A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
Well Said, Old Mole! Canst Thou Work I' The Ground So
By the next day we had forgotten all our sufferings. At first, I was wondering that I was
no longer thirsty, and I was for asking for the reason. The answer came in the murmuring
of the stream at my feet.
We breakfasted, and drank of this excellent chalybeate water. I felt wonderfully stronger,
and quite decided upon pushing on. Why should not so firmly convinced a man as my
uncle, furnished with so industrious a guide as Hans, and accompanied by so determined
a nephew as myself, go on to final success? Such were the magnificent plans which
struggled for mastery within me. If it had been proposed to me to return to the summit of
Snaefell, I should have indignantly declined.
Most fortunately, all we had to do was to descend.
"Let us start!" I cried, awakening by my shouts the echoes of the vaulted hollows of the
On Thursday, at 8 a.m., we started afresh. The granite tunnel winding from side to side,
earned us past unexpected turns, and
seemed almost to form a labyrinth; but, on the whole, its direction seemed to be south-
easterly. My uncle never ceased to consult his compass, to keep account of the ground
The gallery dipped down a very little way from the horizontal, scarcely more than two
inches in a fathom, and the stream ran gently murmuring at our feet. I compared it to a
friendly genius guiding us underground, and caressed with my hand the soft naiad, whose
comforting voice accompanied our steps. With my reviving spirits these mythological
notions seemed to come unbidden.
As for my uncle, he was beginning to storm against the horizontal road. He loved nothing
better than a vertical path; but this way seemed indefinitely prolonged, and instead of
sliding along the hypothenuse as we were now doing, he would willingly have dropped
down the terrestrial radius. But there was no help for it, and as long as we were
approaching the centre at all we felt that we must not complain.
From time to time, a steeper path appeared; our naiad then began to tumble before us
with a hoarser murmur, and we went down with her to a greater depth.
On the whole, that day and the next we made considerable way horizontally, very little