Captain Nemo

 "I've collected every one of them." Milo Winter's 1922 illustration for Jules Verne's 1896 novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

In Chapter 10, Professor Arronnax draws out the Captain in his study aboard the Nautilus.

"You love the sea, don't you Captain?"

"Yes, I love it! The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths of the globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert where a man is never alone, for he can feel life quivering all about him. The sea is only a receptacle for all the prodigious, supernatural things that exist inside it; it is only movement and love; it is the living infinite, as one of your poets has said. And in fact, Professor, it contains the three kingdoms of nature - mineral, vegetable and animal[...]The sea is a vast reservoir of nature. The world, so to speak, began with the sea, and who knows but that it will also end in the sea! There lies supreme tranquillity. The sea does not belong to tyrants. On its surface, they can still exercise their iniquitous rights, fighting, destroying one another and indulging in their other earthly horrors. But thirty feet below its surface their power ceases, their influence dies out and their domination disappears! Ah Monsieur, one must live - live within the ocean! Only there can one be independent! Only there do I have no master! There I am free!"


Transcribed from my battered copy of Anthony Bronner's 1962 translation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, written in 1896. Bantam Dell, a division of Random House, New York, 2003