Too Long; Didn't ReadThe canoe inclined to the west readily enough; the fall in the river-bed was so sudden that the current remained quite unaffected by the cataract at a distance of three hundred yards.
On the bank were woods so dense that sunlight could not penetrate the shade. Dick was conscious of a sad misgiving when he looked at the character of the territory through which they must necessarily pass. It did not seem practicable by any means to convey the canoe below the falls.
As they neared the shore, Dingo became intensely agitated. At first Dick suspected that a wild beast or a native might be lurking in the papyrus, but it soon became obvious that the dog was excited by grief rather than by rage.
"Dingo is crying," said Jack; "poor Dingo!" and the child laid his arms over the creature's neck.
The dog, however, was too impatient to be caressed; bounding away, he sprang into the water, swam across the twenty feet that intervened between the shore, and disappeared in the grass.
In a few moments the boat had glided on to a carpet of confervas and other aquatic plants, starting a few kingfishers and some snow-white herons. Hercules moored it to the stump of a tree, and the travellers went ashore.
There was no pathway through the forest, only the
[Illustration: Upon the smooth wood were two great letters in dingy red.]
trampled moss showed that the place had been recently visited either by animals or men.
Dick took his gun and Hercules his hatchet, and they set out to search for Dingo. They had not far to go before they saw him with his nose close to the ground, manifestly following a scent; the animal raised his head for a moment, as if beckoning them to follow, and kept on till he reached an old sycamore-stump. Having called out to the rest of the party to join them, Dick made his way farther into the wood till he got up to Dingo, who was whining piteously at the entrance of a dilapidated hut.