A Journey to the Centre of the Earth
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
By Jules Verne
[ Redactor's Note: Journey to the Centre of the Earthis number V002 in the Taves and Michaluk numbering of the works ofJules Verne. First published in England by Griffith and Farran, 1871, this edition is nota translation at all but a complete re-write of the novel, with portionsadded and omitted, and names changed. Themost reprinted version, it is entered into Project Gutenberg for referencepurposes only. A better translation is A Journey into the Interior of theEarth translated by Rev. F. A. Malleson, also available on ProjectGutenberg.]
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 MY UNCLE MAKES A GREAT DISCOVERY
CHAPTER 2 THE MYSTERIOUS PARCHMENT
CHAPTER 3 AN ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY
CHAPTER 4 WE START ON THE JOURNEY
CHAPTER 5 FIRST LESSONS IN CLIMBING
CHAPTER 6 OUR VOYAGE TO ICELAND
CHAPTER 7 CONVERSATION AND DISCOVERY
CHAPTER 8 THE EIDER-DOWN HUNTER—OFF AT LAST
CHAPTER 9 OUR START—WE MEET WITH ADVENTURES BY THE WAY
CHAPTER 10 TRAVELING IN ICELAND
CHAPTER 11 WE REACH MOUNT SNEFFELS—THE "REYKIR"
CHAPTER 12 THE ASCENT OF MOUNT SNEFFELS
CHAPTER 13 THE SHADOW OF SCARTARIS
CHAPTER 14 THE REAL JOURNEY COMMENCES
CHAPTER 15 WE CONTINUE OUR DESCENT
CHAPTER 16 THE EASTERN TUNNEL
CHAPTER 17 DEEPER AND DEEPER—THE COAL MINE
CHAPTER 18 THE WRONG ROAD!
CHAPTER 19 THE WESTERN GALLERY—A NEW ROUTE
CHAPTER 20 WATER, WHERE IS IT? A BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT
CHAPTER 21 UNDER THE OCEAN
CHAPTER 22 SUNDAY BELOW GROUND
CHAPTER 23 ALONE
CHAPTER 24 LOST!
CHAPTER 25 THE WHISPERING GALLERY
CHAPTER 26 A RAPID RECOVERY
CHAPTER 27 THE CENTRAL SEA
CHAPTER 28 LAUNCHING THE RAFT
CHAPTER 29 ON THE WATERS—A RAFT VOYAGE
CHAPTER 30 TERRIFIC SAURIAN COMBAT
CHAPTER 31 THE SEA MONSTER
CHAPTER 32 THE BATTLE OF THE ELEMENTS
CHAPTER 33 OUR ROUTE REVERSED
CHAPTER 34 A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
CHAPTER 35 DISCOVERY UPON DISCOVERY
CHAPTER 36 WHAT IS IT?
CHAPTER 37 THE MYSTERIOUS DAGGER
CHAPTER 38 NO OUTLET—BLASTING THE ROCK
CHAPTER 39 THE EXPLOSION AND ITS RESULTS
CHAPTER 40 THE APE GIGANS
CHAPTER 41 HUNGER
CHAPTER 42 THE VOLCANIC SHAFT
CHAPTER 43 DAYLIGHT AT LAST
CHAPTER 44 THE JOURNEY ENDED
MY UNCLE MAKES A GREAT DISCOVERY
Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, Iam scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures. They weretruly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them.
My uncle was a German, having married my mother's sister, anEnglishwoman. Being very much attached to his fatherless nephew, heinvited me to study under him in his home in the fatherland. This homewas in a large town, and my uncle a professor of philosophy, chemistry,geology, mineralogy, and many other ologies.
One day, after passing some hours in the laboratory—my uncle beingabsent at the time—I suddenly felt the necessity of renovating thetissues—i.e., I was hungry, and was about to rouse up our old Frenchcook, when my uncle, Professor Von Hardwigg, suddenly opened the streetdoor, and came rushing upstairs.
Now Professor Hardwigg, my worthy uncle, is by no means a bad sort ofman; he is, however, choleric and original. To bear with him means toobey; and scarcely had his heavy feet resounded within our jointdomicile than he shouted for me to attend upon him.
I hastened to obey, but before I could reach his room, jumping threesteps at a time, he was stamping his right foot upon the landing.
"Harry!" he cried, in a frantic tone, "are you coming up?"
Now to tell the truth, at that moment I was far more interested in thequestion as to what was to constitute our dinner than in any problem ofscience; to me soup was more interesting than soda, an omelette moretempting than arithmetic, and an artichoke of ten times more value thanany amount of asbestos.
But my uncle was not a man to be kept waiting; so adjourning thereforeall minor questions, I presented myself before him.
He was a very learned man. Now most persons in this category supplythemselves with information, as peddlers do with goods, for the benefitof others, and lay up stores in order to diffuse them abroad for thebenefit of society in general. Not so my excellent uncle, ProfessorHardwigg; he studied, he consumed the midnight oil, he pored over heavytomes, and digested huge quartos and folios in order to keep theknowledge acquired to himself.
There was a reason, and it may be regarded as a good one, why my uncleobjected to display his learning more than was absolutely necessary: hestammered; and when intent upon explaining the phenomena of the heavens,was apt to find himself at fault, and allude in such a vague way to sun,moon, and stars that few were able to comprehend his meaning. To tellthe honest truth, when the right word would not come, it was generallyreplaced by a very powerful adjective.
In connection with the sciences there are many almost unpronounceablenames—names very much resembling those of Welsh villages; and my unclebeing very fond of using them, his habit of stammering was not therebyimproved. In fact, there were periods in his discourse when he wouldfinally give up and swallow his discomfiture—in a glass of water.
As I said, my uncle, Professor Hardwigg, was a very learned man; and Inow add a most kind relative. I was bound to him by the double ties ofaffection and interest. I took deep interest in all his doings, andhoped some day to be almost as learned myself. It was a rare thing forme to be absent from his lectures. Like him, I preferred mineralogy toall the other sciences. My anxiety was to gain real knowledge of theearth. Geology and mineralogy were to us the sole objects of life, andin connection with these studies many a fair specimen of stone, chalk,or metal did we break with our hammers.
Steel rods, loadstones, glass pipes, and bottles of various acids wereoftener before us than our meals. My uncle Hardwigg was once known toclassify six hundred different geological specimens by their weight,hardness, fusibility, sound, taste, and smell.
He corresponded with all the great, learned, and scientific men of theage. I was, therefore, in constant communication with, at all events theletters of, Sir Humphry Davy, Captain Franklin, and other great men.
But before I state the subject on which my uncle wished to confer withme, I must say a word about his personal appearance. Alas! my readerswill see a very different portrait of him at a future time, after he hasgone through the fearful adventures yet to be related.
My uncle was fifty years old; tall, thin, and wiry. Large spectacleshid, to a certain extent, his vast, round, and goggle eyes, while hisnose was irreverently compared to a thin file. So much indeed did itresemble that useful article, that a compass was said in his presence tohave made considerable N (Nasal) deviation.
The truth being told, however, the only article really attracted to myuncle's nose was tobacco.
Another peculiarity of his was, that he always stepped a yard at a time,clenched his fists as if he were going to hit you, and was, when in oneof his peculiar humors, very far from a pleasant companion.
It is further necessary to observe that he lived in a very nice house,in that very nice street, the Konigstrasse at Hamburg. Though lying inthe centre of a town, it was perfectly rural in its aspect—half wood,half bricks, with old-fashioned gables—one of the few old houses sparedby the great fire of 1842.
When I say a nice house, I mean a handsome house—old, tottering, andnot exactly comfortable to English notions: a house a little off theperpendicular and inclined to fall into the neighboring canal; exactlythe house for a wandering artist to depict; all the more that you couldscarcely see it for ivy and a magnificent old tree which grew over thedoor.
My uncle was rich; his house was his own property, while he had aconsiderable private income. To my notion the best part of hispossessions was his god-daughter, Gretchen. And the old cook, the younglady, the Professor and I were the sole inhabitants.
I loved mineralogy, I loved geology. To me there was nothing likepebbles—and if my uncle had been in a little less of a fury, we shouldhave been the happiest of families. To prove the excellent Hardwigg'simpatience, I solemnly declare that when the flowers in the drawing-roompots began to grow, he rose every morning at four o'clock to make themgrow quicker by pulling the leaves!
Having described my uncle, I will now give an account of our interview.
He received me in his study; a perfect museum, containing every naturalcuriosity that can well be imagined—minerals, however, predominating.Every one was familiar to me, having been catalogued by my own hand. Myuncle, apparently oblivious of the fact that he had summoned me to hispresence, was absorbed in a book. He was particularly fond of earlyeditions, tall copies, and unique works.
"Wonderful!" he cried, tapping his forehead. "Wonderful—wonderful!"
It was one of those yellow-leaved volumes now rarely found on stalls,and to me it appeared to possess but little value. My uncle, however,was in raptures.
He admired its binding, the clearness of its characters, the ease withwhich it opened in his hand, and repeated aloud, half a dozen times,that it was very, very old.
To my fancy he was making a great fuss about nothing, but it was not myprovince to say so. On the contrary, I professed considerable interestin the subject, and asked him what it was about.
"It is the Heims-Kringla of Snorre Tarleson," he said, "the celebratedIcelandic author of the twelfth century—it is a true and correctaccount of the Norwegian princes who reigned in Iceland."
My next question related to the language in which it was written. Ihoped at all events it was translated into German. My uncle wasindignant at the very thought, and declared he wouldn't give a penny fora translation. His delight was to have found the original work in theIcelandic tongue, which he declared to be one of the most magnificentand yet simple idioms in the world—while at the same time itsgrammatical combinations were the most varied known to students.
"About as easy as German?" was my insidious remark.
My uncle shrugged his shoulders.
"The letters at all events," I said, "are rather difficult ofcomprehension."
"It is a Runic manuscript, the language of the original population ofIceland, invented by Odin himself," cried my uncle, angry at myignorance.
I was about to venture upon some misplaced joke on the subject, when asmall scrap of parchment fell out of the leaves. Like a hungry mansnatching at a morsel of bread the Professor seized it. It was aboutfive inches by three and was scrawled over in the most extraordinaryfashion.
The lines shown here are an exact facsimile of what was written on thevenerable piece of parchment—and have wonderful importance, as theyinduced my uncle to undertake the most wonderful series of adventureswhich ever fell to the lot of human beings.
My uncle looked keenly at the document for some moments and thendeclared that it was Runic. The letters were similar to those in thebook, but then what did they mean? This was exactly what I wanted toknow.
Now as I had a strong conviction that the Runic alphabet and dialectwere simply an invention to mystify poor human nature, I was delightedto find that my uncle knew as much about the matter as I did—which wasnothing. At all events the tremulous motion of his fingers made me thinkso.
"And yet," he muttered to himself, "it is old Icelandic, I am sure ofit."
And my uncle ought to have known, for he was a perfect polyglotdictionary in himself. He did not pretend, like a certain learnedpundit, to speak the two thousand languages and four thousand idiomsmade use of in different parts of the globe, but he did know all themore important ones.
It is a matter of great doubt to me now, to what violent measures myuncle's impetuosity might have led him, had not the clock struck two,and our old French cook called out to let us know that dinner was on thetable.
"Bother the dinner!" cried my uncle.
But as I was hungry, I sallied forth to the dining room, where I took upmy usual