Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea



   第一部 第二十三章

   "Aegri Somnia"


   THE FOLLOWING DAY, January 10, the Nautilus resumed its travels in midwater but at a remarkable speed that I estimated to be at least thirty-five miles per hour. The propeller was going so fast I could neither follow nor count its revolutions.


   I thought about how this marvelous electric force not only gave motion, heat, and light to the Nautilus but even protected it against outside attack, transforming it into a sacred ark no profane hand could touch without being blasted; my wonderment was boundless, and it went from the submersible itself to the engineer who had created it.


   We were traveling due west and on January 11 we doubled Cape Wessel, located in longitude 135 degrees and latitude 10 degrees north, the western tip of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Reefs were still numerous but more widely scattered and were fixed on the chart with the greatest accuracy. The Nautilus easily avoided the Money breakers to port and the Victoria reefs to starboard, positioned at longitude 130 degrees on the tenth parallel, which we went along rigorously.


   On January 13, arriving in the Timor Sea, Captain Nemo raised the island of that name at longitude 122 degrees. This island, whose surface area measures 1,625 square leagues, is governed by rajahs. These aristocrats deem themselves the sons of crocodiles, in other words, descendants with the most exalted origins to which a human being can lay claim. Accordingly, their scaly ancestors infest the island's rivers and are the subjects of special veneration. They are sheltered, nurtured, flattered, pampered, and offered a ritual diet of nubile maidens; and woe to the foreigner who lifts a finger against these sacred saurians.

   1月13日,尼摩船長到了帝位海,在東經122度望見了跟海同名的帝文島①。這島面積為1,625平方裡,由稱為,‘拉夜,,的王公們統治。這些王公們自稱為鱷魚的子孫,就是說,他們的祖先是人類可能想到的最古的來源。所以。 他們的帶鱗甲的祖宗在島上河流中大量繁殖,是人們特殊尊敬的對象。島人保護它們,嬌養它們,奉承它們,給它們食物,把青年女子作它們的食料,如果有外來客人,敢把手去動這些神聖的晰蝎類,那他就將惹下大禍了。

   But the Nautilus wanted nothing to do with these nasty animals. Timor Island was visible for barely an instant at noon while the chief officer determined his position. I also caught only a glimpse of little Roti Island, part of this same group, whose women have a well-established reputation for beauty in the Malaysian marketplace.


   After our position fix, the Nautilus's latitude bearings were modulated to the southwest. Our prow pointed to the Indian Ocean. Where would Captain Nemo's fancies take us? Would he head up to the shores of Asia? Would he pull nearer to the beaches of Europe? Unlikely choices for a man who avoided populated areas! So would he go down south? Would he double the Cape of Good Hope, then Cape Horn, and push on to the Antarctic pole? Finally, would he return to the seas of the Pacific, where his Nautilus could navigate freely and easily? Time would tell.


   After cruising along the Cartier, Hibernia, Seringapatam, and Scott reefs, the solid element's last exertions against the liquid element, we were beyond all sight of shore by January 14. The Nautilus slowed down in an odd manner, and very unpredictable in its ways, it sometimes swam in the midst of the waters, sometimes drifted on their surface.


   During this phase of our voyage, Captain Nemo conducted interesting experiments on the different temperatures in various strata of the sea. Under ordinary conditions, such readings are obtained using some pretty complicated instruments whose findings are dubious to say the least, whether they're thermometric sounding lines, whose glass often shatters under the water's pressure, or those devices based on the varying resistance of metals to electric currents. The results so obtained can't be adequately double-checked. By contrast, Captain Nemo would seek the sea's temperature by going himself into its depths, and when he placed his thermometer in contact with the various layers of liquid, he found the sought-for degree immediately and with certainty.


   And so, by loading up its ballast tanks, or by sinking obliquely with its slanting fins, the Nautilus successively reached depths of 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, 7,000, 9,000, and 10,000 meters, and the ultimate conclusion from these experiments was that, in all latitudes, the sea had a permanent temperature of 4.5 degrees centigrade at a depth of 1,000 meters.


   I watched these experiments with the most intense fascination. Captain Nemo brought a real passion to them. I often wondered why he took these observations. Were they for the benefit of his fellow man? It was unlikely, because sooner or later his work would perish with him in some unknown sea! Unless he intended the results of his experiments for me. But that meant this strange voyage of mine would come to an end, and no such end was in sight.


   Be that as it may, Captain Nemo also introduced me to the different data he had obtained on the relative densities of the water in our globe's chief seas. From this news I derived some personal enlightenment having nothing to do with science.

   不管怎樣,船長同樣又讓我知道他所獲得的各種數字。 這些數字是關於地球上主要海洋海水密度的報告。從他給我的這個通知,我取得了不是關於科學的、而是關於個人的知識。

   It happened the morning of January 15. The captain, with whom I was strolling on the platform, asked me if I knew how salt water differs in density from sea to sea. I said no, adding that there was a lack of rigorous scientific observations on this subject.


   "I've taken such observations," he told me, "and I can vouch for their reliability."


   "Fine," I replied, "but the Nautilus lives in a separate world, and the secrets of its scientists don't make their way ashore."


   "You're right, professor," he told me after a few moments of silence. "This is a separate world. It's as alien to the earth as the planets accompanying our globe around the sun, and we'll never become familiar with the work of scientists on Saturn or Jupiter. But since fate has linked our two lives, I can reveal the results of my observations to you."


   "I'm all attention, captain."


   "You're aware, professor, that salt water is denser than fresh water, but this density isn't uniform. In essence, if I represent the density of fresh water by 1.000, then I find 1.028 for the waters of the Atlantic, 1.026 for the waters of the Pacific, 1.030 for the waters of the Mediterranean--"


   Aha, I thought, so he ventures into the Mediterranean?


   "--1.018 for the waters of the Ionian Sea, and 1.029 for the waters of the Adriatic."


   Assuredly, the Nautilus didn't avoid the heavily traveled seas of Europe, and from this insight I concluded that the ship would take us back--perhaps very soon--to more civilized shores. I expected Ned Land to greet this news with unfeigned satisfaction.


   For several days our work hours were spent in all sorts of experiments, on the degree of salinity in waters of different depths, or on their electric properties, coloration, and transparency, and in every instance Captain Nemo displayed an ingenuity equaled only by his graciousness toward me. Then I saw no more of him for some days and again lived on board in seclusion.

   在好幾天內,我們長時間都在做各種各樣的實驗,研究不同深度水層的鹽分含量,海水的感電作用,海水的染色作用,海水的透明傳光作用。在所有這些情況中,尼摩船長處處顯示出他的奇特才能,也處處都顯示出他對我的好感。 以後,在幾天內,我看不見他了,我在他船上又像孤獨的人一樣了。

   On January 16 the Nautilus seemed to have fallen asleep just a few meters beneath the surface of the water. Its electric equipment had been turned off, and the motionless propeller let it ride with the waves. I assumed that the crew were busy with interior repairs, required by the engine's strenuous mechanical action.


   My companions and I then witnessed an unusual sight. The panels in the lounge were open, and since the Nautilus's beacon was off, a hazy darkness reigned in the midst of the waters. Covered with heavy clouds, the stormy sky gave only the faintest light to the ocean's upper strata.


   I was observing the state of the sea under these conditions, and even the largest fish were nothing more than ill-defined shadows, when the Nautilus was suddenly transferred into broad daylight. At first I thought the beacon had gone back on and was casting its electric light into the liquid mass. I was mistaken, and after a hasty examination I discovered my error.


   The Nautilus had drifted into the midst of some phosphorescent strata, which, in this darkness, came off as positively dazzling. This effect was caused by myriads of tiny, luminous animals whose brightness increased when they glided over the metal hull of our submersible. In the midst of these luminous sheets of water, I then glimpsed flashes of light, like those seen inside a blazing furnace from streams of molten lead or from masses of metal brought to a white heat--flashes so intense that certain areas of the light became shadows by comparison, in a fiery setting from which every shadow should seemingly have been banished. No, this was no longer the calm emission of our usual lighting! This light throbbed with unprecedented vigor and activity! You sensed that it was alive!

   諾第留斯號浮游在一層磷光裡面,在海水陰暗中,磷火也變得光輝奪目了。這光由無數的發光微生動物所產生,因為它們在金屬板的船身上溜過,閃光就更加增強。這時,我在陣陣光明的水層中間,突然看到了這些閃光,好像熔在大火爐中的鉛鐵流一樣,或跟燒到白熱的金屬塊一樣;由於對立作用,在這火紅光下有些明亮的部分也變成陰影了。 在這環境中間所有陰影好像都不應當存在。不!這不是我們通常的燃燒發光體的輻射光!在這光中有一種不平常的精力和運動!這光,人們感到它是生動的!活潑的!

   In essence, it was a cluster of countless open-sea infusoria, of noctiluca an eighth of an inch wide, actual globules of transparent jelly equipped with a threadlike tentacle, up to 25,000 of which have been counted in thirty cubic centimeters of water. And the power of their light was increased by those glimmers unique to medusas, starfish, common jellyfish, angel-wing clams, and other phosphorescent zoophytes, which were saturated with grease from organic matter decomposed by the sea, and perhaps with mucus secreted by fish.


   For several hours the Nautilus drifted in this brilliant tide, and our wonderment grew when we saw huge marine animals cavorting in it, like the fire-dwelling salamanders of myth. In the midst of these flames that didn't burn, I could see swift, elegant porpoises, the tireless pranksters of the seas, and sailfish three meters long, those shrewd heralds of hurricanes, whose fearsome broadswords sometimes banged against the lounge window. Then smaller fish appeared: miscellaneous triggerfish, leather jacks, unicornfish, and a hundred others that left stripes on this luminous atmosphere in their course.

   諾第留斯號在這種光輝的海波中浮游了好幾個鐘頭,我看見粗大的海中動物,像火蛇一樣在那裡游來游去,我讚美的情緒更高漲了。 我看見在那裡,在那不發熱的火光中間,有許多美觀、迅速快走的海豬,這是跑來跑去、不感到疲乏的海中丑角,有許多長三米的劍魚,它們是大風暴要來的先知者,它們的巨大劍鋒時常碰在大廳的玻璃上。然後又出現了那些比較小的魚類,各種形樣的箭魚,跳躍的鰭魚,人頭形樣的狼魚,以及成千成百的其他魚類,它們奔跑的時候,在這失明的大氣中,畫成帶子一樣的條條的花紋。

   Some magic lay behind this dazzling sight! Perhaps some atmospheric condition had intensified this phenomenon? Perhaps a storm had been unleashed on the surface of the waves? But only a few meters down, the Nautilus felt no tempest's fury, and the ship rocked peacefully in the midst of the calm waters.


   And so it went, some new wonder constantly delighting us. Conseil observed and classified his zoophytes, articulates, mollusks, and fish. The days passed quickly, and I no longer kept track of them. Ned, as usual, kept looking for changes of pace from our standard fare. Like actual snails, we were at home in our shell, and I can vouch that it's easy to turn into a full-fledged snail.

   我們就是這樣行駛着,不斷為眼前偽新奇景象所陶醉。康塞爾仍在觀察,他把他的植蟲類、節肢類、軟體類、魚類等搬出來加以分類。日子過得很快,我簡直不能計算了。 尼德-蘭照他的習慣,總想法子把船上日常的事物變換一下。我們是真正的蝸牛,在我們殻中住慣了,我同時又要肯定,成為一個完全的蝸牛也並不是很難的事。

   So this way of living began to seem simple and natural to us, and we no longer envisioned a different lifestyle on the surface of the planet earth, when something happened to remind us of our strange circumstances.


   On January 18 the Nautilus lay in longitude 105 degrees and latitude 15 degrees south. The weather was threatening, the sea rough and billowy. The wind was blowing a strong gust from the east. The barometer, which had been falling for some days, forecast an approaching struggle of the elements.


   I had climbed onto the platform just as the chief officer was taking his readings of hour angles. Out of habit I waited for him to pronounce his daily phrase. But that day it was replaced by a different phrase, just as incomprehensible. Almost at once I saw Captain Nemo appear, lift his spyglass, and inspect the horizon.


   For some minutes the captain stood motionless, rooted to the spot contained within the field of his lens. Then he lowered his spyglass and exchanged about ten words with his chief officer. The latter seemed to be in the grip of an excitement he tried in vain to control. More in command of himself, Captain Nemo remained cool.


   Furthermore, he seemed to be raising certain objections that his chief officer kept answering with flat assurances. At least that's what I gathered from their differences in tone and gesture.


   As for me, I stared industriously in the direction under observation but without spotting a thing. Sky and water merged into a perfectly clean horizon line.


   Meanwhile Captain Nemo strolled from one end of the platform to the other, not glancing at me, perhaps not even seeing me. His step was firm but less regular than usual. Sometimes he would stop, cross his arms over his chest, and observe the sea. What could he be looking for over that immense expanse? By then the Nautilus lay hundreds of miles from the nearest coast!


   The chief officer kept lifting his spyglass and stubbornly examining the horizon, walking up and down, stamping his foot, in his nervous agitation a sharp contrast to his superior.


   But this mystery would inevitably be cleared up, and soon, because Captain Nemo gave orders to increase speed; at once the engine stepped up its drive power, setting the propeller in swifter rotation.


   Just then the chief officer drew the captain's attention anew. The latter interrupted his strolling and aimed his spyglass at the point indicated. He observed it a good while. As for me, deeply puzzled, I went below to the lounge and brought back an excellent long-range telescope I habitually used. Leaning my elbows on the beacon housing, which jutted from the stern of the platform, I got set to scour that whole stretch of sky and sea.

   這個時候,船副重新又要船長小心注意。船長停下腳步來,把望遠鏡向所指的夭邊一點瞭望。他觀察了很久。 至於我,心裡很是納悶,也想知道一些,我走下客廳,在廳中拿了我常用的望遠鏡,回到平台,扶在平台前頭的突出部分,裝設探照燈的籠間上,我就要打算望一望天際和海邊的所有情景了。

   But no sooner had I peered into the eyepiece than the instrument was snatched from my hands.


   I spun around. Captain Nemo was standing before me, but I almost didn't recognize him. His facial features were transfigured. Gleaming with dark fire, his eyes had shrunk beneath his frowning brow. His teeth were half bared. His rigid body, clenched fists, and head drawn between his shoulders, all attested to a fierce hate breathing from every pore. He didn't move. My spyglass fell from his hand and rolled at his feet.


   Had I accidentally caused these symptoms of anger? Did this incomprehensible individual think I had detected some secret forbidden to guests on the Nautilus?


   No! I wasn't the subject of his hate because he wasn't even looking at me; his eyes stayed stubbornly focused on that inscrutable point of the horizon.


   Finally Captain Nemo regained his self-control. His facial appearance, so profoundly changed, now resumed its usual calm. He addressed a few words to his chief officer in their strange language, then he turned to me:


   "Professor Aronnax," he told me in a tone of some urgency, "I ask that you now honor one of the binding agreements between us."


   "Which one, captain?"


   "You and your companions must be placed in confinement until I see fit to set you free."


   "You're in command," I answered, gaping at him. "But may I address a question to you?"


   "You may not, sir."


   After that, I stopped objecting and started obeying, since resistance was useless.


   I went below to the cabin occupied by Ned Land and Conseil, and I informed them of the captain's decision. I'll let the reader decide how this news was received by the Canadian. In any case, there was no time for explanations. Four crewmen were waiting at the door, and they led us to the cell where we had spent our first night aboard the Nautilus.


   Ned Land tried to lodge a complaint, but the only answer he got was a door shut in his face.


   "Will master tell me what this means?" Conseil asked me.


   I told my companions what had happened. They were as astonished as I was, but no wiser.


   Then I sank into deep speculation, and Captain Nemo's strange facial seizure kept haunting me. I was incapable of connecting two ideas in logical order, and I had strayed into the most absurd hypotheses, when I was snapped out of my mental struggles by these words from Ned Land:


   "Well, look here! Lunch is served!"


   Indeed, the table had been laid. Apparently Captain Nemo had given this order at the same time he commanded the Nautilus to pick up speed.


   "Will master allow me to make him a recommendation?" Conseil asked me.


   "Yes, my boy," I replied.


   "Well, master needs to eat his lunch! It's prudent, because we have no idea what the future holds."


   "You're right, Conseil."


   "Unfortunately," Ned Land said, "they've only given us the standard menu."


   "Ned my friend," Conseil answered, "what would you say if they'd given us no lunch at all?"


   This dose of sanity cut the harpooner's complaints clean off.


   We sat down at the table. Our meal proceeded pretty much in silence. I ate very little. Conseil, everlastingly prudent, "force-fed" himself; and despite the menu, Ned Land didn't waste a bite. Then, lunch over, each of us propped himself in a corner.


   Just then the luminous globe lighting our cell went out, leaving us in profound darkness. Ned Land soon dozed off, and to my astonishment, Conseil also fell into a heavy slumber. I was wondering what could have caused this urgent need for sleep, when I felt a dense torpor saturate my brain. I tried to keep my eyes open, but they closed in spite of me. I was in the grip of anguished hallucinations. Obviously some sleep-inducing substance had been laced into the food we'd just eaten! So imprisonment wasn't enough to conceal Captain Nemo's plans from us-- sleep was needed as well!


   Then I heard the hatches close. The sea's undulations, which had been creating a gentle rocking motion, now ceased. Had the Nautilus left the surface of the ocean? Was it reentering the motionless strata deep in the sea?


   I tried to fight off this drowsiness. It was impossible. My breathing grew weaker. I felt a mortal chill freeze my dull, nearly paralyzed limbs. Like little domes of lead, my lids fell over my eyes. I couldn't raise them. A morbid sleep, full of hallucinations, seized my whole being. Then the visions disappeared and left me in utter oblivion.

   我要抗拒睡眠,兩眼睜着。但不可能,我的呼吸逐漸細微了。我覺得一種厲害的冰冷凍住了我的沉重肢體,像癱瘓了的一樣。我的眼皮變為真正的鉛鐵蓋,蓋住我的眼睛。 我再也不能睜開了。一種病態的、滿是錯覺的昏睡侵佔了我整個的身體。不久,幻影隱沒不見,我進入了完全的沉睡中。