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CHAPTER III WASHINGTON DECIDES
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 “We must catch that cylinder1!” the professor exclaimed. “Some one may find it when it comes down and analyze2 the gas. Then he would discover how to make it. The cylinder must come down!”
 
“Don’t see how we can proximate ourselves inter3 th’ vicinity of it lessen4 we delegate th’ imperial functions of ornithological5 specimens6 t’ some member of this here party,” observed Washington.
 
“If you mean we can’t catch that there contraption unless we turn into birds I’ll show you that you’re mistaken!” cried Andy Sudds. “I guess I have a trick or two up my sleeve,” and the old hunter quickly threw open the breech of his gun and inserted a couple of cartridges7.
 
He raised the piece to his shoulder and took quick aim. There was a sliver8 of flame, a puff9 of smoke and a sharp report. The professor and the boys who were watching the cylinder saw it vibrate up in the air. Then there came a whistling sound. An instant later the metal body began to descend10, and it and the weight fell to the earth.
 
“I’m sorry I had to put a bullet through it, Professor,” said old Andy with a queer smile, “but it was the only way I saw of bringing it down. Hope it isn’t damaged much.”
 
“It doesn’t matter if it is,” the scientist answered. “I can make more cylinders12, but I don’t want that secret of the gas to become known. Your bullet served a good turn, Andy, for it let the compressed vapor13 out just in time.”
 
“Then we may consider the experiment a success,” said Mark, as Washington went to where the cylinder had fallen, to detach it from the weight and bring both to the shed.
 
“It seems so,” Mr. Henderson answered. “True, it was only an experiment. We have yet to test the ship itself.”
 
“When can we do that?” asked Jack14.
 
“I hope by Monday,” the scientist answered.
 
“Will you try it in the water or air first?” asked Mark.
 
“I’m almost certain it will float in the water,” the aged11 inventor said. “It does not require much work to make a ship which will do that. But the air proposition is another matter. However, since the cylinder rose, I am pretty sure the Flying Mermaid15 will.
 
“But we have done enough work to-day. Let’s rest and have something to eat. Then, with Sunday to sit around and talk matters over, we will be ready for Monday’s test.”
 
Some of the game Andy had killed was soon on the table, for Washington, in addition to his other accomplishments16, was an expert cook. During the evening the boys and their friends sat in the living room of the big shed and talked over the events of the day.
 
Sunday was spent in discussing what adventures might lie before them should they be able to descend into the big hole. Washington did not say much, but it was easy to see he had no notion of going. He even began to pack his few belongings18 in readiness to leave the service of Mr. Henderson, for whom he had worked a good many years.
 
No one remained long abed Monday morning. Even Washington was up early in spite of the interest he had lost in the professor’s voyage.
 
“I jest wants t’ see yo’ start fer that place where they buries live folks,” he said.
 
In order to properly test the Flying Mermaid it was necessary to move the craft from the shed from which place it had never been taken since it’s construction was started. It had been built on big rollers in anticipation19 of this need, so that all which was now necessary was to open the doors at the end, and roll the craft out.
 
This was accomplished20 with no small amount of labor21, and it was nearly noon before the big ship was moved into the open. It was shoved along to a little clearing in front of the shed, where no trees would interfere22 with its possible upward movement.
 
Everyone was bustling23 about. The professor was busiest of all. He went from one machine to another; from this apparatus24 to that, testing here, turning wheels there, adjusting valves and seeing that all was in readiness for the generating of the powerful gas.
 
As the airship was half round on the bottom and as it rested in a sort of semi-circular cradle; it brought the entrance some distance above the ground. To make it easier to get in and out while preparations for the trial were going on, Bill and Tom had made an improvised25 pair of steps, which were tied to the side of the ship with ropes.
 
Up and down these the professor, the boys and Andy went, taking in tools and materials, and removing considerable refuse which had accumulated during the building of the craft.
 
Finally all was in readiness for starting the making of the gas. The ship was not wholly complete and no supplies or provisions for the long voyage had been taken aboard. The Flying Mermaid was about a ton lighter26 than it would be when fully27 fitted out, but to make up for this the professor had left in the ship a lot of tools and surplus machinery28 so that the craft held as much weight as it would under normal conditions. If the gas lifted it now it would at any other time.
 
“Start the generator,” said Mr. Henderson, to Mark. “We’ll soon see whether we are going to succeed or fail.”
 
The boy turned a number of levers and wheels. The machine which made the powerful vapor was soon in operation. The professor had already added enough of the secret compound to the tank containing the other ingredients, and the big pump was sucking in air to be transformed into the lifting gas.
 
The boys and the professor were in the engine room. Andy Sudds, with Bill and Tom, had taken their places in the living room, to more evenly balance the ship, since the things in it were not yet all in their proper places. As for Washington he was busy running from the shed to the ship with various tools and bits of machinery the professor desired.
 
The gas was being generated rapidly. Throughout the ship there resounded29 a hissing30 noise that told it was being forced through the pipe into the aluminum31 shell above the ship proper.
 
“I wonder how soon it will begin to lift us,” said Mark.
 
“It will take about half an hour,” replied Mr. Henderson. “You see we have first to fill the holder32 completely, since there is no gas in it. After this we will keep some on hand, so that it will only need the addition of a small quantity to enable the ship to rise.”
 
He was busy watching the pointer on a dial which indicated the pressure of the gas, and the lifting force. The boys were kept busy making adjustments to the machinery and oiling bearings.
 
Suddenly, throughout the length of the craft there was felt a curious trembling. It was as though the screw of a powerful steamer was revolving33 in the water.
 
“What is it?” asked Jack.
 
“I hope it is the lifting power of the gas making itself felt,” the professor answered. “Perhaps the Flying Mermaid is getting ready to try her wings.”
 
The trembling became more pronounced. The gas was being generated faster than ever. The whole ship was trembling. Tom and Bill came from the room, where they were stationed, to inquire the meaning, but were reassured34 by the professor.
 
“Don’t be alarmed if you find yourselves up in the air pretty soon,” he remarked with a smile. “Remember the Electric Monarch35, and the flights she took. We may not go as high as we did in her, but it will answer the same purpose.”
 
The gas was hissing through the big tube as it rushed into the overhead holder. The gage36 indicated a heavy pressure. The ship began to tremble more violently and to sway slightly from side to side.
 
“I think we shall rise presently,” said Mr. Henderson. His voice showed the pride he felt at the seeming success with which his invention was about to meet.
 
Suddenly, with a little jerk, as though some one with a giant hand had plucked the Flying Mermaid from the earth, the ship gave a little bound into the air, and was floating free.
 
“Here we go!” cried Mr. Henderson. “The ship is a success. Now we’re off for the hole in the earth!”
 
The Flying Mermaid was indeed rising in the air. True it did not go up so swiftly as had the Monarch, but then it was a much heavier and stronger vessel37, and flying was only one of its accomplishments.
 
“It’s a success! It’s a success!” shouted Mark, capering38 about in his excitement.
 
“Now we’ll see what the centre of the earth looks like,” went on Jack. “I can hardly wait for the time to come when we are to start on the voyage.”
 
At that instant, when the ship was but a few feet from the ground, but slowly rising, the boys and the professor heard a shouting below them.
 
“What’s that?” asked the scientist. “Is any one hurt?”
 
Mark ran to a small window, something like a port hole in an ocean steamer, and looked out.
 
“Quick!” he shouted. “Stop the ship! Washington will be killed!”
 
In fact from the agonized39 yells which proceeded from somewhere under the craft it seemed that the accident was in process of happening.
 
“Save me! Save me!” cried the colored man. “I’m goin’ to fall! Catch me, some one!”
 
“What is it?” asked the professor, making ready to shut off the power and let the ship settle back to earth, from which it had moved about fifty feet.
 
“It’s Washington,” explained Mark. “He evidently tried to walk up the steps just as the boat mounted skyward. He rolled down and managed to grab the end of the rope which was left over after the steps were tied. Now he’s swinging down there.”
 
“Are you going to lower the ship?” asked Jack.
 
“Of course!” exclaimed the professor. “I only hope he hangs on until his feet touch the earth.”
 
“Keep a tight hold!” shouted Mark, from out of the small window.
 
“That’s th’ truest thing yo’ ever said!” exclaimed Washington. “You bet I’m goin’ to hold on, and I’m comin’ up too,” which he proceeded to do, hand over hand, like a sailor.
 
The boys and the professor watched the colored man’s upward progress. The ship had hardly begun to settle as, in the excitement, not enough gas had been let out. Closer and closer came Washington, until he was able to grasp the edge of the opening, to which the steps were fastened.
 
“I thought you weren’t coming with us,” observed the professor, when he saw that his helper was safe.
 
“I changed my mind,” said the colored man. “It’s jest luck. Seems like th’ ship done wanted me t’ go 'long, an’ I’m goin’. I’ll take my chances on bein’ buried alive. I ain’t never seen th’ centre of th’ earth, an’ I want’s to 'fore17 I die. I’m goin’ 'long, Perfessor!”

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1 cylinder rngza     
n.圆筒,柱(面),汽缸
参考例句:
  • What's the volume of this cylinder?这个圆筒的体积有多少?
  • The cylinder is getting too much gas and not enough air.汽缸里汽油太多而空气不足。
2 analyze RwUzm     
vt.分析,解析 (=analyse)
参考例句:
  • We should analyze the cause and effect of this event.我们应该分析这场事变的因果。
  • The teacher tried to analyze the cause of our failure.老师设法分析我们失败的原因。
3 inter C5Cxa     
v.埋葬
参考例句:
  • They interred their dear comrade in the arms.他们埋葬了他们亲爱的战友。
  • The man who died in that accident has been interred.在那次事故中死的那个人已经被埋葬了。
4 lessen 01gx4     
vt.减少,减轻;缩小
参考例句:
  • Regular exercise can help to lessen the pain.经常运动有助于减轻痛感。
  • They've made great effort to lessen the noise of planes.他们尽力减小飞机的噪音。
5 ornithological 05fff1359f2d1b1409fd1725f6f8e5c7     
adj.鸟类学的
参考例句:
  • Is there an ornithological reason for keeping them in separate cages? 用独立的笼子养鸟,有什么鸟类学的原因吗? 来自电影对白
  • Mere amateurs in 2009 will make ornithological history in China by discovering birds unknown to science. 在即将来临的2009年里,中国鸟类学史大概会由不打眼的业余人士通过发现未知的鸟类而刷新。 来自互联网
6 specimens 91fc365099a256001af897127174fcce     
n.样品( specimen的名词复数 );范例;(化验的)抽样;某种类型的人
参考例句:
  • Astronauts have brought back specimens of rock from the moon. 宇航员从月球带回了岩石标本。
  • The traveler brought back some specimens of the rocks from the mountains. 那位旅行者从山上带回了一些岩石标本。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 cartridges 17207f2193d1e05c4c15f2938c82898d     
子弹( cartridge的名词复数 ); (打印机的)墨盒; 录音带盒; (唱机的)唱头
参考例句:
  • computer consumables such as disks and printer cartridges 如磁盘、打印机墨盒之类的电脑耗材
  • My new video game player came with three game cartridges included. 我的新电子游戏机附有三盘游戏带。
8 sliver sxFwA     
n.裂片,细片,梳毛;v.纵切,切成长片,剖开
参考例句:
  • There was only one sliver of light in the darkness.黑暗中只有一点零星的光亮。
  • Then,one night,Monica saw a thin sliver of the moon reappear.之后的一天晚上,莫尼卡看到了一个月牙。
9 puff y0cz8     
n.一口(气);一阵(风);v.喷气,喘气
参考例句:
  • He took a puff at his cigarette.他吸了一口香烟。
  • They tried their best to puff the book they published.他们尽力吹捧他们出版的书。
10 descend descend     
vt./vi.传下来,下来,下降
参考例句:
  • I hope the grace of God would descend on me.我期望上帝的恩惠。
  • We're not going to descend to such methods.我们不会沦落到使用这种手段。
11 aged 6zWzdI     
adj.年老的,陈年的
参考例句:
  • He had put on weight and aged a little.他胖了,也老点了。
  • He is aged,but his memory is still good.他已年老,然而记忆力还好。
12 cylinders fd0c4aab3548ce77958c1502f0bc9692     
n.圆筒( cylinder的名词复数 );圆柱;汽缸;(尤指用作容器的)圆筒状物
参考例句:
  • They are working on all cylinders to get the job finished. 他们正在竭尽全力争取把这工作干完。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • That jeep has four cylinders. 那辆吉普车有4个汽缸。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 vapor DHJy2     
n.蒸汽,雾气
参考例句:
  • The cold wind condenses vapor into rain.冷风使水蒸气凝结成雨。
  • This new machine sometimes transpires a lot of hot vapor.这部机器有时排出大量的热气。
14 jack 53Hxp     
n.插座,千斤顶,男人;v.抬起,提醒,扛举;n.(Jake)杰克
参考例句:
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
15 mermaid pCbxH     
n.美人鱼
参考例句:
  • How popular would that girl be with the only mermaid mom!和人鱼妈妈在一起,那个女孩会有多受欢迎!
  • The little mermaid wasn't happy because she didn't want to wait.小美人鱼不太高兴,因为她等不及了。
16 accomplishments 1c15077db46e4d6425b6f78720939d54     
n.造诣;完成( accomplishment的名词复数 );技能;成绩;成就
参考例句:
  • It was one of the President's greatest accomplishments. 那是总统最伟大的成就之一。
  • Among her accomplishments were sewing,cooking,playing the piano and dancing. 她的才能包括缝纫、烹调、弹钢琴和跳舞。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
17 fore ri8xw     
adv.在前面;adj.先前的;在前部的;n.前部
参考例句:
  • Your seat is in the fore part of the aircraft.你的座位在飞机的前部。
  • I have the gift of fore knowledge.我能够未卜先知。
18 belongings oy6zMv     
n.私人物品,私人财物
参考例句:
  • I put a few personal belongings in a bag.我把几件私人物品装进包中。
  • Your personal belongings are not dutiable.个人物品不用纳税。
19 anticipation iMTyh     
n.预期,预料,期望
参考例句:
  • We waited at the station in anticipation of her arrival.我们在车站等着,期待她的到来。
  • The animals grew restless as if in anticipation of an earthquake.各种动物都变得焦躁不安,像是感到了地震即将发生。
20 accomplished UzwztZ     
adj.有才艺的;有造诣的;达到了的
参考例句:
  • Thanks to your help,we accomplished the task ahead of schedule.亏得你们帮忙,我们才提前完成了任务。
  • Removal of excess heat is accomplished by means of a radiator.通过散热器完成多余热量的排出。
21 labor P9Tzs     
n.劳动,努力,工作,劳工;分娩;vi.劳动,努力,苦干;vt.详细分析;麻烦
参考例句:
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
22 interfere b5lx0     
v.(in)干涉,干预;(with)妨碍,打扰
参考例句:
  • If we interfere, it may do more harm than good.如果我们干预的话,可能弊多利少。
  • When others interfere in the affair,it always makes troubles. 别人一卷入这一事件,棘手的事情就来了。
23 bustling LxgzEl     
adj.喧闹的
参考例句:
  • The market was bustling with life. 市场上生机勃勃。
  • This district is getting more and more prosperous and bustling. 这一带越来越繁华了。
24 apparatus ivTzx     
n.装置,器械;器具,设备
参考例句:
  • The school's audio apparatus includes films and records.学校的视听设备包括放映机和录音机。
  • They had a very refined apparatus.他们有一套非常精良的设备。
25 improvised tqczb9     
a.即席而作的,即兴的
参考例句:
  • He improvised a song about the football team's victory. 他即席创作了一首足球队胜利之歌。
  • We improvised a tent out of two blankets and some long poles. 我们用两条毛毯和几根长竿搭成一个临时帐蓬。
26 lighter 5pPzPR     
n.打火机,点火器;驳船;v.用驳船运送;light的比较级
参考例句:
  • The portrait was touched up so as to make it lighter.这张画经过润色,色调明朗了一些。
  • The lighter works off the car battery.引燃器利用汽车蓄电池打火。
27 fully Gfuzd     
adv.完全地,全部地,彻底地;充分地
参考例句:
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
28 machinery CAdxb     
n.(总称)机械,机器;机构
参考例句:
  • Has the machinery been put up ready for the broadcast?广播器材安装完毕了吗?
  • Machinery ought to be well maintained all the time.机器应该随时注意维护。
29 resounded 063087faa0e6dc89fa87a51a1aafc1f9     
v.(指声音等)回荡于某处( resound的过去式和过去分词 );产生回响;(指某处)回荡着声音
参考例句:
  • Laughter resounded through the house. 笑声在屋里回荡。
  • The echo resounded back to us. 回声传回到我们的耳中。 来自《简明英汉词典》
30 hissing hissing     
n. 发嘶嘶声, 蔑视 动词hiss的现在分词形式
参考例句:
  • The steam escaped with a loud hissing noise. 蒸汽大声地嘶嘶冒了出来。
  • His ears were still hissing with the rustle of the leaves. 他耳朵里还听得萨萨萨的声音和屑索屑索的怪声。 来自汉英文学 - 春蚕
31 aluminum 9xhzP     
n.(aluminium)铝
参考例句:
  • The aluminum sheets cannot be too much thicker than 0.04 inches.铝板厚度不能超过0.04英寸。
  • During the launch phase,it would ride in a protective aluminum shell.在发射阶段,它盛在一只保护的铝壳里。
32 holder wc4xq     
n.持有者,占有者;(台,架等)支持物
参考例句:
  • The holder of the office of chairman is reponsible for arranging meetings.担任主席职位的人负责安排会议。
  • That runner is the holder of the world record for the hundred-yard dash.那位运动员是一百码赛跑世界纪录的保持者。
33 revolving 3jbzvd     
adj.旋转的,轮转式的;循环的v.(使)旋转( revolve的现在分词 );细想
参考例句:
  • The theatre has a revolving stage. 剧院有一个旋转舞台。
  • The company became a revolving-door workplace. 这家公司成了工作的中转站。
34 reassured ff7466d942d18e727fb4d5473e62a235     
adj.使消除疑虑的;使放心的v.再保证,恢复信心( reassure的过去式和过去分词)
参考例句:
  • The captain's confidence during the storm reassured the passengers. 在风暴中船长的信念使旅客们恢复了信心。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • The doctor reassured the old lady. 医生叫那位老妇人放心。 来自《简明英汉词典》
35 monarch l6lzj     
n.帝王,君主,最高统治者
参考例句:
  • The monarch's role is purely ceremonial.君主纯粹是个礼仪职位。
  • I think myself happier now than the greatest monarch upon earth.我觉得这个时候比世界上什么帝王都快乐。
36 gage YsAz0j     
n.标准尺寸,规格;量规,量表 [=gauge]
参考例句:
  • Can you gage what her reaction is likely to be?你能揣测她的反应可能是什么吗?
  • It's difficult to gage one's character.要判断一个人的品格是很困难的。
37 vessel 4L1zi     
n.船舶;容器,器皿;管,导管,血管
参考例句:
  • The vessel is fully loaded with cargo for Shanghai.这艘船满载货物驶往上海。
  • You should put the water into a vessel.你应该把水装入容器中。
38 capering d4ea412ac03a170b293139861cb3c627     
v.跳跃,雀跃( caper的现在分词 );蹦蹦跳跳
参考例句:
  • The lambs were capering in the fields. 羊羔在地里欢快地跳跃。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The boy was Capering dersively, with obscene unambiguous gestures, before a party of English tourists. 这个顽童在一群英国旅游客人面前用明显下流的动作可笑地蹦蹦跳跳着。 来自辞典例句
39 agonized Oz5zc6     
v.使(极度)痛苦,折磨( agonize的过去式和过去分词 );苦斗;苦苦思索;感到极度痛苦
参考例句:
  • All the time they agonized and prayed. 他们一直在忍受痛苦并且祈祷。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • She agonized herself with the thought of her loss. 她念念不忘自己的损失,深深陷入痛苦之中。 来自辞典例句


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