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floor. The latter stood in several places as much as a foot or a foot
and a half above the surface of the sand. There was a porch at the
door, and under this porch the little spring welled up into an
artificial basin of a rather odd kind--no other than a great ship’s
kettle of iron, with the bottom knocked out, and sunk “to her
bearings,” as the captain said, among the sand.

Little had been left besides the framework of the house, but in
one corner there was a stone slab laid down by way of hearth and
an old rusty iron basket to contain the fire.

The slopes of the knoll and all the inside of the stockade had
been cleared of timber to build the house, and we could see by the
stumps what a fine and lofty grove had been destroyed. Most of
the soil had been washed away or buried in drift after the removal
of the trees; only where the streamlet ran down from the kettle a
thick bed of moss and some ferns and little creeping bushes were
still green among the sand. Very close around the stockade--too
close for defence, they said--the wood still flourished high and
dense, all of fir on the land side, but towards the sea with a large
admixture of live-oaks.

The cold evening breeze, of which I have spoken, whistled
through every chink of the rude building and sprinkled the floor
with a continual rain of fine sand. There was sand in our eyes,
sand in our teeth, sand in our suppers, sand dancing in the spring
at the bottom of the kettle, for all the world like porridge
beginning to boil. Our chimney was a square hole in the roof; it
was but a little part of the smoke that found its way out, and the
rest eddied about the house and kept us coughing and piping the

Add to this that Gray, the new man, had his face tied up in a

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