Facing the Flag by Jules Verne: Chapter 5
I am now certain that we are going through the water. But there is one
thing that puzzles me. It is hot a sailing vessel, neither can it be a
steamer. Yet it is incontestably propelled by some powerful machine.
There are none of the noises, nor is there the trembling that
accompanies the working of steam engines. The movement of the vessel
is more continuous and regular, it is a sort of direct rotation that
is communicated by the motor, whatever the latter may be. No mistake
is possible: the ship is propelled by some special mechanism. But what
Is it one of those turbines that have been spoken of lately, which,
fitted into a submerged tube, are destined to replace the ordinary
screw, it being claimed that they utilize the resistance of the water
better than the latter and give increased speed to a ship?
In a few hours' time I shall doubtless know all about this means of
Meanwhile there is another thing that equally puzzles me. There is not
the slightest rolling or pitching. How is it that Pamlico Sound is so
extraordinarily calm? The varying currents continuously ruffle the
surface of the Sound, even if nothing else does.
It is true the tide may be out, and I remember that last night
the wind had fallen altogether. Still, no matter, the thing is
inexplicable, for a ship propelled by machinery, no matter at what
speed she may be going, always oscillates more or less, and I cannot
perceive the slightest rocking.