Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
A Whale of Unknown Species
ALTHOUGH I WAS startled by this unexpected descent, I at least have a very clear
recollection of my sensations during it.
At first I was dragged about twenty feet under. I'm a good swimmer, without claiming to
equal such other authors as Byron and Edgar Allan Poe, who were master divers, and I
didn't lose my head on the way down. With two vigorous kicks of the heel, I came back
to the surface of the sea.
My first concern was to look for the frigate. Had the crew seen me go overboard? Was
the Abraham Lincoln tacking about? Would Commander Farragut put a longboat to sea?
Could I hope to be rescued?
The gloom was profound. I glimpsed a black mass disappearing eastward, where its
running lights were fading out in the distance. It was the frigate. I felt I was done for.
"Help! Help!" I shouted, swimming desperately toward the Abraham Lincoln.
My clothes were weighing me down. The water glued them to my body, they were
paralyzing my movements. I was sinking! I was suffocating . . . !
This was the last shout I gave. My mouth was filling with water. I struggled against being
dragged into the depths. . . .
Suddenly my clothes were seized by energetic hands, I felt myself pulled abruptly back to
the surface of the sea, and yes, I heard these words pronounced in my ear:
"If master would oblige me by leaning on my shoulder, master will swim with much
With one hand I seized the arm of my loyal Conseil.
"You!" I said. "You!"
"Myself," Conseil replied, "and at master's command."
"That collision threw you overboard along with me?"
"Not at all. But being in master's employ, I followed master."
The fine lad thought this only natural!
"What about the frigate?" I asked.