172 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
make use of the leaves. The first process was that they had to be soaked. For this purpose we carried them to Flamingo Marsh and left them there in the water for a fortnight.
After this we took them out and spread them on the grass in the sun. Occasional slight showers, showing that the wet season was near, had already come on. The temperature, which hitherto had been warm and serene, became gloomy and variable ; the sky was often darkened with clouds, the stormy winds were heard.
It was necessary to lay in a stock of everything we should want for the next few months. So we dug up a supply of potatoes and yams for bread, with plenty of cocoa-nuts, and some bags of sweet acorns.
Our cart was incessantly in motion, conveying home our winter stock. Time was so precious that we did not even make regular meals, and limited ourselves to bread, cheese, and fruits, in order to shorten them, and to return quickly to our work, and despatch it before the bad season should set in. Unfortunately, the weather changed sooner than we had expected. Before we had completed our winter establishment the rain fell in heavy torrents.
The first thing to be done was to fix our resi-