The Mysterious Island
Pencroft, Herbert, and Gideon Spilett remained silent in the midst of the
Pencroft shouted loudly.
No reply was made.
The sailor then struck a light and set fire to a twig. This lighted for a minute a
small room, which appeared perfectly empty. At the back was a rude fireplace,
with a few cold cinders, supporting an armful of dry wood. Pencroft threw the
blazing twig on it, the wood crackled and gave forth a bright light.
The sailor and his two companions then perceived a disordered bed, of which the
damp and yellow coverlets proved that it had not been used for a long time. In
the corner of the fireplace were two kettles, covered with rust, and an overthrown
pot. A cupboard, with a few moldy sailor's clothes; on the table a tin plate and a
Bible, eaten away by damp; in a corner a few tools, a spade, pickaxe, two
fowling-pieces, one of which was broken; on a plank, forming a shelf, stood a
barrel of powder, still untouched, a barrel of shot, and several boxes of caps, all
thickly covered with dust, accumulated, perhaps, by many long years.
"There is no one here," said the reporter.
"No one," replied Pencroft.
"It is a long time since this room has been inhabited," observed Herbert.
"Yes, a very long time!" answered the reporter.
"Mr. Spilett," then said Pencroft, "instead of returning on board, I think that it
would be well to pass the night in this hut."
"You are right, Pencroft," answered Gideon Spilett, "and if its owner returns, well!
perhaps he will not be sorry to find the place taken possession of."
"He will not return," said the sailor, shaking his head.
"You think that he has quitted the island?" asked the reporter.
"If he had quitted the island he would have taken away his weapons and his
tools," replied Pencroft. "You know the value which castaways set on such
articles as these the last remains of a wreck. No! no!" repeated the sailor, in a