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It was already five o’clock, and there were still two miles between the settlers and the extremity of the Serpentine peninsula. It was evident that after having reached Reptile End, Harding and his companions would not have time to return before dark to their encampment 长沙桑拿会所全套near the source of the Mercy. It would therefore be necessary to pass the night on the promontory. But they had no lack of provisions, which was lucky, for

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there were no animals on the shore, though birds, on the contrary, abounded—jacamars, couroucoos, tragopans, grouse, lories, parrots, cockatoos, pheasants, pigeons, and a hundred others. There was not[Pg 41] a tree without a nest, and not a nest which was not full of flapping wings.

Towards seven o’clock the weary explorers arrived at Reptile End. Here the seaside forest ended, and the shore resumed the customary appearance of a coast, with rocks, reefs, and sands. It was possible that something might be found here, but darkness came on, and the further exploration had to be put off to the next day.

Pencroft and Herbert hastened on to find a suitable place for their 长沙桑拿论坛 camp. Amongst the last trees of the forest of the Far West, the boy found several thick clumps of bamboos.

“Good,” said he; “this is a valuable discovery.”

“Valuable?”

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returned Pencroft.

“Certainly,” replied Herbert. “I may say, Pencroft, that the bark of the bamboo cut into flexible laths, is used for making baskets; that this bark, mashed into a paste, is used for the manufacture of Chinese paper; that the stalks furnish, according to their size, canes and pipes, and are used for conducting water; that large bamboos make excellent material for building, being light and strong, and being never attacked by insects. I will add that by sawing the bamboo in two at the joint, keeping for the bottom the part of the transverse film which forms the joint, useful cups are obtained, which are much in use among the Chinese. No! you don’t 长沙桑拿酒店会所 care for that. But—”

“But what?”

“But I can tell you, if you are ignorant of it, that in India these bamboos are eaten like asparagus.”

“Asparagus thirty feet high!” exclaimed the sailor. “And are they good?”

“Excellent,” replied Herbert. “Only it is not the stems of thirty feet high which are eaten, but the young shoots.”

“Perfect, my boy, perfect!” replied Pencroft.

“I will also add that the pith of the young stalks, preserved in vinegar, makes a good pickle.”

“Better and better, Herbert!”

“And lastly, that the bamboos exude a sweet liquor which can be made into a very agreeable drink.”

“Is that all?” asked the sailor.

“That is all!”

“And they don’t happen to do for smoking?”[Pg 42]

“No, my poor Pencroft.”

Herbert and the sailor had not to look long for a place in which to pass the night. The rocks, which must have been violently beaten by the sea under the influence of the winds of the south west, presented many cavities in which shelter could be found against the night air. But just as they were about to enter one of these caves a loud roaring arrested them.

“Back!” cried Pencroft. “Our guns are only loaded with small shot, and beasts which can roar as loud as that would care no more for it than for grams of salt!”. And the sailor,长沙桑拿场子推荐 seizing Herbert by the arm, dragged him behind a rock, just as a magnificent animal showed itself at the entrance of the cavern.

It was a jaguar of a size at least equal to its Asiatic congeners, that is to say, it measured five feet from the extremity of its head to the beginning of its tail. The yellow colour of its hair was relieved by streaks and regular oblong spots of black, which contrasted with the white of its chest. Herbert recognised it as the ferocious rival of the tiger, as formidable as the puma, which is the rival of the largest wolf!

The jaguar advanced and gazed around him with blazing eyes, his hair bristling as if this was not the first time he had scented man.

At this moment the reporter appeared round a rock, and Herbert, thinking that he had not seen the jaguar, was about to rush towards him, when Gideon 长沙桑拿可以选 Spilett signed to him to remain where he was. This was not his first tiger, and advancing to within ten feet of the animal he remained motionless, his gun to his

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shoulder, without moving a muscle. The jaguar collected itself for a spring, but at that moment a shot struck it in the eyes, and it fell dead.

Herbert and Pencroft rushed towards the jaguar. Neb and Harding also ran up, and they remained for some instants contemplating the animal as it lay stretched on the ground, thinking that its magnificent skin would be a great ornament to the hall at Granite House.