A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
proper rocky foundations of the earth, which bears without distortion or crushing the
weight of the four terrestrial systems. We were immured within prison walls of granite.
It was eight in the evening. No signs of water had yet appeared. I was suffering horribly.
My uncle strode on. He refused to stop. He was listening anxiously for the murmur of
distant springs. But, no, there was dead silence.
And now my limbs were failing beneath me. I resisted pain and torture, that I might not
stop my uncle, which would have driven him to despair, for the day was drawing near to
its end, and it was his last.
At last I failed utterly; I uttered a cry and fell.
"Come to me, I am dying."
My uncle retraced his steps. He gazed upon me with his arms crossed; then these
muttered words passed his lips:
"It's all over!"
The last thing I saw was a fearful gesture of rage, and my eyes closed.
When I reopened them I saw my two companions motionless and rolled up in their
coverings. Were they asleep? As for me, I could not get one moment's sleep. I was
suffering too keenly, and what embittered my thoughts was that there was no remedy. My
uncle's last words echoed painfully in my ears: "it's all over!" For in such a fearful state
of debility it was madness to think of ever reaching the upper world again.
We had above us a league and a half of terrestrial crust. The weight of it seemed to be
crushing down upon my shoulders. I felt weighed down, and I exhausted myself with
imaginary violent exertions to turn round upon my granite couch.
A few hours passed away. A deep silence reigned around us, the silence of the grave. No
sound could reach us through walls, the thinnest of which were five miles thick.
Yet in the midst of my stupefaction I seemed to be aware of a noise. It was dark down the
tunnel, but I seemed to see the Icelander vanishing from our sight with the lamp in his
Why was he leaving us? Was Hans going to forsake us? My uncle was fast asleep. I
wanted to shout, but my voice died upon my parched and swollen lips. The darkness
became deeper, and the last sound died away in the far distance.
"Hans has abandoned us," I cried. "Hans! Hans!"