The boys looked at the Professor, and he and John exchanged smiling glances, and both of them took the bulbs and began the meal with them in the most nonchalant manner. The boys could not understand the Professor's defiant manner in eating a poisonous bulb, and George cried out: "Didn't you say that the bulb was poisonous?"
"Yes, it is, for some things."
"Well, how can it be poisonous for some things and not for others. Don't the savages use the poisons of the arrows to kill people with?"
"Certainly; but it is used in that case as a blood poison. A blood poison is not necessarily a stomach poison. In truth, there are few poisons that are fatal to both the blood and stomach."
Chief had been slyly preparing this treat for them, as savages like the root, and all regarded it a welcome change, and it was that peculiar look which George wrongly interpreted. How often the motives of people are misjudged in the same manner, and without a more pronounced reason than Chief had!
When the meal was announced Angel, as usual, was the first to appear, and when he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror he thought one of his friends had come to visit him. It did not seem to startle him in the least, but like all children tried to look behind it.
The wall prevented that, so when George handed him one of the small ones, and he put his hand behind the mirror, the vacancy there is what alarmed him. When he did finally comprehend what it was, it so attracted him that he could not partake of the meal, but sat entranced before it.
After the meal he took the mirror to the rafters, and found a hiding place for it, and they would often notice him with it, but from that time forward he never brought it down into the room.
A SURPRISING TRIP TO THE CAVE
The house was completed and partly furnished. New bedding was prepared for the bedrooms, the Chief installed in one, and the other two reserved for John and the Professor. The new living room, which was commodious, served as a dining room, and a door was cut through from the old kitchen to the new dining parlor.
The other rooms in the original building were reserved for the boys. John was now fully recovered, and felt like beginning his task anew, although he did not recall any of the previous work which he was engaged in. Chief was progressing well in his education, and the constant source of wonder to all was that he did not take the advantage his liberty gave him to leave them.
One day John had a long conversation with him on the subject, and afterwards the boys were curious to know the result of the interview; but the result of the talk was not, apparently, satisfactory to John, and the subject was not pressed. He was entirely well, and took a keen interest in everything around him, and participated in the work. Each new phase had some special attraction, and as the days passed less anxiety was felt on this score.
In one of the evening conferences it was finally decided to make the preparations for a trip to the portion of the island where the savages had their homes. This meant a good supply of weapons and ammunition.
The following circumstances determined them on this course:
The Professor, addressing John, on this occasion, said: "We were intensely interested in the review of your experiences on the island; but there are several things which we are anxious to know about, and in some particulars you may be able to supply the missing links. We have not yet shown you the message which we found in the Investigator's lifeboat, so that if you will get it, Harry, you may be able to tell us something about it."
This was the little slip of paper which had on it the following inscription: "We cannot hold out much longer. Wright and Walters were captured yesterday. Will."
Harry handed it to him, and he looked at it for some time. "I do not know who Wright and Will are, but Walters was one of the crew of the sailing vessel that we took from San Francisco."
"Had you any knowledge of any of the boats of the Investigator being on the west side of the mountains during the time you were in that neighborhood?"
"No; during my stay with the tribe to which Chief belonged I tried in every way to ascertain something about the fate of my companions. Only once during that time did I get any sort of knowledge on that point. When I tried to describe the men, all denied any knowledge of them; but pointed to the youths of the village, and I could not understand what they meant. That is now made plain to me, as, undoubtedly, they meant the ones referred to were boys."
"And, now, there is another thing I want to know from Ralph and Tom. Did either of you have a photograph of some of the boys on the ship?"
George found the photograph which they had taken from one of the warriors in the second day's fight.
Ralph and Tom both declared that it was the first time they had ever seen the photograph, and on closer examination it was seen that while Harry and George were shown on the picture, neither of the other boys' features were there.
"Did either of you boys know of any of those mentioned in the message?"
"I knew a Will, but I do not remember his last name. I do not think Wright was the name of anyone on shipboard. I am sure he was not one of the boys," was Ralph's answer.
This information pointed to two things clearly: That there were other boys, belonging to their ship, castaway on the island, and that at least one of the crew of John's vessel might be found. It also assured them of the certain knowledge that there were others, either wandering about, or sharing the captivity mentioned in the message.
"I should state here," continued John, "I was informed by one of the chiefs that their disposition to the shipwrecked mariners had been, in the past, a friendly one, but that some time previously, how far back I do not know, a crew had been saved, and instead of rewarding them for the service, had murdered one of the chiefs and committed such excesses, that in self-protection they slaughtered them, and, thereafter, took prisoners only in order to use them for their sacrifices."
The plans for the forthcoming expedition were now fully discussed in every detail. The first proposal was to build a vessel of sufficient size to accommodate the party, but to this John offered the same objection which they had theretofore found so potent when the last trip was undertaken. It would take too long, and when they reached the savages it would be necessary to make a trip or trips inland.
The situation now was entirely different. There was no longer a question in their minds as to the existence of savages, and, furthermore, they knew the location, and the knowledge of John was positive on another point: They were not located near the sea, and the most powerful tribes were far inland.
All these facts compelled them to undertake the journey overland. The wagon was the only means to transport their supplies, and as all except the Professor, were vigorous, they would be far better able to cope with the savages in that way than by the sea route.
Now let us see what was necessary for the purposes of defense. They had a force of six men, as Chief was not considered one of the force, notwithstanding his friendly attitude. They had ten guns, and Ralph and Tom had been engaged for weeks in turning out additional gun barrels, for which the stocks had not yet been prepared.
John suggested that twenty-five of the guns would be ample for almost any force that might be brought against them, and that provision should be made so that while in defense, each could carry two guns, by having one of them strapped on the back.
Ammunition was of more importance, really, than guns. They had learned this at the last encounter, and it was lack of this that eventually forced them to retreat.
On that basis, namely, of twenty-five guns, ten rounds would mean two hundred and fifty shells, and it was then considered that the most important thing would be to utilize the time of two for the purpose of making the shells. This was the most laborious process, as every step had to be done by hand, the dies being in the form of separate punches, held and driven by hand, as they had no such thing as a press for manipulating the dies.
One morning Harry said: "I know it isn't the proper thing to suggest it while we are all so busy making the preparations for the expedition, but I think we ought to make a trip to the cave before we start."
Neither of them objected to the proposal, and George went to the Professor, and told him that he and Harry had conferred on the subject of the cave, and with his permission they would take the boys there.
The Professor's assent was given with a smile of pleasure, and several lamps were put into condition for the event. All was excitement now with the young spirits, and the Professor assisted them in the preparations.
It did not take long to reach the mouth of the cavern, and lighting the lamps, descended slowly. Neither George nor Harry had informed the boys of the treasure within the cave, nor of the skeletons which were discovered, although, when the boys had asked the source of the skeletons in the laboratory enough of an evasive answer was given to make them suspect the source, and this was confirmed when Harry told them, days before, that they had also discovered a cave.
They descended the steps, and made their way along the passage leading to the first recess. As the chamber came into view the boys were entranced at the sight. It was a novelty to them. It was the first time they had ever witnessed such a thing.
To Harry and George it was no longer a thing to marvel at. They were veterans in the exploring field.
"This makes a fellow feel queer in here," exclaimed Tom, as he glanced around at the magnificent stalactites.
"Did we tell you," replied George, "about the mysterious thing that happened to us the second time we came in?"
"No; what was it?"
"We entered from the other opening by the sea."
"Another opening? Do you mean that this cave has two openings just like the one John spoke about?"
"Yes; but this is a mighty long one, and it had a lot of water in it twice when we visited it, but I don't think we shall find any here now."
"Because we have not had much rain for the past month."
"But you forgot about the mystery."
"That's so; we went in from the other end and had gone up nearly to where the water began, when we put one of the lights on a ledge, and went forward with the other, and when we had gone about a hundred feet, it disappeared, and we have never found it to this day."
"That does seem odd. Do you think it was taken by some one?"
"Well, we could not possibly account for it in any other way but that it fell off the ledge by some accident. How that could be possible I don't know, as George declared he had placed it in a secure position."
By this time they had reached the recess, and George suggested that the entire cave should be examined, and Ralph was somewhat in the lead. Everywhere was the universal whiteness of the calcareous deposit. As they reached the vicinity of the chests, where the copper vessels were, they formed a striking contrast to the whiteness all around.
"What are those things there?" asked Tom, stepping back in surprise, pointing to the vessels.
Ralph peered forward, to get a better view. "It looks like kettles of some kind."
Harry passed the boys and walking up to one of the kettles, overturned it, and as a shower of the coins slid out, and rolled about, they were amazed beyond all description.
Ralph was the first to recover, and he picked up some of the coins: "Didn't you know about these? I believe they are gold; look, Tom. Did you ever see anything like this?"
Tom was stupefied. "I don't wonder that men will risk their lives to get treasure like this. Here we didn't hunt for it and we found it."
"Yes, but Harry and George knew all about it; didn't you?"
And the boys laughed an assent.
"Why don't you take it out of here?"
"Well, it seems to be pretty safe in this place; and if we should have been attacked by the natives, we should have a place of retreat and have our treasure with us."
After putting the coins carefully back, Harry said: "Probably we may be able to discover something else." And he moved forwardly to the right, with Tom following close, and the boys pressing up to see what else might be found. There, at the place where the Professor had deposited them in a row were the five skeletons, and they presented such a ghastly sight that they shrank back in horror.
"We found these in a little different position when we first arrived."
"In what way?"
"They were in all sorts of positions in front of the recess, and some of them had the knives still sticking in their ribs, and one or two, one of which the Professor has, had a big bullet in the skull, which we took out and can show you."
"Where did you find these?"
"Right in front of the place where the treasure was found."
"Well, did they have a fight, do you think, for the possession of the treasure?"
"Now, let us go around to the other side of the cave."
It will be remembered that in the other portion of the cave the skeletons and the treasure, as well as the weapons, were left just as they were found by the boys, because they had never informed the Professor of their secret visit to the cave, when they discovered the chained captives and the skeletons about them.
The party passed around the first projecting wall which separated the two large chambers, and as they were moving along something sounded in the second chamber ahead. The boys stopped suddenly. In a moment more the same peculiar dull and ominous sound was continued, and it seemed to be very near.
The boys looked at each other in amazement. During all of the previous visits there had never been the slightest sound within the cavern.
"Possibly," said Harry, "it may be running water."
"It doesn't sound like water to me. I will—" but Harry did not have an opportunity to say anything more, as a terrific roar, like a cannon shot, rang out, and the boys were simply petrified.
"What do you think that was?" whispered George. They drew close together, and spoke in whispers.
"This will never do," declared Harry. "If there is anything in this place we might as well know it now as later. Will you join me in the hunt?"
And the boys responded with one assent. "Let us go to the second chamber. Come on, boys." And they bravely stalked down the corridor.
When the chamber was reached a hollow laugh greeted them, followed by two hearty laughs. The Professor and John had entered the opening at the sea end, and hurriedly made their way to the second chamber, where they awaited the coming of the boys.
The boys were intensely relieved, and the Professor was so happy to see the determined and resolute spirit they manifested, that he complimented them highly.
John was no less profuse in his commendations. "I want to say, that men can be brave when they know what they have to fight, and who their enemies are; but it takes the stoutest heart to go forth and defend yourself, or assume the offensive against an unseen and an unknown enemy."
THE WONDERFUL PORTABLE FORT
On the return of the party to their home that evening the events of the day were discussed to the exclusion of everything else, and now was the opportunity for the boys to learn something about the other cave, of which John had given a meager account.
"Would you object to telling us what the wonderful things were which you saw in the cave at the western part of the island?" was Tom's inquiry.
"Not in the least. The ship on which we sailed from San Francisco contained the charts of several caves, one of which was that of the cave I referred to. I saw the treasure there with my own eyes, and I can direct you to it, because, notwithstanding the stress of my surroundings, I took the bearings, on the following day, and it will not be difficult to locate it."
"Did you remember the circumstances of the visit to the place where we were being pursued by the savages?"
John looked at the Professor, and then at the boys. "I do not remember such an occurrence," he answered.
"But I would like to ask the Professor a question," exclaimed George. "What was it that made you give us that quick advice to leave the mouth of the cave when we wanted it as a hiding place?"
"I saw from the carefully hidden, but trodden, path, that some one must have used it as a place of refuge, and concluded that as it was so near the village it might have been some of the clans of the tribe, either as a place of concealment from their enemies, in case of attack, or by some of the so-called religious communities which many of the tribes have."
"In what way did you discover that this cave had been charted?"
"First by the peculiarity, that it had two entrances, on opposite sides of a hill, and secondly, by the singular internal arrangement, which stated that within the corridors and the chambers constituted a cross, and the treasures were to be found at the extremities of the cross limbs, within the two large chambers."
"Then you knew of the existence of this island, before you sailed?"
"No; the chart merely described the characteristics of the caverns, but stated they were located on islands in the South Seas."
"Do you think our cave here is one of them?"
"I do not think so, as I do not recall any description which would fit this cave, except the two entrances, and that is not uncommon."
"The chart stated that there was another cave fifteen leagues to the southeast of that cave, which also contained treasure, and that was the principal reason why I traveled in that direction, and thus found myself in the savage-inhabited part of the island."
"Fifteen leagues? How far would that be?"
Nothing more was needed as a stimulus for the boys. They had truly been thrown on an island of wonder.
"Why is it," asked Ralph, "that so much of the treasure of the world was hidden in these out-of-the-way places by the pirates?"
"I imagine," replied John, "that they didn't have much confidence in the rest of the world. The manner in which they got most of the money was by acts of piracy on the high seas, and it was necessary to hide the proceeds of the robberies as fast as acquired, because if they should be captured, its possession would at once seal their doom. These hidden treasures are distributed over every part of the world. As to the other part of your question, the vast hoards of gold and silver so distributed, formed a very small part of the wealth of the old world. It is not known how vast a sum Pizarro took from the Inca in Peru, but it is estimated variously at from twelve to twenty tons."
The boys opened their eyes in astonishment.
"How much would that be worth in money?"
"Counting it at the present value of gold, every pennyweight would be worth a dollar."
"Let me see; twenty pennyweights in an ounce, and twelve ounces in a pound; that would be two hundred and forty dollars in a pound."
"That is right."
"And then twenty tons would be 40,000 pounds. And multiplying that by 240 would make $9,600,000. My, what a lot of money!"
"Cortez, at about the same time, conquered Mexico, and secured a much greater amount. All over the western hemisphere, from northern Mexico down to Peru, untold millions of gold and silver were looted by the Spanish and Portuguese navigators, and taken to Europe, and it is estimated that as much more was disposed of in these hidden recesses, and those who deposited them were swept off the seas, and all knowledge of the caches were lost."
"During what times was most of this money deposited?"
"The pirates which infested the coasts of Spanish America and the West Indies, flourished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Originally the French and English during the wars against Spain used the expedition against her ships, as acts of war, but later on, after peace was established in Europe, the buccaneers continued in their depredations, and it was made unlawful by all the great nations."
From that day there was no cessation on the part of the entire working force to prepare the necessary ammunition required for a campaign against the savages. It should be stated that by this time Chief had learned many things, and John took particular pains to teach him daily, until he could pronounce many words very distinctly, and understood the meaning of them.
It was surprising to see how quickly his mind grasped the association of a verb with some name, and the simplest and most common verbs of action were taught. In this way it became apparent that all should be cautious about talking of the proposed expedition in his presence. Nevertheless all were anxious to enlist him in the enterprise.
He never inquired about the gun barrels, and curiously enough seemed to take no interest in any of the weapons but the spears and arrows. He was a fine archer. This was demonstrated on several occasions, the only difficulty being that the bows which the boys had were too small.
Chief selected his own branches, for the bows, and showed the boys how to hold the arrows, and the distance he could propel them was marvelous. They were not by any manner of means a match, by comparison, with the guns, but they would be dangerous missiles if attacked in the open, and of this fact the boys had learned several lessons.
The wagon, which was constructed before the first trip across the island, had been through some tough places, and the wheels and axles were in bad condition. These needed replacing, and that was a task which would occupy some time.
One day, at the evening meal, the boys asked about Chief. He had not been noticed by anyone since noon.
He was usually at work with Harry, who was asked concerning him.
"The last I saw of him was right after lunch, and he was going in the direction of the clay bank. As he was in the habit of going there quite frequently I paid no attention to him."
"Did he have anything with him, that you noticed?"
"Nothing but the bolo and the bow and arrows that he always took."
"Possibly he is on some mission," replied the Professor. "It does not seem likely that he has determined to desert us; but it may be he has grown tired of this existence. It is a curious phase of these matters, however, which, I believe, will apply in his case, that when he goes back he will find his old life a very disquieting one to him, and I predict he will be here again within a month."
"By that time we will be on our way toward his section, and I hope we shall have the opportunity of meeting him," responded John.
What required more attention than any part of the equipment, aside from the ammunition, was the structure of the wagon. This had to be a fort for them, and so arranged that it could be put up to meet an attack from any quarter.
But this, unfortunately, left the yaks exposed to the assaults of the spears and arrows, and John suggested a novel addition to the wagon equipment.
"My idea is this: As we are all pretty strong, excepting the Professor, to stand the march on foot, I would convert our wagon into a vehicle which would carry the fort with us, and this fort, whenever we camped, could be set up so that the yaks would be inside, and thus protected as well as ourselves.
"To effect this the more readily, my plan would be to make three sections of boards, in the form of a fence, each section to be six feet high and ten feet long. These should be either folded together in the middle lengthwise, so they could be nested together and swung below the axles between the wheels, and set up to form a square at one side of the wagon.
"One side of the wagon body could be made to be let down, so as to form a protection below the body of the wagon. Within that enclosure the yaks could be stationed, if we should be attacked, and for the purpose of defense, four of us would be within the enclosure and two in the wagon to protect it from that side.
"The sketch which I have made shows these features, in which you will see (Fig. 33), the side boards (A) hinged along the middle line, as at B. These would be held at the outer corners by posts C. In the sketch the side board of the wagon body has been let down, so access can be had to the wagon."
The plan, so ingeniously contrived, pleased the fancy of the boys.
"I imagine," said Harry, "this will be the first time people ever carried their fort with them. It will be fun to meet the savages with that kind of an outfit."
"You must not think, however," continued John, "that this is all we shall need. We must take in the wagon sufficient food for the yaks to withstand a siege, so that with our own provisions, guns and ammunition, we shall have a pretty good load."
"How heavy will the three sections of fence weigh?"
"I estimate that, as we shall want the boards made of good wood, the weight will be thirty pounds per cubic foot, and as all the boards will take fourteen cubic feet of lumber, the total weight, including the posts, can be brought within 450 pounds, and I do not think our other material will weigh much over 500 more."
"That would not be a hard load," observed the Professor, "as we have often hauled a ton, but it would be well to make a new set of wheels, and we can then take with us an extra wheel for the front and rear."
"I think we should take tools along also," said Tom, "because we can always make our own repairs, in that event."
"I am glad you referred to that. It is certainly a suggestion in the right direction. Are there any more observations from any of the other army engineers?"
"I may be wrong," answered Harry, "but it seems to me that one of the folding fences should be put on each side of the wagon body, and the third under the wagon."
"What is your reason for that?" asked Tom.
"Because we may want to put up the fort in a big hurry some time, and by having them at the three places, and have it understood who are to take out each section, it would be the work of a few moments only to set it up, because each set of workers could handle his section without interference from the others."
"That is really a stroke of genius. Certainly, that is the sensible way," responded John.
"It is simply another illustration," added the Professor, "how men, looking at things from different standpoints, will see the defects in each other's work. That is the story of every great invention."
These conferences were of the greatest value to the boys. It pointed out how men, through force of circumstances, were compelled to devise things for their need.
George had been an intent listener during these discussions. "It does seem that the old statement, 'that necessity is the mother of invention,' is true."
The Professor turned to him smilingly, as he replied: "That may be so in very many eases, it is true, but I imagine that in the vast majority of instances the necessity was in the mind of the inventor to get some money. The thought of that requirement was a more vivid thing to him than the real need of the article as an economic necessity."
"Do you really think that is the case?"
"If my memory is not at fault, the people of England howled with derision when the first locomotive was built; the men who put out the first sewing machine had their stores broken into and the machines smashed; and the telephone when first installed was considered simply as a plaything and curiosity, and not as a useful improvement. It has been the history of every age and of most of the great inventions. After the inventions were completed, and their value shown, the merchant and the manufacturer created the demand, and then the articles became a necessity, and not before. For this reason I think the proverb should be amended to say that 'the necessity of the inventor is the mother of invention.'"
Before starting on the trip the matter of clothing had to be attended to. A quantity of ramie had been cut, and put in water, for the purpose of rotting the woody fiber, and this was taken out of the water as fast as it was ready, and cleaned and combed, and at times worked up into threads, which were placed in the loom, and a coarse cloth thus woven.
This was, necessarily, a slow process, and consumed considerable time. This, together with the making of the percussion caps, was the tedious part of all the preparations. Every energy was put forth to get the different things required. Harry and Tom had made up the fort, and John suggested the idea of having a drill exercise in setting it up, so that the work could be performed without interference.
During the day, when the posts and the fastenings were all ready, the wagon was brought out and the yaks yoked up. The elements of the fort were attached to the wagon, in the manner that they were to be transported. As there were three sections of the fort, one on each side of the wagon body and one below the axles, it was provided that the six should form three divisions; the Professor and Ralph, John and Tom, and Harry and George the couples for setting up the fort.
As Harry and George were the most familiar with the animals, and knew better than the others how to handle them, it was made a part of their duty, when the signal was given, to unyoke and turn the yaks to the proper place at the side of the wagon.
While this was being done, the Professor and Ralph were to detach the section on the side of the wagon where the fort was to be set up, and carry it out at right angles and at the forward end of the wagon. At the same time John and Tom would take the section on the opposite side of the wagon and carry it around to form the end of the fort.
This would then give Harry and George the opportunity to take the part below the wagon and erect it at the rear angle of the wagon, while Tom and Ralph were getting the posts for the outer ends of the fort.
When all was ready, the signal was given, and the various divisions sprang to their allotted work. They marveled at the celerity with which the fort was put up.
"I see a serious defect in the arrangement at one point," said Tom.
"What is that?" was the question from all.
"You see we have the fort ready, but it is adapted for one side of the wagon only. It may be most important to have it arranged so that either side of the wagon can be used for the fort."
"A fine suggestion," answered John. "That change can be made by having both sides of the body so they can be let down."
George also had a good suggestion to make. "According to the calculations we have fourteen cubic feet of material, and it is light wood, at that. Why couldn't the fort be utilized as a raft, so as to save the cutting of green timber, which is so heavy?"
"Well," said the Professor, smiling, "we are developing this at an immense rate. The new idea is the starting point for an invention to so arrange the sections as to make them act as floats. Here is a great opportunity for the genius."
Tom and Harry conferred on this subject for some time, and after luncheon, announced the plan: "It is fortunate that the axles of our wheels project. It will be an easy matter to take the sections from the sides of the body and attach one edge of each section to the projecting ends of the axles, and then the two posts can be used as braces to run up from the outer edges on the sections to the upper edges of the body. The third section can be left under the axles where it now is."
John was delighted at the simple solution of this problem.
"I really believe," said Tom, "that we can adjust the sections in that way while the wagon is moving, as it can be attached without any difficulty."
It is wonderful how one improvement marks the advance stride for the next. Invention is really nothing but a step by step movement; a little addition here, another accretion there, and so on, so that invention has been shown to be, not a matter of quantity, but of quality. The mere bending of a wire, if it produces a new and useful result, is just as much entitled to the dignity of an invention, as a room full of intricate mechanism.
TRAILING A WARRING PARTY OF NATIVES
"Professor, won't you tell us what the difference is between weight and gravity? We have been discussing that matter this afternoon."
"Gravity is a force by virtue of which all bodies tend to approach each other constantly; and weight is the measure of the effect of gravity acting upon a body. The two are often confounded."
"Now, the next thing we want to know is, does gravity act in all directions?"
"Yes; and the attraction of one body for another is in proportion to its mass—that is to say, if two bodies, one weighing one and the other two pounds, should be hung near each other, the heavy object would pull the lighter one twice the distance it would itself move."
"Do you mean to say that everything on earth attracts everything else? I thought it was only the earth that had the power to attract."
"The earth is no different from any other object in that particular, but on account of its immense size everything goes toward it and its motion toward the small object is not noticed."
"Is there any way that such a statement could be proved?"
"I suggest one plan: select two walls, close together, or two tall trees, and run a wire across, as I show in the sketch (Fig. 32). From that cross wire, A, suspend three objects by cords, B, C, D. The cord B is exactly midway between the two walls, and the other cords C, D, and so attached that the objects at their lower ends hang close to the walls. It will be found that the cords C, D are farther apart at their lower ends than at the upper ends, and that the cord B is exactly plumb, as it is affected equally by the attraction of the opposite walls."
The new raft attachment was completed, and Harry made the suggestion that it ought to be put to a practical test, and that a good place to do this would be below the cataract, where it was wide and deep enough to float.
The drill was affected for attaching the sections, as shown in the drawing (Fig. 35), in which A represents the section under the axles, and B, C the two side sections, attached at their inner edges to the ends of the axles, and with the posts D serving as braces.
The yaks seemed to know their business instinctively, and moved down into the water slowly, and the improvised raft not only prevented the body from sinking into the water very low, but it had a wonderful steadying effect, because the side sections served as wings to prevent lateral swaying.
The crossing and the return were made without accident, and the sections returned and fixed in place, and the wagon was now completed for the journey.
A considerable quantity of the barley flour was ground, and both honey and cane sugar taken in the vessels which had been recovered from the cave. The ammunition was stored in four boxes at convenient places within the body, and the little metal stove, with the cooking utensils, located near the rear end, where they could be conveniently taken out and returned.
The three sleeping mattresses were stored in the bottom of the body, near the forward end, and as the sides of the body were three feet high, it can be understood that there was an abundance of room for them, and for the other things which were carried along for their convenience and comfort.
Everything was bustle and rush. Angel was as busy as the rest. It was his joy to carry things to the wagon, at George's behest, and when the hour for starting came, and the house was about to be locked, he rushed into the room, before George could close it, and mount to the rafters.
George followed his movements without a word. He was back in an instant with the little mirror which George had given him some weeks before. It was the only time he had taken it down or brought it within sight of those around him.
With this treasure in his hand he scrambled to the wagon, and found a secure place in the top bows of the wagon, and then hung on the rear bow and waited for the start. He loved these jaunts in the wagon, and they had been frequently made during the past four weeks, but he had never taken the mirror. How did he know that they were going for a journey?
With a good-by to their herd, the jolly party of boys began the trail through the forests, this time not for the love of adventure, or to learn what they had about them, but to relieve their fellows and to be of service to the benighted people who were their neighbors.
As in former times, the Professor cautioned them against haste during the initial portion of the journey, and until they became accustomed to the rough part of the work. Much of the time during the first few days could be devoted to hunting, so as to get a good supply of food, which, later on, might be of great service to them.
The course decided on was to go directly west, and after entering the forest to move southwardly until the South River was reached, and thus pass the falls. Ralph and George had never been in that section of the island, and all were desirous of again visiting the spot where so many of their experiences had taken place, and in a region that gave them the most startling surprises and mysteries, some of which were not yet unraveled.
Shortly after the noonday hour the roaring of the falling water was distinctly heard, and the boys hurried forward to see it, followed by the wagon.
"Here is the place we found the lifeboat—the one we have at Cataract—right across the river, near that tree. A little farther up we'll show you where we put our boat—that is the one we started out with to explore the river, and the one which disappeared."
While passing up toward the falls, John stopped suddenly at a mass of the driftwood, and called to Tom, who was nearest, "Pull that log over; I want to see what this is."
Tom obeyed at once, and while he held up the log indicated, John, after considerable exertion, drew forth a smaller log, which had evidently been cut off with some dull tool, and when Harry came to the rescue the entire log was extricated, and all saw a piece of rope attached, and the indication at two places where evidently it had been in scraping contact with some other timbers.
"Did you see the rope?" asked the Professor, "before the log attracted you?"
"No; the end of the log could not have been broken off in that manner, and when it was drawn out the rope followed."
"It is the same kind of rope we found on our boat at the beach. The boat, as you remember, was left by us a little above this place."
"I do not remember ever having been here before," answered John.
They had forgotten that John visited the place before he had recovered his memory.
The log was evidence that some one above the falls used it as a raft, and from its position could not have been there many months, and probably was washed there at the time of the last severe rains about ten weeks previously.
John removed the rope, and put it in the wagon, and the boys noted the approving manner of the Professor as he did this.
They passed up around the falls, and camped for the night on the bank of the river. In the morning the stream was followed for ten miles, and the Professor stated that, owing to the rough character of the country adjacent to the stream, it would be advisable to leave the valley and pass to the right.
During one of the previous trips they were compelled to do this, but that brought them to a dense forest, which was almost impenetrable in many places, and they had to avoid this also.
Before evening this forest appeared in view, and a halt was called for the purpose of reconnoitering the position, and to ascertain if it could not be avoided. John and Ralph made a long trip to the north, and it was found that it extended in that direction too far to make the long detour.
"As the forest will be a very trying course to take, I suggest that we turn directly south and either cross the river or investigate the country on the other side in the direction of the mountains. We have never gone there, and it is likely the country is not as rough, and what little wood is in that neighborhood may not impede us much."
The suggestion was followed, and before night they again encamped on the shore of South River.
"Before taking the team across let us make an investigation for several miles, at least to see the traveling conditions, and if Ralph will accompany me, it will be no difficulty to get back in time for a fairly early start."
Ralph was only too willing to accompany John, and a raft was improvised for the occasion, and they plunged into the rising ground beyond. As they advanced it was apparent that the surface was much better than at any part of the journey from the falls, and the return journey was made as quickly as possible.
After crossing, the river was followed for a time, and then the rising ground was considered more favorable, and good time was made during the day. At the end of the second day the encampment was made for the night by the side of a little stream which flowed from the mountains to the left of their course.
During the previous nights Angel was quiet, but as darkness set in his uneasiness gave George sufficient information to indicate some trouble, and the boys attributed it to the presence of the wild animals, which they knew abounded on the south side of the stream.
Two were delegated to watch during the night, and at recurring intervals Angel manifested alarm. From midnight until the break of day he was constantly awake, and showed his alarm, but when it was daylight a hurried survey of the immediate locality betrayed no signs of an enemy.
Within a mile of their camp they came across a camp fire, around which was strewn the bones which were left from the feast. The Professor and John were up in an instant and carefully examined the litter surrounding the fire, as well as the indications of footprints. The latter were unmistakable at many places, and both announced that the savages had been there, beyond question.
This meant the appointment of a scouting party for the advance of the team, and John took this duty on himself, stipulating that the different boys should alternately accompany him, and thus adapt themselves to the serious work that scouting meant.
Harry was the first detailed to go with him, and at intervals he would go back and signal the team to follow, so that they made fair time along the immediate vicinity of the stream, and thus progressed with some speed, in what now appeared to be the country where the savages lurked.
In the march John found numerous marks of the savages, and before noon was halted at the remains of a fire still glowing, that the savages had quitted not an hour before.
"How many do you think are in the party?"
"Not more than a half dozen."
"It seems to me we ought to stop a day, so they could get ahead of us, or we might run into them."
"I am making every effort to catch up with them. We are out to meet the savages, and the sooner we get a chance at them the better it will be."
Harry had not taken that view of it, and concluded John's plan was the proper thing to follow out.
"I think myself it would be better to meet a half dozen than the whole tribe." But that, even, was not John's purpose.
When they reached the wagon, after the glowing camp fire had been discovered, John hurriedly gave his views: "The band is in our immediate vicinity. If we hurry up we can catch up with them before night. I have trailed them now for three hours. I will continue the pursuit as fast as possible, and it would be well to follow me as fast as the yaks can be driven through the brush. We must meet them and capture them before they reach their main band, so that we can get such information as they may have for our guidance."
John, Harry and Ralph now plunged forward, so that the two boys would enable him to make a chain of information back to the wagon, and it was understood that the moment they were sighted, the wagon was to be hurried forward to the spot selected by John.
It was not anticipated that the band would be numerous enough to require them to establish their traveling fort, and the sole object was to capture one or more of the savages in the first engagement.
For some reason John did not report sighting them during the entire afternoon, and they were again compelled to camp without getting a sight of the enemy. On this occasion the fort was put up, but no attempt was made to light a fire.
As soon as darkness set in, John motioned to Tom to follow him, and together they quietly made their way to the southwest, in the direction of the trail they had followed during the day.
Within an hour both returned, and announced that the camp had been discovered to the front and right of their position, and George and Tom went in that direction, after being cautioned by John to observe the strictest care not to disturb them by approaching too close.
The Professor and John had a long conference as to the wisest course under the circumstances. "I am of the opinion that we should never allow them to leave that camp," was John's observation, "because we are in a much better position to dictate to them during the hours of darkness, if we surround them."
"My only doubts about that plan maybe summed up as follows: We can easily defeat them in a hand-to-hand fight; but we do not want to slaughter them. If we can make them captives we shall have a strong lever to work with in treating with the main band. In the night time it is always a hazardous enterprise, and we cannot afford to risk the lives of the boys."
"Then," John responded, "let us wait until morning, and before the sun is up we can surround their position, and when it is light enough to see approach them from the six quarters and demand surrender."
"I like that suggestion better than the other. It looks like a safe plan, and it will prevent needless bloodshed, without risking the lives of any, unless they show a bitter fight."
When the two boys returned the decision to surround the camp before daybreak was announced, and the night was a long, long period of anxiety to them. They had no fear of the results, nor would either hesitate for a moment to engage in it, because all had become seasoned with the perils of the past year.
It was the unexpected, the exhilaration of knowing that they had the strength to attack the savages, that made them restless and to long for the morning hours.
The first appearance of the slightest gray in the east was the signal for preparation.
John led the way. As they were starting, John said: "This is a most important step, because if we succeed we may be able to dictate to at least one tribe, and that tribe the most powerful and vindictive on the island. When we approach within a certain distance the Professor, Harry and Tom will remain at the spot selected, and you, Ralph and George must follow me. In order that you may know the plans fully, I will state that together we three will turn to the left and make a detour through the woods around their position, and I will leave Ralph at one point in the circle, and with George follow around to a point exactly opposite this place, when he will go on around the camp toward your direction.
"When you think we have about reached the positions indicated, Harry will take up his position to the left of the Professor, in the circle, and Tom to the right, so that our respective positions will be in this order: First, the Professor, then in order to the left, Harry, Ralph, myself, George and Tom.
"Each has two guns, and I have also the pistol. The signal will be the firing of the pistol. The moment you hear that all must rush forward in the direction of the camp, and I will endeavor to reach the open so as to attract them first and demand their surrender. After you have shown yourselves, do not advance until I give the word, but have your guns ready in case they attempt to make any resistance."
The party stole forward carefully, and the Professor with the two boys waited a sufficient time to be sure they had selected the proper places in the circle, when Ralph appeared, and held up his hand in token of silence, and all he said was: "Back to the wagon as quickly as possible."
The "Capture and Pursuit" will relate some of the most thrilling scenes in the entire history of Wonder Island, following the adventure here related.
GLOSSARY OF WORDS USED IN TEXT
Archeological. Pertaining to the study of man, or of relics.
Attributed. To describe as belonging to; to refer, as an effect to a cause.
Amalgam. The unity of any metal with mercury.
Accretion. To add to; an addition.
Antiquity. Ancient. In olden times.
Anticipation. The looking forward to the future.
Analysis. To separate; to find out the principal parts.
Aphasia. The term used to define the loss of memory.
Abruptly. To cut off short; at once; speedily.
Admonished. Warned; advised beforehand.
Alacrity. Quickly; without delay.
Animated. Lively, or quickened action.
Attribute. A quality; as a kind act.
Aspiration. A desire; a wish for another condition or state.
Benighted. Not advanced, or civilized.
Bolero. A Spanish dance illustrative of the passion of love.
Brandished. A motion of the arms or body; the menacing motion of a weapon.
Caches. A hidden or concealed spot.
Castilian. Pertaining to the Spanish.
Calcareous. Lime formation.
Celerity. With speed.
Celestial. Pertaining to the heavens.
Cereal. Any edible grass, seed or grain.
Chaparral. A thick tangle of shrubbery or brush.
Cotillion. A square dance for four couples.
Cosack. A Russian dance.
Contracted. Made smaller; reduced, compass.
Conformation. In the same form; in the like manner.
Concerted. By agreement; all together.
Confirmation. A proven fact or thing.
Consternation. Awe inspiring; fearful.
Constellation. An arbitrary assemblage or group of stars, or a portion of the heavens occupied by such group.
Complication. Mixed up; without an intelligent or designed arrangement.
Coincidence. One thing happening with another.
Commodious. Ample in size. Very large.
Contend. To argue in favor of.
Corrosive sublimate. A deadly poison; sulphid of mercury.
Crouching. A low-bending attitude.
Cracovienna. A graceful Polish dance.
Crucial. The test; trying; decisive.
Derision. To make the object of mockery or ridicule.
Devolved. To throw the burden on. To assume the responsibility.
Decomposition. To change; to put into its original form.
Depletion. To take away from. To lessen.
Denuded. To uncover.
Disposition. To make the arrangements for.
Discerned. Discovered; noticed.
Discomfiture. Being beaten.
Discarded. Thrown away; to dispense with.
Diversion. To do something different; otherwise.
Disclose. To show; to inform concerning.
Disseminated. To spread broadcast.
Disdain. To look down upon.
Disjointed. Not in good condition; all awry.
Divined. Understood; having knowledge of.
Disquieting. Not at ease.
Domesticated. Tamed; not wild, or in a wild state.
Economic. Pertaining to the means or methods of living well.
Effective. Well organized. Strong.
Egotistic. Having a good opinion of one's self.
Exhilarating. Joyful; brightening; happy condition.
Elude. To evade; to circumvent.
Enigma. Concealed; difficult to comprehend.
Emaciated. Thin from want of food.
Emergency. The appointed time for a difficult matter.
Equinoctial. Referring to the time when the sun passes the celestial equator.
Eventually. Finally; when a certain time has arrived.
Extricated. To rescue from.
Factions. Parties; tribes; clans.
Faculty. That quality or attribute of the mind or body, like intelligence or strength.
Fandango. A Spanish dance in triple time.
Facility. Ease; without difficulty.
Fixed star. A heavenly body, supposedly like our sun, around which certain planets revolve.
Flanking. Going around; at the sides.
Foundering. To sink, or to plunge downwardly.
Gangue. The dross matter in ore.
Gallopade. A brisk German dance in rapid measure.
Geologist. One who studies the structure of the earth.
Genial. A pleasant disposition.
Gravity. The attraction of mass for mass.
Guttural. A sound issuing forth from the lower part of the throat.
Guardian. An individual appointed to care for the person of a minor.
Harassment. To cause difficulties, troubles or worries.
Hemisphere. One half of a globe.
Heralded. To advertise; to notify; to inform.
Hornpipe. A very lively English country dance for one person.
Horizontal. A line at right angles to the center of the earth. The surface of water is horizontal.
Hoodoos. Coined from the cry "hoo" of a child, and the Scotch word "doo," meaning the cry of the dove. The general meaning now being low characters.
Hypnotism. That quality which enables certain persons from influencing others by some power of the mind.
Impervious. Of such a character that water will not go through.
Imbued. To instill in; to convince.
Impenetrable. So that it cannot be passed through or into.
Intricate. Not easily solved. Difficult to understand.
Installed. Set up; put into order. Built up.
Interpreted. Made plain. To decipher a foreign tongue.
Inevitable. Bound to come to pass; the natural course of events.
Incessant. Continually; without stopping.
Indescribable. Difficult to explain or set forth.
Inflamed. To become heated; usually applied to a wound in the process of healing.
Intuition. The condition of the mind where conditions are easily understood without explanations.
Inaction. Not active; not disposed to take part.
Integral. The principal element. A part of. Constituting a completed whole.
Impetuosity. Being prompt; quick.
Iodide. A compound or salt in which iodine is used.
Jungle fever. A malarial or intermittent fever, well known in Africa and India.
Jig. A light gay dance with a very lively music.
Lashed. Beaten with a whip.
Loathsome. Exciting extreme aversion or disgust.
Matured. Complete in the mind; a perfect plant, flower, fruit.
Magnitude. Largeness; immensity.
Mazurka. A lively round dance resembling the polka, intended for four or eight couples, based on the Polish national dance.
Merge. To assimilate; to go into; to come together.
Mechanically. Done with precision; partaking of mechanism.
Metallurgical. Pertaining to the study of minerals.
Minuet. A stately dance in triple measure, dating from the 17th century.
Mimicry. To imitate in a comical way.
Morose. Not a happy or bright disposition.
Monotonous. Without change; in one tone; a continual similarity.
Momentarily. For the instant; immediately.
Monsoon. A terrible wind that blows in the southern hemisphere at regular intervals.
Negative. No; the opposite of yes; not decisive.
Nitrate. A salt of nitric acid.
Nonchalant. A state of mind indicating lack of interest.
Nonplussed. Confused or disconcerted.
Numerically. Considered from the standpoint of numbers.
Nutritious. Anything that has the quality of sustaining life, as a food.
Obeisance. An act of courtesy.
Obliterate. To wipe out; to destroy.
Orgy. Wild or wanton revelry.
Ostentatiously. Open; to be readily seen.
Quadrille. A square dance for four couples, dating from the 18th century.
Quarantine. A system of police and medical regulations, established at frontiers and ports.
Pathetic. Arousing tender emotions.
Parallelogram. A figure longer than its width, with the two opposite sides parallel with each other.
Petrified. Turned into stone, literally; seemingly rigid.
Ostentatiously. Having the appearance of doing certain things.
Perturbations. Disturbances. Worried.
Perchance. By the way; a chance happening.
Piracy. On the high seas an act of robbery, or unlawful taking of goods.
Physics. The science of energy. That which treats of the phenomena of all matter.
Posture. Position; condition.
Portentous. Important; making a show; greater than ordinary.
Propounded. An offer; a question.
Proficient. Ability; well equipped.
Precipitated. Thrown down; settlings; coming from above.
Primitive. The first; original way of doing a thing.
Prolific. Many; a great variety.
Providential. Very fortunate; a happening of great value or importance at the right time.
Protestations. To assert earnestly.
Precipitous. Quick action; doing without waiting.
Predisposed. Having the desire beforehand; a set opinion.
Precautionary. Acting slowly and wisely; taking advantage of something ahead of the time to act.
Psychological. Pertaining to the science of the human soul and its operations.
Ramie. A fibrous plant, used in making fabrics of various kinds.
Rankling. A feeling of resentment.
Secluded. Hidden; carefully kept out of sight.
Shrouds. One of the stout ropes, often made of wire, that are stretched from the mast-head of a vessel to the sides or to the rims of a top, serving as a means of ascent and as lateral stays for the mast.
Spasmodic. Not regular; in fits.
Sortie. A term applied to rushing tactics in battle.
Spectrum. The term applied to the scientific division of the light rays projected from an object.
Stoically. A brave exhibition during pain, or when unfortunate; bearing up bravely.
Strenuous. Vigorous; working diligently.
Stipulate. Making an arrangement; a contract, or parts of an agreement.
Stupefied. Rendered dumb or speechless for a time.
Stanchion. A standard, post, or other upright.
Sulphate. A metal having sulphur as its principal element in combination.
Superficially. On the surface; not well considered.
Tarantella. A lively Neapolitan dance in triplets for one couple.
Tension. Stretched; a mind under stress.
Tendon. The strong band or cord of connective tissue forming the connections of the fleshy portions of the muscle.
Temporary. For the time being only; for a little while.
Terminated. Ended; the stopping of a certain thing.
Tenacity. Strong; fixed in purpose.
Theodolite. A portable instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical lines. It comprises a telescope and a graduated circle, showing degrees.
Toggle. A pin or short rod, properly attached in the middle as to a chain or rope, and designed to hold something by being passed through a hole or eye.
Traversed. Gone over; traveled over that area.
Transit. Passed; going by.
Trophy. Something captured; usually applied to spoils in war.
Tribute. A compliment; a reward.
Tributary. Something which applies as a smaller to a greater; as a small stream which flows into a greater.
Veered. Changed in direction; going aside.
Vindictive. Bitter; hostile; with a desire for revenge.
Volatilized. Changed from a solid into a gas.
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* * * * *
Obvious printing errors, both spelling and punctuation, were repaired. Errors and notes other than punctuation are noted here.
Chapter VII Original text: would would Correction: which would
Chapter XI Original text: chapparal No correction: spelling retained.
Glossary Collation order in glossary is not fully alphabetized No correction: original collation order in glossary retained.