192 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
work on our odious task. When at length evening came we abandoned the rest of our prey to the voracious birds ; and, after having loaded our boat with a new cargo of whale blubber, we set sail for home.
In spite of our precautions our clothes stank of whale oil, and it was days before we could rid ourselves of the odour, yet we thought that what we had gained was worth a little personal inconvenience.
We had brought back with us some large flat pieces of whalebone, and with these I made a kind of paddle, which I fixed to the end of the boat. By turning a handle rapidly the flaps of whalebone beat the water, and answered the purpose of a propeller, so that we had no need to row. The boys were delighted with this new invention, and eager to make an excursion by boat.
This we did the first fine day, for the rains had now ceased. We coasted along and visited Falcon's Nest, and then went further to Prospect Hill, where we landed, and saw the animals we had left at the farm. The boat ran well, and the time taken was surprisingly short. We found all in order, though the sheep and goats had grown wild, and ran away when they saw us.