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The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
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uprooted, coasts devastated by the mountains of water which were
precipitated on them, vessels cast on the shore, which the published
accounts numbered by hundreds, whole districts leveled by waterspouts which
destroyed everything they passed over, several thousand people crushed on
land or drowned at sea; such were the traces of its fury, left by this
devastating tempest. It surpassed in disasters those which so frightfully
ravaged Havana and Guadalupe, one on the 25th of October, 1810, the other
on the 26th of July, 1825.

But while so many catastrophes were taking place on land and at sea, a
drama not less exciting was being enacted in the agitated air.

In fact, a balloon, as a ball might be carried on the summit of a
waterspout, had been taken into the circling movement of a column of air
and had traversed space at the rate of ninety miles an hour, turning round
and round as if seized by some aerial maelstrom.

Beneath the lower point of the balloon swung a car, containing five
passengers, scarcely visible in the midst of the thick vapor mingled with
spray which hung over the surface of the ocean.

Whence, it may be asked, had come that plaything of the tempest? From
what part of the world did it rise? It surely could not have started during
the storm. But the storm had raged five days already, and the first
symptoms were manifested on the 18th. It cannot be doubted that the balloon
came from a great distance, for it could not have traveled less than two
thousand miles in twenty-four hours.

At any rate the passengers, destitute of all marks for their guidance,
could not have possessed the means of reckoning the route traversed since
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