CHAPTER 23: Conclusion
WE COME TO the conclusion of this voyage under the seas.
What happened that night, how the skiff escaped from the Maelstrom's
fearsome eddies, how Ned Land, Conseil, and I got out of that whirlpool,
I'm unable to say. But when I regained consciousness, I was lying
in a fisherman's hut on one of the Lofoten Islands. My two companions,
safe and sound, were at my bedside clasping my hands.
We embraced each other heartily.
Just now we can't even dream of returning to France. Travel between upper
Norway and the south is limited. So I have to wait for the arrival
of a steamboat that provides bimonthly service from North Cape.
So it is here, among these gallant people who have taken us in,
that I'm reviewing my narrative of these adventures. It is accurate.
Not a fact has been omitted, not a detail has been exaggerated.
It's the faithful record of this inconceivable expedition into
an element now beyond human reach, but where progress will someday
make great inroads.
Will anyone believe me? I don't know. Ultimately it's unimportant.
What I can now assert is that I've earned the right to speak
of these seas, beneath which in less than ten months, I've cleared
20,000 leagues in this underwater tour of the world that has
shown me so many wonders across the Pacific, the Indian Ocean,
the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the southernmost
and northernmost seas!
But what happened to the Nautilus? Did it withstand
the Maelstrom's clutches? Is Captain Nemo alive?
Is he still under the ocean pursuing his frightful program
of revenge, or did he stop after that latest mass execution?
Will the waves someday deliver that manuscript that contains
his full life story? Will I finally learn the man's name?
Will the nationality of the stricken warship tell us the nationality
of Captain Nemo?