Robur the Conqueror
Chapter 10. Westward--But Whither?
The next day, the 15th of June, about five o'clock in the morning, Phil Evans left
his cabin. Perhaps he would today have a chance of speaking to Robur?
Desirous of knowing why he had not appeared the day before, Evans addressed
himself to the mate, Tom Turner.
Tom Turner was an Englishman of about forty-five, broad in the shoulders and
short in the legs, a man of iron, with one of those enormous characteristic heads
that Hogarth rejoiced in.
Shall we see Mr. Robur to-day?" asked Phil Evans.
"I don't know," said Turner.
"I need not ask if he has gone out."
"Perhaps he has."
"And when will he come back?"
"When he has finished his cruise."
And Tom went into his cabin.
With this reply they had to be contented. Matters did not look promising,
particularly as on reference to the compass it appeared that the "Albatross" was
still steering southwest.
Great was the contrast between the barren tract of the Bad Lands passed over
during the night and the landscape then unrolling beneath them.
The aeronef was now more than six hundred miles from Omaha, and over a
country which Phil Evans could not recognize because he had never been there
before. A few forts to keep the Indians in order crowned the bluffs with their
geometric lines, formed oftener of palisades than walls. There were few villages,
and few inhabitants, the country differing widely from the auriferous lands of
Colorado many leagues to the south.
In the distance a long line of mountain crests, in great confusion as yet, began to
appear. They were the Rocky Mountains.
For the first time that morning Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans were sensible of a
certain lowness of temperature which was not due to a change in the weather, for
the sun shone in superb splendor.
"It is because of the "Albatross" being higher in the air," said Phil Evans.
In fact the barometer outside the central deck-house had fallen 540 millimeters,
thus indicating an elevation of about 10,000 feet above the sea. The aeronef was
at this altitude owing to the elevation of the ground. An hour before she had been
at a height of 13,000 feet, and behind her were mountains covered with perpetual
There was nothing Uncle Prudent and his companion could remember which
would lead them to discover where they were. During the night the "Albatross"
had made several stretches north and south at tremendous speed, and that was
what had put them out of their reckoning.
After talking over several hypotheses more or less plausible they came to the
conclusion that this country encircled with mountains must be the district
declared by an Act of Congress in March, 1872, to be the National Park of the