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CHAPTER XXIV THE GIANTS
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 “Let’s go down and investigate,” suggested Jack1.
 
“Better wait,” counseled the professor. “It will soon be dark, and, though we will have moonlight, we can not see to advantage. I think it will be best to keep the ship in the air to-night, and descend2 in the morning. Then we can look about and decide on what to do.”
 
They all agreed this was the best plan, and, after making a circle above the deserted3 village, and noting no signs of life, the Mermaid4 was brought to a halt over the centre of the town, and about three hundred feet above it. There the travelers would be comparatively safe.
 
It was deemed best to keep watch that night, and so, Mark, Jack, Bill and Tom took turns, though there was nothing for them to do, as not a thing happened. With the first appearance of dawn Mr. Henderson gave orders to have the ship lowered, and it came to rest in the middle of what corresponded to a street in the queer mound5 village.
 
“Now to see what kind of people have lived here!” cried Jack. “They must have been a queer lot. Something like the Esquimaux, only they probably had more trouble keeping cool than the chaps up at the north pole do.”
 
Now that they were down among the mound houses, they saw that the dwellings6 were much larger than they had supposed. They towered high above the boys’ heads, and some of them were large enough in area to have accommodated a company of soldiers.
 
“Say, the chaps who lived in these must have been some pumpkins,” said Jack. “Why the ceilings are about fifteen feet high, and the doors almost the same! Talk about giants! I guess we’ve struck where they used to hang out, at any rate.”
 
The houses were a curious mixture of clay and soft stone. There were doors, with big skins from animals as curtains, and the windows were devoid7 of glass. Instead of stairs there were rude ladders, and the furniture in the mound houses was of the roughest kind.
 
There were fire-places in some of the houses, and the blackened and smoked walls showed that they must have been used. In one or two of the houses clay dishes, most of them broken, were scattered8 about, and the size of them, in keeping with everything else, indicated that those who used them were of no small stature9.
 
“Some of the bowls would do for bath tubs,” said Jack, as he came across one or two large ones.
 
By this time the professor, Bill and Tom had joined the boys, and the five went on with the exploring tour, while Washington and Andy remained in the ship to get breakfast.
 
“The inhabitants are evidently of a half-civilized race,” the professor said. “Their houses, and the manner in which they live, show them to be allied10 to the Aztecs, though of course they are much larger than that race.”
 
“What’s bothering me,” Bill said, “is not so much what race they belong to, as what chance we’d stand in a race with them if they took it into their heads to chase after us. I’ve read that them there Azhandled races——”
 
“You mean the Aztecs,” interrupted the professor.
 
“Well the Aztecs, then. But I’ve read they used to place their enemies on a stone altar and cut their hearts out. Now I’m not hankerin’ after anything like that.”
 
“Don’t be foolish,” spoke11 Mr. Henderson. “Wait until you meet some of the giants, if that is what they are, and then you can decide what to do.”
 
“It may be too late then,” remarked Bill in a low tone, and the boys were somewhat inclined to agree with him.
 
However, there seemed to be no immediate12 danger, as there was no sign of any of the big people about the village. The adventurers walked about for some time, but made no discoveries that would throw any light on the reason for the place being left uninhabited. It seemed as if there had been a sudden departure from the place, for in a number of the houses the remains13 of half-cooked meals were seen.
 
“Well, I think we have noted14 enough for the time being,” the professor remarked, after they had traversed almost half the length of what seemed to be the principal street. “Let’s go back to the ship and have something to eat. Washington may have become alarmed at our absence.”
 
They made a circle in order to take in another part of the town on their way back. While passing through a sort of alley15, though it was only narrow by comparison with the other thoroughfares that were very wide, Mark came to a place where there was a circular slab16 of stone, resting on the ground. In the centre was a big iron ring.
 
“Hello! Here’s something new!” he exclaimed. “Maybe it leads to a secret passage, or covers some hidden treasure.”
 
“I guess it will have to continue to cover it then,” Jack spoke. “That probably weighs several tons. None of us could move it.”
 
They made their way back to the ship, where they found Washington and Andy discussing the advisability of going off in search of them.
 
“Breakfast is mighty17 near spoiled,” said the colored man with an injured air.
 
But the travelers did full justice to the meal, notwithstanding this. Deciding there was nothing to be gained by staying in that vicinity, the professor started the ship off again.
 
They traveled several hundred miles in the air, and, as the afternoon was coming to a close, Jack, who was in charge of the conning18 tower, spied, just ahead of them, another village.
 
“We will descend there for the night,” the professor said. “Does there seem to be any sign of life about?”
 
“None,” replied Mark, who was observing through a telescope the town they were approaching. “It’s as dead as the other one.”
 
The airship settled down in a field back of some of the mound houses.
 
“Now for supper!” cried Jack. “I’m as hungry as——”
 
He stopped short, for, seeming to rise from the very ground, all about the ship, there appeared a throng19 of men. And such men as they were! For not one was less than ten feet tall, and some were nearly fifteen!
 
“The giants have us!” cried Bill, as he saw the horde20 of creatures surrounding the ship.

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 jack 53Hxp     
n.插座,千斤顶,男人;v.抬起,提醒,扛举;n.(Jake)杰克
参考例句:
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
2 descend descend     
vt./vi.传下来,下来,下降
参考例句:
  • I hope the grace of God would descend on me.我期望上帝的恩惠。
  • We're not going to descend to such methods.我们不会沦落到使用这种手段。
3 deserted GukzoL     
adj.荒芜的,荒废的,无人的,被遗弃的
参考例句:
  • The deserted village was filled with a deathly silence.这个荒废的村庄死一般的寂静。
  • The enemy chieftain was opposed and deserted by his followers.敌人头目众叛亲离。
4 mermaid pCbxH     
n.美人鱼
参考例句:
  • How popular would that girl be with the only mermaid mom!和人鱼妈妈在一起,那个女孩会有多受欢迎!
  • The little mermaid wasn't happy because she didn't want to wait.小美人鱼不太高兴,因为她等不及了。
5 mound unCzhy     
n.土墩,堤,小山;v.筑堤,用土堆防卫
参考例句:
  • The explorers climbed a mound to survey the land around them.勘探者爬上土丘去勘测周围的土地。
  • The mound can be used as our screen.这个土丘可做我们的掩蔽物。
6 dwellings aa496e58d8528ad0edee827cf0b9b095     
n.住处,处所( dwelling的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The development will consist of 66 dwellings and a number of offices. 新建楼区将由66栋住房和一些办公用房组成。
  • The hovels which passed for dwellings are being pulled down. 过去用作住室的陋屋正在被拆除。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 devoid dZzzx     
adj.全无的,缺乏的
参考例句:
  • He is completely devoid of humour.他十分缺乏幽默。
  • The house is totally devoid of furniture.这所房子里什么家具都没有。
8 scattered 7jgzKF     
adj.分散的,稀疏的;散步的;疏疏落落的
参考例句:
  • Gathering up his scattered papers,he pushed them into his case.他把散乱的文件收拾起来,塞进文件夹里。
9 stature ruLw8     
n.(高度)水平,(高度)境界,身高,身材
参考例句:
  • He is five feet five inches in stature.他身高5英尺5英寸。
  • The dress models are tall of stature.时装模特儿的身材都较高。
10 allied iLtys     
adj.协约国的;同盟国的
参考例句:
  • Britain was allied with the United States many times in history.历史上英国曾多次与美国结盟。
  • Allied forces sustained heavy losses in the first few weeks of the campaign.同盟国在最初几周内遭受了巨大的损失。
11 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
12 immediate aapxh     
adj.立即的;直接的,最接近的;紧靠的
参考例句:
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
13 remains 1kMzTy     
n.剩余物,残留物;遗体,遗迹
参考例句:
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
14 noted 5n4zXc     
adj.著名的,知名的
参考例句:
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.当地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著称。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班迟到出了名。
15 alley Cx2zK     
n.小巷,胡同;小径,小路
参考例句:
  • We live in the same alley.我们住在同一条小巷里。
  • The blind alley ended in a brick wall.这条死胡同的尽头是砖墙。
16 slab BTKz3     
n.平板,厚的切片;v.切成厚板,以平板盖上
参考例句:
  • This heavy slab of oak now stood between the bomb and Hitler.这时笨重的橡木厚板就横在炸弹和希特勒之间了。
  • The monument consists of two vertical pillars supporting a horizontal slab.这座纪念碑由两根垂直的柱体构成,它们共同支撑着一块平板。
17 mighty YDWxl     
adj.强有力的;巨大的
参考例句:
  • A mighty force was about to break loose.一股巨大的力量即将迸发而出。
  • The mighty iceberg came into view.巨大的冰山出现在眼前。
18 conning b97e62086a8bfeb6de9139effa481f58     
v.诈骗,哄骗( con的现在分词 );指挥操舵( conn的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • He climbed into the conning tower, his eyes haunted and sickly bright. 他爬上司令塔,两眼象见鬼似的亮得近乎病态。 来自辞典例句
  • As for Mady, she enriched her record by conning you. 对马德琳来说,这次骗了你,又可在她的光荣历史上多了一笔。 来自辞典例句
19 throng sGTy4     
n.人群,群众;v.拥挤,群集
参考例句:
  • A patient throng was waiting in silence.一大群耐心的人在静静地等着。
  • The crowds thronged into the mall.人群涌进大厅。
20 horde 9dLzL     
n.群众,一大群
参考例句:
  • A horde of children ran over the office building.一大群孩子在办公大楼里到处奔跑。
  • Two women were quarrelling on the street,surrounded by horde of people.有两个妇人在街上争吵,被一大群人围住了。


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