The Mysterious Island
When Pencroft had once got a plan in his head, he had no peace till it was
executed. Now he wished to visit Tabor Island, and as a boat of a certain size
was necessary for this voyage, he determined to build one.
What wood should he employ? Elm or fir, both of which abounded in the island?
They decided for the fir, as being easy to work, but which stands water as well as
These details settled, it was agreed that since the fine season would not return
before six months, Cyrus Harding and Pencroft should work alone at the boat.
Gideon Spilett and Herbert were to continue to hunt, and neither Neb nor Master
Jup, his assistant, were to leave the domestic duties which had devolved upon
Directly the trees were chosen, they were felled, stripped of their branches, and
sawn into planks as well as sawyers would have been able to do it. A week after,
in the recess between the Chimneys and the cliff, a dockyard was prepared, and
a keel five-and-thirty feet long, furnished with a stern-post at the stern and a stem
at the bows, lay along the sand.
Cyrus Harding was not working in the dark at this new trade. He knew as much
about ship-building as about nearly everything else, and he had at first drawn the
model of his ship on paper. Besides, he was ably seconded by Pencroft, who,
having worked for several years in a dockyard in Brooklyn, knew the practical
part of the trade. It was not until after careful calculation and deep thought that
the timbers were laid on the keel.
Pencroft, as may be believed, was all eagerness to carry out his new enterprise,
and would not leave his work for an instant.
A single thing had the honor of drawing him, but for one day only, from his
dockyard. This was the second wheat-harvest, which was gathered in on the
15th of April. It was as much a success as the first, and yielded the number of
grains which had been predicted.
"Five bushels, captain," said Pencroft, alter having scrupulously measured his
"Five bushels," replied the engineer; "and a hundred and thirty thousand grains a
bushel will make six hundred and fifty thousand grains."
"Well, we will sow them all this time," said the sailor, "except a little in reserve."