A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
"What is the matter?" she said, holding out her hand.
"What is the matter, Grauben?" I cried.
In a couple of minutes my pretty Virlandaise was fully informed of the position of affairs.
For a time she was silent. Did her heart palpitate as mine did? I don't know about that, but
I know that her hand did not tremble in mine. We went on a hundred yards without
At last she said, "Axel!"
"My dear Grauben."
"That will be a splendid journey!"
I gave a bound at these words.
"Yes, Axel, a journey worthy of the nephew of a savant; it is a good thing for a man to be
distinguished by some great enterprise."
"What, Grauben, won't you dissuade me from such an undertaking?"
"No, my dear Axel, and I would willingly go with you, but that a poor girl would only be
in your way."
"Is that quite true?"
"It is true."
Ah! women and young girls, how incomprehensible are your feminine hearts! When you
are not the timidest, you are the bravest of creatures. Reason has nothing to do with your
actions. What! did this child encourage me in such an expedition! Would she not be
afraid to join it herself? And she was driving me to it, one whom she loved!
I was disconcerted, and, if I must tell the whole truth, I was ashamed.
"Grauben, we will see whether you will say the same thing tomorrow."
"To-morrow, dear Axel, I will say what I say to-day."
Grauben and I, hand in hand, but in silence, pursued our way. The emotions of that day
were breaking my heart.
After all, I thought, the kalends of July are a long way off, and between this and then
many things may take place which will cure my uncle of his desire to travel underground.