The Mysterious Island
They now began the descent of the mountain. Climbing down the crater, they
went round the cone and reached their encampment of the previous night.
Pencroft thought it must be breakfast-time, and the watches of the reporter and
engineer were therefore consulted to find out the hour.
That of Gideon Spilett had been preserved from the sea-water, as he had been
thrown at once on the sand out of reach of the waves. It was an instrument of
excellent quality, a perfect pocket chronometer, which the reporter had not
forgotten to wind up carefully every day.
As to the engineer's watch, it, of course, had stopped during the time which he
had passed on the downs.
The engineer now wound it up, and ascertaining by the height of the sun that it
must be about nine o'clock in the morning, he put his watch at that hour.
"No, my dear Spilett, wait. You have kept the Richmond time, have you not?"
"Consequently, your watch is set by the meridian of that town, which is almost
that of Washington?"
"Very well, keep it thus. Content yourself with winding it up very, exactly, but do
not touch the hands. This may be of use to us.
"What will be the good of that?" thought the sailor.
They ate, and so heartily, that the store of game and almonds was totally
exhausted. But Pencroft was not at all uneasy, they would supply themselves on
the way. Top, whose share had been very much to his taste, would know how to
find some fresh game among the brushwood. Moreover, the sailor thought of
simply asking the engineer to manufacture some powder and one or two fowling-
pieces; he supposed there would be no difficulty in that.
On leaving the plateau, the captain proposed to his companions to return to the
Chimneys by a new way. He wished to reconnoiter Lake Grant, so magnificently
framed in trees. They therefore followed the crest of one of the spurs, between
which the creek that supplied the lake probably had its source. In talking, the
settlers already employed the names which they had just chosen, which