A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
All's Well That Ends Well
Such is the conclusion of a history which I cannot expect everybody to believe, for some
people will believe nothing against the testimony of their own experience. However, I am
indifferent to their incredulity, and they may believe as much or as little as they please.
The Stromboliotes received us kindly as shipwrecked mariners. They gave us food and
clothing. After waiting forty-eight hours, on the 31 st of August, a small craft took us to
Messina, where a few days' rest completely removed the effect of our fatigues.
On Friday, September the 4th, we embarked on the steamer Volturno, employed by the
French Messageries Imperiales, and in three days more we were at Marseilles, having no
care on our minds except that abominable deceitful compass, which we had mislaid
somewhere and could not now examine; but its inexplicable behaviour exercised my
mind fearfully. On the 9th of September, in the evening, we arrived at Hamburg.
I cannot describe to you the astonishment of Martha or the joy of Grauben.
"Now you are a hero, Axel," said to me my blushing FIANCEE, my betrothed, "you will
not leave me again!"
I looked tenderly upon her, and she smiled through her tears.
How can I describe the extraordinary sensation produced by the return of Professor
Liedenbrock? Thanks to Martha's ineradicable tattling, the news that the Professor had
gone to discover a way to the centre of the earth had spread over the whole civilised
world. People refused to believe it, and when they saw him they would not believe him
any the more. Still, the appearance of Hans, and sundry pieces of intelligence derived
from Iceland, tended to shake the confidence of the unbelievers.
Then my uncle became a great man, and I was now the nephew of a great man--which is
not a privilege to be despised.
Hamburg gave a grand fete in our honour. A public audience was given to the Professor
at the Johannaeum, at which he told all about our expedition, with only one omission, the
unexplained and inexplicable behaviour of our compass. On the same day, with much
state, he deposited in the archives of the city the now famous document of Saknussemm,
and expressed his regret that circumstances over which he had no control had prevented
him from following to the very centre of the earth the track of the learned Icelander. He
was modest notwithstanding his glory, and he was all the more famous for his humility.
So much honour could not but excite envy. There were those who envied him his fame;
and as his theories, resting upon known facts, were in opposition to the systems of
science upon the question of the central fire, he sustained with his pen and by his voice
remarkable discussions with the learned of every country.