L. B. (Laughlan Bellingham) Mackinnon.

Some account of the Falkland Islands, from a six months' residence in 1838 and 1839 online

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297s When pagans, lo ! comes surging the vanguard ;
Two messengers come from their ranks forward.
From the admiral bring challenge to combat :1
" 'Tis not yet time, proud King, that thou de-
part.
Lo, Baligant comes cantering afterward,
2980 Great are the hosts he leads from Arab parts ;
This day we'll see if thou hast vassalage."
Charles the King his snowy beard has clasped,
Remembering his sorrow and damage,
Haughtily then his people all regards,
2985 In a loua voice he cries with all his heart :

" Barons and Franks, to horse, I say, to arms ! "

ccxv

First before all was armed that Emperour,

Nimbly enough his iron sark indued,

Laced up his helm, girt on his sword Joiuse, -

2990 Outshone the sun that dazzling light it threw,
Hung from his neck a shield, was of Girunde,
And took his spear, was fashioned at Blandune.
On his good horse then mounted, Tencendur,
Which he had won at th'ford below Marsune

2995 When he flung dead Malpalin of Nerbune,

Let go the reins, spurred him with either foot ;
Five score thousand behind him as he flew.
Calling on God and the Apostle of Roum.

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CCXVI

Through all the field dismount the Prankish
men,
oo Five-score thousand and more, they arm them-
selves ;
The gear they have enhances much their strength,
Their horses swift, their arms are fashioned well ;
Moimted they are, and fight with great science.
Find they that host, battle they'll render them.
>os Their gonfalons flutter above their helms.
When Charl^ sees the fair aspect of them,
He calls to him Jozeran of Provence,
Naimon the DiDce, with Antelme of Maience :
'' In such vassals should man have confidence,
Dio Whom not to trust were surely want of sense ;
Unless the Arabs of coming here repent.
Then RoUant's life, I think, well dearly seU.'*
Answers Duke Neimes : ^' God grant us His con-
sent I ''

ccxvn

^ Charl^ hath called Rabel and Guineman ;
015 ^ Thus said the King : " My lords, you I com-
mand
To take their place, Olivier's and RoUant's,
One bear the sword and the other the olifant ;
So canter forth ahead, before the van,
And in your train take fifteen thousand Franks,
3020 Young bachelors, that are most valiant.
As many more shall after them advance.
Whom Gebuins shall lead, also Lorains."
Naimis the Duke and the coimt Jozerans
Go to adjust these colimms in their ranks.
3025 Find they that host, they'll make a grand attack.

ccxvni

Of Franks die first columns made ready there,
After those two a third they next prepare ;
In it are set the vassals of Baiviere,
Some thousand score high-priz6d chevaliers ; ^

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3030 Never was lost the battle, where they were ;

Charles for no race neath heaven hath more care,
Save those of France, who realms for him con-

ouered.
The Danish chief, the warrior coimt Oger,
Shall lead that troop, for haughty is their air,

CCXIX

303 s Three colunms now, he has, the Emperour

Charles.
Naim^s the Duke a fourth next sets apart
Of good barons, endowed with vassalage ;
Germans they are, come from the German

March,
A thousand score, as all said afterward ;
3040 TheyVe well equipped with horses and with

arms,
Rather they'll die than from the battle pass ;
They shall be led by HennaM^JDii ke of Tra ce,
Who'll die before he's any way coward.

ccxx

Naim^ the Duke and the count Jozerans
304s The fifth coliunn have mustered, of Normans,
A thousand score, or so say all the Franks ;
Well armed are they, their horses charge and

prance;
Ratfier they'ld die, than e'er be recreant ;
^ X Nd race neath heav'n can more in th'field
compass.
3050 Richard the old, lead them in th'field he shall,
He'll strike hard there with his good trenchant
lance.

CCXXI

The sixth column is mustered of Bretons ;
Thirty thousand chevaliers therein come ;
These canter in the manner of barons,
3055 Upright their spears, their ensigns fastened on.

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The overlord of them is named Oedon,
Who doth command the county Nevelon,
Tedbald of Reims and the marquis Oton :
" Lead ye my men, by my commission."

CCXXII

160 That Emperour hath now six columns yare,
Naimfes the Duke the seventh next prepares
Of Peitevins arid barons from Alveme ;
Forty thousand chevaliers might be there ;
Their horses good, their arms are all most fair.

065 TheyVe neath a cliff, in a vale by themselves ;
With his right hand King Charlfes hath them

y blessed,
Them Jozerans shall lead, also Godselmes.

CCXXIII

And the eighth colunm hath Naim^ made ready;
'Tis of Flamengs, and barons out of Prise ;
{070 ' Porty thousand and more good knights are these,
Nor lost by them has any battle been.
And the King says : *^ These shall do my ser-
vice."
Between Rembalt and Hamon of Galice
Shall they be led, for all their chivalry.

CCXXIV

3075 Between Naimon and Jozeran the count

Are prudent men for the ninth column found.
Of Lotherengs and tfiose out of Borgoime ;
Pifty thousand good knights they are, by count ;
In helmets laced and sarks of iron brown,

3080 Strong are their spears, short are the shafts cut
down ;
If the Arrabits demur not, but come out
And trust themselves to these, they'll strike them

down.
Tierris the Duke shall lead them, of Argoune.



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ccxxv

The tenth column is of barons of France,
Five score thousand of our best capitans ;

3085 Lusty of limb, and proud of countenance,

Snowy their heads are, and their beards are

blanched.
In doubled sai^, and in hauberks they're clad,
Girt on their sides Frankish and Spanish brands

3090 And noble shields of divers cognisance.

Soon as they mount, the battle they demand,
" Monjoie " they cry. With them goes Charle-
magne.
Gefreid d'Anjou carries that oriflamme ;
Saint Peter's 'twas, and bare the name Roman,

309s But on that day Monjoie, by change, it gat.

CCXXVI

That Emperour down from his horse descends ;
To the green grass, kneeling, his face he bends«
Then turns his eyes towards the Orient,
Calls upon God with heartiest intent :

3100 J '* Very Father, this day do me defend,
j Who to Jonas succour didst truly send
Out of Ae whale's belly, where he was pent ;
And who didst spare the king of Niniven,
And Daniel from marvellous torment

3105 When he was caged within the lions' den ;
And three children, all in a fire ardent :
Thy gracious Love to me be here present.
In Thy Mercy, if it please Thee, consent
That my nephew Rollant I may avenge."

3 1 10 When ne had prayed, upon his feet he stepped*
With the strong mark of virtue signed his head ;
Upon his swift charger the King moimted
While Jozerans and .Neimes his stirrup held ;
He took his shield, his trenchant spear he kept ;

3115 ,;JFine limbs he had, both gallant and well set ;
■ Clear was his face and filled with good intent.
Vigorously he cantered onward thence.

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In front, in rear, they sounded their trumpets,
Above them all boomed the olifant again.
Then all the Franks for pity of RoUant wept, i?

CCXXVII

That Emperour canters in noble array,
Over his sark all of his beard displays ;
For love of him, all others do the same,
Five score thousand Franks are thereby made

plain.
They pass those peaks, those rocks and those

mountains.
Those terrible narrows, and those deep vales.
Then issue from the passes and the wastes
Till they are come into the March of Spain ;
A halt they've made, in th'middle of a plain.
To Baligatit his van^ard comes again,
A Sulian hath told him his message :
" We have seen Charles, that haughty sovereign ;
Fierce are his men, they have no mind to fail.
Arm yourself then : Battle you'll have to-day."
Says Baligant : ^' Mine is great vassalage ;
Let horns this news to my pagans proclaim."

CCXXVIII

Through all the host they have their drums

sounded,
And their bugles, and very clear trumpets.
Pagans dismount, that they may arm tnemselves.
Their admiral will stay no longer then ;
Puts on a sark, embroidered in the hems,
Laces his helm, that is with gold begemmed ;
After, his sword on his left side he's set.
Out of his pride a name for it he's spelt
Like to Carlun's, as he has heard it said.
So Preciuse he bad his own be clept ;
^was their ensign when they to battle went.
His chevaliers' ; he gave that ay to them.

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His own broad shield he hangs upon his neck,

3150 (Round its gold boss a band of crystal went,
The strap of it was a good silken web) ;
He grasps his spear, the which he calls Maltet ; —
So great its shaft as is a stout cudgel,
Beneath its steel alone, a mule had bent ;

3155 On his charger is Baligant mounted,

Marcules, from over seas, his stirrup held.
That warrior, with a great stride he stepped,
Small were his thighs, his ribs of wide extent,
Great was his breast, and finely fashionM,

3160 With shoulders broad and very clear aspect;
Proud was his face, his hair was ringletea,
White as a flow'r in sununer was his head.
His vassalage had often been proved.
God I what a knight, were he a Christian yet I

3165 His horse he's spiured, the clear blood issuM ;
He's gallopped on, over a ditch he's leapt,
Full fifty feet a man might mark its breadth.
Pagans cry out : " Our Marches shall be held ;
There is no Frank, may once with him contest,

3170 Will he or nill, his life he'll soon have spent.
Charl^ is mad, that he departs not hence."

CCXXIX

That admiral to a baron's like enough,

White is his beard as flpw'rs by summer burnt ;

In his own laws, of wisdom hath he much ;

3175 And in battle he's proud and arduous.
His son Malprimed is very chivalrous.
He's great and strong ; — ^his ancestors were thus.
Says to his sire : " To canter then let us 1
I marvel much that soon we'll see Carlim."

3180 Says Baligant : " Yea, for he's very pruff ;
In many tales honour to him is done ;
He hath no more Rollant, his sister's son,
He'll have no strength to stay in fight with us."



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ccxxx

" Fair son Malprimes," then says t' him Baligant^
3185 " Was slain yestre'en the good vassal Rollanz,

And Oliver, the proof and valiant,

The dozen peers, whom Charles so cherished,
and

Twenty thousand more Prankish combatants.

For all the rest Fid not unglove my hand.
3 1 90 But the Emperour is verily come back,

— So tells me now my man, that Sulian —

Ten great columns, he*s set them in their ranks ;

He's a proof man who soimds that olifant,

With a clear call he rallies his comrades ;
3195 These at die head come cantering in advance,

Also with them are fifteen thousand Franks,

Young bachelors, whom Charl^ calls Infants ;

As many again come following that band.

Who will lay on with utmost arrogance/'
3200 Then says Malprimes : " The firet blow I de-
mand."

CCXXXI

" Fair son Malprimes," says Baligant to him,
" I grant it you, as you have asked me this ;
Agamst the FraiJcs go now, and smite them quick.
And take with you Torleu, the Persian king

3205 And Dapamort, another king Leutish.
Their arrogance if you can humble it,
Of my domains a slice to you I'll give
From Cheriant unto the Vale Marquis."
" I thank you, Sire ! " Malprimis answers him ;

3210 Going before, he takes delivery ;

*Tis of that land, was held by king Flurit.
After that hour he never looked on it.
Investiture gat never, nor seizin.

CCXXXII

That admiral canters among his hosts ;
3215 After, his son with's great body follows,

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Torleus the king, and the king Dapamort ;

Thirty columns most speedily they form.

They ve chevaliers in marvellous great force ;

Fifty thousand the smallest column holds.
3aao The first is raised of men from Butenrot,

The next, after, Micenes, whose heads are gross ;
' Along their backs, above their spinal bones,

As they were hogs, great bristles on them grow.

The tmrd is raised from Nubles and from Bios ;

The fourth is raised from Bruns and Esckvoz ;
3225 The fifth is raised from Sorbres and from Sorz;

The sixth is raised from Ermines and from Mors ;

The seventh is the men of Jericho ;

Negroes are the eighth ; the ninth are men ot
Gros ;
3230 The tenth is raised from Balide the stronghold

That is a tribe no goodwill ever shews.

That admiral hath sworn, the way he knows»

By Mahumet, his virtues and his bones :

** Charl^ of France is mad to canter so ;
3235 Battle he'll have, unless he take him home ;

No more he'll wear 6n*s head that crown of gold.''

CCXXXIII

Ten great columns they marshal thereafter :

Of Canelious, right ugly, is the first,

Who from Val-Fuit came across country there;

3240 The next's of Turks ; of Persians is the third ;
The foiuth is raised of desperate Pinceners,
The fifth is raised from Soltras and Avers ;
The sixth is from Ormaleus and Eugez ;
The seventh is the tribe of Samuel ;

324s The eighth is from Bruise ; the ninth from
Esclavers ;
The tenth is from Occiant, the desert,
That is a tribe, do not the Lord God serve.
Of such felons you never else have heard ;
Hard is their hide, as though it iron were,

3250 Wherefore of helm or hauberk they've no care ;
In the battle they're felon murderers.

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CCXXXIV

That admiral ten columns more reviews ;
The first is raised of Giants from Malpruse ;
The next of Huns ; the third a Himgar crew ;
3^55 And from Baldise the Long the fourth have

trooped ;
The fifth is raised of men from Val-Penuse ;
The sixth is raised of tribesmen from Maruse ;
The seventh is from Leus and Astrimimes ;
The dghth from Argoilles ; the ninth is from

Clarbune ;
3260 The tenth is raised of beardsmen from Val-

Frunde,
That is a tribe, no love of God e'er knew.
Gesta Francor* these thirty columns prove.
Great are the hosts, their horns come soimding

through.
Pagans canter as men of valour should.

ccxxxv

3265 That admiral hath great possessions ;

He makes them bear before him his dragon,
And their standard, Tervagan's and Mahom's,
And his image, Apollin the felon.
Ten Canelious canter in the environs,

3270 And very loud they cry out this sermon :

" Let who would from our gods have garrison,
Serve them and pray with great affliction."
Pagans awhile their heads and faces on
Their breasts abase, their polished helmets doff.,

327s And the Franks say: Now shall you die,'
gluttons ;
This day shall bring you vile confusion !
Give warranty, our God, unto Carlon !
And in his name this victory be won ! "

CCXXXVI

That admiral hath wisdom great indeed ;
3280 His son to him and those two kings calls he :

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^- ** My lords barons, beforehand canter ye,

All my columns together shall you lead ;
But or the best V\l keep beside me three :
One is of Turks ; the next of Ormaleis ;
3285 And the third is the Giants of Malpreis.
And Occiant's, they'll also stay with me,
Until with Charles and with the FranJcs they
meet.
. That Emperour, if he combat with me,
' Must lose his head, cut from his shoulders clean ;
3290 He may be sure naught else for him's decreed."

CCXXXVII

Great are the hosts, and all the columns fair,

No peak nor vale nor cliff between them there, ^

Thicket nor wood, nor ambush anywhere ;

Across the plain they see each other well.
329s Says Baligant : " My pagan tribes adverse,

Battle to seek, canter ye now ahead ! "

Carries the ensign Amboires of Olufeme ;

Pagans cry out, by Preduse they swear.

And the Franks say : " Great hurt this day youll
get!"
3300 And very loud " Monjoie ! " they cry again.

That Emperour has bid them sound trumpets ;

And the olifant sounds over all its knell.

The pagans say : " Carlun's people are fair.

Battle well have, bitter and keenly set."

CCXXXVIII

3305 Great is that plain, and wide is that country ;
Their helmets shine with golden jewelry.
Also their sarks embroidered and their shields,
And the ensigns fixed on all their burnished

spears.
The trumpets sound, their voice is very clear,

3310 And the olifant its echoing music spea^.
Then the admiral, his brother calletn he,
'Tis Canabeus, the king of Floredee,

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Who holds the land unto the Vale Sevree ;
He's shewn to him* Carlun*s ten companies :

3315 " The pride of France, renownM land, you see.
That Emperour canters right haughtily,
His bearded men are with him in the rear ;
Over their sarks they have thrown out their

beards
Which are as white as driven snows that freeze.

3320 Strike us they will with lances and with spears :
Battle with them we'll have, prolonged and

keen ;
J^ever has man beheld such armies meet."
Further than one might cast a rod that's peeled
Goes Baligant before his companies.

3325 His reason then he's shewn to them, and speaks :
" Pagans, come on ; for now I take the field."
His spear in hand he brandishes and wields.
Towards Carlun has turned the point of steel.



CCXXXIX

Charles the Great, when he sees the admiral
3330 And the dragon, his ensign and standard ; —

8n such great strength are mustered those Arabs
f that country they've covered every part
Save only that whereon the Emperour was.)
The King of France in a loud voice has called :
3335 ** Barons and Franks, good vassals are ye all,
Ye in the field have fought so great combats ;
See the pagans ; they're felpns and cowards,
No pennyworth is there in all their laws.
Though they've great hosts, my lords, what
matters that ?
3340 Let him go hence, who'ld fail me in the attack."
Next wim both spurs he's gored his horse's

flanks.
And Tencendor has made four bounds thereat.
Then say the Franks : " This King's a good

vassal.
Canter, brave lord, for none of us holds back."

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CCXL

3345 Clear is the day^ and the sun radiant ;

The hosts are fair, the companies are grand.

The first columns are come now hand to hand.

The count Rabel and the count Guinemans

Let fall the reins on their swift horses' backs,
3 3 so Spurring in haste ; then on rush all the Franks,

Aiid go to strike, each with his trenchant lance.

CCXLI

That count Rabel, he was a hardy knieht,
He pricked his horse with spurs of gold so fine,
The Persian king, Torleu, he went to strike.
3355 Nor shield nor sark could such a blow abide ;
The golden spear his carcass passed inside ;
Flung down upon a little bush, he died.
Then say the Franks : " Lord God, be Thou

our Guide I
Charl^ we must not fail ; his cause is right.''

CCXLII

3360 And Guineman tilts with the king Leutice ;
Has broken all the flowers on his shield.
Next of his sark he has undone the seam,
All his ensign thrust through the carcass clean^
So flings him dead, let any laugh or weep.

3365 Upon that blow, the Franks cry out with heat :
" Strike on, baron, nor slacken in your speed I
Charle's in the right agsdnst the pagan breed ;
God sent us here his justice to complete."

CCXLHI

Pure white the horse whereon Malprim^ sate ;
3370 Guided his corse amid the press of Franks,

Hour in, hour out, great blows he struck them

back.
And, ever, dead one upon others packed.
Before them all has cried out Baligant :
" Barons, long time I've fed you at my hand.

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3375 Ye see mv son, who goes on Carlun's track,

And with his arms so many lords attacks ;
Better vassal than him Til not demand.
Go, succour him, each with his trenchant lance !"
Upon that word the pagans all advance ;

3380 Grim blows they strike, the slaughter's very
grand.
And marvellous and weighty the combat :
Before nor since was never such attack.

CCXLIV

Great are the hosts ; the companies in pride
Come touching, all the breadtn of either side ;

3385 And the pagans do marvellously strike.
So many shafts, by God ! in pieces lie,
And crumpled shields, and sarks with mail un<-

twined I
So spattered all the earth there would you find
That through the field the grass so ^een and fine

3390 With men's life-blood is all vermihon dyed.
That admiral rallies once more his tribe :
" Barons, strike on, shatter the Christian line."
Now very keen and lasting is the fight.
As never was, before or since that tune ;

3395 The fibniish none shall reach, unless he die.

CCXLV

That admiral to all his race appeals :
" Pagans, strike on ; came you not therefore here ? \
I promise you noble women and dear, '

I promise you honours and lands and fiefs."
3400 Answer pagans : " We must do well indeed."
With mighty blows they shatter all their spears ;
Five score thousand swords from their scabbards

leap.
Slaughter then, grim and sorrowful, you'd seen.
Battle he saw, that stood those hosts between.



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CCXLVI

3405 That Emperour calls^n his Franks and speaks :
" I love you, lords, in whom I well believe ;
So many great battles you've fought for me.
Kings overthrown, and kingdoms have redeemed!
Guerdon I owe, I know it well indeed ;

3410 My lands, my wealth, my body are yours to keep.
Vengeance for sons, for heirs, for brothers wreak
Who in Rencesvals were slaughtered yester-eve I
Mine is the right, ye know, gainst pagan breeds/*
Answer the Fraiis : " Sire, *tis me truth you
speak."

3415 Twenty thousand beside him Charl^ leads,
Who with one voice have sworn him fealty ;
In straits of death they never will him leave.
There is not one thenceforth employs his spear.
But with their swords they strike m company.

3420 The battle is straitened marvellously.

CCXLVII

Across that field the bold Malprim^ canters ;
Who of the Franks hath wrought there much

great damage.
Naim^ the Di£e ri^ht haughtily regards him,
And goes to strike him, like a man of valour,
3425 And of his shield breaks all the upper marj^.
Tears both the sides of his embroidered ha'berk.
Through the carcass thrusts all his yellow banner;
So dead among sev'n hundred else he casts him.

CCXLVIII

King Canabeus, brother of the admiral,
3430 Has pricked his horse with spurs in either flank ;
'He's drawn his sword, whose hilt is of crystal,
And strikes Naimun on's helmet principal ;
Away from it he's broken off one half.
Five of the links his brand of steel hath knapped;
343 S No pennyworth the hood is after that ;

Right to the flesh he slices through the cap ;

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One piece of it he's flung upon the land.
Great was the blow ; the Duke, amazed thereat.
Had fallen ev'n, but aid from Goi he had ;
His charger's neck he clasped with both his

hands.
Had the pagan but once renewed the attack,
Then was he slain, that noble old vassal.
Came there to him, with succour, Charles of

France.

CCXLIX

Keen anguish then he suffers, that Duke Naim&s,
And the pagan, to strike him, hotly hastens.
" Culvert," sa^s Charles, " You'll get now as

you gave him ! "
With vassalage he goes to strike that pagan,
Shatters his shield, against his heart he breaks it,
Tears the chin-guard above his hauberk mailed ;
So flings him dead : his saddle shall be wasted.

CCL

Bitter great grief has Charlemagne the King,
Who Duke Naimun before him sees lying.
On the green grass all his clear blood shedding.
Then the Emperour to him this counsel gives :
" Fair master Naimes, canter with me to win !
The glutton's dead, that had you straitly pinned ;
Through his carcass my spear I thrust once in."
Answers the Duke : " Sire, I believe it, this.
Great proof you'll have of valour, if I live."
They 'ngage them then, true love and faith swear-
ing;
A thousand score of Franks surround them still.
Nor is there one, but slaughters, strikes and kills.

CCLI

Then through the field cantered that admiral,
Going to strike the county Guineman ;
Against his heart his argent shield he cracked,

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The folds of his hauberk apart he slashed,
Two of his ribs out of his side he hacked,
So flung him dead, while still his charger ran.
After, he slew iCJebuin and Lorain,
3470 Richard the old, the lord of those Normans.
" Preciuse," cry pagans, " is valiant !
Baron, strike on ; here have we our warrant I "

CCLII

Who then had seen those Arrabit chevaliers,

From Occiant, from Argoille and from Bascle !
3 475 And well they strike and slaughter with their
lances ;

But Franks, to escape they think it no great
matter ;

On either side dead men to the earth fall crash-
ing.

Till even-tide 'tis very strong, that battle ;

Barons of France do suffer much great damage,
3480 Grief shall be there ere the two hosts be scattereid.

CCLIII

Right well they strike, both Franks and Arrabies,
Breaking the shafts of all their burnished spears.
Whoso had seen that shattering of shields.
Whoso had heard those shining hauberks creak,

3485 And heard those shields on iron helmets beat.


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Online LibraryL. B. (Laughlan Bellingham) MackinnonSome account of the Falkland Islands, from a six months' residence in 1838 and 1839 → online text (page 8 of 10)