergs formed
Transportal of Boulders
Climate and Productions of the Antarctic Islands
Preservation of Frozen Carcasses
Recapitulation
Chapter XII

p. 226

Valparaiso
Excursion to the Foot of the Andes
Structure of the Land
Ascend the Bell of Quillota
Shattered Masses of Greenstone
Immense Valleys
Mines
State of Miners
Santiago
Hot-baths of Cauquenes
Gold-mines
Grinding-mills
Perforated Stones
Habits of the Puma
El Turco and Tapacolo
Humming-birds
Chapter XIII

p. 244

Chiloe
General Aspect
Boat Excursion
Native Indians
Castro
Tame Fox
Ascend San Pedro
Chonos Archipelago
Peninsula of Tres Montes
Granitic Range
Boat-wrecked Sailors
Low's Harbour
Wild Potato
Formation of Peat
Myopotamus, Otter and Mice
Cheucau and Barking-bird
Opetiorhynchus
Singular Character of Ornithology
Petrels
Chapter XIV

p. 261

San Carlos, Chiloe
Osorno in eruption, contemporaneously with Aconcagua and Coseguina
Ride to Cucao
Impenetrable Forests
Valdivia Indians
Earthquake
Concepcion
Great Earthquake
Rocks fissured
Appearance of the former Towns
The Sea Black and Boiling
Direction of the Vibrations
Stones twisted round
Great Wave
Permanent Elevation of the Land
Area of Volcanic Phenomena
The connection between the Elevatory and Eruptive Forces
Causes of Earthquakes
Slow Elevation of Mountain-chains
Chapter XV

p. 280

Valparaiso
Portilla Pass
Sagacity of Mules
Mountaintorrents
Mines, how discovered
Proofs of the gradual Elevation of the Cordillera
Effect of Snow on Rocks
Geological Structure of the two main Ranges, their distinct Origin and Upheaval
Great Subsidence
Red Snow
Winds
Pinnacles of Snow
Dry and clear Atmosphere
Electricity
Pampas
Zoology of the opposite Sides of the Andes
Locusts
Great Bugs
Mendoza
Uspallata Pass
Silicified Trees buried as they grew
Incas Bridge
Badness of the Passes exaggerated
Cumbre
Casuchas
Valparaiso
Chapter XVI

p. 301

Coast-road to Coquimbo
Great Loads carried by the Miners
Coquimbo
Earthquake
Step-formed Terraces
Absence of recent Deposits
Contemporaneousness of the Tertiary Formations
Excursion up the Valley
Road to Guasco
Deserts
Valley of Copiapo
Rain and Earthquakes
Hydrophobia
The Despoblado
Indian Ruins
Probable Change of Climate
Riverbed arched by an Earthquake
Cold Gales of Wind
Noises from a Hill
Iquique
Salt Alluvium
Nitrate of Soda
Lima
Unhealthy Country
Ruins of Callao, overthrown by an Earthquake
Recent subsidence
Elevated Shells on San Lorenzo, their decomposition
Plain with embedded Shells and fragments of Pottery
Antiquity of the Indian Race
Chapter XVII

p. 332

The whole Group Volcanic
Number of Craters
Leafless Bushes
Colony at Charles Island
James Island
Salt-lake in Crater
Natural History of the Group
Ornithology, curious Finches
Reptiles
Great Tortoises, habits of
Marine Lizard, feeds on Seaweed
Terrestrial Lizard, burrowing habits, herbivorous
Importance of Reptiles in the Archipelago
Fish, Shells, Insects
Botany
American Type of Organization
Differences in the Species or Races on different Islands
Tameness of the Birds
Fear of Man, an acquired Instinct
Chapter XVIII

p. 359

Pass through the Low Archipelago
Tahiti
Aspect
Vegetation on the Mountains
View of Eimeo
Excursion into the Interior
Profound Ravines
Succession of Waterfalls
Number of wild useful Plants
Temperance of the Inhabitants
Their moral state
Parliament convened
New Zealand
Bay of Islands
Hippahs
Excursion to Waimate
Missionary Establishment
English Weeds now run wild
Waiomio
Funeral of a New Zealand Woman
Sail for Australia
Chapter XIX

p. 385

Sydney
Excursion to Bathurst
Aspect of the Woods
Party of Natives
Gradual Extinction of the Aborigines
Infection generated by associated Men in health
Blue Mountains
View of the grand gulf-like Valleys
Their origin and formation
Bathurst, general civility of the Lower Orders
State of Society
Van Diemen's Land
Hobart Town
Aborigines all banished
Mount Wellington
King George's Sound
Cheerless Aspect of the Country
Bald Head, calcareous casts of branches of Trees
Party of Natives
Leave Australia
Chapter XX

p. 404

Keeling Island
Singular appearance
Scanty Flora
Transport of Seeds
Birds and Insects
Ebbing and flowing Springs
Fields of dead Coral
Stone transported in the roots of Trees
Great Crab
Stinging Corals
Coral-eating Fish
Coral Formations
Lagoon Islands, or Atolls
Depth at which reef-building Corals can live
Vast Areas interspersed with low Coral Islands
Subsidence of their foundations
Barrier Reefs
Fringing Reefs
Conversion of Fringing Reefs into Barrier Reefs, and into Atolls
Evidence of changes in Level
Breaches in Barrier Reefs
Maldiva Atolls; their peculiar structure
Dead and submerged Reefs
Areas of subsidence and elevation
Distribution of Volcanoes
Subsidence slow, and vast in amount
Chapter XXI

p. 432

Mauritius, beautiful appearance of
Great crateriform ring of Mountains
Hindoos
St. Helena
History of the changes in the Vegetation
Cause of the extinction of Land-shells
Ascension
Variation in the imported Rats
Volcanic Bombs
Beds of Infusoria
Bahia
Brazil
Splendour of Tropical Scenery
Pernambuco
Singular Reef
Slavery
Return to England
Retrospect on our Voyage
Discussion Guidep. 453
Indexp. 455
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