A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version

Sportsmen's Reveries
Feeling grateful to the huge tortoise for the good service he had rendered, they shot a
number of the great snakes that were gliding about on the ground, and placed them where
he would find them on awaiting. They then picked their way carefully towards stretches
on which the grass was shortest. When they had gone about two miles, and had already
reached higher ground, they came to a ridge of rock running at right angles to their
course. This they climbed, and on looking over the edge of the crest beheld a sight that
made their hearts stand still. A monster, somewhat resembling an alligator, except that
the back was arched, was waddling about perhaps seventy- five yards from them. It was
sixty feet long, and to the top of its scales was at least twenty-five feet high. It was
constantly moving, and the travellers noticed with some dismay that its motion was far
more rapid than they would have supposed it could be.
"It is also a dinosaur," said the professor, watching it sharply, "and very closely
resembles the Stegosaurus ungulatus restored in the museums. The question is, What
shall we do with the living specimen, now that we have it?"
"Our chairman," said Ayrault, "must find a way to kill it, so that we may examine it
"The trouble is," said Bearwarden, "our bullets will explode before they penetrate the
scales. In the absence of any way of making a passage for an explosive ball by means of a
solid one, we must strike a vital spot. His scales being no harder than the trunk of a tree,
we can wound him terribly by touching him anywhere; but there is no object in doing this
unless we can kill him, especially as there is no deep stream, such as would have delayed
the mastodon in reaching us, to protect us here. We must spread out so as to divert his
attention from one to another."
After some consultation it was decided that Cortlandt, who had only a shot-gun, should
remain where they were, while Bearwarden and Ayrault moved some distance to the right
and left. At a signal from Cortlandt, who was to attract the monster's attention, the wings
were to advance simultaneously. These arrangements they carried out to the letter. When
Bearwarden and Ayrault had gone about twenty-five yards on either side, the doctor
imitated the peculiar grunting sound of an alligator, at which the colossal monster turned
and faced him, while Bearwarden and Ayrault moved to the attack. The plan of this was
good, for, with his attention fixed on three objects, the dinosaur seemed confused, and
though Bearwarden and Ayrault had good angles from which to shoot, there was no
possibility of their hitting each other. They therefore advanced steadily with their rifles
half up. Though their own danger increased with each step, in the event of their missing,
the chance of their shooting wild decreased, the idea being to reach the brain through the
eye. Cortlandt's part had also its risks, for, being entirely defenceless with his shot-gun
against the large creature, whose attention it was his duty to attract, he staked all on the
marksmanship of his friends. Not considering this, however, he stood his ground, having
the thumb-piece on his Winchester magazine shoved up and ready to make a noisy