A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
Lost In The Bowels Of The Earth
To describe my despair would be impossible. No words could tell it. I was buried alive,
with the prospect before me of dying of hunger and thirst.
Mechanically I swept the ground with my hands. How dry and hard the rock seemed to
But how had I left the course of the stream? For it was a terrible fact that it no longer ran
at my side. Then I understood the reason of that fearful, silence, when for the last time I
listened to hear if any sound from my companions could reach my ears. At the moment
when I left the right road I had not noticed the absence of the stream. It is evident that at
that moment a deviation had presented itself before me, whilst the Hansbach, following
the caprice of another incline, had gone with my companions away into unknown depths.
How was I to return? There was not a trace of their footsteps or of my own, for the foot
left no mark upon the granite floor. I racked my brain for a solution of this impracticable
problem. One word described my position. Lost!
Lost at an immeasurable depth! Thirty leagues of rock seemed to weigh upon my
shoulders with a dreadful pressure. I felt crushed.
I tried to carry back my ideas to things on the surface of the earth. I could scarcely
succeed. Hamburg, the house in the Konigstrasse, my poor Grauben, all that busy world
underneath which I was wandering about, was passing in rapid confusion before my
terrified memory. I could revive with vivid reality all the incidents of our voyage,
Iceland, M. Fridrikssen, Snaefell. I said to myself that if, in such a position as I was now
in, I was fool enough to cling to one glimpse of hope, it would be madness, and that the
best thing I could do was to despair.
What human power could restore me to the light of the sun by rending asunder the huge
arches of rock which united over my head, buttressing each other with impregnable
strength? Who could place my feet on the right path, and bring me back to my company?
"Oh, my uncle!" burst from my lips in the tone of despair.
It was my only word of reproach, for I knew how much he must be suffering in seeking
me, wherever he might be.
When I saw myself thus far removed from all earthly help I had recourse to heavenly
succour. The remembrance of my childhood, the recollection of my mother, whom I had
only known in my tender early years, came back to me, and I knelt in prayer imploring
for the Divine help of which I was so little worthy.