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首页 » 英文科幻小说 » Five Thousand Miles Underground29章节 » CHAPTER XV IN THE STRANGE DRAUGHT
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CHAPTER XV IN THE STRANGE DRAUGHT
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 The boys ran to attend to the engines and apparatus1 to which they had been assigned in view of this emergency. The professor, Washington, Bill, Tom and Andy, who had kept to themselves since the descent, came running out of the small cabin where they usually sat, and wanted to know what it was all about.
 
“We may hit something, in spite of all precautions,” Mr. Henderson remarked. “Slow down the ship.”
 
The Mermaid2 was, accordingly checked in her downward flight, by a liberal use of the gas and the negative gravity machine.
 
The bell continued to ring, and the dials pointed3 to the mark that indicated the ship was more than one hundred and fifty miles down.
 
Mark, who had run to the engine room to check the descent, came back.
 
“Why didn’t you slow her down?” asked the professor.
 
“I did,” replied the boy. “The negative gravity and the gas machines are working at full speed.”
 
“Then why are we still descending4?” asked the scientist. “For a while our speed was checked, but now we are falling faster than before.”
 
“I attended to the apparatus,” Mark insisted.
 
Just then, from without the ship, came a terrible roaring sound, as though there was a great cyclone5 in progress. At the same time, those aboard the craft could feel themselves being pulled downward with terrific force.
 
“We are caught in a draught6!” Mr. Henderson cried. “We are being sucked down into the depths of the earth!”
 
He ran to the engine room. With the help of the boys he set in motion an auxiliary7 gravity machine, designed to exert a most powerful influence against the downward pull of the earth. As they watched the great wheels spin around, and heard the hum and whirr of the dynamos, the boys watched the pointer which indicated how low they were getting.
 
And, as they watched, they saw that the needle of the dial kept moving, moving, moving.
 
“Our efforts are useless! We can’t stop!” the professor cried.
 
Grave indeed was the plight8 of the adventurers. In their ship they were being sucked down into unknown regions and all their efforts did not avail to save them. It was an emergency they could not guard against, and which could not have been foreseen.
 
“What are to do?” asked Mark.
 
“We can only wait,” Mr. Henderson replied. “The terrible suction may cease, or it may carry us to some place of safety. Let us hope for the best.”
 
Seeing there was no further use in running the engines in an effort to check the downward rush the machines were stopped. Then they waited for whatever might happen.
 
Now that they seemed in imminent9 peril10 Washington was as cool as any one. He went about putting his kitchen in order and getting ready for the next meal as if they were sailing comfortably along on the surface of the ocean. As for old Andy he was nervous and frightened, and plainly showed it. With his gun in readiness he paced back and forth11 as if on the lookout12 for strange beasts or birds.
 
Bill and Tom were so alarmed that they were of little use in doing anything, and they were not disturbed in their staterooms where they went when it became known that the ship was unmanageable.
 
The boys and the professor, while greatly frightened at the unexpected turn of events, decided13 there was no use in giving way to foolish alarm. They realized they could do nothing but await developments.
 
At the same time they took every precaution. They piled all the bedding on the floor of the living room, so that the pillows and mattresses14 might form a sort of pad in case the ship was dashed down on the bottom of the big hole.
 
“Not that it would save us much,” Jack15 observed with a grim smile, “but somehow it sort of makes your mind easier.”
 
All this while the ship was being sucked down at a swift pace. The pointer of the gage16, indicating the depth, kept moving around and soon they were several hundreds of miles below the surface of the earth.
 
The professor tried, by means of several instruments, to discover in which direction they were headed, and whether they were going straight down or at an angle. But some strange influence seemed to affect the gages and other pieces of apparatus, for the pointers and hands would swing in all directions, at one time indicating that they were going down, and, again, upward.
 
“There must be a strong current of electricity here,” Mr. Henderson said, “or else there is, as many suspect, a powerful magnet at the center of the earth, which we are nearing.”
 
“What will you do if the ship is pulled apart, or falls and is smashed?” asked Mark with much anxiety.
 
“You take a cheerful view of things,” said Jack.
 
“Well, it’s a good thing to prepare for emergencies,” Mark added.
 
“If the ship was to be separated by the magnetic pull, or if it fell on sharp rocks and was split in twain, I am afraid none of us could do anything to save ourselves,” the professor answered. “Still, if we were given a little warning of the disaster, I have means at hand whereby we might escape with our lives. But it would be a perilous18 way of——”
 
“I reckon yo’ all better come out an’ have supper,” broke in Washington. “Leastways we’ll call it supper, though I don’t rightly know whether it’s night or mornin’. Anyhow I’ve got a meal ready.”
 
“I don’t suppose any of us feel much like eating,” observed Mr. Henderson, “but there is no telling when we will have the chance again, so, perhaps, we had better take advantage of it.”
 
For a while they ate in silence, finding that they had better appetites than they at first thought. Old Andy in particular did full justice to the food Washington had prepared.
 
“I always found it a good plan to eat as much and as often as you can,” the hunter remarked. “This is a mighty19 uncertain world.”
 
“You started to tell us a little while ago, Professor,” said Mark, “about a plan you had for saving out lives if worst came to worst, and there was a chance to put it into operation. What is it?”
 
“I will tell you,” the aged20 inventor said. “It is something about which I have kept silent, as I did not want to frighten any of you. It was my latest invention, and I had only perfected it when we started off on this voyage. Consequently I had no chance to try it. The machine works in theory, but whether it does in practice is another question. That is why I say there is a risk. But we may have to take this risk. I have placed aboard this ship a——”
 
The professor was interrupted in what he was about to say by a curious tremor21 that made the whole ship shiver as though it had struck some obstruction22. Yet there was no sudden jolt23 or jar such as would have been occasioned by that.
 
At the same time Washington, who was out in the kitchen, came running into the dining room, crying:
 
“We’re droppin’ into a ragin’ fire, Perfesser!”
 
“What do you mean?” asked Mr. Henderson.
 
“I jest took a look down through th’ hole in th’ bottom of the ship!” cried Washington. “It’s all flames an’ smoke below us!”
 
“I wonder if it is the end,” the professor muttered in a low voice.
 
Followed by the boys, the inventor hastened to the floor-window. The lights were turned off to enable a better view to be had of what was below them.
 
Leaning over the glass protected aperture24 the boys and the professor saw, far, far down, a bright light shining. It was as if they were miles above a whole town of blast furnaces, the stacks of which were belching25 forth flames and smoke. The rolling clouds of vapor26 were illuminated27 by a peculiar28 greenish light, which, at times, turned to red, blue, purple and yellowish hues29.
 
The effect was weird30 and beautiful though it was full of terror for the travelers. It seemed as if they were falling into some terrible pit of fire, for the reflection of what they feared were flames, could plainly be seen.
 
“I wish I’d never come on this terrible voyage!” wailed31 Washington. “I’d rather freeze to death than be burned up.”
 
“Washington, be quiet!” commanded the professor sternly. “This is no time for foolishness. We must work hard to save our lives, for we are in dire17 peril.
 
“Mark, you and Washington, with Jack, start the engines. Turn on every bit of power you can. Fill the gas holder32 as full as it will hold, and use extra heavy pressure. I will see if I can not work the negative gravity apparatus to better advantage than we did before. We must escape if possible!”
 
The boys, as was also Washington, were only too glad to have something to do to take their mind off their troubles. All three were much frightened, but Mark and Jack tried not to show it. As for Washington he was almost crying.
 
Soon the whirr and hum of the machinery33 in the Mermaid was heard. The craft, which was rushing in some direction, either downward, ahead or backwards34 within the unknown depths, shivered from the speed of the dynamos and other apparatus. Soon the boys could hear the professor starting the negative gravity engine, and then began a struggle between the forces of nature and those of mankind.
 
Once more the adventurers anxiously watched the gages and indicators35. For a while the ship seemed to be holding out against the terrible influence that was sucking her down. She appeared to hesitate. Then, as the downward force triumphed over the mechanical energy in the craft, she began to settle again, and soon was descending, if that was the direction, as fast as before.
 
“It is of no use,” said the professor with a groan36. “I must try our last resort!”
 
He started from the engine room where Mark and Jack had gone. As he did so, he glanced at a thermometer hanging on the wall near the door.
 
“Has any one turned on the heat?” he asked.
 
“It’s shut off,” replied Mark, looking at the electric stove.
 
“Then what makes it so hot?” asked the scientist.
 
He pointed to the little silvery column in the tiny tube of the instrument. It registered close to one hundred degrees, though a few minutes before it had been but sixty. And the starting of the machinery could not account for the rise in temperature, since most of the apparatus was run by electricity and developed little heat save in the immediate37 proximity38. The thermometer was fully39 ten feet away from any machine.
 
“It’s the fiery40 furnace that’s doing it!” cried Washington. “We’re falling into th’ terrible pit an’ we’re goin’ t’ be roasted alive!”
 
“It certainly is getting warmer,” observed Mark, as he took off his coat. Soon he had to shed his vest, and Jack and the professor followed his example. The others too, also found all superfluous41 garments a burden, and, in a little while they were going about in scanty42 attire43.
 
Still the heat increased, until it was almost torture to remain in the engine room. Nor was it much cooler elsewhere. In vain did the professor set a score of big electric fans to whirring. He even placed cakes of ice, from the small ice machine that was carried, in front of the revolving44 blades, to cool off the air. But the ice was melted almost as soon as it was taken from the apparatus.
 
“Them flames is gittin worser!” Washington cried a little later. “We’s comin’ nearer!”
 
From the bottom window the professor and the boys looked down. True enough the curious, changing, vari-colored lights seemed brighter. They could almost see the tongues of flame shooting upward in anticipation45 of what they were soon to devour46.
 
The heat was increasing every minute. The sides of the ship were hot. The heads of the travelers were getting dizzy. They could hardly talk or move about.
 
“I must save our lives! I must trust to the——” The professor, who was muttering to himself started toward the storeroom. As in a dream Mark watched him. He remembered afterward47 that he had speculated on what might be the outcome of the mystery the professor threw about the place. “I will have to use it,” he heard the scientist say softly.
 
Just as Mr. Henderson was about to open the door there came a fiercer blast of heat than any that had preceded. At the same instant the conditions in the Mermaid became so fearful that each of the travelers felt himself fainting away.
 
“Go to—storeroom—get cylinder—get in——” the professor murmured, and then he fell forward in a faint.

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 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。
2 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。
3 pointed Il8zB4     
adj.尖的,直截了当的
参考例句:
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
4 descending descending     
n. 下行 adj. 下降的
参考例句:
  • The results are expressed in descending numerical order . 结果按数字降序列出。
  • The climbers stopped to orient themselves before descending the mountain. 登山者先停下来确定所在的位置,然后再下山。
5 cyclone cy3x7     
n.旋风,龙卷风
参考例句:
  • An exceptionally violent cyclone hit the town last night.昨晚异常猛烈的旋风吹袭了那个小镇。
  • The cyclone brought misery to thousands of people.旋风给成千上万的人带来苦难。
6 draught 7uyzIH     
n.拉,牵引,拖;一网(饮,吸,阵);顿服药量,通风;v.起草,设计
参考例句:
  • He emptied his glass at one draught.他将杯中物一饮而尽。
  • It's a pity the room has no north window and you don't get a draught.可惜这房间没北窗,没有过堂风。
7 auxiliary RuKzm     
adj.辅助的,备用的
参考例句:
  • I work in an auxiliary unit.我在一家附属单位工作。
  • The hospital has an auxiliary power system in case of blackout.这家医院装有备用发电系统以防灯火管制。
8 plight 820zI     
n.困境,境况,誓约,艰难;vt.宣誓,保证,约定
参考例句:
  • The leader was much concerned over the plight of the refugees.那位领袖对难民的困境很担忧。
  • She was in a most helpless plight.她真不知如何是好。
9 imminent zc9z2     
adj.即将发生的,临近的,逼近的
参考例句:
  • The black clounds show that a storm is imminent.乌云预示暴风雨即将来临。
  • The country is in imminent danger.国难当头。
10 peril l3Dz6     
n.(严重的)危险;危险的事物
参考例句:
  • The refugees were in peril of death from hunger.难民有饿死的危险。
  • The embankment is in great peril.河堤岌岌可危。
11 forth Hzdz2     
adv.向前;向外,往外
参考例句:
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
12 lookout w0sxT     
n.注意,前途,瞭望台
参考例句:
  • You can see everything around from the lookout.从了望台上你可以看清周围的一切。
  • It's a bad lookout for the company if interest rates don't come down.如果利率降不下来,公司的前景可就不妙了。
13 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
14 mattresses 985a5c9b3722b68c7f8529dc80173637     
褥垫,床垫( mattress的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The straw mattresses are airing there. 草垫子正在那里晾着。
  • The researchers tested more than 20 mattresses of various materials. 研究人员试验了二十多个不同材料的床垫。
15 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。
16 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。
17 dire llUz9     
adj.可怕的,悲惨的,阴惨的,极端的
参考例句:
  • There were dire warnings about the dangers of watching too much TV.曾经有人就看电视太多的危害性提出严重警告。
  • We were indeed in dire straits.But we pulled through.那时我们的困难真是大极了,但是我们渡过了困难。
18 perilous E3xz6     
adj.危险的,冒险的
参考例句:
  • The journey through the jungle was perilous.穿过丛林的旅行充满了危险。
  • We have been carried in safety through a perilous crisis.历经一连串危机,我们如今已安然无恙。
19 mighty YDWxl     
adj.强有力的;巨大的
参考例句:
  • A mighty force was about to break loose.一股巨大的力量即将迸发而出。
  • The mighty iceberg came into view.巨大的冰山出现在眼前。
20 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。
21 tremor Tghy5     
n.震动,颤动,战栗,兴奋,地震
参考例句:
  • There was a slight tremor in his voice.他的声音有点颤抖。
  • A slight earth tremor was felt in California.加利福尼亚发生了轻微的地震。
22 obstruction HRrzR     
n.阻塞,堵塞;障碍物
参考例句:
  • She was charged with obstruction of a police officer in the execution of his duty.她被指控妨碍警察执行任务。
  • The road was cleared from obstruction.那条路已被清除了障碍。
23 jolt ck1y2     
v.(使)摇动,(使)震动,(使)颠簸
参考例句:
  • We were worried that one tiny jolt could worsen her injuries.我们担心稍微颠簸一下就可能会使她的伤势恶化。
  • They were working frantically in the fear that an aftershock would jolt the house again.他们拼命地干着,担心余震可能会使房子再次受到震动。
24 aperture IwFzW     
n.孔,隙,窄的缺口
参考例句:
  • The only light came through a narrow aperture.仅有的光亮来自一个小孔。
  • We saw light through a small aperture in the wall.我们透过墙上的小孔看到了亮光。
25 belching belching     
n. 喷出,打嗝 动词belch的现在分词形式
参考例句:
  • The Tartars employed another weapon, the so-called Chinese dragon belching fire. 鞑靼人使用了另一种武器,所谓中国龙喷火器。
  • Billows of smoke were belching from the chimney. 巨浪似的烟正从烟囱里喷出来。
26 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。
27 illuminated 98b351e9bc282af85e83e767e5ec76b8     
adj.被照明的;受启迪的
参考例句:
  • Floodlights illuminated the stadium. 泛光灯照亮了体育场。
  • the illuminated city at night 夜幕中万家灯火的城市
28 peculiar cinyo     
adj.古怪的,异常的;特殊的,特有的
参考例句:
  • He walks in a peculiar fashion.他走路的样子很奇特。
  • He looked at me with a very peculiar expression.他用一种很奇怪的表情看着我。
29 hues adb36550095392fec301ed06c82f8920     
色彩( hue的名词复数 ); 色调; 信仰; 观点
参考例句:
  • When the sun rose a hundred prismatic hues were reflected from it. 太阳一出,更把它映得千变万化、异彩缤纷。
  • Where maple trees grow, the leaves are often several brilliant hues of red. 在枫树生长的地方,枫叶常常呈现出数种光彩夺目的红色。
30 weird bghw8     
adj.古怪的,离奇的;怪诞的,神秘而可怕的
参考例句:
  • From his weird behaviour,he seems a bit of an oddity.从他不寻常的行为看来,他好像有点怪。
  • His weird clothes really gas me.他的怪衣裳简直笑死人。
31 wailed e27902fd534535a9f82ffa06a5b6937a     
v.哭叫,哀号( wail的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • She wailed over her father's remains. 她对着父亲的遗体嚎啕大哭。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • The women of the town wailed over the war victims. 城里的妇女为战争的死难者们痛哭。 来自辞典例句
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 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。
34 backwards BP9ya     
adv.往回地,向原处,倒,相反,前后倒置地
参考例句:
  • He turned on the light and began to pace backwards and forwards.他打开电灯并开始走来走去。
  • All the girls fell over backwards to get the party ready.姑娘们迫不及待地为聚会做准备。
35 indicators f46872fc1b5f08e9d32bd107be1df829     
(仪器上显示温度、压力、耗油量等的)指针( indicator的名词复数 ); 指示物; (车辆上的)转弯指示灯; 指示信号
参考例句:
  • The economic indicators are better than expected. 经济指标比预期的好。
  • It is still difficult to develop indicators for many concepts used in social science. 为社会科学领域的许多概念确立一个指标仍然很难。
36 groan LfXxU     
vi./n.呻吟,抱怨;(发出)呻吟般的声音
参考例句:
  • The wounded man uttered a groan.那个受伤的人发出呻吟。
  • The people groan under the burden of taxes.人民在重税下痛苦呻吟。
37 immediate aapxh     
adj.立即的;直接的,最接近的;紧靠的
参考例句:
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
38 proximity 5RsxM     
n.接近,邻近
参考例句:
  • Marriages in proximity of blood are forbidden by the law.法律规定禁止近亲结婚。
  • Their house is in close proximity to ours.他们的房子很接近我们的。
39 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。
40 fiery ElEye     
adj.燃烧着的,火红的;暴躁的;激烈的
参考例句:
  • She has fiery red hair.她有一头火红的头发。
  • His fiery speech agitated the crowd.他热情洋溢的讲话激动了群众。
41 superfluous EU6zf     
adj.过多的,过剩的,多余的
参考例句:
  • She fined away superfluous matter in the design. 她删去了这图案中多余的东西。
  • That request seemed superfluous when I wrote it.我这样写的时候觉得这个请求似乎是多此一举。
42 scanty ZDPzx     
adj.缺乏的,仅有的,节省的,狭小的,不够的
参考例句:
  • There is scanty evidence to support their accusations.他们的指控证据不足。
  • The rainfall was rather scanty this month.这个月的雨量不足。
43 attire AN0zA     
v.穿衣,装扮[同]array;n.衣着;盛装
参考例句:
  • He had no intention of changing his mode of attire.他无意改变着装方式。
  • Her attention was attracted by his peculiar attire.他那奇特的服装引起了她的注意。
44 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。
45 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。
46 devour hlezt     
v.吞没;贪婪地注视或谛听,贪读;使着迷
参考例句:
  • Larger fish devour the smaller ones.大鱼吃小鱼。
  • Beauty is but a flower which wrinkle will devour.美只不过是一朵,终会被皱纹所吞噬。
47 afterward fK6y3     
adv.后来;以后
参考例句:
  • Let's go to the theatre first and eat afterward. 让我们先去看戏,然后吃饭。
  • Afterward,the boy became a very famous artist.后来,这男孩成为一个很有名的艺术家。


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