A Journey to the Interior of the Earth HTML version
Exciting Discussions About An Unparalleled Enterprise
At these words a cold shiver ran through me. Yet I controlled myself; I even resolved to
put a good face upon it. Scientific arguments alone could have any weight with Professor
Liedenbrock. Now there were good ones against the practicability of such a journey.
Penetrate to the centre of the earth! What nonsense! But I kept my dialectic battery in
reserve for a suitable opportunity, and I interested myself in the prospect of my dinner,
which was not yet forthcoming.
It is no use to tell of the rage and imprecations of my uncle before the empty table.
Explanations were given, Martha was set at liberty, ran off to the market, and did her part
so well that in an hour afterwards my hunger was appeased, and I was able to return to
the contemplation of the gravity of the situation.
During all dinner time my uncle was almost merry; he indulged in some of those learned
jokes which never do anybody any harm. Dessert over, he beckoned me into his study.
I obeyed; he sat at one end of his table, I at the other.
"Axel," said he very mildly; "you are a very ingenious young man, you have done me a
splendid service, at a moment when, wearied out with the struggle, I was going to
abandon the contest. Where should I have lost myself? None can tell. Never, my lad,
shall I forget it; and you shall have your share in the glory to which your discovery will
"Oh, come!" thought I, "he is in a good way. Now is the time for discussing that same
"Before all things," my uncle resumed, "I enjoin you to preserve the most inviolable
secrecy: you understand? There are not a few in the scientific world who envy my
success, and many would be ready to undertake this enterprise, to whom our return
should be the first news of it."
"Do you really think there are many people bold enough?" said I.
"Certainly; who would hesitate to acquire such renown? If that document were divulged,
a whole army of geologists would be ready to rush into the footsteps of Arne
"I don't feel so very sure of that, uncle," I replied; "for we have no proof of the
authenticity of this document."
"What! not of the book, inside which we have discovered it?"