CHAPTER 9: A Lost Continent
THE NEXT MORNING, February 19, I beheld the Canadian entering
my stateroom. I was expecting this visit. He wore an expression
of great disappointment.
"Well, sir?" he said to me.
"Well, Ned, the fates were against us yesterday."
"Yes! That damned captain had to call a halt just as we were going
to escape from his boat."
"Yes, Ned, he had business with his bankers."
"Or rather his bank vaults. By which I mean this ocean, where his
wealth is safer than in any national treasury."
I then related the evening's incidents to the Canadian, secretly hoping
he would come around to the idea of not deserting the captain;
but my narrative had no result other than Ned's voicing deep regret
that he hadn't strolled across the Vigo battlefield on his own behalf.
"Anyhow," he said, "it's not over yet! My first harpoon missed,
that's all! We'll succeed the next time, and as soon as this evening,
if need be . . ."
"What's the Nautilus's heading?" I asked.
"I've no idea," Ned replied.
"All right, at noon we'll find out what our position is!"
The Canadian returned to Conseil's side. As soon as I was dressed,
I went into the lounge. The compass wasn't encouraging.
The Nautilus's course was south-southwest. We were turning our
backs on Europe.
I could hardly wait until our position was reported on the chart.
Near 11:30 the ballast tanks emptied, and the submersible rose
to the surface of the ocean. I leaped onto the platform.
Ned Land was already there.