A FEW DAYS ON LAND
I WAS much impressed on touching land. Ned Land tried the soil with his feet, as if to take possession of it. However, it was only two months before that we had become, according to Captain Nemo, "passengers on board the Nautilus," but in reality, prisoners of its commander.
In a few minutes we were within musket-shot of the coast. The soil was almost entirely madreporical, but certain beds of dried-up torrents, strewn with debris of granite, showed that this island was of the primary formation. The whole horizon was hidden behind a beautiful curtain of forests. Enormous trees, the trunks of which attained a height of 200 feet, were tied to each other by garlands of bindweed, real natural hammocks, which a light breeze rocked. They were mimosas, ficuses, casuarinae, teks, hibisci, and palm-trees, mingled together in profusion; and under the shelter of their verdant vault grew orchids, leguminous plants, and ferns.
But without noticing all these beautiful specimens of Papuan flora, the Canadian abandoned the agreeable for the useful. He discovered a cocoa-tree, beat down some of the fruit, broke them, and we drunk the milk and ate the nut, with a satisfaction that protested against the ordinary food on the Nautilus.