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IJ " J " niSlMIII l|g 


Ex Libris 

" It made the round of the frigate." 

(Page 29) 
20.000 UagiH-a nmU-r the Sea] (Frontispiece 





Author of "A Journey into the Interior of the Earth," 
11 The Adventures of Captain Hatteras," etc. 


Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frame and London 






II FOR AND AGAINST . . . . . .10 


IV NED LAND ........ 19 

V Ax RANDOM .......24 

VI WITH ALL STEAM ON . . . . . .28 


VIII Two STRANGERS . . . . . . .40 

IX NED LAND'S ANGER ...... 46 


XI THE "NAUTILUS" ...... 58 









XX STRANDED . . . f . . 107 

XXI SOME DAYS ON LAND . . , . . . in 



y>XIV THE CORAL KINGDOM . . . . . .138 




I THE INDIAN OCEAN . . . . . .146 

II A FRESH PROPOSITION. . . . . . 154 



V THE ARABIAN TUNNEL . . . . .179 






XI THE SARGASSO SEA . . . . . .219 





XVI WANT OF AIR ....... 261 




XX THE FIRST CABLE ...... 297 

XXI A HECATOMB ....... 304 






IN the year 1866 the whole maritime population of Europe 
and America was excited by an inexplicable phenomenon. 
This excitement was not confined to merchants, common 
sailors, sea-captains, shippers, and naval officers of all 
countries, but the governments of many states on the two 
continents were deeply interested. 

The excitement was caused by a long, spindle-shaped, and 
sometimes phosphorescent object, much larger than a whale. 

The different accounts that were written of this object in 
various log-books agreed generally as to its structure, won- 
derful speed, and the peculiar life with which it appeared 
endowed. If it was a cetacean it surpassed in bulk all those 
that had hitherto been classified ; neither Cuvier, Lacepede, 
M. Dumeril, nor M. de Quatrefages would have admitted 
the existence of such a monster, unless he had seen it with 
his own scientific eyes. 

By taking the average of observations made at different 
times rejecting the timid estimates that assigned to this 
object a length of 200 feet, as well as the exaggerated 
opinions which made it out to be a mile in width and three 
in length we may fairly affirm that it surpassed all the 
dimensions allowed by the ichthyologists of the day, if it 
existed at all. It did exist, that was undeniable, and with 
that leaning towards the marvellous that characterises 
humanity, we cannot wonder at the excitement it produced 
in the entire world. 

On the 20th of July, 1866, the steamer Governor Higgen- 
son, of the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation Com- 
pany, met this moving mass five miles off the east coast of 
Australia. Captain Baker thought at first that he was in 
presence of an unknown reef ; he was preparing to take its 


exact position, when two columns of water, projected by the 
inexplicable object, went hissing up a hundred and fifty feet 
into the air. Unless there was an intermittent geysern on the 
reef, the Governor Higgenson had to do with some aquatic 
mammal, unknown till then, which threw out columns of 
water mixed with air and vapour from its blow-holes. 

A similar occurrence happened on the 23rd of July in the 
same year to the Columbus, of the West India and Pacific 
Steam Navigation Company, in the Pacific Ocean. It was, 
therefore, evident that this extraordinary cetaceous crea- 
ture could transport itself from one place to another with 
surprising velocity, seeing there was but an interval of 
three days between the two observations, separated by a 
distance of more than 700 nautical leagues. 

Fifteen days later, two thousand leagues from the last 
place it was seen by the Helvetia, of the Compagnie Nation- 
ale, and the Shannon of the Royal Mail Steamship Company, 
in the Atlantic. As the Shannon and Helvetia were of 
smaller dimensions than the object, though they measured 
300 feet over all, the minimum length of the mammal was 
estimated at more than 350 feet. Now the largest whales 
are never more than sixty yards long, if so long. 

These accounts arrived one after another ; fresh obser- 
vations made on board the transatlantic ship Le Pereire, 
the running foul of the monster by the Etna, of the Inman 
line ; a report drawn up by the officers of the French frigate 
La Normandie ; a very grave statement made by the ship's 
officers of the Commodore Fitzjames on board the Lord 
Clyde, deeply stirred public opinion. 

The monster became the topic of the day ; it was dis- 
cussed at length gravely and humorously in all the news- 

For six months the discussion went on with varying 
success. Finally, a popular writer in a leading satirical 
journal, hurried over the whole ground, reached the monster, 
like Hippolytus gave him his finishing blow, and killed him 
in the midst of a universal burst of laughter. Wit had 
conquered science. 

During the first months of the year 1867 the question 
seemed to be buried out of sight and mind, when some 


fresh facts brought it again before the public notice. The 
question took another phase. The monster again became 
an island or rock. On the 5th of March, 1867, the Moravian, 
of the Montreal Ocean Company, being, during the night, 
in 27 30' lat. and 72 15' long., struck her starboard quarter 
on a rock which no chart gave in that point. She was then 
going at the rate of thirteen knots under the combined 
efforts of the wind and her 400 horse power. Had it not 
been for the more than ordinary strength of the hull she 
would have been broken by the shock, and have gone down 
with the 237 passengers she was bringing from Canada. 

The accident happened about 5 a.m. at daybreak. The 
officers on watch hurried aft and looked at the sea with the 
most scrupulous attention. They saw nothing except 
what looked like a strong eddy, three cables' length off, 
as if the waves had been violently agitated. The bearings 
of the place were taken exactly, and the Moravian went on 
her way without apparent damage. Had she struck on a 
submarine rock or some enormous fragment of wreck ? 
They could not find out, but during the examination made 
of the ship's bottom when under repair it was found that 
part of her keel was broken. 

This fact, extremely grave in itself, would perhaps have 
been forgotten, like so many others, if three weeks after- 
wards it had not happened again under identical circum- 
stances, only, thanks to the nationality of the ship that was 
this time victim of the shock, and the reputation of the 
company to which the vessel belonged, the circumstance 
was immensely commented upon. 

On the I3th of April, 1867, by a smooth sea and favour- 
able breeze, the Cunard steamer Scotia was in 15 12' long. 
and 45 37' lat. She was going at the rate of thirteen 
knots an hour under the pressure of her 1,000 horse power. 

At 4.17 p.m., as the passengers were assembled at dinner 
in the great saloon, a slight shock was felt on the hull of the 
Scotia, on her quarter a little aft of the paddle. It was so 
slight that no one on board would have been uneasy at it 
had it not been for the carpenter's watch, who rushed upon 
deck, calling out " She is sinking ! she is sinking ! " 

At first the passengers were much alarmed, but Captain 


Anderson hastened to reassure them that danger could not 
be imminent, as the ship was divided into seven air-tight 
compartments, and could with impunity brave any leak. 

Captain Anderson went down immediately into the hold 
and found that a leak had sprung in the fifth compartment, 
and the sea was rushing in rapidly. He ordered the 
engines to be immediately stopped, and one of the sailors 
dived to ascertain the extent of the damage. Some minutes 
after it was found that there was a hole about two yards in 
diameter in the ship's bottom. Such a leak could not be 
stopped, and the Scotia, with her paddles half submerged, 
was obliged to continue her voyage. She was then 300 
miles from Cape Clear, and after three days' delay, which 
caused great anxiety in Liverpool, she entered the com- 
pany's docks. 

The engineers then proceeded to examine her in the dry 
dock, where she had been placed. They could scarcely 
believe their eyes ; at two yards and a half below water- 
mark was a regular rent in the shape of an isosceles triangle. 
The place where the piece had been taken out of the iron 
plates was so sharply defined that it could not have been 
done more neatly by a punch. The perforating instrument 
that had done the work was of no common stamp, for 
after having been driven with prodigious force, and pierc- 
ing an iron plate one and three-eighths of an inch thick, 
it had been withdrawn by some wonderful retrograde 

Such was the last fact, and it again awakened public 
opinion on the subject. 



AT the time when these events were happening I was 
returning from a scientific expedition into the disagreeable 
region of Nebraska, in the United States. In my capacity 
of Assistant Professor in the Paris Museum of Natural 
History, the French Government had attached me to that 
expedition. I arrived, at the end of March, at New York, 
loaded with precious collections made during six months 
in Nebraska. My departure from France was fixed for 


the beginning of May. Whilst I waited and was occupying 
myself with classifying my mineralogical, botanical, and 
zoological riches, the incident happened to the Scotia. 

I was perfectly acquainted with the subject which was 
the topic of the day. I had repeatedly read all the American 
and European papers without being any the wiser as to 
the cause. The mystery puzzled me, and I hesitated to 
form any conclusion. 

When I arrived at New York the subject was hot. The 
hypothesis of a floating island or reef was quite abandoned, 
for unless the shoal had a machine in its stomach, how could 
it change its position with such marvellous rapidity ? For 
the same reason the idea of a floating huh 1 or gigantic wreck 
was given up. 

There remained, therefore, two possible solutions of the 
enigma which created two distinct parties ; one was that 
the object was a colossal monster, the other that it was a 
submarine vessel of enormous motive power. This last 
hypothesis, which, after all, was admissible, could not stand 
against inquiries made in the two hemispheres. It was 
hardly probable that a private individual should possess 
such a machine. Where and when had he caused it to be 
built, and how could he have kept its construction secret ? 
Certainly a government might possess such a destructive 
engine, and it was possible in these disastrous times, when 
the power of weapons of war has been multiplied, that, 
without the knowledge of others, a state might possess 
so formidable a weapon. After the chassepots came the 
torpedoes, and after the torpedoes the submarine rams, 
and after them the reaction. At least, I hope so. 

But the hypothesis of a war machine fell before the 
declaration of different governments, and as the public 
interest suffered from the difficulty of transatlantic com- 
munication, their veracity could not be doubted. Besides, 
secrecy would be even more difficult to a government than 
to a private individual. After inquiries made in England, 
France, Russia, Prussia, Spain, Italy, America, and even 
Turkey, the hypothesis of a submarine monster was defi- 
nitely rejected. 

On my arrival at New York, several persons did 


me the honour of consulting me about the pheno- 
menon. I had published in France a quarto work in two 
volumes, called The Mysteries of the Great Submarine 
Grounds. This book made some sensation in the scientific 
world, and gained me a special reputation in this rather 
obscure branch of Natural History. As long as I could 
deny the reality of the fact I kept to a decided negative, 
but I was soon driven into a corner, and was obliged 
to explain myself categorically. The Honourable Pierre 
Aronnax, Professor in the Paris Museum, was asked by the 
New York Herald to give his opinion on the matter. I 
subjoin an extract from the article which I published on the 
30th of April : 

" After having examined the different hypotheses one by 
one, and all other suppositions being rejected, the existence 
of a marine animal of excessive strength must be admitted. 

" The greatest depths of the ocean are totally unknown 
to us. What happens there ? What beings can live twelve 
or fifteen miles below the surface of the sea ? We can 
scarcely conjecture what the organisation of these animals is. 
However the solution of the problem submitted to me may 
affect the form of the dilemma, we either know all the 
varieties of beings that people our planet or we do not. If 
we do not know them all if there are still secrets of sub- 
marine life for us nothing is more reasonable than to 
admit the existence of fishes or cetaceans of an organisation 
suitable to the strata inaccessible to soundings, which for 
some reason or other come up to the surface at intervals. 

" If, on the contrary, we do know all living species, we 
must of course look for the animal in question amongst the 
already classified marine animals, and in that case I should 
be disposed to admit the existence of a gigantic narwhal. 

" The common narwhal, or sea-unicorn, is often sixty feet 
long. This size increases five or tenfold, and a strength in 
proportion to its size being given to the cetacean, and its 
offensive arms being increased in the same proportion, you 
obtain the animal required. It will have the proportions 
given by the officers of the Shannon, the instrument that 
perforated the Scotia, and the strength necessary to pierce 
the hull of the steamer. 


" In fact, the narwhal is armed with a kind of ivory 
sword or halberd, as some naturalists call it. It is the 
principal tusk, and is as hard as steel. Some of these tusks 
have been found imbedded in the bodies of whales, which 
the narwhal always attacks with success. Others have 
been with difficulty taken out of ships' bottoms, which they 
pierced through and through like a gimlet in a barrel. The 
Museum of the Paris Faculty of Medicine contains one of 
these weapons, two and a quarter yards in length and 
fifteen inches in diameter at the base. 

" Now suppose this weapon to be ten times stronger, and 
its possessor ten times more powerful, hurl it at the rate of 
twenty miles an hour, and you obtain a shock that might 
produce the catastrophe required. Therefore, until I get 
fuller information, I shall suppose it to be a sea-unicorn of 
colossal dimensions, armed, not with a halberd, but with a 
spur like ironclads or battering rams, the massiveness and 
motive power of which it would possess at the same time. 
This inexplicable phenomenon may be thus explained, 
unless something exists over and above anything ever con- 
jectured, seen, or experienced, which is just possible." 

The last words were cowardly on my part, but I wished 
up to a certain point to cover my dignity as professor, and 
not to give too much cause of laughter to the Americans, 
who laugh well when they do laugh. I reserved myself a 
loophole of escape, and, in fact, admitted the existence of 
the monster. 

My article was well received, and provoked much dis- 
cussion amongst the public. It rallied a certain number of 
partisans. The solution which it proposed left freedom 
to the imagination. The human mind likes these grand 
conceptions of supernatural beings. Now the sea is the 
only medium in which these giants, by the side of which 
terrestrial animals, elephants or rhinoceri, are but dwarfs, 
can breed and develop. The liquid masses transport 
the largest known species of mammalia, and they 
perhaps contain molluscs of enormous size, crustaceans 
frightful to contemplate, such as lobsters more than a 
hundred yards long, or crabs weighing two hundred tons. 
Why should it not be so ? Formerly, terrestrial animals, 


contemporaries of the geological epochs, quadrupeds, 
quadrumans, reptiles, and birds, were constructed in gigan- 
tic moulds. The Creator had thrown them into a colossal 
mould which time has gradually lessened. Why should 
not the sea in its unknown depths have kept there vast 
specimens of the life of another age the sea which never 
changes, whilst the earth changes incessantly ? Why 
should it not hide in its bosom the last varieties of these 
Titanic species, whose years are centuries, and whose 
centuries are millenniums ? 

But I am letting myself be carried away by reveries 
which are no longer such to me. A truce to chimeras 
which time has changed for me into terrible realities. I 
repeat, opinion was then made up as to the nature of the 
phenomenon, and the public admitted the existence of the 
prodigious animal which had nothing in common with the 
mythical sea serpents. 

But if some people saw in this nothing but a purely 
scientific problem to solve, others more positive, especially 
in America and England, were of opinion to purge the ocean 
of this formidable monster, in order to reassure transmarine 

All papers devoted to insurance companies who threat- 
ened to raise their rate of premium, were unanimous 
on this point. Public opinion having declared its 
verdict, the United States were first in the field, and pre- 
parations for an expedition to pursue the narwhal were at 
once begun in New York. A very fast frigate, the Abraham 
Lincoln, was put in commission, and the arsenals were 
opened to Captain Farragut, who hastened the arming of his 

But, as generally happens, from the moment it was 
decided to pursue the monster, the monster was not heard 
of for two months. It seemed as if this unicorn knew 
about the plots that were being weaved for it. It had been 
so much talked of, even through the Atlantic Cable ! 
Would-be wits pretended that the cunning fellow had 
stopped some telegram in its passage, and was now using 
the knowledge for his own benefit. 

So when the frigate had been prepared for a long cam- 


paign, and furnished with formidable fishing apparatus, 
they did not know where to send her to. Impatience was 
increasing with the delay, when on July 2nd it was reported 
that a steamer of the San Francisco line, from California to 
Shanghai, had met with the animal three weeks before in 
the North Pacific Ocean. 

The interest aroused by the news was intense, and 
twenty-four hours only were granted to Captain Farragut 
before he sailed. 

Three hours before the Abraham Lincoln left Brooklyn 
Pier I received the following letter : 

" To M. ARONNAX, Professor of the Paris Museum, 
" Fifth Avenue Hotel, 

" New York. 

" SIR, If you would like to join the expedition of the 
Abraham Lincoln, the United States Government will have 
great pleasure in seeing France represented by you in the 
enterprise. Captain Farragut has a cabin at your disposi- 
tion. " Faithfully yours, 

% " Secretary of Marine." 



THREE seconds before the arrival of J. B. Hobson's letter 
I had no more idea of pursuing the unicorn than of attempt- 
ing the North- West Passage. Three seconds after having 
read the secretary's letter I had made up my mind that 
ridding the world of this monster was my veritable vocation 
and the single aim of my life. 

But I had just returned from a fatiguing journey, and was 
longing for rest in my own little place in the Jardin des 
Plantes amongst my dear and precious collections. But I 
forgot all fatigue, repose and collections, and accepted 
without further reflection the offer of the American Govern- 

" Besides," I said to myself, " all roads lead back to 
Europe, and the unicorn may be amiable enough to draw 
me towards the French coast. This worthy animal may 


allow itself to be caught in European seas for my especial 
benefit, and I will not take back less than half a yard of its 
halberd to the Natural History Museum." 

But in the meantime the narwhal was taking me to the 
North Pacific Ocean, which was going to the antipodes on 
the road to France. 

" Conseil ! " I called in an impatient tone. " Conseil ! " 

Conseil was my servant, a faithful fellow who accom- 
panied me in all my journeys, a brave Dutchman I had great 
confidence in ; he was phlegmatic by nature, regular from 
principle, zealous from habit, showing little astonishment 
at the varied surprises of life, very skilful with his hands, 
and, in spite of his name, never giving any counsel, even 
when not asked for it. 

Through being brought in contact with men of science 
in our Jardin des Plantes, Conseil had succeeded in knowing 
something. He was a specialist, well up in the classifica- 
tion of Natural History, but his science stopped there. 
And yet what a brave fellow he was ! 

Conseil had followed me during the last ten years wher- 
ever science had directed my steps. He never complained 
of the length or fatigue of a journey, or of having to pack 
his trunk for any country, however remote. He went there 
or elsewhere without questioning the wherefore. His health 
defied all illness, and he had slid muscles, but no nerves 
not the least appearance of nerves of course I mean in his 
mental faculties. He was thirty years old, and his age to 
that of his master was as fifteen is to twenty. May I be 
excused for saying that I was forty ? 

But Conseil had one fault. He was intensely formal, and 
would never speak to me except in the third person, which 
was sometimes irritating. 

" Conseil 1 " I repeated, beginning my preparations for 
departure with a feverish hand. 

Conseil appeared. 

' Did monsieur call me ? " said he on entering. 

' Yes, my boy. Get yourself and me ready to start in 
two hours." 

' As it pleases monsieur," answered Conseil calmly. 

' There is not a minute to lose. Pack up all my travel- 


ling utensils, as many coats, shirts and socks as you can get 
in. Make haste ! " 

" And monsieur's collections ? " asked Conseil. 

" They will be attended to during our absence. Besides, I 
will give orders to have our menagerie forwarded to France." 

" We are not going back to Paris, then ? " asked Conseil. 

" Yes certainly we are," answered I evasively ; " but 
by making a curve." 

" The curve that monsieur pleases." 

" Oh, it is not much ; not so direct a route, that's all. 
We are going in the Abraham Lincoln." 

" As it may suit monsieur." 

" You know about the monster, Conseil the famous 
narwhal. We are going to rid the seas of it. The author 
of the Great Submarine Grounds cannot do otherwise than 
embark with Commander Farragut. A glorious mission, 
but dangerous too. We don't know where we are going 
to. Those animals may be very capricious ! But we will 
go, whether or no ! We have a captain who will keep his 
eyes open." 

" As monsieur does I will do," answered Conseil. 

" But think, for I will hide nothing from you. It is 
one of those voyages from which people do not always come 

" As monsieur pleases." 

A quarter of an hour afterwards our trunks were ready. 
Conseil had packed them by sleight of hand, and I was sure 
nothing would be missing, for the fellow classified shirts and 
clothes as well as he did birds or mammals. 

The hotel lift deposited us in the large vestibule of the first 
floor. I went down the few stairs that led to the ground 
floor. I paid my bill at the vast counter, always besieged 
by a busy crowd. I gave the order to send my cases of 
stuffed animals and dried plants to Paris, where I had 
instructed by telegraph my bankers to appoint a caretaker, 
and without waiting for an answer, I sprang into a vehicle, 
followed by Conseil. 

The vehicle at fifteen shillings the course, descended 
Broadway as far as Union Square, went along Fourth 
avenue to its junction with Bowery Street, then along 


Katrin Street, and stopped at the thirty- fourth pier. There 
the Katrin ferry-boat transported us, men, horses, and 
vehicle, to Brooklyn, and in a few minutes we arrived at 
the quay opposite which the Abraham Lincoln was pouring 
forth clouds of black smoke from her two funnels. 

Our luggage was at once sent on board, and we soon 
followed it. I asked for Captain Farragut. One of the 
sailors conducted me to the poop, where I found myself 
in the presence of a pleasant-looking officer, who held out 
his hand to me. 

" Monsieur Pierre Aronnax ? " he said. 

" Himself," replied I. " Do I see Captain Farragut ? " 

" In person. You are welcome, professor. Your cabin 
is ready for you." 

I bowed and leaving the commander to his duties, went 
down to the cabin which had been prepared for me. 

The Abraham Lincoln had been well chosen and equipped 
for her new destination. She was furnished with a heating 
apparatus that allowed the tension of the steam to reach 
seven atmospheres. Under that pressure the Abraham 
Lincoln reached an average speed of eighteen miles and 
three-tenths an hour good speed, but not enough to wrestle 
with the gigantic cetacean. 

The interior arrangements of the frigate were in keeping 
with her nautical qualities. I was well satisfied with my 
cabin, which was situated aft, and opened on the wardroom. 

" We shall be comfortable here," said I to Conseil. 

" Yes, as comfortable as a hermit crab in a crumpet- 

I left Conseil to stow our luggage away, and went up on 
deck in order to see the preparations for departure. Cap- 
tain Farragut was just ordering the last moorings to be 
cast loose, so that had I been one quarter of an hour later 
the frigate would have started without me. 

But Commander Farragut did not wish to loose either a 
day or an hour before scouring the seas in which the animal 
had just been signalled. 

The Abraham Lincoln was soon moving majestically 
amongst a hundred ferry-boats and tenders loaded with 
spectators, past the Brooklyn quay, on which as well as on 


all that part of New York bordering on the East River, 
crowds of spectators were assembled. Thousands of hand- 
kerchiefs were waved above the compact mass, and saluted 
the Abraham Lincoln until she reached the Hudson at the 
point of that elongated peninsula which forms the town of 
New York. 

Then the frigate followed the coast of New Jersey, along 
the right bank of the beautiful river covered with villas, 
and passed between the forts which saluted her with their 
largest guns. The Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the 
salutation by hoisting the American colours three times ; 
then modifying her speed to take the narrow channel 
marked by buoys and formed by Sandy Hook Point, she 
coasted the long sandy shore, where several thousand 
spectators saluted her once more. 

Her escort of boats and tenders followed her till she 
reached the lightboat, the two lights of which mark the 
entrance to the New York Channel. 

Three o'clock was then striking. The pilot went down 
into his boat and rejoined the little schooner which was 
waiting under lee, the fires were made up, the screw beat 
the waves more rapidly, and the frigate coasted the low 
yellow shore of Long Island, and at 8 p.m., after having lost 
sight in the north-west of the lights on Fire Island, she ran 
at full steam on to the dark waters of the Atlantic. 



CAPTAIN FARRAGUT was a good seaman, worthy of the frigate 
he was commanding. His ship and he were one. He was 
the soul of it. No doubt arose in his mind on the question 
of the cetacean, and he did not allow the existence of the 
animal to be disputed on board. He believed in it like 
certain simple souls believe in the Leviathan by faith, 
not by sight. The monster existed, and he had sworn to 
capture it, dead or alive. Either Captain Farragut would 
kill the narwhal or the narwhal would kill Captain Farragut 
there was no middle course. 

The officers on board shared the. opinion of their chief. 


It was amusing to hear them talking, arguing, disputing and 
calculating the different chances of meeting whilst they kept 
a sharp look-out over the vast extent of ocean. More than 
one took up his position on the crosstrees and would have 
cursed the duty as a nuisance at any other time. And 
nevertheless the Abraham Lincoln was not yet ploughing 
with her stern the suspected waters of the Pacific. 

As to the crew, all they wanted was to meet the unicorn, 
harpoon it, haul it on board, and cut it up. Captain Farra- 
gut had offered a reward of 2,000 dollars to the first cabin- 
boy, sailor, or officer who should signal the animal. I have 
already said that Captain Farragut had carefully provided 
all the tackle necessary for taking the gigantic cetacean. 
A whaler would not have been better furnished. We had 
every known engine, from the hand harpoon to the barbed 
arrow of the blunderbuss and the explosive bullets of the 
deck-gun. On the forecastle lay a perfect breechloader 
very thick at the breech and narrow in the bore, the model 
of which had been in the Paris Exhibition of 1867. This 
precious weapon, of American make, could throw Math ease 
a projectile, weighing nine pounds, to a mean distance of 
ten miles. Thus the Abraham Lincoln not only possessed 
every means of destruction, but, better still, she had on 
board Ned Land, the king of harpooners. 

Ned Land was a Canadian who had no equal in his peril- 
ous employment. He possessed ability, audacity, and 
subtleness to a remarkable degree, and it would have taken 
a sharp whale or a singularly wily cachalot to escape his 
harpoon. He was about forty years of age, tall, strongly 
built, grave, and taciturn, sometimes violent, and very 
passionate when put out. His person, and especially the 
power of his glance, which gave a singular expression to his 
face, attracted attention. 

I believe that Captain Farragut had done wisely in engag- 
ing this man. He was worth all the rest of the ship's 
company as far as his eye and arm went. I could not com- 
pare him to anything better than a powerful telescope which 
would be a cannon always ready to fire as well. 

Ned Land was a descendant of French Canadians, and 
although he was so little communicative, he took a sort of lik- 


ing to me. My nationality, doubtless, attracted him. The 
family of the harpooner came originally from Quebec, and 
already formed a tribe of hardy fishermen when that town 
belonged to France. Little by little Ned Land acquired a 
liking for talk, and I was delighted to hear the recital of his 
adventures in the Polar Seas. 

I now depict this brave companion as I knew him after- 
wards, for we are old friends united in that unchangeable 
friendship which is born and cemented in mutual danger. 

Now what was Ned Land's opinion on the subject of this 
marine monster ? I must acknowledge that he hardly 
believed in the narwhal, and that he was the only one on 
board who did not share the universal conviction. 

One magnificent evening, three weeks after our departure, 
on the 3oth of July, the frigate was abreast of Cape Slanc, 
thirty miles to leeward of the Patagonian coast. Another 
week and the Abraham Lincoln would be ploughing -he 
waters of the Pacific. 

Seated on the poop, Ned Land and I were talking on ill 
sorts of subjects, looking at that mysterious sea whose 
greatest depths have remained till now inaccessible f o the 
eye of man. I brought the conversation naturally to the 
subject of the giant unicorn, and discussed the different 
chances of success in our expedition. Then seeing that Ned 
Land let me go on talking without saying anything himself, 
I pressed him more closely. 

" Well, Ned," I said to him, " are you not yet convinced 
of the existence of the cetacean we are pursuing ? Have 
you any particular reasons for being so incredulous ? " 

The harpooner looked at me for some minutes before 
replying, struck his forehead with a gesture habitual to 
him, shut his eyes as if to collect himself, and said at last 

" Perhaps I have, M. Aronnax." 

" Yet you, Ned, are a whaler by profession. You are 
familiar with the great marine mammalia, and your imagi- 
nation ought easily to accept the hypothesis of enormous 
cetaceans. You ought to be the last to doubt in such cir- 

" That is what deceives you, sir," answered Ned. " It 
is not strange that common people should believe in extra- 


ordinary comets, or the existence of antediluvian monsters 
peopling the interior of the globe, but no astronomer or 
geologist would believe in such chimeras. The whaler is 
the same. I have pursued many cataceans, harpooned a 
great number, and killed some few ; but however powerful 
or well armed they were, neither their tails nor their defences 
could ever have made an incision in the iron plates of a 

" Yet, Ned, it is said that ships have been bored through 
by the tusk of a narwhal." 

" Wooden ships, perhaps," answered the Canadian, 
" though I have never seen it, and until I get proof to the 
contrary I deny that whales, cachalots, or sea-unicorns 
could produce such an effect." 

" Listen to me, Ned." 

" No, sir, no ; anything you like but that a gigantic 
poulp, perhaps ? " 

" No, that can't be. The poulp is only a mollusc ; its 
flesh has no more consistency than its name indicates." 

" Then you really do believe in this cetacean, sir ? " 
said Ned. 

" Yes, Ned. I repeat it with a conviction resting on the 
logic of facts. I believe in the existence of a mammal, 
powerfully organised, belonging to the branch of vertebrata, 
like whales, cachalots, and dolphins, and furnished with a 
horn tusk, of which the force of penetration is extreme." 

" Hum ! " said the harpooner, shaking his head like a 
man who will not let himself be convinced. 

" Remember, my worthy Canadian," I continued, " if 
such an animal exists and inhabits the depths of the ocean, 
it necessarily possesses an organisation the strength of 
which would defy all comparison." 

" Why must it have such an organisation ? " asked Ned. 

" Because it requires an incalculable strength to keep in 
such deep water and resist its pressure. Admitting that 
the pressure of the atmosphere is represented by that of a 
column of water thirty-two feet high. In reality the 
column of water would not be so high, as it is sea-water 
that is in question, and its density is greater than that of 
fresh water. When you dive, Ned, as many times thirty- 


two feet of water as there are above you, so many times 
does your body support a pressure equal to that of the j 
atmosphere that is to say, islbs. for each square inch of 
its surface. It hence follows that at 320 feet this pressure 
equals that of 10 atmospheres ; at 3,200 feet, 100 atmos- 
pheres ; and at 32,000 feet, 1,000 atmospheres that is, 
about six and a half miles, which is equivalent to saying 
that if you can reach this depth in the ocean, each square 
inch of the surface of your body would bear a pressure of 
14,933 Ibs. Do you know how many square inches you 
have on the surface of your body ? " 

" I have no idea, Aronnax." 

" About 6,500 ; and as in reality the atmospheric pres- 
sure is about 15 Ibs. to the square inch your 6,500 square 
inches support at this minute a pressure of 97,500 Ibs." 

" Without my perceiving it ? " 

" Yes ; and if you are not crushed by such a pressure, 
it is because the air penetrates the interior of your body 
with equal pressure, and there is a perfect equilibrium be- 
tween the interior and exterior pressure, which thus neutra- 
lise each other, and allow you to bear it without inconveni- 
ence. But it is another thing in water." 

" Yes, I understand," answered Ned, becoming more 
attentive, " because I am in water, but it is not in me." 

" Precisely, Ned ; so that at 32 feet below the surface of 
the sea you would undergo a pressure of 97,500 Ibs ; at 
320 feet, 975,000 Ibs. ; and at 32,000 feet the pressure 
would be 97,500,000 Ibs. that is to say, you would be 
crushed as flat as a pancake." 

" The devil ! " exclaimed Ned. 

" If vertebrata can maintain themselves in such depths, 
especially those whose surface is represented by millions of 
square inches, it is by hundreds of millions of pounds we 
must estimate the pressure they bear. Calculate, then, 
what must be the resistance of their bony structure and the 
strength of their organisation to withstand such a pres- 

" They must be made of iron plate eight inches thick 
like the ironclads ! " said Ned. 

" Yes, and think what destruction such a mass could 


cause if hurled with the speed of an express against the hull 
of a ship." 

Ned would not give in. 

" Have I not convinced you ? " I asked. 

" You have convinced me of one thing, sir, which is, that 
if such animals do exist at the bottom of the sea they must 
be as strong as you say." 

" But if they do not exist, Mr. Obstinate, how do you 
account for the Scotia's accident ? " 

" Because it is not true ! " answered the Canadian. 

But this answer proved the obstinacy of the harpooner 
and nothing else. That day I did not press him further. 
The accident to the Scotia was undeniable. Now the hole 
had not made itself, and since it had not been done by sub- 
marine rocks, it was certainly due to the perforating tool of 
an animal. 



THE voyage of the Abrahan Lincoln for some time was 
marked by no incident. At last a circumstance arose to 
show the wonderful skill of Ned Land and the confidence 
that might be placed in him. 

On the 3oth of June the frigate, being then off the Falk- 
land Islands, spoke some American whalers, who told us 
they had not met with the narwhal. But one of them, the 
captain of the Munroe, knowing that Ned Land was on 
board the Abraham Lincoln, asked for his help in captur- 
ing a whale they had in sight. Captain Farragut, desirous 
of seeing Ned Land at work, allowed him to go on board 
the Munroe, and fortune favoured our Canadian so well, that 
instead of one whale he harpooned two with a double blow, 
striking one right in the heart, and capturing the other after 
a pursuit of some minutes. 

The frigate skirted the south-east coast of America with 
extraordinary rapidity. On the 3rd of July we were at the 
opening of the Straits of Magellan, off Cape Vierges. But 
Captain Farragut did not wish to take this sinuous passage, 
but worked the ship for the doubling of Cape Horn. 

On the 6th of July, about 3 p.m., we doubled, fifteen 


miles to the south, the solitary island to which some Dutch 
sailors gave the name of their native town, Cape Horn. 
The next day the frigate was in the Pacific. 

" Keep a sharp look-out ! " cried all the sailors. 

Both eyes and telescopes, a little dazzled certainly by the 
thought of 2,000 dollars, never had a minute's rest. Day 
and night they observed the surface of the ocean. 

I myself, who thought little about the money, was not, 
however, the least attentive on board. I was constantly on 
deck, giving but few minutes to my meals, and indifferent 
to either rain or sunshine. Now leaning over the sea on 
the forecastle, now on the taffrail, I devoured with greedy 
eyes the soft foam which whitened the sea as far as those 
eyes could reach ! How many times have I shared the 
emotion of the officers and crew when some capricious 
whale raised its black back above the waves ! The deck 
was crowded in a minute. The companion ladders poured 
forth a torrent of officers and sailors, each with heaving 
breast and troubled eye watching the cetacean. I looked 
and looked till I was nearly blind, whilst Conseil, always 
calm, kept saying to me 

" If monsieur did not keep his eyes open so much he 
would see more." 

But vain excitement ! The Abraham Lincoln would 
modify her speed, run down the animal signalled, which al- 
ways turned out to be a simple whale or common cachalot, 
and disappeared amidst a storm of execration. 

In the meantime the weather remained favourable. The 
voyage was being accomplished under the best conditions. 
It was then the bad season in the southern hemisphere, for 
the July of that zone corresponds with the January of 
Europe, yet the sea was so calm that the eye could scan a 
vast circumference. 

Ned Land always showed the most tenacious incredulity ; 
he even affected not to examine the seas except during his 
watch, unless a whale was in sight ; and yet his marvellous 
power of vision might have been of great service. But eight 
hours out of the twelve the obstinate Canadian read or slept 
in his cabin. 

" Bah ! " he would answer ; " there is nothing, M. 


Aronnax ; and even if there is an animal, what chance have 
we of seeing it ? Are we not going about at random ? I 
will admit that the beast has been seen again in the North 
Pacific, but two months have already gone by since that 
meeting, and according to the temperament of your nar- 
whal it does not like to stop long enough in the same quarter 
to grow mouldy. Therefore, if the beast exists, it is far 
enough off now." 

I did not know what to answer to that. We were evi- 
dently going along blindly. But how were we to do other- 
wise ? Our chances, too, were very limited. In the 
meantime no one yet doubted our eventual success. 

On the 20th of July the tropic of Capricorn was crossed at 
105* longitude, and the 2jth of the same month we crossed 
the equator on the noth meridian. These bearings taken, 
the frigate took a more decided direction westward, and 
entered the central seas of the Pacific. Commander Farra- 
gut rightly thought that it was better to frequent the deep 
seas, and keep at a distance from continents or islands.which 
the animal had always seemed to avoid approaching. 

We were at last on the scene of the last frolics of the 
monster ; and the entire crew were under the influence of 
indescribable nervous excitement. They neither ate nor 
slept. Twenty times a day some error of estimation, or 
the optical delusion of a sailor perched on the yards, caused 
intolerable frights ; and these emotions, twenty times 
repeated, kept us in a state of tension as to cause an early 

And, in fact, the reaction was not slow in coming. For 
three months three months, each day of which lasted a 
century the Abraham Lincoln ploughed all the waters of 
the North Pacific, running down all the whales signalled, 
making sharp deviations from her route, veering suddenly 
from one tack to another, and not leaving one point of the 
Chinese or Japanese coast unexplored. And yet nothing 
was seen but the immense waste of waters nothing that 
resembled a gigantic narwhal, nor a submarine islet, nor a 
wreck, nor a floating reef, nor anything at all supernatural. 

The reaction, therefore, began. Discouragement at 
first took possession of all minds, and opened a breach for 


incredulity. A new sentiment was experienced on board, 
composed of three-tenths of shame and seven-tenths of 
rage. They called themselves fools for being taken in by a 
chimera, and were still more furious at it. The mountains 
of arguments piled up for a year suddenly collapsed, and the 
determination of the crew was to compensate for the hours 
foolishly wasted in eating and sleeping. 

With the mobility natural to the human mind they 
threw themselves from one excess into another. The 
warmest partisans of the enterprise became finally its most 
ardent detractors. The reaction ascended from the depths 
of the vessel, from the coal-hole, to the officers' ward-room, 
and certainly, had it not been for very strong determination 
on the part of Captain Farragut, the head of the frigate 
would have been definitely turned southward. 

However, this useless search could be no further pro- 
longed. The Abraham Lincoln had nothing to reproach 
herself with, having done all she could to succeed. There 
was nothing left to do but to return. 

A representation in this sense was made to the com- 
mander. The commander kept his ground. The sailors 
did not hide their dissatisfaction, and the service suffered 
from it. I do not mean that there was revolt on board, 
but after a reasonable period of obstinacy the commander, 
Farragut, like Columbus before him, asked for three days' 
patience. If in the delay of three days the monster had not 
reappeared, the man at the helm should give three turns of 
the wheel and the Abraham Lincoln should make for the 
European seas. 

This promise was made on the 2nd of November. Its 
first effect was to rally the spirits of the ship's company. 
The ocean was observed with renewed attention. 

Two days passed. The frigate kept up steam at half- 
pressure. Large quantities of bacon were trailed in the 
wake of the ship, to the great satisfaction of the sharks. 
The frigate lay to, and her boats were sent in all directions, 
but the night of the 4th of November passed without un- 
veiling the submarine mystery. 

The next day, the 5th of November, was the last of the 


The frigate was then in 31* 15' N. latitude and 136* 
42' E. longitude. Japan lay less than 200 miles to lee- 
ward. Eight bells had just struck as I was leaning over 
the starboard side. Conseil, standing near me, was look- 
ing straight in front of him. The crew, perched in the rat- 
lins, were keeping a sharp look-out in the approaching 
darkness. Officers with their night-glasses swept the horizon. 

Looking at Conseil, I saw that the brave fellow was feeling 
slightly the general influence at least it seemed to me so. 
Perhaps for the first time his nerves were vibrating under 
the action of a sentiment of curiosity. 

" Well, Conseil," said I, " this is your last chance of pocket- 
ing 2,000 dollars." 

" Will monsieur allow me to tell him that I never counted 
upon the reward, and if the Union had promised a hundred 
thousand dollars it would never be any the poorer." 

" You are right, Conseil. It has been a stupid affair, after 
all. We have lost time and patience, and might just as 
well have been in France six months ago." 

" Yes, in monsieur's little apartments, classifying mon- 
sieur's treasures." 

" Yes, Conseil, and besides that we shall get well laughed 

" Certainly," said Conseil tranquilly. " I think they 
will laugh at monsieur. And I must say " 

" What, Conseil ? " 

" That it will serve monsieur right ! When one has the 
honour to be a savant like monsieur, one does not ex- 

Conseil did not finish his compliment. In the midst of 
general silence Ned Land's voice was heard calling out 

" Look out there ! The thing we are looking for on our 
weather beam 1 " 



AT this cry the entire crew rushed towards the harpooner. 
Captain, officers, masters, sailors, and cabin-boys, even 
the engineers left their engines, and the stokers their fires. 
The order to stop her had been given, and the frigate was 


only moving by her own momentum. The darkness was 
then profound, and although I knew the Canadian's eyes 
were very good, I asked myself what he could have seen 
and how he could have seen it. My heart beat violently. 

But Ned Land was not mistaken, and we all saw the 
object he was pointing to. 

At two cables' length from the Abraham Lincoln on her 
starboard quarter the sea seemed to be illuminated below 
the surface. The monster lay some fathoms below the 
sea, and threw out the very intense but inexplicable light 
mentioned in the reports of several captains. 

"It is only an agglomeration of phosphoric particles," 
cried one of the officers. 

" No, sir," I replied with conviction. " That light is 
essentially electric. Besides see ! look out ! It moves 
forward on to us ! " 

A general cry rose from the frigate. 

" Silence 1 " called out the captain. " Up with the 
helm 1 Reverse the engines ! " 

The frigate thus tried to escape, but the supernatural 
animal approached her with a speed double her own. 

Stupefaction, more than fear, kept us mute and motion- 
less. The animal gained upon us. It made the round of 
the frigate, which was then going at the rate of fourteen 
knots, and enveloped her with its electric ring like lumin- 
ous dust. Then it went two or three miles off, leaving a 
phosphoric trail like the steam of an express locomotive. 
All at once, the monster rushed towards the frigate with 
frightful rapidity, stopped suddenly at a distance of twenty 
feet, and then went out, not diving, for its brilliancy did 
not die out by degrees, but all at once as if turned off. 
Then it reappeared on the other side of the ship, either 
going round her or gliding under her hull. A collision 
might have occurred at any moment, which might have 
been fatal to us. 

I was astonished at the way the ship was worked. She 
was being attacked instead of attacking ; and I asked Cap- 
tain Farragut the reason. On the captain's generally 
impassive face was an expression of profound astonishment. 
" M. Aronnax," he said, " I do not know with how for- 


midable a being I have to deal, and I will not imprudently 
risk my frigate in the darkness. We must wait for daylight, 
and then we shall change our tactics." 

" You have no longer any doubt, captain, of the nature 
of the animal ? " 

" No, sir. It is evidently a gigantic narwhal, and an 
electric one too." 

" Perhaps," I added, " we can no more approach it than 
we could a torpedo." 

" It may possess as great blasting properties, and if it 
does it is the most terrible animal that ever was created. 
That is why I must keep on my guard." 

All the crew remained up that night. No one thought 
of going to sleep. The Abraham Lincoln, not being able 
to compete in speed, was kept under half-steam. On its 
side the narwhal imitated the frigate, let the waves rock it 
at will, and seemed determined not to leave the scene of 

Towards midnight, however, it disappeared, dying out 
like a large glowworm. At seven minutes to one in the 
morning a deafening whistle was heard, like that produced 
by a column of water driven out with extreme violence. 

The captain, Ned Land, and I were then on the poop, 
peering with eagerness through the profound darkness. 

" Ned Land," asked the commander, "have you often 
heard whales roar ? " 

" Yes, captain, often ; but never such a whale as I earned 
two thousand dollars by sighting." 

" True, you have a right to the prize ; but tell me, is it 
the same noise they make ? " 

" Yes, sir ; but this one is incomparably louder. It is 
not to be mistaken. It is certainly a cetacean. With 
your permission, sir, we will have a few words with him at 

" If he is in a humour to hear them, Mr. Land," said I, 
in an unconvinced tone. 

" Let me get within a length of four harpoons," ans- 
wered the Canadian, " and he will be obliged to listen to me." 

" But in order to approach him," continued the captain, 
'' I shall have to put a whaler at your service." 


" Certainly, sir." 

" But that will be risking the lives of my men." 

" And mine too," answered the harpooner simply. 

About 2 a.m. the luminous focus reappeared, no less in- 
tense, about five miles to the windward of the frigate. Not- 
withstanding the distance and the noise of the wind and sea, 
the loud strokes of the animal's tail were distinctly heard, 
and even its breathing. When the enormous narwhal came 
up to the surface to breathe, it seemed as if the air rushed 
into its lungs like steam in the vast cylinders of a 2,000 
horse power engine. 

With daylight the fishing-tackle was prepared. The first 
mate loaded the blunderbusses, which throw harpoons the 
distance of a mile, and long duck-guns with explosive bullets 
which inflict mortal wounds even upon the most powerful 
animals. Ned Land contented himself with sharpening his 
harpoon a terrible weapon in his hands. 

At 6 a.m. day began to break, and with the first glimmer 
of dawn the electric light of the narwhal disappeared. At 
7 a.m. a very thick sea-fog obscured the atmosphere, and the 
best glasses could not pierce it. 

I climbed the mizenmast and found some officers already 
perched on the mast-heads. 

At 8 a.m. the mist began to clear away. Suddenly, like 
the night before, Ned Land's voice was heard calling 

" It's on the port quarter ! " 

All eyes were turned towards the point indicated. There, 
A mile and a half from the frigate a large black body emerged 
more than a yard above the waves. Its tail, violently 
agitated, produced a considerable eddy. An immense 
track, dazzlingly white, marked the passage of the animal, 
ind described a long curve. 

The frigate approached the cetacean, and I could see it 
well. The accounts of it given by the Shannon and Hel- 
vetia had rather exaggerated its dimensions, and I estimated 
its length at 150 feet only. As to its other dimensions, I 
could only conceive them to be in proportion. 

Whilst I was observing it, two jets of vapour and water 
sprang from its vent-holes and ascended to a height of fifty 
yards, thus fixing my opinion as to its way of breathing. 


I concluded definitely that it belonged to the vertebrate 
branch of mammalia, order of cetaceans, family. . . . 
Here I could not decide. The order of cetaceans compre- 
hends three families whales, cachalots, and dolphins 
and it is in this last that narwhals are placed. 

The crew were waiting impatiently for their captain's 
orders. Farragut, after attentively examining the animal, 
had the chief engineer called. 

" Is your steam up, sir ? " asked the captain. 

" Yes, captain," answered the engineer. 

" Then make up your fires and put on all steam." 

Three cheers greeted this order. The hour of combat 
had arrived. Some minutes afterwards the funnels of the 
frigate were giving out torrents of black smoke, and the 
deck shook under the trembling of the boilers. 

The Abraham Lincoln, propelled by her powerful screw, 
went straight at the animal, who let her approach to within 
half a cable's length, and then, as if disdaining to dive, 
moved on, contenting itself with keeping its distance. 

This pursuit lasted about three-quarters of an hour, with- 
out the frigate gaining four yards on the cetacean. It was 
quite evident she would never reach it at that rate. 

The captain twisted his beard impatiently. 

" Ned Land ! " called the captain, " do you think I had 
better have the boats lowered ? " 

" No, sir," answered Ned Land, " for that animal won't 
be caught unless it chooses." 

" What must be done, then ? " 

" Force steam if you can, captain, and I, \\ith your per- 
mission, will post myself under the bowsprit, and if we get 
within a harpoon length I shall hurl one." 

" Very well, Ned," said the captain. " Engineer, put on 
more pressure." 

Ned Land went to his post, the fires were increased, the 
screw revolved forty-three times a minute, and the steam 
poured out of the valves. The log was heaved, and it was 
found that the frigate was going eighteen miles and five- 
tenths an hour. But the animal went eighteen and five- 
tenths an hour too. 

During another hour the frigate kept up that speed with- 


out gaining a yard. The crew began to get very angry. 
The captain not only twisted his beard, he began to gnaw it 
too. The engineer was called once more. 

" Have you reached your maximum of pressure ? " 
asked the captain. 

" Yes, sir." 

The captain ordered him to do all he could without 
absolutely blowing up the vessel, and coal was at once piled 
up on the fires. The speed of the frigate increased. Her 
masts shook again. The log was again heaved, and this 
time she was making nineteen miles and three-tenths. 

" All steam on ! " called out the captain. 

The engineer obeyed. But the cetacean did the nineteen 
miles and three-tenths as easily as the eighteen and 

What a chase ! I cannot describe the emotion that 
made my whole being vibrate again. Ned Land kept at 
his post, harpoon in hand. The animal allowed itself to 
be approached several times. Sometimes it was so near 
that the Canadian raised his hand to hurl the harpoon, 
when the animal rushed away at a speed of at least thirty 
miles an hour, and even during our maximum of speed it 
treated the frigate indifferently, going round and round it. 

A cry of fury burst from all lips. We were not further 
advanced at twelve o'clock than we had been at eight. 
Captain Farragut then made up his mind to employ more 
direct means. 

" Ah ! " said he, " so that animal goes faster than my 
ship. Well, we'll see if he'll go faster than a bullet. Master, 
send your men to the forecastle." 

The forecastle gun was immediately loaded and pointed. 
It was fired.but the ball passed some feet above the cetacean 
which kept about half a mile off. 

" Let some one else have a try ! " called out the captain. 
*' Five hundred dollars to the marksman who hits the beast. 

An old gunner with a grey beard I think I see now his 
calm face as he approached the gun put it into position and 
took a long aim. A loud report followed and mingled with 
the cheers of the crew. 

The bullet reached its destination ; it struck the animal, 


but, gliding off the rounded surface, fell into the sea two 
miles off. 

" Malediction ! " cried the captain ; " that animal must 
be clad in six-inch iron plates. But I'll catch it, if I have to 
blow up my frigate ! " 

It was to be hoped that the animal would be exhausted, 
and that it would not be indifferent to fatigue like a steam- 
engine. But the hours went on, and it showed no signs 
of exhaustion. 

It must be said, in praise of the Abraham Lincoln, that 
she struggled on indefatigably. I cannot reckon the dis- 
tance we made during this memorable day at less than 300 
miles. But night came on and closed round the heaving ocean. 

At that minute I believed our expedition to be at an 
end, and that we should see the fantastic animal no more. 

I was mistaken, for at 10.50 p.m. the electric light re- 
appeared, three miles windward to the frigate, as clear and 
intense as on the night before. 

The narwhal seemed motionless. Perhaps, fatigued 
with its day's work, it was sleeping in its billowy cradle. 
That was a chance by which the captain resolved to profit. 

He gave his orders. The Abraham Lincoln was kept up 
at half-steam, and advanced cautiously so as not to awaken 
hex adversary. It is not rare to meet in open sea with 
whales fast asleep, and Ned Land had harpooned many a 
one in that condition. The Canadian went back to his 
post under the bowsprit. 

The frigate noiselessly approached, and stopped at two 
cables' length from the animal. Nojone breathed. A pro- 
found silence reigned on deck. We were not 1,000 feet 
from the burning focus, the light of which increased and 
dazzled our eyes. 

At that minute, leaning on the forecastle bulwark, I saw 
Ned Land below me, holding the martingale with one hand 
and with the other brandishing his terrible harpoon, scarcely 
twenty feet from the motionless animal. 

All at once he threw the harpoon, and I heard the sonorous 
stroke of the weapon, which seemed to have struck a hard 

The electric light suddenly went out, and two enormous 


water-spouts fell on the deck of the frigate, running like a 
torrent from fore to aft, upsetting men and breaking the 
lashing of the spars. 

A frightful shock followed. I was thrown over the rail 
before I had time to stop myself, and fell into the sea. 



ALTHOUGH I was surprised by my unexpected fall, I still 
kept a very distinct impression of my sensations. I was at 
first dragged down to a depth of about twenty feet. I 
was a good swimmer without any pretensions to equal 
Byron or Edgar Poe, both masters in the art, and this 
plunge did not make me lose my presence of mind. Two 
vigorous kicks brought me back to the surface. 

My first care was to look for the frigate. Had the crew 
seen me disappear ? 

The darkness was profound. I perceived a black mass 
disappearing in the east, the beacon lights of which were 
dying out in the distance. It was the frigate. I gave my- 
self up. 

" Help ! help ! " cried I, swimming towards the frigate 
with desperate strokes. 

My clothes embarrassed me. The water glued them to 
my body. They paralysed my movements. I was sinking. 

" Help ! " rang out again in the darkness. 

This was the last cry I uttered. My mouth filled with 
water. I struggled to prevent being sucked into the abyss. 

Suddenly my clothes were seized by a vigorous hand, and 
I felt myself brought back violently to the surface of the 
water, and I heard yes, I heard these words uttered in my 
ear : 

" If monsieur will have the goodness to lean on my 
shoulder, monsieur will swim much better." 

I seized the arm of my faithful Conseil. 

" You ! " I cried" you ! " 

" Myself," answered Conseil, " at monsieur's service." 

" Did the shock throw you into the sea too ? " 

" No ; but being in the service of monsieur, I followed 



The worthy fellow thought that quite natural. 

" What about the frigate ? " I asked. 

" The frigate ! " answered Conseil, turning on his back ; 
*' I think monsieur will do well not to count upon the fri- 

" Why ? " 

" Because, as I jumped into the sea, I heard the man at 
the helm call out, ' The screw and the rudder are broken. ' ' 

" Broken ? " , 

" Yes, by the monster's tusk. It is the only damage she 
has sustained, I think ; but without a helm she can't do 
anything for us." 

" Then we are lost." 

" Perhaps," answered Conseil tranquilly. " In the 
meantime we have still several hours before us, and in 
several hours many things may happen." 

The imperturbable sang-froid of Conseil did me good. I 
swam more vigorously, but, encumbered by my garments, 
which dragged me down like a leaden weight, I found it ex- 
tremely difficult to keep up. Conseil perceived it. 

" Will monsieur allow me to make a slit ? " said he. And, 
slipping an open knife under my clothes, he slit them rapidly 
from top to bottom. Then he quickly helped me off with 
them whilst I swam for both. I rendered him the same ser- 
vice, and we went on swimming near each other. 

In the meantime our situation was none the less terrible. 
Perhaps our disappearance had not been noticed, and even 
if it had the frigate could not tack without her helm. Our 
only chance of safety was in the event of the boats being 

The collision had happened about n p.m. About i a.m. 
I was taken with extreme fatigue, and all my limbs be- 
came stiff with cramp. Conseil was obliged to keep me up, 
and my life depended upon him alone. I heard the poor 
fellow breathing hard, and knew he could not keep up much 

" Let me go ! Leave me ! " I cried. 

" Leave monsieur ? Never ! " he answered. " I shall 
drown with him." 

Just then the moon appeared through the fringe of a large 


cloud'that the wind was driving eastward. The surface of the 
sea shone under her rays. I lifted my head and saw the 
frigate. She was five miles from us, and only looked like a 
dark mass, scarcely distinguishable. I saw no boats. 

I tried to call out, but it was useless at that distance. 
My swollen lips would not utter a sound. Conseil could 
still speak, and I heard him call out " Help ! " several times. 

We halted for an instant and listened. It might be only 
a singing in our ears, but it seemed to me that a cry an- 
swered Conseil's. 

" Did you hear ? " I murmured. 

" Yes, yes ! " 

And Conseil threw another despairing cry into space. 
This time there could be no mistake. A voice answered ours. 
Was it the voice of some other victim of the shock, or a 
boat hailing us in the darkness ? Conseil made a supreme 
effort, and, leaning on my shoulder whilst I made a last 
struggle for us both, he raised himself half out of the water, 
and I heard him shout. Then my strength was exhausted, 
my mouth filled with water, I went cold all over, and began 
to sink. 

At that moment I hit against something hard, and I clung 
to it in desperation. Then I felt myself lifted out of the 
water, and I fainted I soon came to, thanks to the vigor- 
ous friction that was being applied to my body, and I half 
opened my eyes. 

" Conseil ! " I murmured. 

" Did monsieur ring ? " answered Conseil. 

Just then, by the light of the moon that was getting 
lower on the horizon, I perceived a face that u was not Con- 
seil's, but which I immediately recognised. 

" Ned ! " I cried. 

" The same, sir, looking after his prize," replied the 

" Were you thrown into the sea when the frigate was 
struck ? " 

" Yes, sir, but, luckier than you, I soon got upon a float- 
ing island." 

" An island ? " 

" Yes, or if you like better, on our giant narwhal." 


" What do you mean, Ned ? " 

" I mean that I understand now why my. harpoon did 
not stick into the skin, but was blunted." 

" Why, Ned, why ? " 

" Because the beast is made of sheet-iron plates." 

I wriggled myself quickly to the top of the half-submerged 
being or object on which we had found refuge. I struck 
my foot against it. It was evidently a hard and impene- 
trable body, and not the soft substance which forms the 
mass of great marine mammalia. But this hard body could 
not be a bony substance like that of antediluvian animals. I 
could not even class it amongst amphibious reptiles, such as 
tortoises and alligators, for the blackish back that sup- 
ported me was not scaly but smooth and polished. 

The blow produced a metallic sound, and, strange as it 
may appear, seemed caused by being struck on riveted plates. 
Doubt was no longer possible. The phenomenon that had 
puzzled the scientific world, and misled the imagination of 
sailors in the two hemspheres, was, it must be acknow- 
edged, a still more astonishing phenomenon, a phenomenon 
of man's making. It seems quite simple that anything 
prodigious should come from the hand of the Creator, but to 
find the impossible realised by the hand of man was enough 
to confound the imagination. 

We were lying upon^the top of a sort of submarine boat, 
which looked to me like an immense steel fish. Ned Land's 
mind was made up on that point, and Conseil and I could 
only agree with him. 

" But then," said I, " this apparatus must have a loco- 
motive machine, and a crew inside of it to work it." 

"Evidently," replied the harpooner, "and yet for the three 
hours that I have inhabited this floating island it has not 
given sign of life." 

" The vessel has not moved ? " 

" No, M. Aronnax. It is cradled in the waves, but it 
does not move." 

" We know, without the slighest doubt, however, that it 
is endowed with great speed, and as a machine is necessary 
to produce the speed, and a mechanician to guide it, I con- 
clude from that that we are saved." 


" Hum," said Ned Land in a reserved tone of voice. 

At that moment, and as if to support my arguments, a 
boiling was heard at the back of the strange apparatus, 
the propeller of which was evidently a screw, and it began 
to move. We only had time to hold on to its upper part, 
which emerged about a yard out of the water. Happily its 
speed was not excessive. 

" As long as it moves horizontally," murmured Ned 
Land, " I have nothing to say. But if it takes into its 
head to plunge I would not give two dollars for my skin ! " 

The Canadian might have said less still. It therefore 
became urgent to communicate with whatever beings were 
shut up in the machine. I looked on its surface for an 
opening, a panel, a " man-hole," to use the technical ex- 
pression ; but the lines of bolts, solidly fastened down on 
the joints of the plates, were clear and uniform. 

Besides, the moon then disappeared and left us in pro- 
found obscurity. We were obliged to wait till daybreak 
to decide upon the means of penetrating to the interior of 
this submarine boat. 

Thus, then, our safety depended solely upon the caprice 
of the mysterious steersmen who directed this apparatus, 
and if they plunged we were lost ! Unless that happened I 
did not doubt the possibility of entering into communica- 
tion with them. And it was certain that unless they made 
their own air they must necessarily return from time to 
time to the surface of the ocean. Therefore there must be 
an opening which put the interior of the boat into com- 
munication with the atmosphere. 

As to the hope of being saved by Commander Farragut, 
that had to be abandoned. We were dragged westward, 
and I estimated that our speed attained twelve miles an 
hour. The screw beat the waves with mathematical 
regularity, sometimes emerging and throwing the phos- 
phorescent water to a great height. 

About 4 a.m. the rapidity of the apparatus increased. 
We resisted with difficulty this whirling impulsion, when the 
waves beat upon us in all their fury. Happily Ned touched 
with his hand a wide balustrade fastened on to the upper 
part of the iron top, and we succeeded in holding on to it. 


At last this long night slipped away. My incomplete 
memory does not allow me to retrace all the impressions 
of it. A single detail returns to my mind. During certain 
hillings of the sea and wind, I thought several times I 
heard vague sounds, a sort of fugitive harmony produced 
by far-off chords. What, then, was the mystery of this 
submarine navigation, of which the entire world vainly 
sought the explanation ? What beings lived in this strange 
boat ? 

When daylight appeared the morning mists enveloped us, 
but they soon rose, and I proceeded to make an examination 
of the sort of horizontal platform we were on, when I felt 
myself gradually sinking. 

" A thousand devils ! " cried Land, kicking against the 
metal, " open, inhospitable creatures ! " 

But it was difficult to make oneself heard amidst the 
deafening noise made by the screw. Happily the sinking 

Suddenly a noise like iron bolts violently withdrawn was 
heard from the interior of the boat. One of the iron plates 
was raised, a man appeared, uttered a strange cry, and 
disappeared immediately. 

Some moments after eight strong fellows, with veiled 
faces, silently appeared, and dragged us down into their 
formidable machine. 



THIS abduction, so brutally executed, took place with 
the rapidity of lightning. I do not know what my com- 
panions felt at being introduced into this floating prison ; 
but, for my own part, a rapid shudder froze my veins. 
With whom had we to do ? Doubtless with a new species 
of pirates, who made use of the sea in a way of their own. 
The narrow panel had scarcely closed upon me when I 
was enveloped by profound darkness. My eyes, dazzled 
by the light outside, could distinguish nothing. I felt 
my naked feet touch the steps of an iron ladder. Ned 
Land and Conseil, firmly held, followed me. At the bottom 


of the ladder a door opened and closed again immediately 
with a bang. 

We were alone. Where ? I neither knew nor could I 
imagine. All was absolute darkness. 

Meanwhile, Ned Land, furious at this manner of pro- 
ceeding, gave free course to his indignation. 

" The people here equal the Scotch in hospitality ! " he 
cried. " They could not be worse if they were cannibals. 
I shouldn't be surprised if they were, but I declare they 
shan't eat me without my protesting ! " 

" Calm yourself, friend Ned ; calm yourself," answered 
Conseil tranquilly. " Don't get into a rage beforehand. We 
aren't on the spit yet." 

" No, but we're in the oven. This hole's as dark as one. 
Happily my bowie-knife is still on me, and the first rascal 
that lays his hand on me " 

" Don't get irritated, Ned," then said I to the harpooner, 
" and do not compromise yourself by useless violence. 
Who knows that we are not overheard ? Let us rather try 
to make out where we are." 

I groped my way about. When I had gone about five 
steps I came to an iron wall made of riveted plates. Then 
turning, I knocked against a wooden table, near which 
were several stools. The flooring of this prison was hidden 
under thick flax-like matting, which deadened the noise 
of our footsteps. The walls revealed no traces of either 
door or window. Conseil, going round the reverse way, 
met me, and we returned to the centre of the room, which 
measured about twenty feet by ten. As to its height, Ned 
Land, notwithstanding his tall stature, could not measure it. 

Half an hour passed away without bringing any change 
in our position, when from the extreme of obscurity our eyes 
passed suddenly to the most violent light. Our prison was 
lighted up all at once that is to say, it was filled with a 
luminous matter so intense that at first I could not bear its 
brilliancy. I saw from its whiteness and intensity that it 
was the same electric light that shone around the submarine 
boat like a magnificent phosphoric phenomenon. After 
having voluntarily closed my eyes I opened them again, and 
saw that the luminous agent was escaping from a polished 


half-globe, which was shining in the top part of the room 
" Well, we can see at last !" cried Ned Land, who, with 
his knife in hand, kept himself on the defensive. 

" Yes," answered I, " but the situation is none the less 

" Let monsieur have patience," said the impassible Conseil, 
The light had allowed me to examine the cabin in detail. 
It only contained the table and five stools. The invisible 
door seemed hermetically closed. No noise reached our 
ears. All seemed dead in the interior of this machine. 
Was it moving, or was it motionless on the surface of the 
ocean, or deep in its depths ? I could not guess. 

However, the luminous globe was not lighted without a 
reason. A noise of bolts and bars being withdrawn was 
heard, the door opened, and two men appeared. One was 
short in stature, muscular, with broad shoulders, large head., 
abundant black hair, thick moustache, and all his person 
imprinted with that vivacity which characterises the in- 
habitants of southern France. 

The second deserves a more detailed description. I 
read at once his dominant qualities on his open face self- 
confidence, because his head was firmly set on his shoulders, 
and his black eyes looked round with cold assurance 
calmness, for his pale complexion announced the tran- 
quillity of his blood energy, demonstrated by the rapid 
contraction of his eyebrows ; and lastly, courage, for his 
deep breathing denoted vast vital expansion. I felt in- 
voluntarily reassured in his presence, and augured good 
from it. He might be of any age from thirty-five to fifty. 
His tall stature, wide forehead, straight nose, clear-cut 
mouth, magnificent teeth, taper hands, indicated a highly- 
nervous temperament. This man formed certainly the most 
admirable type I had ever met. One strange detail was 
that his eyes, rather far from each other, could take in 
nearly a quarter of the horizon at once. This faculty I 
verified it later on was added to a power of vision superior 
even to that of Ned Land. When the unknown fixed an 
object he frowned, and his large eyelids closed round so as 
to contract the range of his vision, and the result was a look 
that penetrated your very soul 


The two strangers had on caps made from the fur of the 
sea-otter, sealskin, boots, and clothes of a peculiar texture, 
which allowed them great liberty of movement. 

The taller of the two evidently the chief on board ex- 
amined us without speaking a word. Then he turned to- 
wards his companion, and spoke to him in a language I 
could not understand. It was a sonorous, harmonious, and 
flexible idiom, of which the vowels seemed very variously 

The other answered by shaking his head and uttering 
two or three incomprehensible words. Then, from his looks, 
he seemed to be questioning me directly. 

I answered in good French that I did not understand his 
language ; but he did not seem to know French, and the 
situation became very embarrassing. 

" If monsieur would relate his story," said Conseil, 
" these gentlemen may understand some words of it." 

I began the recital of my adventures, articulating clearly 
all my syllables, without leaving out a single detail. I 
gave our names and occupations. The man with the soft, 
calm eyes listened to me with remarkable attention. But 
nothing in his face indicated that he understood me. When 
I had done he did not speak a word. 

There still remained one resource that of speaking 
English. Perhaps they would understand that almost 
universal language. I knew it, and German too, sufficiently 
to read it correctly, but not to speak it fluently. 

" It is your turn now, Land," I said to the harpooner. 
" Make use of your best English, and try to be more for- 
tunate than I." 

Ned did not need urging, and began the same tale in 
English, and ended by saying what was perfectly true, 
that we were half-dead with hunger. To his great disgust, 
the harpooner did not seem more intelligible than I. Our 
visitors did not move a feature. It was evident that they 
neither knew the language of Arago nor Faraday. I was 
wondering what to do next, when Conseil said to me 

" If monsieur will allow me, I will tell them in German."' 

" What ! do you know German ? " I cried. 

" Like a Dutchman, sir." 


" Well, do your best, old fellow." 

And Conseil, in his tranquil voice, told our story for the 
third time, but without success. 

I then assembled all the Latin I had learnt at school, 
and told my adventures in that dead language. Cicero 
would have stopped his ears and sent [me to the kitchen, 
but I did the best I could with the same negative result. 

After this last attempt the strangers exchanged a few 
words in their incomprehensible language, and went away 
without a gesture that could reassure us. The door closed, 
upon them. 

" It is infamous ! " cried Ned Land, who broke out again 
for the twentieth time. "jWhat ! French, English, German, 
and Latin are spoken to those rascals, and not one 
of them has the politeness to answer." 

" Calm yourself, Ned," said I to the enraged harpooner ; 
" anger will do no good." 

" But do you know, professor," continued our irascible 
companion, " that it is quite possible to die of hunger in this 
iron cage ? " 

" Bah ! " exclaimed Conseil ; " with exercising a little 
philosophy we can still hold out a long while." 

" My friends," said I, " we must not despair. We have 
been in worse situations before now. Do me the pleasure of 
waiting before you form an opinion of the commander and 
crew of this vessel." 

" My opinion is already formed," answered Ned Land. 
" They are rascals " 

" Well, and of what country ? " 

" Of Rascaldom ! " 

" My worthy Ned, that country is not yet sufficiently 
indicated on the map of the world, and I acknowledge that 
the nationality of those two men is difficult to determine. 
Neither English, French, nor German, that is all we can 
affirm. However, I should be tempted to admit that the 
commander and his second were born under low latitudes. 
There is something meridional in them." 

" That is the disadvantage of not knowing every lan- 
guage," answered Conseil, " or the disadvantage of not 
having a single language." 


" That would be of no use," answered Ned Land. " Do 
you not see that those fellows have a language of their own 
a language invented to make honest men who want their 
dinners despair ? But in every country in the world, to 
open your mouth, move,your jaws, snap your teeth and lips, 
is understood. Does it not mean in Quebec as well as the 
Society Islands, in Paris as well as the antipodes, I am 
hungry give me something to eat ? " 

" Oh," said Conseil, " there are people so unintelligent 

As he was saying these words the door opened, and a 
steward entered. He brought us clothes similar to those 
worn by the two strangers, which we hastened to don. 

Meanwhile the servant without saying a word had laid 
the cloth for three. 

" This is something like," said Conseil, " and promises 

" I'll bet anything there's nothing here fit to eat," said 
the harpooner. " Tortoise liver, fillets of shark, or beef- 
steak from a sea-dog, perhaps ! " 

" We shall soon see," said Conseil. 

The dishes with their silver covers were symmetrically 
placed on the table. We had certainly civilised people 
to deal with, and had it not been for the electric light which 
inundated us I might have imagined myself in the Adelphi 
Hotel in Liverpool or the Grand Hotel in Paris. There was 
neither bread nor wine, nothing but pure fresh water, which 
was not at all to Ned Land's taste. Amongst the dishes 
that were placed before us I recognised several kinds of fish 
delicately cooked ; but there were some that I knew nothing 
about, though they were delicious. I could not tell to what 
kingdom their contents belonged. The dinner service was 
elegant and in perfect taste ; each piece was engraved with 
a letter and motto of which the following is a fac-simile : 
Mobilis in Mobile. 

Mobile in a mobile element ! The letter N was doubtless 
the initial of the enigmatical person who commanded 
at the bottom of the sea. 

Ned and Conseil did not observe so much. They de- 


voured all before them, and I ended by imitating them. 

But at last even our appetite was satisfied, and we felt 
overcome with sleep. A natural reaction after the fatigue 
of the interminable night during which we had struggled 
with death. 

My two companions lay down on the carpet, and were 
soon fast asleep. I did not go so soon, for too many thoughts 
filled my brain ; too many insoluble questions asked me for 
a solution ; too many images kept my eyes open. I felt, or 
rather I thought I felt, the strange machine sinking down 
to the lowest depths of the sea. Dreadful nightmares took 
possession of me. Then my brain grew calmer, my imagi- 
nation melted into dreaminess, and I fell into a deep sleep. 


I DO not know how long our sleep lasted, but it must have 
been a long time, for it rested us completely from our 
fatigues. I awoke first. 

I had scarcely risen from my rather hard couch when I 
felt all my faculties clear, and looked about me. 

The steward, profiting by our sleep,had cleared the supper- 
things away. Nothing indicated an approaching change 
in our position, and I asked myself seriously if we were 
destined to live indefinitely in that cage. 

This prospect seemed to me the more painful because, 
though my head was clear, my chest was oppressed. The 
heavy air weighed upon my lungs. We had evidently con- 
sumed the larger part of the oxygen the cell contained, 
although it was large. 

I was in deep thought about the possibilities of a terrible 
death by suffocation when, suddenly, I was refreshed by a 
current of fresh air, loaded with saline odours. It was a sea 
breeze, life-giving, and charged with iodine. I opened my 
mouth wide, and my lungs became saturated with fresh part- 
icles. At the same time I felt the boat roll, and the iron- 
plated monster had evidently just ascended to the surface of 
the ocean to breathe like the whales. When I had breathed 


fully, I looked for the ventilator which had brought us 
the beneficent breeze, and, before long found it. 

I was making these observations when my two com- 
panions awoke nearly at the same time, doubtless through 
the influence of the reviving air. They rubbed their eyes, 
stretched themselves, and were on foot instantly. 

" Did monseiur sleep well ? " Conseil asked me with his 
usual politeness. 

" Very well, old fellow. And you, Mr. Land ? " 

" Profoundly, Mr. Professor. But if I am not mis- 
taken, I am breathing a sea breeze." 

A seaman could not be mistaken in that, and I told the 
Canadian what had happened while he was asleep. 

" That accounts for the roarings we heard when the sup- 
posed narwhal was in sight of the Abraham Lincoln." 

" Yes, Mr. Land, that is its breathing." 

" I have not the least idea about the time of day, M. 
Aronnax, unless it be dinner time." 

" Dinner time, Ned ? Say breakfast time at least, for 
we have certainly slept something like twenty-four hours." 

" I will not contradict you," answered Ned Land, " but 
dinner or breakfast, the steward would be welcome. I wish 
he would bring one or the other." 

" The one and the other," said Conseil. 

" Certainly," answered the Canadian, " we have right 
to two meals, and, for my own part, I shall do honour to 

" Well, Ned, we must wait," I answered. " It is evident 
that those two men had no intention of leaving us to die 
of hunger, for in that case there would have been no reason 
to give us dinner yesterday." 

" Unless it is to fatten us ! " answered Ned. 

" I protest," I answered. " We have not fallen into the 
hands of cannibals." 

" One swallow does not make a summer," answered 
the Canadian seriously. " Who knows if those fellows 
have not been long deprived of fresh meat, and in that case 
these healthy and well-constituted individuals like the pro- 
fessor, his servant, and me " 

" Drive away such ideas, Mr. Land," I answered, " and 


above all do not act upon them to get into a rage with our 
hosts, for that would only make the situation worse." 

" Any way," said the harpooner, "I am devilishly hungry, 
and, dinner or breakfast, the meal does not arrive ! " 

" Mr. Land," I replied, " we must conform to the rule 
of the vessel, and I suppose that our stomachs are in ad- 
vance of the steward's bell." 

" Well, then, we must put them right," answered Conseil 

" That is just like you, Conseil," answered the im- 
patient Canadian. " You do not use up your bile or your 
nerves ! Always calm, you would be capable of saying your 
grace before your Benedicite, and of dying of hunger before 
you complained." 

" What is the use of complaining ? " asked Conseil. 

" It does one good to complain ! It is something. And 
if these pirates I say pirates not to vex the professor, who 
does not like to hear them called cannibals and if these 
pirates think that they are going to keep me in this cage 
without hearing how I can swear, they are mistaken. Come 
M. Aronnax, speak frankly. Do you think they will keep 
us long in this iron box ? " 

" To tell you the truth I know no more about it than 
you, friend Land." 

" But what do you think about it ? " 

" I think that hazard has made us masters of an import- 
ant secret. If this secret is of more consequence than the 
lives of three men, I believe our existence to be in great 
danger. In the contrary case, on the first opportunity, the 
monster who has swallowed us will send us back to the world 
inhabited by our fellow-men." 

" Unless he enrols us amongst his crew," said Conseil, 
" and he keeps us thus 

" Until some frigate," replied Ned Land, " more rapid or 
more skilful than the Abraham Lincoln, masters this nest of 
plunderers, and sends its crew and us to breathe our last 
at the end of his mainyard." 

" Well reasoned, Mr. Land," I replied. " But I believe 
no proposition of the sort has yet been made to us, so it is 
useless to discuss what we should do in that case. I repeat. 


we must wait, take counsel of circumstances, and do 
nothing, as there is nothing to do." 

" On the contrary, Mr. Professor," answered the har- 
pooner, who would not give up his point, " we must do 

" What, then ? " 

" Escape." 

" To escape from an ordinary prison is often difficult, but 
from a submarine prison, that seems to me quite im- 

" Come, friend Ned," said Conseil, " what have you to say 
to master's objection ? I do not believe an American is 
ever at the end of his resources." 

" Then, M. Aronnax," he said, after some minutes' re- 
flection, " you do not guess what men ought to do who 
cannot escape from prison ? " 

" No, my friend." 

" It is very simple ; they must make their arrangements 
to stop in it." 

" I should think so," said Conseil ; " it is much better to 
be inside than on the top or underneath." 

" But after you have thrown your gaolers and keepers 
out ? " added Ned Land. 

" What, Ned ? You seriously think of seizing this ves- 
sel ? " 

" Quite seriously," answered the Canadian. 

" It is impossible." 

" How so, sir ? A favourable chance may occur, and I 
do not see what could prevent us profiting by it. If there 
are twenty men on board this machine they will not 
frighten two Frenchmen and a Canadian, I suppose." 

It was better to admit the proposition of the harpooner 
than to discuss it. So I contented myself with answering 

" Let such an opportunity come, Mr. Land, and we will 
see. But until it does I beg of you to contain your im- 
patience. We can only act by stratagem, and you will not 
make yourself master of favourable chances by getting in a 
rage. Promise me, therefore, that you will accept the situ- 
ation without too much anger." 

" I promise you, professor," answered Ned Land in a not 


very assuring tone ; " not a violent word shall leave my 
mouth, not an angry movement shall betray me, not 
even if we are not waited upon at table with desirable regu- 

" I have your word, Ned," I answered. 

Then the conversation was suspended, and each of us 
began to reflect on his own account. I acknowledge that, 
for my own part, and notwithstanding the assurance of the 
harpooner, I kept no illusion. I did not admit the probability 
of the favourable occasions of which Ned Land had spoken. 
To be so well worked the submarine boat must have a numer- 
ous crew, and consequently, in case of a struggle, we should 
have to do with numbers too great. Besides, before aught 
else we must be free, and we were not. And should the 
strange commander of the boat have a secret to keep 
which appeared at least probable he would not allow us 
freedom of movement on board. Now, would he get rid 
of us by violence, or would he throw us upon some corner 
of earth ? All that was the unknown. All these hypotheses 
seemed to me extremely plausible, and one must be a har- 
pooner to hope to conquer liberty again. 

Ned Land, tormented by the twinges of his robust stom- 
ach, became more and more enraged, and notwithstanding 
his promise I really feared an explosion when he would again 
be in the presence of the men on board. 

Two more hours rolled on, and Ned's anger increased ; he 
cried and called at the top of his voice, but in vain. The 
iron walls were deaf. The boat seemed quite still. The 
silence became quite oppressive. 

I dare no longer think how long our abandonment and iso- 
lation in this cell might last. The hopes that I had con- 
ceived after our interview with the commander of the vessel 
vanished one by one. The gentle look of this man, the gen- 
erous expression of his face, the nobility of his carriage, all 
disappeared from my memory. I again saw this enigma- 
tical personage such as he must necessarily be, pitiless and 
cruel. I felt him to be outside the pale of humanity, inac- 
cessible to all sentiment of pity, the implacable enemy of 
his fellow-men, to whom he had vowed imperishable hatred. 

But was the man going, then, to let us perish ? This 


frightful thought became uppermost in my mind, and ima- 
gination helping, I felt myself invaded by unreasoning 
fear. Conseil remained calm. Ned was roaring. At that 
moment a noise was heard outside. Steps clanged on the 
metal slabs. The bolts were withdra'vn, the door opened, 
the steward appeared. 

Before I could make a movement to prevent him the 
Canadian had rushed upon the unfortunate fellow, knocked 
him down, and fastened on his throat. The steward was 
choking under his powerful hand. 

Conseil was trying to rescue his half-strangled victim 
from the hands of the harpooner, and I was going to join 
my efforts to his, when, suddenly, I was riveted to my place 
by these words spoken in French : 

" Calm yourself, Mr. Land, and you, professor, please to 
listen to me." 



THE man who spoke thus was the commander of the vessel. 

When Ned Land heard these words he rose suddenly. 
The almost strangled steward went tottering out on a sign 
from his master ; but such was the power of the commander 
on his vessel that not a gesture betrayed the resentment the 
man must have felt towards the Canadian. Conseil, 
interested in spite of himself, and I stupefied, awaited 
the result of this scene. 

The commander, leaning against the angle of the table, 
with his arms folded, looked at us with profound attention. 
After some minutes of a silence which none of us thought 
of interrupting, he said in a calm and penetrating voice 

"Gentlemen, I speak French, English, German, and Latin 
equally well. I might, therefore, have answered you at our 
last interview, but I wished to know you first, and after- 
wards to ponder on what you said. The stories told by each 
of you agreed in the main, and assured me of your identity. 
I know now that accident has brought me into the presence 
of M. Pierre Aronnax, Professor of Natural History in the 
Paris Museum, charged with a foreign scientific mission, his 
servant Conseil, and Ned Land, of Canadian origin, har- 


pooner on board the frigate Abraham Lincoln, of the 
United States Navy." 

I bent my head in sign of assent. There was no answer 
necessary. This man expressed himself with perfect 
ease, and without the least foreign accent. And yet I felt 
that he was not one of my countrymen. He continued 
the conversation in these terms : 

" I dare say you thought me a long time in coming to pay 
you this second visit. It was because, after once knowing 
your identity, I wished to ponder upon what to do with you. 
I hesitated long. The most unfortunate conjuncture of 
circumstances has brought you into the presence of a man 
who has broken all ties that bound him to humanity. You 
came here to trouble my existence " 

" Unintentionally," said I. 

" Unintentionally," he repeated, raising his voice a little 
" Is it unintentionally that the Abraham Lincoln pursues 
me in every sea ? Was it unintentionally that you took 
passage on board her ? Was it unintentionally that your 
bullets struck my vessel ? Did Mr. Land throw his harpoon 
unintentionally ? " 

" You are doubtless unaware," I answered, " of the com- 
motion you have caused in Europe and America. When 
the Abraham Lincoln pursued you on the high seas everyone 
on board believed they were pursuing a marine monster." 

A slight smile curled round the commander's lips, then 
he went on in a calmer tone 

" Dare you affirm, M. Aronnax, that your frigate would 
not have pursued a submarine vessel as well as a marine 
monster ? " 

This question embarrassed me, for it was certain that 
Captain Farragut would not have hesitated. He would 
have thought it as much his duty to destroy such a machine 
as the gigantic narwhal he took it to be. 

" You see, sir," continued the commander, " I have the 
right to treat you as enemies." 

I answered nothing, and for a very good reason ; the un- 
known had force on his side, and it can destroy the best 

" I have long hesitated," continued the commander. 


" Nothing obliges me to give you hospitality. I could place 
you upon the platform of this vessel, upon which you took 
refuge, and forget that you ever existed. I should only be 
using my right." 

" The right of a savage, perhaps," I answered, " but not 
that of a civilised man." 

" Professor," quickly answered the commander, " I am 
not what is called a civilised man. I have done with so- 
ciety entirely for reasons that seem to me good ; therefore 
I do not obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to 
them before me again." 

A flash of anger and contempt had kindled in the man's 
eyes, and I had a glimpse of a terrible past in his life. He 
had not only put himself out of the pale of human laws, 
but he had made himself independent of them, free, in the 
most rigorous sense of the word, entirely out of their reach. 
I looked at him with terror mingled with interest, doubt- 
less as CEdipus considered the Sphinx. 

After a rather long silence the commander went on speak- 

" I have hesitated, therefore," said he, " but I thought 
that my interest might be reconciled with that natural pity 
to which every human being has a right. You may remain 
on my vessel, since fate has brought you to it. You will be 
free, and in exchange for this liberty, which after all will 
be relative, I shall only impose one condition upon you. 
Your word of honour to submit to it will be sufficient. " 

" Speak, sir," I answered. " I suppose this condition is 
one that an honest man can accept ? " 

" Yes ; it is this : It is possible that certain unforeseen 
events may force me to consign you to your cabin for some 
hours, or even days. As I do not wish to use violence, I ex- 
pect from you, in such a case, more than from all others, 
passive obedience. By acting thus I take all the responsi- 
bility ; I acquit you entirely, by making it impossible for 
you to see what ought not to be seen. Do you accept 
the condition ? " 

So things took place on board which were, at least, singu- 
lar, and not to be seen by people who were not placed 
beyond the pale of social laws. 


" We accept," I replied. " Only I ask your permission 
to address to you one question only one. What degree 
of liberty do you intend giving us ? " 

" The liberty to move about freely and observe even all 
that passes here except under rare circumstances in 
short, the liberty that my companions and I enjoy our- 

It was evident that we did not understand each other. 

" Pardon me, sir," I continued, " but this liberty is only 
that of every prisoner to pace his prison. It is not enough 
for us." 

" You must make it enough." 

" Do you mean to say we must for ever renounce the idea 
of seeing country, friends, and relations again ? " 

" Yes, sir. But to renounce the unendurable worldly 
yoke that men call liberty is not perhaps so painful as you 

" I declare," said Ned Land, "I'll never give my word 
of honour not to try to escape." 

" I did not ask for your word of honour, Mr. Land," 
answered the commander coldly. 

" Sir," I replied, carried away in spite of myself, " you 
take advantage of your position towards us. It is cruel ! " 

" No, sir, it is kind. You are my prisoners of war. 
You attacked me. You came and surprised a secret that 
I mean no man inhabiting the world to penetrate the 
secret of my whole existence. And you think that I am 
going to send you back to that world ? Never ! In re- 
taining you it is not you I guard, it is myself ! " 

These words indicated that the commander's mind was 
made up, and that argument was useless. 

" Then, sir," I answered, " you give us the simple choice 
between life and death ? " 

" As you say." 

" My friends," said I, " to a question thus put there is 
nothing to answer. But no word of honour binds us to 
the master of this vessel." 

" None, sir," answered the unknown. 

Then in a gentler voice he went on 

" Now allow me to finish what I have to say to you. 


I know you, M. Aronnax. You, if not your companions, 
will not have so much to complain of in the chance that 
has bound you to my lot. You will find amongst the books 
which are my favourite study the work you have published 
on the Great Submarine Grounds. I have often read it. 
You have carried your investigations as far as terrestrial 
science allowed you. But on board my vessel you will 
have an opportunity of seeing what no man has seen be- 
fore. Thanks to me, our planet will give up her last secrets." 

I cannot deny that these words had a great effect upon 
me. My weak point was touched, and I forgot for a mo- 
ment that the contemplation of these divine things was 
not worth the loss of liberty. Besides, I counted upon 
the future to decide that grave question, and so contented 
myself with saying 

" What name am I to call you by, sir ? " 

" Captain Nemo," answered the commander. " That is 
all I am to you, and you and your companions are nothing 
to me but the passengers of the Nautilus." 

The captain called, and a steward appeared. The cap- 
tain gave him his orders in that foreign tongue which I 
could not understand. Then turning to the Canadian and 

" Your meal is prepared in your cabin," he said to them. 
"Be so good as to follow that man." 

My two companions in misfortune left the cell where 
they had been confined for more than thirty hours. 

" And now, M. Aronnax, our breakfast is ready. Allow 
me to lead the way." 

I followed Captain Nemo into a sort of corridor lighted 
by electricity, similar to the waist of a ship. After going 
about a dozen yards a second door opened before me into a 
kind of dining-room, decorated and furnished with severe 
taste. High oaken sideboards, inlaid with ebony orna- 
ments, stood at either end of the room, and on their shelves 
glittered china, porcelain, and glass of inestimable value. 
The plate that was on them sparkled in the light which 
shone from the ceiling, tempered and softened by fine paint- 
ing. In the centre of the room was a table richly spread. 
Captain Nemo pointed to my seat. 


" Sit down," said he, " and eat like a man who must be 
dying of hunger." 

The breakfast consisted of a number of dishes, the con- 
tents of which were all furnished by the sea. They were 
good, but had a peculiar flavour which I soon became accus- 
tomed to. They appeared to be rich in phosphorus. 

Captain Nemo looked at me. I asked him no questions, 
but he guessed my thoughts, and said 

" Most of these dishes are unknown to you, but you can 
eat of them without fear. They are wholesome and nour- 
ishing. I have long renounced the food of the earth, and 
I am none the worse for it. My crew, who are healthy, 
have the same food." 

" Then all these dishes are the produce of the sea ? " 
said I. 

" Yes, professor, the sea supplies all my needs. Some- 
times I cast my nets in tow, and they are drawn in ready 
to break. Sometimes I go and hunt in the midst of this 
element, which seems inaccessible to man, and run down 
the game of submarine forests. My flocks, like those of 
Neptune's old shepherd, graze fearlessly the immense 
ocean meadows. I have a vast estate there, which I culti- 
vate myself, and which is always stocked by the Creator 
of all things." 

I looked at Captain Nemo with some astonishment, and 

" I can quite understand that your nets should furnish 
excellent fish for your table, and that you should pursue 
aquatic game in your submarine forests ; but I do not 
understand how a particle of meat can find its way into 
your bill of fare." 

" What you believe to be meat, professor, is nothing but 
fillet of turtle. Here also are dolphins' livers, which you 
might take for a highly-seasoned stew of pork. My cook is 
a clever fellow, who excels in preparing these various 
products of the sea. Taste all these dishes. Here is a 
conserve of holothuria, which a Malay would declare to be 
unrivalled in the world ; here is a cream furnished by the 
cetacea, and the sugar by the great fucus of the North 
Sea ; and, lastly, allow me to offer you some anemone pre- 


serve, which equals that made irom the most delicious fruits." 

Whilst I was tasting, more from curiosity than as a 
gourmet, Captain Nemo enchanted me with extraordinary 

" Not only does the sea feed me," he continued, " but 
it clothes me too. These materials that clothe you are 
wrought from the byssus of certain shells ; they are dyed 
with the purple of the ancients, and the violet shades which 
I extract from the aplysis of the Mediterranean. The 
perfumes you will find on the toilette of your cabin are 
produced from the distillation of marine plants. Your bed 
is made with the softest wrack-grass of the ocean. Your 
pen will be a whale's fin, your ink the liquor secreted by 
the calamary. Everything now comes to me from the sea, 
and everything will one day return to it 1 " 

" You love the sea, captain ? " 

" Yes, I love it. The sea is everything. It covers seven- 
tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and 
healthy. It is an immense desert where man is never alone, 
for he feels life quivering around him on every side. The 
sea is only the medium of a preternatural and wonderful 
existence ; it is only movement and love ; it is the infinite 
with life breathed into it, as one of your poets has said. 
And in reality, professor, Nature is manifested in it by her 
three kingdoms mineral, vegetable, and animal. This 
last is largely represented by the four groups of zoophytes, 
by three classes of vertebrates, mammals, reptiles, and 
those innumerable legions of fish, an infinite order of 
animals that counts more than 13,000 species, of which a 
tenth only belongs to fresh water. The sea is the vast 
reservoir of Nature. It is by the sea that the globe has, 
so to speak, commenced, and who knows if it will not end 
by it ? There is supreme tranquillity. The sea does not 
belong to despots. On its surface iniquitous rights can 
still be exercised, men can fight there, devour each other 
there, and transport all terrestrial horrors there. But at 
thirty feet below its level their power ceases, their influence 
dies out, their might disappears. Ah, sir, live in the bosom 
of the waters ! There alone is independence ! There I 
recognise no masters ! There I am free 1 " 


Captain Nemo stopped suddenly in the midst of this 
burst of enthusiasm which overflowed in him. Had he 
let himself be carried out of his habitual reserve ? Had 
he said too much ? During some moments he walked about 
much agitated. Then his face regained its usual calm ex- 
pression, and turning towards me 

" Now, professor," said he, " if you wish to visit the 
Nautilus, I am at your service." 



CAPTAIN NEMO rose, and I followed him. A folding door, 
contrived at the back of the room, opened, and I entered 
a room about the same size as the one I had just left. 

It was a library. High bookcases of black rosewood 
supported on their shelves a great number of books in uni- 
form binding. They went round the room, terminating 
at their lower part in large divans, covered with brown 
leather, curved so as to afford the greatest comfort. Light 
movable desks, made to slide in and out at will, were there 
to rest one's book while reading. In the centre was a vast 
table, covered with pamphlets, amongst which appeared 
some newspapers, already old. The electric light flooded 
this harmonious whole, and was shed from four polished 
globes half sunk in the volutes of the ceiling. This room 
so ingeniously fitted up, excited my admiration, and I 
could scarcely believe my eyes. 

" Captain Nemo," said I to my host, who had just thrown 
himself on one of the divans, " you have a library here that 
would do honour to more than one continental palace, and 
I am lost in wonder when I think that it can follow you to 
the greatest depths of the ocean." 

" Where could there be more solitude or more silence, 
professor ? " answered Captain Nemo. " Did your study 
in the museum offer you as complete quiet ? " 

" No, and I must acknowledge it is a very poor one com- 
pared with yours. You must have from six to seven 
thousand volumes here." 

" Twelve thousand M. Aronnax. These are the only 


ties between me and the earth. But the day that my 
Nautilus plunged for the first time beneath the waters the 
world was at an end for me. These books, professor, are 
at your disposition, and you can use them freely." 

I thanked Captain Nemo, and went up to the library 
shelves. Books of science, ethics, and literature written 
in every language were there ; but I did not see a single 
work on political economy amongst them ; they seemed to 
be severely prohibited. A curious detail was that all these 
books were classified indistinctly, in whatever language 
they were written, and this confusion showed that ths 
captain of the Nautilus could read with the utmost facility 
any volume he might take up by chance. 

Amongst these works I noticed the principal productions 
of the ancient and modern masters that is to say, all the 
finest things that humanity has produced in history, poetry, 
romance, and science. But science, more particularly, 
was represented in this library. Amongst the works of 
Joseph Bertrand, his book, entitled, Le Fondateur de V As- 
tronomic, gave me a certain date ; and as I knew that it 
had appeared during the course of 1865, I could conclude 
from that that the launching of the Nautilus did not take 
place at a later date. It was, therefore, three years, at the 
most, since Captain Nemo began his submarine existence. 
I hope, besides, that more recent works still will allow me 
to fix exactly the epoch ; but I should have time to make 
that research, and I did not wish to delay any longer our 
inspection of the marvels of the Nautilus. 

" Sir," said I to the captain, " I thank you for placing 
this library at my disposal. I see it contains treasures of 
science, and I shall profit by them." 

" This room is not only a library," said Captain Nemo ; 
"it is a smoking-room too." 

" A smoking-room ? " cried I. " Do you smoke here, 
then ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Then, sir, I am forced to believe that you have kept up 
relations with Havannah ? " 

" No, I have not," answered the captain. " Accept this 
cigar, M. Aronnax ; although it does not come from Havan- 


nah, you will be pleased with it if you are a connoisseur." 

I took the cigar that was offered me ; it seemed to be 
made of leaves of gold. I lighted it at a little brazier which 
was supported on an elegant bronze pedestal, and drew the 
first whiffs with the delight of an amateur who has not 
smoked for two days. 

" It is excellent," said I, " but it is not tobacco." 

" No," answered the captain. " This tobacco comes 
neither from Havannah nor the East. It i? a sort of sea- 
weed, rich in nicotine, with which the sea supplies me, but 
somewhat sparingly. " 

As Captain Nemo spoke he opened the opposite door to 
the one by which we had entered the library, and I passed 
into an immense and brilliantly-lighted saloon. It was 
a vast four-sided room, with panelled walls, measuring 
thirty feet by eighteen, and about fifteen feet high. A lumi- 
nous ceiling, decorated with light arabesques, distributed 
a soft, clear light over all the marvels collected in the 
museum. For it was, in fact, a museum in which an 
indefatigable hand had gathered together all the treasures 
of nature and art with the artistic confusion of a painter's 

About thirty pictures by the first artists, uniformly 
framed and separated by brilliant drapery, were hung on 
tapestry of severe design. I saw there works of great 
value, most of which I had admired in the special collections 
of Europe, and in exhibitions of paintings. The amaze- 
ment which the captain of the Nautilus had predicted had 
already begun to take possession of me. 

" Professor," then said this strange man, " you must 
excuse the unceremonious way in which I receive you, and 
the disorder of this room." 

" Sir," I answered, " without seeking to know who you 
are, may I be allowed to recognise in you an artist ? " 

" Only an amateur, sir. Formerly I liked to collect 
these works of art. I was a greedy collector and an inde- 
fatigable antiquary, and have been able to get together 
some objects of great value. These are my last gatherings 
from that world which is now dead to me. In my eyes your 
modern artists are already old ; they have two or three 


thousand years of existence, and all masters are of the same 
age in my mind." 

" And these musicians ? " said I, pointing to the works of 
Weber, Rossini, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Meyerbeer, 
Herold, Wagner, Auber, Gounod, and many others, scat- 
tered over a large piano organ fixed in one of the panels 
of the room. 

" These musicians," answered Captain Nemo, " are con- 
temporaries of Orpheus, for all chronological differences are 
effaced in the memory of the dead ; and I am dead, as much 
dead as those of your friends who are resting six feet under 
the earth 1 " 

Captain Nemo ceased talking, and seemed lost in a pro- 
found reverie. I looked at him with great interest, analy- 
sing in silence the strange expressions of his face. 

Leaning on the corner of a costly mosaic table, he no 
longer saw me, and forgot my presence. 

I respected his meditation, and went on passing in review 
the curiosities that enriched the saloon. They consisted 
principally of marine plants, shells, and other productions of 
the ocean, which must have been found by Captain Nemo 
himself. In the centre of the saloon rose a jet of water 
lighted up by electricity, and falling into a basin formed of 
a single tridacne shell, measuring about seven yards in cir- 
cumference. It surpassed in size the beautiful gifts to 
Francis I. of France by the Venetian Republic, and that 
now form two basins for holy water in the church of Saint 
Sulpice in Paris. 

All round this basin were elegant glass cases, fastened by 
copper rivets, in which were classed and labelled the most 
precious productions of the sea that had ever been presented 
to the eye of a naturalist. My delight as a professor may 
be imagined. 

Apart and in special apartments were spread out chaplets 
of pearls of the greatest beauty, and of all colours which the 
electric light pricked with points of fire. Some of these 
pearls were bigger than a pigeon's egg, and were worth 
more than the one which the traveller Tavernier sold to the 
Shah of Persia for 3,000,000 francs, and surpassed the one 
in the possession of the Imaum of Muscat, which I had 
believed to be unrivalled in the world. 


It was impossible to estimate the worth of this collection. 
Captain Nemo must have spent millions in acquiring these 
various specimens, and I was asking myself from whence 
he had drawn the money to gratify his fancy for collecting, 
when I was interrupted by these words : 

" You are examining my shells, professor. They cer- 
tainly must be interesting to a naturalist, but for me they 
have a greater charm, for I have collected them all myself, 
and there is not a sea on the face of the globe that has es- 
caped my search." 

" I understand, captain I understand the delight of 
moving amongst such riches. You are one of those people 
who lay up treasures for themselves. There is not a mu- 
seum in Europe that possesses such a collection of marine 
products. But if I exhaust all my admiration upon it, I 
shall have none left for the vessel that carries it. I do not 
wish to penetrate into your secrets, but I must confess that 
this Nautilus, with the motive power she contains, the con- 
trivances by which she is worked, the powerful agent which 
propels her, all excite my utmost curiosity. I see hung 
on the walls of this room instruments the use of which I 

" When I told you that you were free on board my vessel, 
I meant that every portion of the Nautilus was open to 
your inspection. The instruments you will see in my room, 
professor, where I shall have much pleasure in explaining 
their use to you. But come and look at your own cabin." 
I followed Captain Nemo, who, by one of the doors open- 
ing from each panel of the drawing-room, regained the waist 
of the vessel. He conducted me aft, and there I found, 
not a cabin, but an elegant room with a bed, toilette-table, 
and several other articles of furniture. I could only thank 
my host. 

" Your room is next to mine," said he, opening a door j 
" and mine opens into the saloon we have just left." 

I entered the captain's room ; it had a severe, almost 
monastic aspect. A small iron bedstead, an office desk, 
some articles of toilet all lighted by a strong light. There 
were no comforts, only the strictest necessaries. 
Captain Nemo pointed to a seat. 


" Pray, sit down," he said. 

I obeyed, and he began thus : 



" SIR," said Captain Nemo, showing me the instruments 
hung on the walls of the room, " here are the instru- 
ments necessary for the navigation of the Nautilus. Here, 
as in the saloon, I have them always before me, and they in- 
dicate my position and exact direction in the midst of the 
ocean. You are acquainted with some of them the 
thermometer, for instance which gives the internal tem- 
perature of the vessel ; the barometer, indicating the 
weight of the air, and foretelling changes in the weather ; 
the hygrometer, for indicating the degree of dryness in the 
atmosphere ; the storm-glass, the contents of which decom- 
pose at the approach of tempests ; the compass, for guid- 
ing our course ; the sextant, for taking latitude ; chrono- 
meters, for calculating longitude ; and, lastly, the glasses 
for day and night, which I use to examine the horizon when 
the Nautilus rises to the surface of the waves." 

" Yes," I answered ; "I understand the usual nautical 
instruments. But I see others that doubtless answer the 
peculiar requirements of your vessel. That dial with a mov- 
able needle is a manometer, is it not ? " 

" Yes ; by communication with the water it indicates 
the exterior pressure and gives our depth at the same time." 

" And these sounding-lines of a novel kind ? " 

" They give the temperature of the different depths of 

" And these other instruments, the use of which I cannot 
guess ? " 

" Here I ought to give you some explanation, professor. 
There is a powerful, obedient, rapid, and easy agent which 
lends itself to all uses, and reigns supreme here. We do 
everything by its means. It is the light, warmth, and soul 
of my mechanical apparatus. This agent is electricity." 

" Yet, captain, you possess an extreme rapidity of 


movement which does not well agree with the power of 
electricity. Until now its dynamic force has been very 
restricted, and has only produced little power." 

" Professor," answered Captain Nemo, " my electricity 
is re. everybody's, and you will permit me to withhold 
any further information.*' 

" I will not insist, sir ; I will content myself with being 
astonished at such wonderful results. A single question, 
however, I will ask, which you need not answer if it is an in- 
discreet one. The elements which you employ to produce 
this marvellous agent must necessarily be soon consumed. 
The zinc, for instance, that you use how do you obtain a 
fresh supply ? You now have no communication with the 
land ? "' 

" I will answer your question," replied Captain Nemo. 
" In the first place I must inform you that there exists, 
at the bottom of the sea, mines of zinc, iron, silver, and gold, 
the working of which would most certainly be practicable ; 
but I am not indebted to any of these terrestrial metals. 
I was determined to seek from the sea alone the means ot 
producing my electricity." 

" From the sea ? " 

" Yes, professor, and I was at no loss to find these means. 
It would have been possible, by establishing a circuit be- 
tween wires plunged to different depths, to obtain electricity 
by the diversity of temperature to which they would have 
been exposed ; but I preferred to employ a more practica- 
ble system." 

" And what was that ? " 

" You know of the composition of sea- water ? In 1,000 
grammes of sea- water you find 96 J centigrammes of pure 
water, and about 2 centigrammes of chloride of sodium ; 
in addition, small quantities of the chlorides of magnesium 
and potassium, bromide of magnesium, sulphate of magne- 
sia, sulphate and carbonate of lime. You see, then, that 
chloride of sodium forms a notable proportion of it. Now 
it is this sodium that I extract from seawater, and of which 
I compose my ingredients. Mixed with mercury it takes 
the place of zinc for the voltaic pile. The mercury is never 
exhausted ; only the sodium is consumed, and the sea itself 


gives me that. Besides, the electric power of the sodium 
piles is double that of the zinc ones." 

" I clearly understand, captain, the convenience of so- 
dium in the circumstances in which you are placed. The 
sea contains it. Good. But you still have to make it, tc 
extract it, in a word. And how do you do that ? Youi 
pile would evidently serve the purpose of extracting it ; 
but unless I am mistaken, the consumption of sodium 
necessitated by the electrical apparatus would exceed the 
quantity extracted. The consequence would be that you 
would consume more of it than you would produce." 

" That is why I do not extract it by the pile, my dear pro- 
fessor. I employ nothing but the heat of coal." 
" Coal ! " I urged. 

" We will call it sea-coal if you like," replied Captain 

" And are you able tc work submarine coal-mines ? " 
" You shall see me so employed, M. Aronnax. I only 
ask you for a little patience ; you have time to be patient 
here. Only remember I get everything from the ocean. 
It produces electricity, and electricity supplies the Nautilus 
with light in a word, with life." 
" But not with the air you breathe." 
" I could produce the air necessary for my consumption, 
but I do not, because I go up to the surface of the water 
when I please. But though electricity does not furnish me 
with the air to breathe, it works the powerful pumps which 
store it up in special reservoirs, and which enable me to 
prolong at need, and as long as I like, my stay in the depths 
of the sea." 

" Captain," I replied, " I can do nothing but admire. 
You have evidently discovered what mankind at large will, 
no doubt, one day discover, the veritable dynamic power 
of electricity." 

" Whether they will discover it I do not know," replied 
Captain Nemo coldly. " However that may be, you now 
know the first application that I have made of this precious 
agent. It is electricity that furnishes us with a light that 
surpasses in uniformity and continuity that of the sun itself. 
Look now at this clock ! It is an electric one, and goes 


with a regularity that defies the best of chronometers. I 
have divided it into twenty-four hours, because there 
exists for me neither night nor day, sun nor moon, only this 
factitious light that I take with me to the bottom of the sea. 
Look ! just now it is ten a.m." 
" Exactly so." 

" This dial hanging in front of us indicates the speed of the 
Nautilus. An electric wire puts it into communication 
with the screw. Look ! just now we are going along at the 
moderate speed of fifteen miles an hour. But we have not 
finished yet, M. Aronnax," continued Captain Nemo, 
rising, " if you will follow me we will visit the stern of 
the Nautilus" 

I already knew all the anterior part of this submarine 
boat, of which the following is the exact division, starting 
from the centre to the prow : The dining-room, 15 feet 
long, separated from the library by a water-tight partition ; 
the library, 15 feet long ; the large saloon, 30 feet long, 
separated from the captain's room by a second water-tight 
partition ; the captain's room, 15 feet ; mine, 9 feet ; and 
lastly, a reservoir of air of 20 feet that reached to the prow ; 
total, 104 feet. The partitions had doors that were shut 
hermetically by means of indiarubber, assuring the safety 
of the Nautilus in case of a leak. 

I followed Captain Nemo across the waist, and in the 
centre of the boat came to a sort of well that opened be- 
tween two water-tight partitions. An iron ladder, fastened 
by an iron hook to the partition, led to the upper end. I 
asked the captain what it was for. 

" It leads to the boat," answered he. 

" What ! have you a boat ? " I exclaimed in astonish- 

" Certainly, an excellent one, light and unsinkable, that 
serves either for fishing or pleasure trips." 

" Then when you wish to embark you are obliged to go 
up to the surface of the water." 

" Not at all. The boat is fixed on the top of the Nautilus 
in a cavity made for it. It has a deck, is water-tight, 
and fastened by solid bolts. This ladder leads to a man- 
hole in the hull of the Nautilus, corresponding to a similar 


hole in the boat. It is by this double opening that I get to 
the boat. The one is shut by my men in the vessel, I shut 
the one in the boat by means of screw pressure, I undo the 
bolts, and the little boat darts up to the surface of the sea 
with prodigious rapidity. I then open the panel of the deck, 
carefully closed before, I mast it, hoist my sail, take my 
oars, and am off." 

" But how do you return ? " 

" I do not return to it ; it comes to me." 

" At your order ? " 

" At my order. An electric wire connects us. I tele- 
graph my orders." 

" Really," I said, amazed by such marvels, " nothing 
can be more simple ! " 

After having passed the companion-ladder that led to 
the platform I saw a cabin about twelve feet long, in which 
Conseil and Ned Land were devouring their meal. Then a 
door opened upon a kitchen nine feet long, situated between 
the vast store-rooms of the vessel. There electricity, 
better than gas itself, did all the cooking. The wires under 
the stoves communicated with platinum sponges, and gave 
out a heat which was regularly kept up and distributed. 
They also heated a distilling apparatus, which, by evapora- 
tion, furnished excellent drinking water. A bath-room, 
comfortably furnished with hot and cold water taps, opened 
out of this kitchen. 

Next to the kitchen was the berth-room of the vessel, 
eighteen feet long. But the door was closed, and I could 
not see how it was furnished, so I could not get an idea of 
the number of men employed on board the Nautilus. At 
the far end was a fourth partition, which separated this 
room from the engine-room. A door opened, and I entered 
the compartment where Captain Nemo certainly a first- 
rate engineer had arranged his locomotive machinery. 
It was divided into two parts ; the first contained the 
materials for producing electricity, and the second the 
machinery that moved the screw. I was at first surprised 
at a gaseous smell which filled the compartment. The 
captain saw that I perceived it. 

" It is only a slight escape of gas produced by the use of 


the sodium, and not much inconvenience, as every morning 
we purify the vessel by ventilating it in the open air." 

In the meantime I was examining the machinery with 
great interest. 

" You see," said the captain, " I use Bunsen's elements, 
not Ruhmkorff's they would not have been powerful 
enough. Bunsen's are fewer in number, but strong and 
large, which experience proves to be the best. The electri- 
city produced passes to the back, where it works by 
electro-magnets of great size on a peculiar system of levers 
and cog-wheels that transmit the movement to the axle of 
the screw. This one, with a diameter of nineteen feet and 
a thread twenty-three feet, performs about a hundred and 
twenty revolutions in a second." 

" What speed do you obtain from it ? " 

" About fifty miles an hour." 

Here was a mystery, but I did not press for a solution of it. 

" Captain Nemo," I replied, " I recognise the results, and 
do not seek for an explanation. I saw the Nautilus worked 
in the presence of the Abraham Lincoln, and I know 
what to think of its speed. But it is not enough to 
be able to walk ; you must see where you are going ; you 
must be able to direct yourself to the right or left, above 
or below. How do you reach the great depths, where you 
find an increasing resistance, which is rated by hundreds of 
atmospheres ? How do you return to the surface of the 
ocean, or maintain yourself at the proper depth ? Am I 
indiscreet in asking you this question ? " 

" Not at all, professor," answered the captain, after a 
slight hesitation. " As you are never to leave this sub- 
marine boat, come into the saloon it is our true study 
and there you shall learn all you want to know about the 



A MOMENT afterwards we were seated on a divan in the 
saloon, with our cigars. The captain spread out a diagram 
that gave the plan of the Nautilus. Then he began his 
description in these terms : 


" Here, M. Aronnax, are the different dimensions of the 
vessel you are in. It is a very elongated cylinder, with 
conical ends, much like a cigar in shape a shape already 
adopted in London for constructions of the same sort. 
The length of this cylinder, from one end to the other, 13 
exactly 232 feet, and its maximum breadth is 26 feet. It 
is, therefore, not altogether constructed by tenths, like 
your quick steamers, but its lines are sufficiently long, and 
its slope lengthened out to allow the displaced water to 
escape easily, and opposes no obstacle to its speed. These 
two dimensions allow you to obtain, by a simple calcula- 
tion, the surface and volume of the Nautilus. Its surface 
is 1,011 metres and 45 centimetres ; its volume, 1,500 cubic 
metres and two-tenths, which is the same as saying that it is 
entirely immersed. It displaces 50,000 feet of water, or 
weighs 1,500 tons. 

" When I made the plans for this vessel I wished that 
when it was in equilibrium nine-tenths of it should be under 
water, and one-tenth only should emerge. Consequently, 
under these conditions, it only ought to displace nine-tenths 
of its volume, or 1,356 cubic metres and 48 centimetres 
that is to say, it only ought to weigh the same number of 
tons. I therefore did not exceed this weight in construct- 
ing it according to the above-named dimensions. 

" The Nautilus is composed of two hulls, one inside the 
other, and joined together by T shaped irons, which 
make it very strong. 

" These two hulls are made of steel plates, the density of 
which is to water seven eight-tenths. The first is not less 
than five centimetres thick, and weighs 394 '96 tons. The 
second envelope, the keel, is 50 centimetres high and 25 
wide, weighing by itself 62 tons ; the machine, ballast, 
different accessories, the interior partitions and props weigh 
961 tons, which, added to the rest, form the required total 
of i, 356 '48 tons. Do you follow me ? " 
' Yes," I replied. 

" Then," continued the captain, " when the Nautilus is 
afloat in these conditions one-tenth is out of the water. I 
have placed reservoirs of a size equal to this tenth capable 
of holding 15072 tons, and when I fill them with water the 


vessel becomes completely immersed. These reservoirs 
exist in the lowest parts of the Nautilus." 

" Well, captain, but now we arrive at the real difficulty. 
When you plunge below the surface, does not your sub- 
marine apparatus meet with a pressure from below, which 
must be equal to one atmosphere for every thirty feet of 
water, or one kilogramme for every square centimetre ? ** 

" True, sir." 

" Then unless you fill the Nautilus entirely I do not see 
how you can draw it down into the bosom of the liquid mass." 

" Professor," answered Captain Nemo, " you must not con- 
found statics with dynamics, or you will expose yourself to 
grave errors. There is very little work necessary to reach 
the lowest depths of the ocean, for bodies have a tendency 
' to sink.' Follow my reasoning." 

" I am listening to you, captain." 

" When I wished to determine the increase of weight that 
must be given to the Nautilus to sink it, I had only to occupy 
myself with the reduction in volume which sea-water ex- 
periences as it becomes deeper and deeper." 

" That is evident," said I. 

" Now if water is not absolutely incompressible, it is, at 
least, very slightly compressible in fact, according to the 
most recent calculations '0000436 in an atmosphere or in 
each thirty feet of depth. If I wish to go to the depth of 
1,000 metres I take into account the reduction of volume 
under a pressure equivalent to that of a column of water of 
1,000 metres that is to say, under a pressure of 100 atmo- 
spheres. I ought, therefore, to increase the weight so as to 
weigh 1,51379 tons instead of 1,507*2 tons. The augmen- 
tation will, consequently, only be 677 tons. Only that, 
Monsieur Aronnax, and the calculation is easy to verify. 
Now I have supplementary reservoirs capable of embarking 
100 tons. I can, therefore, descend to considerable depths. 
When I wish to remount to the level of the surface, I have 
only to let out this water, and to entirely empty all the 
reservoirs, if I desire that the Nautilus should emerge one- 
tenth of its total capacity." 

To this reasoning, founded upon figures, I had nothing 
to object. 


" I admit your calculations, captain," I replied, " but I 
foresee a real difficulty." 

" What is that, sir ? " 

" When you are at the depth of 1,000 yards the sides of the 
Nautilus support a pressure of 100 atmospheres. If, there- 
fore, at this moment you wish to empty the supplementary 
reservoirs to lighten your vessel and ascend to the surface, 
the pumps must conquer this pressure of 100 atmospheres, 
which is that of 100 kilogrammes for every square centi- 
metre. Hence a power " 

" Which electricity alone can give me," hastened to say 
Captain Nemo. " I repeat, sir, that the dynamic power of 
my machines is nearly infinite. The pumps of the Nautilus 
have prodigious force, which you must have seen when their 
columns of water were precipitated like a torrent over the 
Abraham Lincoln. Besides, I only use supplementary 
reservoirs to obtain middle depths of 1,500 to 2,000 metres, 
and that in order to save my apparatus. When the fancy 
takes me to visit the depths of the ocean at two or three 
leagues below its surface, I use longer means, but no less 

" What are they, captain ? " I asked. 

" That involves my telling you how the Naittilus is 

" I am all impatience to hear it." 

" In order to steer my vessel horizontally I use an ordin- 
ary rudder, worked by a wheel and a tackle. But I can also 
move the Nautilus by a vertical movement, by means of 
two inclined planes fastened to the sides and at the centre 
of flotation, planes that can move in every direction, and 
are worked from the interior by means of powerful levers. 
When these planes are kept parallel with the boat it moves 
horizontally ; when slanted, the Nautilus, according to 
their inclination, and under the influence of the screw, 
either sinks according to an elongated diagonal, or rises 
diagonally as it suits me. And even when I wish to rise 
more quickly to the surface I engage the screw, and the 
pressure of the water causes the Nautilus to rise vertically 
like a balloon into the air." 

" Bravo ! captain," I cried. " But how can the helms- 


man follow the route you give him in the midst of the 
waters ? " 

" The helmsman is placed in a glass cage jutting from the 
top of the Nautilus and furnished with lenses." 

" Capable of resisting such pressure ? " 

" Perfectly. Glass, which a blow can break, offers, never- 
theless, considerable resistance. During some fishing ex- 
periments we made in i864,by electric light, in the Northern 
Seas, we saw plates less than a third of an inch thick resist 
a pressure of sixteen atmospheres. Now the glass that I 
use is not less than thirty times thicker." 

" I see now. But, after all, it is dark under water ; how 
do you see where you are going ? " 

" There is a powerful electric reflector placed behind the 
helmsman's cage, the rays from which light up the sea for 
half a mile in front." 

" Ah, now I can account for the phosphorescence in the 
supposed narwhal that puzzled me so. May I ask you if 
the damage you did to the Scotia was due to an accident ? " 

"Yes, it was quite accidental. I was sailing only one 
fathom below the surface when the shock came. Had it 
any bad result ? " 

" None, sir. But how about the shock you gave the 
Abraham Lincoln ? " 

" Professor, it was a great pity for one of the best ships in 
the American navy ; but they attacked me and I had to 
defend myself ! Besides, I contented myself with putting 
it out of the power of the frigate to harm me ; there will be 
no difficulty in getting her repaired at the nearest port." 

" Ah, commander ! " I cried with conviction, " your 
Nautilus is certainly a marvellous boat." 

" Yes, professor," answered Captain Nemo with real emo- 
tion, " and I love it as if it were flesh of my flesh. Though 
all is danger on one of your ships in subjection to the hazards 
of the ocean, though on this sea the first impression is the 
sentiment of unfathomable depth, as the Dutchman Jansen 
has so well said, below and on board the Nautilus the 
heart of man has nothing to dread. There is no defor- 
mation to fear, for the double hull of this vessel is as rigid 
as iron : no rigging to be injured by rolling and pitching) 


no sails for the wind to carry away ; no boilers for steam to 
blow up ; no fire to dread, as the apparatus is made of iron 
and not of wood ; no coal to get exhausted, as electricity 
is its mechanical agent ; no collision to fear, as it is the only 
vessel in deep waters ; no tempests to set at defiance, as 
there is perfect tranquility at some yards below the surface 
of the sea 1 The Nautilus is the ship of ships, sir. And if 
it is true that the engineer has more confidence in the ves- 
sel than the constructor, and the constructor more than the 
captain himself, you will understand with what confidence 
I trust to my Nautilus, as I am at the same time captain, 
constructor, and engineer." 

Captain Nemo spoke with captivating eloquence. His 
fiery look and passionate gestures transfigured him. Yes ! 
he did love his vessel like a father loves his child ! 

But a question, perhaps an indiscreet one, came up natur- 
ally, and I could not help putting it. 

" Then you are an engineer, Captain Nemo ? " 

" Yes, professor, I studied in London, Paris, and New 
York, when I was still an inhabitant of the world's con- 

" But how could you construct this admirable Nautilus 
in secret ? " 

" I had each separate portion made in different parts of 
the globe, and it reached me through a disguised address. 
The keel was forged at Creuzot, the shaft of the screw at 
Penn and Co.'s, of London; the iron plates of the hull at 
Laird's, of Liverpool ; the screw itself at Scott's, of Glasgow. 
Its reservoirs were made by Cail and Co., of Paris ; the 
engine by the Prussian Krupp ; the prow in Motala's 
workshop in Sweden ; the mathematical instruments by 
Hart Brothers, of New York, etc. ; all of these people had 
my orders under different names." 

" But how did you get all the parts put together ? " 

" I set up a workshop upon a desert island in the ocean. 
There, my workmen that is to say, my brave companions 
whom I instructed and I put together our Nautilus. 
When the work was ended, fire destroyed all trace of our 
proceedings on the island, which I should have blown up if I 


" It must have cost you a great deal. v 

The Nautilus cost 67,500 to build, and 80,000 more for 
( fitting up ; altogether, with the works of art and collections 
it contains, it cost about 200,000." 

" One last question, Captain Nemo." 

" Ask it, professor." 

" You must be rich ? " 

" Immensely rich, sir ; and I could, without missing u, 
pay the English National Debt." 

I stared at the singular person who spoke thus. Was he 
taking advantage of my credulity ? The future alone could 



THE Pacific Ocean is the smoothest of all seas ; its currents 
are wide and slow, its tides slight, its rains abundant. 
Such was the ocean that my destiny called upon me to go 
over under such strange conditions. 

" Now, professor," said Captain Nemo, " we will, if you 
please take our bearings and fix the starting-point of this 
voyage. It wants a quarter to twelve. I am going up to 
the surface of the water." 

The captain pressed an electric bell three times. The 
pumps began to drive the water out of the reservoirs ; 
the needle of the manometer marked by the different pres- 
sures the upward movement of the Nautilus, then it 

" We have arrived," said the captain. 

We went to the central staircase which led up to the plat- 
form, climbed the iron steps, and found ourselves on the 
top of the Nautilus. 

The platform was only three feet out of the water. The 
front and back of the Nautilus were of that spindle shape 
which caused it justly to be compared to a cigar. I noticed 
that its iron plates slightly overlaid each other, like the 
scales on the body of our large land reptiles. I well under- 
stood how this boat should have been taken for a marine 

Towards the middle of the platform, the boat, half sunk 


In the vessel, formed a slight excrescence. Fore and aft 
rose two cages of medium height, with inclined sides, and 
partly inclosed by thick lenticular glasses. In the one 
was the helmsman who directed the Nautilus ', in the other 
a powerful electric lantern that lighted up his course. 

The sea was beautiful, the sky pure. The long vessel 
could hardly feel the broad undulations of the ocean. The 
horizon was quite clear, making observation eaty. There 
was nothing in sight nothing but a waste of waters. 

Captain Nemo took the altitude of the sun with his sex- 
tant to get his latitude. He waited some minutes till the 
planet came on a level with the edge of the horizon. Whilst 
he was observing not one of his muscles moved, and the 
instrument would not have been more motionless in a hand 
of marble. 

" It is noon. Professor, when you are ready " 

I cast a last look at the sea, and went down again to the 

There the captain made his point, and calculated his 
longitude chronometrically, which he controlled by pre- 
ceding observations of horary angles. Then he said to 

" M. Aronnax, we are about three hundred miles from 
the coasts of Japan. To-day, the 8th of November, at 
noon, our voyage of exploration nn ler the waters begins." 

" God preserve us ! " I answ< re I. 

" And now, professor," added the captain, " I leave you 
to your studies. I have given E.N.E. as our route at a depth 
of fifty yards. Here are maps on a large scale on which 
you can follow it. The saloon is at your disposition, and 
I ask your permission to withdraw." 

Captain Nemo bowed to me. I remained alone, ab- 
sorbed in my thoughts. All of them referred to the com- 
mander of the Nautilus. Should I ever know to what 
nation belonged the strange man who boasted of belonging 
to none ? This hatred which he had vowed to humanity 
this hatred which perhaps sought terrible means of revenge, 
what had provoked it ? Was he one of those misjudged 
scientific men like the American Maury, whose career has 
been broken by political revolutions ? I could not yet 


say. I, whom hazard had just cast upon his vessel I, 
whose life he held in his hands, he had received me coldly, 
but with hospitality. Only he had never taken the hand 
I had held out to him. He had never held out his to me. 

For a whole hour I remained buried in these reflections, 
seeking to pierce the mystery that interested me so greatly. 
Then my eyes fell upon the vast planisphere on the table, 
and I placed my finger on the very spot where the captain 
told me we had descended. 

The sea has its large rivers like continents. They are 
special currents, known by their temperature and colour. 
The most remarkable is known under the name of the 
Gulf Stream. Science has found out the direction of five 
principal currents one in the North Atlantic, a second 
in the South Atlantic, a third in the North Pacific, a fourth 
in the South Pacific, and a fifth in the South Indian Ocean. 
It is probable that a sixth current formerly existed in the 
North Indian Ocean, when the Caspian and Aral Seas, 
united to the great Asiatic lakes, only formed one vast 
sheet of water. 

At the point on the planisphere where my ringer lay, 
one of these currents was rolling the Kuro-Scivo or Black 
River of the Japanese, which, leaving the Gulf of Bengal, 
where the perpendicular rays of a tropical sun warm it, 
crosses the Straits of Malacca, runs along the coast of 
Asia, turns into the North Pacific as far as the Aleutian 
Islands, carrying with it the trunks of camphor-trees and 
other indigenous productions, contrasting by the pure 
indigo of its warm waters with the waves of the ocean. 
It was this current that the Nautilus was going to follow. 
I saw that it lost itself in the immensity of the Pacific, 
and felt myself carried along by it. Just then Ned Land 
and Conseil appeared at the door of the saloon. 

My two companions were petrified at the sight of the 
marvels spread out before their eyes. 

" Where are we where are we ? " cried the Canadian. 
" At the Quebec Museum ? " 

" If monsieur allows me to say so," replied Conseil, 
*' it is more like the Hotel du Sommerard." 

" My friends," said I, making them a sign to enter, 


" you are neither in Canada nor France, but on board the 
Nautilus, and at more than twenty-five fathoms below the 
sea level." 

" We must believe what monsieur says," replied Conseil, 
" but really this saloon is enough to astonish even a Dutch- 
man like me." 

" Marvel and look, Conseil, for there is enough for such a 
good classifier as you to do here." 

There was no need for me to encourage Conseil ; he 
was at once absorbed in inspecting the surrounding objects. 

During this time Ned Land, who was not so much in- 
terested in what he immediately saw, questioned me about 
my interview with Captain Nemo. Had I discovered who 
he was, from whence he came, whither he was going, to 
what depths he was dragging us ? in short, a thousand 
questions, to which I had not time to answer. 

I told him all I knew, or rather all I did not know, and 
I asked him what he had heard or seen on his side. 

" I have seen nothing, heard nothing," answered the 
Canadian. " I have not even seen the ship's crew. Can 
it be electric too ? " 

" Electric 1 " 

" Faith, any one would think so. But you, M. Aron- 
nax," said Ned Land, who stuck to his idea, " can you tell 
me how many men there are on board ? Are there ten, 
twenty, fifty, a hundred ? " 

" I know no more than you, Mr. Land ; it is better to 
abandon at present all idea of either taking possession of 
the Nautilus or escaping from it. This vessel is a master- 
piece of modern industry, and I should regret not to have 
seen it. Many people would accept our position only to 
move amidst such marvels. The only thing to do is to 
keep quiet and watch what passes around us." 

" Watch ! " exclaimed the harpooner, " but there's 
nothing to watch ; we can't see anything in this iron prison. 
We are moving along blindfolded." 

Ned Land had scarcely uttered these words when it be- 
came suddenly dark. The light in the ceiling had gone out. 

We remained mute and did not stir, not knowing what 
awaited us. But a sliding noise was heard. It was as 


if panek were being drawn back in the sides of the Nautilus. 

" It is the end of all things ! " said Ned Land. 

Suddenly light appeared on either side of the saloon, 
through two oblong openings. The liquid mass appeared 
vividly lighted up by the electric effluence. 

Two crystal panes separated us from the sea. At first I 
shuddered at the thought that this feeble partition might 
break, but strong copper bands bound it, giving an almost 
infinite power of resistance. 

The sea was distinctly visible for a mile round the Nau- 
tilus. What a spectacle ! Who could paint the effect 
of the light through those transparent sheets of water, 
and the softness of its successive gradations from the lower 
to the upper beds of the ocean ? 

The transparency of the sea is well known, and its lim- 
pidity is far greater than that of fresh water. The mineral 
and organic substances which it holds in suspension increase 
its transparency. In certain parts of the ocean at the 
Antilles, under seventy-five fathoms of water, the sandy 
bottom can be seen with surprising clearness, and the 
penetrating strength of the sun's rays only appears to stop 
at a depth of 150 fathoms. But in this fluid medium 
through which the Nautilus was travelling the electric light 
was produced in the very bosom of the waves. It was not 
luminous water, but liquid light. 

The Nautilus did not seem to be moving. It was be- 
cause there were no landmarks. Sometimes, however, 
the lines of water, furrowed by her prow, flowed before our 
eyes with excessive speed. 

Lost in wonder we stood before these windows, and none 
of us had broken this silence of astonishment when Conseil 

" Well, friend Ned, you wanted to look ; well, now you 
see ! " 

" It is curious ! " exclaimed the Canadian, who, forget- 
ting his anger and projects of flight, was irresistibly 
attracted. " Who wouldn't come for the sake of such a 
sight ? " 

" Now I understand the man's life," I exclaimed. " He 
has made a world of marvels for himself ?" 


*' But I don't see any fish," said the Canadian. 

" What does it matter to you, friend Ned," answered 
Conseil, " since you know nothing about them ? " 

" I ! A fisherman ! " cried Ned Land. 

And thereupon a dispute arose between the two friends, 
for each had some knowledge of fish, though in a very 
different way. 

Perhaps the Canadian knew as much as most men of 
his particular calling, but Conseil knew much more, and 
now that he had made friends with Ned, he could not allow 
himself to seem less learned than he. He accordingly said 
to him 

" Friend Ned, you are a killer of fish a very skilful 
fisher. You have taken a great number of these interesting 
animals. But I wager that you do not know how they 
t\re classified." 

" Yes, I do," answered the harpooner seriously. " They 
axe classified into fish that are good for food and fish that 
are not." 

" That is a greedy distinction," answered Conseil. " But 
do you know the difference between bony and cartilaginous 

" Perhaps I do, Conseil." 

" And the subdivision of these two grand classes ? " 

" I dare say I do," answered the Canadian. 

" Well, friend Ned, listen and remember ! The bony 
fish are subdivided into six orders. Primo, the acanthop- 
terygii, of which the upper jaw is complete, mobile with 
gills in the form of a comb. This order comprises fifteen 
families that is to say, the three-fourths of known fish. 
Type : the common perch." 

" Pretty good eating," answered Ned Land. 

" Secundo," continued Conseil, " the abdominals, an order 
of fish whose ventral fins are placed behind the pectoral, 
without being attached to the shoulder-bones an order 
which is divided into five families, and comprises most 
fresh-water fish. Type : the carp, roach, salmon, pike, etc." 

" Perch ! " said the Canadian disdainfully ; " fresh- 
water fish ! " 

" Tertio," said Conseil, " the subrachians, with ventral 


fins under the pectoral, and fastened to the shoulder-bones. 
This order contains four families. Type : plaice, mud-fish, 
turbots, brills, soles, etc." 

" Excellent ! excellent ! " cried the harpooner, who 
would only think of them from their eatable point of view. 

" Quarto," said Conseil, nowise confused, " the apodes 
with long bodies and no ventral fins, covered with a thick 
and often sticky skin an order that only comprises one 
family. Type : the eel, wolf-fish, sword-fish, lance, etc." 

" Middling ! only middling ! " answered Ned Land. 

" Quinto," said Conseil, " the lophiadae, distinguished by 
the bones of the carpus being elongated, and forming a 
kind of arm, which supports the pectoral fins. Type : 
the angler, or fishing frog." 

" Bad ! bad ! " replied the harpooner. 

" Sexto and lastly," said Conseil, " the plectognathes, 
which include those which have the maxillary bones 
anchylosed to the sides of the intermaxillaries, which alone 
form the jaws an order which has no real ventral fins, 
and is composed of two families. Type : the sun-fish." 

" Which any saucepan would be ashamed of ! " cried 
the Canadian. 

" Did you understand, friend Ned ? " asked the learned 

"Not the least in the world, friend Conseil," answered 
the harpooner. " But go on, for you are very interesting." 

" As to the cartilaginous fish," continued the imperturb- 
able Conseil, " they only include three orders." 

" So much the better," said Ned. 

" Primo, the cyclostomes, with circular mouths and 
gills opening by numerous holes an order including only 
one family. Type : the lamprey." 

" You must get used to it to like it," answered Ned Land. 

" Secundo, the selachii, with gills like the cyclostomes, but 
whose lower jaw is mobile. This order, which is the most 
important of the class, includes two families. Types : 
sharks and rays." 

" What ! " cried Ned ; " rays and sharks in the same 
order ? Well, friend Conseil, I should not advise you to put 
them in the same jar." 


** Tertio," answered Conseil, " the sturiones, with gills 
opened as usual by a single slit, furnished with an operacu- 
lum an order which includes four genera. Type : the 

" Well, friend Conseil, you have kept the best for the 
last, in my opinion, at least. Is that all ? " 

" Yes, Ned," answered Conseil ; " and remark that even 
when you know that you know nothing, for the families 
are subdivided into genera, sub-genera, species, varieties." 

" Well, friend Conseil," said the harpooner, leaning 
against the glass of the panel, " there are some varieties 
passing now." 

" Yes ! some fish," cried Conseil. " It is like being at 
an aquarium." 

" No," I answered, " for an aquarium is only a cage, 
and those fish are as free as birds in the air." 

" Well, now, Conseil, tell me their names ! tell me their 
names ! " said Ned Land. 

" I ? " answered Conseil ; " I could not do it ; that is 
my master's business." 

And, in fact, the worthy fellow, though an enthusiastic 
classifier, was not a naturalist. The Canadian, on the 
contrary, named them all without hesitation. 

Decidedly, between them, Ned Land and Conseil would 
have made a distinguished naturalist. 

For two hours a whole aquatic army escorted the Nautilus. 
Amidst their games and gambols, whilst they rivalled each 
other in brilliancy and speed, I recognised the green wrasse, 
the surmullet, marked with a double black stripe ; the 
goby, with its round tail, white with violet spots ; the 
Japanese mackerel, with blue body and silver head ; bril- 
liant, the azure fish, the name of which beggars all descrip- 
tion, gilt heads with a black band down their tails ; aulos- 
tones with flute-like noses, real sea- woodcocks, of which 
some specimens attain a yard in length ; Japanese salaman- 
ders ; sea-eels, serpents six feet long with bright little 
eyes and a huge mouth bristling with teeth, etc. 

My admiration was excited to the highest pitch. It had 
never been my lot to see these animals living and free in 
their natural element. I shall not cite all the varieties that 


passed before our dazzled eyes, all that collection from the 
Japanese and Chinese seas. More numerous than the birds 
of the air, these fish swam round us, doubtless attracted by 
the electric light. 

Suddenly light again appeared in the saloon. The iron 
panels were again closed. The enchanting vision disap- 
peared. But long after that I was dreaming still, until my 
eyes happened to fall on the instruments hung on the 
partition. The compass still indicated the direction of 
N.N.E., the manometer indicated a pressure of five atmo- 
spheres, corresponding to a depth of 100 fathoms, and the 
electric log gave a speed of 15 miles an hour. 

I expected Captain Nemo, but he did not appear. The 
clock was on the stroke of five. Ned Land and Conseil 
returned to their cabin, and I regained my room. 

I passed the evening reading, writing, and thinking. 
Then sleep overpowered me, and I stretched myself on my 
couch and slept profoundly, whilst the Nautilus glided 
rapidly along the current of the Black River. 



THE next day, the gth of November, I awoke after a sleep 
that had lasted twelve hours. Conseil came, as was his 
custom, to ask " how monsieur had passed the night," 
and to offer his services. He had left his friend the Cana- 
dian sleeping like a man who had never done anything else 
in his life. 

I let the brave fellow chatter on in his own fashion, with- 
out troubling to answer him much. I was anxious about 
the absence of Captain Nemo during our spectacle of the 
evening before, and hoped to see him again that day. 

I was soon clothed in my fibre-like garments. Their 
nature provoked many reflections from Conseil. I told 
him they were manufactured with the lustrous and silky 
filaments which fasten a sort of shell to the rocks. For- 
merly beautiful materials stockings and gloves were 
made from it, and they were both very soft and very warm. 
The crew of the Nautilus could, therefore, be clothed at a 


cheap rate, without help of either cotton-trees, sheep, or 
silkworms of the earth. 

When I was dressed I went into the saloon. It was 

I plunged into the study of the conchological treasures 
piled up in the cases. The whole day passed without my 
being honoured with a visit from Captain Nemo. The 
panels of the saloon were not opened. Perhaps they did 
not wish us to get tired of such beautiful things. 

The direction of the Nautilus kept N.N.E., its speed at 
twelve miles, its depth between twenty-five and thirty 

The next day, the loth of November, the same desertion, 
the same solitude. I did not see one of the ship's crew. 
Ned and Conseil passed the greater part of the day with me. 
They were astonished at the inexplicable absence of the 

After all, as Conseil said, we enjoyed complete liberty ; 
we were delicately and abundantly fed. Our host kept to 
the terms of his treaty. 

That day I began the account of these adventures, which 
allowed me to relate them with the most scrupulous exact- 
ness, and, curious detail, I wrote it on paper made with 
marine zostera. > 

Early in the morning of November nth, the fresh air 
spread over the interior of the Nautilus told me that we were 
again on the surface of the ocean to renew our supply of 
oxygen. I went to the central staircase and ascended it to 
the platform. It was 6 a.m. The weather was cloudy, the 
sea grey, but calm. There was scarcely any swell. I hoped 
to meet Captain Nemo there. Would he come ? I only 
saw the helmsman in his glass cage. Seated on the upper 
portion of the hull, I drank in the sea-breeze with delight. 

Little by little the clouds disappeared under the action of 
the sun's rays. I was admiring this joyful suniise, so gay 
and reviving, when I heard some one coming up to the 
platform. I prepared to address Captain Nemo, but it 
was his mate whom I had already seen during the captain's 
first visit who appeared. He did not seem to perceive my 
presence, and with his powerful glass he swept the horizon, 



after which he approached the stair-head and called out 
some words which I reproduce exactly, for every morning 
they were uttered under the same conditions. They were 
the following : 

" Nautron respoc lorni virch." 

What those words meant I know not. 

The mate then went below again, and I supposed that 
the Nautilus was going to continue her submarine course, 
so I followed him and regained my room. 

Five days passed and altered nothing in our position. 
Each morning I ascended to the platform. The same sen- 
tence was pronounced by the same individual. Captain 
Nemo did not appear. 

I had made up my mind that I was not going to see him 
again, when on the i6th of November, on entering my 
room with Ned Land and Conseil, I found a note directed 
to me upon the table. 

I opened it agitatedly. It was written in a bold, clear 
hand, and ran as follows : 

" To Professor ARONNAX, 

" November i6th, 1867. 

" Captain Nemo invites Professor Aronnax to a hunt which 
will take place to-morrow morning in the forest of the island 
of Crespo. He hopes nothing will prevent the professor 
joining it, and he will have much pleasure in seeing his 
companions also. 

" The Commander of the Nautilus. 


' A hunt I " cried Ned. 

' And in the forests of Crespo Island," added Conseil. 

' Then that fellow does land sometimes," said Ned Land. 

' It looks like it," said I, reading the letter again. 

' Well, we must accept," replied the Canadian. " Once 
on land we can decide what to do. Besides, I shall not be 
sorry to eat some fresh meat." 

I consulted the planisphere as to the whereabouts of the 
island of Crespo, and in 32 40' north lat. and 167 50' west 
long. I found a small island which was reconnoitred in 
1801 by Captain Crespo, and which was marked in old 


Spanish maps as Rocca de la Plata, or " Silver Rock." 
We were then about 1,800 miles from our starting-point, 
and the course of the Nautilus, a little changed, was bring- 
ing it back towards the south-east. I pointed out to my 
companions the little rock lost in the midst of the North 

" If Captain Nemo does land sometimes," I said, " he 
at least chooses quite desert islands." 

Ned Land shrugged his shoulders without speaking, and 
he and Conseil left me. After supper, which was served 
by the mute and impassible steward, I went to bed, not 
without some anxiety. 

The next day, November I7th, when I awoke, I felt that 
the Nautilus was perfectly still. I dressed quickly and 
went to the saloon. 

Captain Nemo was there waiting for me. He rose, bowed, 
and asked me if it was convenient for me to accompany him. 

As he made no allusion to his eight days' absence I 
abstained from speaking of it, and answered simply that 
my companions and I were ready to follow him. 

" May I ask you, captain," I said, " how it is that, having 
broken all ties with earth, you possess forests in Crespo 
Island ? " 

" Professor," answered the captain, " my forests are not 
terrestrial forests but submarine forests." 

' Submarine forests 1 " I exclaimed. 

' Yes, professor." 

' And you offer to take me to them ? " 

' Precisely." 

' On foot ? " 

' Yes, and dryfooted too." 

' But how shall we hunt ? with a gun ? " 

' Yes, with a gun." 

I thought the captain was gone mad, and the idea was 
expressed on my face, but he only invited me to follow 
him like a man resigned to anything. We entered the 
dining-room, where breakfast was laid. 

" M. Aronnax," said the captain, " will you share my 
breakfast without ceremony ? We will talk as we eat. You 
will not find a restaurant in our walk though you will a 


forest. Breakfast like a man who will probably dine very 

I did justice to the meal, and following the captain's 
example, I washed it down with sparkling water, which was 
diluted by a few drops of some fermented liquor, extracted 
from a sea-weed. Captain Nemo went on eating at first 
without saying a word. Then he said to me 

" When I invited you to hunt in my submarine forests, 
professor, you thought I was mad. You judged me too 
lightly. You know as well as I do that man can live under 
water, providing he takes with him a provision of air to 
breathe. When submarine work has to be done, the work- 
man, clad in a water-tight dress, with his head in a metal 
helmet, receives air from above by means of pumps and 

" Then it is a diving apparatus ? " 

" Yes, but one that enables him to get rid of the india- 
rubber tube attached to the pump. It is an apparatus, 
invented by two of your own countrymen, but which 
I have brought to perfection for my own use, and which 
will allow you to risk yourself in the water without suffer- 
ing. It is composed of a reservoir of thick iron plates, in 
which I store the air under a pressure of fifty atmospheres. 
This reservoir is fastened on to the back by means of braces, 
like a soldier's knapsack ; its upper part forms a box, in 
which the air is kept by means of bellows, and which cannot 
escape except at its normal tension. Two indiarubber pipes 
leave this box and join a sort of tent, which imprisons the 
nose and mouth ; one introduces fresh air, the other lets out 
foul, and the tongue closes either according to the needs of 
respiration. But I, who encounter great pressure at the 
bottom of the sea, am obliged to shut my head in a globe of 
copper, into which the two pipes open." 

" Perfectly, Captain Nemo ; but the air that you carry 
with you must soon be used up, for as soon as it only con- 
tains fifteen per cent, of oxygen, it is no longer fit to 

" I have already told you, M. Aronnax, that the pumps 
of the Nautilus allow me to store up air under considerable 
pressure, and under these conditions the reservoir of the 


apparatus can furnish breathable air for nine or ten hours." 

" I have no other objection to make," I answered. " I 
will only ask you one thing, captain. How do you light 
your road at the bottom of the ocean ? " 

" With the Ruhmkorff apparatus, M. Aronnax. It is 
composed of a Bunsen pile, which I do not work with bichro- 
mate of potassium, but with sodium. A wire is introduced, 
which collects the electricity produced, and directs it ten- 
wards a particularly-made lantern. In this lantern is a 
spiral glass which contains a small quantity of carbonic gas. 
When the apparatus is at work the gas becomes luminous, 
and gives out a white and continuous light. Thus provided, 
I breathe and see." 

" But, Captain Nemo, what sort of a gun do you use ? " 
" It is not a gun for powder, but an air-gun. How could 
I manufacture gunpowder on board without either salt- 
petre, sulphur, or charcoal ? " 

" Besides," I added, " to fire under water in a medium 
855 times denser than air, very considerable resistance 
would have to be conquered." 

"That would be no difficulty. There exist certain 
Felton guns, perfected in England by Philip Coles and 
Burley, by the Frenchman Furcy and the Italian Landi, 
furnished with a peculiar system of closing, which can be 
fired under these conditions. But, I repeat, having no 
powder, I use air under great pressure, which the pumps 
of the Naiitilus furnish abundantly." 

" But this air must be rapidly consumed." 

" Well, have I not my Rouquayrol reservoir, which can 
furnish me with what I need ? All I want for that is a 
tap ad hoc. Besides, you will see for yourself, M. Aronnax, 
that during these submarine shooting excursions you do 
not use either much air or bullets." 

" But it seems to me that in the half-light, and amidst a 
liquid so much more dense than the atmosphere, bodies 
cannot be projected far, and are not easily mortal." 

" Sir, with these guns every shot is mortal, and as soon as 
the animal is touched, however slightly, it falls crushed." 

" Why ? " 

" Because they are not ordinary .bullets. We use little 


glass percussion-caps, covered with steel, and weighted with 
a leaden bottom. They are really little bottles, in which 
electricity is forced to a very high tension. At the slightest 
shock they go off, and the animal, however powerful it 
may be, falls dead." 

" I will argue no longer," I replied, rising from the table. 
" The only thing left me is to take my gun. Besides, where 
you go I will follow." 

Captain Nemo then led me aft of the Nautilus and whilst 
passing the cabin of Ned Conseil, I called my two com- 
panions, who followed me immediately. Then we came to 
a cell, situated near the engine-room, in which we were to 
put on our walking dress. 



THIS cell was, properly speaking, the arsenal and wardrobe 
of the Nautilus. A dozen diving apparatus, hung from 
the wall, awaited our use. 

Ned Land, seeing them, was disinclined to put one on. 

" But, my worthy Ned," I said, " the forests of Crespo, 
Island are only submarine forests ! " 

The disappointed harpooner saw his dreams of fresh meat 
fade away. 

" And you, M. Aronnax, are you going to put on one of 
those things ? " 

" I must, Master Ned." 

" You can do as you please, sir," replied the harpooner, 
shrugging his shoulders, " but as for me, unless I am forced, 
I will never get into one." 

" No one will force you, Ned," said Captain Nemo. 

" Does Conseil mean to risk it ? " said Ned. 

" I shall follow monsieur wherever he goes," answered 

Two of the ship's crew came to help us on the call of the 
captain and we donned the cumbersome clothes made of 
seamless indiarubber, and constructed expressly to resist 
considerable pressure. They looked like suits of armour, 
both supple and resisting, and formed trousers and coat ; 


the trousers were finished off with thick boots, which were 
weighted with leaden soles. The texture of the coat was 
held together by bands of copper, which crossed the chest, 
protecting it from the pressure of the water, and leaving 
the lungs free to act ; the sleeves ended in the form of supple 
gloves, which in no way restrained the movements of the 

Captain Nemo and one of his companions a sort of 
Hercules Conseil, and myself, were soon enveloped in 
these submarine outfits. There was nothing left but to 
put our heads into the metallic globes. But before pro- 
ceeding with this operation I asked the captain's permission 
to examine the guns we were to take. 

One of the crew gave me a simple gun, the butt-end of 
which, made of steel and hollowed in the interior, was rather 
large ; it served as a reservoir for compressed air, which a 
valve, worked by a spring, allowed to escape into a metal 
tube. A box of projectiles, fixed in a groove in the thick- 
ness of the butt-end, contained about twenty electric 
bullets, which, by means of a spring, were forced into the 
barrel of the gun. As soon as one shot was fired another 
was ready. 

"Captain Nemo," said I, "this works automatically; 
all I ask now is to try it. But how shall we gain the bottom 
of the sea ? " 

" At this moment, professor, the Nautilus is stranded 
in five fathoms of water, and we have only to start." 
" But how shall we get out ? " 
" You will soon see." 

Captain Nemo put on his helmet. Conseil and I did the 
same, not without hearing an ironical " Good sport " from 
the Canadian. The upper part of our coat was surmounted 
by a copper collar, upon which the metal helmet was 
screwed. As soon as it was in position the apparatus on 
our backs began to act, and, for my part, I could breathe 
with ease. 

I found when I was ready, lamp and all, that I could 
not move a step. But this was foreseen. I felt myself 
pushed along a little room adjoining the wardrobe-room. 
My companions, pushed along in the same way, followed 


me. I heard an air-tight door close behind us, and we were 
in profound darkness. 

After some minutes I heard a loud whistling, and felt the 
cold mount from my feet to my chest. It was evident that 
they had filled the room in which we were with sea- water, 
by means of a tap. A second door in the side of the 
Nautilus opened then. A faint light appeared. A moment 
after, our feet were treading the bottom of the sea. 

And now, how could I describe the impression made upon 
me by that walk under the sea ? Marvellous ! When the 
brush itself is powerless to depict the particular effects of 
the liquid element, how can the pen reproduce them ? 

Captain Nemo walked on in front, and his companion 
followed us some steps behind. Conseil and I remained 
near one another, as if any exchange of words had been 
possible through our metallic covering. I no longer felt 
the weight of my clothes, shoes, air-reservoir, nor of that 
thick globe in the midst of which my head shook like an 
almond in its shell. 

The light which illuminated the ground at thirty feet 
below the surface of the ocean astonished me by its power. 
The solar rays easily pierced this watery mass and dissipated 
its colour. One easily distinguished objects 120 yards off. 
The water around me only appeared a sort of air, denser 
than the terrestrial atmosphere, but nearly as transparent. 
Above me I perceived the calm surface of the sea. 

We were walking on fine even sand, not wave-like, as it 
is on a flat shore which keeps the imprint of the billows. 
This dazzling carpet reflected the rays of the sun with sur- 
prising intensity. Shall I be believed when I affirm that 
at that depth of thirty feet I saw as well as in open daylight? 

For a quarter of an hour I trod on this shining sand. 
The hull of the Nautilus, looking like a long rock, disap- 
peared by degrees ; but its lantern, when night came, 
would facilitate our return on board. I put back with my 
hands the liquid curtains which closed again behind me, and 
saw my foot -prints soon effaced by the pressure of the water. 

I soon came to some magnificent rocks, carpeted with 
splendid corals. 

It was then 10 a.m. The ravs of the sun struck the 


surface of the waves at an oblique angle, and at their con- 
tact with the light, composed by a refraction as through a 
prism, flowers, rocks, plants, and polypi were shaded at 
their edges by the seven solar colours ; it was a grand feast 
for the eyes this complication of tints, a veritable kaleido- 
scope of green, yellow, orange, violet, indigo, and blue in a 
word, all the palette of an enthusiastic colourist. 

After a brief halt to gaze on this splendid spectacle, and 
proceeding, within the space of a quarter of a mile, we 
saw an unbroken scene formed by the wondrous products 
of the mighty ocean. I noticed that the green plants kept 
near the surface, whilst the red occupied a middle depth, 
leaving to the black or brown hydrophytes the care of 
forming gardens and flower-beds in the remote depths of 
the ocean. The family of seaweeds produces the largest 
and smallest vegetables of the globe. 

We had left the Nautilus about an hour and a-hatf . It 
was nearly twelve o'clock ; I knew that by the perpendicu- 
larity of the sun's rays, which were no longer refracted. 
The magical colours disappeared by degrees, and the emerald 
and sapphire tints died out. We marched along with a 
regular step which rang upon the ground with astonishing 
intensity ; the slightest sound is transmitted with a speed 
to which the ear is not accustomed on the earth in fact, 
water is a better conductor of sound than air in the ratio of 
four to one. 

The ground gradually sloped downwards, and the light 
took a uniform tint. We were at a depth of more than a 
hundred yards, and bearing a pressure of ten atmospheres. 
But my diving apparatus was so small that I suffered no- 
thing from this pressure. I merely felt a slight discomfort 
in my finger- joints, and even that soon disappeared. As 
to the fatigue that this walk in such unusual harness might 
be expected to produce, it was nothing. My movements, 
helped by the water, were made with surprising facility. 

I could still see the rays of the sun, but feebly. To their 
intense brilliancy had succeeded a reddish twilight, middle 
term between day and night. Still we saw sufficiently to 
guide ourselves, and it was not yet necessary to light our 


At that moment Captain Nemo stopped. He waited for 
me to come up to him, and with his finger pointed to some 
obscure masses which stood out of the shade at some little 

" It is the forest of Crespo Island," I thought, and I was 
not mistaken 



WE had at last arrived on the borders of this forest, doubt- 
less one of the most beautiful in the immense domain 
of Captain Nemo. He looked upon it as his own, and 
who was there to dispute his right ? This forest was 
composed of arborescent plants, and as soon as we had 
penetrated under its vast arcades, I was struck at first by 
the singular disposition of their branches. 

None of those herbs which carpeted the ground none of 
the branches of the larger plants, were either bent, drooped, 
or extended horizontally. There was not a single filament, 
however thin, that did not keep as upright as a rod of iron. 
When I bent them with my hand these plants immediately 
resumed their first position. It was the reign of perpendicu- 

I soon accustomed myself to this fantastic disposition 
of things, as well as to the relative obscurity which enveloped 

I noticed that all these productions of the vegetable 
kingdom had no roots, and only held on to either sand, 
shell, or rock. These plants drew no vitality from anything 
but the water. The greater number, instead of leaves, shot 
forth blades of capricious shapes, comprised within a scale 
of colours pink, carmine, red, olive, fawn, and brown. 

" Curious anomaly, fantastic element," said an ingenious 
naturalist. " Where the animal kingdom blossoms the 
vegetable does not." 

Amongst these different shrubs, as large as the trees 
of temperate zones, and under their humid shade, were 
massed veritable bushes of living flowers, hedges, grassy 
tufts, and, to complete the illusion, the fish-flies flew from 
branch to branch like a swarm of humming-birds. 


About one o'clock Captain Nemo gave the signal to halt. 
I, for my part, was not sorry, and we stretched ourselves 
under a thicket of alariae, the long thin blades of which 
shot up like arrows. 

This short rest seemed delicious to me. Nothing was 
wanting but the charm of conversation, but it was im- 
possible to speak I could only approach my large copper 
head to that of Conseil. I saw the eyes of the worthy 
fellow shine with contentment, and he moved about in his 
covering in the most comical way in the world. 

After this four hours' walk I was much astonished not to 
find myself violently hungry, and I cannot tell why, but 
instead I was intolerably sleepy, as all divers are. My eyes 
closed behind their thick glass, and I fell into an unavoid- 
able slumber, which the movement of walking had alone 
prevented up till then. Captain Nemo and his robust 
companion, lying down in the clear crystal, set us the 

How long I remained asleep I cannot tell, but when I 
awoke the sun seemed sinking towards the horizon. Cap- 
tain Nemo was already on his feet, and I was stretching 
myself when an unexpected apparition brought me quickly 
to my feet. 

A few steps off an enormous sea-spider, more than a yard 
high, was looking at me with his squinting eyes ready to 
spring upon me. Although my dress was thick enough 
to defend me against the bite of this animal, I could not 
restrain a movement of horror. Conseil and the sailor of 
the Nautilus awoke at that moment. A blow from the butt- 
end of Captain Nemo's gun killed it, and I saw its terrible 
claws writhe in horrible convulsions. 

This incident reminded me that other animals, more to be 
feared, might haunt these obscure depths, and that my 
diver's dress would not protect me against their attacks. 
I had not thought of that before, and resolved to be on my 
guard. I supposed that this halt marked the limit of our 
excursion, but I was mistaken, and instead of returning to 
the Nautilus, Captain Nemo went on. 

The ground still inclined and took us to greater depths. 
It must have been about three o'clock when we reached a 


narrow valley between two high cliffs, situated about 
seventy-five fathoms deep. Thanks to the perfection of 
our apparatus, we were forty-five fathoms below the limit 
which Nature seems to have imposed on the submarine 
excursions of man. 

I knew how deep we were because the obscurity became 
so profound not an object was visible at ten paces. I 
walked along groping when I suddenly saw a white light 
shine out. Captain Nemo had just lighted his electric 
lamp. His companion imitated him. Conseil and I fol- 
lowed their example. By turning a screw I established the 
communication between the spool and the glass serpentine, 
and the sea, lighted up by our four lanterns, was illumin- 
ated in a radius of twenty-five yards. 

Captain Nemo still kept on plunging into the dark depths 
of the forest, the trees of which were getting rarer and rarer. 
I remarked that the vegetable life disappeared sooner than 
the animal. The medusae had already left the soil, which 
had become arid, whilst a prodigious number of animals, 
zoophytes, articulata, molluscs, and fish swarmed there still. 

As we walked I thought that the light of our Ruhmkorff 
apparatus could not fail to draw some inhabitants from 
these sombre depths. But if they did approach us they at 
least kept a respectful distance from us. Several times I 
saw Captain Nemo stop and take aim ; then, after some 
minutes' observation, he rose and went on walking. 

At last, about four o'clock, this wonderful excursion 
was ended. A wall of superb rocks rose up before us, 
enormous granite cliffs impossible to climb. It was the 
island of Crespo. Captain Nemo stopped suddenly. We 
stopped at a sign from him. Here ended the domains of 
the captain. 

The return began. Captain Nemo again kept at the 
head of his little band, and directed his steps without hesi- 
tation. I thought I perceived that we were not returning 
to the Nautilus by the road we had come. This new one 
was very steep, and consequently very painful. We ap- 
proached the surface of the sea rapidly. But this return 
to the upper beds was not so sudden as to produce the internal 
injuries so fatal to divers. Very soon light reappeared and 


increased, and as the sun was already low on the horizon 
refraction edged the different objects with a spectral ring. 

At a depth of ten yards we were walking in a swarm of 
little fish of every sort, more numerous than birds in the 
air, and more agile too. But no aquatic game worthy of a 
shot had as yet met our gaze. 

At that moment I saw the captain put his gun to his 
shoulder and follow a moving object into the shrubs. He 
fired, I heard a feeble hissing, and an animal fell a few steps 
from us. 

It was a magnificent sea-otter, the only quadruped which 
is exclusively marine. This otter was five feet long, and 
must have been very valuable. Its skin, chestnut brown 
above and silvery underneath, would have made one ol 
those beautiful furs so sought after in the Russian and 
Chinese markets ; the fineness and lustre of its coat was cer- 
tainly worth at least eighty pounds. I admired this curious 
mammal its rounded head and short ears, round eyes and 
white whiskers, like those of a cat, with webbed feet and 
claws and tufted tail. Captain Nemo's companion took it 
up and threw it over his shoulders, and we continued our 

During the next hour a plain of sand lay stretched before 
us. Sometimes it rose within two yards and some inches 
of the surface of the water. I then saw the reflection of our 
images above us, like us in every point, except that they 
walked with their heads downwards and their feet in the air 

The waves above us looked like clouds above our heads- 
clouds which were no sooner formed than they vanished 
rapidly. I even perceived the shadows of the large birds as 
they floated on the surface of the water. 

On this occasion I was witness to one of the finest gun- 
shots which ever made a hunter's nerve thrill. A large 
bird, with great breadth of wing, hovered over us. Captain 
Nemo's companion shouldered his gun and fired when it 
was only a few yards above the waves. The bird fell dead, 
and the fall brought it in reach of the skilful hunter's grasp. 
It was an albatross of the finest kind. 

Our march was not interrupted by this incident. I was 
worn out by fatigue when we at last perceived a faint light 


half a mile off. Before twenty minutes were over we should 
be on board and able to breathe with ease, for it seemed to 
me that my reservoir of air was getting very deficient in 
oxygen, but I did not reckon upon a meeting which delayed 
our arrival. 

I was about twenty steps behind Captain Nemo when he 
suddenly turned towards me. With his vigorous hand he 
threw me to the ground, whilst his companion did the same 
to Conseil. At first I did not know what to think of this 
sudden attack, but I was reassured when I saw that the 
captain lay down beside me and remained perfectly motion- 

I was stretched on the ground just under the shelter of a 
bush of algse, when, on raising my head, I perceived enor- 
mous masses throwing phosphorescent gleams pass bluster- 
ingly by. 

My blood froze in my veins. I saw two formidable dog- 
fish threatening us ; they were terrible creatures, with enor- 
mous tails and a dull and glassy stare, who threw out phos- 
phorescent beams from holes pierced round their muzzles. 
Monstrous brutes which would crush a whole man in their 
jaws ! I do not know if Conseil stayed to classify them. 
For my part, I noticed their silver stomachs and their 
formidable mouths bristling with teeth from a very unscien- 
tific point of view more as a possible victim than as a 

Happily, these voracious animals see badly. They 
passed without perceiving us, brushing us with their brown- 
ish fins, and we escaped, as if by a miracle, this danger, 
certainly greater than the meeting of a tiger in a forest. 

Half an hour after, guided by the electric light, we reached 
the Nautilus. The outside door had remained open, and 
Captain Nemo closed it as soon as we had entered the first 
cell. Then he pressed a knob. I heard the pumps worked 
inside the vessel. I felt the water lower around me, and in a 
few moments the cell was entirely empty. The inner door 
then opened, and we entered the wardrobe-room. 

There our diving dresses were taken off, and, quite worn 
out from want of food and sleep, I returned to my room, 
lost in wonder at this surprising excursion under the sea. 




THE next morning, the i8th of November, I was perfectly 
recovered from my fatigue of the day before, and I went 
up on to the platform at the very moment that the mate 
was pronouncing his daily sentence. It then came into my 
mind that it had to do with the state of the sea, and that 
it signified " There is nothing in sight." 

And, in fact, the ocean was quite clear. There was not a 
sail on the horizon. The heights of Crespo Island had dis- 
appeared during the night. The sea, absorbing the colours 
of the solar prism, with the exception of the blue rays, 
reflected them in every direction, and was of an admirable 
indigo shade. A large wave was regularly undulating its 

I was admiring this magnificent aspect of the sea when 
Captain Nemo appeared. He did not seem to notice my 
presence, and began a series of astronomical observations. 
Then, when he had ended his operation, he went and leaned 
against the cage of the watch-light and watched the surface 
of the ocean. 

In the meantime about twenty sailors from the Nautilus, 
strong and well-built men, ascended upon the platform. 
They came to draw in the nets which had been out all 
night. These sailors evidently belonged to different nations, 
although they were all of the European type. They spoke 
very little, and only used the strange idiom of which I 
could not even guess the origin, so that I could not question 

The nets were hauled in. They had, I estimated, captured 
more than nine hundredweight of fish, which included many 
curious specimens. We should not want for food. 

These different products of the sea were immediately 
lowered down by the panel leading to the storerooms, some 
to be eaten fresh, others to be preserved. 

The fishing ended and the provision of air renewed, I 
thought that the Nautilus was going to continue its sub- 
marine excursion, and I was preparing to return to my 


room, when, without further preamble, the captain turned 
to me and said 

" Is not the ocean gifted with real life, professor ? It is 
sometimes gentle, at other times tempestuous. Yesterday 
it slept as we did, and now it has awaked after a peaceful 

Neither " Good morning " nor " Good evening ! " It 
was as though this strange personage had been in conver- 
sation with me all the time. 

" See now," he said, " it wakes under the sun's influence. 
It will now renew its diurnal existence. It is deeply inter- 
esting to watch the play of its organisation. It possesses a 
pulse and arteries, it has its spasms, and I agree with the 
learned Maury who discovered in it a circulation as real as 
the circulation of blood in animals." 

It was certain that Captain Nemo expected no answer 
from me, and it appeared to me useless to keep saying 
" Evidently," or " You are right," or " It must be so." 
He spoke rather to himself, taking some time between each 
sentence. It was a meditation aloud. 

" Yes," said he, " the ocean possesses a veritable circu- 
lation, and in order to cause it, it sufficed the Creator of all 
things to multiply in it caloric, salt, and animalculae. You 
will see at the poles the consequences of this phenomenon, 
and you will understand why, according to the law of 
provident Nature, freezing can never take place except 
on the surface of the water ! " 

Whilst Captain Nemo was finishing his sentence I said 
to myself, " The Pole ! Does the daring man intend to 
take us as far as there ? " 

In the-Vneantime the captain had stopped talking, and was 
contemplating the element he so incessantly studied. Then 
he resumed. 

" The salts," said he, " exist in a considerable quantity 
in the sea, professor, and if you were to take out all it con- 
tains in solution, you would make a mass of four million 
and a half square miles, which, spread over the globe 
would form a layer more than ten yards deep. And do 
not think that the presence of this salt is due to a caprice of 
Nature. No. It makes sea- water less capable of evapora- 


tion, and prevents the wind taking off too great a quantity 
of vapour, which, when it condenses, would submerge the 
temperate zones. It has a great balancing part to play 
in the general economy of the globe ! " 

Captain Nemo stopped, rose, took several steps on the 
platform, and came back towards me. 

" As to the infusoria, as to the hundreds of millions of 
animalculae which exist by millions in a drop of water, and 
of which it takes 800,000 to weigh a milligramme, their part 
is not less important. They absorb the marine salts, they 
assimilate the solid elements of water, and, veritable manu- 
facturers of calcareous continents, they make coral and 
madrepores, and then the drop of water deprived of its 
mineral element is lightened, mounts to the surface, absorbs 
there the salt left by evaporation, is weighted, sinks again, 
and takes back to the animalcules new elements to absorb. 
Hence a double current, ascending and descending, always 
movement and life life more intense than that of conti- 
nents, more exuberant, more infinite, flourishing in every 
part of this ocean, element of death to man, they say, 
element of life to myriads of animals, and to me ! " 

When Captain Nemo spoke thus he was transfigured, and 
evoked in me extraordinary emotion. 

" True existence is there," added he, " and I could con- 
ceive the foundation of nautical towns, agglomeration of 
submarine houses, which, like the Nautilus would go up 
every morning to breathe on the surface of the water free 
towns, if ever there were any, independent cities ! And 
yet who knows if some despot " 

Captain Nemo finished his sentence by a violent gesture. 
Then, addressing himself directly to me as if to drive away 
some gloomy thought, he said 

" M. Aronnax, do you know how deep the ocean is ? " 

" I know at least, captain, what the principal soundings 
have taught us." 

" Could you repeat them to me, so that I might counter- 
register them if necessary ? " 

" Here are some that occur to me," I answered. " If I 
am not mistaken they have found an average depth of 
8,200 metres in the North Atlantic, and 2,500 metres in 



the Mediterranean. The most remarkable soundings have 
been taken in the South Atlantic, near the 35th degree ; 
and they have given 1,200 metres, 14,081 metres, and 
15,149 metres in short, it is estimated that if the bottom 
of the sea was levelled its average depth would be about 
five miles." 

" Well, professor," answered Captain Nemo, " we shall 
show you better than that, I hope. As to the average 
depth of this part of the Pacific, I can tell you that it is 
only 4,000 metres." 

That said, Captain Nemo went towards the panel and 
disappeared. I also descended, going into ' he saloon. The 
screw then began to work, and the log gave twenty miles 
an hour. 

For days and weeks Captain Nemo was very sparing of 
his visits. I only saw him at rare intervals. 

Conseil and Land passed long hours with me. Conseil 
had related to his friend the marvels of our excursion, and 
the Canadian regretted not having accompanied us. 

For several hours each day, the panels of the saloon 
were open, and our eyes feasted on the mysteries of the 
submarine world. 

The Nautilus kept a north-easterly direction. It crossed 
the equator on December ist by long. 142, and the 4th of 
the same month, after a rapid passage during which no 
particular incident happened, we sighted the group of the 
Marquesas. I perceived, at a distance of three miles, the 
wooded mountains outlined on the horizon, for Captain 
Nemo did not like to draw near any land. There the nets 
brought in some fine specimens of fish for the pantry. 

After leaving these islands, from the 4th to the nth of 
December the Nautilus sailed over 2,000 miles. This 
navigation was marked by the meeting of an immense shoal 
of molluscs. They could be counted by millions. They 
were emigrating from the temperate to the warmer zones, 
following the track of herrings and sardines. We watched 
them through the crystal panes, swimming backwards with 
extreme rapidity, moving by means of their locomotive 
tube, pursuing fish and molluscs, eating the little ones, eaten 
by the big ones, and agitating, in indescribable confusion. 


the ten arms that Nature had placed on their heads, like a 
crest of pneumatic serpents. The Nautilus, notwithstand- 
ing its speed, sailed for several hours in the midst of these 
animals, and its net drew in an innumerable quantity. 

It will be seen that during this voyage the sea provided 
an amazing variety of its most marvellous spectacles. It 
varied them infinitely. It changed its scenes and group- 
ing for the pleasure of our eyes, and we were called upon, 
not only to contemplate the works of the Creator amidst 
the liquid element, but to penetrate as well into the most 
fearful mysteries of the ocean. 

During the day of the nth of December I was reading 
in the saloon. Ned Land and Conseil were looking at the 
luminous water through the half-open panels. The Nauti- 
lus was stationary ; it was at a depth of 1,000 yards, a 
region in which large fish alone make rare appearances. 
Whilst engaged in reading a book Conseil interrupted me. 

" Will monsieur come here for a moment ? " said he in a 
singular voice. 

I rose, went to the window, and looked out. Full in the 
electric light an enormous black mass, immovable, was 
suspended in the midst of the waters. I looked at it atten- 
tively, trying to make out the nature of this gigantic ceta- 
cean. But an idea suddenly came into my mind. 

" A vessel ! " I cried. 

" Yes," replied the Canadian, " a disabled ship sunk per- 

Ned Land was right. We were close to a vessel of which 
the tattered shrouds still hung from their chains. The hull 
seemed to be in good order, and it could not have been 
wrecked more than a few hours ; the vessel had had to 
sacrifice its mast. It lay on its side, had filled, and was 
heeling over to port. This skeleton of what it had once 
been was a sad spectacle under the waves, but sadden-still 
was the sight of the deck, where corpses, bound with rope, 
were still lying. I counted five ; one man was at the helm, 
and a woman, apparently young, stood by the poop holding 
an infant in her arms. I could clearly see her features by 
the light of the Nautilus features which the water had not 
yet decomposed. In a last effort she had raised the child 


above her head, and the arms of the little one were round 
its mother's neck. The sailors looked frightful, and seemed 
to be making a last effort to free themselves from the cords 
that bound them to the vessel. The helmsman alone, calm, 
with a clear, grave face and iron-grey hair, was clutching 
the wheel of the helm, and seemed, even then, to be guiding 
the vessel through the depths of the ocean ! 

What a scene ! It struck us dumb, and as we were turn- 
ing away we saw, advancing towards it with hungry eyes, 
enormous sharks attracted by the human flesh ! 

The Nautilus just then turned round the submerged 
vessel, and I read on the stern " Florida, Sunderland." 



THIS terrible spectacle inaugurated the series of catastro- 
phes which the Nautilus was to meet with on her route. 
Since it had been in more frequented seas we often per- 
ceived the hulls of ships wrecked vessels which were rot- 
ting in the midst of the waters, and, deeper down, cannons, 
bullets, anchors, chains, and other iron objects which were 
being eaten up by the rust. 

We lived in the Nautilus our usual isolated lives, and 
on the nth of December we sighted the archipelago of 
Pomotou. These islands are of coral formation. They 
slowly but continuously rise by the work of the polypi, 
which will one day join them together. Then this new 
island will be joined to the neighbouring archipelagoes, and 
a fifth continent will stretch from New Zealand and New 
Caledonia to the Marquesas. 

The day that I developed this theory before Captain 
Nemo he answered me coldly 

" The earth does not want new continents, but new 
men ! " 

The hazards of its navigation had precisely conducted 
the Nautilus towards the island of Clermont-Tonnerre, one 
of the most curious of the group, which was discovered in 
1822 by Captain Bell, of the Minerva. I could now study 


the madreporal system to which the islands of this ocean 
are due. 

Madrepores, which must not be mistaken for corals, 
have a tissue covered with a calcareous crust, and the 
modifications of its structure have made Mr. Milne Ed- 
wards, my illustrious master, classify them into five sec- 
tions. The little animalculse which these polypi secrete, 
live by millions at the bottom of their cells. It is their 
calcareous deposit which becomes rocks, reefs, and large 
and small islands. Here they form a ring surrounding a 
lagoon 01 small interior lake, which gaps put into communi- 
cation with the sea. There they make barriers of reefs 
like those which exist on the coasts of New Caledonia and 
the different Pomotou Islands. In other places, such as 
Reunion and Maurice, they raise fringed reefs, high straight 
walls, near which the depths of the ocean are considerable. 

As we were coasting at some cable-lengths only off the 
shore of j the island of Clermont-Tonnerre I admired the 
gigantic work accomplished by these microscopical work- 
men. Those walls are specially the work of madrepores, 
known as milleporas, porites, astraeas, and meandrines. 
These polypi breed particularly in the rough beds on the 
surface of the sea, and consequently it is from their upper 
part that they begin their substructure, which sinks gradu- 
ally with the debris of secretions which support them. 

I could closely observe these curious walls, for the fathom- 
line gave them perpendicularly more than 300 yards in 
depth, and our electric light made the calcareous matter 
shine brilliantly. 

Replying to a question Conseil asked me as to how long it 
took these colossal barriers to grow, I astonished him much 
by telling him that learned men reckoned the growth to be 
one-eighth of an inch in a century. 

" Then how long has it taken to raise these walls ? " he 

" Four hundred and ninety-two thousand years, Conseil. 
Besides, the formation of coal and the mineralising of the 
forests buried by the deluge has taken a much longer time 

When the Nautilus returned to the surface of the ocean I 


could take in all the development of this low and wooded 
island of Clermont-Tonnerre. Its madreporal rocks were 
evidently fertilised by water-spouts and tempests. One 
day some grain, carried away from neighbouring land by a 
tempest of wind, fell on these calcareous layers, mixed with 
the decomposed detritus of fish and marine plants which 
formed vegetable soil. A cocoanut, pushed along by the 
waves, arrived on this new coast. The germ took root. 
The tree grew and stopped the vapour of the water. Streams 
were born, vegetation spread little by little. Animalculae, 
worms, insects landed upon trunks of trees, torn away from 
other islands by the wind. Turtles came to lay their eggs. 
Birds built their nests in the young trees. In that manner 
animal life was developed, and, attracted by verdure and 
fertility, man appeared. Thus these islands, the immense 
works of microscopical animals, were formed. 

Towards evening Clermont-Tonnerre was lost in the 
distance, and the route of the Nautilus was changed per- 
ceptibly. After having touched the tropic of Capricorn, 
in long. 135, it directed its course W.N.W., sailing up the 
whole tropical zone again. On and on we travelled through 
regions which, if only for their tragic associations, have be- 
come historic in the marine world, and on the 25th of De- 
cember the Nautilus sailed into the midst of the New 
Hebrides, which was christened by Cook in 1773. 

That day being Christmas Day, Ned Land seemed to me 
to regret that it could not be celebrated in a manner which 
is customary in all English-speaking countries. 

I had not seen Captain Nemo for a week, when, on the 
27th, in the morning, hf entered the saloon, looking like a 
man who had seen you five minutes before. I was occupied 
in tracing the route of the Nautilus on the planisphere 
The captain approached, put his finger on a spot in the map, 
and pronounced this one word : 

" Vanikoro." 

This name was magical. It was the name of the islands 
upon which the vessels of La Perouse had been lost. I rose 

" Is the Nautilus taking us to Vanikoro ? " I asked. 

" Yes, professor," answered the captain. 


" And can I visit these celebrated islands where the 
Bousscle and Astrolabe were lost ? " 

" If you please, professor." 

" When shall we reach Vanikoro ? " 

" We are there now, professor." 

Followed by Captain Nemo I went up to the platform, 
and from there I looked with avidity round the horizon. 

To the N.E. emerged two volcanic islands of unequal 
size, surrounded by coral reefs measuring forty miles in 
circumference. We were in presence of Vanikoro Island. 
The land seemed covered with verdure from the shore to 
the summits of the interior, crowned by Mount Kapogo, 
3,000 feet high. 

The Nautilus, after having crossed the exterior ring of 
rocks through a narrow passage, was inside the reefs where 
the sea is from thirty to forty fathoms deep. Under the 
verdant shade of some mangroves I perceived several 
savages, who looked extremely astonished at our approach. 
Perhaps they took the long body advancing along the sur- 
face of the water for some formidable cetacean that they 
ought to guard themselves against. At that moment 
Captain Nemo asked me what I knew about the ship- 
wreck of La Perouse. 

" What every one knows, captain," I answered. 

" And can you tell me what every one knows ? " he 
asked in a slightly ironical tone. 

" Easily." 

I then recited an official report of the result of the ex- 
pedition, an abridgment of it being as follows : " La 
Perouse and his second in Command, Captain Langle, were 
sent by Louis XVI, in 1785, to make a voyage round the 
world. They equipped the corvettes, the Boussole and the 
Astrolabe, neither of which was again heard of." 

" Then," remarked Captain Nemo, " they do not know 
where the third vessel, built by the shipwrecked men on 
the island of Vanikoro, perished ? " 

" No one knows." 

Captain Nemo answered nothing, and made me a sign to 
follow him to the saloon. The Nautilus sank some yards 
below the surface of the waves, and then the panels were 


drawn back. I rushed towards the window, and under the 
crustations of coral covered with fungi, and through myriads 
of charming fish I recognised certain iron stirrups, anchors, 
cannons, bullets, capstan fittings, the stem of a ship all 
objects from shipwrecked vessels. While I was looking 
upon these sad remnants Captain Nemo said to me in a 
grave voice 

" When Cammander La Perouse started with his ships 
the Boussole and the Astrolabe he anchored first in Botany 
Bay, visited the Friendly Isles, New Caledonia, made for 
Santa Cruz, and touched at Namouka, one of the Hapai 
group. Then his ships arrived on the unknown reefs of 
Vanikoro. The Boussole, which went first, struck on the 
south coast. The Astrolabe went to help, and met with the 
same fate. The former ship was almost immediately de- 
stroyed ; but the Astrolabe, sheltered by the wind, lasted 
some days. The natives received the shipwrecked men 
very well. They installed themselves on the island, and 
built a smaller vessel with the remains of the two large ones. 
Some of the sailors chose to remain at Vanikoro. The 
others, weakened by illness, started with La Perouse. 
They directed their course towards the Solomon Islands. 
They all perished on the western coast of the principal 
island of the group, between Capes Deception and Satis- 

" And how do you know that ? " I exclaimed. 

" This is what I found on the very spot of the last ship- 

Captain Nemo showed me a tin box, stamped with the 
French arms, and corroded by the salt water. He opened it, 
and I saw a mass of papers, yellow but still readable. 
They were the instructions of the President of the Admiralty 
to the Commander La Perouse, annotated on the margin 
in the handwriting of Louis XVI. 

" Ah, that is a fine death for a sailor ! " then said Captain 
Nemo ; " a coral tomb is a tranquil one, and may Heaven 
grant that my companions and I may never have another 1 " 




FOR several days the Nautilus travelled almost uninter- 
ruptedly at a tremendous speed and on the 22nd of January 
we had made 11,340 miles, or 5,250 French leagues, from 
our point of departure in the Japanese seas. Before the 
prow of the Nautilus extended the dangerous regions of 
the coral sea on the N.E. coast of Australia. Our boat 
coasted at a distance of some miles the dangerous bank on 
which Captain Cook's ships were lost on June 10, 1770. 

Two days after crossing the coral sea, on the 4th of 
January, we sighted the Papuan coasts. On this occasion 
Captain Nemo informed me that it was his intention to 
get into the Indian Ocean by Torres Straits. His com- 
munication ended there. Ned Land saw with pleasure 
that this route would take him nearer to the European 

The Torres Straits are considered the most dangerous 
in the globe, obstructed by innumerable islands, reefs, and 
rocks, which make its navigation almost impracticable. 
Captain Nemo consequently took every precaution to cross 
it. The Nautilus on a level with the surface of the water, 
moved slowly along. Its screw, like the tail of a cetacean, 
slowly beat the billows. 

Profiting by this situation, my two companions and I 
took our places on the constantly-deserted platform. 
Before us rose the helmsman's cage, and I am very much 
mistaken if Captain Nemo was not there directing his 
Nautilus himself. 

Around the Nautilus the sea was furiously rough. The 
current of the waves, which was bearing from S.E. to N.W. 
with a speed of two and a half miles, broke over the coral 
reefs that emerged here and there, 

" An ugly sea ! " said Ned Land to me. 

" Detestable indeed," I answered, " and one that s not 
suitable to such a vessel as the Nautilus." 

" That confounded captain must be very certain of his 
route," answered the Canadian," for I see coral reefs which 


would break its keel in a thousand pieces if it only just 
touched them ! " 

The situation was indeed dangerous, but the Nautilus 
seemed to glide off the formidable reefs as if by enchant- 
ment. It bore more northwards, coasted the Island of 
Murray, and came back south-west towards Cumberland 
Passage. I thought it was going to enter it, when going 
back N.W. it went amongst a large quantity of little-known 
islands and islets towards South Island and Mauvais Canal. 

Again changing his direction, Captain Nemo cut 
straight through to the west, and steered for the Island of 
Bilboa. It was then three o'clock in the afternoon. The 
bb tide was just beginning. The vessel was coasting at a 
distance of two miles off the island, when suddenly a shock 
overthrew me. The Nautilus had just touched on a reef, 
and was quite still, laying lightly to port side. 

When I rose I saw Captain Nemo and his second on the 
platform. They were examining the situation of the vessel, 
and talking in their incomprehensible dialect. 

The situation was the following : Two miles on the star- 
board appeared the Island of Gilboa, the coast of which was 
rounded from N. to W. ; like an immense arm towards the 
S. and E. some heads of coral rocks were jutting, which the 
ebb tide left uncovered. We had run aground, and in one 
of the seas where the tides are very slight, an unfortunate 
circumstance in the floating of the Nautilus ; however, the 
vessel had in no wise suffered, its keel was so solidly joined; 
but although it could neither sink nor split, it ran the risk 
of being for ever fastened on to these reefs, and then Cap- 
tain Nemo's submarine apparatus would be done for. 

I was reflecting thus, when the captain, cool and calm, 
always master of himself, appearing neither vexed nor 
moved, came up. 

" This is an incident," I bluntly remarked, " which will 
perhaps again force you to become an inhabitant of the 
land from which you flee." 

Captain Nemo looked at me in a curious manner, and 
made a negative gesture. It was as much as to say to me 
that nothing would ever force him to set foot on land again. 
Then he said 


" The Nautilus is not lost. It will yet carry you amid 
the marvels of the ocean. Our voyage is only just begun, 
and I do not wish to deprive myself so soon of the honour 
of your company." 

" But, Captain Nemo," I replied, without noticing the 
irony of his sentence, " the Nautilus ran aground at high tide. 
Now tides are not strong in the Pacific, and if you cannot 
lighten the Nautilus I do not see how it can be floated again." 

" Tides are not strong in the Pacific you are right pro- 
fessor," answered Captain Nemo ; " but in Torres Straits 
there is a difference of five feet between the level of high 
and low tide. To-day is the fourth of January, and in five 
days the moon will be at the full. Now I shall be very 
much astonished if this complaisant satellite does not 
sufficiently raise these masses of water, and render me a 
service which I wish to owe to her alone." 

This said, Captain Nemo, followed by his second, went 
down again into the interior of the Nautilus. The vessel 
remained as immovable as if in a bed of cement. 

" Well, sir ? " said Ned Land, who came to me after the 
departure of the captain. 

" Ned, we must wait patiently for high tide on the ninth. 
It appears that the moon will be kind enough to set us 
afloat again." 

" And this captain is not going to weigh anchor, to set his 
machine to work, or to do anything to get the vessel off ? " 

" The tide will suffice," answered Conseil simply. 

The Canadian looked at Conseil, then shrugged his 
shoulders. It was the seaman who spoke in him. 

" Sir," he replied, " you may believe me when I tell you 
that this piece of iron will never be navigated again, either 
on or under the seas. I think the moment has come to part 
company with Captain Nemo." 

" Friend Ned," I answered, " I do not despair of this 
valiant Nautilus, and in four days we shall know what to 
think of these tides on the Pacific. Besides, the advice to 
fly might be more opportune if we were in sight of the 
coasts of Europe, but in the Papuan regions it is another 
thing, and it will be quite time to resort to that extremity 
if the Nautilus does not succeed in getting off." 


" But still we might have a taste of land " replied Ned 
Land. " There is an island near at hand." 

" There friend Ned is right," said Conseil, " and I am of 
his opinion. Could not monsieur obtain from Captain 
Nemo the permission to be transported to land, if it was 
-only to keep accustomed to treading the solid parts of our 
planet ? " 

" I can ask him," I answered, " but he will refuse." 

" Let monsieur risk it," said Conseil, " and then we shall 
know what to think about the captain's amiability." 

To my great surprise Captain Nemo gave the permission 
I asked for, and he gave it me very courteously, without 
even exacting from me a promise to come back on board. 
But a flight across the lands of New Guinea would have been 
very perilous, and I should not have advised Ned Land to 
attempt it. It was better to be a prisoner on board the 
Nautilus than to fall into the hands of savage tribes. 

The next day, January 5th, the long boat, its deck taken 
off, was lifted from its niche, and launched from the top 
of the platform. Two men sufficed for this operation. The 
oars were in the boat, and we Conseil, Ned and myself 
had only to take our place. 

At eight o'clock, armed with guns and hatchets, we 
descended the sides of the Nautilus. The sea was pretty 
calm. A slight breeze was blowing from land. Conseil 
and I rowed vigorously, and Ned steered in the narrow 
passages between the breakers. The boat was easily 
managed, and fled along rapidly. 

Ned Land could not contain his joy. He was a prisoner 
-escaped from prison, and did not think of the necessity of 
going back to it again. 

" Meat ! " he repeated. " We are going to eat meat, 
and what meat ! Real game ! no bread, though ! I don't 
say that fish is not a good thing, but you can have too much 
of it, and a piece of fresh venison, grilled over burning coals, 
would be an agreeable variation to our ordinary fare." 

" Gourmand ! " said Conseil. " He makes the water 
come into my mouth ! " 

" You do not know yet," I said, " if there is any game in 
these forests, or if the game will not hunt the hunter hirrself." 


*' Well, M. Aronnax," replied the Canadian, whose teeth 
seemed sharpened like the edge of a hatchet, " but I will 
eat tiger a loin of tiger if there is no other quadruped 
on this island." 

" Friend Ned is alarming," answered Conseil. 

" Whatever animal it is," replied Ned Land, " whether 
it is one with four paws and no feathers or two paws and 
feathers, it will be saluted by my first shot." 

" Good," I replied ; " you are already beginning to be 

" Never fear, M. Aronnax," answered the Canadian ; 
" row along ; I only ask twenty-five minutes to offer you a 
dish of my sort." 

At half-past eight the boat of the Nautilus ran softly 
aground on a strand of sand, after having happily cleared 
the coral reef which surrounds the Island of Gilboa. 



TOUCHING land again made a great impression on me. 
Ned Land struck the ground with his foot as if to take 
possession of it. Yet we had only been, according to 
Captain Nemo's expression, the " passengers of the Nautilus" 
for two months that is to say, in reality, we had only 
been the captain's prisoners for two months. 

In a very short time we were within a gunshot of the 
coast. The soil was light, and certain dried-up beds of 
streams, strewed with granitic debris, showed that the 
island had taken ages to form. All the horizon was hidden 
by a curtain of admirable forests. Enormous trees, some 200 
feet high, with garlands of creepers joining their branches, 
were real natural hammocks, which were rocked in the 
slight breeze. They were mimosas, ficus, casuarinas, teak- 
trees, hibiscus, pendanus, palm-trees, mixed in profusion ; 
and under the shelter of their verdant vault, at the foot of 
their gigantic stype, grew orchids, pod-forming plants, and 

But without waiting to admire all these fine specimens 
of nature's decorations the Canadian, picking out a cocoa- 


nut tree, brought down some nuts, broke them, and we 
drank their milk and ate their kernel with a relish that 
protested against the ordinary fare of the Nautilus. 

" Excellent ! " said Ned Land. 

" Exquisite ! " answered Conseil. 

" I do not think," said the Canadian, " that your Nemo 
would object to our taking back a cargo of cocoa-nuts on 

" I do not think so," I answered, " but he would not taste 
them himself." 

" So much the worse for him," said Conseil. 

" And so much the better for us," replied Ned Land ; 
" there will be more left." 

" One word only, Land," I said to the harpooner, who 
was beginning to attack another cocoa-nut tree. " Cocoa- 
nuts are good things, but before filling the boat with them I 
think it would be wise to see if the island does not produce 
some substance no less useful. Fresh vegetables would be 
well received in the kitchen of the Nautilus." 

" Monsieur is right," answered Conseil, " and I propose 
to reserve three places in our boat one for fruit, another 
for vegetables, and the third for venison, of which I have 
not seen the slightest sample yet." 

" We should not despair of anything, Conseil," answered 
the Canadian. 

" Let us go on with our excursion," I replied, " and keep 
a sharp look-out. Although the island appears to be in- 
habited, it might contain individuals who would be easier 
to please than we on the nature of the game." 

" Ha ! ha !." said Ned Land, with a very significant move- 
ment of the jaw. 

" What is it, Ned ? " cried Conseil. 

" I am beginning to understand the charms of canni- 
balism," answered the Canadian. 

" What are you talking about, Ned ? " replied Conseil. 
" If you are a cannibal, I shall no longer feel safe with you 
in the same cabin ! Shall I wake one day and find myself 
half devoured ? " 

" Friend Conseil, I like you very much, but not enough 
to eat you." 


" I mistrust you," answered Conseil, jokingly. " Well, 
let us start ; we must really bring down some game to 
satisfy this cannibal, or one of these fine mornings monsieur 
will only find pieces of a servant to serve him." 

Conversing thus we penetrated the depths of the forest, 
and for two hours walked about it in every direction. 

Fortune favoured us in this search after supplies, and 
one of the most useful products of tropical zones furnished 
us with a valuable article of food which was wanting on 
board I mean the bread-tree, which is very abundant in 
the Island of Gilboa. This tree was distinguished from 
others by its straight trunk forty feet high ; its summit, 
gracefully rounded by a thick formation of leaves. From 
its mass of verdure stood out large globular fruit two and 
a-half inches wide, with a rough skin in an hexagonal 
pattern a useful vegetable, with which Nature has 
gratified the regions in which wheat is wanting, and which, 
without exacting any culture, gives fruit for eight months 
in the year. Ned Land knew this fruit well ; he had eaten it 
before in his numerous voyages, and he knew how to pre- 
pare it. The sight of it excited his appetite, and he could 
contain himself no longer. 

" Sir," he said to me, " may I die if I don't taste a little 
of that bread-fruit ! " 

" Taste, friend Ned taste as much as you like. We are 
here to make experiments ; let us make them." 

" It will not take long," answered the Canadian ; and 
with a burning-glass he lighted a fire of dead wood which 
loudly crackled. 

" It is better than bread," added the Canadian ; " it is 
like delicate pastry. Have you never eaten any, sir ? " 

" No, Ned," replied Conseil. 

" Well, then, prepare for somethingvery good. If you don't 
return to the charge I am no longer the king of harpooners." 

In a short time the side exposed to the fire was quite 
black. In the interior appeared a white paste and a sort of 
tender crumb, with a taste something like that of an arti- 

It must be acknowledged this bread was excellent, and I 
ate it with great pleasure. 


" Unfortunately," I said, " such paste will not keep 
fresh ; and it appears useless to me to make any provision 
for the vessel." 

" Why, sir," cried Ned Land, " you speak like a naturalist, 
but I am going to act like a baker. Gather some of the 
fruit, Conseil ; we will take it on our return." 

" And how do you prepare it ? " I asked. 

" By making a fermented paste with its pulp, which will 
keep any length of time. When I wish to use it I will have 
it cooked in the kitchen on board ; and, notwithstanding 
its slightly acid taste, you will find it excellent." 

" Then, Ned, I see that nothing is wanting to this 

" Yes, professor," answered the Canadian ; " we want 
fruit, or at least vegetables." 

" Let us seek the fruit and vegetables." 

When our gathering was over we set out to complete this 
terrestrial dinner. Our search was not a vain one, and 
towards noon we had made an ample provision of bananas. 
With these, we gathered enormous " jaks " with a very de- 
cided taste, savoury mangoes, and pine-apples of an in- 
credible size. But this gathering took up a great deal of 
our time, which there was no cause to regret. 

Conseil watched Ned continually. The harpooner 
marched on in front, and during his walk across the forest he 
gathered with a sure hand the excellent fruit with which to 
complete his provisions. 

" You do not want anything more, Ned, do you ? " 

" Hum," said the Canadian. 

" Why, what have you to complain of ? " 

" All these vegetables cannot constitute a meal," an- 
swered Ned ; " they are only good for dessert. There is 
the soup and the roast." 

" Yes," said I. " Ned had promised us cutlets, which 
seemed to me very problematic." 

" Sir," answered the Canadian, " our sport is not only 
not ended, but is not even begun. Patience ! We shall 
end by meeting with some animal or bird, and if it is not 
in this place it will be in another." 

" And if it is not to-day it will be to-morrow," added Con- 


sell, " for we must not go too far away. I vote we go 
back to the boat now." 

' What, already ? " cried Ned. 

' We must return before night," I said. 

' What time is it ? " asked the Canadian. 

' Two o'clock at least," answered Conseil. 

' How the time flies on dry land ! " cried Ned Land 
with a sigh of regret. 

We came back across the forest, and completed our 
provision by making a raid on palm cabbages, which 
we were obliged to gather at the summit of the trees. 
We were overburdened when we arrived at the boat, yet 
Ned Land did not think his pro visions sufficient. But for- 
tune favoured him. At the moment of embarking he 
perceived several trees from twenty-five to thirty feet high, 
belonging to the palm species. These trees, by no means 
numerous, are justly counted amongst the most useful 
products of Malaysia. There were sago-trees, vegetables 
which grow without culture, and reproduce themselves 
like blackberries by their shoots and seeds. Ned Land 
knew how to treat these trees. He took his hatchet, and, 
using it vigorously, he soon brought two or three sago-trees 
level with the ground, their ripeness being recognised by the 
white powder dusted over their branches. 

I watched him more with the eyes of a naturalist than 
those of a famished man. He began by stripping the bark 
from each trunk, an inch thick, which covered a network 
of long fibres, forming inextricable knots, that a sort of 
gummy flour cemented. This flour was sago, an edible 
substance which forms the principal article of food of the 
Melanasian population. Ned Land was content for the 
time being to cut these trunks in pieces, as he would have 
done wood to burn, meaning to extract the flour later on, 
and to pass it through a cloth in order to separate it from 
its fibrous ligaments, to leave it to dry in the sun, and let it 
harden in moulds. 

At last, at five o'clock in the evening, loaded with our 
riches, we left the shores of the island, and half an hour 
later reached the Nautilus. No one appeared on our 
arrival. The enormous iron cylinders seemed deserted. 



When the provisions were embarked I went down to my 
room. There I found my supper ready. I ate it, and then 
went to sleep. 

The next day, January 6th, there was nothing new on 
board. No noise in the interior, not a sign of life. The 
canoe had remained alongside in the very place where we 
had left it. We resolved to return to the Island of Gilboa. 
Ned Land hoped to be more fortunate than before from a 
hunting point of view, and wished to visit another part of 
the forest. 

We set out at sunrise. The boat, carried away by the 
waves, which were flowing inland, reached the island in a 
few minutes. We landed, and thinking it was better to 
trust to the instinct of the Canadian, we followed Ned Land, 
whose long legs threatened to out-distance us. Ned Land 
went up the coast westward, and fording some beds of 
streams, he reached the high plain bordered by the admir- 
able forests. Some kingfishers were on the banks of the 
stream, but they would not let themselves be approached ; 
their circumspection proved to me that these fowl knew 
what to think of bipeds of our sort, and I therefore concluded 
that, if the island was not inhabited, it was at least fre- 
quented by human beings. After having crossed some 
rich meadow land we reached the borders of a little wood, 
animated by the song and flight of a great number of birds. 

" There are only birds yet," said Conseil. 

" But some of them are good to eat," answered the har- 

" No, friend Ned," replied Conseil, " for I see nothing but 
simple parrots." 

" Friend Conseil," answered Ned gravely, " a parrot is 
the friend of those who have nothing else to eat." 

" And I may add," I said, " that this bird, well prepared, 
is quite worth eating." 

Under the thick foliage of this wood, a whole world of 
parrots were flying from branch to branch, only waiting for a 
better education to speak the human language. At present 
they were screeching in company with paroquets of all 
colours, grave cockatoos who seemed to be meditating 
upon some philosophical problem, whilst the lories, of a 


bright red colour, passed like a morsel of stamen carried 
off by the breeze, amidst kalaos of noisy flight, papouas, 
painted with the finest shades of azure, and a whole variety 
of charming, but generally not edible, birds. 

After having crossed a thicket of moderate thickness we 
found a plain again obstructed with bushes. I then saw a 
magnificent bird rise, the disposition of whose long tails 
forces them to fly against the wind. The undulating flight, 
the grace of their aerial curves, the play of their colours, 
attracted and charmed the eye. I had no trouble to recog- 
nise them. 

" Birds of Paradise ! " I cried. 

" Family of partridges ? " asked Ned Land. 

" I do not think so, Land. Nevertheless, I count on 
your skill to catch one of these charming productions of 
tropical nature." 

" I will try, professor, although I am more accustomed 
to handle the harpoon than the gun." 

The Malays, who carry on a great trade with these birds 
with the Chinese, have several means of taking them which 
we cannot employ. Sometimes they place nets on the 
summits of high trees which the birds frequent. Some- 
times they catch them with birdlime, or they even poison 
the fountains that the birds generally drink from. We 
were obliged to fire at them while flying, which gave us 
few chances of hitting them, and, in fact, we exhausted in 
vain a part of our ammunition. 

About ii a.m. we had traversed the first range of moun- 
tains that form the centre of the island, and we had killed 
nothing. Hunger drove us on. The hunters had relied 
on the products of the chase, and they had done wrong. 
Fortunately, Conseil, to his great surprise, made a double 
shot, and secured breakfast. He bought down two wood 
pigeons, which, quickly plucked and suspended to a skewer, 
were roasted before a flaming fire of dead wood. Nut- 
megs, with which they are in the habit of stuffing their crops, 
flavers the flesh of these birds, and makes it delicious. 

" It is like the fowls that eat truffles," said Conseil. 

" And now, Ned, what is there wanting ? " I asked the 


" Some four-footed game, M. Arronax," answered Ned 
Land. " All these pigeons are only side-dishes and mouth- 
fuls, and until I have killed an animal with cutlets I shall 
not be content." 

" Nor I, Ned, until I have caught a bird of Paradise." 

" Let us go on with our hunting," answered Conseil, 
" but towards the sea. I think we had better regain the 
forest regions." 

It was sensible advice, and was followed. After an hour's 
walk we reached a veritable forest of sago-trees. Some 
inoffensive serpents were disturbed at the sound of our 
footsteps. The birds of Paradise fled at our approach, and 
I really despaired of getting near them, when Conseil, who 
was walking on in front, suddenly stooped, uttered a cry of 
triumph, and came back to me, carrying a magnificent 
bird of Paradise. 

" Ah, bravo ! Conseil," I exclaimed. 

" Monsieur is very kind," answered Conseil. 

" No, my boy, that was a master stroke, not only to take 
one of these birds living, but to catch it simply by hand." 

" If master will examine it closely, he will see that my 
merit has not been great." 

" Why, Conseil ? " 

" Because this bird is intoxicated." 

" Intoxicated ? " 

" Yes, intoxicated with the nutmegs he was devouring 
under the nutmeg-tree where I found him. See, friend 
Ned, see the monstrous effects of intemperance." 

" You need not grudge me the gin I've drunk the last two 
months ! " answered the Canadian. 

In the meantime I examined the curious bird. Conseil 
was not mistaken. The bird, intoxicated by the spiritu- 
ous juice, was powerless. It could not fly, and could hardly 

It belonged to the finest of the eight species which are 
counted in Papua and the neighbouring islands. It was 
" the large emerald," one of the rarest. It measured nine 
inches in length, its head was relatively small, and its 
eyes, placed near the opening of the beak, were small too. 
But its colours were admirable ; it had a yellow beak, brown 


legs and claws, nut-coloured wings with purple borders, a 
pale yellow head, emerald throat, and maroon breast. Two 
horned downy nets rose above the tail, that was prolonged 
by two very light feathers of admirable fineness, completing 
the effect of this marvellous bird. 

I had a longing to take this superb specimen back to 
Paris in order that I might make a present of it to the Jardin 
des Plantes, which does not possess a single living one. 

" Is it so rare, then ? " asked the Canadian, in the tone of 
a hunter who does not care much for it as game. 

" Very rare, my brave companion, and, above all, very 
difficult to take alive, and even dead these birds are the 
object of an important traffic. Hence the natives fake 
then as pearls and diamonds are fabricated." 

" What ! " cried Conseil, " they make false birds of Para- 
dise ? " 

" Yes, Conseil." 

" Does monsieur know how the natives set about it ? " 

" Perfectly. These birds, during the eastern monsoon, 
lose the magnificent feathers which surround their tails. 
The natives gather up these feathers, which they skil- 
fully fasten on to some poor parrot previously mutilated. 
Then they die the sutufe, varnish the bird, and send this 
fraudulent product of their industry to some innocent 
amateur collector in Europe." 

" Good ! " said Ned Land ; " if the collector has not the 
bird he at least has its feathers, and as he does not want 
to eat it, I see no harm ! " 

But if my desires were satisfied by the possession of the 
bird of Paradise, the Canadian's were not yet. Happily, 
about two o'clock Ned Land killed a magnificent hog, one 
of those the natives call " bari-outang." The animal 
came in time to give us real quadruped meat, and it was 
well received. Ned Land was very proud of his shot. The 
hog, struck by the electric bullet, had fallen stone dead. 

The Canadian soon skinned and prepared it after having 
cut out half-a-dozen cutlets to furnish us with grilled meat 
for our evening meal. Then we went on with the chase 
that was again to be marked by Ned and Conseil's exploits. 

The two friends, by beating the bushes, roused a herd of 


kangaroos which bounded away. But they did not take 
flight too rapidly for the electric capsule to stop them in 
their course. 

" Ah, professor," cried Ned Land, excited by the pleasure 
of hunting, " what excellent game, especially stewed ! 
What provisions for the Nautilus ! Two, three, five down I 
And when I think that we shall eat all that meat, and that 
those imbeciles on board will not have a mouthful ! " 

I think that in his delight the Canadian, if he had not 
talked so much, would have slaughtered the whole herd 1 
But he contented himself with a dozen. 

These animals were small. They belong to a species of 
kangaroo " rabbits " that live habitually in the hollow of 
trees, and possess extraordinary speed. They furnish ex- 
cellent meat. 

We were very much satisfied with the result of our hunt. 
The delighted Ned proposed to return the next day to this 
enchanted island, which he wanted to clear of all its edible 
quadrupeds. But he reckoned without circumstances. 

At 6 p.m. we returned to the shore. Our boat was 
stranded in its place. The Nautilus, like a long rock, 
emerged from the waves two miles from the island. Ned 
Land, without more delay, began to prepare the dinner, 
and showed that he was familiar with culinary work. The 
hog cutlets grilled on the cinders, soon scented the air with 
a delicious odour. 

The dinner was excellent. Two wood-pigeons completed 
this extraordinary bill of fare. The sago paste, the arto- 
carpus bread, mangoes, half-a-dozen pineapples, and the fer- 
mented liquor of some cocoa-nuts delighted us. I even 
think that the ideas of my worthy companions were not so 
clear as they might be. 

" Suppose we do not return to the Nautilus this evening," 
said Conseil. 

" Suppose we never return," added Ned Land. 

Just then a stone fell at our feet and cut short the har- 
pooner's proposition. 




WE looked towards the forest without rising, my hand 
stopping in its movement towards my mouth, Ned Land's 
completing its office. 

" A stone does not fall from the sky," said Conseil, 
*' without deserving the name of aerolite." 

A second stone, carefully rounded, which struck out of 
Conseil's hand a savoury pigeon's leg, gave still more 
weight to his observations. 

We all three rose and shouldered our guns, ready to reply 
to any attack. 

" Can they be monkeys ? " asked Ned Land. 

" Something like them," answered Conseil ; " they are 

" The boat," said I, making for the sea. In fact, we were 
obliged to beat a retreat, for about twenty natives armed 
with bows and slings, appeared on the skirts of the thicket 
that hid the horizon one hundred steps off. 

Our boat was anchored at about sixty feet from us. 

The savages approached us, not running, making most 
hostile demonstrations. It rained stones and arrows. 

Ned Land did not wish to leave his provisions, notwith- 
standing the imminence of the danger. He went on toler- 
ably fast with his pig on one side and his kangaroos on the 

In two minutes we were on shore. It was the affair of an 
instant to land the boat with the provisions and arms, to 
push it into the sea, and to take the two oars. We had not 
gone two cables' length when a hundred savages, howling 
and gesticulating, entered the water up to their waists. I 
watched to see if their appearance would not attract some 
men from the Nautilus on to the platform. 

But no. The enormous machine, lying off, seemed ab- 
solutely deserted. Twenty minutes after we ascended the 
sides ; the panels were open. After we had made the boat 
fast we re-entered the interior of the Nautilus. 

I went to the saloon, from whence I heard some music. 


Captain Nemo was there, bending over his organ, and 
plunged into a musical ecstasy. 

" Captain," I said to him. 

He did not hear me. 

"Captain," I repeated, touching his hand. 

He shuddered and turned. 

" Ha, is it you, professor ? " he said to me. " Well, have 
you had good sport ? Have you botanised successfully ?" 

" Yes, captain," answered I, " but we have,unfortunately, 
attracted a regiment of savages, and their appearance may 
be dangerous." 

" Savages ? " answered Captain Nemo in an ironical 
tone. " And you are astonished, professor, that having 
set foot on one of the lands of this globe, you find savages 
there ? Where are there no savages ? Besides, those you 
call savages, are they worse than others ? " 

" But, captain " 

" For my part, sir, I have met with some everywhere." 

" Well!" I answered, " if you do not wish to receive any 
on board the Nautilus, you will do well to take some pre- 

" Make yourself easy, professor ; there is nothing worth 
troubling about." 

" But these natives are numerous." 

" How many did you count ? " 

" A hundred at least." 

" M. Aronnax," answered Captain Nemo, who had again 
placed his fingers on the organ keys, " if all the natives of 
Papua were gathered together on that shore, the Nautilus 
would have nothing to fear from their attacks." 

The captain's fingers were then running over the keys of 
the instrument, and I noticed that he only struck the black 
keys, which gave to his melodies an essentially Scotch 
character. He had soon forgotten my presence, and was 
plunged into a reverie that I did not seek to dissipate. 

I went up again on to the platform. Night had already 
come, for in this low latitude the sun sets rapidly, and there 
is no twilight. I could only see the island indistinctly. 
But the numerous fires lighted on the beach showed that 
the natives did not intend leaving it. 


I remained thus alone for several hours, sometimes think- 
ing about the natives.but not otherwise anxious about them, 
for the imperturbable confidence of the captain gained upon 
me, sometimes forgetting them to admire the splendours 
of the tropical night. The moon shone brilliantly amidst 
the constellations of the zenith. I then thought that this 
faithful and complaisant satellite would come back to- 
morrow to the same place to draw the waves and tear 
away the Nautilus from its coral bed. About midnight, 
seeing that all was tranquil on the dark waves, as well as 
under the trees on the shore, I went down to my cabin and 
went peacefully to sleep. 

The night passed without adventure. The Papuans 
were, doubtless, frightened by the very sight of the monster 
stranded in the bay, for the open panels would have given 
them easy access to the interior of the Nautilus. 

At 6 a.m., on January 8th, I went up on the platform. 
The morning was breaking. The island soon appeared 
through the rising mists, its shores first, then its summits. 

The natives were still there, more numerous than the 
day before, perhaps five or six hundred strong. Some of 
them, taking advantage of the low tide, had come on to the 
coral heads at less than two cables' length from the Nautilus. 
I easily recognised them. They were real Papuans of alh- 
letic stature, men of fine breed, with wide high foreheads, 
large, but not broad, and flat noses, and white teeth. 
Their woolly hair, dyed red, showed off their bodies, black 
and shining. From the cut and distended lobes of their 
ears hung bone chaplets. These savages were generally 
naked. Amongst them were some women, dressed from 
the hips to the knees in a veritable crinoline of herbs, which 
hung to a vegetable waistband. Some of the chiefs had 
ornamented their necks with a crescent and collar of red 
and white glass beads. Nearly all were armed with bows, 
arrows, and shields, carrying on their shoulders a sort of 
net, containing the rounded stones" which they threw with 
great skill from their slings. 

One of these chiefs, rather near the Nautilus, was ex- 
amining it attentively. He must have been of high rank 
among the tribe, for he was draped in a plaited garment 


of banana-leaves, scalloped at the edges, and set off with 
brilliant colours. I could easily have shot this native, who 
was within short range, but I thought it better to wait for 
really hostile demonstrations. Between Europeans and 
savages it is better that the savages should make the attack. 

During the whole time of low water these natives roamed 
about near the Nautilus, but they were not noisy. I heard 
them frequently repeat the word " Assai," and from their 
gestures I understood that they invited me to land, an 
invitation that I thought it better to decline. 

So on that day we did not leave the vessel, to the great 
displeasure of Ned Land, who could not complete his 
provisions. This skilful Canadian employed his time in 
preparing the meat and other substances he had brought 
from the Island of Gilboa. As to the savages, they returned 
to land about n a.m., as soon as the heads of coral began to 
disappear under the waves of the rising tide. But I saw 
their number considerably increase on the shore. It was 
probable that they came from the neighbouring islands, 
or from Papua proper. However, I had not seen a single 
native canoe. 

Having nothing better to do, I thought of dragging these 
limpid waters, under which was a profusion of shells, 
zoophytes, and marine plants. It was, moreover, the last 
day the Nautilus was to pass in these seas if it was set 
afloat the next day, accordingto Captain Nemo's expectation. 

I therefore called Conseil, who brought me a small light 
drag, something like those used in the oyster-fisheries. 

" What about these savages ? " Conseil asked me. " They 
do not seem to me to be very cruel." 

" They are cannibals, however, my boy." 

" It is possible to be a cannibal and an honest man," 
answered Conseil, " as it is possible to be a gourmand and 
honest. One does not exclude the other." 

" Good, Conseil ! I grant you there are honest cannibals, 
and that they honestly devour their prisoners. But as I 
do not care about being eaten, even honestly, I shall take 
care what I am about, for the commander of the Nautilus 
does not appear to be taking any precaution. And now to 


For two hours our dragging went on actively, but with- 
out bringing up any rarity. The drag was filled with 
Midas-ears, harps, melames, and, particularly, the finest 
hammers I ever saw. We also took some pearl oysters, 
and a dozen small turtles, which were kept for the pantry on; 

But at the very moment when I contemplated finishing 
my research I put my hand on a marvel I ought to say on- 
a natural deformity very rarely met with. Conseil had 
1ust brought up the drag full of ordinary shells when all 
at once he saw me thrust my hand into the net, draw out a 
shell, and utter a note of exclamation. 

" Eh ? what is the matter with monsieur ? " asked Con- 
seil, much surprised. " Has monsieur been bitten ? " 

" No, my boy ; and yet I would willingly have paid for 
my discovery with the loss of a finger." 

" What discovery ? " 

" This shell," I said, showing the object of my triumph. 

" Is it simply an olive porphyry-shell." 

" Yes, Conseil, but instead of this spiral being from right 
to left this olive turns from left to right 1 " 

" It is possible ? " cried Conseil. 

" Yes, my boy ; it is a sinister shell." 

" A sinister shell ! " repeated Conseil with a palpitating 

" Look at its spiral." 

" Ah, monsieur may believe me," said Conseil, taking 
the precious shell with a trembling hand, " I have never felt 
a. like emotion ! " 

And there was cause for emotion. Conseil and I were 
plunged in the contemplation of our treasure, and I was 
promising myself to enrich the museum with it, when a 
stone, untowardly hurled by a native, broke the precious 
object in Conseil's hand. 

I uttered a cry of despair ! Conseil seized my gun, and 
aimed at a savage who was swinging his sling in the air 
about ten yards from him. I wished to stop him, but he 
had fired and broken the bracelet of amulets which hung 
upon the arm of the native. 

" Conseil I " I cried" Conseil 1 " 


" What, does not monsieur see that this cannibal began 
the attack ? " 

" A shell is not worth a man's life,' I said. 

" Ah, the rascal ! " cried Conseil ; " I would rather he 
had broken my arm ! " 

Conseil was sincere, but I was not of his opinion. How- 
ever, the situation had changed during the last few minutes, 
and we had not perceived it. About twenty canoes then 
surrounded the Nautilus. These, hollowed in the trunks of 
trees, long, narrow, and well calculated for speed, were kept 
in equilibrium by means of double balances of bamboo, 
which floated on the surface of the water. They were 
worked by skilful paddlers, and their approach made me 
uneasy. It was evident that these Papuans had already 
had some relations with Europeans, and knew their ships. 
But what must they have thought of this long iron cylinder, 
without either masts or funnel ? Nothing good, but they 
kept first at a respectful distance. However, seeing it did 
not move, they regained confidence by degrees and tried 
to familiarise themselves with it. Now it was precisely 
this familiarity which it was necessary to prevent. Our 
arms, which made no noise, could only produce an indifferent 
effect on these natives, who only respect noisy weapons. 
A thunderbolt without the rolling of thunder would not 
much frighten men, although the danger exists in the 
lightning and not in the noise. 

Then the canoes approached nearer the Nautilus, and a 
shower of arrows fell upon it. 

" Why, it hails," said Conseil, " and perhaps poisoned 

" I must tell Captain Nemo," said I, going through the 

I went down to the saloon. I found no one there. I 
ventured to knock at the door of the captain's room. 

A " Come in ! " answered me. 

I entered, and found Captain Nemo occupied with a 
calculation in which algebraical signs were plentiful. 

" I fear I am disturbing you," said I. 

" Yes, M. Aronnax," answered the captain, " but I think 
you must have serious reasons for seeing me." 


" Very serious ; we are surrounded by the canoes of the 
natives, and in a few minutes we shall certainly be assailed 
by several hundreds of savages." 

" Ah," said Captain Nemo, tranquilly, " so they are here 
with their canoes ? " 

" Yes." 

" Well, all we have to do is to shut the panels." 

" Precisely, and I came to tell you." 

" Nothing is easier," said Captain Nemo. 

Pressing an electric bell he transmitted an order to the 
crew's quarters. 

" That's done, sir," said he after a few minutes ; " the 
boat is in its place, and the panels are shut. You do not 
fear, I imagine, that these gentlemen can break in walls 
which the balls from your frigate could not touch ? " 

" No, captain, but there exists another danger." 

" What is that sir ? " 

" It is that to-morrow, at the same time, you will be 
obliged to open the panels to renew the air of the Nautilus." 

" Certainly, sir, as our vessel breathes like the whales 

" Now, if at that moment the Papuans occupied the 
platform, I do not know how you could prevent them 

" Then you believe they will get up on the vessel ? " 

" I am certain of it." 

" Well, let them. I see no reason for preventing them. 
These Papuans are poor devils, and I will not let my visit 
to Gilboa interfere with the life of one poor wretch." 

That said, I was going to withdraw, but Captain Nemo 
retained me, and invited me to take a seat near him. He 
questioned me with interest about our excursions on land 
and our sport, and he did not seem to understand the need 
for meat that impassioned the Canadian. Then the con- 
versation touched upon divers subjects, and without being 
more communicative, Captain Nemo showed himself more 

Amongst other things we spoke of the present position 
of the Nautilus, abandoned precisely in this strait, where 
Dumont d'Urville was nearly lost. 


" He was one of your great seamen," said the captain, 
" one of your intelligent navigators, this D'Urville ! He 
was the French Captain Cook. Unfortunate savant I 
after having braved the southern ice-banks, the coral 
reefs of Oceania, and the cannibals of the Pacific, to perish 
miserably in a railway train ! If that energetic man could 
think during the last seconds of his existence, you imagine 
what must have been his last thoughts ! " 

Whilst speaking thus Captain Nemo seemed moved, and 
I put this emotion to his credit. 

Then, map in hand, we looked over again the works of the 
French navigator, his voyages of circumnavigation, his 
double attempt to reach the South Pole that led to the 
discovery of Ade"lie and Louis Philippe Lands ; lastly, his 
hydrographical surveys of the principal Oceanian islands. 

" What your D'Urville did on the surface I have done in 
the interior of the ocean," said Captain Nemo, " and more 
easily and completely than he." 

" However, captain," I said, " there is one point of 
resemblance between the full-rigged warships of Dumont 
d'Urville and the Nautilus." 

" What is that, sir ? " 

" The Nautilus is stranded like them." 

" The Nautilus is not stranded," replied Captain Nemo 
coldly. " The Nautilus is made to repose on the bed of 
the waters, and the difficult work, the manoeuvres that 
D'Urville was obliged to have recourse to, to get his ships 
afloat again, I shall not undertake. To-morrow, at the 
said day and hour, the tide will quickly raise the Nautilus, 
and it will recommence its navigation through the seas." 

" Captain," I said, " I do not doubt." 

" To-morrow," added the captain, rising " to-morrow 
at 2.40 p.m. the Nautilus will be afloat again, and I will 
leave Torres Straits without damage." 

These words pronounced in a very curt tone, Captain 
Nemo bowed slightly. It was my dismissal, and I went 
back to my room. 

There I found Conseil, who desired to know the result of 
my interview with the captain. 

" My boy," I replied, " when I seemed to think that his 


vessel was threatened by the natives of Papua, the captain 
answered me very ironically. I have, therefore, only one 
thing to say to you have confidence in him, and go to 
sleep in peace." 

" Does monsieur require my services ? " 

"No, my friend. What is Ned Land doing ? " 

" He is making a kangaroo pasty that will be a marvel ! " 

I was left alone. I went to bed, but slept badly. I 
heard the savages stamping about on the platform making 
a deafening noise. The night passed thus, the crew appar- 
ently treating the disturbance with indifference. They 
were not more anxious about the presence of these cannibals 
than the soldiers of an ironclad fortress would be about 
the ants that crawl over the iron. 

I rose at 6 a.m. The panels had not been opened. The 
air, therefore, had not been renewed in the interior, but 
the reservoirs, filled ready for any event, sent some cubic 
yards of oxygen into the impoverished atmosphere of the 

I worked in my room till noon without seeing Captain 
Nemo, even for an instant. There seemed to be no pre- 
paration for departure made on board. 

I waited for some time longer, and then went into the 
saloon. The clock was at half-past two. In ten minutes 
the tide would be at its maximum, and if Captain Nemo 
had not made a boasting promise the Nautilus would be 
immediately set free. If not, many months would pass 
before it would leave its coral bed. 

In the meantime several shocks were felt in the hull of the 
vessel. A grating noise arose from its sides. 

At 2.35 p.m. Captain Nemo appeared in the saloon. 

'We are going to start," he said. 

' Ah ! " I said. 

' I have given orders to have the panels opened." 

' What about the Papuans ? " 

' The Papuans ? " answered Captain Nemo, slightly 
raising his shoulders. 

" Will they not penetrate into the interior of the 
Nautilus ? " 

" How can they ? " 


" Through the panels you have had opened." 

" M. Aronnax," answered Captain Nemo, tranquilly, 
" it is not so easy to enter the Nautilus through its panels, 
even when they are opened." 

I looked at the captain. 

" You do not understand ? " he asked. 

" Not at all." 

" Well, come, and you will see." 

I went towards the central staircase. There Ned Land 
and Conseil, much puzzled, were looking at some of the 
crew, who were opening the panels, whilst cries of rage and 
fearful shouts resounded outside. 

The lids were opened on the outside. Seventy horrible 
faces appeared. But the first of the natives who put his 
hands on the balustrade, was thrown backwards by some 
invisible force, and fled, howling and making extraordinary 

Ten of his companions succeeded him. Ten had the 
same fate. 

Conseil was in ecstasies. Ned Land, carried away by 
his violent instincts, sprang up the staircase. But as soon 
as he had seized the hand-rail with both hands he was 
overthrown in his turn. 

" Great Scott ! " he cried. " I am thunderstruck." 

That word explained it all to me. It was no longer a 
hand rail but a metal cable, charged with electricity. 
Whoever touched it felt a formidable shock, and that shock 
would have been mortal if Captain Nemo had thrown all 
the current of his apparatus into this conductor. It may 
be truly said that between his assailants and himself he had 
hung an electric barrier that no one could cross with 

In the meantime the frightened Papuans had beaten a 
retreat, maddened with terror. We, half-laughing, con- 
soled and rubbed down the unfortunate Ned Land, who 
was swearing like a trooper. 

In the meantime the Nautilus, raised by the last tidal 
waves, left its coral bed at the exact moment fixed by the 
Captain. Its screws beat the waves with majestic slowness. 
Its speed increased by degrees, and navigating on the 


surface of the ocean, it left safe and sound the dangerous 
passages of Torres Straits. 



THE following day, the loth of January, the Nautilus 
resumed its course under the water, but at a remarkable 
speed, which I could not estimate at less than thirty-five 
miles an hour. The rapidity of its screw was such that 
I could neither follow its turns nor count them. 

When I thought that this marvellous electric agent, after 
having given movement, warmth, and light to the Nautilus, 
protected it likewise from exterior attacks, and transformed 
it into a holy ark, which no profane person could touch with- 
out being thunderstruck, my admiration was unbounded, 
and from the apparatus it ascended to the engineer who 
had created it. 

We were speeding directly westward, and on January 
nth we doubled Cape Wessel, which forms the eastern 
point of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The reefs were still 
numerous, but farther apart, and marked on the chart with 
extreme precision. The Nautilus easily avoided the Money 
Reefs on the larboard, and the Victoria Reefs on the star- 
board, situated in 130 long., and in the loth parallel we 
were rigorously following. 

The I3th of January Captain Nemo arrived in the sea of 
Timor and sighted the island of the name in longitude 
122*. This island, the surface of which measures 16,255 
square leagues, is governed by radjahs. These princes 
call themselves sons of crocodiles that is to say, issues of 
the highest origin to which a human being can pretend. 
Their scaly ancestors swarm in the rivers of the island, 
and are the objects of particular veneration. They are 
protected, spoiled, worshipped, fed, young girls are offeied 
to them as thank-offerings, and woe to the stranger who 
lays hands on one of these sacred reptiles. 

But the Nautilus had nothing to do with these ugly 
animals. Timor was only visible for an instant at noon, 
whilst the first officer took our bearings. I likewise only 



caught a glimpse of Kitti Island that forms a part of the 
group, and of which the women have a well-established 
reputation for beauty in Malaysian markets. 

From this point the prow of the Nautilus was set for the 
Indian Ocean. Where was Captain Nemo's caprice going 
to take us to ? Would he go up towards the coast of Asia, 
or approach the shores of Europe ? Both hardly probable 
resolutions for a man to take who was flying from inhabited 
continents. Would he then go down south ? Would he 
double the Cape of Good Hope, then Cape Horn, and push 
on the Antarctic Pole? Would he afterwards return 
to the seas of the Pacific, where his Nautilus would find easy 
navigation ? The future would show us. 

On the i4th of January no land was visible. The speed 
of the Nautilus was singularly slackened, and very capri- 
cious in its movements ; sometimes it swam amidst the 
waters, sometimes floated on their surface. 

During this period of the voyage Captain Nemo made 
interesting experiments on the different temperatures of 
the sea at different depths. In ordinary conditions these 
experiments are only made by means of complicated 
instruments, and are often doubtful, whether made by 
thermometric sounding lines, the glasses of which often 
break under the pressure of the water, or by apparatus based 
on the variation of resistance in metals to electric currents. 
The results thus obtained cannot be sufficiently controlled. 
On the contrary, Captain Nemo went himself to seek the 
temperature in the different depths, and his thermometer 
put into communication with the different liquid sheets gave 
him immediately and surely the degree he sought. 

It was thus that, either by filling its reservoirs or de- 
scending obliquely by its inclined planes, the Nautilus 
successfully reached depths of three, four, five, seven, nine, 
and ten thousand metres, and the definitive result of these 
experiments was that the sea presented a permanent tem- 
perature of four and a half degrees at a depth of one 
thousand metres under all latitudes. 

I followed these experiments with the most lively interest. 
Captain Nemo studied them with passion. I often asked 
myself to what end he made these observations. Was it 


for the good of his fellow-creatures ? It was not probable, 
for one day his work must perish with him in some un- 
known sea unless he destined the results of his experiments 
for me. But that was to admit that my strange voyage 
would have a term, and this term I did not yet perceive. 

However that may be, Captain Nemo told me of different 
calculations obtained by him which established the different 
evidence about the density of water in the principal seas 
of the globe. From that communication I drew some 
personal information which was not at all scientific. 

It was during the morning of i he I5th of January. The 
captain, with whom I was walking on the platform, asked 
me if I knew the different densities of sea- water. I answered 
in the negative, and added that rigorous observations were 
wanting to science on this subject. 

" I have made those observations," he said to me, 
" and I can affirm that they are correct." 

" That may be," I answered, " but the Nautilus is a 
world in itself, and the secrets of its explorer do not reach 
the earth." 

" You are right, professor," he answered after a short 
silence ; " it is a world in itself. It is as much a stranger to 
the world as those planets that accompany this globe round 
the sun, and the world will never know the work of the 
savants in Jupiter and Saturn. Still, as chance has united 
our two lives, I give you the result of my observations." 

" I shall be glad to hear it, captain." 

" You know, professor, that sea- water is denser than fresh 
water, but that its density is not uniform. In fact, if I 
represent by one the density of fresh water, I find a twenty- 
eight-thousandth for the waters of the Atlantic, a twenty- 
six-thousandth for those of the Pacific, a thirty-thousandth 
for those of the Mediterranean " 

" Ah," thought I, " he adventures into the Mediter- 

" An eighteen -thousandth for the waters of the Ionian 
Sea, and a twenty-thousandth for those of the Adriatic." 

Decidedly the Nautilus did not avoid the frequented 
seas of Europe, and I hence concluded that it would take 
us perhaps before long towards more civilised lands. I 


thought that Ned Land would learn this detail with very 
natural satisfaction. 

We passed several days in making all sorts of experiments 
on the saltness of the sea at different depths, on its electrifi- 
cation, coloration, transparency, and in all of them Captain 
Nemo displayed an ingenuity which was only equalled by 
his kindness towards me. Then, for some days, I saw him 
no longer, and again remained isolated on board. 

On the i6th of January the Nautilus seemed to be sleeping 
at some yards only below the surface of the waves. Its 
electric apparatus was idle, and its immovable screw let it 
be rocked at the will of the currents. I supposed that the 
crew was occupied with repairs necessitated by the violence 
of the mechanical movements of the machine. 

My companions and I were then witnesses of a curious 
spectacle. The panels of the saloon were open, and as the 
electric lantern of the Nautilus was not lighted, a vague 
obscurity reigned in the midst of the waters. The sky, 
which was stormy, and covered with thick clouds, only 
gave an insufficient light to the first depths of the ocean. 

I was looking at the state of the sea under these con- 
ditions, and the largest fish only looked to me like half- 
formed shadows, when all at once the Nautilus was in broad 
light. I thought at first that the lantern had been relighted, 
and was projecting its electric brilliancy upon the liquid 
mass. I was mistaken, and after a rapid observation saw 
my error. 

The Nautilus was floating amidst a phosphorescent 
layer, which in such obscurity became dazzling. It was 
produced by myriads of luminous microscopic creatures, the 
light of which was increased by being reflected against the 
metallic hull of the vessel. I then saw sheets of lightning 
amidst these luminous layers, like molten lead melted in a 
furnace, or metallic masses heated red hot, in such a manner 
that by opposition certain luminous portions made a 
shadow in this ignited medium, from which all shadow 
seemed as though it ought to be banished. No ! it was 
not the calm radiancy of our habitual light. There was 
an unwonted vigour and movement in it. We felt that the 
light was living. 


During several hours the Nautilus floated among those 
brilliant sheets of water, and our admiration increased at 
seeing the large marine animals play among them like 
salamanders. I saw there amidst theii fire that does not 
burn, elegant and rapid porpoises, indefatigable clowns of 
the sea, and istiophores three yards long, intelligent pre- 
cursor of storms, the formidable sword of which struck 
against the glass of the saloon ; and then appeared smaller 
fish, which streaked the luminous atmosphere in their 

This dazzling spectacle was enchanting ! Perhaps some 
atmospheric condition augmented the intensity of the 
phenomenon. Perhaps some storm was going on above 
the waves, but at that depth of a few yards the Nautilus 
did not feel its fury, and was peacefully balancing itself 
amidst the tranquil waters. 

Thus we went on our way, incessantly charmed by some 
new marvel. Conseil observed and classified his zoophytes, 
his articulates, his molluscs, and his fish. The days fled 
rapidly away, and I counted them no longer. Ned, accord- 
ing to his custom, tried to vary the fare on board. Veritable 
snails, we had become accustomed to our shell, and I 
affirmed that it is easy to become a perfect snail. This 
existence, then, appeared to us easy and natural, and we 
no longer thought of the different life that existed on the 
surface of the terrestrial globe, when an event happened 
to lecall to us the strangeness of our situation. 

On the i8th of January the barometer, which had been 
going down for some days, announced an approaching war 
of the elements. 

I had gone up on to the platform at the moment the 
first officer was taking his bearings. I expected as usual 
to hear the daily sentence pronounced. But that day it 
was replaced by another phrase not less incomprehensible. 
Almost immediately I saw Captain Nemo appear and sweep 
the horizon with a telescope. 

After some minutes he lowered his telescope and ex- 
changed about ten words with his officer, who seemed to 
be a prey to an emotion that he tried in vain to suppress. 

Captain Nemo, more master of himself, remained calm. 


He appeared, besides, to make certain objections, to which 
the officer answered by formal assurances at least, I 
understood them thus by the difference of their tone and 

I looked carefully in the direction they were observing 
without perceiving anything. 

In the meantime Captain Nemo walked up and down the 
platform without looking at me, perhaps without seeing me. 
His step was firm, but less regular than usual. Some- 
times he stopped, folded his arms, and looked at the sea. 
What was he seeking in that immense space ? The Nautilus 
was then some hundreds of miles from the nearest coast. 

There was something I could not quite understand, of 
a disturbing nature. With a nervous air, the first officer 
again looked through his telescope, and after a while again 
attracted the captain's attention, who stopped his walk 
and directed his glasses towards the point indicated. He 
observed it for a long time. I, feeling very curious about 
it, went down to the saloon and brought up an excellent 
telescope that I generally used. Then leaning it against 
the lantern cage that jutted in front of the platform, I 
prepared to sweep all the line of sky and sea. But I had not 
placed my eye to it when the instrument was quickly 
snatched out of my hands. 

I turned. Captain Nemo was before me, but I hardly 
knew him. There was a change in his expression. His 
eyes shone with sombre fire under his frowning eyebrows. 
His teeth glittered between his firm-set lips. His stiffened 
body, closed fists, and head set hard on his shoulders, 
showed the violent hatred breathed by his whole appearance. 
He did not move. My telescope, fallen from his hand, had 
rolled to his feet. 

Had I, then, unintentionally provoked his anger ? 
Did he think I had robbed him of one of his seciets in the 
working of his vessel ? 

No ! I was not the object of this display of hatred, for 
he was not looking at me ; his eyes remained fixed on the 
impenetrable point of the hoiizon. 

At last Captain, Nemo recovered his self-possession. His 
face, so profoundly excited, resumed its habitual calmness. 


He addressed some words in a foreign tongue to his officer, 
and then turned towards me again. 

" M. Aronnax," said he in a rather imperious tone, " I 
require from you the fulfilment of one of the engagements 
that bind me to you." 

" What is that, captain ? " 

" To let yourself be shut up you and your companions 
until I shall think proper to set you at liberty again." 

" You are master here," I answered, looking at him 
fixedly. " But may I ask you one question ? " 

" No, sir, not one ! " 

After that I had nothing to do but obey, as all resistance 
would have been impossible. 

I went down to the cabin occupied by Ned Land and 
Conseil, and I told them of the captain's determination. I 
leave it to be imagined how that communication 4 was 
received by the Canadian. Besides, there was no time for 
any explanation. Four of the crew were waiting at the 
door, and they conducted us to the cell where we had 
passed our first night on board the Nautilus. 

Ned Land wanted to expostulate, but for all answer the 
door was shut upon him. 

" Will monsieur tell me what this means ? " asked 

I related what had happened. My companions were 
as astonished as I, and not more enlightened. 

I was overwhelmed with reflections, and I could not forget 
the expression on Captain Nemo's face. I was incapable 
of putting two logical ideas together, and was losing myself 
in the most absurd hypotheses, when I was aroused by 
these words of Ned Land : 

" Why, they have laid dinner for us ! " 

In fact, the table was laid. It was evident that Captain 
Nemo had given this order at the same time that he caused 
the speed of the Nautilus to be hastened. 

" Will monsieur allow me to recommend something 
to him ? " asked Conseil. 

" Yes, my bo^y," I replied. 

" It is that monsieur should eat. It would be prudent, 
for we do not know what may happen." 


"You are right, Conseil." 

" Unfortunately," said Ned Land, " they have only 
given us the usual fare on board." 

" Friend Ned," replied Conseil, " what should you say if 
you had had no dinner at all ? " 

That observation cut short the harpooner's grumbling. 

We sat down to dinner. The meal was eaten in silence. 
I ate little. Conseil forced himself to eat for prudence 
sake, and Ned Land ate as usual. Then, the meal over, 
we each made ourselves comfortable in a corner. 

At that moment the luminous globe that had been lighting 
us went out and left us in profound darkness. Ned Land 
soon went to sleep, and, what astonished me, Conseil went 
oft into a heavy slumber. I was asking myself what 
could have provoked in him so great a need of sleep, when I 
felt heaviness creep over my own brain. My eyes, which I 
wished to keep open, closed in spite of my efforts. I became 
a prey to painful hallucinations. It was evident that 
soporific substances had been mixed with the food we had 
just eaten. Imprisonment, then, was not enough to con- 
ceal Captain Nemo's projects from us ; we must have sleep 
as well. 

I heard the panels closed. The undulations of the sea, 
that of a slight rolling motion, ceased. Had the Nautilus, 
then, left the surface of the ocean;? Had it again sunk to the 
motionless depth ? 

I wished to resist sleep. It was impossible. My breath- 
ing became weaker. I felt a deathlike coldness freeze and 
paralyse my limbs. My eyelids fell like leaden coverings 
over my eyes. I could not raise them. A morbid slumber, 
full of hallucinations, took possession of my whole being. 
Then the visions disappeared and left me in complete 



THE next day I awoke with my faculties singularly clear. 
To my great surprise I was in my own room. My com- 
panions had doubtless been carried to their cabin without 


being more aware of it than I. They knew no more what 
had happened during the night than I, and to unveil the 
mystery I only depended on the hazards of the future. 

I then thought of leaving my room. Was I once more 
free or a prisoner ? Entirely free. I opened the door, went 
through the waist, and climbed the central staircase. The 
panels, closed the night before, were opened. I stepped 
on to the platform. 

Ned Land and Conseil were awaiting me there. I 
questioned them ; they knew nothing. They had slept a 
dreamless sleep, and had been much surprised to find 
themselves in their cabin on awaking. 

As to the Nautilus, it was floating on the surface of the 
waves at a moderate speed. Nothing on board^seemed 

Ned Land watched the sea with his penetrating eyes. 
It was deserted. The Canadian signalled nothing fresh 
on the horizon neither sail nor land. There was a stiff 
west breeze blowing, and the vessel was rolling under the 
influence of long waves raised by the wind. 

The Nautilus, after its air had been renewed, was kept 
at an average depth of fifteen yards, so as to rise promptly, 
if necessary, to the surface of the waves, an operation 
which, contrary to custom, was performed several times 
during that day of January igth. The second officer then 
went up on the platform, and the accustomed sentence was 
heard in the interior of the vessel. 

Captain Nemo did not appear. Of the men on board I 
only saw the impassible steward, who served me with his 
usual exactitude and speechlessness. 

About 2 p.m. I was in the saloon, occupied in classifying 
my notes, when the captain opened the door and appeared. 
I bowed to him and he returned the compliment without 
uttering a word. I went on with my work, hoping he would 
perhaps give me some explanation of the events that had 
occurred the previous night. He did nothing of the kind. 
I looked at him. His face appeared to me fatigued ; his 
reddened eyelids showed they had not been refreshed by 
sleep ; his face had an expression of profound and real 
grief. He walked about, sat down, rose up, took a book 


at random, abandoned it immediately, consulted his 
instruments without making his usual notes, and did not 
seem able to keep an instant in peace. 

At last he came towards me and said 

" Are you a doctor, M. Aronnax ? " 

I so little expected such a question that I looked at him 
for some time without answering. 

" Are you a doctor ? " he repeated. 

" Yes," I said ; "I am doctor and surgeon. I was in 
practice for several years before entering the museum." 

" That is well." 

My answer had evidently satisfied Captain Nemo, but 
not knowing what he wanted, I awaited fresh questions, 
meaning to answer according to circumstances. 

" M. Aronnax," said the captain, " will you consent to 
prescribe for a sick man ? " 

" There is some one ill on board ? " 

" Yes." 

" I am ready to follow you." 

" Come." 

I must acknowledge that my heart beat faster. I do not 
know why I saw some connection between the illness of 
this man of the crew and the events of the night before, and 
this mystery preoccupied me at least as much as the sick 

Captain Nemo conducted me aft of the Nautilus, and 
made me enter a cabin situated in the crew's quarters. 

There, upon a bed, a man of some forty years, with a face 
of the true Anglo-Saxon type, was reposing. 

I bent over him . He was not only a sick man but a wound- 
edont too. His head, wrapped in bandages, was resting on 
a double pillow. I undid the bandages, and the wounded 
man, looking with his large fixed eyes, let me do it without 
uttering a single complaint. 

The wound was horrible. The skull, crushed by some 
blunt instrument, showed the brain. The breathing of the 
sick man was slow, and spasmodic movements of the muscles 
agitated his face. 

I felt the pulse ; it was intermittent. The extremities 
were already growing cold, and I saw that death was 


approaching without any possibility of my preventing it. 
After dressing the wound I bandaged it again, and turned 
towards Captain Nemo. 

" How was this wound caused ? " I asked. 

" What does it matter ? " answered the captain evasively. 
" A shock of the Nautilus broke one of the levers of the 
machine, which struck this man. But what do you think 
of his condition ? " 

I hesitated to reply. 

" You may speak," said the captain ; " this man does 
not understand French." 

I looked a last time at the wounded man, then I an- 

" He will be dead in two hours." 

" Can nothing save him ? " 

" Nothing." 

Captain Nemo clenched his hand, and his eyes filled with 

For some time I still watched the dying man, whose 
life seemed gradually ebbing. He looked still paler under 
the electric light that bathed his deathbed. I looked at 
his intelligent head, furrowed with premature lines which 
misfortune, misery perhaps, had long ago placed there. I 
tried to learn the secret of his life in the last words that 
escaped from his mouth. 

" You can go now, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo. 

I left the captain in the room of the dying man, and went 
back to my room much moved by this scene. During the 
whole day I was agitated by sinister presentiments. I slept 
badly that night, and, amidst my frequently-interrupted 
dreams, I thought I heard distant sighs and a sound like 
funeral chants. Was it the prayer for the dead murmured 
in that language which I could not understand ? 

The next morning I went up on deck. Captain Nemo 
had preceded me there. As soon as he perceived me he 
came to me. 

" Professor," said he. " would it suit you to make a 
submarine excursion to-day ? " 

" With my companions ? " I asked. 

" If they like." 


" We are at your service, captain." 

" Then please put on your diving-dresses." 

Of the dying or dead there was no question. I went to 
Ned Land and Conseil and told them of Captain Nemo's 
proposal. Conseil accepted it immediately and this time the 
the Canadian seemed quite ready to go with us. 

It was 8 a.m. At half-past we were clothed for our walk, 
and furnished with our breathing and lighting apparatus. 
The double door was opened, and accompanied by Captain 
Nemo, who was followed by a dozen men of the crew, we 
set foot at a depth of ten yards on the firm ground where the 
Nautilus was stationed. 

A slight incline brought us to an undulated stretch of 
ground at about fifteen fathoms depth. This ground 
differed completely from any I saw during my first excursion 
under the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Here there was no 
fine sand, no submarine meadows, no seaweed forests. It 
was the kingdom of coral that curious substance that 
was by turns classified in the mineral, vegetable, and 
animal kingdoms. A remedy of the ancients, a jewel of 
modern times, it was not until 1694 that it was definitively 
placed in the animal kingdom. 

Coral is an assemblage of animalculae, united on a poly- 
pier of a stony and breakable nature. These polypiers have 
a unique generator which produces them by gemmation, 
and they possess an existence of their own at the same 
time that they participate in the common life. It is, there- 
fore, a sort of natural socialism. I knew the result of the 
last works made on this strange zoophyte, which mineralises 
at the same time that it arborises, according to the very 
just observation of naturalists ; and nothing could be more 
interesting to me than to visit one of the petrified forests 
that Nature has planted at the bottom of the sea. 

We followed a coral bank in process of formation, which, 
helped by time, would one day close in that portion of the 
Indian Ocean. The route was bordered by inextricable 
bushes formed by the entanglement of shrubs that the 
little white-starred flowers covered. Sometimes, contrary 
to the land plants, these bushes, rooted to the rocks, grew 
from top to bottom. 


The light from our apparatus produced a thousand 
charming effects, playing amidst the branches that were 
so vividly coloured. It seemed to me as if the membraneous 
and cylindrical tubes trembled under the undulation of the 
waves. I was tempted to gather their fresh petals, orna- 
mented with delicate tentacles, some freshly opened, others 
scarcely out, whilst light and rapid-swimming fish touched 
them slightly in passing like a flock of birds. But when 
my hand approached these living flowers, these animated 
sensitive plants, the whole colony was put on the alert. 
The white petals re-entered their red cases, the flowers 
vanished from my gaze, and the bushes changed into blocks 
of stony knobs. 

Chance had brought me in presence of the most precious 
specimens of this zoophyte. This coral was as valuable as 
that found in the Mediterranean, on the coasts of France 
and Italy. It justified by its brilliant tints the poetic 
names of " Flower of Blood " and " Froth of Blood " 
which commerce gives to its most beautiful productions. 
Coral is sold as high as 10 a pound, and in this place the 
liquid masses covered the fortune of a world of coral-dealers. 

But soon the bushes contracted. Real petrified thickets 
and long galleries of fantastic architecture opened before 
our steps. Captain Nemo entered a dark gallery, and we 
followed down. Our searchlights sometimes produced 
magical effects by following the rough outlines of the 
natural arches and pendants, like bushes, which it 
pricked with points of fire. Amongst the coralline shrubs 
I noticed other polypiers no less curious, melites and 
irises with articulated ramifications, also reefs of coral, 
some green, some red, like seaweed incrusted in their 
calcareous salts, which naturalists, after long discussion, 
have definitely classified in the vegetable kingdom. But, 
according to the remark of a thinker, " This is perhaps 
the real point where life obscurely rises from its stony 
sleep, without altogether leaving its rude starting- 

At last, after two hours' walking, we reached a depth of 
about 150 fathoms that is to say, the extreme limit that 
coral begins to form itself. But there it was no longer the 


isolated shrub nor the modest thicket of low brushwood. 
It was the immense forest, the great mineral vegetations, 
the enormous petrified trees, united by garlands of elegant 
sea-bindweed, all decked off with colours and shades. We 
passed freely under their high branches lost in the depths 
of the water above, whilst, at our feet the tubipores, mean- 
drines, stars, fungi, and caryophyllidae formed a carpet of 
flowers strewed with dazzling gems. 

It was an indescribable spectacle ! Ah, why could we 
not communicate our sensations ? Why were we im- 
prisoned under these masks of metal and glass ? Why 
did we not at least live the life of the fish that people the 
liquid element, or rather that of the amphibians who, during 
long hours, can traverse as they like the double domain 
of land and water ? 

In the meantime Captain Nemo had stopped. My 
companions and I imitated him, and, turning round, I saw 
that his men had formed a semicircle round their chief. 
Looking with more attention, I noticed that four of them 
were carrying an object of oblong form on their shoulders. 

We were then in the centre of a vast open space sur- 
rounded by high bushes of the submarine forest. Our 
lamps lighted up the space with a sort of twilight which 
immoderately lengthened the shadows on the ground. At 
the limit of the open space darkness again became pro- 
found, and was only " made visible " by little sparks re- 
flected in the projections of the coral. 

Ned Land and Conseil were near me. We looked on, 
and the thought that I was going to assist at a strange scene 
came into my mind. As I looked at the ground I saw 
that it was raised in certain places by slight excrescences 
incrusted with calcareous deposits, and laid out with a 
regularity that betrayed the hand of man. 

In the centre of the open space, on a pedestal of rocks 
roughly piled together, rose a coral cross which extended its 
long arms, that one might have said were made of petrified 

Upon a sign from Captain Nemo one of his men came for- 
ward, and at the foot of the cross began to dig a hole with 
a pickaxe that he took from his belt. 


I then understood it all ! This space was a cemetery ; 
this hole a grave ; this oblong object the body of the man 
who had died during the night ! Captain Nemo and his 
men came to bury their companion in this common resting- 
place in the depths of the inaccessible ocean ! 

My mind was never so much excited before. More 
impressionable ideas had never invaded my brain! I 
would not see what my eyes were looking at ! 

In the meantime the tomb was being slowly dug. Fish 
fled hither and thither. I heard on the soil the ring of the 
iron pickaxe that sparkled when it struck some flint lost 
at the bottom of the sea. The hole grew larger and wider, 
and was soon deep enough to receive the body. 

Then the bearers approached. The body, wrapped in a 
tissue of white byssus, was lowered into its watery tomb. 
The Captain and his crew knelt down all with hands 
crossed on their breasts, and I and my two companions 
instinctively bent reverently. 

The tomb was then filled with the matter dug from the 
soil, and when the work was completed, Captain Nemo 
and his men rose ; then, collecting round the tomb, all 
knelt again, and extended their hands as though bidding 

Then the funeral procession set out for the Nautilus again, 
repassing under the arcades of the forest, amidst the thickets 
by the side of the coral-bushes, going uphill all the way. 

At last the lights on board appeared. Their luminous 
track guided us to the Nautilus. We were back at one 

As soon as I had changed my clothes I went up on to the 
platform, and, a prey to a terrible conflict of emotions, I 
went and seated myself near the lantern-cage. 

Captain Nemo joined me there. I rose and said 

" Then, as I foresaw, that man died in the night ? " 

" Yes, M. Aronnax," answered Captain Nemo. 

" And now he is resting by the side of his companions 
in the coral cemetery ? " 

" Yes, forgotten by every one but us ? We dig the 
grave, and the polypi take the trouble of sealing our dead 
therein for eternity ? " 


And hiding his face in his hand with a brusque gesture, 
the captain tried in vain to suppress a sob. Then he 

" That is our peaceful cemetery, at some hundreds of feet 
below the surface of the waves ! " 

" Your dead sleep, at least, tranquil, captain, out of 
reach of the sharks ! " 

Yes, sir, "answered Captain Nemo gravely, " of sharks 
men 1 " 




HERE begins the second part of this voyage under the sea. 
The first ended with the painful scene at the coral cemetery, 
which has left a profound impression on my mind Thus, 
then, in the bosom of the immense ocean Captain Nemo's 
entire life was passed, and he had even prepared his grave 
in the most impenetrable of its depths. There not one 
of the ocean monsters would trouble the last slumber of the 
inhabitants of the Nautilus of these men, riveted to each 
other in death as in life ! " Nor man either ! " Captain 
Nemo had added. There was always in him the same im- 
placable and ferocious defiance towards all human society. 

I no longer contented myself with the hypotheses that 
satisfied Conseil. The worthy fellow persisted in only see, 
ing in the commander of the Nautilus one of the unappre- 
ciated savants who give back to humanity disdain for indif- 
ference. He was still for him a misunderstood genius, 
who, tired of the deceptions of the world, had sought refuge 
in the inaccessible medium where he could freely exercise 
his instincts. But, in my opinion, that hypothesis only 
explained one of Captain Nemo's aspects. 

In fact, the mystery of that last night during which we 
had been enchained in prison and sleep, the precaution so 
violently taken by the captain of snatching from my eyes 
the telescope ready to sweep the horizon, the mortal wound 


of that man due to an inexplicable shock of the Nautilus 
all that inclined me in a fresh direction. No ! Captain 
Nemo did not content himself with flying from mankind ! 
His formidable apparatus not only served his instincts of 
liberty, but was perhaps also the instrument of terrible 

Nothing really binds us to Captain Nemo. He knows 
that to escape from the Nautilus is impossible. We are 
not even prisoners of honour. We are only captives, 
disguised under the name of guests by an appearance of 
courtesy. Nevertheless, Ned Land has not renounced the 
hope of recovering his liberty. It is certain that he will 
make a dash for it when the first favourable opportunity 
arises. I shall, doubtless, do the same, and yet it will not be 
without a sort of regret that I shall part with the mysteries 
of the Nautilus. For, after all, is its commander to be 
hated or admired ? Is he is a victim or an executioner ? 
And, to speak frankly, I should like before leaving him for 
ever to have accomplished the submarine tour round the 
world of which the beginning has been so magnificent. I 
should like to have observed the complete series of marvels 
hidden under the seas of the globe. I should like to have 
seen what no man has seen before, even if I should pay 
with my life for this insatiable desire to learn ! What have 
I yet discovered ? Nothing, or nearly nothing, since we 
have only yet been over 6,000 leagues of the Pacific. 

However I know that the Nautilus is approaching 
inhabited lands, and that, if some chance of salvation was 
offered to us, it would be cruel to sacrifice my companions 
to my passion for the unknown. I must follow them, per- 
haps guide them. But will this occasion ever present itself ? 

That day, the 2ist of January, 1868, at noon, the first 
officer came to take the height of the sun. I went up on to 
the platform, lighted a cigar, and followed the operation. 
It appeared evident to me that this man did not under- 
stand French for several reasons. I made reflections aloud 
which must have drawn from him some involuntary sign 
of attention if he had understood them, but he remained 
impassible and mute. 

Whilst he was making his observation with his sextant, 



one of the sailors of the Nautilus the vigorous man who 
had accompanied us in our first excursion to Crespo Island 
came to clean the glass of the lantern. I then examined 
the installation of this apparatus, the power of which was 
increased a hundredfold by the lenticular rings that were 
placed like those of lighthouses, and which kept its light on 
a convenient level. The electric lamp was put together so 
as to give all its lighting power. Its light, in fact, was pro- 
duced in a vacuum which assured its regularity and inten- 
sity at the same time. This vacuum also economised the 
graphite points between which the luminous arc is developed 
a prudent economy for Captain Nemo, who might not 
have been able to renew them easily. But in these condi- 
tions their absence was almost unnoticeable. 

When the Nautilus was prepared to continue her sub- 
marine journey, I went down to the saloon. The panels 
were closed, and our course was directly west. 

We were ploughing through the waves of the Indian Ocean, 
a vast liquid plain of 1,200,000,000 acres' extent, the waters 
of which are so transparent that they make any one looking 
into their depths quite giddy. The Nautilus generally 
floated in a depth of between a hundred and two hundred 
fathoms. We went on thus for several days. To any other 
than myself, who had a great love for the sea, the hours 
would have seemed long and monotonous ; but my daily 
walks upon the platform, when I acquired new strength in 
the reviving air of the ocean, the sight of these rich waters 
through the windows of the saloon, reading, and the 
compiling of my memoirs, took up all my time, and did 
not leave me an idle or weary moment. 

The health of all on board kept in a very satisfactory 
state. The fare on board suited us perfectly, and, for my 
own part, I could have dispensed with the ingenious varia- 
tions made through spirit of protestation, by Ned Land. 
More, in so constant a temperature there were no colds to 

During several days we saw a great quantity of aquatic 
birds, sea-mews, or gulls and palmipeds. Some were 
skilfully killed and prepared in a certain way ; they 
furnished a very acceptable kind of game. Amongst the 


larger varieties, those who fly a long distance from land, and 
rest occasionally upon the surface of the water, I noticed 
some magnificent albatrosses, whose cry is as discordant as 
the bray of an ass. The family of the totipalmates was 
represented by the sea-swallows, who quickly caught up the 
fish that appeared on the surface of the water ; and by 
numerous phaetons, or lepturi, amongst others the phaeton 
with red stripes, as large as a pigeon, and whose white 
plumage, tinted with red, sets off the black of the wings. 

The nets of the Nautilus brought In several kinds of 
marine tortoise, with a convex back, the shell of which is 
greatly esteemed. These reptiles, who dive easily, can keep 
a long time under the water by closing the fleshy safety 
valve situated at the external orifice of their nasal canal. 
Some of these fish, when taken, were still sleeping in their 
shells, sheltered from marine animals. The flesh of these 
tortoises was not particularly good, but their eggs made 
an excellent dish. 

I saw many kinds of fish which I had not before observed. 
I shall notice chiefly the ostracions of the Red Sea, the 
Indian Ocean, and that part of the ocean which washes the 
shores of tropical America. These fish, like the tortoise, 
the sea-hedgehog, and the Crustacea, are protected by a 
breastplate which is real bone. Sometimes it takes the form 
of a solid triangle, sometimes of a solid quadrangle. 
Amongst the triangular ones I noticed some of an inch and 
a half in length, having wholesome flesh of a delicious 
flavour, a brown tail, and yellow fins, and I recommend their 
introduction into fresh water, to which a certain number of 
sea-fish easily accustom themselves. There were some 
quadrangular ostracions that had four large tubercles on 
their backs ; some that were dotted over with white spots 
on the under side of their bodies, and that could be tamed 
like birds ; trigons, provided with spikes formed by the 
lengthening of their bony covering, and to which, owing 
to their singular grunting, has been given the name of 
" sea-hogs ; " dromedaries with great humps in the form of 
a cone, the flesh of which is hard and leathery. 

From the 2ist to the 23rd of January the Nautilus went 
at the rate of 250 leagues in 24 hours, or 22 miles an hour. 


The cause of our seeing so many different varieties of fish 
was that, being attracted by the electric light, they tried to 
accompany us. 

On the morning of the 24th, we sighted Keeling Island, 
planted with magnificent cocoas, and which has been 
visited by Mr. Darwin and Captain Fitz-Roy. The Nautilus 
kept along the shores of this desert island for some little 
distance. The nets brought up numerous specimens of 
polypi and curious shells of mollusca. 

Soon Keeling Island disappeared from the horizon and we 
directed our course to the north-west, towards the Indian 

" Civilised land," said Ned Land to me that day. " That 
is better than the islands of Papua, where you meet with 
more savages than venison ! On that Indian ground, pro- 
fessor, there are roads, railways, English, French, or Hindoo 
towns. One would not go five miles without meeting with 
a countryman. WeU, is it not the moment to take French 
leave of Captain Nemo ? " 

" No, Ned, no," I answered in a very determined tone. 
" Let us see what comes of it. The Nautilus is getting 
nearer the inhabited continents. It is going back towards 
Europe ; let it take us there. Once in our own seas, we 
shah 1 see what prudence advises us to attempt. Besides, I 
do not suppose that Captain Nemo would allow us to go and 
shoot on the coasts of Malabar or Coromandel, like he did 
in the forests of New Guinea." 

" Well, sir, can't we do without his permission ? " 

I did not answer the Canadian, for I did not wish to argue. 
At the bottom of my heart I wished to exhaust to the end 
the chances of destiny that had thrown me on board the 

From Keeling Island our progress became slower, our 
route more varied, and we often went to great depths. 
Inclined planes, which were placed by levers obliquely to the 
water-line, were made use of several times. We went thus 
about two miles, but without ever ascertaining the greatest 
depths of the Indian Ocean, the bottom of which has never 
been reached even by soundings of several thousand 
fathoms. As to the temperature in the deepest waters, the 


thermometer invariably indicated 4 above zero. I ob- 
served that the water is always colder on the higher than 
on the lower levels of the sea. 

On the 25th of January, the ocean being entirely deserted, 
the Nautilus passed the day on the surface, beating the 
waves with her powerful screw and making them rebound 
to a great height. In these conditions the Nautilus more 
than ever resembled a gigantic whale ! I passed three-quar- 
ters of this day upon the platform. Nothing could be 
sighted on the horizon till, about four o'clock, a steamer 
appeared, going westward. Her masts were visible for an 
instant, but she could not see the Nautilus, as she was too 
low in the water. I thought that this steamboat probably 
belonged to the P. and O. Company, which runs between 
Ceylon and Sydney, touching at King George's Point and 

At 5 p.m., before that short twilight which unites the day 
to the night in tropical zones, Conseil and I were aston- 
ished by a curious sight. There is a charming animal which 
to meet, according to the ancients, was a good omen. 
Modern scientists know this mollusc under the name of 
" argonaut." 

Had any one consulted Conseil he would have learnt 
from the brave fellow that the branch of molluscs is 
divided into five classes, that the first class, that of the 
cephalods, of which the subjects are sometimes bare, some- 
times testaceous, comprehends two families those of the 
dibranches and the tetrabranches, distinguished by the 
number of their branches ; that the family of the dibranches 
include three classes the argonaut, calamary, and cuttle- 
fish ; and that the family of the tetrabranches only contains 
a single one the nautilus. If after that nomenclature a 
rebellious mind could confuse the argonaut, which is 
acetabuliferous that is to say, " bearer of ventilators " 
with the nautilus, which is tentaculiferous that is to say, 
" bearer of tentacles " he would have been inexcusable. 

There was a shoal of argonauts then travelling along the 
surface of the ocean. We could count several hundreds. 
They belonged to the species of argonauts which are peculiar 
to the Indian Ocean. 


These graceful molluscs moved themselves backwards 
along the water by means of a tube through which they 
propelled the water which they had already drawn in. Of 
their eight tentacles six were long and thin, and were float- 
ing on the water, while the two others were rolled up flat and 
spread out to the wind like light sails. I could distinctly 
see their spiral-shaped and fluted shells justly compared 
to an elegant skiff, for these shells carry the animal which 
has formed them without its adhering to them. 

"The argonaut is at liberty to leave its shell," said I to 
Conseil, " but it never makes use of its liberty." 

" That is like Captain Nemo," replied Conseil. " He 
has been happy in naming his ship." 

The Nautilus floated in the midst of this shoal of mol- 
luscs for about an hour. Then I know not what sudden 
fright seized them. As if at a signal, every sail was sud- 
denly furled, the tentacles folded, the bodies rolled up, the 
shells being turned over changed their centre of gravity, 
and the whole fleet disappeared under the waves. This 
was all instantaneous, and never did the ships of a squadron 
manoeuvre with more uniformity. 

At this moment night came on suddenly, and the waves, 
hardly raised by the breeze, lay peacefully about the Nauti- 

The next day, the 26th of January, we cut the equator 
at the eighty-second meridian and entered into the northern 

During this day a formidable shoal of sharks accompanied 
us terrible creatures which swarm in these seas and make 
them very dangerous. 

These were sharks with brown backs, and whitish bellies, 
armed with eleven rows of teeth, and having their necks 
marked with a great black spot surrounded with white, which 
looked like an eye. There were some sharks with rounded 
muzzles and marked with dark spots. These powerful 
animals often dashed themselves against the windows of the 
saloon with an amount of violence that made us tremble. 
At such times Ned Land was no longer master of himself. 
He was impatient to go to the surface of the water and 
harpoon these monsters, especially some that had their 


jaws studded with teeth like a mosaic ; and large tiger- 
sharks, about six yards long, which particularly provoked 
him. But soon the Nautilus increased her speed, and 
quickly left behind the most rapid of these monsters. 

On the 27th of January, at the entrance of the vast Bay 
of Bengal, we frequently met with a horrible spectacle 
human lifeless bodies which floated on the surface of the 
water ! These were the dead of the Indian villages, drifted 
by the Ganges to the open sea, and which the vultures, the 
only undertakers of the country, had not yet been able to 
devour. But the sharks did not fail to help them in their 
horrible task. 

About 7 p.m. the Nautilus, half immersed, was sailing 
in the midst of a sea of milk. As far as the eye could see 
the ocean appeared turned to milk. Was this the effect of 
the lunar rays ? No, for the moon being scarcely two days 
old was still hidden below the horizon by the rays of the sun. 
The whole sky, although illuminated by the sidereal rays, 
appeared black by contrast with the whiteness of the waters. 

Conseil could not believe his eyes, and questioned me as 
to the causes of this phenomenon. Happily I was able to 
answer him, 

" This vast extent of white waves," said I, " which is 
frequently to be seen in these parts, is called a milk sea." 

" But," said Conseil, " what is the cause of such an 
effect, for this water is not really changed into milk, I sup- 
pose ? " 

" No, certainly not. This whiteness which astonishes 
you so much is owing to the presence of myriads of luminous 
little worms, colourless and gelatinous, no thicker than a 
hair, and no longer than the '007 of an inch. Some of these 
little animals adhere to one another for the space of several 

" Several leagues ? " cried Conseil. 

" Yes, my boy, and do not try to compute the number of 
a collection. You would not succeed, for, if I am not mis- 
taken, certain navigators have floated on these seas of milk 
for more than forty miles." 

I do not know if Conseil paid any attention to my recom- 
mendation, but he appeared lost in profound thought, seek- 


ing, perhaps, to estimate how many '007 of an inch there 
are in forty miles. For my own part, I continued to watch 
the phenomenon. During several hours the Nautilus fur- 
rowed the milky waves with its prow, and I remarked that 
it glided noiselessly upon the soapy water as if it was float- 
ing in the eddies of foam that the currents and counter- 
currents of bays sometimes leave between them. 

Towards midnight the sea suddenly resumed its ordinary 
colour, but behind us, as far as the limits of the horizon, the 
sky, reflecting the whiteness of the waves, for a long time 
seemed impregnated with the uncertain light of the aurora 



WHEN the Nautilus returned at noon on the 28th of Febru- 
ary to the surface of the sea, we could see land about eight 
miles to westward. The first thing I saw was a group ot 
mountains about 2,000 feet high, the forms of which were 
very peculiar. I found when the bearings had been 
taken that we were near the Island of Ceylon, that pearl 
which hangs from the ear of the Indian peninsula. 

I went to look in the library for a book giving an account 
of this island, one of the most fertile on the globe. At this 
moment Captain Nemo and the mate appeared. The 
Captain glanced at the map, and then turned towards me. 

" The Island of Ceylon," said he, " is very celebrated for 
its pearl fisheries. Would you like to see one of them, M. 
Aronnax ? " 

" I should indeed, captain." 

" Well, that will be easy enough. Only if we see the 
fisheries we shall not see the fishermen. The annual work- 
ing of the pearl fisheries has not yet begun. But that does 
not matter. I will give orders to make for the Gulf of 
Manaar, where we shall arrive during the night." 

The captain said a few words to his first officer, who went 
out immediately. The Nautilus soon returned to her liquid 
element, and the manometer indicated that we were at a 
depth of thirty feet. 


I looked on the map for the Gulf of Manaar ; I found it 
by the ninth parallel on the N.W. coast of Ceylon. It was 
formed by the little Island of Manaar. In order to reach 
it we should have to go up all the western coast of Ceylon. 
" Professor," then said Captain Nemo, " there are pearl 
fisheries in the Bay of Bengal, in the Indian Ocean, in the 
seas of China and Japan, in the Bay of Panama and the 
Gulf of California, but nowhere are such results obtained as 
at Ceylon. We shall arrive a little too soon, no doubt. 
The divers do not assemble till March in the Gulf of Manaar, 
and there for thirty days they give themselves up to this 
lucrative employment. There are about three hundred 
boats, and each boat has ten rowers and ten divers. These 
divers, divided into two groups, plunge into the sea alter- 
nately, diving to a depth of about thirteen yards by means 
of a heavy stone, which they hold between their feet, and 
a cord fastened to the boat." 

" Then," said I, " the primitive method is still in use ? " 

" Yes," answered Captain Nemo, " although these 

fisheries belong to the most industrious nation in the world, 

to England. They were ceded to her by the treaty of 

Amiens in 1802." 

" It seems to me, however, that a diving dress, such as 
you use, would be of great service in such an operation." 
" Yes, for the unfortunate divers cannot remain long 
under water. The Englishman Percival, in his voyage to 
Ceylon, does speak of a Caffre who remained five minutes 
without rising to the surface, but I can hardly believe it. 
I know there are some divers who can stay under for fifty- 
seven seconds, and some as long as eighty-seven, but these 
cases are rare, and when the poor creatures return to the 
boats they bleed from ears and nose. I believe the usual 
time that divers can stay under is thirty seconds, and during 
this time they hasten to fill a small bag with the pearl oysters. 
These divers do not live to be old ; their sight becomes 
weakened, and their eyes ulcerated ; sores break out on 
their bodies, and very frequently they are seized with apo- 
plexy at the bottom of the sea. 

" Ah," said I, "it is a miserable occupation, and only 
serves for the gratification of vanity and caprice. But tell 


me, captain, what quantity of oysters can one boat take in a 

" From about forty to fifty thousand. They even say 
that in 1814 the English Government, fishing on its own 
account, its divers in twenty days' work brought up seventy- 
six millions of oysters." 

" But at least these divers are sufficiently remunerated ?" 
I asked. 

" Scarcely, professor. At Panama they only earn one 
dollar a week. And they oftener only earn one sol for each 
oyster that contains a pearl, and how many they bring up 
that contain none ! " 

" One sol only to the poor fellows who enrich their mas- 
ters ! It is odious ! " 

" Thus, then, professor," added the captain, " you and 
your companions shall see the oyster-bank of Manaar, and 
if by chance some early diver should be found there, we shall 
see him at work." 

" Agreed, captain." 

" But, M. Aronnax, you are not afraid of sharks ? " 

" Sharks ? " cried I. 

This question appeared to me at least a very idle one. 

" Well ? " continued Captain Nemo. 

" I confess, captain, that I am not yet quite at home with 
that kind of fish." 

" We are used to them," answered Captain Nemo, " and 
in time you will be so also. However, we shall be armed, 
and on the road we may have a shark-hunt. So good-bye 
till to-morrow, sir, and early in the morning." 

This said in a careless tone, Captain Nemo left the saloon. 

Now if you were invited to hunt the bear in the Swiss 
mountains you would say, " Very well, we'll go and hunt the 
bear to-morrow." If you were invited to hunt the lion in 
the plains of the Atlas, or the tiger in the jungles of India, 
you would say, " Ah, ah ! It seems we are going to hunt 
lions and tigers ! " But if you were invited to hunt the 
shark in its native element, you would, perhaps, ask time 
for reflection before accepting the invitation. 

As to me, I passed my hand over my forehead, where 
stood several drops of cold sweat. 


" I must reflect and take time," I said to myself. " To 
hunt otters in submarine forests, as we did in the forests of 
Crespo Island, is one thing, but to walk along the bottom 
of the sea when you are pretty sure of meeting with sharks 
is another ! I am aware that in certain countries, especially 
in the Andaman Islands, the negroes do not hesitate t3 
attack them with a dagger in one hand and a noose in the 
other, but I know, too, that many who affront these crea- 
tures do not return alive. Besides, I am not a negro, and 
if I were a negro, I think a slight hesitation on my part 
would not be out of place." 

And I began to dream of sharks, thinking of their vast 
jaws armed with multiplied rows of teeth, capable of cutting 
a man in two. I already felt a sharp pain in my loins. And 
then I could not help shuddering at the cool way in which 
the captain had made this weird invitation. Any one would 
have thought it was only to follow some inoffensive fox ! 

" Good ! " thought I. " Conseil will never come, and 

that will be an excuse for me not to accompany the captain." 

-As to Ned Land, I must acknowledge I did not feel so 

sure of his prudence a peril, however great, had always 

some attraction for his warlike nature. 

I went on reading my book on Ceylon, but I turned over 
the leaves mechanically. I saw formidably-opened jaws 
between the lines. At that moment Conseil and the Cana- 
dian entered, looking calm, and even gay. They did not 
know what was waiting them. 

" Faith, sir," said Ned Land, " your Captain Nemo 
whom the devil take ! has just made us a very amiable 

" Ah ! " I said. " So you know " 

" Yes," interrupted Conseil, " the commander of the 
Nautilus has invited us to visit to-morrow, in company with 
monsieur, the magnificent fisheries of Ceylon. He did it 
handsomely, and like a real gentleman." 

" Did he not tell you anything more ? " 

" No, sir," answered the Canadian, " except that he had 
mentioned the little ex^ur^Ion to you." 

" So he did," I said. " And he gave you no detail 
about " 


" Nothing, Mr. Naturalist. You will go with us, won't 
you ? " 

" I ? oh, of course ! I see it is to your taste, Ned." 

" Yes, it will be very curious." 

" Dangerous too, perhaps," I said in an insinuating tone. 

" Dangerous ! " answered Ned Land. " A simple excur- 
sion on an oyster-bank dangerous ? " 

It was evident that Captain Nemo had not thought proper 
to awake the idea of sharks in the mind of my companions. 
Ought I to warn them ? Yes, certainly, but I hardly knew 
how to set about it. 

" Monsieur," said Conseil to me, " would monsieur be kind 
enough to give us some details about the pearl fisheries ? " 

" Upon the way of fishing or upon the incidents that " 

" Upon the fishing," answered the Canadian. " Before 
going on to the ground it is well to know what it's like." 

" Very well ! Sit down, my friends, and I will tell you 
what I have just been reading myself." 

Ned and Conseil seated themselves on an ottoman, and 
the first thing that Ned asked was 

" Sir, what is a pearl ? " 

" My good Ned," I answered, " to the poet the pearl is a 
tear of the ocean ; to the Orientals it is a drop of solidified 
dew ; to the ladies it is a jewel of an oblong form, of a glass- 
like brilliancy, of. a mother-of-pearl substance, which they 
wear on their fingers, their necks, or their ears ; to the 
chemist it is a mixture of phosphate and carbonate of lime, 
with a little gelatine ; and, lastly, to naturalists it is simply 
an unhealthy secretion of the organ which produces 
mother-of-pearl in certain bivalves." 

" Now," I continued," all those that secrete mother-of- 
pearl that is, the blue, bluish, violet, or white substance 
that lines the interior of their shells are capable of pro- 
ducing pearls." 

" Mussels too ? " asked the Canadian. 

" Yes, the mussels of certain streams in Scotland, Wales, 
Ireland, Saxony, Bohemia, and France." 

" Good ; I'll pay attention to that in future," answered 
the Canadian. 

" But," I resumed, " the special mollusc which distils 


the pearl is the pearl oyster. The pearl is only a concretion 
of mother-of-pearl deposited in a globular form. It either 
adheres to the shell of the oyster or lies in the folds of the 
animal. The pearl adheres to the shell ; it is loose in the 
flesh, but it always has a small hard substance, a barren 
egg, or a grain of sand for a kernel, around which the pearly 
substance deposits itself, year by year, in thin concentric 

" Are many pearls found in the same oyster ? " asked 

" Yes," I answered, " mention has been made of an 
oyster, but I cannot help doubting it, which contained no 
less than a hundred and fifty sharks." 

" A hundred and fifty sharks ! " cried Ned Land. 

" Did I say sharks ? " I cried quickly. " I mean a hun- 
dred and fifty pearls. Sharks would be nonsense." 

" Yes," said Conseil. " Will monsieur now tell us how 
they extract the pearls ? " 

" They do it in several ways, and very often when the 
pearls adhere to the shell the divers pull them off with pin- 
cers. But more frequently the oysters are laid upon the 
mat -weed which grows on the shore. Thus they die in the 
open air, and at the end of ten days they are sufficiently 
decomposed. Then they plunge them into large reservoirs 
of sea-water, then open and wash them. Now begins the 
double work of the sorters. Firstly they separate the layers 
of pearl, known in commerce under the name of clear silver, 
bastard whites, and bastard blacks ; then they take the 
soft cellular substance of the tissues of the oyster, boil it, 
and sift it in order to extract the very smallest pearls." 

" Does the price of these pearls vary according to their 
size ? " asked Conseil. 

" Not only according to their size," answered I, " but 
according to their shape, their colour ; their lustre that 
is, that brilliant and variegated display of colours which 
makes them so charming to the eye. The finest pearls are 
called virgin pearls ; they alone are formed in the tissue of 
the mollusc ; they are white, often opaque, but sometimes 
have the transparency of an opal, and generally have a 
spherical or oval form. When they are round they 


are made into bracelets ; when oval into pendants, and, 
being the most precious, are sold separately. The pearls 
that adhere to the shell of the oyster are more irregular, and 
are sold by weight. In the lowest order are classed the 
little pearls, known under the name of seed-pearls ; they are 
sold by measure, and are used specially for embroideries on 
church ornaments." 

" But," said Ned Land, " the separating of the pearls 
according to their size must be a long and difficult process." 

" Not so ; it is managed by means of eleven sieves, pierced 
with a number of holes. The pearls which remain in the sieve 
that has from twenty to eighty holes are of the first order ; 
those which do not escape through the sieve pierced with a 
hundred to eight hundred holes are of the second order ; 
and, lastly, the pearls for which they use sieves pierced with 
nine hundred to a thousand holes are those called seed 

" That is ingenious," said Conseil, " and I see that the 
division and classifying of pearls are done mechanically. 
And now can monsieur tell us what these banks of pearl 
oysters bring in ? " 

" If we are to believe the book I have just been reading, 
the fisheries of Ceylon are worth annually threw millions of 

" Of francs," said Conseil, correcting me. 

" Yes, of francs ! Three millions of francs," I resumed. 
" But I believe that these fisheries bring in less now than 
they used to do. It is the same with the American fisheries, 
which under the reign of Charles V., were worth four millions 
of francs, but are now reduced two-thirds. On the whole, 
we may estimate at nine millions of francs the annual value 
of the pearl fisheries." 

" But," asked Conseil, " is there not some talk of cele- 
brated pearls that have been quoted at a very high price ? " 

" Yes, my boy. They say that Caesar offered to Servillia 
a pearl worth 4,800 of our money." 

" I have even heard tell," said the Canadian, " that a 
certain lady of ancient times drank pearls in her vinegar." 

" Cleopatra," suggested Conseil. 

" It must have been nasty," added Ned Land. 


" Detestable, friend Ned," answered Conseil ; " but a 
little glass of vinegar that costs 60,000 ; it is a nice price." 

" I am sorry I did not marry that lady," said the Cana- 
dian, moving about his arms in no very reassuring manner. 

" Ned Land the husband of Cleopatra ! " exclaimed Con- 

" But I was to have been married, Conseil," answered 
the Canadian seriously, " and it was not my fault that I am 
still single. I even bought a pearl necklace for my young 
woman, Kate Tender, who, after all, went and married some 
one else. Well, that necklace did not cost me more than a 
dollar and a half, and yet, believe me, professor, the pearls it 
was made of would not even have passed through a sieve 
with only twenty holes in it." 

" Those were only artificial pearls, Ned," said I, laughing, 
" simple glass globules covered with Eastern essence in the 

" That Eastern essence must be very dear," answered 
the Canadian. 

" Almost nothing. It is only the silvery substance from 
the scales of the whitebait, [taken off in the water and 
preserved in ammonia. It is of no value." 

" Perhaps that's the reason Kate Tender married some 
one else," answered Ned Land philosophically. 

" But," said I, " to return to pearls of great value, I do 
not think any sovereign has ever possessed one better than 
that of Captain Nemo." 

" This one you mean," said Conseil, pointing to the 
magnificent jewel under its glass case. 

" Certainly I am not mistaken in assigning it a value of 
two millions of " 

" Francs ! " said Conseil quickly. 

' Yes," said I, " two millions of francs, and I daresay 
it only cost the captain the trouble of picking it up." 

" Eh ! " cried Ned Land, " who says that during our ex- 
cursion to-morrow we shall not meet with its fellow ? " 

" Bah ! " said Conseil. 

" And why not ? " 

" What use would millions be to us on board the Nauti- 
lus ? " 


" On board, no," said Land ; " but elsewhere." 

" Oh ! elsewhere 1 " said Conseil, shaking his head. 

" In point of fact," said I, " Ned Land is right. And if 
we ever take back to Europe or America a pearl worth 
millions, that at least will give great authenticity, and 
at the same time a great value, to the account of our 

" I should think so," said the Canadian. 

" But," said Conseil, who always returned to the instruc- 
tive side of things, " is this diving for pearls dangerous ? " 

" No," answered I, " especially if one takes certain pre- 

" What risk can there be," said Ned Land, " except that 
of swallowing a few mouthfuls of sea- water ? " 

" You are right, Ned," said I ; then trying to assume 
Captain Nemo's careless tone, " are you afraid of sharks, 
Ned ? " 

" I ! " answered the Canadian, " a harpooner by profes- 
sion ! It is my business to laugh at them." 

" But," said I, " there is no question of fishing them with 
a merlin, drawing them up on to the deck of a ship, and 
cutting off their tails with hatchets, of cutting them open, 
taking out their hearts, and throwing them back into the 
sea ! " 

" Then it means " 

" Yes precisely." 

" In the water ? " 

" In the water." 

" Faith, what a good harpoon ! You know, sir, these 
sharks are awkward fellows and badly put together. They 
must turn on their stomachs to nab you, and during that 
time " 

Ned Land had a way of saying the word " nab " that 
made my blood run cold. 

" Well, and you, Conseil, what do you think of sharks ? " 

" If monsieur means to face the sharks," replied Conseil, 
" I do not see why his faithful servant should not face them 
with him 1 " 




NIGHT came. I went to bed and slept badly. Sharks 
played an important part in my dreams, and I found 
the etymology both just and unjust that made requin, the 
French for shark, come from the word " requiem." 

The next day, at 4 a.m., I was awakened by the steward, 
whom Captain Nemo had specially placed at my service. I 
rose promptly, dressed, and went into the saloon. Captain 
Nemo was waiting for me there. 

' Are you ready to start, M. Aronnax ? " 

' I am ready." 

' Then follow me, please." 

' And my companions, captain ? " 

' They are waiting for us." 

' Are we to put on our diving dresses ? " 

' Not yet. I have not allowed the Nautilus to come too 
near this coast, and we are still some way off Manaar Bank ; 
but I have ordered the boat to be got ready, and it will 
take us to the exact point for landing, which will save us a 
rather long journey. It will have on board our diving 
dresses, and we shall put them on as soon as our submarine 
exploration begins." 

Captain Nemo accompanied me to the central staircase, 
which led to the platform. Ned and Conseil were there 
delighted at the notion of the pleasure party which was being 
prepared. Five sailors from the Nautilus, oars in hand, 
awaited us in the boat, which had been made fast against 
the side. 

The night was yet dark. Heavy clouds covered the sky, 
and scarcely allowed a star to be seen. I looked towards the 
land, but saw nothing but a faint line inclosing three- 
quarters of the horizon from south-west to north-west. The 
Nautilus having moved up the western coast of Ceylon 
during the night, was now on the west of the bay, or rather 
gulf, formed by the land and the Island of Manaar. 

There under the dark waters stretched the oyster-bank, 
an inexhaustible field of pearls, the length of which is more 
than twenty miles. 



Captain Nemo, Conseil, Ned Land, and I took our places 
in the stern of the boat, and we moved off. 

Our course was in a southerly direction. The rowers did 
not hurry themselves. I noticed that their vigorous strokes 
only succeeded each other every ten seconds, according to 
the method in use by the navy. We were silent. What 
was Captain Nemo thinking of ? Perhaps of the land that 
we were approaching, and which he found too near him. 

About half-past five the first streaks of daylight showed 
more clearly the upper line of the coast. Flat enough in the 
ast, it rose a little towards the south. Five miles still 
separated us from it, and the shore was indistinct, owing 
to the mist on the water. There was not a boat or a diver 
to be seen. It was evident, as Captain Nemo had warned 
me, that we had come a month too soon. 

At 6 a.m. it became daylight suddenly, with that rapidity 
peculiar to the tropical regions, where there is neither dawn 
nor twilight. I saw the land distinctly, with a few trees 
scattered here and there. The boat neared Manaar 
Island ; Captain Nemo rose from his seat and watched the 

At a sign from him the anchor was dropped, but it had 
but a little distance to fall, for it was scarcely more than a 
yard to the bottom, and this was one of the highest points of 
the oysterbank. 

" Now, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo, " here we are. 
In a month numerous boats will be assembled here, and 
these are the waters that the divers explore so boldly. This 
bay is well placed for the purpose ; it is sheltered from the 
high winds, and the sea is never very rough here. We will 
now put on our diving dresses and begin our investigations." 

Aided by the sailors, I began to put on my heavy dress. 
Captain Nemo and my two companions also dressed them- 
selves. None of the sailors from the Nautilus were to 
accompany us. 

We were soon imprisoned to the throat in our indiarub- 
ber dresses and the air apparatus was fixed to our backs by 
means of braces. There was no need for the lighting ap- 
paratus. Before putting on the copper cap I had asked 
Captain Nemo about it. 


" We shall not require it," said he. " We shall not go to 
any great depth, and the solar rays will give us light enough. 
Besides, it would be very imprudent to use an electric lan- 
tern under these waters ; its brilliancy might unexpectedly 
attract some of the dangerous inhabitants of these shores." 

As Captain Nemo uttered these words I turned towards 
Conseil and Ned Land. But my two friends had already 
enveloped their heads in their metal caps, and could neither 
hear nor reply. 

I had one more question to ask Captain Nemo. 

" Our weapons ? " I asked " our guns ? " 

" Guns ! what for ? Do not the mountaineers attack the 
bear dagger in hand, and is not steel surer than lead ? Here 
is a stout blade ; put it in your belt, and we will start." 

I looked at my companions. They were armed like us, 
and more than this, Ned Land brandished an enormous har- 
poon which he had put into the boat before leaving the 

Then, following the example of the captain, I let them put 
on my heavy copper helmet, and the air reservoirs were at 
once put in activity. Directly afterwards we were landed 
in about five feet of water upon a firm sand. Captain Nemo 
gave us a sign with his hand. We followed him, and going 
down a gentle slope, we disappeared under the waves. 

There the ideas which had previously disturbed me left 
me. I became astonishingly calm. The ease of my move- 
ments increased my confidence, and the strangeness of the 
sight captivated my imagination. 

The sun already sent a sufficient light under the water. 
The least object could be distinctly seen. After ten minutes' 
walk we were about sixteen feet under water, and the ground 
became nearly level. 

On our steps, like snipe in a marsh, rose swarms of fish 
which have no other fins than their tails. I recognised the 
Javanese, a veritable serpent ten nails long, with pale 
stomach, which one could easily mistake for the conger-eel 
were it not for the gold stripes on its flanks. In the class of 
stromatae, of which the body is very flat and oval, I noticed 
parus, with brilliant colour, wearing their dorsal fin like a 
scythe, an edible fish, which, salted and dried, forms an 


excellent dish, known under the name of karawade ; then 
tranquebars, the body of which is covered with a scaly 
cuirasse, with eight longitudinal flaps. 

The progressive elevation of the sun lighted up the mass of 
waters more and more. The ground gradually changed. 
To the fine sand succeeded a veritable embankment of 
rounded rocks, clothed with a carpet of molluscs and 
zoophytes. Here, under this clear water, the crab ran with 
unparalleled agility, whilst the turtles that frequent the 
coasts of Malabar moved slowly amidst the shaking rocks. 

About seven o'clock we were at last on the bank where 
the pearl oysters breed by millions. These precious molluscs 
adhered to the rocks, strongly fastened to them by brown- 
coloured byssus that prevents them moving. In that these 
oysters are inferior to mussels, for Nature has not refused to 
them all faculty of locomotion. 

The mother pearl, the valves of which are about equal, 
is a rounded thick shell, very rough on the outside. Some 
of these shells were foliated and marked with green bands 
that radiated from their summit. They belonged to the 
young oysters. The others with black and rough surfaces, 
ten years old and more, measured as much as five inches 

Captain Nemo pointed out this prodigious accumulation, 
and I understood that this mine was really inexhaustible, 
for the creative force of Nature is greater than the des- 
tructive instinct of man. Ned Land, faithful to this instinct, 
hastened to fill a net, which he carried at his side, with the 
finest of the molluscs. 

But we could not stop. We were obliged to follow the 
captain, who appeared to choose paths known only to him- 
self. The ground rose gradually, and sometimes, when I 
raised my arm, it was above the surface of the sea. Then 
the level of the bank sank capriciously. Sometimes we 
rounded high rocks in the form of pyramids. In their 
dark fractures immense lobsters, shrimps and crabs reared 
up on their high paws like some war-machine, looked at us 
with fixed eyes, and under our feet crawled uncanny 

At this moment there opened before us a vast grotto, 


hollowed in a picturesque cluster of rocks, and carpeted 
with seaweed. At first this grotto appeared very dark to 
me. The solar rays seemed to die out there in successive 

Captain Nemo entered. We followed him. My eyes 
soon became accustomed to the relative darkness. I saw the 
springing of the vault so capriciously distorted, supported 
by natural pillars, widely seated on their granitic bases, 
like the heavy columns of Tuscan architecture. Why did 
our incomprehensible guide lead us into the depths of this 
submarine crypt ? I should soon know. 

After descending a rather steep incline we were at the 
bottom of a sort of circular well. There Captain Nemo 
stopped and pointed to an object we had not perceived 

It was an oyster of extraordinary gigantic dimensions. 
It was adhering by its tuft of fibres to a granite slab, and 
there it was developing itself in isolation amidst the calm 
waters of the grotto. I estimated its weight at 600 Ibs. 
and that it contained 30 Ibs. of meat. 

Captain Nemo evidently knew of the existence of this 
bivalve. It was not the first visit he had paid to it, and I 
thought that in conducting us to that place he merely wished 
to show us a natural curiosity. I was mistaken. Captain 
Nemo had an interest in seeing the actual condition of this 

The two valves of the mollusc were half-open. The cap- 
tain went up to them and put his dagger between them to 
prevent them shutting, then with his hand he raised the 
membranous tunic, fringed at the border, that formed the 
animal's mantle. 

There, amidst its foliated pleats, I saw a pearl as large as a 
cocoa-nut. Its globular form, perfect limpidity, and ad- 
mirable water made it a jewel of inestimable price. Car- 
ried away by curiosity, I stretched out my hand to take it, 
weigh it, feel it. But the captain stopped me, made a sign 
in the negative, and drawing back his dagger by a rapid 
movement, he let the two valves fall together. 

I then understood the purpose of Captain Nemo. By 
leaving this pearl wrapped up in the mantle of the oyster 


he allowed it to grow insensibly. With each year the 
secretion of the mollusc added fresh concentric layers to it. 
The captain alone knew of this grotto where this admirable 
fruit of Nature was ripening ; he alone was raising it, so 
to speak, in order one day to transport it to his precious 
museum. I estimated its value at ten million of francs at 

Ten minutes afterwards Captain Nemo suddenly stopped. 

Leaving the grotto, we proceeded to retrace our steps, 
when, with a sudden gesture, Captain Nemo signalled us to 
squat down near him. The uneasy idea of sharks came into 
my mind. But I was mistaken, and this time we had not to 
do with any oceanic monster. It was a man, a living man, 
a black Indian, a diver, a poor fellow, no doubt, come to 
glean before the harvest. I perceived the bottom of his 
canoe anchored at some feet above his head. He plunged 
and went up again successively. He was attached to the 
boat by a rope and tied to his feet was a square-shaped 
stone, which made him descend more rapidly to the bottom. 
That was all his stock-in-trade. Reaching the bottom about 
three fathoms' down, he threw himself on his knees and 
filled his bag with oysters picked up at random. Then he 
went up again, emptied his bag, put on his stone again, 
and recommenced the operation that only lasted thirty 

The diver did not see us. The shadow of a rock hid us 
from him. And, besides, how could a poor Indian ever 
suppose that men, beings like him, were there under the 
water, watching his movements, and losing no detail of his 
work ? 

He went up and plunged again several times. He did 
not bring up more than ten oysters at each plunge, for he 
was obliged to tear them from the bank to which they were 
fastened by their strong byssus. And how many of these 
oysters for which he risked his life were destitute of pearls I 

I watched him with profound attention. His work was 
done regularly, and for half an hour no danger seemed to 
threaten him. I was, therefore, getting familiar with the 
spectacle of this interesting fishery, when, all at once, at the 
moment the Indian was kneeling on the ground, I saw him 


make a movement of terror, get up, and spring to remount 
to the surface of the waves. 

I understood his fear. A gigantic shadow appeared above 
the unfortunate plunger. It was a shark advancing dia- 
gonally, with eyes of fire and open jaws. I was mute with 
terror, incapable of making a movement. 

The voracious animal, with a vigorous stroke of his fin, 
was springing towards the Indian, who threw himself on 
one side and avoided the bite of the shark, but not the stroke 
of his tail, which, striking him on the chest, stretched him 
on the ground. 

Within a second or two the shark returned to the charge, 
and turning on his back, it was prepared to cut the Indian 
in two, when I felt Captain Nemo, who wasfaear me, suddenly 
rise. Then, his dagger in hand, he walked straight up to the 
monster, ready for a hand-to-hand struggle with him. 

The shark, as he was on the point of grabbing the unfor- 
tunate diver, observed his fresh adversary, and going over 
on to its stomach again, directed itself rapidly towards him. 

I still see the attitude of Captain Nemo. Thrown back- 
wards, he was calmly waiting for the attack ; when it 
dashed at him he threw himself on one side with prodigious 
agility, avoided the shock, and thrust his dagger into its 
stomach. But that was not the end. A terrible combat 
took place. 

The blood flowed in streams from the shark's wounds. 
The sea was dyed red, and across this opaque liquid I saw 
no more until it cleared a little, and I perceived the au- 
dacious captain holding on to one of the animal's fins, 
struggling hand-to-hand with the monster, belabouring its 
body with dagger thrusts without being able to reach the 
heart. There was such a commotion in the water that the 
eddies threatened to overthrow me. 

I wanted to run to the captain's aid. But, nailed down 
by horror, I could not move. 

I looked on spell-bound. I saw the phases of the struggle 
change. The captain fell on the ground, overthrown by 
the enormous mass that was bearing him down. Then the 
jaws of the shark opened ready to devour its prey, and all 
would have been over for the captain, if, prompt as thought, 


harpoon in hand, Ned Land, rushing towards the shark, had 
not struck it with its terrible point. More than ever the 
water was agitated by the movements of the shark that 
beat it with indescribable fury. Ned Land had not missed 
his aim. It was the death-rattle of the monster. Struck 
in the heart, it struggled in fearful spasms, the rebound of 
which knocked over Conseil. 

In the meantime Ned Land had set free the captain, who 
rose unhurt, went straight to the Indian, quickly cut the 
cord which fastened him to the stone, took him in his arms, 
and with a vigorous throw, he went up to the surface of the 
sea. We all three followed him, and scrambled into his 

Upon being vigorously rubbed down the native gradually 
returned to consciousness. He opened his eyes. What 
must have been his surprise, terror even, at seeing four 
large brass heads leaning over him ! And, above all, what 
must he have thought when Captain Nemo, drawing from 
a pocket in his garment a bag of pearls, put it into his hand 1 
This magnificent gift from the man of the sea to the poor 
Indian of Ceylon was accepted by him with a trembling 
hand. His frightened eyes showed that he did not know to 
what superhuman beings he owed at the same time his 
fortune and his life. 

At a sign from the captain we went back to the oyster 
bank, and following the road we had aheady come along, 
half-an-hour's walking brought us to the anchor that 
fastened the boat of the Nautilus to the ground. 

Once embarked, we each, with the help of the sailors, 
took off our heavy diving apparatus. 

Captain Nemo's first word was for the Canadian. 

" Thank you, Land," he said. 

" It was by way of retaliation, captain," answered Ned 
Land. " I owed it you." 

A pale smile glided over the captain's lips, and that was 

" To the Nautilus," he said. 

The boat flew over the waves. Some minutes later we 
met with the floating body of the shark. Its length was 
more than twenty-five feet ; its enormous mouth took 


up a third of its body. It was an adult ; that was seen by 
its six rows of teeth placed in triangular fashion on the upper 

While I was contemplating the inert mass, a dozen of 
these voracious monsters appeared all at once round the 
boat ; but, without taking any notice of us, they rushed to- 
wards the carcass and disputed the pieces. 

At half-past eight we were back on board the Nautilus. 

Then 1 began to reflect on the incidents of our excursion 
to the Manaar Bank. Two observations naturally resulted 
from it. One was upon the unparalleled audacity of Cap- 
tain Nemo, the other was his devoting his own life to saving 
a human being, one of the representatives of that race he 
was flying from under the seas. Whatever he might say, 
that man had not succeeded in entirely killing his own 

When I said as much to him, he answered me in a slightly 
moved tone 

" That Indian, professor, is an inhabitant of an oppressed 
country, and, until I breathe my last, I am also." 



DURING the day of the 2Qth of January the Island of Cey- 
lon disappeared upon the horizon, and the Nautilus glided 
amongst that labyrinth of canals that separate the Mal- 
dives from the Laccadives. 

We had then made 16,220 miles since our starting-point 
in the seas of Japan. 

The next day the 30th of January when the Nautilus 
went up to the surface of the ocean, there was no longer 
any land in sight. It was directing its course towards that 
Sea of Oman, situated between Arabia and the Indian penin- 
sula, into which the Persian Gulf flows. 

Where was Captain Nemo taking us ? I could not tell. 
That did not satisfy the Canadian. He asked me that 
day where we were going. 


" We are going where the captain pleases, Ned." 

" That can't be far," answered the Canadian. " The 
Persian Gulf has no outlet, and if we enter it we shall soon 
have to come back." 

" Well, we must, Mr. Land ; and if, after the Persian 
Gulf, the Nautilus wishes to visit the Red Sea, the straits 
of Bab-el-Mandeb are there for it to go through." 

" I need not inform you, sir," answered Ned Land, " that 
the Red Sea is as much shut up as the gulf, seeing the 
Isthmus of Suez has not yet been pierced j and even if it 
were, a vessel as mysterious as ours would not venture into 
its canals cut up with locks. So the Red Sea is not yet the 
road to Europe." 

" I did not say that we were going to Europe." 

" What do you suppose, then ? " 

" I suppose ,that after visiting the shores of Egypt and 
Arabia, the Nautilus will go down the Indian Ocean again, 
so as to reach the Cape of Good Hope." 

" And once at the Cape of Good Hope, what then ? " 
asked the Canadian, singularly persistent. 

" Well, we shall then go into the Atlantic, which we 
don't know yet. Why, Ned, are you tired, then, of your 
voyage under the sea ? Are you wearied of the incessantly 
varied spectacle of submarine marvels ? " 

" But do you know, M. Aronnax, that we shah 1 soon 
have been three months imprisoned on boardthis Nautilus ? " 

" No, Ned, I don't know, I don't want to know, and I 
neither count the days nor hours." 

" But how is it to end ? " 

" The end will come in its own good time. Besides, we 
can't do anything, and we are arguing uselessly. If you 
came to me and said, ' There is now a chance of escape,' 
I would discuss it with you. But such is not the case, and 
to tell you the truth, I do not believe Captain Nemo ever 
ventures into European seas." 

By this short dialogue it will be seen that I was so fond of 
the Nautilus that I rowed in the same boat as its com- 

As to Ned Land, he ended the conversation by these 
words in a sort of monologue : 


" All that is very well, but in my opinion where dis- 
comfort begins pleasure ends." 

On the 6th of February the Nautilus was floating in sight 
of Aden, perched on a promontory which a narrow isthmus 
joins to the continent, a sort of inaccessible Gibraltar 
that the English fortified afresh after taking it in 1839. 

The next day, we entered the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, 
the name of which means " Gate of Tears " in Arabic. It 
is twenty miles wide, and only thirty long, and for the 
Nautilus, at full speed, it was hardly the business of an 
hour. But I saw nothing, not even the Island of Perim, 
with which the British Government has fortified the position 
of Aden. Too many steamers ploughed the narrow passage 
for the Nautilus to venture to show itself. So it kept pru- 
dently at a good depth. At last, at noon, we were in the 
Red Sea. 

The Red Sea, the celebrated lake of Biblical traditions, 
that rains scarcely refresh, that no important river waters, 
that an excessive evaporation pumps incessantly, and that 
loses each year a slice of liquid a yard and a half deep ; 
a singular gulf which, if inclosed like a lake, would perhaps 
be entirely dried up. 

This Red Sea is only 600 kilometers long by 240 wide 
andl could not understand why Captain Nemo ventured here. 

The Nautilus went at-an average speed, sometimes keeping 
on the surface, sometimes plunging to avoid some ship. 

Then the Nautilus went nearer the African shores, where 
the depth of the sea is greater. There, in water of crystal- 
like limpidity, through the open panels we were allowed to 
contemplate admirable bushes of brilliant coral, and vast 
rocks clothed with a splendid fur of seaweeds and fucus. 

What an indescribable spectacle ! and what a variety of 
sites and landscapes did the volcanic islets and reefs 
make on the Lybian coast ! But it was on the eastern 
banks that the arborisations appeared in all their beauty. 
It was on the coasts of Tehama, for there not only did terraces 
of zoophytes flower below the surface of the waves, but they 
formed picturesque banks for ten fathoms above, more 
capricious, though less highly coloured, than those that the 
humid vitality of the water kept so fresh. 


What charming hours I passed thus at the saloon windows! 
What new specimens of submarine flora and fauna I ad- 
mired in the brilliant light of our electric lantern ! 

Here it was that I first gazed on the sponge in its natural 
state. Sponge is not a vegetable, as some naturalists 
still say, but an animal of the last order, a poly pier inferior 
to coral. Its animality is not doubtful, and we may admit 
the opinion of the ancients, who looked upon it as an 
intermediary between plants and animals. 

The class of spongiaires contains about three hundred 
species, which are met with in many seas, and even in cer- 
tain rivers, where they have received the name of " flu- 
viatiles." But the waters they prefer are those of the 
Mediterranean, the Grecian Archipelago, the coasts of 
Syria and the Red Sea. There are produced and grow the 
fine soft sponges that are sometimes worth 5. 

In the Red Sea grew sponges of all forms, pedicular, 
foliated, globular, digitated. They exactly justified the 
names of basket, chalice, spindle, elk-horn, lion's-foot, 
peacock's-tail, Neptune's-glove, which divers, more poetic 
than savants, have given them. From their fibrous tissue, 
coated with a half-fluid gelatinous substance, little streams 
of water incessantly escaped, which, after having carried 
life into each cell, were expulsed from them by a con- 
tractile movement. This substance disappears after the 
death of the polypus, and putrefies, whilst it gives off 
ammonia. All that then remains are the gelatinous fibres 
of which the domestic sponge is composed, that become red- 
dish, and are used for different purposes, according to their 

On the loth of February, at noon, I was taking an airing 
on the platform when the Captain appeared, and simulta- 
neously a determination entered my mind not to let him go 
down again without having at least made an attempt to 
ascertain his ulterior projects. He saluted me as soon as 
he saw me, gracefully offered me a cigar, and said 

" Well, professor, does this Red Sea please you ? Have 
you sufficiently observed the marvels it covers, its fish, 
zoophytes, beds of sponge, and forests of coral ? Have 
you caught sight of the towns on its shores ? " 


" Yes, captain," I answered, " and the Nautilus has 
helped much in the study. Ah, it is an intelligent vessel ! " 

" Yes, sir, intelligent, audacious, and invulnerable ! 
It neither dreads the terrible tempests of the Red Sea, nor 
its currents, nor its reefs." 

" In fact," said I, " this sea is considered one of the 
worst, and, if I am not mistaken, its renown in ancient 
history was detestable." 

" Detestable, M. Aronnax ? Greek and Latin historians 
do not speak in its praise. They have related that ships 
perished in great numbers on its sandbanks, and that no one 
dare venture to sail on it at night. They have described 
it as a sea subject to frightful tempests, strewn with inhos- 
pitable islands, and that ' offers nothing good,' either in 
its depths or on its surface." 

" It is easy to see," I replied, " that these historians have 
not been on board the Nautilus." 

" Yes," answered the captain, smiling, " and in that 
respect the moderns are not better off than the ancients. 
It took many centuries to find out the mechanical power 
of steam ! Who knows if in a hundred years there will be 
a second Nautilus ? Progress is slow, M. Aronnax ! " 

" That is true," I answered ; " our vessel is a century, 
perhaps several, in advance of its epoch. What a misfor- 
tune it is that such a secret must die with its inventor ! " 

Captain Nemo did not answer. After a short silence 

" You were speaking," said he, " of the opinion of ancient 
historians on the dangers of navigating the Red Sea ? " 

" That is true," I answered, " but were not their fears 
exaggerated ? " 

" Yes and no, M. Aronnax," answered Captain Nemo, 
who seemed to know the Red Sea thoroughly. ''What 
is no longer dangerous for a modern vessel, well rigged, 
solidly built, master of its direction, thanks to obedient 
steam, offered perils of all sorts to ancient boats. We must 
picture to ourselves those first navigators adventuring in 
their barks, made of planks tied together with palm cords 
calked with resin, and lubricated with the fat of dog-fish. 
They had not even the instruments necessary to take their 
bearings, and they went by currents which they knew very 


little of. In such conditions shipwrecks were necessarily 
numerous. But in our own time the steamers that run be- 
tween Suez and the South Seas have nothing to fear from 
the dangers of this gulf, in spite of contrary monsoons. 
Their captains and passengers do not prepare for their 
departure by propitiatory sacrifices, and, on their return, 
they no longer go ornamented with garlands and gold 
bandelettes to thank the gods in a neighbouring temple." 

" I acknowledge," said I, " that steam seems to have 
killed gratitude in the heart of seamen. But, captain, as you 
seem to have specially studied this sea, can you tell me 
the origin of its name ? " 

" There exist numerous explanations of it, M. Aronnax. 
Should you like to know the opinion of a chronicler of the 
fourteenth century ? " 

" Yes, I should." 

" This fantastic man pretends that its name was given 
after the passage of the Israelites, when Pharaoh perished 
in the waves that closed over again at the voice of Moses." 

" I cannot be content with that," I replied. " I must 
ask for your personal opinion." 

"This is it. According to me. M. Aronnax, the Red 
Sea is a translation of the Hebrew word ' Edrom,' and 
the ancients called it so from the peculiar colouring of its 

" But at present I have only seen limpid waves of no 
particular shade." 

" Doubtless ; but as you go towards the bottom of the 
gulf you will observe that singular appearance. I remem- 
ber seeing Tor Bay as red as blood." 

" And you attribute that colour to the presence of micro- 
scopical animal life ? " 

" Yes. They are purple-coloured creatures, forty thou- 
sand of which would only fill the '03937 of a square inch. 
Perhaps you will meet with some when we are at Tor." 

" Then, Captain Nemo, it is not the first time you have 
been in the Red Sea on board the Nautilus ? " 

" No, sir." 

" Then as you spoke just now of the passage of the 
Israelites and the catastrophe of the Egyptians, may I ask 


if you have found any traces of that great historical fact 
under its waters ? " 

" No, professor, and that for an excellent reason." 

" What reason ? " 

" That the very spot where Moses and all his people 
passed over is now so choked up with sand that camels 
can hardly bathe their legs there. You understand that my 
Nautilus would not find enough water there." 

" Where is the spot ? " I asked. 

" It is situated a little above Suez, in that arm that used 
to form a deep estuary when the Red Sea extended to the 
Dead Sea. Now, whether this passage was miraculous or 
no, the Israelites did pass over it to reach the Promised 
Land, and Pharaoh's army perished precisely in the same 
spot. I think that if excavations were made in the sand 
many arms and instruments of Egyptian origin would be 

" It is evident," I answered, " and it is to be hoped for 
the sake of archaeologists that these excavations will be 
made sooner or later, when new towns will be built on that 
isthmus, after the Suez Canal has been pierced a canal 
very useless to such a vessel as the Nautilus 1 " 

" Doubtless, but useful to the entire world," said Captain 
Nemo. " Unfortunately," he resumed, " I cannot take 
you through the Suez Canal, but, nevertheless, the day after 
to-morrow I hope to be in the Mediterranean." 

" In the Mediterranean ? " I cried. 

" Yes, professor. Does that astonish you ? " 

" What astonishes me is that we shall be there the da^ 
after to-morrow." 

" Really ? " 

" Yes, captain, although I ought to be accustomed to 
being astonished at nothing on board your vessel." 

" But why are you surprised now ? " 

"At the frightful speed your Nautilus must reach to find 
itself to-morrow in full Mediterranean, having made the 
tour of Africa and doubled the Cape of Good Hope." 

" And who told you it would take the tour of Africa, 
professor? Who spoke of doubling the Cape of Good 
Hope ? " 


" Unless the Nautilus can move over soil and passes 
over the isthmus " 

" Or underneath, M. Aronnax." 

" Underneath ? " 

" Certainly, " answered Captain Nemo tranquilly. *' It 
is a long time since Nature has done under that tongue of 
land what men are now doing on its surface." 

" What 1 there exists a passage ! " 

' Yes, a subterranean passage that I have named Abra- 
ham Tunnel. It begins above Suez and ends in the Gulf 
of Pelusium." 

" But the isthmus is only formed of moving sand." 

" To a certain depth. But at a depth of fifty yards only 
there is a stratum of rock." 

" Would it be indiscreet to ask you how you discovered 
this tunnel ? " 

" Sir," answered the captain, " there can be no secret 
between people who are never to leave each other again." 

I paid no attention to the insinuation, and awaited 
Captain Nemo's communication. 

" Professor," said he, " it was a naturalist's reasoning 
that led me to discover this passage, which I alone know 
about. I had noticed that in the Red Sea and the Mediter- 
ranean there existed a certain number of fish of absolutely 
identical species. Certain of this fact, I asked myself if 
there existed no communication between the two seas. If 
one did exist, the subterranean current must necessarily 
flow from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean on account of 
the different levels. I therefore took a great number of 
fish in the neighbourhood of Suez. I put a brass ring on 
their tails, and threw them back into the sea. A few 
months later, on the coast of Syria, I again took some speci- 
mens of my fish with their tell-tale ornaments. The com- 
munication between the two seas was then demonstrated. 
I looked for it with my Nautilus, discovered it, ventured 
into it, and before long, professor, you too will have been 
through my Arabic tunnel." 



THAT day I repeated to Conseil and Ned Land the part 
of this conversation in which they were directly interested. 
When I told them that in two days' time we should be in 
the midst of the waters of the Mediterranean, Conseil 
clapped his hands, but the Canadian shrugged his shoulders. 

" A submarine tunnel ! " he cried ; "a communication 
between the two seas ! Who ever heard of such a thing ? " 

" Friend Ned," answered Conseil, " had you ever heard 
of such a thing as the Nautilus ? No. Yet it exists. So 
don't shrug your shoulders so easily, and laugh at things 
because you have never heard of them before." 

" We shall see," answered Ned Land, shaking his head. 
" After all, I want to believe in this captain's passage, and 
Heaven grant that it may take us into the Mediterranean ! " 

We were submerged, while travelling along the Arabian 
coast, until the loth of February, when at noon, the sea 
being deserted, the Nautilus went up to the sea level. 

Accompanied by Ned and Conseil, I went to sit down 
on the platform. The coast on the east was enveloped by a 
damp fog. 

Leaning on the sides of the vessel, we were talking about 
various things, when Ned Land noticed something on the 
waters' surface. 

" Do you see anything there, professor ? " he asked, 

" Yes," said I, after an examination. " I perceive a 
long black body on the surface of the water." 

" Another Nautilus ? " said Conseil. 

" No," answered the Canadian, " but I am much mis- 
taken if it is not some marine animal." 

" Are there any whales in the Red Sea ? " asked Conseil. 

" Yes, my boy," I answered. " They are met with here 

" It is not a whale," said Ned Land, who did not lose 
sight of the object signalled. " Whales and I are old 
acquaintances, and I could not be mistaken." 



" Wait," said Conseil. " The Nautilus is going towards 
it, and before long we shall know what to think about it." 

The long black object was soon not a mile from us. It 
looked like a great rock deposited in the open sea. 

"Ah, it is moving ! it plunges ! " cried Ned Land. 
" What animal can it be ? It has not even a forked tail 
like whales." 

" Then " began I. 

" It is on its back now," resumed the Canadian, " and 
it raises its udders in the air." 

" It's a syren," cried Conseil, " a veritable syren ! " 

The name of syren set me on its track, and I understood 
that this animal belonged to the order of marine animals 
of which fable has made syrens half women, half fishes. 

" No," said I to Conseil, " it is not a syren, but a curious 
animal of which there only remains a few specimens in the 
Red Sea. It is a dugong." 

Ned expressed a desire to harpoon it. His eyes shone 
covetously at the sight of this animal. 

" Oh, sir ! " he said in a voice trembling with emotion, 
" I have never killed anything of that kind." 

At that instant Captain Nemo appeared on the platform. 
He espied the dugong, understood the Canadian's attitude, 
and said to him 

" If you held a harpoon, Mr. Land, would it not burn 
your hand ? " 

" That it would ! " 

" And you would not be sorry to take up your old trade 
again for one day, and add that monster to the list of those 
you have already struck ? " 

" No, I shouldn't be sorry." 

" Well, you may try." 

" Thank you, sir," answered Ned Land, with eyes aflame. 

" Only," continued the captain, " I advise you, in youi 
own interest, not to miss that animal." 

" Is the dugong dangerous to attack ? " I asked, in spite 
of the Canadian's contemptuous shrug. 

" Yes, sometimes," answered the captain. " That 
animal turns on its assailants and wrecks their boats. Bui 
for-Ned Land that danger is not to be feared. His glance is 


prompt, his hand sure. If I recommend him not to miss 
the dugong it is because it is justly considered fine game, 
and I know that Ned Land likes good meat." 

" Ah ! " said the Canadian, " so that animal gives 
himself the luxury of being good to eat ? " 

" Yes, Mr. Land. Its flesh, a veritable meat, is much 
esteemed, and in this part of the world it is kept for princes' 
tables. It is so much hunted, that it becomes more and 
more rare." 

" Then, sir captain," said Conseil seriously, " if this one 
should be the last of its race, ought it not, in the interest of 
science, to be spared ? " 

" Perhaps," replied the Canadian ; " but in the interest 
of our table it is better to pursue it." 

"Do it, then, Mr. Land," answered Captain Nemo. 

At that moment seven of the crew, mute and impassible 
as usual, came upon the platform. One was carrying a 
harpoon and a line similar to those employed by whale- 
fishers. The deck was taken off the boat, which was lifted 
from its niche and thrown into the sea. Six rowers took 
their places on the seats, and the coxswain at the helm. 
Ned, Conseil, and I seated ourselves aft. 

" Are you not coming, captain ? " I asked. 

" No, sir, but I wish you much success." 

The boat, rowed vigorously, went rapidly towards the 
dugong, about two miles away. 

The dugong was of colossal dimensions, not less than 
eight yards long. It was not moving, and seemed to be sleep- 
ing on the surface of the water, a circumstance that made 
its capture easier. 

The boat prudently approached to within three cables' 
length of the animal. The oars remained suspended on 
their rowlocks. I half rose. Ned Land, standing at the 
prow, his body thrown slightly backward, brandished his 
harpoon in his experienced hand. 

Suddenly a hissing sound was heard and the dugong 
disappeared. The harpoon, launched with force, had 
doubtless only struck the water. 

" The devil ! " cried the Canadian in a rage. " I have 
missed it ! " 


" No," I said, " the animal is wounded ; there is its 
blood, but your instrument did not remain in its body." 

" My harpoon 1 my harpoon ! " cried Ned Land. 

The sailors rowed vigorously, and the coxswain guided 
the boat towards the floating barrel to which the harpoon 
was attached. When the harpoon was fished up again the 
boat began to pursue the animal. 

The dugong came up to the surface of the sea to breathe 
from time to time. Its wound had not weakened it, for it 
moved along with great rapidity. The boat, rowed by 
strong arms, followed on its track. Several times it 
approached to within a few cables, and the Canadian made 
ready to strike ; but the monster escaped by a rapid plunge, 
and it was impossible to reach it. 

Ned Land's anger may be imagined. He launched the 
most energetic oaths in the English language at the animal. 

They pursued it thus without ceasing for an hour, and 
I was beginning to believe that it would be very difficult to 
catch it, when the animal started to act on the aggressive. 

This manoeuvre did not escape the Canadian. 

" Attention ! " said he. 

The coxswain pronounced several words in his strange 
language, and he was doubtless warning his men to keep on 
their guard. 

The dugong stopped within twenty feet of the boat, then 
breathing sonorously, like a bull before charging, he rushed 
upon us. 

The boat was half overturned, but, thanks to the skill 
of the coxswain, it righted itself. 

We were, however, thrown over one another, and no 
sooner had we recovered our equilibrium, than we saw the 
monster with the gunwhale between its jaws. With great 
agility, Ned Land returned to the attack, and whilst it was 
viciously gnawing the ironplate of the craft, he harpooned it 
time after time. This only added to the fury of the monster 
and the adventure would have ended disastrously had not 
the Canadian, just when the boat was being lifted out of 
the water, driven home a fatal blow. He had pierced its 
heart, and the dugong disappeared, to rise again, on its 
back, a lifeless mass. 


We took it in tow towards the Nautilus and here we had to 
use tackle of enormous strength to hoist up the carcass on to 
the platform. It weighed 10,000 Ibs. They cut it up under 
the eyes of the Canadian, who wanted to follow all the 
details of the operation. The same day the steward 
served me at dinner with a dugong stake, which I enjoyed 
quite as much as though it was the tenderest cut of beef. 

The next day, the nth of February, the pantry of the 
Nautilus was enriched by some more delicate game. A 
flight of sea-swallows swooped down on the Nautilus. It 
was a species peculiar to Egypt, the beak of which is black, 
the head grey and speckled, the eye surrounded with white 
dots, the back, wings, and tail grey, the stomach and 
throat white, the legs red. They also took some dozens of 
Nile ducks, wild birds of delicious flavour, the neck and 
back of which are white, with black spots. 

The speed of the Nautilus was then moderate. I noticed 
that the air and water of the Red Sea became less and less 
salty as we drew nearer to Suez. 

At 6 p.m. the Nautilus, sometimes floating, sometimes 
submerged, passed by Tor, seated on a bay, the waters of 
which seemed of a reddish tint, as Captain Nemo had said. 
Then night fell in the midst of a deep silence, sometimes 
broken by the cries of the pelican and other night birds, the 
noise of the waves beating on the rocks, or the far-off 
panting of some steamer beating the waters of the gulf with 
its paddles. 

From eight to nine o'clock the Nautilus kept at some 
yards below the water. According to my calculations we 
were very near Suez. Through the panels of the saloon I 
perceived the rocks lighted up by our electric light. It 
seemed to me that the passage grew gradually narrower. 

At a quarter-past nine the boat went up again to the 
surface, and I ascended to the platform. Impatient to go 
through the captain's tunnel I could not keep still, and 
wanted to breathe the fresh air of night. 

Soon, in the darkness, I perceived a pale light, half- 
discloured by the mist, shining about a mile off. 

" A lightship," said some one near me. 

I turned and recognised the captain. 


" It is the Suez lightship," he continued. " We shall 
not be long before we reach the tunnel." 

" It cannot be very easy to enter it." 

" No. And I am in the habit of keeping in the helms- 
man's cage to direct the manoeuvre myself. And now, if 
you will go down, M. Aronnax, the Nautilus will sink under 
the waves, and will not come up to the surface again till it 
has been through the Arabian Tunnel." 

I followed Captain Nemo. The panels were shut, the 
reservoirs of water filled, and the apparatus sank about 
thirty feet. As I was about to enter my room the captain 
stopped me. 

" Professor," said he, " should you like to accompany 
me in the pilot's cage ? " 

" I dared not ask it of you ? " I answered. 

" Come, then. You will thus see all that can be seen of 
that navigation at the same time subterrestrial and sub- 

Captain Nemo conducted me to the central staircase. 
About half-way up he opened a door, went along the upper 
waist, and arrived at the pilot's cage, which, my readers 
know, rose from one end of the platform. 

It was a cabin, six feet square. In the midst was a 
wheel, vertically stationed, working into the truss of the 
helm that ran as far as the aft of the Nautilus. Four light- 
ports, made of lenticular glasses, were fixed in the sides of 
the cabin, and allowed the man at the helm to see in every 

This cabin was dark.but my eyes soon became accustomed 
to the obscurity, and I perceived the pilot, a vigorous man, 
whose hands were leaning on the fellies of the wheel. 
Outside the sea seemed brilliantly lighted up by the lantern 
that was shining behind the cabin at the other extremity 
of the platform. 

" Now," said Captain Nemo, " we must seek our passage.'* 

Electric wires put the helmsman's cage into communica- 
tion with]the engine-room.and from thence the captain could 
give simultaneously to his Nautilus both direction anj 
movement. He pressed a metal knob, and immediately 
the speed of the screw was reduced. 


I watched in silence the high wall that we were moving 
along at that moment ; it was the immovable foundation 
of the sand-bed on the coast. We followed it thus for an hour, 
keeping parallel with it at a yard or so distant only. Captain 
Nemo did not look away from the compass, hung by two 
concentric circles in the midst of the cabin. At a sign the 
helmsman modified every instant the direction of the 

At 10.15 p.m. Captain Nemo took the helm himself. A 
wide gallery, black and deep, opened before us. The 
Nautilus entered it boldly. An unaccustomed rumbling 
was heard along the sides. It was the waters of the Red 
Sea that the slope of the tunnel was precipitating into the 
Mediterranean. The Nautihis followed the torrent with the 
speed of an arrow, notwithstanding the efforts of the 
machine that, in order to resist it, bent the waves backwards. 

On the narrow walls of the passage I saw nothing but 
brilliant lines, furrows of fire traced by the speed under the 
electric light. My heart beat wildly, and I passed my hand 
to it to stay its palpitations. 

At 10.35 P- m - Captain Nemo let go the helm, and, turn- 
ing towards me 

" The Mediterranean ! " said he. 

In less than twenty minutes the Nautilus, carried along 
by the torrent, has cleared the Isthmus of Suez. 



THE next day, the I2th of February, at daybreak, the 
Nautilus went up to the surface of the sea and I ascended 
the platform. There Ned and Conseil joined me. These 
two inseparable companions had slept tranquilly, thinking 
no more of the Nautilus' feat. 

" Well, Mr. Naturalist," asked the Canadian in a slightly 
jeering tone, " what about the Mediterranean ? " 
" We are on its surface, friend Ned." 
"What!" said Conseil, "last night " 


" Yes, last night itself, in a few minutes, we cleared the 
insuperable isthmus." 

" I don't believe it," said the Canadian. 

" And you are wrong, Land," I resumed. " The low 
coast rounding off towards the south is the Egyptian coast. 

" You won't take me in," said the obstinate Canadian. 

" But it must be true," said Conseil, " or monsieur would 
not say so." 

" Besides, Ned, Captain Nemo personally navigated the 
tunnel, and I was near him in the helmsman's cage whilst he 
guided the Nautilus through the narrow passage." 

" You hear, Ned ? " said Conseil. 

" And you who have such excellent eyesight," I added 
" you, Ned, can see the piers of Port Said stretching out 
into the sea." 

The Canadian looked attentively. 

" Yes," said he, " you are right, professor, and your 
captain is a clever man. We are in the Mediterranean. 
Good. Well, now let us talk, if you please, about our own 
concerns, but so that no one can hear." 

I saw very well what the Canadian was coming to. In 
any case I thought it better to talk about it, as he desired, 
and we all three went and sat down near the lantern- house, 
where we were less exposed to the spray from the waves. 

" Now, Ned, we are ready to hear you," said I. " What 
have you to tell us ? " 

" What I have to tell you is very simple," answered 
the Canadian. " We are in Europe, and before Captain 
Nemo's caprice drags us to the bottom of the Polar Seas, or 
takes us back to Oceania, I want to leave the Nautilus." 

I must acknowledge that a discussion with the Canadian 
on the subject always embarrassed me. 

I did not wish to trammel the liberty of my companions 
in any way, and yet I felt no desire to leave Captain Nemo. 
Thanks to him and his apparatus, I was each j day completing 
my submarine studies. Should I ever again meet with such 
an opportunity of observing the marvels of the ocean ? 
No, certainly. I could not, therefore, reconcile myself to 
the idea of leaving the Nautilus before my investigations 
were completed. 


" Friend Ned," I said, " answer me frankly. Are you 
dull here ? Do you regret the destiny that has thrown you 
into the hands of Captain Nemo ? " 

The Canadian remained for some moments without 
answering. Then crossing his arms 

" Frankly," he said, " I do not regret this voyage under 
the seas. But it must come to an end. That is my opinion." 

" It will come to an end, Ned." 

" Where and when ? " 

" I do not know where, and I can't say when, or rather 
I suppose it will end when these seas have nothing further 
to teach us. All that begins has necessarily an end in this 

" I think like monsieur," answered Conseil, " and it is 
quite possible that after going over all the seas of the globe 
Captain Nemo will give us our discharge." 

" Our discharge ! " cried the Canadian. " A drubbing 
you mean ! " 

" We must not exaggerate, Land," I resumed. " We 
have nothing to fear from the captain, but I am not of 
Conseil's opinion either. We are acquainted with the 
secrets of the Nautilus, and I have no hope that its com- 
mander, in order to set us at liberty, will resign himself 
to the idea of our taking them about the world with us." 

" Then what do you expect ? " asked the Canadian. 

" That, within six months' time, circumstances will 
happen of which we can and ought to take advantage." 

" Phew ! " said Ned Land. " And where shall we be in 
six months, if you please, Mr. Naturalist ? " 

" Perhaps here, perhaps in China. You know that the 
Nautilus is a quick sailer. It does not fear frequented 
seas. How do v/e know that it will not rally round the 
coasts of France, England, or America, where we can 
attempt to escape as advantageously as here ? " 

" M. Aronnax," answered the Canadian, " your premises 
are bad. You speak in the future tense : ' We shall be 
there ! we shall be here ! ' I speak in the present : ' We 
are here, and we must take advantage of it." 

I felt that Ned Land's logic was sound. I no longer 
knew what arguments to use 


" Sir," Ned went on, " let us suppose, for the sake of 
argument, that Captain Nemo were to offer you your 
liberty to-day, should you accept it ? " 

" I do not know," I replied. 

" And if he were to add that the offer he makes to-day 
he would, not renew later on, should you accept ? " 

I did not answer. 

" And what do you think about it, friend Conseil ? " 
asked Ned Land. 

" I have nothing to say. I am absolutely disinterested 
in the question. I am at monsieur's service. I think like 
monsieur, I say what monsieur says, and you must not de- 
pend upon me to make a majority. Two persons only are 
concerned ; monsieur on one side, Ned Land on the other. 
That said, I listen, and am ready to count for either." 

" Then, sir," said Ned Land, " as Conseil does not exist, 
we have only to speak to each other. I have spoken, you 
have heard me. What have you to answer ? " 

It was evident that I must sum up, and subterfuges were 
repugnant to me. 

" Friend Ned," I said, " this is my answer. You are 
right and I am wrong. We must not depend upon Captain 
Nemo's goodwill. On his part, prudence forbids him to set 
us at liberty. On the other hand, prudence tells us that we 
must profit by the first opportunity of leaving the Nautilus." 

" Very well, M. Aronnax, that is wisely spoken." 

" Only," I said, " I have but one observation to make 
the occasion must be serious. Our first attempt must 
succeed, for if it fail we shall not find another opportunity 
of attempting it again, and Captain Nemo would not forgive 

" That's true enough," answered the Canadian. " But 
your observation applies to every attempt at flight, whether 
it be made in two years' or two days' time. Therefore the 
question is still the same ; if a favourable opportunity 
occurs, we must seize it." 

" Agreed. And now, friend Ned, will you tell me what 
you mean by a favourable opportunity ? " 

" For instance, a dark night when the Nautilus would be 
only a short distance from some European coast." 


" Then you would attempt to escape by swim- 
ming ? " 

" Yes, if we were sufficiently near the coast, and the 
vessel were on the surface ; but if we were far off, or if the 
vessel were under water " 

" And in that case ? " 

" In that case I should try to take possession of the boat. 
1 know how it is worked. We would get into the interior 
of it, undo the bolts, and get up to the surface without 
even the helmsman seeing us." 

" Well, Ned, look out for that opportunity ; but do not 
forget that a failure would be fatal to us." 

" I will not forget it, sir." 

" And now, Ned, should you like to know what I think 
of your plan ? " 

" Yes, M. Aronnax." 

" Well, I think I do not say I hope that so favourable 
an opportunity will not occur." 

" Why ? " 

" Because Captain Nemo cannot be unaware that we have 
not renounced the hope of recovering our liberty, and will 
keep watch above all in European seas." 

" I am of monsieur's opinion," said Conseil. 

" We shall see," answered Ned Land, shaking his head in 
a determined manner. 

" And now, Ned Land," I added, " we must leave it 
there. Not another word on this subject. The day you 
are ready you will inform us and we shall follow you. I 
leave it entirely to you." 

This conversation, that was destined to have such grave 
consequences later on, ended thus. 

The next day, the I4th of February, I was in the saloon 
with the Captain. He was busy among his maps, while I, 
taking advantage of the panels being open, was engaged in 
studying the fish of the archipelago. 

I was feasting my eyes on these wonders of the sea, when 
suddenly there was a strange apparition. In the midst of 
the waters a man appeared, a diver, wearing in his belt a 
leather purse. He was swimming vigorously, occasionally 
disappearing to take breath on the surface, then plunging 


again immediately. I turned to Captain Nemo, and 
exclaimed in an agitated voice 

" A man 1 a shipwrecked man ! He must be saved at any 
price 1 " 

The captain did not answer, but came and leaned against 
the window. 

The man had approached and, with his face flattened 
against the glass, he gazed at us. 

To my profound astonishment Captain Nemo made a 
sign to him. The diver answered him with his hand ; 
immediately went up again to the surface of the sea, and did 
not appear again. 

" Don't be uneasy," said the captain to me. " It is 
Nicholas of Cape Matapan, surnamed the Pesce. He is 
well known in all the Cyclades. A bold diver ! Water is 
his element, and he lives in it more than on land, going 
constantly from one island to another, and even as far as 

" Do you know him, captain ? " 

" Why not, M. Aronnax ? " 

That said, Captain Nemo walked to an iron safe, on the 
lid of which was a brass plate bearing an inscription of the 
initial of the Nautilus, and its motto, " Mobilis in Mobile." 

Regardless of my presence he opened the safe, taking no 
precaution at secrecy and I noticed that it was packed with 
ingots of gold. From whence came this precious metal that 
represented an enormous sum ? And what was he going to 
do with it ? 

I did not speak a word. I looked. Captain Nemo took 
these ingots one by one, and rearranged them. I estimated 
that the safe contained more than 2,000 Ibs. weight of gold 
that is to say, nearly 200,000. 

The safe was securely fastened, and the captain wrote 
an address on the lid in what must have been modern Greek 

This done, Captain Nemo'pressed a knob, the wire of which 
communicated with the quarters of the crew. Four men 
appeared, and, not without some trouble, pushed the 
safe out of the saloon. Then I heard them pulling it up the 
iron staircase with pulleys. 


Then Captain Nemo turned to me. 

" Did you speak, professor ? " 

" No, captain." 

" Then, sir, if you allow me, I will wish you good-night. " 

Upon which Captain Nemo left the saloon. 

I went back to my room very curious, as may be imagined. 
I tried in vain to sleep. I tried to find what connection 
there could be between the diver and the safe filled with 
gold. I soon felt by its pitching and tossing that the 
Nautilus was back on the surface of the water. 

Then I heard a noise of steps on the platform. I under- 
stood that they were unloosening the boat and launching it 
on the sea. It struck for an instant against the sides of the 
Nautilus, and then the noise ceased. 

Two hours afterwards the same noise, the same move- 
ments, were repeated. The boat, hoisted on board, was 
replaced in its socket, and the Nautilus sank again under 
the waves. 

Thus, then, the gold had been sent to its address. To 
what point of the continent ? Who was Captain Nemo's 
correspondent ? 

The next day I related to Conseil and the Canadian the 
events of the preceding night, which had excited my 
curiosity to the highest pitch. My companions were no 
less surprised than I. 

" But where does he find all that gold ? " asked Ned Land. 

To that there was no convincing answer. I went to the 
saloon after breakfast and began to work. Feeling unusually 
warm, I took off my coat. It gradually became warmer, 
and in fact it was so intolerably hot, that I was disturbed in 

" Can the vessel be on fire ? " I asked myself. 

I was going to leave the saloon when Captain Nemo en- 
tered. He approached the thermometer, corrected it, and 

" Forty-two degrees " (centigrade). 

" I feel it, captain," I answered, and if the heat augments 
we cannot bear it." 

" The heat will not augment unless we choose." 

" Then you can moderate it as you please ? " 


" No, but I can get away from the focus that produces 

" Then it is exterior ? " 

" Certainly. We are floating in boiling water." 

" Is it possible ? " I cried. 

" Look ! " 

The panels opened, and I saw the sea entirely white 
round the Nautilus. A sulphurous smoke was curling 
amongst the waves that boiled like water in a copper. I 
placed my hand on one of the panes of glass, but the heat 
was so great that I was obliged to withdraw it. 

" Where are we ? " I asked. 

" Near the Island of Santorin, professor," replied the 
captain, " and precisely in the channel that separates Nea- 
Kamenni from Pali-Kamenni. I wished to show you the 
curious spectacle of a submarine eruption." 

" I thought," said I, " that the formation of these new 
islands was ended." 

" Nothing is ever ended in volcanic places," replied 
Captain Nemo. " The globe is always being worked there 
by subterranean fires. See, sir, see the work that is going 
on under these waves." 

I returned to the window. The Nautilus was no longer 
moving. The heat was growing intolerable. From white 
the sea was getting red, a coloration due to the presence 
of salts of iron. Notwithstanding the saloon's being 
hermetically closed, an unbearable sulphurous smell 
pervaded it, and I perceived scarlet flames the brilliancy 
of which killed the electric light. 

I was in a bath of perspiration, choking, and nearly 

" We cannot remain any longer in this boiling water," 
I said to the captain. 

" No, that would not be prudent," answered the un- 
moved Nemo. 

An order was given. The Nautilus tacked about, and 
left the furnace it could not with impunity set at defiance. 
A quarter of an hour later we were breathing on the surface 
of the waves. 

The thought then occurred to me that if Ned Land had 


chosen that part of the sea for our flight we should not have 
come out of it alive. 



THE Mediterranean, bordered with orange-trees, aloes, 
cactus, maritime pines, made fragrant with the perfume of 
myrtles, framed in rude mountains, saturated with a pure 
and transparent air, but incessantly worked by under- 
ground fires, is a perfect battle-field, in which Neptune and 
Pluto still dispute the empire of the world. But, although 
it is so beautiful, I could only take a rapid glance at its 
basin, which covers a superficial area of two millions of 
square kilometers. Even Captain Nemo's knowledge 
was lost to me, for the enigmatical personage did not once 
appear during our rapid passage. I estimated at about 
six hundred leagues the course of the Nautilus under the 
waves of this sea, and it accomplished this voyage in forty- 
eight hours. Starting on the morning of the i6th of Feb- 
ruary from the Grecian seas, we had cleared the Straits of 
Gibraltar by sunrise on the i8th. 

It was evident to me that this Mediterranean, inclosed by 
the countries which he wished to avoid, was distasteful 
to Captain Nemo. Its waves and breezes recalled too many 
memories, if not too many regrets. He had not here that 
liberty of movement, that independence of manoeuvre, 
that he had elsewhere, and his Nautilus was cramped 
between the shores of Africa and Europe. 

Our apparatus only went up to the surface at night in 
order to renew its provision of air, and it was guided 
entirely by the compass and log. 

Of the various fish in the opulent waters of the Mediter- 
ranean I could only get a glimpse, on account of the un- 
usually bewildering speed of the Nautilus. Prominent 
among the species were lampreys, a yard long ; a sort of 
s^kate, five feet wide, with white belly and grey spotted 
back ;milander-sharks, twelve feet long, which are particu- 
larly dreaded by divers,: sea-foxes, eight feet long, endowed 


with a wonderful sense of smell : magnificent sturgeons 
which resembling sharks in size, lashed their tails against 
the glass of the vessel ; conger-eels with serpent-like 
movements ; swallow-trygles, swimming with the rapidity 
of the bird from whom they take their name ; splendid 
turbots, those sea-pheasants, a kind of lozenge with yellow 
fins specked with brown, and the left side of which is 
marked brown and yellow ; and lastly troops of admirable 
red-mullet, veritable ocean birds of Paradise. The most 
numerous inhabitants of the Mediterranean are, however, 
the sombre tunnies with blue-black backs, belly cuirassed 
with silver, and whose dorsal fins threw out gleams of gold. 
They have the reputation of following ships for the sake 
of their shade under tropical skies. For many long hours 
they tried to keep up with our apparatus. I was never 
tired of admiring these animals, veritably fashioned for 
speed, their small heads, their lithe and fusiform bodies 
that in some of them were more than three yards long, 
their pectoral fins endowed with remarkable vigour, and 
their forked caudals. They swam in a triangle, like certain 
flocks of birds, whose rapidity they equalled. 

During the night between the i6th and I7th of February 
we entered the second Mediterranean basin, the greatest 
depths of which are found at 1,500 fathoms. The Nautilus, 
under the action of its screw, gliding over its inclined planes, 
sank into the lowest depths of the sea. 

There, instead of natural marvels, the mass of waters 
offered me many touching and terrible scenes. In fact, 
we were then crossing all that part of the Mediterranean so 
fertile in disasters. From the Algerian coast to the shores 
of Provence, how many vessels have been wrecked, how 
many ships have disappeared ! The Mediterranean is only 
a lake compared to the vast liquid plains of the Pacific, 
but it is a capricious lake with changing waters, to-day 
propitious and caressing to the fragile tartan that seems to 
float between the double ultramarine of sea and sky, to- 
morrow tempestuous, agitated by winds, breaking up the 
strongest ships by the precipitated blows of its short waves. 

In that rapid course across the great depths what wrecks 
I saw lying on the ground ! 


Amongst these wrecks some had been caused by collision, 
others had struck upon some granite rock. I saw some 
that had sunk straight down with upright mast, and rigging 
stiffened by the water. They seemed to be at anchor in an 
immense roadway, only awaiting the time of starting. When 
the Nautilus passed amongst them, and enveloped them 
with its electric light, it seemed as if they would salute our 
vessel with their colours, and give the orders. But no ; 
nothing but the silence of death reigned in the field of 
catastrophes ! Ah, what a fatal history would be that of 
these Mediterranean depths, this vast charnel-house where 
so many riches have been lost, and so many victims have 
met with their death ! 

In the meantime the Nautilus, indifferent and rapid, jour- 
neyed at full speed amidst these ruins. On the i8th of 
February, about 3 a.m., it was at the entrance to the Straits 
of Gibraltar. 

There two currents exist an upper current, long since 
known, that conveys the waters of the ocean into the 
Mediterranean basin, and a lower counter-current, of which 
reasoning has now shown the existence. For the volume of 
water in the Mediterranean, incessantly increased by the 
Atlantic current and the rivers that flow into it, must raise 
the level of the sea every year, for its evaporation is insuffi- 
cient to restore the equilibrium. As this is not the case, 
we must naturally admit the existence of a lower current 
that pours through the Straits of Gibraltar, the overplus of 
the Mediterranean into the Atlantic. 

We proved this fact. The Nautilus profited by this 
counter-current. It rushed rapidly through the narrow 
passage. For an instant I caught a glimpse of the admir- 
able ruins of the temple of Hercules, sunk, according to 
Pliny and Avienus, with the low island on which it stood, 
and a few minutes later we were afloat on the waves of the 




THE Atlantic ! that vast extent of water the superficial 
area of which covers twenty-five millions of square miles, 
nine thousand miles long, with a mean breadth of two thou- 
sand seven hundred miles. An ocean into which the largest 
rivers of the world flow the waters of the most civilised 
as well as those of the most savage countries ! A magni- 
ficent plain, incessantly ploughed by ships of all nations, 
sheltered under the flags of every nation, and terminated 
by the two terrible points, dreaded by navigators, Cape 
Horn and the Cape of Tempests. 

The Nautilus was culling its waters under her sharp 
prow after having accomplished nearly ten thousand leagues 
in three months and a half, a distance greater than one of 
the great circles of the earth. Where were we going now, 
and what had the future in store for us ? 

The Nautilus once out of the Straits of Gibraltar came up 
to the surface again, and our daily walks on the platform 
were thus restored to us. 

I immediately went up there, accompanied by Ned Land 
and Conseil. At a distance of twelve miles, Cape Vincent, 
which forms a point of the Spanish peninsula, was dimly to 
be seen. It was blowing a rather strong gale. The sea 
was rough. It made the Nautilus rock violently. It was 
almost impossible to keep on the platform, which enormous 
seas washed at every moment. We therefore went down 
again after taking in some mouthfuls of fresh air. 

I went back to my room ,and Conseil returned to his cabin j 
but the Canadian, with a preoccupied air, followed me. 
Our rapid passage across the Mediterranean had prevented 
him putting his projects into execution, and he did not 
hide his disappointment. 

When the door of my cabin was shut, he sat down and 
looked at me in silence. 

" Friend Ned," I said, " I understand you, but you have 
nothing to reproach yourself with. To have attempted to 


leave the Nautilus while it was going at that rate would have 
been madness." 

Ned Land answered nothing. His compressed lips and 
frowning brow indicated the violent possession this idea 
of a dash for liberty had taken of his mind. 

" Well," said I, " we need not despair yet. We are going 
up the coast of Portugal. France and England are not 
far off. If the Nautilus, once out of the Straits of Gibraltar, 
had gone southward, if it had carried us towards those 
regions where land is wanting, I should share your un- 
easiness. But now we know that Captain Nemo does not 
avoid civilised seas, and in a few days I think we can act 
with some security." 

Ned Land looked at me with a most determined expres- 
sion, and at length he opened his lips. 

" It is for to-night." said he. 

I started. I must acknowledge I was little prepared for 
this communication. I wanted to answer the Canadian, 
but words would not come. 

" We agreed to wait for an opportunity," said Ned Land. 
" I have that opportunity. This night we shall only be a 
few miles off the Spanish coast. The night will be dark. 
I have your word, M. Aronnax, and I depend upon you." 

As I still was silent, the Canadian rose, and coming 
nearer to me said 

" This evening, at 9 o'clock. I have told Conseil. At 
that time Captain Nemo will be shut up in his room, and 
probably in bed. Neither the engineers nor any of the 
crew can see us. Conseil and I will go to the central stair- 
case. You, M. Aronnax, must remain in the library not 
far off, and await our signal. The oars, mast, and sail are 
in the boat, and I have even succeeded in putting some 
provisions into it. I procured an English wrench to un- 
screw the bolts that fasten the boat to the hull of the 
Nautilus. Thus everything is ready for to-night." 

" The sea is bad." 

" That I allow," answered the Canadian, " but we must 
risk that. Liberty is worth paying for. Besides, the 
boat is solid, and a few miles with the wind in our favour 
are not of any consequence. Who knows if to-morrow we 


shall not be a hundred leagues out ? If circumstances 
favour us we shall land, living or dead, on some point of 
solid ground between 10 and n o'clock. Then to-night, 
by the grace of God ! " 

Thereupon the Canadian withdrew, leaving me almost 
stunned. No sooner had I regained my composure, than 
my reflections upon Ned Land's plans were disturbed by a 
loud hissing sound which denoted that the reservoirs were 
being filled, whilst the Nautilus was gradually sinking. 

I remained in my room. I wished to avoid the captain in 
order to hide from his eyes the emotion I was labouring 
under. It was a sad day I passed thus between the desire 
of being free again and the regret of abandoning the mar- 
vellous Nautilus, leaving my submarine studies unfinished ! 
What wretched hours passed thus, sometimes seeing myself 
safely on board with my companions, sometimes wishing, 
in spite of my reason, that some unforeseen circumstance 
would prevent the realisation of Ned Land's projects ! 

Twice I went into the saloon. I wished to consult the 
compass, and to see if the Nautilus was approaching or 
going farther away from the coast. But no. The Nautilus 
kept constantly in the Portuguese waters. It was making 
for the north along the shores of the ocean. 

I was, therefore, obliged to make up my mind to prepare 
for flight. My baggage consisted of my notes, nothing 
more. I asked myself what Captain Nemo would think of 
our flight, what uneasiness it might cause him, what harm it 
might do him, and what he would do in case it was dis- 
covered or it failed. Certainly I had no fault to find with 
him on the contrary. Hospitality was never given more 
freely than his. In leaving him I could not be accused of 
ingratitude. No oath bound us to him. He counted upon 
the force of circumstances alone, and not upon our word, 
to keep us with him for ever. But his intention, openly 
avowed, of keeping us eternally prisoners on board his 
vessel justified our attempts. 

It struck me that I had not seen Captain Nemo foi 
several days, and I began to wonder whether he was on 
board at all. Since the night during which the boat had 
left the Nautilus on a mysterious mission, my ideas about 


him were slightly modified. I thought, whatever he might 
say about it, that he must have kept up some sort of com- 
munication with land. Did he never leave the Nautilus ? 
Entire weeks had passed without my having seen him. 
What was he doing during that time ? 

All these ideas, and a thousand more, assailed me at 
once. That day of waiting seemed to me eternal. The 
hours struck too slowly for my impatience. 

My dinner was served as usual in my room. I ate little, 
being too much preoccupied. I left the table at seven 
o'clock. A hundred and twenty minutes I counted them 
still separated me from the time when I was to join Ned 
Land. My agitation redoubled. My pulse beat violently. 
I could not remain motionless, and I stepped up and down 
as though the exercise would relieve my troubled mind. 

I wished to see the saloon for the last time. I went by 
the waist, and entered that museum where I had passed 
so many useful and agreeable hours. I looked at all these 
riches and treasures like a man on the eve of eternal exile, 
and who is going away never to return. These marvels of 
nature, these masterpieces of art, amongst which for so 
many days my life had been concentrated, I was going to 
leave them for ever. I should have liked to look through 
the windows across the waters of the Atlantic ; but the 
panels were shut. 

As I moved thus about the saloon I reached the door, 
let into the angle, which opened into the captain's room. 
To my great astonishment this door was ajar. I drew back 
involuntarily. If Captain Nemo was in his room he could 
see me. However, hearing no noise, I drew near it. The 
room was empty. I pushed open the door and entered. 
Still the same severe monk-like aspect. 

Suddenly the clock struck eight. The first stroke awoke 
me to reality. I trembled as if some invisible eye could see 
to the bottom of my thoughts, and I rushed out of the room. 

There I glanced at the compass. Our course was still 
north. The log indicated moderate speed, the manometer 
a depth of about sixty feet. Circumstances, therefore, 
were favouring the Canadian's project. 

I went back to my room and clothed myself warmly in 


my sea-boots, sealskin cap, and vest of byssus lined with 
sealskin. I was ready. I waited. The vibration of the 
screw alone disturbed the profound silence that reigned on 
board. I listened attentively. Would not a shout tell 
me all at once that Ned Land had been caught in his effort 
to escape ? A mortal dread took possession of me. 

At a few minutes to nine o'clock I put my ear against the 
captain's door. No sound. I left my room and went back 
to the saloon, which was insufficiently lighted, but empty. 

I opened the door communicating with the library. 
The same insufficient light, the same solitude. I went and 
placed myself near the door that opened into the cage of 
the central staircase, and awaited Ned Land's signal. 

At the moment the vibration from the screw sensibly dimi- 
nished, then ceased altogether. Why was this change made 
in the working of the Nautilus ? Whether this halt would 
be favourable to or against Ned Land's plans I could not 

The silence was only broken by the beatings of my heart. 

Suddenly I felt a slight shock. I understood that the 
Nautilus had just stopped on the bottom of the ocean. My 
anxiety increased. The Canadian's signal did not reach me. 
I wanted to go to Ned Land and beg him to put off his 
attempt. I felt that something was changed in our usual 

At that moment the saloon door opened, and Captain 
Nemo appeared. He perceived me, and said without 
further preamble, in an amiable tone 

" Ah, professor, I was looking for you. Do you know 
your Spanish history ? " 

Any one knowing the history of his own country thor- 
oughly under the same conditions of mental worry and 
anxiety, would not be able to quote a single word of it. 

" Well," continued Captain Nemo, " you heard my 
question. Do you know the history of Spain ? " 

" Very badly," I replied. 

" That is like savants," said the captain. 

He stretched himself upon a divan and I mechanically 
took a place beside him with my back to the light. He 
proceeded to describe the war of 1702 which deter- 


mined the successor to Charles II on the Spanish throne, 
and wound up by reminding me of an episode in which a 
score of galleons, loaded with bullion from America, were 
sunk in Vigo Bay. 

" Well, M. Aronnax," proceeded Captain Nemo, " we 
are in Vigo Bay and it rests with yourself whether you will 
penetrate into its mysteries." 

The captain rose and begged me to follow him. I had 
had time to recover myself. I obeyed. The saloon was 
dark, but across the transparent panes glittered the sea. 
I looked. 

For a radius of half-a-mile round the Nautilus the waters 
seemed impregnated with electric light, the sandy bottom 
clear and distinct. Some of the crew, clothed in their 
bathing dresses, were at work emptying half-rotten casks, 
splintered cases, amidst still blackened spars. From these 
cases and casks escaped ingots of gold and silver. The sand 
was strewed with them. Then, loaded with their previous 
booty, these men returned to the Nautilus, deposited their 
load, and went back to continue their inexhaustible gold and 
silver fishery. 

I understood. Here Captain Nemo came, according to 
his needs, to encase the millions with which he ballasted 
his Nautilus. 

" Did you know, professor," he asked me, smiling, " that 
the sea contained such riches ? " 

" I knew," I answered, " that the silver sank in the sea 
is estimated at two millions of tons." 

" Doubtless, but in order to extract the silver the ex- 
pense would be greater than the profit. Here, on the con- 
trary, I have only to pick up what men have lost, not only 
in this Vigo Bay, but in a thousand other scenes of ship- 
wreck, all marked on my marine chart. Now do you under- 
stand why I am so many times a millionaire ? " 

" Yes, captain. But allow me to tell you that in your 
work in Vigo Bay you have only been beforehand with a 
rival company." 

" What company, pray ? " 

" A company that has received from the Spanish govern- 
ment the privilege of seeking the shipwrecked galleons. 


The shareholders are tempted by the bait of an enormous 
profit, for they estimate the value of these shipwrecked 
treasures at five hundred millions of francs." 

" Five hundred millions ! " answered Captain Nemo ; 
" they were that much once, but are so no longer." 

" Just so," said I, " and a warning to the shareholders 
would be an act of charity. Who knows, however, if it 
would be well received ? What speculators regret, above 
all, generally, is less the loss of money than that of their 
insane hopes. I pity them, after all, less than the thousands 
of unfortunates to whom so much wealth, well distributed, 
would have been profitable, whilst it is for ever lost to them." 

I had no sooner expressed this regret than I felt it must 
have wounded Captain Nemo. 

" Lost to them ! " he answered, getting animated. " Do 
you think, then, that this wealth is lost when it is I that 
gather it ? Do you think I give myself the trouble to pick 
up these treasures for myself ? Who says that I do not 
make a good use of them ? Do you believe that I ignore 
the existence of suffering beings, of races oppressed in this 
world, of miserable creatures to solace, of victims to re- 
venge ? Do you not understand " 

Captain Nemo stopped, regretting, perhaps, having said 
so much. But I had guessed. Whatever might be the 
motives that had forced him to seek independence under 
the seas, he was still a man ! His heart still beat for the 
sufferings of humanity, and his immense charity was given 
to oppressed races, as well as to individuals. 

And I then understood to whom the millions were sent 
by Captain Nemo, while the Nautilus was cruising in the 
waters of revolted Crete. 



ON the morning of the next day, the igth of February, 
I saw the Canadian enter my room. I was expecting his 
visit. He looked much disappointed. 

" Well, sir," he said to me. 

" Well, Ned, luck was against us yesterday." 


" Yes, that captain must stop at the very time we were 
going to escape from his vessel." 

" Yes, Ned, he had business with his banker." 

" His banker ? " 

" Yes, or rather his bank. I mean by that this ocean, 
where his wealth is in greater safety than it would be in the 
coffers of a state." 

I then related to the Canadian the incident of the pre- 
ceding evening, in the secret hope of making him wish not 
to leave the captain ; but the only result of my account was 
an energetic regret expressed by Ned at not being able to 
take a walk on the Vigo treasure store on his own account. 

" But all is not over," he said. " It is only one harpoon- 
throw lost. Another time we shall succeed, and this very 
evening, if necessary " 

" What is the direction of the Nautilus ? " I asked. 

" I do not know," answered Ned. 

" Well, at noon we shall find our bearings." 

The Canadian feturned to Conseil. As soon as I was 
dressed I went into the saloon. The compass was not 
reassuring. We were turning our backs on Europe. 

I waited impatiently for our bearings to be taken. About 
11.30 a.m. the reservoirs were emptied, and our apparatus 
went up to the surface of the ocean. I sprang upon the 
platform. Ned Land preceded me there. 

There was no land in sight. Nothing but the immense 
sea. A few sails on the horizon, doubtless those that go as 
far as San-Roque in search of favourable winds for doubling 
the Cape of Good Hope. The weather was cloudy. A 
gale was springing up. 

Ned, in a rage, tried to pierce the misty horizon. He still 
hoped that behind the mist stretched the land so much 

At noon the sun appeared for an instant. The first 
officer took advantage of the gleam to take the altitude. 
Then, the sea becoming rougher, we went down again, and 
the panel was closed. 

An hour afterwards, when I consulted the map, I saw 
that the Nautilus was 150 leagues from the nearest coast. 
It was no use to attempt escaping now, and I leave Ned 


Land's anger to be imagined when I informed him of our 

On my account I was not overwhelmed with grief. 1 
felt relieved from a weight that was oppressing me, and I 
could calmly take up my habitual work again. 

That evening, about n p.m., I received an unexpected 
visit from Captain Nemo. He asked me very graciously if 
I felt fatigued from sitting up so late the night before. I 
answered in the negative. 

" Then, M. Aronnax, I have a curious excursion to pro- 
pose to you." 

" What is it, captain ? " 

" You have as yet only been on the sea-bottom by day- 
light. Should you like to see it on a dark night ? " 

" I should like it much." 

" It will be a fatiguing walk, I warn you. You will 
have to go far, and climb a mountain. The roads are not 
very well kept in repair." 

" What you tell me makes me doubly curious. I am 
ready to follow you." 

" Come, then, professor. We will go and put on our 
diving dresses." 

When we reached the ward-room I saw that neither 
my companions nor any of the crew were to follow us in 
our excursion. Captain Nemo had not even asked me to 
take Ned or Conseil. 

In a few minutes we had put on our apparatus. They 
placed on our backs the reservoirs full of air, but the elec- 
tric lamps were not prepared. I mentioned this latter 
fact to the captain. 

" They would be of no use to us," he answered. 

I thought I had not heard aright, but I could not repeat 
my observation, for the captain's head had already dis- 
appeared under its metallic covering. I finished harnessing 
myself, felt that some one placed an iron spiked stick in my 
hand, and a few minutes later, after the usual manoeuvre 
we set foot on the bottom of the Atlantic, at a depth of 
150 fathoms. 

Midnight was approaching. The waters were in pro- 
found darkness, but Captain Nemo showed me a reddish 


point in the distance, a sort of large light shining about 
two miles from the Nautilus. What this fire was, with 
what fed, why and how it burnt in the liquid mass, I could 
not tell. Any way it lighted us, dimly it is true, but I soon 
became accustomed to the peculiar darkness, and I under- 
stood, under the circumstances, the uselessness of the 
electric light apparatus. 

Captain Nemo and I walked side by side directly to- 
wards the light. The smooth-surfaced soil ascended 
gradually. We took long strides, helping ourselves with 
our sticks, but our progress was slow, for our feet often 
sank in a sort of mud covered with seaweed and flat stones. 

As we went along I heard a sort of pattering above my 
head. The noise sometimes redoubled, and produced some- 
thing like a continuous shower. I soon understood the 
cause. It was rain falling violently and splashing the 
surface of the waves. Instinctively I was seized with the 
idea that I should be wet through. By water, in water ! 
I could not help laughing at the odd idea. But the truth 
is that under a thick diving dress the liquid element is no 
longer felt, and it only seems like an atmosphere rather 
denser than the terrestrial atmosphere, that is all. 

After half-an-hour's walking we were stepping along rocks 
covered with microscopic creatures which lighted us with 
their phosphorescent gleams. My foot often slipped upon 
the treacherous carpet of seaweed, and without my stock 
I should have fallen several times. Turning, I still saw the 
white light of the Nautilus gleaming in the distance. 

Still plodding along it seemed to me that my heavy 
leaden shoes were crushing a litter of bones that cracked 
with a dry noise. What, then, was this vast plain I was 
thus moving across ? I should have liked to question the 
captain, but his language by signs, that allowed him to talk 
to his companions when they followed him in his submarine 
excursions, was still incomprehensible to me. 

In the meantime the reddish light that guided us in- 
creased and inflamed the horizon. The presence of this fire 
under the seas excited my curiosity to the highest pitch. 

Our road grew lighter and lighter. The white light 
shone from the top of a mountain about eight hundred feet 


high. But what I perceived was only a reflection made by 
the crystal of the water. The fire, the source of the inex- 
plicable light, was on the opposite side of the mountain. 

Amidst the stony paths that furrowed the bottom of the 
Atlantic Captain Nemo went on without hesitating. He 
knew the dark route, had doubtless often been along it, and 
could not lose himself in it. I followed him with unshaken 
confidence and admired his tall stature like a black shadow 
on the luminous background of the horizon. 

It was one o'clock in the morning. We had reached the 
first slopes of the mountain. But the way up led through 
the difficult paths of a vast thicket. 

Yes, a thicket of dead trees, leafless, sapless, mineralised 
under the action of the water, overtopped here and there by 
gigantic pines. It was like a coal-series, still standing, hold- 
ing by its roots to the soil that had given way, and whose 
branches, like fine black paper-cuttings, stood out against 
the water}' ceiling. The paths were encumbered with sea- 
weed and fucus, amongst which swarmed a world of crus- 
taceans. I went on climbing over the rocks, leaping over 
the fallen trunks, breaking the sea-creepers that balanced 
from one tree to another, startling the fish that flew from 
branch to branch. Pressed onwards, I no longer felt any 
fatigue. I followed my guide, who was never fatigued. 

What a spectacle ! How can I depict it ? How de- 
scribe the aspect of the woods and rocks in this liquid ele- 
ment, their lower parts sombre and wild, the upper coloured 
with red tints in the light which the reverberating power ol 
the water doubled ? We were climbing rocks which fell in 
enormous fragments directly afterwards with the noise ol 
an avalanche. Right and left were deep dark galleries 
where sight was lost. Here opened vast clearings that 
seemed made by the hand of man, and I asked myself some- 
times if some inhabitant of these submarine regions was 
not about to appear suddenly. 

But Captain Nemo still went on climbing. I would not 
be left behind. My stick lent me useful aid. A false step 
would have been dangerous in these narrow paths, hol- 
lowed out of the sides of precipices ; but I walked along 
with a firm step without suffering from giddiness. Some- 


times I jumped over a crevice the depth of which would 
have made me recoil on the glaciers of the earth ; some- 
times I ventured on the vacillating trunks of trees thrown 
from one abyss to another without looking under my feet, 
having only eyes to admire the savage sites of that region. 
There, monumental rocks perched on these irregularly- 
cut bases seemed to defy the laws of equilibrium. Between 
their stony knees grew trees like a jet of water under strong 
pressure, sustaining and sustained by the rocks. Then, 
natural towers, large scarps cut perpendicularly like a 
fortress curtain, inclining at an angle which the laws of 
gravitation would not have authorised on the surface of the 
terrestrial regions. 

And did I not myself feel the difference due to the powerful 
density of the water, when, notwithstanding my heavy gar- 
ments, my brass headpiece, my metal soles, I climbed slopes 
impracticably steep, clearing them, so to speak with the 
agility of a chamois ? 

I feel that this recital of an excursion under the sea 
cannot sound probable. I am the historian of things that 
seem impossible, and that yet are real and incontestable. I 
did not dream. I saw and felt. 

Two hours after having quitted the Nautilus we had passed 
the trees, and a hundred feet above our heads rose the sum- 
mit of the mountain, the projection of which made a sha- 
dow on the brilliant irradiation of the opposite slope. A 
few petrified bushes were scattered hither and thither in 
grimacing zigzags. The fish rose in shoals before us like 
birds surprised in the tall grass. The rocky mass was 
hollowed out into impenetrable confractuosities, deep 
grottoes, bottomless holes, in which I heard formidable 
noises. My blood froze in my veins when I perceived 
some enormous tentacular creature barricading my path, 
or some frightful claw shutting up with noise in the dark 
cavities. Thousands of luminous points shone amidst the 
darkness. They were the eyes of giant lobsters wtiich were 
moving their claws with the clanking sound of metal ; 
titanic crabs pointed like cannon on their carriages, and 
frightful poulps, intertwining their tentacles like a living 
nest of serpents. 


But I could not stop. Captain Nemo, familiar with these 
terrible animals, paid no attention to them. We had 
arrived at the first plateau, where other surprises awaited 
me. There rose picturesque rums which betrayed the 
hand of man, and not that of the Creator. They were vast 
heaps of stones in the vague outlines of castles and temples, 
clothed with zoophytes in flower, and seaweed. 

But what, then, was this portion of the globe swallowed 
up by the ocean ? Where was I ? where had Captain Nemo's 
whim brought me to ? 

I should have liked to question him. As I could not do 
that, I stopped him. I seized his arm. But he, shaking 
his head, and pointing to the last summit, seemed to say 
to me 

" Higher ! Still higher ! " 

I followed him with a last effort, and in a few minutes I 
had climbed the peak that overtopped for about thirty 
feet all the rocky mass. 

I looked at the side we had just climbed. The mountain 
only rose seven or eight hundred feet above the plain | 
but on the opposite side it commanded from twice that 
height the depths of this portion of the Atlantic. My eyes 
wandered over a large space lighted up by a violent ful- 
guration. In fact, this mountain was a volcano. At fifty 
feet below the peak, amidst a rain of stones and lava, a 
wide crater was vomiting forth torrents of lava which fell 
in a cascade of fire into the bosom of the liquid mass. Thus 
placed, the volcano, like an immense torch, lighted up the 
lower plain to the last limits of the horizon. 

I have said that the submarine crater thew out lava, but 
not flames. The oxygen of the air is necessary to make a 
flame, and it cannot exist in water ; but the streams of red- 
hot lava struggled victoriously against the liquid element, 
and turned it to vapour by its contact. Rapid currents 
carried away all this gas in diffusion, and the lava torrent 
glided to the foot of the mountain. 

There, before my eyes, ruined, destroyed, overturned, 
appeared a town, its roofs crushed in, its temples thrown 
down, its arches disjointed, its columns lying on the ground, 
with the solid proportions of Tuscan architecture still dis- 


cernible upon them ; further on were the remains of a 
gigantic aqueduct ; here, the incrusted base of an Acro- 
polis, and the outlines of a Parthenon ; there, some vestiges 
of a quay, as if some ancient port had formerly sheltered, 
on the shores of an extinct ocean, merchant vessels and 
war galleys ; further on still, long lines of ruined walls, 
wide deserted streets, a second Pompeii buried under the 
waters, raised up again for me by Captain Nemo. 

Where was I ? Where was I ? I wished to know at any 
price. I felt I must speak, and tried to take off the globe 
of brass that imprisoned my head. 

But Captain Nemo came to me and stopped me with a 
gesture. Then picking up a piece of chalky stone he went 
up to a black basaltic rock and traced on it the single word 


What a flash of lightning shot through my mind ! 
Atlantis, the ancient Meropis of Theopompus, the Atlantis 
of Plato, the continent disbelieved in by many historians, 
who placed its disappearance amongst legendary tales ; 
Atlantis was there before my eyes bearing upon it the un- 
exceptionable testimony of its catastrophe ! This, then, 
was the engulphed region that existed beyond Europe, Asia 
a.nd Lybia, beyond the columns of Hercules, where the 
powerful Atlantides lived, against whom the first wars of 
Ancient Greece were waged. 

Thus, then, led by the strangest fate, I was treading on 
one of the mountains of this continent ! I was touching 
with my hand these ruins a thousand times secular and con- 
temporaneous with the geological epochs. I was walking 
where the contemporaries of the first man had walked. 
I was crushing under my heavy soles the skeletons of 
animals of those far-off days. 

Ah ! why did time fail me ? I should have liked to 
descend the steep sides of this mountain, and go over the 
whole of the immense continent that doubtless joined 
Africa to America, and to visit the great antediluvian 
cities. One day, perhaps, some eruptive phenomenon 
would bring these engulphed regions back to the surface of 
the waves. Sounds that announced a profound struggle of 


the elements have been heard, and volcanic cinders pro- 
jected out of the water have been found. All this ground, as 
far as the Equator, is till worked by underground forces. 
And who knows if in some distant epoch the summits of 
volcanic mountains will not appear on the surface of the 
Atlantic ? 

Whilst I was thus dreaming, trying to fix every detail of 
the grand scene in my memory, Captain Nemo, leaning 
agiinst a moss-covered fragment of ruin, remained motion- 
less as if in an ecstasy. Was he dreamirg about the long- 
g^ne generations and asking them the secret of human 
destiny ? Was it there that this strange man came to 
refresh his historical memories and live again that ancient 
existence ? he who would have no modern one. What 
would I not have given to know his thoughts, to share and 
understand them ! 

We remained in the same place for a whole hour, con- 
templating the vast plain in the light of the lava that 
sometimes was surprisingly intense. The interior bub- 
blings made rapid tremblings pass over the outside of the 
mountain. Deep noises, clearly transmitted by the liquid 
medium, were echoed with majestic amplitude. 

At that moment the moon appeared for an instant 
through the mass of waters and threw her pale rays over 
the engulphed continent. It was only a gleam, but its 
effect was indescribable. The captain rose,' gave a last 
look at the immense plain, and then, with his hand, signed 
me to follow him. 

We rapidly descended the mountain. When we had once 
passed the mineral forest I perceived the lantern of the 
Nautilus shining like a star. The captain walked straight 
towards it, and we were back on board as the first tints of 
dawn whitened the surface of the ocean. 



THE next day, the 2oth of February, I awoke very late. 
The fatigues of the previous night had prolonged my sleep 


until eleven o'clock. I dressed promptly. 1 was in a hurry 
to know the direction of the Nautilus. The instrument 
informed me that it was running southward at a speed of 
twenty miles an hour and a depth of fifty fathoms. 

Conseil entered. I gave him an account of our nocturnal 
excursion, and the panels being opened, he could still get a 
glimpse of the submerged continent. 

In fact, the Nautilus was moving only five fathoms from 
the soil of the Atlantis plain. It was flying like a balloon 
before the wind above terrestrial prairies ; but it would be 
more according to fact to say that we were in this saloon 
like being in a carriage of an express train. In the fore- 
ground were fantastically-shaped rocks, forests of trees 
transformed from the vegetable to the mineral kingdom 
whose immovable"outlines appeared under the waves. 

Whilst passing these sights I related the history of the 
Atlantides to Conseil. I told him all about the wars of 
this extinct nation. I discussed the question of the Atlan- 
tis as a man who has no doubts left on the subject. But 
Conseil did not pay much attention to my historical lesson, 
and I soon saw why. 

Numerous fishes were attracting his attention, and when 
fish were passing, Conseil was always lost in an abyss of 
classification and left the real world. In that case all I 
had to do was to follow him and go on with our studies. 

But these Atlantic fish did not much differ from those we 
had observed elsewhere. They were principally rays of 
gigantic size, five yards long, and endowed with great mus- 
cular strength, which allows them to spring up out of the 
waves ; sharks of many kinds amongst others a glaucus, 
fifteen feet long, with sharp triangular teeth, whose trans- 
parency rendered it almost invisible in the water ; stur- 
geons, similar to the Mediterranean tribe ; horn fish, a foot 
and a half long, of yellow-brown colour, with little grey fins, 
without teeth or tongue, as fine and supple as serpents ; and 
lastly, swordfish, eight yards long, swimming in shoals, 
bearing yellowish scythe-shaped fins and blades six feet 
long intrepid animals more herbivorous than piscivorous, 
who obey the least sign from their females, like henpecked 


Sometimes the capricious undulations of the ground 
forced the Nautilus to slacken speed whilst it glided, with 
all the skill of a whale, amongst the narrow passes between 
the hills. If the labyrinth proved inextricable the appara- 
tus rose like a balloon, and, once the obstacle cleared, it 
went on its rapid way some yards above the bottom 
admirable and charming navigation that recalled the man- 
oeuvres of a balloon journey, with this difference, however, 
that the Nautilus passively obeyed the hand of its helms- 

About 4 p.m. the ground, generally composed of thick 
mud and mineralised branches, gradually changed ; it be- 
came more rocky and appeared strewn with an accumula- 
tion of pieces of lava and sulphurous glass. I thought that 
a mountainous region would soon succeed the long plains, 
and in fact, during certain evolutions of the Nautilus, I 
perceived the southern horizon bounded by a high wall 
that seemed to close all issue. Its summit evidently passed 
above the level of the ocean. It must be a continent, or at 
least an island. Our bearings not having been taken per- 
haps purposely I was ignorant of our whereabouts. In 
any case such a wall appeared to me to mark the end of that 
Atlantis of which, after all, we had seen so little. 

The night did not put a stop to my observations. Con- 
seil had gone to his cabin. The Nautilus, vAih varying speed, 
glided over the confused masses on the ground, sometimes 
almost touching them as to rest on them, sometimes going 
up whimsically to the surface of the waves. 

I should have remained much longer at my window, ad- 
miring the beauties of sea and sky, but the panels were 
shut. At that moment the Nautilus was close to the high 
wall. What it would do now I could not guess. I went to 
my room. The Nautilus did not move. I went to sleep 
with the firm intention of waking after a few hours' slumber. 

But the next day it was eight o'clock when I returned to 
the saloon. I looked at the manometer. It showed me 
that the Nautilus was floating on the surface of the ocean. 
I heard, besides, a noise of footsteps on the platform. 
However, no rolling betrayed to me the undulation of the 
upper waves. 


I went up as far as the panel. It was open. But instead 
of the broad daylight I expected, I was surrounded by pro- 
found darkness. Where were we ? Had I made a mistake ? 
Was it still night ? No there was not a star shining, and 
no night is so absolutely dark. 

I did not know what to think when a voice said to me 

" Is that you, professor ? " 

" Ah, Captain Nemo," I answered ; " where are we ?" 

" Under the ground, professor." 

" Under ground ! " I cried, " and the Nautilus still float- 
ing ? " 

" Yes ; it floats still." 

" But I do not understand." 

" Wait a few minutes. Our lantern is going to be lighted 
and if you want a light on the subject you will soon be 

I set foot on the platform and waited. The darkness was 
so complete that I did not even see Captain Nemo. How- 
ever, in looking at the zenith exactly above my head, I 
thought I could perceive a vague light a sort of twilight 
that filled a circular hole. At that moment the lantern was 
suddenly lighted, and its brilliancy made the vague light 

I looked after having closed my eyes for an instant, daz- 
zled by the electric flame. The Nautilus was stationary, 
near a bank something like a quay. The sea on which it was 
riding was a lake imprisoned in a circle of walls which 
measured two miles in diameter, or six miles round. Its 
level the manometer indicated it could only be the same 
as the exterior level, for a communication naturally existed 
between this lake and the sea. The high walls, inclined at 
the base, were rounded like a vault, and made a vast tunnel 
upside down, the height of which was about 1,200 feet. At 
the summit was a circular orifice through which I had seen 
the vague light evidently made by daylight. 

Before examining the interior dispositions of this enor- 
mous cavern more attentively, before asking myself if it 
was the work of man or Nature, I went up to Captain Nemo. 

" Where are we ? " I said. 

" In the very heart of an extinct volcano," he answered, 


" a volcano the interior of which has been invaded by the 
sea after some convulsion of the ground. Whilst you were 
asleep, professor, the Nautilus penetrated into this lagoon 
by a natural channel opened at a depth of five fathoms be- 
low the surface of the ocean. This is its port, a sure, con- 
venient, and mysterious port, sheltered from all the winds 
of heaven. Find me on the coasts of your continents or 
islands a roadstead that equals this assured refuge against 
the fury of tempests." 

" You certainly are in safety here, Captain Nemo. Who 
could get at you in the heart of a volcano ? But did I not 
perceive an aperture at its summit ? " 

" Yes, a crater, a crater formerly filled with lava, smoke, 
and flames, which now gives entrance to the life-giving air 
we are breathing." 

" But what volcanic mountain is this, then ? " 

" It belongs to one of the numerous islets with which this 
5ea is strewn. A simple rock for ships, for us an immense 
cavern. I discovered it by accident, and accident has done 
me a good service." 

" But could not some one descend by the orifice that 
forms the crater of the volcano ? " 

" Not more than I could go up through it. For about a 
hundred feet the base of the mountain is practicable, but 
above the sides overhang and could not be climbed." 

" I see, captain, that Nature serves you everywhere and 
always. You are in safety on this lake, and no one but you 
can visit its waters. But what do you want with such a 
refuge ? The Nautilus needs no port ? " 

" No, professor, but it needs electricity, the elements to 
produce electricity, sodium to feed these elements, coal to 
make its sodium, and coal fields to extract the coal. Now 
here it happens that the sea covers entire forests that were 
buried in geological epochs ; now mineralised and formed 
into coal they are an inexhaustible mine to me." 

" Then your men here, captain, do miners' work ? " 

" Precisely. These mines extend under the water like 
the coalfields of Newcastle. It is here that, clad in their 
bathing dresses, pickaxe and spade in hand, my men go to 
extract the coal that I do not even ask for from the mines of 


earth. When I burn this fuel for the fabrication of sodium, 
the smoke that escapes through the crater gives it once 
more the appearance of an active volcano." 

" Shall we see your companions at work ? " 

" Not this time, at least, for I am in a hurry to continue 
our voyage round the submarine world. So I shall content 
myself with taking some of the reserves of sodium that 
I possess. One day will suffice to embark them, and then 
we shall continue our voyage. If, therefore, you wish to 
inspect this cavern and make the tour of the lake, take 
advantage of to-day, M. Aronnax." 

I thanked the captain and went to look for my two com- 
panions, who had not yet left their cabin. I invited them 
to follow me without telling them where they were. 

They came up on to the platform. Conseil, whom no- 
thing astonished, thought it quite natural to wake up under 
a mountain after going to sleep under the sea. But Ned 
Land's only idea was to try and find out whether the cave 
had any other issue. 

After breakfast, about 10 a.m., we descended on the bank. 

" Here we are once more on land," said Conseil. 

" I don't call this land," answered the Canadian. " And. 
besides, we are not upon but underneath." 

Between the foot of the mountain slopes and the waters 
of the lake ran a sandy shore, which in its widest part 
measured five hundred feet. Upon this it was easy to make 
the tour of the lake. But the base of the slopes formed an 
irregular soil, on which lay, in picturesque heaps, volcanic 
blocks and enormous pieces of pumice-stone. All these dis- 
integrated masses, covered under the action of subterranean 
fires with polished enamel, shone in the lantern's electric 
flames. The glittering mineral dust of the shore that rose 
under our footsteps flew up like a cloud of sparks. 

The ground gradually rose from the water, and we soon 
reached long and sinuous slopes, veritable ascents that 
allowed us to climb by degrees, but we were obliged to walk 
prudently amongst the accumulation that no cement joined 
together, and afforded no firm foothold. 

The volcanic nature of this enormous excavation was 
visible on all sides. I pointed it out to my companions. 


" Can you picture to yourselves," I asked them, " what 
this enormous tunnel must have been like when filled with 
boiling lava, and the level of the incandescent liquid rose 
to the orifice of the mountain like molten metal on the sides 
of a furnace ? " 

" I can picture it to myself perfectly," answered Conseil. 
" But will monsieur tell me why the Great Smelter sus- 
pended His operation, and how it is that the furnace is 
replaced by the tranquil waters of a lake ? " 

" It is very likely, Conseil, that some convulsion made 
that opening under the surface of the ocean which gave in- 
gress to the Nautilus. Then the waters of the Atlantic 
rushed into the interior of the mountain. There was a ter- 
rible struggle between the two elements, a struggle that 
terminated to the advantage of Neptune. But many cen- 
turies have elapsed since [then, and the submerged volcano 
is changed into a peaceful grotto." 

" Very well," replied Ned Land. " I accept the explana- 
tion, but I regret in our interest that the opening of which 
you speak did not take place above the sea-level." 

" But, friend Ned," replied Conseil, " if this passage had 
not been submarine the Nautilus could not have gone 
through it." 

" And I may add, Ned," said I, " that the waters would 
not have rushed under the volcano, and that the volcano 
would have remained a volcano. Therefore your regrets 
are wasted." 

Our ascension continued. The slopes became steeper and 
narrower. Sometimes profound excavations lay in the way 
which we were obliged to cross. Overhanging masses had 
to be avoided. We crawled on our hands and knees. But 
by the help of Conseil's skill, and the Canadian's strength, 
we overcame all obstacles. 

At a height of about ten feet the nature of the ground 
changed. It was a rock of a black basaltic nature spread 
in layers full of bubbles ; some forming regular prisms, 
placed like a colonnade supporting the spring of an immense 
vault, an admirable specimen of natural architecture. 
Then, amongst these basalts lay serpent-like streams of 
cooled lava, encrusted with bituminous stripes, and, in 


some places, lay wide carpets of sulphur. A more powerful 
light, shining through the upper crater, shed a vague glim- 
mer over all these volcanic dejections buried for ever in the 
heart of the extinct mountain. 

However, our ascent was soon stopped at a height of 
about 250 feet by impassable obstacles. There was quite 
a vaulted arch overhanging us, and our ascent was ex- 
changed for a circular walk. Here the vegetable kingdom 
began to struggle with the mineral kingdom. 

We had arrived at the foot of a thicket of robust dragon- 
trees which had pushed aside the rocks by the effort of their 
muscular roots, when Ned Land exclaimed 

" Why, here's a swarm of bees, sir ! " 

" A swarm ? " replied I, with a gesture of perfect incre- 

" Yes, a swarm," repeated the Canadian j " and the bees 
are buzzing all about it." 

I approached and was forced to surrender to evidence. 
There, at the entrance to a hole in the trunk of a dragon- 
tree, were several thousands of the industrious insects so 
common in all the Canaries, and whose produce is so par- 
ticularly esteemed. 

The Canadian naturally wished to make a provision of 
honey, and it would have been churlish to me of refuse it. 
He lighted a quantity of dry leaves, mixed with sulphur, 
by means of a spark from his flint, and began to smoke out 
the bees. The buzzing gradually ceased, and the hive 
eventually yielded several pounds of perfumed honey, with 
which Ned Land filled his haversack. 

At certain turns of the path we were following, the lake 
appeared in its whole extent. The lantern lighted up the 
whole of its peaceful surface that knew neither ripple nor 
wave. The Nautilus kept perfectly still. On the platform 
and the shore the ship's crew were working like black 
shadows clearly cut against the luminous atmosphere. 

At that moment we were rounding the highest crest of the 
first layers of rock that upheld the roof. I then saw that 
bees were not the only representatives of the animal king- 
dom in the interior of this vojcano. Birds of prey hovered 
and turned here and there in the darkness, or fled from their 


nests perched on the points of rock. There were sparrow- 
hawks with white breasts and screaming kestrels. Down 
the slopes also scampered, with all the rapidity of their long 
stilts, fine fat bustards. I leave it to be imagined if the 
covetousness of the Canadian was roused at the sight of this 
savoury game, and if he did not regret not having a gun in 
his hands. He tried to substitute stones for lead, and after 
several fruitless attempts he succeeded in wounding a mag- 
nificent bird. To say that he risked his life twenty times 
before hitting it is but the truth ; but he managed so well 
that the animal was deposited with the honeycombs in his 

We were now obliged to descend towards the shore, the 
crest becoming impracticable. Above us the gaping crater 
looked like the wide mouth of a well. From this place the 
sky could be clearly seen, and I saw the dishevelled clouds 
running before the west wind touching the summit of the 
mountain with their misty fringes a certain proof that 
these clouds were low ones, for the volcano did not rise more 
than 800 feet above the sea level. 

Half-an-hour after the Canadian's exploit we had reached 
the inner shore. Here the flora was represented by large 
stretches of marine crystal, a little plant, a very good 
preserve, popularly known as " pierce-stone," " pass-stone," 
and " sea-fennel." Conseil gathered some bundles of it. 
Here there were also thousands of lobsters, crabs, spider- 
crabs, chameleon shrimps, and a large number of shells, 
rock-fish, and limpets. 

At that place opened a magnificent grotto. My com- 
panions and I were delighted to lie down on its fine sand. 
The fire had polished its enamelled and sparkling sides all 
dusted over with mica. Ned Land tapped the walls to try 
and find out their thickness. I could not help smiling. 
The conversation then turned upon the eternal projects 
of flight ; and I thought I would, without saying too much, 
give him the hope that Captain Nemo had only come down 
south to renew his provision of sodium. I therefore hoped 
that now he would go near the coasts of Europe and America, 
which would allow the Canadian to renew with more success 
his former abortive attempt. 


We had been lying for an hour in this charming grotto, 
and with the conversation becoming less animated I fell 
fast asleep. I was dreaming that my existence was reduced 
to the vegetating life of a simple mollusc. It seemed to me 
that this grotto formed the double valve of my shell. All 
at once I was awakened by Conseil's voice. 

" Look out ! look out ! " cried the worthy fellow. 

" What is it ? " I asked, raising my head. 

" The water is coming up to us ! " 

I rose. The water was rushing like a torrent into our 
retreat, and as we certainly were not molluscs, we were 
obliged to fly. 

In a few minutes' time we were in safety on the summit of 
the grotto itself. 

" What was it ? " asked Conseil. " Some new pheno- 
menon ? " 

" No, my friends," replied I j "it was the tide that al- 
most caught us. The ocean outside rises, and, by a natural 
law of equilibrium, the level of the lake rises likewise. We 
have escaped with a bath. Let us go to the Nautilus and 
change our clothes." 

Three-quarters of an hour later we had ended our circular 
walk, and were back on board. The men of the crew were 
then finishing taking the sodium on board, and the Nautilus 
could have started at once. 

But Captain Nemo gave no order. Perhaps he meant to 
wait for night, and go out secretly by his submarine passage. 

However that may be, the next day the Nautilus, having 
left its moorings, was navigating far from all land, and a few 
yards beneath the waves of the Atlantic. 



THE direction of the Nautilus had not been changed. All 
hope of returning to the European seas must for the present 
be given up. Captain Nemo kept to the south. 
That day the Nautilus crossed a singular part of the At- 


lantic Ocean. Every one knows of the existence of that 
great current of warm water known under the name of the 
Gulf Stream. After leaving the Gulf of Florida it goes 
towards Spitzbergen j but some time after quitting the Gulf 
of Mexico, about the 44th degree of north latitude, this cur- 
rent divides into two arms, the principal one going towards 
the coasts of Ireland and Norway, whilst the second bends 
southward abreast of the Azores j then striking against the 
African shores and describing a long oval, it comes back 
towards the Antilles. 

Now this second arm (it is rather a collar than an arm) 
surrounds with its circles of warm water that portion of the 
cool, quiet, immovable ocean called the Sargasso Sea. A 
perfect lake in full Atlantic, the waters of the great cur- 
rent take no less than three years to go round it. 

The Sargasso Sea, properly speaking, covers all the sub- 
merged part of Atlantis. Certain authors have even stated 
that the numerous herbs with which it is strewn are torn 
from the prairies of that ancient continent. It is more 
probable, however, that these herbs, carried away from the 
shores of Europe and America, are brought to this zone by 
the Gulf Stream. That was one of the reasons that brought 
Columbus to suppose the existence of a new world. When 
the ships of this bold navigator arrived at the Sargasso 
Sea they sailed with difficulty amidst the herbs that im- 
peded their course to the great terror of their crews, and 
they lost three long weeks crossing it. 

Such was the region the Nautilus was now visiting, a 
veritable prairie, a thick carpet of sea-wrack, fucus, and 
tropical berries, so thick and compact that the stem of a 
vessel could hardly tear its way through it. And Captain 
Nemo, not wishing to entangle his screw in that herby mass, 
kept at a depth of some yards beneath the surface of the 

Above us floated products of all kinds, entangled amidst 
these brownish herbs j trunks of trees, from the Andes or 
the Rocky Mountains, floated down the Amazon or the 
Mississippi j numerous spars, the remains of keels or ships' 
bottoms, side planks stove in, and so weighted with shell 
and barnacles that they could not rise to the surface of the 


ocean. And time will one day justify a theory that these 
substances thus accumulated for ages will become miner- 
alised under the action of the water, and will then form in- 
exhaustible coal-fields a precious reserve prepared by far- 
seeing Nature for the time when men have exhausted the 
mines of the continents. 

We passed twenty-four hours in the Sargasso Sea, and 
the next day the ocean had resumed its accustomed aspect. 

For nineteen days , from the 23rd of February to the i2th 
of March, the Nautilus, keeping in the midst of the Atlantic 
carried us along at a constant speed of one hundred leagues 
in twenty-four hours. Captain Nemo evidently intended 
to accomplish his submarine programme, and I had no doubt 
that after doubling Cape Horn he meant to go back into the 
South Pacific. 

Ned Land had therefore cause to fear. In these wide 
seas, destitute of islands, leaving the vessel could not be 
attempted. Neither were there any means of opposing 
Captain Nemo's will. The only thing to do was to submit j 
but that which could no longer be expected from force or 
ruse I liked to think might be obtained by persuasion. This 
voyage ended, would not Captain Nemo consent to give us 
liberty if we swore never to reveal his existence ? But 
would this request for liberty be well received ? Had he 
not himself declared at the very beginning, in the most 
formal manner, that the secret of his life required our per- 
petual imprisonment on board the Nautilus ? Would not 
my silence of the last four months appear to him a tacit 
acceptation of the situation ? Would not a return to this 
subject give rise to suspicions that might be prejudicial to 
our projects if some favourable circumstance should cause 
us to renew them ? I turned over all these reasons, weighed 
them in my mind, and submitted them to Conseil, who was 
no less embarrassed than I. On the whole, although I am 
not easily discouraged, I understood that the chances of 
ever seeing my fellows again were diminishing from day to 
day ; above all, now that Captain Nemo was boldly rushing 
to the very south of the Atlantic. 

During the above mentioned nineteen days no particular 
incident occurred. I saw little of the captain. He was 


working. I often found books in the library that he had 
left open. Sometimes I heard the melancholy tones of his 
organ, which he played with much expression, but at night 
only, amidst the most secret obscurity, when the Nautilus 
was sleeping in the deserts of the ocean. 

During this part of the voyage we went along for whole 
days on the surface of the waves. The sea was abandoned. 
A few sailing vessels only were to be seen, bound for the 
Indies, and making for the Cape of Good Hope. One day 
we were pursued by the boats of a whaler that had doubtless 
taken us for some enormous whale of great value. But 
Captain Nemo did not wish the brave fellows to lose their 
time and trouble, and he ended the pursuit by plunging 
under the water. 

The fish observed by Conseil and me during this period 
differed little from those we had already studied under other 
latitudes. We, however, came across hound-fish, whose 
main characteristic is their voraciousness. The accounts 
fishermen give of them may be disbelieved, but they say 
that the head of a buffalo and an entire calf have been found 
in the body of one of these animals ; in another, two tunny- 
fish and a sailor in uniform ; in another, a soldier and his 
sword j and lastly, in another, a horse and his rider. All 
this certainly is not an article of faith. All I can affirm 
is that the nets of the Nautilus never caught one of these 
animals, so that I could not verify their voracity. 

Elegant and playful shoals of dolphins accompanied us for 
whole days. They went in bands of five and six, hunting in 
packs like wolves j they are no less voracious than hound- 
fish, if I may believe a Copenhagen professor who drew from 
the stomach of a dolphin thirteen porpoises and fifteen 

I also noticed in these seas some specimens resembling 
perch. It is said of these that they sing melodiously, and 
that their united voices form a concert that no chorus of 
human voices could equal. I do not say that it is not so, 
but these syrens gave us no serenade on our passage, which 
I regret. 

In short, to end with, Conseil classified a great quantity of 
flying-fish. Nothing was more curious than to see the dol- 


phins give chase to them with marvellous precision. How- 
ever high it flew, even over the Nautilus the unfortunate 
fish always found a dolphin's mouth open to receive it. 
They were kite-gurnards with luminous mouths, which 
during the night, after having striped the atmosphere with 
fire, plunged into the dark waters like so many shooting- 

Until the i3th of March our navigation went on under the 
same conditions. That day the Nautilus was employed in 
sounding experiments that greatly interested me. 

We had then come nearly 13,000 leagues since our depar- 
ture from the high seas of the Pacific. We were on the spot 
where Lieutenant Parker, of the American frigate Congress, 
was not able to reach the submarine depths with a line of 
7,600 fathoms. 

Captain Nemo resolved to send his Nautilus to the very 
bottom in order to verify these different soundings. I pre- 
pared to take notes of the result. The saloon panels were 
opened, and the manoeuvres necessary to reach such prodi- 
gious depths were begun. 

It will be readily imagined that the filling of the reser- 
voirs would not suffice. They would probably not have 
sufficiently increased the specific weight of the Nautilus. 
Besides, to go up again it would have been necessary to get 
rid of the extra stock of water, and the pumps would not 
have been powerful enough to conquer the exterior pressure. 

Captain Nemo resolved to seek the oceanic bottom by a 
sufficiently elongated diagonal by means of his lateral planes, 
which were inclined to an angle of 45 with the water-lines 
of the Nautilus. Then the screw was worked at its maxi- 
mum of speed, and its quadruple branch beat the water 
with indescribable violence. 

Under this powerful propulsion the hull of the Nautilus 
vibrated like a sonorous wire and sank regularly under the 
water. The captain and I, in the saloon, followed the needle 
of the manometer that rapidly moved. We had soon 
passed the habitable zone where most of the fish dwell. 
Some can only live on the surface of seas or rivers, whilst 
others, less numerous, inhabit greater depths. Amongst 
these latter I noticed a species of sea-hound, furnished with 


six gills ; the enormous-eyed telescope ; the cuirassed malar- 
mat, with grey thorax, black pectorals which protected his 
chest-plate of pale red bony plates and lastly, the grena- 
dier, which, living at a depth of six hundred fathoms, sup- 
ports a pressure of a hundred and twenty atmospheres. 

I looked at the manometer. The instrument indicated 
a depth of 3,000 fathoms. Our submersion had lasted an 
hour. The Nautilus, gliding on its inclined planes, was 
still sinking. The quiet water was surprisingly trans- 
parent. An hour later we were at a depth of 6,500 
fathoms about three leagues and a quarter and still 
there was no sign of the bottom. 

However, at a depth of 7,000 fathoms I perceived some 
blackish summits rise amidst the waters. But these 
summits might belong to mountains as high as the Hima- 
layas or Mont Blanc, higher even, and the depth of these 
abysses remains unknown. 

The Nautilus sank still lower, in spite of the powerful 
pressure it endured. I felt the steel plates tremble under 
the jointures of their bolts ; its bars bent ; its partitions 
groaned ; the windows of the saloon seemed to curve under 
the pressure of the water. And the apparatus would doubt- 
less have been crushed in, if, as the captain said, it had not 
been as capable of resistance as a solid block. 

Whilst skirting the declivity of these rocks, lost under 
the water, I still saw some shells, serpulse, and spinorbis, 
still living, and some specimens of asteriads. 

At 8,000 fathoms down we had passed the limits of sub- 
marine existence, like a balloon that rises above the respir- 
able atmosphere. 

" What a situation ! " I cried. " To traverse these 
deep regions to which man has never reached ! Look, 
captain, look at those magnificent rocks, those uninhabited 
grottoes, those last receptacles of the globe where life is 
no longer possible 1 What unknown sites, and why must 
we be forced to keep nothing of them but the remem- 
brance? " 

" Should you like to take away anything better than the 
remembrance ? " asked Captain Nemo. 

" What do you mean ? " 


" I mean that nothing is easier than to take a photographic 
view of this submarine region ! " 

I had not time to express the surprise that this fresh 
proposition caused me before, at an order from Captain 
Nemo, a camera was brought into the saloon. Through 
the wide-opened panels the liquid, lighted up by electricity, 
was distributed with perfect clearness. No shade, not a 
gradation, was to be seen in our manufactured light. The 
sun would not have been more favourable to an operation 
of this nature. The Nautilus, under the propulsion of its 
screw, mastered by the inclination of its planes, remained 
motionless. The camera was pointed at these sites on 
the oceanic bottom, and in a few seconds we had obtained 
an exceedingly pure negative. 

The positive I give here. Here may be seen the primor- 
dial rocks that have never known the light of heaven, the 
lower granites that form the powerful foundation of the 
globe, the profound grottoes dug out of the stony mass, the 
outlines of such incomparable clearness, the border- 
lines of which stand out black as if due to the brush of 
certain Flemish artists. Then, beyond, an horizon of 
mountains, an admirable undulated line composing the 
background of the landscape. I cannot describe the 
effect of these smooth black polished rocks, destitute of 
moss, without a stain, and with such strange forms solidly 
resting on the carpet of sand that sparkled in the electric 

However, after Captain Nemo had terminated his opera- 
tion, he said to me 

" We must go up again now, professor. It would not do 
to expose the Nautilus too long to such pressure." 

" Go up again ! " I expostulated. 

" Hold tight." 

I had not time to understand why the captain gave me 
this caution before I was thrown upon the carpet. 

At a signal from the captain the screw had been shipped, 
the planes raised vertically, and the Nautilus, carried up 
like a balloon into the air, shot along with stunning rapidity. 
It cut through the water with a sonorous vibration. No 
detail was visible. In four minutes it had cleared the four 


leagues that separated it from the surface of the ocean, 
and after emerging like a flying fish it fell again, making 
the waves rebound to an enormous height. 



DURING the night, from the I3th to the I4th of March, 
the Nautilus resumed her southerly direction. I thought 
that, once abreast of Cape Horn, the head would be turned 
westward, so as to make for the seas of the Pacific, and so 
complete its voyage round the world. Nothing of the 
kind was done, however, and the vessel kept on its way to 
the most southerly regions. Where was it going ? To the 
Pole ? That was madness ! I began to think that the 
daring of the captain justified Ned Land's fears. 

For some time past the Canadian had not spoken to me 
about his projects of flight. He had become less com- 
municative, almost silent. I could see how much this 
prolonged imprisonment was weighing upon him. I felt 
how his anger was accumulating. When he met the 
captain his eyes lighted up with sombre fire, and I always 
feared that his natural violence would lead him into some 

That day, the I4th of March, Conseil and he came into 
my room to find me. I asked them the reason for their 

" I have a simple question to ask you, sir," answered the 

" Speak, Ned." 

" How many men do you think there are on board the 
Nautilus ? " 

' I cannot say, my friend, but certainly ten, and that is 
enough to overpower us three. Therefore, my poor Ned, 
I can only preach patience to you." 

"And even more than patience," answered Conseil 
" resignation too." 

Conseil had used the right word. 

" After all," he continued, " Captain Nemo cannot 


always go southward ! He must stop somewhere, if only 
before an ice-bank, and afterwards he will return to more 
civilised seas ! It will then be time to return to Ned 
Land's projects." 

The Canadian shook his head, passed his hand across 
his forehead, and left the room without answering. 

" Will monsieur allow me to make one observation ? " 
said Conseil. " That poor Ned thinks of everything he 
cannot have. Everything in his past life comes back to him. 
Everything we are forbidden seems to him regrettable. His 
old recollections oppress him and make him heartsick. It is 
easy to understand. What has he to do here ? Nothing. 
He is not learned like monsieur, and cannot have the same 
taste for the beauties of the sea as we have. He would risk 
all to be able once more to enter a tavern in his own country. " 

It is certain that the monotonous life on board must 
appear insupportable to the Canadian, accustomed as he 
was to a free and active life. The events he could take an 
interest in were rare. However, that day an event did 
happen that recalled the bright days of the harpooner. 

While we were seated on the platform with a quiet sea, the 
Canadian signalled a whale on the eastern horizon. Look- 
ing attentively, we could see its black back rise and fall 
above the waves at five miles' distance from the Nautilus. 

" Ah ! " cried Ned Land, " if I was on board a whaler now 
what pleasure that sight would give me ! It is one of 
large size. Look with what strength its blow-holes throw 
up columns of air and vapour ! Confound it all ! Why 
am I chained to this piece of iron ? " 

" What, Ned ! " said I, " you have not yet got over your 
old fishing ideas ? " 

" Can a whale-fisher ever forget his old trade, sir ? Can 
he ever tire of the emotions of such a chase ? " 

" Have you never fished in these seas, Ned ? " 

" Never, sir. Only in the Arctic Seas, and as much in 
Behring as in Davis Straits." 

" Then the southern whale is still unknown to you. It is 
the Greenland whale you have hunted up till now ; it 
would not venture to pass through the warm water at the 


" Ah, professor, what are you talking about ? " replied 
the Canadian in a passably incredulous tone. 

" About what really exists." 

" Well, all I know is that I myself in '65 that is, two 
years and a half ago I harpooned a whale near Greenland 
that carried in its side a pointed harpoon of a Behring 
whaler. Now I ask you, sir, how could it, after being struck 
on the west coast of America, come to the east coast to be 
killed unless it had either doubled Cape Horn or the Cape of 
Good Hope, and so crossed the equator ? " 

" I think like Ned," said Conseil, " and I await mon- 
sieur's answer." 

" Monsieur will answer you, my friend, that whales are 
localised, according to their kinds, in Certain seas that they 
do not leave. And if one of these creatures went from 
Behring to Davis Straits, it must be simply because there 
is a passage from one sea to the other, either on the coasts 
of America or Asia." 

" Must I believe you ? " asked the Canadian, wink- 

" Monsieur must be believed," answered Conseil. 

" In that case, as I have never fished in these seas, I do 
not know what sort of whales frequent them." 

" I have told you so, Ned." 

" More reason for making their acquaintance," said 

" Look ! look ! " cried the Canadian excitedly. "It is 
coming nearer ! It is coming up to us ! It sets me at 
defiance ! It knows I can do nothing to it ! " 

Ned stamped. His hand trembled as he brandished an 
imaginary harpoon. 

" Are these whales as big as those in the north seas ? " 
he asked. 

" About the same, Ned." 

" Because I have seen large whales, sir whales a hundred 
feet long." 

" That seems to me exaggerated. These creatures are 
only like cachalots, and are generally much smaller than 
the ordinary whale." 

" Ah ! " cried the Canadian, whose eyes never left the 


ocean, " it is coming nearer ; it is coming into the water of 
the Nautilus." 

Then resuming the conversation 

" You speak of the cachalot," said he, " as though it was 
a small creature. They talk, however, of gigantic ones. 
Some of them, they say, are such intelligent monsters that 
they cover themselves with sea-weed and are taken for 
islands. People encamp on them, settle, light fires " 

" And build houses," said Conseil. 

" Yes, joker," answered Ned Land. " Then one fine day 
the animal plunges and drags all its inhabitants to the 
bottom of the sea." 

" Like the voyages of Sinbad the sailor," replied I, 
laughing. " Ah, Ned, it appears that you like extraordin- 
ary tales ! What cachalots yours are ! I hope you do 
not believe in them." 

" Mr. Naturalist," answered the Canadian seriously, 
" everything about whales may be believed. What a rate 
this one is going at ! They make out that these creatures 
can go round the world in a fortnight. " 

" I do not contradict the statement." 

" But what you very likely do not know, M. Aronnax, is 
that, in the beginning of the world, whales went along 
more rapidly still." 

"Really, Ned! How so?" 

" Because then their tails were like fishes' tails that is to 
say, that compressed vertically they struck the water from 
right to left and from left to right. But the Creator, per- 
ceiving that they went along too quickly, bent their tails, 
and from that time they beat the water from top to bot- 
tom to the detriment of their speed." 

" Good, Ned," said I, adopting one of his expressions ; 
" must I believe you ? " 

" Not altogether," answered Ned Land, " and not more 
than if I told you that there exist whales three hundred 
feet long, and weighing a hundred thousand pounds." 

" That is a good deal, certainly," I said. " Still it must 
be acknowledged that there are cetaceans of extraordinary 
development, since they can give as much as a hundred and 
twenty tons of oil." 


" As to that, I have seen it," said the Canadian. 

" I readily believe it, Ned, as I believe that some whales 
are as large as a hundred elephants. Judge of the effect of 
such a mass hurled at fuU speed." 

" Is it true," asked Conseil, " that they can sink ships ? " 

" Not ships, I believe," answered I. " Still it is related 
that in 1820, precisely in these southern seas, a whale 
threw itself upon the Essex and sank the vessel almost 

Ned looked at me with a bantering air. 

" For my part," said he, "I have had a blow from a 
whale's tail in my boat, of course. My companions 
and I were thrown up to a height of twenty feet. But 
mine was only an infant whale in comparison to yours." 

" Ah ! " cried Ned, looking ahead again, " it is not one 
whale, but ten, twenty, a whole troop of them ! And I 
can't do anything ! I'm bound hand and foot ! " 

Without saying another word he lowered himself through 
the panel, and ran to seek the captain's permission for a 
hunt. A short time afterwards both appeared on the 

Captain Nemo looked at the troop of cetaceans that were 
playing on the waters about a mile from the Nautilus. 

" They are austral whales," he said. " There's the 
fortune of a fleet of whalers there." 

" Well, sir," asked the Canadian, " can't I pursue them 
just to prevent myself forgetting my old trade of har- 
pooner ? " 

" What is the use ? " answered Captain Nemo. " We 
have no use for whale-oil on board." 

" But, sir," resumed the Canadian, " you allowed us to 
pursue a dugong in the Red Sea ! " 

" That was to procure fresh meat for my crew. Here 
it would only be for the pleasure of killing. I know that 
it is a privilege reserved to man, but I do not approve of 
such a murderous pastime. By destroying the austral 
as well as the ordinary whale, both inoffensive creatures, 
people like you, Ned Land, commit a sin. They have 
quite enough of their natural enemies, the cachalots, sword- 
fish and saw-fish, without your interfering." 


I leave the Canadian's face during this moral lecture to be 
imagined. It was a waste of words to give such reasons to 
a sportsman. Ned Land looked at Captain Nemo, and 
evidently did not understand what he meant. However, 
the captain was right. The barbarous and inconsiderate 
greed of the fishermen will one day cause the last whale to 
disappear from the ocean. 

Ned Land whistled " Yankee Doodle " between his 
teeth, and turned his back upon us. 

However, Captain Nemo looked at the troop of cetaceans, 
and addressing me 

" I was right in saying whales had enough natural 
enemies. They will have plenty to do before long. Do 
you see those black moving points, M. Aronnax, about 
eight miles to leeward ? " 

" Yes, captain," I replied. 

" They are cachalots terrible animals that I have 
sometimes met with in troops of two or three hundred. 
As to those cruel and mischievous creatures, it is right to 
exterminate them." 

The Canadian turned quickly at these last words. 

" Well, captain," I said, " in the interest of the whales 
there is still time." 

" It is useless to expose oneself, professor. The Nautilus 
will suffice to disperse these cachalots. It is armed with a 
steel spur that I imagine is quite worth Mr. Land's harpoon." 

The Canadian did not repress a shrug of the shoulders. 
Attack cetaceans with a prow ! Who had ever heard of 
such a thing ? 

" Wait, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo. " We will 
show you a hunt you have never seen before. I have no 
pity for such ferocious cetaceans. They are all mouth 
and teeth." 

Mouth and teeth ! The cachalot could not be better 
described ; it is sometimes more than seventy-five feet long. 
Its enormous head takes up one-third of its entire body. 
Better armed than the whale, whose upper jaw is only 
furnished with whalebone, it is supplied with twenty-five 
large tusks, about three inches long, weighing two pounds 
each. The cachalot is an ugly animal, more of a tadpole 


than a fish, according to Frdol's description. It is badly 
formed, the whole of the left side being what we might call 
a " failure," and seeing little except with the right eye. 

In the meantime the formidable troop was drawing 
nearer. They had perceived the whales, and were preparing 
to attack them. One could prophesy beforehand that the 
cachalots would be victorious, not only because they were 
better built for attack than their inoffensive adversaries, but 
also because they could remain longer under the waves 
without rising to the surface. 

There was only just time to go to the help of the whales 
when the Nautilus came up to them. The Nautilus sank ; 
Conseil, Ned, and I took our places at the windows of 
the saloon. Captain Nemo joined the helmsman in his 
cage to work his apparatus as an engine of destruction. 
I soon felt the vibration of the screw increase and our 
speed become greater. 

The combat between the cachalots and whales had already 
begun when the Nautilus reached them. It was worked 
so as to divide the cachalots, who at first showed no fear 
at the sight of the new monster joining in the conflict. 
But they soon had to guard against its blows. 

What a struggle ! Ned Land himself, soon enthusiastic, 
ended by clapping his hands. The Nautilus was now 
nothing but a formidable harpoon, brandished by the hand 
of its captain. It hurled itself against the fleshy mass, cut 
it through from end to end, leaving behind it two quivering 
halves of an animal. It did not feel the formidable blows 
on its sides from the cachalots' tails, nor the shocks it 
produced itself. One cachalot exterminated, it ran to 
another, tacked on the spot that it might not miss its prey, 
going backwards and forwards obedient to its helm, plung- 
ing when the cetacean dived into deep water, coming 
back with it to the surface, striking it in front or sideways 
cutting or tearing in all directions and at any pace, piercing 
it through with its terrible spur. 

What carnage ! What a noise on the surface of the 
waves ! What sharp hissing and snorting, peculiar to 
these animals when frightened ! Amidst these generally 
peaceful waters their tails made perfect billows. 


For an hour this Homeric massacre went on, which the 
cachalots could not escape. Ten or twelve of them tried 
several times to crush the Nautilus under their mass. We 
saw through the window their enormous mouths, studded 
with teeth, and their formidable eyes. Ned Land, who 
could no longer contain himself, threatened and stormed at 
them. We could feel them clinging to our vessel, like dogs 
worrying a wild boar in a copse. But the Nautilus, forcing 
its screw, carried them hither and thither, or to the upper 
level of the waters, in spite of their enormous weight or 
powerful hold. 

At last the mass of cachalots was broken up, the waves 
became quiet again, and I felt that we were rising to the sur- 
face of the ocean. The panel was opened, and we rushed 
on to the platform. 

The sea was covered with mutilated bodies. A formid- 
able explosion could not have cut up these fleshy masses 
more effectually. We were floating amidst gigantic bodies, 
bluish on the back, whitish underneath, covered with 
enormous protuberances. Some terrified cachalots were 
darting away on the horizon. The waves were dyed red 
for several miles round, and the Nautilus was floating in a 
sea of blood. 

Captain Nemo joined us. 

" Well, Mr. Land ? " said he. 

" Well, sir," answered the Canadian, whose enthusiasm 
had calmed down, " it is a terrible spectacle, certainly. 
But I am not a butcher I am a hunter, and this is only 

" It is a massacre of mischievous animals," replied the 
captain, " and the Nautilus is not a butcher's knife." 

" I like my harpoon better," answered the Canadian. 

" Each to his arm," replied the captain, looking fixedly 
at Ned Land. 

I feared that the Canadian would give way to some act of 
violence that would have deplorable consequences. But 
his anger was averted by the sight of a whale which the 
Nautilus had just come up with. 

The animal had not been able to escape the cachalots' 
teeth. It was lying on its side, its belly riddled with holes 


from the bites, and quite dead. From its mutilated fin 
still hung a young whale that it had not been able to save 
from the massacre. Its open mouth let the water run in and 
out, which murmured through the whale's bones like waves 
breaking on the shore. 

Captain Nemo steamed the Nautilus close to the body ol 
the animal. Two of his men mounted on the whale's 
side, and I saw, not without astonishment, that they 
were drawing from its udders all the milk they contained 
that is to say, about two or three tons. 

The captain offered me a cup of this milk, which was still 
warm. I could not help showing him my repugnance to 
this drink. He assured me that it was excellent, and not 
to be distinguished from cow's milk. 

I tasted it, and was of his opinion. It was a useful 
reserve for us, for this milk under the form of butter or 
cheese would make an agreeable variety to our daily food. 

From that day I noticed, with uneasiness, that Ned 
Land's ill-will for the captain increased, and I resolved 
to watch the Canadian's doings and gestures very closely. 



THE Nautilus resumed her imperturbable southwardly 
course, and on the I4th of March I perceived floating ice, 
forming reefs over which the sea curled. The Nautilus 
kept on the surface of the ocean. Ned Land, who had 
already fished in the Arctic seas, was familiar with the 
spectacle of icebergs. Conseil and I were admiring it for 
the first time. 

In the air, towards the southern horizon, stretched a 
white band of dazzling aspect. English whalers have given 
it the name of " ice-blink." However thick the clouds 
may be, they cannot hide it ; it announces the presence 
of an ice-pack or bank. 

In fact, larger blocks soon appeared, the brilliancy of 
which was modified according to the caprices of the mist. 
Some of these masses showed green veins, as if the long 
undulating lines had been traced by sulphate of copper. 


Others, like enormous amethysts, let the light shine through 
them. Some reflected the rays of the sun upon a thousand 
crystal facets. 

The more we went down south the more these floating 
islands gained in number and importance. The Polar birds 
rested on them by thousands ; petrels, danners, and 
puffins deafened us with their cries. Some of them took 
the Nautilus for the body of a whale, came upon it to rest, 
and pecked its plates with their beaks. 

During this navigation amidst the ice Captain Nemo 
often kept on the platform. Directing his Nautilus with 
consummate skill, he cleverly avoided the shock of those 
masses, some of which were several miles long and from 
200 to 300 feet high. The horizon often appeared entirely 
closed up. At the height of the sixtieth degree of latitude 
all passage had disappeared. But Captain Nemo, by care- 
ful search, soon found some narrow opening through which 
he audaciously glided, knowing well, however, that it 
closed up behind him. 

The temperature was rather low. The thermometer, 
exposed to the exterior air, indicated two or three degrees 
below zero. But we were warmly dressed in furs that seals 
or Polar bears had furnished us with. The interior of the 
Nautilus, regularly heated by its electrical apparatus, 
defied the most intense cold. Besides it had only to sink 
some yards below the surface to find a supportable tem- 
perature. Two months earlier we should have experienced 
perpetual daylight in these latitudes ; but we had already 
three or four hours' night, and by-and-by there would be 
six months of darkness in these regions. 

On the i5th of March we passed the latitude of the New 
Shetland and New Orkney Islands. The captain informed 
me that formerly numerous tribes of seals inhabited them ; 
but the English and American whalers, in their rage for de- 
struction, massacred even mothers with young, and left the 
silence of death where life and animation formerly existed. 

On the i6th of March, about 8 a.m., the Nautilus, crossed 
the Antarctic Polar Circle. Ice surrounded us on every side 
and closed the horizon. Still Captain Nemo went through 
one passage after another, and still more southward. 


" Where can he be going to ? " I asked. 

" He is following his nose," answered Conseil. " After 
all, when he cannot go any further he will stop." 

" I would not swear to that ! " I answered. And, to 
tell the truth, I must acknowledge that this adventurous 
excursion did not displease me. I cannot express my 
astonishment at the beauties of these new regions. The ice 
took most superb form. Here the grouping formed an 
Oriental town, there an overturned city, looking as if 
thrown to the earth by some earthquake aspects inces- 
santly varied by the oblique rays of the sun or lost in the 
grey mists amidst snowstorms. Detonations and ice-slips 
were heard on all sides great overthrows of icebergs that 
-changed the scene like the landscape of a diorama. 

When the Nautilus was submerged at the moment that 
these equilibriums w r ere disturbed, the noise was pro- 
pagated under the water with frightful intensity, and the 
fall of the masses created fearful eddies as far as the greatest 
depths of the ocean. The Nautilus then pitched and 
tossed like a ship given up to the fury of the elements. 

On the i6th of March ice-fields absolutely barricaded the 
road. This obstacle could not stop Captain Nemo, and he 
threw himself against the ice-field with frightful violence. 
The Nautilus entered the brittle mass like a wedge, and 
split it up with a frightful cracking noise. It was the 
ancient battering-ram hurled by infinite power. Pieces of 
ice, thrown high in the air, fell in hail around us. By its 
single power of impulsion our apparatus made a canal for 
itself. Sometimes by the force of its own impetus it 
fell on the ice-field and crushed it with its weight, or, deeply 
engaged in the ice, it divided it by a simple pitching move- 
ment that opened up wide fissures in it. 

At length, on the i8th of March, after many useless 
assaults, the Nautilus was positively blocked up. It was 
no longer stopped by either streams, packs, or ice-fields, 
but an immovable barrier, formed by icebergs soldered 

" The ice-bank ! " said the Canadian to me. 

I understood that to Ned Land, like all the navigators 


who had preceded us, this was an insuperable obstacle. 
The sun having appeared for an instant about noon, the 
captain took a pretty exact observation, which gave our 
bearings by 51 30' of long, and 67 39' of south lat. It was 
already a very high point in these Antarctic regions. 

There was no longer the slightest appearance of sea or 
liquid surface before our eyes. Under the prow of the 
Nautilus stretched a vast plain covered with confused 
blocks, looking like the surface of a river some time before 
the breaking up of the ice, but on a gigantic scale. Here 
and there sharp peaks and slender needles rismg to a height 
of two hundred feet ; farther, a line of cliffs with precipitous 
sides, covered with greyish tints, vast mirrors that reflected 
a few rays of the sun, half-drowned in the mists. Then 
over this desolate scene a savage silence, scarcely broken 
by the flapping of petrels' or puffins' wings. All was frozen, 
even sound. 

The Nautilus was then obliged to stop in its adventurous 
course amidst the ice-fields. 

" Sir," said Ned Land to me one day, " if your captain 
goes any farther " 

" WeU ? " 

" He will be a clever man." 

" Why, Ned ? " 

" Because no one can pass the ice-bank. He is powerful, 
your captain, but, confound it ! he is not more power 
than Nature, and where it has put limits he must stop 
whether he likes it or not." 

" That's certain, Ned Land, and yet I should like to 
know what is behind that ice-bank 1 A wall j that is 
what irritates me the most." 

" Monsieur is right," said Conseil. " Walls have only 
been invented to irritate scientists. There ought to be walls 

" Well," said the Canadian, " it is well known what is 
behind the ice-bank." 

" What ? " I asked. 

" Ice, ice, and nothing but ice ! " 
" You are certain of that fact, Ned," I replied, " but I am 
not. That is why I should like to go and see." 


" Well, professor," answered the Canadian, " give up the 
idea. You have reached the ice-bank, which is already 
sufficient, and you won't go any further, either you, Captain 
Nemo, or his Nautilus. And whether he likes it or no, we 
will have to go up north again that is to say, to the coun- 
try of honest folks." 

I ought to acknowledge that Ned was right, and until 
vessels are made to navigate on ice-fields they must stop 
at the ice-bank. 

In fact, notwithstanding all its efforts, notwithstanding 
the powerful means employed to break up the ice, the 
Nautilus was brought to a standstill. Generally, if you 
cannot go any further, all you have to do is to go back. 
But here going back was as impossible as going on, for the 
passages had closed up behind us, and if our apparatus 
remained stationary long it would soon be blocked up. 
That is what happened about 2 p.m., and the young ice 
formed on its sides with astonishing rapidity. I was 
forced to acknowledge that Captain Nemo's conduct was 
more than imprudent. I was at that moment on the plat- 
form. The captain, who had been observing the situation 
for some minutes, said to me 

" Well, professor, what do you think of it ? " 

" I think we are caught, captain." 

" Caught ? What do you mean by that ? " 

" I mean that we cannot go either backwards or forwards. 
I believe that is what may be called caught, at least, on 
inhabited continents." 

" Then, M. Aronnax, you do not think the Nautilus can 
be set free ? " 

" Not easily, captain, for the season is already too far ad- 
vanced for you to depend upon the breaking up of the ice." 

" Ah, professor ! " answered the captain in an ironical 
tone, " you are always the same ! You only see obstacles 
and difficulties. But I affirm to you that not only will the 
Nautilus be set free, but it will go farther still ! " 

" Farther south ? " I asked, looking at the captain. 

" Yes, sir, it will go to the Pole." 

" To the Pole ! " I cried, unable to restrain a movement 
of incredulity 


" Yes," replied the captain coldly, " to the Antarctic 
Pole, to that unknown point where all the meridians of the 
globe meet. You know whether I do all I please with the 

Yes. I knew it. I knew that man pushed boldness to 
temerity. But was it not an enterprise absolutely insane, 

It then came into my head to ask Captain Nemo if he had 
already discovered this Pole, which no human being had set 
foot upon. 

" No, professor," he answered, " and we will discover it 
together. I have never brought my Nautilus so far south j 
but, I repeat, it shall go farther still." 

" I wish to believe you, captain," said I in a slightly 
ironical tone. " I do believe you ! We will break up 
that ice-bank, and if it resists, we will give the Nautilus 
wings so that we can pass over it ! " 

" Over it, professor ? " answered Captain Nemo tran- 
quilly. " No, not over it, but under it." 

" Under it 1 " I cried. 

A sudden revelation of the captain's projects illuminated 
my mind. I understood. The marvellous qualities of the 
Nautilus would again be of service in this superhuman 

" I see that we begin to understand each other, pro- 
fessor," said the captain, half smiling. " You already 
catch a glimpse of the possibility I say of the success 
of this attempt. What is impracticable to an ordinary 
ship is easy to the Nautilus. If a continent emerges at the 
Pole, it will stop before that continent, But if, on the 
contrary, the Pole is bathed by the open sea, the Nautilus 
will go to the Pole itself." 

" It is certain," said I, carried along by the captain's 
reasoning, " that though the surface of the sea is solidified 
by ice, its depths are free on account of the providential 
reason that has placed the maximum of density of sea- 
water at a superior degree to its congelation. And if I am 
not mistaken, the submerged part of this ice-bank is to the 
emerged part as four is to one." 

" About that, professor. For every foot that icebergs 
have above the sea they have three below. Now as these 


mountains of ice are 300 feet high, they are not more than 
900 deep. Well, what is 900 feet to the Nautilus ? " 

" Nothing, captain." 

" It might even go and seek at a greater depth the uni- 
form temperature of sea-water, and there we could brave 
with impunity the thirty or forty degrees of cold on the 

" True, sir, very true," I answered, getting animated. 

" The only difficulty," continued Captain Nemo, " will 
be to remain submerged for several days without renewing 
the air." 

" Is that all ? " I replied. " The Nautilus contains vast 
reservoirs ; we will fill them, and they will furnish us with 
all the oxygen we shall want." 

" Well imagined, M. Aronnax," said the captain, smiling. 
" But I did not wish you to accuse me of foolhardiness, so I 
submit all objections to you beforehand." 

" Have you any more to make ? " 

" One only. It is possible that if sea exists at the South 
Pole, that sea may be entirely frozen over, and conse- 
quently we cannot go up to the surface." 

" Well, sir, do you forget that the Nautilus is armed with 
a powerful prow, and can we not hurl it diagonally against 
the icefields, which will open at the shock ? " 

" Ah, professor, you have some good ideas to-day ! " 

" Besides, captain," said I, getting more and more 
enthusiastic, "why should we not find an open sea at the 
South as well as at the North Pole ? The cold poles and the 
poles of the globe are not the same either in the boreal or 
austral hemispheres, and until we get proofs to the contrary 
we may suppose there is either a continent or an ocean 
free from ice at these two points of the globe." 

" I think so too, M. Aronnax," answered Captain Nemo. 
" I will only observe to you that after uttering so many 
objections to my scheme, you now crush me with arguments 
in favour of it." 

Captain Nemo spoke truly. I had come to rival him in 
audacity ! It was I who was dragging him to the Pole ! 
I outdistanced him. But no, poor fool ! Captain Nemo 
knew the for and against better than you, and was amusing 


himself with seeing you carried away by your dreams of the 

In the meantime he had not lost an instant. At a signal 
the first officer appeared. These two men spoke rapidly 
in their incomprehensible language, and whether it was 
that the first officer had been told of it beforehand, or that 
he found the scheme practicable, he manifested no surprise. 

The preparations for this audacious attempt were now 
begun. The powerful pumps of the Nautilus were working 
air into the reservoirs, and storing it at high pressure. 
About four o'clock Captain Nemo informed me that the 
panels of the platform were going to be closed. I threw 
a last look at the thick ice-bank we were going to pass. 
The weather was clear, the atmosphere pure, and the 
cold very piercing, twelve degrees below zero ; but the 
wind had lulled, and this temperature did not seem 

About ten men got up on the sides of the Nautilus, and, 
armed with pickaxes, broke the ice round the hull, which 
was soon set free. This was a speedy operation, for the 
young ice was still thin. We all went back into the interior. 
The usual reservoirs were filled with the liberated water, 
and the Nautilus soon sank. 

I had taken my place with Conseil in the saloon. Through 
the open window we watched the different depths of the 
Southern Ocean. The thermometer rose. The needle 
of the manometer deviated on its dial. 

At a depth of nine hundred feet, as Captain Nemo had 
foreseen, we were floating under the undulated surface of 
the ice-bank. But the Nautilus sank lower still. It reached 
a depth of four hundred fathoms. All the manoeuvres were 
accomplished with extraordinary precision. 

" We shall pass it, if monsieur will allow me to say so," 
said Conseil. 

" I count upon it," I answered in a tone of profound 

Under the sea, the Nautilus had gone the direct road to 
the Pole straight along the fifty-second meridian. There 
remained from 67 30' to 90, twenty-two and a half de- 
grees to cross that is to say, rather more than five 


hundred leagues. The Nautilus went at an average speed 
of twenty -six miles an hour. If it kept it up forty hours 
that time would be enough to reach the Pole. 

During a part of the night the novelty of the situation 
kept us at the window. The sea was lighted up by the 
electric lantern. Fish did not sojourn in these imprisoned 
waters. They only used them as a passage to go from the 
Antarctic Ocean to the open sea at the Pole. Our speed 
was rapid. We felt it by the vibrations of our long steel 

About 2 a.m. I went to take a few hours' rest. Conseil 
did the same. Going through the waist I did not meet 
Captain Nemo. I supposed that he was in the helmsman's 

The next day, March igth, at 5 a.m., I went back to my 
station in the saloon. The electric log indicated that the 
speed of the Nautilus had only been moderate. It was then 
going up towards the surface, but prudently, by slowly 
emptying its reservoirs. 

My heart beat quickly. Were we going to emerge and 
find the free atmosphere of the Pole ? 

No. A shock told me that the Nautilus had struck 
against the bottom of the ice-bank, still very thick, to 
judge by the dulness of the sound. We had struck at a 
depth of 1,000 feet. That gave 2,000 feet above us, 1,000 
feet of which was emerged. The ice-bank, therefore, was 
higher than it was on its border a not very reassuring fact. 
& During that day the Nautilus several times recommenced 
the same experiment, and always struck against the wall 
that hung above it like a ceiling. 

In the evening no change had occurred in our situation. 
Still ice between two and three hundred fathoms deep an 
evident diminution, but what thickness there still was 
between us and the surface of the ocean ! 

It was then 8 p.m. According to the daily custom on 
board the air ought to have been renewed four hours before. 
I did not suffer from it much, although Captain Nemo had 
not yet drawn upon his reservoirs for a supplement of 

My sleep was restless that night. Hope and fear be- 


sieged me by turns. I rose several times. The gropings 
of the Nautilus were still going on. About 3 a.m. I noticed 
that the lower surface of the ice-bank was met with at a 
depth of only twenty-five fathoms. A hundred and fifty 
feet next separated us from the surface of the water. The 
ice-bank was gradually becoming an ice-field. The moun- 
tain was becoming a plain. 

My eyes no longer left the manometer. We were still 
ascending, diagonally fjllowing the brilliant surface that 
shone under the rays of the electric lamp. The ice-bank 
was getting lower above and below in long slopes. It got 
thinner from mile to mile. 

At last, at 6 a.m. on this memorable igth of March, the 
door of the saloon opened. Captain Nemo appeared. 

" The open sea ! " he said. 



I RUSHED upon the platform. Yes ! There lay the open 
sea. A few pieces of ice and moving icebergs were scattered 
about ; in the distance a long stretch of sea j a world of 
birds in the air, and myriads of fish in the waters, which, 
according to their depth, varied from intense blue to olive 
green. The thermometer marked three degrees centigrade 
above zero. It was like a relative spring inclosed behind 
this ice-bank, whose distant masses were outlined on the 
northern horizon. 

" Are we at the Pole ? " I asked the captain, with a 
palpitating heart. 

" I do not know yet," he answered. " At noon we will 
take our bearing." 

" But will the sun show itself through these mists ? " said 
I, looking at the grey sky. 

" However little it shows, it will be enough for me," an- 
swered the captain. 

About ten miles south of the Nautilus a solitary island 
rose to a height of six hundred feet. We were bearing 
down upon it, but prudently, for the sea migrht be strewn 
with reefs. 



An hour afterwards we had reached the islet. Two hours 
later we had been round it. It measured from four to five 
miles in circumference. A narrow channel separated it 
from a considerable stretch of land, perhaps a continent, 
the limits of which we could not perceive. 

The Nautilus, for fear of being stranded, had stopped at 
three cables' length from a beach, over which rose a superb 
heap of rocks. The boat was launched. The captain, 
two of his men carrying the instruments, Conseil, and I 
embarked. It was 10 a.m. I had not seen Ned Land. 
The Canadian, doubtless, did not wish to acknowledge 
himself in the wrong in the presence of the South Pole. 

A few strokes of the oars brought the boat on to the sand, 
where it stranded. As Conseil was going to jump out I 
stopped him. 

" Captain Nemo," said I, " to you belongs the honour 
of first setting foot on this land." 

" Yes, professor," answered the captain, " and I do not 
hesitate to do so, because, until now, no human being has 
left the imprint of his footsteps upon it." 

That said he jumped lightly on to the sand. Keen emo- 
tion made his heart beat faster. He climbed a rock which 
overhung, forming a small promontory, and there, with his 
arms crossed, mute and motionless, he seemed to take 
possession with an eager look of these southern regions. 
After five minutes passed in this rapt contemplation he 
turned towards us. 

" When you are ready, professor," he called to me. 

I disembarked, followed by Conseil, leaving the two men 
in the boat. 

For some distance the soil was composed of a reddish 
colour, as if it had been made of crushed bricks. Lava 
streams, and pumice-stone covered it. Its volcanic origin 
could not be mistaken. In certain places some slight curls 
of smoke attested that the interior fires still kept their 
expansive force. Still, when I had climbed a high cliff, I 
saw no volcano within a radius of several miles. 

While the vegetation of this desolate continent seemed 
to me very restricted, in the air life was superabundant. 
There thousands of birds of all kinds fluttered and flew 


about, deafening us with their cries. Others crowded the 
rocks, gazing at us, as we passed, without fear, and pressing 
familiarity under our feet. There were penguins as agile and 
supple in the water as they are heavy and clumsy on land. 
They uttered harsh sounds, and formed numerous assem- 
blies, sober in gesture, but prodigal of clamour. 

There was the chionis of the long-legged family, as large 
as pigeons, white, with short conical beaks, and a red circle 
round the eye. Conseil made a provision of them, for, 
suitably dressed, they make an agreeable dish. In the air 
passed albatrosses, the expanse of whose wings measured at 
least four yards and a half, justly called ocean vultures j 
gigantic petrels, that are great seal-eaters j damiers, a kind 
of small duck, the top of whose body is black and white j 
and, lastly, a whole series of petrels, some whitish, with 
brown-bordered wings, others blue, and special to the 
Antaractic seas. " These petrels are so oily," I remarked 
to Conseil, " that the inhabitants of the Feroe Islands con- 
tent themselves with putting a wick inside them, and then 
lighting it." 

" A little more," said Conseil, " and they would be 
perfect lamps. Ah, why did not Nature supply the wick ?/' 

About a half-a-mile farther on the soil was riddled with 
ruffs' nests j it was a sort of laying ground from which 
many birds issued. Captain Nemo had some hundreds 
killed, for their blackish flesh is very good. They uttered 
a cry like the braying of an ass, were about the size of a 
goose, slate-colour on the body, white underneath, with 
a yellow cravat round their throats. They let themselves 
be killed with stones without trying to escape. 

In the meantime the mist was not rising, and at n a.m., 
the sun had not yet made its appearance. Its absence made 
me uneasy. Without it there was no observation possible. 
How, then, could we settle whether we had reached the 
Pole ? 

When I rejoined Captain Nemo I found him silently 
leaning against a rock, and looking at the sky. He seemed 
impatient and vexed. But there was no help for it. This 
powerful and audacious man could not command the sun 
like he did the sea. 


Twelve o'clock came without the sun having showed itself 
for a single instant. Even the place it occupied behind the 
curtain of mist could not be distinguished. The mist 
soon after dissolved in snow. 

" We must wait till to-morrow," said the captain simply, 
and we went back to the Nautilus amidst the snow. 

During our absence the nets had been set, and I noticed 
with interest the fish that had just been caught. The 
Antarctic seas are a refuge to a great number of migratory 
fish that fly from the tempests of the less elevated zones to 
fall under the teeth of seals and sea-hogs. I noticed 
several austral bull-heads three inches long, a species of 
whitish cartilaginous fish, crossed with pale bands, and 
armed with darts also Antarctic chimera three feet long, a 
very elongated body, white skin, silvery and smooth, with a 
rounded head, a back furnished with three fins, the snout 
ending in a trumpet that curled back towards the mouth. 
I tasted them, and found them insipid, notwithstanding 
Conseil's opinion, who found them very good. 

The snow-storm lasted until the next day. It was im- 
possible to keep upon the platform. From the saloon, 
where I was taking notes of the incidents of this excursion, 
to the Polar continent, I heard the cries of petrels and alba- 
trosses playing amidst the tempest. The Nautilus did not 
remain motionless, and, coasting the continent, it went 
about ten miles farther south in the sort of twilight that 
the sun left as it skirted the horizon. 

The next day, the 2oth of March, the snow had ceased. 
It was slightly colder. The thermometer indicated two 
degrees below zero. The mists rose, and I hoped it would 
be possible to take an observation that day. 

Captain Nemo not having yet appeared, the boat took 
Conseil and me to the land. The nature of the soil was the 
same volcanic. Everywhere traces of lava, scoriae, basalts, 
but no trace of the crater from which they issued. Here, 
as there, myriads of birds animated this part of the Polar 
continent but they divided this empire with vast troops of 
seals and walruses of different sorts, some lying on the 
ground, some on floating pieces of ice, several coming out 
of the sea or plunging into it. They did not run away at 


our approach, never having had to do with man, and I 
counted enough for the provisioning of some hundreds of 

" Faith," said Conseil, " it is a good thing that Ned Land 
did not accompany us ! " 

" Why so, Conseil ? " 

" Because the rabid sportsman would kill all the seals." 

" All is saying a great deal, but I do not really think we 
could have prevented him killing some of these magnificent 
cetaceans, which would have offended Captain Nemo, for 
he does not uselessly spill the blood of inoffensive creatures." 

" He is right." 

" Certainly, Conseil. But have you not already classified 
some specimens of this marine fauna ? " 

" Monsieur knows very well that I am not strong in 
practice. When monsieur has told me the names of these 
creatures " 

" They are seals and walruses. They are divided into 
species, and unless I am mistaken we shall have an 
opportunity of observing them here. Let us go on." 

It was 8 a.m. We had four hours to employ before the 
sun could be usefully observed. I guided our steps towards 
a vast bay that was hollowed out of the granitic cliff of the 

There I may say that as far as the eye could reach, land 
and ice were covered with marine mammalia, and I looked 
involuntarily for old Proteus, the mythological shepherd who 
watched over these immense flocks of Neptune. There 
were more seals than anything else, forming distinct groups, 
male and female, the father watching over his family, the 
mother suckling her little ones, some already strong 
enough to go a few steps. When they wish to move from 
place to place they take little jumps, made by the con- 
traction of their bodies, and helped awkwardly by their 
one imperfect fin, which, forms a perfect fore-arm. I ought 
to say that in the water, their natural element, these 
animals, with their mobile dorsal spine.with smooth and close 
skin and webbed feet, swim admirably. When resting on 
the earth they take the most graceful attitudes. Thus the 
ancients, observing their soft and expressive looks, which 


cannot be surpassed by the most beautiful look a woman can 
give their clear, voluptuous eyes, and their charming 
positions, turning them into poetry, metamorphosed the 
males into tritons and the females into syrens. 

I made Conseil notice the large development of the lobes 
of the brain in these interesting creatures. No mammal, 
except man, has so much cerebral matter. Seals are cap- 
able of receiving a certain amount of education, are easily 
tamed, and I think, with other naturalists, that if properly 
trained they might render good service as fishing- 

The greater part of these seals slept on the rocks or 
sand. Amongst those seals, properly so called, which have 
no external ears in which they differ from the otter, whose 
ears are prominent I noticed several varieties of steno- 
rhynchi, about nine feet long, with white coats, bull-dog 
heads armed with ten teeth in either jaw, four incisive ones 
top and bottom, and two large canine teeth. Amongst 
them glided marine elephants a sort of seals with short and 
mobile trumpets (the giants of the species), which on a 
circumference of twenty feet measured ten metres. They 
made no movement at our approach. 

" Are they dangerous animals ? " asked Conseil. 

" No," I answered, " unless they are attacked. When a 
seal is defending its young its fury is terrible, and it is not 
rare for it to break fishing-boats in pieces." 

" It has the right to do it." 

" I do not say no." 

Two miles farther on we were stopped by a promontory 
which sheltered the bay against the south winds. It fell 
straight down into the sea, and was covered with foam 
from the waves. Beyond we heard formidable bellowings, 
as though from a herd of oxen. 

' Good," said Conseil } " are we in for a bull's concert ? " 

' No," said I, " but a walrus's concert." 

' Are they fighting ? " 

' Either fighting or playing." 

' If monsieur pleases we must see that." 

' We must, Conseil." 

And we crossed the black rocks, amidst unforeseen land- 


slips and over stones that the ice made very slippery. More 
than once I slipped, and bruised myself rather painfully 
for' the moment. Conseil, more prudent or steadier, hardly 
stumbled, and helped me up again, saying 

" If monsieur would be good enough to walk with his legs 
farther apart, monsieur would keep his balance better." 

After we had reached the top of the promontory I per- 
ceived a vast white plain covered with walruses. They 
were playing and howling with joy, and not anger. 

Walruses resemble seals in the form of their bodies and 
the position of their limbs. But both canine and incisive 
teeth are wanting in their lower jaw, and the upper canines 
are two defences a yard long which measure thirty-two feet 
to the circumference of their socket. These tusks made 
of compact ivory, harder than that of elephants and less 
subject to go yellow are much sought after. Accordingly 
walruses are much hunted, and their destroyers, massacring 
indiscriminately females with young and young ones, 
destroy more than four thousand every year. 

Passing near these curious animals I had full leisure to 
observe them, for they looked upon us with indifference. 
Their skins were thick and rugged, of a fawn-colour inclining 
to red ; their hair was short and scanty ; some were twelve 
feet long. Quieter and less timid than their congeners of 
the north, they did not confide to picked sentinels the care 
of watching the approaches to their encampment. 

After having examined this city of walruses I thought of 
retracing my steps. It was eleven o'clock, and if Captain 
Nemo found he could take an observation I wished to be 
present at his operation. However, I hardly expected 
that the sun would show itself that day ; piled-up clouds on 
the horizon hid him from our sight. It seemed as if the 
jealous planet would not reveal to human beings the unavoid- 
able point of the globe. 

However, I thought of returning to the Nautilus. We 
were following a narrow track that ran up to the summit ot 
the cliff. At half-past eleven we had reached the spot where 
we landed. The stranded boat had landed the captain. I 
perceived him standing on a block of basalt. His instru- 
ments were by him. His eyes were fixed on the northern 


horizon, above which the sun was describing his elongated 

I stood near him and waited without speaking. Twelve 
o'clock came, and, like the day before, the sun did not 

It was most annoying. If the observation was not 
taken to-morrow we would be unable to definitely ascertain 
our position, whether we had actually reached the Pole. 

In fact, we were at the 20th of March. The next day, 
the 2ist, was the day of the equinox, and the refraction not 
counting, the sun would disappear below the horizon for 
six months, and with its disappearance the long Polar night 
would begin. Since the September equinox it had been 
above the northern horizon, rising by elongated spirals 
until the 2ist of December. At that epoch, the summer 
solstice of these austral countries, it had begun to sink, 
and the next day it would shoot forth its last rays. 

I communicated my fears to Captain Nemo. 

" You are right, M. Aronnax," said he ; "if to-morrow 
I do not obtain the height of the sun I cannot do it again 
for six months. But just because the chances of my navi- 
gation have brought me into these seas on the 2ist of 
March, my point will be easy to take if the sun will reveal 
himself at noon." 

" Why, captain ? " 

" Because while the sun is describing such elongated 
curves it is difficult to take its exact height above the 
horizon, and the instruments are liable to commit grave 

" How shall you proceed, then ? " 

" I shall only use my chronometer," answered Captain 
Nemo. " If to-morrow, the 2ist of March, at noon, the 
sun's disc, allowing for refraction, is exactly cut by the 
northern horizon, it is because I am at the South Pole." 

*' That is certain," said I ; " yet that affirmation is not 
mathematically rigorous, because the equinox does not 
necessarily begin at twelve o'clock." 

" Doubtless, professor ; but there will not be an error of 
a hundred yards, and that is all we require. Till to-morrow, 


Captain Nemo returned on board. Conseil and I re- 
mained till five o'clock, walking about the shore, observ- 
ing and studying. I found nothing curious but a pen- 
guin's egg of remarkable size that an amateur would have 
paid 40 for. Its fawn colour, and the stripes and char- 
acters that covered it like so many hieroglyphics, made it a 
curiosity. I entrusted it to Conseil, and the prudent, sure- 
footed fellow, holding it like a piece of china porcelain, 
brought it to the Nautilus intact. 

There I placed the rare egg under one of the glass cases 
of the museum. For supper I had an excellent morsel of 
seal's liver, the taste of which was like pork. Then I went 
to bed, not without having invoked, like a Hindoo, the 
favour of the radiant planet. 

Early next morning I went up to the platform and found 
Captain Nemo there. 

" The weather is clearing up a little," said he. "I 
have great hopes of it. After breakfast we will land and 
choose a post of observation." 

This agreed upon, I went to Ned Land and tried to per- 
suade him to come with me. The obstinate Canadian re- 
fused, and I saw that his taciturnity, like his bad temper, 
increased every day. After all I did not much regret his 
obstinacy in this circumstance. There were really too 
many seals on land, and such a temptation should not be 
placed before the unreflecting fisher. 

Breakfast over, I landed. The Nautilus had gone forty 
miles farther south still during the night. It was at a 
good league from the coast, which rose to an abrupt peak 
of i, 600 feet. The boat carried also Captain Nemo, two of 
his crew, and the instruments that is to say, a chrono- 
meter, a telescope, and a barometer. 

During our passage I saw numerous whales. These 
powerful animals could be heard at a great distance when 
they threw up columns of air and steam into the air, which 
resemble torrents of smoke. These different mammalia 
were disporting themselves in troops in the quiet waters, 
and I could see that this basin of the Antarctic Pole now 
served as a place of refuge to cetaceans too closely tracked 
by hunters 


We landed at nine o'clock. The sky was getting clearer ] 
the clouds were flying south. The mists were rising from 
the cold surface of the water. Captain Nemo walked to- 
wards the peak, of which he doubtless meant to make his 
observatory. It was a difficult ascent over the sharp lava 
and pumice-stones, in an atmosphere often saturated 
with a sulphurous smell from the smoking fissures. For a 
man unaccustomed to tread on land the captain climbed 
the steep slopes with an agility that I could not equal and 
that a chamois-hunter might have envied. 

It took us two hours to get to the summit of this peak. 
From there the view comprised a vast expanse of sea which 
on the north distinctly traced its horizon-line on the sky. 
At our feet lay fields of dazzling whiteness ; over our heads 
a pale azure free from mist. On the north lay the sun's 
disc, like a ball of fire, already sinking below the horizon. 
From the bosom of the waters rose hundreds of sparkling 
fountains. In the distance lay the Nautilus, like a monster 
asleep ; behind us, on the south and east, an immense 
stretch of land, a chaotic heap of rocks and icebergs, the 
limits of which were not visible. 

When Captain Nemo reached the top he carefully took 
its height by means of the barometer, for he would have to 
take it into consideration in making his observation. 

At a quarter to twelve the sun, then only seen by refrac- 
tion, looked like a golden disc, shedding its last rays over 
these lands and seas which man had never before ploughed. 

Captain Nemo, provided with a reticulated glass which, 
by means of a mirror, corrected the refraction, watched the 
sun as it disappeared gradually below-.the horizon describing 
an elongated diagonal. I held the chronometer. My heart 
beat quickly. If the disappearance of half the disc coin- 
cided with the noon of the chronometer, we were at the 
Pole itself. 

" Twelve ! " I cried. 

" The South Pole ! " answered Captain Nemo in a grave 
tone, giving me the glass which showed the sun cut in 
exactly equal halves by the horizon. 

I looked at the last rays crowning the peak, and the 
shadows gradually mounting its slopes. 


At that moment Captain Nemo, resting his hand on my 
shoulders, dramatically declared 

" I, Captain Nemo, on the 2ist of March, 1868, have 
reached the South Pole on the goth degree, and I take pos- 
session of this part of the globe, equal to the sixth part of 
known continents." 

" In whose name, captain ? " 

" In my own, sir." 

So saying, Captain Nemo unfurled a black flag, bearing 
an N in gold, quartered on its bunting. Then, turning to- 
wards the sun, whose last rays were lapping the horizon of 
the sea, he exclaimed 

" Adieu, sun ! Disappear, thou radiant star ! Rest 
beneath this free sea, and let a six months' night spread its 
darkness over my new domain 1" 



THE next day, March 22nd, at 6 a.m., preparations for de- 
parture were begun. The last gleams of twilight were melt- 
ing into night. The cold was intense. The constellations 
shone with wonderful intensity. In the zenith glittered that 
wondrous southern cross, the Polar star of Antarctic regions. 
The thermometer indicated 12 below zero, and when the 
wind freshened it was biting. Icebergs increased on the 
open water. The sea seemed about to freeze all over. 
Numerous black patches spread over the surface pointed 
to the approaching formation of young ice. Evidently 
the southern basin, frozen during the six winter months, 
was absolutely inaccessible. What became of the whales 
during that period ? They doubtless went to seek below 
the ice-bank more practicable seas. As to seals and wal- 
ruses, accustomed to live in the severest climates, they re- 
mained in these frozen regions. These animals have the 
instinct to dig holes in the ice-fields, and keep them always 
opened. They come up through these holes to breathe ; 


the birds, driven away by the cold, have emigrated north- 
wards, and the marine mammalia remain undisputed 
masters of the Polar continent. 

In the meantime the reservoirs of water were being filled, 
and the Nautilus was slowly sinking. It stopped at a 
depth of one thousand feet. It beat the waves with its 
screw, and advanced northwards at the rate of fifteen miles 
an hour. Towards evening it was already floating under the 
immense covering of the ice-bank. 

The panels of the saloon were closed for prudence sake, 
for the hull of the Nautilus might strike against some sub- 
merged block, so I passed that day in writing out my notes. 
I gave myself up to thoughts about the Pole. We had 
reached this inaccessible point without fatigue or danger, 
as if our floating carriage had glided over a railroad. And 
now the return had really begun. Did it reserve any fresh 
surprises for me ? I thought it might, so inexhaustible 
is the series of submarine marvels ! During the five months 
and a half that fate had thrown me on board this vessel, 
we had come 14,000 leagues, and during this distance, 
greater in extent than the terrestrial equator, how many 
curious or terrible incidents had varied our voyage the 
hunt in the forests of Crespo, the stranding in the Torres 
Straits, the coral cemetery, the fisheries of Ceylon, the 
Arabic tunnel, the fires of Santorin, the millions of Vigo 
Bay, the Atlantis, the South Pole ! During the night all 
these memories passed like a dream, not letting my brain 
repose for an instant. 

At 3 a.m. I was awakened by a violent shock. I rose up 
in bed, and was listening with a feeling of alarm, when I 
was bodily thrown into the middle of the room. The Nauti- 
lus had evidently made a considerable rebound after hav- 
ing struck. 

I groped along the partition through the waist to the 
saloon, which was lighted up by the luminous ceiling. The 
furniture was all upset. Happily the window-sashes were 
firmly set, and had stood fast. The pictures on the star- 
board side, through the vessel being no longer vertical, 
were sticking to the tapestry, whilst those on the larboard 
side were hanging a foot from the wall at their lower edge. 


The Nautilus was lying on its starboard side completely 

In the interior I heard a noise of footsteps and confused 
voices. But Captain Nemo did not appear. At the 
moment I was going to leave the saloon Ned Land and 
Conseil entered. 

" What is the matter ? " asked I immediately. 

" I came to ask monsieur," answered Conseil. 

" A thousand devils ! " cried the Canadian. " I know 
very well what it is. The Nautilus has struck, and to judge 
by the way it is lying, it won't come off quite so easily as in 
Torres Straits." 

" But at least," I asked, "js it on the surface of the sea ? " 

" We do not know" answered Conseil. 

" It is easy to find out," said I. 

I consulted the manometer. To my great surprise it 
indicated a depth of one hundred and eighty fathoms. 

" What can this mean ? " I exclaimed. 

" We must ask Captain Nemo," said Conseil. 

" But where shall we find him ? " asked Ned Land. 

" Follow me," I said to my two companions. 

We left the saloon. There was no one in the library, or 
on the central staircase, or in the ward-room. I supposed 
that Captain Nemo must be in the helmsman's cage. The 
only thing to do was to wait. We all three returned to the 

I shall pass by the Canadian's recriminations in silence. 
He had now something to be in a rage about. I let him 
vent his bad-humour at his ease without answering him. 

We had been listening for twenty minutes to the least 
noise in the interior of the Nautilus, when Captain Nemo 
entered. He did not seem to see us. His countenance, 
habitually so impassive, revealed a certain anxiety. He 
looked at the compass and manometer in silence, and put 
his finger on a point of the planisphere in that part that 
represented the South Seas. 

I did not wish to interrupt him. When, a few instants 
afterwards, he turned towards me, I said to him, using an 
expression he had used in Torres Straits 

" An incident, captain ? " 


' No, professor," he replied. " An accident this time/ 

' Grave ? " 

' Perhaps." 

' Is the danger immediate ? " 

' No." 

' The Nautilus has been struck ? " 

' Yes." 

' How ? " 

' Through a caprice of Nature, not through the in- 
capacity of man. There has not been a fault committed in 
our manoeuvres. But no one can prevent equilibrium 
producing its effects. We may resist human laws, but we 
cannot stand against natural ones." 

Captain Nemo chose a singular moment to utter this 
philosophical reflection. On the whole, his answer 
taught me nothing. 

" May I know, sir," I asked, " the cause of this acci- 
dent ? " 

" An enormous block of ice, a whole mountain, has 
turned over," he answered. " When icebergs are under- 
mined by warmer water or reiterated shocks, their centre 
of gravity ascends. Then the whole thing turns over. 
That is what has happened. One of these blocks as it 
turned over struck the Nautilus, which was floating under 
the waters. Then gliding under its hull, and raising it with 
irresistible force, it has raised it to less dense waters, and 
thrown it on its side." 

" But cannot the Nautilus be got off by employing the 
reservoirs so as to restore its balance ? " 

" That is. what they are doing now, sir. You can hear the 
pump working. Look at the needle of the manometer. It 
indicates that the Nautilus is ascending, but the block of 
ice is ascending with it, and until some obstacle stops its 
upward movement our position will not be changed." 

The Nautilus still kept the same position. It would, 
doubtless, right itself when the block itself stopped. But at 
that moment how did we know that we should not strike 
against the ice-bank and so be frightfully squeezed between 
the two frozen surfaces ? 
I reflected on all the consequences of this situation. 


Captain Nemo did not cease to watch the manometer. 
The Nautilus, since the fall of the iceberg, had ascended 
about one hundred and fifty feet, but it still kept the same 
perpendicular angle. 

Suddenly a slight movement was felt in the hull. The 
Nautilus was evidently righting itself a little. The objects 
hung up in the saloon were slowly recovering their normal 
position. The partitions became more vertical. No one 
spoke. Excitedly we watched the vessel right itself. 
The flooring became horizontal under our feet. Ten minutes 
went by. 

" At last we are straight ! " I exclaimed. 

" Yes," said Captain Nemo, going towards the door of 
the saloon. 

" But shall we get afloat again ? " I asked him. 

" Certainly," he answered assuringly. 

The captain went out, and I soon saw that, following his 
orders, they had stopped the ascension of the Nautilus, 
In fact, it would soon have struck against the bottom of the 
ice-bank, and it was better to keep it in the w^ater. 

" We have had a narrow escape ! " then said Conseil. 

" Yes. We might have been crushed between two 
blocks of ice, or, at least, imprisoned. And then, not 

being able to renew the air Yes, we have had a 

narrow escape ! " 

" If that is all ! " murmured Ned Land. 

I did not wish to begin a useless discussion with the 
Canadian, so did not answer him. Besides, at that moment 
the panels of the saloon were opened and the electric light 
shone through the glass panes. 

We were in full water, as I have said ; but at a distance 
of thirty feet on each side of the Nautilus rose a dazzling 
wall of ice. Above and below the same wall. Above, be- 
cause the bottom of the ice-bank formed an immense ceil- 
ing. Below, because the overturned block, gliding down 
by degrees, had found on the lateral walls two resting-places 
which kept it in that position. The Nautilus was impri- 
soned in a veritable tunnel of ice, about sixty feet wide, 
filled with tranquil water. It would, therefore, be easy 
for it to go out of it by going either backwards or forwards, 


and finding, at some hundreds of feet lower down, a free 
passage under the ice-bank. 

The luminous ceiling had been put out, and still the 
saloon was filled with intense light. It was because the 
powerful reflection from the walls of ice sent the light of the 
lantern into it with violence. I could not paint the effect 
of the voltaic rays of light on these capriciously-formed 
blocks, of which each angle, each point, each facet, threw 
a different light according to the veins in the ice. A 
dazzling mine of gems, and particularly of sapphires which 
crossed their blue rays with the green rays of the emeralds. 
Here and there opal shades of infinite softness ran amidst 
ardent points like so many fiery diamonds and the scene 
was so brilliant that it dazzled our eyes. The power of the 
lantern was increased a hundredfold like that of a lamp 
through first-class lenticular lighthouse glasses. 

" Oh, how beautiful ! How beautiful ! " exclaimed 

" Yes ! " said I. " It is an admirable sight. Is it not, 
Ned ? " 

" Yes, a thousand devils ! Yes," answered Ned Land. 
" It is superb. I'm in a rage at being obliged to acknow- 
ledge it. No one has ever seen anything like it. But we 
may have to pay dearly for the sight. And I believe that 
here we see things God never meant us to see." 

Ned was right. It was too beautiful. All at once a 
cry from Conseil made me turn round. 

" What is the matter ? " I asked. 

" Let monsieur close his eyes and not look ! " 

So saying, Conseil quickly carried his hand to his 

" But what has happened, my boy ? " 

" I am dazzled blinded." 

My eyes involuntarily turned to the window, but I could 
not bear the fire that devoured them. 

I understood what had happened. The Nautilus had 
Just put on full speed. All the tranquil brilliancy of the 
ice-walls had then changed into flashes of lightning. The 
fires of these myriads of diamonds were united together. 

The panels of the saloon were then closed. We held our 


hands to our eyes, which were uncomfortably painful and 
some time elapsed before we gained our normal sight. 

At last we lowered our hands. 

" Faith, I could never have believed it," said Conseil. 

" And I don't believe it yet," answered the Canadian. 

" When we return to land," added Conseil, " familiar 
with so many marvels of Nature, what shall we think of the 
miserable continents and little works done by the hand of 
man ? No, the inhabited world is no longer worthy of us." 

Such words from the mouth of an impassive Dutchman 
showed to what a boiling point our enthusiasm had reached. 
But the Canadian did not fail to throw cold water on it. 

" The inhabited world ! " said he, shaking his head. 
" Don't be uneasy, friend Conseil, we shall never see that 

It was then 5 a.m. At that moment a shock took place 
in the bows of the Nautilus. I knew that its prow had 
struck against a block of ice. This, I thought, must be a 
mistaken manoeuvre, for the submarine tunnel, obstructed 
here and there, was not easily navigated. I therefore 
imagined that Captain Nemo, changing his direction, would 
turn around these obstacles, or follow the series of bends of 
the tunnel. In any case our forward journey could not be 
quite prevented. Still, contrary to my expectation, the 
Nautilus began a decided retrograde movement. , 

" We are going backwards ? " said Conseil. 

" Yes," I answered, " the tunnel must be without issue 
on that side." 

" And what will be done then ? " 

" Then," I said, " the manoeuvre is very simple. We 
shall retrace our steps and get out by the southern opening, 
that is all." 

In pronouncing so decided an opinion I wished to appear 
more confident than I really was. In the meantime the 
backward movement of the Nautilus was getting more rapid, 
and with reversed screw it was carrying us along with great 

" This will cause a delay," said Ned. 

" What do a few hours more or less matter, so that we get 

out ? " 



" Yes," echoed Ned Land, " so that we get out." 

I walked backwards and forwards for some minutes 
between the saloon and the library. My companions also 
were silent. I soon threw myself upon a divan, and took a 
book which my eyes ran over mechanically. 

A quarter of an hour afterwards Conseil came up to me 
and said 

" Is what monsieur is reading very interesting ? " 

" Very interesting," I replied. 

" I thought so. It is monsieur's book that monsieur is 
reading !" 

" My book ? " 

In fact, I held in my hand the work on the Submarine 
Depths. I had not the least idea of it. I closed the book 
and resumed my walk. Ned and Conseil rose to go. 

" Stay, my friends," I said, at the same time gently 
placing my hands on Conseil's shoulders. " Let us remain 
together till we are out of this tunnel." 

" As monsieur pleases," answered Conseil. 

Some hours passed. I often looked at the instruments 
hung up on the walls of the saloon. The manometer in- 
dicated that the Nautilus kept at a constant depth of nine 
hundred feet, the compass that we were going south, the 
log that our speed was twenty miles an hour an excessive 
speed in that narrow space. But Captain Nemo knew that 
he could not make too much haste, and that now minutes 
were worth centuries. 

At twenty-five minutes past eight a second shock took 
place, this time at the back. I turned pale. My com- 
panions came up to me. I seized Conseil's hand. We 
questioned each other with a look which bespoke our 
thoughts of fear. 

At that moment the captain entered the saloon. I 
went to him. 

" The route is barricaded on the south ? " I asked. 

" Yes, sir. As the iceberg turned over it entirely barred 
the way." 

" Then we are blocked up ? " 

" Yes." 




THE Nautilus was completely embedded in a rock of ice 
We were imprisoned in the ice-bank. The Canadian 
struck a vicious blow on the table with his fist. Conseil 
said nothing. I looked at the captain. His face had regained 
its usual impassiveness. He had crossed his arms over 
his breast and was reflecting. The Nautilus was quite still. 

The captain then spoke. 

" Gentlemen," said he, in a calm voice, " there are two 
ways of dying under our present circumstances." 

This inexplicable personage looked like a professor of 
mathematics stating a problem to his pupils. 

" The first," he continued, " is to be crushed to death ; 
the second is to be suffocated. I need not speak of the 
possibility of dying of hunger, for the provisions of the 
Nautilus will certainly outlast us." 

" We cannot be suffocated, captain," I answered, " for 
our reservoirs are full." 

" True," said Captain Nemo, " but they will only give 
us air for two days. Now we have already been six-and- 
thirty hours under water, and the heavy atmosphere of 
the Nautilus already wants renewing. In forty-eight hours 
our reserve will be exhausted." 

" Well, captain, we must get out before forty-eight hours." 

" We will try, at all events, by piercing through the wall 
that surrounds us." 

" On which side ? " I asked. 

" The bore will tell us that. I am going to run the 
Nautilus on to the lower bank, and my men will put on 
their diving-dresses and attack the wall where it is the 
least thick." 

" Can we have the saloon panels opened ? " 

" Certainly ; we are no longer moving." 

Captain Nemo went out. A hissing sound soon told me 
that the reservoirs were being filled with water. The 
Nautilus gradually sank, and rested on the ice at a depth of 
175 fathoms. 


" My friends," said I, " the situation is grave, but I 
count on your courage and energy." 

" Sir," answered the Canadian, " it is not the time to 
worry you with my grumbling. I am ready to do any- 
thing for the common safety." 

" That is right, Ned," said I, holding out my hand to 
the Canadian. 

" I am as handy with the pickaxe as the harpoon," he 
added, " and if I can be useful to the captain he may de- 
pend upon me." 

" He will not refuse your aid. Come, Ned." 

I led the Canadian to the room where the men of the 
Nautilus were putting on their diving-dresses. I told the 
captain of Ned's proposition, which was accepted. The 
Canadian put on his sea-costume, and \vas ready as soon as 
his companions. Each wore a breathing apparatus on 
his back, to which the reservoirs had furnished a supply of 
pure air a considerable but necessary diminution to the 
reserve of the Nautilus. 

When Ned was dressed I went back to the saloon, where 
the panels were open, and, taking a place beside Conseil, I 
took stock of the situation with a feeling of alarm. 

Some moments after we saw a dozen men of the crew step 
out on to the ice with Ned Land amongst them, recognisable 
from his tall stature. Captain Nemo was with them. 

Before beginning to dig through the walls he had them 
bored to assure a good direction to the work. Long bores 
were sunk into the lateral walls, but after forty-five feet 
they were again stopped by a thick wall. It was useless 
to attack the ice-ceiling, for it was the ice-bank itself, 
which was more than 1,200 feet high. Captain Nemo 
then had the lower surface bored. There thirty feet of ice 
separated us from the water, such was the thickness of this 
ice-field. It was, therefore, necessary to cut away a part 
equal in extent to the water-line of the Nautilus. There 
were, therefore, about 7,000 cubic yards to detach in order 
to dig a hole through which we could sink below the ice-field. 

The work was immediately begun and carried on with 
indefatigable energy. Instead of digging round the Nautilus 
which would have been exceedingly difficult, Captain 


Nemo had an immense trench made, about eight yards 
from its port quarter. Then his men began simultaneously 
to work at it in different points of its circumference, and 
large blocks were soon detached from the mass. By a curi- 
ous effect of specific gravity, these blocks, being lighter than 
water, fled up to the vault of the tunnel, whieh thus be- 
came thicker at the top as it became thinner at the bottom. 
But it was of no consequence so long as the bottom ice was 
reduced in thickness. 

After two hours of energetic work Ned Land entered ex- 
hausted. His companions and he were relieved by fresh 
workers, whom Conseil and I joined. The first officer of 
the Nautilus directed us. 

The water seemed to me singularly cold, but I soon grew 
warmer with handling the pickaxe. My movements were 
very free, though made under a pressure of [thirty atmo- 

When I re-entered, after two hours of work, to take 
food and rest, I found a notable difference between the air 
the breathing apparatus furnished me with and the atmo- 
sphere of the Nautilus, already loaded with carbonic acid 
gas. The air had not been renewed for forty-eight hours, 
and its life-giving qualities were considerably weakened. 
However, in twelve hours we had broken off a slice of ice a 
yard thick, or about six hundred cubic yards. Admitting 
that we could go on at the same rate, it would take still 
five nights and four days to accomplish our task. 

" Five nights and four days 1 " said I to my companions, 
" and we have only air for two days in the reservoirs." 

" Without reckoning," replied Ned, " that, once out of 
this confounded tomb, we shall still be imprisoned under 
the ice-bank without any possible communication with 
the atmosphere ! " 

True enough. Who could then foresee the minimum of 
time necessary for our deliverance ? Should we not all be 
suffocated before the Nautilus could reach the surface of the 
waves ? Was it destined to perish in this tomb of ice with 
all the people it contained ? The situation appeared 
terrible, but each of us looked it bravely in the face, and 
we were all decided to do our duty to the end. 


As I had foreseen, during the night another slice, a yard 
thick, was dug off the immense cell. But in the morning, 
when, clothed in my bathing-dress, I walked in the liquid 
mass in a temperature of from 6 to 7 below zero, I re- 
marked that the lateral walls were gradually approaching 
each other. The water away from the trench, which was 
not warmed by the men's work and the play of the tools, 
showed a tendency to solidify. In presence of this new 
and imminent danger what chance of safety had we, and 
how could we prevent the solidification of this liquid medium 
that would have crushed the sides of the Nautilus like 
glass ? 

I did not make known this new danger to my compan- 
ions. Why risk the damping of that energy which they 
were employing in their painful toil ? But when I went 
back on board I spoke to Captain Nemo about this grave 

" I know it," he said in his calm tone, which no terrible 
conjuncture of circumstances could modify. " It is one 
danger more, but I see no means of avoiding it. The only 
chance of safety is to work quicker than the solidification. 
We must be first, that is all." 

" Be there first ! " I ought by now to be accustomed 
to this way of speaking. 

That day I handled the pickaxe vigorously for several 
hours. The work kept me up. Besides, to work was to 
leave the Nautilus and breathe the pure air drawn directly 
from the reservoirs and furnished by the apparatus, and to 
leave the impoverished and vitiated {atmosphere of the 

Towards evening the trench had been dug another yard 
deeper. When I went back on board I was nearly suffoca- 
ted with the carbonic acid with which the air was filled. 
Ah ! had we not the chemical means to drive away this 
deleterious gas ? We had abundance of oxygen the 
water contained a considerable quantity and by decom- 
pounding it with our powerful piles we could restore the 
vivifying fluid. I had thought of it, but what was the use, 
since the carbonic acid made by our breathing had invaded 
all parts of the vessel ? In order to absorb it we should 


have to fill vessels with caustic potash and shake them in- 
cessantly. Now this substance was entirely wanting on 
board, and nothing could take its place. 

That evening Captain Nemo was obliged to open the taps 
of his reservoirs and throw some columns of pure air into 
the interior of the Nautilus. Without that precaution 
we should never have awakened. 

The next day, the 26th of March, I went on with my 
mining work. The lateral walls and lower surface of the 
ice-bank thickened perceptibly. It was evident that 
they would come together before the Nautilus could be 
extricated. Despair came over me for an instant. My 
axe nearly dropped from my hands. What was the use 
of digging if I was to perish suffocated, crushed by the 
water that was turning to stone ? a death that even the 
ferocity of savages would not have invented. It seemed 
to me that I was between the formidable jaws of a monster, 
which were irresistibly closing. 

At that moment Captain Nemo, directing the work and 
working himself, passed close to me. I touched him, and 
pointed to the walls of our prison. The port wall had ad- 
vanced to within four yards of the Nautilus. 

The captain understood me and signed to me to follow 
him. We re-entered the vessel. Once my diving-dress off, 
I accompanied him into the saloon. 

" M. Aronnax," said he, " we must try some heroic means 
or we shall be sealed up in this freezing water as in cement." 

" Yes," said I, " but what can we do ? " 

" Ah ! " cried he, "if the Nautilus were but strong 
enough to support the pressure without being crushed ! " 

" What then ? " I asked, not seizing the captain's idea. 

" Do you not understand," he continued, " that this 
congelation of water will help us ? Do you not see that 
by its solidification it will break up the ice-fields that 
imprison us, as in freezing it breaks up the hardest stones ? 
Do you not see that it would be an agent of salvation 
instead of an agent of destruction ? " 

" Yes, captain, perhaps. But however capable the 
Nautilus may be of resisting pressure, it could not bear that, 
and would be crushed as flat as a steel plate." 


" I know it, sir ; therefore we must not count upon 
Nature for help, but upon ourselves. We must prevent 
this solidification. Not only are the lateral walls closing 
up, but there does not remain ten feet of water either fore 
or aft of the Nautilus. It is freezing on all sides of us." 

" How much longer," I asked, " shall we have air to 
breathe on board ? " 

The captain looked me full in the face. 

" The day after to-morrow," he said, " the reservoirs will 
be empty." 

I broke out into a cold perspiration. And yet ought I 
to have been astonished at this answer ? On the 22nd of 
March the Nautilus had sunk below the free waters of the 
Pole. We were now the 26th. We had been living for 
five days on the vessel's reserves, and what remained of 
unpolluted air must be kept for the workers. Now, whilst 
I am writing this, my impression of it is still so acute that 
an involuntary terror takes possession of my whole being, 
and air seems wanting to my lungs. 

In the meantime Captain Nemo was reflecting, silent and 
motionless. It was visible that his mind had grasped an 
idea. But he seemed to be driving it away. He answered 
himself in the negative. At last these words escaped from 
his lips : 

" Boiling water ! " murmured he. 

" Boiling water ? " I cried. 

" Yes, sir. We are inclosed in a relatively restricted 
space. Would not some jets of boiling water, constantly 
injected by the pumps of the Nautilus, raise the tempera- 
ture of this medium, and delay its congelation ? " 

" It must be tried," said I resolutely. 

" We will try it, professor." 

The thermometer then indicated seven degrees outside. 
Captain Nemo took me to the kitchens, where vast distilling 
apparatus was at work, which furnished drinking-water by 
evaporation. It was filled with water, and all the electric 
heat of the piles was put into the serpentines, bathed by the 
liquid. In a few moments the water had attained 100*. 
It was sent to the pumps, while fresh water constantly sup- 
plied its place. The heat given off by the piles was such 


that the cold water taken from the sea after going through 
the apparatus arrived boiling in the pump. 

The injection began, and three hours afterwards the 
thermometer outside indicated six degrees below zero. 
It was one degree gained. Two hours later the thermome- 
ter only indicated four. 

" We shall succeed," I said to the captain. 

" I think we shall," he answered. " We shall not be 
crushed. We have only suffocation to fear now." 

During the night the temperature of the water went up 
to one degree below zero. The apparatus could not send 
it up any higher. But as sea-water does not freeze at less 
than two degrees, I was at last reassured against the 
danger of solidification. 

The next day, the 27th of March, eighteen feet of ice had 
been taken from the trench. There still remained twelve. 
Another forty-eight hours' work. The air could not be 
renewed in the interior of the Nautilus. That day things 
went from bad to worse. 

An intolerable heaviness weighed upon me. About 3 
p.m. this suffocating feeling became exceedingly violent. I 
dislocated my jaws with gaping. My lungs panted as they 
sought the burning fluid, indispensable for respiration, 
and which became more and more rarefied. A moral 
torpor took possession of me. I lay down without strength 
to move, almost unconscious. My brave Conseil, seized by 
the same symptoms, suffering the same agony, did not 
leave my side. He took my hand, encouraged me, and I 
heard him murmur 

" Ah, if I could but do without breathing in order to 
leave more air for monsieur ! " 

Tears came into my eyes at hearing him speak about such 
a sacrifice. 

If our situation was intolerable in the interior, with what 
haste and pleasure we donned our bathing-dresses to work 
in our turn ! The pickaxes rang on the frozen surface. 
Our arms were, tired, our hands skinned, but what mattered 
fatigues and' wounds ? Our lungs had vital air. We 
breathed ! We breathed ! 

And yet no one thought of prolonging his work under 


water beyond his allotted time. His task accomplished, 
each gave to his panting companion the reservoir that was 
to pour life into him. Captain Nemo set the example, 
and was the first to submit to this severe discipline. When 
the time came he gave up his apparatus to another, and re- 
entered the vitiated atmosphere on board, always calm, 
unflinching, and uncomplaining. 

That day the usual work was accomplished with still 
more vigour. But six feet of ice remained. Six feet alone 
separated us from the open sea. But the reservoirs of air 
were almost empty. The little that remained must be 
kept for the workers. Not an atom for the Nautilus. 

When I re-entered the vessel I was half suffocated. 
What a night ! Such suffering could not be expressed. 
The next day my breathing was oppressed. Along with 
pains in my head came dizziness that made a drunken man 
of me. My companions felt the same symptoms. Some 
of the crew had rattling in their throats. 

On that day, the sixth of our imprisonment, Captain 
Nemo, finding the pickaxes' work too slow, resolved to 
crush in the bed of ice that still separated us from the 
water. This man kept all coolness and energy. He sub- 
dued physical pain by moral force. He thought, planned, 
and acted. 

He ordered the vessel to be lightened that is to say, 
raised from the ice by a change of specific gravity. When 
it floated it was towed above the immense trench dug 
according to its water-line. Then its reservoirs of water 
were filled ; it sank into the hole. 

At that moment all the crew came on board, and the 
double door of communication was shut. The Nautilus 
was then resting on a sheet of ice not three feet thick, 
which the bores had pierced in a thousand places. 

The taps of the reservoirs were then turned full on, and a 
hundred cubic yards of water rushed in, increasing by 
200,000 Ibs. the Nautilus weight. 

We waited and listened, forgetting our sufferings, hoping 
still. We had made our last effort. 

Notwithstanding the buzzing in my head, I soon felt the 
vibrations in the hull of the Nautilus. A lower level was 


reached. The ice cracked with a singular noise like paper 
being torn, and the Nautilus sank. 

" We have gone through ! " murmured Conseil in my 

I could not answer him. I seized his hand and pressed it 

All at once, dragged down by its fearful overweight, the 
Nautilus sank like a cannon-ball that is to say, as though 
it was falling in a vacuum ! 

Then all the electric force was put into the pumps, 
which immediately began to drive the water out of the 
reservoirs. After a few minutes our fall was stopped. 
Soon even the manometer indicated an ascensional move- 
ment. The screw, with all speed on, made the iron hull 
tremble to its very bolts, and dragged us northwards. 

But how long would this navigation under the ice-bank 
last before we reached the open sea ? Another day ? I 
would be dead by then. 

Half lying on a divan in the library, I was suffocating. 
My face was violet, my lips blue, my faculties suspended. I 
saw nothing, heard nothing. All idea of time had disap- 
peared from my mind. I could not contract my muscles. 

I do not know how long this lasted. But I knew that my 
death-agony had begun. I saw that I was dying. Sud- 
denly I came to myself. A few whiffs of air penetrated 
into my lungs. Had we, then, reached the surface of the 
water ? Had we cleared the ice-bank ? 

No ! Ned and Conseil, my two brave friends, were 
sacrificing themselves to save me. Some atoms of air had 
remained at the bottom of an apparatus. Instead of 
breathing it, they had kept it for me ; and while they were 
suffocating, they poured me out life drop by drop ! I 
wished to push the apparatus away. They held my hands, 
and for some minutes I breathed heavily. 

My eyes fell on the clock. It was n a.m. It must be 
the 28th of March. The Nautilus was going at a frightful 
speed of forty miles an hour. 

Where was Captain Nemo ? Had he succumbed ? Had 
his companions died with him ? 

At that moment the manometer indicated that we are 


only twenty feet from the surface. A simple field of ice 
separated us from the atmosphere. Could we not break 

Perhaps. Any way, the Nautilus was going to attempt 
it. I felt that it was taking an oblique position, lowering 
its stern, and raising its prow. An introduction of water 
had been sufficient to disturb its equilibrium. Then, pro- 
pelled by its powerful screw, it attacked the ice-field from 
below like a powerful battering-ram. It broke it in 
slightly, then drew back, drove at full speed against the 
field, which broke up, and at last, by a supreme effort, it 
sprang upon the frozen surface, which it crushed under 
its weight. 

The panel was opened, I might say torn up, and the pure 
air rushed in to all parts of the Nautilus. 



I HAVE no idea how I got to the platform. Perhaps the 
Canadian carried me there. But I was breathing, inhaling 
the vivifying air of the sea. My two companions were 
beside me, almost intoxicated by the sudden change. 
Unfortunate men, too long deprived of food, cannot throw 
themselves inconsiderately on the first aliments that are 
given to them. We, on the contrary, had no reason to 
restrain ourselves ; we could fill our lungs with the atoms 
of this atmosphere, and it was the sea-breeze itself that was 
pouring out life to us. 

" Ah," said Conseil, " how good oxygen is 1 Monsieur 
need not fear to breathe. There is enough for every one." 

Ned Land did not speak, but he opened his jaws wide 
enough to frighten a shark. What powerful breathing 1 
The Canadian " drew " like a stove in a strong draught. 

Our strength rapidly returned to us, and when I looked 
around me I saw that we were alone upon the platform. 
Not a man of the crew was there, not even Captain Nemo. 
The strange sailors of the Nautilus contented themselves 


with the air that circulated in the interior. Not one came 
to take delight in the open air. 

The first words I uttered were words of thanks and grati- 
tude to my two companions. Ned and Conseil had pro- 
longed my existence during the last hours of this agony. 
All my gratitude was not too much for such self-sacrifice. 

" Good, professor ! " answered Ned Land ; " that is not 
worth speaking about. What merit had we in doing that ? 
None. It was merely a question in arithmetic. Youi 
existence was worth more than ours, therefore it had to be 

" No, Ned," I answered, " It was not worth more. No 
one is superior to a good and generous man, and that is 
what you are 1 And you, my brave Conseil you have 
suffered much." 

" Not so very much, to tell monsieur the truth. I did 
want for some mouthfuls of air, but I think I should have 
got used to it. Besides, I looked at monsieur, who was on 
the verge of death, and that did not give me the least wish 
to breathe. That stopped, as they say, my br " 

Conseil, confused at having fallen into such a common- 
place, did not finish. 

" My friends," I answered, much moved, " we are bound 
to one another for ever, and I am under an obligation." 

" Which I shall take advantage of," replied the Canadian. 

" What ? " said Conseil. 

" Yes," continued Ned Land, " by taking you with me 
when I leave this infernal Nautilus." 

" That reminds me," said Conseil " are we going the 
right way ? " 

" Yes," I answered, " for we are going towards the sun, 
and here the sun is north." 

" Doubtless," said Ned Land ; " but it remains to be 
seen if we are making for the Pacific or the Atlantic that 
is to say, the frequented or solitary seas." 

That I could not answer, and I feared that Captain Nemo 
would take us to that vast ocean that bathes the coasts 
both of Asia and America. He would thus complete 
his journey round the submarine world, and would 
return to those seas where the Nautilus found the most 


entire independence. But if we returned to the Pacific, 
far from all inhabited land, what would become of Ned 
Land's projects ? 

We were soon to be apprised of this important fact. The 
Nautilus was going at great speed. The Polar circle was 
soon passed, and the vessel's head directed towards Cape 
Horn. We were abreast of the American point on the 3ist 
of March at 7 p.m. 

Then all our past sufferings were forgotten. The re- 
membrance of our imprisonment under the ice faded from 
our minds. We only thought of the future. Captain Nemo 
appeared no more either in the saloon or on the platform. 
The bearings taken each day and marked upon the plani- 
sphere by the first officer allowed me to tell the exact direc- 
tion of the Nautilus. That evening it became evident, to 
my great satisfaction, that we were going up north by the 
Atlantic route. 

I told the result of my observations to the Canadian and 

" Good news," said the Canadian ; " but where is the 
Nautilus going to ? " 

" I cannot tell, Ned." 

" Is its captain going to try the North Pole after the 
South, and return to the Pacific by the famous North- West 
Passage ? " 

" It would not do to defy him to do it," answered Conseil. 

" Well," said the Canadian, " we would part company 

" In any case," added Conseil, " Captain Nemo is a great 
man, and we shall not regret having known him." 

" Especially when we have left him ! " answered Ned 

The next day.the ist of April, when the Nautilus ascended 
to the surface of the sea, some minutes before noon, we 
sighted the west coast. It was Terra del Fuego, to which 
the first navigators gave this name on seeing the quantity 
of smoke that was rising from the native huts. This Terra 
del Fuego forms a vast agglomeration of islands which 
extend over a space thirty leagues long and eighty wide. 
The coast appeared low to me, but in the distance rose high 


mountains. I even thought I caught a glimpse of Mount 
Sarmiento 6,500 feet above the sea level, a pyramidical 
block of slaty rock with a very sharp summit, " which, 
according as it is hidden by or free from mist, announces 
fine or bad weather," said Ned Land. 

" A famous barometer, my friend." 

" Yes, sir, a natural barometer that never deceived me 
when I was sailing amongst the passes in the Straits of 

At that moment the peak stood out clearly against the 
sky. It was a prophecy of good weather, and was 

The Nautilus under the water, approached the shore, 
which it coasted at a distance of only a few mile?. Through 
the saloon windows I saw long seaweed, gigantic fucus, 
and those bladder " varechs " of which the open sea at the 
Pole contained a few specimens. With their slimy polished 
filaments many measured as much as 900 feet in length ; 
veritable cases, thicker than the thumb, and very resisting. 
Another herb known under the name of " velp," with leaves 
four feet long, encrusted in coralline concretions, carpeted 
the bottom of the sea. They serve as nest and food to 
myriads of crustaceans, molluscs, crabs, and cuttle-fish. 
Seals and other animals make splendid meals, mixing fish 
and sea vegetables in the English manner. 

Over these fat and luxuriant depths the Nautilus passed 
with extreme rapidity. Towards evening it approached 
the archipelago of the Falkland Islands, of which the next 
day I could recognise the steep summits. The depth 
of the sea was slight ; I therefore thought not without 
reason that these two islands, surrounded by many islets, 
formerly formed part of the Magellan lands. 

In these regions our nets brought in fine specimens of 
seaweed, particularly a certain fucus the roots of which 
were covered with mussels that are the best in the world. 
Wild geese and ducks came down by dozens on to the plat- 
form, and soon took their places in the pantries on board. 
With regard to fish I specially noticed some bony speci- 
mens of the goby species, and especially boulerots, six 
inches long, all over yellow and white spots. 


When the last heights of the Falkland group had dis- 
appeared under the horizon, the Nautilus sank to a depth 
of from ten to fifteen fathoms, and coasted the Ameri- 
can shore. Captain Nemo did not show himself. 

Until the 3rd of April we stayed in these regions of Pata- 
gonia, sometimes under the ocean, sometimes on its sur- 
face. The Nautilus passed the wide estuary formed by the 
mouth of the La Plata, and on the 4th of April was abreast 
of Uruguay, but at fifty miles' distance. Its direction 
kept northwards, and it followed the long in and out course 
of South America. We had then come 16,000 leagues since 
we had embarked in the seas of Japan. 

About ii a.m. we crossed the tropic of Capricorn on the 
37th meridian, and passed abreast of Cape Frio. Captain 
Nemo, to the great displeasure of Ned Land, did not like the 
neighbourhood of the inhabited coasts of Brazil, for he 
passed them at a headlong speed. Not a fish nor a bird, 
however rapid, could follow us, and the natural curiosities 
of these seas escaped all observation. 

This rapidity was kept up for several days, and on the 
gth of April, in the evening, we sighted the most easterly 
point of South America, that forms Cape San Roque. But 
then the Nautilus went still farther out, and went to seek 
at greater depths a submarine valley between that cape 
and Sierra Leone on the African coast. In this place the 
geological basin of the ocean forms, as far as the Lesser 
Antilles, a cliff of three and a-half miles high, very steep, 
and at the height of the Cape Verd Islands, another wall 
no less considerable, which thus incloses all the submerged 
continent of Atlantis. The bottom of that immense valley 
is dotted with mountains that give a picturesque aspect to 
these submarine places. I speak from the MS. charts 
that were in the library of the Nautilus charts evidently 
due to the hand of Captain Nemo, and drawn up from his 
personal observation. 

During two days these deep and solitary waters were 
visited by means of the inclined planes. The Nautilus 
made long diagonal broadsides, which carried it to all eleva- 
tions. But on the nth of April it suddenly rose, and land 
appeared at the mouth of the Amazon River. 


The equator was crossed. Twenty miles to the west lay 
the Guianas, a French territory, on which we might have 
found an easy refuge. But the wind was blowing a great 
gale, and the furious waves would not have allowed a simple 
boat to venture on them. Ned Land doubtless understood 
that, for he did not speak to me of anything. For my 
part I made no allusions to his schemes for flight, for I did 
not wish to urge him to make any attempt that must 
inevitably fail. 

I easily consoled myself for this delay by interesting 
studies. During the days of the nth and I2th of April 
the Nautilus did not leave the surface of the sea, and its 
nets brought in a miraculous haul of zoophytes, fish, and 

Among the fish I noticed a sort of eel, fifteen inches long, 
with a greenish head, violet fins, bluish-grey back, silver- 
brown belly, covered with bright spots, the pupil of the eye 
encircled with gold curious animals that the current of 
the Amazon must have brought down to the sea, for they 
only frequent fresh water j tubercular skates with pointed 
snouts, a long flexible tail, and armed with a long 
saw j little sharks a yard long, with grey and whitish 
skins, whose teeth in several rows are bent back, vulgarly 
known as slippers } and sea-unicorns, a sort of reddish 
isosceles triangle, two feet long, the pectorals of which are 
attached by fleshy prolongations that make them look 
like bats, but whose horny appendage, near the nostrils, has 
caused to be named sea-unicorns. 

One of our nets had hauled up a very flat skate, which, 
if the tail had been cut off, would have formed a perfect 
disc, and which weighed about 4olbs. It was white under- 
neath, with reddish back, large, round, dark blue spot, 
encircled with black, very smooth skin, terminating 
in a bilobed fin. Laid out on the platform, it struggled, 
tried by convulsive movements to turn over, and made so 
many efforts that a last spring almost sent it into the sea. 
But Conseil, who wished to keep the fish, rushed to it, and, 
before I could prevent him, seized it with both hands. 

He was immediately overthrown, with his legs in the air, 
and half his body paralysed, crying 



" Oh, master ! my master ! come to me ! " 

It was the first time the poor fellow had ever spoken to 
me otherwise than in the third person. 

The Canadian and I picked him up, rubbed him vigor- 
ously, and when he came to his senses the eternal classifier 
murmured in a broken voice 

" Cartilaginous class, chondropterygian order, with fixed 
gills, sub-order of selacians, family of ray-fish, genus of 
torpedoes ! " 

" Yes, my friend," I answered, " it was an electric ray- 
fish that put you in such a deplorable condition." 

" Ah ! monsieur may believe me," replied Conseil, " but 
I will be revenged on that animal." 

" How ? " 

" I'll eat it." 

Which he did the same evening, but for pure vengeance, 
for it was exceedingly tough. 

The unfortunate Conseil had attacked a crampfish of the 
most dangerous species, the cumana. This strange animal, 
in a conducting medium like water, throws its electric bolts 
and strikes fish at several yards' distance, so great is the 
power of its electric organ, the two principal surfaces of 
which do not measure less than twenty -seven square 

The next day, the I2th of April, during the day the Nauti- 
lus approached the Dutch coast near the mouth of the 
Maroni. There several groups of sea-cows herded together. 
These fine animals, peaceable and inoffensive, from eighteen 
to twenty-one feet long, weigh at least 8,000 Ibs. I told 
Ned Land and Conseil that foreseeing Nature had assigned 
an important part to these mammalia. Like seals they are 
destined to graze on the submarine meadows and thus de- 
stroy the accumulation of herbs that choke up the mouth 
of tropical rivers. 

" And do you know," I added, " what has resulted from 
the almost entire destruction of these useful creatures ? 
The putrefied herbs have poisoned the air, and the poisoned 
air is the cause of the yellow fever that desolates these 
beautiful countries. Venomous vegetation has been multi- 
plied under the tropical seas, and the sickness has been irre- 


sistibly developed from the mouth of the Rio de la Plata 
to Florida ! " 

And if Toussenel is to be believed, this plague is nothing 
to the one that will fall upon our descendants when the seas 
will be depopulated of whales and seals. Then they will 
become vast hotbeds of infection, since their waters will no 
longer possess " those vast stomachs that God had charged 
to skim the surface of the sea." 

However, without disdaining these theories, the crew of 
the Nautilus seized a half-dozen sea-cows in order to pro- 
vision the larders with excellent meat, superior to beef or 
veal. Their capture was not interesting. They allowed 
themselves to be struck without defending themselves. 
Several thousand pounds of meat, destined to be dried, 
were stored on board. 

That day a singular haul again increased the reserves of 
the Nautilus, so full were these seas. The net had brought 
up in its meshes a number of fish, the head of which ter- 
minated in an oval plate with fleshy edges. Their flat- 
tened discs were composed of transverse flexible cartilagin- 
ous bones by which the animal could make a vacuum, and 
so adhere to any object like a cupping-glass. 

The fishing ended, the Nautilus approached the coast. 
In that place a certain number of marine turtles were sleep- 
ing on the surface of the sea. It would have been difficult 
to take any of these precious reptiles, for the least noise 
wakes them, and their solid shell is proof against the har- 
poon. But the echeneids causes their capture with extra- 
ordinary certainty and precision. This animal is, in fact, 
a living fishhook which would delight and make the fortune 
of any angler. 

The Nautilus's men tied a ring on the tails of these fish, 
large enough not to impede their movements, and to this 
ring they fastened a long cord lashed to the side of the 
vessel at the other end. 

The echeneids, thrown into the sea, immediately began 
their work and fastened themselves on to the breastplate 
of the turtles. Their tenacity was such that they would 
have torn themselves to pieces rather than let go. They 
were hauled on board, and with them the turtles to which 
they adhered. 


Thus several tortoises were taken, a yard wide, that 
weighed 400 Ibs. Their shell, covered with large horny 
plates, thin, transparent, and brown, with white and yellow 
spots, causes them to fetch a good price. Besides, their 
flesh is excellent when prepared for the table, like the com- 
mon turtle, which has a delicious flavour. 

That day's fishing brought our stay on the shores of the 
Amazon to a close, and by nightfall the Nautilus was far 
out at sea. 



FOR several days the Nautilus kept constantly away from 
the American coast. The captain evidently did not wish 
to frequent the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or the seas of 
the Antilles. However, there would have been plenty of 
water, for the average depth of these seas is nine hundred 
fathoms ; but probably these regions, strewn with islands 
and ploughed by steamers, did not suit Captain Nemo. 

On the 1 6th of April we sighted Martinique and Guada- 
loupe, at a distance of about thirty miles. I caught a 
glimpse of their high peaks. 

The Canadian who counted upon putting his schemes into 
execution in the Gulf, either by reaching some land or hail- 
ing one of the numerous boats that coast from one island to 
another, was much put out. Flight would have been very 
practicable if Ned Land had been able to take possession of 
the boat without the knowledge of the captain. But in 
open ocean it was useless to think of it. 

The Canadian, Conseil, and I, had a rather long conversa- 
tion on this subject. We had been prisoners on board the 
Nautilus for six months. We had come 17,000 leagues 
and, as Ned Land said, there seemed no end to it. He 
therefore made me a proposal that I did not expect. It was 
to ask Captain Nemo, once and for all, if he meant to keep 
us indefinitely in his vessel. 

Such a proceeding was very repugnant to me, and I 
thought it useless. It was useless to expect anything from 


Captain Nemo, and we could only depend upon ourselves, 
Besides, for some time past, this man had become graver, 
more retiring, less social. He seemed to avoid me. I only 
met him at rare intervals. Formerly he took some pleasure 
in explaining the submarine marvels to me ; now he left 
me to my studies and came no more to the saloon. 

What change had come over him ? For what cause ? 
I had nothing to reproach myself with. Perhaps our pres- 
ence on board was a burden to him. However, I did not 
think he was a man to restore us to liberty. 

I therefore begged Ned Land to reflect well before act- 
ing. If what he did had no result, it would only excite 
suspicion and make our situation more painful. I may add 
we had nothing to complain about on the score of our 
health. If we except the rude shock it received under 
the southern ice-bank, we had never been better. The 
wholesome food, the salubrious atmosphere, the regular 
life, the uniformity of temperature, prevented illness, and 
for a man to whom the remembrance of earth left no 
regret, for a Captain Nemo in his own vessel, who goes 
where he likes either by mysterious means of conveyance 
for others and not for himself, and goes straight to his end, 
I understand such an existence. But we had not broken 
all ties that bound us to humanity. For my own part, I 
did not wish my curious and novel studies to be buried with 
me. I had now a golden opportunity of writing a true ac- 
count of the sea, and I wished for that account to appear 
sooner or later. 

Then again, in these seas of the Antilles, at five fathoms 
below the surface, what interesting products I had to signa- 
lise in my daily notes 1 There were, amongst other zoo- 
phytes, a sort of large oblong bladder, with the tints of 
mother-of-pearl, holding out their membranes to the wind, 
and letting their blue tentacles float after them like threads 
of silk charming to the eye, real nettles to the touch, that 
distil a corrosive fluid. There were also animals reminding 
me of the ringed earth-worm, five feet long, armed with a 
pink trumpet and provided with 1,700 locomotive organs 
that wind about under the water, and in passing throw out 
all the colours of the rainbow. There were in the fish 


category Malabar rays, enormous boneless fish ten feet long 
and weighing 600 pounds, with a triangular pectoral fin, 
the middle of the back slightly humped, the eyes fixed in 
the extremities of the face behind the head, and which, 
floating like some spar from a ship, struck on our window- 
pane like an opaque shutter. There were also American 
balistse, that Nature has only dressed in black and white ; 
gobies long and fleshy, with yellow fins and prominent jaws ; 
mackerel five feet long, with short pointed teeth, covered 
with little scales. Then in swarms appeared grey mullet, 
clothed in gold stripes from head to tail, turning their 
shining fins veritable masterpieces of jewellery formerly 
consecrated to Diana, particularly sought after by the rich 
Romans, and of which the proverb said " He who takes 
them does not eat them." Lastly, golden pomacanthes, 
ornamented with emerald bands, dressed in velvet and silk, 
passed before our eyes like Veronese seigniors ; spurred 
spars swimming away with their rapid pectoral fins ; clu- 
panodons, fifteen inches long, enveloped in their phosphores- 
cent gleams ; mullet beating the sea with their fat fleshy 
tails ; red coregonus seemed to cut the waves with their 
scythe-like fins ; and silver selenes, worthy of their name, 
rose on the horizon of the water like so many moons with 
whitish rays. 

What other marvellous and new specimens I might still 
have observed had not the Nautilus sunk into lower depths I 
Its inclined planes dragged it down to depths of between 
1,000 and 2,000 fathoms. 

On the 2oth of April we rose to an average depth of 700 
fathoms. The nearest land was then the archipelago of 
the Bahamas, scattered like a heap of stones on the surface 
of the sea. There rose high submarine cliffs, straight walls 
of corroded blocks, amongst which were black holes that 
our electric rays did not light up to their depths. 

These rocks were carpeted with large herbs, gigantic 
fucus, hydrophytes worthy of a world of Titans. 

It was about eleven o'clock when Ned Land attracted my 
attention to a formidable swarming that was going on in 
the large seaweed. 

" Well," said I, " those are veritable caverns of poulps, 


and I should not be astonished to see some of those mon- 

" What ! " ejaculated Conseil 

" Poulps of very large dimensions," I said. " But friend 
Land is doubtless mistaken, for I see nothing." 

" I am sorry for that," replied Conseil. " I should like to 
contemplate face to face one of those poulps I have heard so 
much talk about, that can drag ships down to the bottom 
of the sea. Those animals are called krakens." 

" No one will ever make me believe that such animals 
exist," said Ned Land. 

" Why not ? " answered Conseil. " We all believed in 
monsieur's monster whale." 

" We were wrong, Conseil." 

" Certainly, but others believe in it still." 

" That is probable, Conseil ; but, for my part, I am 
quite decided only to admit the existence of these monsters 
after I have dissected one with my own hand." 

" Then," asked Conseil, " monsieur does not believe in 
gigantic poulps ? " 

" Who the dickens does ? " cried the Canadian. 

" Many people, friend Ned." 

" No fishermen. Scientists do, perhaps." 

" Excuse me, Ned, both fishers and scientists. 

" But I myself," said Conseil seriously " I perfectly 
recollect having seen a large vessel being dragged under the 
waves by the arm of a cephalopod." 

" You have seen that ? " asked the Canadian. 

" Yes, Ned." 

" With your own eyes ? " 

" With my own eyes." 

" And where, pray ? " 

" At Saint Malo," replied Conseil coolly. 

" In the port ? " said Ned Land ironically. 

" No, in a church," answered Conseil. 

" In a church ! " exclaimed the Canadian. 

" Yes, friend Ned. It was a picture that represented the 
poulp in question." 

" Good ! " said Ned Land, laughing. " Conseil is trying 
to do me." 


" It is true what he says," I answered. " I have heard of 
the picture, but the subject it represents is taken from a 
legend, and you know what to think of legendary natural 
history. Besides, when monsters are in question imagina- 
tion always takes flight. Not only has it been said that 
these poulps could drag down ships, but a certain authority 
speaks of a cephalopod a mile long that looked more like an 
island than an animal. They relate also that a certain 
Bishop once raised an altar on an immense rock. His mass 
ended, the rock set out and returned to the sea. The rock 
was a poulp." 

" And is that all ? " asked the Canadian. 

" No," I replied. " Another bishop speaks of a poulp on 
which a regiment of cavalry could manoeuvre." 

" Bishops did not stick at much in those days," said Ned 

" Lastly, the naturalists of antiquity mention monsters, 
with mouths like a gulf, that were too large to pass through 
the Straits of Gibraltar." 

" That's something like ! " said the Canadian. 

" But in all such tales what truth is there ? "asked Conseil 

" None, my friends at least, none where the limit of pro" 
bability is passed and fable or legend begins. At all events* 
some cause or pretext must be assigned to the imagination 
of the story-tellers. It cannot be denied that poulps of 
very large size exist, but they are inferior to the cetaceans. 
Aristotle has stated the dimensions of a poulp as ten feet. 
Our fishers frequently see them six feet long. There are 
museums containing skeletons of poulps that measure six 
feet. Besides, according to the calculation of naturalists, one 
of these animals only six feet long has tentacles twenty-seven 
feet long. That would be enough to make a formidable 

" Are there any caught now ? " asked the Canadian. 

" If they are not caught, sailors see them. One of my 
friends, Captain Paul Bos, of Havre, has often affirmed to 
me that he had met with one of these colossal monsters 
in the Indian seas. But the most astonishing fact, 
which puts the existence of these gigantic animals beyond 
all doubt, occurred a few years ago in 1861." 


" What fact is that ? " asked Ned Land. 

" In 1861, in the north-east of Teneriffe, nearly in the same 
latitude as we are in now, the crew of the despatch-boat 
Alecton perceived a monstrous poulp swimming in its waters. 
The commander, Bouguer, approached the animal and 
attacked it with harpoons and cannon without much 
effect on the mountain of jelly. After several fruitless 
attempts the crew succeeded in throwing a running noose 
round the body of the mollusc ; this noose slipped down to 
the caudal fins and there stopped. They tried to haul the 
monster on board, but its weight was so great that the cord 
cut its tail from its body, and, deprived of that ornament, 
it disappeared under the water." 

" A fact at last," said Ned Land. 

" And an indisputable fact, Ned." 

" How long was it ? " asked the Canadian. 

" Did it not measure about eighteen feet ? " said Conseil, 
who, posted at the window, was again examining the forma- 
tion of the cliff. 

" Precisely," I replied. 

" Was not its head crowned with eight tentacles that 
moved about in the water like a nest of serpents ? " 

" Precisely." 

And were not its eyes prominent and very large ? " 

" Yes, Conseil." 

" And was not its mouth a veritable parrot's beak, but a 
formidable beak ? " 

" Yes, Conseil." 

" Well, then, if monsieur will please to come to the win- 
dow, he will see, if not the poulp in question, at least one of 
its brethren." 

I looked at Conseil. Ned Land rushed to the window. 

" The frightful animal ! " he cried. I looked in my turn, 
and could not restrain a movement of repulsion. Before 
my eyes was a monster worthy to figure in a legend. 

It was a poulp of colossal dimensions, at least thirty-two 
feet long. It was swimming backwards with extreme velo- 
city in the direction of the Nautilus. It was staring with 
its enormous green eyes ; its eight arms, or rather eight 
feet, starting from its head, which have given the name of 


" cephalopod " to this animal, were twice as long as its body, 
and twined about like the hair of the Furies. We could 
distinctly see the 250 blowholes on the inner side of the ten- 
tacles under the form of semispherical capsules. Sometimes 
these blowholes fastened themselves on to the pane and 
made a vacuum. The mouth of the monster a horned 
beak made like that of a parrot opened and shut vertically. 
Its tongue, a horny substance armed with several rows of 
sharp teeth, came quivering out of this veritable pair of 
shears. What a freak of Nature ! a bird's beak on a mol- 
lusc ! Its body, shaped like a spindle and larger in the 
middle, made a fleshy mass that must have weighed from 
40,000 to 50,000 Ibs. Its inconstant colour, changing with 
extreme rapidity according to the irritation of the animal, 
passed successively from livid grey to reddish brown. 

What had irritated this mollusc ? It was doubtless 
the presence of this Nautilus, more formidable than 
itself, upon which its suckers or mandibles had no hold. 
And yet what monsters these poulps are ! what vitality 
the Creator has endowed them with ! what vigour their 
three hearts impart to their movements ! 

Chance had brought us into the presence of this creature, 
and I would not lose the opportunity of carefully studying 
it. I overcame the horror with which its presence inspired 
me, and, taking a pencil, began to draw it. 

" Perhaps it is the same as the Alecton one," said Conseil. 

" No," answered the Canadian, " for this one is entire, 
and the other had lost its tail." 

" That would not be a reason," I replied. " The arms and 
tail of these animals grow again by redintegration, and in 
seven years the tail of the Alecton one has had plenty of 
time to grow." 

" Besides," replied Ned, " if it is not this one perhaps it is 
one of those 1 " 

In fact, other poulps had appeared at the port window. I 
counted seven. They formed a procession after the Nauti- 
lus, and I heard their beaks grating on the iron hull. We 
had plenty to choose from. 

I went on with my work. These monsters kept in our 
vicinity with such precision that they seemed motionless, 


and I could have drawn their outline on the window. Be- 
sides, we were going at a moderate speed. 

All at once the Nautilus stopped. A shock made ,it 
tremble in every joint. 

" Can we be stranded ? " I asked. 

" Any way," answered the Canadian, " we must be off 
again, for we are floating." 

The Nautilus was certainly floating, but it was not moving 
onwards. The branches of its screw were not beating the 
waves. A minute passed. Captain Nemo, followed by 
his first officer, came into the saloon. 

I had not seen him for some time ; he looked to me very 
gloomy. Without speaking to us, or, perhaps, even seeing 
us, he went to the panel, looked at the poulps, and said a few 
words to his officer. 

The latter went out. Soon the panels were closed. The 
ceiling was lighted up again. 

I went towards the captain. 

" A curious collection of poulps," I said in as indifferent 
a tone as an amateur might take before the crystal of an 

" Yes, professor," he replied, " and we are going to fight 
them face to face." 

I looked at the captain, thinking I had not rightly heard. 

" Face to face ? " I echoed. 

" Yes, sir. The screw is stopped. I think that the horny 
mandibles of one of them are caught in its branches. That 
prevents us moving on." 

" And what are you going to do ? " 

" Go up to the surface and massacre all that vermin.'* 

" A difficult enterprise." 

" As you say. The electric bullets are powerless against 
their soft flesh, and where they do not find enough resis- 
tance to make them go off. But we will attack them with 

" And with harpoons, sir," said the Canadian, " if you 
do not refuse my aid." 

" I accept, it, Mr. Land." 

" We will accompany you," said I, and following Captain 
Nemo, we went to the central staircase. 


There about ten men armed with boarding hatchets were 
standing ready for the attack. Conseil and I took two 
hatchets. Ned Land seized a harpoon. 

The Nautilus was then on the surface of the sea. One 
of the sailors, placed on the lowest steps, was unscrewing the 
bolts of the panel. But he had hardly finished before the 
panel was raised with extreme violence, evidently drawn up 
by a blowhole in the arm of a poulp. 

Immediately one of these long arms glided like a serpent 
through the opening, and twenty others were brandished 
above it. With a blow of the hatchet Captain Nemo cut 
off this formidable tentacle, which glided twisting down the 

At the moment we were crowding together to get up to 
the platform, two other arms stretched down to a sailor 
placed in front of Captain Nemo, and drew him up with 
irresistible violence. 

Captain Nemo uttered a cry and rushed out. We followed. 

What a scene ! The unhappy man, seized by the tentacle 
and fastened to its blowholes, was balanced in the air accord- 
ing to the caprice of this enormous trunk. He was chok- 
ing, and cried out, " Help 1 help ! " in French. The words 
caused me a profound stupor. Then I had a countryman 
on board, perhaps several I I shall hear that heartrend- 
ing cry all my life. 

The unfortunate man was lost. Who would rescue him 
from that powerful grasp ? Captain Nemo threw himself 
on the poulp, and with his hatchet cut off another arm. 
His first officer was fighting with rage against other mon- 
sters that were climbing the sides of the Nautilus. The crew 
were fighting with hatchets. 

The Canadian, Conseil, and I dug our arms into the 
fleshy masses. A violent smell of musk pervaded the 
atmosphere. It was horrible. 

For an instant I believed that the unfortunate man, en- 
circled by the poulp, would be drawn away from its power- 
ful suction. Seven of its eight arms had been cut off, one 
only brandishing its victim like a feather twisted about in 
the air. But at the very moment that Captain Nemo and his 
officer were rushing upon it, the animal hurled out a column 


of black liquid, secreted in a bag in its stomach. We were 
blinded by it. When this cloud was dissipated the poulp 
had disappeared, and with it my unfortunate countryman ! 

With what rage we then set upon these monsters ! Ten or 
twelve poulps had invaded the platform and sides of the 
Nautilus. We rolled pell-mell amongst the serpents' trunks 
that wriggled about the platform in pools of blood and black 
ink. It seemed as if the viscous tentacles kept springing 
out again like hydra heads. Ned Land's harpoon at each 
stroke plunged into the green eyes of the monster and put 
them out. But my brave companion was suddenly thrown 
over by one of the tentacles of a monster which he had not 
been able to avoid. 

Ah, how my heart beat with emotion and horror ! The 
poulp's formidable beak opened over Ned Land. The un- 
fortunate man was about to be cut in two. I rushed to his 
aid. But Captain Nemo was before me. His hatchet dis- 
appeared in the two enormous mandibles, and, miracu- 
lously preserved, the Canadian rose and plunged the whole 
of his harpoon into the poulp's triple heart. 

" We are quits," said Captain Nemo to the Canadian. 

Ned bowed without answering. 

This combat had lasted a quarter of an hour. The 
monsters, vanquished, mutilated, and death-striken, left the 
place clear at last, and disappeared under the waves. 

Captain Nemo, covered with blood, stood motionless near 
the lantern, and looked at the sea that had swallowed one of 
his companions, whilst tears rolled from his eyes. 



WE none of us can forget that terrible scene of April 2oth. 
I wrote it under the impression of violent emotion. Since 
then I have revised it and read it to Conseil and the Cana- 
dian. They find it exact as to facts, but insufficient as to 
effect. To depict such a scene it would take the pen of the 
most illustrious of our poets, Victor Hugo. 

I said that Captain Nemo wept as he looked at the sea. 
His grief was immense. It was the second companion he 


had lost since our arrival on board. And what a death 1 
This friend, crushed and stifled by the formidable arm of a 
poulp, ground to pieces by its iron mandibles, was not des- 
tined to repose with his companions in the peaceful waters of 
the coral cemetery. 

Amidst the struggle it was the cry of despair uttered by 
the unfortunate man that had wrung my heart. The poor 
Frenchman, forgetting his conventional language, had 
spoken the language of his country and his mother to 
utter his last appeal ! Then I had a countryman amongst 
the crew of the Nautilus, associated body and soul with 
Captain Nemo, avoiding, like him, contact with men ! 
Was he the only representative of France in this mysterious 
association, evidently composed of individuals of different 
nationalities ? This was one of the insoluble problems that 
ceaselessly came up in my mind. 

Captain Nemo went back to his room, and I saw him no 
more for some time. But how sad, despairing, and irreso- 
lute he was, I judged by the vessel of which he was the soul, 
and which was subservent to his will ! The Nautilus no 
longer kept any determined direction. It went and came, 
floating like a lifeless thing on the waves. Its screw was 
free again, but was little used. It went about at random. 
But it could not tear itself away from the theatre of its last 
struggle from that sea which had devoured one of its 

Ten days passed thus. It was not till the ist of May 
that the Nautilus frankly took a northerly direction after 
sighting the Bahamas at the opening of the Bahama Chan- 
nel. We were then following the current of that largest sea 
river, which has its own banks, fish, and temperature 
the Gulf Stream. 

It is, in fact, a river that flows freely in the midst of the 
Atlantic, and its waters do not mix with those of the ocean. 
It is a salt river salter than the surrounding sea. Its 
average depth is three thousand feet, its average breadth 
sixty miles. In certain places its current goes along at a 
speed of more than'a league an hour. The invariable volume 
of its water is more considerable than that of all the rivers 
of the globe. 


The veritable source of the Gulf Stream, discovered by 
Commander Maury, its point of departure, is situated in the 
Bay of Biscay. There its waters, still weak in temperature 
and colour, begin to form. It goes down south, coasts 
equatorial Africa, warms its waters in the rays of the torrid 
zone, crosses the Atlantic, reaches Cape San Roque on the 
Brazilian coast, and forms two branches, one of which goes 
to saturate the seas of the Antilles with its warm particles. 
Then the Gulf Stream, whose mission it is to re-establish 
equilibrium amongst different temperatures, and to mix the 
tropical with the boreal waters, begins its role of gravitation. 
Warmed to a white heat in the Gulf of Mexico, it rises north 
along the American coasts to Newfoundland, deviates under 
the propulsion of the cold current of Davis' Straits, takes 
up the ocean route, following one of the great circles of the 
globe, the oblique line, divides into two arms about the 43rd 
degree, one of which, helped by the trade wind from the 
north-east, comes back to the Bay of Biscay and the 
Azores, and the other, after having warmed the shores of 
Ireland and Norway, goes beyond Spitzbergen, where its 
temperature, fallen to four degrees, forms the open sea of the 

It was upon this river that the Nautilus was then navi- 
gating. When it comes out of the Bahama Channel, the 
Gulf Stream, then fourteen leagues wide and one hundred 
and fifty fathoms deep, goes along at the rate of five miles 
an hour. This rapidity gradually diminishes as it ad- 
vances northward, and it is to be wished that this regu- 
larity should keep up, for it has been remarked that if its 
speed and direction were changed, European climates 
would be subject to disturbances the consequences of which 
could not be calculated. 

About noon I was on the platform with Conseil. I was 
telling him the different peculiarities of the Gulf Stream. 
When my explanation was ended I invited him to plunge 
his hands into the stream. 

Conseil obeyed, and was much astonished at feeling no 
sensation either of heat or cold. 

" That comes," I said to him, " from the temperature of 
the Gulf Stream as it leaves the Gulf of Mexico being little 


different from that of blood. This Gulf Stream is a vast 
heating stove that gives eternal verdure to the coasts of 
Europe j and, if Maury is to be believed, the heat of this 
current, all utilised, would furnish enough to hold in fusion 
a river of melted iron as large as the Amazon or the Mis- 

At that moment the speed of the stream was that of five 
feet a second. Its current is so distinct from the surround- 
ing sea that its compressed waters rise above the level of 
the ocean. As it is very rich in saline particles, it is of a 
dark blue colour, while the waves that surround it are green. 
So distinct is this difference that the Nautilus, abreast of the 
Carolinas, cut with its prow the waters of the Gulf Stream, 
whilst its screw was still beating those of the ocean. 

This current carried down with it a world of living things. 
Argonauts, so common in the Mediterranean, travelled in it 
in shoals. Amongst the cartilaginous fish the most re- 
markable were the rays, of which the very flexible tails 
formed nearly a third of the body, and that were like vast 
lozenges twenty-five feet long j then dog-fish three feet 
long, with large heads, short round snouts, and pointed 
teeth in several rows, the bodies of which seemed covered 
with scales. 

Amongst the bony fish I noticed some grey wrass pecu- 
liar to these waters. Giltheads, whose eyes shone like 
fire j sawfish, paroquets, veritable rainbows of the ocean 
that rival the finest tropical birds in colour j different 
specimens of salmon j and a fine fish, the American-knight, 
which, decorated with numberless orders and ribbons, 
frequents the shores of the great nation where ribbons and 
orders are so slightly esteemed. 

I may add that during the night the phosphorescent 
waters of the Gulf Stream rivalled the electric brilliancy of 
our lantern j above all, in the stormy weather which threat- 
ened us frequently. 

On the 8th of May we were still abreast of Cape Hatteras, 
at the height of the North Carolinas. The Gulf Stream is 
seventy-five miles wide there, and one hundred and five 
fathoms deep. The Nautilus continued to move about at 
random. The vessel travelled as though it was without a 


man at the helm. I acknowledge that under those circum- 
stances an escape might succeed. In fact, the inhabited 
shores offered easy refuges on all sides. The sea was 
incessantly ploughed by numerous steamers that run be- 
tween New York or Boston and the Gulf of Mexico, and 
night and day by little schooners that do the coasting 
trade on the different points of the American coast. We 
might hope to be picked up. It was, therefore, a favourable 
opportunity, notwithstanding the thirty miles that separ- 
ated the Nautilus from the coasts of the Union. 

But one vexatious circumstance thwarted the Canadian's 
schemes. The weather was very bad. We were ap- 
proaching the regions where tempests are frequent, that 
country of gales and cyclones engendered by the current of 
the Gulf Stream. To tempt such a sea in a fragile boat 
was to court destruction. Ned Land agreed to that himself, 
but he was growing more desperate at his continued confine- 
ment, and nothing but flight could cure his homesick 

" Sir," said he to me that day, " there must be an end 
to this. I want to know how things stand. Your Nemo 
is going away from land, up north. But I declare to you 
that I have had enough of the South Pole, and I woo't 
follow him to the North Pole." 

" But what is to be done, Ned, as flight is impracticable 
just now ? " 

" I return to my first idea. The captain must be spoken 
to. You said nothing to him when he was in the seas of 
your country. I will speak now that we are in the seas of 
mine. When I think that before many days are over the 
Nautilus will be abreast of Nova Scotia, and that there, 
near Newfoundland, there is a wide bay, that into this bay 
the St. Lawrence falls, that the St. Lawrence is my river, 
the river of Quebec, my native town j when I think of 
that I am furious ; my hair stands on end. I tell you, sir, 
I would rather throw myself into the sea 1 I will not stay 
here ! I am stifled ! " 

The Canadian had evidently lost all patience. His 
vigorous nature could not get accustomed to this pro- 
longed imprisonment. His countenance grew daily worse, 



his temper more sullen. I could imagine the extent of his 
sufferings, for homesickness had seized me too. Nearly 
seven months had gone by since we had heard any news 
of earth. What is more, Captain Nemo's aloofness, his 
altered humour, especially since the fight with the poulps, 
his taciturnity, all made me see things in a different light. 
I no longer felt the enthusiasm of the first days. One must 
be a Dutchman like Conseil to accept the situation in this 
sphere reserved for cetaceans and other inhabitants of the 
sea. Really if the brave fellow had gills instead of lungs I 
think he would make a distinguished fish. 

" Well, sir ? " perse veringly queried Ned, seeing that I 
did not answer. 

" Well, Ned, you want me to ask Captain Nemo what his 
intentions are concerning us ? " 

' Yes, sir." 

' Although he has already told them to you ? " 

' Yes. I want to be certain about it, once and for all. 
Speak for me only if you like." 

' But I rarely meet him. He even avoids me." 

' A greater reason for going to see him." 

' I will ask him, Ned." 

' When ? " asked the Canadian, insisting. 

' When I meet him." 

' M. Aronnax, do you want me to go to him ? " 

' No, leave it to me. To-morrow " 

'To-day," said Ned Land. 

' Very well. I will see him to-day," replied I to the 
Canadian, who would have certainly compromised all by 
acting on his own account. 

I remained alone. Having given Ned the promise, I 
resolved to have it carried out immediately. I like things 
better done than about to be done. 

I entered my room. There I heard some one walking 
about in Captain Nemo's. I could not let this occasion of 
meeting him slip. I knocked at the door. I obtained no 
answer. Knocked again, and then turned the handle. The 
door opened, 

I entered. The captain was there. Bent over his work- 
table, he had heard nothing. Determined to have the 


necessary interview. I approached him. He raised his 
head suddenly, frowned, and said rather rudely 
' You here ? What do you want ? " 

" To speak to you, captain." 

" But I am occupied, sir. I am at work. The liberty 
I allow you to shut yourself up, may I not enjoy it also ? " 

My reception was not very encouraging, but I had made 
up my mind not to allow the postponement of my mission. 

" Captain," said I coldly, " I have to speak to you on 
business that I cannot put off." 

" What can that be, sir ? " he replied ironically. " Have 
you made some discovery that has escaped me ? Has the 
sea given up to you any fresh secret ? " 

That was far from the subject. Before I could make 
an explanation, the captain pointed to a manuscript on the 
table, and said in a grave tone 

" Here is a manuscript written in several languages, M. 
Aronnax. It contains the account of my studies on the 
sea, and, if God so please, it shall not perish with me. This 
manuscript, which will also give the complete history of 
my life, and which is signed with my proper name, will 
be inclosed in an insubmersible case. The last survivor of 
us all on board the Nautilus will throw this case into the 
sea, and it will go where the waves will carry it." 

The name of this man ! His history written by himself I 
Then the mystery that surrounds him will be one day re- 
vealed ? But at that moment I only saw in this communi- 
cation an opening for me. 

" Captain," I answered, " I can but approve the idea that 
influences you. The fruit of your studies must not be 
lost. But the means you employ seem to me very primi- 
tive. Who knows where the winds will carry that case, in 
what hands it will fall ? Could you not find some better 
means ? Could not you or one of yours " 

" Never, sir," said the captain, interrupting me. 

" But I and my companions will preserve your manu- 
script if you will give us liberty " 

" Liberty, sir ? " said Captain Nemo, rising. 

" Yes, captain, and that is the subject I wished to ask 
you about. We have now been seven months on your vessel, 


and I now ask you, in the name of my companions and 
myself, if you mean to keep us here always ? " 

" M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo, " I have only the 
same answer to give you that I gave you seven months ago. 
Whoever enters my vessel never leaves it again." 

" But that is slavery ! " 

" Call it by what name you please." 

" But everywhere a slave keeps the right of recovering 
his liberty ! Whatever means offer he has the right to 
consider them legitimate." 

" Who has denied you that right ? " answered Captain 
Nemo. " Have I ever asked you to bind yourself by an 
oath ? " 

The captain looked at me and folded his arms. 

" Sir," I said to him, " we shall neither of us care to 
return to this subject. But as we have begun it I must go 
on. To me study is a help, a powerful diversion, a passion 
that can make me forget anything. Like you, I could live 
ignored, obscure, in the hope of bequeathing to the future 
the result of my work, by means of a case confided to the 
mercies of waves and winds. In a word, I can admire you, 
follow you with pleasure in a role that I understand, up to a 
certain point } but there are other aspects of your life 
surrounded with complications and mysteries in which 
my companions and I alone have no part. And even when 
our hearts could beat for you, moved by your griefs, or 
stirred to the bottom by your acts of genius or courage, 
we are obliged to repress the least manifestation of sym- 
pathy that the "ight of what is beautiful and right arouses, 
whether it comes rom friend or enemy. It is this feeling of 
being strangers to everything that concerns you that makes 
our position unbearable, even for me, but much more for 
Ned Land. Every man, because he is man, is worth atten- 
tion. Have you ever asked yourself what the love of 
liberty and hatred of slavery might arouse in a nature like 
that of the Canadian, what he might think or attempt " 

I was silent. Captain Nemo rose. 

" It does not matter to me what Ned Land thinks or 
attempts. I did not take him j I do not keep him on 
board my vessel for my own pleasure. As to you, M 


Aronnax, you are one of the few people who can understand 
anything, even silence. I have nothing more to answer 
you. This first time that you come to speak on this subject 
must also be the last, for I cannot even listen to you again." 

I withdrew. From that day our position was clear. I 
related our conversation to my two companions. 

" We now know," said Ned Land, " that there is nothing 
to expect from that man. The Nautilus is approaching 
Long Island. We will escape, no matter what the weather 

But the sky became more and more threatening. Sym- 
toms of a hurricane became manifest. The atmosphere 
became white and misty. Fine streaks of tendril-shaped 
clouds were gradually being formed into one huge mass. 
Other low clouds swept swiftly by. The sea rose in huge 
billows. The birds disappeared, with the exception of 
petrels, those friends of the storm. The barometer fell 
visibly, and indicated an extreme tension of the vapours 
in the air. The mixture in the storm-glass was decomposed 
under the influence of the electricity which saturated the 
atmosphere. The struggle of the elements was approaching. 

The tempest broke out on the i8th of May, just as the 
Nautilus was floating abreast of Long Island, at some miles 
from the port of New York. I can describe this struggle 
of the elements, for instead of avoiding it in the depths of 
the sea, Captain Nemo, by an inexplicable caprice, pre- 
ferred to weather it on the surface. 

The wind was blowing from the S.W. at a speed of 45 
feet a second, which became 75 before 3 p.m. That is the 
figure of tempests. 

Captain Nemo, unshaken by the gale, had taken his place 
on the platform. He had fastened himself by a rope round 
his waist to resist the mountainous waves that swept over 
him. I had gone up and fastened myself too, dividing my 
admiration between this tempest and the incomparable 
man who defied it. 

The sea was swept by ragged clouds that dipped into the 
billows. I no longer saw any of the intermediary waves 
that form in the large hollows nothing but long undula- 
tions, the crest of which did not break into foam, so com- 


pact were they. Their height increased. The Nautilus 
sometimes lying on its side, sometimes as straight up as a 
mast, pitched and tossed frightfully. 

About 5 p.m. rain fell in torrents, which neither beat down 
wind nor sea. The hurricane blew at the rate of 40 miles 
an hour. It is in these conditions that it blows down houses, 
blows in tiles and doors, breaks iron gates, and displaces 
twenty-four-pound cannon. And yet the Nautilus, amidst 
the fury of the elements, justified this saying of a learned 
engineer " There is no well-built hull that cannot defy 
the sea ! " It was not a resisting rock which the waves 
would have demolished j it was a steel spindle, obedient 
and mobile, without rigging or masts, which could defy 
their lash with impunity. 

In the meantime I attentively examined these awe- 
inspiring billows. They were at least 45 feet high and 
250 feet long, and their speed, half that of the wind, was 
40 feet a second. Their volume and power increased with 
the depth of the water. I then understood the part these 
waves play, imprisoning the air and throwing it to the 
bottom of the seas, where they carry life with the oxygen. 
Their extreme force of pressure, it has been calculated, 
can rise to 6,000 Ibs. to each square foot of the surface that 
they beat against. They were such waves that in the 
Hebrides displaced a block weighing 84,000 Ibs., and in the 
tempest of December 23rd, 1864, overthrew a part of the 
town of Yeddo, in Japan, going at the rate of 700 kilometres 
an hour, and breaking the same day on the shores of 

The intensity of the tempest increased with nightfall, 
when I saw a large ship pass on the horizon, struggling 
painfully. It must have been one of the steamers of the 
lines between New York and Liverpool or Havre. It soon 
disappeared in the darkness. 

At 10 p.m. the sky was all on fire. The atmosphere was 
streaked with violent lightning. I could not face its 
brilliancy, whilst Captain Nemo, looking straight at it, 
seemed the soul of the tempest. A terrible noise filled the 
air, made by the waves, wind, and thunder. The wind 
veered to all parts of the horizon, and the cyclone, starting 


from the east, returned to it, passing north, west, and south 
in the opposite directions to the circular tempests of the 
austral hemisphere. 

Ah ! this Gulf Stream ! Well did it justify its name of 
King of the Tempests ! These formidable cyclones were its 
creation, caused by the difference of temperature in the 
strata of air above its currents. 

To the shower of rain succeeded vivid lightning. With 
a frightful pitch the 'Nautilus threw up its steel prow into 
the air like a lightning-conductor, and I saw it give out 
sparks. Completely worn out, I crawled on all-fours to- 
wards the panel. I opened it and went down to the saloon. 
The tempest had then attained its maximum of intensity. 
It was impossible to keep on one's feet in the interior of the 

Captain Nemo came in about midnight. I heard the 
reservoirs gradually filling, and the Nautilus slowly sank 
under the water. 

Through the windows of the saloon I saw large frightened 
fish pass like phantoms in the fiery waters. Some were 
struck by lightning before my eyes. 

The Nautilus still sank. I thought it would find calm 
water at a depth of eight fathoms ; but no, the surface was 
too violently agitated. We were obliged to sink to twenty- 
five fathoms to find rest. 

But there, what tranquillity ! what silence ! what a peace- 
ful medium ! Who would have said that a terrible tempest 
was going on upon the surface of that same ocean ? 



THE storm had thrown us eastward once more. All hope 
of escaping on the shores of New York or the St. Lawrence 
had vanished. Poor Ned, in despair, shut himself up like 
Captain Nemo. Conseil and I left each other no more. 
I ought rather to have given N.E. as the direction of the 
Nautilus, to be more exact. For some days it drifted about, 


sometimes on the surface, sometimes beneath it, amid those 
fogs so dreaded by sailors. What accidents are due to thick 
fogs ! What shocks upon the reefs when the noise of the 
wind is louder than the breaking of the waves ! What 
collisions between vessels, notwithstanding the fog-signals 
and alarm-bells ! 

The bottom of these seas looked like a battle-field where 
still lay all the ocean's victims some already old and in- 
crusted, some yellow and reflecting the light of our lantern 
on their iron and copper hulls. Amongst them lay many 
vessels lost with all hands crews and emigrants on the 
dangerous points signalled in their statistics, Cape Race, 
Saint Paul Island, Strait of Belle Isle, the estuary of the 
St. Lawrence. Many victims have been added to the 
gloomy list within several years only from the lines of the 
Royal Mail, Inman, and Montreal. The Solway, Isis, 
Paramatta, Hungarian, Canadian, Anglo-Saxon, Humboldt, 
United States, all sunk. The Arctic, Lyonnaise, sunk by 
collision. The President, Pacific, City of '.^Glasgow, disap- 
peared from unknown causes. The Nautilus went on amidst 
these gloomy remains as if passing the dead in review. 

On the i5th of May we were at the southern extremity of 
Newfoundland Bank. This bank is formed of alluvia, or 
large heaps of organic matter, brought either from the 
equator by the Gulf Stream or from the North Pole by the 
counter-current of cold water that skirts the American 
coast. There also are piled those erratic blocks of stone 
carried down by the breaking up of the ice. And it is also 
a vast charnel-house of molluscs and zoophytes, which perish 
there by millions. 

The depth of the sea is not great on Newfoundland Bank 
a few hundred fathoms at most. But towards the south is 
a depression of 1,500 fathoms. There the Gulf Stream 
widens. It loses speed and heat and becomes a sea. 

It was upon this inexhaustible Newfoundland Bank 
that I surprised cod in its favourite waters. 

It may be said that cod are mountain-fish, for Newfound- 
land is only a submarine mountain. As the Nautilus 
moved through the thick shoals of them Conseil said 

" Those cod ! I thought cod were as flat as soles." 


" They are only flat at the grocer's," said I, " where they 
are open and dried. But in water they are like mullet, 
and shaped for speed." 

" What a lot of them ! " said Conseil. 

" There would be more but for their enemies sharks 
and men ! Do you know how many eggs there are in a 
single female ? " 

" I'll guess well," answered Conseil j " five hundred thou- 
sand ! " 

" Eleven millions, my friend." 

" Eleven millions 1 I will never believe that till I count 
them myself." 

" Count them, Conseil, but it will be quicker work to 
believe me. Besides, the French, English, Americans, 
Danes, and Norwegians catch cod by thousands. A prodi- 
gious quantity of them is consumed, and if they were not 
so astonishingly fertile the seas would soon be cleared of 
them. In England and America only, 5,000 ships, manned 
by 75,000 sailors, are employed in the cod fisheries. Each 
ship brings in an average of 40,000, which makes 25,000,000. 
On the coasts of Norway the same result." 

" I have confidence in monsieur," said Conseil j " I will 
not count them." 

" Count what ? " 

" The eleven millions of eggs. But I must make one 

" What ? " 

" Why, if all the eggs bore, four cods would be enough to 
feed England, America, and Norway. " 

Whilst we were on Newfoundland Bank I saw the long 
lines, armed with two hundred hooks, which each boat 
hangs out by dozens. Each line had a little grappling- 
iron at one end, and was fastened to the surface by a buoy- 
rope, the buoy being made of cork. The Nautilus had 
to be skilfully steered amidst this submarine network. 

However, it did not stay long in these frequented regions. 
It went northwards to the 42nd degree of latitude. It was 
abreast of Saint John's, in Newfoundland, and Heart's 

The Nautilus, instead of keeping to its course northward, 


took an easterly direction as if to follow the telegraphic 
plateau on which the cable lies, and of which the multiplied 
soundings have given the exact plan. 

It was on the iyth of May, at about 500 miles from Heart's 
Content, and at a depth of 1,400 fathoms, that I saw the 
cable lying on the ground. Conseil, whom I had not told 
about it, took it for a gigantic serpent, and prepared to 
classify it according to his usual method. But I consoled 
the worthy fellow, and by way of assurance told him various 
particulars about the laying down of the cable. 

The first cable was laid during the years 1857 and 1858 j 
but, after having transmitted about four hundred telegrams, 
it ceased to act. In 1863 the engineers manufactured a new 
cable, measuring 2,000 miles in length and weighing 4,500 
tons, which was embarked on board the Grea* Eastern. 
This attempt also failed. 

Now on the 25th of May the Nautilus, at a depth of 190 
fathoms, was in the exact place where the rupture occurred 
that ruined the enterprise. It was at 638 miles from the 
Irish coast. It was perceived at 2 p.m. that communication 
with Europe was interrupted. The electricians on board 
resolved to cut the cable in order to haul it up again, and 
at ii p.m. they had brought in the damaged part. They 
made a joint, and spliced it, and it was once more sub- 
merged. But a few days later it broke, and could not be 
found again in the depths of the ocean. 

The Americans were not discouraged. The daring Cyrus 
Field, the promoter of the enterprise, who had risked all his 
fortune in it, raised a fresh subscription. It was immedi- 
ately taken up. Another cable was laid under better 
conditions. The conducting-wires were enveloped in gutta- 
percha and protected by a wadding of hemp contained in 
metal armour. The Great Eastern set out with it again on 
the I3th of July, 1866. 

The operation went on well. However, one hitch oc- 
curred. Several times, whilst unrolling the cable, the 
electricians observed that nails had recently been driven into 
it in order to spoil the wire. Captain Anderson, his officers 
and engineers, met, deliberated, and caused it to be adver- 
tised that, if the culprit were caught on board, he should 


be thrown into the sea without further judgment. After 
that the criminal attempt was not repeated. 

On the 23rd of July the Great Eastern was not more than 
five hundred miles from Newfoundland when the news of 
the armistice between Prussia and Austria, after Sadowa, 
was telegraphed to it. On the 27th it sighted, through the 
fog, the port of Heart's Content. The enterprise was 
happily terminated, and in the first despatch young America 
telegraphed to old Europe these wise words, so rarely 
understood : " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth 
peace, goodwill towards men." 

I did not expect to find the electric cable in its original 
state as it came from the manufactories. It looked like a 
serpent and was so thickly covered with shells, that it was 
protected against perforating molluscs. It was lying un- 
disturbed, sheltered from the movements of the sea, and 
under a pressure favourable to the transmission of the 
electric spark, which passes from America to Europe in 
32 of a second. The duration of this cable will, doubtless, 
be infinite, for it has been remarked that its gutta-percha 
envelope is improved by the sea-water. 

Besides, on this plateau, so happily chosen, the cable is 
never submerged at such depths as to cause it to break. 
The Nautilus followed it to its greatest depth, in about 
2,200 fathoms, and there it lay without any effort of traction. 
Then we approached the place where the accident took 
place in 1863. 

The bottom of the sea there formed a wide valley on 
which Mont Blanc might rest without its summit emerging 
above the waves. This valley is closed on the east by a 
precipitous wall 6,000 feet high. We reached it on the 
28th of May, when the Nautilus was not more than 120 
miles from Ireland. 

Was Captain Nemo going north to coast the British 
Isles ? No. To my great surprise he went southward 
again and returned to European seas. Whilst rounding 
the Emerald Isle I caught a glimpse of Cape Clear and 
Fastnet Beacon, which lights the thousands of vessels from 
Glasgow to Liverpool. 

An important question then occurred to me. Would 


the Nautilus dare to enter the English Channel ? Ned 
Land, who had reappeared since we were near land, ques- 
tioned me constantly. How could I answer him ? Cap- 
tain Nemo remained invisible. After having allowed the 
Canadian a glimpse of the American shores, was he going 
to show me those of France ? 

The Nautilus still went southward. On the 30th of 
May we sighted Land's End, between the extreme point of 
England and the Scilly Isles, which were left to starboard. 

If the vessel was going to enter the Channel it must go 
direct east. It did not do so. 

During the whole of the 3ist of May the Nautilus de- 
scribed a series of circles on the water that greatly interested 
me. It seemed to be seeking a spot there was some difficulty 
in finding. At noon Captain Nemo came to take the bear- 
ings himself. He did not speak to me, and seemed gloomier 
than ever. What could sadden him thus ? Was it his 
proximity to European shores ? Was it some memory of 
the country he had abandoned ? What was it he felt, 
remorse or regret ? For a long time this thought haunted 
my mind, and I felt a kind of presentiment that before long 
chance would reveal the captain's secrets. 

The next day, the ist of June, the Nautilus continued 
the same manoeuvres. It was evidently trying to find a 
precise point in the ocean. Captain Nemo came to take 
the sun's altitude like he did the day before. The sea was 
calm, the sky pure. Eight miles to the east a large steam- 
ship appeared on the horizon. No flag fluttered from its 
mast, and I could not find out its nationality. 

Some minutes before the sun passed the meridian Cap- 
tain Nemo took his sextant and made his observation with 
extreme precision. The absolute calm of the waters facili- 
tated the operation. The motionless Nautilus neither 
pitched nor rolled. 

At that moment I was upon the platform. When the cap- 
tain had taken his observation he pronounced these words: 

" It is here ! " 

He went down through the panel. Had he seen the 
ship that had tacked about, and seemed to be bearing down 
upon us ? I cannot tell. 


I returned to the saloon. The panel was shut, and I 
heard the water hissing into the reservoirs. The Nautilus 
began to sink vertically, its screw was stopped, and com- 
municated no movement to it. 

A few minutes later it stopped at a depth of 418 fathoms, 
and rested on the ground. 

The luminous ceiling of the saloon was then extinguished, 
the panels were opened, and through the windows I saw 
the sea lighted up within a radius of half-a-mile by our 
electric lantern. 

I looked through the larboard window and saw nothing 
but an expanse of tranquil water. 

On the starboard appeared a large protuberance which 
attracted my attention. It looked like a ruin buried under 
a crust of white shells like a mantle of snow. Whilst 
attentively examining this mass I thought I recognised the 
swollen outlines of a ship, cleared of her masts, that must 
have gone down prow foremost. The disaster must have 
taken place at a distant epoch. This wreck, incrusted with 
lime, had been lying many years at the bottom of the ocean. 

What was this ship ? Why did the Nautilus come to 
visit its tomb ? Was it only a wreck that had drawn the 
Nautilus under water ? 

I did not know what to think, when, near me, I heard 
Captain Nemo say in a slow voice 

" Once that ship was called the Marseillais. It carried 
seventy-four guns, and was launched in 1762. In 1778, 
on the I3th of August, commanded by La Polype- Vertrieux 
it fought daringly against the Preston. In 1779, on the 
4th of July, it assisted the squadron of the Admiral d'Es- 
taing to take Granada. In 1781, on the 5th of Septem- 
ber, it took part in the naval battle of Chesapeake Bay. 
In 1794 the French Republic changed its name. On the 
i6th of April of the same year it joined at Brest the squad- 
ron of Villaret-Joyeuse as escort to a cargo of wheat 
coming from America under the command of Admiral Van 
Stabel. On the nth and I2th prairial, year II., this 
squadron encountered the English vessels. Sir, to-day 
is the isth prairial, the ist of June, 1868. It is 74 years 
ago to-day, that in this same place, this ship, after an heroic 


fight, dismasted, the water in her hold, the third of her 
crew disabled, preferred to sink with her 356 sailors than 
to surrender, and, nailing her colours to her stern, disap- 
peared under the waves to the cry of ' Vive la Republique ! " 
(Carlyle says " This enormous inspiring feat turns out 
to be an enormous inspiring nonentity, extant nowhere 
save as falsehood in the brain of Barrere 1 ") 

" The Vengeur I " I exclaimed. 

" Yes, sir. The Vengeur ! A glorious name 1 " mur- 
mured the captain as he folded his arms. 



THE unexpectedness of this scene and the way it was 
spoken of, the account of the patriotic ship, given coldly 
at first, and then the emotion with which the strange 
person had uttered his last words, this name of Vengeur, 
the signification of which could not escape me, all struck 
my imagination profoundly. My eyes no longer left the 
captain. He, with hands stretched out to the sea, was 
looking with ardent eyes at the silent wreck. Perhaps I 
never was to know who he was, from whence he came, 
whither he was going, but I saw the man separate himself, 
more and more from the world of science. It was not a 
vulgar misanthropy that had inclosed Captain Nemo and 
his companions in the sides of the Nautilus, but a monstrous 
or sublime hatred that time could not exhaust. 

Did this hatred still seek vengeance ? The future was 
soon to tell me that. 

In the meantime the Nautilus was slowly ascending to 
the surface of the sea, and I saw the confused outlines of the 
Vengeur gradually disappear. Soon a slight pitching told 
me we were floating in the open air. 

At that moment a dull detonation was heard. I looked 
at the captain, but he did not stir. 

" Captain ? " I said. 

He did not answer. 

I left him and went up on to the plaftorm. Conseil and 
the Canadian had preceded me there, 


" What was that noise ? " I asked. 

" A gunshot," answered Ned Land. 

I looked in the direction of the ship I had perceived 
before. She had neared the Nautilus, and was putting on 
more steam. Six miles separated us from her. 

" What vessel is that, Ned ? " 

" By her rigging and the height of her low masts," 
answered the Canadian, " I bet she's a war-ship. I hope 
she'll come and sink us, if necessary, along with this con- 
founded Nautilus." 

" What harm can she do the Nautilus, friend Ned ? " 
said Conseil. " Can she attack it under the waves ? Will 
she cannonade it at the bottom of the sea ? " 

" Can you tell me her nationality, friend Ned ? " I asked. 

The Canadian knit his brow, screwed up his eyes, and 
fixed the whole power of his eyes on to the ship. 

" No, sir," he answered. " I cannot find out to what 
nation she belongs. Her colours are not hoisted. But 
I can affirm that she is a ship-of-war, for a long pendant 
is floating from her mainmast." 

For a quarter of an hour we went on looking at the ship 
that was bearing down upon us. Still I did not think she 
had sighted the Nautilus at that distance, still less did she 
know what it was. 

The Canadian soon announced that this vessel was a 
large warship, a two-decker, and an ironclad with a ram. 

Thick black smoke was issuing from her two funnels. Her 
reefed sails could not be distinguished from her yards. She 
bore no colours. Distance prevented us making out the col- 
our of her pendant, which streamed like a'narrow ribbon. 

She was rapidly approaching. If Captain Nemo allowed 
her to come near it would offer us a chance of escape. 

" Sir," said Ned Land to me, " if that ship passes within 
a mile of us I shall throw myself into the sea, and I advise 
you to do the same." 

I did not answer the Canadian's proposition, and went on 
looking at the ship, which grew gradually larger. Whether 
she were English, French, American, or Russian, she would 
certainly take us in if we could reach her. 

'' Monsieur will please to remember that we have had 


some experience in swimming. He can leave me the 
care of towing him towards the ship if it suits him to follow 
Ned," said Conseil. 

I was going to answer when some white smoke issued from 
the prow of the vessel. Then, a few seconds afterwards, 
the water aft of the Nautilus was thrown up by the fall of 
some heavy body. In a short time we heard the report. 

" Why, they are firing at us ! " I exclaimed. 

" Good people ! " muttered the Canadian. " Then they 
do not take us for shipwrecked men on a raft ! " 

" If monsieur will allow me to say so, that's right," said 
Conseil, shaking off the water that another shot had 
sprinkled him with. " If monsieur will allow me to say so, 
they have sighted the monster whale, and are firing at it." 

" But they must see that they have men to deal with ! " I 

" Perhaps that is the reason," answered Ned Land, look- 
ing at me. 

Quite a revelation was made in my mind. They doubtless 
knew now what to think about the existence of the supposed 
monster. Doubtless Captain Farragut had found out that 
the Nautilus was a submarine boat, and more dangerous 
than a supernatural monster when it struck against the 
Abraham Lincoln. 

Yes, it must be so, and they were doubtless pursuing the 
terrible engine of destruction in every sea. 

Terrible if, as might be supposed, Captain Nemo was 
employing the Nautilus in a work of vengeance. During 
that night when he had imprisoned us in the cell, in the 
Indian Ocean, had he not attacked some ship ? The man 
now interred in the coral cemetery, was he not a victim of 
the shock provoked by the Nautilus ? Yes, I repeat, it 
must be so. A part of the mysterious existence of Captain 
Nemo was revealed. And if his identity was not found out, 
at least nations were in arms against him, chasing now no 
chimerical being, but a man who had vowed them implac- 
able hatred 1 

All the formidable past appeared before my eyes. In- 
stead of meeting with friends on the ship that was approach- 
ing, we should only find oitiless enemies. 


In the meantime cannon-balls were whizzing about us. 
Some, meeting the liquid surface, ricochetted to consider- 
able distances. But none reached the Nautilus. 

The ironclad was then not more than three miles off. 
Notwithstanding the violent cannonade, Captain Nemo 
did not make his appearance on the platform. And yet 
if one of these cannon balls had struck the hull of the 
Nautilus in a mormal line it would have been disastrous 
to it 

The Canadian then said to me 

" Sir, we ought to attempt anything to get out of this. 
Let us make signals ! A thousands devils ! They will 
perhaps understand that we are honest men ! " 

Ned Land took out his handkerchief to wave it in the 
air. But he had hardly spread it out than, floored by a 
grasp of iron, notwithstanding his prodigious strength, he 
fell on the platform. 

" Wretch ! " cried the captain. " Do you want me to nail 
you to the ram of the Nautilus before it rushes against that 
ship ? " 

Captain Nemo, terrible to hear, was still more terrible to 
behold. His face had grown pale under the spasms of his 
heart, which must for an instant have ceased to beat. The 
pupils of his eyes were fearfully contracted. His voice 
no longer spoke, it roared. With body bent forward, he 
shook the Canadian by the shoulders. 

Then leaving him, and turning to the ironclad, whose 
shots rained round him, he said 

" Ah ! you know who I am, ship of a cursed nation ! " 
cried he in a powerful voice. " I do not need to see your 
colours to recognise you ! Look, I will show you mine ! " 

And Captain Nemo spread out a black flag along the 
platform like the one he had planted at the South Pole. 

At that moment a projectile struck the hull of the 
Nautilus obliquely, and, ricochetting near the captain, fell 
into the sea. 

Captain Nemo shrugged his shoulders. Then, speaking to 

" Go down," he said in a curt tone " go down, you and 
your companions." 


" Sir," I cried, " are you going to attack that ship ? " 

" Sir, I am going to sink it ! " 

" You wiU not do that." 

" I shall do it ! " replied Captain Nemo. " Do not take 
upon yourself to judge me, sir. Fate has shown you what 
you were not to see. The attack has been made. The 
repulse will be terrible. Go down below." 

" What is that ship ? " 

" You do not know ? Well, so much the better 1 Its 
nationality, at least, will remain unknown to you. Go 

The Canadian, Conseil, and I were obliged to obey. 
About fifteen of the Nautihts's crew had surrounded the 
captain, and were looking with an implacable feeling of 
hatred at the ship that was advancing towards them. It 
was evident that the same feeling of vengeance animated 
them all. 

I went down as another projectile struck the Nautilus, and 
I heard its captain exclaim 

" Strike, mad vessel ! Shower your useless shot ! You 
will not escape the ram of the Nautilus ! But this is not 
the place you are to perish in ! Your ruins shall not mix 
with those of the Vengeur ! " 

I went to my room. The captain and his officer re- 
mained on the platform. The screw was put in movement. 
The Nautilus speedily put itself out of range of the ship. 
But the pursuit went on, and Captain Nemo contented 
himself with keeping his distance. 

About 4 p.m. I became unbearably impatient and 
returned to the central staircase. The panel was opened. 
I ventured on to the platform. The captain was walking 
along it with an agitated air. He was looking at the vessel 
which was lying five or six miles to leeward. Perhaps he 
hesitated to attack her. 

I wished to intervene once again. But I had hardly 
spoken to Captain Nemo when he imposed silence on me, 

" I represent right and justice here I I am the oppressed, 
and there is the oppressor ! It is through it that all I 
loved, cherished, and venerated country, wife, children, 


father and mother all perished ! All that I hate is there J 
Be silent ! " 

I looked for the last time at the ironclad, which was 
putting on more steam. Then I went back to Ned and 

" We must fly ! " I cried. 

" Well," said Ned, " what ship is it ? " 

" I do not know. But whatever it is it will be sunk 
before night. In any case it is better to perish also than 
to be the accomplices of an act, the justice of which we 
cannot judge." 

" I think so too," answered Ned coldly. " We must 
wait till night." 

Night came. Profound silence reigned on board. The 
compass indicated that the Nautilus had not changed its 
direction. I heard its screw beating the waves with rapid 
regularity. It kept on the surface of the water, and a slight 
rolling sent it from side to side. 

My companions and I had resolved to make a dash from 
the Nautilus as soon as those on the battleship had ap- 
proached near enough to hear or see us. Once on board 
the ship, if we could not prevent the blow that threatened her, 
we could at least do our utmost to prevent a catastrophe. I 
thought several times that the Nautilus was preparing for 
the attack. But it contented itself with allowing its 
adversary to approach, and a short time afterwards fled 
away again. 

A part of the night passed without incident. We were 
awaiting an opportunity to act. We spoke little, being 
too much excited. Ned Land wanted to throw himself into 
the sea. I made him wait. I thought the Nautilus would 
attack the two-decker on the surface of the sea, and then 
it would not only be possible but easy to escape. 

At 3 a.m., being as uneasy as ever, I went up on to the 
platform. Captain Nemo had notleft it. He was standing, 
near his flag, which a slight breeze was waving over his head. 
He did not lose sight of his antagonist. His look of extra- 
ordinary intensity, seemed to attract her, fascinate her, and 
draw her onward more surely than if he had been towing 


The moon was then passing the meridian. Jupiter was 
rising in the east. Sky and ocean were equally tranquil, 
and the sea offered to the Queen of Night the clearest 
mirror that had ever reflected her image. 

And when I compared the profound calm of the elements 
with the anger that was smouldering in the Nautilus I felt 
myself shudder all over. 

The ship kept at two miles' distance from us. She kept 
approaching the phosphorescent light that indicated the 
presence of the Nautilus. I could see her green and red 
lights and white lantern hung from her mainstay. An 
indistinct reflection lighted up her rigging and showed that 
the fires were heated to the uttermost. Sparks and flames 
were escaping from her funnels and starring the atmosphere. 

I remained thus till 6 a.m. without Captain Nemo appear- 
ing to notice me. The vessel was a mile and a half off, and 
with the break of day her cannonade began again. The 
moment could not be distant when, the Nautilus attacking 
its adversary, my companions and I would for ever leave 
this man whom I dared not judge. 

I was about to go down to tell them about it when the 
officer came up on the platform. Several sailors accom- 
panied him. Captain Nemo either did not or would not 
see them. Certain precautions were taken, which might be 
called the clearing up for the fight. They were very 
simple. The iron balustrade was lowered. The lantern 
and pilot-cages were sunk into the hull until they were on a 
level with the deck. The surface of the long steel-plated 
cigar no longer offered a single salient point that could 
hinder its manoeuvres. 

I returned to the saloon. The Nautilus was still above the 
water. Some morning beams were filtering through their 
liquid bed. Under certain undulations of the waves the 
windows were lighted up with the red beams of the rising 
sun. The dreadful 2nd of June had dawned. 

At 5 a.m. the log showed me that the speed of the 
Nautilus was slackening. I understood that it was letting 
the ship approach. Besides, the firing was more distinctly 
heard, and the projectiles, ploughing up the surrounding 
water, disappeared with a strange hissing noise. 


" My friends," said I, " the time is come. One grasp of 
the hand, and may God help us ! " 

Ned Land was resolute, Conseil calm, I nervous, scarcely 
able to contain myself. 

We all passed into the library. As I was opening the 
door that led on to the cage of the central staircase I heard 
the upper panel shut with a bang. 

The Canadian sprang up the steps, but I stopped him. 
A well-known hissing sound told me that they were letting 
water into the reservoirs. In a few minutes' time the 
Nautilus sank a few yards below the surface of the sea. 

I now understood its manoeuvre. It was too late to do 
anything. The Nautilus did not think of striking the two- 
decker in her impenetrable armour, but below her water- 
line, where she was unprotected by plates of steel. 

We were again imprisoned, unwilling witnesses of the 
tragic event that was in store. We had hardly time to 
reflect. Taking refuge in my room, we looked at each 
other without speaking a word. A profound stupor took 
possession of my mind. My thoughts seemed to be para- 
lysed. I was in that painful state of expectation that 
precedes a dreadful crash. I waited and listened. 

In the meantime the speed of the Nautilus visibly in- 
creased. It was taking a spring. All its hull vibrated. 

Suddenly I uttered a cry. A shock had taken place, but a 
relatively slight one. I felt the penetrating force of the 
steel ram. I heard a grating, scraping sound. But the 
Nautilus, carried along by its force of propulsion, passed 
through the mass of the ship like a needle through cloth. 

I could stand it no longer. I rushed like a madman into 
the saloon. 

Captain Nemo was there. Mute, sombre, implacable, he 
was looking through the port panel. 

An enormous mass was sinking through the water, and, 
in order to lose nothing of its agony, the Nautilus was 
sinking with it. At thirty feet from me I saw the broken 
hull, into which the water was rushing with a noise like 
thunder, then the double line of guns and bulwarks. The 
deck was covered with black moving shades. 

The water rose. The unfortunate creatures were crowd- 


ing in the ratlines, clinging to the masts, struggling in the 
water. It was a human ant-hill being swallowed by the 
sea ! 

Paralysed, stiffened with anguish, my hair standing on 
end, eyes wide open, panting, breathless, voiceless, I looked 
on the scene. An irresistible attraction glued me to the 

The enormous ship sank slowly. The Nautilus, follow- 
ing her, watched all her movements. All at once an 
explosion took place. The compressed air blew up the 
decks of the ship as though her magazines had been fired. 
The water was so much disturbed that the Nautilus swerved. 

Then the unfortunate ship sank more rapidly. Her 
tops, loaded with victims, appeared ; then her spars, 
bending under the weight of men ; then the summit of her 
mainmast. Then the dark mass disappeared, and with it 
the crew, drawn down by a formidable eddy. 

I turned to Captain Nemo. That terrible avenger, a 
perfect archangel of hatred, was still looking. When all 
was over he went to the door of his room, opened it, and 
went in. I followed him with my eyes. 

On the end panel, below his heroes, I saw the portrait of a 
woman still young, and two little children. Captain Nemo 
looked at them for a few moments, held out his arms to 
them, and, kneeling down, burst into sobs. 



THE panels were closed on this frightful act, but light 
had not been restored to the saloon. In the interior of 
the Nautilus reigned darkness and silence. It was leaving 
this place of desolation, a hundred feet under the water, at 
a prodigious speed. Where was it going north or south ? 
Where was the man flying to after this horrible slaughter ? 

I went back to my room, where Ned and Conseil had 
silently stopped. I felt an insurmountable horror of 
Captain Nemo. Whatever he may have suffered he had no 


right to punish thus. He had made me, if not his accom- 
plice, at least the witness of his vengeance ! That was too 
much ! 

At eleven o'clock the electric light reappeared. I went 
into the saloon and consulted the different instruments. 
The Nautilus was flying north at a speed of twenty-five 
miles an hour, sometimes on the surface of the sea, some- 
times thirty feet below it. 

By taking our bearings on the chart I saw that we were 
passing the entrance to the English Channel, and that we 
were going to the North seas at a frightful speed. 

I could hardly see in thsir rapid passage the long-nosed 
dog-fish, hammer-fish, and rougettes that frequent these 
waters ; large sea-eagles, eels twisting about like fiery 
serpents, armies of crabs flying obliquely, folding their 
claws across their shells ; lastly, shoals of herrings rivalling 
the Nautilus in speed. But there was no question of 
observing, studying, and classifying them. 

In the evening we had traversed two hundred leagues of 
the Atlantic. Night came, and the sea was dark till the 
moon rose. 

I went to my room, but could not sleep. I was assailed by 
nightmare. The horrible scene of destruction was repeated 
in my mind. 

From that day who could tell where the Nautilus took 
us in this North Altantic basin ? Always with terrific 
speed. Always amidst the cold, northern mists. Did it 
touch at Spitzbergen or the shores of Nova Zembla ? 
Did we explore the unknown White Sea, Kara Sea, Gulf of 
Obi, Archipelago of Liarrov, and the unknown coast of 
Asia ? I cannot tell. I do not even know how the time 
went. The clocks on board had stopped. It seemed 
as if night and day, as in polar countries, no longer followed 
their regular course. I felt myself carried into that region 
of the strange where the overridden imagination of Edgar 
Poe roamed at will. At each instant I expected to see, like 
the fabulous Gordon Pym, " that veiled human face, of 
much larger proportions than that of any inhabitant of the 
earth, thrown across the cataract that defends the approach 
to the Pole ?" 


I estimate but perhaps I am mistaken that this adven 
turous course of the Nautilus lasted fifteen or twenty days, 
and I do not know how long it would have lasted but for the 
catastrophe that ended this voyage. Captain Nemo never 
appeared, nor his officer. Not a man of the crew was 
visible for an instant. The Nautilus kept below the water 
almost incessantly. When it went up to the surface to renew 
the air, the panels opened and shut mechanically. The 
bearings were no longer reported on the chart. I did not 
know where we were. 

I must say also that the Canadian, out of all patience, did 
not appear either. Conseil could not get a word out of 
him, and feared that in a temporary fit of insanity or 
under the influence of extreme homesickness, he might 
kill himself. He watched over him, therefore, with 
constant devotion. 

It will be understood that under such circumstances the 
situation was no longer bearable. 

One morning I do not know its date I had fallen into 
a restless sleep at early dawn. When I woke I saw Ned 
Land bending over me, and heard him whisper 

" We are going to fly 1 " 

I sat up. 

" When ? " I asked. 

" To-night. All supervision seems to have disappeared 
from the Nautilus. Stupor seems to reign on board. 
Shall you be ready, sir ? " 

" Yes. Where are we ? " 

" In sight of land that I have just sighted through the 
mist, twenty miles to the east." 

" What land is it ? " 

" I do not know, but whatever it is we will seek refuge on 

" Yes ! Ned yes, we will go to-night, even should the 
sea swallow us up ! " 

" The sea is rough, the wind violent, but twenty miles in 
that light boat of the Nautilus do not frighten me. I have 
put some provisions and a few bottles of water in it without 
the knowledge of the crew." 

" I will follow you." 


" Besides," added the Canadian, " if I am caught, I shall 
defend myself and get killed." 

" We will die together, friend Ned." 

I had made up my mind to anything. The Canadian 
left me. I ascended to the platform, where I could scarcely 
stand against the waves. The sky was threatening, but 
as land lay hidden just behind thick mists, we must fly. 
We must not lose a day nor an hour. 

I went down to the saloon both fearing and wishing to 
meet Captain Nemo, both wanting and not wanting to see 
him. What could I say to him ? Could I hide from him 
the involuntary horror he inspired me with ? No 1 It was 
better not to find myself face to face with him I Better to 
forget him ! And yet 

What a long day was the last I had to pass on board the 
Nautilus \ I remained alone. Ned Land and Conseil 
avoided me, so as not to betray us by talking. 

At 6 p.m. I dined, but without appetite. I forced 
myself to eat notwithstanding my lost appetite, wishing to 
keep up my strength. 

At half-past six Ned Land entered my room. He said 
to me 

" We shall not see each other again before our departure. 
At ten o'clock the moon will not yet be up. We shall take 
advantage of the darkness. Come to the boat. Conseil 
and I will be waiting for you there." 

Then the Canadian went out without giving me time to 

I wished to verify the direction of the Nautilus. I went 
to the saloon. We were going N.N.E. with frightful speed 
at a depth of twenty-five fathoms. 

I looked for the last time at all the natural marvels and 
riches of art collected in this museum, in this unrivalled 
collection destined one day to perish in the depths of the sea 
with the man who had made it. I wished to take a lasting 
impression of it in my mind. I remained thus for an hour, 
bathed in the light of the luminous ceiling, and passing in 
review the shining treasures in their glass cases. Then I 
went back to my room. 

There I put on my solid sea-garments. I collected my 


notes together and placed them carefully about me. My 
heart beat loudly. I could not check its pulsations. 
Certainly my agitation would have betrayed me to Captain 

What was he doing at that moment ? I listened at the 
door of his room. I heard the sound of footsteps : Captain 
Nemo was there. He had not gone to bed. At every 
movement that he made I thought he was going to appear 
and ask me why I wanted to escape ! I was constantly 
on the alert. My imagination exaggerated everything. 
This impression became so poignant that I asked myself if I 
had not better enter the captain's room, see him face to 
face, dare him with look and gesture ! 

It was a madman's inspiration. I fortunately restrained 
myself, and lay down on my bed to stay the agitation of my 
body and mind. My nerves gradually grew calmer, but 
in my excited brain I passed in review my whole existence 
on board the Nautilus, all the happy or unfortunate incidents 
that had occurred since my disappearance from iheAbraham 
Lincoln, the submarine hunts, Torres Straits, the Papuan 
savages, the stranding, the coral cemetery, the Suez tunnel, 
Santorin Island, the Cretan plunger, Vigo Bay, Atlantis, 
the ice-bank, the South Pole, the imprisonment in ice, the 
fight with the poulps, the tempest of the Gulf Stream, 
the Vengeur, and that horrible scene of the sunken ship and 
her crew ! All these events passed through my mind like 
the background to a scene at the theatre. Then Captain 
Nemo grew out of all proportion as the central figure. He 
was no longer a man like me, but the genius of the sea. 
It w'as then half-past nine. I held my head in my hands 
to prevent it bursting. I closed my eyes, and was deter- 
mined to think jno more. Another half-hour to wait. 
Another half-hour's nightmare would drive me mad ! 

At that moment I heard the vague chords of the organ, a 
sad harmony under an indefinable melody, veritable wails 
of a soul that wished to break all terrestrial ties. I listened 
with all my senses, hardly breathing, plunged, like Captain 
Nemo, in one of those musical ecstasies which took him 
beyond the limits of this world. 

Then a sudden thought terrified me. Captain Nemo had 


left his room. He was in the saloon that I was obliged to 
cross in my flight. There I should meet him for the last 
time. He would see me, perhaps speak to me. A gesture 
from him could paralyse me, a single word could chain me 
to his vessel. 

Ten o'clock was on the point of striking. The moment 
had come to leave my room and rejoin my companions. 

I could not hesitate should Captain Nemo stand before 
me. I opened my door with precaution, and yet it seemed 
to make a fearful noise. Perhaps that noise only existed in 
my imagination. 

I felt my way along the dark waist of the Nautilus, 
stopping at every step to suppress the beatings of my heart. 

I reached the corner door of the saloon and opened it 
softly. The saloon was quite dark. The tones of the 
organ were feebly sounding. Captain Nemo was there. 
He did not see me. I think that in a full light he would 
not have perceived me, he was so absorbed. 

I dragged myself over the carpet, avoiding the least con- 
tact, lest the noise should betray my presence. It took 
me five minutes to reach the door into the library. 

I was going to open it when a sigh from Captain Nemo 
nailed me to the place. I thought that he had moved from 
his seat. I even saw him, for some rays from the lighted 
library reached the saloon. He came towards me with 
folded arms, silent, gliding rather than walking, like a 
ghost. His oppressed chest heaved with sobs, and I heard 
him murmur these words the last I heard : 

" Almighty God ! Enough ! Enough ! " 

Was it remorse that was escaping thus from the con- 
science of that man ? 

Desperate, I rushed into the library, went up the central 
staircase, and, following the upper waist, reached the 
boat through the opening that had already given passage to 
my two companions. 

" Let us go ! Let us go ! " I cried. 

" At once," answered the Canadian. 

The orifice in the plates of the Nautilus was first shut and 
bolted by means of a wrench that Ned Land had provided 
himself with. The opening in the boat was also closed, and 


the Canadian began to take out the screws that still fastened 
us to the submarine vessel. 

Suddenly a noise was heard in the interior. Voices 
answered one another quickly. What was the matter ? 
Had they discovered our flight ? I felt Ned Land glide 
a dagger into my hand. 

" Yes ! " I murmured, " we shall know how to die ! " 

The Canadian had stopped in his work. But one word, 
twenty times repeated, a terrible word, revealed to me the 
cause of the agitation on board the Nautilus. The crew 
were not anxious about us. 

" The Maelstrom ! the Maelstrom 1 " they were crying. 

The Maelstrom ! Could a more frightful word in a 
more frightful situation have sounded in our ears ? Were 
we then on the most dangerous part of the Norwegian 
shore ? Was the Nautilus being dragged into a gulf at the 
very moment our boat was preparing to leave its side ? 

It is well known that at the tide the pent-up waters be- 
tween the Feroe and Loffoden Islands rush out with 
irresistible violence. They form a whirlpool from which 
no ship could ever escape. From every point of the 
horizon rush monstrous and irresistible waves. They 
form the gulf justly called " Navel of the Ocean," of which 
the power of attraction extends for a distance of ten miles. 
There not only vessels but whales are sucked up. 

It was there that the Nautilus had been purposely, or by 
mistake run by its captain. It was describing a spiral, the 
circumference of which was lessening by degrees. Like 
it, the boat fastened to it was whirled round with giddy 
speed. I felt it. I felt the sick sensation that succeeds a 
long-continued movement of gyration. We were horror- 
stricken with suspended circulation, annihilated nervous 
influence, covered with cold sweat like that of death ! 
What noise surrounded our fragile boat 1 What roaring, 
which echo repeated at a distance of several miles ! What an 
uproar was that of the water breaking on the sharp rocks at 
the bottom, where the hardest bodies are broken, where the 
trunks of trees are worn away, and are " made into fur," 
according to a Norwegian saying I 

What a situation ! We were frightfully tossed about. 


The Nautilus defended itself like a human being. Its steel 
muscles cracked. Sometimes it stood upright, and we with 

" We must hold on and screw down the bolts again," said 
Ned Land. " We may still be saved by keeping to the 
Nautilus " 

He had not finished speaking when a crash took place. 
The screws were torn out, and the boat, torn from its 
groove, sprang like a stone from a sling into the midst of the 

My head struck on its iron framework, and with the 
violent shock I lost all consciousness. 



So ended this voyage under the sea. What happened 
during that night, how the boat escaped the formidable 
eddies of the Maelstrom, how Ned Land, Conseil, and I got 
out of the gulf, I have no idea. But when I came to myself 
I was lying in the hut of a fisherman of the Loffoden Isles. 
My two companions, safe and sound, were by my side press- 
ing my hands. We shook hands heartily. 

At this moment we cannot think of going back to France. 
Means of communication between the north of Norway and 
the south are rare. I am, therefore, obliged to wait for the 
steamer that runs twice a month to Cape North. 

It is here, therefore, amidst the honest folk who have 
taken us in, that I revise the account of these adventures. 
It is exact. Not a fact has been omitted, not a detail 
exaggerated. It is a faithful narrative of an incredible 
expedition in an element inaccessible to man, and to which 
progress will one day open up a road. 

Shall I be believed ? I do not know. After all, it 
matters little. All I can now affirm is my right to speak 
of the sea under which, in less than ten months, I journeyed 
twenty thousand leagues during that submarine tour of 
the world that has revealed so many marvels of the Pacific, 


the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean, Atlantic, and 
the austral and boreal seas ! 

But what has become of the Nautilus ? Has it resisted 
the pressure of the Maelstrom ? Is Captain Nemo still 
alive ? Is he still pursuing his frightful vengeance under the 
ocean, or did he stop before that last hecatomb ? Will the 
waves one day bring the manuscript that contains the whole 
history of his life ? Shall I know at last the name of the 
man ? Will the ship that has disappeared tell us by its 
nationality, the nationality of Captain Nemo ? 

I hope so. I also hope that his powerful machine has 
conquered the sea in its most terrible gulf, and that the 
Nautilus has survived where so many other ships have 
perished ! If it is so, if Captain Nemo still inhabits the 
ocean, his adopted country, may hatred be appeased in his 
savage heart ! May the contemplation of so many marvels 
extinguish in him the desire of vengeance ! May the 
judge disappear, and the scientist continue his peaceful 
exploration of the sea ! If his destiny is strange, it is 
sublime also. Have I not experienced it myself ? Have 
I not lived ten months of this unnatural life ? Two men 
only have a right to answer the question asked in the 
Ecclesiastes 6,000 years ago. " That which is far off and 
exceeding deep, who can find it out ? " These two men 
are Captain Nemo and I. 



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