26 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
While we were talking, we had both been busy splitting more gourds. These I rilled with sand, to prevent their shrinking, and left them for the sun to dry them thoroughly. We intended to pick them up on our way back.
After this we walked on for a long time until we arrived at a spot where a strip of land stretched far out into the sea, and on it was some high ground or a hill. We made directly for this, and on reaching the top we saw a scene of wild and solitary beauty, stretching out in all directions; but in vain we used our telescopes: we could see no trace of man. By this time the heat of the sun was very great, and we felt we must again seek the shelter of trees, or we could not endure it.
So when we descended the hill we made our way to a wood of palms, and were glad to get into the shade again. Our path was clothed with reeds and entwined with other plants, which made progress difficult, so we advanced slowly and cautiously, fearing that snakes might be concealed, and we made Turk go before, to give us notice of anything dangerous. I also cut a reed-stalk for defence, but I had not held it many minutes before I found my hand covered with a sticky juice, which, when I tasted it, proved to be very sweet, so that I realized