CHAPTER 12: Everything through Electricity
After passing the well of the companionway that led to the platform,
I saw a cabin 2 meters long in which Conseil and Ned Land,
enraptured with their meal, were busy devouring it to the last crumb.
Then a door opened into the galley, 3 meters long and located
between the vessel's huge storage lockers.
There, even more powerful and obedient than gas, electricity did
most of the cooking. Arriving under the stoves, wires transmitted
to platinum griddles a heat that was distributed and sustained
with perfect consistency. It also heated a distilling
mechanism that, via evaporation, supplied excellent drinking water.
Next to this galley was a bathroom, conveniently laid out,
with faucets supplying hot or cold water at will.
After the galley came the crew's quarters, 5 meters long.
But the door was closed and I couldn't see its accommodations, which might
have told me the number of men it took to operate the Nautilus.
At the far end stood a fourth watertight bulkhead, separating the crew's
quarters from the engine room. A door opened, and I stood in the
compartment where Captain Nemo, indisputably a world-class engineer,
had set up his locomotive equipment.
Brightly lit, the engine room measured at least 20 meters in length.
It was divided, by function, into two parts: the first contained
the cells for generating electricity, the second that mechanism
transmitting movement to the propeller.
Right off, I detected an odor permeating the compartment that was
sui generis.* Captain Nemo noticed the negative impression it
made on me.
*Latin: "in a class by itself." Ed.
"That," he told me, "is a gaseous discharge caused by our use of sodium,
but it's only a mild inconvenience. In any event, every morning
we sanitize the ship by ventilating it in the open air."
Meanwhile I examined the Nautilus's engine with a fascination
easy to imagine.