A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
The Wonders Of Terrestrial Depths
At eight in the morning a ray of daylight came to wake us up. The thousand shining
surfaces of lava on the walls received it on its passage, and scattered it like a shower of
There was light enough to distinguish surrounding objects.
"Well, Axel, what do you say to it?" cried my uncle, rubbing his hands. "Did you ever
spend a quieter night in our little house at Konigsberg? No noise of cart wheels, no cries
of basket women, no boatmen shouting!"
"No doubt it is very quiet at the bottom of this well, but there is something alarming in
the quietness itself."
"Now come!" my uncle cried; "if you are frightened already, what will you be by and by?
We have not gone a single inch yet into the bowels of the earth."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that we have only reached the level of the island. long vertical tube, which
terminates at the mouth of the crater, has its lower end only at the level of the sea."
"Are you sure of that?"
"Quite sure. Consult the barometer."
In fact, the mercury, which had risen in the instrument as fast as we descended, had
stopped at twenty-nine inches.
"You see," said the Professor, "we have now only the pressure of our atmosphere, and I
shall be glad when the aneroid takes the place of the barometer."
And in truth this instrument would become useless as soon as the weight of the
atmosphere should exceed the pressure ascertained at the level of the sea.
"But," I said, "is there not reason to fear that this ever-increasing pressure will become at
last very painful to bear?"
"No; we shall descend at a slow rate, and our lungs will become inured to a denser
atmosphere. Aeronauts find the want of air as they rise to high elevations, but we shall
perhaps have too much: of the two, this is what I should prefer. Don't let us lose a
moment. Where is the bundle we sent down before us?"