A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
You may be sure I felt stirred up. My eyes were dim, I could scarcely see. I had laid the
paper upon the table. At a glance I could tell the whole secret.
At last I became more calm. I made a wise resolve to walk twice round the room quietly
and settle my nerves, and then I returned into the deep gulf of the huge armchair.
"Now I'll read it," I cried, after having well distended my lungs with air.
I leaned over the table; I laid my finger successively upon every letter; and without a
pause, without one moment's hesitation, I read off the whole sentence aloud.
Stupefaction! terror! I sat overwhelmed as if with a sudden deadly blow. What! that
which I read had actually, really been done! A mortal man had had the audacity to
penetrate! . . .
"Ah!" I cried, springing up. "But no! no! My uncle shall never know it. He would insist
upon doing it too. He would want to know all about it. Ropes could not hold him, such a
determined geologist as he is! He would start, he would, in spite of everything and
everybody, and he would take me with him, and we should never get back. No, never!
My over-excitement was beyond all description.
"No! no! it shall not be," I declared energetically; "and as it is in my power to prevent the
knowledge of it coming into the mind of my tyrant, I will do it. By dint of turning this
document round and round, he too might discover the key. I will destroy it."
There was a little fire left on the hearth. I seized not only the paper but Saknussemm's
parchment; with a feverish hand I was about to fling it all upon the coals and utterly
destroy and abolish this dangerous secret, when the, study door opened, and my uncle