The moon voyage, p.1
The Moon-Voyage, p.1Jules Verne
Produced by Norm Wolcott, Gregory Margo and PG Distributed Proofreaders
CONTAINING"FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON,"AND"ROUND THE MOON."
AUTHOR OF "TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA,""AMONG THE CANNIBALS," ETC.
ILLUSTRATED BY HENRY AUSTIN.
* * * * *
"FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON."
I. THE GUN CLUB
II. PRESIDENT BARBICANE'S COMMUNICATION
III. EFFECT OF PRESIDENT BARBICANE'S COMMUNICATION
IV. ANSWER FROM THE CAMBRIDGE OBSERVATORY
V. THE ROMANCE OF THE MOON
VI. WHAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE AND WHAT IS NO LONGER ALLOWED TOBE BELIEVED IN THE UNITED STATES
VII. THE HYMN OF THE CANNON-BALL
VIII. HISTORY OF THE CANNON
IX. THE QUESTION OF POWDERS
X. ONE ENEMY AGAINST TWENTY-FIVE MILLIONS OF FRIENDS
XI. FLORIDA AND TEXAS
XII. "URBI ET ORBI"
XIII. STONY HILL
XIV. PICKAXE AND TROWEL
XV. THE CEREMONY OF THE CASTING
XVI. THE COLUMBIAD
XVII. A TELEGRAM
XVIII. THE PASSENGER OF THE ATLANTA
XIX. A MEETING
XX. THRUST AND PARRY
XXI. HOW A FRENCHMAN SETTLES AN AFFAIR
XXII. THE NEW CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES
XXIII. THE PROJECTILE COMPARTMENT
XXIV. THE TELESCOPE OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
XXV. FINAL DETAILS
XXVII. CLOUDY WEATHER
XXVIII. A NEW STAR
* * * * *
"ROUND THE MOON."
PRELIMINARY CHAPTER. CONTAINING A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST PART OFTHIS WORK TO SERVE AS PREFACE TO THE SECOND
I. FROM 10.20 P.M. TO 10.47 P.M.
II. THE FIRST HALF-HOUR
III. TAKING POSSESSION
IV. A LITTLE ALGEBRA
V. THE TEMPERATURE OF SPACE
VI. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
VII. A MOMENT OF INTOXICATION
VIII. AT SEVENTY-EIGHT THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN LEAGUES
IX. THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEVIATION
X. THE OBSERVERS OF THE MOON
XI. IMAGINATION AND REALITY
XII. OROGRAPHICAL DETAILS
XIII. LUNAR LANDSCAPES
XIV. A NIGHT OF THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FOUR HOURS AND A HALF
XV. HYPERBOLA OR PARABOLA
XVI. THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
XVIII. GRAVE QUESTIONS
XIX. A STRUGGLE WITH THE IMPOSSIBLE
XX. THE SOUNDINGS OF THE SUSQUEHANNA
XXI. J.T. MASTON CALLED IN
XXII. PICKED UP
XXIII. THE END
* * * * *
FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON.
* * * * *
THE GUN CLUB.
During the Federal war in the United States a new and very influentialclub was established in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. It is wellknown with what energy the military instinct was developed amongst thatnation of shipowners, shopkeepers, and mechanics. Mere tradesmen jumpedtheir counters to become extempore captains, colonels, and generalswithout having passed the Military School at West Point; they soonrivalled their colleagues of the old continent, and, like them, gainedvictories by dint of lavishing bullets, millions, and men.
But where Americans singularly surpassed Europeans was in the science ofballistics, or of throwing massive weapons by the use of an engine; notthat their arms attained a higher degree of perfection, but they were ofunusual dimensions, and consequently of hitherto unknown ranges. TheEnglish, French, and Prussians have nothing to learn about flank,running, enfilading, or point-blank firing; but their cannon, howitzers,and mortars are mere pocket-pistols compared with the formidable enginesof American artillery.
This fact ought to astonish no one. The Yankees, the first mechaniciansin the world, are born engineers, just as Italians are musicians andGermans metaphysicians. Thence nothing more natural than to see thembring their audacious ingenuity to bear on the science of ballistics.Hence those gigantic cannon, much less useful than sewing-machines, butquite as astonishing, and much more admired. The marvels of this styleby Parrott, Dahlgren, and Rodman are well known. There was nothing leftthe Armstrongs, Pallisers, and Treuille de Beaulieux but to bow beforetheir transatlantic rivals.
Therefore during the terrible struggle between Northerners andSoutherners, artillerymen were in great request; the Union newspaperspublished their inventions with enthusiasm, and there was no littletradesman nor _naif_ "booby" who did not bother his head day and nightwith calculations about impossible trajectory engines.
Now when an American has an idea he seeks another American to share it.If they are three, they elect a president and two secretaries. Givenfour, they elect a clerk, and a company is established. Five convoke ageneral meeting, and the club is formed. It thus happened at Baltimore.The first man who invented a new cannon took into partnership the firstman who cast it and the first man that bored it. Such was the nucleus ofthe Gun Club. One month after its formation it numbered eighteen hundredand thirty-three effective members, and thirty thousand five hundred andseventy-five corresponding members.
One condition was imposed as a _sine qua non_ upon every one who wishedto become a member--that of having invented, or at least perfected, acannon; or, in default of a cannon, a firearm of some sort. But, to tellthe truth, mere inventors of fifteen-barrelled rifles, revolvers, orsword-pistols did not enjoy much consideration. Artillerymen were alwayspreferred to them in every circumstance.
"The estimation in which they are held," said one day a learned oratorof the Gun Club, "is in proportion to the size of their cannon, and indirect ratio to the square of distance attained by their projectiles!"
A little more and it would have been Newton's law of gravitation appliedto moral order.
Once the Gun Club founded, it can be easily imagined its effect upon theinventive genius of the Americans. War-engines took colossalproportions, and projectiles launched beyond permitted distances cutinoffensive pedestrians to pieces. All these inventions left the timidinstruments of European artillery far behind them. This may be estimatedby the following figures:--
Formerly, "in the good old times," a thirty-six pounder, at a distanceof three hundred feet, would cut up thirty-six horses, attacked inflank, and sixty-eight men. The art was then in its infancy.Projectiles have since made their way. The Rodman gun that sent aprojectile weighing half a ton a distance of seven miles could easilyhave cut up a hundred and fifty horses and three hundred men. There wassome talk at the Gun Club of making a solemn experiment with it. But ifthe horses consented to play their part, the men unfortunately werewanting.
However that may be, the effect of these cannon was very deadly, and ateach discharge the combatants fell like ears before a scythe. After suchprojectiles what signified the famous ball which, at Coutras, in 1587,disabled twenty-five men; and the one which, at Zorndorff, in 1758,killed forty fantassins; and in 1742, Kesseldorf's Austrian cannon, ofwhich every shot levelled seventy enemies with the ground? What was theastonishing firing at Jena or Austerlitz, which decided the fate of thebattle? During the Federal war much more wonderful things had been seen.At the battle of Gettysburg, a conical projectile thrown by arifle-barrel cut up a hundred and seventy-three Confederates, and at thepassage of the Potomac a Rodman ball sent two hundred and fifteenSoutherners into an evidently better world. A formidable mortar mustalso be m
What can be added to these figures, so eloquent in themselves? Nothing.So the following calculation obtained by the statistician Pitcairn willbe admitted without contestation: by dividing the number of victimsfallen under the projectiles by that of the members of the Gun Club, hefound that each one of them had killed, on his own account, an averageof two thousand three hundred and seventy-five men and a fraction.
By considering such a result it will be seen that the singlepreoccupation of this learned society was the destruction of humanityphilanthropically, and the perfecting of firearms considered asinstruments of civilisation. It was a company of Exterminating Angels,at bottom the best fellows in the world.
It must be added that these Yankees, brave as they have ever provedthemselves, did not confine themselves to formulae, but sacrificedthemselves to their theories. Amongst them might be counted officers ofevery rank, those who had just made their _debut_ in the profession ofarms, and those who had grown old on their gun-carriage. Many whosenames figured in the book of honour of the Gun Club remained on thefield of battle, and of those who came back the greater part bore marksof their indisputable valour. Crutches, wooden legs, articulated arms,hands with hooks, gutta-percha jaws, silver craniums, platinum noses,nothing was wanting to the collection; and the above-mentioned Pitcairnlikewise calculated that in the Gun Club there was not quite one armamongst every four persons, and only two legs amongst six.
But these valiant artillerymen paid little heed to such small matters,and felt justly proud when the report of a battle stated the number ofvictims at tenfold the quantity of projectiles expended.
One day, however, a sad and lamentable day, peace was signed by thesurvivors of the war, the noise of firing gradually ceased, the mortarswere silent, the howitzers were muzzled for long enough, and the cannon,with muzzles depressed, were stored in the arsenals, the shots werepiled up in the parks, the bloody reminiscences were effaced, cottonshrubs grew magnificently on the well-manured fields, mourning garmentsbegan to be worn-out, as well as sorrow, and the Gun Club had nothingwhatever to do.
Certain old hands, inveterate workers, still went on with theircalculations in ballistics; they still imagined gigantic bombs andunparalleled howitzers. But what was the use of vain theories that couldnot be put in practice? So the saloons were deserted, the servants sleptin the antechambers, the newspapers grew mouldy on the tables, from darkcorners issued sad snores, and the members of the Gun Club, formerly sonoisy, now reduced to silence by the disastrous peace, slept the sleepof Platonic artillery!
"This is distressing," said brave Tom Hunter, whilst his wooden legswere carbonising at the fireplace of the smoking-room. "Nothing to do!Nothing to look forward to! What a tiresome existence! Where is the timewhen cannon awoke you every morning with its joyful reports?"
"That time is over," answered dandy Bilsby, trying to stretch the armshe had lost. "There was some fun then! You invented an howitzer, and itwas hardly cast before you ran to try it on the enemy; then you wentback to the camp with an encouragement from Sherman, or a shake of thehands from MacClellan! But now the generals have gone back to theircounters, and instead of cannon-balls they expedite inoffensive cottonbales! Ah, by Saint Barb! the future of artillery is lost to America!"
"Yes, Bilsby," cried Colonel Blomsberry, "it is too bad! One finemorning you leave your tranquil occupations, you are drilled in the useof arms, you leave Baltimore for the battle-field, you conduct yourselflike a hero, and in two years, three years at the latest, you areobliged to leave the fruit of so many fatigues, to go to sleep indeplorable idleness, and keep your hands in your pockets."
The valiant colonel would have found it very difficult to give such aproof of his want of occupation, though it was not the pockets that werewanting.
"And no war in prospect, then," said the famous J.T. Maston, scratchinghis gutta-percha cranium with his steel hook; "there is not a cloud onthe horizon now that there is so much to do in the science of artillery!I myself finished this very morning a diagram with plan, basin, andelevation of a mortar destined to change the laws of warfare!"
"Indeed!" replied Tom Hunter, thinking involuntarily of the HonourableJ.T. Maston's last essay.
"Indeed!" answered Maston. "But what is the use of the good results ofsuch studies and so many difficulties conquered? It is mere waste oftime. The people of the New World seem determined to live in peace, andour bellicose _Tribune_ has gone as far as to predict approachingcatastrophes due to the scandalous increase of population!"
"Yet, Maston," said Colonel Blomsberry, "they are always fighting inEurope to maintain the principle of nationalities!"
"What of that?"
"Why, there might be something to do over there, and if they acceptedour services--"
"What are you thinking of?" cried Bilsby. "Work at ballistics for thebenefit of foreigners!"
"Perhaps that would be better than not doing it at all," answered thecolonel.
"Doubtless," said J.T. Maston, "it would be better, but such anexpedient cannot be thought of."
"Why so?" asked the colonel.
"Because their ideas of advancement would be contrary to all ourAmerican customs. Those folks seem to think that you cannot be ageneral-in-chief without having served as second lieutenant, which comesto the same as saying that no one can point a gun that has not cast one.Now that is simply--"
"Absurd!" replied Tom Hunter, whittling the arms of his chair with hisbowie-knife; "and as things are so, there is nothing left for us but toplant tobacco or distil whale-oil!"
"What!" shouted J.T. Maston, "shall we not employ these last years ofour existence in perfecting firearms? Will not a fresh opportunitypresent itself to try the ranges of our projectiles? Will the atmospherebe no longer illuminated by the lightning of our cannons? Won't someinternational difficulty crop up that will allow us to declare waragainst some transatlantic power? Won't France run down one of oursteamers, or won't England, in defiance of the rights of nations, hangup three or four of our countrymen?"
"No, Maston," answered Colonel Blomsberry; "no such luck! No, not one ofthose incidents will happen; and if one did, it would be of no use tous. American sensitiveness is declining daily, and we are going to thedogs!"
"Yes, we are growing quite humble," replied Bilsby.
"And we are humiliated!" answered Tom Hunter.
"All that is only too true," replied J.T. Maston, with fresh vehemence."There are a thousand reasons for fighting floating about, and still wedon't fight! We economise legs and arms, and that to the profit of folksthat don't know what to do with them. Look here, without looking anyfarther for a motive for war, did not North America formerly belong tothe English?"
"Doubtless," answered Tom Hunter, angrily poking the fire with the endof his crutch.
"Well," replied J.T. Maston, "why should not England in its turn belongto the Americans?"
"It would be but justice," answered Colonel Blomsberry.
"Go and propose that to the President of the United States," cried J.T.Maston, "and see what sort of a reception you would get."
"It would not be a bad reception," murmured Bilsby between the fourteeth he had saved from battle.
"I'faith," cried J.T. Maston, "they need not count upon my vote in thenext elections."
"Nor upon ours," answered with common accord these bellicose invalids.
"In the meantime," continued J.T. Maston, "and to conclude, if they donot furnish me with the opportunity of trying my new mortar on a realbattle-field, I shall send in my resignation as member of the Gun Club,and I shall go and bury myself in the backwoods of Arkansas."
"We will follow you there," answered the interlocutors of theenterprising J.T. Maston.
Things had come to that pass, and the club, getting more excited, wasmen
The very day after the foregoing conversation each member of the clubreceived a circular couched in these terms:--
"Baltimore, October 3rd.
"The president of the Gun Club has the honour to inform his colleaguesthat at the meeting on the 5th ultimo he will make them a communicationof an extremely interesting nature. He therefore begs that they, to thesuspension of all other business, will attend, in accordance with thepresent invitation,
"Their devoted colleague,
"IMPEY BARBICANE, P.G.C."
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