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tary helmet which saved him. To give Valdo credit, he did succeed in stopping the mule, and beyond a few bruises and a shaking, Chatsworth was none the worse. I decided that I must not give way to these spontaneous impulses in the future.

After we were settled down in our hotel, Chatsworth became very silent. Presently he said, "I say, how would you like to spend your day's rest to-morrow?"

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"Now what sort of devilry is breeding in your mind?" I asked. How else but in bed? That's the only place where a man can really rest. Damn it, we have been travelling for a whole week, and after the shaking up you had to-day, I should think you would be just as glad as I shall of a day's rest."

Chatsworth was still thinking deeply. Then, after a pause, he exclaimed

Oh yes, I think you're quite right. A day's rest in bed would do us both good, only I wondered perhaps if you-well, if you would like to come up to the top of San Miguel volcano."

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Some rest!" I cried, now thoroughly roused. "And what for, may I ask?"

"Oh, I just thought you might like to look down into the crater, that's all. You see," ," he continued, "it isn't often that one gets the chance of going up a volcano when it's in action, and San Miguel is nearly always emitting vast

VOL. CCXXI.-NO. MCCCXXXIX.

quantities of sulphur fumes. You remember we have been watching its activities in the distance for the past two days. Wouldn't you like to look down that crater?'

It was my turn to pause

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now. Well, I must say I would."

"Good, then that's agreed. We start at 2 A.M."

We immediately made efforts to obtain a guide and information concerning the ascent. The local pundits warned us against attempting it. It would take us two days, and we would surely be overcome by sulphur fumes, at least so they told us. But we thought otherwise. By starting very early in the morning we were satisfied that we could be back in San Miguel before darkness set in.

At last we secured a guide, and sat down in the bar discussing the project with the thirsty wiseacres that were wont to gather round it. The consensus of opinion was that the volcano presented no difficulties to climb. It was merely a straight plug; the only danger lay in the sulphur fumes at the top, which at times capped the summit entirely. If there was a strong prevailing wind, and this was usually about south-west, the ascent could be accomplished without much risk, but if the wind was variable and unsteady, it was very hazardous.

We ordered fresh mules, made all the necessary preparations, and lay down to rest. It was nearly 10 P.M., and at one 2 D

me a chance to wake up." I do hate a rude awakening. What with purring pussies, people riding on their helmets, and smoking volcanoes, aching limbs, and then the windwhich way was it blowing-ah ! that last thought stirred me.

o'clock we must rise. We were "All right," I cried, "give now quite determined to make the attempt, whatever weather greeted us at dawn-that is, unless the black hat was actually on the summit, but it must be done to-morrow, for the day after we must continue our geological traverse. Our luck depended on the wind. I thought of the old Spanish proverb, "Viento y ventura poco dura" ("Wind and good fortune are seldom lasting ").

I suppose it was nearly midnight when, just as I was falling asleep, I felt something spring on my bed. In a flash I was sitting up and rubbing my eyes. There, at the end of the bed, was a black cat. Now I have never believed in this blackcat good-luck business, but nevertheless decided to encourage him. I started to stroke his soft glossy fur, and then he gave me the whole bag of tricks-you know, first the purring to create the right atmosphere, then the half-closed eyes to mystify or mesmerise, now a peeping pink tongue, a row of pearly teeth, developing into that broad smile in which the whiskers play such a predominant part, a sneeze to break the spell, and away! Cat lore is not difficult to understand if it is worth your while to study it, and it is when you are going to tackle an active volcano the next day. I didn't place much reliance on his black magic, but one of his nine lives might be useful. The next thing I remember was Chatsworth calling to me"Come on, if you're coming."

Chatsworth was dressing with annoying precision. My temperament is different. My beauty, such as it is, must at that unearthly hour go unadorned. I performed my ablutions hastily and jumped into my clothes. Socks, Socks, heavy boots, khaki trousers, shirt to match, coat of the same material, Aquascutum.

"There, I'm ready," I ejaculated.

"You haven't shaved," he said reprovingly.

I remember a colonel once told me in France that when a man doesn't shave before going into battle, it shows that his morale is low.

"Good. I'll scrape my chin," but razors don't work properly at that hour of the morning.

We started at precisely 2 A.M. It was a ghostly ride. The deserted Plaza, the outskirts with their squalid ill-kept huts, and now the thick woods began to close round us. We kept close together-ladrones, robbers, the guide explained, frequent these thickets, and we could easily miss each other in the black darkness. The moon began to rise and the usual shadow-play started. The mules pawed the ground to see if it was real. We kicked the mists aside, mists aside, only to be en

veloped in them. Voices seemed unreal. The shadowy forms of Chatsworth and the guide came and disappeared. I suppose mine was doing the same.

We were rising rapidly, zigzagging to and fro, hour after hour. Dawn was just breaking when we arrived at the hut. The mules must be left here. The rest of the climb must be accomplished on shanks's mare. We partook of food. The woods were more open at this altitude, and the mountain streams danced and frolicked along the furrowed slopes of the volcano. Their distant murmur was soothing. They seemed to bespeak of freedom unknown to man. Their voice was like the happy chatter of children, obeying but one law, the law of gravity.

Now the climb started in earnest. We carried our meal and cooking utensils with us. We would sit on the top of our conquered volcano and eat it; at least, so we fancied. What an effort! Constant riding seemed to bow the legs. I'm athletic and muscular but no steeplejack. We were now above the tree-line-just barren rocks, loose boulders, tufts of grass and pebbles, and the slope ever increasing, the air becoming more rarefied, and the sun beating down with its relentless rays.

"Come on, if you're coming," cooed a voice from above.

I snorted with indignation, and then laughed. Had I not been coming for the last two hours? Chatsworth sat down and waited for me. I was not

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long after him, but I was carrying more weight than he was— five years more. We rested until the guide arrived. was carrying more dead-weight, but less years than either of us. 'Only a thousand feet more," said Chatsworth encouragingly. Now for the final scramble." The sides which formed the exterior of the crater were very steep. Hands and knees, then hands, then knees, now a slide on loose stones, a drink of fresh clear water, a rest, and then up and on again. We were now between six and seven thousand feet; the air was much colder. At last the final stretch; everything seemed to be rising— the sun, our excitement, and the sound of the hissing screaming vapour. There was the lip of the crater just above us. One last mad dash, and Chatsworth had arrived. He stood now on the edge. Heavens!" I heard him say. Now the guide: "Caramba!" and he stood beside Chatsworth. I pressed on. My fatigue had gone. I was all energy, and arrived breathless to gaze down into that vast palpitating chasm, one mile in circumference and about a thousand feet deep. "Hell! "Hell!" I yelled. I recognised the place. Always thought it would look like that.

ears.

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A terrific din greeted my There, to the southwest of the crater, a stupendous column of white sulphur fumes was being ejected high into the sky with a noise like the shriek of a thousand sirens, the smoke and fumes wending their way for some twenty

miles over the land, and finally being wafted into nothingness on the limitless waters of the world's greatest ocean.

The crater, with its jagged grey walls, hazy with sulphur fumes, which I soon discovered, reached to the very lip, and was devoid of all life. Nothing could live in that atmosphere. Descent would only be possible with respirators, and even then very hazardous. A jagged rocky partition seemed to divide the crater in two, and separated the active from the passive end.

"Go down a few feet and I will photograph you," Chatsworth shouted.

The privilege of me, a mortal, being photographed on the lips of hell in the full view of all those screaming devils appealed to my vanity, and I instantly descended. I had not gone more than about six feet when something stopped me abruptly. My breath seemed to catch, and I had to be helped back. "I would leave that crater alone," I mused, as they pulled me up again. It was an ignominious retreat, and I thought once or twice that I heard those devils laughing.

"What about some lunch? " I suggested, when I had ceased panting.

Chatsworth and Valdo readily agreed. We got out the cooking utensils and spread the viands, but the gorgeous panorama attracted our eye. Sal

vador, that wonderful pimpled land, with its mass of separate mountains standing out like so many sugar-loaves, lay at our feet, its innumerable valleys interlaced and running anywhere and everywhere. Then to the south, a silent vast expanse of the Pacific.

Tiny breezes seemed to come from all directions. If the wind changed and that vast roaring volume of sulphur enveloped us, we should just snuff out like a candle. A few seconds would suffice. But it didn't. Prevailing winds don't change like that, except perhaps in story-books. No, it was only just the eddies and currents round the lip of the crater. We would feed-why not? Cloudlets moved to and fro. Was the crater spilling its sulphur fumes? One cloudlet was coming towards us. The damp mist was already tickling our faces. I took a deep breath. Sulphur !

"Quick!" I screamed, above the roaring din, “that cloud is charged with sulphur."

Nearly choked, we picked up our eatables, utensils, and descended. Helter-skelter, pots

and pans, skidding, rolling, falling down the massive sides of the volcano we came, like so many ants. Safety at last, and we, mere midgets on a mountain, lay there exhausted and palpitating whilst the giant volcano now towered above us again, grim and unconquered.

(To be continued.)

MUSINGS WITHOUT METHOD.

THE FREEING OF THE WORKING-CLASSES-FOUR CONSERVATIVESLORD BRYCE'S DISILLUSIONMENT.

THE Government Bill to reform the Trade Unions is designed to remove a dire and disastrous measure from the Statute Book. No one who had a hand in the passage of the ill-omened Trade Disputes Bill of 1906 remembers it, we hope, without shame. It was supported in the House of Commons by men who had openly and loudly denounced it; it was pushed through the House of Lords by Tory peers, who candidly owned that opposition would have been fatal to their Party. The leaders of Labour held the country up to ransom, and forged chains for their dupes and followers too heavy for free men to bear. On no side was there any thought of the country. Blackmailers and blackmailed alike knew that the Bill was an outrage upon justice, and it was passed by the servile votes of those who were conscious of its wickedness.

No country may tamper with justice and be unscathed. The Trade Disputes Act has inflicted an injury upon every class. To set a large portion of the people outside the law is to encourage class hatred and uncharitableness. The Trade Unionists, knowing themselves to be privileged persons, were quick to claim their legal

superiority. They forgot the debt that they owed to their country, and offered their aid to England, when she was at war, as a mere act of grace. They ridiculed the thought of service, and struck when the existence of their country was at stake. What mattered it to them that the Germans threatened our existence, if only they might enjoy the pleasant sport of "peaceful" picketing? But even in their lawlessness there was a bitter taste. If they had escaped the control of justice, they had fallen into a deep pit of slavery. Their leaders, the men whom whom they themselves had chosen and paid, ruled them with a tight and merciless hand. They were called upon to obey a tyranny which there was no gainsaying. If they were ordered to strike, though they had no grievance and were willing to work, they were threatened with all the penalties of "peaceful" picketing, the most brutal form of torture yet invented. The instrument of cruelty which the Trade Disputes Act had given into their hands was turned against them without ruth or pity. The man who dared to express his own opinion, or to choose for himself the path of independence, was insulted, beset, and violently treated by order of the

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