CHAPTER 15: An Invitation in Writing
THE NEXT DAY, November 9, I woke up only after a long,
twelve-hour slumber. Conseil, a creature of habit, came to
ask "how master's night went," and to offer his services.
He had left his Canadian friend sleeping like a man who had never
done anything else.
I let the gallant lad babble as he pleased, without giving him
much in the way of a reply. I was concerned about Captain Nemo's
absence during our session the previous afternoon, and I hoped
to see him again today.
Soon I had put on my clothes, which were woven from strands of
seashell tissue. More than once their composition provoked comments
from Conseil. I informed him that they were made from the smooth,
silken filaments with which the fan mussel, a type of seashell quite
abundant along Mediterranean beaches, attaches itself to rocks.
In olden times, fine fabrics, stockings, and gloves were made from
such filaments, because they were both very soft and very warm.
So the Nautilus's crew could dress themselves at little cost,
without needing a thing from cotton growers, sheep, or silkworms on shore.
As soon as I was dressed, I made my way to the main lounge.
It was deserted.
I dove into studying the conchological treasures amassed inside
the glass cases. I also investigated the huge plant albums that
were filled with the rarest marine herbs, which, although they
were pressed and dried, still kept their wonderful colors.
Among these valuable water plants, I noted various seaweed:
some Cladostephus verticillatus, peacock's tails, fig-leafed caulerpa,
grain-bearing beauty bushes, delicate rosetangle tinted scarlet,
sea colander arranged into fan shapes, mermaid's cups that looked
like the caps of squat mushrooms and for years had been classified
among the zoophytes; in short, a complete series of algae.
The entire day passed without my being honored by a visit
from Captain Nemo. The panels in the lounge didn't open.
Perhaps they didn't want us to get tired of these beautiful things.
The Nautilus kept to an east-northeasterly heading, a speed of twelve
miles per hour, and a depth between fifty and sixty meters.