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Book II Jules Verne

A Revised Calendar

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"Of course," said the captain.

"And how many days will make a month?" asked the professor.

"I suppose sixty or sixty-two, as the case may be. The days now are only half as long as they used to be," answered the captain.

"Servadac, don't be thoughtless!" cried Rosette, with all the petulant impatience of the old pedagogue. "If the days are only half as long as they were, sixty of them cannot make up a twelfth part of Gallia's year-- cannot be a month."

"I suppose not," replied the confused captain.

"Do you not see, then," continued the astronomer, "that if a Gallian month is twice as long as a terrestrial month, and a Gallian day is only half as long as a terrestrial day, there must be a hundred and twenty days in every month?"

"No doubt you are right, professor," said Count Timascheff; "but do you not think that the use of a new calendar such as this would practically be very troublesome?"

"Not at all! not at all! I do not intend to use any other," was the professor's bluff reply.

After pondering for a few moments, the captain spoke again. "According, then, to this new calendar, it isn't the middle of May at all; it must now be some time in March."

"Yes," said the professor, "to-day is the 26th of March. It is the 266th day of the Gallian year. It corresponds with the 133d day of the terrestrial year. You are quite correct, it is the 26th of March."

"Strange!" muttered Servadac.

"And a month, a terrestrial month, thirty old days, sixty new days hence, it will be the 86th of March."

"Ha, ha!" roared the captain; "this is logic with a vengeance!"

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The old professor had an undefined consciousness that his former pupil was laughing at him; and as it was growing late, he made an excuse that he had no more leisure. The visitors accordingly quitted the observatory.

It must be owned that the revised calendar was left to the professor's sole use, and the colony was fairly puzzled whenever he referred to such unheard-of dates as the 47th of April or the 118th of May.

According to the old calendar, June had now arrived;

[illustration omitted] [page intentionally blank] and by the professor's tables Gallia during the month would have advanced 27,500,000 leagues farther along its orbit, and would have attained a distance of 155,000,000 leagues from the sun. The thermometer continued to fall; the atmosphere remained clear as heretofore. The population performed their daily avocations with systematic routine; and almost the only thing that broke the monotony of existence was an occasional visit from the blustering, nervous, little professor, when some sudden fancy induced him to throw aside his astronomical studies for a time, and pay a visit to the common hall. His arrival there was generally hailed as the precursor of a little season of excitement. Somehow or other the conversation would eventually work its way round to the topic of a future collision between the comet and the earth; and in the same degree as this was a matter of sanguine anticipation to Captain Servadac and his friends, it was a matter of aversion to the astronomical enthusiast, who had no desire to quit his present quarters in a sphere which, being of his own discovery, he could hardly have cared for more if it had been of his own creation. The interview would often terminate in a scene of considerable animation.

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Off on a Comet
Jules Verne

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