The Mysterious Island
The engineer, the meshes of the net having given way, had been carried off by a
wave. His dog also had disappeared. The faithful animal had voluntarily leaped
out to help his master. "Forward," cried the reporter; and all four, Spilett, Herbert,
Pencroft, and Neb, forgetting their fatigue, began their search. Poor Neb shed
bitter tears, giving way to despair at the thought of having lost the only being he
loved on earth.
Only two minutes had passed from the time when Cyrus Harding disappeared to
the moment when his companions set foot on the ground. They had hopes
therefore of arriving in time to save him. "Let us look for him! let us look for him!"
"Yes, Neb," replied Gideon Spilett, "and we will find him too!"
"Living, I trust!"
"Can he swim?" asked Pencroft.
"Yes," replied Neb, "and besides, Top is there."
The sailor, observing the heavy surf on the shore, shook his head.
The engineer had disappeared to the north of the shore, and nearly half a mile
from the place where the castaways had landed. The nearest point of the beach
he could reach was thus fully that distance off.
It was then nearly six o'clock. A thick fog made the night very dark. The
castaways proceeded toward the north of the land on which chance had thrown
them, an unknown region, the geographical situation of which they could not
even guess. They were walking upon a sandy soil, mingled with stones, which
appeared destitute of any sort of vegetation. The ground, very unequal and
rough, was in some places perfectly riddled with holes, making walking extremely
painful. From these holes escaped every minute great birds of clumsy flight,
which flew in all directions. Others, more active, rose in flocks and passed in
clouds over their heads. The sailor thought he recognized gulls and cormorants,
whose shrill cries rose above the roaring of the sea.
From time to time the castaways stopped and shouted, then listened for some
response from the ocean, for they thought that if the engineer had landed, and
they had been near to the place, they would have heard the barking of the dog