A Journey to the Interior of the Earth HTML version

The Enemy To Be Starved Into Submission
"He is gone!" cried Martha, running out of her kitchen at the noise of the violent
slamming of doors.
"Yes," I replied, "completely gone."
"Well; and how about his dinner?" said the old servant.
"He won't have any."
"And his supper?"
"He won't have any."
"What?" cried Martha, with clasped hands.
"No, my dear Martha, he will eat no more. No one in the house is to eat anything at all.
Uncle Liedenbrock is going to make us all fast until he has succeeded in deciphering an
undecipherable scrawl."
"Oh, my dear! must we then all die of hunger?"
I hardly dared to confess that, with so absolute a ruler as my uncle, this fate was
The old servant, visibly moved, returned to the kitchen, moaning piteously.
When I was alone, I thought I would go and tell Grauben all about it. But how should I be
able to escape from the house? The Professor might return at any moment. And suppose
he called me? And suppose he tackled me again with this logomachy, which might vainly
have been set before ancient Oedipus. And if I did not obey his call, who could answer
for what might happen?
The wisest course was to remain where I was. A mineralogist at Besancon had just sent
us a collection of siliceous nodules, which I had to classify: so I set to work; I sorted,
labelled, and arranged in their own glass case all these hollow specimens, in the cavity of
each of which was a nest of little crystals.
But this work did not succeed in absorbing all my attention. That old document kept
working in my brain. My head throbbed with excitement, and I felt an undefined
uneasiness. I was possessed with a presentiment of coming evil.
In an hour my nodules were all arranged upon successive shelves. Then I dropped down
into the old velvet arm-chair, my head thrown back and my hands joined over it. I lighted