A Journey to the Interior of the Earth HTML version
The Liedenbrock Museum Of Geology
How shall I describe the strange series of passions which in succession shook the breast
of Professor Liedenbrock? First stupefaction, then incredulity, lastly a downright burst of
rage. Never had I seen the man so put out of countenance and so disturbed. The fatigues
of our passage across, the dangers met, had all to be begun over again. We had gone
backwards instead of forwards!
But my uncle rapidly recovered himself.
"Aha! will fate play tricks upon me? Will the elements lay plots against me? Shall fire,
air, and water make a combined attack against me? Well, they shall know what a
determined man can do. I will not yield. I will not stir a single foot backwards, and it will
be seen whether man or nature is to have the upper hand!"
Erect upon the rock, angry and threatening, Otto Liedenbrock was a rather grotesque
fierce parody upon the fierce Achilles defying the lightning. But I thought it my duty to
interpose and attempt to lay some restraint upon this unmeasured fanaticism.
"Just listen to me," I said firmly. "Ambition must have a limit somewhere; we cannot
perform impossibilities; we are not at all fit for another sea voyage; who would dream of
undertaking a voyage of five hundred leagues upon a heap of rotten planks, with a
blanket in rags for a sail, a stick for a mast, and fierce winds in our teeth? We cannot
steer; we shall be buffeted by the tempests, and we should be fools and madmen to
attempt to cross a second time."
I was able to develop this series of unanswerable reasons for ten minutes without
interruption; not that the Professor was paying any respectful attention to his nephew's
arguments, but because he was deaf to all my eloquence.
"To the raft!" he shouted.
Such was his only reply. It was no use for me to entreat, supplicate, get angry, or do
anything else in the way of opposition; it would only have been opposing a will harder
than the granite rock.
Hans was finishing the repairs of the raft. One would have thought that this strange being
was guessing at my uncle's intentions. With a few more pieces of surturbrand he had
refitted our vessel. A sail already hung from the new mast, and the wind was playing in
its waving folds.
The Professor said a few words to the guide, and immediately he put everything on board
and arranged every necessary for our departure. The air was clear--and the north-west
wind blew steadily.