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A Journey to the Interior of the Earth

The Great Explosion And The Rush Down Below
The next day, Thursday, August 27, is a well-remembered date in our subterranean
journey. It never returns to my memory without sending through me a shudder of horror
and a palpitation of the heart. From that hour we had no further occasion for the exercise
of reason, or judgment, or skill, or contrivance. We were henceforth to be hurled along,
the playthings of the fierce elements of the deep.
At six we were afoot. The moment drew near to clear a way by blasting through the
opposing mass of granite.
I begged for the honour of lighting the fuse. This duty done, I was to join my companions
on the raft, which had not yet been unloaded; we should then push off as far as we could
and avoid the dangers arising from the explosion, the effects of which were not likely to
be confined to the rock itself.
The fuse was calculated to burn ten minutes before setting fire to the mine. I therefore
had sufficient time to get away to the raft.
I prepared to fulfil my task with some anxiety.
After a hasty meal, my uncle and the hunter embarked whilst I remained on shore. I was
supplied with a lighted lantern to set fire to the fuse. "Now go," said my uncle, "and
return immediately to us." "Don't be uneasy," I replied. "I will not play by the way." I
immediately proceeded to the mouth of the tunnel. I opened my lantern. I laid hold of the
end of the match. The Professor stood, chronometer in hand. "Ready?" he cried.
"Ay."
"Fire!"
I instantly plunged the end of the fuse into the lantern. It spluttered and flamed, and I ran
at the top of my speed to the raft.
"Come on board quickly, and let us push off."
Hans, with a vigorous thrust, sent us from the shore. The raft shot twenty fathoms out to
sea.
It was a moment of intense excitement. The Professor was watching the hand of the
chronometer.
"Five minutes more!" he said. "Four! Three!"
My pulse beat half-seconds.
 
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