Journey to the Centre of the Earth with English-Italian Dictionary by Jules Verne (online free books)

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Journey to the Centre of the Earth Text


Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures. They were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them.

eventful - movimentato

scarcely - a malapena

truly - accuratamente, veramente, molto

bewildered - confondere, disorientare, sconcertare

My uncle was a German, having married my mother's sister, an Englishwoman. Being very much attached to his fatherless nephew, he invited me to study under him in his home in the fatherland. This home was in a large town, and my uncle a professor of philosophy, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, and many other ologies.

German - tedesco, tedesca, germano, germana

Englishwoman - inglese

fatherless - senza padre

nephew - nipote

fatherland - patria, paese, suolo natio

Philosophy - filosofia

geology - geologia

mineralogy - mineralogia

ologies - ologia

One day, after passing some hours in the laboratory-my uncle being absent at the time-I suddenly felt the necessity of renovating the tissues-i.e., I was hungry, and was about to rouse up our old French cook, when my uncle, Professor Von Hardwigg, suddenly opened the street door, and came rushing upstairs.

being absent - essere assente

necessity - necessita, bisogno

renovating - rinnovare

tissues - tessuto

rouse - svegliare

rushing - correre

Now Professor Hardwigg, my worthy uncle, is by no means a bad sort of man; he is, however, choleric and original. To bear with him means to obey; and scarcely had his heavy feet resounded within our joint domicile than he shouted for me to attend upon him.

worthy - degno

choleric - collerico

obey - obbedire, ubbidire, assolvere, conformarsi

resounded - risuonare

joint - comune, congiunta, giunto, articolazione, diaclasi, canna

domicile - domicilio


Harry - disturbare

I hastened to obey, but before I could reach his room, jumping three steps at a time, he was stamping his right foot upon the landing.

hastened to - affrettarsi

"Harry!" he cried, in a frantic tone, "are you coming up?"

frantic - frenetico, esagitato

tone - tono

Now to tell the truth, at that moment I was far more interested in the question as to what was to constitute our dinner than in any problem of science; to me soup was more interesting than soda, an omelette more tempting than arithmetic, and an artichoke of ten times more value than any amount of asbestos.

constitute - costituire, creare, formare

soda - soda, carbonato di sodio, seltz, bibita, bevanda gassata

omelette - omelette, q

more tempting - piu allettante

Arithmetic - aritmetica, aritmetico

artichoke - carciofo

asbestos - asbesto, amianto

But my uncle was not a man to be kept waiting; so adjourning therefore all minor questions, I presented myself before him.

adjourning - aggiornare

minor - minore

He was a very learned man. Now most persons in this category supply themselves with information, as peddlers do with goods, for the benefit of others, and lay up stores in order to diffuse them abroad for the benefit of society in general.

peddlers - padellaio

diffuse - diffondere

Not so my excellent uncle, Professor Hardwigg; he studied, he consumed the midnight oil, he pored over heavy tomes, and digested huge quartos and folios in order to keep the knowledge acquired to himself.

pored - poro

tomes - librone

digested - digerire

quartos - Cuarto

folios - foglio

acquired - acquisire

There was a reason, and it may be regarded as a good one, why my uncle objected to display his learning more than was absolutely necessary: he stammered; and when intent upon explaining the phenomena of the heavens, was apt to find himself at fault, and allude in such a vague way to sun, moon, and stars that few were able to comprehend his meaning.

regarded - considerare

display - rappresentazione, saggio, schermo, video, espositore, mostrare

stammered - balbettare, tartagliare, balbettio

intent - intento

phenomena - fenomeni

heavens - cielo, paradiso

apt - soggetto a, capace

fault - colpa, imperfezione, sbaglio, biasimo, fessura, crepa

allude - alludere

vague - vago

comprehend - comprendere, capire

To tell the honest truth, when the right word would not come, it was generally replaced by a very powerful adjective.

adjective - aggettivo, aggettivare

In connection with the sciences there are many almost unpronounceable names-names very much resembling those of Welsh villages; and my uncle being very fond of using them, his habit of stammering was not thereby improved. In fact, there were periods in his discourse when he would finally give up and swallow his discomfiture-in a glass of water.

unpronounceable - impronunciabile

resembling - rassomigliare, arieggiare

Welsh - gallese

fond - tenero

stammering - balbettio, balbettamento, ciangottio

thereby - in tal modo, percio, pertanto

discourse - discorso, discussione

swallow - inghiottire, ingoiare

discomfiture - sconforto

As I said, my uncle, Professor Hardwigg, was a very learned man; and I now add a most kind relative. I was bound to him by the double ties of affection and interest. I took deep interest in all his doings, and hoped some day to be almost as learned myself. It was a rare thing for me to be absent from his lectures. Like him, I preferred mineralogy to all the other sciences.

bound - vincolato, (bind), legare, connettere, rilegare

affection - affetto

doings - fare

be absent - essere assente

My anxiety was to gain real knowledge of the earth. Geology and mineralogy were to us the sole objects of life, and in connection with these studies many a fair specimen of stone, chalk, or metal did we break with our hammers.

anxiety - ansia, ansieta, bramosia

gain - acquistare, conseguire

sole - (pianta del piede)

specimen - campione, esemplare

chalk - gesso, creta, gessetto

hammers - martello, cane, percussore, martellare, colpire, picchiare

Steel rods, loadstones, glass pipes, and bottles of various acids were oftener before us than our meals. My uncle Hardwigg was once known to classify six hundred different geological specimens by their weight, hardness, fusibility, sound, taste, and smell.

steel - acciaio, d'acciaio

rods - palo, pertica, stecca, bastone, canna

loadstones - Piedra de carga

acids - acido, acido lisergico

classify - classificare

specimens - campione, esemplare

hardness - durezza

fusibility - fusibilita

He corresponded with all the great, learned, and scientific men of the age. I was, therefore, in constant communication with, at all events the letters of, Sir Humphry Davy, Captain Franklin, and other great men.

corresponded - corrispondere

constant - costante, continuo

But before I state the subject on which my uncle wished to confer with me, I must say a word about his personal appearance. Alas! my readers will see a very different portrait of him at a future time, after he has gone through the fearful adventures yet to be related.

confer - conferire

Alas - ahime!, ohime!

fearful - impaurito, spaventato, pavido

My uncle was fifty years old; tall, thin, and wiry. Large spectacles hid, to a certain extent, his vast, round, and goggle eyes, while his nose was irreverently compared to a thin file. So much indeed did it resemble that useful article, that a compass was said in his presence to have made considerable N (Nasal) deviation.

wiry - nerboruto

spectacles - spettacolo

extent - estensione, misura

vast - ampio, vasto, esteso, grande

goggle - strabuzzare/stralunare gli occhi

irreverently - in modo irriverente

resemble - rassomigliare, arieggiare

compass - bussola

presence - presenza

considerable - considerabile

nasal - nasale

deviation - scarto, deviazione

The truth being told, however, the only article really attracted to my uncle's nose was tobacco.

tobacco - tabacco

Another peculiarity of his was, that he always stepped a yard at a time, clenched his fists as if he were going to hit you, and was, when in one of his peculiar humors, very far from a pleasant companion.

peculiarity - peculiarita

clenched - stringere

fists - pugno

humors - umorismo

companion - amico, compagno

It is further necessary to observe that he lived in a very nice house, in that very nice street, the Konigstrasse at Hamburg. Though lying in the centre of a town, it was perfectly rural in its aspect-half wood, half bricks, with old-fashioned gables-one of the few old houses spared by the great fire of 1842.

observe - osservare

Hamburg - Amburgo

rural - rurale

aspect - aspetto

bricks - mattone, laterizio, tegola

gables - timpano

spared - asta

When I say a nice house, I mean a handsome house-old, tottering, and not exactly comfortable to English notions: a house a little off the perpendicular and inclined to fall into the neighboring canal; exactly the house for a wandering artist to depict; all the more that you could scarcely see it for ivy and a magnificent old tree which grew over the door.

handsome - bello

Tottering - Sballottati, (totter), barcollare

notions - nozione, concetto, opinione, inclinazione, intenzione

perpendicular - perpendicolare

inclined - inclinare

Canal - canale

wandering - vagabondaggio, (wander), errare, vagare, girovagare, passeggiare

depict - rappresentare, raffigurare

ivy - edera

magnificent - magnifico

My uncle was rich; his house was his own property, while he had a considerable private income. To my notion the best part of his possessions was his god-daughter, Gretchen. And the old cook, the young lady, the Professor and I were the sole inhabitants.

income - introiti, reddito

notion - nozione, concetto, opinione, inclinazione, intenzione

inhabitants - abitante

I loved mineralogy, I loved geology. To me there was nothing like pebbles-and if my uncle had been in a little less of a fury, we should have been the happiest of families. To prove the excellent Hardwigg's impatience, I solemnly declare that when the flowers in the drawing-room pots began to grow, he rose every morning at four o'clock to make them grow quicker by pulling the leaves!

pebbles - ciottolo, acciottolare

fury - furia, furore

Impatience - Impazienza

solemnly - solennemente

declare - dichiarare

Having described my uncle, I will now give an account of our interview.

He received me in his study; a perfect museum, containing every natural curiosity that can well be imagined-minerals, however, predominating. Every one was familiar to me, having been catalogued by my own hand. My uncle, apparently oblivious of the fact that he had summoned me to his presence, was absorbed in a book. He was particularly fond of early editions, tall copies, and unique works.

curiosity - curiosita

minerals - minerale

predominating - predominare (all)

catalogued - catalogo, cataloghi, catalogare, mettere in catalogo

apparently - chiaramente, evidentemente, apparentemente, sembra che

oblivious - inconsapevole, ignaro, smemorato

summoned - convocare

absorbed - assorbire, incorporare, includere, assorbere, assorto

editions - edizione

unique - unico, peculiare, speciale, singolare

"Wonderful!" he cried, tapping his forehead. "Wonderful-wonderful!"

tapping - intercettazione

forehead - fronte

It was one of those yellow-leaved volumes now rarely found on stalls, and to me it appeared to possess but little value. My uncle, however, was in raptures.

leaved - foglie

volumes - volume

stalls - stalla, scuderia

possess - possedere, avere

raptures - rapimento, estasi

He admired its binding, the clearness of its characters, the ease with which it opened in his hand, and repeated aloud, half a dozen times, that it was very, very old.

binding - vincolante, rilegatura, legame, (bind), legare, connettere, rilegare

clearness - chiarezza

ease - facilita, riposo, attenuare

aloud - a voce alta, ad alta voce

dozen - dozzina, centinaio

To my fancy he was making a great fuss about nothing, but it was not my province to say so. On the contrary, I professed considerable interest in the subject, and asked him what it was about.

great fuss - grande scalpore

province - provincia

contrary - contrario, opposto

professed - professare, dichiarare

"It is the Heims-Kringla of Snorre Tarleson," he said, "the celebrated Icelandic author of the twelfth century-it is a true and correct account of the Norwegian princes who reigned in Iceland."

Icelandic - islandese

twelfth - dodicesimo

Norwegian - norvegese

reigned - regno, regnare

My next question related to the language in which it was written. I hoped at all events it was translated into German. My uncle was indignant at the very thought, and declared he wouldn't give a penny for a translation.

indignant - indignato

declared - dichiarare

His delight was to have found the original work in the Icelandic tongue, which he declared to be one of the most magnificent and yet simple idioms in the world-while at the same time its grammatical combinations were the most varied known to students.

delight - delizia, piacere, deliziare

idioms - idioma, parlata, dialetto, vernacolo, espressione idiomatica

grammatical - talian: t-needed

combinations - combinazione

varied - variare

"About as easy as German?" was my insidious remark.

insidious - insidioso, subdolo

remark - osservazione, commento

My uncle shrugged his shoulders.

shrugged - spalluccia, fare spallucce

"The letters at all events," I said, "are rather difficult of comprehension."

comprehension - comprensione

"It is a Runic manuscript, the language of the original population of Iceland, invented by Odin himself," cried my uncle, angry at my ignorance.

Runic - Runico

manuscript - manoscritto

Iceland - Islanda

Odin - Odino

ignorance - ignoranza

I was about to venture upon some misplaced joke on the subject, when a small scrap of parchment fell out of the leaves. Like a hungry man snatching at a morsel of bread the Professor seized it. It was about five inches by three and was scrawled over in the most extraordinary fashion.

Venture - avventura, azzardo, impresa, avventurarsi, azzardare, osare

misplaced - perdere

scrap - pezzetto

parchment - pergamena, membrana, cartapecora, vello

snatching - agguantare, scippare, strappare

morsel - boccone

seized - prendere, afferrare, approfittare, sfruttare

inches - pollice

scrawled - scarabocchiare, (scrivere in fretta)

extraordinary - straordinario, straordinaria, eccezionale, fantastico

The lines shown here are an exact facsimile of what was written on the venerable piece of parchment-and have wonderful importance, as they induced my uncle to undertake the most wonderful series of adventures which ever fell to the lot of human beings.

venerable - venerabile, venerando, onorevole, rispettabile, sacro

induced - persuadere, incitare, indurre, provocare

undertake - intraprendere, impegnarsi, dedicarsi

beings - essere, creatura, esistenza

My uncle looked keenly at the document for some moments and then declared that it was Runic. The letters were similar to those in the book, but then what did they mean? This was exactly what I wanted to know.

keenly - con entusiasmo

Now as I had a strong conviction that the Runic alphabet and dialect were simply an invention to mystify poor human nature, I was delighted to find that my uncle knew as much about the matter as I did-which was nothing. At all events the tremulous motion of his fingers made me think so.

conviction - convinzione, condanna, colpevolezza

alphabet - alfabeto

dialect - dialetto

mystify - disorientare

delighted - delizia, piacere, deliziare

tremulous - tremolante

motion - movimento, mozione, mozioni

"And yet," he muttered to himself, "it is old Icelandic, I am sure of it."

muttered - mormorare

And my uncle ought to have known, for he was a perfect polyglot dictionary in himself. He did not pretend, like a certain learned pundit, to speak the two thousand languages and four thousand idioms made use of in different parts of the globe, but he did know all the more important ones.

polyglot - poliglotta, poliglotto

pundit - opinionista

globe - globo

It is a matter of great doubt to me now, to what violent measures my uncle's impetuosity might have led him, had not the clock struck two, and our old French cook called out to let us know that dinner was on the table.

impetuosity - impetuosita

struck - cancellare, colpire, coniare, scioperare, sembrare, arrendersi, sciopero

"Bother the dinner!" cried my uncle.

But as I was hungry, I sallied forth to the dining room, where I took up my usual quarters. Out of politeness I waited three minutes, but no sign of my uncle, the Professor. I was surprised. He was not usually so blind to the pleasure of a good dinner.

sallied - sortita

forth - avanti

dining - chiasso, frastuono

politeness - cortesia

blind - cieco, orbo, tenda, accecare, ciecamente

It was the acme of German luxury-parsley soup, a ham omelette with sorrel trimmings, an oyster of veal stewed with prunes, delicious fruit, and sparkling Moselle. For the sake of poring over this musty old piece of parchment, my uncle forbore to share our meal. To satisfy my conscience, I ate for both.

acme - acme, climax, apice, culmine, colmo

parsley - prezzemolo

Ham - prosciutto

sorrel - acetosa

trimmings - rifilatura

oyster - ostrica

veal - vitello

stewed - cuocere (in umido), stufare

prunes - potare

sparkling - scintillante, brillante, frizzante, gassato

Moselle - Mosella

sake - (per amore di)

poring - poro

musty - ammuffito

forbore - non sopportare

satisfy - soddisfare, accontentare, saziare

conscience - coscienza

The old cook and housekeeper was nearly out of her mind. After taking so much trouble, to find her master not appear at dinner was to her a sad disappointment-which, as she occasionally watched the havoc I was making on the viands, became also alarm. If my uncle were to come to table after all?

housekeeper - governante, casalinga

Master - padrone

disappointment - delusione, disappunto

Occasionally - occasionalmente, saltuariamente, talvolta

havoc - rovina, distruzione, strage

Suddenly, just as I had consumed the last apple and drunk the last glass of wine, a terrible voice was heard at no great distance. It was my uncle roaring for me to come to him. I made very nearly one leap of it-so loud, so fierce was his tone.

roaring - ruggente, (roar), ruggire, sganasciarsi dalle risate

leap - saltare

fierce - feroce, risoluto


mysterious - misterioso, ignoto

"I declare," cried my uncle, striking the table fiercely with his fist, "I declare to you it is Runic-and contains some wonderful secret, which I must get at, at any price."

striking - impressionante, sconcertante

fiercely - trucemente, perfidamente, ferocemente, accanitamente

fist - pugno

I was about to reply when he stopped me.

"Sit down," he said, quite fiercely, "and write to my dictation."

dictation - dettato, ordine

I obeyed.

obeyed - obbedire, ubbidire, assolvere, conformarsi

"I will substitute," he said, "a letter of our alphabet for that of the Runic: we will then see what that will produce. Now, begin and make no mistakes."

substitute - sostituire, sostituto, rimpiazzo

The dictation commenced with the following incomprehensible result:

commenced - cominciare

incomprehensible - incomprensibile

mm.rnlls esruel seecJde

rnlls - ordine del giorno

esruel - ordine del giorno

seecJde - ordine del giorno

sgtssmf unteief niedrke

sgtssmf - ordine del giorno

unteief - non credente

niedrke - ordine del giorno

kt,samn atrateS Saodrrn

kt - ordine del giorno

samn - ordine del giorno

atrateS - ordine del giorno

emtnaeI nuaect rrilSa

emtnaeI - ordine del giorno

nuaect - ordine del giorno

rrilSa - ordine del giorno

Atvaar .nscrc ieaabs

nscrc - ordine del giorno

ieaabs - ordine del giorno

ccdrmi eeutul frantu

ccdrmi - ordine del giorno

eeutul - ordine del giorno

frantu - ordine del giorno

dt,iac oseibo KediiY

dt - ordine del giorno

iac - ordine del giorno

oseibo - ordine del giorno

Scarcely giving me time to finish, my uncle snatched the document from my hands and examined it with the most rapt and deep attention.

snatched - agguantare, scippare, strappare

rapt - rapito

"I should like to know what it means," he said, after a long period.

I certainly could not tell him, nor did he expect me to-his conversation being uniformly answered by himself.

uniformly - uniformemente

"I declare it puts me in mind of a cryptograph," he cried, "unless, indeed, the letters have been written without any real meaning; and yet why take so much trouble? Who knows but I may be on the verge of some great discovery?"

cryptograph - crittografia

verge - orlo

My candid opinion was that it was all rubbish! But this opinion I kept carefully to myself, as my uncle's choler was not pleasant to bear. All this time he was comparing the book with the parchment.

candid - candido

choler - coler

"The manuscript volume and the smaller document are written in different hands," he said, "the cryptograph is of much later date than the book; there is an undoubted proof of the correctness of my surmise. [An irrefragable proof I took it to be.

volume - volume

undoubted - indubbio

Proof - prova

correctness - correttezza

surmise - supporre

irrefragable - irrefragabile

] The first letter is a double M, which was only added to the Icelandic language in the twelfth century-this makes the parchment two hundred years posterior to the volume."

posterior - posteriore

The circumstances appeared very probable and very logical, but it was all surmise to me.

circumstances - circostanza, dettaglio, caso, circonlocuzione, situazione

probable - probabile

logical - logico

"To me it appears probable that this sentence was written by some owner of the book. Now who was the owner, is the next important question. Perhaps by great good luck it may be written somewhere in the volume."

With these words Professor Hardwigg took off his spectacles, and, taking a powerful magnifying glass, examined the book carefully.

magnifying glass - lente d'ingrandimento

On the fly leaf was what appeared to be a blot of ink, but on examination proved to be a line of writing almost effaced by time. This was what he sought; and, after some considerable time, he made out these letters:

blot - macchia, macchiare, assorbire

ink - inchiostro, inchiostrare, firmare, tatuare

examination - esame, visita

effaced - cancellare

sought - cercare, ricercare

"Arne Saknussemm!" he cried in a joyous and triumphant tone, "that is not only an Icelandic name, but of a learned professor of the sixteenth century, a celebrated alchemist."

joyous - gioioso

triumphant - trionfante

Sixteenth - sedicesimo ('before the noun'), sedicesimo g, sedicesima g ('after the name'), sedicesimo

alchemist - alchimista

I bowed as a sign of respect.

bowed - inchinarsi, chinare il capo

"These alchemists," he continued, "Avicenna, Bacon, Lully, Paracelsus, were the true, the only learned men of the day. They made surprising discoveries. May not this Saknussemm, nephew mine, have hidden on this bit of parchment some astounding invention? I believe the cryptograph to have a profound meaning-which I must make out."

alchemists - alchimista

bacon - pancetta

astounding - riempire di stupore, sbalordire

profound - profondo

My uncle walked about the room in a state of excitement almost impossible to describe.

"It may be so, sir," I timidly observed, "but why conceal it from posterity, if it be a useful, a worthy discovery?"

timidly - timidamente

observed - osservare

conceal - nascondere, celare

posterity - posteri

"Why-how should I know? Did not Galileo make a secret of his discoveries in connection with Saturn? But we shall see. Until I discover the meaning of this sentence I will neither eat nor sleep."

Galileo - Galileo Galilei

Saturn - Saturno

"My dear uncle-" I began.

"Nor you neither," he added.

It was lucky I had taken double allowance that day.

allowance - permesso, concessione, delibera, razione, attenuante, sgravio

"In the first place," he continued, "there must be a clue to the meaning. If we could find that, the rest would be easy enough."

I began seriously to reflect. The prospect of going without food and sleep was not a promising one, so I determined to do my best to solve the mystery. My uncle, meanwhile, went on with his soliloquy.

prospect - prospettiva, lungimiranza, possibilita, eventualita

soliloquy - soliloquio

"The way to discover it is easy enough. In this document there are one hundred and thirty-two letters, giving seventy-nine consonants to fifty-three vowels. This is about the proportion found in most southern languages, the idioms of the north being much more rich in consonants. We may confidently predict, therefore, that we have to deal with a southern dialect."

consonants - consonante

vowels - vocale

proportion - proporzione

most southern - piu meridionale

confidently - familiarmente

Nothing could be more logical.

"Now," said Professor Hardwigg, "to trace the particular language."

trace - traccia

"As Shakespeare says, 'that is the question,"'was my rather satirical reply.

Shakespeare - English playwright

satirical - satirico

"This man Saknussemm," he continued, "was a very learned man: now as he did not write in the language of his birthplace, he probably, like most learned men of the sixteenth century, wrote in Latin. If, however, I prove wrong in this guess, we must try Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, and even Hebrew. My own opinion, though, is decidedly in favor of Latin."

birthplace - luogo di nascita

Latin - Latino

Spanish - spagnolo, castigliano

Greek - greco, greca

Hebrew - ebraico, ebreo, ebrea

decidedly - decisamente

This proposition startled me. Latin was my favorite study, and it seemed sacrilege to believe this gibberish to belong to the country of Virgil.

proposition - proposta, proposizione, proposizione logica

startled - scattare, sobbalzare, spaventare, sorprendere, schivare, evitare

sacrilege - sacrilegio

gibberish - farfuglio, borbottio, baggianata, corbelleria

Virgil - Virgilio

"Barbarous Latin, in all probability," continued my uncle, "but still Latin."

barbarous - barbaro

probability - probabilita

"Very probably," I replied, not to contradict him.

contradict - contraddire, contestare, contrariare

"Let us see into the matter," continued my uncle; "here you see we have a series of one hundred and thirty-two letters, apparently thrown pell-mell upon paper, without method or organization. There are words which are composed wholly of consonants, such as mm.rnlls, others which are nearly all vowels, the fifth, for instance, which is unteief, and one of the last oseibo.

composed - showing composure

wholly - del tutto

instance - volta

This appears an extraordinary combination. Probably we shall find that the phrase is arranged according to some mathematical plan. No doubt a certain sentence has been written out and then jumbled up-some plan to which some figure is the clue. Now, Harry, to show your English wit-what is that figure?"

combination - combinazione

mathematical - matematico

written out - scritto

jumbled - mischiare

wit - spirito

I could give him no hint. My thoughts were indeed far away. While he was speaking I had caught sight of the portrait of my cousin Gretchen, and was wondering when she would return.

hint - accenno, allusione, indizio, aiuto

thoughts - idea, pensata, pensiero

We were affianced, and loved one another very sincerely. But my uncle, who never thought even of such sublunary matters, knew nothing of this. Without noticing my abstraction, the Professor began reading the puzzling cryptograph all sorts of ways, according to some theory of his own. Presently, rousing my wandering attention, he dictated one precious attempt to me.

affianced - Affidabilita

sincerely - sinceramente, in fede, con sincerita

sublunary - sublunare

abstraction - astrazione

puzzling - misterioso, enigmatico, (puzzle), mistero, rompicapo

Presently - Attualmente

rousing - svegliare

dictated - dettame, imporre, comandare, dettare

precious - prezioso, adorato, unico

attempt - tentare, cercare, provare, attentare, tentativo

I mildly handed it over to him. It read as follows:

mildly - in modo lieve


mmessunkaSenrA - ordine del giorno

icefdoK - ordine del giorno

segnittamurtn - ordine del giorno


ecertserrette - ordine del giorno

rotaivsadua - ordine del giorno

ednecsedsadne - ordine del giorno


lacartniiilrJsiratracSarbmutabiledmek - ordine del giorno


meretarcsilucoYsleffenSnI - ordine del giorno

I could scarcely keep from laughing, while my uncle, on the contrary, got in a towering passion, struck the table with his fist, darted out of the room, out of the house, and then taking to his heels was presently lost to sight.

darted - dardo

heels - calcagno, tallone


"What is the matter?" cried the cook, entering the room; "when will master have his dinner?"


"And, his supper?"

supper - cena

"I don't know. He says he will eat no more, neither shall I. My uncle has determined to fast and make me fast until he makes out this abominable inscription," I replied.

makes out - avere successo, pretendere, uscire con qualcuno

abominable - abominabile, detestabile, efferato, odioso

inscription - inscrizione, motto

"You will be starved to death," she said.

starved - morire di fame

I was very much of the same opinion, but not liking to say so, sent her away, and began some of my usual work of classification. But try as I might, nothing could keep me from thinking alternately of the stupid manuscript and of the pretty Gretchen.

classification - classificazione

alternately - alternatamente

Several times I thought of going out, but my uncle would have been angry at my absence. At the end of an hour, my allotted task was done. How to pass the time? I began by lighting my pipe. Like all other students, I delighted in tobacco; and, seating myself in the great armchair, I began to think.

absence - assenza, mancanza, difetto, invito aperto, ferro libero

allotted - assegnare, concedere

armchair - poltrona

Where was my uncle? I could easily imagine him tearing along some solitary road, gesticulating, talking to himself, cutting the air with his cane, and still thinking of the absurd bit of hieroglyphics. Would he hit upon some clue? Would he come home in better humor?

solitary - solitario

gesticulating - gesticolare, segnare

cane - canna, canna di bambu, canna da zucchero, giunco, bastone

absurd - assurdo

hieroglyphics - geroglifico

hit upon - colpire su qualcosa, trovare

humor - umorismo

While these thoughts were passing through my brain, I mechanically took up the execrable puzzle and tried every imaginable way of grouping the letters. I put them together by twos, by threes, fours, and fives-in vain.

mechanically - meccanicamente, macchinalmente

execrable - esecrabile

puzzle - mistero, rompicapo, indovinello, rendere perplesso

imaginable - immaginabile

vain - vanitoso, vanesio, vano

Nothing intelligible came out, except that the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth made ice in English; the eighty-fourth, eighty-fifth, and eighty-sixth, the word sir; then at last I seemed to find the Latin words rota, mutabile, ira, nec, atra.

intelligible - intelligibile

Fourteenth - quattordicesimo ('before the noun'), ('in names of monarchs and popes') quattordicesimo g, quattordicesima g ('after the name') ('abbreviation' XIV), quattordicesimo

Fifteenth - quindicesimo, ('before the noun'), ('in names of monarchs and popes') quindicesimo ('after the name')

rota - (lista dei turni)

mutabile - ordine del giorno

nec - ordine del giorno

atra - ordine del giorno

"Ha! there seems to be some truth in my uncle's notion," thought I.

ha - Ja

Then again I seemed to find the word luco, which means sacred wood. Then in the third line I appeared to make out labiled, a perfect Hebrew word, and at the last the syllables mere, are, mer, which were French.

luco - ordine del giorno

sacred - sacro

syllables - sillaba

mere - semplice, solo

It was enough to drive one mad. Four different idioms in this absurd phrase. What connection could there be between ice, sir, anger, cruel, sacred wood, changing, mother, are, and sea? The first and the last might, in a sentence connected with Iceland, mean sea of ice. But what of the rest of this monstrous cryptograph?

anger - ira, rabbia, collera

monstrous - mostruoso, enorme, gigantesco

I was, in fact, fighting against an insurmountable difficulty; my brain was almost on fire; my eyes were strained with staring at the parchment; the whole absurd collection of letters appeared to dance before my vision in a number of black little groups. My mind was possessed with temporary hallucination-I was stifling. I wanted air.

insurmountable - insormontabile

strained - sforzare, sforzarsi, tirare

vision - vista, acutezza visiva, visione, allucinazione, miraggio

possessed - possiede

temporary - temporaneo

hallucination - allucinazione

stifling - soffocante

Mechanically I fanned myself with the document, of which now I saw the back and then the front.

Imagine my surprise when glancing at the back of the wearisome puzzle, the ink having gone through, I clearly made out Latin words, and among others craterem and terrestre.

glancing - radente, (glance), dare un'occhiata, sbirciare, occhieggiare

wearisome - stancante

craterem - ordine del giorno

terrestre - ordine del giorno

I had discovered the secret!

It came upon me like a flash of lightning. I had got the clue. All you had to do to understand the document was to read it backwards. All the ingenious ideas of the Professor were realized; he had dictated it rightly to me; by a mere accident I had discovered what he so much desired.

flash - lampo

lightning - fulmine, folgore, saetta, lampo

ingenious - ingegnoso

rightly - giustamente

desired - desiderare, volere, desiderio, voglia

My delight, my emotion may be imagined, my eyes were dazzled and I trembled so that at first I could make nothing of it. One look, however, would tell me all I wished to know.

dazzled - abbagliare, abbacinare, impressionare

trembled - tremare, tremolare, tremore

"Let me read," I said to myself, after drawing a long breath.

I spread it before me on the table, I passed my finger over each letter, I spelled it through; in my excitement I read it out.

What horror and stupefaction took possession of my soul. I was like a man who had received a knock-down blow. Was it possible that I really read the terrible secret, and it had really been accomplished! A man had dared to do-what?

stupefaction - stupefazione

soul - anima, spirito

knock-down - (knock-down) abbattere

accomplished - compiere, realizzare, completare, trascorrere, concretizzare

dared - osare

No living being should ever know.

"Never!" cried I, jumping up. "Never shall my uncle be made aware of the dread secret. He would be quite capable of undertaking the terrible journey. Nothing would check him, nothing stop him. Worse, he would compel me to accompany him, and we should be lost forever. But no; such folly and madness cannot be allowed."

jumping up - saltare su

dread - temere, timore

capable - capace

undertaking - garanzia, (undertake), intraprendere, impegnarsi, dedicarsi

compel - forzare, costringere, obbligare

accompany - accompagnare

folly - follia, stravaganza, unicum, eccentricita

madness - pazzia, follia, checkpazzia, insanita

I was almost beside myself with rage and fury.

beside - accanto, vicino

rage - rabbia, furia, furore, infuriare, imperversare

"My worthy uncle is already nearly mad," I cried aloud. "This would finish him. By some accident he may make the discovery; in which case, we are both lost. Perish the fearful secret-let the flames forever bury it in oblivion."

perish - perire

flames - fiamma, flame, fiammeggiare, infiammare

oblivion - oblio, dimenticanza, smemorataggine, smemoratezza

I snatched up book and parchment, and was about to cast them into the fire, when the door opened and my uncle entered.

snatched up - strappato, afferrato

cast - gettare, posare, lanciare, addizionare, sommare, calcolare

I had scarcely time to put down the wretched documents before my uncle was by my side. He was profoundly absorbed. His thoughts were evidently bent on the terrible parchment. Some new combination had probably struck him while taking his walk.

wretched - misero

profoundly - profondamente

evidently - evidentemente

He seated himself in his armchair, and with a pen began to make an algebraical calculation. I watched him with anxious eyes. My flesh crawled as it became probable that he would discover the secret.

algebraical - algebrico

calculation - conto

anxious - ansioso, preoccupante, bramoso, impaziente

flesh - carne

crawled - strisciare, trascinarsi

His combinations I knew now were useless, I having discovered the one only clue. For three mortal hours he continued without speaking a word, without raising his head, scratching, rewriting, calculating over and over again. I knew that in time he must hit upon the right phrase. The letters of every alphabet have only a certain number of combinations.

useless - inutile, buono a nulla, negato

mortal - mortale

scratching - grattarsi, (scratch), grattare, graffiare, raspare, obliterare

rewriting - riscrivere

calculating - calcolare

But then years might elapse before he would arrive at the correct solution.

elapse - trascorrere

Still time went on; night came, the sounds in the streets ceased-and still my uncle went on, not even answering our worthy cook when she called us to supper.

ceased - cessare, arrestare, smettere, interrompere

I did not dare to leave him, so waved her away, and at last fell asleep on the sofa.

dare - osare

sofa - divano, sofa

When I awoke my uncle was still at work. His red eyes, his pallid countenance, his matted hair, his feverish hands, his hectically flushed cheeks, showed how terrible had been his struggle with the impossible, and what fearful fatigue he had undergone during that long sleepless night. It made me quite ill to look at him.

awoke - svegliarsi

pallid - pallido

countenance - sembianza, apparenza, espressione

matted - opaco

feverish - febbricoso

hectically - in modo erotico

flushed - rossore

cheeks - guancia, gota, chiappa, faccia tosta, sfrontatezza, impudenza

Struggle - lotta, lottare

fatigue - stanchezza, affaticamento, corvé, usura

undergone - soffrire, sottoporsi

sleepless - insonnia

Though he was rather severe with me, I loved him, and my heart ached at his sufferings. He was so overcome by one idea that he could not even get in a passion! All his energies were focused on one point. And I knew that by speaking one little word all this suffering would cease. I could not speak it.

severe - rigido, duro, grave, severo

ached - dolore

sufferings - sofferenza

overcome - superare, sconfiggere

cease - cessare, arrestare, smettere, interrompere

My heart was, nevertheless, inclining towards him. Why, then, did I remain silent? In the interest of my uncle himself.

nevertheless - nondimeno, tuttavia, eppure, nonostante

inclining - inclinazione

"Nothing shall make me speak," I muttered. "He will want to follow in the footsteps of the other! I know him well. His imagination is a perfect volcano, and to make discoveries in the interests of geology he would sacrifice his life. I will therefore be silent and strictly keep the secret I have discovered. To reveal it would be suicidal.

Footsteps - impronta, pedata, orma, passo, gradino

imagination - immaginazione

volcano - vulcano

sacrifice - sacrificare, sacrificio

be silent - tacere

strictly - strettamente, severamente, rigidamente, prettamente

reveal - rivelare, gettare la maschera, uscire allo scoperto

suicidal - suicida

He would not only rush, himself, to destruction, but drag me with him."

rush - precipitarsi, portare d'urgenza

destruction - distruzione

drag - trascinare, tirare

I crossed my arms, looked another way and smoked-resolved never to speak.

resolved - decidere

When our cook wanted to go out to market, or on any other errand, she found the front door locked and the key taken away. Was this done purposely or not? Surely Professor Hardwigg did not intend the old woman and myself to become martyrs to his obstinate will. Were we to be starved to death? A frightful recollection came to my mind.

errand - commissione, ambasciata, incombenza, incarico

purposely - apposta

martyrs - martire

obstinate - ostinato, pertinace

frightful - spaventoso

recollection - ricordo

Once we had fed on bits and scraps for a week while he sorted some curiosities. It gave me the cramp even to think of it!

scraps - pezzetto

curiosities - curiosita

cramp - crampo, forma, calco, stampo, paralizzare, contrarre

I wanted my breakfast, and I saw no way of getting it. Still my resolution held good. I would starve rather than yield. But the cook began to take me seriously to task. What was to be done? She could not go out; and I dared not.

resolution - determinazione, risolutezza, promessa, definizione, risoluzione

starve - morire di fame

yield - cedere

My uncle continued counting and writing; his imagination seemed to have translated him to the skies. He neither thought of eating nor drinking. In this way twelve o'clock came round. I was hungry, and there was nothing in the house. The cook had eaten the last bit of bread. This could not go on. It did, however, until two, when my sensations were terrible.

sensations - sensazione, senso, impressione

After all, I began to think the document very absurd. Perhaps it might only be a gigantic hoax. Besides, some means would surely be found to keep my uncle back from attempting any such absurd expedition. On the other hand, if he did attempt anything so quixotic, I should not be compelled to accompany him. Another line of reasoning partially decided me.

gigantic - gigantesco, colossale

hoax - frodare, frode, inganno, bufala

besides - accanto, vicino

attempting - tentare, cercare, provare, attentare, tentativo

compelled - forzare, costringere, obbligare

partially - parzialmente

Very likely he would make the discovery himself when I should have suffered starvation for nothing. Under the influence of hunger this reasoning appeared admirable. I determined to tell all.

starvation - fame

hunger - fame

admirable - ammirevole

The question now arose as to how it was to be done. I was still dwelling on the thought, when he rose and put on his hat.

arose - sorgere, apparire, nascere

dwelling - abitazione, (dwell), abitare, checkdimorare

What! go out and lock us in? Never!

"Uncle," I began.

He did not appear even to hear me.

"Professor Hardwigg," I cried.

"What," he retorted, "did you speak?"

retorted - replicare, ribattere

"How about the key?"

"What key-the key of the door?"

"No-of these horrible hieroglyphics?"

He looked at me from under his spectacles, and started at the odd expression of my face. rushing forward, he clutched me by the arm and keenly examined my countenance. His very look was an interrogation.

rushing forward - correre verso

clutched - afferrare

interrogation - interrogazione

I simply nodded.

nodded - annuire, accennare, scuotere, addormentarsi, appisolarsi

With an incredulous shrug of the shoulders, he turned upon his heel. Undoubtedly he thought I had gone mad.

incredulous - incredulo

shrug - spalluccia, fare spallucce

heel - calcagno, tallone

Undoubtedly - indubbiamente, senza dubbio

"I have made a very important discovery."

His eyes flashed with excitement. His hand was lifted in a menacing attitude. For a moment neither of us spoke. It is hard to say which was most excited.

flashed - lampo

menacing - minaccia

"You don't mean to say that you have any idea of the meaning of the scrawl?"

scrawl - scarabocchiare, (scrivere in fretta)

"I do," was my desperate reply. "Look at the sentence as dictated by you."

desperate - disperato

"Well, but it means nothing," was the angry answer.

"Nothing if you read from left to right, but mark, if from right to left-"

"Backwards!" cried my uncle, in wild amazement. "Oh most cunning Saknussemm; and I to be such a blockhead!"

amazement - stupore

most cunning - piu astuto

blockhead - imbecille, idiota, testone

He snatched up the document, gazed at it with haggard eye, and read it out as I had done.

gazed - fissare, guardare, puntare gli occhi, volgere lo sguardo

haggard - stanco, smunto

It read as follows:

In Sneffels Yoculis craterem kem delibat

kem - ordine del giorno

delibat - ordine del giorno

umbra Scartaris Julii intra calendas descende,

umbra - ombra

calendas - ordine del giorno

descende - ordine del giorno

audas viator, et terrestre centrum attinges.

audas - ordine del giorno

et - e

attinges - ordine del giorno

Kod feci. Arne Saknussemm

feci - ordine del giorno

Which dog Latin being translated, reads as follows:

Descend into the crater of Yocul of Sneffels, which the shade of

descend - scendere

crater - cratere

shade - ombra, persiana, tonalita, gradazione, nuance, varieta

Scartaris caresses, before the kalends of July, audacious traveler,

caresses - si preoccupa

kalends - calendas

audacious - audace, azzardato, avventato

and you will reach the centre of the earth. I did it.


My uncle leaped three feet from the ground with joy. He looked radiant and handsome. He rushed about the room wild with delight and satisfaction. He knocked over tables and chairs. He threw his books about until at last, utterly exhausted, he fell into his armchair.

leaped - saltare

joy - Gioia

radiant - radiante

rushed - precipitarsi, portare d'urgenza

satisfaction - soddisfazione

knocked over - rovesciato, abbattuto

utterly - completamente

exhausted - esaurire

"What's o'clock?" he asked.

"About three."

"My dinner does not seem to have done me much good," he observed. "Let me have something to eat. We can then start at once. Get my portmanteau ready."

"What for?"

"And your own," he continued. "We start at once."

My horror may be conceived. I resolved however to show no fear. Scientific reasons were the only ones likely to influence my uncle. Now, there were many against this terrible journey. The very idea of going down to the centre of the earth was simply absurd. I determined therefore to argue the point after dinner.

conceived - concepire, sviluppare, ideare

My uncle's rage was now directed against the cook for having no dinner ready. My explanation however satisfied him, and having gotten the key, she soon contrived to get sufficient to satisfy our voracious appetites.

satisfied - soddisfare, accontentare, saziare

gotten - ottenuto

contrived - combinare, programmare, intrigare, complottare

sufficient - appropriato, sufficiente, idoneo, adeguato, congruo

voracious - vorace

appetites - appetito

During the repast my uncle was rather gay than otherwise. He made some of those peculiar jokes which belong exclusively to the learned. As soon, however, as dessert was over, he called me to his study. We each took a chair on opposite sides of the table.

repast - un pasto

gay - gay, omosessuale

otherwise - altrimenti, differentemente, in altre circostanze, tuttavia

peculiar - strano, peculiare, particolare

exclusively - esclusivamente, unicamente

dessert - dolce, dessert

"Henry," he said, in a soft and winning voice; "I have always believed you ingenious, and you have rendered me a service never to be forgotten. Without you, this great, this wondrous discovery would never have been made. It is my duty, therefore, to insist on your sharing the glory."

rendered - rendere

wondrous - meraviglioso

insist - insistere

glory - gloria

"He is in a good humor," thought I; "I'll soon let him know my opinion of glory."

"In the first place," he continued, "you must keep the whole affair a profound secret. There is no more envious race of men than scientific discoverers. Many would start on the same journey. At all events, we will be the first in the field."

affair - affare

more envious - piu invidioso

discoverers - scopritore, scopritrice

"I doubt your having many competitors," was my reply.

"A man of real scientific acquirements would be delighted at the chance. We should find a perfect stream of pilgrims on the traces of Arne Saknussemm, if this document were once made public."

acquirements - acquisizione

stream - corrente, ruscello, rivo, flusso, semestre

pilgrims - pellegrino

traces - traccia

"But, my dear sir, is not this paper very likely to be a hoax?" I urged.

urged - pulsione, incoraggiare, fare pressione, invitare, esortare

"The book in which we find it is sufficient proof of its authenticity," he replied.

authenticity - autenticita

"I thoroughly allow that the celebrated Professor wrote the lines, but only, I believe, as a kind of mystification," was my answer.

thoroughly - completamente, totalmente, assolutamente

mystification - mistificazione

Scarcely were the words out of my mouth, when I was sorry I had uttered them. My uncle looked at me with a dark and gloomy scowl, and I began to be alarmed for the results of our conversation. His mood soon changed, however, and a smile took the place of a frown.

uttered - completo, totale

gloomy - tetro, uggioso, cupo, lugubre

scowl - aggrottare le ciglia

be alarmed - essere allarmato

frown - accigliarsi, aggrottare le ciglia/sopracciglia

"We shall see," he remarked, with decisive emphasis.

remarked - osservazione, commento

decisive - decisivo, determinante, sostanziale, deciso

emphasis - enfasi, risalto

"But see, what is all this about Yocul, and Sneffels, and this Scartaris? I have never heard anything about them."

"The very point to which I am coming. I lately received from my friend Augustus Peterman, of Leipzig, a map. Take down the third atlas from the second shelf, series Z, plate 4."

lately - Ultimamente

Augustus - Augusto

Leipzig - Lipsia

atlas - atlante

I rose, went to the shelf, and presently returned with the volume indicated.

"This," said my uncle, "is one of the best maps of Iceland. I believe it will settle all your doubts, difficulties and objections."

settle - sistemarsi, mettersi

objections - obiezione

With a grim hope to the contrary, I stooped over the map.

grim - macabro

stooped - chinarsi, abbassarsi


"You see, the whole island is composed of volcanoes," said the Professor, "and remark carefully that they all bear the name of Yocul. The word is Icelandic, and means a glacier. In most of the lofty mountains of that region the volcanic eruptions come forth from icebound caverns. Hence the name applied to every volcano on this extraordinary island."

composed - comporre

volcanoes - vulcano

glacier - ghiacciaio

lofty - maestoso, alto, nobile

volcanic - vulcanico

eruptions - eruzione

icebound - legato al ghiaccio

caverns - caverna

hence - da qui, percio, dunque, quindi, da cio

"But what does this word Sneffels mean?"

To this question I expected no rational answer. I was mistaken.

rational - razionale

"Follow my finger to the western coast of Iceland, there you see Reykjavik, its capital. Follow the direction of one of its innumerable fjords or arms of the sea, and what do you see below the sixty-fifth degree of latitude?"

innumerable - innumerevole

fjords - fiordo

Latitude - latitudine, latitudine di posa

"A peninsula-very like a thighbone in shape."

Peninsula - penisola

thighbone - femore

"And in the centre of it-?"

"A mountain."

"Well, that's Sneffels."

I had nothing to say.

"That is Sneffels-a mountain about five thousand feet in height, one of the most remarkable in the whole island, and certainly doomed to be the most celebrated in the world, for through its crater we shall reach the centre of the earth."

remarkable - notevole, degno di nota, rimarchevole, ragguardevole

doomed - sentenza, giudizio, decisione, penalita

"Impossible!" cried I, startled and shocked at the thought.

shocked - shock, choc

"Why impossible?" said Professor Hardwigg in his severest tones.

severest - rigido, duro, grave, severo

tones - tono

"Because its crater is choked with lava, by burning rocks-by infinite dangers."

choked - soffocare

lava - lava

infinite - infinito

"But if it be extinct?"

extinct - estinto

"That would make a difference."

"Of course it would. There are about three hundred volcanoes on the whole surface of the globe-but the greater number are extinct. Of these Sneffels is one. No eruption has occurred since 1219-in fact it has ceased to be a volcano at all."

eruption - eruzione

After this what more could I say? Yes,-I thought of another objection.

objection - obiezione

"But what is all this about Scartaris and the kalends of July-?"

My uncle reflected deeply. Presently he gave forth the result of his reflections in a sententious tone. "What appears obscure to you, to me is light. This very phrase shows how particular Saknussemm is in his directions. The Sneffels mountain has many craters. He is careful therefore to point the exact one which is the highway into the Interior of the Earth.

deeply - in profondita, estremamente, profondamente, intensamente

reflections - riflessione, riflesso, riverbero

sententious - conciso, succinto, laconico

obscure - oscuro, nascosto, oscurato, confuso, poco chiaro, vago

craters - cratere

highway - strada maestra, via maestra, autostrada

interior - interiore, interno

He lets us know, for this purpose, that about the end of the month of June, the shadow of Mount Scartaris falls upon the one crater. There can be no doubt about the matter."

shadow - ombra, pedinare

mount - montare, salire

My uncle had an answer for everything.

"I accept all your explanations" I said, "and Saknussemm is right. He found out the entrance to the bowels of the earth, he has indicated correctly, but that he or anyone else ever followed up the discovery is madness to suppose."

bowels - intestino crasso, budella, viscere, intestino, interiora

"Why so, young man?"

"All scientific teaching, theoretical and practical, shows it to be impossible."

theoretical - teorico

"I care nothing for theories," retorted my uncle.

"But is it not well-known that heat increases one degree for every seventy feet you descend into the earth? Which gives a fine idea of the central heat. All the matters which compose the globe are in a state of incandescence; even gold, platinum, and the hardest rocks are in a state of fusion. What would become of us?"

compose - comporre

incandescence - incandescenza

platinum - platino

fusion - fusione

"Don't be alarmed at the heat, my boy."

"How so?"

"Neither you nor anybody else know anything about the real state of the earth's interior. All modern experiments tend to explode the older theories. Were any such heat to exist, the upper crust of the earth would be shattered to atoms, and the world would be at an end."

crust - crosta

shattered - fracassare, spaccare, sconquassare, frantumare

atoms - atomo

A long, learned and not uninteresting discussion followed, which ended in this wise:

uninteresting - disinteresse

wise - saggio

"I do not believe in the dangers and difficulties which you, Henry, seem to multiply; and the only way to learn, is like Arne Saknussemm, to go and see."

multiply - moltiplicare

"Well," cried I, overcome at last, "let us go and see. Though how we can do that in the dark is another mystery."

"Fear nothing. We shall overcome these, and many other difficulties. Besides, as we approach the centre, I expect to find it luminous-"

approach - avvicinarsi

luminous - luminoso

"Nothing is impossible."

"And now that we have come to a thorough understanding, not a word to any living soul. Our success depends on secrecy and dispatch."

thorough - minuzioso, accurato, dettagliato, totale, completo

secrecy - segretezza, riserbo

dispatch - spedire

Thus ended our memorable conference, which roused a perfect fever in me. Leaving my uncle, I went forth like one possessed. Reaching the banks of the Elbe, I began to think. Was all I had heard really and truly possible? Was my uncle in his sober senses, and could the interior of the earth be reached? Was I the victim of a madman, or was he a discoverer of rare courage and grandeur of conception?

thus - cosi

memorable - memorabile

roused - svegliare

fever - febbre

possessed - possedere, avere

Elbe - Elba

sober - sobrio

madman - matto, pazzo

Discoverer - scopritore, scopritrice

courage - coraggio

grandeur - grandiosita

conception - concezione, concepimento, concetto

To a certain extent I was anxious to be off. I was afraid my enthusiasm would cool. I determined to pack up at once. At the end of an hour, however, on my way home, I found that my feelings had very much changed.

enthusiasm - entusiasmo, foga

feelings - sentimenti

"I'm all abroad," I cried; "'tis a nightmare-I must have dreamed it."

nightmare - incubo, brutto sogno

At this moment I came face to face with Gretchen, whom I warmly embraced.

warmly - con calore

embraced - abbracciare, aderire, inglobare, abbraccio

"So you have come to meet me," she said; "how good of you. But what is the matter?"

Well, it was no use mincing the matter, I told her all. She listened with awe, and for some minutes she could not speak.

mincing - tritare, (mince), macinato, macinare, moderare

awe - timore

"Well?" I at last said, rather anxiously.

anxiously - ansiosamente

"What a magnificent journey. If I were only a man! A journey worthy of the nephew of Professor Hardwigg. I should look upon it as an honor to accompany him."

honor - onore, onorare, tenere fede a

"My dear Gretchen, I thought you would be the first to cry out against this mad enterprise."

enterprise - impresa, iniziativa

"No; on the contrary, I glory in it. It is magnificent, splendid-an idea worthy of my father. Henry Lawson, I envy you."

splendid - splendido

envy - invidia, invidiare

This was, as it were, conclusive. The final blow of all.

conclusive - conclusivo, decisivo

When we entered the house we found my uncle surrounded by workmen and porters, who were packing up. He was pulling and hauling at a bell.

surrounded - circondare, accerchiare, assediare

workmen - operaio

porters - facchino

packing up - fare i bagagli

hauling - tirare

"Where have you been wasting your time? Your portmanteau is not packed-my papers are not in order-the precious tailor has not brought my clothes, nor my gaiters-the key of my carpet bag is gone!"

tailor - sarto, sarta, calibrare

gaiters - ghetta

I looked at him stupefied. And still he tugged away at the bell.

stupefied - stupefare, abbrutire, sbalordire, confondere

tugged - trascinare, tirare, rimorchiare, strattone

"We are really off, then?" I said.

"Yes-of course, and yet you go out for a stroll, unfortunate boy!"

stroll - passeggiata, camminata, passeggiare, andare a spasso, girovagare

unfortunate - sfortunato, iellato, sfigato, scalognato

"And when do we go?"

"The day after tomorrow, at daybreak."

daybreak - alba

I heard no more; but darted off to my little bedchamber and locked myself in. There was no doubt about it now. My uncle had been hard at work all the afternoon. The garden was full of ropes, rope ladders, torches, gourds, iron clamps, crowbars, alpenstocks, and pickaxes-enough to load ten men.

bedchamber - camera da letto

ladders - scala, smagliatura

torches - fiaccola, torcia, incendiare

gourds - zucca

clamps - grappa, morsa

crowbars - piede di porco, palanchino, levachiodi, cavachiodi

pickaxes - piccone

load - carico

I passed a terrible night. I was called early the next day to learn that the resolution of my uncle was unchanged and irrevocable. I also found my cousin and affianced wife as warm on the subject as was her father.

unchanged - immutato

irrevocable - irrevocabile

Next day, at five o'clock in the morning, the post chaise was at the door. Gretchen and the old cook received the keys of the house; and, scarcely pausing to wish anyone good-by, we started on our adventurous journey into the centre of the earth.

pausing - pausa, (pause), mettere in pausa

good-by - (good-by) buono da

adventurous - avventuroso


At Altona, a suburb of Hamburg, is the Chief Station of the Kiel railway, which was to take us to the shores of the Belt. In twenty minutes from the moment of our departure we were in Holstein, and our carriage entered the station. Our heavy luggage was taken out, weighed, labeled, and placed in a huge van.

suburb - sobborgo

chief - capo, direzione

shores - spiaggia

carriage - carrozza, portamento, postura, carrello

luggage - bagagli

We then took our tickets, and exactly at seven o'clock were seated opposite each other in a firstclass railway carriage.

firstclass - prima classe

railway carriage - carrozza ferroviaria

My uncle said nothing. He was too busy examining his papers, among which of course was the famous parchment, and some letters of introduction from the Danish consul which were to pave the way to an introduction to the Governor of Iceland. My only amusement was looking out of the window. But as we passed through a flat though fertile country, this occupation was slightly monotonous.

Danish - danese

consul - console

pave - lastricare, pavimentare

governor - governatore, governatrice

amusement - divertimento, intrattenimento, festeggiamento

fertile - fertile

occupation - occupazione

monotonous - monocorde, monotono

In three hours we reached Kiel, and our baggage was at once transferred to the steamer.

baggage - bagaglio

transferred - trasferire, decalcare, ricalcare, trasferirsi, passare

steamer - vapore

We had now a day before us, a delay of about ten hours. Which fact put my uncle in a towering passion. We had nothing to do but to walk about the pretty town and bay. At length, however, we went on board, and at half past ten were steaming down the Great Belt.

delay - ritardare

bay - baia

steaming - cottura a vapore, (steam), vapore

It was a dark night, with a strong breeze and a rough sea, nothing being visible but the occasional fires on shore, with here and there a lighthouse. At seven in the morning we left Korsor, a little town on the western side of Seeland.

breeze - brezza

rough sea - mare mosso

visible - visibile

occasional - occasionale

on shore - sulla riva

lighthouse - faro

Here we took another railway, which in three hours brought us to the capital, Copenhagen, where, scarcely taking time for refreshment, my uncle hurried out to present one of his letters of introduction. It was to the director of the Museum of Antiquities, who, having been informed that we were tourists bound for Iceland, did all he could to assist us. One wretched hope sustained me now.

Copenhagen - Copenaghen

refreshment - rinfrescarsi

Antiquities - antichita

informed - informare

sustained - sostenere

Perhaps no vessel was bound for such distant parts.

vessel - vascello, imbarcazione, bastimento, nave

distant - distante, remoto

Alas! a little Danish schooner, the Valkyrie, was to sail on the second of June for Reykjavik. The captain, M. Bjarne, was on board, and was rather surprised at the energy and cordiality with which his future passenger shook him by the hand. To him a voyage to Iceland was merely a matter of course. My uncle, on the other hand, considered the event of sublime importance.

schooner - schooner, goletta, scuna

Valkyrie - valchiria, walkiria, walchiria

cordiality - cordialita

merely - soltanto, solamente, meramente, semplicemente

The honest sailor took advantage of the Professor's enthusiasm to double the fare.

fare - biglietto

"On Tuesday morning at seven o'clock be on board," said M. Bjarne, handing us our receipts.

"Excellent! Capital! Glorious!" remarked my uncle as we sat down to a late breakfast; "refresh yourself, my boy, and we will take a run through the town."

glorious - glorioso

refresh - rinfrescare

Our meal concluded, we went to the Kongens-Nye-Torw; to the king's magnificent palace; to the beautiful bridge over the canal near the Museum; to the immense cenotaph of Thorwaldsen with its hideous naval groups; to the castle of Rosenberg; and to all the other lions of the place-none of which my uncle even saw, so absorbed was he in his anticipated triumphs.

immense - immenso

cenotaph - cenotafio

hideous - orribile, orrendo, talian: t-needed

naval - navale, nautico

anticipated - anticipare, prevedere

triumphs - trionfo

But one thing struck his fancy, and that was a certain singular steeple situated on the Island of Amak, which is the southeast quarter of the city of Copenhagen. My uncle at once ordered me to turn my steps that way, and accordingly we went on board the steam ferry boat which does duty on the canal, and very soon reached the noted dockyard quay.

singular - singolare

steeple - campanile

situated - situare

southeast - sudest

accordingly - conseguentemente, di conseguenza, in conformita a

steam - vapore

ferry boat - traghetto

Dockyard - Cantiere

quay - banchina

In the first instance we crossed some narrow streets, where we met numerous groups of galley slaves, with particolored trousers, grey and yellow, working under the orders and the sticks of severe taskmasters, and finally reached the Vor-Frelser's-Kirk.

numerous - numeroso

galley - galera, galea, cambusa

slaves - schiavo, schiava, sgobbare

particolored - particolare

taskmasters - controllore

This church exhibited nothing remarkable in itself; in fact, the worthy Professor had only been attracted to it by one circumstance, which was, that its rather elevated steeple started from a circular platform, after which there was an exterior staircase, which wound round to the very summit.

exhibited - mostrare, dimostrare, esposizione

circumstance - circostanza, dettaglio, caso, circonlocuzione, situazione

elevated - elevato, (elevate), elevare, aumentare

circular - circolare

exterior - talian: t-needed

staircase - scalinata, tromba delle scale

wound - ferita

summit - sommita, apice

"Let us ascend," said my uncle.

ascend - salire, riuscire

"But I never could climb church towers," I cried, "I am subject to dizziness in my head."

dizziness - stordimento, stornimento

"The very reason why you should go up. I want to cure you of a bad habit."

cure - curare, guarire

bad habit - una cattiva abitudine

"But, my good sir-"

"I tell you to come. What is the use of wasting so much valuable time?"

It was impossible to dispute the dictatorial commands of my uncle. I yielded with a groan. On payment of a fee, a verger gave us the key. He, for one, was not partial to the ascent. My uncle at once showed me the way, running up the steps like a schoolboy. I followed as well as I could, though no sooner was I outside the tower, than my head began to swim. There was nothing of the eagle about me.

dispute - disputa, lite, bega

dictatorial - dittatoriale

commands - comando, ordine, padronanza, maestria, perizia, ordinare

yielded - cedere

groan - gemito, gemere

fee - tassa, tariffa, quota, onorario

partial - parziale

ascent - salita, ascesa

schoolboy - alunno, scolaro

eagle - aquila, moneta di dieci dollaro

The earth was enough for me, and no ambitious desire to soar ever entered my mind. Still things did not go badly until I had ascended 150 steps, and was near the platform, when I began to feel the rush of cold air. I could scarcely stand, when clutching the railings, I looked upwards.

desire - desiderare, volere, desiderio, voglia

soar - volare (in alto), aumentare

ascended - salire, riuscire

clutching - afferrare

railings - ringhiere

upwards - verso l'alto

The railing was frail enough, but nothing to those which skirted the terrible winding staircase, that appeared, from where I stood, to ascend to the skies.

railing - ringhiera

frail - fragile, debole

winding - avvolgimento

"now then, Henry."

now then - allora

"I can't do it!" I cried, in accents of despair.

I can't do it - Non posso farlo

accents - accento

despair - disperazione

"Are you, after all, a coward, sir?" said my uncle in a pitiless tone. "Go up, I say!"

coward - codardo, pusillanime, vigliacco, vile

To this there was no reply possible. And yet the keen air acted violently on my nervous system; sky, earth, all seemed to swim round, while the steeple rocked like a ship. My legs gave way like those of a drunken man. I crawled upon my hands and knees; I hauled myself up slowly, crawling like a snake. Presently I closed my eyes, and allowed myself to be dragged upwards.

violently - violentemente

drunken - ubriaco

hauled - tirare

crawling - gattonare

dragged - trascinare, tirare

"Look around you," said my uncle in a stern voice, "heaven knows what profound abysses you may have to look down. This is excellent practice."

stern - severo

Heaven - cielo, paradiso

abysses - abisso

Slowly, and shivering all the while with cold, I opened my eyes. What then did I see? My first glance was upwards at the cold fleecy clouds, which as by some optical delusion appeared to stand still, while the steeple, the weathercock, and our two selves were carried swiftly along. Far away on one side could be seen the grassy plain, while on the other lay the sea bathed in translucent light.

shivering - rabbrividire

glance - dare un'occhiata, sbirciare, occhieggiare, radere, rasentare

fleecy - vellutato

optical - ottico

delusion - illusione

weathercock - galletto segnavento, banderuola

selves - stesso

Swiftly - Rapidamente

grassy - erboso, erbale

plain - semplice

translucent - traslucido

The Sund, or Sound as we call it, could be discovered beyond the point of Elsinore, crowded with white sails, which, at that distance looked like the wings of seagulls; while to the east could be made out the far-off coast of Sweden. The whole appeared a magic panorama.

beyond - oltre, (al) di la di, dall'altra parte di, piu di, dopo

seagulls - gabbiano

Sweden - Svezia

But faint and bewildered as I was, there was no remedy for it. Rise and stand up I must. Despite my protestations my first lesson lasted quite an hour. When, nearly two hours later, I reached the bosom of mother earth, I was like a rheumatic old man bent double with pain.

faint - debole

remedy for - rimedio per

protestations - protesta

bosom - seno, intimita, intimo

rheumatic - reumatico

"Enough for one day," said my uncle, rubbing his hands, "we will begin again tomorrow."

rubbing - strofinare, (rub), strofinamento, fregare

There was no remedy. My lessons lasted five days, and at the end of that period, I ascended blithely enough, and found myself able to look down into the depths below without even winking, and with some degree of pleasure.

remedy - rimedio, azione giudiziaria, medicamento, rimediare

blithely - spensieratamente, allegramente

depths - profondita

winking - ammiccare


The hour of departure came at last. The night before, the worthy Mr. Thompson brought us the most cordial letters of introduction for Baron Trampe, Governor of Iceland, for M. Pictursson, coadjutor to the bishop, and for M. Finsen, mayor of the town of Reykjavik. In return, my uncle nearly crushed his hands, so warmly did he shake them.

most cordial - piu cordiale

Baron - barone

coadjutor - coadiutore

bishop - vescovo

mayor - sindaco, sindaca, primo cittadino, prima cittadina

crushed - ressa, calca, cotta, schiacciare, pigiare, frantumare

On the second of the month, at two in the morning, our precious cargo of luggage was taken on board the good ship Valkyrie. We followed, and were very politely introduced by the captain to a small cabin with two standing bed places, neither very well ventilated nor very comfortable. But in the cause of science men are expected to suffer.

cargo - carico

politely - educatamente

cabin - capanna, rustico, cabina

ventilated - ventilare

"Well, and have we a fair wind?" cried my uncle, in his most mellifluous accents.

wind - vento

mellifluous - mellifluo

"An excellent wind!" replied Captain Bjarne; "we shall leave the Sound, going free with all sails set."

A few minutes afterwards, the schooner started before the wind, under all the canvas she could carry, and entered the channel. An hour later, the capital of Denmark seemed to sink into the waves, and we were at no great distance from the coast of Elsinore. My uncle was delighted; for myself, moody and dissatisfied, I appeared almost to expect a glimpse of the ghost of Hamlet.

afterwards - dopo

canvas - tela

Denmark - Danimarca

moody - umorale

dissatisfied - scontentare

Glimpse - occhiata, scorcio, intravedere

hamlet - casale, localita, villaggio, frazione

"Sublime madman," thought I, "you doubtless would approve our proceedings. You might perhaps even follow us to the centre of the earth, there to resolve your eternal doubts."

doubtless - senza dubbio

approve - approvare

proceedings - procedimento

resolve - decidere

eternal - eterno

But no ghost or anything else appeared upon the ancient walls. The fact is, the castle is much later than the time of the heroic prince of Denmark. It is now the residence of the keeper of the Strait of the Sound, and through that Sound more than fifteen thousand vessels of all nations pass every year.

heroic - eroico

residence - residenza

keeper - portiere

Strait - stretto, stretta

vessels - vascello, imbarcazione, bastimento, nave

The castle of Kronborg soon disappeared in the murky atmosphere, as well as the tower of Helsinborg, which raises its head on the Swedish Bank. And here the schooner began to feel in earnest the breezes of the Kattegat. The Valkyrie was swift enough, but with all sailing boats there is the same uncertainty. Her cargo was coal, furniture, pottery, woolen clothing, and a load of corn.

murky - torbido

Swedish - svedese

breezes - brezza

swift - rapido, veloce, pronto, agile

uncertainty - incertezza

pottery - terraglia, ceramica, vasellame, stoviglia

woolen - di lana, in lana

corn - grano

As usual, the crew was small, five Danes doing the whole of the work.

crew - equipaggio

Danes - danese

"How long will the voyage last?" asked my uncle.

"Well, I should think about ten days," replied the skipper, "unless, indeed, we meet with some northeast gales among the Faroe islands."

skipper - skipper, capitano

northeast - nordest

gales - burrasca

Faroe islands - Isole Faroe

"At all events, there will be no very considerable delay," cried the impatient Professor.

impatient - impaziente

"No, Mr. Hardwigg," said the captain, "no fear of that. At all events, we shall get there some day."

towards evening the schooner doubled Cape Skagen, the northernmost part of Denmark, crossed the Skagerrak during the night-skirted the extreme point of Norway through the gut of Cape Lindesnes, and then reached the Northern Seas.

towards evening - verso sera

Cape - cappa

northernmost - piu a nord

Norway - Norvegia

Gut - pancia, sviscerare, sbudellare, sventrare, stravolgere

Two days later we were not far from the coast of Scotland, somewhere near what Danish sailors call Peterhead, and then the Valkyrie stretched out direct for the Faroe Islands, between Orkney and Shetland. Our vessel now felt the full force of the ocean waves, and the wind shifting, we with great difficulty made the Faroe Isles.

Scotland - Scozia

stretched - tendere

Orkney - Orcadi

Isles - isola

On the eighth day, the captain made out Myganness, the westernmost of the isles, and from that moment headed direct for Portland, a cape on the southern shores of the singular island for which we were bound.

Eighth - ottavo, ('in names of monarchs and popes') ottavo g, ottava g ('after the name') ('abbreviation' VIII)

westernmost - piu a ovest

The voyage offered no incident worthy of record. I bore it very well, but my uncle to his great annoyance, and even shame, was remarkably seasick! This mal de mer troubled him the more that it prevented him from questioning Captain Bjarne as to the subject of Sneffels, as to the means of communication, and the facilities of transport.

offered - offrire

incident - imprevisto, inconveniente, incidente

annoyance - seccatura, scocciatura, fastidio, disappunto, irritazione

shame - vergogna

remarkably - in modo straordinario

seasick - mal di mare

facilities - facilita, talian:

All these explanations he had to adjourn to the period of his arrival. His time, meanwhile, was spent lying in bed groaning, and dwelling anxiously on the hoped-for termination of the voyage. I didn't pity him.

adjourn - aggiornare

groaning - gemiti, (groan), gemito, gemere

termination - terminazione

pity - pieta, peccato, compatire

On the eleventh day we sighted Cape Portland, over which towered Mount Myrdals Yokul, which, the weather being clear, we made out very readily. The cape itself is nothing but a huge mount of granite standing naked and alone to meet the Atlantic waves. The Valkyrie kept off the coast, steering to the westward. On all sides were to be seen whole "schools" of whales and sharks.

eleventh - undicesimo ('before the noun'), ('in names of monarchs and popes') undicesimo g, undicesima g ('after the name') ('abbreviation' XI), undicesimo

readily - prontamente

granite - granito

naked - nudo

steering - sterzo

westward - verso ovest

Whales - Balene

sharks - squalo

After some hours we came in sight of a solitary rock in the ocean, forming a mighty vault, through which the foaming waves poured with intense fury. The islets of Westman appeared to leap from the ocean, being so low in the water as scarcely to be seen until you were right upon them.

mighty - potente, possente

vault - volta

foaming - schiumare, (foam), schiuma, gomma piuma

intense - intenso

islets - isolotto, isoletta

From that moment the schooner was steered to the westward in order to round Cape Reykjanes, the western point of Iceland.

steered - giovenco, manzo

My uncle, to his great disgust, was unable even to crawl on deck, so heavy a sea was on, and thus lost the first view of the Land of Promise.

disgust - disgustare, ripugnare, nauseare, stomacare

crawl - strisciare, trascinarsi

deck - ponte (di una nave), insieme (matematico), mazzo (di carte)

Forty-eight hours later, after a storm which drove us far to sea under bare poles, we came once more in sight of land, and were boarded by a pilot, who, after three hours of dangerous navigation, brought the schooner safely to an anchor in the bay of Faxa before Reykjavik.

bare - nudo

poles - polo

navigation - nautica, navigazione

safely - sicuramente, senza problemi, in sicurezza, senza rischi

anchor - ancora

My uncle came out of his cabin pale, haggard, thin, but full of enthusiasm, his eyes dilated with pleasure and satisfaction. Nearly the whole population of the town was on foot to see us land. The fact was, that scarcely any one of them but expected some goods by the periodical vessel.

dilated - dilatare, dilatarsi

periodical - periodico, pubblicazione

Professor Hardwigg was in haste to leave his prison, or rather as he called it, his hospital; but before he attempted to do so, he caught hold of my hand, led me to the quarterdeck of the schooner, took my arm with his left hand, and pointed inland with his right, over the northern part of the bay, to where rose a high two-peaked mountain-a double cone covered with eternal snow.

haste - fretta

attempted - tentare, cercare, provare, attentare, tentativo

quarterdeck - cassero

inland - entroterra

peaked - picco

cone - cono, pigna, strobilo

"Behold he whispered in an awe-stricken voice, behold-Mount Sneffels!"

behold - guardare, ecco

whispered - sussurro, sussurrare

stricken - colpito, (strike), cancellare, colpire, coniare, scioperare, sembrare, arrendersi, sciopero

Then without further remark, he put his finger to his lips, frowned darkly, and descended into the small boat which awaited us. I followed, and in a few minutes we stood upon the soil of mysterious Iceland!

frowned - accigliarsi, aggrottare le ciglia/sopracciglia

darkly - oscuramente

descended - scendere

awaited - aspettare, attendere, servire

Scarcely were we fairly on shore when there appeared before us a man of excellent appearance, wearing the costume of a military officer. He was, however, but a civil servant, a magistrate, the governor of the island-Baron Trampe. The Professor knew whom he had to deal with.

shore - spiaggia

military officer - ufficiale militare

civil servant - funzionario pubblico

magistrate - magistrato

He therefore handed him the letters from Copenhagen, and a brief conversation in Danish followed, to which I of course was a stranger, and for a very good reason, for I did not know the language in which they conversed. I afterwards heard, however, that Baron Trampe placed himself entirely at the beck and call of Professor Hardwigg.

brief - breve

conversed - conversare

entirely - completamente

beck - agli ordini di qualcuno

My uncle was most graciously received by M. Finsen, the mayor, who as far as costume went, was quite as military as the governor, but also from character and occupation quite as pacific. As for his coadjutor, M. Pictursson, he was absent on an episcopal visit to the northern portion of the diocese. We were therefore compelled to defer the pleasure of being presented to him.

graciously - gentilmente

military - militare, esercito

Pacific - pacifico

absent - assente

episcopal - episcopale, vescovile

portion - porzione

diocese - diocesi

defer - rimandare

His absence was, however, more than compensated by the presence of M. Fridriksson, professor of natural science in the college of Reykjavik, a man of invaluable ability. This modest scholar spoke no languages save Icelandic and Latin. When, therefore, he addressed himself to me in the language of Horace, we at once came to understand one another.

compensated - compensare, bilanciare

invaluable - prezioso, senza prezzo, impareggiabile, enorme

modest - modesto, irrisorio, esiguo

scholar - studioso, erudito, dotto, accademico

He was, in fact, the only person that I did thoroughly understand during the whole period of my residence in this benighted island.

benighted - beneight

Out of three rooms of which his house was composed, two were placed at our service, and in a few hours we were installed with all our baggage, the amount of which rather astonished the simple inhabitants of Reykjavik.

installed - installare

astonished - sorprendere, stupire

"Now, Harry," said my uncle, rubbing his hands, "an goes well, the worse difficulty is now over."

"How the worse difficulty over?" I cried in fresh amazement.

"Doubtless. Here we are in Iceland. Nothing more remains but to descend into the bowels of the earth."

"Well, sir, to a certain extent you are right. We have only to go down-but, as far as I am concerned, that is not the question. I want to know how we are to get up again."

concerned - interesse, preoccupazione, impresa, interessare

"That is the least part of the business, and does not in any way trouble me. In the meantime, there is not an hour to lose. I am about to visit the public library. Very likely I may find there some manuscripts from the hand of Saknussemm. I shall be glad to consult them."

meantime - frattempo, attesa

manuscripts - manoscritto

consult - consultarsi, consultare

"In the meanwhile," I replied, "I will take a walk through the town. Will you not likewise do so?"

likewise - ugualmente, similarmente, altrettanto, idem

"I feel no interest in the subject," said my uncle. "What for me is curious in this island, is not what is above the surface, but what is below."

Curious - curioso

I bowed by way of reply, put on my hat and furred cloak, and went out.

cloak - tabarro, ammantare

It was not an easy matter to lose oneself in the two streets of Reykjavik; I had therefore no need to ask my way. The town lies on a flat and marshy plain, between two hills. A vast field of lava skirts it on one side, falling away in terraces towards the sea.

oneself - se stessi

marshy - paludoso

Terraces - terrazza, altana

On the other hand is the large bay of Faxa, bordered on the north by the enormous glacier of Sneffels, and in which bay the Valkyrie was then the only vessel at anchor. Generally there were one or two English or French gunboats, to watch and protect the fisheries in the offing. They were now, however, absent on duty.

gunboats - cannoniera

fisheries - pesca

The longest of the streets of Reykjavik runs parallel to the shore. In this street the merchants and traders live in wooden huts made with beams of wood, painted red-mere log huts, such as you find in the wilds of America. The other street, situated more to the west, runs toward a little lake between the residences of the bishop and the other personages not engaged in commerce.

parallel - parallelo, parallelamente, omologo

merchants - mercante, mercantessa, commerciante, negoziante

traders - commerciante

huts - capanna

beams - trave, asse, architrave, traversa, braccio, corno principale

log - ceppo, ciocco

toward - verso, incontro, per, presso

residences - residenza

personages - personaggio

commerce - commercio

I had soon seen all I wanted of these weary and dismal thoroughfares. Here and there was a strip of discolored turf, like an old worn-out bit of woolen carpet; and now and then a bit of kitchen garden, in which grew potatoes, cabbage, and lettuce, almost diminutive enough to suggest the idea of Lilliput.

weary - annoiato, tediato, spossato, stanco, annoiare, annoiarsi

dismal - lugubre, triste

thoroughfares - talian: t-needed

strip - togliere

discolored - scolorare, scolorire

turf - erba, zolla, zolla d'erba, torba, piotare, zollare

kitchen garden - orto

cabbage - cavolo cappuccio

lettuce - lattuga, checkinsalata

diminutive - minuscolo, diminutivo

In the centre of the new commercial street, I found the public cemetery, enclosed by an earthen wall. Though not very large, it appeared not likely to be filled for centuries. From hence I went to the house of the Governor-a mere hut in comparison with the Mansion House of Hamburg-but a palace alongside the other Icelandic houses.

cemetery - cimitero

enclosed - cintare

earthen - terra

hut - capanna

mansion - reggia, dimora, palazzo, villa

alongside - accanto, a fianco, congiuntamente

Between the little lake and the town was the church, built in simple Protestant style, and composed of calcined stones, thrown up by volcanic action. I have not the slightest doubt that in high winds its red tiles were blown out, to the great annoyance of the pastor and congregation. Upon an eminence close at hand was the national school, in which were taught Hebrew, English, French, and Danish.

Protestant - protestante

calcined - calcinare

slightest - insignificante, leggero, debole, lieve, disprezzare, sminuire

winds - vento

tiles - tegola

pastor - pastore

congregation - assemblea, congregazione, raduno

eminence - eminenza

In three hours my tour was complete. The general impression upon my mind was sadness. No trees, no vegetation, so to speak-on all sides volcanic peaks-the huts of turf and earth-more like roofs than houses. Thanks to the heat of these residences, grass grows on the roof, which grass is carefully cut for hay.

sadness - tristezza

vegetation - vegetazione

peaks - picco

Hay - fieno

I saw but few inhabitants during my excursion, but I met a crowd on the beach, drying, salting and loading codfish, the principal article of exportation.

excursion - gita, escursione

loading - caricamento

codfish - baccala

principal - principale, capitale, preside, talian: t-needed

article of exportation - articolo di esportazione

The men appeared robust but heavy; fair-haired like Germans, but of pensive mien-exiles of a higher scale in the ladder of humanity than the Eskimos, but, I thought, much more unhappy, since with superior perceptions they are compelled to live within the limits of the polar circle.

robust - robusto

haired - capelli

Germans - tedesco, tedesca, germano, germana

pensive - pensieroso, contemplativo, estraniato, pensoso

mien - cera, atteggiamento, postura, mimica

exiles - esilio, esiliato, esule, esiliare

scale - scala, gradazione

ladder - scala, smagliatura

humanity - umanita, benevolenza

Eskimos - eschimesi, eschimese

superior - superiore, sovraordinato

perceptions - percezione, sentore

polar circle - cerchio polare

Sometimes they gave vent to a convulsive laugh, but by no chance did they smile. Their costume consists of a coarse capote of black wool, known in Scandinavian countries as the "vadmel," a broad-brimmed hat, trousers of red serge, and a piece of leather tied with strings for a shoe-a coarse kind of moccasin.

vent - foro, canna

convulsive - convulsivo

coarse - grossolano, grezzo, rude, rozzo

Scandinavian - scandinavo, scandinava

vadmel - ordine del giorno

broad - largo

brimmed - orlo

moccasin - mocassino

The women, though sad-looking and mournful, had rather agreeable features, without much expression. They wear a bodice and petticoat of somber vadmel. When unmarried they wear a little brown knitted cap over a crown of plaited hair; but when married, they cover their heads with a colored handkerchief, over which they tie a white scarf.

mournful - lamentoso

agreeable - gradevole

bodice - corpino, corpetto

petticoat - sottogonna, sottoveste

somber - scuro

unmarried - celibe, nubile

knitted - lavorare a maglia, sferruzzare, legare, saldarsi, compattare

crown - corona

plaited - piega, pieghettatura, plissettatura

handkerchief - fazzoletto

scarf - sciarpa


When I returned, dinner was ready. This meal was devoured by my worthy relative with avidity and voracity. His shipboard diet had turned his interior into a perfect gulf. The repast, which was more Danish than Icelandic, was in itself nothing, but the excessive hospitality of our host made us enjoy it doubly.

devoured - divorare, trangugiare, ingurgitare, ingozzarsi

avidity - avidita

voracity - voracita

shipboard - a bordo della nave

Gulf - golfo

excessive - eccessivo

hospitality - ospitalita, talian: t-needed

doubly - doppiamente

The conversation turned upon scientific matters, and M. Fridriksson asked my uncle what he thought of the public library.

"Library, sir?" cried my uncle; "it appears to me a collection of useless odd volumes, and a beggarly amount of empty shelves."

beggarly - mendicante

"What!" cried M. Fridriksson; "why, we have eight thousand volumes of most rare and valuable works-some in the Scandinavian language, besides all the new publications from Copenhagen."

publications - pubblicazione, periodico, rivista

"Eight thousand volumes, my dear sir-why, where are they?" cried my uncle.

"Scattered over the country, Professor Hardwigg. We are very studious, my dear sir, though we do live in Iceland. Every farmer, every laborer, every fisherman can both read and write-and we think that books instead of being locked up in cupboards, far from the sight of students, should be distributed as widely as possible.

scattered - disperdere, disperdersi, sparpagliare, cospargere, deflettere

studious - studioso

laborer - lavoratore, operaio

fisherman - pescatore, pescatrice

distributed - distribuire, suddividere, ripartire

widely - comunemente, generalmente, diffusamente, universalmente

The books of our library are therefore passed from hand to hand without returning to the library shelves perhaps for years."

"Then when foreigners visit you, there is nothing for them to see?"

foreigners - straniero, straniera

"Well, sir, foreigners have their own libraries, and our first consideration is, that our humbler classes should be highly educated. Fortunately, the love of study is innate in the Icelandic people.

consideration - considerazione

humbler - piu umile

innate - innato

In 1816 we founded a Literary Society and Mechanics'Institute; many foreign scholars of eminence are honorary members; we publish books destined to educate our people, and these books have rendered valuable services to our country. Allow me to have the honor, Professor Hardwigg, to enroll you as an honorary member?"

founded - trovato

literary - letterario

mechanics - meccanico

Institute - istituto

scholars - studioso, erudito, dotto, accademico

honorary - onorativo

destined - destino

enroll - iscriversi, reclutare

My uncle, who already belonged to nearly every literary and scientific institution in Europe, immediately yielded to the amiable wishes of good M. Fridriksson.

Institution - istituzione

amiable - amabile, affabile, affettuoso

"And now," he said, after many expressions of gratitude and good will, "if you will tell me what books you expected to find, perhaps I may be of some assistance to you."

gratitude - gratitudine, riconoscenza

assistance - assistenza

I watched my uncle keenly. For a minute or two he hesitated, as if unwilling to speak; to speak openly was, perhaps, to unveil his projects. Nevertheless, after some reflection, he made up his mind.

hesitated - esitare, titubare

unwilling - non vuole

openly - apertamente, in modo aperto

unveil - svelare, svelarsi

reflection - riflessione, riflesso, riverbero

"Well, M. Fridriksson," he said in an easy, unconcerned kind of way, "I was desirous of ascertaining, if among other valuable works, you had any of the learned Arne Saknussemm."

unconcerned - indifferenza

desirous - desideroso

ascertaining - accertare, appurare, stabilire, constatare

"Arne Saknussemm!" cried the Professor of Reykjavik; "you speak of one of the most distinguished scholars of the sixteenth century, of the great naturalist, the great alchemist, the great traveler."

most distinguished - il piu distinto

naturalist - naturalista

"Exactly so."

"One of the most distinguished men connected with Icelandic science and literature."

distinguished - distinguere, discernere, distinguersi

"As you say, sir-"

"A man illustrious above all."

illustrious - famoso

"Yes, sir, all this is true, but his works?"

"We have none of them."

"Not in Iceland?"

"There are none in Iceland or elsewhere," answered the other, sadly.

elsewhere - altrove

"Why so?"

"Because Arne Saknussemm was persecuted for heresy, and in 1573 his works were publicly burnt at Copenhagen, by the hands of the common hangman."

Persecuted - perseguitare

heresy - eresia

publicly - pubblicamente

hangman - boia, carnefice

"Very good! capital!" murmured my uncle, to the great astonishment of the worthy Icelander.

murmured - mormorio, brusio, sussurro, mormorare

astonishment - stupore, meraviglia, sorpresa, sbigottimento

Icelander - islandese

"You said, sir-"

"Yes, yes, all is clear, I see the link in the chain; everything is explained, and I now understand why Arne Saknussemm, put out of court, forced to hide his magnificent discoveries, was compelled to conceal beneath the veil of an incomprehensible cryptograph, the secret-"

beneath - sotto

veil - velo

"What secret?"

"A secret-which," stammered my uncle.

"Have you discovered some wonderful manuscript?" cried M. Fridriksson.

"No! no, I was carried away by my enthusiasm. A mere supposition."

supposition - supposizione, presupposto

"Very good, sir. But, really, to turn to another subject, I hope you will not leave our island without examining into its mineralogical riches."

mineralogical - mineralogico

"Well, the fact is, I am rather late. So many learned men have been here before me."

"Yes, yes, but there is still much to be done," cried M. Fridriksson.

"You think so," said my uncle, his eyes twinkling with hidden satisfaction.

twinkling - scintillante

"Yes, you have no idea how many unknown mountains, glaciers, volcanoes there are which remain to be studied. Without moving from where we sit, I can show you one. Yonder on the edge of the horizon, you see Sneffels."

unknown - ignoto, sconosciuto, carneade

glaciers - ghiacciaio

yonder - laggiu

horizon - orizzonte

"Oh yes, Sneffels," said my uncle.

"One of the most curious volcanoes in existence, the crater of which has been rarely visited."

most curious - piu curioso

existence - esistenza


"Extinct, any time these five hundred years," was the ready reply.

"Well," said my uncle, who dug his nails into his flesh, and pressed his knees tightly together to prevent himself leaping up with joy. "I have a great mind to begin my studies with an examination of the geological mysteries of this Mount Seffel-Feisel-what do you call it?"

dug - scavato

tightly - strettamente

leaping - saltare

"Sneffels, my dear sir."

This portion of the conversation took place in Latin, and I therefore understood all that had been said. I could scarcely keep my countenance when I found my uncle so cunningly concealing his delight and satisfaction. I must confess that his artful grimaces, put on to conceal his happiness, made him look like a new Mephistopheles.

cunningly - volpinamente, abilmente, furbescamente

concealing - nascondere, celare

confess - confessare

artful - abile, astuto

grimaces - smorfia

"Yes, yes," he continued, "your proposition delights me. I will endeavor to climb to the summit of Sneffels, and, if possible, will descend into its crater."

delights - delizia, piacere, deliziare

endeavor - tentativo, impegno, sforzo, impresa, tentare

"I very much regret," continued M. Fridriksson, "that my occupation will entirely preclude the possibility of my accompanying you. It would have been both pleasurable and profitable if I could have spared the time."

regret - rimpiangere, rammaricarsi, pentirsi, rammarico, rimpianto

preclude - precludere

accompanying - accompagnare

pleasurable - piacevole

profitable - redditizio, fruttifero, remunerativo

spared - (fare a meno di)

"No, no, a thousand times no," cried my uncle. "I do not wish to disturb the serenity of any man. I thank you, however, with all my heart. The presence of one so learned as yourself, would no doubt have been most useful, but the duties of your office and profession before everything."

disturb - disturbare

serenity - serenita

In the innocence of his simple heart, our host did not perceive the irony of these remarks.

innocence - innocenza

perceive - percepire

irony - ironia

remarks - osservazione, commento

"I entirely approve your project," continued the Icelander after some further remarks. "It is a good idea to begin by examining this volcano. You will make a harvest of curious observations. In the first place, how do you propose to get to Sneffels?"

harvest - stagione della mietitura, mietitura, messe, raccolto, frutto

observations - osservazione

propose - proporre, proporre il matrimonio

"By sea. I shall cross the bay. Of course that is the most rapid route."

rapid - rapido, deciso, rapida, cataratta

"Of course. But still it cannot be done."


"We have not an available boat in all Reykjavik," replied the other.

"What is to be done?"

"You must go by land along the coast. It is longer, but much more interesting."

by land - via terra

"Then I must have a guide."

"Of course; and I have your very man."

"Somebody on whom I can depend."

"Yes, an inhabitant of the peninsula on which Sneffels is situated. He is a very shrewd and worthy man, with whom you will be pleased. He speaks Danish like a Dane."

inhabitant - abitante

shrewd - perspicace, sagace, scaltro, astuto

Dane - danese

"When can I see him-today?"

"No, tomorrow; he will not be here before."

"Tomorrow be it," replied my uncle, with a deep sigh.

sigh - sospirare

The conversation ended by compliments on both sides. During the dinner my uncle had learned much as to the history of Arne Saknussemm, the reasons for his mysterious and hieroglyphical document. He also became aware that his host would not accompany him on his adventurous expedition, and that next day we should have a guide.

compliments - complimento, complimentarsi

hieroglyphical - geroglifico


Eider - edredone

Hunter - cacciatore, cane da caccia, cavallo da caccia, cercatore

That evening I took a brief walk on the shore near Reykjavik, after which I returned to an early sleep on my bed of coarse planks, where I slept the sleep of the just. When I awoke I heard my uncle speaking loudly in the next room. I rose hastily and joined him. He was talking in Danish with a man of tall stature, and of perfectly Herculean build.

planks - tavola, asse

hastily - frettolosamente, precipitatamente

stature - statura

This man appeared to be possessed of very great strength. His eyes, which started rather prominently from a very large head, the face belonging to which was simple and naive, appeared very quick and intelligent. Very long hair, which even in England would have been accounted exceedingly red, fell over his athletic shoulders.

prominently - prominentemente, rilevantemente

naive - ingenuo, candido, semplice, spontaneo

exceedingly - eccessivamente

athletic - atletico, sportivo

This native of Iceland was active and supple in appearance, though he scarcely moved his arms, being in fact one of those men who despise the habit of gesticulation common to southern people.

supple - duttile, malleabile

despise - disprezzare

gesticulation - gesticolio

Everything in this man's manner revealed a calm and phlegmatic temperament. There was nothing indolent about him, but his appearance spoke of tranquillity. He was one of those who never seemed to expect anything from anybody, who liked to work when he thought proper, and whose philosophy nothing could astonish or trouble.

revealed - rivelare, gettare la maschera, uscire allo scoperto

phlegmatic - flemmatico

temperament - temperamento, carattere

indolent - ordine del giorno

tranquillity - tranquillita

astonish - sorprendere, stupire

I began to comprehend his character, simply from the way in which he listened to the wild and impassioned verbiage of my worthy uncle. While the excellent Professor spoke sentence after sentence, he stood with folded arms, utterly still, motionless to all my uncle's gesticulations.

impassioned - impassione

verbiage - verbali

motionless - immobile, immoto, inerte

gesticulations - gesticolio

When he wanted to say No he moved his head from left to right; when he acquiesced he nodded, so slightly that you could scarcely see the undulation of his head. This economy of motion was carried to the length of avarice.

acquiesced - approvare, conformarsi, sottomettersi, consentire

undulation - ondulazione

avarice - avarizia, cupidigia, avidita

Judging from his appearance I should have been a long time before I had suspected him to be what he was, a mighty hunter. Certainly his manner was not likely to frighten the game. How, then, did he contrive to get at his prey?

suspected - sospettare

contrive - combinare, programmare, intrigare, complottare

prey - preda, squartamento

My surprise was slightly modified when I knew that this tranquil and solemn personage was only a hunter of the eider duck, the down of which is, after all, the greatest source of the Icelanders'wealth.

modified - modificare

tranquil - tranquillo, sereno, calmo, pacifico

solemn - solenne

personage - personaggio

Duck - mettere sott'acqua

Icelanders - islandese

wealth - ricchezza, patrimonio, abbondanza

In the early days of summer, the female of the eider, a pretty sort of duck, builds its nest amid the rocks of the fjords-the name given to all narrow gulfs in Scandinavian countries-with which every part of the island is indented. No sooner has the eider duck made her nest than she lines the inside of it with the softest down from her breast.

nest - nido

amid - in mezzo a, tra

gulfs - golfo

indented - (far rientrare dal margine della pagina)

breast - mammella, poppa, petto, seno

Then comes the hunter or trader, taking away the nest, the poor bereaved female begins her task over again, and this continues as long as any eider down is to be found.

bereaved - privare

When she can find no more the male bird sets to work to see what he can do. As, however, his down is not so soft, and has therefore no commercial value, the hunter does not take the trouble to rob him of his nest lining. The nest is accordingly finished, the eggs are laid, the little ones are born, and next year the harvest of eider down is again collected.

male bird - uccello maschio

commercial value - valore commerciale

rob - derubare, svaligiare

Now, as the eider duck never selects steep rocks or aspects to build its nest, but rather sloping and low cliffs near to the sea, the Icelandic hunter can carry on his trade operations without much difficulty. He is like a farmer who has neither to plow, to sow, nor to harrow, only to collect his harvest.

selects - scegliere, selezionare

steep - ripido

Aspects - aspetto

sloping - pendio, pendenza, inclinazione, muso giallo, digradare, loor

cliffs - ruoe, scogliera

plow - aratro

sow - seminare

This grave, sententious, silent person, as phlegmatic as an Englishman on the French stage, was named Hans Bjelke. He had called upon us in consequence of the recommendation of M. Fridriksson. He was, in fact, our future guide. It struck me that had I sought the world over, I could not have found a greater contradiction to my impulsive uncle.

grave - tomba

Englishman - inglese

contradiction - contraddizione

impulsive - impulsivo

They, however, readily understood one another. Neither of them had any thought about money; one was ready to take all that was offered him, the other ready to offer anything that was asked. It may readily be conceived, then, that an understanding was soon come to between them.

Now, the understanding was, that he was to take us to the village of Stapi, situated on the southern slope of the peninsula of Sneffels, at the very foot of the volcano. Hans, the guide, told us the distance was about twenty-two miles, a journey which my uncle supposed would take about two days.

slope - pendio, pendenza, inclinazione, muso giallo, digradare, loor

But when my uncle came to understand that they were Danish miles, of eight thousand yards each, he was obliged to be more moderate in his ideas, and, considering the horrible roads we had to follow, to allow eight or ten days for the journey.

obliged - obbligare, forzare, costringere, fare un favore, indebitarsi

moderate - moderato, modesto, moderare

Four horses were prepared for us, two to carry the baggage, and two to bear the important weight of myself and uncle. Hans declared that nothing ever would make him climb on the back of any animal. He knew every inch of that part of the coast, and promised to take us the very shortest way.

inch - pollice

His engagement with my uncle was by no means to cease with our arrival at Stapi; he was further to remain in his service during the whole time required for the completion of his scientific investigations, at the fixed salary of three rix-dollars a week, being exactly fourteen shillings and twopence, minus one farthing, English currency.

engagement - impegno, connessione, partecipazione, adesione, presenza

completion - completamento

investigations - investigazione

rix - ordine del giorno

shillings - scellino

Twopence - Due penny

minus - meno, negativo, negativa

farthing - un centesimo

One stipulation, however, was made by the guide-the money was to be paid to him every Saturday night, failing which, his engagement was at an end.

stipulation - condizione, clausola

The day of our departure was fixed. My uncle wished to hand the eider-down hunter an advance, but he refused in one emphatic word-

advance - avanzare, progredire, anticipare, migliorare, avvicinarsi

refused - rifiutare

emphatic - enfatico


Which being translated from Icelandic into plain English means-"After."

The treaty concluded, our worthy guide retired without another word.

Treaty - trattato, trattativa

"A splendid fellow," said my uncle; "only he little suspects the marvelous part he is about to play in the history of the world."

fellow - uomo, tipo

suspects - sospettare

marvelous - meraviglioso

"You mean, then," I cried in amazement, "that he should accompany us?"

"To the interior of the earth, yes," replied my uncle. "Why not?"

There were yet forty-eight hours to elapse before we made our final start. To my great regret, our whole time was taken up in making preparations for our journey. All our industry and ability were devoted to packing every object in the most advantageous manner-the instruments on one side, the arms on the other, the tools here and the provisions there. There were, in fact, four distinct groups.

preparations - preparazione

devoted - devoti

most advantageous - piu vantaggioso

Provisions - fornitura, disposizione, clausola, norma

distinct - chiaro, distinto, diverso

The instruments were of course of the best manufacture:

manufacture - fabbricare

1. A centigrade thermometer of Eigel, counting up to 150 degrees, which to me did not appear half enough-or too much. Too hot by half, if the degree of heat was to ascend so high-in which case we should certainly be cooked-not enough, if we wanted to ascertain the exact temperature of springs or metal in a state of fusion.

centigrade - centigrado

thermometer - termometro

counting up - contare

degree of heat - grado di calore

ascertain - accertare, appurare, stabilire, constatare

2. A manometer worked by compressed air, an instrument used to ascertain the upper atmospheric pressure on the level of the ocean. Perhaps a common barometer would not have done as well, the atmospheric pressure being likely to increase in proportion as we descended below the surface of the earth.

manometer - manometro

compressed air - aria compressa

atmospheric pressure - pressione atmosferica

barometer - barometro

3. A first-class chronometer made by Boissonnas, of Geneva, set at the meridian of Hamburg, from which Germans calculate, as the English do from Greenwich, and the French from Paris.

chronometer - cronometro

Geneva - Ginevra

meridian - meridiano

calculate - calcolare

Greenwich - east London town

4. Two compasses, one for horizontal guidance, the other to ascertain the dip.

compasses - bussola

horizontal - orizzontale

guidance - guida, direzione, orientamento, consiglio, suggerimento

dip - intingere

5. A night glass.

6. Two Ruhmkorff coils, which, by means of a current of electricity, would ensure us a very excellent, easily carried, and certain means of obtaining light.

Coils - attorcigliarsi

ensure - garantire, assicurare, fare in modo che

obtaining - ottenere, riuscire, avere, stabilirsi

7. A voltaic battery on the newest principle.[1]

voltaic - voltaico

principle - principio, regola, valore

[1] Thermometer (thermos, and metron, measure); an instrument for measuring the temperature of the air.-Manometer (manos,and metron, measure); an instrument to show the density or rarity of gases.-Chronometer (chronos. time, and metros, measure) a time measurer, or superior watch-Ruhmkorff's coil, an instrument for producing currents of induced electricity of great intensity.

thermos - Termo

metron - ordine del giorno

density - densita

rarity - scarsita, rarita

chronos - ordine del giorno

metros - La metropolitana

measurer - misuratore

coil - attorcigliarsi

intensity - intensita

It consists of a coil of copper wire, insulated by being covered with silk, surrounded by another coil of fine wire, also insulated, in which a momentary current is induced when a current is passed through the inner coil from a voltaic battery. When the apparatus is in action, the gas becomes luminous, and produces a white and continued light.

copper wire - filo di rame

insulated - isolare

silk - seta

momentary - momentaneo

apparatus - impianto, attrezzatura, apparecchio, sistema

The battery and wire are carried in a leather bag, which the traveler fastens by a strap to his shoulders. The lantern is in front, and enables the benighted wanderer to see in the most profound obscurity. He may venture without fear of explosion into the midst of the most inflammable gases, and the lantern will burn beneath the deepest waters. H. D.

wire - filo, filo metallico, filo elettrico, cavo, cavo elettrico

strap - cinghia, cinturino, correggia, reggetta

lantern - lanterna

enables - permettere, attivare, abilitare

wanderer - vagabondo, girovago, vagante, errante

most profound - piu profondo

obscurity - oscurita

midst - in mezzo a*

most inflammable - piu infiammabile

Ruhmkorff, an able and learned chemist, discovered the induction coil. In 1864 he won the quinquennial French prize of Ł2,000 for this ingenious application of electricity-A voltaic battery, so called from Volta, its designer, is an apparatus consisting of a series of metal plates arranged in pairs and subjected to the action of saline solutions for producing currents of electricity.

chemist - chimico, chimica

induction coil - bobina di induzione

quinquennial - quinquennale

saline - salino

Our arms consisted of two rifles, with two revolving six-shooters. Why these arms were provided it was impossible for me to say. I had every reason to believe that we had neither wild beasts nor savage natives to fear.

rifles - fucile

revolving - girevole, (revolve), orbitare, ruotare, ricorrere

shooters - tiratore, tiratrice

beasts - bestia, belva

savage - selvaggio, primitivo, brutale, crudele, feroce, impietoso

My uncle, on the other hand, was quite as devoted to his arsenal as to his collection of instruments, and above all was very careful with his provision of fulminating or gun cotton, warranted to keep in any climate, and of which the expansive force was known to be greater than that of ordinary gunpowder.

devoted - dedicare, consacrare

arsenal - arsenale, deposito armi, magazzino, deposito

provision - fornitura, disposizione, clausola, norma

fulminating - fulminato

gun cotton - cotone per armi

warranted - giustificare

expansive - espansibile, espandibile, espansivo

gunpowder - polvere da sparo

Our tools consisted of two pickaxes, two crowbars, a silken ladder, three iron-shod Alpine poles, a hatchet, a hammer, a dozen wedges, some pointed pieces of iron, and a quantity of strong rope. You may conceive that the whole made a tolerable parcel, especially when I mention that the ladder itself was three hundred feet long!

pickaxes - grimaldello

silken - serico, setoso

Alpine - alpestre, alpino

hatchet - accetta

hammer - martello, cane, percussore, martellare, colpire, picchiare

wedges - cuneo

conceive - concepire, sviluppare, ideare

tolerable - tollerabile

parcel - pacchetto, plico, lotto, parcella, impacchettare

Then there came the important question of provisions. The hamper was not very large but tolerably satisfactory, for I knew that in concentrated essence of meat and biscuit there was enough to last six months. The only liquid provided by my uncle was Schiedam. Of water, not a drop.

hamper - intralciare

tolerably - in modo tollerabile

satisfactory - soddisfacente

essence - essenza

We had, however, an ample supply of gourds, and my uncle counted on finding water, and enough to fill them, as soon as we commenced our downward journey. My remarks as to the temperature, the quality, and even as to the possibility of none being found, remained wholly without effect.

ample - ampio, abbondante

downward - verso il basso

To make up the exact list of our traveling gear-for the guidance of future travelers-add, that we carried a medicine and surgical chest with all apparatus necessary for wounds, fractures and blows; lint, scissors, lancets-in fact, a perfect collection of horrible looking instruments; a number of vials containing ammonia, alcohol, ether, Goulard water, aromatic vinegar, in fact, every possible and impossible drug-finally, all the materials for working the Ruhmkorff coil!

gear - attrezzo, parafernalia, equipaggiamento, marcia, cambio

travelers - viaggiatore, viaggiatrice

surgical - chirurgico

wounds - ferita

fractures - frattura

lint - ovatta

scissors - forbici

lancets - lancetta

vials - fiala

ammonia - ammoniaca

ether - etere

aromatic vinegar - aceto aromatico

My uncle had also been careful to lay in a goodly supply of tobacco, several flasks of very fine gunpowder, boxes of tinder, besides a large belt crammed full of notes and gold. Good boots rendered watertight were to be found to the number of six in the tool box.

goodly - bene

flasks - fiaschetta, boccetta

tinder - esca

crammed - stivare

watertight - a tenuta stagna, impermeabile

tool box - cassetta degli attrezzi

"My boy, with such clothing, with such boots, and such general equipment," said my uncle, in a state of rapturous delight, "we may hope to travel far."

rapturous - estasiante

It took a whole day to put all these matters in order. In the evening we dined with Baron Trampe, in company with the Mayor of Reykjavik, and Doctor Hyaltalin, the great medical man of Iceland. M. Fridriksson was not present, and I was afterwards sorry to hear that he and the governor did not agree on some matters connected with the administration of the island.

dined - cenare

administration - amministrazione, somministrazione

Unfortunately, the consequence was, that I did not understand a word that was said at dinner-a kind of semiofficial reception. One thing I can say, my uncle never left off speaking.

semiofficial - semiofficiale

The next day our labor came to an end. Our worthy host delighted my uncle, Professor Hardwigg, by giving him a good map of Iceland, a most important and precious document for a mineralogist.

labor - lavoro

mineralogist - mineralogista

Our last evening was spent in a long conversation with M. Fridriksson, whom I liked very much-the more that I never expected to see him or anyone else again. After this agreeable way of spending an hour or so, I tried to sleep. In vain; with the exception of a few dozes, my night was miserable.

exception - eccezione

dozes - sonnecchiare

miserable - infelice

At five o'clock in the morning I was awakened from the only real half hour's sleep of the night by the loud neighing of horses under my window. I hastily dressed myself and went down into the street. Hans was engaged in putting the finishing stroke to our baggage, which he did in a silent, quiet way that won my admiration, and yet he did it admirably well.

awakened - svegliare, svegliarsi

neighing - nitrito, nitrire

stroke - colpo

admiration - ammirazione

admirably - ammirevolmente

My uncle wasted a great deal of breath in giving him directions, but worthy Hans took not the slightest notice of his words.

At six o'clock all our preparations were completed, and M. Fridriksson shook hands heartily with us. My uncle thanked him warmly, in the Icelandic language, for his kind hospitality, speaking truly from the heart.

heartily - caldamente, sentitamente, giovialmente

As for myself I put together a few of my best Latin phrases and paid him the highest compliments I could. This fraternal and friendly duty performed, we sallied forth and mounted our horses.

fraternal - fraterno, fraternale

mounted - montare, salire

As soon as we were quite ready, M. Fridriksson advanced, and by way of farewell, called after me in the words of Virgil-words which appeared to have been made for us, travelers starting for an uncertain destination:

Farewell - addio

uncertain - incerto

"Et quacunque viam dederit fortuna sequamur."

quacunque - ordine del giorno

viam - ordine del giorno

dederit - ordine del giorno

sequamur - ordine del giorno

("And whichsoever way thou goest, may fortune follow!")

whichsoever - quale

thou - tu

Fortune - sorte, destino, fortuna, dote


The weather was overcast but settled, when we commenced our adventurous and perilous journey. We had neither to fear fatiguing heat nor drenching rain. It was, in fact, real tourist weather.

overcast - coperto, nuvoloso

settled - sistemarsi, mettersi

perilous - pericoloso, rischioso

fatiguing - stanchezza, affaticamento, corvé, usura

drenching - inzuppare

As there was nothing I liked better than horse exercise, the pleasure of riding through an unknown country caused the early part of our enterprise to be particularly agreeable to me.

I began to enjoy the exhilarating delight of traveling, a life of desire, gratification and liberty. The truth is, that my spirits rose so rapidly, that I began to be indifferent to what had once appeared to be a terrible journey.

exhilarating - rallegrare

gratification - gratificazione

liberty - liberta

rapidly - rapidamente

indifferent - indifferente

"After all," I said to myself, "what do I risk? Simply to take a journey through a curious country, to climb a remarkable mountain, and if the worst comes to the worst, to descend into the crater of an extinct volcano."

There could be no doubt that this was all this terrible Saknussemm had done. As to the existence of a gallery, or of subterraneous passages leading into the interior of the earth, the idea was simply absurd, the hallucination of a distempered imagination. All, then, that may be required of me I will do cheerfully, and will create no difficulty.

subterraneous - sotterraneo

passages - passaggio

distempered - cimurro, tempera

cheerfully - allegramente

It was just before we left Reykjavik that I came to this decision.

Hans, our extraordinary guide, went first, walking with a steady, rapid, unvarying step. Our two horses with the luggage followed of their own accord, without requiring whip or spur. My uncle and I came behind, cutting a very tolerable figure upon our small but vigorous animals.

steady - fermo, saldo, fidato, sicuro, costante

unvarying - uniforme

accord - accordo

whip - frusta, nerbo, sferza, sferzare, flagellare

spur - sperone, sprone

vigorous - vigoroso

Iceland is one of the largest islands in Europe. It contains thirty thousand square miles of surface, and has about seventy thousand inhabitants. Geographers have divided it into four parts, and we had to cross the southwest quarter which in the vernacular is called Sudvestr Fjordungr.

Geographers - geografo, geografa

southwest - sudovest

vernacular - vernacolo, idioma, parlata, lingua nazionale

Hans, on taking his departure from Reykjavik, had followed the line of the sea. We took our way through poor and sparse meadows, which made a desperate effort every year to show a little green. They very rarely succeed in a good show of yellow.

sparse - sparso, spargolo

meadows - prato

The rugged summits of the rocky hills were dimly visible on the edge of the horizon, through the misty fogs; every now and then some heavy flakes of snow showed conspicuous in the morning light, while certain lofty and pointed rocks were first lost in the grey low clouds, their summits clearly visible above, like jagged reefs rising from a troublous sea.

rugged - aspro, frastagliato, (rug), tappeto, tappetino, scendiletto

summits - sommita, apice

dimly - in modo debole

misty - con foschia, nebbioso, velato

fogs - nebbia

flakes - fiocco

conspicuous - evidente, lampante, notevole, vistoso

jagged - puntuto, frastagliato

reefs - scogliera

troublous - problematico

Every now and then a spur of rock came down through the arid ground, leaving us scarcely room to pass. Our horses, however, appeared not only well acquainted with the country, but by a kind of instinct, knew which was the best road. My uncle had not even the satisfaction of urging forward his steed by whip, spur, or voice. It was utterly useless to show any signs of impatience.

arid - arido

acquainted - familiarizzarsi

instinct - istinto

urging - sollecitazione, (urge), pulsione, incoraggiare, fare pressione

steed - destriero

I could not help smiling to see him look so big on his little horse; his long legs now and then touching the ground made him look like a six-footed centaur.

centaur - centauro

"Good beast, good beast," he would cry. "I assure you, that I begin to think no animal is more intelligent than an Icelandic horse. Snow, tempest, impracticable roads, rocks, icebergs-nothing stops him. He is brave; he is sober; he is safe; he never makes a false step; never glides or slips from his path.

beast - bestia, belva

assure - assicurare, garantire

more intelligent - piu intelligente

tempest - tempesta, procella

impracticable - inattuabile

icebergs - iceberg

glides - scivolare, slittare, scorrere, muoversi con fluidita, planare

slips - scivolare

I dare to say that if any river, any fjord has to be crossed-and I have no doubt there will be many-you will see him enter the water without hesitation like an amphibious animal, and reach the opposite side in safety. We must not, however, attempt to hurry him; we must allow him to have his own way, and I will undertake to say that between us we shall do our ten leagues a day."

fjord - fiordo

hesitation - esitazione

amphibious - anfibio

leagues - lega, unione

"We may do so," was my reply, "but what about our worthy guide?"

"I have not the slightest anxiety about him: that sort of people go ahead without knowing even what they are about. Look at Hans. He moves so little that it is impossible for him to become fatigued. Besides, if he were to complain of weariness, he could have the loan of my horse. I should have a violent attack of the cramp if I were not to have some sort of exercise.

fatigued - stanchezza, affaticamento, corvé, usura

weariness - stanchezza

loan - prestito

My arms are right-but my legs are getting a little stiff."

stiff - rigido, inflessibile, duro, severo

All this while we were advancing at a rapid pace. The country we had reached was already nearly a desert. Here and there could be seen an isolated farm, some solitary bur, or Icelandic house, built of wood, earth, fragments of lava-looking like beggars on the highway of life. These wretched and miserable huts excited in us such pity that we felt half disposed to leave alms at every door.

advancing - avanzare, progredire, anticipare, migliorare, avvicinarsi

pace - passo

isolated - isolare

fragments - frammento, frammentare

beggars - mendicante

disposed - eliminare, disporre, mettere, depositare, distribuire

alms - elemosina

In this country there are no roads, paths are nearly unknown, and vegetation, poor as it was, slowly as it reached perfection, soon obliterated all traces of the few travelers who passed from place to place.

perfection - perfezione

obliterated - obliterare, annullare, spazzare

Nevertheless, this division of the province, situated only a few miles from the capital, is considered one of the best cultivated and most thickly peopled in all Iceland. What, then, must be the state of the less known and more distant parts of the island?

Division - divisione, parte, filo, divario, frattura, differenziazione

cultivated - coltivare

thickly - densamente

After traveling fully half a Danish mile, we had met neither a farmer at the door of his hut, nor even a wandering shepherd with his wild and savage flock.

fully - pienamente, completamente, appieno, ampiamente

shepherd - pastore, pecoraio, pecoraro

flock - gregge, stormo

A few stray cows and sheep were only seen occasionally. What, then, must we expect when we come to the upheaved regions-to the districts broken and roughened from volcanic eruptions and subterraneous commotions?

stray - allontanarsi, smarrirsi

upheaved - rialzo

districts - distretto

roughened - irruvidire

commotions - agitazione, checkscandalo

We were to learn this all in good time. I saw, however, on consulting the map, that we avoided a good deal of this rough country, by following the winding and desolate shores of the sea.

consulting - consultarsi, consultare

desolate - desolato, deserto, abbandonato, nero

In reality, the great volcanic movement of the island, and all its attendant phenomena, are concentrated in the interior of the island; there, horizontal layers or strata of rocks, piled one upon the other, eruptions of basaltic origin, and streams of lava, have given this country a kind of supernatural reputation.

attendant - assistente

layers - strato

strata - strati

piled - pila, mucchio

basaltic - basaltico

origin - origine, origini

streams - corrente, ruscello, rivo, flusso, semestre

supernatural - soprannaturale, sovrannaturale, ultraterreno

reputation - reputazione, rumore, caratura

Little did I expect, however, the spectacle which awaited us when we reached the peninsula of Sneffels, where agglomerations of nature's ruins form a kind of terrible chaos.

spectacle - spettacolo

agglomerations - agglomerazione

ruins - rovina, rovinare

chaos - caos

Some two hours or more after we had left the city of Reykjavik, we reached the little town called Aoalkirkja, or the principal church. It consists simply of a few houses-not what in England or Germany we should call a hamlet.

Hans stopped here one half hour. He shared our frugal breakfast, answered Yes, and No to my uncle's questions as to the nature of the road, and at last when asked where we were to pass the night was as laconic as usual.

frugal - frugale

laconic - laconico

"Gardar!" was his one-worded reply.

I took occasion to consult the map, to see where Gardar was to be found. After looking keenly I found a small town of that name on the borders of the Hvalfjord, about four miles from Reykjavik. I pointed this out to my uncle, who made a very energetic grimace.

energetic - energico

grimace - smorfia

"Only four miles out of twenty-two? Why it is only a little walk."

He was about to make some energetic observation to the guide, but Hans, without taking the slightest notice of him, went in front of the horses, and walked ahead with the same imperturbable phlegm he had always exhibited.

observation - osservazione

imperturbable - imperturbabile

phlegm - espettorato, flemma

Three hours later, still traveling over those apparently interminable and sandy prairies, we were compelled to go round the Kollafjord, an easier and shorter cut than crossing the gulfs.

interminable - interminabile

Sandy - covered with sand, containing sand, like sand, sand-coloured

prairies - prateria

go round - fermarsi, girare, circolare

Shortly after we entered a place of communal jurisdiction called Ejulberg, and the clock of which would then have struck twelve, if any Icelandic church had been rich enough to possess so valuable and useful an article. These sacred edifices are, however, very much like these people, who do without watches-and never miss them.

shortly - subito, tra poco, in breve

communal - comunitario

jurisdiction - giurisdizione

edifices - edificio

Here the horses were allowed to take some rest and refreshment, then following a narrow strip of shore between high rocks and the sea, they took us without further halt to the Aoalkirkja of Brantar, and after another mile to Saurboer Annexia, a chapel of ease, situated on the southern bank of the Hvalfjord.

halt - fermare, fermarsi

chapel - cappella, chiesetta

It was four o'clock in the evening and we had traveled four Danish miles, about equal to twenty English.

The fjord was in this place about half a mile in width. The sweeping and broken waves came rolling in upon the pointed rocks; the gulf was surrounded by rocky walls-a mighty cliff, three thousand feet in height, remarkable for its brown strata, separated here and there by beds of tufa of a reddish hue.

width - larghezza

sweeping - spazzata, scopata, (sweep), spazzare, scopare, ramazzare

cliff - ruoe, scogliera

tufa - tufo

reddish - rossastro, rossiccio

hue - colore, tonalita

Now, whatever may have been the intelligence of our horses, I had not the slightest reliance upon them, as a means of crossing a stormy arm of the sea. To ride over salt water upon the back of a little horse seemed to me absurd.

reliance - fiducia, confidenza, dipendenza, affidamento

stormy - tempestoso

"If they are really intelligent," I said to myself, "they will certainly not make the attempt. In any case, I shall trust rather to my own intelligence than theirs."

trust - fiducia, confidenza, speranza, credito, affidabilita, trust

But my uncle was in no humor to wait. He dug his heels into the sides of his steed, and made for the shore. His horse went to the very edge of the water, sniffed at the approaching wave and retreated.

sniffed - annusare, fiutare, odorare, snasare, sniffare, tirare

approaching - avvicinarsi

retreated - ritirarsi

My uncle, who was, sooth to say, quite as obstinate as the beast he bestrode, insisted on his making the desired advance. This attempt was followed by a new refusal on the part of the horse which quietly shook his head.

sooth - calmante

bestrode - Destruir

insisted - insistere

refusal - rifiuto

This demonstration of rebellion was followed by a volley of words and a stout application of whipcord; also followed by kicks on the part of the horse, which threw its head and heels upwards and tried to throw his rider.

demonstration - dimostrazione

rebellion - ribellione

volley - raffica, volée

stout - solido

whipcord - cavo a frusta

rider - cavaliere

At length the sturdy little pony, spreading out his legs, in a stiff and ludicrous attitude, got from under the Professor's legs, and left him standing, with both feet on a separate stone, like the Colossus of Rhodes.

sturdy - solido, solida, robusto, quercia

ludicrous - ridicolo

colossus - colosso

"Wretched animal!" cried my uncle, suddenly transformed into a foot passenger-and as angry and ashamed as a dismounted cavalry officer on the field of battle.

transformed - trasformare, modificare, trasformarsi, trasformata

ashamed - vergognoso

dismounted - smontarsi

cavalry - cavalleria

"Farja," said the guide, tapping him familiarly on the shoulder.

familiarly - familiarmente

"What, a ferry boat!"

ferry - traghetto

"Der," answered Hans, pointing to where lay the boat in question-"there."

"Well," I cried, quite delighted with the information; "so it is."

"Why did you not say so before," cried my uncle; "why not start at once?"

"Tidvatten," said the guide.

"What does he say?" I asked, considerably puzzled by the delay and the dialogue.

Considerably - considerevolmente, notevolmente

puzzled - mistero, rompicapo, indovinello, rendere perplesso

"He says tide," replied my uncle, translating the Danish word for my information.

tide - marea

"Of course I understand-we must wait till the tide serves."

"For bida?" asked my uncle.

"Ja," replied Hans.

My uncle frowned, stamped his feet and then followed the horses to where the boat lay.

I thoroughly understood and appreciated the necessity for waiting, before crossing the fjord, for that moment when the sea at its highest point is in a state of slack water. As neither the ebb nor flow can then be felt, the ferry boat was in no danger of being carried out to sea, or dashed upon the rocky coast.

Slack - lento

Ebb - riflusso

dashed - lineetta, linea, scatto, spruzzo, pizzico, goccio, saltare

The favorable moment did not come until six o'clock in the evening. Then my uncle, myself, and guide, two boatmen and the four horses got into a very awkward flat-bottom boat. Accustomed as I had been to the steam ferry boats of the Elbe, I found the long oars of the boatmen but sorry means of locomotion.

favorable - favorevole

boatmen - barcaiolo, battelliere

awkward - maldestro, impacciato, goffo, imbarazzato, poco opportuno

accustomed - assuefarsi, abituarsi, adattarsi, familiarizzare

Steam - vapore

oars - remo

locomotion - locomozione

We were more than an hour in crossing the fjord; but at length the passage was concluded without accident.

passage - passaggio

Half an hour later we reached Gardar.


It ought, one would have thought, to have been night, even in the sixty-fifth parallel of latitude; but still the nocturnal illumination did not surprise me. For in Iceland, during the months of June and July, the sun never sets.

nocturnal - notturno

illumination - illuminazione

The temperature, however, was very much lower than I expected. I was cold, but even that did not affect me so much as ravenous hunger. Welcome indeed, therefore, was the hut which hospitably opened its doors to us.

ravenous - famelico, affamato, vorace

hospitably - ospitalmente

It was merely the house of a peasant, but in the matter of hospitality, it was worthy of being the palace of a king. As we alighted at the door the master of the house came forward, held out his hand, and without any further ceremony, signaled to us to follow him.

peasant - contadino, contadina, cafone, cafona, paesano

alighted - scendere

We followed him, for to accompany him was impossible. A long, narrow, gloomy passage led into the interior of this habitation, made from beams roughly squared by the ax. This passage gave ingress to every room.

habitation - abitazione

roughly - aprprossimativamente, a grosso modo

ax - ascia

ingress - ingresso

The chambers were four in number-the kitchen, the workshop, where the weaving was carried on, the general sleeping chamber of the family, and the best room, to which strangers were especially invited. My uncle, whose lofty stature had not been taken into consideration when the house was built, contrived to knock his head against the beams of the roof.

chambers - camera, camera da letto

workshop - laboratorio, bottega, workshop, seminario

weaving - tessitura

strangers - estraneo

We were introduced into our chamber, a kind of large room with a hard earthen floor, and lighted by a window, the panes of which were made of a sort of parchment from the intestines of sheep-very far from transparent.

chamber - camera, camera da letto

panes - vetro

intestines - intestino

transparent - ordine del giorno

The bedding was composed of dry hay thrown into two long red wooden boxes, ornamented with sentences painted in Icelandic. I really had no idea that we should be made so comfortable. There was one objection to the house, and that was, the very powerful odor of dried fish, of macerated meat, and of sour milk, which three fragrances combined did not at all suit my olfactory nerves.

ornamented - ornamento, ornamenti

odor - odore

macerated - macerare

sour - agro, inasprire, deteriorarsi, degenerare

fragrances - profumo

olfactory - olfattorio, olfattivo

nerves - nervo, nervatura, coraggio, faccia tosta, sfacciataggine

As soon as we had freed ourselves from our heavy traveling costume, the voice of our host was heard calling to us to come into the kitchen, the only room in which the Icelanders ever make any fire, no matter how cold it may be.

My uncle, nothing loath, hastened to obey this hospitable and friendly invitation. I followed.

loath - detestare

hastened - affrettarsi, sbrigarsi, affrettare, anticipare

hospitable - ospitale

The kitchen chimney was made on an antique model. A large stone standing in the middle of the room was the fireplace; above, in the roof, was a hole for the smoke to pass through. This apartment was kitchen, parlor and dining room all in one.

chimney - camino, ciminiera, fumaiolo, bulbo

antique - antico, obsoleto

fireplace - camino, caminetto, focolare

parlor - salotto

dining - cenare

On our entrance, our worthy host, as if he had not seen us before, advanced ceremoniously, uttered a word which means "be happy," and then kissed both of us on the cheek.

ceremoniously - in modo cerimonioso

cheek - guancia, gota, chiappa, faccia tosta, sfrontatezza, impudenza

His wife followed, pronounced the same word, with the same ceremonial, then the husband and wife, placing their right hands upon their hearts, bowed profoundly.

ceremonial - cerimoniale

This excellent Icelandic woman was the mother of nineteen children, who, little and big, rolled, crawled, and walked about in the midst of volumes of smoke arising from the angular fireplace in the middle of the room. Every now and then I could see a fresh white head, and a slightly melancholy expression of countenance, peering at me through the vapor.

arising - che si sta verificando, (arise), sorgere, apparire, nascere

angular - angolare

melancholy - malinconia

peering - Pari

vapor - gas, vapore

Both my uncle and myself, however, were very friendly with the whole party, and before we were aware of it, there were three or four of these little ones on our shoulders, as many on our boxes, and the rest hanging about our legs. Those who could speak kept crying out saellvertu in every possible and impossible key. Those who did not speak only made all the more noise.

hanging about - ciondolare, aspettare

saellvertu - ordine del giorno

This concert was interrupted by the announcement of supper. At this moment our worthy guide, the eider-duck hunter, came in after seeing to the feeding and stabling of the horses-which consisted in letting them loose to browse on the stunted green of the Icelandic prairies.

interrupted - interrompere, celare, ricoprire, tagliare

stabling - scuderia

loose - largo

browse - osservare, navigare

stunted - (arrestare lo sviluppo)

There was little for them to eat, but moss and some very dry and innutritious grass; next day they were ready before the door, some time before we were.

moss - muschio

innutritious - innutriente

"Welcome," said Hans.

Then tranquilly, with the air of an automaton, without any more expression in one kiss than another, he embraced the host and hostess and their nineteen children.

tranquilly - tranquillamente

automaton - automa

hostess - female host, female innkeeper, stewardess

This ceremony concluded to the satisfaction of all parties, we all sat down to table, that is twenty-four of us, somewhat crowded. Those who were best off had only two juveniles on their knees.

somewhat - in qualche modo

juveniles - minorenne, giovane

As soon, however, as the inevitable soup was placed on the table, the natural taciturnity, common even to Icelandic babies, prevailed over all else. Our host filled our plates with a portion of lichen soup of Iceland moss, of by no means disagreeable flavor, an enormous lump of fish floating in sour butter.

inevitable - inevitabile

taciturnity - taciturnita

prevailed - prevalere, predominare, persuadere

lichen - lichene

disagreeable - sconveniente, antipatico, sgradevole

flavor - sapore, gusto, sapori, fragranza, aroma, tipo

lump - gonfiore, gnocco, cucchiaino, zolla, zolletta

floating - fluttuante, (float), galleggiare, appianatoia, frattazzo

After that there came some skyr, a kind of curds and whey, served with biscuits and juniper-berry juice. To drink, we had blanda, skimmed milk with water. I was hungry, so hungry, that by way of dessert I finished up with a basin of thick oaten porridge.

skyr - ordine del giorno

curds - coagulo, cagliata

whey - siero di latte

juniper - ginepro

berry - bacca

skimmed milk - latte scremato

basin - lavandino, lavabo, bacinella, lavacro

porridge - farinata d'avena

As soon as the meal was over, the children disappeared, whilst the grown people sat around the fireplace, on which was placed turf, heather, cow dung and dried fish-bones. As soon as everybody was sufficiently warm, a general dispersion took place, all retiring to their respective couches.

whilst - mentre

heather - erica, brugo

cow dung - sterco di mucca

sufficiently - sufficientemente

dispersion - dispersione

respective - rispettivo

couches - divano

Our hostess offered to pull off our stockings and trousers, according to the custom of the country, but as we graciously declined to be so honored, she left us to our bed of dry fodder.

stockings - calzettone

declined - declino, declinare, rifiutare

honored - onore, onorare, tenere fede a

fodder - foraggio, biada

Next day, at five in the morning, we took our leave of these hospitable peasants. My uncle had great difficulty in making them accept a sufficient and proper remuneration.

peasants - contadino, contadina, cafone, cafona, paesano

remuneration - remunerazione

Hans then gave the signal to start.

We had scarcely got a hundred yards from Gardar, when the character of the country changed. The soil began to be marshy and boggy, and less favorable to progress. To the right, the range of mountains was prolonged indefinitely like a great system of natural fortifications, of which we skirted the glacis.

boggy - paludoso

prolonged - prologo

indefinitely - all'infinito

fortifications - fortificazione

glacis - gentle incline, angled armour plate, device for sorting mail

We met with numerous streams and rivulets which it was necessary to ford, and that without wetting our baggage. As we advanced, the deserted appearance increased, and yet now and then we could see human shadows flitting in the distance.

rivulets - rigagnolo

ford - guado, guadare

shadows - ombra, pedinare

flitting - fluttuare, (flit), svolazzare

When a sudden turn of the track brought us within easy reach of one of these specters, I felt a sudden impulse of disgust at the sight of a swollen head, with shining skin, utterly without hair, and whose repulsive and revolting wounds could be seen through his rags.

easy reach - facile accesso

specters - spettro, fantasma

impulse - impulso, aire, slancio, abbrivo

swollen - gonfiare, gonfiarsi, aumentare

repulsive - ripugnante

revolting - rivolta

rags - straccio

The unhappy wretches never came forward to beg; on the contrary, they ran away; not so quick, however, but that Hans was able to salute them with the universal saellvertu.

wretches - disgraziato, infelice

beg - elemosinare, chiedere l'elemosina

salute - salutare

universal - universale

"Spetelsk," said he.

"A leper," explained my uncle.

leper - lebbroso, lebbrosa

The very sound of such a word caused a feeling of repulsion. The horrible affliction known as leprosy, which has almost vanished before the effects of modern science, is common in Iceland. It is not contagious but hereditary, so that marriage is strictly prohibited to these unfortunate creatures.

repulsion - ripulsione, repulsione

affliction - afflizione

leprosy - lebbra

vanished - sparire, svanire

contagious - contagioso, infettivo

hereditary - ereditario

prohibited - proibire, impedire, ostacolare, vietare

creatures - creatura

These poor lepers did not tend to enliven our journey, the scene of which was inexpressibly sad and lonely. The very last tufts of grassy vegetation appeared to die at our feet. Not a tree was to be seen, except a few stunted willows about as big as blackberry bushes. Now and then we watched a falcon soaring in the grey and misty air, taking his flight towards warmer and sunnier regions.

lepers - lebbroso, lebbrosa

enliven - animare, ravvivare

inexpressibly - in modo inesprimibile

tufts - cespo, ciuffo, ciocca, zolla, fiocco

willows - salice, salcio

blackberry bushes - cespugli di more

falcon - falco, falcone

soaring - impennata

sunnier - soleggiato, soleggiata

I could not help feeling a sense of melancholy come over me. I sighed for my own native land, and wished to be back with Gretchen.

sighed - sospirare

native land - terra natia

We were compelled to cross several little fjords, and at last came to a real gulf. The tide was at its height, and we were able to go over at once, and reach the hamlet of Alftanes, about a mile farther.

That evening, after fording the Alfa and the Heta, two rivers rich in trout and pike, we were compelled to pass the night in a deserted house, worthy of being haunted by all the fays of Scandinavian mythology. The King of Cold had taken up his residence there, and made us feel his presence all night.

fording - guado, guadare

trout - trota

Pike - luccio

haunted - infestare, tormentare, ritrovo

mythology - mitologia

The following day was remarkable by its lack of any particular incidents. Always the same damp and swampy soil; the same dreary uniformity; the same sad and monotonous aspect of scenery. In the evening, having accomplished the half of our projected journey, we slept at the Annexia of Krosolbt.

Incidents - imprevisto, inconveniente, incidente

damp - umido, bagnato, madido, umidita, grisu, smorzare, soffocare

Swampy - Paludoso

dreary - melanconico, malinconico

uniformity - uniformita

scenery - paesaggio, scenario (2)

For a whole mile we had under our feet nothing but lava. This disposition of the soil is called hraun: the crumbled lava on the surface was in some instances like ship cables stretched out horizontally, in others coiled up in heaps; an immense field of lava came from the neighboring mountains, all extinct volcanoes, but whose remains showed what once they had been.

disposition - carattere

hraun - ordine del giorno

crumbled - sgretolarsi, crollare, ridursi, sbriciolare, sbriciolarsi

instances - volta

cables - cavo, cavo elettrico, treccia, cablare

horizontally - orizzontalmente

coiled - attorcigliarsi

in heaps - in mucchi

Here and there could be made out the steam from hot water springs.

There was no time, however, for us to take more than a cursory view of these phenomena. We had to go forward with what speed we might. Soon the soft and swampy soil again appeared under the feet of our horses, while at every hundred yards we came upon one or more small lakes.

cursory - rapido, distratto, sbrigativo

Our journey was now in a westerly direction; we had, in fact, swept round the great bay of Faxa, and the twin white summits of Sneffels rose to the clouds at a distance of less than five miles.

westerly - occidentale

swept - spazzare, scopare, ramazzare, setacciare, spazzata

The horses now advanced rapidly. The accidents and difficulties of the soil no longer checked them. I confess that fatigue began to tell severely upon me; but my uncle was as firm and as hard as he had been on the first day. I could not help admiring both the excellent Professor and the worthy guide; for they appeared to regard this rugged expedition as a mere walk!

severely - severamente

firm - fermo, sicuro

regard - considerare

On Saturday, the 20th June, at six o'clock in the evening, we reached Budir, a small town picturesquely situated on the shore of the ocean; and here the guide asked for his money. My uncle settled with him immediately. It was now the family of Hans himself, that is to say, his uncles, his cousins-german, who offered us hospitality.

picturesquely - pittorescamente

We were exceedingly well received, and without taking too much advantage of the goodness of these worthy people, I should have liked very much to have rested with them after the fatigues of the journey. But my uncle, who did not require rest, had no idea of anything of the kind; and despite the fact that next day was Sunday, I was compelled once more to mount my steed.

goodness - bonta

fatigues - stanchezza, affaticamento, corvé, usura

The soil was again affected by the neighborhood of the mountains, whose granite peered out of the ground like tops of an old oak. We were skirting the enormous base of the mighty volcano. My uncle never took his eyes from off it; he could not keep from gesticulating, and looking at it with a kind of sullen defiance as much as to say "That is the giant I have made up my mind to conquer."

neighborhood - vicinato, quartiere, vicinanza, intorno

peered - Pari

oak - quercia

sullen - afflitto, astioso, tetro, cupo, disarmante, lento

defiance - sfida

conquer - conquistare, sconfiggere, vincere

After four hours of steady traveling, the horses stopped of themselves before the door of the presbytery of Stapi.

presbytery - presbiterio


Stapi is a town consisting of thirty huts, built on a large plain of lava, exposed to the rays of the sun, reflected from the volcano. It stretches its humble tenements along the end of a little fjord, surrounded by a basaltic wall of the most singular character.

exposed - esporre, evidenziare, rivelare, mettere in luce

rays - raggio

stretches - tendere

humble - umile

tenements - casamento, condominio, case popolari, casermone

Basalt is a brown rock of igneous origin. It assumes regular forms, which astonish by their singular appearance. Here we found Nature proceeding geometrically, and working quite after a human fashion, as if she had employed the plummet line, the compass and the rule.

basalt - basalto

igneous - igneo

assumes - presupporre, ritenere, assumere

proceeding - procedimento, (proceed), procedere

geometrically - geometricamente

plummet - filo a piombo, piombino, declino, caduta, precipitare

If elsewhere she produces grand artistic effects by piling up huge masses without order or connection-if elsewhere we see truncated cones, imperfect pyramids, with an odd succession of lines; here, as if wishing to give a lesson in regularity, and preceding the architects of the early ages, she has erected a severe order of architecture, which neither the splendors of Babylon nor the marvels of Greece ever surpassed.

grand - grandioso

artistic - artistico

piling - palificazione

masses - massa

truncated - troncare

cones - cono, pigna, strobilo

imperfect - imperfetto, imperfetta

pyramids - piramide

succession - successione

regularity - regolarita

preceding - precedere

erected - eretto

splendors - splendore

Babylon - Babilonia

marvels - stupirsi, meravigliarsi

Greece - Grecia

surpassed - sorpassare

I had often heard of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, and of Fingal's Cave in one of the Hebrides, but the grand spectacle of a real basaltic formation had never yet come before my eyes.

causeway - strada rialzata, selciato, lastricato

Ireland - Irlanda

cave - caverna, grotta

Hebrides - Ebridi

formation - formazione

This at Stapi gave us an idea of one in all its wonderful beauty and grace.

grace - benedicite, ringraziamento, grazia, eleganza, garbo

The wall of the fjord, like nearly the whole of the peninsula, consisted of a series of vertical columns, in height about thirty feet. These upright pillars of stone, of the finest proportions, supported an archivault of horizontal columns which formed a kind of half-vaulted roof above the sea.

vertical - verticale

upright - eretto, in verticale, dritto, in piedi, integro

pillars - pilastro

proportions - proporzione

vaulted - volta

At certain intervals, and below this natural basin, the eye was pleased and surprised by the sight of oval openings through which the outward waves came thundering in volleys of foam.

intervals - intervallo

oval - ovale

openings - apertura

outward - verso l'esterno

thundering - tuonare, (thunder), tuono, rombo, schianto, boato, fragore

volleys - raffica, volée

foam - schiuma, gomma piuma

Some banks of basalt, torn from their fastenings by the fury of the waves, lay scattered on the ground like the ruins of an ancient temple-ruins eternally young, over which the storms of ages swept without producing any perceptible effect!

fastenings - fissaggio

Temple - tempio

eternally - eternamente

perceptible - percepibile

This was the last stage of our journey. Hans had brought us along with fidelity and intelligence, and I began to feel somewhat more comfortable when I reflected that he was to accompany us still farther on our way.

fidelity - fedelta

When we halted before the house of the Rector, a small and incommodious cabin, neither handsome nor more comfortable than those of his neighbors, I saw a man in the act of shoeing a horse, a hammer in his hand, and a leathern apron tied round his waist.

halted - fermare, fermarsi

rector - parroco, rettore

incommodious - incomodo

leathern - pelle

apron - grembiule, piazzale

tied round - legato intorno

waist - vita, cintura, cintola

"Be happy," said the eider-down hunter, using his national salutation in his own language.

salutation - saluto

"God dag-good day!" replied the former, in excellent Danish.

former - precedente, passato

"Kyrkoherde," cried Hans, turning round and introducing him to my uncle.

turning round - girare

"The Rector," repeated the worthy Professor; "it appears, my dear Harry, that this worthy man is the Rector, and is not above doing his own work."

During the speaking of these words the guide intimated to the Kyrkoherde what was the true state of the case. The good man, ceasing from his occupation, gave a kind of halloo, upon which a tall woman, almost a giantess, came out of the hut. She was at least six feet high, which in that region is something considerable.

intimated - stretto, intimo, privato, proprio, personale

ceasing - cessare, (cease), arrestare, smettere, interrompere

giantess - gigantessa

My first impression was one of horror. I thought she had come to give us the Icelandic kiss. I had, however, nothing to fear, for she did not even show much inclination to receive us into her house.

inclination - inclinazione, dislivello

The room devoted to strangers appeared to me to be by far the worst in the presbytery; it was narrow, dirty and offensive. There was, however, no choice about the matter. The Rector had no notion of practicing the usual cordial and antique hospitality. Far from it. Before the day was over, I found we had to deal with a blacksmith, a fisherman, a hunter, a carpenter, anything but a clergyman.

offensive - offensivo, offensiva

cordial - cordiale

blacksmith - fabbro ferraio, maniscalco, maniscalca

Carpenter - carpentiere, falegname, maestro d'ascia

clergyman - chierico, prete, sacerdote, ecclesiastico

It must be said in his favor that we had caught him on a weekday; probably he appeared to greater advantage on the Sunday.

weekday - giorno feriale

These poor priests receive from the Danish Government a most ridiculously inadequate salary, and collect one quarter of the tithe of their parish-not more than sixty marks current, or about L3 10s. sterling. Hence the necessity of working to live. In truth, we soon found that our host did not count civility among the cardinal virtues.

ridiculously - ridicolmente, irrisoriamente

inadequate - inadeguato

tithe - decima

parish - parrocchia

sterling - sterlina, oro sterlina, argento sterlina

civility - civilta

cardinal - cardinale, numero cardinale, rosso cardinale

virtues - virtu, merito

My uncle soon became aware of the kind of man he had to deal with. Instead of a worthy and learned scholar, he found a dull ill-mannered peasant. He therefore resolved to start on his great expedition as soon as possible. He did not care about fatigue, and resolved to spend a few days in the mountains.

dull - spuntato, smussato, noioso, soporifero, tedioso

mannered - educato

The preparations for our departure were made the very next day after our arrival at Stapi; Hans now hired three Icelanders to take the place of the horses-which could no longer carry our luggage. When, however, these worthy islanders had reached the bottom of the crater, they were to go back and leave us to ourselves. This point was settled before they would agree to start.

islanders - isolano, isolana

On this occasion, my uncle partly confided in Hans, the eider-duck hunter, and gave him to understand that it was his intention to continue his exploration of the volcano to the last possible limits.

partly - in parte

confided - confidarsi

exploration - esplorazione

Hans listened calmly, and then nodded his head. To go there, or elsewhere, to bury himself in the bowels of the earth, or to travel over its summits, was all the same to him! As for me, amused and occupied by the incidents of travel, I had begun to forget the inevitable future; but now I was once more destined to realize the actual state of affairs. What was to be done? Run away?

calmly - con calma

amused - svagare

occupied - occupare

actual - reale, effettivo, concreto, esistente, attuale, corrente

affairs - affare

But if I really had intended to leave Professor Hardwigg to his fate, it should have been at Hamburg and not at the foot of Sneffels.

fate - fato, sorte, destino

One idea, above all others, began to trouble me: a very terrible idea, and one calculated to shake the nerves of a man even less sensitive than myself.

calculated - calcolare

sensitive - ricettivo, sensibile, delicato

"Let us consider the matter," I said to myself; "we are going to ascend the Sneffels mountain. Well and good. We are about to pay a visit to the very bottom of the crater. Good, still. Others have done it and did not perish from that course.

"That, however, is not the whole matter to be considered. If a road does really present itself by which to descend into the dark and subterraneous bowels of Mother Earth, if this thrice unhappy Saknussemm has really told the truth, we shall be most certainly lost in the midst of the labyrinth of subterraneous galleries of the volcano.

thrice - tre volta

labyrinth - labirinto, meandro

Now, we have no evidence to prove that Sneffels is really extinct. What proof have we that an eruption is not shortly about to take place? Because the monster has slept soundly since 1219, does it follow that he is never to wake?

monster - mostro

soundly - in modo sano e semplice

"If he does wake what is to become of us?"

These were questions worth thinking about, and upon them I reflected long and deeply. I could not lie down in search of sleep without dreaming of eruptions. The more I thought, the more I objected to be reduced to the state of dross and ashes.

dross - scorie

ashes - cenere

I could stand it no longer; so I determined at last to submit the whole case to my uncle, in the most adroit manner possible, and under the form of some totally irreconcilable hypothesis.

submit - presentare, sottoporre

adroit - abile

irreconcilable - irreconciliabile

hypothesis - ipotesi

I sought him. I laid before him my fears, and then drew back in order to let him get his passion over at his ease.

"I have been thinking about the matter," he said, in the quietest tone in the world.

What did he mean? Was he at last about to listen to the voice of reason? Did he think of suspending his projects? It was almost too much happiness to be true.

suspending - appendere, sospendere

I however made no remark. In fact, I was only too anxious not to interrupt him, and allowed him to reflect at his leisure. After some moments he spoke out.

interrupt - interrompere, celare, ricoprire, tagliare

"I have been thinking about the matter," he resumed. "Ever since we have been at Stapi, my mind has been almost solely occupied with the grave question which has been submitted to me by yourself-for nothing would be unwiser and more inconsistent than to act with imprudence."

resumed - riprendere

solely - unicamente, solamente, esclusivamente

occupied with - occupato

submitted - sottomettersi, sottomettere, sottoporre, presentare, inviare

unwiser - imprudente, insipiente

more inconsistent - piu incoerente

imprudence - imprudenza

"I heartily agree with you, my dear uncle," was my somewhat hopeful rejoinder.

hopeful - speranzoso

rejoinder - replica

"It is now six hundred years since Sneffels has spoken, but though now reduced to a state of utter silence, he may speak again. New volcanic eruptions are always preceded by perfectly well-known phenomena. I have closely examined the inhabitants of this region; I have carefully studied the soil, and I beg to tell you emphatically, my dear Harry, there will be no eruption at present."

utter - completo, totale

silence - silenzio, silenziare, azzittire, mettere a tacere

preceded - precedere

closely - strettamente, da vicino, a stretto contatto

emphatically - enfaticamente, con forza, con decisione

As I listened to his positive affirmations, I was stupefied and could say nothing.

affirmations - affermazione

"I see you doubt my word," said my uncle; "follow me."

I obeyed mechanically.

Leaving the presbytery, the Professor took a road through an opening in the basaltic rock, which led far away from the sea. We were soon in open country, if we could give such a name to a place all covered with volcanic deposits. The whole land seemed crushed under the weight of enormous stones-of trap, of basalt, of granite, of lava, and of all other volcanic substances.

deposits - deposito, caparra, acconto, sedimento

trap - trappola

I could see many spouts of steam rising in the air. These white vapors, called in the Icelandic language "reykir," come from hot water fountains, and indicate by their violence the volcanic activity of the soil. Now the sight of these appeared to justify my apprehension. I was, therefore, all the more surprised and mortified when my uncle thus addressed me.

spouts - beccuccio, getto, sgorgare, zampillare

vapors - gas, vapore

fountains - fontana

violence - violenza

justify - giustificare

apprehension - apprensione

mortified - mortificare

"You see all this smoke, Harry, my boy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, as long as you see them thus, you have nothing to fear from the volcano."

"How can that be?"

"Be careful to remember this," continued the Professor. "At the approach of an eruption these spouts of vapor redouble their activity-to disappear altogether during the period of volcanic eruption; for the elastic fluids, no longer having the necessary tension, seek refuge in the interior of the crater, instead of escaping through the fissures of the earth.

redouble - raddoppiare

altogether - del tutto, nel complesso

elastic - elastico, elastica

fluids - fluido, liquido

tension - tensione

seek - cercare, ricercare

refuge - rifugio, riparo

fissures - fessura, spaccatura

If, then, the steam remains in its normal or habitual state, if their energy does not increase, and if you add to this, the remark that the wind is not replaced by heavy atmospheric pressure and dead calm, you may be quite sure that there is no fear of any immediate eruption."

habitual - ricorrente, ripetitivo, solito, persistente, usuale, abituale

atmospheric - atmosferico

dead calm - silenzio assoluto


"Enough, my boy. When science has sent forth her fiat-it is only to hear and obey."

fiat - An authoritative command or order to do something, an effectual decree

I came back to the house quite downcast and disappointed. My uncle had completely defeated me with his scientific arguments. Nevertheless, I had still one hope, and that was, when once we were at the bottom of the crater, that it would be impossible in default of a gallery or tunnel, to descend any deeper; and this, despite all the learned Saknussemms in the world.

downcast - abbattuto

defeated - sconfiggere

default - mora, morosita, default, inadempienza, predefinito

tunnel - tunnel, traforo

I passed the whole of the following night with a nightmare on my chest! and, after unheard-of miseries and tortures, found myself in the very depths of the earth, from which I was suddenly launched into planetary space, under the form of an eruptive rock!

unheard - inascoltato

miseries - miseria, accidente

tortures - torturare

launched - lanciare, mettere in acqua*

planetary - planetario

eruptive - eruttivo

Next day, June 23d, Hans calmly awaited us outside the presbytery with his three companions loaded with provisions, tools, and instruments. Two iron-shod poles, two guns, and two large game bags, were reserved for my uncle and myself. Hans, who was a man who never forgot even the minutest precautions, had added to our baggage a large skin full of water, as an addition to our gourds.

Companions - amico, compagno

loaded - carico

reserved - riserva, riservare

precautions - precauzione

This assured us water for eight days.

assured - assicurato, (assure), assicurare, garantire

It was nine o'clock in the morning when we were quite ready. The rector and his huge wife or servant, I never knew which, stood at the door to see us off. They appeared to be about to inflict on us the usual final kiss of the Icelanders.

inflict - infliggere, comminare

To our supreme astonishment their adieu took the shape of a formidable bill, in which they even counted the use of the pastoral house, really and truly the most abominable and dirty place I ever was in. The worthy couple cheated and robbed us like a Swiss innkeeper, and made us feel, by the sum we had to pay, the splendors of their hospitality.

supreme - supremo, suprema

adieu - a farewell

formidable - spaventoso

pastoral - pastorale

most abominable - piu abominevole

robbed - derubare, svaligiare

Swiss - svizzero, elvetico, svizzera

innkeeper - locandiere, locandiera, oste, ostessa

sum - somma

My uncle, however, paid without bargaining. A man who had made up his mind to undertake a voyage into the Interior of the Earth, is not the man to haggle over a few miserable rix-dollars.

bargaining - trattativa, accordo, mercanteggiamento, mercanteggiare, trattare

haggle over - contrattare

This important matter settled, Hans gave the signal for departure, and some few moments later we had left Stapi.


The huge volcano which was the first stage of our daring experiment is above five thousand feet high. Sneffels is the termination of a long range of volcanic mountains, of a different character to the system of the island itself. One of its peculiarities is its two huge pointed summits.

daring - audace

peculiarities - peculiarita

From whence we started it was impossible to make out the real outlines of the peak against the grey field of sky. All we could distinguish was a vast dome of white, which fell downwards from the head of the giant.

whence - onde, donde, da dove

outlines - contorno, sagoma, descrizione, sunto, bozza, contornare

Peak - picco

distinguish - distinguere, discernere, distinguersi

dome - cupola, echnical

downwards - verso il basso

The commencement of the great undertaking filled me with awe. Now that we had actually started, I began to believe in the reality of the undertaking!

commencement - inizio

Our party formed quite a procession. We walked in single file, preceded by Hans, the imperturbable eider-duck hunter. He calmly led us by narrow paths where two persons could by no possibility walk abreast. Conversation was wholly impossible. We had all the more opportunity to reflect and admire the awful grandeur of the scene around.

procession - corteo

abreast - affiancato, di pari passo, aggiornato, aggiornata, al passo

Beyond the extraordinary basaltic wall of the fjord of Stapi we found ourselves making our way through fibrous turf, over which grew a scanty vegetation of grass, the residuum of the ancient vegetation of the swampy peninsula. The vast mass of this combustible, the field of which as yet is utterly unexplored, would suffice to warm Iceland for a whole century.

fibrous - fibroso

scanty - scarso

residuum - residuo

mass - massa

combustible - combustibile

unexplored - inesplorato

suffice - bastare, essere sufficiente, soddisfare, fornire

This mighty turf pit, measured from the bottom of certain ravines, is often not less than seventy feet deep, and presents to the eye the view of successive layers of black burned-up rocky detritus, separated by thin streaks of porous sandstone.

pit - buca, fossa

ravines - burrone

successive - consecutivo

detritus - detriti

streaks - striatura, striscia

porous - poroso

sandstone - arenaria

The grandeur of the spectacle was undoubted, as well as its arid and deserted air.

As a true nephew of the great Professor Hardwigg, and despite my preoccupation and doleful fears of what was to come, I observed with great interest the vast collection of mineralogical curiosities spread out before me in this vast museum of natural history. Looking back to my recent studies, I went over in thought the whole geological history of Iceland.

preoccupation - preoccupazione

doleful - addolorato

This extraordinary and curious island must have made its appearance from out of the great world of waters at a comparatively recent date. Like the coral islands of the Pacific, it may, for aught we know, be still rising by slow and imperceptible degrees.

comparatively - relativamente

coral - corallo, corallino, corallina

aught - qualcosa

imperceptible - impercettibile

If this really be the case, its origin can be attributed to only one cause-that of the continued action of subterranean fires.

attributed - attributo, caratteristica, attribuire

subterranean - sotterraneo

This was a happy thought.

If so, if this were true, away with the theories of Sir Humphry Davy; away with the authority of the parchment of Arne Saknussemm; the wonderful pretensions to discovery on the part of my uncle-and to our journey!

pretensions - pretesa

All must end in smoke.

end in smoke - finire in fumo

Charmed with the idea, I began more carefully to look about me. A serious study of the soil was necessary to negative or confirm my hypothesis. I took in every item of what I saw, and I began to comprehend the succession of phenomena which had preceded its formation.

charmed - fascino

Iceland, being absolutely without sedimentary soil, is composed exclusively of volcanic tufa; that is to say, of an agglomeration of stones and of rocks of a porous texture. Long before the existence of volcanoes, it was composed of a solid body of massive trap rock lifted bodily and slowly out of the sea, by the action of the centrifugal force at work in the earth.

sedimentary - sedimentario

agglomeration - agglomerazione

texture - texture

massive - massiccio, imponente, enorme, massivo, voluminoso

bodily - corporale, corporeo, corporalmente

centrifugal force - forza centrifuga

The internal fires, however, had not as yet burst their bounds and flooded the exterior cake of Mother Earth with hot and raging lava.

internal - interno, privato

burst - scoppiare, esplodere, strappare, separare, scoppio, esplosione

bounds - vincolato

raging - rabbia, furia, furore, infuriare, imperversare

My readers must excuse this brief and somewhat pedantic geological lecture. But it is necessary to the complete understanding of what follows.

Excuse - scusare, perdonare, scusarsi, giustificarsi, scusa, pretesto

pedantic - pedante

At a later period in the world's history, a huge and mighty fissure must, reasoning by analogy, have been dug diagonally from the southwest to the northeast of the island, through which by degrees flowed the volcanic crust.

fissure - fessura, spaccatura

analogy - analogia, somiglianza, equivalenza

diagonally - diagonalmente

by degrees - gradualmente

The great and wondrous phenomenon then went on without violence-the outpouring was enormous, and the seething fused matter, ejected from the bowels of the earth, spread slowly and peacefully in the form of vast level plains, or what are called mamelons or mounds.

phenomenon - fenomeno

outpouring - effusione

seething - in fermento, (seethe), bollire, ribollire, schiumare, fervere

fused - fondere

ejected - espellere, sfrattare

peacefully - pacificamente

plains - semplice

mamelons - mamelucco

mounds - terrapieno, tumulo, cumulo, monticello

It was at this epoch that the rocks called feldspars, syenites, and porphyries appeared.

epoch - epoca, avvenimento, singolarita, orario epocale

feldspars - feldspato

syenites - sienite

porphyries - porfido

But as a natural consequence of this overflow, the depth of the island increased. It can readily be believed what an enormous quantity of elastic fluids were piled up within its centre, when at last it afforded no other openings, after the process of cooling the crust had taken place.

overflow - straripamento, eccesso, eccedenza, sfogo, uscita, overflow

depth - profondita

At length a time came when despite the enormous thickness and weight of the upper crust, the mechanical forces of the combustible gases below became so great, that they actually upheaved the weighty back and made for themselves huge and gigantic shafts. Hence the volcanoes which suddenly arose through the upper crust, and next the craters, which burst forth at the summit of these new creations.

thickness - spessore, grossezza

mechanical - meccanico

weighty - importante

shafts - lancia, raggio, asta, prolunga, rachide, pozzo, condotto

creations - creazione, creato

It will be seen that the first phenomena in connection with the formation of the island were simply eruptive; to these, however, shortly succeeded the volcanic phenomena.

Through the newly formed openings, escaped the marvelous mass of basaltic stones with which the plain we were now crossing was covered. We were trampling our way over heavy rocks of dark grey color, which, while cooling, had been moulded into six-sided prisms. In the "back distance" we could see a number of flattened cones, which formerly were so many fire-vomiting mouths.

newly - di recente

trampling - calpestare, (trample), offendere, urtare

moulded - terriccio

Prisms - prisma

flattened - appiattire, atterrare, appiattirsi

Formerly - In passato

vomiting - vomito

After the basaltic eruption was appeased and set at rest, the volcano, the force of which increased with that of the extinct craters, gave free passage to the fiery overflow of lava, and to the mass of cinders and pumice stone, now scattered over the sides of the mountain, like disheveled hair on the shoulders of a Bacchante.

appeased - placare, pacificare, calmare

fiery - ardente, incandescente, bruciante, infiammabile, infocato

cinders - cenere

pumice - pomice

disheveled - spettinare

Bacchante - Baccante

Here, in a nutshell, I had the whole history of the phenomena from which Iceland arose. All take their rise in the fierce action of interior fires, and to believe that the central mass did not remain in a state of liquid fire, white hot, was simply and purely madness.

nutshell - guscio di noce

purely - puramente

This being satisfactorily proved (Q.E.D.), what insensate folly to pretend to penetrate into the interior of the mighty earth!

satisfactorily - in modo soddisfacente

insensate - insensato

penetrate - penetrare

This mental lecture delivered to myself while proceeding on a journey, did me good. I was quite reassured as to the fate of our enterprise; and therefore went, like a brave soldier mounting a bristling battery, to the assault of old Sneffels.

reassured - rassicurare, tranquillizzare

mounting - montaggio

bristling - pelo ispido, barba corta ispida, setola, setole

assault - assalto, attacco, aggressione, arrembaggio

As we advanced, the road became every moment more difficult. The soil was broken and dangerous. The rocks broke and gave way under our feet, and we had to be scrupulously careful in order to avoid dangerous and constant falls.

scrupulously - scrupolosamente

Hans advanced as calmly as if he had been walking over Salisbury Plain; sometimes he would disappear behind huge blocks of stone, and we momentarily lost sight of him. There was a little period of anxiety and then there was a shrill whistle, just to tell us where to look for him.

momentarily - momentaneamente

shrill - stridulo, stridore, stridio, stridente

whistle - fischietto, fischio, checkfischio, fischiare

Occasionally he would take it into his head to stop to pick up lumps of rock, and silently pile them up into small heaps, in order that we might not lose our way on our return.

lumps - gonfiore, gnocco, cucchiaino, zolla, zolletta

silently - silenziosamente

pile - pila, mucchio

heaps - folla, massa, moltitudine, pila, cumulo

He had no idea of the journey we were about to undertake.

At all events, the precaution was a good one; though how utterly useless and unnecessary-but I must not anticipate.

precaution - precauzione

anticipate - anticipare, prevedere

Three hours of terrible fatigue, walking incessantly, had only brought us to the foot of the great mountain. This will give some notion of what we had still to undergo.

incessantly - incessantemente

undergo - soffrire, sottoporsi

Suddenly, however, Hans cried a halt-that is, he made signs to that effect-and a summary kind of breakfast was laid out on the lava before us. My uncle, who now was simply Professor Hardwigg, was so eager to advance, that he bolted his food like a greedy clown. This halt for refreshment was also a halt for repose.

eager - desideroso

bolted - catenaccio

greedy - ingordo, avido, goloso

clown - pagliaccio, pagliaccia, buffone, buffona

repose - riposo

The Professor was therefore compelled to wait the good pleasure of his imperturbable guide, who did not give the signal for departure for a good hour.

The three Icelanders, who were as taciturn as their comrade, did not say a word; but went on eating and drinking very quietly and soberly.

taciturn - taciturno

comrade - compagno, compagna, checkcamerata

soberly - sobriamente

From this, our first real stage, we began to ascend the slopes of the Sneffels volcano. Its magnificent snowy nightcap, as we began to call it, by an optical delusion very common in mountains, appeared to me to be close at hand; and yet how many long weary hours must elapse before we reached its summit. What unheard-of fatigue must we endure!

slopes - pendio, pendenza, inclinazione, muso giallo, digradare, loor

snowy - innevato

nightcap - berretto frigio, berretto da notte, papalina

endure - durare, restare, resistere, perdurare, tollerare

The stones on the mountain side, held together by no cement of soil, bound together by no roots or creeping herbs, gave way continually under our feet, and went rushing below into the plains, like a series of small avalanches.

cement - cemento, adesivo, cementare, consolidare

bound together - uniti

roots - radice

creeping - abbarbicarsi, insinuarsi, strisciare, scorrimento, spostamento

herbs - erba aromatica, erba, erba medicinale

continually - continuamente

avalanches - valanga, slavina, frana

In certain places the sides of this stupendous mountain were at an angle so steep that it was impossible to climb upwards, and we were compelled to get round these obstacles as best we might.

stupendous - stupendo, enorme

angle - Anglo

obstacles - ostacolo, inciampo

Those who understand Alpine climbing will comprehend our difficulties. Often we were obliged to help each other along by means of our climbing poles.

I must say this for my uncle, that he stuck as close to me as possible. He never lost sight of me, and on many occasions his arm supplied me with firm and solid support. He was strong, wiry, and apparently insensible to fatigue. Another great advantage with him was that he had the innate sentiment of equilibrium-for he never slipped or failed in his steps.

insensible - privo di sensi

sentiment - sentimento

equilibrium - equilibrio, quiete

slipped - scivolare

The Icelanders, though heavily loaded, climbed with the agility of mountaineers.

agility - agilita

mountaineers - montanaro, alpinista, escursionista, scalatore, scalatrice

Looking up, every now and then, at the height of the great volcano of Sneffels, it appeared to me wholly impossible to reach to the summit on that side; at all events, if the angle of inclination did not speedily change.

speedily - rapidamente

Fortunately, after an hour of unheard-of fatigues, and of gymnastic exercises that would have been trying to an acrobat, we came to a vast field of ice, which wholly surrounded the bottom of the cone of the volcano. The natives called it the tablecloth, probably from some such reason as the dwellers in the Cape of Good Hope call their mountain Table Mountain, and their roads Table Bay.

gymnastic exercises - esercizi di ginnastica

acrobat - acrobata

tablecloth - tovaglia

dwellers - abitante

Here, to our mutual surprise, we found an actual flight of stone steps, which wonderfully assisted our ascent. This singular flight of stairs was, like everything else, volcanic. It had been formed by one of those torrents of stones cast up by the eruptions, and of which the Icelandic name is stina.

mutual - mutuo, vicendevole, reciproco

wonderfully - meravigliosamente

torrents - torrente

If this singular torrent had not been checked in its descent by the peculiar shape of the flanks of the mountain, it would have swept into the sea, and would have formed new islands.

torrent - torrente

descent - discesa, ascendenza

flanks - aggirare il fianco, proteggere il fianco, fiancheggiare, affiancare, soccoscio

Such as it was, it served us admirably. The abrupt character of the slopes momentarily increased, but these remarkable stone steps, a little less difficult than those of the Egyptian pyramids, were the one simple natural means by which we were enabled to proceed.

abrupt - brusco, improvviso, inaspettato, discontinuo, discontinua

enabled - permettere, attivare, abilitare

proceed - procedere

About seven in the evening of that day, after having clambered up two thousand of these rough steps, we found ourselves overlooking a kind of spur or projection of the mountain-a sort of buttress upon which the conelike crater, properly so called, leaned for support.

clambered - arrampicarsi

overlooking - dare su

projection - proiezione

buttress - contrafforte, contrafforti, sperone, supporto, corroborazione

leaned - pendere

The ocean lay beneath us at a depth of more than three thousand two hundred feet-a grand and mighty spectacle. We had reached the region of eternal snows.

The cold was keen, searching and intense. The wind blew with extraordinary violence. I was utterly exhausted.

My worthy uncle, the Professor, saw clearly that my legs refused further service, and that, in fact, I was utterly exhausted. Despite his hot and feverish impatience, he decided, with a sigh, upon a halt. He called the eider-duck hunter to his side. That worthy, however, shook his head.

"Ofvanfor," was his sole spoken reply.

"It appears," says my uncle with a woebegone look, "that we must go higher."

woebegone - triste

He then turned to Hans, and asked him to give some reason for this decisive response.

"Mistour," replied the guide.

"Ja, mistour-yes, the mistour," cried one of the Icelandic guides in a terrified tone.

terrified - terrificare

It was the first time he had spoken.

"What does this mysterious word signify?" I anxiously inquired.

signify - significare

inquired - domandare, chiedere

"Look," said my uncle.

I looked down upon the plain below, and I saw a vast, a prodigious volume of pulverized pumice stone, of sand, of dust, rising to the heavens in the form of a mighty waterspout. It resembled the fearful phenomenon of a similar character known to the travelers in the desert of the great Sahara.

prodigious - prodigioso

pulverized - polverizzare

waterspout - zampilli d'acqua

resembled - rassomigliare, arieggiare

Sahara - Sahara

The wind was driving it directly towards that side of Sneffels on which we were perched. This opaque veil standing up between us and the sun projected a deep shadow on the flanks of the mountain. If this sand spout broke over us, we must all be infallibly destroyed, crushed in its fearful embraces.

perched - trespolo

opaque - opaco, opaca, offuscato, arcano, oscuro

spout - beccuccio, getto, sgorgare, zampillare

infallibly - infallibilmente

embraces - abbracciare, aderire, inglobare, abbraccio

This extraordinary phenomenon, very common when the wind shakes the glaciers, and sweeps over the arid plains, is in the Icelandic tongue called "mistour."

sweeps - spazzare, scopare, ramazzare, setacciare, spazzata

"Hastigt, hastigt!" cried our guide.

Now I certainly knew nothing of Danish, but I thoroughly understood that his gestures were meant to quicken us.

gestures - gesto

quicken - accelerare

The guide turned rapidly in a direction which would take us to the back of the crater, all the while ascending slightly.

ascending - salire, riuscire

We followed rapidly, despite our excessive fatigue.

A quarter of an hour later Hans paused to enable us to look back. The mighty whirlwind of sand was spreading up the slope of the mountain to the very spot where we had proposed to halt. Huge stones were caught up, cast into the air, and thrown about as during an eruption. We were happily a little out of the direction of the wind, and therefore out of reach of danger.

paused - mettere in pausa, pausa

enable - permettere, attivare, abilitare

whirlwind - turbine

proposed - proporre, proporre il matrimonio

But for the precaution and knowledge of our guide, our dislocated bodies, our crushed and broken limbs, would have been cast to the wind, like dust from some unknown meteor.

dislocated - slogare, lussare

limbs - membro, arto

meteor - meteora

Hans, however, did not think it prudent to pass the night on the bare side of the cone. We therefore continued our journey in a zigzag direction. The fifteen hundred feet which remained to be accomplished took us at least five hours. The turnings and windings, the no-thoroughfares, the marches and marches, turned that insignificant distance into at least three leagues.

Prudent - prudente, avveduto

zigzag - zigzag

turnings - girare

windings - avvolgimento

insignificant - insignificante, irrilevante, nullo

I never felt such misery, fatigue and exhaustion in my life. I was ready to faint from hunger and cold. The rarefied air at the same time painfully acted upon my lungs.

misery - miseria, accidente

exhaustion - esaurimento

rarefied - rarefare

painfully - dolorosamente

lungs - polmone

At last, when I thought myself at my last gasp, about eleven at night, it being in that region quite dark, we reached the summit of Mount Sneffels!

gasp - restare senza fiato, restare a bocca aperta

It was in an awful mood of mind, that despite my fatigue, before I descended into the crater which was to shelter us for the night, I paused to behold the sun rise at midnight on the very day of its lowest declension, and enjoyed the spectacle of its ghastly pale rays cast upon the isle which lay sleeping at our feet!

shelter - rifugio, riparo, dare rifugio, rifugiarsi, ripararsi

declension - declinazione

ghastly - terrificante, spaventoso, agghiacciante, terribile, pessimo

Isle - isola

I no longer wondered at people traveling all the way from England to Norway to behold this magical and wondrous spectacle.

magical - magico


Our supper was eaten with ease and rapidity, after which everybody did the best he could for himself within the hollow of the crater. The bed was hard, the shelter unsatisfactory, the situation painful-lying in the open air, five thousand feet above the level of the sea!

rapidity - rapidita

hollow - vuoto, cavo

unsatisfactory - insoddisfacente

open air - all'aria aperta

Nevertheless, it has seldom happened to me to sleep so well as I did on that particular night. I did not even dream. So much for the effects of what my uncle called "wholesome fatigue."

seldom - raramente, di rado

wholesome - salubre

Next day, when we awoke under the rays of a bright and glorious sun, we were nearly frozen by the keen air. I left my granite couch and made one of the party to enjoy a view of the magnificent spectacle which developed itself, panorama-like, at our feet.

couch - divano

I stood upon the lofty summit of Mount Sneffels'southern peak. Thence I was able to obtain a view of the greater part of the island. The optical delusion, common to all lofty heights, raised the shores of the island, while the central portions appeared depressed. It was by no means too great a flight of fancy to believe that a giant picture was stretched out before me.

thence - di la

obtain - ottenere, riuscire, avere, stabilirsi

portions - porzione

depressed - deprimere

I could see the deep valleys that crossed each other in every direction. I could see precipices looking like sides of wells, lakes that seemed to be changed into ponds, ponds that looked like puddles, and rivers that were transformed into petty brooks. To my right were glaciers upon glaciers, and multiplied peaks, topped with light clouds of smoke.

precipices - precipizio, dirupo, baratro, burrone

ponds - stagno

puddles - pozzanghera

petty - meschino, piccolo

brooks - ruscello

multiplied - moltiplicare

The undulation of these infinite numbers of mountains, whose snowy summits make them look as if covered by foam, recalled to my remembrance the surface of a storm-beaten ocean. If I looked towards the west, the ocean lay before me in all its majestic grandeur, a continuation as it were, of these fleecy hilltops.

recalled - ritirare, revocare, richiamare, rammentare, ricordare

remembrance - ricordo

majestic - maestoso

continuation - continuazione

hilltops - in cima alla collina

Where the earth ended and the sea began it was impossible for the eye to distinguish.

I soon felt that strange and mysterious sensation which is awakened in the mind when looking down from lofty hilltops, and now I was able to do so without any feeling of nervousness, having fortunately hardened myself to that kind of sublime contemplation.

sensation - sensazione, senso, impressione

nervousness - nervosismo

hardened - indurire

contemplation - contemplazione

I wholly forgot who I was, and where I was. I became intoxicated with a sense of lofty sublimity, without thought of the abysses into which my daring was soon about to plunge me. I was presently, however, brought back to the realities of life by the arrival of the Professor and Hans, who joined me upon the lofty summit of the peak.

intoxicated - inebriare

sublimity - sublimita

plunge - tuffarsi

My uncle, turning in a westerly direction, pointed out to me a light cloud of vapor, a kind of haze, with a faint outline of land rising out of the waters.

haze - foschia

outline - contorno, sagoma, descrizione, sunto, bozza, contornare

"Greenland!" said he.

Greenland - Groenlandia

"Greenland?" cried I in reply.

"Yes," continued my uncle, who always when explaining anything spoke as if he were in a professor's chair; "we are not more than thirty-five leagues distant from that wonderful land. When the great annual breakup of the ice takes place, white bears come over to Iceland, carried by the floating masses of ice from the north. This, however, is a matter of little consequence.

annual - annuale

breakup - spezzettamento, rottura

masses - people, especially a large number

We are now on the summit of the great, the transcendent Sneffels, and here are its two peaks, north and south. Hans will tell you the name by which the people of Iceland call that on which we stand."

transcendent - trascendente

My uncle turned to the imperturbable guide, who nodded, and spoke as usual-one word.


My uncle looked at me with a proud and triumphant glance.

"A crater," he said, "you hear?"

I did hear, but I was totally unable to make reply.

The crater of Mount Sneffels represented an inverted cone, the gaping orifice apparently half a mile across; the depth indefinite feet. Conceive what this hole must have been like when full of flame and thunder and lightning.

inverted - invertire

orifice - orifizio, orificio

indefinite - indefinito

flame - fiamma, flame, fiammeggiare, infiammare

thunder - tuono, rombo, schianto, boato, fragore, frastuono, tuonare

The bottom of the funnel-shaped hollow was about five hundred feet in circumference, by which it will be seen that the slope from the summit to the bottom was very gradual, and we were therefore clearly able to get there without much fatigue or difficulty. Involuntarily, I compared this crater to an enormous loaded cannon; and the comparison completely terrified me.

funnel-shaped - (funnel-shaped) a forma di imbuto

circumference - circonferenza

gradual - graduale

involuntarily - involontariamente

cannon - cannone, carambola, cannonare

"To descend into the interior of a cannon," I thought to myself, "when perhaps it is loaded, and will go off at the least shock, is the act of a madman."

shock - shock, choc

But there was no longer any opportunity for me to hesitate. Hans, with a perfectly calm and indifferent air, took his usual post at the head of the adventurous little band. I followed without uttering a syllable.

hesitate - esitare, titubare

uttering - pronunciare

syllable - sillaba

I felt like the lamb led to the slaughter.

lamb - agnello, q ewborn

slaughter - mattanza, carneficina, massacro, macellare, massacrare

In order to render the descent less difficult, Hans took his way down the interior of the cone in rather a zigzag fashion, making, as the sailors say, long tracks to the eastward, followed by equally long ones to the west. It was necessary to walk through the midst of eruptive rocks, some of which, shaken in their balance, went rolling down with thundering clamor to the bottom of the abyss.

render - rendere

eastward - verso est

clamor - clamore, checkclamori

abyss - abisso

These continual falls awoke echoes of singular power and effect.

continual - continuo

Echoes - eco

Many portions of the cone consisted of inferior glaciers. Hans, whenever he met with one of these obstacles, advanced with a great show of precaution, sounding the soil with his long iron pole in order to discover fissures and layers of deep soft snow.

inferior - inferiore, di basso rango

pole - polo

In many doubtful or dangerous places, it became necessary for us to be tied together by a long rope in order that should any one of us be unfortunate enough to slip, he would be supported by his companions. This connecting link was doubtless a prudent precaution, but not by any means unattended with danger.

doubtful - dubbio, discutibile, incerto, improbabile, sospetto

slip - scivolare

unattended - solo, (senza sorveglianza)

Nevertheless, and despite all the manifold difficulties of the descent, along slopes with which our guide was wholly unacquainted, we made considerable progress without accident. One of our great parcels of rope slipped from one of the Iceland porters, and rushed by a short cut to the bottom of the abyss.

manifold - collettore

unacquainted - non conosciuto

parcels - pacchetto, plico, lotto, parcella, impacchettare

By midday we were at the end of our journey. I looked upwards, and saw only the upper orifice of the cone, which served as a circular frame to a very small portion of the sky-a portion which seemed to me singularly beautiful. Should I ever again gaze on that lovely sunlit sky!

midday - mezzogiorno, di mezzogiorno

singularly - singolarmente

gaze - fissare, guardare, puntare gli occhi, volgere lo sguardo

sunlit - illuminato dal sole

The only exception to this extraordinary landscape, was the Peak of Scartaris, which seemed lost in the great void of the heavens.

landscape - paesaggio, panorama, orizzontale, scenario

void - nullo

The bottom of the crater was composed of three separate shafts, through which, during periods of eruption, when Sneffels was in action, the great central furnace sent forth its burning lava and poisonous vapors. Each of these chimneys or shafts gaped open-mouthed in our path. I kept as far away from them as possible, not even venturing to take the faintest peep downwards.

furnace - fornace, bruciatore, caldaia

chimneys - camino, ciminiera, fumaiolo, bulbo

venturing - avventurarsi, (venture), avventura, azzardo, impresa

faintest - debole

peep - sbirciatina

As for the Professor, after a rapid examination of their disposition and characteristics, he became breathless and panting. He ran from one to the other like a delighted schoolboy, gesticulating wildly, and uttering incomprehensible and disjointed phrases in all sorts of languages.

characteristics - caratteristico, caratteristica

breathless - senza fiato

panting - ansimare

wildly - selvaggiamente

disjointed - disgiunto

Hans, the guide, and his humbler companions seated themselves on some piles of lava and looked silently on. They clearly took my uncle for a lunatic; and-waited the result.

piles - pila, mucchio

lunatic - demente

Suddenly the Professor uttered a wild, unearthly cry. At first I imagined he had lost his footing, and was falling headlong into one of the yawning gulfs. Nothing of the kind. I saw him, his arms spread out to their widest extent, his legs stretched apart, standing upright before an enormous pedestal, high enough and black enough to bear a gigantic statue of Pluto.

unearthly - soprannaturale

headlong - a capofitto

yawning - sbadigliare, (yawn), sbadiglio

pedestal - piedistallo

Pluto - Plutone

His attitude and mien were that of a man utterly stupefied. But his stupefaction was speedily changed to the wildest joy.

"Harry! Harry! come here!" he cried; "make haste-wonderful-wonderful!"

Unable to understand what he meant, I turned to obey his commands. Neither Hans nor the other Icelanders moved a step.

"Look!" said the Professor, in something of the manner of the French general, pointing out the pyramids to his army.

And fully partaking his stupefaction, if not his joy, I read on the eastern side of the huge block of stone, the same characters, half eaten away by the corrosive action of time, the name, to me a thousand times accursed-

partaking - partecipare, (partake)

corrosive - corrosivo

accursed - accuratezza

"Arne Saknussemm!" cried my uncle, "now, unbeliever, do you begin to have faith?"

unbeliever - miscredente

Faith - fede, fiducia

It was totally impossible for me to answer a single word. I went back to my pile of lava, in a state of silent awe. The evidence was unanswerable, overwhelming!

unanswerable - senza risposta

overwhelming - sommergere, schiacciare, dominare, travolgere, sopraffare

In a few moments, however, my thoughts were far away, back in my German home, with Gretchen and the old cook. What would I have given for one of my cousin's smiles, for one of the ancient domestic's omelettes, and for my own feather bed!

domestic - domestico

omelettes - omelette, q

feather bed - letto di piume

How long I remained in this state I know not. All I can say is, that when at last I raised my head from between my hands, there remained at the bottom of the crater only myself, my uncle and Hans. The Icelandic porters had been dismissed and were now descending the exterior slopes of Mount Sneffels, on their way to Stapi. How heartily did I wish myself with them!

dismissed - licenziare, congedare, mandare via, dimettere, rompere le righe

descending - scendere

Hans slept tranquilly at the foot of a rock in a kind of rill of lava, where he had made himself a rough and ready bed. MY uncle was walking about the bottom of the crater like a wild beast in a cage. I had no desire, neither had I the strength, to move from my recumbent position.

rill - very small brook

cage - gabbia, cabina

recumbent - disteso, sdraiato, supino, bicicletta reclinata

Taking example by the guide, I gave way to a kind of painful somnolency, during which I seemed both to hear and feel continued heavings and shudderings in the mountain.

somnolency - sonnolenza

heavings - ansimare

shudderings - rabbrividire

In this way we passed our first night in the interior of a crater.

Next morning, a grey, cloudy, heavy sky hung like a funereal pall over the summit of the volcanic cone. I did not notice it so much from the obscurity that reigned around us, as from the rage with which my uncle was devoured.

cloudy - nuvoloso, nuvolo, nebuloso, torbido

funereal - funebre, funerario, funereo, mortuario

Pall - (drappo funebre)

I fully understood the reason, and again a glimpse of hope made my heart leap with joy. I will briefly explain the cause.

briefly - concisamente, brevemente

Of the three openings which yawned beneath our steps, only one could have been followed by the adventurous Saknussemm. According to the words of the learned Icelander, it was only to be known by that one particular mentioned in the cryptograph, that the shadow of Scartaris fell upon it, just touching its mouth in the last days of the month of June.

yawned - sbadigliare, sbadiglio

We were, in fact, to consider the pointed peak as the stylus of an immense sun-dial, the shadow of which pointed on one given day, like the inexorable finger of fate, to the yawning chasm which led into the interior of the earth.

stylus - stilo, puntina

dial - disco combinatore

inexorable - inesorabile

chasm - voragine, baratro, abisso, divergenza, divario

Now, as often happens in these regions, should the sun fail to burst through the clouds, no shadow. Consequently, no chance of discovering the right aperture. We had already reached the 25th June. If the kindly heavens would only remain densely clouded for six more days, we should have to put off our voyage of discovery for another year, when certainly there would be one person fewer in the party.

consequently - di conseguenza

aperture - apertura

densely - densamente

I already had sufficient of the mad and monstrous enterprise.

It would be utterly impossible to depict the impotent rage of Professor Hardwigg. The day passed away, and not the faintest outline of a shadow could be seen at the bottom of the crater. Hans the guide never moved from his place. He must have been curious to know what we were about, if indeed he could believe we were about anything. As for my uncle, he never addressed a word to me.

impotent - debole, impotente

He was nursing his wrath to keep it warm! His eyes fixed on the black and foggy atmosphere, his complexion hideous with suppressed passion. Never had his eyes appeared so fierce, his nose so aquiline, his mouth so hard and firm.

wrath - furore, collera, ira

foggy - nebbioso

complexion - carnagione

suppressed - sopprimere

On the 26th no change for the better. A mixture of rain and snow fell during the whole day. Hans very quietly built himself a hut of lava into which he retired like Diogenes into his tub. I took a malicious delight in watching the thousand little cascades that flowed down the side of the cone, carrying with them at times a stream of stones into the "vasty deep" below.

tub - tinozza, vaschetta, contenitore, bagnarola

malicious - doloso, cattivo, malizioso, malevole

cascades - cascate

vasty - vasto

My uncle was almost frantic: to be sure, it was enough to make even a patient man angry. He had reached to a certain extent the goal of his desires, and yet he was likely to be wrecked in port.

desires - desiderare, volere, desiderio, voglia

be wrecked - essere distrutto

But if the heavens and the elements are capable of causing us much pain and sorrow, there are two sides to a medal. And there was reserved for Professor Hardwigg a brilliant and sudden surprise which was to compensate him for all his sufferings.

sorrow - tristezza, dolore, pena, afflizione

medal - medaglia

compensate - compensare, bilanciare

Next day the sky was still overcast, but on Sunday, the 28th, the last day but two of the month, with a sudden change of wind and a new moon there came a change of weather. The sun poured its beaming rays to the very bottom of the crater.

beaming - raggiante, (beam), trave, asse, architrave, traversa, braccio

Each hillock, every rock, every stone, every asperity of the soil had its share of the luminous effulgence, and its shadow fell heavily on the soil. Among others, to his insane delight, the shadow of Scartaris was marked and clear, and moved slowly with the radiant start of day.

hillock - collinetta, monticello

asperity - asperita

effulgence - effulgenza

insane - insano, pazzo, folle

My uncle moved with it in a state of mental ecstasy.

ecstasy - estasi, ecstasy

At twelve o'clock exactly, when the sun had attained its highest altitude for the day, the shadow fell upon the edge of the central pit!

attained - raggiungere, ottenere, attenere

altitude - altitudine, altezza

"Here it is," gasped the Professor in an agony of joy, "here it is-we have found it. Forward, my friends, into the Interior of the Earth."

gasped - restare senza fiato, restare a bocca aperta

agony - dolore, agonia, parossismo

I looked curiously at Hans to see what reply he would make to this terrific announcement.

curiously - curiosamente

terrific - eccezionale, stupendo

"Forut," said the guide tranquilly.

"Forward it is," answered my uncle, who was now in the seventh heaven of delight.

When we were quite ready, our watches indicated thirteen minutes past one!


commences - cominciare

Our real journey had now commenced. Hitherto our courage and determination had overcome all difficulties. We were fatigued at times; and that was all. Now we were about to encounter unknown and fearful dangers.

hitherto - fin qui, fino a qui, fino ad ora, fino allora

determination - determinazione

encounter - incontro

I had not as yet ventured to take a glimpse down the horrible abyss into which in a few minutes more I was about to plunge. The fatal moment had, however, at last arrived. I had still the option of refusing or accepting a share in this foolish and audacious enterprise. But I was ashamed to show more fear than the eider-duck hunter.

ventured - avventura, azzardo, impresa, avventurarsi, azzardare, osare

fatal - fatale

refusing - rifiutare

foolish - babbeo, sciocco

Hans seemed to accept the difficulties of the journey so tranquilly, with such calm indifference, with such perfect recklessness of all danger, that I actually blushed to appear less of a man than he!

indifference - indifferenza

recklessness - imprudenza

blushed - rossore

Had I been alone with my uncle, I should certainly have sat down and argued the point fully; but in the presence of the guide I held my tongue. I gave one moment to the thought of my charming cousin, and then I advanced to the mouth of the central shaft.

charming - affascinante

shaft - lancia, raggio, asta, prolunga, rachide, pozzo, condotto

It measured about a hundred feet in diameter, which made about three hundred in circumference. I leaned over a rock which stood on its edge, and looked down. My hair stood on end, my teeth chattered, my limbs trembled. I seemed utterly to lose my centre of gravity, while my head was in a sort of whirl, like that of a drunken man.

diameter - diametro

chattered - ciarlare

gravity - gravita

whirl - turbinare, piroettare, roteare

There is nothing more powerful than this attraction towards an abyss. I was about to fall headlong into the gaping well, when I was drawn back by a firm and powerful hand. It was that of Hans. I had not taken lessons enough at the Frelser's-Kirk of Copenhagen in the art of looking down from lofty eminences without blinking!

eminences - Eminenza

blinking - sbattere le ciglia, ammiccare, lampeggiare, segnalare

However, few as the minutes were during which I gazed down this tremendous and even wondrous shaft, I had a sufficient glimpse of it to give me some idea of its physical conformation. Its sides, which were almost as perpendicular as those of a well, presented numerous projections which doubtless would assist our descent.

tremendous - formidabile, tremendo, eccellente, straordinario, enorme

conformation - conformazione

projections - proiezione

It was a sort of wild and savage staircase, without bannister or fence. A rope fastened above, near the surface, would certainly support our weight and enable us to reach the bottom, but how, when we had arrived at its utmost depth, were we to loosen it above? This was, I thought, a question of some importance.

utmost - estremo, massimo

loosen - allentare

My uncle, however, was one of those men who are nearly always prepared with expedients. He hit upon a very simple method of obviating this difficulty. He unrolled a cord about as thick as my thumb, and at least four hundred feet in length. He allowed about half of it to go down the pit and catch in a hitch over a great block of lava which stood on the edge of the precipice.

expedients - conveniente, opportuno, espediente, escamotage, ripiego

obviating - ovviare, evitare, prevenire

unrolled - srotolare

cord - cordone

thumb - pollice, dito grosso

Hitch - nodo, nodi, gancio, ganci, inconveniente, intoppo

precipice - precipizio, dirupo, baratro, burrone

This done, he threw the second half after the first.

Each of us could now descend by catching the two cords in one hand. When about two hundred feet below, all the explorer had to do was to let go one end and pull away at the other, when the cord would come falling at his feet. In order to go down farther, all that was necessary was to continue the same operation.

cords - cordone

explorer - esploratore

This was a very excellent proposition, and no doubt, a correct one. Going down appeared to me easy enough; it was the coming up again that now occupied my thoughts.

"Now," said my uncle, as soon as he had completed this important preparation, "let us see about the baggage. It must be divided into three separate parcels, and each of us must carry one on his back. I allude to the more important and fragile articles."

preparation - preparazione

fragile - fragile

My worthy and ingenious uncle did not appear to consider that we came under the denomination.

denomination - valore nominale, valore facciale

"Hans," he continued, "you will take charge of the tools and some of the provisions; you, Harry, must take possession of another third of the provisions and of the arms. I will load myself with the rest of the eatables, and with the more delicate instruments."

eatables - mangiabile

more delicate - piu delicato

"But," I exclaimed, "our clothes, this mass of cord and ladders-who will undertake to carry them down?"

exclaimed - esclamare

"They will go down of themselves."

"And how so?" I asked.

"You shall see."

My uncle was not fond of half measures, nor did he like anything in the way of hesitation. Giving his orders to Hans he had the whole of the nonfragile articles made up into one bundle; and the packet, firmly and solidly fastened, was simply pitched over the edge of the gulf.

nonfragile - non fragile

bundle - insieme, fascina, fascio, pacchetto, fagotto

packet - pacchetto, pacco

firmly - fermamente, decisamente, sicuramente, saldamente

solidly - solidamente

pitched - piantare, fissare

I heard the moaning of the suddenly displaced air, and the noise of falling stones. My uncle leaning over the abyss followed the descent of his luggage with a perfectly self-satisfied air, and did not rise until it had completely disappeared from sight.

moaning - gemito, lamentarsi, gemere

displaced - rimpiazzare, sostituire

leaning - appoggiarsi

self - stesso

"Now then," he cried, "it is our turn."

I put it in good faith to any man of common sense-was it possible to hear this energetic cry without a shudder?

shudder - brivido, sussulto, tremolio, tremare

The Professor fastened his case of instruments on his back. Hans took charge of the tools, I of the arms. The descent then commenced in the following order: Hans went first, my uncle followed, and I went last. Our progress was made in profound silence-a silence only troubled by the fall of pieces of rock, which breaking from the jagged sides, fell with a roar into the depths below.

roar - ruggire, sganasciarsi dalle risate

I allowed myself to slide, so to speak, holding frantically on the double cord with one hand and with the other keeping myself off the rocks by the assistance of my iron-shod pole. One idea was all the time impressed upon my brain. I feared that the upper support would fail me. The cord appeared to me far too fragile to bear the weight of three such persons as we were, with our luggage.

slide - scivolare, slittare, derapare, scivolo, discesa, smottamento

frantically - freneticamente

impressed - impressionare, imprimere, confiscare, requisire

I made as little use of it as possible, trusting to my own agility and doing miracles in the way of feats of dexterity and strength upon the projecting shelves and spurs of lava which my feet seemed to clutch as strongly as my hands.

trusting - fiducia, confidenza, speranza, credito, affidabilita, trust

miracles - miracolo

feats - impresa

dexterity - destrezza

spurs - sperone, sprone

clutch - afferrare

The guide went first, I have said, and when one of the slippery and frail supports broke from under his feet he had recourse to his usual monosyllabic way of speaking.

slippery - scivoloso, sdrucciolevole

recourse - ricorso

monosyllabic - monosillabico

"Gif akt-"

Gif - short video without audio

akt - ordine del giorno

"Attention-look out," repeated my uncle.

In about half an hour we reached a kind of small terrace formed by a fragment of rock projecting some distance from the sides of the shaft.

terrace - terrazza, altana

fragment - frammento, frammentare

Hans now began to haul upon the cord on one side only, the other going as quietly upward as the other came down. It fell at last, bringing with it a shower of small stones, lava and dust, a disagreeable kind of rain or hail.

haul - tirare

upward - verso l'alto

hail - grandine, gridare, salutare

While we were seated on this extraordinary bench I ventured once more to look downwards. With a sigh I discovered that the bottom was still wholly invisible. Were we, then, going direct to the interior of the earth?

Bench - panchina

invisible - invisibile, dietro le quinte

The performance with the cord recommenced, and a quarter of an hour later we had reached to the depth of another two hundred feet.

recommenced - ricominciare

I have very strong doubts if the most determined geologist would, during that descent, have studied the nature of the different layers of earth around him. I did not trouble my head much about the matter; whether we were among the combustible carbon, Silurians, or primitive soil, I neither knew nor cared to know.

most determined - piu determinato

geologist - geologo, geologa

carbon - carbonio

Silurians - Siluriano

primitive - primitivo

Not so the inveterate Professor. He must have taken notes all the way down, for, at one of our halts, he began a brief lecture.

inveterate - inveterato, incallito, incorreggibile, accanito

halts - fermare, fermarsi

"The farther we advance," said he, "the greater is my confidence in the result. The disposition of these volcanic strata absolutely confirms the theories of Sir Humphry Davy. We are still within the region of the primordial soil, the soil in which took place the chemical operation of metals becoming inflamed by coming in contact with the air and water.

confidence - fiducia, autostima, certezza, sicurezza di sé, confidenza

primordial - primordiale

inflamed - incendiare

I at once regret the old and now forever exploded theory of a central fire. At all events, we shall soon know the truth."

Such was the everlasting conclusion to which he came. I, however, was very far from being in humor to discuss the matter. I had something else to think of. My silence was taken for consent; and still we continued to go down.

everlasting - eterno, imperituro, immortale

consent - consentire, consenso

At the expiration of three hours, we were, to all appearance, as far off as ever from the bottom of the well. When I looked upwards, however, I could see that the upper orifice was every minute decreasing in size. The sides of the shaft were getting closer and closer together, we were approaching the regions of eternal night!

expiration - espirazione, respirazione, esalazione, cessazione, scadenza

decreasing - diminuire, calare, far calare, ribassare

And still we continued to descend!

At length, I noticed that when pieces of stone were detached from the sides of this stupendous precipice, they were swallowed up with less noise than before. The final sound was sooner heard. We were approaching the bottom of the abyss!

detached - staccare

swallowed up - inghiottito

final sound - suono finale

As I had been very careful to keep account of all the changes of cord which took place, I was able to tell exactly what was the depth we had reached, as well as the time it had taken.

We had shifted the rope twenty-eight times, each operation taking a quarter of an hour, which in all made seven hours. To this had to be added twenty-eight pauses; in all ten hours and a half. We started at one, it was now, therefore, about eleven o'clock at night.

pauses - mettere in pausa, pausa

It does not require great knowledge of arithmetic to know that twenty-eight times two hundred feet makes five thousand six hundred feet in all (more than an English mile).

While I was making this mental calculation a voice broke the silence. It was the voice of Hans.

"Halt!" he cried.

I checked myself very suddenly, just at the moment when I was about to kick my uncle on the head.

"We have reached the end of our journey," said the worthy Professor in a satisfied tone.

"What, the interior of the earth?" said I, slipping down to his side.

slipping - scivolare

"No, you stupid fellow! but we have reached the bottom of the well."

"And I suppose there is no farther progress to be made?" I hopefully exclaimed.

hopefully - con buone speranze, speranzosamente

"Oh, yes, I can dimly see a sort of tunnel, which turns off obliquely to the right. At all events, we must see about that tomorrow. Let us sup now, and seek slumber as best we may."

turns off - girare, cambiare, spegnere la luce

obliquely - obliquamente

sup - Qué pasa

slumber - sonnolenza, dormiveglia, appisolarsi, assopirsi, appalugarsi

I thought it time, but made no observations on that point. I was fairly launched on a desperate course, and all I had to do was to go forward hopefully and trustingly.

trustingly - con fiducia

It was not even now quite dark, the light filtering down in a most extraordinary manner.

filtering - filtro, filtrare

We opened the provision bag, ate a frugal supper, and each did his best to find a bed amid the pile of stones, dirt, and lava which had accumulated for ages at the bottom of the shaft.

accumulated - accumularsi

I happened to grope out the pile of ropes, ladders, and clothes which we had thrown down; and upon them I stretched myself. After such a day's labor, my rough bed seemed as soft as down!

grope - tastare, palpeggiare, palpare

thrown down - gettato giu

For a while I lay in a sort of pleasant trance.

Presently, after lying quietly for some minutes, I opened my eyes and looked upwards. As I did so I made out a brilliant little dot, at the extremity of this long, gigantic telescope.

dot - punto

extremity - estremita

telescope - telescopio, cannocchiale

It was a star without scintillating rays. According to my calculation, it must be Beta in the constellation of the Little Bear.

scintillating - scintillare

beta - beta

constellation - costellazione

After this little bit of astronomical recreation, I dropped into a sound sleep.

astronomical - astronomico

recreation - svago, passatempo


At eight o'clock the next morning, a faint kind of dawn of day awoke us. The thousand and one prisms of the lava collected the light as it passed and brought it to us like a shower of sparks.

dawn - spuntare, albeggiare, alba, aurora, albori

sparks - scintilla

We were able with ease to see objects around us.

"Well, Harry, my boy," cried the delighted Professor, rubbing his hands together, "what say you now? Did you ever pass a more tranquil night in our house in the Konigstrasse? No deafening sounds of cart wheels, no cries of hawkers, no bad language from boatmen or watermen!"

deafening - assordante

cart - carretto

hawkers - ambulante

watermen - uomo d'acqua

"Well, Uncle, we are quite at the bottom of this well-but to me there is something terrible in this calm."

"Why," said the Professor hotly, "one would say you were already beginning to be afraid. How will you get on presently? Do you know, that as yet, we have not penetrated one inch into the bowels of the earth."

hotly - con calore

penetrated - penetrare

"What can you mean, sir?" was my bewildered and astonished reply.

"I mean to say that we have only just reached the soil of the island itself. This long vertical tube, which ends at the bottom of the crater of Sneffels, ceases here just about on a level with the sea."

ceases - ces

"Are you sure, sir?"

"Quite sure. Consult the barometer."

It was quite true that the mercury, after rising gradually in the instrument, as long as our descent was taking place, had stopped precisely at twenty-nine degrees.

mercury - mercurio, mercorella

gradually - gradualmente

precisely - precisamente, esattamente

"You perceive," said the Professor, "we have as yet only to endure the pressure of air. I am curious to replace the barometer by the manometer."

The barometer, in fact, was about to become useless-as soon as the weight of the air was greater than what was calculated as above the level of the ocean.

"But," said I, "is it not very much to be feared that this ever-increasing pressure may not in the end turn out very painful and inconvenient?"

inconvenient - sconveniente

"No," said he. "We shall descend very slowly, and our lungs will be gradually accustomed to breathe compressed air. It is well known that aeronauts have gone so high as to be nearly without air at all-why, then, should we not accustom ourselves to breathe when we have, say, a little too much of it? For myself, I am certain I shall prefer it. Let us not lose a moment.

compressed - comprimere

aeronauts - aeronauta

accustom - assuefarsi, abituarsi, adattarsi, familiarizzare

Where is the packet which preceded us in our descent?"

I smilingly pointed it out to my uncle. Hans had not seen it, and believed it caught somewhere above us: "Huppe" as he phrased it.

smilingly - sorridendo

"Now," said my uncle, "let us breakfast, and break fast like people who have a long day's work before them."

Biscuit and dried meat, washed down by some mouthfuls of water flavored with Schiedam, was the material of our luxurious meal.

dried meat - carne secca

mouthfuls - boccone

flavored - sapore, gusto, sapori, fragranza, aroma, tipo

luxurious - lussuoso, lussurioso

As soon as it was finished, my uncle took from his pocket a notebook destined to be filled by memoranda of our travels. He had already placed his instruments in order, and this is what he wrote:

notebook - blocco, taccuino, quaderno, notebook, laptop

memoranda - memorandum

Monday, June 29th

Chronometer, 8h. 17m. morning.

Barometer, 29.6 inches.

Thermometer, 6 degrees [43 degrees Fahr.]

Direction, E.S.E.

This last observation referred to the obscure gallery, and was indicated to us by the compass.

"Now, Harry," cried the Professor, in an enthusiastic tone of voice, "we are truly about to take our first step into the Interior of the Earth; never before visited by man since the first creation of the world. You may consider, therefore, that at this precise moment our travels really commence."

enthusiastic - entusiasta

creation - creazione, creato

precise - preciso, esatto, accurato

commence - cominciare

As my uncle made this remark, he took in one hand the Ruhmkorff coil apparatus, which hung round his neck, and with the other he put the electric current into communication with the worm of the lantern. And a bright light at once illumined that dark and gloomy tunnel!

electric current - corrente elettrica

worm - verme, miserabile, drago

illumined - illuminare

The effect was magical!

Hans, who carried the second apparatus, had it also put into operation. This ingenious application of electricity to practical purposes enabled us to move along by the light of an artificial day, amid even the flow of the most inflammable and combustible gases.

artificial - artificiale, artificioso, artefatto, falso

inflammable - infiammabile

"Forward!" cried my uncle. Each took up his burden. Hans went first, my uncle followed, and I going third, we entered the somber gallery!

burden - fardello, carico

Just as we were about to engulf ourselves in this dismal passage, I lifted up my head, and through the tubelike shaft saw that Iceland sky I was never to see again!

engulf - sopraffare, travolgere, sommergere, circondare

tubelike - ordine del giorno

Was it the last I should ever see of any sky?

The stream of lava flowing from the bowels of the earth in 1219 had forced itself a passage through the tunnel. It lined the whole of the inside with its thick and brilliant coating. The electric light added very greatly to the brilliancy of the effect.

greatly - molto, grandemente, assai, oltremodo

brilliancy - brillantezza

The great difficulty of our journey now began. How were we to prevent ourselves from slipping down the steeply inclined plane? Happily some cracks, abrasures of the soil, and other irregularities, served the place of steps; and we descended slowly; allowing our heavy luggage to slip on before, at the end of a long cord.

steeply - in modo ripido

cracks - rompersi, incrinarsi

abrasures - abrasioni

irregularities - irregolarita, anomalia

slip on - vestirsi velocemente

But that which served as steps under our feet became in other places stalactites. The lava, very porous in certain places, took the form of little round blisters. Crystals of opaque quartz, adorned with limpid drops of natural glass suspended to the roof like lusters, seemed to take fire as we passed beneath them.

stalactites - stalattite

blisters - vescica, bolla

crystals - cristallo

Quartz - quarzo

adorned - adornare, fregiare, abbellire

limpid - limpido

suspended - appendere, sospendere

lusters - lucentezza

One would have fancied that the genii of romance were illuminating their underground palaces to receive the sons of men.

genii - genio

romance - storia d'amore, romanticheria, idillio, poesia

illuminating - illuminare, chiarire, miniare

"Magnificent, glorious!" I cried in a moment of involuntary enthusiasm, "What a spectacle, Uncle! Do you not admire these variegated shades of lava, which run through a whole series of colors, from reddish brown to pale yellow-by the most insensible degrees? And these crystals, they appear like luminous globes."

involuntary - involontario

variegated - variegato

shades - ombra, persiana, tonalita, gradazione, nuance, varieta

globes - globo

"You are beginning to see the charms of travel, Master Harry," cried my uncle. "Wait a bit, until we advance farther. What we have as yet discovered is nothing-onwards, my boy, onwards!"

charms - fascino

onwards - in avanti, in poi

It would have been a far more correct and appropriate expression, had he said, "let us slide," for we were going down an inclined plane with perfect ease. The compass indicated that we were moving in a southeasterly direction. The flow of lava had never turned to the right or the left. It had the inflexibility of a straight line.

more correct - piu corretto

appropriate - apposito, appropriato

southeasterly - a sud-est

inflexibility - inflessibilita

Nevertheless, to my surprise, we found no perceptible increase in heat. This proved the theories of Humphry Davy to be founded on truth, and more than once I found myself examining the thermometer in silent astonishment.

in heat - in calore

Two hours after our departure it only marked fifty-four degrees Fahrenheit. I had every reason to believe from this that our descent was far more horizontal than vertical. As for discovering the exact depth to which we had attained, nothing could be easier. The Professor as he advanced measured the angles of deviation and inclination; but he kept the result of his observations to himself.

Fahrenheit - temperature scale

more horizontal - piu orizzontale

angles - Anglo

About eight o'clock in the evening, my uncle gave the signal for halting. Hans seated himself on the ground. The lamps were hung to fissures in the lava rock. We were now in a large cavern where air was not wanting. On the contrary, it abounded. What could be the cause of this-to what atmospheric agitation could be ascribed this draught?

halting - fermarsi

cavern - caverna

abounded - abbondare, essere abbondante

agitation - agitazione

ascribed - ascrivere, attribuire

draught - pedina

But this was a question which I did not care to discuss just then. Fatigue and hunger made me incapable of reasoning. An unceasing march of seven hours had not been kept up without great exhaustion. I was really and truly worn out; and delighted enough I was to hear the word Halt.

incapable - incapace di

unceasing - incessante

Hans laid out some provisions on a lump of lava, and we each supped with keen relish. One thing, however, caused us great uneasiness-our water reserve was already half exhausted. My uncle had full confidence in finding subterranean resources, but hitherto we had completely failed in so doing. I could not help calling my uncle's attention to the circumstance.

supped - Qué pasa

relish - gusto, condimento

uneasiness - disagio

reserve - riserva, riservare

"And you are surprised at this total absence of springs?" he said.

"Doubtless-I am very uneasy on the point. We have certainly not enough water to last us five days."

uneasy - ansioso, agitato

"Be quite easy on that matter," continued my uncle. "I answer for it we shall find plenty of water-in fact, far more than we shall want."

"But when?"

"When we once get through this crust of lava. How can you expect springs to force their way through these solid stone walls?"

"But what is there to prove that this concrete mass of lava does not extend to the centre of the earth? I don't think we have as yet done much in a vertical way."

concrete - concreto, reale, (in/di) calcestruzzo, (in/di) cemento

extend - ampliare

"What puts that into your head, my boy?" asked my uncle mildly.

"Well, it appears to me that if we had descended very far below the level of the sea-we should find it rather hotter than we have."

"According to your system," said my uncle; "but what does the thermometer say?"

"Scarcely fifteen degrees by Reaumur, which is only an increase of nine since our departure."

"Well, and what conclusion does that bring you to?" inquired the Professor.

"The deduction I draw from this is very simple. According to the most exact observations, the augmentation of the temperature of the interior of the earth is one degree for every hundred feet. But certain local causes may considerably modify this figure. Thus at Yakoust in Siberia, it has been remarked that the heat increases a degree every thirty-six feet.

deduction - deduzione, detrazione

most exact - piu esatto

augmentation - aumento

modify - modificare

Siberia - Siberia

The difference evidently depends on the conductibility of certain rocks. In the neighborhood of an extinct volcano, it has been remarked that the elevation of temperature was only one degree in every five-and-twenty feet. Let us, then, go upon this calculation-which is the most favorable-and calculate."

conductibility - conducibilita

elevation - elevazione

"Calculate away, my boy."

"Nothing easier," said I, pulling out my notebook and pencil. "Nine times one hundred and twenty-five feet make a depth of eleven hundred and twenty-five feet."

"Archimedes could not have spoken more geometrically."


"Well, according to my observations, we are at least ten thousand feet below the level of the sea."

"Can it be possible?"

"Either my calculation is correct, or there is no truth in figures."

The calculations of the Professor were perfectly correct. We were already six thousand feet deeper down in the bowels of the earth than anyone had ever been before. The lowest known depth to which man had hitherto penetrated was in the mines of Kitzbuhel, in the Tirol, and those of Wurttemberg.

calculations - conto

Tirol - Tirolo

The temperature, which should have been eighty-one, was in this place only fifteen. This was a matter for serious consideration.


The next day was Tuesday, the 30th of June-and at six o'clock in the morning we resumed our journey.

We still continued to follow the gallery of lava, a perfect natural pathway, as easy of descent as some of those inclined planes which, in very old German houses, serve the purpose of staircases. This went on until seventeen minutes past twelve, the precise instant at which we rejoined Hans, who, having been somewhat in advance, had suddenly stopped.

pathway - via, pathway

staircases - scalinata, tromba delle scale

instant - immediato

rejoined - ricongiungersi

"At last," cried my uncle, "we have reached the end of the shaft."

I looked wonderingly about me. We were in the centre of four cross paths-somber and narrow tunnels. The question now arose as to which it was wise to take; and this of itself was no small difficulty.

wonderingly - con meraviglia

tunnels - tunnel, traforo

My uncle, who did not wish to appear to have any hesitation about the matter before myself or the guide, at once made up his mind. He pointed quietly to the eastern tunnel; and, without delay, we entered within its gloomy recesses.

recesses - incavo, pausa, ferie, ricreazione

Besides, had he entertained any feeling of hesitation it might have been prolonged indefinitely, for there was no indication by which to determine on a choice. It was absolutely necessary to trust to chance and good fortune!

prolonged - prolungare

indication - indicazione

The descent of this obscure and narrow gallery was very gradual and winding. Sometimes we gazed through a succession of arches, its course very like the aisles of a Gothic cathedral. The great artistic sculptors and builders of the Middle Ages might have here completed their studies with advantage. Many most beautiful and suggestive ideas of architectural beauty would have been discovered by them.

arches - arco, arcata

aisles - collaterale, navata laterale, corridoio, corsia, passaggio

Gothic - gotico

cathedral - cattedrale

sculptors - scultore, scultrice

builders - costruttore, costruttrice

suggestive - suggestivo

architectural - architetturale

After passing through this phase of the cavernous way, we suddenly came, about a mile farther on, upon a square system of arch, adopted by the early Romans, projecting from the solid rock, and keeping up the weight of the roof.

phase - fase

cavernous - cavernoso

arch - arco, arcata

adopted - adottare

Romans - romano, romana

Suddenly we would come upon a series of low subterranean tunnels which looked like beaver holes, or the work of foxes-through whose narrow and winding ways we had literally to crawl!

beaver - castoro

foxes - volpe, ingannare, lasciare perplesso

literally - letteralmente

The heat still remained at quite a supportable degree. With an involuntary shudder, I reflected on what the heat must have been when the volcano of Sneffels was pouring its smoke, flames, and streams of boiling lava-all of which must have come up by the road we were now following.

supportable - supportabile

I could imagine the torrents of hot seething stone darting on, bubbling up with accompaniments of smoke, steam, and sulphurous stench!

darting - dardo

accompaniments - accompagnamento

sulphurous - solforosa

stench - fetore, puzza

"Only to think of the consequences," I mused, "if the old volcano were once more to set to work."

mused - Musa

I did not communicate these rather unpleasant reflections to my uncle. He not only would not have understood them, but would have been intensely disgusted. His only idea was to go ahead. He walked, he slid, he clambered over piles of fragments, he rolled down heaps of broken lava, with an earnestness and conviction it was impossible not to admire.

intensely - intensamente

disgusted - disgustare, ripugnare, nauseare, stomacare

slid - scivolare, (slide), slittare, derapare, scivolo

earnestness - serieta

At six o'clock in the evening, after a very wearisome journey, but one not so fatiguing as before, we had made six miles towards the southward, but had not gone more than a mile downwards.

southward - verso sud

My uncle, as usual, gave the signal to halt. We ate our meal in thoughtful silence, and then retired to sleep.

thoughtful - pensieroso, pensoso, meditabondo, cogitabondo, premuroso

Our arrangements for the night were very primitive and simple. A traveling rug, in which each rolled himself, was all our bedding. We had no necessity to fear cold or any unpleasant visit.

rug - tappeto, tappetino, scendiletto

Travelers who bury themselves in the wilds and depths of the African desert, who seek profit and pleasure in the forests of the New World, are compelled to take it in turn to watch during the hours of sleep; but in this region of the earth absolute solitude and complete security reigned supreme.

absolute - assoluto

solitude - solitudine

We had nothing to fear either from savages or from wild beasts.

savages - selvaggio, primitivo, brutale, crudele, feroce, impietoso

After a night's sweet repose, we awoke fresh and ready for action. There being nothing to detain us, we started on our journey. We continued to burrow through the lava tunnel as before. It was impossible to make out through what soil we were making way. The tunnel, moreover, instead of going down into the bowels of the earth, became absolutely horizontal.

detain - detenere, trattenere

burrow - tana, buca, covo, cunicolo, scavare una tana

Moreover - inoltre

I even thought, after some examination, that we were actually tending upwards. About ten o'clock in the day this state of things became so clear that, finding the change very fatiguing, I was obliged to slacken my pace and finally come to a halt.

slacken - allentare

"Well," said the Professor quickly, "what is the matter?"

"The fact is, I am dreadfully tired," was my earnest reply.

dreadfully - terribilmente

"What," cried my uncle, "tired after a three hours'walk, and by so easy a road?"

"Easy enough, I dare say, but very fatiguing."

"But how can that be, when all we have to do is to go downwards."

"I beg your pardon, sir. For some time I have noticed that we are going upwards."

"Upwards," cried my uncle, shrugging his shoulders, "how can that be?"

shrugging - spalluccia, fare spallucce

"There can be no doubt about it. For the last half hour the slopes have been upward-and if we go on in this way much longer we shall find ourselves back in Iceland."

My uncle shook his head with the air of a man who does not want to be convinced. I tried to continue the conversation. He would not answer me, but once more gave the signal for departure. His silence I thought was only caused by concentrated ill-temper.

temper - carattere, temperamento

However this might be, I once more took up my load, and boldly and resolutely followed Hans, who was now in advance of my uncle. I did not like to be beaten or even distanced. I was naturally anxious not to lose sight of my companions. The very idea of being left behind, lost in that terrible labyrinth, made me shiver as with the ague.

boldly - arditamente, coraggiosamente, valentemente, audacemente

resolutely - risolutamente

shiver - rabbrividire, tremare

ague - intermittent fever, attended by alternate cold and hot fits

Besides, if the ascending path was more arduous and painful to clamber, I had one source of secret consolation and delight. It was to all appearance taking us back to the surface of the earth. That of itself was hopeful. Every step I took confirmed me in my belief, and I began already to build castles in the air in relation to my marriage with my pretty little cousin.

arduous - arduo

clamber - arrampicarsi

consolation - consolazione

build castles in the air - costruire castelli in aria

About twelve o'clock there was a great and sudden change in the aspect of the rocky sides of the gallery. I first noticed it from the diminution of the rays of light which cast back the reflection of the lamp. From being coated with shining and resplendent lava, it became living rock. The sides were sloping walls, which sometimes became quite vertical.

diminution - diminuzione

resplendent - risplendente

sloping - sciaguattare, sciabordare

We were now in what the geological professors call a state of transition, in the period of Silurian stones, so called because this specimen of early formation is very common in England in the counties formerly inhabited by the Celtic nation known as Silures.

transition - transizione, passaggio, passare

Silurian - Siluriano

Counties - contea, contado

inhabited - abitare

Celtic - celtico

"I can see clearly now," I cried; "the sediment from the waters which once covered the whole earth formed during the second period of its existence these schists and these calcareous rocks. We are turning our backs on the granite rocks, and are like people from Hamburg who would go to Lubeck by way of Hanover."

sediment - deposito, sedimento

schists - scisto

calcareous - calcareo

Hanover - Annover

I might just as well have kept my observations to myself. My geological enthusiasm got the better, however, of my cooler judgment, and Professor Hardwigg heard my observations.

judgment - giudizio, sentenza, verdetto, pronuncia

"What is the matter now?" he said, in a tone of great gravity.

"Well," cried I, "do you not see these different layers of calcareous rocks and the first indication of slate strata?"

slate - ardesia, di ardesia

"Well; what then?"

"We have arrived at that period of the world's existence when the first plants and the first animals made their appearance."

"You think so?"

"Yes, look; examine and judge for yourself."

I induced the Professor with some difficulty to cast the light of his lamp on the sides of the long winding gallery. I expected some exclamation to burst from his lips. I was very much mistaken. The worthy Professor never spoke a word.

exclamation - esclamazione

It was impossible to say whether he understood me or not. Perhaps it was possible that in his pride-my uncle and a learned professor-he did not like to own that he was wrong in having chosen the eastern tunnel, or was he determined at any price to go to the end of it?

pride - superbia, orgoglio, essere orgoglioso

It was quite evident we had left the region of lava, and that the road by which we were going could not take us back to the great crater of Mount Sneffels.

evident - evidente

As we went along I could not help ruminating on the whole question, and asked myself if I did not lay too great a stress on these sudden and peculiar modifications of the earth's crust.

ruminating - ruminare

modifications - modificazione

earth's crust - crosta terrestre

After all, I was very likely to be mistaken-and it was within the range of probability and possibility that we were not making our way through the strata of rocks which I believed I recognized piled on the lower layer of granitic formation.

granitic - granitico

"At all events, if I am right," I thought to myself, "I must certainly find some remains of primitive plants, and it will be absolutely necessary to give way to such indubitable evidence. Let us have a good search."

indubitable - indubbio

I accordingly lost no opportunity of searching, and had not gone more than about a hundred yards, when the evidence I sought for cropped up in the most incontestable manner before my eyes. It was quite natural that I should expect to find these signs, for during the Silurian period the seas contained no fewer than fifteen hundred different animal and vegetable species.

cropped - raccolto, pianta coltivata

most incontestable - piu incontestabile

species - specie

My feet, so long accustomed to the hard and arid lava soil, suddenly found themselves treading on a kind of soft dust, the remains of plants and shells.

treading - calpestio

Upon the walls themselves I could clearly make out the outline, as plain as a sun picture, of the fucus and the lycopods. The worthy and excellent Professor Hardwigg could not of course make any mistake about the matter; but I believe he deliberately closed his eyes, and continued on his way with a firm and unalterable step.

lycopods - licopode

deliberately - intenzionalmente, deliberatamente, per partito preso

unalterable - inalterabile

I began to think that he was carrying his obstinacy a great deal too far. I could no longer act with prudence or composure. I stooped on a sudden and picked up an almost perfect shell, which had undoubtedly belonged to some animal very much resembling some of the present day. Having secured the prize, I followed in the wake of my uncle.

obstinacy - testardaggine, ostinazione

prudence - prudenza

composure - contegno, compostezza, ritegno, autocontrollo

secured - sicuro, protetto, segreto, stabile, affidabile, garantire

"Do you see this?" I said.

"Well, said the Professor, with the most imperturbable tranquillity, "it is the shell of a crustaceous animal of the extinct order of the trilobites; nothing more, I assure you."

crustaceous - crostacei

trilobites - trilobite

"But," cried I, much troubled at his coolness, "do you draw no conclusion from it?"

coolness - freddezza

"Well, if I may ask, what conclusion do you draw from it yourself?"

"Well, I thought-"

"I know, my boy, what you would say, and you are right, perfectly and incontestably right. We have finally abandoned the crust of lava and the road by which the lava ascended. It is quite possible that I may have been mistaken, but I shall be unable to discover my error until I get to the end of this gallery."

incontestably - incontestabilmente

abandoned - abbandonare

"You are quite right as far as that is concerned," I replied, "and I should highly approve of your decision, if we had not to fear the greatest of all dangers."

"And what is that?"

"Want of water."

"Well, my dear Henry, It can't be helped. We must put ourselves on rations."

It can't be helped - non ci si puo fare nulla

rations - annonario, razione

And on he went.


coal mine - miniera di carbone

In truth, we were compelled to put ourselves upon rations. Our supply would certainly last not more than three days. I found this out about supper time. The worst part of the matter was that, in what is called the transition rocks, it was hardly to be expected we should meet with water!

I had read of the horrors of thirst, and I knew that where we were, a brief trial of its sufferings would put an end to our adventures-and our lives! But it was utterly useless to discuss the matter with my uncle. He would have answered by some axiom from Plato.

thirst - sete, avidita, avere sete

trial - processo

axiom - assioma

Plato - Platone

During the whole of next day we proceeded on our journey through this interminable gallery, arch after arch, tunnel after tunnel. We journeyed without exchanging a word. We had become as mute and reticent as Hans, our guide.

proceeded - procedere

mute - muto

reticent - reticente

The road had no longer an upward tendency; at all events, if it had, it was not to be made out very clearly. Sometimes there could be no doubt that we were going downwards.

tendency - tendenza

But this inclination was scarcely to be distinguished, and was by no means reassuring to the Professor, because the character of the strata was in no wise modified, and the transition character of the rocks became more and more marked.

reassuring - rassicurare, tranquillizzare

It was a glorious sight to see how the electric light brought out the sparkles in the walls of the calcareous rocks, and the old red sandstone. One might have fancied oneself in one of those deep cuttings in Devonshire, which have given their name to this kind of soil.

sparkles - scintillio, luccichio

cuttings - talea, decoupage, tagliente, affilato, pungente, graffiante

Some magnificent specimens of marble projected from the sides of the gallery: some of an agate grey with white veins of variegated character, others of a yellow spotted color, with red veins; farther off might be seen samples of color in which cherry-tinted seams were to be found in all their brightest shades.

marble - marmo, biglia, pallina

agate - agata

veins - vena, venatura

cherry - ciliegia, ciliegio

tinted - tinta, sfumatura

seams - costura

shades - agone, alosa

The greater number of these marbles were stamped with the marks of primitive animals. Since the previous evening, nature and creation had made considerable progress. Instead of the rudimentary trilobites, I perceived the remains of a more perfect order. Among others, the fish in which the eye of a geologist has been able to discover the first form of the reptile.

marbles - marmo, biglia, pallina

rudimentary - rudimentale

perceived - percepire

reptile - reptilia, rettile

The Devonian seas were inhabited by a vast number of animals of this species, which were deposited in tens of thousands in the rocks of new formation.

Devonian - Devoniano

deposited - deposito, caparra, acconto, sedimento

It was quite evident to me that we were ascending the scale of animal life of which man forms the summit. My excellent uncle, the Professor, appeared not to take notice of these warnings. He was determined at any risk to proceed.

animal life - vita animale

warnings - avvertimento, monito

He must have been in expectation of one of two things; either that a vertical well was about to open under his feet, and thus allow him to continue his descent, or that some insurmountable obstacle would compel us to stop and go back by the road we had so long traveled. But evening came again, and, to my horror, neither hope was doomed to be realized!

expectation - attesa, attese, aspettativa

obstacle - ostacolo, inciampo

On Friday, after a night when I began to feel the gnawing agony of thirst, and when in consequence appetite decreased, our little band rose and once more followed the turnings and windings, the ascents and descents, of this interminable gallery. All were silent and gloomy. I could see that even my uncle had ventured too far.

gnawing - tormentoso, (gnaw), rodere, rosicchiare, mordicchiare, rosicare

appetite - appetito

decreased - diminuire, calare, far calare, ribassare

ascents - salita, ascesa

descents - discesa, ascendenza

After about ten hours of further progress-a progress dull and monotonous to the last degree-I remarked that the reverberation, and reflection of our lamps upon the sides of the tunnel, had singularly diminished. The marble, the schist, the calcareous rocks, the red sandstone, had disappeared, leaving in their places a dark and gloomy wall, somber and without brightness.

reverberation - riverbero

diminished - diminuire, ridurre

schist - scisto

brightness - luminosita

When we reached a remarkably narrow part of the tunnel, I leaned my left hand against the rock.

When I took my hand away, and happened to glance at it, it was quite black. We had reached the coal strata of the Central Earth.

"A coal mine!" I cried.

"A coal mine without miners," responded my uncle, a little severely.

miners - minatore

"How can we tell?"

"I can tell," replied my uncle, in a sharp and doctorial tone. "I am perfectly certain that this gallery through successive layers of coal was not cut by the hand of man. But whether it is the work of nature or not is of little concern to us. The hour for our evening meal has come-let us sup."

doctorial - dottorato

concern - interesse, preoccupazione, impresa, interessare

evening meal - cena

Hans, the guide, occupied himself in preparing food. I had come to that point when I could no longer eat. All I cared about were the few drops of water which fell to my share. What I suffered it is useless to record. The guide's gourd, not quite half full, was all that was left for us three!

gourd - zucca

Having finished their repast, my two companions laid themselves down upon their rugs, and found in sleep a remedy for their fatigue and sufferings. As for me, I could not sleep, I lay counting the hours until morning.

rugs - tappeto, tappetino, scendiletto

The next morning, Saturday, at six o'clock, we started again. Twenty minutes later we suddenly came upon a vast excavation. From its mighty extent I saw at once that the hand of man could have had nothing to do with this coal mine; the vault above would have fallen in; as it was, it was only held together by some miracle of nature.

excavation - scavo

miracle - miracolo

This mighty natural cavern was about a hundred feet wide, by about a hundred and fifty high. The earth had evidently been cast apart by some violent subterranean commotion. The mass, giving way to some prodigious upheaving of nature, had split in two, leaving the vast gap into which we inhabitants of the earth had penetrated for the first time.

commotion - agitazione, checkscandalo

giving way - cedere il passo

upheaving - rialzo

split - spaccata, fendere, dividere, scindere, spaccare, spartire

The whole singular history of the coal period was written on those dark and gloomy walls. A geologist would have been able easily to follow the different phases of its formation. The seams of coal were separated by strata of sandstone, a compact clay, which appeared to be crushed down by the weight from above.

phases - fase

compact - compatto

clay - argilla, creta

At that period of the world which preceded the secondary epoch, the earth was covered by a coating of enormous and rich vegetation, due to the double action of tropical heat and perpetual humidity. A vast atmospheric cloud of vapor surrounded the earth on all sides, preventing the rays of the sun from ever reaching it.

tropical - tropicale

perpetual - perpetuo, perenne

humidity - umidita

Hence the conclusion that these intense heats did not arise from this new source of caloric.

arise - sorgere, apparire, nascere

caloric - calorico

Perhaps even the star of day was not quite ready for its brilliant work-to illumine a universe. Climates did not as yet exist, and a level heat pervaded the whole surface of the globe-the same heat existing at the North Pole as at the equator.

illumine - illuminare

universe - universo

pervaded - pervadere

Equator - equatore

Whence did it come? From the interior of the earth?

In spite of all the learned theories of Professor Hardwigg, a fierce and vehement fire certainly burned within the entrails of the great spheroid.

spite - dispetto, rancore

vehement - ordine del giorno

entrails - sciabola

spheroid - sferoide

Its action was felt even to the very topmost crust of the earth; the plants then in existence, being deprived of the vivifying rays of the sun, had neither buds, nor flowers, nor odor, but their roots drew a strong and vigorous life from the burning earth of early days.

topmost - piu in alto

deprived - privare, togliere, sottrarre

vivifying - vivificare

buds - gemma, bocciolo

There were but few of what may be called trees-only herbaceous plants, immense turfs, briers, mosses, rare families, which, however, in those days were counted by tens and tens of thousands.

herbaceous - erbaceo

turfs - erba, zolla, zolla d'erba, torba, piotare, zollare

briers - radica

mosses - muschio

It is entirely to this exuberant vegetation that coal owes its origin. The crust of the vast globe still yielded under the influence of the seething, boiling mass, which was forever at work beneath. Hence arose numerous fissures, and continual falling in of the upper earth. The dense mass of plants being beneath the waters, soon formed themselves into vast agglomerations.

exuberant - esuberante

owes - dovere, essere in debito, essere debitore di

dense - denso, pastoso, checkdenso

Then came about the action of natural chemistry; in the depths of the ocean the vegetable mass at first became turf, then, thanks to the influence of gases and subterranean fermentation, they underwent the complete process of mineralization.

fermentation - fermentazione

underwent - soffrire, sottoporsi

mineralization - mineralizzazione

In this manner, in early days, were formed those vast and prodigious layers of coal, which an ever-increasing consumption must utterly use up in about three centuries more, if people do not find some more economic light than gas, and some cheaper motive power than steam.

consumption - consumo, consunzione, deperimento

use up - consumare

more economic - piu economico

motive power - potenza motrice

All these reflections, the memories of my school studies, came to my mind while I gazed upon these mighty accumulations of coal, whose riches, however, are scarcely likely to be ever utilized. The working of these mines could only be carried out at an expense that would never yield a profit.

accumulations - accumulazione, accumulo

utilized - utilizzare

expense - spesa

yield a profit - portare profitto

The matter, however, is scarcely worthy consideration, when coal is scattered over the whole surface of the globe, within a few yards of the upper crust. As I looked at these untouched strata, therefore, I knew they would remain as long as the world lasts.

untouched - intatto

While we still continued our journey, I alone forgot the length of the road, by giving myself up wholly to these geological considerations. The temperature continued to be very much the same as while we were traveling amid the lava and the schists. On the other hand my sense of smell was much affected by a very powerful odor.

considerations - considerazione

I immediately knew that the gallery was filled to overflowing with that dangerous gas the miners call fire damp, the explosion of which has caused such fearful and terrible accidents, making a hundred widows and hundreds of orphans in a single hour.

overflowing - traboccante, (overflow), straripamento, eccesso, eccedenza

fire damp - metano, gas da estrazione

widows - vedova, vedovare

Orphans - orfano, orfana

Happily, we were able to illumine our progress by means of the Ruhmkorff apparatus. If we had been so rash and imprudent as to explore this gallery, torch in hand, a terrible explosion would have put an end to our travels, simply because no travelers would be left.

rash - imprudente

imprudent - imprudente

torch - fiaccola, torcia, incendiare

Our excursion through this wondrous coal mine in the very bowels of the earth lasted until evening. My uncle was scarcely able to conceal his impatience and dissatisfaction at the road continuing still to advance in a horizontal direction.

dissatisfaction - insoddisfazione, scontentezza

The darkness, dense and opaque a few yards in advance and in the rear, rendered it impossible to make out what was the length of the gallery. For myself, I began to believe that it was simply interminable, and would go on in the same manner for months.

darkness - buio, oscurita, tenebre, scuro

rear - retro, retrovia

Suddenly, at six o'clock, we stood in front of a wall. To the right, to the left above, below, nowhere was there any passage. We had reached a spot where the rocks said in unmistakable accents-No Thoroughfare.

unmistakable - inconfondibile

thoroughfare - talian: t-needed

I stood stupefied. The guide simply folded his arms. My uncle was silent.

"Well, well, so much the better," cried my uncle, at last, "I now know what we are about. We are decidedly not upon the road followed by Saknussemm. All we have to do is to go back. Let us take one night's good rest, and before three days are over, I promise you we shall have regained the point where the galleries divided."

regained - riprendere, riappropriarsi, recuperare, riguadagnare

"Yes, we may, if our strength lasts as long," I cried, in a lamentable voice.

lamentable - lamentabile

"And why not?"

"Tomorrow, among us three, there will not be a drop of water. It is just gone."

"And your courage with it," said my uncle, speaking in a severe tone.

What could I say? I turned round on my side, and from sheer exhaustion fell into a heavy sleep disturbed by dreams of water! And I awoke unrefreshed.

sheer - (puro e semplice)

disturbed - disturbare

unrefreshed - non rinfrescato

I would have bartered a diamond mine for a glass of pure spring water!

bartered - baratto, barattare

pure - puro

spring water - acqua di sorgente


Next day, our departure took place at a very early hour. There was no time for the least delay. According to my account, we had five days'hard work to get back to the place where the galleries divided.

I can never tell all the sufferings we endured upon our return. My uncle bore them like a man who has been in the wrong-that is, with concentrated and suppressed anger; Hans, with all the resignation of his pacific character; and I-I confess that I did nothing but complain, and despair. I had no heart for this bad fortune.

endured - durare, restare, resistere, perdurare, tollerare

resignation - dimissioni, uscita, fuoriuscita, rassegnazione

But there was one consolation. Defeat at the outset would probably upset the whole journey!

defeat - sconfiggere

outset - inizio

As I had expected from the first, our supply of water gave completely out on our first day's march. Our provision of liquids was reduced to our supply of Schiedam; but this horrible-nay, I will say it-this infernal liquor burnt the throat, and I could not even bear the sight of it. I found the temperature to be stifling. I was paralyzed with fatigue.

Nay - anzi, o per meglio dire

infernal - infernale

liquor - liquore

paralyzed - paralizzare

More than once I was about to fall insensible to the ground. The whole party then halted, and the worthy Icelander and my excellent uncle did their best to console and comfort me. I could, however, plainly see that my uncle was contending painfully against the extreme fatigues of our journey, and the awful torture generated by the absence of water.

console - consolare

comfort - agio, comodita, benessere

plainly - a chiare note

contending - contendere

torture - torturare

generated - generare

At length a time came when I ceased to recollect anything-when all was one awfull hideous, fantastic dream!

recollect - ricordarsi

awfull - terribile

At last, on Tuesday, the seventh of the month of July, after crawling on our hands and knees for many hours, more dead than alive, we reached the point of junction between the galleries. I lay like a log, an inert mass of human flesh on the arid lava soil. It was then ten in the morning.

junction - giunzione, giunto, raccordo, innesto, incrocio

inert - inerte

Hans and my uncle, leaning against the wall, tried to nibble away at some pieces of biscuit, while deep groans and sighs escaped from my scorched and swollen lips. Then I fell off into a kind of deep lethargy.

nibble - rosicchiare, mordicchiare

groans - gemito, gemere

sighs - sospirare

scorched - bruciacchiatura, strinatura, bruciatura, scottatura

lethargy - letargia

Presently I felt my uncle approach, and lift me up tenderly in his arms.

tenderly - teneramente

"Poor boy," I heard him say in a tone of deep commiseration.

commiseration - commiserazione

I was profoundly touched by these words, being by no means accustomed to signs of womanly weakness in the Professor. I caught his trembling hands in mine and gave them a gentle pressure. He allowed me to do so without resistance, looking at me kindly all the time. His eyes were wet with tears.

womanly - femminile, femmineo, muliebre, donnesco

weakness - debolezza, cagionevolezza, fievolezza, punto debole

trembling - tremare, (tremble), tremolare, tremore

resistance - resistenza

I then saw him take the gourd which he wore at his side. To my surprise, or rather to my stupefaction, he placed it to my lips.

"Drink, my boy," he said.

Was it possible my ears had not deceived me? Was my uncle mad? I looked at him, with, I am sure, quite an idiotic expression. I could not believe him. I too much feared the counteraction of disappointment.

deceived - ingannare

idiotic - idiota

counteraction - contrattacco

"Drink," he said again.

Had I heard aright? Before, however, I could ask myself the question a second time, a mouthful of water cooled my parched lips and throat-one mouthful, but I do believe it brought me back to life.

aright - giusto

mouthful - boccone

parched - inaridire, riardere

I thanked my uncle by clasping my hands. My heart was too full to speak.

clasping - stringere, (clasp), fibbia, gancio, fermaglio

"Yes," said he, "one mouthful of water, the very last-do you hear, my boy-the very last! I have taken care of it at the bottom of my bottle as the apple of my eye. Twenty times, a hundred times, I have resisted the fearful desire to drink it. But-no-no, Harry, I saved it for you."

resisted - resistere

"My dear uncle," I exclaimed, and the big tears rolled down my hot and feverish cheeks.

"Yes, my poor boy, I knew that when you reached this place, this crossroad in the earth, you would fall down half dead, and I saved my last drop of water in order to restore you."

crossroad - incrocio

restore - ristabilire, restaurare, riportare, rimettere

"Thanks," I cried; "thanks from my heart."

As little as my thirst was really quenched, I had nevertheless partially recovered my strength. The contracted muscles of my throat relaxed-and the inflammation of my lips in some measure subsided. At all events, I was able to speak.

quenched - dissetare, abbeverare, estinguere, appagare

recovered - rimettersi, riprendersi

contracted - contrarre

inflammation - infiammazione

subsided - sprofondare, abbassare, abbassarsi, scendere

"Well," I said, "there can be no doubt now as to what we have to do. Water has utterly failed us; our journey is therefore at an end. Let us return."

While I spoke thus, my uncle evidently avoided my face: he held down his head; his eyes were turned in every possible direction but the right one.

"Yes," I continued, getting excited by my own words, "we must go back to Sneffels. May heaven give us strength to enable us once more to revisit the light of day. Would that we now stood on the summit of the crater."

revisit - rivisitare

"Go back," said my uncle, speaking to himself, "and must it be so?"

"Go back-yes, and without losing a single moment," I vehemently cried.

vehemently - veementemente, energeticamente

For some moments there was silence under that dark and gloomy vault.

"So, my dear Harry," said the Professor in a very singular tone of voice, "those few drops of water have not sufficed to restore your energy and courage."

sufficed - bastare, essere sufficiente, soddisfare, fornire

"Courage!" I cried.

"I see that you are quite as downcast as before-and still give way to discouragement and despair."

discouragement - scoraggiamento

What, then, was the man made of, and what other projects were entering his fertile and audacious brain!

"You are not discouraged, sir?"

discouraged - scoraggiare

"What! Give up just as we are on the verge of success?" he cried. "Never, never shall it be said that Professor Hardwigg retreated."

"Then we must make up our minds to perish," I cried with a helpless sigh.

helpless - indifeso

"No, Harry, my boy, certainly not. Go, leave me, I am very far from desiring your death. Take Hans with you. I will go on alone."

desiring - desiderare, volere, desiderio, voglia

"You ask us to leave you?"

"Leave me, I say. I have undertaken this dangerous and perilous adventure. I will carry it to the end-or I will never return to the surface of Mother Earth. Go, Harry-once more I say to you-go!"

undertaken - intraprendere, impegnarsi, dedicarsi

My uncle as he spoke was terribly excited. His voice, which before had been tender, almost womanly, became harsh and menacing. He appeared to be struggling with desperate energy against the impossible. I did not wish to abandon him at the bottom of that abyss, while, on the other hand, the instinct of preservation told me to fly.

Terribly - terribilmente, estremamente

tender - tenero

harsh - grossolano, ruvido, rude, aspro (taste), accidentato

struggling - in difficolta, (struggle), lotta, lottare

abandon - abbandonare

preservation - conservazione, preservazione, salvaguardia

Meanwhile, our guide was looking on with profound calmness and indifference. He appeared to be an unconcerned party, and yet he perfectly well knew what was going on between us. Our gestures sufficiently indicated the different roads each wished to follow-and which each tried to influence the other to undertake.

calmness - calma

But Hans appeared not to take the slightest interest in what was really a question of life and death for us all, but waited quite ready to obey the signal which should say go aloft, or to resume his desperate journey into the interior of the earth.

aloft - sopra, all`apice

resume - riprendere

How then I wished with all my heart and soul that I could make him understand my words. My representations, my sighs and groans, the earnest accents in which I should have spoken would have convinced that cold, hard nature. Those fearful dangers and perils of which the stolid guide had no idea, I would have pointed them out to him-I would have, as it were, made him see and feel.

Representations - rappresentanza

perils - periglio, pericolo

stolid - stolido

Between us, we might have convinced the obstinate Professor. If the worst had come to the worst, we could have compelled him to return to the summit of Sneffels.

I quietly approached Hans. I caught his hand in mine. He never moved a muscle. I indicated to him the road to the top of the crater. He remained motionless. My panting form, my haggard countenance, must have indicated the extent of my sufferings. The Icelander gently shook his head and pointed to my uncle.

approached - avvicinarsi

gently - soavemente, dolcemente, blandamente, delicatamente

"Master," he said.

The word is Icelandic as well as English.

"The master!" I cried, beside myself with fury-"madman! no-I tell you he is not the master of our lives; we must fly! we must drag him with us! do you hear me? Do you understand me, I say?"

I have already explained that I held Hans by the arm. I tried to make him rise from his seat. I struggled with him and tried to force him away. My uncle now interposed.

struggled - lotta, lottare

interposed - interporsi

"My good Henry, be calm," he said. "You will obtain nothing from my devoted follower; therefore, listen to what I have to say."

follower - follower

I folded my arms, as well as I could, and looked my uncle full in the face.

"This wretched want of water," he said, "is the sole obstacle to the success of my project. In the entire gallery, made of lava, schist, and coal, it is true we found not one liquid molecule. It is quite possible that we may be more fortunate in the western tunnel."

entire - intero, intera

molecule - molecola

fortunate - fortunato

My sole reply was to shake my head with an air of deep incredulity.

incredulity - incredulita

"Listen to me to the end," said the Professor in his well-known lecturing voice. "While you lay yonder without life or motion, I undertook a reconnoitering journey into the conformation of this other gallery. I have discovered that it goes directly downwards into the bowels of the earth, and in a few hours will take us to the old granitic formation.

undertook - intraprendere, impegnarsi, dedicarsi

reconnoitering - perlustrare, fare una ricognizione

In this we shall undoubtedly find innumerable springs. The nature of the rock makes this a mathematical certainty, and instinct agrees with logic to say that it is so. Now, this is the serious proposition which I have to make to you.

certainty - certezza

logic - logica

When Christopher Columbus asked of his men three days to discover the land of promise, his men ill, terrified, and hopeless, yet gave him three days-and the New World was discovered. Now I, the Christopher Columbus of this subterranean region, only ask of you one more day.

Christopher - Cristoforo

Columbus - Colombo, Cristoforo Colombo

hopeless - disperato

If, when that time is expired, I have not found the water of which we are in search, I swear to you, I will give up my mighty enterprise and return to the earth's surface."

expired - finire

swear - giurare

earth's surface - superficie terrestre

Despite my irritation and despair, I knew how much it cost my uncle to make this proposition, and to hold such conciliatory language. Under the circumstances, what could I do but yield?

irritation - irritazione

conciliatory - conciliante

"Well," I cried, "let it be as you wish, and may heaven reward your superhuman energy. But as, unless we discover water, our hours are numbered, let us lose no time, but go ahead."

Reward - ricompensa

superhuman - sovrumano, sovrumana


Our descent was now resumed by means of the second gallery. Hans took up his post in front as usual. We had not gone more than a hundred yards when the Professor carefully examined the walls.

"This is the primitive formation-we are on the right road-onwards is our hope!"

When the whole earth got cool in the first hours of the world's morning, the diminution of the volume of the earth produced a state of dislocation in its upper crust, followed by ruptures, crevasses and fissures. The passage was a fissure of this kind, through which, ages ago, had flowed the eruptive granite.

dislocation - dislocamento, ripartizione

ruptures - rottura

crevasses - crepaccio

The thousand windings and turnings formed an inextricable labyrinth through the ancient soil.

inextricable - inestricabile

As we descended, successions of layers composing the primitive soil appeared with the utmost fidelity of detail. Geological science considers this primitive soil as the base of the mineral crust, and it has recognized that it is composed of three different strata or layers, all resting on the immovable rock known as granite.

successions - successione

composing - comporre

mineral - minerale

immovable - fisso

No mineralogists had even found themselves placed in such a marvelous position to study nature in all her real and naked beauty. The sounding rod, a mere machine, could not bring to the surface of the earth the objects of value for the study of its internal structure, which we were about to see with our own eyes, to touch with our own hands.

mineralogists - mineralogista

rod - palo, pertica, stecca, bastone, canna

Remember that I am writing this after the journey.

Across the streak of the rocks, colored by beautiful green tints, wound metallic threads of copper, of manganese, with traces of platinum and gold. I could not help gazing at these riches buried in the entrails of Mother Earth, and of which no man would have the enjoyment to the end of time!

streak - striatura, striscia

tints - tinta, sfumatura

metallic - metallico

threads - filo, refe, filo conduttore, forum

copper - rame

manganese - manganese

gazing - fissare, guardare, puntare gli occhi, volgere lo sguardo

enjoyment - divertimento

These treasures-mighty and inexhaustible, were buried in the morning of the earth's history, at such awful depths, that no crowbar or pickax will ever drag them from their tomb!

treasures - tesoro, apprezzare

inexhaustible - inesauribile

crowbar - piede di porco, palanchino, levachiodi, cavachiodi

pickax - grimaldello

tomb - tomba

The light of our Ruhmkorff's coil, increased tenfold by the myriad of prismatic masses of rock, sent its jets of fire in every direction, and I could fancy myself traveling through a huge hollow diamond, the rays of which produced myriads of extraordinary effects.

increased tenfold - decuplicare

prismatic - prismatico

masses - massa

jets - giavazzo

myriads - miriade

Towards six o'clock, this festival of light began sensibly and visibly to decrease, and soon almost ceased. The sides of the gallery assumed a crystallized tint, with a somber hue; white mica began to commingle more freely with feldspar and quartz, to form what may be called the true rock-the stone which is hard above all, that supports, without being crushed, the four stories of the earth's soil.

sensibly - ragionevolmente, sensatamente, accortamente, assennatamente

visibly - visibilmente

decrease - diminuire, calare, far calare, ribassare

assumed - presupporre, ritenere, assumere

crystallized - cristallizzare

tint - tinta, sfumatura

mica - mica

commingle - mescolarsi

freely - liberamente

feldspar - feldspato

We were walled by an immense prison of granite!

It was now eight o'clock, and still there was no sign of water. The sufferings I endured were horrible. My uncle now kept at the head of our little column. Nothing could induce him to stop. I, meanwhile, had but one real thought. My ear was keenly on the watch to catch the sound of a spring. But no pleasant sound of falling water fell upon my listening ear.

induce - persuadere, incitare, indurre, provocare

But at last the time came when my limbs refused to carry me longer. I contended heroically against the terrible tortures I endured, because I did not wish to compel my uncle to halt. To him I knew this would be the last fatal stroke.

contended - contendere, combattere

heroically - eroicamente

Suddenly I felt a deadly faintness come over me. My eyes could no longer see; my knees shook. I gave one despairing cry-and fell!

deadly - mortale

faintness - stornimento, stordimento, malore, svenevolezza

despairing - disperazione

"Help, help, I am dying!"

dying - morire

My uncle turned and slowly retraced his steps. He looked at me with folded arms, and then allowed one sentence to escape, in hollow accents, from his lips:

retraced - ripercorrere, (tornare indietro)

"All is over."

The last thing I saw was a face fearfully distorted with pain and sorrow; and then my eyes closed.

fearfully - con paura

distorted - deformare, distorcere

When I again opened them, I saw my companions lying near me, motionless, wrapped in their huge traveling rugs. Were they asleep or dead? For myself, sleep was wholly out of the question. My fainting fit over, I was wakeful as the lark. I suffered too much for sleep to visit my eyelids-the more, that I thought myself sick unto death-dying.

wrapped - avvolgere

Fainting - svenimento

wakeful - irrequieto, smanioso, vigile, attento

lark - allodola

eyelids - palpebra

unto - verso

The last words spoken by my uncle seemed to be buzzing in my ears-all is over! And it was probable that he was right. In the state of prostration to which I was reduced, it was madness to think of ever again seeing the light of day.

buzzing - ronzio, (buzz), brusio, bisbiglio, mormorio

prostration - prostrazione

Above were miles upon miles of the earth's crust. As I thought of it, I could fancy the whole weight resting on my shoulders. I was crushed, annihilated! and exhausted myself in vain attempts to turn in my granite bed.

annihilated - annichilire, annientare

attempts - tentare, cercare, provare, attentare, tentativo

Hours upon hours passed away. A profound and terrible silence reigned around us-a silence of the tomb. Nothing could make itself heard through these gigantic walls of granite. The very thought was stupendous.

Presently, despite my apathy, despite the kind of deadly calm into which I was cast, something aroused me. It was a slight but peculiar noise. While I was watching intently, I observed that the tunnel was becoming dark. Then gazing through the dim light that remained, I thought I saw the Icelander taking his departure, lamp in hand.

apathy - apatia

aroused - eccitare, provocare, stimolare, suscitare

Slight - insignificante, leggero, debole, lieve, disprezzare, sminuire

intently - attentamente, meticolosamente, minuziosamente

dim - fioco, incerto

Why had he acted thus? Did Hans the guide mean to abandon us? My uncle lay fast asleep-or dead. I tried to cry out, and arouse him. My voice, feebly issuing from my parched and fevered lips, found no echo in that fearful place. My throat was dry, my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth.

arouse - eccitare, provocare, stimolare, suscitare

feebly - debolmente

fevered - febbre

Echo - eco

The obscurity had by this time become intense, and at last even the faint sound of the guide's footsteps was lost in the blank distance. My soul seemed filled with anguish, and death appeared welcome, only let it come quickly.

anguish - angoscia

"Hans is leaving us," I cried. "Hans-Hans, if you are a man, come back."

These words were spoken to myself. They could not be heard aloud. Nevertheless, after the first few moments of terror were over, I was ashamed of my suspicions against a man who hitherto had behaved so admirably. Nothing in his conduct or character justified suspicion. Moreover, a moment's reflection reassured me. His departure could not be a flight.

terror - terrore

suspicions - sospetto

conduct - conduzione, comportamento, condotta, condurre, comportarsi

justified - giustificare

Instead of ascending the gallery, he was going deeper down into the gulf. Had he had any bad design, his way would have been upwards.

This reasoning calmed me a little and I began to hope!

The good, and peaceful, and imperturbable Hans would certainly not have arisen from his sleep without some serious and grave motive. Was he bent on a voyage of discovery? During the deep, still silence of the night had he at last heard that sweet murmur about which we were all so anxious?

arisen from - nascere da

motive - motivo

murmur - mormorio, brusio, sussurro, mormorare


Bitter - amaro, aspro

During a long, long, weary hour, there crossed my wildly delirious brain all sorts of reasons as to what could have aroused our quiet and faithful guide. The most absurd and ridiculous ideas passed through my head, each more impossible than the other. I believe I was either half or wholly mad.

delirious - delirante

faithful - fedele, ligio, affidabile

most absurd - piu assurdo

ridiculous - ridicolo

Suddenly, however, there arose, as it were from the depths of the earth, a voice of comfort. It was the sound of footsteps! Hans was returning.

Presently the uncertain light began to shine upon the walls of the passage, and then it came in view far down the sloping tunnel. At length Hans himself appeared.

He approached my uncle, placed his hand upon his shoulder, and gently awakened him. My uncle, as soon as he saw who it was, instantly arose.

instantly - istantaneamente

"Well!" exclaimed the Professor.

"Vatten," said the hunter.

I did not know a single word of the Danish language, and yet by a sort of mysterious instinct I understood what the guide had said.

"Water, water!" I cried, in a wild and frantic tone, clapping my hands, and gesticulating like a madman.

clapping - applausi

"Water!" murmured my uncle, in a voice of deep emotion and gratitude. "Hvar?" ("Where?")

"Nedat." ("Below.")

"Where? below!" I understood every word. I had caught the hunter by the hands, and I shook them heartily, while he looked on with perfect calmness.

The preparations for our departure did not take long, and we were soon making a rapid descent into the tunnel.

An hour later we had advanced a thousand yards, and descended two thousand feet.

At this moment I heard an accustomed and well-known sound running along the floors of the granite rock-a kind of dull and sullen roar, like that of a distant waterfall.

waterfall - cascata

During the first half hour of our advance, not finding the discovered spring, my feelings of intense suffering appeared to return. Once more I began to lose all hope. My uncle, however, observing how downhearted I was again becoming, took up the conversation.

observing - osservare

downhearted - abbattuto

"Hans was right," he exclaimed enthusiastically; "that is the dull roaring of a torrent."

enthusiastically - entusiasticamente

"A torrent," I cried, delighted at even hearing the welcome words.

"There's not the slightest doubt about it," he replied, "a subterranean river is flowing beside us."

I made no reply, but hastened on, once more animated by hope. I began not even to feel the deep fatigue which hitherto had overpowered me. The very sound of this glorious murmuring water already refreshed me. We could hear it increasing in volume every moment.

animated - animare, ravvivare

overpowered - sopraffare, soverchiare

murmuring - brontolamento, lamentela

refreshed - rinfrescare

The torrent, which for a long time could be heard flowing over our heads, now ran distinctly along the left wall, roaring, rushing, spluttering, and still falling.

distinctly - distintamente

spluttering - strombazzare

Several times I passed my hand across the rock hoping to find some trace of humidity-of the slightest percolation. Alas! in vain.

percolation - percolazione, percolamento

Again a half hour passed in the same weary toil. Again we advanced.

toil - lavoro, fatica, disputa, tenzone, litigio

It now became evident that the hunter, during his absence, had not been able to carry his researches any farther. Guided by an instinct peculiar to the dwellers in mountain regions and water finders, he "smelt" the living spring through the rock. Still he had not seen the precious liquid. He had neither quenched his own thirst, nor brought us one drop in his gourd.

finders - Buscador

Moreover, we soon made the disastrous discovery that, if our progress continued, we should soon be moving away from the torrent, the sound of which gradually diminished. We turned back. Hans halted at the precise spot where the sound of the torrent appeared nearest.

disastrous - disastroso

I could bear the suspense and suffering no longer, and seated myself against the wall, behind which I could hear the water seething and effervescing not two feet away. But a solid wall of granite still separated us from it!

suspense - trepidazione

effervescing - spumeggiare

Hans looked keenly at me, and, strange enough, for once I thought I saw a smile on his imperturbable face.

He rose from a stone on which he had been seated, and took up the lamp. I could not help rising and following. He moved slowly along the firm and solid granite wall. I watched him with mingled curiosity and eagerness. Presently he halted and placed his ear against the dry stone, moving slowly along and listening with the most extreme care and attention.

mingled - mescolare, rimestare, rigirare, amalgamare, mescolarsi

eagerness - desiderio

I understood at once that he was searching for the exact spot where the torrent's roar was most plainly heard. This point he soon found in the lateral wall on the left side, about three feet above the level of the tunnel floor.

lateral - laterale

I was in a state of intense excitement. I scarcely dared believe what the eider-duck hunter was about to do. It was, however, impossible in a moment more not to both understand and applaud, and even to smother him in my embraces, when I saw him raise the heavy crowbar and commence an attack upon the rock itself.

applaud - applaudire, congratularsi, lodare, approvare

smother - soffocare, asfissiare

"Saved!" I cried.

"Yes," cried my uncle, even more excited and delighted than myself; "Hans is quite right. Oh, the worthy, excellent man! We should never have thought of such an idea."

more excited - piu eccitato

And nobody else, I think, would have done so. Such a process, simple as it seemed, would most certainly not have entered our heads. Nothing could be more dangerous than to begin to work with pickaxes in that particular part of the globe.

Supposing while he was at work a break-up were to take place, and supposing the torrent once having gained an inch were to take an ell, and come pouring bodily through the broken rock!

Gained - acquistare, conseguire

Not one of these dangers was chimerical. They were only too real. But at that moment no fear of falling in of the roof, or even of inundation was capable of stopping us. Our thirst was so intense that to quench it we would have dug below the bed of old Ocean itself.

chimerical - chimerico

inundation - inondazione, allagamento, alluvione

quench - dissetare, abbeverare, estinguere, appagare

Hans went quietly to work-a work which neither my uncle nor I would have undertaken at any price. Our impatience was so great that if we had once begun with pickax and crowbar, the rock would soon have split into a hundred fragments.

The guide, on the contrary, calm, ready, moderate, wore away the hard rock by little steady blows of his instrument, making no attempt at a larger hole than about six inches. As I stood, I heard, or I thought I heard, the roar of the torrent momentarily increasing in loudness, and at times I almost felt the pleasant sensation of water upon my parched lips.

loudness - volume

At the end of what appeared an age, Hans had made a hole which enabled his crowbar to enter two feet into the solid rock. He had been at work exactly an hour. It appeared a dozen. I was getting wild with impatience. My uncle began to think of using more violent measures. I had the greatest difficulty in checking him.

He had indeed just got hold of his crowbar when a loud and welcome hiss was heard. Then a stream, or rather jet, of water burst through the wall and came out with such force as to hit the opposite side!

hiss - sibilo, soffio, sibilio, checkfischio, sibilare, fischiare

jet - giavazzo

Hans, the guide, who was half upset by the shock, was scarcely able to keep down a cry of pain and grief. I understood his meaning when, plunging my hands into the sparkling jet, I myself gave a wild and frantic cry. The water was scalding hot!

grief - dolore, pena, sofferenza

plunging - immergersi

scalding - scottatura

"Boiling," I cried, in bitter disappointment.

"Well, never mind," said my uncle, "it will soon get cool."

The tunnel began to be filled by clouds of vapor, while a small stream ran away into the interior of the earth. In a short time we had some sufficiently cool to drink. We swallowed it in huge mouthfuls.

swallowed - inghiottire, ingoiare

Oh! what exalted delight-what rich and incomparable luxury! What was this water, whence did it come? To us what was that? The simple fact was-it was water; and, though still with a tingle of warmth about it, it brought back to the heart, that life which, but for it, must surely have faded away. I drank greedily, almost without tasting it.

exalted - esaltare

incomparable - incomparabile

tingle - formicolare, solletico

faded away - svanito

greedily - cupidamente

When, however, I had almost quenched my ravenous thirst, I made a discovery.

"Why, it is chalybeate water!"

chalybeate water - acqua ferruginosa

"A most excellent stomachic," replied my uncle, "and highly mineralized. Here is a journey worth twenty to Spa."

most excellent - il piu meraviglioso/ eccellente

stomachic - stomachico

mineralized - mineralizzare, mineralizzarsi

"It's very good," I replied.

"I should think so. Water found six miles under ground. There is a peculiarly inky flavor about it, which is by no means disagreeable. Hans may congratulate himself on having made a rare discovery. What do you say, nephew, according to the usual custom of travelers, to name the stream after him?"

peculiarly - in modo particolare

inky - dark, spattered with ink

congratulate - congratularsi

"Good," said I. And the name of "Hansbach" ("Hans Brook") was at once agreed upon.

brook - ruscello

Hans was not a bit more proud after hearing our determination than he was before. After having taken a very small modicum of the welcome refreshment, he had seated himself in a corner with his usual imperturbable gravity.

more proud - piu orgoglioso

modicum - un poco o' di

"Now," said I, "it is not worth while letting this water run to waste."

"What is the use," replied my uncle, "the source from which this river rises is inexhaustible."

"Never mind," I continued, "let us fill our goatskin and gourds, and then try to stop the opening up."

goatskin - pelle di capra

My advice, after some hesitation, was followed or attempted to be followed. Hans picked up all the broken pieces of granite he had knocked out, and using some tow he happened to have about him, tried to shut up the fissure he had made in the wall. All he did was to scald his hands. The pressure was too great, and all our attempts were utter failures.

tow - rimorchiare, trainare

scald - ustionare

failures - fallimento, insuccesso, avaria, fiasco, disfunzione

"It is evident," I remarked, "that the upper surface of these springs is situated at a very great height above-as we may fairly infer from the great pressure of the jet."

infer - inferire, dedurre, concludere, infliggere, implicare

"That is by no means doubtful," replied my uncle, "if this column of water is about thirty-two thousand feet high, the atmospheric pressure must be something enormous. But a new idea has just struck me."

"And what is that?"

"Why be at so much trouble to close this aperture?"


I hesitated and stammered, having no real reason.

"When our water bottles are empty, we are not at all sure that we shall be able to fill them," observed my uncle.

"I think that is very probable."

"Well, then, let this water run. It will, of course, naturally follow in our track, and will serve to guide and refresh us."

"I think the idea a good one," I cried in reply, "and with this rivulet as a companion, there is no further reason why we should not succeed in our marvelous project."

rivulet - rigagnolo

"Ah, my boy," said the Professor, laughing, "after all, you are coming round."

"More than that, I am now confident of ultimate success."

ultimate - ultimo, ultima, estremo, estrema, definitivo, definitiva

"One moment, nephew mine. Let us begin by taking some hours of repose."

I had utterly forgotten that it was night. The chronometer, however, informed me of the fact. Soon we were sufficiently restored and refreshed, and had all fallen into a profound sleep.

restored - ristabilire, restaurare, riportare, rimettere


By the next day we had nearly forgotten our past sufferings. The first sensation I experienced was surprise at not being thirsty, and I actually asked myself the reason. The running stream, which flowed in rippling wavelets at my feet, was the satisfactory reply.

rippling - increspatura

We breakfasted with a good appetite, and then drank our fill of the excellent water. I felt myself quite a new man, ready to go anywhere my uncle chose to lead. I began to think. Why should not a man as seriously convinced as my uncle, succeed, with so excellent a guide as worthy Hans, and so devoted a nephew as myself? These were the brilliant ideas which now invaded my brain.

invaded - invadere

Had the proposition now been made to go back to the summit of Mount Sneffels, I should have declined the offer in a most indignant manner.

most indignant - piu indignato

But fortunately there was no question of going up. We were about to descend farther into the interior of the earth.

"Let us be moving," I cried, awakening the echoes of the old world.

awakening - risveglio, rinnovamento, (awaken), svegliare, svegliarsi

We resumed our march on Thursday at eight o'clock in the morning. The great granite tunnel, as it went round by sinuous and winding ways, presented every now and then sharp turns, and in fact all the appearance of a labyrinth. Its direction, however, was in general towards the southwest. My uncle made several pauses in order to consult his compass.

sinuous - sinuosa

The gallery now began to trend downwards in a horizontal direction, with about two inches of fall in every furlong. The murmuring stream flowed quietly at our feet. I could not but compare it to some familiar spirit, guiding us through the earth, and I dabbled my fingers in its tepid water, which sang like a naiad as we progressed. My good humor began to assume a mythological character.

furlong -

dabbled - sguazzare, dilettarsi, occuparsi a tempo perso

tepid - tiepido, tepido, indifferente, molle, fiacco

naiad - naiade

assume - presupporre, ritenere, assumere

mythological - mitologico

As for my uncle he began to complain of the horizontal character of the road. His route, he found, began to be indefinitely prolonged, instead of "sliding down the celestial ray," according to his expression.

sliding - scivolare

celestial - celeste

ray - raggio

But we had no choice; and as long as our road led towards the centre-however little progress we made, there was no reason to complain.

Moreover, from time to time the slopes were much greater, the naiad sang more loudly, and we began to dip downwards in earnest.

As yet, however, I felt no painful sensation. I had not got over the excitement of the discovery of water.

That day and the next we did a considerable amount of horizontal, and relatively very little vertical, traveling.

relatively - relativamente

On Friday evening, the tenth of July, according to our estimation, we ought to have been thirty leagues to the southeast of Reykjavik, and about two leagues and a half deep. We now received a rather startling surprise.

tenth - decimo ('before the noun'), ('in names of monarchs and popes') decimo

estimation - stima

startling - sconvolgente, sorprendente, (startle), scattare, sobbalzare

Under our feet there opened a horrible well. My uncle was so delighted that he actually clapped his hands-as he saw how steep and sharp was the descent.

clapped - battere le mani, applaudire

"Ah, ah!" he cried, in rapturous delight; "this will take us a long way. Look at the projections of the rock. Hah!" he exclaimed, "it's a fearful staircase!"

Hans, however, who in all our troubles had never given up the ropes, took care so to dispose of them as to prevent any accidents. Our descent then began. I dare not call it a perilous descent, for I was already too familiar with that sort of work to look upon it as anything but a very ordinary affair.

dispose - eliminare, disporre, mettere, depositare, distribuire

This well was a kind of narrow opening in the massive granite of the kind known as a fissure. The contraction of the terrestrial scaffolding, when it suddenly cooled, had been evidently the cause. If it had ever served in former times as a kind of funnel through which passed the eruptive masses vomited by Sneffels, I was at a loss to explain how it had left no mark.

contraction - contrazione

terrestrial - terrestre, terragnolo, terricolo

scaffolding - impalcatura, (scaffold), ponteggio, patibolo

funnel - imbuto

vomited - vomitare, rimettere, vomito

We were, in fact, descending a spiral, something like those winding staircases in use in modern houses.

spiral - spirale, bovolo, aumentare vertiginosamente

We were compelled every quarter of an hour or thereabouts to sit down in order to rest our legs. Our calves ached. We then seated ourselves on some projecting rock with our legs hanging over, and gossiped while we ate a mouthful-drinking still from the pleasantly warm running stream which had not deserted us.

thereabouts - nei dintorni, nei pressi, nelle vicinanze

calves - figliare, partorire

gossiped - pettegolo, pettegola, chiacchierone, chiacchierona

pleasantly - dilettosamente

It is scarcely necessary to say that in this curiously shaped fissure the Hansbach had become a cascade to the detriment of its size. It was still, however, sufficient, and more, for our wants. Besides we knew that, as soon as the declivity ceased to be so abrupt, the stream must resume its peaceful course.

cascade - cascata

detriment - detrimento, scapito, svantaggio

declivity - declivio

At this moment it reminded me of my uncle, his impatience and rage, while when it flowed more peacefully, I pictured to myself the placidity of the Icelandic guide.

placidity - placidita, placidezza

During the whole of two days, the sixth and seventh of July, we followed the extraordinary spiral staircase of the fissure, penetrating two leagues farther into the crust of the earth, which put us five leagues below the level of the sea. On the eighth, however, at twelve o'clock in the day, the fissure suddenly assumed a much more gentle slope still trending in a southeast direction.

penetrating - penetrare

more gentle - piu delicato

The road now became comparatively easy, and at the same time dreadfully monotonous. It would have been difficult for matters to have turned out otherwise. Our peculiar journey had no chance of being diversified by landscape and scenery. At all events, such was my idea.

diversified - diversificare

At length, on Wednesday the fifteenth, we were actually seven leagues (twenty-one miles) below the surface of the earth, and fifty leagues distant from the mountain of Sneffels. Though, if the truth be told, we were very tired, our health had resisted all suffering, and was in a most satisfactory state. Our traveler's box of medicaments had not even been opened.

medicaments - medicinale

My uncle was careful to note every hour the indications of the compass, of the manometer, and of the thermometer, all which he afterwards published in his elaborate philosophical and scientific account of our remarkable voyage. He was therefore able to give an exact relation of the situation.

indications - indicazione

elaborate - elaborato, dettagliato, intricato, approfondire, dettagliare

philosophical - filosofico

When, therefore, he informed me that we were fifty leagues in a horizontal direction distant from our starting point, I could not suppress a loud exclamation.

Suppress - sopprimere

"What is the matter now?" cried my uncle.

"Nothing very important, only an idea has entered my head," was my reply.

"Well, out with it, My boy."

"It is my opinion that if your calculations are correct we are no longer under Iceland."

"Do you think so?"

"We can very easily find out," I replied, pulling out a map and compasses.

"You see," I said, after careful measurement, "that I am not mistaken. We are far beyond Cape Portland; and those fifty leagues to the southeast will take us into the open sea."

measurement - misurazione

open sea - mare aperto

"Under the open sea," cried my uncle, rubbing his hands with a delighted air.

"Yes," I cried, "no doubt old Ocean flows over our heads!"

"Well, my dear boy, what can be more natural! Do you not know that in the neighborhood of Newcastle there are coal mines which have been worked far out under the sea?"

Newcastle - city

Now my worthy uncle, the Professor, no doubt regarded this discovery as a very simple fact, but to me the idea was by no means a pleasant one. And yet when one came to think the matter over seriously, what mattered it whether the plains and mountains of Iceland were suspended over our devoted heads, or the mighty billows of the Atlantic Ocean?

billows - maroso

The whole question rested on the solidity of the granite roof above us. However, I soon got used to the ideal for the passage now level, now running down, and still always to the southeast, kept going deeper and deeper into the profound abysses of Mother Earth.

solidity - solidita

Three days later, on the eighteenth day of July, on a Saturday, we reached a kind of vast grotto. My uncle here paid Hans his usual rix-dollars, and it was decided that the next day should be a day of rest.

eighteenth - diciottesimo ('before the noun'), ('in names of monarchs and popes') diciottesimo g, diciottesima g ('after the name') ('abbreviation' XVIII), diciottesimo

grotto - grotta, caverna, santuario

CHAPTER 22. SUNDAY below ground

below ground - sotto terra

I Awoke on Sunday morning without any sense of hurry and bustle attendant on an immediate departure. Though the day to be devoted to repose and reflection was spent under such strange circumstances, and in so wonderful a place, the idea was a pleasant one. Besides, we all began to get used to this kind of existence.

bustle - viavai, andirivieni, sottana, affaccendarsi, pullulare

I had almost ceased to think of the sun, of the moon, of the stars, of the trees, houses, and towns; in fact, about any terrestrial necessities. In our peculiar position we were far above such reflections.

necessities - necessita, bisogno

The grotto was a vast and magnificent hall. Along its granitic soil the stream flowed placidly and pleasantly. So great a distance was it now from its fiery source that its water was scarcely lukewarm, and could be drunk without delay or difficulty.

placidly - placidamente

lukewarm - tiepido

After a frugal breakfast, the Professor made up his mind to devote some hours to putting his notes and calculations in order.

devote - dedicare, consacrare

"In the first place," he said, "I have a good many to verify and prove, in order that we may know our exact position. I wish to be able on our return to the upper regions to make a map of our journey, a kind of vertical section of the globe, which will be, as it were, the profile of the expedition."

verify - verificare

"That would indeed be a curious work, Uncle; but can you make your observations with anything like certainty and precision?"

precision - precisione

"I can. I have never on any occasion failed to note with great care the angles and slopes. I am certain as to having made no mistake. Take the compass and examine how she points."

I looked at the instrument with care.

"East one quarter southeast."

"Very good," resumed the Professor, noting the observation, and going through some rapid calculations. "I make out that we have journeyed two hundred and fifty miles from the point of our departure."

"Then the mighty waves of the Atlantic are rolling over our heads?"


"And at this very moment it is possible that fierce tempests are raging above, and that men and ships are battling against the angry blasts just over our heads?"

tempests - tempesta, procella

raging - straccio

blasts - ventata

"It is quite within the range of possibility," rejoined my uncle, smiling.

"And that whales are playing in shoals, thrashing the bottom of the sea, the roof of our adamantine prison?"

shoals - branco, banco

thrashing - sbattimento, (thrash), infierire, sferzare, percuotere

adamantine - ordine del giorno

"Be quite at rest on that point; there is no danger of their breaking through. But to return to our calculations. We are to the southeast, two hundred and fifty miles from the base of Sneffels, and, according to my preceding notes, I think we have gone sixteen leagues in a downward direction."

breaking through - sfondare

"Sixteen leagues-fifty miles!" I cried.

"I am sure of it."

"But that is the extreme limit allowed by science for the thickness of the earth's crust," I replied, referring to my geological studies.

"I do not contravene that assertion," was his quiet answer.

contravene - contravvenire a

assertion - asserzione, affermazione, asserimento, dichiarazione

"And at this stage of our journey, according to all known laws on the increase of heat, there should be here a temperature of fifteen hundred degrees of Reaumur."

"There should be-you say, my boy."

"In which case this granite would not exist, but be in a state of fusion."

"But you perceive, my boy, that it is not so, and that facts, as usual, are very stubborn things, overruling all theories."

stubborn - ostinato, testardo

overruling - annullare

"I am forced to yield to the evidence of my senses, but I am nevertheless very much surprised."

"What heat does the thermometer really indicate?" continued the philosopher.

philosopher - filosofo, filosofa

"Twenty-seven six-tenths."

tenths - decimo ('before the noun'), ('in names of monarchs and popes') decimo

"So that science is wrong by fourteen hundred and seventy-four degrees and four-tenths. According to which, it is demonstrated that the proportional increase in temperature is an exploded error. Humphry Davy here shines forth in all his glory. He is right, and I have acted wisely to believe him. Have you any answer to make to this statement?"

demonstrated - dimostrare, manifestare

proportional - proporzionale

wisely - saggiamente, coscienziosamente, in maniera appropriata

Had I chosen to have spoken, I might have said a great deal. I in no way admitted the theory of Humphry Davy-I still held out for the theory of proportional increase of heat, though I did not feel it.

I was far more willing to allow that this chimney of an extinct volcano was covered by lava of a kind refractory to heat-in fact a bad conductor-which did not allow the great increase of temperature to percolate through its sides. The hot water jet supported my view of the matter.

refractory - refrattario, refrattaria

conductor - direttore d'orchestra, conducente

percolate - percolare, drenare, filtrare

But without entering on a long and useless discussion, or seeking for new arguments to controvert my uncle, I contented myself with taking up facts as they were.

seeking - cercare, ricercare

controvert - controvertire

contented - contento, soddisfatto

"Well, sir, I take for granted that all your calculations are correct, but allow me to draw from them a rigorous and definite conclusion."

granted - permettere, concedere, conferire, ammettere, garantire

rigorous - rigoroso

"Go on, my boy-have your say," cried my uncle goodhumoredly.

goodhumoredly - in modo bonario

"At the place where we now are, under the latitude of Iceland, the terrestrial depth is about fifteen hundred and eighty-three leagues."

"Fifteen hundred eighty-three and a quarter."

"Well, suppose we say sixteen hundred in round numbers. Now, out of a voyage of sixteen hundred leagues we have completed sixteen."

"As you say, what then?"

"At the expense of a diagonal journey of no less than eighty-five leagues."

diagonal - diagonale


"We have been twenty days about it."

"Exactly twenty days."

"Now sixteen is the hundredth part of our contemplated expedition. If we go on in this way we shall be two thousand days, that is about five years and a half, going down."

hundredth - centesimo, centesima

contemplated - considerare, contemplare

The Professor folded his arms, listened, but did not speak.

"Without counting that if a vertical descent of sixteen leagues costs us a horizontal of eighty-five, we shall have to go about eight thousand leagues to the southeast, and we must therefore come out somewhere in the circumference long before we can hope to reach the centre."

"Bother your calculations," cried my uncle in one of his old rages. "On what basis do they rest? How do you know that this passage does not take us direct to the end we require? Moreover, I have in my favor, fortunately, a precedent. What I have undertaken to do, another has done, and he having succeeded, why should I not be equally successful?"

rages - rabbia, furia, furore, infuriare, imperversare

precedent - precedente, pregiudiziale

"I hope, indeed, you will, but still, I suppose I may be allowed to-"

"You are allowed to hold your tongue," cried Professor Hardwigg, "when you talk so unreasonably as this."

unreasonably - irragionevolmente

I saw at once that the old doctorial Professor was still alive in my uncle-and fearful to rouse his angry passions, I dropped the unpleasant subject.

"Now, then," he explained, "consult the manometer. What does that indicate?"

"A considerable amount of pressure."

"Very good. You see, then, that by descending slowly, and by gradually accustoming ourselves to the density of this lower atmosphere, we shall not suffer."

accustoming - assuefarsi, abituarsi, adattarsi, familiarizzare

"Well, I suppose not, except it may be a certain amount of pain in the ears," was my rather grim reply.

"That, my dear boy, is nothing, and you will easily get rid of that source of discomfort by bringing the exterior air in communication with the air contained in your lungs."

rid - sbarazzare

discomfort - disagio

"Perfectly," said I, for I had quite made up my mind in no wise to contradict my uncle. "I should fancy almost that I should experience a certain amount of satisfaction in making a plunge into this dense atmosphere. Have you taken note of how wonderfully sound is propagated?"

propagated - diffondere, diffondersi

"Of course I have. There can be no doubt that a journey into the interior of the earth would be an excellent cure for deafness."

deafness - sordita

"But then, Uncle," I ventured mildly to observe, "this density will continue to increase."

"Yes-according to a law which, however, is scarcely defined. It is true that the intensity of weight will diminish just in proportion to the depth to which we go. You know very well that it is on the surface of the earth that its action is most powerfully felt, while on the contrary, in the very centre of the earth bodies cease to have any weight at all."

diminish - diminuire, ridurre

powerfully - poderosamente, potentemente

"I know that is the case, but as we progress will not the atmosphere finally assume the density of water?"

"I know it; when placed under the pressure of seven hundred and ten atmospheres," cried my uncle with imperturbable gravity.

"And when we are still lower down?" I asked with natural anxiety.

"Well, lower down, the density will become even greater."

"Then how shall we be able to make our way through this atmospheric fog?"

Fog - nebbia

"Well, my worthy nephew, we must ballast ourselves by filling our pockets with stones," said Professor Hardwigg.

ballast - zavorra, massicciata, regolatore

"Faith, Uncle, you have an answer for everything," was my only reply.

I began to feel that it was unwise of me to go any farther into the wide field of hypotheses for I should certainly have revived some difficulty, or rather impossibility, that would have enraged the Professor.

unwise - imprudente, insipiente

hypotheses - ipotesi

revived - rinascere, resuscitare, rivivere, rinnovare

impossibility - impossibilita

enraged - esasperare, imbestialire, irritare

It was evident, nevertheless, that the air under a pressure which might be multiplied by thousands of atmospheres, would end by becoming perfectly solid, and that then admitting our bodies resisted the pressure, we should have to stop, in spite of all the reasonings in the world. Facts overcome all arguments.

reasonings - ragionamento

But I thought it best not to urge this argument. My uncle would simply have quoted the example of Saknussemm. Supposing the learned Icelander's journey ever really to have taken place-there was one simple answer to be made:

urge - pulsione, incoraggiare, fare pressione, invitare, esortare

In the sixteenth century neither the barometer nor the manometer had been invented-how, then, could Saknussemm have been able to discover when he did reach the centre of the earth?

This unanswerable and learned objection I, however, kept to myself and, bracing up my courage, awaited the course of events-little aware of how adventurous yet were to be the incidents of our remarkable journey.

bracing - rinforzo, (brace), braccia, abbraccio, aggancio, grappa, uncino

The rest of this day of leisure and repose was spent in calculation and conversation. I made it a point to agree with the Professor in everything; but I envied the perfect indifference of Hans, who, without taking any such trouble about the cause and effect, went blindly onwards wherever destiny chose to lead him.

envied - invidia, invidiare

blindly - alla cieca, a tentoni, a casaccio, alla leggera

wherever - dovunque, ovunque 'followed by the subjunctive', dappertutto

destiny - destino


It must in all truth be confessed, things as yet had gone on well, and I should have acted in bad taste to have complained. If the true medium of our difficulties did not increase, it was within the range of possibility that we might ultimately reach the end of our journey. Then what glory would be ours! I began in the newly aroused ardor of my soul to speak enthusiastically to the Professor.

confessed - confessare

ultimately - infine, per ultimo, per ultima cosa, in fin dei conti, alla fine

ardor - ardore, fervore

Well, was I serious? The whole state in which we existed was a mystery-and it was impossible to know whether or not I was in earnest.

For several days after our memorable halt, the slopes became more rapid-some were even of a most frightful character-almost vertical, so that we were forever going down into the solid interior mass. During some days, we actually descended a league and a half, even two leagues towards the centre of the earth.

League - lega, unione

The descents were sufficiently perilous, and while we were engaged in them we learned fully to appreciate the marvelous coolness of our guide, Hans. Without him we should have been wholly lost.

The grave and impassible Icelander devoted himself to us with the most incomprehensible sang-froid and ease; and, thanks to him, many a dangerous pass was got over, where, but for him, we should inevitably have stuck fast.

impassible - impassibile

most incomprehensible - il piu incomprensabile

froid - ordine del giorno

inevitably - inevitabilmente

His silence increased every day. I think that we began to be influenced by this peculiar trait in his character. It is certain that the inanimate objects by which you are surrounded have a direct action on the brain. It must be that a man who shuts himself up between four walls must lose the faculty of associating ideas and words.

trait - caratteristica, tratto

inanimate - inanimato

faculty - facolta

associating - associare

How many persons condemned to the horrors of solitary confinement have gone mad-simply because the thinking faculties have lain dormant!

condemned - condannare

confinement - confinamento

faculties - facolta

dormant - inattivo

During the two weeks that followed our last interesting conversation, there occurred nothing worthy of being especially recorded.

I have, while writing these memoirs, taxed my memory in vain for one incident of travel during this particular period.

Memoirs - memorie

But the next event to be related is terrible indeed. Its very memory, even now, makes my soul shudder, and my blood run cold.

It was on the seventh of August. Our constant and successive descents had taken us quite thirty leagues into the interior of the earth, that is to say that there were above us thirty leagues, nearly a hundred miles, of rocks, and oceans, and continents, and towns, to say nothing of living inhabitants. We were in a southeasterly direction, about two hundred leagues from Iceland.

On that memorable day the tunnel had begun to assume an almost horizontal course.

I was on this occasion walking on in front. My uncle had charge of one of the Ruhmkorff coils, I had possession of the other. By means of its light I was busy examining the different layers of granite. I was completely absorbed in my work.

Suddenly halting and turning round, I found that I was alone!

"Well," thought I to myself, "I have certainly been walking too fast-or else Hans and my uncle have stopped to rest. The best thing I can do is to go back and find them. Luckily, there is very little ascent to tire me."

luckily - fortunatamente, meno male

tire - pneumatico

I accordingly retraced my steps and, while doing so, walked for at least a quarter of an hour. Rather uneasy, I paused and looked eagerly around. Not a living soul. I called aloud. No reply. My voice was lost amid the myriad cavernous echoes it aroused!

eagerly - impazientemente

myriad - miriade

I began for the first time to feel seriously uneasy. A cold shiver shook my whole body, and perspiration, chill and terrible, burst upon my skin.

perspiration - sudore

chill - freddo

"I must be calm," I said, speaking aloud, as boys whistle to drive away fear. "There can be no doubt that I shall find my companions. There cannot be two roads. It is certain that I was considerably ahead; all I have to do is to go back."

Having come to this determination I ascended the tunnel for at least half an hour, unable to decide if I had ever seen certain landmarks before. Every now and then I paused to discover if any loud appeal was made to me, well knowing that in that dense and intensified atmosphere I should hear it a long way off. But no. The most extraordinary silence reigned in this immense gallery.

landmarks - punto di riferimento, monumento, pietra miliare

appeal - fare appello, ricorrere

intensified - intensificare

Only the echoes of my own footsteps could be heard.

At last I stopped. I could scarcely realize the fact of my isolation. I was quite willing to think that I had made a mistake, but not that I was lost. If I had made a mistake, I might find my way; if lost-I shuddered to think of it.

isolation - isolamento

shuddered - brivido, sussulto, tremolio, tremare

"Come, come," said I to myself, "since there is only one road, and they must come by it, we shall at last meet. All I have to do is still to go upwards. Perhaps, however, not seeing me, and forgetting I was ahead, they may have gone back in search of me. Still, even in this case, if I Make haste, I shall get up to them. There can be no doubt about the matter."

Make haste - Affrettarsi

But as I spoke these last words aloud, it would have been quite clear to any listener-had there been one-that I was by no means convinced of the fact. Moreover in order to associate together these simple ideas and to reunite them under the form of reasoning, required some time. I could not all at once bring my brain to think.

associate - associare

reunite - riunirsi

Then another dread doubt fell upon my soul. After all, was I ahead? Of course I was. Hans was no doubt following behind preceded by my uncle. I perfectly recollected his having stopped for a moment to strap his baggage on his shoulder. I now remembered this trifling detail. It was, I believe, just at that very moment that I had determined to continue my route.

recollected - ricordarsi

trifling - insignificante, (trifle), zuppa inglese, un tantino, un po'

"Again," thought I, reasoning as calmly as was possible, "there is another sure means of not losing my way, a thread to guide me through the labyrinthine subterraneous retreat-one which I had forgotten-my faithful river."

thread - filo, refe, filo conduttore, forum

labyrinthine - labirintico

retreat - ritirarsi

This course of reasoning roused my drooping spirits, and I resolved to resume my journey without further delay. No time was to be lost.

drooping - pendere

It was at this moment that I had reason to bless the thoughtfulness of my uncle, when he refused to allow the eider hunter to close the orifices of the hot spring-that small fissure in the great mass of granite. This beneficent spring after having saved us from thirst during so many days would now enable me to regain the right road.

bless - benedire

thoughtfulness - premurosita

orifices - orifizio, orificio

beneficent - benefico

regain - riprendere, riappropriarsi, recuperare, riguadagnare

Having come to this mental decision, I made up my mind, before I started upwards, that ablution would certainly do me a great deal of good.

ablution - abluzione, abluzioni

I stopped to plunge my hands and forehead in the pleasant water of the Hansbach stream, blessing its presence as a certain consolation.

blessing - benedizione

Conceive my horror and stupefaction!-I was treading a hard, dusty, shingly road of granite. The stream on which I reckoned had wholly disappeared!

dusty - polveroso, impolverato

shingly - escalofríos

reckoned - considerare


No words in any human language can depict my utter despair. I was literally buried alive; with no other expectation before me but to die in all the slow horrible torture of hunger and thirst.

Mechanically I crawled about, feeling the dry and arid rock. Never to my fancy had I ever felt anything so dry.

But, I frantically asked myself, how had I lost the course of the flowing stream? There could be no doubt it had ceased to flow in the gallery in which I now was. Now I began to understand the cause of the strange silence which prevailed when last I tried if any appeal from my companions might perchance reach my ear.

perchance - per caso

It so happened that when I first took an imprudent step in the wrong direction, I did not perceive the absence of the all-important stream.

It was now quite evident that when we halted, another tunnel must have received the waters of the little torrent, and that I had unconsciously entered a different gallery. To what unknown depths had my companions gone? Where was I?

unconsciously - inconsciamente

How to get back! Clue or landmark there was absolutely none! My feet left no signs on the granite and shingle. My brain throbbed with agony as I tried to discover the solution of this terrible problem. My situation, after all sophistry and reflection, had finally to be summed up in three awful words-

landmark - punto di riferimento, monumento, pietra miliare

shingle - ghiaia, ciottoli

throbbed - battere, picchiare, pulsare, battito, palpito, pulsazione

sophistry - sofismi

summed - somma

Lost! Lost!! LOST!!!

Lost at a depth which, to my finite understanding, appeared to be immeasurable.

finite - finito

immeasurable - enorme, immenso, incommensurabile

These thirty leagues of the crust of the earth weighed upon my shoulders like the globe on the shoulders of Atlas. I felt myself crushed by the awful weight. It was indeed a position to drive the sanest man to madness!

sanest - sano (di mente), ragionevole

I tried to bring my thoughts back to the things of the world so long forgotten. It was with the greatest difficulty that I succeeded in doing so. Hamburg, the house on the Konigstrasse, my dear cousin Gretchen-all that world which had before vanished like a shadow floated before my now vivid imagination.

floated - galleggiare, appianatoia, frattazzo, pialletto, carro allegorico

vivid - chiaro, limpido

There they were before me, but how unreal. Under the influence of a terrible hallucination I saw all the incidents of our journey pass before me like the scenes of a panorama. The ship and its inmates, Iceland, M. Fridriksson, and the great summit of Mount Sneffels!

unreal - irreale

inmates - internato, detenuto, prigioniero, convitto, interno

I said to myself that, if in my position I retained the most faint and shadowy outline of a hope, it would be a sure sign of approaching delirium. It were better to give way wholly to despair!

retained - conservare, mantenere

shadowy - ombroso

delirium - delirio

In fact, did I but reason with calmness and philosophy, what human power was there in existence able to take me back to the surface of the earth, and ready, too, to split asunder, to rend in twain those huge and mighty vaults which stand above my head? Who could enable me to find my road-and regain my companions?

asunder - in pezzi

rend - spaccare

twain - Gemela

vaults - volta

Insensate folly and madness to entertain even a shadow of hope!

"Oh, Uncle!" was my despairing cry.

This was the only word of reproach which came to my lips; for I thoroughly understood how deeply and sorrowfully the worthy Professor would regret my loss, and how in his turn he would patiently seek for me.

reproach - rimbrotto, rimprovero, appunto, richiamo

sorrowfully - dolorosamente

patiently - pazientemente

When I at last began to resign myself to the fact that no further aid was to be expected from man, and knowing that I was utterly powerless to do anything for my own salvation, I kneeled with earnest fervor and asked assistance from Heaven. The remembrance of my innocent childhood, the memory of my mother, known only in my infancy, came welling forth from my heart. I had recourse to prayer.

resign - dimettersi

aid - aiuto

powerless - impotente

Salvation - salvezza

kneeled - inginocchiarsi

fervor - fervore

infancy - prima infanzia

And little as I had a right to be remembered by Him whom I had forgotten in the hour of prosperity, and whom I so tardily invoked, I prayed earnestly and sincerely.

prosperity - prosperita

tardily - in ritardo

invoked - chiedere, invocare, appellarsi, richiedere, richiamare

earnestly - seriamente

This renewal of my youthful faith brought about a much greater amount of calm, and I was enabled to concentrate all my strength and intelligence on the terrible realities of my unprecedented situation.

renewal - rinnovamento

youthful - giovanile

unprecedented - senza precedenti

I had about me that which I had at first wholly forgotten-three days'provisions. Moreover, my water bottle was quite full. Nevertheless, the one thing which it was impossible to do was to remain alone. Try to find my companions I must, at any price. But which course should I take? Should I go upwards, or again descend? Doubtless it was right to retrace my steps in an upward direction.

retrace - ripercorrere, (tornare indietro)

By doing this with care and coolness, I must reach the point where I had turned away from the rippling stream. I must find the fatal bifurcation or fork. Once at this spot, once the river at my feet, I could, at all events, regain the awful crater of Mount Sneffels. Why had I not thought of this before? This, at last, was a reasonable hope of safety.

bifurcation - biforcazione

reasonable - ragionevole, moderato

The most important thing, then, to be done was to discover the bed of the Hansbach.

After a slight meal and a draught of water, I rose like a giant refreshed. Leaning heavily on my pole, I began the ascent of the gallery. The slope was very rapid and rather difficult. But I advanced hopefully and carefully, like a man who at last is making his way out of a forest, and knows there is only one road to follow.

During one whole hour nothing happened to check my progress. As I advanced, I tried to recollect the shape of the tunnel-to recall to my memory certain projections of rocks-to persuade myself that I had followed certain winding routes before.

recall - ritirare, revocare, richiamare, rammentare, ricordare

But no one particular sign could I bring to mind, and I was soon forced to allow that this gallery would never take me back to the point at which I had separated myself from my companions. It was absolutely without issue-a mere blind alley in the earth.

blind alley - vicolo cieco

The moment at length came when, facing the solid rock, I knew my fate, and fell inanimate on the arid floor!

To describe the horrible state of despair and fear into which I then fell would now be vain and impossible. My last hope, the courage which had sustained me, drooped before the sight of this pitiless granite rock!

drooped - pendere

Lost in a vast labyrinth, the sinuosities of which spread in every direction, without guide, clue or compass, I knew it was a vain and useless task to attempt flight. All that remained to me was to lie down and die. To lie down and die the most cruel and horrible of deaths!

sinuosities - sinuosita

In my state of mind, the idea came into my head that one day perhaps, when my fossil bones were found, their discovery so far below the level of the earth might give rise to solemn and interesting scientific discussions.

fossil - fossile

I tried to cry aloud, but hoarse, hollow, and inarticulate sounds alone could make themselves heard through my parched lips. I literally panted for breath.

hoarse - fioco

inarticulate - inarticolato

panted - ansimare, ansare

In the midst of all these horrible sources of anguish and despair, a new horror took possession of my soul. My lamp, by falling down, had got out of order. I had no means of repairing it. Its light was already becoming paler and paler, and soon would expire.

expire - finire

With a strange sense of resignation and despair, I watched the luminous current in the coil getting less and less. A procession of shadows moved flashing along the granite wall. I scarcely dared to lower my eyelids, fearing to lose the last spark of this fugitive light. Every instant it seemed to me that it was about to vanish and to leave me forever-in utter darkness!

flashing - lampeggiante

spark - scintilla

fugitive - latitante

vanish - sparire, svanire

At last, one final trembling flame remained in the lamp; I followed it with all my power of vision; I gasped for breath; I concentrated upon it all the power of my soul, as upon the last scintillation of light I was ever destined to see: and then I was to be lost forever in Cimmerian and tenebrous shades.

scintillation - scintillazione

Cimmerian - Cimmeriano

tenebrous - ordine del giorno

A wild and plaintive cry escaped my lips. On earth during the most profound and comparatively complete darkness, light never allows a complete destruction and extinction of its power. Light is so diffuse, so subtle, that it permeates everywhere, and whatever little may remain, the retina of the eye will succeed in finding it.

plaintive - querulo

extinction - estinzione

subtle - sottile, inafferrabile

permeates - permeare

retina - retina

In this place nothing-the absolute obscurity made me blind in every sense.

My head was now wholly lost. I raised my arms, trying the effects of the feeling in getting against the cold stone wall. It was painful in the extreme. Madness must have taken possession of me. I knew not what I did.

I began to run, to fly, rushing at haphazard in this inextricable labyrinth, always going downwards, running wildly underneath the terrestrial crust, like an inhabitant of the subterranean furnaces, screaming, roaring, howling, until bruised by the pointed rocks, falling and picking myself up all covered with blood, seeking madly to drink the blood which dripped from my torn features, mad because this blood only trickled over my face, and watching always for this horrid wall which ever presented to me the fearful obstacle against which I could not dash my head.

at haphazard - a caso

underneath - sotto

furnaces - fornace, bruciatore, caldaia

screaming - urlo, grido, gridare, sbraitare, urlare

howling - ululare, (howl), ululato, uggiolio, latrato, guaito

bruised - livido, ammaccatura

madly - follemente

dripped - gocciolare

trickled - gocciolio, sgocciolio, gocciolare, sgocciolare

horrid - orrido

Dash - lineetta, linea, scatto, spruzzo, pizzico, goccio, saltare

Where was I going? It was impossible to say. I was perfectly ignorant of the matter.

ignorant - ignorante

Several hours passed in this way. After a long time, having utterly exhausted my strength, I fell a heavy inert mass along the side of the tunnel, and lost consciousness.

consciousness - conoscenza, coscienza


whispering - bisbigliare, (whisper), sussurro, sussurrare

When at last I came back to a sense of life and being, my face was wet, but wet, as I soon knew, with tears. How long this state of insensibility lasted, it is quite impossible for me now to say. I had no means left to me of taking any account of time. Never since the creation of the world had such a solitude as mine existed. I was completely abandoned.

insensibility - insensibilita

After my fall I lost much blood. I felt myself flooded with the life-giving liquid. My first sensation was perhaps a natural one. Why was I not dead? Because I was alive, there was something left to do. I tried to make up my mind to think no longer. As far as I was able, I drove away all ideas, and utterly overcome by pain and grief, I crouched against the granite wall.

crouched - accucciarsi

I just commenced to feel the fainting coming on again, and the sensation that this was the last struggle before complete annihilation-when, on a sudden, a violent uproar reached my ears. It had some resemblance to the prolonged rumbling voice of thunder, and I clearly distinguished sonorous voices, lost one after the other, in the distant depths of the gulf.

annihilation - annientamento, annichilazione, annichilimento

uproar - baraonda, clamore, fragore, baccano

resemblance - rassomiglianza

rumbling - brontolio, (rumble), sferragliamento, rombo, rimbombo, rissa

sonorous - sonoro

Whence came this noise? Naturally, it was to be supposed from new phenomena which were taking place in the bosom of the solid mass of Mother Earth! The explosion of some gaseous vapors, or the fall of some solid, of the granitic or other rock.

gaseous - gassoso

Again I listened with deep attention. I was extremely anxious to hear if this strange and inexplicable sound was likely to be renewed! A whole quarter of an hour elapsed in painful expectation. Deep and solemn silence reigned in the tunnel. So still that I could hear the beatings of my own heart! I waited, waited with a strange kind of hopefulness.

inexplicable - inspiegabile, incomprensibile, inesplicabile

renewed - rinnovare

elapsed - trascorrere

beatings - bastonatura, bastonata, smacco, sconfitta, sonora sconfitta

hopefulness - speranzosita

Suddenly my ear, which leaned accidentally against the wall, appeared to catch, as it were, the faintest echo of a sound. I thought that I heard vague, incoherent and distant voices. I quivered all over with excitement and hope!

accidentally - casualmente, accidentalmente

incoherent - incoerente, sconclusionato

quivered - tremare, tremolare

"It must be hallucination," I cried. "It cannot be! it is not true!"

But no! By listening more attentively, I really did convince myself that what I heard was truly the sound of human voices. To make any meaning out of the sound, however, was beyond my power. I was too weak even to hear distinctly. Still it was a positive fact that someone was speaking. Of that I was quite certain.

attentively - attentamente

There was a moment of fear. A dread fell upon my soul that it might be my own words brought back to me by a distant echo. Perhaps without knowing it, I might have been crying aloud. I resolutely closed my lips, and once more placed my ear to the huge granite wall.

Yes, for certain. It was in truth the sound of human voices.

I now by the exercise of great determination dragged myself along the sides of the cavern, until I reached a point where I could hear more distinctly. But though I could detect the sound, I could only make out uncertain, strange, and incomprehensible words. They reached my ear as if they had been spoken in a low tone-murmured, as it were, afar off.

detect - scoprire

afar - afar

At last, I made out the word forlorad repeated several times in a tone betokening great mental anguish and sorrow.

forlorad - ordine del giorno

betokening - scommettere

What could this word mean, and who was speaking it? It must be either my uncle or the guide Hans! If, therefore, I could hear them, they must surely be able to hear me.

"Help," I cried at the top of my voice; "help, I am dying!"

I then listened with scarcely a breath; I panted for the slightest sound in the darkness-a cry, a sigh, a question! But silence reigned supreme. No answer came! In this way some minutes passed. A whole flood of ideas flashed through my mind. I began to fear that my voice, weakened by sickness and suffering, could not reach my companions who were in search of me.

weakened - indebolire, spossare, indebolirsi

sickness - malattia

"It must be they," I cried; "who else could by any possibility be buried a hundred miles below the level of the earth?" The mere supposition was preposterous.

preposterous - irragionevole, insensato, assurdo

I began, therefore, to listen again with the most breathless attention. As I moved my ears along the side of the place I was in, I found a mathematical point as it were, where the voices appeared to attain their maximum of intensity. The word forlorad again distinctly reached my ear. Then came again that rolling noise like thunder which had awakened me out of torpor.

attain - raggiungere, ottenere, attenere

maximum - massimo

torpor - torpore

"I begin to understand," I said to myself after some little time devoted to reflection; "it is not through the solid mass that the sound reaches my ears. The walls of my cavernous retreat are of solid granite, and the most fearful explosion would not make uproar enough to penetrate them. The sound must come along the gallery itself.

most fearful - piu spaventoso

The place I was in must possess some peculiar acoustic properties of its own."

Acoustic - acustico, acustica

Again I listened; and this time-yes, this time-I heard my name distinctly pronounced: cast as it were into space.

It was my uncle, the Professor, who was speaking. He was in conversation with the guide, and the word which had so often reached my ears, forlorad, was a Danish expression.

Then I understood it all. In order to make myself heard, I too must speak as it were along the side of the gallery, which would carry the sound of my voice just as the wire carries the electric fluid from point to point.

fluid - fluido, liquido

But there was no time to lose. If my companions were only to remove a few feet from where they stood, the acoustic effect would be over, my Whispering Gallery would be destroyed. I again therefore crawled towards the wall, and said as clearly and distinctly as I could:

"Uncle Hardwigg."

I then awaited a reply.

Sound does not possess the property of traveling with such extreme rapidity. Besides the density of the air at that depth from light and motion was very far from adding to the rapidity of circulation. Several seconds elapsed, which to my excited imagination, appeared ages; and these words reached my eager ears, and moved my wildly beating heart:

Circulation - Circolazione

"Harry, my boy, is that you?"

A short delay between question and answer.



"Where are you?"




"And your lamp?"




"But the guiding stream?"


"Is lost!"


"Keep your courage, Harry. We will do our best."


"One moment, my uncle," I cried; "I have no longer strength to answer your questions. But-for heaven's sake-do you-continue-to speak-to me!" Absolute silence, I felt, would be annihilation.

"Keep up your courage," said my uncle. "As you are so weak, do not speak. We have been searching for you in all directions, both by going upwards and downwards in the gallery. My dear boy, I had begun to give over all hope-and you can never know what bitter tears of sorrow and regret I have shed.

give over - smettere di fare, dare qualcosa a qualcuno

shed - capannone, rimessa

At last, supposing you to be still on the road beside the Hansbach, we again descended, firing off guns as signals. Now, however, that we have found you, and that our voices reach each other, it may be a long time before we actually meet. We are conversing by means of some extraordinary acoustic arrangement of the labyrinth. But do not despair, my dear boy.

firing off - sparare

conversing - conversare

It is something gained even to hear each other."

While he was speaking, my brain was at work reflecting. A certain undefined hope, vague and shapeless as yet, made my heart beat wildly. In the first place, it was absolutely necessary for me to know one thing. I once more, therefore, leaned my head against the wall, which I almost touched with my lips, and again spoke.

undefined - indefinito

shapeless - senza forma



"My boy?" was his answer after a few moments.


"It is of the utmost consequence that we should know how far we are asunder."


"That is not difficult."


"You have your chronometer at hand?" I asked.




"Well, take it into your hand. Pronounce my name, noting exactly the second at which you speak. I will reply as soon as I hear your words-and you will then note exactly the moment at which my reply reaches you."


"Very good; and the mean time between my question and your answer will be the time occupied by my voice in reaching you."


"That is exactly what I mean, Uncle," was my eager reply.


"Are you ready?"




"Well, make ready, I am about to pronounce your name," said the Professor.

I applied my ear close to the sides of the cavernous gallery, and as soon as the word "Harry" reached my ear, I turned round and, placing my lips to the wall, repeated the sound.


"Forty seconds," said my uncle. "There has elapsed forty seconds between the two words. The sound, therefore, takes twenty seconds to ascend. Now, allowing a thousand and twenty feet for every second-we have twenty thousand four hundred feet-a league and a half and one-eighth."

These words fell on my soul like a kind of death knell.

death knell - campana a morto

"A league and a half," I muttered in a low and despairing voice.


"It shall be got over, my boy," cried my uncle in a cheery tone; "depend on us."

cheery - allegro


"But do you know whether to ascend or descend?" I asked faintly enough.

faintly - debolmente, tenuemente, fiocamente, fievolmente


"We have to descend, and I will tell you why. You have reached a vast open space, a kind of bare crossroad, from which galleries diverge in every direction. That in which you are now lying must necessarily bring you to this point, for it appears that all these mighty fissures, these fractures of the globe's interior, radiate from the vast cavern which we at this moment occupy.

diverge - distaccarsi

fractures - frattura

radiate - irradiare

occupy - occupare

Rouse yourself, then, have courage and continue your route. Walk if you can, if not drag yourself along-slide, if nothing else is possible. The slope must be rather rapid-and you will find strong arms to receive you at the end of your journey. Make a start, like a good fellow."

These words served to rouse some kind of courage in my sinking frame.

"Farewell for the present, good uncle, I am about to take my departure. As soon as I start, our voices will cease to commingle. Farewell, then, until we meet again."


"Adieu, Harry-until we say Welcome." Such were the last words which reached my anxious ears before I commenced my weary and almost hopeless journey.

This wonderful and surprising conversation which took place through the vast mass of the earth's labyrinth, these words exchanged, the speakers being about five miles apart-ended with hopeful and pleasant expressions.

I breathed one more prayer to Heaven, I sent up words of thanksgiving-believing in my inmost heart that He had led me to the only place where the voices of my friends could reach my ears.

thanksgiving - giorno del ringraziamento

inmost - piu profondo

This apparently astounding acoustic mystery is easily explainable by simple natural laws; it arose from the conductibility of the rock. There are many instances of this singular propagation of sound which are not perceptible in its less mediate positions. In the interior gallery of St. Paul's, and amid the curious caverns in Sicily, these phenomena are observable.

explainable - spiegabile

arose from - e nata da

propagation - propagazione

mediate - mediare

Paul - Paolo

Sicily - Sicilia

observable - osservabile

The most marvelous of them all is known as the Ear of Dionysius.

These memories of the past, of my early reading and studies, came fresh to my thoughts. Moreover, I began to reason that if my uncle and I could communicate at so great a distance, no serious obstacle could exist between us. All I had to do was to follow the direction whence the sound had reached me; and logically putting it, I must reach him if my strength did not fail.

logically - logicamente, a rigor di logica

I accordingly rose to my feet. I soon found, however, that I could not walk; that I must drag myself along. The slope as I expected was very rapid; but I allowed myself to slip down.

slip down - scivolare e cadere

Soon the rapidity of the descent began to assume frightful proportions; and menaced a fearful fall. I clutched at the sides; I grasped at projections of rocks; I threw myself backwards. All in vain. My weakness was so great I could do nothing to save myself.

menaced - minaccia

grasped - afferrare, avvinghiare, avvinghiarsi, agguantare

Suddenly earth failed me.

I was first launched into a dark and gloomy void. I then struck against the projecting asperities of a vertical gallery, a perfect well. My head bounded against a pointed rock, and I lost all knowledge of existence. As far as I was concerned, death had claimed me for his own.

asperities - asperita

bounded - vincolato


recovery - recupero, ricupero

When I returned to the consciousness of existence, I found myself surrounded by a kind of semiobscurity, lying on some thick and soft coverlets. My uncle was watching-his eyes fixed intently on my countenance, a grave expression on his face, a tear in his eye. At the first sigh which struggled from my bosom, he took hold of my hand.

semiobscurity - semibuio

coverlets - copriletto

When he saw my eyes open and fix themselves upon his, he uttered a loud cry of joy. "He lives! he lives!"

"Yes, my good uncle," I whispered.

"My dear boy," continued the grim Professor, clasping me to his heart, "you are saved!"

I was deeply and unaffectedly touched by the tone in which these words were uttered, and even more by the kindly care which accompanied them. The Professor, however, was one of those men who must be severely tried in order to induce any display of affection or gentle emotion. At this moment our friend Hans, the guide, joined us.

unaffectedly - senza alcun effetto

accompanied - accompagnare

He saw my hand in that of my uncle, and I venture to say that, taciturn as he was, his eyes beamed with lively satisfaction.

beamed - trave, asse, architrave, traversa, braccio, corno principale

lively - vivace

"God dag," he said.

"Good day, Hans, good day," I replied, in as hearty a tone as I could assume, "and now, Uncle, that we are together, tell me where we are. I have lost all idea of our position, as of everything else."

hearty - di cuore

"Tomorrow, Harry, tomorrow," he replied. "Today you are far too weak. Your head is surrounded with bandages and poultices that must not be touched. Sleep, my boy, sleep, and tomorrow you will know all that you require."

bandages - fasciatura, bendaggio, benda, benderella

poultices - cataplasma

"But," I cried, "let me know what o'clock it is-what day it is?"

"It is now eleven o'clock at night, and this is once more Sunday. It is now the ninth of the month of August. And I distinctly prohibit you from asking any more questions until the tenth of the same."

prohibit - proibire, impedire, ostacolare, vietare

I was, if the truth were told, very weak indeed, and my eyes soon closed involuntarily. I did require a good night's rest, and I went off reflecting at the last moment that my perilous adventure in the interior of the earth, in total darkness, had lasted four days!

On the morning of the next day, at my awakening, I began to look around me. My sleeping place, made of all our traveling bedding, was in a charming grotto, adorned with magnificent stalagmites, glittering in all the colors of the rainbow, the floor of soft and silvery sand.

stalagmites - stalagmite

glittering - scintillante, (glitter), glitter, brillantini

rainbow - arcobaleno, iride

silvery - argenteo, argentato, argentino

A dim obscurity prevailed. No torch, no lamp was lighted, and yet certain unexplained beams of light penetrated from without, and made their way through the opening of the beautiful grotto.

unexplained - inesplicato

I, moreover, heard a vague and indefinite murmur, like the ebb and flow of waves upon a strand, and sometimes I verily believed I could hear the sighing of the wind.

Strand - arenato

verily - veramente, davvero, certamente

sighing - sospirare

I began to believe that, instead of being awake, I must be dreaming. Surely my brain had not been affected by my fall, and all that occurred during the last twenty-four hours was not the frenzied visions of madness? And yet after some reflection, a trial of my faculties, I came to the conclusion that I could not be mistaken. Eyes and ears could not surely both deceive me.

awake - svegliarsi

frenzied - frenesia

visions - vista, acutezza visiva, visione, allucinazione, miraggio

deceive - ingannare

"It is a ray of the blessed daylight," I said to myself, "which has penetrated through some mighty fissure in the rocks. But what is the meaning of this murmur of waves, this unmistakable moaning of the salt-sea billows? I can hear, too, plainly enough, the whistling of the wind. But can I be altogether mistaken? If my uncle, during my illness, has but carried me back to the surface of the earth!

blessed - beato, benedetto, checkbenedetto

daylight - luce del giorno

whistling - fischiare, (whistle), fischietto, fischio, checkfischio

Has he, on my account, given up his wondrous expedition, or in some strange manner has it come to an end?"

I was puzzling my brain over these and other questions, when the Professor joined me.

"Good day, Harry," he cried in a joyous tone. "I fancy you are quite well."

"I am very much better," I replied, actually sitting up in my bed.

"I knew that would be the end of it, as you slept both soundly and tranquilly. Hans and I have each taken turn to watch, and every hour we have seen visible signs of amelioration."

amelioration - miglioria, miglioramento

"You must be right, Uncle," was my reply, "for I feel as if I could do justice to any meal you could put before me."

justice - giustizia

put before - mettere prima, mettere davanti

"You shall eat, my boy, you shall eat. The fever has left you. Our excellent friend Hans has rubbed your wounds and bruises with I know not what ointment, of which the Icelanders alone possess the secret. And they have healed your bruises in the most marvelous manner. Ah, he's a wise fellow is Master Hans."

rubbed - strofinamento, strofinare, fregare

bruises - livido, ammaccatura

ointment - pomata, unguento, balsamo

healed - guarire

While he was speaking, my uncle was placing before me several articles of food, which, despite his earnest injunctions, I readily devoured. As soon as the first rage of hunger was appeased, I overwhelmed him with questions, to which he now no longer hesitated to give answers.

injunctions - ingiunzione

overwhelmed - sommergere, schiacciare, dominare, travolgere, sopraffare

I then learned, for the first time, that my providential fall had brought me to the bottom of an almost perpendicular gallery. As I came down, amidst a perfect shower of stones, the least of which falling on me would have crushed me to death, they came to the conclusion that I had carried with me an entire dislocated rock.

providential - provvidenziale

amidst - in mezzo

Riding as it were on this terrible chariot, I was cast headlong into my uncle's arms. And into them I fell, insensible and covered with blood.

chariot - biga, cocchio, carrozza

"It is indeed a miracle," was the Professor's final remark, "that you were not killed a thousand times over. But let us take care never to separate; for surely we should risk never meeting again."

final remark - commento finale

meeting again - incontrarsi di nuovo

"Let us take care never again to separate."

These words fell with a sort of chill upon my heart. The journey, then, was not over. I looked at my uncle with surprise and astonishment. My uncle, after an instant's examination of my countenance, said: "What is the matter, Harry?"

"I want to ask you a very serious question. You say that I am all right in health?"

"Certainly you are."

"And all my limbs are sound and capable of new exertion?" I asked.

exertion - sforzo, fatica

"Most undoubtedly."

"But what about my head?" was my next anxious question.

"Well, your head, except that you have one or two contusions, is exactly where it ought to be-on your shoulders," said my uncle, laughing.

contusions - contusione

"Well, my own opinion is that my head is not exactly right. In fact, I believe myself slightly delirious."

"What makes you think so?"

"I will explain why I fancy I have lost my senses," I cried. "Have we not returned to the surface of Mother Earth?"

"Certainly not."

"Then truly I must be mad, for do I not see the light of day? do I not hear the whistling of the wind? and can I not distinguish the wash of a great sea?"

"And that is all that makes you uneasy?" said my uncle, with a smile.

"Can you explain?"

"I will not make any attempt to explain; for the whole matter is utterly inexplicable. But you shall see and judge for yourself. You will then find that geological science is as yet in its infancy-and that we are doomed to enlighten the world."

enlighten - illuminare

"Let us advance, then," I cried eagerly, no longer able to restrain my curiosity.

restrain - contenere, frenare

"Wait a moment, my dear Harry," he responded; "you must take precautions after your illness before going into the open air."

take precautions - prendere precauzioni

"The open air?"

"Yes, my boy. I have to warn you that the wind is rather violent-and I have no wish for you to expose yourself without necessary precautions."

expose - esporre, evidenziare, rivelare, mettere in luce

"But I beg to assure you that I am perfectly recovered from my illness."

"Have just a little patience, my boy. A relapse would be inconvenient to all parties. We have no time to lose-as our approaching sea voyage may be of long duration."

patience - pazienza

relapse - ricadere, recidivare, ricaduta, recidiva

duration - durata

"Sea voyage?" I cried, more bewildered than ever.

more bewildered - piu confuso

"Yes. You must take another day's rest, and we shall be ready to go on board by tomorrow," replied my uncle, with a peculiar smile.

"Go on board!" The words utterly astonished me.

Go on board-what and how? Had we come upon a river, a lake, had we discovered some inland sea? Was a vessel lying at anchor in some part of the interior of the earth?

My curiosity was worked up to the very highest pitch. My uncle made vain attempts to restrain me. When at last, however, he discovered that my feverish impatience would do more harm than good-and that the satisfaction of my wishes could alone restore me to a calm state of mind-he gave way.

pitch - piantare, fissare

harm - danno, male, ferita, svantaggio, danneggiare

I dressed myself rapidly-and then taking the precaution to please my uncle, of wrapping myself in one of the coverlets, I rushed out of the grotto.

wrapping - avvolgimento


At first I saw absolutely nothing. My eyes, wholly unused to the effulgence of light, could not bear the sudden brightness; and I was compelled to close them. When I was able to reopen them, I stood still, far more stupefied than astonished. Not all the wildest effects of imagination could have conjured up such a scene! "The sea-the sea," I cried.

unused - inusato

reopen - riaprire, riaprirsi

conjured up - evocato

"Yes," replied my uncle, in a tone of pardonable pride; "the Central Sea. No future navigator will deny the fact of my having discovered it; and hence of acquiring a right of giving it a name."

pardonable - perdonabile

navigator - navigante, marinaio, marittimo, navigatore

deny - negare

acquiring - acquisire

It was quite true. A vast, limitless expanse of water, the end of a lake if not of an ocean, spread before us, until it was lost in the distance. The shore, which was very much indented, consisted of a beautiful soft golden sand, mixed with small shells, the long-deserted home of some of the creatures of a past age.

limitless - senza limiti

expanse - distesa

Golden - Dorato

The waves broke incessantly-and with a peculiarly sonorous murmur, to be found in underground localities. A slight frothy flake arose as the wind blew along the pellucid waters; and many a dash of spray was blown into my face. The mighty superstructure of rock which rose above to an inconceivable height left only a narrow opening-but where we stood, there was a large margin of strand.

localities - localita

frothy - spumoso, spumeggiante

flake - fiocco

pellucid - ordine del giorno

spray - spray, spruzzo, (getto vaporizzato)

superstructure - sovrastruttura

inconceivable - inconcepibile

margin - margine

On all sides were capes and promontories and enormous cliffs, partially worn by the eternal breaking of the waves, through countless ages! And as I gazed from side to side, the mighty rocks faded away like a fleecy film of cloud.

capes - cappa

promontories - promontorio

countless - innumerevole, incalcolabile, innumerabile

faded - affievolirsi

It was in reality an ocean, with all the usual characteristics of an inland sea, only horribly wild-so rigid, cold and savage.

horribly - orribilmente

rigid - rigido

One thing startled and puzzled me greatly. How was it that I was able to look upon that vast sheet of water instead of being plunged in utter darkness? The vast landscape before me was lit up like day. But there was wanting the dazzling brilliancy, the splendid irradiation of the sun; the pale cold illumination of the moon; the brightness of the stars.

plunged - tuffarsi

dazzling - affascinante, stupefacente, (dazzle), abbagliare, abbacinare

irradiation - irradiazione, illuminazione, sterilizzazione

The illuminating power in this subterranean region, from its trembling and Rickering character, its clear dry whiteness, the very slight elevation of its temperature, its great superiority to that of the moon, was evidently electric; something in the nature of the aurora borealis, only that its phenomena were constant, and able to light up the whole of the ocean cavern.

whiteness - bianchezza, biancore

superiority - superiorita

aurora - , Aurora

borealis - ordine del giorno

The tremendous vault above our heads, the sky, so to speak, appeared to be composed of a conglomeration of nebulous vapors, in constant motion.

conglomeration - conglomerato, conglomerazione

nebulous - nebuloso, vago

I should originally have supposed that, under such an atmospheric pressure as must exist in that place, the evaporation of water could not really take place, and yet from the action of some physical law, which escaped my memory, there were heavy and dense clouds rolling along that mighty vault, partially concealing the roof.

evaporation - vaporizzazione

Electric currents produced astonishing play of light and shade in the distance, especially around the heavier clouds. Deep shadows were cast beneath, and then suddenly, between two clouds, there would come a ray of unusual beauty, and remarkable intensity. And yet it was not like the sun, for it gave no heat.

astonishing - sorprendere, stupire

The effect was sad and excruciatingly melancholy. Instead of a noble firmament of blue, studded with stars, there was above me a heavy roof of granite, which seemed to crush me.

excruciatingly - straziantemente

noble - nobile, aristocratico, splendido

firmament - firmamento

studded - scuderia

crush - ressa, calca, cotta, schiacciare, pigiare, frantumare

Gazing around, I began to think of the theory of the English captain who compared the earth to a vast hollow sphere in the interior of which the air is retained in a luminous state by means of atmospheric pressure, while two stars, Pluto and Proserpine, circled there in their mysterious orbits. After all, suppose the old fellow was right!

sphere - sfera

Proserpine - Proserpina

orbits - orbita

In truth, we were imprisoned-bound as it were, in a vast excavation. Its width it was impossible to make out; the shore, on either hand, widening rapidly until lost to sight; while its length was equally uncertain. A haze on the distant horizon bounded our view. As to its height, we could see that it must be many miles to the roof.

imprisoned - imprigionare, incarcerare

widening - allargarsi, allargare

Looking upward, it was impossible to discover where the stupendous roof began. The lowest of the clouds must have been floating at an elevation of two thousand yards, a height greater than that of terrestrial vapors, which circumstance was doubtless owing to the extreme density of the air.

owing - dovere, essere in debito, essere debitore di

I use the word "cavern" in order to give an idea of the place. I cannot describe its awful grandeur; human language fails to convey an idea of its savage sublimity. Whether this singular vacuum had or had not been caused by the sudden cooling of the earth when in a state of fusion, I could not say. I had read of most wonderful and gigantic caverns-but, none in any way like this.

convey - trasportare, condurre, comunicare, esprimere, trasferire

vacuum - vuoto, aspirapolverare

The great grotto of Guachara, in Colombia, visited by the learned Humboldt; the vast and partially explored Mammoth Cave in Kentucky-what were these holes in the earth to that in which I stood in speechless admiration! with its vapory clouds, its electric light, and the mighty ocean slumbering in its bosom!

Colombia - Colombia

Mammoth - mammut

Kentucky - Kentucky

speechless - senza parola, ammutolito

vapory - vapore

slumbering - assopito, (slumber), sonnolenza, dormiveglia, appisolarsi

Imagination, not description, can alone give an idea of the splendor and vastness of the cave.

splendor - splendore

vastness - immensita, vastita

I gazed at these marvels in profound silence. Words were utterly wanting to indicate the sensations of wonder I experienced. I seemed, as I stood upon that mysterious shore, as if I were some wandering inhabitant of a distant planet, present for the first time at the spectacle of some terrestrial phenomena belonging to another existence.

To give body and existence to such new sensations would have required the coinage of new words-and here my feeble brain found itself wholly at fault. I looked on, I thought, I reflected, I admired, in a state of stupefaction not altogether unmingled with fear!

coinage - conio

feeble - debole, fiacco, flebile, fievole

unmingled - disimparare

The unexpected spectacle restored some color to my pallid cheeks. I seemed to be actually getting better under the influence of this novelty. Moreover, the vivacity of the dense atmosphere reanimated my body by inflating my lungs with unaccustomed oxygen.

unexpected - inaspettato, insperato, inatteso, improvviso

novelty - novita

vivacity - vivacita, vivezza, brillantezza, briosita

reanimated - rianimare

inflating - enfiare

unaccustomed - non abituati

oxygen - ossigeno

It will be readily conceived that after an imprisonment of forty-seven days, in a dark and miserable tunnel it was with infinite delight that I breathed this saline air. It was like the genial, reviving influence of the salt sea waves.

imprisonment - detenzione, incarcerazione

genial - cordiale

reviving - rivivere, (revive), rinascere, resuscitare, rinnovare

My uncle had already got over the first surprise.

With the Latin poet Horace his idea was that-

Not to admire is all the art I know,

To make man happy and to keep him so.

"Well," he said, after giving me time thoroughly to appreciate the marvels of this underground sea, "do you feel strong enough to walk up and down?"

"Certainly," was my ready answer, "nothing would give me greater pleasure."

"Well then, my boy," he said, "lean on my arm, and we will stroll along the beach."

lean - pendere

I accepted his offer eagerly, and we began to walk along the shores of this extraordinary lake. To our left were abrupt rocks, piled one upon the other-a stupendous titanic pile; down their sides leaped innumerable cascades, which at last, becoming limpid and murmuring streams, were lost in the waters of the lake.

titanic - ordine del giorno

Light vapors, which rose here and there, and floated in fleecy clouds from rock to rock, indicated hot springs, which also poured their superfluity into the vast reservoir at our feet.

superfluity - superfluita, superfluo

reservoir - invaso

Among them I recognized our old and faithful stream, the Hansbach, which, lost in that wild basin, seemed as if it had been flowing since the creation of the world.

"We shall miss our excellent friend," I remarked, with a deep sigh.

"Bah!" said my uncle testily, "what matters it? That or another, it is all the same."

testily - in modo testardo

I thought the remark ungrateful, and felt almost inclined to say so; but I forbore.

ungrateful - ingrato, irriconoscente

At this moment my attention was attracted by an unexpected spectacle. After we had gone about five hundred yards, we suddenly turned a steep promontory, and found ourselves close to a lofty forest! It consisted of straight trunks with tufted tops, in shape like parasols.

promontory - promontorio

trunks - tronco, baule, cofano, proboscide, bagagliaio

tufted - cespo, ciuffo, ciocca, zolla, fiocco

parasols - parasole

The air seemed to have no effect upon these trees-which in spite of a tolerable breeze remained as still and motionless as if they had been petrified.

Petrified - pietrificare

I hastened forward. I could find no name for these singular formations. Did they not belong to the two thousand and more known trees-or were we to make the discovery of a new growth? By no means. When we at last reached the forest, and stood beneath the trees, my surprise gave way to admiration.

formations - formazione

more known - piu conosciuto

In truth, I was simply in the presence of a very ordinary product of the earth, of singular and gigantic proportions. My uncle unhesitatingly called them by their real names.

unhesitatingly - senza esitazione

"It is only," he said, in his coolest manner, "a forest of mushrooms."

mushrooms - fungo

On close examination I found that he was not mistaken. Judge of the development attained by this product of damp hot soils. I had heard that the Lycoperdon giganteum reaches nine feet in circumference, but here were white mushrooms, nearly forty feet high, and with tops of equal dimensions.

giganteum - ordine del giorno

dimensions - aspetto, dimensione

They grew in countless thousands-the light could not make its way through their massive substance, and beneath them reigned a gloomy and mystic darkness.

mystic - mistico, mistica

Still I wished to go forward. The cold in the shades of this singular forest was intense. For nearly an hour we wandered about in this visible darkness. At length I left the spot, and once more returned to the shores of the lake, to light and comparative warmth.

wandered - errare, vagare, girovagare, passeggiare

comparative - comparativo

But the amazing vegetation of subterraneous land was not confined to gigantic mushrooms. New wonders awaited us at every step. We had not gone many hundred yards, when we came upon a mighty group of other trees with discolored leaves-the common humble trees of Mother Earth, of an exorbitant and phenomenal size: lycopods a hundred feet high; flowering ferns as tall as pines; gigantic grasses!

confined - limitare

exorbitant - ordine del giorno

phenomenal - fenomenale

ferns - felce

pines - pino

"Astonishing, magnificent, splendid!" cried my uncle; "here we have before us the whole flora of the second period of the world, that of transition. Behold the humble plants of our gardens, which in the first ages of the world were mighty trees. Look around you, my dear Harry. No botanist ever before gazed on such a sight!"

Flora - flora

botanist - botanico

My uncle's enthusiasm, always a little more than was required, was now excusable.

excusable - giustificabile

"You are right, Uncle," I remarked. "Providence appears to have designed the preservation in this vast and mysterious hothouse of antediluvian plants, to prove the sagacity of learned men in figuring them so marvelously on paper."

Providence - Provvidenza

hothouse - serra

antediluvian - antidiluviano, antediluviano

sagacity - sagacia

marvelously - meravigliosamente

"Well said, my boy-very well said; it is indeed a mighty hothouse. But you would also be within the bounds of reason and common sense, if you added that it is also a vast menagerie."

menagerie - serraglio, recinto

I looked rather anxiously around. If the animals were as exaggerated as the plants, the matter would certainly be serious.

exaggerated - esagerare

"A menagerie?"

"Doubtless. Look at the dust we are treading under foot-behold the bones with which the whole soil of the seashore is covered-"

seashore - riva del mare

"Bones," I replied, "yes, certainly, the bones of antediluvian animals."

I stooped down as I spoke, and picked up one or two singular remains, relics of a bygone age. It was easy to give a name to these gigantic bones, in some instances as big as trunks of trees.

relics - ricordo, avanzo, cimelio, reliquia

bygone - passato, andato

"Here is, clearly, the lower jawbone of a mastodon," I cried, almost as warmly and enthusiastically as my uncle; "here are the molars of the Dinotherium; here is a leg bone which belonged to the Megatherium.

jawbone - mandibola, mascella

Mastodon - mastodonte

molars - molare

You are right, Uncle, it is indeed a menagerie; for the mighty animals to which these bones once belonged, have lived and died on the shores of this subterranean sea, under the shadow of these plants. Look, yonder are whole skeletons-and yet-"

skeletons - scheletro

"And yet, nephew?" said my uncle, noticing that I suddenly came to a full stop.

"I do not understand the presence of such beasts in granite caverns, however vast and prodigious," was my reply.

"Why not?" said my uncle, with very much of his old professional impatience.

"Because it is well known that animal life only existed on earth during the secondary period, when the sedimentary soil was formed by the alluviums, and thus replaced the hot and burning rocks of the primitive age."

alluviums - alluvionale

"I have listened to you earnestly and with patience, Harry, and I have a simple and clear answer to your objections: and that is, that this itself is a sedimentary soil."

"How can that be at such enormous depth from the surface of the earth?"

"The fact can be explained both simply and geologically. At a certain period, the earth consisted only of an elastic crust, liable to alternative upward and downward movements in virtue of the law of attraction. It is very probable that many a landslip took place in those days, and that large portions of sedimentary soil were cast into huge and mighty chasms."

geologically - geologicamente

liable - responsabile, punibile, passibile

virtue - virtu, merito

landslip - smottamento

chasms - voragine, baratro, abisso, divergenza, divario

"Quite possible," I dryly remarked. "But, Uncle, if these antediluvian animals formerly lived in these subterranean regions, what more likely than that one of these monsters may at this moment be concealed behind one of yonder mighty rocks."

dryly - aridamente

monsters - mostro

concealed - nascondere, celare

As I spoke, I looked keenly around, examining with care every point of the horizon; but nothing alive appeared to exist on these deserted shores.

I now felt rather fatigued, and told my uncle so. The walk and excitement were too much for me in my weak state. I therefore seated myself at the end of a promontory, at the foot of which the waves broke in incessant rolls. I looked round a bay formed by projections of vast granitic rocks. At the extreme end was a little port protected by huge pyramids of stones.

incessant - incessante

A brig and three or four schooners might have lain there with perfect ease. So natural did it seem, that every minute my imagination induced me to expect a vessel coming out under all sail and making for the open sea under the influence of a warm southerly breeze.

brig - brigata

schooners - schooner, goletta, scuna

southerly - del sud

But the fantastic illusion never lasted more than a minute. We were the only living creatures in this subterranean world!

illusion - illusione

During certain periods there was an utter cessation of wind, when a silence deeper, more terrible than the silence of the desert fell upon these solitary and arid rocks-and seemed to hang like a leaden weight upon the waters of this singular ocean. I sought, amid the awful stillness, to penetrate through the distant fog, to tear down the veil which concealed the mysterious distance.

cessation - cessazione

more terrible - piu terribile

leaden - plumbeo

stillness - immobilita

What unspoken words were murmured by my trembling lips-what questions did I wish to ask and did not! Where did this sea end-to what did it lead? Should we ever be able to examine its distant shores?

unspoken - non parlare

But my uncle had no doubts about the matter. He was convinced that our enterprise would in the end be successful. For my part, I was in a state of painful indecision-I desired to embark on the journey and to succeed, and still I feared the result.

indecision - indecisione, tiremmolla, inconcludenza

embark - imbarcare, iniziare, imbarcarsi, cacciarsi

After we had passed an hour or more in silent contemplation of the wondrous spectacle, we rose and went down towards the bank on our way to the grotto, which I was not sorry to gain. After a slight repast, I sought refuge in slumber, and at length, after many and tedious struggles, sleep came over my weary eyes.

bank on - contare su

tedious - noioso, tedioso, fastidioso, palloso

struggles - lotta, lottare


Launching - lanciare, mettere in acqua*

raft - zattera

On the morning of the next day, to my great surprise, I awoke completely restored. I thought a bath would be delightful after my long illness and sufferings. So, soon after rising, I went and plunged into the waters of this new Mediterranean. The bath was cool, fresh and invigorating.

delightful - delizioso

Mediterranean - mediterraneo

invigorating - rinvigorire

I came back to breakfast with an excellent appetite. Hans, our worthy guide, thoroughly understood how to cook such eatables as we were able to provide; he had both fire and water at discretion, so that he was enabled slightly to vary the weary monotony of our ordinary repast.

at discretion - a discrezione

vary - variare

monotony - monotonia

Our morning meal was like a capital English breakfast, with coffee by way of a windup. And never had this delicious beverage been so welcome and refreshing.

windup - dar cuerda

beverage - bevanda

refreshing - rinfrescare

My uncle had sufficient regard for my state of health not to interrupt me in the enjoyment of the meal, but he was evidently delighted when I had finished.

"Now then," said he, "come with me. It is the height of the tide, and I am anxious to study its curious phenomena."

"What!"'I cried, rising in astonishment, "did you say the tide, Uncle?"

"Certainly I did."

"You do not mean to say," I replied, in a tone of respectful doubt, "that the influence of the sun and moon is felt here below."

respectful - rispettoso

"And pray why not? Are not all bodies influenced by the law of universal attraction? Why should this vast underground sea be exempt from the general law, the rule of the universe? Besides, there is nothing like that which is proved and demonstrated. Despite the great atmospheric pressure down here, you will notice that this inland sea rises and falls with as much regularity as the Atlantic itself.

exempt - esente


As my uncle spoke, we reached the sandy shore, and saw and heard the waves breaking monotonously on the beach. They were evidently rising.

monotonously - monotonamente

"This is truly the flood," I cried, looking at the water at my feet.

"Yes, my excellent nephew," replied my uncle, rubbing his hands with the gusto of a philosopher, "and you see by these several streaks of foam that the tide rises at least ten or twelve feet."

gusto - gusto, entusiasmo

"It is indeed marvelous."

"By no means," he responded; "on the contrary, it is quite natural."

"It may appear so in your eyes, my dear uncle," was my reply, "but all the phenomena of the place appear to me to partake of the marvelous. It is almost impossible to believe that which I see. Who in his wildest dreams could have imagined that, beneath the crust of our earth, there could exist a real ocean, with ebbing and flowing tides, with its changes of winds, and even its storms!

partake - partecipare

ebbing - riflusso

tides - marea

I for one should have laughed the suggestion to scorn."

scorn - disprezzare, disdegnare, disprezzo

"But, Harry, my boy, why not?" inquired my uncle, with a pitying smile; "is there any physical reason in opposition to it?"

pitying - pieta, peccato, compatire

opposition - opposizione

"Well, if we give up the great theory of the central heat of the earth, I certainly can offer no reasons why anything should be looked upon as impossible."

"Then you will own," he added, "that the system of Sir Humphry Davy is wholly justified by what we have seen?"

"I allow that it is-and that point once granted, I certainly can see no reason for doubting the existence of seas and other wonders, even countries, in the interior of the globe."

"That is so-but of course these varied countries are uninhabited?"

uninhabited - disabitata

"Well, I grant that it is more likely than not: still, I do not see why this sea should not have given shelter to some species of unknown fish."

Grant - permettere, concedere, conferire, ammettere, garantire

"Hitherto we have not discovered any, and the probabilities are rather against our ever doing so," observed the Professor.

probabilities - probabilita

I was losing my skepticism in the presence of these wonders.

skepticism - scetticismo

"Well, I am determined to solve the question. It is my intention to try my luck with my fishing line and hook."

fishing line - lenza

Hook - gancio, gancetto, uncino, ritornello, parte orecchiabile

"Certainly; make the experiment," said my uncle, pleased with my enthusiasm. "While we are about it, it will certainly be only proper to discover all the secrets of this extraordinary region."

"But, after all, where are we now?" I asked; "all this time I have quite forgotten to ask you a question, which, doubtless, your philosophical instruments have long since answered."

"Well," replied the Professor, "examining the situation from only one point of view, we are now distant three hundred and fifty leagues from Iceland."

"So much?" was my exclamation.

"I have gone over the matter several times, and am sure not to have made a mistake of five hundred yards," replied my uncle positively.

positively - positivamente

"And as to the direction-are we still going to the southeast?"

"Yes, with a western declination[2] of nineteen degrees, forty-two minutes, just as it is above. As for the inclination[3] I have discovered a very curious fact."

[2] The declination is the variation of the needle from the true meridian of a place.

declination - declinazione

variation - variazione

[3] Inclination is the dip of the magnetic needle with a tendency to incline towards the earth.

magnetic - magnetico, magnetica

incline - inclinare

"What may that be, Uncle? Your information interests me."

"Why, that the needle instead of dipping towards the pole as it does on earth, in the northern hemisphere, has an upward tendency."

dipping - intingere

hemisphere - emisfero

"This proves," I cried, "that the great point of magnetic attraction lies somewhere between the surface of the earth and the spot we have succeeded in reaching."

"Exactly, my observant nephew," exclaimed my uncle, elated and delighted, "and it is quite probable that if we succeed in getting toward the polar regions-somewhere near the seventy-third degree of latitude, where Sir James Ross discovered the magnetic pole, we shall behold the needle point directly upward.

observant - osservante

elated - extremely happy and excited

polar - polare

James - Giacomo

We have therefore discovered by analogy, that this great centre of attraction is not situated at a very great depth."

"Well," said I, rather surprised, "this discovery will astonish experimental philosophers. It was never suspected."

experimental - sperimentale

philosophers - filosofo, filosofa

"Science, great, mighty and in the end unerring," replied my uncle dogmatically, "science has fallen into many errors-errors which have been fortunate and useful rather than otherwise, for they have been the steppingstones to truth."

unerring - infallibile

dogmatically - dogmaticamente

steppingstones - pietra miliare

After some further discussion, I turned to another matter.

"Have you any idea of the depth we have reached?"

"We are now," continued the Professor, "exactly thirty-five leagues-above a hundred miles-down into the interior of the earth."

"So," said I, after measuring the distance on the map, "we are now beneath the Scottish Highlands, and have over our heads the lofty Grampian Hills."

Scottish - scozzese

highlands - altopiano

"You are quite right," said the Professor, laughing; "it sounds very alarming, the weight being heavy-but the vault which supports this vast mass of earth and rock is solid and safe; the mighty Architect of the Universe has constructed it of solid materials. Man, even in his highest flights of vivid and poetic imagination, never thought of such things!

constructed - struttura, costruzione, concetto, idea, modello, costruire

poetic - poetico

What are the finest arches of our bridges, what the vaulted roofs of our cathedrals, to that mighty dome above us, and beneath which floats an ocean with its storms and calms and tides!"

cathedrals - cattedrale

floats - galleggiare, appianatoia, frattazzo, pialletto, carro allegorico

"I admire it all as much as you can, Uncle, and have no fear that our granite sky will fall upon our heads. But now that we have discussed matters of science and discovery, what are your future intentions? Are you not thinking of getting back to the surface of our beautiful earth?"

This was said more as a feeler than with any hope of success.

feeler - sentore

"Go back, nephew," cried my uncle in a tone of alarm, "you are not surely thinking of anything so absurd or cowardly. No, my intention is to advance and continue our journey. We have as yet been singularly fortunate, and henceforth I hope we shall be more so."

cowardly - codardo, pusillanime, vigliacco, vile, vigliaccamente

"But," said I, "how are we to cross yonder liquid plain?"

"It is not my intention to leap into it head foremost, or even to swim across it, like Leander over the Hellespont. But as oceans are, after all, only great lakes, inasmuch as they are surrounded by land, so does it stand to reason, that this central sea is circumscribed by granite surroundings."

foremost - primo, piu importante

Hellespont - Ellesponto

circumscribed - circoscrivere

surroundings - periferia, circostante

"Doubtless," was my natural reply.

"Well, then, do you not think that when once we reach the other end, we shall find some means of continuing our journey?"

"Probably, but what extent do you allow to this internal ocean?"

"Well, I should fancy it to extend about forty or fifty leagues-more or less."

"But even supposing this approximation to be a correct one-what then?" I asked.

approximation - approssimazione

"My dear boy, we have no time for further discussion. We shall embark tomorrow."

I looked around with surprise and incredulity. I could see nothing in the shape of boat or vessel.

"What!" I cried, "we are about to launch out upon an unknown sea; and where, if I may ask, is the vessel to carry us?"

launch - lanciare, mettere in acqua*

"Well, my dear boy, it will not be exactly what you would call a vessel. For the present we must be content with a good and solid raft."

content - contento, soddisfatto

"A raft," I cried, incredulously, "but down here a raft is as impossible of construction as a vessel-and I am at a loss to imagine-"

incredulously - incredulo

construction - costruzione

"My good Harry-if you were to listen instead of talking so much, you would hear," said my uncle, waxing a little impatient.

waxing - ceretta

"I should hear?"

"Yes-certain knocks with the hammer, which Hans is now employing to make the raft. He has been at work for many hours."

"Making a raft?"


"But where has he found trees suitable for such a construction?"

"He found the trees all ready to his hand. Come, and you shall see our excellent guide at work."

More and more amazed at what I heard and saw, I followed my uncle like one in a dream.

more amazed - piu stupito

After a walk of about a quarter of an hour, I saw Hans at work on the other side of the promontory which formed our natural port. A few minutes more and I was beside him. To my great surprise, on the sandy shore lay a half-finished raft.

It was made from beams of a very peculiar wood, and a great number of limbs, joints, boughs, and pieces lay about, sufficient to have constructed a fleet of ships and boats.

joints - comune, congiunta, giunto, articolazione, diaclasi, canna

boughs - ramo

Fleet - flotta

I turned to my uncle, silent with astonishment and awe.

"Where did all this wood come from?" I cried; "what wood is it?"

"Well, there is pinewood, fir, and the palms of the northern regions, mineralized by the action of the sea," he replied, sententiously.

pinewood - legno di pino, pineta

fir - abete

palms - palma, palmo

sententiously - sentenziosamente

"Can it be possible?"

"Yes," said the learned Professor, "what you see is called fossil wood."

"But then," cried I, after reflecting for a moment, "like the lignites, it must be as hard and as heavy as iron, and therefore will certainly not float."

lignites - lignite

float - galleggiare, appianatoia, frattazzo, pialletto, carro allegorico

"Sometimes that is the case. Many of these woods have become true anthracites, but others again, like those you see before you, have only undergone one phase of fossil transformation. But there is no proof like demonstration," added my uncle, picking one or two of these precious waifs and casting them into the sea.

anthracites - antracite

transformation - trasformazione

waifs - (bambino abbandonato)

The piece of wood, after having disappeared for a moment, came to the surface, and floated about with the oscillation produced by wind and tide.

Oscillation - oscillazione

"Are you convinced?" said my uncle, with a self-satisfied smile.

"I am convinced," I cried, "that what I see is incredible."

The fact was that my journey into the interior of the earth was rapidly changing all preconceived notions, and day by day preparing me for the marvelous.

preconceived - preconcetto

I should not have been surprised to have seen a fleet of native canoes afloat upon that silent sea.

canoes - canoa, andare in canoa

afloat - a galla, galleggiante

The very next evening, thanks to the industry and ability of Hans, the raft was finished. It was about ten feet long and five feet wide. The beams bound together with stout ropes, were solid and firm, and once launched by our united efforts, the improvised vessel floated tranquilly upon the waters of what the Professor had well named the Central Sea.

improvised - improvvisare, parlare a braccio


On the thirteenth of August we were up betimes. There was no time to be lost. We now had to inaugurate a new kind of locomotion, which would have the advantage of being rapid and not fatiguing.

thirteenth - tredicesimo, ('in names of monarchs and popes') tredicesimo g, tredicesima g ('after the name') ('abbreviation' XIII)

betimes - in good season or time

inaugurate - inaugurare

A mast, made of two pieces of wood fastened together, to give additional strength, a yard made from another one, the sail a linen sheet from our bed. We were fortunately in no want of cordage, and the whole on trial appeared solid and seaworthy.

mast - albero

additional - addizionale

linen - lino

cordage - cordame

seaworthy - in grado di navigare

At six o'clock in the morning, when the eager and enthusiastic Professor gave the signal to embark, the victuals, the luggage, all our instruments, our weapons, and a goodly supply of sweet water, which we had collected from springs in the rocks, were placed on the raft.

victuals - vittorioso

Hans had, with considerable ingenuity, contrived a rudder, which enabled him to guide the floating apparatus with ease. He took the tiller, as a matter of course. The worthy man was as good a sailor as he was a guide and duck hunter. I then let go the painter which held us to the shore, the sail was brought to the wind, and we made a rapid offing.

ingenuity - ingegnosita, ingegno

rudder - timone, timone orizzontale, timone di coda, timone di profondita

tiller - barra

Our sea voyage had at length commenced; and once more we were making for distant and unknown regions.

Just as we were about to leave the little port where the raft had been constructed, my uncle, who was very strong as to geographic nomenclature, wanted to give it a name, and among others, suggested mine.

geographic - geografico

nomenclature - nomenclatura

"Well," said I, "before you decide I have another to propose."

"Well; out with it."

"I should like to call it Gretchen. Port Gretchen will sound very well on our future map."

"Well then, Port Gretchen let it be," said the Professor.

And thus it was that the memory of my dear girl was attached to our adventurous and memorable expedition.

When we left the shore the wind was blowing from the northward and eastward. We went directly before the wind at a much greater speed than might have been expected from a raft. The dense layers of atmosphere at that depth had great propelling power and acted upon the sail with considerable force.

northward - verso nord

propelling - propulsione, (propel), propellere, catapultare, spingere

At the end of an hour, my uncle, who had been taking careful observations, was enabled to judge of the rapidity with which we moved. It was far beyond anything seen in the upper world.

"If," he said, "we continue to advance at our present rate, we shall have traveled at least thirty leagues in twenty-four hours. With a mere raft this is an almost incredible velocity."

velocity - velocita, talian: t-needed

I certainly was surprised, and without making any reply went forward upon the raft. Already the northern shore was fading away on the edge of the horizon. The two shores appeared to separate more and more, leaving a wide and open space for our departure. Before me I could see nothing but the vast and apparently limitless sea-upon which we floated-the only living objects in sight.

fading - svanire, (fad), moda, andazzo, tendenza

Huge and dark clouds cast their grey shadows below-shadows which seemed to crush that colorless and sullen water by their weight. Anything more suggestive of gloom and of regions of nether darkness I never beheld. Silvery rays of electric light, reflected here and there upon some small spots of water, brought up luminous sparkles in the long wake of our cumbrous bark.

colorless - incolore

gloom - oscurita, tenebre, buio

nether - netti

beheld - guardare, ecco

cumbrous - umido

bark - abbaio, latrato

Presently we were wholly out of sight of land; not a vestige could be seen, nor any indication of where we were going. So still and motionless did we seem without any distant point to fix our eyes on that but for the phosphoric light at the wake of the raft I should have fancied that we were still and motionless.

vestige - traccia, segno, strascico, impronta

phosphoric - fosforico

But I knew that we were advancing at a very rapid rate.

About twelve o'clock in the day, vast collections of seaweed were discovered surrounding us on all sides. I was aware of the extraordinary vegetative power of these plants, which have been known to creep along the bottom of the great ocean, and stop the advance of large ships. But never were seaweeds ever seen, so gigantic and wonderful as those of the Central Sea.

surrounding - periferia, circostante, (surround), circondare, accerchiare

vegetative - vegetativo

creep - abbarbicarsi, insinuarsi, strisciare, scorrimento, spostamento

seaweeds - alghe

I could well imagine how, seen at a distance, tossing and heaving on the summit of the billows, the long lines of algae have been taken for living things, and thus have been fertile sources of the belief in sea serpents.

tossing - gettare, (toss), tiro, lancio, testa o croce, lancio moneta

heaving - ansimare, (heave), sollevamento

algae - alga

serpents - serpente, serpe, serpentone

Our raft swept past great specimens of fucus or seawrack, from three to four thousand feet in length, immense, incredibly long, looking like snakes that stretched out far beyond our horizon. It afforded me great amusement to gaze on their variegated ribbon-like endless lengths. Hour after hour passed without our coming to the termination of these floating weeds.

seawrack - salicornia

ribbon - nastro, fettuccia

endless - interminabile, senza fine, infinito

weeds - erbacce

If my astonishment increased, my patience was well-nigh exhausted.

nigh - vicino, presso

What natural force could possibly have produced such abnormal and extraordinary plants? What must have been the aspect of the globe, during the first centuries of its formation, when under the combined action of heat and humidity, the vegetable kingdom occupied its vast surface to the exclusion of everything else?

abnormal - anormale, anomalo

Kingdom - regno, reame

exclusion - esclusione

These were considerations of never-ending interest for the geologist and the philosopher.

All this while we were advancing on our journey; and at length night came; but as I had remarked the evening before, the luminous state of the atmosphere was in nothing diminished. Whatever was the cause, it was a phenomenon upon the duration of which we could calculate with certainty.

As soon as our supper had been disposed of, and some little speculative conversation indulged in, I stretched myself at the foot of the mast, and presently went to sleep.

speculative - speculativo

indulged in - dedicato a

Hans remained motionless at the tiller, allowing the raft to rise and fall on the waves. The wind being aft, and the sail square, all he had to do was to keep his oar in the centre.

aft - a poppa

oar - remo

Ever since we had taken our departure from the newly named Port Gretchen, my worthy uncle had directed me to keep a regular log of our day's navigation, with instructions to put down even the most minute particulars, every interesting and curious phenomenon, the direction of the wind, our rate of sailing, the distance we went; in a word, every incident of our extraordinary voyage.

From our log, therefore, I tell the story of our voyage on the Central Sea.

Friday, August 14th. A steady breeze from the northwest. Raft progressing with extreme rapidity, and going perfectly straight. Coast still dimly visible about thirty leagues to leeward. Nothing to be seen beyond the horizon in front. The extraordinary intensity of the light neither increases nor diminishes. It is singularly stationary.

northwest - nordovest

leeward - sottovento

diminishes - diminuire, ridurre

stationary - stazionario

The weather remarkably fine; that is to say, the clouds have ascended very high, and are light and fleecy, and surrounded by an atmosphere resembling silver in fusion.

Thermometer, +32 degrees centigrade.

About twelve o'clock in the day our guide Hans having prepared and baited a hook, cast his line into the subterranean waters. The bait he used was a small piece of meat, by means of which he concealed his hook. Anxious as I was, I was for a long time doomed to disappointment. Were these waters supplied with fish or not? That was the important question. No-was my decided answer.

baited - esca

Then there came a sudden and rather hard tug. Hans coolly drew it in, and with it a fish, which struggled violently to escape.

tug - trascinare, tirare, rimorchiare, strattone

coolly - freddamente

"A fish!" cried my uncle.

"It is a sturgeon!" I cried, "certainly a small sturgeon."

sturgeon - storione

The Professor examined the fish carefully, noting every characteristic; and he did not coincide in my opinion. The fish had a flat head, round body, and the lower extremities covered with bony scales; its mouth was wholly without teeth, the pectoral fins, which were highly developed, sprouted direct from the body, which properly speaking had no tail.

characteristic - caratteristico, caratteristica

coincide - coincidere

extremities - estremita

bony - ossuto, stecchino

scales - scala, gradazione

pectoral - pectorale

fins - pinna

highly developed - altamente sviluppato

sprouted - germogliare

The animal certainly belonged to the order in which naturalists class the sturgeon, but it differed from that fish in many essential particulars.

naturalists - naturalista

differed - differire

My uncle, after all, was not mistaken. After a long and patient examination, he said:

"This fish, my dear boy, belongs to a family which has been extinct for ages, and of which no trace has ever been found on earth, except fossil remains in the Devonian strata."

"You do not mean to say," I cried, "that we have captured a live specimen of a fish belonging to the primitive stock that existed before the deluge?"

captured - catturare, riprendere, mangiare

stock - stock, merce

the deluge - il diluvio

"We have," said the Professor, who all this time was continuing his observations, "and you may see by careful examination that these fossil fish have no identity with existing species. To hold in one's hand, therefore, a living specimen of the order, is enough to make a naturalist happy for life."

"But," cried I, "to what family does it belong?"

"To the order of Ganoides-an order of fish having angular scales, covered with bright enamel-forming one of the family of the Cephalaspides, of the genus-"

enamel - smalto

genus - genere

"Well, sir," I remarked, as I noticed my uncle hesitated to conclude.

"To the genus Pterychtis-yes, I am certain of it. Still, though I am confident of the correctness of my surmise, this fish offers to our notice a remarkable peculiarity, never known to exist in any other fish but those which are the natives of subterranean waters, wells, lakes, in caverns, and suchlike hidden pools."

offers - offrire

suchlike - simili

"And what may that be?"

"It is blind."

"Blind!" I cried, much surprised.

"Not only blind," continued the Professor, "but absolutely without organs of sight."

organs - organo

I now examined our discovery for myself. It was singular, to be sure, but it was really a fact. This, however, might be a solitary instance, I suggested. The hook was baited again and once more thrown into the water.

This subterranean ocean must have been tolerably well supplied with fish, for in two hours we took a large number of Pterychtis, as well as other fish belonging to another supposed extinct family-the Dipterides (a genus of fish, furnished with two fins only, whence the name), though my uncle could not class it exactly. All, without exception, however, were blind.

furnished - fornire

This unexpected capture enabled us to renew our stock of provisions in a very satisfactory way.

capture - catturare, riprendere, mangiare

renew - rinnovare

We were now convinced that this subterranean sea contained only fish known to us as fossil specimens-and fish and reptiles alike were all the more perfect the farther back they dated their origin.

reptiles - reptilia, rettile

alike - simile, similmente, ugualmente

We began to hope that we should find some of those saurians which science has succeeded in reconstructing from bits of bone or cartilage.

saurians - sauro

reconstructing - ricostruire

cartilage - cartilagine

I took up the telescope and carefully examined the horizon-looked over the whole sea; it was utterly and entirely deserted. Doubtless we were still too near the coast.

After an examination of the ocean, I looked upward, towards the strange and mysterious sky. Why should not one of the birds reconstructed by the immortal Cuvier flap his stupendous wings aloft in the dull strata of subterranean air? It would, of course, find quite sufficient food from the fish in the sea. I gazed for some time upon the void above.

reconstructed - ricostruire

immortal - immortale, indimenticabile

flap - lembo

It was as silent and as deserted as the shores we had but lately left.

Nevertheless, though I could neither see nor discover anything, my imagination carried me away into wild hypotheses. I was in a kind of waking dream. I thought I saw on the surface of the water those enormous antediluvian turtles as big as floating islands.

turtles - tartaruga

Upon those dull and somber shores passed a spectral row of the mammifers of early days, the great Liptotherium found in the cavernous hollow of the Brazilian hills, the Mesicotherium, a native of the glacial regions of Siberia.

spectral - spettrale

Row - fila

mammifers - mammifero

Brazilian - brasiliano, brasiliana

glacial - glaciale

Farther on, the pachydermatous Lophrodon, that gigantic tapir, which concealed itself behind rocks, ready to do battle for its prey with the Anoplotherium, a singular animal partaking of the nature of the rhinoceros, the horse, the hippopotamus and the camel.

tapir - tapiro

rhinoceros - rinoceronte

hippopotamus - ippopotamo

camel - cammello

There was the giant Mastodon, twisting and turning his horrid trunk, with which he crushed the rocks of the shore to powder, while the Megatherium-his back raised like a cat in a passion, his enormous claws stretched out, dug into the earth for food, at the same time that he awoke the sonorous echoes of the whole place with his terrible roar.

twisting - torsione, (twist), contorsione, distorsione

trunk - tronco, baule, cofano, proboscide, bagagliaio

claws - artiglio

Higher up still, the first monkey ever seen on the face of the globe clambered, gamboling and playing up the granite hills. Still farther away, ran the Pterodactyl, with the winged hand, gliding or rather sailing through the dense and compressed air like a huge bat.

gamboling - giocare d'azzardo

Pterodactyl - pterodattilo

gliding - planare, (glide), scivolare, slittare, scorrere

sailing through - navigare attraverso

bat - bastone, mazza, racchetta

Above all, near the leaden granitic sky, were immense birds, more powerful than the cassowary and the ostrich, which spread their mighty wings and fluttered against the huge stone vault of the inland sea.

cassowary - casuario

ostrich - struzzo

fluttered - garrire, sventolare, svolazzare, ondeggiare, sbattere le ali

I thought, such was the effect of my imagination, that I saw this whole tribe of antediluvian creatures. I carried myself back to far ages, long before man existed-when, in fact, the earth was in too imperfect a state for him to live upon it.

tribe - tribu

My dream was of countless ages before the existence of man. The mammifers first disappeared, then the mighty birds, then the reptiles of the secondary period, presently the fish, the crustacea, the mollusks, and finally the vertebrata. The zoophytes of the period of transition in their turn sank into annihilation.

crustacea - crostacei

mollusks - mollusco

vertebrata - vertebrati

zoophytes - zoofito

The whole panorama of the world's life before the historic period, seemed to be born over again, and mine was the only human heart that beat in this unpeopled world! There were no more seasons; there were no more climates; the natural heat of the world increased unceasingly, and neutralized that of the great radiant Sun.

unpeopled - non-persone

unceasingly - incessantemente

neutralized - neutralizzare

Vegetation was exaggerated in an extraordinary manner. I passed like a shadow in the midst of brushwood as lofty as the giant trees of California, and trod underfoot the moist and humid soil, reeking with a rank and varied vegetation.

brushwood - ramaglia

trod - calpestato

underfoot - (per terra)

moist - umido

humid - umido

reeking - puzzo

rank - grado, rango

I leaned against the huge column-like trunks of giant trees, to which those of Canada were as ferns. Whole ages passed, hundreds upon hundreds of years were concentrated into a single day.

Canada - Canada

Next, unrolled before me like a panorama, came the great and wondrous series of terrestrial transformations. Plants disappeared; the granitic rocks lost all trace of solidity; the liquid state was suddenly substituted for that which had before existed. This was caused by intense heat acting on the organic matter of the earth.

transformations - trasformazione

substituted - sostituire, sostituto, rimpiazzo

organic - organico, biologico

The waters flowed over the whole surface of the globe; they boiled; they were volatilized, or turned into vapor; a kind of steam cloud wrapped the whole earth, the globe itself becoming at last nothing but one huge sphere of gas, indescribable in color, between white heat and red, as big and as brilliant as the sun.

volatilized - volatilizzare

indescribable - indescrivibile

In the very centre of this prodigious mass, fourteen hundred thousand times as large as our globe, I was whirled round in space, and brought into close conjunction with the planets. My body was subtilized, or rather became volatile, and commingled in a state of atomic vapor, with the prodigious clouds, which rushed forward like a mighty comet into infinite space!

whirled - turbinare, piroettare, roteare

conjunction - congiunzione

subtilized - sottomettere

volatile - volatile, instabile, incostante, variabile, volubile

commingled - mescolarsi

atomic - atomico

rushed forward - correre verso

comet - cometa

What an extraordinary dream! Where would it finally take me? My feverish hand began to write down the marvelous details-details more like the imaginings of a lunatic than anything sober and real. I had during this period of hallucination forgotten everything-the Professor, the guide, and the raft on which we were floating. My mind was in a state of semioblivion.

imaginings - immaginare

semioblivion - ordine del giorno

"What is the matter, Harry?" said my uncle suddenly.

My eyes, which were wide opened like those of a somnambulist, were fixed upon him, but I did not see him, nor could I clearly make out anything around me.

somnambulist - sonnambulo

"Take care, my boy," again cried my uncle, "you will fall into the sea."

As he uttered these words, I felt myself seized on the other side by the firm hand of our devoted guide. Had it not been for the presence of mind of Hans, I must infallibly have fallen into the waves and been drowned.

been drowned - e stato annegato

"Have you gone mad?" cried my uncle, shaking me on the other side.

"What-what is the matter?" I said at last, coming to myself.

"Are you ill, Henry?" continued the Professor in an anxious tone.

"No-no; but I have had an extraordinary dream. It, however, has passed away. All now seems well," I added, looking around me with strangely puzzled eyes.

strangely - stranamente

"All right," said my uncle; "a beautiful breeze, a splendid sea. We are going along at a rapid rate, and if I am not out in my calculations we shall soon see land. I shall not be sorry to exchange the narrow limits of our raft for the mysterious strand of the subterranean ocean."

As my uncle uttered these words, I rose and carefully scanned the horizon. But the line of water was still confounded with the lowering clouds that hung aloft, and in the distance appeared to touch the edge of the water.

confounded with - confuso con

lowering - abbassamento


Saurian - sauro

combat - battaglia, combattere

Saturday, August 15th. The sea still retains its uniform monotony. The same leaden hue, the same eternal glare from above. No indication of land being in sight. The horizon appears to retreat before us, more and more as we advance.

retains - conservare, mantenere

glare - bagliore, lampo, frecciata

My head, still dull and heavy from the effects of my extraordinary dream, which I cannot as yet banish from my mind.

banish - bandire, esiliare

The Professor, who has not dreamed, is, however, in one of his morose and unaccountable humors. Spends his time in scanning the horizon, at every point of the compass. His telescope is raised every moment to his eyes, and when he finds nothing to give any clue to our whereabouts, he assumes a Napoleonic attitude and walks anxiously.

morose - cupo, imbronciato

unaccountable - inspiegabile

whereabouts - dislocazione, posizione, location, dove

I remarked that my uncle, the Professor, had a strong tendency to resume his old impatient character, and I could not but make a note of this disagreeable circumstance in my journal. I saw clearly that it had required all the influence of my danger and suffering, to extract from him one scintillation of humane feeling.

extract - estratto, cavare

humane - umano

Now that I was quite recovered, his original nature had conquered and obtained the upper hand.

conquered - conquistare, sconfiggere, vincere

obtained - ottenere, riuscire, avere, stabilirsi

And, after all, what had he to be angry and annoyed about, now more than at any other time? Was not the journey being accomplished under the most favorable circumstances? Was not the raft progressing with the most marvelous rapidity?

What, then, could be the matter? After one or two preliminary hems, I determined to inquire.

preliminary - preliminare

hems - orlo

inquire - domandare, chiedere

"You seem uneasy, Uncle," said I, when for about the hundredth time he put down his telescope and walked up and down, muttering to himself.

muttering - borbottare

"No, I am not uneasy," he replied in a dry harsh tone, "by no means."

"Perhaps I should have said impatient," I replied, softening the force of my remark.

softening - ammorbidimento, (soften), ammorbidire, addolcire

"Enough to make me so, I think."

"And yet we are advancing at a rate seldom attained by a raft," I remarked.

"What matters that?" cried my uncle. "I am not vexed at the rate we go at, but I am annoyed to find the sea so much vaster than I expected."

vexed - vessare, innervosire, tormentare, infastidire

vaster - ampio, vasto, esteso, grande

I then recollected that the Professor, before our departure, had estimated the length of this subterranean ocean as at most about thirty leagues. Now we had traveled at least over thrice that distance without discovering any trace of the distant shore. I began to understand my uncle's anger.

estimated - stima, preventivo, stimare

"We are not going down," suddenly exclaimed the Professor. "We are not progressing with our great discoveries. All this is utter loss of time. After all, I did not come from home to undertake a party of pleasure. This voyage on a raft over a pond annoys and wearies me."

pond - stagno

wearies - annoiato, tediato, spossato, stanco, annoiare, annoiarsi

He called this adventurous journey a party of pleasure, and this great inland sea a pond!

"But," argued I, "if we have followed the route indicated by the great Saknussemm, we cannot be going far wrong."

"'That is the question,'as the great, the immortal Shakespeare, has it. Are we following the route indicated by that wondrous sage? Did Saknussemm ever fall in with this great sheet of water? If he did, did he cross it? I begin to fear that the rivulet we adopted for a guide has led us wrong."

sage - salvia

"In any case, we can never regret having come thus far. It is worth the whole journey to have enjoyed this magnificent spectacle-it is something to have seen."

"I care nothing about seeing, nor about magnificent spectacles. I came down into the interior of the earth with an object, and that object I mean to attain. Don't talk to me about admiring scenery, or any other sentimental trash."

sentimental - ordine del giorno

trash - spazzatura, immondizia, rifiuti, cassonetto, mondezza, porcheria

After this I thought it well to hold my tongue, and allow the Professor to bite his lips until the blood came, without further remark.

At six o'clock in the evening, our matter-of-fact guide, Hans, asked for his week's salary, and receiving his three rix-dollars, put them carefully in his pocket. He was perfectly contented and satisfied.

Sunday, August 16th. Nothing new to record. The same weather as before. The wind has a slight tendency to freshen up, with signs of an approaching gale. When I awoke, my first observation was in regard to the intensity of the light. I keep on fearing, day after day, that the extraordinary electric phenomenon should become first obscured, and then go wholly out, leaving us in total darkness.

freshen - rinfrescare

gale - burrasca

obscured - oscuro, nascosto, oscurato, confuso, poco chiaro, vago

Nothing, however, of the kind occurs. The shadow of the raft, its mast and sails, is clearly distinguished on the surface of the water.

This wondrous sea is, after all, infinite in its extent. It must be quite as wide as the Mediterranean-or perhaps even as the great Atlantic Ocean. Why, after all, should it not be so?

My uncle has on more than one occasion, tried deep-sea soundings. He tied the cross of one of our heaviest crowbars to the extremity of a cord, which he allowed to run out to the extent of two hundred fathoms. We had the greatest difficulty in hoisting in our novel kind of lead.

deep-sea - (deep-sea) mare profondo

soundings - suonare

fathoms - braccio

hoisting - elevare, alzare, issare, innalzare

When the crowbar was finally dragged on board, Hans called my attention to some singular marks upon its surface. The piece of iron looked as if it had been crushed between two very hard substances.

I looked at our worthy guide with an inquiring glance.

inquiring - domandare, chiedere

"Tander," said he.

Of course I was at a loss to understand. I turned round towards my uncle, absorbed in gloomy reflections. I had little wish to disturb him from his reverie. I accordingly turned once more towards our worthy Icelander.

reverie - fantasticheria

Hans very quietly and significantly opened his mouth once or twice, as if in the act of biting, and in this way made me understand his meaning.

significantly - significativamente, principalmente

"Teeth!" cried I, with stupefaction, as I examined the bar of iron with more attention.

Yes. There can be no doubt about the matter. The indentations on the bar of iron are the marks of teeth! What jaws must the owner of such molars be possessed of! Have we then, come upon a monster of unknown species, which still exists within the vast waste of waters-a monster more voracious than a shark, more terrible and bulky than the whale?

indentations - indentazione, recesso, incavo, trattino

jaws - mascella, mandibola

Shark - squalo

bulky - voluminoso, massiccio, ingombrante, scomodo

whale - balena

I am unable to withdraw my eyes from the bar of iron, actually half crushed!

withdraw - ritirare, ritirarsi

Is, then, my dream about to come true-a dread and terrible reality?

All day my thoughts were bent upon these speculations, and my imagination scarcely regained a degree of calmness and power of reflection until after a sleep of many hours.

speculations - speculazione

This day, as on other Sundays, we observed as a day of rest and pious meditation.

pious - pio

meditation - meditazione

Monday, August 17th. I have been trying to realize from memory the particular instincts of those antediluvian animals of the secondary period, which succeeding to the mollusca, to the crustacea, and to the fish, preceded the appearance of the race of mammifers. The generation of reptiles then reigned supreme upon the earth.

instincts - istinto

mollusca -

These hideous monsters ruled everything in the seas of the secondary period, which formed the strata of which the Jura mountains are composed. Nature had endowed them with perfect organization. What a gigantic structure was theirs; what vast and prodigious strength they possessed!

endowed - dotare, finanziare, foraggiare, provvedere

The existing saurians, which include all such reptiles as lizards, crocodiles, and alligators, even the largest and most formidable of their class, are but feeble imitations of their mighty sires, the animals of ages long ago. If there were giants in the days of old, there were also gigantic animals.

lizards - lucertola

crocodiles - coccodrillo

alligators - alligatore

imitations - imitazione

I shuddered as I evolved from my mind the idea and recollection of these awful monsters. No eye of man had seen them in the flesh. They took their walks abroad upon the face of the earth thousands of ages before man came into existence, and their fossil bones, discovered in the limestone, have allowed us to reconstruct them anatomically, and thus to get some faint idea of their colossal formation.

evolved - evolvere, evolversi

limestone - calcare

reconstruct - ricostruire

anatomically - anatomicamente

colossal - colossale

I recollect once seeing in the great Museum of Hamburg the skeleton of one of these wonderful saurians. It measured no less than thirty feet from the nose to the tail. Am I, then, an inhabitant of the earth of the present day, destined to find myself face to face with a representative of this antediluvian family? I can scarcely believe it possible; I can hardly believe it true.

skeleton - scheletro

representative - rappresentativo, rappresentante

And yet these marks of powerful teeth upon the bar of iron! Can there be a doubt from their shape that the bite is the bite of a crocodile?

crocodile - coccodrillo

My eyes stare wildly and with terror upon the subterranean sea. Every moment I expect one of these monsters to rise from its vast cavernous depths.

stare - fissare

I fancy that the worthy Professor in some measure shares my notions, if not my fears, for, after an attentive examination of the crowbar, he cast his eyes rapidly over the mighty and mysterious ocean.

attentive - attento

"What could possess him to leave the land," I thought, "as if the depth of this water was of any importance to us. No doubt he has disturbed some terrible monster in his watery home, and perhaps we may pay dearly for our temerity."

watery - acquoso, acqueo, bagnato, inzuppato

temerity - temerita

Anxious to be prepared for the worst, I examined our weapons, and saw that they were in a fit state for use. My uncle looked on at me and nodded his head approvingly. He, too, has noticed what we have to fear.

approvingly - con approvazione

Already the uplifting of the waters on the surface indicates that something is in motion below. The danger approaches. It comes nearer and nearer. It behooves us to be on the watch.

uplifting - edificante, (uplift), elevare, esaltare

approaches - avvicinarsi

behooves - conviene

Tuesday, August 18th. Evening came at last, the hour when the desire for sleep caused our eyelids to be heavy. Night there is not, properly speaking, in this place, any more than there is in summer in the arctic regions. Hans, however, is immovable at the rudder. When he snatches a moment of rest I really cannot say. I take advantage of his vigilance to take some little repose.

Arctic - artico, Artide

snatches - agguantare, scippare, strappare

vigilance - vigilanza

But two hours after I was awakened from a heavy sleep by an awful shock. The raft appeared to have struck upon a sunken rock. It was lifted right out of the water by some wondrous and mysterious power, and then started off twenty fathoms distant.

"Eh, what is it?" cried my uncle starting up. "Are we shipwrecked, or what?"

eh - eh

shipwrecked - relitto, naufragio, naufragare

Hans raised his hand and pointed to where, about two hundred yards off, a large black mass was moving up and down.

I looked with awe. My worst fears were realized.

"It is a colossal monster!" I cried, clasping my hands.

"Yes," cried the agitated Professor, "and there yonder is a huge sea lizard of terrible size and shape."

agitated - agitare, scuotere, sbattere, turbare

Lizard - lucertola

"And farther on behold a prodigious crocodile. Look at his hideous jaws, and that row of monstrous teeth. Ha! he has gone."

"A whale! a whale!" shouted the Professor, "I can see her enormous fins. See, see, how she blows air and water!"

Two liquid columns rose to a vast height above the level of the sea, into which they fell with a terrific crash, waking up the echoes of that awful place. We stood still-surprised, stupefied, terror-stricken at the sight of this group of fearful marine monsters, more hideous in the reality than in my dream.

crash - frastuono

marine - marino, marittimo

They were of supernatural dimensions; the very smallest of the whole party could with ease have crushed our raft and ourselves with a single bite.

Hans, seizing the rudder which had flown out of his hand, puts it hard aweather in order to escape from such dangerous vicinity; but no sooner does he do so, than he finds he is flying from Scylla to Charybdis. To leeward is a turtle about forty feet wide, and a serpent quite as long, with an enormous and hideous head peering from out the waters.

seizing - sequestro, (seize), prendere, afferrare, approfittare, sfruttare

flown out - volare giu, partire

aweather - ordine del giorno

vicinity - vicinanza, dintorni, intorno

Scylla - Scilla

Charybdis - Cariddi

Turtle - tartaruga

serpent - serpente, serpe, serpentone

Look which way we will, it is impossible for us to fly. The fearful reptiles advanced upon us; they turned and twisted about the raft with awful rapidity. They formed around our devoted vessel a series of concentric circles. I took up my rifle in desperation. But what effect can a rifle ball produce upon the armor scales with which the bodies of these horrid monsters are covered?

twisted - torsione, contorsione, distorsione, filamento, filo, scorza

concentric circles - cerchi concentrici

rifle - fucile

in desperation - in atto di disperazione

armor - armatura, corazza

We remain still and dumb from utter horror. They advance upon us, nearer and nearer. Our fate appears certain, fearful and terrible. On one side the mighty crocodile, on the other the great sea serpent. The rest of the fearful crowd of marine prodigies have plunged beneath the briny waves and disappeared!

dumb - muto

prodigies - presagio, prodigio, fenomeno

briny - salmastro

I am about to fire at any risk and try the effect of a shot. Hans, the guide, however, interfered by a sign to check me. The two hideous and ravenous monsters passed within fifty fathoms of the raft, and then made a rush at one another-their fury and rage preventing them from seeing us.

interfered - impicciarsi, impedire

The combat commenced. We distinctly made out every action of the two hideous monsters.

But to my excited imagination the other animals appeared about to take part in the fierce and deadly struggle-the monster, the whale, the lizard, and the turtle. I distinctly saw them every moment. I pointed them out to the Icelander. But he only shook his head.

"Tva," he said.

"What-two only does he say. Surely he is mistaken," I cried in a tone of wonder.

is mistaken - si sbaglia

"He is quite right," replied my uncle coolly and philosophically, examining the terrible duel with his telescope and speaking as if he were in a lecture room.

philosophically - filosoficamente

duel - duello, singolar tenzone, duellare

lecture room - aula magna

"How can that be?"

"Yes, it is so. The first of these hideous monsters has the snout of a porpoise, the head of a lizard, the teeth of a crocodile; and it is this that has deceived us. It is the most fearful of all antediluvian reptiles, the world-renowned Ichthyosaurus or great fish lizard."

snout - grugno, proboscide

porpoise - focena

renowned - rinomanza, celebrita, fama

Ichthyosaurus - Ittiosauro

"And the other?"

"The other is a monstrous serpent, concealed under the hard vaulted shell of the turtle, the terrible enemy of its fearful rival, the Plesiosaurus, or sea crocodile."

rival - rivale, competitore, antagonista, avversario

plesiosaurus - plesiosauro

Hans was quite right. The two monsters only, disturbed the surface of the sea!

At last have mortal eyes gazed upon two reptiles of the great primitive ocean! I see the flaming red eyes of the Ichthyosaurus, each as big, or bigger than a man's head.

flaming - fiammeggiare, (flame), fiamma, flame, infiammare

Nature in its infinite wisdom had gifted this wondrous marine animal with an optical apparatus of extreme power, capable of resisting the pressure of the heavy layers of water which rolled over him in the depths of the ocean where he usually fed. It has by some authors truly been called the whale of the saurian race, for it is as big and quick in its motions as our king of the seas.

wisdom - saggezza, senno, discernimento, criterio

resisting - resistere

motions - movimento, mozione, mozioni

This one measures not less than a hundred feet in length, and I can form some idea of his girth when I see him lift his prodigious tail out of the waters. His jaw is of awful size and strength, and according to the best-informed naturalists, it does not contain less than a hundred and eighty-two teeth.

girth - circonferenza, calibro

jaw - mascella, mandibola

best-informed - (best-informed) meglio informato

The other was the mighty Plesiosaurus, a serpent with a cylindrical trunk, with a short stumpy tail, with fins like a bank of oars in a Roman galley.

cylindrical - cilindrico

stumpy - tozzo

Roman - romano, romana

Its whole body covered by a carapace or shell, and its neck, as flexible as that of a swan, rose more than thirty feet above the waves, a tower of animated flesh!

carapace - carapace, esoscheletro

flexible - flessibile, pieghevole

swan - cigno

These animals attacked one another with inconceivable fury. Such a combat was never seen before by mortal eyes, and to us who did see it, it appeared more like the phantasmagoric creation of a dream than anything else. They raised mountains of water, which dashed in spray over the raft, already tossed to and fro by the waves.

phantasmagoric - fantasmagorico

tossed - tiro, lancio, testa o croce, lancio moneta

Twenty times we seemed on the point of being upset and hurled headlong into the waves. Hideous hisses appeared to shake the gloomy granite roof of that mighty cavern-hisses which carried terror to our hearts. The awful combatants held each other in a tight embrace. I could not make out one from the other. Still the combat could not last forever; and woe unto us, whichsoever became the victor.

hurled - lanciare, tirare, slanciare, vomitare, rimettere

combatants - combattente

Embrace - abbracciare, aderire, inglobare, abbraccio

woe - dolore, disgrazia, guaio

Victor - Venezia, Vittorio, Vittore

One hour, two hours, three hours passed away, without any decisive result. The struggle continued with the same deadly tenacity, but without apparent result. The deadly opponents now approached, now drew away from the raft. Once or twice we fancied they were about to leave us altogether, but instead of that, they came nearer and nearer.

tenacity - tenacia

apparent - apparente, visibile, evidente, chiaro

opponents - oppositore, oppositrice

We crouched on the raft ready to fire at them at a moment's notice, poor as the prospect of hurting or terrifying them was. Still we were determined not to perish without a struggle.

at a moment's notice - in un momento di preavviso

terrifying - terrificare

Suddenly the Ichthyosaurus and the Plesiosaurus disappeared beneath the waves, leaving behind them a maelstrom in the midst of the sea. We were nearly drawn down by the indraft of the water!

maelstrom - maelstrom, voragine, vortice

Several minutes elapsed before anything was again seen. Was this wonderful combat to end in the depths of the ocean? Was the last act of this terrible drama to take place without spectators?

last act - ultimo atto

spectators - spettatore

It was impossible for us to say.

Suddenly, at no great distance from us, an enormous mass rises out of the waters-the head of the great Plesiosaurus. The terrible monster is now wounded unto death. I can see nothing now of his enormous body. All that could be distinguished was his serpent-like neck, which he twisted and curled in all the agonies of death.

wounded - ferita

curled - riccio, ricciolo, boccolo, arricciamento, rotazione, spirale

agonies - dolore, agonia, parossismo

Now he struck the waters with it as if it had been a gigantic whip, and then again wriggled like a worm cut in two. The water was spurted up to a great distance in all directions. A great portion of it swept over our raft and nearly blinded us.

wriggled - contorcersi, contorsione

spurted - sprizzare, sgorgare

blinded - cieco, orbo, tenda, accecare, ciecamente

But soon the end of the beast approached nearer and nearer; his movements slackened visibly; his contortions almost ceased; and at last the body of the mighty snake lay an inert, dead mass on the surface of the now calm and placid waters.

slackened - allentare

contortions - contorsione

placid - placido

As for the Ichthyosaurus, has he gone down to his mighty cavern under the sea to rest, or will he reappear to destroy us?

reappear - riapparire

This question remained unanswered. And we had breathing time.

unanswered - senza risposta

breathing time - tempo di respirazione


Wednesday, August 19th. Fortunately the wind, which for the present blows with some violence, has allowed us to escape from the scene of the unparalleled and extraordinary struggle. Hans with his usual imperturbable calm remained at the helm.

unparalleled - ineguagliabile

helm - timone

My uncle, who for a short time had been withdrawn from his absorbing reveries by the novel incidents of this sea fight, fell back again apparently into a brown study. His eyes were fixed impatiently on the widespread ocean.

withdrawn - ritirare, ritirarsi

absorbing - assorbire, incorporare, includere, assorbere, assorto

reveries - rilassamento

impatiently - con impazienza

widespread - ampio, diffuso, esteso

Our voyage now became monotonous and uniform. Dull as it has become, I have no desire to have it broken by any repetition of the perils and adventures of yesterday.

repetition - ripetizione

Thursday, August 20th. The wind is now N. N. E., and blows very irregularly. It has changed to fitful gusts. The temperature is exceedingly high. We are now progressing at the average rate of about ten miles and a half per hour.

irregularly - in modo irregolare

fitful - a singhiozzo, irregolare, rapsodico, sporadico

gusts - raffica

average rate - tasso medio

About twelve o'clock a distant sound as of thunder fell upon our ears. I make a note of the fact without even venturing a suggestion as to its cause. It was one continued roar as of a sea falling over mighty rocks.

"Far off in the distance," said the Professor dogmatically, "there is some rock or some island against which the sea lashed to fury by the wind, is breaking violently."

lashed - ciglio

Hans, without saying a word, clambered to the top of the mast, but could make out nothing. The ocean was level in every direction as far as the eye could reach.

Three hours passed away without any sign to indicate what might be before us. The sound began to assume that of a mighty cataract.

cataract - cateratta, cascata, rapida, cataratta

I expressed my opinion on this point strongly to my uncle. He merely shook his head. I, however, am strongly impressed by a conviction that I am not wrong. Are we advancing towards some mighty waterfall which shall cast us into the abyss?

Probably this mode of descending into the abyss may be agreeable to the Professor, because it would be something like the vertical descent he is so eager to make. I entertain a very different opinion.

mode - modo, maniera

Whatever be the truth, it is certain that not many leagues distant there must be some very extraordinary phenomenon, for as we advance the roar becomes something mighty and stupendous. Is it in the water, or in the air?

I cast hasty glances aloft at the suspended vapors, and I seek to penetrate their mighty depths. But the vault above is tranquil. The clouds, which are now elevated to the very summit, appear utterly still and motionless, and completely lost in the irradiation of electric light. It is necessary, therefore, to seek for the cause of this phenomenon elsewhere.

hasty - affrettato, frettoloso, precipitoso

glances - dare un'occhiata, sbirciare, occhieggiare, radere, rasentare

I examine the horizon, now perfectly calm, pure, and free from all haze. Its aspect still remains unchanged.

But if this awful noise proceeds from a cataract-if, so to speak in plain English, this vast interior ocean is precipitated into a lower basin-if these tremendous roars are produced by the noise of falling waters, the current would increase in activity, and its increasing swiftness would give me some idea of the extent of the peril with which we are menaced. I consult the current.

proceeds - procedere

precipitated - precipitato

roars - ruggire, sganasciarsi dalle risate

swiftness - rapidita

peril - periglio, pericolo

It simply does not exist: there is no such thing. An empty bottle cast into the water lies to leeward without motion.

About four o'clock Hans rises, clambers up the mast, and reaches the truck itself. From this elevated position his looks are cast around. They take in a vast circumference of the ocean. At last, his eyes remain fixed. His face expresses no astonishment, but his eyes slightly dilate.

clambers - arrampicarsi

dilate - dilatare, dilatarsi

"He has seen something at last," cried my uncle.

"I think so," I replied.

Hans came down, stood beside us, and pointed with his right hand to the south.

"Der nere," he said.

nere - ordine del giorno

"There," replied my uncle.

And seizing his telescope, he looked at it with great attention for about a minute, which to me appeared an age. I knew not what to think or expect.

"Yes, yes," he cried in a tone of considerable surprise, "there it is."

"What?" I asked.

"A tremendous spurt of water rising out of the waves."

spurt - sprizzare, sgorgare

"Some other marine monster," I cried, already alarmed.


"Then let us steer more to the westward, for we know what we have to expect from antediluvian animals," was my eager reply.

steer - giovenco, manzo

"Go ahead," said my uncle.

I turned towards Hans. Hans was at the tiller steering with his usual imperturbable calm.

Nevertheless, if from the distance which separated us from this creature, a distance which must be estimated at not less than a dozen leagues, one could see the column of water spurting from the blow-hole of the great animal, his dimensions must be something preternatural. To fly is, therefore, the course to be suggested by ordinary prudence.

creature - creatura

spurting - sprizzare, sgorgare

preternatural - surreale, innaturale, paranormale

But we have not come into that part of the world to be prudent. Such is my uncle's determination.

We, accordingly, continued to advance. The nearer we come, the loftier is the spouting water. What monster can fill himself with such huge volumes of water, and then unceasingly spout them out in such lofty jets?

loftier - maestoso, alto, nobile

spouting - a sproposito, (spout), beccuccio, getto, sgorgare, zampillare

At eight o'clock in the evening, reckoning as above ground, where there is day and night, we are not more than two leagues from the mighty beast. Its long, black, enormous, mountainous body, lies on the top of the water like an island. But then sailors have been said to have gone ashore on sleeping whales, mistaking them for land. Is it illusion, or is it fear?

reckoning - stima

mountainous - montagnoso

ashore - a riva, verso riva

Its length cannot be less than a thousand fathoms. What, then, is this cetaceous monster of which no Cuvier ever thought?

cetaceous - cetaceo

It is quite motionless and presents the appearance of sleep. The sea seems unable to lift him upwards; it is rather the waves which break on his huge and gigantic frame. The waterspout, rising to a height of five hundred feet, breaks in spray with a dull, sullen roar.

We advance, like senseless lunatics, towards this mighty mass.

senseless - svenuto, senza capo né coda

lunatics - demente

I honestly confess that I was abjectly afraid. I declared that I would go no farther. I threatened in my terror to cut the sheet of the sail. I attacked the Professor with considerable acrimony, calling him foolhardy, mad, I know not what. He made no answer.

honestly - onestamente

abjectly - abiettamente

threatened - minacciare, impaurire, intimidire, avvisare, promettere

acrimony - acrimonia

foolhardy - avventato, spericolato, imprudente, dissennato

Suddenly the imperturbable Hans once more pointed his finger to the menacing object:


"An island!" cried my uncle.

"An island?" I replied, shrugging my shoulders at this poor attempt at deception.

deception - mistificazione, inganno, sotterfugio, raggiro

"Of course it is," cried my uncle, bursting into a loud and joyous laugh.

bursting - scoppiare, esplodere, strappare, separare, scoppio, esplosione

"But the waterspout?"

"Geyser," said Hans.

Geyser - geyser

"Yes, of course-a geyser," replied my uncle, still laughing, "a geyser like those common in Iceland. Jets like this are the great wonders of the country."

At first I would not allow that I had been so grossly deceived. What could be more ridiculous than to have taken an island for a marine monster? But kick as one may, one must yield to evidence, and I was finally convinced of my error. It was nothing, after all, but a natural phenomenon.

grossly - grossolanamente

natural phenomenon - fenomeno naturale

As we approached nearer and nearer, the dimensions of the liquid sheaf of waters became truly grand and stupendous. The island had, at a distance, presented the appearance of an enormous whale, whose head rose high above the waters. The geyser, a word the Icelanders pronounce geysir, and which signifies fury, rose majestically from its summit.

sheaf - covone, fascio, mazzo, balla

geysir - ordine del giorno

signifies - significare

majestically - maestosamente

Dull detonations are heard every now and then, and the enormous jet, taken as it were with sudden fury, shakes its plume of vapor, and bounds into the first layer of the clouds. It is alone. Neither spurts of vapor nor hot springs surround it, and the whole volcanic power of that region is concentrated in one sublime column.

detonations - detonazione

plume - piuma

spurts - sprizzare, sgorgare

surround - circondare, accerchiare, assediare

The rays of electric light mix with this dazzling sheaf, every drop as it falls assuming the prismatic colors of the rainbow.

assuming - assumendo

"Let us go on shore," said the Professor, after some minutes of silence.

It is necessary, however, to take great precaution, in order to avoid the weight of falling waters, which would cause the raft to founder in an instant. Hans, however, steers admirably, and brings us to the other extremity of the island.

founder - fondatore

steers - giovenco, manzo

I was the first to leap on the rock. My uncle followed, while the eider-duck hunter remained still, like a man above any childish sources of astonishment. We were now walking on granite mixed with siliceous sandstone; the soil shivered under our feet like the sides of boilers in which over-heated steam is forcibly confined. It is burning.

childish - infantile, bambinesco, puerile

siliceous - siliceo, silicioso

shivered - rabbrividire, tremare

boilers - caldaia

forcibly - con la forza

We soon came in sight of the little central basin from which rose the geyser. I plunged a thermometer into the water which ran bubbling from the centre, and it marked a heat of a hundred and sixty-three degrees!

This water, therefore, came from some place where the heat was intense. This was singularly in contradiction with the theories of Professor Hardwigg. I could not help telling him my opinion on the subject.

"Well," said he sharply, "and what does this prove against my doctrine?"

sharply - in modo acuto

doctrine - dottrina

"Nothing," replied I dryly, seeing that I was running my head against a foregone conclusion.

foregone - rinunciare

Nevertheless, I am compelled to confess that until now we have been most remarkably fortunate, and that this voyage is being accomplished in most favorable conditions of temperature; but it appears evident, in fact, certain, that we shall sooner or later arrive at one of those regions where the central heat will reach its utmost limits, and will go far beyond all the possible gradations of thermometers.

gradations - gradazione

thermometers - termometro

Visions of the Hades of the ancients, believed to be in the centre of the earth, floated through my imagination.

Hades - Ade

We shall, however, see what we shall see. That is the Professor's favorite phrase now. Having christened the volcanic island by the name of his nephew, the leader of the expedition turned away and gave the signal for embarkation.

christened - battezzare, inaugurare

embarkation - imbarco

I stood still, however, for some minutes, gazing upon the magnificent geyser. I soon was able to perceive that the upward tendency of the water was irregular; now it diminished in intensity, and then, suddenly, it regained new vigor, which I attributed to the variation of the pressure of the accumulated vapors in its reservoir.

vigor - vigore

At last we took our departure, going carefully round the projecting, and rather dangerous, rocks of the southern side. Hans had taken advantage of this brief halt to repair the raft.

Before we took our final departure from the island, however, I made some observations to calculate the distance we had gone over, and I put them down in my journal. Since we left Port Gretchen, we had traveled two hundred and seventy leagues-more than eight hundred miles-on this great inland sea; we were, therefore, six hundred and twenty leagues from Iceland, and exactly under England.


Friday, August 21st. This morning the magnificent geyser had wholly disappeared. The wind had freshened up, and we were fast leaving the neighborhood of Henry's Island. Even the roaring sound of the mighty column was lost to the ear.

freshened - rinfrescare

The weather, if, under the circumstances, we may use such an expression, is about to change very suddenly.

The atmosphere is being gradually loaded with vapors, which carry with them the electricity formed by the constant evaporation of the saline waters; the clouds are slowly but sensibly falling towards the sea, and are assuming a dark-olive texture; the electric rays can scarcely pierce through the opaque curtain which has fallen like a drop scene before this wondrous theater, on the stage of which another and terrible drama is soon to be enacted. This time it is no fight of animals; it is the fearful battle of the elements.

olive - oliva, olivo, verde oliva

pierce - trapassare, trafiggere

drop scene - ultima scena

theater - teatro

enacted - promulgare, approvare, interpretare, realizzare, apportare

I feel that I am very peculiarly influenced, as all creatures are on land when a deluge is about to take place.

deluge - diluvio, inondare, allagare, sommergere, tempestare

The cumuli, a perfectly oval kind of cloud, piled upon the south, presented a most awful and sinister appearance, with the pitiless aspect often seen before a storm. The air is extremely heavy; the sea is comparatively calm.

cumuli - cumulo, cumulo (1, 2)

sinister - sinistro, sinistra

In the distance, the clouds have assumed the appearance of enormous balls of cotton, or rather pods, piled one above the other in picturesque confusion.

pods - buccia, baccello, capsula, navicella

picturesque - pittoresco

confusion - confusione, disordine, disorientamento, sbandamento

By degrees, they appear to swell out, break, and gain in number what they lose in grandeur; their heaviness is so great that they are unable to lift themselves from the horizon; but under the influence of the upper currents of air, they are gradually broken up, become much darker, and then present the appearance of one single layer of a formidable character; now and then a lighter cloud, still lit up from above, rebounds upon this grey carpet, and is lost in the opaque mass.

swell - gonfiare, gonfiarsi, aumentare

heaviness - pesantezza

rebounds - rimbalzare

There can be no doubt that the entire atmosphere is saturated with electric fluid; I am myself wholly impregnated; my hairs literally stand on end as if under the influence of a galvanic battery. If one of my companions ventured to touch me, I think he would receive rather a violent and unpleasant shock.

saturated - impregnare, inzuppare

impregnated - ingravidare, mettere incinta, impregnare, permeare

galvanic - galvanico

About ten o'clock in the morning, the symptoms of the storm became more thorough and decisive; the wind appeared to soften down as if to take breath for a renewed attack; the vast funereal pall above us looked like a huge bag-like the cave of AEolus, in which the storm was collecting its forces for the attack.

more thorough - piu approfondito

soften - ammorbidire, addolcire, rendere arrendevole, rendere malleabile

Aeolus - Eolo

I tried all I could not to believe in the menacing signs of the sky, and yet I could not avoid saying, as it were involuntarily:

"I believe we are going to have bad weather."

The Professor made me no answer. He was in a horrible, in a detestable humor-to see the ocean stretching interminably before his eyes. On hearing my words he simply shrugged his shoulders.

detestable - detestabile

stretching - tendere

interminably - interminabilmente

"We shall have a tremendous storm," I said again, pointing to the horizon. "These clouds are falling lower and lower upon the sea, as if to crush it."

A great silence prevailed. The wind wholly ceased. Nature assumed a dead calm, and ceased to breathe. Upon the mast, where I noticed a sort of slight ignis fatuus, the sail hangs in loose heavy folds. The raft is motionless in the midst of a dark heavy sea-without undulation, without motion. It is as still as glass.

ignis - ordine del giorno

fatuus - ordine del giorno

But as we are making no progress, what is the use of keeping up the sail, which may be the cause of our perdition if the tempest should suddenly strike us without warning.

perdition - perdizione

strike - cancellare, colpire, coniare, scioperare, sembrare, arrendersi, sciopero

"Let us lower the sail," I said, "it is only an act of common prudence."

"No-no," cried my uncle, in an exasperated tone, "a hundred times, no. Let the wind strike us and do its worst, let the storm sweep us away where it will-only let me see the glimmer of some coast-of some rocky cliffs, even if they dash our raft into a thousand pieces. No! keep up the sail-no matter what happens."

exasperated - esasperare

sweep - spazzare, scopare, ramazzare, setacciare, spazzata

glimmer - barlume, filo

These words were scarcely uttered when the southern horizon underwent a sudden and violent change. The long accumulated vapors were resolved into water, and the air required to fill up the void produced became a wild and raging tempest.

It came from the most distant corners of the mighty cavern. It raged from every point of the compass. It roared; it yelled; it shrieked with glee as of demons let loose. The darkness increased and became indeed darkness visible.

raged - rabbia, furia, furore, infuriare, imperversare

roared - ruggire, sganasciarsi dalle risate

yelled - grido

shrieked - gridare, strillare

glee - gioia

demons - demone, demonio, talian: Il Demonio g

The raft rose and fell with the storm, and bounded over the waves. My uncle was cast headlong upon the deck. I with great difficulty dragged myself towards him. He was holding on with might and main to the end of a cable, and appeared to gaze with pleasure and delight at the spectacle of the unchained elements.

deck - ponte

cable - cavo, cavo elettrico, treccia, cablare

unchained - non incatenare

Hans never moved a muscle. His long hair driven hither and thither by the tempest and scattered wildly over his motionless face, gave him a most extraordinary appearance-for every single hair was illuminated by little sparkling sprigs.

thither - li

illuminated - illuminare, chiarire, miniare

sprigs - talian: t-needed

His countenance presents the extraordinary appearance of an antediluvian man, a true contemporary of the Megatherium.

contemporary - contemporaneo, coetaneo, coevo

Still the mast holds good against the storm. The sail spreads out and fills like a soap bubble about to burst. The raft rushes on at a pace impossible to estimate, but still less swiftly than the body of water displaced beneath it, the rapidity of which may be seen by the lines which fly right and left in the wake.

soap bubble - bolla di sapone

rushes - precipitarsi, portare d'urgenza

estimate - stima, preventivo, stimare

"The sail, the sail!" I cried, making a trumpet of my hands, and then endeavoring to lower it.

trumpet - tromba, trombettista, barrito, suonare la tromba, barrire

endeavoring - tentativo, impegno, sforzo, impresa, tentare

"Let it alone!" said my uncle, more exasperated than ever.

"Nej," said Hans, gently shaking his head.

Nevertheless, the rain formed a roaring cataract before this horizon of which we were in search, and to which we were rushing like madmen.

madmen - matto, pazzo

But before this wilderness of waters reached us, the mighty veil of cloud was torn in twain; the sea began to foam wildly; and the electricity, produced by some vast and extraordinary chemical action in the upper layer of cloud, is brought into play. To the fearful claps of thunder are added dazzling flashes of lightning, such as I had never seen.

wilderness - natura

claps - battere le mani, applaudire

flashes - lampo

The flashes crossed one another, hurled from every side; while the thunder came pealing like an echo. The mass of vapor becomes incandescent; the hailstones which strike the metal of our boots and our weapons are actually luminous; the waves as they rise appear to be fire-eating monsters, beneath which seethes an intense fire, their crests surmounted by combs of flame.

pealing - scrostatura

incandescent - incandescente, abbagliante, risplendente

hailstones - grandine

seethes - bollire, ribollire, schiumare, fervere, brulicare, turbinare

crests - cresta, cimiero, timbro, crine, criniera

surmounted - sormontare, superare

combs - pettine

My eyes are dazzled, blinded by the intensity of light, my ears are deafened by the awful roar of the elements. I am compelled to hold onto the mast, which bends like a reed beneath the violence of the storm, to which none ever before seen by mariners bore any resemblance.

deafened - assordare

reed - canna, cannuccia

mariners - marinaio

Here my traveling notes become very incomplete, loose and vague. I have only been able to make out one or two fugitive observations, jotted down in a mere mechanical way. But even their brevity, even their obscurity, show the emotions which overcame me.

incomplete - incompleto

jotted down - annotato

brevity - brevita

overcame - superare, sconfiggere

Sunday, August 23rd. Where have we got to? In what region are we wandering? We are still carried forward with inconceivable rapidity.

The night has been fearful, something not to be described. The storm shows no signs of cessation. We exist in the midst of an uproar which has no name. The detonations as of artillery are incessant. Our ears literally bleed. We are unable to exchange a word, or hear each other speak.

Artillery - artiglieria

bleed - sanguinare

The lightning never ceases to flash for a single instant. I can see the zigzags after a rapid dart strike the arched roof of this mightiest of mighty vaults. If it were to give way and fall upon us! Other lightnings plunge their forked streaks in every direction, and take the form of globes of fire, which explode like bombshells over a beleaguered city.

ceases - cessare, arrestare, smettere, interrompere

zigzags - zigzag

dart - dardo

arched - arco, arcata

mightiest - potente, possente

lightnings - fulmine, folgore, saetta, lampo

bombshells - bomba, granata, notizia clamorosa, schianto

beleaguered - besieged, surrounded by enemy troops

The general crash and roar do not apparently increase; it has already gone far beyond what human ear can appreciate. If all the powder magazines in the world were to explode together, it would be impossible for us to hear worse noise.

There is a constant emission of light from the storm clouds; the electric matter is incessantly released; evidently the gaseous principles of the air are out of order; innumerable columns of water rush up like waterspouts, and fall back upon the surface of the ocean in foam.

emission - emissione

principles - principio, regola, valore

waterspouts - zampilli d'acqua

Whither are we going? My uncle still lies at full length upon the raft, without speaking-without taking any note of time.

whither - dove

full length - lungometraggio

The heat increases. I look at the thermometer, to my surprise it indicates-The exact figure is here rubbed out in my manuscript.

rubbed out - sfregare, cancellare, uccidere

Monday, August 24th. This terrible storm will never end. Why should not this state of the atmosphere, so dense and murky, once modified, again remain definitive?

definitive - definitivo

We are utterly broken and harassed by fatigue. Hans remains just as usual. The raft runs to the southeast invariably. We have now already run two hundred leagues from the newly discovered island.

harassed - importunare, infastidire, molestare, tormentare

invariably - invariabilmente

About twelve o'clock the storm became worse than ever. We are obliged now to fasten every bit of cargo tightly on the deck of the raft, or everything would be swept away. We make ourselves fast, too, each man lashing the other. The waves drive over us, so that several times we are actually under water.

lashing - sferzare

We had been under the painful necessity of abstaining from speech for three days and three nights. We opened our mouths, we moved our lips, but no sound came. Even when we placed our mouths to each other's ears it was the same.

abstaining - astenersi

The wind carried the voice away.

My uncle once contrived to get his head close to mine after several almost vain endeavors. He appeared to my nearly exhausted senses to articulate some word. I had a notion, more from intuition than anything else, that he said to me, "We are lost."

endeavors - tentativo, impegno, sforzo, impresa, tentare

articulate - articolare

intuition - intuito, intuizione

I took out my notebook, from which under the most desperate circumstances I never parted, and wrote a few words as legibly as I could:

legibly - in modo leggibile

"Take in sail."

With a deep sigh he nodded his head and acquiesced.

His head had scarcely time to fall back in the position from which he had momentarily raised it than a disk or ball of fire appeared on the very edge of the raft-our devoted, our doomed craft. The mast and sail are carried away bodily, and I see them swept away to a prodigious height like a kite.

disk - disco

craft - abilita, mestiere, confezionare, creare, costruire, sviluppare

kite - aquilone

We were frozen, actually shivered with terror. The ball of fire, half white, half azure-colored, about the size of a ten-inch bombshell, moved along, turning with prodigious rapidity to leeward of the storm.

Azure - azzurro

bombshell - bomba, granata, notizia clamorosa, schianto

It ran about here, there, and everywhere, it clambered up one of the bulwarks of the raft, it leaped upon the sack of provisions, and then finally descended lightly, fell like a football and landed on our powder barrel.

bulwarks - baluardo, impavesata

sack - sacco

lightly - alla leggera, superficialmente, in maniera superficiale

barrel - barile, botte

Horrible situation. An explosion of course was now inevitable.

By heaven's mercy, it was not so.

mercy - misericordia, pieta, compassione, benevolenza

The dazzling disk moved on one side, it approached Hans, who looked at it with singular fixity; then it approached my uncle, who cast himself on his knees to avoid it; it came towards me, as I stood pale and shuddering in the dazzling light and heat; it pirouetted round my feet, which I endeavored to withdraw.

fixity - fissita

shuddering - rabbrividire, (shudder), brivido, sussulto, tremolio, tremare

dazzling light - luce abbagliante

pirouetted - piroetta

endeavored - tentativo, impegno, sforzo, impresa, tentare

An odor of nitrous gas filled the whole air; it penetrated to the throat, to the lungs. I felt ready to choke.

nitrous - nitroso

choke - soffocare

Why is it that I cannot withdraw my feet? Are they riveted to the flooring of the raft?

riveted - rivetto, ribattino, chiodare


The fall of the electric globe has turned all the iron on board into loadstones-the instruments, the tools, the arms are clanging together with awful and horrible noise; the nails of my heavy boots adhere closely to the plate of iron incrustated in the wood. I cannot withdraw my foot.

clanging - clangore

adhere - aderire, seguire

incrustated - incrostato

It is the old story again of the mountain of adamant.

adamant - irremovibile, ostinato, adamantino

At last, by a violent and almost superhuman effort, I tear it away just as the ball which is still executing its gyratory motions is about to run round it and drag me with it-if-

executing - giustiziare, lanciare

gyratory - girevole

Oh, what intense stupendous light! The globe of fire bursts-we are enveloped in cascades of living fire, which flood the space around with luminous matter.

bursts - scoppiare, esplodere, strappare, separare, scoppio, esplosione

enveloped - circondare, avviluppare

Then all went out and darkness once more fell upon the deep! I had just time to see my uncle once more cast apparently senseless on the flooring of the raft, Hans at the helm, "spitting fire" under the influence of the electricity which seemed to have gone through him.

spitting - sputare

Whither are we going, I ask? and echo answers, Whither?


Tuesday, August 25th. I have just come out of a long fainting fit. The awful and hideous storm still continues; the lightning has increased in vividness, and pours out its fiery wrath like a brood of serpents let loose in the atmosphere.

vividness - vivacita

pours out - versare (fuori)

brood - nidiata, prole, schiusa, covata, checknidiata, covare, allevare

Are we still upon the sea? Yes, and being carried along with incredible velocity.

carried along - trasportare

We have passed under England, under the Channel, under France, probably under the whole extent of Europe.

Another awful clamor in the distance. This time it is certain that the sea is breaking upon the rocks at no great distance. Then-




reversed - invertire

Here ends what I call "My Journal" of our voyage on board the raft, which journal was happily saved from the wreck. I proceed with my narrative as I did before I commenced my daily notes.

wreck - relitto, rottame, carcassa, carretta

What happened when the terrible shock took place, when the raft was cast upon the rocky shore, it would be impossible for me now to say. I felt myself precipitated violently into the boiling waves, and if I escaped from a certain and cruel death, it was wholly owing to the determination of the faithful Hans, who, clutching me by the arm, saved me from the yawning abyss.

The courageous Icelander then carried me in his powerful arms, far out of the reach of the waves, and laid me down upon a burning expanse of sand, where I found myself some time afterwards in the company of my uncle, the Professor.

courageous - coraggioso

Then he quietly returned towards the fatal rocks, against which the furious waves were beating, in order to save any stray waifs from the wreck. This man was always practical and thoughtful. I could not utter a word; I was quite overcome with emotion; my whole body was broken and bruised with fatigue; it took hours before I was anything like myself.

furious - furioso, checkarrabbiato

Meanwhile, there fell a fearful deluge of rain, drenching us to the skin. Its very violence, however, proclaimed the approaching end of the storm. Some overhanging rocks afforded us a slight protection from the torrents.

proclaimed - proclamare

overhanging - aggettare, sporgere, sportare

protection - protezione

Under this shelter, Hans prepared some food, which, however, I was unable to touch; and, exhausted by the three weary days and nights of watching, we fell into a deep and painful sleep. My dreams were fearful, but at last exhausted nature asserted her supremacy, and I slumbered.

asserted - asserire, esercitare, difendere, rivendicare, sostenere

supremacy - supremazia

slumbered - sonnolenza, dormiveglia, appisolarsi, assopirsi, appalugarsi

Next day when I awoke the change was magical. The weather was magnificent. Air and sea, as if by mutual consent, had regained their serenity. Every trace of the storm, even the faintest, had disappeared. I was saluted on my awakening by the first joyous tones I had heard from the Professor for many a day. His gaiety, indeed, was something terrible.

saluted - salutare

gaiety - gaiezza

"Well, my lad," he cried, rubbing his hands together, "have you slept soundly?"

lad - ragazzo, ragazzino

Might it not have been supposed that we were in the old house on the Konigstrasse; that I had just come down quietly to my breakfast; and that my marriage with Gretchen was to take place that very day? My uncle's coolness was exasperating.

exasperating - esasperare

Alas, considering how the tempest had driven us in an easterly direction, we had passed under the whole of Germany, under the city of Hamburg where I had been so happy, under the very street which contained all I loved and cared for in the world.

easterly - verso est

It was a positive fact that I was only separated from her by a distance of forty leagues. But these forty leagues were of hard, impenetrable granite!

impenetrable - impenetrabile

All these dreary and miserable reflections passed through my mind, before I attempted to answer my uncle's question.

"Why, what is the matter?" he cried. "Cannot you say whether you have slept well or not?"

"I have slept very well," was my reply, "but every bone in my body aches. I suppose That will lead to nothing."

aches - dolore

That will lead to nothing - questo non portera a nulla

"Nothing at all, my boy. It is only the result of the fatigue of the last few days-that is all."

"You appear-if I may be allowed to say so-to be very jolly this morning," I said.

jolly - allegro

"Delighted, my dear boy, delighted. Was never happier in my life. We have at last reached the wished-for port."

"The end of our expedition?" cried I, in a tone of considerable surprise.

"No; but to the confines of that sea which I began to fear would never end, but go round the whole world. We will now tranquilly resume our journey by land, and once again endeavor to dive into the centre of the earth."

confines - limitare

dive - tuffarsi

"My dear uncle," I began, in a hesitating kind of way, "allow me to ask you one question."

hesitating - esitare, titubare

"Certainly, Harry; a dozen if you think proper."

"One will suffice. How about getting back?" I asked.

"How about getting back? What a question to ask. We have not as yet reached the end of our journey."

"I know that. All I want to know is how you propose we shall manage the return voyage?"

"In the most simple manner in the world," said the imperturbable Professor. "Once we reach the exact centre of this sphere, either we shall find a new road by which to ascend to the surface, or we shall simply turn round and go back by the way we came. I have every reason to believe that while we are traveling forward, it will not close behind us."

turn round - girare

"Then one of the first matters to see to will be to repair the raft," was my rather melancholy response.

"Of course. We must attend to that above all things," continued the Professor.

"Then comes the all-important question of provisions," I urged. "Have we anything like enough left to enable us to accomplish such great, such amazing, designs as you contemplate carrying out?"

accomplish - compiere, realizzare, completare, trascorrere, concretizzare

contemplate - considerare, contemplare

"I have seen into the matter, and my answer is in the affirmative. Hans is a very clever fellow, and I have reason to believe that he has saved the greater part of the cargo. But the best way to satisfy your scruples is to come and judge for yourself."

affirmative - affermativo

scruples - scrupolo

Saying which, he led the way out of the kind of open grotto in which we had taken shelter. I had almost begun to hope that which I should rather have feared, and this was the impossibility of such a shipwreck leaving even the slightest signs of what it had carried as freight. I was, however, thoroughly mistaken.

shipwreck - relitto, naufragio, naufragare

freight - carico, merce

As soon as I reached the shores of this inland sea, I found Hans standing gravely in the midst of a large number of things laid out in complete order. My uncle wrung his hands with deep and silent gratitude. His heart was too full for speech.

gravely - gravemente

wrung - strizzare

This man, whose superhuman devotion to his employers I not only never saw surpassed, nor even equaled, had been hard at work all the time we slept, and at the risk of his life had succeeded in saving the most precious articles of our cargo.

devotion - devozione

Of course, under the circumstances, we necessarily experienced several severe losses. Our weapons had wholly vanished. But experience had taught us to do without them. The provision of powder had, however, remained intact, after having narrowly escaped blowing us all to atoms in the storm.

intact - intatto

narrowly - da vicino, per un pelo, di misura

"Well," said the Professor, who was now ready to make the best of everything, "as we have no guns, all we have to do is to give up all idea of hunting."

"Yes, my dear sir, we can do without them, but what about all our instruments?"

"Here is the manometer, the most useful of all, and which I gladly accept in lieu of the rest. With it alone I can calculate the depth as we proceed; by its means alone I shall be able to decide when we have reached the centre of the earth. Ha, ha! but for this little instrument we might make a mistake, and run the risk of coming out at the antipodes!"

gladly - volentieri

lieu - mentalita

Antipodes - opposite points on a globe, The southern hemisphere

All this was said amid bursts of unnatural laughter.

unnatural - innaturale

"But the compass," I cried, "without that what can we do?"

"Here it is, safe and sound!" he cried, with real joy, "ah, ah, and here we have the chronometer and the thermometers. Hans the hunter is indeed an invaluable man!"

It was impossible to deny this fact. As far as the nautical and other instruments were concerned, nothing was wanting. Then on further examination, I found ladders, cords, pickaxes, crowbars, and shovels, all scattered about on the shore.

deny - negare

nautical - nautico

shovels - pala, badile, paletta, spalare

There was, however, finally the most important question of all, and that was, provisions.

"But what are we to do for food?" I asked.

"Let us see to the commissariat department", replied my uncle gravely.

Commissariat - commissariato

The boxes which contained our supply of food for the voyage were placed in a row along the strand, and were in a capital state of preservation; the sea had in every case respected their contents, and to sum up in one sentence, taking into consideration, biscuits, salt meat, Schiedam and dried fish, we could still calculate on having about four months'supply, if used with prudence and caution.

Contents - contento, soddisfatto

salt meat - carne salata

caution - cautela, prudenza

"Four months," cried the sanguine Professor in high glee. "Then we shall have plenty of time both to go and to come, and with what remains I undertake to give a grand dinner to my colleagues of the Johanneum."

Sanguine - sanguigno, ottimista, confidente, sanguigna

I sighed. I should by this time have become used to the temperament of my uncle, and yet this man astonished me more and more every day. He was the greatest human enigma I ever had known.

enigma - enigma, indovinello

"Now," he, "before we do anything else, we must lay in a stock of fresh water. The rain has fallen in abundance, and filled the hollows of the granite. There is a rich supply of water, and we have no fear of suffering from thirst, which in our circumstances is of the last importance.

lay in a stock - mettere in magazzino

in abundance - in abbondanza

hollows - vuoto, cavo

As for the raft, I shall recommend Hans to repair it to the best of his abilities; though I have every reason to believe we shall not require it again."

"How is that?" I cried, more amazed than ever at my uncle's style of reasoning.

"I have an idea, my dear boy; it is none other than this simple fact; we shall not come out by the same opening as that by which we entered."

I began to look at my uncle with vague suspicion. An idea had more than once taken possession of me; and this was, that he was going mad. And yet, little did I think how true and prophetic his words were doomed to be.

suspicion - sospetto

going mad - impazzire

prophetic - profetico

"And now," he said, "having seen to all these matters of detail, to breakfast."

I followed him to a sort of projecting cape, after he had given his last instructions to our guide. In this original position, with dried meat, biscuit, and a delicious cup of tea, we made a satisfactory meal-I may say one of the most welcome and pleasant I ever remember. Exhaustion, the keen atmosphere, the state of calm after so much agitation, all contributed to give me an excellent appetite.

original position - posizione originale

most welcome - benvenuto

contributed - contribuire

Indeed, it contributed very much to producing a pleasant and cheerful state of mind.

While breakfast was in hand, and between the sips of warm tea, I asked my uncle if he had any idea of how we now stood in relation to the world above.

sips - sorso, sorbire

"For my part," I added, "I think it will be rather difficult to determine."

"Well, if we were compelled to fix the exact spot," said my uncle, "it might be difficult, since during the three days of that awful tempest I could keep no account either of the quickness of our pace, or of the direction in which the raft was going. Still, we will endeavor to approximate to the truth. We shall not, I believe, be so very far out."

quickness - rapidita

approximate - approssimativo, approssimato

"Well, if I recollect rightly," I replied, "our last observation was made at the geyser island."

"Harry's Island, my boy! Harry's Island. Do not decline the honor of having named it; given your name to an island discovered by us, the first human beings who trod it since the creation of the world!"

decline - declino, declinare, rifiutare

"Let it be so, then. At Harry's Island we had already gone over two hundred and seventy leagues of sea, and we were, I believe, about six hundred leagues, more or less, from Iceland."

"Good. I am glad to see that you remember so well. Let us start from that point, and let us count four days of storm, during which our rate of traveling must have been very great. I should say that our velocity must have been about eighty leagues to the twenty-four hours."

I agreed that I thought this a fair calculation. There were then three hundred leagues to be added to the grand total.

grand total - totale

"Yes, and the Central Sea must extend at least six hundred leagues from side to side. Do you know, my boy, Harry, that we have discovered an inland lake larger than the Mediterranean?"

"Certainly, and we only know of its extent in one way. It may be hundreds of miles in length."

"Very likely."

"Then," said I, after calculating for some for some minutes, "if your previsions are right, we are at this moment exactly under the Mediterranean itself."

previsions - previsione

"Do you think so?"

"Yes, I am almost certain of it. Are we not nine hundred leagues distant from Reykjavik?"

"That is perfectly true, and a famous bit of road we have traveled, my boy. But why we should be under the Mediterranean more than under Turkey or the Atlantic Ocean can only be known when we are sure of not having deviated from our course; and of this we know nothing."

turkey - tacchino, tacchina

deviated - deviare

"I do not think we were driven very far from our course; the wind appears to me to have been always about the same. My opinion is that this shore must be situated to the southeast of Port Gretchen."

"Good-I hope so. It will, however, be easy to decide the matter by taking the bearings from our departure by means of the compass. Come along, and we will consult that invaluable invention."

bearings - cuscinetto

The Professor now walked eagerly in the direction of the rock where the indefatigable Hans had placed the instruments in safety. My uncle was gay and lighthearted; he rubbed his hands, and assumed all sorts of attitudes. He was to all appearance once more a young man. Since I had known him, never had he been so amiable and pleasant.

indefatigable - infaticabile

lighthearted - spensierato

I followed him, rather curious to know whether I had made any mistake in my estimation of our position.

As soon as we had reached the rock, my uncle took the compass, placed it horizontally before him, and looked keenly at the needle.

As he had at first shaken it to give it vivacity, it oscillated considerably, and then slowly assumed its right position under the influence of the magnetic power.

oscillated - oscillare

The Professor bent his eyes curiously over the wondrous instrument. A violent start immediately showed the extent of his emotion.

He closed his eyes, rubbed them, and took another and a keener survey.

Then he turned slowly round to me, stupefaction depicted on his countenance.

depicted - rappresentare, raffigurare

"What is the matter?" said I, beginning to be alarmed.

He could not speak. He was too overwhelmed for words. He simply pointed to the instrument.

I examined it eagerly according to his mute directions, and a loud cry of surprise escaped my lips. The needle of the compass pointed due north-in the direction we expected was the south!

It pointed to the shore instead of to the high seas.

I shook the compass; I examined it with a curious and anxious eye. It was in a state of perfection. No blemish in any way explained the phenomenon. Whatever position we forced the needle into, it returned invariably to the same unexpected point.

blemish - macchia

It was useless attempting to conceal from ourselves the fatal truth.

There could be no doubt about it, unwelcome as was the fact, that during the tempest, there had been a sudden slant of wind, of which we had been unable to take any account, and thus the raft had carried us back to the shores we had left, apparently forever, so many days before!

unwelcome - importuno

slant - pendenza, inclinazione, pendio, tendenza, angolatura


It would be altogether impossible for me to give any idea of the utter astonishment which overcame the Professor on making this extraordinary discovery. Amazement, incredulity, and rage were blended in such a way as to alarm me.

blended - misto, ibrido

During the whole course of my Life I had never seen a man at first so chapfallen; and then so furiously indignant.

chapfallen - ordine del giorno

furiously - furiosamente

The terrible fatigues of our sea voyage, the fearful dangers we had passed through, had all, all, gone for nothing. We had to begin them all over again.

Instead of progressing, as we fondly expected, during a voyage of so many days, we had retreated. Every hour of our expedition on the raft had been so much lost time!

fondly - con affetto

Presently, however, the indomitable energy of my uncle overcame every other consideration.

indomitable - invitto, indomito

"So," he said, between his set teeth, "fatality will play me these terrible tricks. The elements themselves conspire to overwhelm me with mortification. Air, fire, and water combine their united efforts to oppose my passage. Well, they shall see what the earnest will of a determined man can do.

fatality - incidente mortale, fatalita

conspire - cospirare

overwhelm - sommergere, schiacciare, dominare, travolgere, sopraffare

mortification - mortificazione

oppose - opporre, obiettare, essere contrari, esibire

I will not yield, I will not retreat even one inch; and we shall see who shall triumph in this great contest-man or nature."

triumph - trionfo

contest - concorso

Standing upright on a rock, irritated and menacing, Professor Hardwigg, like the ferocious Ajax, seemed to defy the fates. I, however, took upon myself to interfere, and to impose some sort of check upon such insensate enthusiasm.

irritated - irritare

ferocious - feroce, efferato, abominevole, odioso

defy - sfidare, abiurare

fates - fato, sorte, destino

interfere - impicciarsi, impedire

impose - imporre, abusare

"Listen to me, Uncle," I said, in a firm but temperate tone of voice, "there must be some limit to ambition here below. It is utterly useless to struggle against the impossible. Pray listen to reason.

temperate - temperato

We are utterly unprepared for a sea voyage; it is simply madness to think of performing a journey of five hundred leagues upon a wretched pile of beams, with a counterpane for a sail, a paltry stick for a mast, and a tempest to contend with.

unprepared - impreparati

counterpane - copriletto

paltry - ridicolo, insignificante, modesto, irrisorio

contend - contendere, combattere

As we are totally incapable of steering our frail craft, we shall become the mere plaything of the storm, and it is acting the part of madmen if we, a second time, run any risk upon this dangerous and treacherous Central Sea."

plaything - giocattolo, balocco

treacherous - traditore, sleale, infido

These are only a few of the reasons and arguments I put together-reasons and arguments which to me appeared unanswerable. I was allowed to go on without interruption for about ten minutes. The explanation to this I soon discovered. The Professor was not even listening, and did not hear a word of all my eloquence.

interruption - interruzione

eloquence - eloquenza

"To the raft!" he cried in a hoarse voice, when I paused for a reply.

Such was the result of my strenuous effort to resist his iron will. I tried again; I begged and implored him; I got into a passion; but I had to deal with a will more determined than my own. I seemed to feel like the waves which fought and battled against the huge mass of granite at our feet, which had smiled grimly for so many ages at their puny efforts.

strenuous - stancante

resist - resistere

begged - elemosinare, chiedere l'elemosina

implored - implorare

more determined - piu determinato

grimly - cupamente

puny - gracile, sparuto

Hans, meanwhile, without taking part in our discussion, had been repairing the raft. One would have supposed that he instinctively guessed at the further projects of my uncle.

instinctively - istintivamente

By means of some fragments of cordage, he had again made the raft seaworthy.

While I had been speaking, he had hoisted a new mast and sail, the latter already fluttering and waving in the breeze.

hoisted - elevare, alzare, issare, innalzare

latter - secondo, quest'ultimo

fluttering - garrire, sventolare, svolazzare, ondeggiare, sbattere le ali

The worthy Professor spoke a few words to our imperturbable guide, who immediately began to put our baggage on board and to prepare for our departure. The atmosphere was now tolerably clear and pure, and the northeast wind blew steadily and serenely. It appeared likely to last for some time.

steadily - costantemente

serenely - serenamente

What, then, could I do? Could I undertake to resist the iron will of two men? It was simply impossible if even I could have hoped for the support of Hans. This, however, was out of the question. It appeared to me that the Icelander had set aside all personal will and identity. He was a picture of abnegation.

resist - resistere

aside - a parte, in disparte

abnegation - abnegazione

I could hope for nothing from one so infatuated with and devoted to his master. All I could do, therefore, was to swim with the stream.

infatuated - infatuarsi

In a mood of stolid and sullen resignation, I was about to take my accustomed place on the raft when my uncle placed his hand upon my shoulder.

"There is no hurry, my boy," he said, "we shall not start until tomorrow."

I looked the picture of resignation to the dire will of fate.

dire - terribile, tremendo, tragico, catastrofico

"Under the circumstances," he said, "I ought to neglect no precautions. As fate has cast me upon these shores, I shall not leave without having completely examined them."

neglect - mancare, negligere, omettere, ignorare, tralasciare, negligenza

In order to understand this remark, I must explain that though we had been driven back to the northern shore, we had landed at a very different spot from that which had been our starting point.

driven back - respinto

Port Gretchen must, we calculated, be very much to the westward. Nothing, therefore, was more natural and reasonable than that we should reconnoiter this new shore upon which we had so unexpectedly landed.

reconnoiter - perlustrare, fare una ricognizione

unexpectedly - inaspettatamente

"Let us go on a journey of discovery," I cried.

And leaving Hans to his important operation, we started on our expedition. The distance between the foreshore at high water and the foot of the rocks was considerable. It would take about half an hour's walking to get from one to the other.

foreshore - battigia

As we trudged along, our feet crushed innumerable shells of every shape and size-once the dwelling place of animals of every period of creation.

trudged - strascinarsi

I particularly noticed some enormous shells-carapaces (turtle and tortoise species) the diameter of which exceeded fifteen feet.

carapaces - carapace, esoscheletro

Tortoise - tartaruga, testuggine

exceeded - superare, eccedere

They had in past ages belonged to those gigantic Glyptodons of the Pliocene period, of which the modern turtle is but a minute specimen. In addition, the whole soil was covered by a vast quantity of stony relics, having the appearance of flints worn by the action of the waves, and lying in successive layers one above the other.

Pliocene - Pliocene

stony - sassoso

flints - selce

I came to the conclusion that in past ages the sea must have covered the whole district. Upon the scattered rocks, now lying far beyond its reach, the mighty waves of ages had left evident marks of their passage.

district - distretto

On reflection, this appeared to me partially to explain the existence of this remarkable ocean, forty leagues below the surface of the earth's crust. According to my new, and perhaps fanciful, theory, this liquid mass must be gradually lost in the deep bowels of the earth. I had also no doubt that this mysterious sea was fed by infiltration of the ocean above, through imperceptible fissures.

fanciful - fantasioso

infiltration - infiltrazione

Nevertheless, it was impossible not to admit that these fissures must now be nearly choked up, for if not, the cavern, or rather the immense and stupendous reservoir, would have been completely filled in a short space of time. Perhaps even this water, having to contend against the accumulated subterraneous fires of the interior of the earth, had become partially vaporized.

vaporized - vaporizzare

Hence the explanation of those heavy clouds suspended over our heads, and the superabundant display of that electricity which occasioned such terrible storms in this deep and cavernous sea.

superabundant - sovrabbondante

This lucid explanation of the phenomena we had witnessed appeared to me quite satisfactory. However great and mighty the marvels of nature may seem to us, they are always to be explained by physical reasons. Everything is subordinate to some great law of nature.

lucid - lucido

witnessed - testimonianza, testimone, prova, testimoniare, constatare, essere testimone

subordinate - subordinato

It now appeared clear that we were walking upon a kind of sedimentary soil, formed like all the soils of that period, so frequent on the surface of the globe, by the subsidence of the waters. The Professor, who was now in his element, carefully examined every rocky fissure. Let him only find an opening and it directly became important to him to examine its depth.

frequent - frequente

subsidence - talian: t-needed

For a whole mile we followed the windings of the Central Sea, when suddenly an important change took place in the aspect of the soil. It seemed to have been rudely cast up, convulsionized, as it were, by a violent upheaving of the lower strata. In many places, hollows here and hillocks there attested great dislocations at some other period of the terrestrial mass.

rudely - ignorantemente, villanamente, scortesemente, inurbanamente

convulsionized - convulso

hillocks - collinetta, monticello

attested - attestare

dislocations - dislocamento, ripartizione

We advanced with great difficulty over the broken masses of granite mixed with flint, quartz, and alluvial deposits, when a large field, more even than a field, a plain of bones, appeared suddenly before our eyes! It looked like an immense cemetery, where generation after generation had mingled their mortal dust.

Flint - selce

alluvial - alluvionale

Lofty barrows of early remains rose at intervals. They undulated away to the limits of the distant horizon and were lost in a thick and brown fog.

barrows - carriola

undulated - ondulare

On that spot, some three square miles in extent, was accumulated the whole history of animal life-scarcely one creature upon the comparatively modern soil of the upper and inhabited world had not there existed.

Nevertheless, we were drawn forward by an all-absorbing and impatient curiosity. Our feet crushed with a dry and crackling sound the remains of those prehistoric fossils, for which the museums of great cities quarrel, even when they obtain only rare and curious morsels.

crackling - crepitio, (crackle), scoppiettio, crepitare

prehistoric - preistorico

fossils - fossile

quarrel - lite, litigio

morsels - boccone

A thousand such naturalists as Cuvier would not have sufficed to recompose the skeletons of the organic beings which lay in this magnificent osseous collection.

recompose - ricomporre

osseous - osseo

I was utterly confounded. My uncle stood for some minutes with his arms raised on high towards the thick granite vault which served us for a sky. His mouth was wide open; his eyes sparkled wildly behind his spectacles (which he had fortunately saved), his head bobbed up and down and from side to side, while his whole attitude and mien expressed unbounded astonishment.

confounded - confondere

sparkled - scintillio, luccichio

bobbed - ballonzolare

unbounded - senza limiti

He stood in the presence of an endless, wondrous, and inexhaustibly rich collection of antediluvian monsters, piled up for his own private and peculiar satisfaction.

inexhaustibly - inesauribilmente

Fancy an enthusiastic lover of books carried suddenly into the very midst of the famous library of Alexandria burned by the sacrilegious Omar, and which some miracle had restored to its pristine splendor! Such was something of the state of mind in which Uncle Hardwigg was now placed.

lover - amante

Alexandria - Alessandria

sacrilegious - sacrilego

pristine - incontaminato

For some time he stood thus, literally aghast at the magnitude of his discovery.

aghast - terrorizzato, spaventato, sgomento

magnitude - vastita, magnitudine, module, magnitudo

But it was even a greater excitement when, darting wildly over this mass of organic dust, he caught up a naked skull and addressed me in a quivering voice:

skull - cranio

quivering - tremare, tremolare

"Harry, my boy-Harry-this is a human head!"

"A human head, Uncle!" I said, no less amazed and stupefied than himself.

"Yes, nephew. Ah! Mr. Milne-Edwards-ah! Mr. De Quatrefages-why are you not here where I am-I, Professor Hardwigg!"

Edwards - Edoardo, Eduardo

de - ordine del giorno


In order fully to understand the exclamation made by my uncle, and his allusions to these illustrious and learned men, it will be necessary to enter into certain explanations in regard to a circumstance of the highest importance to paleontology, or the science of fossil life, which had taken place a short time before our departure from the upper regions of the earth.

allusions - allusione

paleontology - paleontologia

On the 28th of March, 1863, some navigators under the direction of M. Boucher de Perthes, were at work in the great quarries of Moulin-Quignon, near Abbeville, in the department of the Somme, in France. While at work, they unexpectedly came upon a human jawbone buried fourteen feet below the surface of the soil. It was the first fossil of the kind that had ever been brought to the light of day.

navigators - navigante, marinaio, marittimo, navigatore

quarries - cava

Moulin - cylindrical, vertical shaft that extends through a glacier

Near this unexpected human relic were found stone hatchets and carved flints, colored and clothed by time in one uniform brilliant tint of verdigris.

relic - ricordo, avanzo, cimelio, reliquia

hatchets - accetta

carved - tagliare, trinciare, scalcare, intagliare, scolpire

verdigris - verderame

The report of this extraordinary and unexpected discovery spread not only all over France, but over England and Germany. Many learned men belonging to various scientific bodies, and noteworthy among others, Messrs.

noteworthy - notevole, considerevole, degno di nota

Milne-Edwards and De Quatrefages, took the affair very much to heart, demonstrated the incontestable authenticity of the bone in question, and became-to use the phrase then recognized in England-the most ardent supporters of the "jawbone question."

incontestable - incontestabile

ardent - fervente

supporters - promotore, promotrice, fautore, fautrice

To the eminent geologists of the United Kingdom who looked upon the fact as certain-Messrs. Falconer, Buck, Carpenter, and others-were soon united the learned men of Germany, and among those in the first rank, the most eager, the most enthusiastic, was my worthy uncle, Professor Hardwigg.

geologists - geologo, geologa

Falconer - falconiere

Buck - maschio (di cervo, daino, camoscio, coniglio, caprone, leprotto)

most eager - il piu desideroso/ ansioso/ preoccupato/ eccitato

The authenticity of a human fossil of the Quaternary period seemed then to be incontestably demonstrated, and even to be admitted by the most skeptical.

Quaternary - quaternario

skeptical - scettico

This system or theory, call it what you will, had, it is true, a bitter adversary in M. Elie de Beaumont.

adversary - avversario, avversaria

This learned man, who holds such a high place in the scientific world, holds that the soil of Moulin-Quignon does not belong to the diluvium but to a much less ancient stratum, and, in accordance with Cuvier in this respect, he would by no means admit that the human species was contemporary with the animals of the Quaternary epoch.

diluvium - Diluvio

stratum - strato

accordance - conformita

My worthy uncle, Professor Hardwigg, in concert with the great majority of geologists, had held firm, had disputed, discussed, and finally, after considerable talking and writing, M. Elie de Beaumont had been pretty well left alone in his opinions.

majority - maggioranza, maggiore eta

disputed - disputa, lite, bega

We were familiar with all the details of this discussion, but were far from being aware then that since our departure the matter had entered upon a new phase.

Other similar jawbones, though belonging to individuals of varied types and very different natures, had been found in the movable grey sands of certain grottoes in France, Switzerland, and Belgium; together with arms, utensils, tools, bones of children, of men in the prime of life, and of old men. The existence of men in the Quaternary period became, therefore, more positive every day.

jawbones - mandibola, mascella

movable - mobile

grottoes - grotta, caverna, santuario

Switzerland - Svizzera

Belgium - Belgio

utensils - utensile, stoviglia

prime - primo, primario

But this was far from being all. New remains, dug up from the Pliocene or Tertiary deposits, had enabled the more far-seeing or audacious among learned men to assign even a far greater degree of antiquity to the human race.

tertiary - terziario

assign - assegnare, accantonare, categorizzare, attribuire

antiquity - antichita

These remains, it is true, were not those of men; that is, were not the bones of men, but objects decidedly having served the human race: shinbones, thighbones of fossil animals, regularly scooped out, and in fact sculptured-bearing the unmistakable signs of human handiwork.

shinbones - tibia

thighbones - femore

scooped out - scovati

handiwork - lavoro manuale

By means of these wondrous and unexpected discoveries, man ascended endless centuries in the scale of time; he, in fact, preceded the mastodon; became the contemporary of the Elephas meridionalis-the southern elephant; acquired an antiquity of over a hundred thousand years, since that is the date given by the most eminent geologists to the Pliocene period of the earth.

meridionalis - ordine del giorno

Such was then the state of paleontologic science, and what we moreover knew sufficed to explain our attitude before this great cemetery of the plains of the Hardwigg Ocean.

paleontologic - paleontologico

It will now be easy to understand the Professor's mingled astonishment and joy when, on advancing about twenty yards, he found himself in the presence of, I may say face to face with, a specimen of the human race actually belonging to the Quaternary period!

It was indeed a human skull, perfectly recognizable. Had a soil of very peculiar nature, like that of the cemetery of St. Michel at Bordeaux, preserved it during countless ages? This was the question I asked myself, but which I was wholly unable to answer. But this head with stretched and parchmenty skin, with the teeth whole, the hair abundant, was before our eyes as in life!

recognizable - riconoscibile

Bordeaux - Bordeaux

preserved - riserva, preservare, proteggere, salvaguardare, conservare

parchmenty - ordine del giorno

abundant - abbondante

I stood mute, almost paralyzed with wonder and awe before this dread apparition of another age. My uncle, who on almost every occasion was a great talker, remained for a time completely dumfounded. He was too full of emotion for speech to be possible. After a while, however, we raised up the body to which the skull belonged. We stood it on end.

apparition - apparizione

talker - parlante

dumfounded - Non e un problema di sicurezza

It seemed, to our excited imaginations, to look at us with its terrible hollow eyes.

imaginations - immaginazione

After some minutes of silence, the man was vanquished by the Professor. Human instincts succumbed to scientific pride and exultation. Professor Hardwigg, carried away by his enthusiasm, forgot all the circumstances of our journey, the extraordinary position in which we were placed, the immense cavern which stretched far away over our heads.

vanquished - sopraffare, sconfiggere, vincere

succumbed - soccombere, arrendersi

exultation - esultanza

There can be no doubt that he thought himself at the Institution addressing his attentive pupils, for he put on his most doctorial style, waved his hand, and began:

pupils - alunno, scolaro

"Gentlemen, I have the honor on this auspicious occasion to present to you a man of the Quaternary period of our globe. Many learned men have denied his very existence, while other able persons, perhaps of even higher authority, have affirmed their belief in the reality of his life. If the St.

auspicious - di buon auspicio

denied - negare

affirmed - affermare

Thomases of paleontology were present, they would reverentially touch him with their fingers and believe in his existence, thus acknowledging their obstinate heresy. I know that science should be careful in relation to all discoveries of this nature. I am not without having heard of the many Barnums and other quacks who have made a trade of suchlike pretended discoveries.

reverentially - reverenziale

acknowledging - riconoscere, ammettere, confermare

quacks - qua qua*

I have, of course, heard of the discovery of the kneebones of Ajax, of the pretended finding of the body of Orestes by the Spartiates, and of the body of Asterius, ten spans long, fifteen feet-of which we read in Pausanias.

kneebones - le ossa delle ginocchia

spans - luce, campata

"I have read everything in relation to the skeleton of Trapani, discovered in the fourteenth century, and which many persons chose to regard as that of Polyphemus, and the history of the giant dug up during the sixteenth century in the environs of Palmyra.

environs - ambiente

Palmyra - Palmira

You are well aware as I am, gentlemen, of the existence of the celebrated analysis made near Lucerne, in 1577, of the great bones which the celebrated Doctor Felix Plater declared belonged to a giant about nineteen feet high.

Lucerne - Lucerna

Plater - Piastrellista

I have devoured all the treatises of Cassanion, and all those memoirs, pamphlets, speeches, and replies published in reference to the skeleton of Teutobochus, king of the Cimbri, the invader of Gaul, dug out of a gravel pit in Dauphine, in 1613. In the eighteenth century I should have denied, with Peter Campet, the existence of the preadamites of Scheuchzer.

treatises - trattato

pamphlets - opuscolo

invader - invasore, invaditrice

Gaul - Gallia

dug out - scavato

gravel pit - cava di ghiaia

Peter - Pietro, Piero

preadamites - preadamiti

I have had in my hands the writing called Gigans-"

Here my uncle was afflicted by the natural infirmity which prevented him from pronouncing difficult words in public. It was not exactly stuttering, but a strange sort of constitutional hesitation.

afflicted - affliggere

infirmity - infermita

stuttering - disfemia, (stutter), balbuzie

constitutional - costituzionale

"The writing named Gigans-" he repeated.

He, however, could get no further.


Impossible! The unfortunate word would not come out. There would have been great laughter at the Institution, had the mistake happened there.

"Gigantosteology!" at last exclaimed Professor Hardwigg between two savage growls.

growls - ringhio, brontolio, ringhiare

Having got over our difficulty, and getting more and more excited-

"Yes, gentlemen, I am well acquainted with all these matters, and know, also, that Cuvier and Blumenbach fully recognized in these bones the undeniable remains of mammoths of the Quaternary period. But after what we now see, to allow a doubt is to insult scientific inquiry. There is the body; you can see it; you can touch it.

undeniable - innegabile

Mammoths - mammut

insult - offendere, insultare, insulto, offesa, oltraggio

inquiry - inchiesta, indagine

It is not a skeleton, it is a complete and uninjured body, preserved with an anthropological object."

uninjured - incolume, indenne, illeso

anthropological - antropologico

I did not attempt to controvert this singular and astounding assertion.

"If I could but wash this corpse in a solution of sulphuric acid," continued my uncle, "I would undertake to remove all the earthy particles, and these resplendent shells, which are incrusted all over this body. But I am without this precious dissolving medium. Nevertheless, such as it is, this body will tell its own history."

corpse - cadavere, corpo

sulphuric acid - acido solforico

earthy - corposo

particles - granello, pezzetto, particella

incrusted - incrostazioni

dissolving - dissolversi

Here the Professor held up the fossil body, and exhibited it with rare dexterity. No professional showman could have shown more activity.

showman -

"As on examination you will see," my uncle continued, "it is only about six feet in length, which is a long way from the pretended giants of early days. As to the particular race to which it belonged, it is incontestably Caucasian. It is of the white race, that is, of our own.

Caucasian - bianco

The skull of this fossil being is a perfect ovoid without any remarkable or prominent development of the cheekbones, and without any projection of the jaw. It presents no indication of the prognathism which modifies the facial angle.[4] Measure the angle for yourselves, and you will find that it is just ninety degrees.

ovoid - ovoide

prominent - ordine del giorno

cheekbones - zigomo, osso zigomatico, malare, osso malare

prognathism - prognatismo

modifies - modificare

facial - facciale

But I will advance still farther on the road of inquiry and deduction, and I dare venture to say that this human sample or specimen belongs to the Japhetic family, which spread over the world from India to the uttermost limits of western Europe. There is no occasion, gentlemen, to smile at my remarks."

India - Imola, India

uttermost - estrema

[4] The facial angle is formed by two planes-one more or less vertical which is in a straight line with the forehead and the incisors; the other, horizontal, which passes through the organs of hearing, and the lower nasal bone. Prognathism, in anthropological language, means that particular projection of the jaw which modifies the facial angle.

incisors - incisivo

nasal bone - osso nasale

Of course nobody smiled. But the excellent Professor was so accustomed to beaming countenances at his lectures, that he believed he saw all his audience laughing during the delivery of his learned dissertation.

countenances - sembianza, apparenza, espressione

delivery - consegna, distribuzione, parto

dissertation - dissertazione

"Yes," he continued, with renewed animation, "this is a fossil man, a contemporary of the mastodons, with the bones of which this whole amphitheater is covered. But if I am called on to explain how he came to this place, how these various strata by which he is covered have fallen into this vast cavity, I can undertake to give you no explanation.

animation - ravvivamento, animazione, vivificazione

mastodons - mastodonte

amphitheater - anfiteatro

cavity - cavita, alveolo, incavo, carie

Doubtless, if we carry ourselves back to the Quaternary epoch, we shall find that great and mighty convulsions took place in the crust of the earth; the continually cooling operation, through which the earth had to pass, produced fissures, landslips, and chasms, through which a large portion of the earth made its way.

convulsions - convulsione

landslips - smottamento

I come to no absolute conclusion, but there is the man, surrounded by the works of his hands, his hatchets and his carved flints, which belong to the stony period; and the only rational supposition is, that, like myself, he visited the centre of the earth as a traveling tourist, a pioneer of science.

Pioneer - pioniere, pioniera, aprire la strada

At all events, there can be no doubt of his great age, and of his being one of the oldest race of human beings."

The Professor with these words ceased his oration, and I burst forth into loud and "unanimous" applause. Besides, after all, my uncle was right. Much more learned men than his nephew would have found it rather hard to refute his facts and arguments.

oration - orazione, (discorso solenne)

unanimous - unanime

applause - applauso

refute - smentire, confutare

Another circumstance soon presented itself. This fossilized body was not the only one in this vast plain of bones-the cemetery of an extinct world. Other bodies were found, as we trod the dusty plain, and my uncle was able to choose the most marvelous of these specimens in order to convince the most incredulous.

fossilized - fossilizzarsi

In truth, it was a surprising spectacle, the successive remains of generations and generations of men and animals confounded together in one vast cemetery. But a great question now presented itself to our notice, and one we were actually afraid to contemplate in all its bearings.

Had these once animated beings been buried so far beneath the soil by some tremendous convulsion of nature, after they had been earth to earth and ashes to ashes, or had they lived here below, in this subterranean world, under this factitious sky, borne, married, and given in marriage, and died at last, just like ordinary inhabitants of the earth?

convulsion - convulsione

factitious - fittizio

Up to the present moment, marine monsters, fish, and suchlike animals had alone been seen alive!

The question which rendered us rather uneasy, was a pertinent one. Were any of these men of the abyss wandering about the deserted shores of this wondrous sea of the centre of the earth?

pertinent - pertinente

This was a question which rendered me very uneasy and uncomfortable. How, should they really be in existence, would they receive us men from above?


For a long and weary hour we tramped over this great bed of bones. We advanced regardless of everything, drawn on by ardent curiosity. What other marvels did this great cavern contain-what other wondrous treasures for the scientific man? My eyes were quite prepared for any number of surprises, my imagination lived in expectation of something new and wonderful.

tramped - vagabondo, barbone, puttana, sgualdrina

regardless - irrispettoso, comunque, in ogni caso, nonostante

The borders of the great Central Ocean had for some time disappeared behind the hills that were scattered over the ground occupied by the plain of bones. The imprudent and enthusiastic Professor, who did not care whether he lost himself or not, hurried me forward. We advanced silently, bathed in waves of electric fluid.

By reason of a phenomenon which I cannot explain, and thanks to its extreme diffusion, now complete, the light illumined equally the sides of every hill and rock. Its seat appeared to be nowhere, in no determined force, and produced no shade whatever.

diffusion - diffusione

The appearance presented was that of a tropical country at midday in summer-in the midst of the equatorial regions and under the vertical rays of the sun.

equatorial - equatoriale

All signs of vapor had disappeared. The rocks, the distant mountains, some confused masses of far-off forests, assumed a weird and mysterious aspect under this equal distribution of the luminous fluid!

weird - anormale, surreale, paranormale, innaturale

distribution - distribuzione, diffusione

We resembled, to a certain extent, the mysterious personage in one of Hoffmann's fantastic tales-the man who lost his shadow.

tales - storia, resoconto

After we had walked about a mile farther, we came to the edge of a vast forest not, however, one of the vast mushroom forests we had discovered near Port Gretchen.

mushroom - fungo

It was the glorious and wild vegetation of the Tertiary period, in all its superb magnificence. Huge palms, of a species now unknown, superb palmacites-a genus of fossil palms from the coal formation-pines, yews, cypress, and conifers or cone-bearing trees, the whole bound together by an inextricable and complicated mass of creeping plants.

superb - superbo, magnifico

magnificence - magnificenza

palmacites - ordine del giorno

yews - tasso

cypress - cipresso

conifers - conifera

complicated - complicare

A beautiful carpet of mosses and ferns grew beneath the trees. Pleasant brooks murmured beneath umbrageous boughs, little worthy of this name, for no shade did they give. Upon their borders grew small treelike shrubs, such as are seen in the hot countries on our own inhabited globe.

umbrageous - umbratile

treelike - simile a un albero

shrubs - arbusto

The one thing wanting in these plants, these shrubs, these trees-was color! Forever deprived of the vivifying warmth of the sun, they were vapid and colorless. All shade was lost in one uniform tint, of a brown and faded character.

vapid - insulso, scialbo, banale, insignificante, insipido, scipito

faded - moda, andazzo, tendenza

The leaves were wholly devoid of verdure, and the flowers, so numerous during the Tertiary period which gave them birth, were without color and without perfume, something like paper discolored by long exposure to the atmosphere.

devoid - privo, senza

verdure - vegetazione

perfume - profumo, profumare

exposure - espozione, assideramento, posa, smascheramento

My uncle ventured beneath the gigantic groves. I followed him, though not without a certain amount of apprehension. Since nature had shown herself capable of producing such stupendous vegetable supplies, why might we not meet with mammals just as large, and therefore dangerous?

groves - boschetto, piantagione

mammals - mammifero

I particularly remarked, in the clearings left by trees that had fallen and been partially consumed by time, many leguminous (beanlike) shrubs, such as the maple and other eatable trees, dear to ruminating animals.

clearings - schiarimento, radura, spiazzo, compensazione, resettaggio

leguminous - leguminose

beanlike - simile a un fagiolo

maple - acero

eatable - mangiabile

Then there appeared confounded together and intermixed, the trees of such varied lands, specimens of the vegetation of every part of the globe; there was the oak near the palm tree, the Australian eucalyptus, an interesting class of the order Myrtaceae-leaning against the tall Norwegian pine, the poplar of the north, mixing its branches with those of the New Zealand kauris.

intermixed - mezclar

palm tree - palma

Australian - australiano

eucalyptus - eucalipto, eucalitto

pine - pino

poplar - pioppo

Zealand - Zelanda

It was enough to drive the most ingenious classifier of the upper regions out of his mind, and to upset all his received ideas about botany.

most ingenious - piu ingegnoso

classifier - classificatore

Botany - botanica

Suddenly I stopped short and restrained my uncle.

restrained - contenere, frenare

The extreme diffuseness of the light enabled me to see the smallest objects in the distant copses. I thought I saw-no, I really did see with my own eyes-immense, gigantic animals moving about under the mighty trees.

diffuseness - diffusione

Copses - bosco ceduo, macchia, fratta, boschetto

Yes, they were truly gigantic animals, a whole herd of mastodons, not fossils, but living, and exactly like those discovered in 1801, on the marshy banks of the great Ohio, in North America.

herd - mandria, branco

Ohio - Ohio

Yes, I could see these enormous elephants, whose trunks were tearing down large boughs, and working in and out the trees like a legion of serpents. I could hear the sounds of the mighty tusks uprooting huge trees!

tearing down - abbattere, demolire

legion - legione

tusks - zanna

uprooting - sradicamento

The boughs crackled, and the whole masses of leaves and green branches went down the capacious throats of these terrible monsters!

crackled - crepitio, scoppiettio, crepitare

capacious - capace

That wondrous dream, when I saw the antehistorical times revivified, when the Tertiary and Quaternary periods passed before me, was now realized!

antehistorical - antistorico

revivified - rivitalizzare

And there we were alone, far down in the bowels of the earth, at the mercy of its ferocious inhabitants!

My uncle paused, full of wonder and astonishment.

"Come!" he said at last, when his first surprise was over, "Come along, my boy, and let us see them nearer."

"No," replied I, restraining his efforts to drag me forward, "we are wholly without arms. What should we do in the midst of that flock of gigantic quadrupeds? Come away, Uncle, I implore you. No human creature can with impunity brave the ferocious anger of these monsters."

restraining - contenere, frenare

quadrupeds - quadrupede

implore - implorare

impunity - impunita

"No human creature," said my uncle, suddenly lowering his voice to a mysterious whisper, "you are mistaken, my dear Henry. Look! look yonder! It seems to me that I behold a human being-a being like ourselves-a man!"

whisper - sussurro, sussurrare

are mistaken - essere sbagliato

I looked, shrugging my shoulders, decided to push incredulity to its very last limits. But whatever might have been my wish, I was compelled to yield to the weight of ocular demonstration.

ocular - oculare

Yes-not more than a quarter of a mile off, leaning against the trunk of an enormous tree, was a human being-a Proteus of these subterranean regions, a new son of Neptune keeping this innumerable herd of mastodons.

Proteus - Proteo

Neptune - Nettuno

Immanis pecoris custos, immanior ipse![5]

pecoris - ordine del giorno

custos - ordine del giorno

immanior - ordine del giorno

[5] The keeper of gigantic cattle, himself still more gigantic!

cattle - bovini, bestiame

Yes-it was no longer a fossil whose corpse we had raised from the ground in the great cemetery, but a giant capable of guiding and driving these prodigious monsters. His height was above twelve feet. His head, as big as the head of a buffalo, was lost in a mane of matted hair. It was indeed a huge mane, like those which belonged to the elephants of the earlier ages of the world.

buffalo - bufalo, bison

mane - criniera, chioma

matted - opaco

In his hand was a branch of a tree, which served as a crook for this antediluvian shepherd.

crook - bastone da pastore, pastorale

We remained profoundly still, speechless with surprise.

But we might at any moment be seen by him. Nothing remained for us but instant flight.

"Come, come!" I cried, dragging my uncle along; and, for the first time, he made no resistance to my wishes.

dragging - trascinare, tirare

A quarter of an hour later we were far away from that terrible monster!

Now that I think of the matter calmly, and that I reflect upon it dispassionately; now that months, years, have passed since this strange and unnatural adventure befell us-what am I to think, what am I to believe?

dispassionately - spassionatamente

befell - accadere

No, it is utterly impossible! Our ears must have deceived us, and our eyes have cheated us! we have not seen what we believed we had seen. No human being could by any possibility have existed in that subterranean world! No generation of men could inhabit the lower caverns of the globe without taking note of those who peopled the surface, without communication with them. It was folly, folly, folly!

inhabit - abitare

nothing else!

I am rather inclined to admit the existence of some animal resembling in structure the human race-of some monkey of the first geological epochs, like that discovered by M. Lartet in the ossiferous deposit of Sansan.

epochs - epoca, avvenimento, singolarita, orario epocale

ossiferous - ossifero

deposit - deposito, caparra, acconto, sedimento

But this animal, or being, whichsoever it was, surpassed in height all things known to modern science. Never mind. However unlikely it may be, it might have been a monkey-but a man, a living man, and with him a whole generation of gigantic animals, buried in the entrails of the earth-it was too monstrous to be believed!


dagger - pugnale

During this time, we had left the bright and transparent forest far behind us. We were mute with astonishment, overcome by a kind of feeling which was next door to apathy. We kept running in spite of ourselves. It was a perfect Right, which resembled one of those horrible sensations we sometimes meet with in our dreams.

Instinctively we made our way towards the Central Sea, and I cannot now tell what wild thoughts passed through my mind, nor of what follies I might have been guilty, but for a very serious preoccupation which brought me back to practical life.

follies - follia, stravaganza, unicum, eccentricita

Though I was aware that we were treading on a soil quite new to us, I, however, every now and then noticed certain aggregations of rock, the shape of which forcibly reminded me of those near Port Gretchen.

aggregations - aggregazione

This confirmed, moreover, the indications of the compass and our extraordinary and unlooked-for, as well as involuntary, return to the north of this great Central Sea. It was so like our starting point, that I could scarcely doubt the reality of our position. Streams and cascades fell in hundreds over the numerous projections of the rocks.

unlooked - non guardato

I actually thought I could see our faithful and monotonous Hans and the wonderful grotto in which I had come back to life after my tremendous fall.

Then, as we advanced still farther, the position of the cliffs, the appearance of a stream, the unexpected profile of a rock, threw me again into a state of bewildering doubt.

bewildering - confondere, disorientare, sconcertare

After some time, I explained my state of mental indecision to my uncle. He confessed to a similar feeling of hesitation. He was totally unable to make up his mind in the midst of this extraordinary but uniform panorama.

"There can be no doubt," I insisted, "that we have not landed exactly at the place whence we first took our departure; but the tempest has brought us above our starting point. I think, therefore, that if we follow the coast we shall once more find Port Gretchen."

"In that case," cried my uncle, "it is useless to continue our exploration. The very best thing we can do is to make our way back to the raft. Are you quite sure, Harry, that you are not mistaken?"

"It is difficult," was my reply, "to come to any decision, for all these rocks are exactly alike. There is no marked difference between them. At the same time, the impression on my mind is that I recognize the promontory at the foot of which our worthy Hans constructed the raft.

We are, I am nearly convinced, near the little port: if this be not it," I added, carefully examining a creek which appeared singularly familiar to my mind.

Creek - calanca, piccola insenatura, ruscello, rivo, fiumicello

"My dear Harry-if this were the case, we should find traces of our own footsteps, some signs of our passage; and I can really see nothing to indicate our having passed this way."

"But I see something," I cried, in an impetuous tone of voice, as I rushed forward and eagerly picked up something which shone in the sand under my feet.

impetuous - impulsivo, irruente

"What is it?" cried the astonished and bewildered Professor.

"This," was my reply.

And I handed to my startled relative a rusty dagger, of singular shape.

rusty - arrugginito

"What made you bring with you so useless a weapon?" he exclaimed. "It was needlessly hampering yourself."

needlessly - inutilmente

hampering - intralciare

"I bring it? It is quite new to me. I never saw it before-are you sure it is not out of your collection?"

"Not that I know of," said the Professor, puzzled. "I have no recollection of the circumstance. It was never my property."

"This is very extraordinary," I said, musing over the novel and singular incident.

musing - pensieroso

"Not at all. There is a very simple explanation, Harry. The Icelanders are known to keep up the use of these antiquated weapons, and this must have belonged to Hans, who has let it fall without knowing it."

antiquated - antiquato

I shook my head. That dagger had never been in the possession of the pacific and taciturn Hans. I knew him and his habits too well.

"Then what can it be-unless it be the weapon of some antediluvian warrior," I continued, "of some living man, a contemporary of that mighty shepherd from whom we have just escaped? But no-mystery upon mystery-this is no weapon of the stony epoch, nor even of the bronze period. It is made of excellent steel-"

warrior - guerriero, guerriera

bronze - bronzo, bronzeo, abbronzato

Ere I could finish my sentence, my uncle stopped me short from entering upon a whole train of theories, and spoke in his most cold and decided tone of voice.

ere - qui

"Calm yourself, my dear boy, and endeavor to use your reason. This weapon, upon which we have fallen so unexpectedly, is a true dague, one of those worn by gentlemen in their belts during the sixteenth century. Its use was to give the coup de grace, the final blow, to the foe who would not surrender. It is clearly of Spanish workmanship.

dague - ordine del giorno

coup - colpo maestro

foe - nemico

surrender - arrendersi, capitolare

workmanship - lavorazione

It belongs neither to you, nor to me, nor the eider-down hunter, nor to any of the living beings who may still exist so marvelously in the interior of the earth."

"What can you mean, Uncle?" I said, now lost in a host of surmises.

surmises - supporre

"Look closely at it," he continued; "these jagged edges were never made by the resistance of human blood and bone. The blade is covered with a regular coating of iron mold and rust, which is not a day old, not a year old, not a century old, but much more-"

blade - lama, pala, filo, lamina

mold - muffa

rust - ruggine

The Professor began to get quite excited, according to custom, and was allowing himself to be carried away by his fertile imagination. I could have said something. He stopped me.

"Harry," he cried, "we are now on the verge of a great discovery. This blade of a dagger you have so marvelously discovered, after being abandoned upon the sand for more than a hundred, two hundred, even three hundred years, has been indented by someone endeavoring to carve an inscription on these rocks."

carve - scolpire

"But this poniard never got here of itself," I exclaimed, "it could not have twisted itself. Someone, therefore, must have preceded us upon the shores of this extraordinary sea."

poniard - pugnale

"Yes, a man."

"But what man has been sufficiently desperate to do such a thing?"

"A man who has somewhere written his name with this very dagger-a man who has endeavored once more to indicate the right road to the interior of the earth. Let us look around, my boy. You know not the importance of your singular and happy discovery."

Prodigiously interested, we walked along the wall of rock, examining the smallest fissures, which might finally expand into the much wished-for gully or shaft.

prodigiously - prodigiosamente

gully - canalone

We at last reached a spot where the shore became extremely narrow. The sea almost bathed the foot of the rocks, which were here very lofty and steep. There was scarcely a path wider than two yards at any point. At last, under a huge over-hanging rock, we discovered the entrance of a dark and gloomy tunnel.

There, on a square tablet of granite, which had been smoothed by rubbing it with another stone, we could see two mysterious, and much worn letters, the two initials of the bold and extraordinary traveler who had preceded us on our adventurous journey.

initials - iniziale

bold - ardito, coraggioso

"A. S.!" cried my uncle. "You see, I was right. Arne Saknussemm, always Arne Saknussemm!"