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In Search of the Castaways

by Jules Verne

February, 2000  [Etext #2083]


Project Gutenberg Etext In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne
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This etext was prepared by Judy Boss, Omaha, NE





Note: I have made the following changes to the text:
PAGE  LINE  ORIGINAL                  CHANGED TO
   5    31  drank                     drunk
  13    22  shores.                   shores."
  13    27  Lady Glenarvan.           Lord Glenarvan.
  16    29  up ,Halbert."             up, Halbert."
  25    13  <i>sang froid</i>.        <i>sang-froid</i>.
  25    26  maneuvring                maneuvering
  31    12  unmistakingly             unmistakably
  34    19  Celedonian                Caledonian
  36    27  France.                   France."
  40    28  occular                   ocular
  51    38  exceptions                exception
  52     6  prisoniers</i>,           prisonniers</i>,
  53    34  reconnoitred              reconnoitered
  54    38  Corientes                 Corrientes
  56    10  Colts                     Colt's
  63    32  have attempted            would have attempted
  67    30  Mount Blanc.              Mont Blanc.
  67    36  Nevados                   Nevadas
  62    38  impassible."              impassable."
  83    20  returns                   returned
  83    38  Cameans,                  Camoens,
  87    12  Argentile                 Argentine
  96    25  sore of                   sort of
  98    26  had drank                 had drunk
  99    18  Vantana,                  Ventana,
 100    21  drank                     drunk
 102    19  minute's                  minutes'
 103    29  comrades'                 comrade's
 104    21  them.                     them."
 104    24  <i>rio a ramada</i>       <i>rio</i> a <i>ramada</i>
 109    21  time.                     time."
 110    34  wolf                      wolf;
 112    33  never!                    never!"
 113    38  <i>ramado</i>,            <i>ramada</i>,
 116    13  drank                     drunk
 116    15  nandou                    <i>nandou</i>
 118    30  estancias,                <i>estancias</i>,
 120    28  <i>tolderai</i>,          <i>tolderia</i>,
 133    28  fugitive                  fugitives
 134    21  tumultous                 tumultuous
 135    21  hilgueros,                <i>hilgueros</i>,
 144     1  thegonie,                 theogonie,
 144    30  Glascow                   Glasgow
 144    36  prisoniers                prisonniers
 144    39  aplied                    applied
 147    15  sub-species.              sub-species."
 152     4  aproaching                approaching
 153    17  mation.                   mation."
 156    36  terra firma.              <i>terra firma</i>.
 159     1  Glenarvan.                Glenarvan,
 176    40  Mangle's                  Mangles'
 178    16  <i>debris</i>             <i>d&eacute;bris</i>
 180     8  ports                     port
 187    33  Purday-Moore              Purdy-Moore
 190     5  longtitude                longitude
 191    37  warning                   warring
 193    10  <i>denouement</i>         <i>d&eacute;nouement</i>
 195    19  rectillinear              rectilinear
 196    31  Pour                      "Pour
 199    20  shipwrecked.              shipwrecked
 200    33  Britany.                  Britanny.
 202    24  handsbreath.              handsbreadth.
 205    16  kow                       know
 205    39  37&deg;"                  37&deg;."
 206    42  Glasglow                  Glasgow
 214    41  <i>role</i>               role
 218    10  mounteback's              mountebank's
 219    18  day's                     days'
 222    13  monothremes;              monotremes;
 223    21  mleancholy                melancholy
 232    35  Glenarvan,                Glenarvan
 234    32  able but                  ible but
 243    10  Pomoton?"                 Pomotou?"
 243    37  Britanic                  Britannic
 249     6  McNabb's                  McNabbs
 250    24  midst.                    mist.
 251    40  but                       "but
 253    29  terrestial                terrestrial
 256    11  his oasis,                this oasis,
 261    28  continuel                 continual
 268    33  alluvion,                 alluvium,
 271    26  aerial                    a&eacute;rial
 272     3  wagan,                    wagon,
 272     7  gastralobium,             gastrolobium,
 272    34  Wimmero."                 Wimmera."
 273    37  <i>sang                   <i>sang-
 273    41  wo-                       woe-
 274    40  two                       "two
 280    11  disapepared.              disappeared.
 281     6  <i>denouement</i>         <i>d&eacute;nouement</i>
 281    13  Joye,                     Joyce,
 282    29  It it                     It is
 284     9  sorrrow,                  sorrow,
 284    23  eurus                     emus
 287    35  37 degree                 37th degree
 288    15  <i>sang froid</i>         <i>sang-froid</i>
 312    29  wretches?"                wretches!"
 314    24  impassible.               impassive.
 316    41  fancy.                    fancy."
 326    35  impossisble               impossible
 327    41  him.                      him."
 335    27  patience.                 patience."
 339    15  1864.                     1864."
 339    41  Tarankai                  Taranaki
 340    10  Taranak                   Taranaki
 341    15  Taranki                   Taranaki
 347    11  Waikato?"                 Waikato!"
 347    18  buscuit                   biscuit
 348    30  irrefragable              irrefragible
 348    37  musquito.                 mosquito.
 350    35  Adressing                 Addressing
 352    42  lines of                  line of
 356    41  Tohongo,                  Tohonga,
 357     8  tuers                     tures
 360    24  McNabb's                  McNabbs'
 364    20  orgie                     orgy
 374     5  piron-                    Piron-
 378    36  Ikana-Mani                Ika-na-Mani
 386    41  soup ,which               soup, which
 395    10  "moas'                    "moas"
 402    14  exciting                  excited
 418    13  <i>Juin</i> ,1862         <i>Juin</i>, 1862
On page 390 I have omitted the following redundant line 40,
which properly begins page 391, as in the original text:
     and his wonderful instinct shone out anew in this difficult   
   
In addition, I have made the following changes to the chapter headings
and running heads:
PAGE        ORIGINAL                  CHANGED TO
  24        DUNCAN                    "DUNCAN"
  25        DUNCAN                    "DUNCAN"
  27        DUNCAN                    "DUNCAN"
  35        JAQUES                    JACQUES
  37        JAQUES                    JACQUES
 204        BRITANNIA                 "BRITANNIA"
 398        DUNCAN                    "DUNCAN"



WORKS
of
JULES VERNE



EDITED BY

CHARLES F. HORNE, Ph.D.

Professor of English, College of the City of New York;
Author of "The Technique of the Novel," etc.

[colophon omitted]

F. TYLER DANIELS COMPANY, INC.

NEW YORK    ::   ::    LONDON




COPYRIGHT, 1911
BY VINCENT PARKE AND COMPANY




CONTENTS

VOLUME FOUR

                                      PAGE
INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1

IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

     SOUTH AMERICA  .  .  .  .  .  .     3

     AUSTRALIA   .  .  .  .  .  .  .   165

     NEW ZEALAND .  .  .  .  .  .  .   305


[page intentionally blank]


ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME FOUR

                                      PAGE

THE RESCUE    .  .  .  .  .   Frontispiece

THE CONDOR'S PREY   .  .  .  .  .  .    96

"TABOO!"   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   320


[page intentionally blank]


<i>INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME FOUR

THE three books gathered under the title "In
Search of the Castaways" occupied much of
Verne's attention during the three years fol-
lowing 1865. The characters used in these
books were afterwards reintroduced in "The
Mysterious Island," which was in its turn a sequel to
"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." Thus this
entire set of books form a united series upon which Verne
worked intermittently during ten years.
   "In Search of the Castaways," which has also been pub-
lished as "The Children of Captain Grant" and as "A Voy-
age Around the World," is perhaps most interesting in con-
nection with the last of these titles. It is our author's first
distinctly geographical romance. By an ingenious device he
sets before the rescuers a search which compels their circum-
navigation of the globe around a certain parallel of the
southern hemisphere. Thus they cross in turn through
South America, Australia and New Zealand, besides visiting
minor islands.
   The three great regions form the sub-titles of the three
books which compose the story. In each region the rescuers
meet with adventures characteristic of the land. They en-
counter Indians in America; bushrangers in Australia; and
Maoris in New Zealand. The passage of the searching
party gives ground, -- one is almost tempted to say, excuse,
-- for a close and careful description of each country and of
its inhabitants, step by step. Even the lesser incidents of
the story are employed to emphasise the distinctive features
of each land. The explorers are almost frozen on the
heights of the Andes, and almost drowned in the floods of
the Patagonian Pampas. An avalanche sweeps some of
them away; a condor carries off a lad. In Australia they</i>

1


2           <i>INTRODUCTION

are stopped by jungles and by quagmires; they hunt kan-
garoos. In New Zealand they take refuge amid hot sulphur
springs and in a house "tabooed"; they escape by starting
a volcano into eruption.
   Here then are fancy and extravagance mixed with truth
and information. Verne has done a vast and useful work
in stimulating the interest not only of Frenchmen but of all
civilised nations, with regard to the lesser known regions of
our globe. He has broadened knowledge and guided study.
During the years following 1865 he even, for a time, de-
serted his favorite field of labor, fiction, and devoted him-
self to a popular semi-scientific book, now superseded by
later works, entitled "The Illustrated Geography of France
and her Colonies."
   Verne has perhaps had a larger share than any other sin-
gle individual in causing the ever-increasing yearly tide of
international travel. And because with mutual knowledge
among the nations comes mutual understanding and appre-
ciation, mutual brotherhood; hence Jules Verne was one of
the first and greatest of those teachers who are now leading
us toward International Peace.</i>


<b>In Search of the Castaways</b>

or

The Children of Captain Grant

<b>South America</b>

CHAPTER I
THE SHARK

ON the 26th of July, 1864, a magnificent yacht
was steaming along the North Channel at full
speed, with a strong breeze blowing from the
N. E. The Union Jack was flying at the
mizzen-mast, and a blue standard bearing the
initials E. G., embroidered in gold, and sur-
mounted by a ducal coronet, floated from the topgallant head
of the main-mast. The name of the yacht was the <i>Duncan</i>,
and the owner was Lord Glenarvan, one of the sixteen
Scotch peers who sit in the Upper House, and the most dis-
tinguished member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, so
famous throughout the United Kingdom.
   Lord Edward Glenarvan was on board with his young
wife, Lady Helena, and one of his cousins, Major Mc-
Nabbs.
   The <i>Duncan</i> was newly built, and had been making a
trial trip a few miles outside the Firth of Clyde. She was
returning to Glasgow, and the Isle of Arran already loomed
in the distance, when the sailor on watch caught sight of an
enormous fish sporting in the wake of the ship. Lord
Edward, who was immediately apprised of the fact, came
up on the poop a few minutes after with his cousin, and
asked John Mangles, the captain, what sort of an animal he
thought it was.
   "Well, since your Lordship asks my opinion," said
Mangles, "I think it is a shark, and a fine large one too."
   "A shark on these shores!"
   "There is nothing at all improbable in that," returned
the captain. "This fish belongs to a species that is found
in all latitudes and in all seas. It is the 'balance-fish,' or

3


4    IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

hammer-headed shark, if I am not much mistaken. But if
your Lordship has no objections, and it would give the
smallest pleasure to Lady Helena to see a novelty in the way
of fishing, we'll soon haul up the monster and find out
what it really is."
   "What do you say, McNabbs? Shall we try to catch
it?" asked Lord Glenarvan.
   "If you like; it's all one to me," was his cousin's cool
reply.
   "The more of those terrible creatures that are killed the
better, at all events," said John Mangles, "so let's seize the
chance, and it will not only give us a little diversion, but be
doing a good action."
   "Very well, set to work, then," said Glenarvan.
   Lady Helena soon joined her husband on deck, quite
charmed at the prospect of such exciting sport. The sea
was splendid, and every movement of the shark was dis-
tinctly visible. In obedience to the captain's orders, the
sailors threw a strong rope over the starboard side of the
yacht, with a big hook at the end of it, concealed in a thick
lump of bacon. The bait took at once, though the shark
was full fifty yards distant. He began to make rapidly
for the yacht, beating the waves violently with his fins, and
keeping his tail in a perfectly straight line. As he got
nearer, his great projecting eyes could be seen inflamed with
greed, and his gaping jaws with their quadruple row of
teeth. His head was large, and shaped like a double ham-
mer at the end of a handle. John Mangles was right.
This was evidently a balance-fish -- the most voracious of
all the <i>squalidae</i> species.
   The passengers and sailors on the yacht were watching
all the animal's movements with the liveliest interest. He
soon came within reach of the bait, turned over on his back
to make a good dart at it, and in a second bacon and con-
tents had disappeared. He had hooked himself now, as
the tremendous jerk he gave the cable proved, and the sail-
ors began to haul in the monster by means of tackle attached
to the mainyard. He struggled desperately, but his cap-
tors were prepared for his violence, and had a long rope
ready with a slip knot, which caught his tail and rendered
him powerless at once. In a few minutes more he was
hoisted up over the side of the yacht and thrown on the


THE SHARK            5

deck. A man came forward immediately, hatchet in hand,
and approaching him cautiously, with one powerful stroke
cut off his tail.
   This ended the business, for there was no longer any fear
of the shark. But, though the sailors' vengeance was satis-
fied, their curiosity was not; they knew the brute had no
very delicate appetite, and the contents of his stomach might
be worth investigation. This is the common practice on all
ships when a shark is captured, but Lady Glenarvan de-
clined to be present at such a disgusting exploration, and
withdrew to the cabin again. The fish was still breathing;
it measured ten feet in length, and weighed more than six
hundred pounds. This was nothing extraordinary, for
though the hammer-headed shark is not classed among the
most gigantic of the species, it is always reckoned among
the most formidable.
   The huge brute was soon ripped up in a very uncere-
monious fashion. The hook had fixed right in the stom-
ach, which was found to be absolutely empty, and the dis-
appointed sailors were just going to throw the remains
overboard, when the boatswain's attention was attracted by
some large object sticking fast in one of the viscera.
   "I say! what's this?" he exclaimed.
   "That!" replied one of the sailors, "why, it's a piece of
rock the beast swallowed by way of ballast."
   "It's just a bottle, neither more nor less, that the fellow
has got in his inside, and couldn't digest," said another of
the crew.
   "Hold your tongues, all of you!" said Tom Austin, the
mate of the <i>Duncan</i>. "Don't you see the animal has been
such an inveterate tippler that he has not only drunk the
wine, but swallowed the bottle?"
   "What!" said Lord Glenarvan. "Do you mean to say
it is a bottle that the shark has got in his stomach."
   "Ay, it is a bottle, most certainly," replied the boatswain,
"but not just from the cellar."
   "Well, Tom, be careful how you take it out," said Lord
Glenarvan, "for bottles found in the sea often contain pre-
cious documents."
   "Do you think this does?" said Major McNabbs, incred-
ulously.
   "It possibly may, at any rate."


6    IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Oh! I'm not saying it doesn't. There may perhaps
be some secret in it," returned the Major.
   "That's just what we're to see," said his cousin. "Well,
Tom."
   "Here it is," said the mate, holding up a shapeless lump
he had managed to pull out, though with some difficulty.
   "Get the filthy thing washed then, and bring it to the
cabin."
   Tom obeyed, and in a few minutes brought in the bottle
and laid it on the table, at which Lord Glenarvan and the
Major were sitting ready with the captain, and, of course
Lady Helena, for women, they say, are always a little curi-
ous. Everything is an event at sea. For a moment they
all sat silent, gazing at this frail relic, wondering if it told
the tale of sad disaster, or brought some trifling message
from a frolic-loving sailor, who had flung it into the sea to
amuse himself when he had nothing better to do.
   However, the only way to know was to examine the bot-
tle, and Glenarvan set to work without further delay, so
carefully and minutely, that he might have been taken for
a coroner making an inquest.
   He commenced by a close inspection of the outside. The
neck was long and slender, and round the thick rim there
was still an end of wire hanging, though eaten away with
rust. The sides were very thick, and strong enough to
bear great pressure. It was evidently of Champagne ori-
gin, and the Major said immediately, "That's one of our
Clicquot's bottles."
   Nobody contradicted him, as he was supposed to know;
but Lady Helena exclaimed, "What does it matter about
the bottle, if we don't know where it comes from?"
   "We shall know that, too, presently, and we may affirm
this much already -- it comes from a long way off. Look
at those petrifactions all over it, these different substances
almost turned to mineral, we might say, through the action
of the salt water! This waif had been tossing about in the
ocean a long time before the shark swallowed it."
   "I quite agree with you," said McNabbs. "I dare say
this frail concern has made a long voyage, protected by this
strong covering."
   "But I want to know where from?" said Lady Glenar-
van.


THE SHARK           7

   "Wait a little, dear Helena, wait; we must have patience
with bottles; but if I am not much mistaken, this one will
answer all our questions," replied her husband, beginning
to scrape away the hard substances round the neck. Soon
the cork made its appearance, but much damaged by the
water.
   "That's vexing," said Lord Edward, "for if papers are
inside, they'll be in a pretty state!"
   "It's to be feared they will," said the Major.
   "But it is a lucky thing the shark swallowed them, I
must say," added Glenarvan, "for the bottle would have
sunk to the bottom before long with such a cork as this."
   "That's true enough," replied John Mangles, "and yet
it would have been better to have fished them up in the open
sea. Then we might have found out the road they had
come by taking the exact latitude and longitude, and study-
ing the atmospheric and submarine currents; but with such
a postman as a shark, that goes against wind and tide,
there's no clew whatever to the starting-point."
   "We shall see," said Glenarvan, gently taking out the
cork. A strong odor of salt water pervaded the whole
saloon, and Lady Helena asked impatiently: "Well, what
is there?"
   "I was right!" exclaimed Glenarvan. "I see papers
inside. But I fear it will be impossible to remove them,"
he added, "for they appear to have rotted with the damp,
and are sticking to the sides of the bottle."
   "Break it," said the Major.
   "I would rather preserve the whole if I could."
   "No doubt you would," said Lady Helena; "but the
contents are more valuable than the bottle, and we had
better sacrifice the one than the other."
   "If your Lordship would simply break off the neck, I
think we might easily withdraw the papers," suggested
John Mangles.
   "Try it, Edward, try it," said Lady Helena.
   Lord Glenarvan was very unwilling, but he found there
was no alternative; the precious bottle must be broken.
They had to get a hammer before this could be done, though,
for the stony material had acquired the hardness of gran-
ite. A few sharp strokes, however, soon shivered it to
fragments, many of which had pieces of paper sticking to


8    IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

them. These were carefully removed by Lord Glenarvan,
and separated and spread out on the table before the eager
gaze of his wife and friends.

CHAPTER II
THE THREE DOCUMENTS

   ALL that could be discovered, however, on these pieces
of paper was a few words here and there, the remainder of
the lines being almost completely obliterated by the action
of the water. Lord Glenarvan examined them attentively
for a few minutes, turning them over on all sides, holding
them up to the light, and trying to decipher the least scrap
of writing, while the others looked on with anxious eyes.
At last he said: "There are three distinct documents here,
apparently copies of the same document in three different
languages. Here is one in English, one in French, and one
in German."
   "But can you make any sense out of them?" asked Lady
Helena.
   "That's hard to say, my dear Helena, the words are
quite incomplete."
   "Perhaps the one may supplement the other," suggested
Major McNabbs.
   "Very likely they will," said the captain. "It is impos-
sible that the very same words should have been effaced in
each document, and by putting the scraps together we
might gather some intelligible meaning out of them."
   "That's what we will do," rejoined Lord Glenarvan;
"but let us proceed methodically. Here is the English doc-
ument first."
   All that remained of it was the following:
       62               <i>Bri               gow
       sink                                  stra
             aland
           skipp   Gr
                               that monit of long
       and                              ssistance
           lost</i>
   "There's not much to be made out of that," said the
Major, looking disappointed.


THE THREE DOCUMENTS      9

   "No, but it is good English anyhow," returned the cap-
tain.
   "There's no doubt of it," said Glenarvan. "The words
<i>sink, aland, lost</i> are entire; <i>skipp</i> is evidently part of the
word <i>skipper</i>, and that's what they call ship captains often
in England. There seems a Mr. Gr. mentioned, and that
most likely is the captain of the shipwrecked vessel."
   "Well, come, we have made out a good deal already,"
said Lady Helena.
   "Yes, but unfortunately there are whole lines wanting,"
said the Major, "and we have neither the name of the ship
nor the place where she was shipwrecked."
   "We'll get that by and by," said Edward.
   "Oh, yes; there is no doubt of it," replied the Major,
who always echoed his neighbor's opinion. "But how?"
   "By comparing one document with the other."
   "Let us try them," said his wife.
   The second piece of paper was even more destroyed
than the first; only a few scattered words remained here
and there.
   It ran as follows:
                  <i>7 Juni                   Glas
                                zwei       atrosen
                                         graus
                                      bringt ihnen</i>
   "This is written in German," said John Mangles the
moment he looked at it.
   "And you understand that language, don't you?" asked
Lord Glenarvan.
   "Perfectly."
   "Come, then, tell us the meaning of these words."
   The captain examined the document carefully, and said:
   "Well, here's the date of the occurrence first: <i>7 Juni</i>
means June 7; and if we put that before the figures 62 we
have in the other document, it gives us the exact date, <i>7th
of June</i>, 1862."
   "Capital!" exclaimed Lady Helena. "Go on, John!"
   "On the same line," resumed the young captain, "there
is the syllable <i>Glas</i> and if we add that to the <i>gow</i> we found
in the English paper, we get the whole word <i>Glasgow</i> at
once. The documents evidently refer to some ship that
sailed out of the port of Glasgow."


10   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

     "That is my opinion, too," said the Major.
   "The second line is completely effaced," continued the
Captain; "but here are two important words on the third.
There is <i>zwei</i>, which means <i>two</i>, and <i>atrosen</i> or <i>matrosen</i>,
the German for <i>sailors</i>."
   "Then I suppose it is about a captain and two sailors,"
said Lady Helena.
   "It seems so," replied Lord Glenarvan.
   "I must confess, your Lordship, that the next word
puzzles me. I can make nothing of it. Perhaps the third
document may throw some light on it. The last two words
are plain enough. <i>Bringt ihnen</i> means <i>bring them;</i> and, if
you recollect, in the English paper we had <i>ssistance</i>, so by
putting the parts together, it reads thus, I think: '<i>Bring
them assistance</i>.'"
   "Yes, that must be it," replied Lord Glenarvan. "But
where are the poor fellows? We have not the slightest
indication of the place, meantime, nor of where the catas-
trophe happened."
   "Perhaps the French copy will be more explicit," sug-
gested Lady Helena.
   "Here it is, then," said Lord Glenarvan, "and that is in
a language we all know."
   The words it contained were these:
                <i>troi        ats            tannia
                           gonie             austral
                                           abor
     contin                  pr           cruel indi
          jete                            ongit
     et</i> 37&deg; 11"              <i>lat</i>
   "There are figures!" exclaimed Lady Helena. "Look!"
   "Let us go steadily to work," said Lord Glenarvan,
"and begin at the beginning. I think we can make out
from the incomplete words in the first line that a three-
mast vessel is in question, and there is little doubt about
the name; we get that from the fragments of the other
papers; it is the <i>Britannia</i>. As to the next two words,
<i>gonie</i> and <i>austral</i>, it is only <i>austral</i> that has any meaning
to us."
   "But that is a valuable scrap of information," said John
Mangles. "The shipwreck occurred in the southern hemi-
sphere."


THE THREE DOCUMENTS      11

   "That's a wide world," said the Major.
   "Well, we'll go on," resumed Glenarvan. "Here is the
word <i>abor;</i> that is clearly the root of the verb <i>aborder</i>.
The poor men have landed somewhere; but where? <i>Con-
tin</i> -- does that mean continent? <i>Cruel!</i>"
   "<i>Cruel!</i>" interrupted John Mangles. "I see now what
<i>graus</i> is part of in the second document. It is <i>grausam</i>,
the word in German for <i>cruel!</i>"
   "Let's go on," said Lord Glenarvan, becoming quite
excited over his task, as the incomplete words began to
fill up and develop their meaning. "<i>Indi</i>, -- is it India
where they have been shipwrecked? And what can this
word <i>ongit</i> be part of? Ah! I see -- it is <i>longitude;</i> and
here is the latitude, 37&deg; 11". That is the precise indication
at last, then!"
   "But we haven't the longitude," objected McNabbs.
   "But we can't get everything, my dear Major; and it is
something at all events, to have the exact latitude. The
French document is decidedly the most complete of the
three; but it is plain enough that each is the literal transla-
tion of the other, for they all contain exactly the same num-
ber of lines. What we have to do now is to put together
all the words we have found, and translate them into one
language, and try to ascertain their most probable and logi-
cal sense."
   "Well, what language shall we choose?" asked the
Major.
   "I think we had better keep to the French, since that
was the most complete document of the three."
   "Your Lordship is right," said John Mangles, "and be-
sides, we're all familiar with the language."
   "Very well, then, I'll set to work."
   In a few minutes he had written as follows:
        <i>7 Juin</i> 1862 <i>trois-mats Britannia Glasgow
        sombre                    gonie            austral
                   a terre              deux matelots
        capitaine Gr                         abor
        contin        pr             cruel            indi
          jete ce document             de longitude
        et</i> 37&deg; 11" <i>de latitude   Portez-leur secours
                        perdus</i>.


12   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

[7th of June, 1862        three-mast <i>Britannia</i> Glasgow]
foundered                gonie                 southern
on the coast               two sailors               Gr
Captain                     landed
contin                   pr            cruel     indi
            thrown this document         in longitude
and 37&deg; 11" latitude           Bring them assistance
                lost
   Just at that moment one of the sailors came to inform
the captain that they were about entering the Firth of Clyde,
and to ask what were his orders.
   "What are your Lordship's intentions?" said John
Mangles, addressing Lord Glenarvan.
   "To get to Dunbarton as quickly as possible, John; and
Lady Helena will return to Malcolm Castle, while I go on
to London and lay this document before the Admiralty."
   The sailor received orders accordingly, and went out to
deliver them to the mate.
   "Now, friends," said Lord Glenarvan, "let us go on
with our investigations, for we are on the track of a great
catastrophe, and the lives of several human beings depend
on our sagacity. We must give our whole minds to the
solution of this enigma."
   "First of all, there are three very distinct things to be
considered in this document -- the things we know, the
things we may conjecture, the things we do not know."
   "What are those we know? We know that on the 7th
of June a three-mast vessel, the <i>Britannia</i> of Glasgow, foun-
dered; that two sailors and the captain threw this docu-
ment into the sea in 37&deg; 11" latitude, and they entreat help."
   "Exactly so," said the Major.
   "What are those now we may conjecture?" continued
Glenarvan. "That the shipwreck occurred in the south-
ern seas; and here I would draw your attention at once to
the incomplete word <i>gonie</i>. Doesn't the name of the coun-
try strike you even in the mere mention of it?"
   "Patagonia!" exclaimed Lady Helena.
   "Undoubtedly."
   "But is Patagonia crossed by the 37th parallel?" asked
the Major.
   "That is easily ascertained," said the captain, opening
a map of South America. "Yes, it is; Patagonia just
touches the 37th parallel. It cuts through Araucania, goes


THE THREE DOCUMENTS      13

along over the Pampas to the north, and loses itself in the
Atlantic."
   "Well, let us proceed then with our conjectures. The
two sailors and the captain <i>land</i> -- land where? <i>Contin</i> --
on a continent; on a continent, mark you, not an island.
What becomes of them? There are two letters here provi-
dentially which give a clew to their fate -- <i>pr</i>, that must
mean prisoners, and <i>cruel Indian</i> is evidently the meaning
of the next two words. These unfortunate men are cap-
tives in the hands of cruel Indians. Don't you see it?
Don't the words seem to come of themselves, and fill up the
blanks? Isn't the document quite clear now? Isn't the
sense self-evident?"
   Glenarvan spoke in a tone of absolute conviction, and his
enthusiastic confidence appeared contagious, for the others
all exclaimed, too, "Yes, it is evident, quite evident!"
   After an instant, Lord Edward said again, "To my own
mind the hypothesis is so plausible, that I have no doubt
whatever the event occurred on the coast of Patagonia, but
still I will have inquiries made in Glasgow, as to the des-
tination of the <i>Britannia</i>, and we shall know if it is possi-
ble she could have been wrecked on those shores."
   "Oh, there's no need to send so far to find out that,"
said John Mangles. "I have the <cite>Mercantile and Shipping
Gazette</cite> here, and we'll see the name on the list, and all
about it."
   "Do look at once, then," said Lord Glenarvan.
   The file of papers for the year 1862 was soon brought,
and John began to turn over the leaves rapidly, running
down each page with his eye in search of the name required.
But his quest was not long, for in a few minutes he called
out: "I've got it! 'May 30, 1862, Peru-Callao, with cargo
for Glasgow, the <i>Britannia</i>, Captain Grant.'"
   "Grant!" exclaimed Lord Glenarvan. "That is the ad-
venturous Scotchman that attempted to found a new Scot-
land on the shores of the Pacific."
   "Yes," rejoined John Mangles, "it is the very man. He
sailed from Glasgow in the <i>Britannia</i> in 1861, and has not
been heard of since."
   "There isn't a doubt of it, not a shadow of doubt," re-
peated Lord Glenarvan. "It is just that same Captain
Grant. The <i>Britannia</i> left Callao on the 30th of May, and


14   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

on the 7th of June, a week afterward, she is lost on the coast
of Patagonia. The few broken disjointed words we find
in these documents tell us the whole story. You see,
friends, our conjectures hit the mark very well; we know
all now except one thing, and that is the longitude."
   "That is not needed now, we know the country. With
the latitude alone, I would engage to go right to the place
where the wreck happened."
   "Then have we really all the particulars now?" asked
Lady Helena.
   "All, dear Helena; I can fill up every one of these
blanks the sea has made in the document as easily as if
Captain Grant were dictating to me."
   And he took up the pen, and dashed off the following
lines immediately: "On the 7th of June, 1862, the three-
mast vessel, <i>Britannia</i>, of Glasgow, has sunk on the coast
of Patagonia, in the southern hemisphere. Making for the
shore, two sailors and Captain Grant are about to land on
the continent, where they will be taken prisoners by cruel
Indians. They have thrown this document into the sea, in
longitude and latitude 37&deg; 11". Bring them assistance, or
they are lost."
   "Capital! capital! dear Edward," said Lady Helena.
"If those poor creatures ever see their native land again, it
is you they will have to thank for it."
   "And they will see it again," returned Lord Glenarvan;
"the statement is too explicit, and clear, and certain for
England to hesitate about going to the aid of her three sons
cast away on a desert coast. What she has done for Frank-
lin and so many others, she will do to-day for these poor
shipwrecked fellows of the <i>Britannia</i>."
   "Most likely the unfortunate men have families who
mourn their loss. Perhaps this ill-fated Captain Grant
had a wife and children," suggested Lady Helena.
   "Very true, my dear, and I'll not forget to let them
know that there is still hope. But now, friends, we had bet-
ter go up on deck, as the boat must be getting near the
harbor."
   A carriage and post-horses waited there, in readiness to
convey Lady Helena and Major McNabbs to Malcolm Cas-
tle, and Lord Glenarvan bade adieu to his young wife, and
jumped into the express train for Glasgow.


THE CAPTAIN'S CHILDREN      15

   But before starting he confided an important missive to
a swifter agent than himself, and a few minutes afterward
it flashed along the electric wire to London, to appear next
day in the <i>Times and Morning Chronicle</i> in the following
words: "For information respecting the fate of the three-
mast vessel <i>Britannia</i>, of Glasgow, Captain Grant, apply to
Lord Glenarvan, Malcolm Castle, Luss, Dumbartonshire,
Scotland."


CHAPTER III
THE CAPTAIN'S CHILDREN

   LORD GLENARVAN'S fortune was enormous, and he spent
it entirely in doing good. His kindheartedness was even
greater than his generosity, for the one knew no bounds,
while the other, of necessity, had its limits. As Lord of
Luss and "laird" of Malcolm, he represented his county in
the House of Lords; but, with his Jacobite ideas, he did not
care much for the favor of the House of Hanover, and he
was looked upon coldly by the State party in England, be-
cause of the tenacity with which he clung to the traditions
of his forefathers, and his energetic resistance to the polit-
ical encroachments of Southerners. And yet he was not a
man behind the times, and there was nothing little or nar-
row-minded about him; but while always keeping open his
ancestral county to progress, he was a true Scotchman
at heart, and it was for the honor of Scotland that he
competed in the yacht races of the Royal Thames Yacht
Club.
   Edward Glenarvan was thirty-two years of age. He was
tall in person, and had rather stern features; but there was
an exceeding sweetness in his look, and a stamp of High-
land poetry about his whole bearing. He was known to
be brave to excess, and full of daring and chivalry -- a Fer-
gus of the nineteenth century; but his goodness excelled
every other quality, and he was more charitable than St.
Martin himself, for he would have given the whole of his
cloak to any of the poor Highlanders.
   He had scarcely been married three months, and his
bride was Miss Helena Tuffnell, the daughter of William
Tuffnell, the great traveler, one of the many victims of
geographical science and of the passion for discovery. Miss


16   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

Helena did not belong to a noble family, but she was Scotch,
and that was better than all nobility in the eyes of Lord
Glenarvan; and she was, moreover, a charming, high-
souled, religious young woman.
   Lord Glenarvan did not forget that his wife was the
daughter of a great traveler, and he thought it likely that
she would inherit her father's predilections. He had the
<i>Duncan</i> built expressly that he might take his bride to the
most beautiful lands in the world, and complete their honey-
moon by sailing up the Mediterranean, and through the
clustering islands of the Archipelago.
   However, Lord Glenarvan had gone now to London.
The lives of the shipwrecked men were at stake, and Lady
Helena was too much concerned herself about them to
grudge her husband's temporary absence. A telegram next
day gave hope of his speedy return, but in the evening a
letter apprised her of the difficulties his proposition had
met with, and the morning after brought another, in which
he openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the Admiralty.
   Lady Helena began to get anxious as the day wore on.
In the evening, when she was sitting alone in her room, Mr.
Halbert, the house steward, came in and asked if she would
see a young girl and boy that wanted to speak to Lord
Glenarvan.
   "Some of the country people?" asked Lady Helena.
   "No, madame," replied the steward, "I do not know
them at all. They came by rail to Balloch, and walked
the rest of the way to Luss."
   "Tell them to come up, Halbert."
   In a few minutes a girl and boy were shown in. They
were evidently brother and sister, for the resemblance was
unmistakable. The girl was about sixteen years of age;
her tired pretty face, and sorrowful eyes, and resigned but
courageous look, as well as her neat though poor attire,
made a favorable impression. The boy she held by the
hand was about twelve, but his face expressed such deter-
mination, that he appeared quite his sister's protector.
   The girl seemed too shy to utter a word at first, but Lady
Helena quickly relieved her embarrassment by saying, with
an encouraging smile: "You wish to speak to me, I think?"
   "No," replied the boy, in a decided tone; "not to you,
but to Lord Glenarvan."

V. IV Verne


THE CAPTAIN'S CHILDREN      17

   "Excuse him, ma'am," said the girl, with a look at her
brother.
   "Lord Glenarvan is not at the castle just now," returned
Lady Helena; "but I am his wife, and if I can do any-
thing for you --"
   "You are Lady Glenarvan?" interrupted the girl.
   "I am."
   "The wife of Lord Glenarvan, of Malcolm Castle, that
put an announcement in the <i>Times</i> about the shipwreck
of the <i>Britannia?</i>"
   "Yes, yes," said Lady Helena, eagerly; "and you?"
   "I am Miss Grant, ma'am, and this is my brother."
   "Miss Grant, Miss Grant!" exclaimed Lady Helena,
drawing the young girl toward her, and taking both her
hands and kissing the boy's rosy cheeks.
   "What is it you know, ma'am, about the shipwreck?
Tell me, is my father living? Shall we ever see him again?
Oh, tell me," said the girl, earnestly.
   "My dear child," replied Lady Helena. "Heaven forbid
that I should answer you lightly such a question; I would
not delude you with vain hopes."
   "Oh, tell me all, tell me all, ma'am. I'm proof against
sorrow. I can bear to hear anything."
   "My poor child, there is but a faint hope; but with the
help of almighty Heaven it is just possible you may one day
see your father once more."
   The girl burst into tears, and Robert seized Lady Glenar-
van's hand and covered it with kisses.
   As soon as they grew calmer they asked a complete
string of questions, and Lady Helena recounted the whole
story of the document, telling them that their father had
been wrecked on the coast of Patagonia, and that he and
two sailors, the sole survivors, appeared to have reached the
shore, and had written an appeal for help in three languages
and committed it to the care of the waves.
   During the recital, Robert Grant was devouring the
speaker with his eyes, and hanging on her lips. His child-
ish imagination evidently retraced all the scenes of his
father's shipwreck. He saw him on the deck of the <i>Bri-
tannia</i>, and then struggling with the billows, then cling-
ing to the rocks, and lying at length exhausted on the
beach.


18   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   More than once he cried out, "Oh, papa! my poor papa!"
and pressed close to his sister.
   Miss Grant sat silent and motionless, with clasped hands,
and all she said when the narration ended, was: "Oh,
ma'am, the paper, please!"
   "I have not it now, my dear child," replied Lady Helena.
   "You haven't it?"
   "No. Lord Glenarvan was obliged to take it to London,
for the sake of your father; but I have told you all it con-
tained, word for word, and how we managed to make out
the complete sense from the fragments of words left -- all
except the longitude, unfortunately."
   "We can do without that," said the boy.
   "Yes, Mr. Robert," rejoined Lady Helena, smiling at
the child's decided tone. "And so you see, Miss Grant,
you know the smallest details now just as well as I do."
   "Yes, ma'am, but I should like to have seen my father's
writing."
   "Well, to-morrow, perhaps, to-morrow, Lord Glenarvan
will be back. My husband determined to lay the document
before the Lords of the Admiralty, to induce them to send
out a ship immediately in search of Captain Grant."
   "Is it possible, ma'am," exclaimed the girl, "that you
have done that for us?"
   "Yes, my dear Miss Grant, and I am expecting Lord
Glenarvan back every minute now."
   "Oh, ma'am! Heaven bless you and Lord Glenarvan,"
said the young girl, fervently, overcome with grateful emo-
tion."
   "My dear girl, we deserve no thanks; anyone in our
place would have done the same. I only trust the hopes
we are leading you to entertain may be realized, but till
my husband returns, you will remain at the Castle."
   "Oh, no, ma'am. I could not abuse the sympathy you
show to strangers."
   "Strangers, dear child!" interrupted Lady Helena;
"you and your brother are not strangers in this house, and
I should like Lord Glenarvan to be able on his arrival to
tell the children of Captain Grant himself, what is going to
be done to rescue their father."
   It was impossible to refuse an invitation given with such
heart, and Miss Grant and her brother consented to stay
till Lord Glenarvan returned.


CHAPTER IV
LADY GLENARVAN'S PROPOSAL

   LADY HELENA thought it best to say nothing to the chil-
dren about the fears Lord Glenarvan had expressed in his
letters respecting the decisions of the Lords of the Ad-
miralty with regard to the document. Nor did she men-
tion the probable captivity of Captain Grant among the
Indians of South America. Why sadden the poor children,
and damp their newly cherished hopes? It would not in
the least alter the actual state of the case; so not a
word was said, and after answering all Miss Grant's
questions, Lady Helena began to interrogate in her turn,
asking her about her past life and her present circum-
stances.
   It was a touching, simple story she heard in reply, and
one which increased her sympathy for the young girl.
   Mary and Robert were the captain's only children.
Harry Grant lost his wife when Robert was born, and dur-
ing his long voyages he left his little ones in charge of his
cousin, a good old lady. Captain Grant was a fearless
sailor. He not only thoroughly understood navigation,
but commerce also -- a two-fold qualification eminently
useful to skippers in the merchant service. He lived in
Dundee, in Perthshire, Scotland. His father, a minister
of St. Katrine's Church, had given him a thorough educa-
tion, as he believed that could never hurt anybody.
   Harry's voyages were prosperous from the first, and a
few years after Robert was born, he found himself pos-
sessed of a considerable fortune.
   It was then that he projected the grand scheme which
made him popular in Scotland. Like Glenarvan, and a
few noble families in the Lowlands, he had no heart for
the union with England. In his eyes the interests of his
country were not identified with those of the Anglo-Sax-
ons, and to give scope for personal development, he resolved
to found an immense Scotch colony on one of the ocean
continents. Possibly he might have thought that some day
they would achieve their independence, as the United States
did -- an example doubtless to be followed eventually by
Australia and India. But whatever might be his secret
motives, such was his dream of colonization. But, as is
easily understood, the Government opposed his plans, and

19


20   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

put difficulties enough in his way to have killed an ordinary
man. But Harry would not be beaten. He appealed to
the patriotism of his countrymen, placed his fortune at the
service of the cause, built a ship, and manned it with a
picked crew, and leaving his children to the care of his old
cousin set off to explore the great islands of the Pacific.
This was in 1861, and for twelve months, or up to May,
1862, letters were regularly received from him, but no
tidings whatever had come since his departure from Callao,
in June, and the name of the <i>Britannia</i> never appeared in
the Shipping List.
   Just at this juncture the old cousin died, and Harry
Grant's two children were left alone in the world.
   Mary Grant was then only fourteen, but she resolved to
face her situation bravely, and to devote herself entirely
to her little brother, who was still a mere child. By dint
of close economy, combined with tact and prudence, she
managed to support and educate him, working day and
night, denying herself everything, that she might give him
all he needed, watching over him and caring for him like
a mother.
   The two children were living in this touching manner in
Dundee, struggling patiently and courageously with their
poverty. Mary thought only of her brother, and indulged
in dreams of a prosperous future for him. She had long
given up all hope of the <i>Britannia</i>, and was fully persuaded
that her father was dead. What, then, was her emotion
when she accidentally saw the notice in the <i>Times!</i>
   She never hesitated for an instant as to the course she
should adopt, but determined to go to Dumbartonshire im-
mediately, to learn the best and worst. Even if she were to
be told that her father's lifeless body had been found on a
distant shore, or in the bottom of some abandoned ship, it
would be a relief from incessant doubt and torturing sus-
pense.
   She told her brother about the advertisement, and the two
children started off together that same day for Perth, where
they took the train, and arrived in the evening at Malcolm
Castle.
   Such was Mary Grant's sorrowful story, and she re-
counted it in so simple and unaffected a manner, that it was
evident she never thought her conduct had been that of a


LADY GLENARVAN'S PROPOSAL   21

heroine through those long trying years. But Lady Helena
thought it for her, and more than once she put her arms
round both the children, and could not restrain her tears.
   As for Robert, he seemed to have heard these particulars
for the first time. All the while his sister was speaking, he
gazed at her with wide-open eyes, only knowing now how
much she had done and suffered for him; and, as she ended,
he flung himself on her neck, and exclaimed, "Oh, mamma!
My dear little mamma!"
   It was quite dark by this time, and Lady Helena made the
children go to bed, for she knew they must be tired after
their journey. They were soon both sound asleep, dream-
ing of happy days.
   After they had retired. Lady Helena sent for Major Mc-
Nabbs, and told him the incidents of the evening.
   "That Mary Grant must be a brave girl," said the Major.
   "I only hope my husband will succeed, for the poor chil-
dren's sake," said his cousin. "It would be terrible for
them if he did not."
   "He will be sure to succeed, or the Lords of the Ad-
miralty must have hearts harder than Portland stone."
   But, notwithstanding McNabbs's assurance, Lady Helena
passed the night in great anxiety, and could not close her
eyes.
   Mary Grant and her brother were up very early next
morning, and were walking about in the courtyard when
they heard the sound of a carriage approaching. It was
Lord Glenarvan; and, almost immediately, Lady Helena and
the Major came out to meet him.
   Lady Helena flew toward her husband the moment he
alighted; but he embraced her silently, and looked gloomy
and disappointed -- indeed, even furious.
   "Well, Edward?" she said; "tell me."
   "Well, Helena, dear; those people have no heart!"
   "They have refused?"
   "Yes. They have refused me a ship! They talked of
the millions that had been wasted in search for Franklin,
and declared the document was obscure and unintelligible.
And, then, they said it was two years now since they were
cast away, and there was little chance of finding them. Be-
sides, they would have it that the Indians, who made them
prisoners, would have dragged them into the interior, and it


22   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

was impossible, they said, to hunt all through Patagonia
for three men -- three Scotchmen; that the search would be
vain and perilous, and cost more lives than it saved. In
short, they assigned all the reasons that people invent who
have made up their minds to refuse. The truth is, they re-
membered Captain Grant's projects, and that is the secret
of the whole affair. So the poor fellow is lost for ever."
   "My father! my poor father!" cried Mary Grant, throw-
ing herself on her knees before Lord Glenarvan, who ex-
claimed in amazement:
   "Your father? What? Is this Miss --"
   "Yes, Edward," said Lady Helena; "this is Miss Mary
Grant and her brother, the two children condemned to
orphanage by the cruel Admiralty!"
   "Oh! Miss Grant," said Lord Glenarvan, raising the
young girl, "if I had known of your presence --"
   He said no more, and there was a painful silence in the
courtyard, broken only by sobs. No one spoke, but the very
attitude of both servants and masters spoke their indignation
at the conduct of the English Government.
   At last the Major said, addressing Lord Glenarvan:
"Then you have no hope whatever?"
   "None," was the reply.
   "Very well, then," exclaimed little Robert, "I'll go and
speak to those people myself, and we'll see if they --"
He did not complete his sentence, for his sister stopped him;
but his clenched fists showed his intentions were the reverse
of pacific.
   "No, Robert," said Mary Grant, "we will thank this
noble lord and lady for what they have done for us, and
never cease to think of them with gratitude; and then we'll
both go together."
   "Mary!" said Lady Helena, in a tone of surprise.
   "Go where?" asked Lord Glenarvan.
   "I am going to throw myself at the Queen's feet, and we
shall see if she will turn a deaf ear to the prayers of two
children, who implore their father's life."
   Lord Glenarvan shook his head; not that he doubted the
kind heart of her Majesty, but he knew Mary would never
gain access to her. Suppliants but too rarely reach the
steps of a throne; it seems as if royal palaces had the same
inscription on their doors that the English have on their


LADY GLENARVAN'S PROPOSAL   23

ships: <i>Passengers are requested not to speak to the man at
the wheel</i>.
   Lady Glenarvan understood what was passing in her hus-
band's mind, and she felt the young girl's attempt would be
useless, and only plunge the poor children in deeper despair.
Suddenly, a grand, generous purpose fired her soul, and she
called out: "Mary Grant! wait, my child, and listen to
what I'm going to say."
   Mary had just taken her brother by the hand, and turned
to go away; but she stepped back at Lady Helena's bidding.
   The young wife went up to her husband, and said, with
tears in her eyes, though her voice was firm, and her face
beamed with animation: "Edward, when Captain Grant
wrote that letter and threw it into the sea, he committed it
to the care of God. God has sent it to us -- to us! Un-
doubtedly God intends us to undertake the rescue of these
poor men."
   "What do you mean, Helena?"
   "I mean this, that we ought to think ourselves fortunate
if we can begin our married life with a good action. Well,
you know, Edward, that to please me you planned a pleasure
trip; but what could give us such genuine pleasure, or be so
useful, as to save those unfortunate fellows, cast off by their
country?"
   "Helena!" exclaimed Lord Glenarvan.
   "Yes, Edward, you understand me. The <i>Duncan</i> is a
good strong ship, she can venture in the Southern Seas, or
go round the world if necessary. Let us go, Edward; let
us start off and search for Captain Grant!"
   Lord Glenarvan made no reply to this bold proposition,
but smiled, and, holding out his arms, drew his wife into a
close, fond embrace. Mary and Robert seized her hands,
and covered them with kisses; and the servants who
thronged the courtyard, and had been witnesses of this
touching scene, shouted with one voice, "Hurrah for the
Lady of Luss. Three cheers for Lord and Lady Glen-
arvan!"


CHAPTER V
THE DEPARTURE OF THE "DUNCAN"

   WE have said already that Lady Helena was a brave,
generous woman, and what she had just done proved it in-
disputably. Her husband had good reason to be proud of
such a wife, one who could understand and enter into all his
views. The idea of going to Captain Grant's rescue had
occurred to him in London when his request was refused,
and he would have anticipated Lady Helena, only he could
not bear the thought of parting from her. But now that
she herself proposed to go, all hesitation was at an end.
The servants of the Castle had hailed the project with loud
acclamations -- for it was to save their brothers -- Scotch-
men, like themselves -- and Lord Glenarvan cordially joined
his cheers with theirs, for the Lady of Luss.
   The departure once resolved upon, there was not an hour
to be lost. A telegram was dispatched to John Mangles the
very same day, conveying Lord Glenarvan's orders to take
the <i>Duncan</i> immediately to Glasgow, and to make prepara-
tions for a voyage to the Southern Seas, and possibly round
the world, for Lady Helena was right in her opinion that
the yacht might safely attempt the circumnavigation of the
globe, if necessary.
   The <i>Duncan</i> was a steam yacht of the finest description.
She was 210 tons burden -- much larger than any of the first
vessels that touched the shores of the New World, for the
largest of the four ships that sailed with Columbus was only
70 tons. She had two masts and all the sails and rigging
of an ordinary clipper, which would enable her to take ad-
vantage of every favorable wind, though her chief reliance
was on her mechanical power. The engine, which was con-
structed on a new system, was a high-pressure one, of 160-
horse power, and put in motion a double screw. This gave
the yacht such swiftness that during her trial trip in the
Firth of Clyde, she made seventeen miles an hour, a higher
speed than any vessel had yet attained. No alterations were
consequently needed in the <i>Duncan</i> herself; John Mangles
had only to attend to her interior arrangements.
   His first care was to enlarge the bunkers to carry as much
coal as possible, for it is difficult to get fresh supplies <i>en
route</i>. He had to do the same with the store-rooms, and
managed so well that he succeeded in laying in provisions

24


THE DEPARTURE OF THE "DUNCAN"  25

enough for two years. There was abundance of money at
his command, and enough remained to buy a cannon, on a
pivot carriage, which he mounted on the forecastle. There
was no knowing what might happen, and it is always well to
be able to send a good round bullet flying four miles off.
   John Mangles understood his business. Though he was
only the captain of a pleasure yacht, he was one of the best
skippers in Glasgow. He was thirty years of age, and his
countenance expressed both courage and goodness, if the
features were somewhat coarse. He had been brought up
at the castle by the Glenarvan family, and had turned out a
capital sailor, having already given proof, in some of his
long voyages, of his skill and energy and <i>sang-froid</i>. When
Lord Glenarvan offered him the command of the <i>Duncan</i>,
he accepted it with right good will, for he loved the master
of Malcolm Castle, like a brother, and had hitherto vainly
sought some opportunity of showing his devotion.
   Tom Austin, the mate, was an old sailor, worthy of all
confidence. The crew, consisting of twenty-five men, in-
cluding the captain and chief officer, were all from Dumbar-
tonshire, experienced sailors, and all belonging to the Glen-
arvan estate; in fact, it was a regular clan, and they did not
forget to carry with them the traditional bagpipes. Lord
Glenarvan had in them a band of trusty fellows, skilled in
their calling, devoted to himself, full of courage, and as
practiced in handling fire-arms as in the maneuvering of a
ship; a valiant little troop, ready to follow him any where,
even in the most dangerous expeditions. When the crew
heard whither they were bound, they could not restrain their
enthusiasm, and the rocks of Dumbarton rang again with
their joyous outbursts of cheers.
   But while John Mangles made the stowage and provision-
ing of the yacht his chief business, he did not forget to fit up
the rooms of Lord and Lady Glenarvan for a long voyage.
He had also to get cabins ready for the children of Captain
Grant, as Lady Helena could not refuse Mary's request to
accompany her.
   As for young Robert, he would have smuggled himself in
somewhere in the hold of the <i>Duncan</i> rather than be left
behind. He would willingly have gone as cabin-boy, like
Nelson. It was impossible to resist a little fellow like that,
and, indeed, no one tried. He would not even go as a pas-


26   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

senger, but must serve in some capacity, as cabin-boy, ap-
prentice or sailor, he did not care which, so he was put in
charge of John Mangles, to be properly trained for his
vocation.
   "And I hope he won't spare me the 'cat-o-nine-tails' if
I don't do properly," said Robert.
   "Rest easy on that score, my boy," said Lord Glenarvan,
gravely; he did not add, that this mode of punishment was
forbidden on board the <i>Duncan</i>, and moreover, was quite
unnecessary.
   To complete the roll of passengers, we must name Major
McNabbs. The Major was about fifty years of age, with a
calm face and regular features -- a man who did whatever he
was told, of an excellent, indeed, a perfect temper; modest,
silent, peaceable, and amiable, agreeing with everybody on
every subject, never discussing, never disputing, never get-
ting angry. He wouldn't move a step quicker, or slower,
whether he walked upstairs to bed or mounted a breach.
Nothing could excite him, nothing could disturb him, not
even a cannon ball, and no doubt he will die without ever
having known even a passing feeling of irritation.
   This man was endowed in an eminent degree, not only
with ordinary animal courage, that physical bravery of the
battle-field, which is solely due to muscular energy, but he
had what is far nobler -- moral courage, firmness of soul. If
he had any fault it was his being so intensely Scotch from
top to toe, a Caledonian of the Caledonians, an obstinate
stickler for all the ancient customs of his country. This
was the reason he would never serve in England, and
he gained his rank of Major in the 42nd regiment, the
Highland Black Watch, composed entirely of Scotch
noblemen.
   As a cousin of Glenarvan, he lived in Malcolm Castle,
and as a major he went as a matter of course with the
<i>Duncan</i>.
   Such, then, was the <i>personnel</i> of this yacht, so unexpect-
edly called to make one of the most wonderful voyages of
modern times. From the hour she reached the steamboat
quay at Glasgow, she completely monopolized the public at-
tention. A considerable crowd visited her every day, and
the <i>Duncan</i> was the one topic of interest and conversation,
to the great vexation of the different captains in the port,


THE DEPARTURE OF THE "DUNCAN"  27

among others of Captain Burton, in command of the <i>Scotia</i>,
a magnificent steamer lying close beside her, and bound for
Calcutta. Considering her size, the <i>Scotia</i> might justly look
upon the <i>Duncan</i> as a mere fly-boat, and yet this pleasure
yacht of Lord Glenarvan was quite the center of attraction,
and the excitement about her daily increased.
   The <i>Duncan</i> was to sail out with the tide at three o'clock
on the morning of the 25th of August. But before starting,
a touching ceremony was witnessed by the good people of
Glasgow. At eight o'clock the night before, Lord Glen-
arvan and his friends, and the entire crew, from the stokers
to the captain, all who were to take part in this self-sacrific-
ing voyage, left the yacht and repaired to St. Mungo's, the
ancient cathedral of the city. This venerable edifice, so
marvelously described by Walter Scott, remains intact amid
the ruins made by the Reformation; and it was there, be-
neath its lofty arches, in the grand nave, in the presence of
an immense crowd, and surrounded by tombs as thickly set
as in a cemetery, that they all assembled to implore the bless-
ing of Heaven on their expedition, and to put themselves
under the protection of Providence. The Rev. Mr. Morton
conducted the service, and when he had ended and pro-
nounced the benediction, a young girl's voice broke the
solemn silence that followed. It was Mary Grant who
poured out her heart to God in prayer for her benefactors,
while grateful happy tears streamed down her cheeks, and
almost choked her utterance. The vast assembly dispersed
under the influence of deep emotion, and at ten o'clock the
passengers and crew returned on board the vessel.


CHAPTER VI
AN UNEXPECTED PASSENGER

   THE ladies passed the whole of the first day of the voy-
age in their berths, for there was a heavy swell in the sea,
and toward evening the wind blew pretty fresh, and the
<i>Duncan</i> tossed and pitched considerably.
   But the morning after, the wind changed, and the captain
ordered the men to put up the foresail, and brigantine and
foretopsail, which greatly lessened the rolling of the vessel.
Lady Helena and Mary Grant were able to come on deck at


28   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

daybreak, where they found Lord Glenarvan, Major Mc-
Nabbs and the captain.
   "And how do you stand the sea, Miss Mary?" said Lord
Glenarvan.
   "Pretty well, my Lord. I am not very much inconveni-
enced by it. Besides I shall get used to it."
   "And our young Robert!"
   "Oh, as for Robert," said the captain, "whenever he is
not poking about down below in the engine-room, he is
perched somewhere aloft among the rigging. A youngster
like that laughs at sea-sickness. Why, look at him this very
moment! Do you see him?"
   The captain pointed toward the foremast, and sure
enough there was Robert, hanging on the yards of the top-
gallant mast, a hundred feet above in the air. Mary in-
voluntarily gave a start, but the captain said:
   "Oh, don't be afraid, Miss Mary; he is all right, take my
word for it; I'll have a capital sailor to present to Captain
Grant before long, for we'll find the worthy captain, depend
upon it."
   "Heaven grant it, Mr. John," replied the young girl.
   "My dear child," said Lord Glenarvan, "there is some-
thing so providential in the whole affair, that we have every
reason to hope. We are not going, we are led; we are not
searching, we are guided. And then see all the brave men
that have enlisted in the service of the good cause. We
shall not only succeed in our enterprise, but there will be
little difficulty in it. I promised Lady Helena a pleasure
trip, and I am much mistaken if I don't keep my word."
   "Edward," said his wife, "you are the best of men."
   "Not at all," was the reply; "but I have the best of crews
and the best of ships. You don't admire the <i>Duncan</i>, I sup-
pose, Miss Mary?"
   "On the contrary, my lord, I do admire her, and I'm a
connoisseur in ships," returned the young girl.
   "Indeed!"
   "Yes. I have played all my life on my father's ships.
He should have made me a sailor, for I dare say, at a push,
I could reef a sail or plait a gasket easily enough."
   "Do you say so, miss?" exclaimed John Mangles.
   "If you talk like that you and John will be great friends,
for he can't think any calling is equal to that of a seaman;


AN UNEXPECTED PASSENGER    29

he can't fancy any other, even for a woman. Isn't it true,
John?"
   "Quite so," said the captain, "and yet, your Lordship, I
must confess that Miss Grant is more in her place on the
poop than reefing a topsail. But for all that, I am quite
flattered by her remarks."
   "And especially when she admires the <i>Duncan</i>," replied
Glenarvan.
   "Well, really," said Lady Glenarvan, "you are so proud
of your yacht that you make me wish to look all over it;
and I should like to go down and see how our brave men
are lodged."
   "Their quarters are first-rate," replied John, "they are as
comfortable as if they were at home."
   "And they really are at home, my dear Helena," said
Lord Glenarvan. "This yacht is a portion of our old Cale-
donia, a fragment of Dumbartonshire, making a voyage by
special favor, so that in a manner we are still in our own
country. The <i>Duncan</i> is Malcolm Castle, and the ocean is
Loch Lomond."
   "Very well, dear Edward, do the honors of the Castle
then."
   "At your service, madam; but let me tell Olbinett first."
   The steward of the yacht was an excellent <i>maitre d'hotel</i>,
and might have been French for his airs of importance, but
for all that he discharged his functions with zeal and intelli-
gence.
   "Olbinett," said his master, as he appeared in answer to
his summons, "we are going to have a turn before break-
fast. I hope we shall find it ready when we come back."
   He said this just as if it had been a walk to Tarbert or
Loch Katrine they were going, and the steward bowed with
perfect gravity in reply.
   "Are you coming with us, Major?" asked Lady Helena.
   "If you command me," replied McNabbs.
   "Oh!" said Lord Glenarvan; "the Major is absorbed in
his cigar; "you mustn't tear him from it. He is an in-
veterate smoker, Miss Mary, I can tell you. He is always
smoking, even while he sleeps."
   The Major gave an assenting nod, and Lord Glenarvan
and his party went below.
   McNabbs remained alone, talking to himself, as was his


30   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

habit, and was soon enveloped in still thicker clouds of
smoke. He stood motionless, watching the track of the
yacht. After some minutes of this silent contemplation he
turned round, and suddenly found himself face to face with
a new comer. Certainly, if any thing could have surprised
him, this <i>rencontre</i> would, for he had never seen the
stranger in his life before.
   He was a tall, thin, withered-looking man, about forty
years of age, and resembled a long nail with a big head.
His head was large and massive, his forehead high, his chin
very marked. His eyes were concealed by enormous round
spectacles, and in his look was that peculiar indecision which
is common to nyctalopes, or people who have a peculiar con-
struction of the eye, which makes the sight imperfect in the
day and better at night. It was evident from his physiog-
nomy that he was a lively, intelligent man; he had not the
crabbed expression of those grave individuals who never
laugh on principle, and cover their emptiness with a mask of
seriousness. He looked far from that. His careless, good-
humored air, and easy, unceremonious manners, showed
plainly that he knew how to take men and things on their
bright side. But though he had not yet opened his mouth,
he gave one the impression of being a great talker, and
moreover, one of those absent folks who neither see though
they are looking, nor hear though they are listening. He
wore a traveling cap, and strong, low, yellow boots with
leather gaiters. His pantaloons and jacket were of brown
velvet, and their innumerable pockets were stuffed with
note-books, memorandum-books, account-books, pocket-
books, and a thousand other things equally cumbersome
and useless, not to mention a telescope in addition, which
he carried in a shoulder-belt.
   The stranger's excitement was a strong contrast to the
Major's placidity. He walked round McNabbs, looking at
him and questioning him with his eyes without eliciting one
remark from the imperturbable Scotchman, or awakening
his curiosity in the least, to know where he came from, and
where he was going, and how he had got on board the
<i>Duncan</i>.
   Finding all his efforts baffled by the Major's indifference,
the mysterious passenger seized his telescope, drew it out
to its fullest extent, about four feet, and began gazing at


AN UNEXPECTED PASSENGER    31

the horizon, standing motionless with his legs wide apart.
His examination lasted some few minutes, and then he low-
ered the glass, set it up on deck, and leaned on it as if it had
been a walking-stick. Of course, his weight shut up the
instrument immediately by pushing the different parts one
into the other, and so suddenly, that he fell full length on
deck, and lay sprawling at the foot of the mainmast.
   Any one else but the Major would have smiled, at least,
at such a ludicrous sight; but McNabbs never moved a
muscle of his face.
   This was too much for the stranger, and he called out,
with an unmistakably foreign accent:
   "Steward!"
   He waited a minute, but nobody appeared, and he called
again, still louder, "Steward!"
   Mr. Olbinett chanced to be passing that minute on his
way from the galley, and what was his astonishment at hear-
ing himself addressed like this by a lanky individual of
whom he had no knowledge whatever.
   "Where can he have come from? Who is he?" he
thought to himself. "He can not possibly be one of Lord
Glenarvan's friends?"
   However, he went up on the poop, and approached the
unknown personage, who accosted him with the inquiry,
"Are you the steward of this vessel? "
   "Yes, sir," replied Olbinett; "but I have not the honor
of --"
   "I am the passenger in cabin Number 6."
   "Number 6!" repeated the steward.
   "Certainly; and your name, what is it?"
   "Olbinett."
   "Well, Olbinett, my friend, we must think of breakfast,
and that pretty quickly. It is thirty-six hours since I have
had anything to eat, or rather thirty-six hours that I have
been asleep -- pardonable enough in a man who came all the
way, without stopping, from Paris to Glasgow. What is
the breakfast hour?"
   "Nine o'clock," replied Olbinett, mechanically.
   The stranger tried to pull out his watch to see the time;
but it was not till he had rummaged through the ninth
pocket that he found it.
   "Ah, well," he said, "it is only eight o'clock at present.


32   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

Fetch me a glass of sherry and a biscuit while I am waiting,
for I am actually falling through sheer inanition."
   Olbinett heard him without understanding what he meant
for the voluble stranger kept on talking incessantly, flying
from one subject to another.
   "The captain? Isn't the captain up yet? And the chief
officer? What is he doing? Is he asleep still? It is fine
weather, fortunately, and the wind is favorable, and the
ship goes all alone."
   Just at that moment John Mangles appeared at the top of
the stairs.
   "Here is the captain!" said Olbinett.
   "Ah! delighted, Captain Burton, delighted to make your
acquaintance," exclaimed the unknown.
   John Mangles stood stupefied, as much at seeing the
stranger on board as at hearing himself called "Captain
Burton."
   But the new comer went on in the most affable man-
ner.
   "Allow me to shake hands with you, sir; and if I did not
do so yesterday evening, it was only because I did not wish
to be troublesome when you were starting. But to-day, cap-
tain, it gives me great pleasure to begin my intercourse with
you."
   John Mangles opened his eyes as wide as possible, and
stood staring at Olbinett and the stranger alternately.
   But without waiting for a reply, the rattling fellow con-
tinued:
   "Now the introduction is made, my dear captain, we are
old friends. Let's have a little talk, and tell me how you
like the <i>Scotia?</i>"
   "What do you mean by the <i>Scotia?</i>" put in John
Mangles at last.
   "By the <i>Scotia?</i> Why, the ship we're on, of course -- a
good ship that has been commended to me, not only for its
physical qualities, but also for the moral qualities of its com-
mander, the brave Captain Burton. You will be some rela-
tion of the famous African traveler of that name. A dar-
ing man he was, sir. I offer you my congratulations."
   "Sir," interrupted John. "I am not only no relation of
Burton the great traveler, but I am not even Captain
Burton."

V. IV Verne


AN UNEXPECTED PASSENGER    33

   "Ah, is that so? It is Mr. Burdness, the chief officer,
that I am talking to at present."
   "Mr. Burdness!" repeated John Mangles, beginning to
suspect how the matter stood. Only he asked himself
whether the man was mad, or some heedless rattle pate?
He was beginning to explain the case in a categorical man-
ner, when Lord Glenarvan and his party came up on the
poop. The stranger caught sight of them directly, and ex-
claimed:
   "Ah! the passengers, the passengers! I hope you are
going to introduce me to them, Mr. Burdness!"
   But he could not wait for any one's intervention, and go-
ing up to them with perfect ease and grace, said, bowing to
Miss Grant, "Madame;" then to Lady Helena, with an-
other bow, "Miss;" and to Lord Glenarvan, "Sir."
   Here John Mangles interrupted him, and said, "Lord
Glenarvan."
   "My Lord," continued the unknown, "I beg pardon for
presenting myself to you, but at sea it is well to relax the
strict rules of etiquette a little. I hope we shall soon be-
come acquainted with each other, and that the company of
these ladies will make our voyage in the <i>Scotia</i> appear as
short as agreeable."
   Lady Helena and Miss Grant were too astonished to be
able to utter a single word. The presence of this intruder
on the poop of the <i>Duncan</i> was perfectly inexplicable.
   Lord Glenarvan was more collected, and said, "Sir, to
whom have I the honor of speaking?"
   "To Jacques Eliacin Francois Marie Paganel, Secretary
of the Geographical Society of Paris, Corresponding Mem-
ber of the Societies of Berlin, Bombay, Darmstadt, Leipsic,
London, St. Petersburg, Vienna, and New York; Honorary
Member of the Royal Geographical and Ethnographical In-
stitute of the East Indies; who, after having spent twenty
years of his life in geographical work in the study, wishes to
see active service, and is on his way to India to gain for the
science what information he can by following up the foot-
steps of great travelers."


CHAPTER VII
JACQUES PAGANEL IS UNDECEIVED

   THE Secretary of the Geographical Society was evidently
an amiable personage, for all this was said in a most charm-
ing manner. Lord Glenarvan knew quite well who he was
now, for he had often heard Paganel spoken of, and was
aware of his merits. His geographical works, his papers on
modern discoveries, inserted in the reports of the Society,
and his world-wide correspondence, gave him a most dis-
tinguished place among the <i>literati</i> of France.
   Lord Glenarvan could not but welcome such a guest, and
shook hands cordially.
   "And now that our introductions are over," he added,
"you will allow me, Monsieur Paganel, to ask you a ques-
tion?"
   "Twenty, my Lord, " replied Paganel; "it will always be
a pleasure to converse with you."
   "Was it last evening that you came on board this ves-
sel?"
   "Yes, my Lord, about 8 o'clock. I jumped into a cab at
the Caledonian Railway, and from the cab into the <i>Scotia</i>,
where I had booked my cabin before I left Paris. It was
a dark night, and I saw no one on board, so I found cabin
No. 6, and went to my berth immediately, for I had heard
that the best way to prevent sea-sickness is to go to bed as
soon as you start, and not to stir for the first few days; and,
moreover, I had been traveling for thirty hours.   So I
tucked myself in, and slept conscientiously, I assure you, for
thirty-six hours."
   Paganel's listeners understood the whole mystery, now,
of his presence on the <i>Duncan</i>. The French traveler had
mistaken his vessel, and gone on board while the crew were
attending the service at St. Mungo's. All was explained.
But what would the learned geographer say, when he heard
the name and destination of the ship, in which he had taken
passage?
   "Then it is Calcutta, M. Paganel, that you have chosen
as your point of departure on your travels?"
   "Yes, my Lord, to see India has been a cherished purpose
with me all my life. It will be the realization of my fondest
dreams, to find myself in the country of elephants and
Thugs."

34


JACQUES PAGANEL IS UNDECEIVED 35

   "Then it would be by no means a matter of indifference
to you, to visit another country instead."
   "No, my Lord; indeed it would be very disagreeable, for
I have letters from Lord Somerset, the Governor-General,
and also a commission to execute for the Geographical
Society."
   "Ah, you have a commission."
   "Yes, I have to attempt a curious and important journey,
the plan of which has been drawn up by my learned friend
and colleague, M. Vivien de Saint Martin. I am to pursue
the track of the Schlaginweit Brothers; and Colonels Waugh
and Webb, and Hodgson; and Huc and Gabet, the mis-
sionaries; and Moorecroft and M. Jules Remy, and so many
celebrated travelers. I mean to try and succeed where
Krick, the missionary so unfortunately failed in 1846; in a
word, I want to follow the course of the river Yarou-
Dzangbo-Tchou, which waters Thibet for a distance of
1500 kilometres, flowing along the northern base of the
Himalayas, and to find out at last whether this river does
not join itself to the Brahmapoutre in the northeast of As-
sam. The gold medal, my Lord, is promised to the traveler
who will succeed in ascertaining a fact which is one of the
greatest <i>desiderata</i> to the geography of India."
   Paganel was magnificent. He spoke with superb anima-
tion, soaring away on the wings of imagination. It would
have been as impossible to stop him as to stop the Rhine
at the Falls of Schaffhausen.
   "Monsieur Jacques Paganel," said Lord Glenarvan, after
a brief pause, "that would certainly be a grand achievement,
and you would confer a great boon on science, but I should
not like to allow you to be laboring under a mistake any
longer, and I must tell you, therefore, that for the present
at least, you must give up the pleasure of a visit to India."
   "Give it up. And why?"
   "Because you are turning your back on the Indian penin-
sula."
   "What! Captain Burton."
   "I am not Captain Burton," said John Mangles.
   "But the <i>Scotia</i>."
   "This vessel is not the <i>Scotia</i>."
   It would be impossible to depict the astonishment of
Paganel. He stared first at one and then at another in the
utmost bewilderment.


36   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Lord Glenarvan was perfectly grave, and Lady Helena
and Mary showed their sympathy for his vexation by their
looks. As for John Mangles, he could not suppress a
smile; but the Major appeared as unconcerned as usual.
At last the poor fellow shrugged his shoulders, pushed down
his spectacles over his nose and said:
   "You are joking."
   But just at that very moment his eye fell on the wheel of
the ship, and he saw the two words on it:
                       <i>Duncan.
                          Glasgow</i>.
   "The <i>Duncan!</i> the <i>Duncan!</i>" he exclaimed, with a cry
of despair, and forthwith rushed down the stairs, and away
to his cabin.
   As soon as the unfortunate <i>savant</i> had disappeared, every
one, except the Major, broke out into such peals of laughter
that the sound reached the ears of the sailors in the fore-
castle. To mistake a railway or to take the train to Edin-
burgh when you want to go to Dumbarton might happen;
but to mistake a ship and be sailing for Chili when you
meant to go to India -- that is a blunder indeed!
   "However," said Lord Glenarvan, "I am not much as-
tonished at it in Paganel. He is quite famous for such
misadventures. One day he published a celebrated map of
America, and put Japan in it! But for all that, he is dis-
tinguished for his learning, and he is one of the best geog-
raphers in France."
   "But what shall we do with the poor gentleman?" said
Lady Helena; "we can't take him with us to Patagonia."
   "Why not?" replied McNabbs, gravely. "We are not
responsible for his heedless mistakes. Suppose he were in
a railway train, would they stop it for him?"
   "No, but he would get out at the first station."
   "Well, that is just what he can do here, too, if he likes;
he can disembark at the first place where we touch."
   While they were talking, Paganel came up again on the
poop, looking very woebegone and crestfallen. He had
been making inquiry about his luggage, to assure himself
that it was all on board, and kept repeating incessantly the
unlucky words, "The <i>Duncan!</i> the <i>Duncan!</i>"
   He could find no others in his vocabulary. He paced
restlessly up and down; sometimes stopping to examine the


JACQUES PAGANEL IS UNDECEIVED  37

sails, or gaze inquiringly over the wide ocean, at the far
horizon. At length he accosted Lord Glenarvan once more,
and said --
   "And this <i>Duncan</i> -- where is she going?"
   "To America, Monsieur Paganel," was the reply.
   "And to what particular part?"
   "To Concepcion."
   "To Chili! to Chili!" cried the unfortunate geographer.
"And my mission to India. But what will M. de Quatre-
fages, the President of the Central Commission, say? And
M. d' Avezac? And M. Cortanbert? And M. Vivien de
Saint Martin? How shall I show my face at the <i>seances</i> of
the Society?"
   "Come, Monsieur Paganel, don't despair. It can all be
managed; you will only have to put up with a little delay,
which is relatively of not much importance. The Yarou-
Dzangbo-Tchou will wait for you still in the mountains of
Thibet. We shall soon put in at Madeira, and you will get
a ship there to take you back to Europe."
   "Thanks, my Lord. I suppose I must resign myself to
it; but people will say it is a most extraordinary adventure,
and it is only to me such things happen. And then, too,
there is a cabin taken for me on board the <i>Scotia</i>."
   "Oh, as to the <i>Scotia</i>, you'll have to give that up mean-
time."
   "But the <i>Duncan</i> is a pleasure yacht, is it not?" began
Paganel again, after a fresh examination of the vessel.
   "Yes, sir," said John Mangles, "and belongs to Lord
Glenarvan."
   "Who begs you will draw freely on his hospitality," said
Lord Glenarvan.
   "A thousand thanks, my Lord! I deeply feel your cour-
tesy, but allow me to make one observation: India is a fine
country, and can offer many a surprising marvel to travel-
ers. These ladies, I suppose, have never seen it. Well
now, the man at the helm has only to give a turn at the
wheel, and the <i>Duncan</i> will sail as easily to Calcutta as to
Concepcion; and since it is only a pleasure trip that you
are --"
   His proposal was met by such grave, disapproving shakes
of the head, that he stopped short before the sentence was
completed; and Lady Helena said:


38   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Monsieur Paganel, if we were only on a pleasure trip, I
should reply, 'Let us all go to India together,' and I am sure
Lord Glenarvan would not object; but the <i>Duncan</i> is going
to bring back shipwrecked mariners who were cast away on
the shores of Patagonia, and we could not alter such a des-
tination."
   The Frenchman was soon put in possession of all the cir-
cumstances of the case. He was no unmoved auditor, and
when he heard of Lady Helena's generous proposition, he
could not help saying,
   "Madame, permit me to express my admiration of your
conduct throughout -- my unreserved admiration. Let your
yacht continue her course. I should reproach myself were
I to cause a single day's delay."
   "Will you join us in our search, then?" asked Lady
Helena.
   "It is impossible, madame. I must fulfill my mission. I
shall disembark at the first place you touch at, wherever it
may be."
   "That will be Madeira," said John Mangles.
   "Madeira be it then. I shall only be 180 leagues from
Lisbon, and I shall wait there for some means of transport."
   "Very well, Monsieur Paganel, it shall be as you wish;
and, for my own part, I am very glad to be able to offer
you, meantime, a few days' hospitality. I only hope you
will not find our company too dull."
   "Oh, my Lord," exclaimed Paganel, "I am but too
happy to have made a mistake which has turned out so
agreeably. Still, it is a very ridiculous plight for a man to
be in, to find himself sailing to America when he set out to
go to the East Indies!"
   But in spite of this melancholy reflection, the Frenchman
submitted gracefully to the compulsory delay. He made
himself amiable and merry, and even diverting, and en-
chanted the ladies with his good humor. Before the end of
the day he was friends with everybody. At his request, the
famous document was brought out. He studied it carefully
and minutely for a long time, and finally declared his opinion
that no other interpretation of it was possible. Mary
Grant and her brother inspired him with the most lively in-
terest. He gave them great hope; indeed, the young girl
could not help smiling at his sanguine prediction of success,


THE GEOGRAPHER'S RESOLUTION   39

and this odd way of foreseeing future events. But for his
mission he would have made one of the search party for
Captain Grant, undoubtedly.
   As for Lady Helena, when he heard that she was a daugh-
ter of William Tuffnell, there was a perfect explosion of
admiring epithets. He had known her father, and what
letters had passed between them when William Tuffnell was
a corresponding member of the Society! It was he himself
that had introduced him and M. Malte Brun. What a <i>ren-
contre</i> this was, and what a pleasure to travel with the
daughter of Tuffnell.
   He wound up by asking permission to kiss her, which
Lady Helena granted, though it was, perhaps, a little im-
proper.


CHAPTER VIII
THE GEOGRAPHER'S RESOLUTION

   MEANTIME the yacht, favored by the currents from the
north of Africa, was making rapid progress toward the
equator. On the 30th of August they sighted the Madeira
group of islands, and Glenarvan, true to his promise, offered
to put in there, and land his new guest.
   But Paganel said:
   "My dear Lord, I won't stand on ceremony with you.
Tell me, did you intend to stop at Madeira before I came
on board?"
   "No," replied Glenarvan.
   "Well, then, allow me to profit by my unlucky mistake.
Madeira is an island too well known to be of much interest
now to a geographer. Every thing about this group has
been said and written already. Besides, it is completely
going down as far as wine growing is concerned. Just
imagine no vines to speak of being in Madeira! In 1813,
22,000 pipes of wine were made there, and in 1845
the number fell to 2,669. It is a grievous spectacle! If it
is all the same to you, we might go on to the Canary Isles
instead."
   "Certainly. It will not the least interfere with our
route."
   "I know it will not, my dear Lord. In the Canary
Islands, you see, there are three groups to study, besides


40   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

the Peak of Teneriffe, which I always wished to visit. This
is an opportunity, and I should like to avail myself of it, and
make the ascent of the famous mountain while I am wait-
ing for a ship to take me back to Europe."
   "As you please, my dear Paganel," said Lord Glenarvan,
though he could not help smiling; and no wonder, for these
islands are scarcely 250 miles from Madeira, a trifling dis-
tance for such a quick sailer as the <i>Duncan</i>.
   Next day, about 2 P. M., John Mangles and Paganel
were walking on the poop. The Frenchman was assailing
his companion with all sorts of questions about Chili, when
all at once the captain interrupted him, and pointing to-
ward the southern horizon, said:
   "Monsieur Paganel?"
   "Yes, my dear Captain."
   "Be so good as to look in this direction. Don't you see
anything?"
   "Nothing."
   "You're not looking in the right place. It is not on the
horizon, but above it in the clouds."
   "In the clouds? I might well not see."
   "There, there, by the upper end of the bowsprit."
   "I see nothing."
   "Then you don't want to see. Anyway, though we are
forty miles off, yet I tell you the Peak of Teneriffe is quite
visible yonder above the horizon."
   But whether Paganel could not or would not see it then,
two hours later he was forced to yield to ocular evidence or
own himself blind.
   "You do see it at last, then," said John Mangles.
   "Yes, yes, distinctly," replied Paganel, adding in a dis-
dainful tone, "and that's what they call the Peak of Ten-
eriffe!"
   "That's the Peak."
   "It doesn't look much of a height."
   "It is 11,000 feet, though, above the level of the sea."
   "That is not equal to Mont Blanc."
   "Likely enough, but when you come to ascend it, prob-
ably you'll think it high enough."
   "Oh, ascend it! ascend it, my dear captain! What would
be the good after Humboldt and Bonplan? That Hum-
boldt was a great genius. He made the ascent of this moun-


THE GEOGRAPHER'S RESOLUTION   41

tain, and has given a description of it which leaves nothing
unsaid. He tells us that it comprises five different zones --
the zone of the vines, the zone of the laurels, the zone of
the pines, the zone of the Alpine heaths, and, lastly, the zone
of sterility. He set his foot on the very summit, and found
that there was not even room enough to sit down. The
view from the summit was very extensive, stretching over
an area equal to Spain. Then he went right down into the
volcano, and examined the extinct crater. What could I
do, I should like you to tell me, after that great man?"
   "Well, certainly, there isn't much left to glean. That is
vexing, too, for you would find it dull work waiting for a
vessel in the Peak of Teneriffe."
   "But, I say, Mangles, my dear fellow, are there no ports
in the Cape Verde Islands that we might touch at?"
   "Oh, yes, nothing would be easier than putting you off
at Villa Praya."
   "And then I should have one advantage, which is by no
means inconsiderable -- I should find fellow-countrymen at
Senegal, and that is not far away from those islands. I am
quite aware that the group is said to be devoid of much
interest, and wild, and unhealthy; but everything is curious
in the eyes of a geographer. Seeing is a science. There
are people who do not know how to use their eyes, and who
travel about with as much intelligence as a shell-fish. But
that's not in my line, I assure you."
   "Please yourself, Monsieur Paganel. I have no doubt
geographical science will be a gainer by your sojourn in
the Cape Verde Islands. We must go in there anyhow for
coal, so your disembarkation will not occasion the least
delay."
   The captain gave immediate orders for the yacht to con-
tinue her route, steering to the west of the Canary group,
and leaving Teneriffe on her larboard. She made rapid
progress, and passed the Tropic of Cancer on the second of
September at 5 A. M.
   The weather now began to change, and the atmosphere
became damp and heavy. It was the rainy season, "<i>le
tempo das aguas</i>," as the Spanish call it, a trying season to
travelers, but useful to the inhabitants of the African Is-
lands, who lack trees and consequently water. The rough
weather prevented the passengers from going on deck, but


42   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

did not make the conversation any less animated in the
saloon.
   On the 3d of September Paganel began to collect his lug-
gage to go on shore. The <i>Duncan</i> was already steaming
among the Islands. She passed Sal, a complete tomb of
sand lying barren and desolate, and went on among the vast
coral reefs and athwart the Isle of St. Jacques, with its long
chain of basaltic mountains, till she entered the port of Villa
Praya and anchored in eight fathoms of water before the
town. The weather was frightful, and the surf excessively
violent, though the bay was sheltered from the sea winds.
The rain fell in such torrents that the town was scarcely
visible through it. It rose on a plain in the form of a ter-
race, buttressed on volcanic rocks three hundred feet high.
The appearance of the island through the thick veil of rain
was mournful in the extreme.
   Lady Helena could not go on shore as she had purposed;
indeed, even coaling was a difficult business, and the pas-
sengers had to content themselves below the poop as best
they might. Naturally enough, the main topic of conversa-
tion was the weather. Everybody had something to say
about it except the Major, who surveyed the universal
deluge with the utmost indifference. Paganel walked up
and down shaking his head.
   "It is clear enough, Paganel," said Lord Glenarvan,
"that the elements are against you."
   "I'll be even with them for all that," replied the French-
man.
   "You could not face rain like that, Monsieur Paganel,"
said Lady Helena.
   "Oh, quite well, madam, as far as I myself am concerned.
It is for my luggage and instruments that I am afraid.
Everything will be ruined."
   "The disembarking is the worst part of the business.
Once at Villa Praya you might manage to find pretty good
quarters. They wouldn't be over clean, and you might find
the monkeys and pigs not always the most agreeable com-
panions. But travelers are not too particular, and, more-
over, in seven or eight months you would get a ship, I dare
say, to take you back to Europe."
   "Seven or eight months!" exclaimed Paganel.
   "At least. The Cape Verde Islands are not much fre-


THE GEOGRAPHER'S RESOLUTION   43

quented by ships during the rainy season. But you can
employ your time usefully. This archipelago is still but
little known."
   "You can go up the large rivers," suggested Lady He-
lena.
   "There are none, madam."
   "Well, then, the small ones."
   "There are none, madam."
   "The running brooks, then."
   "There are no brooks, either."
   "You can console yourself with the forests if that's the
case," put in the Major.
   "You can't make forests without trees, and there are no
trees."
   "A charming country!" said the Major.
   "Comfort yourself, my dear Paganel, you'll have the
mountains at any rate," said Glenarvan.
   "Oh, they are neither lofty nor interesting, my Lord, and,
beside, they have been described already."
   "Already!" said Lord Glenarvan.
   "Yes, that is always my luck. At the Canary Islands,
I saw myself anticipated by Humboldt, and here by M.
Charles Sainte-Claire Deville, a geologist."
   "Impossible!"
   "It is too true," replied Paganel, in a doleful voice.
"Monsieur Deville was on board the government corvette,
<i>La D&eacute;cid&eacute;e, when she touched at the Cape Verde Islands,
and he explored the most interesting of the group, and went
to the top of the volcano in Isle Fogo. What is left for me
to do after him?"
   "It is really a great pity," said Helena. "What will be-
come of you, Monsieur Paganel?"
   Paganel remained silent.
   "You would certainly have done much better to have
landed at Madeira, even though there had been no wine,"
said Glenarvan.
   Still the learned secretary was silent.
   "I should wait," said the Major, just as if he had said,
"I should not wait."
   Paganel spoke again at length, and said:
   "My dear Glenarvan, where do you mean to touch next?"
   "At Concepcion."


44   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Plague it! That is a long way out of the road to
India."
   "Not it! From the moment you pass Cape Horn, you
are getting nearer to it."
   "I doubt it much."
   "Beside," resumed Lord Glenarvan, with perfect grav-
ity, "when people are going to the Indies it doesn't matter
much whether it is to the East or West."
   "What! it does not matter much?"
   "Without taking into account the fact that the inhabi-
tants of the Pampas in Patagonia are as much Indians as
the natives of the Punjaub."
   "Well done, my Lord. That's a reason that would never
have entered my head!"
   "And then, my dear Paganel, you can gain the gold
medal anyway. There is as much to be done, and sought,
and investigated, and discovered in the Cordilleras as in
the mountains of Thibet."
   "But the course of the Yarou-Dzangbo-Tchou -- what
about that?"
   "Go up the Rio Colorado instead. It is a river but little
known, and its course on the map is marked out too much
according to the fancy of geographers."
   "I know it is, my dear Lord; they have made grave mis-
takes. Oh, I make no question that the Geographical So-
ciety would have sent me to Patagonia as soon as to India,
if I had sent in a request to that effect. But I never thought
of it."
   "Just like you."
   "Come, Monsieur Paganel, will you go with us?" asked
Lady Helena, in her most winning tone.
   "Madam, my mission?"
   "We shall pass through the Straits of Magellan, I must
tell you," said Lord Glenarvan.
   "My Lord, you are a tempter."
   "Let me add, that we shall visit Port Famine."
   "Port Famine!" exclaimed the Frenchman, besieged on
all sides. "That famous port in French annals!"
   "Think, too, Monsieur Paganel, that by taking part in
our enterprise, you will be linking France with Scotland."
   "Undoubtedly."
   "A geographer would be of much use to our expedition,


THROUGH THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN 45

and what can be nobler than to bring science to the service
of humanity?"
   "That's well said, madam."
   "Take my advice, then, and yield to chance, or rather
providence. Follow our example. It was providence that
sent us the document, and we set out in consequence. The
same providence brought you on board the <i>Duncan</i>. Don't
leave her."
   "Shall I say yes, my good friends? Come, now, tell me,
you want me very much to stay, don't you?" said Paganel.
   "And you're dying to stay, now, aren't you, Paganel?"
returned Glenarvan.
   "That's about it," confessed the learned geographer;
"but I was afraid it would be inconsiderate."


CHAPTER IX
THROUGH THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN

   THE joy on board was universal when Paganel's resolu-
tion was made known.
   Little Robert flung himself on his neck in such tumultuous
delight that he nearly threw the worthy secretary down, and
made him say, "Rude <i>petit bonhomme</i>. I'll teach him
geography."
   Robert bade fair to be an accomplished gentleman some
day, for John Mangles was to make a sailor of him, and the
Major was to teach him <i>sang-froid</i>, and Glenarvan and
Lady Helena were to instil into him courage and goodness
and generosity, while Mary was to inspire him with grati-
tude toward such instructors.
   The <i>Duncan</i> soon finished taking in coal, and turned her
back on the dismal region. She fell in before long with
the current from the coast of Brazil, and on the 7th of Sep-
tember entered the Southern hemisphere.
   So far, then, the voyage had been made without difficulty.
Everybody was full of hope, for in this search for Captain
Grant, each day seemed to increase the probability of find-
ing him. The captain was among the most confident on
board, but his confidence mainly arose from the longing de-
sire he had to see Miss Mary happy. He was smitten with
quite a peculiar interest for this young girl, and managed


46   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

to conceal his sentiments so well that everyone on board
saw it except himself and Mary Grant.
   As for the learned geographer, he was probably the hap-
piest man in all the southern hemisphere. He spent the
whole day in studying maps, which were spread out on the
saloon table, to the great annoyance of M. Olbinett, who
could never get the cloth laid for meals, without disputes on
the subject. But all the passengers took his part except the
Major, who was perfectly indifferent about geographical
questions, especially at dinner-time. Paganel also came
across a regular cargo of old books in the chief officer's
chest. They were in a very damaged condition, but among
them he raked out a few Spanish volumes, and determined
forthwith to set to work to master the language of Cer-
vantes, as no one on board understood it, and it would be
helpful in their search along the Chilian coast. Thanks to
his taste for languages, he did not despair of being able to
speak the language fluently when they arrived at Concep-
cion. He studied it furiously, and kept constantly mutter-
ing heterogeneous syllables.
   He spent his leisure hours in teaching young Robert, and
instructed him in the history of the country they were so
rapidly approaching.
   On the 25th of September, the yacht arrived off the Straits
of Magellan, and entered them without delay. This route
is generally preferred by steamers on their way to the Pa-
cific Ocean. The exact length of the straits is 372 miles.
Ships of the largest tonnage find, throughout, sufficient
depth of water, even close to the shore, and there is a good
bottom everywhere, and abundance of fresh water, and
rivers abounding in fish, and forests in game, and plenty of
safe and accessible harbors; in fact a thousand things which
are lacking in Strait Lemaire and Cape Horn, with its ter-
rible rocks, incessantly visited by hurricane and tempest.
   For the first three or four hours -- that is to say, for about
sixty to eighty miles, as far as Cape Gregory -- the coast on
either side was low and sandy. Jacques Paganel would not
lose a single point of view, nor a single detail of the straits.
It would scarcely take thirty-six hours to go through them,
and the moving panorama on both sides, seen in all the clear-
ness and glory of the light of a southern sun, was well worth
the trouble of looking at and admiring. On the Terra del


THROUGH THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN 47

Fuego side, a few wretched-looking creatures were wander-
ing about on the rocks, but on the other side not a solitary
inhabitant was visible.
   Paganel was so vexed at not being able to catch a glimpse
of any Patagonians, that his companions were quite amused
at him. He would insist that Patagonia without Pata-
gonians was not Patagonia at all.
   But Glenarvan replied:
   "Patience, my worthy geographer. We shall see the
Patagonians yet."
   "I am not sure of it."
   "But there is such a people, anyhow," said Lady Helena.
   "I doubt it much, madam, since I don't see them."
   "But surely the very name Patagonia, which means
'great feet' in Spanish, would not have been given to imag-
inary beings."
  "Oh, the name is nothing," said Paganel, who was argu-
ing simply for the sake of arguing. "And besides, to speak
the truth, we are not sure if that is their name."
   "What an idea!" exclaimed Glenarvan. "Did you
know that, Major?"
   "No," replied McNabbs, "and wouldn't give a Scotch
pound-note for the information."
   "You shall hear it, however, Major Indifferent. Though
Magellan called the natives Patagonians, the Fuegians
called them Tiremenen, the Chilians Caucalhues, the col-
onists of Carmen Tehuelches, the Araucans Huiliches; Bou-
gainville gives them the name of Chauha, and Falkner that
of Tehuelhets. The name they give themselves is Inaken.
Now, tell me then, how would you recognize them? In-
deed, is it likely that a people with so many names has any
actual existence?"
   "That's a queer argument, certainly," said Lady Helena.
   "Well, let us admit it," said her husband, "but our
friend Paganel must own that even if there are doubts about
the name of the race there is none about their size."
   "Indeed, I will never own anything so outrageous as
that," replied Paganel.
   "They are tall," said Glenarvan.
   "I don't know that."
   "Are they little, then?" asked Lady Helena.
   "No one can affirm that they are."


48   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "About the average, then?" said McNabbs.
   "I don't know that either."
   "That's going a little too far," said Glenarvan. "Trav-
elers who have seen them tell us."
   "Travelers who have seen them," interrupted Paganel,
"don't agree at all in their accounts. Magellan said that
his head scarcely reached to their waist."
   "Well, then, that proves."
   "Yes, but Drake declares that the English are taller than
the tallest Patagonian?"
   "Oh, the English -- that may be," replied the Major, dis-
dainfully, "but we are talking of the Scotch."
   "Cavendish assures us that they are tall and robust," con-
tinued Paganel. "Hawkins makes out they are giants. Le-
maire and Shouten declare that they are eleven feet high."
   "These are all credible witnesses," said Glenarvan.
   "Yes, quite as much as Wood, Narborough, and Falk-
ner, who say they are of medium stature. Again, Byron,
Giraudais, Bougainville, Wallis, and Carteret, declared that
the Patagonians are six feet six inches tall."
   "But what is the truth, then, among all these contradic-
tions?" asked Lady Helena.
   "Just this, madame; the Patagonians have short legs, and
a large bust; or by way of a joke we might say that these
natives are six feet high when they are sitting, and only
five when they are standing."
   "Bravo! my dear geographer," said Glenarvan. "That
is very well put."
   "Unless the race has no existence, that would reconcile
all statements," returned Paganel. "But here is one con-
solation, at all events: the Straits of Magellan are very mag-
nificent, even without Patagonians."
   Just at this moment the <i>Duncan</i> was rounding the penin-
sula of Brunswick between splendid panoramas.
   Seventy miles after doubling Cape Gregory, she left on
her starboard the penitentiary of Punta Arena. The
church steeple and the Chilian flag gleamed for an instant
among the trees, and then the strait wound on between huge
granitic masses which had an imposing effect. Cloud-
capped mountains appeared, their heads white with eternal
snows, and their feet hid in immense forests. Toward the
southwest, Mount Tarn rose 6,500 feet high. Night came

V. IV Verne


THROUGH THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN 49

on after a long lingering twilight, the light insensibly melt-
ing away into soft shades. These brilliant constellations
began to bestud the sky, and the Southern Cross shone out.
There were numerous bays along the shore, easy of access,
but the yacht did not drop anchor in any; she continued her
course fearlessly through the luminous darkness. Presently
ruins came in sight, crumbling buildings, which the night
invested with grandeur, the sad remains of a deserted set-
tlement, whose name will be an eternal protest against these
fertile shores and forests full of game. The <i>Duncan</i> was
passing Fort Famine.
   It was in that very spot that Sarmiento, a Spaniard, came
in 1581, with four hundred emigrants, to establish a colony.
He founded the city of St. Philip, but the extreme severity
of winter decimated the inhabitants, and those who had
struggled through the cold died subsequently of starvation.
Cavendish the Corsair discovered the last survivor dying of
hunger in the ruins.
   After sailing along these deserted shores, the <i>Duncan</i>
went through a series of narrow passes, between forests of
beech and ash and birch, and at length doubled Cape Fro-
ward, still bristling with the ice of the last winter. On the
other side of the strait, in Terra del Fuego, stood Mount
Sarmiento, towering to a height of 6,000 feet, an enormous
accumulation of rocks, separated by bands of cloud, form-
ing a sort of a&euml;rial archipelago in the sky.
   It is at Cape Froward that the American continent actu-
ally terminates, for Cape Horn is nothing but a rock sunk
in the sea in latitude 52 degrees. At Cape Momax the
straits widened, and she was able to get round Narborough
Isles and advance in a more southerly direction, till at
length the rock of Cape Pilares, the extreme point of Desola-
tion Island, came in sight, thirty-six hours after entering
the straits. Before her stem lay a broad, open, sparkling
ocean, which Jacques Paganel greeted with enthusiastic ges-
tures, feeling kindred emotions with those which stirred the
bosom of Ferdinand de Magellan himself, when the sails
of his ship, the <i>Trinidad</i>, first bent before the breeze from
the great Pacific.


CHAPTER X
THE COURSE DECIDED

   A WEEK after they had doubled the Cape Pilares, the
<i>Duncan</i> steamed into the bay of Talcahuano, a magnificent
estuary, twelve miles long and nine broad. The weather
was splendid. From November to March the sky is always
cloudless, and a constant south wind prevails, as the coast
is sheltered by the mountain range of the Andes. In obedi-
ence to Lord Glenarvan's order, John Mangles had sailed as
near the archipelago of Chiloe as possible, and examined all
the creeks and windings of the coast, hoping to discover
some traces of the shipwreck. A broken spar, or any frag-
ment of the vessel, would have put them in the right track;
but nothing whatever was visible, and the yacht continued
her route, till she dropped anchor at the port of Talcahuano,
forty-two days from the time she had sailed out of the fogs
of the Clyde.
   Glenarvan had a boat lowered immediately, and went on
shore, accompanied by Paganel. The learned geographer
gladly availed himself of the opportunity of making use of
the language he had been studying so conscientiously, but
to his great amazement, found he could not make himself
understood by the people. "It is the accent I've not got,"
he said.
   "Let us go to the Custom-house," replied Glenarvan.
   They were informed on arriving there, by means of a
few English words, aided by expressive gestures, that the
British Consul lived at Concepcion, an hour's ride distant.
Glenarvan found no difficulty in procuring two fleet horses,
and he and Paganel were soon within the walls of the great
city, due to the enterprising genius of Valdivia, the valiant
comrade of the Pizarros.
   How it was shorn of its ancient splendor! Often pil-
laged by the natives, burned in 1819, it lay in desolation
and ruins, its walls still blackened by the flames, scarcely
numbering 8,000 inhabitants, and already eclipsed by Talca-
huano. The grass was growing in the streets, beneath the
lazy feet of the citizens, and all trade and business, indeed
any description of activity, was impossible. The notes of
the mandolin resounded from every balcony, and languish-
ing songs floated on the breeze. Concepcion, the ancient
city of brave men, had become a village of women and chil-

50


THE COURSE DECIDED        51

dren. Lord Glenarvan felt no great desire to inquire into
the causes of this decay, though Paganel tried to draw him
into a discussion on the subject. He would not delay an
instant, but went straight on to the house of Mr. Bentic,
her Majesty's Consul, who received them very courteously,
and, on learning their errand, undertook to make inquiries
all along the coast.
   But to the question whether a three-mast vessel, called
the <i>Britannia</i>, had gone ashore either on the Chilian or
Araucanian coast, he gave a decided negative. No report
of such an event had been made to him, or any of the other
consuls. Glenarvan, however, would not allow himself to
be disheartened; he went back to Talcahuano, and spared
neither pains nor expense to make a thorough investigation
of the whole seaboard. But it was all in vain. The most
minute inquiries were fruitless, and Lord Glenarvan re-
turned to the yacht to report his ill success. Mary Grant
and her brother could not restrain their grief. Lady He-
lena did her best to comfort them by loving caresses, while
Jacques Paganel took up the document and began studying
it again. He had been poring over it for more than an hour
when Glenarvan interrupted him and said:
   "Paganel! I appeal to your sagacity. Have we made
an erroneous interpretation of the document? Is there any-
thing illogical about the meaning?"
   Paganel was silent, absorbed in reflection.
   "Have we mistaken the place where the catastrophe oc-
curred?" continued Glenarvan. "Does not the name Pata-
gonia seem apparent even to the least clear-sighted indi-
vidual?"
   Paganel was still silent.
   "Besides," said Glenarvan, "does not the word <i>Indien</i>
prove we are right?"
   "Perfectly so," replied McNabbs.
   "And is it not evident, then, that at the moment of writ-
ing the words, the shipwrecked men were expecting to be
made prisoners by the Indians?"
   "I take exception to that, my Lord," said Paganel;
"and even if your other conclusions are right, this, at least,
seemed to me irrational."
   "What do you mean?" asked Lady Helena, while all
eyes were fixed on the geographer.


52   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "I mean this," replied Paganel, "that Captain Grant is
<i>now a prisoner among the Indians</i>, and I further add that
the document states it unmistakably."
   "Explain yourself, sir," said Mary Grant.
   "Nothing is plainer, dear Mary. Instead of reading the
document <i>seront prisonniers</i>, read <i>sont prisonniers</i>, and the
whole thing is clear."
   "But that is impossible," replied Lord Glenarvan.
   "Impossible! and why, my noble friend?" asked Paganel,
smiling.
   "Because the bottle could only have been thrown into
the sea just when the vessel went to pieces on the rocks, and
consequently the latitude and longitude given refer to the
actual place of the shipwreck."
   "There is no proof of that," replied Paganel, "and I see
nothing to preclude the supposition that the poor fellows
were dragged into the interior by the Indians, and sought
to make known the place of their captivity by means of this
bottle."
   "Except this fact, my dear Paganel, that there was no
sea, and therefore they could not have flung the bottle
into it."
   "Unless they flung it into rivers which ran into the sea,"
returned Paganel.
   This reply was so unexpected, and yet so admissible, that
it made them all completely silent for a minute, though their
beaming eyes betrayed the rekindling of hope in their
hearts. Lady Helena was the first to speak.
   "What an idea!" she exclaimed.
   "And what a good idea," was Paganel's naive rejoinder
to her exclamation.
   "What would you advise, then?" said Glenarvan.
   "My advice is to follow the 37th parallel from the point
where it touches the American continent to where it dips
into the Atlantic, without deviating from it half a degree,
and possibly in some part of its course we shall fall in with
the shipwrecked party."
   "There is a poor chance of that," said the Major.
   "Poor as it is," returned Paganel, "we ought not to lose
it. If I am right in my conjecture, that the bottle has been
carried into the sea on the bosom of some river, we cannot
fail to find the track of the prisoners. You can easily con-


THE COURSE DECIDED        53

vince yourselves of this by looking at this map of the coun-
try."
   He unrolled a map of Chili and the Argentine provinces
as he spoke, and spread it out on the table.
   "Just follow me for a moment," he said, "across the
American continent. Let us make a stride across the nar-
row strip of Chili, and over the Cordilleras of the Andes,
and get into the heart of the Pampas. Shall we find any
lack of rivers and streams and currents? No, for here are
the Rio Negro and Rio Colorado, and their tributaries inter-
sected by the 37th parallel, and any of them might have
carried the bottle on its waters. Then, perhaps, in the
midst of a tribe in some Indian settlement on the shores of
these almost unknown rivers, those whom I may call my
friends await some providential intervention. Ought we to
disappoint their hopes? Do you not all agree with me that
it is our duty to go along the line my finger is pointing out
at this moment on the map, and if after all we find I have
been mistaken, still to keep straight on and follow the 37th
parallel till we find those we seek, if even we go right round
the world?"
   His generous enthusiasm so touched his auditors that, in-
voluntarily, they rose to their feet and grasped his hands,
while Robert exclaimed as he devoured the map with his
eyes:
   "Yes, my father is there!"
   "And where he is," replied Glenarvan, "we'll manage to
go, my boy, and find him. Nothing can be more logical
than Paganel's theory, and we must follow the course he
points out without the least hesitation. Captain Grant may
have fallen into the hands of a numerous tribe, or his cap-
tors may be but a handful. In the latter case we shall carry
him off at once, but in the event of the former, after we
have reconnoitered the situation, we must go back to the
<i>Duncan</i> on the eastern coast and get to Buenos Ayres, where
we can soon organize a detachment of men, with Major
McNabbs at their head, strong enough to tackle all the In-
dians in the Argentine provinces."
   "That's capital, my Lord," said John Mangles, "and I
may add, that there is no danger whatever crossing the con-
tinent."
   "Monsieur Paganel," asked Lady Helena, "you have no


54   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

fear then that if the poor fellows have fallen into the hands
of the Indians their lives at least have been spared."
   "What a question? Why, madam, the Indians are not
anthropophagi! Far from it. One of my own country-
men, M. Guinnard, associated with me in the Geographical
Society, was three years a prisoner among the Indians in the
Pampas. He had to endure sufferings and ill-treatment,
but came off victorious at last. A European is a useful
being in these countries. The Indians know his value, and
take care of him as if he were some costly animal."
   "There is not the least room then for hesitation," said
Lord Glenarvan. "Go we must, and as soon as possible.
What route must we take?"
   "One that is both easy and agreeable," replied Paganel.
"Rather mountainous at first, and then sloping gently down
the eastern side of the Andes into a smooth plain, turfed
and graveled quite like a garden."
   "Let us see the map?" said the Major.
   "Here it is, my dear McNabbs. We shall go through
the capital of Araucania, and cut the Cordilleras by the pass
of Antuco, leaving the volcano on the south, and gliding
gently down the mountain sides, past the Neuquem and the
Rio Colorado on to the Pampas, till we reach the Sierra
Tapalquen, from whence we shall see the frontier of the
province of Buenos Ayres. These we shall pass by, and
cross over the Sierra Tandil, pursuing our search to the
very shores of the Atlantic, as far as Point Medano."
   Paganel went through this programme of the expedition
without so much as a glance at the map. He was so posted
up in the travels of Frezier, Molina, Humboldt, Miers, and
Orbigny, that he had the geographical nomenclature at his
fingers' ends, and could trust implicitly to his never-failing
memory.
   "You see then, friend," he added, "that it is a straight
course. In thirty days we shall have gone over it, and
gained the eastern side before the <i>Duncan</i>, however little
she may be delayed by the westerly winds."
   "Then the <i>Duncan</i> is to cruise between Corrientes and
Cape Saint Antonie," said John Mangles.
   "Just so."
   "And how is the expedition to be organized?" asked
Glenarvan.


THE COURSE DECIDED       55

   "As simply as possible. All there is to be done is to
reconnoiter the situation of Captain Grant and not to come
to gunshot with the Indians. I think that Lord Glenarvan,
our natural leader; the Major, who would not yield his place
to anybody; and your humble servant, Jacques Paganel."
   "And me," interrupted Robert.
   "Robert, Robert!" exclaimed Mary.
   "And why not?" returned Paganel. "Travels form the
youthful mind. Yes, Robert, we four and three of the
sailors."
   "And does your Lordship mean to pass me by?" said
John Mangles, addressing his master.
   "My dear John," replied Glenarvan, "we leave passen-
gers on board, those dearer to us than life, and who is to
watch over them but the devoted captain?"
   "Then we can't accompany you?" said Lady Helena,
while a shade of sadness beclouded her eyes.
   "My dear Helena, the journey will so soon be accom-
plished that it will be but a brief separation, and --"
   "Yes, dear, I understand, it is all right; and I do hope
you may succeed."
   "Besides, you can hardly call it a journey," added
Paganel.
   "What is it, then?"
   "It is just making a flying passage across the continent,
the way a good man goes through the world, doing all the
good he can. <i>Transire beneficiendo</i> -- that is our motto."
   This ended the discussion, if a conversation can be so
called, where all who take part in it are of the same opin-
ion. Preparations commenced the same day, but as secretly
as possible to prevent the Indians getting scent of it.
   The day of departure was fixed for the 14th of October.
The sailors were all so eager to join the expedition that
Glenarvan found the only way to prevent jealousy among
them was to draw lots who should go. This was accord-
ingly done, and fortune favored the chief officer, Tom
Austin, Wilson, a strong, jovial young fellow, and Mulrady,
so good a boxer that he might have entered the lists with
Tom Sayers himself.
   Glenarvan displayed the greatest activity about the prep-
arations, for he was anxious to be ready by the appointed
day. John Mangles was equally busy in coaling the vessel,


56   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

that she might weigh anchor at the same time. There was
quite a rivalry between Glenarvan and the young captain
about getting first to the Argentine coast.
   Both were ready on the 14th. The whole search party
assembled in the saloon to bid farewell to those who re-
mained behind. The <i>Duncan</i> was just about to get under
way, and already the vibration of the screw began to agi-
tate the limpid waters of Talcahuano, Glenarvan, Paganel,
McNabbs, Robert Grant, Tom Austin, Wilson, and Mul-
rady, stood armed with carbines and Colt's revolvers. Guides
and mules awaited them at the landing stairs of the harbor.
   "It is time," said Lord Glenarvan at last.
   "Go then, dear Edward," said Lady Helena, restraining
her emotion.
   Lord Glenarvan clasped her closely to his breast for an
instant, and then turned away, while Robert flung his arms
round Mary's neck.
   "And now, friends," said Paganel, "let's have one good
hearty shake of the hand all round, to last us till we get to
the shores of the Atlantic."
   This was not much to ask, but he certainly got strong
enough grips to go some way towards satisfying his desire.
   All went on deck now, and the seven explorers left the
vessel. They were soon on the quay, and as the yacht
turned round to pursue her course, she came so near where
they stood, that Lady Helena could exchange farewells
once more.
   "God help you!" she called out.
   "Heaven will help us, madam," shouted Paganel, in re-
ply, "for you may be sure we'll help ourselves."
   "Go on," sung out the captain to his engineer.
   At the same moment Lord Glenarvan gave the signal to
start, and away went the mules along the coast, while the
<i>Duncan</i> steamed out at full speed toward the broad ocean.


CHAPTER XI
TRAVELING IN CHILI

   THE native troops organized by Lord Glenarvan consisted
of three men and a boy. The captain of the muleteers was
an Englishman, who had become naturalized through
twenty years' residence in the country. He made a liveli-
hood by letting out mules to travelers, and leading them
over the difficult passes of the Cordilleras, after which he
gave them in charge of a <i>baqueano</i>, or Argentine guide, to
whom the route through the Pampas was perfectly familiar.
This Englishman had not so far forgotten his mother tongue
among mules and Indians that he could not converse with
his countrymen, and a lucky thing it was for them, as Lord
Glenarvan found it far easier to give orders than to see them
executed, Paganel was still unsuccessful in making himself
understood.
   The <i>catapez</i>, as he was called in Chilian, had two natives
called <i>peons</i>, and a boy about twelve years of age under him.
The <i>peons</i> took care of the baggage mules, and the boy led
the <i>madrina</i>, a young mare adorned with rattle and bells,
which walked in front, followed by ten mules. The travel-
ers rode seven of these, and the <i>catapez</i> another. The re-
maining two carried provisions and a few bales of goods,
intended to secure the goodwill of the Caciques of the plain.
The <i>peons</i> walked, according to their usual habit.
   Every arrangement had been made to insure safety and
speed, for crossing the Andes is something more than an
ordinary journey. It could not be accomplished without
the help of the hardy mules of the far-famed Argentine
breed. Those reared in the country are much superior to
their progenitors. They are not particular about their
food, and only drink once a day, and they can go with ease
ten leagues in eight hours.
   There are no inns along this road from one ocean to an-
other. The only viands on which travelers can regale them-
selves are dried meat, rice seasoned with pimento, and such
game as may be shot <i>en route</i>. The torrents provide them
with water in the mountains, and the rivulets in the plains,
which they improve by the addition of a few drops of rum,
and each man carries a supply of this in a bullock's horn,
called <i>chiffle</i>. They have to be careful, however, not to
indulge too freely in alcoholic drinks, as the climate itself

57


58   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

has a peculiarly exhilarating effect on the nervous system.
As for bedding, it is all contained in the saddle used by the
natives, called <i>recado</i>. This saddle is made of sheepskins,
tanned on one side and woolly on the other, fastened by
gorgeous embroidered straps. Wrapped in these warm
coverings a traveler may sleep soundly, and brave exposure
to the damp nights.
   Glenarvan, an experienced traveler, who knew how to
adapt himself to the customs of other countries, adopted the
Chilian costume for himself and his whole party. Paganel
and Robert, both alike children, though of different growth,
were wild with delight as they inserted their heads in the
national <i>poncho</i>, an immense plaid with a hole in center, and
their legs in high leather boots. The mules were richly
caparisoned, with the Arab bit in their mouths, and long
reins of plaited leather, which served as a whip; the head-
stall of the bridle was decorated with metal ornaments, and
the <i>alforjas</i>, double sacks of gay colored linen, containing
the day's provisions. Paganel, <i>distrait</i> as usual, was flung
several times before he succeeded in bestriding his good
steed, but once in the saddle, his inseparable telescope on his
shoulder-belt, he held on well enough, keeping his feet fast
in the stirrups, and trusting entirely to the sagacity of his
beast. As for Robert, his first attempt at mounting was
successful, and proved that he had the making in him of an
excellent horseman.
   The weather was splendid when they started, the sky a
deep cloudless blue, and yet the atmosphere so tempered by
the sea breezes as to prevent any feeling of oppressive heat.
They marched rapidly along the winding shore of the bay
of Talcahuano, in order to gain the extremity of the par-
allel, thirty miles south. No one spoke much the first
day, for the smoke of the <i>Duncan</i> was still visible on the
horizon, and the pain of parting too keenly felt. Paganel
talked to himself in Spanish, asking and answering ques-
tions.
   The <i>catapez</i>, moreover, was a taciturn man naturally, and
had not been rendered loquacious by his calling. He hardly
spoke to his <i>peons</i>. They understood their duties perfectly.
If one of the mules stopped, they urged it on with a guttural
cry, and if that proved unavailing, a good-sized pebble,
thrown with unerring aim, soon cured the animal's ob-


TRAVELING IN CHILI         59

stinacy. If a strap got loose, or a rein fell, a <i>peon</i> came
forward instantly, and throwing off his poncho, flung it
over his beast's head till the accident was repaired and the
march resumed.
   The custom of the muleteers is to start immediately after
breakfast, about eight o'clock, and not to stop till they camp
for the night, about 4 P. M. Glenarvan fell in with the
practice, and the first halt was just as they arrived at
Arauco, situated at the very extremity of the bay. To find
the extremity of the 37th degree of latitude, they would
have required to proceed as far as the Bay of Carnero,
twenty miles further. But the agents of Glenarvan had al-
ready scoured that part of the coast, and to repeat the ex-
ploration would have been useless. It was, therefore,
decided that Arauco should be the point of departure, and
they should keep on from there toward the east in a straight
line.
   Since the weather was so favorable, and the whole party,
even Robert, were in perfect health, and altogether the jour-
ney had commenced under such favorable auspices, it was
deemed advisable to push forward as quickly as possible.
Accordingly, the next day they marched 35 miles or more,
and encamped at nightfall on the banks of Rio Biobio.
The country still presented the same fertile aspect, and
abounded in flowers, but animals of any sort only came in
sight occasionally, and there were no birds visible, except
a solitary heron or owl, and a thrush or grebe, flying from
the falcon. Human beings there were none, not a native
appeared; not even one of the <i>guassos</i>, the degenerate off-
spring of Indians and Spaniards, dashed across the plain
like a shadow, his flying steed dripping with blood from the
cruel thrusts inflicted by the gigantic spurs of his master's
naked feet. It was absolutely impossible to make inquiries
when there was no one to address, and Lord Glenarvan
came to the conclusion that Captain Grant must have been
dragged right over the Andes into the Pampas, and that it
would be useless to search for him elsewhere. The only
thing to be done was to wait patiently and press forward
with all the speed in their power.
   On the 17th they set out in the usual line of march, a line
which it was hard work for Robert to keep, his ardor con-
stantly compelled him to get ahead of the <i>madrina</i>, to the


60   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

great despair of his mule. Nothing but a sharp recall from
Glenarvan kept the boy in proper order.
   The country now became more diversified, and the rising
ground indicated their approach to a mountainous district.
Rivers were more numerous, and came rushing noisily down
the slopes. Paganel consulted his maps, and when he found
any of those streams not marked, which often happened,
all the fire of a geographer burned in his veins, and he would
exclaim, with a charming air of vexation:
   "A river which hasn't a name is like having no civil
standing. It has no existence in the eye of geographical
law."
   He christened them forthwith, without the least hesita-
tion, and marked them down on the map, qualifying them
with the most high-sounding adjectives he could find in the
Spanish language.
   "What a language!" he said. "How full and sonorous
it is! It is like the metal church bells are made of -- com-
posed of seventy-eight parts of copper and twenty-two of
tin."
   "But, I say, do you make any progress in it?" asked
Glenarvan.
   "Most certainly, my dear Lord. Ah, if it wasn't the ac-
cent, that wretched accent!"
   And for want of better work, Paganel whiled away the
time along the road by practising the difficulties in pro-
nunciation, repeating all the break-jaw words he could,
though still making geographical observations. Any ques-
tion about the country that Glenarvan might ask the <i>catapez</i>
was sure to be answered by the learned Frenchman before
he could reply, to the great astonishment of the guide, who
gazed at him in bewilderment.
   About two o'clock that same day they came to a cross
road, and naturally enough Glenarvan inquired the name
of it.
   "It is the route from Yumbel to Los Angeles," said
Paganel.
   Glenarvan looked at the <i>catapez</i>, who replied:
   "Quite right."
   And then, turning toward the geographer, he added:
   "You have traveled in these parts before, sir?"
   "Oh, yes," said Paganel, quite gravely.


ELEVEN THOUSAND FEET ALOFT  61

   "On a mule?"
   "No, in an easy chair."
   The <i>catapez</i> could not make him out, but shrugged his
shoulders and resumed his post at the head of the party.
   At five in the evening they stopped in a gorge of no great
depth, some miles above the little town of Loja, and en-
camped for the night at the foot of the Sierras, the first
steppes of the great Cordilleras.


CHAPTER XII
ELEVEN THOUSAND FEET ALOFT

   NOTHING of importance had occurred hitherto in the
passage through Chili; but all the obstacles and difficulties
incident to a mountain journey were about to crowd on the
travelers now.
   One important question had first to be settled. Which
pass would take them over the Andes, and yet not be out of
their fixed route?
   On questioning the <i>catapez</i> on the subject, he replied:
   "There are only two practicable passes that I know of in
this part of the Cordilleras."
   "The pass of Arica is one undoubtedly discovered by
Valdivia Mendoze," said Paganel.
   "Just so."
   "And that of Villarica is the other."
   "Precisely."
   "Well, my good fellow, both these passes have only one
fault; they take us too far out of our route, either north or
south."
   "Have you no other to propose?" asked the Major.
   "Certainly," replied Paganel. "There is the pass of
Antuco, on the slope of the volcano, in latitude, 37&deg; 30' , or,
in other words, only half a degree out of our way."
   "That would do, but are you acquainted with this pass
of Antuco, <i>catapez?</i>" said Glenarvan.
   "Yes, your Lordship, I have been through it, but I did
not mention it, as no one goes that way but the Indian shep-
herds with the herds of cattle."
   "Oh, very well; if mares and sheep and oxen can go that
way, we can, so let's start at once."


62   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   The signal for departure was given immediately, and they
struck into the heart of the valley of Las Lejas, between
great masses of chalk crystal. From this point the pass be-
gan to be difficult, and even dangerous. The angles of the
declivities widened and the ledges narrowed, and frightful
precipices met their gaze. The mules went cautiously along,
keeping their heads near the ground, as if scenting the track.
They marched in file. Sometimes at a sudden bend of the
road, the <i>madrina</i> would disappear, and the little caravan
had to guide themselves by the distant tinkle of her bell.
Often some capricious winding would bring the column in
two parallel lines, and the <i>catapez</i> could speak to his <i>peons</i>
across a crevasse not two fathoms wide, though two hun-
dred deep, which made between them an inseparable gulf.
   Glenarvan followed his guide step by step. He saw that
his perplexity was increasing as the way became more diffi-
cult, but did not dare to interrogate him, rightly enough,
perhaps, thinking that both mules and muleteers were very
much governed by instinct, and it was best to trust to them.
   For about an hour longer the <i>catapez</i> kept wandering
about almost at haphazard, though always getting higher up
the mountains. At last he was obliged to stop short. They
were in a narrow valley, one of those gorges called by the
Indians "quebrads," and on reaching the end, a wall of
porphyry rose perpendicularly before them, and barred fur-
ther passage. The <i>catapez</i>, after vain attempts at finding
an opening, dismounted, crossed his arms, and waited.
Glenarvan went up to him and asked if he had lost his way.
   "No, your Lordship," was the reply.
   "But you are not in the pass of Antuco."
   "We are."
   "You are sure you are not mistaken?"
   "I am not mistaken. See! there are the remains of a fire
left by the Indians, and there are the marks of the mares
and the sheep."
   "They must have gone on then."
   "Yes, but no more will go; the last earthquake has made
the route impassable."
   "To mules," said the Major, "but not to men."
   "Ah, that's your concern; I have done all I could. My
mules and myself are at your service to try the other passes
of the Cordilleras."


ELEVEN THOUSAND FEET ALOFT 63

   "And that would delay us?"
   "Three days at least."
   Glenarvan listened silently. He saw the <i>catapez</i> was
right. His mules could not go farther. When he talked
of returning, however, Glenarvan appealed to his com-
panions and said:
   "Will you go on in spite of all the difficulty?"
   "We will follow your Lordship," replied Tom Austin.
   "And even precede you," added Paganel. "What is it
after all? We have only to cross the top of the mountain
chain, and once over, nothing can be easier of descent than
the slopes we shall find there. When we get below, we
shall find <i>baqueanos</i>, Argentine shepherds, who will guide
us through the Pampas, and swift horses accustomed to
gallop over the plains. Let's go forward then, I say, and
without a moment's hesitation."
   "Forward!" they all exclaimed. "You will not go with
us, then?" said Glenarvan to the <i>catapez</i>.
   "I am the muleteer," was the reply.
   "As you please," said Glenarvan.
   "We can do without him," said Paganel. "On the other
side we shall get back into the road to Antuco, and I'm quite
sure I'll lead you to the foot of the mountain as straight as
the best guide in the Cordilleras."
   Accordingly, Glenarvan settled accounts with the <i>catapez</i>,
and bade farewell to him and his <i>peons</i> and mules. The
arms and instruments, and a small stock of provisions were
divided among the seven travelers, and it was unanimously
agreed that the ascent should recommence at once, and, if
necessary, should continue part of the night. There was
a very steep winding path on the left, which the mules never
would have attempted. It was toilsome work, but after two hours'
exertion, and a great deal of roundabout climbing, the
little party found themselves once more in the pass of
Antuco.
   They were not far now from the highest peak of the Cor-
dilleras, but there was not the slightest trace of any beaten
path. The entire region had been overturned by recent
shocks of earthquake, and all they could do was to keep on
climbing higher and higher. Paganel was rather discon-
certed at finding no way out to the other side of the chain,
and laid his account with having to undergo great fatigue


64   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

before the topmost peaks of the Andes could be reached, for
their mean height is between eleven and twelve thousand six
hundred feet. Fortunately the weather was calm and the
sky clear, in addition to the season being favorable, but in
Winter, from May to October, such an ascent would have
been impracticable. The intense cold quickly kills travelers,
and those who even manage to hold out against it fall
victims to the violence of the <i>temporales</i>, a sort of hurricane
peculiar to those regions, which yearly fills the abysses of
the Cordilleras with dead bodies.
   They went on toiling steadily upward all night, hoisting
themselves up to almost inaccessible plateaux, and leaping
over broad, deep crevasses. They had no ropes, but arms
linked in arms supplied the lack, and shoulders served for
ladders. The strength of Mulrady and the dexterity of
Wilson were taxed heavily now. These two brave Scots
multiplied themselves, so to speak. Many a time, but for
their devotion and courage the small band could not have
gone on. Glenarvan never lost sight of young Robert, for
his age and vivacity made him imprudent. Paganel was a
true Frenchman in his impetuous ardor, and hurried
furiously along. The Major, on the contrary, only went
as quick as was necessary, neither more nor less, climbing
without the least apparent exertion. Perhaps he hardly
knew, indeed, that he was climbing at all, or perhaps he
fancied he was descending.
   The whole aspect of the region had now completely
changed. Huge blocks of glittering ice, of a bluish tint on
some of the declivities, stood up on all sides, reflecting the
early light of morn. The ascent became very perilous.
They were obliged to reconnoiter carefully before making a
single step, on account of the crevasses. Wilson took the
lead, and tried the ground with his feet. His companions
followed exactly in his footprints, lowering their voices to
a whisper, as the least sound would disturb the currents of
air, and might cause the fall of the masses of snow sus-
pended in the air seven or eight hundred feet above their
heads.
   They had come now to the region of shrubs and bushes,
which, higher still, gave place to grasses and cacti. At
11,000 feet all trace of vegetation had disappeared. They
had only stopped once, to rest and snatch a hurried meal to

V. IV Verne


ELEVEN THOUSAND FEET ALOFT  65

recruit their strength. With superhuman courage, the
ascent was then resumed amid increasing dangers and diffi-
culties. They were forced to bestride sharp peaks and leap
over chasms so deep that they did not dare to look down
them. In many places wooden crosses marked the scene of
some great catastrophes.
   About two o'clock they came to an immense barren plain,
without a sign of vegetation. The air was dry and the sky
unclouded blue. At this elevation rain is unknown, and
vapors only condense into snow or hail. Here and there
peaks of porphyry or basalt pierced through the white wind-
ing-sheet like the bones of a skeleton; and at intervals frag-
ments of quartz or gneiss, loosened by the action of the air,
fell down with a faint, dull sound, which in a denser atmos-
phere would have been almost imperceptible.
   However, in spite of their courage, the strength of the
little band was giving way. Glenarvan regretted they had
gone so far into the interior of the mountain when he saw
how exhausted his men had become. Young Robert held
out manfully, but he could not go much farther.
   At three o'clock Glenarvan stopped and said:
   "We must rest."
   He knew if he did not himself propose it, no one else
would.
   "Rest?" rejoined Paganel; "we have no place of
shelter."
   "It is absolutely necessary, however, if it were only for
Robert."
   "No, no," said the courageous lad; "I can still walk;
don't stop."
   "You shall be carried, my boy; but we must get to the
other side of the Cordilleras, cost what it may. There we
may perhaps find some hut to cover us. All I ask is a two
hours' longer march."
   "Are you all of the same opinion?" said Glenarvan.
   "Yes," was the unanimous reply: and Mulrady added,
"I'll carry the boy."
   The march eastward was forthwith resumed. They had
a frightful height to climb yet to gain the topmost peaks.
The rarefaction of the atmosphere produced that painful
oppression known by the name of <i>puna</i>. Drops of blood
stood on the gums and lips, and respiration became hurried


66   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

and difficult. However strong the will of these brave men
might be, the time came at last when their physical powers
failed, and vertigo, that terrible malady in the mountains,
destroyed not only their bodily strength but their moral
energy. Falls became frequent, and those who fell could
not rise again, but dragged themselves along on their knees.
   But just as exhaustion was about to make short work of
any further ascent, and Glenarvan's heart began to sink as
he thought of the snow lying far as the eye could reach,
and of the intense cold, and saw the shadow of night fast
overspreading the desolate peaks, and knew they had not a
roof to shelter them, suddenly the Major stopped and said,
in a calm voice, "A hut!"


CHAPTER XIII
A SUDDEN DESCENT

   ANYONE else but McNabbs might have passed the hut
a hundred times, and gone all round it, and even over it
without suspecting its existence. It was covered with
snow, and scarcely distinguishable from the surrounding
rocks; but Wilson and Mulrady succeeded in digging it out
and clearing the opening after half an hour's hard work,
to the great joy of the whole party, who eagerly took pos-
session of it.
   They found it was a <i>casucha</i>, constructed by the Indians,
made of <i>adobes</i>, a species of bricks baked in the sun. Its
form was that of a cube, 12 feet on each side, and it stood
on a block of basalt. A stone stair led up to the door, the
only opening; and narrow as this door was, the hurricane,
and snow, and hail found their way in when the <i>temporales</i>
were unchained in the mountains.
   Ten people could easily find room in it, and though the
walls might be none too water-tight in the rainy season, at
this time of the year, at any rate, it was sufficient protec-
tion against the intense cold, which, according to the ther-
mometer, was ten degrees below zero. Besides, there was
a sort of fireplace in it, with a chimney of bricks, badly
enough put together, certainly, but still it allowed of a fire
being lighted.
   "This will shelter us, at any rate," said Glenarvan,


A SUDDEN DESCENT         67

"even if it is not very comfortable. Providence has led
us to it, and we can only be thankful."
   "Why, it is a perfect palace, I call it," said Paganel;
"we only want flunkeys and courtiers. We shall do cap-
ital here."
   "Especially when there is a good fire blazing on the
hearth, for we are quite as cold as we are hungry. For my
part, I would rather see a good faggot just now than a
slice of venison."
   "Well, Tom, we'll try and get some combustible or
other," said Paganel.
   "Combustibles on the top of the Cordilleras!" exclaimed
Mulrady, in a dubious tone.
   "Since there is a chimney in the <i>casucha</i>," said the Ma-
jor, "the probability is that we shall find something to
burn in it."
   "Our friend McNabbs is right," said Glenarvan. "Get
everything in readiness for supper, and I'll go out and
turn woodcutter."
   "Wilson and I will go with you," said Paganel.
   "Do you want me?" asked Robert, getting up.
   "No, my brave boy, rest yourself. You'll be a man,
when others are only children at your age," replied Glen-
arvan.
   On reaching the little mound of porphyry, Glenarvan and
his two companions left the <i>casucha</i>. In spite of the per-
fect calmness of the atmosphere, the cold was stinging.
Paganel consulted his barometer, and found that the de-
pression of the mercury corresponded to an elevation of
11,000 feet, only 910 meters lower than Mont Blanc.
But if these mountains had presented the difficulties of the
giant of the Swiss Alps, not one of the travelers could
have crossed the great chain of the New World.
   On reaching a little mound of porphyry, Glenarvan and
Paganel stopped to gaze about them and scan the horizon
on all sides. They were now on the summit of the Nevadas
of the Cordilleras, and could see over an area of forty
miles. The valley of the Colorado was already sunk in
shadow, and night was fast drawing her mantle over the
eastern slopes of the Andes. The western side was il-
lumined by the rays of the setting sun, and peaks and gla-
ciers flashed back his golden beams with dazzling radiance.


68   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

On the south the view was magnificent. Across the wild
valley of the Torbido, about two miles distant, rose the
volcano of Antuco. The mountain roared like some enor-
mous monster, and vomited red smoke, mingled with tor-
rents of sooty flame. The surrounding peaks appeared on
fire. Showers of red-hot stones, clouds of reddish vapor
and rockets of lava, all combined, presented the appearance
of glowing sparkling streams. The splendor of the specta-
cle increased every instant as night deepened, and the whole
sky became lighted up with a dazzling reflection of the
blazing crater, while the sun, gradually becoming shorn of
his sunset glories, disappeared like a star lost in the distant
darkness of the horizon.
   Paganel and Glenarvan would have remained long
enough gazing at the sublime struggle between the fires
of earth and heaven, if the more practical Wilson had not
reminded them of the business on hand. There was no
wood to be found, however, but fortunately the rocks were
covered with a poor, dry species of lichen. Of this they
made an ample provision, as well as of a plant called <i>llaretta</i>,
the root of which burns tolerably well. This precious com-
bustible was carried back to the <i>casucha</i> and heaped up on
the hearth. It was a difficult matter to kindle it, though,
and still more to keep it alight. The air was so rarefied
that there was scarcely oxygen enough in it to support
combustion. At least, this was the reason assigned by the
Major.
   "By way of compensation, however," he added, "water
will boil at less than 100&deg; heat. It will come to the point
of ebullition before 99&deg;."
   McNabbs was right, as the thermometer proved, for it
was plunged into the kettle when the water boiled, and the
mercury only rose to 99&deg;. Coffee was soon ready, and
eagerly gulped down by everybody. The dry meat cer-
tainly seemed poor fare, and Paganel couldn't help say-
ing:
   "I tell you what, some grilled llama wouldn't be bad
with this, would it? They say that the llama is substitute
for the ox and the sheep, and I should like to know if it is,
in an alimentary respect."
   "What!" replied the Major. "You're not content
with your supper, most learned Paganel."


A SUDDEN DESCENT        69

   "Enchanted with it, my brave Major; still I must con-
fess I should not say no to a dish of llama."
   "You are a Sybarite."
   "I plead guilty to the charge. But come, now, though
you call me that, you wouldn't sulk at a beefsteak yourself,
would you?"
   "Probably not."
   "And if you were asked to lie in wait for a llama, not-
withstanding the cold and the darkness, you would do it
without the least hesitation?"
   "Of course; and if it will give you the slightest pleas-
ure --"
   His companions had hardly time to thank him for his
obliging good nature, when distant and prolonged howls
broke on their ear, plainly not proceeding from one or two
solitary animals, but from a whole troop, and one, more-
over, that was rapidly approaching.
   Providence had sent them a supper, as well as led them
to a hut. This was the geographer's conclusion; but Glen-
arvan damped his joy somewhat by remarking that the
quadrupeds of the Cordilleras are never met with in such a
high latitude.
   "Then where can these animals come from?" asked
Tom Austin. "Don't you hear them getting nearer!"
   "An avalanche," suggested Mulrady.
   "Impossible," returned Paganel. "That is regular
howling."
   "Let us go out and see," said Glenarvan.
   "Yes, and be ready for hunting," replied McNabbs, arm-
ing himself with his carbine.
   They all rushed forthwith out of the <i>casucha</i>. Night
had completely set in, dark and starry. The moon, now in
her last quarter, had not yet risen. The peaks on the
north and east had disappeared from view, and nothing
was visible save the fantastic <i>silhouette</i> of some towering
rocks here and there. The howls, and clearly the howls of
terrified animals, were redoubled. They proceeded from
that part of the Cordilleras which lay in darkness. What
could be going on there? Suddenly a furious avalanche
came down, an avalanche of living animals mad with fear.
The whole plateau seemed to tremble. There were hun-
dreds, perhaps thousands, of these animals, and in spite of


70   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

the rarefied atmosphere, their noise was deafening. Were
they wild beasts from the Pampas, or herds of llamas and
vicunas? Glenarvan, McNabbs, Robert, Austin, and the
two sailors, had just time to throw themselves flat on the
ground before they swept past like a whirlwind, only a
few paces distant. Paganel, who had remained standing,
to take advantage of his peculiar powers of sight, was
knocked down in a twinkling. At the same moment the
report of firearms was heard. The Major had fired, and
it seemed to him that an animal had fallen close by, and
that the whole herd, yelling louder than ever, had rushed
down and disappeared among the declivities lighted up by
the reflection of the volcano.
   "Ah, I've got them," said a voice, the voice of Paganel.
   "Got what?" asked Glenarvan.
   "My spectacles," was the reply. "One might expect
to lose that much in such a tumult as this."
   "You are not wounded, I hope?"
   "No, only knocked down; but by what?"
   "By this," replied the Major, holding up the animal he
had killed.
   They all hastened eagerly into the hut, to examine Mc-
Nabbs' prize by the light of the fire.
   It was a pretty creature, like a small camel without a
hump. The head was small and the body flattened, the
legs were long and slender, the skin fine, and the hair the
color of <i>caf&eacute; au lait</i>.
   Paganel had scarcely looked at it before he exclaimed,
"A guanaco!"
   "What sort of an animal is that?" asked Glenarvan.
   "One you can eat."
   "And it is good savory meat, I assure you; a dish of
Olympus! I knew we should have fresh meat for supper,
and such meat! But who is going to cut up the beast?"
   "I will," said Wilson.
   "Well, I'll undertake to cook it," said Paganel.
   "Can you cook, then, Monsieur Paganel?" asked Rob-
ert.
   "I should think so, my boy. I'm a Frenchman, and in
every Frenchman there is a cook."
   Five minutes afterward Paganel began to grill large
slices of venison on the embers made by the use of the


A SUDDEN DESCENT        71

<i>llarettas</i>, and in about ten minutes a dish was ready, which
he served up to his companions by the tempting name of
guanaco cutlets. No one stood on ceremony, but fell to
with a hearty good will.
   To the absolute stupefaction of the geographer, however,
the first mouthful was greeted with a general grimace, and
such exclamations as -- "Tough!" "It is horrible." "It
is not eatable."
   The poor <i>savant</i> was obliged to own that his cutlets
could not be relished, even by hungry men. They began to
banter him about his "Olympian dish," and indulge in jokes
at his expense; but all he cared about was to find out how
it happened that the flesh of the guanaco, which was cer-
tainly good and eatable food, had turned out so badly in
his hands. At last light broke in on him, and he called
out:
   "I see through it now! Yes, I see through it. I have
found out the secret now."
   "The meat was too long kept, was it?" asked McNabbs,
quietly.
   "No, but the meat had walked too much. How could
I have forgotten that?"
   "What do you mean?" asked Tom Austin.
   "I mean this: the guanaco is only good for eating when
it is killed in a state of rest. If it has been long hunted,
and gone over much ground before it is captured, it is no
longer eatable. I can affirm the fact by the mere taste,
that this animal has come a great distance, and consequently
the whole herd has."
   "You are certain of this?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Absolutely certain."
   "But what could have frightened the creatures so, and
driven them from their haunts, when they ought to have
been quietly sleeping?"
   "That's a question, my dear Glenarvan, I could not pos-
sibly answer. Take my advice, and let us go to sleep with-
out troubling our heads about it. I say, Major, shall we
go to sleep?"
   "Yes, we'll go to sleep, Paganel."
   Each one, thereupon, wrapped himself up in his poncho,
and the fire was made up for the night.
   Loud snores in every tune and key soon resounded from


72   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

all sides of the hut, the deep bass contribution of Paganel
completing the harmony.
   But Glenarvan could not sleep. Secret uneasiness kept
him in a continual state of wakefulness. His thoughts re-
verted involuntarily to those frightened animals flying in
one common direction, impelled by one common terror.
They could not be pursued by wild beasts, for at such an
elevation there were almost none to be met with, and of
hunters still fewer. What terror then could have driven
them among the precipices of the Andes? Glenarvan felt
a presentiment of approaching danger.
   But gradually he fell into a half-drowsy state, and his
apprehensions were lulled. Hope took the place of fear.
He saw himself on the morrow on the plains of the Andes,
where the search would actually commence, and perhaps
success was close at hand. He thought of Captain Grant
and his two sailors, and their deliverance from cruel bond-
age. As these visions passed rapidly through his mind,
every now and then he was roused by the crackling of the
fire, or sparks flying out, or some little jet of flame would
suddenly flare up and illumine the faces of his slumbering
companions.
   Then his presentiments returned in greater strength
than before, and he listened anxiously to the sounds outside
the hut.
   At certain intervals he fancied he could hear rumbling
noises in the distance, dull and threatening like the mutter-
ings of thunder before a storm. There surely must be a
storm raging down below at the foot of the mountains.
He got up and went out to see.
   The moon was rising. The atmosphere was pure and
calm. Not a cloud visible either above or below. Here
and there was a passing reflection from the flames of An-
tuco, but neither storm nor lightning, and myriads of
bright stars studded the zenith. Still the rumbling noises
continued. They seemed to meet together and cross the
chain of the Andes. Glenarvan returned to the <i>casucha</i>
more uneasy than ever, questioning within himself as to
the connection between these sounds and the flight of the
guanacos. He looked at his watch and found the time was
about two in the morning. As he had no certainty, how-
ever, of any immediate danger, he did not wake his com-


A SUDDEN DESCENT        73

panions, who were sleeping soundly after their fatigue, and
after a little dozed off himself, and slumbered heavily for
some hours.
   All of a sudden a violent crash made him start to his
feet. A deafening noise fell on his ear like the roar of
artillery. He felt the ground giving way beneath him,
and the <i>casucha</i> rocked to and fro, and opened.
   He shouted to his companions, but they were already
awake, and tumbling pell-mell over each other. They
were being rapidly dragged down a steep declivity. Day
dawned and revealed a terrible scene. The form of the
mountains changed in an instant. Cones were cut off.
Tottering peaks disappeared as if some trap had opened
at their base. Owing to a peculiar phenomenon of the
Cordilleras, an enormous mass, many miles in extent, had
been displaced entirely, and was speeding down toward
the plain.
   "An earthquake!" exclaimed Paganel. He was not
mistaken. It was one of those cataclysms frequent in
Chili, and in this very region where Copiapo had been
twice destroyed, and Santiago four times laid in ruins in
fourteen years. This region of the globe is so underlaid
with volcanic fires and the volcanoes of recent origin are
such insufficient safety valves for the subterranean vapors,
that shocks are of frequent occurrence, and are called by
the people <i>tremblores</i>.
   The plateau to which the seven men were clinging, hold-
ing on by tufts of lichen, and giddy and terrified in the ex-
treme, was rushing down the declivity with the swiftness of
an express, at the rate of fifty miles an hour. Not a cry
was possible, nor an attempt to get off or stop. They could
not even have heard themselves speak. The internal rum-
blings, the crash of the avalanches, the fall of masses of
granite and basalt, and the whirlwind of pulverized snow,
made all communication impossible. Sometimes they went
perfectly smoothly along without jolts or jerks, and some-
times on the contrary, the plateau would reel and roll like
a ship in a storm, coasting past abysses in which fragments
of the mountain were falling, tearing up trees by the roots,
and leveling, as if with the keen edge of an immense scythe,
every projection of the declivity.
   How long this indescribable descent would last, no one


74   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

could calculate, nor what it would end in ultimately. None
of the party knew whether the rest were still alive, whether
one or another were not already lying in the depths of some
abyss. Almost breathless with the swift motion, frozen
with the cold air, which pierced them through, and blinded
with the whirling snow, they gasped for breath, and became
exhausted and nearly inanimate, only retaining their hold
of the rocks by a powerful instinct of self-preservation.
Suddenly a tremendous shock pitched them right off, and
sent them rolling to the very foot of the mountain. The
plateau had stopped.
   For some minutes no one stirred. At last one of the
party picked himself up, and stood on his feet, stunned by
the shock, but still firm on his legs. This was the Major.
He shook off the blinding snow and looked around him.
His companions lay in a close circle like the shots from a
gun that has just been discharged, piled one on top of
another.
   The Major counted them. All were there except one --
that one was Robert Grant.


CHAPTER XIV
PROVIDENTIALLY RESCUED

   THE eastern side of the Cordilleras of the Andes con-
sists of a succession of lengthened declivities, which slope
down almost insensibly to the plain. The soil is carpeted
with rich herbage, and adorned with magnificent trees,
among which, in great numbers, were apple-trees, planted
at the time of the conquest, and golden with fruit. There
were literally, perfect forests of these. This district was,
in fact, just a corner of fertile Normandy.
   The sudden transition from a desert to an oasis, from
snowy peaks to verdant plains, from Winter to Summer,
can not fail to strike the traveler's eye.
   The ground, moreover, had recovered its immobility.
The trembling had ceased, though there was little doubt
the forces below the surface were carrying on their devas-
tating work further on, for shocks of earthquake are always
occurring in some part or other of the Andes. This time
the shock had been one of extreme violence. The outline


PROVIDENTIALLY RESCUED     75

of the mountains was wholly altered, and the Pampas
guides would have sought vainly for the accustomed land-
marks.
   A magnificent day had dawned. The sun was just rising
from his ocean bed, and his bright rays streamed already
over the Argentine plains, and ran across to the Atlantic.
It was about eight o'clock.
   Lord Glenarvan and his companions were gradually re-
stored to animation by the Major's efforts. They had been
completely stunned, but had sustained no injury whatever.
The descent of the Cordilleras was accomplished; and as
Dame Nature had conveyed them at her own expense, they
could only have praised her method of locomotion if one of
their number, and that one the feeblest and youngest, the
child of the party, had not been missing at the roll call.
   The brave boy was beloved by everybody. Paganel was
particularly attached to him, and so was the Major, with all
his apparent coldness. As for Glenarvan, he was in ab-
solute despair when he heard of his disappearance, and pic-
tured to himself the child lying in some deep abyss, wildly
crying for succor.
   "We must go and look for him, and look till we find
him," he exclaimed, almost unable to keep back his tears.
"We cannot leave him to his fate. Every valley and preci-
pice and abyss must be searched through and through. I
will have a rope fastened round my waist, and go down
myself. I insist upon it; you understand; I insist upon it.
Heaven grant Robert may be still alive! If we lose the
boy, how could we ever dare to meet the father? What
right have we to save the captain at the cost of his son's
life?"
   Glenarvan's companions heard him in silence. He
sought to read hope in their eyes, but they did not venture
to meet his gaze.
   At last he said,
   "Well, you hear what I say, but you make no response.
Do you mean to tell me that you have no hope -- not the
slightest?"
   Again there was silence, till McNabbs asked:
   "Which of you can recollect when Robert disappeared?"
   No one could say.
   "Well, then," resumed the Major, "you know this at


76   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

any rate. Who was the child beside during our descent of
the Cordilleras?"
   "Beside me," replied Wilson.
   "Very well. Up to what moment did you see him be-
side you? Try if you can remember."
   "All that I can recollect is that Robert Grant was still
by my side, holding fast by a tuft of lichen, less than two
minutes before the shock which finished our descent."
   "Less than two minutes? Mind what you are saying;
I dare say a minute seemed a very long time to you. Are
you sure you are not making a mistake?"
   "I don't think I am. No; it was just about two min-
utes, as I tell you."
   "Very well, then; and was Robert on your right or
left?"
   "On my left. I remember that his poncho brushed
past my face."
   "And with regard to us, how were you placed?"
   "On the left also."
   "Then Robert must have disappeared on this side," said
the Major, turning toward the mountain and pointing to-
ward the right: "and I should judge," he added, "consid-
ering the time that has elapsed, that the spot where he fell
is about two miles up. Between that height and the ground
is where we must search, dividing the different zones among
us, and it is there we shall find him."
   Not another word was spoken. The six men com-
menced their explorations, keeping constantly to the line
they had made in their descent, examining closely every
fissure, and going into the very depths of the abysses,
choked up though they partly were with fragments of the
plateau; and more than one came out again with garments
torn to rags, and feet and hands bleeding. For many long
hours these brave fellows continued their search without
dreaming of taking rest. But all in vain. The child had
not only met his death on the mountain, but found a grave
which some enormous rock had sealed forever.
   About one o'clock, Glenarvan and his companions met
again in the valley. Glenarvan was completely crushed
with grief. He scarcely spoke. The only words that es-
caped his lips amid his sighs were,
   "I shall not go away! I shall not go away!"


PROVIDENTIALLY RESCUED     77

   No one of the party but could enter into his feeling, and
respect it.
   "Let us wait," said Paganel to the Major and Tom Aus-
tin. "We will take a little rest, and recruit our strength.
We need it anyway, either to prolong our search or con-
tinue our route."
   "Yes; and, as Edward wishes it, we will rest. He has
still hope, but what is it he hopes?"
   "Who knows!" said Tom Austin.
   "Poor Robert!" replied Paganel, brushing away a tear.
   The valley was thickly wooded, and the Major had no
difficulty in finding a suitable place of encampment. He
chose a clump of tall carob trees, under which they ar-
ranged their few belongings -- few indeed, for all they had
were sundry wraps and fire-arms, and a little dried meat
and rice. Not far off there was a <i>rio</i>, which supplied them
with water, though it was still somewhat muddy after the
disturbance of the avalanche. Mulrady soon had a fire
lighted on the grass, and a warm refreshing beverage to
offer his master. But Glenarvan refused to touch it, and
lay stretched on his poncho in a state of absolute prostra-
tion.
   So the day passed, and night came on, calm and peaceful
as the preceding had been. While his companions were
lying motionless, though wide awake, Glenarvan betook
himself once more to the slopes of the Cordilleras, listening
intently in hope that some cry for help would fall upon his
ear. He ventured far up in spite of his being alone, strain-
ing his ear with painful eagerness to catch the faintest
sound, and calling aloud in an agony of despair.
   But he heard nothing save the beatings of his own heart,
though he wandered all night on the mountain. Some-
times the Major followed him, and sometimes Paganel,
ready to lend a helping hand among the slippery peaks and
dangerous precipices among which he was dragged by his
rash and useless imprudence. All his efforts were in vain,
however, and to his repeated cries of "Robert, Robert!"
echo was the only response.
   Day dawned, and it now became a matter of necessity to
go and bring back the poor Lord from the distant plateau,
even against his will. His despair was terrible. Who
could dare to speak of quitting this fatal valley? Yet pro-


78   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

visions were done, and Argentine guides and horses were
not far off to lead them to the Pampas. To go back would
be more difficult than to go forward. Besides, the Atlan-
tic Ocean was the appointed meeting place with the <i>Duncan</i>.
These were strong reasons against any long delay; indeed
it was best for all parties to continue the route as soon as
possible.
   McNabbs undertook the task of rousing Lord Glenarvan
from his grief. For a long time his cousin seemed not to
hear him. At last he shook his head, and said, almost in-
audibly:
   "Did you say we must start?"
   "Yes, we must start."
   "Wait one hour longer."
   "Yes, we'll wait another," replied the Major.
   The hour slipped away, and again Glenarvan begged
for longer grace. To hear his imploring tones, one might
have thought him a criminal begging a respite. So the day
passed on till it was almost noon. McNabbs hesitated now
no longer, but, acting on the advice of the rest, told his
cousin that start they must, for all their lives depended on
prompt action.
   "Yes, yes!" replied Glenarvan. "Let us start, let us
start!"
   But he spoke without looking at McNabbs. His gaze
was fixed intently on a certain dark speck in the heavens.
Suddenly he exclaimed, extending his arm, and keeping it
motionless, as if petrified:
   "There! there! Look! look!"
   All eyes turned immediately in the direction indicated
so imperiously. The dark speck was increasing visibly.
It was evidently some bird hovering above them.
   "A condor," said Paganel.
   "Yes, a condor," replied Glenarvan. "Who knows?
He is coming down -- he is gradually getting lower! Let
us wait."
   Paganel was not mistaken, it was assuredly a condor.
This magnificent bird is the king of the Southern Andes,
and was formerly worshiped by the Incas. It attains an
extraordinary development in those regions. Its strength
is prodigious. It has frequently driven oxen over the edge
of precipices down into the depths of abysses. It seizes


PROVIDENTIALLY RESCUED     79

sheep, and kids, and young calves, browsing on the plains,
and carries them off to inaccessible heights. It hovers in
the air far beyond the utmost limits of human sight, and its
powers of vision are so great that it can discern the smallest
objects on the earth beneath.
   What had this condor discovered then? Could it be the
corpse of Robert Grant? "Who knows?" repeated Glen-
arvan, keeping his eye immovably fixed on the bird. The
enormous creature was fast approaching, sometimes hover-
ing for awhile with outspread wings, and sometimes falling
with the swiftness of inert bodies in space. Presently he
began to wheel round in wide circles. They could see him
distinctly. He measured more than fifteen feet, and his
powerful wings bore him along with scarcely the slightest
effort, for it is the prerogative of large birds to fly with
calm majesty, while insects have to beat their wings a
thousand times a second.
   The Major and Wilson had seized their carbines, but
Glenarvan stopped them by a gesture. The condor was
encircling in his flight a sort of inaccessible plateau about
a quarter of a mile up the side of the mountain. He
wheeled round and round with dazzling rapidity, opening
and shutting his formidable claws, and shaking his carti-
laginous carbuncle, or comb.
   "It is there, there!" exclaimed Glenarvan.

A sudden thought flashed across his mind, and with a
terrible cry, he called out, "Fire! fire! Oh, suppose Rob-
ert were still alive! That bird."
   But it was too late. The condor had dropped out of
sight behind the crags. Only a second passed, a second
that seemed an age, and the enormous bird reappeared,
carrying a heavy load and flying at a slow rate.
   A cry of horror rose on all sides. It was a human body
the condor had in his claws, dangling in the air, and ap-
parently lifeless -- it was Robert Grant. The bird had
seized him by his clothes, and had him hanging already at
least one hundred and fifty feet in the air. He had caught
sight of the travelers, and was flapping his wings violently,
endeavoring to escape with his heavy prey.
   "Oh! would that Robert were dashed to pieces against
the rocks, rather than be a --"
   He did not finish his sentence, but seizing Wilson's car-


80   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

bine, took aim at the condor. His arm was too trembling,
however, to keep the weapon steady.
   "Let me do it," said the Major. And with a calm eye,
and sure hands and motionless body, he aimed at the bird,
now three hundred feet above him in the air.
   But before he had pulled the trigger the report of a gun
resounded from the bottom of the valley. A white smoke
rose from between two masses of basalt, and the condor,
shot in the head, gradually turned over and began to fall,
supported by his great wings spread out like a parachute.
He had not let go his prey, but gently sank down with it on
the ground, about ten paces from the stream.
   "We've got him, we've got him," shouted Glenarvan;
and without waiting to see where the shot so providentially
came from, he rushed toward the condor, followed by his
companions.
   When they reached the spot the bird was dead, and the
body of Robert was quite concealed beneath his mighty
wings. Glenarvan flung himself on the corpse, and drag-
ging it from the condor's grasp, placed it flat on the grass,
and knelt down and put his ear to the heart.
   But a wilder cry of joy never broke from human lips,
than Glenarvan uttered the next moment, as he started to
his feet and exclaimed:
   "He is alive! He is still alive!"
   The boy's clothes were stripped off in an instant, and his
face bathed with cold water. He moved slightly, opened
his eyes, looked round and murmured, "Oh, my Lord!
Is it you!" he said; "my father!"
   Glenarvan could not reply. He was speechless with
emotion, and kneeling down by the side of the child so
miraculously saved, burst into tears.


CHAPTER XV
THALCAVE

   ROBERT had no sooner escaped one terrible danger than
he ran the risk of another scarcely less formidable. He
was almost torn to pieces by his friends, for the brave fel-
lows were so overjoyed at the sight of him, that in spite
of his weak state, none of them would be satisfied without

V. IV Verne


THALCAVE            81

giving him a hug. However, it seemed as if good rough
hugging did not hurt sick people; at any rate it did not hurt
Robert, but quite the contrary.
   But the first joy of deliverance over, the next thought
was who was the deliverer? Of course it was the Major
who suggested looking for him, and he was not far off, for
about fifty paces from the <i>rio</i> a man of very tall stature
was seen standing motionless on the lowest crags at the
foot of the mountain. A long gun was lying at his feet.
   He had broad shoulders, and long hair bound together
with leather thongs. He was over six feet in height.
His bronzed face was red between the eyes and mouth,
black by the lower eyelids, and white on the forehead.
He wore the costume of the Patagonians on the frontiers,
consisting of a splendid cloak, ornamented with scarlet
arabesques, made of the skins of the guanaco, sewed to-
gether with ostrich tendons, and with the silky wool turned
up on the edge. Under this mantle was a garment of fox-
skin, fastened round the waist, and coming down to a point
in front. A little bag hung from his belt, containing col-
ors for painting his face. His boots were pieces of ox
hide, fastened round the ankles by straps, across.
   This Patagonian had a splendid face, indicating real in-
telligence, notwithstanding the medley of colors by which
it was disfigured. His waiting attitude was full of dignity;
indeed, to see him standing grave and motionless on his
pedestal of rocks, one might have taken him for a statue
of <i>sang-froid</i>.
   As soon as the Major perceived him, he pointed him out
to Glenarvan, who ran toward him immediately. The
Patagonian came two steps forward to meet him, and Glen-
arvan caught hold of his hand and pressed it in his own.
It was impossible to mistake the meaning of the action, for
the noble face of the Scotch lord so beamed with gratitude
that no words were needed. The stranger bowed slightly
in return, and said a few words that neither Glenarvan nor
the Major could understand.
   The Patagonian surveyed them attentively for a few
minutes, and spoke again in another language. But this
second idiom was no more intelligible than the first. Cer-
tain words, however, caught Glenarvan's ear as sounding
like Spanish, a few sentences of which he could speak.


82   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   <i>Espanol?</i>" he asked.
   The Patagonian nodded in reply, a movement of the head
which has an affirmative significance among all nations.
   "That's good!" said the Major. "Our friend Paganel
will be the very man for him. It is lucky for us that he
took it into his head to learn Spanish."
   Paganel was called forthwith. He came at once, and
saluted the stranger with all the grace of a Frenchman.
But his compliments were lost on the Patagonian, for he
did not understand a single syllable.
   However, on being told how things stood, he began in
Spanish, and opening his mouth as wide as he could, the
better to articulate, said:
   "<i>Vos sois um homen de bem</i>." (You are a brave man.)
   The native listened, but made no reply.
   "He doesn't understand," said the geographer.
   "Perhaps you haven't the right accent," suggested the
Major.
   "That's just it! Confound the accent!"
   Once more Paganel repeated his compliment, but with
no better success.
   "I'll change the phrase," he said; and in slow, deliberate
tones he went on, "<i>Sam duvida um Patagao</i>" (A Patagon-
ian, undoubtedly).
   No response still.
   "<i>Dizeime!</i>" said Paganel (Answer me).
   But no answer came.
   "<i>Vos compriendeis?</i>" (Do you understand?) shouted
Paganel, at the very top of his voice, as if he would burst
his throat.
   Evidently the Indian did not understand, for he replied
in Spanish,
   "<i>No comprendo</i>" (I do not understand).
   It was Paganel's turn now to be amazed. He pushed
his spectacles right down over his nose, as if greatly irri-
tated, and said,
   "I'll be hanged if I can make out one word of his in-
fernal patois. It is Araucanian, that's certain!"
   "Not a bit of it!" said Glenarvan. "It was Spanish
he spoke."
   And addressing the Patagonian, he repeated the word,
"<i>Espanol?</i>" (Spanish?).


THALCAVE            83

   "<i>Si, si</i>" (yes, yes) replied the Indian.
   Paganel's surprise became absolute stupefaction. The
Major and his cousin exchanged sly glances, and McNabbs
said, mischievously, with a look of fun on his face, "Ah,
ah, my worthy friend; is this another of your misadven-
tures? You seem to have quite a monopoly of them."
   "What!" said Paganel, pricking up his ear.
   "Yes, it's clear enough the man speaks Spanish."
   "He!"
   "Yes, he certainly speaks Spanish. Perhaps it is some
other language you have been studying all this time instead
of --"
   But Paganel would not allow him to proceed. He
shrugged his shoulders, and said stiffly,
   "You go a little too far, Major."
   "Well, how is it that you don't understand him then?"
   "Why, of course, because the man speaks badly," re-
plied the learned geographer, getting impatient.
   "He speaks badly; that is to say, because you can't un-
derstand him," returned the Major coolly.
   "Come, come, McNabbs," put in Glenarvan, "your sup-
position is quite inadmissable. However <i>distrait</i> our friend
Paganel is, it is hardly likely he would study one language
for another."
   "Well, Edward -- or rather you, my good Paganel -- ex-
plain it then."
   "I explain nothing. I give proof. Here is the book I
use daily, to practice myself in the difficulties of the Span-
ish language. Examine it for yourself, Major," he said,
handing him a volume in a very ragged condition, which
he had brought up, after a long rummage, from the depths
of one of his numerous pockets. "Now you can see
whether I am imposing on you," he continued, indignantly.
   "And what's the name of this book?" asked the Major,
as he took it from his hand.
   "The <i>Lusiades</i>, an admirable epic, which --"
   "The <i>Lusiades!</i>" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Yes, my friend, the <i>Lusiades</i> of the great Camoens,
neither more nor less."
   "Camoens!" repeated Glenarvan; "but Paganel, my
unfortunate fellow, Camoens was a Portuguese! It is
Portuguese you have been learning for the last six weeks!"


84   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Camoens! <i>Luisades!</i> Portuguese!" Paganel could
not say more. He looked vexed, while his companions,
who had all gathered round, broke out in a furious burst
of laughter.
   The Indian never moved a muscle of his face. He
quietly awaited the explanation of this incomprehensible
mirth.
   "Fool, idiot, that I am!" at last uttered Paganel. "Is
it really a fact? You are not joking with me? It is what
I have actually been doing? Why, it is a second confusion
of tongues, like Babel. Ah me! alack-a-day! my friends,
what is to become of me? To start for India and arrive
at Chili! To learn Spanish and talk Portuguese! Why,
if I go on like this, some day I shall be throwing myself
out of the window instead of my cigar!"
   To hear Paganel bemoan his misadventures and see his
comical discomfiture, would have upset anyone's gravity.
Besides, he set the example himself, and said:
   "Laugh away, my friends, laugh as loud as you like; you
can't laugh at me half as much as I laugh at myself!"
   "But, I say," said the Major, after a minute, "this
doesn't alter the fact that we have no interpreter."
   "Oh, don't distress yourself about that," replied Paga-
nel, "Portuguese and Spanish are so much alike that I made
a mistake; but this very resemblance will be a great help
toward rectifying it. In a very short time I shall be able
to thank the Patagonian in the language he speaks so well."
   Paganel was right. He soon managed to exchange a
few words with the stranger, and found out even that his
name was Thalcave, a word that signified in Araucanian,
"The Thunderer." This surname had, no doubt, come
from his skill in handling fire-arms.
   But what rejoiced Glenarvan most was to learn that he
was a guide by occupation, and, moreover, a guide across
the Pampas. To his mind, the meeting with him was so
providential, that he could not doubt now of the success of
their enterprise. The deliverance of Captain Grant seemed
an accomplished fact.
   When the party went back to Robert, the boy held out
his arms to the Patagonian, who silently laid his hand on
his head, and proceeded to examine him with the greatest
care, gently feeling each of his aching limbs. Then he


THALCAVE            85

went down to the <i>rio</i>, and gathered a few handfuls of wild
celery, which grew on the banks, with which he rubbed the
child's body all over. He handled him with the most ex-
quisite delicacy, and his treatment so revived the lad's
strength, that it was soon evident that a few hours' rest
would set him all right.
   It was accordingly decided that they should encamp for
the rest of the day and the ensuing night. Two grave
questions, moreover, had to be settled: where to get food,
and means of transport. Provisions and mules were both
lacking. Happily, they had Thalcave, however, a prac-
tised guide, and one of the most intelligent of his class.
He undertook to find all that was needed, and offered to
take him to a <i>tolderia</i> of Indians, not further than four
miles off at most, where he could get supplies of all he
wanted. This proposition was partly made by gestures,
and partly by a few Spanish words which Paganel managed
to make out. His offer was accepted, and Glenarvan and
his learned friend started off with him at once.
   They walked at a good pace for an hour and a half, and
had to make great strides to keep up with the giant Thal-
cave. The road lay through a beautiful fertile region,
abounding in rich pasturages; where a hundred thousand
cattle might have fed comfortably. Large ponds, con-
nected by an inextricable labyrinth of <i>rios</i>, amply watered
these plains and produced their greenness. Swans with
black heads were disporting in the water, disputing pos-
session with the numerous intruders which gamboled over
the <i>llanos</i>. The feathered tribes were of most brilliant
plumage, and of marvelous variety and deafening noise.
The isacus, a graceful sort of dove with gray feathers
streaked with white, and the yellow cardinals, were flitting
about in the trees like moving flowers; while overhead pig-
eons, sparrows, chingolos, bulgueros, and mongitas, were
flying swiftly along, rending the air with their piercing
cries.
   Paganel's admiration increased with every step, and he
had nearly exhausted his vocabulary of adjectives by his
loud exclamations, to the astonishment of the Patagonian,
to whom the birds, and the swans, and the prairies were
every day things. The learned geographer was so lost
in delight, that he seemed hardly to have started before


86   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

they came in sight of the Indian camp, or <i>tolderia</i>, situated
in the heart of a valley.
   About thirty nomadic Indians were living there in rude
cabins made of branches, pasturing immense herds of milch
cows, sheep, oxen, and horses. They went from one prairie
to another, always finding a well-spread table for their
four-footed guests.
   These nomads were a hybrid type of Araucans, Pehu-
enches, and Aucas. They were Ando-Peruvians, of an
olive tint, of medium stature and massive form, with a
low forehead, almost circular face, thin lips, high cheek-
bones, effeminate features, and cold expression. As a
whole, they are about the least interesting of the Indians.
However, it was their herds Glenarvan wanted, not them-
selves. As long as he could get beef and horses, he cared
for nothing else.
   Thalcave did the bargaining. It did not take long. In
exchange for seven ready saddled horses of the Argentine
breed, 100 pounds of <i>charqui</i>, or dried meat, several meas-
ures of rice, and leather bottles for water, the Indians agreed
to take twenty ounces of gold as they could not get
wine or rum, which they would have preferred, though they
were perfectly acquainted with the value of gold.
Glenarvan wished to purchase an eighth horse for the
Patagonian, but he gave him to understand that it would be
useless.
   They got back to the camp in less than half an hour, and
were hailed with acclamations by the whole party or rather
the provisions and horses were. They were all hungry,
and ate heartily of the welcome viands. Robert took a
little food with the rest. He was fast recovering strength.
The close of the day was spent in complete repose and pleas-
ant talk about the dear absent ones.
   Paganel never quitted the Indian's side. It was not that
he was so glad to see a real Patagonian, by whom he looked
a perfect pigmy -- a Patagonian who might have almost
rivaled the Emperor Maximii, and that Congo negro
seen by the learned Van der Brock, both eight feet high;
but he caught up Spanish phrases from the Indian and
studied the language without a book this time, gesticulat-
ing at a great rate all the grand sonorous words that fell
on his ear.


THE NEWS OF THE LOST CAPTAIN 87

   "If I don't catch the accent," he said to the Major, "it
won't be my fault; but who would have said to me that
it was a Patagonian who would teach me Spanish one
day?"


CHAPTER XVI
THE NEWS OF THE LOST CAPTAIN

   NEXT day, the 22d of October, at eight o'clock in the
morning, Thalcave gave the signal for departure. Between
the 22d and 42d degrees the Argentine soil slopes east-
ward, and all the travelers had to do was to follow the
slope right down to the sea.
   Glenarvan had supposed Thalcave's refusal of a horse
was that he preferred walking, as some guides do, but he
was mistaken, for just as they were ready, the Patagonian
gave a peculiar whistle, and immediately a magnificent
steed of the pure Argentine breed came bounding out of a
grove close by, at his master's call. Both in form and
color the animal was of perfect beauty. The Major, who
was a thorough judge of all the good points of a horse,
was loud in admiration of this sample of the Pampas breed,
and considered that, in many respects, he greatly resembled
an English hunter. This splendid creature was called
"Thaouka," a word in Patagonia which means bird, and
he well deserved the name.
   Thalcave was a consummate horseman, and to see him
on his prancing steed was a sight worth looking at. The
saddle was adapted to the two hunting weapons in common
use on the Argentine plains -- the <i>bolas</i> and the <i>lazo</i>. The
<i>bolas</i> consists of three balls fastened together by a strap of
leather, attached to the front of the <i>recado</i>. The Indians
fling them often at the distance of a hundred feet from
the animal or enemy of which they are in pursuit, and with
such precision that they catch round their legs and throw
them down in an instant. It is a formidable weapon in
their hands, and one they handle with surprising skill.
The <i>lazo</i> is always retained in the hand. It is simply a
rope, thirty feet long, made of tightly twisted leather, with
a slip knot at the end, which passes through an iron ring.
This noose was thrown by the right hand, while the left
keeps fast hold of the rope, the other end of which is fast-


88   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

ened to the saddle. A long carbine, in the shoulder belt com-
pleted the accouterments of the Patagonian.
   He took his place at the head of the party, quite uncon-
scious of the admiration he was exciting, and they set off,
going alternately at a gallop and walking pace, for the
"trot" seemed altogether unknown to them. Robert
proved to be a bold rider, and completely reassured Glenar-
van as to his ability to keep his seat.
   The Pampas commenced at the very foot of the Cordil-
leras. They may be divided into three parts. The first
extends from the chain of the Andes, and stretches over an
extent of 250 miles covered with stunted trees and bushes;
the second 450 miles is clothed with magnificent herbage,
and stops about 180 miles from Buenos Ayres; from this
point to the sea, the foot of the traveler treads over im-
mense prairies of lucerne and thistles, which constitute the
third division of the Pampas.
   On issuing from the gorges of the Cordilleras, Glenar-
van and his band came first to plains of sand, called
<i>medanos</i>, lying in ridges like waves of the sea, and so ex-
tremely fine that the least breath of wind agitated the light
particles, and sent them flying in clouds, which rose and
fell like water-spouts. It was a spectacle which caused
both pleasure and pain, for nothing could be more curious
than to see the said water-spouts wandering over the plain,
coming in contact and mingling with each other, and falling
and rising in wild confusion; but, on the other hand, noth-
ing could be more disagreeable than the dust which was
thrown off by these innumerable <i>medanos</i>, which was so
impalpable that close one's eyes as they might, it found its
way through the lids.
   This phenomenon lasted the greater part of the day. The
travelers made good progress, however, and about four
o'clock the Cordilleras lay full forty miles behind them, the
dark outlines being already almost lost in the evening mists.
They were all somewhat fatigued with the journey, and
glad enough to halt for the night on the banks of the Neu-
quem, called Ramid, or Comoe by certain geographers, a
troubled, turbulent rapid flowing between high red banks.
   No incident of any importance occurred that night or
the following day. They rode well and fast, finding the
ground firm, and the temperature bearable. Toward noon,


THE NEWS OF THE LOST CAPTAIN 89

however, the sun's rays were extremely scorching, and when
evening came, a bar of clouds streaked the southwest hori-
zon -- a sure sign of a change in the weather. The Pata-
gonian pointed it out to the geographer, who replied:
   "Yes, I know;" and turning to his companions, added,
"see, a change of weather is coming! We are going to
have a taste of <i>Pampero</i>."
   And he went on to explain that this <i>Pampero</i> is very com-
mon in the Argentine plains. It is an extremely dry wind
which blows from the southwest. Thalcave was not mis-
taken, for the <i>Pampero</i> blew violently all night, and was
sufficiently trying to poor fellows only sheltered by their
ponchos. The horses lay down on the ground, and the
men stretched themselves beside them in a close group.
Glenarvan was afraid they would be delayed by the con-
tinuance of the hurricane, but Paganel was able to reas-
sure him on that score, after consulting his barometer.
   "The <i>Pampero</i> generally brings a tempest which lasts
three days, and may be always foretold by the depression
of the mercury," he said. "But when the barometer rises,
on the contrary, which is the case now, all we need expect
is a few violent blasts. So you can make your mind easy,
my good friend; by sunrise the sky will be quite clear
again."
   "You talk like a book, Paganel," replied Glenarvan.
   "And I am one; and what's more, you are welcome to
turn over my leaves whenever you like."
   The book was right. At one o'clock the wind suddenly
lulled, and the weary men fell asleep and woke at daybreak,
refreshed and invigorated.
   It was the 20th of October, and the tenth day since they
had left Talcahuano. They were still ninety miles from
the point where the Rio Colorado crosses the thirty-seventh
parallel, that is to say, about two days' journey. Glenar-
van kept a sharp lookout for the appearance of any Indians,
intending to question them, through Thalcave, about Cap-
tain Grant, as Paganel could not speak to him well enough
for this. But the track they were following was one little
frequented by the natives, for the ordinary routes across
the Pampas lie further north. If by chance some nomadic
horseman came in sight far away, he was off again like a
dart, not caring to enter into conversation with strangers.


90   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

To a solitary individual, a little troop of eight men, all
mounted and well armed, wore a suspicious aspect, so that
any intercourse either with honest men or even banditti,
was almost impossible.
   Glenarvan was regretting this exceedingly, when he unex-
pectedly met with a singular justification of his rendering
of the eventful document.
   In pursuing the course the travelers had laid down for
themselves, they had several times crossed the routes over
the plains in common use, but had struck into none of them.
Hitherto Thalcave had made no remark about this. He un-
derstood quite well, however, that they were not bound for
any particular town, or village, or settlement. Every morn-
ing they set out in a straight line toward the rising sun, and
went on without the least deviation. Moreover, it must
have struck Thalcave that instead of being the guide he
was guided; yet, with true Indian reserve, he maintained
absolute silence. But on reaching a particular point, he
checked his horse suddenly, and said to Paganel:
   "The Carmen route."
   "Yes, my good Patagonian," replied Paganel in his best
Spanish; "the route from Carmen to Mendoza."
   "We are not going to take it?"
   "No," replied Paganel.
   "Where are we going then?"
   "Always to the east."
   "That's going nowhere."
   "Who knows?"
   Thalcave was silent, and gazed at the geographer with
an air of profound surprise. He had no suspicion that
Paganel was joking, for an Indian is always grave.
   "You are not going to Carmen, then?" he added, after
a moment's pause.
   "No."
   "Nor to Mendoza?"
   "No, nor to Mendoza."
   Just then Glenarvan came up to ask the reason of the
stoppage, and what he and Thalcave were discussing.
   "He wanted to know whether we were going to Carmen
or Mendoza, and was very much surprised at my negative
reply to both questions."
   "Well, certainly, it must seem strange to him."


THE NEWS OF THE LOST CAPTAIN 91

   "I think so. He says we are going nowhere."
   "Well, Paganel, I wonder if it is possible to make him
understand the object of our expedition, and what our mo-
tive is for always going east."
   "That would be a difficult matter, for an Indian knows
nothing about degrees, and the finding of the document
would appear to him a mere fantastic story."
   "Is it the story he would not understand, or the story-
teller?" said McNabbs, quietly
   "Ah, McNabbs, I see you have small faith in my Spanish
yet."
   "Well, try it, my good friend."
   "So I will."
   And turning round to the Patagonian he began his nar-
rative, breaking down frequently for the want of a word,
and the difficulty of making certain details intelligible to
a half-civilized Indian. It was quite a sight to see the
learned geographer. He gesticulated and articulated, and
so worked himself up over it, that the big drops of sweat
fell in a cascade down his forehead on to his chest. When
his tongue failed, his arms were called to aid. Paganel got
down on the ground and traced a geographical map on the
sand, showing where the lines of latitude and longitude
cross and where the two oceans were, along which the Car-
men route led. Thalcave looked on composedly, without
giving any indication of comprehending or not comprehend-
ing.
   The lesson had lasted half an hour, when the geographer
left off, wiped his streaming face, and waited for the Pata-
gonian to speak.
   "Does he understand?" said Glenarvan.
   "That remains to be seen; but if he doesn't, I give it up,"
replied Paganel.
   Thalcave neither stirred nor spoke. His eyes remained
fixed on the lines drawn on the sand, now becoming fast
effaced by the wind.
   "Well?" said Paganel to him at length.
   The Patagonian seemed not to hear. Paganel fancied he
could detect an ironical smile already on the lips of the
Major, and determined to carry the day, was about to re-
commence his geographical illustrations, when the Indian
stopped him by a gesture, and said:


92   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "You are in search of a prisoner?"
   "Yes," replied Paganel.
   "And just on this line between the setting and rising
sun?" added Thalcave, speaking in Indian fashion of the
route from west to east.
   "Yes, yes, that's it."
   "And it's your God," continued the guide, "that has sent
you the secret of this prisoner on the waves."
   "God himself."
   "His will be accomplished then," replied the native al-
most solemnly. "We will march east, and if it needs be, to
the sun."
   Paganel, triumphing in his pupil, immediately translated
his replies to his companions, and exclaimed:
   "What an intelligent race! All my explanations would
have been lost on nineteen in every twenty of the peasants in
my own country."
   Glenarvan requested him to ask the Patagonian if he had
heard of any foreigners who had fallen into the hands of the
Indians of the Pampas.
   Paganel did so, and waited an answer.
   "Perhaps I have."
   The reply was no sooner translated than the Patagonian
found himself surrounded by the seven men questioning him
with eager glances. Paganel was so excited, he could
hardly find words, and he gazed at the grave Indian as if
he could read the reply on his lips.
   Each word spoken by Thalcave was instantly translated,
so that the whole party seemed to hear him speak in their
mother tongue.
   "And what about the prisoner?" asked Paganel.
   "He was a foreigner."
   "You have seen him?"
   "No; but I have heard the Indian speak of him. He is
brave; he has the heart of a bull."
   "The heart of a bull!" said Paganel. "Ah, this
magnificent Patagonian language. You understand him,
my friends, he means a courageous man."
   "My father!" exclaimed Robert Grant, and, turning to
Paganel, he asked what the Spanish was for, "Is it my
father."
   "<i>Es mio padre</i>," replied the geographer.


THE NEWS OF THE LOST CAPTAIN 93

   Immediately taking Thalcave's hands in his own, the boy
said, in a soft tone:
   "<i>Es mio padre</i>."
   "<i>Suo padre</i>," replied the Patagonian, his face lighting up.
   He took the child in his arms, lifted him up on his horse,
and gazed at him with peculiar sympathy. His intelligent
face was full of quiet feeling.
   But Paganel had not completed his interrogations. "This
prisoner, who was he? What was he doing? When had
Thalcave heard of him?" All these questions poured upon
him at once.
   He had not long to wait for an answer, and learned that
the European was a slave in one of the tribes that roamed
the country between the Colorado and the Rio Negro.
   "But where was the last place he was in?"
   "With the Cacique Calfoucoura."
   "In the line we have been following?"
   "Yes."
   "And who is this Cacique?"
   "The chief of the Poyuches Indians, a man with two
tongues and two hearts."
   "That's to say false in speech and false in action," said
Paganel, after he had translated this beautiful figure of the
Patagonian language.
   "And can we deliver our friend?" he added.
   "You may if he is still in the hands of the Indians."
   "And when did you last hear of him?"
   "A long while ago; the sun has brought two summers
since then to the Pampas."
   The joy of Glenarvan can not be described. This reply
agreed perfectly with the date of the document. But one
question still remained for him to put to Thalcave.
   "You spoke of a prisoner," he said; "but were there not
three?"
   "I don't know," said Thalcave.
   "And you know nothing of his present situation?"
   "Nothing."
   This ended the conversation. It was quite possible that
the three men had become separated long ago; but still this
much was certain, that the Indians had spoken of a Euro-
pean that was in their power; and the date of the captivity,
and even the descriptive phrase about the captive, evidently
pointed to Harry Grant.


CHAPTER XVII
A SERIOUS NECESSITY

   THE Argentine Pampas extend from the thirty-fourth to
the fortieth degree of southern latitude. The word <i>pampa</i>,
of Araucanian origin, signifies <i>grass plain</i>, and justly applies
to the whole region. The mimosas growing on the western
part, and the substantial herbage on the eastern, give those
plains a peculiar appearance. The soil is composed of sand
and red or yellow clay, and this is covered by a layer of
earth, in which the vegetation takes root. The geologist
would find rich treasures in the tertiary strata here, for it
is full of antediluvian remains -- enormous bones, which the
Indians attribute to some gigantic race that lived in a past
age.
   The horses went on at a good pace through the thick
<i>paja-brava</i>, the grass of the Pampas, <i>par excellence</i>, so high
and thick that the Indians find shelter in it from storms.
At certain distances, but increasingly seldom, there were
wet, marshy spots, almost entirely under water, where the
willows grew, and a plant called the <i>Gygnerium argenteum</i>.
Here the horses drank their fill greedily, as if bent on
quenching their thirst for past, present and future. Thal-
cave went first to beat the bushes and frighten away the
cholinas, a most dangerous species of viper, the bite of
which kills an ox in less than an hour.
   For two days they plodded steadily across this arid and
deserted plain. The dry heat became severe. There were
not only no <i>rios</i>, but even the ponds dug out by the Indians
were dried up. As the drought seemed to increase with
every mile, Paganel asked Thalcave when he expected to
come to water.
   "At Lake Salinas," replied the Indian.
   "And when shall we get there?"
   "To-morrow evening."
   When the Argentines travel in the Pampas they generally
dig wells, and find water a few feet below the surface. But
the travelers could not fall back on this resource, not having
the necessary implements. They were therefore obliged to
husband the small provision of water they had still left, and
deal it out in rations, so that if no one had enough to satisfy
his thirst no one felt it too painful.
   They halted at evening after a course of thirty miles and

94


A SERIOUS NECESSITY       95

eagerly looked forward to a good night's rest to compensate
for the fatigue of day. But their slumbers were invaded
by a swarm of mosquitoes, which allowed them no peace.
Their presence indicated a change of wind which shifted to
the north. A south or southwest wind generally puts to
flight these little pests.
   Even these petty ills of life could not ruffle the Major's
equanimity; but Paganel, on the contrary, was perfectly
exasperated by such trifling annoyances. He abused the
poor mosquitoes desperately, and deplored the lack of some
acid lotion which would have eased the pain of their stings.
The Major did his best to console him by reminding him of
the fact that they had only to do with one species of insect,
among the 300,000 naturalists reckon. He would listen to
nothing, and got up in a very bad temper.
   He was quite willing to start at daybreak, however, for
they had to get to Lake Salinas before sundown. The
horses were tired out and dying for water, and though their
riders had stinted themselves for their sakes, still their ration
was very insufficient. The drought was constantly increas-
ing, and the heat none the less for the wind being north, this
wind being the simoom of the Pampas.
   There was a brief interruption this day to the monotony
of the journey. Mulrady, who was in front of the others,
rode hastily back to report the approach of a troop of In-
dians. The news was received with very different feelings
by Glenarvan and Thalcave. The Scotchman was glad of
the chance of gleaning some information about his ship-
wrecked countryman, while the Patagonian hardly cared to
encounter the nomadic Indians of the prairie, knowing their
bandit propensities. He rather sought to avoid them, and
gave orders to his party to have their arms in readiness for
any trouble.
   Presently the nomads came in sight, and the Patagonian
was reassured at finding they were only ten in number.
They came within a hundred yards of them, and stopped.
This was near enough to observe them distinctly. They
were fine specimens of the native races, which had been al-
most entirely swept away in 1833 by General Rosas, tall in
stature, with arched forehead and olive complexion. They
were dressed in guanaco skins, and carried lances twenty
feet long, knives, slings, bolas, and lassos, and, by their


96   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

dexterity in the management of their horses, showed them-
selves to be accomplished riders.
   They appeared to have stopped for the purpose of holding
a council with each other, for they shouted and gesticulated
at a great rate. Glenarvan determined to go up to them;
but he had no sooner moved forward than the whole band
wheeled round, and disappeared with incredible speed. It
would have been useless for the travelers to attempt to over-
take them with such wornout horses.
   "The cowards!" exclaimed Paganel.
   "They scampered off too quick for honest folks," said
McNabbs.
   "Who are these Indians, Thalcave?" asked Paganel.
   "Gauchos."
   "The Gauchos!" cried Paganel; and, turning to his com-
panions, he added, "we need not have been so much on our
guard; there was nothing to fear."
   "How is that?" asked McNabbs.
   "Because the Gauchos are inoffensive peasants."
   "You believe that, Paganel?"
   "Certainly I do. They took us for robbers, and fled in
terror."
   "I rather think they did not dare to attack us," replied
Glenarvan, much vexed at not being able to enter into some
sort of communication with those Indians, whatever they
were.
   "That's my opinion too," said the Major, "for if I am
not mistaken, instead of being harmless, the Gauchos are
formidable out-and-out bandits."
   "The idea!" exclaimed Paganel.
   And forthwith commenced a lively discussion of this
ethnological thesis -- so lively that the Major became excited,
and, quite contrary to his usual suavity, said bluntly:
   "I believe you are wrong, Paganel."
   "Wrong?" replied Paganel.
   "Yes. Thalcave took them for robbers, and he knows
what he is talking about."
   "Well, Thalcave was mistaken this time," retorted
Paganel, somewhat sharply. "The Gauchos are agricul-
turists and shepherds, and nothing else, as I have stated in a
pamphlet on the natives of the Pampas, written by me, which
has attracted some notice."

V. IV Verne


[illustration omitted]
[page intentionally blank]


A SERIOUS NECESSITY        97

   "Well, well, you have committed an error, that's all,
Monsieur Paganel."
   "What, Monsieur McNabbs! you tell me I have com-
mitted an error?"
   "An inadvertence, if you like, which you can put among
the <i>errata</i> in the next edition."
   Paganel, highly incensed at his geographical knowledge
being brought in question, and even jested about, allowed
his ill-humor to get the better of him, and said:
   "Know, sir, that my books have no need of such <i>errata</i>."
   "Indeed! Well, on this occasion they have, at any rate,"
retorted McNabbs, quite as obstinate as his opponent.
   "Sir, I think you are very annoying to-day."
   "And I think you are very crabbed."
   Glenarvan thought it was high time to interfere, for the
discussion was getting too hot, so he said:
   "Come, now, there is no doubt one of you is very teasing
and the other is very crabbed, and I must say I am surprised
at both of you."
   The Patagonian, without understanding the cause, could
see that the two friends were quarreling. He began to
smile, and said quietly:
   "It's the north wind."
   "The north wind," exclaimed Paganel; "what's the
north wind to do with it?"
   "Ah, it is just that," said Glenarvan. "It's the north
wind that has put you in a bad temper. I have heard that,
in South America, the wind greatly irritates the nervous
system."
   "By St. Patrick, Edward you are right," said the Major,
laughing heartily.
   But Paganel, in a towering rage, would not give up the
contest, and turned upon Glenarvan, whose intervention in
this jesting manner he resented.
   "And so, my Lord, my nervous system is irritated?"
he said.
   "Yes, Paganel, it is the north wind -- a wind which causes
many a crime in the Pampas, as the <i>tramontane</i> does in the
Campagna of Rome."
   "Crimes!" returned the geographer. "Do I look like
a man that would commit crimes?"
   "That's not exactly what I said."


98   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Tell me at once that I want to assassinate you?"
   "Well, I am really afraid," replied Glenarvan, bursting
into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, in which all others
joined.
   Paganel said no more, but went off in front alone, and
came back in a few minutes quite himself, as if he had
completely forgotten his grievance.
   At eight o'clock in the evening, Thalcave, who was con-
siderably in advance of the rest, descried in the distance the
much-desired lake, and in less than a quarter of an hour
they reached its banks; but a grievous disappointment
awaited them -- the lake was dried up.


CHAPTER XVIII
IN SEARCH OF WATER

   LAKE SALINAS ends the string of lagoons connected with
the Sierras Ventana and Guamini. Numerous expeditions
were formerly made there from Buenos Ayres, to collect
the salt deposited on its banks, as the waters contain great
quantities of chloride of sodium.
   But when Thalcave spoke of the lake as supplying drink-
able water he was thinking of the <i>rios</i> of fresh water which
run into it. Those streams, however, were all dried up
also; the burning sun had drunk up every thing liquid, and
the consternation of the travelers may be imagined at the
discovery.
   Some action must be taken immediately, however; for
what little water still remained was almost bad, and could
not quench thirst. Hunger and fatigue were forgotten in
the face of this imperious necessity. A sort of leather tent,
called a <i>roukah</i>, which had been left by the natives, af-
forded the party a temporary resting-place, and the weary
horses stretched themselves along the muddy banks, and
tried to browse on the marine plants and dry reeds they
found there -- nauseous to the taste as they must have been.
   As soon as the whole party were ensconced in the <i>roukah</i>,
Paganel asked Thalcave what he thought was best to be
done. A rapid conversation followed, a few words of
which were intelligible to Glenarvan. Thalcave spoke
calmly, but the lively Frenchman gesticulated enough for


IN SEARCH OF WATER       99

both. After a little, Thalcave sat silent and folded his
arms.
   "What does he say?" asked Glenarvan. "I fancied he
was advising us to separate."
   "Yes, into two parties. Those of us whose horses are
so done out with fatigue and thirst that they can scarcely
drag one leg after the other, are to continue the route as
they best can, while the others, whose steeds are fresher, are
to push on in advance toward the river Guamini, which
throws itself into Lake San Lucas about thirty-one miles
off. If there should be water enough in the river, they are
to wait on the banks till their companions reach them; but
should it be dried up, they will hasten back and spare them a
useless journey."
   "And what will we do then?" asked Austin.
   "Then we shall have to make up our minds to go seventy-
two miles south, as far as the commencement of the Sierra
Ventana, where rivers abound."
   "It is wise counsel, and we will act upon it without loss
of time. My horse is in tolerable good trim, and I volun-
teer to accompany Thalcave."
   "Oh, my Lord, take me," said Robert, as if it were a
question of some pleasure party.
   "But would you be able for it, my boy?"
   "Oh, I have a fine beast, which just wants to have a
gallop. Please, my Lord, to take me."
   "Come, then, my boy," said Glenarvan, delighted not to
leave Robert behind. "If we three don't manage to find
out fresh water somewhere," he added, "we must be very
stupid."
   "Well, well, and what about me?" said Paganel.
   "Oh, my dear Paganel, you must stay with the re-
serve corps," replied the Major. "You are too well ac-
quainted with the 37th parallel and the river Guamini and
the whole Pampas for us to let you go. Neither Mulrady,
nor Wilson, nor myself would be able to rejoin Thalcave
at the given rendezvous, but we will put ourselves under
the banner of the brave Jacques Paganel with perfect con-
fidence."
   "I resign myself," said the geographer, much flattered
at having supreme command.
   "But mind, Paganel, no distractions," added the Major.


100 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

"Don't you take us to the wrong place -- to the borders of
the Pacific, for instance."
   "Oh, you insufferable Major; it would serve you right,"
replied Paganel, laughing. "But how will you manage to
understand what Thalcave says, Glenarvan?" he con-
tinued.
   "I suppose," replied Glenarvan, "the Patagonian and I
won't have much to talk about; besides, I know a few
Spanish words, and, at a pinch, I should not fear either
making him understand me, or my understanding him."
   "Go, then, my worthy friend," said Paganel.
   "We'll have supper first," rejoined Glenarvan, "and
then sleep, if we can, till it is starting time."
   The supper was not very reviving without drink of any
kind, and they tried to make up for the lack of it by a good
sleep. But Paganel dreamed of water all night, of torrents
and cascades, and rivers and ponds, and streams and brooks
-- in fact, he had a complete nightmare.
   Next morning, at six o'clock, the horses of Thalcave,
Glenarvan and Robert were got ready. Their last ration
of water was given them, and drunk with more avidity than
satisfaction, for it was filthy, disgusting stuff. The three
travelers then jumped into their saddles, and set off, shout-
ing "<i>Au revoir!</i>" to their companions.
   "Don't come back whatever you do," called Paganel
after them.
   The <i>Desertio de las Salinas</i>, which they had to traverse,
is a dry plain, covered with stunted trees not above ten feet
high, and small mimosas, which the Indians call <i>curra-
mammel;</i> and <i>jumes</i>, a bushy shrub, rich in soda. Here
and there large spaces were covered with salt, which spar-
kled in the sunlight with astonishing brilliancy. These
might easily have been taken for sheets of ice, had not the
intense heat forbidden the illusion; and the contrast these
dazzling white sheets presented to the dry, burned-up ground
gave the desert a most peculiar character. Eighty miles
south, on the contrary, the Sierra Ventana, toward which
the travelers might possibly have to betake themselves
should the Guamini disappoint their hopes, the landscape
was totally different. There the fertility is splendid; the
pasturage is incomparable. Unfortunately, to reach them
would necessitate a march of one hundred and thirty miles


IN SEARCH OF WATER      101

south; and this was why Thalcave thought it best to go first
to Guamini, as it was not only much nearer, but also on the
direct line of route.
   The three horses went forward might and main, as if
instinctively knowing whither they were bound. Thaouka
especially displayed a courage that neither fatigue nor hun-
ger could damp. He bounded like a bird over the dried-up
<i>canadas</i> and the bushes of <i>curra-mammel</i>, his loud, joyous
neighing seeming to bode success to the search. The horses
of Glenarvan and Robert, though not so light-footed, felt
the spur of his example, and followed him bravely. Thal-
cave inspirited his companions as much as Thaouka did his
four-footed brethren. He sat motionless in the saddle, but
often turned his head to look at Robert, and ever and anon
gave him a shout of encouragement and approval, as he
saw how well he rode. Certainly the boy deserved praise,
for he was fast becoming an excellent cavalier.
   "Bravo! Robert," said Glenarvan. "Thalcave is evi-
dently congratulating you, my boy, and paying you compli-
ments."
   "What for, my Lord?"
   "For your good horsemanship."
   "I can hold firm on, that's all," replied Robert blushing
with pleasure at such an encomium.
   "That is the principal thing, Robert; but you are too
modest. I tell you that some day you will turn out an
accomplished horseman."
   "What would papa say to that?" said Robert, laughing.
"He wants me to be a sailor."
   "The one won't hinder the other. If all cavaliers
wouldn't make good sailors, there is no reason why all
sailors should not make good horsemen. To keep one's
footing on the yards must teach a man to hold on firm;
and as to managing the reins, and making a horse go
through all sorts of movements, that's easily acquired. In-
deed, it comes naturally."
   "Poor father," said Robert; "how he will thank you
for saving his life."
   "You love him very much, Robert?"
   "Yes, my Lord, dearly. He was so good to me and
my sister. We were his only thought: and whenever he
came home from his voyages, we were sure of some <i>sou-</i>


102 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

<i>venir</i> from all the places he had been to; and, better still,
of loving words and caresses. Ah! if you knew him you
would love him, too. Mary is most like him. He has a
soft voice, like hers. That's strange for a sailor, isn't it?"
   "Yes, Robert, very strange."
   "I see him still," the boy went on, as if speaking to
himself. "Good, brave papa. He put me to sleep on
his knee, crooning an old Scotch ballad about the lochs of
our country. The time sometimes comes back to me, but
very confused like. So it does to Mary, too. Ah, my
Lord, how we loved him. Well, I do think one needs to
be little to love one's father like that."
   "Yes, and to be grown up, my child, to venerate him,"
replied Glenarvan, deeply touched by the boy's genuine
affection.
   During this conversation the horses had been slackening
speed, and were only walking now.
   "You will find him?" said Robert again, after a few
minutes' silence.
   "Yes, we'll find him," was Glenarvan's reply, "Thal-
cave has set us on the track, and I have great confidence in
him."
   "Thalcave is a brave Indian, isn't he?" said the boy.
   "That indeed he is."
   "Do you know something, my Lord?"
   "What is it, and then I will tell you?"
   "That all the people you have with you are brave. Lady
Helena, whom I love so, and the Major, with his calm man-
ner, and Captain Mangles, and Monsieur Paganel, and all
the sailors on the <i>Duncan</i>. How courageous and devoted
they are."
   "Yes, my boy, I know that," replied Glenarvan.
   "And do you know that you are the best of all."
   "No, most certainly I don't know that."
   "Well, it is time you did, my Lord," said the boy, seizing
his lordship's hand, and covering it with kisses.
   Glenarvan shook his head, but said no more, as a ges-
ture from Thalcave made them spur on their horses and
hurry forward.
   But it was soon evident that, with the exception of Tha-
ouka, the wearied animals could not go quicker than a
walking pace. At noon they were obliged to let them rest


IN SEARCH OF WATER      103

for an hour. They could not go on at all, and refused to
eat the <i>alfafares</i>, a poor, burnt-up sort of lucerne that grew
there.
   Glenarvan began to be uneasy. Tokens of sterility were
not the least on the decrease, and the want of water might
involve serious calamities. Thalcave said nothing, think-
ing probably, that it would be time enough to despair
if the Guamini should be dried up -- if, indeed, the heart of
an Indian can ever despair.
   Spur and whip had both to be employed to induce the
poor animals to resume the route, and then they only crept
along, for their strength was gone.
   Thaouka, indeed, could have galloped swiftly enough,
and reached the <i>rio</i> in a few hours, but Thalcave would not
leave his companions behind, alone in the midst of a desert.
   It was hard work, however, to get the animal to consent
to walk quietly. He kicked, and reared, and neighed vio-
lently, and was subdued at last more by his master's voice
than hand. Thalcave positively talked to the beast, and
Thaouka understood perfectly, though unable to reply, for,
after a great deal of arguing, the noble creature yielded,
though he still champed the bit.
   Thalcave did not understand Thaouka, it turned out,
though Thaouka understood him. The intelligent animal
felt humidity in the atmosphere and drank it in with frenzy,
moving and making a noise with his tongue, as if taking
deep draughts of some cool refreshing liquid. The Pata-
gonian could not mistake him now -- water was not far off.
   The two other horses seemed to catch their comrade's
meaning, and, inspired by his example, made a last effort,
and galloped forward after the Indian.
   About three o'clock a white line appeared in a dip of the
road, and seemed to tremble in the sunlight.
   "Water!" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Yes, yes! it is water!" shouted Robert.
   They were right; and the horses knew it too, for there
was no need now to urge them on; they tore over the ground
as if mad, and in a few minutes had reached the river, and
plunged in up to their chests.
   Their masters had to go on too, whether they would or not
but they were so rejoiced at being able to quench their thirst,
that this compulsory bath was no grievance.


104 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Oh, how delicious this is!" exclaimed Robert, taking a
deep draught.
   "Drink moderately, my boy," said Glenarvan; but he did
not set the example.
   Thalcave drank very quietly, without hurrying himself,
taking small gulps, but "as long as a lazo," as the Patagon-
ians say. He seemed as if he were never going to leave off,
and really there was some danger of his swallowing up the
whole river.
   At last Glenarvan said:
   "Well, our friends won't be disappointed this time; they
will be sure of finding clear, cool water when they get here
-- that is to say, if Thalcave leaves any for them."
   "But couldn't we go to meet them? It would spare them
several hours' suffering and anxiety."
   "You're right my boy; but how could we carry them this
water? The leather bottles were left with Wilson. No;
it is better for us to wait for them as we agreed. They
can't be here till about the middle of the night, so the best
thing we can do is to get a good bed and a good supper
ready for them."
   Thalcave had not waited for Glenarvan's proposition to
prepare an encampment. He had been fortunate enough to
discover on the banks of the <i>rio</i> a <i>ramada</i>, a sort of en-
closure, which had served as a fold for flocks, and was shut
in on three sides. A more suitable place could not be found
for their night's lodging, provided they had no fear of sleep-
ing in the open air beneath the star-lit heavens; and none of
Thalcave's companions had much solicitude on that score.
Accordingly they took possession at once, and stretched
themselves at full length on the ground in the bright sun-
shine, to dry their dripping garments.
   "Well, now we've secured a lodging, we must think of
supper," said Glenarvan. "Our friends must not have
reason to complain of the couriers they sent to precede
them; and if I am not much mistaken, they will be very
satisfied. It strikes me that an hour's shooting won't be
lost time. Are you ready, Robert?"
   "Yes, my Lord," replied the boy, standing up, gun in
hand.
   Why Glenarvan proposed this was, that the banks of the
Guamini seemed to be the general rendezvous of all the


IN SEARCH OF WATER      105

game in the surrounding plains. A sort of partridge
peculiar to the Pampas, called <i>tinamous;</i> black wood-hens;
a species of plover, called <i>teru-teru;</i> yellow rays, and water-
fowl with magnificent green plumage, rose in coveys. No
quadrupeds, however, were visible, but Thalcave pointed to
the long grass and thick brushwood, and gave his friends to
understand they were lying there in concealment.
   Disdaining the feathered tribes when more substantial
game was at hand, the hunters' first shots were fired into
the underwood. Instantly there rose by the hundred roe-
bucks and guanacos, like those that had swept over them
that terrible night on the Cordilleras, but the timid creatures
were so frightened that they were all out of gunshot in a
twinkling. The hunters were obliged to content themselves
with humbler game, though in an alimentary point of view
nothing better could be wished. A dozen of red partridges
and rays were speedily brought down, and Glenarvan also
managed very cleverly to kill a <i>tay-tetre</i>, or peccary, a
pachydermatous animal, the flesh of which is excellent
eating.
   In less than half an hour the hunters had all the game
they required. Robert had killed a curious animal belong-
ing to the order <i>Edentata</i>, an armadillo, a sort of tatou, cov-
ered with a hard bony shell, in movable pieces, and measur-
ing a foot and a half long. It was very fat and would make
an excellent dish, the Patagonian said. Robert was very
proud of his success.
   Thalcave did his part by capturing a <i>nandou</i>, a species of
ostrich, remarkable for its extreme swiftness.
   There could be no entrapping such an animal, and the In-
dian did not attempt it. He urged Thaouka to a gallop, and
made a direct attack, knowing that if the first aim missed the
<i>nandou</i> would soon tire out horse and rider by involving
them in an inextricable labyrinth of windings. The mo-
ment, therefore, that Thalcave got to a right distance, he
flung his <i>bolas</i> with such a powerful hand, and so skillfully,
that he caught the bird round the legs and paralyzed his
efforts at once.   In a few seconds it lay flat on the ground.
   The Indian had not made his capture for the mere
pleasure and glory of such a novel chase. The flesh of the
<i>nandou</i> is highly esteemed, and Thalcave felt bound to con-
tribute his share of the common repast.


106  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   They returned to the <i>ramada</i>, bringing back the string of
partridges, the ostrich, the peccary, and the armadillo. The
ostrich and the peccary were prepared for cooking by divest-
ing them of their tough skins, and cutting them up into thin
slices. As to the armadillo, he carries his cooking apparatus
with him, and all that had to be done was to place him in
his own shell over the glowing embers.
   The substantial dishes were reserved for the night-
comers, and the three hunters contented themselves with
devouring the partridges, and washed down their meal with
clear, fresh water, which was pronounced superior to all
the porter in the world, even to the famous Highland
<i>usquebaugh</i>, or whisky.
   The horses had not been overlooked. A large quantity
of dry fodder was discovered lying heaped up in the
<i>ramada</i>, and this supplied them amply with both food and
bedding.
   When all was ready the three companions wrapped them-
selves in the ponchos, and stretched themselves on an eider-
down of <i>alfafares</i>, the usual bed of hunters on the Pampas.

CHAPTER XIX
THE RED WOLVES

   NIGHT came, but the orb of night was invisible to the
inhabitants of the earth, for she was just in her first quar-
ter. The dim light of the stars was all that illumined the
plain. The waters of the Guamini ran silently, like a sheet
of oil over a surface of marble. Birds, quadrupeds, and
reptiles were resting motionless after the fatigues of the
day, and the silence of the desert brooded over the far-
spreading Pampas.
   Glenarvan, Robert, and Thalcave, had followed the com-
mon example, and lay in profound slumber on their soft
couch of lucerne. The worn-out horses had stretched them-
selves full length on the ground, except Thaouka, who
slept standing, true to his high blood, proud in repose as in
action, and ready to start at his master's call. Absolute
silence reigned within the inclosure, over which the dying
embers of the fire shed a fitful light.
   However, the Indian's sleep did not last long; for about


THE RED WOLVES        107

ten o'clock he woke, sat up, and turned his ear toward the
plain, listening intently, with half-closed eyes. An uneasy
look began to depict itself on his usually impassive face.
Had he caught scent of some party of Indian marauders,
or of jaguars, water tigers, and other terrible animals that
haunt the neighborhood of rivers? Apparently it was the
latter, for he threw a rapid glance on the combustible mate-
rials heaped up in the inclosure, and the expression of anx-
iety on his countenance seemed to deepen. This was not
surprising, as the whole pile of <i>alfafares</i> would soon burn
out and could only ward off the attacks of wild beasts for
a brief interval.
   There was nothing to be done in the circumstances but
wait; and wait he did, in a half-recumbent posture, his
head leaning on his hands, and his elbows on his knees,
like a man roused suddenly from his night's sleep.
   A whole hour passed, and anyone except Thalcave would
have lain down again on his couch, reassured by the silence
round him. But where a stranger would have suspected
nothing, the sharpened senses of the Indian detected the
approach of danger.
   As he was thus watching and listening, Thaouka gave a
low neigh, and stretched his nostrils toward the entrance
of the <i>ramada</i>.
   This startled the Patagonian, and made him rise to his
feet at once.
   "Thaouka scents an enemy," he said to himself, going
toward the opening, to make careful survey of the plains.
   Silence still prevailed, but not tranquillity; for Thalcave
caught a glimpse of shadows moving noiselessly over the
tufts of <i>curra-mammel</i>. Here and there luminous spots
appeared, dying out and rekindling constantly, in all direc-
tions, like fantastic lights dancing over the surface of an
immense lagoon. An inexperienced eye might have mis-
taken them for fireflies, which shine at night in many parts
of the Pampas; but Thalcave was not deceived; he knew
the enemies he had to deal with, and lost no time in loading
his carbine and taking up his post in front of the fence.
   He did not wait long, for a strange cry -- a confused
sound of barking and howling -- broke over the Pampas,
followed next instant by the report of the carbine, which
made the uproar a hundred times worse.


108 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Glenarvan and Robert woke in alarm, and started to their
feet instantly.
   "What is it?" exclaimed Robert.
   "Is it the Indians?" asked Glenarvan.
   "No," replied Thalcave, "the <i>aguaras</i>."
   "<i>Aguaras?</i>" said Robert, looking inquiringly at Glen-
arvan.
   "Yes," replied Glenarvan, "the red wolves of the
Pampas."
   They seized their weapons at once, and stationed them-
selves beside the Patagonian, who pointed toward the plain
from whence the yelling resounded.
   Robert drew back involuntarily.
   "You are not afraid of wolves, my boy?" said Glen-
arvan.
   "No, my Lord," said the lad in a firm tone, "and more-
over, beside you I am afraid of nothing."
   "So much the better. These <i>aguaras</i> are not very for-
midable either; and if it were not for their number I should
not give them a thought."
   "Never mind; we are all well armed; let them come."
   "We'll certainly give them a warm reception," rejoined
Glenarvan.
   His Lordship only spoke thus to reassure the child, for
a secret terror filled him at the sight of this legion of
bloodthirsty animals let loose on them at midnight.
   There might possibly be some hundreds, and what could
three men do, even armed to the teeth, against such a mul-
titude?
   As soon as Thalcave said the word <i>aguara</i>, Glenarvan
knew that he meant the red wolf, for this is the name given
to it by the Pampas Indians. This voracious animal, called
by naturalists the <i>Canis jubatus</i>, is in shape like a large
dog, and has the head of a fox. Its fur is a reddish-cin-
namon color, and there is a black mane all down the back.
It is a strong, nimble animal, generally inhabiting marshy
places, and pursuing aquatic animals by swimming, prowl-
ing about by night and sleeping during the day. Its at-
tacks are particularly dreaded at the <i>estancias</i>, or sheep sta-
tions, as it often commits considerable ravages, carrying off
the finest of the flock. Singly, the <i>aguara</i> is not much to
be feared; but they generally go in immense packs, and


THE RED WOLVES        109

one had better have to deal with a jaguar or cougar than
with them.
   Both from the noise of the howling and the multitude
of shadows leaping about, Glenarvan had a pretty good
idea of the number of the wolves, and he knew they had
scented a good meal of human flesh or horse flesh, and
none of them would go back to their dens without a share.
It was certainly a very alarming situation to be in.
   The assailants were gradually drawing closer. The
horses displayed signs of the liveliest terror, with the ex-
ception of Thaouka, who stamped his foot, and tried to
break loose and get out. His master could only calm him
by keeping up a low, continuous whistle.
   Glenarvan and Robert had posted themselves so as to de-
fend the opening of the <i>ramada</i>. They were just going
to fire into the nearest ranks of the wolves when Thalcave
lowered their weapons.
   "What does Thalcave mean?" asked Robert.
   "He forbids our firing."
   "And why?"
   "Perhaps he thinks it is not the right time."
   But this was not the Indian's reason, and so Glenarvan
saw when he lifted the powder-flask, showed him it was
nearly empty.
   "What's wrong?" asked Robert.
   "We must husband our ammunition," was the reply.
"To-day's shooting has cost us dear, and we are short
of powder and shot. We can't fire more than twenty
times."
   The boy made no reply, and Glenarvan asked him if he
was frightened.
   "No, my Lord," he said.
   "That's right," returned Glenarvan.
   A fresh report resounded that instant. Thalcave had
made short work of one assailant more audacious than the
rest, and the infuriated pack had retreated to within a
hundred steps of the inclosure.
   On a sign from the Indian Glenarvan took his place,
while Thalcave went back into the inclosure and gathered
up all the dried grass and <i>alfafares</i>, and, indeed, all the com-
bustibles he could rake together, and made a pile of them
at the entrance. Into this he flung one of the still-glowing


110 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

embers, and soon the bright flames shot up into the dark
night. Glenarvan could now get a good glimpse of his
antagonists, and saw that it was impossible to exaggerate
their numbers or their fury. The barrier of fire just raised
by Thalcave had redoubled their anger, though it had cut
off their approach. Several of them, however, urged on by
the hindmost ranks, pushed forward into the very flames,
and burned their paws for their pains.
   From time to time another shot had to be fired, notwith-
standing the fire, to keep off the howling pack, and in the
course of an hour fifteen dead animals lay stretched on the
prairie.
   The situation of the besieged was, relatively speaking,
less dangerous now. As long as the powder lasted and
the barrier of fire burned on, there was no fear of being
overmastered. But what was to be done afterward, when
both means of defense failed at once?
   Glenarvan's heart swelled as he looked at Robert. He
forgot himself in thinking of this poor child, as he saw
him showing a courage so far above his years. Robert
was pale, but he kept his gun steady, and stood with firm
foot ready to meet the attacks of the infuriated wolves.
   However, after Glenarvan had calmly surveyed the actual
state of affairs, he determined to bring things to a crisis.
   "In an hour's time," he said, "we shall neither have
powder nor fire. It will never do to wait till then before
we settle what to do."
   Accordingly, he went up to Thalcave, and tried to talk
to him by the help of the few Spanish words his memory
could muster, though their conversation was often inter-
rupted by one or the other having to fire a shot.
   It was no easy task for the two men to understand each
other, but, most fortunately, Glenarvan knew a great deal
of the peculiarities of the red wolf; otherwise he could
never have interpreted the Indian's words and gestures.
   As it was, fully a quarter of an hour elapsed before he
could get any answer from Thalcave to tell Robert in
reply to his inquiry.
   "What does he say?"
   "He says that at any price we must hold out till day-
break. The <i>aguara</i> only prowls about at night, and goes
back to his lair with the first streak of dawn. It is a cow-


THE RED WOLVES        111

ardly beast, that loves the darkness and dreads the light -- an
owl on four feet."
   "Very well, let us defend ourselves, then, till morning."
   "Yes, my boy, and with knife-thrusts, when gun and
shots fail."
   Already Thalcave had set the example, for whenever a
wolf came too near the burning pile, the long arm of the
Patagonian dashed through the flames and came out again
reddened with blood.
   But very soon this means of defense would be at an
end. About two o'clock, Thalcave flung his last armful of
combustibles into the fire, and barely enough powder re-
mained to load a gun five times.
   Glenarvan threw a sorrowful glance round him. He
thought of the lad standing there, and of his companions
and those left behind, whom he loved so dearly.
   Robert was silent. Perhaps the danger seemed less im-
minent to his imagination. But Glenarvan thought for
him, and pictured to himself the horrible fate that seemed
to await him inevitably. Quite overcome by his emotion,
he took the child in his arms, and straining him convul-
sively to his heart, pressed his lips on his forehead, while
tears he could not restrain streamed down his cheeks.
   Robert looked up into his face with a smile, and said,
"I am not frightened."
   "No, my child, no! and you are right. In two hours
daybreak will come, and we shall be saved. Bravo, Thal-
cave! my brave Patagonian! Bravo!" he added as the
Indian that moment leveled two enormous beasts who en-
deavored to leap across the barrier of flames.
   But the fire was fast dying out, and the <i>denouement</i> of
the terrible drama was approaching. The flames got lower
and lower. Once more the shadows of night fell on the
prairie, and the glaring eyes of the wolves glowed like
phosphorescent balls in the darkness. A few minutes
longer, and the whole pack would be in the inclosure.
   Thalcave loaded his carbine for the last time, killed one
more enormous monster, and then folded his arms. His
head sank on his chest, and he appeared buried in deep
thought. Was he planning some daring, impossible, mad
attempt to repulse the infuriated horde? Glenarvan did not
venture to ask.


112  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   At this very moment the wolves began to change their
tactics. The deafening howls suddenly ceased: they
seemed to be going away. Gloomy silence spread over the
prairie, and made Robert exclaim:
   "They're gone!"
   But Thalcave, guessing his meaning, shook his head. He
knew they would never relinquish their sure prey till day-
break made them hasten back to their dens.
   Still, their plan of attack had evidently been altered.
They no longer attempted to force the entrance, but their
new maneuvers only heightened the danger.
   They had gone round the <i>ramada</i>, as by common con-
sent, and were trying to get in on the opposite side.
   The next minute they heard their claws attacking the
moldering wood, and already formidable paws and hungry,
savage jaws had found their way through the palings. The
terrified horses broke loose from their halters and ran
about the inclosure, mad with fear.
   Glenarvan put his arms round the young lad, and re-
solved to defend him as long as his life held out. Possibly
he might have made a useless attempt at flight when his
eye fell on Thalcave.
   The Indian had been stalking about the <i>ramada</i> like a
stag, when he suddenly stopped short, and going up to his
horse, who was trembling with impatience, began to saddle
him with the most scrupulous care, without forgetting a
single strap or buckle. He seemed no longer to disturb
himself in the least about the wolves outside, though their
yells had redoubled in intensity. A dark suspicion crossed
Glenarvan's mind as he watched him.
   "He is going to desert us," he exclaimed at last, as he
saw him seize the reins, as if preparing to mount.
   "He! never!"  replied Robert. Instead of deserting
them, the truth was that the Indian was going to try and
save his friends by sacrificing himself.
   Thaouka was ready, and stood champing his bit. He
reared up, and his splendid eyes flashed fire; he understood
his master.
   But just as the Patagonian caught hold of the horse's
mane, Glenarvan seized his arm with a convulsive grip, and
said, pointing to the open prairie.
   "You are going away?"

V. IV Verne


THE RED WOLVES        113

   "Yes," replied the Indian, understanding his gesture.
Then he said a few words in Spanish, which meant: "<i>Tha-
ouka; good horse; quick; will draw all the wolves away
after him</i>."
   "Oh, Thalcave," exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Quick, quick!" replied the Indian, while Glenarvan
said, in a broken, agitated voice to Robert:
   "Robert, my child, do you hear him? He wants to sac-
rifice himself for us. He wants to rush away over the
Pampas, and turn off the wolves from us by attracting them
to himself."
   "Friend Thalcave," returned Robert, throwing himself
at the feet of the Patagonian, "friend Thalcave, don't
leave us!"
   "No," said Glenarvan, "he shall not leave us."
   And turning toward the Indian, he said, pointing to the
frightened horses, "Let us go together."
   "No," replied Thalcave, catching his meaning. "Bad
beasts; frightened; Thaouka, good horse."
   "Be it so then!" returned Glenarvan. "Thalcave will
not leave you, Robert. He teaches me what I must do. It
is for me to go, and for him to stay by you."
   Then seizing Thaouka's bridle, he said, "I am going,
Thalcave, not you."
   "No," replied the Patagonian quietly.
   "I am," exclaimed Glenarvan, snatching the bridle out of
his hands. "I, myself! Save this boy, Thalcave! I com-
mit him to you."
   Glenarvan was so excited that he mixed up English words
with his Spanish. But what mattered the language at
such a terrible moment. A gesture was enough. The two
men understood each other.
   However, Thalcave would not give in, and though every
instant's delay but increased the danger, the discussion con-
tinued.
   Neither Glenarvan nor Thalcave appeared inclined to
yield. The Indian had dragged his companion towards
the entrance of the <i>ramada</i>, and showed him the prairie,
making him understand that now was the time when it
was clear from the wolves; but that not a moment was to be
lost, for should this maneuver not succeed, it would only
render the situation of those left behind more desperate.


114 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

and that he knew his horse well enough to be able to trust
his wonderful lightness and swiftness to save them all.
But Glenarvan was blind and obstinate, and determined to
sacrifice himself at all hazards, when suddenly he felt him-
self violently pushed back. Thaouka pranced up, and reared
himself bolt upright on his hind legs, and made a bound
over the barrier of fire, while a clear, young voice called
out:
   "God save you, my lord."
   But before either Thalcave or Glenarvan could get more
than a glimpse of the boy, holding on fast by Thaouka's
mane, he was out of sight.
   "Robert! oh you unfortunate boy," cried Glenarvan.
   But even Thalcave did not catch the words, for his voice
was drowned in the frightful uproar made by the wolves,
who had dashed off at a tremendous speed on the track of
the horse.
   Thalcave and Glenarvan rushed out of the <i>ramada</i>. Al-
ready the plain had recovered its tranquillity, and all that
could be seen of the red wolves was a moving line far away
in the distant darkness.
   Glenarvan sank prostrate on the ground, and clasped his
hands despairingly. He looked at Thalcave, who smiled
with his accustomed calmness, and said:
   "Thaouka, good horse. Brave boy. He will save him-
self!"
   "And suppose he falls?" said Glenarvan.
   "He'll not fall."
   But notwithstanding Thalcave's assurances, poor Glenar-
van spent the rest of the night in torturing anxiety. He
seemed quite insensible now to the danger they had escaped
through the departure of the wolves, and would have
hastened immediately after Robert if the Indian had not
kept him back by making him understand the impossibility
of their horses overtaking Thaouka; and also that boy and
horse had outdistanced the wolves long since, and that it
would be useless going to look for them till daylight.
   At four o'clock morning began to dawn. A pale glim-
mer appeared in the horizon, and pearly drops of dew lay
thick on the plain and on the tall grass, already stirred by
the breath of day.
   The time for starting had arrived.


THE RED WOLVES           115

   "Now!" cried Thalcave, "come."
   Glenarvan made no reply, but took Robert's horse and
sprung into the saddle. Next minute both men were gal-
loping at full speed toward the west, in the line in which
their companions ought to be advancing. They dashed
along at a prodigious rate for a full hour, dreading every
minute to come across the mangled corpse of Robert.
Glenarvan had torn the flanks of his horse with his spurs
in his mad haste, when at last gun-shots were heard in the
distance at regular intervals, as if fired as a signal.
   "There they are!" exclaimed Glenarvan; and both he
and the Indian urged on their steeds to a still quicker pace,
till in a few minutes more they came up to the little detach-
ment conducted by Paganel. A cry broke from Glenar-
van's lips, for Robert was there, alive and well, still mounted
on the superb Thaouka, who neighed loudly with delight at
the sight of his master.
   "Oh, my child, my child!" cried Glenarvan, with inde-
scribable tenderness in his tone.
   Both he and Robert leaped to the ground, and flung
themselves into each other's arms. Then the Indian hugged
the brave boy in his arms.
   "He is alive, he is alive," repeated Glenarvan again and
again.
   "Yes," replied Robert; "and thanks to Thaouka."
   This great recognition of his favorite's services was
wholly unexpected by the Indian, who was talking to him
that minute, caressing and speaking to him, as if human
blood flowed in the veins of the proud creature. Then
turning to Paganel, he pointed to Robert, and said, "A
brave!" and employing the Indian metaphor, he added,
"his spurs did not tremble!"
   But Glenarvan put his arms round the boy and said,
"Why wouldn't you let me or Thalcave run the risk of this
last chance of deliverance, my son?"
   "My lord," replied the boy in tones of gratitude, "wasn't
it my place to do it? Thalcave has saved my life already,
and you -- you are going to save my father."


CHAPTER XX
STRANGE SIGNS

   AFTER the first joy of the meeting was over, Paganel
and his party, except perhaps the Major, were only con-
scious of one feeling -- they were dying of thirst. Most for-
tunately for them, the Guamini ran not far off, and about
seven in the morning the little troop reached the inclosure
on its banks. The precincts were strewed with the dead
wolves, and judging from their numbers, it was evident
how violent the attack must have been, and how desperate
the resistance.
   As soon as the travelers had drunk their fill, they began
to demolish the breakfast prepared in the <i>ramada</i>, and did
ample justice to the extraordinary viands. The <i>nandou</i>
fillets were pronounced first-rate, and the armadillo was
delicious.
   "To eat moderately," said Paganel, "would be posi-
tive ingratitude to Providence. We must eat immoder-
ately."
   And so they did, but were none the worse for it.
The water of the Guamini greatly aided digestion appar-
ently.
   Glenarvan, however, was not going to imitate Hannibal
at Capua, and at ten o'clock next morning gave the signal
for starting. The leathern bottles were filled with water,
and the day's march commenced. The horses were so well
rested that they were quite fresh again, and kept up a canter
almost constantly. The country was not so parched up
now, and consequently less sterile, but still a desert. No
incident occurred of any importance during the 2d and 3d
of November, and in the evening they reached the boundary
of the Pampas, and camped for the night on the frontiers
of the province of Buenos Ayres. Two-thirds of their
journey was now accomplished. It was twenty-two days
since they left the Bay of Talcahuano, and they had gone
450 miles.
   Next morning they crossed the conventional line which
separates the Argentine plains from the region of the Pam-
pas. It was here that Thalcave hoped to meet the Caciques,
in whose hands, he had no doubt, Harry Grant and his men
were prisoners.
   From the time of leaving the Guamini, there was marked

116


STRANGE SIGNS         117

change in the temperature, to the great relief of the tra-
velers. It was much cooler, thanks to the violent and cold
winds from Patagonia, which constantly agitate the atmos-
pheric waves. Horses and men were glad enough of this,
after what they had suffered from the heat and drought,
and they felt animated with fresh ardor and confidence.
But contrary to what Thalcave had said, the whole district
appeared uninhabited, or rather abandoned.
   Their route often led past or went right through small
lagoons, sometimes of fresh water, sometimes of brackish.
On the banks and bushes about these, king-wrens were hop-
ping about and larks singing joyously in concert with the
tangaras, the rivals in color of the brilliant humming birds.
On the thorny bushes the nests of the <i>annubis</i> swung to and
fro in the breeze like an Indian hammock; and on the shore
magnificent flamingos stalked in regular order like soldiers
marching, and spread out their flaming red wings. Their
nests were seen in groups of thousands, forming a com-
plete town, about a foot high, and resembling a truncated
cone in shape. The flamingos did not disturb themselves
in the least at the approach of the travelers, but this did not
suit Paganel.
   "I have been very desirous a long time," he said to the
Major, "to see a flamingo flying."
   "All right," replied McNabbs.
   "Now while I have the opportunity, I should like to
make the most of it," continued Paganel.
   "Very well; do it, Paganel."
   "Come with me, then, Major, and you too Robert. I
want witnesses."
   And all three went off towards the flamingos, leaving the
others to go on in advance.
   As soon as they were near enough, Paganel fired, only
loading his gun, however, with powder, for he would not
shed even the blood of a bird uselessly. The shot made
the whole assemblage fly away <i>en masse</i>, while Paganel
watched them attentively through his spectacles.
   "Well, did you see them fly?" he asked the Major.
   "Certainly I did," was the reply. "I could not help
seeing them, unless I had been blind."
   "Well and did you think they resembled feathered ar-
rows when they were flying?"


118 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Not in the least."
   "Not a bit," added Robert.
   "I was sure of it," said the geographer, with a satisfied
air; "and yet the very proudest of modest men, my illus-
trious countryman, Chateaubriand, made the inaccurate
comparison. Oh, Robert, comparison is the most danger-
ous figure in rhetoric that I know. Mind you avoid it all
your life, and only employ it in a last extremity."
   "Are you satisfied with your experiment?" asked
McNabbs.
   "Delighted."
   "And so am I. But we had better push on now, for
your illustrious Chateaubriand has put us more than a mile
behind."
   On rejoining their companions, they found Glenarvan
busily engaged in conversation with the Indian, though ap-
parently unable to make him understand. Thalcave's gaze
was fixed intently on the horizon, and his face wore a puz-
zled expression.
   The moment Paganel came in sight, Glenarvan called
out:
   "Come along, friend Paganel. Thalcave and I can't
understand each other at all."
   After a few minute's talk with the Patagonian, the in-
terpreter turned to Glenarvan and said:
   "Thalcave is quite astonished at the fact, and certainly
it is very strange that there are no Indians, nor even traces
of any to be seen in these plains, for they are generally
thick with companies of them, either driving along cattle
stolen from the <i>estancias</i>, or going to the Andes to sell their
zorillo cloths and plaited leather whips."
   "And what does Thalcave think is the reason?"
   "He does not know; he is amazed and that's all."
   "But what description of Indians did he reckon on meet-
ing in this part of the Pampas?"
   "Just the very ones who had the foreign prisoners in
their hands, the natives under the rule of the Caciques Cal-
foucoura, Catriel, or Yanchetruz."
   "Who are these Caciques?"
   "Chiefs that were all powerful thirty years ago, before
they were driven beyond the sierras. Since then they have
been reduced to subjection as much as Indians can be, and


STRANGE SIGNS          119

they scour the plains of the Pampas and the province of
Buenos Ayres. I quite share Thalcave's surprise at not
discovering any traces of them in regions which they usually
infest as <i>salteadores</i>, or bandits."
   "And what must we do then?"
   "I'll go and ask him," replied Paganel.
   After a brief colloquy he returned and said:
   "This is his advice, and very sensible it is, I think. He
says we had better continue our route to the east as far as
Fort Independence, and if we don't get news of Captain
Grant there we shall hear, at any rate, what has become of
the Indians of the Argentine plains."
   "Is Fort Independence far away?" asked Glenarvan.
   "No, it is in the Sierra Tandil, a distance of about
sixty miles."
   "And when shall we arrive?"
   "The day after to-morrow, in the evening."
   Glenarvan was considerably disconcerted by this circum-
stance. Not to find an Indian where in general there were
only too many, was so unusual that there must be some
grave cause for it; but worse still if Harry Grant were a
prisoner in the hands of any of those tribes, had be been
dragged away with them to the north or south? Glenarvan
felt that, cost what it might, they must not lose his track,
and therefore decided to follow the advice of Thalcave, and
go to the village of Tandil. They would find some one
there to speak to, at all events.
   About four o'clock in the evening a hill, which seemed a
mountain in so flat a country, was sighted in the distance.
This was Sierra Tapalquem, at the foot of which the trav-
elers camped that night.
   The passage in the morning over this sierra, was accom-
plished without the slightest difficulty; after having crossed
the Cordillera of the Andes, it was easy work to ascend the
gentle heights of such a sierra as this. The horses scarcely
slackened their speed. At noon they passed the deserted
fort of Tapalquem, the first of the chain of forts which de-
fend the southern frontiers from Indian marauders. But
to the increasing surprise of Thalcave, they did not come
across even the shadow of an Indian. About the middle
of the day, however, three flying horsemen, well mounted
and well armed came in sight, gazed at them for an instant,


120 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

and then sped away with inconceivable rapidity. Glenar-
van was furious.
   "Gauchos," said the Patagonian, designating them by
the name which had caused such a fiery discussion between
the Major and Paganel.
   "Ah! the Gauchos," replied McNabbs. "Well, Paga-
nel, the north wind is not blowing to-day. What do you
think of those fellows yonder?"
   "I think they look like regular bandits."
   "And how far is it from looking to being, my good
geographer?"
   "Only just a step, my dear Major."
   Paganel's admission was received with a general laugh,
which did not in the least disconcert him. He went on
talking about the Indians however, and made this curious
observation:
   "I have read somewhere," he said, "that about the
Arabs there is a peculiar expression of ferocity in the
mouth, while the eyes have a kindly look. Now, in these
American savages it is quite the reverse, for the eye has a
particularly villainous aspect."
   No physiognomist by profession could have better char-
acterized the Indian race.
   But desolate as the country appeared, Thalcave was on
his guard against surprises, and gave orders to his party
to form themselves in a close platoon. It was a useless
precaution, however; for that same evening, they camped
for the night in an immense <i>tolderia</i>, which they not only
found perfectly empty, but which the Patagonian declared,
after he had examined it all round, must have been unin-
habited for a long time.
   Next day, the first <i>estancias</i> of the Sierra Tandil came
in sight. The <i>estancias</i> are large cattle stations for breed-
ing cattle; but Thalcave resolved not to stop at any of
them, but to go straight on to Fort Independence. They
passed several farms fortified by battlements and sur-
rounded by a deep moat, the principal building being encir-
cled by a terrace, from which the inhabitants could fire
down on the marauders in the plain. Glenarvan might,
perhaps, have got some information at these houses, but
it was the surest plan to go straight on to the village of
Tandil. Accordingly they went on without stopping,


A FALSE TRAIL          121

fording the <i>rio</i> of Los Huasos and also the Chapaleofu, a
few miles further on. Soon they were treading the grassy
slopes of the first ridges of the Sierra Tandil, and an hour
afterward the village appeared in the depths of a narrow
gorge, and above it towered the lofty battlements of Fort
Independence.


CHAPTER XXI
A FALSE TRAIL

   THE Sierra Tandil rises a thousand feet above the level
of the sea. It is a primordial chain -- that is to say, anterior
to all organic and metamorphic creation. It is formed of
a semi-circular ridge of gneiss hills, covered with fine
short grass. The district of Tandil, to which it has given
its name, includes all the south of the Province of Buenos
Ayres, and terminates in a river which conveys north all
the <i>rios</i> that take their rise on its slopes.
   After making a short ascent up the sierra, they reached
the postern gate, so carelessly guarded by an Argentine
sentinel, that they passed through without difficulty, a cir-
cumstance which betokened extreme negligence or ex-
treme security.
   A few minutes afterward the Commandant appeared in
person. He was a vigorous man about fifty years of age,
of military aspect, with grayish hair, and an imperious eye,
as far as one could see through the clouds of tobacco
smoke which escaped from his short pipe. His walk re-
minded Paganel instantly of the old subalterns in his own
country.
   Thalcave was spokesman, and addressing the officer, pre-
sented Lord Glenarvan and his companions. While he
was speaking, the Commandant kept staring fixedly at Pag-
anel in rather an embarrassing manner. The geographer
could not understand what he meant by it, and was just
about to interrogate him, when the Commandant came for-
ward, and seizing both his hands in the most free-and-easy
fashion, said in a joyous voice, in the mother tongue of the
geographer:
   "A Frenchman!"
   "Yes, a Frenchman," replied Paganel.
   "Ah! delightful! Welcome, welcome. I am a French-


122 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

man too," he added, shaking Paganel's hand with such
vigor as to be almost alarming.
   "Is he a friend of yours, Paganel?" asked the Major.
   "Yes," said Paganel, somewhat proudly. "One has
friends in every division of the globe."
   After he had succeeded in disengaging his hand, though
not without difficulty, from the living vise in which it was
held, a lively conversation ensued. Glenarvan would fain
have put in a word about the business on hand, but the
Commandant related his entire history, and was not in a
mood to stop till he had done. It was evident that the
worthy man must have left his native country many years
back, for his mother tongue had grown unfamiliar, and if
he had not forgotten the words he certainly did not remem-
ber how to put them together. He spoke more like a negro
belonging to a French colony.
   The fact was that the Governor of Fort Independence
was a French sergeant, an old comrade of Parachapee. He
had never left the fort since it had been built in 1828; and,
strange to say, he commanded it with the consent of the
Argentine Government. He was a man about fifty years
of age, a Basque by birth, and his name was Manuel
Ipharaguerre, so that he was almost a Spaniard. A year
after his arrival in the country he was naturalized, took
service in the Argentine army, and married an Indian girl,
who was then nursing twin babies six months old -- two
boys, be it understood, for the good wife of the Comman-
dant would have never thought of presenting her husband
with girls. Manuel could not conceive of any state but a
military one, and he hoped in due time, with the help of
God, to offer the republic a whole company of young sol-
diers.
   "You saw them. Charming! good soldiers are Jose,
Juan, and Miquele! Pepe, seven year old; Pepe can han-
dle a gun."
   Pepe, hearing himself complimented, brought his two
little feet together, and presented arms with perfect grace.
   "He'll get on!" added the sergeant. "He'll be colonel-
major or brigadier-general some day."
   Sergeant Manuel seemed so enchanted that it would
have been useless to express a contrary opinion, either to
the profession of arms or the probable future of his chil-


A FALSE TRAIL           123

dren. He was happy, and as Goethe says, "Nothing that
makes us happy is an illusion."
   All this talk took up a quarter of an hour, to the great
astonishment of Thalcave. The Indian could not under-
stand how so many words could come out of one throat.
No one interrupted the Sergeant, but all things come to an
end, and at last he was silent, but not till he had made his
guests enter his dwelling, and be presented to Madame
Ipharaguerre. Then, and not till then, did he ask his
guests what had procured him the honor of their visit.
Now or never was the moment to explain, and Paganel,
seizing the chance at once, began an account of their jour-
ney across the Pampas, and ended by inquiring the reason
of the Indians having deserted the country.
   "Ah! there was no one!" replied the Sergeant, shrug-
ging his shoulders -- "really no one, and us, too, our arms
crossed! Nothing to do!"
   "But why?"
   "War."
   "War?"
   "Yes, civil war between the Paraguayans and Buenos
Ayriens," replied the Sergeant.
   "Well?"
   "Well, Indians all in the north, in the rear of General
Flores. Indian pillagers find pillage there."
   "But where are the Caciques?"
   "Caciques are with them."
   "What! Catriel?"
   "There is no Catriel."
   "And Calfoucoura?"
   "There is no Calfoucoura."
   "And is there no Yanchetruz?"
   "No; no Yanchetruz."
   The reply was interpreted by Thalcave, who shook his
head and gave an approving look. The Patagonian was
either unaware of, or had forgotten that civil war was
decimating the two parts of the republic -- a war which
ultimately required the intervention of Brazil. The In-
dians have everything to gain by these intestine strifes,
and can not lose such fine opportunities of plunder. There
was no doubt the Sergeant was right in assigning war then
as the cause of the forsaken appearance of the plains.


124 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   But this circumstance upset all Glenarvan's projects, for
if Harry Grant was a prisoner in the hands of the Caciques,
he must have been dragged north with them. How and
where should they ever find him if that were the case?
Should they attempt a perilous and almost useless journey
to the northern border of the Pampas? It was a serious
question which would need to be well talked over.
   However, there was one inquiry more to make to the
Sergeant; and it was the Major who thought of it, for all
the others looked at each other in silence.
   "Had the Sergeant heard whether any Europeans were
prisoners in the hands of the Caciques?"
   Manuel looked thoughtful for a few minutes, like a man
trying to ransack his memory. At last he said:
   "Yes."
   "Ah!" said Glenarvan, catching at the fresh hope.
   They all eagerly crowded round the Sergeant, exclaim-
ing,
   "Tell us, tell us."
   "It was some years ago," replied Manuel. "Yes; all
I heard was that some Europeans were prisoners, but I
never saw them."
   "You are making a mistake," said Glenarvan. "It
can't be some years ago; the date of the shipwreck is ex-
plicitly given. The <i>Britannia</i> was wrecked in June, 1862.
It is scarcely two years ago."
   "Oh, more than that, my Lord."
   "Impossible!" said Paganel.
   "Oh, but it must be. It was when Pepe was born.
There were two prisoners."
   "No, three!" said Glenarvan.
   "Two!" replied the Sergeant, in a positive tone.
   "Two?" echoed Glenarvan, much surprised. "Two
Englishmen?"
   "No, no. Who is talking of Englishmen? No; a
Frenchman and an Italian."
   "An Italian who was massacred by the Poyuches?"
exclaimed Paganel.
   "Yes; and I heard afterward that the Frenchman was
saved."
   "Saved!" exclaimed young Robert, his very life hang-
ing on the lips of the Sergeant.


A FALSE TRAIL           125

   Yes; delivered out of the hands of the Indians."
   Paganel struck his forehead with an air of desperation,
and said at last,
   "Ah! I understand. It is all clear now; everything is
explained."
   "But what is it?" asked Glenarvan, with as much im-
patience.
   "My friends," replied Paganel, taking both Robert's
hands in his own, "we must resign ourselves to a sad dis-
aster. We have been on a wrong track. The prisoner
mentioned is not the captain at all, but one of my own
countrymen; and his companion, who was assassinated by
the Poyuches, was Marco Vazello. The Frenchman was
dragged along by the cruel Indians several times as far as
the shores of the Colorado, but managed at length to make
his escape, and return to Colorado. Instead of following
the track of Harry Grant, we have fallen on that of young
Guinnard."
   This announcement was heard with profound silence.
The mistake was palpable. The details given by the Ser-
geant, the nationality of the prisoner, the murder of his
companions, his escape from the hands of the Indians, all
evidenced the fact. Glenarvan looked at Thalcave with
a crestfallen face, and the Indian, turning to the Sergeant,
asked whether he had never heard of three English cap-
tives.
   "Never," replied Manuel. "They would have known
of them at Tandil, I am sure. No, it cannot be."
   After this, there was nothing further to do at Fort In-
dependence but to shake hands with the Commandant, and
thank him and take leave.
   Glenarvan was in despair at this complete overthrow of
his hopes, and Robert walked silently beside him, with his
eyes full of tears. Glenarvan could not find a word of
comfort to say to him. Paganel gesticulated and talked
away to himself. The Major never opened his mouth, nor
Thalcave, whose <i>amour propre</i>, as an Indian, seemed quite
wounded by having allowed himself to go on a wrong
scent. No one, however, would have thought of reproach-
ing him for an error so pardonable.
   They went back to the <i>fonda</i>, and had supper; but it was
a gloomy party that surrounded the table. It was not that


126 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

any one of them regretted the fatigue they had so heedlessly
endured or the dangers they had run, but they felt their
hope of success was gone, for there was no chance of com-
ing across Captain Grant between the Sierra Tandil and the
sea, as Sergeant Manuel must have heard if any prisoners
had fallen into the hands of the Indians on the coast of the
Atlantic. Any event of this nature would have attracted
the notice of the Indian traders who traffic between Tandil
and Carmen, at the mouth of the Rio Negro. The best
thing to do now was to get to the <i>Duncan</i> as quick as pos-
sible at the appointed rendezvous.
   Paganel asked Glenarvan, however, to let him have the
document again, on the faith of which they had set out on
so bootless a search. He read it over and over, as if trying
to extract some new meaning out of it.
   "Yet nothing can be clearer," said Glenarvan; "it gives
the date of the shipwreck, and the manner, and the place of
the captivity in the most categorical manner."
   "That it does not -- no, it does not!" exclaimed Paganel,
striking the table with his fist. "Since Harry Grant is
not in the Pampas, he is not in America; but where he is
the document must say, and it shall say, my friends, or my
name is not Jacques Paganel any longer."


CHAPTER XXII
THE FLOOD

   A DISTANCE of 150 miles separates Fort Independence
from the shores of the Atlantic. Unless unexpected and
certainly improbable delays should occur, in four days
Glenarvan would rejoin the <i>Duncan</i>. But to return on
board without Captain Grant, and after having so com-
pletely failed in his search, was what he could not bring
himself to do. Consequently, when next day came, he
gave no orders for departure; the Major took it upon him-
self to have the horses saddled, and make all preparations.
Thanks to his activity, next morning at eight o'clock the
little troop was descending the grassy slopes of the Sierra.
   Glenarvan, with Robert at his side, galloped along with-
out saying a word. His bold, determined nature made it
impossible to take failure quietly. His heart throbbed as


THE FLOOD            127

if it would burst, and his head was burning. Paganel, ex-
cited by the difficulty, was turning over and over the words
of the document, and trying to discover some new meaning.
Thalcave was perfectly silent, and left Thaouka to lead the
way. The Major, always confident, remained firm at his
post, like a man on whom discouragement takes no hold.
Tom Austin and his two sailors shared the dejection of
their master. A timid rabbit happened to run across their
path, and the superstitious men looked at each other in
dismay.
   "A bad omen," said Wilson.
   "Yes, in the Highlands," repeated Mulrady.
   "What's bad in the Highlands is not better here," re-
turned Wilson sententiously.
   Toward noon they had crossed the Sierra, and descended
into the undulating plains which extend to the sea. Lim-
pid <i>rios</i> intersected these plains, and lost themselves among
the tall grasses. The ground had once more become a dead
level, the last mountains of the Pampas were passed, and a
long carpet of verdure unrolled itself over the monotonous
prairie beneath the horses' tread.
   Hitherto the weather had been fine, but to-day the sky
presented anything but a reassuring appearance. The
heavy vapors, generated by the high temperature of the
preceding days, hung in thick clouds, which ere long would
empty themselves in torrents of rain. Moreover, the vi-
cinity of the Atlantic, and the prevailing west wind, made
the climate of this district particularly damp. This was
evident by the fertility and abundance of the pasture and
its dark color. However, the clouds remained unbroken
for the present, and in the evening, after a brisk gallop of
forty miles, the horses stopped on the brink of deep <i>canadas</i>,
immense natural trenches filled with water. No shelter
was near, and ponchos had to serve both for tents and cov-
erlets as each man lay down and fell asleep beneath the
threatening sky.
   Next day the presence of water became still more sen-
sibly felt; it seemed to exude from every pore of the
ground. Soon large ponds, some just beginning to form,
and some already deep, lay across the route to the east.
As long as they had only to deal with lagoons, circum-
scribed pieces of water unencumbered with aquatic plants,


128 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

the horses could get through well enough, but when they
encountered moving sloughs called <i>pentanos</i>, it was harder
work. Tall grass blocked them up, and they were involved
in the peril before they were aware.
   These bogs had already proved fatal to more than one
living thing, for Robert, who had got a good bit ahead of
the party, came rushing back at full gallop, calling out:
   "Monsieur Paganel, Monsieur Paganel, a forest of
horns."
   "What!" exclaimed the geographer; "you have found
a forest of horns?"
   "Yes, yes, or at any rate a coppice."
   "A coppice!" replied Paganel, shrugging his shoulders.
"My boy, you are dreaming."
   "I am not dreaming, and you will see for yourself.
Well, this is a strange country. They sow horns, and
they sprout up like wheat. I wish I could get some of the
seed."
   "The boy is really speaking seriously," said the Major.
   "Yes, Mr. Major, and you will soon see I am right."
   The boy had not been mistaken, for presently they found
themselves in front of an immense field of horns, regularly
planted and stretching far out of sight. It was a complete
copse, low and close packed, but a strange sort.
   "Well," said Robert.
   "This is peculiar certainly," said Paganel, and he turned
round to question Thalcave on the subject.
   "The horns come out of the ground," replied the In-
dian, "but the oxen are down below."
   "What!" exclaimed Paganel; "do you mean to say
that a whole herd was caught in that mud and buried
alive?"
   "Yes," said the Patagonian.
   And so it was. An immense herd had been suffocated
side by side in this enormous bog, and this was not the first
occurrence of the kind which had taken place in the Argen-
tine plains.
   An hour afterward and the field of horns lay two miles
behind.
   Thalcave was somewhat anxiously observing a state of
things which appeared to him unusual. He frequently
stopped and raised himself on his stirrups and looked

V. IV Verne


THE FLOOD            129

around. His great height gave him a commanding view
of the whole horizon; but after a keen rapid survey, he
quickly resumed his seat and went on. About a mile fur-
ther he stopped again, and leaving the straight route, made
a circuit of some miles north and south, and then returned
and fell back in his place at the head of the troop, without
saying a syllable as to what he hoped or feared. This
strange behavior, several times repeated, made Glenarvan
very uneasy, and quite puzzled Paganel. At last, at Glen-
arvan's request, he asked the Indian about it.
   Thalcave replied that he was astonished to see the plains
so saturated with water. Never, to his knowledge, since
he had followed the calling of guide, had he found the
ground in this soaking condition. Even in the rainy sea-
son, the Argentine plains had always been passable.
   "But what is the cause of this increasing humidity?"
said Paganel.
   "I do not know, and what if I did?"
   "Could it be owing to the <i>rios</i> of the Sierra being
swollen to overflowing by the heavy rains?"
   "Sometimes they are."
   "And is it the case now?"
   "Perhaps."
   Paganel was obliged to be content with this unsatisfac-
tory reply, and went back to Glenarvan to report the result
of his conversation.
   "And what does Thalcave advise us to do?" said Glen-
arvan.
   Paganel went back to the guide and asked him.
   "Go on fast," was the reply.
   This was easier said than done. The horses soon tired
of treading over ground that gave way at every step. It
sank each moment more and more, till it seemed half under
water.
   They quickened their pace, but could not go fast enough
to escape the water, which rolled in great sheets at their
feet. Before two hours the cataracts of the sky opened
and deluged the plain in true tropical torrents of rain.
Never was there a finer occasion for displaying philosophic
equanimity. There was no shelter, and nothing for it but
to bear it stolidly. The ponchos were streaming like the
overflowing gutter-spouts on the roof of a house, and the


130  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

unfortunate horsemen had to submit to a double bath, for
their horses dashed up the water to their waists at every
step.
   In this drenching, shivering state, and worn out with fa-
tigue, they came toward evening to a miserable <i>rancho</i>,
which could only have been called a shelter by people not
very fastidious, and certainly only travelers in extremity
would even have entered it; but Glenarvan and his com-
panions had no choice, and were glad enough to burrow in
this wretched hovel, though it would have been despised
by even a poor Indian of the Pampas. A miserable fire of
grass was kindled, which gave out more smoke than heat,
and was very difficult to keep alight, as the torrents of rain
which dashed against the ruined cabin outside found their
way within and fell down in large drops from the roof.
Twenty times over the fire would have been extinguished
if Mulrady and Wilson had not kept off the water.
   The supper was a dull meal, and neither appetizing nor
reviving. Only the Major seemed to eat with any relish.
The impassive McNabbs was superior to all circumstances.
Paganel, Frenchman as he was, tried to joke, but the at-
tempt was a failure.
   "My jests are damp," he said, "they miss fire."
   The only consolation in such circumstances was to sleep,
and accordingly each one lay down and endeavored to find
in slumber a temporary forgetfulness of his discomforts
and his fatigues. The night was stormy, and the planks of
the rancho cracked before the blast as if every instant they
would give way. The poor horses outside, exposed to all
the inclemency of the weather, were making piteous moans,
and their masters were suffering quite as much inside the
ruined <i>rancho</i>. However, sleep overpowered them at
length. Robert was the first to close his eyes and lean
his head against Glenarvan's shoulder, and soon all the
rest were soundly sleeping too under the guardian eye of
Heaven.
   The night passed safely, and no one stirred till Thaouka
woke them by tapping vigorously against the <i>rancho</i> with
his hoof. He knew it was time to start, and at a push
could give the signal as well as his master. They owed
the faithful creature too much to disobey him, and set off
immediately.


THE FLOOD            131

   The rain had abated, but floods of water still covered
the ground. Paganel, on consulting his map, came to the
conclusion that the <i>rios</i> Grande and Vivarota, into which
the water from the plains generally runs, must have been
united in one large bed several miles in extent.
   Extreme haste was imperative, for all their lives de-
pended on it. Should the inundation increase, where could
they find refuge? Not a single elevated point was visible
on the whole circle of the horizon, and on such level plains
water would sweep along with fearful rapidity.
   The horses were spurred on to the utmost, and Thaouka
led the way, bounding over the water as if it had been his
natural element. Certainly he might justly have been
called a sea-horse -- better than many of the amphibious
animals who bear that name.
   All of a sudden, about ten in the morning, Thaouka be-
trayed symptoms of violent agitation. He kept turning
round toward the south, neighing continually, and snorting
with wide open nostrils. He reared violently, and Thal-
cave had some difficulty in keeping his seat. The foam
from his mouth was tinged with blood from the action of
the bit, pulled tightly by his master's strong hand, and yet
the fiery animal would not be still. Had he been free, his
master knew he would have fled away to the north as fast
as his legs would have carried him.
   "What is the matter with Thaouka?" asked Paganel.
"Is he bitten by the leeches? They are very voracious in
the Argentine streams."
   "No," replied the Indian.
   "Is he frightened at something, then?"
   "Yes, he scents danger."
   "What danger?"
   "I don't know."
   But, though no danger was apparent to the eye, the ear
could catch the sound of a murmuring noise beyond the
limits of the horizon, like the coming in of the tide. Soon
a confused sound was heard of bellowing and neighing and
bleating, and about a mile to the south immense flocks ap-
peared, rushing and tumbling over each other in the great-
est disorder, as they hurried pell-mell along with incon-
ceivable rapidity. They raised such a whirlwind of water
in their course that it was impossible to distinguish them


132  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

clearly. A hundred whales of the largest size could hardly
have dashed up the ocean waves more violently.
   "<i>Anda, anda!</i>" (quick, quick), shouted Thalcave, in a
voice like thunder.
   "What is it, then?" asked Paganel.
   "The rising," replied Thalcave.
   "He means an inundation," exclaimed Paganel, flying
with the others after Thalcave, who had spurred on his
horse toward the north.
   It was high time, for about five miles south an immense
towering wave was seen advancing over the plain, and
changing the whole country into an ocean. The tall grass
disappeared before it as if cut down by a scythe, and clumps
of mimosas were torn up and drifted about like floating
islands.
   The wave was speeding on with the rapidity of a race-
horse, and the travelers fled before it like a cloud before
a storm-wind. They looked in vain for some harbor of
refuge, and the terrified horses galloped so wildly along
that the riders could hardly keep their saddles.
   "<i>Anda, anda!</i>" shouted Thalcave, and again they
spurred on the poor animals till the blood ran from their
lacerated sides. They stumbled every now and then over
great cracks in the ground, or got entangled in the hidden
grass below the water. They fell, and were pulled up only
to fall again and again, and be pulled up again and again.
The level of the waters was sensibly rising, and less than
two miles off the gigantic wave reared its crested head.
   For a quarter of an hour this supreme struggle with the
most terrible of elements lasted. The fugitives could not
tell how far they had gone, but, judging by the speed, the
distance must have been considerable. The poor horses,
however, were breast-high in water now, and could only
advance with extreme difficulty. Glenarvan and Paganel,
and, indeed, the whole party, gave themselves up for lost,
as the horses were fast getting out of their depth, and six
feet of water would be enough to drown them.
   It would be impossible to tell the anguish of mind these
eight men endured; they felt their own impotence in the
presence of these cataclysms of nature so far beyond all
human power. Their salvation did not lie in their own
hands.


THE FLOOD            133

   Five minutes afterward, and the horses were swimming;
the current alone carried them along with tremendous force,
and with a swiftness equal to their fastest gallop; they
must have gone fully twenty miles an hour.
   All hope of delivery seemed impossible, when the Major
suddenly called out:
   "A tree!"
   "A tree?" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Yes, there, there!" replied Thalcave, pointing with
his finger to a species of gigantic walnut-tree, which raised
its solitary head above the waters.
   His companions needed no urging forward now; this
tree, so opportunely discovered, they must reach at all haz-
ards. The horses very likely might not be able to get to
it, but, at all events, the men would, the current bearing
them right down to it.
   Just at that moment Tom Austin's horse gave a smoth-
ered neigh and disappeared. His master, freeing his feet
from the stirrups, began to swim vigorously.
   "Hang on to my saddle," called Glenarvan.
   "Thanks, your honor, but I have good stout arms."
   "Robert, how is your horse going?" asked his Lord-
ship, turning to young Grant.
   "Famously, my Lord, he swims like a fish."
   "Lookout!" shouted the Major, in a stentorian voice.
   The warning was scarcely spoken before the enormous
billow, a monstrous wave forty feet high, broke over the
fugitives with a fearful noise. Men and animals all dis-
appeared in a whirl of foam; a liquid mass, weighing sev-
eral millions of tons, engulfed them in its seething waters.
   When it had rolled on, the men reappeared on the sur-
face, and counted each other rapidly; but all the horses, ex-
cept Thaouka, who still bore his master, had gone down
forever.
   "Courage, courage," repeated Glenarvan, supporting
Paganel with one arm, and swimming with the other.
   "I can manage, I can manage," said the worthy savant.
"I am even not sorry --"
   But no one ever knew what he was not sorry about, for
the poor man was obliged to swallow down the rest of his
sentence with half a pint of muddy water. The Major
advanced quietly, making regular strokes, worthy of a mas-


134 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

ter swimmer. The sailors took to the water like porpoises,
while Robert clung to Thaouka's mane, and was carried
along with him. The noble animal swam superbly, in-
stinctively making for the tree in a straight line.
   The tree was only twenty fathoms off, and in a few min-
utes was safely reached by the whole party; but for this
refuge they must all have perished in the flood.
   The water had risen to the top of the trunk, just to
where the parent branches fork out. It was consequently,
quite easy to clamber up to it. Thalcave climbed up first,
and got off his horse to hoist up Robert and help the others.
His powerful arms had soon placed all the exhausted swim-
mers in a place of security.
   But, meantime, Thaouka was being rapidly carried away
by the current. He turned his intelligent face toward his
master, and, shaking his long mane, neighed as if to sum-
mon him to his rescue.
   "Are you going to forsake him, Thalcave?" asked Pag-
anel.
   "I!" replied the Indian, and forthwith he plunged
down into the tumultuous waters, and came up again ten
fathoms off. A few instants afterward his arms were
round Thaouka's neck, and master and steed were drifting
together toward the misty horizon of the north.


CHAPTER XXIII
A SINGULAR ABODE

   THE tree on which Glenarvan and his companions had
just found refuge, resembled a walnut-tree, having the
same glossy foliage and rounded form. In reality, how-
ever, it was the <i>ombu</i>, which grows solitarily on the Argen-
tine plains. The enormous and twisted trunk of this tree
is planted firmly in the soil, not only by its great roots, but
still more by its vigorous shoots, which fasten it down in
the most tenacious manner. This was how it stood proof
against the shock of the mighty billow.
   This <i>ombu</i> measured in height a hundred feet, and cov-
ered with its shadow a circumference of one hundred and
twenty yards. All this scaffolding rested on three great
boughs which sprang from the trunk. Two of these rose


A SINGULAR ABODE         135

almost perpendicularly, and supported the immense parasol
of foliage, the branches of which were so crossed and in-
tertwined and entangled, as if by the hand of a basket-
maker, that they formed an impenetrable shade. The
third arm, on the contrary, stretched right out in a hori-
zontal position above the roaring waters, into which the
lower leaves dipped. There was no want of room in the
interior of this gigantic tree, for there were great gaps in
the foliage, perfect glades, with air in abundance, and
freshness everywhere. To see the innumerable branches
rising to the clouds, and the creepers running from bough
to bough, and attaching them together while the sunlight
glinted here and there among the leaves, one might have
called it a complete forest instead of a solitary tree shelter-
ing them all.
   On the arrival of the fugitives a myriad of the feathered
tribes fled away into the topmost branches, protesting by
their outcries against this flagrant usurpation of their
domicile. These birds, who themselves had taken refuge
in the solitary <i>ombu</i>, were in hundreds, comprising black-
birds, starlings, isacas, <i>hilgueros</i>, and especially the pica-
flor, humming-birds of most resplendent colors. When
they flew away it seemed as though a gust of wind had
blown all the flowers off the tree.
   Such was the asylum offered to the little band of Glen-
arvan. Young Grant and the agile Wilson were scarcely
perched on the tree before they had climbed to the upper
branches and put their heads through the leafy dome to
get a view of the vast horizon. The ocean made by the
inundation surrounded them on all sides, and, far as the
eye could reach, seemed to have no limits. Not a single
tree was visible on the liquid plain; the <i>ombu</i> stood alone
amid the rolling waters, and trembled before them. In the
distance, drifting from south to north, carried along by the
impetuous torrent, they saw trees torn up by the roots,
twisted branches, roofs torn off, destroyed <i>ranchos</i>, planks
of sheds stolen by the deluge from <i>estancias</i>, carcasses of
drowned animals, blood-stained skins, and on a shaky tree a
complete family of jaguars, howling and clutching hold of
their frail raft. Still farther away, a black spot almost in-
visible, already caught Wilson's eye. It was Thalcave and
his faithful Thaouka.


136 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Thalcave, Thalcave!" shouted Robert, stretching out
his hands toward the courageous Patagonian.
   "He will save himself, Mr. Robert," replied Wilson;
"we must go down to his Lordship."
   Next minute they had descended the three stages of
boughs, and landed safely on the top of the trunk, where
they found Glenarvan, Paganel, the Major, Austin, and
Mulrady, sitting either astride or in some position they
found more comfortable. Wilson gave an account of their
investigations aloft, and all shared his opinion with respect
to Thalcave. The only question was whether it was Thal-
cave who would save Thaouka, or Thaouka save Thalcave.
   Their own situation meantime was much more alarming
than his. No doubt the tree would be able to resist the
current, but the waters might rise higher and higher, till
the topmost branches were covered, for the depression of
the soil made this part of the plain a deep reservoir. Glen-
arvan's first care, consequently, was to make notches by
which to ascertain the progress of the inundation. For the
present it was stationary, having apparently reached its
height. This was reassuring.
   "And now what are we going to do?" said Glenarvan.
   "Make our nest, of course!" replied Paganel
   "Make our nest!" exclaimed Robert.
   "Certainly, my boy, and live the life of birds, since we
can't that of fishes."
   "All very well, but who will fill our bills for us?" said
Glenarvan.
   "I will," said the Major.
   All eyes turned toward him immediately, and there he
sat in a natural arm-chair, formed of two elastic boughs,
holding out his <i>alforjas</i> damp, but still intact.
   "Oh, McNabbs, that's just like you," exclaimed Glen-
arvan, "you think of everything even under circumstances
which would drive all out of your head."
   "Since it was settled we were not going to be drowned,
I had no intention of starving of hunger."
   "I should have thought of it, too," said Paganel, "but
I am so <i>distrait</i>."
   "And what is in the <i>alforjas?</i>" asked Tom Austin.
   "Food enough to last seven men for two days," replied
McNabbs.


A SINGULAR ABODE        137

   "And I hope the inundation will have gone down in
twenty-four hours," said Glenarvan.
   "Or that we shall have found some way of regaining
<i>terra firma</i>," added Paganel.
   "Our first business, then, now is to breakfast," said
Glenarvan.
   "I suppose you mean after we have made ourselves dry,"
observed the Major.
   "And where's the fire?" asked Wilson.
   "We must make it," returned Paganel.
   "Where?"
   "On the top of the trunk, of course."
   "And what with?"
   "With the dead wood we cut off the tree."
   "But how will you kindle it?" asked Glenarvan. "Our
tinder is just like wet sponge."
   "We can dispense with it," replied Paganel. "We only
want a little dry moss and a ray of sunshine, and the lens
of my telescope, and you'll see what a fire I'll get to dry
myself by. Who will go and cut wood in the forest?"
   "I will," said Robert.
   And off he scampered like a young cat into the depths
of the foliage, followed by his friend Wilson. Paganel
set to work to find dry moss, and had soon gathered suffi-
cient. This he laid on a bed of damp leaves, just where
the large branches began to fork out, forming a natural
hearth, where there was little fear of conflagration.
   Robert and Wilson speedily reappeared, each with an
armful of dry wood, which they threw on the moss. By
the help of the lens it was easily kindled, for the sun was
blazing overhead. In order to ensure a proper draught,
Paganel stood over the hearth with his long legs straddled
out in the Arab manner. Then stooping down and raising
himself with a rapid motion, he made a violent current
of air with his poncho, which made the wood take fire, and
soon a bright flame roared in the improvised brasier.
After drying themselves, each in his own fashion, and
hanging their ponchos on the tree, where they were swung
to and fro in the breeze, they breakfasted, carefully how-
ever rationing out the provisions, for the morrow had to be
thought of; the immense basin might not empty so soon as
Glenarvan expected, and, anyway, the supply was very lim-


138  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

ited. The <i>ombu</i> produced no fruit, though fortunately,
it would likely abound in fresh eggs, thanks to the numer-
ous nests stowed away among the leaves, not to speak of
their feathered proprietors. These resources were by no
means to be despised.
   The next business was to install themselves as com-
fortably as they could, in prospect of a long stay.
   "As the kitchen and dining-room are on the ground
floor," said Paganel, "we must sleep on the first floor.
The house is large, and as the rent is not dear, we must
not cramp ourselves for room. I can see up yonder nat-
ural cradles, in which once safely tucked up we shall sleep
as if we were in the best beds in the world. We have
nothing to fear. Besides, we will watch, and we are nu-
merous enough to repulse a fleet of Indians and other wild
animals."
   "We only want fire-arms."
   "I have my revolvers," said Glenarvan.
   "And I have mine," replied Robert.
   "But what's the good of them?" said Tom Austin, "un-
less Monsieur Paganel can find out some way of making
powder."
   "We don't need it," replied McNabbs, exhibiting a
powder flask in a perfect state of preservation.
   "Where did you get it from, Major," asked Paganel.
   "From Thalcave. He thought it might be useful to us,
and gave it to me before he plunged into the water to save
Thaouka."
   "Generous, brave Indian!" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Yes," replied Tom Austin, "if all the Patagonians are
cut after the same pattern, I must compliment Patagonia."
   "I protest against leaving out the horse," said Paganel.
"He is part and parcel of the Patagonian, and I'm much
mistaken if we don't see them again, the one on the other's
back."
   "What distance are we from the Atlantic?" asked the
Major.
   "About forty miles at the outside," replied Paganel;
"and now, friends, since this is Liberty Hall, I beg to take
leave of you. I am going to choose an observatory for
myself up there, and by the help of my telescope, let you
know how things are going on in the world."


A SINGULAR ABODE        139

   Forthwith the geographer set off, hoisting himself up
very cleverly from bough to bough, till he disappeared be-
yond the thick foliage. His companions began to arrange
the night quarters, and prepare their beds. But this was
neither a long nor difficult task, and very soon they re-
sumed their seats round the fire to have a talk.
   As usual their theme was Captain Grant. In three days,
should the water subside, they would be on board the <i>Dun-
can</i> once more. But Harry Grant and his two sailors,
those poor shipwrecked fellows, would not be with them.
Indeed, it even seemed after this ill success and this useless
journey across America, that all chance of finding them
was gone forever. Where could they commence a fresh
quest? What grief Lady Helena and Mary Grant would
feel on hearing there was no further hope.
   "Poor sister!" said Robert. "It is all up with us."
   For the first time Glenarvan could not find any comfort
to give him. What could he say to the lad?
   Had they not searched exactly where the document
stated?
   "And yet," he said, "this thirty-seventh degree of lat-
itude is not a mere figure, and that it applies to the ship-
wreck or captivity of Harry Grant, is no mere guess or
supposition. We read it with our own eyes."
   "All very true, your Honor," replied Tom Austin, "and
yet our search has been unsuccessful."
   "It is both a provoking and hopeless business," replied
Glenarvan.
   "Provoking enough, certainly," said the Major, "but
not hopeless. It is precisely because we have an uncon-
testable figure, provided for us, that we should follow it
up to the end."
   "What do you mean?" asked Glenarvan. "What more
can we do?"
   "A very logical and simple thing, my dear Edward.
When we go on board the <i>Duncan</i>, turn her beak head to
the east, and go right along the thirty-seventh parallel till
we come back to our starting point if necessary."
   "Do you suppose that I have not thought of that, Mr.
McNabbs?" replied Glenarvan. "Yes, a hundred times.
But what chance is there of success? To leave the Ameri-
can continent, wouldn't it be to go away from the very


140 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

spot indicated by Harry Grant, from this very Patagonia
so distinctly named in the document."
   "And would you recommence your search in the Pam-
pas, when you have the certainty that the shipwreck of the
<i>Britannia</i> neither occurred on the coasts of the Pacific nor
the Atlantic?"
   Glenarvan was silent.
   "And however small the chance of finding Harry Grant
by following up the given parallel, ought we not to try?"
   "I don't say no," replied Glenarvan.
   "And are you not of my opinion, good friends," added
the Major, addressing the sailors.
   "Entirely," said Tom Austin, while Mulrady and Wil-
son gave an assenting nod.
   "Listen to me, friends," said Glenarvan after a few
minutes' reflection; "and remember, Robert, this is a
grave discussion. I will do my utmost to find Captain
Grant; I am pledged to it, and will devote my whole life
to the task if needs be. All Scotland would unite with me
to save so devoted a son as he has been to her. I too quite
think with you that we must follow the thirty-seventh
parallel round the globe if necessary, however slight our
chance of finding him. But that is not the question we
have to settle. There is one much more important than
that is -- should we from this time, and all together, give up
our search on the American continent?"
   No one made any reply. Each one seemed afraid to
pronounce the word.
   "Well?" resumed Glenarvan, addressing himself es-
pecially to the Major.
   "My dear Edward," replied McNabbs, "it would be in-
curring too great a responsibility for me to reply <i>hic et nunc</i>.
It is a question which requires reflection. I must know
first, through which countries the thirty-seventh parallel
of southern latitude passes?"
   "That's Paganel's business; he will tell you that," said
Glenarvan.
   "Let's ask him, then," replied the Major.
   But the learned geographer was nowhere to be seen.
He was hidden among the thick leafage of the <i>ombu</i>, and
they must call out if they wanted him.
   "Paganel, Paganel!" shouted Glenarvan.


A SINGULAR ABODE       141

   "Here," replied a voice that seemed to come from the
clouds.
   "Where are you?"
   "In my tower."
   "What are you doing there?"
   "Examining the wide horizon."
   "Could you come down for a minute?"
   "Do you want me?"
   "Yes."
   "What for?"
   "To know what countries the thirty-seventh parallel
passes through."
   "That's easily said. I need not disturb myself to come
down for that."
   "Very well, tell us now."
   "Listen, then. After leaving America the thirty-sev-
enth parallel crosses the Atlantic Ocean."
   "And then?"
   "It encounters Isle Tristan d'Acunha."
   "Yes."
   "It goes on two degrees below the Cape of Good Hope."
   "And afterwards?"
   "Runs across the Indian Ocean, and just touches Isle
St. Pierre, in the Amsterdam group."
   "Go on."
   "It cuts Australia by the province of Victoria."
   "And then."
   "After leaving Australia in --"
   This last sentence was not completed. Was the geogra-
pher hesitating, or didn't he know what to say?
   No; but a terrible cry resounded from the top of the
tree. Glenarvan and his friends turned pale and looked at
each other. What fresh catastrophe had happened now?
Had the unfortunate Paganel slipped his footing?
   Already Wilson and Mulrady had rushed to his rescue
when his long body appeared tumbling down from branch
to branch.
   But was he living or dead, for his hands made no at-
tempt to seize anything to stop himself. A few minutes
more, and he would have fallen into the roaring waters had
not the Major's strong arm barred his passage.
   "Much obliged, McNabbs," said Paganel.


142  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "How's this? What is the matter with you? What
came over you? Another of your absent fits."
   "Yes, yes," replied Paganel, in a voice almost inarticu-
late with emotion. "Yes, but this was something extra-
ordinary."
   "What was it?"
   "I said we had made a mistake. We are making it
still, and have been all along."
   "Explain yourself."
   "Glenarvan, Major, Robert, my friends," exclaimed
Paganel, "all you that hear me, we are looking for Captain
Grant where he is not to be found."
   "What do you say?" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Not only where he is not now, but where he has never
been."


CHAPTER XXIV
PAGANEL'S DISCLOSURE

   PROFOUND astonishment greeted these unexpected words
of the learned geographer. What could he mean? Had
he lost his sense? He spoke with such conviction, how-
ever, that all eyes turned toward Glenarvan, for Paga-
nel's affirmation was a direct answer to his question,
but Glenarvan shook his head, and said nothing, though
evidently he was not inclined to favor his friend's
views.
   "Yes," began Paganel again, as soon as he had recov-
ered himself a little; "yes, we have gone a wrong track,
and read on the document what was never there."
   "Explain yourself, Paganel," said the Major, "and more
calmly if you can."
   "The thing is very simple, Major. Like you, I was in
error; like you, I had rushed at a false interpretation, until
about an instant ago, on the top of the tree, when I was
answering your questions, just as I pronounced the word
'Australia,' a sudden flash came across my mind, and the
document became clear as day."
   "What!" exclaimed Glenarvan, "you mean to say that
Harry Grant --"
   "I mean to say," replied Paganel, "that the word <i>Aus-
tral</i> that occurs in the document is not a complete word, as


PAGANEL'S DISCLOSURE      143

we have supposed up till now, but just the root of the word
<i>Australie</i>."
   "Well, that would be strange," said the Major.
   "Strange!" repeated Glenarvan, shrugging his shoul-
ders; "it is simply impossible."
   "Impossible?" returned Paganel. "That is a word we
don't allow in France."
   "What!" continued Glenarvan, in a tone of the most
profound incredulity, "you dare to contend, with the docu-
ment in your hand, that the shipwreck of the <i>Britannia</i>
happened on the shores of Australia."
   "I am sure of it," replied Paganel.
   "My conscience," exclaimed Glenarvan, "I must say I
am surprised at such a declaration from the Secretary of a
Geographical Society!"
   "And why so?" said Paganel, touched in his weak
point.
   "Because, if you allow the word <i>Australie!</i> you must
also allow the word <i>Indiens</i>, and Indians are never seen
there."
   Paganel was not the least surprised at this rejoinder.
Doubtless he expected it, for he began to smile, and said:
   "My dear Glenarvan, don't triumph over me too fast. I
am going to floor you completely, and never was an Eng-
lishman more thoroughly defeated than you will be. It will
be the revenge for Cressy and Agincourt."
   "I wish nothing better. Take your revenge, Paganel."
   "Listen, then. In the text of the document, there is
neither mention of the Indians nor of Patagonia! The
incomplete word <i>indi</i> does not mean <i>Indiens</i>, but of course,
<i>indigenes</i>, aborigines! Now, do you admit that there are
aborigines in Australia?"
   "Bravo, Paganel!" said the Major.
   "Well, do you agree to my interpretation, my dear
Lord?" asked the geographer again.
   "Yes," replied Glenarvan, "if you will prove to me that
the fragment of a word <i>gonie</i>, does not refer to the country
of the Patagonians."
   "Certainly it does not. It has nothing to do with Pata-
gonia," said Paganel. "Read it any way you please ex-
cept that."
   "How?"


144 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "<i>Cosmogonie, theogonie, agonie</i>."
   "<i>Agonie</i>," said the Major.
   "I don't care which," returned Paganel. "The word
is quite unimportant; I will not even try to find out its
meaning. The main point is that <i>Austral</i> means <i>Australie</i>,
and we must have gone blindly on a wrong track not to
have discovered the explanation at the very beginning, it
was so evident. If I had found the document myself, and
my judgment had not been misled by your interpretation,
I should never have read it differently."
   A burst of hurrahs, and congratulations, and compli-
ments followed Paganel's words. Austin and the sailors,
and the Major and Robert, most all overjoyed at this fresh
hope, applauded him heartily; while even Glenarvan, whose
eyes were gradually getting open, was almost prepared to
give in.
   "I only want to know one thing more, my dear Pag-
anel," he said, "and then I must bow to your perspicacity."
   "What is it?"
   "How will you group the words together according to
your new interpretation? How will the document read?"
   "Easily enough answered. Here is the document," re-
plied Paganel, taking out the precious paper he had been
studying so conscientiously for the last few days.
   For a few minutes there was complete silence, while the
worthy <i>savant</i> took time to collect his thoughts before com-
plying with his lordship's request. Then putting his fin-
ger on the words, and emphasizing some of them, he be-
gan as follows:
   "'<i>Le 7 juin</i> 1862 <i>le trois-mats Britannia de Glasgow a
sombre apres</i>,' -- put, if you please, '<i>deux jours, trois
jours</i>,' or '<i>une longue agonie</i>,' it doesn't signify, it is quite
a matter of indifference, -- '<i>sur les cotes de l'Australie.
Se dirigeant a terre, deux matelots et le Capitaine Grant
vont essayer d'aborder</i>,' or '<i>ont aborde le continent ou ils
seront</i>,' or, '<i>sont prisonniers de cruels indigenes. Ils ont
jete ce documents</i>,' etc. Is that clear?"
   "Clear enough," replied Glenarvan, "if the word con-
tinent can be applied to Australia, which is only an island."
   "Make yourself easy about that, my dear Glenarvan;
the best geographers have agreed to call the island the
Australian Continent."

V. IV Verne


PAGANEL'S DISCLOSURE       145

   "Then all I have now to say is, my friends," said Glen-
arvan, "away to Australia, and may Heaven help us!"
   "To Australia!" echoed his companions, with one voice.
   "I tell you what, Paganel," added Glenarvan, "your
being on board the <i>Duncan</i> is a perfect providence."
   "All right. Look on me as a messenger of providence,
and let us drop the subject."
   So the conversation ended -- a conversation which great
results were to follow; it completely changed the moral
condition of the travelers; it gave the clew of the laby-
rinth in which they had thought themselves hopelessly en-
tangled, and, amid their ruined projects, inspired them with
fresh hope. They could now quit the American Conti-
nent without the least hesitation, and already their thoughts
had flown to the Australias. In going on board the <i>Dun-
can</i> again they would not bring despair with them, and
Lady Helena and Mary Grant would not have to mourn
the irrevocable loss of Captain Grant. This thought so
filled them with joy that they forgot all the dangers of
their actual situation, and only regretted that they could
not start immediately.
   It was about four o'clock in the afternoon, and they
determined to have supper at six. Paganel wished to get
up a splendid spread in honor of the occasion, but as the
materials were very scanty, he proposed to Robert to go
and hunt in the neighboring forest. Robert clapped his
hands at the idea, so they took Thalcave's powder flask,
cleaned the revolvers and loaded them with small shot, and
set off.
   "Don't go too far," said the Major, gravely, to the two
hunters.
   After their departure, Glenarvan and McNabbs went
down to examine the state of the water by looking at the
notches they had made on the tree, and Wilson and Mul-
rady replenished the fire.
   No sign of decrease appeared on the surface of the im-
mense lake, yet the flood seemed to have reached its maxi-
mum height; but the violence with which it rushed from
the south to north proved that the equilibrium of the Ar-
gentine rivers was not restored. Before getting lower the
liquid mass must remain stationary, as in the case with
the ocean before the ebb tide commences.


146 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   While Glenarvan and his cousin were making these ob-
servations, the report of firearms resounded frequently
above their heads, and the jubilant outcries of the two
sportsmen -- for Paganel was every whit as much a child
as Robert. They were having a fine time of it among the
thick leaves, judging by the peals of laughter which rang
out in the boy's clear treble voice and Paganel's deep bass.
The chase was evidently successful, and wonders in culin-
ary art might be expected. Wilson had a good idea to
begin with, which he had skilfully carried out; for when
Glenarvan came back to the brasier, he found that the
brave fellow had actually managed to catch, with only a
pin and a piece of string, several dozen small fish, as deli-
cate as smelts, called <i>mojarras</i>, which were all jumping
about in a fold of his poncho, ready to be converted into
an exquisite dish.
   At the same moment the hunters reappeared. Paganel
was carefully carrying some black swallows' eggs, and a
string of sparrows, which he meant to serve up later under
the name of field larks. Robert had been clever enough to
bring down several brace of <i>hilgueros</i>, small green and
yellow birds, which are excellent eating, and greatly in
demand in the Montevideo market. Paganel, who knew
fifty ways of dressing eggs, was obliged for this once to
be content with simply hardening them on the hot embers.
But notwithstanding this, the viands at the meal were
both dainty and varied. The dried beef, hard eggs, grilled
<i>mojarras</i>, sparrows, and roast <i>hilgueros</i>, made one of those
gala feasts the memory of which is imperishable.
   The conversation was very animated. Many compli-
ments were paid Paganel on his twofold talents as hunter
and cook, which the <i>savant</i> accepted with the modesty
which characterizes true merit. Then he turned the con-
versation on the peculiarities of the <i>ombu</i>, under whose
canopy they had found shelter, and whose depths he de-
clared were immense.
   "Robert and I," he added, jestingly, "thought ourselves
hunting in the open forest. I was afraid, for the minute,
we should lose ourselves, for I could not find the road.
The sun was sinking below the horizon; I sought vainly
for footmarks; I began to feel the sharp pangs of hunger,
and the gloomy depths of the forest resounded already


PAGANEL'S DISCLOSURE      147

with the roar of wild beasts. No, not that; there are no
wild beasts here, I am sorry to say."
   "What!" exclaimed Glenarvan, "you are sorry there
are no wild beasts?"
   "Certainly I am."
   "And yet we should have every reason to dread their
ferocity."
   "Their ferocity is non-existent, scientifically speaking,"
replied the learned geographer.
   "Now come, Paganel," said the Major, "you'll never
make me admit the utility of wild beasts. What good are
they?"
   "Why, Major," exclaimed Paganel, "for purposes of
classification into orders, and families, and species, and
sub-species."
   "A mighty advantage, certainly!" replied McNabbs,
"I could dispense with all that. If I had been one of
Noah's companions at the time of the deluge, I should
most assuredly have hindered the imprudent patriarch from
putting in pairs of lions, and tigers, and panthers, and
bears, and such animals, for they are as malevolent as they
are useless."
   "You would have done that?" asked Paganel.
   "Yes, I would."
   "Well, you would have done wrong in a zo&ouml;logical point
of view," returned Paganel.
   "But not in a humanitarian one," rejoined the Major.
   "It is shocking!" replied Paganel. "Why, for my
part, on the contrary, I should have taken special care to
preserve megatheriums and pterodactyles, and all the ante-
diluvian species of which we are unfortunately deprived by
his neglect."
   "And I say," returned McNabbs, "that Noah did a
very good thing when he abandoned them to their fate --
that is, if they lived in his day."
   "And I say he did a very bad thing," retorted Paganel,
"and he has justly merited the malediction of <i>savants</i> to
the end of time!"
   The rest of the party could not help laughing at hearing
the two friends disputing over old Noah. Contrary to all
his principles, the Major, who all his life had never dis-
puted with anyone, was always sparring with Paganel.


148 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

The geographer seemed to have a peculiarly exciting effect
on him.
   Glenarvan, as usual, always the peacemaker, interfered
in the debate, and said:
   "Whether the loss of ferocious animals is to be regretted
or not, in a scientific point of view, there is no help for it
now; we must be content to do without them. Paganel
can hardly expect to meet with wild beasts in this a&euml;rial
forest."
   "Why not?" asked the geographer.
   "Wild beasts on a tree!" exclaimed Tom Austin.
   "Yes, undoubtedly. The American tiger, the jaguar,
takes refuge in the trees, when the chase gets too hot for
him. It is quite possible that one of these animals, sur-
prised by the inundation, might have climbed up into this
<i>ombu</i>, and be hiding now among its thick foliage."
   "You haven't met any of them, at any rate, I suppose?"
said the Major.
   "No," replied Paganel, "though we hunted all through
the wood. It is vexing, for it would have been a splendid
chase. A jaguar is a bloodthirsty, ferocious creature. He
can twist the neck of a horse with a single stroke of his
paw. When he has once tasted human flesh he scents it
greedily. He likes to eat an Indian best, and next to him
a negro, then a mulatto, and last of all a white man."
   "I am delighted to hear we come number four," said
McNabbs.
   "That only proves you are insipid," retorted Paganel,
with an air of disdain.
   "I am delighted to be insipid," was the Major's reply.

"Well, it is humiliating enough," said the intractable
Paganel. "The white man proclaimed himself chief of
the human race; but Mr. Jaguar is of a different opinion it
seems."
   "Be that as it may, my brave Paganel, seeing there are
neither Indians, nor negroes, nor mulattoes among us, I
am quite rejoiced at the absence of your beloved jaguars.
Our situation is not so particularly agreeable."
   "What! not agreeable!" exclaimed Paganel, jumping
at the word as likely to give a new turn to the conversa-
tion. "You are complaining of your lot, Glenarvan."
   "I should think so, indeed," replied Glenarvan. "Do


PAGANEL'S DISCLOSURE      149

you find these uncomfortable hard branches very luxu-
rious?"
   "I have never been more comfortable, even in my study.
We live like the birds, we sing and fly about. I begin to
believe men were intended to live on trees."
   "But they want wings," suggested the Major.
   "They'll make them some day."
   "And till then," put in Glenarvan, "with your leave, I
prefer the gravel of a park, or the floor of a house, or the
deck of a ship, to this a&euml;rial dwelling."
   "We must take things as they come, Glenarvan," re-
turned Paganel. "If good, so much the better; if bad,
never mind. Ah, I see you are wishing you had all the
comforts of Malcolm Castle."
   "No, but --"
   "I am quite certain Robert is perfectly happy," inter-
rupted Paganel, eager to insure one partisan at least.
   "Yes, that I am!" exclaimed Robert, in a joyous tone.
   "At his age it is quite natural," replied Glenarvan.
   "And at mine, too," returned the geographer. "The
fewer one's comforts, the fewer one's needs; and the fewer
one's needs, the greater one's happiness."
   "Now, now," said the Major, "here is Paganel running
a tilt against riches and gilt ceilings."
   "No, McNabbs," replied the <i>savant</i>, "I'm not; but if
you like, I'll tell you a little Arabian story that comes into
my mind, very <i>apropos</i> this minute."
   "Oh, do, do," said Robert.
   "And what is your story to prove, Paganel?" inquired
the Major.
   "Much what all stories prove, my brave comrade."
   "Not much then," rejoined McNabbs. "But go on,
Scheherazade, and tell us the story."
   "There was once," said Paganel, "a son of the great
Haroun-al-Raschid, who was unhappy, and went to consult
an old Dervish. The old sage told him that happiness was
a difficult thing to find in this world. 'However,' he
added, 'I know an infallible means of procuring your
happiness.' 'What is it?' asked the young Prince. 'It is
to put the shirt of a happy man on your shoulders.' Where-
upon the Prince embraced the old man, and set out at once
to search for his talisman. He visited all the capital cities


150 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

in the world. He tried on the shirts of kings, and em-
perors, and princes and nobles; but all in vain: he could
not find a man among them that was happy. Then he put
on the shirts of artists, and warriors, and merchants; but
these were no better. By this time he had traveled a long
way, without finding what he sought. At last he began to
despair of success, and began sorrowfully to retrace his
steps back to his father's palace, when one day he heard
an honest peasant singing so merrily as he drove the plow,
that he thought, 'Surely this man is happy, if there is such
a thing as happiness on earth.' Forthwith he accosted
him, and said, 'Are you happy?' 'Yes,' was the reply.
'There is nothing you desire?' 'Nothing.' 'You would
not change your lot for that of a king?' 'Never!'
'Well, then, sell me your shirt.' 'My shirt! I haven't
one!'"


CHAPTER XXV
BETWEEN FIRE AND WATER

   BEFORE turning into "their nest," as Paganel had called
it, he, and Robert, and Glenarvan climbed up into the ob-
servatory to have one more inspection of the liquid plain.
It was about nine o'clock; the sun had just sunk behind
the glowing mists of the western horizon.
   The eastern horizon was gradually assuming a most
stormy aspect. A thick dark bar of cloud was rising
higher and higher, and by degrees extinguishing the stars.
Before long half the sky was overspread. Evidently mo-
tive power lay in the cloud itself, for there was not a
breath of wind. Absolute calm reigned in the atmosphere;
not a leaf stirred on the tree, not a ripple disturbed the
surface of the water. There seemed to be scarcely any air
even, as though some vast pneumatic machine had rarefied
it. The entire atmosphere was charged to the utmost with
electricity, the presence of which sent a thrill through the
whole nervous system of all animated beings.
   "We are going to have a storm," said Paganel.
   "You're not afraid of thunder, are you, Robert?"
asked Glenarvan.
   "No, my Lord!" exclaimed Robert.


BETWEEN FIRE AND WATER    151

  "Well, my boy, so much the better, for a storm is not
far off."
   "And a violent one, too," added Paganel, "if I may
judge by the look of things."
   "It is not the storm I care about," said Glenarvan, "so
much as the torrents of rain that will accompany it. We
shall be soaked to the skin. Whatever you may say, Pag-
anel, a nest won't do for a man, and you will learn that
soon, to your cost."
   "With the help of philosophy, it will," replied Paganel.
   "Philosophy! that won't keep you from getting
drenched."
   "No, but it will warm you."
   "Well," said Glenarvan, "we had better go down to
our friends, and advise them to wrap themselves up in their
philosophy and their ponchos as tightly as possible, and
above all, to lay in a stock of patience, for we shall need it
before very long."
   Glenarvan gave a last glance at the angry sky. The
clouds now covered it entirely; only a dim streak of light
shone faintly in the west. A dark shadow lay on the
water, and it could hardly be distinguished from the thick
vapors above it. There was no sensation of light or
sound. All was darkness and silence around.
   "Let us go down," said Glenarvan; "the thunder will
soon burst over us."
   On returning to the bottom of the tree, they found them-
selves, to their great surprise, in a sort of dim twilight, pro-
duced by myriads of luminous specks which appeared buz-
zing confusedly over the surface of the water.
   "It is phosphorescence, I suppose," said Glenarvan.
   "No, but phosphorescent insects, positive glow-worms,
living diamonds, which the ladies of Buenos Ayres con-
vert into magnificent ornaments."
   "What!" exclaimed Robert, "those sparks flying about
are insects!"
   "Yes, my boy."
   Robert caught one in his hand, and found Paganel was
right. It was a kind of large drone, an inch long, and the
Indians call it "tuco-tuco." This curious specimen of the
<i>coleoptera</i> sheds its radiance from two spots in the front
of its breast-plate, and the light is sufficient to read by.


152 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

Holding his watch close to the insect, Paganel saw dis-
tinctly that the time was 10 P. M.
   On rejoining the Major and his three sailors, Glenarvan
warned them of the approaching storm, and advised them to
secure themselves in their beds of branches as firmly as
possible, for there was no doubt that after the first clap
of thunder the wind would become unchained, and the
<i>ombu</i> would be violently shaken. Though they could not
defend themselves from the waters above, they might at
least keep out of the rushing current beneath.
   They wished one another "good-night," though hardly
daring to hope for it, and then each one rolled himself in
his poncho and lay down to sleep.
   But the approach of the great phenomena of nature ex-
cites vague uneasiness in the heart of every sentient being,
even in the most strong-minded. The whole party in the
<i>ombu</i> felt agitated and oppressed, and not one of them
could close his eyes. The first peal of thunder found
them wide awake. It occurred about 11 P. M., and sounded
like a distant rolling. Glenarvan ventured to creep out
of the sheltering foliage, and made his way to the ex-
tremity of the horizontal branch to take a look round.
   The deep blackness of the night was already scarified
with sharp bright lines, which were reflected back by the
water with unerring exactness. The clouds had rent in
many parts, but noiselessly, like some soft cotton material.
After attentively observing both the zenith and horizon,
Glenarvan went back to the center of the trunk.
   "Well, Glenarvan, what's your report?" asked Paganel.
   "I say it is beginning in good earnest, and if it goes on
so we shall have a terrible storm."
   "So much the better," replied the enthusiastic Paganel;
"I should like a grand exhibition, since we can't run
away."
   "That's another of your theories," said the Major.
   "And one of my best, McNabbs. I am of Glenarvan's
opinion, that the storm will be superb. Just a minute ago,
when I was trying to sleep, several facts occurred to my
memory, that make me hope it will, for we are in the re-
gion of great electrical tempests. For instance, I have
read somewhere, that in 1793, in this very province of
Buenos Ayres, lightning struck thirty-seven times during


BETWEEN FIRE AND WATER    153

one single storm. My colleague, M. Martin de Moussy,
counted fifty-five minutes of uninterrupted rolling."
   "Watch in hand?" asked the Major.
   "Watch in hand. Only one thing makes me uneasy,"
added Paganel, "if it is any use to be uneasy, and that
is, that the culminating point of this plain, is just this
very <i>ombu</i> where we are. A lightning conductor would
be very serviceable to us at present. For it is this tree
especially, among all that grow in the Pampas, that the
thunder has a particular affection for. Besides, I need not
tell you, friend, that learned men tell us never to take ref-
uge under trees during a storm."
   "Most seasonable advice, certainly, in our circum-
stances," said the Major.
   "I must confess, Paganel," replied Glenarvan, "that you
might have chosen a better time for this reassuring infor-
mation."
   "Bah!" replied Paganel, "all times are good for get-
ting information. Ha! now it's beginning."
   Louder peals of thunder interrupted this inopportune
conversation, the violence increasing with the noise till the
whole atmosphere seemed to vibrate with rapid oscillations.
   The incessant flashes of lightning took various forms.
Some darted down perpendicularly from the sky five or
six times in the same place in succession. Others would
have excited the interest of a <i>savant</i> to the highest degree,
for though Arago, in his curious statistics, only cites two
examples of forked lightning, it was visible here hundreds
of times. Some of the flashes branched out in a thou-
sand different directions, making coralliform zigzags, and
threw out wonderful jets of arborescent light.
   Soon the whole sky from east to north seemed supported
by a phosphoric band of intense brilliancy. This kept in-
creasing by degrees till it overspread the entire horizon,
kindling the clouds which were faithfully mirrored in the
waters as if they were masses of combustible material,
beneath, and presented the appearance of an immense
globe of fire, the center of which was the <i>ombu</i>.
   Glenarvan and his companions gazed silently at this
terrifying spectacle. They could not make their voices
heard, but the sheets of white light which enwrapped them
every now and then, revealed the face of one and another,


154 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

sometimes the calm features of the Major, sometimes the
eager, curious glance of Paganel, or the energetic face of
Glenarvan, and at others, the scared eyes of the terrified
Robert, and the careless looks of the sailors, investing
them with a weird, spectral aspect.
   However, as yet, no rain had fallen, and the wind
had not risen in the least. But this state of things was of
short duration; before long the cataracts of the sky burst
forth, and came down in vertical streams. As the large
drops fell splashing into the lake, fiery sparks seemed to fly
out from the illuminated surface.
   Was the rain the <i>finale</i> of the storm? If so, Glenarvan
and his companions would escape scot free, except for a
few vigorous douche baths. No. At the very height of
this struggle of the electric forces of the atmosphere, a
large ball of fire appeared suddenly at the extremity of the
horizontal parent branch, as thick as a man's wrist, and
surrounded with black smoke. This ball, after turning
round and round for a few seconds, burst like a bomb-
shell, and with so much noise that the explosion was dis-
tinctly audible above the general <i>fracas</i>. A sulphurous
smoke filled the air, and complete silence reigned till the
voice of Tom Austin was heard shouting:
   "The tree is on fire."
   Tom was right. In a moment, as if some fireworks were
being ignited, the flame ran along the west side of the
<i>ombu;</i> the dead wood and nests of dried grass, and the
whole sap, which was of a spongy texture, supplied food
for its devouring activity.
   The wind had risen now and fanned the flame. It was
time to flee, and Glenarvan and his party hurried away
to the eastern side of their refuge, which was meantime
untouched by the fire. They were all silent, troubled, and
terrified, as they watched branch after branch shrivel, and
crack, and writhe in the flame like living serpents, and
then drop into the swollen torrent, still red and gleaming, as
it was borne swiftly along on the rapid current. The
flames sometimes rose to a prodigious height, and seemed
almost lost in the atmosphere, and sometimes, beaten down
by the hurricane, closely enveloped the <i>ombu</i> like a robe of
Nessus. Terror seized the entire group. They were al-
most suffocated with smoke, and scorched with the un-


BETWEEN FIRE AND WATER    155

bearable heat, for the conflagration had already reached
the lower branches on their side of the <i>ombu</i>. To extin-
guish it or check its progress was impossible; and they
saw themselves irrevocably condemned to a torturing
death, like the victims of Hindoo divinities.
   At last, their situation was absolutely intolerable. Of
the two deaths staring them in the face, they had better
choose the less cruel.
   "To the water!" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   Wilson, who was nearest the flames, had already plunged
into the lake, but next minute he screamed out in the most
violent terror:
   "Help! Help!"
   Austin rushed toward him, and with the assistance of
the Major, dragged him up again on the tree.
   "What's the matter?" they asked.
   "Alligators! alligators!" replied Wilson.
   The whole foot of the tree appeared to be surrounded by
these formidable animals of the Saurian order. By the
glare of the flames, they were immediately recognized by
Paganel, as the ferocious species peculiar to America, called
<i>Caimans</i> in the Spanish territories. About ten of them
were there, lashing the water with their powerful tails, and
attacking the <i>ombu</i> with the long teeth of their lower jaw.
   At this sight the unfortunate men gave themselves up
to be lost. A frightful death was in store for them, since
they must either be devoured by the fire or by the caimans.
Even the Major said, in a calm voice:
   "This is the beginning of the end, now."
   There are circumstances in which men are powerless,
when the unchained elements can only be combated by
other elements. Glenarvan gazed with haggard looks at
the fire and water leagued against him, hardly knowing
what deliverance to implore from Heaven.
   The violence of the storm had abated, but it had devel-
oped in the atmosphere a considerable quantity of vapors,
to which electricity was about to communicate immense
force. An enormous water-spout was gradually forming
in the south -- a cone of thick mists, but with the point
at the bottom, and base at the top, linking together the
turbulent water and the angry clouds. This meteor soon
began to move forward, turning over and over on itself


156 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

with dizzy rapidity, and sweeping up into its center a col-
umn of water from the lake, while its gyratory motions
made all the surrounding currents of air rush toward it.
   A few seconds more, and the gigantic water-spout threw
itself on the <i>ombu</i>, and caught it up in its whirl. The
tree shook to its roots. Glenarvan could fancy the cai-
mans' teeth were tearing it up from the soil; for as he and
his companions held on, each clinging firmly to the other,
they felt the towering <i>ombu</i> give way, and the next minute
it fell right over with a terrible hissing noise, as the flaming
branches touched the foaming water.
   It was the work of an instant. Already the water-spout
had passed, to carry on its destructive work elsewhere. It
seemed to empty the lake in its passage, by continually
drawing up the water into itself.
   The <i>ombu</i> now began to drift rapidly along, impelled by
wind and current. All the caimans had taken their de-
parture, except one that was crawling over the upturned
roots, and coming toward the poor refugees with wide open
jaws. But Mulrady, seizing hold of a branch that was
half-burned off, struck the monster such a tremendous
blow, that it fell back into the torrent and disappeared,
lashing the water with its formidable tail.
   Glenarvan and his companions being thus delivered from
the voracious <i>saurians</i>, stationed themselves on the branches
windward of the conflagration, while the <i>ombu</i> sailed along
like a blazing fire-ship through the dark night, the flames
spreading themselves round like sails before the breath
of the hurricane.


CHAPTER XXVI
THE RETURN ON BOARD

   FOR two hours the <i>ombu</i> navigated the immense lake
without reaching <i>terra firma</i>. The flames which were de-
vouring it had gradually died out. The chief danger of
their frightful passage was thus removed, and the Major
went the length of saying, that he should not be surprised
if they were saved after all.
   The direction of the current remained unchanged, al-
ways running from southwest to northeast. Profound


THE RETURN ON BOARD      157

darkness had again set in, only illumined here and there
by a parting flash of lightning. The storm was nearly
over. The rain had given place to light mists, which a
breath of wind dispersed, and the heavy masses of cloud
had separated, and now streaked the sky in long bands.
   The <i>ombu</i> was borne onward so rapidly by the impetu-
ous torrent, that anyone might have supposed some power-
ful locomotive engine was hidden in its trunk. It seemed
likely enough they might continue drifting in this way for
days. About three o'clock in the morning, however, the
Major noticed that the roots were beginning to graze the
ground occasionally, and by sounding the depth of the
water with a long branch, Tom Austin found that they
were getting on rising ground. Twenty minutes after-
ward, the <i>ombu</i> stopped short with a violent jolt.
   "Land! land!" shouted Paganel, in a ringing tone.
   The extremity of the calcined bough had struck some
hillock, and never were sailors more glad; the rock to them
was the port.
   Already Robert and Wilson had leaped on to the solid
plateau with a loud, joyful hurrah! when a well-known
whistle was heard. The gallop of a horse resounded over
the plain, and the tall form of Thalcave emerged from the
darkness.
   "Thalcave! Thalcave!" they all cried with one voice.
   "Amigos!" replied the Patagonian, who had been wait-
ing for the travelers here in the same place where the cur-
rent had landed himself.
   As he spoke he lifted up Robert in his arms, and hugged
him to his breast, never imagining that Paganel was hang-
ing on to him. A general and hearty hand-shaking fol-
lowed, and everyone rejoiced at seeing their faithful guide
again. Then the Patagonian led the way into the <i>hangar</i>
of a deserted <i>estancia</i>, where there was a good, blazing fire
to warm them, and a substantial meal of fine, juicy slices
of venison soon broiling, of which they did not leave a
crumb. When their minds had calmed down a little, and
they were able to reflect on the dangers they had come
through from flood, and fire, and alligators, they could
scarcely believe they had escaped.
   Thalcave, in a few words, gave Paganel an account of
himself since they parted, entirely ascribing his deliver-


158  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

ance to his intrepid horse. Then Paganel tried to make
him understand their new interpretation of the document,
and the consequent hopes they were indulging. Whether
the Indian actually understood his ingenious hypothesis
was a question; but he saw that they were glad and confi-
dent, and that was enough for him.
   As can easily be imagined, after their compulsory rest
on the <i>ombu</i>, the travelers were up betimes and ready to
start. At eight o'clock they set off. No means of trans-
port being procurable so far south, they were compelled
to walk. However, it was not more than forty miles now
that they had to go, and Thaouka would not refuse to give
a lift occasionally to a tired pedestrian, or even to a couple
at a pinch. In thirty-six hours they might reach the shores
of the Atlantic.
   The low-lying tract of marshy ground, still under water,
soon lay behind them, as Thalcave led them upward to the
higher plains. Here the Argentine territory resumed its
monotonous aspect. A few clumps of trees, planted by
European hands, might chance to be visible among the
pasturage, but quite as rarely as in Tandil and Tapalquem
Sierras. The native trees are only found on the edge of
long prairies and about Cape Corrientes.
   Next day, though still fifteen miles distant, the proximity
of the ocean was sensibly felt. The <i>virazon</i>, a peculiar
wind, which blows regularly half of the day and night,
bent down the heads of the tall grasses. Thinly planted
woods rose to view, and small tree-like mimosas, bushes of
acacia, and tufts of <i>curra-mantel</i>. Here and there, shin-
ing like pieces of broken glass, were salinous lagoons, which
increased the difficulty of the journey as the travelers had
to wind round them to get past. They pushed on as
quickly as possible, hoping to reach Lake Salado, on the
shores of the ocean, the same day; and at 8 P. M., when
they found themselves in front of the sand hills two hun-
dred feet high, which skirt the coast, they were all toler-
ably tired. But when the long murmur of the distant
ocean fell on their ears, the exhausted men forgot their
fatigue, and ran up the sandhills with surprising agility.
But it was getting quite dark already, and their eager gaze
could discover no traces of the <i>Duncan</i> on the gloomy
expanse of water that met their sight.


THE RETURN ON BOARD      159

   "But she is there, for all that," exclaimed Glenarvan,
"waiting for us, and running alongside."
   "We shall see her to-morrow," replied McNabbs.
   Tom Austin hailed the invisible yacht, but there was
no response. The wind was very high and the sea rough.
The clouds were scudding along from the west, and the
spray of the waves dashed up even to the sand-hills. It
was little wonder, then, if the man on the look-out could
neither hear nor make himself heard, supposing the <i>Dun-
can</i> were there. There was no shelter on the coast for
her, neither bay nor cove, nor port; not so much as a
creek. The shore was composed of sand-banks which ran
out into the sea, and were more dangerous to approach
than rocky shoals. The sand-banks irritate the waves,
and make the sea so particularly rough, that in heavy
weather vessels that run aground there are invariably
dashed to pieces.
   Though, then, the <i>Duncan</i> would keep far away from
such a coast, John Mangles is a prudent captain to get
near. Tom Austin, however, was of the opinion that
she would be able to keep five miles out.
   The Major advised his impatient relative to restrain
himself to circumstances. Since there was no means of
dissipating the darkness, what was the use of straining his
eyes by vainly endeavoring to pierce through it.
   He set to work immediately to prepare the night's en-
campment beneath the shelter of the sand-hills; the last pro-
visions supplied the last meal, and afterward, each, follow-
ing the Major's example, scooped out a hole in the sand,
which made a comfortable enough bed, and then covered
himself with the soft material up to his chin, and fell
into a heavy sleep.
   But Glenarvan kept watch. There was still a stiff breeze
of wind, and the ocean had not recovered its equilibrium
after the recent storm. The waves, at all times tumultu-
ous, now broke over the sand-banks with a noise like thun-
der. Glenarvan could not rest, knowing the <i>Duncan</i> was
so near him. As to supposing she had not arrived at the
appointed rendezvous, that was out of the question. Glen-
arvan had left the Bay of Talcahuano on the 14th of Octo-
ber, and arrived on the shores of the Atlantic on the 12th
of November. He had taken thirty days to cross Chili,


160 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

the Cordilleras, the Pampas, and the Argentine plains, giv-
ing the <i>Duncan</i> ample time to double Cape Horn, and ar-
rive on the opposite side. For such a fast runner there
were no impediments. Certainly the storm had been very
violent, and its fury must have been terrible on such a
vast battlefield as the Atlantic, but the yacht was a good
ship, and the captain was a good sailor. He was bound to
be there, and he would be there.
   These reflections, however, did not calm Glenarvan.
When the heart and the reason are struggling, it is gener-
ally the heart that wins the mastery. The laird of Mal-
colm Castle felt the presence of loved ones about him in
the darkness as he wandered up and down the lonely
strand. He gazed, and listened, and even fancied he
caught occasional glimpses of a faint light.
   "I am not mistaken," he said to himself; "I saw a
ship's light, one of the lights on the <i>Duncan!</i> Oh! why
can't I see in the dark?"
   All at once the thought rushed across him that Paganel
said he was a nyctalope, and could see at night. He must
go and wake him.
   The learned geographer was sleeping as sound as a mole.
A strong arm pulled him up out of the sand and made him
call out:
   "Who goes there?"
   "It is I, Paganel."
   "Who?"
   "Glenarvan. Come, I need your eyes."
   "My eyes," replied Paganel, rubbing them vigorously.
   "Yes, I need your eyes to make out the <i>Duncan</i> in this
darkness, so come."
   "Confound the nyctalopia!" said Paganel, inwardly,
though delighted to be of any service to his friend.
   He got up and shook his stiffened limbs, and stretching
and yawning as most people do when roused from sleep,
followed Glenarvan to the beach.
   Glenarvan begged him to examine the distant horizon
across the sea, which he did most conscientiously for some
minutes.
   "Well, do you see nothing?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Not a thing. Even a cat couldn't see two steps before
her."

V. IV Verne


THE RETURN ON BOARD      161

   "Look for a red light or a green one -- her larboard or
starboard light."
   "I see neither a red nor a green light, all is pitch dark,"
replied Paganel, his eyes involuntarily beginning to close.
   For half an hour he followed his impatient friend, me-
chanically letting his head frequently drop on his chest,
and raising it again with a start. At last he neither an-
swered nor spoke, and he reeled about like a drunken man.
Glenarvan looked at him, and found he was sound asleep!
   Without attempting to wake him, he took his arm, led
him back to his hole, and buried him again comfortably.
   At dawn next morning, all the slumberers started to
their feet and rushed to the shore, shouting "Hurrah, hur-
rah!" as Lord Glenarvan's loud cry, "The <i>Duncan</i>, the
<i>Duncan!</i>" broke upon his ear.
   There she was, five miles out, her courses carefully
reefed, and her steam half up. Her smoke was lost in
the morning mist. The sea was so violent that a vessel of
her tonnage could not have ventured safely nearer the
sand-banks.
   Glenarvan, by the aid of Paganel's telescope, closely ob-
served the movements of the yacht. It was evident that
John Mangles had not perceived his passengers, for he
continued his course as before.
   But at this very moment Thalcave fired his carbine in
the direction of the yacht. They listened and looked, but
no signal of recognition was returned. A second and a
third time the Indian fired, awakening the echoes among
the sand-hills.
   At last a white smoke was seen issuing from the side
of the yacht.
   "They see us!" exclaimed Glenarvan. "That's the
cannon of the <i>Duncan</i>."
   A few seconds, and the heavy boom of the cannon came
across the water and died away on the shore. The sails
were instantly altered, and the steam got up, so as to get
as near the coast as possible.
   Presently, through the glass, they saw a boat lowered.
   "Lady Helena will not be able to come," said Tom
Austin. "It is too rough."
   "Nor John Mangles," added McNabbs; "he cannot
leave the ship."


162 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "My sister, my sister!" cried Robert, stretching out
his arms toward the yacht, which was now rolling vio-
lently.
   "Oh, how I wish I could get on board!" said Glenarvan.
   "Patience, Edward! you will be there in a couple of
hours," replied the Major.
   Two hours! But it was impossible for a boat -- a six-
oared one -- to come and go in a shorter space of time.
   Glenarvan went back to Thalcave, who stood beside Tha-
ouka, with his arms crossed, looking quietly at the troubled
waves.
   Glenarvan took his hand, and pointing to the yacht, said:
"Come!"
   The Indian gently shook his head.
   "Come, friend," repeated Glenarvan.
   "No," said Thalcave, gently. "Here is Thaouka, and
there -- the Pampas," he added, embracing with a passionate
gesture the wide-stretching prairies.
   Glenarvan understood his refusal. He knew that the
Indian would never forsake the prairie, where the bones of
his fathers were whitening, and he knew the religious at-
tachment of these sons of the desert for their native land.
He did not urge Thalcave longer, therefore, but simply
pressed his hand. Nor could he find it in his heart to in-
sist, when the Indian, smiling as usual, would not accept
the price of his services, pushing back the money, and
saying:
   "For the sake of friendship."
   Glenarvan could not reply; but he wished at least, to
leave the brave fellow some souvenir of his European
friends. What was there to give, however? Arms,
horses, everything had been destroyed in the unfortunate
inundation, and his friends were no richer than himself.
   He was quite at a loss how to show his recognition of
the disinterestedness of this noble guide, when a happy
thought struck him. He had an exquisite portrait of Lady
Helena in his pocket, a <i>chef-d'oeuvre</i> of Lawrence. This
he drew out, and offered to Thalcave, simply saying:
   "My wife."
   The Indian gazed at it with a softened eye, and said:
   "Good and beautiful."
   Then Robert, and Paganel, and the Major, and the rest,


THE RETURN ON BOARD      163

exchanged touching farewells with the faithful Patago-
nian. Thalcave embraced them each, and pressed them to
his broad chest. Paganel made him accept a map of South
America and the two oceans, which he had often seen the
Indian looking at with interest. It was the most precious
thing the geographer possessed. As for Robert, he had
only caresses to bestow, and these he lavished on his friend,
not forgetting to give a share to Thaouka.
   The boat from the <i>Duncan</i> was now fast approaching,
and in another minute had glided into a narrow channel
between the sand-banks, and run ashore.
   "My wife?" were Glenarvan's first words.
   "My sister?" said Robert.
   "Lady Helena and Miss Grant are waiting for you on
board," replied the coxswain; "but lose no time your
honor, we have not a minute, for the tide is beginning to
ebb already."
   The last kindly adieux were spoken, and Thalcave ac-
companied his friends to the boat, which had been pushed
back into the water. Just as Robert was going to step in,
the Indian took him in his arms, and gazed tenderly into
his face. Then he said:
   "Now go. You are a man."
   "Good-by, good-by, friend!" said Glenarvan, once
more.
   "Shall we never see each other again?" Paganel called
out.
   "<i>Quien sabe?</i>" (Who knows?) replied Thalcave, lift-
ing his arms toward heaven.
   These were the Indian's last words, dying away on the
breeze, as the boat receded gradually from the shore. For
a long time, his dark, motionless <i>silhouette</i> stood out
against the sky, through the white, dashing spray of the
waves. Then by degrees his tall form began to diminish
in size, till at last his friends of a day lost sight of him al-
together.
   An hour afterward Robert was the first to leap on board
the <i>Duncan</i>. He flung his arms round Mary's neck, amid
the loud, joyous hurrahs of the crew on the yacht.
   Thus the journey across South America was accom-
plished, the given line of march being scrupulously adhered
to throughout.


164  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Neither mountains nor rivers had made the travelers
change their course; and though they had not had to en-
counter any ill-will from men, their generous intrepidity
had been often enough roughly put to the proof by the
fury of the unchained elements.

END OF BOOK ONE



<b>In Search of the Castaways</b>
or
The Children of Captain Grant

<b>Australia</b>

[page intentionally blank]


<b>In Search of the Castaways

Australia</b>

CHAPTER I
A NEW DESTINATION

   FOR the first few moments the joy of reunion
completely filled the hearts. Lord Glenarvan
had taken care that the ill-success of their ex-
pedition should not throw a gloom over the
pleasure of meeting, his very first words
being:
   "Cheer up, friends, cheer up! Captain Grant is not with
us, but we have a certainty of finding him!"
   Only such an assurance as this would have restored hope
to those on board the <i>Duncan</i>. Lady Helena and Mary
Grant had been sorely tried by the suspense, as they stood
on the poop waiting for the arrival of the boat, and trying
to count the number of its passengers. Alternate hope
and fear agitated the bosom of poor Mary. Sometimes
she fancied she could see her father, Harry Grant, and
sometimes she gave way to despair. Her heart throbbed
violently; she could not speak, and indeed could scarcely
stand. Lady Helena put her arm round her waist to sup-
port her, but the captain, John Mangles, who stood close
beside them spoke no encouraging word, for his practiced
eye saw plainly that the captain was not there.
   "He is there! He is coming! Oh, father!" exclaimed
the young girl. But as the boat came nearer, her illusion
was dispelled; all hope forsook her, and she would
have sunk in despair, but for the reassuring voice of
Glenarvan.
   After their mutual embraces were over, Lady Helena,
and Mary Grant, and John Mangles, were informed of
the principal incidents of the expedition, and especially of
the new interpretation of the document, due to the sagacity
of Jacques Paganel. His Lordship also spoke in the most
eulogistic terms of Robert, of whom Mary might well

167


168 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

be proud. His courage and devotion, and the dangers he
had run, were all shown up in strong relief by his pat-
ron, till the modest boy did not know which way to look,
and was obliged to hide his burning cheeks in his sister's
arms.
   "No need to blush, Robert," said John Mangles. "Your
conduct has been worthy of your name." And he leaned
over the boy and pressed his lips on his cheek, still wet with
Mary's tears.
   The Major and Paganel, it need hardly be said, came in
for their due share of welcome, and Lady Helena only re-
gretted she could not shake hands with the brave and gener-
ous Thalcave. McNabbs soon slipped away to his cabin,
and began to shave himself as coolly and composedly as pos-
sible; while Paganel flew here and there, like a bee sipping
the sweets of compliments and smiles. He wanted to em-
brace everyone on board the yacht, and beginning with
Lady Helena and Mary Grant, wound up with M. Olbinett,
the steward, who could only acknowledge so polite an at-
tention by announcing that breakfast was ready.
   "Breakfast!" exclaimed Paganel.
   "Yes, Monsieur Paganel."
   "A real breakfast, on a real table, with a cloth and nap-
kins?"
   "Certainly, Monsieur Paganel."
   "And we shall neither have <i>charqui</i>, nor hard eggs, nor
fillets of ostrich?"
   "Oh, Monsieur," said Olbinett in an aggrieved tone.
   "I don't want to hurt your feelings, my friend," said
the geographer smiling. "But for a month that has been
our usual bill of fare, and when we dined we stretched
ourselves full length on the ground, unless we sat astride
on the trees. Consequently, the meal you have just an-
nounced seemed to me like a dream, or fiction, or chimera."
   "Well, Monsieur Paganel, come along and let us prove
its reality," said Lady Helena, who could not help laugh-
ing.
   "Take my arm," replied the gallant geographer.
   "Has his Lordship any orders to give me about the
<i>Duncan?</i>" asked John Mangles.
   "After breakfast, John," replied Glenarvan, "we'll dis-
cuss the program of our new expedition <i>en famille</i>."


A NEW DESTINATION        169

   M. Olbinett's breakfast seemed quite a <i>f&ecirc;te</i> to the hungry
guests. It was pronounced excellent, and even superior
to the festivities of the Pampas. Paganel was helped
twice to each dish, through "absence of mind," he said.
   This unlucky word reminded Lady Helena of the amiable
Frenchman's propensity, and made her ask if he had ever
fallen into his old habits while they were away. The
Major and Glenarvan exchanged smiling glances, and
Paganel burst out laughing, and protested on his honor
that he would never be caught tripping again once more
during the whole voyage. After this prelude, he gave an
amusing recital of his disastrous mistake in learning
Spanish, and his profound study of Camoens. "After
all," he added, "it's an ill wind that blows nobody good,
and I don't regret the mistake."
   "Why not, my worthy friend?" asked the Major.
   "Because I not only know Spanish, but Portuguese.
I can speak two languages instead of one."
   "Upon my word, I never thought of that," said Mc-
Nabbs. "My compliments, Paganel -- my sincere compli-
ments."
   But Paganel was too busily engaged with his knife and
fork to lose a single mouthful, though he did his best to
eat and talk at the same time. He was so much taken up
with his plate, however, that one little fact quite escaped
his observation, though Glenarvan noticed it at once. This
was, that John Mangles had grown particularly attentive
to Mary Grant. A significant glance from Lady Helena
told him, moreover, how affairs stood, and inspired him
with affectionate sympathy for the young lovers; but noth-
ing of this was apparent in his manner to John, for his
next question was what sort of a voyage he had made.
   "We could not have had a better; but I must apprise
your Lordship that I did not go through the Straits of
Magellan again."
   "What! you doubled Cape Horn, and I was not there!"
exclaimed Paganel.
   "Hang yourself!" said the Major.
   "Selfish fellow! you advise me to do that because you
want my rope," retorted the geographer.
   "Well, you see, my dear Paganel, unless you have the
gift of ubiquity you can't be in two places at once. While


170 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

you were scouring the pampas you could not be doubling
Cape Horn."
   "That doesn't prevent my regretting it," replied Paga-
nel.
   Here the subject dropped, and John continued his ac-
count of his voyage. On arriving at Cape Pilares he had
found the winds dead against him, and therefore made for
the south, coasting along the Desolation Isle, and after
going as far as the sixty-seventh degree southern latitude,
had doubled Cape Horn, passed by Terra del Fuego and
the Straits of Lemaire, keeping close to the Patagonian
shore. At Cape Corrientes they encountered the terrible
storm which had handled the travelers across the pampas
so roughly, but the yacht had borne it bravely, and for the
last three days had stood right out to sea, till the welcome
signal-gun of the expedition was heard announcing the
arrival of the anxiously-looked-for party. "It was only
justice," the captain added, "that he should mention the
intrepid bearing of Lady Helena and Mary Grant through-
out the whole hurricane. They had not shown the least
fear, unless for their friends, who might possibly be ex-
posed to the fury of the tempest."
   After John Mangles had finished his narrative, Glenar-
van turned to Mary and said; "My dear Miss Mary, the
captain has been doing homage to your noble qualities,
and I am glad to think you are not unhappy on board his
ship."
   "How could I be?" replied Mary naively, looking at
Lady Helena, and at the young captain too, likely enough.
   "Oh, my sister is very fond of you, Mr. John, and so
am I," exclaimed Robert.
   "And so am I of you, my dear boy," returned the cap-
tain, a little abashed by Robert's innocent avowal, which
had kindled a faint blush on Mary's cheek. Then he
managed to turn the conversation to safer topics by say-
ing: "And now that your Lordship has heard all about
the doings of the <i>Duncan</i>, perhaps you will give us some
details of your own journey, and tell us more about the ex-
ploits of our young hero."
   Nothing could be more agreeable than such a recital to
Lady Helena and Mary Grant; and accordingly Lord Glen-
arvan hastened to satisfy their curiosity -- going over in-


A NEW DESTINATION        171

cident by incident, the entire march from one ocean to an-
other, the pass of the Andes, the earthquake, the disap-
pearance of Robert, his capture by the condor, Thalcave's
providential shot, the episode of the red wolves, the devo-
tion of the young lad, Sergeant Manuel, the inundations,
the caimans, the waterspout, the night on the Atlantic
shore -- all these details, amusing or terrible, excited by
turns laughter and horror in the listeners. Often and
often Robert came in for caresses from his sister and Lady
Helena. Never was a boy so much embraced, or by such
enthusiastic friends.
   "And now, friends," added Lord Glenarvan, when he
had finished his narrative, "we must think of the present.
The past is gone, but the future is ours. Let us come back
to Captain Harry Grant."
   As soon as breakfast was over they all went into Lord
Glenarvan's private cabin and seated themselves round a
table covered with charts and plans, to talk over the mat-
ter fully.
   "My dear Helena," said Lord Glenarvan, "I told you,
when we came on board a little while ago, that though we
had not brought back Captain Grant, our hope of finding
him was stronger than ever. The result of our journey
across America is this: We have reached the conviction, or
rather absolute certainty, that the shipwreck never oc-
curred on the shores of the Atlantic nor Pacific. The
natural inference is that, as far as regards Patagonia, our
interpretation of the document was erroneous. Most for-
tunately, our friend Paganel, in a happy moment of inspira-
tion, discovered the mistake. He has proved clearly that
we have been on the wrong track, and so explained the
document that all doubt whatever is removed from our
minds. However, as the document is in French, I will
ask Paganel to go over it for your benefit."
   The learned geographer, thus called upon, executed his
task in the most convincing manner, descanting on the
syllables <i>gonie</i> and <i>indi</i>, and extracting <i>Australia</i> out of
<i>austral</i>. He pointed out that Captain Grant, on leaving
the coast of Peru to return to Europe, might have been
carried away with his disabled ship by the southern cur-
rents of the Pacific right to the shores of Australia, and
his hypotheses were so ingenious and his deductions so


172 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

subtle that even the matter-of-fact John Mangles, a diffi-
cult judge, and most unlikely to be led away by any flights
of imagination, was completely satisfied.
   At the conclusion of Paganel's dissertation, Glenarvan
announced that the <i>Duncan</i> would sail immediately for
Australia.
   But before the decisive orders were given, McNabbs
asked for a few minutes' hearing.
   "Say away, McNabbs," replied Glenarvan.
   "I have no intention of weakening the arguments of
my friend Paganel, and still less of refuting them. I con-
sider them wise and weighty, and deserving our attention,
and think them justly entitled to form the basis of our
future researches. But still I should like them to be sub-
mitted to a final examination, in order to make their worth
incontestable and uncontested."
   "Go on, Major," said Paganel; "I am ready to answer
all your questions."
   "They are simple enough, as you will see. Five months
ago, when we left the Clyde, we had studied these same
documents, and their interpretation then appeared quite
plain. No other coast but the western coast of Patagonia
could possibly, we thought, have been the scene of the ship-
wreck.   We had not even the shadow of a doubt on the
subject."
   "That's true," replied Glenarvan.
   "A little later," continued the Major, "when a provi-
dential fit of absence of mind came over Paganel, and
brought him on board the yacht, the documents were sub-
mitted to him and he approved our plan of search most
unreservedly."
   "I do not deny it," said Paganel.
   "And yet we were mistaken," resumed the Major.
   "Yes, we were mistaken," returned Paganel; "but it is
only human to make a mistake, while to persist in it, a
man must be a fool."
   "Stop, Paganel, don't excite yourself; I don't mean to
say that we should prolong our search in America."
   "What is it, then, that you want?" asked Glenarvan.
   "A confession, nothing more. A confession that Aus-
tralia now as evidently appears to be the theater of the
shipwreck of the <i>Britannia</i> as America did before."


A NEW DESTINATION        173

   "We confess it willingly," replied Paganel.
   "Very well, then, since that is the case, my advice is
not to let your imagination rely on successive and contra-
dictory evidence. Who knows whether after Australia
some other country may not appear with equal certainty to
be the place, and we may have to recommence our search?"
   Glenarvan and Paganel looked at each other silently,
struck by the justice of these remarks.
   "I should like you, therefore," continued the Major,
"before we actually start for Australia, to make one more
examination of the documents. Here they are, and here
are the charts. Let us take up each point in succession
through which the 37th parallel passes, and see if we come
across any other country which would agree with the pre-
cise indications of the document."
   "Nothing can be more easily and quickly done," replied
Paganel; "for countries are not very numerous in this lati-
tude, happily."
   "Well, look," said the Major, displaying an English
planisphere on the plan of Mercator's Chart, and present-
ing the appearance of a terrestrial globe.
   He placed it before Lady Helena, and then they all stood
round, so as to be able to follow the argument of Paganel.
   "As I have said already," resumed the learned geogra-
pher, "after having crossed South America, the 37th de-
gree of latitude cuts the islands of Tristan d'Acunha.
Now I maintain that none of the words of the document
could relate to these islands."
   The documents were examined with the most minute
care, and the conclusion unanimously reached was that
these islands were entirely out of the question.
   "Let us go on then," resumed Paganel. "After leav-
ing the Atlantic, we pass two degrees below the Cape of
Good Hope, and into the Indian Ocean. Only one group
of islands is found on this route, the Amsterdam Isles.
Now, then, we must examine these as we did the Tristan
d'Acunha group."
   After a close survey, the Amsterdam Isles were rejected
in their turn. Not a single word, or part of a word,
French, English or German, could apply to this group in
the Indian Ocean.
   "Now we come to Australia," continued Paganel.


174 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "The 37th parallel touches this continent at Cape Ber-
nouilli, and leaves it at Twofold Bay. You will agree
with me that, without straining the text, the English word
<i>stra</i> and the French one <i>Austral</i> may relate to Australia.
The thing is too plain to need proof."
   The conclusion of Paganel met with unanimous ap-
proval; every probability was in his favor.
   "And where is the next point?" asked McNabbs.
   "That is easily answered. After leaving Twofold Bay,
we cross an arm of the sea which extends to New Zealand.
Here I must call your attention to the fact that the French
word <i>contin</i> means a continent, irrefragably. Captain
Grant could not, then, have found refuge in New Zealand,
which is only an island. However that may be though,
examine and compare, and go over and over each word,
and see if, by any possibility, they can be made to fit this
new country."
   "In no way whatever," replied John Mangles, after a
minute investigation of the documents and the planisphere.
   "No," chimed in all the rest, and even the Major him-
self, "it cannot apply to New Zealand."
   "Now," went on Paganel, "in all this immense space
between this large island and the American coast, there
is only one solitary barren little island crossed by the 37th
parallel."
   "And what is its name," asked the Major.
   "Here it is, marked in the map. It is Maria Theresa --
a name of which there is not a single trace in either of the
three documents."
   "Not the slightest," said Glenarvan.
   "I leave you, then, my friends, to decide whether all
these probabilities, not to say certainties, are not in favor
of the Australian continent."
   "Evidently," replied the captain and all the others.
   "Well, then, John," said Glenarvan, "the next question
is, have you provisions and coal enough?"
   "Yes, your honor, I took in an ample store at Talca-
huano, and, besides, we can easily replenish our stock of
coal at Cape Town."
   "Well, then, give orders."
   "Let me make one more observation," interrupted
McNabbs.


A NEW DESTINATION       173

   "Go on then."
   "Whatever likelihood of success Australia may offer us,
wouldn't it be advisable to stop a day or two at the Tristan
d'Acunha Isles and the Amsterdam? They lie in our
route, and would not take us the least out of the way. Then
we should be able to ascertain if the <i>Britannia</i> had left any
traces of her shipwreck there?"
   "Incredulous Major!" exclaimed Paganel, "he still
sticks to his idea."
   "I stick to this any way, that I don't want to have to re-
trace our steps, supposing that Australia should disappoint
our sanguine hopes."
   "It seems to me a good precaution," replied Glenarvan.
   "And I'm not the one to dissuade you from it," re-
turned Paganel; "quite the contrary."
   "Steer straight for Tristan d'Acunha."
   "Immediately, your Honor," replied the captain, going
on deck, while Robert and Mary Grant overwhelmed Lord
Glenarvan with their grateful thanks.
   Shortly after, the <i>Duncan</i> had left the American coast,
and was running eastward, her sharp keel rapidly cutting
her way through the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.


CHAPTER II
TRISTAN D'ACUNHA AND THE ISLE OF AMSTERDAM

   IF the yacht had followed the line of the equator, the
196 degrees which separate Australia from America, or,
more correctly, Cape Bernouilli from Cape Corrientes,
would have been equal to 11,760 geographical miles; but
along the 37th parallel these same degrees, owing to the
form of the earth, only represent 9,480 miles. From the
American coast to Tristan d'Acunha is reckoned 2,100
miles -- a distance which John Mangles hoped to clear in
ten days, if east winds did not retard the motion of the
yacht. But he was not long uneasy on that score, for
toward evening the breeze sensibly lulled and then changed
altogether, giving the <i>Duncan</i> a fair field on a calm sea for
displaying her incomparable qualities as a sailor.
   The passengers had fallen back into their ordinary ship
life, and it hardly seemed as if they really could have been


176 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

absent a whole month. Instead of the Pacific, the Atlantic
stretched itself out before them, and there was scarcely
a shade of difference in the waves of the two oceans.
The elements, after having handled them so roughly,
seemed now disposed to favor them to the utmost. The
sea was tranquil, and the wind kept in the right quarter,
so that the yacht could spread all her canvas, and lend its
aid, if needed to the indefatigable steam stored up in the
boiler.
   Under such conditions, the voyage was safely and
rapidly accomplished. Their confidence increased as they
found themselves nearer the Australian coast. They be-
gan to talk of Captain Grant as if the yacht were going to
take him on board at a given port. His cabin was got
ready, and berths for the men. This cabin was next to the
famous <i>number six</i>, which Paganel had taken possession
of instead of the one he had booked on the <i>Scotia</i>. It had
been till now occupied by M. Olbinett, who vacated it for
the expected guest. Mary took great delight in arranging
it with her own hands, and adorning it for the reception
of the loved inmate.
   The learned geographer kept himself closely shut up.
He was working away from morning till night at a work
entitled "Sublime Impressions of a Geographer in the Ar-
gentine Pampas," and they could hear him repeating ele-
gant periods aloud before committing them to the white
pages of his day-book; and more than once, unfaithful to
Clio, the muse of history, he invoked in his transports the
divine Calliope, the muse of epic poetry.
   Paganel made no secret of it either. The chaste
daughters of Apollo willingly left the slopes of Helicon
and Parnassus at his call. Lady Helena paid him sincere
compliments on his mythological visitants, and so did the
Major, though he could not forbear adding:
   "But mind no fits of absence of mind, my dear Paganel;
and if you take a fancy to learn Australian, don't go and
study it in a Chinese grammar."
   Things went on perfectly smoothly on board. Lady
Helena and Lord Glenarvan found leisure to watch John
Mangles' growing attachment to Mary Grant. There was
nothing to be said against it, and, indeed, since John re-
mained silent, it was best to take no notice of it.

V. IV Verne


THE ISLE OF AMSTERDAM     177

   "What will Captain Grant think?" Lord Glenarvan
asked his wife one day.
   "He'll think John is worthy of Mary, my dear Edward,
and he'll think right."
   Meanwhile, the yacht was making rapid progress. Five
days after losing sight of Cape Corrientes, on the 16th of
November, they fell in with fine westerly breezes, and the
<i>Duncan</i> might almost have dispensed with her screw al-
together, for she flew over the water like a bird, spreading
all her sails to catch the breeze, as if she were running a
race with the Royal Thames Club yachts.
   Next day, the ocean appeared covered with immense sea-
weeds, looking like a great pond choked up with the <i>d&eacute;bris</i>
of trees and plants torn off the neighboring continents.
Commander Murray had specially pointed them out to the
attention of navigators. The <i>Duncan</i> appeared to glide
over a long prairie, which Paganel justly compared to the
Pampas, and her speed slackened a little.
   Twenty-four hours after, at break of day, the man on
the look-out was heard calling out, "Land ahead!"
   "In what direction?" asked Tom Austin, who was on
watch.
   "Leeward!" was the reply.
   This exciting cry brought everyone speedily on deck.
Soon a telescope made its appearance, followed by Jacques
Paganel. The learned geographer pointed the instrument
in the direction indicated, but could see nothing that re-
sembled land.
   "Look in the clouds," said John Mangles.
   "Ah, now I do see a sort of peak, but very indistinctly."
   "It is Tristan d'Acunha," replied John Mangles.
   "Then, if my memory serves me right, we must be
eighty miles from it, for the peak of Tristan, seven thou-
sand feet high, is visible at that distance."
   "That's it, precisely."
   Some hours later, the sharp, lofty crags of the group of
islands stood out clearly on the horizon. The conical peak
of Tristan looked black against the bright sky, which
seemed all ablaze with the splendor of the rising sun. Soon
the principal island stood out from the rocky mass, at the
summit of a triangle inclining toward the northeast.
   Tristan d'Acunha is situated in 37&deg; 8' of southern lati-


178 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

tude, and 10&deg; 44' of longitude west of the meridian at
Greenwich. Inaccessible Island is eighteen miles to the
southwest and Nightingale Island is ten miles to the south-
east, and this completes the little solitary group of islets in
the Atlantic Ocean. Toward noon, the two principal land-
marks, by which the group is recognized were sighted, and
at 3 P. M. the <i>Duncan</i> entered Falmouth Bay in Tristan
d'Acunha.
   Several whaling vessels were lying quietly at anchor
there, for the coast abounds in seals and other marine ani-
mals.
   John Mangle's first care was to find good anchorage, and
then all the passengers, both ladies and gentlemen, got into
the long boat and were rowed ashore. They stepped out
on a beach covered with fine black sand, the impalpable
<i>d&eacute;bris</i> of the calcined rocks of the island.
   Tristan d'Acunha is the capital of the group, and con-
sists of a little village, lying in the heart of the bay, and
watered by a noisy, rapid stream. It contained about fifty
houses, tolerably clean, and disposed with geometrical
regularity. Behind this miniature town there lay 1,500
hectares of meadow land, bounded by an embankment of
lava. Above this embankment, the conical peak rose 7,000
feet high.
   Lord Glenarvan was received by a governor supplied
from the English colony at the Cape. He inquired at once
respecting Harry Grant and the <i>Britannia</i>, and found the
names entirely unknown. The Tristan d'Acunha Isles are
out of the route of ships, and consequently little fre-
quented. Since the wreck of the <i>Blendon Hall</i> in 1821, on
the rocks of Inaccessible Island, two vessels have stranded
on the chief island -- the <i>Primanguet</i> in 1845, and the three-
mast American, <i>Philadelphia</i>, in 1857. These three events
comprise the whole catalogue of maritime disasters in the
annals of the Acunhas.
   Lord Glenarvan did not expect to glean any informa-
tion, and only asked by the way of duty. He even sent
the boats to make the circuit of the island, the entire ex-
tent of which was not more than seventeen miles at most.
   In the interim the passengers walked about the village.
The population does not exceed 150 inhabitants, and con-
sists of English and Americans, married to negroes and


THE ISLE OF AMSTERDAM     179

Cape Hottentots, who might bear away the palm for ugli-
ness. The children of these heterogeneous households are
very disagreeable compounds of Saxon stiffness and Afri-
can blackness.
   It was nearly nightfall before the party returned to
the yacht, chattering and admiring the natural riches dis-
played on all sides, for even close to the streets of the
capital, fields of wheat and maize were waving, and crops
of vegetables, imported forty years before; and in the en-
virons of the village, herds of cattle and sheep were feed-
ing.
   The boats returned to the <i>Duncan</i> about the same time
as Lord Glenarvan. They had made the circuit of the en-
tire island in a few hours, but without coming across the
least trace of the <i>Britannia</i>. The only result of this voy-
age of circumnavigation was to strike out the name of
Isle Tristan from the program of search.


CHAPTER III
CAPE TOWN AND M. VIOT

   As John Mangles intended to put in at the Cape of Good
Hope for coals, he was obliged to deviate a little from the
37th parallel, and go two degrees north. In less than six
days he cleared the thirteen hundred miles which separate
the point of Africa from Tristan d'Acunha, and on the
24th of November, at 3 P. M. the Table Mountain was
sighted. At eight o'clock they entered the bay, and cast
anchor in the port of Cape Town. They sailed away next
morning at daybreak.
   Between the Cape and Amsterdam Island there is a dis-
tance of 2,900 miles, but with a good sea and favoring
breeze, this was only a ten day's voyage. The elements
were now no longer at war with the travelers, as on their
journey across the Pampas -- air and water seemed in
league to help them forward.
   "Ah! the sea! the sea!" exclaimed Paganel, "it is the
field <i>par excellence</i> for the exercise of human energies, and
the ship is the true vehicle of civilization. Think, my
friends, if the globe had been only an immense continent,
the thousandth part of it would still be unknown to us,


180 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

even in this nineteenth century. See how it is in the in-
terior of great countries. In the steppes of Siberia, in the
plains of Central Asia, in the deserts of Africa, in the
prairies of America, in the immense wilds of Australia,
in the icy solitudes of the Poles, man scarcely dares to ven-
ture; the most daring shrinks back, the most courageous suc-
cumbs. They cannot penetrate them; the means of trans-
port are insufficient, and the heat and disease, and savage
disposition of the natives, are impassable obstacles. Twenty
miles of desert separate men more than five hundred miles
of ocean."
   Paganel spoke with such warmth that even the Major
had nothing to say against this panegyric of the ocean.
Indeed, if the finding of Harry Grant had involved fol-
lowing a parallel across continents instead of oceans, the
enterprise could not have been attempted; but the sea was
there ready to carry the travelers from one country to an-
other, and on the 6th of December, at the first streak of
day, they saw a fresh mountain apparently emerging from
the bosom of the waves.
   This was Amsterdam Island, situated in 37 degrees 47
minutes latitude and 77 degrees 24 minutes longitude, the
high cone of which in clear weather is visible fifty miles
off. At eight o'clock, its form, indistinct though it still
was, seemed almost a reproduction of Teneriffe.
   "And consequently it must resemble Tristan d'Acunha,"
observed Glenarvan.
   "A very wise conclusion," said Paganel, "according to
the geometrographic axiom that two islands resembling a
third must have a common likeness. I will only add that,
like Tristan d'Acunha, Amsterdam Island is equally rich
in seals and Robinsons."
   "There are Robinsons everywhere, then?" said Lady
Helena.
   "Indeed, Madam," replied Paganel, "I know few is-
lands without some tale of the kind appertaining to them,
and the romance of your immortal countryman, Daniel
Defoe, has been often enough realized before his day."
   "Monsieur Paganel," said Mary, "may I ask you a
question?"
   "Two if you like, my dear young lady, and I promise
to answer them."


CAPE TOWN AND M. VIOT     181

   "Well, then, I want to know if you would be very much
frightened at the idea of being cast away alone on a desert
island."
   "I?" exclaimed Paganel.
   "Come now, my good fellow," said the Major, "don't
go and tell us that it is your most cherished desire."
   "I don't pretend it is that, but still, after all, such an
adventure would not be very unpleasant to me. I should
begin a new life; I should hunt and fish; I should choose a
grotto for my domicile in Winter and a tree in Summer.
I should make storehouses for my harvests: in one word,
I should colonize my island."
   "All by yourself?"
   "All by myself if I was obliged. Besides, are we ever
obliged? Cannot one find friends among the animals, and
choose some tame kid or eloquent parrot or amiable mon-
key? And if a lucky chance should send one a companion
like the faithful Friday, what more is needed? Two
friends on a rock, there is happiness. Suppose now, the
Major and I --"
   "Thank you," replied the Major, interrupting him; "I
have no inclination in that line, and should make a very
poor Robinson Crusoe."
   "My dear Monsieur Paganel," said Lady Helena, "you
are letting your imagination run away with you, as usual.
But the dream is very different from the reality. You are
thinking of an imaginary Robinson's life, thrown on a
picked island and treated like a spoiled child by nature.
You only see the sunny side."
   "What, madam! You don't believe a man could be
happy on a desert island?"
   "I do not. Man is made for society and not for soli-
tude, and solitude can only engender despair. It is a ques-
tion of time. At the outset it is quite possible that material
wants and the very necessities of existence may engross the
poor shipwrecked fellow, just snatched from the waves;
but afterward, when he feels himself alone, far from his
fellow men, without any hope of seeing country and friends
again, what must he think, what must he suffer? His lit-
tle island is all his world. The whole human race is shut
up in himself, and when death comes, which utter loneli-
ness will make terrible, he will be like the last man on the


182 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

last day of the world. Believe me, Monsieur Paganel,
such a man is not to be envied."
   Paganel gave in, though regretfully, to the arguments
of Lady Helena, and still kept up a discussion on the ad-
vantages and disadvantages of Isolation, till the very mo-
ment the <i>Duncan</i> dropped anchor about a mile off Amster-
dam Island.
   This lonely group in the Indian Ocean consists of two
distinct islands, thirty-three miles apart, and situated ex-
actly on the meridian of the Indian peninsula. To the
north is Amsterdam Island, and to the south St. Paul; but
they have been often confounded by geographers and navi-
gators.
   At the time of the <i>Duncan's</i> visit to the island, the popu-
lation consisted of three people, a Frenchman and two mu-
lattoes, all three employed by the merchant proprietor.
Paganel was delighted to shake hands with a countryman
in the person of good old Monsieur Viot. He was far
advanced in years, but did the honors of the place with
much politeness. It was a happy day for him when these
kindly strangers touched at his island, for St. Peter's was
only frequented by seal-fishers, and now and then a whaler,
the crews of which are usually rough, coarse men.
   M. Viot presented his subjects, the two mulattoes.
They composed the whole living population of the island,
except a few wild boars in the interior and myriads of pen-
guins. The little house where the three solitary men lived
was in the heart of a natural bay on the southeast, formed
by the crumbling away of a portion of the mountain.
   Twice over in the early part of the century, Amsterdam
Island became the country of deserted sailors, providen-
tially saved from misery and death; but since these events
no vessel had been lost on its coast. Had any shipwreck
occurred, some fragments must have been thrown on the
sandy shore, and any poor sufferers from it would have
found their way to M. Viot's fishing-huts. The old man
had been long on the island, and had never been called upon
to exercise such hospitality. Of the <i>Britannia</i> and Cap-
tain Grant he knew nothing, but he was certain that the
disaster had not happened on Amsterdam Island, nor on
the islet called St. Paul, for whalers and fishing-vessels
went there constantly, and must have heard of it.


CAPE TOWN AND M. VIOT     183

   Glenarvan was neither surprised nor vexed at the reply;
indeed, his object in asking was rather to establish the fact
that Captain Grant had not been there than that he had.
This done, they were ready to proceed on their voyage
next day.
   They rambled about the island till evening, as its ap-
pearance was very inviting. Its <i>fauna</i> and <i>flora</i>, however,
were poor in the extreme. The only specimens of quadru-
peds, birds, fish and cetacea were a few wild boars, stormy
petrels, albatrosses, perch and seals. Here and there
thermal springs and chalybeate waters escaped from the
black lava, and thin dark vapors rose above the volcanic
soil. Some of these springs were very hot. John Man-
gles held his thermometer in one of them, and found the
temperature was 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Fish caught in
the sea a few yards off, cooked in five minutes in these all
but boiling waters, a fact which made Paganel resolve not
to attempt to bathe in them.
   Toward evening, after a long promenade, Glenarvan and
his party bade adieu to the good old M. Viot, and returned
to the yacht, wishing him all the happiness possible on his
desert island, and receiving in return the old man's bless-
ing on their expedition.


CHAPTER IV
A WAGER AND HOW DECIDED

   ON the 7th of December, at three A. M., the <i>Duncan</i> lay
puffing out her smoke in the little harbor ready to start,
and a few minutes afterward the anchor was lifted, and the
screw set in motion. By eight o'clock, when the passen-
gers came on deck, the Amsterdam Island had almost dis-
appeared from view behind the mists of the horizon. This
was the last halting-place on the route, and nothing now
was between them and the Australian coast but three thou-
sand miles' distance. Should the west wind continue but a
dozen days longer, and the sea remain favorable, the yacht
would have reached the end of her voyage.
   Mary Grant and her brother could not gaze without
emotion at the waves through which the <i>Duncan</i> was speed-
ing her course, when they thought that these very same


184 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

waves must have dashed against the prow of the <i>Britannia</i>
but a few days before her shipwreck. Here, perhaps, Cap-
tain Grant, with a disabled ship and diminished crew, had
struggled against the tremendous hurricanes of the Indian
Ocean, and felt himself driven toward the coast with irre-
sistible force. The Captain pointed out to Mary the differ-
ent currents on the ship's chart, and explained to her their
constant direction. Among others there was one running
straight to the Australian continent, and its action is equally
felt in the Atlantic and Pacific. It was doubtless against
this that the <i>Britannia</i>, dismasted and rudderless, had been
unable to contend, and consequently been dashed against
the coast, and broken in pieces.
   A difficulty about this, however, presented itself. The
last intelligence of Captain Grant was from Callao on the
30th of May, 1862, as appeared in the <i>Mercantile and
Shipping Gazette</i>. "How then was it possible that on the
7th of June, only eight days after leaving the shores of
Peru, that the <i>Britannia</i> could have found herself in the
Indian Ocean? But to this, Paganel, who was consulted
on the subject, found a very plausible solution.
   It was one evening, about six days after their leaving
Amsterdam Island, when they were all chatting together
on the poop, that the above-named difficulty was stated
by Glenarvan. Paganel made no reply, but went and
fetched the document. After perusing it, he still remained
silent, simply shrugging his shoulders, as if ashamed of
troubling himself about such a trifle.
   "Come, my good friend," said Glenarvan, "at least
give us an answer."
   "No," replied Paganel, "I'll merely ask a question for
Captain John to answer."
   "And what is it, Monsieur Paganel?" said John Man-
gles.
   "Could a quick ship make the distance in a month over
that part of the Pacific Ocean which lies between America
and Australia?"
   "Yes, by making two hundred miles in twenty-four
hours."
   "Would that be an extraordinary rate of speed?"
   "Not at all; sailing clippers often go faster."
   "Well, then, instead of '7 June' on this document, sup-


A WAGER AND HOW DECIDED   185

pose that one figure has been destroyed by the sea-water,
and read '17 June' or '27 June,' and all is explained."
   "That's to say," replied Lady Helena, "that between
the 31st of May and the 27th of June --"
   "Captain Grant could have crossed the Pacific and
found himself in the Indian Ocean."
   Paganel's theory met with universal acceptance.
   "That's one more point cleared up," said Glenarvan.
"Thanks to our friend, all that remains to be done now
is to get to Australia, and look out for traces of the wreck
on the western coast."
   "Or the eastern?" said John Mangles.
   "Indeed, John, you may be right, for there is nothing
in the document to indicate which shore was the scene of
the catastrophe, and both points of the continent crossed
by the 37th parallel, must, therefore, be explored."
   "Then, my Lord, it is doubtful, after all," said Mary.
   "Oh no, Miss Mary," John Mangles hastened to reply,
seeing the young girl's apprehension. "His Lordship will
please to consider that if Captain Grant had gained the
shore on the east of Australia, he would almost immediately
have found refuge and assistance. The whole of that
coast is English, we might say, peopled with colonists.
The crew of the <i>Britannia</i> could not have gone ten miles
without meeting a fellow-countryman."
   "I am quite of your opinion, Captain John," said Paga-
nel. "On the eastern coast Harry Grant would not only
have found an English colony easily, but he would cer-
tainly have met with some means of transport back to
Europe."
   "And he would not have found the same resources on
the side we are making for?" asked Lady Helena.
   "No, madam," replied Paganel; "it is a desert coast,
with no communication between it and Melbourne or Ade-
laide. If the <i>Britannia</i> was wrecked on those rocky
shores, she was as much cut off from all chance of help as
if she had been lost on the inhospitable shores of Africa."
   "But what has become of my father there, then, all these
two years?" asked Mary Grant.
   "My dear Mary," replied Paganel, "you have not the
least doubt, have you, that Captain Grant reached the Aus-
tralian continent after his shipwreck?"


186  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "No, Monsieur Paganel."
   "Well, granting that, what became of him? The sup-
positions we might make are not numerous. They are
confined to three. Either Harry Grant and his compan-
ions have found their way to the English colonies, or they
have fallen into the hands of the natives, or they are lost
in the immense wilds of Australia."
   "Go on, Paganel," said Lord Glenarvan, as the learned
Frenchman made a pause.
   "The first hypothesis I reject, then, to begin with, for
Harry Grant could not have reached the English colonies,
or long ago he would have been back with his children in
the good town of Dundee."
   "Poor father," murmured Mary, "away from us for
two whole years."
   "Hush, Mary," said Robert, "Monsieur Paganel will
tell us."
   "Alas! my boy, I cannot. All that I affirm is, that Cap-
tain Grant is in the hands of the natives."
   "But these natives," said Lady Helena, hastily, "are
they --"
   "Reassure yourself, madam," said Paganel, divining her
thoughts. "The aborigines of Australia are low enough
in the scale of human intelligence, and most degraded and
uncivilized, but they are mild and gentle in disposition, and
not sanguinary like their New Zealand neighbors. Though
they may be prisoners, their lives have never been threat-
ened, you may be sure. All travelers are unanimous in
declaring that the Australian natives abhor shedding blood,
and many a time they have found in them faithful allies
in repelling the attacks of evil-disposed convicts far more
cruelly inclined."
   "You hear what Monsieur Paganel tells us, Mary," said
Lady Helena turning to the young girl. "If your father
is in the hands of the natives, which seems probable from
the document, we shall find him."
   "And what if he is lost in that immense country?"
asked Mary.
   "Well, we'll find him still," exclaimed Paganel, in a
confident tone. "Won't we, friends?"
   "Most certainly," replied Glenarvan; and anxious to
give a less gloomy turn to the conversation, he added --


A WAGER AND HOW DECIDED   187

   "But I won't admit the supposition of his being lost, not for
an instant."
   "Neither will I," said Paganel.
   "Is Australia a big place?" inquired Robert.
   "Australia, my boy, is about as large as four-fifths of
Europe. It has somewhere about 775,000 <i>hectares</i>."
   "So much as that?" said the Major.
   "Yes, McNabbs, almost to a yard's breadth. Don't you
think now it has a right to be called a continent?"
   "I do, certainly."
   "I may add," continued the <i>savant</i>, "that there are but
few accounts of travelers being lost in this immense coun-
try. Indeed, I believe Leichardt is the only one of whose
fate we are ignorant, and some time before my departure
I learned from the Geographical Society that Mcintyre had
strong hopes of having discovered traces of him."
   "The whole of Australia, then, is not yet explored?"
asked Lady Helena.
   "No, madam, but very little of it. This continent is
not much better known than the interior of Africa, and
yet it is from no lack of enterprising travelers. From 1606
to 1862, more than fifty have been engaged in exploring
along the coast and in the interior."
   "Oh, fifty!" exclaimed McNabbs incredulously.
   "No, no," objected the Major; "that is going too far."
   "And I might go farther, McNabbs," replied the geogra-
pher, impatient of contradiction.
   "Yes, McNabbs, quite that number."
   "Farther still, Paganel."
   "If you doubt me, I can give you the names."
   "Oh, oh," said the Major, coolly. "That's just like
you <i>savants</i>. You stick at nothing."
   "Major, will you bet your Purdy-Moore rifle against
my telescope?"
   "Why not, Paganel, if it would give you any pleasure."
   "Done, Major!" exclaimed Paganel. "You may say
good-by to your rifle, for it will never shoot another
chamois or fox unless I lend it to you, which I shall al-
ways be happy to do, by the by."
   "And whenever you require the use of your telescope,
Paganel, I shall be equally obliging," replied the Major,
gravely.


188 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Let us begin, then; and ladies and gentlemen, you shall
be our jury. Robert, you must keep count."
   This was agreed upon, and Paganel forthwith com-
menced.
   "Mnemosyne! Goddess of Memory, chaste mother of
the Muses!" he exclaimed, "inspire thy faithful servant
and fervent worshiper! Two hundred and fifty-eight years
ago, my friends, Australia was unknown. Strong suspi-
cions were entertained of the existence of a great southern
continent. In the library of your British Museum, Glen-
arvan, there are two charts, the date of which is 1550,
which mention a country south of Asia, called by the Por-
tuguese Great Java. But these charts are not sufficiently
authentic. In the seventeenth century, in 1606, Quiros, a
Spanish navigator, discovered a country which he named
Australia de Espiritu Santo. Some authors imagine that
this was the New Hebrides group, and not Australia. I
am not going to discuss the question, however. Count
Quiros, Robert, and let us pass on to another."
   "<i>One</i>," said Robert.
   "In that same year, Louis Vas de Torres, the second in
command of the fleet of Quiros, pushed further south.
But it is to Theodore Hertoge, a Dutchman, that the honor
of the great discovery belongs. He touched the western
coast of Australia in 25 degrees latitude, and called it
Eendracht, after his vessel. From this time navigators
increased. In 1618, Zeachen discovered the northern parts
of the coast, and called them Arnheim and Diemen. In
1618, Jan Edels went along the western coast, and chris-
tened it by his own name. In 1622, Leuwin went down as
far as the cape which became his namesake." And so
Paganel continued with name after name until his hearers
cried for mercy.
   "Stop, Paganel," said Glenarvan, laughing heartily,
"don't quite crush poor McNabbs. Be generous; he owns
he is vanquished."
   "And what about the rifle?" asked the geographer, tri-
umphantly.
   "It is yours, Paganel," replied the Major, "and I am
very sorry for it; but your memory might gain an armory
by such feats."
   "It is certainly impossible to be better acquainted with


A WAGER AND HOW DECIDED   189

Australia; not the least name, not even the most trifling
fact --"
   "As to the most trifling fact, I don't know about that,"
said the Major, shaking his head.
   "What do you mean, McNabbs?" exclaimed Paganel.
   "Simply that perhaps all the incidents connected with
the discovery of Australia may not be known to you."
   "Just fancy," retorted Paganel, throwing back his
head proudly.
   "Come now. If I name one fact you don't know, will
you give me back my rifle?" said McNabbs.
   "On the spot, Major."
   "Very well, it's a bargain, then."
   "Yes, a bargain; that's settled."
   "All right. Well now, Paganel, do you know how it is
that Australia does not belong to France?"
   "But it seems to me --"
   "Or, at any rate, do you know what's the reason the
English give?" asked the Major.
   "No," replied Paganel, with an air of vexation.
   "Just because Captain Baudin, who was by no means a
timid man, was so afraid in 1802, of the croaking of the
Australian frogs, that he raised his anchor with all possi-
ble speed, and quitted the coast, never to return."
   "What!" exclaimed Paganel. "Do they actually give
that version of it in England? But it is just a bad joke."
   "Bad enough, certainly, but still it is history in the
United Kingdom."
   "It's an insult!" exclaimed the patriotic geographer;
"and they relate that gravely?"
   "I must own it is the case," replied Glenarvan, amidst
a general outburst of laughter. "Do you mean to say
you have never heard of it before?"
   "Never! But I protest against it. Besides, the Eng-
lish call us 'frog-eaters.' Now, in general, people are not
afraid of what they eat."
   "It is said, though, for all that," replied McNabbs. So
the Major kept his famous rifle after all.


CHAPTER V
THE STORM ON THE INDIAN OCEAN

   Two days after this conversation, John Mangles an-
nounced that the <i>Duncan</i> was in longitude 113 degrees 37
minutes, and the passengers found on consulting the chart
that consequently Cape Bernouilli could not be more than
five degrees off. They must be sailing then in that part
of the Indian Ocean which washed the Australian conti-
nent, and in four days might hope to see Cape Bernouilli
appear on the horizon.
   Hitherto the yacht had been favored by a strong westerly
breeze, but now there were evident signs that a calm was
impending, and on the 13th of December the wind fell en-
tirely; as the sailors say, there was not enough to fill a cap.
   There was no saying how long this state of the atmos-
phere might last. But for the powerful propeller the yacht
would have been obliged to lie motionless as a log. The
young captain was very much annoyed, however, at the
prospect of emptying his coal-bunkers, for he had covered
his ship with canvas, intending to take advantage of the
slightest breeze.
   "After all, though," said Glenarvan, with whom he was
talking over the subject, "it is better to have no wind than
a contrary one."
   "Your Lordship is right," replied John Mangles; "but
the fact is these sudden calms bring change of weather, and
this is why I dread them. We are close on the trade winds,
and if we get them ever so little in our teeth, it will delay
us greatly."
   "Well, John, what if it does? It will only make our
voyage a little longer."
   "Yes, if it does not bring a storm with it."
   "Do you mean to say you think we are going to have
bad weather?" replied Glenarvan, examining the sky,
which from horizon to zenith seemed absolutely cloudless.
   "I do," returned the captain. "I may say so to your
Lordship, but I should not like to alarm Lady Glenarvan
or Miss Grant."
   "You are acting wisely; but what makes you uneasy?"
   "Sure indications of a storm. Don't trust, my Lord, to
the appearance of the sky. Nothing is more deceitful.
For the last two days the barometer has been falling in a

190


ON THE INDIAN OCEAN      191

most ominous manner, and is now at 27&deg;. This is a warn-
ing I dare not neglect, for there is nothing I dread more
than storms in the Southern Seas; I have had a taste of
them already. The vapors which become condensed in
the immense glaciers at the South Pole produce a current
of air of extreme violence. This causes a struggle be-
tween the polar and equatorial winds, which results in cy-
clones, tornadoes, and all those multiplied varieties of
tempest against which a ship is no match."
   "Well, John," said Glenarvan, "the <i>Duncan</i> is a good
ship, and her captain is a brave sailor. Let the storm
come, we'll meet it!"
   John Mangles remained on deck the whole night, for
though as yet the sky was still unclouded, he had such faith
in his weather-glass, that he took every precaution that pru-
dence could suggest. About 11 P. M. the sky began to
darken in the south, and the crew were called up, and all
the sails hauled in, except the foresail, brigantine, top-sail,
and jib-boom. At midnight the wind freshened, and be-
fore long the cracking of the masts, and the rattling of the
cordage, and groaning of the timbers, awakened the pas-
sengers, who speedily made their appearance on deck -- at
least Paganel, Glenarvan, the Major and Robert.
   "Is it the hurricane?" asked Glenarvan quietly.
   "Not yet," replied the captain; "but it is close at hand."
   And he went on giving his orders to the men, and doing
his best to make ready for the storm, standing, like an offi-
cer commanding a breach, with his face to the wind, and
his gaze fixed on the troubled sky. The glass had fallen
to 26 degrees, and the hand pointed to tempest.
   It was one o'clock in the morning when Lady Helena
and Miss Grant ventured upstairs on deck. But they no
sooner made their appearance than the captain hurried
toward them, and begged them to go below again immedi-
ately. The waves were already beginning to dash over the
side of the ship, and the sea might any moment sweep right
over her from stem to stern. The noise of the warring
elements was so great that his words were scarcely audible,
but Lady Helena took advantage of a sudden lull to ask if
there was any danger.
   "None whatever," replied John Mangles; "but you can-
not remain on deck, madam, no more can Miss Mary."


192  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   The ladies could not disobey an order that seemed almost
an entreaty, and they returned to their cabin. At the same
moment the wind redoubled its fury, making the masts
bend beneath the weight of the sails, and completely lifting
up the yacht.
   "Haul up the foresail!" shouted the captain. "Lower
the topsail and jib-boom!"
   Glenarvan and his companions stood silently gazing at
the struggle between their good ship and the waves, lost in
wondering and half-terrified admiration at the spectacle.
   Just then, a dull hissing was heard above the noise of
the elements. The steam was escaping violently, not by
the funnel, but from the safety-valves of the boiler; the
alarm whistle sounded unnaturally loud, and the yacht
made a frightful pitch, overturning Wilson, who was at
the wheel, by an unexpected blow from the tiller. The
<i>Duncan</i> no longer obeyed the helm.
   "What is the matter?" cried the captain, rushing on the
bridge.
   "The ship is heeling over on her side," replied Wilson.
   "The engine! the engine!" shouted the engineer.
   Away rushed John to the engine-room. A cloud of
steam filled the room. The pistons were motionless in
their cylinders, and they were apparently powerless, and
the engine-driver, fearing for his boilers, was letting off
the steam.
   "What's wrong?" asked the captain.
   "The propeller is bent or entangled," was the reply.
"It's not acting at all."
   "Can't you extricate it?"
   "It is impossible."
   An accident like this could not be remedied, and John's
only resource was to fall back on his sails, and seek to make
an auxiliary of his most powerful enemy, the wind. He
went up again on deck, and after explaining in a few words
to Lord Glenarvan how things stood, begged him to retire
to his cabin, with the rest of the passengers. But Glen-
arvan wished to remain above.
   "No, your Lordship," said the captain in a firm tone,
"I must be alone with my men. Go into the saloon. The
vessel will have a hard fight with the waves, and they would
sweep you over without mercy."

V. IV Verne


ON THE INDIAN OCEAN      193

   "But we might be a help."
   "Go in, my Lord, go in. I must indeed insist on it.
There are times when I must be master on board, and retire
you must."
   Their situation must indeed be desperate for John Man-
gles to speak in such authoritative language. Glenarvan
was wise enough to understand this, and felt he must set
an example in obedience. He therefore quitted the deck
immediately with his three companions, and rejoined the
ladies, who were anxiously watching the <i>d&eacute;nouement</i> of
this war with the elements.
   "He's an energetic fellow, this brave John of mine!"
said Lord Glenarvan, as he entered the saloon.
   "That he is," replied Paganel. "He reminds me of
your great Shakespeare's boatswain in the 'Tempest,' who
says to the king on board: 'Hence! What care these
roarers for the name of king? To cabin! Silence!
Trouble us not.'"
   However, John Mangles did not lose a second in extri-
cating his ship from the peril in which she was placed by
the condition of her screw propeller. He resolved to rely
on the mainsail for keeping in the right route as far as
possible, and to brace the yards obliquely, so as not to pre-
sent a direct front to the storm. The yacht turned about
like a swift horse that feels the spur, and presented a
broadside to the billows. The only question was, how
long would she hold out with so little sail, and what sail
could resist such violence for any length of time. The
great advantage of keeping up the mainsail was that it
presented to the waves only the most solid portions of the
yacht, and kept her in the right course. Still it involved
some peril, for the vessel might get engulfed between
the waves, and not be able to raise herself. But Mangles
felt there was no alternative, and all he could do was to
keep the crew ready to alter the sail at any moment, and
stay in the shrouds himself watching the tempest.
   The remainder of the night was spent in this manner,
and it was hoped that morning would bring a calm. But
this was a delusive hope. At 8 A. M. the wind had in-
creased to a hurricane.
   John said nothing, but he trembled for his ship, and
those on board. The <i>Duncan</i> made a frightful plunge for-


194 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

ward, and for an instant the men thought she would never
rise again. Already they had seized their hatchets to cut
away the shrouds from the mainmast, but the next minute
the sails were torn away by the tempest, and had flown off
like gigantic albatrosses.
   The yacht had risen once more, but she found herself at
the mercy of the waves entirely now, with nothing to steady
or direct her, and was so fearfully pitched and tossed about
that every moment the captain expected the masts would
break short off. John had no resource but to put up a
forestaysail, and run before the gale. But this was no
easy task. Twenty times over he had all his work to begin
again, and it was 3 P. M. before his attempt succeeded.
A mere shred of canvas though it was, it was enough to
drive the <i>Duncan</i> forward with inconceivable rapidity to
the northeast, of course in the same direction as the hurri-
cane. Swiftness was their only chance of safety. Some-
times she would get in advance of the waves which carried
her along, and cutting through them with her sharp prow,
bury herself in their depths. At others, she would keep
pace with them, and make such enormous leaps that there
was imminent danger of her being pitched over on her side,
and then again, every now and then the storm-driven sea
would out-distance the yacht, and the angry billows would
sweep over the deck from stem to stern with tremendous
violence.
   In this alarming situation and amid dreadful alterna-
tions of hope and despair, the 12th of December passed
away, and the ensuing night, John Mangles never left his
post, not even to take food. Though his impassive face
betrayed no symptoms of fear, he was tortured with anx-
iety, and his steady gaze was fixed on the north, as if try-
ing to pierce through the thick mists that enshrouded it.
   There was, indeed, great cause for fear. The <i>Duncan</i>
was out of her course, and rushing toward the Australian
coast with a speed which nothing could lessen. To John
Mangles it seemed as if a thunderbolt were driving them
along. Every instant he expected the yacht would dash
against some rock, for he reckoned the coast could not be
more than twelve miles off, and better far be in mid ocean
exposed to all its fury than too near land.
   John Mangles went to find Glenarvan, and had a pri-


ON THE INDIAN OCEAN       195

vate talk with him about their situation, telling him frankly
the true state of affairs, stating the case with all the cool-
ness of a sailor prepared for anything and everything and
he wound up by saying he might, perhaps, be obliged to
cast the yacht on shore.
   "To save the lives of those on board, my Lord," he
added.
   "Do it then, John," replied Lord Glenarvan.
   "And Lady Helena, Miss Grant?"
   "I will tell them at the last moment when all hope of
keeping out at sea is over. You will let me know?"
   "I will, my Lord."
   Glenarvan rejoined his companions, who felt they were
in imminent danger, though no word was spoken on the
subject. Both ladies displayed great courage, fully equal
to any of the party. Paganel descanted in the most inop-
portune manner about the direction of atmospheric cur-
rents, making interesting comparisons, between tornadoes,
cyclones, and rectilinear tempests. The Major calmly
awaited the end with the fatalism of a Mussulman.
   About eleven o'clock, the hurricane appeared to decrease
slightly. The damp mist began to clear away, and a sud-
den gleam of light revealed a low-lying shore about six
miles distant. They were driving right down on it.
Enormous breakers fifty feet high were dashing over it,
and the fact of their height showed John there must be
solid ground before they could make such a rebound.
   "Those are sand-banks," he said to Austin.
   "I think they are," replied the mate.
   "We are in God's hands," said John. "If we cannot
find any opening for the yacht, and if she doesn't find the
way in herself, we are lost."
   "The tide is high at present, it is just possible we may
ride over those sand-banks."
   "But just see those breakers. What ship could stand
them. Let us invoke divine aid, Austin!"
   Meanwhile the <i>Duncan</i> was speeding on at a frightful
rate. Soon she was within two miles of the sand-banks,
which were still veiled from time to time in thick mist.
But John fancied he could see beyond the breakers a quiet
basin, where the <i>Duncan</i> would be in comparative safety.
But how could she reach it?


196 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   All the passengers were summoned on deck, for now
that the hour of shipwreck was at hand, the captain did not
wish anyone to be shut up in his cabin.
   "John!" said Glenarvan in a low voice to the captain,
"I will try to save my wife or perish with her. I put
Miss Grant in your charge."
   "Yes, my Lord," replied John Mangles, raising Glen-
arvan's hand to his moistened eyes.
   The yacht was only a few cables' lengths from the sand-
banks. The tide was high, and no doubt there was abun-
dance of water to float the ship over the dangerous bar;
but these terrific breakers alternately lifting her up and
then leaving her almost dry, would infallibly make her
graze the sand-banks.
   Was there no means of calming this angry sea? A last
expedient struck the captain. "The oil, my lads!" he
exclaimed. "Bring the oil here!"
   The crew caught at the idea immediately; this was a plan
that had been successfully tried already. The fury of the
waves had been allayed before this time by covering them
with a sheet of oil. Its effect is immediate, but very tempo-
rary. The moment after a ship has passed over the smooth
surface, the sea redoubles its violence, and woe to the bark
that follows. The casks of seal-oil were forthwith hauled
up, for danger seemed to have given the men double
strength. A few hatchet blows soon knocked in the heads,
and they were then hung over the larboard and starboard.
   "Be ready!" shouted John, looking out for a favorable
moment.
   In twenty seconds the yacht reached the bar. Now was
the time. "Pour out!" cried the captain, "and God
prosper it!"
   The barrels were turned upside down, and instantly a
sheet of oil covered the whole surface of the water. The
billows fell as if by magic, the whole foaming sea seemed
leveled, and the <i>Duncan</i> flew over its tranquil bosom into
a quiet basin beyond the formidable bar; but almost the
same minute the ocean burst forth again with all its fury,
and the towering breakers dashed over the bar with in-
creased violence.


CHAPTER VI
A HOSPITABLE COLONIST

   THE captain's first care was to anchor his vessel se-
curely. He found excellent moorage in five fathoms'
depth of water, with a solid bottom of hard granite, which
afforded a firm hold. There was no danger now of either
being driven away or stranded at low water. After so
many hours of danger, the <i>Duncan</i> found herself in a sort
of creek, sheltered by a high circular point from the winds
outside in the open sea.
   Lord Glenarvan grasped John Mangles' hand, and simply
said: "Thank you, John."
   This was all, but John felt it ample recompense. Glen-
arvan kept to himself the secret of his anxiety, and neither
Lady Helena, nor Mary, nor Robert suspected the grave
perils they had just escaped.
   One important fact had to be ascertained. On what
part of the coast had the tempest thrown them? How far
must they go to regain the parallel. At what distance
S. W. was Cape Bernouilli? This was soon determined by
taking the position of the ship, and it was found that she
had scarcely deviated two degrees from the route. They
were in longitude 36 degrees 12 minutes, and latitude 32
degrees 67 minutes, at Cape Catastrophe, three hundred
miles from Cape Bernouilli. The nearest port was Ade-
laide, the Capital of Southern Australia.
   Could the <i>Duncan</i> be repaired there? This was the
question. The extent of the injuries must first be ascer-
tained, and in order to do this he ordered some of the men
to dive down below the stern. Their report was that one
of the branches of the screw was bent, and had got jammed
against the stern post, which of course prevented all possi-
bility of rotation. This was a serious damage, so serious
as to require more skilful workmen than could be found in
Adelaide.
   After mature reflection, Lord Glenarvan and John Man-
gles came to the determination to sail round the Australian
coast, stopping at Cape Bernouilli, and continuing their
route south as far as Melbourne, where the <i>Duncan</i> could
speedily be put right. This effected, they would proceed
to cruise along the eastern coast to complete their search
for the <i>Britannia</i>.

197


198 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   This decision was unanimously approved, and it was
agreed that they should start with the first fair wind.
They had not to wait long for the same night the hurricane
had ceased entirely, and there was only a manageable
breeze from the S. W. Preparations for sailing were in-
stantly commenced, and at four o'clock in the morning the
crew lifted the anchors, and got under way with fresh can-
vas outspread, and a wind blowing right for the Australian
shores.
   Two hours afterward Cape Catastrophe was out of
sight. In the evening they doubled Cape Borda, and came
alongside Kangaroo Island. This is the largest of the
Australian islands, and a great hiding place for runaway
convicts. Its appearance was enchanting. The stratified
rocks on the shore were richly carpeted with verdure, and
innumerable kangaroos were jumping over the woods and
plains, just as at the time of its discovery in 1802. Next
day, boats were sent ashore to examine the coast minutely,
as they were now on the 36th parallel, and between that and
the 38th Glenarvan wished to leave no part unexplored.
   The boats had hard, rough work of it now, but the men
never complained. Glenarvan and his inseparable com-
panion, Paganel, and young Robert generally accompanied
them. But all this painstaking exploration came to noth-
ing. Not a trace of the shipwreck could be seen anywhere.
The Australian shores revealed no more than the Pata-
gonian. However, it was not time yet to lose hope alto-
gether, for they had not reached the exact point indicated
by the document.
   On the 20th of December, they arrived off Cape Ber-
nouilli, which terminates Lacepede Bay, and yet not a
vestige of the <i>Britannia</i> had been discovered. Still this
was not surprising, as it was two years since the occur-
rence of the catastrophe, and the sea might, and indeed
must, have scattered and destroyed whatever fragments
of the brig had remained. Besides, the natives who scent
a wreck as the vultures do a dead body, would have pounced
upon it and carried off the smaller <i>d&eacute;bris</i>. There was no
doubt whatever Harry Grant and his companions had been
made prisoners the moment the waves threw them on the
shore, and been dragged away into the interior of the con-
tinent.


A HOSPITABLE COLONIST      199

   But if so, what becomes of Paganel's ingenious hypothe-
sis about the document? viz., that it had been thrown into
a river and carried by a current into the sea. That was a
plausible enough theory in Patagonia, but not in the part
of Australia intersected by the 37th parallel. Besides the
Patagonian rivers, the Rio Colorado and the Rio Negro,
flow into the sea along deserted solitudes, uninhabited and
uninhabitable; while, on the contrary, the principal rivers
of Australia -- the Murray, the Yarrow, the Torrens, the
Darling -- all connected with each other, throw themselves
into the ocean by well-frequented routes, and their mouths
are ports of great activity. What likelihood, consequently,
would there be that a fragile bottle would ever find its way
along such busy thoroughfares right out into the Indian
Ocean?
   Paganel himself saw the impossibility of it, and con-
fessed to the Major, who raised a discussion on the subject,
that his hypothesis would be altogether illogical in Aus-
tralia. It was evident that the degrees given related to
the place where the <i>Britannia</i> was actually shipwrecked
and not the place of captivity, and that the bottle therefore
had been thrown into the sea on the western coast of the
continent.
   However, as Glenarvan justly remarked, this did not
alter the fact of Captain Grant's captivity in the least de-
gree, though there was no reason now for prosecuting the
search for him along the 37th parallel, more than any other.
It followed, consequently, that if no traces of the <i>Britannia</i>
were discovered at Cape Bernouilli, the only thing to be
done was to return to Europe. Lord Glenarvan would
have been unsuccessful, but he would have done his duty
courageously and conscientiously.
   But the young Grants did not feel disheartened. They
had long since said to themselves that the question of their
father's deliverance was about to be finally settled. Irrev-
ocably, indeed, they might consider it, for as Paganel had
judiciously demonstrated, if the wreck had occurred on the
eastern side, the survivors would have found their way
back to their own country long since.
   "Hope on! Hope on, Mary!" said Lady Helena to
the young girl, as they neared the shore; "God's hand will
still lead us."


200 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Yes, Miss Mary," said Captain John. "Man's ex-
tremity is God's opportunity. When one way is hedged
up another is sure to open."
   "God grant it," replied Mary.
   Land was quite close now. The cape ran out two miles
into the sea, and terminated in a gentle slope, and the boat
glided easily into a sort of natural creek between coral
banks in a state of formation, which in course of time
would be a belt of coral reefs round the southern point of
the Australian coast. Even now they were quite suffi-
ciently formidable to destroy the keel of a ship, and the
<i>Britannia</i> might likely enough have been dashed to pieces
on them.
   The passengers landed without the least difficulty on an
absolutely desert shore. Cliffs composed of beds of strata
made a coast line sixty to eighty feet high, which it would
have been difficult to scale without ladders or cramp-irons.
John Mangles happened to discover a natural breach about
half a mile south. Part of the cliff had been partially
beaten down, no doubt, by the sea in some equinoctial gale.
Through this opening the whole party passed and reached
the top of the cliff by a pretty steep path. Robert climbed
like a young cat, and was the first on the summit, to the
despair of Paganel, who was quite ashamed to see his
long legs, forty years old, out-distanced by a young urchin
of twelve. However, he was far ahead of the Major, who
gave himself no concern on the subject.
   They were all soon assembled on the lofty crags, and
from this elevation could command a view of the whole
plain below. It appeared entirely uncultivated, and cov-
ered with shrubs and bushes. Glenarvan thought it re-
sembled some glens in the lowlands of Scotland, and
Paganel fancied it like some barren parts of Britanny.
But along the coast the country appeared to be inhabited,
and significant signs of industry revealed the presence of
civilized men, not savages.
   "A mill!" exclaimed Robert.
   And, sure enough, in the distance the long sails of a mill
appeared, apparently about three miles off.
   "It certainly is a windmill," said Paganel, after exam-
ining the object in question through his telescope.
   "Let us go to it, then," said Glenarvan.


A HOSPITABLE COLONIST      201

   Away they started, and, after walking about half an
hour, the country began to assume a new aspect, suddenly
changing its sterility for cultivation. Instead of bushes,
quick-set hedges met the eye, inclosing recent clearings.
Several bullocks and about half a dozen horses were feed-
ing in meadows, surrounded by acacias supplied from the
vast plantations of Kangaroo Island. Gradually fields
covered with cereals came in sight, whole acres covered
with bristling ears of corn, hay-ricks in the shape of large
bee-hives, blooming orchards, a fine garden worthy of Hor-
ace, in which the useful and agreeable were blended; then
came sheds; commons wisely distributed, and last of all, a
plain comfortable dwelling-house, crowned by a joyous-
sounding mill, and fanned and shaded by its long sails as
they kept constantly moving round.
   Just at that moment a pleasant-faced man, about fifty
years of age, came out of the house, warned, by the loud
barking of four dogs, of the arrival of strangers. He was
followed by five handsome strapping lads, his sons, and
their mother, a fine tall woman. There was no mistaking
the little group. This was a perfect type of the Irish col-
onist -- a man who, weary of the miseries of his country,
had come, with his family, to seek fortune and happiness
beyond the seas.
   Before Glenarvan and his party had time to reach the
house and present themselves in due form, they heard the
cordial words: "Strangers! welcome to the house of Paddy
O'Moore!"
   "You are Irish," said Glenarvan, "if I am not mis-
taken," warmly grasping the outstretched hand of the colo-
nist.
   "I was," replied Paddy O'Moore, "but now I am Aus-
tralian. Come in, gentlemen, whoever you may be, this
house is yours."
   It was impossible not to accept an invitation given with
such grace. Lady Helena and Mary Grant were led in by
Mrs. O'Moore, while the gentlemen were assisted by his
sturdy sons to disencumber themselves of their fire-arms.
   An immense hall, light and airy, occupied the ground
floor of the house, which was built of strong planks laid
horizontally. A few wooden benches fastened against the
gaily-colored walls, about ten stools, two oak chests on


202 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

tin mugs, a large long table where twenty guests could
sit comfortably, composed the furniture, which looked in
perfect keeping with the solid house and robust in-
mates.
   The noonday meal was spread; the soup tureen was
smoking between roast beef and a leg of mutton, sur-
rounded by large plates of olives, grapes, and oranges.
The necessary was there and there was no lack of the
superfluous. The host and hostess were so pleasant, and
the big table, with its abundant fare, looked so inviting,
that it would have been ungracious not to have seated them-
selves. The farm servants, on equal footing with their
master, were already in their places to take their share of
the meal. Paddy O'Moore pointed to the seats reserved
for the strangers, and said to Glenarvan:
   "I was waiting for you."
   "Waiting for us!" replied Glenarvan in a tone of sur-
prise.
   "I am always waiting for those who come," said the
Irishman; and then, in a solemn voice, while the family
and domestics reverently stood, he repeated the <i>Benedicite</i>.
   Dinner followed immediately, during which an animated
conversation was kept up on all sides. From Scotch to
Irish is but a handsbreadth. The Tweed, several fathoms
wide, digs a deeper trench between Scotland and England
than the twenty leagues of Irish Channel, which separates
Old Caledonia from the Emerald Isle. Paddy O'Moore
related his history. It was that of all emigrants driven
by misfortune from their own country. Many come to
seek fortunes who only find trouble and sorrow, and then
they throw the blame on chance, and forget the true cause
is their own idleness and vice and want of commonsense.
Whoever is sober and industrious, honest and economical,
gets on.
   Such a one had been and was Paddy O'Moore. He left
Dundalk, where he was starving, and came with his family
to Australia, landed at Adelaide, where, refusing employ-
ment as a miner, he got engaged on a farm, and two months
afterward commenced clearing ground on his own account.
   The whole territory of South Australia is divided into
lots, each containing eighty acres, and these are granted
to colonists by the government. Any industrious man, by


A HOSPITABLE COLONIST     203

proper cultivation, can not only get a living out of his lot,
but lay by &pound;80 a year.
   Paddy O'Moore knew this. He profited by his own
former experience, and laid by every penny he could till
he had saved enough to purchase new lots. His family
prospered, and his farm also. The Irish peasant became
a landed proprietor, and though his little estate had only
been under cultivation for two years, he had five hundred
acres cleared by his own hands, and five hundred head of
cattle. He was his own master, after having been a serf
in Europe, and as independent as one can be in the freest
country in the world.
   His guests congratulated him heartily as he ended his
narration; and Paddy O'Moore no doubt expected confi-
dence for confidence, but he waited in vain. However, he
was one of those discreet people who can say, "I tell you
who I am, but I don't ask who you are." Glenarvan's
great object was to get information about the <i>Britannia</i>,
and like a man who goes right to the point, he began at
once to interrogate O'Moore as to whether he had heard
of the shipwreck.
   The reply of the Irishman was not favorable; he had
never heard the vessel mentioned. For two years, at least,
no ship had been wrecked on that coast, neither above nor
below the Cape. Now, the date of the catastrophe was
within two years. He could, therefore, declare positively
that the survivors of the wreck had not been thrown on
that part of the western shore.
    Now, my Lord," he added, "may I ask what interest
you have in making the inquiry?"
   This pointed question elicited in reply the whole history
of the expedition. Glenarvan related the discovery of the
document, and the various attempts that had been made
to follow up the precise indications given of the where-
abouts of the unfortunate captives; and he concluded his
account by expressing his doubt whether they should ever
find the Captain after all.
   His dispirited tone made a painful impression on the
minds of his auditors. Robert and Mary could not keep
back their tears, and Paganel had not a word of hope or
comfort to give them. John Mangles was grieved to the
heart, though he, too, was beginning to yield to the feeling


204  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

of hopelessness which had crept over the rest, when sud-
denly the whole party were electrified by hearing a voice
exclaim: "My Lord, praise and thank God! if Captain
Grant is alive, he is on this Australian continent."


CHAPTER VII
THE QUARTERMASTER OF THE "BRITANNIA"

   THE surprise caused by these words cannot be described.
Glenarvan sprang to his feet, and pushing back his seat,
exclaimed: "Who spoke?"
   "I did," said one of the servants, at the far end of
the table.
   "You, Ayrton!" replied his master, not less bewildered
than Glenarvan.
   "Yes, it was I," rejoined Ayrton in a firm tone, though
somewhat agitated voice. "A Scotchman like yourself,
my Lord, and one of the shipwrecked crew of the
<i>Britannia</i>."
   The effect of such a declaration may be imagined. Mary
Grant fell back, half-fainting, in Lady Helena's arms, over-
come by joyful emotion, and Robert, and Mangles, and
Paganel started up and toward the man that Paddy
O'Moore had addressed as <i>Ayrton</i>. He was a coarse-look-
ing fellow, about forty-five years of age, with very bright
eyes, though half-hidden beneath thick, overhanging brows.
In spite of extreme leanness there was an air of unusual
strength about him. He seemed all bone and nerves, or,
to use a Scotch expression, as if he had not wasted time in
making fat. He was broad-shouldered and of middle
height, and though his features were coarse, his face was so
full of intelligence and energy and decision, that he gave
one a favorable impression. The interest he excited was
still further heightened by the marks of recent suffering
imprinted on his countenance. It was evident that he had
endured long and severe hardships, and that he had borne
them bravely and come off victor.
   "You are one of the shipwrecked sailors of the <i>Britan-
nia?</i>" was Glenarvan's first question.
   "Yes, my Lord; Captain Grant's quartermaster."
   "And saved with him after the shipwreck?"


THE QUARTERMASTER      205

   "No, my Lord, no. I was separated from him at that
terrible moment, for I was swept off the deck as the ship
struck."
   "Then you are not one of the two sailors mentioned in
the document?"
   "No; I was not aware of the existence of the document.
The captain must have thrown it into the sea when I was
no longer on board."
   "But the captain? What about the captain?"
   "I believed he had perished; gone down with all his
crew. I imagined myself the sole survivor."
   "But you said just now, Captain Grant was living."
   "No, I said, '<i>if the captain is living</i>.'"
   "And you added, '<i>he is on the Australian continent</i>.'"
   "And, indeed, he cannot be anywhere else."
   "Then you don't know where he is?"
   "No, my Lord. I say again, I supposed he was buried
beneath the waves, or dashed to pieces against the rocks. It
was from you I learned that he was still alive."
   "What then do you know?"
   "Simply this -- if Captain Grant is alive, he is in Aus-
tralia."
   "Where did the shipwreck occur?" asked Major Mc-
Nabbs.
   This should have been the first question, but in the ex-
citement caused by the unexpected incident, Glenarvan cared
more to know where the captain was, than where the <i>Bri-
tannia</i> had been lost. After the Major's inquiry, however,
Glenarvan's examination proceeded more logically, and be-
fore long all the details of the event stood out clearly be-
fore the minds of the company.
   To the question put by the Major, Ayrton replied:
   "When I was swept off the forecastle, when I was haul-
ing in the jib-boom, the <i>Britannia</i> was running right on the
Australian coast. She was not more than two cables'
length from it and consequently she must have struck just
there."
   "In latitude 37&deg;?" asked John Mangles.
   "Yes, in latitude 37&deg;."
   "On the west coast?"
   "No, on the east coast," was the prompt reply.
   "And at what date?"


206 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "It was on the night of the 27th of June, 1862."
   "Exactly, just exactly," exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "You see, then, my Lord," continued Ayrton, "I might
justly say, <i>If Captain Grant</i> is alive, he is on the Australian
continent, and it is useless looking for him anywhere else."
   "And we will look for him there, and find him too, and
save him," exclaimed Paganel. "Ah, precious document,"
he added, with perfect <i>naivete</i>, "you must own you have
fallen into the hands of uncommonly shrewd people."
   But, doubtless, nobody heard his flattering words, for
Glenarvan and Lady Helena, and Mary Grant, and Robert,
were too much engrossed with Ayrton to listen to anyone
else. They pressed round him and grasped his hands. It
seemed as if this man's presence was the sure pledge of
Harry Grant's deliverance. If this sailor had escaped the
perils of the shipwreck, why should not the captain? Ayr-
ton was quite sanguine as to his existence; but on what part
of the continent he was to be found, that he could not say.
The replies the man gave to the thousand questions that as-
sailed him on all sides were remarkably intelligent and ex-
act. All the while he spake, Mary held one of his hands in
hers. This sailor was a companion of her father's, one of
the crew of the <i>Britannia</i>. He had lived with Harry Grant,
crossed the seas with him and shared his dangers. Mary
could not keep her eyes off his face, rough and homely
though it was, and she wept for joy.
   Up to this time no one had ever thought of doubting
either the veracity or identity of the quartermaster; but the
Major, and perhaps John Mangles, now began to ask them-
selves if this Ayrton's word was to be absolutely believed.
There was something suspicious about this unexpected meet-
ing. Certainly the man had mentioned facts and dates
which corresponded, and the minuteness of his details was
most striking. Still exactness of details was no positive
proof. Indeed, it has been noticed that a falsehood has
sometimes gained ground by being exceedingly particular
in minuti&aelig;. McNabbs, therefore, prudently refrained
from committing himself by expressing any opinion.
   John Mangles, however, was soon convinced when he
heard Ayrton speak to the young girl about her father.
He knew Mary and Robert quite well. He had seen them
in Glasgow when the ship sailed. He remembered them


THE QUARTERMASTER       207

at the farewell breakfast given on board the <i>Britannia</i> to the
captain's friends, at which Sheriff Mcintyre was present.
Robert, then a boy of ten years old, had been given into his
charge, and he ran away and tried to climb the rigging.
   "Yes, that I did, it is quite right," said Robert.
   He went on to mention several other trifling incidents,
without attaching the importance to them that John Man-
gles did, and when he stopped Mary Grant said, in her soft
voice: "Oh, go on, Mr. Ayrton, tell us more about our
father."
   The quartermaster did his best to satisfy the poor
girl, and Glenarvan did not interrupt him, though a
score of questions far more important crowded into his
mind. Lady Helena made him look at Mary's beaming
face, and the words he was about to utter remained un-
spoken.
   Ayrton gave an account of the <i>Britannia's</i> voyage across
the Pacific. Mary knew most of it before, as news of the
ship had come regularly up to the month of May, 1862.
In the course of the year Harry Grant had touched at all
the principal ports. He had been to the Hebrides, to New
Guinea, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, and had suc-
ceeded in finding an important point on the western coast
of Papua, where the establishment of a Scotch colony
seemed to him easy, and its prosperity certain. A good
port on the Molucca and Philippine route must attract
ships, especially when the opening of the Suez Canal would
have supplanted the Cape route. Harry Grant was one of
those who appreciated the great work of M. De Lesseps,
and would not allow political rivalries to interfere with in-
ternational interests.
   After reconnoitering Papua, the <i>Britannia</i> went to pro-
vision herself at Callao, and left that port on the 30th of
May, 1862, to return to Europe by the Indian Ocean and
the Cape. Three weeks afterward, his vessel was disabled
by a fearful storm in which they were caught, and obliged
to cut away the masts. A leak sprang in the hold, and
could not be stopped. The crew were too exhausted to
work the pumps, and for eight days the <i>Britannia</i> was
tossed about in the hurricane like a shuttlecock. She had
six feet of water in her hold, and was gradually sinking.
The boats had been all carried away by the tempest; death


208 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

stared them in the face, when, on the night of the 22d of
June, as Paganel had rightly supposed, they came in sight
of the eastern coast of Australia.
   The ship soon neared the shore, and presently dashed
violently against it. Ayrton was swept off by a wave, and
thrown among the breakers, where he lost consciousness.
When he recovered, he found himself in the hands of na-
tives, who dragged him away into the interior of the
country. Since that time he had never heard the <i>Britan-
nia's</i> name mentioned, and reasonably enough came to the
conclusion that she had gone down with all hands off the
dangerous reefs of Twofold Bay.
   This ended Ayrton's recital, and more than once sor-
rowful exclamations were evoked by the story. The Major
could not, in common justice, doubt its authenticity. The
sailor was then asked to narrate his own personal history,
which was short and simple enough. He had been carried
by a tribe of natives four hundred miles north of the 37th
parallel. He spent a miserable existence there -- not that
he was ill-treated, but the natives themselves lived misera-
bly. He passed two long years of painful slavery among
them, but always cherished in his heart the hope of
one day regaining his freedom, and watching for the
slightest opportunity that might turn up, though he knew
that his flight would be attended with innumerable
dangers.
   At length one night in October, 1864, he managed to
escape the vigilance of the natives, and took refuge in the
depths of immense forests. For a whole month he sub-
sisted on roots, edible ferns and mimosa gums, wandering
through vast solitudes, guiding himself by the sun during
the day and by the stars at night. He went on, though
often almost despairingly, through bogs and rivers, and
across mountains, till he had traversed the whole of the un-
inhabited part of the continent, where only a few bold trav-
elers have ventured; and at last, in an exhausted and all
but dying condition, he reached the hospitable dwelling of
Paddy O'Moore, where he said he had found a happy
home in exchange for his labor.
   "And if Ayrton speaks well of me," said the Irish set-
tler, when the narrative ended, "I have nothing but good to
say of him. He is an honest, intelligent fellow and a good

V. IV Verne


THE QUARTERMASTER      209

worker; and as long as he pleases, Paddy O'Moore's house
shall be his."
   Ayrton thanked him by a gesture, and waited silently
for any fresh question that might be put to him, though he
thought to himself that he surely must have satisfied all
legitimate curiosity. What could remain to be said that
he had not said a hundred times already. Glenarvan was
just about to open a discussion about their future plan of
action, profiting by this rencontre with Ayrton, and by the
information he had given them, when Major McNabbs, ad-
dressing the sailor said, "You were quartermaster, you
say, on the <i>Britannia?</i>"
   "Yes," replied Ayrton, without the least hesitation.
   But as if conscious that a certain feeling of mistrust,
however slight, had prompted the inquiry, he added, "I
have my shipping papers with me; I saved them from the
wreck."
   He left the room immediately to fetch his official docu-
ment, and, though hardly absent a minute, Paddy O'Moore
managed to say, "My Lord, you may trust Ayrton; I
vouch for his being an honest man. He has been two
months now in my service, and I have never had once to find
fault with him. I knew all this story of his shipwreck
and his captivity. He is a true man, worthy of your en-
tire confidence."
   Glenarvan was on the point of replying that he had never
doubted his good faith, when the man came in and brought
his engagement written out in due form. It was a paper
signed by the shipowners and Captain Grant. Mary recog-
nized her father's writing at once. It was to certify that
"Tom Ayrton, able-bodied seaman, was engaged as quar-
termaster on board the three-mast vessel, the <i>Britannia</i>,
Glasgow."
   There could not possibly be the least doubt now of Ayr-
ton's identity, for it would have been difficult to account
for his possession of the document if he were not the man
named in it.
   "Now then," said Glenarvan, "I wish to ask everyone's
opinion as to what is best to be done. Your advice, Ayr-
ton, will be particularly valuable, and I shall be much obliged
if you would let us have it."
   After a few minutes' thought, Ayrton replied -- "I thank


210 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

you, my Lord, for the confidence you show towards me,
and I hope to prove worthy of it. I have some knowledge
of the country, and the habits of the natives, and if I can be
of any service to you --"
   "Most certainly you can," interrupted Glenarvan.
   "I think with you," resumed Ayrton, "that the captain
and his two sailors have escaped alive from the wreck, but
since they have not found their way to the English settle-
ment, nor been seen any where, I have no doubt that their
fate has been similar to my own, and that they are prisoners
in the hands of some of the native tribes."
   "That's exactly what I have always argued," said Paga-
nel. "The shipwrecked men were taken prisoners, as
they feared. But must we conclude without question that,
like yourself, they have been dragged away north of the
37th parallel?"
   "I should suppose so, sir; for hostile tribes would hardly
remain anywhere near the districts under the British rule."
   "That will complicate our search," said Glenarvan, some-
what disconcerted. "How can we possibly find traces of
the captives in the heart of so vast a continent?"
   No one replied, though Lady Helena's questioning
glances at her companions seemed to press for an answer.
Paganel even was silent. His ingenuity for once was at
fault. John Mangles paced the cabin with great strides, as
if he fancied himself on the deck of his ship, evidently quite
nonplussed.
   "And you, Mr. Ayrton," said Lady Helena at last,
"what would you do?"
   "Madam," replied Ayrton, readily enough, "I should
re-embark in the <i>Duncan</i>, and go right to the scene of the
catastrophe. There I should be guided by circumstances,
and by any chance indications we might discover."
   "Very good," returned Glenarvan; "but we must wait
till the <i>Duncan</i> is repaired."
   "Ah, she has been injured then?" said Ayrton.
   "Yes," replied Mangles.
   "To any serious extent?"
   "No; but such injuries as require more skilful work-
manship than we have on board. One of the branches of
the screw is twisted, and we cannot get it repaired nearer
than Melbourne."


THE QUARTERMASTER      211

   "Well, let the ship go to Melbourne then," said Paganel,
"and we will go without her to Twofold Bay."
   "And how?" asked Mangles.
   "By crossing Australia as we crossed America, keeping
along the 37th parallel."
   "But the <i>Duncan?</i>" repeated Ayrton, as if particularly
anxious on that score.
   "The <i>Duncan</i> can rejoin us, or we can rejoin her, as the
case may be. Should we discover Captain Grant in the
course of our journey, we can all return together to Mel-
bourne. If we have to go on to the coast, on the contrary,
then the <i>Duncan</i> can come to us there. Who has any ob-
jection to make? Have you, Major?"
   "No, not if there is a practicable route across Australia."
   "So practicable, that I propose Lady Helena and Miss
Grant should accompany us."
   "Are you speaking seriously?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Perfectly so, my Lord. It is a journey of 350 miles,
not more. If we go twelve miles a day it will barely take
us a month, just long enough to put the vessel in trim. If
we had to cross the continent in a lower latitude, at its wild-
est part, and traverse immense deserts, where there is no
water and where the heat is tropical, and go where the most
adventurous travelers have never yet ventured, that would
be a different matter. But the 37th parallel cuts only
through the province of Victoria, quite an English country,
with roads and railways, and well populated almost every-
where. It is a journey you might make, almost, in a chaise,
though a wagon would be better. It is a mere trip from
London to Edinburgh, nothing more."
   "What about wild beasts, though?" asked Glenarvan,
anxious to go into all the difficulties of the proposal.
   "There are no wild beasts in Australia."
   "And how about the savages?"
   "There are no savages in this latitude, and if there were,
they are not cruel, like the New Zealanders."
   "And the convicts?"
   "There are no convicts in the southern provinces, only
in the eastern colonies. The province of Victoria not only
refused to admit them, but passed a law to prevent any
ticket-of-leave men from other provinces from entering


212 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

her territories. This very year the Government threat-
ened to withdraw its subsidy from the Peninsular Com-
pany if their vessels continued to take in coal in those western
parts of Australia where convicts are admitted. What!
Don't you know that, and you an Englishman?"
   "In the first place, I beg leave to say I am not an Eng-
lishman," replied Glenarvan.
   "What M. Paganel says is perfectly correct," said Paddy
O'Moore. "Not only the province of Victoria, but also
Southern Australia, Queensland, and even Tasmania, have
agreed to expel convicts from their territories. Ever since
I have been on this farm, I have never heard of one in this
Province."
   "And I can speak for myself. I have never come across
one."
   "You see then, friends," went on Jacques Paganel,
"there are few if any savages, no ferocious animals, no
convicts, and there are not many countries of Europe for
which you can say as much. Well, will you go?"
   "What do you think, Helena?" asked Glenarvan.
   "What we all think, dear Edward," replied Lady Helena,
turning toward her companions; "let us be off at once."


CHAPTER VIII
PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY

   GLENARVAN never lost much time between adopting an
idea and carrying it out. As soon as he consented to Paga-
nel's proposition, he gave immediate orders to make ar-
rangements for the journey with as little delay as possible.
The time of starting was fixed for the 22d of December,
the next day but one.
   What results might not come out of this journey. The
presence of Harry Grant had become an indisputable fact,
and the chances of finding him had increased. Not that
anyone expected to discover the captain exactly on the 37th
parallel, which they intended strictly to follow, but they
might come upon his track, and at all events, they were go-
ing to the actual spot where the wreck had occurred. That
was the principal point.
   Besides, if Ayrton consented to join them and act as their


PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY 213

guide through the forests of the province of Victoria and
right to the eastern coast, they would have a fresh chance
of success. Glenarvan was sensible of this, and asked his
host whether he would have any great objection to his ask-
ing Ayrton to accompany them, for he felt particularly de-
sirous of securing the assistance of Harry Grant's old com-
panion.
   Paddy O'Moore consented, though he would regret the
loss of his excellent servant.
   "Well, then, Ayrton, will you come with us in our search
expedition?"
   Ayrton did not reply immediately. He even showed
signs of hesitation; but at last, after due reflection, said,
"Yes, my Lord, I will go with you, and if I can not take
you to Captain Grant, I can at least take you to the very
place where his ship struck."
   "Thanks, Ayrton."
   "One question, my Lord."
   "Well?"
   "Where will you meet the <i>Duncan</i> again?"
   "At Melbourne, unless we traverse the whole continent
from coast to coast."
   "But the captain?"
   "The captain will await my instructions in the port of
Melbourne."
   "You may depend on me then, my Lord."
   "I will, Ayrton."
   The quartermaster was warmly thanked by the passen-
gers of the <i>Duncan</i>, and the children loaded him with
caresses. Everyone rejoiced in his decision except the
Irishman, who lost in him an intelligent and faithful helper.
But Paddy understood the importance Glenarvan attached
to the presence of the man, and submitted. The whole
party then returned to the ship, after arranging a rendez-
vous with Ayrton, and ordering him to procure the neces-
sary means of conveyance across the country.
   When John Mangles supported the proposition of Paga-
nel, he took for granted that he should accompany the ex-
pedition. He began to speak to Glenarvan at once about it,
and adduced all sorts of arguments to advance his cause --
his devotion to Lady Helena and his Lordship, how useful
could he be in organizing the party, and how useless on


214 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

board the <i>Duncan;</i> everything, in fact, but the main reason,
and that he had no need to bring forward.
   "I'll only ask you one question, John," said Glenarvan.
"Have you entire confidence in your chief officer?"
   "Absolute," replied Mangles, "Tom Austin is a good
sailor. He will take the ship to her destination, see that
the repairs are skilfully executed, and bring her back on
the appointed day. Tom is a slave to duty and discipline.
Never would he take it upon himself to alter or retard the
execution of an order. Your Lordship may rely on him as
on myself."
   "Very well then, John," replied Glenarvan. "You
shall go with us, for it would be advisable," he added,
smiling, "that you should be there when we find Mary
Grant's father."
   "Oh! your Lordship," murmured John, turning pale.
He could say no more, but grasped Lord Glenarvan's hand.
   Next day, John Mangles and the ship's carpenter, accom-
panied by sailors carrying provisions, went back to Paddy
O'Moore's house to consult the Irishman about the best
method of transport. All the family met him, ready to
give their best help. Ayrton was there, and gave the
benefit of his experience.
   On one point both he and Paddy agreed, that the journey
should be made in a bullock-wagon by the ladies, and that
the gentlemen should ride on horseback. Paddy could
furnish both bullocks and vehicle. The vehicle was a cart
twenty feet long, covered over by a tilt, and resting on four
large wheels without spokes or felloes, or iron tires -- in a
word, plain wooden discs. The front and hinder part were
connected by means of a rude mechanical contrivance, which
did not allow of the vehicle turning quickly. There was a
pole in front thirty-five feet long, to which the bullocks
were to be yoked in couples. These animals were able to
draw both with head and neck, as their yoke was fastened
on the nape of the neck, and to this a collar was attached
by an iron peg. It required great skill to drive such a
long, narrow, shaky concern, and to guide such a team by
a goad; but Ayrton had served his apprenticeship to it on
the Irishman's farm, and Paddy could answer for his com-
petency. The role of conductor was therefore assigned
to him.


PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY 215

   There were no springs to the wagon, and, consequently,
it was not likely to be very comfortable; but, such as it was,
they had to take it. But if the rough construction could
not be altered, John Mangles resolved that the interior
should be made as easy as possible. His first care was to
divide it into two compartments by a wooden partition.
The back one was intended for the provisions and luggage,
and M. Olbinett's portable kitchen. The front was set
apart especially for the ladies, and, under the carpenter's
hands, was to be speedily converted into a comfortable
room, covered with a thick carpet, and fitted up with a toilet
table and two couches. Thick leather curtains shut in this
apartment, and protected the occupants from the chilliness
of the nights. In case of necessity, the gentlemen might
shelter themselves here, when the violent rains came on,
but a tent was to be their usual resting-place when the cara-
van camped for the night. John Mangles exercised all his
ingenuity in furnishing the small space with everything
that the two ladies could possibly require, and he succeeded
so well, that neither Lady Helena nor Mary had much rea-
son to regret leaving their cosy cabins on board the <i>Duncan</i>.
   For the rest of the party, the preparations were soon
made, for they needed much less. Strong horses were pro-
vided for Lord Glenarvan, Paganel, Robert Grant,
McNabbs, and John Mangles; also for the two sailors,
Wilson and Mulrady, who were to accompany their captain.
Ayrton's place was, of course, to be in front of the wagon,
and M. Olbinett, who did not much care for equitation,
was to make room for himself among the baggage. Horses
and bullocks were grazing in the Irishman's meadows, ready
to fetch at a moment's notice.
   After all arrangements were made, and the carpenter set
to work, John Mangles escorted the Irishman and his family
back to the vessel, for Paddy wished to return the visit of
Lord Glenarvan. Ayrton thought proper to go too, and
about four o'clock the party came over the side of the <i>Dun-
can</i>.
   They were received with open arms. Glenarvan would
not be outstripped in politeness, and invited his visitors to
stop and dine. His hospitality was willingly accepted.
Paddy was quite amazed at the splendor of the saloon, and
was loud in admiration of the fitting up of the cabins, and


216 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

the carpets and hangings, as well as of the polished maple-
wood of the upper deck. Ayrton's approbation was much
less hearty, for he considered it mere costly superfluity.
   But when he examined the yacht with a sailor's eye, the
quartermaster of the <i>Britannia</i> was as enthusiastic about it
as Paddy. He went down into the hold, inspected the
screw department and the engine-room, examining the en-
gine thoroughly, and inquired about its power and consump-
tion. He explored the coal-bunkers, the store-room, the
powder-store, and armory, in which last he seemed to be
particularly attracted by a cannon mounted on the fore-
castle. Glenarvan saw he had to do with a man who un-
derstood such matters, as was evident from his questions.
Ayrton concluded his investigations by a survey of the
masts and rigging.
   "You have a fine vessel, my Lord," he said after his
curiosity was satisfied.
   "A good one, and that is best," replied Glenarvan.
   "And what is her tonnage?"
   "Two hundred and ten tons."
   "I don't think I am far out," continued Ayrton, "in
judging her speed at fifteen knots. I should say she could
do that easily."
   "Say seventeen," put in John Mangles, "and you've hit
the mark."
   "Seventeen!" exclaimed the quartermaster. "Why,
not a man-of-war -- not the best among them, I mean --
could chase her!"
   "Not one," replied Mangles. "The <i>Duncan</i> is a regular
racing yacht, and would never let herself be beaten."
   "Even at sailing?" asked Ayrton.
   "Even at sailing."
   "Well, my Lord, and you too, captain," returned Ayrton,
"allow a sailor who knows what a ship is worth, to compli-
ment you on yours."
   "Stay on board of her, then, Ayrton," said Glenarvan;
"it rests with yourself to call it yours."
   "I will think of it, my Lord," was all Ayrton's reply.
   Just then M. Olbinett came to announce dinner, and his
Lordship repaired with his guests to the saloon.
   "That Ayrton is an intelligent man," said Paganel to
the Major.


PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY 217

   "Too intelligent!" muttered McNabbs, who, without
any apparent reason, had taken a great dislike to the face
and manners of the quartermaster.
   During the dinner, Ayrton gave some interesting details
about the Australian continent, which he knew perfectly.
He asked how many sailors were going to accompany
the expedition, and seemed astonished to hear that only
two were going. He advised Glenarvan to take all his best
men, and even urged him to do it, which advice, by the
way, ought to have removed the Major's suspicion.
   "But," said Glenarvan, "our journey is not dangerous,
is it?"
   "Not at all," replied Ayrton, quickly.
   "Well then, we'll have all the men we can on board.
Hands will be wanted to work the ship, and to help in the
repairs. Besides, it is of the utmost importance that she
should meet us to the very day, at whatever place may be
ultimately selected. Consequently, we must not lessen her
crew."
   Ayrton said nothing more, as if convinced his Lordship
was right.
   When evening came, Scotch and Irish separated. Ayr-
ton and Paddy O'Moore and family returned home. Horses
and wagons were to be ready the next day, and eight o'clock
in the morning was fixed for starting.
   Lady Helena and Mary Grant soon made their prepara-
tions. They had less to do than Jacques Paganel, for he
spent half the night in arranging, and wiping, and rubbing
up the lenses of his telescope. Of course, next morning
he slept on till the Major's stentorian voice roused him.
   The luggage was already conveyed to the farm, thanks
to John Mangles, and a boat was waiting to take the pas-
sengers. They were soon seated, and the young captain
gave his final orders to Tom Austin, his chief officer. He
impressed upon him that he was to wait at Melbourne for
Lord Glenarvan's commands, and to obey them scrupu-
lously, whatever they might be.
   The old sailor told John he might rely on him, and, in
the name of the men, begged to offer his Lordship their
best wishes for the success of this new expedition.
   A storm of hurrahs burst forth from the yacht as the
boat rowed off. In ten minutes the shore was reached, and


218 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

a quarter of an hour afterward the Irishman's farm. All
was ready. Lady Helena was enchanted with her installa-
tion. The huge chariot, with its primitive wheels and mas-
sive planks, pleased her particularly. The six bullocks,
yoked in pairs, had a patriarchal air about them which took
her fancy. Ayrton, goad in hand, stood waiting the orders
of this new master.
   "My word," said Paganel, "this is a famous vehicle; it
beats all the mail-coaches in the world. I don't know a
better fashion of traveling than in a mountebank's caravan
-- a movable house, which goes or stops wherever you
please. What can one wish better? The Samaratians un-
derstood that, and never traveled in any other way."
   "Monsieur Paganel," said Lady Helena, "I hope I shall
have the pleasure of seeing you in my <i>salons</i>."
   "Assuredly, madam, I should count it an honor. Have
you fixed the day?"
   "I shall be at home every day to my friends," replied
Lady Helena; "and you are --"
   "The most devoted among them all," interrupted Paga-
nel, gaily.
   These mutual compliments were interrupted by the ar-
rival of the seven horses, saddled and ready. They were
brought by Paddy's sons, and Lord Glenarvan paid the sum
stipulated for his various purchases, adding his cordial
thanks, which the worthy Irishman valued at least as much
as his golden guineas.
   The signal was given to start, and Lady Helena and Mary
took their places in the reserved compartment. Ayrton
seated himself in front, and Olbinett scrambled in among
the luggage. The rest of the party, well armed with car-
bines and revolvers, mounted their horses. Ayrton gave a
peculiar cry, and his team set off. The wagon shook and
the planks creaked, and the axles grated in the naves of the
wheels; and before long the hospitable farm of the Irish-
man was out of sight.


CHAPTER IX
A COUNTRY OF PARADOXES

   IT was the 23d of December, 1864, a dull, damp, dreary
month in the northern hemisphere; but on the Australian
continent it might be called June. The hottest season of
the year had already commenced, and the sun's rays were
almost tropical, when Lord Glenarvan started on his new
expedition.
   Most fortunately the 37th parallel did not cross the im-
mense deserts, inaccessible regions, which have cost many
martyrs to science already. Glenarvan could never have
encountered them. He had only to do with the southern
part of Australia -- viz., with a narrow portion of the prov-
ince of Adelaide, with the whole of Victoria, and with the
top of the reversed triangle which forms New South Wales.
   It is scarcely sixty-two miles from Cape Bernouilli to the
frontiers of Victoria. It was not above a two days' march,
and Ayrton reckoned on their sleeping next night at Apsley,
the most westerly town of Victoria.
   The commencement of a journey is always marked by
ardor, both in the horses and the horsemen. This is well
enough in the horsemen, but if the horses are to go far,
their speed must be moderated and their strength hus-
banded. It was, therefore, fixed that the average journey
every day should not be more than from twenty-five to
thirty miles.
   Besides, the pace of the horses must be regulated by the
slower pace of the bullocks, truly mechanical engines which
lose in time what they gain in power. The wagon, with its
passengers and provisions, was the very center of the cara-
van, the moving fortress. The horsemen might act as
scouts, but must never be far away from it.
   As no special marching order had been agreed upon,
everybody was at liberty to follow his inclinations within
certain limits. The hunters could scour the plain, amiable
folks could talk to the fair occupants of the wagon, and
philosophers could philosophize. Paganel, who was all
three combined, had to be and was everywhere at once.
   The march across Adelaide presented nothing of any
particular interest. A succession of low hills rich in dust,
a long stretch of what they call in Australia "bush," several
prairies covered with a small prickly bush, considered a

219


220 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

great dainty by the ovine tribe, embraced many miles. Here
and there they noticed a species of sheep peculiar to New
Holland -- sheep with pig's heads, feeding between the posts
of the telegraph line recently made between Adelaide and
the coast.
   Up to this time there had been a singular resemblance
in the country to the monotonous plains of the Argentine
Pampas. There was the same grassy flat soil, the same
sharply-defined horizon against the sky. McNabbs declared
they had never changed countries; but Paganel told him to
wait, and he would soon see a difference. And on the faith
of this assurance marvelous things were expected by the
whole party.
   In this fashion, after a march of sixty miles in two days,
the caravan reached the parish of Apsley, the first town in
the Province of Victoria in the Wimerra district.
   The wagon was put up at the Crown Inn. Supper was
soon smoking on the table. It consisted solely of mutton
served up in various ways.
   They all ate heartily, but talked more than they ate,
eagerly asking Paganel questions about the wonders of the
country they were just beginning to traverse. The ami-
able geographer needed no pressing, and told them first
that this part of it was called Australia Felix.
   "Wrongly named!" he continued. "It had better have
been called rich, for it is true of countries, as individuals,
that riches do not make happiness. Thanks to her gold
mines, Australia has been abandoned to wild devastating
adventurers. You will come across them when we reach
the gold fields."
   "Is not the colony of Victoria of but a recent origin?"
asked Lady Glenarvan.
   "Yes, madam, it only numbers thirty years of existence.
It was on the 6th of June, 1835, on a Tuesday --"
   "At a quarter past seven in the evening," put in the
Major, who delighted in teasing the Frenchman about his
precise dates.
   "No, at ten minutes past seven," replied the geographer,
gravely, "that Batman and Falckner first began a settle-
ment at Port Phillip, the bay on which the large city of
Melbourne now stands. For fifteen years the colony was
part of New South Wales, and recognized Sydney as the


A COUNTRY OF PARADOXES    221

capital; but in 1851, she was declared independent, and took
the name of Victoria."
   "And has greatly increased in prosperity since then, I
believe," said Glenarvan.
   "Judge for yourself, my noble friend," replied Paganel.
"Here are the numbers given by the last statistics; and let
McNabbs say as he likes, I know nothing more eloquent
than statistics."
   "Go on," said the Major.
   "Well, then, in 1836, the colony of Port Phillip had 224
inhabitants. To-day the province of Victoria numbers
550,000. Seven millions of vines produce annually 121,-
000 gallons of wine. There are 103,000 horses spreading
over the plains, and 675,272 horned cattle graze in her wide-
stretching pastures."
   "Is there not also a certain number of pigs?" inquired
McNabbs.
   "Yes, Major, 79,625."
   "And how many sheep?"
   "7,115,943, McNabbs."
   "Including the one we are eating at this moment."
   "No, without counting that, since it is three parts de-
voured."
   "Bravo, Monsieur Paganel," exclaimed Lady Helena,
laughing heartily. "It must be owned you are posted up
in geographical questions, and my cousin McNabbs need
not try and find you tripping."
   "It is my calling, Madam, to know this sort of thing,
and to give you the benefit of my information when you
please. You may therefore believe me when I tell you that
wonderful things are in store for you in this strange
country."
   "It does not look like it at present," said McNabbs, on
purpose to tease Paganel.
   "Just wait, impatient Major," was his rejoinder. "You
have hardly put your foot on the frontier, when you turn
round and abuse it. Well, I say and say again, and will al-
ways maintain that this is the most curious country on the
earth. Its formation, and nature, and products, and cli-
mate, and even its future disappearance have amazed, and
are now amazing, and will amaze, all the <i>savants</i> in the
world. Think, my friends, of a continent, the margin of


222 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

which, instead of the center, rose out of the waves originally
like a gigantic ring, which encloses, perhaps, in its center,
a sea partly evaporated, the waves of which are drying up
daily; where humidity does not exist either in the air or
in the soil; where the trees lose their bark every year, in-
stead of their leaves; where the leaves present their sides
to the sun and not their face, and consequently give no
shade; where the wood is often incombustible, where good-
sized stones are dissolved by the rain; where the forests
are low and the grasses gigantic; where the animals are
strange; where quadrupeds have beaks, like the echidna,
or ornithorhynchus, and naturalists have been obliged
to create a special order for them, called monotremes;
where the kangaroos leap on unequal legs, and sheep have
pigs' heads; where foxes fly about from tree to tree; where
the swans are black; where rats make nests; where the
bower-bird opens her reception-rooms to receive visits from
her feathered friends; where the birds astonish the imagina-
tion by the variety of their notes and their aptness; where
one bird serves for a clock, and another makes a sound like
a postilion cracking of a whip, and a third imitates a knife-
grinder, and a fourth the motion of a pendulum; where one
laughs when the sun rises, and another cries when the sun
sets! Oh, strange, illogical country, land of paradoxes and
anomalies, if ever there was one on earth -- the learned
botanist Grimard was right when he said, 'There is that
Australia, a sort of parody, or rather a defiance of uni-
versal laws in the face of the rest of the world.'"
   Paganel's tirade was poured forth in the most impetu-
ous manner, and seemed as if it were never coming to an
end. The eloquent secretary of the Geographical Society
was no longer master of himself. He went on and on,
gesticulating furiously, and brandishing his fork to the im-
minent danger of his neighbors. But at last his voice was
drowned in a thunder of applause, and he managed to stop.
   Certainly after such an enumeration of Australian pe-
culiarities, he might have been left in peace but the Major
said in the coolest tone possible: "And is that all, Pag-
anel?"
   "No, indeed not," rejoined the Frenchman, with re-
newed vehemence.
   "What!" exclaimed Lady Helena; "there are more
wonders still in Australia?"


A COUNTRY OF PARADOXES    223

   "Yes, Madam, its climate. It is even stranger than its
productions."
   "Is it possible?" they all said.
   "I am not speaking of the hygienic qualities of the cli-
mate," continued Paganel, "rich as it is in oxygen and
poor in azote. There are no damp winds, because the
trade winds blow regularly on the coasts, and most dis-
eases are unknown, from typhus to measles, and chronic
affections."
   "Still, that is no small advantage," said Glenarvan.
   "No doubt; but I am not referring to that, but to one
quality it has which is incomparable."
   "And what is that?"
   "You will never believe me."
   "Yes, we will," exclaimed his auditors, their curiosity
aroused by this preamble.
   "Well, it is --"
   "It is what?"
   "It is a moral regeneration."
   "A moral regeneration?"
   "Yes," replied the <i>savant</i>, in a tone of conviction.
"Here metals do not get rust on them by exposure to the
air, nor men. Here the pure, dry atmosphere whitens
everything rapidly, both linen and souls. The virtue of
the climate must have been well known in England when
they determined to send their criminals here to be re-
formed."
   "What! do you mean to say the climate has really any
such influence?" said Lady Helena.
   "Yes, Madam, both on animals and men."
   "You are not joking, Monsieur Paganel?"
   "I am not, Madam. The horses and the cattle here are
of incomparable docility. You see it?"
   "It is impossible!"
   "But it is a fact. And the convicts transported into
this reviving, salubrious air, become regenerated in a few
years. Philanthropists know this. In Australia all na-
tures grow better."
   "But what is to become of you then, Monsieur Paganel,
in this privileged country -- you who are so good already?"
said Lady Helena. "What will you turn out?"
   "Excellent, Madam, just excellent, and that's all."


CHAPTER X
AN ACCIDENT

   THE next day, the 24th of December, they started at
daybreak. The heat was already considerable, but not
unbearable, and the road was smooth and good, and al-
lowed the cavalcade to make speedy progress. In the
evening they camped on the banks of the White Lake, the
waters of which are brackish and undrinkable.
   Jacques Paganel was obliged to own that the name of
this lake was a complete misnomer, for the waters were no
more white than the Black Sea is black, or the Red Sea
red, or the Yellow River yellow, or the Blue Mountains
blue. However, he argued and disputed the point with all
the <i>amour propre</i> of a geographer, but his reasoning made
no impression.
   M. Olbinett prepared the evening meal with his accus-
tomed punctuality, and after this was dispatched, the trav-
elers disposed themselves for the night in the wagon and
in the tent, and were soon sleeping soundly, notwithstand-
ing the melancholy howling of the "dingoes," the jackals
of Australia.
   A magnificent plain, thickly covered with chrysanthe-
mums, stretched out beyond the lake, and Glenarvan and
his friends would gladly have explored its beauties when
they awoke next morning, but they had to start. As far
as the eye could reach, nothing was visible but one stretch
of prairie, enameled with flower, in all the freshness and
abundance of spring. The blue flowers of the slender-
leaved flax, combined with the bright hues of the scarlet
acanthus, a flower peculiar to the country.
   A few cassowaries were bounding over the plain, but it
was impossible to get near them. The Major was fortu-
nate enough, however, to hit one very rare animal with a
ball in the leg. This was the jabiru, a species which is
fast disappearing, the gigantic crane of the English colo-
nies. This winged creature was five feet high, and his
wide, conical, extremely pointed beak, measured eighteen
inches in length. The violet and purple tints of his head
contrasted vividly with the glossy green of his neck, and
the dazzling whiteness of his throat, and the bright red of
his long legs. Nature seems to have exhausted in its favor
all the primitive colors on her palette.

V. IV Verne

224


AN ACCIDENT            225

   Great admiration was bestowed on this bird, and the
Major's spoil would have borne the honors of the day, had
not Robert come across an animal a few miles further on,
and bravely killed it. It was a shapeless creature, half
porcupine, half ant-eater, a sort of unfinished animal be-
longing to the first stage of creation. A long glutinous
extensible tongue hung out of his jaws in search of the
ants, which formed its principal food.
   "It is an echidna," said Paganel. "Have you ever
seen such a creature?"
   "It is horrible," replied Glenarvan.
   "Horrible enough, but curious, and, what's more, pe-
culiar to Australia. One might search for it in vain in
any other part of the world."
   Naturally enough, the geographer wished to preserve
this interesting specimen of monotremata, and wanted to
stow it away in the luggage; but M. Olbinett resented the
idea so indignantly, that the <i>savant</i> was obliged to aban-
don his project.
   About four o'clock in the afternoon, John Mangles de-
scried an enormous column of smoke about three miles
off, gradually overspreading the whole horizon. What
could be the cause of this phenomenon? Paganel was in-
clined to think it was some description of meteor, and his
lively imagination was already in search of an explanation,
when Ayrton cut short all his conjectures summarily, by
announcing that the cloud of dust was caused by a drove
of cattle on the road.
   The quartermaster proved right, for as the cloud came
nearer, quite a chorus of bleatings and neighings, and bel-
lowings escaped from it, mingled with the loud tones of a
human voice, in the shape of cries, and whistles, and vo-
ciferations.
   Presently a man came out of the cloud. This was the
leader-in-chief of the four-footed army. Glenarvan ad-
vanced toward him, and friendly relations were speedily
established between them. The leader, or to give him his
proper designation, the stock-keeper, was part owner of
the drove. His name was Sam Machell, and he was on his
way from the eastern provinces to Portland Bay.
   The drove numbered 12,075 head in all, or l,000 bul-
locks, 11,000 sheep, and 75 horses. All these had been


226 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

bought in the Blue Mountains in a poor, lean condition,
and were going to be fatted up on the rich pasture lands
of Southern Australia, and sold again at a great profit.
Sam Machell expected to get &pound;2 on each bullock, and 10s.
on every sheep, which would bring him in &pound;3,750. This
was doing good business; but what patience and energy
were required to conduct such a restive, stubborn lot to
their destination, and what fatigues must have to be en-
dured. Truly the gain was hardly earned.
   Sam Machell told his history in a few words, while the
drove continued their march among the groves of mimosas.
Lady Helena and Mary and the rest of the party seated
themselves under the shade of a wide-spreading gum-tree,
and listened to his recital.
   It was seven months since Sam Machell had started. He
had gone at the rate of ten miles a day, and his intermin-
able journey would last three months longer. His assis-
tants in the laborious task comprised twenty dogs and
thirty men, five of whom were blacks, and very serviceable
in tracking up any strayed beasts. Six wagons made the
rear-guard. All the men were armed with stockwhips, the
handles of which are eighteen inches long, and the lash nine
feet, and they move about among the ranks, bringing
refractory animals back into order, while the dogs, the
light cavalry of the regiment, preserved discipline in the
wings.
   The travelers were struck with the admirable arrange-
ment of the drove. The different stock were kept apart,
for wild sheep and bullocks would not have got on to-
gether at all. The bullocks would never have grazed
where the sheep had passed along, and consequently they
had to go first, divided into two battalions. Five regi-
ments of sheep followed, in charge of twenty men, and last
of all came the horses.
   Sam Machell drew the attention of his auditors to the
fact that the real guides of the drove were neither the men
nor the dogs, but the oxen themselves, beasts of superior
intelligence, recognized as leaders by their congenitors.
They advanced in front with perfect gravity, choosing the
best route by instinct, and fully alive to their claim to re-
spect. Indeed, they were obliged to be studied and hu-
mored in everything, for the whole drove obeyed them


AN ACCIDENT           227

implicitly. If they took it into their heads to stop, it was a
matter of necessity to yield to their good pleasure, for not
a single animal would move a step till these leaders gave
the signal to set off.
   Sundry details, added by the stock-keeper, completed the
history of this expedition, worthy of being written, if not
commended by Xenophon himself. As long as the troop
marched over the plains it was well enough, there was little
difficulty or fatigue. The animals fed as they went along,
and slaked their thirst at the numerous creeks that wa-
tered the plains, sleeping at night and making good prog-
ress in the day, always obedient and tractable to the dogs.
But when they had to go through great forests and groves
of eucalyptus and mimosas, the difficulties increased.
Platoons, battalions and regiments got all mixed together or
scattered, and it was a work of time to collect them again.
Should a "leader" unfortunately go astray, he had to be
found, cost what it might, on pain of a general dis-
bandment, and the blacks were often long days in quest
of him, before their search was successful. During the
heavy rains the lazy beasts refused to stir, and when violent
storms chanced to occur, the creatures became almost
mad with terror, and were seized with a wild, disorderly
panic.
   However, by dint of energy and ambition, the stock-
keeper triumphed over these difficulties, incessantly re-
newed though they were. He kept steadily on; mile after
mile of plains and woods, and mountains, lay behind. But
in addition to all his other qualities, there was one higher
than all that he specially needed when they came to rivers.
This was patience -- patience that could stand any trial, and
not only could hold out for hours and days, but for weeks.
The stock-keeper would be himself forced to wait on the
banks of a stream that might have been crossed at once.
There was nothing to hinder but the obstinacy of the herd.
The bullocks would taste the water and turn back. The
sheep fled in all directions, afraid to brave the liquid ele-
ment. The stock-keeper hoped when night came he might
manage them better, but they still refused to go forward.
The rams were dragged in by force, but the sheep would
not follow. They tried what thirst would do, by keeping
them without drink for several days, but when they were


228  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

brought to the river again, they simply quenched their
thirst, and declined a more intimate acquaintance with the
water. The next expedient employed was to carry all the
lambs over, hoping the mothers would be drawn after them,
moved by their cries. But the lambs might bleat as piti-
fully as they liked, the mothers never stirred. Sometimes
this state of affairs would last a whole month, and the stock-
keeper would be driven to his wits' end by his bleating, bel-
lowing, neighing army. Then all of a sudden, one fine
day, without rhyme or reason, a detachment would take it
into their heads to make a start across, and the only diffi-
culty now was to keep the whole herd from rushing helter-
skelter after them. The wildest confusion set in among
the ranks, and numbers of the animals were drowned in
the passage.
   Such was the narrative of Sam Machell. During its
recital, a considerable part of the troop had filed past in
good order. It was time for him to return to his place at
their head, that he might be able to choose the best pastur-
age. Taking leave of Lord Glenarvan, he sprang on a
capital horse of the native breed, that one of his men held
waiting for him, and after shaking hands cordially with
everybody all round, took his departure. A few minutes
later, nothing was visible of the stock-keeper and his troop
but a cloud of dust.
   The wagon resumed its course in the opposite direction,
and did not stop again till they halted for the night at the
foot of Mount Talbot.
   Paganel made the judicious observation that it was the
25th of December, the Christmas Day so dear to English
hearts. But the steward had not forgotten it, and an ap-
petizing meal was soon ready under the tent, for which he
deserved and received warm compliments from the guests.
Indeed, M. Olbinett had quite excelled himself on this occa-
sion. He produced from his stores such an array of Euro-
pean dishes as is seldom seen in the Australian desert.
Reindeer hams, slices of salt beef, smoked salmon, oat
cakes, and barley meal scones; tea <i>ad libitum</i>, and whisky
in abundance, and several bottles of port, composed this
astonishing meal. The little party might have thought
themselves in the grand dining-hall of Malcolm Castle, in
the heart of the Highlands of Scotland.


AN ACCIDENT           229

   The next day, at 11 A. M., the wagon reached the banks
of the Wimerra on the 143d meridian.
   The river, half a mile in width, wound its limpid course
between tall rows of gum-trees and acacias. Magnificent
specimens of the <i>myrtacea</i>, among others, the <i>metroside-
ros speciosa</i>, fifteen feet high, with long drooping branches,
adorned with red flowers. Thousands of birds, the lories,
and greenfinches, and gold-winged pigeons, not to speak of
the noisy paroquets, flew about in the green branches. Be-
low, on the bosom of the water, were a couple of shy and
unapproachable black swans. This <i>rara avis</i> of the Aus-
tralian rivers soon disappeared among the windings of the
Wimerra, which water the charming landscape in the most
capricious manner.
   The wagon stopped on a grassy bank, the long fringes
of which dipped in the rapid current. There was neither
raft nor bridge, but cross over they must. Ayrton looked
about for a practicable ford. About a quarter of a mile
up the water seemed shallower, and it was here they deter-
mined to try to pass over. The soundings in different
parts showed a depth of three feet only, so that the wagon
might safely enough venture.
   "I suppose there is no other way of fording the river?"
said Glenarvan to the quartermaster.
   "No, my Lord; but the passage does not seem danger-
ous. We shall manage it."
   "Shall Lady Glenarvan and Miss Grant get out of the
wagon?"
   "Not at all. My bullocks are surefooted, and you may
rely on me for keeping them straight."
   "Very well, Ayrton; I can trust you."
   The horsemen surrounded the ponderous vehicle, and
all stepped boldly into the current. Generally, when wag-
ons have to ford rivers, they have empty casks slung all
round them, to keep them floating on the water; but they
had no such swimming belt with them on this occasion, and
they could only depend on the sagacity of the animals and
the prudence of Ayrton, who directed the team. The Ma-
jor and the two sailors were some feet in advance. Glen-
arvan and John Mangles went at the sides of the wagon,
ready to lend any assistance the fair travelers might re-
quire, and Paganel and Robert brought up the rear.


230 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   All went well till they reached the middle of the Wimerra,
but then the hollow deepened, and the water rose to the mid-
dle of the wheels. The bullocks were in danger of losing
their footing, and dragging with them the oscillating ve-
hicle. Ayrton devoted himself to his task courageously.
He jumped into the water, and hanging on by the bullocks'
horns, dragged them back into the right course.
   Suddenly the wagon made a jolt that it was impossible
to prevent; a crack was heard, and the vehicle began to
lean over in a most precarious manner. The water now
rose to the ladies' feet; the whole concern began to float,
though John Mangles and Lord Glenarvan hung on to the
side. It was an anxious moment.
   Fortunately a vigorous effort drove the wagon toward
the opposite shore, and the bank began to slope upward, so
that the horses and bullocks were able to regain their foot-
ing, and soon the whole party found themselves on the
other side, glad enough, though wet enough too.
   The fore part of the wagon, however, was broken by
the jolt, and Glenarvan's horse had lost a shoe.
   This was an accident that needed to be promptly re-
paired. They looked at each other hardly knowing what
to do, till Ayrton proposed he should go to Black Point
Station, twenty miles further north, and bring back a
blacksmith with him.
   "Yes, go, my good fellow," said Glenarvan. "How
long will it take you to get there and back?"
   "About fifteen hours," replied Ayrton, "but not longer."
   "Start at once, then, and we will camp here, on the
banks of the Wimerra, till you return."


CHAPTER XI
CRIME OR CALAMITY

   IT was not without apprehension that the Major saw
Ayrton quit the Wimerra camp to go and look for a black-
smith at the Black Point Station. But he did not breathe
a word of his private misgivings, and contented himself
with watching the neighborhood of the river; nothing dis-
turbed the repose of those tranquil glades, and after a short
night the sun reappeared on the horizon.


CRIME OR CALAMITY       231

   As to Glenarvan, his only fear was lest Ayrton should
return alone. If they fail to find a workman, the wagon
could not resume the journey. This might end in a delay
of many days, and Glenarvan, impatient to succeed, could
brook no delay, in his eagerness to attain his object.
   Ayrton luckily had lost neither his time nor his trouble.
He appeared next morning at daybreak, accompanied by a
man who gave himself out as the blacksmith from Black-
Point Station. He was a powerful fellow, and tall, but
his features were of a low, brutal type, which did not pre-
possess anyone in his favor. But that was nothing, pro-
vided he knew his business. He scarcely spoke, and cer-
tainly he did not waste his breath in useless words.
   "Is he a good workman?" said John Mangles to the
quartermaster.
   "I know no more about him than you do, captain," said
Ayrton. "But we shall see."
   The blacksmith set to work. Evidently that was his
trade, as they could plainly see from the way he set about
repairing the forepart of the wagon. He worked skil-
fully and with uncommon energy. The Major observed
that the flesh of his wrists was deeply furrowed, showing a
ring of extravasated blood. It was the mark of a recent
injury, which the sleeve of an old woolen shirt could not
conceal. McNabbs questioned the blacksmith about those
sores which looked so painful. The man continued his
work without answering. Two hours more and the dam-
age the carriage had sustained was made good. As to
Glenarvan's horse, it was soon disposed of. The black-
smith had had the forethought to bring the shoes with him.
These shoes had a peculiarity which did not escape the
Major; it was a trefoil clumsily cut on the back part. Mc-
Nabbs pointed it out to Ayrton.
   "It is the Black-Point brand," said the quartermaster.
"That enables them to track any horses that may stray
from the station, and prevents their being mixed with other
herds."
   The horse was soon shod. The blacksmith claimed his
wage, and went off without uttering four words.
   Half an hour later, the travelers were on the road. Be-
yond the grove of mimosas was a stretch of sparsely tim-
bered country, which quite deserved its name of "open


232  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

plain." Some fragments of quartz and ferruginous rock
lay among the scrub and the tall grass, where numerous
flocks were feeding. Some miles farther the wheels of
the wagon plowed deep into the alluvial soil, where irregu-
lar creeks murmured in their beds, half hidden among
giant reeds. By-and-by they skirted vast salt lakes, rap-
idly evaporating. The journey was accomplished without
trouble, and, indeed, without fatigue.
   Lady Helena invited the horsemen of the party to pay
her a visit in turns, as her reception-room was but small,
and in pleasant converse with this amiable woman they
forgot the fatigue of their day's ride.
   Lady Helena, seconded by Miss Mary, did the honors
of their ambulatory house with perfect grace. John Man-
gles was not forgotten in these daily invitations, and his
somewhat serious conversation was not unpleasing.
   The party crossed, in a diagonal direction, the mail-coach
road from Crowland to Horsham, which was a very dusty
one, and little used by pedestrians.
   The spurs of some low hills were skirted at the boundary
of Talbot County, and in the evening the travelers reached
a point about three miles from Maryborough. The fine
rain was falling, which, in any other country, would have
soaked the ground; but here the air absorbed the moisture
so wonderfully that the camp did not suffer in the least.
   Next day, the 29th of December, the march was delayed
somewhat by a succession of little hills, resembling a min-
iature Switzerland. It was a constant repetition of up and
down hill, and many a jolt besides, all of which were
scarcely pleasant. The travelers walked part of the way,
and thought it no hardship.
   At eleven o'clock they arrived at Carisbrook, rather an
important municipality. Ayrton was for passing outside
the town without going through it, in order, he said, to
save time. Glenarvan concurred with him, but Paganel,
always eager for novelties, was for visiting Carisbrook.
They gave him his way, and the wagon went on slowly.
   Paganel, as was his custom, took Robert with him. His
visit to the town was very short, but it sufficed to give him
an exact idea of Australian towns. There was a bank, a
court-house, a market, a church, and a hundred or so of
brick houses, all exactly alike. The whole town was laid


CRIME OR CALAMITY       233

out in squares, crossed with parallel streets in the English
fashion. Nothing could be more simple, nothing less at-
tractive. As the town grows, they lengthen the streets
as we lengthen the trousers of a growing child, and thus
the original symmetry is undisturbed.
   Carisbrook was full of activity, a remarkable feature in
these towns of yesterday. It seems in Australia as if
towns shot up like trees, owing to the heat of the sun.
Men of business were hurrying along the streets; gold
buyers were hastening to meet the in-coming escort; the
precious metal, guarded by the local police, was coming
from the mines at Bendigo and Mount Alexander. All
the little world was so absorbed in its own interests, that
the strangers passed unobserved amid the laborious inhab-
itants.
   After an hour devoted to visiting Carisbrook, the two
visitors rejoined their companions, and crossed a highly
cultivated district. Long stretches of prairie, known as
the "Low Level Plains," next met their gaze, dotted with
countless sheep, and shepherds' huts. And then came a
sandy tract, without any transition, but with the abruptness
of change so characteristic of Australian scenery. Mount
Simpson and Mount Terrengower marked the southern
point where the boundary of the Loddon district cuts the
144th meridian.
   As yet they had not met with any of the aboriginal
tribes living in the savage state. Glenarvan wondered if
the Australians were wanting in Australia, as the Indians
had been wanting in the Pampas of the Argentine district;
but Paganel told him that, in that latitude, the natives fre-
quented chiefly the Murray Plains, about one hundred
miles to the eastward.
   "We are now approaching the gold district," said he,
"in a day or two we shall cross the rich region of Mount
Alexander. It was here that the swarm of diggers
alighted in 1852; the natives had to fly to the interior.
We are in civilized districts without seeing any sign of it;
but our road will, before the day is over, cross the railway
which connects the Murray with the sea. Well, I must
confess, a railway in Australia does seem to me an aston-
ishing thing!"
   "And pray, why, Paganel?" said Glenarvan.


234 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Why? because it jars on one's ideas. Oh! I know you
English are so used to colonizing distant possessions. You,
who have electric telegraphs and universal exhibitions in
New Zealand, you think it is all quite natural. But it
dumb-founders the mind of a Frenchman like myself, and
confuses all one's notions of Australia!"
   "Because you look at the past, and not at the present,"
said John Mangles.
   A loud whistle interrupted the discussion. The party
were within a mile of the railway. Quite a number of
persons were hastening toward the railway bridge. The
people from the neighboring stations left their houses, and
the shepherds their flocks, and crowded the approaches to
the railway. Every now and then there was a shout, "The
railway! the railway!"
   Something serious must have occurred to produce such
an agitation. Perhaps some terrible accident.
   Glenarvan, followed by the rest, urged on his horse. In
a few minutes he arrived at Camden Bridge and then he
became aware of the cause of such an excitement.
   A fearful accident had occurred; not a collision, but a
train had gone off the line, and then there had been a fall.
The affair recalled the worst disasters of American rail-
ways. The river crossed by the railway was full of broken
carriages and the engine. Whether the weight of the train
had been too much for the bridge, or whether the train had
gone off the rails, the fact remained that five carriages out
of six fell into the bed of the Loddon, dragged down by the
locomotive. The sixth carriage, miraculously preserved
by the breaking of the coupling chain, remained on the
rails, six feet from the abyss. Below nothing was discern-
ible but a melancholy heap of twisted and blackened axles,
shattered wagons, bent rails, charred sleepers; the boiler,
burst by the shock, had scattered its plates to enormous
distances. From this shapeless mass of ruins flames and
black smoke still rose. After the fearful fall came fire,
more fearful still! Great tracks of blood, scattered limbs,
charred trunks of bodies, showed here and there; none
could guess how many victims lay dead and mangled un-
der those ruins.
   Glenarvan, Paganel, the Major, Mangles, mixing with
the crowd, heard the current talk. Everyone tried to ac-


CRIME OR CALAMITY       235

count for the accident, while doing his utmost to save what
could be saved.
   "The bridge must have broken," said one.
   "Not a bit of it. The bridge is whole enough; they
must have forgotten to close it to let the train pass. That
is all."
   It was, in fact, a swing bridge, which opened for the
convenience of the boats. Had the guard, by an unpardon-
able oversight, omitted to close it for the passage of the
train, so that the train, coming on at full speed, was pre-
cipitated into the Loddon? This hypothesis seemed very
admissible; for although one-half of the bridge lay beneath
the ruins of the train, the other half, drawn up to the oppo-
site shore, hung, still unharmed, by its chains. No one
could doubt that an oversight on the part of the guard had
caused the catastrophe.
   The accident had occurred in the night, to the express
train which left Melbourne at 11:45 in the evening. About
a quarter past three in the morning, twenty-five minutes
after leaving Castlemaine, it arrived at Camden Bridge,
where the terrible disaster befell. The passengers and
guards of the last and only remaining carriage at once
tried to obtain help. But the telegraph, whose posts were
lying on the ground, could not be worked. It was three
hours before the authorities from Castlemaine reached the
scene of the accident, and it was six o'clock in the morning
when the salvage party was organized, under the direction
of Mr. Mitchell, the surveyor-general of the colony, and a
detachment of police, commanded by an inspector. The
squatters and their "hands" lent their aid, and directed
their efforts first to extinguishing the fire which raged in the
ruined heap with unconquerable violence. A few unrecog-
nizable bodies lay on the slope of the embankment, but
from that blazing mass no living thing could be saved. The
fire had done its work too speedily. Of the passengers
ten only survived -- those in the last carriage. The rail-
way authorities sent a locomotive to bring them back to
Castlemaine.
   Lord Glenarvan, having introduced himself to the sur-
veyor-general, entered into conversation with him and the
inspector of police. The latter was a tall, thin man, im-
perturbably cool, and, whatever he may have felt, allowed


236 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

no trace of it to appear on his features. He contemplated
this calamity as a mathematician does a problem; he was
seeking to solve it, and to find the unknown; and when
Glenarvan observed, "This is a great misfortune," he
quietly replied, "Better than that, my Lord."
   "Better than that?" cried Glenarvan. "I do not un-
derstand you."
   "It is better than a misfortune, it is a crime!" he replied,
in the same quiet tone.
   Glenarvan looked inquiringly at Mr. Mitchell for a so-
lution. "Yes, my Lord," replied the surveyor-general,
"our inquiries have resulted in the conclusion that the
catastrophe is the result of a crime. The last luggage-van
has been robbed. The surviving passengers were attacked
by a gang of five or six villains. The bridge was inten-
tionally opened, and not left open by the negligence of the
guard; and connecting with this fact the guard's disap-
pearance, we may conclude that the wretched fellow was an
accomplice of these ruffians."
   The police-officer shook his head at this inference.
   "You do not agree with me?" said Mr. Mitchell.
   "No, not as to the complicity of the guard."
   "Well, but granting that complicity, we may attribute
the crime to the natives who haunt the Murray. Without
him the blacks could never have opened a swing-bridge;
they know nothing of its mechanism."
   "Exactly so," said the police-inspector.
   "Well," added Mr. Mitchell, "we have the evidence of
a boatman whose boat passed Camden Bridge at 10:40
P. M., that the bridge was properly shut after he passed."
   "True."
   "Well, after that I cannot see any doubt as to the com-
plicity of the guard."
   The police-officer shook his head gently, but continu-
ously.
   "Then you don't attribute the crime to the natives?"
   "Not at all."
   "To whom then?"
   Just at this moment a noise was heard from about half
a mile up the river. A crowd had gathered, and quickly
increased. They soon reached the station, and in their
midst were two men carrying a corpse. It was the body


CRIME OR CALAMITY        237

of the guard, quite cold, stabbed to the heart. The mur-
derers had no doubt hoped, by dragging their victim to a
distance, that the police would be put on a wrong scent in
their first inquiries. This discovery, at any rate, justified
the doubts of the police-inspector. The poor blacks had
had no hand in the matter.
   "Those who dealt that blow," said he, "were already
well used to this little instrument"; and so saying he pro-
duced a pair of "darbies," a kind of handcuff made of a
double ring of iron secured by a lock. "I shall soon have
the pleasure of presenting them with these bracelets as a
New Year's gift."
   "Then you suspect --"
   "Some folks who came out free in Her Majesty's ships."
   "What! convicts?" cried Paganel, who recognized the
formula employed in the Australian colonies.
   "I thought," said Glenarvan, "convicts had no right in
the province of Victoria."
   "Bah!" said the inspector, "if they have no right, they
take it! They escape sometimes, and, if I am not greatly
mistaken, this lot have come straight from Perth, and, take
my word for it, they will soon be there again."
   Mr. Mitchell nodded acquiescence in the words of the
police-inspector. At this moment the wagon arrived at
the level crossing of the railway. Glenarvan wished to
spare the ladies the horrible spectacle at Camden Bridge.
He took courteous leave of the surveyor-general, and made
a sign to the rest to follow him. "There is no reason,"
said he, "for delaying our journey."
   When they reached the wagon, Glenarvan merely men-
tioned to Lady Helena that there had been a railway acci-
dent, without a hint of the crime that had played so great
a part in it; neither did he make mention of the presence
of a band of convicts in the neighborhood, reserving that
piece of information solely for Ayrton's ear. The little
procession now crossed the railway some two hundred
yards below the bridge, and then resumed their eastward
course.


CHAPTER XII
TOLINE OF THE LACHLAN

   ABOUT two miles from the railway, the plain terminated
in a range of low hills, and it was not long before the
wagon entered a succession of narrow gorges and capri-
cious windings, out of which it emerged into a most charm-
ing region, where grand trees, not closely planted, but in
scattered groups, were growing with absolutely tropical
luxuriance. As the party drove on they stumbled upon a
little native boy lying fast asleep beneath the shade of a
magnificent banksia. He was dressed in European garb,
and seemed about eight years of age. There was no mis-
taking the characteristic features of his race; the crisped
hair, the nearly black skin, the flattened nose, the thick lips,
the unusual length of the arms, immediately classed him
among the aborigines of the interior. But a degree of in-
telligence appeared in his face that showed some educa-
tional influences must have been at work on his savage,
untamed nature.
   Lady Helena, whose interest was greatly excited by this
spectacle, got out of the wagon, followed by Mary, and
presently the whole company surrounded the peaceful lit-
tle sleeper. "Poor child!" said Mary Grant. "Is he
lost, I wonder, in this desert?"
   "I suppose," said Lady Helena, "he has come a long
way to visit this part. No doubt some he loves are here."
   "But he can't be left here," added Robert. "We
must --"
   His compassionate sentence remained unfinished, for,
just at that moment the child turned over in his sleep, and,
to the extreme surprise of everybody, there was a large
label on his shoulders, on which the following was writ-
ten:

                    TOLINE.
            To be conducted to Echuca.
       Care of Jeffries Smith, Railway Porter.
                       Prepaid.

   "That's the English all over!" exclaimed Paganel.
"They send off a child just as they would luggage, and
book him like a parcel. I heard it was done, certainly;
but I could not believe it before."

238


TOLINE OF THE LACHLAN     239

   "Poor child!" said Lady Helena. "Could he have
been in the train that got off the line at Camden Bridge?
Perhaps his parents are killed, and he is left alone in the
world!"
   "I don't think so, madam," replied John Mangles.
"That card rather goes to prove he was traveling alone."
   "He is waking up!" said Mary.
   And so he was. His eyes slowly opened and then closed
again, pained by the glare of light. But Lady Helena
took his hand, and he jumped up at once and looked about
him in bewilderment at the sight of so many strangers.
He seemed half frightened at first, but the presence of
Lady Helena reassured him. "Do you understand Eng-
lish, my little man?" asked the young lady.
   "I understand it and speak it," replied the child in fluent
enough English, but with a marked accent. His pronun-
ciation was like a Frenchman's.
   "What is your name?" asked Lady Helena.
   "Toline," replied the little native.
   "Toline!" exclaimed Paganel. "Ah! I think that
means 'bark of a tree' in Australian."
   Toline nodded, and looked again at the travelers.
   "Where do you come from?" inquired Lady Helena.
   "From Melbourne, by the railway from Sandhurst."
   "Were you in the accident at Camden Bridge?" said
Glenarvan.
   "Yes, sir," was Toline's reply; "but the God of the
Bible protected me."
   "Are you traveling alone?"
   "Yes, alone; the Reverend Paxton put me in charge of
Jeffries Smith; but unfortunately the poor man was killed."
   "And you did not know any one else on the train?"
   "No one, madam; but God watches over children and
never forsakes them."
   Toline said this in soft, quiet tones, which went to the
heart. When he mentioned the name of God his voice
was grave and his eyes beamed with all the fervor that ani-
mated his young soul.
   This religious enthusiasm at so tender an age was easily
explained. The child was one of the aborigines baptized
by the English missionaries, and trained by them in all the
rigid principles of the Methodist Church. His calm re-


240 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

plies, proper behavior, and even his somber garb made him
look like a little reverend already.
   But where was he going all alone in these solitudes and
why had he left Camden Bridge? Lady Helena asked him
about this.
   "I was returning to my tribe in the Lachlan," he replied.
"I wished to see my family again."
   "Are they Australians?" inquired John Mangles.
   "Yes, Australians of the Lachlan," replied Toline.
   "Have you a father and mother?" said Robert Grant.
   "Yes, my brother," replied Toline, holding out his hand
to little Grant. Robert was so touched by the word brother
that he kissed the black child, and they were friends forth-
with.
   The whole party were so interested in these replies of
the little Australian savage that they all sat round him in
a listening group. But the sun had meantime sunk behind
the tall trees, and as a few miles would not greatly retard
their progress, and the spot they were in would be suitable
for a halt, Glenarvan gave orders to prepare their camp
for the night at once. Ayrton unfastened the bullocks and
turned them out to feed at will. The tent was pitched, and
Olbinett got the supper ready. Toline consented, after
some difficulty, to share it, though he was hungry enough.
He took his seat beside Robert, who chose out all the titbits
for his new friend. Toline accepted them with a shy grace
that was very charming.
   The conversation with him, however, was still kept up,
for everyone felt an interest in the child, and wanted to
talk to him and hear his history. It was simple enough.
He was one of the poor native children confided to the care
of charitable societies by the neighboring tribes. The Aus-
tralian aborigines are gentle and inoffensive, never exhibit-
ing the fierce hatred toward their conquerors which char-
acterizes the New Zealanders, and possibly a few of the
races of Northern Australia. They often go to the large
towns, such as Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, and walk
about in very primitive costume. They go to barter their
few articles of industry, hunting and fishing implements,
weapons, etc., and some of the chiefs, from pecuniary mo-
tives, no doubt, willingly leave their children to profit by
the advantages of a gratuitous education in English.

V. IV Verne


TOLINE OF THE LACHLAN     241

   This was how Toline's parents had acted. They were
true Australian savages living in the Lachlan, a vast region
lying beyond the Murray. The child had been in Mel-
bourne five years, and during that time had never once seen
any of his own people. And yet the imperishable feeling
of kindred was still so strong in his heart that he had dared
to brave this journey over the wilds to visit his tribe once
more, scattered though perchance it might be, and his fam-
ily, even should he find it decimated.
   "And after you have kissed your parents, are you com-
ing back to Melbourne?" asked Lady Glenarvan.
   "Yes, Madam," replied Toline, looking at the lady with
a loving expression.
   "And what are you going to be some day?" she con-
tinued.
   "I am going to snatch my brothers from misery and ig-
norance. I am going to teach them, to bring them to know
and love God. I am going to be a missionary."
   Words like those, spoken with such animation from a
child of only eight years, might have provoked a smile in
light, scoffing auditors, but they were understood and ap-
preciated by the grave Scotch, who admired the courage
of this young disciple, already armed for the battle. Even
Paganel was stirred to the depths of his heart, and felt his
warmer sympathy awakened for the poor child.
   To speak the truth, up to that moment he did not care
much for a savage in European attire. He had not come
to Australia to see Australians in coats and trousers. He
preferred them simply tattooed, and this conventional dress
jarred on his preconceived notions. But the child's gen-
uine religious fervor won him over completely. Indeed,
the wind-up of the conversation converted the worthy
geographer into his best friend.
   It was in reply to a question Lady Helena had asked,
that Toline said he was studying at the Normal School in
Melbourne, and that the principal was the Reverend Mr.
Paxton.
   "And what do they teach you?" she went on to say.
   "They teach me the Bible, and mathematics, and geogra-
phy."
   Paganel pricked up his ears at this, and said, "Indeed,
geography!"


242 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Yes, sir," said Toline; "and I had the first prize for
geography before the Christmas holidays."
   "You had the first prize for geography, my boy?"
   "Yes, sir. Here it is," returned Toline, pulling a book
out of his pocket.
   It was a bible, 32mo size, and well bound. On the first
page was written the words: "Normal School, Melbourne.
First Prize for Geography. Toline of the Lachlan."
   Paganel was beside himself. An Australian well versed
in geography. This was marvelous, and he could not help
kissing Toline on both cheeks, just as if he had been the
Reverend Mr. Paxton himself, on the day of the distribu-
tion of prizes. Paganel need not have been so amazed at
this circumstance, however, for it is frequent enough in
Australian schools. The little savages are very quick in
learning geography. They learn it eagerly, and on the
other hand, are perfectly averse to the science of arithmetic.
   Toline could not understand this outburst of affection on
the part of the Frenchman, and looked so puzzled that Lady
Helena thought she had better inform him that Paganel
was a celebrated geographer and a distinguished professor
on occasion.
   "A professor of geography!" cried Toline. "Oh, sir,
do question me!"
   "Question you? Well, I'd like nothing better. Indeed,
I was going to do it without your leave. I should very
much like to see how they teach geography in the Normal
School of Melbourne."
   "And suppose Toline trips you up, Paganel!" said Mc-
Nabbs.
   "What a likely idea!" exclaimed the geographer.
"Trip up the Secretary of the Geographical Society of
France."
   Their examination then commenced, after Paganel had
settled his spectacles firmly on his nose, drawn himself up
to his full height, and put on a solemn voice becoming to a
professor.
   "Pupil Toline, stand up."
   As Toline was already standing, he could not get any
higher, but he waited modestly for the geographer's ques-
tions.
   "Pupil Toline, what are the five divisions of the globe?"


TOLINE OF THE LACHLAN     243

   "Oceanica, Asia, Africa, America, and Europe."
   "Perfectly so. Now we'll take Oceanica first; where
are we at this moment? What are the principal divisions?"
   "Australia, belonging to the English; New Zealand, be-
longing to the English; Tasmania, belonging to the Eng-
lish. The islands of Chatham, Auckland, Macquarie,
Kermadec, Makin, Maraki, are also belonging to the Eng-
lish."
   "Very good, and New Caledonia, the Sandwich Islands,
the Mendana, the Pomotou?"
   "They are islands under the Protectorate of Great
Britain."
   "What!" cried Paganel, "under the Protectorate of
Great Britain. I rather think on the contrary, that
France --"
   "France," said the child, with an astonished look.
   "Well, well," said Paganel; "is that what they teach
you in the Melbourne Normal School?"
   "Yes, sir. Isn't it right?"
   "Oh, yes, yes, perfectly right. All Oceanica belongs to
the English. That's an understood thing. Go on."
   Paganel's face betrayed both surprise and annoyance, to
the great delight of the Major.
   "Let us go on to Asia," said the geographer.
   "Asia," replied Toline, "is an immense country. Cap-
ital -- Calcutta. Chief Towns -- Bombay, Madras, Calicut,
Aden, Malacca, Singapore, Pegu, Colombo. The Lacca-
dive Islands, the Maldives, the Chagos, etc., belonging to
the English."
   "Very good, pupil Toline. And now for Africa."
   "Africa comprises two chief colonies -- the Cape on the
south, capital Capetown; and on the west the English settle-
ments, chief city, Sierra Leone."
   "Capital!" said Paganel, beginning to enter into this
perfectly taught but Anglo-colored fanciful geography.
"As to Algeria, Morocco, Egypt -- they are all struck out
of the Britannic cities."
   "Let us pass on, pray, to America."
   "It is divided," said Toline, promptly, "into North and
South America. The former belongs to the English in
Canada, New Brunswick, New Scotland, and the United
States, under the government of President Johnson."


244 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "President Johnson," cried Paganel, "the successor of
the great and good Lincoln, assassinated by a mad fanatic of
the slave party. Capital; nothing could be better. And
as to South America, with its Guiana, its archipelago of
South Shetland, its Georgia, Jamaica, Trinidad, etc., that
belongs to the English, too! Well, I'll not be the one
to dispute that point! But, Toline, I should like to know
your opinion of Europe, or rather your professor's."
   "Europe?" said Toline not at all understanding Pag-
anel's excitement.
   "Yes, Europe! Who does Europe belong to?"
   "Why, to the English," replied Toline, as if the fact
was quite settled.
   "I much doubt it," returned Paganel. "But how's that,
Toline, for I want to know that?"
   "England, Ireland, Scotland, Malta, Jersey and Guern-
sey, the Ionian Islands, the Hebrides, the Shetlands, and
the Orkneys."
   "Yes, yes, my lad; but there are other states you forgot
to mention."
   "What are they?" replied the child, not the least dis-
concerted.
   "Spain, Russia, Austria, Prussia, France," answered
Paganel.
   "They are provinces, not states," said Toline.
   "Well, that beats all!" exclaimed Paganel, tearing off
his spectacles.
   "Yes," continued the child. "Spain -- capital, Gibral-
tar."
   "Admirable! perfect! sublime! And France, for I am
French, and I should like to know to whom I belong."
   "France," said Toline, quietly, "is an English province;
chief city, Calais."
   "Calais!" cried Paganel. "So you think Calais still
belongs to the English?"
   "Certainly."
   "And that it is the capital of France?"
   "Yes, sir; and it is there that the Governor, Lord Napo-
leon, lives."
   This was too much for Paganel's risible faculties. He
burst out laughing. Toline did not know what to make
of him. He had done his best to answer every question


TOLINE OF THE LACHLAN     245

put to him. But the singularity of the answers were not
his blame; indeed, he never imagined anything singular
about them. However, he took it all quietly, and waited
for the professor to recover himself. These peals of
laughter were quite incomprehensible to him.
   "You see," said Major McNabbs, laughing, "I was
right. The pupil could enlighten you after all."
   "Most assuredly, friend Major," replied the geographer.
"So that's the way they teach geography in Melbourne!
They do it well, these professors in the Normal School!
Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Oceanica, the whole world
belongs to the English. My conscience! with such an in-
genious education it is no wonder the natives submit. Ah,
well, Toline, my boy, does the moon belong to England,
too?"
   "She will, some day," replied the young savage, gravely.
   This was the climax. Paganel could not stand any
more. He was obliged to go away and take his laugh out,
for he was actually exploding with mirth, and he went fully
a quarter of a mile from the encampment before his equi-
librium was restored.
   Meanwhile, Glenarvan looked up a geography they had
brought among their books. It was "Richardson's Com-
pendium," a work in great repute in England, and more in
agreement with modern science than the manual in use in
the Normal School in Melbourne.
   "Here, my child," he said to Toline, "take this book and
keep it. You have a few wrong ideas about geography,
which it would be well for you to rectify. I will give you
this as a keepsake from me."
   Toline took the book silently; but, after examining it
attentively, he shook his head with an air of incredulity,
and could not even make up his mind to put it in his pocket.
   By this time night had closed in; it was 10 P. M. and
time to think of rest, if they were to start betimes next
day. Robert offered his friend Toline half his bed, and
the little fellow accepted it. Lady Helena and Mary Grant
withdrew to the wagon, and the others lay down in the
tent, Paganel's merry peals still mingling with the low,
sweet song of the wild magpie.
   But in the morning at six o'clock, when the sunshine
wakened the sleepers, they looked in vain for the little


246 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

Australian. Toline had disappeared. Was he in haste
to get to the Lachlan district? or was he hurt by Paganel's
laughter? No one could say.

But when Lady Helena opened her eyes she discovered
a fresh branch of mimosa leaves lying across her, and
Paganel found a book in his vest pocket, which turned out
to be "Richardson's Geography."


CHAPTER XIII
A WARNING

   ON the 2d of January, at sunrise, the travelers forded
the Colban and the Caupespe rivers. The half of their
journey was now accomplished. In fifteen days more,
should their journey continue to be prosperous, the little
party would reach Twofold Bay.
   They were all in good health. All that Paganel said of
the hygienic qualities of the climate was realized. There
was little or no humidity, and the heat was quite bearable.
Neither horses nor bullocks could complain of it any more
than human beings. The order of the march had been
changed in one respect since the affair of Camden Bridge.
That criminal catastrophe on the railway made Ayrton
take sundry precautions, which had hitherto been unneces-
sary. The hunters never lost sight of the wagon, and
whenever they camped, one was always placed on watch.
Morning and evening the firearms were primed afresh. It
was certain that a gang of ruffians was prowling about the
country, and though there was no cause for actual fear, it
was well to be ready for whatever might happen.
   It need hardly be said these precautions were adopted
without the knowledge of Lady Helena and Mary Grant,
as Lord Glenarvan did not wish to alarm them.
   They were by no means unnecessary, however, for any
imprudence or carelessness might have cost the travelers
dear. Others beside Glenarvan were on their guard. In
lonely settlements and on stations, the inhabitants and the
squatters prepared carefully against any attack or surprise.
Houses are closed at nightfall; the dogs let loose inside
the fences, barked at the slightest sound. Not a single
shepherd on horseback gathered his numerous flocks to-


A WARNING             247

gether at close of day, without having a carbine slung from
his saddle.
   The outrage at Camden Bridge was the reason for all
this, and many a colonist fastened himself in with bolts
and bars now at dusk, who used to sleep with open doors
and windows.
   The Government itself displayed zeal and prudence, es-
pecially in the Post-office department. On this very day,
just as Glenarvan and his party were on their way from
Kilmore to Heathcote, the mail dashed by at full speed; but
though the horses were at a gallop, Glenarvan caught sight
of the glittering weapons of the mounted police that rode
by its side, as they swept past in a cloud of dust. The
travelers might have fancied themselves back in those law-
less times when the discovery of the first gold-fields deluged
the Australian continent with the scum of Europe.
   A mile beyond the road to Kilmore, the wagon, for the
first time since leaving Cape Bernouilli, struck into one of
those forests of gigantic trees which extend over a super-
fices of several degrees. A cry of admiration escaped the
travelers at the sight of the eucalyptus trees, two hundred
feet high, with tough bark five inches thick. The trunks,
measuring twenty feet round, and furrowed with foamy
streaks of an odorous resin, rose one hundred and fifty
feet above the soil. Not a branch, not a twig, not a stray
shoot, not even a knot, spoilt the regularity of their outline.
They could not have come out smoother from the hands
of a turner. They stood like pillars all molded exactly
alike, and could be counted by hundreds. At an enormous
height they spread out in chaplets of branches, rounded
and adorned at their extremity with alternate leaves. At
the axle of these leaves solitary flowers drooped down,
the calyx of which resembles an inverted urn.
   Under this leafy dome, which never lost its greenness,
the air circulated freely, and dried up the dampness of the
ground. Horses, cattle, and wagon could easily pass be-
tween the trees, for they were standing in wide rows, and
parceled out like a wood that was being felled. This was
neither like the densely-packed woods choked up with
brambles, nor the virgin forest barricaded with the trunks
of fallen trees, and overgrown with inextricable tangles
of creepers, where only iron and fire could open up a track.


248 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

A grassy carpet at the foot of the trees, and a canopy of
verdure above, long perspectives of bold colors, little shade,
little freshness at all, a peculiar light, as if the rays came
through a thin veil, dappled lights and shades sharply re-
flected on the ground, made up a whole, and constituted a
peculiar spectacle rich in novel effects. The forests of the
Oceanic continent do not in the least resemble the forests
of the New World; and the Eucalyptus, the "Tara" of the
aborigines, belonging to the family of <i>Myrtacea</i>, the dif-
ferent varieties of which can hardly be enumerated, is the
tree <i>par excellence</i> of the Australian flora.
   The reason of the shade not being deep, nor the darkness
profound, under these domes of verdure, was that these
trees presented a curious anomaly in the disposition of the
leaves. Instead of presenting their broad surface to the
sunlight, only the side is turned. Only the profile of the
leaves is seen in this singular foliage. Consequently the
sun's rays slant down them to the earth, as if through the
open slants of a Venetian blind.
   Glenarvan expressed his surprise at this circumstance,
and wondered what could be the cause of it. Paganel,
who was never at a loss for an answer, immediately re-
plied:
   "What astonishes me is not the caprice of nature. She
knows what she is about, but botanists don't always know
what they are saying. Nature made no mistake in giving
this peculiar foliage to the tree, but men have erred in call-
ing them <i>eucalyptus</i>."
   "What does the word mean?" asked Mary Grant.
   "It comes from a Greek word, meaning I <i>cover well</i>.
They took care to commit the mistake in Greek, that it
might not be so self-evident, for anyone can see that the
ecualyptus covers badly."
   "I agree with you there," said Glenarvan; "but now tell
us, Paganel, how it is that the leaves grow in this fash-
ion?"
   "From a purely physical cause, friends," said Paganel,
"and one that you will easily understand. In this country
where the air is dry and rain seldom falls, and the ground
is parched, the trees have no need of wind or sun. Mois-
ture lacking, sap is lacking also. Hence these narrow
leaves, which seek to defend themselves against the light,


A WARNING             249

and prevent too great evaporation. This is why they pre-
sent the profile and not the face to the sun's rays. There
is nothing more intelligent than a leaf."
   "And nothing more selfish," added the Major. "These
only thought of themselves, and not at all of travelers."
   Everyone inclined to the opinion of McNabbs except
Paganel, who congratulated himself on walking under
shadeless trees, though all the time he was wiping the pers-
piration from his forehead. However, this disposition of
foliage was certainly to be regretted, for the journey
through the forest was often long and painful, as the trav-
eler had no protection whatever against the sun's fierce
rays.
   The whole of this day the wagon continued to roll along
through interminable rows of eucalyptus, without meet-
ing either quadruped or native. A few cockatoos lived in
the tops of the trees, but at such a height they could scarcely
be distinguished, and their noisy chatter was changed into
an imperceptible murmur. Occasionally a swarm of par-
roquets flew along a distant path, and lighted it up for an
instant with gay colors; but otherwise, solemn silence
reigned in this vast green temple, and the tramp of the
horses, a few words exchanged with each other by the
riders, the grinding noise of the wheels, and from time to
time a cry from Ayrton to stir up his lazy team, were the
only sounds which disturbed this immense solitude.
   When night came they camped at the foot of some eu-
calyptus, which bore marks of a comparatively recent fire.
They looked like tall factory chimneys, for the flame had
completely hollowed them out their whole length. With
the thick bark still covering them, they looked none the
worse. However, this bad habit of squatters or natives
will end in the destruction of these magnificent trees, and
they will disappear like the cedars of Lebanon, those world
monuments burnt by unlucky camp fires.
   Olbinett, acting on Paganel's advice, lighted his fire to
prepare supper in one of these tubular trunks. He found
it drew capitally, and the smoke was lost in the dark foliage
above. The requisite precautions were taken for the night,
and Ayrton, Mulrady, Wilson and John Mangles under-
took in turn to keep watch until sunrise.
   On the 3d of January, all day long, they came to nothing


250 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

but the same symmetrical avenues of trees; it seemed as
if they never were going to end. However, toward even-
ing the ranks of trees began to thin, and on a little plain a
few miles off an assemblage of regular houses.
   "Seymour!" cried Paganel; "that is the last town we
come to in the province of Victoria."
   "Is it an important one?" asked Lady Helena.
   "It is a mere village, madam, but on the way to be-
come a municipality."
   "Shall we find a respectable hotel there?" asked Glenar-
van.
   "I hope so," replied Paganel.
   "Very well; let us get on to the town, for our fair trav-
elers, with all their courage, will not be sorry, I fancy, to
have a good night's rest."
   "My dear Edward, Mary and I will accept it gladly, but
only on the condition that it will cause no delay, or take us
the least out of the road."
   "It will do neither," replied Lord Glenarvan. "Besides,
our bullocks are fatigued, and we will start to-morrow at
daybreak."
   It was now nine o'clock; the moon was just beginning to
rise, but her rays were only slanting yet, and lost in the
mist. It was gradually getting dark when the little party
entered the wide streets of Seymour, under Paganel's guid-
ance, who seemed always to know what he had never seen;
but his instinct led him right, and he walked straight to
Campbell's North British Hotel.
   The Major without even leaving the hotel, was soon
aware that fear absorbed the inhabitants of the little town.
Ten minutes' conversation with Dickson, the loquacious
landlord, made him completely acquainted with the actual
state of affairs; but he never breathed a word to any one.
   When supper was over, though, and Lady Glenarvan, and
Mary, and Robert had retired, the Major detained his com-
panions a little, and said, "They have found out the per-
petrators of the crime on the Sandhurst railroad."
   "And are they arrested?" asked Ayrton, eagerly.
   "No," replied McNabbs, without apparently noticing
the <i>empressment</i> of the quartermaster -- an <i>empressment</i>
which, moreover, was reasonable enough under the cir-
cumstances.


A WARNING             251

   "So much the worse," replied Ayrton.
   "Well," said Glenarvan, "who are the authors of the
crime?"
   "Read," replied the Major, offering Glenarvan a copy
of the <cite>Australian and New Zealand Gazette</cite>, "and you will
see that the inspector of the police was not mistaken."
   Glenarvan read aloud the following message:

                                              SYDNEY, Jan. 2, 1866.

   It will be remembered that on the night of the 29th or 30th of last
December there was an accident at Camden Bridge, five miles beyond
the station at Castlemaine, on the railway from Melbourne to Sand-
hurst. The night express, 11.45, dashing along at full speed, was pre-
cipitated into the Loddon River.
   Camden Bridge had been left open. The numerous robberies com-
mitted after the accident, the body of the guard picked up about half a
mile from Camden Bridge, proved that this catastrophe was the result
of a crime.
   Indeed, the coroner's inquest decided that the crime must be attrib-
uted to the band of convicts which escaped six months ago from the
Penitentiary at Perth, Western Australia, just as they were about to
be transferred to Norfolk Island.
   The gang numbers twenty-nine men; they are under the command
of a certain Ben Joyce, a criminal of the most dangerous class, who
arrived in Australia a few months ago, by what ship is not known,
and who has hitherto succeeded in evading the hands of justice.
   The inhabitants of towns, colonists and squatters at stations, are
hereby cautioned to be on their guard, and to communicate to the
Surveyor-General any information that may aid his search.
                                         J. P. MITCHELL, S. G.

   When Glenarvan had finished reading this article, Mc-
Nabbs turned to the geographer and said, "You see, Paga-
nel, there can be convicts in Australia."
   "Escaped convicts, that is evident," replied Paganel,
"but not regularly transported criminals. Those fellows
have no business here."
   "Well, they are here, at any rate," said Glenarvan;
"but I don't suppose the fact need materially alter our ar-
rangements. What do you think, John?"
   John Mangles did not reply immediately; he hesitated
between the sorrow it would cause the two children to give
up the search, and the fear of compromising the expedition.
   "If Lady Glenarvan, and Miss Grant were not with us,"
he said, "I should not give myself much concern about
these wretches."
   Glenarvan understood him and added, "Of course I
need not say that it is not a question of giving up our task;
but would it perhaps be prudent, for the sake of our com-


252   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

panions, to rejoin the <i>Duncan</i> at Melbourne, and proceed
with our search for traces of Harry Grant on the eastern
side. What do you think of it, McNabbs?"
   "Before I give my opinion," replied the Major, "I
should like to hear Ayrton's."
   At this direct appeal, the quartermaster looked at Glen-
arvan, and said, "I think we are two hundred miles from
Melbourne, and that the danger, if it exists, is as great
on the route to the south as on the route to the east.
Both are little frequented, and both will serve us. Besides,
I do not think that thirty scoundrels can frighten eight
well-armed, determined men. My advice, then, is to go
forward."
   "And good advice too, Ayrton," replied Paganel. "By
going on we may come across the traces of Captain Grant.
In returning south, on the contrary, we turn our backs to
them. I think with you, then, and I don't care a snap for
these escaped fellows. A brave man wouldn't care a bit
for them!"
   Upon this they agreed with the one voice to follow their
original programme.
   "Just one thing, my Lord," said Ayrton, when they
were about to separate.
   "Say on, Ayrton."
   "Wouldn't it be advisable to send orders to the <i>Duncan</i>
to be at the coast?"
   "What good would that be," replied John Mangles.
"When we reach Twofold Bay it will be time enough for
that. If any unexpected event should oblige us to go to
Melbourne, we might be sorry not to find the <i>Duncan</i> there.
Besides, her injuries can not be repaired yet. For these
reasons, then, I think it would be better to wait."
   "All right," said Ayrton, and forbore to press the mat-
ter further.


CHAPTER XIV
WEALTH IN THE WILDERNESS

   ON January 6, at 7 A. M., after a tranquil night passed
in longitude 146&deg; 15", the travelers continued their jour-
ney across the vast district. They directed their course
steadily toward the rising sun, and made a straight line


WEALTH IN THE WILDERNESS   253

across the plain. Twice over they came upon the traces
of squatters going toward the north, and their different
footprints became confused, and Glenarvan's horse no
longer left on the dust the Blackpoint mark, recognizable by
its double shamrock.
   The plain was furrowed in some places by fantastic wind-
ing creeks surrounded by box, and whose waters were
rather temporary than permanent. They originated in the
slopes of the Buffalo Ranges, a chain of mountains of
moderate height, the undulating line of which was visible
on the horizon. It was resolved to camp there the same
night. Ayrton goaded on his team, and after a journey
of thirty-five miles, the bullocks arrived, somewhat fa-
tigued. The tent was pitched beneath the great trees, and
as night had drawn on supper was served as quickly as pos-
sible, for all the party cared more for sleeping than eat-
ing, after such a day's march.
   Paganel who had the first watch did not lie down, but
shouldered his rifle and walked up and down before the
camp, to keep himself from going to sleep. In spite of the
absence of the moon, the night was almost luminous with
the light of the southern constellations. The <i>savant</i>
amused himself with reading the great book of the firma-
ment, a book which is always open, and full of interest to
those who can read it. The profound silence of sleeping
nature was only interrupted by the clanking of the hobbles
on the horses' feet.
   Paganel was engrossed in his astronomical meditations,
and thinking more about the celestial than the terrestrial
world, when a distant sound aroused him from his reverie.
He listened attentively, and to his great amaze, fancied
he heard the sounds of a piano. He could not be mistaken,
for he distinctly heard chords struck.
   "A piano in the wilds!" said Paganel to himself. "I
can never believe it is that."
   It certainly was very surprising, but Paganel found it
easier to believe it was some Australian bird imitating the
sounds of a Pleyel or Erard, as others do the sounds of a
clock or mill. But at this very moment, the notes of a
clear ringing voice rose on the air. The <i>pianist</i> was ac-
companied by singing. Still Paganel was unwilling to be
convinced. However, next minute he was forced to admit


254  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

the fact, for there fell on his ear the sublime strains of Mo-
zart's "Il mio tesoro tanto" from Don Juan.
   "Well, now," said the geographer to himself, "let the
Australian birds be as queer as they may, and even grant-
ing the paroquets are the most musical in the world, they
can't sing Mozart!"
   He listened to the sublime inspiration of the great master
to the end. The effect of this soft melody on the still clear
night was indescribable. Paganel remained as if spell-
bound for a time; the voice ceased and all was silence.
When Wilson came to relieve the watch, he found the geog-
rapher plunged into a deep reverie. Paganel made no re-
mark, however, to the sailor, but reserved his information
for Glenarvan in the morning, and went into the tent to
bed.
   Next day, they were all aroused from sleep by the sud-
den loud barking of dogs, Glenarvan got up forthwith.
Two magnificent pointers, admirable specimens of English
hunting dogs, were bounding in front of the little wood,
into which they had retreated at the approach of the trav-
elers, redoubling their clamor.
   "There is some station in this desert, then," said Glenar-
van, "and hunters too, for these are regular setters."
   Paganel was just about to recount his nocturnal experi-
ences, when two young men appeared, mounted on horses
of the most perfect breed, true "hunters."
   The two gentlemen dressed in elegant hunting costume,
stopped at the sight of the little group camping in gipsy
fashion. They looked as if they wondered what could
bring an armed party there, but when they saw the ladies
get out of the wagon, they dismounted instantly, and went
toward them hat in hand. Lord Glenarvan came to meet
them, and, as a stranger, announced his name and rank.
   The gentlemen bowed, and the elder of them said, "My
Lord, will not these ladies and yourself and friends honor
us by resting a little beneath our roof?"
   "Mr. --," began Glenarvan.
   "Michael and Sandy Patterson are our names, proprie-
tors of Hottam Station. Our house is scarcely a quarter
of a mile distant."
   "Gentlemen," replied Glenarvan, "I should not like to
abuse such kindly-offered hospitality."


WEALTH IN THE WILDERNESS   255

   "My Lord," returned Michael Patterson, "by accepting
it you will confer a favor on poor exiles, who will be only
too happy to do the honors of the wilds."
   Glenarvan bowed in token of acquiescence.
   "Sir," said Paganel, addressing Michael Patterson, "if
it is not an impudent question, may I ask whether it was
you that sung an air from the divine Mozart last night?"
   "It was, sir," replied the stranger, "and my cousin
Sandy accompanied me."
   "Well, sir," replied Paganel, holding out his hand to the
young man, "receive the sincere compliments of a French-
man, who is a passionate admirer of this music."
   Michael grasped his hand cordially, and then pointing
out the road to take, set off, accompanied by the ladies and
Lord Glenarvan and his friends, for the station. The
horses and the camp were left to the care of Ayrton and
the sailors.
   Hottam Station was truly a magnificent establishment,
kept as scrupulously in order as an English park. Im-
mense meadows, enclosed in gray fences, stretched away
out of sight. In these, thousands of bullocks and millions
of sheep were grazing, tended by numerous shepherds, and
still more numerous dogs. The crack of the stock-whip
mingled continually with the barking of the "collies" and
the bellowing and bleating of the cattle and sheep.
   Toward the east there was a boundary of myalls and
gum-trees, beyond which rose Mount Hottam, its impos-
ing peak towering 7,500 feet high. Long avenues of green
trees were visible on all sides. Here and there was a thick
clump of "grass trees," tall bushes ten feet high, like the
dwarf palm, quite lost in their crown of long narrow
leaves. The air was balmy and odorous with the perfume
of scented laurels, whose white blossoms, now in full bloom,
distilled on the breeze the finest aromatic perfume.
   To these charming groups of native trees were added
transplantations from European climates. The peach, pear,
and apple trees were there, the fig, the orange, and even the
oak, to the rapturous delight of the travelers, who greeted
them with loud hurrahs!  But astonished as the travelers
were to find themselves walking beneath the shadow of the
trees of their own native land, they were still more so at the
sight of the birds that flew about in the branches -- the "satin


256   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

bird," with its silky plumage, and the "king-honeysuckers,"
with their plumage of gold and black velvet.
   For the first time, too, they saw here the "Lyre" bird,
the tail of which resembles in form the graceful instrument
of Orpheus. It flew about among the tree ferns, and when
its tail struck the branches, they were almost surprised not
to hear the harmonious strains that inspired Amphion to
rebuild the walls of Thebes. Paganel had a great desire
to play on it.
   However, Lord Glenarvan was not satisfied with ad-
miring the fairy-like wonders of this oasis, improvised in
the Australian desert. He was listening to the history of
the young gentlemen. In England, in the midst of civil-
ized countries, the new comer acquaints his host whence he
comes and whither he is going; but here, by a refinement
of delicacy, Michael and Sandy Patterson thought it a duty
to make themselves known to the strangers who were about
to receive their hospitality.
   Michael and Sandy Patterson were the sons of London
bankers. When they were twenty years of age, the head
of their family said, "Here are some thousands, young
men. Go to a distant colony; and start some useful settle-
ment there. Learn to know life by labor. If you succeed,
so much the better. If you fail, it won't matter much.
We shall not regret the money which makes you men."
   The two young men obeyed. They chose the colony of
Victoria in Australia, as the field for sowing the paternal
bank-notes, and had no reason to repent the selection. At
the end of three years the establishment was flourishing.
In Victoria, New South Wales, and Southern Australia,
there are more than three thousand stations, some belong-
ing to squatters who rear cattle, and others to settlers who
farm the ground. Till the arrival of the two Pattersons,
the largest establishment of this sort was that of Mr.
Jamieson, which covered an area of seventy-five miles,
with a frontage of about eight miles along the Peron, one
of the affluents of the Darling.
   Now Hottam Station bore the palm for business and ex-
tent. The young men were both squatters and settlers.
They managed their immense property with rare ability
and uncommon energy.
   The station was far removed from the chief towns in the

V. IV Verne


WEALTH IN THE WILDERNESS   257

midst of the unfrequented districts of the Murray. It oc-
cupied a long wide space of five leagues in extent, lying
between the Buffalo Ranges and Mount Hottam. At the
two angles north of this vast quadrilateral, Mount Aber-
deen rose on the left, and the peaks of High Barven on
the right. Winding, beautiful streams were not wanting,
thanks to the creeks and affluents of the Oven's River,
which throws itself at the north into the bed of the Murray.
Consequently they were equally successful in cattle breed-
ing and farming. Ten thousand acres of ground, admira-
bly cultivated, produced harvests of native productions and
exotics, and several millions of animals fattened in the
fertile pastures. The products of Hottam Station fetched
the very highest price in the markets of Castlemaine and
Melbourne.
   Michael and Sandy Patterson had just concluded these
details of their busy life, when their dwelling came in sight,
at the extremity of the avenue of the oaks.
   It was a charming house, built of wood and brick, hid-
den in groves of emerophilis. Nothing at all, however, be-
longing to a station was visible -- neither sheds, nor stables,
nor cart-houses. All these out-buildings, a perfect village,
comprising more than twenty huts and houses, were about
a quarter of a mile off in the heart of a little valley. Elec-
tric communication was established between this village and
the master's house, which, far removed from all noise,
seemed buried in a forest of exotic trees.
   At Sandy Patterson's bidding, a sumptuous breakfast
was served in less than a quarter of an hour. The wines
and viands were of the finest quality; but what pleased the
guests most of all in the midst of these refinements of opu-
lence, was the joy of the young squatters in offering them
this splendid hospitality.
   It was not long before they were told the history of the
expedition, and had their liveliest interest awakened for
its success. They spoke hopefully to the young Grants,
and Michael said: "Harry Grant has evidently fallen into
the hands of natives, since he has not turned up at any of
the settlements on the coast. He knows his position ex-
actly, as the document proves, and the reason he did not
reach some English colony is that he must have been ta-
ken prisoner by the savages the moment he landed!"


258  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "That is precisely what befell his quartermaster, Ayr-
ton," said John Mangles.
   "But you, gentlemen, then, have never heard the catas-
trophe of the <i>Britannia</i>, mentioned?" inquired Lady Hel-
ena.
   "Never, Madam," replied Michael.
   "And what treatment, in your opinion, has Captain
Grant met with among the natives?"
   "The Australians are not cruel, Madam," replied the
young squatter, "and Miss Grant may be easy on that
score. There have been many instances of the gentleness
of their nature, and some Europeans have lived a long
time among them without having the least cause to com-
plain of their brutality."
   "King, among others, the sole survivor of the Burke
expedition," put in Paganel.
   "And not only that bold explorer," returned Sandy,
"but also an English soldier named Buckley, who deserted
at Port Philip in 1803, and who was welcomed by the na-
tives, and lived thirty-three years among them."
   "And more recently," added Michael," one of the
last numbers of the <i>Australasia</i> informs us that a certain
Morrilli has just been restored to his countrymen after
sixteen years of slavery. His story is exactly similar to
the captain's, for it was at the very time of his shipwreck
in the <i>Pruvienne</i>, in 1846, that he was made prisoner by
the natives, and dragged away into the interior of the con-
tinent. I therefore think you have reason to hope still."
   The young squatter's words caused great joy to his audi-
tors. They completely corroborated the opinions of Paga-
nel and Ayrton.
   The conversation turned on the convicts after the ladies
had left the table. The squatters had heard of the catas-
trophe at Camden Bridge, but felt no uneasiness about the
escaped gang. It was not a station, with more than a hun-
dred men on it, that they would dare to attack. Besides,
they would never go into the deserts of the Murray, where
they could find no booty, nor near the colonies of New
South Wales, where the roads were too well watched.
Ayrton had said this too.
   Glenarvan could not refuse the request of his amiable
hosts, to spend the whole day at the station. It was twelve


WEALTH IN THE WILDERNESS   259

hours' delay, but also twelve hours' rest, and both horses
and bullocks would be the better for the comfortable quar-
ters they would find there. This was accordingly agreed
upon, and the young squatters sketched out a programme
of the day's amusements, which was adopted eagerly.
   At noon, seven vigorous hunters were before the door.
An elegant brake was intended for the ladies, in which the
coachman could exhibit his skill in driving four-in-hand.
The cavalcade set off preceded by huntsmen, and armed
with first-rate rifles, followed by a pack of pointers bark-
ing joyously as they bounded through the bushes. For
four hours the hunting party wandered through the paths
and avenues of the park, which was as large as a small
German state. The Reuiss-Schleitz, or Saxe-Coburg
Gotha, would have gone inside it comfortably. Few peo-
ple were to be met in it certainly, but sheep in abundance.
As for game, there was a complete preserve awaiting the
hunters. The noisy reports of guns were soon heard on
all sides. Little Robert did wonders in company with Ma-
jor McNabbs. The daring boy, in spite of his sister's
injunctions, was always in front, and the first to fire. But
John Mangles promised to watch over him, and Mary felt
less uneasy.
   During this <i>battue</i> they killed certain animals peculiar to
the country, the very names of which were unknown to
Paganel; among others the "wombat" and the "bandi-
coot." The wombat is an herbivorous animal, which bur-
rows in the ground like a badger. It is as large as a sheep,
and the flesh is excellent.
   The bandicoot is a species of marsupial animal which
could outwit the European fox, and give him lessons in
pillaging poultry yards. It was a repulsive-looking ani-
mal, a foot and a half long, but, as Paganel chanced to
kill it, of course he thought it charming.
   "An adorable creature," he called it.
   But the most interesting event of the day, by far, was
the kangaroo hunt. About four o'clock, the dogs roused
a troop of these curious marsupials. The little ones re-
treated precipitately into the maternal pouch, and all the
troop decamped in file. Nothing could be more astonish-
ing than the enormous bounds of the kangaroo. The hind
legs of the animal are twice as long as the front ones, and


260   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

unbend like a spring. At the head of the flying troop
was a male five feet high, a magnificent specimen of the
<i>macropus giganteus</i>, an "old man," as the bushmen say.
   For four or five miles the chase was vigorously pursued.
The kangaroos showed no signs of weariness, and the dogs,
who had reason enough to fear their strong paws and
sharp nails, did not care to approach them. But at last,
worn out with the race, the troop stopped, and the "old
man" leaned against the trunk of a tree, ready to defend
himself. One of the pointers, carried away by excitement,
went up to him. Next minute the unfortunate beast leaped
into the air, and fell down again completely ripped up.
   The whole pack, indeed, would have had little chance
with these powerful marsupia. They had to dispatch the
fellow with rifles. Nothing but balls could bring down the
gigantic animal.
   Just at this moment, Robert was well nigh the victim of
his own imprudence. To make sure of his aim, he had
approached too near the kangaroo, and the animal leaped
upon him immediately. Robert gave a loud cry and fell.
Mary Grant saw it all from the brake, and in an agony of
terror, speechless and almost unable even to see, stretched
out her arms toward her little brother. No one dared to
fire, for fear of wounding the child.
   But John Mangles opened his hunting knife, and at the
risk of being ripped up himself, sprang at the animal, and
plunged it into his heart. The beast dropped forward, and
Robert rose unhurt. Next minute he was in his sister's
arms.
   "Thank you, Mr. John, thank you!" she said, holding
out her hand to the young captain.
   "I had pledged myself for his safety," was all John
said, taking her trembling fingers into his own.
   This occurrence ended the sport. The band of mar-
supia had disappeared after the death of their leader. The
hunting party returned home, bringing their game with
them. It was then six o'clock. A magnificent dinner
was ready. Among other things, there was one dish that
was a great success. It was kangaroo-tail soup, prepared
in the native manner.
   Next morning very early, they took leave of the young
squatters, with hearty thanks and a positive promise from


SUSPICIOUS OCCURRENCES     261

them of a visit to Malcolm Castle when they should return
to Europe.
   Then the wagon began to move away, round the foot
of Mount Hottam, and soon the hospitable dwelling disap-
peared from the sight of the travelers like some brief vis-
ion which had come and gone.
   For five miles further, the horses were still treading the
station lands. It was not till nine o'clock that they had
passed the last fence, and entered the almost unknown dis-
tricts of the province of Victoria.


CHAPTER XV
SUSPICIOUS OCCURRENCES

   AN immense barrier lay across the route to the south-
east. It was the Australian Alps, a vast fortification, the
fantastic curtain of which extended 1,500 miles, and pierced
the clouds at the height of 4,000 feet.
   The cloudy sky only allowed the heat to reach the
ground through a close veil of mist. The temperature
was just bearable, but the road was toilsome from its un-
even character. The extumescences on the plain became
more and more marked. Several mounds planted with
green young gum trees appeared here and there. Fur-
ther on these protuberances rising sharply, formed the
first steps of the great Alps. From this time their course
was a continual ascent, as was soon evident in the strain
it made on the bullocks to drag along the cumbrous wagon.
Their yoke creaked, they breathed heavily, and the muscles
of their houghs were stretched as if they would burst.
The planks of the vehicle groaned at the unexpected jolts,
which Ayrton with all his skill could not prevent. The
ladies bore their share of discomfort bravely.
   John Mangles and his two sailors acted as scouts, and
went about a hundred steps in advance. They found out
practical paths, or passes, indeed they might be called, for
these projections of the ground were like so many rocks,
between which the wagon had to steer carefully. It re-
quired absolute navigation to find a safe way over the bil-
lowy region.
   It was a difficult and often perilous task. Many a time


262   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

Wilson's hatchet was obliged to open a passage through
thick tangles of shrubs. The damp argillaceous soil gave
way under their feet. The route was indefinitely pro-
longed owing to the insurmountable obstacles, huge blocks
of granite, deep ravines, suspected lagoons, which obliged
them to make a thousand detours. When night came they
found they had only gone over half a degree. They
camped at the foot of the Alps, on the banks of the creek
of Cobongra, on the edge of a little plain, covered with
little shrubs four feet high, with bright red leaves which
gladdened the eye.
   "We shall have hard work to get over," said Glenarvan,
looking at the chain of mountains, the outlines of which
were fast fading away in the deepening darkness. "The
very name Alps gives plenty of room for reflection."
   "It is not quite so big as it sounds, my dear Glenarvan.
Don't suppose you have a whole Switzerland to traverse.
In Australia there are the Grampians, the Pyrenees, the
Alps, the Blue Mountains, as in Europe and America, but
in miniature. This simply implies either that the imag-
ination of geographers is not infinite, or that their vocabu-
lary of proper names is very poor."
   "Then these Australian Alps," said Lord Glenarvan,
"are --"
   "Mere pocket mountains," put in Paganel; "we shall
get over them without knowing it."
   "Speak for yourself," said the Major. "It would cer-
tainly take a very absent man who could cross over a chain
of mountains and not know it."
   "Absent! But I am not an absent man now. I appeal
to the ladies. Since ever I set foot on the Australian con-
tinent, have I been once at fault? Can you reproach me
with a single blunder?"
   "Not one. Monsieur Paganel," said Mary Grant. "You
are now the most perfect of men."
   "Too perfect," added Lady Helena, laughing; "your
blunders suited you admirably."
   "Didn't they, Madam? If I have no faults now, I
shall soon get like everybody else. I hope then I shall
make some outrageous mistake before long, which will give
you a good laugh. You see, unless I make mistakes, it
seems to me I fail in my vocation."


SUSPICIOUS OCCURRENCES     263

   Next day, the 9th of January, notwithstanding the as-
surances of the confident geographer, it was not without
great difficulty that the little troop made its way through
the Alpine pass. They were obliged to go at a venture,
and enter the depths of narrow gorges without any cer-
tainty of an outlet. Ayrton would doubtless have found
himself very much embarrassed if a little inn, a miserable
public house, had not suddenly presented itself.
   "My goodness!" cried Paganel, "the landlord of this
inn won't make his fortune in a place like this. What is
the use of it here?"
   "To give us the information we want about the route,"
replied Glenarvan. "Let us go in."
   Glenarvan, followed by Ayrton, entered the inn forth-
with. The landlord of the "Bush Inn," as it was called,
was a coarse man with an ill-tempered face, who must
have considered himself his principal customer for the gin,
brandy and whisky he had to sell. He seldom saw any one
but the squatters and rovers. He answered all the ques-
tions put to him in a surly tone. But his replies sufficed
to make the route clear to Ayrton, and that was all that
was wanted. Glenarvan rewarded him with a handful of
silver for his trouble, and was about to leave the tavern,
when a placard against the wall arrested his attention.
   It was a police notice, and announcing the escape of the
convicts from Perth, and offering a reward for the cap-
ture of Ben Joyce of &pound;100 sterling.
   "He's a fellow that's worth hanging, and no mistake,"
said Glenarvan to the quartermaster.
   "And worth capturing still more. But what a sum to
offer! He is not worth it!"
   "I don't feel very sure of the innkeeper though, in spite
of the notice," said Glenarvan.
   "No more do I," replied Ayrton.
   They went back to the wagon, toward the point where
the route to Lucknow stopped. A narrow path wound
away from this which led across the chain in a slanting
direction. They had commenced the ascent.
   It was hard work. More than once both the ladies and
gentlemen had to get down and walk. They were obliged
to help to push round the wheels of the heavy vehicle, and
to support it frequently in dangerous declivities, to unhar-


264   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

ness the bullocks when the team could not go well round
sharp turnings, prop up the wagon when it threatened to
roll back, and more than once Ayrton had to reinforce his
bullocks by harnessing the horses, although they were tired
out already with dragging themselves along.
   Whether it was this prolonged fatigue, or from some
other cause altogether, was not known, but one of the
horses sank suddenly, without the slightest symptom of
illness. It was Mulrady's horse that fell, and on attempt-
ing to pull it up, the animal was found to be dead. Ayrton
examined it immediately, but was quite at a loss to account
for the disaster.
   "The beast must have broken some blood vessels," said
Glenarvan.
   "Evidently," replied Ayrton.
   "Take my horse, Mulrady," added Glenarvan. "I will
join Lady Helena in the wagon."
   Mulrady obeyed, and the little party continued their fa-
tiguing ascent, leaving the carcass of the dead animal to
the ravens.
   The Australian Alps are of no great thickness, and the
base is not more than eight miles wide. Consequently if
the pass chosen by Ayrton came out on the eastern side,
they might hope to get over the high barrier within forty-
eight hours more. The difficulty of the route would then
be surmounted, and they would only have to get to the
sea.
   During the 18th the travelers reached the top-most point
of the pass, about 2,000 feet high. They found themselves
on an open plateau, with nothing to intercept the view.
Toward the north the quiet waters of Lake Omco, all alive
with aquatic birds, and beyond this lay the vast plains of
the Murray. To the south were the wide spreading plains
of Gippsland, with its abundant gold-fields and tall forests.
There nature was still mistress of the products and water,
and great trees where the woodman's ax was as yet un-
known, and the squatters, then five in number, could not
struggle against her. It seemed as if this chain of the
Alps separated two different countries, one of which had
retained its primitive wildness. The sun went down, and
a few solitary rays piercing the rosy clouds, lighted up the
Murray district, leaving Gippsland in deep shadow, as if
night had suddenly fallen on the whole region. The con-


SUSPICIOUS OCCURRENCES     265

trast was presented very vividly to the spectators placed
between these two countries so divided, and some emotion
filled the minds of the travelers, as they contemplated the
almost unknown district they were about to traverse right
to the frontiers of Victoria.
   They camped on the plateau that night, and next day
the descent commenced. It was tolerably rapid. A hail-
storm of extreme violence assailed the travelers, and
obliged them to seek a shelter among the rocks. It was
not hail-stones, but regular lumps of ice, as large as one's
hand, which fell from the stormy clouds. A waterspout
could not have come down with more violence, and sundry
big bruises warned Paganel and Robert to retreat. The
wagon was riddled in several places, and few coverings
would have held out against those sharp icicles, some of
which had fastened themselves into the trunks of the trees.
It was impossible to go on till this tremendous shower was
over, unless the travelers wished to be stoned. It lasted
about an hour, and then the march commenced anew over
slanting rocks still slippery after the hail.
   Toward evening the wagon, very much shaken and dis-
jointed in several parts, but still standing firm on its wooden
disks, came down the last slopes of the Alps, among great
isolated pines. The passage ended in the plains of Gipps-
land. The chain of the Alps was safely passed, and the
usual arrangements were made for the nightly encamp-
ment.
   On the 21st, at daybreak, the journey was resumed with
an ardor which never relaxed. Everyone was eager to
reach the goal -- that is to say the Pacific Ocean -- at that
part where the wreck of the <i>Britannia</i> had occurred. Noth-
ing could be done in the lonely wilds of Gippsland, and
Ayrton urged Lord Glenarvan to send orders at once for
the <i>Duncan</i> to repair to the coast, in order to have at hand
all means of research. He thought it would certainly be
advisable to take advantage of the Lucknow route to Mel-
bourne. If they waited it would be difficult to find any
way of direct communication with the capital.
   This advice seemed good, and Paganel recommended that
they should act upon it. He also thought that the pres-
ence of the yacht would be very useful, and he added, that
if the Lucknow road was once passed, it would be impossi-
ble to communicate with Melbourne.


266   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Glenarvan was undecided what to do, and perhaps he
would have yielded to Ayrton's arguments, if the Major
had not combated this decision vigorously. He maintained
that the presence of Ayrton was necessary to the expedi-
tion, that he would know the country about the coast, and
that if any chance should put them on the track of Harry
Grant, the quartermaster would be better able to follow it
up than any one else, and, finally, that he alone could point
out the exact spot where the shipwreck occurred.
   McNabbs voted therefore for the continuation of the
voyage, without making the least change in their pro-
gramme. John Mangles was of the same opinion. The
young captain said even that orders would reach the <i>Dun-
can</i> more easily from Twofold Bay, than if a message was
sent two hundred miles over a wild country.
   His counsel prevailed. It was decided that they should
wait till they came to Twofold Bay. The Major watched
Ayrton narrowly, and noticed his disappointed look. But
he said nothing, keeping his observations, as usual, to him-
self.
   The plains which lay at the foot of the Australian Alps
were level, but slightly inclined toward the east. Great
clumps of mimosas and eucalyptus, and various odorous
gum-trees, broke the uniform monotony here and there.
The <i>gastrolobium grandiflorum</i> covered the ground, with
its bushes covered with gay flowers. Several unimportant
creeks, mere streams full of little rushes, and half covered
up with orchids, often interrupted the route. They had
to ford these. Flocks of bustards and emus fled at the
approach of the travelers. Below the shrubs, kangaroos
were leaping and springing like dancing jacks. But the
hunters of the party were not thinking much of the sport,
and the horses little needed any additional fatigue.
   Moreover, a sultry heat oppressed the plain. The at-
mosphere was completely saturated with electricity, and its
influence was felt by men and beasts. They just dragged
themselves along, and cared for nothing else. The silence
was only interrupted by the cries of Ayrton urging on his
burdened team.
   From noon to two o'clock they went through a curious
forest of ferns, which would have excited the admiration
of less weary travelers. These plants in full flower meas-


SUSPICIOUS OCCURRENCES     267

ured thirty feet in height. Horses and riders passed easily
beneath their drooping leaves, and sometimes the spurs
would clash against the woody stems. Beneath these im-
movable parasols there was a refreshing coolness which
every one appreciated. Jacques Paganel, always demon-
strative, gave such deep sighs of satisfaction that the par-
oquets and cockatoos flew out in alarm, making a deafen-
ing chorus of noisy chatter.
   The geographer was going on with his sighs and jubila-
tions with the utmost coolness, when his companions sud-
denly saw him reel forward, and he and his horse fell down
in a lump. Was it giddiness, or worse still, suffocation,
caused by the high temperature? They ran to him, ex-
claiming: "Paganel! Paganel! what is the matter?"
   "Just this. I have no horse, now!" he replied, disengag-
ing his feet from the stirrups.
   "What! your horse?"
   "Dead like Mulrady's, as if a thunderbolt had struck
him."
   Glenarvan, John Mangles, and Wilson examined the ani-
mal; and found Paganel was right. His horse had been
suddenly struck dead.
   "That is strange," said John.
   "Very strange, truly," muttered the Major.
   Glenarvan was greatly disturbed by this fresh accident.
He could not get a fresh horse in the desert, and if an epi-
demic was going to seize their steeds, they would be se-
riously embarrassed how to proceed.
   Before the close of the day, it seemed as if the word
epidemic was really going to be justified. A third horse,
Wilson's, fell dead, and what was, perhaps equally disas-
trous, one of the bullocks also. The means of traction and
transport were now reduced to three bullocks and four
horses.
   The situation became grave. The unmounted horse-
men might walk, of course, as many squatters had done
already; but if they abandoned the wagon, what would the
ladies do? Could they go over the one hundred and
twenty miles which lay between them and Twofold Bay?
John Mangles and Lord Glenarvan examined the surviving
horses with great uneasiness, but there was not the slightest
symptom of illness or feebleness in them. The animals


268   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

were in perfect health, and bravely bearing the fatigues
of the voyage. This somewhat reassured Glenarvan, and
made him hope the malady would strike no more victims.
Ayrton agreed with him, but was unable to find the least
solution of the mystery.
   They went on again, the wagon serving, from time to
time, as a house of rest for the pedestrians. In the even-
ing, after a march of only ten miles, the signal to halt was
given, and the tent pitched. The night passed without in-
convenience beneath a vast mass of bushy ferns, under
which enormous bats, properly called flying foxes, were
flapping about.
   The next day's journey was good; there were no new
calamities. The health of the expedition remained satis-
factory; horses and cattle did their task cheerily. Lady
Helena's drawing-room was very lively, thanks to the
number of visitors. M. Olbinett busied himself in passing
round refreshments which were very acceptable in such hot
weather. Half a barrel of Scotch ale was sent in bodily.
Barclay and Co. was declared to be the greatest man in
Great Britain, even above Wellington, who could never
have manufactured such good beer. This was a Scotch
estimate. Jacques Paganel drank largely, and discoursed
still more <i>de omni re scibili</i>.
   A day so well commenced seemed as if it could not but
end well; they had gone fifteen good miles, and managed
to get over a pretty hilly district where the soil was
reddish. There was every reason to hope they might
camp that same night on the banks of the Snowy River,
an important river which throws itself into the Pacific,
south of Victoria.
   Already the wheels of the wagon were making deep ruts
on the wide plains, covered with blackish alluvium, as it
passed on between tufts of luxuriant grass and fresh fields
of gastrolobium. As evening came on, a white mist on the
horizon marked the course of the Snowy River. Several
additional miles were got over, and a forest of tall trees
came in sight at a bend of the road, behind a gentle emi-
nence. Ayrton turned his team a little toward the great
trunks, lost in shadow, and he had got to the skirts of the
wood, about half-a-mile from the river, when the wagon
suddenly sank up to the middle of the wheels.


SUSPICIOUS OCCURRENCES     269

   "Stop!" he called out to the horsemen following him.
   "What is wrong?" inquired Glenarvan.
   "We have stuck in the mud," replied Ayrton.
   He tried to stimulate the bullocks to a fresh effort by
voice and goad, but the animals were buried half-way up
their legs, and could not stir.
   "Let us camp here," suggested John Mangles.
   "It would certainly be the best place," said Ayrton.
"We shall see by daylight to-morrow how to get ourselves
out."
   Glenarvan acted on their advice, and came to a halt.
Night came on rapidly after a brief twilight, but the heat
did not withdraw with the light. Stifling vapors filled the
air, and occasionally bright flashes of lightning, the reflec-
tions of a distant storm, lighted up the sky with a fiery
glare. Arrangements were made for the night immedi-
ately. They did the best they could with the sunk wagon,
and the tent was pitched beneath the shelter of the great
trees; and if the rain did not come, they had not much to
complain about.
   Ayrton succeeded, though with some difficulty, in extri-
cating the three bullocks. These courageous beasts were
engulfed up to their flanks. The quartermaster turned
them out with the four horses, and allowed no one but him-
self to see after their pasturage. He always executed his
task wisely, and this evening Glenarvan noticed he redou-
bled his care, for which he took occasion to thank him, the
preservation of the team being of supreme importance.
   Meantime, the travelers were dispatching a hasty supper.
Fatigue and heat destroy appetite, and sleep was needed
more than food. Lady Helena and Miss Grant speedily
bade the company good-night, and retired. Their com-
panions soon stretched themselves under the tent or outside
under the trees, which is no great hardship in this salubrious
climate.
   Gradually they all fell into a heavy sleep. The darkness
deepened owing to a thick current of clouds which over-
spread the sky. There was not a breath of wind. The si-
lence of night was only interrupted by the cries of the
"morepork" in the minor key, like the mournful cuckoos
of Europe.
   Towards eleven o'clock, after a wretched, heavy, unre-


270 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

freshing sleep, the Major woke. His half-closed eyes were
struck with a faint light running among the great trees.
It looked like a white sheet, and glittered like a lake, and
McNabbs thought at first it was the commencement of a
fire.
   He started up, and went toward the wood; but what was
his surprise to perceive a purely natural phenomenon! Be-
fore him lay an immense bed of mushrooms, which emit-
ted a phosphorescent light. The luminous spores of the
cryptograms shone in the darkness with intensity.
   The Major, who had no selfishness about him, was going
to waken Paganel, that he might see this phenomenon with
his own eyes, when something occurred which arrested him.
This phosphorescent light illumined the distance half a
mile, and McNabbs fancied he saw a shadow pass across
the edge of it. Were his eyes deceiving him? Was it
some hallucination?
   McNabbs lay down on the ground, and, after a close
scrutiny, he could distinctly see several men stooping down
and lifting themselves up alternately, as if they were look-
ing on the ground for recent marks.
   The Major resolved to find out what these fellows were
about, and without the least hesitation or so much as arous-
ing his companions, crept along, lying flat on the ground,
like a savage on the prairies, completely hidden among the
long grass.


CHAPTER XVI
A STARTLING DISCOVERY

   IT was a frightful night. At two A. M. the rain began
to fall in torrents from the stormy clouds, and continued
till daybreak. The tent became an insufficient shelter.
Glenarvan and his companions took refuge in the wagon;
they did not sleep, but talked of one thing and another.
The Major alone, whose brief absence had not been no-
ticed, contented himself with being a silent listener. There
was reason to fear that if the storm lasted longer the Snowy
River would overflow its banks, which would be a very
unlucky thing for the wagon, stuck fast as it was already
in the soft ground. Mulrady, Ayrton and Mangles went


A STARTLING DISCOVERY     271

several times to ascertain the height of the water, and came
back dripping from head to foot.
   At last day appeared; the rain ceased, but sunlight
could not break through the thick clouds. Large patches
of yellowish water -- muddy, dirty ponds indeed they were
-- covered the ground. A hot steam rose from the soaking
earth, and saturated the atmosphere with unhealthy humid-
ity.
   Glenarvan's first concern was the wagon; this was the
main thing in his eyes. They examined the ponderous ve-
hicle, and found it sunk in the mud in a deep hollow in the
stiff clay. The forepart had disappeared completely, and
the hind part up to the axle. It would be a hard job to
get the heavy conveyance out, and would need the united
strength of men, bullocks, and horses.
   "At any rate, we must make haste," said John Mangles.
"If the clay dries, it will make our task still more difficult."
   "Let us be quick, then," replied Ayrton.
   Glenarvan, his two sailors, John Mangles, and Ayrton
went off at once into the wood, where the animals had
passed the night. It was a gloomy-looking forest of tall
gum-trees; nothing but dead trees, with wide spaces be-
tween, which had been barked for ages, or rather skinned
like the cork-oak at harvest time. A miserable network
of bare branches was seen above two hundred feet high in
the air. Not a bird built its nest in these a&euml;rial skeletons;
not a leaf trembled on the dry branches, which rattled to-
gether like bones. To what cataclysm is this phenomenon
to be attributed, so frequent in Australia, entire forests
struck dead by some epidemic; no one knows; neither the
oldest natives, nor their ancestors who have lain long buried
in the groves of the dead, have ever seen them green.
   Glenarvan as he went along kept his eye fixed on the
gray sky, on which the smallest branch of the gum-trees
was sharply defined. Ayrton was astonished not to dis-
cover the horses and bullocks where he had left them the
preceding night. They could not have wandered far with
the hobbles on their legs.
   They looked over the wood, but saw no signs of them,
and Ayrton returned to the banks of the river, where mag-
nificent mimosas were growing. He gave a cry well
known to his team, but there was no reply. The quarter-


272   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

master seemed uneasy, and his companions looked at him
with disappointed faces. An hour had passed in vain en-
deavors, and Glenarvan was about to go back to the wagon,
when a neigh struck on his ear, and immediately after a
bellow.
   "They are there!" cried John Mangles, slipping be-
tween the tall branches of gastrolobium, which grew high
enough to hide a whole flock. Glenarvan, Mulrady, and
Ayrton darted after him, and speedily shared his stupe-
faction at the spectacle which met their gaze.
   Two bullocks and three horses lay stretched on the
ground, struck down like the rest. Their bodies were al-
ready cold, and a flock of half-starved looking ravens
croaking among the mimosas were watching the unexpected
prey. Glenarvan and his party gazed at each other and
Wilson could not keep back the oath that rose to his lips.
   "What do you mean, Wilson?" said Glenarvan, with
difficulty controlling himself. "Ayrton, bring away the
bullock and the horse we have left; they will have to serve
us now."
   "If the wagon were not sunk in the mud," said John
Mangles, "these two animals, by making short journeys,
would be able to take us to the coast; so we must get the
vehicle out, cost what it may."
   "We will try, John," replied Glenarvan. "Let us go
back now, or they will be uneasy at our long absence."
   Ayrton removed the hobbles from the bullock and Mul-
rady from the horse, and they began to return to the en-
campment, following the winding margin of the river.
In half an hour they rejoined Paganel, and McNabbs, and
the ladies, and told them of this fresh disaster.
   "Upon my honor, Ayrton," the Major could not help
saying, "it is a pity that you hadn't had the shoeing of all
our beasts when we forded the Wimerra."
   "Why, sir?" asked Ayrton.
   "Because out of all our horses only the one your black-
smith had in his hands has escaped the common fate."
   "That's true," said John Mangles. "It's strange it hap-
pens so."
   "A mere chance, and nothing more," replied the quarter-
master, looking firmly at the Major.
   Major McNabbs bit his lips as if to keep back something

V. IV Verne


A STARTLING DISCOVERY     273

he was about to say. Glenarvan and the rest waited for
him to speak out his thoughts, but the Major was silent,
and went up to the wagon, which Ayrton was examining.
   "What was he going to say. Mangles?" asked Glen-
arvan.
   "I don't know," replied the young captain; "but the
Major is not at all a man to speak without reason."
   "No, John," said Lady Helena. "McNabbs must have
suspicions about Ayrton."
   "Suspicions!" exclaimed Paganel, shrugging his shoul-
ders.
   "And what can they be?" asked Glenarvan. "Does he
suppose him capable of having killed our horses and bul-
locks? And for what purpose? Is not Ayrton's interest
identical with our own?"
   "You are right, dear Edward," said Lady Helena! "and
what is more, the quartermaster has given us incontestable
proofs of his devotion ever since the commencement of the
journey."
   "Certainly he has," replied Mangles; "but still, what
could the Major mean? I wish he would speak his mind
plainly out."
   "Does he suppose him acting in concert with the con-
victs?" asked Paganel, imprudently.
   "What convicts?" said Miss Grant.
   "Monsieur Paganel is making a mistake," replied John
Mangles, instantly. "He knows very well there are no
convicts in the province of Victoria."
   "Ah, that is true," returned Paganel, trying to get out
of his unlucky speech. "Whatever had I got in my head?
Convicts! who ever heard of convicts being in Australia?
Besides, they would scarcely have disembarked before they
would turn into good, honest men. The climate, you
know, Miss Mary, the regenerative climate --"
   Here the poor <i>savant</i> stuck fast, unable to get further,
like the wagon in the mud. Lady Helena looked at him in
surprise, which quite deprived him of his remaining <i>sang-
froid;</i> but seeing his embarrassment, she took Mary away
to the side of the tent, where M. Olbinett was laying out an
elaborate breakfast.
   "I deserve to be transported myself," said Paganel, woe-
fully.


274  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "I think so," said Glenarvan.
   And after this grave reply, which completely over-
whelmed the worthy geographer, Glenarvan and John Man-
gles went toward the wagon.
   They found Ayrton and the two sailors doing their best
to get it out of the deep ruts, and the bullock and horse,
yoked together, were straining every muscle. Wilson and
Mulrady were pushing the wheels, and the quartermaster
urging on the team with voice and goad; but the heavy
vehicle did not stir, the clay, already dry, held it as firmly
as if sealed by some hydraulic cement.
   John Mangles had the clay watered to loosen it, but it
was of no use. After renewed vigorous efforts, men and
animals stopped. Unless the vehicle was taken to pieces,
it would be impossible to extricate it from the mud; but
they had no tools for the purpose, and could not attempt
such a task.
   However, Ayrton, who was for conquering this obsta-
cle at all costs, was about to commence afresh, when Glen-
arvan stopped him by saying: "Enough, Ayrton, enough.
We must husband the strength of our remaining horse and
bullock. If we are obliged to continue our journey on foot,
the one animal can carry the ladies and the other the pro-
visions. They may thus still be of great service to us."
   "Very well, my Lord," replied the quartermaster, un-
yoking the exhausted beasts.
   "Now, friends," added Glenarvan, "let us return to
the encampment and deliberately examine our situation,
and determine on our course of action."
   After a tolerably good breakfast to make up for their
bad night, the discussion was opened, and every one of the
party was asked to give his opinion. The first point was
to ascertain their exact position, and this was referred to
Paganel, who informed them, with his customary rigorous
accuracy, that the expedition had been stopped on the 37th
parallel, in longitude 147 degrees 53 minutes, on the banks
of the Snowy River.
   "What is the exact longitude of Twofold Bay?" asked
Glenarvan.
   "One hundred and fifty degrees," replied Paganel; "two
degrees seven minutes distant from this, and that is equal to
seventy-five miles."


A STARTLING DISCOVERY     275

   "And Melbourne is?"
   "Two hundred miles off at least."
   "Very good. Our position being then settled, what is
best to do?"
   The response was unanimous to get to the coast without
delay. Lady Helena and Mary Grant undertook to go
five miles a day. The courageous ladies did not shrink, if
necessary, from walking the whole distance between the
Snowy River and Twofold Bay.
   "You are a brave traveling companion, dear Helena,"
said Lord Glenarvan. "But are we sure of finding at the
bay all we want when we get there?"
   "Without the least doubt," replied Paganel. "Eden
is a municipality which already numbers many years in ex-
istence; its port must have frequent communication with
Melbourne. I suppose even at Delegete, on the Victoria
frontier, thirty-five miles from here, we might revictual
our expedition, and find fresh means of transport."
   "And the <i>Duncan?</i>" asked Ayrton. "Don't you think
it advisable to send for her to come to the bay?"
   "What do you think, John?" said Glenarvan.
   "I don't think your lordship should be in any hurry about
it," replied the young captain, after brief reflection.
"There will be time enough to give orders to Tom Austin,
and summon him to the coast."
   "That's quite certain," added Paganel.
   "You see," said John, "in four or five days we shall
reach Eden."
   "Four or five days!" repeated Ayrton, shaking his
head; "say fifteen or twenty, Captain, if you don't want to
repent your mistake when it is too late."
   "Fifteen or twenty days to go seventy-five miles?" cried
Glenarvan.
   "At the least, my Lord. You are going to traverse the
most difficult portion of Victoria, a desert, where every-
thing is wanting, the squatters say; plains covered with
scrub, where is no beaten track and no stations. You will
have to walk hatchet or torch in hand, and, believe me,
that's not quick work."
   Ayrton had spoken in a firm tone, and Paganel, at whom
all the others looked inquiringly, nodded his head in token
of his agreement in opinion with the quartermaster.


276  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   But John Mangles said, "Well, admitting these difficul-
ties, in fifteen days at most your Lordship can send orders
to the <i>Duncan</i>."
   "I have to add," said Ayrton, "that the principal diffi-
culties are not the obstacles in the road, but the Snowy
River has to be crossed, and most probably we must wait
till the water goes down."
   "Wait!" cried John. "Is there no ford?"
   "I think not," replied Ayrton. "This morning I was
looking for some practical crossing, but could not find any.
It is unusual to meet with such a tumultuous river at this
time of the year, and it is a fatality against which I am
powerless."
   "Is this Snowy River wide?" asked Lady Helena.
   "Wide and deep, Madam," replied Ayrton; "a mile
wide, with an impetuous current. A good swimmer could
not go over without danger."
   "Let us build a boat then," said Robert, who never
stuck at anything. "We have only to cut down a tree
and hollow it out, and get in and be off."
   "He's going ahead, this boy of Captain Grant's!" said
Paganel.
   "And he's right," returned John Mangles. "We shall
be forced to come to that, and I think it is useless to waste
our time in idle discussion."
   "What do you think of it, Ayrton?" asked Glenarvan
seriously.
   "I think, my Lord, that a month hence, unless some help
arrives, we shall find ourselves still on the banks of the
Snowy."
   "Well, then, have you any better plan to propose?" said
John Mangles, somewhat impatiently.
   "Yes, that the <i>Duncan</i> should leave Melbourne, and go
to the east coast."
   "Oh, always the same story! And how could her pres-
ence at the bay facilitate our means of getting there?"
   Ayrton waited an instant before answering, and then
said, rather evasively: "I have no wish to obtrude my
opinions. What I do is for our common good, and I am
ready to start the moment his honor gives the signal."
And he crossed his arms and was silent.
   "That is no reply, Ayrton," said Glenarvan. "Tell us

A STARTLING DISCOVERY     277

your plan, and we will discuss it. What is it you pro-
pose?"
   Ayrton replied in a calm tone of assurance: "I propose
that we should not venture beyond the Snowy in our pres-
ent condition. It is here we must wait till help comes, and
this help can only come from the <i>Duncan</i>. Let us camp
here, where we have provisions, and let one of us take
your orders to Tom Austin to go on to Twofold Bay."
   This unexpected proposition was greeted with astonish-
ment, and by John Mangles with openly-expressed opposi-
tion.
   "Meantime," continued Ayrton, "either the river will
get lower, and allow us to ford it, or we shall have time to
make a canoe. This is the plan I submit for your Lord-
ship's approval."
   "Well, Ayrton," replied Glenarvan, "your plan is
worthy of serious consideration. The worst thing about
it is the delay it would cause; but it would save us great
fatigue, and perhaps danger. What do you think of it,
friends?"
   "Speak your mind, McNabbs," said Lady Helena.
"Since the beginning of the discussion you have been only
a listener, and very sparing of your words."
   "Since you ask my advice," said the Major, "I will give
it you frankly. I think Ayrton has spoken wisely and well,
and I side with him."
   Such a reply was hardly looked for, as hitherto the Ma-
jor had been strongly opposed to Ayrton's project. Ayr-
ton himself was surprised, and gave a hasty glance at the
Major. However, Paganel, Lady Helena, and the sailors
were all of the same way of thinking; and since McNabbs
had come over to his opinion, Glenarvan decided that the
quartermaster's plan should be adopted in principle.
   "And now, John," he added, "don't you think yourself
it would be prudent to encamp here, on the banks of the
river Snowy, till we can get some means of conveyance."
   "Yes," replied John Mangles, "if our messenger can
get across the Snowy when we cannot."
   All eyes were turned on the quartermaster, who said,
with the air of a man who knew what he was about: "The
messenger will not cross the river."
   "Indeed!" said John Mangles.


278   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "He will simply go back to the Lucknow Road which
leads straight to Melbourne."
   "Go two hundred and fifty miles on foot!" cried the
young Captain.
   "On horseback," replied Ayrton. "There is one horse
sound enough at present. It will only be an affair of four
days. Allow the <i>Duncan</i> two days more to get to the bay
and twenty hours to get back to the camp, and in a week
the messenger can be back with the entire crew of the
vessel."
   The Major nodded approvingly as Ayrton spoke, to the
profound astonishment of John Mangles; but as every one
was in favor of the plan all there was to do was to carry it
out as quickly as possible.
   "Now, then, friends," said Glenarvan, "we must settle
who is to be our messenger. It will be a fatiguing, perilous
mission. I would not conceal the fact from you. Who is
disposed, then, to sacrifice himself for his companions and
carry our instructions to Melbourne?"
   Wilson and Mulrady, and also Paganel, John Mangles
and Robert instantly offered their services. John particu-
larly insisted that he should be intrusted with the business;
but Ayrton, who had been silent till that moment, now said:
"With your Honor's permission I will go myself. I am
accustomed to all the country round. Many a time I have
been across worse parts. I can go through where another
would stick. I ask then, for the good of all, that I may be
sent to Melbourne. A word from you will accredit me with
your chief officer, and in six days I guarantee the <i>Duncan</i>
shall be in Twofold Bay."
   "That's well spoken," replied Glenarvan. "You are a
clever, daring fellow, and you will succeed."
   It was quite evident the quartermaster was the fittest man
for the mission. All the rest withdrew from the competi-
tion. John Mangles made this one last objection, that the
presence of Ayrton was necessary to discover traces of the
<i>Britannia</i> or Harry Grant. But the Major justly observed
that the expedition would remain on the banks of the Snowy
till the return of Ayrton, that they had no idea of resuming
their search without him, and that consequently his ab-
sence would not in the least prejudice the Captain's in-
terests.


A STARTLING DISCOVERY     279

   "Well, go, Ayrton," said Glenarvan. "Be as quick as
you can, and come back by Eden to our camp."
   A gleam of satisfaction shot across the quartermaster's
face. He turned away his head, but not before John Man-
gles caught the look and instinctively felt his old distrust
of Ayrton revive.
   The quartermaster made immediate preparations for de-
parture, assisted by the two sailors, one of whom saw
to the horse and the other to the provisions. Glenarvan,
meantime, wrote his letter for Tom Austin. He ordered
his chief officer to repair without delay to Twofold Bay.
He introduced the quartermaster to him as a man worthy
of all confidence. On arriving at the coast, Tom was to
dispatch a detachment of sailors from the yacht under his
orders.
   Glenarvan was just at this part of his letter, when Mc-
Nabbs, who was following him with his eyes, asked him
in a singular tone, how he wrote Ayrton's name.
   "Why, as it is pronounced, of course," replied Glen-
arvan.
   "It is a mistake," replied the Major quietly. "He pro-
nounces it <i>Ayrton</i>, but he writes it <i>Ben Joyce!</i>"


CHAPTER XVII
THE PLOT UNVEILED

   THE revelation of Tom Ayrton's name was like a clap
of thunder. Ayrton had started up quickly and grasped
his revolver. A report was heard, and Glenarvan fell
wounded by a ball. Gunshots resounded at the same time
outside.
   John Mangles and the sailors, after their first surprise,
would have seized Ben Joyce; but the bold convict had al-
ready disappeared and rejoined his gang scattered among
the gum-trees.
   The tent was no shelter against the balls. It was neces-
sary to beat a retreat. Glenarvan was slightly wounded,
but could stand up.
   "To the wagon -- to the wagon!" cried John Mangles,
dragging Lady Helena and Mary Grant along, who were
soon in safety behind the thick curtains.


280   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   John and the Major, and Paganel and the sailors seized
their carbines in readiness to repulse the convicts. Glen-
arvan and Robert went in beside the ladies, while Olbinett
rushed to the common defense.
   These events occurred with the rapidity of lightning.
John Mangles watched the skirts of the wood attentively.
The reports had ceased suddenly on the arrival of Ben
Joyce; profound silence had succeeded the noisy fusillade.
A few wreaths of white smoke were still curling over the
tops of the gum trees. The tall tufts of gastrolobium were
motionless. All signs of attack had disappeared.
   The Major and John Mangles examined the wood closely
as far as the great trees; the place was abandoned. Nu-
merous footmarks were there and several half-burned caps
were lying smoking on the ground. The Major, like a
prudent man, extinguished these carefully, for a spark
would be enough to kindle a tremendous conflagration in
this forest of dry trees.
   "The convicts have disappeared!" said John Mangles.
   "Yes," replied the Major; "and the disappearance of
them makes me uneasy. I prefer seeing them face to face.
Better to meet a tiger on the plain than a serpent in the
grass. Let us beat the bushes all round the wagon."
   The Major and John hunted all round the country, but
there was not a convict to be seen from the edge of the
wood right down to the river. Ben Joyce and his gang
seemed to have flown away like a flock of marauding birds.
It was too sudden a disappearance to let the travelers feel
perfectly safe; consequently they resolved to keep a sharp
lookout. The wagon, a regular fortress buried in mud,
was made the center of the camp, and two men mounted
guard round it, who were relieved hour by hour.
   The first care of Lady Helena and Mary was to dress
Glenarvan's wound. Lady Helena rushed toward him in
terror, as he fell down struck by Ben Joyce's ball. Con-
trolling her agony, the courageous woman helped her hus-
band into the wagon. Then his shoulder was bared, and
the Major found, on examination, that the ball had only
gone into the flesh, and there was no internal lesion.
Neither bone nor muscle appeared to be injured. The
wound bled profusely, but Glenarvan could use his fingers
and forearm; and consequently there was no occasion for


THE PLOT UNVEILED        281

any uneasiness about the issue. As soon as his shoulder
was dressed, he would not allow any more fuss to be made
about himself, but at once entered on the business in hand.
   All the party, except Mulrady and Wilson, who were on
guard, were brought into the wagon, and the Major was
asked to explain how this <i>d&eacute;nouement</i> had come about.
   Before commencing his recital, he told Lady Helena
about the escape of the convicts at Perth, and their appear-
ance in Victoria; as also their complicity in the railway
catastrophe. He handed her the <cite>Australian and New Zea-
land Gazette</cite> they had bought in Seymour, and added that
a reward had been offered by the police for the apprehen-
sion of Ben Joyce, a redoubtable bandit, who had become
a noted character during the last eighteen months, for doing
deeds of villainy and crime.
   But how had McNabbs found out that Ayrton and Ben
Joyce were one and the same individual? This was the
mystery to be unraveled, and the Major soon explained it.
   Ever since their first meeting, McNabbs had felt an in-
stinctive distrust of the quartermaster. Two or three in-
significant facts, a hasty glance exchanged between him and
the blacksmith at the Wimerra River, his unwillingness to
cross towns and villages, his persistence about getting the
<i>Duncan</i> summoned to the coast, the strange death of the
animals entrusted to his care, and, lastly, a want of frank-
ness in all his behavior -- all these details combined had
awakened the Major's suspicions.
   However, he could not have brought any direct accusa-
tion against him till the events of the preceding evening had
occurred. He then told of his experience.
   McNabbs, slipping between the tall shrubs, got within
reach of the suspicious shadows he had noticed about half
a mile away from the encampment. The phosphorescent
furze emitted a faint light, by which he could discern three
men examining marks on the ground, and one of the three
was the blacksmith of Black Point.
   "'It is them!' said one of the men. 'Yes,' replied an-
other, 'there is the trefoil on the mark of the horseshoe.
It has been like that since the Wimerra.' 'All the horses
are dead.' 'The poison is not far off.' 'There is enough
to kill a regiment of cavalry.' 'A useful plant this gastro-
lobium.'


282   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "I heard them say this to each other, and then they
were quite silent; but I did not know enough yet, so I fol-
lowed them. Soon the conversation began again. 'He is
a clever fellow, this Ben Joyce,' said the blacksmith. 'A
capital quartermaster, with his invention of shipwreck.'
'If his project succeeds, it will be a stroke of fortune.'
'He is a very devil, is this Ayrton.' 'Call him Ben Joyce,
for he has well earned his name.' And then the scoundrels
left the forest.
   "I had all the information I wanted now, and came
back to the camp quite convinced, begging Paganel's par-
don, that Australia does not reform criminals."
   This was all the Major's story, and his companions sat
silently thinking over it.
   "Then Ayrton has dragged us here," said Glenarvan,
pale with anger, "on purpose to rob and assassinate us."
   "For nothing else," replied the Major; "and ever since
we left the Wimerra, his gang has been on our track and
spying on us, waiting for a favorable opportunity."
   "Yes."
   "Then the wretch was never one of the sailors on the
<i>Britannia;</i> he had stolen the name of Ayrton and the ship-
ping papers."
   They were all looking at McNabbs for an answer, for
he must have put the question to himself already.
   "There is no great certainty about the matter," he re-
plied, in his usual calm voice; "but in my opinion the man's
name is really Ayrton. Ben Joyce is his <i>nom de guerre</i>.
It is an incontestible fact that he knew Harry Grant, and
also that he was quartermaster on the <i>Britannia</i>. These
facts were proved by the minute details given us by Ayrton,
and are corroborated by the conversation between the con-
victs, which I repeated to you. We need not lose ourselves
in vain conjectures, but consider it as certain that Ben
Joyce is Ayrton, and that Ayrton is Ben Joyce; that is to
say, one of the crew of the <i>Britannia</i> has turned leader of
the convict gang."
   The explanations of McNabbs were accepted without dis-
cussion.
   "Now, then," said Glenarvan, "will you tell us how and
why Harry Grant's quartermaster comes to be in Aus-
tralia?"


THE PLOT UNVEILED       283

   "How, I don't know," replied McNabbs; "and the police
declare they are as ignorant on the subject as myself. Why,
it is impossible to say; that is a mystery which the future
may explain."
   "The police are not even aware of Ayrton's identity
with Ben Joyce," said John Mangles.
   "You are right, John," replied the Major, "and this cir-
cumstance would throw light on their search."
   "Then, I suppose," said Lady Helena, "the wicked
wretch had got work on Paddy O'Moore's farm with a
criminal intent?"
   "There is not the least doubt of it. He was planning
some evil design against the Irishman, when a better chance
presented itself. Chance led us into his presence. He
heard Paganel's story and all about the shipwreck, and
the audacious fellow determined to act his part immedi-
ately. The expedition was decided on. At the Wimerra
he found means of communicating with one of his gang, the
blacksmith of Black Point, and left traces of our journey
which might be easily recognized. The gang followed us.
A poisonous plant enabled them gradually to kill our bul-
locks and horses. At the right moment he sunk us in the
marshes of the Snowy, and gave us into the hands of his
gang."
   Such was the history of Ben Joyce. The Major had
shown him up in his character -- a bold and formidable
criminal. His manifestly evil designs called for the utmost
vigilance on the part of Glenarvan. Happily the unmasked
bandit was less to be feared than the traitor.
   But one serious consequence must come out of this reve-
lation; no one had thought of it yet except Mary Grant.
John Mangles was the first to notice her pale, despairing
face; he understood what was passing in her mind at a
glance.
   "Miss Mary! Miss Mary!" he cried; "you are crying!"
   "Crying, my child!" said Lady Helena.
   "My father, madam, my father!" replied the poor girl.
   She could say no more, but the truth flashed on every
mind. They all knew the cause of her grief, and why
tears fell from her eyes and her father's name came to her
lips.
   The discovery of Ayrton's treachery had destroyed all


284   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

hope; the convict had invented a shipwreck to entrap Glen-
arvan. In the conversation overheard by McNabbs, the
convicts had plainly said that the <i>Britannia</i> had never been
wrecked on the rocks in Twofold Bay. Harry Grant had
never set foot on the Australian continent!
   A second time they had been sent on the wrong track
by an erroneous interpretation of the document. Gloomy
silence fell on the whole party at the sight of the children's
sorrow, and no one could find a cheering word to say.
Robert was crying in his sister's arms. Paganel muttered
in a tone of vexation: "That unlucky document! It may
boast of having half-crazed a dozen peoples' wits!" The
worthy geographer was in such a rage with himself, that
he struck his forehead as if he would smash it in.
   Glenarvan went out to Mulrady and Wilson, who were
keeping watch. Profound silence reigned over the plain
between the wood and the river. Ben Joyce and his band
must be at considerable distance, for the atmosphere was
in such a state of complete torpor that the slightest sound
would have been heard. It was evident, from the flocks
of birds on the lower branches of the trees, and the kanga-
roos feeding quietly on the young shoots, and a couple of
emus whose confiding heads passed between the great
clumps of bushes, that those peaceful solitudes were un-
troubled by the presence of human beings.
   "You have neither seen nor heard anything for the last
hour?" said Glenarvan to the two sailors.
   "Nothing whatever, your honor," replied Wilson.
"The convicts must be miles away from here."
   "They were not in numbers enough to attack us, I sup-
pose," added Mulrady. "Ben Joyce will have gone to
recruit his party, with some bandits like himself, among
the bush-rangers who may be lurking about the foot of
the Alps."
   "That is probably the case, Mulrady," replied Glenarvan.
"The rascals are cowards; they know we are armed, and
well armed too. Perhaps they are waiting for nightfall
to commence the attack. We must redouble our watchful-
ness. Oh, if we could only get out of this bog, and down
the coast; but this swollen river bars our passage. I would
pay its weight in gold for a raft which would carry us over
to the other side."


THE PLOT UNVEILED       285

   "Why does not your honor give orders for a raft to be
constructed? We have plenty of wood."
   "No, Wilson," replied Glenarvan; "this Snowy is not
a river, it is an impassable torrent."
   John Mangles, the Major, and Paganel just then came
out of the wagon on purpose to examine the state of the
river. They found it still so swollen by the heavy rain
that the water was a foot above the level. It formed an
impetuous current, like the American rapids. To venture
over that foaming current and that rushing flood, broken
into a thousand eddies and hollows and gulfs, was im-
possible.
   John Mangles declared the passage impracticable. "But
we must not stay here," he added, "without attempting
anything. What we were going to do before Ayrton's
treachery is still more necessary now."
   "What do you mean, John?" asked Glenarvan.
   "I mean that our need is urgent, and that since we cannot
go to Twofold Bay, we must go to Melbourne. We have
still one horse. Give it to me, my Lord, and I will go to
Melbourne."
   "But that will be a dangerous venture, John," said Glen-
arvan. "Not to speak of the perils of a journey of two
hundred miles over an unknown country, the road and the
by-ways will be guarded by the accomplices of Ben Joyce."
   "I know it, my Lord, but I know also that things can't
stay long as they are; Ayrton only asked a week's absence
to fetch the crew of the <i>Duncan</i>, and I will be back to the
Snowy River in six days. Well, my Lord, what are your
commands?"
   "Before Glenarvan decides," said Paganel, "I must
make an observation. That some one must go to Mel-
bourne is evident, but that John Mangles should be the one
to expose himself to the risk, cannot be. He is the captain
of the <i>Duncan</i>, and must be careful of his life. I will go
instead."
   "That is all very well, Paganel," said the Major; "but
why should you be the one to go?"
   "Are we not here?" said Mulrady and Wilson.
   "And do you think," replied McNabbs, "that a journey
of two hundred miles on horseback frightens me."
   "Friends," said Glenarvan, "one of us must go, so let


286   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

it be decided by drawing lots. Write all our names,
Paganel."
   "Not yours, my Lord," said John Mangles.
   "And why not?"
   "What! separate you from Lady Helena, and before
your wound is healed, too!"
   "Glenarvan," said Paganel, "you cannot leave the ex-
pedition."
   "No," added the Major. "Your place is here, Edward,
you ought not to go."
   "Danger is involved in it," said Glenarvan, "and I will
take my share along with the rest. Write the names, Pag-
anel, and put mine among them, and I hope the lot may
fall on me."
   His will was obeyed. The names were written, and the
lots drawn. Fate fixed on Mulrady. The brave sailor
shouted hurrah! and said: "My Lord, I am ready to start."
Glenarvan pressed his hand, and then went back to the
wagon, leaving John Mangles and the Major on watch.
   Lady Helena was informed of the determination to send
a message to Melbourne, and that they had drawn lots
who should go, and Mulrady had been chosen. Lady
Helena said a few kind words to the brave sailor, which
went straight to his heart. Fate could hardly have chosen
a better man, for he was not only brave and intelligent, but
robust and superior to all fatigue.
   Mulrady's departure was fixed for eight o'clock, imme-
diately after the short twilight. Wilson undertook to get
the horse ready. He had a project in his head of changing
the horse's left shoe, for one off the horses that had died in
the night. This would prevent the convicts from tracking
Mulrady, or following him, as they were not mounted.
   While Wilson was arranging this, Glenarvan got his let-
ter ready for Tom Austin, but his wounded arm troubled
him, and he asked Paganel to write it for him. The <i>savant</i>
was so absorbed in one fixed idea that he seemed hardly to
know what he was about. In all this succession of vexa-
tions, it must be said the document was always uppermost
in Paganel's mind. He was always worrying himself about
each word, trying to discover some new meaning, and losing
the wrong interpretation of it, and going over and over
himself in perplexities.


THE PLOT UNVEILED       287

   He did not hear Glenarvan when he first spoke, but on
the request being made a second time, he said: "Ah, very
well. I'm ready."
   While he spoke he was mechanically getting paper from
his note-book. He tore a blank page off, and sat down
pencil in hand to write.
   Glenarvan began to dictate as follows: "Order to Tom
Austin, Chief Officer, to get to sea without delay, and
bring the <i>Duncan</i> to --"
   Paganel was just finishing the last word, when his eye
chanced to fall on the <cite>Australian and New Zealand Ga-
zette</i> lying on the ground. The paper was so folded that
only the last two syllables of the title were visible. Paga-
nel's pencil stopped, and he seemed to become oblivious of
Glenarvan and the letter entirely, till his friends called out:
"Come, Paganel!"
   "Ah!" said the geographer, with a loud exclamation.
   "What is the matter?" asked the Major.
   "Nothing, nothing," replied Paganel. Then he mut-
tered to himself, "<i>Aland! aland! aland!</i>"
   He had got up and seized the newspaper. He shook it
in his efforts to keep back the words that involuntarily
rose to his lips.
   Lady Helena, Mary, Robert, and Glenarvan gazed at him
in astonishment, at a loss to understand this unaccountable
agitation. Paganel looked as if a sudden fit of insanity
had come over him. But his excitement did not last. He
became by degrees calmer. The gleam of joy that shone
in his eyes died away. He sat down again, and said
quietly:
   "When you please, my Lord, I am ready." Glenarvan
resumed his dictation at once, and the letter was soon com-
pleted. It read as follows: "Order to Tom Austin to go
to sea without delay; and take the <i>Duncan</i> to Melbourne
by the 37th degree of latitude to the eastern coast of Aus-
tralia."
   "Of Australia?" said Paganel. "Ah yes! of Aus-
tralia."
   Then he finished the letter, and gave it to Glenarvan to
sign, who went through the necessary formality as well as
he could, and closed and sealed the letter. Paganel, whose
hand still trembled with emotion, directed it thus: "Tom


288   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

Austin, Chief Officer on board the Yacht <i>Duncan</i>, Mel-
bourne."
   Then he got up and went out of the wagon, gesticulating
and repeating the incomprehensible words:
   "<i>Aland aland! aland!</i>"


CHAPTER XVIII
FOUR DAYS OF ANGUISH

   THE rest of the day passed on without any further inci-
dent. All the preparations for Mulrady's journey were
completed, and the brave sailor rejoiced in being able to
give his Lordship this proof of devotion.
   Paganel had recovered his usual <i>sang-froid</i> and manners.
His look, indeed, betrayed his preoccupation, but he seemed
resolved to keep it secret. No doubt he had strong rea-
sons for this course of action, for the Major heard him
repeating, like a man struggling with himself: "No, no,
they would not believe it; and, besides, what good would it
be? It is too late!"
   Having taken this resolution, he busied himself with
giving Mulrady the necessary directions for getting to Mel-
bourne, and showed him his way on the map. All the
<i>tracks</i>, that is to say, paths through the prairie, came out
on the road to Lucknow. This road, after running right
down to the coast took a sudden bend in the direction of
Melbourne. This was the route that must be followed
steadily, for it would not do to attempt a short cut across
an almost unknown country. Nothing, consequently,
could be more simple. Mulrady could not lose his way.
   As to dangers, there were none after he had gone a few
miles beyond the encampment, out of the reach of Ben
Joyce and his gang. Once past their hiding place, Mulrady
was certain of soon being able to outdistance the convicts,
and execute his important mission successfully.
   At six o'clock they all dined together. The rain was
falling in torrents. The tent was not protection enough,
and the whole party had to take refuge in the wagon.
This was a sure refuge. The clay kept it firmly imbedded
in the soil, like a fortress resting on sure foundations.
The arsenal was composed of seven carbines and seven re-


FOUR DAYS OF ANGUISH      289

volvers, and could stand a pretty long siege, for they had
plenty of ammunition and provisions. But before six days
were over, the <i>Duncan</i> would anchor in Twofold Bay, and
twenty-four hours after her crew would reach the other
shore of the Snowy River; and should the passage still re-
main impracticable, the convicts at any rate would be forced
to retire before the increased strength. But all depended
on Mulrady's success in his perilous enterprise.
   At eight o'clock it got very dark; now was the time to
start. The horse prepared for Mulrady was brought out.
His feet, by way of extra precaution, were wrapped round
with cloths, so that they could not make the least noise on
the ground. The animal seemed tired, and yet the safety
of all depended on his strength and surefootedness. The
Major advised Mulrady to let him go gently as soon as he
got past the convicts. Better delay half-a-day than not
arrive safely.
   John Mangles gave his sailor a revolver, which he had
loaded with the utmost care. This is a formidable wea-
pon in the hand of a man who does not tremble, for six
shots fired in a few seconds would easily clear a road in-
fested with criminals. Mulrady seated himself in the sad-
dle ready to start.
   "Here is the letter you are to give to Tom Austin," said
Glenarvan. "Don't let him lose an hour. He is to sail
for Twofold Bay at once; and if he does not find us there,
if we have not managed to cross the Snowy, let him come
on to us without delay. Now go, my brave sailor, and
God be with you."
   He shook hands with him, and bade him good-by; and
so did Lady Helena and Mary Grant. A more timorous
man than the sailor would have shrunk back a little from
setting out on such a dark, raining night on an errand so
full of danger, across vast unknown wilds. But his fare-
wells were calmly spoken, and he speedily disappeared down
a path which skirted the wood.
   At the same moment the gusts of wind redoubled their
violence. The high branches of the eucalyptus clattered
together noisily, and bough after bough fell on the wet
ground. More than one great tree, with no living sap, but
still standing hitherto, fell with a crash during this storm.
The wind howled amid the cracking wood, and mingled its


290  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

moans with the ominous roaring of the rain. The heavy
clouds, driving along toward the east, hung on the ground
like rays of vapor, and deep, cheerless gloom intensified the
horrors of the night.
   The travelers went back into the wagon immediately Mul-
rady had gone. Lady Helena, Mary Grant, Glenarvan and
Paganel occupied the first compartment, which had been
hermetically closed. The second was occupied by Olbi-
nett, Wilson and Robert. The Major and John Mangles
were on duty outside. This precaution was necessary, for
an attack on the part of the convicts would be easy enough,
and therefore probable enough.
   The two faithful guardians kept close watch, bearing
philosophically the rain and wind that beat on their faces.
They tried to pierce through the darkness so favorable to
ambushes, for nothing could be heard but the noise of the
tempest, the sough of the wind, the rattling branches, fall-
ing trees, and roaring of the unchained waters.
   At times the wind would cease for a few moments, as
if to take breath. Nothing was audible but the moan of
the Snowy River, as it flowed between the motionless reeds
and the dark curtain of gum trees. The silence seemed
deeper in these momentary lulls, and the Major and John
Mangles listened attentively.
   During one of these calms a sharp whistle reached them.
John Mangles went hurriedly up to the Major. "You
heard that?" he asked.
   "Yes," said McNabbs. "Is it man or beast?"
   "A man," replied John Mangles.
   And then both listened. The mysterious whistle was
repeated, and answered by a kind of report, but almost in-
distinguishable, for the storm was raging with renewed vio-
lence. McNabbs and John Mangles could not hear them-
selves speak. They went for comfort under the shelter of
the wagon.
   At this moment the leather curtains were raised and Glen-
arvan rejoined his two companions. He too had heard this
ill-boding whistle, and the report which echoed under the
tilt. "Which way was it?" asked he.
   "There," said John, pointing to the dark track in the
direction taken by Mulrady.
   "How far?"


FOUR DAYS OF ANGUISH      291

   "The wind brought it; I should think, three or four
miles, at least."
   "Come," said Glenarvan, putting his gun on his shoulder.
   "No," said the Major. "It is a decoy to get us away
from the wagon."
   "But if Mulrady has even now fallen beneath the blows
of these rascals?" exclaimed Glenarvan, seizing McNabbs
by the hand.
   "We shall know by to-morrow," said the Major, coolly,
determined to prevent Glenarvan from taking a step which
was equally rash and futile.
   "You cannot leave the camp, my Lord," said John. "I
will go alone."
   "You will do nothing of the kind!" cried McNabbs,
energetically. "Do you want to have us killed one by one
to diminish our force, and put us at the mercy of these
wretches? If Mulrady has fallen a victim to them, it is a
misfortune that must not be repeated. Mulrady was sent,
chosen by chance. If the lot had fallen to me, I should
have gone as he did; but I should neither have asked nor
expected assistance."
   In restraining Glenarvan and John Mangles, the Major
was right in every aspect of the case. To attempt to fol-
low the sailor, to run in the darkness of night among the
convicts in their leafy ambush was madness, and more than
that -- it was useless. Glenarvan's party was not so numer-
ous that it could afford to sacrifice another member of it.
   Still Glenarvan seemed as if he could not yield; his hand
was always on his carbine. He wandered about the wagon,
and bent a listening ear to the faintest sound. The thought
that one of his men was perhaps mortally wounded, aban-
doned to his fate, calling in vain on those for whose sake
he had gone forth, was a torture to him. McNabbs was
not sure that he should be able to restrain him, or if Glen-
arvan, carried away by his feelings, would not run into the
arms of Ben Joyce.
   "Edward," said he, "be calm. Listen to me as a friend.
Think of Lady Helena, of Mary Grant, of all who are left.
And, besides, where would you go? Where would you
find Mulrady? He must have been attacked two
miles off. In what direction? Which track would you
follow?"


292  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   At that very moment, as if to answer the Major, a cry
of distress was heard.
   "Listen!" said Glenarvan.
   This cry came from the same quarter as the report, but
less than a quarter of a mile off.
   Glenarvan, repulsing McNabbs, was already on the track,
when at three hundred paces from the wagon they heard
the exclamation: "Help! help!"
   The voice was plaintive and despairing. John Mangles
and the Major sprang toward the spot. A few seconds
after they perceived among the scrub a human form drag-
ging itself along the ground and uttering mournful groans.
It was Mulrady, wounded, apparently dying; and when his
companions raised him they felt their hands bathed in
blood.
   The rain came down with redoubled violence, and the
wind raged among the branches of the dead trees. In the
pelting storm, Glenarvan, the Major and John Mangles
transported the body of Mulrady.
   On their arrival everyone got up. Paganel, Robert, Wil-
son and Olbinett left the wagon, and Lady Helena gave up
her compartment to poor Mulrady. The Major removed
the poor fellow's flannel shirt, which was dripping with
blood and rain. He soon found the wound; it was a stab
in the right side.
   McNabbs dressed it with great skill. He could not tell
whether the weapon had touched any vital part. An inter-
mittent jet of scarlet blood flowed from it; the patient's
paleness and weakness showed that he was seriously injured.
The Major washed the wound first with fresh water and
then closed the orifice; after this he put on a thick pad of
lint, and then folds of scraped linen held firmly in place with
a bandage. He succeeded in stopping the hemorrhage.
Mulrady was laid on his side, with his head and chest well
raised, and Lady Helena succeeded in making him swallow
a few drops of water.
   After about a quarter of an hour, the wounded man, who
till then had lain motionless, made a slight movement. His
eyes unclosed, his lips muttered incoherent words, and the
Major, bending toward him, heard him repeating: "My
Lord -- the letter -- Ben Joyce."
   The Major repeated these words, and looked at his com-


FOUR DAYS OF ANGUISH      293

panions. What did Mulrady mean? Ben Joyce had been
the attacking party, of course; but why? Surely for the ex-
press purpose of intercepting him, and preventing his ar-
rival at the <i>Duncan</i>. This letter --
   Glenarvan searched Mulrady's pockets. The letter ad-
dressed to Tom Austin was gone!
   The night wore away amid anxiety and distress; every
moment, they feared, would be poor Mulrady's last. He
suffered from acute fever. The Sisters of Charity, Lady
Helena and Mary Grant, never left him. Never was pa-
tient so well tended, nor by such sympathetic hands.
   Day came, and the rain had ceased. Great clouds filled
the sky still; the ground was strewn with broken branches;
the marly soil, soaked by the torrents of rain, had yielded
still more; the approaches to the wagon became difficult, but
it could not sink any deeper.
   John Mangles, Paganel, and Glenarvan went, as soon as
it was light enough, to reconnoiter in the neighborhood of
the encampment. They revisited the track, which was
still stained with blood. They saw no vestige of Ben Joyce,
nor of his band. They penetrated as far as the scene of
the attack. Here two corpses lay on the ground, struck
down by Mulrady's bullets. One was the blacksmith of
Blackpoint. His face, already changed by death, was a
dreadful spectacle. Glenarvan searched no further. Pru-
dence forbade him to wander from the camp. He returned
to the wagon, deeply absorbed by the critical position of
affairs.
   "We must not think of sending another messenger to
Melbourne," said he.
   "But we must," said John Mangles; "and I must try to
pass where my sailor could not succeed."
   "No, John! it is out of the question. You have not
even a horse for the journey, which is full two hundred
miles!"
   This was true, for Mulrady's horse, the only one that
remained, had not returned. Had he fallen during the at-
tack on his rider, or was he straying in the bush, or had
the convicts carried him off?
   "Come what will," replied Glenarvan, "we will not sep-
arate again. Let us wait a week, or a fortnight, till the
Snowy falls to its normal level. We can then reach Two-


294  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

fold Bay by short stages, and from there we can send on to
the <i>Duncan</i>, by a safer channel, the order to meet us."
   "That seems the only plan," said Paganel.
   "Therefore, my friends," rejoined Glenarvan, "no more
parting. It is too great a risk for one man to venture alone
into a robber-haunted waste. And now, may God save our
poor sailor, and protect the rest of us!"
   Glenarvan was right in both points; first in prohibiting
all isolated attempts, and second, in deciding to wait till the
passage of the Snowy River was practicable. He was
scarcely thirty miles from Delegete, the first frontier vil-
lage of New South Wales, where he would easily find the
means of transport to Twofold Bay, and from there he
could telegraph to Melbourne his orders about the <i>Duncan</i>.
   These measures were wise, but how late! If Glenarvan
had not sent Mulrady to Lucknow what misfortunes would
have been averted, not to speak of the assassination of the
sailor!
   When he reached the camp he found his companions in
better spirits. They seemed more hopeful than before.
"He is better! he is better!" cried Robert, running out to
meet Lord Glenarvan.
   "Mulrady? --"
   "Yes, Edward," answered Lady Helena. "A reaction
has set in. The Major is more confident. Our sailor will
live."
   "Where is McNabbs?" asked Glenarvan.
   "With him. Mulrady wanted to speak to him, and they
must not be disturbed."
   He then learned that about an hour since, the wounded
man had awakened from his lethargy, and the fever had
abated. But the first thing he did on recovering his mem-
ory and speech was to ask for Lord Glenarvan, or, failing
him, the Major. McNabbs seeing him so weak, would
have forbidden any conversation; but Mulrady insisted with
such energy that the Major had to give in. The interview
had already lasted some minutes when Glenarvan returned.
There was nothing for it but to await the return of Mc-
Nabbs.
   Presently the leather curtains of the wagon moved, and
the Major appeared. He rejoined his friends at the foot
of a gum-tree, where the tent was placed. His face, usu-


FOUR DAYS OF ANGUISH     295

ally so stolid, showed that something disturbed him. When
his eyes fell on Lady Helena and the young girl, his glance
was full of sorrow.
   Glenarvan questioned him, and extracted the following
information: When he left the camp Mulrady followed one
of the paths indicated by Paganel. He made as good speed
as the darkness of the night would allow. He reckoned
that he had gone about two miles when several men -- five,
he thought -- sprang to his horse's head. The animal
reared; Mulrady seized his revolver and fired. He thought
he saw two of his assailants fall. By the flash he recog-
nized Ben Joyce. But that was all. He had not time to
fire all the barrels. He felt a violent blow on his side and
was thrown to the ground.
   Still he did not lose consciousness. The murderers
thought he was dead. He felt them search his pockets,
and then heard one of them say: "I have the letter."
   "Give it to me," returned Ben Joyce, "and now the <i>Dun-
can</i> is ours."
   At this point of the story, Glenarvan could not help
uttering a cry.
   McNabbs continued: "'Now you fellows,' added Ben
Joyce, 'catch the horse. In two days I shall be on board
the <i>Duncan</i>, and in six I shall reach Twofold Bay. This
is to be the rendezvous. My Lord and his party will be still
stuck in the marshes of the Snowy River. Cross the river
at the bridge of Kemple Pier, proceed to the coast, and
wait for me. I will easily manage to get you on board.
Once at sea in a craft like the <i>Duncan</i>, we shall be masters
of the Indian Ocean.' 'Hurrah for Ben Joyce!' cried the
convicts. Mulrady's horse was brought, and Ben Joyce
disappeared, galloping on the Lucknow Road, while the
band took the road southeast of the Snowy River. Mul-
rady, though severely wounded, had the strength to drag
himself to within three hundred paces from the camp,
whence we found him almost dead. There," said McNabbs,
"is the history of Mulrady; and now you can understand
why the brave fellow was so determined to speak."
   This revelation terrified Glenarvan and the rest of the
party.
   "Pirates! pirates!" cried Glenarvan. "My crew mas-
sacred! my <i>Duncan</i> in the hands of these bandits!"


296   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Yes, for Ben Joyce will surprise the ship," said the
Major, "and then --"
   "Well, we must get to the coast first," said Paganel.
   "But how are we to cross the Snowy River?" said
Wilson.
   "As they will," replied Glenarvan. "They are to cross
at Kemple Pier Bridge, and so will we."
   "But about Mulrady?" asked Lady Helena.
   "We will carry him; we will have relays. Can I leave
my crew to the mercy of Ben Joyce and his gang?"
   To cross the Snowy River at Kemple Pier was practi-
cable, but dangerous. The convicts might entrench them-
selves at that point, and defend it. They were at least
thirty against seven! But there are moments when peo-
ple do not deliberate, or when they have no choice but
to go on.
   "My Lord," said John Mangles, "before we throw away
our chance, before venturing to this bridge, we ought to
reconnoiter, and I will undertake it."
   "I will go with you, John," said Paganel.
   This proposal was agreed to, and John Mangles and
Paganel prepared to start immediately. They were to fol-
low the course of the Snowy River, follow its banks till
they reached the place indicated by Ben Joyce, and espe-
cially they were to keep out of sight of the convicts, who
were probably scouring the bush.
   So the two brave comrades started, well provisioned and
well armed, and were soon out of sight as they threaded
their way among the tall reeds by the river. The rest anx-
iously awaited their return all day. Evening came, and
still the scouts did not return. They began to be seriously
alarmed. At last, toward eleven o'clock, Wilson an-
nounced their arrival. Paganel and John Mangles were
worn out with the fatigues of a ten-mile walk.
   "Well, what about the bridge? Did you find it?" asked
Glenarvan, with impetuous eagerness.
   "Yes, a bridge of supple-jacks," said John Mangles.
"The convicts passed over, but --"
   "But what?" said Glenarvan, who foreboded some new
misfortune.
   "They burned it after they passed!" said Paganel.


CHAPTER XIX
HELPLESS AND HOPELESS

   IT was not a time for despair, but action. The bridge
at Kemple Pier was destroyed, but the Snowy River must
be crossed, come what might, and they must reach Two-
fold Bay before Ben Joyce and his gang, so, instead of
wasting time in empty words, the next day (the 16th of
January) John Mangles and Glenarvan went down to ex-
amine the river, and arrange for the passage over.
   The swollen and tumultuous waters had not gone down
the least. They rushed on with indescribable fury. It
would be risking life to battle with them. Glenarvan stood
gazing with folded arms and downcast face.
   "Would you like me to try and swim across?" said
John Mangles.
   "No, John, no!" said Lord Glenarvan, holding back
the bold, daring young fellow, "let us wait."
   And they both returned to the camp. The day passed
in the most intense anxiety. Ten times Lord Glenarvan
went to look at the river, trying to invent some bold way
of getting over; but in vain. Had a torrent of lava rushed
between the shores, it could not have been more impassable.
   During these long wasted hours, Lady Helena, under
the Major's advice, was nursing Mulrady with the utmost
skill. The sailor felt a throb of returning life. McNabbs
ventured to affirm that no vital part was injured. Loss
of blood accounted for the patient's extreme exhaustion.
The wound once closed and the hemorrhage stopped, time
and rest would be all that was needed to complete his cure.
Lady Helena had insisted on giving up the first compart-
ment of the wagon to him, which greatly tried his modesty.
The poor fellow's greatest trouble was the delay his con-
dition might cause Glenarvan, and he made him promise
that they should leave him in the camp under Wilson's
care, should the passage of the river become practicable.
   But, unfortunately, no passage was practicable, either
that day or the next (January 17); Glenarvan was in
despair. Lady Helena and the Major vainly tried to calm
him, and preached patience.
   Patience, indeed, when perhaps at this very moment Ben
Joyce was boarding the yacht; when the <i>Duncan</i>, loosing

297


298  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

from her moorings, was getting up steam to reach the fatal
coast, and each hour was bringing her nearer.
   John Mangles felt in his own breast all that Glenarvan
was suffering. He determined to conquer the difficulty at
any price, and constructed a canoe in the Australian man-
ner, with large sheets of bark of the gum-trees. These
sheets were kept together by bars of wood, and formed a
very fragile boat. The captain and the sailor made a trial
trip in it during the day. All that skill, and strength, and
tact, and courage could do they did; but they were scarcely
in the current before they were upside down, and nearly
paid with their lives for the dangerous experiment. The
boat disappeared, dragged down by the eddy. John Man-
gles and Wilson had not gone ten fathoms, and the river
was a mile broad, and swollen by the heavy rains and melted
snows.
   Thus passed the 19th and 20th of January. The Major
and Glenarvan went five miles up the river in search of a
favorable passage, but everywhere they found the same
roaring, rushing, impetuous torrent. The whole southern
slope of the Australian Alps poured its liquid masses into
this single bed.
   All hope of saving the <i>Duncan</i> was now at an end. Five
days had elapsed since the departure of Ben Joyce. The
yacht must be at this moment at the coast, and in the hands
of the convicts.
   However, it was impossible that this state of things could
last. The temporary influx would soon be exhausted, and
the violence also. Indeed, on the morning of the 21st,
Paganel announced that the water was already lower.
"What does it matter now?" said Glenarvan. "It is too
late!"
   "That is no reason for our staying longer here," said
the Major.
   "Certainly not," replied John Mangles. "Perhaps to-
morrow the river may be practicable."
   "And will that save my unhappy men?" cried Glenarvan.
   "Will your Lordship listen to me?" returned John Man-
gles. "I know Tom Austin. He would execute your or-
ders, and set out as soon as departure was possible. But
who knows whether the <i>Duncan</i> was ready and her injury
repaired on the arrival of Ben Joyce. And suppose the

V. IV Verne


HELPLESS AND HOPELESS     299

yacht could not go to sea; suppose there was a delay of a
day, or two days."
   "You are right, John," replied Glenarvan. "We must
get to Twofold Bay; we are only thirty-five miles from
Delegete."
   "Yes," added Paganel, "and that's a town where we
shall find rapid means of conveyance. Who knows whether
we shan't arrive in time to prevent a catastrophe."
   "Let us start," cried Glenarvan.
   John Mangles and Wilson instantly set to work to con-
struct a canoe of larger dimensions. Experience had
proved that the bark was powerless against the violence of
the torrent, and John accordingly felled some of the gum-
trees, and made a rude but solid raft with the trunks. It
was a long task, and the day had gone before the work was
ended. It was completed next morning.
   By this time the waters had visibly diminished; the tor-
rent had once more become a river, though a very rapid one,
it is true. However, by pursuing a zigzag course, and
overcoming it to a certain extent, John hoped to reach the
opposite shore. At half-past twelve, they embarked pro-
visions enough for a couple of days. The remainder was
left with the wagon and the tent. Mulrady was doing well
enough to be carried over; his convalescence was rapid.
   At one o'clock, they all seated themselves on the raft,
still moored to the shore. John Mangles had installed him-
self at the starboard, and entrusted to Wilson a sort of
oar to steady the raft against the current, and lessen the
leeway. He took his own stand at the back, to steer by
means of a large scull; but, notwithstanding their efforts,
Wilson and John Mangles soon found themselves in an
inverse position, which made the action of the oars im-
possible.
   There was no help for it; they could do nothing to arrest
the gyratory movement of the raft; it turned round with
dizzying rapidity, and drifted out of its course. John
Mangles stood with pale face and set teeth, gazing at the
whirling current.
   However, the raft had reached the middle of the river,
about half a mile from the starting point. Here the cur-
rent was extremely strong, and this broke the whirling
eddy, and gave the raft some stability. John and Wilson


300   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

seized their oars again, and managed to push it in an
oblique direction. This brought them nearer to the left
shore. They were not more than fifty fathoms from it,
when Wilson's oar snapped short off, and the raft, no
longer supported, was dragged away. John tried to resist
at the risk of breaking his own oar, too, and Wilson, with
bleeding hands, seconded his efforts with all his might.
   At last they succeeded, and the raft, after a passage of
more than half an hour, struck against the steep bank of the
opposite shore. The shock was so violent that the logs be-
came disunited, the cords broke, and the water bubbled up
between. The travelers had barely time to catch hold of
the steep bank. They dragged out Mulrady and the two
dripping ladies. Everyone was safe; but the provisions
and firearms, except the carbine of the Major, went drifting
down with the <i>d&eacute;bris</i> of the raft.
   The river was crossed. The little company found them-
selves almost without provisions, thirty-five miles from Del-
egete, in the midst of the unknown deserts of the Victoria
frontier. Neither settlers nor squatters were to be met
with; it was entirely uninhabited, unless by ferocious bush-
rangers and bandits.
   They resolved to set off without delay. Mulrady saw
clearly that he would be a great drag on them, and he
begged to be allowed to remain, and even to remain alone,
till assistance could be sent from Delegete.
   Glenarvan refused. It would be three days before he
could reach Delegete, and five the shore -- that is to say,
the 26th of January. Now, as the <i>Duncan</i> had left Mel-
bourne on the 16th, what difference would a few days' de-
lay make?
   "No, my friend," he said, "I will not leave anyone be-
hind. We will make a litter and carry you in turn."
   The litter was made of boughs of eucalyptus covered
with branches; and, whether he would or not, Mulrady was
obliged to take his place on it. Glenarvan would be the first
to carry his sailor. He took hold of one end and Wilson
of the other, and all set off.
   What a sad spectacle, and how lamentably was this ex-
pedition to end which had commenced so well. They were
no longer in search of Harry Grant. This continent, where
he was not, and never had been, threatened to prove fatal


HELPLESS AND HOPELESS     301

to those who sought him. And when these intrepid coun-
trymen of his should reach the shore, they would find the
<i>Duncan</i> waiting to take them home again. The first day
passed silently and painfully. Every ten minutes the litter
changed bearers. All the sailor's comrades took their share
in this task without murmuring, though the fatigue was
augmented by the great heat.
   In the evening, after a journey of only five miles, they
camped under the gum-trees. The small store of provi-
sions saved from the raft composed the evening meal. But
all they had to depend upon now was the Major's carbine.
   It was a dark, rainy night, and morning seemed as if
it would never dawn. They set off again, but the Major
could not find a chance of firing a shot. This fatal region
was only a desert, unfrequented even by animals. Fortu-
nately, Robert discovered a bustard's nest with a dozen
of large eggs in it, which Olbinett cooked on hot cinders.
These, with a few roots of purslain which were growing at
the bottom of a ravine, were all the breakfast of the 22d.
   The route now became extremely difficult. The sandy
plains were bristling with <i>spinifex</i>, a prickly plant, which is
called in Melbourne the porcupine. It tears the clothing to
rags, and makes the legs bleed. The courageous ladies
never complained, but footed it bravely, setting an exam-
ple, and encouraging one and another by word or look.
   They stopped in the evening at Mount Bulla Bulla, on the
edge of the Jungalla Creek. The supper would have been
very scant, if McNabbs had not killed a large rat, the <i>mus
conditor</i>, which is highly spoken of as an article of diet.
Olbinett roasted it, and it would have been pronounced
even superior to its reputation had it equaled the sheep in
size. They were obliged to be content with it, however,
and it was devoured to the bones.
   On the 23d the weary but still energetic travelers started
off again. After having gone round the foot of the moun-
tain, they crossed the long prairies where the grass seemed
made of whalebone. It was a tangle of darts, a medley
of sharp little sticks, and a path had to be cut through
either with the hatchet or fire.
   That morning there was not even a question of breakfast.
Nothing could be more barren than this region strewn with
pieces of quartz. Not only hunger, but thirst began to


302 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

assail the travelers. A burning atmosphere heightened
their discomfort. Glenarvan and his friends could only go
half a mile an hour. Should this lack of food and water
continue till evening, they would all sink on the road, never
to rise again.
   But when everything fails a man, and he finds himself
without resources, at the very moment when he feels he
must give up, then Providence steps in. Water presented
itself in the <i>cephalotes</i>, a species of cup-shaped flower, filled
with refreshing liquid, which hung from the branches of
coralliform-shaped bushes. They all quenched their thirst
with these, and felt new life returning.
   The only food they could find was the same as the natives
were forced to subsist upon, when they could find neither
game, nor serpents, nor insects. Paganel discovered in
the dry bed of a creek, a plant whose excellent properties
had been frequently described by one of his colleagues in
the Geographical Society.
   It was the <i>nardou</i>, a cryptogamous plant of the family
Marsilacea, and the same which kept Burke and King alive
in the deserts of the interior. Under its leaves, which re-
sembled those of the trefoil, there were dried sporules as
large as a lentil, and these sporules, when crushed between
two stones, made a sort of flour. This was converted into
coarse bread, which stilled the pangs of hunger at least.
There was a great abundance of this plant growing in the
district, and Olbinett gathered a large supply, so that they
were sure of food for several days.
   The next day, the 24th, Mulrady was able to walk part
of the way. His wound was entirely cicatrized. The town
of Delegete was not more than ten miles off, and that
evening they camped in longitude 140&deg;, on the very frontier
of New South Wales.
   For some hours, a fine but penetrating rain had been
falling. There would have been no shelter from this, if
by chance John Mangles had not discovered a sawyer's
hut, deserted and dilapidated to a degree. But with this
miserable cabin they were obliged to be content. Wilson
wanted to kindle a fire to prepare the <i>nardou</i> bread, and
he went out to pick up the dead wood scattered all over
the ground. But he found it would not light, the great
quantity of albuminous matter which it contained prevented


HELPLESS AND HOPELESS     303

all combustion. This is the incombustible wood put down
by Paganel in his list of Australian products.
   They had to dispense with fire, and consequently with
food too, and sleep in their wet clothes, while the laughing
jackasses, concealed in the high branches, seemed to ridi-
cule the poor unfortunates. However, Glenarvan was
nearly at the end of his sufferings. It was time. The two
young ladies were making heroic efforts, but their strength
was hourly decreasing. They dragged themselves along,
almost unable to walk.
   Next morning they started at daybreak. At 11 A. M.
Delegete came in sight in the county of Wellesley, and fifty
miles from Twofold Bay.
   Means of conveyance were quickly procured here. Hope
returned to Glenarvan as they approached the coast. Per-
haps there might have been some slight delay, and after all
they might get there before the arrival of the <i>Duncan</i>.
In twenty-four hours they would reach the bay.
   At noon, after a comfortable meal, all the travelers in-
stalled in a mail-coach, drawn by five strong horses, left
Delegete at a gallop. The postilions, stimulated by a prom-
ise of a princely <i>douceur</i>, drove rapidly along over a well-
kept road. They did not lose a minute in changing horses,
which took place every ten miles. It seemed as if they
were infected with Glenarvan's zeal. All that day, and
night, too, they traveled on at the rate of six miles an hour.
   In the morning at sunrise, a dull murmur fell on their
ears, and announced their approach to the Indian Ocean.
They required to go round the bay to gain the coast at
the 37th parallel, the exact point where Tom Austin was
to wait their arrival.
   When the sea appeared, all eyes anxiously gazed at the
offing. Was the <i>Duncan</i>, by a miracle of Providence,
there running close to the shore, as a month ago, when they
crossed Cape Corrientes, they had found her on the Argen-
tine coast? They saw nothing. Sky and earth mingled
in the same horizon. Not a sail enlivened the vast stretch
of ocean.
   One hope still remained. Perhaps Tom Austin had
thought it his duty to cast anchor in Twofold Bay, for
the sea was heavy, and a ship would not dare to venture
near the shore. "To Eden!" cried Glenarvan. Imme-


304 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

diately the mail-coach resumed the route round the bay,
toward the little town of Eden, five miles distant. The
postilions stopped not far from the lighthouse, which marks
the entrance of the port. Several vessels were moored in
the roadstead, but none of them bore the flag of Malcolm.
   Glenarvan, John Mangles, and Paganel got out of the
coach, and rushed to the custom-house, to inquire about the
arrival of vessels within the last few days.
   No ship had touched the bay for a week.
   "Perhaps the yacht has not started," Glenarvan said, a
sudden revulsion of feeling lifting him from despair.
"Perhaps we have arrived first."
   John Mangles shook his head. He knew Tom Austin.
His first mate would not delay the execution of an order for
ten days.
   "I must know at all events how they stand," said Glen-
arvan. "Better certainty than doubt."
   A quarter of an hour afterward a telegram was sent to
the syndicate of shipbrokers in Melbourne. The whole
party then repaired to the Victoria Hotel.
   At 2 P.M. the following telegraphic reply was received:
"LORD GLENARVAN, Eden.

                                              "Twofold Bay.
   "The <i>Duncan</i> left on the 16th current. Destination un-
known.                                   J. ANDREWS, S. B."

   The telegram dropped from Glenarvan's hands.
   There was no doubt now. The good, honest Scotch
yacht was now a pirate ship in the hands of Ben Joyce!
   So ended this journey across Australia, which had com-
menced under circumstances so favorable. All trace of
Captain Grant and his shipwrecked men seemed to be irrev-
ocably lost. This ill success had cost the loss of a ship's
crew. Lord Glenarvan had been vanquished in the strife;
and the courageous searchers, whom the unfriendly ele-
ments of the Pampas had been unable to check, had been
conquered on the Australian shore by the perversity of man.

END OF BOOK TWO




<b>In Search of the Castaways</b>
or
The Children of Captain Grant

<b>New Zealand</b>

[page intentionally blank]


<b>In Search of the Castaways

New Zealand</b>


CHAPTER I
A ROUGH CAPTAIN

   IF ever the searchers after Captain Grant were
tempted to despair, surely it was at this mo-
ment when all their hopes were destroyed at
a blow. Toward what quarter of the world
should they direct their endeavors? How
were they to explore new countries? The
<i>Duncan</i> was no longer available, and even an immediate re-
turn to their own land was out of the question. Thus the
enterprise of these generous Scots had failed! Failed! a
despairing word that finds no echo in a brave soul; and yet
under the repeated blows of adverse fate, Glenarvan himself
was compelled to acknowledge his inability to prosecute his
devoted efforts.
   Mary Grant at this crisis nerved herself to the resolution
never to utter the name of her father. She suppressed her
own anguish, when she thought of the unfortunate crew
who had perished. The daughter was merged in the friend,
and she now took upon her to console Lady Glenarvan, who
till now had been her faithful comforter. She was the first
to speak of returning to Scotland. John Mangles was filled
with admiration at seeing her so courageous and so resigned.
He wanted to say a word further in the Captain's interest,
but Mary stopped him with a glance, and afterward said to
him: "No, Mr. John, we must think of those who ven-
tured their lives. Lord Glenarvan must return to Europe!"
   "You are right, Miss Mary," answered John Mangles;
"he must. Beside, the English authorities must be in-
formed of the fate of the <i>Duncan</i>. But do not despair.
Rather than abandon our search I will resume it alone! I
will either find Captain Grant or perish in the attempt!"
   It was a serious undertaking to which John Mangles
bound himself; Mary accepted, and gave her hand to the

307


308   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

young captain, as if to ratify the treaty. On John Mangles'
side it was a life's devotion; on Mary's undying grati-
tude.
   During that day, their departure was finally arranged;
they resolved to reach Melbourne without delay. Next day
John went to inquire about the ships ready to sail. He ex-
pected to find frequent communication between Eden and
Victoria.
   He was disappointed; ships were scarce. Three or four
vessels, anchored in Twofold Bay, constituted the mercantile
fleet of the place; none of them were bound for Melbourne,
nor Sydney, nor Point de Galle, at any of which ports
Glenarvan would have found ships loading for England.
In fact, the Peninsular and Oriental Company has a regular
line of packets between these points and England.
   Under these circumstances, what was to be done? Wait-
ing for a ship might be a tedious affair, for Twofold Bay
is not much frequented. Numbers of ships pass by without
touching. After due reflection and discussion, Glenarvan
had nearly decided to follow the coast road to Sydney, when
Paganel made an unexpected proposition.
   The geographer had visited Twofold Bay on his own ac-
count, and was aware that there were no means of transport
for Sydney or Melbourne. But of the three vessels
anchored in the roadstead one was loading for Auckland,
the capital of the northern island of New Zealand.
Paganel's proposal was to take the ship in question, and
get to Auckland, whence it would be easy to return to
Europe by the boats of the Peninsular and Oriental Com-
pany.
   This proposition was taken into serious consideration.
Paganel on this occasion dispensed with the volley of argu-
ments he generally indulged in. He confined himself to the
bare proposition, adding that the voyage to New Zealand
was only five or six days -- the distance, in fact, being only
about a thousand miles.
   By a singular coincidence Auckland is situated on the self-
same parallel -- the thirty-seventh -- which the explorers had
perseveringly followed since they left the coast of Arau-
cania. Paganel might fairly have used this as an argument
in favor of his scheme; in fact, it was a natural opportunity
of visiting the shores of New Zealand.


A ROUGH CAPTAIN         309

   But Paganel did not lay stress on this argument. After
two mistakes, he probably hesitated to attempt a third inter-
pretation of the document. Besides, what could he make of
it? It said positively that a "continent" had served as a
refuge for Captain Grant, not an island. Now, New Zea-
land was nothing but an island. This seemed decisive.
Whether, for this reason, or for some other, Paganel did not
connect any idea of further search with this proposition of
reaching Auckland. He merely observed that regular com-
munication existed between that point and Great Britain,
and that it was easy to take advantage of it.
   John Mangles supported Paganel's proposal. He advised
its adoption, as it was hopeless to await the problematical
arrival of a vessel in Twofold Bay. But before coming to
any decision, he thought it best to visit the ship mentioned
by the geographer. Glenarvan, the Major, Paganel, Rob-
ert, and Mangles himself, took a boat, and a few strokes
brought them alongside the ship anchored two cables' length
from the quay.
   It was a brig of 150 tons, named the <i>Macquarie</i>. It was
engaged in the coasting trade between the various ports of
Australia and New Zealand. The captain, or rather the
"master," received his visitors gruffly enough. They per-
ceived that they had to do with a man of no education, and
whose manners were in no degree superior to those of the
five sailors of his crew. With a coarse, red face, thick
hands, and a broken nose, blind of an eye, and his lips
stained with the pipe, Will Halley was a sadly brutal looking
person. But they had no choice, and for so short a voyage
it was not necessary to be very particular.
   "What do you want?" asked Will Halley, when the
strangers stepped on the poop of his ship.
   "The captain," answered John Mangles.
   "I am the captain," said Halley. "What else do you
want?"
   "The <i>Macquarie</i> is loading for Auckland, I believe?"
   "Yes. What else?"
   "What does she carry?"
   "Everything salable and purchasable. What else?"
   "When does she sail?"
   "To-morrow at the mid-day tide. What else?"
   "Does she take passengers?"


310  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "That depends on who the passengers are, and whether
they are satisfied with the ship's mess."
   "They would bring their own provisions."
   "What else?"
   "What else?"
   "Yes. How many are there?"
   "Nine; two of them are ladies."
   "I have no cabins."
   "We will manage with such space as may be left at their
disposal."
   "What else?"
   "Do you agree?" said John Mangles, who was not in the
least put out by the captain's peculiarities.
   "We'll see," said the master of the <i>Macquarie</i>.
   Will Halley took two or three turns on the poop, making
it resound with iron-heeled boots, and then he turned
abruptly to John Mangles.
   "What would you pay?" said he.
   "What do you ask?" replied John.
   "Fifty pounds."
   Glenarvan looked consent.
   "Very good! Fifty pounds," replied John Mangles.
   "But passage only," added Halley.
   "Yes, passage only."
   "Food extra."
   "Extra."
   "Agreed. And now," said Will, putting out his hand,
"what about the deposit money?"
   "Here is half of the passage-money, twenty-five pounds,"
said Mangles, counting out the sum to the master.
   "All aboard to-morrow," said he, "before noon.
Whether or no, I weigh anchor."
   "We will be punctual."
   This said, Glenarvan, the Major, Robert, Paganel, and
John Mangles left the ship, Halley not so much as touching
the oilskin that adorned his red locks.
   "What a brute," exclaimed John.
   "He will do," answered Paganel. "He is a regular sea-
wolf."
   "A downright bear!" added the Major.
   "I fancy," said John Mangles, "that the said bear has
dealt in human flesh in his time."


A ROUGH CAPTAIN        311

   "What matter?" answered Glenarvan, "as long as he
commands the <i>Macquarie</i>, and the <i>Macquarie</i> goes to New
Zealand. From Twofold Bay to Auckland we shall not see
much of him; after Auckland we shall see him no more."
   Lady Helena and Mary Grant were delighted to hear that
their departure was arranged for to-morrow. Glenarvan
warned them that the <i>Macquarie</i> was inferior in comfort to
the <i>Duncan</i>. But after what they had gone through, they
were indifferent to trifling annoyances. Wilson was told
off to arrange the accommodation on board the <i>Macquarie</i>.
Under his busy brush and broom things soon changed their
aspect.
   Will Halley shrugged his shoulders, and let the sailor
have his way. Glenarvan and his party gave him no con-
cern. He neither knew, nor cared to know, their names.
His new freight represented fifty pounds, and he rated it
far below the two hundred tons of cured hides which were
stowed away in his hold. Skins first, men after. He was
a merchant. As to his sailor qualification, he was said to be
skillful enough in navigating these seas, whose reefs make
them very dangerous.
   As the day drew to a close, Glenarvan had a desire to go
again to the point on the coast cut by the 37th parallel. Two
motives prompted him. He wanted to examine once more
the presumed scene of the wreck. Ayrton had certainly
been quartermaster on the <i>Britannia</i>, and the <i>Britannia</i>
might have been lost on this part of the Australian coast;
on the east coast if not on the west. It would not do to
leave without thorough investigation, a locality which they
were never to revisit.
   And then, failing the <i>Britannia</i>, the <i>Duncan</i> certainly had
fallen into the hands of the convicts. Perhaps there had
been a fight? There might yet be found on the coast traces
of a struggle, a last resistance. If the crew had perished
among the waves, the waves probably had thrown some
bodies on the shore.
   Glenarvan, accompanied by his faithful John, went to
carry out the final search. The landlord of the Victoria
Hotel lent them two horses, and they set out on the northern
road that skirts Twofold Bay.
   It was a melancholy journey. Glenarvan and Captain
John trotted along without speaking, but they understood


312  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

each other. The same thoughts, the same anguish harrowed
both their hearts. They looked at the sea-worn rocks; they
needed no words of question or answer. John's well-tried
zeal and intelligence were a guarantee that every point was
scrupulously examined, the least likely places, as well as the
sloping beaches and sandy plains where even the slight tides
of the Pacific might have thrown some fragments of wreck.
But no indication was seen that could suggest further search
in that quarter -- all trace of the wreck escaped them still.
   As to the <i>Duncan</i>, no trace either. All that part of Aus-
tralia, bordering the ocean, was desert.
   Still John Mangles discovered on the skirts of the shore
evident traces of camping, remains of fires recently kindled
under solitary Myall-trees. Had a tribe of wandering
blacks passed that way lately? No, for Glenarvan saw a
token which furnished incontestable proof that the convicts
had frequented that part of the coast.
   This token was a grey and yellow garment worn and
patched, an ill-omened rag thrown down at the foot of a
tree. It bore the convict's original number at the Perth
Penitentiary. The felon was not there, but his filthy gar-
ments betrayed his passage. This livery of crime, after
having clothed some miscreant, was now decaying on this
desert shore.
   "You see, John," said Glenarvan, "the convicts got as
far as here! and our poor comrades of the <i>Duncan</i> --"
   "Yes," said John, in a low voice, "they never landed,
they perished!"
   "Those wretches!" cried Glenarvan. "If ever they fall
into my hands I will avenge my crew --"
   Grief had hardened Glenarvan's features. For some
minutes he gazed at the expanse before him, as if taking a
last look at some ship disappearing in the distance. Then
his eyes became dim; he recovered himself in a moment, and
without a word or look, set off at a gallop toward Eden.
   The wanderers passed their last evening sadly enough.
Their thoughts recalled all the misfortunes they had en-
countered in this country. They remembered how full of
well-warranted hope they had been at Cape Bernouilli, and
how cruelly disappointed at Twofold Bay!
   Paganel was full of feverish agitation. John Mangles,
who had watched him since the affair at Snowy River, felt

A ROUGH CAPTAIN         313

that the geographer was hesitating whether to speak or not
to speak. A thousand times he had pressed him with ques-
tions, and failed in obtaining an answer.
   But that evening, John, in lighting him to his room, asked
him why he was so nervous.
   "Friend John," said Paganel, evasively, "I am not more
nervous to-night than I always am."
   "Mr. Paganel," answered John, "you have a secret that
chokes you."
   "Well!" cried the geographer, gesticulating, "what can
I do? It is stronger than I!"
   "What is stronger?"
   "My joy on the one hand, my despair on the other."
   "You rejoice and despair at the same time!"
   "Yes; at the idea of visiting New Zealand."
   "Why! have you any trace?" asked John, eagerly.
"Have you recovered the lost tracks?"
   "No, friend John. No one returns from New Zealand;
but still -- you know human nature. All we want to nourish
hope is breath. My device is '<i>Spiro spero</i>,' and it is the
best motto in the world!"


CHAPTER II
NAVIGATORS AND THEIR DISCOVERIES

   NEXT day, the 27th of January, the passengers of the
<i>Macquarie</i> were installed on board the brig. Will Halley
had not offered his cabin to his lady passengers. This omis-
sion was the less to be deplored, for the den was worthy of
the bear.
   At half past twelve the anchor was weighed, having been
loosed from its holding-ground with some difficulty. A
moderate breeze was blowing from the southwest. The
sails were gradually unfurled; the five hands made slow
work. Wilson offered to assist the crew; but Halley begged
him to be quiet and not to interfere with what did not con-
cern him. He was accustomed to manage his own affairs,
and required neither assistance nor advice.
   This was aimed at John Mangles, who had smiled at the
clumsiness of some maneuver. John took the hint, but
mentally resolved that he would nevertheless hold himself in


314   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

readiness in case the incapacity of the crew should endanger
the safety of the vessel.
   However, in time, the sails were adjusted by the five
sailors, aided by the stimulus of the captain's oaths. The
<i>Macquarie</i> stood out to sea on the larboard tack, under all
her lower sails, topsails, topgallants, cross-jack, and jib. By
and by, the other sails were hoisted. But in spite of this
additional canvas the brig made very little way. Her
rounded bow, the width of her hold, and her heavy stern,
made her a bad sailor, the perfect type of a wooden shoe.
   They had to make the best of it. Happily, five days, or,
at most, six, would take them to Auckland, no matter how
bad a sailor the <i>Macquarie</i> was.
   At seven o'clock in the evening the Australian coast and
the lighthouse of the port of Eden had faded out of sight.
The ship labored on the lumpy sea, and rolled heavily in the
trough of the waves. The passengers below suffered a good
deal from this motion. But it was impossible to stay on
deck, as it rained violently. Thus they were condemned to
close imprisonment.
   Each one of them was lost in his own reflections. Words
were few. Now and then Lady Helena and Miss Grant
exchanged a few syllables. Glenarvan was restless; he went
in and out, while the Major was impassive. John Mangles,
followed by Robert, went on the poop from time to time, to
look at the weather. Paganel sat in his corner, muttering
vague and incoherent words.
   What was the worthy geographer thinking of? Of New
Zealand, the country to which destiny was leading him. He
went mentally over all his history; he called to mind the
scenes of the past in that ill-omened country.
   But in all that history was there a fact, was there a
solitary incident that could justify the discoverers of these
islands in considering them as "a continent." Could a
modern geographer or a sailor concede to them such a
designation. Paganel was always revolving the meaning of
the document. He was possessed with the idea; it became
his ruling thought. After Patagonia, after Australia, his
imagination, allured by a name, flew to New Zealand. But
in that direction, one point, and only one, stood in his way.
   "<i>Contin --contin</i>," he repeated, "that must mean conti-
nent!"


NAVIGATORS           315

   And then he resumed his mental retrospect of the naviga-
tors who made known to us these two great islands of the
Southern Sea.
   It was on the 13th of December, 1642, that the Dutch
navigator Tasman, after discovering Van Diemen's Land,
sighted the unknown shores of New Zealand. He coasted
along for several days, and on the 17th of December his
ships penetrated into a large bay, which, terminating in a
narrow strait, separated the two islands.
   The northern island was called by the natives Ikana-
Mani, a word which signifies the fish of Mani. The south-
ern island was called Tavai-Pouna-Mou, "the whale that
yields the green-stones."
   Abel Tasman sent his boats on shore, and they returned
accompanied by two canoes and a noisy company of natives.
These savages were middle height, of brown or yellow com-
plexion, angular bones, harsh voices, and black hair, which
was dressed in the Japanese manner, and surmounted by a
tall white feather.
   This first interview between Europeans and aborigines
seemed to promise amicable and lasting intercourse. But
the next day, when one of Tasman's boats was looking for
an anchorage nearer to the land, seven canoes, manned by
a great number of natives, attacked them fiercely. The boat
capsized and filled.  The quartermaster in command was in-
stantly struck with a badly-sharpened spear, and fell into the
sea. Of his six companions four were killed; the other two
and the quartermaster were able to swim to the ships, and
were picked up and recovered.
   After this sad occurrence Tasman set sail, confining his
revenge to giving the natives a few musket-shots, which
probably did not reach them. He left this bay -- which still
bears the name of Massacre Bay -- followed the western
coast, and on the 5th of January, anchored near the north-
ern-most point. Here the violence of the surf, as well as
the unfriendly attitude of the natives, prevented his obtain-
ing water, and he finally quitted these shores, giving them
the name Staten-land or the Land of the States, in honor of
the States-General.
   The Dutch navigator concluded that these islands were
adjacent to the islands of the same name on the east of
Terra del Fuego, at the southern point of the American con-


316   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

tinent. He thought he had found "the Great Southern
Continent."
   "But," said Paganel to himself, "what a seventeenth cen-
tury sailor might call a 'continent' would never stand for
one with a nineteenth century man. No such mistake can
be supposed! No! there is something here that baffles me."


CHAPTER III
THE MARTYR-ROLL OF NAVIGATORS

   ON the 31st of January, four days after starting, the
<i>Macquarie</i> had not done two-thirds of the distance between
Australia and New Zealand. Will Halley took very little
heed to the working of the ship; he let things take their
chance. He seldom showed himself, for which no one was
sorry. No one would have complained if he had passed all
his time in his cabin, but for the fact that the brutal captain
was every day under the influence of gin or brandy. His
sailors willingly followed his example, and no ship ever
sailed more entirely depending on Providence than the <i>Mac-
quarie</i> did from Twofold Bay.
   This unpardonable carelessness obliged John Mangles to
keep a watchful eye ever open. Mulrady and Wilson more
than once brought round the helm when some careless steer-
ing threatened to throw the ship on her beam-ends. Often
Will Halley would interfere and abuse the two sailors with
a volley of oaths. The latter, in their impatience, would
have liked nothing better than to bind this drunken captain,
and lower him into the hold, for the rest of the voyage. But
John Mangles succeeded, after some persuasion, in calming
their well-grounded indignation.
   Still, the position of things filled him with anxiety; but,
for fear of alarming Glenarvan, he spoke only to Paganel
or the Major. McNabbs recommended the same course as
Mulrady and Wilson.
   "If you think it would be for the general good, John,"
said McNabbs, "you should not hesitate to take the com-
mand of the vessel. When we get to Auckland the drunken
imbecile can resume his command, and then he is at liberty
to wreck himself, if that is his fancy."
   "All that is very true, Mr. McNabbs, and if it is abso-


THE MARTYR-ROLL        317

lutely necessary I will do it. As long as we are on open sea,
a careful lookout is enough; my sailors and I are watching
on the poop; but when we get near the coast, I confess I shall
be uneasy if Halley does not come to his senses."
   "Could not you direct the course?" asked Paganel.
   "That would be difficult," replied John. "Would you
believe it that there is not a chart on board?"
   "Is that so?"
   "It is indeed. The <i>Macquarie</i> only does a coasting trade
between Eden and Auckland, and Halley is so at home in
these waters that he takes no observations."
   "I suppose he thinks the ship knows the way, and steers
herself."
  "Ha! ha!" laughed John Mangles; "I do not believe in
ships that steer themselves; and if Halley is drunk when we
get among soundings, he will get us all into trouble."
   "Let us hope," said Paganel, "that the neighborhood of
land will bring him to his senses."
   "Well, then," said McNabbs, "if needs were, you could
not sail the <i>Macquarie</i> into Auckland?"
   "Without a chart of the coast, certainly not. The coast
is very dangerous. It is a series of shallow fiords as ir-
regular and capricious as the fiords of Norway. There are
many reefs, and it requires great experience to avoid them.
The strongest ship would be lost if her keel struck one of
those rocks that are submerged but a few feet below the
water."
   "In that case those on board would have to take refuge
on the coast."
   "If there was time."
   "A terrible extremity," said Paganel, "for they are not
hospitable shores, and the dangers of the land are not less
appalling than the dangers of the sea."
   "You refer to the Maories, Monsieur Paganel?" asked
John Mangles.
   "Yes, my friend. They have a bad name in these waters.
It is not a matter of timid or brutish Australians, but of an
intelligent and sanguinary race, cannibals greedy of human
flesh, man-eaters to whom we should look in vain for pity."
   "Well, then," exclaimed the Major, "if Captain Grant
had been wrecked on the coast of New Zealand, you would
dissuade us from looking for him."


318   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Oh, you might search on the coasts," replied the geog-
rapher, "because you might find traces of the <i>Britannia</i>, but
not in the interior, for it would be perfectly useless. Every
European who ventures into these fatal districts falls into
the hands of the Maories, and a prisoner in the hands of the
Maories is a lost man. I have urged my friends to cross the
Pampas, to toil over the plains of Australia, but I will never
lure them into the mazes of the New Zealand forest. May
heaven be our guide, and keep us from ever being thrown
within the power of those fierce natives!"


CHAPTER IV
THE WRECK OF THE "MACQUARIE"

   STILL this wearisome voyage dragged on. On the 2d of
February, six days from starting, the <i>Macquarie</i> had not yet
made a nearer acquaintance with the shores of Auckland.
The wind was fair, nevertheless, and blew steadily from the
southwest; but the currents were against the ship's course,
and she scarcely made any way. The heavy, lumpy sea
strained her cordage, her timbers creaked, and she labored
painfully in the trough of the sea. Her standing rigging
was so out of order that it allowed play to the masts, which
were violently shaken at every roll of the sea.
   Fortunately, Will Halley was not a man in a hurry, and
did not use a press of canvas, or his masts would inevitably
have come down. John Mangles therefore hoped that the
wretched hull would reach port without accident; but it
grieved him that his companions should have to suffer so
much discomfort from the defective arrangements of the
brig.
   But neither Lady Helena nor Mary Grant uttered a word
of complaint, though the continuous rain obliged them to
stay below, where the want of air and the violence of the
motion were painfully felt. They often braved the weather,
and went on the poop till driven down again by the force
of a sudden squall. Then they returned to the narrow space,
fitter for stowing cargo than accommodating passengers,
especially ladies.
   Their friends did their best to amuse them. Paganel
tried to beguile the time with his stories, but it was a hope-


THE WRECK           319

less case. Their minds were so distracted at this change of
route as to be quite unhinged. Much as they had been in-
terested in his dissertation on the Pampas, or Australia, his
lectures on New Zealand fell on cold and indifferent ears.
Besides, they were going to this new and ill-reputed country
without enthusiasm, without conviction, not even of their
own free will, but solely at the bidding of destiny.
   Of all the passengers on board the <i>Macquarie</i>, the most to
be pitied was Lord Glenarvan. He was rarely to be seen
below. He could not stay in one place. His nervous or-
ganization, highly excited, could not submit to confinement
between four narrow bulkheads. All day long, even all
night, regardless of the torrents of rain and the dashing
waves, he stayed on the poop, sometimes leaning on the rail,
sometimes walking to and fro in feverish agitation. His
eyes wandered ceaselessly over the blank horizon. He
scanned it eagerly during every short interval of clear
weather. It seemed as if he sought to question the voice-
less waters; he longed to tear away the veil of fog and vapor
that obscured his view. He could not be resigned, and his
features expressed the bitterness of his grief. He was a
man of energy, till now happy and powerful, and deprived
in a moment of power and happiness. John Mangles bore
him company, and endured with him the inclemency of the
weather. On this day Glenarvan looked more anxiously
than ever at each point where a break in the mist enabled
him to do so. John came up to him and said, "Your Lord-
ship is looking out for land?"
   Glenarvan shook his head in dissent.
   "And yet," said the young captain, "you must be long-
ing to quit this vessel. We ought to have seen the lights of
Auckland thirty-six hours ago."
   Glenarvan made no reply. He still looked, and for a mo-
ment his glass was pointed toward the horizon to
windward.
   "The land is not on that side, my Lord," said John
Mangles. "Look more to starboard."
   "Why, John?" replied Glenarvan. "I am not looking
for the land."
   "What then, my Lord?"
   "My yacht! the <i>Duncan</i>," said Glenarvan, hotly. "It
must be here on these coasts, skimming these very waves,


320   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

playing the vile part of a pirate! It is here, John; I am
certain of it, on the track of vessels between Australia and
New Zealand; and I have a presentiment that we shall fall in
with her."
   "God keep us from such a meeting!"
   "Why, John?"
   "Your Lordship forgets our position. What could we
do in this ship if the <i>Duncan</i> gave chase. We could not
even fly!"
   "Fly, John?"
   "Yes, my Lord; we should try in vain! We should be
taken, delivered up to the mercy of those wretches, and Ben
Joyce has shown us that he does not stop at a crime! Our
lives would be worth little. We would fight to the death,
of course, but after that! Think of Lady Glenarvan; think
of Mary Grant!"
   "Poor girls!" murmured Glenarvan. "John, my heart
is broken; and sometimes despair nearly masters me. I feel
as if fresh misfortunes awaited us, and that Heaven itself
is against us. It terrifies me!"
   "You, my Lord?"
   "Not for myself, John, but for those I love -- whom you
love, also."
   "Keep up your heart, my Lord," said the young cap-
tain. "We must not look out for troubles. The <i>Mac-
quarie</i> sails badly, but she makes some way nevertheless.
Will Halley is a brute, but I am keeping my eyes open,
and if the coast looks dangerous, I will put the ship's head
to sea again. So that, on that score, there is little or no
danger. But as to getting alongside the <i>Duncan!</i> God
forbid! And if your Lordship is bent on looking out
for her, let it be in order to give her a wide berth."
   John Mangles was right. An encounter with the <i>Dun-
can</i> would have been fatal to the <i>Macquarie</i>. There was
every reason to fear such an engagement in these narrow
seas, in which pirates could ply their trade without risk.
However, for that day at least, the yacht did not appear,
and the sixth night from their departure from Twofold
Bay came, without the fears of John Mangles being
realized.
   But that night was to be a night of terrors. Darkness
came on almost suddenly at seven o'clock in the evening;

V. IV Verne


[illustration omitted]
[page intentionally blank]


THE WRECK            321

the sky was very threatening. The sailor instinct rose
above the stupefaction of the drunkard and roused Will
Halley. He left his cabin, rubbed his eyes, and shook
his great red head. Then he drew a great deep breath of
air, as other people swallow a draught of water to revive
themselves. He examined the masts. The wind fresh-
ened, and veering a point more to the westward, blew right
for the New Zealand coast.
   Will Halley, with many an oath, called his men, tight-
ened his topmast cordage, and made all snug for the night.
John Mangles approved in silence. He had ceased to hold
any conversation with the coarse seaman; but neither Glen-
arvan nor he left the poop. Two hours after a stiff breeze
came on. Will Halley took in the lower reef of his top-
sails. The maneuver would have been a difficult job for
five men if the <i>Macquarie</i> had not carried a double yard,
on the American plan. In fact, they had only to lower the
upper yard to bring the sail to its smallest size.
   Two hours passed; the sea was rising. The <i>Macquarie</i>
was struck so violently that it seemed as if her keel had
touched the rocks. There was no real danger, but the
heavy vessel did not rise easily to the waves. By and by
the returning waves would break over the deck in great
masses. The boat was washed out of the davits by the
force of the water.
   John Mangles never released his watch. Any other ship
would have made no account of a sea like this; but with
this heavy craft there was a danger of sinking by the bow,
for the deck was filled at every lurch, and the sheet of
water not being able to escape quickly by the scuppers,
might submerge the ship. It would have been the wisest
plan to prepare for emergency by knocking out the bul-
warks with an ax to facilitate their escape, but Halley re-
fused to take this precaution.
   But a greater danger was at hand, and one that it was
too late to prevent. About half-past eleven, John Mangles
and Wilson, who stayed on deck throughout the gale, were
suddenly struck by an unusual noise. Their nautical in-
stincts awoke. John seized the sailor's hand. "The
reef!" said he.
   "Yes," said Wilson; "the waves breaking on the bank."
   "Not more than two cables' length off?"


322   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "At farthest? The land is there!"
   John leaned over the side, gazed into the dark water,
and called out, "Wilson, the lead!"
   The master, posted forward, seemed to have no idea of
his position. Wilson seized the lead-line, sprang to the
fore-chains, and threw the lead; the rope ran out between
his fingers, at the third knot the lead stopped.
   "Three fathoms," cried Wilson.
   "Captain," said John, running to Will Halley, "we are
on the breakers."
   Whether or not he saw Halley shrug his shoulders is
of very little importance. But he hurried to the helm, put
it hard down, while Wilson, leaving the line, hauled at
the main-topsail brace to bring the ship to the wind. The
man who was steering received a smart blow, and could
not comprehend the sudden attack.
   "Let her go! Let her go!" said the young captain,
working her to get away from the reefs.
   For half a minute the starboard side of the vessel was
turned toward them, and, in spite of the darkness, John
could discern a line of foam which moaned and gleamed
four fathoms away.
   At this moment, Will Halley, comprehending the dan-
ger, lost his head. His sailors, hardly sobered, could not
understand his orders. His incoherent words, his contra-
dictory orders showed that this stupid sot had quite lost
his self-control. He was taken by surprise at the proxim-
ity of the land, which was eight miles off, when he thought
it was thirty or forty miles off. The currents had thrown
him out of his habitual track, and this miserable slave of
routine was left quite helpless.
   Still the prompt maneuver of John Mangles succeeded
in keeping the <i>Macquarie</i> off the breakers. But John did
not know the position. For anything he could tell he was
girdled in by reefs. The wind blew them strongly toward
the east, and at every lurch they might strike.
   In fact, the sound of the reef soon redoubled on
the starboard side of the bow. They must luff again.
John put the helm down again and brought her up. The
breakers increased under the bow of the vessel, and it was
necessary to put her about to regain the open sea. Whether
she would be able to go about under shortened sail, and


THE WRECK            323

badly trimmed as she was, remained to be seen, but there
was nothing else to be done.
   "Helm hard down!" cried Mangles to Wilson.
   The <i>Macquarie</i> began to near the new line of reefs: in
another moment the waves were seen dashing on submerged
rocks. It was a moment of inexpressible anxiety. The
spray was luminous, just as if lit up by sudden phosphores-
cence. The roaring of the sea was like the voice of those
ancient Tritons whom poetic mythology endowed with
life. Wilson and Mulrady hung to the wheel with all their
weight. Some cordage gave way, which endangered the
foremast. It seemed doubtful whether she would go about
without further damage.
   Suddenly the wind fell and the vessel fell back, and turn-
ing her became hopeless. A high wave caught her below,
carried her up on the reefs, where she struck with great
violence. The foremast came down with all the fore-
rigging. The brig rose twice, and then lay motionless,
heeled over on her port side at an angle of 30&deg;.
   The glass of the skylight had been smashed to powder.
The passengers rushed out. But the waves were sweeping
the deck from one side to the other, and they dared not
stay there. John Mangles, knowing the ship to be safely
lodged in the sand, begged them to return to their own
quarters.
   "Tell me the truth, John," said Glenarvan, calmly.
   "The truth, my Lord, is that we are at a standstill.
Whether the sea will devour us is another question; but we
have time to consider."
   "It is midnight?"
   "Yes, my Lord, and we must wait for the day."
   "Can we not lower the boat?"
   "In such a sea, and in the dark, it is impossible. And,
besides, where could we land?"
   "Well, then, John, let us wait for the daylight."
   Will Halley, however, ran up and down the deck like a
maniac. His crew had recovered their senses, and now
broached a cask of brandy, and began to drink. John fore-
saw that if they became drunk, terrible scenes would
ensue.
   The captain could not be relied on to restrain them; the
wretched man tore his hair and wrung his hands. His


324  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

whole thought was his uninsured cargo. "I am ruined!
I am lost!" he would cry, as he ran from side to side.
   John Mangles did not waste time on him. He armed
his two companions, and they all held themselves in readi-
ness to resist the sailors who were filling themselves with
brandy, seasoned with fearful blasphemies.
   "The first of these wretches that comes near the ladies, I
will shoot like a dog," said the Major, quietly.
   The sailors doubtless saw that the passengers were de-
termined to hold their own, for after some attempts at
pillage, they disappeared to their own quarters. John
Mangles thought no more of these drunken rascals, and
waited impatiently for the dawn. The ship was now quite
motionless. The sea became gradually calmer. The wind
fell. The hull would be safe for some hours yet. At day-
break John examined the landing-place; the yawl, which
was now their only boat, would carry the crew and the pas-
sengers. It would have to make three trips at least, as it
could only hold four.
   As he was leaning on the skylight, thinking over the
situation of affairs, John Mangles could hear the roaring
of the surf. He tried to pierce the darkness. He won-
dered how far it was to the land they longed for no less
than dreaded. A reef sometimes extends for miles along the
coast. Could their fragile boat hold out on a long trip?
   While John was thus ruminating and longing for a little
light from the murky sky, the ladies, relying on him, slept
in their little berths. The stationary attitude of the brig
insured them some hours of repose. Glenarvan, John,
and their companions, no longer disturbed by the noise of
the crew who were now wrapped in a drunken sleep, also
refreshed themselves by a short nap, and a profound silence
reigned on board the ship, herself slumbering peacefully
on her bed of sand.
   Toward four o'clock the first peep of dawn appeared in
the east. The clouds were dimly defined by the pale light
of the dawn. John returned to the deck. The horizon
was veiled with a curtain of fog. Some faint outlines were
shadowed in the mist, but at a considerable height. A
slight swell still agitated the sea, but the more distant waves
were undistinguishable in a motionless bank of clouds.
   John waited. The light gradually increased, and the


THE WRECK           325

horizon acquired a rosy hue. The curtain slowly rose over
the vast watery stage. Black reefs rose out of the waters.
Then a line became defined on the belt of foam, and
there gleamed a luminous beacon-light point behind a low
hill which concealed the scarcely risen sun. There was
the land, less than nine miles off.
   "Land ho!" cried John Mangles.
   His companions, aroused by his voice, rushed to the
poop, and gazed in silence at the coast whose outline lay
on the horizon. Whether they were received as friends or
enemies, that coast must be their refuge.
   "Where is Halley?" asked Glenarvan.
   "I do not know, my Lord," replied John Mangles.
   "Where are the sailors?"
   "Invisible, like himself."
   "Probably dead drunk, like himself," added McNabbs.
   "Let them be called," said Glenarvan, "we cannot leave
them on the ship."
   Mulrady and Wilson went down to the forecastle, and
two minutes after they returned. The place was empty!
They then searched between decks, and then the hold. But
found no trace of Will Halley nor his sailors.
   "What! no one?" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Could they have fallen into the sea?" asked Paganel.
   "Everything is possible," replied John Mangles, who
was getting uneasy. Then turning toward the stern: "To
the boat!" said he.
   Wilson and Mulrady followed to launch the yawl. The
yawl was gone.


CHAPTER V
CANNIBALS

   WILL HALLEY and his crew, taking advantage of the
darkness of night and the sleep of the passengers, had fled
with the only boat. There could be no doubt about it.
The captain, whose duty would have kept him on board to
the last, had been the first to quit the ship.
   "The cowards are off!" said John Mangles. "Well,
my Lord, so much the better. They have spared us some
trying scenes."


326   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "No doubt," said Glenarvan; "besides we have a cap-
tain of our own, and courageous, if unskillful sailors, your
companions, John. Say the word, and we are ready to
obey."
   The Major, Paganel, Robert, Wilson, Mulrady, Olbinett
himself, applauded Glenarvan's speech, and ranged them-
selves on the deck, ready to execute their captain's orders.
   "What is to be done?" asked Glenarvan.
   It was evident that raising the <i>Macquarie</i> was out of
the question, and no less evident that she must be aban-
doned. Waiting on board for succor that might never
come, would have been imprudence and folly. Before the
arrival of a chance vessel on the scene, the <i>Macquarie</i>
would have broken up. The next storm, or even a high
tide raised by the winds from seaward, would roll it on
the sands, break it up into splinters, and scatter them on
the shore. John was anxious to reach the land before
this inevitable consummation.
   He proposed to construct a raft strong enough to carry
the passengers, and a sufficient quantity of provisions, to
the coast of New Zealand.
   There was no time for discussion, the work was to be
set about at once, and they had made considerable prog-
ress when night came and interrupted them.
   Toward eight o'clock in the evening, after supper, while
Lady Helena and Mary Grant slept in their berths, Paga-
nel and his friends conversed on serious matters as they
walked up and down the deck. Robert had chosen to stay
with them. The brave boy listened with all his ears, ready
to be of use, and willing to enlist in any perilous
adventure.
   Paganel asked John Mangles whether the raft could not
follow the coast as far as Auckland, instead of landing its
freight on the coast.
   John replied that the voyage was impossible with such
an unmanageable craft.
   "And what we cannot do on a raft could have been done
in the ship's boat?"
   "Yes, if necessary," answered John; "but we should
have had to sail by day and anchor at night."
   "Then those wretches who abandoned us --"
   "Oh, as for them," said John, "they were drunk, and


CANNIBALS            327

in the darkness I have no doubt they paid for their coward-
ice with their lives."
   "So much the worse for them and for us," replied Pag-
anel; "for the boat would have been very useful to us."
   "What would you have, Paganel? The raft will bring
us to the shore," said Glenarvan.
   "The very thing I would fain avoid," exclaimed the
geographer.
   "What! do you think another twenty miles after cross-
ing the Pampas and Australia, can have any terrors for us,
hardened as we are to fatigue?"
   "My friend," replied Paganel, "I do not call in ques-
tion our courage nor the bravery of our friends. Twenty
miles would be nothing in any other country than New
Zealand. You cannot suspect me of faint-heartedness. I
was the first to persuade you to cross America and Aus-
tralia. But here the case is different. I repeat, anything
is better than to venture into this treacherous country."
   "Anything is better, in my judgment," said John Man-
gles, "than braving certain destruction on a stranded
vessel."
   "What is there so formidable in New Zealand?" asked
Glenarvan.
   "The savages," said Paganel.
   "The savages!" repeated Glenarvan. "Can we not
avoid them by keeping to the shore? But in any case what
have we to fear? Surely, two resolute and well-armed
Europeans need not give a thought to an attack by a hand-
ful of miserable beings."
   Paganel shook his head. "In this case there are no mis-
erable beings to contend with. The New Zealanders are
a powerful race, who are rebelling against English rule,
who fight the invaders, and often beat them, and who
always eat them!"
   "Cannibals!" exclaimed Robert, "cannibals?" Then
they heard him whisper, "My sister! Lady Helena."
   "Don't frighten yourself, my boy," said Glenarvan;
"our friend Paganel exaggerates."
   "Far from it," rejoined Paganel. "Robert has shown
himself a man, and I treat him as such, in not concealing
the truth from him."
   Paganel was right. Cannibalism has become a fixed


328   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

fact in New Zealand, as it is in the Fijis and in Torres
Strait. Superstition is no doubt partly to blame, but can-
nibalism is certainly owing to the fact that there are mo-
ments when game is scarce and hunger great. The sav-
ages began by eating human flesh to appease the demands
of an appetite rarely satiated; subsequently the priests reg-
ulated and satisfied the monstrous custom. What was a
meal, was raised to the dignity of a ceremony, that is all.
   Besides, in the eyes of the Maories, nothing is more
natural than to eat one another. The missionaries often
questioned them about cannibalism. They asked them
why they devoured their brothers; to which the chiefs made
answer that fish eat fish, dogs eat men, men eat dogs, and
dogs eat one another. Even the Maori mythology has a
legend of a god who ate another god; and with such a
precedent, who could resist eating his neighbor?
   Another strange notion is, that in eating a dead enemy
they consume his spiritual being, and so inherit his soul,
his strength and his bravery, which they hold are specially
lodged in the brain. This accounts for the fact that the
brain figures in their feasts as the choicest delicacy, and
is offered to the most honored guest.
   But while he acknowledged all this, Paganel maintained,
not without a show of reason, that sensuality, and espe-
cially hunger, was the first cause of cannibalism among
the New Zealanders, and not only among the Polynesian
races, but also among the savages of Europe.
   "For," said he, "cannibalism was long prevalent among
the ancestors of the most civilized people, and especially
(if the Major will not think me personal) among the
Scotch."
   "Really," said McNabbs.
   "Yes, Major," replied Paganel. "If you read certain
passages of Saint Jerome, on the Atticoli of Scotland, you
will see what he thought of your forefathers. And with-
out going so far back as historic times, under the reign of
Elizabeth, when Shakespeare was dreaming out his Shy-
lock, a Scotch bandit, Sawney Bean, was executed for the
crime of cannibalism. Was it religion that prompted him
to cannibalism? No! it was hunger."
   "Hunger?" said John Mangles.
   "Hunger!" repeated Paganel; "but, above all, the


CANNIBALS             329

necessity of the carnivorous appetite of replacing the bodily
waste, by the azote contained in animal tissues. The lungs
are satisfied with a provision of vegetable and farinaceous
food. But to be strong and active the body must be sup-
plied with those plastic elements that renew the muscles.
Until the Maories become members of the Vegetarian Asso-
ciation they will eat meat, and human flesh as meat."
   "Why not animal flesh?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Because they have no animals," replied Paganel; "and
that ought to be taken into account, not to extenuate, but
to explain, their cannibal habits. Quadrupeds, and even
birds, are rare on these inhospitable shores, so that the
Maories have always eaten human flesh. There are even
'man-eating seasons,' as there are in civilized countries
hunting seasons. Then begin the great wars, and whole
tribes are served up on the tables of the conquerors."
   "Well, then," said Glenarvan, "according to your mode
of reasoning, Paganel, cannibalism will not cease in New
Zealand until her pastures teem with sheep and oxen."
   "Evidently, my dear Lord; and even then it will take
years to wean them from Maori flesh, which they prefer
to all others; for the children will still have a relish for
what their fathers so highly appreciated. According to
them it tastes like pork, with even more flavor. As to
white men's flesh, they do not like it so well, because the
whites eat salt with their food, which gives a peculiar
flavor, not to the taste of connoisseurs."
   "They are dainty," said the Major. "But, black or
white, do they eat it raw, or cook it?"
   "Why, what is that to you, Mr. McNabbs?" cried
Robert.
   "What is that to me!" exclaimed the Major, earnestly.
"If I am to make a meal for a cannibal, I should prefer
being cooked."
   "Why?"
   "Because then I should be sure of not being eaten
alive!"
   "Very good. Major," said Paganel; "but suppose they
cooked you alive?"
   "The fact is," answered the Major, "I would not give
half-a-crown for the choice!"
   "Well, McNabbs, if it will comfort you -- you may as


330   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

well be told -- the New Zealanders do not eat flesh without
cooking or smoking it. They are very clever and experi-
enced in cookery. For my part, I very much dislike the
idea of being eaten! The idea of ending one's life in the
maw of a savage! bah!"

"The conclusion of all," said John Mangles, "is that
we must not fall into their hands. Let us hope that one
day Christianity will abolish all these monstrous customs."
   "Yes, we must hope so," replied Paganel; "but, believe
me, a savage who has tasted human flesh, is not easily per-
suaded to forego it. I will relate two facts which prove it."
   "By all means let us have the facts, Paganel," said
Glenarvan.
   "The first is narrated in the chronicles of the Jesuit
Society in Brazil. A Portuguese missionary was one day
visiting an old Brazilian woman who was very ill. She
had only a few days to live. The Jesuit inculcated the
truths of religion, which the dying woman accepted, with-
out objection. Then having attended to her spiritual wants,
he bethought himself of her bodily needs, and offered her
some European delicacies. 'Alas,' said she, 'my digestion
is too weak to bear any kind of food. There is only one
thing I could fancy, and nobody here could get it for me.'
'What is it?' asked the Jesuit. 'Ah! my son,' said she,
'it is the hand of a little boy! I feel as if I should enjoy
munching the little bones!'"
   "Horrid! but I wonder is it so very nice?" said Robert.
   "My second tale will answer you, my boy," said Pag-
anel: "One day a missionary was reproving a cannibal for
the horrible custom, so abhorrent to God's laws, of eating
human flesh! 'And beside,' said he, 'it must be so nasty!'
'Oh, father,' said the savage, looking greedily at the mis-
sionary, 'say that God forbids it! That is a reason for
what you tell us. But don't say it is nasty! If you had
only tasted it!'"


CHAPTER VI
A DREADED COUNTRY

PAGANEL'S facts were indisputable. The cruelty of the
New Zealanders was beyond a doubt, therefore it was dan-
gerous to land. But had the danger been a hundredfold


A DREADED COUNTRY       331

greater, it had to be faced. John Mangles felt the necessity
of leaving without delay a vessel doomed to certain and
speedy destruction. There were two dangers, one certain
and the other probable, but no one could hesitate between
them.

As to their chance of being picked up by a passing vessel,
they could not reasonably hope for it. The <i>Macquarie</i>
was not in the track of ships bound to New Zealand. They
keep further north for Auckland, further south for New
Plymouth, and the ship had struck just between these two
points, on the desert region of the shores of Ika-na-Mani,
a dangerous, difficult coast, and infested by desperate char-
acters.
   "When shall we get away?" asked Glenarvan.
   "To-morrow morning at ten o'clock," replied John Man-
gles. "The tide will then turn and carry us to land."
   Next day, February 5, at eight o'clock, the raft was fin-
ished. John had given all his attention to the building of
this structure. The foreyard, which did very well for
mooring the anchors, was quite inadequate to the transport
of passengers and provisions. What was needed was a
strong, manageable raft, that would resist the force of the
waves during a passage of nine miles. Nothing but the
masts could supply suitable materials.
   Wilson and Mulrady set to work; the rigging was cut
clear, and the mainmast, chopped away at the base, fell over
the starboard rail, which crashed under its weight. The
<i>Macquarie</i> was thus razed like a pontoon.
   When the lower mast, the topmasts, and the royals were
sawn and split, the principal pieces of the raft were ready.
They were then joined to the fragments of the foremast
and the whole was fastened securely together. John took
the precaution to place in the interstices half a dozen empty
barrels, which would raise the structure above the level of
the water. On this strong foundation, Wilson laid a kind
of floor in open work, made of the gratings off the hatches.
The spray could then dash on the raft without staying there,
and the passengers would be kept dry. In addition to this,
the hose-pipes firmly lashed together formed a kind of cir-
cular barrier which protected the deck from the
waves.
   That morning, John seeing that the wind was in their

332   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

favor, rigged up the royal-yard in the middle of the raft as
a mast. It was stayed with shrouds, and carried a make-
shift sail. A large broad-bladed oar was fixed behind to
act as a rudder in case the wind was sufficient to require it.
The greatest pains had been expended on strengthening
the raft to resist the force of the waves, but the question
remained whether, in the event of a change of wind, they
could steer, or indeed, whether they could hope ever to reach
the land.
   At nine o'clock they began to load. First came the pro-
visions, in quantity sufficient to last till they should reach
Auckland, for they could not count on the productions of
this barren region.
   Olbinett's stores furnished some preserved meat which
remained of the purchase made for their voyage in the
<i>Macquarie</i>. This was but a scanty resource. They had
to fall back on the coarse viands of the ship; sea bis-
cuits of inferior quality, and two casks of salt fish. The
steward was quite crestfallen.
   These provisions were put in hermetically sealed cases,
staunch and safe from sea water, and then lowered on to
the raft and strongly lashed to the foot of the mast. The
arms and ammunition were piled in a dry corner. For-
tunately the travelers were well armed with carbines and
revolvers.
   A holding anchor was also put on board in case John
should be unable to make the land in one tide, and would
have to seek moorings.
   At ten o'clock the tide turned. The breeze blew gently
from the northwest, and a slight swell rocked the frail
craft.
   "Are we ready?" asked John.
   "All ready, captain," answered Wilson.
   "All aboard!" cried John.
   Lady Helena and Mary Grant descended by a rope lad-
der, and took their station at the foot of the mast on the
cases of provisions, their companions near them. Wilson
took the helm. John stood by the tackle, and Mulrady
cut the line which held the raft to the ship's side.
   The sail was spread, and the frail structure commenced
its progress toward the land, aided by wind and tide. The
coast was about nine miles off, a distance that a boat with


A DREADED COUNTRY       333

good oars would have accomplished in three hours. But
with a raft allowance must be made. If the wind held,
they might reach the land in one tide. But if the breeze
died away, the ebb would carry them away from the shore,
and they would be compelled to anchor and wait for the
next tide, a serious consideration, and one that filled John
Mangles with anxiety.
   Still he hoped to succeed. The wind freshened. The
tide had turned at ten o'clock, and by three they must
either make the land or anchor to save themselves from
being carried out to sea. They made a good start. Little
by little the black line of the reefs and the yellow banks of
sand disappeared under the swelling tide. Extreme watch-
fulness and perfect skill were necessary to avoid these sub-
merged rocks, and steer a bark that did not readily answer
to the helm, and that constantly broke off.
   At noon they were still five miles from shore. A tol-
erably clear sky allowed them to make out the principal fea-
tures of the land. In the northeast rose a mountain about
2,300 feet high, whose sharply defined outline was exactly
like the grinning face of a monkey turned toward the sky.
It was Pirongia, which the map gave as exactly on the 38th
parallel.
   At half-past twelve, Paganel remarked that all the rocks
had disappeared under the rising tide.
   "All but one," answered Lady Helena.
   "Which, Madam?" asked Paganel.
   "There," replied she, pointing to a black speck a mile off.
   "Yes, indeed," said Paganel. "Let us try to ascertain
its position, so as not to get too near it, for the sea will soon
conceal it."
   "It is exactly in a line with the northern slope of the
mountain," said John Mangles. "Wilson, mind you give it
a wide berth."
   "Yes, captain," answered the sailor, throwing his whole
weight on the great oar that steered the raft.
   In half an hour they had made half a mile. But, strange
to say, the black point still rose above the waves.
   John looked attentively, and in order to make it out, bor-
rowed Paganel's telescope.
   "That is no reef," said he, after a moment; "it is some-
thing floating, which rises and falls with the swell."


334   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Is it part of the mast of the <i>Macquarie?</i>" asked Lady
Helena.
   "No," said Glenarvan, "none of her timbers could have
come so far."
   "Stay!" said John Mangles; "I know it! It is the
boat."
   "The ship's boat?" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Yes, my lord. The ship's boat, keel up."
   "The unfortunate creatures," cried Lady Helena, "they
have perished!"
   "Yes, Madam," replied John Mangles, "they must have
perished, for in the midst of these breakers in a heavy swell
on that pitchy night, they ran to certain death."
   For a few minutes the passengers were silent. They
gazed at the frail craft as they drew near it. It must evi-
dently have capsized about four miles from the shore, and
not one of the crew could have escaped.
   "But this boat may be of use to us," said Glenarvan.
   "That is true," answered John Mangles. "Keep her up,
Wilson."
   The direction was slightly changed, but the breeze fell
gradually, and it was two hours before they reached the
boat.
   Mulrady, stationed forward, fended off the blow, and the
yawl was drawn alongside.
   "Empty?" asked John Mangles.
   "Yes, captain," answered the sailor, "the boat is empty.
and all its seams are open. It is of no use to us."
   "No use at all?" said McNabbs.
   "None at all," said John Mangles.
   "It is good for nothing but to burn."
   "I regret it," said Paganel, "for the yawl might have
taken us to Auckland."
   "We must bear our fate, Monsieur Paganel," replied
John Mangles. "But, for my part, in such a stormy sea I
prefer our raft to that crazy boat. A very slight shock
would be enough to break her up. Therefore, my lord, we
have nothing to detain us further."
   "As you think best, John."
   "On then, Wilson," said John, "and bear straight for the
land."
   There was still an hour before the turn of the tide. In


A DREADED COUNTRY       335

that time they might make two miles. But the wind soon
fell almost entirely, and the raft became nearly motionless,
and soon began to drift to seaward under the influence of
the ebb-tide.
   John did not hesitate a moment.
   "Let go the anchor," said he.
   Mulrady, who stood to execute this order, let go the
anchor in five fathoms water. The raft backed about two
fathoms on the line, which was then at full stretch. The
sail was taken in, and everything made snug for a tedious
period of inaction.
   The returning tide would not occur till nine o'clock in
the evening; and as John Mangles did not care to go on in
the dark, the anchorage was for the night, or at least till five
o'clock in the morning, land being in sight at a distance of
less than three miles.
   A considerable swell raised the waves, and seemed to set
in continuously toward the coast, and perceiving this, Glen-
arvan asked John why he did not take advantage of this
swell to get nearer to the land.
   "Your Lordship is deceived by an optical illusion," said
the young captain. "Although the swell seems to carry the
waves landward, it does not really move at all. It is mere
undulating molecular motion, nothing more.  Throw a
piece of wood overboard and you will see that it will remain
quite stationary except as the tide affects it. There is noth-
ing for it but patience."
   "And dinner," said the Major.
   Olbinett unpacked some dried meat and a dozen biscuits.
The steward blushed as he proffered the meager bill of fare.
But it was received with a good grace, even by the ladies,
who, however, had not much appetite, owing to the violent
motion.
   This motion, produced by the jerking of the raft on the
cable, while she lay head on to the sea, was very severe and
fatiguing. The blows of the short, tumbling seas were as
severe as if she had been striking on a submerged rock.
Sometimes it was hard to believe that she was not aground.
The cable strained violently, and every half hour John had
to take in a fathom to ease it. Without this precaution it
would certainly have given way, and the raft must have
drifted to destruction.


336   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   John's anxiety may easily be understood. His cable
might break, or his anchor lose its hold, and in either case
the danger was imminent.
   Night drew on; the sun's disc, enlarged by refraction, was
dipping blood-red below the horizon. The distant waves
glittered in the west, and sparkled like sheets of liquid silver.
Nothing was to be seen in that direction but sky and water,
except one sharply-defined object, the hull of the <i>Macquarie</i>
motionless on her rocky bed.
   The short twilight postponed the darkness only by a few
minutes, and soon the coast outline, which bounded the view
on the east and north, was lost in darkness.
   The shipwrecked party were in an agonizing situation on
their narrow raft, and overtaken by the shades of night.
   Some of the party fell into a troubled sleep, a prey to evil
dreams; others could not close an eye. When the day
dawned, the whole party were worn out with fatigue.
   With the rising tide the wind blew again toward the land.
It was six o'clock in the morning, and there was no time to
lose. John arranged everything for resuming their voyage,
and then he ordered the anchor to be weighed. But the
anchor flukes had been so imbedded in the sand by the re-
peated jerks of the cable, that without a windlass it was im-
possible to detach it, even with the tackle which Wilson had
improvised.
   Half an hour was lost in vain efforts. John, impatient
of delay, cut the rope, thus sacrificing his anchor, and also
the possibility of anchoring again if this tide failed to carry
them to land. But he decided that further delay was not to
be thought of, and an ax-blow committed the raft to the
mercy of the wind, assisted by a current of two knots an
hour.
   The sail was spread. They drifted slowly toward the
land, which rose in gray, hazy masses, on a background of
sky illumined by the rising sun. The reef was dexterously
avoided and doubled, but with the fitful breeze the raft could
not get near the shore. What toil and pain to reach a coast
so full of danger when attained.
   At nine o'clock, the land was less than a mile off. It was
a steeply-shelving shore, fringed with breakers; a practicable
landing-place had to be discovered.
   Gradually the breeze grew fainter, and then ceased en-

V. IV Verne


A DREADED COUNTRY       337

tirely. The sail flapped idly against the mast, and John had
it furled. The tide alone carried the raft to the shore, but
steering had become impossible, and its passage was impeded
by immense bands of <i>fucus</i>.
   At ten o'clock John found himself almost at a stand-still,
not three cables' lengths from the shore. Having lost their
anchor, they were at the mercy of the ebb-tide.
   John clenched his hands; he was racked with anxiety, and
cast frenzied glances toward this inaccessible shore.
   In the midst of his perplexities, a shock was felt. The
raft stood still. It had landed on a sand-bank, twenty-five
fathoms from the coast.
   Glenarvan, Robert, Wilson, and Mulrady, jumped into
the water. The raft was firmly moored to the nearest
rocks. The ladies were carried to land without wetting a
fold of their dresses, and soon the whole party, with their
arms and provisions, were finally landed on these much
dreaded New Zealand shores.


CHAPTER VII
THE MAORI WAR

   GLENARVAN would have liked to start without an hour's
delay, and follow the coast to Auckland. But since the
morning heavy clouds had been gathering, and toward
eleven o'clock, after the landing was effected, the vapors
condensed into violent rain, so that instead of starting they
had to look for shelter.
   Wilson was fortunate enough to discover what just suited
their wants: a grotto hollowed out by the sea in the basaltic
rocks. Here the travelers took shelter with their arms and
provisions. In the cave they found a ready-garnered store
of dried sea-weed, which formed a convenient couch; for
fire, they lighted some wood near the mouth of the cavern,
and dried themselves as well as they could.
   John hoped that the duration of this deluge of rain would
be in an inverse ratio to its violence, but he was doomed to
disappointment. Hours passed without any abatement of
its fury. Toward noon the wind freshened, and increased
the force of the storm. The most patient of men would
have rebelled at such an untoward incident; but what could
be done; without any vehicle, they could not brave such a


338   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

tempest; and, after all, unless the natives appeared on the
scene, a delay of twelve hours was not so much consequence,
as the journey to Auckland was only a matter of a few days.
During this involuntary halt, the conversation turned on the
incidents of the New Zealand war. But to understand and
appreciate the critical position into which these <i>Macquarie</i>
passengers were thrown, something ought to be known of
the history of the struggle which had deluged the island of
Ika-na-Mani with blood.
   Since the arrival of Abel Tasman in Cook's Strait, on the
16th of December, 1642, though the New Zealanders had
often been visited by European vessels, they had maintained
their liberty in their several islands. No European power
had thought of taking possession of this archipelago,
which commands the whole Pacific Ocean. The mission-
aries stationed at various points were the sole channels of
Christian civilization. Some of them, especially the Angli-
cans, prepared the minds of the New Zealand chiefs for
submitting to the English yoke. It was cleverly managed,
and these chiefs were influenced to sign a letter addressed
to Queen Victoria to ask her protection. But the most
clearsighted of them saw the folly of this step; and one of
them, after having affixed his tattoo-mark to the letter by
way of signature, uttered these prophetic words: "We
have lost our country! henceforth it is not ours; soon the
stranger will come and take it, and we shall be his slaves."
   And so it was; on January 29, 1840, the English corvette
<i>Herald</i> arrived to claim possession.
   From the year 1840, till the day the <i>Duncan</i> left the
Clyde, nothing had happened here that Paganel did not
know and he was ready to impart his information to his
companions.
   "Madam," said he, in answer to Lady Helena's questions,
"I must repeat what I had occasion to remark before, that
the New Zealanders are a courageous people, who yielded
for a moment, but afterward fought foot to foot against the
English invaders. The Maori tribes are organized like the
old clans of Scotland. They are so many great families
owning a chief, who is very jealous of his prerogative. The
men of this race are proud and brave, one tribe tall, with
straight hair, like the Maltese, or the Jews of Bagdad; the
other smaller, thickset like mulattoes, but robust, haughty,


THE MAORI WAR           339

and warlike. They had a famous chief, named Hihi, a real
Vercingetorix, so that you need not be astonished that the
war with the English has become chronic in the Northern
Island, for in it is the famous tribe of the Waikatos, who
defend their lands under the leadership of William Thomp-
son."
   "But," said John Mangles, "are not the English in pos-
session of the principal points in New Zealand?"
   "Certainly, dear John," replied Paganel. "After Cap-
tain Hobson took formal possession, and became governor,
nine colonies were founded at various times between 1840
and 1862, in the most favorable situations. These formed
the nucleus of nine provinces, four in the North Island and
five in the southern island, with a total population of 184,346
inhabitants on the 30th of June, 1864."
   "But what about this interminable war?" asked John
Mangles.
   "Well," said Paganel, "six long months have gone by
since we left Europe, and I cannot say what may have hap-
pened during that time, with the exception of a few facts
which I gathered from the newspapers of Maryborough and
Seymour during our Australian journey. At that time the
fighting was very lively in the Northern Island."
   "And when did the war commence?" asked Mary Grant.
   "Recommence, you mean, my dear young lady," replied
Paganel; "for there was an insurrection so far back as
1845. The present war began toward the close of 1863;
but long before that date the Maories were occupied in mak-
ing preparations to shake off the English yoke. The
national party among the natives carried on an active
propaganda for the election of a Maori ruler. The object
was to make old Potatau king, and to fix as the capital of
the new kingdom his village, which lay between the Waikato
and Waipa Rivers. Potatau was an old man, remarkable
rather for cunning than bravery; but he had a Prime Min-
ister who was both intelligent and energetic, a descendant of
the Ngatihahuas, who occupied the isthmus before the ar-
rival of the strangers. This minister, William Thompson,
became the soul of the War of Independence, and organized
the Maori troops, with great skill. Under this guidance a
Taranaki chief gathered the scattered tribes around the same
flag; a Waikato chief formed a 'Land League,' intended to


340   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

prevent the natives from selling their land to the English
Government, and warlike feasts were held just as in civilized
countries on the verge of revolution. The English news-
papers began to notice these alarming symptoms, and the
government became seriously disturbed at these 'Land
League' proceedings. In short, the train was laid, and the
mine was ready to explode. Nothing was wanted but the
spark, or rather the shock of rival interests to produce the
spark.
   "This shock took place in 1860, in the Taranaki province
on the southwest coast of Ika-na-Mani. A native had six
hundred acres of land in the neighborhood of New Ply-
mouth. He sold them to the English Government; but
when the surveyor came to measure the purchased land, the
chief Kingi protested, and by the month of March he had
made the six hundred acres in question into a fortified camp,
surrounded with high palisades. Some days after Colonel
Gold carried this fortress at the head of his troops, and that
day heard the first shot fired of the native war."
   "Have the rebels been successful up to this time?"
   "Yes, Madam, and the English themselves have often
been compelled to admire the courage and bravery of the
New Zealanders. Their mode of warfare is of the guerilla
type; they form skirmishing parties, come down in small de-
tachments, and pillage the colonists' homes. General
Cameron had no easy time in the campaigns, during which
every bush had to be searched. In 1863, after a long and
sanguinary struggle, the Maories were entrenched in strong
and fortified position on the Upper Waikato, at the end of a
chain of steep hills, and covered by three miles of forts.
The native prophets called on all the Maori population to
defend the soil, and promised the extermination of the
pakekas, or white men. General Cameron had three thou-
sand volunteers at his disposal, and they gave no quarter to
the Maories after the barbarous murder of Captain Sprent.
Several bloody engagements took place; in some instances
the fighting lasted twelve hours before the Maories yielded
to the English cannonade. The heart of the army was the
fierce Waikato tribe under William Thompson. This
native general commanded at the outset 2,500 warriors,
afterward increased to 8,000. The men of Shongi and
Heki, two powerful chiefs, came to his assistance. The


THE MAORI WAR            341

women took their part in the most trying labors of this
patriotic war. But right has not always might. After
severe struggles General Cameron succeeded in subduing
the Waikato district, but empty and depopulated, for the
Maories escaped in all directions. Some wonderful ex-
ploits were related. Four hundred Maories who were shut
up in the fortress of Orakau, besieged by 1,000 English,
under Brigadier-General Carey, without water or provisions,
refused to surrender, but one day at noon cut their way
through the then decimated 40th Regiment, and escaped to
the marshes."
   "But," asked John Mangles, "did the submission of the
Waikato district put an end to this sanguinary war?"
   "No, my friend," replied Paganel. "The English re-
solved to march on Taranaki province and besiege Mataitawa,
William Thompson's fortress. But they did not carry it
without great loss. Just as I was leaving Paris, I heard
that the Governor and the General had accepted the sub-
mission of the Tauranga tribes, and left them in possession
of three-fourths of their lands. It was also rumored that
the principal chief of the rebellion, William Thompson, was
inclined to surrender, but the Australian papers have not
confirmed this, but rather the contrary, and I should not be
surprised to find that at this moment the war is going on
with renewed vigor."
   "Then, according to you, Paganel," said Glenarvan, "this
struggle is still going on in the provinces of Auckland and
Taranaki?"
   "I think so."
   "This very province where the <i>Macquarie's</i> wreck has de-
posited us."
   "Exactly. We have landed a few miles above Kawhia
harbor, where the Maori flag is probably still floating."
   "Then our most prudent course would be to keep toward
the north," remarked Glenarvan.
   "By far the most prudent," said Paganel. "The New
Zealanders are incensed against Europeans, and especially
against the English. Therefore let us avoid falling into
their hands."
   "We might have the good fortune to fall in with a de-
tachment of European troops," said Lady Helena.
   "We may, Madam," replied the geographer; "but I do


342   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

not expect it. Detached parties do not like to go far into
the country, where the smallest tussock, the thinnest brush-
wood, may conceal an accomplished marksman. I don't
fancy we shall pick up an escort of the 40th Regiment. But
there are mission-stations on this west coast, and we shall be
able to make them our halting-places till we get to Auck-
land."


CHAPTER VIII
ON THE ROAD TO AUCKLAND

   ON the 7th of February, at six o'clock in the morning,
the signal for departure was given by Glenarvan. During
the night the rain had ceased. The sky was veiled with light
gray clouds, which moderated the heat of the sun, and al-
lowed the travelers to venture on a journey by day.
   Paganel had measured on the map a distance of eighty
miles between Point Kawhia and Auckland; it was an eight
days' journey if they made ten miles a day. But instead of
following the windings of the coast, he thought it better to
make for a point thirty miles off, at the confluence of the
Waikato and the Waipa, at the village of Ngarnavahia.
The "overland track" passes that point, and is rather a
path than a road, practicable for the vehicles which go al-
most across the island, from Napier, in Hawke's Bay, to
Auckland. From this village it would be easy to reach
Drury, and there they could rest in an excellent hotel,
highly recommended by Dr. Hochstetter.
   The travelers, each carrying a share of the provisions,
commenced to follow the shore of Aotea Bay. From pru-
dential motives they did not allow themselves to straggle,
and by instinct they kept a look-out over the undulating
plains to the eastward, ready with their loaded carbines.
Paganel, map in hand, took a professional pleasure in verify-
ing the minutest details.
   The country looked like an immense prairie which faded
into distance, and promised an easy walk. But the travelers
were undeceived when they came to the edge of this verdant
plain. The grass gave way to a low scrub of small bushes
bearing little white flowers, mixed with those innumerable
tall ferns with which the lands of New Zealand abound.
They had to cut a path across the plain, through these woody


ON THE ROAD TO AUCKLAND    343

stems, and this was a matter of some difficulty, but at eight
o'clock in the evening the first slopes of the Hakarihoata
Ranges were turned, and the party camped immediately.
After a fourteen miles' march, they might well think of
resting.
   Neither wagon or tent being available, they sought repose
beneath some magnificent Norfolk Island pines. They had
plenty of rugs which make good beds. Glenarvan took
every possible precaution for the night. His companions
and he, well armed, were to watch in turns, two and two, till
daybreak. No fires were lighted. Barriers of fire are a
potent preservation from wild beasts, but New Zealand has
neither tiger, nor lion, nor bear, nor any wild animal, but
the Maori adequately fills their place, and a fire would only
have served to attract this two-footed jaguar.
   The night passed pleasantly with the exception of the
attack of the sand-flies, called by the natives, "ngamu,"
and the visit of the audacious family of rats, who exercised
their teeth on the provisions.
   Next day, on the 8th of February, Paganel rose more
sanguine, and almost reconciled to the country. The
Maories, whom he particularly dreaded, had not yet ap-
peared, and these ferocious cannibals had not molested him
even in his dreams. "I begin to think that our little jour-
ney will end favorably. This evening we shall reach the
confluence of the Waipa and Waikato, and after that there
is not much chance of meeting natives on the way to
Auckland."
   "How far is it now," said Glenarvan, "to the confluence
of the Waipa and Waikato?"
   "Fifteen miles; just about what we did yesterday."
   "But we shall be terribly delayed if this interminable
scrub continues to obstruct our path."
   "No," said Paganel, "we shall follow the banks of the
Waipa, and then we shall have no obstacle, but on the con-
trary, a very easy road."
   "Well, then," said Glenarvan, seeing the ladies ready,
"let us make a start."
   During the early part of the day, the thick brushwood
seriously impeded their progress. Neither wagon nor
horses could have passed where travelers passed, so that
their Australian vehicle was but slightly regretted. Until


344   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

practicable wagon roads are cut through these forests of
scrub, New Zealand will only be accessible to foot passen-
gers. The ferns, whose name is legion, concur with the
Maories in keeping strangers off the lands.
   The little party overcame many obstacles in crossing the
plains in which the Hakarihoata Ranges rise. But before
noon they reached the banks of the Waipa, and followed the
northward course of the river.
   The Major and Robert, without leaving their compan-
ions, shot some snipe and partridge under the low shrubs
of the plain. Olbinett, to save time, plucked the birds as
he went along.
   Paganel was less absorbed by the culinary importance of
the game than by the desire of obtaining some bird peculiar
to New Zealand. His curiosity as a naturalist overcame his
hunger as a traveler. He called to mind the peculiarities
of the "tui" of the natives, sometimes called the mocking-
bird from its incessant chuckle, and sometimes "the par-
son," in allusion to the white cravat it wears over its black,
cassock-like plumage.
   "The tui," said Paganel to the Major, "grows so fat
during the Winter that it makes him ill, and prevents him
from flying. Then he tears his breast with his beak, to re-
lieve himself of his fat, and so becomes lighter. Does not
that seem to you singular, McNabbs?"
   "So singular that I don't believe a word of it," replied
the Major.
   Paganel, to his great regret, could not find a single speci-
men, or he might have shown the incredulous Major the
bloody scars on the breast. But he was more fortunate
with a strange animal which, hunted by men, cats and dogs,
has fled toward the unoccupied country, and is fast dis-
appearing from the fauna of New Zealand. Robert, search-
ing like a ferret, came upon a nest made of interwoven
roots, and in it a pair of birds destitute of wings and tail,
with four toes, a long snipe-like beak, and a covering of
white feathers over the whole body, singular creatures,
which seemed to connect the oviparous tribes with the mam-
mifers.
   It was the New Zealand "kiwi," the <i>Apteryx australis</i>
of naturalists, which lives with equal satisfaction on larv&aelig;,
insects, worms or seeds. This bird is peculiar to the coun-


ON THE ROAD TO AUCKLAND    345

try. It has been introduced into very few of the zo&ouml;logical
collections of Europe. Its graceless shape and comical mo-
tions have always attracted the notice of travelers, and
during the great exploration of the Astrolabe and the Zelee,
Dumont d'Urville was principally charged by the Academy
of Sciences to bring back a specimen of these singular birds.
But in spite of rewards offered to the natives, he could not
obtain a single specimen.
   Paganel, who was elated at such a piece of luck, tied the
two birds together, and carried them along with the inten-
tion of presenting them to the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris.
"Presented by M. Jacques Paganel." He mentally saw the
flattering inscription on the handsomest cage in the gar-
dens. Sanguine geographer!
   The party pursued their way without fatigue along the
banks of the Waipa. The country was quite deserted; not
a trace of natives, nor any track that could betray the ex-
istence of man. The stream was fringed with tall bushes,
or glided along sloping banks, so that nothing obstructed
the view of the low range of hills which closed the eastern
end of the valley. With their grotesque shapes, and their
outlines lost in a deceptive haze, they brought to mind
giant animals, worthy of antediluvian times. They might
have been a herd of enormous whales, suddenly turned to
stone. These disrupted masses proclaimed their essentially
volcanic character. New Zealand is, in fact, a formation
of recent plutonic origin. Its emergence from the sea is
constantly increasing. Some points are known to have
risen six feet in twenty years. Fire still runs across its
center, shakes it, convulses it, and finds an outlet in many
places by the mouths of geysers and the craters of vol-
canoes.
   At four in the afternoon, nine miles had been easily ac-
complished. According to the map which Paganel con-
stantly referred to, the confluence of the Waipa and
Waikato ought to be reached about five miles further on,
and there the night halt could be made. Two or three days
would then suffice for the fifty miles which lay between
them and the capital; and if Glenarvan happened to fall in
with the mail coach that plies between Hawkes' Bay and
Auckland twice a month, eight hours would be suffi-
cient.


346   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Therefore," said Glenarvan, "we shall be obliged to
camp during the night once more."
   "Yes," said Paganel, "but I hope for the last time."
   "I am very glad to think so, for it is very trying for
Lady Helena and Mary Grant."
   "And they never utter a murmur," added John Mangles.
"But I think I heard you mention a village at the conflu-
ence of these rivers."
   "Yes," said the geographer, "here it is, marked on
Johnston's map. It is Ngarnavahia, two miles below the
junction."
   "Well, could we not stay there for the night? Lady
Helena and Miss Grant would not grudge two miles more
to find a hotel even of a humble character."
   "A hotel!" cried Paganel, "a hotel in a Maori village!
you would not find an inn, not a tavern! This village will
be a mere cluster of huts, and so far from seeking rest there,
my advice is that you give it a wide berth."
   "Your old fears, Paganel!" retorted Glenarvan.
   "My dear Lord, where Maories are concerned, distrust
is safer than confidence. I do not know on what terms
they are with the English, whether the insurrection is sup-
pressed or successful, or whether indeed the war may not
be going on with full vigor. Modesty apart, people like us
would be a prize, and I must say, I would rather forego
a taste of Maori hospitality. I think it certainly more pru-
dent to avoid this village of Ngarnavahia, to skirt it at a
distance, so as to avoid all encounters with the natives.
When we reach Drury it will be another thing, and there
our brave ladies will be able to recruit their strength at
their leisure."
   This advice prevailed. Lady Helena preferred to pass
another night in the open air, and not to expose her com-
panions to danger. Neither Mary Grant or she wished to
halt, and they continued their march along the river.
   Two hours later, the first shades of evening began to
fall. The sun, before disappearing below the western hori-
zon, darted some bright rays through an opening in the
clouds. The distant eastern summits were empurpled with
the parting glories of the day. It was like a flying salute
addressed to the way-worn travelers.
   Glenarvan and his friends hastened their steps, they knew


ON THE ROAD TO AUCKLAND     347

how short the twilight is in this high latitude, and how
quickly the night follows it. They were very anxious to
reach the confluence of the two rivers before the darkness
overtook them. But a thick fog rose from the ground, and
made it very difficult to see the way.
   Fortunately hearing stood them in the stead of sight;
shortly a nearer sound of water indicated that the conflu-
ence was at hand. At eight o'clock the little troop arrived
at the point where the Waipa loses itself in the Waikato,
with a moaning sound of meeting waves.
   "There is the Waikato!" cried Paganel, "and the road
to Auckland is along its right bank."
   "We shall see that to-morrow," said the Major, "Let
us camp here. It seems to me that that dark shadow is
that of a little clump of trees grown expressly to shelter us.
Let us have supper and then get some sleep."
   "Supper by all means," said Paganel, "but no fire;
nothing but biscuit and dried meat. We have reached this
spot incognito, let us try and get away in the same manner.
By good luck, the fog is in our favor."
   The clump of trees was reached and all concurred in
the wish of the geographer. The cold supper was eaten
without a sound, and presently a profound sleep overcame
the travelers, who were tolerably fatigued with their fifteen
miles' march.


CHAPTER IX
INTRODUCTION TO THE CANNIBALS

   THE next morning at daybreak a thick fog was clinging
to the surface of the river. A portion of the vapors that
saturated the air were condensed by the cold, and lay as a
dense cloud on the water. But the rays of the sun soon
broke through the watery mass and melted it away.
   A tongue of land, sharply pointed and bristling with
bushes, projected into the uniting streams. The swifter
waters of the Waipa rushed against the current of the
Waikato for a quarter of a mile before they mingled with
it; but the calm and majestic river soon quieted the noisy
stream and carried it off quietly in its course to the Pacific
Ocean.


348   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   When the vapor disappeared, a boat was seen ascending
the current of the Waikato. It was a canoe seventy feet
long, five broad, and three deep; the prow raised like that
of a Venetian gondola, and the whole hollowed out of a
trunk of a kahikatea. A bed of dry fern was laid at the
bottom. It was swiftly rowed by eight oars, and steered
with a paddle by a man seated in the stern.
   This man was a tall Maori, about forty-five years of age,
broad-chested, muscular, with powerfully developed hands
and feet. His prominent and deeply-furrowed brow, his
fierce look, and sinister expression, gave him a formidable
aspect.
   Tattooing, or "moko," as the New Zealanders call it,
is a mark of great distinction. None is worthy of these
honorary lines, who has not distinguished himself in re-
peated fights. The slaves and the lower class can not ob-
tain this decoration. Chiefs of high position may be known
by the finish and precision and truth of the design, which
sometimes covers their whole bodies with the figures of
animals. Some are found to undergo the painful opera-
tion of "moko" five times. The more illustrious, the more
illustrated, is the rule of New Zealand.
   Dumont D'Urville has given some curious details as to
this custom. He justly observes that "moko" is the coun-
terpart of the armorial bearings of which many families in
Europe are so vain. But he remarks that there is this
difference: the armorial bearings of Europe are frequently
a proof only of the merits of the first who bore them, and
are no certificate of the merits of his descendants; while the
individual coat-of-arms of the Maori is an irrefragible
proof that it was earned by the display of extraordinary
personal courage.
   The practice of tattooing, independently of the considera-
tion it procures, has also a useful aspect. It gives the cu-
taneous system an increased thickness, enabling it to resist
the inclemency of the season and the incessant attacks of
the mosquito.
   As to the chief who was steering the canoe, there could
be no mistake. The sharpened albatross bone used by the
Maori tattooer, had five times scored his countenance. He
was in his fifth edition, and betrayed it in his haughty
bearing.


INTRODUCTION TO THE CANNIBALS 349

   His figure, draped in a large mat woven of "phormium"
trimmed with dogskins, was clothed with a pair of cotton
drawers, blood-stained from recent combats. From the
pendant lobe of his ears hung earrings of green jade, and
round his neck a quivering necklace of "pounamous," a
kind of jade stone sacred among the New Zealanders. At
his side lay an English rifle, and a "patou-patou," a kind
of two-headed ax of an emerald color, and eighteen inches
long. Beside him sat nine armed warriors of inferior rank,
ferocious-looking fellows, some of them suffering from re-
cent wounds. They sat quite motionless, wrapped in their
flax mantles. Three savage-looking dogs lay at their feet.
The eight rowers in the prow seemed to be servants or
slaves of the chief. They rowed vigorously, and propelled
the boat against the not very rapid current of the Waikato,
with extraordinary velocity.
   In the center of this long canoe, with their feet tied to-
gether, sat ten European prisoners closely packed together.
   It was Glenarvan and Lady Helena, Mary Grant, Robert,
Paganel, the Major, John Mangles, the steward, and the two
sailors.
   The night before, the little band had unwittingly, owing
to the mist, encamped in the midst of a numerous party of
natives. Toward the middle of the night they were sur-
prised in their sleep, were made prisoners, and carried on
board the canoe. They had not been ill-treated, so far,
but all attempts at resistance had been vain. Their arms
and ammunition were in the hands of the savages, and they
would soon have been targets for their own balls.
   They were soon aware, from a few English words used
by the natives, that they were a retreating party of the
tribe who had been beaten and decimated by the English
troops, and were on their way back to the Upper Waikato.
The Maori chief, whose principal warriors had been picked
off by the soldiers of the 42nd Regiment, was returning to
make a final appeal to the tribes of the Waikato district, so
that he might go to the aid of the indomitable William
Thompson, who was still holding his own against the con-
querors. The chief's name was "Kai-Koumou," a name of
evil boding in the native language, meaning "He who eats
the limbs of his enemy." He was bold and brave, but his
cruelty was equally remarkable. No pity was to be ex-


350   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

pected at his hands. His name was well known to the
English soldiers, and a price had been set on his head by the
governor of New Zealand.
   This terrible blow befell Glenarvan at the very moment
when he was about to reach the long-desired haven of
Auckland, and so regain his own country; but no one who
looked at his cool, calm features, could have guessed the
anguish he endured. Glenarvan always rose to his mis-
fortunes. He felt that his part was to be the strength and
the example of his wife and companions; that he was the
head and chief; ready to die for the rest if circumstances
required it. He was of a deeply religious turn of mind,
and never lost his trust in Providence nor his belief in the
sacred character of his enterprise. In the midst of this
crowning peril he did not give way to any feeling of regret
at having been induced to venture into this country of
savages.
   His companions were worthy of him; they entered into
his lofty views; and judging by their haughty demeanor,
it would scarcely have been supposed that they were hurry-
ing to the final catastrophe. With one accord, and by Glen-
arvan's advice, they resolved to affect utter indifference be-
fore the natives. It was the only way to impress these
ferocious natures. Savages in general, and particularly the
Maories, have a notion of dignity from which they never
derogate. They respect, above all things, coolness and cour-
age. Glenarvan was aware that by this mode of procedure,
he and his companions would spare themselves needless
humiliation.
   From the moment of embarking, the natives, who were
very taciturn, like all savages, had scarcely exchanged a
word, but from the few sentences they did utter, Glenarvan
felt certain that the English language was familiar to them.
He therefore made up his mind to question the chief on
the fate that awaited them. Addressing himself to Kai-Kou-
mou, he said in a perfectly unconcerned voice:
   "Where are we going, chief?"
   Kai-Koumou looked coolly at him and made no answer.
   "What are you going to do with us?" pursued Glen-
arvan.
   A sudden gleam flashed into the eyes of Kai-Koumou,
and he said in a deep voice:


INTRODUCTION TO THE CANNIBALS 351

   "Exchange you, if your own people care to have you;
eat you if they don't."
   Glenarvan asked no further questions; but hope revived
in his heart. He concluded that some Maori chiefs had
fallen into the hands of the English, and that the natives
would try to get them exchanged. So they had a chance of
salvation, and the case was not quite so desperate.
   The canoe was speeding rapidly up the river. Paganel,
whose excitable temperament always rebounded from one
extreme to the other, had quite regained his spirits. He
consoled himself that the natives were saving them the
trouble of the journey to the English outposts, and that was
so much gain. So he took it quite quietly and followed
on the map the course of the Waikato across the plains and
valleys of the province. Lady Helena and Mary Grant,
concealing their alarm, conversed in a low voice with Glen-
arvan, and the keenest physiognomists would have failed to
see any anxiety in their faces.
   The Waikato is the national river in New Zealand. It
is to the Maories what the Rhine is to the Germans, and
the Danube to the Slavs. In its course of 200 miles it
waters the finest lands of the North Island, from the prov-
ince of Wellington to the province of Auckland. It gave
its name to all those indomitable tribes of the river district,
which rose <i>en masse</i> against the invaders.
   The waters of this river are still almost strangers to
any craft but the native canoe. The most audacious tourist
will scarcely venture to invade these sacred shores; in fact,
the Upper Waikato is sealed against profane Europeans.
   Paganel was aware of the feelings of veneration with
which the natives regard this great arterial stream. He
knew that the English and German naturalists had never
penetrated further than its junction with the Waipa. He
wondered how far the good pleasure of Kai-Koumou would
carry his captives? He could not have guessed, but for
hearing the word "Taupo" repeatedly uttered between the
chief and his warriors. He consulted his map and saw
that "Taupo" was the name of a lake celebrated in geo-
graphical annals, and lying in the most mountainous part
of the island, at the southern extremity of Auckland prov-
ince. The Waikato passes through this lake and then flows
on for 120 miles.


CHAPTER X
A MOMENTOUS INTERVIEW

   AN unfathomable gulf twenty-five miles long, and twenty
miles broad was produced, but long before historic times,
by the falling in of caverns among the trachytic lavas of the
center of the island. And these waters falling from the
surrounding heights have taken possession of this vast
basin. The gulf has become a lake, but it is also an abyss,
and no lead-line has yet sounded its depths.
   Such is the wondrous lake of Taupo, lying 1,250 feet
above the level of the sea, and in view of an amphitheater
of mountains 2,400 feet high. On the west are rocky peaks
of great size; on the north lofty summits clothed with low
trees; on the east a broad beach with a road track, and
covered with pumice stones, which shimmer through the
leafy screen of the bushes; on the southern side rise vol-
canic cones behind a forest flat. Such is the majestic frame
that incloses this vast sheet of water whose roaring tem-
pests rival the cyclones of Ocean.
   The whole region boils like an immense cauldron hung
over subterranean fires. The ground vibrates from the
agitation of the central furnace. Hot springs filter out
everywhere. The crust of the earth cracks in great rifts
like a cake, too quickly baked.
   About a quarter of a mile off, on a craggy spur of the
mountain stood a "pah," or Maori fortress. The pris-
oners, whose feet and hands were liberated, were landed
one by one, and conducted into it by the warriors. The
path which led up to the intrenchment, lay across fields of
"phormium" and a grove of beautiful trees, the "kai-
kateas" with persistent leaves and red berries; "drac&aelig;nas
australis," the "ti-trees" of the natives, whose crown is a
graceful counterpart of the cabbage-palm, and "huious,"
which are used to give a black dye to cloth. Large doves
with metallic sheen on their plumage, and a world of star-
lings with reddish carmeles, flew away at the approach of
the natives.
   After a rather circuitous walk, Glenarvan and his party
arrived at the "pah."
   The fortress was defended by an outer inclosure of
strong palisades, fifteen feet high; a second line of stakes;
then a fence composed of osiers, with loop-holes, inclosed

V. IV. Verne

352


A MOMENTOUS INTERVIEW     353

the inner space, that is the plateau of the "pah," on which
were erected the Maori buildings, and about forty huts ar-
ranged symmetrically.
   When the captives approached they were horror-struck
at the sight of the heads which adorned the posts of the in-
ner circle. Lady Helena and Mary Grant turned away
their eyes more with disgust than with terror. These heads
were those of hostile chiefs who had fallen in battle, and
whose bodies had served to feed the conquerors. The geog-
rapher recognized that it was so, from their eye sockets
being hollow and deprived of eye-balls.
   Glenarvan and his companions had taken in all this scene
at a glance. They stood near an empty house, waiting the
pleasure of the chief, and exposed to the abuse of a crowd
of old crones. This troop of harpies surrounded them,
shaking their fists, howling and vociferating. Some Eng-
lish words that escaped their coarse mouths left no doubt
that they were clamoring for immediate vengeance.
   In the midst of all these cries and threats, Lady Helena,
tranquil to all outward seeming, affected an indifference she
was far from feeling.  This courageous woman made
heroic efforts to restrain herself, lest she should disturb
Glenarvan's coolness. Poor Mary Grant felt her heart sink
within her, and John Mangles stood by ready to die in her
behalf. His companions bore the deluge of invectives each
according to his disposition; the Major with utter indiffer-
ence, Paganel with exasperation that increased every mo-
ment.
   Glenarvan, to spare Lady Helena the attacks of these
witches, walked straight up to Kai-Koumou, and pointing
to the hideous group:
   "Send them away," said he.
   The Maori chief stared fixedly at his prisoner without
speaking; and then, with a nod, he silenced the noisy horde.
Glenarvan bowed, as a sign of thanks, and went slowly back
to his place.
   At this moment a hundred Maories were assembled in the
"pah," old men, full grown men, youths; the former were
calm, but gloomy, awaiting the orders of Kai-Koumou;
the others gave themselves up to the most violent sorrow,
bewailing their parents and friends who had fallen in the
late engagements.


354  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Kai-Koumou was the only one of all the chiefs that
obeyed the call of William Thompson, who had returned to
the lake district, and he was the first to announce to his
tribe the defeat of the national insurrection, beaten on the
plains of the lower Waikato. Of the two hundred warriors
who, under his orders, hastened to the defence of the soil,
one hundred and fifty were missing on his return. Allow-
ing for a number being made prisoners by the invaders, how
many must be lying on the field of battle, never to return
to the country of their ancestors!
   This was the secret of the outburst of grief with which
the tribe saluted the arrival of Kai-Koumou. Up to that
moment nothing had been known of the last defeat, and
the fatal news fell on them like a thunder clap.
   Among the savages, sorrow is always manifested by
physical signs; the parents and friends of deceased war-
riors, the women especially, lacerated their faces and shoul-
ders with sharpened shells. The blood spurted out and
blended with their tears. Deep wounds denoted great de-
spair. The unhappy Maories, bleeding and excited, were
hideous to look upon.
   There was another serious element in their grief. Not
only had they lost the relative or friend they mourned, but
his bones would be missing in the family mausoleum. In
the Maori religion the possession of these relics is regarded
as indispensable to the destinies of the future life; not the
perishable flesh, but the bones, which are collected with the
greatest care, cleaned, scraped, polished, even varnished,
and then deposited in the "oudoupa," that is the "house of
glory." These tombs are adorned with wooden statues,
representing with perfect exactness the tattoo of the de-
ceased. But now their tombs would be left empty, the re-
ligious rites would be unsolemnized, and the bones that
escaped the teeth of the wild dog would whiten without
burial on the field of battle.
   Then the sorrowful chorus redoubled. The menaces of
the women were intensified by the imprecations of the men
against the Europeans. Abusive epithets were lavished, the
accompanying gestures became more violent. The howl
was about to end in brutal action.
   Kai-Koumou, fearing that he might be overpowered by
the fanatics of his tribe, conducted his prisoners to a sacred


A MOMENTOUS INTERVIEW     355

place, on an abruptly raised plateau at the other end of
the "pah." This hut rested against a mound elevated a hun-
dred feet above it, which formed the steep outer buttress
of the entrenchment. In this "Ware-Atoua," sacred house,
the priests or arikis taught the Maories about a Triune God,
father, son, and bird, or spirit. The large, well constructed
hut, contained the sacred and choice food which Maoui-
Ranga-Rangui eats by the mouths of his priests.
   In this place, and safe for the moment from the frenzied
natives, the captives lay down on the flax mats. Lady
Helena was quite exhausted, her moral energies prostrate,
and she fell helpless into her husband's arms.
   Glenarvan pressed her to his bosom and said:
   "Courage, my dear Helena; Heaven will not forsake
us!"
   Robert was scarcely in when he jumped on Wilson's
shoulders, and squeezed his head through a crevice left be-
tween the roof and the walls, from which chaplets of
amulets were hung. From that elevation he could see the
whole extent of the "pah," and as far as Kai-Koumou's
house.
   "They are all crowding round the chief," said he softly.
"They are throwing their arms about. . . . They are
howling. . . . . Kai-Koumou is trying to speak."
   Then he was silent for a few minutes.
   "Kai-Koumou is speaking. . . . The savages are quieter.
. . . . They are listening. . . . ."
   "Evidently," said the Major, "this chief has a personal
interest in protecting us. He wants to exchange his pris-
oners for some chiefs of his tribe! But will his warriors
consent?"
   "Yes! . . . They are listening. . . . . They have dis-
persed, some are gone into their huts. . . . The others have
left the intrenchment."
   "Are you sure?" said the Major.
   "Yes, Mr. McNabbs," replied Robert, "Kai-Koumou is
left alone with the warriors of his canoe. . . . . Oh! one
of them is coming up here. . . . ."
   "Come down, Robert," said Glenarvan.
   At this moment, Lady Helena who had risen, seized her
husband's arm.
   "Edward," she said in a resolute tone, "neither Mary


356   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

Grant nor I must fall into the hands of these savages
alive!"
   And so saying, she handed Glenarvan a loaded revolver.
   "Fire-arm!" exclaimed Glenarvan, with flashing eyes.
   "Yes! the Maories do not search their prisoners. But,
Edward, this is for us, not for them."
   Glenarvan slipped the revolver under his coat; at the
same moment the mat at the entrance was raised, and a
native entered.
   He motioned to the prisoners to follow him. Glenarvan
and the rest walked across the "pah" and stopped before
Kai-Koumou. He was surrounded by the principal war-
riors of his tribe, and among them the Maori whose canoe
joined that of the Kai-Koumou at the confluence of Pohain-
henna, on the Waikato. He was a man about forty years of
age, powerfully built and of fierce and cruel aspect. His
name was Kara-Tete, meaning "the irascible" in the na-
tive tongue. Kai-Koumou treated him with a certain tone
of respect, and by the fineness of his tattoo, it was easy to
perceive that Kara-Tete held a lofty position in the tribe,
but a keen observer would have guessed the feeling of
rivalry that existed between these two chiefs. The Major
observed that the influence of Kara-Tete gave umbrage to
Kai-Koumou. They both ruled the Waikato tribes, and
were equal in authority. During this interview Kai-Kou-
mou smiled, but his eyes betrayed a deep-seated enmity.
   Kai-Koumou interrogated Glenarvan.
   "You are English?" said he.
   "Yes," replied Glenarvan, unhesitatingly, as his nation-
ality would facilitate the exchange.
   "And your companions?" said Kai-Koumou.
   "My companions are English like myself. We are ship-
wrecked travelers, but it may be important to state that we
have taken no part in the war."
   "That matters little!" was the brutal answer of Kara-
Tete. "Every Englishman is an enemy. Your people in-
vaded our island! They robbed our fields! they burned our
villages!"
   "They were wrong!" said Glenarvan, quietly. "I say
so, because I think it, not because I am in your power."
   "Listen," said Kai-Koumou, "the Tohonga, the chief
priest of Noui-Atoua has fallen into the hands of your


A MOMENTOUS INTERVIEW     357

brethren; he is a prisoner among the Pakekas. Our deity
has commanded us to ransom him. For my own part, I
would rather have torn out your heart, I would have stuck
your head, and those of your companions, on the posts of
that palisade. But Noui-Atoua has spoken."
   As he uttered these words, Kai-Koumou, who till now
had been quite unmoved, trembled with rage, and his fea-
tures expressed intense ferocity.
   Then after a few minutes' interval he proceeded more
calmly.
   "Do you think the English will exchange you for our
Tohonga?"
   Glenarvan hesitated, all the while watching the Maori
chief.
   "I do not know," said he, after a moment of silence.
   "Speak," returned Kai-Koumou, "is your life worth
that of our Tohonga?"
   "No," replied Glenarvan. "I am neither a chief nor a
priest among my own people."
   Paganel, petrified at this reply, looked at Glenarvan in
amazement. Kai-Koumou appeared equally astonished.
   "You doubt it then?" said he.
   "I do not know," replied Glenarvan.
   "Your people will not accept you as an exchange for
Tohonga?"
   "Me alone? no," repeated Glenarvan. "All of us per-
haps they might."
   "Our Maori custom," replied Kai-Koumou, "is head
for head."
   "Offer first these ladies in exchange for your priest,"
said Glenarvan, pointing to Lady Helena and Mary Grant.
   Lady Helena was about to interrupt him. But the Major
held her back.
   "Those two ladies," continued Glenarvan, bowing re-
spectfully toward Lady Helena and Mary Grant, "are per-
sonages of rank in their own country."
   The warrior gazed coldly at his prisoner. An evil smile
relaxed his lips for a moment; then he controlled himself,
and in a voice of ill-concealed anger:
   "Do you hope to deceive Kai-Koumou with lying words,
accursed Pakeka? Can not the eyes of Kai-Koumou read
hearts?"


358  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   And pointing to Lady Helena:
"That is your wife?" he said.
   "No! mine!" exclaimed Kara-Tete.
   And then pushing his prisoners aside, he laid his hand
on the shoulder of Lady Helena, who turned pale at his
touch.
   "Edward!" cried the unfortunate woman in terror.
   Glenarvan, without a word, raised his arm, a shot! and
Kara-Tete fell at his feet.
   The sound brought a crowd of natives to the spot. A
hundred arms were ready, and Glenarvan's revolver was
snatched from him.
   Kai-Koumou glanced at Glenarvan with a curious ex-
pression: then with one hand protecting Glenarvan, with
the other he waved off the crowd who were rushing on the
party.
   At last his voice was heard above the tumult.
   "Taboo! Taboo!" he shouted.
   At that word the crowd stood still before Glenarvan
and his companions, who for the time were preserved by a
supernatural influence.
   A few minutes after they were re-conducted to Ware-
Atoua, which was their prison. But Robert Grant and
Paganel were not with them.


CHAPTER XI
THE CHIEF'S FUNERAL

   KAI-KOUMOU, as frequently happens among the Maories,
joined the title of ariki to that of tribal chief. He was
invested with the dignity of priest, and, as such, he had the
power to throw over persons or things the superstitious
protection of the "taboo."
   The "taboo," which is common to all the Polynesian
races, has the primary effect of isolating the "tabooed"
person and preventing the use of "tabooed" things. Ac-
cording to the Maori doctrine, anyone who laid sacrilegious
hands on what had been declared "taboo," would be pun-
ished with death by the insulted deity, and even if the god
delayed the vindication of his power, the priests took care
to accelerate his vengeance.


THE CHIEF'S FUNERAL       359

   By the chiefs, the "taboo" is made a political engine,
except in some cases, for domestic reasons. For instance,
a native is tabooed for several days when his hair is cut;
when he is tattooed; when he is building a canoe, or a
house; when he is seriously ill, and when he is dead. If
excessive consumption threatens to exterminate the fish of
a river, or ruin the early crop of sweet potatoes, these things
are put under the protection of the taboo. If a chief wishes
to clear his house of hangers-on, he taboos it; if an Eng-
lish trader displeases him he is tabooed. His interdict has
the effect of the old royal "veto."
   If an object is tabooed, no one can touch it with im-
punity. When a native is under the interdict, certain ali-
ments are denied him for a prescribed period. If he is re-
lieved, as regards the severe diet, his slaves feed him with
the viands he is forbidden to touch with his hands; if he is
poor and has no slaves, he has to take up the food with his
mouth, like an animal.
   In short, the most trifling acts of the Maories are di-
rected and modified by this singular custom, the deity is
brought into constant contact with their daily life. The
taboo has the same weight as a law; or rather, the code of
the Maories, indisputable and undisputed, is comprised in
the frequent applications of the taboo.
   As to the prisoners confined in the Ware-Atoua, it was
an arbitrary taboo which had saved them from the fury
of the tribe. Some of the natives, friends and partisans of
Kai-Koumou, desisted at once on hearing their chief's
voice, and protected the captives from the rest.
   Glenarvan cherished no illusive hopes as to his own fate;
nothing but his death could atone for the murder of a chief,
and among these people death was only the concluding act
of a martyrdom of torture. Glenarvan, therefore, was
fully prepared to pay the penalty of the righteous indigna-
tion that nerved his arm, but he hoped that the wrath of
Kai-Koumou would not extend beyond himself.
   What a night he and his companions passed! Who could
picture their agonies or measure their sufferings? Robert
and Paganel had not been restored to them, but their fate
was no doubtful matter. They were too surely the first vic-
tims of the frenzied natives. Even McNabbs, who was
always sanguine, had abandoned hope. John Mangles was


360   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

nearly frantic at the sight of Mary Grant's despair at being
separated from her brother. Glenarvan pondered over the
terrible request of Lady Helena, who preferred dying by
his hand to submitting to torture and slavery. How was
he to summon the terrible courage!
   "And Mary? who has a right to strike her dead?"
thought John, whose heart was broken.
   Escape was clearly impossible. Ten warriors, armed to
the teeth, kept watch at the door of Ware-Atoua.
   The morning of February 13th arrived. No communica-
tion had taken place between the natives and the "tabooed"
prisoners. A limited supply of provisions was in the house,
which the unhappy inmates scarcely touched. Misery dead-
ened the pangs of hunger. The day passed without change,
and without hope; the funeral ceremonies of the dead chief
would doubtless be the signal for their execution.
   Although Glenarvan did not conceal from himself the
probability that Kai-Koumou had given up all idea of ex-
change, the Major still cherished a spark of hope.
   "Who knows," said he, as he reminded Glenarvan of
the effect produced on the chief by the death of Kara-Tete
-- "who knows but that Kai-Koumou, in his heart, is very
much obliged to you?"
   But even McNabbs' remarks failed to awaken hope in
Glenarvan's mind. The next day passed without any ap-
pearance of preparation for their punishment; and this was
the reason of the delay.
   The Maories believe that for three days after death the
soul inhabits the body, and therefore, for three times
twenty-four hours, the corpse remains unburied. This cus-
tom was rigorously observed. Till February 15th the
"pah" was deserted.
   John Mangles, hoisted on Wilson's shoulders, frequently
reconnoitered the outer defences. Not a single native was
visible; only the watchful sentinels relieving guard at the
door of the Ware-Atoua.
   But on the third day the huts opened; all the savages,
men, women, and children, in all several hundred Maories,
assembled in the "pah," silent and calm.
   Kai-Koumou came out of his house, and surrounded by
the principal chiefs of his tribe, he took his stand on a
mound some feet above the level, in the center of the en-


THE CHIEF'S FUNERAL       361

closure. The crowd of natives formed in a half circle some
distance off, in dead silence.
   At a sign from Kai-Koumou, a warrior bent his steps to-
ward Ware-Atoua.
   "Remember," said Lady Helena to her husband. Glen-
arvan pressed her to his heart, and Mary Grant went closer
to John Mangles, and said hurriedly:
   "Lord and Lady Glenarvan cannot but think if a wife
may claim death at her husband's hands, to escape a shame-
ful life, a betrothed wife may claim death at the hands of
her betrothed husband, to escape the same fate. John! at
this last moment I ask you, have we not long been betrothed
to each other in our secret hearts? May I rely on you, as
Lady Helena relies on Lord Glenarvan?"
   "Mary!" cried the young captain in his despair. "Ah!
dear Mary --"
   The mat was lifted, and the captives led to Kai-Koumou;
the two women were resigned to their fate; the men dis-
sembled their sufferings with superhuman effort.
   They arrived in the presence of the Maori chief.
   "You killed Kara-Tete," said he to Glenarvan.
   "I did," answered Glenarvan.
   "You die to-morrow at sunrise."
   "Alone?" asked Glenarvan, with a beating heart.
   "Oh! if our Tohonga's life was not more precious than
yours!" exclaimed Kai-Koumou, with a ferocious expres-
sion of regret.
   At this moment there was a commotion among the na-
tives. Glenarvan looked quickly around; the crowd made
way, and a warrior appeared heated by running, and sink-
ing with fatigue.
   Kai-Koumou, as soon as he saw him, said in English,
evidently for the benefit of the captives:
   "You come from the camp of the Pakekas?"
   "Yes," answered the Maori.
   "You have seen the prisoner, our Tohonga?"
   "I have seen him."
   "Alive?"
   "Dead! English have shot him."
   It was all over with Glenarvan and his companions.
   "All!" cried Kai-Koumou; "you all die to-morrow at
daybreak."


362   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Punishment fell on all indiscriminately. Lady Helena
and Mary Grant were grateful to Heaven for the boon.
   The captives were not taken back to Ware-Atoua. They
were destined to attend the obsequies of the chief and the
bloody rites that accompanied them. A guard of natives
conducted them to the foot of an immense kauri, and then
stood on guard without taking their eyes off the prisoners.
   The three prescribed days had elapsed since the death of
Kara-Tete, and the soul of the dead warrior had finally
departed; so the ceremonies commenced.
   The body was laid on a small mound in the central en-
closure. It was clothed in a rich dress, and wrapped in a
magnificent flax mat. His head, adorned with feathers, was
encircled with a crown of green leaves. His face, arms,
and chest had been rubbed with oil, and did not show any
sign of decay.
   The parents and friends arrived at the foot of the mound,
and at a certain moment, as if the leader of an orchestra
were leading a funeral chant, there arose a great wail of
tears, sighs, and sobs. They lamented the deceased with a
plaintive rhythm and doleful cadence. The kinsmen beat
their heads; the kinswomen tore their faces with their nails
and lavished more blood than tears. But these demon-
strations were not sufficient to propitiate the soul of the
deceased, whose wrath might strike the survivors of his
tribe; and his warriors, as they could not recall him to life,
were anxious that he should have nothing to wish for in
the other world. The wife of Kara-Tete was not to be
parted from him; indeed, she would have refused to survive
him. It was a custom, as well as a duty, and Maori his-
tory has no lack of such sacrifices.
   This woman came on the scene; she was still young.
Her disheveled hair flowed over her shoulders. Her sobs
and cries filled the air. Incoherent words, regrets, sobs,
broken phrases in which she extolled the virtues of the dead,
alternated with her moans, and in a crowning paroxysm of
sorrow, she threw herself at the foot of the mound and
beat her head on the earth.
   The Kai-Koumou drew near; suddenly the wretched vic-
tim rose; but a violent blow from a "<i>mere</i>," a kind of
club brandished by the chief, struck her to the ground; she
fell senseless.


THE CHIEF'S FUNERAL       363

   Horrible yells followed; a hundred arms threatened the
terror-stricken captives. But no one moved, for the funeral
ceremonies were not yet over.
   The wife of Kara-Tete had joined her husband. The
two bodies lay stretched side by side. But in the future
life, even the presence of his faithful companion was not
enough. Who would attend on them in the realm of
Noui-Atoua, if their slaves did not follow them into the
other world.
   Six unfortunate fellows were brought to the mound.
They were attendants whom the pitiless usages of war had
reduced to slavery. During the chief's lifetime they had
borne the severest privations, and been subjected to all kinds
of ill-usage; they had been scantily fed, and incessantly
occupied like beasts of burden, and now, according to
Maori ideas, they were to resume to all eternity this life of
bondage.
   These poor creatures appeared quite resigned to their
destiny. They were not taken by surprise. Their unbound
hands showed that they met their fate without resistance.
   Their death was speedy and not aggravated by tedious
suffering; torture was reserved for the authors of the
murder, who, only twenty paces off, averted their eyes from
the horrible scene which was to grow yet more horrible.
   Six blows of the <i>mere</i>, delivered by the hands of six
powerful warriors, felled the victims in the midst of a
sea of blood.
   This was the signal for a fearful scene of cannibalism.
The bodies of slaves are not protected by taboo like those
of their masters. They belong to the tribe; they were a sort
of small change thrown among the mourners, and the mo-
ment the sacrifice was over, the whole crowd, chiefs, war-
riors, old men, women, children, without distinction of
age, or sex, fell upon the senseless remains with brutal
appetite. Faster than a rapid pen could describe it, the
bodies, still reeking, were dismembered, divided, cut up, not
into morsels, but into crumbs. Of the two hundred Mao-
ries present everyone obtained a share. They fought, they
struggled, they quarreled over the smallest fragment. The
drops of hot blood splashed over these festive monsters,
and the whole of this detestable crew groveled under a
rain of blood. It was like the delirious fury of tigers


364   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

fighting over their prey, or like a circus where the wild
beasts devour the deer. This scene ended, a score of fires
were lit at various points of the "pah"; the smell of charred
flesh polluted the air; and but for the fearful tumult of the
festival, but for the cries that emanated from these flesh-
sated throats, the captives might have heard the bones
crunching under the teeth of the cannibals.
   Glenarvan and his companions, breathless with horror,
tried to conceal this fearful scene from the eyes of the two
poor ladies. They understood then what fate awaited them
next day at dawn, and also with what cruel torture this
death would be preceded. They were dumb with horror.
   The funeral dances commenced. Strong liquors distilled
from the "piper excelsum" animated the intoxication of
the natives. They had nothing human left. It seemed pos-
sible that the "taboo" might be forgotten, and they might
rush upon the prisoners, who were already terrified at their
delirious gestures.
   But Kai-Koumou had kept his own senses amidst the
general delirium. He allowed an hour for this orgy of
blood to attain its maximum and then cease, and the final
scene of the obsequies was performed with the accustomed
ceremonial.
   The corpses of Kara-Tete and his wife were raised, the
limbs were bent, and laid against the stomach according
to the Maori usage; then came the funeral, not the final
interment, but a burial until the moment when the earth
had destroyed the flesh and nothing remained but the
skeleton.
   The place of "oudoupa," or the tomb, had been chosen
outside the fortress, about two miles off at the top of a
low hill called Maunganamu, situated on the right bank
of the lake, and to this spot the body was to be taken. Two
palanquins of a very primitive kind, hand-barrows, in fact,
were brought to the foot of the mound, and the corpses
doubled up so that they were sitting rather than lying, and
their garments kept in place by a band of hanes, were
placed on them. Four warriors took up the litters on their
shoulders, and the whole tribe, repeating their funeral
chant, followed in procession to the place of sepulture.
   The captives, still strictly guarded, saw the funeral cor-
tege leave the inner inclosure of the "pah"; then the chants


THE CHIEF'S FUNERAL       365

and cries grew fainter. For about half an hour the funeral
procession remained out of sight, in the hollow valley, and
then came in sight again winding up the mountain side; the
distance gave a fantastic effect to the undulating move-
ment of this long serpentine column.
   The tribe stopped at an elevation of about 800 feet, on
the summit of Maunganamu, where the burial place of
Kara-Tete had been prepared. An ordinary Maori would
have had nothing but a hole and a heap of earth. But a
powerful and formidable chief destined to speedy deifica-
tion, was honored with a tomb worthy of his exploits.
   The "oudoupa" had been fenced round, and posts, sur-
mounted with faces painted in red ochre, stood near the
grave where the bodies were to lie. The relatives had not
forgotten that the "Waidoua," the spirit of the dead, lives
on mortal food, as the body did in this life. Therefore, food
was deposited in the inclosure as well as the arms and cloth-
ing of the deceased. Nothing was omitted for comfort.
The husband and wife were laid side by side, then covered
with earth and grass, after another series of laments.
   Then the procession wound slowly down the mountain,
and henceforth none dare ascend the slope of Maunganamu
on pain of death, for it was "tabooed," like Tongariro,
where lie the ashes of a chief killed by an earthquake in
1846.


CHAPTER XII
STRANGELY LIBERATED

   JUST as the sun was sinking beyond Lake Taupo, behind
the peaks of Tuhahua and Pukepapu, the captives were con-
ducted back to their prison. They were not to leave it
again till the tops of the Wahiti Ranges were lit with the
first fires of day.
   They had one night in which to prepare for death. Over-
come as they were with horror and fatigue, they took their
last meal together.
   "We shall need all our strength," Glenarvan had said,
"to look death in the face. We must show these savages
how Europeans can die."
   The meal ended. Lady Helena repeated the evening
prayer aloud, her companions, bare-headed, repeated it after


366  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

her. Who does not turn his thoughts toward God in the
hour of death? This done, the prisoners embraced each
other. Mary Grant and Helena, in a corner of the hut,
lay down on a mat. Sleep, which keeps all sorrow in abey-
ance, soon weighed down their eyelids; they slept in each
other's arms, overcome by exhaustion and prolonged
watching.
   Then Glenarvan, taking his friends aside, said: "My
dear friends, our lives and the lives of these poor women
are in God's hands. If it is decreed that we die to-morrow,
let us die bravely, like Christian men, ready to appear with-
out terror before the Supreme Judge. God, who reads our
hearts, knows that we had a noble end in view. If death
awaits us instead of success, it is by His will. Stern as the
decree may seem, I will not repine. But death here, means
not death only, it means torture, insult, perhaps, and here
are two ladies --"
   Glenarvan's voice, firm till now, faltered. He was silent
a moment, and having overcome his emotion, he said, ad-
dressing the young captain:
   "John, you have promised Mary what I promised Lady
Helena. What is your plan?"
   "I believe," said John, "that in the sight of God I have
a right to fulfill that promise."
   "Yes, John; but we are unarmed."
   "No!" replied John, showing him a dagger.   "I
snatched it from Kara-Tete when he fell at your feet.
My Lord, whichever of us survives the other will fulfill
the wish of Lady Helena and Mary Grant."
   After these words were said, a profound silence ensued.
At last the Major said: "My friends, keep that to the last
moment. I am not an advocate of irremediable measures."
   "I did not speak for ourselves," said Glenarvan. "Be
it as it may, we can face death! Had we been alone, I
should ere now have cried, 'My friends, let us make an
effort. Let us attack these wretches!' But with these
poor girls --"
   At this moment John raised the mat, and counted twenty-
five natives keeping guard on the Ware-Atoua. A great
fire had been lighted, and its lurid glow threw into strong
relief the irregular outlines of the "pah." Some of the
savages were sitting round the brazier; the others standing


STRANGELY LIBERATED      367

motionless, their black outlines relieved against the clear
background of flame. But they all kept watchful guard
on the hut confided to their care.
   It has been said that between a vigilant jailer and a
prisoner who wishes to escape, the chances are in favor of
the prisoner; the fact is, the interest of the one is keener
than that of the other. The jailer may forget that he is on
guard; the prisoner never forgets that he is guarded. The
captive thinks oftener of escaping than the jailer of pre-
venting his flight, and hence we hear of frequent and won-
derful escapes.
   But in the present instance hatred and revenge were the
jailers -- not an indifferent warder; the prisoners were not
bound, but it was because bonds were useless when five-and-
twenty men were watching the only egress from the Ware-
Atoua.
   This house, with its back to the rock which closed the
fortress, was only accessible by a long, narrow promontory
which joined it in front to the plateau on which the "pah"
was erected. On its two other sides rose pointed rocks,
which jutted out over an abyss a hundred feet deep. On
that side descent was impossible, and had it been possible,
the bottom was shut in by the enormous rock. The only
outlet was the regular door of the Ware-Atoua, and the
Maories guarded the promontory which united it to the
"pah" like a drawbridge. All escape was thus hopeless,
and Glenarvan having tried the walls for the twentieth time,
was compelled to acknowledge that it was so.
   The hours of this night, wretched as they were, slipped
away.  Thick darkness had settled on the mountain.
Neither moon nor stars pierced the gloom. Some gusts of
wind whistled by the sides of the "pah," and the posts of
the house creaked: the fire outside revived with the puffs
of wind, and the flames sent fitful gleams into the interior
of Ware-Atoua. The group of prisoners was lit up for a
moment; they were absorbed in their last thoughts, and a
deathlike silence reigned in the hut.
   It might have been about four o'clock in the morning
when the Major's attention was called to a slight noise
which seemed to come from the foundation of the posts in
the wall of the hut which abutted on the rock. McNabbs
was at first indifferent, but finding the noise continue, he


368   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

listened; then his curiosity was aroused, and he put his ear
to the ground; it sounded as if someone was scraping or
hollowing out the ground outside.
   As soon as he was sure of it, he crept over to Glenarvan
and John Mangles, and startling them from their melan-
choly thoughts, led them to the end of the hut.
   "Listen," said he, motioning them to stoop.
   The scratching became more and more audible; they
could hear the little stones grate on a hard body and roll
away.
   "Some animal in his burrow," said John Mangles.
   Glenarvan struck his forehead.
   "Who knows?" said he, "it might be a man."
   "Animal or man," answered the Major, "I will soon
find out!"
   Wilson and Olbinett joined their companions, and all
united to dig through the wall -- John with his dagger, the
others with stones taken from the ground, or with their
nails, while Mulrady, stretched along the ground, watched
the native guard through a crevice of the matting.
   These savages sitting motionless around the fire, sus-
pected nothing of what was going on twenty feet
off.
   The soil was light and friable, and below lay a bed of
silicious tufa; therefore, even without tools, the aperture
deepened quickly. It soon became evident that a man, or
men, clinging to the sides of the "pah," were cutting a pas-
sage into its exterior wall. What could be the object?
Did they know of the existence of the prisoners, or was it
some private enterprise that led to the undertaking?
   The prisoners redoubled their efforts. Their fingers bled,
but still they worked on; after half an hour they had gone
three feet deep; they perceived by the increased sharpness
of the sounds that only a thin layer of earth prevented im-
mediate communication.
   Some minutes more passed, and the Major withdrew his
hand from the stroke of a sharp blade. He suppressed a
cry.
   John Mangles, inserting the blade of his poniard, avoided
the knife which now protruded above the soil, but seized the
hand that wielded it.
   It was the hand of a woman or child, a European! On

V. IV Verne


STRANGELY LIBERATED      369

neither side had a word been uttered. It was evidently the
cue of both sides to be silent.
   "Is it Robert?" whispered Glenarvan.
   But softly as the name was breathed, Mary Grant, al-
ready awakened by the sounds in the hut, slipped over to-
ward Glenarvan, and seizing the hand, all stained with
earth, she covered it with kisses.
   "My darling Robert," said she, never doubting, "it is
you! it is you!"
   "Yes, little sister," said he, "it is I am here to save
you all; but be very silent."
   "Brave lad!" repeated Glenarvan.
   "Watch the savages outside," said Robert.
   Mulrady, whose attention was distracted for a moment
by the appearance of the boy, resumed his post.
   "It is all right," said he. "There are only four awake;
the rest are asleep."
   A minute after, the hole was enlarged, and Robert
passed from the arms of his sister to those of Lady Hel-
ena. Round his body was rolled a long coil of flax rope.
   "My child, my child," murmured Lady Helena, "the
savages did not kill you!"
   "No, madam," said he; "I do not know how it hap-
pened, but in the scuffle I got away; I jumped the barrier;
for two days I hid in the bushes, to try and see you; while
the tribe were busy with the chief's funeral, I came and re-
connoitered this side of the path, and I saw that I could
get to you. I stole this knife and rope out of the desert
hut. The tufts of bush and the branches made me a lad-
der, and I found a kind of grotto already hollowed out in
the rock under this hut; I had only to bore some feet in
soft earth, and here I am."
   Twenty noiseless kisses were his reward.
   "Let us be off!" said he, in a decided tone.
   "Is Paganel below?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Monsieur Paganel?" replied the boy, amazed.
   "Yes; is he waiting for us?"
   "No, my Lord; but is he not here?" inquired Robert.
   "No, Robert!" answered Mary Grant.
   "Why! have you not seen him?" asked Glenarvan.
"Did you lose each other in the confusion? Did you not
get away together?"


370  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "No, my Lord!" said Robert, taken aback by the disap-
pearance of his friend Paganel.
   "Well, lose no more time," said the Major. "Wher-
ever Paganel is, he cannot be in worse plight than our-
selves. Let us go."
   Truly, the moments were precious. They had to fly.
The escape was not very difficult, except the twenty feet of
perpendicular fall outside the grotto.
   After that the slope was practicable to the foot of the
mountain. From this point the prisoners could soon gain
the lower valleys; while the Maories, if they perceived the
flight of the prisoners, would have to make a long round
to catch them, being unaware of the gallery between the
Ware-Atoua and the outer rock.
   The escape was commenced, and every precaution was
taken. The captives passed one by one through the nar-
row passage into the grotto. John Mangles, before leav-
ing the hut, disposed of all the evidences of their work,
and in his turn slipped through the opening and let down
over it the mats of the house, so that the entrance to the
gallery was quite concealed.
   The next thing was to descend the vertical wall to the
slope below, and this would have been impracticable, but
that Robert had brought the flax rope, which was now un-
rolled and fixed to a projecting point of rock, the end hang-
ing over.
   John Mangles, before his friends trusted themselves to
this flax rope, tried it; he did not think it very strong; and
it was of importance not to risk themselves imprudently,
as a fall would be fatal.
   "This rope," said he, "will only bear the weight of two
persons; therefore let us go in rotation. Lord and Lady
Glenarvan first; when they arrive at the bottom, three
pulls at the rope will be a signal to us to follow."
   "I will go first," said Robert. "I discovered a deep
hollow at the foot of the slope where those who come down
can conceal themselves and wait for the rest."
   "Go, my boy," said Glenarvan, pressing Robert's hand.
   Robert disappeared through the opening out of the
grotto. A minute after, the three pulls at the cord in-
formed them the boy had alighted safely.
   Glenarvan and Lady Helena immediately ventured out


STRANGELY LIBERATED      371

of the grotto. The darkness was still very great, though
some grayish streaks were already visible on the eastern
summits.
   The biting cold of the morning revived the poor young
lady. She felt stronger and commenced her perilous
descent.
   Glenarvan first, then Lady Helena, let themselves down
along the rope, till they came to the spot where the per-
pendicular wall met the top of the slope. Then Glenarvan
going first and supporting his wife, began to descend back-
ward.
   He felt for the tufts and grass and shrubs able to afford
a foothold; tried them and then placed Lady Helena's foot
on them. Some birds, suddenly awakened, flew away, ut-
tering feeble cries, and the fugitives trembled when a
stone loosened from its bed rolled to the foot of the moun-
tain.
   They had reached half-way down the slope, when a voice
was heard from the opening of the grotto.
   "Stop!" whispered John Mangles.
   Glenarvan, holding with one hand to a tuft of tetragonia,
with the other holding his wife, waited with breathless
anxiety.
   Wilson had had an alarm. Having heard some unusual
noise outside the Ware-Atoua, he went back into the hut
and watched the Maories from behind the mat. At a sign
from him, John stopped Glenarvan.
   One of the warriors on guard, startled by an unusual
sound, rose and drew nearer to the Ware-Atoua. He
stood still about two paces from the hut and listened with
his head bent forward. He remained in that attitude for
a minute that seemed an hour, his ear intent, his eye peer-
ing into the darkness. Then shaking his head like one
who sees he is mistaken, he went back to his companions,
took an armful of dead wood, and threw it into the smoul-
dering fire, which immediately revived. His face was
lighted up by the flame, and was free from any look of
doubt, and after having glanced to where the first light of
dawn whitened the eastern sky, stretched himself near the
fire to warm his stiffened limbs.
   "All's well!" whispered Wilson.
   John signaled to Glenarvan to resume his descent.


372   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Glenarvan let himself gently down the slope; soon Lady
Helena and he landed on the narrow track where Robert
waited for them.
   The rope was shaken three times, and in his turn John
Mangles, preceding Mary Grant, followed in the danger-
ous route.
   He arrived safely; he rejoined Lord and Lady Glen-
arvan in the hollow mentioned by Robert.
   Five minutes after, all the fugitives had safely escaped
from the Ware-Atoua, left their retreat, and keeping away
from the inhabited shores of the lakes, they plunged by
narrow paths into the recesses of the mountains.
   They walked quickly, trying to avoid the points where
they might be seen from the pah. They were quite silent,
and glided among the bushes like shadows. Whither?
Where chance led them, but at any rate they were free.
   Toward five o'clock, the day began to dawn, bluish
clouds marbled the upper stratum of clouds. The misty
summits began to pierce the morning mists. The orb of
day was soon to appear, and instead of giving the signal
for their execution, would, on the contrary, announce their
flight.
   It was of vital importance that before the decisive mo-
ment arrived they should put themselves beyond the reach
of the savages, so as to put them off their track. But
their progress was slow, for the paths were steep. Lady
Glenarvan climbed the slopes, supported, not to say car-
ried, by Glenarvan, and Mary Grant leaned on the arm of
John Mangles; Robert, radiant with joy, triumphant at
his success, led the march, and the two sailors brought up
the rear.
   Another half an hour and the glorious sun would rise
out of the mists of the horizon. For half an hour the
fugitives walked on as chance led them. Paganel was not
there to take the lead. He was now the object of their
anxiety, and whose absence was a black shadow between
them and their happiness. But they bore steadily east-
ward, as much as possible, and faced the gorgeous morn-
ing light. Soon they had reached a height of 500 feet
above Lake Taupo, and the cold of the morning, increased
by the altitude, was very keen. Dim outlines of hills and
mountains rose behind one another; but Glenarvan only


STRANGELY LIBERATED      373

thought how best to get lost among them. Time enough
by and by to see about escaping from the labyrinth.
   At last the sun appeared and sent his first rays on their
path.
   Suddenly a terrific yell from a hundred throats rent the
air. It came from the pah, whose direction Glenarvan
did not know. Besides, a thick veil of fog, which, spread
at his feet, prevented any distinct view of the valleys
below.
   But the fugitives could not doubt that their escape had
been discovered; and now the question was, would they
be able to elude pursuit? Had they been seen? Would
not their track betray them?
   At this moment the fog in the valley lifted, and envel-
oped them for a moment in a damp mist, and at three hun-
dred feet below they perceived the swarming mass of fran-
tic natives.
   While they looked they were seen. Renewed howls
broke forth, mingled with the barking of dogs, and the
whole tribe, after vainly trying to scale the rock of Ware-
Atoua, rushed out of the pah, and hastened by the shortest
paths in pursuit of the prisoners who were flying from
their vengeance.


CHAPTER XIII
THE SACRED MOUNTAIN

   THE summit of the mountain was still a hundred feet
above them. The fugitives were anxious to reach it that
they might continue their flight on the eastern slope out of
the view of their pursuers. They hoped then to find some
practicable ridge that would allow of a passage to the
neighboring peaks that were thrown together in an
orographic maze, to which poor Paganel's genius would
doubtless have found the clew.
   They hastened up the slope, spurred on by the loud
cries that drew nearer and nearer. The avenging crowd
had already reached the foot of the mountain.
   "Courage! my friends," cried Glenarvan, urging his
companions by voice and look.
   In less than five minutes they were at the top of the


374   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

mountain, and then they turned to judge of their position,
and decide on a route that would baffle their pursuers.
   From their elevated position they could see over Lake
Taupo, which stretched toward the west in its setting of
picturesque mountains. On the north the peaks of Piron-
gia; on the south the burning crater of Tongariro. But
eastward nothing but the rocky barrier of peaks and ridges
that formed the Wahiti ranges, the great chain whose un-
broken links stretch from the East Cape to Cook's Straits.
They had no alternative but to descend the opposite slope
and enter the narrow gorges, uncertain whether any outlet
existed.
   Glenarvan could not prolong the halt for a moment.
Wearied as they might be, they must fly or be discovered.
   "Let us go down!" cried he, "before our passage is
cut off."
   But just as the ladies had risen with a despairing effort,
McNabbs stopped them and said:
   "Glenarvan, it is useless. Look!"
   And then they all perceived the inexplicable change that
had taken place in the movements of the Maories.
   Their pursuit had suddenly stopped. The ascent of the
mountain had ceased by an imperious command. The na-
tives had paused in their career, and surged like the sea
waves against an opposing rock. All the crowd, thirsting
for blood, stood at the foot of the mountain yelling and
gesticulating, brandishing guns and hatchets, but not ad-
vancing a foot. Their dogs, rooted to the spot like them-
selves, barked with rage.
   What stayed them? What occult power controlled
these savages? The fugitives looked without understand-
ing, fearing lest the charm that enchained Kai-Koumou's
tribe should be broken.
   Suddenly John Mangles uttered an exclamation which
attracted the attention of his companions. He pointed to
a little inclosure on the summit of the cone.
   "The tomb of Kara-Tete!" said Robert.
   "Are you sure, Robert?" said Glenarvan.
   "Yes, my Lord, it is the tomb; I recognize it."
   Robert was right. Fifty feet above, at the extreme
peak of the mountain, freshly painted posts formed a small
palisaded inclosure, and Glenarvan too was convinced that


THE SACRED MOUNTAIN      375

it was the chief's burial place. The chances of their flight
had led them to the crest of Maunganamu.
   Glenarvan, followed by the rest, climbed to the foot of
the tomb. A large opening, covered with mats, led into it.
Glenarvan was about to invade the sanctity of the
"oudoupa," when he reeled backward.
   "A savage!" said he.
   "In the tomb?" inquired the Major.
   "Yes, McNabbs."
   "No matter; go in."
   Glenarvan, the Major, Robert and John Mangles entered.
There sat a Maori, wrapped in a large flax mat; the dark-
ness of the "oudoupa" preventing them from distinguish-
ing his features. He was very quiet, and was eating his
breakfast quite coolly.
   Glenarvan was about to speak to him when the native
forestalled him by saying gayly and in good English:
   "Sit down, my Lord; breakfast is ready."
   It was Paganel. At the sound of his voice they all
rushed into the "oudoupa," and he was cordially em-
braced all round. Paganel was found again. He was
their salvation. They wanted to question him; to know
how and why he was here on the summit of Maunganamu;
but Glenarvan stopped this misplaced curiosity.
   "The savages?" said he.
   "The savages," said Paganel, shrugging his shoulders.
"I have a contempt for those people! Come and look at
them."
   They all followed Paganel out of the "oudoupa." The
Maories were still in the same position round the base of
the mountain, uttering fearful cries.
   "Shout! yell! till your lungs are gone, stupid wretches!"
said Paganel. "I dare you to come here!"
   "But why?" said Glenarvan.
   "Because the chief is buried here, and the tomb protects
us, because the mountain is tabooed."
   "Tabooed?"
   "Yes, my friends! and that is why I took refuge here,
as the malefactors used to flee to the sanctuaries in the
middle ages."
   "God be praised!" said Lady Helena, lifting her hands
to heaven.


376   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   The fugitives were not yet out of danger, but they had
a moment's respite, which was very welcome in their ex-
hausted state.
   Glenarvan was too much overcome to speak, and the
Major nodded his head with an air of perfect content.
   "And now, my friends," said Paganel, "if these brutes
think to exercise their patience on us, they are mistaken.
In two days we shall be out of their reach."
   "By flight!" said Glenarvan. "But how?"
   "That I do not know," answered Paganel, "but we
shall manage it."
   And now everybody wanted to know about their
friend's adventures. They were puzzled by the reserve
of a man generally so talkative; on this occasion they had
to drag the words out of his mouth; usually he was a ready
story-teller, now he gave only evasive answers to the ques-
tions of the rest.
   "Paganel is another man!" thought McNabbs.
   His face was really altered. He wrapped himself
closely in his great flax mat and seemed to deprecate ob-
servation. Everyone noticed his embarrassment, when
he was the subject of conversation, though nobody appeared
to remark it; when other topics were under discussion, Pag-
anel resumed his usual gayety.
   Of his adventures all that could be extracted from him
at this time was as follows:
   After the murder of Kara-Tete, Paganel took advan-
tage, like Robert, of the commotion among the natives, and
got out of the inclosure. But less fortunate than young
Grant, he walked straight into a Maori camp, where he met
a tall, intelligent-looking chief, evidently of higher rank
than all the warriors of his tribe. The chief spoke excel-
lent English, and he saluted the new-comer by rubbing
the end of his nose against the end of the geographer's
nose.
   Paganel wondered whether he was to consider himself
a prisoner or not. But perceiving that he could not stir
without the polite escort of the chief, he soon made up his
mind on that point.
   This chief, Hihi, or Sunbeam, was not a bad fellow.
Paganel's spectacles and telescope seemed to give him a
great idea of Paganel's importance, and he manifested


THE SACRED MOUNTAIN      377

great attachment to him, not only by kindness, but by a
strong flax rope, especially at night.
   This lasted for three days; to the inquiry whether he
was well treated, he said "Yes and no!" without further
answer; he was a prisoner, and except that he expected
immediate execution, his state seemed to him no better
than that in which he had left his unfortunate friends.
   One night, however, he managed to break his rope and
escape. He had seen from afar the burial of the chief,
and knew that he was buried on the top of Maunganamu,
and he was well acquainted with the fact that the mountain
would be therefore tabooed. He resolved to take refuge
there, being unwilling to leave the region where his com-
panions were in durance. He succeeded in his dangerous
attempt, and had arrived the previous night at the tomb of
Kara-Tete, and there proposed to recruit his strength while
he waited in the hope that his friends might, by Divine
mercy, find the means of escape.
   Such was Paganel's story. Did he designedly conceal
some incident of his captivity? More than once his em-
barrassment led them to that conclusion. But however
that might be, he was heartily congratulated on all sides.
And then the present emergency came on for serious dis-
cussion. The natives dare not climb Maunganamu, but
they, of course, calculated that hunger and thirst would re-
store them their prey. It was only a question of time, and
patience is one of the virtues of all savages. Glenarvan
was fully alive to the difficulty, but made up his mind to
watch for an opportunity, or make one. First of all he
made a thorough survey of Maunganamu, their present
fortress; not for the purpose of defence, but of escape.
The Major, John, Robert, Paganel, and himself, made an
exact map of the mountain. They noted the direction,
outlet and inclination of the paths. The ridge, a mile in
length, which united Maunganamu to the Wahiti chain
had a downward inclination. Its slope, narrow and jag-
ged though it was, appeared the only practicable route, if
they made good their escape at all. If they could do this
without observation, under cover of night, they might pos-
sibly reach the deep valleys of the Range and put the
Maories off the scent.
   But there were dangers in this route; the last part of it


378  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

was within pistol shot of natives posted on the lower slopes.
Already when they ventured on the exposed part of the
crest, they were saluted with a hail of shot which did not
reach them. Some gun wads, carried by the wind, fell
beside them; they were made of printed paper, which Pag-
anel picked up out of curiosity, and with some trouble
deciphered.
   "That is a good idea! My friends, do you know what
those creatures use for wads?"
   "No, Paganel!" said Glenarvan.
   "Pages of the Bible! If that is the use they make of
the Holy Book, I pity the missionaries! It will be rather
difficult to establish a Maori library."
   "And what text of scripture did they aim at us?"
   "A message from God Himself!" exclaimed John Man-
gles, who was in the act of reading the scorched fragment
of paper. "It bids us hope in Him," added the young
captain, firm in the faith of his Scotch convictions.
   "Read it, John!" said Glenarvan.
   And John read what the powder had left visible: "I will
deliver him, for he hath trusted in me."
   "My friends," said Glenarvan, "we must carry these
words of hope to our dear, brave ladies. The sound will
bring comfort to their hearts."
   Glenarvan and his companions hastened up the steep path
to the cone, and went toward the tomb. As they climbed
they were astonished to perceive every few moments a
kind of vibration in the soil. It was not a movement like
earthquake, but that peculiar tremor that affects the metal
of a boiler under high pressure. It was clear the mountain
was the outer covering of a body of vapor, the product
of subterranean fires.
   This phenomenon of course excited no surprise in those
that had just traveled among the hot springs of the
Waikato. They knew that the central region of the
Ika-na-Mani is essentially volcanic. It is a sieve, whose
interstices furnish a passage for the earth's vapors in the
shape of boiling geysers and solfataras.
   Paganel, who had already noticed this, called the atten-
tion of his friends to the volcanic nature of the mountain.
The peak of Maunganamu was only one of the many cones
which bristle on this part of the island. It was a volcano


THE SACRED MOUNTAIN      379

of the future. A slight mechanical change would produce
a crater of eruption in these slopes, which consisted merely
of whitish silicious tufa.
   "That may be," said Glenarvan, "but we are in no more
danger here than standing by the boiler of the <i>Duncan;</i>
this solid crust is like sheet iron."
   "I agree with you," added the Major, "but however
good a boiler may be, it bursts at last after too long
service."
   "McNabbs," said Paganel, "I have no fancy for stay-
ing on the cone. When Providence points out a way, I
will go at once."
   "I wish," remarked John, "that Maunganamu could
carry us himself, with all the motive power that he has
inside. It is too bad that millions of horse-power should
lie under our feet unavailable for our needs. Our <i>Duncan</i>
would carry us to the end of the world with the thou-
sandth part of it."
   The recollections of the <i>Duncan</i> evoked by John Man-
gles turned Glenarvan's thoughts into their saddest chan-
nel; for desperate as his own case was he often forgot it,
in vain regret at the fate of his crew.
   His mind still dwelt on it when he reached the summit
of Maunganamu and met his companions in misfortune.
   Lady Helena, when she saw Glenarvan, came forward
to meet him.
   "Dear Edward," said she, "you have made up your
mind? Are we to hope or fear?"
   "Hope, my dear Helena," replied Glenarvan. "The
natives will never set foot on the mountain, and we shall
have time to devise a plan of escape."
   "More than that, madam, God himself has encouraged
us to hope."
   And so saying, John Mangles handed to Lady Helena
the fragment of paper on which was legible the sacred
words; and these young women, whose trusting hearts
were always open to observe Providential interpositions,
read in these words an indisputable sign of salvation.
   "And now let us go to the 'oudoupa!'" cried Paganel,
in his gayest mood. "It is our castle, our dining-room,
our study! None can meddle with us there! Ladies! al-
low me to do the honors of this charming abode."


380  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   They followed Paganel, and when the savages saw them
profaning anew the tabooed burial place, they renewed
their fire and their fearful yells, the one as loud as the
other. But fortunately the balls fell short of our friends,
though the cries reached them.
   Lady Helena, Mary Grant, and their companions were
quite relieved to find that the Maories were more dominated
by superstition than by anger, and they entered the monu-
ment.
   It was a palisade made of red-painted posts. Symbolic
figures, tattooed on the wood, set forth the rank and
achievements of the deceased. Strings of amulets, made
of shells or cut stones, hung from one part to another. In
the interior, the ground was carpeted with green leaves,
and in the middle, a slight mound betokened the place of
the newly made grave. There lay the chief's weapons, his
guns loaded and capped, his spear, his splendid ax of green
jade, with a supply of powder and ball for the happy hunt-
ing grounds.
   "Quite an arsenal!" said Paganel, "of which we shall
make a better use. What ideas they have! Fancy carry-
ing arms in the other world!"
   "Well!" said the Major, "but these are English fire-
arms."
   "No doubt," replied Glenarvan, "and it is a very un-
wise practice to give firearms to savages! They turn them
against the invaders, naturally enough. But at any rate,
they will be very valuable to us."
   "Yes," said Paganel, "but what is more useful still is
the food and water provided for Kara-Tete."
   Things had been handsomely done for the deceased
chief; the amount of provisions denoted their esteem for
the departed. There was food enough to sustain ten per-
sons for fifteen days, or the dead man forever.
   The vegetable aliments consisted of edible ferns, sweet
potatoes, the "convolvulus batatas," which was indigenous,
and the potato which had been imported long before by
the Europeans. Large jars contained pure water, and a
dozen baskets artistically plaited contained tablets of an
unknown green gum.
   The fugitives were therefore provided for some days
against hunger and thirst, and they needed no persuasion


THE SACRED MOUNTAIN      381

to begin their attack on the deceased chief's stores.
Glenarvan brought out the necessary quantity and put them
into Olbinett's hands. The steward, who never could for-
get his routine ideas, even in the most exceptional circum-
stances, thought the meal a slender one. He did not know
how to prepare the roots, and, besides, had no fire.
   But Paganel soon solved the difficulty by recommending
him to bury his fern roots and sweet potatoes in the soil.
The temperature of the surface stratum was very high,
and a thermometer plunged into the soil would have marked
from 160 to 170 degrees; in fact, Olbinett narrowly
missed being scalded, for just as he had scooped a hole for
the roots, a jet of vapor sprang up and with a whistling
sound rose six feet above the ground.
   The steward fell back in terror.
   "Shut off steam!" cried the Major, running to close
the hole with the loose drift, while Paganel pondering on
the singular phenomenon muttered to himself:
   "Let me see! ha! ha! Why not?"
   "Are you hurt?" inquired McNabbs of Olbinett.
   "No, Major," said the steward, "but I did not ex-
pect --"
   "That Providence would send you fire," interrupted
Paganel in a jovial tone. "First the larder of Kara-Tete
and then fire out of the ground! Upon my word, this
mountain is a paradise! I propose that we found a colony,
and cultivate the soil and settle here for life! We shall be
the Robinsons of Maunganamu. We should want for
nothing."
   "If it is solid ground," said John Mangles.
   "Well! it is not a thing of yesterday," said Paganel.
"It has stood against the internal fire for many a day, and
will do so till we leave it, at any rate."
   "Breakfast is ready," announced Olbinett with as much
dignity as if he was in Malcolm Castle.
   Without delay, the fugitives sat down near the pali-
sade, and began one of the many meals with which Provi-
dence had supplied them in critical circumstances. No-
body was inclined to be fastidious, but opinions were
divided as regarded the edible fern. Some thought the
flavor sweet and agreeable, others pronounced it leathery,
insipid, and resembling the taste of gum. The sweet po-


382   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

tatoes, cooked in the burning soil, were excellent. The
geographer remarked that Kara-Tete was not badly off
after all.
   And now that their hunger was appeased, it was time to
decide on their plan of escape.
   "So soon!" exclaimed Paganel in a piteous tone.
"Would you quit the home of delight so soon?"
   "But, Monsieur Paganel," interposed Lady Helena, "if
this be Capua, you dare not intend to imitate Hannibal!"
   "Madam, I dare not contradict you, and if discussion
is the order of the day, let it proceed."
   "First," said Glenarvan, "I think we ought to start be-
fore we are driven to it by hunger. We are revived now,
and ought to take advantage of it. To-night we will try
to reach the eastern valleys by crossing the cordon of na-
tives under cover of the darkness."
   "Excellent," answered Paganel, "if the Maories allow
us to pass."
   "And if not?" asked John Mangles.
   "Then we will use our great resources," said Paganel.
   "But have we great resources?" inquired the Major.
   "More than we can use!" replied Paganel, without any
further explanation.
   And then they waited for the night.
   The natives had not stirred. Their numbers seemed
even greater, perhaps owing to the influx of the stragglers
of the tribe. Fires lighted at intervals formed a girdle of
flame round the base of the mountain, so that when dark-
ness fell, Maunganamu appeared to rise out of a great
brasier, and to hide its head in the thick darkness. Five
hundred feet below they could hear the hum and the cries
of the enemy's camp.
   At nine o'clock the darkness being very intense, Glen-
arvan and John Mangles went out to reconnoiter before
embarking the whole party on this critical journey. They
made the descent noiselessly, and after about ten minutes,
arrived on the narrow ridge that crossed the native lines,
fifty feet above the camp.
   All went well so far. The Maories, stretched beside the
fires, did not appear to observe the two fugitives. But
in an instant a double fusillade burst forth from both sides
of the ridge.


THE SACRED MOUNTAIN      383

   "Back," exclaimed Glenarvan; "those wretches have
the eyes of cats and the guns of riflemen!"
   And they turned, and once more climbed the steep slope
of the mountain, and then hastened to their friends who
had been alarmed at the firing. Glenarvan's hat was
pierced by two balls, and they concluded that it was out of
the question to venture again on the ridge between two
lines of marksmen.
   "Wait till to-morrow," said Paganel, "and as we can-
not elude their vigilance, let me try my hand on them."
   The night was cold; but happily Kara-Tete had been fur-
nished with his best night gear, and the party wrapped
themselves each in a warm flax mantle, and protected by
native superstition, slept quietly inside the inclosure, on
the warm ground, still violating with the violence of the
internal ebullition.


CHAPTER XIV
A BOLD STRATAGEM

   NEXT day, February 17th, the sun's first rays awoke
the sleepers of the Maunganamu. The Maories had long
since been astir, coming and going at the foot of the moun-
tain, without leaving their line of observation. Furious
clamor broke out when they saw the Europeans leave the
sacred place they had profaned.
   Each of the party glanced first at the neighboring moun-
tains, and at the deep valleys still drowned in mist, and
over Lake Taupo, which the morning breeze ruffled
slightly. And then all clustered round Paganel eager to
hear his project.
   Paganel soon satisfied their curiosity. "My friends,"
said he, "my plan has one great recommendation; if it
does not accomplish all that I anticipate, we shall be no
worse off than we are at present. But it must, it will suc-
ceed."
   "And what is it?" asked McNabbs.
   "It is this," replied Paganel, "the superstition of the
natives has made this mountain a refuge for us, and we
must take advantage of their superstition to escape. If I
can persuade Kai-Koumou that we have expiated our


384   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

profanation, that the wrath of the Deity has fallen on us:
in a word, that we have died a terrible death, do you think
he will leave the plateau of Maunganamu to return to his
village?"
   "Not a doubt of it," said Glenarvan.
   "And what is the horrible death you refer to?" asked
Lady Helena.
   "The death of the sacrilegious, my friends," replied Pag-
anel. "The avenging flames are under our feet. Let us
open a way for them!"
   "What! make a volcano!" cried John Mangles.
   "Yes, an impromptu volcano, whose fury we can regu-
late. There are plenty of vapors ready to hand, and sub-
terranean fires ready to issue forth. We can have an
eruption ready to order."
   "An excellent idea, Paganel; well conceived," said the
Major.
   "You understand," replied the geographer, "we are to
pretend to fall victims to the flames of the Maori Pluto,
and to disappear spiritually into the tomb of Kara-Tete.
And stay there three, four, even five days if necessary --
that is to say, till the savages are convinced that we have
perished, and abandon their watch."
   "But," said Miss Grant, "suppose they wish to be sure
of our punishment, and climb up here to see?"
   "No, my dear Mary," returned Paganel. "They will
not do that. The mountain is tabooed, and if it devoured
its sacrilegious intruders, it would only be more inviolably
tabooed."
   "It is really a very clever plan," said Glenarvan.
"There is only one chance against it; that is, if the sav-
ages prolong their watch at the foot of Maunganamu, we
may run short of provisions. But if we play our game
well there is not much fear of that."
   "And when shall we try this last chance?" asked Lady
Helena.
   "To-night," rejoined Paganel, "when the darkness is
the deepest."
   "Agreed," said McNabbs; "Paganel, you are a genius!
and I, who seldom get up an enthusiasm, I answer for the
success of your plan. Oh! those villains! They shall
have a little miracle that will put off their conversion for

V. IV Verne


A BOLD STRATAGEM       385

another century. I hope the missionaries will forgive us."
   The project of Paganel was therefore adopted, and cer-
tainly with the superstitious ideas of the Maories there
seemed good ground for hope. But brilliant as the idea
might be, the difficulty was in the <i>modus operandi</i>. The
volcano might devour the bold schemers, who offered it a
crater. Could they control and direct the eruption when
they had succeeded in letting loose its vapor and flames,
and lava streams? The entire cone might be engulfed.
It was meddling with phenomena of which nature herself
has the absolute monopoly.
   Paganel had thought of all this; but he intended to act
prudently and without pushing things to extremes. An
appearance would be enough to dupe the Maories, and there
was no need for the terrible realities of an eruption.
   How long that day seemed. Each one of the party in-
wardly counted the hours. All was made ready for flight.
The oudoupa provisions were divided and formed very
portable packets. Some mats and firearms completed their
light equipment, all of which they took from the tomb of
the chief. It is needless to say that their preparations were
made within the inclosure, and that they were unseen by
the savages.
   At six o'clock the steward served up a refreshing meal.
Where or when they would eat in the valleys of the Ranges
no one could foretell. So that they had to take in supplies
for the future. The principal dish was composed of half
a dozen rats, caught by Wilson and stewed. Lady Helena
and Mary Grant obstinately refused to taste this game,
which is highly esteemed by the natives; but the men en-
joyed it like the real Maories. The meat was excellent
and savory, and the six devourers were devoured down to
the bones.
   The evening twilight came on. The sun went down in
a stormy-looking bank of clouds. A few flashes of light-
ning glanced across the horizon and distant thunder pealed
through the darkened sky.
   Paganel welcomed the storm, which was a valuable aid
to his plans, and completed his program. The savages
are superstitiously affected by the great phenomena of na-
ture. The New Zealanders think that thunder is the angry
voice of Noui-Atoua, and lightning the fierce gleam of his


386  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

eyes. Thus their deity was coming personally to chastise
the violators of the taboo.
   At eight o'clock, the summit of the Maunganamu was
lost in portentous darkness. The sky would supply a black
background for the blaze which Paganel was about to
throw on it. The Maories could no longer see their pris-
oners; and this was the moment for action. Speed was
necessary. Glenarvan, Paganel, McNabbs, Robert, the
steward, and the two sailors, all lent a hand.
   The spot for the crater was chosen thirty paces from
Kara-Tete's tomb. It was important to keep the oudoupa
intact, for if it disappeared, the taboo of the mountain
would be nullified. At the spot mentioned Paganel had
noticed an enormous block of stone, round which the va-
pors played with a certain degree of intensity. This block
covered a small natural crater hollowed in the cone, and
by its own weight prevented the egress of the subterranean
fire. If they could move it from its socket, the vapors and
the lava would issue by the disencumbered opening.
   The workers used as levers some posts taken from the
interior of the oudoupa, and they plied their tools vigor-
ously against the rocky mass. Under their united efforts
the stone soon moved. They made a little trench so that
it might roll down the inclined plane. As they gradually
raised it, the vibrations under foot became more distinct.
Dull roarings of flame and the whistling sound of a fur-
nace ran along under the thin crust. The intrepid la-
borers, veritable Cyclops handling Earth's fires, worked in
silence; soon some fissures and jets of steam warned them
that their place was growing dangerous. But a crowning
effort moved the mass which rolled down and disappeared.
Immediately the thin crust gave way. A column of fire
rushed to the sky with loud detonations, while streams of
boiling water and lava flowed toward the native camp and
the lower valleys.
   All the cone trembled as if it was about to plunge into
a fathomless gulf.
   Glenarvan and his companions had barely time to get
out of the way; they fled to the enclosure of the oudoupa,
not without having been sprinkled with water at 220&deg;.
This water at first spread a smell like soup, which soon
changed into a strong odor of sulphur.


A BOLD STRATAGEM       387

   Then the mud, the lava, the volcanic stones, all spouted
forth in a torrent. Streams of fire furrowed the sides of
Maunganamu. The neighboring mountains were lit up
by the glare; the dark valleys were also filled with dazzling
light.
   All the savages had risen, howling under the pain in-
flicted by the burning lava, which was bubbling and foam-
ing in the midst of their camp.
   Those whom the liquid fire had not touched fled to the
surrounding hills; then turned, and gazed in terror at this
fearful phenomenon, this volcano in which the anger of
their deity would swallow up the profane intruders on the
sacred mountain. Now and then, when the roar of the
eruption became less violent, their cry was heard:
   "Taboo! taboo! taboo!"
   An enormous quantity of vapors, heated stones and lava
was escaping by this crater of Maunganamu. It was not
a mere geyser like those that girdle round Mount Hecla,
in Iceland, it was itself a Hecla. All this volcanic com-
motion was confined till then in the envelope of the cone,
because the safety valve of Tangariro was enough for its
expansion; but when this new issue was afforded, it rushed
forth fiercely, and by the laws of equilibrium, the other
eruptions in the island must on that night have lost their
usual intensity.
   An hour after this volcano burst upon the world, broad
streams of lava were running down its sides. Legions of
rats came out of their holes, and fled from the scene.
   All night long, and fanned by the tempest in the upper
sky, the crater never ceased to pour forth its torrents with
a violence that alarmed Glenarvan. The eruption was
breaking away the edges of the opening. The prisoners.
hidden behind the inclosure of stakes, watched the fearful
progress of the phenomenon.
   Morning came. The fury of the volcano had not slack-
ened. Thick yellowish fumes were mixed with the flames;
the lava torrents wound their serpentine course in every
direction.
   Glenarvan watched with a beating heart, looking from
all the interstices of the palisaded enclosure, and observed
the movements in the native camp.
   The Maories had fled to the neighboring ledges, out of


388   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

the reach of the volcano. Some corpses which lay at the
foot of the cone, were charred by the fire. Further off to-
ward the "pah," the lava had reached a group of twenty
huts, which were still smoking. The Maories, forming
here and there groups, contemplated the canopied summit
of Maunganamu with religious awe.
   Kai-Koumou approached in the midst of his warriors,
and Glenarvan recognized him. The chief advanced to
the foot of the hill, on the side untouched by the lava, but
he did not ascend the first ledge.
   Standing there, with his arms stretched out like an ex-
erciser, he made some grimaces, whose meaning was ob-
vious to the prisoners. As Paganel had foreseen, Kai-
Koumou launched on the avenging mountain a more rig-
orous taboo.
   Soon after the natives left their positions and followed
the winding paths that led toward the pah.
   "They are going!" exclaimed Glenarvan. "They have
left their posts! God be praised! Our stratagem has suc-
ceeded! My dear Lady Helena, my brave friends, we are
all dead and buried! But this evening when night comes,
we shall rise and leave our tomb, and fly these barbarous
tribes!"
   It would be difficult to conceive of the joy that per-
vaded the oudoupa. Hope had regained the mastery in
all hearts. The intrepid travelers forgot the past, forgot
the future, to enjoy the present delight! And yet the
task before them was not an easy one -- to gain some Euro-
pean outpost in the midst of this unknown country. But
Kai-Koumou once off their track, they thought themselves
safe from all the savages in New Zealand.
   A whole day had to elapse before they could make a
start, and they employed it in arranging a plan of flight.
Paganel had treasured up his map of New Zealand, and
on it could trace out the best roads.
   After discussion, the fugitives resolved to make for the
Bay of Plenty, towards the east. The region was un-
known, but apparently desert. The travelers, who from
their past experience, had learned to make light of physi-
cal difficulties, feared nothing but meeting Maories. At
any cost they wanted to avoid them and gain the east coast,
where the missionaries had several stations. That part


A BOLD STRATAGEM        389

of the country had hitherto escaped the horrors of war,
and the natives were not in the habit of scouring the coun-
try.
   As to the distance that separated Lake Taupo from the
Bay of Plenty, they calculated it about a hundred miles.
Ten days' march at ten miles a day, could be done, not
without fatigue, but none of the party gave that a thought.
If they could only reach the mission stations they could
rest there while waiting for a favorable opportunity to
get to Auckland, for that was the point they desired to
reach.
   This question settled, they resumed their watch of the
native proceedings, and continued so doing till evening
fell. Not a solitary native remained at the foot of the
mountain, and when darkness set in over the Taupo val-
leys, not a fire indicated the presence of the Maories at
the base. The road was free.
   At nine o'clock, the night being unusually dark, Glen-
arvan gave the order to start. His companions and he,
armed and equipped at the expense of Kara-Tete, began
cautiously to descend the slopes of Maunganamu, John
Mangles and Wilson leading the way, eyes and ears on the
alert. They stopped at the slightest sound, they started
at every passing cloud. They slid rather than walked
down the spur, that their figures might be lost in the dark
mass of the mountain. At two hundred feet below the
summit, John Mangles and his sailors reached the danger-
ous ridge that had been so obstinately defended by the
natives. If by ill luck the Maories, more cunning than
the fugitives, had only pretended to retreat; if they were
not really duped by the volcanic phenomenon, this was the
spot where their presence would be betrayed. Glenarvan
could not but shudder, in spite of his confidence, and in
spite of the jokes of Paganel. The fate of the whole party
would hang in the balance for the ten minutes required to
pass along that ridge. He felt the beating of Lady Hel-
ena's heart, as she clung to his arm.
   He had no thought of turning back. Neither had John.
The young captain, followed closely by the whole party,
and protected by the intense darkness, crept along the ridge,
stopping when some loose stone rolled to the bottom. If
the savages were still in the ambush below, these unusual


390   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

sounds might provoke from both sides a dangerous fusil-
lade.
   But speed was impossible in their serpent-like prog-
ress down this sloping crest. When John Mangles had
reached the lowest point, he was scarcely twenty-five feet
from the plateau, where the natives were encamped the
night before, and then the ridge rose again pretty steeply
toward a wood for about a quarter of a mile.
   All this lower part was crossed without molestation, and
they commenced the ascent in silence. The clump of
bush was invisible, though they knew it was there, and but
for the possibility of an ambush, Glenarvan counted on be-
ing safe when the party arrived at that point. But he ob-
served that after this point, they were no longer protected
by the taboo. The ascending ridge belonged not to
Maunganamu, but to the mountain system of the eastern
side of Lake Taupo, so that they had not only pistol shots,
but hand-to-hand fighting to fear. For ten minutes, the
little band ascended by insensible degrees toward the higher
table-land. John could not discern the dark wood, but he
knew it ought to be within two hundred feet. Suddenly
he stopped; almost retreated. He fancied he heard some-
thing in the darkness; his stoppage interrupted the march
of those behind.
   He remained motionless long enough to alarm his com-
panions. They waited with unspeakable anxiety, wonder-
ing if they were doomed to retrace their steps, and return
to the summit of Maunganamu.
   But John, finding that the noise was not repeated, re-
sumed the ascent of the narrow path of the ridge. Soon
they perceived the shadowy outline of the wood showing
faintly through the darkness. A few steps more and they
were hid from sight in the thick foliage of the trees.


CHAPTER XV
FROM PERIL TO SAFETY

   THE night favored their escape, and prudence urged
them to lose no time in getting away from the fatal neigh-
borhood of Lake Taupo. Paganel took the post of leader,


FROM PERIL TO SAFETY      391

and his wonderful instinct shone out anew in this difficult
mountain journey. His nyctalopia was a great advantage,
his cat-like sight enabling him to distinguish the smallest
object in the deepest gloom.
   For three hours they walked on without halting along
the far-reaching slope of the eastern side. Paganel kept
a little to the southeast, in order to make use of a narrow
passage between the Kaimanawa and the Wahiti Ranges,
through which the road from Hawkes' Bay to Auckland
passes. Once through that gorge, his plan was to keep off
the road, and, under the shelter of the high ranges, march
to the coast across the inhabited regions of the province.
   At nine o'clock in the morning, they had made twelve
miles in twelve hours. The courageous women could not
be pressed further, and, besides, the locality was suitable
for camping. The fugitives had reached the pass that
separates the two chains. Paganel, map in hand, made a
loop toward the northeast, and at ten o'clock the little party
reached a sort of redan, formed by a projecting rock.
   The provisions were brought out, and justice was done
to their meal. Mary Grant and the Major, who had not
thought highly of the edible fern till then, now ate of it
heartily.
   The halt lasted till two o'clock in the afternoon, then
they resumed their journey; and in the evening they
stopped eight miles from the mountains, and required no
persuasion to sleep in the open air.
   Next day was one of serious difficulties. Their route
lay across this wondrous region of volcanic lakes, geysers,
and solfataras, which extended to the east of the Wahiti
Ranges. It is a country more pleasant for the eye to ram-
ble over, than for the limbs. Every quarter of a mile they
had to turn aside or go around for some obstacle, and thus
incurred great fatigue; but what a strange sight met their
eyes! What infinite variety nature lavishes on her great
panoramas!
   On this vast extent of twenty miles square, the subter-
ranean forces had a field for the display of all their varied
effects. Salt springs, of singular transparency, peopled
by myriads of insects, sprang up from thickets of tea-tree
scrub. They diffused a powerful odor of burnt powder,
and scattered on the ground a white sediment like dazzling


392   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

snow. The limpid waters were nearly at boiling point,
while some neighboring springs spread out like sheets of
glass. Gigantic tree-ferns grew beside them, in conditions
analogous to those of the Silurian vegetation.
   On every side jets of water rose like park fountains, out
of a sea of vapor; some of them continuous, others inter-
mittent, as if a capricious Pluto controlled their move-
ments. They rose like an amphitheater on natural ter-
races; their waters gradually flowed together under folds
of white smoke, and corroding the edges of the semi-trans-
parent steps of this gigantic staircase. They fed whole
lakes with their boiling torrents.
   Farther still, beyond the hot springs and tumultuous
geysers, came the solfataras. The ground looked as if
covered with large pustules. These were slumbering craters
full of cracks and fissures from which rose various gases.
The air was saturated with the acrid and unpleasant odor of
sulphurous acid. The ground was encrusted with sulphur
and crystalline concretions. All this incalculable wealth had
been accumulating for centuries, and if the sulphur beds of
Sicily should ever be exhausted, it is here, in this little
known district of New Zealand, that supplies must be
sought.
   The fatigue in traveling in such a country as this will be
best understood. Camping was very difficult, and the
sportsmen of the party shot nothing worthy of Olbinett's
skill; so that they had generally to content themselves with
fern and sweet potato -- a poor diet which was scarcely suffi-
cient to recruit the exhausted strength of the little party,
who were all anxious to escape from this barren region.
   But four days at least must elapse before they could hope
to leave it. On February 23, at a distance of fifty miles
from Maunganamu, Glenarvan called a halt, and camped
at the foot of a nameless mountain, marked on Paganel's
map. The wooded plains stretched away from sight, and
great forests appeared on the horizon.
   That day McNabbs and Robert killed three kiwis, which
filled the chief place on their table, not for long, however,
for in a few moments they were all consumed from the
beaks to the claws.
   At dessert, between the potatoes and sweet potatoes,
Paganel moved a resolution which was carried with en-


FROM PERIL TO SAFETY      393

thusiasm. He proposed to give the name of Glenarvan to
this unnamed mountain, which rose 3,000 feet high, and
then was lost in the clouds, and he printed carefully on his
map the name of the Scottish nobleman.
   It would be idle to narrate all the monotonous and unin-
teresting details of the rest of the journey. Only two or
three occurrences of any importance took place on the way
from the lakes to the Pacific Ocean. The march was all
day long across forests and plains. John took observations
of the sun and stars. Neither heat nor rain increased the
discomfort of the journey, but the travelers were so reduced
by the trials they had undergone, that they made very slow
progress; and they longed to arrive at the mission
station.
   They still chatted, but the conversation had ceased to be
general. The little party broke up into groups, attracted
to each other, not by narrow sympathies, but by a more
personal communion of ideas.
   Glenarvan generally walked alone; his mind seemed to
recur to his unfortunate crew, as he drew nearer to the sea.
He apparently lost sight of the dangers which lay before
them on their way to Auckland, in the thought of his mas-
sacred men; the horrible picture haunted him.
   Harry Grant was never spoken of; they were no longer
in a position to make any effort on his behalf. If his name
was uttered at all, it was between his daughter and John
Mangles.
   John had never reminded Mary of what she had said
to him on that last night at Ware-Atoua. He was too wise
to take advantage of a word spoken in a moment of despair.
When he mentioned Captain Grant, John always spoke of
further search. He assured Mary that Lord Glenarvan
would re-embark in the enterprise.  He persistently re-
turned to the fact that the authenticity of the document
was indisputable, and that therefore Harry Grant was some-
where to be found, and that they would find him, if they had
to try all over the world. Mary drank in his words, and
she and John, united by the same thought, cherished the
same hope. Often Lady Helena joined in the conversa-
tion; but she did not participate in their illusions, though
she refrained from chilling their enthusiasm.
   McNabbs, Robert, Wilson, and Mulrady kept up their


394  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

hunting parties, without going far from the rest, and each
one furnished his <i>quota</i> of game.
   Paganel, arrayed in his flax mat, kept himself aloof, in a
silent and pensive mood.
   And yet, it is only justice to say, in spite of the general
rule that, in the midst of trials, dangers, fatigues, and
privations, the most amiable dispositions become ruffled and
embittered, all our travelers were united, devoted, ready to
die for one another.
   On the 25th of February, their progress was stopped by
a river which answered to the Wakari on Paganel's map,
and was easily forded. For two days plains of low scrub
succeeded each other without interruption. Half the dis-
tance from Lake Taupo to the coast had been traversed
without accident, though not without fatigue.
   Then the scene changed to immense and interminable
forests, which reminded them of Australia, but here the
kauri took the place of the eucalyptus. Although their en-
thusiasm had been incessantly called forth during their four
months' journey, Glenarvan and his companions were com-
pelled to admire and wonder at those gigantic pines, worthy
rivals of the Cedars of Lebanon, and the "Mammoth trees"
of California. The kauris measured a hundred feet high,
before the ramification of the branches. They grew in
isolated clumps, and the forest was not composed of trees,
but of innumerable groups of trees, which spread their green
canopies in the air two hundred feet from the ground.
   Some of these pines, still young, about a hundred years
old, resembled the red pine of Europe. They had a dark
crown surmounted by a dark conical shoot. Their older
brethren, five or six hundred years of age, formed great
green pavilions supported on the inextricable network of
their branches.  These patriarchs of the New Zealand
forest measured fifty yards in circumference, and the united
arms of all the travelers could not embrace the giant trunk.
   For three days the little party made their way under these
vast arches, over a clayey soil which the foot of man had
never trod. They knew this by the quantity of resinous
gum that lay in heaps at the foot of the trees, and which
would have lasted for native exportation many years.
   The sportsmen found whole coveys of the kiwi, which
are scarce in districts frequented by the Maories; the native


FROM PERIL TO SAFETY      395

dogs drive them away to the shelter of these inaccessible
forests. They were an abundant source of nourishing food
to our travelers.
   Paganel also had the good fortune to espy, in a thicket, a
pair of gigantic birds; his instinct as a naturalist was awak-
ened. He called his companions, and in spite of their fa-
tigue, the Major, Robert, and he set off on the track of these
animals.
   His curiosity was excusable, for he had recognized, or
thought he had recognized, these birds as "moas" belonging
to the species of "dinornis," which many naturalists class
with the extinct birds. This, if Paganel was right, would
confirm the opinion of Dr. Hochstetter and other travelers on
the present existence of the wingless giants of New Zealand.
   These moas which Paganel was chasing, the contempo-
raries of the Megatherium and the Pterodactyles, must have
been eighteen feet high. They were huge ostriches, timid
too, for they fled with extreme rapidity. But no shot could
stay their course. After a few minutes of chase, these
fleet-footed moas disappeared among the tall trees, and the
sportsmen lost their powder and their pains.
   That evening, March 1, Glenarvan and his companions,
emerging at last from the immense kauri-forest, camped at
the foot of Mount Ikirangi, whose summit rose five thou-
sand five hundred feet into the air. At this point they had
traveled a hundred miles from Maunganamu, and the shore
was still thirty miles away. John Mangles had calculated
on accomplishing the whole journey in ten days, but he did
not foresee the physical difficulties of the country.
   On the whole, owing to the circuits, the obstacles, and the
imperfect observations, the journey had been extended by
fully one-fifth, and now that they had reached Mount Ikir-
angi, they were quite worn out.
   Two long days of walking were still to be accomplished,
during which time all their activity and vigilance would be
required, for their way was through a district often fre-
quented by the natives. The little party conquered their
weariness, and set out next morning at daybreak.
   Between Mount Ikirangi which was left to the right, and
Mount Hardy whose summit rose on the left to a height of
3,700 feet, the journey was very trying; for about ten miles
the bush was a tangle of "supple-jack," a kind of flexible


396   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

rope, appropriately called "stifling-creeper," that caught
the feet at every step. For two days, they had to cut their
way with an ax through this thousand-headed hydra. Hunt-
ing became impossible, and the sportsmen failed in their ac-
customed tribute. The provisions were almost exhausted,
and there was no means of renewing them; their thirst was
increasing by fatigue, and there was no water wherewith to
quench it.
   The sufferings of Glenarvan and his party became terri-
ble, and for the first time their moral energy threatened to
give way. They no longer walked, they dragged themselves
along, soulless bodies, animated only by the instinct of self-
preservation which survives every other feeling, and in this
melancholy plight they reached Point Lottin on the shores
of the Pacific.
   Here they saw several deserted huts, the ruins of a village
lately destroyed by the war, abandoned fields, and every-
where signs of pillage and incendiary fires.
   They were toiling painfully along the shore, when they
saw, at a distance of about a mile, a band of natives, who
rushed toward them brandishing their weapons. Glenarvan,
hemmed in by the sea, could not fly, and summoning all his
remaining strength he was about to meet the attack, when
John Mangles cried:
   "A boat! a boat!"
   And there, twenty paces off, a canoe with six oars lay
on the beach. To launch it, jump in and fly from the dan-
gerous shore, was only a minute's work. John Mangles,
McNabbs, Wilson and Mulrady took the oars; Glenarvan
the helm; the two women, Robert and Olbinett stretched
themselves beside him. In ten minutes the canoe was a
quarter of a mile from the shore. The sea was calm. The
fugitives were silent. But John, who did not want to get
too far from land, was about to give the order to go up the
coast, when he suddenly stopped rowing.
   He saw three canoes coming out from behind Point Lottin
and evidently about to give chase.
   "Out to sea! Out to sea!" he exclaimed. "Better to
drown if we must!"
   The canoe went fast under her four rowers. For half an
hour she kept her distance; but the poor exhausted fellows
grew weaker, and the three pursuing boats began to gain


FROM PERIL TO SAFETY      397

sensibly on them. At this moment, scarcely two miles lay
between them. It was impossible to avoid the attack of the
natives, who were already preparing to fire their long guns.
   What was Glenarvan about? -- standing up in the stern
he was looking toward the horizon for some chimerical help.
What did he hope for? What did he wish? Had he a
presentiment?
   In a moment his eyes gleamed, his hand pointed out into
the distance.
   "A ship! a ship!" he cried. "My friends, row! row
hard!"
   Not one of the rowers turned his head -- not an oar-stroke
must be lost. Paganel alone rose, and turned his telescope
to the point indicated.
   "Yes," said he, "a ship! a steamer! they are under full
steam! they are coming to us! Found now, brave com-
rades!"
   The fugitives summoned new energy, and for another
half hour, keeping their distance, they rowed with hasty
strokes. The steamer came nearer and nearer. They made
out her two masts, bare of sails, and the great volumes of
black smoke. Glenarvan, handing the tiller to Robert,
seized Paganel's glass, and watched the movements of the
steamer.
   John Mangles and his companions were lost in wonder
when they saw Glenarvan's features contract and grow
pale, and the glass drop from his hands. One word ex-
plained it.
   "The <i>Duncan!</i>" exclaimed Glenarvan. "The <i>Duncan</i>,
and the convicts!"
   "The <i>Duncan!</i>" cried John, letting go his oar and rising.
   "Yes, death on all sides!" murmured Glenarvan, crushed
by despair.
   It was indeed the yacht, they could not mistake her -- the
yacht and her bandit crew!
   The major could scarcely restrain himself from cursing
their destiny.
   The canoe was meantime standing still. Where should
they go? Whither fly? What choice was there between
the convicts and the savages?
   A shot was fired from the nearest of the native boats,
and the ball struck Wilson's oar.


398  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   A few strokes then carried the canoe nearer to the <i>Duncan</i>.
   The yacht was coming down at full speed, and was not
more than half a mile off.
   John Mangles, between two enemies, did not know what
to advise, whither to fly! The two poor ladies on their
knees, prayed in their agony.
   The savages kept up a running fire, and shots were rain-
ing round the canoe, when suddenly a loud report was heard,
and a ball from the yacht's cannon passed over their heads,
and now the boat remained motionless between the <i>Duncan</i>
and the native canoes.
   John Mangles, frenzied with despair, seized his ax. He
was about to scuttle the boat and sink it with his unfortunate
companions, when a cry from Robert arrested his arm.
   "Tom Austin! Tom Austin!" the lad shouted. "He is
on board! I see him! He knows us! He is waving his
hat."
   The ax hung useless in John's hand.
   A second ball whistled over his head, and cut in two the
nearest of the three native boats, while a loud hurrah burst
forth on board the <i>Duncan</i>.
   The savages took flight, fled and regained the shore.
   "Come on, Tom, come on!" cried John Mangles in a
joyous voice.
   And a few minutes after, the ten fugitives, how, they
knew not, were all safe on board the <i>Duncan</i>.


CHAPTER XVI
WHY THE "DUNCAN" WENT TO NEW ZEALAND

   IT would be vain to attempt to depict the feelings of
Glenarvan and his friends when the songs of old Scotia fell
on their ears. The moment they set foot on the deck of
the <i>Duncan</i>, the piper blew his bagpipes, and commenced the
national pibroch of the Malcolm clan, while loud hurrahs
rent the air.
   Glenarvan and his whole party, even the Major himself,
were crying and embracing each other. They were delirious
with joy. The geographer was absolutely mad. He frisked
about, telescope in hand, pointing it at the last canoe ap-
proaching the shore.


WHY THE "DUNCAN" CAME   399

   But at the sight of Glenarvan and his companions, with
their clothing in rags, and thin, haggard faces, bearing
marks of horrible sufferings, the crew ceased their noisy
demonstrations. These were specters who had returned --
not the bright, adventurous travelers who had left the yacht
three months before, so full of hope! Chance, and chance
only, had brought them back to the deck of the yacht they
never thought to see again. And in what a state of ex-
haustion and feebleness. But before thinking of fatigue,
or attending to the imperious demands of hunger and thirst,
Glenarvan questioned Tom Austin about his being on this
coast.
   Why had the <i>Duncan</i> come to the eastern coast of New
Zealand? How was it not in the hands of Ben Joyce? By
what providential fatality had God brought them in the
track of the fugitives?
   Why? how? and for what purpose? Tom was stormed
with questions on all sides. The old sailor did not know
which to listen to first, and at last resolved to hear nobody
but Glenarvan, and to answer nobody but him.
   "But the convicts?" inquired Glenarvan. "What did
you do with them?"
   "The convicts?" replied Tom, with the air of a man who
does not in the least understand what he is being asked.
   "Yes, the wretches who attacked the yacht."
   "What yacht? Your Honor's?"
   "Why, of course, Tom. The <i>Duncan</i>, and Ben Joyce,
who came on board."
   "I don't know this Ben Joyce, and have never seen him."
   "Never seen him!" exclaimed Paganel, stupefied at the
old sailor's replies. "Then pray tell me, Tom, how it is
that the <i>Duncan</i> is cruising at this moment on the coast of
New Zealand?"
   But if Glenarvan and his friends were totally at a loss to
understand the bewilderment of the old sailor, what was
their amazement when he replied in a calm voice:
   "The <i>Duncan</i> is cruising here by your Honor's orders."
   "By my orders?" cried Glenarvan.
   "Yes, my Lord. I only acted in obedience to the instruc-
tions sent in your letter of January fourteenth."
   "My letter! my letter!" exclaimed Glenarvan.
   The ten travelers pressed closer round Tom Austin, de-

400   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

vouring him with their eyes. The letter dated from Snowy
River had reached the <i>Duncan</i>, then.
   "Let us come to explanations, pray, for it seems to me I
am dreaming. You received a letter, Tom?"
   "Yes, a letter from your Honor."
   "At Melbourne?"
   "At Melbourne, just as our repairs were completed."
   "And this letter?"
   "It was not written by you, but bore your signature, my
Lord."
   "Just so; my letter was brought by a convict called Ben
Joyce."
   "No, by a sailor called Ayrton, a quartermaster on the
<i>Britannia</i>."
   "Yes, Ayrton or Ben Joyce, one and the same individual.
Well, and what were the contents of this letter?"
   "It contained orders to leave Melbourne without delay,
and go and cruise on the eastern coast of --"
   "Australia!" said Glenarvan with such vehemence that
the old sailor was somewhat disconcerted.
   "Of Australia?" repeated Tom, opening his eyes. "No,
but New Zealand."
   "Australia, Tom! Australia!" they all cried with one
voice.
   Austin's head began to feel in a whirl. Glenarvan spoke
with such assurance that he thought after all he must have
made a mistake in reading the letter.  Could a faithful,
exact old servant like himself have been guilty of such a
thing! He turned red and looked quite disturbed.
   "Never mind, Tom," said Lady Helena.  "God so
willed it."
   "But, no, madam, pardon me," replied old Tom. "No,
it is impossible, I was not mistaken. Ayrton read the let-
ter as I did, and it was he, on the contrary, who wished to
bring me to the Australian coast."
   "Ayrton!" cried Glenarvan.
   "Yes, Ayrton himself. He insisted it was a mistake:
that you meant to order me to Twofold Bay."
   "Have you the letter still, Tom?" asked the Major, ex-
tremely interested in this mystery.
   "Yes, Mr. McNabbs," replied Austin. "I'll go and
fetch it."

V. IV Verne


WHY THE "DUNCAN" CAME   401

   He ran at once to his cabin in the forecastle. During his
momentary absence they gazed at each other in silence, all
but the Major, who crossed his arms and said:
   "Well, now, Paganel, you must own this would be going
a little too far."
   "What?" growled Paganel, looking like a gigantic note
of interrogation, with his spectacles on his forehead and his
stooping back.
   Austin returned directly with the letter written by Paganel
and signed by Glenarvan.
   "Will your Honor read it?" he said, handing it to him.
   Glenarvan took the letter and read as follows:
   "Order to Tom Austin to put out to sea without delay,
and to take the Duncan, by latitude 37&deg; to the eastern coast
of New Zealand!"
   "New Zealand!" cried Paganel, leaping up.
   And he seized the letter from Glenarvan, rubbed his eyes,
pushed down his spectacles on his nose, and read it for
himself.
   "New Zealand!" he repeated in an indescribable tone,
letting the order slip between his fingers.
   That same moment he felt a hand laid on his shoulder,
and turning round found himself face to face with the
Major, who said in a grave tone:
   "Well, my good Paganel, after all, it is a lucky thing you
did not send the <i>Duncan</i> to Cochin China!"
   This pleasantry finished the poor geographer. The crew
burst out into loud Homeric laughter. Paganel ran about
like a madman, seized his head with both hands and tore
his hair. He neither knew what he was doing nor what he
wanted to do. He rushed down the poop stairs mechan-
ically and paced the deck, nodding to himself and going
straight before without aim or object till he reached
the forecastle. There his feet got entangled in a coil of
rope. He stumbled and fell, accidentally catching hold of
a rope with both hands in his fall.
   Suddenly a tremendous explosion was heard. The fore-
castle gun had gone off, riddling the quiet calm of the waves
with a volley of small shot. The unfortunate Paganel had
caught hold of the cord of the loaded gun. The geographer
was thrown down the forecastle ladder and disappeared
below.


402  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   A cry of terror succeeded the surprise produced by the
explosion. Everybody thought something terrible must
have happened. The sailors rushed between decks and
lifted up Paganel, almost bent double. The geographer ut-
tered no sound.
   They carried his long body onto the poop. His com-
panions were in despair. The Major, who was always the
surgeon on great occasions, began to strip the unfortunate
that he might dress his wounds; but he had scarcely put his
hands on the dying man when he started up as if touched by
an electrical machine.
   "Never! never!" he exclaimed, and pulling his ragged
coat tightly round him, he began buttoning it up in a
strangely excited manner.
   "But, Paganel," began the Major.
   "No, I tell you!"
   "I must examine --"
   "You shall not examine."
   "You may perhaps have broken --" continued Mc-
Nabbs.
   "Yes," continued Paganel, getting up on his long legs,
"but what I have broken the carpenter can mend."
   "What is it, then?"
   "There."
   Bursts of laughter from the crew greeted this speech.
Paganel's friends were quite reassured about him now.
They were satisfied that he had come off safe and sound
from his adventure with the forecastle gun.
   "At any rate," thought the Major, "the geographer is
wonderfully bashful."
   But now Paganel was recovered a little, he had to reply
to a question he could not escape.
   "Now, Paganel," said Glenarvan, "tell us frankly all
about it. I own that your blunder was providential. It is
sure and certain that but for you the <i>Duncan</i> would have
fallen into the hands of the convicts; but for you we should
have been recaptured by the Maories. But for my sake
tell me by what supernatural aberration of mind you were
induced to write New Zealand instead of Australia?"
   "Well, upon my oath," said Paganel, "it is --"
   But the same instant his eyes fell on Mary and Robert
Grant, and he stopped short and then went on:


WHY THE "DUNCAN" CAME    403

   "What would you have me say, my dear Glenarvan? I
am mad, I am an idiot, an incorrigible fellow, and I shall
live and die the most terrible absent man. I can't change
my skin."
   "Unless you get flayed alive."
   "Get flayed alive!" cried the geographer, with a furious
look. "Is that a personal allusion?"
   "An allusion to what?" asked McNabbs, quietly. This
was all that passed. The mystery of the <i>Duncan's</i> presence
on the coast was explained, and all that the travelers thought
about now was to get back to their comfortable cabins, and
to have breakfast.
   However, Glenarvan and John Mangles stayed behind
with Tom Austin after the others had retired. They wished
to put some further questions to him.
   "Now, then, old Austin," said Glenarvan, "tell me, didn't
it strike you as strange to be ordered to go and cruise on the
coast of New Zealand?"
   "Yes, your Honor," replied Tom. "I was very much
surprised, but it is not my custom to discuss any orders I
receive, and I obeyed. Could I do otherwise? If some
catastrophe had occurred through not carrying out your in-
junctions to the letter, should not I have been to blame?
Would you have acted differently, captain?"
   "No, Tom," replied John Mangles.
   "But what did you think?" asked Glenarvan.
   "I thought, your Honor, that in the interest of Harry
Grant, it was necessary to go where I was told to go. I
thought that in consequence of fresh arrangements, you were
to sail over to New Zealand, and that I was to wait for you
on the east coast of the island. Moreover, on leaving Mel-
bourne, I kept our destination a secret, and the crew only
knew it when we were right out at sea, and the Australian
continent was finally out of sight. But one circumstance
occurred which greatly perplexed me."
   "What was it, Tom?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Just this, that when the quartermaster of the <i>Britannia</i>
heard our destination --"
   "Ayrton!" cried Glenarvan. "Then he is on board?"
   "Yes, your Honor."
   "Ayrton here?" repeated Glenarvan, looking at John
Mangles.


404   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "God has so willed!" said the young captain.
   In an instant, like lightning, Ayrton's conduct, his long-
planned treachery, Glenarvan's wound, Mulrady's assassina-
tion, the sufferings of the expedition in the marshes of the
Snowy River, the whole past life of the miscreant, flashed
before the eyes of the two men. And now, by the strangest
concourse of events, the convict was in their power.
   "Where is he?" asked Glenarvan eagerly.
   "In a cabin in the forecastle, and under guard."
   "Why was he imprisoned?"
   "Because when Ayrton heard the vessel was going to
New Zealand, he was in a fury; because he tried to force
me to alter the course of the ship; because he threatened me;
and, last of all, because he incited my men to mutiny. I saw
clearly he was a dangerous individual, and I must take pre-
cautions against him."
   "And since then?"
   "Since then he has remained in his cabin without attempt-
ing to go out."
   "That's well, Tom."
   Just at this moment Glenarvan and John Mangles were
summoned to the saloon where breakfast, which they so
sorely needed, was awaiting them. They seated themselves
at the table and spoke no more of Ayrton.
   But after the meal was over, and the guests were re-
freshed and invigorated, and they all went upon deck, Glen-
arvan acquainted them with the fact of the quartermaster's
presence on board, and at the same time announced his in-
tention of having him brought before them.
   "May I beg to be excused from being present at his ex-
amination?" said Lady Helena. "I confess, dear Edward,
it would be extremely painful for me to see the wretched
man."
   "He must be confronted with us, Helena," replied Lord
Glenarvan; "I beg you will stay. Ben Joyce must see all
his victims face to face."
   Lady Helena yielded to his wish. Mary Grant sat beside
her, near Glenarvan. All the others formed a group round
them, the whole party that had been compromised so seri-
ously by the treachery of the convict. The crew of the
yacht, without understanding the gravity of the situation,
kept profound silence.
   "Bring Ayrton here," said Glenarvan.


CHAPTER XVII
AYRTON'S OBSTINACY

   AYRTON came. He crossed the deck with a confident
tread, and mounted the steps to the poop. His eyes were
gloomy, his teeth set, his fists clenched convulsively. His
appearance betrayed neither effrontery nor timidity. When
he found himself in the presence of Lord Glenarvan he
folded his arms and awaited the questions calmly and si-
lently.
   "Ayrton," said Glenarvan, "here we are then, you and
us, on this very <i>Duncan</i> that you wished to deliver into the
hands of the convicts of Ben Joyce."
   The lips of the quartermaster trembled slightly and a
quick flush suffused his impassive features. Not the flush
of remorse, but of shame at failure. On this yacht which
he thought he was to command as master, he was a prisoner,
and his fate was about to be decided in a few seconds.
   However, he made no reply.  Glenarvan waited pa-
tiently. But Ayrton persisted in keeping absolute silence.
   "Speak, Ayrton, what have you to say?" resumed Glen-
arvan.
   Ayrton hesitated, the wrinkles in his forehead deepened,
and at length he said in calm voice:
   "I have nothing to say, my Lord.   I have been fool
enough to allow myself to be caught. Act as you please."
   Then he turned his eyes away toward the coast which lay
on the west, and affected profound indifference to what
was passing around him. One would have thought him a
stranger to the whole affair. But Glenarvan was deter-
mined to be patient. Powerful motives urged him to find
out certain details concerning the mysterious life of Ayrton,
especially those which related to Harry Grant and the <i>Bri-
tannia</i>. He therefore resumed his interrogations, speaking
with extreme gentleness and firmly restraining his violent
irritation against him.
   "I think, Ayrton," he went on, "that you will not refuse
to reply to certain questions that I wish to put to you; and,
first of all, ought I to call you Ayrton or Ben Joyce? Are
you, or are you not, the quartermaster of the <i>Britannia?</i>"
   Ayrton remained impassive, gazing at the coast, deaf to
every question.
   Glenarvan's eyes kindled, as he said again:

405


406  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Will you tell me how you left the <i>Britannia</i>, and why
you are in Australia?"
   The same silence, the same impassibility.
   "Listen to me, Ayrton," continued Glenarvan; "it is to
your interest to speak. Frankness is the only resource left
to you, and it may stand you in good stead. For the last
time, I ask you, will you reply to my questions?"
   Ayrton turned his head toward Glenarvan, and looked
into his eyes.
   "My Lord," he said, "it is not for me to answer. Jus-
tice may witness against me, but I am not going to witness
against myself."
   "Proof will be easy," said Glenarvan.
   "Easy, my Lord," repeated Ayrton, in a mocking tone.
"Your honor makes rather a bold assertion there, it seems
to me. For my own part, I venture to affirm that the best
judge in the Temple would be puzzled what to make of me.
Who will say why I came to Australia, when Captain Grant
is not here to tell? Who will prove that I am the Ben Joyce
placarded by the police, when the police have never had me
in their hands, and my companions are at liberty? Who can
damage me except yourself, by bringing forward a single
crime against me, or even a blameable action? Who will
affirm that I intended to take possession of this ship and
deliver it into the hands of the convicts? No one, I tell you,
no one. You have your suspicions, but you need certainties
to condemn a man, and certainties you have none. Until
there is a proof to the contrary, I am Ayrton, quartermaster
of the <i>Britannia</i>."
   Ayrton had become animated while he was speaking, but
soon relapsed into his former indifference.
   He, no doubt, expected that his reply would close the ex-
amination, but Glenarvan commenced again, and said:
   "Ayrton, I am not a Crown prosecutor charged with your
indictment. That is no business of mine. It is important
that our respective situations should be clearly defined. I
am not asking you anything that could compromise you.
That is for justice to do. But you know what I am search-
ing for, and a single word may put me on the track I have
lost. Will you speak?"
   Ayrton shook his head like a man determined to be
silent.


AYRTON'S OBSTINACY       407

   "Will you tell me where Captain Grant is?" asked Glen-
arvan.
   "No, my Lord," replied Ayrton.
   "Will you tell me where the <i>Britannia</i> was wrecked?"
   "No, neither the one nor the other."
   "Ayrton," said Glenarvan, in almost beseeching tones,
"if you know where Harry Grant is, will you, at least, tell
his poor children, who are waiting for you to speak the
word?"
   Ayrton hesitated. His features contracted, and he mut-
tered in a low voice, "I cannot, my Lord."
   Then he added with vehemence, as if reproaching him-
self for a momentary weakness:
   "No, I will not speak. Have me hanged, if you choose."
   "Hanged!" exclaimed Glenarvan, overcome by a sud-
den feeling of anger.
   But immediately mastering himself, he added in a grave
voice:
   "Ayrton, there is neither judge nor executioner here.
At the first port we touch at, you will be given up into the
hands of the English authorities."
   "That is what I demand," was the quartermaster's reply.
   Then he turned away and quietly walked back to his
cabin, which served as his prison. Two sailors kept guard
at the door, with orders to watch his slightest movement.
The witnesses of this examination retired from the scene
indignant and despairing.
   As Glenarvan could make no way against Ayrton's ob-
stinacy, what was to be done now? Plainly no course re-
mained but to carry out the plan formed at Eden, of
returning to Europe and giving up for the time this unsuc-
cessful enterprise, for the traces of the <i>Britannia</i> seemed
irrevocably lost, and the document did not appear to allow
any fresh interpretation. On the 37th parallel there was
not even another country, and the <i>Duncan</i> had only to turn
and go back.
   After Glenarvan had consulted his friends, he talked over
the question of returning, more particularly with the cap-
tain. John examined the coal bunkers, and found there
was only enough to last fifteen days longer at the outside.
It was necessary, therefore, to put in at the nearest port for
a fresh supply.


408  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   John proposed that he should steer for the Bay of Talca-
huano, where the <i>Duncan</i> had once before been revictualed
before she commenced her voyage of circumnavigation. It
was a direct route across, and lay exactly along the 37th
parallel. From thence the yacht, being amply provisioned,
might go south, double Cape Horn, and get back to Scotland
by the Atlantic route.
   This plan was adopted, and orders were given to the en-
gineer to get up the steam. Half an hour afterward the
beak-head of the yacht was turned toward Talcahuano, over
a sea worthy of being called the Pacific, and at six P. M.
the last mountains of New Zealand had disappeared in
warm, hazy mist on the horizon.
   The return voyage was fairly commenced. A sad voy-
age, for the courageous searching party to come back to
the port without bringing home Harry Grant with them!
The crew, so joyous at departure and so hopeful, were com-
ing back to Europe defeated and discouraged. There was
not one among the brave fellows whose heart did not swell
at the thought of seeing his own country once more; and
yet there was not one among them either who would not
have been willing to brave the perils of the sea for a long
time still if they could but find Captain Grant.
   Consequently, the hurrahs which greeted the return of
Lord Glenarvan to the yacht soon gave place to dejection.
Instead of the close intercourse which had formerly existed
among the passengers, and the lively conversations which
had cheered the voyage, each one kept apart from the others
in the solitude of his own cabin, and it was seldom that
anyone appeared on the deck of the <i>Duncan</i>.
   Paganel, who generally shared in an exaggerated form
the feelings of those about him, whether painful or joyous
-- a man who could have invented hope if necessary -- even
Paganel was gloomy and taciturn. He was seldom vis-
ible; his natural loquacity and French vivacity gave place
to silence and dejection. He seemed even more down-
hearted than his companions. If Glenarvan spoke at all of
renewing the search, he shook his head like a man who has
given up all hope, and whose convictions concerning the fate
of the shipwrecked men appeared settled. It was quite evi-
dent he believed them irrevocably lost.
   And yet there was a man on board who could have spoken


AYRTON'S OBSTINACY        409

the decisive word, and refused to break his silence. This
was Ayrton. There was no doubt the fellow knew, if not
the present whereabouts of the captain, at least the place of
shipwreck. But it was evident that were Grant found, he
would be a witness against him. Hence his persistent si-
lence, which gave rise to great indignation on board, espe-
cially among the crew, who would have liked to deal sum-
marily with him.
   Glenarvan repeatedly renewed his attempts with the quar-
termaster, but promises and threats were alike useless. Ayr-
ton's obstinacy was so great, and so inexplicable, that the
Major began to believe he had nothing to reveal. His opin-
ion was shared, moreover, by the geographer, as it cor-
roborated his own notion about Harry Grant.
   But if Ayrton knew nothing, why did he not confess his
ignorance? It could not be turned against him. His si-
lence increased the difficulty of forming any new plan. Was
the presence of the quartermaster on the Australian conti-
nent a proof of Harry Grant's being there? It was settled
that they must get this information out of Ayrton.
   Lady Helena, seeing her husband's ill-success, asked his
permission to try her powers against the obstinacy of the
quartermaster. When a man had failed, a woman perhaps,
with her gentler influence, might succeed. Is there not a
constant repetition going on of the story of the fable where
the storm, blow as it will, cannot tear the cloak from the
shoulders of the traveler, while the first warm rays of sun-
shine make him throw it off immediately?
   Glenarvan, knowing his young wife's good sense, allowed
her to act as she pleased.
   The same day (the 5th of March), Ayrton was conducted
to Lady Helena's saloon. Mary Grant was to be present
at the interview, for the influence of the young girl might
be considerable, and Lady Helena would not lose any chance
of success.
   For a whole hour the two ladies were closeted with the
quartermaster, but nothing transpired about their interview.
What had been said, what arguments they used to win the
secret from the convict, or what questions were asked, re-
mained unknown; but when they left Ayrton, they did not
seem to have succeeded, as the expression on their faces
denoted discouragement.


410   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   In consequence of this, when the quartermaster was being
taken back to his cabin, the sailors met him with violent
menaces. He took no notice except by shrugging his shoul-
ders, which so increased their rage, that John Mangles and
Glenarvan had to interfere, and could only repress it with
difficulty.
   But Lady Helena would not own herself vanquished. She
resolved to struggle to the last with this pitiless man, and
went next day herself to his cabin to avoid exposing him
again to the vindictiveness of the crew.
   The good and gentle Scotchwoman stayed alone with the
convict leader for two long hours. Glenarvan in a state of
extreme nervous anxiety, remained outside the cabin, al-
ternately resolved to exhaust completely this last chance of
success, alternately resolved to rush in and snatch his wife
from so painful a situation.
   But this time when Lady Helena reappeared, her look
was full of hope. Had she succeeded in extracting the
secret, and awakening in that adamant heart a last faint
touch of pity?
   McNabbs, who first saw her, could not restrain a gesture
of incredulity.
   However the report soon spread among the sailors that
the quartermaster had yielded to the persuasions of Lady
Helena. The effect was electrical. The entire crew as-
sembled on deck far quicker than Tom Austin's whistle
could have brought them together.
   Glenarvan had hastened up to his wife and eagerly asked:
   "Has he spoken?"
   "No," replied Lady Helena, "but he has yielded to my
entreaties, and wishes to see you."
   "Ah, dear Helena, you have succeeded!"
   "I hope so, Edward."
   "Have you made him any promise that I must ratify?"
   "Only one; that you will do all in your power to mitigate
his punishment."
   "Very well, dear Helena. Let Ayrton come immedi-
ately."
   Lady Helena retired to her cabin with Mary Grant, and
the quartermaster was brought into the saloon where Lord
Glenarvan was expecting him.


CHAPTER XVIII
A DISCOURAGING CONFESSION

   As soon as the quartermaster was brought into the pres-
ence of Lord Glenarvan, his keepers withdrew.
   "You wanted to speak to me, Ayrton?" said Glenarvan.
   "Yes, my Lord," replied the quartermaster.
   "Did you wish for a private interview?"
   "Yes, but I think if Major McNabbs and Mr. Paganel
were present it would be better."
   "For whom?"
   "For myself."
   Ayrton spoke quite calmly and firmly. Glenarvan looked
at him for an instant, and then sent to summon McNabbs
and Paganel, who came at once.
   "We are all ready to listen to you," said Glenarvan, when
his two friends had taken their place at the saloon table.
   Ayrton collected himself, for an instant, and then said:
   "My Lord, it is usual for witnesses to be present at
every contract or transaction between two parties. That is
why I desire the presence of Messrs. Paganel and McNabbs,
for it is, properly speaking, a bargain which I propose to
make."
   Glenarvan, accustomed to Ayrton's ways, exhibited no
surprise, though any bargaining between this man and him-
self seemed strange.
   "What is the bargain?" he said.
   "This," replied Ayrton. "You wish to obtain from me
certain facts which may be useful to you. I wish to ob-
tain from you certain advantages which would be valuable
to me. It is giving for giving, my Lord. Do you agree
to this or not?"
   "What are the facts?" asked Paganel eagerly.
   "No," said Glenarvan. "What are the advantages?"
   Ayrton bowed in token that he understood Glenarvan's
distinction.
   "These," he said, "are the advantages I ask. It is still
your intention, I suppose, to deliver me up to the English
authorities?"
   "Yes, Ayrton, it is only justice."
   "I don't say it is not," replied the quartermaster quietly.
"Then of course you would never consent to set me at lib-
erty."

411


412   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Glenarvan hesitated before replying to a question so
plainly put. On the answer he gave, perhaps the fate of
Harry Grant might depend!
   However, a feeling of duty toward human justice com-
pelled him to say:
   "No, Ayrton, I cannot set you at liberty."
   "I do not ask it," said the quartermaster proudly.
   "Then, what is it you want?"
   "A middle place, my Lord, between the gibbet that awaits
me and the liberty which you cannot grant me."
   "And that is --"
   "To allow me to be left on one of the uninhabited islands
of the Pacific, with such things as are absolute necessaries.
I will manage as best I can, and will repent if I have time."
   Glenarvan, quite unprepared for such a proposal, looked
at his two friends in silence. But after a brief reflection,
he replied:
   "Ayrton, if I agree to your request, you will tell me all
I have an interest in knowing."
   "Yes, my Lord, that is to say, all I know about Captain
Grant and the <i>Britannia</i>."
   "The whole truth?"
   "The whole."
   "But what guarantee have I?"
   "Oh, I see what you are uneasy about. You need a
guarantee for me, for the truth of a criminal. That's nat-
ural. But what can you have under the circumstances.
There is no help for it, you must either take my offer or
leave it."
   "I will trust to you, Ayrton," said Glenarvan, simply.
   "And you do right, my Lord. Besides, if I deceive you,
vengeance is in your own power."
   "How?"
   "You can come and take me again from where you left
me, as I shall have no means of getting away from the
island."
   Ayrton had an answer for everything. He anticipated
the difficulties and furnished unanswerable arguments
against himself. It was evident he intended to affect per-
fect good faith in the business. It was impossible to show
more complete confidence. And yet he was prepared to go
still further in disinterestedness.


A DISCOURAGING CONFESSION    413

   "My Lord and gentlemen," he added, "I wish to con-
vince you of the fact that I am playing cards on the table.
I have no wish to deceive you, and I am going to give you
a fresh proof of my sincerity in this matter. I deal frankly
with you, because I reckon on your honor."
   "Speak, Ayrton," said Glenarvan.
   "My Lord, I have not your promise yet to accede to my
proposal, and yet I do not scruple to tell you that I know
very little about Harry Grant."
   "Very little," exclaimed Glenarvan.
   "Yes, my Lord, the details I am in a position to give you
relate to myself. They are entirely personal, and will not
do much to help you to recover the lost traces of Captain
Grant."
   Keen disappointment was depicted on the faces of Glen-
arvan and the Major. They thought the quartermaster in
the possession of an important secret, and he declared that
his communications would be very nearly barren. Paganel's
countenance remained unmoved.
   Somehow or other, this avowal of Ayrton, and surrender
of himself, so to speak, unconditionally, singularly touched
his auditors, especially when the quartermaster added:
   "So I tell you beforehand, the bargain will be more to
my profit than yours."
   "It does not signify," replied Glenarvan. "I accept your
proposal, Ayrton. I give you my word to land you on one
of the islands of the Pacific Ocean."
   "All right, my Lord," replied the quartermaster.
   Was this strange man glad of this decision? One might
have doubted it, for his impassive countenance betokened
no emotion whatever. It seemed as if he were acting for
someone else rather than himself.
   "I am ready to answer," he said.
   "We have no questions to put to you," said Glenarvan.
"Tell us all you know, Ayrton, and begin by declaring who
you are."
   "Gentlemen," replied Ayrton, "I am really Tom Ayrton,
the quartermaster of the <i>Britannia</i>.   I left Glasgow on
Harry Grant's ship on the 12th of March, 1861. For four-
teen months I cruised with him in the Pacific in search of
an advantageous spot for founding a Scotch colony. Harry
Grant was the man to carry out grand projects, but serious


414   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

disputes often arose between us. His temper and mine
could not agree. I cannot bend, and with Harry Grant,
when once his resolution is taken, any resistance is impos-
sible, my Lord. He has an iron will both for himself and
others.
   "But in spite of that, I dared to rebel, and I tried to get
the crew to join me, and to take possession of the vessel.
Whether I was to blame or not is of no consequence. Be
that as it may, Harry Grant had no scruples, and on the
8th of April, 1862, he left me behind on the west coast of
Australia."
   "Of Australia!" said the Major, interrupting Ayrton in
his narrative. "Then of course you had quitted the <i>Bri-
tannia</i> before she touched at Callao, which was her last
date?"
   "Yes," replied the quartermaster, "for the <i>Britannia</i> did
not touch there while I was on board. And how I came to
speak of Callao at Paddy O'Moore's farm was that I learned
the circumstances from your recital."
   "Go on, Ayrton," said Glenarvan.
   "I found myself abandoned on a nearly desert coast, but
only forty miles from the penal settlement at Perth, the
capital of Western Australia. As I was wandering there
along the shore, I met a band of convicts who had just
escaped, and I joined myself to them. You will dispense,
my Lord, with any account of my life for two years and a
half. This much, however, I must tell you, that I became
the leader of the gang, under the name of Ben Joyce. In
September, 1864, I introduced myself at the Irish farm,
where I engaged myself as a servant in my real name, Ayr-
ton. I waited there till I should get some chance of seizing
a ship. This was my one idea. Two months afterward the
<i>Duncan</i> arrived. During your visit to the farm you related
Captain Grant's history, and I learned then facts of which
I was not previously aware -- that the <i>Britannia</i> had touched
at Callao, and that her latest news was dated June, 1862, two
months after my disembarkation, and also about the docu-
ment and the loss of the ship somewhere along the 37th
parallel; and, lastly, the strong reasons you had for suppos-
ing Harry Grant was on the Australian continent. Without
the least hesitation I determined to appropriate the <i>Duncan</i>,
a matchless vessel, able to outdistance the swiftest ships in


A DISCOURAGING CONFESSION    415

the British Navy. But serious injuries had to be repaired.
I therefore let it go to Melbourne, and joined myself to you
in my true character as quartermaster, offering to guide you
to the scene of the shipwreck, fictitiously placed by me on
the east coast of Australia. It was in this way, followed or
sometimes preceded by my gang of convicts, I directed your
expedition toward the province of Victoria. My men com-
mitted a bootless crime at Camden Bridge; since the <i>Duncan</i>,
if brought to the coast, could not escape me, and with the
yacht once mine, I was master of the ocean. I led you in
this way unsuspectingly as far as the Snowy River. The
horses and bullocks dropped dead one by one, poisoned by
the gastrolobium. I dragged the wagon into the marshes,
where it got half buried. At my instance -- but you know
the rest, my Lord, and you may be sure that but for the
blunder of Mr. Paganel, I should now command the <i>Duncan</i>.
Such is my history, gentlemen. My disclosures, unfor-
tunately, cannot put you on the track of Harry Grant, and
you perceive that you have made but a poor bargain by com-
ing to my terms."
   The quartermaster said no more, but crossed his arms in
his usual fashion and waited. Glenarvan and his friends
kept silence. They felt that this strange criminal had spoken
the whole truth. He had only missed his coveted prize, the
<i>Duncan</i>, through a cause independent of his will. His ac-
complices had gone to Twofold Bay, as was proved by the
convict blouse found by Glenarvan. Faithful to the orders
of their chief, they had kept watch on the yacht, and at
length, weary of waiting, had returned to the old haunt of
robbers and incendiaries in the country parts of New South
Wales.
   The Major put the first question, his object being to ver-
ify the dates of the <i>Britannia</i>.
   "You are sure then," he said, "that it was on the 8th of
April you were left on the west coast of Australia?"
   "On that very day," replied Ayrton.
   "And do you know what projects Harry Grant had in
view at the time?"
   "In an indefinite way I do."
   "Say all you can, Ayrton," said Glenarvan, "the least
indication may set us in the right course."
   "I only know this much, my Lord," replied the quarter-


416  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

master, "that Captain Grant intended to visit New Zealand.
Now, as this part of the programme was not carried out
while I was on board, it is not impossible that on leaving
Callao the <i>Britannia</i> went to reconnoiter New Zealand.
This would agree with the date assigned by the document to
the shipwreck -- the 27th of June, 1862."
   "Clearly," said Paganel.
   "But," objected Glenarvan, "there is nothing in the frag-
mentary words in the document that could apply to New
Zealand."
   "That I cannot answer," said the quartermaster.
   "Well, Ayrton," said Glenarvan, "you have kept your
word, and I will keep mine. We have to decide now on
what island of the Pacific Ocean you are to be left?"
   "It matters little, my Lord," replied Ayrton.
   "Return to your cabin," said Glenarvan, "and wait our
decision."
   The quartermaster withdrew, guarded by the two sailors.
   "That villain might have been a man," said the Major.
   "Yes," returned Glenarvan; "he is a strong, clear-headed
fellow. Why was it that he must needs turn his powers to
such evil account?"
   "But Harry Grant?"
   "I must fear he is irrevocably lost. Poor children! Who
can tell them where their father is?"
   "I can!" replied Paganel. "Yes; I can!" One could
not help remarking that the geographer, so loquacious and
impatient usually, had scarcely spoken during Ayrton's ex-
amination. He listened without opening his mouth. But
this speech of his now was worth many others, and it made
Glenarvan spring to his feet, crying out: "You, Paganel!
you know where Captain Grant is?"
   "Yes, as far as can be known."
   "How do you know?"
   "From that infernal document."
   "Ah!" said the Major, in a tone of the most profound
incredulity.
   "Hear me first, and shrug your shoulders afterward,"
said Paganel. "I did not speak sooner, because you would
not have believed me. Besides, it was useless; and I only
speak to-day because Ayrton's opinion just supports my
own."

V. IV Verne


A DISCOURAGING CONFESSION    417

   "Then it is New Zealand?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Listen and judge," replied Paganel. "It is not with-
out reason, or, rather, I had a reason for making the blun-
der which has saved our lives. When I was in the very
act of writing the letter to Glenarvan's dictation, the word
<i>Zealand</i> was swimming in my brain. This is why. You
remember we were in the wagon. McNabbs had just ap-
prised Lady Helena about the convicts; he had given her
the number of the <cite>Australian and New Zealand Gazette</cite>
which contained the account of the catastrophe at Camden
Bridge. Now, just as I was writing, the newspaper was
lying on the ground, folded in such a manner that only
two syllables of the title were visible; these two syllables
were <i>aland</i>. What a sudden light flashed on my mind.
<i>Aland</i> was one of the words in the English document, one
that hitherto we had translated <i>a terre</i>, and which must
have been the termination of the proper noun, <i>Zealand</i>."
   "Indeed!" said Glenarvan.
   "Yes," continued Paganel, with profound conviction;
"this meaning had escaped me, and do you know why?
Because my wits were exercised naturally on the French
document, as it was most complete, and in that this im-
portant word was wanting."
   "Oh, oh!" said the Major; "your imagination goes too
far, Paganel; and you forget your former deductions."
   "Go on, Major; I am ready to answer you."
   "Well, then, what do you make of your word <i>austra?</i>"
   "What it was at first. It merely means southern coun-
tries."
   "Well, and this syllable, <i>indi</i>, which was first the root
of the <i>Indians</i>, and second the root of the word <i>in-
digenes?</i>"
   "Well, the third and last time," replied Paganel, "it
will be the first syllable of the word <i>indigence</i>."
   "And <i>contin?</i>" cried McNabbs. "Does that still mean
<i>continent?</i>"
   "No; since New Zealand is only an island."
   "What then?" asked Glenarvan.
   "My dear lord," replied Paganel, "I am going to trans-
late the document according to my third interpretation, and
you shall judge. I only make two observations before-
hand. First, forget as much as possible preceding inter-


418  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

pretations, and divest your mind of all preconceived no-
tions. Second, certain parts may appear to you strained,
and it is possible that I translate them badly; but they are
of no importance; among others, the word <i>agonie</i>, which
chokes me; but I cannot find any other explanation. Be-
sides, my interpretation was founded on the French docu-
ment; and don't forget it was written by an Englishman,
who could not be familiar with the idioms of the French
language. Now then, having said this much, I will be-
gin."
   And slowly articulating each syllable, he repeated the
following sentences:
   "<i>Le</i> 27th <i>Juin</i>, 1862, <i>le trois-mats Britannia</i>, de <i>Glas-
gow, a sombre</i> apres une longue <i>agonie</i> dans les mers
<i>australes</i> sur les cotes de la Nouvelle <i>Zelande</i> -- in English
<i>Zealand. Deux matelots</i> et le <i>Capitaine Grant</i> ont pu y
<i>aborder</i>. La <i>continu</i>ellement en <i>pr</i>oie a une <i>cruel</i>le <i>indi-</i>
gence, ils ont <i>jete ce document</i> par -- <i>de lon</i>gitude <i>et</i> 37&deg;
11' de <i>lati</i>tude. <i>Venex a leur</i> secours, ou ils sont <i>perdus!</i>"
(On the 27th of June, 1865, the three-mast vessel <i>Britannia</i>,
of Glasgow, has foundered after a long <i>ago</i>nie in the
Southern Seas, on the coast of New Zealand. Two sail-
ors and Captain Grant have succeeded in landing. Contin-
ually a prey to cruel indigence, they have thrown this
document into the sea in -- longitude and 37&deg; 11' latitude.
Come to their help, or they are lost.)
   Paganel stopped. His interpretation was admissible.
But precisely because it appeared as likely as the preceding,
it might be as false. Glenarvan and the Major did not
then try and discuss it. However, since no traces of the
<i>Britannia</i> had yet been met with, either on the Patagonian
or Australian coasts, at the points where these countries
are crossed by the 37th parallel, the chances were in favor
of New Zealand.
   "Now, Paganel," said Glenarvan, "will you tell me why
you have kept this interpretation secret for nearly two
months?"
   "Because I did not wish to buoy you up again with vain
hopes. Besides, we were going to Auckland, to the very
spot indicated by the latitude of the document."
   "But since then, when we were dragged out of the route,
why did you not speak?"


A DISCOURAGING CONFESSION    419

   "Because, however just the interpretation, it could do
nothing for the deliverance of the captain."
   "Why not, Paganel?"
   "Because, admitting that the captain was wrecked on
the New Zealand coast, now that two years have passed
and he has not reappeared, he must have perished by ship-
wreck or by the New Zealanders."
   "Then you are of the opinion," said Glenarvan,
"that --"
   "That vestiges of the wreck might be found; but that
the survivors of the <i>Britannia</i> have, beyond doubt, per-
ished."
   "Keep all this silent, friends," said Glenarvan, "and
let me choose a fitting moment to communicate these sad
tidings to Captain Grant's children."


CHAPTER XIX
A CRY IN THE NIGHT

   THE crew soon heard that no light had been thrown on
the situation of Captain Grant by the revelations of Ayrton,
and it caused profound disappointment among them, for
they had counted on the quartermaster, and the quarter-
master knew nothing which could put the <i>Duncan</i> on the
right track.
   The yacht therefore continued her course. They had
yet to select the island for Ayrton's banishment.
   Paganel and John Mangles consulted the charts on
board, and exactly on the 37th parallel found a little isle
marked by the name of Maria Theresa, a sunken rock in
the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,500 miles from the
American coast, and 1,500 miles from New Zealand. The
nearest land on the north was the Archipelago of Pomotou,
under the protectorate of France; on the south there was
nothing but the eternal ice-belt of the Polar Sea. No ship
would come to reconnoiter this solitary isle. No echoes
from the world would ever reach it. The storm birds only
would rest awhile on it during their long flight, and in
many charts the rock was not even marked.
   If ever complete isolation was to be found on earth, it
was on this little out-of-the-way island. Ayrton was in-


420  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

formed of its situation, and expressed his willingness to
live there apart from his fellows. The head of the vessel
was in consequence turned toward it immediately.
   Two days later, at two o'clock, the man on watch sig-
naled land on the horizon. This was Maria Theresa, a
low, elongated island, scarcely raised above the waves, and
looking like an enormous whale. It was still thirty miles
distant from the yacht, whose stem was rapidly cutting
her way over the water at the rate of sixteen knots an
hour.
   Gradually the form of the island grew more distinct on
the horizon. The orb of day sinking in the west, threw up
its peculiar outlines in sharp relief. A few peaks of no
great elevation stood out here and there, tipped with sun-
light. At five o'clock John Mangles could discern a light
smoke rising from it.
   "Is it a volcano?" he asked of Paganel, who was gazing
at this new land through his telescope.
   "I don't know what to think," replied the geographer;
"Maria Theresa is a spot little known; nevertheless, it
would not be surprising if its origin were due to some sub-
marine upheaval, and consequently it may be volcanic."
   "But in that case," said Glenarvan, "is there not reason
to fear that if an eruption produced it, an eruption may
carry it away?"
   "That is not possible," replied Paganel. "We know of
its existence for several centuries, which is our security.
When the Isle Julia emerged from the Mediterranean, it
did not remain long above the waves, and disappeared a
few months after its birth."
   "Very good," said Glenarvan. "Do you think, John,
we can get there to-night?"
   "No, your honor, I must not risk the <i>Duncan</i> in the
dark, for I am unacquainted with the coast. I will keep
under steam, but go very slowly, and to-morrow, at day-
break, we can send off a boat."
   At eight o'clock in the evening, Maria Theresa, though
five miles to leeward, appeared only an elongated shadow,
scarcely visible. The <i>Duncan</i> was always getting nearer.
   At nine o'clock, a bright glare became visible, and flames
shot up through the darkness. The light was steady and
continued.


A CRY IN THE NIGHT        421

   "That confirms the supposition of a volcano," said Pag-
anel, observing it attentively.
   "Yet," replied John Mangles, "at this distance we ought
to hear the noise which always accompanies an eruption,
and the east wind brings no sound whatever to our ear."
   "That's true," said Paganel. "It is a volcano that
blazes, but does not speak. The gleam seems intermittent
too, sometimes, like that of a lighthouse."
   "You are right," said John Mangles, "and yet we are
not on a lighted coast."
   "Ah!" he exclaimed, "another fire? On the shore this
time! Look! It moves! It has changed its place!"
   John was not mistaken. A fresh fire had appeared,
which seemed to die out now and then, and suddenly flare
up again.
   "Is the island inhabited then?" said Glenarvan.
   "By savages, evidently," replied Paganel.
   "But in that case, we cannot leave the quartermaster
there."
   "No," replied the Major, "he would be too bad a gift
even to bestow on savages."
   "We must find some other uninhabited island," said
Glenarvan, who could not help smiling at the delicacy of
McNabbs. "I promised Ayrton his life, and I mean to
keep my promise."
   "At all events, don't let us trust them," added Paganel.
"The New Zealanders have the barbarous custom of de-
ceiving ships by moving lights, like the wreckers on the
Cornish coast in former times. Now the natives of Maria
Theresa may have heard of this proceeding."
   "Keep her off a point," called out John to the man at
the helm. "To-morrow at sunrise we shall know what
we're about."
   At eleven o'clock, the passengers and John Mangles re-
tired to their cabins. In the forepart of the yacht the man
on watch was pacing the deck, while aft, there was no one
but the man at the wheel.
   At this moment Mary Grant and Robert came on the
poop.
   The two children of the captain, leaning over the rail,
gazed sadly at the phosphorescent waves and the luminous
wake of the <i>Duncan</i>. Mary was thinking of her brother's


422   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

future, and Robert of his sister's. Their father was up-
permost in the minds of both. Was this idolized parent
still in existence? Must they give him up? But no, for
what would life be without him? What would become of
them without him? What would have become of them
already, but for Lord Glenarvan and Lady Helena?
   The young boy, old above his years through trouble, di-
vined the thoughts that troubled his sister, and taking her
hand in his own, said, "Mary, we must never despair.
Remember the lessons our father gave us. Keep your
courage up and no matter what befalls you, let us show
this obstinate courage which can rise above everything.
Up to this time, sister, you have been working for me, it
is my turn now, and I will work for you."
   "Dear Robert!" replied the young girl.
   "I must tell you something," resumed Robert. "You
mustn't be vexed, Mary!"
   "Why should I be vexed, my child?"
   "And you will let me do it?"
   "What do you mean?" said Mary, getting uneasy.
   "Sister, I am going to be a sailor!"
   "You are going to leave me!" cried the young girl,
pressing her brother's hand.
   "Yes, sister; I want to be a sailor, like my father and
Captain John. Mary, dear Mary, Captain John has not
lost all hope, he says. You have confidence in his devo-
tion to us, and so have I. He is going to make a grand
sailor out of me some day, he has promised me he will;
and then we are going to look for our father together.
Tell me you are willing, sister mine. What our father
would have done for us it is our duty, mine, at least, to do
for him. My life has one purpose to which it should be
entirely consecrated -- that is to search, and never cease
searching for my father, who would never have given us
up. Ah, Mary, how good our father was!"
   "And so noble, so generous!" added Mary. "Do you
know, Robert, he was already a glory to our country, and
that he would have been numbered among our great men if
fate had not arrested his course."
   "Yes, I know it," said Robert.
   Mary put her arm around the boy, and hugged him
fondly as he felt her tears fall on his forehead.


A CRY IN THE NIGHT        423

   "Mary, Mary!" he cried, "it doesn't matter what our
friends say, I still hope, and will always hope. A man like
my father doesn't die till he has finished his work."
   Mary Grant could not reply. Sobs choked her voice.
A thousand feelings struggled in her breast at the news
that fresh attempts were about to be made to recover Harry
Grant, and that the devotion of the captain was so un-
bounded.
   "And does Mr. John still hope?" she asked.
   "Yes," replied Robert. "He is a brother that will
never forsake us, never! I will be a sailor, you'll say yes,
won't you, sister? And let me join him in looking for my
father. I am sure you are willing."
   "Yes, I am willing," said Mary. "But the separation!"
she murmured.
   "You will not be alone, Mary, I know that. My friend
John told me so. Lady Helena will not let you leave her.
You are a woman; you can and should accept her kind-
ness. To refuse would be ungrateful, but a man, my
father has said a hundred times, must make his own way."
   "But what will become of our own dear home in Dun-
dee, so full of memories?"
   "We will keep it, little sister! All that is settled, and
settled so well, by our friend John, and also by Lord Glen-
arvan. He is to keep you at Malcolm Castle as if you
were his daughter. My Lord told my friend John so, and
he told me. You will be at home there, and have someone
to speak to about our father, while you are waiting till
John and I bring him back to you some day. Ah! what
a grand day that will be!" exclaimed Robert, his face
glowing with enthusiasm.
   "My boy, my brother," replied Mary, "how happy my
father would be if he could hear you. How much you are
like him, dear Robert, like our dear, dear father. When
you grow up you'll be just himself."
   "I hope I may," said Robert, blushing with filial and
sacred pride.
   "But how shall we requite Lord and Lady Glenarvan?"
said Mary Grant.
   "Oh, that will not be difficult," replied Robert, with
boyish confidence. "We will love and revere them, and
we will tell them so; and we will give them plenty of kisses,


424  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

and some day, when we can get the chance, we will die
for them."
   "We'll live for them, on the contrary," replied the young
girl, covering her brother's forehead with kisses. "They
will like that better, and so shall I."
   The two children then relapsed into silence, gazing out
into the dark night, and giving way to long reveries, in-
terrupted occasionally by a question or remark from one
to the other. A long swell undulated the surface of the
calm sea, and the screw turned up a luminous furrow in the
darkness.
   A strange and altogether supernatural incident now oc-
curred. The brother and sister, by some of those magnetic
communications which link souls mysteriously together,
were the subjects at the same time and the same instant of
the same hallucination.
   Out of the midst of these waves, with their alternations
of light and shadow, a deep plaintive voice sent up a cry,
the tones of which thrilled through every fiber of their
being.
   "Come! come!" were the words which fell on their ears.
   They both started up and leaned over the railing, and
peered into the gloom with questioning eyes.
   "Mary, you heard that? You heard that?" cried
Robert.
   But they saw nothing but the long shadow that stretched
before them.
   "Robert," said Mary, pale with emotion, "I thought --
yes, I thought as you did, that -- We must both be ill
with fever, Robert."
   A second time the cry reached them, and this time the
illusion was so great, that they both exclaimed simulta-
neously, "My father! My father!"
   It was too much for Mary. Overcome with emotion,
she fell fainting into Robert's arms.
   "Help!" shouted Robert. "My sister! my father!
Help! Help!"
   The man at the wheel darted forward to lift up the girl.
The sailors on watch ran to assist, and John Mangles, Lady
Helena, and Glenarvan were hastily roused from sleep.
   "My sister is dying, and my father is there!" exclaimed
Robert, pointing to the waves.


A CRY IN THE NIGHT        425

   They were wholly at a loss to understand him.
   "Yes!" he repeated, "my father is there! I heard my
father's voice; Mary heard it too!"
   Just at this moment, Mary Grant recovering conscious-
ness, but wandering and excited, called out, "My father!
my father is there!"
   And the poor girl started up, and leaning over the side
of the yacht, wanted to throw herself into the sea.
   "My Lord -- Lady Helena!" she exclaimed, clasping her
hands, "I tell you my father is there! I can declare that
I heard his voice come out of the waves like a wail, as if
it were a last adieu."
   The young girl went off again into convulsions and
spasms, which became so violent that she had to be carried
to her cabin, where Lady Helena lavished every care on
her. Robert kept on repeating, "My father! my father is
there! I am sure of it, my Lord!"
   The spectators of this painful scene saw that the cap-
tain's children were laboring under an hallucination. But
how were they to be undeceived?
   Glenarvan made an attempt, however. He took Rob-
ert's hand, and said, "You say you heard your father's
voice, my dear boy?"
   "Yes, my Lord; there, in the middle of the waves. He
cried out, 'Come! come!'"
   "And did you recognize his voice?"
   "Yes, I recognized it immediately. Yes, yes; I can
swear to it! My sister heard it, and recognized it as well.
How could we both be deceived? My Lord, do let us go
to my father's help. A boat! a boat!"
   Glenarvan saw it was impossible to undeceive the poor
boy, but he tried once more by saying to the man at the
wheel:
   "Hawkins, you were at the wheel, were you not, when
Miss Mary was so strangely attacked?"
   "Yes, your Honor," replied Hawkins.
   "And you heard nothing, and saw nothing?"
   "Nothing."
   "Now Robert, see?"
   "If it had been Hawkins's father," returned the boy, with
indomitable energy, "Hawkins would not say he had heard
nothing. It was my father, my lord! my father."


426   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   Sobs choked his voice; he became pale and silent, and
presently fell down insensible, like his sister.
   Glenarvan had him carried to his bed, where he lay in
a deep swoon.
   "Poor orphans," said John Mangles. "It is a terrible
trial they have to bear!"
   "Yes," said Glenarvan; "excessive grief has produced
the same hallucination in both of them, and at the same
time."
   "In both of them!" muttered Paganel; "that's strange,
and pure science would say inadmissible."
   He leaned over the side of the vessel, and listened at-
tentively, making a sign to the rest to keep still.
   But profound silence reigned around. Paganel shouted
his loudest. No response came.
   "It is strange," repeated the geographer, going back to
his cabin. "Close sympathy in thought and grief does
not suffice to explain this phenomenon."
   Next day, March 4, at 5 A. M., at dawn, the passengers,
including Mary and Robert, who would not stay behind,
were all assembled on the poop, each one eager to examine
the land they had only caught a glimpse of the night before.
   The yacht was coasting along the island at the distance
of about a mile, and its smallest details could be seen by
the eye.
   Suddenly Robert gave a loud cry, and exclaimed he
could see two men running about and gesticulating, and a
third was waving a flag.
   "The Union Jack," said John Mangles, who had caught
up a spy-glass.
   "True enough," said Paganel, turning sharply round
toward Robert.
   "My Lord," said Robert, trembling with emotion, "if
you don't want me to swim to the shore, let a boat be low-
ered. Oh, my Lord, I implore you to let me be the first
to land."
   No one dared to speak. What! on this little isle, crossed
by the 37th parallel, there were three men, shipwrecked
Englishmen! Instantaneously everyone thought of the
voice heard by Robert and Mary the preceding night. The
children were right, perhaps, in the affirmation. The
sound of a voice might have reached them, but this voice --


A CRY IN THE NIGHT        427

was it their father's? No, alas, most assuredly no. And
as they thought of the dreadful disappointment that awaited
them, they trembled lest this new trial should crush them
completely. But who could stop them from going on
shore? Lord Glenarvan had not the heart to do it.
   "Lower a boat," he called out.
   Another minute and the boat was ready. The two
children of Captain Grant, Glenarvan, John Mangles, and
Paganel, rushed into it, and six sailors, who rowed so vig-
orously that they were presently almost close to the shore.
   At ten fathoms' distance a piercing cry broke from
Mary's lips.
   "My father!" she exclaimed.
   A man was standing on the beach, between two others.
His tall, powerful form, and his physiognomy, with its
mingled expression of boldness and gentleness, bore a re-
semblance both to Mary and Robert. This was indeed the
man the children had so often described. Their hearts
had not deceived them. This was their father, Captain
Grant!
   The captain had heard Mary's cry, for he held out his
arms, and fell flat on the sand, as if struck by a thunder-
bolt.


CHAPTER XX
CAPTAIN GRANT'S STORY

   JOY does not kill, for both father and children recovered
before they had reached the yacht. The scene which fol-
lowed, who can describe? Language fails. The whole
crew wept aloud at the sight of these three clasped together
in a close, silent embrace.
   The moment Harry Grant came on deck, he knelt down
reverently. The pious Scotchman's first act on touching
the yacht, which to him was the soil of his native land, was
to return thanks to the God of his deliverance. Then, turn-
ing to Lady Helena and Lord Glenarvan, and his com-
panions, he thanked them in broken words, for his heart
was too full to speak. During the short passage from the
isle to the yacht, his children had given him a brief sketch
of the <i>Duncan's</i> history.
   What an immense debt he owed to this noble lady and


428  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

her friends! From Lord Glenarvan, down to the lowest
sailor on board, how all had struggled and suffered for
him! Harry Grant expressed his gratitude with such sim-
plicity and nobleness, his manly face suffused with pure and
sweet emotion, that the whole crew felt amply recompensed
for the trials they had undergone. Even the impassable
Major himself felt a tear steal down his cheek in spite of
all his self-command; while the good, simple Paganel cried
like a child who does not care who sees his tears.
   Harry Grant could not take his eyes off his daughter.
He thought her beautiful, charming; and he not only said so
to himself, but repeated it aloud, and appealed to Lady
Helena for confirmation of his opinion, as if to convince
himself that he was not blinded by his paternal affection.
His boy, too, came in for admiration. "How he has grown!
he is a man!" was his delighted exclamation. And he
covered the two children so dear to him with the kisses he
had been heaping up for them during his two years of
absence.
   Robert then presented all his friends successively, and
found means always to vary the formula of introduction,
though he had to say the same thing about each. The fact
was, each and all had been perfect in the children's eyes.
   John Mangles blushed like a child when his turn came,
and his voice trembled as he spoke to Mary's father.
   Lady Helena gave Captain Grant a narrative of the voy-
age, and made him proud of his son and daughter. She
told him of the young hero's exploits, and how the lad had
already paid back part of the paternal debt to Lord Glenar-
van. John Mangles sang Mary's praises in such terms, that
Harry Grant, acting on a hint from Lady Helena, put his
daughter's hand into that of the brave young captain, and
turning to Lord and Lady Glenarvan, said: "My Lord, and
you, Madam, also give your blessing to our children."
   When everything had been said and re-said over and
over again, Glenarvan informed Harry Grant about Ayr-
ton. Grant confirmed the quartermaster's confession as
far as his disembarkation on the coast of Australia was
concerned.
   "He is an intelligent, intrepid man," he added, "whose
passions have led him astray. May reflection and repent-
ance bring him to a better mind!"


CAPTAIN GRANT'S STORY     429

   But before Ayrton was transferred, Harry Grant wished
to do the honors of his rock to his friends. He invited
them to visit his wooden house, and dine with him in Robin-
son Crusoe fashion.
   Glenarvan and his friends accepted the invitation most
willingly. Robert and Mary were eagerly longing to see the
solitary house where their father had so often wept at the
thought of them. A boat was manned, and the Captain
and his two children, Lord and Lady Glenarvan, the Major,
John Mangles, and Paganel, landed on the shores of the
island.
   A few hours sufficed to explore the whole domain of
Harry Grant. It was in fact the summit of a submarine
mountain, a plateau composed of basaltic rocks and volcanic
<i>d&eacute;bris</i>. During the geological epochs of the earth, this
mountain had gradually emerged from the depths of the
Pacific, through the action of the subterranean fires, but
for ages back the volcano had been a peaceful mountain,
and the filled-up crater, an island rising out of the liquid
plain. Then soil formed. The vegetable kingdom took
possession of this new land. Several whalers landed do-
mestic animals there in passing; goats and pigs, which mul-
tiplied and ran wild, and the three kingdoms of nature were
now displayed on this island, sunk in mid ocean.
   When the survivors of the shipwrecked <i>Britannia</i> took
refuge there, the hand of man began to organize the efforts
of nature. In two years and a half, Harry Grant and his
two sailors had metamorphosed the island. Several acres
of well-cultivated land were stocked with vegetables of ex-
cellent quality.
   The house was shaded by luxuriant gum-trees. The
magnificent ocean stretched before the windows, sparkling
in the sunlight. Harry Grant had the table placed beneath
the grand trees, and all the guests seated themselves. A
hind quarter of a goat, nardou bread, several bowls of milk,
two or three roots of wild endive, and pure fresh water,
composed the simple repast, worthy of the shepherds of
Arcadia.
   Paganel was enchanted. His old fancies about Robin-
son Crusoe revived in full force. "He is not at all to be
pitied, that scoundrel, Ayrton!" he exclaimed, enthusias-
tically. "This little isle is just a paradise!"


430  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

   "Yes," replied Harry Grant, "a paradise to these poor,
shipwrecked fellows that Heaven had pity on, but I am
sorry that Maria Theresa was not an extensive and fertile
island, with a river instead of a stream, and a port instead
of a tiny bay exposed to the open sea."
   "And why, captain?" asked Glenarvan.
   "Because I should have made it the foundation of the
colony with which I mean to dower Scotland."
   "Ah, Captain Grant, you have not given up the project,
then, which made you so popular in our old country?"
   "No, my Lord, and God has only saved me through your
efforts that I might accomplish my task. My poor broth-
ers in old Caledonia, all who are needy must have a refuge
provided for them in another land against their misery, and
my dear country must have a colony of her own, for her-
self alone, somewhere in these seas, where she may find
that independence and comfort she so lacks in Europe."
   "Ah, that is very true, Captain Grant," said Lady Hel-
ena. "This is a grand project of yours, and worthy of a
noble heart. But this little isle --"
   "No, madam, it is a rock only fit at most to support a
few settlers; while what we need is a vast country, whose
virgin soil abounds in untouched stores of wealth," replied
the captain.
   "Well, captain," exclaimed Glenarvan, "the future is
ours, and this country we will seek for together."
   And the two brave Scotchmen joined hands in a hearty
grip and so sealed the compact.
   A general wish was expressed to hear, while they were
on the island, the account of the shipwreck of the <i>Britannia</i>,
and of the two years spent by the survivors in this very
place. Harry Grant was delighted to gratify their curios-
ity, and commenced his narration forthwith.
   "My story," he said, "is that of all the Robinson Cru-
soes cast upon an island, with only God and themselves to
rely on, and feeling it a duty to struggle for life with the
elements.
   "It was during the night of the 26th or 27th of June,
1862, that the <i>Britannia</i>, disabled by a six days' storm,
struck against the rocks of Maria Theresa. The sea was
mountains high, and lifeboats were useless. My unfortu-
nate crew all perished, except Bob Learce and Joe Bell,


CAPTAIN GRANT'S STORY     431

who with myself managed to reach shore after twenty un-
successful attempts.
   "The land which received us was only an uninhabited
island, two miles broad and five long, with about thirty
trees in the interior, a few meadows, and a brook of fresh
water, which fortunately never dried up. Alone with my
sailors, in this corner of the globe, I did not despair. I put
my trust in God, and accustomed myself to struggle reso-
lutely for existence. Bob and Joe, my brave companions in
misfortune, my friends, seconded me energetically.
   "We began like the fictitious Robinson Crusoe of Defoe,
our model, by collecting the planks of the ship, the tools,
a little powder, and firearms, and a bag of precious seeds.
The first few days were painful enough, but hunting and
fishing soon afforded us a sure supply of food, for wild
goats were in abundance in the interior of the island, and
marine animals abounded on the coast. By degrees we fell
into regular ways and habits of life.
   "I had saved my instruments from the wreck, and knew
exactly the position of the island. I found we were out of
the route of vessels, and could not be rescued unless by
some providential chance. I accepted our trying lot com-
posedly, always thinking, however, of my dear ones, re-
membering them every day in my prayers, though never
hoping to see them again.
   "However, we toiled on resolutely, and before long sev-
eral acres of land were sown with the seed off the <i>Britannia;</i>
potatoes, endive, sorrel, and other vegetables besides, gave
wholesome variety to our daily fare. We caught some
young kids, which soon grew quite tame. We had milk
and butter. The nardou, which grew abundantly in dried
up creeks, supplied us with tolerably substantial bread, and
we had no longer any fears for our material life.
   "We had built a log hut with the <i>d&eacute;bris</i> of the <i>Britannia</i>,
and this was covered over with sail cloth, carefully tarred
over, and beneath this secure shelter the rainy season passed
comfortably. Many a plan was discussed here, and many
a dream indulged in, the brightest of which is this day
realized.
   "I had at first the idea of trying to brave the perils of
the ocean in a canoe made out of the spars of the ship, but
1,500 miles lay between us and the nearest coast, that is to


432  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

say the islands of the Archipelago of Pomotou. No boat
could have stood so long a voyage. I therefore relin-
quished my scheme, and looked for no deliverance except
from a divine hand.
   "Ah, my poor children! how often we have stood on the
top of the rocks and watched the few vessels passing in
the distance far out at sea. During the whole period of
our exile only two or three vessels appeared on the horizon,
and those only to disappear again immediately. Two years
and a half were spent in this manner. We gave up hoping,
but yet did not despair. At last, early yesterday morning,
when I was standing on the highest peak of the island, I
noticed a light smoke rising in the west. It increased, and
soon a ship appeared in sight. It seemed to be coming to-
ward us. But would it not rather steer clear of an island
where there was no harbor.
   "Ah, what a day of agony that was! My heart was
almost bursting. My comrades kindled a fire on one of
the peaks. Night came on, but no signal came from the
yacht. Deliverance was there, however. Were we to see
it vanish from our eyes?
   "I hesitated no longer. The darkness was growing
deeper. The ship might double the island during the night.
I jumped into the sea, and attempted to make my way to-
ward it. Hope trebled my strength, I cleft the waves with
superhuman vigor, and had got so near the yacht that I
was scarcely thirty fathoms off, when it tacked about.
   "This provoked me to the despairing cry, which only my
two children heard. It was no illusion.
   "Then I came back to the shore, exhausted and over-
come with emotion and fatigue. My two sailors received
me half dead. It was a horrible night this last we spent
on the island, and we believed ourselves abandoned forever,
when day dawned, and there was the yacht sailing nearly
alongside, under easy steam. Your boat was lowered -- we
were saved -- and, oh, wonder of Divine goodness, my chil-
dren, my beloved children, were there holding out their
arms to me!"
   Robert and Mary almost smothered their father with
kisses and caresses as he ended his narrative.
   It was now for the first time that the captain heard that
he owed his deliverance to the somewhat hieroglyphical

V. IV Verne


CAPTAIN GRANT'S STORY     433

document which he had placed in a bottle and confined to
the mercy of the ocean.
   But what were Jacques Paganel's thoughts during Cap-
tain Grant's recital? The worthy geographer was turning
over in his brain for the thousandth time the words of the
document. He pondered his three successive interpreta-
tions, all of which had proved false. How had this island,
called Maria Theresa, been indicated in the papers orig-
inally?
   At last Paganel could contain himself no longer, and
seizing Harry Grant's hand, he exclaimed:
   "Captain! will you tell me at last what really was in
your indecipherable document?"
   A general curiosity was excited by this question of the
geographer, for the enigma which had been for nine months
a mystery was about to be explained.
   "Well, captain," repeated Paganel, "do you remember
the precise words of the document?"
   "Exactly," replied Harry Grant; "and not a day has
passed without my recalling to memory words with which
our last hopes were linked."
   "And what are they, captain?" asked Glenarvan.
"Speak, for our <i>amour propre</i> is wounded to the quick!"
   "I am ready to satisfy you," replied Harry Grant; "but,
you know, to multiply the chances of safety, I had inclosed
three documents in the bottle, in three different languages.
Which is it you wish to hear?"
   "They are not identical, then?" cried Paganel.
   "Yes, they are, almost to a word."
   "Well, then, let us have the French document," replied
Glenarvan. "That is the one that is most respected by
the waves, and the one on which our interpretations have
been mostly founded."
   "My Lord, I will give it you word for word," replied
Harry Grant.
   "<i>Le</i> 27 <i>Juin</i>, 1862, <i>le trois-mats Britannia, de Glasgow,
s'est perdu a quinze cents lieues de la Patagonie, dans
l'hemisphere austral. Partes a terre, deux matelots et le
Capitaine Grant ont atteint l'ile Tabor</i> --"
   "Oh!" exclaimed Paganel.
   "<i>La</i>," continued Harry Grant, "<i>continuellement en
proie a une cruelle indigence, ils ont jete ce document par</i>


434   IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

153&deg; <i>de longitude et</i> 37&deg; 11' <i>de latitude. Venes a leur
secours, ou ils sont perdus</i>."
   At the name of Tabor, Paganel had started up hastily,
and now being unable to restrain himself longer, he called
out:
   "How can it be Isle Tabor? Why, this is Maria Ther-
esa!"
   "Undoubtedly, Monsieur Paganel," replied Harry
Grant. "It is Maria Theresa on the English and German
charts, but is named Tabor on the French ones!"
   At this moment a vigorous thump on Paganel's shoulder
almost bent him double. Truth obliges us to say it was
the Major that dealt the blow, though strangely contrary to
his usual strict politeness.
   "Geographer!" said McNabbs, in a tone of the most su-
preme contempt.
   But Paganel had not even felt the Major's hand. What
was that compared to the geographical blow which had
stunned him?
   He had been gradually getting nearer the truth, however,
as he learned from Captain Grant. He had almost en-
tirely deciphered the indecipherable document. The names
Patagonia, Australia, New Zealand, had appeared to him
in turn with absolute certainty. <i>Contin</i>, at first <i>continent</i>,
had gradually reached its true meaning, <i>continuelle. Indi</i>
had successively signified <i>indiens, indigenes</i>, and at last the
right word was found -- <i>indigence</i>. But one mutilated
word, <i>abor</i>, had baffled the geographer's sagacity. Paga-
nel had persisted in making it the root of the verb <i>aborder</i>,
and it turned out to be a proper name, the French name of
the Isle Tabor, the isle which had been a refuge for the
shipwrecked sailors of the <i>Britannia</i>. It was difficult to
avoid falling into the error, however, for on the English
planispheres on the <i>Duncan</i>, the little isle was marked Ma-
ria Theresa.
   "No matter?" cried Paganel, tearing his hair; "I ought
not to have forgotten its double appellation. It is an un-
pardonable mistake, one unworthy of a secretary of the
Geographical Society. I am disgraced!"
   "Come, come, Monsieur Paganel," said Lady Helena;
"moderate your grief."
   "No, madam, no; I am a mere ass!"


CAPTAIN GRANT'S STORY     435

   "And not even a learned one!" added the Major, by
way of consolation.
   When the meal was over, Harry Grant put everything
in order in his house. He took nothing away, wishing the
guilty to inherit the riches of the innocent. Then they re-
turned to the vessel, and, as Glenarvan had determined to
start the same day, he gave immediate orders for the dis-
embarkation of the quartermaster. Ayrton was brought
up on the poop, and found himself face to face with Harry
Grant.
   "It is I, Ayrton!" said Grant
   "Yes, it is you, captain," replied Ayrton, without the
least sign of surprise at Harry Grant's recovery. "Well,
I am not sorry to see you again in good health."
   "It seems, Ayrton, that I made a mistake in landing you
on an inhabited coast."
   "It seems so, captain."
   "You are going to take my place on this uninhabited is-
land. May Heaven give you repentance!"
   "Amen," said Ayrton, calmly.
   Glenarvan then addressed the quartermaster.
   "It is still your wish, then, Ayrton, to be left behind?"
   "Yes, my Lord!"
   "And Isle Tabor meets your wishes?"
   "Perfectly."
   "Now then, listen to my last words, Ayrton. You will
be cut off here from all the world, and no communication
with your fellows is possible. Miracles are rare, and you
will not be able to quit this isle. You will be alone, with
no eye upon you but that of God, who reads the deepest
secrets of the heart; but you will be neither lost nor for-
saken, as Captain Grant was. Unworthy as you are of
anyone's remembrance, you will not be dropped out of rec-
ollection. I know where you are, Ayrton; I know where
to find you -- I shall never forget."
   "God keep your Honor," was all Ayrton's reply.
   These were the final words exchanged between Glenarvan
and the quartermaster. The boat was ready and Ayrton
got into it.
   John Mangles had previously conveyed to the island sev-
eral cases of preserved food, besides clothing, and tools
and firearms, and a supply of powder and shot. The quar-


436  IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

termaster could commence a new life of honest labor.
Nothing was lacking, not even books; among others, the
Bible, so dear to English hearts.
   The parting hour had come. The crew and all the pas-
sengers were assembled on deck. More than one felt his
heart swell with emotion. Mary Grant and Lady Helena
could not restrain their feelings.
   "Must it be done?" said the young wife to her hus-
band. "Must the poor man be left there?"
   "He must, Helena," replied Lord Glenarvan. "It is
in expiation of his crimes."
   At that moment the boat, in charge of John Mangles,
turned away. Ayrton, who remained standing, and still
unmoved, took off his cap and bowed gravely.
   Glenarvan uncovered, and all the crew followed his ex-
ample, as if in presence of a man who was about to die,
and the boat went off in profound silence.
   On reaching land, Ayrton jumped on the sandy shore,
and the boat returned to the yacht. It was then four
o'clock in the afternoon, and from the poop the passengers
could see the quartermaster gazing at the ship, standing
with folded arms on a rock, motionless as a statue.
   "Shall we set sail, my Lord?" asked John Mangles.
   "Yes, John," replied Glenarvan, hastily, more moved
than he cared to show.
   "Go on!" shouted John to the engineer.
   The steam hissed and puffed out, the screw began to
stir the waves, and by eight o'clock the last peaks of Isle
Tabor disappeared in the shadows of the night.


CHAPTER XXI
PAGANEL'S LAST ENTANGLEMENT

   ON the 19th of March, eleven days after leaving the is-
land, the <i>Duncan</i> sighted the American coast, and next day
dropped anchor in the bay of Talcahuano. They had come
back again after a voyage of five months, during which,
and keeping strictly along the 37th parallel, they had gone
round the world. The passengers in this memorable ex-
pedition, unprecedented in the annals of the Travelers'
Club, had visited Chili, the Pampas, the Argentine Repub-


PAGANEL'S LAST ENTANGLEMENT 437

lic, the Atlantic, the island of Tristan d'Acunha, the Indian
Ocean, Amsterdam Island, Australia, New Zealand, Isle
Tabor, and the Pacific. Their search had not been fruit-
less, for they were bringing back the survivors of the ship-
wrecked <i>Britannia</i>.
   Not one of the brave Scots who set out at the summons
of their chief, but could answer to their names; all were re-
turning to their old Scotia.
   As soon as the <i>Duncan</i> had re-provisioned, she sailed
along the coast of Patagonia, doubled Cape Horn, and
made a swift run up the Atlantic Ocean. No voyage could
be more devoid of incident. The yacht was simply carry-
ing home a cargo of happiness. There was no secret now
on board, not even John Mangles's attachment to Mary
Grant.
   Yes, there was one mystery still, which greatly excited
McNabbs's curiosity. Why was it that Paganel remained
always hermetically fastened up in his clothes, with a big
comforter round his throat and up to his very ears? The
Major was burning with desire to know the reason of this
singular fashion. But in spite of interrogations, allusions,
and suspicions on the part of McNabbs, Paganel would not
unbutton.
   Not even when the <i>Duncan</i> crossed the line, and the
heat was so great that the seams of the deck were melting.
"He is so <i>distrait</i> that he thinks he is at St. Petersburg,"
said the Major, when he saw the geographer wrapped in
an immense great-coat, as if the mercury had been frozen
in the thermometer.
   At last on the 9th of May, fifty-three days from the time
of leaving Talcahuano, John Mangles sighted the lights
of Cape Clear. The yacht entered St. George's Channel,
crossed the Irish Sea, and on the 10th of May reached the
Firth of Clyde. At 11 o'clock she dropped anchor off
Dunbarton, and at 2 P.M. the passengers arrived at Mal-
colm Castle amidst the enthusiastic cheering of the High-
landers.
   As fate would have it then, Harry Grant and his two
companions were saved. John Mangles wedded Mary
Grant in the old cathedral of St. Mungo, and Mr. Paxton,
the same clergyman who had prayed nine months before
for the deliverance of the father, now blessed the marriage


438 IN SEARCH OF THE CASTAWAYS

of his daughter and his deliverer. Robert was to become a
sailor like Harry Grant and John Mangles, and take part
with them in the captain's grand projects, under the aus-
pices of Lord Glenarvan.
   But fate also decreed that Paganel was not to die a
bachelor? Probably so.
   The fact was, the learned geographer after his heroic
exploits, could not escape celebrity. His blunders made
quite a <i>furore</i> among the fashionables of Scotland, and he
was overwhelmed with courtesies.
   It was then that an amiable lady, about thirty years of
age, in fact, a cousin of McNabbs, a little eccentric herself,
but good and still charming, fell in love with the geog-
rapher's oddities, and offered him her hand. Forty thou-
sand pounds went with it, but that was not mentioned.
   Paganel was far from being insensible to the sentiments
of Miss Arabella, but yet he did not dare to speak. It was
the Major who was the medium of communication between
these two souls, evidently made for each other. He even
told Paganel that his marriage was the last freak he would
be able to allow himself. Paganel was in a great state of
embarrassment, but strangely enough could not make up
his mind to speak the fatal word.
   "Does not Miss Arabella please you then?" asked Mc-
Nabbs.
   "Oh, Major, she is charming," exclaimed Paganel, "a
thousand times too charming, and if I must tell you all,
she would please me better if she were less so. I wish she
had a defect!"
   "Be easy on that score," replied the Major, "she has,
and more than one. The most perfect woman in the world
has always her quota. So, Paganel, it is settled then, I
suppose?"
   "I dare not."
   "Come, now, my learned friend, what makes you hesi-
tate?"
   "I am unworthy of Miss Arabella," was the invariable
reply of the geographer. And to this he would stick.
   At last, one day being fairly driven in a corner by the
intractable Major, he ended by confiding to him, under the
seal of secrecy, a certain peculiarity which would facilitate
his apprehension should the police ever be on his track.


PAGANEL'S LAST ENTANGLEMENT 439

   "Bah!" said the Major.
   "It is really as I tell you," replied Paganel.
   "What does it matter, my worthy friend?"
   "Do you think so, Major?"
   "On the contrary, it only makes you more uncommon.
It adds to your personal merits. It is the very thing to
make you the nonpareil husband that Arabella dreams
about."
   And the Major with imperturbable gravity left Paganel
in a state of the utmost disquietude.
   A short conversation ensued between McNabbs and Miss
Arabella. A fortnight afterwards, the marriage was cele-
brated in grand style in the chapel of Malcolm Castle.
Paganel looked magnificent, but closely buttoned up, and
Miss Arabella was arrayed in splendor.
   And this secret of the geographer would have been for-
ever buried in oblivion, if the Major had not mentioned it
to Glenarvan, and he could not hide it from Lady Helena,
who gave a hint to Mrs. Mangles. To make a long story
short, it got in the end to M. Olbinett's ears, and soon be-
came noised abroad.
   Jacques Paganel, during his three days' captivity among
the Maories, had been tattooed from the feet to the shoul-
ders, and he bore on his chest a heraldic kiwi with out-
spread wings, which was biting at his heart.
   This was the only adventure of his grand voyage that
Paganel could never get over, and he always bore a grudge
to New Zealand on account of it. It was for this reason
too, that, notwithstanding solicitation and regrets, he never
would return to France. He dreaded lest he should ex-
pose the whole Geographical Society in his person to the
jests of caricaturists and low newspapers, by their secre-
tary coming back tattooed.
   The return of the captain to Scotland was a national
event, and Harry Grant was soon the most popular man
in old Caledonia. His son Robert became a sailor like
himself and Captain Mangles, and under the patronage of
Lord Glenarvan they resumed the project of founding a
Scotch colony in the Southern Seas.





End of Project Gutenberg Etext In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne