As the liner steamed into Callao Roads, and long before it had anchored, it was surrounded by a flotilla of small boats. A moment later, deck, saloons and cabins were invaded by a host of gesticulating and strong-minded boatmen, whose badges attested that they were duly licensed to carry off what passengers and luggage they could. They raged impotently, however, round Francis Montgomery, F.R.S., who sat enthroned on a pile of securely locked boxes in which were stored his cherished manuscripts and books.
It was in vain that they told him it would be two full hours before the ship came alongside the Darsena dock. Nothing would part him from his treasures, nothing induce him to allow these half-crazed foreigners to hurl his precious luggage overside into those frail-looking skiffs.
When this was suggested to him by a tall young man who called him uncle, the irascible scientist explained with fluency and point that the idea was an utterly ridiculous one. So Dick Montgomery shrugged his broad shoulders, and with a “See you presently,” that hardly interrupted his uncles flow of words, beckoned to a boatman.
A moment later he had left the ships side and was nearing the shore—the Eldorado of his young ambition, the land of gold and legends, the Peru of Pizarro and the Incas. Then the thought of a young girls face blotted out those dreams to make way for new ones.
The monotonous outline of the waterfront brought no disappointment. Little did he care that the city stretched out there before his eyes was little more than a narrow, unbeautiful blur along the sea coast, that there were none of those towers, steeples or minarets with which our ancient ports beckon out to sea that the traveler is welcome. Even when his boat had passed the Mole, and they drew level with the modern works of the Muelle Darsena, well calculated to excite the interest of a younger engineer, he remained indifferent.
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