CHAPTER 1: The Indian Ocean
NOW WE BEGIN the second part of this voyage under the seas.
The first ended in that moving scene at the coral cemetery,
which left a profound impression on my mind. And so Captain Nemo
would live out his life entirely in the heart of this immense sea,
and even his grave lay ready in its impenetrable depths.
There the last sleep of the Nautilus's occupants, friends bound together
in death as in life, would be disturbed by no monster of the deep!
"No man either!" the captain had added.
Always that same fierce, implacable defiance of human society!
As for me, I was no longer content with the hypotheses
that satisfied Conseil. That fine lad persisted in seeing
the Nautilus's commander as merely one of those unappreciated
scientists who repay humanity's indifference with contempt.
For Conseil, the captain was still a misunderstood genius who,
tired of the world's deceptions, had been driven to take refuge in this
inaccessible environment where he was free to follow his instincts.
But to my mind, this hypothesis explained only one side of Captain Nemo.
In fact, the mystery of that last afternoon when we were locked in
prison and put to sleep, the captain's violent precaution of snatching
from my grasp a spyglass poised to scour the horizon, and the fatal
wound given that man during some unexplained collision suffered
by the Nautilus, all led me down a plain trail. No! Captain Nemo
wasn't content simply to avoid humanity! His fearsome submersible
served not only his quest for freedom, but also, perhaps, it was
used in lord-knows-what schemes of dreadful revenge.
Right now, nothing is clear to me, I still glimpse only glimmers
in the dark, and I must limit my pen, as it were, to taking
dictation from events.