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A Journey to the Interior of the Earth

The Great Geyser
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19. Fortunately the wind blows violently, and has enabled us
to flee from the scene of the late terrible struggle. Hans keeps at his post at the helm. My
uncle, whom the absorbing incidents of the combat had drawn away from his
contemplations, began again to look impatiently around him.
The voyage resumes its uniform tenor, which I don't care to break with a repetition of
such events as yesterday's.
Thursday, Aug. 20. Wind N.N.E., unsteady and fitful. Temperature high. Rate three and a
half leagues an hour.
About noon a distant noise is heard. I note the fact without being able to explain it. It is a
continuous roar.
"In the distance," says the Professor, "there is a rock or islet, against which the sea is
breaking."
Hans climbs up the mast, but sees no breakers. The ocean' is smooth and unbroken to its
farthest limit.
Three hours pass away. The roarings seem to proceed from a very distant waterfall.
I remark upon this to my uncle, who replies doubtfully: "Yes, I am convinced that I am
right." Are we, then, speeding forward to some cataract which will cast us down an
abyss? This method of getting on may please the Professor, because it is vertical; but for
my part I prefer the more ordinary modes of horizontal progression.
At any rate, some leagues to the windward there must be some noisy phenomenon, for
now the roarings are heard with increasing loudness. Do they proceed from the sky or the
ocean?
I look up to the atmospheric vapours, and try to fathom their depths. The sky is calm and
motionless. The clouds have reached the utmost limit of the lofty vault, and there lie still
bathed in the bright glare of the electric light. It is not there that we must seek for the
cause of this phenomenon. Then I examine the horizon, which is unbroken and clear of
all mist. There is no change in its aspect. But if this noise arises from a fall, a cataract, if
all this ocean flows away headlong into a lower basin yet, if that deafening roar is
produced by a mass of falling water, the current must needs accelerate, and its increasing
speed will give me the measure of the peril that threatens us. I consult the current: there is
none. I throw an empty bottle into the sea: it lies still.
 
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