A close family who has found themselves stranded on an
island after a shipwreck - By J. D. Wyss

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mother named it the House of Diamonds. The ground was level, covered with a white and very fine sand. I broke off a bit of the nearest crystal, and, tasting it, found it to be of pure salt.
As we advanced into the grotto, remarkable figures showed on every side ; columns reached from the bottom to the top of the vault; here and there undulating masses like lace shawls ; others appeared like large open cupboards, benches, church orna­ments, grotesque figures of men and animals ; some like polished crystals or diamonds, others like blocks of alabaster.
We viewed with delighted curiosity this strange sight, and loud exclamations succeeded astonish­ment. Many schemes were formed for converting this magnificent grotto into a new home; for though there was no need for our immediate removal there, it would be an invaluable store­house, and make a snug retreat for the next rainy season.
Partly by the use of gunpowder and partly by hewing, we succeeded in a few weeks' time in making doors and windows in the front wall. In these we fixed the window-frames and doorways we had brought from the ship, and inside we divided the cavern by wooden partitions into
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