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Chapter 16 Chapter 16 Columbia Cannon

from earth to moon 儒勒·凡尔纳 3786Words 2018-03-23
Was the casting project a success?We can only make some simple guesses.Now, however, that the mold had completely absorbed the molten iron of the furnace, and everything was believed to have been accomplished.Anyway; it will be a long time before it is directly confirmed. Indeed, it took half a month for Staff Rodman to cast his 60,000-pound cannon to cool down.So, how long will it take for this giant Colombian gun, shrouded in smoke and so hot that people can't approach it, to show itself in front of its admirers?It's hard to estimate. During this time, the patience of the members of the Cannon Club was severely tested.But this is unthinkable.Maston almost burned himself because of his overzealousness. Half a month after pouring the molten iron, there was still a huge column of smoke standing in the air, and the place two hundred yards around the rocky hill was still hot to the feet.

The days passed by, a week passed, and then another week.There is no way to cool down this huge cylinder.Can't go near it.There was only waiting, and the members of the Cannon Club couldn't bear it anymore. "It's already the tenth of August," Maston said one morning. "December 1st is less than four months away! Sand mold removal, bore bore, powder charge, all this work must be done in time: we are too late! We can't even go to the cannon now ! Doesn't it ever cool down! What a prank!" All attempts were made to silence the impatient secretary, but to no avail.Barbicane said nothing, but a gloomy anger lurked in his silence.To see oneself held back by an obstacle that only time can overcome--time is sometimes a formidable enemy--to see oneself at the mercy of the enemy is unbearable to a warrior.

But every major observation proves that the condition of the land has changed somewhat.By around August 15th, the density and volume of the escaping steam had decreased significantly.A few days later, only a slight mist rose from the ground, which was the last breath of the monster buried in the sarcophagus.Slowly, the trembling of the earth became quiet, and the thermal circle became smaller and smaller.Two Torvalds can be advanced today, four Torvalds tomorrow, and on the 22nd of August, Barbicane, his companions, and the engineer will be able to occupy the place filled with molten iron, which is adjacent to the top of the Rocky Hill. Qi, I can be sure that this is a very hygienic place, and it is still hot to step on.

"Today after all!" exclaimed the chairman of the Cannon Club with a sigh of satisfaction. Work starts the same day.At once they set to work digging the sand molds and clearing the barrels, tools such as picks, picks, and augers were constantly being brandished; the clay and sand, hardened by the heat, It was still warm nearer: but with the help of machines they overcame the mixture, and what was cleared out, was soon packed in carriages, and hauled away by the steam-engine, so well did they do, so hotly, Barbicane was so hasty, and his arguments in dollar form so powerful, that by September 3rd not a trace of the sand mold was visible.

Immediately after that, the gun work was carried out: the machine was quickly installed, and the powerful milling cutter began to rotate, and the knife edge gnawed on the uneven pig iron gun wall.After a few weeks, the inner wall of this gigantic tube was perfectly cylindrical, and the bore was ground to a smooth finish. At last, on September 22nd, less than a year since Barbicane's report, the gigantic weapon was precisely calibered, artfully erected vertically, and ready for action.Now we just have to wait for the moon, but we can be sure that it will not miss its appointment. Maston was so ecstatic that he almost fell down as he focused his eyes on this terrible pipe nine hundred feet deep.Had the noble Colonel Bloomsbury's fortunately preserved right hand not held him back, the secretary of the Gun Club might have found death under the barrel of the Columbia, as Aerostraat did.

The cannon has been completed; now it is impossible to doubt its existence any longer!On October 6th, therefore, Captain Nicholl was obliged to enter in his own books a debt of two thousand dollars owed to Barbicane.It may be believed that Captain Nicholl's rage had reached its last limit, and had grown to an almost morbid state.However, he still has three bets of three thousand, four thousand, and five thousand dollars. As long as he can win two bets, his gamble will not be a complete victory, but at least it will be unsatisfactory.However, he did not take the money issue into account, and his opponent dealt him a terrible blow by casting a cannon that could not resist even a steel plate ten Torvalds thick.

Since September 23rd, the fence of Luanshigang has been opened to the public. It is not difficult to understand the situation of visitors scrambling for the first place at that time. Indeed, countless people who love to watch the excitement have come to Florida from all over the United States.During the year of preparations for the Cannon Club, Danpa experienced a spectacular growth, increasing its population to 150,000.It encloses the Blok Fortress in the middle of the criss-crossing streets, and stretches forward along the corner between the two waterways of Espiritu Bay; In the district, the newly opened square and the houses lined up in forests have sprung up like mushrooms after rain in the warm sunshine of the United States.So many societies and companies were established, churches were built, schools were established, and private houses were erected, that in less than a year the size of the city had increased tenfold.

Americans, we know, are born businessmen: no matter where fate throws them, whether in the frigid climate or the tropics, as long as their business instincts work.That is why many ordinary onlookers, many who come to Florida to see the work of the Cannon Club, as soon as they come to Tampa, go along and do business.Those chartering ships to transport supplies and workers brought great prosperity to Danpa Port.After a while, ships of various styles and tonnages, carrying food, commodities, and daily necessities, left grooves on the bay and the two waterways: a large design office and brokerage of the shipbuilding company were set up in the city. People's office, the "Shipping Gazette" reported daily new ships arriving in Tampa.

At the same time, the roads around the city were also increased, and due to the rapid development of population and commerce in Danpa, the city finally built a railway linking with the southern states of the United States.The railroad ran from Mobile to Pensacola, where the Southern Marine Arsenal was located.From this important city it passed to Tallahassee.There used to be a twenty-one-mile railroad to St. Mark's on the coast.The railroad to Tampa was extended by this railroad, and along the way it awakened and revitalized the dead areas in the center of Florida.Thanks to Barbicane's idea and this marvelous project, Pa was able to justifiably put on the airs of a big city.It was dubbed "Moon City," and nations around the world noticed that Florida's capital had disappeared from its shadow.

Now, everyone understands why the rivalry between Texas and Florida is so intense, and why the Texans are so outraged to see their request denied by the decision of the Cannon Club.The Texans were wise and far-sighted, and had long seen what a State could gain from the experiments conducted by Barbicane, and what such a shot could do.Texas did not become a vast commercial center, did not build railroads, did not increase population rapidly.All these advantages fell to the poor peninsula of Florida, thrown like a breakwater into the waves between the Gulf and the Atlantic.Therefore, Barbicane, like General Santa Ana, was hated by the Texans.

At this time, although the new residents of Tampa were indulging in commercial and industrial madness, they did not forget the interesting work of the Cannon Club.Quite the opposite.Even the smallest detail of an experiment, even a tap with a pickaxe, arouses their keen interest.They kept coming and going between Tampa and Rocky Hill, almost like a parade, no, it’s better to say it’s like a pilgrimage. It can be expected that on the day of the official experiment, there will be countless spectators gathered here. There are millions of them, because they have come from all corners of the world to this long and narrow peninsula.It's as if Europe has been migrated to America. But it should be said that until now, the curiosity of the crowds of viewers has not been fully satisfied.When the cannon was cast, many people saw only a puff of smoke. This is too tasteless for their greedy eyes!But Barbican did not allow anyone to visit the work.Complaints arose, and everyone grumbled and complained; they blamed the chairman for not doing his own thing, and openly said that his style was not "American."There was almost no riot outside the fence at Rock Hill.We know that once a decision has been taken, Barbicane never wavers. But when the Columbian guns were finished, the fence gates could not be closed; otherwise it would be a fool's errand, and besides, it would be unwise to close the gates and cause discontent among the masses.Barbicane, therefore, threw open his gates and welcomed everyone: but guided by his practical spirit, he decided to take advantage of public curiosity. Being able to take a closer look at this giant Colombian gun is already very good, but being able to go into the abyss of the cannon seems to be "the greatest happiness in the world" for Americans.Therefore, no curious soul would not want to enjoy the blessing of sightseeing in this metallic abyss.Several hanging baskets hanging on the steam back plate satisfy the curiosity of visitors.It was all the rage.All men, women, children, and old people regard it as their duty to spy on the secrets of the cannon at the bottom of the cannon barrel.The price of the underground visit was five dollars per person. Although the price was high, the visitors flocked to the site, and the Cannon Club earned nearly half a million dollars in revenue in the two months before the experiment. Needless to say, members of the Cannon Club were the first to see the Columbia Cannon, a privilege that is only fair for this well-known group abroad.The ceremony was held on September 25th.A special gondola lowered Chairman Barbicane, Maston, General Alphiston, General Morgan, Colonel Bloomsbury, Engineer Murchison, and other distinguished members of the famous club.There are ten people in total.The bottom of this long metal pipe is still hot.They're a little breathless!But what joy!How happy!A table with ten cutlery and forks stood on the cornerstone of a Colombian gun, illuminated by an electric lamp as bright as the sun.Delicate dishes, as if falling from the sky, were delivered to them one after another, and the best wines in France were served in large quantities at this feast nine hundred feet underground. The atmosphere at the banquet was very active, and it was even loud: everyone toasted non-stop, for the earth, for its satellites, for the Cannon Club, for the United States, for the moon, for Faube, for Diana, For Selena, for the celestial body of the night, for the health of the "Ambassador of Silence"! All these thunderous ulahs are sent to the other end by the sound waves of this huge microphone, and the crowds gathered around the rocky hills The crowd, too, cheered enthralled along with those who dined beneath the Colombian cannon. Maston, secretary of the Cannon Club, could no longer control himself: whether he uttered more sounds than he gestured, or drank more than he ate, we cannot tell.Anyway, his seat, even if it was to give him an empire, he is not willing to exchange, "Yes, even if the cannon is charged with gunpowder, the detonator is set, and the cannon is about to fire, blow him to pieces, and send him to the planet He will not change the world."
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