The Mysterious Island
Neb did not move. Pencroft only uttered one word.
"Living?" he cried.
Neb did not reply. Spilett and the sailor turned pale. Herbert clasped his hands,
and remained motionless. The poor Negro, absorbed in his grief, evidently had
neither seen his companions nor heard the sailor speak.
The reporter knelt down beside the motionless body, and placed his ear to the
engineer's chest, having first torn open his clothes.
A minute--an age!--passed, during which he endeavored to catch the faintest
throb of the heart.
Neb had raised himself a little and gazed without seeing. Despair had completely
changed his countenance. He could scarcely be recognized, exhausted with
fatigue, broken with grief. He believed his master was dead.
Gideon Spilett at last rose, after a long and attentive examination.
"He lives!" said he.
Pencroft knelt in his turn beside the engineer, he also heard a throbbing, and
even felt a slight breath on his cheek.
Herbert at a word from the reporter ran out to look for water. He found, a hundred
feet off, a limpid stream, which seemed to have been greatly increased by the
rains, and which filtered through the sand; but nothing in which to put the water,
not even a shell among the downs. The lad was obliged to content himself with
dipping his handkerchief in the stream, and with it hastened back to the grotto.
Happily the wet handkerchief was enough for Gideon Spilett, who only wished to
wet the engineer's lips. The cold water produced an almost immediate effect. His
chest heaved and he seemed to try to speak.
"We will save him!" exclaimed the reporter.
At these words hope revived in Neb's heart. He undressed his master to see if he
was wounded, but not so much as a bruise was to be found, either on the head,
body, or limbs, which was surprising, as he must have been dashed against the
rocks; even the hands were uninjured, and it was difficult to explain how the