The Mysterious Island
by Jules Verne
PART 1 - DROPPED FROM THE CLOUDS
"Are we rising again?" "No. On the contrary." "Are we descending?" "Worse
than that, captain! we are falling!" "For Heaven's sake heave out the
ballast!" "There! the last sack is empty!" "Does the balloon rise?" "No!"
"I hear a noise like the dashing of waves. The sea is below the car! It
cannot be more than 500 feet from us!" "Overboard with every weight!
Such were the loud and startling words which resounded through the air,
above the vast watery desert of the Pacific, about four o'clock in the
evening of the 23rd of March, 1865.
Few can possibly have forgotten the terrible storm from the northeast, in
the middle of the equinox of that year. The tempest raged without
intermission from the 18th to the 26th of March. Its ravages were terrible
in America, Europe, and Asia, covering a distance of eighteen hundred
miles, and extending obliquely to the equator from the thirty-fifth north
parallel to the fortieth south parallel. Towns were overthrown, forests