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A Journey to the Interior of the Earth

A Woman's Courage
Thus ended this memorable seance. That conversation threw me into a fever. I came out
of my uncle's study as if I had been stunned, and as if there was not air enough in all the
streets of Hamburg to put me right again. I therefore made for the banks of the Elbe,
where the steamer lands her passengers, which forms the communication between the
city and the Hamburg railway.
Was I convinced of the truth of what I had heard? Had I not bent under the iron rule of
the Professor Liedenbrock? Was I to believe him in earnest in his intention to penetrate to
the centre of this massive globe? Had I been listening to the mad speculations of a
lunatic, or to the scientific conclusions of a lofty genius? Where did truth stop? Where
did error begin?
I was all adrift amongst a thousand contradictory hypotheses, but I could not lay hold of
one.
Yet I remembered that I had been convinced, although now my enthusiasm was
beginning to cool down; but I felt a desire to start at once, and not to lose time and
courage by calm reflection. I had at that moment quite courage enough to strap my
knapsack to my shoulders and start.
But I must confess that in another hour this unnatural excitement abated, my nerves
became unstrung, and from the depths of the abysses of this earth I ascended to its
surface again.
"It is quite absurd!" I cried, "there is no sense about it. No sensible young man should for
a moment entertain such a proposal. The whole thing is non-existent. I have had a bad
night, I have been dreaming of horrors."
But I had followed the banks of the Elbe and passed the town. After passing the port too,
I had reached the Altona road. I was led by a presentiment, soon to be realised; for
shortly I espied my little Grauben bravely returning with her light step to Hamburg.
"Grauben!" I cried from afar off.
The young girl stopped, rather frightened perhaps to hear her name called after her on the
high road. Ten yards more, and I had joined her.
"Axel!" she cried surprised. "What! have you come to meet me? Is this why you are here,
sir?"
But when she had looked upon me, Grauben could not fail to see the uneasiness and
distress of my mind.
 
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