A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
I had not gone a hundred paces before incontestable proofs presented themselves. It could
not be otherwise, for in the Silurian age the seas contained at least fifteen hundred
vegetable and animal species. My feet, which had become accustomed to the indurated
lava floor, suddenly rested upon a dust composed of the DEBRIS of plants and shells. In
the walls were distinct impressions of fucoids and lycopodites.
Professor Liedenbrock could not be mistaken, I thought, and yet he pushed on, with, I
suppose, his eyes resolutely shut.
This was only invincible obstinacy. I could hold out no longer. I picked up a perfectly
formed shell, which had belonged to an animal not unlike the woodlouse: then, joining
my uncle, I said:
"Look at this!"
"Very well," said he quietly, "it is the shell of a crustacean, of an extinct species called a
trilobite. Nothing more."
"But don't you conclude--?"
"Just what you conclude yourself. Yes; I do, perfectly. We have left the granite and the
lava. It is possible that I may be mistaken. But I cannot be sure of that until I have
reached the very end of this gallery."
"You are right in doing this, my uncle, and I should quite approve of your determination,
if there were not a danger threatening us nearer and nearer."
"The want of water."
"Well, Axel, we will put ourselves upon rations."