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By Julio Verne

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Example text

Where could my uncle be at that moment? I fancied him running under the noble trees which line the road to Altona, gesticulating, making shots with his cane, thrashing the long grass, cutting the heads off the thistles, and disturbing the contemplative storks in their peaceful solitude. Would he return in triumph or in discouragement? Which would get the upper hand, he or the secret? " I sought to group the letters so as to form words. Quite impossible! When I put them together by twos, threes, fives or sixes, nothing came of it but nonsense.

He shouted with indescribable emotion. " I said, presenting a sheet of paper on which I had written. "But there is nothing in this," he answered, crumpling up the paper. " I had not finished my sentence when the Professor broke out into a cry, nay, a roar. A new revelation burst in upon him. He was transformed! " he cried. " And darting upon the paper, with eyes bedimmed, and voice choked with emotion, he read the whole document from the last letter to the first. It was conceived in the following terms: In Sneffels Joculis craterem quem delibat Umbra Scartaris Julii intra calendas descende, Audax viator, et terrestre centrum attinges.

I began to say to myself that I was exaggerating the importance of the document; that my uncle would surely not believe in it, that he would set it down as a mere puzzle; that if it came to the worst, we should lay violent hands on him and keep him at home if he thought on venturing on the expedition that, after all, he might himself discover the key of the cipher, and that then I should be clear at the mere expense of my involuntary abstinence. These reasons seemed excellent to me, though on the night before I should have rejected them with indignation; I even went so far as to condemn myself for my absurdity in having waited so long, and I finally resolved to let it all out.

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