A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
Oh! infinite pleasure! a slender sip of water came to moisten my burning mouth. It was
but one sip but it was enough to recall my ebbing life.
I thanked my uncle with clasped hands.
"Yes," he said, "a draught of water; but it is the very last--you hear!--the last. I had kept it
as a precious treasure at the bottom of my flask. Twenty times, nay, a hundred times,
have I fought against a frightful impulse to drink it off. But no, Axel, I kept it for you."
"My dear uncle," I said, whilst hot tears trickled down my face.
"Yes, my poor boy, I knew that as soon as you arrived at these cross roads you would
drop half dead, and I kept my last drop of water to reanimate you."
"Thank you, thank you," I said. Although my thirst was only partially quenched, yet some
strength had returned. The muscles of my throat, until then contracted, now relaxed
again; and the inflammation of my lips abated somewhat; and I was now able to speak. .
"Let us see," I said, "we have now but one thing to do. We have no water; we must go
While I spoke my uncle avoided looking at me; he hung his head down; his eyes avoided
"We must return," I exclaimed vehemently; "we must go back on our way to Snaefell.
May God give us strength to climb up the crater again!"
"Return!" said my uncle, as if he was rather answering himself than me.
"Yes, return, without the loss of a minute."
A long silence followed.
"So then, Axel," replied the Professor ironically, "you have found no courage or energy
in these few drops of water?"
"I see you just as feeble-minded as you were before, and still expressing only despair!"
What sort of a man was this I had to do with, and what schemes was he now revolving in
his fearless mind?
"What! you won't go back?"