The Mysterious Island
The next day, the 22nd of May, the arrangement of their new dwelling was
commenced. In fact, the settlers longed to exchange the insufficient shelter of the
Chimneys for this large and healthy retreat, in the midst of solid rock, and
sheltered from the water both of the sea and sky. Their former dwelling was not,
however, to be entirely abandoned, for the engineer intended to make a
manufactory of it for important works. Cyrus Harding's first care was to find out
the position of the front of Granite House from the outside. He went to the beach,
and as the pickaxe when it escaped from the hands of the reporter must have
fallen perpendicularly to the foot of the cliff, the finding it would be sufficient to
show the place where the hole had been pierced in the granite.
The pickaxe was easily found, and the hole could be seen in a perpendicular line
above the spot where it was stuck in the sand. Some rock pigeons were already
flying in and out of the narrow opening; they evidently thought that Granite House
had been discovered on purpose for them. It was the engineer's intention to
divide the right portion of the cavern into several rooms, preceded by an entrance
passage, and to light it by means of five windows and a door, pierced in the front.
Pencroft was much pleased with the five windows, but he could not understand
the use of the door, since the passage offered a natural staircase, through which
it would always be easy to enter Granite House.
"My friend," replied Harding, "if it is easy for us to reach our dwelling by this
passage, it will be equally easy for others besides us. I mean, on the contrary, to
block up that opening, to seal it hermetically, and, if it is necessary, to completely
hide the entrance by making a dam, and thus causing the water of the lake to
"And how shall we get in?" asked the sailor.
"By an outside ladder," replied Cyrus Harding, "a rope ladder, which, once drawn
up, will render access to our dwelling impossible."
"But why so many precautions?" asked Pencroft. "As yet we have seen no
dangerous animals. As to our island being inhabited by natives, I don't believe it!"
"Are you quite sure of that, Pencroft?" asked the engineer, looking at the sailor.
"Of course we shall not be quite sure, till we have explored it in every direction,"
"Yes," said Harding, "for we know only a small portion of it as yet. But at any rate,
if we have no enemies in the interior, they may come from the exterior, for parts