218 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
smoke. The grease was collected in bamboo canes, and carefully preserved; for, besides its use in the kitchen, my wife said it was excellent on bread instead of butter. We left the carcasses to our dogs, and they, aided by the birds of prey, soon picked the bones so clean, that there remained nothing but two perfectly white, dry skeletons, which we carried home with us for our museum. As for the skins, they were carefully washed with salt water, and rubbed with sand and ashes in order to render them soft.
Our labours had been too peaceful for the restless boys, and the next morning I proposed to them to make an excursion alone in the desert; my proposition was joyfully received. Ernest refused to go, but Fritz, Jack, and Francis were soon in the saddle, and galloped off through the defile.
There was plenty for us who remained at home to occupy ourselves with, among other things, while examining a small cavern which we had discovered near the tent, I found a block of talc, nearly as transparent as glass, which I resolved to make into window-panes.
It is not difficult to split this material into very thin sheets, and though not so clear as glass, it answers the purpose very well.