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0105_001E Book II Jules Verne

The Venture Made

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Table Of Contents: Off on a Comet

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Thinking he could turn the wrangling to some good account, so as to arrive at the information he was so anxiously seeking, the captain pretended to espouse the views of his orderly; he consequently brought upon himself the full force of the professor's wrath.

Rosette's language became more and more violent, till Servadac, feigning to be provoked beyond endurance, cried:

"You forget, sir, that you are addressing the Governor-General of Gallia."

"Governor-General! humbug!" roared Rosette. "Gallia is my comet!"

"I deny it," said Servadac. "Gallia has lost its chance of getting back to the earth. Gallia has nothing to do with you. Gallia is mine; and you must submit to the government which I please to ordain."

"And who told you that Gallia is not going back to the earth?" asked the professor, with a look of withering scorn.

"Why, isn't her mass diminished? Isn't she split in half? Isn't her velocity all altered?" demanded the captain.

"And pray who told you this?" again said the professor, with a sneer.

"Everybody. Everybody knows it, of course," replied Servadac.

"Everybody is very clever. And you always were a very clever scholar too. We remember that of old, don't we?"


"You nearly mastered the first elements of science, didn't you?"


"A credit to your class!"

"Hold your tongue, sir!" bellowed the captain again, as if his anger was uncontrollable.

"Not I," said the professor.

" Hold your tongue!" repeated Servadac.

"Just because the mass is altered you think the velocity is altered?"

"Hold your tongue!" cried the captain, louder than ever.

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"What has mass to do with the orbit? Of how many comets do you know the mass, and yet you know their movements? Ignorance!" shouted Rosette.

"Insolence!" retorted Servadac.

Ben Zoof, really thinking that his master was angry, made a threatening movement towards the professor.

"Touch me if you dare!" screamed Rosette, drawing himself up to the fullest height his diminutive figure would allow. "You shall answer for your conduct before a court of justice!"

"Where? On Gallia?" asked the captain.

"No; on the earth."

"The earth! Pshaw! You know we shall never get there; our velocity is changed."

"On the earth," repeated the professor, with decision.

"Trash!" cried Ben Zoof. "The earth will be too far off!"

"Not too far off for us to come across her orbit at 42 minutes and 35.6 seconds past two o'clock on the morning of this coming 1st of January."

"Thanks, my dear professor--many thanks. You have given me all the information I required;" and, with a low bow and a gracious smile, the captain withdrew. The orderly made an equally polite bow, and followed his master. The professor, completely nonplussed, was left alone.

Thirteen days, then--twenty-six of the original Gallian days, fifty-two of the present--was all the time for preparation that now remained. Every preliminary arrangement was hurried on with the greatest earnestness.

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Off on a Comet
Jules Verne

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