The Mysterious Island
It was the 6th of May, a day which corresponds to the 6th of November in the
countries of the Northern Hemisphere. The sky had been obscured for some
days, and it was of importance to make preparations for the winter. However, the
temperature was not as yet much lower, and a centigrade thermometer,
transported to Lincoln Island, would still have marked an average of ten to twelve
degrees above zero. This was not surprising, since Lincoln Island, probably
situated between the thirty-fifth and fortieth parallel, would be subject, in the
Southern Hemisphere, to the same climate as Sicily or Greece in the Northern
Hemisphere. But as Greece and Sicily have severe cold, producing snow and
ice, so doubtless would Lincoln Island in the severest part of the winter. and it
was advisable to provide against it.
In any case if cold did not yet threaten them, the rainy season would begin, and
on this lonely island, exposed to all the fury of the elements, in mid-ocean, bad
weather would be frequent, and probably terrible. The question of a more
comfortable dwelling than the Chimneys must therefore be seriously considered
and promptly resolved on.
Pencroft, naturally, had some predilection for the retreat which he had
discovered, but he well understood that another must be found. The Chimneys
had been already visited by the sea, under circumstances which are known, and
it would not do to be exposed again to a similar accident.
"Besides," added Cyrus Harding, who this day was talking of these things with
his companions, "we have some precautions to take."
"Why? The island is not inhabited," said the reporter.
"That is probable," replied the engineer, "although we have not yet explored the
interior; but if no human beings are found, I fear that dangerous animals may
abound. It is necessary to guard against a possible attack, so that we shall not be
obliged to watch every night, or to keep up a fire. And then, my friends, we must
foresee everything. We are here in a part of the Pacific often frequented by
"What!" said Herbert, "at such a distance from land?"
"Yes, my boy," replied the engineer. "These pirates are bold sailors as well as
formidable enemies, and we must take measures accordingly."