A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
diversion if necessary in behalf of either wing. Having aroused the monster's curiosity,
Cortlandt sprang up, waving his arms and his gun. The dinosaur lowered his head as if to
charge, thereby bringing it to a level with the rifles, either of which could have given it
the fatal shot. But as their fingers pressed the triggers the reptile soared up thirty feet in
the air. Ayrault pulled for his first sight, shooting through the lower jaw, and shivering
that member, while Bearwarden changed his aim and sighted straight for the heart. In an
instant the monster was down again, just missing Ayrault's head as he stepped back, and
Bearwarden's rifle poured a stream of explosive balls against its side, rending and
blowing away the heavy scales. Having drawn the dinosaur's attention to himself, he
retreated, while Ayrault renewed the attack. Cortlandt, seeing that the original plan had
miscarried, poured showers of small shot against the huge beast's face. Finally, one of
Ayrault's balls exploded in the brain, and all was over.
"We have killed it at last," said Bearwarden "but the first attack, though artistic, had not
the brilliant results we expected. These creatures' mode of fighting is doubtless somewhat
similar to that of the kangaroo, which it is said puts its forepaws gently, almost lovingly,
on a man's shoulders, and then disembowels him by the rapid movement of a hind leg.
But we shall get used to their method, and can do better next time."
They then reloaded their weapons and, while Cortlandt examined their victim from a
naturalist's point of view, Bearwarden and Ayrault secured the heart, which they thought
would be the most edible part, the operation being rendered possible by the amount of
armour the explosive balls had stripped off.
"To-morrow," said Bearwarden, "we must make it a point to get some well-fed birds; for
I can roast, broil, or fricassee them to a turn. Life is too short to live on this meat in such
a sportsman's paradise. In any case there can be no end of mastodons, mammoths, woolly
rhinoceroses, moa birds, and all such shooting."
As the sun was already near the horizon, they chose a dry, sandy place, to secure as much
immunity as possible from nocturnal visits, and, after procuring a supply of water from a
pool, proceeded to arrange their camp for the night. They first laid out the protection-
wires, setting them while the sun still shone. Next they built a fire and prepared their
evening meal. While they ate it, twilight became night, and the fire-flies, twinkling in
legions in the neighbouring valley, seemed like the lamps of a great city.
"Their lights," said Bearwarden, pointing to them, "are not as fine as the jelly-fish Will-
o'-the wisps were last night, but they are not so dangerous. No gymnotus or electric eel
that I have ever seen compared with them, and I am convinced that any one of us they
might have touched would have been in kingdom come."
The balmy air soothed the travellers' brows as they reclined against mounds of sand,
while the flowers in the valley sent up their dying notes. One by one the moons arose, till
four--among them the Lilliputian, discovered by Prof. Barnard in 1893--were in the sky,
flooding the landscape with their silvery light, and something in the surroundings touched
a sympathetic cord in the men.