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|Round the Moon||Jules Verne|
J. T. MASTON RECALLED
|Page 4 of 4||
During the night, from the 14th to the 15th of December, the two irreconcilable friends were busy observing the lunar disc, J. T. Maston abusing the learned Belfast as usual, who was by his side; the secretary of the Gun Club maintaining for the thousandth time that he had just seen the projectile, and adding that he could see Michel Ardan's face looking through one of the scuttles, at the same time enforcing his argument by a series of gestures which his formidable hook rendered very unpleasant.
At this moment Belfast's servant appeared on the platform (it was ten at night) and gave him a dispatch. It was the commander of the Susquehanna's telegram.
Belfast tore the envelope and read, and uttered a cry.
"What!" said J. T. Maston.
"Has fallen to the earth!"
Another cry, this time a perfect howl, answered him. He turned toward J. T. Maston. The unfortunate man, imprudently leaning over the metal tube, had disappeared in the immense telescope. A fall of two hundred and eighty feet! Belfast, dismayed, rushed to the orifice of the reflector.
He breathed. J. T. Maston, caught by his metal hook, was holding on by one of the rings which bound the telescope together, uttering fearful cries.
Belfast called. Help was brought, tackle was let down, and they hoisted up, not without some trouble, the imprudent secretary of the Gun Club.
He reappeared at the upper orifice without hurt.
"Ah!" said he, "if I had broken the mirror?"
"You would have paid for it," replied Belfast severely.
"And that cursed projectile has fallen?" asked J. T. Maston.
"Into the Pacific!"
"Let us go!"
A quarter of an hour after the two savants were descending the declivity of the Rocky Mountains; and two days after, at the same time as their friends of the Gun Club, they arrived at San Francisco, having killed five horses on the road.
Elphinstone, the brothers Blomsberry, and Bilsby rushed toward them on their arrival.
"What shall we do?" they exclaimed.
"Fish up the projectile," replied J. T. Maston, "and the sooner the better."
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