70 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
On measuring the longest we found that they would answer our purpose; and after some difficulty we got them into the boat, and thus spared ourselves the trouble of going on to the ship. Some of them we tied together like a raft, and this we fastened to the end of the boat, so that we were ready to return in four hours from the time we had started, and had done a good day's work. I accordingly pushed again for the current, which drove us out to sea; then I tacked about, and resumed the direct route for the bay. All this succeeded well. I unfurled my sail, and a brisk wind soon sent us to our landing-place.
While we were sailing Fritz nailed the strips of skin we had cut from the shark to the mast to dry, and he presently noticed that they had taken a curve in drying as when they were still on the shark, and could not be made flat again.
' That was what I wanted,' I replied ; ' they will be more useful to us round than flat; you know perhaps that it will be a kind of shagreen leather, if we can rub off the sharp points and afterwards polish it.'
' I thought,' said Ernest, ' that shagreen was made of ass's skin.'
' That is correct,' I said, ' but very good shagreen