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Jules Verne was born at Nantes on the 8th of February His first success as a writer was obtained with Cinq semaines en ballon. He was a member of the Legion of Honour. He died at Amiens on the 24th of March His posthumous works were edited by his son, Michel. The two Americans had from the first determined to seize every chance ; but although they were allowed to wander at Prisoners in Richmond i 3 liberty in the town, Richmond was so strictly guarded, that escape appeared impossible.
In the meanwhile Captain Harding was rejoined by a servant who was devoted to him in life and in death. This intrepid fellow was a negro born on the engineer's estate, of a slave father and mother, but to whom Cyrus, who was an Abolitionist from conviction and heart, had long since given his freedom. The once slave, though free, would not leave his master. He would have died for him. He was a man of about thirty, vigorous, active, clever, intelligent, gentle, and calm, sometimes naive, always merry, obliging, and honest. His name was Nebuchadnezzar, but he only answered to the familiar abbreviation of Neb.
When Neb heard that his master had been made prisoner, he left Massachusetts without hesitating an instant, arrived before Richmond, and by dint of stratagem and shrewdness, after having risked his life twenty times over, managed to penetrate into the besieged town. The pleasure of Harding on seeing his servant, and the joy of Neb at finding his master, can scarcely be described.
Rut though Neb had been able to make his way into Richmond, it was quite another thing to get out again, for the Northern prisoners were very strictly watched. Some extraordinary opportunity was needed to make the attempt with any chance of success, and this opportunity not only did not present itself, but was very difficult to find. Meanwhile Grant continued his energetic operations. The victory of Pittsburg had been very dearly bought. His forces, united to those of Butler, had as yet been unsuccessful before Richmond, and nothing gave the prisoners any hope of a speedy deliverance.
The reporter, to whom his tedious captivity did not offer a single incident worthy of note, could stand it no longer. Several times had he even made the attempt, but was stopped by some insurmountable obstacle. However, the siege con- tinued ; and if the prisoners were anxious to escape and join Grant's army, certain of the besieged were no less anxious to join the Southern forces. Amongst them was one Jonathan Forster, a determined Southerner. The truth was, that if the prisoners of the Secessionists could not leave the town.
The Governor of Richmond for a long time had been unable to communicate with General Lee, and he very much wished to make known to him the situation of the town, so as to hasten the march of the army to their relief. This Jonathan Forster accordingly conceived the idea of rising in a balloon, so as to pass over the besieging lines, and in that way reach the Secessionist camp. The Governor authorised the attempt.
A balloon was manufactured and placed at the disposal of Forster, who was to be accompanied by five other persons. They were furnished with arms in case they might have to defend themselves when they alighted, and provisions in the event of their aerial voyage being prolonged. The departure of the balloon was fixed for the i8th of March. It should be effected during the night, with a north- west wind of moderate force, and the aeronauts calculated that they would reach General Lee's camp in a few hours. But this north-west wind was not a simple breeze.
From the 1 8th it was evident that it was changing to a hurricane. The tempest soon became such that Forster's departure was deferred, for it was impossible to risk the balloon and those whom it carried in the midst of the furious elements. The balloon, inflated on the great square of Richmond, was ready to depart on the first abatement of the wind, and, as may be supposed, the impatience among the besieged to see the storm moderate was very great.
The 1 8th, the 19th of March passed without any altera- tion in the weather. There was even great difficulty in keeping the balloon fastened to the ground, as the squalls dashed it furiously about. The night of the 19th passed, but the next morning the storm blew with redoubled force. The departure of the balloon was impossible. On that day the engineer, Cyrus Harding, was accosted in one of the streets of Richmond by a person whom he did not in the least know.
This was a sailor named Pencroft, a man of about thirty-five or forty years of age, strongly built, very sunburnt, and possessed of a pair of bright sparkHng eyes and a remarkably good physiognomy. It is needless to say that he was a bold, dashing fellow, ready to dare anything, and was astonished at nothing.
Pencroft at the beginning of the year had gone to Richmond on business, with a young boy of fifteen from New Jersey, son of a former captain, an orphan, whom he loved as if he had been his own child. Not having been able to leave the town before the first operations of the siege, he found himself shut up, to his great disgust; but, not accustomed to succumb to difficulties, he resolved to escape by some means or other.
He knew the engineer-officer by reputation; he knew with what impatience that determined man chafed under his restraint. On this day he did not, therefore, hesitate to accost him, saying, without circum- locution, " Have you had enough of Richmond, captain?
But after having with a penetrating eye observed the open face of the sailor, he was convinced that he had before him an honest man. Pencroft made himself known. The engineer understood him at once. He seized Pencroft by the arm, and dragged him to his house. There the sailor developed his project, which was indeed extremely simple.
They risked nothing but their lives in its execution. The hurricane was in all its violence, it is true, but so clever and daring an engineer as Cyrus Harding knew perfectly well how to manage a balloon. Had he himself been as well acquainted with the art of sailing in the air as he was with Rendezvous Appointed 17 the navigation of a ship, Pencroft would not have hesitated to set out, of course taking his young friend Herbert with him; for, accustomed to brave the fiercest tempests of the ocean, he was not to be hindered on account of the hurricane.
Captain Harding had listened to the sailor without saying a word, but his eyes shone with satisfaction. The plan was feasible, though, it must be confessed, dangerous in the extreme. In the night, in spite of their guards, they might approach the balloon, slip into the car, and then cut the cords which held it. There was no doubt that they might be killed, but on the other hand they might succeed, and without this storm! But the balloon will hold six — " " That will be enough, we will go," answered Harding in a firm voice. This " we " included Spilett, for the reporter, as his friend well knew, was not a man to draw back, and when the project was communicated to him he approved of it unre- servedly.
What astonished him was, that so simple an idea had not occurred to him before. As to Neb, he followed his master wherever his master wished to go. The courageous boy knew of the sailor's plan, and it was not without anxiety that he awaited the result of the proposal being made to the engineer. Thus five determined persons were about to abandon themselves to the mercy of the tempestuous elements! B 1 8 Dropped from the Clouds Nol the storm did not abate, and neither Jonathan Forster nor his companions dreamt of confronting it in that frail car. It would be a terrible journey.
The engineer only feared one thing, it was that the balloon, held to the ground and dashed about by the wind, would be torn into shreds. For several hours he roamed round the nearly-deserted square, surveying the apparatus. Pencroft did the same on his side, his hands in his pockets, yawning now and then like a man who did not know how to kill the time, but really dreading, like his friend, either the escape or destruction of the balloon. Evening arrived. The night was dark in the extreme.
Thick mists passed like clouds close to the ground. Rain fell mingled with snow. It was very cold. A mist hung over Richmond. It seemed as if the violent storm had pro- duced a truce between the besiegers and the besieged, and that the cannon were silenced by the louder detonations of the storm. The streets of the town were deserted. It had not even appeared necessary in that horrible weather to place a guard in the square, in the midst of which plunged the balloon. Everything favoured the departure of the prisoners, but what might possibly be the termination of the hazardous voyage they contemplated in the midst of the furious elements?
Even the enormous balloon, almost beaten to the ground, could not be seen. Independently of the sacks of ballast, to which the cords of the net were fastened, the car was held by a strong cable passed through a ring in the pavement. The five prisoners met by the car. They had not been perceived, and such was the darkness that they could not even see each other.
Without speaking a word, Harding, Spilett, Neb, and Herbert took their places in the car, whilst Pencroft by the engineer's order detached successively the bags of ballast. It was the work of a few minutes only, and the sailor rejoined his companions. At that moment a dog sprang with a bound into the car.
It was Top, a favourite of the engineer. The faithful creature, having broken his chain, had followed his master. He, however, fearing that its additional weight might impede their ascent, wished to send away the animal. Then, indeed, the full rage of the hurricane was exhibited to the voyagers.
During the night the engineer could not dream of descending, and when day broke, even a glimpse of the earth below was intercepted by fog. Five days had passed when a partial clearing allowed them to see the wide extending ocean beneath their feet, now lashed into the maddest fury by the gale.
Our readers will recollect what befell these five daring individuals who set out on their hazardous expedition in the balloon on the 20th of March. Five days afterwards four of them were thrown on a desert coast, seven thousand miles from their country! But one of their number was missing, the man who was to be their guide, their leading spirit, the engineer. Captain Harding! The instant they had recovered their feet, they all hurried to the beach in the hopes of rendering him assistance.
His dog also had disappeared. The faithful animal had voluntarily leaped out to help his master. Poor Neb shed bitter tears, giving way to despair at the thoughts of having lost the only being he loved on earth. Only two minutes had passed from the time when Cyrus Harding disappeared to the moment when his companions set foot on the ground.
They had hopes therefore of arriving in time to save him. Top is there. The engineer had disappeared to the north of the shore, and nearly half a mile from the place where the castaways had landed. The nearest point of the beach he could reach was thus fully that distance off. It was then nearly six o'clock. A thick fog made the night very dark. The castaways proceeded towards the north of the land on which chance had thrown them, an unknown region, the geographical situation of which they could not even guess.
They were walking upon a sandy soil, mingled with stones, which appeared destitute of any 21 22 Dropped from the Clouds sort of vegetation. The ground, very unequal and rough, was in some places perfectly riddled with holes, making walking extremely painful. From these holes escaped every minute great birds of clumsy flight, which flew in all direc- tions.
Others, more active, rose in flocks and passed in clouds over their heads. The sailor thought he recognised gulls and cormorants, whose shrill cries rose above the roaring of the sea. From time to time the castaways stopped and shouted, then listened for some response from the ocean, for they thought that if the engineer had landed, and they had been near to the place, they would have heard the barking of the dog Top, even should Harding himself have been unable to give any sign of existence. They stopped to listen, but no sound arose above the roaring of the waves and the dashing of the surf.
The little band then continued their march forward, searching into every hollow of the shore. After walking for twenty minutes, the four castaways were suddenly brought to a standstill by the sight of foam- ing billows close to their feet. The solid ground ended here. They found themselves at the extremity of a sharp point on which the sea broke furiously.
They waited for a lull, then began again ; still no reply. The castaways accordingly returned, following the oppo- site side of the promontory, over a soil equally sandy and rugged. However, Pencroft observed that the shore was more equal, that the ground rose, and he declared that it was joined by a long slope to a hill, whose massive front he thought that he could see looming indistinctly through the mist.
The birds were less numerous on this part of the shore; the sea was also less tumultuous, and they observed that the agitation of the waves was diminished. The noise of the surf was scarcely heard. But to follow this direction was to go south, exactly opposite to that part of the coast where Harding mght have landed. After a walk of a mile and a half, the shore presented no curve which would permit them to return to the north.
This promontory, ot which they had turned the point, must be attached to the mainland. The castaways, although their strength was nearly exhausted, still marched courageously forward, hoping every moment to meet with a sudden angle which would set them in the first direction. What was their disappointment, when, after trudging nearly two miles, having reached an elevated point composed of slippery rocks, they found them- selves again stopped by the sea.
Was this barren spot the desolate refuge of sea-birds, strewn with stones and destitute of vegetation, attached to a more important archipelago?http://acceed-staging.admost.de/baby-sign-language-basics-early-communication-for-hearing.php
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It was impossible to say. When the voyagers from their car saw the land through the mist, they had not been able to reconnoitre it sufficiently. However, Pencroft, accustomed with his sailor eyes to pierce through the glooTn, was almost certain that he could clearly distinguish in the west confused masses which indicated an elevated coast. But they could not in the dark determine whether it was a single island, or connected with others.
They could not leave it either, as the sea surrounded them; they must therefore put off till the next day their search for the engineer, from whom, alas! But they searched in vain for wood or dry brambles; nothing but sand and stones were to be found. The grief of Neb and his companions, who were all strongly attached to the intrepid Harding, can be better pictured than described. A Dreadful Night 25 It was too evident that they were powerless to help him.
They must wait with what patience they could for daylight. Either the engineer had been able to save himself, and had already found a refuge on some point of the coast, or he was lost for ever! The long and painful hours passed by. The cold was intense. The castaways suffered cruelly, but they scarcely perceived it. They did not even think of taking a minute's rest. Forgetting everything but their chief, hoping or wishing to hope on, they continued to walk up and down on this sterile spot, always returning to its northern point, where they could approach nearest to the scene of the catas- trophe.
They listened, they called, and then uniting their voices, they endeavoured to raise even a louder shout than before, which would be transmitted to a great distance. The wind had now fallen almost to a calm, and the noise of the sea began also to subside. One of Neb's shouts even appeared to produce an echo. Herbert directed Pencroft's attention to it, adding, " That proves that there is a coast to the west, at no great distance. If he had discovered land, however indistinct it might appear, land was sure to be there.
But that distant echo was the only response produced by Neb's shouts, while a heavy gloom hung over all the part east of the island. Meanwhile, the sky was clearing little by little. Towards midnight the stars shone out, and if the engineer had been there with his companions he would have remarked that these stars did not belong to the Northern hemisphere. The polar star was not visible, the constellations were not those which they had been accustomed to see in the United States; the Southern Cross glittered brightly in the sky.
The night passed away. Towards five o'clock in the morning of the 25th of March, the sky began to lighten; the horizon still remained dark, but with daybreak a thick mist rose from the sea, so that the eye could scarcely penetrate beyond twenty feet or so from where they stood.
Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Self
At length the fog gradually unrolled itself in great heavily-moving waves. It was unfortunate, however, that the castaways could distinguish nothing around them. Whilst the gaze of the reporter and Neb were cast. But not a speck of land was visible. It was only a fine-weather mist. A hot sun soon penetrated to the surface of the island. About half-past six, three-quarters of an hour after sunrise, the mist became more transparent.
It grew thicker above, but cleared away below. Soon the isle appeared as if it had descended from a cloud, then the sea showed itself around them, spreading far away towards the east, but bounded on the west by an abrupt and precipitous coast. Their safety was at least pro- visionally insured. The islet and the coast were separated by a channel about half a mile in breadth, through which rushed an extremely rapid current.
However, one of the castaways, following the impulse of his heart, immediately threw himself into the current, with- out consulting his companions, without saying a single word. It was Neb. He was in haste to be on the other side, and to climb towards the north. It had been impossible to hold him back. Pencroft called him in vain. The reporter pre- pared to follow him, but Pencroft stopped him.
See, the tide is going down over the sand. Let us have patience, and at low water it is possible we may find a fordable passage. He was crossing in an oblique direction. His black shoulders could be seen emerging at each stroke. He was carried down very quickly, but he also made way towards the shore. It took more than half an hour to cross from the islet to the land, and he reached the shore several hundred feet from the place which was opposite to the point from which he had started.
Sight of Land 27 Landing at the foot of a high wall of granite, he shook himself vigorously; and then, setting off running, soon dis- appeared behind a rocky point, which projected to nearly the height of the northern extremity of the islet. Neb's companions had watched his daring attempt with painful anxiety, and when he was out of sight, they fixed their attention on the land where their hope of safety lay, whilst eating some shell-fish with which the sand was strewn.
It was a wretched repast, but still it was better than nothing. The opposite coast formed one vast bay, terminating on the south by a very sharp point, which was destitute of all vegeta- tion, and was of a very wild aspect. This point abutted on the shore in a grotesque outline of high granite rocks. Towards the north, on the contrary, the bay widened, and a more rounded coast appeared, trending from the south- west to the north-east, and terminating in a slender cape. The distance between these two extremities, which made the bow of the bay, was about eight miles.
Half a mile from the shore rose the islet, which somewhat resembled the carcase of a gigantic whale. Its extreme breadth was not more than a quarter of a mile. Opposite the islet, the beach consisted first of sand, covered with black stones, which were now appearing little by little above the retreating tide. The second level was separated by a perpendicular granite cliff, terminated at the top by an unequal edge at a height of at least feet. It continued thus for a length of three miles, ending suddenly on the right with a precipice which looked as if cut by the hand of man. On the left, above the promontory, this irregular and jagged cliff descended by a long slope of con- glomerate rocks till it mingled with the ground of the southern point.
On the upper plateau of the coast not a tree appeared. It was a flat table-land like that above Cape Town at the Cape of Good Hope, but of reduced proportions; at least so it appeared seen from the islet. However, verdure was not wanting to the right beyond the precipice. They could easily distinguish a confused mass of great trees, which extended beyond the limits of their view. This verdure relieved the eye, so long wearied by the continued ranges of granite.
Lastly, beyond and above the plateau, in a north- westerly direction and at a distance of at least seven miles, 2 8 Dropped from the Clouds glittered a white summit which reflected the sun's rays. The question could not at present be decided whether this land formed an island, or whether it belonged to a continent. But on beholding the convulsed masses heaped up on the left, no geologist would have hesitated to give them a volcanic origin, for they were unquestionably the work of subter- ranean convulsions. Gideon Spilett, Pencrof t, and Herbert attentively examined this land, on which they might perhaps have to live many long years; on which indeed they might even die, should it be out of the usual track of vessels, as was too likely to be the case.
But now the ebb is evidently making. In three hours we will attempt the passage, and once on the other side we will try to get out of this scrape, and I hope may find the captain.
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Three hours later, at low tide, the greater part of the sand forming the bed of the channel was uncovered. Between the islet and the coast there only remained a narrow channel which would no doubt be easy to cross. About ten o'clock, Gideon Spilett and his companions stripped themselves of their clothes, which they placed in bundles on their heads, and then ventured into the water, which was not more than five feet deep. Herbert, for whom it was too deep, swam like a fish, and got through capitally. All three arrived without difficulty on the opposite shore.
Quickly drying themselves in the sun, they put on their clothes, which they had preserved from contact with the water, and sat down to take counsel together what to do next. All at once the reporter sprang up, and telling the sailor that he would rejoin them at that same place, he climbed the cliff in the direction which the negro Neb had taken a few hours before. Anxiety hastened his steps, for he longed to obtain news of his friend, and he soon disappeared round an angle of the cliff.
Herbert wished to accompany him. Our friends will want something when they come back. There is work for everybody. We must set about it regularly. We are tired, cold, and hungry; therefore we must have shelter, fire, and food. There is wood in the forest, and eggs in nests; we have only to find a house. Pencroft had remarked, several hundred feet from the place at which they landed, a narrow cutting, out of which he thought a river or stream might issue. Now, on the one hand it was important to settle themselves in the neighbour- hood of a good stream of water, and on the other it was possible that the current had thrown Cyrus Harding on the shore there.
It was a perpendicular wall of very hard granite, which even the waves had not worn away. Towards the summit fluttered myriads of sea-fowl, and especially those of the web-footed species, with long, flat, pointed beaks — a. Pencroft recognised the skua and other gulls among them, the voracious little sea-mew, which in great numbers nestled in the crevices of the granite.
A shot fired among this swarm would have killed a great number, but to fire a shot a gun was needed, and neither Pencroft nor Herbert had one; besides this, gulls and sea- mews are scarcely eatable, and even their eggs have a detest- able taste. However, Herbert, who had gone forward a little more to the left, soon came upon rocks covered with sea- weed, which, some hours later, would be hidden by the high tide. On these rocks, in the midst of slippery wrack, abounded bivalve shell-fish, not to be despised by starving people.
Herbert called Pencroft, who ran up hastily. His father had encouraged him in it, by letting him attend the lectures of the best professors in Boston, who were very fond of the intelligent, industrious lad. And this turn for natural history was, more than once in the course of time, of great use, and he was not mistaken in this instance.
These lithodomes were oblong shells, sus- pended in clusters and adhering very tightly to the rocks. Pencroft and Herbert made a good meal of the lithodomes, which were then half opened to the sun. They ate them as oysters, and as they had a strong peppery taste, they were palatable without condiments of any sort.
Their hunger was thus appeased for the time, but not their thirst, which increased after eating these naturally- spiced molluscs. They had then to find fresh water, and it was not likely that it would be wanting in such a capri- ciously uneven region. Pencroft and Herbert, after having taken the precaution of collecting an ample supply of litho- domes, with which they filled their pockets and handker- chiefs, regained the foot of the cliff.
Two hundred paces farther they arrived at the cutting, through which, as Pencroft had guessed, ran a stream of water, whether fresh or not was to be ascertained. At this place the wall appeared to have been separated by some violent subterranean force. At its base was hollowed out a little creek, the farthest part of which formed a tolerably sharp angle. The watercourse at that part measured one hundred feet in breadth, and its two banks on each side were scarcely twenty feet high.
The river became strong almost directly between the two walls of granite, which began to sink above the mouth; it then suddenly turned and disappeared beneath a wood of stunted trees half a mile off. The sailor ascertained that at this time — that is to say, at low tide, when the rising floods did not reach it — it was sweet. This important point established, Herbert looked for some cavity which would serve them as a retreat, but in vain; everywhere the wall appeared smooth, plain, and perpendicular. However, at the mouth of the watercourse and above the reach of the high tide, the convulsions of nature had formed, not a grotto, but a pile of enormous rocks, such as are often met with in granite countries and which bear the name of " Chimneys.
However, the sailor thought that by stopping-up some of the openings with a mixture of stones and sand, the Chimneys could be rendered habitable. Let us set to work, but first come and get a store of fuel. I think some branches will be very useful in stopping up these openings, through which the wind shrieks like so many fiends.
The current here was quite rapid, and drifted down some dead wood. The rising tide — and it could already be perceived — must drive it back with force to a considerable distance. The sailor then thought that they could utilise this ebb and flow for the transport of heavy objects. After having walked for a quarter of an hour, the sailor and the boy arrived at the angle which the river made in turning towards the left. From this point its course was pursued through a forest of magnificent trees.
These trees still retained their verdure, notwithstanding the advanced season, for they belonged to the family of " coniferae," which is spread over all the regions of the globe, from northern climates to the tropics. The young naturalist recognised especially the " deodara," which are very numerous in the Himalayan zone, and which spread around them a most Waiting for the Ebb 35 agreeable odour. Between these beautiful trees sprang up clusters of firs, whose opaque open parasol boughs spread wide around.
Among the long grass, Pencroft felt that his feet were crushing dry branches which crackled like fireworks. The collection was easily made. It was not even necessary to lop the trees, for enormous quantities of dead wood were lying at their feet; but if fuel was not wanting, the means of transporting it was not yet found.
The wood, being very dry, would burn rapidly; it was therefore necessary to carry to the Chimneys a considerable quantity, and the loads of two men would not be sufTicient. Herbert remarked this. If we had a cart or a boat, it would be easy enough. Let us get the raft ready. They both carried, each in proportion to his strength, a load of wood bound in faggots. They found on the bank also a great quantity of dead branches in the midst of grass, among which the foot of man had probably never before trod. Pencroft began directly to make his raft. In a kind of little bay, created by a point of the shore which broke the current, the sailor and the lad placed some good- sized pieces of wood, which they had fastened together with dry creepers.
A raft was thus formed, on which they stacked all they had collected, sufficient, indeed, to have 36 Dropped from the Clouds loaded at least twenty men. In an hour the work was finished, and the raft, moored to the bank, awaited the turning of the tide. There were still several hours to be occupied, and with one consent Pencroft and Herbert resolved to gain the upper plateau, so as to have a more extended view of the surrounding country.
Exactly two hundred feet behind the angle formed by the river, the wall, terminated by a fall of rocks, died away in a gentle slope to the edge of the forest. It was a natural staircase. Herbert and the sailor began their ascent; thanks to the vigour of their muscles they reached the summit in a few minutes, and proceeded to the point above the mouth of the river. On attaining it, their first look was cast upon the ocean which not long before they had traversed in such a terrible condition.
They observed, with emotion, all that part to the north of the coast on which the catastrophe had taken place. It was there that Cyrus Harding had disappeared. They looked to see if some portion of their balloon, to which a man might possibly cling, yet existed. The sea was but one vast watery desert. As to the coast, it was solitary also. Neither the reporter nor Neb could be any- where seen. But it was possible that at this time they were both too far away to be perceived.
He must have reached some point of the shore; don't you think so, Pencroft? Stretched out below them was the sandy shore, bounded on the right of the river's mouth by lines of breakers. The rocks which were visible appeared like am- phibious monsters reposing in the surf. Beyond the reef, the sea sparkled beneath the sun's rays. To the south a sharp point closed the horizon, and it could not be seen if Island or Continent? At the northern extremity of the bay the outline of the shore was continued to a great distance in a wider curve.
There the shore was low, flat, without cliffs, and with great banks of sand, which the tide left uncovered. Pencrof t and Herbert then returned towards the west. Their attention was first arrested by the snow-topped mountain which rose at a distance of six or seven miles. From its first declivities to within two miles of the coast were spread vast masses of wood, relieved by large green patches, caused by the presence of evergreen trees. Then, from the edge of this forest to the shore extended a plain, scattered irregularly with groups of trees.
Here and there on the left sparkled through glades the waters of the little river; they could trace its winding course back towards the spurs of the mountain, among which it seemed to spring. At the point where the sailor had left his raft of wood, it began to run between the two high granite walls; but if on the left bank the wall remained clear and abrupt, on the right bank, on the con- trary, it sank gradually, the massive sides changed to isolated rocks, the rocks to stones, the stones to shingle, running to the extremity of the point.
But this important question could not yet be answered. A more perfect survey will be required to settle the point. As to the land itself, island or continent, it appeared fertile, agreeable in its aspect, and varied in its productions. Pencroft and Herbert examined for some time the country on which they had been cast; but it was difficult to guess after so hasty an inspection what the future had in store for them.
They then returned, following the southern crest of the granite platform, bordered by a long fringe of jagged rocks. Some hundreds of birds lived there nestled in the holes of the stone; Herbert, jumping over the rocks, startled a whole flock of these winged creatures. I recognise them by the double band of black on the wing, by the white tail, and by their slate-coloured plumage. But if the rock- pigeon is good to eat, its eggs must be excellent, and we will soon see how many they may have left in their nests!
A few dozen being collected, were packed in the sailor's handkerchief, and as the time when the tide would be full was approaching, Pencroft and Herbert began to re-descend towards the watercourse. When they arrived there, it was an hour after mid-day.
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- Verne jules.
The tide had already turned. They must now avail themselves of the ebb to take the wood to the mouth. Pencroft did not intend to let the raft go away in the current without guidance, neither did he mean to embark on it himself to steer it. But a sailor is never at a loss when there is a question of cables or ropes, and Pencroft rapidly twisted a cord, a few fathoms long, made of dry creepers. This vegetable cable was fastened to the after-part of the raft, and the sailor held it in his hand while Herbert, pushing off the raft with a long pole, kept it in the current.
This succeeded capitally. The enormous load of wood drifted down with the current. The bank was very equal; there was no fear that the raft would run around, and before two o'clock they arrived at the river's mouth, a few paces from the Chimneys. Pencroft's first care, after unloading the raft, was to render the cave habitable by stopping up all the holes which made it draughty. Sand, stones, twisted branches, wet clay, closed up the galleries open to the south winds. One narrow and winding opening at the side was kept, to lead out the smoke and to make the fire draw. The cave was thus divided into three or four rooms, if such dark dens with which a donkey would scarcely have been contented deserved the name.
But they were dry, and there was space to stand upright, at least in the principal room, which occupied the centre. The floor was covered with fine sand, and taking all in all they were well pleased with it for want of a better. Better to have two strings to one's bow than no string at all! Their work was soon done, and Pencroft declared himself very well satisfied. They will find a good enough shelter.
21세기 영어교육연구회(21st C.E.T.A.)
This, if the smoke did not take the heat out with it, would be enough to maintain an equal temperature inside. Their wood was stowed away in one of the rooms, and the sailor laid in the fireplace some logs and brushwood. The seaman was busy with this, when Herbert asked him if he had any matches. I must say I prefer matches. By the bye, where are my matches? He could not find it; he rummaged the pockets of his trousers, but, to his horror, he could nowhere discover the box. Surely, Herbert, you must have something — a tinder-box — anything that can possibly make fire!
On the sand, among the rocks, near the river's bank, they both searched carefully, but in vain. The box was of copper, and therefore would have been easily seen. I would rather even have lost my pipe! Confound the box! Where can it be? Herbert and Pencroft walked rapidly to the point where they had landed the day before, about two hundred feet from the cave. They hunted there, amongst the shingle, in the clefts of the rocks, but found nothing.
Related Clovis Dardentor (Jules Verne t. 226) (French Edition)
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