Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
this was the summer of the northern hemisphere, we should thus enjoy a longer day, and should not suffer from the change of climate.  After taking leave of our friends, we went down below to take possession of the fore part of the vessel, which was assigned as our exclusive quarters.  Immediately in front of the machine-room, which occupied the centre of the vessel, were two cabins, about sixteen feet square, reaching from side to side.  Beyond these, opening out of a passage running along one side, were two smaller cabins about eight feet long.  All these apartments were furnished and ornamented with the luxury and elegance of chambers in the best houses on shore.  In the foremost of the larger cabins were a couple of desks, and three or four writing or easy chairs.  In the outer cabin nearest to the engine-room, and entered immediately by the ladder descending from the deck, was fixed a low central table.  In all we found abundance of those soft exquisitely covered and embroidered cushions which in Mars, as in Oriental countries, are the most essential and most luxurious furniture.  The officer had quarters in the stern of the vessel, which was an exact copy of the fore part.  But the first of these rooms was considered as public or neutral ground.  Leaving Eveena below, I went on deck to examine, before she started, the construction of the vessel.  Her entire length was about one hundred and eighty feet, her depth, from the flat deck to the wide keel, about one half of her breadth; the height of the cabins not much more than eight feet; her draught, when most completely lightened, not more than four feet.  Her electric machinery drew in and drove out with great force currents of water which propelled her with a speed greater than that afforded by the most powerful paddles.  It also pumped in or out, at whatever depth, the quantity of water required as ballast, not merely to steady the vessel, but to keep her in position on the surface or to sink her to the level at which the pilot might choose to sail.  At either end was fixed a steering screw, much resembling the tail-fin of a fish, capable of striking sideways, upwards, or downwards, and directing our course accordingly.

Ergimo, our escort, had not yet reached middle age, but was a man of exceptional intellect and unusual knowledge.  He had made many voyages, and had occupied for some time an important official post on one of those Arctic continents which are inhabited only by the hunters employed in collecting the furs and skins furnished exclusively by these lands.  The shores of the gulf were lofty, rocky, and uninteresting.  It was difficult to see any object on shore from the deck of the vessel, and I assented, therefore, without demur, after the first hour of the voyage, to his proposal that the lights, answering to our hatches, should be closed, and that the vessel should pursue her course below the surface.  This was the more desirable that, though winds and storms are, as I

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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