Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
  Book II Jules Verne

Gallia Weighed

Page 1 of 4

Table Of Contents: Off on a Comet

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

A quarter of an hour later, the visitors to the Hansa had reassembled in the common hall of Nina's Hive.

"Now, gentlemen, we can proceed," said the professor. "May I request that this table may be cleared?"

Ben Zoof removed the various articles that were lying on the table, and the coins which had just been borrowed from the Jew were placed upon it in three piles, according to their value.

The professor commenced. "Since none of you gentlemen, at the time of the shock, took the precaution to save either a meter measure or a kilogramme weight from the earth, and since both these articles are necessary for the calculation on which we are engaged, I have been obliged to devise means of my own to replace them."

This exordium delivered, he paused and seemed to watch its effect upon his audience, who, however, were too well acquainted with the professor's temper to make any attempt to exonerate themselves from the rebuke of carelessness, and submitted silently to the implied reproach.

"I have taken pains," he continued, "to satisfy myself that these coins are in proper condition for my purpose. I find them unworn and unchipped; indeed, they are almost new. They have been hoarded instead of circulated; accordingly, they are fit to be utilized for my purpose of obtaining the precise length of a terrestrial meter."

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

Ben Zoof looked on in perplexity, regarding the lecturer with much the same curiosity as he would have watched the performances of a traveling mountebank at a fair in Montmartre; but Servadac and his two friends had already divined the professor's meaning. They knew that French coinage is all decimal, the franc being the standard of which the other coins, whether gold, silver, or copper, are multiples or measures; they knew, too, that the caliber or diameter of each piece of money is rigorously determined by law, and that the diameters of the silver coins representing five francs, two francs, and fifty centimes measure thirty-seven, twenty-seven, and eighteen millimeters respectively; and they accordingly guessed that Professor Rosette had conceived the plan of placing such a number of these coins in juxtaposition that the length of their united diameters should measure exactly the thousand millimeters that make up the terrestrial meter.

The measurement thus obtained was by means of a pair of compasses divided accurately into ten equal portions, or decimeters, each of course 3.93 inches long. A lath was then cut of this exact length and given to the engineer of the Dobryna, who was directed to cut out of the solid rock the cubic decimeter required by the professor.

The next business was to obtain the precise weight of a kilogramme. This was by no means a difficult matter. Not only the diameters, but also the weights, of the French coins are rigidly determined by law, and as the silver five-franc pieces always weigh exactly twenty-five grammes, the united weight of forty of these coins is known to amount to one kilogramme.

"Oh!" cried Ben Zoof; "to be able to do all this I see you must be rich as well as learned."

Page 1 of 4 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Off on a Comet
Jules Verne

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004