The Mysterious Island eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 706 pages of information about The Mysterious Island.

At last, after half an hour, four rodents were taken in their holes.  They were similar to their European brethren, and are commonly known by the name of American rabbits.

This produce of the chase was brought back to Granite House, and figured at the evening repast.  The tenants of the warren were not at all to be despised, for they were delicious.  It was a valuable resource of the colony, and it appeared to be inexhaustible.

On the 31st of May the partitions were finished.  The rooms had now only to be furnished, and this would be work for the long winter days.  A chimney was established in the first room, which served as a kitchen.  The pipe destined to conduct the smoke outside gave some trouble to these amateur bricklayers.  It appeared simplest to Harding to make it of brick clay; as creating an outlet for it to the upper plateau was not to be thought of, a hole was pierced in the granite above the window of the kitchen, and the pipe met it like that of an iron stove.  Perhaps the winds which blew directly against the facade would make the chimney smoke, but these winds were rare, and besides, Master Neb, the cook, was not so very particular about that.

When these interior arrangements were finished, the engineer occupied himself in blocking up the outlet by the lake, so as to prevent any access by that way.  Masses of rock were rolled to the entrance and strongly cemented together.  Cyrus Harding did not yet realize his plan of drowning this opening under the waters of the lake, by restoring them to their former level by means of a dam.  He contented himself with hiding the obstruction with grass and shrubs, which were planted in the interstices of the rocks, and which next spring would sprout thickly.  However, he used the waterfall so as to lead a small stream of fresh water to the new dwelling.  A little trench, made below their level, produced this result; and this derivation from a pure and inexhaustible source yielded twenty-five or thirty gallons a day.  There would never be any want of water at Granite House.  At last all was finished, and it was time, for the bad season was near.  Thick shutters closed the windows of the facade, until the engineer had time to make glass.

Gideon Spilett had very artistically arranged on the rocky projections around the windows plants of different kinds, as well as long streaming grass, so that the openings were picturesquely framed in green, which had a pleasing effect.

The inhabitants of this solid, healthy, and secure dwelling, could not but be charmed with their work.  The view from the windows extended over a boundless horizon, which was closed by the two Mandible Capes on the north, and Claw Cape on the south.  All Union Bay was spread before them.  Yes, our brave settlers had reason to be satisfied, and Pencroft was lavish in his praise of what he humorously called, “his apartments on the fifth floor above the ground!”

Chapter 20

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The Mysterious Island from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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