Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/29

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of my escape, and whether it was not possible that some of my fellow-passengers might also have been saved. He entered all the particulars in one of the large books, and when I, in return, questioned him as to the country I was now in, he said,—

"You will learn all about us and our country from the Instructor, to whom you will soon be introduced; but as you must now be hungry and tired, you shall have food and rest here till morning."

He dismissed my attendants, who speedily decamped and left me alone with the Inspector. He placed before me delicious fruits and some cooked meat of exquisite flavour and evidently most artistically prepared; but what animal it originally belonged to I was unable to say, nor did I care to ask my very laconic, not to say surly, entertainer. I fell to, and ate with great gusto. A few cocoa-nuts supplied me with a refreshing drink. I noticed that my host, after placing the food before me, retired to a distant part of the cave and did not once look at me while I was eating; in fact, he seemed rather to avoid seeing me eat. When I was completely satiated, I told him how well I had dined, to which he answered only by a sort of impatient grunt, and he conducted me to a bed of fresh leaves in a recess of the cave, and told me I might repose there as long as I chose.

I flung myself on the inviting couch, and wearied out with the exertions I had lately made and the excitement caused by all the strange events of this day of surprises, I soon fell into a profound sleep of which I stood greatly in need, as I had had but little rest since I had been so wonderfully rescued alone of all the crew and passengers of the ill-fated Precursor.