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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



GIFT OF



COMMODORE BYRON MCCANDLESS



v-l







SHE HANDED HER FATHER HIS PIPE



Pa^ 6.



DR. OX'S EXPERIMENT,



^nb other Stories. ^






r^^



TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF



JULES VERNE.



WITH XUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS.




m - m^'^='^^




Ijostoii :
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY.

1875.



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y



i^~T KO 7



AiH-e.




CONTENTS.



DOCTOR OX'S EXPERIMENT.

CHAPTER I.

How it is useless to seek, even on the best ir.aps, for the small
town of C)uiquendone .



CHAPTER II.

In which the Burgomaster Van Tricasse and the Counsellor
Niklausse consult about the affairs of the town .

A 2



iv CONTENTS.



CHAPTER III.

PAGE

In which the Commissary Passauf enters as noisily as un-
expectedly . . . .'.II

CHAPTER IV.

In which Doctor Ox reveals himself as a physiologist of the first

rank, and as an audacious experimentalist .... 19



CHAPTER V.

In which the burgomaster and the counsellor pay a visit to

Doctor 0.x, and what follows 26

CHAPTER VI.

In which Frantz Niklausse and Suzel Van Tricasse form certain

projects for the future '35

CHAPTER VII.

In which the Andantes become Allegros, and the Allegros

Vivacei 40

CHAPTER VIII.

In which the ancient and solemn German waltz becomes a

whirlwind 5;,

CHAPTER IX.
In which Doctor Ox and Ygene, his assistant, say a few words . 62

CHAPTER X.

In which it will be seen that the epidemic invades the entire

town, and what effect it produces . , .... 63



CONTENTS. V



CHAPTER XL

PAGH

In which the Ouiquendonians adopt a heroic resolution . . 70



CHAPTER XII.

In which Ygene, the assistant, gives a reasonable piece of

advice, which is eagerly rejected by Doctor Ox . . . j8

CHAPTER XIII.

In which it is once more proved that by taking high ground all

human littlenesses may be overlooked 80

CHAPTER XIV.

In which matters go so far that the inhabitants of Ouiquendone,
the reader, and even the author, demand an immediate
denouement 91

CHAPTER XV.
In which the denouement takes place ...«,. 97

CHAPTER XVI.

In which the intelligent reader sees that he has guessed

correctly, despite all the authoi-'s precautions ... 99

CHAPTER XVII.
In which Doctor Ox's theory is explained loi



vi CONTENTS.

MASTER ZACHARIUS.

CHAPTER I.

PAGE

A winter night 103

CHAPTER II.
The pride of science . . . . . . . . • 115

CHAPTER III.
A strange visit 124

CHAPTER IV.
The Church of St. Pierre . .136

CHAPTER V.
The hour of death 146



A DRAMA IN THE AIR . . , c . 161



A WINTER AMID THE ICE.

CHAPTER I.
The bbck flag 153



CONTENTS. Vil



CHAPTER II.

PACK

Jean Cornbutte's project 201

CHAPTER III.
A ray of hope 208

CHAPTER IV.
In the passes. 214

CHAPTER V.
Liverpool Island . 220

CHAPTER VI.
The quaking of the ice 227

CHAPTER VII.
Settling for the winter 234

CHAPTER VIII.
Plan of the explorations 239

CHAPTER IX.
The house of snow 244

CHAPTER X.
Buried alive . . 249

CHAPTER XI.
A cloud of smoke 257



via CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XII.

PAGB

The return to the ship 264

CHAPTER XIII.
The two rivals , , . 27JI

CHAPTER XIV.
Distress 276

CHAPTER XV
The white bears 282

CHAPTER XVI.
Conclusion 289



ASCENT OF MONT BLANC . ... .295



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



-♦ —

PAGE



She handed her father a pipe 6

The worthy Madame Brigitte Van Tricasse had now her second

husband 9

" I have just come from Dr. Ox's" i?

" It is in the interests of science " 24

" The workmen, whom we have had to choose in Ouiquendone,

are not very expeditious " 31

The young girl took' the Hne 3^

" Good-bye, Frantz," said Suzel 39

Fiovaranti had been achieving a briUiant success in " Les

Huguenots" 45

They hustle each other to get out 51

It was no longer a waltz . . . . . . . .60

It required two persons to eat a strawberry 64

" To Virgamen ! to Virgamen ! " 76

"A burgomaster's place is in the front rank" . . . ■ . 8l

The two friends, arm in arm 86

The whole army of Ouiquendone fell to the earth • • • 97
He would raise the trap-door constructed in the floor of his

workshop . . . 105

The young girl prayed HO

" Thou wilt see that I have discovered the secrets of existence " . 118

" Father, what is the matter?" 122



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



or ei



crht hours



with



Then he resumed, in an ironical tone

From morning till night discontented purchasers besieged the

house

This proud old man remained motionless
"It is there — there!" ....
" See this man, — he is Time "

He was dead

" Monsieur, I salute you "...

" Monsieur !" cried I, in a rage

" He continued his observations for seven

General Morlot" ....
" The balloon became less and less inflated
" Zambecarri fell, and was killed !"
The madman disappeared in space

"Monsieur the cure," said he, "stop a moment, if you please"
Andre Vasling, the mate, apprised Jean Cornbutte of the

dreadful event ........

A soft voice said in his ear, " Have good courage, uncle"
Andre Vasling showed himself more attentive than ever
On the 1 2th September the sea consisted of one solid plain
They found themselves in a most perilous position, for an

icequake had occurred ....
Map in hand, he clearly explained their situation

The caravan set out

' Thirty- two degrees below zero !"

Despair and determination were struggling in his rough features

for the mastery ....
It was Louis Cornbutte. ...
Penellan advanced towards the Norwegians
Marie begged Vasling on her knees to produce the lemons, but

he did not reply ....
Marie rose with cries of despair, and hurried to the bed of old

Jean Cornbutte . ." .



138

143
152

157
160
164
166

178
181
190
191

193

201
209
221
227

232

239
2417
251

257
264
272

278

283



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



XI



The bear, having descended from the mast, had fallen on the

two men ....
The old cure received Louis Cornbutte and Marie
View of Mont Blanc from the Brevent .
View of Bossons glacier, near the Grands-Mulets
Passage of the Bossons Glacier
Crevasse and bridge
View of the " Seracs " .
View of " Seracs '' .
Passage of the " Junction " .
Hut at the Grands-Mulets •
View of Mont Blanc from Grands-Mulets
Crossing the plateau
Summit of Mont Blanc .
Grands-Mulets. — Party descending from the hut



288
294
300

305
306

307
3c8

309
310

311
313

318
322

331



DOCTOR OX'S EXPERIMENT.



CHAPTER I.

now IT IS USELESS TO SEEK, EVEN ON THE BEST MAPS,
FOR THE SMALL TOWN OF QUIQUENDONE.

If you try to find, on any map of Flanders, ancient or
modern, the small town of Ouiquendone, probably you will
not succeed. Is Ouiquendone, then, one of those towns
which have disappeared ? No. A town of the future ? By
no means. It exists in spite of geographies, and has done
so for some eight or nine hundred years. It even numbers
two thousand three hundred and ninety-three souls, allow-
ing one soul to each inhabitant. It is situated thirteen and
a half kilometres north-west of Oudenarde, and fifteen and
a quarter kilometres south-east of Bruges, in the heart
of Flanders. The Vaar, a small tributary of the Scheldt,
passes beneath its three bridges, which are still covered
with a quaint mediaeval roof, like that at Tournay. An old



DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.



chateau is to be seen there, the first stone of which was laid
so long ago as 1197, by Count Baldwin, afterwards Em-
peror of Constantinople ; and there is a Town Hall, with
Gothic windows, crowned by a chaplet of battlements, and
surrounded by a turreted belfry, which rises three hundred
and fifty-seven feet above the soil. Every hour you may
hear there a chime of five octaves, a veritable aerial piano,
the renown of which surpasses that of the famous chimes of
Bruges. Strangers — if any ever come to Quiquendone —
do not quit the curious old town until they have visited its
"Stadtholder's Hall," adorned by a full-length portrait of
William of Nassau, by Brandon ; the loft of the Church of
Saint Magloire, a masterpiece of sixteenth century archi-
tecture ; the cast-iron well in the spacious Place Saint
Ernuph, the admirable ornamentation of which is attributed
to the artist-blacksmith, Quentin Metsys ; the tomb for-
merly erected to Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles
the Bold, who now reposes in the Church of Notre Dame
at Bruges ; and so on. The principal industry of Quiquen-
done is the manufacture of whipped creams and barley-
sugar on a large scale. It has been governed by the Van
Tricasses, from father to son, for several centuries. And
yet Quiquendone is not on the map of Flanders ! Have
the geographers forgotten it, or is it an intentional omis-
sion ? That I cannot tell ; but Quiquendone really exists,
vvith its narrow streets, its fortified walls, its Spanish-look-



DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.



ing houses, its market, and its burgomaster— so much so,
that it has recently been the theatre or some surprising
phenomena, as extraordinary and incredible as they are
true, which are to be recounted in the present narration.

Surely there is nothing to be said or thought against the
Flemings of Western Flanders. They are a well-to-do folk,
wise, prudent, sociable, with even tempers, hospitable, per-
haps a little heavy in conversation as in mind ; but this
does not explain why one of the most interesting towns of
their district has yet to appear on modern maps.

This omission is certainly to be regretted. If only his-
tory, or in default of history the chronicles, or in default of
chronicles the traditions of the country, made mention of
Ouiquendone ! But no ; neither atlases, guides, nor itine-
raries speak of it. AI. Joanne himself, that energetic
hunter after small towns, says not a word of it. It might
be readily conceived that this silence would injure the com-
merce, the industries, of the town. But let us hasten to
add that Quiquendone has neither industry nor commerce,
and that it does very well without them. Its barley-sugar
and whipped cream are consumed on the spot ; none is
exported. In short, the Ouiquendonians have no need of
anybody. Their desires are limited, their existence is a
modest one ; they are calm, moderate, phlegmatic — in a
word, they are Flemings ; such as are still to be met with
sometimes between the Scheldt and the North Sea.

B 2



DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.



CHAPTER II.

IN WHICH THE BURGOMASTER VAN TRICASSE AND THE
COUNSELLOR NIKLAUSSE CONSULT ABOUT THE AFFAIRS
OF THE TOWN.

"You think so ?" asked the burgomaster.

" I — think so," repHed the counsellor, after some minutes
of silence.

" You see, we must not act hastily," resumed the burgo-
master.

" We have been talking over this grave matter for ten
years," replied the Counsellor Niklausse, "and I confess to
you, my worthy Van Tricasse, that I cannot yet take it
upon myself to come to a decision."

" I quite understand your hesitation," said the burgo-
master, who did not speak until after a good quarter of an
hour of reflection, " I quite understand it, and I fully share
it. We shall do wisely to decide upon nothing without a
more careiul examinatipn of the question."



DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT. 5



" It is certain," replied Niklausse, "that this post of civil
commissary is useless in so peaceful a town as Ouiquen-
done."

"Our predecessor," said Van Tricasse gravely, "our
predecessor never said, never would have dared to say, that
anything is certain. Every affirmation is subject to awk-
ward qualifications."

The counsellor nodded his head slowly in token of assent ;
then he remained silent for nearly half an hour. After this
lapse of time, during which neither the counsellor nor the
burgomaster moved so much as a finger, Niklausse asked
Van Tricasse whether his predecessor — of some twenty
years before — had not thought of suppressing this office of
civil commissary, which each year cost the town of Oui-
quendone the sum of thirteen hundred and seventy-five
francs and some centimes.

" I believe he did," replied the burgomaster, carrying his
hand with majestic deliberation to his ample brow ; " but
the worthy man died without having dared to make up his
mind, either as to this or any other administrative measure.
He was a sage. Why should I not do as he did .-• " ,

Counsellor Niklausse was incapable of originating any
objection to the burgomaster's opinion.

"The man who dies," added Van Tricasse solemnly,
"without ever having decided upon anything during his
life, has very nearly attained to perfection."



DOCTOR OX S EXPERIMENT.



This said, the burgomaster pressed a bell with the end of
his little finger, which gave forth a muffled sound, which
seemed less a sound than a sigh. Presently some light
steps glided softly across the tile floor. A mouse would
not have made less noise, running over a thick carpet. The
door of the room opened, turning on its well-oiled hinges.
A young girl, with long blonde tresses, made her appear-
ance. It was Suzel Van Tricasse, the burgomaster's only
daughter. She handed her father a pipe, filled to the brim,
and a small copper brazier, spoke not a word, and disap-
peared at once, making no more noise at her exit than at
her entrance.

The worthy burgomaster lighted his pipe, and was
soon hidden in a cloud of bluish smoke, leaving Counsellor
Niklausse plunged in the most absorbing thought.

The room in which these two notable personages, charged
with the government of Ouiquendone, were talking, was a
parlour richly adorned with carvings in dark wood. A
lofty fireplace, in which an oak might have been burned or
an ox roasted, occupied the whole of one of the sides of the
room ; opposite to it was a trellised window, the painted
glass of which toned down the brightness of the sunbeams.
In an antique frame above the chimney-piece appeared the
portrait of some worthy man, attributed to Memling, which
no doubt represented an ancestor of the Van Tricasses,
whose authentic genealogy dates back to the fourteenth



DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.



century, the period when the Flemings and Guy de Dani-
pierre were engaged in wars with the Emperor Rudolph of
Hapsburgh.

This parlour was the principal apartment of the bur-
gomaster's house, which was one of the pleasantest in
Ouiquendone. Built in the Flemish style, with all the
abruptness, quaintness, and picturesqueness of Pointed
architecture, it was considered one of the most curious
monuments of the town. A Carthusian convent, or a deaf
and dumb asylum, was not more silent than this mansion.
Noise had no existence there ; people did not walk, but
glided about in it ; they did not speak, they murmured.
There was not, however, any lack of women in the house,
which, in addition to the burgomaster Van Tricasse himself,
sheltered his wife, Madame Brigitte Van Tricasse, his
daughter, Suzel Van Tricasse, and his domestic, Lotche
Jansheu. We may also mention the burgomaster's sister,
Aunt Hermance, an elderly maiden who still bore the
nickname of Tatanemance, which her niece Suzel had given
her when a child. But in spite of all these elements of
discord and noise, the burgomaster's house was as, calm as
a desert.

The burgomaster was some fifty years old, neither fat
nor lean, neither short nor tall, neither rubicund nor pale,
neither gay nor sad, neither contented nor discontented,
neither energetic nor dull, neither proud nor humble, neither



DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.



£{ood nor bad, neither eencrous nor miserlv, neither
courageous nor cowardly, neither too much nor too Httle of
anything — a man notably moderate in all respects, whose
invariable slowness of motion, slightly hanging lower jaw,
jDrominent eyebrows, massive forehead, smooth as a copper
plate and without a wrinkle, would at once have betrayed
to a physiognomist that the burgomaster Van Tricasse was
phlegm personified. Never, either from anger or passion,
had any emotion whatever hastened the beating of this man's
heart, or flushed his face ; never had his pupils contracted
under the influence of any irritation, however ephemeral.
He invariably wore good clothes, neither too large nor too
small, which he never seemed to wear out. He was shod with
large square shoes with triple soles and silver buckles, which
lasted so long that his shoemaker was in despair. Upon
his head he wore a large hat which dated from the period
when Flanders was separated from Holland, so that this
venerable masterpiece was at least forty years old. But
what would you have } It is the passions which wear out
body as w^ell as soul, the clothes as well as the body ; and
our worthy burgomaster, apathetic, indolent, indifferent,
was passionate in nothing. He wore nothing out, not even
himself, and he considered himself the very man to
administer the affairs of Ouiquendone and its tranquil
population.

The town, indeed, was not less calm than the Van




THE WORTHY MADAME BRIGITTE VAN TRICASSE HAD NOW HER

iECOND HUSBAND*



Pa^e 9.



DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.



Tricasse mansion. It was in this peaceful dwelling that
the burgomaster reckoned on attaining the utmost limit of
human existence, after having, however, seen the good
Madame Brigitte Van Tricasse, his wife, precede him to
the tomb, where, surely, she would not find a more profound
repose than that she had enjoyed on earth for sixty years.

This demands explanation.

The Van Tricasse family might well call itself the
" Jeannot family." This is why: —

Every one knows' that the knife of this typical personage
is as celebrated as its proprietor, and not less incapable of
wearing out, tlianks to the double operation, incessantly
repeated, of replacing the handle when it is worn out, and
the blade when it becomes w'orthless. A precisely similar
operation had been going on from time immemorial in the
Van Tricasse family, to which Nature had lent herself with
more than usual complacency. From 1340 it had invari-
ably happened that a Van Tricasse, when left a widower,
had remarried a Van Tricasse younger than himself; who,
becoming in turn a widow, had married again a Van
Tricasse younger than herself; and so on, without a break
in the continuity, from generation to generation. Each
died in his or her turn with mechanical regularity. Thus
the worthy Madame Brigitte Van Tricasse had now her
second husband ; and, unless she violated her every duty,
would precede her spouse — he being ten years younger than



fO DOCTOR OX S EXPERIMENT.



herself — to the other world, to make room for a nev/
Madame Van Tricasse. Upon this the burgomaster
calmly counted, that the family tradition might not be
broken. Such was this mansion, peaceful and silent, of
which the doors never creaked, the windows never rattled,
the floors never groaned, the chimneys never roared, the
weathercocks never grated, the furniture never squeaked,
the locks never clanked, and the occupants never made
more noise than their shadows. The god Harpocrates
would certainly have chosen it for the Temple of Silence.



DOCTOR OX S EXPERIMENT. II



CHAPTER III.

IN WHICH THE COMMISSARY PASSAUF ENTERS AS NOISILY

AS UNEXPECTEDLY.

When the interesting conversation which has been narrated
began, it was a quarter before three in the afternoon. It
was at a quarter before four that Van Tricasse Hghted his
enormous pipe, which could hold a quart of tobacco, and
it was at thirty-five minutes past five that he finished
smoking it.

All this time the two comrades did not exchange a single
word.

About six o'clock the counsellor, who had a habit of
speaking in a very summary manner, resumed in these
words, —

" So we decide — "

"To decide nothing," replied the burgomaster.

" I think, on the whole, that you are right. Van Tricasse."

" I think so too, Niklausse. We v.ill take steps with



12 DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.



reference to the civil commissary when we have more light
on the subject — later on. There is no need for a month
yet."

"Nor even for a }'car." replied Xiklausse, unfolding his
pocket-handkerchief and calmly apph'ing it to his nose.

There was another silence of nearly a quarter of an hour.
Nothing disturbed this repeated pause in the conversation ;
not even the appearance of the house-dog Lento, who, not
less phlegmatic than his master, came to pay his respects
in the parlour. Noble dog ! — a model for his race. Had he
been made of pasteboard, with wheels on his paws, he
would not have made less noise during his stay.

Towards eight ©"clock, after Lotche had brought the
antique lamp of polished glass, the burgomaster said to the
counsellor, —

"We have no other urgent matter to consider?"

" No, Van Tricasse ; none that I know of."

"•Have I not been told, though," asked the burgomaster,
" that the tower of the Oudenarde gate is likely to tumble
down.?"

" Ah ! " replied the counsellor ; " really, I should not be
astonished if it fell on some passer-by any day."

" Oh ! before such a misfortune happens I hope we shall
have come to a decision on the subject of this tower."

" I hope so, Van Tricasse."

" There are more pressing matters to decide."



DOCTOi^ ox's EXPERIMENT. n



" No doubt ; the question of the leather-market, for
instance."

" What, is it still burning ?"

" Still burning, and has been for the last three weeks."

" Have we not decided in council to let it burn ?"

" Yes, Van Tricasse — on your motion."

"Was not that the surest and simplest way to deal
Vv-ithit.?"

"Without doubt."

"Well, let us wait. Is that all.?"

''All," replied the counsellor, scratching his head, as
if to assure himself that he had not forgotten anything
important.

"Ah!" exclaimed the burgomaster, "haven't you also
heard something of an escape of water which threatens to
inundate the low quarter of Saint Jacques ?"

" I have. It is indeed unfortunate that this escape of
water did not happen above the leather-market ! It would
naturally have checked the fire, and would thus have saved
us a good deal of discussion,"

" What can you expect, Niklausse ? There is nothing so
illogical as accidents. They are bound by no rules, and
we cannot profit by one, as we might wish, to remedy
another."

It took Van Tricasse's companion some time to digest
this fine observation.



14 DOCTOR ox's EXPERIMENT.

" Well, but," resumed the Counsellor Niklausse, after the
lapse of some moments, " we have not spoken of our great
affair ! "

"What great affair? Have we, then, a great affair?"
asked the burgomaster.

" No doubt. About lighting the town."

" O yes. If my memory serves me, you are referring to
the lighting plan of Doctor Ox."

" Precisely."

"It is going on, Niklausse," replied the burgomaster.
"They are already laying the pipes, and the works are
entirely completed."

" Perhaps we have hurried a little in this matter," said
the counsellor, shaking his head.

" Perhaps. But our excuse is, that Doctor Ox bears the
whole expense of his experiment. It will not cost us a
sou."

" That, true enough, is our excuse. IMoreover, we must
advance with the age. If the experiment succeeds, Oui-
quendone will be the first tow^n in Flanders to be lighted
with the oxy — What is the gas called ?"

'* Oxyhydric gas."

" Well, oxyhydric gas, then."

At this moment the door opened, and Lotche came in to
tell the burgomaster that his supper was ready.

Counsellor Niklausse rose to take leave of Van Tricasse,



DOCTOR OXS EXPERIMENT. 1 5

whose appetite had been stimulated by so many affairs
discussed and decisions taken ; and it was agreed that the
council of notables should be convened after a reasonably
long delay, to determine whether a decision should be
provisionally arrived at with reference to the really urgent
matter of the Oudenarde gate.

The two worthy administrators then directed their steps
towards the street-door, the one conducting the other. The
counsellor, having reached the last step, lighted a little
lantern to guide him through the obscure streets of Oui-
quendone, which Doctor Ox had not yet lighted. It was a
dark October night, and a light fog overshadowed the
town.

Niklausse's preparations for departure consumed at least
a quarter of an hour ; for, after having lighted his lantern,
he had to put on his big cow-skin socks and his sheep-skin
gloves ; then he put up the furred collar of his overcoat,
turned the brim of his felt hat down over his eyes, grasped
his heavy crow-beaked umbrella, and got ready to
start.

When Lotche, however, who was lighting her. master,


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