The Baldwin Lbrary
"20,030 LEAGUES UNDER TIE SEA."-PART f.
TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES
UNDER THE SEA
AUTHOR OF "THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN HATTERAS"
"JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH"
TRANSLATED BY HENRY FRITH
LONDON AND NEW YORK
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
tHARLES DICKENS AND EVANS,
CRYSTAL PALACE PRESS.
A MOVING ROCK... ... ... ... ...
FOR AND AGAINST ......
"JUST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES" ...
NED LAND .........
"AT A VENTURE" ... ...
FULL SPEED ......
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE .....
MOBILIS IN MOBILE ... ...
NED LAND'S ANGER
THE MAN OF THE SEA... ... ... ...
THE "NAUTILUS" ......
... ... 22
. ... 29
... ... 38
... ... 67
... ... 78
... ... 87
S .. 99
CHAPTER XII. PAGE
ENTIRELY BY ELECTRICITY ... ... ... ... .. 109
A FEW FIGURES ... ... ... ... .. ... ... II
THE BLACK RIVER ... ... .......... ... 126
A NOTE OF INVITATION ... ... ... ... ... 140
A WALK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA ... ... ... 150
A SUBMARINE FOREST ...... ... .......... 158
FOUR THOUSAND LEAGUES BENEATH THE PACIFIC ... 167
VANIKORO... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 178
TORRES STRAIT ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 191
SOME DAYS "ASHORE" ... ... ... ... ... 202
CAPTAIN NEMO'S LIGHTNING ... ... ... ... ... 217
EGRI SOMNIA ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 231
THE REALMS OF CORAL ... ... ... ... ... 243
TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES
UNDER THE SEA.
A MOVING ROCK.
THE year 1866 was marked by a very strange event, an
inexplicable and unexplained phenomenon, which must
still be in the recollection of our readers.' Without
mentioning rumours which agitated the population of
the sea-ports, and extended to the interior of various
countries, the maritime population were more particularly
exercised in their minds. Merchants, ship-owners, ship-
captains, skippers, and masters, both European and
American, officers of the Marines of both countries,
and, subsequently, the Governments of various States of
these continents, were deeply engrossed respecting this
As a matter of fact, for some time many vessels had
encountered an enormous thing," long, spindle-shaped,
phosphorescent at times-very much larger and swifter
than a whale.
A MOVING ROCK.
The facts relating to this apparition, as recorded in
various "logs," agreed sufficiently respecting the forma-
tion of the object-or being-in question, the unheard-of
celerity of its movements, its wonderful power of motion,
the peculiar life with which it seemed endowed. If it
were of the whale species, it exceeded in bulk all that
science had hitherto classified. Neither Cuvier, nor
Lac6pede, nor Dumeril, nor M. de Quatrefages, had
admitted the existence of such a monster.
But to strike a medium of the observations made at
intervals, rejecting the timid estimates which pronounced
this object to be 200 feet long, and putting away the
exaggerated opinions which gave it a breadth of one
mile and a length of three, we may state, nevertheless,
that this extraordinary being exceeded anything hitherto
discovered by ichthyologists-supposing it ever existed.
Now if it existed, the fact could not be denied, and
with the instinct for the marvellous, indulged in by the
average brain of humanity, one can understand the effect
produced upon the world by this supernatural apparition.
It was quite impossible to treat it as a mere fable.
In fact, upon the 2oth July, 1866, the steamer
Governor Higginson, of the Calcutta and Burnach Steam
Navigation Company, had encountered this moving mass
five miles to the east of Australia. Captain Baker was
at first under the impression that he had met with an
unknown rock, and was preparing to take the bearings of
it, when two columns of water, impelled by this extra-
ordinary object, were spurted 150 feet into the air. So,
unless this rock were subject to the intermittent expan-
sions of a geyser, the Governor Higginson had in good
earnest encountered some aquatic mammifer hitherto un-
A MOVING ROCK.
known, which spurted through its blow-holes two columns
of water mixed with air and steam.
A similar occurrence was observed on the 23rd July
in the same year, in the Pacific Ocean, by the Christopher
Columbus of the West India and Pacific Steam Naviga-
tion Company. On this occasion the wonderful cetacean
must have moved from place to place with extreme
velocity, since the Governor Higginson and the Chris-
topher Columbus had observed it at two places separate
more than seven hundred nautical leagues.
Fifteen days later, two thousand leagues from the
above latitude, the Helvetia, of the National Steamship
Company, and the Shannon, of the Royal Mail, sailing
between Europe and America, noticed the monster
respectively 420 15' N. lat., and 600 35' W. long., of the
meridian of Greenwich. In this simultaneous observa-
tion the minimum length of the mammifer was estimated
at 350 feet, for the Shannon and Helvetia were smaller
than it, inasmuch as they measured 300 feet only from
stem to stern. Now the very largest whales-those
which inhabit the neighbourhood of the Aleutian Islands,
Kulammak and Umgillick-have never exceeded i80
feet, even if they reached that length.
These reports arrived in quick succession. Further
observations made on board the Transatlantic "liner"
Pereire; a collision between the Etna of the Inman
Line and the monster; an official report sent in by the
officers of the French frigate La Normandie; a very
serious report obtained by the Secretary of State from
Commodore Fitz-James of the Lord Clyde, stirred up
public curiosity. In a country possessing some sense of
humour the subject would have been treated as a joke,
A MOVING ROCK.
but in such grave and practical nations as England,
America, and Germany, people were very much exercised
in their minds.
In the large towns this monster became quite the
rage; they sung about it in the cafes, they derided it
in the newspapers, and joked upon it in the theatres.
The canards had now every opportunity to lay eggs of
every colour. One might have noticed in the papers
drawings and descriptions of all the terrible and
imaginary beings, from the white whale-the fearful Moby
Dick of the Arctic regions-to the immense Kraken, whose
tentacles were sufficient to grasp a ship of 500 tons and
drag it to the depths of the ocean. They reproduced
even the statements of ancient writers, the opinions of
Aristotle and Pliny, who admitted the existence of these
monsters; the Norwegian narratives of the Bishop
Pontopidan, the tales of Paul Heggede, and, finally, the
reports of Mr. Harrington, whose good faith no one
could impugn, when he declared he had seen, when on
board the Castillan in 1857, that enormous serpent,
which up to that time had only infested the waters of
the ancient Constitutional.
Then there arose the interminable discussions
between the credulous and the incredulous amongst
scientific societies and publications. This "monster
question" inflamed their minds. Journalists who pro-
fessed themselves scientific in contradistinction to those
who professed to be intellectual, "slung ink" to a great
extent during this memorable campaign; some even shed
a few drops of blood, for the sea-serpent gave rise to
some very offensive personalities.
For six months this paper-war continued with varying
A MOVING ROCK.
success. To the leading articles of the Geographical
Institute of Brazil, of the Royal Academy of Sciences at
Berlin, of the British Association, of the Smithsonian
Institute at Washington, to the discussions in the Indian
Archipelago," in the "Cosmos" of the Abbe Moigno, in the
"Mittheilungen" of Petermann, in the scientific notices of
French and other journals, the comic papers replied with
unflagging energy, their lively writers parodying a speech
of Linneus, quoted by the opponents of the monster,
maintained in effect that Nature did not do foolish things,
and abjured their contemporaries not to give Nature the
lie by admitting the existence of krakens, sea-serpents,
"Moby Dick," and other inventions of drunken sailors.
At length, in a very celebrated satirical journal, the
editor attacked the monster, gave him a last blow, and
conquered, amid universal laughter. Wit had vanquished
During the first months of the year 1867 the question
remained in abeyance, and did not appear likely to crop
up again, when suddenly some new facts were brought
to the knowledge of the public. These did not take the
shape of a scientific problem which had to be solved,
but of an actual danger to be avoided. Thus the ques-
tion assumed a totally different aspect. The monster
was still an islet, a rock, a reef, but a moving rock,
indeterminable and unassailable.
On the 5th March, 1867, the Moravian, of the Mon-
treal Ocean Company, in 270 30' N. lat. 170 52'W. long.,
during the night struck, on the starboard quarter, a rock,
which no chart had ever laid down. Impelled by steam
and wind, the vessel was progressing at the rate of thir-
teen knots. Had the Moravian not been very stoutly
A MOVING ROCK.
built she would have sprung a leak, and have gone to
the bottom with her 237 passengers and crew.
The accident happened at about 5 A.M., at daybreak.
The officers of the watch hurried to the stern of the ship.
They scanned the ocean with minuteness. They per-
ceived nothing except a strong eddy, which broke about
two cables' length distant, as if the surface of the sea had
been violently disturbed. The bearings of the spot were
accurately taken, and the MoraIvian continued her
voyage apparently uninjured. Had she struck upon a
sunken rock or on some wreckage ? They could not tell,
but upon examination in dock it was discovered that a
portion of the keel had been carried away.
This occurrence, although sufficiently serious in itself,
would perhaps have been forgotten, like many others, if,
three weeks afterwards, it had not occurred again under
exactly similar conditions. Only, thanks to the nation-
ality of the ship, the victim of this system of running foul
of vessels, and to the reputation of the company to which
the ship belonged, the event created a great sensation.
No one can be ignorant of the name of Cunard, the
celebrated English shipowner. This gentleman founded
in 1840 a postal service between Liverpool and Halifax,
N.S., with three wooden vessels and engines of 400 horse-
power, and 1,162 tons measurement. Eight years after-
wards the fleet of the company had increased by four
ships of 650 horse-power and 1820 tons, and two years
later two other steamers of greater size were built. In
1853 the Cunard Company, which had again secured the
concession to carry the mails, added successively to its
fleet the Arabia, Persia, China, Scotia, yava, Russia,
all vessels of the first-class, and the largest (except the
A MOVING ROCK.
Great Eastern) that had ever crossed the ocean. Thus,
in 1867, the company possessed twelve ships, eight
paddle and four screw-steamers.
I give these details so that every one may appreciate
the importance of this company in maritime affairs. No
enterprise connected with transatlantic transport has been
conducted with such ability, or crowned with so great
success. For six-and-twenty years the Cunard liners"
had crossed the Atlantic, and had never missed a voyage,
had experienced no serious delays, nor even lost a man,
a letter, or a vessel. So passengers choose them still,
notwithstanding the great competition, as can be per-
ceived from an abstract from the official reports. Under
these circumstances it is not surprising that some excite-
ment should have been created when the news came
of an accident that had happened to one of the best
On the i3th April, 1867, the sea was smooth, the wind
light, and the Scotia was in 15? 12' W. long. 450 37' N. lat.
She was steaming over thirteen knots. Her draught of
water was about six metres and a half, her displacement
6,68o cubic metres.
About four o'clock in the afternoon, while dinner was
proceeding in the saloon, a shock, but not a very great
one, was distinctly felt somewhere on the starboard
quarter abaft the paddles.
The Scotia had not struck; it had been struck, and,
moreover, by some sharp or pointed thing, which con-
tused her. This "hulling of the vessel was so gentle
that no one on board would have felt anxious had not
someone run upon the bridge and exclaimed, We are
sinking we are sinking !"
A MOVING ROCK.
Of course the passengers immediately took alarm, but
Captain Anderson soon reassured them. Indeed, the
danger could not be imminent, as the Scotia is divided
into seven water-tight compartments, and can put up
with a little leakage.
Captain Anderson descended at once into the hold.
He perceived that the fifth compartment had sprung a
leak, and the rate at which the water was pouring in
proved that the injury was of considerable extent. Very
fortunately the furnaces were not situated in this portion
of the ship, else they would have been quickly extin-
Captain Anderson stopped the Scotia, and sent one
of the sailors to examine the injury. He soon discovered
a large hole in the hull. Such damage could not be
trifled with, and the Scotia was put at half-speed for the
rest of the voyage. She was then 300 miles from Cape
Clear, and, after a delay of three days, which caused
great anxiety in Liverpool, she arrived in port.
The surveyors then set about their examination of
the Scotia, which was dry-docked for the purpose. They
could scarcely believe their eyes. About six feet below
the water-line there was a regular rent, in the shape of
an isosceles triangle. The fissure in the iron plating
was perfectly even, and could not have been more neatly
done with a punch. It must have been caused by an
instrument of no common hardness, and after it had been
launched against the ship with such prodigious force as
to pierce an enormous hole in the iron, it had been
withdrawn by a retrograde movement almost incon-
This was the last occurrence which had so excited
A MOVING ROCK. 13
public curiosity. From that time all disasters at sea
which could not be accounted for were put to the credit
of the monster. This fantastic animal bore the respon-
sibility of all shipwrecks-whose numbers are, alas con-
siderable-for out of the 3,000 vessels whose loss is
annually recorded, the number supposed to be lost,
because no intelligence concerning them has been re-
ceived, scarcely reaches 200. Now this was the
monster which, justly or unjustly, was accused of their
destruction; and, thanks to him, the communication
between the continents became more and more dan-
gerous, and the public demanded that the ocean should
be cleared of this formidable cetacean.
FOR AND AGAINST.
WHILE the events above described were taking place, I
was returning from a scientific expedition into the wild
territory of Nebraska, U.S.A. In my position as assistant
professor to the Natural History Museum in Paris, the
French Government had nominated me to the expedition.
After six months passed in Nebraska, I arrived in New
York about the end of March, in charge of a valuable
collection. I had arranged to sail for France at the
beginning of May. In the meantime I was occupying
myself in classifying my mineral, botanical, and zoological
collections, when the accident happened to the Scotia.
I was perfectly well acquainted with the topic of the
day: how could it be otherwise ? I had read again and
again the European and American journals without being
any more enlightened. This mystery puzzled me. In
the impossibility to form an opinion, I drifted from one
extreme to the other. That there was something was an
undoubted fact, and the unbelieving were invited to put
their fingers into the side of the Scotia. When I arrived
in New York the subject was being freely discussed. The
FOR AND AGAINST.
hypotheses of the floating island and the unassailable
rock, upheld by some minds, had been altogether aban-
doned. And indeed, unless this rock possessed a machine
in its interior, how could it move at such a tremendous
pace The floating hull of some large wrecked vessel
was also set aside as untenable, and for the same reason.
There thus remained two possible solutions to the
question, which called into existence two distinct clans or
cliques-those who believed in a monster of enormous
size, on the other hand those who supported the idea
of a submarine vessel of a wonderful motive-power.
Now this last hypothesis, allowable after all, could not
be supported in face of the inquiry directed against it.
That any one person had such a mechanical power at his
disposal was scarcely likely. Where and when had he
manufactured it, and how had he kept the construction a
A Government only could have possession of such a
destructive machine, and in these disastrous days, when
everyone is bending his energies to multiply the effect of
offensive weapons, it was possible that one State might,
unknown to others, attempt such a formidable engine.
After chassepts, torpedos-after torpedos, submarine
rams ; then-a reaction. At least, I hope so !
But the suggestion of an engine of war was dissi-
pated by the declarations of the various Governments.
As the question agitated was of public interest, since
inter-oceanic communication was being interrupted, the
statement of the Governments could not be called in
question. Moreover, how could the construction of such
a machine have escaped notice ? To guard such a secret
under the circumstances would be a very difficult task
FOR AND AGAINST.
for an individual, and certainly impossible for a State,
whose acts are jealously watched by powerful rivals.
So, after inquiries had been instituted in England,
France, Russia, Prussia, Spain, Italy, America, and even
Turkey, the suggestion of a submarine monitor was
The monster appeared by fits and starts, in spite of
the incessant fire of jokes directed against it by the
comic press, and in this direction imagination went to
the most absurd lengths in fantastic ichthyology. On
my arrival at New York many people had done me the
honour to consult me upon the phenomenon in question.
I had already published in France a work in two
volumes quarto, entitled "The Mysteries of the Great
Ocean Depths." This work, which was much relished
by the scientific world, dubbed me a specialist in this
somewhat obscure branch of natural history. My
opinion was asked. So long as I could deny the reality
of the occurrence I took refuge in absolute denial, but
soon, driven to the wall, I was obliged to explain cate-
gorically; and "the Honourable Pierre Aronnax, Pro-
fessor at the Museum in Paris," was formally called
upon by the New York Herald to pronounce an opinion.
I complied with the request, because I was unable
to remain silent. I discussed the question in all its
bearings, politically and scientifically, and I give below
an extract from a well-digested article which I published
in the issue of the 3oth April.
"Thus," said I, "after having examined one by one
the various hypotheses, all other suppositions being re-
jected, we must necessarily admit the existence of a
marine animal of great power.
FOR AND AGAINST.
The profound depths of the ocean are entirely un-
known to us. Soundings have never reached to the
bottom. What goes on in these abysses ? What beings
inhabit or can inhabit the regions twelve or fifteen miles
beneath the surface of the water ? What is their organ-
isation? One can scarcely even conjecture.
Nevertheless, the solution of the problem which has
been submitted to me assumes this shape-
Either we are acquainted with all the varieties of
beings which inhabit our planet, or we are not.
"If we do not know them all, if Nature has still
secrets from us in ichthyology, nothing can be more
rational than to admit the existence of fishes or cetacea
of new species, or even new genera, of an essentially
primary organisation, which inhabit the beds of ocean
inaccessible to the sounding line, and which some acci-
dent, a fancy or caprice, if they will it, impels, at long
intervals, to the upper waters of the ocean.
"If, on the contrary, we do know all living species,
we must, necessarily, seek for the animal in question
amongst the marine animals already catalogued, and in
this event, I am disposed to admit the existence of a
The common narwhal or sea-unicorn often attains
a length of sixty feet. Five or ten times this extent
would give to this cetacean a force proportionate to its
size; increase its offensive power, and you obtain the
animal you desire. It will have the proportions mentioned
by the officers of the Shannon, the instrument needed for
the perforation of the Scotia, and the force necessary to
pierce the hull of a steamer. As a fact, the narwhal is
armed with an ivory sword, or halberd-as some natural-
VOL. I. B
FOR AND AGAINST.
ists have termed it. It is a tooth of the hardness of
steel. Some of these teeth have been discovered in the
bodies of whales, which the narwhal can attack with
success. They have also been extracted, and not with-
out labour, from the hulls of ships, which they have
pierced through and through, as a gimlet pierces a cask.
The Museum of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris con-
taifls one of these weapons, two metres and a quarter in
length, and forty-eight centimetres broad at the base.
Well, then, suppose a weapon ten times as powerful,
and the animal ten times as great as the ordinary nar-
whal, let it rush through the water at the rate of twenty
miles an hour, multiply the mass by the velocity, and you
will obtain a resultant capable of producing the shock
"So far as information can go, I am of opinion that
this monster is a sea-unicorn of colossal dimensions,
armed, not merely with a halberd,' but with a veritable
spur like an iron-clad or a 'ram,' possessing, at the
same time, a force and motive power in proportion.
"Thus I can explain this almost inexplicable pheno-
menon, unless there is really nothing at all-in spite of all
that has been seen, written, and felt-which is still
These last words were rather weak on my part, but I
wished, up to a certain point, to shroud myself in my
dignity as a professor, and not to give the Americans
anything to ridicule, for they laugh well when they do
laugh. I reserved a loophole for myself. In my heart
I admitted the existence of the monster.
iMy article was warmly criticised, and this gave it
popularity. It gained a number of adherents. The
FOR AND AGAINST.
solution it advanced also gave free scope to the imagina-
tion. The human mind is pleased with great concep-
tions and supernatural beings. Now the sea is precisely
the best vehicle for them, the sole medium where these
giants, compared to which terrestrial animals, elephants
or rhinoceros, are but dwarfs, can be produced and
developed. These ocean depths contain the largest
known species of mammalia, and perhaps contain mol-
luscs of unheard-of size, crustacea frightful to behold, such
as lobsters of 100 metres, and crabs weighing 200 tons !
Why not ? Formerly terrestrial animals of the geological
epochs-the quadrupeds, apes, reptiles, and birds-were
all formed upon gigantic models. The Creator cast them
in a colossal mould, which time has by degrees reduced.
Why cannot the sea, which never changes, while the
earth is ever changing, still retain in its unknown depths
these immense specimens of the animal life of former
ages ? Why cannot it hide within its bosom the last
varieties of this Titanic species, whose years are centuries,
and whose centuries thousands of years ?
But I must not indulge in unbecoming speculations.
A truce to these fancies, which time has shown me are
terrible realities. I repeat the opinion then expressed of
the nature of the phenomenon, and the public admits,
without question, the existence of an enormous being
which has nothing in common with the fabulous sea-
But if one party saw in this nothing but a scientific
problem to be solved, the others, more positive, above
all in England and America, were anxious to purge the
ocean of this redoubtable monster, so as to secure saety
in transatlantic communication. The commercial and
FOR AND AGAINST.
trade journals took the matter up mainly with this view.
The Shi.pping and Mercantile Gazette, Lloyd's List, The
Steamboat, The MAaritime and Colonial Review, all the
papers devoted to the Insurance Companies, which
threatened to raise their premiums, were unanimous on
The opinion of the public being thus pronounced;
the United States took the initiative.
Preparations were made at New York for an expe-
dition destined to pursue this narwhal. A frigate of
great speed-the Abraham Lincoln-was fitted out for
sea at once. Commodore Farragut pushed forward the
armament of the ship rapidly.
At this very time, as always happens, when they had
determined to pursue the monster, the monster did not
turn up. For two months nothing was heard about it.
No vessel had fallen in with it. It seemed as if this
unicorn had some knowledge of the toils being spread
around it. Too much had been said about it, and by
means of the Atlantic cable too. So argued the funny
ones, who maintained that this "sly dog" had inter-
cepted some telegram, which he had turned to his own
So there was the frigate supplied with material for a
lengthened cruise, and formidable apparatus for the
monster's capture, and no one knew whither she must
sail. The general impatience was increased when, on
the 2nd of July, it was announced that a steamer of the
San Francisco and China line had seen the animal
three weeks before in the South Pacific Ocean.
The excitement caused by this intelligence was
intense. Commodore Farragut had not twenty-four
FOR AND AGAINST,
hours' notice. His provisions were put on board. The
bunkers were filled with coal. Not a man of the crew
was missing. He had only to light the fires, get up
steam, and put to sea. People would not have tolerated
the delay of half a day. Besides, Commodore Farragut
was only too anxious to set out.
Three hours before the departure of the Abraham
Lincoln, I received a letter couched in the following
"Professor of the Museum of Paris,
"Fifth Avenue Hotel,
If you wish to accompany the expedition on board
the Abraham Lincoln, the United States' Government will
be pleased that France should be represented by you, in
this enterprise. Commodore Farragut will hold a cabin
at your disposal.
"Yours very truly,
J. B. HOBSON,
"Secretary to the Admiralty."
"JUST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES I"
THREE seconds before the arrival of Mr. Hobson's letter,
I had no more notion of going in search of the unicorn
than of attempting the North-West Passage. Three
seconds after I had read the Secretary's letter, I quite
believed that my true vocation, my only aim in life, was
to hunt up this monster, and rid the world of him.
Meanwhile, I was about to undertake a trying journey,
with all its fatigue and absence of repose. I had been
wishing above everything to see my native land, my
friends, my little house in the Jardin des Plantes, my
cherished and valuable collections, once again. But now
nothing would stop me. I forgot all this-friends, col-
lections, and perils-and I accepted, without hesitation,
the offer of the American Government.
Moreover, I thought every track leads to Europe, and
the unicorn may be amiable enough to lead me to the
coast of France. This worthy animal would doubtless
permit himself to be taken in European waters, for my
especial benefit, and I did not wish to bring back less
than half a metre of his ivory halberd, for the Museum
of Natural History.
" UST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES!"
But, meantime, it was necessary to search for this
narwhal in the North Pacific Ocean; so to reach France,
I should probably have to go by way of the antipodes !
Conseil !" I cried peremptorily.
Conseil was my servant, a devoted fellow, who ac-
companied me in all my wanderings-a brave Fleming,
whom I like very much, and who serves me well; phleg-
matic by nature, regular on principle, zealous from habit,
taking life very easy, very handy and apt in all things,
and, his name notwithstanding, never giving advice, even
when he was not asked for it.
In consequence of associating with savants in our
little world in the Jardin des Plantes, Conseil had picked
up some information. I possessed in him a specialist
well up in the classification of natural history, who could
run, so to speak, like an acrobat up the ladder of branches,
groups, classes, sub-classes, orders, families, genus, sub-
genus, species, and varieties. But there his scientific
attainments stopped. To class was his ultima tMule, but
he knew nothing beyond that. Completely versed in the
theory of classification, but little in the practice, I do not
believe he could distinguish a cachalot from a whale.
Nevertheless, he was a brave and worthy fellow.
For the last ten years Conseil had followed me
whithersoever science had drawn me. He never com-
mented upon either the duration or the fatigue of a
journey. He had no objection to start for any country,
China or Congo it was all the same to him. He would
go to one or the other and ask no questions. Moreover,
he enjoyed excellent health, which set all illness at de-
fiance; solid muscles, no nerves-not even the appear-
ance of nerves-I mean moral nerves, of course. He
24 "7 UST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES!"
was thirty years of age, and his age was to his master's
as fifteen to twenty, so I need not add that I was forty
years old. But Conseil had one fault. A strict formalist,
he never addressed me except in the third person-
enough to set your teeth on edge !
"Conseil," I repeated, as I began, with feverish hands,
to make preparations for [departure. Certainly, I was
sure of this devoted fellow. In ordinary circumstances
I never asked him whether it would suit him or not to
accompany me in my travels; but this time it was upon
an expedition which might be indefinitely prolonged,
and hazardous, in the pursuit of an animal capable of
crunching a frigate like a nutshell. There was need of
reflection in this, even for the most impassible man in
the world. What would Conseil say ?
"Conseil," I cried, for the third time.
"Did Monsieur call ?" he asked as he entered.
"Yes, my lad. Get my things and your own ready.
We start in two hours."
"Just as Monsieur pleases," replied Conseil calmly.
"There is not an instant to lose. Pack up my trunk
"And Monsieur's collections ?" asked Conseil.
"We will see about those later."
What! the archiotherium, the hyracotherium, the
oreodons, the cheropotamus, and the other specimens ?"
The hotel people will take care of them."
And the babiroussa ?"
"They will keep it during our absence. Besides, I
will leave orders to forward our menagerie to France.
We are not returning to Paris, then ?" said Conseil.
"7UST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES!" 25
"Well-yes-certainly," I replied evasively; "but
we shall'take a little round."
"Any detour that Monsieur pleases."
Oh that will not be of much consequence. By a
less direct route, that's all. We shall sail in the Albraham
"As may be most convenient to Monsieur," replied
You are aware, my friend, of the question about
this monster-this narwhal. We are about to purge the
sea of him. The author of a work in quarto, and in two
volumes, upon the "Mysteries of the Great Ocean Depths,"
cannot give up the idea of embarking with Commodore
Farragut. A glorious enterprise, but dangerous. One
cannot tell where they may go. These animals are very
capricious ; but we shall go all the same. We have a
commander who has no fear."
If Monsieur goes, I will go," replied Conseil.
But mark well, for I have no wish to hide anything.
This is one of the journeys from which one cannot always
"Just as Monsieur pleases."
A quarter of an hour afterwards our trunks were
ready. Conseil had done everything, and I was sure
nothing was forgotten, for this fellow could classify
shirts and coats as well as birds and beasts.
The hotel lift" deposited us in the great vestibule
of the entresol. I descended to the hall, paid my bill,
and gave directions to have my various collections of
plants and animals forwarded to Paris. I opened a
credit for the babiroussa, and, followed by Conseil,
jumped into a carriage.
26 "'UST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES!"
The fly, at twenty francs the course, descended
Broadway as far as Union Square, proceeded along
Fourth Avenue to its junction with Bowery Street,
entered Katrin Street, and stopped at the thirty-fourth
pier. There the Katrin ferry took us all over-men,
horses, and carriage, to Brooklyn, the great suburb of
New York, situated upon the left bank of the river; and
in a few minutes we reached the quay, close to which the
Abraham Lincoln was vomiting huge volumes of black
smoke from her two funnels.
Our baggage was immediately put on board. I
hurried after it, and asked to see the commodore. One
of the sailors conducted me up to the poop, where I
found myself in the presence of an officer of pleasant
appearance, who offered me his hand.
"Monsieur Pierre Aronnax ? said he.
"The same," said I. Have I the pleasure to address
Commodore Farragut ?"
"Yes, in person. You are welcome, sir, and your
cabin is prepared."
I saluted him, and leaving the commodore to- is
duties, I descended to the cabin destined for my re-
The Abraham Lincoln had been well selected and
fitted out for its novel enterprise. She was a quick
sailer, fitted with superheating apparatus, which permitted
the expansion of the steam to seven atmospheres. With
such a pressure, the Abraham Lincoln attained an average
speed of eighteen miles and a quarter an hour, a very
considerable speed, too, but not sufficient to cope with
the gigantic cetacean.
The interior arrangements of the frigate were in keep-
"7UST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES!"
ing with her sea-going qualities. I was much pleased
with my cabin, situated at the stern, opening to the ward-
"We shall be very comfortable here," said I to
"Very much so, indeed, if Monsieur is not displeased
to live like a hermit crab in a whelk-shell."
I left Conseil to arrange the cabin, and ascended to
the deck to investigate the preparations for getting under
weigh. At this moment Commodore Farragut gave orders
to let go," so, had I been a quarter of an hour later, I
should have been left behind, and missed this extra-
ordinary and improbable expedition, of which this truth-
ful narrative may perhaps contain some incredible state-
But Commodore Farragut did not wish to lose an hour
in searching the seas in which the animal was reported
to be found. He sent for the engineer.
Is steam up ?" he asked.
Yes, sir," replied the engineer.
"Go ahead, then," said the commodore.
At this order, which was conveyed to the engine-
room by a speaking tube, the engineers started the engines.
The steam hissed into the cylinders, the long pistons set
the connecting-rods of the shaft in motion. The blades
of the screw beat the waves with increasing rapidity, and
the Abraham LincolnZ advanced majestically in the midst
of a crowd of ferry boats and tenders, filled with spec-
tators, which composed the procession.
The quays of New York and Brooklyn, bordering the
East river, were crowded with the curious. Three cheers
were given by half a million throats. Thousands ot
28 "7 UST AS MONSIEUR PLEASES!"
handkerchiefs were waved in salute to the frigate, until
she reached the Hudson, at the point of the long penin-
sula on which stands the town of New York.
The frigate coasting the New Jersey side, on which so
many pleasant villas are erected, passed the forts, which
saluted. The Abraham Lincoln replied, dipping and
hoisting the American flag three times, whose thirty-nine
stars shone at the peak; then slackened speed, so as to
make the buoyed channel which leads into the inner bay,
formed by the point of Sandy Hook, where many thou-
sands of spectators gave the frigate a parting cheer.
The procession of boats still followed the Abraham
Lincoln, and did not quit her until they reached the light-
ship at the entrance of the channel.
It was then three o'clock. The pilot got into his
boat and was pulled on board his little schooner, which
lay hove-to awaiting him. The frigate's fires were coaled
up, the screw revolved quicker than before, the frigate
passed the yellow low coast of Long Island, and at eight
o'clock P.M., having lost sight of Fire Island, she pro-
ceeded at full speed across the Atlantic.
COMrMODORE FARRAGUT was a good sailor, and worthy
of the frigate he commanded. His ship and he were
one. He was the soul of it. On the question of cetaceans
he entertained no doubt. He would not permit any
discussion respecting it. He believed in it as some
good women believe in Leviathan, by faith, not by reason.
The monster was in existence, and he had sworn to rid
the seas of him. He was a sort of Knight of Rhodes;
a Dieudonne de Gozon, marching to encounter the ser-
pent that was devastating his island. Either Farragut
must kill the narwhal or the narwhal would kill Farragut.
There was no compromising the matter.
The officers were of the same opinion as their com-
mander. One could hear them speak, discuss, dispute,
and calculate the various chances of an encounter, as
they scanned the ocean expanse. More than one im-
posed a voluntary watch upon himself, and ascended to
the fore-topmast cross-trees, which under other circum-
siances would have been voted an awful bore. So soon
as the sun got hot, the masts were ascended by sailors,
to whose feet the planks of the deck were too warm.
Meanwhile, the Ab-rah/an Lincoln had not yet entered
upon the suspected waters of the Pacific.
As for the ship's company, they asked for nothing
better than a meeting with the unicorn, to harpoon him,
hoist him on board, and to cut him up. They watched
the sea with scrupulous attention. Moreover, Com-
modore Farragut had spoken of a certain sum of $2,000,
reserved for whosoever he be, ship-boy or able seaman,
master or officers, who should first signal the animal. So
I leave you to imagine whether they used their eyes on
board the Abraham Lincoln.
For my own part, I was not behind-hand with the
others, and delegated to no one my part of the daily
observations. The frigate might, with much reason,
have been called Argus. Only amongst them all Conseil
protested by his indifference on the question which
absorbed us, and was somewhat a "damper" of the
general enthusiasm on board.
I have already mentioned that Commodore Farragut
had carefully provided proper apparatus to catch this
enormous cetacean. A whaling ship could not have
been better armed. We possessed all known weapons,
from the simple hand-harpoon to the barbed arrows fired
from a blunderbuss, and the explosive bullets of the duck
gun. On the forecastle was trained the latest pattern of
breech-loading cannon, of great thickness and accuracy,
the model of which was in the Exhibition of 1867. This
valuable weapon of American construction could carry
with ease a conical shot, weighing four kilogrammes, to a
distance of sixteen kilometres.
Thus no means of destruction were wanting on board
the frigate. But there was better than this still. There
was Ned Land, the king of harpooners.
Ned Land was a Canadian of almost incredible sleight
of hand, and unrivalled in his perilous profession. Skill
and coolness, bravery and tact, he possessed in a very
high degree, and it must, indeed, be a very malignant
whale, or a very astute cachalot, that could escape from
Ned Land was about forty. He was of large frame,
and over six feet high, strongly built, grave, silent, some-
times passionate, and very angry when contradicted. He
attracted attention by his appearance, and chiefly by the
steadiness of his gaze, which gave a singular expressive-
ness to his countenance. I believe that Commodore
Farragut had wisely engaged this man. He was worth
the whole crew for steadiness of eye and hand. I can
only compare him to a powerful telescope, which could
be immediately used as a loaded cannon.
A Canadian is a Frenchman, and little communica-
tive as Ned Land was, I think he conceived a certain
liking for me. My nationality attracted him, no doubt.
It was an opportunity for him to speak, and for me to
listen to the old language of Rabelais, which is still in use
in some parts of Canada. The family of the harpooner
were originally from Quebec, and had already grown into
a tribe of hardy fishermen when that town belonged to
By degrees Ned got to like a chat, and I was glad to
hear the recitals of his adventures in the Arctic seas.
He recounted his fishing exploits and his combats with
much natural poetry of expression. His narratives
assumed the epic form, and I could fancy I was listening
to some Canadian Homer chanting an Iliad of the Arctic
regions. I am now describing this hardy companion as
I actually knew him. We have become quite old friends,
united by the unalterable band of friendship, which is
born of and cemented by the most terrible experiences
in common. Ah, brave Ned, I only ask to live a hun-
dred years so as to think the longer of you !
And now what was Ned Land's opinion respecting
this marine monster? I should state that he scarcely
credited the unicorn theory, and was the only one on
board who did not share in the general conviction. He
even avoided the subject, upon which I thought he ought
to have entered some day.
One lovely evening, the 3oth July, that is to say,
three weeks after our departure, the frigate was about
thirty miles to windward of Cape Blanco, on the coast of
Patagonia. We had passed the tropic of Capricorn, and
the straits of Magellan were scarcely 700 miles to the
south. Before eight days had passed the Abraham Lin-
coln would be ploughing the waters of the Pacific.
Sitting on the poop, Ned Land and I were chatting
of various things, watching that mysterious sea whose
depths are still inaccessible to human research. I led
the conversation up to the subject of the gigantic
unicorn, and treated of the chances of success or failure
of our expedition. Then perceiving that Ned permitted
me to speak without replying, I put the direct ques-
How is it, Ned, that you cannot be convinced of
the existence of this cetacean we are pursuing ? Have
you any particular reasons for being so incredu-
The harpooner looked at me for some seconds before
he replied, then striking his forehead with a gesture
habitual to him and closing his eyes, as if to collect his
thoughts, he said at last, "Perhaps I have, M.
Why, Ned I a man like you, a whaler' by pro-
fession, and familiar as. you are with all such marine
animals-you, whose imagination can easily entertain
the hypothesis of an enormous cetacean-you ought to
be the very last person to harbour a doubt under such
"It's just there where you make the mistake, sir,"
replied Ned. That common people may believe in
wonderful comets, or in the existence of antediluvian
monsters inhabiting the centre of the earth, is not sur-
prising; but neither the astronomer nor the geologist
will admit such a theory. In the same way the whaler.
I have hunted hundreds of cetaceans, harpooned
quantities of them, killed them by dozens; but powerful
and armed as they were, neither their tails nor their
tusks were able to pierce or damage the hull of an
"But, Ned, there have been cases in which the tooth
of the narwhal has pierced ships through."
"Wooden ships, perhaps," replied the Canadian.
"All the same, I have never seen any. But, on the
contrary, I deny that whales, cachalots, or narwhals can
produce such an effect."
"Just listen to me, Ned."
"No, sir, no. Anything you like, except that. A
gigantic polypus, for instance."
"Still less. The polypus is only a mollusc; and the
VOL. I. C
name of it even indicates the consistency of its flesh.
Is it 500 feet long ever? Why, the polypus does not
belong to the branch of vertebrates, and is perfectly
harmless towards such vessels as the Scotia and the
Abraham Lincoln. We may, then, relegate to the land
of fables all tales of the exploits of krakens and other
monsters of like nature."
"Then, sir," said Ned, in a bantering tone, "you
admit the existence of an enormous cetacean ?"
"Yes, Ned; I repeat it with a conviction founded
upon the logic of facts. I believe in the existence of a
mammifer of a powerful organisation, belonging to the
vertebrate animals, like whales, cachalots, and dolphins,
and furnished with a horny defence, whose power of
penetration is very great."
"Hum," replied the harpooner, nodding his head
with the air of a man unwilling to be convinced.
Just consider, my worthy Canadian," I replied, that
if such an animal exist, if it inhabit the depths of
the ocean, if it live some miles below the surface, it
necessarily possesses an organism defying all com-
"And why should it have such a powerful
"Because it must possess a tremendous strength to
enable it to live so far below the surface and resist the
pressure of the water."
"Really ?" inquired Ned, with a wink.
"Certainly; and figures can easily demonstrate it."
"Oh, figures !" cried Ned. One can do anything
with figures !"
In business, Ned, but not in mathematics. Listen.
Granting that the pressure of the atmosphere may be
represented by the pressure of a column of water thirty-
two feet high. In reality the column of water would be
of less height, since it would be sea-water, whose density
is superior to that of fresh-water. Well, when you dive,
Ned, so long as you have thirty-two feet of water above
you your body is supporting a pressure equal to that of
the atmosphere, that is to say a kilogramme for each
square centimetre of surface. It follows that at 320 feet
this pressure would be equal to o1 atmospheres, and to
ioo atmospheres at 3,200 feet, and I,ooo atmospheres at
32,000 feet, which is about two and a half leagues.
This is equivalent to saying that if you could reach this
depth, each square centimetre of your body would bear
a pressure of 1,000 kilogrammes. Now, my brave Ned,
do you know how many square centimetres of surface
there are in your body ?"
"I cannot tell, M. Aronnax."
"So many as that?"
"And as, in fact, the atmospheric pressure is a little
greater than one kilogramme to a square centimetre
your 17,000 square centimetres are at this moment sup-
porting a pressure of 17,568 kilogrammes (97,500 lbs.).
Without my being sensible of it ?"
"Without your being sensible of it. And, if you are
not crushed by this pressure, it is because the air enters
the body with an equal force. So the inward and out
ward pressure are equal, and neutralise each other, and
you can support it without inconvenience. But in the
water it is a different thing."
"Yes, I understand," replied Ned, who was now
very attentive, "because the water surrounds me, and
does not enter the body."
Precisely, Ned; so at thirty-two feet below the
surface of the sea you would be subject to a pressure of
17,568 kilogrammes; at 320 feet ten times that pressure,
that is to say, 175,680 kilogrammes; at 3,200 feet ioo
times that pressure, viz., 1,756,800 kilogrammes ; at
32,000 feet at least i,ooo times that pressure, viz.,
17,568,000 kilogrammes. In other words, you would
be flattened out as if you had been under a hydraulic
"The devil !" exclaimed Ned.
"So, my worthy harpooner, if vertebrates, many
hundred metres long and large in proportion, live at such
depths, and whose surface is represented by millions of
centimetres, we must estimate the pressure to which they
are subject by thousands of millions of kilogrammes.
Calculate now what the strength of their bony structures
and organism must be to enable them to resist such
"They must be like ironclad frigates," replied
Just so, Ned; and now think of the damage such a
mass could do, if, going at express speed, it encountered
the hull of a ship."
"Well yes perhaps," replied the Canadian,
staggered by these figures, but unwilling to yield to
"Well, are you convinced ?"
"You have convinced me of one thing, sir, and that
is that if such animals live at the bottom of the sea, they
must necessarily be as strong as you state."
But if they do not exist, how can you explain the
accident to the Scotia ?"
"Perhaps- began Ned.
"Well, go on."
"Because it is not true," replied the Canadian,
imitating unconsciously a celebrated reply of-Arago.
But this reply only proved the harpooner's obstinacy
-nothing more. I said no more upon that occasion.
The accident to the Scotia was undeniable. The hole
existed, and it had to be stopped up, and I do not think
that the existence of any hole could be more con-
clusively demonstrated. Now as the hole did not get
there of its own accord, and since it had not been pro-
duced by rocks or submarine engines, it must have been
caused by some animal.
Now, according to my view, and for reasons already
given, this animal belonged to the vertebrate branch,
class mammalia, group pisciform, and to the order of
cetacea. It was of the whale family (or of the cachalots
or dolphins), its genus and species was a matter for later
decision. To decide this it must be dissected; to dissect
it, it must first be caught; to catch it we must have the
harpooner-that was Ned Land's business; the har-
pooner must see it, which was the ship's affair; and to
see it, it must first be in sight, which was a matter of
"AT A VENTURE."
THE voyage of the Abraham Lincoln was not marked by
any particular incident for some time. Nevertheless, a
circumstance occurred which brought out the wonderful
skill of Ned Land, and showed what confidence might
be reposed in him.
On the 3oth June the frigate communicated with
some American whalers, and we learnt that they had
seen nothing of the narwhal. But the captain of one
vessel, the Aonroe, hearing that Ned Land was on board
the Abraham Lincoln, asked for his assistance in chasing
a whale then in sight. The commodore, wishing to see
Ned Land at work, gave him leave to go on board the
Aonroe. Chance favoured the Canadian, who, instead of
one whale, harpooned two, right and left," striking one
to the heart, and taking possession of the other after a
chase of some minutes. Certainly, if the monster should
ever come into contact with Ned Land, it would be very
bad for the monster.
The frigate ran along the south-east coast of America
at a rapid rate. On the 3rd July we opened up the
"AT A VENTURE."
Straits of Magellan near Virgin Cape. But the com-
modore did not wish to enter upon this winding passage,
so we directed our course round Cape Horn.
The crew thought him right. Was it at all likely
that the narwhal would be encountered in the sinuous
strait? A number of the sailors declared that the
monster was too big to pass it.
Upon the afternoon of July 6th the Abraham Lincoln
doubled the solitary island-that isolated rock at the
extremity of the American continent named Horn by
the Dutch sailors who discovered it, in compliment to
their native town. The course now lay N.W., and next
day the frigate's screw beat the waves of the Pacific
Keep your eyes open now," cried the sailors to each
other. And they did very considerably.
Eyes and telescopes-somewhat dazzled, it is true,
by the prospect of the $2,000-rested not a minute.
Day and night the ocean was scanned, and those who
had night-glasses, whose facilities of seeing increased their
opportunities fifty per cent., had a good chance of
gaining the reward.
For myself, though the money was no attraction, I
was not the least attentive of those on board. Giving
but a few minutes to meals or repose, careless of the
sun or wind, I scarcely quitted the deck. Sometimes
perched in the nettings on the forecastle, sometimes on
the poop-rail, I watched with anxious eyes the creamy
wake of the frigate. And often have I partaken of the
emotions of the officers and crew when some capricious
whale elevated his black back above the surface of the
waves. The deck of the frigate was crowded in an
"AT A VENTURE."
instant, officers and men came "tumbling up" from
below, panting for breath, with restless eyes watched the
course of the cetacean. I looked also, and became
nearly blind over it, while Conseil, always so phlegmatic,
would say calmly:
"If Monsieur would have the goodness to open his
eyes a little less widely he would see very much
But all this excitement was to no purpose. The
Abraham Lincoln would change her course and approach
the animal signalled at the time, a whale or cachalot,
which soon disappeared in the midst of a volley of
Meantime the weather continued favourable, and the
voyage was proceeding under pleasant circumstances. It
was then the winter season, for July in those latitudes
corresponds to our January in Europe, but the sea re-
mained calm, and could be observed for miles in every
Ned Land still remained incredulous. He would not
even pretend to examine the sea, save during his watch,
except when a whale turned up; and, nevertheless, his
wide range of vision would have rendered great service.
But eight hours out of twelve this peculiar fellow was
either reading or sleeping in his cabin. A hundred times
I have expostulated with him.
Bah," he would reply, there is nothing at all, M.
Aronnax, and if there were some animal what chance
have we of seeing it? Are we not cruising at random ?
People have, they say, seen this now invisible beast in
the Pacific; I admit it, but two months have passed since
then, and your narwhal does not care to remain long in
"AT A VENTURE."
the same neighbourhood. It is gifted with great speed.
Now you know as well as I, monsieur, that nature would
not have bestowed this attribute of speed upon the animal
were it not for some useful purpose; so if the beast exist,
he is far away from here by this time."
I had no reply to this. Evidently we were groping
in the dark, but how else were we to proceed? So our
chances of success were limited. However, no one
despaired of ultimate success, and not a sailor on board
had bet against the narwhal and his next appearance.
We crossed the tropic of Cancer in the o105 of longi-
tude on the 20th July, and on the 27th of the same
month we passed the equator on the 10oo meridian.
The frigate now directed her course towards the west,
into the centre of the Pacific. Commodore Farragut
thought, and with reason, that the monster would most
likely frequent the deep waters at a distance from any
land, which it feared to approach, without doubt
because there was not sufficient water for it," as the
master remarked. The frigate passed by the Marquesas
and the Sandwich Islands, crossed the tropic of Cancer
at 1320 longitude, and sailed towards the China
We had at last reached the scene of the monster's
latest gambols, and as a matter of fact, we lived for
nothing else. Our hearts palpitated fearfully, and laid
the foundation of future aneurism. The whole ship's
company were suffering from a nervous excitement, of
which I can give no idea. No one ate, no one slept.
Twenty times a day a mistake or an optical delusion of
some sailor perched upon the yards, gave rise to intoler-
able starting and emotions, twenty times repeated, which
'AT A VENTURE."
kept us in a state of "jumpiness," too violent not to
bring upon us a reaction at no distant date.
And the reaction did not fail to set in. For three
months-three months of which every day seemed a cen-
tury-the Abraham Lincoln traversed the South Pacific,
running up when a whale was signalled, making sudden
turns, going first on one tack then on the other, stopping
suddenly, backing and filling," or reversing, and going
ahead, in a manner calculated to put the engine altogether
out of gear; and thus did not leave a point unexplored
on the American side of the Japanese coast. And
nothing-nothing after all was to be seen but the watery
waste. No sign of a gigantic narwhal, nor a moving rock,
nor of anything at all out of the common.
The reaction came. Discouragement seized upon all,
and incredulity began to appear. A new feeling arose oh
board, which was composed of three-tenths shame and
seven-tenths anger. They all felt very foolish, but were
much more annoyed at having been taken in by a chimera.
The mountains of argument which had been piled up for
a year, crumbled away at once, and no one had any
thought, except to make up for lost time, in the matters
of food and sleep.
With the natural fickleness of the human mind, they
went from one extreme to the other. The warmest
adherents of the enterprise became, as a matter of course,
the most ardent detractors. Reaction set in from the
lowest ranks to the highest, and certainly, had it not been
for the firmness of Commodore Farragut, the frigate's
head would have been put to the south again.
However, this useless search could not go on for ever.
The Abraham Lincoln had nothing to reproach itself with,
"AT A VENTURE."
it had done its utmost to insure success. Never had ship
or crew shown more patience or determination, the non-
success could not be laid to their charge. Nothing now
remained but to return home.
A representation to this effect was addressed to the
Commodore. He was firm. The sailors did not conceal
their disappointment, and the service was suffering accord-
ingly. I do not mean to insinuate that there was a
mutiny, but after a reasonable period, Farragut, like
another Columbus, demanded three days more. If
during that time the monster did not appear, the helms-
man should have orders to put the ship about for American
This promise was made upon the 2nd November.
The result was to re-animate the failing courage of the
crew. The ocean was scanned with fresh zeal. Every-
one wished to give a last look in which memory might
be summed up. Telescopes were used with a feverish
activity. This was the last defiance hurled at the giant
narwhal, and he could not in reason decline to reply to
the challenge to appear.
Two days had passed. The Abraham Lincoln cruised
about at half-speed. They employed a thousand means
to awake the attention or to stimulate the apathy of the
animal, in the hope that he was in the neighbourhood.
Enormous quantities of lard were thrown over the stern,
to the great satisfaction of the sharks, I may add. The
boats pulled in all directions round the frigate, while she
was hove-to, and did not leave any part unexplored.
But the evening of the 4th of November arrived and
nothing had been heard of the submarine mystery. On
the following day, at noon, the three days' grace would
"A T A VENTURE."
expire. After that, Commodore Farragut, faithful to his
promise, would give the order to "'bout ship," and
abandon the Southern Pacific Ocean.
The frigate was then 31 r5' N. lat. and 1360 42'
E. long. Japan was 200 miles to windward. Night
came on. Eight bells was struck. Heavy clouds veiled
the moon, then in her first quarter. The sea was calm,
and rose and fell with a gentle swelling motion. At this
time I was forward, leaning on the starboard nettings.
Conseil, close to me, was looking ahead. The ship's
company, perched in the shrouds, were scanning the
horizon, which was darkened, and then lighted up
occasionally. The officers, with their night glasses,
peered into the increasing obscurity. At times the
dark sea scintillated under the moon's rays, which darted
between the clouds : then all luminous effects would be
again lost in the darkness.
Observing Conseil I fancied that he was yielding to
the general influence. Perhaps, and for the first time,
his nerves were moved by a sentiment of curiosity.
"Well, Conseil," said I; "here is our last opportunity
to pocket $2,000."
Monsieur must permit me to say that I have never
counted upon winning this reward; and the Government
of the Union might have promised $ioo,ooo without
being any the poorer."
"You are right, Conseil, this is a foolish business
after all, and into which we rushed too hurriedly. What
time has been lost! What useless worry We might
have been in France six months ago."
"In Monsieur's little apartment," replied Conseil,
"in the muse';m. And I should have already classified
a AT A VENTURE."
the fossils, and the babiroussa would have been installed
in his cage in the Jardin des Plantes, and been visited
by all the curious people of Paris."
Just so, Conseil, and no doubt they are all laughing
"In reality," replied Conseil quietly, "I think that
they do laugh at us, Monsieur. And- May I
"Well, then, Monsieur has only got what he de-
"When one has the honour to be a savant like Mon-
sieur, one does not make oneself conspicuous- "
But Conseil never finished his compliment. In the
midst of the universal'silence a voice was heard. It was
Ned Land's voice, and Ned Land cried out:
'Hallo, there! There is our enemy, away on the
weather beam 1"
AT this announcement the whole crew ran towards the
harpooner-commodore, officers, mates, sailors, and
boys ; even the engineers left the engine-room, and the
stokers the furnaces. The order to stop her" was
given, and the frigate now only glided through the water
by her own momentum.
The darkness was profound: and the Canadian
must have had very good eyes. And I wondered what
he had seen, and how he had been able to see it. My
heart was beating fast.
But Ned Land had not been mistaken, and we all
perceived the object he indicated with his outstretched
Two cables' lengths from the Abraham Lincoln, and
on the starboard quarter, the sea appeared to be illumi-
nated from below. It was not a common phosphores-
cence, and could not be mistaken for it. The monster,
some fathoms beneath the surface, gave forth this
intense light, which had been referred to in the reports
of many captains. This wonderful irradiation must
have been produced by some tremendously powerful
illuminating agent. The luminous part described an
immense elongated oval upon the water, in the centre of
which was condensed a focus of unbearable brilliancy,
which radiated by successive gradations.
It is nothing but an agglomeration of phosphorescent
molecules," cried one of the officers.
"No, sir," I replied, firmly, "neither the pholades
nor salpe produce such a powerful light. This brilliancy
is essentially electric. But look-look-it moves, it
advances-it retreats-it is rushing towards us !"
A general cry arose.
Silence," cried Farragut. Put the helm up-hard !
The sailors rushed to the wheel; the engineers to the
engine-room. The engine was reversed, and the Abraham
Lincobl payed off to larboard, and described a semi-
"Steady.I"-" Go ahead !" cried Commodore Farra-
These orders were executed, and the frigate rapidly
distanced the luminous object. I should have said,
attempted to distance it, for the supernatural animal
moved with twice the speed of the frigate.
We were speechless. Astonishment more than fear
kept us silent and motionless. The animal gained upon
us easily. He swam round the frigate, which was then
going fourteen knots, and wrapped us in his electric
beams like a luminous dust. He then went away for two
or three miles, leaving a phosphorescent line behind him,
like the volumes of steam left by the engine of an express
train. All at once, from the dark limit of the horizon
where he had gone to take his start, the monster launched
himself suddenly against the Abraham Lincoln with fear-
ful rapidity, stopped suddenly within twenty paces of the
frigate, extinguished the light-not by plunging beneath
the surface, since the gleam was not withdrawn by de-
grees-but suddenly, as if the source of the brilliant
light had been suddenly dried up. It then reappeared at
the other side of the frigate, so either it had turned, or
the monster gone underneath it. At every moment a
collision seemed imminent, and that would have been
fatal to us.
Meantime, I wondered at the behaviour of the frigate.
She was flying and not attacking. She was pursued, in-
stead of being the pursuer, and I said so to Commodore
Farragut. His usually impassible face betrayed the
"M. Aronnax," he replied, "I do not know with what
formidable being I have to do-and I do not wish to risk
my ship in this darkness. Besides, how can I attack it,
or how defend myself from its attack ? Let us wait for
daylight and the sides will be changed."
"You have no doubt respecting the nature of the
No, it is evidently a gigantic narwhal, but also an
Perhaps," I added, "we should not approach it any
more than a torpedo ?"
" Quite so," replied the commodore, "and if it pos-
sess the power to emit a shock, it is the most terrible
animal ever created. That is why, sir, I am on my
The crew all remained on deck during the night. No
one dared to sleep. The Abraham Lincoln, not being
able to cope with the animal in speed, had moderated
her pace, and was kept under easy steam. On his part
the narwhal, imitating the frigate, lay rocking at the will
of the waves, and appeared to have made up its mind
not to abandon the struggle.
It disappeared, however, about midnight, or, to employ
a better term, extinguished itself like an enormous glow-
worm. Had it fled ? We might fear, but could not
hope so. But at seven minutes to i A.M. a deafening
rushing noise was heard, like that produced by a column
of water expelled with extreme violence.
Commodore Farragut, Ned Land, and I were
then on the poop searching into the profound ob-
"Ned Land," asked the commodore, "you have
often heard the blowing of whales ?"
Often, sir, but never of such whales, the sight of
which has brought me $2,000."
"You have a right to the reward. But tell me is
this noise the same as whales make in ejecting water
from their blow-holes ?'"
The same noise, sir, but ever so much louder. One
cannot mistake it. It is truly a cetacean which is here
with us. With your permission," added the harpooner,
"we will have a word or two.with him to-morrow morn-
If he will listen to you, Master Land," I said, in. a
"If I get within four harpoons' length of him," re-
plied the Canadian, I will engage that he will listen to
VOL. I. D
5o FULL SPEED.
"But to approach him I must put a whale-boat at
your disposal ?" said the commodore.
"And by so doing risk the lives of my men?"
"And mine also," replied Land quietly.
About two o'clock A.M. the luminosity reappeared, not
less intense, five miles to windward of the frigate.
Despite the distance and the noise of the wind and
waves, the sound made by the formidable beatings of the
monster's tail could be distinctly heard, and even its
hoarse respiration could be distinguished. It seemed
that when this immense narwhal was breathing, that the
air rushing from the lungs was like the steam from the
cylinders of an engine of 2,000 horse-power.
Hum," I muttered, "a whale with the force of a
regiment of cavalry ought to be a fine one."
Everyone remained on the watch till daybreak, and
prepared for the combat. The fishing material was
arranged along the nettings. The mate had charge of
those blunderbusses which can throw a harpoon to the
distance of a mile, and the long duck-guns, with the ex-
plosive bullets, whose wound is mortal, even to the most
powerful animals. Ned Land was content with his
harpoon, which in his hands was a terrible weapon.
At six o'clock day began to dawn, and at the first
beams of sunrise the narwhal's light was extinguished.
At seven o'clock the light was sufficiently strong for our
purpose, but a very thick mist hung around the horizon,
and the best glasses could not pierce it. Much disap-
pointment and anger was the result.
I ascended to the mizzen-yard. Several officers were
already perched at the mast-head.
At eight o'clock the mist began to disperse slowly.
The horizon gradually cleared. Suddenly the voice of
Ned Land was heard,
Here is the animal astern !"
Everyone looked in the direction indicated. There,
about a mile and a half from the frigate, a long black
body raised itself about a yard above the waves. Its tail,
which moved quickly, kept up a considerable agitation
in the water; never had tail beaten the water with such
force. An immense frothy wake marked the course of
the animal, and described an extended curve.
The frigate approached the cetacean. I examined
it carefully. The reports of the Shannon and Helvetia
had exaggerated its dimensions a little, and I estimated
its length at only 250 feet. As for its bulk, it could not
be easily arrived at, but the animal appeared to me to be
admirably proportioned throughout. While I was look-
ing at this phenomenal creature, two. jets of water and
steam spurted from the blow-holes, up to a height of
forty yards, which settled its manner of respiration in my
mind. From that I concluded that the animal belonged
to the vertebrates, class mammifer, sub-class mono-
dolphins, pisciform group, cetacean order, and family-
Here I was unable to pronounce an opinion. The
cetaceans comprise three families : whales, cachalots, and
dolphins; and it is with the last-named that narwhals
are ranged. Each of these families is divided into several
genus, each genus into species, each species into varieties.
Varieties, species, genus, and family failed me here, but
I did not doubt that I should be able to complete my
classification with the assistance of heaven-and Com-
modore Farragut 1
The crew were impatiently awaiting orders. The
commodore, having attentively observed the animal,
called the engineer. He came at once.
"Have you plenty of steam ?"
"Yes, sir," replied the engineer.
"Good. Fire-up; and go a-head full speed."
Three cheers accompanied this order. The struggle
had come. In a few moments after the frigate's
chimneys poured forth their black smoke, and the deck
shook with the action of the engines.
The Abraham Lincoln, impelled by her powerful
screw, "went for" the strange animal direct. It per-
mitted the frigate to approach to within half a cable's
length, then, disdaining to dive, went on a little, and
contented itself by keeping its distance. This manner of
pursuit continued for about three-quarters of an hour,
without the frigate having gained upon the cetacean.
It became evident that if we kept thus we should never
Commodore Farragut got very angry. Ned Land !"
The Canadian approached him.
"Well, Master Land, do you still advise me to
launch a boat ?"
"No, sir," replied Ned Land; for this beast will
not let you take him unless he please."
"What are we to do, then ?"
"Keep up the highest possible pressure, and, if you
will permit it, I will get under the bowsprit, and if I
come within casting distance I will harpoon him."
"Go, Ned," replied the commodore. "Go a-head
faster," he cried to the engineer.
Ned Land took up his position. The furnaces were
coaled up, the screw made forty-three revolutions in
the minute, and the steam went roaring through the
safety-valves. They heaved the log, and found that the
frigate was going at the rate of eighteen and a half miles
But the cursed animal also went at eighteen and a
half miles an hour.
For an hour and a half the frigate went at this pace,
without gaining a foot. This was rather humiliating for
one of the swiftest vessels of the American navy. The
ship's company got sulky. They reviled the monster,
which did not condescend to reply. Commodore
Farragut no longer twisted his chin-tuft-he bit it.
The engineer was summoned once more.
"Are you going at your fullest possible pressure ?"
"Yes, sir," replied the engineer.
"The valves are charged ?"
"Up to two atmospheres and a half."
"Charge them up to ten," cried the commodore.
That was a true American order. It could not be
surpassed on the Mississippi, to distance a rival steamer.
Conseil," said I to my faithful servitor, who was
near, do you know where we are likely to go to ?"
Wherever Monsieur pleases," replied Conseil.
"Well, I confess I am not indisposed to take the
chance," said I.
The steam-gauge went up; the furnaces were filled.
The speed increased. The masts shook fearfully, and the
chimneys seemed scarcely sufficient to permit the escape
of the immense volumes of smoke.
They heaved the log again.
What pace now, eh ? inquired the commodore.
"Nineteen and a quarter, sir."
"Press on more."
The engineer obeyed. The steam-gauge showed ten
atmospheres' pressure. But the narwhal had also "fired-
up," for it was now going at "nineteen and a quarter,"
What a chase it was I cannot describe my feelings.
Ned Land was at his post-harpoon in hand. Many a
time the animal permitted us to approach.
We are gaining, we are gaining," cried the Canadian.
But at the moment he was prepared to strike, the
cetacean went ahead with a speed of scarcely less than
thirty miles an hour. And even at our greatest speed, it
cruised round the frigate. A cry of fury then escaped
At mid-day we were not more advanced towards the
attainment of our object than we had been at eight
Commodore Farragut then decided to employ more
"Well," he said, "that animal can go faster than the
Abraham Lincoln. We will see if he can distance a
conical bullet. Gunner, get the forward gun ready for
The bow-gun was immediately loaded, pointed, and
fired. The ball passed over the cetacean, now half a
Take better aim next time, you lubbers, and there's
$5 to the man who puts a shot into the infernal beast."
An old gunner with a grey beard came forward, with
a determined air and resolute eye. He pointed the gun
and took a long steady aim. A loud detonation was
heard amid the cheers of the crew.
The shot had hit the animal, but not fairly; it glanced
off its smooth side, and fell into the sea two miles distant.
"Ah !" cried the gunner, angrily, "those kind of fellows
are sheeted with six inches of iron, I suppose."
"Tarnation !" cried Commodore Farragut.
The chase recommended, and the Commodore coming
towards me, said :
I will pursue that thing till the frigate blows up."
"Yes," I replied, you are quite right."
But I could not but hope that the animal might
become exhausted, and not be so indifferent to fatigue as
a steam-frigate. But it was no use. Time passed with-
out the animal showing any signs of fatigue.
But I must confess that the Abraham Lincoln kept
up the chase with great spirit. I do not think that we
traversed less than 300 miles during that inauspicious
6th of November. Night came and enveloped the swelling
ocean in its shadows.
I then began to believe that our expedition was at an
end, and that we had seen the last of the fantastic
monster. But I was mistaken. About o1 P.Ma. the
electric gleam again appeared about three miles off, as
clear and bright as upon the preceding night.
The narwhal was motionless. Perhaps, fatigued by
its day's run, it was asleep, rocked by the billows. This
was a chance by which Farragut determined to profit.
He gave orders that the frigate should be put at easy
speed and advance cautiously towards its enemy. It was
by. no means an uncommon occurrence to meet sleeping
whales at sea, when they have been successfully attacked,
and Ned Land had frequently harpooned them under
these circumstances. He took up his former position at
the bows, while the frigate noiselessly approached the
animal, and stopped the engines about two cables' length
distant, merely advancing by its momentum. The crew
were in a state of breathless attention. Profound silence
reigned on deck. We were not a hundred paces from
the light which flashed into our eyes.
At this moment I saw Ned Land beneath me, holding
by one hand to the martingale, with the other brandish-
ing his fatal harpoon. Scarcely twenty paces separated
us from the sleeping monster.
Suddenly Ned launched his harpoon. I heard the
blow with which it hit the prey; it sounded as if it had
come in contact with a hard substance.
The electric gleam was suddenly extinguished, and
two enormous columns of water were directed over the deck
of the frigate, rushing like a torrent fore and aft, overturn-
ing the men, and breaking the seizings of the spars. A
terrible shock was felt, and, thrown over the bulwark,
before I had time to save myself, I was precipitated into
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
So surprised was I by my unexpected fall that I have but
little recollection of my sensations at the time.
I was first dragged down about twenty feet. I am a
good swimmer, not so good as Byron or Edgar Poe, and
this plunge did not embarrass me. Two vigorous strokes
brought me to the surface. My first care was to seek
the frigate. Had the crew observed my fall ? Had the
Abraham Lincoln put about ? Was the commodore
sending a boat for me ? Could I hope to be rescued ?
The darkness was profound. I could perceive a
black mass disappearing in the east, whose lights were
extinguished by distance. It was the frigate. I felt I
was lost !
"Help help !" I cried, swimming in the direction of
the Abraham Lincoln despairingly. My clothes weighed
upon me heavily. The water glued them to my body;
they paralysed my movements. I was dying; I was
suffocating. "Help !"
This was the last cry I uttered. My mouth filled
58 AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
with water; I was overwhelmed-dragged beneath the
Suddenly my clothes were seized by a strong hand.
I was drawn up, and I heard-yes, heard these
"If Monsieur will have the great kindness to sup-
port himself upon my shoulder he will swim more
I seized the arm of my faithful Conseil.
"Is it you?" I said; "you "
Myself," replied Conseil, "at Monsieur's orders."
"And you were thrown into the sea by that shock as
well as I ?"
Not at all; but being in Monsieur's service I have
followed him !" The worthy fellow saw nothing extra-
ordinary in this.
"And the frigate ?" I asked.
The frigate," replied Conseil, turning on his back;
"I think we had better not count upon her !"
I say, that as I jumped into the sea I heard the
steersman cry, "The screw and the helm are both
"Yes ; by the teeth of that monster. It is the only
damage the Abraham Lincoln has suffered. But, un-
fortunately for us, she cannot steer."
"Then we are lost !"
"Perhaps so," replied Conseil calmly. But we
have still some hours before us, and a great many things
may happen in that time."
The imperturbable coolness of Conseil reassured me.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE. 59
I swam more vigorously, but, impeded by my clothes, I
found great difficulty in keeping afloat. Conseil per-
Will Monsieur permit me to make a little incision ?
There," said he ; and with a quick movement he passed
the blade of his knife from my back downwards. Then
he slowly took off my garments, while I swam for
I, in my turn, then rendered him a like service; and
we continued to swim close together.
Nevertheless, the situation was no less alarming.
Perhaps our disappearance had not been remarked, and
if it had the frigate could not return for us, being
deprived of her rudder. We then could only count
upon one of her boats to pick us up.
Conseil coolly reasoned upon this hypothesis, and
made his arrangements accordingly. He was apparently
quite at home.
We made up our minds that our only chance of
safety lay in our rescue by the boats of the frigate, and
we therefore ought to arrange so as to remain as long
as possible above water. I resolved to divide our
strength, so that we should not succumb simultaneously,
and this is how we did it. While one lay upon his back,
motionless, with folded arms and extended limbs, the
other was to swim and push him along. The part of
following in his companion's wake was not to last more
than ten minutes, and by thus taking it in turn we
might be able to swim for some hours, and perhaps until
It was but a chance, but hope is firmly anchored
in the human breast. Then we were two. In fact, I
60 AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
declare, though it may appear improbable, if I tried to
destroy all expectation, if I wished to despair, I could
not have done so.
The collision between the frigate and the monster
had occurred about ii P.M. I counted upon eight
hours' swimming until sunrise. This was very prac-
ticable by helping each other as explained. The sea,
being smooth, did not trouble us much. Sometimes I
tried to pierce the thick darkness, which was broken
only by the phosphorescence created by our movements.
I kept looking at the luminous waves, which broke upon
my hand, whose sparkling surface was spotted with
bright bubbles. It looked as if we were swimming in
a bath of mercury.
About one o'clock I began to feel very tired. My
limbs were knotted with violent cramps. Conseil did
his best to support me, and our preservation now
depended upon his care. I soon heard the brave
fellow gasping for breath. I understood that he could
not hold out much longer.
"Let me go," I cried. "Leave me."
"Abandon Monsieur! Never !" he replied. "I
am looking forward to drowning before him."
At this moment the moon broke through the clouds.
The surface of the sea sparkled in its rays. This
pleasant light reanimated our courage. I raised my
head again and looked around the horizon. I saw the
frigate five miles away-a black and scarcely distinguish-
able mass. But there were no boats 1
I was about to cry out; but for what purpose at such
a distance ? My swollen lips refused to utter a sound.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE. 61
Conseil could articulate a little, and I heard him repeat
many times, Help, help !"
Suspending our movements for a moment, we listened.
Was that a buzzing noise in the ear, or was it an answer
to Conseil's cry for assistance ?
"Did you hear that ?" I murmured.
"Yes, yes!" and Conseil again cried for help
This time there was no mistake. A human voice
replied. Was it the voice of some unfortunate person,
abandoned in the midst of the ocean-some other victim
of that collision? or rather, was it a boat from the
frigate hailing us in the darkness ? Conseil made a last
effort, and leaning on my shoulder, while I gave all the
support of which I was capable, he raised himself half
out of the water, and fell back exhausted.
"What have you seen ?"
"I have seen," he murmured, "I have seen-but let
us not talk, let us husband all our strength."
"What had he seen ?" At that moment the monster
came to my mind with all its old force. But there was
the voice. The times were past for Jonahs to live in
Nevertheless, Conseil pushed me forward once more.
He raised his head at times to look before him, and
uttered a cry, to which a voice replied nearer and nearer
I could scarcely hear it. My strength was spent;
my fingers were no longer at my command; my hands
could no longer make the strokes; my mouth, con-
vulsively opened, was filled with the salt water, and
62 AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
cold was seizing upon my limbs. I raised my head for
the last time, and sank.
At that moment a hard substance struck me. I clung
to it. It drew me upwards, and so soon as I regained
the surface I fainted. I came to myself very speedily,
thanks to the vigorous friction applied to my body. I
opened my eyes.
"Conseil," I murmured.
Did Monsieur call ?" he asked.
The moon again burst forth, and by her light I
recognized another figure beside Conseil.
"Ned !" I exclaimed.
"In person, sir, looking after his reward."
"You were also thrown into the sea by the collision,
I presume ?"
Yes, sir," replied he; "but, more fortunate than
you, I got upon a floating island at once."
"An island ?"
"Yes; or rather upon our gigantic narwhal."
"Explain yourself, Ned."
"There is only this. I have discovered why my
harpoon did not injure the creature, and was blunted by
"Why, Ned? Why?"
Because this beast is clothed in sheet-iron."
It was now necessary for me to recover my spirits
and collect my thoughts. The last words of the Cana-
dian had produced a sudden change of thought. I
pulled myself up to the top of the object or being
upon which we had taken refuge. I kicked-it. It
was certainly a hard body, and not of the material of
which immense marine mammifers are composed.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE. 63
But this hard substance might be a bony covering
like those possessed by some antediluvian animals; and
I might be free to class it amongst amphibious animals
-the tortoises and alligators. But the black surface that
supported us was smooth and polished, not imbricated.
It gave out a metallic sound when struck, and, incredible
as it may appear, it seemed to me to be composed of
riveted iron plates. No doubt about it. The animal,
the monster, the phenomenon which had puzzled the
entire scientific world, upset and mystified the minds of
sailors in both hemispheres, was a greater wonder still-
a phenomenon constructed by human agency.
I should not have been nearly so much astonished by
the discovery of the most fabulous and mythological of
animals. However extraordinary the being may be that
is from the hands of the Creator, it can be understood;
but to discover all at once, under one's very eyes, the
human realisation of the impossible, was sufficiently
startling. But we must not hesitate. Here we were
sitting upon the top of a species of submarine boat,
which presented, so far as we could judge, the form of
an immense fish of iron. This was Ned Land's opinion.
Conseil and I could not classify it.
"But," said I, "he must contain within him the
machinery for locomotion, and a crew to direct his
Certainly," replied the Canadian; "and neverthe-
less, during the three hours I have been here, I have
perceived no signs of life."
"The boat has not moved ?"
No, M. Aronnax; it has lain rocked by the waves,
but has not otherwise moved."
64 AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
"We know already that it possesses great speed.
Now as there is a machine with this attribute, and a
machinist to direct it, I conclude that we are safe."
"Hum," replied Ned Land, doubtfully.
At this moment, and as a commentary upon my
remark, a disturbance arose at the stern of this strange
vessel, whose mode of propulsion was evidently a screw,
and it began to move. We had scarcely time to secure
ourselves to the higher part, which was about a yard out
of water. Fortunately the speed was not great.
So long as it goes over the waves, I have no par-
ticular objection," said Ned Land. "But if it should
take a dive, I would not give $2 for my skin."
The Canadian might have made even a lower estimate.
But under the circumstances, it was necessary to com-
municate with the beings shut up in this machine. I
looked for an opening-a panel-a "man hole," to use
the technical term, but the lines of rivets solidly fixed
upon the joining of the iron plates were whole and
Moreover, the moon deserted us, and left us in pro-
found obscurity. We were, therefore, obliged to wait for
daylight, to find means to penetrate into the interior of
this submarine vessel.
Thus our safety depended entirely upon the caprice
of the mysterious helmsman who guided this machine:
if he descended we were lost. Unless this occurred, I
had no doubt of being able to communicate with the
crew. And indeed if they did not manufacture the air
they breathed, they must come to the surface from time to
time to replenish the supply. Thus the necessity for an
aperture communicating with the outer air.
AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE. 65
We had given up all hope of being rescued by
Commodore Farragut. We were proceeding westwards,
and I estimated our speed at twelve miles an hour. The
screw revolved regularly, sometimes emerging and throw-
ing phosphorescent jets of water to a great height.
About 4 A.M. the speed increased. We had some
difficulty in resisting this giddy pace, as the waves beat
upon us in full volume. Fortunately Ned felt a large
ring, let in to the upper part of the iron back, and we
fastened ourselves to it securely.
This long night at length came to an end.
My imperfect recollection cannot recall all the im-
pressions of those hours. One detail comes to my mind.
During certain lulls of the wind and waves, I fancied I
could hear, vaguely, a sort of fugitive harmony, produced
by distant chords. What was, then, this mystery of sub-
marine navigation, of which the world was vainly seeking
the key? What kind of beings inhabited this vessel?
What mechanical agency permitted them to move at
such a prodigious rate ?
Daylight appeared. The morning mists wrapped us
in their folds, but soon dispersed. I was making a
careful survey of the hull, which formed, at its upper
part, a sort of horizontal platform, when I found myself
sinking by degrees.
"Eh thousand devils," cried Ned Land, striking
the iron a sounding blow with his foot. Open, I say,
you inhospitable travellers !"
But it was no easy matter to make them hear while
the screw was working, Fortunately the descent was
Suddenly a noise, as of bars being pushed back within
VOL. I. E
66 AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE.
the boat, was heard. A plate was raised, a man appeared,
uttered a singular cry, and immediately disappeared.
Some time after, eight strong fellows, with veiled faces,
silently rose up and pulled us into the formidable
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
THIS movement, though so roughly executed, was per-
formed with lightning rapidity. My companions and 1
had not time to look about us. I do not know that
it was a great trial, our being thus introduced into the
floating prison, but, for my own part, I must say that a
rapid shudder went through me. With whom had we
to do ? Doubtless with some pirates, who were ex-
ploring the seas after their own fashion.
Scarcely had the narrow panel been closed than we
were surrounded by thick darkness. My eyes coming
from the daylight so suddenly could distinguish nothing.
I felt that I was upon an iron ladder. Ned Land and
Conseil, held tightly, followed me. At the bottom of
the ladder a door was opened, and was shut upon us
with a loud noise. We were left to ourselves. Where ?
I could not say-scarcely fancy. All around us was of
such an absolute blackness that even after a time my
eyes perceived none of those rays which are perceptible
in the darkest-nights.
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
Ned Land, furious at such treatment, gave free vent
to his indignation.
A thousand devils," he cried; "they call this
hospitality. They only want to be cannibals to be
perfect. I should not be surprised ; but I will give them
something before they make a meal of me !"
"Be quiet, friend Ned, keep quiet," said Conseil
calmly. "Don't look too far ahead. We are not roasted
"Roasted, no," replied Land; "but we are in the
oven. It is as dark, at any rate. Fortunately, I have
not lost my bowie-knife, and I can generally see well
enough to use it. The very first of these robbers who
lays a finger on me-"
"Don't put yourself out, Ned," I said; "we shall
gain nothing by useless violence. Who can tell whether
they can hear us ? Let us rather endeavour to ascertain
where we are."
I advanced with outstretched hands. After five paces
I touched a wall of riveted iron plates. Returning, I
ran against a wooden table, near which were some stools.
The floor was covered with a thick matting, which
deadened the sound of our footsteps. The bare walls had
neither door nor window perceptible. Conseil, who had
been making a tour in the opposite direction, rejoined
me, and we came into the centre of this cabin, which ap-
peared to be about twenty feet long and ten wide. Even
Ned Land, with his great height to assist him, could not
touch the ceiling.
After half an hour had passed in this way, our eyes
were suddenly exposed to a violently brilliant light. Our
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
prison was suddenly illuminated. In the whiteness and
intensity of this gleam I recognized the electric light
which produced the appearance of a magnificent phos-
phorescence round the submarine vessel. I was in-
voluntarily obliged to close my eyes, and when I again
opened them I found that the light had been placed in a
ground-glass globe, which was fixed at the upper end
of the cabin.
"At last we can see something," cried Ned Land,
who, bowie-knife in hand, stood on the defensive.
"Yes," I replied, risking the antithesis, but the
situation is not the less obscure."
If Monsieur will only have patience," said the
The sudden illumination of the cabin gave me the
opportunity to examine it more minutely. It only con-
tained a table and five stools. The invisible door was
hermetically closed. No sound reached our ears.
Everyone seemed dead on board. Whether it was still
moving over the surface of the ocean, or plunged in its
depths, I could not divine.
However, the lamp had not been lighted for nothing.
So I was in hopes that the crew of the vessel would soon
put in an appearance. When people wish to put an end
to prisoners they do not illuminate the oubliettes.
I was not mistaken; the noise of withdrawing bolts
was heard, the door opened, and two men entered.
One was rather short but strongly made, with immense
breadth of shoulder, intellectual looking, with thick black
hair and beard, piercing eyes, and with the vivacity which
characterises the provincial population of France.
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
Diderot has justly maintained that man's gesture is
metaphorical, and this little man was the living proof of
that statement. One had a sort of feeling that his
habitual discourse was made up of prosopopccia, metany-
mus, and hypallages. But I was not able to verify this,
as he always used a peculiar and utterly incomprehensible
The second arrival deserves a more detailed descrip-
tion. A pupil of Gratiolet or Engel would have read his
face.like a book. I can easily recall his characteristics.
Confidence in himself, for his head rose nobly from the
arc formed by the line of his shoulders, and his dark eyes
regarded you with a cool assurance. He was composed,
for his face, more pale than ruddy, betokened a dis-
passionate nature. Energy he possessed, as demonstrated
by the rapid contraction of the eyebrows. Finally, he
was courageous, for his deep breathing denoted great
I should add that this man was proud, his firm and
composed look seemed to reflect elevated thoughts, and,
added to all this, the homogeneity of expression in the
movements of his body and face, according to the obser-
vation of physiognomists, resulted in an indisputable open-
I felt myself involuntarily reassured in his presence,
and I augured well of our interview. This person might
have been any age between thirty-five and fifty. He was
tall, a wide forehead, straight nose, a well-shaped mouth,
beautiful teeth, long, thin, and very muscular hands,
worthy to serve an elevated and passionate mind. This
was certainly the most admirable type of individual that
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
I had ever seen. To descend to detail, his eyes, set a
little apart, could embrace nearly a quarter of the
This faculty, which came to my knowledge later, gave
him a great advantage over the excellent sight of Ned
Land. Whenever this unknown personage was looking
intently at anything he frowned, his large eyelids con-
tracted so as to conceal the pupils, and to considerably
circumscribe his line of sight-and he did look What a
gaze that was, as if he was making distant objects larger,
or penetrating your very soul by his gaze; as if he could
pierce the depths of the waves, so opaque to our eyes,
and could read the secrets of the sea.
The two strangers wore otter-skin caps and sea-boots
of seal-skin, and clothes of a peculiar texture, which sat
loosely upon them, and allowed of great freedom in their
The taller of the two-evidently the captain-re-
garded us with great attention, without speaking. Then
turning to his companion, he conversed with him in a
language I did not understand. The other replied by a
nod, adding a few unintelligible words. Then with a
glance he appeared to interrogate us personally.
I replied, in good French, that I did not understand
his language; but he did not appear to comprehend
mine, and the situation became somewhat embarrass-
If Monsieur would relate our adventures," suggested
Conseil, "perhaps the gentlemen would understand some
I then commenced a recital of our experiences, dis-
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
tinctly dwelling upon all the words, and without omitting
a single detail. I announced our names and station-
then I presented in due form M. Aronnax-his servant
Conseil, and Ned Land, the harpooner. The indi-
vidual with the calm eyes listened quietly, even politely,
and with great attention. But his face betrayed no sign
that he understood a word. When I had finished, he
remained perfectly silent.
There still remained the English language, as a last
resource. Perhaps he would understand that almost
universal tongue. I was acquainted with it, and with
German sufficiently to read fluently, but not to speak it
correctly. Now here it was absolutely necessary to be
Do you try," I said to the harpooner, speak the
best English ever heard, Master Land, and try to be more
successful than I have been."
Ned made no objection, and repeated my recital, so
as I could understand it pretty well. The issue was the
same, but the form was different. The Canadian was
more energetic. He complained bitterly at being im-
prisoned, against the rights of nations, demanded legal
satisfaction for his detention, invoked the Habeas Corpus
Act, threatened to prosecute those who had kept us
prisoners unlawfully. He kicked about, gesticulated, cried
out, and finally, by a most expressive pantomime, gave
therii to understand that we were almost dying of
This was true as a matter of fact, but we had nearly
To his intense surprise, the harpooner did not appear
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
to have been more intelligible than I was. Our hosts
did not move. a muscle of their faces. It was evident
that they understood neither the language of Arago nor
Faraday. I was very much puzzled what to do next,
when Conseil said :
If Monsieur will permit me, I will speak to them
"What! do you know German !" I cried.
Like a Dutchman," replied he ; "if Monsieur has
"I am much pleased. Go on my lad."
And Conseil recounted, for the third time, the various
adventures we had met with. But notwithstanding the
excellent accent and the elegantly-turned phrases of the
speaker, German was not a success. At length, pushed
to the very last position, I recalled all I could of my
former studies, and essayed to tell the tale in Latin.
Cicero would have stopped his ears, and declared it was
"dog Latin," but, nevertheless, I went on. But with
the same result !
This last attempt having miscarried, the two strangers
exchanged some words in their incomprehensible language,
and retired, without bestowing upon us even one of those
signs which are universally understood. The door was
again shut upon us.
This is infamous," exclaimed Ned Land, who burst
out for the twentieth time. Why, we have spoken
French, English, German, and Latin to those rascals,
and they have not had the civility to reply."
"Calm yourself, Ned," said I to the angry harpooner;
"anger will do no good !"
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
"But don't you know, sir, that we may die of hunger
in this iron cage ?"
"Bah !" said Conseil, with his usual philosophy, "we
can hold out for some time yet."
My friends," said I, we must not despair. We
have not come to the worst yet. Do me the favour to
wait before you form an opinion respecting the captain
and crew of this vessel."
My opinion is already formed," replied Ned; they
are a set of rascals."
Good ; and of what country ?"
Of a rascally country."
My brave Ned, that country is not clearly laid
down upon the map of the world; and I confess that
the nationality of these two strangers is difficult to de-
termine. That they are neither English, French, nor
German we can affirm. Now I am tempted to admit
that they were born in lower latitudes. There is a
southerly look about them; but whether they be
Spaniards, Turks, Arabs, or Indians, their physical
types do not enable me to decide. Their language is
"There is the drawback of not knowing every
language," replied Conseil, "and the disadvantage of
not having a universal one."
That would not help us at all," replied Ned Land.
"Do you not understand that these fellows have got
a language of their own, invented to drive to despair
those brave people who ask for something to eat ? But
in any country in the world, if you open your mouth,
move your jaws, smack your lips, would they not under-
stand what you meant? Would not that be sufficient
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
to indicate, equally in Quebec as in Pomaton, in Paris,
or the antipodes, 'I am hungry; give me something to
Oh !" cried Conseil, there are some natures so
As he spoke the door opened and a steward entered.
He brought us clothing, vests and trousers, fit for sea
wear, of a material with which I was unacquainted. I
hastened to clothe myself, and my companions followed
Meantime the steward-silent, perhaps deaf-had
laid the table and set on three dishes.
"There is something satisfactory," said Conseil ; "this
promises well !"
Bah !" cried the spiteful Canadian; what the devil
do you expect to get to eat here ; tortoise livers, fillet of
shark, or a slice from a sea-dog ?"
"We shall soon see," replied Conseil.
The dishes, with their silver covers, were placed sym-
metrically upon the cloth, and we took our places. De-
cidedly we had to do with civilised beings ; and were it
not for the electric light which surrounded us, I should
have fancied we were sitting in the Adelphi Hotel in
Liverpool, or in the Grand Hotel in Paris. I must say
that we had neither wine nor bread on this occasion.
The water was pure and bright; but it was water, which
was not acceptable to Ned Land. Amongst the meats
served to us I recognized various kinds of fish very deli-
cately cooked; but upon some of the dishes I could not
pronounce an opinion, as I was perfectly unable to say
to what kingdom, animal or vegetable, they belonged.
The table-service was elegant, and in perfect taste. Every
MOBILIS IN MOBILE.
knife, fork, spoon, or plate, was marked with a letter
surrounded by a motto, of which the following is afac
S 1-S IN MO,
Mobile in a mobile element. This applied exactly to
this submarine machine, if you translate the preposition
" in as "in," and not upon." The letter N no doubt
stood for the initial of the name of the eccentric indi-
vidual who commanded.
Ned and Conseil did not waste much time in re-
flection. They began to eat, and I quickly followed
their example. I was, moreover, now reassured as to our
fate, and it was very evident that our hosts did not
intend that we should die from inanition.
Everything must have an end in this world, and so
must the appetites of people who have fasted for fifteen
hours. The want of sleep now began to make itself felt
-a natural reaction, after the long night during which we
had struggled face to face with death.
"Faith, I shall sleep well," said Conseil.
I am already asleep," replied Ned Land.
My companions lay down upon the floor, and were
quickly in a profound slumber.
For my part I yielded less quickly to the drowsy god.
A number of thoughts crowded my brain, insoluble
questions pressed upon me, a troop of mental images
kept my eyes open. Where were we? What strange
power held us? I felt, or fancied I felt, the machine
MOBILIS IN MOBILE. 77
sinking to the bottom of the sea. Fearful nightmares
beset me. I saw in mysterious passages the whole of the
unknown animal kingdom, of which the submarine vessel
appeared to be the congener, living, moving, and as for-
midable as they. Then my brain cooled, my imagination
was steeped in sleep, and I soon fell into a peaceful
NED LAND'S ANGER.
How long we slept I do not know, but it must have been
some time, as we awoke completely refreshed. I was the
first to awake. My companions had not stirred, and
remained stretched in the corner like lifeless beings.
Scarcely had I got up from my hard bed, when I per-
ceived that my brain was clear and my mind invigorated.
I then began to re-examine our cell attentively.
Nothing had been altered in its arrangement. The
prison was still a prison-the prisoners still prisoners.
But the steward had cleared the table while we slept.
There was no symptom of any approaching change for
the better, and I began to wonder whether we were des-
tined to live for ever in that cage.
This prospect was so much the more unpleasant, as, if
my brain were clear, I felt my chest very much oppressed.
My-breathing had become difficult, the heavy air was not
sufficient for the play of my lungs. The cell was cer-
tainly of large size, but it was evident that we had con-
sumed the greater part of the oxygen it had contained.
Each man breathes in an hour the amount of oxygen
NED LAND'S ANGER.
contained in 100 litres (22 gallons) of atmospheric air,
and this air, then almost equal to carbonic acid gas,
It was, therefore, necessary to renovate the air of our
prison, and, without doubt, also the atmosphere of our
Here was a puzzling question. How did the com-
mander of the floating dwelling get on ? Did he obtain
air by chemical means, by disengaging the oxygen con-
tained in chlorate of potash, and by absorbing the
carbonic acid by the caustic potash? In this case he
must keep up a communication with the earth to obtain
a supply of these materials. Did he only take the pre-
caution to store the air under great pressure in reservoirs,
and free it again according to the requirements of the
ship's company? Perhaps so. Or, what was a much
easier method, more economical, and therefore more
probable, was that he came up to the surface of the
water to breathe, like a cetacean, and for twenty-four
hours renew his supply of oxygen. However it might
be, and by whatever means, it appeared to me prudent
to employ it without delay.
In fact I was already obliged to breathe more quickly
to extract what little oxygen the cell contained, when I
was suddenly refreshed by a current of pure air, per-
fumed with the odour of the sea. It was the true sea-
breeze vivified and charged with iodine. I opened my
mouth wide. I was sensible of a rocking motion, a
rolling of some extent, but perfectly determinable. The
monster had evidently come up to the surface to breathe,
after the fashion of the whale. The mode of ventilating
the ship was now perfectly apparent.
NED LAND'S ANGER.
While I was enjoying the pure air I looked for the
medium of its introduction, and was not long in dis-
covering it. Over the door was an aperture, through
which the fresh air entered and renovated the vitiated
atmosphere of the cabin.
I had got so far in my observations when Ned and
Conseil woke almost at the same moment, under the
influence of the fresh air. After sundry rubbings of the
eyes and stretching of the arms they got upon their
"Has Monsieur slept well?" inquired Conseil, with
his usual politeness.
"Very well indeed," I replied. "And you, Master
"Soundly," was the answer. But-perhaps I am
mistaken I fancy I can detect the smell of the
A sailor could make no mistake on this point, and I
told the Canadian what had passed.
"That explains the roarings we heard when the
supposed narwhal was near the Abraham Lincoln," said
"Quite so, Ned, that was its breathing."
Only, M. Aronnax, I have no notion what time it
is, unless it is dinner-time."
"Dinner-time, my worthy harpooner? say rather
breakfast-time, for we are certainly in another
Which shows that we have slept for twenty-four
That is my opinion," I replied.
"I will not contradict you," replied Ned Land.
NED LAND'S ANGAR.
"But dinner or breakfast, I shall be glad to see the
steward, whichever he may bring."
"Both," said Conseil.
"Just so," replied Ned. "We are entitled to two
meals, and, for my part, I could do justice to both."
"Listen, Ned," said I. "It is very evident that
these people do not intend to starve us, else the dinner
yesterday would have had no meaning."
Unless they wanted to fatten us up a bit."
"I must protest against that," said I. "We have
not fallen among cannibals."
Once is not a custom," replied the Canadian
seriously; "who can tell whether these people have not
been deprived of fresh meat for some time? and, in that
case, three such individuals as you, Monsieur, your ser-
vant, and I-"
Banish such thoughts, Land," I said, "and above all
things do not go out of your way to abuse our hosts-that
will only make matters worse."
"In any case," said Ned, "I am as hungry as a
thousand devils; dinner or breakfast, the meal is not
We must conform to the regulations of the ship,"
I replied. Possibly our appetites are in advance of the
And I suppose that is set correctly ?" said Conseil
"That is so like you, friend Conseil," replied the im-
petuous Canadian. "You don't ever trouble yourself
much, you are always calm. You are the kind of fellow
to say grace before your benedicite, and die of hunger
rather than complain."
VOL. I. F
NED LAND'S ANGER.
"And what is the use of complaining ?" asked Con-
"But it will do good. And if these pirates-I say
'pirates with all respect, as the professor objects to my
calling them cannibals, and I don't want to hurt his feel-
ings-if these pirates imagine that they are going to
keep me a prisoner in this stifling cage without hear-
ing some pretty strong observations from me they are
very much mistaken. Look here, M. Aronnax, tell me
frankly, do you think we shall be kept long in this iron
"To say the truth, I cannot tell any more than your-
Well, but what do you think ?"
"I imagine that chance has made us masters of an
important secret. Now, if the crew of this submarine
vessel are much interested in keeping it, and if such
interest is as important as the lives of three men-I do
think that we are in danger. But in the contrary case,
the monster may put us ashore again amongst our
"Unless he enrol us with the crew," said Conseil,
"and take care of his secret that way."
"Until some day," replied Ned, when some frigate
better' found' and faster than the Ab-raami Lincoln, takes
possession of this nest of robbers, and sends us and them
to swing at the yard-arm."
"A good argument, Land," said I, "but nothing of
all this has yet happened. It is useless to discuss what
may happen, until the case arises. I repeat, let us wait
and act according to circumstances. We need do nothing,
because there is nothing to do."
NED LAND'S ANGER.
On the contrary, sir," replied the Canadian, who
would not give in, we ought to do something."
"Well, what? "
"Save ourselves-try to escape !"
To escape from a prison on land is difficult; but to
get out of a submarine prison, appears to me imprac-
"Now, friend Ned," said Conseil, "what do you say
to Monsieur ? I cannot believe that an American is ever
at a loss."
The harpooner, visibly embarrassed, was silent. Flight
under the circumstances was out of the question. But
a Canadian is half a Frenchman, and master Land showed
that by his reply.
So, M. Aronnax," he said, after some minutes' con-
sideration, "you do not know what people ought to do
who cannot escape from their prison?"
"No, my friend."
"It is very simple-they ought to arrange in what
manner they will remain."
"By Jove," said Conseil, "I think you are better
inside than either above or below!"
"But having overcome gaolers, keys, and bolts ?"
What, Ned, is it possible that you are seriously con-
templating escape from this vessel ?"
"Very seriously, indeed," replied the Canadian.
Why so, sir ? Some favourable opportunity may
arise; and I do not see why I should not profit by it.
If there are not more than twenty men on board, they
will not be able to resist two Frenchmen and a Canadian,
NED LAND'S ANGER.
It was better to admit this proposition than to discuss
it, so I contented myself by saying:
Wait events, and see. But till the time comes pray
curb your impatience. We cannot act except by strata-
gem, and it is not in our power to create opportunities.
So promise me that you will take things as they come,
"I promise, sir," replied Ned, in a tone but little
reassuring. "Not a coarse nor violent word shall pass
my lips, not a gesture shall be perceived, even if the
table be not served with desirable regularity."
I have your promise, Ned," I replied.
Our conversation ceased, and each of us began to
reflect. For myself, I confess, notwithstanding the
assurance of the harpooner, I did not delude myself. I
did not admit those favourable chances of which Ned
had spoken. To be so well manceuvred, the submarine
boat must be well manned and equipped, and conse-
quently in the event of a dispute we should get the worst
of it. Besides, above all it was necessary to be at
liberty, and we were not. I did not perceive any means
of flight from this close prison. And if the strange com-
mander of this vessel had a secret to preserve-which
was at least probable-he would not permit us to be at
large on board. Now whether he would get rid of us
by violence, or land us safely upon some corner of the
earth, was the question. All these hypotheses appeared
to me extremely plausible, and one needed to be a
harpooner to hope to regain his liberty.
I comprehended, moreover, that Ned Land's inten-
tions were by no means in keeping with his reflections.
I heard him beginning to mutter strange oaths, and his
NED LAND'S ANGER.
gestures were becoming threatening. He got up and
walked about like a wild beast in a cage, hitting and
kicking the walls as he passed. By-and-by his anger
evaporated, and hunger began to assail him cruelly, and
yet the steward appeared not. Our position, as ship-
wrecked people, had been forgotten too long if they had
really been well-intentioned towards us. Ned Land,
really suffering from hunger, got more and more angry;
and, notwithstanding his promise, I was afraid of an
explosion should any of the crew enter our cabin. For
two hours longer Ned's anger burned. He called, he
shouted in vain. The walls were impervious to sound
I could not hear any sound within the boat. It was not
moving, for we should in that event have felt the throb-
bings of the screw. Plunged in this state of uncertainty
beneath the waves, we seemed to belong to earth no
more. The death-like silence was appalling.
I did not dare to contemplate the chances of a
lengthened abandonment and isolation in this cell. The
hopes I had conceived after our interview with the com-
mander faded by degrees. His kind expression of
countenance, pleasant look, and nobility of mien all
faded from my memory. I recalled this extraordinary
personage, as he had now become, necessarily pitiless
and cruel. I put him out of the pale of humanity, inac-
cessible to every sentiment of pity, the remorseless
enemy of his fellow-creatures, against whom he had sworn
an undying enmity.
But was this man, then, going to let us perish of
hunger, incarcerated in an iron cell, at the mercy of
those terrible temptations which assail men under the
influence of extreme hunger? This fearful thought
86 NED LAND'S ANGER.
burnt itself into my brain, and imagination being at work,
I felt myself becoming the prey of a maddening terror.
Conseil was quite resigned. Ned was raging.
At this juncture a voice was heard outside, footsteps
were heard on the iron flooring, the bolts were drawn
back, and the steward appeared.
Before I could interpose to prevent him, the Canadian
had thrown himself upon the unfortunate man, felled him
to the ground, where he held him by the throat. The
steward was strangling beneath that powerful grasp.
Conseil had already attempted to loosen the deadly
grasp of the harpooher, and I was about to assist, when
I was glued to the spot by hearing a voice call out in
"Calm yourself, Master Land, and you also, professor,
and be so good as to listen to me !"
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
IT was the commander of the vessel who had spoken.
At those words, Ned Land suddenly arose; the
steward, half strangled, staggered out at a sign from his
master; but such was the discipline enforced, that the
man did not even by a gesture betray his resentment
against the Canadian. Conseil was interested, in spite
of himself, and I stood petrified with astonishment. We
all awaited the denouement in silence. The commander,
leaning against the table, regarded us fixedly. Did he
hesitate to speak, or was he regretting having addressed
us in French? It might be so.
After a silence of some minutes, which none of us
ventured to break:
Gentlemen," said he, in a calm and penetrating tone,
I can speak French, English, German, and Latin with
equal facility. I was therefore quite capable of replying
to you at our first interview, but I wished to learn first,
and reflect afterwards. Your respective accounts of your
adventures agreeing in all important particulars assured
me ot your identity. I am now aware that chance has
THE MAN OF .THE SEA.
brought to me Monsieur Pierre Aronnax, Professor of
Natural History in the museum at Paris, charged with a
scientific mission; Conseil, his servant, and Ned Land, a
Canadian by birth, harpooner on board the frigate
Abraham Lincoln, of the United States Navy."
I bowed assent. There was no necessity for further
reply. The man expressed himself with perfect ease,
with no foreign accent. His phraseology was good, his
words well chosen, his facility of speech remarkable.
Nevertheless, I did not take to him as a country-
"You have doubtless thought that I have been a
long time in paying you a second visit. It was because,
your identity once established, I wished to consider
seriously how to act towards you. I hesitated for a long
time. Unfortunate circumstances have brought you in
contact with a man who has forsworn his fellow-
creatures. You have come to disturb my exist-
Unintentionally," I put in.
"Unintentionally !" repeated the stranger, raising his
voice. "Was it unintentionally that the Abraham
Lincoln chased me through the ocean so long? Was it
unintentionally that you came on board that ship ? Was
it unintentionally that your shot came hustling against
the hull of my vessel? Was it unintentionally that Land
here struck it with his harpoon ?"
I perceived a subdued anger in these questions. But
to all these recriminations I had a perfectly plain answer
to make, and I made it.
"Monsieur," said I, "you are ignorant of the dis-
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
cussions which have arisen in Europe and America about
you. You are not aware that the various collisions you
have caused have evoked public observation in both
continents. I spare you the numerous hypotheses by
which people have endeavoured to explain the inexplic-
able phenomenon of which you alone possess the secret.
But you must know that in pursuing you the Abraham
Lincoln's crew were under the impression that they were
pursuing some powerful marine monster, of which it was
necessary to rid the ocean at any cost."
A half-sigh parted the lips of the stranger; then, in a
calmer tone he said:
Monsieur Aronnax, can you affirm that your frigate
would not have followed and fired at a submarine vessel
as well as a monster ?"
This question caused me some little embarrassment,
for certainly Commodore Farragut had not hesitated.
He would have deemed it his duty to destroy an appa-
ratus of the kind as well as a gigantic narwhal.
"So you perceive, Monsieur," said the stranger, that
I have a right to treat you as enemies."
I did not reply, and for a good reason. Where was
the use to answer a proposition, when force could over-
come a thousand arguments.
"I have hesitated for a long time," said the com-
mander. "There is no reason why I should extend my
hospitality to you. If I leave you, I have no interest in
seeing you again. If I replace you upon the platform
outside, upon which you took refuge, I can sink beneath
the surface and forget that you ever existed. Have I
not this right?"
These thoughts chased rapidly across my mind,
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
while the strange personage was silent, absorbed, and
plunged in thought. I was regarding him with a
melancholy interest, much as CEdipus may have looked
at the Sphinx. After a long silence the commander
"I have waited before speaking," said he, because I
was thinking that my own interest may be in keeping with
the natural consideration to which every human being has a
right. You shall remain on board, since fate has thrown
you in my way. You will be free here, and in exchange
for this liberty, I will only impose one condition. Your
word of honour that you agree to it will be sufficient."
Speak, Monsieur," said I, I have no doubt the con-
dition is one that brave men may accept."
Certainly, and this is it. It is possible that certain
circumstances may compel me to confine you to your
cabin for some hours, on some days. As I have no wish
to use force, I expect from you, above all, the most passive
obedience. In acting thus, I take all responsibility off
your shoulders, and you are free; for it will be my busi-
ness to see that you do not become acquainted with
what it is inexpedient for you to know. Do you accept
"We accept," I replied. "But I wish to ask one
"Speak, Monsieur," he said.
"You have stated that we shall be free on board?"
"I would ask what you mean by such freedom ?"
"Permission to go and come and look about as you
please, to see all that takes place here. In fact the same
freedom as I and my companions enjoy."
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
That is perhaps the right of a savage," I said, "but
not of a civilised being."
Monsieur, I am not, so to speak, a civilised being.
I have broken with the world altogether, for reasons
which I can alone appreciate. I obey no laws, and I
recommend you never to put them in force against
This was sternly spoken. An angry and disdainful
gleam shone in his eyes, and in this man's life I could
discern a terrible past. Not only had he put himself
out of reach of all human laws, but he was independent,
free-in the largest acceptation of the term-beyond all
Who would dare to pursue to the bottom of the
sea a being, who at the surface baffled all efforts to over-
take him ? What ship could resist the shock of this sub-
marine ram ?" What armour-plate could sustain his
blows? None among men could demand an account of
his actions. Providence, if he believed in Him; his
conscience, if he had one, were the only judges before
whom he could be brought.
It was evident that we did not altogether understand
I beg your pardon," I added, but the liberty you
would accord is only that granted to a prisoner, to walk
round his prison. That is not enough for us."
"Well, it must suffice, nevertheless."
"What! You would debar us from ever seeing our
friends, relatives, and our native land again ? "
Yes, Monsieur; but to renounce the insupportable
yoke of earth which men call freedom, is not such a very
great sacrifice as you imagine."
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
Well," cried Ned, "I will never give my word of
honour not to attempt to escape."
I did not ask you for your word of honour, Master
Land," replied the commander in a freezing tone.
"Sir," said I, carried away in spite of myself, "you
take an unfair advantage of your position. It is
"No, sir; it is mercy. You are my prisoners of war.
I take care of you, when, by a word, I could have you
thrown into the sea. You have attacked me. You have
come here, and have 'discovered a secret which no one
in the world ought to know-the secret of my existence.
And do you believe that I shall put you ashore upon
that earth which shall know me no more ? In keeping
you here it is not you whom I take care of, it is
These words indicated a resolution which no argu-
ment could overturn.
"Thus," I replied, "you give us simply a choice
between life and death ?"
"My friends," said I, "to such a question there is
no answer. But we are not bound to the master of the
"Not at all," replied the captain. Then, in a more
pleasant tone, he resumed: "Now permit me to finish
what I have to say. I know you, M. Aronnax. You,
personally, have not perhaps much reason to complain
that you have cast in your lot with mine. You will find
amongst the books which are my favourite studies your
own work upon the greatest depths of the sea. I have
often read it. You have extended your work as far as
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
terrestrial science permitted. But you do not know
everything, and have not seen everything. Allow me to
tell you that you will not regret the time you may pass
on board with me. You are about to sail through a
world of wonders. Astonishment and stupefaction will
be the prevailing feelings you will experience. You will
not easily get tired of the never-ceasing spectacle
before you. I am about to make a new tour of the
submarine world-perhaps the last, who knows?-to
study, as far as possible, at the bottom of those seas
through which I have so frequently coursed, and you
shall be my companion. From this day you will enter
upon a new existence; you will see what no man has
ever seen-for my companions and myself do not count
-and our planet, thanks to me, shall yield its deepest
secrets to you."
I could not deny it. The captain's words had a
great effect upon me. I was assailed at my weak point,
and forget, at the moment, that the contemplation of
these wonderful things could not compensate for my lost
liberty. However, I counted upon the future to solve
this question, so I answered:
Monsieur, if you have quarrelled with humanity, I
like to think that you have not renounced every human
feeling. We are shipwrecked people, received charitably
on board your vessel, we do not forget that. As for me,
I am not sure but that, if the interests of science will
permit me to forget the want of freedom, I can promise
myself that our intercourse will be very pleasant."
I fancied that the commander would tender me his
hand to ratify our agreement. He did not do so, and,
for his sake, I was sorry for it.
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
"One last question," I said, as this strange individual
was about to retire.
By what name shall I address you ?"
"Sir," he replied, "to you I am but Captain Nemo,
and your companions and yourself are to me only pas-
sengers in the ship Nautilus."
Captain Nemo then called the steward, to whom he
gave his orders in that strange language which I could
not make out; then turning to Conseil and the Canadian
he said to them :
"A meal awaits you in your cabin. Be so good as
to follow that man."
"This is not to be refused," said the harpooner, and
Conseil and he quitted the cell in which they had been
interned thirty hours.
"Now, M. Aronnax, our breakfast is ready. Allow
me to lead the way."
At your orders, captain."
I followed Captain Nemo, and as soon as I had
passed the door I entered a sort of corridor, illuminated
by electric light, and resembling the waist of a ship.
After proceeding a short distance a second door was
opened before me.
I was ushered in a dining-room ornamented and fur-
nished in perfect taste. Oaken shelves inlaid with
ebony were erected at each end of this room, upon which
were displayed, in varying order, china, earthenware,
porcelain, and glass of inestimable value. The table-
services glittered beneath the rays which extended to the
ceiling, whose fine frescoes toned down the powerful
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
In the centre of the room was a splendidly-served
table. Captain Nemo pointed out my place.
"Sit down," said he, "and eat like a man who is
dying of hunger."
The meal was composed of a certain number of dishes
which only the sea could have supplied, and some of
which I was entirely ignorant. They were very good,
but'of curious flavour, to which, however, I speedily
became accustomed. These various dishes were rich in
phosphorus, and from this I argued that they were of
Captain Nemo was looking at me. I asked him
nothing, but he divined my thoughts, and replied volun-
tarily to the questions I was burning to address to
"The greater part of these dishes are unknown,"
said he; "but you may eat without fear. They are
wholesome and nourishing. For years I have renounced
all sustenance derived from the earth, and am none the
worse. My crew, who are strong fellows, live as I
"All these things are produced in the sea,
Yes, the ocean furnishes me with all I require.
Sometimes I spread my nets astern, and haul them in
ready to break. Sometimes I go hunting in this element
so inaccessible to man, and I take the game that in-
habits the submarine forests. My flocks, like those of
father Neptune, feed fearlessly in the submarine pastures,
and share a vast estate which I cultivate myself, and
which is always sown by the hand of the Creator of all
THE MAN OF THE SEA.
I gazed at Captain Nemo in astonishment, and
"I can quite understand that your nets furnish you
excellent fish, but I do not quite comprehend how you
hunt the aquatic game in the submarine forests, and,
least of all, why so small a portion of meat appears at
"For the reason that I never consume the flesh of
"But this, now ? I retorted, pointing to a dish upon
which some slices of a "fillet" were placed.
That which you believe to be meat is nothing but
tortoise fillet. Here is likewise some dolphin liver
which you might take for pork. My cook is an ex-
perienced hand, and excels in preparing the various
productions of the sea. Taste those. Here is a con-
serve d'hoolouries, which Malais declared unrivalled.
Here is a cream made of the milk from the breast of
a cetacean, and sugar from the great fucus of the
North Sea; and, finally, allow me to offer you these
confiltures d'anemones, which are equal to the most
I tasted them, more out of curiosity than hunger,
while Captain Nemo amused me by his improbable
But this inexhaustible sea not only feeds but clothes
me. That material you wear is made from the byssus of
certain shell fish. They are coloured with the purple of
the ancients, variegated with violet tints, which I extract
from the aplysis of the Mediterranean. The perfumes
you will find upon your dressing-table have been pro-
duced by the distillation of marine plants. Your bed is
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EFLYMDRBZ_74BEPB INGEST_TIME 2014-05-29T21:55:59Z PACKAGE AA00009645_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC