60 the swiss family robinson
my pockets ; only see, everything I had in them is wet—pistols, everything."
'" Good gracious !" I interrupted, in great alarm, " had you put your pistols in your pocket ? They were not loaded, I hope ?"
'"I do not know, mother ; I only put them there while my belt was drying, that I might always have them about me."
' " They might have gone off and killed you! I cried, thinking how a short time ago it was since I had been congratulating myself on his being accustomed to firearms.
' " There is nothing to fear this time," he said, holding the pistols so as to let the water run out of them; and I saw, indeed, there was little danger of their going off, for they had been most thoroughly wet.
' While we were talking we were interrupted by a sudden noise, and saw a large bird flying up from the thickest part of the grass. Both boys prepared to fire, but before they were ready the bird was out of reach. Ernest was bitterly disappointed, crying:
' " What a pity ! If the bird had not flown so fast I should have killed him."
' " The mischief was, no doubt, that you did not