The Mysterious Island

The Mysterious Island

By:  Jules Verne  Completed
Language: English
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Are we rising again?” “No. On the contrary.” “Are we descending?” “Worse than that, captain! we are falling!” “For Heaven’s sake heave out the ballast!” “There! the last sack is empty!” “Does the balloon rise?” “No!” “I hear a noise like the dashing of waves. The sea is below the car! It cannot be more than 500 feet from us!” “Overboard with every weight! ... everything!

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62 chapters
Part 1. DROPPED FROM THE CLOUDS. Chapter 1
“Are we rising again?” “No. On the contrary.” “Are we descending?” “Worse than that, captain! we are falling!” “For Heaven’s sake heave out the ballast!” “There! the last sack is empty!” “Does the balloon rise?” “No!” “I hear a noise like the dashing of waves. The sea is below the car! It cannot be more than 500 feet from us!” “Overboard with every weight! ... everything!”Such were the loud and startling words which resounded through the air, above the vast watery desert of the Pacific, about four o’clock in the evening of the 23rd of March, 1865.Few can possibly have forgotten the terrible storm from the northeast, in the middle of the equinox of that year. The tempest raged without intermission from the 18th to the 26th of March. Its ravages were terrible in America, Europe, and Asia, covering a distance of eighteen hundred miles, and extending obliquely to the equator from the thirty-fifth north parallel to the fortieth south parallel. Towns were overthrown, forests uprooted, co
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Chapter 2
Those whom the hurricane had just thrown on this coast were neither aeronauts by profession nor amateurs. They were prisoners of war whose boldness had induced them to escape in this extraordinary manner.A hundred times they had almost perished! A hundred times had they almost fallen from their torn balloon into the depths of the ocean. But Heaven had reserved them for a strange destiny, and after having, on the 20th of March, escaped from Richmond, besieged by the troops of General Ulysses Grant, they found themselves seven thousand miles from the capital of Virginia, which was the principal stronghold of the South, during the terrible War of Secession. Their aerial voyage had lasted five days.The curious circumstances which led to the escape of the prisoners were as follows:That same year, in the month of February, 1865, in one of the coups de main by which General Grant attempted, though in vain, to possess himself of Richmond, several of his officers fell into the power of th
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Chapter 3
The engineer, the meshes of the net having given way, had been carried off by a wave. His dog also had disappeared. The faithful animal had voluntarily leaped out to help his master. “Forward,” cried the reporter; and all four, Spilett, Herbert, Pencroft, and Neb, forgetting their fatigue, began their search. Poor Neb shed bitter tears, giving way to despair at the thought of having lost the only being he loved on earth.Only two minutes had passed from the time when Cyrus Harding disappeared to the moment when his companions set foot on the ground. They had hopes therefore of arriving in time to save him. “Let us look for him! let us look for him!” cried Neb.“Yes, Neb,” replied Gideon Spilett, “and we will find him too!”“Living, I trust!”“Still living!”“Can he swim?” asked Pencroft.“Yes,” replied Neb, “and besides, Top is there.”The sailor, observing the heavy surf on the shore, shook his head.The engineer had disappeared to the north of the shore, and nearly half a mil
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Chapter 4
All at once the reporter sprang up, and telling the sailor that he would rejoin them at that same place, he climbed the cliff in the direction which the Negro Neb had taken a few hours before. Anxiety hastened his steps, for he longed to obtain news of his friend, and he soon disappeared round an angle of the cliff. Herbert wished to accompany him.“Stop here, my boy,” said the sailor; “we have to prepare an encampment, and to try and find rather better grub than these shell-fish. Our friends will want something when they come back. There is work for everybody.”“I am ready,” replied Herbert.“All right,” said the sailor; “that will do. We must set about it regularly. We are tired, cold, and hungry; therefore we must have shelter, fire, and food. There is wood in the forest, and eggs in nests; we have only to find a house.”“Very well,” returned Herbert, “I will look for a cave among the rocks, and I shall be sure to discover some hole into which we can creep.”“All right,” said P
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Chapter 5
Pencroft’s first care, after unloading the raft, was to render the cave habitable by stopping up all the holes which made it draughty. Sand, stones, twisted branches, wet clay, closed up the galleries open to the south winds. One narrow and winding opening at the side was kept, to lead out the smoke and to make the fire draw. The cave was thus divided into three or four rooms, if such dark dens with which a donkey would scarcely have been contented deserved the name. But they were dry, and there was space to stand upright, at least in the principal room, which occupied the center. The floor was covered with fine sand, and taking all in all they were well pleased with it for want of a better.“Perhaps,” said Herbert, while he and Pencroft were working, “our companions have found a superior place to ours.”“Very likely,” replied the seaman; “but, as we don’t know, we must work all the same. Better to have two strings to one’s bow than no string at all!”“Oh!” exclaimed Herbert, “how j
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Chapter 6
The inventory of the articles possessed by these castaways from the clouds, thrown upon a coast which appeared to be uninhabited, was soon made out. They had nothing, save the clothes which they were wearing at the time of the catastrophe. We must mention, however, a note-book and a watch which Gideon Spilett had kept, doubtless by inadvertence, not a weapon, not a tool, not even a pocket-knife; for while in the car they had thrown out everything to lighten the balloon. The imaginary heroes of Daniel Defoe or of Wyss, as well as Selkirk and Raynal shipwrecked on Juan Fernandez and on the archipelago of the Aucklands, were never in such absolute destitution. Either they had abundant resources from their stranded vessels, in grain, cattle, tools, ammunition, or else some things were thrown up on the coast which supplied them with all the first necessities of life. But here, not any instrument whatever, not a utensil. From nothing they must supply themselves with everything.And yet, if
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Chapter 7
Gideon Spilett was standing motionless on the shore, his arms crossed, gazing over the sea, the horizon of which was lost towards the east in a thick black cloud which was spreading rapidly towards the zenith. The wind was already strong, and increased with the decline of day. The whole sky was of a threatening aspect, and the first symptoms of a violent storm were clearly visible.Herbert entered the Chimneys, and Pencroft went towards the reporter. The latter, deeply absorbed, did not see him approach.“We are going to have a dirty night, Mr. Spilett!” said the sailor: “Petrels delight in wind and rain.”The reporter, turning at the moment, saw Pencroft, and his first words were,—“At what distance from the coast would you say the car was, when the waves carried off our companion?”The sailor had not expected this question. He reflected an instant and replied,—“Two cables lengths at the most.”“But what is a cable’s length?” asked Gideon Spilett.“About a hundred and twenty
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Chapter 8
Neb did not move. Pencroft only uttered one word.“Living?” he cried.Neb did not reply. Spilett and the sailor turned pale. Herbert clasped his hands, and remained motionless. The poor Negro, absorbed in his grief, evidently had neither seen his companions nor heard the sailor speak.The reporter knelt down beside the motionless body, and placed his ear to the engineer’s chest, having first torn open his clothes.A minute—an age!—passed, during which he endeavored to catch the faintest throb of the heart.Neb had raised himself a little and gazed without seeing. Despair had completely changed his countenance. He could scarcely be recognized, exhausted with fatigue, broken with grief. He believed his master was dead.Gideon Spilett at last rose, after a long and attentive examination.“He lives!” said he.Pencroft knelt in his turn beside the engineer, he also heard a throbbing, and even felt a slight breath on his cheek.Herbert at a word from the reporter ran out to look for
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Chapter 9
In a few words, Gideon Spilett, Herbert, and Neb were made acquainted with what had happened. This accident, which appeared so very serious to Pencroft, produced different effects on the companions of the honest sailor.Neb, in his delight at having found his master, did not listen, or rather, did not care to trouble himself with what Pencroft was saying.Herbert shared in some degree the sailor’s feelings.As to the reporter, he simply replied,—“Upon my word, Pencroft, it’s perfectly indifferent to me!”“But, I repeat, that we haven’t any fire!”“Pooh!”“Nor any means of relighting it!”“Nonsense!”“But I say, Mr. Spilett—”“Isn’t Cyrus here?” replied the reporter.“Is not our engineer alive? He will soon find some way of making fire for us!”“With what?”“With nothing.”What had Pencroft to say? He could say nothing, for, in the bottom of his heart he shared the confidence which his companions had in Cyrus Harding. The engineer was to them a microcosm, a compound of ev
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Chapter 10
In a few minutes the three hunters were before a crackling fire. The captain and the reporter were there. Pencroft looked from one to the other, his capybara in his hand, without saying a word.“Well, yes, my brave fellow,” cried the reporter.“Fire, real fire, which will roast this splendid pig perfectly, and we will have a feast presently!”“But who lighted it?” asked Pencroft.“The sun!”Gideon Spilett was quite right in his reply. It was the sun which had furnished the heat which so astonished Pencroft. The sailor could scarcely believe his eyes, and he was so amazed that he did not think of questioning the engineer.“Had you a burning-glass, sir?” asked Herbert of Harding.“No, my boy,” replied he, “but I made one.”And he showed the apparatus which served for a burning-glass. It was simply two glasses which he had taken from his own and the reporter’s watches. Having filled them with water and rendered their edges adhesive by means of a little clay, he thus fabricated a r
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