The Master of the World HTML version

Chapter 15. The Eagle's Nest
On the morrow, when I awoke after a sound sleep, our vehicle seemed motionless. It
seemed to me evident that we were not running upon land. Yet neither were we rushing
through or beneath the waters; nor yet soaring across the sky. Had the inventor regained
that mysterious hiding-place of his, where no human being had ever set foot before him?
And now, since he had not disembarrassed himself of my presence, was his secret about
to be revealed to me?
It seemed astonishing that I had slept so profoundly during most of our voyage through
the air. It puzzled me and I asked if this sleep had not been caused by some drug, mixed
with my last meal, the captain of the "Terror" having wished thus to prevent me from
knowing the place where we landed. All that I can recall of the previous night is the
terrible impression made upon me by that moment when the machine, instead of being
caught in the vortex of the cataract rose under the impulse of its machinery like a bird
with its huge wings beating with tremendous power!
So this machine actually fulfilled a four-fold use! It was at the same time automobile,
boat, submarine, and airship. Earth, sea and air, -- it could move through all three
elements! And with what power! With what speed! Al few instants sufficed to complete
its marvelous transformations. The same engine drove it along all its courses! And I had
been a witness of its metamorphoses! But that of which I was still ignorant, and which I
could perhaps discover, was the source of the energy which drove the machine, and
above all, who was the inspired inventor who, after having created it, in every detail,
guided it with so much ability and audacity!
At the moment when the "Terror" rose above the Canadian Falls, I was held down against
the hatchway of my cabin. The clear, moonlit evening had permitted me to note the
direction taken by the air-ship. It followed the course of the river and passed the
Suspension Bridge three miles below the falls. It is here that the irresistible rapids of the
Niagara River begin, where the river bends sharply to descend toward Lake Ontario.
On leaving this point, I was sure that we had turned toward the east. The captain
continued at the helm. I had not addressed a word to him. What good would it do? He
would not have answered. I noted that the "Terror" seemed to be guided in its course
through the air with surprising ease. Assuredly the roads of the air were as familiar to it
as those of the seas and of the lands!
In the presence of such results, could one not understand the enormous pride of this man
who proclaimed himself Master of the World? Was he not in control of a machine
infinitely superior to any that had ever sprung from the hand of man, and against which
men were powerless? In truth, why should he sell this marvel? Why should he accept the
millions offered him? Yes, I comprehended now that absolute confidence in himself