CHAPTER 8: The Bay of Vigo
"Ned my friend," I told him, "I know how you feel, but you mustn't
blame yourself. Given the way the Nautilus was navigating,
it would have been sheer insanity to think of escaping!"
Ned Land didn't reply. His pursed lips and frowning brow indicated
that he was in the grip of his monomania.
"Look here," I went on, "as yet there's no cause for despair.
We're going up the coast of Portugal. France and England aren't
far off, and there we'll easily find refuge. Oh, I grant you,
if the Nautilus had emerged from the Strait of Gibraltar and made
for that cape in the south, if it were taking us toward those
regions that have no continents, then I'd share your alarm.
But we now know that Captain Nemo doesn't avoid the seas of civilization,
and in a few days I think we can safely take action."
Ned Land stared at me still more intently and finally unpursed his lips:
"We'll do it this evening," he said.
I straightened suddenly. I admit that I was less than ready
for this announcement. I wanted to reply to the Canadian,
but words failed me.
"We agreed to wait for the right circumstances," Ned Land went on.
"Now we've got those circumstances. This evening we'll be just
a few miles off the coast of Spain. It'll be cloudy tonight.
The wind's blowing toward shore. You gave me your promise,
Professor Aronnax, and I'm counting on you."
Since I didn't say anything, the Canadian stood up and approached me:
"We'll do it this evening at nine o'clock," he said.
"I've alerted Conseil. By that time Captain Nemo will be locked in his
room and probably in bed. Neither the mechanics or the crewmen will be
able to see us. Conseil and I will go to the central companionway.
As for you, Professor Aronnax, you'll stay in the library two
steps away and wait for my signal. The oars, mast, and sail are
in the skiff. I've even managed to stow some provisions inside.
I've gotten hold of a monkey wrench to unscrew the nuts bolting
the skiff to the Nautilus's hull. So everything's ready.
I'll see you this evening."