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35. CHAPTER THIRTY-FIFTH.
What happened to Joe.--The Island of the Biddiomahs.--The Adoration shown him.--The Island that sank.--The Shores of the Lake.--The Tree of the Serpents.--The Foot-Tramp.--Terrible Suffering.--Mosquitoes and Ants.--Hunger.--The Victoria seen.--She disappears.--The Swamp. --One Last Despairing Cry.
What had become of Joe, while his master was thus vainly seeking for him?
When he had dashed headlong into the lake, his first movement on coming to the surface was to raise his eyes and look upward. He saw the Victoria already risen far above the water, still rapidly ascending and growing smaller and smaller. It was soon caught in a rapid current and disappeared to the northward. His master--both his friends were saved!
"How lucky it was," thought he, "that I had that idea to throw myself out into the lake! Mr. Kennedy would soon have jumped at it, and he would not have hesitated to do as I did, for nothing's more natural than for one man to give himself up to save two others. That's mathematics!"
Satisfied on this point, Joe began to think of himself. He was in the middle of a vast lake, surrounded by tribes unknown to him, and probably ferocious. All the greater reason why he should get out of the scrape by depending only on himself. And so he gave himself no farther concern about it.
Before the attack by the birds of prey, which, according to him, had behaved like real condors, he had noticed an island on the horizon, and determining to reach it, if possible, he put forth all his knowledge and skill in the art of swimming, after having relieved himself of the most troublesome part of his clothing. The idea of a stretch of five or six miles by no means disconcerted him; and therefore, so long as he was in the open lake, he thought only of striking out straight ahead and manfully.
In about an hour and a half the distance between him and the island had greatly diminished.
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