Jules Verne and the Sea

I have this quote from Jules Verne in one of my favourite dreams of all time – Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea – my own translation:

You love the sea, Captain [Nemo].

Yes, I love it! I love it! The sea is everything! It covers seven tenths of the earthly globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is the immense desert where man is never alone, for he feels life bubbling at his sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite, as one of your poets said. Indeed, Professor, nature is manifested by its three reigns, mineral, vegetable, animal. This latter is largely represented by the four groups of zoophytes, three classes of jointed species, five classes of molluscs, three classes of vertebrates, mammals, reptiles and innumerable legions of fish, an infinite order of animals counting more than thirteen thousand species, of which only a tenth live in fresh water. The sea is the vast reservoir of nature. It is by the sea that the globe began, and who knows whether it will end by the sea! This is where we find supreme tranquillity. The sea does not belong to dictators. On its surface, they can still claim wicked rights, fight, devour each other, bring all the horrors of the land. But at thirty feet below its level, their power ceases, their influence is extinguished, their might disappears! Ah! Sir, live, live in the bosom of the sea! Only there is independence! There I pay homage to no masters! There I am free!

Captain Nemo became suddenly quiet in the midst of this paean that overflowed from him. Did he allow himself to be drawn out of his usual reserve? Did he say too much? For a few moments, he walked around, very agitated. Then his nerves calmed, he re-assumed his usual self, and he turned towards me.

Now, Professor, if you would like to visit the Nautilus, your wishes are my orders.

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