A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
"Granted. I admit that Saknussemm may have written these lines. But does it follow that
he has really accomplished such a journey? And may it not be that this old parchment is
intended to mislead?"
I almost regretted having uttered this last word, which dropped from me in an unguarded
moment. The Professor bent his shaggy brows, and I feared I had seriously compromised
my own safety. Happily no great harm came of it. A smile flitted across the lip of my
severe companion, and he answered:
"That is what we shall see."
"Ah!" said I, rather put out. "But do let me exhaust all the possible objections against this
"Speak, my boy, don't be afraid. You are quite at liberty to express your opinions. You
are no longer my nephew only, but my colleague. Pray go on."
"Well, in the first place, I wish to ask what are this Jokul, this Sneffels, and this Scartaris,
names which I have never heard before?"
"Nothing easier. I received not long ago a map from my friend, Augustus Petermann, at
Liepzig. Nothing could be more apropos. Take down the third atlas in the second shelf in
the large bookcase, series Z, plate 4."
I rose, and with the help of such precise instructions could not fail to find the required
atlas. My uncle opened it and said:
"Here is one of the best maps of Iceland, that of Handersen, and I believe this will solve
the worst of our difficulties."
I bent over the map.
"You see this volcanic island," said the Professor; "observe that all the volcanoes are
called jokuls, a word which means glacier in Icelandic, and under the high latitude of
Iceland nearly all the active volcanoes discharge through beds of ice. Hence this term of
jokul is applied to all the eruptive mountains in Iceland."
"Very good," said I; "but what of Sneffels?"
I was hoping that this question would be unanswerable; but I was mistaken. My uncle
"Follow my finger along the west coast of Iceland. Do you see Rejkiavik, the capital?
You do. Well; ascend the innumerable fiords that indent those sea-beaten shores, and stop
at the sixty-fifth degree of latitude. What do you see there?"