Too Long; Didn't Read“In Algeria, captain?”
“Yes, Ben Zoof, in Algeria; and not far from Mostaganem.” Such were the first words which, after their return to consciousness, were exchanged between Servadac and his orderly.
They had resided so long in the province that they could not for a moment be mistaken as to their whereabouts, and although they were incapable of clearing up the mysteries that shrouded the miracle, yet they were convinced at the first glance that they had been returned to the earth at the very identical spot where they had quitted it.
In fact, they were scarcely more than a mile from Mostaganem, and in the course of an hour, when they had all recovered from the bewilderment occasioned by the shock, they started off in a body and made their way to the town. It was a matter of extreme surprise to find no symptom of the least excitement anywhere as they went along. The population was perfectly calm; every one was pursuing his ordinary avocation; the cattle were browsing quietly upon the pastures that were moist with the dew of an ordinary January morning. It was about eight o’clock; the sun was rising in the east; nothing could be noticed to indicate that any abnormal incident had either transpired or been expected by the inhabitants. As to a collision with a comet, there was not the faintest trace of any such phenomenon crossing men’s minds, and awakening, as it surely would, a panic little short of the certified approach of the millennium.
“Nobody expects us,” said Servadac; “that is very certain.”
“No, indeed,” answered Ben Zoof, with a sigh; he was manifestly disappointed that his return to Mostaganem was not welcomed with a triumphal reception.
They reached the Mascara gate. The first persons that Servadac recognized were the two friends that he had invited to be his seconds in the duel two years ago, the colonel of the 2nd Fusiliers and the captain of the 8th Artillery. In return to his somewhat hesitating salutation, the colonel greeted him heartily, “Ah! Servadac, old fellow! is it you?”