The Mysterious Island HTML version

Chapter 18
Cyrus Harding's project had succeeded, but, according to his usual habit he
showed no satisfaction; with closed lips and a fixed look, he remained
motionless. Herbert was in ecstasies, Neb bounded with joy, Pencroft nodded his
great head, murmuring these words,--
"Come, our engineer gets on capitally!"
The nitro-glycerine had indeed acted powerfully. The opening which it had made
was so large that the volume of water which escaped through this new outlet was
at least treble that which before passed through the old one. The result was, that
a short time after the operation the level of the lake would be lowered two feet, or
The settlers went to the Chimneys to take some pickaxes, iron-tipped spears,
string made of fibers, flint and steel; they then returned to the plateau, Top
accompanying them.
On the way the sailor could not help saying to the engineer,--
"Don't you think, captain, that by means of that charming liquid you have made,
one could blow up the whole of our island?"
"Without any doubt, the island, continents, and the world itself," replied the
engineer. "It is only a question of quantity."
"Then could you not use this nitro-glycerine for loading firearms?" asked the
"No, Pencroft; for it is too explosive a substance. But it would be easy to make
some guncotton, or even ordinary powder, as we have azotic acid, saltpeter,
sulphur, and coal. Unhappily, it is the guns which we have not got.
"Oh, captain," replied the sailor, "with a little determination--"
Pencroft had erased the word "impossible" from the dictionary of Lincoln Island.
The settlers, having arrived at Prospect Heights, went immediately towards that
point of the lake near which was the old opening now uncovered. This outlet had
now become practicable, since the water no longer rushed through it, and it
would doubtless be easy to explore the interior.