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Despite his inferior forces, Admiral de Chateau-Renault fought courageously. But when he saw that the convoy's wealth was about to fall into enemy hands, he burned and scuttled the galleons, which went to the bottom with their immense treasures." Captain Nemo stopped. I admit it: I still couldn't see how this piece of history concerned me. "Well?" I asked him.

The lounge is at your disposal, and with your permission, I'll take my leave." Captain Nemo bowed. I was left to myself, lost in my thoughts. They all centered on the Nautilus's commander. Would I ever learn the nationality of this eccentric man who had boasted of having none? His sworn hate for humanity, a hate that perhaps was bent on some dreadful revenge what had provoked it?

*Latin: "Save Poland's borders." Ed. What was the bond between these heroic souls and the soul of Captain Nemo? From this collection of portraits could I finally unravel the mystery of his existence? Was he a fighter for oppressed peoples, a liberator of enslaved races? Had he figured in the recent political or social upheavals of this century?

I felt the penetrating power of the steel spur. I heard rattlings and scrapings. But the Nautilus, carried along by its propelling power, passed through the mass of the vessel like a needle through sailcloth! I could stand it no longer. Mad, out of my mind, I rushed from my room into the saloon. Captain Nemo was there, mute, gloomy, implacable; he was looking through the port panel.

But to conquer those obstacles which bristled round the South Pole, rendering it more inaccessible than the North, which had not yet been reached by the boldest navigators was it not a mad enterprise, one which only a maniac would have conceived? It then came into my head to ask Captain Nemo if he had ever discovered that pole which had never yet been trodden by a human creature?

"Just so, sir just so," I replied, getting animated. "The only difficulty," continued Captain Nemo, "is that of remaining several days without renewing our provision of air." "Is that all? The Nautilus has vast reservoirs; we can fill them, and they will supply us with all the oxygen we want." "Well thought of, M. Aronnax," replied the Captain, smiling.

Then he lowered his spyglass and exchanged about ten words with his chief officer. The latter seemed to be in the grip of an excitement he tried in vain to control. More in command of himself, Captain Nemo remained cool. Furthermore, he seemed to be raising certain objections that his chief officer kept answering with flat assurances.

Would Captain Nemo head up north and beach us on the British Isles? No. Much to my surprise, he went back down south and returned to European seas. As we swung around the Emerald Isle, I spotted Cape Clear for an instant, plus the lighthouse on Fastnet Rock that guides all those thousands of ships setting out from Glasgow or Liverpool. An important question then popped into my head.

"You're all right, Captain Nemo! only I'm going to be so brash as to call you Larry after this," Dick had said. "If you'll let me, you and I are going to be buddies." He was all right, Dick was. Dick Sherwood was a thoroughbred. And there was another matter which had pleased him.

The Canadian's signal did not come. I felt inclined to join Ned Land and beg of him to put off his attempt. I felt that we were not sailing under our usual conditions. At this moment the door of the large saloon opened, and Captain Nemo appeared. He saw me, and without further preamble began in an amiable tone of voice: "Ah, sir! I have been looking for you. Do you know the history of Spain?"