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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea         Page 1
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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

by Jules Verne


A Runaway Reef

THE YEAR 1866 was marked by a bizarre development, an unexplained and downright

inexplicable phenomenon that surely no one has forgotten. Without getting into

rumors that upset civilians in the seaports and deranged the public mind even far

it must be said that professional seamen were especially alarmed. Traders,

captains of vessels, skippers, and master mariners from Europe and America, naval

officers from every country, and at their heels the various national governments on

two continents, were all extremely disturbed by the business.

In essence, over a period of time several ships had encountered "an enormous thing"

sea, a long spindle-shaped object, sometimes giving off a phosphorescent glow,

bigger and faster than any whale.

The relevant data on this apparition, as recorded in various logbooks, agreed

closely as to the structure of the object or creature in question, its
unprecedented speed of

movement, its startling locomotive power, and the unique vitality with which it
seemed to

be gifted. If it was a cetacean, it exceeded in bulk any whale previously
classified by

science. No naturalist, neither Cuvier nor Lacépède, neither Professor Dumeril nor

Professor de Quatrefages, would have accepted the existence of such a monster sight

unseen-- specifically, unseen by their own scientific eyes.

Striking an average of observations taken at different times-- rejecting those

estimates that gave the object a length of 200 feet, and ignoring those exaggerated

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