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The Baldwin Library
"MY BLOOD CURDLED WHEN I SAW ENORMOUS ANTENNAE BLOCKING
MY ROAD, OR SOME FRIGHTFUL CLAW CLOSING WITH A NOISE IN THE
SHADOW OF SOME CAVITY."- Page 208.
UNDER THE S:
THE MARVELLOUS AND EXCITING
CONSEIL HIS SERVANT, AND
NED LAND, A CANADIAN HARPOONER.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF
anbr gmen Jnutratiilnw.
(EDITION OF JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO.)
SOLD ONLY BY SUBSCRIPTION.
The mysterious and inexplicable Phenomena of 1866.--A Monster of
the Sea. Testimony to its Existence. Facts and Incidents. Acci-
dent to the Scotia. Public Opinion excited. Thousands of Ships
annually lost. Ocean Travel becoming more and more dangerous. -
The Sea must be rid of the formidable Cetacean 3
My Arrival in New York. Mysteries of the Great Submarine
Grounds." Am consulted on the Phenomena in Question. Philo-
sophical Disquisition. A gigantic Narwhal, or Unicorn of the Sea. -
Public Opinion pronounced. The United States Frigate Abraham
Lincoln to solve the Mystery. Preparations to sail. -My Invitation 9
My Resolution. Professor Aronnax accepts the Offer of the American
Government. -Conseil. -What's in a Name?-" As you please, Sir."
The Archiotherium, Hyracotherium, Oreodons, Cheropotamus, and
live Babiroussa A glorious Life but a dangerous one. Brooklyn
Quay.- Getting off. -Cheers from five hundred thousand Throats. -
Down the Bay. Eight Bells. Fire Island Lights. On the dark
Commander Farragut. An enthusiastic Crew. Two Thousand Dollars
Reward.- Ned Land, the Prince of Harpooners. -His Opinion. -
What Whales can do and what they can't. Science vs. Superstition. -
A little figuring, and what comes of it 18
Ned Land at Work. Doubling Cape Horn. Hunting the Sea-Ser-
pent." Anxious Hours.--Three Months on the North Pacific.-
Great nervous Excitement. Reaction. Shall the Search be aban-
doned ? Three decisive Days. Last Chance to pocket the Prize. -
The Monster appears 23
Beating Hearts. -An illuminated Sea.'-The Narwhal approaches. -We
execute a retrogade Movement.- A Night of terrible Suspense. -Excit-
ing Pursuit of a mysterious and formidable Enemy. Ned Land
makes another Strike."-A Waste of Ammunition. -Fearful Shock.
I fall into the Sea 28
Not alone. Faithful Conseil. -A night-long Struggle with Death. -
Ned and the "Monster." Development extraordinary. The Mystery
unravelled. -A novel Specimen of naval Architecture.- We take Pas-
sage .. ...... 35
Our new Quarters.--Darkness and Light.- The Submarine Boat and its
Commander.- Unsatisfactory Interview. Clothed and fed. "Mo-
BILIS IN MOBILI. N." Startling Sensations.--Speculations regarding
our Situation. Dreadful Nightmares followed by a deep Sleep 41
I awake refreshed. And inspect my Surroundings.- The Prison a
Prison still.-- Ventilation. -A fearful Silence and protracted Fast. -
Ned Land assaults the Steward. Parlez vous Fran raise 47
More about the Man of the Seas. Glimpse of a terrible Past. Hints
of the Future. -Prospective Visit to the Land of Marvels. A Subma-
rine Dining-room and Bill of Fare. -Fillet of Turtle and Dolphin's
Livers. Free Life under the Sea. Captain Nemo's Library. Mag-
nificent Drawing-room and Museum of the Nautilus. -My own Apart-
ment .. 49
The Captain's Room. -A powerful Agent. -The Soul of the Nautilus. -
All by Electricity. Fifty Miles an Hour 62
The Captain explains the Mechanism of his Craft. -Atmospheric Pressure
and Compression. -Ingenious Devices.- The "Perfection of Vessels."
Secret of its mysterious Construction. A desert Island in the
Ocean. Fabulous Wealth of Captain Nemo 67
Geological and Geographical. -Arrangements for our first Submarine
Voyage. Ocean Currents. The Black River. Ned and Conseil.--
Dissolving Views. Grand electrical Illumination. -A Window opens
into the unexplored Abyss. An immense Aquarium. 72
A Day in the Museum. Compensations. Inexplicable Absence of the
Captain. Sunrise on the Sea. "Nautron respoc lorni virch." A
Note of Invitation. The Rouquarol and Ruhmkorff Apparatus. A
destructive Arm. 77
A Walk on the Bottom of the Sea. Realm of the Naiads. A Reality
Stranger than Fiction. Forests of the Island of Crespo 84
Fauna and Flora. Zodphytes and Hydrophytes. Curious Anomaly. -
The Arbor of Alarie. We fall asleep. Awakened by an unexpected
Apparition. A monstrous Sea-spider. Seventy-five Fathoms below
the Level of the Sea. Game. Reflections. Hairbreadth Escape.-
Return to the Nautilus 89
Fishing extraordinary. The Life of the Ocean. Mysteries of the Sub-
marine World. Four thousand Leagues under the Pacific. Sandwich
Islands. Marquessas. Wreck of the Florida 95
A new Continent. Study of the madreporal System. How Islands are
made. Tahiti the Queen of the Pacific. Vanikoro. The Story of
La Perouse.- A coral Tomb makes a quiet Grave ". 100
A "Happy New Year. -A dangerous Passage through the Coral Sea. -
Torres Straits. The Nautilus aground. "Accident or Incident" ?-
Once more on terra firma. Ned Land jubilant. Grilled Venison or
Loin of Tiger, which? 107
The Island of Gilboa. -A Feast of Cocoa-nuts. -Cannibals. Bread-fruit
Pie. A Raid upon the Cabbage-palms. Return to the Nautilus. -
Second Visit to the Island. A World of chattering Parrots and grave
Cockatoos. Birds of Paradise. -A magnificent Specimen. Intem-
perance." -The Kangaroo. Dinner Party on Shore. A Surprise 113
Ned Land and his Provisions.- Comical Tableau. "To the Boat !"
A hundred Savages in Pursuit. -A Night in the Tropics. -Excitement
on Shore. A Swarm of Natives. Opening the Hatches. Captain
Nemo's Thunderbolt. Release of the Nautilus 120.
In Motion.- Taking Observations. -Strange Agitation of Captain Nemo.
An imperious Command. Imprisonment. Only Ship's Fare. -
Total Darkness. Becoming stupefied. Complete Insensibility 129
Wide awake and free An impenetrable Mystery. Consulted profes-
sionally. -Death comes to the Nautilus.--A submarine Excursion. -
The marvelous coral Kingdom. -Transformations and magical Effects.
Burial Scene under the Sea 136
The Indian Ocean. Birds and Fishes. -A Shoal of Argonauts. Cross-
ing the Equator. Forbidding Spectacle. A Sea of Milk. 145
The Island of Ceylon.-A novel Proposal from Captain Nemo.-Visit to
the Banks of Manaar. A "Tear of the Sea." Shark-Hunting. -
Pearls, what they are and how secured. Counting the Cost 152
A Visit to the Fisheries. Oyster extraordinary. --A Pearl of ten Mil-
lions. The Indian Diver. Terror-stricken. A fearful Combat. The
Rescue.-Munificent Charity from the Man of the Waters.--"Re-
venge." -Conclusions .157
The Laccadive Archipelago. Domes and Minarets of the Country of
Oman. Only a Vision. "The Gate of Tears."- The Waters of the
Red Sea.-An indescribable Spectacle. The Home of the Sponges.-
M. Lesseps and the Suez Canal. Captain Nemo's Discovery. The
"Arabian Tunnel" 165
Terrific Encounter with a gigantic Dugong. A Glimpse of Sinai. The
Silence of Night. The floating Light of Suez. Under the Isthmus.
Captain Nemo at the Helm. The Torrent of the Tunnel. In the
- Ned desires a Change. -Planning for the Future. -Captain Nemo's Cor-
respondent. -A Chest of Gold. The Grecian Archipelago. -Subma-
rine Eruptions. In a Sulphur Bath, choking, broiled! 181
The Mediterranean in forty-eight Hours. -Gibraltar. -Ruins of the Tem-
ple of Hercules. -Floating on the Atlantic 19,0
Arrangements for Escape from the Nautilus. Conflicting Emotions. -
A Chapter in the History of Spain. Secrets of Vigo Bay. An inex-
haustible Fishery of Gold and Silver. Source of Captain Nemo's
Wealth. -A Heart beating for suffering Humanity. Aid for the Cre-
tans ...... ... 195
A curious Excursion to a vanished Continent. -The Submarine Depths
in the Darkness of Night. -Rain-shower under the Waves. -A Copse
of petrified Trees. Giant Lobsters and Titanic Crabs. A Mountain
of Fire. The Atlantis of Plato. Ruins a thousand Generations old.
Moonlight through the Waters 204
In the Heart of an extinct Volcano. -Submarine Coal-mines. -Captain
Nemo's Laboratory. -A Dragon-tree Beehive. -Ned Land risks his
Life for Game 211
The Sargasso Sea. -A Lake in the open Atlantic. -Dreams of Liberty. -
Melancholy Tones of the Captain's Organ.--We are pursued by a
Whaler.- Three Leagues under Water. -Below the Limits of sub-
marine Existence. -An Ocean Photograph. "Primitive Rocks which
have never looked upon the Light of Heaven" 218
A Troop of Whales. Pursued by Cachalots. -The Nautilus enters the
Field. Inhuman Massacre. A Sea of Blood. Ned Land's Indig-
Journeying South. Ice Blink.'
geous Scenery among the Fields
Project. To the Antarctic Pole.-
Icebergs. In the open Polar Sea
- Crossing the Polar Circle. Gor-
of Ice. Captain Nemo's audacious
- Five hundred Leagues under the
The Antarctic Continent.-Maury's Hypothesis. -Evidences of volcanic
Origin. Life in the Air. An Introduction to the interesting Seal
Family. A City of Morses. S6enes and Sensations. The Vernal
Equinox preceding the Polar Night. -Altitude of the Sun.- AT THE
SOUTH POLE! Captain Nemo unfurls the Black Banner and takes
Return to the Depths. -A Shock. Overturning of a Mountain of Ice. -
"Things God never intended Man to see." A fearful Situation. -
Blocked fast .247
An impenetrable Wall of Ice. -Two Ways of dying. -A living Tomb. -
Walls closing in. -One Danger more.- Want of Air. -Working with
a Will. Dizziness. Suffocation. Opportune Deliverance. 253
Thankfulness. The Northern Sun. Terra del Fuego. From Cape
Horn to the Equator. Conseil encounters an Electric Fish. -A Herd
of Sea-Cows. Novel Expedient. Turtle-fishing on the Shores of
the Amazon. Return to the high Seas 261
The "Devil Fish." -Terrible Encounter. -Crushed to Death in the Arms
of a Monster. Ned Land saved by the Captain. "Only Revenge ". 268
The Gulf Stream. -Phosphorescent Waters.-- Longings for Liberty. -
Nostalgia. Whoever enters the Nautilus never quits it." How-
ever, Ned resolves to be free. Terrific Tempest off the Long Island
Shore ... 276
A Visit to the Atlantic Cable. -Scehe of the Accident in 1863.-Toward
the British Isles. Land's End. The Avenger 283
Mysterious Existence of Captain Nemo unveiled. Retaliation. Ned
Land stricken down with an Iron Hand. -The black Flag unfurled. -
Unwilling Witnesses of a dreadful Drama. -The Archangel of Hatred
in Tears .288
Rapid Flight of the Nautilus to Northern Seas. In Sight of Land. -
Plans for Escape perfected. Last Words of Captain Nemo. The
Maelstrom the Maelstrom Into the Midst of the Whirlpool. I
lose all Consciousness 295
A Marvelous Escape, and End of the VOYAGE UNDER THE SEAS 302
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
"My blood curdled when I saw enormous antennas blocking my road, or some
frightful claw closing with a noise in the shadow of some cavity Frontispiece.
The mysterious accident to the Scotia PAGE 8
The U. S. frigate Abraham Lincoln 12
As you please, sir,' replied Conseil, quietly" .15
The Abraham Lincoln escorted out of the Hudson .. 17
Ned Land the Canadian harpooner 19
I devoured with eagerness the soft foam which whitened the sea 24
Searching for the mysterious Cetacean 26
Sudden appearance of the Marine Monster 28
The old gunner, with steady eye and grave face, took a long aim 33
A night-long struggle with death 37
On the back of the submarine boat 39
Our prison was suddenly lighted 42
The two strangers examined us with great attention 43
"My two companions stretched themselves on the cabin carpet" 46
Ned Land assaults the Steward 49
The Steward, nearly strangled, tottered out on a sign from his master" 49
In the centre of the room was a table richly laid out" 55
"You must have six or seven thousand volumes here" 57
"My delight as a professor may be conceived" 60
Captain Nemo's room .. 62
The engine-room of the Nautilus 66
The Captain showed me a sketch of the Nautilus 67
Fire destroyed all trace of our proceedings". 71
Captain Nemo takes the altitude of the sun 73
The Black River 74
A window opened into this unexplored abyss" 76
Life in the Black River 77
"I was admiring this joyous rising of the sun" 79
SI did honor to the repast" 81
"I was ready to set out" 85
A walk under the waters 86
A monstrous sea-spider 91
The prop of the Island of Crespo 92
LIST OF ILL US TRA 7IONS.
"A large bird approached, hovering over us" .
" One could count the calmars by millions" .
The wreck of the Florida .. .
The Island of Vanikoro .
"Captain Nemo showed me a tin-plate box" .
The Nautilus in danger .
"The whole horizon was hidden behind a beautiful curtain of forests "
"We completed our collection by a raid upon the cabbage-palms"
" Conseil suddenly bent down, uttered a triumphal cry, and came back,
bringing a magnificent specimen" ..
A slaughter of Kangaroos .
" One of these chiefs, rather near the Nautilus, examined it attentively "
"Conseil took up his gun, and aimed at a savage who was poising his sling at
ten yards from him" .
"The first native who placed his hand on the staircase, struck from behind by
some invisible force, fled" . .
" His eye was steadily fixed on the impenetrable point of the horizon "
"Evidently soporific substances had been mixed with the food we had just
"There, on a bed, lay a man about forty years of age "
A coral cemetery .. .
"I saw some magnificent albatrosses" .
A shoal of Argonauts. .
" A forbidding spectacle" .
"Captain Nemo, Ned Land, Conseil, and I, took our places in the
' Ned Land was brandishing an enormous harpoon" .
" An oyster of extraordinary dimensions" .
"A terrible combat ensued" .
"There grew sponges of all shapes". .
"An indescribable spectacle" .
stern of the
" Outside, some wooden cabins showed the quarter inhabited by the Bedouins"
"Ned Land, stretching out his hand, said, 'Do you see anything there? "
" Ned Land, his body thrown a little back, brandished the harpoon "
Captain Nemo at the helm .. .
" A man shipwrecked? He must be saved at any price "
" At that moment the Captain opened a sort of strong box, which held a great
many ingots of gold" .
Scene in the Mediterranean .
Scene in the Adriatic. .
" The Nautilus returned to the deep waters with its accustomed speed"
Vigo Bay .
"For one instant I caught a glimpse of the beautiful ruins of the Temple of
Hercules" .. .
LIST OF ILL US*TRA TIONVS.
"The Admiral burned and scuttled every galleon" .
"From these cases escaped ingots of gold and silver, cascades of piastres and
precious stones .
"A copse of dead trees, petrified by the action of the water "
Giant lobsters and Titanic crabs .
"There, under my eyes, ruined, destroyed, lay a town "
"The Nautilus was stationary, floating near a mountain" .
"He risked his life twenty times before reaching the bird". .
"We were now obliged to descend towards the shore" .
"I heard the melancholy tones of his organ .
"Those primitive rocks, which have never looked on the light of heaven "
SWhen Ned met the Captain, his eyes lit up with suppressed rage" .
' The Nautilus fell in with a troop of whales" .. .
"They have already depopulated Baffin's Bay, and are annihilating a class of
useful animals" .
"They are nothing but mouth and teeth" .
"' An iceberg,' said the Canadian to me" .
"In spite of the means employed to break up the ice, the Nautilus remained
"The door of the saloon opened, and Captain Nemo appeared" .
" The Captain climbed a rock ". .. .
"Thousands of birds fluttered and flew of all kinds" .
"It was a painful ascent over the sharp lava and the pumice-stones" .
"The Captain exclaimed, Adieu, sun Disappear, thou radiant orb!
"I remarked that the side walls were gradually closing in ".
"Half stretched upon a divan in the library, I was suffocating" .
"I breathed, I inhaled the vivifying sea-air" .
"In a moment he was overthrown, his legs in the air ".
" There several groups of sea-cows herded together "
" Captain Bouguer attacked the poulp with harpoons and guns"
" Before my eyes was a horrible monster" .
"With one blow of the axe, Captain Nemo cut this formidable tentacle" .
"Only one of its arms wriggled in the air, brandishing the victim like a
"I saw a large vessel pass the horizon struggling painfully "
" A shower of fire had succeeded the rain" .
"The Captain pronounced these words, It is there '" .
" The Avenger!' I exclaimed" .
"Ned Land was struck down by an iron hand, and fell upon the deck"
" Captain Nemo did not take his eyes from the vessel" .
"The Nautilus passed through the mass of the vessel, like a needle through
"The boat was hurled like a stone from a sling into the whirlpool" .
"When I returned to consciousness, I was lying in a fisherman's hut" .
TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES
UNDER THE SEAS.
A SHIFTING REEF.
HE year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a
mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubt-
less no one has yet forgotten. Not to mention rumours
which agitated the maritime population, and excited the public mind,
even in the interior of continents, seafaring men were particularly
excited. Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, skippers,
both of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries, and the
Governments of several states on the two continents, were deeply
interested in the matter.
For some time past, vessels had been met by "an enormous
thing," a long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent,
and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale.
A SHIFTING REEF.
The facts relating to this apparition (entered in various log-books)
agreed in most respects as to the shape of the object or creature in
question, the untiring rapidity of its movements, its surprising
power of locomotion, and the peculiar life with which it seemed
endowed. If it was a cetacean, it surpassed in size all those
hitherto classified in science. Taking into consideration the mean
of observations made at divers times,-rejecting the timid estimate
of those who assigned to this object a length of two hundred feet,
equally with the exaggerated opinions which set it down as a mile
in width and three in length,-we might fairly conclude that this
mysterious being surpassed greatly all dimensions admitted by the
ichthyologists of the day, if it existed at all. And that it did
exist was an undeniable fact; and, with that tendency which disposes
the human mind in favour of the marvellous, we can understand
the excitement produced in the entire world by this supernatural
apparition. As to classing it in the list of fables, the idea was out
of the question.
On the 20th of July 1866, the steamer Governor Higginson,.of
the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation Company, had met this
moving mass five miles off the east coast of Australia. Captain
Baker thought at first that he was in the presence of an unknown
,andbank; he even prepared to determine its exact position, when
two columns of water, projected by the inexplicable object, shot
with a hissing noise a hundred and fifty feet up into the air.
Now, unless the sandbank had been submitted to the intermittent
eruption of a geyser, the Governor Higginson had to do neither
.more nor less than with an aquatic mammal, unknown till then,
fhich threw up from its blow-holes columns of water mixed with
air and vapour.
Similar facts were observed on the 23d of July in the same year,
in the Pacific Ocean, by the Columbus, of the West India and Pacific
Steam Navigation Company. But this extraordinary cetaceous crea-
ture could transport itself from one. place to another with surprising
velocity; as, in an interval of three days, the Governor Higginson
and the Columbus had observed it at two different points of the
chart, separated by a distance of more than seven hundred nautical
A SHIFTING REEF.
Fifteen days later, two thousand miles farther off, the Helvetia, of
the Compagnie-Nationale, and the Shannon, of the Royal Mail Steam-
ship Company, sailing to windward in that portion of the Atlantic
lying between the United States and Europe, respectively signalled
the monster to each other in 42 15' N. lat. and 600 35' W. long.
In these simultaneous observations, they thought themselves justified
in estimating the minimum length of the mammal at more than
three hundred and fifty feet, as the Shannon and Helvetia were of
smaller dimensions than it, though they measured three hundred
feet over all
Now the largest whales, those which frequent those parts of the
sea round the Aleutian, Kulammak, and Umgullich islands, have
never exceeded the length of sixty yards, if they attain that.
These reports arriving one after the other, with fresh observations
made on board the transatlantic ship Pereira, a collision which
occurred between the Etna of the Inman line and the monster, a
proges verbal directed by the officers of the French frigate Nor-
mandie, a very accurate survey made by the staff of Commodore
Fitz-James on board the Lord Clyde, greatly influenced public opinion.
Light-thinking people jested upon the phenomenon, but grave prac-
tical countries, such as England, America, and Germany, treated
the matter more seriously.
In every place of great resort the monster was the fashion. They
sang of it in the caf6s, ridiculed it in the papers, and represented it
on the stage. All kinds of stories were circulated regarding it.
There appeared in the papers caricatures of every gigantic and imagi-
nary creature, from the white whale, the terrible Moby Dick of
hyperborean regions, to the immense kraken whose tentacles could
entangle a ship of five hundred tons, and hurry it into the abyss of
the ocean. The legends of ancient times were even resuscitated, and
the opinions of Aristotle and Pliny revived, who admitted the
existence of these monsters, as well as the Norwegian tales ot
Bishop Pontoppidan, the accounts of Paul Heggede, and, last of all,
the reports of Mr Harrington (whose good faith no one could
suspect), who affirmed that, being on board the Castillan, in 1857,
he had seen this enormous serpent, which had never until that time
frequented any other seas but those of the ancient Constitutionel."
A SHIFTING REEF.
Then burst forth the interminable controversy between the credu.
lous and the incredulous in the societies of savants and scientific
journals. "The question of the monster" inflamed all minds.
Editors of scientific journals, quarrelling.with believers in the super-
natural, spilled seas of ink during this memorable campaign, some
even drawing blood; for, from the sea-serpent, they came to direct
For six months war was waged with various fortune in the
leading articles of the Geographical Institution of Brazil, the
Royal Academy of Science of Berlin, the British Association, the
Smithsonian Institution of Washington, in the discussions of the
"Indian Archipelago," of the Cosmos of the Abb6 Moigno, in the
Mittheilungen of Petermann, in the scientific chronicles of the great
journals of France and other countries. The cheaper journals replied
keenly and with inexhaustible zest. These satirical writers parodied
a remark of Linnaeus, quoted by the adversaries of the monster,
maintaining "that nature did not make fools," and adjured their
contemporaries not to give the lie to nature, by admitting the
existence of krakens, sea-serpents, "Moby Dicks," and other lucu-
brations of delirious sailors. At length an article in a well-known
satirical journal by a favourite contributor, the chief of the staff,
settled the monster, like Hippolytus, giving it the death-blow
amidst an universal burst of laughter. Wit had conquered
During the first months of the year 1867, the question seemed
buried never to revive, when new facts were brought before the
public. It was then no longer a scientific problem to be solved,
but a real danger seriously to be avoided. The question took quite
another shape. The monster became a small island, a rock, a reef,
but a reef of indefinite and shifting proportions.
On the 5th of March 1867, the Moravian, of the Montreal
Ocean Company, finding herself during the night in 270 30' lat. and
72 15' long., struck on her starboard quarter a rock, marked in no
chart for that part of the sea. Under the combined efforts of the
wind and its four hundred horse-power, it was going at the rate of
thirteen knots. Had it not been for the superior strength of the
hull of the Moravian, she would have been broken by the shock, and
A SHIFTING REEF.
gone down with the 237 passengers she was bringing home from
The accident happened about five o'clock in the morning, as the
day was breaking. The officers of the quarter-deck hurried to the
after-part of the vessel. They examined the sea with the most
scrupulous attention. They saw nothing but a strong eddy about
three cables' length distant, as if the surface had been violently
agitated. The bearings of the place were taken exactly, and the
Moravian continued its route without apparent damage. Had it
struck on a submerged rock, or on an enormous wreck 1 they could
not tell; but on examination'of the ship's bottom when undergoing
repairs, it was found that part of her keel was broken.
This fact, so grave in itself, might perhaps have been forgotten
like many others, if, three weeks after, it had not been re-enacted
under similar circumstances. But, thanks to the nationality of the
victim of the shock, thanks to the reputation of the company to
which the vessel belonged, the circumstance became extensively
The 13th of April 1867, the sea being beautiful, the breeze
favourable, the Scotia of the Cunard Company's line, found herself
in 15 12' long. and 450 37' lat. She was going at the speed of
thirteen knots and a half.
At seventeen minutes past four in the afternoon, whilst the
passengers were assembled at lunch in the great saloon, a slight
shock was felt on the hull of the Scotia, on her quarter, a little
aft of the port-paddle.
The Scotia had not struck, but she had been struck, and seem-
ingly by something rather sharp and penetrating than blunt. The
shock had been so slight that no one had been alarmed, had it not
been for the shouts of the carpenter's watch, who rushed on to the
bridge, exclaiming, "We are sinking! we are sinking!" At first the
passengers were much frightened, but Captain Anderson hastened
to reassure them. The danger could not be imminent. The Scotia,
divided into seven compartments by strong partitions, could brave
with impunity any leak. Captain Anderson went down immedi.
ately into the hold. He found that the sea was pouring into the
fifth compartment; and the rapidity of the influx proved that the
A SHIFTING REEF.
force of the water was considerable. Fortunately this compartment
did not hold the boilers, or the fires would have been immediately
extinguished. Captain Anderson ordered the engines to be stopped
at once, and one of the men went down to ascertain the extent of
the injury. Some minutes afterwards they discovered the existence
of a large hole, of two yards in diameter, in the ship's bottom.
Such a leak could not be stopped; and the Scotia, her paddles
half submerged, was obliged to continue her course. She was then
three hundred miles from Cape Clear, and after three days' delay,
which caused great uneasiness in Liverpool, she entered the basin of
The engineers visited the Scotia, which was put in dry dock.
They could scarcely believe it possible; at two yards and a half
below water-mark was a regular rent, in the form of an isosceles
triangle. The broken place in the iron plates was so perfectly
defined, that it could not have been more neatly done by a punch.
It was clear, then, that the instrument producing the perforation was
not of a common stamp; and after having been driven with pro-
digious strength, and piercing an iron plate 1| inches thick, had
withdrawn itself by a retrograde motion truly inexplicable.
Such was the last fact, which resulted in exciting once more the
torrent of public opinion. From this moment all unlucky casualties
which could not be otherwise accounted for were put down to the
Upon this imaginary creature rested the responsibility of all
these shipwrecks, which unfortunately were considerable; for of
three thousand ships whose loss was annually recorded at Lloyds', the
number of sailing and steam ships supposed to be totally lost, from
the absence of all news, amounted to not less than two hundred!
Now, it was the monster who, justly or unjustly, was accused
of their disappearance, and, thanks to it, communication between
the different continents became more and more dangerous. The
public demanded peremptorily that the seas should at any price be
relieved from this formidable cetacean.
The Mysterious Accident to the Scotia.--rPae 8.
PRO AND CON.
PRO AND CON.
AT the period when these events took place, I had just returned
from a scientific research in the disagreeable territory of Nebraska,
in the United States. In virtue of my office as Assistant Professor
in the Museum of Natural History in Paris, the French Govern-
ment had attached me to that expedition. After six months in
Nebraska, I arrived in New York towards the end of March, laden
with a precious collection. My departure for France was fixed for
the first days in May. Meanwhile, I was occupying myself in
classifying my mineralogical, botanical, and zoological riches, when
the accident happened to the Scotia.
I was perfectly up in the subject which was the question of the
day. How could I be otherwise 1 I had read and re-read all the
American and European papers without being any nearer a coficlu-
sion. This mystery puzzled me. Under the impossibility of form-
ing an opinion, I jumped from one extreme to the other. That there
really was something could not be doubted, and the incredulous
were invited to put their finger on the wound of the Scotia.
On my arrival at New York, the question was at its height. The
hypothesis of the floating island, and the unapproachable sandbank,
supported by minds little competent to form a judgment, was
abandoned. And, indeed, unless this shoal had a machine in its
stomach, how could it change its position with such astonishing
From the same cause, the idea of a floating hull of an enormous
wreck was given up.
There remained then only two possible solutions of the question,
which created two distinct parties: on one side, those who were for
a monster of colossal strength; on the other, those who were for a
submarine vessel of enormous motive power.
But this last hypothesis, plausible as it was, could not stand
PRO AND CON.
against inquiries made in both worlds. That a private gentle-
man should have such a machine at his command was not
likely. Where, when, and how was it built ? and how could its
construction have been kept secret ? Certainly a Government might
possess such a destructive machine. And in these disastrous times,
when the ingenuity of man has multiplied the power of weapons
of war, it was possible that, without the knowledge of others, a
state might try to work such a formidable engine. After the chas-
sepots came the torpedoes, after the torpedoes the submarine rams,
then-the reaction. At least, I hope so.
But the hypothesis of a war machine fell before the declaration of
Governments. As public interest was in question, and transatlantic
communications suffered, their veracity could not be doubted. But,
how admit that the construction of this submarine boat had
escaped the public eye? For a private gentleman to keep the
secret under such circumstances would be very difficult, and for a
state whose every act is persistently watched by powerful rivals,
After inquiries made in England, France, Russia, Prussia, Spain,
Italy, and America, even in Turkey, the hypothesis of a submarine
monitor was definitely rejected.
Upon my arrival in New York several persons did me the honour
of consulting me on the phenomenon in question. I had published
in France a work in quarto, in two volumes, entitled, "Mysteries of
the Great Submarine Grounds." This book, highly approved of in
the learned world, gained for me a special reputation in this rather
obscure branch of Natural History. My advice was asked. As
long as I could deny the reality of the fact, I confined myself to
a decided negative. But soon finding myself driven into a corner,
I was obliged to explain myself categorically. And even "the
Honourable Pierre Aronnax, Professor in the Museum of Paris," was
called upon by the New York Herald to express a definite opinion
of some sort. I did something. I spoke, for want of power to hold
my tongue. I discussed the question in all its forms, politically
and scientifically; and I give here an extract from a carefully-studied
article which I published in the number of the 30th of April. It
ran as follows:-
"After examining one by one the different hypotheses, rejecting
all other suggestions, it becomes necessary to admit the existence of
a marine animal of enormous power.
"The great depths of the ocean are entirely unknown to us.
Soundings cannot reach them. What passes in those remote
depths-what beings live, or can live, twelve or fifteen miles
beneath the surface of the waters-what is the organisation of
these animals, we can scarcely conjecture. However, the solu-
tion of the problem submitted to me may modify the form of
the dilemma. Either we do know all the varieties of beings
which people our planet, or we do not. If we do not know them
all-if Nature has still secrets in ichthyology for us, nothing
is more conformable to reason than to admit the existence of
fishes, or cetaceans of other kinds, or even of new species, of
an organisation formed to inhabit the strata inaccessible to
soundings, and which an accident of some sort, either fantastical
or capricious, has brought at,long intervals to the upper level of
"If, on the contrary, we do know all living kinds, we must
necessarily seek for the animal in question amongst those marine
beings already classed; and, in that case, I should be disposed to
admit the existence of a gigantic narwhal.
"The common narwhal, or unicorn of the sea, often attains a
length of sixty feet. Increase its size fivefold or tenfold, give it
strength proportionate to its size, lengthen its destructive weapons,
and you obtain the animal required. It will have the proportions
determined by the officers of the Shannon, the instrument required
by the perforation of the Scotia, and the power necessary to pierce
the hull of the steamer.
"Indeed the narwhal is armed with a sort of ivory sword, a
halberd, according to the expression of certain naturalists. The
principal tusk has the hardness of steel. Some of these tusks have
been found buried in the bodies of whales, which the unicorn always
attacks with success. Others have been drawn out, not without
trouble, from the bottoms of ships, which they had pierced through
and through, as a gimlet pierces a barrel. The Museum of the
Faculty of Medicine of Paris possesses one of these defensive
PRO AND CON.
PRO AND CON.
weapons, two yards and a quarter in length, and fifteen inches in
diameter at the base.
"Very well! suppose this weapon to be.six times stronger, and
the animal ten times more powerful; launch it at the rate of twenty
miles an hour, and you obtain a shock capable of producing the
catastrophe required. Until further information, therefore, I shall
maintain it to be a sea-unicorn of colossal dimensions, armed, not
with a halberd, but with a real spur, as the armoured frigates, or
the "rams of war, whose massiveness and motive power it would
possess at the same time. Thus may this inexplicable phenomenon
be explained, unless there be something over and above all that one
has ever conjectured, seen, perceived, or experienced; which is just
within the bounds of possibility."
These last words were cowardly on my part; but, up to a certain
point, I wished to shelter my dignity as Professor, and not give too
much cause for laughter to the Americans, who laugh well when
they do laugh. I reserved for myself a way of escape. In effect,
however, I admitted the existence of the "monster." My article
was warmly discussed, which procured it a high reputation. It
rallied round it a certain number of partisans. The solution it
proposed gave, at least, full liberty to the imagination. The
human mind delights in grand conceptions of supernatural beings.
And the sea is precisely their best vehicle, the only medium through
which these giants (against which terrestrial animals, such as elephants
or rhinoceroses, are as nothing), can be produced or developed.
The industrial and commercial papers treated the question chiefly
from this point of view. The Shipping and Mercantile Gazette, the
Lloyds' List, the Packet-Boat, and the Maritime and Colonial Review,
all papers devoted to insurance companies which threatened to raise
their rates of premium, were unanimous on this point. Public
opinion had been pronounced. The United States were the first
in the field; and in New York they made preparations for an
expedition destined to pursue this narwhal. A frigate of great
speed, the Abraham Lincoln, was put in commission as soon as
possible. The arsenals were opened to Commander Farragut, who
hastened the arming of his frigate; but, as it always happens, the
moment it was decided to pursue the monster, the monster did not
The U.S. frigate Abrahamu Lincoln.-Page T2.
PRO AND CON.
appear. For two months no one heard it spoken of. No ship met
with it. It seemed as if this unicorn knew of the plots weaving
around it. It had been so much talked of, even through the
Atlantic cable, that jesters pretended that this slender fly had
stopped a telegram on its passage, and was making the most of it.
So when the frigate had been armed for a long campaign, and
provided with formidable fishing apparatus, no one could tell what
course to pursue. Impatience grew apace, when, on the 2d of
July, they learned that a steamer of the line of San Francisco, from
California to Shanghai, had seen the animal three weeks before in
the North Pacific Ocean. The excitement caused by this news
was extreme. The ship was revictualled and well stocked with
Three hours before the Abraham Lincoln left Brooklyn pier, I
received a letter worded as follows :-
STo M. ARONNAX, Professor in the Museum of Paris,
"Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York.
"SIn,-If you will consent to join the Abraham Lincoln in this expedition,
the Government of the United States will with pleasure see France repre-
sented in the enterprise. Commander Farragut has a cabin at your disposal.
-Very cordially yours, J. B. HOBSON,
"Secretary of Marine."
I FORM MY RESOLUTION.
I FORM MY RESOLUTION.
THREE seconds before the arrival of J. B. Hobson's letter, I no
more thought of pursuing the unicorn than of attempting the pas-
sage of the North Sea. Three seconds after reading the letter of the
honourable Secretary of Marine, I felt that my true vocation, the
sole end of my life, was to chase this disturbing monster, and purge
it from the world.
But I had just returned from a fatiguing journey, weary and
longing for repose. I aspired to nothing more than again seeing
my country, my friends, my little lodging by the Jardin des Plantes,
my dear and precious collections. But nothing could keep me
back! I forgot all-fatigue, friends, and collections-and accepted
without hesitation the offer of the American Government.
"Besides," thought I, "all roads lead back to Europe; and the
unicorn may be amiable enough to hurry me towards the coast of
France. This worthy animal may allow itself to be caught in the
seas of Europe (for my particular benefit), and I will not bring back
less than half a yard of his ivory halberd to the Museum of Natural
History." But in the meanwhile I must seek this narwhal in the
North Pacific Ocean, which, to return to France, was taking the
road to the antipodes.
Conseil," I called, in an impatient voice.
Conseil was my servant, a true, devoted Flemish boy, who had
accompanied me in all my travels. I liked him, and he returned
the liking well. He was phlegmatic by nature, regular from prin-
ciple, zealous from habit, evincing little disturbance at the different
surprises of life, very quick with his hands, and apt at any service
required of him ; and, despite his name, never giving advice-even
when asked for it.
Conseil had followed me for the last ten years wherever science
" 'As you please, sir,' replied Conseil, quietly."-Page 15.
I FORM MY RESOLUTION.
led. Never once did he complain of the length or fatigue of a
journey, never make an objection to pack his portmanteau for
whatever country it might be, or however far away, whether China
or Congo. Besides all this, he had good health, which defied all
sickness, and solid muscles, but no nerves; good morals are under-
stood. This boy was thirty years old, and his age to that of his
master as fifteen to twenty. May I be excused for saying that I
was forty years old ?
But Conseil had one fault, he was ceremonious to a degree, and
would never speak to me but in the third person, which was some-
Conseil," said I again, beginning with feverish hands to make
preparations for my departure.
Certainly I was sure of this devoted boy. As a rule, I never
asked him if it were convenient for him or not to follow me in my
travels; but this time the expedition in question might be pro-
longed, and the enterprise might be hazardous in pursuit of an ani-
mal capable of sinking a frigate as easily as a nutshell. Here there
was matter for reflection even to the most impassive man in the
world. What would Conseil say?
Conseil," I called a third time.
Did you call, sir ?" said he, entering.
Yes, my boy; make preparations for me and yourself too. We
leave in two hours."
"As you please, sir," replied Conseil, quietly.
"Not an instant to lose ;-lock in my trunk all travelling utensils,
coats, shirts, and stockings-without counting, as many as you can,
and make haste."
"And your collections, sir?" observed Conseil.
"We will think of them by and by."
"What the archiotherium, the hyracotherium, the oreodons, the
cheropotamus, and the other skins?"
"They will keep them at the hotel."
And your live Babiroussa, sir ?"
"They will feed it during our absence; besides, I will give orders
to forward our menagerie to France."
I FORM MY RESOLUTION.
We are not returning to Paris, then ? said Conseil.
Oh! certainly," I answered, evasively, by making a curve.'
"Will the curve please you, sir? "
Oh! it will be nothing; not quite.so direct a road, that is alL
We take our passage in the Abraham Lincoln."
"As you think proper, sir," coolly replied Conseil.
You see, my friend, it has to do with the monster-the famous
narwhal. We are going to purge it from the seas. The author
of a work in quarto, in two volumes, on the 'Mysteries of the Great
Submarine Grounds' cannot forbear embarking with Commander
Farragut. A glorious mission, but a dangerous one! We cannot
tell where we may go; these animals can be very capricious. But
we will go whether or no; we have got a captain who is pretty wide-
I opened a credit account for Babiroussa, and, Conseil following,
I jumped into a cab. Our luggage was transported to the deck of
the frigate immediately. I hastened on board and asked for
Commander Farragut. One of the sailors conducted me to the
poop, where I found myself in the presence of a good-looking officer,
who held out his hand to me.
"Monsieur Pierre Aronnax I" said he.
"Himself," replied I; Commander Farragut ?"
"You are welcome, Professor; your cabin is ready for you."
I bowed, and desired to be conducted to the cabin destined for
The Abraham Lincoln had been well chosen and equipped for her
new destination. She was a frigate of great speed, fitted with high-
pressure engines which admitted a pressure of seven atmospheres.
Under this the Abraham Lincoln attained the mean speed of nearly
eighteen knots and a third an hour-a considerable speed, but, never-
theless, insufficient to grapple with this gigantic cetacean.
The interior arrangements of the frigate correspoinded to its
nautical qualities. I was well satisfied with my cabin, which was in
the after part, opening upon the gunroom.
"We shall be well off here," said I to Conseil.
SAs well, by your honour's leave, as a hermit-crab in the shell of
a whelk," said Conseil.
The Abrakam Lincoln escorted out of the Hudson.-Page 17.
I FORM MY RESOLUTION.
I left Conseil to stow our trunks conveniently away, and re-
mounted the poop in order to survey the preparations for de
At that moment Commander Farragut was ordering the last
moorings to be cast loose which held the Abraham Lincoln to the
pier of Brooklyn. So in a quarter of an hour, perhaps less, the
frigate would have sailed without me. I should have missed this
extraordinary, supernatural, and incredible expedition, the recital
of which may well meet with some scepticism.
But Commander Farragut would not lose a day nor an hour in
scouring the seas in which the animal had been sighted. He sent
for the engineer.
"Is the steam full on ?" asked he.
Yes, sir," replied the engineer.
"Go a-head," cried Commander Farragut.
The quay of Brooklyn, and all that part of New York bordering
on the East River, was crowded with spectators. Three cheers burst
successively from five hundred thousand throats; thousands of hand-
kerchiefs were waved above the heads of the compact mass, saluting
the Abraham Lincoln, until she reached the waters of the Hudson,
at the point of that elongated peninsula which forms the town of
New York. Then the frigate, following the coast of New Jersey
along the right bank of the beautiful river, covered with villas,
passed between the forts, which saluted her with their heaviest
guns. The Abraham Lincoln answered by hoisting the American
colours three times, whose thirty-nine stars shone resplendent from
the mizen-peak; then modifying its speed to take the narrow
channel marked by buoys placed in the inner bay formed by Sandy
Hook Point, it coasted the long sandy beach, where some thousands
of spectators gave it one final cheer. The escort of boats and tenders
still followed the frigate, and did not leave her until they came
abreast of the lightship, whose two lights marked the entrance of
New York Channel.
Six bells struck, the pilot got into his boat, and rejoined the
little schooner which was waiting under our lee, the fires
were made up, the screw beat the waves more rapidly, the
frigate skirted the low yellow coast of Long Island; and at
eight bells, after having lost sight in the north-west of the lights
of Fire Island, she ran at full steam on to the dark waters of the
CAPTATs FA RtAGUT was a good seaman, worthy of the frigate
he commanded. His vessel and he were one. He was the soul of
it. On the question of the cetacean there was no doubt in his
mind, and he would not allow the existence of the animal to be dis-
puted on board. He believed in it, as certain good women believe
in the leviathan,-by faith, not by reason. The monster did exist,
and he had sworn to rid the seas of it. He was a kind of Knight
of Rhodes, a second Dieudonn6 de Gozon, going to meet the serpent
which desolated the island. Either Captain Farragut would kill
the narwhal, or the narwhal would kill the captain. There was no
The officers on board shared the opinion of their chief. They
were ever chatting, discussing, and calculating the various chances
of a meeting, watching narrowly the vast surface of the ocean.
More than one took up his quarters voluntarily in the cross-trees,
who would have cursed such a berth under any other circumstances.
As long as the sun described its daily course, the rigging was
crowded with sailors, whose feet were burnt to such an extent by
the heat of the deck as to render it unbearable; still the Abra-
ham Lincoln had not yet breasted the suspected waters of the
Pacific. As to the ship's company, they desired nothing better than
to meet the unicorn, to harpoon it, hoist it on board, and despatch
it. They watched the sea with eager attention.
Besides, Captain Farragut had spoken of a certain sum of two
Ned Land, the Canadian Harpooner.-Page 19.
thousand dollars, set apart for whoever should first sight the
monster, were he cabin-boy, common seaman, or officer.
I leave you to judge how eyes were used on board the Abraham
For my own part, I was not behind the others, and left to no one
my share of daily observations. The frigate might have been called
the Argus, for a hundred reasons. Only one amongst us, Conseil,
seemed to protest by his indifference against the question which so
interested us all, and seemed to be out of keeping with the general
enthusiasm on board.
I have said that Captain Farragut had carefully provided his
ship with every apparatus for catching the gigantic cetacean. No
whaler had ever been better armed. We possessed every known
engine, from the harpoon thrown by the hand to the barbed arrows
of the blunderbuss, and the explosive balls of the duck-gun. On
the forecastle lay the perfection of a breech-loading gun,.very thick
at the breech, and very narrow in the bore, the model of which had
been in the Exhibition of 1867. This precious weapon of American
origin could throw with ease a conical projectile of nine pounds to
a mean distance of ten miles.
Thus the Abraham Lincoln wanted for no means of destruction;
and, what was better still, she had on board Ned Land, the prince
Ned Land was a Canadian, with an uncommon quickness of
hand, and who knew no equal in his dangerous occupation. Skill,
coolness, audacity, and cunning, he possessed in a superior degree,
and it must be a cunning whale or a singularly cute" cachalot to
escape the stroke of his harpoon.
Ned Land was about forty years of age; he was a tall man (more
than six feet high), strongly built, grave and taciturn, occasion-
ally violent, and very passionate when contradicted. His person
attracted attention, but above all the boldness of his look, which
gave a singular expression to his face.
Who calls himself Canadian calls himself French; and little com-
municative as Ned Land was, I must admit that he took a certain
liking for me. My nationality drew him to me, no doubt. It was
an opportunity for himn to talk, and for me to hear, that old
language of Rabelais, which is still in use in some Canadian
provinces. The harpooner's family was originally from Quebec, and
was already a tribe of hardy fishermen when this town belonged
Little by little, Ned Land acquired a taste for chatting, and I
loved to hear the recital of his adventures in the polar seas. He
related his fishing, and his combats, with natural poetry of expres-
sion ; his recital took the form of an epic poem, and I seemed to be
listening to a Canadian Homer singing the Iliad of the regions of
I am portraying this hardy companion as I really knew him.
We are old friends now, united in that unchangeable friendship
which is born and cemented amidst extreme dangers. Ah, brave
Ned! I ask no more than to live a hundred years longer, that I
may have more time to dwell the longer on your memory.
Now, what was Ned Land's opinion upon the question of the
marine monster? I must admit that he did not believe in the unicorn,
and was the only one on board who did not share that universal
conviction. He even avoided the subject, which I one day thought
it my duty to press upon him. One magnificent evening, the 30th
July-that is to say, three weeks after our departure-the frigate
was abreast of Cape Blanc, thirty miles to leeward of the coast of
Patagonia. We had crossed the tropic of Capricorn, and the Straits
of Magellan opened less than seven hundred miles to the south.
Before eight days were over, the A braham Lincoln would be plough-
ing the waters of the Pacific.
Seated on the poop, Ned Land and I were chatting of one thing
and another as we looked at this mysterious sea, whose great depths
had up to this time been inaccessible to the eye of man. I naturally
led up the conversation to the giant unicorn, and examined the
various chances of success or failure of the expedition. But seeing
that Ned Land let me speak without saying too much himself, I
pressed him more closely.
"Well, Ned," said I, "is' it possible that you are not convinced
of the existence of this cetacean that we are following I Have you
any particular reason for being so incredulous ? "
The harpooner looked at me fixedly for some moments before
answering, struck his broad forehead with his hand (a habit of his),
as if to collect himself, and said at last, "Perhaps I have, Mr
"But, Ned, you, a whaler by profession, familiarised with all
the great marine mammalia-you, whose imagination might easily
accept the hypothesis of enormous cetaceans, you ought to be the
last to doubt under such circumstances !"
"That is just what deceives you, Professor," replied Ned. "That
the vulgar should believe in extraordinary comets traversing space,
and in the existence of antediluvian monsters in the heart of the
globe, may well be; but neither astronomers nor geologists believe in
such chimeras. As a whaler, I have followed many a cetacean,
harpooned a great number, and killed several; but, however strong
or well-armed they may have been, neither their tails nor their
weapons would have been able even to scratch the iron plates of a
But, Ned, they tell of ships which the teeth of the narwhal has
pierced through and through."
Wooden ships-that is possible," replied the Canadian; "but I
have never seen it done; and, until further proof, I deny that whales,
cetaceans, or sea-unicorns could ever produce the effect you describe."
Well, Ned, I repeat it with a conviction resting on the logic of
facts. I believe in the existence of a mammal powerfully organised,
belonging to the branch of vertebrata, like the whales, the cachalots,
or the dolphins, and furnished with a horn of defence of great
"Hum !" said the harpooner, shaking his head with the air of a
man who would not be convinced.
Notice one thing, my worthy Canadian," I resumed. "If such
an animal is in existence, if it inhabits the depths of the ocean, if it
frequents the strata lying miles below the surface of the water, it
must necessarily possess an organisation the strength of which would
defy all comparison."
"And why this powerful organisation '" demanded Ned.
Because it requires incalculable strength to keep one's self in
these strata and resist their pressure. Listen to me. Let us admit
that the pressure of the atmosphere is represented by the weight
of a column of water thirty-two feet high. In reality the column of
water would be shorter, as we are speaking of sea water, the density
of which is greater than that of fresh water. Very well, when you
dive, Ned, as many times thirty-two feet of water as there are above
you, so many times does your body bear a pressure equal to that of
the atmosphere, that is to say, 15 lbs. for each square inch of its
surface. It follows then, that at 320 feet this pressure = that of 10
atmospheres, of 100 atmospheres at 3200 feet, and of 1000 atmo-
spheres at 32,000 feet, that is, about 6 miles; which is equivalent
to saying that, if you could attain this depth in the ocean, each
square a of an inch of the surface of your body would bear a
pressure of 5600 lbs. Ah! my brave Ned, do you know how
many square inches you carry on the surface of your body ?"
I have no idea, Mr Aronnax."
"About 6500; and, as in reality the atmospheric pressure is
about 15 lbs. to the square inch, your 6500 square inches bear at
this moment a pressure of 97,500 lbs."
"Without my perceiving it ?"
Without your perceiving it. And if you are not crushed by
such a pressure, it is because the air penetrates the interior of your
body with equal pressure. Hence perfect equilibrium between the
interior and exterior pressure, which thus neutralise each other,
and which allows you to bear it without inconvenience. But in the
water it is another thing."
"Yes, I understand," replied Ned, becoming more attentive;
" because the water surrounds me, but does not penetrate."
"Precisely, Ned: so that at 32 feet beneath the surface of the
sea you would undergo a pressure of 97,500 lbs.; at 320 feet, ten
times that pressure; at 3200 feet, a hundred times that pressure;
lastly, at 32,000 feet, a thousand times that pressure would be
97,500,000 lbs.-that is to say, that you would be flattened as if
you had been drawn from the plates of a hydraulic machine!"
"The devil! exclaimed Ned.
"Very well, my worthy harpooner, if some vertebrate, several
hundred yards long, and large in proportion, can maintain itself in
:such depths-of those whose surface is represented by millions of
square inches, that is by tens of millions of pounds, we must esti-
AT A VENTURE.
mate the pressure they undergo. Consider, then, what must be the
resistance of their bony structure, and the strength of their or-
ganisation to withstand such pressure! "
"Why!" exclaimed Ned Land, "they must be made of iron
plates eight inches thick, like the armoured frigates."
"As you say, Ned. And think what destruction such a mass
would cause, if hurled with the speed of an express train against the
hull of a vessel."
"Yes-certainly-perhaps," replied the Canadian, shaken by
these figures, but not yet willing to give in.
"Well, have I convinced you ?"
"You have convinced me of one thing, sir, which is that, if such
animals do exist at the bottom of the seas, they must necessarily
be as strong as you say." *
"But if they do not exist, mine obstinate harpooner, how explain
the accident to the Scotia ? "
AT A VENTURE.
THE voyage of the Abraham Lincoln was for a long time marked
by no special incident. But one circumstance happened which
showed the wonderful dexterity of Ned Land, and proved what
confidence we might place in him.
The 30th of June, the frigate spoke some American whalers, from
whom we learned that they knew nothing about the narwhal. But
one of them, the captain of the Monroe, knowing that Ned Land
had shipped on board the Abraham Lincoln, begged for his help in
chasing a whale they had in sight. Commander Farragut, desirous
of seeing Ned Land at work, gave him permission to go on board
the Monroe. And fate served our Canadian so well that, instead of
one whale, he harpooned two with a double blow, striking one straight
to the heart and catching the other after some minutes' uursuit.
AT A VENTURE.
Decidedly, if the monster ever had to do with Ned Land's harpoon,
I would not bet in its favour.
The frigate skirted the south-east coast of America with great
rapidity. The 3d of July we were at the opening of the Straits of
Magellan, level with Cape Vierges. But Commander Farragut would
not take a tortuous passage, but doubled Cape Horn.
The ship's crew agreed with him. And certainly it was possible
that they might meet the narwhal in this narrow pass. Many of
the sailors affirmed that the monster could not pass there, "that he
was too big for that !"
The 6th of July, about three o'clock in the afternoon, the Abraham
Lincoln, at fifteen miles to the South, doubled the solitary island,
this lost rock at the extremity of -the American continent, to which
some Dutch sailors gave the name of their native town, Cape Horn.
The course was taken towards the north-west, and the next day the
screw of the frigate was at last beating the waters of the Pacific.
"Keep your eyes open !" called out the sailors.
And they were opened widely. Both eyes and glasses, a little
dazzled, it is true, by the prospect of two thousand dollars, had
not an instant's repose. Day and night they watched the surface of
the ocean, and even nyctalopes, whose faculty of seeing in the dark-
ness multiplies their chances a hundredfold, would have had enough
to do to gain the prize.
I myself, for whom money had no charms, was not the least
attentive on board. Giving but few minutes to my meals, but a
few hours to sleep, indifferent to either rain or sunshine, I did not
leave the poop of the vessel. Now leaning on the netting of the
forecastle, now on the taffrail, I devoured with eagerness the soft
foam which whitened the sea as far as the eye could reach; and
how often have I shared the emotion of the majority of the crew,
when some capricious whale raised its black back above the waves !
The poop of the vessel was crowded in a moment. The cabins
poured forth a torrent of sailors and officers, each with heaving
breast and troubled eye watching the course of the cetacean. I
looked, and looked, till I was nearly blind, whilst Conseil, always
phlegmatic, kept repeating in a calm voice:
"If, sir, you would not squint so much, you would see better !
" I devoured with eagerness the soft fo-am which whitened the sea as far
could reach."-Pa.ge 24.
as the eye
AT A VENTURE. 25
But vain excitement! the Abraham Lincoln checked its speed and
made for the animal signalled, a simple whale, or common cachalot,
which soon disappeared amidst a storm of execration.
But the weather was good. The voyage was being accomplished
under the most favourable auspices. It was then the bad season in
Australia, the July of that zone corresponding to our January in
Europe; but the sea was beautiful and easily scanned round a vast
The 20th July, the tropic of Capricorn was cut by 1050 of
longitude, and the 27th of the same month we crossed the equator
on the 110th meridian. This passed, the frigate took a more
decided westerly direction, and scoured the central waters of the
Pacific. Commander Farragut thought, and with reason, that it
was better to remain in deep water, and keep clear of continents
or islands, which the beast itself seemed to shun (perhaps because
there was not enough vater for him suggested the greater part of
the crew). The frigate passed at some distance from the Marquesas
and the Sandwich Islands, crossed the tropic of Cancer, and made
for the China Seas. We were on the theatre of the last diver-
sions of the monster; and to say truth, we no longer lived on board.
Hearts palpitated, fearfully preparing themselves for future incur-
able aneurism. The entire ship's crew were undergoing a nervous
excitement, of which I can give no idea : they could not eat, they
could not sleep-twenty times a day, a misconception or an optical
illusion of some sailor seated on the taffrail, would cause dreadful
perspirations, and these emotions, twenty times repeated, kept us
in a state of excitement so violent that a reaction was unavoid- /
And truly, reaction soon showed itself. For three months,
during which a day seemed an age, the Abraham Lincoln furrowed
all the waters of the Northern Pacific, running at whales, making
sharp deviations from her course, veering suddenly from one tack
to another, stopping suddenly, putting on steam, and backing ever
and anon at the risk of deranging her machinery; and not one
point of the Japanese or American coast was left unexplored.
The warmest partisans of the enterprise now became its most
ardent detractors. Reaction mounted from the crew to the captain
AT A .VENTURE.
himself, and certainly, had it not been for resolute determina-
tion on the part of Captain Farragut, the frigate would have
headed due southward. This useless search could not last much
longer. The Abraham Lincoln had nothing to reproach herself
with, she had done her best to succeed. Never had an American
ship's crew shown more zeal or patience; its failure could not
be placed to their charge-there remained nothing but to return.
This was represented to the commander. The sailors could
not hide their discontent, and the service suffered. I will not say.
there was a mutiny on board, but after a reasonable period of
obstinacy, Captain Farragut (as Columbus did) asked for three
days' patience. If in three days the monster did not appear, the
man at the helm should give three turns of the wheel, and the
Abraham Lincoln would make for the European seas.
This promise was made on the 2d of November. It had tle effect
of rallying the ship's crew. The ocean was watched with renewed
attention. Each one wished for a last glance in which to sum up
his remembrance. Glasses were used with feverish activity. It
was a grand defiance given to the giant narwhal, and he could
scarcely fail to answer the summons and appear."
Two days passed, the steam was at half pressure; a thousand
schemes were tried to attract the attention and stimulate the
apathy of the animal in case it should be met in those parts.
Large quantities of bacon were trailed in the wake of the ship,
to the great satisfaction (I must say) of the sharks. Small craft
radiated in all directions round the Abraham Lincoln as she lay to,
and did not leave a spot of the sea unexplored. But the night
of the 4th of November arrived without the unveiling of this sub-
The next day, the 5th of November, at twelve the delay would
(morally speaking) expire; after that time, Commander Farragut,
faithful to his promise, was to turn the course to the south-east
and abandon for ever the northern regions of the Pacific.
The frigate was then in 31 15' north latitude and 136 42' east
longitude. The coast of Japan still remained less than two hundred
miles to leeward. Night was approaching. They had just struck
eight bells; large clouds veiled the face of the moon, then in its
A T A VENTURE.
first quarter. The sea undulated peaceably under the stern of the
At that moment I was leaning forward on the starboard netting.
Conseil, standing near me, was looking straight before him. The
crew, perched in the ratlines, examined the horizon, which con-
tracted and darkened by degrees. Officers with their night glasses
scoured the growing darkness : sometimes the ocean sipaikledunder
the rays of the moon, which darted between two clouds, then all
trace of light was lost in the darkness.
In looking at Conseil, I could see he was undergoing a little of
the general influence. At least I thought so. Perhaps for the first
time his nerves vibrated to a sentiment of curiosity.
"Come, Conseil," said I, "this is the last chance of pocketing
the two thousand dollars."
May I be permitted to say, sir," replied Conseil, "that I never
reckoned on getting the prize; and, had the government of the Union
offered a hundred thousand dollars, it would have been none the
"You are right, Conseil. It is a foolish affair after all, and one
upon which we entered too lightly. What time lost, what useless
emotions! We should have been back in France six months
"In your little room, sir," replied Conseil, "and in your museum,
sir; and I should have already classed all your fossils, sir. And
the Babiroussa would have been installed in its cage in the Jardin
des Plantes, and have drawn all the curious people of the
As you say, Conseil. I fancy we shall run a fair chance of
being laughed at for our pains."
"That's tolerably certain," replied Conseil, quietly; "I think
they will make fun of you, sir. And, must I say it "-
"Go on, my good friend."
"Well, sir, you will only get your deserts."
"When one has the honour of being a savant as you are, sir, one
should not expose one's self to
Conseil had not time to finish his compliment. In the midst of
AT FULL STEAM.
general silence a voice had just been heard. It was the voice of
Ned Land shouting-
"Look out there! the very thing we are looking for-on our
weather beam !"
AT FULL STEAM.
AT this cry the whole ship's crew hurried towards the harpooner,--
commander, officers, masters, sailors, cabin boys; even the engineers
left their engines, and the stokers their furnaces.
The order to stop her had been given, and the frigate now simply
went on by her own momentum. The darkness was then profound,
and however good the Canadian's eyes were, I asked myself how he
had managed to see, and what he had been able to see. My heart
beat as if it would break. But Ned Land was not mistaken, and
we all perceived the object he pointed to. At two cables' lengths
from the Abraham Lincoln, on the starboard quarter, the sea seemed
to be illuminated all over. It was not a mere phosphoric pheno-
menon. The monster emerged some fathoms from the water, and
then threw out that very intense but inexplicable light mentioned
in the report of several captains. This magnificent irradiation must
have been produced by an agent of great shining power. The
luminous part traced on the sea an immense oval, much elongated,
the centre of which condensed a burning heat, whose overpowering
brilliancy died out by successive gradations.
"It is only an agglomeration of phosphoric particles," cried one
of the officers.
"No, sir, certainly not," I replied. "Never did pholades or
salpm produce such a powerful light. That brightness is of an
essentially electrical nature. Besides, see, see! it moves; it is
moving forwards, backwards, it is darting towards us!"
Searching for the Mysterious Cetacean.-Pagge 26.
AT FULL STEA.M.
A general cry rose from the frigate.
"Silence !" said the Captain; "up with the helm. reverse the
The steam was shut off, and the Abraham Lincoln, beating to
port, described a semicircle.
Right the helm, go a-head," cried the Captain.
These orders were executed, and the frigate moved rapidly from
the burning light.
I was mistaken. She tried to sheer off, but the supernatural
animal approached with a velocity double her own.
We gasped for breath. Stupefaction more than fear made us
dumb and motionless. The animal gained on us, sporting with the
waves. It made the round of the frigate, which was then making
fourteen knots, and enveloped it with its electric rings like luminous
dust. Then it moved away two or three miles, leaving a phosphor-
escent track, like those volumes of steam that the express trains
leave behind. All at once from the dark line of the horizon whither
it retired to gain its momentum, the monster rushed suddenly
towards the Abraham Lincoln with alarming rapidity, stopped
suddenly about twenty feet from the hull, and died out,-not diving
under the water, for its brilliancy did not abate,-but suddenly, and
as if the source of this brilliant emanation was exhausted. Then it
reappeared on the other side of the vessel, as if it had turned and slid
under the hull. Any moment a collision might have occurred which
would have been fatal to us. However, I was astonished at the
manoeuvres of the frigate. She fled and did not attack.
On the captain's face, generally so impassive, was an expression of
Mr Aronnax," he said, "I do not know with what formidable
being I have to deal, and I will not imprudently risk my frigate in
the midst of this darkness. Besides, how attack this unknown
thing, how defend one's self from it I Wait for daylight, and the
scene will change."
"You have no further doubt, captain, of the nature of the
"No, sir; it is evidently a gigantic narwhal, and an electric
AT FULL STEAM.
Perhaps," added I, one can only approach it with a gymnotus
or a torpedo."
Undoubtedly," replied the captain, if it possesses such dread-
ful power, it is the most terrible animal that ever was created.
That is why, sir, I must be on my guard."
The crew were on their feet all night. No one thought of sleep.
The Abraham Lincoln, not being able to struggle with such velocity,
had moderated its pace, and sailed at half speed. For its part, the
narwhal, imitating the frigate, let the waves rock it at will, and
seemed decided not to leave the scene of the struggle. Towards
midnight, however, it disappeared, or, to use a more appropriate
term, it "died out" like a large glow-worm. Had it fled? One
could only fear, not hope it. But at seven minutes to one o'clock
in the morning a deafening whistling was heard, like that produced
by a body of water rushing with great violence.
The captain, Ned Land, and I, were then on the poop, eagerly
peering through the profound darkness.
"Ned Land," asked the commander, you have often heard the
roaring of whales ?"
Often, sir; but never such whales the sight of which brought
me in two thousand dollars. If I can only approach within four
harpoon lengths of it !"
"But to approach it," said the commander, "I ought to put a
whaler at your disposal ?"
That will be trifling with the lives of my men."
"And mine too," simply said the harpooner.
Towards two o'clock in the morning, the burning light reappeared,
not less intense, about five miles to windward of the Abraham
Lincoln. Notwithstanding the distance, and the noise of the wind
and sea, one heard distinctly the loud strokes of the animal's tail,
and even its panting breath. It seemed that, at the moment that
the enormous narwhal had come to take breath at the surface of the
water, the air was engulphed in its lungs, like the steam in the vast
cylinders of a machine of two thousand horse power.
Hum !" thought I, "a whale with the strength of a cavalry
regiment would be a pretty whale !
AT FULL STEAM.
We were on the qui vive till daylight, and prepared for the
combat. The fishing implements were laid along the hammock
nettings. The second lieutenant loaded the blunderbusses, which
could throw harpoons to the distance of a. mile, and long duck-guns,
with explosive bullets, which inflicted mortal wounds even to the
most terrible animals. Ned Land contented himself with sharpening
his harpoon-a terrible weapon in his hands.
At six o'clock, day began to break; and with the first glimmer
of light, the electric light of the narwhal disappeared. At seven
o'clock the day was sufficiently advanced, but a very thick sea fog
obscured our view, and the best spy-glasses could not pierce it. That
caused disappointment and anger.
I climbed the mizen-mast. Some officers were already perched
on the mast heads. At eight o'clock the fog lay heavily on the
waves, and its thick scrolls rose little by little. The horizon grew
wider and clearer at the same time. Suddenly, just as on the
day before, Ned Land's voice was heard:
The thing itself on the port quarter cried the harpooner.
Every eye was turned towards the point indicated. There, a mile
and a half from the frigate, a long blackish body emerged a yard
above the waves. Its tail, violently agitated, produced a considerable
eddy. Never did a caudal appendage beat the sea with such violence.
An immense track, of a dazzling whiteness, marked the passage of
the animal, and described a long curve.
The frigate approached the cetacean. I examined it thoroughly.
The reports of the Shannon and of the Helvetia had rather ex-
aggerated its size, and I estimated its length at only two hundred
and fifty feet. As to its dimensions, I could only conjecture them to
be admirably proportioned. While I watched this phenomenon, two
jets of steam and water were ejected from its vents, and rose to the
height of 120 feet, thus I ascertained its way of breathing. I con-
cluded definitely that it belonged to the vertebrate branch, class
The crew waited impatiently for their chief's orders. The latter,
after having observed the animal attentively, called the engineer.
The engineer ran to him.
( Sir," said the commander, you bave steam up "
AT FULL STEAM.
"Yes, sir," answered the engineer.
Well, make up your fires and put on all steam."
Three hurrahs greeted this order. The time for the struggle had
arrived. Some moments after, the two funnels of the frigate
vomited torrents of black smoke, and the bridge quaked under the
trembling of the boilers.
The Abraham Lincoln, propelled by her powerful screw, went
straight at the animal. The latter allowed it to come within half
a cable's length'; then, as if disdaining to dive, it took a little turn,
and stopped a short distance off.
This pursuit lasted nearly three-quarters of an hour, without the
frigate gaining two yards on the cetacean. It was quite evident
that at that rate we should never come up with it.
"Well, Mr Land," asked the captain, do you advise me to put
the boats out to sea ? "
"No, sir," replied Ned Land; "because we shall not take that
What shall we do then ?"
"Put on more steam if you can, sir. With your leave, I mean to
post myself under the bowsprit, and if we get within harpooning
distance, I shall throw my harpoon."
Go, Ned," said the captain. Engineer, put on more pressure."
Ned Land went to his post. The fires were increased, the screw
revolved forty-three times a minute, and the steam poured out of the
valves. We heaved the log, and calculated that the Abraham
Lincoln was going at the rate of 18- miles an hour.
But the accursed animal swam too at the rate of 18-1 miles.
For a whole hour, the frigate kept up this pace, without gaining
six feet. It was humiliating for one of the swiftest sailers in the
American navy. A stubborn anger seized the crew; the sailors
abused the monster, who, as before, disdained to answer them; the
captain no longer contented himself with twisting his beard-he
The engineer was again called.
"You have turned full steam on 7"
"Yes sir," replied the engineer.
The speed of the Abraham Lincoln increased. Its masts trem-
Sudden Appearance of the Marine Monster.-Page 28.
AT FULL STEAM.
bled down to their stepping holes, and the clouds of smoke could
hardly find way out of the narrow funnels.
They heaved the log a second time.
"Well ?" asked the captain of the man at the wheel.
"Nineteen miles and sir."
"Clap on more steam."
The engineer obeyed. The manometer showed ten degrees. But
the cetacean grew warm itself, no doubt; for, without straining it-
self it made 194 miles.
What a pursuit No, I cannot describe the emotion that vibrated
through me. Ned Land kept his post, harpoon in hand. Several
times the animal let us gain upon it.-"I We shall catch it! we shall
catch it !" cried the Canadian. But just as he was going to strike,
the cetacean stole away with a rapidity that could not be estimated
at less than thirty miles an hour, and even during our maximum
of speed, it bullied the frigate, going round and round it. A cry of
fury broke from every one!
At noon we were no further advanced than at eight o'clock in the
The captain then decided to take more direct means.
"Ah !" said he, "that animal goes quicker than the Abraham
Lincoln. Very well! we will see whether it will escape these coni-
cal bullets. Send your men to the forecastle, sir."
The forecastle gun was immediately loaded and slewed round. But
the shot passed some feet above the cetacean, which was half a mile
"Another more to the right," cried the commander, and five
dollars to whoever will hit that infernal beast."
An old gunner with a grey beard-that I can see now-with
steady eye and grave face, went up to the gun and took a long aim.
A loud report was heard, with which were mingled the cheers of
The bullet did its work; it hit the animal, but not fatally, and
sliding off the rounded surface, was lost in two miles depth of
The chase began again, and the captain, leaning towards me,
34 AT FULL STEAM.
"I will pursue that beast till my frigate bursts up."
Yes," answered I; and you will be quite right to do it."
I wished the beast would exhaust itself, and not be insensible to
fatigue like a steam engine! But it was of no use. Hours passed,
without its showing any signs of exhaustion.
However, it must be said in praise of the Abraham Lincoln,
that she struggled on indefatigably. I cannot reckon the dis-
tance she made under three hundred miles during this unlucky
day, November the 6th. But night came on, and overshadowed the
Now I thought our expedition was at an end, and that we should
never again see the extraordinary animal. I was mistaken. At ten
minutes to eleven in the evening, the electric light reappeared
three miles to windward of the frigate, as pure, as intense as during
the preceding night.
The narwhal seemed motionless; perhaps, tired with its day's
work, it slept, letting itself float with the undulation of the
waves. Now was a chance of which the captain resolved to
He gave his orders. The Abraham Lincoln kept up half steam,
and advanced cautiously so as not to awake its adversary. It is no
rare thing to meet in the middle of the ocean whales so sound
asleep that they can be successfully attacked, and Ned Land had
harpooned more than one during its sleep. The Canadian went to
take his place again under the bowsprit.
The frigate approached noiselessly, stopped at two cables' lengths
from the animal, and following its track. No one breathed ; a
deep silence reigned on the bridge. We were not a hundred feet
from the burning focus, the light of which increased and dazzled our
At this moment, leaning on the forecastle bulwark, I saw below
me Ned Land grappling the martingale in one hand, brandishing
his terrible harpoon in the other, scarcely twenty feet from the
motionless animal. Suddenly his arm straightened, and the harpoon
was thrown; I heard the sonorous stroke of the weapon, which
seemed to have struck a hard body. The electric light went out
suddenly, and two enormous waterspouts broke over the bridge of
"The old gunner, with steady eye and grave face, took a long aim."-Page 33.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
the frigate, rushing like a torrent from stem to stern, overthrowing
men, and breaking the lashing of the spars. A fearful shock fol-
lowed, and, thrown over the rail without having time to stop myself,
I fell into the sea.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
THIS unexpected fall so stunned me that I have no clear recollection
of my sensations at the time. I was at first drawn down to a depth
of about twenty feet. I am a good swimmer (though without pre-
tending to rival Byron or Edgar Poe, who were masters of the art),
and in that plunge I did not lose my" presence of mind. Two
vigorous strokes brought me to the surface of the water. My first
care was to look for the frigate. Had the crew seen me disappear I
Had the Abraham Lincoln veered round ? Would the captain put
out a boat ? Might I hope to be saved I
The darkness was intense. I caught a glimpse of a black mass
disappearing in the east, its beacon lights dying out in the distance.
It was the frigate I was lost.
"Help, Help!" I shouted, swimming towards the Abraham
Lincoln in desperation.
My clothes encumbered me; they seemed glued to my body, and
paralysed my movements.
I was sinking I was suffocating I
This was my last cry. My mouth filled with water; I struggled
against being drawn down the abyss. Suddenly my clothes were
seized by a strong hand, and I felt myself quickly drawn up to the
surface of the sea; and I heard, yes, I heard these words pronounced
in my ear-
"If master would be so good as to lean on my shoulder, master
would swim with much greater ease."
36 AN UNKNOWN SPECIfS OF WHALE.
I seized with one hand my faithful Conseil's arm.
Is it you ?" said I, "you ?"
"Myself," answered Conseil; and waiting master's orders."
That shock threw you as well as me into the sea ? "
"No; but being in my master's service, I followed him."
The worthy fellow thought that was but natural.
And the frigate ? I asked.
"The frigate 1 replied Conseil, turning on his back; I think
that master had better not count too much on her."
You think so "
"I say that, at the time I threw myself into the sea, I heard the
men at the wheel say, The screw and the rudder are broken.' "
Yes, broken by the monster's teeth. It is the only injury the
Abraham Lincoln has sustained. But it is a bad look out for us-
she no longer answers her helm."
Then we are lost! "
"Perhaps so," calmly answered Conseil. "However, we have still
several hours before us, and one can do a good deal in some hours."
Conseil's imperturbable coolness set me up again. I swam more
vigorously; but, cramped by my clothes, which stuck to me like a
leaden weight, I felt great difficulty in bearing up. Conseil saw
"Will master let me make a slit ? said he; and slipping an
open knife under my clothes, he ripped them up from top to bottom
very rapidly. Then he cleverly slipped them off me, while I swam
for both of us.
Then I did the same for Conseil, and we continued to swim near
to each other.
Nevertheless, our situation was no less terrible. Perhaps our
disappearance had not been noticed; and if it had been, the frigate
could not tack, being without its helm. Conseil argued on this
supposition, and laid his plans accordingly. This phlegmatic boy
was perfectly self-possessed. We then decided that, as our only
chance of safety was being picked up by the Abraham Lincoln's
boats, we ought to manage so as to wait for them as long as
possible. I resolved then to husband our strength, so that both
A Night-long Struggle with Death.-Page 37.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
should not be exhausted at the same time; and this is how we
managed: while one of us lay on our back, quite still, with arms
crossed, and legs stretched out, the other would swim and push
the other on in front. This towing business did not last more
than ten minutes each; and relieving each other thus, we could swim
on for some hours, perhaps till daybreak. Poor chance but hope
is so firmly rooted in the heart of man! Moreover, there were two
of us. Indeed I declare (though it may seem improbable) if I
sought to destroy all hope,-if I wished to despair, I could not.
The collision of the frigate with the cetacean had occurred about
eleven o'clock the evening before. I reckoned then we should have
eight hours to swim before sunrise, an operation quite practicable
if we relieved each other. The sea, very calm, was in our favour.
Sometimes I tried to pierce the intense darkness that was only
dispelled by the phosphorescence caused by our movements. I
watched the luminous waves that broke over my hand, whose
mirror-like surface was spotted with silvery rings. One might have
said that we were in a bath of quicksilver.
Near one o'clock in the morning, I was seized with dreadful
fatigue. My limbs stiffened under the strain of violent cramp.
Conseil was obliged to keep me up, and our preservation devolved
on him alone. I heard the poor boy pant; his breathing became
short and hurried. I found that he could not keep up much
"Leave me! leave me !" I said to him.
"Leave my master T never!" replied he. "I would drown
Just then the moon appeared through the fringes of a thick
cloud that the wind was driving to the east. The surface of the sea
glittered with its rays. This kindly light reanimated us. My head
got better again. I looked at all the points of the horizon. I saw
the frigate! She was five miles from us, and looked like a dark
mass, hardly discernible. But no boats!
I would have cried out. But what good would it have been at
such a distance! My swollen lips could utter no sounds. Conseil
could articulate some words, and I heard him repeat at intervals,
" Help! help !"
38 AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
Our movements were suspended for an instant; we listened.
It might be only a singing in the ear, but it seemed to me as if a
cry answered the cry from Conseil.
"Did you hear? I murmured.
Yes yes "
And Conseil gave one more despairing call.
This time there was no mistake! A human voice responded to
ours Was it the voice of another unfortunate creature, abandoned
in the middle of the ocean, some other victim of the shock sustained
by the vessel ? Or rather was it a boat from the frigate, that was
hailing us in the darkness ?
Conseil made a last effort, and leaning on my shoulder, while I
struck out in a despairing effort, he raised himself half out of the
water, then fell back exhausted.
"What did you see ? "
"I saw"--- murmured he; <"I saw-but do not talk-reserve
all your strength!"
What had he seen ? Then, I know not why, the thought of the
monster came into my head for the first time! But that voice 3
The time is past for Jonahs to take refuge in whales' bellies! How-
ever, Conseil was towing me again. He raised his head sometimes,
looked before us, and uttered a cry of recognition, which was
responded to by a voice that came nearer and nearer. I scarcely
heard it. My strength was exhausted; my fingers stiffened; my
hand afforded me support no longer; my mouth, convulsively
opening, filled with salt water. Cold crept over me. I raised my
head for the last time, then I sank.
At this moment a hard body struck me. I clung to it: then I
felt that I was being drawn up, that I was brought to the surface of
the water, that my chest collapsed :-I fainted.
It is certain that I soon came too, thanks to the vigorous
rubbings that I received. I half opened my eyes.
Conseil I murmured.
"Does master call me ?" asked Conseil.
Just then, by the waning light of the moon, which was sinking
down to the horizon, I saw a face which was not ConseiPs, and
which I immediately recognized
On the back of the Submarine Boat.-Page 39.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE. 39
Ned! I cried.
The same, sir, who is seeking his prize!" replied the Cana-
"Were you thrown into the sea by the shock of the frigate "
"Yes, Professor; but more fortunate than you, I was able
to find a footing almost directly upon a floating island."
An island "
"Or, more correctly speaking, on our gigantic narwhal."
"Explain yourself, Ned !"
Only I soon found out why my harpoon had not entered its
skin and was blunted."
"Why, Ned, why? "
"Because, Professor, that beast is made of sheet iron."
The Canadian's last words produced a sudden revolution in my
brain. I wriggled myself quickly to the top of the being, or object,
half out of the water, which served us for a refuge. I kicked it.
It was evidently a hard impenetrable body, and not the soft sub-
stance that forms the bodies of the great marine mammalia. But
this hard body might be a bony carapace, like that of the antediluvian
animals; and I should be free to class this monster among am-
phibious reptiles, such as tortoises or alligators.
Well, no! the blackish back that supported me was smooth,
polished, without scales. The blow produced a metallic sound;
and incredible though it may be, it seemed, I might say, as if it
was made of riveted plates.
There was no doubt about it! this monster, this natural pheno-
menon that had puzzled the learned world, and overthrown and
misled the imagination of seamen of both hemispheres, was, it must
be owned, a still more astonishing phenomenon, inasmuch as it was
a simply human construction.
We had no time to lose, however. We were lying upon the back
of a sort of submarine boat, which appeared (as far as I could judge)
like a huge fish of steel. Ned Land's mind was made up on this
point. Conseil and I could only agree with him.
Just then a bubbling began at the back of this strange thing,
(which was evidently propelled by a screw), and it began to move.
We had only just time to seize hold of the upper part, which rose
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
about seven feet out of the water, and happily its speed was not
"As long as it sails horizontally," muttered Ned Land, I do not
mind ; but if it takes a fancy to dive, I would not give two straws
for my life."
The Canadian might have said still -less. It became really
necessary to communicate with the beings, whatever they were, shut
up inside the machine. I searched all over the outside for an
aperture, a panel, or a man-hole, to use a technical expression; but
the lines of the iron rivets, solidly driven into the joints of the iron
plates, were clear and uniform. Besides, the moon disappeared then,
and left us in total darkness.
At last this long night passed. My indistinct remembrance
prevents my describing all the impressions it made. I can only
recall one circumstance. During some lulls of the wind and sea, I
fancied I heard several times vague sounds, a sort of fugitive harmony
produced by distant words of command. What was then the
mystery of this submarine craft, of which the whole world vainly
sought an explanation? What kind of beings existed in this
strange boat ? What mechanical agent caused its prodigious speed ?
Daybreak appeared. The morning mists surrounded us, but they
soon cleared off. I was about to examine the hull, which formed on
deck a kind of horizontal platform, when I felt it gradually sinking.
"Oh! confound it!" cried Ned Land, kicking the resounding
plate; open, you inhospitable rascals !"
Happily the sinking movement ceased. Suddenly a noise, like
iron works violently pushed aside, came from the interior of the
boat. One iron plate was moved, a man appeared, uttered an odd
cry, and disappeared immediately.
Some moments after, eight strong men, with masked faces, ap-
peared noiselessly, and drew us down into their formidable machine.
11-a Tf 71117 I I Bal M1 I NIff
J-~.. .Tc. -
" Our prison was suddenly lighted."-Page 42
MOBILIS IN MOBILI.
MOBILIS IN MOBILE
THIS forcible abduction, so roughly carried out, was accomplished
with the rapidity of lightning. I shivered all over. Whom had we
to deal with ? No doubt some new sort of pirates, who explored the
sea in their own way.
Hardly had the narrow panel closed upon me, when I was en-
veloped in darkness. My eyes, dazzled with the outer light, could.
distinguish nothing. I felt my naked feet cling to the rings of an
iron ladder. Ned Land and Conseil, firmly seized, followed me.
At the bottom of the ladder, a door opened, and shut after us im-
mediately with a bang.
We were alone. Where, I couild not say, hardly imagine. All
was black, and such a dense black that, after some minutes, my eyes
had not been able to discern even the faintest glimmer.
Meanwhile, Ned Land, furious at these proceedings, gave free vent
to his indignation.
"Confound it!" cried he, "here are people who come up to the
Scotch for hospitality. They only just miss being cannibals. I
should not be surprised at it, but I declare that they shall not eat
me without my protesting."
"Calm yourself, friend Ned, calm yourself," replied Conseil,
quietly. "Do not cry out before you are hurt. We are not quite
done for yet."
"Not quite," sharply replied the Canadian, "but pretty near, at
all events. Things look black. Happily, my bowie-knife I have
still, and I can always see well enough to use it. The first of these
pirates who lays a hand on me"
"Do not excite yourself, Ned," I said to the harpooner, "and
do not compromise us by useless violence. Who knows that they
will not listen to us Let us rather try to find out where we are."
I groped about. In five steps I came to an iron wall, made of
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
plates bolted together. Then turning back I struck against a wooden
table, near which were ranged several stools. The boards of this
prison were concealed under a thick mat of phormium, which
deadened the noise of the feet. The bare walls revealed no trace
of window or door. Conseil, going round the reverse way, met me,
and we went back to the middle of the cabin, which measured about
twenty feet by ten. As to its height, Ned Land, in spite of his
own great height, could not measure it.
Half an hour had already passed without our situation being bettered,
when the dense darkness suddenly gave way to extreme light. Our
prison was suddenly lighted, that is to say, it became filled with a
luminous matter, so strong that I could not bear it at first. In its
whiteness and intensity I recognized that electric light which played
round the submarine boat like a magnificent phenomenon of phos-
phorescence. After shutting my eyes involuntarily, I opened them
and saw that this luminous agent came from a half globe, unpolished,
placed in the roof of the cabin.
At last one can see," cried Ned Land, who, knife in hand, stood
on the defensive.
Yes," said I; "but we are still in the dark about ourselves."
Let master have patience," said the imperturbable Conseil.
The sudden lighting of the cabin enabled me to examine it
minutely. It only contained a table and five stools. The invisible
door might be hermetically sealed. No noise was heard. All seemed
dead in the interior of this boat. Did it move, did it float on the
surface of the ocean, or did it dive into its depths ? I could not
A noise of bolts was now heard, the door opened, and two men
One was short, very muscular, broad-shouldered, with robust
limbs, strong head, an abundance of black hair, thick moustache, a
quick penetrating look, and the 'vivacity which characterises the
population of Southern France.
The second stranger merits a more detailed description. A dis-
ciple of Gratiolet or Engel would have read his face like an open
book. I made out his prevailing qualities directly:-self-confidence,
-because his head was well set on his shoulders, and his black eyes
MOBILIS IN MOBILE 43
looked around with cold assurance; calmness,-for his skin, rather
pale, showed his coolness of blood; energy,-evinced by the rapid
contraction of his lofty brows; and courage,-because his deep
breathing denoted great power of lungs.
Whether this .person was thirty-five or fifty years of age, I could
not say. He was tall, had a large forehead, straight nose, a clearly
cut mouth, beautiful teeth, with fine taper hands, indicative of a
highly nervous temperament. This man was certainly the most
admirable specimen I had ever met. One particular feature was
his eyes, rather far from each other, and which could take in nearly
a quarter of the horizon at once.
This faculty-(I verified it later)-gave him a range of vision far
superior to Ned Land's. When this stranger fixed upon an object,
his eyebrows met, his large eyelids closed around so as to contract
the range of his vision, and he looked as if he magnified the
objects lessened by distance, as if he pierced those sheets of water
so opaque to our eyes, and as if lie read the very depths of the seas.
The two strangers, with caps made from the fur of the sea otter,
and shod with sea boots of seals' skin, were dressed in clothes of
a particular texture, which allowed free movement of the limbs.
The taller of the two, evidently the chief on board, examined us
with great attention, without saying a word: then turning to his
companion, talked with him in an unknown tongue. It was a
sonorous, harmonious, and flexible dialect, the vowels seeming to
admit of very varied accentuation.
The other replied by a shake of the head, and added two or three
perfectly incomprehensible words. Then he seemed to question me
by a look.
I replied in good French that I did not know his language; but
he seemed not to understand me, and my situation became more
If master were to tell our story," said Conseil, "perhaps these
gentlemen may understand some words."
I began to tell our adventures, articulating each syllable clearly,
and without omitting one single detail. I announced our names
and rank, introducing in person Professor Aronnax, his servant
Conseil, and master Ned Land, the harpooner.
44 MOBILIS IN MOBILI.
The man with the soft calm eyes listened to me quietly, even
politely, and with extreme attention; but nothing in his counte-
nance indicated that he had understood my story. When I finished,
he said not a word.
There remained one resource, to speak English. Perhaps they
would know this almost universal language. I knew it, as well as
the German language,-well enough to read it fluently, but not
to speak it correctly. But, anyhow, we must make ourselves under-
Go on in your turn," I said to the harpooner; speak your
best Anglo-Saxon, and try to do better than I."
Ned did not beg off, and recommended our story.
To his great disgust, the harpooner did not seem to have made
himself more intelligible than I had. Our visitors did not stir.
They evidently understood neither the language of Arago nor of
Very much embarrassed, after having vainly exhausted our philo-
logical resources, I knew not what part to take, when Conseil said-.
If master will permit me, I will relate it in German."
But in spite of the elegant turns and good accent of the narrator,
the German language had no success. At last, nonplussed, I tried
to remember my first lessons, and to narrate our adventures in Latin,
but with no better success. This last attempt being of no avail, the
two strangers exchanged some words in their unknown language, and
The door shut.
"It is an infamous shame," cried Ned Land, who broke out for
the twentieth time; we speak to those rogues in French, English,
German, and Latin, and not one of them has the politeness to
Calm yourself," I said to the impetuous Ned, anger will do
"But do you see, Professor," replied our irascible companion,
"that we shall absolutely die of hunger in this iron cage ?"
"Bah," said Conseil, philosophically; we can hold out some
"My friends," I said, "we must not despair. We have been
"The two strangers examined us with great attention."-Page 43.
MOBLLIS IN MOBILE.
worse off than this. Do me the favour to wait a little before form-
ing an opinion upon the commander and crew of this boat."
"My opinion is formed," replied Ned Land, sharply. "They
"Good and from what country ?"
From the land of rogues !"
"My brave Ned, that country is not clearly indicated on the map
of the world; but I admit that the nationality of the two strangers
is hard to determine. Neither English, French, nor German, that
is quite certain. However, I am inclined to think that the com-
mander and his companion were born in low latitudes. There is
southern blood in them. But I cannot decide by their appearance
whether they are Spaniards, Turks, Arabians, or Indians. As to
their language, it is quite incomprehensible."
"There is the disadvantage of not knowing all languages," said
Conseil, "or the disadvantage of not having one universal
As he said these words, the door opened. A steward entered.
He brought us clothes, coats and trousers, made of a stuff I did not
know. I hastened to dress myself, and my companions followed
my example. During that time, the steward-dumb, perhaps deaf
-had arranged the table, and laid three plates.
"This is something like," said Conseil.
"Bah," said the rancorous harpooner, what do you suppose they
eat here ? Tortoise liver, filleted shark, and beefsteaks from sea-
We shall see," said Conseil.
The dishes, of bell metal, were placed on the table, and we took
our places. Undoubtedly we had to do with civilised people, and
had it not been for the electric light which flooded us, I could have
fancied I was in the dining-room of the Adelphi Hotel at Liver-
pool, or at the Grand Hotel in Paris. I must say, however, that
there was neither bread nor wine. The water was fresh and clear,
but it was water, and did not suit Ned Land's taste. Amongst the
dishes which were brought to us, I recognized several fish delicately
dressed; but of some, although excellent, I could give no opinion,
neither could I tell to what kingdom they belonged, whether animal
46 MOB1LIS IN MOBILE.
or vegetable. As to the dinner service, it was elegant, and in
perfect taste. Each utensil, spoon, fork, knife, plate, had a letter
engraved on it, with a motto above it, of which this is an exact fac-
MOBILIS IN MOBILI.
The letter N was no doubt the initial of the name of the enig-
matical person, who commanded at the bottom of the seas.
Ned and Conseil did not reflect much. They devoured the food,
and I did likewise. I was, besides, reassured as to our fate; and it
seemed evident that our hosts would not let us die of want.
However, everything has an end, everything passes away, even
the hunger of people who have not eaten for fifteen hours. Our
appetites satisfied, we felt overcome with sleep.
"Faith I shall sleep well," said Conseil.
So shall I," replied Ned Land.
My two companions stretched themselves on the cabin carpet, and
were soon sound asleep. For my own part, too many thoughts
crowded my brain, too many insoluble questions pressed upon me,
too many fancies kept my eyes half open. Where were we ? What
strange power carried us on ? I felt-or rather fancied I felt-the
machine sinking down to the lowest beds of the sea. Dreadful
nightmares beset me; I saw in these mysterious asylums a world of
unknown animals, amongst which this submarine boat seemed to be
of the same kind, living, moving, and formidable as they. Then my
brain grew calmer, my imagination wandered into vague uncon-
sciousness, and I soon fell into a deep sleep.
" My two companions stretched themselves on the cabin carpet, and were soon sound
asleep."- Pa re 46.
NED LAND'S TEMPERS.
NED LAND'S TEMPERS.
How long we slept I do not know; but our sleep must have lasted
long, for it rested us completely from our fatigues. I woke first.
My companions had not moved, and were still stretched in their
Hardly roused from my somewhat hard couch, I felt my brain
freed, my mind clear. I then began an attentive examination of
our cell. Nothing was changed inside. The prison was still a
prison,-the prisoners, prisoners. However, the steward, during
our sleep, had cleared the table. I breathed with difficulty. The
heavy air seemed to oppress my lungs. Although the cell was
large, we had evidently consumed a great part of the oxygen that it
contained. Indeed, each man consumes, in one hour, the oxygen
contained in more than 176 pints of air, and this air, charged
(as then) with a nearly equal quantity of carbonic acid, becomes
It became necessary to renew the atmosphere of our prison, and
no doubt the whole in the submarine boat. That gave rise to a
question in my mind. How would the commander of this floating
dwelling-place proceed I Would he obtain air by chemical means,
in getting by heat the oxygen contained in chlorate of potass, and
in absorbing carbonic acid by caustic potash? Or, a more con-
venient, economical, and consequently more probable alternative,
would he be satisfied to rise and take breath at the surface of the
water, like a cetacean, and so renew for twenty-four hours the
atmospheric provision ?
In fact, I was already obliged to increase my respirations to eke
out of this cell the little oxygen it contained, when suddenly I was
refreshed by a current of pure air, and perfumed with saline emana-
tions. It was an invigorating sea breeze, charged with iodine. I
48 NED LAND'S TEMPERS.
opened my mouth wide, and my lungs saturated themselves with
At the same time I felt the boat rolling. The iron-plated monster
had evidently just risen to the surface of the ocean to breathe, after
the fashion of whales. I found out from that the mode of ventilat-
ing the boat.
When I had inhaled this air freely, I sought the conduit-pipe,
which conveyed to us the beneficial whiff, and I was not long in
finding it. Above the door was a ventilator, through which volumes
of fresh air renewed the impoverished atmosphere of the cell.
I was making my observations, when Ned and Conseil awoke
almost at the same time, under the influence of this reviving air.
They rubbed their eyes, stretched themselves, and were on their
feet in an instant.
Did master sleep well ?" asked Conseil, with his usual politeness.
Very well, my brave boy. And you, Mr Land ? "
Soundly, Professor. But I don't know if I am right or not;
there seems to be a sea breeze "
A seaman could not be mistaken, and I told the Canadian all that
had passed during his sleep.
Good !" said he; "that accounts for those roarings we heard,
when the supposed narwhal sighted the Abraham Lincoln."
"Quite so, Master Land; it was taking breath."
Only, Mr Aronnax, I have no idea what o'clock it is, unless it
Dinner-time my good fellow ? Say rather breakfast-time, for
we certainly have begun another day."
SSo," said Conseil, we have slept twenty-four hours '"
"That is my opinion."
I will not contradict you," replied Ned Land. But dinner or
breakfast, the steward will be welcome, whichever he brings."
Master Land, we must conform to the rules on board, and I
suppose our appetites are in advance of the dinner hour."
That is just like you, friend Conseil," said Ned, impatiently.
"You are never out of temper, always calm; you would return
thanks before grace, and die of hunger rather than complain !"
Time was getting on, and we were fearfully hungry; and this
Ned Land assau't. the Steward.-Page 49
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
time the steward did not appear. It was rather too long to leave
us, if they really had good intentions towards us. Ned Land, tor-
mented by the cravings of hunger, got still more angry; and, not-
withstanding his promise, I dreaded an explosion whed he found
himself with one of the crew.
For two hours more, Ned Land's temper increased; he cried, he
shouted, but in vain. The walls were deaf. There was no sound
to be heard in the boat: all was still as death. It did not move, for
I should have felt the trembling motion of the hull under the influ-
ence of the screw. Plunged in the depths of the waters, it belonged
no longer to earth :-this silence was dreadful.
I felt terrified, Conseil was calm, Ned Land roared.
Just then a noise was heard outside. Steps sounded on the
metal flags. The locks were turned, the door opened, and the
Before I could rush forward to stop him, the Canadian had thrown
him down, and held him by the throat. The steward was choking
under the grip of his powerful hand.
Conseil was already trying to unclasp the harpooner's hand from
his half-suffocated victim, and I was going to fly to the rescue, when
suddenly I was nailed to the spot by hearing these words in
Be quiet, Master Land; and you, Professor, will you be so good
as to listen to me "
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
IT was the commander of the vessel who thus spoke.
At these words, Ned Land rose suddenly. The steward, nearly
strangled, tottered out on a sign from his master; but such was the
power of the commander on board, that not a gesture betrayed the
resentment which this man must have felt towards the Canadian.
Conseil interested in spite of himself, I stupified, awaited in silence
th3 result of this scene.
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
The commander, leaning against a corner of the table with his
arms folded, scanned us with profound attention. Did he hesitate to
speak ? Did he regret the words which he had just spoken in
French ? One might almost think so.
After some moments of silence, which not one of us dreamed of
breaking, Gentlemen," said he, in a calm and penetrating voice, "I
speak French, English, German, and Latin equally well. I could,
therefore, have answered you at our first interview, but I wished
to know you first, then to reflect. The story told by each one, entirely
agreeing in the main points, convinced me of your identity. I know
now that chance has brought before me M. Pierre Aronnax, Pro-
fessor of Natural History at the Museum of Paris, entrusted with a
scientific mission abroad, Conseil his servant, and Ned Land, of
Canadian origin, harpooner on board the frigate Abraham Lincoln of
the navy of the United States of America."
I bowed assent. It was not a question that the commander put
to me. Therefore there was no answer to be made. This man
expressed himself with perfect ease, without any accent. His
sentences were well turned, his words clear, and his fluency of speech
remarkable. Yet, I did not recognize in him a fellow-country-
He continued the conversation in these terms:
You have doubtless thought, sir, that I have delayed long in
paying you this second visit. The reason is that, your identity
recognized, I wished to weigh maturely what part to act towards
you. I have hesitated much. Most annoying circumstances have
brought you into the presence of a man who has broken all the
ties of humanity. You have come to trouble my existence."
"Unintentionally !" said I.
"Unintentionally ?" replied the stranger, raising his voice a
little; was it unintentionally that the Abraham Lincoln pursued
me all over the seas ? Was it unintentionally that you took passage
in this frigate? Was it unintentionally that your cannon balls
rebounded off the plating of my vessel? Was it unintentionally
that Mr Ned Land struck me with his harpoon ?"
I detected a restrained irritation in these words. But to these
recriminations I had a very natural answer to make, and I made it.
" The Steward, nearly strangled, tottered out on a sign from his master."-Page 49.
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
c Sir," said I, no doubt you are ignorant of the discussions which
have taken place concerning you in America and Europe. You do
not know that divers accidents, caused by collisions with your sub-
marine machine, have excited public feeling in the two continents.
I omit the hypotheses without number by which it was sought to
explain the inexplicable phenomenon of which you alone possess
the secret. But you must understand that, in pursuing you over
the high seas of the Pacific, the Abraham Lincoln believed itself
to be chasing some powerful sea-monster, of which it was necessary
to rid the ocean at any price."
A half-smile curled the lips of the commander: then, in a calmer
"M. Aronnax," he replied, "dare you affirm that your frigate
would not as soon have pursued and cannonaded a submarine boat
as a monster "
This question embarrassed me, for certainly Captain Farragut
might not have hesitated. He might have thought it his duty to
destroy a contrivance of this kind, as he would a gigantic narwhal.
"You understand then, sir," continued the stranger, "that I have
the right to treat you as enemies "
I answered nothing, purposely. For what good would it be to
discuss such a proposition, when force could destroy the best
"I have hesitated for some time," continued the commander;
" nothing obliged me to show you hospitality. If I chose to separate
myself from you, I should have no interest in seeing you again I
could place you upon the deck of this vessel which has served you
as a refuge, I could sink beneath the waters, and forget that you
had ever existed. Would not that be my right 1"
"It might be the right of a savage," I answered, "but not that
of a civilised man."
Professor," replied the commander quickly, "I am not what you
call a civilised man I have done with society entirely, for reasons
which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not therefore
obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before
me again !"
This was said plainly. A flash of anger and disdain kindled in
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
the eyes of the Unknown, and I had a glimpse of a terrible past in
the life of this man. Not only had he put himself beyond the pale
of human laws, but he had made himself independent of them, free
in the strictest acceptation of the word, quite beyond their reach!
Who then would dare to pursue him at the bottom of the sea, when,
on its surface, he defied all attempts made against him ? What
vessel could resist the shock of his submarine monitor? What
cuirass, however thick, could withstand the blows of his spur ? No
man could demand from him an account of his actions; God, if he
believed in one-his conscience, if he had one,-were the ol1e judges
to whom he was answerable.
These reflections crossed my mind rapidly, whilst the stranger
personage was silent, absorbed, and as if wrapped up in himself. I
regarded him with fear mingled with interest, as, doubtless, CEdipus
regarded the Sphinx.
After rather a long silence, the commander resumed the conversa-
I have hesitated," said he, "but I have thought that my interest
might be reconciled with that pity to which every human being has
a right. You will remain on board my vessel, since fate has cast you
there. You will be free; and in exchange for this liberty, I shall
only impose one single condition. Your word of honour to submit
to it will suffice."
Speak, sir," I answered. "I suppose this condition is one which
a man of honour may accept 1"
S Yes, sir; it is this. It is possible that certain events, unforeseen,
may oblige me to consign you to your cabins for some hours or some
days, as the case may be. As I desire never to use violence, I
expect from you, more than all the others, a passive obedience. In
thus acting, I take all the responsibility : I acquit you entirely, for I
make it an impossibility for you to see what ought not to be seen.
Do you accept this condition "
Then things took place on board which, to say the least, were
singular, and which ought not to be seen by people who were not
placed beyond the pale of social laws. Amongst the surprises
which the future was preparing for me, this might not be the
THE MAN OF THE SEAS. 53
"We accept," I answered; only I will ask your permission, sir,
to address one question to you-one only."
"You said that we should be free on board."
"I ask you, then, what you mean by this liberty "
"Just the liberty to go, to come, to see, to observe even all that
passes here,-save under rare circumstances,-the liberty, in short,
which we enjoy ourselves, my companions and I."
It was evident that we did not understand one another.
"Pardon me,' sir," I resumed, "but this liberty is only what
every prisoner has of pacing his prison. It cannot suffice us."
"It must suffice you, however."
What! we must renounce for ever seeing our country, our
friends, our relations again ?"
"Yes, sir. But to renounce that unendurable worldly yoke
which men believe to be liberty, is not perhaps so painful as you
"Well," exclaimed Ned Land, "never will I give my word of
honour not to try to escape."
"I did not ask you for your word of honour, Master Land,"
answered the commander, coldly.
"Sir," I replied, beginning to get angry in spite of myself, "you
abuse your situation towards us; it is cruelty."
No, sir, it is clemency. You are my prisoners of war. I keep
you, when I could, by a word, plunge you into the depths of the
ocean. You attacked me. You came to surprise a secret which no
man in the world must penetrate,-the secret of my whole existence.
And you think that I am going to send you back to that world
which must know me no more ? Never! In retaining you, it is
not you whom I guard-it is myself."
These words indicated a resolution taken on the part of the
commander, against which no arguments would prevail.
So, sir," I rejoined, you give us simply the choice between
life and death ?
My friends," said I, "to a question thus put, there is nothing
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
to answer. But no word of honour binds us to the master of this
None, sir," answered the Unknown.
Then, in a gentler tone, he continued-
Now, permit me to finish what I have to say to you. I know
you, M. Aronnax. You and your companions will not, perhaps,
have so much to complain of in the chance which has bound you to
iny fate. You will find amongst the books which are my favourite
study the work which you have published on 'the depths of the sea.'
I have often read it. You have carried your work as far as
terrestrial science permitted you. But you do not know all-you
have not seen all. Let me tell you then, Professor, that you will
not regret the time passed on board my vessel. You are going to
visit the land of marvels."
These words of the commander had a great effect upon me. I
cannot deny it. My weak point was touched; and I forgot, for a
moment, that the contemplation of these sublime subjects was not
worth the loss of liberty. Besides, I trusted to the future to decide
this grave question. So I contented myself with saying-
"By what name ought I to address you ? "
Sir," replied the commander, I am nothing to you but Captain
Nemo; and you and your companions are nothing to me but the
passengers of the Nautilus."
Captain Nemo called. A steward appeared. The captain gave
him his orders in that strange language which I did not understand.
Then, turning towards the Canadian and Conseil-
A repast awaits you in your cabin," said he. "Be so good as
to follow this man."
"And now, M. Aronnax, our breakfast is ready. Permit me to
lead the way."
I am at your service, captain."
I followed Captain Nemo; and as soon as I had passed through
the door, I found myself in a kind of passage lighted by electricity,
similar to the waist of a ship. After we had proceeded a dozen
yards, a second door opened before me.
I then entered a dining-room, decorated and furnished in severe
taste. High oaken sideboards, inlaid with ebony, stood at the two
" In the centre of the room was a table richly laid out."-Page 55.
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
extremities of the room, and upon their shelves glittered china,
porcelain, and glass of inestimable value. The plate on the table
sparkled in the rays which the luminous ceiling shed around, while
the light was tempered and softened by exquisite paintings.
In the centre of the room was a table richly laid out. Captain
Nemo indicated the place I was to occupy.
The breakfast consisted of a certain number of dishes, the contents
of which were furnished by the sea alone; and I was ignorant of the
nature and mode of preparation of some of them. I acknowledged
that they were good, but they had a peculiar flavour, which 1 easily
became accustomed to. These different aliments appeared to me
to be rich in phosphorus, and I thought they must have a marine
Captain Nemo looked at me. I asked him no questions, but he
guessed my thoughts, and answered of his own accord the questions
which I was burning to address to him.
The greater part of these dishes are unknown to' you," he said
to me. "However, you may partake of them without fear. They
are wholesome and nourishing. For a long time I have renounced
the food of the earth, and I am never ill now. My crew, who are
healthy, are fed on the same food."
So," said I, all these eatables are the produce of the sea ?"
"Yes, Professor, the sea supplies all my wants. Sometimes I
cast my nets in tow, and I draw them in ready to break. Sometimes
I hunt in the midst of this element, which appears to be inaccessible
to man, and quarry the game which dwells in my submarine
forests. My flocks, like those of Neptune's old shepherds, graze
fearlessly in the immense prairies of the ocean. I have a vast
property there, which I cultivate myself, and which is always sown
by the hand of the Creator of all things."
"I'can understand perfectly, sir, that your nets furnish excellent
fish for your table; I can understand also that you hunt aquatic
game in your submarine forests; but I cannot understand at all how a
particle of meat, no matter how small, can figure in your bill of fare."
"' This, which you believe to be meat, Professor, is nothing else
than fillet of turtle. Here are also some dolphin's livers, which you
take to be ragout of pork. My cook is a clever fellow, who excels
56 THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
in dressing these various products of the ocean. Taste all these
dishes. Here is a preserve of holothuria, which a Malay would
declare to be unrivalled in the world; here is a cream, of which the
milk has been furnished by the cetacea, and the sugar by the great
fucus of the North Sea; and lastly, permit me to offer you some
preserve of anemones, which is equal to that of the most delicious
I tasted, more from curiosity than as a connoisseur, whilst Captain
Nemo enchanted me with his extraordinary stories.
You like the sea, Captain ? "
"Yes; I love it! The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths
of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an
immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring
on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and
wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the
"Living Infinite," as one of your poets has said. In fact, Professor,
Nature manifests herself in it by her three kingdoms, mineral, vege-
table, and animal. The sea is the vast reservoir of Nature. The
globe began with sea, so to speak; and who knows if it will not
end with it ? In it is supreme tranquillity. The sea does not
belong to despots. Upon its surface men can still exercise unjust
laws, fight, tear one another to pieces, and be carried away with
terrestrial horrors. But at thirty feet below its level, their reign
ceases, their influence is quenched, and their power disappears.
Ah! sir, live-live in the bosom of the waters! There only is
independence! There I recognize no masters! There I am free!n
Captain Nemo suddenly became silent in the midst of this
enthusiasm, by which he was quite carried away. For a few
moments he paced up and down, much agitated. Then he became
more calm, regained his accustomed coldness of expression, and
turning towards me-
"Now, Professor," said he, "if you wish to go over the Nautilus,
I am at your service."
Captain Nemo rose. I followed him. A double door, contrived
at the back of the dining-room, opened, and I entered a room equal
in dimensions to that which I had just quitted.
It was a library. High pieces of furniture, of black violet ebony
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
inlaid with brass, supported upon their wide shelves a great number
of books uniformly bound. They followed the shape of the room,
terminating at the lower part in huge divans, covered with brown
leather, which were curved, to afford the greatest comfort. Light
moveable desks, made to slide in and out at will, allowed one to
rest one's book while reading. In the centre stood an immense
table, covered with pamphlets, amongst which were some news-
papers, already of old date. The electric light flooded everything;
it was shed from four unpolished globes half sunk in the volutes of
the ceiling. I looked with real admiration at this room, so in-
geniously fitted up, and I could scarcely believe my eyes.
Captain Nemo," said I to my host, who had just thrown him-
self on one of the divans, "this is a library which would do honour
to more than one of the continental palaces, and I am absolutely
astounded when I consider that it can follow you to the bottom of
Where could one find greater solitude or silence, Professor ?"
replied Captain Nemo. Did your study in the Museum afford
you such perfect quiet?"
No, sir; and I must confess that it is a very poor one after
yours. You must have six or seven thousand volumes here."
"' Twelve thousand, M. Aronnax. These are the only ties which
bind me to the earth. But I had done with the world on the
day when my Nautilus plunged for the first time beneath the waters.
That day I bought my last volumes, my last pamphlets, my last
papers, and from that time I wish to think that men no longer
think or write. These books, Professor, are at your service besides,
and you can make use of them freely."
I thanked Captain Nemo, and went up to the shelves of the
library. Works on science, morals, and literature abounded in
every language; but I did not see one single work on political
economy; that subject appeared to be strictly proscribed. Strange
to say, all these books were irregularly arranged, in whatever lan-
guage they were written; and this medley proved that the Captain
of the Nautilus must have read indiscriminately the books which he
took up by chance.
Sir," said I to the Captain, I thank you for having placed
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
this library at my disposal. It contains treasures of science, and I
shall profit by them."
"This room is not only a library," said Captain Nemo, "it is
also a smoking-room."
A smoking-room!" I cried. "Then one may smoke on
Then, sir, I am forced to believe that you have kept up a com-
munication with Havannah."
"Not any," answered the Captain. "Accept this cigar, M.
Aronnax; and though it does not come from Havannah, you will
be pleased with it, if you are a connoisseur."
I took the cigar which was offered me; its shape recalled the
London ones, but it seemed to be made of leaves of gold. I lighted
it at a little brazier, which was supported upon an elegant bronze
stem, and drew the first whiffs with the delight of a lover of
smoking who has not smoked for two days.
"It is excellent," said I, but it is not tobacco,"
"No !" answered the Captain, "this tobacco comes neither from
Havannah nor from the East. It is a kind of sea-weed, rich in
nicotine, with which the sea provides me, but somewhat sparingly."
At that moment Captain Nemo opened a door which stood
opposite to that by which I had entered the library, and I passed
into an immense drawing-room splendidly lighted.
It was a vast four-sided room, thirty feet long, eighteen wide, and
fifteen high. A luminous ceiling, decorated with light arabesques,
shed a soft clear light over all the marvels accumulated in this
museum. For it was in fact a museum, in which an intelligent and
prodigal hand had gathered all the treasures of nature and art, with
the artistic confusion which distinguishes a painter's studio.
Thirty first-rate pictures, uniformly framed, separated by bright
drapery, ornamented the walls, which were hung with tapestry of
Severe design. I saw works of great value, the greater part of which
I had admired in the special collections of Europe, and in the
exhibitions of .paintings. The several schools of the old masters
were represented by a Madonna of Raphael, a Virgin of Leonardo
da Vinci, a nymph of Corregio, a woman of Titian, an Adoration of
" You must have six or seven thousand volumes here."---Page57.
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
Veronese, an Assumption of Murillo, a portrait of Holbein, a monk
of Velasquez, a martyr of Ribeira, a fair of Rubens, two Flemish
landsclAes of Teniers, three little "genre pictures of Gerard Dow,
Metsu, and Paul Potter, two specimens of G6ricault and Prudhon,
and some sea-pieces of Backhuysen and Vernet. Amongst the works
of modern painters were pictures with the signatures of Delacroix,
Ingres, Decamp, Troyon, Meissonnier, Daubigny, &c.; and some
admirable statues in marble and bronze, after the finest antique
models, stood upon pedestals in the corners of this magnificent
museum. Amazement, as the Captain of the Nautilus had pre-
dicted, had already begun to take possession of me.
"Professor," said this strange man, "you must excuse the un-
ceremonious way in which I receive you, and the disorder of this
Sir," I answered, "without seeking to know who you are, I
recognize in you an artist."
"An amateur, nothing more, sir. Formerly I loved to collect
these beautiful works created by the hand of man. I sought them
greedily, and ferreted them out indefatigably, and I have been able
to bring together some objects of great value. These are my last
souvenirs of that world which is dead to me. In my eyes, your
modern artists are already old; they have two or three thousand
years of existence; I confound them in my own mind. Masters have
"And these musicians?" said I, pointing out some works of Weber,
Rossini, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Meyerbeer, Herold, Wagner,
Auber, Gounod, and a number of others, scattered over a large model
piano-organ which occupied one of the panels of the drawing-room.
"These musicians," replied Captain Nemo, are the contem-
poraries of Orpheus; for in the memory of the dead all chronological
differences are effaced; and I am dead, Professor; as much dead as
those of your friends who are sleeping six feet under the earth! "
Captain Nemo was silent, and seemed lost in a profound reverie.
I contemplated him with deep interest, analysing in silence the
strange expression of his countenance. Leaning on his elbow against
an angle of a costly mosaic table, he no longer saw me,-he had for-
gotten my presence.
60 THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
I did not disturb this reverie, and continued my observation of
the curiosities which enriched this drawing-room.
Under elegant glass cases, fixed by copper rivets, were classed and
labelled the most precious productions of the sea which had ever
been presented to the eye of a naturalist. My delight as a professor
may be conceived.
The division containing the zoophytes presented the most curious
specimens of the two groups of polypi and echinodermes. In the
first group, the tubipores, were gorgones arranged like a fan, soft
sponges of Syria, ises of the Moluccas, pennatules, an admirable
virgularia of the Norwegian seas, variegated umbellulaire, alcyonariee,
a whole series of madrepores, which my master Milne Edwards has
so cleverly classified, amongst which I remarked some wonderful
flabellinne, oeuline of the Island of Bourbon, the Neptune's car" of
the Antilles, superb varieties of corals, in short, every species of those
curious polypi of which entire islands are formed, which will one
day become continents. Of the, echinodermes, remarkable for their
coating of spines, asteri, sea-stars, pantacrinve, comatules, ast6ro-
phons, echini, holothuri, &c., represented individually a complete
collection of this group.
A somewhat nervous donchyliologist would certainly have fainted
before other more numerous cases, in which were' classified the
specimens of molluscs. It was a collection of inestimable value,
which time fails me to describe minutely. Amongst these specimens,
I will quote from memory only the elegant royal hammer-fish of the
Indian Ocean, whose regular white spots stood out brightly on a red
and brown ground, an imperial spondyle, bright-coloured, bristling
with spines, a rare specimen in the European museums-(I estimated
its value at not less than 1000); a common hammer-fish of the seas
of New Holland, which is only procured with difficulty; exotic
buccardia of Senegal; fragile white bivalve shells, which a breath
might shatter like a soap-bubble; several varieties of the aspirgillum
of Java, a kind of calcareous tube, edged with leafy folds, and much
debated by amateurs; a whole series of trochi, 'some a greenish-
yellow, found in the American seas, others a reddish-brown, natives
of Australian waters; others from the Gulf of Mexico, remark-
able for their imbricated shell; stellar found in the Swuthern
~~~i j'F II1
" My delight as a professor may be conceived."-Page 6o.
THE MAN OF THE SEAS.
Seas; and last, the rarest of all, the magnificent spur of New
Zealand; and every description of delicate and fragile shells to
which science has given appropriate names.
Apart, in separate compartments, were spread out chaplets of
pearls of the greatest beauty, which reflected the electric light in
little sparks of fire; pink pearls, torn from the pinna-marina of the
Red Sea; green pearls of the haliotyde iris; yellow, blue, and black
pearls, the curious productions of the divers molluscs of every ocean,
and certain mussels of the water-courses of the North ; lastly, several
specimens of inestimable value which had been gathered from the
rarest pintadines. Some of these pearls were larger than a pigeon's
egg, and were worth as much, and more than that which the
traveller Tavernier sold to the Shah of Persia for three millions, and
surpassed the one in the possession of the Imaum of Muscat, which I
had believed to be unrivalled iu the world.
Therefore, to estimate the value of this collection was simply
impossible. Captain Nemo must have expended millions in the
acquirement of these various specimens, and I was thinking what
source he could have drawn from, to have been able thus to gratify
his fancy for collecting, when I was interrupted by these words-
You are examining my shells, Professor ? Unquestionably they
must be interesting to a naturalist; but for me they have a far
greater charm, for I have collected them all with my own hand, and
there is not a sea on the face of the globe which has escaped my
I can understand, Captain, the delight of wandering about in the
midst of such riches. You are one of those who have collected
their treasures themselves. No museum in Europe possesses such a
collection of the produce of the ocean. But if I exhaust all my
admiration upon it, I shall have none left for the vessel which
carries it. I do not wish to pry into your secrets; but I must
confess that this Nautilus, with the motive power which is confined
in it, the contrivances which enable it to be worked, the powerful
agent which propels it, all excite my curiosity to the highest pitch.
I see suspended on the walls of this room instruments of whose use
I am ignorant."
You will find these same instruments in my own room, Professor,
ALL BY ELECTRICITY.
where I shall have much pleasure in explaining their use to you.
But first come and inspect the cabin which is set apart for your
own use. You must see how you will be accommodated on board the
I followed Captain Nemo, who, by one of the doors opening from
each panel of the drawing-room, regained the waist. He conducted
me towards the bow, and there I found, not a cabin, but an elegant
room, with a bed, dressing-table, and several other pieces of furni-
I could only thank my host.
S"Your room adjoins mine," said he, opening a door, "and mine
opens into the drawing-room that we have just quitted."
I entered the Captain's room : it had a severe, almost a monkish,
aspect. A small iron bedstead, a table, some articles for the
toilet; the whole lighted by a skylight. No comforts, the strictest
Captain Nemo pointed to a seat.
Be so good as to sit down," he said. I seated myself, and he
ALL BY ELECTRICITY.
"SIR," said Captain Nemo, showing me the instruments hanging
on the walls of his room, "here are the contrivances required for the
navigation of the Nautilus. Here, as in the drawing-room, I have
them always under my eyes, and they indicate my position and
exact direction in the middle of the ocean. Some are known to
you, such as the thermometer, which gives the internal temperature
of the Nautilus; the barometer, which indicates the weight of the air
and foretells the changes of the weather; the hygrometer, which
marks the dryness of the atmosphere; the storm-glass, the contents
of which, by decomposing, announce the approach of tempests; the
compass, which guides my course; the sextant, which shows the
ALL BY ELECTRICITY. 63
latitude by the altitude of the sun; chronometers, by which I cal-
culate the longitude; and glasses for day and night, which I use to
examine the points of the horizon, when the Nautilus rises to the
surface of the waves."
"These are the usual nautical instruments," I replied, and I
know the use of them. But these others, no doubt, answer to the
particular requirements of the Nautilus. This dial with the move-
able needle is a manometer, is it not ? "
"It is actually a manometer. But by communication with the
water, whose external pressure it indicates, it gives our depth at the
"And these other instruments, the use of which I cannot guess ?
"Here, Professor, I ought to give you some explanations. Will
you be kind enough to listen to me?"
He was silent for a few moments, then he said-
"There is a powerful agent, obedient, rapid, easy, which conforms
to every use, and reigns supreme on board my vessel. Everything
is done by means of it. It lights it, warms it, and is the soul of my
mechanical apparatus. This agent is electricity."
Electricity I cried in surprise.
"Nevertheless, Captain, you possess an extreme rapidity of move-
ment, which does not agree well with the power of electricity. Until
now, its dynamic force has remained under restraint, and has only
been able to produce a small amount of power."
"Professor," said Captain Nemo, "my electricity is not every-
body's. You know what sea-water is composed of. In a thousand
grammes are found 96J per cent. of water, and about 22 per cent. of
chloride of sodium; then, in a smaller quantity, chlorides of mag-
nesium and of potassium, bromide of magnesium, sulphate of mag-
nesia, sulphate and carbonate of lime. You see, then, that chloride
of sodium forms a large part of it. So it is this sodium that I
extract from sea-water, and of which I compose my ingredients,
I owe all to the ocean; it produces electricity, and electricity
gives heat, light, motion, and, in a word, life to the Nautilus."
"But not the air you breathe "
"Oh I could manufacture the air necessary for my consumption,
64 ALL BY ELECTRICITY.
but it is useless, because I go up to the surface of the water when I
please. However, if electricity does not furnish me with air to
breathe, it works at least the powerful pumps that are stored in
spacious reservoirs, and which enable me to prolong at need, and
as long as I will, my stay in the depths of the sea. It gives a
uniform and unintermittent light, which the sun does not.
Now look at this clock; it is electrical, and goes with a regularity
that defies the best chronometers. I have divided it into twenty-four
hours, like the Italian clocks, because for me there is neither night
nor day, sun nor moon, but only that factitious light that I tAke
with me to the bottom of the sea. Look just now, it is ten o'clock
in the morning."
"Another application of electricity. This dial hanging in front
of us indicates the speed of the Nautilus. An electric thread puts
it in communication with the screw, and the needle indicates the
real speed. Look now we are spinning along with a uniform speed
of fifteen miles an hour."
"It is marvellous! and I see, Captain, you were right to
make use of this agent that takes the place of wind, water, and
"We have not finished, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo,
rising; if you will follow me, we will examine the stern of the
Really, I knew already the anterior part of this submarine boat,
of which this is the exact division, starting from the ship's head :-
the dining-room, five yards long, separated from the library by a
water-tight partition; the library, five yards long; the large draw-
ing-room, ten yards long, separated from the Captain's room by
a second water-tight partition; the said room, five yards in length
mine, two and a half yards ; and lastly, a reservoir of air, seven and
a half yards, that extended to the bows. Total length thirty-five
yards, or one hundred and five feet. The partitions had doors that
were shut hermetically by means of india-rubber instruments, and
they ensured the safety of the Nautilus in case of a leak.
I followed Captain Nemo through the waist, and arrived at
the centre of the boat. There was a sort of well that opened
I':- ,', I' ,
~/BRAA/L7 --- -
Captain Nemo's Room.-Page 62.
ALL BY ELECTRICITY.
between two partitions. An iron ladder, fastened with an iron
hook to the partition, led to the upper end. I asked the Captain
what the ladder was used for.
"It leads to the small boat," he said.
"What! have you a boat I exclaimed, in surprise.
"Of course; an excellent vessel, light and insubmersible, that
serves either as a fishing or as a pleasure boat."
"But then, when you wish to embark, you are obliged to come to
the surface of the water ?"
"Not at all. This boat is attached to the upper part of the hull
of the Nautilus, and occupies a cavity made for it. It is decked,
quite, water-tight, and held together by solid bolts. This ladder
leads to a man-hole made in the hull of the Nautilus, that corre-
sponds with a similar hole made in the side of the boat. By this
double opening I get into the small vessel. They shut the one
belonging to the Nautilus, I shut the other by means of screw
pressure. I undo the bolts, and the little boat goes up to the
surface of the sea with prodigious rapidity. I then open the panel
of the bridge, carefully shut till then; I mast it, hoist my sail, take
my oars, and I 'm off."
"But how do you get back on board ?"
"I do not come back, M. Aronnax; the Nautilus comes to me."
"By your orders ?"
"By my orders. An electric thread connects us. I telegraph to
it, and that is enough."
"Really," I said, astonished at these marvels, "nothing can be
After having passed by the cage of the staircase that led to the
platform, I saw a cabin six feet long, in which Conseil and Ned
Land, enchanted with their repast, were devouring it with avidity.
Then a door opened into a kitchen nine feet long, situated between
the large storerooms. There electricity, better than gas itself, did
all the cooking. The streams under the furnaces gave out to the
sponges of platina a heat which was regularly kept up and distri-
buted. They also heated a distilling apparatus, which, by evapora-
tion, furnished excellent drinkable water. Near this kitchen was
a bath-room comfortably furnished, with hot and cold water taps.