“We must be sure to strike the right road through the Agalone Mountains,” said the Private Secretary, peering out through the glass, “because a great many boats get lost hereabouts in the long and winding path. Even were it possible for any mortal to get thus far toward our country, it would be very difficult to trace the way through the Agalone Mountains, which are very high and precipitous indeed. Moreover, to render the road even more difficult to follow, we occasionally have these mountains moved a few hundred leagues from side to side, so that not even the boldest mariner from your country could tell a thing about it if he tried to follow us.”
“It is a wonder to me that no one has ever found this Island of Gee-Whiz,” said the Widow Pickle.
“Believe me, madam, it is practically impossible,” replied the Private Secretary. “Many have sought to discover the Island of Gee-Whiz on account of its great riches, but no one has ever yet done so. Were it not for the fact that these Twins, the Prince and Princess, have corazine and malazite hair, it is scarcely likely that you yourself would ever have seen our Island.
“But now,” he resumed, “it is nearly time I should go aloft and look ahead. To me it seems that these mountains do not look so entirely familiar as they should.”
“Go aloft?” inquired the Widow. “How can you go aloft? Do you mean to the surface of the sea?”
“Of course,” said the Private Secretary. “I can see the Island at a much greater distance from the surface of the sea. As for going aloft, that is perfectly simple. I set this pole in the holes which run up and down through the top and bottom of the boat, like the place for a mast in a sail-boat, and I then attach the clutches of this machine here to the pole and set the engine going up and down instead of backward and forward. In that way, as you shall presently see, the boat will begin to climb up the pole, like a boy after birds’ nests. But now, madam, let me request you to stand near the furnace door; and when I give the word, put in a pinch more of the green powder to keep up the steam, for it is far harder to climb straight up than it is to go straight ahead, for the boat is flat on top and not pointed as it is at the end.”
As the Private Secretary spoke, he arranged the clutches of the machinery as he had said, and, to their great surprise, the boat began to climb up the pole at a rate which left no doubt that they would very soon be at the surface of the sea.
“Now,” cried the Private Secretary, “put in the powder, quick!”
The Widow Pickle, in a great hurry, took a pinch of powder and cast it under the grate as she had done before. This was where she made a great mistake, which afterward brought upon her much criticism; for, instead of putting in the green powder, which belonged to the sea, in her hurry she cast in a pinch of the blue powder, which was correct for use in the air, but not in the water. As she did this, at once there was a blinding cloud of smoke and a deafening explosion, which shook the sea like a volcanic eruption. The boat flew quite to pieces, as though it had been built of cardboard. In a moment, they were blown violently into the air beyond the surface of the ocean.