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The Mystery

The Island
I came on deck one morning at about four bells to find the entire ship's company afoot.
Even the doctor was there. Everybody was gazing eagerly at a narrow, mountainous
island lying slate-coloured across the early morning.
We were as yet some twenty miles distant from it, and could make out nothing but its
general outline. The latter was sharply defined, rising and falling to a highest point one
side of the middle. Over the island, and raggedly clasping its sides, hung a cloud, the only
one visible in the sky.
I joined the afterguard.
"You see?" the doctor was exclaiming. "It iss as I haf said. The island iss there.
Everything iss as it should be!" He was quite excited.
Percy Darrow, too, was shaken out of his ordinary calm.
"The volcano is active," was his only comment, but it explained the ragged cloud.
"You say there's a harbour?" inquired Captain Selover.
"It should be on the west end," said Dr. Schermerhorn.
Captain Selover drew me one side. He, too was a little aroused.
"Now wouldn't that get you?" he squeaked. "Doctor runs up against a Norwegian bum
who tells him about a volcanic island, and gives its bearings. The island ain't on the map
at all. Doctor believes it, and makes me lay my course for those bearings. And here's the
island! So the bum's story was true! I'd like to know what the rest of it was!" His eyes
were shining.
"Do we anchor or stand off and on?" I asked.
Captain Selover turned to grip me by the shoulder.
"I have orders from Darrow to get to a good berth, to land, to build shore quarters, and to
snug down for a stay of a year at least!"
We stared at each other.
"Joyous prospect," I muttered. "Hope there's something to do there."
The morning wore, and we rapidly approached the island. It proved to be utterly
precipitous. The high rounded hills sloped easily to within a hundred feet or so of the
water and then fell away abruptly. Where the earth ended was a fantastic filigree border,
 
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