Citation
The mysterious island

Material Information

Title:
The mysterious island the secret of the island by Jules Verne ; translated from the French by W.H.G. Kingston
Creator:
Verne, Jules, 1828-1905
Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Ferat, Pierre
Barbant, Charles
Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington
Gilbert & Rivington
Place of Publication:
London (Crown Buildings, 188, Fleet Street)
Publisher:
Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington
Manufacturer:
Gilbert and Rivington
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
3rd ed.
Physical Description:
viii, 299, iii p. : ill. ; 20 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Juvenile literature -- 1879 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1879
Genre:
Children's literature ( fast )
fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Illustrations signed P. Ferat; engraved by Ch. Barbant.
General Note:
Translation of L' Ile mysterieuse.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
024668128 ( ALEPH )
25861116 ( OCLC )
AHQ0854 ( NOTIS )

UFDC Membership

Aggregations:
University of Florida
Jules Verne

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THE ‘‘ DUNCAN

Page 294.



P\

ae
~*~

THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
(PART III)

THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND

BY

JULES VERNE

AUTHOR OF ‘TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA,” ‘‘AROUND
THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS,” ‘¢THE FUR COUNTRY,” ETC., ETC.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY

W. H. G. KINGSTON
THIRD EDITION

Lonvow:
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON
CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET
1879
[All rights reserved]



LONDON :
GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS
ST, JOHN’S SQUARE,



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

Lost or saved—Ayrton.summoned—Important discussion—It is
rot the “ Duncan”—Suspicious vessel—Precautions to be
taken—The ship approaches—A cannon-shot—The brig
anchors in sight of the island—Night comeson . .« -«

CHAPTER II.

Discussions—Presentiments—Ayrton’s proposal—It is accepted—
Ayrton and Pencroft on Grant Islet—Convicts from Norfolk
Island—Ayrton’s heroic attempt—His return—Six against
fifty © 6 «6 «+ +6 +6 6 © © °

CHAPTER III.

The mist rises—The engineer’s preparations—Thrce posts—
Ayrton and Pencroft—The first boat—Two other boats—On
the islet—Six convicts land—The brig weighs anchor—The
“ Spcedy’s” guns—A desperate situation—Unexpcctcd catas-
trophe . e . . . . ' . ‘ .

CHAPTER IV.

The colonists on the beach—Ayrton and Pencroft work amid the
wreck—Conversation during breakfast—Pencroft’s arguments
A 2

PAGE

18



iv CONTENTS,

PAGE

—Minute examination of the brig’s hull—The powder- |

magazine untouched—New riches—The last of the wreck—
A broken piece of cylinder . . ° . . 7

CHAPTER V.

The engineer’s declaration—Pencroft’s grand hypothesis—An
aerial battery—The four cannons—The surviving convicts—
Ayrton’s hesitation—Cyrus Harding’s generous sentiments—
Pencroft’s regret. . . . . . ° . .

CHAPTER VI.

Expeditions planned—Ayrton at the corral—Visit to Port Balloon
—Pencroft’s observations on board the “ Bonadventure”-—
Despatch sent to the corral—No reply from Ayrton—Depar-
ture the next day—The reason why the wire did not work--
A report . . . . . . . ° ° . .

CHAPTER VII.

The reporter and Pencroft in the corral—Herbcrt’s wound—The
sailor’s despair—Consultation between the reporter and the
engineer—Mode of treatment—Hope not abandoned—How is
Neb to be warned ?—A sure and faithful messenger—Ncb’s
reply ° ° ° . . ' . oe . .

CHAPTER VIII.

The convicts in the neighbourhood of the corral—Provisional
establishment—Continuation of the treatment of Herbert—
Pencroft’s first rejoicings—Conversation on past events—
What the future has in reserve—Cyrus Harding’s ideas on
this subject .' . . : . . ° ee

CHAPTER IX.

No news of Neb—A proposal from Pencroft and the reporter,
which is not accepted—Several sorties by Gideon Spilett—A
rag of cloth—A message—Hasty departure—Arrival on the
plateau of Prospect Heights

68

97

- I10

. 117



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER X.

Herbert carried to Granite House—Neb relates all that has hap-
pened—Harding’s visit to the plateau—Ruin and devastation
—The colonists baffled by Herbert’s illness—Willow bark—
A deadly fever—Top barks again! . .

CHAPTER XI.

Inexplicable mystery—Herbert’s convalescence—The parts of the
island to be explored—Preparations for departure—First day
—Night and second day—Kauries—A couple of Cassowarics
—Footprints in the forest—Arrival at Reptile Point . .

CHAPTER XII.

Exploration of the Serpentine Peninsula—Encampment at the
mouth of Falls River—Gideon Spilett and Pencroft recon-
noitre—Their return—Forward, all!—An open door—A
lighted window—By the light ofthe moon! . . . .

CHAPTER XIII.

Ayrton’s story—Plans of his former accomplices—Thceir instal-
lation in the corral—The avenging justice of Lincoln Island
—The “ Bonadventure”—Researches around Mount Franklin
—The upper valleys—A subterranean volcano—Pencroft's
opinion—At the bottom of the crater—Return . .

CHAPTER XIV.

Three years have passed—The new vessel—What is agrecd on—
Prosperity of the colony—The dockyard—Cold of the southern
hemisphere—Washing linen—Mount Franklin . . .

CHAPTER XV.

The awakening of the volcano—The fine season—Continuation of
work—The evening of the 15th of October—A telegram—A
question—An answer—Departure for the corral—The notice
—The additional wire—The basalt coast—At high tide—At
low tide—The cavern—A dazzling light . .

PAGR

143

157

189

. 204



vi CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XVI.

Captain Nemo—His first words—The history of the recluse—His
adventures—His sentiments—His comrades—Submarine life
—Alone--The last refuge of the “ Nautilus” in Lincoln Island
—The mysterious genius ofthe island . . .

CHAPTER XVII.

Last moments of Captain Nemo—Wishes of the dying man—A
parting gift to his friends of a day—Captain Nemo’s coffin—
Advice to the colonists—The supreme moment—At the bottom
of the sea ° : . . 7 8 0 ° .

CHAPTER XVIII.

Reflections of the colonists—Their labours of reconstruction re-
sumed—The Ist of January, 1869—A cloud over the summit
of the volcano—First warnings of an eruption—Ayrton and
Cyrus Harding at the corral—Exploration of the Dakkar
Grotto—What Captain Nemo had confided to the engineer

CHAPTER XIX.

Cyrus Harding gives an account of his exploration—The con-
struction of the ship pushed forward—A last visit to the corral
—The battle between fire and water—All that remains of the
island—It is decided to launch the vessel—The night of the
8th of March . . . . . . ° ° ° °

CHAPTER XxX.

An isolated rock in'the Pacific—The last refuge of the colonists
of Lincoln Island—Death their only prospect—Unexpected
succour—Why and how it arrives—A last kindness—An
island on terra firma—The tomb of Captain Prince Dakkar
Nemo . 6 «© © © © © «© © «© «+

PAGE

. 223

238

. 251

[S}
NI
bo

291



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,



A sail in sight oe ° . . ° ° ‘ . - 8
“The black flag!" he exclaimed . . «© «© «© «| © I2
Ayrton hoisting himself on to the cutwater . . . . 22
Ayrton boards the pirate : . . . . . 7 - 23
“What are you doing here ?” . oe o 6 + 29
He leapt over the bulwarks into the sca : . . + 30
Ayrton and Pencroft waited till they were within range . - 39
The chimneys attacked . . . . . . . . - 50
The brig, raised ona water-spout, splitintwo . . . . SI
“ That is what I have been, Pencroft” . . se ee 5G
In the hold of the pirate brig . . . . . . . - 62
“ This cylinder is all that remains of a torpedo!” . . . - 67

Pencroft polishing the guns . . 7 . oo . - 76
At work on the plateau . : ° . 7 . . . - 84
The telegraph-post thrown down . . . . . » 94

Herbert shot . : . . . . . . . . - 96
Pencroft’s alarm for Herbert’. . ee we ee QQ
Pencroft watching over Herbert . : . . . . . 104
Top despatched with a message to Neb. . . . » . 108
Spilett and Top reconnoitring : . . . . . . 122
Starting from the corral . . . . . . . . - 127
Herbert on the lift . . . . . . . . : . 132
Sulphate of quinine! ° . . ‘ . . . 142

The convalescent . . . : > e ‘ 7 - 146



viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,



The last to leave Granite House . ° ° ° e

On watch in the forest . . . ° . °
Spilett and Pencroft approach the coral . . .
Five corpses stretched on the bank . . . °
“Dead !” cried Ayrton . . . . ° . °
The cavern in the mountain . . ° ° . .
Searching for the genius of the island . . ° .
They visited the gulf. . . . o 6
Gideon Spilett wants a newspaper 7 ° es

Watching the summit of Mount Franklin . . .
The colonists remained silently crouching in a deep hollow

Entering the mysterious cavern. : . .

Discovery of the “ Nautilus” . : . °

First interview with the genius of the island « . .
The great unknown relates his history . . . .
Last moments of Captain Nemo ,. . . ° .
Death of Captain Nemo. . . . . .
Sinking of the “Nautilus”. . . . .

Listening to the rumbling of the yeleané oo .
Cyrus Harding watching the eruption . ° . .
The volcano wall in Dakkar Grotto . . .

The colonists took shelter in the borders of Jacamar Wood
The torrent precipitated itself into Lake Grant . .
The explosion : . . . ° . e
The“Duncan” 2. +2«© o© © « + 6 »

. 271
. 279
- 281
« 290
+ 294



The Mysterious Sslanv,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND.



CHAPTER f.

LOST OR SAVED—AYRTON SUMMONED—IMPORTANT
DISCUSSION—IT IS NOT THE “DUNCAN ”—SUS-
PICIOUS VESSEL—PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN—THE
SUIP APPROACHES—A CANNON SHOT—THE BRIG
ANCHORS IN SIGHT OF THE ISLAND—NIGHT COMES
ON.

It’ was now two years and a half since the castaways
from the balloon had been thrown on Lincoln Island, and
during that period there had been no communication
between them and their fellow-creatures. Once the
reporter had attempted to communicate with the inhabited
world by confiding to a bird a letter which contained
the secret of their situation, but that was a chance on
which it was impossible to reckon seriously. Ayrton,
alone, under the circumstances which have been related,
B



bo

TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,



had come to join the little colony. Now, suddenly, on
this day, the 17th of October, other men had unex-
pectedly appeared in sight of the island, on that deserted
sea!

There could be no doubt about it! A vessel was
there! But would she pass on, or would she put into
port? In a few hours the colonists would definitely
know what to expect.

Cyrus Harding and Herbert having immediately
called Gideon Spillett, Pencroft, and Neb into the dining-
room of Granite House, told them what had happened.
Pencroft, seizing the telescope, rapidly swept the horizon,
and stopping on the indicated point, that is to say, on
that which had made the almost imperceptible spot on
the photographic negative,—

“T’m blessed but it is really a vessel!” he exclaimed, in
a voice which did not express any great amount of satis-
faction.

“Ts she coming here ?” asked Gideon Spillett.

“Tmpossible to say anything yet,” answered Pencroft,
“for her rigging alone is above the horizon, and not a
bit of her hull can be seen.”

“What is to be done?” asked the lad.

“Wait,” replied Harding.

And for a considerable time the settlers remained silent,
given up to all the thoughts, all the emotions, all the



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 3

fears, all the hopes, which were aroused by this incident
—the most important which had occurred since their
arrival in Lincoln Island. Certainly, the colonists were
not in the situation of castaways abandoned on a sterile
islet, constantly contending against a cruel nature for
their miserable existence, and incessantly tormented by
the longing to return to inhabited countries. Pencroft and
Neb, especially, who felt themselves at once so happy
and so rich, would not have left their island without
regret. They were accustomed, besides, to this new life
in the midst of the domain which their intelligence had
as it were civilized. But at any tate this ship brought
news from the world, perhaps even from their native
land. It was bringing fellow-creatures to them, and it
may be conceived how deeply their hearts were moved
at the sight !

From time to time Pencroft took the glass and rested
himself at the window. From thence he very attentively
examined the vessel, which was at a distance of twenty
miles to the east. The colonists had as yet, therefore, no
means of signalizing their presence. A flag would not
have been perceived; a gun would not have been heard ;
a fire would not have been visible. However, it was
certain that the island, overtopped by Mount Franklin,
could not have escaped the notice of the vessel’s look-
out. But why was this ship coming there? Was it

B2



4 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

simple chance which brought it to that part of the
Pacific, where the maps mentioned no land except Tabor
Islet, which itself was out of the route usually followed
by vessels from the Polynesian Archipelagos, from New
Zealand, and from the American coast? To this question,
which each one asked himself, a reply was suddenly made
by Herbert.

“Can it be the ‘Duncan ?’” he cried.

The “Duncan,” as has been said, was Lord Glenarvan’s
yacht, which had left Ayrton on the islet, and which was
to return there some day to fetch him. Now, the islet
was not so far distant from Lincoln Island, but that a vessel,
standing for the one, could’ pass in sight of the other.
A hundred and fifty miles only separated them in
longitude, and seventy in latitude.

“We must tell Ayrton,” said Gideon Spilett, “and
send for him immediately. He alone can say if it is the
‘Duncan,’ ”

This was the opinion of all, and the reporter, going
to the telegraphic apparatus which placed the corral in
communication, with Granite House, sent this telegram :—
“Come with all possible speed.”

In a few minutes the bell sounded.

“TI am coming,” replied Ayrton.

Then the settlers continued to watch the vessel.

“If it is the ‘Duncan,’” said Herbert, “Ayrton will



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 5
recognize her without difficulty, since he sailed on board
her for some time.”

“And if he recognizes her,” added Pencroft, “it will
agitate him exceedingly !”

“Yes,” answered Cyrus Harding ; “but now Ayrton is
worthy to return on board the ‘Duncan,’ and pray
Heaven that it is indeed Lord Glenarvan’s yacht, for
I should be suspicious of any other vessel. These are
ill-famed seas, and I have always feared a visit from Malay
pirates to our island.”

“We could defend it,” cried Herbert.

“No doubt, my boy,” answered the engineer smil-
ing, “but it would be better not to have to defend
it.”

“A useless observation,” said Spilett. “Lincoln
Island is unknown to. navigators, since it is not marked
even on the most recent maps. Do you not think,
Cyrus, that that is a sufficient motive for a ship, finding
herself unexpectedly in sight of new land, to try and visit
rather than avoid it?”

“Certainly,” replied Pencroft.

“T think so too,” added the engineer. “It may even
be said that it is the duty of a captain to come and
‘survey any land or island not yet known, and Linccln
Island is in this position.”

“Well,” said Pencroft, “suppose this vessel comes and



6 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

anchors there a few cables-lengths from our island, what
shall we do?”

This sudden question remained at first without any
reply. But Cyrus Harding, after some moments thought,
replied in the calm tone which was usual to him,—

“ What we shall do, my friends? What we ought to do,
is this:—we will communicate with the ship, we will
take our passage on board her, and we will leave our
island, after having taken possession of it in the name
of the United States. Then we will return with any
who may wish to follow us to colonize it definitely, and
endow the American. Republic with a useful station in
this part of the Pacific Ocean !”

“Hurrah!” exclaimed Pencroft, “and that will be no
small ‘present which we shall make to our country !
The colonization is already almost finished ; names are
given to every part of the island; there is a natural port,
fresh water, roads, a telegraph, a dockyard, and manufac-
tories; and there will be nothing to be done but to in.
scribe Lincoln Island on the maps!”

’ observed

“But if any one seizes it in our absence?’
Gideon Spilett.

“Hang it!” cried the sailor. “I would rather remain
all alone to guard it: and trust to Pencroft, they shouldn’t
steal it from him, like a watch from the pocket of a

swell!”



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 7

For an hour it was impossible to say with any certainty
whether the vessel was or was not standing towards Lincoln
Island. She was nearer, but in what direction was she
sailing? This Pencroft could not determine. However, as
the wind was blowing from the north-east, in all probability
the vessel was sailing on the starboard tack. Besides, the
wind was favourable for bringing her towards the island,
and, the sea being calm, she would not be afraid to approach
although the shallows were not marked on the chart.

Towards four o’clock—an hour after he had been sent
for—Ayrton arrived at Granite House. He entered the
dining-rcom, saying,—

“ At your service, gentlemen.”

Cyrus Harding gave him his hand, as was his custom
to do, and, leading him to the window,—

“ Ayrton,” said he, “we have begged you to come here
for an important reason. A ship is in sight of the
island.”

Ayrton at first paled slightly, and for a moment his eyes
became dim; then, leaning out of the window, he surveyed
the horizon, but could see nothing.

“Take this telescope,” said Spilett, “and look carefully
Ayrton, for it is possible that this ship may be the ‘ Dun-
can’ come to these seas for the purpose of taking you
home again.”

“The ‘Duncan!’” murmured Ayrton. ‘“ Already?”



8 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

This last word escaped Ayrton’s lips as if involuntarily,
and his head drooped upon his hands.

Did not twelve years’ solitude on a desert island appear
to him a sufficient expiation? Did not the penitent yet
feel himself pardoned, either in his own eyes or in the eyes
of others ?

“No,” said he, “no! it cannot be the ‘Duncan!’®”

“Look, Ayrton,” then said the engineer, “for it is
necessary that we should know beforehand what to expect.”

Ayrton took the glass and pointed it in the direction
indicated. During some minutes he examined the horizon
without moving, without uttering a word. Then,—

“Tt is indeed a vessel,” said he, “ but I do not think she
is the ‘Duncan.’”

“ Why do you not think so?” asked Gideon Spilett.

“Because the ‘Duncan’ is a steam-yacht, and I cannot
perceive any trace of smoke cither above or near that
vessel.”

”»

“Perhaps she is simply sailing,” observed Pencroft.
“The wind is favourable for the direction which she
appears to be taking, and she may be anxious to economize
her coal, being sé far from land.”

“Tt is possible that you may be right, Mr. Pencroft,”
answered Ayrton, “and that the vessel has extinguished
her fires. We must wait until she is nearer, and then we

shall soon know what to expect.”













N SIGHT

AIL I

AS

Page 8.



THE SECRET OF TIE ISLAND. 9



So saying, Ayrton sat down in a corner of the room and
remained silent. The colonists again discussed the strange
ship, but Ayrton took no part in the conversation. All
were in such a mood that they found it impossible to con-
tinue their work. Gideon Spilett and Pencroft were par-
ticularly nervous, going, coming, not able to remain still in
one place. Herbert felt more curiosity. Neb alone main-
tained his usual calm manner. Was not his country that
where his master was? As to the engineer, he remained
plunged in deep thought, and in his heart feared rather
than desired the arrival of the ship. In the meanwhile, the
vessel was a little nearer the island. With the aid of the
glass, it was ascertained that she was a brig, and not one
of those -Malay proas, which are generally used by the
pirates of the Pacific. It was, therefore, reasonable to
believe that the engineer’s apprehensions would not be
justified, and that the presence of this vessel in the vicinity
of the island was fraught with no danger. Pencroft, after a
minute examination, was able positively to affirm that the
vessel was rigged as a brig, and that she was standing
obliquely towards the coast, on the starboard tack, under
her topsails and topgallant-sails. This was confirmed by
Ayrton. But by continuing in this direction she must soon
disappear behind Claw Cape, as the wind was from the south-
west, and to watch her it would be then necessary to ascend
the heights of Washington Bay, near Port Balloon—a pro-



Io THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

voking circumstance, for it was already five o'clock in the
evening, and the twilight would soon make any observation
extremely difficult.

“What shall we do when night comes on ?” asked Gideon
Spilett. “Shall we light a fire, so as to signal our presence,
on the coast?”

This was a serious question, and yet, although the engi-
neer still retained some of his presentiments, it was answered
in the affirmative. During the night the ship might dis-
appear and leave for ever, and, this ship gone, would
another ever return to the waters of Lincoln Island? Who
could foresee what the future would then have in store for
the colonists ?

“Yes,” said the reporter, “we ought to make known
to that vessel, whoever she may be, that the island is
inhabited. To neglect the opportunity which is offered to
us might be to create everlasting regrets.”

It was, therefore, decided that Neb and Pencroft should
go to Port Balloon, and that there, at nightfall, they should
light an immense fire, the blaze of which would pcesee Ty
attract the attention of the brig.

But at the moment when Neb and the sailor were pre-
paring to leave Granite House, the vessel suddenly altered
her course, and stood directly for Union Bay. The brig
was a good sailer, for she approached rapidly. Neb and
Pencroft put off their departure, therefore, and the glass



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. II

was put into Ayrton’s hands, that he might ascertain for
certain whether the ship was or was not the “ Duncan.”
The Scotch yacht was also rigged as a brig. The question
was, whether a chimney could be discerned between the
two masts of the vessel, which was now at a distance of only
five miles.

The horizon was still very clear. The examination was
easy, and Ayrton soon let the glass fall again, saying,—

“Tt is not the ‘Duncan’! It could not be her!”

Pencroft again brought the brig within the range of the
telescope, and could see that she was of between three and
four hundred tons burden, wonderfully narrow, well-masted,
admirably built, and must be a very rapid sailer. But
to what nation did she belong? ' That was difficult to
say.

“And yet,” added the sailor, “a flag is floating from her
peak, but I cannot distinguish the colours of it.”

“Tn half an hour we shall be certain about that,”
answered the reporter. “ Besides, it is very evident that
the intention of the captain of this ship is to land, and,
consequently, if not to-day, to-morrow at the latest, we
shall make his acquaintance.

“Never mind!” said Pencroft. “It is best to know
whom we have to deal with, and I shall not be sorry to
recognize that fellow’s colours!”

And, while thus speaking, the sailor never left the glass.



12 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

The day began to fade, and with the day the breeze fell
also. The brig’s ensign hung in folds, and it became more
and more difficult to observe it.

“Tt is not the American flag,” said Pencroft from time
to time, “nor the English, the red of which could be easily
seen, nor the French or German colours, nor the white
flag of Russia, nor the yellow of Spain. One would say
it was all one colour. Let’s see: in these seas, what do
we generally meet with? The Chilian flag ?—but that is
tri-colour. Brazilian ?—it is green. Japancse ?—it is yellow
and black, whilst this—”

At that moment the breeze blew out the unknown flag.
Ayrton, seizing the telescope which the sailor had put
down, put it to his eye, and in a hoarse voice,—

“The black flag!” he exclaimed.

And indeed the sombre bunting was floating from the
mast of the brig, and they had now good reason for con-
sidering her to be a suspicious vessel !

Had the engineer, then, been right in his presentiments ?
Was this a pirate vessel? Did she scour the Pacific, com-
peting with the Malay proas which still infest it? For
what had she come to look at the shores of Lincoln Island ?
Was it to them an unknown island, ready to become a
magazine for stolen cargoes? Had she come to find on
the coast a sheltered port for the winter months? Was
the settler’s honest domain destined to be transformed into











“THE BLACK FLAG !” HE EXCLAIMED.
t+ Page 12.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 13



an infamous refuge—the head-quarters of the piracy of the
Pacific?

All these ideas instinctively presented themselves to the
colonists’ imaginations. There was no doubt, besides, of the
signification which must be attached to the colour of the
hoisted flag. It was that of pirates! It was that which
the “Duncan” would have carried, had the convicts suc-
ceeded in their criminal design! No time was lost before
discussing it.

“ My friends,” said Cyrus Harding, “perhaps this vessel
only wishes to survey the coast of the island. Perhaps her
crew will not land. There is a chance of it. However
that may be, we ought to do everything we can to hide
our presence here. The windmill on Prospect Heights is
too easily seen. Let Ayrton and Neb go and take down
the sails. We must also conceal the windows of Granite
House with thick branches. All the fires must be ex-
tinguished, so that nothing -may betray the presence of
men on the island.”

“ And our vessel?” said Herbert.

“Oh,” answered Pencroft, “she is sheltered in Port
Balloon, and I defy any of those rascals there to find
her !”

The engineer’s orders were immediately executed. Neb
and Ayrton ascended the plateau, and took the necessary
precautions to conceal any indication of a settlement.



14 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Whilst they were thus occupied, their companions went to
the border of Jacamar Wood, and brought back a large
quantity of branches and creepers, which would at some
distance appear as natural foliage, and thus disguise the
windows in the granite cliff. At the same time, the
ammunition and guns were placed ready so as to be at
hand in case of an unexpected attack.

When all these precautions had been taken,—

“My friends,” said Harding, and his voice betrayed
some emotion, “if these wretches endeavour to seize Lin-
coln Island, we shall defend it—shall we not?”

“Yes, Cyrus,” replied the reporter, “and if necessary we
will die to defend it !”

The engineer extended his hand to his companions, who
pressed it warmly.

Ayrton alone remained in his corner, not joining the
colonists. Perhaps he, the former convict, still felt himself
unworthy to do so!

Cyrus Harding understood what was passing in Ayrton’s
mind, and going to him—

“And you, Ayrton, ” he asked, “ what will you do?”’

“My duty,” ’ answered Ayrton.

He then took up his station near the incon and gazed
through the foliage.

It was now half-past seven. The sun had disappeared
twenty minutes ago behind Granite House. Consequently



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 15

the Eastern horizon was becoming gradually obscured. In
the meanwhile the brig continued to advance towards
Union Bay. She was now not more than two miles off,
and exactly opposite the plateau of Prospect Heights, for
after having tacked off Claw Cape, she had drifted towards
the north in the current of the rising tide. One might
have said that at this distance she had already entered the
vast bay, for a straight line drawn from Claw Cape to
Cape Mandible would have rested on her starboard
quarter.

Was the brig about to penetrate far into the bay? That
was the first question. When once in the bay, would she
anchor there? That was the second. Would she not
content herself with only surveying the coast, and stand
out to sea again without landing her crew? They would
know this in an hour, The colonists could do nothing
but wait.

Cyrus Harding had not seen the suspected vessel hoist
the black flag without deep anxiety. Was it not a direct
menace against the work which he and his companions had
till now conducted so successfully? Had these pirates—
for the sailors of the brig could be nothing else—already
visited the island, since on approaching it they had hoisted
their colours. Had they formerly invaded it, so that
certain unaccountable peculiarities might be explained
in this way? Did there exist in the as yet unexplored



10 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

parts some accomplice ready to enter into communication
with them ?

To all these questions which he mentally asked himself,
Harding knew not what to reply ; but he felt that the safety
of the colony could not but be seriously threatened by the
arrival of the brig.

However, he and his companions were determined to
fight to the last gasp. It would have been very important
to know if the pirates were numerous and better armed
than the colonists. But how was this information to be
obtained ?

Night fell. The new moon had disappeared. Profound
darkness enveloped the island and the sea. No light could
pierce through the heavy piles of clouds on the horizon.
The wind had died away completely with the twilight.
Not a leaf rustled on the trees, not a ripple murmured on
the shore. Nothing could be seen of the ship, all her lights
being extinguished, and if she was still in sight of the
island, her whereabouts could not be discovered.

“Well! who knows?” said Pencroft. “Perhaps that
cursed craft will stand off during the night, and’ we shall
see nothing of her at daybreak.”

As if in reply to the sailor’s observation, a bright light
flashed in the darkness, and a cannon-shot was heard.

The vessel was still there and had guns on board.

Six seconds elapsed between the flash and the report.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 17





Therefore the brig was about a mile and a quarter '
from the coast.
At the same time, the chains were heard rattling through

the hawse-holes.
The vessel had just anchored in sight of Granite House!



18 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

CHAPTER II.

DISCUSSIONS—PRESENTIMENTS—AYRTON’S PROPOSAL—
IT IS ACCEPTED—AYRTON AND PENCROFT ON
GRANT ISLET—CONVICTS FROM NORFOLK ISLAND
—AYRTON’S HEROIC ATTEMPT—HIS RETURN—SIX
AGAINST FIFTY.

THERE was no longer any doubt as to the pirates’ inten-
tions. They had dropped anchor at a short distance
from the island, and it was evident that the next day
by means of their boats they purposed to land on the
beach !

Cyrus Harding and his companions were ready to act,
but, determined though they were, they must not forget to
be prudent. Perhaps their presence might still be con-
cealed in the event of the pirates contenting themselves
with landing on the shore without examining the interior
of the island. It might be, indeed, that their only intention
was to obtain fresh water from the Mercy, and it was not
impossible that the bridge, thrown across a mile and a half



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 19
from the mouth, and the manufactory at the Chimneys
might escape their notice.

But why was that flag hoisted at the brig’s peak ? What
was that shot fired for? Pure bravado doubtless, unless it
was a sign of the act of taking possession. Harding knew
now that the vessel was well armed. And what had the
colonists of Lincoln Island to reply to the pirates’ guns?
A few muskets only. .

“However,” observed Cyrus Harding, “here we are in
an impregnable position. The enemy cannot discover the
mouth of the outlet, now that it is hidden under reeds and
grass, and consequently it would be impossible for them to
penetrate into Granite House.”

“But our plantations, our poultry-yard, our corral, all,

1?

everything!” exclaimed Pencroft, stamping his foot. “They

may spoil everything, destroy everything in a few hours!”

“Everything, Pencroft,” answered Harding, “and we have
no means of preventing them.”

“Are they numerous? that is the question,” said the
reporter. “If they are not more than a dozen, we shall be
able to stop them, but forty, fifty, more perhaps!”

“Captain Harding,” then said Ayrton, advancing towards
the engineer, “will you give me leave.”

“For what, my friend ?”

“To go to that vessel to find out the strength of her
crew.”

C2



20 _ THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

“But Ayrton—” answered the engineer, hesitating, “you
will risk your life—”

“Why not, sir?”

“That is more than your duty.”

“T have more than my duty to do,” replied Ayrton.

“Will you go to the ship in the boat?” asked Gideon
Spilett.

“ No, sir, but I will swim. A boat would be seen where
a man may glide between wind and water.”

“Do you know that the brig is a mile and a quarter
from the shore?” said Herbert.

“Tam a good swimmer, Mr. Herbert.”

“T tell you it is risking your life,” said the engineer.

“That is no. matter,” answered Ayrton. “Captain
Harding, I ask this as a favour. Perhaps it will be a
means of raising me in my own eyes!”

“Go, Ayrton,” replied the engineer, who felt sure that a
refusal would have deeply wounded the former convict,
now become an honest man.

“T will accompany you,” said Pencroft.

“You mistrust me!” said Ayrton quickly.

Then more humbly,—

“Alas!”

“No! no!” exclaimed Harding with animation, “no,
Ayrton, Pencroft does not mistrust you. You interpret
his words wrongly.”



TIIE SECRET OF TITE ISLAND. 21

“Indeed,” returned the sailor, “I only propose to accom-
pany Ayrton as far as the islet. It may be, although it is
scarcely possible, that one of these villains has landed, and
in that case two men will not be too many to hinder him
from giving the alarm. I will wait for Ayrton on the islet,
and he shall go alone to the vessel, since he has proposed to
do so.” These things agreed to, Ayrton made preparations
for his departure. His plan was bold, but it might succeed,
thanks to the darkness of the night. Once arrived at the
vessel's side, Ayrton, holding on to the main chains, might
rcconnoitre the number and perhaps overhear the intentions
of the pirates.

Ayrton and Pencroft, followed by their companions, de-
scended to the beach. Ayrton undressed and rubbed him-
self with grease, so as to suffer less from the temperature
of the water, which was still cold. He might, indeed, be
obliged to remain in it for several hours,

Pencroft and Neb, during this time, had gone to fetch
the boat, moored a few hundred feet higher up, on the bank
of the Mercy, and by the time they returned, Ayrton was
ready to start. A coat was thrown over his shoulders, and
the settlers all came round him to press his hand.

Ayrton then shoved off with Pencroft in the boat.

It was half-past ten in the evening when the two
adventurers disappeared in the darkness. Their com-
panions returned to wait at the Chimneys.



22 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.





The channel was easily traversed, and the boat touched
the opposite shore of the islet. This was not done without
precaution, for fear lest the pirates might be roaming
about there. But after a careful survey, it was evident that
the islet was deserted. Ayrton then, followed by Pencroft,
crossed it with a rapid step, scaring the birds nestled in
the holes of the rocks ; then, without hesitating, he plunged
into the sea, and swam noiselessly in the direction of the
ship, in which a few lights had recently appeared, showing
her exact situation. As to Pencroft, he crouched down in
a cleft of the rock, and awaited the return of his companion.

In the meanwhile, Ayrton, swimming with a vigorous
stroke, glided through the sheet of water without producing
the slightest ripple. His head just emerged above it and
his eyes were fixed on the dark hull of the brig, from which
the lights were reflected in the water. He thought only of
the duty which he had promised to accomplish, and nothing
of the danger which he ran, not only on board the ship,
but in the sea, often frequented by sharks, The current
bore him along and he rapidly receded from the shore.

Half an hour afterwards, Ayrton, without having been
either seen or heard, arrived at the ship and caught hold of
the main-chains. He took breath, then, hoisting himself
up, he managed to reach the extremity of the cutwater.
There were drying several pairs of sailors’ trousers. He
put on a pair. Then settling himself firmly, he listened.



—







AYRTON HOISTING HIMSELF TO THE CUTWATER.
t Page 22.









































































































































E PIRATE.

TH

AYRTON BOARDS

Page 23.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 23
They were not sleeping on board the brig. On the con-
trary, ‘they were talking, singing, laughing. And these
were the sentences, accompanied with oaths, which princi-
pally struck Ayrton :—

“Our brig is a famous acquisition.”

“She sails well, and merits her name of the ‘ Speedy.’”

“She would show all the navy of Norfolk a clean pair of
heels.”

“Hurrah for her captain!”

“ Hurrah for Bob Harvey!”

What Ayrton felt when he overheard this fragment o:
conversation may be understood when it is known that in
this Bob Harvey he recognized one of his old Australian
companions, a daring sailor, who had continued his criminal
career. Bob Harvey had seized, on the shores of Norfolk
Island, this brig, which was loaded with arms, ammunition,
utensils, and tools of all sorts, destined for one of the
Sandwich Islands, All his gang had gone on board, and
pirates after having been convicts, these wretches, more
ferocious than the Malays themselves, scoured the Pacific,
destroying vessels, and massacring their crews.

The convicts spoke loudly, they recounted their deeds,
drinking deeply at the same time, and this is what Ayrton
gathered. Theactual crew of the “ Speedy ” was composed
solely of English prisoners, escaped from Norfolk Island.

Here it may be well to explain what this island was.



24. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

In 29° 2’ south latitude, and 165° 42' east longitude, to
the east of Australia, is found a little island, six miles in
circumference, overlooked by Mount Pitt, which rises
to a height of 1100 feet above the level of the
sea. . This is Norfolk Island, once the seat of an
establishment in -which were lodged the most intractable
convicts from the English penitentiaries, They numbered
500, under an iron discipline, threatened with terrible
punishments, and were guarded by 150 soldiers, and
150 employed under the orders of the governor. It
would be difficult to imagine a collection of greater
ruffians. Sometimes,—although very rarely,—notwith-
standing the extreme surveillance of which they were the
object, many managed to escape, and seizing vessels which
they surprised, they infested the Polynesian Archipelagos.’

Thus had Bob Harvey and his companions done.
Thus had Ayrton formerly wished to do. Bob Harvey
had seized the brig “Speedy,” anchored in sight of
Norfolk Island ; the crew had been massacred ; and for a
year this ship had scoured the Pacific, under the command
of Harvey, now a pirate, and well known to Ayrton!

The convicts were, for the most part, assembled under
the poop; but a few, stretched on the deck, were talking
loudly.

1 Norfolk Island has long since been abandoned as a_ penal
settlement.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 25

The conversation still continued amidst shouts and
libations. Ayrton learned that chance alone had brought
the “Speedy” in sight of Lincoln Island: Bob Harvey
had never yet set foot on it; but, as Cyrus Harding
had conjectured, finding this unknown land in his course,
its position being marked on no chart, he had formed
the project of visiting it, and, if he found it suitable,
of making it the brig’s head-quarters.

As to the black flag hoisted at the “Speedy’s” peak,
and the gun which had been fired, in imitation of men-
of-war when they lower their colours, it was pure
piratical bravado. It was in no way a signal, and no
communication yet existed between the convicts and
Lincoln Island.

The settlers’ domain was now menaced with terrible
danger. Evidently the island, with its water, its harbour,
its resources of all kinds so increased in value by the
colonists, and the concealment afforded by Granite
House, could not but be convenient for the convicts;
in their hands it would become an excellent place of
cefuge, and, being unknown, it would assure them, for
along time perhaps, impunity and security. Evidently,
also, the lives of the settlers’ would not be respected,
and Bob Harvey and his accomplices’ first care would
be to massacre them without mercy. Harding and his
companions had, therefore, not even the choice of



26 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

flying and hiding themselves in the island, since the
convicts intended to reside there, and since, in the event
of the “Speedy” departing on an expedition, it was
probable that some of the crew would remain on shore,
so as to settle themselves there. Therefore, it would
be necessary to fight, to destroy every one of these
scoundrels, unworthy of pity, and against whom any
means would be right. So thought Ayrton, and he
well knew that Cyrus Harding would be of his way
of thinking.

But was resistance and, in the last place, victory
possible? That would depend on the equipment of the
brig, and the number of men which she carried.

This Ayrton resolved to learn af any cost, and as an
hour after his arrival the vociferations had begun to
die away, and as a large number of the convicts were
already buried in a drunken sleep, Ayrton did not
hesitate to venture on to the “Speedy’s” deck, which
the extinguished lanterns now left in total darkness.
He hoisted himself on to the cutwater, and by the
bowsprit arrived at the forecastle. Then, gliding among
the convicts stretched here and there, he made the
round of the ship, and found that the “ Speedy” carried
four guns, which would throw shot of from eight to
ten pounds in weight. He found also, on touching
them, that these guns were breech-loaders. They were,



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 27
therefore, of modern make, easily used, and of terrible
effect.

As to the men lying on the deck, they were about ten
in number, but it was to be supposed that more were
sleeping down below. Besides, by listening to them,
Ayrton had understood that there were fifty on board.
That was a large number for the six settlers of Lincoln
Island to contend with! But now, thanks to Ayrton’s
devotion, Cyrus Harding would not be surprised, he would
know the strength of his adversaries, and would make his
arrangements accordingly.

There was nothing more for Ayrton to do but to
return, and render to his companions an account of the
mission with which he had charged himself, and he
prepared to regain the bows of the brig, so that he
might let himself down into the water.

But to this man, whose wish was, as he had said, to
do more than his duty, there came an heroic thought.
This was to sacrifice his own life, but save the island
and the colonists. Cyrus Harding evidently could not
resist fifty ruffians, all well armed, who, either by
penetrating by main force into Granite House, or by
starving out the besieged, could obtain from them
what they wanted. And then he thought of his pre-
servers—those who had made him again a man, and an
honest man, those to whom he owed all—murdered



28 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



without pity, their works destroyed, their island turned
into a pirates’ den! He said to himself that he, Ayrton,
was the principal cause of so many disasters, since his
old companion, Bob Harvey, had but realized his own
plans, and a feeling of horror took possession of him.
Then he was seized with an irresistible desire to blow
up the brig, and with her, all whom she had on board.
He would perish in the explosion, but he would have
done his duty.

Ayrton did not hesitate. To reach the powder-room,
which is always situated in the after-part of a vessel,
was easy. There would be no want of powder in a
vessel which followed such a trade, and a spark would
be enough to destroy it in an instant.

Ayrton stole carefully along the between-decks, strewn
with numerous sleepers, overcome more by drunkenness
than sleep. A lantern was lighted at the foot of the
mainmast, round which was hung a gun-rack, furnished
with weapons of all sorts,

Ayrton took a revolver from the rack, and assured
himself that it was loaded and primed. Nothing more
was needed to accomplish the work of destruction. He
then glided towards the stern, so as to arrive under the
brig’s poop at the powder-magazine.

It was difficult to proceed along the dimly-lighted deck
without stumbling over some half-s'eeping convict, who









; ‘““WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Page 29.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 29



retorted by oaths and kicks. Ayrton was, therefore, more
than once obliged to halt. But at last he arrived at the
partition dividing the after-cabin, and found the door
opening into the magazine itself.

Ayrton, compelled to force it open, set to work. It
was a difficult operation to perform without noise, for
he had to break a padlock. But under his vigorous
hand, the padlock broke, and the door was open.

At that moment a hand was laid on Ayrton’s shoulder.

“What are you doing here?” asked a tall man, in a
harsh voice, who, standing in the shadow, quickly threw
the light of a lantern on Ayrton’s face.

Ayrton drew back. In the rapid flash of the lantern,
he had recognized his former accomplice, Bob Harvey,
who could not have known him, as he must have thought
Ayrton long since dead.

‘What are you doing here?” again said Bob Harvey,
seizing Ayrton by the waistband.

But Ayrton, without replying, wrenched himself from
his grasp and attempted to rush into the magazine. A
shot fired into the midst of the powder-casks, and all would
be over!

“Help, lads!” shouted Bob Harvey.

At his shout two or three pirates awoke, jumped up,
and, rushing on Ayrton, endeavoured to throw him down.
He soon extricated himself from their grasp. He fired his



30 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

revolver, and two of the convicts fell; but a blow from a
knife which he could not ward off made a gash in his
shoulder.

Ayrton perceived that he could no longer hope to carry
out his project. Bob Harvey had reclosed the door of the
powder-magazine, and a movement on the deck indicated
a general awakening of the pirates. Ayrton must reserve
himself to fight at the side of Cyrus Harding. There was
nothing for him but flight!

But was flight still possible? It was doubtful, yet
Ayrton resolved to dare everything in order to rejoin his
companions.

Four barrels of the revolver were still undischarged.
Two were fired—one, aimed at Bob Harvey, did not wound
him, or at any rate only slightly; and Ayrton, profiting
by the momentary retreat of his adversaries, rushed towards
the companion-ladder to gain the deck. Passing before
the lantern, he smashed it with a blow from the butt of
his revolver. A profound darkness ensued, which favoured
his flight. Two or three pirates, awakened by the noise,
were descending the ladder at the same moment. A fifth
shot from Ayrton laid one low, and the others drew back,
not understanding what was going on. Ayrton was on deck
in two bounds, and three seconds later, having discharged
his last barrel in the face of a pirate who was about to seize
him by the throat, he leapt over the bulwarks into the sea.

















































































































































































































































































































































a

“







HE LEAPT OVER THE BULWARKS INTO THE SEA,

Page 30.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 31

Ayrton had not made six strokes before shots were
splashing around him like hail.

What were Pencroft’s feelings, sheltered under a rock
on the islet! what were those of Harding, the reporter,
Herbert, and Neb, crouched in the Chimneys, when they
heard the reports on board the brig! They rushed out on
to the beach, and, their guns shouldered, they stood ready
to repel any attack.

They had no doubt about it themselves! Ayrton, sur-
prised by the pirates, had been murdered, and, perhaps,
the wretches would profit by the night to make a descent
on the island!

Half an hour was passed in terrible anxiety. The firing
had ceased, and yet neither Ayrton nor Pencroft had
reappeared. Was the islet invaded? Ought they not to
fly to the help of Ayrton and Pencroft? But how? The
tide being high at that time, rendered the channel im-
passable. The boat was not there! We may imagine the
horrible anxiety which took possession of Harding and
his companions!

At last, towards half-past twelve, a boat, carrying two
men, touched the beach. It was Ayrton, slightly wounded
in the shoulder, and Pencroft, safe and sound, whom their
friends received with open arms.

All immediately took refuge in the Chimneys. There
Ayrton recounted all that had passed, even to his plan



32 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



for blowing up the brig, which he had attempted to put
into execution.

All hands were extended to Ayrton, who did not conceal
from them that their situation was serious. The pirates
had been alarmed. They knew that Lincoln Island was in-
habited. They would land upon it in numbers and well
armed. They would respect nothing. Should the settlers
fall into their hands, they must expect no mercy!

“Well, we shall know how to die!” said the reporter.

“Let us go in and watch,” answered the engineer.

“Have we any chance of escape, captain?” asked the
sailor.

“Ves, Pencroft.”

“Hum! six against fifty!”

“Ves! six! without counting—’

“Who ?” asked Pencroft.

Cyrus did not reply, but pointed upwards.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 33



CHAPTER IIL

THE MIST RISES—THE ENGINEER’S PREPARATIONS—
THREE POSTS—AYRTON AND PENCROFT—THE FIRST
BOAT—TWO OTHER BOATS—ON THE ISLET—SIX
CONVICTS LAND—THE BRIG WEIGHS ANCHOR—THE
“ SPEEDY’S” GUNS—A DESPERATE SITUATION—UN-
EXPECTED CATASTROPHE.

THE night passed without incident. The colonists were
on the guz vive, and did not leave their post at the
Chimneys. The pirates, on their side, did not appear to
have made any attempt to land. Since the last shots fired
at Ayrton not a report, not even a sound, had betrayed
the presence of the brig in the neighbourhood of the
island. It might have been fancied that she had weighed
anchor, thinking that she had to deal with her match, and
had left the coast.

But it was no such thing, and when day began to dawn
the settlers could see a confused mass through the morning
mist. It was the “Speedy.”

D



34 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“These, my friends,” said the engineer, “are the arrange-
ments which appear to me best to make before the fog
completely clears away. It hides us from the eyes of the
pirates, and we can act without attracting their attention.
The most important thing is, that the convicts should
believe that the inhabitants of the island are numerous,
and consequently capable of resisting them. I therefore
propose that we divide into three parties, the first of
which shall be posted at the Chimneys, the second at the
mouth of the Mercy. As to the third, I think it would be
best to place it on the islet, so as to prevent, or at all
events delay, any attempt at landing. We have the use of
two rifles and four muskets. Each of us will be armed,
and, as we are amply provided with powder and shot, we
need not spare our fire. We have nothing to fear from the
muskets, nor even from the guns of the brig. What can
they do against these rocks? And, as we shall not fire
from the windows of Granite House, the pirates will not
think of causing irreparable damage by throwing shell
against it. What is to be feared is, the necessity of meeting
hand-to-hand, since the convicts have numbers on their
side. We must, therefore, try to prevent them from land-
ing, but without discovering ourselves. Therefore, do not
economize the ammunition. Fire often, but with a sure
aim. We have-each eight or ten enemies to kill, and they
must be killed!”



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 35



Cyrus Harding had clearly represented their situation,
although he spoke in the calmest voice, as if it was a
question of directing a piece of work, and not ordering
a battle. His companions approved these arrangements
without even uttering a word. There was nothing more
to be done but for each to take his place before the fog
should be completely dissipated. Neb and Pencroft im-
mediately ascended to Granite House and brought back a
sufficient quantity of ammunition. Gideon Spilett and
Ayrton, both very good marksmen, were armed with the
two rifles, which carried nearly a mile. The four other
muskets were divided amongst Harding, Neb, Pencroft,
and Herbert.

The posts were arranged in the following man-
ner :—

Cyrus Harding and Herbert remained in ambush at the
Chimneys, thus commanding the shore to the foot of
Granite House.

Gideon Spilett and Neb crouched among the rocks at the
mouth: of the Mercy, from which the drawbridges had been
raised, so as to prevent any one from crossing in a boat or
landing on the opposite shore.

As to Ayrton and Pencroft, they shoved off in the boat,
and prepared to cross the channel and to take up two sepa-
rate stations on the islet. In this way, shots being fired
from four different points at once, the convicts would be led

“D2



30 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

to believe that the island was both largely peopled and
strongly defended.

In the event of a landing being effected without their
having been able to prevent it, and also if they saw that
they were on the point of being cut off by the brig’s boat,
Ayrton and Pencroft were to return in their boat to the
shore and proceed towards the threatened spot.

Before starting to occupy their posts, the colonists for
the last time wrung each other’s hands,

Pencroft succeeded in controlling himself sufficiently to
suppress his emotion when he embraced Herbert, his boy!
and then they separated.

In a few moments Harding and Herbert on one side, the
weporter and Neb on the other, had disappeared behind the
‘rocks, and five minutes later Ayrton and Pencroft, having
without difficulty crossed the channel, disembarked on the islet
and concealed themselves in the clefts of its eastern shore.

None of them could have been seen, for they them-
selves could scarcely distinguish the brig in the fog.

It was half-past six in the morning.

Soon the fog began to clear away, and the topmasts
of the brig issued from the vapour. For some minutes
great masses rolléd over the surface of the sea, then a
breeze sprang up, which rapidly dispelled the mist.

The “Speedy” now appeared in full view, with a
spring on her cable, her head to the north, presenting her



TUE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 37
larboard side to the island. Just as Harding had calcu-
lated, she was not more than a mile and a quarter from
the coast.

The sinister black flag floated from the peak.

The engineer, with his telescope, could see that the
four guns on board were pointed at the island. They
were evidently ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

In the meanwhile the “Speedy” remained _ silent.
About thirty pirates could be seen moving on the deck.
A few were on the poop; two others posted in the shrouds,
and armed with spy-glasses, were attentively surveying
the island.

Certainly, Bob Harvey and his crew would not be able
easily to give an account of what had happened during
the night on board the brig. Had this half-naked man,
who had forced the door of the powder-magazine, and
with whom they had struggled, who had six times
discharged his revolver at them, who had killed one
and wounded two others, escaped their shot? Had
he been able to swim to shore? Whence did he
come? What had been his object? Had his design
really been to blow up the brig, as Bob Harvey had
thought ? All this must be confused enough to the con-
victs minds. But what they could no longer doubt was
that the unknown island before which the “Speedy”
had cast anchor was inhabited, and that there was,



38 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.





perhaps, a numerous colony ready to defend it. And yet
no one was to be seen, neither on the shore, nor on the
heights. The beach appeared to be absolutely deserted.
At any rate, there was no trace of dwellings. Had the
inhabitants fled into the interior? Thus probably the
pirate captain reasoned, and doubtless, like a prudent
man, he wished to reconnoitre the locality before he
allowed his men to venture there.

During an hour and a half, no indication of attack or
landing could be observed on board the brig. Evidently
Bob Harvey was hesitating. Even with his strongest
telescopes he could not have perceived one of the settlers
crouched among the rocks. It was not even probable that
his attention had been awakened by the screen of green
branches and creepers hiding the windows of Granite
House, and showing rather conspicuously on the bare
rock. Indeed, how could he imagine that a dwelling was
hollowed out, at that height, in the solid granite. From
Claw Cape to the Mandible Capes, in all the extent of
Union Bay, there was nothing to lead him to suppose
that the island was or could be inhabited.

At eight o’clock, however, the colonists observed

’

movement on board the “Speedy.” A boat was lowered,
and seven men jumped into her. They were armed with
muskets: one took the yoke-lines, four others the oars,

and the two others, kneeling in the bows, ready to fire,

































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































AYRTON AND PENCROFT WAITED TILL THEY WERE WITHIN RANGE.

+ Page 39.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 39

reconnoitred the island. Their object was no doubt to
make an examination but not to land, for in the latter
case they would have come in larger numbers. The
pirates from their look-out could have seen that the coast
was sheltered by an islet, separated from it by a channel
half a mile in width. However, it was soon cvident to
Cyrus Harding, on observing the direction followed by the
boat, that they would not attempt to penetrate into the
channel, but would land on the islet.

Pencroft and Ayrton, each hidden in a narrow cleft of
the rock, saw them coming directly towards them, and
waited till they were within range.

The boat advanced with extreme caution. The oars
only dipped into the water at long intervals. It could
now be seen that one of the convicts held a lead-line in
his hand, and that he wished to fathom the depth of the
channel hollowed out by the current of the Mercy. This
showed that it was Bob Harvey’s intention to bring his
brig as near as possible to the coast. About thirty pirates,
scattered in the rigging, followed every movement of the
boat, and took the bearings of certain landmarks which
would allow them to approach without danger. The boat
was not more than two cables-lengths off the islet when
she stopped. The man at the tiller stood up and looked
for the best place at which to land.

At that moment two shots were heard. Smoke curled



40 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

up from among the rocks of the islet. The man at the
helm and the man with the lead-line fell backwards into
the boat. Ayrton’s and Pencroft’s balls had struck them
both at the same moment.

Almost immediately a louder report was heard, a cloud
of smoke issued from the brig’s side, and a ball, striking
the summit of the rock which sheltered Ayrton and
‘Pencroft, made it fly in splinters, but the two marksmen
remained unhurt.

Horrible imprecations burst from the boat, which im-
mediately continued its way. The man who had been
at the tiller was replaced by one of his comrades, and
the oars were rapidly plunged into the water. However,
instead of returning on board as might have been ex-
pected, the boat coasted along the islet, so as to round
its southern point, The pirates pulled vigorously at
their oars that they might get out of range of the
bullets.

They advanced to within five cables-lengths of that
part of the shore terminated by Flotsam Point, and after
having rounded it in a semicircular line, still protected
by the brig’s guns, they proceeded towards the mouth of
the Mercy, ‘

Their evident intention was to penetrate into the
channel, and cut off the colonists posted on the islet, in
such a way, that whatever their number might be, being



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 4!



placed between the fire from the boat and the fire from
the brig, they would find themselves in a very disad-
vantageous position.

A quarter of an hour passed whilst the boat advanced
in this direction. Absolute silence, perfect calm reigned
in the air and on the water.

Pencroft and Ayrton, although they knew they ran
the risk of being cut off, had not left their post, both
that they did not wish to show themselves as yet to
their assailants, and expose themselves to the “ Speedy’s”
guns, and that they relied on Neb and Gideon Spilett,
watching at the mouth of the river, and on Cyrus
Harding and Herbert, in ambush among the rocks at
he Chimneys.

Twenty minutes after the first shots were fired, the
boat was less than two cables-lengths off the Mercy.
As the tide was beginning to rise with its accustomed
violence, caused by the narrowness of the straits, the
pirates were drawn towards the river, and it was only
by dint of hard rowing that they were able to keep in
the middle of the channel. But, as they were passing
within good range of the mouth of the Mercy, two balls
saluted them, and two more of their number were laid
in the bottom of the boat. Neb and Spilett had not
missed their aim.

The brig immediately sent a second ball on the post



42 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

betrayed by the smoke, but without any other result
than that of splintering the rock.

The boat now contained only three able men. Carried
on by the current, it shot through the channel with
the rapidity of an arrow, passed before Harding and
Herbert, who, not thinking it within range, withheld their
fire, then, rounding the northern point of the islet with
the two remaining oars, they pulled towards the brig.

Hitherto the settlers had nothing to complain of.
Their adversaries had certainly had the worst of it.
The latter already counted four men seriously wounded
if not dead; they, on the contrary, unwounded, had
not missed a shot. If the pirates continued to attack
them in this way, if they renewed their attempt to
land by means of a boat, they could be destroyed
one by one.

It was now seen how advantageous the engineer’s
arrangements had been. The pirates would think that
they had to deal with numerous and well armed ad-
versaries, whom they could not easily get the better of.

Half an hour passed before the boat, having to pull
against the current, could get alongside the “Speedy.”
Frightful cries weré heard when they returned on board
with the wounded, and two or three guns were fired
with no result.

But now about a dozen other convicts, maddened with



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 43



rage, and possibly by the effect of the evening’s pota-
tions, threw themselves into the boat. A second boat
was also lowered, in which eight men took their places,
and whilst the first pulled straight for the islet, to dis-
lodge the colonists from thence, the second manceuvred
so as to force the entrance of the Mercy.

The situation was evidently becoming very dangerous
for Pencroft and Ayrton, and they saw that they must
regain the mainland.

However, they waited till the first boat was within
range, when two well-directed balls threw its crew into
disorder. Then, Pencroft and Ayrton, abandoning their
posts, under fire from the dozen muskets, ran across the
islet at full speed, jumped into their boat, crossed the
channel at the moment the second boat reached the
southern end, and ran to hide themselves in the. Chim-
neys.

They had scarcely rejoined Cyrus Harding and Her-
bert, before the islet was overrun with pirates in every
direction. Almost at the same moment, fresh reports
resounded from the Mercy station, to which the second
boat was rapidly approaching. Two, out of the eight
men who manned her, were mortally wounded by Gideon
Spilett and Neb, and the boat herself, carried irresistibly
on to the reefs, was stove in at the mouth of the Mercy.
But the six survivors, holding their muskets above their



44. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

heads to preserve them from contact with the water,
managed to land on the right bank of the river. Then,
finding they were exposed to the fire of the ambush
there, they fled in the direction of Flotsam Point, out
of range of the balls.

The actual situation was this: on the islet were a
dozen convicts, of whom some were no doubt wounded,
but who had still a boat at their disposal; on the island
were six, but who could not by any possibility reach
Granite House, as they could not cross the river, all the
bridges being raised,

“Hallo,” exclaimed Pencroft as he rushed into the
Chimneys, “hallo, captain! What do you think of it,
now?”

“T think,” answered the engineer, “that the combat,
will now take a new form, for it cannot be supposed
that the convicts will be so foolish as to remain in a
position so unfavourable for them!”

“They won't cross the channel,” said the sailor.
“Ayrton and Mr. Spilett’s rifles are there to prevent
them. You know that they carry more than a mile!”

“No doubt,” replied Herbert ; “but what can two rifles
do against the brig’s guns ?” :

“Well, the brig isn’t in the channel yet, I fancy!”
said Pencroft.

“ But suppose she does come there?” said Harding.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 45

“That’s impossible, for she would risk running aground
and being lost!”

“Tt is possible,” said Ayrton. ‘The convicts might
profit by the high tide to enter the channel, with the
risk of grounding at low tide, it is true; but then,
under the fire from her guns, our posts would be no
longer tenable.”

“Confound them!” exclaimed Pencroft, “It really
seems as if the blackguards were preparing to weigh
anchor.”

“Perhaps we shall be obliged to take refuge in Granite
House!” observed Herbert.

“We must wait !” answered Cyrus Harding.

“But Mr. Spilett and Neb?” said Pencroft.

“They will know when it is best to rejoin us. Be
ready, Ayrton. It is yours and Spilett’s rifles which must
speak now.”

It was only too true. The “Speedy” was beginning
to weigh her anchor, and her intention was evidently
to approach the islet. The tide would be rising for an
hour and a half, and the ebb current being already
weakened, it would be easy for the brig to advance.
But as to entering the channel, Pencroft, contrary to
Ayrton’s opinion, could not believe that she would dare
to attempt it.

In the meanwhile, the pirates who occupied the islet



46 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

had gradually advanced to the opposite shore, and were
now only separated from the mainland by the channel.

Being armed with muskets alone, they could do no
harm to the settlers, in ambush at the Chimneys and
the mouth of the Mercy; but, not knowing the latter to be
supplied with long range rifles, they on their side did
not believe themselves to be exposed. Quite uncovered,
therefore, they surveyed the islet, and examined the shore.

Their illusion was of short duration. Ayrton’s and
Gideon Spilett’s rifles then spoke, and no doubt imparted
some very disagreeable intelligence to two of the con-
victs, for they fell backwards.

Then there was a general helter-skelter. The ten
others, not even stopping to pick up their dead or
wounded companions, fled to the other side of the islet,
tumbled into the boat which had brought them, and
pulled away with all their strength.

“ Eight less!” exclaimed Pencroft. ‘Really, one would
have ‘thought that Mr. Spilett and Ayrton had given
the word to fire together!”

“Gentlemen,” said Ayrton, as he reloaded his gun,
“this is becoming more serious. The brig is making
sail !” ’

“ The anchor is weighed!” exclaimed Pencroft.

“Yes; and she is already moving.”

In fact, they could distinctly hear the creaking of the



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 47
windlass. The “Speedy” was at first held by her
anchor; then, when that had been raised, she began to
drift towards the shore. The wind was blowing from
the sea; the jib and the fore-topsail were hoisted, and
the vessel gradually approached the island.

From the two posts of the Mercy and the Chimneys
they watched her without giving a sign of life; but not
without some emotion. What could be more terrible
for the colonists than to be exposed, at a short distance,
to the brig’s guns, without being able to reply with any
effect ? How could they then prevent the pirates from
landing ?

Cyrus Harding felt this strongly, and he asked himself
what it would be possible to do. Before long, he would
be called upon for his determination. But what was
it to be? To shut themselves up in Granite House,
to be besieged there, to remain there for weeks, for
months even, since they had an abundance of provisions ?
So far good! But after that? The pirates would not
the less be masters of the island, which they would
ravage at their pleasure, and in time, they would end by
having their revenge on the prisoners in Granite House.

However, one chance yet remained; it was that Bob
Harvey, after all, would not venture his ship into the
channel, and that he would keep outside the islet. He
would be still separated from the coast by half a mile,



48 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



and at that distance his shot could not be very destruc-
tive.

“Never!” repeated Pencroft, “ Bob Harvey will never, if
he is a good seaman, enter that channel! He knows well
that it would risk the brig, if the sea got up ever so little!
And what would become of him without his vessel ?”

In the meanwhile the brig approached the islet, and
it could be seen that she was endeavouring to make
the lower end. The breeze was light, and as the current
had then lost much of its force, Bob Harvey had absolute
command over his vessel.

The route previously followed by the boats had allowed
her to reconnoitre the channel, and she boldly entered it.

The pirates design was now only too evident: he
wished to bring her broadside to bear on the Chimneys
and from there to reply with shell and ball to the shot
which had till then decimated her crew.

Soon the “Speedy” reached the point of the islet;
she rounded it with ease; the mainsail was braced up,
and the brig hugging the wind, stood across the mouth
of the Mercy.

“The scoundrels! they are coming!” said Pencroft.

At that moment,' Cyrus Harding, Ayrton, the sailor,
and Herbert, were rejoined by Neb and Gideon Spilett.

The reporter and his companion had judged it best
to abandon the post at the Mercy, from which they



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 49



could do nothing against the ship, and they had acted
wisely. It was better that the colonists should be
together at the moment when they were about to
engage in a decisive action. Gideon Spilett and Neb
had arrived by dodging behind the rocks, though not
without attracting a shower of bullets, which had not,
however, reached them,

“Spilett! Neb!” cried the engineer, “You are not
wounded ?”

“No,” answered the reporter; “a few bruises. only
from the ricochet! But that cursed brig has entered.
the channel!”

“Yes,” replied Pencroft, “and in ten minutes she will.
have anchored before Granite House!”

“Tave you formed any plan, Cyrus?” asked the
reporter.

“We must take refuge in Granite House whilst there
is still time, and the convicts cannot see us.”

“That is my opinion, too,” replied Gideon Spilett ;
“but once shut up—”

“We must be guided by circumstances,” said the
engineer.

“Let us be off, then, and make haste!” said the re-
porter.

“Would you not wish, captain, that Ayrton and I
should remain here?” asked the sailor. —

E



So. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“What would be the use of that, Pencroft?” replied
Harding. “No. We will not separate!”

There was not a moment to be lost. The colonists
left the Chimneys. A bend of the cliff prevented them
from being seen by those in the brig; but two or three
reports, and the crash of bullets on the rock, told them
that the “Speedy” was at no great distance.

To spring into the lift, hoist themselves up to the
door of Granite House, where Top and Jup had been
shut up since the evening before, to rush into the large
room, was the work of a minute only.

It was quite time, for the settlers, through the branches,
could see the “Speedy,” surrounded with smoke, gliding
up the channel. The firing was incessant, and shot from
the four guns struck blindly, both on the Mercy post,
although it was not occupied, and on the Chimneys.
The rocks were splintered, and cheers accompanied each
discharge. However, they were hoping that Granite
House would be spared, thanks to Harding’s precaution
of concealing the windows, when a shot, piercing the
door, penetrated into the passage.

“We are discovered!” exclaimed Pencroft.

The colonists had not, perhaps, been seen; but it
was certain that Bob Harvey had thought’ proper to
send a ball through the suspected foliage which concealed
that part of the cliff. Soon he redoubled his attack,





























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































i

VW
A \\



THE CHIMNEYS ATTACKED.
+ Page 50.













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































THE BRIG, RAISED ON A WATER-SPOUT, SPLIT IN TWO.
Page sr.

~



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. Sr

when another ball having torn away the leafy screen,
disclosed a gaping aperture in the granite.

The colonists’ situation was desperate. Their retreat
was discovered. They could not oppose any obstacle to
these missiles, nor protect the stone, which flew in splinters
around them. There was nothing to be done but to
take refuge in the upper passage of Granite House,
and leave their dwelling to be devastated, when a deep
roar was heard, followed by frightful cries!

Cyrus Harding and his companions rushed to one of
the windows—

The brig, irresistibly raised on a sort of water-spout,
had just split in two, and in less than ten seconds she
was.swallowed up with all her criminal crew!



§2 TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



CHAPTER IV.

THE COLONISTS ON THE BEACH—AYRTON AND PEN-
CROFT WORK AMID THE WRECK—CONVERSATION
DURING BREAKFAST—PENCROFT’S ARGUMENTS—
MINUTE EXAMINATION OF THE BRIG’S HULL—THE
POWDER-MAGAZINE UNTOUCHED—NEW. RICHES—
THE LAST OF THE WRECK—A BROKEN PIECE OF
CYLINDER.

“ SHE has blown up!” cried Herbert.
“Yes! blown up, just as if Ayrton had set fire to the
powder!” returned Pencroft, throwing himself into the lift
together with Neb and the lad.
“ But what has happened?” asked Gideon Spilett, quite
stunned by this unexpected catastrophe.

“Oh! this time,, we shall know—” answered the

”
engineer quickly.

“What shall we know ?>—”
“Later! later! Come Spilett. The main point is that

these pirates have been exterminated !”



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 53

And Cyrus Harding, hurrying away the reporter and
Ayrton, joined Pencroft, Neb, and Herbert on the
beach. ‘

Nothing could be seen of the brig, not even her masts.
After having been raised by the water-spout, she had fallen
on her side, and had sunk in that position, doubtless in
consequence of some enormous leak. But as in that place
the channel was not more than twenty feet in depth, it was
certain that the sides of the submerged brig would reappear
at low water. .

A few things from the wreck floated on the surface of.
the water. A raft could be seen consisting of spare spars,
coops of poultry with their occupants still living, boxes
and barrels, which gradually came to the surface, after
having escaped through the hatchways, but no pieces of the
wreck appeared, neither planks from the deck, nor timber
from the hull,—which rendered the sudden disappearance
of the “ Speedy” perfectly inexplicable.

However, the two masts, which had been broken and
escaped from the shrouds and stays, came up, with their
sails, some furled and the others spread. But it was not
necessary to wait for the tide to bring up these riches, and
Ayrton and Pencroft, jumped into the boat with the inten-
tion of towing the pieces of wreck either to the beach or to
the islet. But just as they were shoving off, an observation
from Gideon Spilett arrested them.



54. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“What about those six convicts who disembarked on the
right bank of the Mercy?” said he.

In fact, it would not do to forget that the six men whose
boat had gone to pieces on the rocks, had landed at Flot-
sam Point.

They looked in that direction. None of the fugitives
were visible. It was probable that, having seen their vessel
engulfed in the channel, they had fled into the interior of
the island.

“We will deal with them later,” said Harding. “As
they are armed, they will still be dangerous; but as it is six
against six, the chances are equal. To the most pressing
business first.”

Ayrton and Pencroft pulled vigorously towards the
wreck.

The sea was calm and the tide very high, as there had
been a new moon but two days before. A whole hour at
least would elapse before the hull of the brig could emerge
from the water of the channel.

Ayrton and Pencroft were able to fasten the masts and
spars by means of ropes, the ends of which were carried to
the beach. There, by the united efforts of the settlers the
pieces of wreck ‘vere hauled up. Then the boat picked up
all that was floating, coops, barrels, and boxes, which
were immediately carried to the Chimneys.

Several bodies floated also. Amongst them, Ayrton















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































”

PENCROFT.

BEEN,

E

“THAT IS WHAT I HAV.

Page 55.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 55

recognized that of Bob Harvey, which he pointed out to
his companion, saying with some emotion,—

“ That is what I have been, Pencroft.”

“But what you are no longer, brave Ayrton!” returned
the sailor warmly.

It was singular enough that so few bodies floated. Only
five or six were counted, which were already being carried
by the current towards the open sea. Very probably the
convicts had not had time to escape, and the ship lying
over on her side, the greater number of them had remained
below. Now the current, by carrying the bodies of these
miserable men out to sea, would spare the colonists the
sad task of burying them in some corner of their island.

For two hours, Cyrus Harding and his companions were
solely occupied in hauling up the spars on to the sand, and
then in spreading the sails, which were perfectly uninjured,
to dry. They spoke little, for they were absorbed in their
work, but what thoughts occupied their minds!

The possession of this brig, or rather all that she con-
tained, was a perfect mine of wealth. In fact, a ship is
like a little world in miniature, and the stores of the colony
would be increased by a large number of useful articles.
It would be, on a large scale, equivalent to the chest found
at Flotsam Point.

“And besides,” thought Pencroft, “why should it be
impossible to refloat the brig? If she has only a leak,



56 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

that may be stopped up; a vessel from three to four
hundred tons, why she is a regular ship compared to our
‘Bonadventure!’ And we could go a long distance in her!
We could go anywhere we liked! Captain Harding,
Ayrton and I must examine her! She would be well
worth the trouble!”

In fact, if the brig was still fit to navigate, the colonists’
chances of returning to their native land was singularly
increased. But, to decide this important question, it was
necessary to wait until the tide was quite low, so that every
part of the brig’s hull might be examined.

When their treasures had been safely conveyed on shore,
Harding and his companions azreed to devote some
minutes to breakfast. They were almost famished : for-
tunately, the larder was not far off, and Neb was noted for
being an expeditious cook. They breakfasted, therefore,
near the Chimneys, and during their repast, as may be
supposed, nothing was talked of but the unexpected event
which had so miraculously saved the colony.

“Miraculous is the word,” repeated Pencroft, “for it
must be acknowledged that those rascals blew up just at
the right moment! Granite House was beginning to be
uncomfortable as a ‘habitation !”

“ And can you guess, Pencroft,” asked the reporter, “how
it happened, or what can have occasioned the explosion ?”

“Oh! Mr. Spilett, nothie is more simple,” answered



TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 57

Pencroft. “A convict vessel is not disciplined like a man-
of-war! Convicts are not sailors. Of course the powder-
magazine was open, and as they were firing incessantly,
some careless or clumsy fellow just blew up the
vessel!”

“Captain Harding,” said Herbert, “ what astonishes me
is that the explosion has not produced more effect. The
report was not loud, and besides there are so few planks
and timbers torn out. It seems as if the ship had rather
foundered than blown up.”

“Does that astonish you, my boy ?” asked the engineer.

“Yes, captain.”

“And it astonishes me also Herbert,” replied he, “ but
when we visit the hull of the brig, we shall no doubt find
the explanation of the matter.”

“Why, captain,” said Pencroft, “ you don’t suppose that
the ‘Speedy’ simply foundered like aship which has struck
ona rock?”

“Why not,” observed Neb, “if there are rocks in the
channel ?”

“Nonsense, Neb,” answered Pencroft, “you did not
look at the right moment. An instant before she sank,
the brig, as I saw perfectly well, rose on an enormous wave,
and fell back on her larboard side. Now, if she had only
struck, she would have sunk quietly and gone to the
bottom like an honest vessel.”



58 : THE. MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Tt was just because she was not an honest vessel!”
returned Neb.

“Well, we shall soon see, Pencroft,” said the engineer.

“We shall soon see,” rejoined the sailor, “but I would
wager my head there are no rocks in the channel. Look
here, captain, to speak candidly, do you mean to say that
there is anything marvellous in the occurrence ?”

Cyrus Harding did not answer.

“At any rate,” said Gideon Spilett, “whether rock or
explosion, you will agree, Pencroft, that it occurred just in

|»

the nick of time

1”

“Yes! yes replied the sailor, “but that is not the
question. I ask Captain Harding if he sees anything
supernatural in all this.” ,

“T cannot say, Pencroft,” said the engineer. “ That is
all the answer I can make.”

A reply which did not satisfy Pencroft at all. He stuck
to “an explosion,” and did not wish to give it up. He
would never consent to admit that in that channel, with
its fine sandy bed, just like the beach, which he had often
crossed at low water, there could be an unknown
rock,

And besides, at ‘the time the brig foundered, it was high
water, that is to say, there was enough water to carry the
vessel clear over any rocks which would not be uncovered
at low tide. Therefore, there could not have been a



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 590

collision. Therefore, the vessel had not struck. Therefore,
she had blown up.

And it must be confessed that the sailor’s arguments
were not without reason.

Towards half-past one, the colonists embarked in the
the boat to visit the wreck. It was to be regretted that
the brig’s two boats had not been saved; but one, as
has been said, had gone to pieces at the mouth of the
Mercy, and was absolutely useless; the other had disap-
peared when the brig went down, and had not again been
seen, having doubtless been crushed.

The hull of the “Speedy” was just begining to issue trom
the water. The brig was lying right over on her side, for
her masts being broken, pressed down by the weight of the
ballast displaced by the shock, the keel was visible along her
whole length. She had been regularly turned over by the
inexplicable but frightful submarine action, which had been
at the same time manifested by an enormous water-spout.

The settlers rowed round the hull, and, in proportion as
the tide went down, they could ascertain, if not the cause
which had occasioned the catastrophe, at least the effect
produced.

Towards the bows, on both sides of the keel, seven or
eight feet from the beginning of the stem, the sides of the
brig were frightfully torn. Over a length of at least twenty
feet there opened two large leaks, which it would be



6o THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

impossible to stop up. Not only had the copper sheathing
and the planks disappeared, reduced, no doubt, to powder,
but also the ribs, the iron bolts, and treenails which united
them. From the entire length of the hull to the stern the
false keel had been separated with unaccountable violence,
and the keel itself, torn from the carline in several places,
was split in all its length.

“T’ve a notion!” exclaimed Pencroft, “that this vessel
will be difficult to get afloat again.”

“Tt will be impossible,” said Ayrton.

“At any rate,” observed Gideon Spilett to the sailor,
“the explosion, if there has been one, has produced singular
effects! It has split the lower part of the hull, instead of
blowing up the deck and topsides! These great rents
appear rather to have been made by a rock than by the
explosion of a powder-magazine.”

“There is not a.rock in the channel!” answered the
sailor. “I will admit anything you like, except the rock.”

“Let us try to penetrate into the interior of the brig,”
said the engineer; “perhaps we shall then know what to
think of the cause of her destruction.”

This was the best thing to be done, and it was agreed,
besides, to take an inventory of all the treasures on board,
and to arrange for their preservation.

Access to the interior of the brig was now easy. The
tide was still going down, and the deck was practicable.



THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. G1



The ballast, composed of heavy masses of iron, had broken
through in several places. The noise of the sea could be
heard as it rushed out at the holes in the hull.

Cyrus Harding and his companions, hatchets in hand,
advanced along the shattered deck. Cases of all sorts
encumbered it, and, as they had been but a very short time
in the water, their contents were perhaps uninjured.

They then busied themselves in placing all this cargo in
safety. The water would not return for several hours, and
these hours must be employed in the most profitable way.
Ayrton and Pencroft had, at the entrance made in the hull,
discovered tackle, which would serve to hoist up the barrels
and chests. The boat received them and transported them
to the shore. They took the articles as they came, in-
tending to sort them afterwards.

At any rate, the settlers saw at once, with extreme satis-
faction, that the brig possessed a very varied cargo—an
assortment of all sorts of articles, utensils, manufactured
goods, and tools—such as the ships which make the great
coasting-trade of Polynesia are usually laden with. It was
probable that they would find a little of everything, and
they agreed that it was exactly what was necessary for the
colony of Lincoln Island.

However—and Cyrus Harding observed it in silent
astonishment—not only, as has been said, had the hull of
the brig enormously suffered from the shock, whatever it



62 TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

was, that had occasioned the catastrophe, but the interior
arrangements had been destroyed, especially towards the
bows. Partitions and staunchions were smashed, as if
some tremendous shell had burst in the interior of the
brig. The colonists could easily go fore and aft, after
having removed the cases as they were extricated. They
were not heavy bales, which would have been difficult to
remove, but simple packages, of which the stowage, besides,
was no longer recognizable.

The colonists then reached the stern of the brig—the
part formerly surmounted by the poop. It was there
that, following Ayrton’s directions, they must look for the
powder-magazine. Cyrus Harding thought that it had not
exploded; that it was possible some barrels might be
saved, and that the powder, which is usually enclosed in
metal coverings, might not have suffered | ‘contact
with the water. .

This, in fact, was just what had happened. They extri-
cated from amongst a large number of shot twenty barrels,
the insides of which were lined with copper. Pencroft was
convinced by the evidence of his own eyes that the de-.

struction of the “Speedy” could not be attributed to an

explosion. That part of the hull in which the magazine

was situated was, moreover, that which had suffered least.
“It may be so,” said the obstinate sailor; “but as to a

rock, there is not one in the channel!”











IN THE HOLD OF THE PIRATE BRIG.
€ Page 62.



- THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 63



“Then, how did it happen?” asked Herbert.

“JT don’t know,” answered Pencroft, “Captain Harding
doesn’t know, and nobody knows or ever will know!” ,

Several hours had passed during these researches, and
the tide began to flow. Work must be suspended for the
present. There was no fear of the brig being carried away
by the sea, for she was already fixed as firmly as if moored
by her anchors.

They could therefore, without inconvenience, wait until
the next day to resume operations; but, as to the vessel
herself, she was doomed, and it would be best to hasten to
save the remains of her hull, as she would not be long in
disappearing in the quicksands of the channel.

It was now five o’clock in the evening. It had been a
hard day’s work for the men. They ate with good appetite,
and, notwithstanding their fatigue, they could not resist,
after dinner, their desire of inspecting the cases which
composed the cargo of the “Speedy.”

Most of them contained clothes, which, as may be
believed, were well received. There were enough to clothe
a whole colony—linen for every one’s use, shoes for every
one’s feet. .

“We are too rich!” exclaimed Pencroft. “But what are
we going to do with all this?”

And every moment burst forth the hurrahs of the
delighted sailor when he caught sight of the barrels of



64 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



gunpowder, fire-arms and side-arms, balls of cotton, im-
plements of husbandry, carpenter’s, joiner’s, and black-
smith’s tools, and boxes of all kinds of seeds, not in the
least injured by their short sojourn in the water. Ah, two
years before, how these things would have been prized!
And now, even although the industrious colonists had pro-
vided themselves with tools, these treasures would find
their use.

There was no want of space in the store-rooms of
Granite House, but that daytime would not allow them
to stow away the whole. It would not do also to forget
that the six survivors of the “Speedy’s” crew had landed
on the island, for they were in all probability scoundrels of
the deepest dye, and it was necessary that the colonists
should be on their guard against them. Although the
bridges over the Mercy were raised, the convicts would not
be stopped by a river or a stream, and, rendered desperate,
these wretches would be capable of anything..

They would’ see later what plan it would be best to
follow; but in the meantime it was necessary to mount
guard over cases and packages heaped up near the Chim-
neys, and thus the settlers employed themselves in turn
during the night. '

The morning came, however, without the convicts having
attempted any attack. Master Jup and Top, on guard at
the foot of Granite House, would have quickly given the



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 65

alarm. The three following days—the 19th, 20th, and
21st of October—were employed in saving everything of
value, or of any use whatever, either from the cargo or
rigging of the brig. At low tide they overhauled the hold
—at high tide they stowed away the rescued articles. A
great part of the copper sheathing had been torn from the
hull, which every day sank lower. But before the sand
had swallowed the heavy things which had fallen through
the bottom, Ayrton and Pencroft, diving to the bed of
the channel, recovered the chains and anchors of the brig,
the iron of her ballast, and even four guns, which, floated
by means of empty casks, were brought to shore.

It may be seen that the arsenal of the colony had
gained by the wreck, as well as the store-rooms of Granite
House. Pencroft, always enthusiastic in his projects,
already spoke of constructing a battery to command the
channel and the mouth of the river. With four guns, he
engaged to prevent any fleet, “however powerful it
might be,” from venturing into the waters of Lincoln
Island !

In the meantime, when nothing remained of the brig
but a useless hulk, bad weather came on, which soon
finished her. Cyrus Harding had intended to blow her
up, so as to collect the remains on the shore, but a strong
gale from the north-east and a heavy sea compelled him
to economize his powder.

F



66 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



In fact, on the night of the 23rd, the hull entirely broke
up, and some of the wreck was cast up on the beach.

As to the papers on board, it is useless to say that,
although he carefully searched the lockers of the poop,
Harding did not discover any trace of them. The pirates
had evidently destroyed everything that concerned either
the captain or the owners of the “Speedy,” and, as the
name of her port was not painted on her counter, there
was nothing which would tell them her nationality. How-
ever, by the shape of her boats Ayrton and Pencroft
believed that the brig was of English build.

A week after the catastrophe—or, rather, after the fortu-
nate, though inexplicable, event to which the colony owed
its preservation—nothing more could be seen of the vessel,
even at low tide. The wreck had disappeared, and Granite
House was enriched by nearly all it had contained.

However, the mystery which enveloped its strange de-
struction would doubtless never have been cleared away
if, on the 30th of November, Neb, strolling on the beach,
had not found a piece of a thick iron cylinder, bearing
traces of explosion. The edges of this cylinder were
twisted and broken, as if they had been subjected to the
action of some explosive substance.

Neb brought this piece of metal to his master, who was
then occupied with his companions in the workshop of the
Chimneys.





SS S SOON AN x}

\





















































































“ THIS CYLINDER IS ALL THAT REMAINS OF A TORPEDO!”
+ Page 67.



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 67

Cyrus Harding examined the cylinder attentively, then,
turning to Pencroft,—

“You persist, my friend,” said he, “in maintaining that
the “ Speedy ” was not lost in consequence of a collision?”

“Yes, captain,” answered the sailor. “You know as
well as I do that there are no rocks in the channel.”

“But suppose she had run against this piece of iron?”
said the engineer, showing the broken cylinder.

“What, that bit of pipe!” exclaimed Pencroft in a tone
of perfect incredulity.

“My friends,” resumed Harding, “you remember that
before she foundered the brig rose on the summit of a
regular water-spout ?”

“Yes, captain,” replied Herbert.

“Well, would you like to know what occasioned. that
water-spout? It was this,” said the engineer, holding up
the broken tube.

“That?” returned Pencroft.

“Ves! This cylinder is all that remains of a torpedo!”

“ A torpedo!” exclaimed the engineer’s companions.

“ And who put the torpedo there?” demanded Pencroft,
who did not like to yield.

“ All that I can tell you is, that it was not I,” answered
Cyrus Harding ; “but it was there, and you have been able
to judge of its incomparable power!”

F2



68 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



——_ ee

CHAPTER V.

THE ENGINEER'S DECLARATION—PENCROFT’S GRAND
HYPOTHESIS—AN AERIAL BATTERY—THE FOUR
CANNONS—THE SURVIVING CONVICTS—AYRTON’S
HESITATION—CYRUS HARDING'S GENEROUS SENTI-
MENTS—PENCROFT’S REGRET.

So, then, all was explained by the submarine explosion
of this torpedo. Cyrus Harding could not be mistaken,
as, during the war of the Union, he had had occasion
to try these terrible engines of destruction. It was
under the action of this cylinder, charged with some
explosive substance, nitro-glycerine, picrate, or some
other material of the same nature, that the water of
the channel had been raised like a dome, the bottom
of the brig cfushed in, and she had sunk instantly,
the damage done to her hull being so considerable that
it was impossible to refloat her. The “Speedy” had
not been able to withstand a torpedo that would have
destroyed an ironclad as easily as a fishing-boat!



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 69



Yes! all was explained, everything—except the
presence of the torpedo in the waters of the chan-
nel!

“My friends, then,” said Cyrus Harding, “we can
no longer be in doubt as to the presence of a mysterious
being, a castaway like us, perhaps, abandoned on our
island, and I say this in order that Ayrton may be
acquainted with all the strange events which have
occurred during these two years. Who this beneficent
stranger is, whose intervention has, so fortunately for us,
been manifested on many occasions, I cannot imagine.
What his object can be in acting thus, in concealing
himself after rendering us so many services, I cannot
understand. But his services are not the less real, and
are of such a nature that only a man _ possessed of
prodigious power, could render them. Ayrton is indebted
to him as much as we are, for, if it was the stranger
who saved me from the waves after the fall from the
balloon, evidently it was he who wrote the document,
who placed the bottle in the channel, and who has
made known to us the situation of our companion. I
will add that it was he who guided that chest, provided
with everything we wanted, and stranded it on Flotsam
Point; that it was he who lighted that fire on the
heights of the island, which permitted you to land;
that it was he who fired that bullet found in the body



ZO... TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND

of the peccary ; that it was he who immersed that torpedo
in the channel, which destroyed the brig; in a word,
that all those inexplicable events, for which we could
not assign a reason, are due to this mysterious being.
Therefore, whoever he may be, whether shipwrecked, or
exiled on our island, we shall be ungrateful, if we think
ourselves freed from gratitude towards him. We have
contracted a debt, and I hope that we shall one day
pay it.”

“You are right in speaking thus, my dear Cyrus,”
replied Gideon Spilett. “Yes, there is an almost all-
powerful being, hidden in some part of the island, and
whose influence has been singularly useful to our colony.
I will add that the unknown appears to possess means
of action which border on the supernatural if, in the events
of practical life, the supernatural were recognizable. Is
it he who is in secret communication with us by the
well in Granite House, and has he thus a knowledge. of
all our plans? Was it he who threw us that: bottle,
when the vessel made her first cruise? Was it he who
threw Top out of the lake, and killed the dugong? ‘Was
it he, who. as everything leads us to believe, saved you
from the waves, and that under circumstances in which
any one else would not have been able to act? If it was
he, he possesses a power which renders him master of
the elements.”



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 71

The reporter’s reasoning was just, and every one felt
it to be so.

“Yes,” rejoined Cyrus Harding, “if the intervention of
a human being is not more questionable for us, I agree
that he has at his disposal means of action beyond
those possessed by humanity. There is a mystery still,
but if we discover the man, the mystery will be discovered
also. The question, then, is, ought we to respect the
incognito of this generous being, or ought we to do every-
thing to find him out? What is your opinion on the matter?”

“My opinion,” said Pencroft, “is that, whoever he may
be, he is a brave man, and he has my esteem!”

“Be it so,” answered Harding, “but that is not an
answer, Pencroft.”

“Master,” then said Neb, “my idea is, that we may
search as long as we like for this gentleman whom you
are talking about, but that we shall not discover him
till he pleases.”

“That's not bad, what you say, Neb,” observed
Pencroft.

“TI am of Neb’s opinion,” said Gideon Spilett,” but
that is no reason for not attempting the adventure.
Whether we find this mysterious being or not, we shall
at least have fulfilled our duty towards him.”

“And you, my boy, give us your opinion,” said the
engineer, turning to Herbert.



72 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Oh,” cried Herbert, his countenance full of animation,
“how I should like to thank him, he who saved you
first, and who has now saved us!”

“Of course, my boy,” replied Pencroft, “so would I
and all of us. I am not inquisitive, but I would give
one of my eyes to see this individual face to face!
It seems to me that he must be handsome, tall, strong,
with a splendid beard, radiant hair, and that he must be
seated on the clouds, a great ball in his hands!”

“But, Pencroft,” answered Spilett, “you are describing
a picture of the Creator.”

“Possibly, Mr. Spilett,” replied the sailor, “but that
is how I imagine him!”

“And you, Ayrton?” asked the engineer.

“Captain Harding,” replied Ayrton, “I can give you
no better advice in this matter. Whatever you do will
be best, when you wish me to join you in your researches,
I am ready to follow you.”

“T thank you, Ayrton,” answered Cyrus Harding, “ but
I should like a more direct answer to the question I
put to you.” You are our companion; you have already
endangered your, life several times for us, and you, as
well as the rest, ought to be consulted in the matter ot
any important decision, Speak, therefore.”

“Captain Harding,” replied Ayrton, ‘I think that we
ought to do everything to discover this unknown bene-



THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 73



factor. Perhaps he is alone. Perhaps he is suffering.
Perhaps he has a life to be renewed. I, too, as you
said, have a debt of gratitude to pay him. It was he,
it could be only he who must have come to Tabor
Island, who found there the wretch you knew, and who
made known to you that there was an unfortunate man
there to be saved! Therefore it is, thanks to him,
that I have become a man again. No, I will never forget
him!”

“That is settled, then,” said Cyrus Harding. “We
will begin our researches as soon as possible. We will
not leave a corner of the island unexplored. We will
search into its most secret recesses, and will hope that
our unknown friend will pardon us in consideration of
our intentions!”

For several days the colonists were actively employed
in haymaking and the harvest. Before putting their
project of exploring the yet unknown parts of the island
into execution, they wished to get all possible work
finished. It was also the time for collecting the various
vegetables from the Tabor Island plants. All was stowed
away, and happily there was no want of room in Grahite
House, in which they might have housed all the treasures
of the island. The products of the colony were there,
methodically arranged, and in a safe place, as may be
believed, sheltered as much from animals as from man.



74 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

There was no fear of damp in the middle of that
thick mass of granite. Many natural excavations situated
in the upper passage were enlarged either by pick-
axe or mine, and Granite House thus became a general
warehouse, containing all the provisions, arms, tools,
and spare utensils—in a word, all the stores of the
colony.

As to the guns obtained from the brig, they were
pretty pieces of ordnance, which, at Pencroft’s entreaty,
were hoisted by means of tackle and pulleys, right up
into Granite House; embrasures were made between the
windows, and the shining muzzles of the guns could soon
be seen through the granite cliff. From this height
they commanded all Union Bay. It was like a little
Gibraltar, and any vessel anchored off the islet would
inevitably be exposed to the fire of this aerial battery.

“Captain,” said Pencroft one day, it was the 8th of
November “now that our fortifications are finished,
it would be a good thing if we tried the range of our
guns.”

“Do you think that is useful ?” asked the engineer.

“Tt is more than useful, it is necessary! Without
that how are we to know to what distance we can send
one of those pretty shot with which we are provided ?

“Try them, Pencroft,” replied the engineer. “ However,

I think that in making the experiment, we ought to



THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 75



employ, not the ordinary powder, the supply of which,
I think, should remain untouched, but the pyroxile which
will never fail us.”

“Can the cannon support the shock of the pyroxile?”
asked the reporter, who was not less anxious than Pencroft
to try the artillery of Granite House.

“JT believe so. However,” added the engineer, “we
will be prudent.”

The engineer was right in thinking that the guns were
of excellent make. Made of forged steel, and breech-
loaders, they ought consequently to be able to bear a
considerable charge, and also have an enormous range.
In fact, as regards practical effect, the transit described
by the ball ought to be as extended as possible, and
this tension could only be obtained under the condi-
tion that the projectile should be impelled with a very
great initial velocity.

“Now,” said Harding to his companions, “the initial
velocity is in proportion to the quantity of powder used.
In the fabrication of these pieces, everything depends
on employing a metal with the highest possible power
of resistance, and steel is incontestably that metal of
all others which resists the best. I have, therefore,
reason to believe that our guns will bear without risk
the expansion of the pyroxile gas, and will give excellent
results,”



76 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“We shall be a great deal more certain of that when
we have tried them!” answered Pencroft,

It is unnecessary to say that the four cannons were
in perfect order. Since they had been taken from the
water, the sailor had bestowed great care upon them.
How many hours he had spent, in rubbing, greasing,
and polishing them, and in cleaning the mechanism!
And now the pieces were as brilliant as if they had
been on board a frigate of the United States’ Navy.

On this day, therefore, in presence of all the members
of the colony, including Master Jup and Top, the four
cannon were successively tried. They were charged with
pyroxile, taking into consideration its explosive power,
which, as has been said, is four times that of ordi-
nary powder: the projectile to be fired was cylindro-
conic.

Pencroft, holding the end of the quick-match, stood
ready to fire.

At Harding’s signal, he fired. The shot, passing over
the islet, fell into the sea at a distance which could not
be calculated with exactitude.

The second fun was pointed at the rocks at the end
of Flotsam Point, and the shot, striking a sharp rock
nearly three miles from Granite House, made it fly into
splinters. It was Herbert who had pointed this gun
and fired it, and very proud he was of his first shot.



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THE ‘‘ DUNCAN

Page 294.
P\

ae
~*~

THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
(PART III)

THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND

BY

JULES VERNE

AUTHOR OF ‘TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA,” ‘‘AROUND
THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS,” ‘¢THE FUR COUNTRY,” ETC., ETC.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY

W. H. G. KINGSTON
THIRD EDITION

Lonvow:
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON
CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET
1879
[All rights reserved]
LONDON :
GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS
ST, JOHN’S SQUARE,
CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

Lost or saved—Ayrton.summoned—Important discussion—It is
rot the “ Duncan”—Suspicious vessel—Precautions to be
taken—The ship approaches—A cannon-shot—The brig
anchors in sight of the island—Night comeson . .« -«

CHAPTER II.

Discussions—Presentiments—Ayrton’s proposal—It is accepted—
Ayrton and Pencroft on Grant Islet—Convicts from Norfolk
Island—Ayrton’s heroic attempt—His return—Six against
fifty © 6 «6 «+ +6 +6 6 © © °

CHAPTER III.

The mist rises—The engineer’s preparations—Thrce posts—
Ayrton and Pencroft—The first boat—Two other boats—On
the islet—Six convicts land—The brig weighs anchor—The
“ Spcedy’s” guns—A desperate situation—Unexpcctcd catas-
trophe . e . . . . ' . ‘ .

CHAPTER IV.

The colonists on the beach—Ayrton and Pencroft work amid the
wreck—Conversation during breakfast—Pencroft’s arguments
A 2

PAGE

18
iv CONTENTS,

PAGE

—Minute examination of the brig’s hull—The powder- |

magazine untouched—New riches—The last of the wreck—
A broken piece of cylinder . . ° . . 7

CHAPTER V.

The engineer’s declaration—Pencroft’s grand hypothesis—An
aerial battery—The four cannons—The surviving convicts—
Ayrton’s hesitation—Cyrus Harding’s generous sentiments—
Pencroft’s regret. . . . . . ° . .

CHAPTER VI.

Expeditions planned—Ayrton at the corral—Visit to Port Balloon
—Pencroft’s observations on board the “ Bonadventure”-—
Despatch sent to the corral—No reply from Ayrton—Depar-
ture the next day—The reason why the wire did not work--
A report . . . . . . . ° ° . .

CHAPTER VII.

The reporter and Pencroft in the corral—Herbcrt’s wound—The
sailor’s despair—Consultation between the reporter and the
engineer—Mode of treatment—Hope not abandoned—How is
Neb to be warned ?—A sure and faithful messenger—Ncb’s
reply ° ° ° . . ' . oe . .

CHAPTER VIII.

The convicts in the neighbourhood of the corral—Provisional
establishment—Continuation of the treatment of Herbert—
Pencroft’s first rejoicings—Conversation on past events—
What the future has in reserve—Cyrus Harding’s ideas on
this subject .' . . : . . ° ee

CHAPTER IX.

No news of Neb—A proposal from Pencroft and the reporter,
which is not accepted—Several sorties by Gideon Spilett—A
rag of cloth—A message—Hasty departure—Arrival on the
plateau of Prospect Heights

68

97

- I10

. 117
CONTENTS.

CHAPTER X.

Herbert carried to Granite House—Neb relates all that has hap-
pened—Harding’s visit to the plateau—Ruin and devastation
—The colonists baffled by Herbert’s illness—Willow bark—
A deadly fever—Top barks again! . .

CHAPTER XI.

Inexplicable mystery—Herbert’s convalescence—The parts of the
island to be explored—Preparations for departure—First day
—Night and second day—Kauries—A couple of Cassowarics
—Footprints in the forest—Arrival at Reptile Point . .

CHAPTER XII.

Exploration of the Serpentine Peninsula—Encampment at the
mouth of Falls River—Gideon Spilett and Pencroft recon-
noitre—Their return—Forward, all!—An open door—A
lighted window—By the light ofthe moon! . . . .

CHAPTER XIII.

Ayrton’s story—Plans of his former accomplices—Thceir instal-
lation in the corral—The avenging justice of Lincoln Island
—The “ Bonadventure”—Researches around Mount Franklin
—The upper valleys—A subterranean volcano—Pencroft's
opinion—At the bottom of the crater—Return . .

CHAPTER XIV.

Three years have passed—The new vessel—What is agrecd on—
Prosperity of the colony—The dockyard—Cold of the southern
hemisphere—Washing linen—Mount Franklin . . .

CHAPTER XV.

The awakening of the volcano—The fine season—Continuation of
work—The evening of the 15th of October—A telegram—A
question—An answer—Departure for the corral—The notice
—The additional wire—The basalt coast—At high tide—At
low tide—The cavern—A dazzling light . .

PAGR

143

157

189

. 204
vi CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XVI.

Captain Nemo—His first words—The history of the recluse—His
adventures—His sentiments—His comrades—Submarine life
—Alone--The last refuge of the “ Nautilus” in Lincoln Island
—The mysterious genius ofthe island . . .

CHAPTER XVII.

Last moments of Captain Nemo—Wishes of the dying man—A
parting gift to his friends of a day—Captain Nemo’s coffin—
Advice to the colonists—The supreme moment—At the bottom
of the sea ° : . . 7 8 0 ° .

CHAPTER XVIII.

Reflections of the colonists—Their labours of reconstruction re-
sumed—The Ist of January, 1869—A cloud over the summit
of the volcano—First warnings of an eruption—Ayrton and
Cyrus Harding at the corral—Exploration of the Dakkar
Grotto—What Captain Nemo had confided to the engineer

CHAPTER XIX.

Cyrus Harding gives an account of his exploration—The con-
struction of the ship pushed forward—A last visit to the corral
—The battle between fire and water—All that remains of the
island—It is decided to launch the vessel—The night of the
8th of March . . . . . . ° ° ° °

CHAPTER XxX.

An isolated rock in'the Pacific—The last refuge of the colonists
of Lincoln Island—Death their only prospect—Unexpected
succour—Why and how it arrives—A last kindness—An
island on terra firma—The tomb of Captain Prince Dakkar
Nemo . 6 «© © © © © «© © «© «+

PAGE

. 223

238

. 251

[S}
NI
bo

291
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,



A sail in sight oe ° . . ° ° ‘ . - 8
“The black flag!" he exclaimed . . «© «© «© «| © I2
Ayrton hoisting himself on to the cutwater . . . . 22
Ayrton boards the pirate : . . . . . 7 - 23
“What are you doing here ?” . oe o 6 + 29
He leapt over the bulwarks into the sca : . . + 30
Ayrton and Pencroft waited till they were within range . - 39
The chimneys attacked . . . . . . . . - 50
The brig, raised ona water-spout, splitintwo . . . . SI
“ That is what I have been, Pencroft” . . se ee 5G
In the hold of the pirate brig . . . . . . . - 62
“ This cylinder is all that remains of a torpedo!” . . . - 67

Pencroft polishing the guns . . 7 . oo . - 76
At work on the plateau . : ° . 7 . . . - 84
The telegraph-post thrown down . . . . . » 94

Herbert shot . : . . . . . . . . - 96
Pencroft’s alarm for Herbert’. . ee we ee QQ
Pencroft watching over Herbert . : . . . . . 104
Top despatched with a message to Neb. . . . » . 108
Spilett and Top reconnoitring : . . . . . . 122
Starting from the corral . . . . . . . . - 127
Herbert on the lift . . . . . . . . : . 132
Sulphate of quinine! ° . . ‘ . . . 142

The convalescent . . . : > e ‘ 7 - 146
viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,



The last to leave Granite House . ° ° ° e

On watch in the forest . . . ° . °
Spilett and Pencroft approach the coral . . .
Five corpses stretched on the bank . . . °
“Dead !” cried Ayrton . . . . ° . °
The cavern in the mountain . . ° ° . .
Searching for the genius of the island . . ° .
They visited the gulf. . . . o 6
Gideon Spilett wants a newspaper 7 ° es

Watching the summit of Mount Franklin . . .
The colonists remained silently crouching in a deep hollow

Entering the mysterious cavern. : . .

Discovery of the “ Nautilus” . : . °

First interview with the genius of the island « . .
The great unknown relates his history . . . .
Last moments of Captain Nemo ,. . . ° .
Death of Captain Nemo. . . . . .
Sinking of the “Nautilus”. . . . .

Listening to the rumbling of the yeleané oo .
Cyrus Harding watching the eruption . ° . .
The volcano wall in Dakkar Grotto . . .

The colonists took shelter in the borders of Jacamar Wood
The torrent precipitated itself into Lake Grant . .
The explosion : . . . ° . e
The“Duncan” 2. +2«© o© © « + 6 »

. 271
. 279
- 281
« 290
+ 294
The Mysterious Sslanv,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND.



CHAPTER f.

LOST OR SAVED—AYRTON SUMMONED—IMPORTANT
DISCUSSION—IT IS NOT THE “DUNCAN ”—SUS-
PICIOUS VESSEL—PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN—THE
SUIP APPROACHES—A CANNON SHOT—THE BRIG
ANCHORS IN SIGHT OF THE ISLAND—NIGHT COMES
ON.

It’ was now two years and a half since the castaways
from the balloon had been thrown on Lincoln Island, and
during that period there had been no communication
between them and their fellow-creatures. Once the
reporter had attempted to communicate with the inhabited
world by confiding to a bird a letter which contained
the secret of their situation, but that was a chance on
which it was impossible to reckon seriously. Ayrton,
alone, under the circumstances which have been related,
B
bo

TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,



had come to join the little colony. Now, suddenly, on
this day, the 17th of October, other men had unex-
pectedly appeared in sight of the island, on that deserted
sea!

There could be no doubt about it! A vessel was
there! But would she pass on, or would she put into
port? In a few hours the colonists would definitely
know what to expect.

Cyrus Harding and Herbert having immediately
called Gideon Spillett, Pencroft, and Neb into the dining-
room of Granite House, told them what had happened.
Pencroft, seizing the telescope, rapidly swept the horizon,
and stopping on the indicated point, that is to say, on
that which had made the almost imperceptible spot on
the photographic negative,—

“T’m blessed but it is really a vessel!” he exclaimed, in
a voice which did not express any great amount of satis-
faction.

“Ts she coming here ?” asked Gideon Spillett.

“Tmpossible to say anything yet,” answered Pencroft,
“for her rigging alone is above the horizon, and not a
bit of her hull can be seen.”

“What is to be done?” asked the lad.

“Wait,” replied Harding.

And for a considerable time the settlers remained silent,
given up to all the thoughts, all the emotions, all the
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 3

fears, all the hopes, which were aroused by this incident
—the most important which had occurred since their
arrival in Lincoln Island. Certainly, the colonists were
not in the situation of castaways abandoned on a sterile
islet, constantly contending against a cruel nature for
their miserable existence, and incessantly tormented by
the longing to return to inhabited countries. Pencroft and
Neb, especially, who felt themselves at once so happy
and so rich, would not have left their island without
regret. They were accustomed, besides, to this new life
in the midst of the domain which their intelligence had
as it were civilized. But at any tate this ship brought
news from the world, perhaps even from their native
land. It was bringing fellow-creatures to them, and it
may be conceived how deeply their hearts were moved
at the sight !

From time to time Pencroft took the glass and rested
himself at the window. From thence he very attentively
examined the vessel, which was at a distance of twenty
miles to the east. The colonists had as yet, therefore, no
means of signalizing their presence. A flag would not
have been perceived; a gun would not have been heard ;
a fire would not have been visible. However, it was
certain that the island, overtopped by Mount Franklin,
could not have escaped the notice of the vessel’s look-
out. But why was this ship coming there? Was it

B2
4 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

simple chance which brought it to that part of the
Pacific, where the maps mentioned no land except Tabor
Islet, which itself was out of the route usually followed
by vessels from the Polynesian Archipelagos, from New
Zealand, and from the American coast? To this question,
which each one asked himself, a reply was suddenly made
by Herbert.

“Can it be the ‘Duncan ?’” he cried.

The “Duncan,” as has been said, was Lord Glenarvan’s
yacht, which had left Ayrton on the islet, and which was
to return there some day to fetch him. Now, the islet
was not so far distant from Lincoln Island, but that a vessel,
standing for the one, could’ pass in sight of the other.
A hundred and fifty miles only separated them in
longitude, and seventy in latitude.

“We must tell Ayrton,” said Gideon Spilett, “and
send for him immediately. He alone can say if it is the
‘Duncan,’ ”

This was the opinion of all, and the reporter, going
to the telegraphic apparatus which placed the corral in
communication, with Granite House, sent this telegram :—
“Come with all possible speed.”

In a few minutes the bell sounded.

“TI am coming,” replied Ayrton.

Then the settlers continued to watch the vessel.

“If it is the ‘Duncan,’” said Herbert, “Ayrton will
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 5
recognize her without difficulty, since he sailed on board
her for some time.”

“And if he recognizes her,” added Pencroft, “it will
agitate him exceedingly !”

“Yes,” answered Cyrus Harding ; “but now Ayrton is
worthy to return on board the ‘Duncan,’ and pray
Heaven that it is indeed Lord Glenarvan’s yacht, for
I should be suspicious of any other vessel. These are
ill-famed seas, and I have always feared a visit from Malay
pirates to our island.”

“We could defend it,” cried Herbert.

“No doubt, my boy,” answered the engineer smil-
ing, “but it would be better not to have to defend
it.”

“A useless observation,” said Spilett. “Lincoln
Island is unknown to. navigators, since it is not marked
even on the most recent maps. Do you not think,
Cyrus, that that is a sufficient motive for a ship, finding
herself unexpectedly in sight of new land, to try and visit
rather than avoid it?”

“Certainly,” replied Pencroft.

“T think so too,” added the engineer. “It may even
be said that it is the duty of a captain to come and
‘survey any land or island not yet known, and Linccln
Island is in this position.”

“Well,” said Pencroft, “suppose this vessel comes and
6 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

anchors there a few cables-lengths from our island, what
shall we do?”

This sudden question remained at first without any
reply. But Cyrus Harding, after some moments thought,
replied in the calm tone which was usual to him,—

“ What we shall do, my friends? What we ought to do,
is this:—we will communicate with the ship, we will
take our passage on board her, and we will leave our
island, after having taken possession of it in the name
of the United States. Then we will return with any
who may wish to follow us to colonize it definitely, and
endow the American. Republic with a useful station in
this part of the Pacific Ocean !”

“Hurrah!” exclaimed Pencroft, “and that will be no
small ‘present which we shall make to our country !
The colonization is already almost finished ; names are
given to every part of the island; there is a natural port,
fresh water, roads, a telegraph, a dockyard, and manufac-
tories; and there will be nothing to be done but to in.
scribe Lincoln Island on the maps!”

’ observed

“But if any one seizes it in our absence?’
Gideon Spilett.

“Hang it!” cried the sailor. “I would rather remain
all alone to guard it: and trust to Pencroft, they shouldn’t
steal it from him, like a watch from the pocket of a

swell!”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 7

For an hour it was impossible to say with any certainty
whether the vessel was or was not standing towards Lincoln
Island. She was nearer, but in what direction was she
sailing? This Pencroft could not determine. However, as
the wind was blowing from the north-east, in all probability
the vessel was sailing on the starboard tack. Besides, the
wind was favourable for bringing her towards the island,
and, the sea being calm, she would not be afraid to approach
although the shallows were not marked on the chart.

Towards four o’clock—an hour after he had been sent
for—Ayrton arrived at Granite House. He entered the
dining-rcom, saying,—

“ At your service, gentlemen.”

Cyrus Harding gave him his hand, as was his custom
to do, and, leading him to the window,—

“ Ayrton,” said he, “we have begged you to come here
for an important reason. A ship is in sight of the
island.”

Ayrton at first paled slightly, and for a moment his eyes
became dim; then, leaning out of the window, he surveyed
the horizon, but could see nothing.

“Take this telescope,” said Spilett, “and look carefully
Ayrton, for it is possible that this ship may be the ‘ Dun-
can’ come to these seas for the purpose of taking you
home again.”

“The ‘Duncan!’” murmured Ayrton. ‘“ Already?”
8 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

This last word escaped Ayrton’s lips as if involuntarily,
and his head drooped upon his hands.

Did not twelve years’ solitude on a desert island appear
to him a sufficient expiation? Did not the penitent yet
feel himself pardoned, either in his own eyes or in the eyes
of others ?

“No,” said he, “no! it cannot be the ‘Duncan!’®”

“Look, Ayrton,” then said the engineer, “for it is
necessary that we should know beforehand what to expect.”

Ayrton took the glass and pointed it in the direction
indicated. During some minutes he examined the horizon
without moving, without uttering a word. Then,—

“Tt is indeed a vessel,” said he, “ but I do not think she
is the ‘Duncan.’”

“ Why do you not think so?” asked Gideon Spilett.

“Because the ‘Duncan’ is a steam-yacht, and I cannot
perceive any trace of smoke cither above or near that
vessel.”

”»

“Perhaps she is simply sailing,” observed Pencroft.
“The wind is favourable for the direction which she
appears to be taking, and she may be anxious to economize
her coal, being sé far from land.”

“Tt is possible that you may be right, Mr. Pencroft,”
answered Ayrton, “and that the vessel has extinguished
her fires. We must wait until she is nearer, and then we

shall soon know what to expect.”










N SIGHT

AIL I

AS

Page 8.
THE SECRET OF TIE ISLAND. 9



So saying, Ayrton sat down in a corner of the room and
remained silent. The colonists again discussed the strange
ship, but Ayrton took no part in the conversation. All
were in such a mood that they found it impossible to con-
tinue their work. Gideon Spilett and Pencroft were par-
ticularly nervous, going, coming, not able to remain still in
one place. Herbert felt more curiosity. Neb alone main-
tained his usual calm manner. Was not his country that
where his master was? As to the engineer, he remained
plunged in deep thought, and in his heart feared rather
than desired the arrival of the ship. In the meanwhile, the
vessel was a little nearer the island. With the aid of the
glass, it was ascertained that she was a brig, and not one
of those -Malay proas, which are generally used by the
pirates of the Pacific. It was, therefore, reasonable to
believe that the engineer’s apprehensions would not be
justified, and that the presence of this vessel in the vicinity
of the island was fraught with no danger. Pencroft, after a
minute examination, was able positively to affirm that the
vessel was rigged as a brig, and that she was standing
obliquely towards the coast, on the starboard tack, under
her topsails and topgallant-sails. This was confirmed by
Ayrton. But by continuing in this direction she must soon
disappear behind Claw Cape, as the wind was from the south-
west, and to watch her it would be then necessary to ascend
the heights of Washington Bay, near Port Balloon—a pro-
Io THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

voking circumstance, for it was already five o'clock in the
evening, and the twilight would soon make any observation
extremely difficult.

“What shall we do when night comes on ?” asked Gideon
Spilett. “Shall we light a fire, so as to signal our presence,
on the coast?”

This was a serious question, and yet, although the engi-
neer still retained some of his presentiments, it was answered
in the affirmative. During the night the ship might dis-
appear and leave for ever, and, this ship gone, would
another ever return to the waters of Lincoln Island? Who
could foresee what the future would then have in store for
the colonists ?

“Yes,” said the reporter, “we ought to make known
to that vessel, whoever she may be, that the island is
inhabited. To neglect the opportunity which is offered to
us might be to create everlasting regrets.”

It was, therefore, decided that Neb and Pencroft should
go to Port Balloon, and that there, at nightfall, they should
light an immense fire, the blaze of which would pcesee Ty
attract the attention of the brig.

But at the moment when Neb and the sailor were pre-
paring to leave Granite House, the vessel suddenly altered
her course, and stood directly for Union Bay. The brig
was a good sailer, for she approached rapidly. Neb and
Pencroft put off their departure, therefore, and the glass
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. II

was put into Ayrton’s hands, that he might ascertain for
certain whether the ship was or was not the “ Duncan.”
The Scotch yacht was also rigged as a brig. The question
was, whether a chimney could be discerned between the
two masts of the vessel, which was now at a distance of only
five miles.

The horizon was still very clear. The examination was
easy, and Ayrton soon let the glass fall again, saying,—

“Tt is not the ‘Duncan’! It could not be her!”

Pencroft again brought the brig within the range of the
telescope, and could see that she was of between three and
four hundred tons burden, wonderfully narrow, well-masted,
admirably built, and must be a very rapid sailer. But
to what nation did she belong? ' That was difficult to
say.

“And yet,” added the sailor, “a flag is floating from her
peak, but I cannot distinguish the colours of it.”

“Tn half an hour we shall be certain about that,”
answered the reporter. “ Besides, it is very evident that
the intention of the captain of this ship is to land, and,
consequently, if not to-day, to-morrow at the latest, we
shall make his acquaintance.

“Never mind!” said Pencroft. “It is best to know
whom we have to deal with, and I shall not be sorry to
recognize that fellow’s colours!”

And, while thus speaking, the sailor never left the glass.
12 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

The day began to fade, and with the day the breeze fell
also. The brig’s ensign hung in folds, and it became more
and more difficult to observe it.

“Tt is not the American flag,” said Pencroft from time
to time, “nor the English, the red of which could be easily
seen, nor the French or German colours, nor the white
flag of Russia, nor the yellow of Spain. One would say
it was all one colour. Let’s see: in these seas, what do
we generally meet with? The Chilian flag ?—but that is
tri-colour. Brazilian ?—it is green. Japancse ?—it is yellow
and black, whilst this—”

At that moment the breeze blew out the unknown flag.
Ayrton, seizing the telescope which the sailor had put
down, put it to his eye, and in a hoarse voice,—

“The black flag!” he exclaimed.

And indeed the sombre bunting was floating from the
mast of the brig, and they had now good reason for con-
sidering her to be a suspicious vessel !

Had the engineer, then, been right in his presentiments ?
Was this a pirate vessel? Did she scour the Pacific, com-
peting with the Malay proas which still infest it? For
what had she come to look at the shores of Lincoln Island ?
Was it to them an unknown island, ready to become a
magazine for stolen cargoes? Had she come to find on
the coast a sheltered port for the winter months? Was
the settler’s honest domain destined to be transformed into








“THE BLACK FLAG !” HE EXCLAIMED.
t+ Page 12.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 13



an infamous refuge—the head-quarters of the piracy of the
Pacific?

All these ideas instinctively presented themselves to the
colonists’ imaginations. There was no doubt, besides, of the
signification which must be attached to the colour of the
hoisted flag. It was that of pirates! It was that which
the “Duncan” would have carried, had the convicts suc-
ceeded in their criminal design! No time was lost before
discussing it.

“ My friends,” said Cyrus Harding, “perhaps this vessel
only wishes to survey the coast of the island. Perhaps her
crew will not land. There is a chance of it. However
that may be, we ought to do everything we can to hide
our presence here. The windmill on Prospect Heights is
too easily seen. Let Ayrton and Neb go and take down
the sails. We must also conceal the windows of Granite
House with thick branches. All the fires must be ex-
tinguished, so that nothing -may betray the presence of
men on the island.”

“ And our vessel?” said Herbert.

“Oh,” answered Pencroft, “she is sheltered in Port
Balloon, and I defy any of those rascals there to find
her !”

The engineer’s orders were immediately executed. Neb
and Ayrton ascended the plateau, and took the necessary
precautions to conceal any indication of a settlement.
14 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Whilst they were thus occupied, their companions went to
the border of Jacamar Wood, and brought back a large
quantity of branches and creepers, which would at some
distance appear as natural foliage, and thus disguise the
windows in the granite cliff. At the same time, the
ammunition and guns were placed ready so as to be at
hand in case of an unexpected attack.

When all these precautions had been taken,—

“My friends,” said Harding, and his voice betrayed
some emotion, “if these wretches endeavour to seize Lin-
coln Island, we shall defend it—shall we not?”

“Yes, Cyrus,” replied the reporter, “and if necessary we
will die to defend it !”

The engineer extended his hand to his companions, who
pressed it warmly.

Ayrton alone remained in his corner, not joining the
colonists. Perhaps he, the former convict, still felt himself
unworthy to do so!

Cyrus Harding understood what was passing in Ayrton’s
mind, and going to him—

“And you, Ayrton, ” he asked, “ what will you do?”’

“My duty,” ’ answered Ayrton.

He then took up his station near the incon and gazed
through the foliage.

It was now half-past seven. The sun had disappeared
twenty minutes ago behind Granite House. Consequently
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 15

the Eastern horizon was becoming gradually obscured. In
the meanwhile the brig continued to advance towards
Union Bay. She was now not more than two miles off,
and exactly opposite the plateau of Prospect Heights, for
after having tacked off Claw Cape, she had drifted towards
the north in the current of the rising tide. One might
have said that at this distance she had already entered the
vast bay, for a straight line drawn from Claw Cape to
Cape Mandible would have rested on her starboard
quarter.

Was the brig about to penetrate far into the bay? That
was the first question. When once in the bay, would she
anchor there? That was the second. Would she not
content herself with only surveying the coast, and stand
out to sea again without landing her crew? They would
know this in an hour, The colonists could do nothing
but wait.

Cyrus Harding had not seen the suspected vessel hoist
the black flag without deep anxiety. Was it not a direct
menace against the work which he and his companions had
till now conducted so successfully? Had these pirates—
for the sailors of the brig could be nothing else—already
visited the island, since on approaching it they had hoisted
their colours. Had they formerly invaded it, so that
certain unaccountable peculiarities might be explained
in this way? Did there exist in the as yet unexplored
10 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

parts some accomplice ready to enter into communication
with them ?

To all these questions which he mentally asked himself,
Harding knew not what to reply ; but he felt that the safety
of the colony could not but be seriously threatened by the
arrival of the brig.

However, he and his companions were determined to
fight to the last gasp. It would have been very important
to know if the pirates were numerous and better armed
than the colonists. But how was this information to be
obtained ?

Night fell. The new moon had disappeared. Profound
darkness enveloped the island and the sea. No light could
pierce through the heavy piles of clouds on the horizon.
The wind had died away completely with the twilight.
Not a leaf rustled on the trees, not a ripple murmured on
the shore. Nothing could be seen of the ship, all her lights
being extinguished, and if she was still in sight of the
island, her whereabouts could not be discovered.

“Well! who knows?” said Pencroft. “Perhaps that
cursed craft will stand off during the night, and’ we shall
see nothing of her at daybreak.”

As if in reply to the sailor’s observation, a bright light
flashed in the darkness, and a cannon-shot was heard.

The vessel was still there and had guns on board.

Six seconds elapsed between the flash and the report.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 17





Therefore the brig was about a mile and a quarter '
from the coast.
At the same time, the chains were heard rattling through

the hawse-holes.
The vessel had just anchored in sight of Granite House!
18 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

CHAPTER II.

DISCUSSIONS—PRESENTIMENTS—AYRTON’S PROPOSAL—
IT IS ACCEPTED—AYRTON AND PENCROFT ON
GRANT ISLET—CONVICTS FROM NORFOLK ISLAND
—AYRTON’S HEROIC ATTEMPT—HIS RETURN—SIX
AGAINST FIFTY.

THERE was no longer any doubt as to the pirates’ inten-
tions. They had dropped anchor at a short distance
from the island, and it was evident that the next day
by means of their boats they purposed to land on the
beach !

Cyrus Harding and his companions were ready to act,
but, determined though they were, they must not forget to
be prudent. Perhaps their presence might still be con-
cealed in the event of the pirates contenting themselves
with landing on the shore without examining the interior
of the island. It might be, indeed, that their only intention
was to obtain fresh water from the Mercy, and it was not
impossible that the bridge, thrown across a mile and a half
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 19
from the mouth, and the manufactory at the Chimneys
might escape their notice.

But why was that flag hoisted at the brig’s peak ? What
was that shot fired for? Pure bravado doubtless, unless it
was a sign of the act of taking possession. Harding knew
now that the vessel was well armed. And what had the
colonists of Lincoln Island to reply to the pirates’ guns?
A few muskets only. .

“However,” observed Cyrus Harding, “here we are in
an impregnable position. The enemy cannot discover the
mouth of the outlet, now that it is hidden under reeds and
grass, and consequently it would be impossible for them to
penetrate into Granite House.”

“But our plantations, our poultry-yard, our corral, all,

1?

everything!” exclaimed Pencroft, stamping his foot. “They

may spoil everything, destroy everything in a few hours!”

“Everything, Pencroft,” answered Harding, “and we have
no means of preventing them.”

“Are they numerous? that is the question,” said the
reporter. “If they are not more than a dozen, we shall be
able to stop them, but forty, fifty, more perhaps!”

“Captain Harding,” then said Ayrton, advancing towards
the engineer, “will you give me leave.”

“For what, my friend ?”

“To go to that vessel to find out the strength of her
crew.”

C2
20 _ THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

“But Ayrton—” answered the engineer, hesitating, “you
will risk your life—”

“Why not, sir?”

“That is more than your duty.”

“T have more than my duty to do,” replied Ayrton.

“Will you go to the ship in the boat?” asked Gideon
Spilett.

“ No, sir, but I will swim. A boat would be seen where
a man may glide between wind and water.”

“Do you know that the brig is a mile and a quarter
from the shore?” said Herbert.

“Tam a good swimmer, Mr. Herbert.”

“T tell you it is risking your life,” said the engineer.

“That is no. matter,” answered Ayrton. “Captain
Harding, I ask this as a favour. Perhaps it will be a
means of raising me in my own eyes!”

“Go, Ayrton,” replied the engineer, who felt sure that a
refusal would have deeply wounded the former convict,
now become an honest man.

“T will accompany you,” said Pencroft.

“You mistrust me!” said Ayrton quickly.

Then more humbly,—

“Alas!”

“No! no!” exclaimed Harding with animation, “no,
Ayrton, Pencroft does not mistrust you. You interpret
his words wrongly.”
TIIE SECRET OF TITE ISLAND. 21

“Indeed,” returned the sailor, “I only propose to accom-
pany Ayrton as far as the islet. It may be, although it is
scarcely possible, that one of these villains has landed, and
in that case two men will not be too many to hinder him
from giving the alarm. I will wait for Ayrton on the islet,
and he shall go alone to the vessel, since he has proposed to
do so.” These things agreed to, Ayrton made preparations
for his departure. His plan was bold, but it might succeed,
thanks to the darkness of the night. Once arrived at the
vessel's side, Ayrton, holding on to the main chains, might
rcconnoitre the number and perhaps overhear the intentions
of the pirates.

Ayrton and Pencroft, followed by their companions, de-
scended to the beach. Ayrton undressed and rubbed him-
self with grease, so as to suffer less from the temperature
of the water, which was still cold. He might, indeed, be
obliged to remain in it for several hours,

Pencroft and Neb, during this time, had gone to fetch
the boat, moored a few hundred feet higher up, on the bank
of the Mercy, and by the time they returned, Ayrton was
ready to start. A coat was thrown over his shoulders, and
the settlers all came round him to press his hand.

Ayrton then shoved off with Pencroft in the boat.

It was half-past ten in the evening when the two
adventurers disappeared in the darkness. Their com-
panions returned to wait at the Chimneys.
22 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.





The channel was easily traversed, and the boat touched
the opposite shore of the islet. This was not done without
precaution, for fear lest the pirates might be roaming
about there. But after a careful survey, it was evident that
the islet was deserted. Ayrton then, followed by Pencroft,
crossed it with a rapid step, scaring the birds nestled in
the holes of the rocks ; then, without hesitating, he plunged
into the sea, and swam noiselessly in the direction of the
ship, in which a few lights had recently appeared, showing
her exact situation. As to Pencroft, he crouched down in
a cleft of the rock, and awaited the return of his companion.

In the meanwhile, Ayrton, swimming with a vigorous
stroke, glided through the sheet of water without producing
the slightest ripple. His head just emerged above it and
his eyes were fixed on the dark hull of the brig, from which
the lights were reflected in the water. He thought only of
the duty which he had promised to accomplish, and nothing
of the danger which he ran, not only on board the ship,
but in the sea, often frequented by sharks, The current
bore him along and he rapidly receded from the shore.

Half an hour afterwards, Ayrton, without having been
either seen or heard, arrived at the ship and caught hold of
the main-chains. He took breath, then, hoisting himself
up, he managed to reach the extremity of the cutwater.
There were drying several pairs of sailors’ trousers. He
put on a pair. Then settling himself firmly, he listened.
—







AYRTON HOISTING HIMSELF TO THE CUTWATER.
t Page 22.






































































































































E PIRATE.

TH

AYRTON BOARDS

Page 23.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 23
They were not sleeping on board the brig. On the con-
trary, ‘they were talking, singing, laughing. And these
were the sentences, accompanied with oaths, which princi-
pally struck Ayrton :—

“Our brig is a famous acquisition.”

“She sails well, and merits her name of the ‘ Speedy.’”

“She would show all the navy of Norfolk a clean pair of
heels.”

“Hurrah for her captain!”

“ Hurrah for Bob Harvey!”

What Ayrton felt when he overheard this fragment o:
conversation may be understood when it is known that in
this Bob Harvey he recognized one of his old Australian
companions, a daring sailor, who had continued his criminal
career. Bob Harvey had seized, on the shores of Norfolk
Island, this brig, which was loaded with arms, ammunition,
utensils, and tools of all sorts, destined for one of the
Sandwich Islands, All his gang had gone on board, and
pirates after having been convicts, these wretches, more
ferocious than the Malays themselves, scoured the Pacific,
destroying vessels, and massacring their crews.

The convicts spoke loudly, they recounted their deeds,
drinking deeply at the same time, and this is what Ayrton
gathered. Theactual crew of the “ Speedy ” was composed
solely of English prisoners, escaped from Norfolk Island.

Here it may be well to explain what this island was.
24. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

In 29° 2’ south latitude, and 165° 42' east longitude, to
the east of Australia, is found a little island, six miles in
circumference, overlooked by Mount Pitt, which rises
to a height of 1100 feet above the level of the
sea. . This is Norfolk Island, once the seat of an
establishment in -which were lodged the most intractable
convicts from the English penitentiaries, They numbered
500, under an iron discipline, threatened with terrible
punishments, and were guarded by 150 soldiers, and
150 employed under the orders of the governor. It
would be difficult to imagine a collection of greater
ruffians. Sometimes,—although very rarely,—notwith-
standing the extreme surveillance of which they were the
object, many managed to escape, and seizing vessels which
they surprised, they infested the Polynesian Archipelagos.’

Thus had Bob Harvey and his companions done.
Thus had Ayrton formerly wished to do. Bob Harvey
had seized the brig “Speedy,” anchored in sight of
Norfolk Island ; the crew had been massacred ; and for a
year this ship had scoured the Pacific, under the command
of Harvey, now a pirate, and well known to Ayrton!

The convicts were, for the most part, assembled under
the poop; but a few, stretched on the deck, were talking
loudly.

1 Norfolk Island has long since been abandoned as a_ penal
settlement.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 25

The conversation still continued amidst shouts and
libations. Ayrton learned that chance alone had brought
the “Speedy” in sight of Lincoln Island: Bob Harvey
had never yet set foot on it; but, as Cyrus Harding
had conjectured, finding this unknown land in his course,
its position being marked on no chart, he had formed
the project of visiting it, and, if he found it suitable,
of making it the brig’s head-quarters.

As to the black flag hoisted at the “Speedy’s” peak,
and the gun which had been fired, in imitation of men-
of-war when they lower their colours, it was pure
piratical bravado. It was in no way a signal, and no
communication yet existed between the convicts and
Lincoln Island.

The settlers’ domain was now menaced with terrible
danger. Evidently the island, with its water, its harbour,
its resources of all kinds so increased in value by the
colonists, and the concealment afforded by Granite
House, could not but be convenient for the convicts;
in their hands it would become an excellent place of
cefuge, and, being unknown, it would assure them, for
along time perhaps, impunity and security. Evidently,
also, the lives of the settlers’ would not be respected,
and Bob Harvey and his accomplices’ first care would
be to massacre them without mercy. Harding and his
companions had, therefore, not even the choice of
26 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

flying and hiding themselves in the island, since the
convicts intended to reside there, and since, in the event
of the “Speedy” departing on an expedition, it was
probable that some of the crew would remain on shore,
so as to settle themselves there. Therefore, it would
be necessary to fight, to destroy every one of these
scoundrels, unworthy of pity, and against whom any
means would be right. So thought Ayrton, and he
well knew that Cyrus Harding would be of his way
of thinking.

But was resistance and, in the last place, victory
possible? That would depend on the equipment of the
brig, and the number of men which she carried.

This Ayrton resolved to learn af any cost, and as an
hour after his arrival the vociferations had begun to
die away, and as a large number of the convicts were
already buried in a drunken sleep, Ayrton did not
hesitate to venture on to the “Speedy’s” deck, which
the extinguished lanterns now left in total darkness.
He hoisted himself on to the cutwater, and by the
bowsprit arrived at the forecastle. Then, gliding among
the convicts stretched here and there, he made the
round of the ship, and found that the “ Speedy” carried
four guns, which would throw shot of from eight to
ten pounds in weight. He found also, on touching
them, that these guns were breech-loaders. They were,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 27
therefore, of modern make, easily used, and of terrible
effect.

As to the men lying on the deck, they were about ten
in number, but it was to be supposed that more were
sleeping down below. Besides, by listening to them,
Ayrton had understood that there were fifty on board.
That was a large number for the six settlers of Lincoln
Island to contend with! But now, thanks to Ayrton’s
devotion, Cyrus Harding would not be surprised, he would
know the strength of his adversaries, and would make his
arrangements accordingly.

There was nothing more for Ayrton to do but to
return, and render to his companions an account of the
mission with which he had charged himself, and he
prepared to regain the bows of the brig, so that he
might let himself down into the water.

But to this man, whose wish was, as he had said, to
do more than his duty, there came an heroic thought.
This was to sacrifice his own life, but save the island
and the colonists. Cyrus Harding evidently could not
resist fifty ruffians, all well armed, who, either by
penetrating by main force into Granite House, or by
starving out the besieged, could obtain from them
what they wanted. And then he thought of his pre-
servers—those who had made him again a man, and an
honest man, those to whom he owed all—murdered
28 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



without pity, their works destroyed, their island turned
into a pirates’ den! He said to himself that he, Ayrton,
was the principal cause of so many disasters, since his
old companion, Bob Harvey, had but realized his own
plans, and a feeling of horror took possession of him.
Then he was seized with an irresistible desire to blow
up the brig, and with her, all whom she had on board.
He would perish in the explosion, but he would have
done his duty.

Ayrton did not hesitate. To reach the powder-room,
which is always situated in the after-part of a vessel,
was easy. There would be no want of powder in a
vessel which followed such a trade, and a spark would
be enough to destroy it in an instant.

Ayrton stole carefully along the between-decks, strewn
with numerous sleepers, overcome more by drunkenness
than sleep. A lantern was lighted at the foot of the
mainmast, round which was hung a gun-rack, furnished
with weapons of all sorts,

Ayrton took a revolver from the rack, and assured
himself that it was loaded and primed. Nothing more
was needed to accomplish the work of destruction. He
then glided towards the stern, so as to arrive under the
brig’s poop at the powder-magazine.

It was difficult to proceed along the dimly-lighted deck
without stumbling over some half-s'eeping convict, who






; ‘““WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Page 29.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 29



retorted by oaths and kicks. Ayrton was, therefore, more
than once obliged to halt. But at last he arrived at the
partition dividing the after-cabin, and found the door
opening into the magazine itself.

Ayrton, compelled to force it open, set to work. It
was a difficult operation to perform without noise, for
he had to break a padlock. But under his vigorous
hand, the padlock broke, and the door was open.

At that moment a hand was laid on Ayrton’s shoulder.

“What are you doing here?” asked a tall man, in a
harsh voice, who, standing in the shadow, quickly threw
the light of a lantern on Ayrton’s face.

Ayrton drew back. In the rapid flash of the lantern,
he had recognized his former accomplice, Bob Harvey,
who could not have known him, as he must have thought
Ayrton long since dead.

‘What are you doing here?” again said Bob Harvey,
seizing Ayrton by the waistband.

But Ayrton, without replying, wrenched himself from
his grasp and attempted to rush into the magazine. A
shot fired into the midst of the powder-casks, and all would
be over!

“Help, lads!” shouted Bob Harvey.

At his shout two or three pirates awoke, jumped up,
and, rushing on Ayrton, endeavoured to throw him down.
He soon extricated himself from their grasp. He fired his
30 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

revolver, and two of the convicts fell; but a blow from a
knife which he could not ward off made a gash in his
shoulder.

Ayrton perceived that he could no longer hope to carry
out his project. Bob Harvey had reclosed the door of the
powder-magazine, and a movement on the deck indicated
a general awakening of the pirates. Ayrton must reserve
himself to fight at the side of Cyrus Harding. There was
nothing for him but flight!

But was flight still possible? It was doubtful, yet
Ayrton resolved to dare everything in order to rejoin his
companions.

Four barrels of the revolver were still undischarged.
Two were fired—one, aimed at Bob Harvey, did not wound
him, or at any rate only slightly; and Ayrton, profiting
by the momentary retreat of his adversaries, rushed towards
the companion-ladder to gain the deck. Passing before
the lantern, he smashed it with a blow from the butt of
his revolver. A profound darkness ensued, which favoured
his flight. Two or three pirates, awakened by the noise,
were descending the ladder at the same moment. A fifth
shot from Ayrton laid one low, and the others drew back,
not understanding what was going on. Ayrton was on deck
in two bounds, and three seconds later, having discharged
his last barrel in the face of a pirate who was about to seize
him by the throat, he leapt over the bulwarks into the sea.














































































































































































































































































































































a

“







HE LEAPT OVER THE BULWARKS INTO THE SEA,

Page 30.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 31

Ayrton had not made six strokes before shots were
splashing around him like hail.

What were Pencroft’s feelings, sheltered under a rock
on the islet! what were those of Harding, the reporter,
Herbert, and Neb, crouched in the Chimneys, when they
heard the reports on board the brig! They rushed out on
to the beach, and, their guns shouldered, they stood ready
to repel any attack.

They had no doubt about it themselves! Ayrton, sur-
prised by the pirates, had been murdered, and, perhaps,
the wretches would profit by the night to make a descent
on the island!

Half an hour was passed in terrible anxiety. The firing
had ceased, and yet neither Ayrton nor Pencroft had
reappeared. Was the islet invaded? Ought they not to
fly to the help of Ayrton and Pencroft? But how? The
tide being high at that time, rendered the channel im-
passable. The boat was not there! We may imagine the
horrible anxiety which took possession of Harding and
his companions!

At last, towards half-past twelve, a boat, carrying two
men, touched the beach. It was Ayrton, slightly wounded
in the shoulder, and Pencroft, safe and sound, whom their
friends received with open arms.

All immediately took refuge in the Chimneys. There
Ayrton recounted all that had passed, even to his plan
32 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



for blowing up the brig, which he had attempted to put
into execution.

All hands were extended to Ayrton, who did not conceal
from them that their situation was serious. The pirates
had been alarmed. They knew that Lincoln Island was in-
habited. They would land upon it in numbers and well
armed. They would respect nothing. Should the settlers
fall into their hands, they must expect no mercy!

“Well, we shall know how to die!” said the reporter.

“Let us go in and watch,” answered the engineer.

“Have we any chance of escape, captain?” asked the
sailor.

“Ves, Pencroft.”

“Hum! six against fifty!”

“Ves! six! without counting—’

“Who ?” asked Pencroft.

Cyrus did not reply, but pointed upwards.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 33



CHAPTER IIL

THE MIST RISES—THE ENGINEER’S PREPARATIONS—
THREE POSTS—AYRTON AND PENCROFT—THE FIRST
BOAT—TWO OTHER BOATS—ON THE ISLET—SIX
CONVICTS LAND—THE BRIG WEIGHS ANCHOR—THE
“ SPEEDY’S” GUNS—A DESPERATE SITUATION—UN-
EXPECTED CATASTROPHE.

THE night passed without incident. The colonists were
on the guz vive, and did not leave their post at the
Chimneys. The pirates, on their side, did not appear to
have made any attempt to land. Since the last shots fired
at Ayrton not a report, not even a sound, had betrayed
the presence of the brig in the neighbourhood of the
island. It might have been fancied that she had weighed
anchor, thinking that she had to deal with her match, and
had left the coast.

But it was no such thing, and when day began to dawn
the settlers could see a confused mass through the morning
mist. It was the “Speedy.”

D
34 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“These, my friends,” said the engineer, “are the arrange-
ments which appear to me best to make before the fog
completely clears away. It hides us from the eyes of the
pirates, and we can act without attracting their attention.
The most important thing is, that the convicts should
believe that the inhabitants of the island are numerous,
and consequently capable of resisting them. I therefore
propose that we divide into three parties, the first of
which shall be posted at the Chimneys, the second at the
mouth of the Mercy. As to the third, I think it would be
best to place it on the islet, so as to prevent, or at all
events delay, any attempt at landing. We have the use of
two rifles and four muskets. Each of us will be armed,
and, as we are amply provided with powder and shot, we
need not spare our fire. We have nothing to fear from the
muskets, nor even from the guns of the brig. What can
they do against these rocks? And, as we shall not fire
from the windows of Granite House, the pirates will not
think of causing irreparable damage by throwing shell
against it. What is to be feared is, the necessity of meeting
hand-to-hand, since the convicts have numbers on their
side. We must, therefore, try to prevent them from land-
ing, but without discovering ourselves. Therefore, do not
economize the ammunition. Fire often, but with a sure
aim. We have-each eight or ten enemies to kill, and they
must be killed!”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 35



Cyrus Harding had clearly represented their situation,
although he spoke in the calmest voice, as if it was a
question of directing a piece of work, and not ordering
a battle. His companions approved these arrangements
without even uttering a word. There was nothing more
to be done but for each to take his place before the fog
should be completely dissipated. Neb and Pencroft im-
mediately ascended to Granite House and brought back a
sufficient quantity of ammunition. Gideon Spilett and
Ayrton, both very good marksmen, were armed with the
two rifles, which carried nearly a mile. The four other
muskets were divided amongst Harding, Neb, Pencroft,
and Herbert.

The posts were arranged in the following man-
ner :—

Cyrus Harding and Herbert remained in ambush at the
Chimneys, thus commanding the shore to the foot of
Granite House.

Gideon Spilett and Neb crouched among the rocks at the
mouth: of the Mercy, from which the drawbridges had been
raised, so as to prevent any one from crossing in a boat or
landing on the opposite shore.

As to Ayrton and Pencroft, they shoved off in the boat,
and prepared to cross the channel and to take up two sepa-
rate stations on the islet. In this way, shots being fired
from four different points at once, the convicts would be led

“D2
30 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

to believe that the island was both largely peopled and
strongly defended.

In the event of a landing being effected without their
having been able to prevent it, and also if they saw that
they were on the point of being cut off by the brig’s boat,
Ayrton and Pencroft were to return in their boat to the
shore and proceed towards the threatened spot.

Before starting to occupy their posts, the colonists for
the last time wrung each other’s hands,

Pencroft succeeded in controlling himself sufficiently to
suppress his emotion when he embraced Herbert, his boy!
and then they separated.

In a few moments Harding and Herbert on one side, the
weporter and Neb on the other, had disappeared behind the
‘rocks, and five minutes later Ayrton and Pencroft, having
without difficulty crossed the channel, disembarked on the islet
and concealed themselves in the clefts of its eastern shore.

None of them could have been seen, for they them-
selves could scarcely distinguish the brig in the fog.

It was half-past six in the morning.

Soon the fog began to clear away, and the topmasts
of the brig issued from the vapour. For some minutes
great masses rolléd over the surface of the sea, then a
breeze sprang up, which rapidly dispelled the mist.

The “Speedy” now appeared in full view, with a
spring on her cable, her head to the north, presenting her
TUE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 37
larboard side to the island. Just as Harding had calcu-
lated, she was not more than a mile and a quarter from
the coast.

The sinister black flag floated from the peak.

The engineer, with his telescope, could see that the
four guns on board were pointed at the island. They
were evidently ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

In the meanwhile the “Speedy” remained _ silent.
About thirty pirates could be seen moving on the deck.
A few were on the poop; two others posted in the shrouds,
and armed with spy-glasses, were attentively surveying
the island.

Certainly, Bob Harvey and his crew would not be able
easily to give an account of what had happened during
the night on board the brig. Had this half-naked man,
who had forced the door of the powder-magazine, and
with whom they had struggled, who had six times
discharged his revolver at them, who had killed one
and wounded two others, escaped their shot? Had
he been able to swim to shore? Whence did he
come? What had been his object? Had his design
really been to blow up the brig, as Bob Harvey had
thought ? All this must be confused enough to the con-
victs minds. But what they could no longer doubt was
that the unknown island before which the “Speedy”
had cast anchor was inhabited, and that there was,
38 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.





perhaps, a numerous colony ready to defend it. And yet
no one was to be seen, neither on the shore, nor on the
heights. The beach appeared to be absolutely deserted.
At any rate, there was no trace of dwellings. Had the
inhabitants fled into the interior? Thus probably the
pirate captain reasoned, and doubtless, like a prudent
man, he wished to reconnoitre the locality before he
allowed his men to venture there.

During an hour and a half, no indication of attack or
landing could be observed on board the brig. Evidently
Bob Harvey was hesitating. Even with his strongest
telescopes he could not have perceived one of the settlers
crouched among the rocks. It was not even probable that
his attention had been awakened by the screen of green
branches and creepers hiding the windows of Granite
House, and showing rather conspicuously on the bare
rock. Indeed, how could he imagine that a dwelling was
hollowed out, at that height, in the solid granite. From
Claw Cape to the Mandible Capes, in all the extent of
Union Bay, there was nothing to lead him to suppose
that the island was or could be inhabited.

At eight o’clock, however, the colonists observed

’

movement on board the “Speedy.” A boat was lowered,
and seven men jumped into her. They were armed with
muskets: one took the yoke-lines, four others the oars,

and the two others, kneeling in the bows, ready to fire,






























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































AYRTON AND PENCROFT WAITED TILL THEY WERE WITHIN RANGE.

+ Page 39.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 39

reconnoitred the island. Their object was no doubt to
make an examination but not to land, for in the latter
case they would have come in larger numbers. The
pirates from their look-out could have seen that the coast
was sheltered by an islet, separated from it by a channel
half a mile in width. However, it was soon cvident to
Cyrus Harding, on observing the direction followed by the
boat, that they would not attempt to penetrate into the
channel, but would land on the islet.

Pencroft and Ayrton, each hidden in a narrow cleft of
the rock, saw them coming directly towards them, and
waited till they were within range.

The boat advanced with extreme caution. The oars
only dipped into the water at long intervals. It could
now be seen that one of the convicts held a lead-line in
his hand, and that he wished to fathom the depth of the
channel hollowed out by the current of the Mercy. This
showed that it was Bob Harvey’s intention to bring his
brig as near as possible to the coast. About thirty pirates,
scattered in the rigging, followed every movement of the
boat, and took the bearings of certain landmarks which
would allow them to approach without danger. The boat
was not more than two cables-lengths off the islet when
she stopped. The man at the tiller stood up and looked
for the best place at which to land.

At that moment two shots were heard. Smoke curled
40 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

up from among the rocks of the islet. The man at the
helm and the man with the lead-line fell backwards into
the boat. Ayrton’s and Pencroft’s balls had struck them
both at the same moment.

Almost immediately a louder report was heard, a cloud
of smoke issued from the brig’s side, and a ball, striking
the summit of the rock which sheltered Ayrton and
‘Pencroft, made it fly in splinters, but the two marksmen
remained unhurt.

Horrible imprecations burst from the boat, which im-
mediately continued its way. The man who had been
at the tiller was replaced by one of his comrades, and
the oars were rapidly plunged into the water. However,
instead of returning on board as might have been ex-
pected, the boat coasted along the islet, so as to round
its southern point, The pirates pulled vigorously at
their oars that they might get out of range of the
bullets.

They advanced to within five cables-lengths of that
part of the shore terminated by Flotsam Point, and after
having rounded it in a semicircular line, still protected
by the brig’s guns, they proceeded towards the mouth of
the Mercy, ‘

Their evident intention was to penetrate into the
channel, and cut off the colonists posted on the islet, in
such a way, that whatever their number might be, being
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 4!



placed between the fire from the boat and the fire from
the brig, they would find themselves in a very disad-
vantageous position.

A quarter of an hour passed whilst the boat advanced
in this direction. Absolute silence, perfect calm reigned
in the air and on the water.

Pencroft and Ayrton, although they knew they ran
the risk of being cut off, had not left their post, both
that they did not wish to show themselves as yet to
their assailants, and expose themselves to the “ Speedy’s”
guns, and that they relied on Neb and Gideon Spilett,
watching at the mouth of the river, and on Cyrus
Harding and Herbert, in ambush among the rocks at
he Chimneys.

Twenty minutes after the first shots were fired, the
boat was less than two cables-lengths off the Mercy.
As the tide was beginning to rise with its accustomed
violence, caused by the narrowness of the straits, the
pirates were drawn towards the river, and it was only
by dint of hard rowing that they were able to keep in
the middle of the channel. But, as they were passing
within good range of the mouth of the Mercy, two balls
saluted them, and two more of their number were laid
in the bottom of the boat. Neb and Spilett had not
missed their aim.

The brig immediately sent a second ball on the post
42 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

betrayed by the smoke, but without any other result
than that of splintering the rock.

The boat now contained only three able men. Carried
on by the current, it shot through the channel with
the rapidity of an arrow, passed before Harding and
Herbert, who, not thinking it within range, withheld their
fire, then, rounding the northern point of the islet with
the two remaining oars, they pulled towards the brig.

Hitherto the settlers had nothing to complain of.
Their adversaries had certainly had the worst of it.
The latter already counted four men seriously wounded
if not dead; they, on the contrary, unwounded, had
not missed a shot. If the pirates continued to attack
them in this way, if they renewed their attempt to
land by means of a boat, they could be destroyed
one by one.

It was now seen how advantageous the engineer’s
arrangements had been. The pirates would think that
they had to deal with numerous and well armed ad-
versaries, whom they could not easily get the better of.

Half an hour passed before the boat, having to pull
against the current, could get alongside the “Speedy.”
Frightful cries weré heard when they returned on board
with the wounded, and two or three guns were fired
with no result.

But now about a dozen other convicts, maddened with
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 43



rage, and possibly by the effect of the evening’s pota-
tions, threw themselves into the boat. A second boat
was also lowered, in which eight men took their places,
and whilst the first pulled straight for the islet, to dis-
lodge the colonists from thence, the second manceuvred
so as to force the entrance of the Mercy.

The situation was evidently becoming very dangerous
for Pencroft and Ayrton, and they saw that they must
regain the mainland.

However, they waited till the first boat was within
range, when two well-directed balls threw its crew into
disorder. Then, Pencroft and Ayrton, abandoning their
posts, under fire from the dozen muskets, ran across the
islet at full speed, jumped into their boat, crossed the
channel at the moment the second boat reached the
southern end, and ran to hide themselves in the. Chim-
neys.

They had scarcely rejoined Cyrus Harding and Her-
bert, before the islet was overrun with pirates in every
direction. Almost at the same moment, fresh reports
resounded from the Mercy station, to which the second
boat was rapidly approaching. Two, out of the eight
men who manned her, were mortally wounded by Gideon
Spilett and Neb, and the boat herself, carried irresistibly
on to the reefs, was stove in at the mouth of the Mercy.
But the six survivors, holding their muskets above their
44. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

heads to preserve them from contact with the water,
managed to land on the right bank of the river. Then,
finding they were exposed to the fire of the ambush
there, they fled in the direction of Flotsam Point, out
of range of the balls.

The actual situation was this: on the islet were a
dozen convicts, of whom some were no doubt wounded,
but who had still a boat at their disposal; on the island
were six, but who could not by any possibility reach
Granite House, as they could not cross the river, all the
bridges being raised,

“Hallo,” exclaimed Pencroft as he rushed into the
Chimneys, “hallo, captain! What do you think of it,
now?”

“T think,” answered the engineer, “that the combat,
will now take a new form, for it cannot be supposed
that the convicts will be so foolish as to remain in a
position so unfavourable for them!”

“They won't cross the channel,” said the sailor.
“Ayrton and Mr. Spilett’s rifles are there to prevent
them. You know that they carry more than a mile!”

“No doubt,” replied Herbert ; “but what can two rifles
do against the brig’s guns ?” :

“Well, the brig isn’t in the channel yet, I fancy!”
said Pencroft.

“ But suppose she does come there?” said Harding.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 45

“That’s impossible, for she would risk running aground
and being lost!”

“Tt is possible,” said Ayrton. ‘The convicts might
profit by the high tide to enter the channel, with the
risk of grounding at low tide, it is true; but then,
under the fire from her guns, our posts would be no
longer tenable.”

“Confound them!” exclaimed Pencroft, “It really
seems as if the blackguards were preparing to weigh
anchor.”

“Perhaps we shall be obliged to take refuge in Granite
House!” observed Herbert.

“We must wait !” answered Cyrus Harding.

“But Mr. Spilett and Neb?” said Pencroft.

“They will know when it is best to rejoin us. Be
ready, Ayrton. It is yours and Spilett’s rifles which must
speak now.”

It was only too true. The “Speedy” was beginning
to weigh her anchor, and her intention was evidently
to approach the islet. The tide would be rising for an
hour and a half, and the ebb current being already
weakened, it would be easy for the brig to advance.
But as to entering the channel, Pencroft, contrary to
Ayrton’s opinion, could not believe that she would dare
to attempt it.

In the meanwhile, the pirates who occupied the islet
46 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

had gradually advanced to the opposite shore, and were
now only separated from the mainland by the channel.

Being armed with muskets alone, they could do no
harm to the settlers, in ambush at the Chimneys and
the mouth of the Mercy; but, not knowing the latter to be
supplied with long range rifles, they on their side did
not believe themselves to be exposed. Quite uncovered,
therefore, they surveyed the islet, and examined the shore.

Their illusion was of short duration. Ayrton’s and
Gideon Spilett’s rifles then spoke, and no doubt imparted
some very disagreeable intelligence to two of the con-
victs, for they fell backwards.

Then there was a general helter-skelter. The ten
others, not even stopping to pick up their dead or
wounded companions, fled to the other side of the islet,
tumbled into the boat which had brought them, and
pulled away with all their strength.

“ Eight less!” exclaimed Pencroft. ‘Really, one would
have ‘thought that Mr. Spilett and Ayrton had given
the word to fire together!”

“Gentlemen,” said Ayrton, as he reloaded his gun,
“this is becoming more serious. The brig is making
sail !” ’

“ The anchor is weighed!” exclaimed Pencroft.

“Yes; and she is already moving.”

In fact, they could distinctly hear the creaking of the
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 47
windlass. The “Speedy” was at first held by her
anchor; then, when that had been raised, she began to
drift towards the shore. The wind was blowing from
the sea; the jib and the fore-topsail were hoisted, and
the vessel gradually approached the island.

From the two posts of the Mercy and the Chimneys
they watched her without giving a sign of life; but not
without some emotion. What could be more terrible
for the colonists than to be exposed, at a short distance,
to the brig’s guns, without being able to reply with any
effect ? How could they then prevent the pirates from
landing ?

Cyrus Harding felt this strongly, and he asked himself
what it would be possible to do. Before long, he would
be called upon for his determination. But what was
it to be? To shut themselves up in Granite House,
to be besieged there, to remain there for weeks, for
months even, since they had an abundance of provisions ?
So far good! But after that? The pirates would not
the less be masters of the island, which they would
ravage at their pleasure, and in time, they would end by
having their revenge on the prisoners in Granite House.

However, one chance yet remained; it was that Bob
Harvey, after all, would not venture his ship into the
channel, and that he would keep outside the islet. He
would be still separated from the coast by half a mile,
48 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



and at that distance his shot could not be very destruc-
tive.

“Never!” repeated Pencroft, “ Bob Harvey will never, if
he is a good seaman, enter that channel! He knows well
that it would risk the brig, if the sea got up ever so little!
And what would become of him without his vessel ?”

In the meanwhile the brig approached the islet, and
it could be seen that she was endeavouring to make
the lower end. The breeze was light, and as the current
had then lost much of its force, Bob Harvey had absolute
command over his vessel.

The route previously followed by the boats had allowed
her to reconnoitre the channel, and she boldly entered it.

The pirates design was now only too evident: he
wished to bring her broadside to bear on the Chimneys
and from there to reply with shell and ball to the shot
which had till then decimated her crew.

Soon the “Speedy” reached the point of the islet;
she rounded it with ease; the mainsail was braced up,
and the brig hugging the wind, stood across the mouth
of the Mercy.

“The scoundrels! they are coming!” said Pencroft.

At that moment,' Cyrus Harding, Ayrton, the sailor,
and Herbert, were rejoined by Neb and Gideon Spilett.

The reporter and his companion had judged it best
to abandon the post at the Mercy, from which they
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 49



could do nothing against the ship, and they had acted
wisely. It was better that the colonists should be
together at the moment when they were about to
engage in a decisive action. Gideon Spilett and Neb
had arrived by dodging behind the rocks, though not
without attracting a shower of bullets, which had not,
however, reached them,

“Spilett! Neb!” cried the engineer, “You are not
wounded ?”

“No,” answered the reporter; “a few bruises. only
from the ricochet! But that cursed brig has entered.
the channel!”

“Yes,” replied Pencroft, “and in ten minutes she will.
have anchored before Granite House!”

“Tave you formed any plan, Cyrus?” asked the
reporter.

“We must take refuge in Granite House whilst there
is still time, and the convicts cannot see us.”

“That is my opinion, too,” replied Gideon Spilett ;
“but once shut up—”

“We must be guided by circumstances,” said the
engineer.

“Let us be off, then, and make haste!” said the re-
porter.

“Would you not wish, captain, that Ayrton and I
should remain here?” asked the sailor. —

E
So. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“What would be the use of that, Pencroft?” replied
Harding. “No. We will not separate!”

There was not a moment to be lost. The colonists
left the Chimneys. A bend of the cliff prevented them
from being seen by those in the brig; but two or three
reports, and the crash of bullets on the rock, told them
that the “Speedy” was at no great distance.

To spring into the lift, hoist themselves up to the
door of Granite House, where Top and Jup had been
shut up since the evening before, to rush into the large
room, was the work of a minute only.

It was quite time, for the settlers, through the branches,
could see the “Speedy,” surrounded with smoke, gliding
up the channel. The firing was incessant, and shot from
the four guns struck blindly, both on the Mercy post,
although it was not occupied, and on the Chimneys.
The rocks were splintered, and cheers accompanied each
discharge. However, they were hoping that Granite
House would be spared, thanks to Harding’s precaution
of concealing the windows, when a shot, piercing the
door, penetrated into the passage.

“We are discovered!” exclaimed Pencroft.

The colonists had not, perhaps, been seen; but it
was certain that Bob Harvey had thought’ proper to
send a ball through the suspected foliage which concealed
that part of the cliff. Soon he redoubled his attack,


























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































i

VW
A \\



THE CHIMNEYS ATTACKED.
+ Page 50.










































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































THE BRIG, RAISED ON A WATER-SPOUT, SPLIT IN TWO.
Page sr.

~
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. Sr

when another ball having torn away the leafy screen,
disclosed a gaping aperture in the granite.

The colonists’ situation was desperate. Their retreat
was discovered. They could not oppose any obstacle to
these missiles, nor protect the stone, which flew in splinters
around them. There was nothing to be done but to
take refuge in the upper passage of Granite House,
and leave their dwelling to be devastated, when a deep
roar was heard, followed by frightful cries!

Cyrus Harding and his companions rushed to one of
the windows—

The brig, irresistibly raised on a sort of water-spout,
had just split in two, and in less than ten seconds she
was.swallowed up with all her criminal crew!
§2 TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



CHAPTER IV.

THE COLONISTS ON THE BEACH—AYRTON AND PEN-
CROFT WORK AMID THE WRECK—CONVERSATION
DURING BREAKFAST—PENCROFT’S ARGUMENTS—
MINUTE EXAMINATION OF THE BRIG’S HULL—THE
POWDER-MAGAZINE UNTOUCHED—NEW. RICHES—
THE LAST OF THE WRECK—A BROKEN PIECE OF
CYLINDER.

“ SHE has blown up!” cried Herbert.
“Yes! blown up, just as if Ayrton had set fire to the
powder!” returned Pencroft, throwing himself into the lift
together with Neb and the lad.
“ But what has happened?” asked Gideon Spilett, quite
stunned by this unexpected catastrophe.

“Oh! this time,, we shall know—” answered the

”
engineer quickly.

“What shall we know ?>—”
“Later! later! Come Spilett. The main point is that

these pirates have been exterminated !”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 53

And Cyrus Harding, hurrying away the reporter and
Ayrton, joined Pencroft, Neb, and Herbert on the
beach. ‘

Nothing could be seen of the brig, not even her masts.
After having been raised by the water-spout, she had fallen
on her side, and had sunk in that position, doubtless in
consequence of some enormous leak. But as in that place
the channel was not more than twenty feet in depth, it was
certain that the sides of the submerged brig would reappear
at low water. .

A few things from the wreck floated on the surface of.
the water. A raft could be seen consisting of spare spars,
coops of poultry with their occupants still living, boxes
and barrels, which gradually came to the surface, after
having escaped through the hatchways, but no pieces of the
wreck appeared, neither planks from the deck, nor timber
from the hull,—which rendered the sudden disappearance
of the “ Speedy” perfectly inexplicable.

However, the two masts, which had been broken and
escaped from the shrouds and stays, came up, with their
sails, some furled and the others spread. But it was not
necessary to wait for the tide to bring up these riches, and
Ayrton and Pencroft, jumped into the boat with the inten-
tion of towing the pieces of wreck either to the beach or to
the islet. But just as they were shoving off, an observation
from Gideon Spilett arrested them.
54. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“What about those six convicts who disembarked on the
right bank of the Mercy?” said he.

In fact, it would not do to forget that the six men whose
boat had gone to pieces on the rocks, had landed at Flot-
sam Point.

They looked in that direction. None of the fugitives
were visible. It was probable that, having seen their vessel
engulfed in the channel, they had fled into the interior of
the island.

“We will deal with them later,” said Harding. “As
they are armed, they will still be dangerous; but as it is six
against six, the chances are equal. To the most pressing
business first.”

Ayrton and Pencroft pulled vigorously towards the
wreck.

The sea was calm and the tide very high, as there had
been a new moon but two days before. A whole hour at
least would elapse before the hull of the brig could emerge
from the water of the channel.

Ayrton and Pencroft were able to fasten the masts and
spars by means of ropes, the ends of which were carried to
the beach. There, by the united efforts of the settlers the
pieces of wreck ‘vere hauled up. Then the boat picked up
all that was floating, coops, barrels, and boxes, which
were immediately carried to the Chimneys.

Several bodies floated also. Amongst them, Ayrton












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































”

PENCROFT.

BEEN,

E

“THAT IS WHAT I HAV.

Page 55.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 55

recognized that of Bob Harvey, which he pointed out to
his companion, saying with some emotion,—

“ That is what I have been, Pencroft.”

“But what you are no longer, brave Ayrton!” returned
the sailor warmly.

It was singular enough that so few bodies floated. Only
five or six were counted, which were already being carried
by the current towards the open sea. Very probably the
convicts had not had time to escape, and the ship lying
over on her side, the greater number of them had remained
below. Now the current, by carrying the bodies of these
miserable men out to sea, would spare the colonists the
sad task of burying them in some corner of their island.

For two hours, Cyrus Harding and his companions were
solely occupied in hauling up the spars on to the sand, and
then in spreading the sails, which were perfectly uninjured,
to dry. They spoke little, for they were absorbed in their
work, but what thoughts occupied their minds!

The possession of this brig, or rather all that she con-
tained, was a perfect mine of wealth. In fact, a ship is
like a little world in miniature, and the stores of the colony
would be increased by a large number of useful articles.
It would be, on a large scale, equivalent to the chest found
at Flotsam Point.

“And besides,” thought Pencroft, “why should it be
impossible to refloat the brig? If she has only a leak,
56 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

that may be stopped up; a vessel from three to four
hundred tons, why she is a regular ship compared to our
‘Bonadventure!’ And we could go a long distance in her!
We could go anywhere we liked! Captain Harding,
Ayrton and I must examine her! She would be well
worth the trouble!”

In fact, if the brig was still fit to navigate, the colonists’
chances of returning to their native land was singularly
increased. But, to decide this important question, it was
necessary to wait until the tide was quite low, so that every
part of the brig’s hull might be examined.

When their treasures had been safely conveyed on shore,
Harding and his companions azreed to devote some
minutes to breakfast. They were almost famished : for-
tunately, the larder was not far off, and Neb was noted for
being an expeditious cook. They breakfasted, therefore,
near the Chimneys, and during their repast, as may be
supposed, nothing was talked of but the unexpected event
which had so miraculously saved the colony.

“Miraculous is the word,” repeated Pencroft, “for it
must be acknowledged that those rascals blew up just at
the right moment! Granite House was beginning to be
uncomfortable as a ‘habitation !”

“ And can you guess, Pencroft,” asked the reporter, “how
it happened, or what can have occasioned the explosion ?”

“Oh! Mr. Spilett, nothie is more simple,” answered
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 57

Pencroft. “A convict vessel is not disciplined like a man-
of-war! Convicts are not sailors. Of course the powder-
magazine was open, and as they were firing incessantly,
some careless or clumsy fellow just blew up the
vessel!”

“Captain Harding,” said Herbert, “ what astonishes me
is that the explosion has not produced more effect. The
report was not loud, and besides there are so few planks
and timbers torn out. It seems as if the ship had rather
foundered than blown up.”

“Does that astonish you, my boy ?” asked the engineer.

“Yes, captain.”

“And it astonishes me also Herbert,” replied he, “ but
when we visit the hull of the brig, we shall no doubt find
the explanation of the matter.”

“Why, captain,” said Pencroft, “ you don’t suppose that
the ‘Speedy’ simply foundered like aship which has struck
ona rock?”

“Why not,” observed Neb, “if there are rocks in the
channel ?”

“Nonsense, Neb,” answered Pencroft, “you did not
look at the right moment. An instant before she sank,
the brig, as I saw perfectly well, rose on an enormous wave,
and fell back on her larboard side. Now, if she had only
struck, she would have sunk quietly and gone to the
bottom like an honest vessel.”
58 : THE. MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Tt was just because she was not an honest vessel!”
returned Neb.

“Well, we shall soon see, Pencroft,” said the engineer.

“We shall soon see,” rejoined the sailor, “but I would
wager my head there are no rocks in the channel. Look
here, captain, to speak candidly, do you mean to say that
there is anything marvellous in the occurrence ?”

Cyrus Harding did not answer.

“At any rate,” said Gideon Spilett, “whether rock or
explosion, you will agree, Pencroft, that it occurred just in

|»

the nick of time

1”

“Yes! yes replied the sailor, “but that is not the
question. I ask Captain Harding if he sees anything
supernatural in all this.” ,

“T cannot say, Pencroft,” said the engineer. “ That is
all the answer I can make.”

A reply which did not satisfy Pencroft at all. He stuck
to “an explosion,” and did not wish to give it up. He
would never consent to admit that in that channel, with
its fine sandy bed, just like the beach, which he had often
crossed at low water, there could be an unknown
rock,

And besides, at ‘the time the brig foundered, it was high
water, that is to say, there was enough water to carry the
vessel clear over any rocks which would not be uncovered
at low tide. Therefore, there could not have been a
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 590

collision. Therefore, the vessel had not struck. Therefore,
she had blown up.

And it must be confessed that the sailor’s arguments
were not without reason.

Towards half-past one, the colonists embarked in the
the boat to visit the wreck. It was to be regretted that
the brig’s two boats had not been saved; but one, as
has been said, had gone to pieces at the mouth of the
Mercy, and was absolutely useless; the other had disap-
peared when the brig went down, and had not again been
seen, having doubtless been crushed.

The hull of the “Speedy” was just begining to issue trom
the water. The brig was lying right over on her side, for
her masts being broken, pressed down by the weight of the
ballast displaced by the shock, the keel was visible along her
whole length. She had been regularly turned over by the
inexplicable but frightful submarine action, which had been
at the same time manifested by an enormous water-spout.

The settlers rowed round the hull, and, in proportion as
the tide went down, they could ascertain, if not the cause
which had occasioned the catastrophe, at least the effect
produced.

Towards the bows, on both sides of the keel, seven or
eight feet from the beginning of the stem, the sides of the
brig were frightfully torn. Over a length of at least twenty
feet there opened two large leaks, which it would be
6o THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

impossible to stop up. Not only had the copper sheathing
and the planks disappeared, reduced, no doubt, to powder,
but also the ribs, the iron bolts, and treenails which united
them. From the entire length of the hull to the stern the
false keel had been separated with unaccountable violence,
and the keel itself, torn from the carline in several places,
was split in all its length.

“T’ve a notion!” exclaimed Pencroft, “that this vessel
will be difficult to get afloat again.”

“Tt will be impossible,” said Ayrton.

“At any rate,” observed Gideon Spilett to the sailor,
“the explosion, if there has been one, has produced singular
effects! It has split the lower part of the hull, instead of
blowing up the deck and topsides! These great rents
appear rather to have been made by a rock than by the
explosion of a powder-magazine.”

“There is not a.rock in the channel!” answered the
sailor. “I will admit anything you like, except the rock.”

“Let us try to penetrate into the interior of the brig,”
said the engineer; “perhaps we shall then know what to
think of the cause of her destruction.”

This was the best thing to be done, and it was agreed,
besides, to take an inventory of all the treasures on board,
and to arrange for their preservation.

Access to the interior of the brig was now easy. The
tide was still going down, and the deck was practicable.
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. G1



The ballast, composed of heavy masses of iron, had broken
through in several places. The noise of the sea could be
heard as it rushed out at the holes in the hull.

Cyrus Harding and his companions, hatchets in hand,
advanced along the shattered deck. Cases of all sorts
encumbered it, and, as they had been but a very short time
in the water, their contents were perhaps uninjured.

They then busied themselves in placing all this cargo in
safety. The water would not return for several hours, and
these hours must be employed in the most profitable way.
Ayrton and Pencroft had, at the entrance made in the hull,
discovered tackle, which would serve to hoist up the barrels
and chests. The boat received them and transported them
to the shore. They took the articles as they came, in-
tending to sort them afterwards.

At any rate, the settlers saw at once, with extreme satis-
faction, that the brig possessed a very varied cargo—an
assortment of all sorts of articles, utensils, manufactured
goods, and tools—such as the ships which make the great
coasting-trade of Polynesia are usually laden with. It was
probable that they would find a little of everything, and
they agreed that it was exactly what was necessary for the
colony of Lincoln Island.

However—and Cyrus Harding observed it in silent
astonishment—not only, as has been said, had the hull of
the brig enormously suffered from the shock, whatever it
62 TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

was, that had occasioned the catastrophe, but the interior
arrangements had been destroyed, especially towards the
bows. Partitions and staunchions were smashed, as if
some tremendous shell had burst in the interior of the
brig. The colonists could easily go fore and aft, after
having removed the cases as they were extricated. They
were not heavy bales, which would have been difficult to
remove, but simple packages, of which the stowage, besides,
was no longer recognizable.

The colonists then reached the stern of the brig—the
part formerly surmounted by the poop. It was there
that, following Ayrton’s directions, they must look for the
powder-magazine. Cyrus Harding thought that it had not
exploded; that it was possible some barrels might be
saved, and that the powder, which is usually enclosed in
metal coverings, might not have suffered | ‘contact
with the water. .

This, in fact, was just what had happened. They extri-
cated from amongst a large number of shot twenty barrels,
the insides of which were lined with copper. Pencroft was
convinced by the evidence of his own eyes that the de-.

struction of the “Speedy” could not be attributed to an

explosion. That part of the hull in which the magazine

was situated was, moreover, that which had suffered least.
“It may be so,” said the obstinate sailor; “but as to a

rock, there is not one in the channel!”








IN THE HOLD OF THE PIRATE BRIG.
€ Page 62.
- THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 63



“Then, how did it happen?” asked Herbert.

“JT don’t know,” answered Pencroft, “Captain Harding
doesn’t know, and nobody knows or ever will know!” ,

Several hours had passed during these researches, and
the tide began to flow. Work must be suspended for the
present. There was no fear of the brig being carried away
by the sea, for she was already fixed as firmly as if moored
by her anchors.

They could therefore, without inconvenience, wait until
the next day to resume operations; but, as to the vessel
herself, she was doomed, and it would be best to hasten to
save the remains of her hull, as she would not be long in
disappearing in the quicksands of the channel.

It was now five o’clock in the evening. It had been a
hard day’s work for the men. They ate with good appetite,
and, notwithstanding their fatigue, they could not resist,
after dinner, their desire of inspecting the cases which
composed the cargo of the “Speedy.”

Most of them contained clothes, which, as may be
believed, were well received. There were enough to clothe
a whole colony—linen for every one’s use, shoes for every
one’s feet. .

“We are too rich!” exclaimed Pencroft. “But what are
we going to do with all this?”

And every moment burst forth the hurrahs of the
delighted sailor when he caught sight of the barrels of
64 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



gunpowder, fire-arms and side-arms, balls of cotton, im-
plements of husbandry, carpenter’s, joiner’s, and black-
smith’s tools, and boxes of all kinds of seeds, not in the
least injured by their short sojourn in the water. Ah, two
years before, how these things would have been prized!
And now, even although the industrious colonists had pro-
vided themselves with tools, these treasures would find
their use.

There was no want of space in the store-rooms of
Granite House, but that daytime would not allow them
to stow away the whole. It would not do also to forget
that the six survivors of the “Speedy’s” crew had landed
on the island, for they were in all probability scoundrels of
the deepest dye, and it was necessary that the colonists
should be on their guard against them. Although the
bridges over the Mercy were raised, the convicts would not
be stopped by a river or a stream, and, rendered desperate,
these wretches would be capable of anything..

They would’ see later what plan it would be best to
follow; but in the meantime it was necessary to mount
guard over cases and packages heaped up near the Chim-
neys, and thus the settlers employed themselves in turn
during the night. '

The morning came, however, without the convicts having
attempted any attack. Master Jup and Top, on guard at
the foot of Granite House, would have quickly given the
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 65

alarm. The three following days—the 19th, 20th, and
21st of October—were employed in saving everything of
value, or of any use whatever, either from the cargo or
rigging of the brig. At low tide they overhauled the hold
—at high tide they stowed away the rescued articles. A
great part of the copper sheathing had been torn from the
hull, which every day sank lower. But before the sand
had swallowed the heavy things which had fallen through
the bottom, Ayrton and Pencroft, diving to the bed of
the channel, recovered the chains and anchors of the brig,
the iron of her ballast, and even four guns, which, floated
by means of empty casks, were brought to shore.

It may be seen that the arsenal of the colony had
gained by the wreck, as well as the store-rooms of Granite
House. Pencroft, always enthusiastic in his projects,
already spoke of constructing a battery to command the
channel and the mouth of the river. With four guns, he
engaged to prevent any fleet, “however powerful it
might be,” from venturing into the waters of Lincoln
Island !

In the meantime, when nothing remained of the brig
but a useless hulk, bad weather came on, which soon
finished her. Cyrus Harding had intended to blow her
up, so as to collect the remains on the shore, but a strong
gale from the north-east and a heavy sea compelled him
to economize his powder.

F
66 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



In fact, on the night of the 23rd, the hull entirely broke
up, and some of the wreck was cast up on the beach.

As to the papers on board, it is useless to say that,
although he carefully searched the lockers of the poop,
Harding did not discover any trace of them. The pirates
had evidently destroyed everything that concerned either
the captain or the owners of the “Speedy,” and, as the
name of her port was not painted on her counter, there
was nothing which would tell them her nationality. How-
ever, by the shape of her boats Ayrton and Pencroft
believed that the brig was of English build.

A week after the catastrophe—or, rather, after the fortu-
nate, though inexplicable, event to which the colony owed
its preservation—nothing more could be seen of the vessel,
even at low tide. The wreck had disappeared, and Granite
House was enriched by nearly all it had contained.

However, the mystery which enveloped its strange de-
struction would doubtless never have been cleared away
if, on the 30th of November, Neb, strolling on the beach,
had not found a piece of a thick iron cylinder, bearing
traces of explosion. The edges of this cylinder were
twisted and broken, as if they had been subjected to the
action of some explosive substance.

Neb brought this piece of metal to his master, who was
then occupied with his companions in the workshop of the
Chimneys.


SS S SOON AN x}

\





















































































“ THIS CYLINDER IS ALL THAT REMAINS OF A TORPEDO!”
+ Page 67.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 67

Cyrus Harding examined the cylinder attentively, then,
turning to Pencroft,—

“You persist, my friend,” said he, “in maintaining that
the “ Speedy ” was not lost in consequence of a collision?”

“Yes, captain,” answered the sailor. “You know as
well as I do that there are no rocks in the channel.”

“But suppose she had run against this piece of iron?”
said the engineer, showing the broken cylinder.

“What, that bit of pipe!” exclaimed Pencroft in a tone
of perfect incredulity.

“My friends,” resumed Harding, “you remember that
before she foundered the brig rose on the summit of a
regular water-spout ?”

“Yes, captain,” replied Herbert.

“Well, would you like to know what occasioned. that
water-spout? It was this,” said the engineer, holding up
the broken tube.

“That?” returned Pencroft.

“Ves! This cylinder is all that remains of a torpedo!”

“ A torpedo!” exclaimed the engineer’s companions.

“ And who put the torpedo there?” demanded Pencroft,
who did not like to yield.

“ All that I can tell you is, that it was not I,” answered
Cyrus Harding ; “but it was there, and you have been able
to judge of its incomparable power!”

F2
68 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



——_ ee

CHAPTER V.

THE ENGINEER'S DECLARATION—PENCROFT’S GRAND
HYPOTHESIS—AN AERIAL BATTERY—THE FOUR
CANNONS—THE SURVIVING CONVICTS—AYRTON’S
HESITATION—CYRUS HARDING'S GENEROUS SENTI-
MENTS—PENCROFT’S REGRET.

So, then, all was explained by the submarine explosion
of this torpedo. Cyrus Harding could not be mistaken,
as, during the war of the Union, he had had occasion
to try these terrible engines of destruction. It was
under the action of this cylinder, charged with some
explosive substance, nitro-glycerine, picrate, or some
other material of the same nature, that the water of
the channel had been raised like a dome, the bottom
of the brig cfushed in, and she had sunk instantly,
the damage done to her hull being so considerable that
it was impossible to refloat her. The “Speedy” had
not been able to withstand a torpedo that would have
destroyed an ironclad as easily as a fishing-boat!
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 69



Yes! all was explained, everything—except the
presence of the torpedo in the waters of the chan-
nel!

“My friends, then,” said Cyrus Harding, “we can
no longer be in doubt as to the presence of a mysterious
being, a castaway like us, perhaps, abandoned on our
island, and I say this in order that Ayrton may be
acquainted with all the strange events which have
occurred during these two years. Who this beneficent
stranger is, whose intervention has, so fortunately for us,
been manifested on many occasions, I cannot imagine.
What his object can be in acting thus, in concealing
himself after rendering us so many services, I cannot
understand. But his services are not the less real, and
are of such a nature that only a man _ possessed of
prodigious power, could render them. Ayrton is indebted
to him as much as we are, for, if it was the stranger
who saved me from the waves after the fall from the
balloon, evidently it was he who wrote the document,
who placed the bottle in the channel, and who has
made known to us the situation of our companion. I
will add that it was he who guided that chest, provided
with everything we wanted, and stranded it on Flotsam
Point; that it was he who lighted that fire on the
heights of the island, which permitted you to land;
that it was he who fired that bullet found in the body
ZO... TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND

of the peccary ; that it was he who immersed that torpedo
in the channel, which destroyed the brig; in a word,
that all those inexplicable events, for which we could
not assign a reason, are due to this mysterious being.
Therefore, whoever he may be, whether shipwrecked, or
exiled on our island, we shall be ungrateful, if we think
ourselves freed from gratitude towards him. We have
contracted a debt, and I hope that we shall one day
pay it.”

“You are right in speaking thus, my dear Cyrus,”
replied Gideon Spilett. “Yes, there is an almost all-
powerful being, hidden in some part of the island, and
whose influence has been singularly useful to our colony.
I will add that the unknown appears to possess means
of action which border on the supernatural if, in the events
of practical life, the supernatural were recognizable. Is
it he who is in secret communication with us by the
well in Granite House, and has he thus a knowledge. of
all our plans? Was it he who threw us that: bottle,
when the vessel made her first cruise? Was it he who
threw Top out of the lake, and killed the dugong? ‘Was
it he, who. as everything leads us to believe, saved you
from the waves, and that under circumstances in which
any one else would not have been able to act? If it was
he, he possesses a power which renders him master of
the elements.”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 71

The reporter’s reasoning was just, and every one felt
it to be so.

“Yes,” rejoined Cyrus Harding, “if the intervention of
a human being is not more questionable for us, I agree
that he has at his disposal means of action beyond
those possessed by humanity. There is a mystery still,
but if we discover the man, the mystery will be discovered
also. The question, then, is, ought we to respect the
incognito of this generous being, or ought we to do every-
thing to find him out? What is your opinion on the matter?”

“My opinion,” said Pencroft, “is that, whoever he may
be, he is a brave man, and he has my esteem!”

“Be it so,” answered Harding, “but that is not an
answer, Pencroft.”

“Master,” then said Neb, “my idea is, that we may
search as long as we like for this gentleman whom you
are talking about, but that we shall not discover him
till he pleases.”

“That's not bad, what you say, Neb,” observed
Pencroft.

“TI am of Neb’s opinion,” said Gideon Spilett,” but
that is no reason for not attempting the adventure.
Whether we find this mysterious being or not, we shall
at least have fulfilled our duty towards him.”

“And you, my boy, give us your opinion,” said the
engineer, turning to Herbert.
72 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Oh,” cried Herbert, his countenance full of animation,
“how I should like to thank him, he who saved you
first, and who has now saved us!”

“Of course, my boy,” replied Pencroft, “so would I
and all of us. I am not inquisitive, but I would give
one of my eyes to see this individual face to face!
It seems to me that he must be handsome, tall, strong,
with a splendid beard, radiant hair, and that he must be
seated on the clouds, a great ball in his hands!”

“But, Pencroft,” answered Spilett, “you are describing
a picture of the Creator.”

“Possibly, Mr. Spilett,” replied the sailor, “but that
is how I imagine him!”

“And you, Ayrton?” asked the engineer.

“Captain Harding,” replied Ayrton, “I can give you
no better advice in this matter. Whatever you do will
be best, when you wish me to join you in your researches,
I am ready to follow you.”

“T thank you, Ayrton,” answered Cyrus Harding, “ but
I should like a more direct answer to the question I
put to you.” You are our companion; you have already
endangered your, life several times for us, and you, as
well as the rest, ought to be consulted in the matter ot
any important decision, Speak, therefore.”

“Captain Harding,” replied Ayrton, ‘I think that we
ought to do everything to discover this unknown bene-
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 73



factor. Perhaps he is alone. Perhaps he is suffering.
Perhaps he has a life to be renewed. I, too, as you
said, have a debt of gratitude to pay him. It was he,
it could be only he who must have come to Tabor
Island, who found there the wretch you knew, and who
made known to you that there was an unfortunate man
there to be saved! Therefore it is, thanks to him,
that I have become a man again. No, I will never forget
him!”

“That is settled, then,” said Cyrus Harding. “We
will begin our researches as soon as possible. We will
not leave a corner of the island unexplored. We will
search into its most secret recesses, and will hope that
our unknown friend will pardon us in consideration of
our intentions!”

For several days the colonists were actively employed
in haymaking and the harvest. Before putting their
project of exploring the yet unknown parts of the island
into execution, they wished to get all possible work
finished. It was also the time for collecting the various
vegetables from the Tabor Island plants. All was stowed
away, and happily there was no want of room in Grahite
House, in which they might have housed all the treasures
of the island. The products of the colony were there,
methodically arranged, and in a safe place, as may be
believed, sheltered as much from animals as from man.
74 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

There was no fear of damp in the middle of that
thick mass of granite. Many natural excavations situated
in the upper passage were enlarged either by pick-
axe or mine, and Granite House thus became a general
warehouse, containing all the provisions, arms, tools,
and spare utensils—in a word, all the stores of the
colony.

As to the guns obtained from the brig, they were
pretty pieces of ordnance, which, at Pencroft’s entreaty,
were hoisted by means of tackle and pulleys, right up
into Granite House; embrasures were made between the
windows, and the shining muzzles of the guns could soon
be seen through the granite cliff. From this height
they commanded all Union Bay. It was like a little
Gibraltar, and any vessel anchored off the islet would
inevitably be exposed to the fire of this aerial battery.

“Captain,” said Pencroft one day, it was the 8th of
November “now that our fortifications are finished,
it would be a good thing if we tried the range of our
guns.”

“Do you think that is useful ?” asked the engineer.

“Tt is more than useful, it is necessary! Without
that how are we to know to what distance we can send
one of those pretty shot with which we are provided ?

“Try them, Pencroft,” replied the engineer. “ However,

I think that in making the experiment, we ought to
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 75



employ, not the ordinary powder, the supply of which,
I think, should remain untouched, but the pyroxile which
will never fail us.”

“Can the cannon support the shock of the pyroxile?”
asked the reporter, who was not less anxious than Pencroft
to try the artillery of Granite House.

“JT believe so. However,” added the engineer, “we
will be prudent.”

The engineer was right in thinking that the guns were
of excellent make. Made of forged steel, and breech-
loaders, they ought consequently to be able to bear a
considerable charge, and also have an enormous range.
In fact, as regards practical effect, the transit described
by the ball ought to be as extended as possible, and
this tension could only be obtained under the condi-
tion that the projectile should be impelled with a very
great initial velocity.

“Now,” said Harding to his companions, “the initial
velocity is in proportion to the quantity of powder used.
In the fabrication of these pieces, everything depends
on employing a metal with the highest possible power
of resistance, and steel is incontestably that metal of
all others which resists the best. I have, therefore,
reason to believe that our guns will bear without risk
the expansion of the pyroxile gas, and will give excellent
results,”
76 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“We shall be a great deal more certain of that when
we have tried them!” answered Pencroft,

It is unnecessary to say that the four cannons were
in perfect order. Since they had been taken from the
water, the sailor had bestowed great care upon them.
How many hours he had spent, in rubbing, greasing,
and polishing them, and in cleaning the mechanism!
And now the pieces were as brilliant as if they had
been on board a frigate of the United States’ Navy.

On this day, therefore, in presence of all the members
of the colony, including Master Jup and Top, the four
cannon were successively tried. They were charged with
pyroxile, taking into consideration its explosive power,
which, as has been said, is four times that of ordi-
nary powder: the projectile to be fired was cylindro-
conic.

Pencroft, holding the end of the quick-match, stood
ready to fire.

At Harding’s signal, he fired. The shot, passing over
the islet, fell into the sea at a distance which could not
be calculated with exactitude.

The second fun was pointed at the rocks at the end
of Flotsam Point, and the shot, striking a sharp rock
nearly three miles from Granite House, made it fly into
splinters. It was Herbert who had pointed this gun
and fired it, and very proud he was of his first shot.
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Page 76.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 77



Pencroft only was prouder than he! Such a shot, the
honour of which belonged to his dear boy.

The third shot, aimed this time at the downs forming
the upper side of Union Bay, struck the sand at a
distance of four miles, then having ricocheted, was lost
in the sea in a cloud of spray.

For the fourth piece Cyrus Harding slightly increased
the charge, so as to try its extreme range. Then, all
standing aside for fear of its bursting, the match was
lighted by means of a long cord.

A tremendous report was heard, but the piece had
held good, and the colonists rushing to the windows,
saw the shot graze the rocks of Mandible Cape, nearly five
miles from Granite House, and disappear in Shark Gulf.

“Well, captain,” exclaimed Pencroft, whose cheers
might have rivalled the reports themselves, “what do
you say of our battery? All the pirates in the Pacific
have only to present themselves before Granite House!
Not one can land there now without our permission! ”

“ Believe me, Pencroft,” replied the engineer, “it would
be better not to have to make the experiment.”

“Well,” said the sailor, “what ought to be done with
regard to those six villains who are roaming about the
island? Are we to leave them to overrun our forests, our
fields, our plantations. These pirates are regular jaguars,
and it seems to me we ought not to hesitate to treat
78 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

them as such! What do you think, Ayrton?” added
Pencroft, turning to his companion.

Ayrton hesitated at first to reply, and Cyrus Harding
regretted that Pencroft had so thoughtlessly put this ques-
tion. And he was much moved when Ayrton replied in
a humble tone,—

“T have been one of those jaguars, Mr. Pencroft. I
have no right to speak.”

And with a slow step he walked away.

Pencroft understood.

“What a brute I am!” he exclaimed. “Poor Ayrton!
He has as much right to speak here as any one!”

“Yes,” said Gideon Spilett, “but his reserve does him
honour, and it is right to respect the feeling which he has
about his sad past.”

“Certainly, Mr. Spilett,” answered the sailor, “and there
is no fear of my doing so again. I would rather bite my
tongue off than cause Ayrton any pain! But to return to
the question. It seems to me that these ruffians have no
right to any pity, and that we ought to rid the island of
them as soon as possible.”

“Ts that your omit: Pencroft ?” asked the engineer.

“ Quite my opinion.”

“ And before hunting them mercilessly, you would not
wait until they had committed some fresh act of hostility

against us ?”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 79

“Tsn’t what they have done already enough?” asked
Pencroft, who did not understand these scruples.

“They, may adopt other sentiments!” said Harding,
“and perhaps repent.”

“They repent!” exclaimed the sailor, shrugging his
shoulders.

“Pencroft, think of Ayrton!” said Herbert, taking
the sailors hand. “He became an honest man
again !”

Pencroft looked at his companions one after the other.
He had never thought of his proposal being met with any
objection. His rough nature could not allow that they
ought to come to terms with the rascals -who had landed
on the island with Bob Harvey’s accomplices, the mur-
derers of the crew of the “Speedy ;” and he looked upon
them as wild beasts which ought to be destroyed without
delay and without remorse.

“Come!” said he. “Everybody is against me! You
wish to be generous to those villains! Very well; I hope
we mayn’t repent it!”

“What danger shall we run,” said Herbert, “ if we take
care to be always on our guard ?”

“Hum!” observed the reporter, who had not given any
decided opinion. “They are six and well armed. If they
each lay hid in a corner, and each fired at one of us, they
would soon be masters of the colony!”
80 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Why have they not done so?” said Herbert. “No
doubt because it was not their interest to do it. Besides,
we are six also.”

“Well, well!” replied Pencroft, whom no reasoning
could have convinced. “Let us leave these good people
to do what they like, and don’t think anything more about
them !”

“Come, Pencroft,” said Neb, “don’t make yourself out
so bad as all that! Suppose one of these unfortunate men
were here before you, within good range of your gun, you
would not fire.”

“T would fire on him as I would on a mad dog, Neb,”
replied Pencroft coldly.

“Pencroft,” said the engineer, “you have always shown
much deference to my advice; will you, in this matter,
yield to me?”

“T will do as you please, Captain Harding,” answered
the sailor, who was not at all convinced.

“Very well, wait, and we will not attack them unless we
are attacked first.”

Thus their behaviour towards the pirates was agreed
upon, although Pencroft augured nothing good from it,
They were not to attack them, but were to be on their
guard. After all, the island was large and fertile. If any
sentiment of honesty yet remained in the bottom of their
hearts, these wretches might perhaps be reclaimed. Was
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 81



it not their interest in the situation in which they found
themselves to begin a new life? At any rate, for humanity’s
sake alone, it would be right to wait. The colonists would
no longer as before, be able to go and come without fear.
Hitherto they had only wild beasts to guard against, and
now six convicts of the worst description, perhaps, were
roaming over their island. It was serious, certainly, and to
less brave men, it would have been security lost! No
matter! At present, the colonists had reason on their side
against Pencroft. Would they be right in the future?
That remained to be seen.
82 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



CHAPTER Vi.

EXPEDITIONS PLANNED—AYRTON AT TIIE CORRAL—
VISIT TO PORT BALLOON—PENCROFT’S OBSERVA-
TIONS. ON BOARD THE “BONADVENTURE”— DE-
SPATCH SENT TO THE CORRAL—NO REPLY FROM
AYRTON—DEPARTURE THE NEXT DAY—THE REA-
SON WHY THE WIRE DID NOT WORK—A. REPORT.

TIOWEVER, the chief business of the colonists was to make
that complete exploration of the island which had been
decided upon, and which would have two objects: to
discover the mysterious being whose existence was now
indisputable, and at the same time to find out what had
become of the pirates, what retreat they had chosen, what
sort of life they were leading, and what was to be feared
from them. Cyrus Harding wished to set out without
delay; but as the expedition would be of some days’
duration, it appeared best to load the cart with different
materials and tools in order to facilitate the organization

of the encampments. One of the cnagers, however, having
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 83.

hurt its leg, could not be harnessed at present, and a few
days’ rest was necessary. The departure was, therefore,
put off for a week, until the 20th of November. The
month of November in this latitude corresponds to the
month of May in the northern zones. It was, therefore,
the fine season. The sun was entering the tropic of Capri-
corn, and gave the longest days in the year. The time
was, therefore, very favourable for the projected expedition,
which, if it did not accomplish its principal object, would
at any rate be fruitful in discoveries, especially of natural
productions, since Harding proposed to explore those
dense forests of the Far West, which stretched to the
extremity of the Serpentine Peninsula.

During the nine days which preceded their departure, it
was agreed that the work on Prospect Heights should be
finished off.

Moreover, it was necessary for Ayrton to return to the
corral, where the domesticated animals required his care.
It was decided that he should spend two days there, and
return to Granite House after having liberally supplied the
stables.

As he was about to start, Harding asked him if he
would not like one of them to accompany him, observing
that the island was less safe than formerly. Ayrton replied
that this was unnecessary, as he was enough for the work,
and that besides he apprehended no danger. If anything

G2
84 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

occurred at the corral, or in the neighbourhood, he could
instantly warn the colonists by sending a telegram to
Granite House.

Ayrton departed at dawn on the oth, taking the cart
drawn by one onager, and two hours after, the electric wire
announced that he had found all in order at the corral.

During these two days Harding busied himself in exe-
suting a project which would completely guard Granite
House against any surprise. It was necessary to com-
pletely conceal the opening of the old outtet, which was
already walled up and partly hidden under grass and
plants, at the southern angle of Lake Grant. Nothing was
easier, since if the level of the lake was raised two or three
feet, the opening would be quite beneath it. Now, to raise
this level they had only to establish a dam at the two
openings made by the lake, and by which were fed Creek
Glycerine and Falls River.

The colonists worked with a will, and the two dams
which besides did not exceed eight feet in width by
three in height, were rapidly erected by means of well-
cemented blocks of stone. , .

This work finished, it would have been impossible to
guess that at that part of the lake, their existed a subter-
ranean passage through which the overflow of the lake
formerly escaped.

Of course the little stream which fed the reservoir of














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































AT WORK ON THE PLATEAU,
+ Page 84.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 85
Granite House and worked the lift, had been carefully pre-
served, and the water could not fail. The lift once raised,
this sure and comfortable retreat would be safe from
any surprise.

This work had been so quickly done, that Pencroft,
Gideon Spilett, and Herbert found time to make an
expedition to Port Balloon. The sailor was very anxious
to know if the little creek in which the “ Bonadventure”
was moored, had been visited by the convicts.

“These gentlemen,” he observed, “landed on the south
coast, and if they followed the shore, it is to be feared
that they may have discovered the little harbour, and
in that case, I wouldn’t give half-a-dollar for our
‘Bonadventure.’”

Pencroft’s apprehensions were not without foundation,
and a visit to Port Balloon appeared to be very desir-
able. The sailor and his companions set off on the
1oth of November, after dinner, well armed. Pencroft,
ostentatiously slipping two bullets into each barrel of his
rifle, shook his head in a way which betokened nothing
good to any one who approached too near to him,
whether “man or beast,” as he said. Gideon Spilett
and Herbert also took their guns, and about three
o'clock all three left Granite House.

Neb accompanied them to the turn of the Mercy, and
after they had crossed, he raised the bridge. It was
86 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

agreed that a gun-shot should announce the colonists’
return, and that at the signal Neb should return and
re-establish the communication between the two’ banks
of the river.

The little band advanced directly along the road
which led to the southern coast of the island. This
was only a distance of three miles and a half, but
Gideon Spilett and his companions took two hours to
traverse it. They examined all the border of the road,
the thick forest, as well as Tabor Marsh. They found
no trace of the fugitives who, no doubt, not having
yet discovered the number of the colonists, or the means
of defence which they had at their disposal, had gained
the less accessible parts of the island.

Arrived at Port Balloon, Pencroft saw with extreme
satisfaction that the “Bonadventure” was tranquilly
floating in the narrow creek. However, Port Balloon
was so well hidden amongst high rocks, that it could
scarcely be discovered either from the land or the sea.

“Come,” said Pencroft, “the blackguards have not
been there yet. Long grass suits reptiles best, and
evidently we shall find them in the Far West.”

“And its very lucky, for if they had found the “ Bon-
adventure,” added Herbert, “they would have gone off
in her, and we should have been prevented from returning
to Tabor Island.”
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 87



“Indeed,” remarked the reporter, “it will be important
to take a document there which will make known the
situation of Lincoln Island, and Ayrton’s new residence, in
case the Scotch yacht returns to fetch him.”

“Well, the ‘Bonadventure’ is always there, Mr. Spilett,”
answered the sailor. “She and her crew are ready to
start at a moment’s notice!”

“T think, Pencroft, that that is a thing to be done after
our exploration of the island is finished. It is possible
after all that the stranger, if we manage to find him, may
knowas much about Tabor Island as about Lincoln Island.
Do not forget that he is certainly the author of the docu-
ment, and he may, perhaps, know how far we may count on
the return of the yacht!”

“ But !” exclaimed Pencroft, “ who in the world can he be ?
The fellow knows us and we know nothing about him! If
he is a simple castaway, why should he conceal himself?
We are honest men, I suppose, and the society of honest
men isn’t unpleasant to anyone. Did he come here volun-
tarily ? Can he leave the island if he likes? Is he here
still? Will he remain any longer ?”

Chatting thus, Pencroft, Gideon Spilett, and Herbert got
on board and looked about the deck of the “Bonadventure.”
All at once, the sailor having examined the bitts to
which the cable of the anchor was secured,—

“Hallo” he cried, “this is queer!”
88 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“What is the matter, Pencroft ?” asked the reporter.

“The matter is, that it was not I who made this knot!”

And Pencroft showed a rope which fastened the cable to
the bitt itself.

“What, it was not you?” asked Gideon Spilett.

“No! I can swear to it. This is a reef knot, and I
always make a running bowline.”

“You must be mistaken, Pencroft.”

“Tam not mistaken!” declared the sailor. My hand
does it so naturally, and one’s hand is never mistaken!”

“Then can the convicts have been on board?” asked
Herbert.

“JT know nothing about that,” answered Pencroft,” but
what is certain, is that some one has weighed the ‘ Bonad-
venture’s’ anchor and dropped it again! And look here,
here is another proof! The cable of the anchor has been run
out, and its service is no longer at the hawse-hole. I repeat
that some one has been using our vessel !”

“But if the convicts had used her, they would have
pillaged her, or rather gone off with her.”

“Gone off! where to—to Tabor Island?” replied Pen-
croft. “Do you think they would risk themselves in a boat
of such small tonnage?”

“We must, besides, be sure that they know of the islet,”
rejoined the reporter.

“ However that may be,” said the sailor, “as sure as my
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. — 89



name is Bonadventure Pencroft, of the Vineyard, our
‘ Bonadventure’ has sailed without us!”

The sailor was so positive that neither Gideon Spil tt nor
Herbert could dispute his statement. It was evident that
the vessel had been moved, more or. less, since Pencroft
had brought her to Port Balloon. As to the sailor, he had
not the slightest doubt that the anchor had been raised
and then dropped again. Now, what was the use of these
two manceuvres, unless the vessel had been employed in
some expedition ?

“But how was it we did not see the ‘ Bonadventure’ pass
in sight of the island? ” observed the reporter, who was
anxious to bring forward every possible objection.

“Why, Mr. Spilett,” replied the sailor, “they would only
have to start in the night with a good breeze, and they
would be out of sight of the island in two hours,”

“Well,” resumed Gideon Spilett, “I ask again, what
object could the convicts have had in using the ‘Bonad-
venture,’ and why, after they had made use of her, should
they have brought her back to port ?”

“Why, Mr. Spilett,” replied the sailor, “we must put
that among the unaccountable things, and not think any-
thing more about it. The chief thing is that the ‘ Bonad-
venture’ was there, and she is there now. Only, unfortu-
nately, if the convicts take her a second time, we shall
very likely not find her again in her place!”
90 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Then, Pencroft,” said Herbert, “would it not be wisest
to bring the ‘ Bonadventure’ off to Granite House?”

“Yes and no,” answered Pencroft, “or rather no. The
mouth of the Mercy is a bad place for a vessel, and the
sea is heavy there.”

“But by hauling her up on the sand, to the fcot of the
Chimneys?”

“Perhaps yes,” replied Pencroft.’ “At any rate, since
we must leave Granite House for a long expedition, I
think the ‘Bonadventure’ will be safer here during our
absence, and we shall do best to leave her here until the
island is rid of these blackguards.”

“That is exactly my opinion,” said the reporter. “At
any rate in the event of bad weather, she will not be
exposed here as she would be at the mouth of the Mercy.”

“But suppose the convicts pay her another visit,” said
Herbert.

“Well, my boy,” replied Pencroft, “not finding her here,
they would not be long in finding her on the sands of
Granite House, and,.during our absence, nothing could
hinder them from seizing her! I agree, therefore, with Mr.
Spilett, that she must be left in Port Balloon. But, if on
our return we have not rid the island of those rascals,
it will be prudent to bring our boat to Granite House,
until the time when we need not fear any unpleasant
visits.”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. Ot

“That’s settled. Let us be off,” said the reporter.

Pencroft, Herbert, and Gideon Spillett, on their return to
Granite House, told the engineer all that had passed, and
the latter approved of their arrangements both for the
present and the future. He also promised the sailor that
he would study that part of the channel situated between
the islet and the coast; so as to ascertain if it would not
be possible to make an artificial harbour there by means of
dams. In this way, the ‘Bonadventure’ would be always
within reach, under the eyes of the colonists, and if
necessary, under lock and key.

That evening a telegram was sent to Ayrton, requesting
him to bring from the corral a couple of goats, which Neb
wished to acclimatize to the plateau. Singularly enough,
Ayrton did not acknowledge the receipt of the despatch,
as he was accustomed to do. This could not but astonish
the engineer. But it might be that Ayrton was not at that
moment in the corral, or even that he was on his way back
to Granite House. In fact, two days had already passed
since his departure, and it had been decided that on the
evening of the 1oth or at the latest the morning of the
11th, he should return. The colonists waited, therefore, for
Ayrton to appear on Prospect Heights. Neb and Herbert
even watched at the bridge so as to be ready to lower it
the moment their companion presented himself.

But up to ten in the evening, there were no signs of
92 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.
Ayrton. It was, therefore, judged best to senda fresh
despatch, requiring an immediate reply.

The bell of the telegraph at Granite House remained
mute.

The colonists’ uneasiness was great. What had hap-
pened? Was Ayrton no longer at the corral, or if he was
still there, had he no longer control over his movements ?
Could they go to the corral in this dark night ?

They consulted. Some wished to go, the others to
remain.

“But,” said Herbert, “perhaps some accident had hap-
pened to the telegraphic apparatus, so that it works no
longer ?”

“That may be,” said the reporter.

“Wait till to-morrow,” replied Cyrus Harding. “It is
possible, indeed, that Ayrton has not received our despatch,
or even that we have not received his.”

They waited, of course not without some anxiety.

At dawn of day, the 11th of November, Harding again
sent the electric current along the wire and received no
reply. oO

He tried again: the same result.

“ Off to the corral,” said he.

“And well armed!” added Pencroft.

It was immediately decided that Granite House should
not be left alone and that Neb should remain there. After
TILE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 93



having accompanied his friends to Creek Glycerine, he
raised the bridge; and waiting behind a tree he watched
for the return of either his companions or Ayrton.

In the event of the pirates presenting themselves and
attempting to force the passage, he was to endeavour to
stop them by firing on them, and as a last resource he was
to take refuge in Granite House, where, the lift once raised,
he would be in safety.

Cyrus Harding, Gideon Spilett, Herbert, and Pencroft
were to repair to the corral, and if they did not find
Ayrton, search the neighbouring woods.

At six o’clock in the morning, the engineer and his three
companions had passed Creek Glycerine, and Neb posted
himself behind a small mound crowned by several drago-
niners, on the left bank of the stream.

The colonists, after leaving the plateau of Prospect
Heights, immediately took the road to the corral. They
shouldered their guns, ready to fire on the smallest hostile
demonstration. The two rifles and the two guns had been
loaded with ball.

The wood was thick on each side of the road and might
easily have concealed the convicts, who owing to their
weapons would have been really formidable.

The colonists walked rapidly and in silence Top pre-
ceded them, sometimes running on the road, sometimes
taking a ramble into the wood, but always quiet and
94 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. .

not appearing to fear anything unusual. And they could
be sure that the faithful dog would not allow them to be
surprised, but would bark at the least appearance of
danger.

' Cyrus Harding and his companions followed beside
the road the wire which connected the corral with Granite
House. After walking for nearly two miles, they had not
as yet discovered any explanation of the difficulty. The
posts were in good order, the wire regularly extended.
However, at that moment the engineer observed that the
wire appeared to be slack,and onarriving at post No. 74,
Herbert, who was in advance stopped, exclaiming,—

“ The wire is broken !”

His companions hurried forward and arrived at the spot
where the lad was standing. The post was rooted up and
lying across the path. The unexpected explanation of the
difficulty was here, and it was evident that the despatches
from Granite House had not been received at the corral,
nor those from the corral at Granite House,

“Tt wasn’t the wind that blew down this. post,” observed
Pencroft. , ,

“No,” replied Gideon Spillett. “The earth has been
dug up round -its foot, and it has been torn up by the
hand of man.”

“Besides, the wire is broken,” added Herbert, showing
that the wire had been snapped.






















































































































































































































































































THE TELEGRAPH=POST THROWN DOWN.
t Page 94.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. © 95

“Ts the fracture recent?” asked Harding.

“Yes,” answered Herbert, “it has certainly been done
quite lately.”

“ To the corral! to the corral!” exclaimed the sailor.

The colonists were now half way between Granite House
and the corral, having still two miles and a half to go.
They pressed forward with redoubled speed.

Indeed, it was to be feared that some serious accident
had occurred in the corral. No doubt, Ayrton might have
sent a telegram which had not arrived, but this was not the
reason why his companions were so uneasy, for, a more
unaccountable circumstance, Ayrton, who had promised
to return the evening before, had not reappeared. In short,
it was not without a motive that all communication had
been stopped between the corral and Granite House, and
who but the convicts could have any interest in inter-
rupting this communication ?

The settlers hastened on, their hearts oppressed with
anxiety. ‘They were sincerely attached to their new com-
panion. Were they to find him struck down by the hands
of those of whom he was formerly the leader ?

Soon they arrived at the place where the road led along
the side of the little stream which flowed from the Red
Creek and watered the meadows 'of the corral. They then
moderated their pace so that they should not be out of

breath at the moment when a struggle might be necessary.
96 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Their guns were in their hands ready cocked. The forest
was watched on every side. Top uttered sullen groans
which were rather ominous. .

At last the palisade appeared through the trees. No
trace of any damage could be seen. The gate was shut as
usual.: Deep silence reigned in the corral. Neither the
accustomed bleating of the sheep nor Ayrton’s voice
could be heard.

“Let us enter,” said Cyrus Harding.

And the engineer advanced, whilst his companions,
keeping watch about twenty paces behind him, were ready
to fire at a: moment’s notice.

Harding raised the inner latch of the gate and was about
to push it back, when:Top barked loudly.. A report
sounded and was responded to by a cry of pain.

Herbert, struck by a bullet, lay stretched on the ground.






































































































































































































































‘Nt
il

vii

vf







HERBERT SHOT.
t Page 96.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 97

CHAPTER VII.

THE REPORTER AND PENCROFT IN THE CORRAL—IIER-
BERT’S WOUND—THE SAILOR’S DESPAIR—CONSUL-
TATION BETWEEN THE REPORTER AND THE
ENGINEER—MODE OF TREATMENT—HOPE NOT

. ABANDONED—HOW IS NEB TO BE WARNED—A SURE
AND FAITHFUL MESSENGER—NEB’S REPLY,

AT Herbert’s cry, Pencroft letting his gun fall, rushed
towards him.

“ They have killed him!” he cried. “My boy! They
have killed him!”

Cyrus Harding and Gideon Spilett ran to Herbert.

The reporter listened to ascertain if the poor lad’s heart
was still beating.

“ He lives,” said he; “but he must be carried—”

“To Granite House? that is impossible!” replied the
engineer.

“Into the corral, then!” said Pencroft.
98 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“In a moment,” said Harding.

And he ran round the left corner of the palisade. There
he found a convict, who aiming at him, sent a ball through
his hat. Ina few seconds, before he had even time to fire
his second barrel, he fell, struck to the heart by Harding’s
dagger, more sure even than his gun.

During this time, Gideon Spilett and the sailor hoisted
themselves over the palisade, leapt into the enclosure,
threw down the props which supported the inner door,
ran into the empty house, and soon, poor Herbert was
lying on Ayrton’s bed. In a few moments, Harding was
by his side.

On seeing Herbert senseless, the sailor’s grief was terrible.
He sobbed, he cried, he tried to beat his head against the
wall. Neither the engineer nor the reporter could calm
him. They themselves were choked with emotion. They
could not speak.

However, they knew that it depended on them to. rescue
from death the poor boy who was suffering beneath their
eyes. Gideon Spilett had not passed through the many
incidents, by which his life had been chequered without
acquiring some slight knowledge of medicine. He knew a
little of everything, and several times he had been obliged
to attend to wounds produced either by a sword-bayonet
or shot. Assisted by Cyrus Harding, he proceeded to
render the aid Herbert required.








































S ALARM FOR HERBERT,

’

PENCROFT

Page go.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 99

The reporter was immediately struck by the complete
stupor in which Herbert lay, a stupor owing either to the
hemorrhage, or to the shock, the ball having struck a bone
with sufficient force to produce a violent concussion.

Herbert was deadly pale, and his pulse so feeble that
Spilett only felt it beat at long intervals, as if it was on
the point of stopping.

These symptoms were very serious.

Herbert’s chest was laid bare, and the blood having
been staunched with handkerchiefs, it was bathed with
cold water.

The contusion, or rather the contused wound appeared,—
an oval below the chest between the third: and fourth ribs.
It was there that Herbert had been hit by the bullet.

Cyrus Harding and Gideon Spilett then turned the
poor boy over; as they did so, he uttered a moan so feeble
that they almost thought it was his last sigh.

Herbert’s back was covered with blood from another
contused wound, by which the ball had immediately
escaped.

“God be praised!” said the reporter, “the ball is not
in the body, and we shall not have to extract it.”

“ But the heart ?” asked Harding.

“The heart has not been touched ; if it had been, Herbert
would be dead!”

“Dead!” exclaimed Pencroft, with a groan,

H 2
100 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

‘The sailor had only heard the last words uttered by
the reporter.

“No, Pencroft,” replied Cyrus Harding, “no! He is not
dead. His pulse still beats. He has even uttered a moan.
But for your boy’s sake, calm yourself. We have need of all
our self-possession. Do not make us lose it, my friend.”

Pencroft was silent, but a reaction set in, and great tears
rolled down his cheeks.

In the meanwhile, Gideon Spilett endeavoured to collect
his ideas, and proceed methodically. After his examina-
tion he had no doubt that the ball, entering in front,
between the seventh and eighth ribs, had issued behind
between the third and fourth. But what mischief had the
ball committed in its passage? What important organs
had been reached? A professional surgeon would have
had difficulty in determining this at once, and still more
so the reporter.

However, he knew one thing, this was that he would
have to prevent the inflammatory strangulation of the
injured parts, then to contend with the local inflammation
and fevér which would result from the wound, perhaps
mortal! Now, what stiptics, what antiphlogistics ought
to be employed? By what means could inflammation
be prevented ?

At any rate, the most important thing was that the two
wounds should be dressed without delay. It did not
THE SECREY OF THE ISLAND. Iol

appear necessary to Gideon Spilctt that a fresh flow of
blood should be caused by bathing them in tepid water,
and compressing their lips). The hemorrhage had been
very abundant, and Herbert was already too much enfeebled
by the loss of blood.

The reporter, therefore, thought it best to simply bathe
the two wounds with cold water.

Herbert was placed on his left side, and was maintained
in that position.

“Tle must not be moved,” said Gideon Spilett. “He
isin the most favourable position for the wounds in his
back and chest to suppurate easily, and absolute rest: is
necessary.”

“What! can’t we carry him to Granite House?” asked
Pencroft.

“No, Pencroft,” replied.the reporter.

“Tl pay the villains off!” cried the sailor, shaking his
fist in a menacing manner.

“Pencroft!” said Cyrus Harding.

Gideon Spilett had resumed his examination of the
wounded boy. Herbert was still so frightfully pale, that
the reporter felt anxious,

“ Cyrus,” said he, “I am nota surgeon, I am in terrible
perplexity. You must aid me with your advice, your
experience!”

“Take courage, my friend,” answered the engincer,
102 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

pressing the reporter’s hand. “Judge coolly. Think only
of this: Herbert must be saved!”

These words restored to Gideon Spilett that self-posses-
sion which he had lost in a moment of discouragement
on feeling his great responsibility. He seated himself
close to the bed. Cyrus Harding stood near. Pencroft
had torn up his shirt, and was mechanically making
lint.

Spilett then explained to Cyrus Harding that he thought
he ought first of all to stop the hemorrhage, but not close
the two wounds, or cause their immediate cicatrization,
for there had been internal perforation, and the suppuration
must not be allowed to accumulate in the chest.

Harding approved entirely, and it was decided that the
two wounds should be dressed without attempting to close
them by immediate coaptation.

And now did the colonists possess an efficacious agent
to act against the inflammation which might occur?

Yes. They had one, for nature had generously lavished
it. They had cold water, that is to say, the most power-
ful sedative that can be employed against inflammation
of wounds, the most efficacious therapeutic agent in grave
cases, and the one which is now adopted by all physicians,
Cold water has, moreover, the advantage of leaving the
wound in absolute rest, and preserving it from all pre-
mature dressing, a considerable advantage, since it has
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 103



been found by experience that contact with the air is
dangerous during the first days.

Gideon Spilett and Cyrus Harding reasoned thus with
their simple good sense, and they acted as the best
surgeon would have done. Compresses of linen were
applied to poor. Herbert’s two wounds, ‘and were kept
constantly wet with cold water.

The sailor had at first lighted a fire in the hut, which
was not wanting in things necessary for life. Maple sugar,
medicinal plants, the same which the lad had gathered on
the banks of Lake Grant, enabled them. to. make some
refreshing drinks, which they gave him without his taking
any notice of it. His fever.was extremely high, and all
that day and night passed without his becoming con-
scious.

Herbert’s life hung on a thread, and this thread might
break at any moment. The next day, the 12th ‘of
November, the hopes of Harding and his companions
slightly revived. Herbert had come out of his long stupor.
He opened his eyes, he recognized Cyrus Harding, the
reporter, and Pencroft. He uttered two or three words.
He did not know what had happened. They told him,
and Spilett begged him to remain perfectly still, telling him
that his life was not in danger, and that his wounds would
heal in a few days. However, Herbert scarcely suffered
at ali, and the cold water with which they were constantly
104 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

bathed, prevented any inflammation of the wounds. The
suppuration was established in a regular way, the fever
did not increase, and it might now be hoped that this
terrible wound would not involve any catastrophe.
Pencroft felt the swelling of his heart gradually subside.
He was like a sister of mercy like a mother by the bed of
her child.

Herbert dozed again, but his sleep appeared more
natural.

“Tell me again that you hope, Mr. Spilett,” said Pen-
croft.. “Tell me again that you will save Herbert!”

“Yes, we will save him!” replied the reporter. “The
wound is serious, and, perhaps, even the ball has traversed
the lungs, but the perforation of this organ is not fatal.”

“God bless you!” answered Pencroft.

As may be believed, during the four-and-twenty hours
they had been in the corral, the colonists had no other
thought than that of nursing Herbert. They did not
think either of the danger which threatened them should
the convicts return, or of the precautions to be taken for
the future.

But on this day, whilst Pencroft watched by the sick-bed
Cyrus Harding and the reporter consulted as to what it
would be best to do.

‘First of all they examined the corral. There was not

a trace of Ayrton. Had the unhappy man been dragged












































































































PENCROFT WATCHING OVER HERPERT.

Page 104
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 105

away by his former accomplices? Had he resisted, and
been overcome in the struggle? This last supposition was
only too probable. Gideon Spilett, at the moment he
scaled the palisade, had clearly seen some one of the
convicts running along the southern spur of Mount
Franklin, towards whom Top had sprung. It was one
of those whose object had been so completely defeated
by the rocks at the mouth of the Mercy. Besides, the onc
killed by Harding, and whose body was found outside
the enclosure, of course belonged to Bob Harvey’s crew.

As to the corral, it had not suffered any damage. The
gates were closed, and the animals had not been able to
disperse in the forest. Nor could they see traces of
any struggle, any devastation, either in the hut, or in the
palisade. The ammunition only, with which Ayrton had
been supplied, had disappeared with him.

“ The unhappy man has been surprised,” said Harding,
“and as he was a man to defend himself, he must have
been overpowered.”

“Yes, that is to be feared!” said the reporter. “Then,
doubtless, the convicts installed themselves in the corral
where they found plenty of everything, and only fled when
they saw us coming. It is very evident, too, that at this
moment Ayrton, whether living or dead, is not here!”

“We shall have to beat the forest,” said the engineer,
“and rid the island of these wretches. Pencroft’s presenti-
106 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

ments were not mistaken, when he wished to hunt them as
wild beasts. That would have spared us all these mis-
fortunes!”

“Yes,” answered the reporter, “but now we have the
right to be merciless !”

“At any rate,” said the engineer, “we are obliged to
wait some time, and to remain at the corral until we can
carry Herbert without danger to Granite House.”

“But Neb?” asked the reporter.

“Neb is in safety.”

“But if, uneasy at our absence, he would venture to
come?”

“He must not come!” returned Cyrus Harding’ quickly.
“He would be murdered on the road!”

“It is very probable, however, that he will attempt to
rejoin us!”

“ Ah, if the telegraph still acted, he might be warned!
But that is impossible now! As to leaving Pencroft and
Herbert here alone, we could not doit! Well, I will go
alone to Granite House.”

“No, no! Cyrus,” answered the reporter, “you must not
expose yourself! Your courage would. be of no avail,
The villains are evidently watching the corral, they are
hidden in the thick woods which surround it, and if you
go we shall soon have to regret. two misfortunes instead

of one!”
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 107

“But Neb?” repeated the engineer. “It is now four-
and-twenty hours since he has had any news of us! He
will be sure to come!”

“ And as he will be less on his guard than we should be
ourselves,” added Spilett, “he will be killed!”

“Ts there really no way of warning him?”

Whilst the engineer thought, his eyes fell on Top, who,
going backwards and forwards, seemed to say,—

“Am not I here?”

“Top!” exclaimed Cyrus Harding.

The animal sprang at his master’s call.

“Yes, Top will go,” said the reporter, who had under-
stood the engineer.

“Top can go where we cannot! He will carry to
Granite House the news of the corral, and he will bring
back to us that from Granite House!”

“ Quick!” said Harding. “Quick!”

Spilett rapidly tore a leaf from his note-book, and wrote
these words :—

“Herbert wounded. Weare at the corral. Be on your
guard. Do not leave Granite House. Have the convicts
appeared in the neighbourhood? Reply by Top.”

This laconic note contained all that Neb ought to know,
and at the same time asked all that the colonists wished to
know. It was folded and fastened to Top’s collar in a
conspicuous position,
108 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



“Top, my dog,” said the engineer, caressing the animal,
“Neb, Top! Neb!. Go, go!”

Top bounded at these words. He understood, he knew
what was expected of him. The road to the corral was
familiar to him. In less than an hour he could clear it, and
it might be hoped that where neither Cyrus Harding nor
the reporter could have ventured without danger, Top,
running amongst the grass or in the wood, would pass
unperceived.

The engineer went to the gate of the corral and opened
it.

“Neb, Top! Neb!” repeated the engincer, again point-
ing in the direction of Granite House.

Top sprang forwards, and almost immediately disap-
peared.

“He will get there!” said the reporter.

“Ves, and he will come back, the faithful animal!”

“ What o'clock is it?” asked Gideon Spilett.

“Ten.”

“In an hour he may be here. We will watch for his
return., .

The gate of the corral was closed. The engineer and
the reporter re-entered the house. Herbert was stillin a
sleep. Pencroft kept the compresser always wet. Spilett,
seeing there was nothing he could do at that moment,
busied himself in preparing some nourishment, whilst


































TOP DESPATCHED WITH A MESSAGE TO NEL.

Page 108.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 109



attentively watching that part of the enclosure against the
hill, at which an attack might be expected.

The settlers awaited Top’s return with much anxiety,
A little before eleven o’clock, Cyrus Harding and the re-
porter, rifle in hand, were behind the gate, ready to open
it at the first bark of their dog.

They did not doubt that if Top had arrived sately
at Granite House, Neb would have sent him back im-
mediately.

They had both been there for about ten minutes, when a
report was heard, followed by repeated barks.

The engineer opened the gate, and seeing smoke a
hundred feet off in the wood, he fired in that direction.

‘Almost immediately Top bounded into the corral, and
the gate was quickly shut.

“Top, Top!” exclaimed the engineer, taking the dog’s
great honest head between his hands.

A note was fastened to his neck, and Cyrus Harding
read these words, traced in Neb’s large writing :—

“No pirates in the neighbourhood of Granite House. I
will not stir. Poor Mr. Herbert!”
110 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



CHAPTER VIII

THE CONVICTS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF THE CORRAL
—PROVISIONAL ESTABLISHMENT—CONTINUATION OF
THE TREATMENT OF HERBERT—PENCROFT’S FIRST
REJOICINGS—CONVERSATION ON PAST EVENTS—
WHAT THE FUTURE HAS IN RESERVE—CYRUS
HARDING’S IDEAS ON THIS SUBJECT.

So the convicts were still there, watching the corral, and
determined to kill the settlers one after the other. There
was nothing to be done but to treat them as wild beasts.
But great precautions must be taken, for just now the
wretches had the advantage on their side, seeing, and not
being seen, being able to surprise by the suddenness of
their attack, yet not to be surprised themselves. Harding
made arrangements, therefore, for living in the corral, of
which the provisions would last for a tolerable length of
time. Ayrton’s house had been provided with all that was
necessary for existence, and the convicts, scared by the
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. IIt

arrival of the settlers, had not ‘had time to pillage it. It
was probable, as Gideon Spilett observed, that things had
occurred as follows :—The six convicts, disembarking on the
island, had followed the southern shore, and after having
traversed the double shore of the Serpentine Peninsula,
not being inclined to venture into the Far West woods,
they had reached the mouth of Falls River. From this
point, by following the right bank of the watercourse,
they would arrive at the spurs of Mount Franklin, among
which they would naturally seek a retreat, and they could
not have been long in discovering the corral, then unin-
habited. There they had regularly installed themselves,
awaiting the moment to put their abominable schemes
into execution. Ayrton’s arrival had surprised them, but
they had managed to overpower the unfortunate man, and
—the rest may be easily imagined ! ,

Now, the convicts,—reduced to five, it is true, but well
armed,—were roaming the woods, and to venture there was
to expose themselves to their attacks, which could be
neither guarded against nor prevented.

“Wait! There is nothing else to be done!” repeated
Cyrus Harding. “When Herbert is cured, we can organize
a general battue of the island, and have satisfaction of
these convicts. That will be the object of our grand
expedition at the same time—”

“As the search for our mysterious protector,” added
II2 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Gideon Spilett, finishing the engineer’s sentence. “ Ah, it
must be acknowledged, my dear Cyrus, that this time
his protection was wanting at the very moment when it
was most necessary to us!”

“Who knows?” replied the engineer.

“What do you mean ?” asked the reporter.

“ That we are not at the end of our trouble yet, my dear
Spilett, and that his powerful invention may, perhaps,
have another opportunity of exercising itself. But that is
not the question now. Herbert’s life before everything.

This was the colonists’ saddest thought. Several days
passed, and the poor boy’s state was happily no. worse.
Cold water, always kept at a suitable temperature, had
completely prevented the inflammation of the wounds. It
even seemed to the reporter that this water, being slightly
sulphurous,—which was explained by the neighbourhood
of the volcano,—had a more direct action on the healing.
The suppuration was much less abundant, and—thanks to
the incessant care by which he was surrounded !—Herbert
returned to life, and his fever abated. He was besides
subjected to a severe diet, and consequently his weakness
was and would be extreme; but there was no want of
refreshing drinks, and absolute rest was of the greatest
benefit to him. Cyrus Harding, Gideon Spilett, and
Pencroft, had become very skilful in dressing the lad’s
wounds, All the linen in the house had been sacrificed.
TIIE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 113



Herbert’s wounds, covered with compresses and lint, were
pressed neither too much nor too little, so as to cause
their cicatrization without determining on inflammatory
reaction. The reporter used extreme care in the dressing,
knowing well the importance of it, and repeating to his
companions that which most surgeons willingly admit,
that it is perhaps rarer to see a dressing well done than an
operation well performed.

In ten days, on the 22nd of November, Herbert was
considerably better. He had begun to take some nourish-
ment. The colour was returning to his cheeks, and his
bright eyes smiled at his nurses. He talked a little, not-
withstanding Pencroft’s efforts, who talked incessantly to.
prevent him from beginning to speak, and told him the
most improbable stories. Herbert had questioned him on
the subject of Ayrton, whom he was astonished not to see
near him, thinking that he was at the corral. But the sailor,
not wishing to distress Herbert, contented himself by
replying that Ayrton had rejoined Neb, so as to defend
Granite House.

“Humph!” said Pencroft, “these pirates! they are
gentlemen who have no right to any consideration! And
the captain wanted to win them by kindness! I'll send
them some kindness, but in the shape of a good bullet!”

“And have they not been seen again?” asked Herbert.

“No, my boy,” answered the sailor, “but we shall find

f
TI4. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

them, and when you are cured we shall see if the cowards,
who strike us from behind, will dare to meet us face to
face!”

“T am still very weak, my poor Pencroft!”

“Well! your strength will return gradually! What's a
ball through the chest? Nothing but a joke! I’ve seen
many, and I don’t think much of them!”

At last things appeared to be going on well, and if no
complication occurred, Herbert’s recovery might be re-
garded as certain. But what would have been the condi-
tion of the colonists if his state had been aggravated,—if,
for example, the ball had remained in his body, if his arm
or his leg had had to be amputated ?

“No,” said Spilett more than once, “I ‘have never
thought of such a contingency without shuddering!”

“And yet, if it had been necessary to operate,” said
Harding one day to him, “you would not have hesitated ?”

“No, Cyrus!” said Gideon Spilett, “but thank God that
we have been spared this complication !”

As in so many other conjectures, the colonists had
appealed to the logic of that simple good ‘sense of which
they had made use so often, and once more, thanks to
their general knowledge, it had succeeded! But might
not a time come when all their science would be at fault?
They were alone on the island. Now, men in all states of
society are necessary to each other. Cyrus Harding knew
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. II5



this well, and sometimes he asked himself if some circum-
stance might not occur which they would be powerless to
surmount. It appeared to him besides, that he and his
companions, till then so fortunate, had entered into an
unlucky period. During the three years and a half which
had elapsed since their escape from Richmond, it might be
said that they had had everything their own way. The
island had abundantly supplied them with minerals, vege-
tables, animals, and as Nature had constantly loaded them,
their science had known how-to take advantage of what
she offered them.

The wellbeing of the colony was therefore complete.
Moreover, in certain occurrences an inexplicable influence
had come to their aid! . . . Butall that could only be
for a time,

Tn short, Cyrus Harding believed that fortune had turned
against them.

In fact, the convicts’ ship had appeared in the waters of
the island, and if the pirates had been, so to speak, miracu-
lously destroyed, six of them, at least, had escaped the
catastrophe. They had disembarked on the island, and it
was almost impossible to get at the five who survived.
Ayrton had no doubt been murdered by these wretches,
who possessed fire-arms, and at the first use that they had
made of them, Herbert had fallen, wounded almost mor-
tally. Were these the first blows aimed by adverse fortune

I 2
116 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

at the colonists? This was often asked by Harding. This
was often repeated by the reporter ; and it appeared to him
also that the intervention, so strange, yet so efficacious,
which till then had served them so well, had now failed
them. Had this mysterious being, whatever he was,
whose existence could not be denied, abandoned the
island? Had he in his turn succumbed ?

No reply was possible to these questions. But it must
not be imagined that because Harding and his companions
spoke of these things, they were men to despair. Far from
that. They looked their situation in the face, they ana-
lyzed the chances, they prepared themselves for any event,
they stood firm and straight before the future, and if ad-
versity was at last to strike them, it would find in them men
prepared to struggle against it
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. II?



CHAPTER IX.

NO NEWS OF NEB—A PROPOSAL FROM PENCROFT AND
THE REPORTER, WHICH IS NOT ACCEPTED—SEVERAL
SORTIES BY GIDEON SPILETT—A RAG OF CLOTH—A
MESSAGE—HASTY DEPARTURE—ARRIVAL ON TIIE

- PLATEAU OF PROSPECT HEIGHTS.

THE convalescence of the young invalid was regularly pro-
gressing. One thing only was now to be desired, that his
state would allow him to be brought to Granite House.
However well built and supplied the corral house was, it
could not be so comfortable as the healthy granite dwelling.
Besides, it did not offer the same security, and its tenants,
notwithstanding their watchfulness, were here always in
fear of some shot from the convicts. There, on the con-
trary, in the middle of that impregnable and inaccessible
cliff, they would have nothing to fear, and any attack on
their persons would certainly fail. They therefore waited
impatiently for the moment when Herbert might be moved
118 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



without danger from his wound, and they were determined
to make this move, although the communication through
Jacamar Wood was very difficult.

They had no news from Neb, but were not uneasy on
that account. The courageous negro, well intrenched in
the depths of Granite House, would not allow himself to
be surprised. Top had not been sent again to him, as it
appeared useless to expose the faithful dog to some shot
which might deprive the settlers of their. most useful
auxiliary. .

They waited, therefore, although they were anxious to
be reunited at Granite House. It pained the engineer to
see his forces divided, for it gave great advantage to the
pirates. Since Ayrton’s disappearance they were only four
against five, for Herbert could not yet be counted, and this
was not the least care of the brave boy, who well under-
stood the trouble of which he was the cause.

The question of knowing how, in their condition, they
were to act against the pirates, was thoroughly discussed
on the 29th of November by Cyrus Harding, Gideon
Spilett, and Pencroft, at a mornent when Herbert was
asleep and could not hear them.

“ My friends,” said the reporter, after they had talked of
Neb and of the impossibility of communicating with him,
“TJ think, like you, that to venture on the road to the corral

would be to risk receiving a gun-shot without being able to
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 119

return it. But do you not think that the best thing to be
done now is to openly give chase to these wretches ?”

” answered Pencroft.

“That is just what I was thinking,
“T believe we’re not fellows to be afraid of a bullet, and as
for me, if Captain Harding approves, I’m ready to dash
into the forest! Why, hang it, one man is equal to another !”

“ But is he equal to five ?” asked the engineer.

“T will join Pencroft,” said the reporter, “and both of us,
well-armed and accompanied by Top-—”

“ My dear Spilett, and you, Pencroft,” answered Harding
“let us reason coolly. If the convicts were hid in one spot
of the island, if we knew that spot, and had only to dislodge
them, I would undertake a direct attack; but is there not
occasion to fear, on the contraty, that they are sure to fire
the first shot.”

“Well, captain,” cried Pencroft, “a bullet does not
always reach its mark.”

“That which struck Herbert did not miss, Pencroft,”
replied the engineer. “ Besides, observe that if both of you
left the corral I should remain here alone to defend it. Do
you imagine that the convicts will not see you leave it, that
they will not allow you to enter the forest, and that they
will not attack it during your absence, knowing that there
is no one here but a wounded boy and a man?”

“You are right, captain,” replied Pencroft, his chest

swelling with sullen anger. “You are right; they will do
120 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



all they can to retake the corral, which they know to be
well stored; and alone you could not hold it against
them.”

“Oh, if we were only at Granite House !”

“If we were at Granite House,” answered the engineer,
“the case would be very different. There I should not be
afraid to leave Herbert with one, whilst the other three went
to search the forests of the island. But weareat the corral,
and it is best to stay here until we can leave it together.”

’ Cyrus Harding’s reasoning was unanswerable, and his
companions understood it well.

“Tf only Ayrton was still one of us!” said Gideon
Spilett. “Poor fellow! his return to social life will have
been but of short duration.”

“Tf he is dead,” added Pencroft, in a peculiar tone.

“Do you hope, then, Pencroft, that the villains have
spared him ?” asked Gideon Spilett.

“Ves, if they had any interest in doing so.”

“What! you suppose that Ayrton, finding his old com-
panions, forgetting all that he owes us—”

“Who knows ? ” answered the sailor, who did not hazard
this shameful supposition without hesitating.

“Pencroft,” said Harding, taking the sailor’s arm, “that
is‘a wicked idéa of yours, and you will distress me much if
you persist in speaking thus. I will answer for Ayrton’s
fidelity.”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. I2f

“ And I also,” added the reporter quickly.

“Yes, yes, captain, I was wrong,” replied Pencroft ;
“it was a wicked idea indeed that I had, and nothing jus-
tifies it. But what can I do? I’m not in my senses. This
imprisonment in the corral wearies me horribly, and I have
never felt so excited as I do now.”

“Be patient, Pencroft,” replied the engineer. “How long
will it be, my dear Spilett, before you think Herbert may
be carried to Granite House?”

“That is difficult to say, Cyrus,” answered the réporter,
“for any imprudence might involve terrible consequences.
But his convalesence is progressing, and if he continues to
gain strength, in eight days from now—well, we shall see.”

Eight days! That would put off the return to Granite
House until the first days of December. At this time two
months of spring had already passed. The weather was
fine, and the heat began to be great. The forests of the
island were in full leaf, and the time was approaching when
the usual crops ought to be gathered. The return to the
plateau of Prospect Heights would, therefore, be followed by
extensive agricultural labours, interrupted only. by the pro-
jected expedition through the island.

It can, therefore, be well understood how injurious this
seclusion in the corral must be to the colonists.

But if they were compelled to bow before necessity, they
did not do so without impatience.
122 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Once or twice the reporter ventured out into the road
and made the tour of the palisade. Top accompanied him,
and Gideon Spilett, his gun cocked, was ready for any
emergency.

He met with no misadventure and found no suspicious
traces. His dog would have warned him of any danger,
and, as Top did not bark, it might be concluded that there
was nothing to fear at that moment at least, and that the
convicts were occupied in another part of the island.

However, on his second sortie, on the 27th of November,
Gideon Spilett, who had ventured a quarter of a mile into
the wood, towards the south of the mountain, remarked
that Top scented something. The dog had no longer his
unconcerned manner; he went backwards and forwards,
ferreting amongst the grass and bushes as if his smell had
revealed some suspicious object to him.

Gideon. Spilett followed Top, encouraged him, excited
him by his voice, whilst keeping a sharp look-out, his gun
ready to fire, and sheltering himself behind the trees, It
was not probable that Top scented the presence of man,
for in that case, he would have announced it by half-
uttered, sullen, angry. barks. Now, as he did not growl,
it was because danger was neither near nor approaching,

Nearly five minutes passed thus, Top rummaging, the
reporter following him prudently, when, all at once, the
dog rushed towards a thick bush, and drew out a rag.






















































































































































































































































SPILETT AND TOP RECONNOITRING,.

+

Pige 122.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 123



It was a piece of cloth, stained and torn, which Spilett
immediately brought back to the corral. There it was
examined by the colonists, who found that it was a
fragment of Ayrton’s waistcoat, a piece of that felt,
manufactured solely by the Granite House factory.

“You see, Pencroft,’ observed Harding, “there has
been resistance on the part of the unfortunate Ayrton.
The convicts have dragged him away in spite of himself!
Do you still doubt his honesty ?”

- “No, captain,” answered the sailor, “and I repented ‘of
my suspicion along time ago! But it seems to me that
something may be learned from the incident.”

“What is that ?” asked the reporter. °

“It is that Ayrton was not killed ‘at the corral! That
they dragged him away living, since he has’ resisted.
Therefore, perhaps, he is still living!”

“ Perhaps, indeed,” replied the engineer, who remained
thoughtful. ms = .

This was a hope, to which Ayrton’s companions could
still hold. Indeed, they had before believed that, surprised
in the corral, Ayrton had fallen by a’ bullet, as Herbert
had fallen. But if the convicts had not killed him at first,
if they had brought him living to another part of the
island, might it not be admitted that he was still their
prisoner? Perhaps, even, one of them had found ‘in
Ayrton his old Australian companion Ben Joyce, the
124 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



chief of the escaped convicts. And who knows but that
they had conceived the impossible hope of bringing back
Ayrton to themselves? He would have been very useful
to them, if they had been able to make him turn
traitor !”

This incident was, therefore, favourably interpreted at the
corral, and it no longer appeared impossible that they
should find Ayrton again. On his side, if he was only a
prisoner, Ayrton would no doubt do all he could to escape
from the hands of the villains, and this would be a power-
ful aid to the settlers !

“At any rate,” observed Gideon Spilett. “if happily
Ayrton did manage to escape, he would go directly to
Granite House, for he could not know of the attempt of
assassination of. which Herbert has been a victim, and
consequently would never think of our being imprisoned
in the corral.”

“Oh! I wish that he was there, at Granite House!”
cried Pencroft, “and that we were there, too! For,
although the rascals can do nothing to our house, they
may plunder the plateau, our plantations, our poultry-
yard!”

Pencroft had become a thorough farmer, heartily attached
to his crops. But it must be said that Herbert was more
anxious than any to return to Granite House, for he knew

how much the presence of the settlers was needed there.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. T25



And it was he who was keeping them at the corral!
Therefore, one idea occupied his mind—to leave the corral,
and when! He believed he could bear removal to Granite
House. He was sure his strength would return more
quickly in his room, with the air and sight of the
sea !

Several times he pressed Gideon Spilett, but the latter,
fearing, with good reason, that Herbert’s wounds, half
healed, might reopen on the way, did not give the order to
start.

However, something occurred which compelled Cyrus
Harding and his two friends to yield to the lad’s wish, and
God alone knew that this determination might cause them
grief and remorse.

It was the 29th of November, seven o'clock in the
evening. The three settlers were talking in Herbert’s room,
when they heard Top utter quick barks,

Harding, Pencroft, and Spilett seized their guns and ran
out of the house. Top, at the foot of the palisade, was
jumping, barking, but it was with pleasure, not anger,

“ Some one is coming.”

“Yes.”

“Tt is not an enemy !”

“Neb, perhaps ?”

“Or Ayrton?”

These words had hardly been exchanged between the
126 - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

engineer and his two companions when a body leapt ovcr
the palisade and fell on the ground inside the corral.
It was Jup, Master Jup in person, to whom Top imme-
diately gave a most cordial reception.
“Jup!” exclaimed Pencroft.
“Neb has sent him to us,” said the reporter.
' “Then,” replied the engineer, “he must have some note
on him.” |
’Pencroft rushed up to the orang. Certainly if Neb had
any important matter to communicate to his master he
could not employ a more sure or more rapid messenger, who
could pass where neither the colonists could, nor even Top
himself.
Cyrus Harding was not mistaken. At Jup’s neck hung
a small bag, and in this bag was found a little note traced
by Neb’s hand.
The despair of. Harding and his companions may be
imagined when they read these words :—

“Friday, six o’clock in the morning.

“ Plateau invaded by convicts.
’ “ NEB.”

They gazed at each other without uttering a word, then
they re-entered the house. What were they todo? The
convicts on Prospect Heights! that was disaster, devasta-

tion, ruin,




























































































































































































STARTING FROM THE CORRAL,
= Page 127.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 127



Herbert, on seeing the engineer, the reporter, and Pen-
croft re-enter, guessed that their situation was aggravated,
and when he saw Jup, he no longer doubted that some mis-
fortune menaced Granite House., .

“Captain Harding,” said he, “I must go ; I can bear the
journey. I must go.”

Gideon Spilett approached Herbert ; then, having looked
at him,— .

“Let us go, then! ” said he.

The question was quickly decided whether Herbert
should be carried on a litter or in the cart which had brought
Ayrton to the corral. The motion of the litter would have
been more easy for the wounded lad, but it would have
necessitated two bearers, that is to say, there would have
been two guns less for defence if an attack was made on
the road. Would they not, on the contrary, by employing
the cart leave every arm free? Was it impossible to place
the mattress on which Herbert was lying in it, and to ad-
vance with so much care that any jolt should be avoided ?
It could be done.

The cart was brought. Pencroft harnessed the onaga.
Cyrus Harding and the reporter raised Herbert’s mattress
and placed it on the bottom of the cart. The weather
was fine. The sun’s bright rays glanced through the trees.

“ Are the guns ready ?” asked Cyrus Harding.

They were. The engineer and Pencroft, each armed
128 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



with a double-barrelled gun, and Gideon Spilett carrying
his rifle, had nothing to do but start.

“ Are you comfortable Herbert ?” asked the engineer.

“ Ah, captain,” replied the lad, “don’t be uneasy, I shall
not die on the road !”

Whilst speaking thus, it could be seen that the poor boy
had called up all his energy, and by the energy of a power-
ful will had collected his failing strength.

The engineer felt his heart sink painfully. He still
hesitated to give the signal for departure ; but that would
have driven Herbert to despair—killed him perhaps.

“Forward !” said Harding.

The gate of the corral was opened. Jup and Top, who
knew when to be silent, ran in advance. The cart came
out, the gate was reclosed, and the onaga, led by Pencroft,
advanced at a slow pace.

Certainly, it would have been safer to have taken a dif-
ferent road than that which led straight from the corral to
Granite House, but the cart would have met with great
difficulties in moving under the trees. It was necessary,
therefore, to follow this way, although it was well known
to the convicts.

Cyrus Harding and Gideon Spilett walked one on
each side of the cart, ready to answer to.any attack. How-
ever, it was not probable that the convicts would have yet
left the plateau of Prospect Heights,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 129



Neb’s note had evidently been written and sent as soon
as the convicts had shown themselves there. Now, this
note was dated six o’clock in the morning, and the active
orang, accustomed to come frequently to the corral, had
taken scarcely three quarters of an hour to cross the five
miles which separated it from Granite House. They would,
therefore, be safe at that time, and if there was any occasion
for firing, it would probably not be until they were in the
neighbourhood of Granite House. However, the colonists
kept a strict watch. Top and Jup, the latter armed with
his club, sometimes in front, sometimes beating the wood
at the sides of the road, signalized no danger.

The cart advanced slowly under Pencroft’s guidance.
It had left the corral at half-past seven. An hour after,
four out of the five miles had been cleared, without any
incident having occurred. The road was as deserted as all
that part of the Jacamar Wood which lay between the
Mercy and the lake. There was no occasion for any
warning. The wood appeared as deserted as on the day
when the colonists first landed on the island.

They approached the plateau. Another mile and they
would see the bridge over Creek Glycerine. Cyrus Harding
expected to find it in its place; supposing that the convicts
would have crossed it, and that, after having passed one of the
streams which enclosed the plateau, they would have taken
the precaution to lower it again, so as to keep open a retreat,

K
130 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

At length an opening in the trees allowed the sea-
horizon to be seen. But the cart continued its progress,
for not one of its defenders thought of abandoning it.

At that moment Pencroft stopped the onaga, and ina
hoarse voice,—

_ “Oh! the villains!” he exclaimed.

And he pointed to a thick smoke rising from the mill,
the sheds, and the buildings at the poultry-yard.

A man was moving about in the midst of the smoke.
It was Neb.

His companions uttered a shout. He heard, and ran to
meet them.

The convicts had left the plateau nearly half-an-hour
before, having devastated it !

“And Mr. Herbert ?” asked Neb.

Gideon Spilett returned to the cart.

Herbert had lost consciousness !
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 131



CHAPTER X.

HERBERT CARRIED TO GRANITE IHOUSE—NEB RELATES
ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED—HARDING’S VISIT TO THE
PLATEAU—RUIN AND DEVASTATION —THE COLO-
NISTS BAFFLED BY HERBERT'S ILLNESS—WILLOW
BARK—A DEADLY FEVER—TOP BARKS AGAIN!

OF the convicts, the dangers which menaced Granite
House, the ruins with which the plateau was covercd, the
colonists thought no longer. Herbert’s critical state out-
weighed all other considerations. Would the removal
prove fatal to him by causing some internal injury? The
reporter could not affirm it, but he and his companions
almost despaired of the result. The cart was brought to
the bend of the river. There some branches, disposed as a
litter, received the mattress on which lay the unconscious
Herbert. Ten minutes after, Cyrus Harding, Spilett, and
Pencroft were at the foot of the cliff, leaving Neb to take
the cart on to the plateau of Prospect Heights. The lift
K 2
132 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

was put in motion, and Herbert was soon stretched on his
bed in Granite House.

What cares were lavished on him to bring him back to
life! He smiled for a moment on finding himself in his
room, but could scarcely even murmur a few words, so
great was his weakness. Gideon Spilett examined his
wounds. He feared to find them reopened, having been
imperfectly healed. There was nothing of the sort. From
whence, then, came this prostration? Why was Herbert so
much worse? The lad then fell into a kind of feverish
sleep, and the reporter and Pencroft remained near the bed.
During this time, Harding told Neb all that had happened
at the corral, and Neb recounted to his master the events of
which the plateau had just been the theatre.

It was only during the preceding night that the convicts
had appeared on the edge of the forest, at the approaches
to Creek Glycerine. Neb, who was watching near the
poultry-yard, had not hesitated to fire at one of the pirates,
who was about to cross the stream; but in the darkness he
could not tell whether the man had been hit or not. At
any rate, it was not enough to frighten away the band, and
Neb had only just time to get up to Granite House, where
at least he was in safety.

But what was he to do there? How prevent the devas-
tations with which the. convicts threatened the plateau?
Had Neb any means by which to warn his master? And,
a

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THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. : 133



besides, in what situation were the inhabitants of the
corral themselves? Cyrus Harding and his companions
had left on the 11th of November, and it was now the
29th. It was, therefore, nineteen days since Neb had
had other news than that brought by Top—disastrous
news: Ayrton disappeared, Herbert severely wounded,
the engineer, reporter, and sailor, as it were, imprisoned
in the corral!

What was he to do? asked poor Neb. Personally he had
nothing to fear, for the convicts could not reach him in
Granite House. But the buildings, the plantations, all
their arrangements at the mercy of the pirates! Would it
not be best to let Cyrus Harding judge of what he ought
to do, and to warn him, at least, of the danger which
threatened him?

Neb then thought of employing Jup, and confiding a
note to him. He knew the orang’s great intelligence, which
had been often put to the proof. Jup understood the word
corral, which had been frequently pronounced before him,
and it may be remembered, too, that he had often driven
the cart thither in company with Pencroft. Day had not
yet dawned. The active orang would know how to pass
unperceived through the woods, of which the convicts,
besides, would think he was a native.

Neb did not hesitate. He wrote the note, he tied it to
Jup’s neck, he brought the ape to the door of Granite
134 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

House, from which he let down a long cord to the ground ;
then, several times, he repeated these words,—

“Jup, Jup! corral, corral!”

The creature understood, seized the cord, glided rapidly
down to the beach, and disappeared in the darkness without
the convicts’ attention having been in the least excited,

“You did well, Neb,” said Harding; “but perhaps in
not warning us you would have done still better!”

And, in speaking thus, Cyrus Harding thought of Her-
bert, whose recovery the removal had so seriously checked.

Neb ended his account. The convicts had not appeared
at all on the beach. Not knowing the number of the
island’s inhabitants, they might suppose that Granite
House was defended by a large party. They must have
remembered that during the attack by the brig numerous
shot had been fired both from the lower and upper rocks,
and no doubt they did not wish to expose themselves.
But the plateau of Prospect Heights was open to them, and
not covered by the fire of Granite House. They gave
themselves up, therefore, to their instinct of destruction,—
plundering, burning, devastating everything,—and only
retiring half an hour before the arrival of the colonists,
whom they believed still confined in the corral.

On their retreat, Neb hurried out. He climbed the
plateau at the risk of being perceived and fired at, tried to
extinguish the fire which -was consuming the buildings
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 135



of the poultry-yard, and had struggled, though in vain,
against it until the cart appeared at the edge of the wood.

Such had been these serious events. The presence of
the convicts constituted a permanent source of danger to
the settlers in Lincoln Island, until then so happy, and
who might now expect still greater misfortunes.

Spilett remained in Granite House with Herbert and
Pencroft, while Cyrus Harding, accompanied by Neb,
proceeded to judge for himself of the extent of the
disaster.

It was fortunate that the convicts had not advanced to
the foot of Granite House. The workshop at the Chim-
neys would in that case not have escaped destruction.
But after all, this evil would have been more easily repar-
able than the ruins accumulated on the plateau of Prospect
Heights. Harding and Neb proceeded towards the Mercy,
and ascended its left bank without meeting with any
trace of the convicts; nor on the other side of the river,
in the depths of the wood, could they perceive any suspi-
cious indications.

Besides, it might be supposed that in all probability
either the convicts knew of the return of the settlers to
Granite House, by having seen them pass on the. road
from the corral, or, after the devastation of the plateau,
they had penetrated into Jacamar Wood, following the
course of the Mercy, and were thus ignorant of their return.
136 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

In the former case, they must have returned towards the
corral, now without defenders, and which contained valu-
able stores.

In the latter, they must have regained their encamp-
ment, and would wait an opportunity to recommence the
attack.

It was, therefore, possible to prevent them, but any
enterprise to clear the island was now rendered difficult by
reason of Herbert’s condition. Indeed, their whole force
would have been barely sufficient to cope with the convicts,
and just now no one could leave Granite House.

The engineer and Neb arrived on the plateau. Desola-
tion reigned everywhere. The fields had been trampled
over; the ears of wheat, which were nearly full grown, lay
on the ground. The other plantations had not suffered less.

The kitchen-garden was destroyed. Happily, Granite
House possessed a store of seed which would enable them
to repair these misfortunes. .

As to the wall and buildings of the poultry-yard and
the onagas’ stable, the fire had destroyed all. terrified creatures roamed over the plateati. The birds,
which during the fire had taken refuge on the waters of
the lake, had already returned to their accustomed spot,
and were dabbling on the banks. Everything would have
to be reconstructed.

Cyrus Harding’s face, which was paler than usual, ex-
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 137

pressed an internal anger which he commanded with diffi-
culty, but he did not utter a word. Once more he looked
at his devastated fields, and at the smoke which still rose
from the ruins, then he returned to Granite House.

The following days were the saddest of any that the
colonists had passed on the island! MHerbert’s weakness
visibly increased. It appeared that a more serious malady,
the consequence of the profound physiological disturbance
he had gone through, threatened to declare itself, and
Gideon Spilett feared such an aggravation of his condition
that he would be powerless to fight against it!

In fact, Herbert remained in an almost continuous state
of drowsiness, and symptoms of delirium began to manifest
themselves. Refreshing drinks were the only remedies at
the colonists’ disposal. The fever was not as yet very
high, but it soon appeared that it would probably recur at
regular intervals. Gideon Spilett first recognized this on
the 6th of December.

The poor boy, whose fingers, nose, and ears had become
extremely pale, was at first seized with slight shiverings,
horripilations, and tremblings. His pulse was weak and
irregular, his skin dry, his thirst intense. To this soon
succeeded a hot fit; his face became flushed; his skin
reddened; his pulse quick; then a profuse perspiration
broke out, after which the fever seemed to diminish.
The attack had lasted nearly five hours.
138 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Gideon Spilett had not left Herbert, who, it was only
too certain was now seized by an intermittent fever, and
this fever must be cured at any cost before it should assume
a more serious aspect.

“ And in order to cure it,” said Spilett to Cyrus Harding,
“we need a febrifuge.”

“A febrifuge—’ answered the engineer. “We have
neither Peruvian bark, nor sulphate of quinine?”

“No,” said Gideon Spilett, “but there are willows on
the border of the lake, and the bark of the willow might,
perhaps, prove to be a substitute for quinine.”

“Let us try it without losing a moment,” replied Cyrus
Harding.

The bark of the willow has, indeed, been justly con-

sidered as a succedaneum for Peruvian bark, as has also
that of the horse-chestnut-tree, the leaf of the holly, the
snake-root, &c. It was evidently necessary to make trial
of this substance, although not so valuable as Peruvian bark,
and to employ it in its natural state, since they had no
means for extracting its essence.
- Cyrus Harding went himself to cut from the trunk of a
species of black willow, a few pieces of bark; he brought
them back to Granite House, and reduced them toa powder,
which was administered that same evening to Herbert. .

The night passed without any important change.

Herbert was somewhat delirious, but the fever did not
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 139



reappear in the night, and did not return either during
the following day.

Pencroft again began to hope. Gideon Spilett said
nothing. It might be that the fever was not quotidian,
but tertian, and that it would return next day. Therefore,
he awaited the next day with the greatest anxiety.

It might have been remarked besides that during this
period Herbert remained utterly prostrate, his head weak
and giddy. Another symptom alarmed the reporter to the
highest degree. Herbert’s liver became congested, and
soon a more intense delirium showed that his brain was
also affected.

_ Gideon Spilett was overwhelmed by this new complica-
tion. He took the engineer aside.

“Tt is a malignant fever,” said he.

“A malignant fever!” cried Harding. “You are
mistaken, Spilett. A malignant fever does not declare
itself spontaneously; its germ must previously have
existed.”

“T am not mistaken,” replied the reporter. “ Herbert no
doubt contracted the germ of this fever in the marshes of
the island. He has already had one attack; should a
second come on and should we not be able to prevent a
third, he is lost.”

“But the willow bark ?”

“That is insufficient,” answered the reporter ; “and the
140 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

third attack of a malignant fever, which is not arrested by
means of quinine, is always fatal.”

Fortunately, Pencroft heard nothing of this conversation
or he would have gone mad.

It may be imagined what anxiety the engineer and the
reporter suffered during the day of the 7th of December
and the following night.

Towards the middle of the day the second attack came
on. The crisis was terrible. Herbert felt himself sinking.
He stretched his arms towards Cyrus Harding, towards
Spilett, towards Pencroft. He was so young to die! The
scene was heartrending. They were obliged to send Pen-
croft away.

The fit lasted five hours. It was evident that Herbert
could not survive a third.

The night was frightful. In his delirium Herbert uttered
words which went to the hearts of his companions. He
struggled with the convicts, he called to Ayrton, he poured
forth entreaties to that mysterious being,—that powerful
unknown protector,—whose image was stamped. upon his
mind; then he again fell into a deep exhaustion which
completely prostrated him. Several times Gideon Spilett
thought that the poor boy was dead.

The next day, the 8th of December, was but a suc-
cession of the fainting fits. Herbert’s thin hands clutched
the sheets. They had administered further doses of
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. I4l



pounded bark, but the reporter expected no result
from it.

“If before to-morrow morning we have not given him a
more energetic febrifuge,” said the reporter, “ Herbert will
be dead.”

Night arrived—the last night, it was too much to be
feared, of the good, brave, intelligent boy, so far in advance
of his years, and who was loved by all as their own child.
The only remedy which existed against this terrible malig-
nant fever, the only specific which could overcome it, was
not to be found in Lincoln Island.

During the night of the 8th of December, Herbert was
seized by a more violent delirium. His liver was fearfully
congested, his brain affected, and already it was impossible
for him to recognize any one.

Would he live until the next day, until that third attack
which must infallibly carry him off? It was not probable.
His strength was exhausted, and in the intervals of fever
he lay as one dead.

Towards three o’clock in the morning Herbert uttered
a piercing cry. He seemed to be torn by a supreme con-
vulsion. Neb, who was near him, terrified, ran into the
next room where his companions were watching.

Top, at that moment, barked in a strange manner.

All rushed in immediately and managed to restrain the
dying boy, who was endeavouring to throw himself out of
142 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.
his bed, whilst Spilett, taking his arm, felt his pulse gradu-
ally quicken.

It was five in the morning. The rays of the rising sun
began to shine in at the windows of Granite House. It
promised to be a fine day, and this day was to be poor
Herbert’s last !

A ray glanced on the table placed near the bed.

Suddenly Pencroft, uttering a cry, pointed to the table.

On it lay a little oblong box, of which the cover bore
these words :—

“Sulphate of Quinine.”








SULPHATE OF QUININE!
t Page 142,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 143

a

CHAPTER XI.

INEXPLICABLE MYSTERY—HERBERT’S CONVALESCENCE
—THE PARTS OF THEISLAND TO BE EXPLORED—PRE-
PARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE—FIRST DAY—NIGHT
—SECOND DAY—KAURIES—A COUPLE OF CASSO-

- WARIES—FOOTPRINTS IN THE FOREST—ARRIVAL AT
REPTILE POINT.

GIDEON SPILETT took the box and opened it. It con-
tained nearly two hundred grains of a white powder, a few
particles of which he carried to his lips. The extreme
bitterness of the substance precluded all doubt; it was
certainly the precious extract of quinine, that pre-eminent
antifebrile.

This powder must be administered to Herbert without
delay. How it came there might be discussed later.

“Some coffee!” said Spilett.

In a few moments Neb brought a cup of the warm in-

fusion. Gideon Spilett threw into it about eighteen grains
144 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.
of quinine, and they succeeded in making Herbert drink
the mixture.

There was still time, for the third attack of the malignant
fever had not yet shown itself. How they longed to be
able to add that it would not return !

Besides, it must be remarked, the hopes of all had now
revived. The mysterious influence had been again exerted,
and in a critical moment, when they had despaired of it.

In a few hours Herbert was much calmer. The colonists
could now discuss this incident. The intervention of the
stranger was more evident than ever. But how had he
been able to penetrate during the night into Granite
House? It was inexplicable, and, in truth, the proceed-
ings of the genius of the island were not less mysterious
than was that genius himself. During this day the sulphate
of quinine was administered to Herbert every three hours.

The next day some improvement in Herbert’s condition
wasapparent. Certainly, he was not out of danger, inter-
mittent fevers being subject to frequent and dangerous
relapses, but the most assiduous care was bestowed on
him. And besides, the specific was at hand ; nor, doubtless,
was he who had brought it far distant! and the hearts
of all were animated by returning hope.

This hope was not disappointed. Ten days after, on
the 20th of December, Herbert’s convalescence com-
menced.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. . 145



He was still weak, and strict diet had been imposed
upon him, but no access of fever supervened. And then,
the poor boy submitted with such docility to all the pre-
scriptions ordered him! He longed so to get well!

Pencroft was asa man who has been drawn up from the
bottom of an abyss, Fits of joy approaching to delirium
seized him. When the time for the third attack had
passed by, he nearly suffocated the reporter in his embrace.
Since then, he always called him Dr. Spilett.

The.real doctor, however, remained undiscovered.

“We will find him!” repeated the sailor.

Certainly, this man, whoever he was, might expect a
somewhat too energetic embrace from the worthy Pencroft!

. The month of December ended, and with it the year
1867, during which the colonists of Lincoln Island had of
late been so severely tried. They commenced the year
1868 with magnificent weather, great heat, and a tropical
temperature, delightfully cooled by the sea-breeze
Herbert’s recovery progressed, and from his bed, placed
near one of the windows of Granite House, he could inhale
the fresh air, charged with ozone, which could not fail to
restore his health. His appetite returned, and what
numberless delicate, savoury little dishes Neb prepared
for him!

“Tt is enough to make one wish to have a fever one-
self!” said Pencroft.

lL
146 ' THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

During all this time, the convicts did not once appear in
the vicinity of Granite House.. There was no news of Ayrton,
and though the engineer and Herbert still had some hopes
of finding him again, their companions did not doubt but
that the unfortunate man had perished. However, this un-
certainty could not last, and when once the lad should have
recovered, the expedition, the result of which must be so
important, would be undertaken. But they would have to
wait a month, perhaps, for all the strength of the colony
must be put into requisition to obtain satisfaction from the
convicts.

However, Herbert’s convalescence. progressed rapidly.
The congestion of the liver had disappeared, and _ his
wounds might be considered completely healed.

During the month of January, important work was done
on the plateau of Prospect Heights; but it consisted solely
in saving as much as was possible from the devastated
crops, either.of corn or vegetables. The grain and the
plants were gathered, so.as to provide a new harvest for
the approaching half-season. With regard to rebuilding
the poultry-yard, wall, or stables, Cyrus Harding preferred
to wait, Whilst he and his companions were in pursuit of
the convicts, the latter might very probably pay another
visit to the plateau, and it would be useless to give them
an opportunity of recommencing their work of destruction.
When the island should be cleared of these miscreants,






THE CONVALESCENT,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 147



they would set about rebuilding. The young convalescent
began to get up in the second week of January, at first fot
one hour a day, then two, then three. His strength
visibly returned, so vigorous was his constitution. He
was now eighteen years of age. He was tall, and promised
to become a man of noble and commanding presence.
From this time his recovery, while still requiring care,—
and Dr. Spilett was very strict,—made rapid progress.
Towards the end of the month, Herbert was already
walking about on Prospect Heights, and the beach.

He derived, from several sea-baths, which he took in
company with Pencroft and Neb, the greatest possible
benefit. Cyrus Harding thought he might now settle the
day for their departure, for which the 15th of February
was fixed. The nights, very clear at this time of year,
would be favourable to the researches they intended to
make all over the island.

The necessary preparations for this exploration were
now commenced, and were important, for the colonists had
sworn not to return to Granite House until their twofold
object had been achieved ; on the one hand, to exterminate
the convicts, and rescue Ayrton, if he was still living; on
the other, to discover who it was that presided so effectually
over the fortunes of the colony.

Of Lincoln Island, the settlers knew thoroughly ail
the eastern coast from Claw Cape to the Mandible Capes,

L.2
148 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

the extensive Tadorn Marsh, the neighbourhood of Lake
Grant, Jacamar Wood, between the road to the corral and
the Mercy, the courses of the Mercy and Red Creek, and
lastly, the spurs of Mount Franklin, among which the
corral had been established.

They had explored, though only in an imperfect manner,
the vast shore of Washington Bay from Claw Cape to
Reptile End, the woody and marshy border of the west
coast, and the interminable downs, ending at the open
mouth of Shark Gulf. But they had in no way surveyed
the woods which covered the Serpentine Peninsula, all to
the right of the Mercy, the left bank of Falls River, and
the wilderness of spurs and valleys which supported three
quarters of the base of Mount Franklin, to the east, the
north, and the west, and where doubtless many secret
retreats existed. Consequently, many millions of acres of
the island had still escaped their investigations.

It was, therefore, decided that the expedition should be
carried through the Far West, so as to include all that
region situated on the right of the Mercy.

It might, perhaps, be better worth while to go direct to
the corral, where it might be supposed that the convicts had
again taken refuge, either to pillage or to establish them-
selves there. But either the devastation of the corral would
have been an accomplished fact by this time, and it would
be too late to prevent it; or it had been the convicts’
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. Td49



interest to intrench themselves there, and there would be
still time to go and turn them out on their return.

Therefore, after some discussion, the first plan was
adhered to, and the settlers resolved to proceed through
the wood to Reptile End. They would make their way
with their hatchets, and thus lay the first draft of a road
which would place Granite House in communication with
the end of the peninsula for a length of from sixteen to
seventeen miles,

The cart was in good condition. The onagas, well
rested, could go a long journey. Provisions, camp effects,
a portable stove, and various utensils were packed in the
cart, as also weapons and ammunition, carefully chosen
from the now complete arsenal of Granite House. But it
was necessary to remember that the convicts were, perhaps,
roaming about the woods, and that in the midst of these
thick forests a shot might quickly be fired and received.
It was therefore resolved that the little band of settlers
should remain together and not separate under any pretext
whatever.

It was also decided that no one should remain at Granite
House. Top and Jup themselves were to accompany the
expedition; the inaccessible dwelling needed no guard.
The 14th of February, eve of the departure, was Sunday.
It was consecrated entirely to repose, and thanksgivings
addressed by the colonists to the Creator. A place in the
150 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

cart was reserved for Herbert, who, though thoroughly
convalescent, was still a little weak. The next morning, at
daybreak, Cyrus Harding took the necessary measures to
protect Granite House from any invasion. The ladders,
which were formerly used for the ascent, were brought to
the Chimneys and buried deep in the sand, so that they
might be available on the return of the colonists, for the
machinery Cf the lift had been taken to pieces, and nothing
of the apparatus remained. Pencroft stayed the last in
Granite House in order to finish this work, and he then
lowered himself down by means of a double ‘rope held
below, and which, when once hauled down, left no com-
munication between the upper landing and the beach,

The weather was magnificent.

“We shall have a warm day of it,” said the reporter,
laughing.

“Pooh! Dr. Spilett,” answered Pencroft, “we shall walk
under the shade of the trees and shan’t even see the sun !”

“Forward!” said the engineer.

The cart was waiting on the beach before the Chimneys.
The reporter made Herbert take his place in it’ during the
first hours at least of the journey, and the lad was obliged
to submit to his doctor’s orders.

Neb placed himself at the onagas’ heads. Cyrus
Harding, the reporter, and the sailor, walked in front. Top
bounded joyfully along. Herbert offered a seat in his










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“THE LAST TO LEAVE GRANITE HOUSE,
+ Page 150.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. I51



vehicle to Jup, who accepted it without ceremony. The
moment for departure had arrived, and the little band
set out.

The cart first turned the angle of the mouth of the
Mercy, then, having ascended the left bank for a mile,
crossed the bridge, at the other side of which commenced
the road to Port Balloon, and there the explorers, leaving
this road on their left, entered the cover of the immense
woods which formed the region of the Far West.

For the first two miles the widely-scattered trees
allowed the cart to pass with ease; from time to time
it became necessary to cut away a few creepers and
bushes, but no serious obstacle impeded the progress of
the colonists.

The thick foliage of the trees threw a grateful shade on
the ground. Deodars, douglas-firs, casuarinas, banksias,
gum-trees, dragon-trees, and other well-known species,
succeeded each other far as the eye could reach. The
feathered tribes of the island were all represented—tetras,
jacamars, pheasants, lories, as well as the chattering cocka-
toos, parrots, and paroquets. Agouties,: kangaroos, and
capybaras fled swiftly at their approach; and all this
reminded the settlers of the first excursions they had made
on their arrival at the island.

“ Nevertheless,” observed Cyrus Harding, “I notice that
these creatures, both birds and quadrupeds, are more timid
152 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

than formerly. These woods have, therefore, been recently
traversed by the convicts, and we shall certainly find some
traces of them.”

And, in fact, in several places they could distinguish
traces, more or less recent, of the passage of a band of men
—here branches broken off the trees, perhaps to mark out
the way; there the ashes of a fire, and footprints in clayey
spots; but nothing which appeared to belong to a settled
encampment. :

The engineer had recommended his companions to re-
frain from hunting. The reports of the firearms might
give the alarm to the convicts, who were, perhaps, roaming
through the forest. Moreover, the hunters would necessarily
ramble some distance from the cart, which it was dangerous
to leave unguarded.

In the after-part of the day, when about six miles from
Granite House, their progress became much more difficult.
In order to make their way through some thickets, they
were obliged to cut down trees. Before entering such places
Harding was careful to send in Top and Jup, who faith-
fully accomplished their commission, and when the dog
and orang'returned without giving any warning, there was
evidently nothing to fear, either from convicts or wild
beasts, two varieties of the animal kingdom, whose fero-
cious instincts placed them on the same level. On the

evening of the first day the colonists encamped about nine


EST

FOR

THE

ON WATCH.IN

53

Page 1
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 153



miles from Granite House, on the border of a little stream
falling into the Mercy, and of the existence of which they
had till then been ignorant ; it evidently, however, belonged
to the hydrographical system to which the soil owed its
astonishing fertility. The settlers made a hearty meal, for
their appetites were sharpened, and measures were then
taken that the night might be passed in safety. If the
engineer had had only to deal with wild beasts, jaguars,
or others, he would have simply lighted fires all round
his camp, which would have sufficed for its defence; but
the convicts would be rather attracted than terrified by
the flames, and it was, therefore, better to be surrounded by
the profound darkness of night.

The watch was, however, carefully organized. Two of
the settlers were to watch together, and every two hours it
was agreed that they should be relieved by their comrades:
And so, notwithstanding his wish to the contrary, Herbert
was exempted from guard, Pencroft and Gideon Spilett in
one party, the engineer and Neb in another, mounted
guard in turns over the camp.

The night, however, was but of few hours. The dark-
ness was due rather to the thickness of the foliage than to
the disappearance of the sun. The silence was scarcely
disturbed by the howling of jaguars and the chattering of
the monkeys, the latter appearing to particularly irritate

master Jup. The night passed without incident, and on
154 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

the next day, the 15th of February, the journey through
the forest, rather tedious than difficult, was continued.
This day they could not accomplish more than six miles,
for every moment they were obliged ‘to cut a road with
their hatchets.

Like true settlers, the colonists spared the largest and
most beautiful trees, which would besides have cost im-
mense labour to fell, and the small ones only were
sacrificed, but the result was that the road took a very
winding direction, and lengthened itself by numerous
aétours.

During the day Herbert discovered several new speci-
mens not before met with in the island, such as the tree-
fern, with its leaves spread out like the waters of a foun-
tain, locust-trees, on the long pods of which the onagas
browsed greedily, and which supplied a sweet pulp of ex-
cellent flavour: There, too, the colonists again found groups
of magnificent kauries, their cylindrical trunks, crowned
with a cone of verdure, rising to a height of two hundred
feet. These were the tree-kings of New Zealand, as cele-
brated as the cedars of Lebanon. ,

As to thé fauna, there was no addition to those species
already known to the hunters. Nevertheless, they saw,
though unable to get near them, a couple of those large
birds peculiar to Australia, a sort of cassowary, called emu,
five feet in height, and with brown plumage, which belong
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 155



to the tribe of waders. Top darted after them as fast as
his four legs could carry him, but the emus distanced him
with ease, so prodigious was their speed.

As to the traces left by the convicts, a few ‘more were
discovered. Some footprints found near an apparently
recently-extinguished fire were attentively examined by
the settlers. By measuring them one after the other,
according to their length and breadth, the marks of five
men’s feet were easily distinguished. The five convicts
had evidently camped on this spot ; but,—and this was the
object of so minute an examination,—a sixth foot-print
could not be discovered, which in that case would have
been that of Ayrton.

' “ Ayrton was not with them!” said Herbert.

“No,” answered Pencroft, “and if he was not with them,
it was because the wretches had already murdered him!
but then these rascals have not a den to which they may
be tracked like tigers !”

“No,” replied the reporter; “it is more probable that
they wander at random, and it is their interest to rove
about until the time when they will be masters of the
island!”

“The masters of the island!” exclaimed the sailor;
“the masters of the island!...” he repeated, and his
voice was choked, as if his throat was seized in an iron

grasp. Then in a calmer tone, “Do you know, Captain
156 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Harding,” said he, “what the ball is which I have rammed
into my gun?”

“No, Pencroft!”

“Tt is the ball that went through Herbert’s chest, and I
promise you it won’t miss its mark!”

But this just retaliation would not bring Ayrton back to
life, and from the examination of the footprints left in the
ground, they must, alas! conclude that all hopes of ever
seeing him again must be abandoned.

That evening they encamped fourteen miles from
Granite House, and Cyrus Harding calculated that they
could not be more than five miles from Reptile Point.

And, indeed, the next day the extremity of the peninsula
was reached, and the whole length of the forest had been
traversed ; but there was nothing to indicate the retreat in
which the convicts had taken refuge, nor that, no less

secret, which sheltered the mysterious unknown,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 157



CHAPTER XII.

EXPLORATION OF THE SERPENTINE PENINSULA—EN-
CAMPMENT AT THE MOUTH OF FALLS RIVER—
GIDEON SPILETT AND PENCROFT RECONNOITRE—
THEIR RETURN—FORWARD, ALL !—AN OPEN DOOR—
A LIGIITED WINDOW—BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON!

THE next day, the 18th of February, was devoted to the
exploration of all that wooded region forming the shore
from Reptile End to Falls River. The colonists were
able to search this forest thoroughly, for, as it was com-
prised between the two shores of the Serpentine Penin-
sula, it was only from three to four miles in breadth.
The trees, both by their height and their thick foliage, bore
witness to the vegetative power of the soil, more astonishing
here than in any other part of the island. One might have
said that a corner from the virgin forests of America or
Africa had been transported into this temperate zone.
This led them to conclude that the superb vegetation
138 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

found a heat in this soil, damp in its upper layer, but
warmed in the interior by volcanic fires, which could not
belong to a temperate climate. The most frequently-
occurring trees were kauries and eucalypti of ‘gigantic
dimensions.

But the colonists’ object was not simply to admire the
magnificent vegetation. They knew already that in this
respect Lincoln Island would have been worthy to take the
first rank in the Canary group, to which the first name
given was that of the Happy Isles. Now, alas! their island
no longer belonged to them entirely; others had taken
possession of it, miscreants polluted its shores, and they
must be destroyed to the last man.

No traces were found on the western coast, although
they were carefully sought for. No more footprints, no
more broken branches, no more deserted camps.

“This does not surprise me,” said Cyrus Harding to his
companions. “The convicts first landed on the island in
the neighbourhood of Flotsam Point, and they immediately
plunged into the Far West forests, after crossing Tadorn
Marsh. They then followed almost the same route that we
took on leaving Granite House. This explains the traces
we found in the wood. But, arriving on the shore, the
convicts saw at once that they would discover no suitable
retreat there, and it was then that, going northwards again,

they came upon the corral.”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 159



“Where they have perhaps returned,” said Pencroft.

“JT do not think so,” answered the engineer, “for they
would naturally suppose that our researches would be in
that direction. The corral is only a store-house to them,
and not a definitive encampment.”

“Tam of Cyrus’ opinion,” said the reporter, “and I think
that it is among the spurs of Mount Franklin that the
convicts will have made their lair.”

“Then, captain, straight to the corral!” cried Pencroft.
“We must finish them off, and till now we have only lost
time!”

“No, my friend,” replied the engineer; “you forget
that we have a reason for wishing to know if the forests of
the Far West do not contain some habitation. Our explo-
ration has a double object, Pencroft. If, on the one hand,
we have to chastise crime, we have, on the other, an act of
gratitude to perform.”

“ That was well said, captain,” replied the sailor; “but,
all the same, it is my opinion that we shall not find that
gentleman until he pleases.”

And truly Pencroft only expressed the opinion of all.
It was probable that the stranger’s retreat was not less
mysterious than was he himself.

That evening the cart halted at the mouth of Falls
River. The camp was organized as usual, and the cus-
tomary precautions were taken for the night. Herbert,
160 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

become again the healthy and vigorous lad he was before
his illness, derived great benefit from this life in the open
air, between the sea breezes and the vivifying air from the
forests. His place was no longer in the cart, but at the
head of the troop.

The next day, the roth of February, the colonists, leaving
the shore, where, beyond the mouth, basalts of every shape
were so picturesquely piled up, ascended the river by its
left bank. The road had been already partially cleared in
their former excursions made from the corral to the west
coast. The settlers were now about six miles from Mount
Franklin.

The engineer’s plan was this:—To minutely survey the
valley forming the bed of the river, and to cautiously
approach the neighbourhood of the corral; if the corral
was occupied, to seize it by force; if it was not, to intrench
themselves there and make it the centre of the operations
which had for their object the exploration of Mount
Franklin. .

This plan was unanimously approved by the colonists,
for they were impatient to regain entire possession .of their
island.

They made their way then along the narrow valley sepa-
rating two of the largest spurs of Mount Franklin. The
trees, crowded on the river’s bank, became rare on the
upper slopes of the mountain. The ground was hilly and
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 161



rough, very suitable for ambushes, and over which they did
not venture without extreme precaution. Top and Jup
skirmished on the flanks, springing right and left through
the thick brushwood, and emulating each other in intel-
ligence and activity. But nothing showed that the banks
of the stream had been recently frequented—nothing
announced either the presence or the proximity of the con-
victs. Towards five in the evening the cart stopped nearly
600 feet from the palisade. A semicircular screen of trees
still hid it.

It was necessary to reconnoitre the corral, in order to
ascertain if it was occupied. To go there openly, in
broad daylight, when the convicts were probably in
ambush, would be to expose themselves, as poor Herbert
had done, to the fire-arms of the ruffians. It was better,
then, to wait until night came on.

However, Gideon Spilett wished without further delay
to reconnoitre the approaches to the corral, and Pencroft,
who was quite out of patience, volunteered to accompany
him.

“No, my friends,” said the engineer, “ wait till night. I
will not allow one of you to expose himself in open day.”

“But, captain—” answered the sailor, little disposed to
obey.

“T beg you, Pencroft,” said the engineer.

“Very well!” replied the sailor, who vented his anger in

M
102 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

another way, by bestowing on the convicts the worst names
in his maritime vocabulary.

The colonists remained, therefore, near the cart, and care-
fully watched the neighbouring parts of the forest.

Three hours passed thus. The wind had fallen, and ab
solute silence reigned under the great trees. The snapping
of the smallest twig, a footstep on the dry leaves, the
gliding of a body amongst the grass, would have been heard
without difficulty. All was quiet. Besides, Top, lying on
the grass, his head stretched out on his paws, gave no sign
of uneasiness. At eight o’clock the day appeared far
enough advanced for the reconnoissance to be made under
favourable conditions. Gideon Spilett declared himself
ready to set out accompanied by Pencroft. Cyrus Harding
consented. Top and Jup were to remain with the engineer,
Herbert, and Neb, for a bark or a cry at a wrong moment
would give the alarm.

“Do not be imprudent,” said Harding to the reporter
and Pencroft; “you have not to gain possession of the
corral, but only to find out whether it is occupied or
not.” ‘ , ,

“All right,” answered Pencroft.

And the two departed.

Under the trees, thanks to the thickness of their foliage,
the obscurity rendered any object invisible beyond a radius
of, from thirty to forty feet. The reporter and Pencroft,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. , 163



halting at any suspicious sound, advanced with great
caution.

They walked a little distance apart from each other so as
to offer a less mark for a shot. And, to tell the truth, they
expected every moment to hear a report. Five minutes
after leaving the cart, Gideon Spilett and Pencroft arrived
at the edge of the wood before the clearing beyond which
rose the palisade.

They stopped. A few straggling beams still fell on the
field clear of trees. Thirty feet distant was the gate of the
corral, which appeared to be closed. This thirty feet, which
it was necessary to cross from the border of the wood to the
palisade, constituted the dangerous zone, to coin a term: in
fact, one or more bullets fired from behind the palisade
might knock over any one who ventured on to this zone.
Gideon Spilett and the sailor were not men to draw back,
but they knew that any imprudence on their part, of which
they would be the first victims, would fall afterwards on
their companions. If they themselves were killed, what
would become of Harding, Neb, and Herbert ?

But Pencroft, excited at feeling himself so near the corral
where he supposed the convicts had taken refuge, was about
to press forward, when the reporter held him back with a
grasp of iron.

“In a few minutes it will be quite dark,” whispered
Spilett in the sailor’s ear ; “then will be the time to act.”

M 2
164 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Pencroft, convulsively clasping the butt-end of. his gun,
restrained his eagerness, and waited, swearing to himself.

Soon the last of the twilight faded away. Darkness,
which seemed as if it issued from the dense forest, covered
the clearing. Mount Franklin rose like an enormous screen
before the western horizon, and night spread rapidly over
all, as it does in regions of low latitudes. Now was the
time.

The reporter .and Pencroft, since posting themselves on
the edge of the wood, had not once lost sight of the palisade.
The corral appeared to be absolutely deserted. The top
of the palisade formed a line, a little darker than the sur-
rounding: shadow, and nothing disturbed its distinctness.
Nevertheless, if the convicts were there, they must have
posted one of their number to guard against any surprise.

Spilett ‘grasped his companion’s hand, and both crept
towards the corral, their guns ready to fire.

They reached the gate without the darkness being illu-
minated by a single ray of light.

Pencroft tried to push open the gate, which, as the re-
porter and he had supposed, was closed. However, the
sailor was able to ascertain that the outer bars had not bee
put up. It might, then, be concluded that the convicts
were there in the corral, and that very probably they had
fastened the gate in such.a way that it could not be forced
open.


































































































































SPILETT AND PENCROFT APPROACH THE CORRAL,
+ Page 164.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 165



Gideon Spilett and Pencroft listened.

Not a sound could be heard inside the palisade. The
musmons and the goats, sleeping no doubt in their huts, in
no way disturbed the calm of night.

The reporter and the sailor hearing nothing, asked them-
selves whether they had not better scale the palisades and
penetrate into the corral. This would have been contrary
to Cyrus Harding’s instructions.

It is true that the enterprise might succeed, but it might
also fail. Now, if the convicts were suspecting nothing, if
they knew nothing of the expedition against them, if, lastly,
there now existed a chance of surprising them, ought this
chance to be lost by inconsiderately attempting to cross
the palisade ?

This was not the reporter’s opinion. He thought it
better to wait until all the settlers were collected together
before attempting to penetrate into the corral. One thing
was certain, that it was possible to reach the palisade with-
out being seen, and also that it did not appear ‘to be
guarded. This point settled, there was nothing to be done
but to return to the cart, where they would consult.

Pencroft probably agreed with ‘this decision, for he
followed the reporter without making any objection when
the latter turned back to the wood.

In a few minutes the engineer was made acquainted with
the state of affairs.
166 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



“Well,” said he, after a little thought, “I now have
reason to believe that the convicts are not in the corral.”

“We shall soon know,” said Pencroft, “when we have
scaled the palisade.”

“To the corral, my friends!” said Cyrus Harding.

““ Shall we leave the cart inthe wood ?” asked Neb.

“No,” replied the engineer, “it is our waggon of ammu-
nition and provisions, and, if necessary, it would serve as
an intrenchment.”

“Forward, then!” said Gideon Spilett.

The cart emerged from the wood and began to roll noise-
lessly towards the palisade. The darkness was now
profound, the silence as complete as when Pencroft and
the reporter crept over the ground. The thick grass com-
pletely muffled their footsteps.

The colonists held themselves ready to fire. Jup, at
Pencroft’s orders, kept behind. Neb led Top in a leash,
to prevent him from bounding forward.

The clearing soon came in sight. It was deserted.
Without hesitating, the little band moved towards the
palisade. Ina short space of time the dangerous zone
was passed. Not ashot had been fired. When the cart
reached the palisade, it stopped. Neb remained at the
onagas’ heads to hold them. The engineer, the reporter,
Herbert, and Pencroft, proceeded to the door, in order to
ascertain if it was barricaded inside.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 167

It was open!

“What do you say now?” asked the engineer, turning
to the sailor and Spilett.

Both were stupefied.

“T can swear,” said Pencroft, “that this gate was shut
just now!”

The colonists now hesitated. Were the convicts in
the corral when Pencroft and the reporter made their
reconnoissance? it could not be doubted, as the gate
then closed could only have been opened by them.
Were they still there, or had one of their number just
gone out ?

All these questions presented themselves simultaneously
to the minds of the colonists, but how could they be
answered ?

At that moment, Herbert, who had advanced a few steps
into the enclosure, drew back hurriedly, and seized Hard-
ing’s hand.

“What's the matter?” asked the engineer.

“A light!”

“In the house?”

“Yes!”

All five advanced and indeed, through the window
fronting them, they saw glimmering a feeble light. Cyrus
Harding made ‘up his mind rapidly. “It is our only
chance,” said he to his companions, “ of finding the convicts
168 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

collected in this house, suspecting nothing! They are in
our power! Forward!” The colonists crossed through the
enclosure, holding their guns ready in their hands. The
cart had been left outside under the charge of Jup and Top,
who had been prudently tied to it.

Cyrus Harding, Pencroft, and Gideon Spilett on one
side, Herbert and Neb on the other, going along by
the palisade, surveyed the absolutely dark and deserted
corral.

In a few moments they were near the closed door of the
house.

Harding signed to his ‘companions not to stir, and ap-
proached the window, then feebly lighted by the inner
light.

He gazed into the apartment.

On the table burned a lantern. Near the table was the
bed formerly used by Ayrton.

On the bed lay the body of a man.

Suddenly Cyrus Harding drew back, and in a hoarse
voice,—

“Ayrton!” he exclaimed.

Immediately the door was forced rather than opened, and
the colonists rushed into the room.

Ayrton appeared to pe asleep. His countenance showed
that he had long and cruelly suffered. On his wrists and
ankles could be seen great bruises.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 169

Harding bent over him.

1”

“Ayrton!” cried the engineer, seizing the arm of the
man whom he had just found again under such unexpected
circumstances.

At this exclamation Ayrton opened his eyes, and, gazing
at Harding, then at the others,—

“You!” he cried, “you ?”

“ Ayrton! Ayrton!” repeated Harding,

“Where am I?”

“In the house in the corral!”

“ Alone?”

“Yes!”

“But they will come back!” cried Ayrton. “Defend
yourselves! defend yourselves !”

And he fell back exhausted.

“ Spilett,” exclaimed the engineer, “we may be attacked
at any moment. Bring the cart into the corral. Then
barricade the door, and all come back here.”

Pencroft, Neb, and the reporter hastened to execute the
engineer’s erders. There was not a moment to be lost.
Perhaps even now the cart was in the hands of the con-
victs ! ”

In a moment the reporter and his two companions had
crossed the corral and reached the gate of the palisade
behind which Top was heard growling sullenly.

The engineer, leaving Ayrton for an instant, came out
170 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



ready to fire. Herbert was at his side. Both surveyed
the crest of the spur overlooking the corral. Ifthe convicts
were lying in ambush there, they might knock the settlers
over one after the other.

At that moment the moon appeared in the east, above
the black curtain of the forest, and a white sheet of light
spread over the interior of the enclosure. The corral,
with its clumps of trees, the little stream which watered
it, and its wide carpet of grass, was suddenly illuminated.
From the side of the mountain, the house and a part of
the palisade stood out white in the moonlight. On the
opposite side towards the door, the enclosure remained
dark.

A black mass soon appeared. This was the cart enter-
ing the circle of light, and Cyrus Harding could hear the
noise made by the door, as his companions shut it and
fastened the interior bars.

But, at that moment, Top, breaking loose, began to bark
furiously and rush to the back of the corral, to the right of
the house. :

“Be ready to fire, my friends !.” cried Harding.

The colonists raised their pieces and waited the moment
to fire.

Top still barked, and Jup, running towards the dog,
uttered shrill cries.

The colonists followed him, and reached the borders of


THE CORPSES STRETCHED ON THE BANK. .
7 Page 171.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 171

the little stream, shaded by large trees. And there, in
the bright moonlight, what did they see? Five corpses,
stretched on the bank!

They were those of the convicts who, four months pre-
viously, had landed on Lincoln Island!
172 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,



CHAPTER XIII.

AYRTON’S STORY—PLANS OF HIS FORMER ACCOMPLICES—
THEIR INSTALLATION IN THE CORRAL—THE AVENG-
ING JUSTICE OF LINCOLN ISLAND—THE “ BONAD-
VENTURE”—RESEARCHES AROUND MOUNT FRANKLIN
—THE UPPER VALLEYS—A SUBTERRANEAN VOLCANO
—PENCROFT’S OPINION—AT THE BOTTOM OF THE
CRATER—RETURN.

TIlow had it happened? Who had killed the convicts?
Was it Ayrton? No, fora moment before he was dread-
ing their return.

But Ayrton was now in a profound stupor, from which it
was no longer possible to rouse him. After uttering those
few words he had again become ungonscious, and had
fallen back motionless on the bed.

The colonists, a prey to a thousand confused thoughts,
under the influence of violent excitement, waited all night,

without leaving Ayrton’s house, or returning to the spot
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 17

NI
Ge



where lay the bodies of the convicts. It was very probable
that Ayrton would not be able to throw any light on the
circumstances under which the bodies had been found,
since he himself was not aware that he was in the corral.
But at any rate he would be in a position to give an account
of what had taken place before this terrible execution. The
next day Ayrton awoke from his torpor, and his com-
panions cordially manifested all the joy they felt, on seeing
him again, almost safe and sound, after a hundred and four
days’ separation.

Ayrton then in a few words recounted what had hap-
pened, or at least, as much as he knew.

The day after his arrival at the corral, on the roth of last
November, at nightfall, he was surprised by the convicts,
who had scaled the palisade. They bound and gagged
him; then he was led to a dark cavern, at the foot of
Mount Franklin, where the convicts had taken refuge.

His death had been decided upon, and the next day the
convicts were about to kill him, when one of them recog-
nized him and called him by the name which he bore in
Australia. The wretches had no scruples as to murdering
Ayrton! They spared Ben Joyce!

But from that moment Ayrton was exposed to the impor-
tunities of his former accomplices. They wished him to
join them again, and relied upon his aid to enable them to

gain possession of Granite House, to penetrate into that
174 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



hitherto inaccessible dwelling, and to become masters of
the island, after murdering the colonists !

Ayrton remained firm. The ‘once convict, now repentant
and pardoned, would rather die than betray his companions.
Ayrton—bound, gagged, and closely watched—lived in this
cave for four months,

Nevertheless the convicts had discovered the corral a
short time after their arrival in the island, and since then
they had subsisted on Ayrton’s stores, but did not live at
the corral.

On the 11th of November, two of the villains, sur-
prised by the colonists’ arrival, fired at Herbert, and one
of them returned, boasting of having killed one of the inha-
bitants of the island; but he returned alone. His com-
panion, as is known, fell by Cyrus Harding’s dagger.

Ayrton’s anxiety and despair may be imagined when he
learnt the news of Herbert’s death. The settlers were now
only four, and, as it seemed, at the mercy of the convicts.
After this event, and during all the time that the colonists,
detained by Herbert’s illness, remained in the corral, the
pirates did not leave their cavern, and even after they had
pillaged the plateau of Prospect Heights, they did not
think it prudent to abandon it.

The ill-treatment inflicted on Ayrton was now redoubled.
His hands and feet still bore the bloody marks of the
cords which bound him day and night. Every moment








*“DEAD?” CRIED AYRTON,

Page 175.
‘HE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 175



he expected to be put to death, nor did it appear possible
that he could escape.

Matters remained thus until the third week of February.
The convicts, still watching for a favourable opportunity,
rarely quitted their retreat, and only made a few hunting
excursions, either to the interior of the island, or the south
coast.

Ayrton had no further news of his friends, and re-
linquished all hope of ever seeing them again. At last,
the unfortunate man, weakened by ill-treatment, fell into
a prostration so profound that sight and hearing failed
him. From that moment, that is to say, since the last
two days, he could give no information whatever of what
had occurred. ,

“But, Captain Harding,” he added, “since I was im-
prisoned in that cavern, how is it that I find myself in the
corral ?”

“ How is it that the convicts are lying yonder dead, in
ne middle of the enclosure?” answered the engineer.

“Dead!” cried Ayrton, half rising from his bed, not-
withstanding his weakness.

IIis companions supported him. He wished to get up,
and with their assistance he did so. They then proceeded
together towards the little stream.

It was now broad daylight.

There, on the bank, in the position in which they had
176 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

been stricken by death in its most instantaneous form, lay
the corpses of the five convicts!

Ayrton was astounded. Harding and his companions
looked at him without uttering a word. Ona sign from
the engineer, Neb and Pencroft examined the bodies,
already stiffened by the cold.

They bore no apparent trace of any wound.

Only, after carefully examining them, Pencroft found
on the forehead of one, on the chest of another, on the
back of this one, on the shoulder of that, a little red spot,
a sort of scarcely visible bruise, the cause of which it was
impossible to conjecture.

“It is there that they have been struck!” said Cyrus
Harding.

“But with what weapon?” cried the reporter.

“A weapon, lightning-like in its effects, and of which
we have not the secret !”

“And who has struck the blow?” asked Pencroft.

“The avenging power of the island,” replied Harding,
“he who brought you here, Ayrton, whose influence has
once more manifested itself, who does for us all that which
we cannot do for ourselves, and who, his will accomplished,
conceals himself from us.

“Let us make search for him, then!” exclaimed Pen-
croft.

“Yes, we will search for him,” answered Harding; “ but
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 177



we shall not discover this powerful being who performs
such wonders, until he pleases to call us to him!”

This invisible protection, which rendered their own
action unavailing, both irritated and piqued the engineer.
The relative inferiority which it proved was of a nature to
wound a haughty spirit. A generosity evinced in such a
manner as to elude all tokens of gratitude, implied a sort
of disdain for those on whom the obligation was conferred,
which in Cyrus Harding’s eyes marred, in some degrec,
the worth of the benefit.

“Let us search,” he resumed, “and God grant that we
may some day be permitted to prove to this haughty
protector that he has not to deal with ungrateful people!
What would I not give could we repay him, by rendering
him in our turn, although at the price of our lives, some
signal service!”

From this day, the thoughts of the inhabitants of
Lincoln Island were solely occupied with the intended
search. Everything incited them to discover the answer to
this enigma, an answer which could only be the name of
a man endowed with a truly inexplicable, and in some
degree superhuman power.

In a few minutes, the settlers re-entered the house,
where their influence soon restored to Ayrton his moral
and physical energy.

Neb and Pencroft carried the corpses of the convicts

N
178 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. |

into the forest, some distance from the corral, and buried
them deep in the ground.

Ayrton was then made acquainted with the facts which
had occurred during his seclusion. He learnt Herbert's
adventures, and through what various trials the colonists
had passed. As to the settlers, they had despaired of ever
seeing Ayrton again, and had been convinced that the
convicts had ruthlessly murdered him. .

“And now,’ said Cyrus Harding, as he ended his
recital, “a duty remains for us to perform. MHalf-of our
task is accomplished, but although the convicts are no
longer to be feared, it is not owing to ourselves that we are
once more masters of the island.”

“Well!” answered Gideon Spilett, “let us search all
this labyrinth of the spurs of Mount Franklin.” We will
not leave a hollow, not a hole unexplored! Ah! if ever
a reporter found himself face to face witha mystery, it isT
who now speak to you, my friends!”

“ And we will not return to Granite House until we have
found our benefactor,” said Herbert.

“Yes,” said the engineer, “we will do all that it is
humanly possible to do, but I repeat we shall not find
him until he himself permits us.”

“ Shall we stay at the corral?” asked Pencroft.

“We shall stay here,” answered Harding. “Provisions
are abundant, and we are here in the very centre of the
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 179



circle we have to explore. Besides, if necessary, the cart
will take us rapidly to Granite House.”

“Good!” answered the sailor. “Only I have a remark to
make.”

“What is it?”

“Here is the fine season getting on, and we must not
forget that we have a voyage to make.”

“A voyage?” said Gideon Spilett.

“Ves, to Tabor Island,” answered Pencroft. “It is ne-
cessary to carry a notice there to point out the position of
our island and say that Ayrton is here in case the Scotch
yacht should come to take him off. Who knows if it
is not already too late?”

“But, Pencroft,” asked Ayrton, “how do you intend to
make this voyage ?”

“Tn the ‘ Bonadventure.’”

“The ‘Bonadventure!’” exclaimed Ayrton. “She no
longer exists.”

“My ‘Bonadventure’ exists no longer!” shouted Pen-
croft, bounding from his seat.

“No,” answered Ayrton. “The convicts discovered her
in her little harbour only eight days ago, they put to sea in
her, and—”

“And?” said Pencroft, his heart beating. .

“And not haying Bob Harvey to steer her, they ran on
the rocks, and the vessel went to pieces.”

N 2
180 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



“Oh, the villains, the cut-throats, the infamous scoun-
drels!” exclaimed Pencroft.

“ Pencroft,” said Herbert, taking the sailor’s hand, “we
will build another ‘Bonadventure ’—a larger one. We have
all the iron-work—all the rigging of the brig at our dis-
posal.”

“But do you know,” returned Pencroft, “that it will take
at least five or six months to build a vessel of from thirty
to forty tons?”

“We can take our time,” said the reporter,” and we must
give up the voyage to Tabor Island for this year.”

“Oh, my ‘Bonadventure!’ my poor ‘Bonadventure!’”
cried Pencroft, almost broken-hearted at the destruction of
the vessel of which he was so proud,

The loss of the “ Bonadventure” was certainly a thing to
be lamented by the colonists, and it was agreed that this
loss should be repaired as soon as possible. This settled,
they now occupied themselves with bringing their researches
to bear on the most secret parts of the island.

The exploration was commenced at daybreak on the
1oth of February, and lasted an entire week. The base of
the mountain, with its spurs and their numberless ramifica-
tions, formed a labyrinth of valleys and elevations. It was
evident that there, in the depths of these narrow gorges,
perhaps even in the interior of Mount Franklin itself, was
the proper place to pursue their researches. No part of the


THE CAVERN IN THE MOUNTAIN,

Page 181.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 181
island could have been more suitable to conceal a dwelling
whose occupant wished to remain unknown. But so irre-
gular was the formation of the valleys that Cyrus Harding
was obliged to conduct the exploration in a strictly metho-
dical manner.

The colonists first visited the valley opening to the south
of the volcano, and which first received the waters of Falls
River. There Ayrton showed them the cavern where the
convicts had taken refuge, and in which he had been im-
prisoned until his removal to the corral. This cavern was
just as Ayrton had left it. They found there a considerable
quantity of ammunition and provisions, conveyed thither by
the convicts in order to form a reserve.

The whole of the valley bordering on the cave, shaded by
fir and other trees, was thoroughly explored, and on turn-
ing the point of the south-western spur, the colonists en-
tered a narrower gorge similar to the picturesque columns
of basalt on the coast. Here the trees were fewer.. Stones
took the place of grass. Goats and musmons gambolled
among the rocks. Here began the barren part of the
island. It could already be seen that, of the numerous
valleys branching off at the base of Mount Franklin, three
only were wooded and rich in pasturage like that of
the corral, which bordered on the west on the Falls River
valley, and on the east on the Red Creek valley. These
two streams, which lower down became rivers by the absorp-
182. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



tion of several tributaries, were formed by all the springs of
the mountain and thus caused the fertility of its southern
part. As to the Mercy, it was more directly fed from ample
springs concealed under the cover of Jacamar Wood, and it
was by springs of this nature, spreading in a thousand
streamlets, that the soil of the Serpentine Peninsula was
watered.

Now, of these three well-watered valleys, either might
have served as a retreat to some solitary who would have
found there everything necessary for life. But the settlers
had already explored them, and in no part had they dis-
covered the presence of man,

Was it then in the depths of those barren gorges, in the
midst of the piles of rock, in the rugged northern ravines,
among the streams of lava, that this dwelling and its occu-
pant would be found ?

The northern part of Mount Franklin was at its base
composed solely of two valleys, wide, not very deep, with-
out any appearance of vegetation, strewn with masses of
rock, paved with lava, and varied with great blocks of
mineral. This region required a long and careful explora-
tion. It contained a thousand gavities, comfortless no
doubt, but perfectly concealed and difficult of access.

The colonists even visited dark tunnels, dating from the
volcanic period, still black from the passage of the fire,
and penetrated into the depths of the mountain. They






SEARCEING FOR THE GENIUS OF THE ISLAND.

Page 183.
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 183
traversed these sombre galleries, waving lighted torches ;
they examined the smallest excavations ; they sounded the
shallowest depths, but all was dark and silent. It did not
appear that the foot of man had ever before trodden these
ancient passages, or that his arm had ever displaced one
of these blocks, which remained as the volcano had cast
them up above the waters, at the time of the submersion
of the island.

However, although these passages appeared to be
absolutely deserted, and the obscurity was complete, Cyrus
Harding was obliged to confess that absolute silence did
not reign there.

On arriving at the end of one of these gloomy caverns,
extending several hundred feet into the interior of ‘the
mountain, he was surprised to hear a deep rumbling
noise, increased in intensity by the sonorousness of. the
rocks.

Gideon Spillett, who accompanied him, also heard these
distant mutterings, which indicated a revivification of the
subterranean fires. Several times both listened, and they
agreed that some chemical process was taking place in the
bowels of the earth.

“Then the volcano is not totally extinct?” said the
reporter.

“It is possible that since our exploration of the crater,”

replied Cyrus Harding, “some change has occurred.
184 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



Any volcano, although considered extinct, may evidently
again burst forth.”

“But if an eruption of Mount Franklin occurred,” asked
Spilett, “would there not be some danger to Lincoln
Island?”

“T donot think so,” answered the reporter. “The crater,
that is to say, the safety-valve, exists, and the overflow of
smoke and lava, would escape, as it did formerly, by its
customary outlet.”

“Unless the lava opened a new way for itself towards
the fertile parts of the island!”

“And why, my dear Spilett,” answered Cyrus Harding,
“should it not follow the road naturally traced out for it?”

“Well, volcanoes are capricious,” returned the reporter.

“Notice,” answered the engineer, “that the inclination
of Mount Franklin favours the flow of water towards the
valleys which we are exploring just now. To turn aside
this flow, an earthquake would be necessary to change the
mountain’s centre of gravity.”

“But an earthquake is always to be feared at these
times,” observed Gideon Spilett.

“ Always,” replied the engineer, “‘especially when the
subterranean forces begin to awake, as they risk meeting
with some obstruction, after a long rest. Thus, my dear
Spilett, an eruption would be a serious thing for us, and it
would be better that the volcano should not have the
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 185
slightest desire to wake up. But we could not prevent it,
could we? At any rate, even if it should occur, I do not
think Prospect Heights would be seriously threatened.
Between them and the mountain, the ground is consider-
ably depressed, and if the lava should ever take a course
towards the lake, it would be cast on the downs and the
neighbouring parts of Shark Gulf”

“We have not yet seen any smoke at the top of the
mountain, to indicate an approaching eruption,” said
Gideon Spilett.

“No,” answered Harding, “not a vapour escapes from
the crater, for it was only yesterday that I attentively
surveyed the summit. But it is probable that at the
lower part of the chimney, time may have accumulated
rocks, cinders, hardened lava, and that this valve of which
I spoke, may at any time become overcharged. But at
the first serious effort, every obstacle will disappear, and
you may be certain, my dear Spilett, that neither the
island, which is the boiler, nor the volcano, which is‘the
chimney, will burst under the pressure of gas. Neverthe-
less, I repeat, it would be better that there should not
be an eruption.”

“And yet we are not mistaken,” remarked the reporter.
“Mutterings can be distinctly heard in the very bowels of
the volcano!”

“You are right,’ said the engineer, again listening
oD % > ’ o 2
186 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



attentively. ‘There can be no doubt of it. A commotion
is going on there, of which we can neither estimate the
importance nor the ultimate result.”

Cyrus Harding and Spilett, on coming out, rejoined
their companions, to whom they made known the state of
affairs.”

“Very well!” cried Pencroft, “the volcano wants to
play his pranks! Let him try, if he likes! He will find
his master!”

“Who?” asked Neb.

“Our good genius, Neb, our good genius, who will shut
his mouth for him, if he so much as pretends to open it!”

As may be seen, the sailor’s confidence in the tutelary
deity of his island, was absolute, and, certainly, the occult
power, manifested until now in so many inexplicable ways,
appeared to be unlimited; but also it knew how to escape
the colonists’ most minute researches, for, in spite of all
their efforts, in spite of the more than zeal,—the obstinacy,—
with which they carried on their exploration, the retreat of
the mysterious being could not be discovered.

From the 19th to the 25th of February the circle of
investigation was extended to all the northern region of
Lincoln Island, whose most secret nooks were explored.
The colonists even went the length of tapping every rock.
The search was extended to the extreme verge of the
mountain. It was explored thus to the very summit of the












































































































































ih q
WT
ie



| THEY VISITED THE GULF,
+ Page 187.
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 187



truncated cone terminating the first row of rocks, then to
the upper ridge of the enormous hat, at the bottom of
which opened the crater.

They did more; they visited the gulf, now extinct, but
in whose depths the rumbling could be distinctly heard.
However, no sign of smoke or vapour, no heating of the
rock, indicated an approaching eruption. But neither there,
nor in any other part of Mount Franklin, did the colonists
find any traces of him of whom they were in search.

Their investigations were then directed to the downs.
They carefully examined the high lava-cliffs of Shark Gulf
from the base to the crest, although it was extremely
difficult to reach even the level of the gulf. No one!—
nothing ! :

In short, in these two words was summed up so much
fatigue uselessly expended, so much energy producing no
result, that somewhat of anger mingled with the discom-
fiture of Cyrus Harding and his companions.

‘It was now time to think of returning, for these researches
could not be prolonged indefinitely. The colonists were
certainly right in believing that the mysterious being did
not reside on the surface of the island, and the wildest
fancies haunted their excited imaginations. Pencroft and
Neb, particularly, were not contented with the mystery, but
allowed their imaginations to wander into the domain of

the supernatural.
188 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

On the 25th of February the colonists re-entered Granite
House, and by means of the double cord, carried by an
arrow to the threshold of the door, they re-established
communication between their habitation and the ground.

A month later they commemorated, on the 25th of
March, the third anniversary of their arrival on Lincoin
Island.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 189
—

CHAPTER XIV.

THREE YEARS HAVE PASSED—THE NEW VESSEL—WHAT
IS AGREED ON—PROSPERITY OF THE COLONY—THE
DOCKYARD—COLD OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
—WASHING LINEN—MOUNT FRANKLIN.

THREE years had passed away since the escape of the
prisoners from Richmond, and how often during those three
years had they spoken of their country, always present in
their thoughts!

They had no doubt that the civil war was at an end, and
to them it appeared impossible that the just cause of the
North had not triumphed. But what had been the inci-
dents of this terrible war? How much blood had it not
cost? How many of their friends must have fallen in the
struggle? They often spoke of these things, without as yet
being able to foresee the day when they would be permitted
once more to see their country. To return thither, were it
but for a few days, to renew the social link with the
190 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



inhabited world, to establish a communication between
their native land and their island, then to pass the longest,
perhaps the best, portion of their existence in this colony,
founded by them, and which would then be dependent on
their country, was this a dream impossible to realize?

There were only two ways of accomplishing it—either a
ship must appear off Lincoln Island, or the colonists must
themselves build a vessel strong enough to sail to the
nearest land.

* Unless,” said Pencroft, “our good genius himself pro-
vides us with the means of returning to our country.”

And, really, had any one told Pencroft and Neb that a
ship of 300 tons was waiting for them in Shark Gulf or at
Port Balloon, they would not even have made a gesture of
surprise. In their state of mind nothing appeared im-
probable.

But Cyrus Harding, less confident, advised them to con-
fine themselves to fact, and more especially so with regard
to the building of a vessel—a really urgent work, since it
was for the purpose of depositing, as soon as possible,
at Tabor Island a document indicating Ayrton’s new
residence. '

As the “Bonadventure” no longer existed, six months
at least would be required for the construction of a new
vessel. Now winter was approaching, and the voyage could
not be made before the following spring,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. IQI





“We have time to get everything ready for the fine
season,” remarked the engineer, who was consulting’ with
Pencroft about these matters. “I think, therefore, my
friend, that since we have to rebuild our vessel it will be
best to give her larger dimensions. The arrival of the
Scotch yacht at Tabor Island is very uncertain. It may
even be that, having arrived several months ago, she has
again sailed after having vainly searched for some trace
of Ayrton. Will it not then be best to build a ship
which, if necessary, could take us either to the Poly-
nesian Archipelago or to New Zealand? What do you
think?”

“T think, Captain,” answered the sailor; “I think that
you are as capable of building a large vessel as a small one.
Neither the wood nor the tools ate wanting. It is only a
question of time.”

“And how many months would be required to build a
vessel of from 250 to 300 tons?” asked Harding.

“ Seven or eight months at least,” replied Pencroft. “ But
it must not be forgotten that winter is drawing near, and
that in severe frost wood is difficult to work. We must
calculate on several weeks’ delay, and if our vessel is
ready by next November we may think ourselves very
lucky.”

“Well,” replied Cyrus Harding, “that will be exactly
the most favourable time for undertaking a voyage of any
192 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

importance, either to Tabor Island or to a more distant
land,” :

“So it will, captain,” answered the sailor. “Make out
your plans then; the workmen are ready, and I imagine that
Ayrton can lend us a good helping hand.”

The colonists, having been consulted, approved the
engineer's plan, and it was, indeed, the best thing to be
done. It is true that the construction of a ship of from
two to three hundred tons would be great labour, but the
colonists had confidence in themselves, justified by their
previous success.

Cyrus Harding then busied himself in drawing the plan
of the vessel and making the model. During this time his
companions employed themselves in felling and carting
trees to furnish the ribs, timbers, and planks. The forest
of the Far West supplied the best oaks and elms. They
took advantage of the opening already made on their last
excursion to form a practicable road, which they named the
Far West Road, and the trees were carried to the Chimneys,
where the dockyard was established. As to the road in
question, the choice of trees had rendered its direction
somewhat capricious, but that at the same time facilitated
the access to a large part of the Serpentine Peninsula.

It was important that the trees should be quickly felled
and cut up, for they could not be used while yet green, and

some time was necessary to allow them to get seasoned,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 193

The carpenters, therefore, worked vigorously. during the
month of April, which was troubled only by a few equinoctial
gales of some violence. Master Jup aided them dexterously,
either by climbing to the top of a tree to fasten the ropes
or by lending his stout shoulders to carry the lopped
trunks.

All this timber was piled up under a large shed, built
near the Chimneys, and there awaited the time for use.

The month of April was tolerably fine, as October
often is in the northern zone. At the same time other
work was actively continued, and soon all trace of devasta-
tion disappeared from the plateau of Prospect Heights.
The mill was rebuilt, and new buildings rose in the poultry-
yard. It had appeared necessary to enlarge their dimen-
sions, for the feathered population had increased consider-
ably. The stable now contained five onagas, four of which
were well broken, and allowed themselves to be either
driven or ridden, and a little colt. The colony now pos-
sessed a plough, to which the onagas were yoked like regular
Yorkshire or Kentucky oxen. The colonists divided their
work, and their arms never tired. Then who could have
enjoyed better health than these workers, and what good
humour enlivened the evenings in Granite House as they
formed a thousand plans for the future!

As a matter of course Ayrton shared the common lot in
evcry respect, and there was no longer any talk of his going

Oo
194 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



to live at the corral. Nevertheless he was still sad and re-
served, and joined more in the work than in the pleasures
of his companions. But he was a valuable workman
at need—strong, skilful, ingenious, intelligent. He was
esteemed and loved by all, and he could not be ignorant
of it.

In the meanwhile the corral was not abandoned.
Every other day one of the settlers, driving the cart or
mounted on an onaga, went to look after the flock of mus-
mons and goats and bring back the supply of milk required
by Neb. These excursions at the same time afforded
opportunities for hunting. Therefore Herbert and Gideon
Spilett, with Top in front, traversed more often than their
companions the road to the corral, and with the capital
guns which they carried, capybaras, agouties, kangaroos,
and wild pigs for large game, ducks, tetras, grouse, jacamars,
and snipe for small, were never wanting in the house. The
produce of the warren, of the oyster-bed, several turtles
which were taken, excellent salmon which came up the
Mercy, vegetables from the plateau, wild fruit from the
forest, were riches upon riches, and Neb, the head cook,
could scarcely by himself store them away.

The telegraphic wire between the corral and Granite
House had of course been repaired, and it was worked
whenever one or other of the settlers was at the corral ‘and
found it necessary to spend the night there. Besides, the
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 195
island was safe now and no attacks were to be feared, at
any rate from men.

However, that which had happened might happen again.
A descent of pirates, or even of escaped convicts, was
always to be feared. It was possible that companions or
accomplices of Bob Harvey had been in the secret of his
plans, and might be tempted to imitate him. The colonists,
therefore, were careful to observe the sea around the island,
and every day their telescope swept the horizon enclosed
by the Union and Washington Bays. When they went to
the corral they examined the sea to the west with no less
attention, and by climbing the spur their gaze extended
over a large section of the western horizon.

Nothing suspicious was discerned, but still it was neces-
sary for them to be on their guard.

The engineer one evening imparted to his friends a plan
which he had conceived for fortifying the corral. It appeared
prudent to him to heighten the palisade and to flank it with
a sort of block-house, which, if necessary, the settlers could
hold against the enemy. Granite House might, by its very
position, be considered impregnable; therefore the corral
with its buildings, its stores, and the animals it contained,
would always be the object of pirates, whoever they were,
who might land on the island, and should the colonists
be obliged to shut themselves up there they ought also
to be able to defend themselves without any disadvantage.

O 2
196 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.





This was a project which might be left for consideration,
and they were, besides, obliged to put off its execution
until the next spring.

About the 15th of May the keel of the new vessel lay
along the dockyard, and soon the stem and stern-post,
mortised at each of its extremities, rose almost perpen-
dicularly. The keel, of good oak, measured 110 feet in
length, this allowing a width of five-and-twenty feet to the
midship beam. But this was all the carpenters could do
before the arrival of the frosts and bad weather. During
the following week they fixed the first of the stern timbers,
but were then obliged to suspend work.

During the last days of the month the weather was
extremely bad. The wind blew from the east, sometimes
with the violence of a tempest. The engineer was some-
what uneasy on account of the dockyard sheds—which
besides, he could not have established in any other place
near to Granite House—for the islet only imperfectly
sheltered the shore from the fury of the open sea, and in
great storms the waves beat against the very foot of the
granite cliff.

But, very fortunately, these fears were not realized. The
wind shifted to the south-east, and there the beach of
Granite House was completely covered by Flotsam Point.

Pencroft and Ayrton, the most zealous workmen at the
new vessel, pursued their labour as long as they could.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 197

They were not men to mind the wind tearing at their hair,
nor the rain wetting them to the skin, and a blow from
a hammer is worth just as much in bad as in fine weather.
But when a severe frost succeeded this wet period, the
wood, its fibres acquiring the hardness of iron, became
extremely difficult to work, and about the roth of June
ship-building was obliged to be entirely discontinued.

Cyrus Harding and his companions had not omitted to
observe how severe was the temperature during the winters
of Lincoln Island. The cold was comparable to that expe-
rienced in the States of New England, situated at almost
the same distance from the equator. In the northern
hemisphere, or at any rate in the part occupied by British
America and the north of the United States, this pheno-
menon is explained by the flat conformation of the terri-
tories bordering on the pole, and on which there is no
intumescence of the soil to oppose any obstacle to the
north winds ; here, in Lincoln Island, this explanation would
not suffice.

“Tt has even been observed,” remarked Harding one day
to his companions, “that in equal latitudes the islands and
coast regions are less tried by the cold than inland coun-
tries. JI have often heard it asserted that the winters of
Lombardy, for example, are not less rigorous than those of
Scotland, which results from the sea restoring during the

winter the heat which it received during the summer.
198 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



Islands are, therefore, in a better situation for benefiting by
this restitution.”

“ But then, Captain Harding,” asked Herbert, “why does
Lincoln Island appear to escape the common law?”
_©That is difficult to explain,” answered the engineer.
“However, I should be disposed to conjecture that this
peculiarity results from the situation of the island in the
southern hemisphere, which, as you know, my boy, is colder
than the northern hemisphere.”

“Ves,” said Herbert, “and icebergs are met with in lower
latitudes in the south than in the north of the Pacific.”

“That is true,’ remarked Pencroft, “and when I have
been serving on board whalers I have seen’ icebergs off
Cape Horn.”

“The severe cold experienced in Lincoln Island,” said
Gideon Spilett, “may then perhaps be explained by the
presence of floes or icebergs comparatively near to Lincoln
Island.”

“Your opinion is very admissible indeed, my dear Spilett,”
answered Cyrus Harding, “and it is evidently to the
proximity of icebergs that we owe our rigorous winters.
Iwould draw your attention also to an entirely physical
cause, which renders the southern colder than the northern
hemisphere. In fact, since the sun is nearer to this hemi-
sphere during the summer, it is necessarily more distant
during the winter. This explains then the excess of
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 199

temperature in the two seasons, for, if we find the winters
very cold in Lincoln Island, we must not forget that the
summers here, on the contrary, are very hot.”

“But why, if you please, captain,” asked Pencroft,
knitting his brows, “why should our hemisphere, as you
say, be so badly divided? It isn’t just, that!”

“Friend Pencroft,” answered the engineer, laughing,
“whether just or not, we must submit to it, and here
lies the reason for this peculiarity. The earth does not
describe a circle round the sun, but an ellipse, as it must
by the laws of rational mechanics. Now, the earth
occupies one of the centres of the ellipse, and consequently,
at the time of its transfer, it is further from the sun, that
is to say, at its apogee, and at another time nearer, that is
to say, at its perigee. Now it happens that it is during the
winter of the southern countries that it is at its most
distant point from the sun, and consequently, in a situation
for those regions to feel the greatest cold. Nothing can be
done to prevent that, and men, Pencroft, however learned
they may be, can never change anything of the cosmo-
graphical order established by God Himself.”

“And yet,” added Pencroft, persisting, “the world is
very learned. What a big book, captain, might be made
with all that is known!”

“And what a much bigger book still with all that is
not known!” answered Harding.
200. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



At last, for one reason or another, the month of June
brought the cold with its accustomed intensity, and the
settlers were often confined to Granite House. Ah! how
wearisome this imprisonment was to them, and more
particularly to Gideon Spilett.

“ Look here,” said he to Neb one day, “I would give you
by notarial deed all the estates which will come to me some
day, if you were a good-enough fellow to go,no matter
where, and subscribe to some newspaper for me! Decidedly
the thing that is most essential to my happiness is the
knowing every morning what has happened the day before
in other places than this!”

Neb began to laugh. ;

“’Pon my word,” he replied, “the only thing I think
about is my daily work!”

The truth was that indoors as well as out there was no
want of work.

The colony of Lincoln Island was now at its highest
point of prosperity, achieved by three years of continued
hard work. The destruction of the brig had been a new
source of riches. Without speaking of the complete rig
which would serve for the vessel now cn the stocks,
utensils and tools o/ all sorts, weapons and ammunition,
clothes and instruments, were now piled in the store-rooms
of Granite House. It had not even been necessary to resort
egain to the manufacture of the coarse felt materials.
LEN

\
! e
HOw
Si y
rr





























GIDEON SPILETT WANTS A NEWSPAPER.
t Page TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 201



Though the colonists had suffered from cold during their
first winter, the bad season might now come without their
having any reason to dread its severity. Linen was plentiful
also, and besides, they kept it with extreme care. From
chloride of sodium, which is nothing else than sea salt,
Cyrus Harding easily extracted the soda and chlorine,
The soda, which it was easy to change into carbonate of
soda, and the chlorine, of which he made chloride of lime,
were employed for various domestic purposes, and es-
pecially in bleaching linen. Besides, they did not wash
more than four times a year, as was done by families in the
olden times, and it may be added, that Pencroft and
Gideon Spilett, whilst waiting for the postman to bring him
his newspaper, distinguished themselves as washermen.

So passed the winter months, June, July, and August.
They were very severe, and the average observations of the
thermometer did not give more than eight degrees of
Fahrenheit. It was therefore lower in temperature than
the preceding winter. But then, what splendid fires blazed
continually on the hearths of Granite House, the smoke
marking the granite wall with long, zebra-like streaks!
Fuel was not spared, as it grew naturally a few steps from
them. Besides, the chips of the wood destined for the
construction of the ship enabled them to economize the
coal, which required more trouble to transport.

Men and animals were all well. Master Jup was a little
ty
Oo
nN

THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.





chilly, it must be confessed. This was perhaps his only
weakness, and it was necessary to make him a well-wadded
dressing-gown. But what a servant he was, clever, zealous,
indefatigable, not indiscreet, not talkative, and he might
have been with reason proposed as a model for all his
biped brothers in the Old and the New World!

“ As for that,” said Pencroft, “when one has four hands
at one’s service, of course one’s work ought to be done so
much the better!”

And indeed the intelligent creature did it well.

During the seven months which had passed since the last
researches made round the mountain, and during the month
of September, which brought back fine weather, nothing
was heard of the genius of the island. His power was not
manifested in any way. It is true that it would have been
inutile, for no incident occurred to put the colonists to any
painful trial.

Cyrus Harding even observed that if by chance. the
communication between the unknown and the tenants of
Granite House had ever been established through the
granite, and if Top’s instinct had as it were felt it, there was
no further sign of it during this period. The dog’s growl-
ing had entirely ceased, as well as the uneasiness of the
orang. The two friends—for they were so—no longer
prowled round the opening of the inner well, nor did they

bark or whine in that singular way which from the first the
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 203
engineer had noticed. But could he be sure that this was
all that was to be said about this enigma, and that he
should never arrive at a solution? Could he be certain
that some conjuncture would not occur which would bring
the mysterious personage on the scene? Who could tell
what the future might have in reserve?

At last the winter was ended, but an event, the conse-
quences of which might be serious, occurred in the first
days of the returning spring.

On the 7th of September, Cyrus Harding, having ob-
served the crater, saw smoke curling round the summit of

the mountain, its first vapours rising in the air.
204 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

hv

CHAPTER XV.

TITE AWAKENING OF THE VOLCANO—THE FINE SEASON—
CONTINUATION OF WORK—THE EVENING OF THE
I5TH OF OCTOBER—A TELEGRAM—A QUESTION-—
AN ANSWER—DEPARTURE FOR THE CORRAL—THE
NOTICE—THE ADDITIONAL WIRE—THE BASALT COAST
—AT HIGH TIDE—AT LOW TIDE—THE CAVERN—A
DAZZLING LIGHT.

THE colonists, warned by the engineer, left their work and
gazed in silence at the summit of Mount Franklin.

The volcano had awoke, and the vapour had penetrated
the mineral layer heaped up at the bottom of the crater.
But would the subterranean fires provoke any violent erup-
tion? This was an event which could not be foreseen,
However, even while admitting the possibility of an erup-

ion, it was not probable that the whole of Lincoln Island
would suffer from it. The flow of volcanic matter is not

always disastrous, and the island had already undergone














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































WATCHING THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT FRANKLIN.
+ Page 204.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 205

this trial, as was shown by the streams of lava hardened on
the northern slopes of the mountain. Besides, from the
shape of the crater--the opening broken in the upper edge
—the matter would be thrown to the side opposite the
fertile regions of the island.

However, the past did not necessarily answer for the
future. Often, at the summit of volcanoes, the. old craters
close and new ones open. This has occurred in the two
hemispheres—at Etna, Popocatepetl, at Orizaba—and on
the eve of an eruption there is everything to be feared. In
fact, an earthquake—a phenomenon which often accom-
panies volcanic eruptions—is enough to change the interior
arrangement of a mountain, and to open new outlets for
the burning lava.

Cyrus Harding explained these things to his companions,
and, without exaggerating the state of things, he told them
all the pros and cons. After all they could not prevent it.
It did not appear likely that Granite House would be
threatened unless the ground was shaken by an earth-
quake. But the corral would be in great danger should a
new crater open in the southern side of Mount Franklin.

From that day the smoke never disappeared from the
top of the mountain, and it could even be perceived that
it increased in height and thickness, without any flame
mingling in its heavy volumes. The phenomenon was still
concentrated in the lower part of the central crater.
206 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

However, with the fine days work had been continued.
The building of the vessel was hastened as much as possible,
and, by means of the waterfall on the shore, Cyrus Harding
managed to establish an hydraulic saw-mill, which rapidly
cut up the trunks of trees into planks and joists. The
mechanism of this apparatus was as simple as those used
in the rustic saw-mills of Norway. A first horizontal move-
ment to move the piece of wood, a second vertical move-
ment to move the saw—this was all that was wanted; and
the engineer succeeded by means of a wheel, two cylinders,
and pulleys properly arranged. Towards the end of the
month of September the skeleton of the vessel, which was
to be rigged as a schooner, lay in the dockyard. The ribs
were almost entircly completed, and, all the timbers having
been sustained by a provisional band, the shape of the
vessel could already be seen. This schooner, sharp in the
bows, very slender in the after-part, would evidently be
suitable for a long voyage, if wanted; but laying the
planking would still take a considerable time. Very fortu-
nately, the iron-work of the pirate brig had been saved
after the explosion. From. the planks and injured ribs
Pencroft and Ayrton had extracted, the bolts and a large
quantity of copper nails. It was so much work saved for
the smiths, but the carpenters had much to do.

Ship-building was interrupted for a week for the harvest,

the haymaking, and the gathering in of the different crops
THE SECRET OF TITE ISLAND. _ 207



on the plateau. ‘This work finished, every moment was
devoted to finishing the schooner. When night came
the workmen were really quite exhausted. So as not to
lose any time they had changed the hours for their meals ;
they dined at twelve o’clock, and only had their supper
when daylight failed them. They then ascended to Granite
House, when they were always ready to go to bed.

Sometimes, however, when the conversation bore on
some interesting subject the hour for sleep was delayed for
atime. The colonists then spoke of the future, and talked
willingly of the changes which a voyage in the schooner to
inhabited lands would make in their situation. But always,
in the midst of these plans, prevailed the thought of a
subsequent return to Lincoln Island. Never would they
abandon this colony, founded with so much labour and
with such success, and to which a communication with
America would afford a fresh impetus. Pencroft and Neb
especially hoped to end their days there.

“Herbert,” said the sailor, “you will never abandon
Lincoln Island 2?”

“Never, Pencroft, and especially if you make up your
mind to stay there.”

“That was made up long ago, my boy,” answered Pen-
croft. “I shall expect you. You will bring me your wife
and children, and I shall make jolly little chaps of your

youngsters!”
208 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“ That’s agreed,” replied Herbert, laughing and blushing
at the same time.

“And you, Captain Harding, resumed Pencroft enthu-
siastically, “you will be still the governor of the island!
Ah! how many inhabitants could it support? Ten
thousand at least !”

They talked in this way, allowing Pencroft to run on,
and at last the reporter actually started a newspaper—the
New Lincoln Herald!

So is man’s heart. The desire to perform a work which
will endure, which will survive him, is the origin of his
superiority over all other living creatures here below. It is
this which has established his dominion, and this it is which
justifies it, over all the world.

After that, who knows if Jup and Top had not them-
selves their little dream of the future.

Ayrton silently said to himself that he would like to
see Lord Glenarvan again and show himself to all
restored,

One evening, on the 15th of October, the conversation
was prolonged later than usual, It was nine o’clock.
Already, long badly concealed yawns gave warning of
the hour of rest, and Pencroft was proceeding towards his
bed, when the electric bell, placed in the dining-room,
suddenly rang.

All were there, Cyrus Hardcinz, Gideon Spilett, Herbert,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 209



Ayrton, Pencroft,-Neb. Therefore none of the colonists
were at the corral.

Cyrus Harding rose. His companions stared at each
other, scarcely believing their ears,

“What does that mean?” cried Neb, “Was it the
cevil who rang it?”

No one answered.

“ The weather is stormy,” observed Herbert. “Might not
its influence of electricity—”

Herbert did not finish his phrase. The engineer, to-
wards whom all eyes were turned, shook his head nega-
tively.

“We must wait,” said Gideon Spilett. “If it is a
signal, whoever it may be who has made it, he will renew

so.)

it.

“But who do you think it is?” cried Neb.

“Who?” answered Pencroft, “but he—’

The sailor’s sentence was cut short by a new tinkle of
the bell.

Harding went to the apparatus, and sent this question
to the corral :—

“What do you want ?”

A few moments later the needle, moving on the alpha-
betic dial, gave this reply to the tenants of Granite
House :—

“Come to the corral immediately.”
210 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“ At last!” exclaimed Harding.

Yes! Atlast! The mystery was about to be unveiled.
The colonists’ fatigue had disappeared before the tremen-
dous interest which was about to urge them to the corral,
and all wish for rest had ceased. Without having uttered
a word, in afew moments they had left Granite House, and
were standing on the beach. Jup and Top alone were
left behind. They could do without them.

The night was black. The new moon had disappeared
at the same time as the sun. As Herbert had observed
great stormy clouds formed a lowering and heavy vault,
preventing any star rays. A few lightning flashes, re-
flections from a distant storm, illuminated the horizon.

It was possible that a few hours later the thunder
would roll over the island itself. The night was very
threatening.

But however deep the darkness was, it- would not
prevent them from finding the familiar road to the corral.

They ascended the left bank of the Mercy, reached the
plateau, passed the bridge over Creek Glycerine, and
advanced through the forest.

They walked at a good pace, a prey to the liveliest
emotions. There was no doubt but that they were now
going to learn the long-searched-for answer to the enigma,
the name of that mysterious being, so deeply concerned in
their life, so generous in his influence, so powerful in his
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 211



action! Must not this stranger have indeed mingled with
their existence, have known the smallest details, have heard
all that was said in Granite House, to have been able
always to act in the very nick of time?

Every one, wrapped up in his own reflections, pressed
forward. Under the arch of trees the darkness was such
that the edge of the road even could not be seen. Not a
sound in the forest. Both animals and birds, influenced
by the heaviness of the atmosphere, remained motionless
and silent. Not a breath disturbed the leaves. The
footsteps of the colonists alone resounded on the hardened
ground.

During the first quarter of an hour the silence was only
interrupted by this remark from Pencroft :—

“We ought to have brought a torch.”

And by this reply from the engineer :—

‘We shall find one at the corral.”

Harding and his companions had left Granite House at
twelve minutes past nine. At forty-seven minutes past
nine they had traversed three out of the five miles which
separated the. mouth of the Mercy from the corral.

At that moment sheets of lightning spread over the
island and illumined the dark trees. The flashes dazzled
and almost blinded them. Evidently the storm would not
be long in bursting forth.

The flashes gradually became brighter and more rapid.

P2
212 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



Distant thunder growled in the sky. The atmosphere was
stifling.

The colonists proceeded as if they were urged onwards
by some irresistible force.

_ At ten o'clock a vivid flash showed them the palisade,
and as they reached the gate the storm burst forth with
tremendous fury.

In a minute the corral was crossed, and Harding stood
before the hut.

Probably the house was occupied by the stranger, since
it was from thence that the telegram had been sent. How-
ever, no light shone through the window.

The engineer knocked at the door.

No answer.

Cyrus Harding opened the door, and the settlers entered
the room, which was perfectly dark. A light was struck by
Neb, and in a few moments the lantern was lighted and the
light thrown into every corner of the room.

There was no one there. Everything was in the state in
which it had been left.

“Have we been deceived by an illusion?” murmured
Cyrus Harding. ;

No! that was not possible! The telegram had clearly
said,—

“Come to the corral immediately.”

They approached the table specially devoted to the use
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 213



of the wire. Everything was in order—the pile and the
box containing it, as well as all the apparatus.

‘Who came here the last time?” asked the engineer.

“T did, captain,” answered Ayrton. .

“And that was—”

“Four days ago.”

“Ah! a note!” cried Herbert, pointing to a paper lying
on the table.

On this paper were written these words in English :—

“Follow the new wire.”

“Forward!” cried Harding, who understood that the
despatch had not been sent from the corral, but from the
mysterious retreat, communicating directly with Granite
House by means of a supplementary wire joined to the
old one.

Neb took the lighted lantern, and all left the corral. The
storm then burst forth with tremendous violence. The
interval between each lightning-flash and each thunder-
clap diminished rapidly. The summit of the volcano, with
its plume of vapour, could be seen by occasional flashes.

There was no telegraphic communication in any part ot
the corral between the house and the palisade; but the
engineer, running straight to the first post, saw by the light
of a flash a new wire hcnging from the isolater to the
ground.

“There it is!” said he.
zI4 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,



This wire lay along the ground, and was surrounded with
an isolating substance like a submarine cable, so as. to
assure the free transmission of the current. It appeared to
pass through the wood and the southern spurs of the moun-
tain, and consequently it ran towards the west.

“ Follow it!” said Cyrus Harding.

And the settlers immediately pressed forward, guided by
the wire.

The thunder continued to roar with such violence that
not a word could be heard. However, there was no
occasion for speaking, but to get forward as fast as
possible. ,

Cyrus Harding and his companions then climbed the
spur rising between the corral valley and that of Falls
River, which they crossed at its narrowest part. The wire,
sometimes stretched over the lower branches of the trees,
sometimes lying on the ground, guided them surely. The
engineer had supposcd that the wire would perhaps stop at
the bottom of the valley, and that the stranger’s retreat
would be there.

Nothing of the sort. They were obliged to ascend the
south-western spur, and re-descend' on that arid plateau
terminated by the strangely-wild basalt cliff. From time
to time one of the colonists stooped down and felt for the
wire with his hands; but there was now no doubt that the

wire was running directly towards the sea. There, to a
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 215

certainty, in the depths of those rocks, was the dwelling so
long sought for in vain.

The sky was literally on fire. Flash succeeded flash.
Several struck the summit of the volcano in the midst of
the thick smoke. It appeared there as if the mountain was
vomiting flame. At a few minutes to eleven the colonists
arrived on the high cliff overlooking the ocean to the west.
The wind had risen. The surf roared 500 feet below.

Harding calculated that they had gone a mile and a half
from the corral.

At this point the wire entered among the rocks, following
the steep side of a narrow ravine. The settlers followed it
at the risk of occasioning a fall of the slightly-balanced
rocks, and being dashed into the sea. The descent was
extremely perilous, but they did not think of the danger ;
they were no longer masters of themselves, and an irresist-
ible attraction drew them towards this mysterious place as
the magnet draws iron.

Thus they almost unconsciously descended this ravine,
which even in broad daylight would have been considered
impracticable.

The stones rolled and sparkled like fiery balls when
they crossed through the gleams of light. Harding
was first—Ayrton last. On they went, step by step. Now
they slid over the slippery rock; then they struggled to
their feet and scrambled on.
216 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

At last the wire touched the rocks on the beach. The
colonists had reached the bottom of the basalt cliff.

There appeared a narrow ridge, running horizontally and
parallel with the sea. The settlers followed the wire along
it. They had not gone a hundred paces when the ridge by
a moderate incline sloped down to the level of the sea.

The engineer seized the wire and found that it disap-
peared beneath the waves.

His companions were stupefied.

A cry of disappointment, almost a cry of despair, escaped
them! Must they then plunge beneath the water and
seek there for some submarine cavern? In their excited
state they would not have hesitated to do it.

The engineer stopped them.

He led his companions to a hollow in the rocks, and
there—

“We must wait,” said he. “The tide is high. At low
water the way will be open.”

“But what can make you think—” asked Pencroft.

“He would not have called us if the means had been
wanting to enable us to reach him!”

Cyrus Harding spoke in a tont of such thorough con-
viction that no objection was raised. His remark, besides,
was logical. It was quite possible that an opening,
practicable at low water, though hidden now by the high
tide, opencd at the foot of the cliff.


N A DEEP HOLLOW.

I

NG

NTLY CROUCHI

NED SILE

COLONIS'TS REMAI

TH

Page 217.
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND, 217

There was some time to wait. The colonists remained
silently crouching ina deep hollow.. Rain now began to
fall in torrents. The thunder was re-echoed among the
rocks with a grand sonorousness,

The colonists’ emotion was great. A thousand strange
and extraordinary ideas crossed their brains, and they
expected some grand and superhuman apparition, which
alone could come up to the notion they had formed of the
mysterious genius of the island.

At midnight, Harding, carrying the lantern, descended
to the beach to reconnoitre.

The engineer was not mistaken. The beginning of an
immense excavation could be seen under the water.
There the wire, bending at a right angle, entered the
yawning gulf.

Cyrus Harding returned to his companions, and said
simply,—

“Tn an hour the opening will be practicable.”

“Tt is there, then?” said Pencroft.

“Did you doubt it?” returned Harding.

“But this cavern must be filled with water to a certain
height,” observed Herbert.

“Either the cavern will be completely dry,” replied
Harding, “and in that case we can traverse it on foot, or
it will not be dry, and some means of transport will be
put at our disposal.”
218 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

An hour passed. All climbed down through the rain to
the level of the sea. There was now eight feet of the
opening above the water. It was like the arch of a bridge,
under which rushed the foaming water.

Leaning forward, the engineer saw a black object
floating on the water. He drew it towards him. It was
a boat, moored to some interior projection of the cave.
This boat was iron-plated. Two oars lay at the bottom.

1

“Jump in!” said Harding.

In a moment the settlers were in the boat. Neb and
Ayrton took the oars, Pencroft the rudder. Cyrus Harding
in the bows, with the lantern, lighted the way.

The elliptical roof, under which the boat at first passed,
suddenly rose; but the darkness was too deep, and the
light of the lantern too slight, for either the extent, length,
height, or depth of the cave to be ascertained. Solemn
silence reigned in this basaltic cavern. Not a sound could
penetrate into it, even the thunder peals could not pierce
its thick sides.

Such immense caves exist in various parts of the world,
natural crypts dating from the geological epoch of the
globe. Some are filled by the seas; others contain entire
lakes in their sides. Such is Fingal’s Cave, in the island
of Staffa, one of the Hebrides; such are the caves of
Morgat, in the bay of Douarucuez, in Brittany, the caves
of Bonifacior, in Corsica, those of Lyse-Fjord, in Norway ;


CAVERN.

s

y

THE MYSTERIOU

ENTERING

4+
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 219

such are the immense Mammoth caverns in Kentucky, 500
feet in height, and more than twenty miles in length! In
many parts of the globe, nature has excavated these
caverns, and preserved them for the admiration of man.

Did the cavern which the settlers were now exploring
extend to the centre of the island? For a quarter of an
hour the boat had been advancing, making déours,
indicated to Pencroft by the engineer in short sentences,
when all at once,—

“ More to the right!” he commanded.

The boat, altering its course, came up alongside the
right wall. The engineer wished to see if the wire still
ran along the side.

The wire was there fastened to the rock.

“Forward!” said Harding.

And the two oars, plunging into the dark waters, urged
the boat onwards.

On they went for another quarter of an hour, and a
distance of half-a-mile must have been cleared from the
mouth of the cave, when Harding’s voice was again heard.

“Stop!” said he.

The boat stopped, and the colonists perceived a bright
light illuminating the vast cavern, so deeply excavated
in the bowels of the island, of which nothing had ever led
them to suspect the existence.

At a height of a hundred feet rose the vaulted roof,
220 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

supported on basalt shafts. Irregular arches, strange
mouldings, appeared on the columns erected by nature in
thousands from the first epochs of the formation of the
globe. The basalt. pillars, fitted one into the other,
measured from forty to fifty feet in height, and the water,
calm in spite of the tumult outside, washing their base. The
brilliant focus of light, pointed out by the engineer, touched
every point of rock, and flooded the walls with light.

By reflection the water reproduced the brilliant sparkles,
so that the boat appeared to be floating betwcen two
glittering zones.

They couid not be mistaken in the nature of the
irradiation thrown from the centre light, whose clear rays
broke all the angles, all the projections of the cavern.
This light proceeded from an electric source, and its white
colour betrayed its origin. It was the sun of this cave, and
it filled it entirely.

Ata sign from Cyrus Harding the oars again plunged
into the water, causing a regular shower of gems, and the
boat was urged forward towards the light, which was now
not more than half a cable's length distant.

At this place the breadth of the sheet of water measured
nearly 350 feet, and beyond the dazzling centre could be
seen an enormous basaltic wall, blocking up any issue on
that side. The cavern widened here considerably, the sea

forming a little lake. But the roof, the side walls, the end


















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































DISCOVERY OF THE ‘‘ NAUTILUS.”

Paze 221.
TIIE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 221

cliff, all the prisms, all the peaks, were flooded with the
electric fluid, so that the brilliancy belonged to them, and
as if the light issued from them.

In the centre of the lake a long cigar-shaped object
floated on the surface of the water, silent, motionless. The
brilliancy which issued from it escaped from its sides as
from two kilns heated to a white heat. This apparatus,
similar in shape to an enormous whale, was about 250
feet long, and rose about ten or twelve above the
water.

The boat slowly approached it. Cyrus Harding stood
up in the bows. He gazed, a prey to violent excitement.
Then, all at once, seizing the reporter’s arm,—

“It is he! It canonly be he!” he cried, “he!—”

Then, falling back on the seat, he murmured a narie
which Gideon Spilett alone could hear.

The reporter evidently knew this name, for it had a
wonderful effect upon him, and he answered in a hoarse
voice,—

“He! an outlawed man!”

“He!” said Harding.

At the engineer’s command the boat approached this
singular floating apparatus. The boat touched the left
side, from which escaped a ray of light through a thick
glass.

Harding and his companions mounted on the platform.
222 TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

An open hatchway was ‘there, All darted down the
opening.

At the bottom of the ladder was a deck, lighted by elec-
tricity. At the end of this deck was a door, which Harding
opened.

A richly-ornamented room, quickly traversed by the
colonists, was joined to a library, over which a luminous
ceiling shed a flood of light.

At the end of the library a large door, also shut, was

opened by the engineer.
An immense saloon—a sort of museum, in which were

heaped up, with all the treasures of the mineral world,
works of art, marvels of industry—appeared before the eyes
of the colonists, who almost thought themselves suddenly
transported into a land of enchantment.

Stretched on a rich sofa they saw a man, who did not
appear to notice their presence.

Then Harding raised his voice, and to the extreme sur.
prise of his companions, he uttered these words,—

“Captain Nemo, you asked for us! We are here,”


FIRST INTERVIEW WITH THE GENIUS OF THE ISLAND.

t Page 222.
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 223



CHAPTER XVI.

CAPTAIN NEMO—HIS FIRST WORDS—THE HISTORY OF
THE RECLUSE—HIS ADVENTURES—HIS SENTIMENTS
—HIS COMRADES—SUBMARINE LIFE—ALONE—THE
LAST REFUGE OF THE “NAUTILUS” IN LINCOLN
ISLAND -- THE MYSTERIOUS GENIUS OF THE
ISLAND.

AT these words the reclining figure rose, and the electric
light fell upon his countenance ; a magnificent head, the
forehead high, the glance commanding, beard white, hair
abundant and falling over the shoulders.

His hand rested upon the cushion of the divan from
which he had just risen. He appeared perfectly calm. It
was evident that his strength had been gradually under-
mined by illness, but his voice seemed yet powerful, as he
said in English, and in a tone which evinced extreme
surprise,—

“ Sir, I have no name.”
224 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“ Nevertheless, I know you!” replied Cyrus Harding.

Captain Nemo fixed his penetrating gaze upon the
engineer, as though he were about to annihilate him,

Then, falling back amid the pillows of the divan,—

“ After all, what matters now?” he murmured; “I am
dying !”

Cyrus Harding drew near the captain, and Gideon Spilett
took his hand—it was of a feverish heat. Ayrton, Pencroft,
Herbert, and Neb, stood respectfully apart in an angle of
the magnificent saloon, whose atmosphere was saturated
with the electric fluid.

Meanwhile Captain Nemo withdrew his hand, and mo-
tioned the engineer and the reporter to be seated.

All regarded him with profound emotion. Before them
they beheld that being whom they had styled the “genius
of the island,” the powerful protector whose intervention,
in so many circumstances, had been so efficacious, the
benefactor to whom they owed such a debt of gratitude!
Their eyes beheld a man only, and a man at the point of
death, where Pencroft and Neb had expected to find an
almost supernatural being!

But how happened it that Cyrus Harding had recognized
Captain Nemo? Why had the latter so suddenly risen on
hearing this name uttered, a name which he had believed
known to none ?—

The captain had resumed his position on the divan, and
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 225

leaning on his arm, he regarded the engineer, seated near
him.

“You know the name I formerly bore, sir ?” he asked.

“T do,” answered Cyrus Harding, “and also that of this
wonderful submarine vessel—”

“The ‘ Nautilus’?” said the captain, with a faint smile.

“The ‘Nautilus’ ?”

“ But do you—do you know who I am ?”

“T do.”

“It is nevertheless many years since I have held any
communication with the inhabited world; three long years
have I passed in the depths of the sea, the only place where
I have found liberty! Who then can have betrayed my
secret ?” .

“A man who was bound to you by no tie, Captain
Nemo, and who, consequently, cannot be accused of
treachery.”

“The Frenchman who was cast on board my vessel by
chance sixteen years since?”

“The same.”

“He and his two companions did not then perish in the
Maélstrom, in the midst of which the ‘Nautilus’ wag
struggling.”

“They escaped, and a book has appeared under the title
of ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea,’ which con-
tains your history.”

Q
226 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“The history of a few months only of my life!” inter-
rupted the captain impetuously.

“Tt is true,” answered Cyrus Harding, “but a few
months of that strange life have sufficed to make you
known—”

“As a great criminal, doubtless!” said Captain Nemo,
a haughty smile curling his lips. “Yes, a rebel, perhaps
an outlaw against humanity !”

The engineer was silent.

“Well, sir?”

“Ttis not for me to judge you, Captain Nemo,” answered
Cyrus Harding, “at any rate as regards your past life. I
am, with the rest of the world, ignorant of the motives
which induced you to adopt this strange mode of existence,
and I cannot judge of effects without knowing their causes ;
but what I do know is, that a beneficent hand has con-
stantly protected us since our arrival on Lincoln Island,
that we all owe our lives to a good, generous, and powerful
being, and that this being so powerful, good and generous,
Captain Nemo, is yourself!”

“Tt is I,” answered the captain simply.

The engineer and reporter rose. »Their companions had
drawn near, and the gratitude with which their hearts were
charged was about to express itself in their gestures and
words.

Captain Nemo stopped them by a sign, and in a voice






































































THE GREAT UNKNOWN RELATES HIS HISTORYo
t+ ‘Page 227.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 227

which betrayed more emotion than he doubtless intended
to show.

“ Wait till you have heard all,” he said.’

And the captain, in a few concise sentences, ran over the
events of his life.

His narrative was short, yet he was obliged to summon
up his whole remaining energy to arrive at the end. He
was evidently contending against extreme weakness.
Several times Cyrus Harding entreated him to repose
for a while, but he shook his head as a man to whom
the morrow may never come, and when the reporter offered
his assistance,—

“Tt is useless,” he said; “my hours are numbered.”

Captain Nemo was an Indian, the Prince Dakkar, son
of a rajah of the then independent territory of Bundel-
kund. His father sent him, when ten years of age, to
Europe, in order that he might receive an education in all
respects complete, and in the hopes that by his talents and
knowledge he might one day take a leading part in raising
his long degraded and heathen country to a level with the

nations of Europe.

1 The history of Captain Nemo has, in fact, been published under
the title of “ Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.” Here, there-
fore, will apply the observation already made as to the adventures of
Ayrton with regard to the discrepancy of dates. Readers should
therefore refer to the note already published on this point.

Q2
228 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



From the age of ten years to that of thirty Prince

Dakkar, endowed by Nature with her richest gifts of
intellect, accumulated knowledge of every kind, and in
science, literature, and art his researches were extensive
and profound.
- He travelled over the whole of Europe. His rank and
fortune caused him to be everywhere sought after; but the
pleasures of the world had for him no attractions. Though
young and possessed of every personal advantage, he was
ever grave—sombre even—devoured by an unquenchable
thirst for knowledge, and cherishing in the recesses of his
heart the hope that he might become a great and powerful
ruler of a free and enlightened people.

Still, for long the love of science triumphed over all
other feelings. He became an artist deeply impressed by
the marvels of art, a philosopher to whom no one of the
higher sciences was unknown, a statesman versed in the
policy of European courts. To the eyes of those who
observed him superficially he might have passed for one of
those cosmopolitans, curious of knowledge, but disdaining
action; one of those opulent travellers, haughty and cynical,
who move incessantly from place tp place, and are of no
country.

This artist, this philosopher, this man was, however, still
cherishing the hope instilied into him from his earliest days.

Prince Dakkar returned to Bundelkund in the year 1849.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 229

He married a noble Indian lady, who was imbued with an
ambition not less ardent than that by which he was inspired.
Two children were born to them, whom they tenderly
loved. But domestic happiness did not prevent him from
seeking to carry out the object at which he aimed. He
waited an opportunity. At length, as he vainly fancied, it
presented itself.

Instigated by princes equally ambitious and less saga-
cious and more unscrupulous than he was, the people of
India were persuaded that they might successfully rise
against their English rulers, who had brought them out of
a state of anarchy and constant warfare and misery, and
had established peace and prosperity in their country.
Their ignorance and gross superstition made them the
facile tools of their designing chiefs.

In 1857 the great sepoy revolt broke out. Prince
Dakkar, under the belief that he should thereby have the
opportunity of attaining the object of his long-cherished
ambition, was easily drawn into it. He forthwith devoted
his talents and wealth to the service of this cause. He
aided it in person; he fought in the front ranks; he risked
his life equally with the humblest of the wretched and
misguided fanatics; he was ten times wounded in twenty
engagements, seeking death but finding it not, when at
length the sanguinary rebels were utterly defeated, and
the atrocious mutiny was brought to an end,
230 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



Never before had the British power in India been
exposed to such danger, and if, as they had hoped, the
sepoys had received assistance from without, the influence
and supremacy in Asia of the United Kingdom would have
been a thing of the past.

The name of Prince Dakkar was at that time well known.
He had fought openly and without concealment. A price
was set upon his head, but he managed to escape from his
pursuers.

Civilization never recedes; the law of necessity ever
forces it onwards. The sepoys were vanquished, and the
land of the rajahs of old fell again under the rule of
England.

Prince Dakkar, unable to find that death he courted,
returned to the mountain fastnesses of Bundelkund. There,
alone in the world, overcome by disappointment at the
destruction of all his vain hopes, a prey to profound disgust
for all human beings, filled with hatred of the civilized
world, he realized the wreck of his fortune, assembled some
score of his most faithful companions, and one day disap-
peared, leaving no trace behind.

Where, then, did he seek that liberty denied him upon
the inhabited earth? Under the waves, in the depths of the
ocean, where none could follow.

The warrior became the man of science. Upon a de-
serted island of the Pacific he established his dockyard,
TIIE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 231
and there a submarine vessel was constructed from his
designs. By methods which will at some future day be
revealed he had rendered subservient the illimitable forces
of electricity, which, extracted from inexhaustible sources,
was employed for all the requirements of his floating
equipage, as a moving, lighting, and heating agent. The
sea, with its countless treasures, its myriads of fish, its
numberless wrecks, its enormous mammalia, and not only
all that nature supplied, but also all that man had lost in
its depths, sufficed for every want of the prince and his
crew—and thus was his most ardent desire accomplished,
never again to hold communication with the earth. He
named his submarine vessel the “ Nautilus,” called himself
simply Captain Nemo, and disappeared beneath the seas.

_ During many years this strange being visited every
ocean, from pole to pole. Outcast of the inhabited earth
in these unknown worlds he gathered incalculable treasures,
The millions lost in the Bay of Vigo, in 1702, by the gal-
leons of Spain, furnished him with a mine of inexhaustible
riches which he devoted always, anonymously, in favour of
those nations who fought for the independence of their
country.”

For long, however, he had held no communication with
his fellow-creatures, when, during the night of the 6th of

? This refers to the insurrection of the Candiotes, who were, in fact,
jargely assisted by Captain Nemo.
232 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

November, 1866, three men were cast on board his vessel.
They were a French professor, his servant, and a Canadian
fisherman, These three men had been hurled overboard
by a collision which had taken place between the “ Nautilus”
and the United States’ frigate “Abraham Lincoln,” which
had chased her.

Captain Nemo learnt from this professor that the
“Nautilus,” taken now for a gigantic mammal of the whale
species, now for a submarine vessel carrying a crew of
pirates, was sought for in every sea.

He might have returned these three men to the ocean,
rom whence chance had brought them in contact with his
mysterious existence. Instead of doing this he kept them
prisoners, and during seven months they were enabled to
behold all the wonders of a voyage of twenty thousand
leagues under the sea.

One day, the 22nd of June, 1867, these three men, who
knew nothing of the past history of Captain Nemo, suc-
ceeded in escaping in one of the “ Nautilus’s” boats. But
as at this time the “Nautilus” was drawn into the vortex
of the Maélstrom, off the coast of Norway, the captain
naturally believed that the fugitives, engulfed in that
frightful whirlpool, found their death at the bottom of the
abyss. He was ignorant that the Frenchman and his two
companions had been miraculously cast on shore, that the
fishermen of the Loffoden Islands had rendered them
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 233



assistance, and that the professor, on his return to France,
had published that work in which seven months of the
strange and eventful navigation of the “Nautilus” were
narrated and exposed to the curiosity of the public.

For a long time after this, Captain Nemo continued to
live thus, traversing every sea. But one by one his com-
panions died, and found their last resting-place in their
cemetery of coral, in the bed of the Pacific. At last Captain
Nemo remained the solitary survivor of all those who had
taken refuge with him in the depths of the ocean.

He was now sixty years of age. Although alone, he
succeeded in navigating the “ Nautilus” towards one of
those submarine caverns which had sometimes served him
as a harbour.

One of these ports was hollowed beneath Lincoln
Island, and at this moment furnished an asylum to the
“ Nautilus.”

The captain had now remained there six years, navigating
the ocean no longer, but awaiting death, and that moment
when he should rejoin his former companions, when by
chance he observed the descent of the balloon which carried
the prisoners of the Confederates. Clad in his diving-dress
he was walking beneath the water at a few cables’ length
from the shore of the island, when the engineer had been
thrown into the sea. Moved by a feeling of compassiun
the captain saved Cyrus Harding.
234 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

His first impulse was to fly from the vicinity of the five
castaways ; but his harbour of refuge was closed, for in
consequence of an elevation of the basalt, produced by the
influence of volcanic action, he could no longer pass through
the entrance of the vault. Though there was sufficient
depth of water to allow a light craft to pass the bar, there
was not enough for the “ Nautilus,” whose draught of water
was considerable.

Captain Nemo was compelled, therefore, to remain. He
observed these men thrown without resources upon a desert
island, but had no wish to be himself discovered by them.
By degrees he became interested in their efforts when he
saw them honest, energetic, and bound to each other by the
ties of friendship. As if despite his wishes, he penetrated
all the secrets of their existence. By means of the diving
dress he could easily reach the well in the interior of Granite
House, and climbing by the projections of rock to its upper
orifice he heard the colonists as they recounted the past,
and studied the present and future. He learnt from them
the tremendous conflict of America with America itself,
for the abolition of slavery. Yes, these men were worthy
to reconcile Captain Nemo with that humanity which they
represented so nobly in the island.

Captain Nemo had saved Cyrus Harding. It was he
also who had brought back the dog to the Chimneys, who

rescued Top from the waters of the lake, who caused to
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 235



fall at Flotsam Point the case containing so many things
useful to the colonists, who conveyed the canoe back into
the stream of the Mercy, who cast the cord from the top
of Granite House at the time of the attack by the baboons,
who made known the presence of Ayrton upon Tabor
Island, by means of the document enclosed in the bottle,
who caused the explosion of the brig by the shock of a
torpedo placed at the bottom of the canal, who saved
Herbert from a certain death by bringing the sulphate of
quinine ; and finally, it was he who had killed the convicts
with the electric balls, of which he possessed the secret, and
which he employed in the chase of submarine creatures.
Thus were explained so many apparently supernatural
occurrences, and which all proved the generosity and power
of the captain.

Nevertheless, this noble misanthrope longed to benefit
his profégés still further. There yet remained much use-
ful advice to give them, and, his heart being softened by the
approach of death, he invited, as we are aware, the colo-
nists of Granite House to visit the “ Nautilus,” by means
of a wire which connected it with the corral. Possibly
he would not have done this had he been aware that Cyrus
Harding was sufficiently acquainted with his history to
address him by the name of Nemo.

The captain concluded the narrative of his life. Cyrus

Harding then spoke; he recalled all the incidents which
236 TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



had exercised so beneficent an influence upon the colony,
and in the names of his companions and himself thanked
the generous being to whom they owed so much.

But Captain Nemo paid little attention; his mind
appeared to be absorbed by one idea, and without taking
the proffered hand of the engineer,—

“Now, sir,” said he, “now that you know my history,
your judgment!”

In saying this, the captain evidently alluded to an im-
portant incident witnessed by the three strangers thrown
on board his vessel, and which the French professor had
related in his work, causing a profound and terrible sensa-
tion. Some days previous to the flight of the professor
and his two companions, the “ Nautilus,” being chased by
a frigate in the north of the Atlantic, had hurled herself as
a ram upon this frigate, and sunk her without mercy.

Cyrus Harding understood the captain’s allusion, and
was silent.

“Tt was an enemy’s frigate,” exclaimed Captain Nemo,
transformed for an instant into the Prince Dakkar, “an
enemy’s frigate! It was she who attacked me—I was in
a narrow and shallow bay—the frigate barred my way—
and I sank her!”

A few moments of silence ensued; then the captain
demanded,—

“What think you of my life, gentlemen ?”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 237

Cyrus Harding extended his hand to the ci-devant prince
and replied gravely, “Sir, your error was in supposing that
the past can be resuscitated, and in contending against
inevitable progress. It is one of those errors which some
admire, others blame; which God alone can judge. He
who is mistaken in an action which he sincerely believes to
be right may be an enemy, but retains our esteem. Your
error is one that we may admire, and your name has
nothing to fear from the judgment of history, which does
not condemn heroic folly, but its results.”

The old man’s breast swelled with emotion, and raising
his hand to heaven,—

“Was I wrong, or in the right ?” he murmured.

Cyrus Harding replied, “All great actions return to
God, from whom they are derived. Captain Nemo, we,
whom you have succoured, shall ever mourn your loss.”

Herbert, who had drawn near the captain, fell on his
knees and kissed his hand.

A tear glistened in the eyes of the dying man. “My
child,” he said, “may God bless you !”
238 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

CHAPTER XVII.

LAST MOMENTS OF CAPTAIN NEMO—WISHES OF THE
DYING MAN—A PARTING GIFT TO HIS FRIENDS OF
A DAY—CAPTAIN NEMO’S COFFIN—ADVICE TO THE
COLONISTS—THE SUPREME —MOMENT—AT THE
BOTTOM OF THE SEA.

Day had returned. No ray of light penetrated into the
profundity of the cavern. It being high-water, the entrance
was closed by the sea. But the artificial light, which
escaped in long streams from the skylights of the
“Nautilus,” was as vivid as before, and the sheet of water
shone around the floating vessel.

An extreme exhaustion now overcame Captain Nemo,
who had fallen back upon the divan. It was useless to
contemplate removing him to Granite House, for he had
expressed his wish to remain in the midst of those marvels
of the “Nautilus” which millions could not have pur-
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 239

chased, and to await there for that death which was swiftly
approaching.

During a long interval of prostration, which rendered
him almost unconscious, Cyrus Harding and Gideon
Spilett attentively observed the condition of the dying
man. It was apparent that his strength was gradually
diminishing. That frame, once so robust, was now but the
fragile tenement of a departing soul. All of life was con-
centrated in the heart and head.

The engineer and reporter consulted in whispers. Was
it possible to render any aid to the dying man? Might his
life, if not saved, be prolonged for some days? He himself
had said that no remedy could avail, and he awaited with
tranquillity that death which had for him no terrors,

“We can do nothing,” said Gideon Spilett.

“ But of what is he dying?” asked Pencroft.

“Life is simply fading out,” replied the reporter.

“Nevertheless,” said the sailor, “if we moved him into
the open air, and the light of the sun, he might perhaps
recover.” .

“No, Pencroft,” answered the engineer, “it is useless to
attempt it. Besides, Captain Nemo would never consent
to leave his vessel. He has lived for a dozen years on
board the ‘ Nautilus,’ and on board the ‘Nautilus’ he
desires to die.”

Without doubt Captain Nemo heard Cyrus: Harding’s
240 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.
reply, for he raised himself slightly, and in a voice more
feeble, but always intelligible,—

“You are right, sir,” he said. “I shall die here—it is my
wish ; and therefore I have a request to make of you.”

Cyrus Harding and his companions had drawn near the
divan, and now arranged the cushions in such a manner as
to better support the dying man.

They saw his eyes wander over all the marvels of this
saloon, lighted by the electric rays which fell from the
arabesques of the luminous ceiling. He surveyed, one after
the other, the pictures hanging from the splendid tapestries
of the partitions, the chef-d’euvres of the Italian, Flemish,
French, and Spanish masters; the statues of marble and
bronze on their pedestals; the magnificent organ, leaning
against the after-partition ; the aquarium, in which bloomed
the most wonderful productions of the sea—marine plants,
zoophytes, chaplets of pearls of inestimable value; and,
finally, his eyes rested on this device, inscribed over the

pediment of the museum—the motto of the “ Nautilus ”—

“ Mobilis in mobile.”
’

His glance seemed to rest fondly for the last time on
these masterpieces of art and of nature, to which he had
limited his horizon during a sojourn of so many years in
the abysses of the seas.
TLE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 241

Cyrus Ilarding respected the captain’s silence, and
waited till he should speak.

After some minutes, during which, doubtless, he passed
in review his whole life, Captain Nemo turned to the
colonists and said,— ,

“You consider yourselves, gentlemen, undcr some obli-
gations to me?”

“Captain, believe us that we would give our lives to
prolong yours.”

“Promise, then,” continued Captain Nemo, “to carry
out my last wishes, and I shall be repaid for all I have
done for you.”

“We promisw,” said Cyrus Harding.

And by this promise he bound both himself and his
companions.

“Gentlemen,” resumed the captain, “to-morrow I shall
be dead.”

Herbert was about to utter an exclamation, but a sign
from the captain arrested him,

“To-morrow I shall die, and I desire no other tomb than
the ‘Nautilus’ It is my grave! All my friends repose in
the depths of the ocean; thcir resting-place shall be
mine.”

These words were received with profound silence.

“Pay attention to my wishes,’ he continued. “The
‘Nautilus’ is imprisoned in this grotto, the entrance of

R
242 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

which is blocked up; but, although egress is impossible, the
vessel may at least sink in the abyss, and there bury my
remains.”

The colonists listened reverently to the words of the
dying man.

“To-morrow, after my death, Mr. Harding,” continued
the captain, “yourself and companions will leave the
‘Nautilus, for all the treasures it contains must perish with
me. One token alone will remain with you of Prince
Dakkar, with whose history you are now acquainted, That
coffer yonder contains diamonds of the value of many
millions, most of them mementoes of the time when, hus-
band and father, I thought happiness possible for me, and
a collection of pearls gathered by my friends and myself in
the depths of the ocean. Of this treasure, at a future day,
you may make good use. In the hands of such men as
yourself and your comrades, Captain Harding, money will
never be a source of danger. From on high I shall still
participate in your enterprises, and I fear not but that they
will prosper.”

After a few moments’ repose, necessitated by his ex-
treme weakness, Captain Nemo-continued,—

“To-morrow you will take the coffer, you will leave the
saloon, of which you will close the door; then you will
ascend on to the deck of the ‘ Nautilus,’ and you will lower
the main-hatch so as entirely to close the vessel.”
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 243

“Tt shall be done, captain,” answered Cyrus Harding.

“Good. You will then embark in the canoe which
brought you hither; but, before leaving the ‘ Nautilus,’ go
to the ‘stern and there open two large stop-cocks which
you will find upon the water-line. The water will pene-
trate into the reservoirs, and the ‘ Nautilus’ will gradually
sink beneath the water to repose at the bottom of the
abyss.”

And, comprehending a gesture of Cyrus Harding, the
captain added,—

“Fear nothing! You will but bury a corpse!”

Neither Cyrus Harding nor his companions ventured
to offer any observation to Captain Nemo. He had
expressed his last wishes, and they had nothing to do
but to conform to them.:

“TI have your promise, gentlemen?” added Captain
Nemo.

“You have, captain,” replied the engineer.

The captain thanked the colonists by a sign, and re-
quested them to leave him for some hours. Gideon
Spilett wished to remain near him, in the event of a crisis
coming on, but the dying man refused, saying, “I shall live
until to-morrow, sir.”

All left the saloon, passed through the library and the
dining-room, and arrived forward, in the machine-room,
where the electrical apparatus was established, which

R2
@44. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

supplied not only heat and light but the mechanical
power of the “ Nautilus.”

The “ Nautilus” was a masterpiece, containing master-
pieces within itself, and the engineer was struck with
astonishment.

The colonists mounted the platform, which rose seven
or eight feet above the water. There they beheld a thick
glass lenticular covering, which protected a kind of large eye,
from which flashed forth light. Behind this eye was appar-
ently a cabin containing the wheels of the rudder, and in
which was stationed the helmsman, when he navigated the
“Nautilus” over the bed of the ocean, which the electric
rays would evidently light up to a considerable distance.

Cyrus Harding and his companions remained for a time
silent, for they were vividly impressed by what they had
just seen and heard, and their hearts were deeply touched
by the thought that he whose arm had so often aided them,
he protector whom they had known but a few hours, was
at the point of death.

Whatever might be the judgment pronounced by pos-
terity upon the events of this, so to speak, extra-human
existence, the character of Prince Dakkar would ever
remain as one of those whose memory time can never
efface.

“ What a man!” said Pencroft. “Is it possible that he
can have lived at the bottom of the sea? And it seems to
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 245





me that perhaps he has not found peace there any more
than elsewhere!” .

“The ‘Nautilus, ” observed Ayrton, “might have
enabled us to leave Lincoln Island and reach some in-
habited country.”

“ Good Heavens!” exclaimed Pencroft, “I for one would
never risk myself in such a craft. To sail on the seas,
good ; but under the seas, never!”

“T believe, Pencroft,” answered the reporter, “that the
navigation of a submarine vessel such as the ‘ Nautilus’
ought to be very easy, and that we should soon become
accustomed to it. There would be no storms, no lee-shore
to fear. At some feet beneath the surface the waters of
the ocean are as calm as those of a lake.”

“That may be,” replied the sailor, “but I prefer a gale
of wind on board a well-found craft. A vessel is built
to sail on the sea, and not beneath it.” .

“My friends,” said the engineer, “it is useless, at any
rate as regards the ‘ Nautilus,’ to discuss the question of
submarine vessels.. The ‘Nautilus’ is not ours, and we
‘have not the right to dispose of it. Moreover, we could in
no case avail ourselves of it. Independently of the fact
that it would be impossible to get it out of this cavern,
whose entrance is now clesed by the uprising of the
basaltic rocks, Captain Nemo’s wish is that it shall be
buried with him. His wish is our law, and we will fulfil it.”
246 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

After a somewhat prolonged conversation, Cyrus Harding
and his companions again descended to the interior of the
“Nautilus.” There they took some refreshment and re-
turned to the saloon.

Captain Nemo had somewhat rallied from the pro-
stration which had overcome him, and his eyes shone with
their wonted fire. A faint smile even curled his lips

The colonists drew around him.

“Gentlemen,” said the captain, “you are brave and
honest men, You have devoted yourselves to the common
weal. Often have I observed your conduct. I have
esteemed you—I esteem you still! Your hand, Mr.
Harding!”

Cyrus Harding gave his hand to the captain, who clasped
it affectionately. .

“Tt is well!” he murmured.

He resumed,—

“But enough of myself. I have to speak concerning
yourselves, and this Lincoln Island, upon which you have
taken refuge. You desire to leave it ?”

“To return, captain!” answered Pencroft quickly.

“To return, Pencroft ?” said the captain, with a smile.
“T know, it is true, your love for this island. You have
helped to make it what it now is, and it seems to you
a paradise !”

“ Our project, captain,” interposed Cyrus Harding, “is to




















LAST MOMENTS OF CAITAIN NEMO.

Page 246.
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. == 24

aunex it to the United States, and to establish for our
shipping a port so fortunately situated in this part of the
Paci. —

“Your thoughts are with your country, gentlemen,” con-
tinued the captain; “your toils are for her prosperity and
glory. You are right. One’s native land!—there should
one live! there die! And I! I die far from all I loved!”

“You have some last wish to transmit,” said the engi-
neer with emotion, “some souvenir to send to those
friends you have left in the mountains of India ?”

“No, Captain Harding; no friends remain to me! .I am
the last of my race, and to all whom I have known I have
long been as are the dead.—But to return to yourselves,
Solitude, isolation, are painful things, and beyond human
endurance. I die of having thought it possible to live
alone! You should, therefore, dare all in the attempt to
leave Lincoln Island, and see once more the land of your
birth. I am aware that those wretches have destroyed the
vessel you had built.”

“We propose to construct a vessel,” said Gideon Spilett,
“sufficiently large to convey us to the nearest land; but if
we should succeed, sooner or later we shall return to Lin-
coln Island. We are attached to it by too many recollec-
tions ever to forget it.”

“Tt is here that we have known Captain Nemo,” said
Cyrus Harding.
248 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



“Tt is here only that we can make our home!” added
Herbert.

“And here shall I sleep the sleep of eternity, if—’
replied the captain.

He paused for a moment, and, instead of completing the
sentence, said simply,—

“Mr. Harding, I wish to speak with you—alone!”

The engineer's companions, respecting the wish of the
dying man, retired.

Cyrus Harding remained but a few minutes alone with
Captain Nemo, and soon recalled his companions; but he
said nothing to them of the private matters which the
dying man had confided to him.

Gideon Spilett now watched the captain with extreme
care. It was evident that he was no longer sustained by
his moral energy, which had lost the power of reaction
against his physical weakness.

The day closed without change. The colonists did not
quit the “Nautilus” for a moment. Night arrived, although
it was impossible to distinguish it from day in the cavern.

Captain Nemo suffered no pain, but he was visibly
sinking. His noble features, paled by the approach of
death, were perfectly calm. Inaudible words escaped at
intervals from his lips, bearing upon various incidents of
his chequered career. Life was evidently ebbing slowly,

and his extremities were already cold.


































































































































































































































































































DEATH OF CAPTAIN NLMO.

SSS

SSS
SS

—

SS

——



Page 249.


TIE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 249

Once or twice more he spoke to the colonists who stood
around him, and smiled on them with that last smile which
continues after death.

At length, shortly after midnight, Captain Nemo by
a supreme effort succeeded in folding his arms across his
breast, as if wishing in that attitude to compose himself for
death. |

By one o'clock his glance alone showed signs of life. A
dying light gleamed in those eyes once so brilliant. Then,
murmuring the words, “God and my country !” he quietly
expired.

Cyrus Harding, bending low, closed the eyes of him who
had once been the Prince Dakkar, and was now not even
Captain Nemo.

Herbert and Pencroft sobbed aloud. Tears fell from
Ayrton’s eyes. Neb was on his knees by the reporter’s
side, motionless as a statue.

Then Cyrus Harding, extending his hand over the fore-
head of the dead, said solemnly,—

“May his soul be with God! Let us pray!”

Some hours later the colonists fulfilled the promise made
to the captain by carrying out his dying wishes.

Cyrus Harding and his companions quitted the “Nau-
tilus,” taking with them the only memento left them
by their benefactor, that coffer which contained wealth

amounting to millions.
250 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

The marvellous saloon, still flooded with light, had been
carefully closed. The iron. door leading on deck was then
securely fastened in such a manner as to prevent even a
drop of water from penetrating to the interior of the
“ Nautilus.”

The colonists then descended into the canoe, which was
moored. to the side of the submarine vessel.

The canoe was now brought round to the stern. There,
at the water-line, were two large stop-cocks, communicating
with the reservoirs employed in the submersion of the
vessel.

The stop-cocks were opened, the reservoirs filled, and the
“Nautilus,” slowly sinking, disappeared beneath the sur-
face of the lake.

But: the colonists were yet able to follow its descent
through the waves. The powerful light it gave forth
lighted up the translucent water, while the cavern became
gradually obscure. At length this vast effusion of electric
light faded away, and soon after the “ Nautilus,” now the
tomb of Captain Nemo, reposed in its ocean bed,






, SINKING OF THE ‘‘ NAUTILUS.”
+ Pa; € 250.
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 251



CHAPTER XVIII.

REFLECTIONS OF THE COLONISTS—THEIR LABOURS OF
RECONSTRUCTION RESUMED—THE IST OF JANUARY,
1869—A CLOUD OVER THE SUMMIT OF THE VOLCANO
—FIRST WARNINGS OF AN ERUPTION—AYRTON AND
CYRUS HARDING AT THE CORRAL—EXPLORATION OF
THE DAKKAR GROTTO—WHAT CAPTAIN NEMO HAD
CONFIDED TO THE ENGINEER.

AT break of day the colonists regained in silence the
entrance of the ‘cavern, to which they gave the name of
“Dakkar Grotto,” in memory of Captain Nemo. It was
now low-water, and they passed without difficulty under
the arcade, washed on the right by the sea.

The canoe was left here, carefully protected from the
waves. As an excess of precaution, Pencroft, Neb, and
Ayrton drew it up on a little beach which bordered one of

the sides of the grotto, in a spot where it could run no risk

of harm.
252 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



The storm had ceased during the night. The last low
mutterings of the thunder died away in the west. Rain
fell no longer, but the sky was yet obscured by clouds.
On the whole, this month of October, the first of the
southern spring, was not ushered in by satisfactory tokens,
and the wind had a tendency to shift from one point of
the compass to another, which rendered it impossible to
count upon settled weather.

Cyrus Harding and his companions, on leaving Dakkar
Grotto, had taken the road to the corral. On their way
Neb and Herbert were careful to preserve the wire which
had been laid down by the captain between the corral and
the grotto, and which might at a future time be of service.

The colonists spoke but little on the road. The various
incidents of the night of the 15th October had left a pro-
found impression on their minds. The unknown being
whose influence had so effectually protected them, the man
whom their imagination had endowed with supernatural
powers, Captain Nemo, was no more. His “Nautilus” and
he were buried in the depths of the abyss. To each one
of them their existence seemed even more isolated than
before. They had been accustomed to count upon the
intervention of that power which existed no longer, and
Gideon Spilett, and even Cyrus Harding, could not escape
this impression. Thus they maintained a profound silence
during their journey to the corral.
TILE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 253



Towards nine in the morning the colonists arrived at
Granite House.

It had been agreed that the construction of the vessel
should be actively pushed forward, and Cyrus Harding
more than ever devoted his time and labour to this object.
It was impossible to divine what future lay before them.
Evidently the advantage to the colonists would be great
of having at their disposal a substantial vessel, capable of
keeping the sea even in heavy weather, and large enough
to attempt, in case of need, a voyage of some duration.
Even if, when their vessel should be completed, the
colonists should not resolve to leave Lincoln Island as yet,
in order to gain either one of the Polynesian archipelagos
of the Pacific or the shores of New Zealand, they might at
least, sooner or later, proceed to Tabor Island, to leave
there the notice relating to Ayrton. This was a precaution
rendered indispensable by the possibility of the Scotch
yacht reappearing in those seas, and it was of the highest
importance that nothing should be neglected on this point.

The works were then resumed. Cyrus Harding, Pen-
croft, and Ayrton, assisted by Neb, Gideon Spilett, and
Herbert, except when unavoidably called off by other
necessary occupations, worked without cessation. It was
important that the new vessel should be ready in five
months—that is to say, by the beginning of March—if
they wished to visit Tabor Island before the equinoctial
254 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

gales rendered the voyage impracticable. Therefore the
carpenters lost not a moment. Moreover, it was unneces-
sary to manufacture rigging, that of the “Speedy” having
been saved entire, so that the hull only of the vessel
needed to be constructed.

The end of the year 1868 found them occupied by these
important labours, to the exclusion of almost all others.
At the expiration of two months and a half the ribs had
been set up and the first planks adjusted. It was already
evident that the plans made by Cyrus Harding were
admirable, and that the vessel would behave well at
sea. ;
Pencroft brought to the task a devouring energy, and
scrupled not to grumble when one or the other abandoned
the carpenter's axe for the gun of the hunter. It was
nevertheless necessary to keep up the stores of Granite
House, in view of the approaching winter. But this did
not satisfy Pencroft. The brave honest sailor was not
content when the workmen were not at the dockyard.
When this happened he grumbled vigorously, and, by way
of venting his feelings, did the work of six men.

The weather was very unfavotrable during the whole of
the summer season. For some days the heat was over-
powering, and the atmosphere, saturated with electricity,
was only cleared by violent storms. It was rarely that the
distant growling of the thunder could not be heard, like a
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 255

low but incessant murmur, such as is produced in the
equatorial regions of the globe.

The ist of January, 1869, was signalized by a storm of
extreme violence, and the thunder burst several times over
the island. Large trees were struck by the electric fluid
and shattered, and among others one of those gigantic
micocouliers which shaded the poultry-yard at the southern
extremity of the lake. Had this meteor any relation to
the phenomena going on in the bowels of the earth? Was
there any connexion between the commotion of the atmo-
sphere and that of the interior of the earth? Cyrus
Harding was inclined to think that such was the case,
for the development of these storms was attended by the
renewal of volcanic symptoms.

It was on the 3rd of January that Herbert, having
ascended at daybreak to the plateau of Prospect Heights
to harness one of the onagas, perceived an enormous hat-
shaped cloud rolling from the summit of the volcano.

Herbert immediately apprised the colonists, who at once
joined him in watching the summit of Mount Franklin.

“ Ah!” exclaimed Pencroft, “those are not vapours this
time! It seems to me that the giant is not content with
breathing; he must smoke!”

This figure of speech employed by the sailor exactly
expressed the changes going on at the mouth of the
volcano. Already for three months had the crater emitted
256 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



vapours more or less dense, but which were as yet pro-
duced only by an internal ebullition of mineral substances.
But now the vapours were replaced by a thick smoke,
rising in the form of a greyish column, more than three
hundred feet in width at its base, and which spread like an
immense mushroom to a height of from seven to eight
hundred feet above the summit of the mountain.

“ The fire is in the chimney,” observed Gidcon
Spilett.

“ And we can’t put it out!” replied Herbert.

“The volcano ought to be swept,” observed Neb, who
spoke as if perfectly serious.

“Well said, Neb!” cried Pencroft, with a shout of
laughter ; “and you'll undertake the job, no doubt ?”

Cyrus Harding attentively observed the dense smoke
emitted by Mount Franklin, and even listened, as if ex-
pecting to hear some distant muttering. Then, turning
towards his companions, from whom he had gone some-
what apart, he said,—

“The truth is, my friends, we must not conceal from
ourselves that an important change is going forward. The
volcanic substances are no longer in a state of ebullition,
they have caught fire, and we are undoubtedly menaced
by an approaching eruption.

“Well, captain,” said Pencroft, “we shall witness the
eruption ; and if it is a good one, we'll applaud it. I don’t
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 257
see that we need concern ourselves further about the
matter.”

“It may be so,” replied Cyrus Harding, “ for the ancient
track of the lava is still open; and thanks to this, the
crater has hitherto overflowed towards the north. And
yet—”

“And yet, as we can derive no advantage from an
eruption, it might be better it should not take place,” said
the reporter.

“Who knows?” answered the sailor. Perhaps there
may be some valuable substance in this volcano, which it
will spout forth, and which we may turn to good account !”

Cyrus Harding shook his head with the air of a man
who augured no good from the phenomenon whose develop-
ment had been so sudden. He did not regard so lightly
as Pencroft the results of an eruption. Ifthe lava, in con-
sequence of the position of the crater, did not. directly
menace the wooded and cultivated parts of the island,
other complications might present themselves. In fact,
eruptions are not unfrequently accompanied by earth-
quakes; and an island of the nature of Lincoln Island
formed of substances so varied, basalt on one side, granite
on the other, lava on the north, rich soil on the south, sub-
stances which consequently could not be firmly attached
to each other, would be exposed to the risk of disintegra-
tion. Although, therefore, the spreading of the volcanic

Ss
258 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

matter might not constitute a serious danger, any move-
ment of the terrestrial structure which should shake the
island might entail the gravest consequences.

“Tt seems to me,” said Ayrton, who had reclined so as
to place his ear to the ground, “it seems to me that I can
hear a dull, rumbling sound, like that of a wagon loaded
with bars of iron.”

The colonists listened with the greatest attention, and
were convinced that Ayrton was not mistaken. The
rumbling was mingled with a subterranean roar, which
formed a sort of vinzforzando, and died slowly away, as if
some violent storm had passed through the profundities of
the globe. But no explosion, properly so termed, could be
heard. It might therefore be concluded that the vapours
and smoke found a free passage through the central shaft ;
and that the safety-valve being sufficiently large, no con-
vulsion would be produced, no explosion was to be
apprehended.

“Well, then !” said Pencroft, “are we not going back to
work? Let Mount Franklin smoke, groan, bellow, or
spout forth fire and flame as much as it pleases, that is no
reason why we should be idle! Come, Ayrton, Neb,
Herbert, Captain Harding, Mr. Spilett, every one of us
must turn to at our work to-day! We are going to place
the keelson, and a dozen pair of hands would not be too
many. Before two months I want our new ‘Bonadven-




































































































































































0.

NG OF THE VOLCAN

E RUMBLI

ISTENING TO TH

L
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 259



ture ”—for we shall keep the old name, shall we not >—to
float on the waters of Port Balloon! Therefore there is
not an hour to lose!”

All the colonists, their services thus requisitioned by
Pencroft, descended to the dockyard, and proceeded to place
the keelson, a thick mass of wood which forms the lower
portion of a ship and unites firmly the timbers of the hull.
It was an arduous undertaking, in which all took part.

They continued their labours during the whole of this
day, the 3rd of January, without thinking further of the
vo.cano, which could not, besides, be seen from the shore of
Granite House. But once or twice, large shadows, veiling
the sun, which described its diurnal arc through an ex-
tremely clear sky, indicated that a thick cloud of smoke
passed between its disc and the island. The wind, blow-
ing on the shore, carried all these vapours to the westward.
Cyrus Harding and Gideon Spilett remarked these sombre
appearances, and from time to time discussed the evident
progress of the volcanic phenomena, but their work went
on without interruption. It was, besides, of the first im-
portance from every point of view, that the vessel should
be finished with the least possible delay. In presence of
the eventualities which might arise, the safety of the
colonists would be to a great extent secured by their ship.
Who could tell that it might not prove some day their only
refuge ?

$2
260 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

In the evening, after supper, Cyrus Harding, Gideon
Spilett, and Herbert, again ascended the plateau of Pro-
spect Heights. It was already dark, and the obscurity
would permit them to ascertain if flames or incandescent
matter thrown up by the volcano were mingled with the
vapour and smoke accumulated at the mouth of the crater.

“The crater is on fire!” said Herbert, who, more active
than his companions, first reached the plateau.

Mount Franklin, distant about six miles, now appeared
like a gigantic torch, around the summ‘t of which turned
fuliginous flames. So much smoke, and possibly scoria
and cinders were mingled with them, that their light
gleamed but faintly amid the gloom of the night. Buta
kind of lurid brilliancy spread over the island, against
which stood out confusedly the wooded masses of the
heights. Immense whirlwinds of vapour obscured the sky,
through which glimmered a few stars.

“The change is rapid !” said the engineer.

“ That is not surprising,” answered the reporter. “The
re-awakening of the volcano already dates back some time.
You may remember, Cyrus, that the first vapours appeared
about the time we searched the sides of the mountain to
discover Captain Nemo’s retreat. It was, if I mistake not,
about the 15th of October.”

“Yes,” replied Herbert, “two months and a half ago!”

“The subterranean fires have therefore been smoulder-
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 261



ing for ten weeks,” resumed Gideon Spilett, “and it is not
to be wondered at that they now break out with such
violence |”

“Do not you feel a certain vibration of the soil?” asked
Cyrus Harding.

“Yes,” replied Gideon Spilett, “but there is a great
difference between that and an earthquake.”

“T do not affirm that we are menaced with an earth-
quake,” answered Cyrus Harding, “may God preserve us
from that! No; these vibrations are due to the effer-
vescence of the central fire. The crust of the earth is
simply the shell of a boiler, and you know that such a
shell, under the pressure of steam, vibrates like a sonorous
plate. It is this effect which is being produced at this
moment.”

“What magnificent flames!” exclaimed Herbert.

At this instant a kind of bouquet of flames shot forth
from the crater, the brilliancy of which was visible even
through the vapours. Thousands of luminous sheets and
barbed tongues of fire were cast in various directions,
Some, extending beyond the dome of smoke, dissipated
it, leaving behind an incandescent powder. This was
accompanied by successive explosions, resembling the
discharge of a battery of mitrailleuses.

Cyrus Harding, the reporter, and Herbert, after spend-
ing an hour on the plateau of Prospect Heights, again
252 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

descended to the beach, and returned to Granite House.
The engineer was thoughtful and preoccupied, so much so,
indeed, that Gideon Spilett inquired if he apprehended any
immediate danger, of which the eruption might directly
or indirectly be the cause.

“Yes, and no,” answered Cyrus Harding.

“ Nevertheless,” continued the reporter, “would not the
greatest misfortune which could happen to usbe an earth-
quake which would overturn the island? Now, I do not
suppose that this is to be feared, since the vapours and
lava have found a free outlet.”

“True,” replied Cyrus Harding, “and I do not fear an
earthquake in the sense in which the term is commonly
applied to convulsions of the soil provoked by the
expansion of subterranean gases. But other causes may
produce great disasters.

“ How so, my dear Cyrus?”

“Tam not certain, I must consider. I must visit the
mountain. In a few days I shall learn more on this
point.”

Gideon Spilett said no more, and soon, in spite of the
explosions of the volcano, whose intensity increased, and
which were repeated by the echoes of the island, the inha-
bitants of Granite House were sleeping soundly.

Three days passed by—the 4th, 5th, and 6th of January.
The construction of the vessel was diligently continued, and
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 263

without offering further explanations the engineer pushed
forward the work with all his energy. Mount Franklin
was now hooded by a sombre cloud of sinister aspect, and,
amid the flames, vomited forth incandescent rocks, some of
which fell back into the crater itself. This caused Pen-
croft, who would only look at the matter in the light of a
joke, to exclaim,—

“Ah! the giant is playing at cup and ball; he is a con-
juror.”

In fact, the substances thrown up fell back again into
the abyss, and it did not seem that the lava, though swollen
by the internal pressure, had yet risen to the orifice of the
crater. At any rate, the opening on the north-east, which
was partly visible, poured out no torrent upon the northern
slope of the mountain.

Nevertheless, however pressing was the construction of
the vessel, other duties demanded the presence of the
colonists on various portions of the island. Before every-
thing it was necessary to go to the corral, where the flocks
of musmons and’ goats were enclosed, and replenish the
provision of forage for those animals. It was accordingly
arranged that Ayrton should proceed thither the next day,
the 7th of January ; and as he was sufficient for the task, to
which he was accustomed, Pencroft and the rest were
somewhat surprised on hearing the engineer say to

Ayrton,—
204 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“As you are going to-morrow to the corral I will accom-
pany you.”

“But, Captain Harding,” exclaimed the sailor, “ our
working days will not be many, and if you go also we
shall be two pair of hands short!”

“We shall return to-morrow,” replied Cyrus Harding,
“but it is necessary that I should go to the corral. I
must learn how the eruption is progressing.”

“ The eruption ! always the eruption !” answered Pencroft,
with an air of discontent. “An important thing, truly,
this eruption! I trouble myself very little about it.”

Whatever might be the sailor’s opinion, the expedition
projected by the engineer was settled for the next day.
Herbert wished to accompany Cyrus Harding, but he
would not vex Pencroft by his absence.

The next day, at dawn, Cyrus Harding and Ayrton,
mounting the cart drawn by two onagas, took the road to
the corral and set off at a round trot.

Above the forest were passing large clouds, to which the
crater of Mount Franklin incessantly added fuliginous
matter. These clouds, which rolled heavily in the air, were
evidently composed of heterogeneous substances. It was
not alone from the volcano that they derived their strange
opacity and weight. Scoriz, in a state of dust, like pow-
dered pumice-stone, and greyish ashes as small as the
finest feculze, were held in suspension in the midst of their
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 205



thick folds. These ashes are so fine that they have been
observed in the air for whole months. After the eruption
of 1783 in Iceland for upwards of a year the atmosphere
was thus charged with volcanic dust through which the
rays of the sun were only with difficulty discernible.

But more often this pulverized matter falls, and this
happened on the present occasion. Cyrus Harding’ and
Ayrton had scarcely reached the corral when a sort of
black snow like fine gunpowder fell, and instantly changed
the appearance of the soil. Trees, meadows, all disap-
peared beneath a covering several inches in depth. But,
very fortunately, the wind blew from the north-east, and the
greater part of the cloud dissolved itself over the sea.

“This is very singular, Captain Harding,” said Ayrton.

“Tt is very serious,” replied the engineer. “This pow-
dered pumice-stone, all this mineral dust, proves how grave
is the convulsion going forward in the lower depths of the
volcano.”

“ But can nothing be done?”

“Nothing, except to note the progress of the phenome-
non. Do you, therefore, Ayrton, occupy yourself with the
necessary work at the corral. In the meantime I will
ascend just beyond the source of Red Creek and examine
the condition of the mountain upon its northern aspect.
Then—”

“Well, Captain Harding?”
266 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Then we will pay a visit to Dakkar Grotto. I wish to
inspect it. Atany rate I will come back for you in two
hours.”

Ayrton then proceeded to enter the corral, and, while
waiting the engineer’s return, busied himself with the mus-
mons and goats, which seemed to feel a certain uneasiness
in presence of these first signs of an eruption.

Meanwhile Cyrus Harding ascended the crest of the
eastern spur, passed Red Creek, and arrived at the spot
where he and his companions had discovered a sulphureous
spring at the time of their first exploration.

How changed was everything! Instead of a single
column of smoke he counted thirteen, forced through the
soil as if violently propelled by some piston. It was evi-
dent that the crust of the earth was subjected in this part
of the globe to a frightful pressure. The atmosphere was
saturated. with gases and carbonic acid, mingled with
aqueous vapours. Cyrus Harding felt the volcanic tufa
with which the plain was strewn, and which were but pul-
verized cinders hardened into solid blocks by time, tremble
beneath him, but he could discover no traces of fresh lava.

The engineer became more assured of this when he ob-
served all the northern part of Mount Franklin. Pillars of
smoke and flame escaped from the crater; a hail of scorie
fell on the ground; but no current of lava burst from the
mouth of the volcano, which proved that the volcanic mat-
























N

THE ERUPTIO

CHING

S HARDING WAT

CYRU

Page 266
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 267



ter had not yet attained the level of the superior orifice of
the central shaft.

“ But I would prefer that it were so,” said Cyrus Harding
to himself. “At any rate, I should then know that the
lava had followed its accustomed track. Who can say that
they may not take a new course? But the danger does
not consist in that! Captain Nemo foresaw it clearly!
No, the danger does not lie there!”

Gyrus Harding advanced towards the enormous cause-
way whose prolongation enclosed the narrow Shark Gulf.
He could now sufficiently examine on this side the ancient
channels of the lava. There was no doubt in his mind that
the most recent eruption had occurred at a far-distant
epoch.

He then returned by the same way, listening attentively
to the subterranean mutterings which rolled like. long-con-
tinued thunder, interrupted by deafening explosions. At
nine in the morning he reached the corral.

Ayrton awaited him.

“The animals are cared for, Captain Harding,” said
Ayrton,

“Good, Ayrton.”

“ They seem uneasy, Captain Harding.”

“Ves, instinct speaks through them, and instinct is never
deceived.”

“ Are you ready?”
268 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“Take a lamp, Ayrton,” answered the engineer ; “ we will
start at once.”

Ayrton didas desired. The onagas, unharnessed, roamed
in the corral. The gate was secured on the outside, and
Cyrus Harding, preceding Ayrton, took the narrow path
which led westward to the shore.

The soil they walked upon was choked with the pul-
verized matter fallen from the cloud. No quadruped
appeared in the woods, Even the birds had fled. Somce-
times a passing breeze raised the covering of ashes, and
the two colonists, enveloped in a whirlwind of -dust, lost
sight of each other. They were then careful to cover their
eyes and mouths with handkerchiefs, for they ran the risk
of being blinded and suffocated.

It was impossible for Cyrus Harding and Ayrton, with
these impediments, to make rapid progress. Moreover,
the atmosphere was close, as if the oxygen had been partly
burnt up, and had become unfit for respiration. At every
hundred paces they were obliged to stop to take breath. It
was therefore past ten o’clock when the engineer and his
companion reached the crest of the enormous mass of
rocks of basalt and porphyry which composed the north-
west coast of the island.

Ayrton and Cyrus Harding commenced the descent of
this abrupt declivity, following almost step for step the
difficult path which, during that stormy night, had led
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 269



them to Dakkar Grotto. In open day the descent was less
perilous, and, besides, the bed of ashes which covered the
polished surface of the rock enabled them to make their
footing: more secure.

The ridge at the end of the shore, about forty feet in
height, was soon reached. Cyrus Harding recollected that
this elevation gradually sloped towards the level of the sea.
Although the tide was at present low, no beach could be
seen, and the waves, thickened by the volcanic dust, beat
upon the basaltic rocks.

Cyrus Harding and Ayrion found without difficulty the
entrance to Dakkar Grotto, and paused for a moment at
the last rock before it.

“ The iron boat should be there,” said the engineer.

“Tt is here, Captain Harding,” replied Ayrton, drawing
towards him the fragile craft, which was protected by the
arch of the vault.

“On board, Ayrton!”

The two colonists stepped into the beat. A slight
undulation of the waves carried it farther under the low
arch of the crypt, and there Ayrton, with the aid of flint
and steel, lighted the lamp. He then took the oars,
and the lamp having been placed in the bow of the
boat, so that its rays fell before them, Cyrus Harding
took the helm and steered through the shades of the
grotto.
270 TIIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

The “Nautilus” was there no longer to illuminate the
cavern with its electric light. Possibly it might not yet be
extinguished, but no ray escaped from the depths of the
abyss in which reposed all that was mortal of Captain
Nemo.

The light afforded by the lamp, although feeble, never-
theless enabled the engineer to advance slowly, following
the wall of the cavern. A deathlike silence reigned under
the vaulted roof, or at least in the anterior portion, for soon
Cyrus Harding distinctly heard the rumbling which pro-
ceeded from the bowels of the mountain.

“ That comes from the volcano,” he said.

Besides these sounds, the presence of chemical com-
binations was soon betrayed by their powerful odour, and
the engineer and his companion were almost suffocated by
sulphureous vapours.

“This is what Captain Nemo feared,” murmured Cyrus
Harding, changing countenance. “We must go to the
end, notwithstanding.”

“Forward!” replied Ayrton, bending to his oars and
directing the boat towards the head of the cavern.

Twenty-five minutes after entering the mouth of the
grotto the boat reached the extreme end.

Cyrus Harding then, standing up, cast the light of the
lamp upon the walls of the cavern which separated it from
the central shaft of the volcano. What was the thickness






Page 271

TO.

KAR GROT

DAK

CANO WALL IN

OL!

THE V
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 71



of this wall? It might be ten feet or a hundred feet—it
was impossible to say. But the subterranean sounds were
too perceptible to allow of the supposition that it was
of any great thickness. .

The engineer, after having explored the wall at a certain
height horizontally, fastened the lamp to the end of an
oar, and again surveyed the basaltic wall at a greater
elevation.

There, through scarcely visible clefts and joinings,
escaped a pungent vapour, which infected the atmosphere
of the cavern. The wall.was broken by large cracks, some
of which extended to within two. or three feet.of. the
water’s edge.

Cyrus Harding thought for a brief space. Then he said
in a low voice,—

“Ves! the captain was right! The danger lies there,
and a terrible danger!”

Ayrton said not a word, but, upon a sign from Cyrus
Harding, resumed the oars, and half an hour later the
engineer and he reached the entrance of Dakkar Grotto,
dS

72 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

CHAPTER XIX.

CYRUS HARDING GIVES AN ACCOUNT OF HIS EXPLORA-
TION—THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SHIP PUSHED
FORWARD—A LAST VISIT TO THE CORRAL—THE
BATTLE BETWEEN FIRE AND WATER—ALL THAT
REMAINS OF THE ISLAND—IT IS DECIDED TO
LAUNCH THE VESSEL—THE NIGHT OF THE 8TII

OF MARCH.

THE next day, the 8th of January, after a day and night
passed at the corral, where they left all in order, Cyrus
Harding and Ayrton arrived at Granite House.

The engineer immediately called his companions to-
gether, and informed them of the imminent danger which
threatened Lincoln Island, and from which no human
power could deliver them. |

“ My friends,” he said, and his voice betrayed the depth
of his emotion, “ our island is not among those which will
endure while this earth endures, It is doomed to more or
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 273

less speedy destruction, the cause of which it bears within
itself, and from which nothing can save it.”

The colonists looked at each other, then at the engineer.
They did not clearly comprehend him.

“Explain yourself, Cyrus!” said Gideon Spilett.

“T will do so,” replied Cyrus Harding, “ or rather I will
simply afford you the explanation which, during our few
minutes of private conversation, was given me by Captain
Nemo.”

“Captain Nemo!” exclaimed the colonists.

“Ves, and it was the last service he desired to render us.
before his death !”

“The last service!” exclaimed Pencroft, “the last ser-.
vice! ‘You will see that though he is dead he will render
us others yet!”

“ But what did the captain say ?” inquired the reporter.

“T will tell you, my friends,” said the engineer. “ Lin-
coln Island does not resemble the other islands of the
Pacific, and a fact of which Captain Nemo has made me
cognizant must sooner or later bring about the subversion
of its foundation.”

“Nonsense! Lincoln Island, it can’t be!” cried Pen-
croft, who, in spite of the respect he felt for Cyrus Harding,
could not prevent a gesture of incredulity.

“Listen, Pencroft,” resumed the engineer, “I will tell you
what Captain Nemo communicated to me, and which I

2
274. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

myself confirmed yesterday, during the exploration of
Dakkar Grotto. This cavern stretches under the island as
fas as the volcano, and is only separated from its central
shaft by the wall which terminates it. Now, this wall is
seamed with fissures and clefts which already allow the
sulphureous gases generated in the interior of the volcano
to escape.

“Well?” said Pencroft, his brow suddenly contracting.

“Well, then, I saw that these fissures widen under the
internal pressure from within, that the wall of basalt is
gradually giving way, and that after a longer or shorter
period it will afford a passage to the waters of the lake
which fill the cavern.”

“Good!” replied Pencroft, with an attempt at pleasantry.
“The sea will extinguish the volcano, and there will be an
end of the matter!”

“Not so!” said Cyrus Harding, “should a day arrive
when the sea, rushing through the wall of the cavern, pene-
trates by the central shaft into the interior of the island to
the boiling lava, Lincoln Island will that day be blown into
the air—just as would happen to the island of Sicily were
the Mediterranean to precipitate itself into Mount Etna.”

The colonists made no answer to these significant words
of the engineer. They now understood the danger by
which they were menaced.

It may be added that Cyrus Harding had in no way
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 275

exaggerated the danger to be apprehended. Many per-
sons have formed an idea that it would be possible to
extinguish volcanoes, which are almost always situated on
the shores of a sea or lake, by opening a passage for the
admission of the water. But they are not aware that this
would be to incur the risk of blowing up a portion of the
globe, like a boiler whose steam is suddenly expanded by
intense heat. The water, rushing into a cavity whose
temperature might be estimated at thousands of degrees,
would be converted into steam with a sudden energy which
no enclosure could resist.

It was not therefore doubtful that the island, menaced
by a frightful and approaching convulsion, would endure
only so long as the wall of Dakkar Grotto itself should
endure. It was not even a question of months, nor of
weeks ; but of days, it might be of hours.

The first sentiment which the colonists felt was that of
profound sorrow. They thought not so much of the peril
which menaced themselves personally, but of the destruc-
tion of the island which had sheltered them, which they
had cultivated, which they loved so well, and had hoped to
render so flourishing. So much effort ineffectually ex-
pended, so much labour lost.

Pencroft could not prevent a large tear from rolling
down his cheek, nor did he attempt to conceal it.

Some further conversation now took place. The chances

T2
276 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

yet in favour of the colonists were discussed ; but finally it
was agreed that there was not an hour to be lost, that the
building and fitting of the vessel should be pushed forward
with their utmost energy, and that this was the sole chance
of safety for the inhabitants of Lincoln Island.

All hands, therefore, set to work on the vessel. What
could it now avail to sow, to reap, to hunt, to increase the
stores of Granite House? The contents of the storehouse
and outbuildings contained more than sufficient to provide
the ship for a voyages, however long might be its duration.
But it was imperative that the ship should be ready to
receive them before the inevitable catastrophe should
arrive.

Their labours were now carried on with feverish ardour.
By the 23rd of January the vessel was half-decked over.
Up to this time no change had taken place in the summit
of the volcano. Vapour and smoke mingled with flames
and incandescent stones were thrown up from the crater.
But during the night of the 23rd, in consequence of the
java attaining the level of the first stratum of the volcano,
the hat-shaped cone which formed over the latter disap-
peared. A frightful sound was heard. The colonists at
first thought the island was rent asunder, and rushed out
of Granite House.

This occurred about two o’clock in the morning.

The sky appeared on fire, The superior cone, a mass of
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 277

rock a thousand feet in height, and weighing thousands of
millions of pounds, had been thrown down upon the island,
making it tremble to its foundation. Fortunately, this
cone inclined to the north, and had fallen upon the plain of
sand and tufa stretching between the volcano and the sea.
The aperture of the crater being thus enlarged projected
towards the sky a glare so intense that by the simple effect
of reflection the atmosphere appeared red-hot. At the
same time a torrent of lava, bursting from the new summit,
poured out in long cascades, like water escaping from a
vase too full, and a thousand tongues of fire crept over the
sides of the volcano.

“The corral! the corral!” exclaimed Ayrton.

It was, in fact, towards the corral that the lava was
rushing, as the new crater faced the east, and consequently
the fertile portions of the island, the springs of Red Creek
and Jacamar Wood, were menaced with instant destruc-
tion.

At Ayrton’s cry the colonists rushed to the onagas’
stables. The cart was at once harnessed. All were pos-
sessed by the same thought—to hasten to the corral and
set at liberty the animals it enclosed.

Before three in the morning they arrived at the corral.
The cries of the terrified musmons and goats indicated the
alarm which possessed them. Alrcady a torrent of burning
matter and liquefied minerals fell from the side of the
278 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



mountain upon the meadows as far as the side of the pali-
sade. The gate was burst open by Ayrton, and the
animals, bewildered with terror, fled in all directions.

An hour afterwards the boiling lava filled the corral,
converting into vapour the water of the little rivulet which
ran through it, burning up the house like dry grass, and
leaving not even a post of the palisade to mark the spot
where the corral once stood.

To contend against this disaster would have been folly—
nay, madness. In presence of Nature’s grand convulsions
man is powerless.

It was now daylight—the 24th of January. Cyrus
Harding and his companions, before returning to Granite
House, desired to ascertain the probable direction this
inundation of lava was about to take. The soil sloped
gradually from Mount Franklin to the east coast, and it
was to be feared that, in spite of the thick Jacamar Wood,
the torrent would reach the plateau of Prospect Heights.

“The lake will cover us,” said Gideon Spilett.

“T hope so!” was Cyrus Harding’s only reply.

The colonists were desirous of reaching the plain upon
which the superior cone of Mount Franklin had fallen, but
the lava arrested their progress. It had followed, on one
side, the valley of Red Creek, and on the other that of
Falls River, evaporating those watercourses in its passage.
There was no possibility of crossing the torrent of lava; on
—
if y .
YY























































THE COLONISTS TOOK SHELTER IN THE BORDERS OF JACAMAR WOOD.

Page 279.
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 279



the contrary, the colonists were obliged to retreat before it.
The volcano, without its crown, was no longer recognizable,
terminated as it was by a sort of flat table which replaced
the ancient crater. From two openings in its southern and
eastern sides an unceasing flow of lava poured forth, thus
forming two distinct streams. Above the new crater a
cloud of smoke and ashes, mingled with those of the atmo-
sphere, massed over the island. Loud peals of thunder
broke, and could scarcely be distinguished from the rum-
blings of the mountain, whose mouth vomited forth ignited
rocks, which, hurled to more than a thousand feet, burst in
the air like shells. Flashes of lightning rivalled in intensity
the volcano’s eruption.

Towards seven in the morning the position was no longer
tenable by the colonists, who accordingly took shelter in
the borders of Jacamar Wood. Not only did the projec-
tiles begin to rain around them, but the lava, overflowing
the bed of Red Creek, threatened to cut off the road to the
corral. The nearest rows of trees caught fire, and their
sap, suddenly transformed into vapour, caused them to
explode with loud reports, whilst others, less moist, re-
mained unhurt in the midst of the inundation.

The colonists had again taken the road to the corral.
They proceeded but slowly, frequently looking back ; but,
in consequence of the inclination of the soil, the lava
gained rapidly in the east, and as its lower waves became
280 TIE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.
solidified others at boiling heat covered them imme-
diately.

Meanwhile, the principal stream of Red Creek valley
became more and more menacing. All this portion of the
forest was on fire, and enormous wreaths of smoke rolled
over the trees, whose trunks were already consumed by the
lava.

The colonists halted near the lake, about half a mile
from the month of Red Creck. A question of life or death
was now to be decided.

Cyrus Harding, accustomed to the consideration of im-
portant crises, and aware that he was addressing men
capable of hearing the truth, whatever it might be, then
said,—

“ Tither the lake will arrest the progress of the lava, and
a part of the island will be preserved from utter destruc-
tion, or the stream will overrun the forests of the Far
West, and not a tree or plant will remain on the surface of
the soil. We shall have no prospect but that of starvation
upon these barren rocks—a death which will prone be
anticipated by the explosion of the island.”

“In that case,” replied Pencroft, folding his arms and
stamping his foot, “ what’s the use of working any longer
on the vessel ?”

“ Pencroft,” answered Cyrus Harding, “we must do our
duty to the last!”
NIN

\ I \
UY
\ \\

\\ \

\ \
\

















THE TORRENT PRECIPIVATED ITSELF INTO LAKE GRANT.
t Page 281.
THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND. 281

At this instant the river of lava, after having broken a
passage through the noble trees it devoured in its course,
reached the borders of the lake. At this point there was
an elevation of the soil which, had it been greater, might
have sufficed to arrest the torrent.

“To work!” cried Cyrus Harding.

The engineer's thought was at once understood. It
might be possible to dam, as it were, the torrent, and thus
compel it to pour itself into the lake.

The colonists hastened to the dockyard. - They returned
with shovels, picks, axes, and by means of banking the
carth with the aid of fallen trees they succceded in a few
hours in raising an embankment three feet high and some
hundreds-of paces in length. It scemed to them, when
they had finished, as if they had scarcely been working
more than a few minutcs.

It was not a moment too soon. The liquefied substances
soon after reached the bottom of the barrier. The stream
of lava swelled like a river about to overflow its banks, and
threatened to demolish the sole obstacle which could pre-
vent it from overrunning the whole Far West. But the
dam held firm, and after a moment of terrible suspense the
torrent precipitated itself into Grant Lake from a height of
twenty feet.

The colonists, without moving or uttering a word,
breathlessly regarded this strife of the two elements.
282 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

What a spectacle was this conflict between water and
fire!’ What pen could describe the marvellous horror of
this scene—what pencil could depict it? The water hissed
as it evaporated by contact with the boiling lava. The
vapour whirled in the air to an immeasurable height, as if
the valves of an immense boiler had been suddenly opened.
But, however considerable might be the volume of water
contained in the lake, it must eventually be absorbed,
because it was not replenished, whilst the stream of lava,
fed from an inexhaustible source, rolled on without ceasing
new waves of incandescent matter.

The first waves of lava which fell inthe lake immediately
solidified, and accumulated so as speedily to emerge from
it. Upon their surface fell other waves, which in their
turn became stone, but a step nearer the centre of the lake.
In this manner was formed a pier which threatened to
gradually fill up the lake, which could not overflow, the
water displaced by the lava being evaporated. The hissing
of the water rent the air with a deafening sound, and the
vapour, blown by the wind, fell in rain upon the sea. The
pier became longer and longer, and the blocks of lava piled
themselves one on another. Where formerly stretched the
calm waters of the lake now appeared an enormous mass of
smoking rocks, as if an upheaving of the soil had formed
immense shoals. Imagine the waters of the lake aroused
by a hurricane, then suddenly solidified by an intense frost,
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 283



and some conception may be formed of the aspect of the
lake three hours after the irruption of this irresistible
torrent of lava.

This time water would be vanquished by fire.

Nevertheless it was a fortunate circumstance for the
colonists that the effusion of lava should have been in the
direction of Lake Grant. They had before them some
days’ respite. The plateau of Prospect Heights, Granite
House, and the dockyard were for the moment preserved.
And these few days it was necessary to employ them in
planking, carefully caulking the vessel, and launching her.
The colonists would then take refuge on board the vessel,
content to rig her after she should be afloat on the waters.
With the ‘danger of an explosion which threatened to
destroy the island there could be no security on shore.
The walls of Granite House, once so sure a retreat, might
at any moment fall in upon them. ,

During the six following days, from the 25th to the 30th
of January, the colonists accomplished as much of the con-
struction of their vessel as twenty men could have done.
They hardly allowed themselves a moment’s repose, and
the glare of the flames which shot from the crater enabled
them to work night and day. The flow of lava continued,
but perhaps less abundantly. This was fortunate, for Lake
Grant was almost entirely choked up, and if more lava
should accumulate it would inevitably spread over the
284 : THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

plateau of Prospect Heights, and thence upon the
beach.

But if the island was thus partially protected on this
side, it was not so with the western part.

In fact, the second stream of lava, which had followed the
valley of Falls River, a valley of great extent, the land on
both sides of the creek being flat, met with no obstacle.
The burning liquid had then spread through the forest of
the Far West. , At this period of the year, when the trees
were dried up by a tropical heat, the forest caught fire in-
stantaneously, in such a manner that the conflagration
extended itself both by the trunks of the trees and by their
higher branches, whose interlacement favoured its progress.
It even appeared that the current of flame spread more
rapidly among the summits of the trecs than the current
of lava at their bases.

Thus it happened that the wild animals, jaguars, wild
boars, cabybaras, koulas, and game of every kind, mad with
terror, had fled to the banks of the Mercy and to the Tadorn
Marsh, beyond the road to Port Balloon. But the colonists
were too much occupied with their task to pay any atten-
tion to even the most formidable of these animals. They
had abandoned Granite House, and would not even take
shelter at the Chimneys, but encamped under a tent, near
the mouth of the Mercy.

Each day Cyrus Harding and Gideon Spilctt ascended
bo
OD
uw

THE SECRET OF TIIE ISLAND,



the plateau of Prospect Heights. Sometimes Herbert
accompanied them, but never Pencroft, who could not bear
to look upon the prospect of the island now so utterly
devastated. .

It was, in truth, a heart-rending spectacle. All the
wooded part of the island was now completely bare. One
single clump of green trees raised their heads at the ex-
tremity of Serpentine Peninsula. Here and there were a
few grotesque blackened and branchless stumps. The site
of the devastated forest was even more barren than Tadorn
Marsh. The irruption of the lava had been complete.
Where formerly sprang up that charming verdure, the soil
was now nothing but a savage mass of volcanic tufa. In
the valleys of the Falls and Mercy rivers no drop of water
now flowed towards the sea, and should Lake Grant be
entirely dried up, the colonists would have no means of
quenching their thirst. But, fortunately, the lava had
spared the southern corner of the lake, containing all that
remained of the drinkable water of the island. Towards
the north-west stood out the rugged and well-defined out-
lines of the sides of the volcano, like a gigantic claw hover-
ing over the island. What a sad and fearful sight, and
how painful to the colonists, who, from a fertile domain
covered with forests, irrigated by watercourses, and en-
riched by the produce of their toils, found themselves, as it

were, transported to a desolate rock, upon which, but for
286 THE MYSTERIOUS. ISLAND.



their reserves of provisions, they could not even gather the
means of subsistence !

“Tt is enough to break one’s heart!” said Gideon Spilett,
one day. .

“Yes, Spilett,” answered the engineer. “ May God grant
us the time to complete this vessel, now our sole refuge!”

“Do not you think, Cyrus, that the violence of the erup-
tion has somewhat lessened? The volcano still vomits
forth lava, but somewhat less abundantly, if I mistake
not.”

“Tt matters little,” answered Cyrus Harding. “The fire
is still burning in the interior of the mountain, and the sea
may break in at any moment. We are in the condition of
passengers whose ship is devoured by a conflagration which
they cannot extinguish, and who know that sooner or later
the flames must reach the powder-magazine. To work,
Spilett, to work, and let us not lose an hour !”

During eight days more, that is to say until the 7th of
February, the lava continued to flow, but the eruption was
confined within the previous limits. Cyrus Harding feared
above all lest the liquefied matter should overflow the shore,
for in that event the dockyard could not escape. More-
over, about this time the colonists felt in the frame of the
island vibrations which alarmed them to the highest
degree.

It was the 20th of February. Yet another month must
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 287
elapse before the vessel would be ready for sea. Would
the island hold together till then? The intention of Pen-
croft and Cyrus Harding was to launch the vessel as soon
as the hull should be complete. The deck, the upper-
works, the interior woodwork and the rigging, might be
finished afterwards, but the essential point was that the
colonists should have an assured refuge away from the
island.. Perhaps it might be even better to conduct the
vessel to Port Balloon, that is to say, as far as possible
from the centre of eruption, for at the mouth of the Mercy,
between the islet and the wall of granite, it would run the
risk of being crushed in the event of any convulsion. All
the exertions of the voyagers were therefore concentrated
upon the completion of the hull.

Thus the 3rd of March arrived, and they might calculate
upon launching the vessel in ten days.

Hope revived in the hearts of the colonists, who had, in
this fourth year of their sojourn on Lincoln Island, suffered
so many trials. Even Pencroft lost in some measure the
sombre taciturnity occasioned by the devastation and ruin
of his domain. His hopes, it is true, were concentrated
upon his vessel.

“We shall finish it,” he said to the engineer, “we shall
finish it, captain, and it is time, for the season is advancing
and the equinox will soon be here. Well, if necessary, we
must put in to Tabor Island to spend the winter. But
288 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,

think of Tabor Island after Lincoln Island. Ah, how un-
fortunate! Who could have believed it possible ?”

“Let us get on,” was the engineer's invariable reply.

And they worked away without losing a moment.

“ Master,” asked Neb, a few days later, “do you think
all this could have happened if Captain Nemo had been
still alive ?”

“Certainly, Neb,” answered Cyrus Harding.

“T, for one, don’t believe it!” whispered Pencroft to
Neb.

“Nor I!” answered Neb seriously.

During the first week of March appearances again
became menacing. Thousands of threads like glass,
formed of fluid lava, fell like rain upon the island. The
crater was again boiling with lava which overflowed the
back of the volcano. The torrent flowed along the surface
of the hardened tufa, and destroyed the few meagre skele-
tons of trees which had withstood the first eruption. The
stream flowing this time towards the south-west shore of
Lake Grant, stretched beyond Creek Glycerine, and invaded
the plateau of Prospect Heights. This last blow to the work
of the colonists was, terrible. The mill, the buildings
of the inner court, the stables, were all destroyed. The
affrighted poultry fled in all directions. Top and Jup
showed signs of the. greatest alarm, as if their instinct
warned them of an impending catastrophe. A large num-
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 289

ber of the animals of the island had perished in the first
eruption. Those which survived found no refuge but
Tadorn Marsh, save a few to which the plateau of Prospect
Heights afforded an asylum. But even this last retreat
was now closed to them, and the lava-torrent, flowing over
the edge of the granite wall, began to pour down upon the
beach its cataracts of fire. The sublime horror of this
spectacle passed all description. During the night it could
only be compared to a Niagara of molten fluid, with its
incandescent vapours above and its boiling masses
below.

The colonists were driven to their last entrenchment, and
although the upper seams of the vessel were not yet caulked,
they decided to launch her at once.

Pencroft and Ayrton therefore set about the neces-
sary preparations for the launch, which was to take
place the morning of the next day, the oth of
March.

But, during the night of the 8th an enormous column of
vapour escaping from the crater rose with frightful explo-
sions to a height of more than three thousand feet. The
wall of Dakkar Grotto had evidently given way under the
pressure of the gases, and the sea, rushing through the
central shaft into the igneous gulf, was at once converted
into vapour. But the crater could not afford a sufficient
outlet for this vapour. An explosion, which might have

U
290 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

been heard at a distance of a hundred miles, shook the air.
Fragments of mountains fell into the Pacific, and, in a few
minutes, the ocean rolled over the spot where Lincoln
Island once stood,






XPLOSION.

E

THE

ge 290

Pa:
TIIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 2901



CHAPTER XX,

AN ISOLATED ROCK IN THE PACIFIC—THE LAST REFUGE
OF THE COLONISTS OF LINCOLN ISLAND—DEATH
THEIR ONLY PROSPECT— UNEXPECTED SUCCOUR—
WHY AND HOW IT ARRIVES—A LAST KINDNESS—AN
ISLAND ON TERRA FIRMA—THE TOMB OF CAPTAIN
PRINCE DAKKAR NEMO.

AN isolated rock, thirty feet in length, twenty in breadth,
scarcely ten from the water’s edge, such was the only solid
point which the waves of the Pacific had not engulfed.

It was all that remained of the structure of Granite
House! The wall had fallen headlong and been then
shattered to fragments, and a few of the rocks of the large
room were piled one above another to form this point. All
around had disappeared in the abyss; the inferior cone of
Mount Franklin, rent asunder by the explosion; the lava
jaws of Shark Gulf, the plateau of Prospect Heights,
Safety Islet, the granite rocks of Port Balloon, the basalts
of Dakkar Grotto, the long Serpentine Peninsula, so dis-

U 2
292 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



tant nevertheless from the centre of the eruption. All that
could now be seen of Lincoln Island was the narrow rock
which now served as a refuge to the six colonists and their
dog Top.

The animals had also perished in the catastrophe; the
birds, as well as those representing the fauna of the island
—all either crushed or drowned, and the unfortunate Jup
himself had, alas! found his death in some crevice of the
soil.

If Cyrus Harding, Gideon Spilett, Herbert, Pencroft,
Neb, and Ayrton had survived, it was because, assembled
under their tent, they had been hurled into the sea at the
instant when the fragments of the island rained down on
every side.

When they reached the surface they could only perceive,
at half a cable’s length, this mass of rocks, towards which
they swam and on which they found footing.

On this barren rock they had now existed for nine days.
A few provisions taken from the magazine of Granite
House before the catastrophe, a little fresh water from the
rain which had fallen in a hollow of the rock, was all that
the unfortunate colonists possessed. Their last hope, the
vessel, had been shattered to pieces. They had no means
of quitting the reef ; no fire, nor any means of obtaining it.
It seemed that they must inevitably perish.

This day, the 18th of March, there remained only provi-
‘THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND, 293



sions for two days, although they limited their consumption
to the bare necessaries of life. All their science and intel-
ligence could avail them nothing in their present position.
They were in the hand of God.

Cyrus Harding was calm, Gideon Spilett more nervous,
and Pencroft, a prey to sullen anger, walked to and fro on
the rock. Herbert did not fora moment quit the engineer's
side as if demanding from him that assistance he had no
power to give. Neb and Ayrton were resigned to their fate.

“ Ah, what a misfortune! what a misfortune!” often re-
peated Pencroft. “If we had but a walnut-shell to take us
to Tabor Island! But we have nothing, nothing!”

“Captain Nemo did right to die,” said Neb.

During the five ensuing days Cyrus Harding and his un-

«

fortunate companions husbanded their provisions with the
most extreme care, eating only what would prevent them
from succumbing to starvation. Their weakness was ex-
treme. Herbert and Neb began to show symptoms of
delirium.

Under these circtmstances was it possible for them to
retain even the shadow of a hope? No! What was their
sole remaining chance? That a vessel should appear in
sight off the rock? But they knew only too well from ex-
perience that no ships ever visited this part of the Pacific.
Could they calculate that, by a truly providential coinci-
dence, the Scotch yacht would arrive precisely at this time
294 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

in search of Ayrton at Tabor Island? It was scarcely
probable ; and, besides, supposing she should come there,
as the colonists had not been able to deposit a notice
pointing out Ayrton’s. change of abode, the commander of
the yacht, after having explored Tabor Island without
result, would again set sail and return to lower latitudes.

No! no hope of being saved could be retained, and a
horrible death, death from hunger and thirst, awaited them
upon this rock.

Already they were stretched on the rock, inanimate,
and no longer conscious of what passed around them.
Ayrton alone, by a supreme effort, from time to time
raised his head, and cast a despairing glance over the
desert ocean.

But on the morning of the 24th of March Ayrton’s arms
were extended towards a point in the horizon; he raised
himself, at first on his knees, then upright, and his hand
seemed to make a signal.

A sail was in sight off the rock. She was evidently
not without an object. The reef was the mark for which
she was making in a direct line, under all steam, and the
unfortunate colonists. might have made her out some hours
before if they had had the strength to watch the horizon.

“The ‘Duncan’!” murmured Ayrton—and fell back
without sign of life.

y ale ste fo
ok K Pn os - og as
THE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 295





When Cyrus Harding and his companions recovered
consciousness, thanks to the attention lavished upon them,
they found themselves in the cabin of a steamer, with-
out being able to comprehend how they had escaped
death.

A word from Ayrton explained everything.

“The ‘ Duncan’!” he murmured.

“The ‘Duncan’!” exclaimed Cyrus Harding. And
raising his hand to Heaven, he said, “Oh! Almighty God!
mercifully hast Thou preserved us!”

It was, in fact, the “ Duncan,” Lord Glenarvon’s yacht,
now commanded by Robert, son of Captain Grant, who
had been despatched to Tabor Island to find Ayrton, and
bring him .back to his native land after twelve years of
expiation.

The colonists were not only saved, but already on the
way to their native country.

“Captain Grant,” asked Cyrus Harding, “who can
have suggested to you the idea, after having left Tabor
Island, where you did not find Ayrton, of coming a
hundred miles farther north-east ?”

“Captain Harding,” replied Robert Grant, “it was in
order to find, not only Ayrton, but yourself and your
companions.”

“My companions and myself?”

“ Doubtless, at Lincoln Island.”
296 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

“At Lincoln Island!” exclaimed in a breath Gideon
Spilett, Herbert, Neb, and Pencroft, in the highest degree
astonished, |

“How could you be aware of the existence or Lincoln
Island?” inquired Cyrus Harding, “it is not even named
in the charts.”

“TI knew of it from a document left by you on Tabor
Island,” answered Robert Grant.

“ A document?” cried Gideon Spilett.

“Without doubt, and here it is,” answered Robert
Grant, producing a paper which indicated the longitude
and latitude of Lincoln Island, “the present residence of
Ayrton and five American colonists.”

“Tt is Captain Nemo!” cried Cyrus Harding, after
having read the notice, and recognized that the hand-
writing was similar to that of the paper found at the corral.

“Ah!” said Pencroft, “itwas then he who took our
‘Bonadventure’ and hazarded himself alone to go to
Tabor Island!”

“Tn order to leave this notice,” added Herbert.

“JT was then right in saying,” exclaimed the sailor, “that
even after his death the captain would render us a last
service.” .

“My friends,” said Cyrus Harding, in a voice of the
profoundest emotion, “may the God of mercy have had
pity on the soul of Captain Nemo, our benefactor!”
TIE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 2907





The colonists uncovered themselves at these last words
of Cyrus Harding, and murmured the name of Captain
Nemo. .

Then Ayrton, approaching the engineer, said simply,
“Where should this coffer be deposited ?”

It was the coffer which Ayrton had saved at the risk
of his life, at the very instant that the island had been
engulfed, and which he now faithfully handed to the
engineer,

“Ayrton! Ayrton!” said Cyrus Harding, deeply
touched. Then, addressing Robert Grant, “Sir,” he added,
“you left behind you a criminal; you find in his place a
man who has become honest by penitence, and whose
hand I am proud to clasp in mine.”

Robert Grant was now made acquainted with the strange
history of Captain Nemo and the colonists of Lincoln
Island. Then, observations being taken of what remained
of this shoal, which must henceforward figure on the charts
of the Pacific, the order was given to make all sail.

A few weeks afterwards the colonists landed in
America, and found their country once more at peace
after the terrible conflict in which right and justice had
triumphed.

Of the treasures contained in the coffer left by Captain
Nemo to the colonists of Lincoln Island, the larger portion
was employed in the purchase of a vast territory in the
298 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.



State of Iowa. One pearl alone, the finest, was reserved
from the treasure and sent to Lady Glenarvon in the name
of the castaways restored to their country by the “ Duncan.”

There, upon this domain, the colonists invited to labour,
that is to say, to wealth and happiness, all those to whom
they had hoped to offer the hospitality of Lincoln Island.
There was founded a vast colony to which they gave the
name of that island sunk beneath the waters of the Pacific.
A river was there called the Mercy, a mountain took the
name of Mount Franklin, a small lake was named. Lake
Grant, and the forests became the forests of the Far West.
It might have been an island on terra firma.

There, under the intelligent hands of the engineer: and
his companions, everything prospered. Not one of the
former colonists of Lincoln Island was absent, for they had
sworn to live always together. Neb was with his master ;
Ayrton was there ready to sacrifice himself for all; Pen-
croft was more a farmer than he had even been a sailor ;
Herbert, who completed his studies under the superinten-
dence of Cyrus Harding ; and Gideon Spilett, who founded
the New Lincoln Herald, the best-informed journal in
the world. '

There Cyrus Harding and his companions received at
intervals visits from Lord and Lady Glenarvon, Captain
John Mangles and his wife, the sister of Robert Grant,
Robert Grant himself, Major McNab, and all those who
TUE SECRET OF THE ISLAND. 299



had taken part in the history both of Captain Grant and
Captain Nemo.

There, to conclude, all were happy, united in the present
as they had béen in the past; but never could they forget
that island upon which they had arrived poor and friend-
less, that island which, during four years, had supplied all
their wants, and of which there remained but a fragment of
granite washed by the waves of the Pacific, the tomb of
him who had borne the name of Captain Nemo.

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