Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/27

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21
A VOYAGE AND ITS END.

but I supposed they must have been swimming about and I had not observed them; they all helped to push along the boat.

My astonishment at the strangeness of my position, pushed along in my boat by these tritons in bathing-drawers, helmets and spectacles, made me forget to use my oars, but the boat moved steadily onwards by their united efforts.

"Who, and what are you?" I exclaimed; but could get no satisfactory reply.

"Stop till you get ashore," one said; "you will then learn all about it." So I had to restrain my curiosity.

The few miles of sea were soon traversed, and my boat was pushed into a creek, the snow-white sand of which was overhung with a dense foliage of palms and other tropical trees, whose appearance was strange to me.

As soon as the boat stopped, I leaped out, right glad to touch terra firma once more. My attendants emerged from the water at the same time. They were six in number, and each, as he issued from the sea, plucked a broad palm-leaf and threw it over his shoulders. The one who had first assisted me, told me I must go along with them to the office of the Inspector.

A narrow path wound upwards from the beach through the dense forest composed of magnificent trees, many of which were laden with tempting fruit; among which I noticed plantains, oranges, pomegranates and bread-fruit. Among their branches, birds of exquisite plumage darted hither and thither, chattering to one another in discordant notes, uttering shrill cries, and now and then emitting sweet musical sounds.