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The Master of the World

Chapter 18. The Old Housekeeper's Last Comment
When I came to myself after having been unconscious for many hours, a group of sailors
whose care had restored me to life surrounded the door of a cabin in which I lay. By my
pillow sat an officer who questioned me; and as my senses slowly returned, I answered to
his questioning.
I told them everything. Yes, everything! And assuredly my listeners must have thought
that they had upon their hands an unfortunate whose reason had not returned with his
consciousness.
I was on board the steamer Ottawa, in the Gulf of Mexico, headed for the port of New
Orleans. This ship, while flying before the same terrific thunder-storm which destroyed
the "Terror," had encountered some wreckage, among whose fragments was entangled
my helpless body. Thus I found myself back among humankind once more, while Robur
the Conqueror and his two companions had ended their adventurous careers in the waters
of the Gulf. The Master of the World had disappeared forever, struck down by those
thunder-bolts which he had dared to brave in the regions of their fullest power. He carried
with him the secret of his extraordinary machine.
Five days later the Ottawa sighted the shores of Louisiana; and on the morning of the
tenth of August she reached her port. After taking a warm leave of my rescuers, I set out
at once by train for Washington, which more than once I had despaired of ever seeing
again.
I went first of all to the bureau of police, meaning to make my earliest appearance before
Mr. Ward.
What was the surprise, the stupefaction, and also the joy of my chief, when the door of
his cabinet opened before me! Had he not every reason to believe, from the report of my
companions, that I had perished in the waters of Lake Erie?
I informed him of all my experiences since I had disappeared, the pursuit of the
destroyers on the lake, the soaring of the "Terror" from amid Niagara Falls, the halt
within the crater of the Great Eyrie, and the catastrophe, during the storm, above the Gulf
of Mexico.
He learned for the first time that the machine created by the genius of this Robur, could
traverse space, as it did the earth and the sea.
In truth, did not the possession of so complete and marvelous a machine justify the name
of Master of the World, which Robur had taken to himself? Certain it is that the comfort
and even the lives of the public must have been forever in danger from him; and that all
methods of defence must have been feeble and ineffective.
 
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