W. H. Allen and Co., Limited,
Text on page 211
precious stones of exceeding brilliancy, the gems of Golconda, rubies from a the mines a and emeralds from Santa F6. It was like being suddenly ushered into the abode of some fairy, the deception being heightened by the fantastic shapes of the rocks beneath, the result of the trickling wateri Around and about the rocks were narrow paths covered with a soft substance, which took the impression of our feet, and though we could distinctly hear the murmur of flowing water, it was nowhere visible.
Moreover, it suddenly ceased, until we entered cave number twoalike the first in every particular, only smallerawhen it recommenced, puzzling me as much as before. By the time we had entered the third recess, it again ceased ; and in extreme perplexity I asked our guide what it meant The reply was almost as surprising as the mysterious sound itselfait proceeded from the wings of countless numbers of bats, fleeing before the light of our torches. We explored all the caves ; I forget their nu mber now, their beautyanever!
That same sound as of running waterareally the gentle flapping of batsa wingsapioneered our retreat I was rather ahead of the others, when my torch suddenly went out, leaving me in profound darkness.
I tried to grope my way, but a few tumbles over those by no means soft rocks brought me to a standstill. I sat, therefore, like Patience on a rock, until my friend came up with the guide ; otherwise, I believe I should be there now!
When we finally quitted the caves the light of the sun dazzled us so uncommonly, that some moments passed ere we could regain our normal vision. We at once sought out the shady side of the rock, and proceeded to open the hamper. Everything had been
P 2P 2