Shall I be believed? I do not know. And it matters little, after all. What I now affirm is, that I have a right to speak of those seas, under which, in less than ten months, I have crossed 20,000 leagues in that submarine tour of the world, which has revealed so many wonders in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the arctic and antarctic seas.
But what has become of the Nautilus? Did it resist the pressure of the maelstrom? Does Captain Nemo still live? And does he still follow under the ocean those frightful retaliations? Or did he stop after that last hecatomb?
Will the waves one day carry to him this manuscript containing the history of his life? Shall I ever know the name of this man? Will the missing vessel tell us by its nationality that of Captain Nemo?
I hope so. And I also hope that his powerful vessel has conquered the sea at its most terrible gulf, and that the Nautilus has survived where so many other vessels have been lost. If it be so -- if Captain Nemo still inhabits the ocean, his adopted country, may hatred be appeased in that savage heart! May the contemplation of so many wonders extinguish for ever the spirit of vengeance. May the judge disappear, and the philosopher continue the peaceful exploration of the sea. If his destiny be strange, it is also sublime. Have I not understood it myself? Have I not lived ten months of this unnatural life? And to the question asked by Ecclesiastes 6000 years ago, "That which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?" two men alone of all now living have the right to give an answer --- Captain Nemo and myself.
From Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne