Too Long; Didn't ReadHenceforth, then, with a velocity ever increasing, Gallia would re-approach the sun.
Except the thirteen Englishmen who had been left at Gibraltar, every living creature had taken refuge in the dark abyss of the volcano’s crater.
And with those Englishmen, how had it fared?
“Far better than with ourselves,” was the sentiment that would have been universally accepted in Nina’s Hive. And there was every reason to conjecture that so it was. The party at Gibraltar, they all agreed, would not, like themselves, have been compelled to have recourse to a stream of lava for their supply of heat; they, no doubt, had had abundance of fuel as well as food; and in their solid casemate, with its substantial walls, they would find ample shelter from the rigor of the cold. The time would have been passed at least in comfort, and perhaps in contentment; and Colonel Murphy and Major Oliphant would have had leisure more than sufficient for solving the most abstruse problems of the chess-board. All of them, too, would be happy in the confidence that when the time should come, England would have full meed of praise to award to the gallant soldiers who had adhered so well and so manfully to their post.
It did, indeed, more than once occur to the minds both of Servadac and his friends that, if their condition should become one of extreme emergency, they might, as a last resource, betake themselves to Gibraltar, and there seek a refuge; but their former reception had not been of the kindest, and they were little disposed to renew an acquaintanceship that was marked by so little cordiality. Not in the least that they would expect to meet with any inhospitable rebuff. Far from that; they knew well enough that Englishmen, whatever their faults, would be the last to abandon their fellow-creatures in the hour of distress. Nevertheless, except the necessity became far more urgent than it had hitherto proved, they resolved to endeavor to remain in their present quarters. Up till this time no casualties had diminished their original number, but to undertake so long a journey across that unsheltered expanse of ice could scarcely fail to result in the loss of some of their party.