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

Wanted: A Steelyard

Page 4 of 4

Table Of Contents: Off on a Comet

Previous Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

Sea and land seemed blended into one dreary whiteness, to which the pale blue sky offered scarcely any contrast. The shore was indented with the marks of many footsteps left by the colonists either on their way to collect ice for drinking purposes, or as the result of their skating expeditions; the edges of the skates had cut out a labyrinth of curves complicated as the figures traced by aquatic insects upon the surface of a pool.

Across the quarter of a mile of level ground that lay between the mountain and the creek, a series of footprints, frozen hard into the snow, marked the course taken by Isaac Hakkabut on his last return from Nina's Hive.

On approaching the creek, Lieutenant Procope drew his companions' attention to the elevation of the Dobryna's and Hansa's waterline, both vessels being now some fifteen feet above the level of the sea.

"What a strange phenomenon!" exclaimed the captain.

"It makes me very uneasy," rejoined the lieutenant; "in shallow places like this, as the crust of ice thickens, it forces everything upwards with irresistible force."

"But surely this process of congelation must have a limit!" said the count.

"But who can say what that limit will be? Remember that we have not yet reached our maximum of cold," replied Procope.

"Indeed, I hope not!" exclaimed the professor; "where would be the use of our traveling 200,000,000 leagues from the sun, if we are only to experience the same temperature as we should find at the poles of the earth?"

"Fortunately for us, however, professor," said the lieutenant, with a smile, "the temperature of the remotest space never descends beyond 70 degrees below zero."

"And as long as there is no wind," added Servadac, "we may pass comfortably through the winter, without a single attack of catarrh."

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

Lieutenant Procope proceeded to impart to the count his anxiety about the situation of his yacht. He pointed out that by the constant superposition of new deposits of ice, the vessel would be elevated to a great height, and consequently in the event of a thaw, it must be exposed to a calamity similar to those which in polar seas cause destruction to so many whalers.

There was no time now for concerting measures offhand to prevent the disaster, for the other members of the party had already reached the spot where the Hansa lay bound in her icy trammels. A flight of steps, recently hewn by Hakkabut himself, gave access for the present to the gangway, but it was evident that some different contrivance would have to be resorted to when the tartan should be elevated perhaps to a hundred feet.

A thin curl of blue smoke issued from the copper funnel that projected above the mass of snow which had accumulated upon the deck of the Hansa. The owner was sparing of his fuel, and it was only the non-conducting layer of ice enveloping the tartan that rendered the internal temperature endurable.

"Hi! old Nebuchadnezzar, where are you?" shouted Ben Zoof, at the full strength of his lungs.

At the sound of his voice, the cabin door opened, and the Jew's head and shoulders protruded onto the deck.

Page 4 of 4 Previous Page   Next Chapter
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