A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
"But," said I, "the clothes, and that mass of ladders and ropes, what is to become of
"They will go down by themselves."
"How so?" I asked.
"You will see presently."
My uncle was always willing to employ magnificent resources. Obeying orders, Hans
tied all the non-fragile articles in one bundle, corded them firmly, and sent them bodily
down the gulf before us.
I listened to the dull thuds of the descending bale. My uncle, leaning over the abyss,
followed the descent of the luggage with a satisfied nod, and only rose erect when he had
quite lost sight of it.
"Very well, now it is our turn."
Now I ask any sensible man if it was possible to hear those words without a shudder.
The Professor fastened his package of instruments upon his shoulders; Hans took the
tools; I took the arms: and the descent commenced in the following order; Hans, my
uncle, and myself. It was effected in profound silence, broken only by the descent of
loosened stones down the dark gulf.
I dropped as it were, frantically clutching the double cord with one hand and buttressing
myself from the wall with the other by means of my stick. One idea overpowered me
almost, fear lest the rock should give way from which I was hanging. This cord seemed a
fragile thing for three persons to be suspended from. I made as little use of it as possible,
performing wonderful feats of equilibrium upon the lava projections which my foot
seemed to catch hold of like a hand.
When one of these slippery steps shook under the heavier form of Hans, he said in his
"GIF AKT! "
"Attention!" repeated my uncle.
In half an hour we were standing upon the surface of a rock jammed in across the
chimney from one side to the other.
Hans pulled the rope by one of its ends, the other rose in the air; after passing the higher
rock it came down again, bringing with it a rather dangerous shower of bits of stone and