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THE “Voyages Extraordinaires” of M. Jules Verne
deserve to be made widely known in English-speaking countries by
means of carefully prepared translations. Witty and ingenious
adaptations of the researches and discoveries of modern science to
the popular taste, which demands that these should be presented to
ordinary readers in the lighter form of cleverly mingled truth and
fiction, these books will assuredly be read with profit and
delight, especially by English youth. Certainly no writer before M.
Jules Verne has been so happy in weaving together in judicious
combination severe scientific truth with a charming exercise of
Iceland, the starting point of the marvellous underground
journey imagined in this volume, is invested at the present time
with. a painful interest in consequence of the disastrous eruptions
last Easter Day, which covered with lava and ashes the poor and
scanty vegetation upon which four thousand persons were partly
dependent for the means of subsistence. For a long time to come the
natives of that interesting island, who cleave to their desert home
with all that amor patriae which is so much more easily
understood than explained, will look, and look not in vain, for the
help of those on whom fall the smiles of a kindlier sun in regions
not torn by earthquakes nor blasted and ravaged by volcanic fires.
Will the readers of this little book, who, are gifted with the
means of indulging in the luxury of extended beneficence, remember
the distress of their brethren in the far north, whom distance has
not barred from the claim of being counted our
“neighbours”? And whatever their humane feelings may
prompt them to bestow will be gladly added to the Mansion-House
Iceland Relief Fund.
In his desire to ascertain how far the picture of Iceland, drawn
in the work of Jules Verne is a correct one, the translator hopes
in the course of a mail or two to receive a communication from a
leading man of science in the island, which may furnish matter for
additional information in a future edition.
The scientific portion of the French original is not without a
few errors, which the translator, with the kind assistance of Mr.
Cameron of H. M. Geological Survey, has ventured to point out and
correct. It is scarcely to be expected in a work in which the
element of amusement is intended to enter more largely than that of
scientific instruction, that any great degree of accuracy should be
arrived at. Yet the translator hopes that what trifling deviations
from the text or corrections in foot notes he is responsible for,
will have done a little towards the increased usefulness of the
F. A. M.
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