A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
"The want of water," he said, "is the only obstacle in our way. In this eastern gallery
made up of lavas, schists, and coal, we have not met with a single particle of moisture.
Perhaps we shall be more fortunate if we follow the western tunnel."
I shook my head incredulously.
"Hear me to the end," the Professor went on with a firm voice. "Whilst you were lying
there motionless, I went to examine the conformation of that gallery. It penetrates directly
downward, and in a few hours it will bring us to the granite rocks. There we must meet
with abundant springs. The nature of the rock assures me of this, and instinct agrees with
logic to support my conviction. Now, this is my proposal. When Columbus asked of his
ships' crews for three days more to discover a new world, those crews, disheartened and
sick as they were, recognised the justice of the claim, and he discovered America. I am
the Columbus of this nether world, and I only ask for one more day. If in a single day I
have not met with the water that we want, I swear to you we will return to the surface of
In spite of my irritation I was moved with these words, as well as with the violence my
uncle was doing to his own wishes in making so hazardous a proposal.
"Well," I said, "do as you will, and God reward your superhuman energy. You have now
but a few hours to tempt fortune. Let us start!"