Translated by Edward Roth
with Chief Engineer Murphy's, who had been charged to fire off the Projectile.
"Friends," he said, "it is now twenty minutes past ten. At 10 46' 40'', precisely, Murphy will send the electric current into the gun-cotton. We have, therefore, twenty-six minutes more to remain on earth."
"Twenty-six minutes and twenty seconds," observed Captain M'Nicholl, who always aimed at mathematical precision.
"Twenty-six minutes!" cried Ardan, gaily. "An age, a cycle, according to the use you make of them. In twenty-six minutes how much can be done! The weightiest questions of warfare, politics, morality, can be discussed, even decided, in twenty-six minutes. Twenty-six minutes well spent are infinitely more valuable than twenty-six lifetimes wasted! A few seconds even, employed by a Pascal, or a Newton, or a Barbican, or any other profoundly intellectual being
Whose thoughts wander through eternity--"
"As mad as Marston! Every bit!" muttered the Captain, half audibly.
"What do you
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