258 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
of stone so soft when dug out as to be cut easily with a chisel, but hardening rapidly in the sun.
The grounds of our home were pleasant; our plantations had succeeded, and between the grotto and the bay was a grove of trees and shrubs.
Shark Island no longer was an arid bank of sand: palm and pine-apple trees had been planted everywhere, and the earth was covered with a carpet of vivid green. The scene around us was always animated and gay ; the swans mingled with geese white as the driven snow, and the heron royal with his silvery crest, or the flamingo in his robe of rose-colour, would stand by the marsh and capture the frogs with which it abounded. Under the shade of the beautiful trees our little troop of ostriches reposed, unmindful of the clamour raised by the flocks of cranes and turkeys that clustered around them; the Canada fowls and the heath-fowls, joining together and disdaining the society of their fellows, crossed to the other side of Family Bridge.
One could not recogrize in this beautiful spot, surrounded by so much that was grateful to the eye and ear, the desert, sandy plain we had found on our first coming. It had for boundaries, on the right, Jackal River, which was bordered on our