CHAPTER 6: The Greek Islands
"And suppose he adds that this offer he's making you today won't
ever be repeated, then would you accept?"
I did not reply.
"And what thinks our friend Conseil?" Ned Land asked.
"Your friend Conseil," the fine lad replied serenely, "has nothing to say
for himself. He's a completely disinterested party on this question.
Like his master, like his comrade Ned, he's a bachelor.
Neither wife, parents, nor children are waiting for him back home.
He's in master's employ, he thinks like master, he speaks like master,
and much to his regret, he can't be counted on to form a majority.
Only two persons face each other here: master on one side,
Ned Land on the other. That said, your friend Conseil is listening,
and he's ready to keep score."
I couldn't help smiling as Conseil wiped himself out of existence.
Deep down, the Canadian must have been overjoyed at not having
to contend with him.
"Then, sir," Ned Land said, "since Conseil is no more, we'll have this
discussion between just the two of us. I've talked, you've listened.
What's your reply?"
It was obvious that the matter had to be settled, and evasions
were distasteful to me.
"Ned my friend," I said, "here's my reply. You have right
on your side and my arguments can't stand up to yours.
It will never do to count on Captain Nemo's benevolence.
The most ordinary good sense would forbid him to set us free.
On the other hand, good sense decrees that we take advantage of our
first opportunity to leave the Nautilus."
"Fine, Professor Aronnax, that's wisely said."
"But one proviso," I said, "just one. The opportunity must
be the real thing. Our first attempt to escape must succeed,
because if it misfires, we won't get a second chance, and Captain Nemo
will never forgive us."