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The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

Part 4 out of 5

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bearing, correct in his person, prim in his dress. Now he was
pale and wild-eyed, gasping as he breathed like one who has run
far and fast. His gaunt face was scratched and bloody, his
clothes were hanging in rags, and his hat was gone. I stared in
amazement, but he gave me no chance for questions. He was
grabbing at our stores all the time he spoke.

"Quick, young fellah! Quick!" he cried. "Every moment counts.
Get the rifles, both of them. I have the other two. Now, all the
cartridges you can gather. Fill up your pockets. Now, some food.
Half a dozen tins will do. That's all right! Don't wait to talk
or think. Get a move on, or we are done!"

Still half-awake, and unable to imagine what it all might mean, I
found myself hurrying madly after him through the wood, a rifle
under each arm and a pile of various stores in my hands. He dodged
in and out through the thickest of the scrub until he came to a
dense clump of brush-wood. Into this he rushed, regardless of
thorns, and threw himself into the heart of it, pulling me down
by his side.

"There!" he panted. "I think we are safe here. They'll make for
the camp as sure as fate. It will be their first idea. But this
should puzzle 'em."

"What is it all?" I asked, when I had got my breath. "Where are
the professors? And who is it that is after us?"

"The ape-men," he cried. "My God, what brutes! Don't raise your
voice, for they have long ears--sharp eyes, too, but no power of
scent, so far as I could judge, so I don't think they can sniff
us out. Where have you been, young fellah? You were well out of it."

In a few sentences I whispered what I had done.

"Pretty bad," said he, when he had heard of the dinosaur and the pit.
"It isn't quite the place for a rest cure. What? But I had no idea
what its possibilities were until those devils got hold of us.
The man-eatin' Papuans had me once, but they are Chesterfields
compared to this crowd."

"How did it happen?" I asked.

"It was in the early mornin'. Our learned friends were just stirrin'.
Hadn't even begun to argue yet. Suddenly it rained apes. They came
down as thick as apples out of a tree. They had been assemblin'
in the dark, I suppose, until that great tree over our heads was
heavy with them. I shot one of them through the belly, but before
we knew where we were they had us spread-eagled on our backs. I call
them apes, but they carried sticks and stones in their hands and
jabbered talk to each other, and ended up by tyin' our hands with
creepers, so they are ahead of any beast that I have seen in
my wanderin's. Ape-men--that's what they are--Missin' Links, and
I wish they had stayed missin'. They carried off their wounded
comrade--he was bleedin' like a pig--and then they sat around us,
and if ever I saw frozen murder it was in their faces. They were
big fellows, as big as a man and a deal stronger. Curious glassy
gray eyes they have, under red tufts, and they just sat and gloated
and gloated. Challenger is no chicken, but even he was cowed.
He managed to struggle to his feet, and yelled out at them to have
done with it and get it over. I think he had gone a bit off his
head at the suddenness of it, for he raged and cursed at them
like a lunatic. If they had been a row of his favorite Pressmen
he could not have slanged them worse."

"Well, what did they do?" I was enthralled by the strange story
which my companion was whispering into my ear, while all the time
his keen eyes were shooting in every direction and his hand
grasping his cocked rifle.

"I thought it was the end of us, but instead of that it started
them on a new line. They all jabbered and chattered together.
Then one of them stood out beside Challenger. You'll smile,
young fellah, but 'pon my word they might have been kinsmen.
I couldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
This old ape-man--he was their chief--was a sort of red Challenger,
with every one of our friend's beauty points, only just a trifle
more so. He had the short body, the big shoulders, the round chest,
no neck, a great ruddy frill of a beard, the tufted eyebrows,
the `What do you want, damn you!' look about the eyes, and the
whole catalogue. When the ape-man stood by Challenger and put his
paw on his shoulder, the thing was complete. Summerlee was a bit
hysterical, and he laughed till he cried. The ape-men laughed too--
or at least they put up the devil of a cacklin'--and they set to
work to drag us off through the forest. They wouldn't touch the
guns and things--thought them dangerous, I expect--but they carried
away all our loose food. Summerlee and I got some rough handlin'
on the way--there's my skin and my clothes to prove it--for they
took us a bee-line through the brambles, and their own hides are
like leather. But Challenger was all right. Four of them carried
him shoulder high, and he went like a Roman emperor. What's that?"

It was a strange clicking noise in the distance not unlike castanets.

"There they go!" said my companion, slipping cartridges into the
second double barrelled "Express." "Load them all up, young
fellah my lad, for we're not going to be taken alive, and don't
you think it! That's the row they make when they are excited.
By George! they'll have something to excite them if they put us up.
The `Last Stand of the Grays' won't be in it. `With their
rifles grasped in their stiffened hands, mid a ring of the dead
and dyin',' as some fathead sings. Can you hear them now?"

"Very far away."

"That little lot will do no good, but I expect their search
parties are all over the wood. Well, I was telling you my tale
of woe. They got us soon to this town of theirs--about a
thousand huts of branches and leaves in a great grove of trees
near the edge of the cliff. It's three or four miles from here.
The filthy beasts fingered me all over, and I feel as if I should
never be clean again. They tied us up--the fellow who handled me
could tie like a bosun--and there we lay with our toes up,
beneath a tree, while a great brute stood guard over us with a
club in his hand. When I say `we' I mean Summerlee and myself.
Old Challenger was up a tree, eatin' pines and havin' the time of
his life. I'm bound to say that he managed to get some fruit to
us, and with his own hands he loosened our bonds. If you'd seen
him sitting up in that tree hob-nobbin' with his twin
brother--and singin' in that rollin' bass of his, `Ring out, wild
bells,' cause music of any kind seemed to put 'em in a good
humor, you'd have smiled; but we weren't in much mood for
laughin', as you can guess. They were inclined, within limits,
to let him do what he liked, but they drew the line pretty
sharply at us. It was a mighty consolation to us all to know
that you were runnin' loose and had the archives in your keepin'.

"Well, now, young fellah, I'll tell you what will surprise you.
You say you saw signs of men, and fires, traps, and the like.
Well, we have seen the natives themselves. Poor devils they
were, down-faced little chaps, and had enough to make them so.
It seems that the humans hold one side of this plateau--over
yonder, where you saw the caves--and the ape-men hold this side,
and there is bloody war between them all the time. That's the
situation, so far as I could follow it. Well, yesterday the
ape-men got hold of a dozen of the humans and brought them in
as prisoners. You never heard such a jabberin' and shriekin' in
your life. The men were little red fellows, and had been bitten
and clawed so that they could hardly walk. The ape-men put two
of them to death there and then--fairly pulled the arm off one of
them--it was perfectly beastly. Plucky little chaps they are,
and hardly gave a squeak. But it turned us absolutely sick.
Summerlee fainted, and even Challenger had as much as he could stand.
I think they have cleared, don't you?"

We listened intently, but nothing save the calling of the birds broke
the deep peace of the forest. Lord Roxton went on with his story.

"I Think you have had the escape of your life, young fellah my lad.
It was catchin' those Indians that put you clean out of their heads,
else they would have been back to the camp for you as sure as fate
and gathered you in. Of course, as you said, they have been watchin'
us from the beginnin' out of that tree, and they knew perfectly well
that we were one short. However, they could think only of this new
haul; so it was I, and not a bunch of apes, that dropped in on you
in the morning. Well, we had a horrid business afterwards. My God!
what a nightmare the whole thing is! You remember the great bristle
of sharp canes down below where we found the skeleton of the American?
Well, that is just under ape-town, and that's the jumpin'-off place
of their prisoners. I expect there's heaps of skeletons there, if
we looked for 'em. They have a sort of clear parade-ground on
the top, and they make a proper ceremony about it. One by one the
poor devils have to jump, and the game is to see whether they are
merely dashed to pieces or whether they get skewered on the canes.
They took us out to see it, and the whole tribe lined up on the edge.
Four of the Indians jumped, and the canes went through 'em like
knittin' needles through a pat of butter. No wonder we found that
poor Yankee's skeleton with the canes growin' between his ribs.
It was horrible--but it was doocedly interestin' too. We were all
fascinated to see them take the dive, even when we thought it would
be our turn next on the spring-board.

"Well, it wasn't. They kept six of the Indians up for to-day--
that's how I understood it--but I fancy we were to be the
star performers in the show. Challenger might get off, but
Summerlee and I were in the bill. Their language is more than
half signs, and it was not hard to follow them. So I thought it
was time we made a break for it. I had been plottin' it out a
bit, and had one or two things clear in my mind. It was all on
me, for Summerlee was useless and Challenger not much better.
The only time they got together they got slangin' because they
couldn't agree upon the scientific classification of these
red-headed devils that had got hold of us. One said it was the
dryopithecus of Java, the other said it was pithecanthropus.
Madness, I call it--Loonies, both. But, as I say, I had thought
out one or two points that were helpful. One was that these
brutes could not run as fast as a man in the open. They have
short, bandy legs, you see, and heavy bodies. Even Challenger
could give a few yards in a hundred to the best of them, and you
or I would be a perfect Shrubb. Another point was that they knew
nothin' about guns. I don't believe they ever understood how the
fellow I shot came by his hurt. If we could get at our guns
there was no sayin' what we could do.

"So I broke away early this mornin', gave my guard a kick in the
tummy that laid him out, and sprinted for the camp. There I got
you and the guns, and here we are."

"But the professors!" I cried, in consternation.

"Well, we must just go back and fetch 'em. I couldn't bring 'em
with me. Challenger was up the tree, and Summerlee was not fit
for the effort. The only chance was to get the guns and try
a rescue. Of course they may scupper them at once in revenge.
I don't think they would touch Challenger, but I wouldn't answer
for Summerlee. But they would have had him in any case. Of that
I am certain. So I haven't made matters any worse by boltin'.
But we are honor bound to go back and have them out or see it
through with them. So you can make up your soul, young fellah my
lad, for it will be one way or the other before evenin'."

I have tried to imitate here Lord Roxton's jerky talk, his short,
strong sentences, the half-humorous, half-reckless tone that ran
through it all. But he was a born leader. As danger thickened
his jaunty manner would increase, his speech become more racy,
his cold eyes glitter into ardent life, and his Don Quixote
moustache bristle with joyous excitement. His love of danger,
his intense appreciation of the drama of an adventure--all the
more intense for being held tightly in--his consistent view that
every peril in life is a form of sport, a fierce game betwixt you
and Fate, with Death as a forfeit, made him a wonderful companion
at such hours. If it were not for our fears as to the fate of
our companions, it would have been a positive joy to throw myself
with such a man into such an affair. We were rising from our
brushwood hiding-place when suddenly I felt his grip upon my arm.

"By George!" he whispered, "here they come!"

From where we lay we could look down a brown aisle, arched with
green, formed by the trunks and branches. Along this a party of
the ape-men were passing. They went in single file, with bent legs
and rounded backs, their hands occasionally touching the ground,
their heads turning to left and right as they trotted along.
Their crouching gait took away from their height, but I should
put them at five feet or so, with long arms and enormous chests.
Many of them carried sticks, and at the distance they looked like
a line of very hairy and deformed human beings. For a moment I
caught this clear glimpse of them. Then they were lost among
the bushes.

"Not this time," said Lord John, who had caught up his rifle.
"Our best chance is to lie quiet until they have given up the search.
Then we shall see whether we can't get back to their town and hit
'em where it hurts most. Give 'em an hour and we'll march."

We filled in the time by opening one of our food tins and making
sure of our breakfast. Lord Roxton had had nothing but some
fruit since the morning before and ate like a starving man.
Then, at last, our pockets bulging with cartridges and a rifle in
each hand, we started off upon our mission of rescue. Before leaving
it we carefully marked our little hiding-place among the brush-wood
and its bearing to Fort Challenger, that we might find it again if
we needed it. We slunk through the bushes in silence until we came
to the very edge of the cliff, close to the old camp. There we
halted, and Lord John gave me some idea of his plans.

"So long as we are among the thick trees these swine are our
masters, said he. They can see us and we cannot see them. But in
the open it is different. There we can move faster than they.
So we must stick to the open all we can. The edge of the plateau
has fewer large trees than further inland. So that's our line
of advance. Go slowly, keep your eyes open and your rifle ready.
Above all, never let them get you prisoner while there is a
cartridge left--that's my last word to you, young fellah."

When we reached the edge of the cliff I looked over and saw our
good old black Zambo sitting smoking on a rock below us. I would
have given a great deal to have hailed him and told him how we
were placed, but it was too dangerous, lest we should be heard.
The woods seemed to be full of the ape-men; again and again we
heard their curious clicking chatter. At such times we plunged
into the nearest clump of bushes and lay still until the sound
had passed away. Our advance, therefore, was very slow, and two
hours at least must have passed before I saw by Lord John's
cautious movements that we must be close to our destination.
He motioned to me to lie still, and he crawled forward himself.
In a minute he was back again, his face quivering with eagerness.

"Come!" said he. "Come quick! I hope to the Lord we are not too
late already!

I found myself shaking with nervous excitement as I scrambled
forward and lay down beside him, looking out through the bushes
at a clearing which stretched before us.

It was a sight which I shall never forget until my dying day--so
weird, so impossible, that I do not know how I am to make you
realize it, or how in a few years I shall bring myself to believe
in it if I live to sit once more on a lounge in the Savage Club
and look out on the drab solidity of the Embankment. I know that
it will seem then to be some wild nightmare, some delirium of fever.
Yet I will set it down now, while it is still fresh in my memory,
and one at least, the man who lay in the damp grasses by my side,
will know if I have lied.

A wide, open space lay before us--some hundreds of yards
across--all green turf and low bracken growing to the very edge
of the cliff. Round this clearing there was a semi-circle of
trees with curious huts built of foliage piled one above the
other among the branches. A rookery, with every nest a little
house, would best convey the idea. The openings of these huts
and the branches of the trees were thronged with a dense mob of
ape-people, whom from their size I took to be the females and
infants of the tribe. They formed the background of the picture,
and were all looking out with eager interest at the same scene
which fascinated and bewildered us.

In the open, and near the edge of the cliff, there had assembled
a crowd of some hundred of these shaggy, red-haired creatures,
many of them of immense size, and all of them horrible to look upon.
There was a certain discipline among them, for none of them
attempted to break the line which had been formed. In front
there stood a small group of Indians--little, clean-limbed, red
fellows, whose skins glowed like polished bronze in the strong sunlight.
A tall, thin white man was standing beside them, his head bowed,
his arms folded, his whole attitude expressive of his horror
and dejection. There was no mistaking the angular form of
Professor Summerlee.

In front of and around this dejected group of prisoners were several
ape-men, who watched them closely and made all escape impossible.
Then, right out from all the others and close to the edge of the
cliff, were two figures, so strange, and under other circumstances
so ludicrous, that they absorbed my attention. The one was our
comrade, Professor Challenger. The remains of his coat still hung
in strips from his shoulders, but his shirt had been all torn out,
and his great beard merged itself in the black tangle which
covered his mighty chest. He had lost his hat, and his hair,
which had grown long in our wanderings, was flying in wild disorder.
A single day seemed to have changed him from the highest product
of modern civilization to the most desperate savage in South America.
Beside him stood his master, the king of the ape-men. In all things
he was, as Lord John had said, the very image of our Professor,
save that his coloring was red instead of black. The same short,
broad figure, the same heavy shoulders, the same forward hang of
the arms, the same bristling beard merging itself in the hairy chest.
Only above the eyebrows, where the sloping forehead and low, curved
skull of the ape-man were in sharp contrast to the broad brow and
magnificent cranium of the European, could one see any marked difference.
At every other point the king was an absurd parody of the Professor.

All this, which takes me so long to describe, impressed itself
upon me in a few seconds. Then we had very different things to
think of, for an active drama was in progress. Two of the
ape-men had seized one of the Indians out of the group and
dragged him forward to the edge of the cliff. The king raised
his hand as a signal. They caught the man by his leg and arm, and
swung him three times backwards and forwards with tremendous violence.
Then, with a frightful heave they shot the poor wretch over
the precipice. With such force did they throw him that he curved
high in the air before beginning to drop. As he vanished from sight,
the whole assembly, except the guards, rushed forward to the edge
of the precipice, and there was a long pause of absolute silence,
broken by a mad yell of delight. They sprang about, tossing their
long, hairy arms in the air and howling with exultation. Then they
fell back from the edge, formed themselves again into line, and
waited for the next victim.

This time it was Summerlee. Two of his guards caught him by the
wrists and pulled him brutally to the front. His thin figure and
long limbs struggled and fluttered like a chicken being dragged
from a coop. Challenger had turned to the king and waved his
hands frantically before him. He was begging, pleading,
imploring for his comrade's life. The ape-man pushed him roughly
aside and shook his head. It was the last conscious movement he
was to make upon earth. Lord John's rifle cracked, and the king
sank down, a tangled red sprawling thing, upon the ground.

"Shoot into the thick of them! Shoot! sonny, shoot!" cried
my companion.

There are strange red depths in the soul of the most commonplace man.
I am tenderhearted by nature, and have found my eyes moist many a
time over the scream of a wounded hare. Yet the blood lust was on
me now. I found myself on my feet emptying one magazine, then the
other, clicking open the breech to re-load, snapping it to again,
while cheering and yelling with pure ferocity and joy of slaughter
as I did so. With our four guns the two of us made a horrible havoc.
Both the guards who held Summerlee were down, and he was staggering
about like a drunken man in his amazement, unable to realize that
he was a free man. The dense mob of ape-men ran about in
bewilderment, marveling whence this storm of death was coming or
what it might mean. They waved, gesticulated, screamed, and tripped
up over those who had fallen. Then, with a sudden impulse, they all
rushed in a howling crowd to the trees for shelter, leaving the
ground behind them spotted with their stricken comrades. The prisoners
were left for the moment standing alone in the middle of the clearing.

Challenger's quick brain had grasped the situation. He seized
the bewildered Summerlee by the arm, and they both ran towards us.
Two of their guards bounded after them and fell to two bullets
from Lord John. We ran forward into the open to meet our friends,
and pressed a loaded rifle into the hands of each. But Summerlee
was at the end of his strength. He could hardly totter.
Already the ape-men were recovering from their panic. They were
coming through the brushwood and threatening to cut us off.
Challenger and I ran Summerlee along, one at each of his
elbows, while Lord John covered our retreat, firing again and
again as savage heads snarled at us out of the bushes. For a
mile or more the chattering brutes were at our very heels.
Then the pursuit slackened, for they learned our power and would
no longer face that unerring rifle. When we had at last reached
the camp, we looked back and found ourselves alone.

So it seemed to us; and yet we were mistaken. We had hardly
closed the thornbush door of our zareba, clasped each other's
hands, and thrown ourselves panting upon the ground beside our
spring, when we heard a patter of feet and then a gentle,
plaintive crying from outside our entrance. Lord Roxton rushed
forward, rifle in hand, and threw it open. There, prostrate upon
their faces, lay the little red figures of the four surviving
Indians, trembling with fear of us and yet imploring our protection.
With an expressive sweep of his hands one of them pointed to the
woods around them, and indicated that they were full of danger.
Then, darting forward, he threw his arms round Lord John's legs,
and rested his face upon them.

"By George!" cried our peer, pulling at his moustache in great
perplexity, "I say--what the deuce are we to do with these people?
Get up, little chappie, and take your face off my boots."

Summerlee was sitting up and stuffing some tobacco into his old briar.

"We've got to see them safe," said he. "You've pulled us all out
of the jaws of death. My word! it was a good bit of work!"

"Admirable!" cried Challenger. "Admirable! Not only we as
individuals, but European science collectively, owe you a deep
debt of gratitude for what you have done. I do not hesitate to
say that the disappearance of Professor Summerlee and myself
would have left an appreciable gap in modern zoological history.
Our young friend here and you have done most excellently well."

He beamed at us with the old paternal smile, but European science
would have been somewhat amazed could they have seen their chosen
child, the hope of the future, with his tangled, unkempt head,
his bare chest, and his tattered clothes. He had one of the
meat-tins between his knees, and sat with a large piece of cold
Australian mutton between his fingers. The Indian looked up at
him, and then, with a little yelp, cringed to the ground and
clung to Lord John's leg.

"Don't you be scared, my bonnie boy," said Lord John, patting the
matted head in front of him. "He can't stick your appearance,
Challenger; and, by George! I don't wonder. All right, little
chap, he's only a human, just the same as the rest of us."

"Really, sir!" cried the Professor.

"Well, it's lucky for you, Challenger, that you ARE a little out
of the ordinary. If you hadn't been so like the king----"

"Upon my word, Lord John, you allow yourself great latitude."

"Well, it's a fact."

"I beg, sir, that you will change the subject. Your remarks are
irrelevant and unintelligible. The question before us is what are
we to do with these Indians? The obvious thing is to escort them
home, if we knew where their home was."

"There is no difficulty about that," said I. "They live in
the caves on the other side of the central lake."

"Our young friend here knows where they live. I gather that it
is some distance."

"A good twenty miles," said I.

Summerlee gave a groan.

"I, for one, could never get there. Surely I hear those brutes
still howling upon our track."

As he spoke, from the dark recesses of the woods we heard far
away the jabbering cry of the ape-men. The Indians once more set
up a feeble wail of fear.

"We must move, and move quick!" said Lord John. "You help
Summerlee, young fellah. These Indians will carry stores.
Now, then, come along before they can see us."

In less than half-an-hour we had reached our brushwood retreat
and concealed ourselves. All day we heard the excited calling of
the ape-men in the direction of our old camp, but none of them
came our way, and the tired fugitives, red and white, had a long,
deep sleep. I was dozing myself in the evening when someone
plucked my sleeve, and I found Challenger kneeling beside me.

"You keep a diary of these events, and you expect eventually to
publish it, Mr. Malone," said he, with solemnity.

"I am only here as a Press reporter," I answered.

"Exactly. You may have heard some rather fatuous remarks of
Lord John Roxton's which seemed to imply that there was some--
some resemblance----"

"Yes, I heard them."

"I need not say that any publicity given to such an idea--any
levity in your narrative of what occurred--would be exceedingly
offensive to me."

"I will keep well within the truth."

"Lord John's observations are frequently exceedingly fanciful,
and he is capable of attributing the most absurd reasons to the
respect which is always shown by the most undeveloped races to
dignity and character. You follow my meaning?"


"I leave the matter to your discretion." Then, after a long
pause, he added: "The king of the ape-men was really a
creature of great distinction--a most remarkably handsome and
intelligent personality. Did it not strike you?"

"A most remarkable creature," said I.

And the Professor, much eased in his mind, settled down to his
slumber once more.


"Those Were the Real Conquests"

We had imagined that our pursuers, the ape-men, knew nothing of our
brush-wood hiding-place, but we were soon to find out our mistake.
There was no sound in the woods--not a leaf moved upon the trees,
and all was peace around us--but we should have been warned by our
first experience how cunningly and how patiently these creatures
can watch and wait until their chance comes. Whatever fate may be
mine through life, I am very sure that I shall never be nearer death
than I was that morning. But I will tell you the thing in its due order.

We all awoke exhausted after the terrific emotions and scanty
food of yesterday. Summerlee was still so weak that it was an
effort for him to stand; but the old man was full of a sort of
surly courage which would never admit defeat. A council was
held, and it was agreed that we should wait quietly for an hour
or two where we were, have our much-needed breakfast, and then
make our way across the plateau and round the central lake to the
caves where my observations had shown that the Indians lived.
We relied upon the fact that we could count upon the good word
of those whom we had rescued to ensure a warm welcome from
their fellows. Then, with our mission accomplished and possessing
a fuller knowledge of the secrets of Maple White Land, we should
turn our whole thoughts to the vital problem of our escape and return.
Even Challenger was ready to admit that we should then have done
all for which we had come, and that our first duty from that time
onwards was to carry back to civilization the amazing discoveries
we had made.

We were able now to take a more leisurely view of the Indians
whom we had rescued. They were small men, wiry, active, and
well-built, with lank black hair tied up in a bunch behind their
heads with a leathern thong, and leathern also were their
loin-clothes. Their faces were hairless, well formed, and
good-humored. The lobes of their ears, hanging ragged and
bloody, showed that they had been pierced for some ornaments
which their captors had torn out. Their speech, though
unintelligible to us, was fluent among themselves, and as they
pointed to each other and uttered the word "Accala" many times
over, we gathered that this was the name of the nation.
Occasionally, with faces which were convulsed with fear and
hatred, they shook their clenched hands at the woods round and
cried: "Doda! Doda!" which was surely their term for their enemies.

What do you make of them, Challenger?" asked Lord John. "One thing
is very clear to me, and that is that the little chap with the front
of his head shaved is a chief among them."

It was indeed evident that this man stood apart from the others,
and that they never ventured to address him without every sign of
deep respect. He seemed to be the youngest of them all, and yet,
so proud and high was his spirit that, upon Challenger laying his
great hand upon his head, he started like a spurred horse and,
with a quick flash of his dark eyes, moved further away from
the Professor. Then, placing his hand upon his breast and
holding himself with great dignity, he uttered the word "Maretas"
several times. The Professor, unabashed, seized the nearest Indian
by the shoulder and proceeded to lecture upon him as if he were a
potted specimen in a class-room.

"The type of these people," said he in his sonorous fashion,
"whether judged by cranial capacity, facial angle, or any other
test, cannot be regarded as a low one; on the contrary, we must
place it as considerably higher in the scale than many South
American tribes which I can mention. On no possible supposition
can we explain the evolution of such a race in this place.
For that matter, so great a gap separates these ape-men from the
primitive animals which have survived upon this plateau, that it
is inadmissible to think that they could have developed where we
find them."

"Then where the dooce did they drop from?" asked Lord John.

"A question which will, no doubt, be eagerly discussed in every
scientific society in Europe and America," the Professor answered.
"My own reading of the situation for what it is worth--" he inflated
his chest enormously and looked insolently around him at the words--
"is that evolution has advanced under the peculiar conditions of
this country up to the vertebrate stage, the old types surviving
and living on in company with the newer ones. Thus we find such
modern creatures as the tapir--an animal with quite a respectable
length of pedigree--the great deer, and the ant-eater in the
companionship of reptilian forms of jurassic type. So much is clear.
And now come the ape-men and the Indian. What is the scientific
mind to think of their presence? I can only account for it by an
invasion from outside. It is probable that there existed an
anthropoid ape in South America, who in past ages found his way
to this place, and that he developed into the creatures we have
seen, some of which"--here he looked hard at me--"were of an
appearance and shape which, if it had been accompanied by
corresponding intelligence, would, I do not hesitate to say,
have reflected credit upon any living race. As to the Indians
I cannot doubt that they are more recent immigrants from below.
Under the stress of famine or of conquest they have made their
way up here. Faced by ferocious creatures which they had never
before seen, they took refuge in the caves which our young friend
has described, but they have no doubt had a bitter fight to hold
their own against wild beasts, and especially against the ape-men
who would regard them as intruders, and wage a merciless war upon
them with a cunning which the larger beasts would lack. Hence the
fact that their numbers appear to be limited. Well, gentlemen,
have I read you the riddle aright, or is there any point which
you would query?"

Professor Summerlee for once was too depressed to argue, though
he shook his head violently as a token of general disagreement.
Lord John merely scratched his scanty locks with the remark that
he couldn't put up a fight as he wasn't in the same weight or class.
For my own part I performed my usual role of bringing things down
to a strictly prosaic and practical level by the remark that one
of the Indians was missing.

"He has gone to fetch some water," said Lord Roxton. "We fitted
him up with an empty beef tin and he is off."

"To the old camp?" I asked.

"No, to the brook. It's among the trees there. It can't be more
than a couple of hundred yards. But the beggar is certainly
taking his time."

"I'll go and look after him," said I. I picked up my rifle and
strolled in the direction of the brook, leaving my friends to lay
out the scanty breakfast. It may seem to you rash that even for
so short a distance I should quit the shelter of our friendly
thicket, but you will remember that we were many miles from
Ape-town, that so far as we knew the creatures had not discovered
our retreat, and that in any case with a rifle in my hands I had
no fear of them. I had not yet learned their cunning or their strength.

I could hear the murmur of our brook somewhere ahead of me, but
there was a tangle of trees and brushwood between me and it.
I was making my way through this at a point which was just out of
sight of my companions, when, under one of the trees, I noticed
something red huddled among the bushes. As I approached it, I
was shocked to see that it was the dead body of the missing Indian.
He lay upon his side, his limbs drawn up, and his head screwed
round at a most unnatural angle, so that he seemed to be looking
straight over his own shoulder. I gave a cry to warn my friends
that something was amiss, and running forwards I stooped over
the body. Surely my guardian angel was very near me then, for
some instinct of fear, or it may have been some faint rustle
of leaves, made me glance upwards. Out of the thick green
foliage which hung low over my head, two long muscular arms
covered with reddish hair were slowly descending. Another instant
and the great stealthy hands would have been round my throat.
I sprang backwards, but quick as I was, those hands were
quicker still. Through my sudden spring they missed a fatal
grip, but one of them caught the back of my neck and the other
one my face. I threw my hands up to protect my throat, and the
next moment the huge paw had slid down my face and closed over them.
I was lifted lightly from the ground, and I felt an intolerable
pressure forcing my head back and back until the strain upon the
cervical spine was more than I could bear. My senses swam, but
I still tore at the hand and forced it out from my chin.
Looking up I saw a frightful face with cold inexorable
light blue eyes looking down into mine. There was something
hypnotic in those terrible eyes. I could struggle no longer.
As the creature felt me grow limp in his grasp, two white canines
gleamed for a moment at each side of the vile mouth, and the grip
tightened still more upon my chin, forcing it always upwards and back.
A thin, oval-tinted mist formed before my eyes and little silvery
bells tinkled in my ears. Dully and far off I heard the crack of
a rifle and was feebly aware of the shock as I was dropped to the
earth, where I lay without sense or motion.

I awoke to find myself on my back upon the grass in our lair
within the thicket. Someone had brought the water from the
brook, and Lord John was sprinkling my head with it, while
Challenger and Summerlee were propping me up, with concern in
their faces. For a moment I had a glimpse of the human spirits
behind their scientific masks. It was really shock, rather than
any injury, which had prostrated me, and in half-an-hour, in
spite of aching head and stiff neck, I was sitting up and ready
for anything.

"But you've had the escape of your life, young fellah my lad,"
said Lord Roxton. "When I heard your cry and ran forward, and
saw your head twisted half-off and your stohwassers kickin' in
the air, I thought we were one short. I missed the beast in my
flurry, but he dropped you all right and was off like a streak.
By George! I wish I had fifty men with rifles. I'd clear out the
whole infernal gang of them and leave this country a bit cleaner
than we found it."

It was clear now that the ape-men had in some way marked us down,
and that we were watched on every side. We had not so much to
fear from them during the day, but they would be very likely to
rush us by night; so the sooner we got away from their
neighborhood the better. On three sides of us was absolute
forest, and there we might find ourselves in an ambush. But on
the fourth side--that which sloped down in the direction of the
lake--there was only low scrub, with scattered trees and
occasional open glades. It was, in fact, the route which I had
myself taken in my solitary journey, and it led us straight for
the Indian caves. This then must for every reason be our road.

One great regret we had, and that was to leave our old camp
behind us, not only for the sake of the stores which remained
there, but even more because we were losing touch with Zambo, our
link with the outside world. However, we had a fair supply of
cartridges and all our guns, so, for a time at least, we could
look after ourselves, and we hoped soon to have a chance of
returning and restoring our communications with our negro.
He had faithfully promised to stay where he was, and we had not a
doubt that he would be as good as his word.

It was in the early afternoon that we started upon our journey.
The young chief walked at our head as our guide, but refused
indignantly to carry any burden. Behind him came the two
surviving Indians with our scanty possessions upon their backs.
We four white men walked in the rear with rifles loaded and ready.
As we started there broke from the thick silent woods behind us
a sudden great ululation of the ape-men, which may have been a
cheer of triumph at our departure or a jeer of contempt at
our flight. Looking back we saw only the dense screen of trees,
but that long-drawn yell told us how many of our enemies lurked
among them. We saw no sign of pursuit, however, and soon we had
got into more open country and beyond their power.

As I tramped along, the rearmost of the four, I could not help
smiling at the appearance of my three companions in front. Was this
the luxurious Lord John Roxton who had sat that evening in the
Albany amidst his Persian rugs and his pictures in the pink
radiance of the tinted lights? And was this the imposing
Professor who had swelled behind the great desk in his massive
study at Enmore Park? And, finally, could this be the austere and
prim figure which had risen before the meeting at the Zoological
Institute? No three tramps that one could have met in a Surrey
lane could have looked more hopeless and bedraggled. We had, it
is true, been only a week or so upon the top of the plateau, but
all our spare clothing was in our camp below, and the one week
had been a severe one upon us all, though least to me who had not
to endure the handling of the ape-men. My three friends had all
lost their hats, and had now bound handkerchiefs round their heads,
their clothes hung in ribbons about them, and their unshaven grimy
faces were hardly to be recognized. Both Summerlee and Challenger
were limping heavily, while I still dragged my feet from weakness
after the shock of the morning, and my neck was as stiff as a board
from the murderous grip that held it. We were indeed a sorry crew,
and I did not wonder to see our Indian companions glance back at us
occasionally with horror and amazement on their faces.

In the late afternoon we reached the margin of the lake, and as
we emerged from the bush and saw the sheet of water stretching
before us our native friends set up a shrill cry of joy and
pointed eagerly in front of them. It was indeed a wonderful
sight which lay before us. Sweeping over the glassy surface was
a great flotilla of canoes coming straight for the shore upon
which we stood. They were some miles out when we first saw them,
but they shot forward with great swiftness, and were soon so near
that the rowers could distinguish our persons. Instantly a
thunderous shout of delight burst from them, and we saw them rise
from their seats, waving their paddles and spears madly in the air.
Then bending to their work once more, they flew across the
intervening water, beached their boats upon the sloping sand,
and rushed up to us, prostrating themselves with loud cries of
greeting before the young chief. Finally one of them, an elderly
man, with a necklace and bracelet of great lustrous glass beads
and the skin of some beautiful mottled amber-colored animal slung
over his shoulders, ran forward and embraced most tenderly the
youth whom we had saved. He then looked at us and asked some
questions, after which he stepped up with much dignity and
embraced us also each in turn. Then, at his order, the whole
tribe lay down upon the ground before us in homage. Personally I
felt shy and uncomfortable at this obsequious adoration, and I
read the same feeling in the faces of Roxton and Summerlee, but
Challenger expanded like a flower in the sun.

"They may be undeveloped types," said he, stroking his beard
and looking round at them, "but their deportment in the
presence of their superiors might be a lesson to some of our
more advanced Europeans. Strange how correct are the instincts
of the natural man!"

It was clear that the natives had come out upon the war-path, for
every man carried his spear--a long bamboo tipped with bone--his
bow and arrows, and some sort of club or stone battle-axe slung
at his side. Their dark, angry glances at the woods from which
we had come, and the frequent repetition of the word "Doda," made
it clear enough that this was a rescue party who had set forth to
save or revenge the old chief's son, for such we gathered that
the youth must be. A council was now held by the whole tribe
squatting in a circle, whilst we sat near on a slab of basalt and
watched their proceedings. Two or three warriors spoke, and
finally our young friend made a spirited harangue with such
eloquent features and gestures that we could understand it all as
clearly as if we had known his language.

"What is the use of returning?" he said. "Sooner or later the
thing must be done. Your comrades have been murdered. What if
I have returned safe? These others have been done to death.
There is no safety for any of us. We are assembled now and ready."
Then he pointed to us. "These strange men are our friends.
They are great fighters, and they hate the ape-men even as we do.
They command," here he pointed up to heaven, "the thunder and
the lightning. When shall we have such a chance again? Let us go
forward, and either die now or live for the future in safety.
How else shall we go back unashamed to our women?"

The little red warriors hung upon the words of the speaker, and
when he had finished they burst into a roar of applause, waving
their rude weapons in the air. The old chief stepped forward to
us, and asked us some questions, pointing at the same time to
the woods. Lord John made a sign to him that he should wait for
an answer and then he turned to us.

"Well, it's up to you to say what you will do," said he; "for my
part I have a score to settle with these monkey-folk, and if it
ends by wiping them off the face of the earth I don't see that
the earth need fret about it. I'm goin' with our little red pals
and I mean to see them through the scrap. What do you say,
young fellah?"

"Of course I will come."

"And you, Challenger?"

"I will assuredly co-operate."

"And you, Summerlee?"

"We seem to be drifting very far from the object of this
expedition, Lord John. I assure you that I little thought when I
left my professional chair in London that it was for the purpose
of heading a raid of savages upon a colony of anthropoid apes."

"To such base uses do we come," said Lord John, smiling. "But we
are up against it, so what's the decision?"

"It seems a most questionable step," said Summerlee,
argumentative to the last, "but if you are all going, I hardly
see how I can remain behind."

"Then it is settled," said Lord John, and turning to the chief he
nodded and slapped his rifle.

The old fellow clasped our hands, each in turn, while his men
cheered louder than ever. It was too late to advance that night,
so the Indians settled down into a rude bivouac. On all sides
their fires began to glimmer and smoke. Some of them who had
disappeared into the jungle came back presently driving a young
iguanodon before them. Like the others, it had a daub of asphalt
upon its shoulder, and it was only when we saw one of the natives
step forward with the air of an owner and give his consent to the
beast's slaughter that we understood at last that these great
creatures were as much private property as a herd of cattle, and
that these symbols which had so perplexed us were nothing more
than the marks of the owner. Helpless, torpid, and vegetarian,
with great limbs but a minute brain, they could be rounded up and
driven by a child. In a few minutes the huge beast had been cut
up and slabs of him were hanging over a dozen camp fires,
together with great scaly ganoid fish which had been speared in
the lake.

Summerlee had lain down and slept upon the sand, but we others
roamed round the edge of the water, seeking to learn something
more of this strange country. Twice we found pits of blue clay,
such as we had already seen in the swamp of the pterodactyls.
These were old volcanic vents, and for some reason excited the
greatest interest in Lord John. What attracted Challenger, on
the other hand, was a bubbling, gurgling mud geyser, where some
strange gas formed great bursting bubbles upon the surface.
He thrust a hollow reed into it and cried out with delight like a
schoolboy then he was able, on touching it with a lighted match,
to cause a sharp explosion and a blue flame at the far end of
the tube. Still more pleased was he when, inverting a leathern
pouch over the end of the reed, and so filling it with the gas,
he was able to send it soaring up into the air.

"An inflammable gas, and one markedly lighter than the atmosphere.
I should say beyond doubt that it contained a considerable
proportion of free hydrogen. The resources of G. E. C. are not
yet exhausted, my young friend. I may yet show you how a great
mind molds all Nature to its use." He swelled with some secret
purpose, but would say no more.

There was nothing which we could see upon the shore which seemed to
me so wonderful as the great sheet of water before us. Our numbers
and our noise had frightened all living creatures away, and save for
a few pterodactyls, which soared round high above our heads while
they waited for the carrion, all was still around the camp. But it
was different out upon the rose-tinted waters of the central lake.
It boiled and heaved with strange life. Great slate-colored backs
and high serrated dorsal fins shot up with a fringe of silver, and
then rolled down into the depths again. The sand-banks far out
were spotted with uncouth crawling forms, huge turtles, strange
saurians, and one great flat creature like a writhing, palpitating
mat of black greasy leather, which flopped its way slowly to the lake.
Here and there high serpent heads projected out of the water, cutting
swiftly through it with a little collar of foam in front, and a
long swirling wake behind, rising and falling in graceful,
swan-like undulations as they went. It was not until one of
these creatures wriggled on to a sand-bank within a few hundred
yards of us, and exposed a barrel-shaped body and huge flippers
behind the long serpent neck, that Challenger, and Summerlee, who
had joined us, broke out into their duet of wonder and admiration.

"Plesiosaurus! A fresh-water plesiosaurus!" cried Summerlee.
"That I should have lived to see such a sight! We are blessed,
my dear Challenger, above all zoologists since the world began!"

It was not until the night had fallen, and the fires of our
savage allies glowed red in the shadows, that our two men of
science could be dragged away from the fascinations of that
primeval lake. Even in the darkness as we lay upon the strand,
we heard from time to time the snort and plunge of the huge
creatures who lived therein.

At earliest dawn our camp was astir and an hour later we had
started upon our memorable expedition. Often in my dreams have I
thought that I might live to be a war correspondent. In what
wildest one could I have conceived the nature of the campaign
which it should be my lot to report! Here then is my first
despatch from a field of battle:

Our numbers had been reinforced during the night by a fresh batch
of natives from the caves, and we may have been four or five
hundred strong when we made our advance. A fringe of scouts was
thrown out in front, and behind them the whole force in a solid
column made their way up the long slope of the bush country until
we were near the edge of the forest. Here they spread out into
a long straggling line of spearmen and bowmen. Roxton and
Summerlee took their position upon the right flank, while
Challenger and I were on the left. It was a host of the stone
age that we were accompanying to battle--we with the last word of
the gunsmith's art from St. James' Street and the Strand.

We had not long to wait for our enemy. A wild shrill clamor
rose from the edge of the wood and suddenly a body of ape-men
rushed out with clubs and stones, and made for the center of the
Indian line. It was a valiant move but a foolish one, for the
great bandy-legged creatures were slow of foot, while their
opponents were as active as cats. It was horrible to see the
fierce brutes with foaming mouths and glaring eyes, rushing and
grasping, but forever missing their elusive enemies, while arrow
after arrow buried itself in their hides. One great fellow ran
past me roaring with pain, with a dozen darts sticking from his
chest and ribs. In mercy I put a bullet through his skull, and
he fell sprawling among the aloes. But this was the only shot
fired, for the attack had been on the center of the line, and the
Indians there had needed no help of ours in repulsing it. Of all
the ape-men who had rushed out into the open, I do not think that
one got back to cover.

But the matter was more deadly when we came among the trees. For an
hour or more after we entered the wood, there was a desperate
struggle in which for a time we hardly held our own. Springing out
from among the scrub the ape-men with huge clubs broke in upon the
Indians and often felled three or four of them before they could
be speared. Their frightful blows shattered everything upon which
they fell. One of them knocked Summerlee's rifle to matchwood
and the next would have crushed his skull had an Indian not
stabbed the beast to the heart. Other ape-men in the trees above
us hurled down stones and logs of wood, occasionally dropping
bodily on to our ranks and fighting furiously until they were felled.
Once our allies broke under the pressure, and had it not been for
the execution done by our rifles they would certainly have taken
to their heels. But they were gallantly rallied by their old
chief and came on with such a rush that the ape-men began in turn
to give way. Summerlee was weaponless, but I was emptying my
magazine as quick as I could fire, and on the further flank we
heard the continuous cracking of our companion's rifles.

Then in a moment came the panic and the collapse. Screaming and
howling, the great creatures rushed away in all directions
through the brushwood, while our allies yelled in their savage
delight, following swiftly after their flying enemies. All the
feuds of countless generations, all the hatreds and cruelties of
their narrow history, all the memories of ill-usage and
persecution were to be purged that day. At last man was to be
supreme and the man-beast to find forever his allotted place.
Fly as they would the fugitives were too slow to escape from the
active savages, and from every side in the tangled woods we heard
the exultant yells, the twanging of bows, and the crash and thud
as ape-men were brought down from their hiding-places in the trees.

I was following the others, when I found that Lord John and
Challenger had come across to join us.

"It's over," said Lord John. "I think we can leave the tidying up
to them. Perhaps the less we see of it the better we shall sleep."

Challenger's eyes were shining with the lust of slaughter.

"We have been privileged," he cried, strutting about like a
gamecock, "to be present at one of the typical decisive battles
of history--the battles which have determined the fate of
the world. What, my friends, is the conquest of one nation
by another? It is meaningless. Each produces the same result.
But those fierce fights, when in the dawn of the ages the
cave-dwellers held their own against the tiger folk, or the
elephants first found that they had a master, those were the real
conquests--the victories that count. By this strange turn of
fate we have seen and helped to decide even such a contest.
Now upon this plateau the future must ever be for man."

It needed a robust faith in the end to justify such tragic means.
As we advanced together through the woods we found the ape-men
lying thick, transfixed with spears or arrows. Here and there a
little group of shattered Indians marked where one of the
anthropoids had turned to bay, and sold his life dearly. Always in
front of us we heard the yelling and roaring which showed the
direction of the pursuit. The ape-men had been driven back to
their city, they had made a last stand there, once again they had
been broken, and now we were in time to see the final fearful
scene of all. Some eighty or a hundred males, the last
survivors, had been driven across that same little clearing which
led to the edge of the cliff, the scene of our own exploit two
days before. As we arrived the Indians, a semicircle of
spearmen, had closed in on them, and in a minute it was over,
Thirty or forty died where they stood. The others, screaming and
clawing, were thrust over the precipice, and went hurtling down,
as their prisoners had of old, on to the sharp bamboos six
hundred feet below. It was as Challenger had said, and the reign
of man was assured forever in Maple White Land. The males were
exterminated, Ape Town was destroyed, the females and young were
driven away to live in bondage, and the long rivalry of untold
centuries had reached its bloody end.

For us the victory brought much advantage. Once again we were
able to visit our camp and get at our stores. Once more also we
were able to communicate with Zambo, who had been terrified by
the spectacle from afar of an avalanche of apes falling from the
edge of the cliff.

"Come away, Massas, come away!" he cried, his eyes starting from
his head. "The debbil get you sure if you stay up there."

"It is the voice of sanity!" said Summerlee with conviction.
"We have had adventures enough and they are neither suitable to
our character or our position. I hold you to your word, Challenger.
From now onwards you devote your energies to getting us out of
this horrible country and back once more to civilization."


"Our Eyes have seen Great Wonders"

I write this from day to day, but I trust that before I come to
the end of it, I may be able to say that the light shines, at
last, through our clouds. We are held here with no clear means
of making our escape, and bitterly we chafe against it. Yet, I
can well imagine that the day may come when we may be glad that
we were kept, against our will, to see something more of the
wonders of this singular place, and of the creatures who inhabit it.

The victory of the Indians and the annihilation of the ape-men,
marked the turning point of our fortunes. From then onwards, we
were in truth masters of the plateau, for the natives looked upon us
with a mixture of fear and gratitude, since by our strange powers
we had aided them to destroy their hereditary foe. For their own
sakes they would, perhaps, be glad to see the departure of such
formidable and incalculable people, but they have not themselves
suggested any way by which we may reach the plains below.
There had been, so far as we could follow their signs, a
tunnel by which the place could be approached, the lower exit of
which we had seen from below. By this, no doubt, both ape-men
and Indians had at different epochs reached the top, and Maple
White with his companion had taken the same way. Only the year
before, however, there had been a terrific earthquake, and the
upper end of the tunnel had fallen in and completely disappeared.
The Indians now could only shake their heads and shrug their
shoulders when we expressed by signs our desire to descend.
It may be that they cannot, but it may also be that they will
not, help us to get away.

At the end of the victorious campaign the surviving ape-folk were
driven across the plateau (their wailings were horrible) and
established in the neighborhood of the Indian caves, where they
would, from now onwards, be a servile race under the eyes of
their masters. It was a rude, raw, primeval version of the Jews
in Babylon or the Israelites in Egypt. At night we could hear
from amid the trees the long-drawn cry, as some primitive Ezekiel
mourned for fallen greatness and recalled the departed glories of
Ape Town. Hewers of wood and drawers of water, such were they
from now onwards.

We had returned across the plateau with our allies two days after
the battle, and made our camp at the foot of their cliffs. They would
have had us share their caves with them, but Lord John would by
no means consent to it considering that to do so would put us in
their power if they were treacherously disposed. We kept our
independence, therefore, and had our weapons ready for any
emergency, while preserving the most friendly relations. We also
continually visited their caves, which were most remarkable
places, though whether made by man or by Nature we have never
been able to determine. They were all on the one stratum,
hollowed out of some soft rock which lay between the volcanic
basalt forming the ruddy cliffs above them, and the hard granite
which formed their base.

The openings were about eighty feet above the ground, and were
led up to by long stone stairs, so narrow and steep that no large
animal could mount them. Inside they were warm and dry, running
in straight passages of varying length into the side of the hill,
with smooth gray walls decorated with many excellent pictures
done with charred sticks and representing the various animals of
the plateau. If every living thing were swept from the country
the future explorer would find upon the walls of these caves
ample evidence of the strange fauna--the dinosaurs, iguanodons,
and fish lizards--which had lived so recently upon earth.

Since we had learned that the huge iguanodons were kept as tame
herds by their owners, and were simply walking meat-stores, we had
conceived that man, even with his primitive weapons, had established
his ascendancy upon the plateau. We were soon to discover that it
was not so, and that he was still there upon tolerance.

It was on the third day after our forming our camp near the
Indian caves that the tragedy occurred. Challenger and Summerlee
had gone off together that day to the lake where some of the
natives, under their direction, were engaged in harpooning
specimens of the great lizards. Lord John and I had remained in
our camp, while a number of the Indians were scattered about upon
the grassy slope in front of the caves engaged in different ways.
Suddenly there was a shrill cry of alarm, with the word "Stoa"
resounding from a hundred tongues. From every side men, women,
and children were rushing wildly for shelter, swarming up the
staircases and into the caves in a mad stampede.

Looking up, we could see them waving their arms from the rocks
above and beckoning to us to join them in their refuge. We had
both seized our magazine rifles and ran out to see what the
danger could be. Suddenly from the near belt of trees there
broke forth a group of twelve or fifteen Indians, running for
their lives, and at their very heels two of those frightful
monsters which had disturbed our camp and pursued me upon my
solitary journey. In shape they were like horrible toads, and
moved in a succession of springs, but in size they were of an
incredible bulk, larger than the largest elephant. We had never
before seen them save at night, and indeed they are nocturnal
animals save when disturbed in their lairs, as these had been.
We now stood amazed at the sight, for their blotched and warty
skins were of a curious fish-like iridescence, and the sunlight
struck them with an ever-varying rainbow bloom as they moved.

We had little time to watch them, however, for in an instant they
had overtaken the fugitives and were making a dire slaughter
among them. Their method was to fall forward with their full
weight upon each in turn, leaving him crushed and mangled, to
bound on after the others. The wretched Indians screamed with
terror, but were helpless, run as they would, before the
relentless purpose and horrible activity of these monstrous creatures.
One after another they went down, and there were not half-a-dozen
surviving by the time my companion and I could come to their help.
But our aid was of little avail and only involved us in the same peril.
At the range of a couple of hundred yards we emptied our magazines,
firing bullet after bullet into the beasts, but with no more effect
than if we were pelting them with pellets of paper. Their slow
reptilian natures cared nothing for wounds, and the springs of
their lives, with no special brain center but scattered throughout
their spinal cords, could not be tapped by any modern weapons.
The most that we could do was to check their progress by
distracting their attention with the flash and roar of our guns,
and so to give both the natives and ourselves time to reach the
steps which led to safety. But where the conical explosive
bullets of the twentieth century were of no avail, the poisoned
arrows of the natives, dipped in the juice of strophanthus and
steeped afterwards in decayed carrion, could succeed. Such arrows
were of little avail to the hunter who attacked the beast, because
their action in that torpid circulation was slow, and before its
powers failed it could certainly overtake and slay its assailant.
But now, as the two monsters hounded us to the very foot of the
stairs, a drift of darts came whistling from every chink in the
cliff above them. In a minute they were feathered with them,
and yet with no sign of pain they clawed and slobbered with
impotent rage at the steps which would lead them to their victims,
mounting clumsily up for a few yards and then sliding down again
to the ground. But at last the poison worked. One of them gave
a deep rumbling groan and dropped his huge squat head on to the earth.
The other bounded round in an eccentric circle with shrill, wailing
cries, and then lying down writhed in agony for some minutes before
it also stiffened and lay still. With yells of triumph the Indians
came flocking down from their caves and danced a frenzied dance
of victory round the dead bodies, in mad joy that two more of the
most dangerous of all their enemies had been slain. That night
they cut up and removed the bodies, not to eat--for the poison
was still active--but lest they should breed a pestilence.
The great reptilian hearts, however, each as large as a cushion,
still lay there, beating slowly and steadily, with a gentle rise
and fall, in horrible independent life. It was only upon the third
day that the ganglia ran down and the dreadful things were still.

Some day, when I have a better desk than a meat-tin and more
helpful tools than a worn stub of pencil and a last, tattered
note-book, I will write some fuller account of the Accala
Indians--of our life amongst them, and of the glimpses which we
had of the strange conditions of wondrous Maple White Land.
Memory, at least, will never fail me, for so long as the breath
of life is in me, every hour and every action of that period will
stand out as hard and clear as do the first strange happenings of
our childhood. No new impressions could efface those which are
so deeply cut. When the time comes I will describe that wondrous
moonlit night upon the great lake when a young ichthyosaurus--a
strange creature, half seal, half fish, to look at, with
bone-covered eyes on each side of his snout, and a third eye
fixed upon the top of his head--was entangled in an Indian net,
and nearly upset our canoe before we towed it ashore; the same
night that a green water-snake shot out from the rushes and
carried off in its coils the steersman of Challenger's canoe.
I will tell, too, of the great nocturnal white thing--to this day
we do not know whether it was beast or reptile--which lived in a
vile swamp to the east of the lake, and flitted about with a
faint phosphorescent glimmer in the darkness. The Indians were
so terrified at it that they would not go near the place, and,
though we twice made expeditions and saw it each time, we could
not make our way through the deep marsh in which it lived. I can
only say that it seemed to be larger than a cow and had the
strangest musky odor. I will tell also of the huge bird which
chased Challenger to the shelter of the rocks one day--a great
running bird, far taller than an ostrich, with a vulture-like
neck and cruel head which made it a walking death. As Challenger
climbed to safety one dart of that savage curving beak shore off the
heel of his boot as if it had been cut with a chisel. This time
at least modern weapons prevailed and the great creature, twelve
feet from head to foot--phororachus its name, according to our
panting but exultant Professor--went down before Lord Roxton's
rifle in a flurry of waving feathers and kicking limbs, with two
remorseless yellow eyes glaring up from the midst of it. May I
live to see that flattened vicious skull in its own niche amid
the trophies of the Albany. Finally, I will assuredly give some
account of the toxodon, the giant ten-foot guinea pig, with
projecting chisel teeth, which we killed as it drank in the gray
of the morning by the side of the lake.

All this I shall some day write at fuller length, and amidst
these more stirring days I would tenderly sketch in these lovely
summer evenings, when with the deep blue sky above us we lay in
good comradeship among the long grasses by the wood and marveled
at the strange fowl that swept over us and the quaint new
creatures which crept from their burrows to watch us, while above
us the boughs of the bushes were heavy with luscious fruit, and
below us strange and lovely flowers peeped at us from among the
herbage; or those long moonlit nights when we lay out upon the
shimmering surface of the great lake and watched with wonder and
awe the huge circles rippling out from the sudden splash of some
fantastic monster; or the greenish gleam, far down in the deep
water, of some strange creature upon the confines of darkness.
These are the scenes which my mind and my pen will dwell upon in
every detail at some future day.

But, you will ask, why these experiences and why this delay, when
you and your comrades should have been occupied day and night in the
devising of some means by which you could return to the outer world?
My answer is, that there was not one of us who was not working for
this end, but that our work had been in vain. One fact we had
very speedily discovered: The Indians would do nothing to help us.
In every other way they were our friends--one might almost say our
devoted slaves--but when it was suggested that they should help us
to make and carry a plank which would bridge the chasm, or when we
wished to get from them thongs of leather or liana to weave ropes
which might help us, we were met by a good-humored, but an
invincible, refusal. They would smile, twinkle their eyes, shake
their heads, and there was the end of it. Even the old chief met
us with the same obstinate denial, and it was only Maretas, the
youngster whom we had saved, who looked wistfully at us and told
us by his gestures that he was grieved for our thwarted wishes.
Ever since their crowning triumph with the ape-men they looked
upon us as supermen, who bore victory in the tubes of strange
weapons, and they believed that so long as we remained with them
good fortune would be theirs. A little red-skinned wife and a
cave of our own were freely offered to each of us if we would but
forget our own people and dwell forever upon the plateau. So far
all had been kindly, however far apart our desires might be; but
we felt well assured that our actual plans of a descent must be
kept secret, for we had reason to fear that at the last they might
try to hold us by force.

In spite of the danger from dinosaurs (which is not great save at
night, for, as I may have said before, they are mostly nocturnal
in their habits) I have twice in the last three weeks been over
to our old camp in order to see our negro who still kept watch
and ward below the cliff. My eyes strained eagerly across the
great plain in the hope of seeing afar off the help for which we
had prayed. But the long cactus-strewn levels still stretched
away, empty and bare, to the distant line of the cane-brake.

"They will soon come now, Massa Malone. Before another week pass
Indian come back and bring rope and fetch you down." Such was the
cheery cry of our excellent Zambo.

I had one strange experience as I came from this second visit
which had involved my being away for a night from my companions.
I was returning along the well-remembered route, and had reached
a spot within a mile or so of the marsh of the pterodactyls, when
I saw an extraordinary object approaching me. It was a man who
walked inside a framework made of bent canes so that he was
enclosed on all sides in a bell-shaped cage. As I drew nearer I
was more amazed still to see that it was Lord John Roxton. When he
saw me he slipped from under his curious protection and came towards
me laughing, and yet, as I thought, with some confusion in his manner.

"Well, young fellah," said he, "who would have thought of meetin'
you up here?"

"What in the world are you doing?" I asked.

"Visitin' my friends, the pterodactyls," said he.

"But why?"

"Interestin' beasts, don't you think? But unsociable!
Nasty rude ways with strangers, as you may remember. So I
rigged this framework which keeps them from bein' too pressin'
in their attentions."

"But what do you want in the swamp?"

He looked at me with a very questioning eye, and I read
hesitation in his face.

"Don't you think other people besides Professors can want to
know things?" he said at last. "I'm studyin' the pretty dears.
That's enough for you."

"No offense," said I.

His good-humor returned and he laughed.

"No offense, young fellah. I'm goin' to get a young devil
chick for Challenger. That's one of my jobs. No, I don't want
your company. I'm safe in this cage, and you are not. So long,
and I'll be back in camp by night-fall."

He turned away and I left him wandering on through the wood with
his extraordinary cage around him.

If Lord John's behavior at this time was strange, that of
Challenger was more so. I may say that he seemed to possess an
extraordinary fascination for the Indian women, and that he
always carried a large spreading palm branch with which he beat
them off as if they were flies, when their attentions became
too pressing. To see him walking like a comic opera Sultan, with
this badge of authority in his hand, his black beard bristling
in front of him, his toes pointing at each step, and a train of
wide-eyed Indian girls behind him, clad in their slender drapery
of bark cloth, is one of the most grotesque of all the pictures
which I will carry back with me. As to Summerlee, he was
absorbed in the insect and bird life of the plateau, and spent
his whole time (save that considerable portion which was devoted
to abusing Challenger for not getting us out of our difficulties)
in cleaning and mounting his specimens.

Challenger had been in the habit of walking off by himself every
morning and returning from time to time with looks of portentous
solemnity, as one who bears the full weight of a great enterprise
upon his shoulders. One day, palm branch in hand, and his crowd
of adoring devotees behind him, he led us down to his hidden
work-shop and took us into the secret of his plans.

The place was a small clearing in the center of a palm grove.
In this was one of those boiling mud geysers which I have
already described. Around its edge were scattered a number of
leathern thongs cut from iguanodon hide, and a large collapsed
membrane which proved to be the dried and scraped stomach of one
of the great fish lizards from the lake. This huge sack had been
sewn up at one end and only a small orifice left at the other.
Into this opening several bamboo canes had been inserted and the
other ends of these canes were in contact with conical clay
funnels which collected the gas bubbling up through the mud of
the geyser. Soon the flaccid organ began to slowly expand and
show such a tendency to upward movements that Challenger fastened
the cords which held it to the trunks of the surrounding trees.
In half an hour a good-sized gas-bag had been formed, and the
jerking and straining upon the thongs showed that it was capable
of considerable lift. Challenger, like a glad father in the
presence of his first-born, stood smiling and stroking his beard,
in silent, self-satisfied content as he gazed at the creation of
his brain. It was Summerlee who first broke the silence.

"You don't mean us to go up in that thing, Challenger?" said he,
in an acid voice.

"I mean, my dear Summerlee, to give you such a demonstration of
its powers that after seeing it you will, I am sure, have no
hesitation in trusting yourself to it."

"You can put it right out of your head now, at once," said
Summerlee with decision, "nothing on earth would induce me to
commit such a folly. Lord John, I trust that you will not
countenance such madness?"

"Dooced ingenious, I call it," said our peer. "I'd like to see
how it works."

"So you shall," said Challenger. "For some days I have exerted
my whole brain force upon the problem of how we shall descend
from these cliffs. We have satisfied ourselves that we cannot
climb down and that there is no tunnel. We are also unable to
construct any kind of bridge which may take us back to the
pinnacle from which we came. How then shall I find a means to
convey us? Some little time ago I had remarked to our young
friend here that free hydrogen was evolved from the geyser.
The idea of a balloon naturally followed. I was, I will admit,
somewhat baffled by the difficulty of discovering an envelope to
contain the gas, but the contemplation of the immense entrails of
these reptiles supplied me with a solution to the problem.
Behold the result!"

He put one hand in the front of his ragged jacket and pointed
proudly with the other.

By this time the gas-bag had swollen to a goodly rotundity and
was jerking strongly upon its lashings.

"Midsummer madness!" snorted Summerlee.

Lord John was delighted with the whole idea. "Clever old dear,
ain't he?" he whispered to me, and then louder to Challenger.
"What about a car?"

"The car will be my next care. I have already planned how it is
to be made and attached. Meanwhile I will simply show you how
capable my apparatus is of supporting the weight of each of us."

"All of us, surely?"

"No, it is part of my plan that each in turn shall descend as in
a parachute, and the balloon be drawn back by means which I shall
have no difficulty in perfecting. If it will support the weight
of one and let him gently down, it will have done all that is
required of it. I will now show you its capacity in that direction."

He brought out a lump of basalt of a considerable size,
constructed in the middle so that a cord could be easily attached
to it. This cord was the one which we had brought with us on to
the plateau after we had used it for climbing the pinnacle.
It was over a hundred feet long, and though it was thin it was
very strong. He had prepared a sort of collar of leather with many
straps depending from it. This collar was placed over the dome
of the balloon, and the hanging thongs were gathered together
below, so that the pressure of any weight would be diffused over
a considerable surface. Then the lump of basalt was fastened to
the thongs, and the rope was allowed to hang from the end of it,
being passed three times round the Professor's arm.

"I will now," said Challenger, with a smile of pleased
anticipation, "demonstrate the carrying power of my balloon." As
he said so he cut with a knife the various lashings that held it.

Never was our expedition in more imminent danger of complete
annihilation. The inflated membrane shot up with frightful
velocity into the air. In an instant Challenger was pulled off
his feet and dragged after it. I had just time to throw my arms
round his ascending waist when I was myself whipped up into the air.
Lord John had me with a rat-trap grip round the legs, but I felt
that he also was coming off the ground. For a moment I had a
vision of four adventurers floating like a string of sausages
over the land that they had explored. But, happily, there were
limits to the strain which the rope would stand, though none
apparently to the lifting powers of this infernal machine. There was
a sharp crack, and we were in a heap upon the ground with coils of
rope all over us. When we were able to stagger to our feet we saw
far off in the deep blue sky one dark spot where the lump of
basalt was speeding upon its way.

"Splendid!" cried the undaunted Challenger, rubbing his injured arm.
"A most thorough and satisfactory demonstration! I could not have
anticipated such a success. Within a week, gentlemen, I promise
that a second balloon will be prepared, and that you can count upon
taking in safety and comfort the first stage of our homeward journey."
So far I have written each of the foregoing events as it occurred.
Now I am rounding off my narrative from the old camp, where Zambo
has waited so long, with all our difficulties and dangers left like
a dream behind us upon the summit of those vast ruddy crags which
tower above our heads. We have descended in safety, though in a
most unexpected fashion, and all is well with us. In six weeks
or two months we shall be in London, and it is possible that this
letter may not reach you much earlier than we do ourselves.
Already our hearts yearn and our spirits fly towards the great
mother city which holds so much that is dear to us.

It was on the very evening of our perilous adventure with
Challenger's home-made balloon that the change came in our fortunes.
I have said that the one person from whom we had had some sign of
sympathy in our attempts to get away was the young chief whom we
had rescued. He alone had no desire to hold us against our will
in a strange land. He had told us as much by his expressive
language of signs. That evening, after dusk, he came down to our
little camp, handed me (for some reason he had always shown his
attentions to me, perhaps because I was the one who was nearest
his age) a small roll of the bark of a tree, and then pointing
solemnly up at the row of caves above him, he had put his finger
to his lips as a sign of secrecy and had stolen back again to
his people.

I took the slip of bark to the firelight and we examined it together.
It was about a foot square, and on the inner side there was a
singular arrangement of lines, which I here reproduce:

They were neatly done in charcoal upon the white surface, and
looked to me at first sight like some sort of rough musical score.

"Whatever it is, I can swear that it is of importance to us,"
said I. "I could read that on his face as he gave it."

"Unless we have come upon a primitive practical joker," Summerlee
suggested, "which I should think would be one of the most
elementary developments of man."

"It is clearly some sort of script," said Challenger.

"Looks like a guinea puzzle competition," remarked Lord John,
craning his neck to have a look at it. Then suddenly he
stretched out his hand and seized the puzzle.

"By George!" he cried, "I believe I've got it. The boy guessed
right the very first time. See here! How many marks are on that
paper? Eighteen. Well, if you come to think of it there are
eighteen cave openings on the hill-side above us."

"He pointed up to the caves when he gave it to me," said I.

"Well, that settles it. This is a chart of the caves. What!
Eighteen of them all in a row, some short, some deep, some
branching, same as we saw them. It's a map, and here's a cross
on it. What's the cross for? It is placed to mark one that is
much deeper than the others."

"One that goes through," I cried.

"I believe our young friend has read the riddle," said Challenger.
"If the cave does not go through I do not understand why this
person, who has every reason to mean us well, should have drawn
our attention to it. But if it does go through and comes out at
the corresponding point on the other side, we should not have more
than a hundred feet to descend."

"A hundred feet!" grumbled Summerlee.

"Well, our rope is still more than a hundred feet long," I cried.
"Surely we could get down."

"How about the Indians in the cave?" Summerlee objected.

"There are no Indians in any of the caves above our heads," said I.
"They are all used as barns and store-houses. Why should we not
go up now at once and spy out the land?"

There is a dry bituminous wood upon the plateau--a species of
araucaria, according to our botanist--which is always used by the
Indians for torches. Each of us picked up a faggot of this, and
we made our way up weed-covered steps to the particular cave
which was marked in the drawing. It was, as I had said, empty,
save for a great number of enormous bats, which flapped round our
heads as we advanced into it. As we had no desire to draw the
attention of the Indians to our proceedings, we stumbled along in
the dark until we had gone round several curves and penetrated a
considerable distance into the cavern. Then, at last, we lit
our torches. It was a beautiful dry tunnel with smooth gray walls
covered with native symbols, a curved roof which arched over our
heads, and white glistening sand beneath our feet. We hurried
eagerly along it until, with a deep groan of bitter
disappointment, we were brought to a halt. A sheer wall of rock
had appeared before us, with no chink through which a mouse could
have slipped. There was no escape for us there.

We stood with bitter hearts staring at this unexpected obstacle.
It was not the result of any convulsion, as in the case of the
ascending tunnel. The end wall was exactly like the side ones.
It was, and had always been, a cul-de-sac.

"Never mind, my friends," said the indomitable Challenger.
"You have still my firm promise of a balloon."

Summerlee groaned.

"Can we be in the wrong cave?" I suggested.

"No use, young fellah," said Lord John, with his finger on the chart.
"Seventeen from the right and second from the left. This is the
cave sure enough."

I looked at the mark to which his finger pointed, and I gave a
sudden cry of joy.

"I believe I have it! Follow me! Follow me!"

I hurried back along the way we had come, my torch in my hand.
"Here," said I, pointing to some matches upon the ground, "is
where we lit up."


"Well, it is marked as a forked cave, and in the darkness we
passed the fork before the torches were lit. On the right side
as we go out we should find the longer arm."

It was as I had said. We had not gone thirty yards before a
great black opening loomed in the wall. We turned into it to
find that we were in a much larger passage than before. Along it
we hurried in breathless impatience for many hundreds of yards.
Then, suddenly, in the black darkness of the arch in front of us
we saw a gleam of dark red light. We stared in amazement.
A sheet of steady flame seemed to cross the passage and to bar
our way. We hastened towards it. No sound, no heat, no movement
came from it, but still the great luminous curtain glowed before us,
silvering all the cave and turning the sand to powdered jewels,
until as we drew closer it discovered a circular edge.

"The moon, by George!" cried Lord John. "We are through, boys!
We are through!"

It was indeed the full moon which shone straight down the
aperture which opened upon the cliffs. It was a small rift, not
larger than a window, but it was enough for all our purposes.
As we craned our necks through it we could see that the descent was
not a very difficult one, and that the level ground was no very
great way below us. It was no wonder that from below we had not
observed the place, as the cliffs curved overhead and an ascent
at the spot would have seemed so impossible as to discourage
close inspection. We satisfied ourselves that with the help of
our rope we could find our way down, and then returned, rejoicing,
to our camp to make our preparations for the next evening.

What we did we had to do quickly and secretly, since even at this
last hour the Indians might hold us back. Our stores we would
leave behind us, save only our guns and cartridges. But Challenger
had some unwieldy stuff which he ardently desired to take with him,
and one particular package, of which I may not speak, which gave
us more labor than any. Slowly the day passed, but when the
darkness fell we were ready for our departure. With much labor
we got our things up the steps, and then, looking back, took one
last long survey of that strange land, soon I fear to be vulgarized,
the prey of hunter and prospector, but to each of us a dreamland
of glamour and romance, a land where we had dared much, suffered
much, and learned much--OUR land, as we shall ever fondly call it.
Along upon our left the neighboring caves each threw out its ruddy
cheery firelight into the gloom. From the slope below us rose the
voices of the Indians as they laughed and sang. Beyond was the
long sweep of the woods, and in the center, shimmering vaguely
through the gloom, was the great lake, the mother of strange monsters.
Even as we looked a high whickering cry, the call of some weird
animal, rang clear out of the darkness. It was the very voice of
Maple White Land bidding us good-bye. We turned and plunged into
the cave which led to home.

Two hours later, we, our packages, and all we owned, were at the
foot of the cliff. Save for Challenger's luggage we had never
a difficulty. Leaving it all where we descended, we started at
once for Zambo's camp. In the early morning we approached it,
but only to find, to our amazement, not one fire but a dozen upon
the plain. The rescue party had arrived. There were twenty
Indians from the river, with stakes, ropes, and all that could be
useful for bridging the chasm. At least we shall have no
difficulty now in carrying our packages, when to-morrow we begin
to make our way back to the Amazon.

And so, in humble and thankful mood, I close this account.
Our eyes have seen great wonders and our souls are chastened
by what we have endured. Each is in his own way a better and
deeper man. It may be that when we reach Para we shall stop
to refit. If we do, this letter will be a mail ahead. If not,
it will reach London on the very day that I do. In either case,
my dear Mr. McArdle, I hope very soon to shake you by the hand.


"A Procession! A Procession!"

I should wish to place upon record here our gratitude to all our
friends upon the Amazon for the very great kindness and
hospitality which was shown to us upon our return journey.
Very particularly would I thank Senhor Penalosa and other officials
of the Brazilian Government for the special arrangements by which
we were helped upon our way, and Senhor Pereira of Para, to whose
forethought we owe the complete outfit for a decent appearance in
the civilized world which we found ready for us at that town.
It seemed a poor return for all the courtesy which we encountered
that we should deceive our hosts and benefactors, but under the
circumstances we had really no alternative, and I hereby tell
them that they will only waste their time and their money if they
attempt to follow upon our traces. Even the names have been
altered in our accounts, and I am very sure that no one, from the
most careful study of them, could come within a thousand miles of
our unknown land.

The excitement which had been caused through those parts of South
America which we had to traverse was imagined by us to be purely
local, and I can assure our friends in England that we had no
notion of the uproar which the mere rumor of our experiences had
caused through Europe. It was not until the Ivernia was within
five hundred miles of Southampton that the wireless messages from
paper after paper and agency after agency, offering huge prices
for a short return message as to our actual results, showed us
how strained was the attention not only of the scientific world
but of the general public. It was agreed among us, however, that
no definite statement should be given to the Press until we had
met the members of the Zoological Institute, since as delegates it
was our clear duty to give our first report to the body from which
we had received our commission of investigation. Thus, although
we found Southampton full of Pressmen, we absolutely refused to
give any information, which had the natural effect of focussing
public attention upon the meeting which was advertised for the
evening of November 7th. For this gathering, the Zoological Hall
which had been the scene of the inception of our task was found
to be far too small, and it was only in the Queen's Hall in Regent
Street that accommodation could be found. It is now common
knowledge the promoters might have ventured upon the Albert Hall
and still found their space too scanty.

It was for the second evening after our arrival that the great
meeting had been fixed. For the first, we had each, no doubt,
our own pressing personal affairs to absorb us. Of mine I cannot
yet speak. It may be that as it stands further from me I may
think of it, and even speak of it, with less emotion. I have
shown the reader in the beginning of this narrative where lay the
springs of my action. It is but right, perhaps, that I should
carry on the tale and show also the results. And yet the day may
come when I would not have it otherwise. At least I have been
driven forth to take part in a wondrous adventure, and I cannot
but be thankful to the force that drove me.

And now I turn to the last supreme eventful moment of our adventure.
As I was racking my brain as to how I should best describe it, my
eyes fell upon the issue of my own Journal for the morning of the
8th of November with the full and excellent account of my friend
and fellow-reporter Macdona. What can I do better than transcribe
his narrative--head-lines and all? I admit that the paper was
exuberant in the matter, out of compliment to its own enterprise
in sending a correspondent, but the other great dailies were hardly
less full in their account. Thus, then, friend Mac in his report:


"The much-discussed meeting of the Zoological Institute, convened
to hear the report of the Committee of Investigation sent out
last year to South America to test the assertions made by
Professor Challenger as to the continued existence of prehistoric
life upon that Continent, was held last night in the greater
Queen's Hall, and it is safe to say that it is likely to be a red
letter date in the history of Science, for the proceedings were
of so remarkable and sensational a character that no one present
is ever likely to forget them." (Oh, brother scribe Macdona, what
a monstrous opening sentence!) "The tickets were theoretically
confined to members and their friends, but the latter is an
elastic term, and long before eight o'clock, the hour fixed for
the commencement of the proceedings, all parts of the Great Hall
were tightly packed. The general public, however, which most
unreasonably entertained a grievance at having been excluded,
stormed the doors at a quarter to eight, after a prolonged melee
in which several people were injured, including Inspector Scoble
of H. Division, whose leg was unfortunately broken. After this
unwarrantable invasion, which not only filled every passage, but
even intruded upon the space set apart for the Press, it is
estimated that nearly five thousand people awaited the arrival of
the travelers. When they eventually appeared, they took their
places in the front of a platform which already contained all the
leading scientific men, not only of this country, but of France
and of Germany. Sweden was also represented, in the person of
Professor Sergius, the famous Zoologist of the University of Upsala.
The entrance of the four heroes of the occasion was the signal
for a remarkable demonstration of welcome, the whole audience
rising and cheering for some minutes. An acute observer might,
however, have detected some signs of dissent amid the applause,
and gathered that the proceedings were likely to become more
lively than harmonious. It may safely be prophesied, however,
that no one could have foreseen the extraordinary turn which they
were actually to take.

"Of the appearance of the four wanderers little need be said,
since their photographs have for some time been appearing in all
the papers. They bear few traces of the hardships which they are
said to have undergone. Professor Challenger's beard may be more
shaggy, Professor Summerlee's features more ascetic, Lord John
Roxton's figure more gaunt, and all three may be burned to a
darker tint than when they left our shores, but each appeared to
be in most excellent health. As to our own representative, the
well-known athlete and international Rugby football player, E. D.
Malone, he looks trained to a hair, and as he surveyed the crowd
a smile of good-humored contentment pervaded his honest but
homely face." (All right, Mac, wait till I get you alone!)

"When quiet had been restored and the audience resumed their
seats after the ovation which they had given to the travelers,
the chairman, the Duke of Durham, addressed the meeting. `He
would not,' he said, `stand for more than a moment between that
vast assembly and the treat which lay before them. It was not
for him to anticipate what Professor Summerlee, who was the
spokesman of the committee, had to say to them, but it was common
rumor that their expedition had been crowned by extraordinary
success.' (Applause.) `Apparently the age of romance was not
dead, and there was common ground upon which the wildest
imaginings of the novelist could meet the actual scientific
investigations of the searcher for truth. He would only add,
before he sat down, that he rejoiced--and all of them would
rejoice--that these gentlemen had returned safe and sound from
their difficult and dangerous task, for it cannot be denied that
any disaster to such an expedition would have inflicted a
well-nigh irreparable loss to the cause of Zoological science.'
(Great applause, in which Professor Challenger was observed to join.)

"Professor Summerlee's rising was the signal for another
extraordinary outbreak of enthusiasm, which broke out again at
intervals throughout his address. That address will not be given
in extenso in these columns, for the reason that a full account
of the whole adventures of the expedition is being published as
a supplement from the pen of our own special correspondent.
Some general indications will therefore suffice. Having described
the genesis of their journey, and paid a handsome tribute to his
friend Professor Challenger, coupled with an apology for the
incredulity with which his assertions, now fully vindicated, had
been received, he gave the actual course of their journey,
carefully withholding such information as would aid the public in
any attempt to locate this remarkable plateau. Having described,
in general terms, their course from the main river up to the time
that they actually reached the base of the cliffs, he enthralled
his hearers by his account of the difficulties encountered by the
expedition in their repeated attempts to mount them, and finally
described how they succeeded in their desperate endeavors,
which cost the lives of their two devoted half-breed servants."
(This amazing reading of the affair was the result of Summerlee's
endeavors to avoid raising any questionable matter at the meeting.)

"Having conducted his audience in fancy to the summit, and
marooned them there by reason of the fall of their bridge, the
Professor proceeded to describe both the horrors and the
attractions of that remarkable land. Of personal adventures he
said little, but laid stress upon the rich harvest reaped by
Science in the observations of the wonderful beast, bird, insect,
and plant life of the plateau. Peculiarly rich in the coleoptera
and in the lepidoptera, forty-six new species of the one and
ninety-four of the other had been secured in the course of a
few weeks. It was, however, in the larger animals, and especially
in the larger animals supposed to have been long extinct, that the
interest of the public was naturally centered. Of these he was
able to give a goodly list, but had little doubt that it would be
largely extended when the place had been more thoroughly investigated.
He and his companions had seen at least a dozen creatures, most of
them at a distance, which corresponded with nothing at present
known to Science. These would in time be duly classified
and examined. He instanced a snake, the cast skin of which,
deep purple in color, was fifty-one feet in length, and
mentioned a white creature, supposed to be mammalian, which gave
forth well-marked phosphorescence in the darkness; also a large
black moth, the bite of which was supposed by the Indians to be
highly poisonous. Setting aside these entirely new forms of
life, the plateau was very rich in known prehistoric forms,
dating back in some cases to early Jurassic times. Among these
he mentioned the gigantic and grotesque stegosaurus, seen once by
Mr. Malone at a drinking-place by the lake, and drawn in the
sketch-book of that adventurous American who had first penetrated
this unknown world. He described also the iguanodon and the
pterodactyl--two of the first of the wonders which they
had encountered. He then thrilled the assembly by some account
of the terrible carnivorous dinosaurs, which had on more than one
occasion pursued members of the party, and which were the most
formidable of all the creatures which they had encountered.
Thence he passed to the huge and ferocious bird, the phororachus,
and to the great elk which still roams upon this upland. It was
not, however, until he sketched the mysteries of the central lake
that the full interest and enthusiasm of the audience were aroused.
One had to pinch oneself to be sure that one was awake as one
heard this sane and practical Professor in cold measured
tones describing the monstrous three-eyed fish-lizards and the
huge water-snakes which inhabit this enchanted sheet of water.
Next he touched upon the Indians, and upon the extraordinary
colony of anthropoid apes, which might be looked upon as an
advance upon the pithecanthropus of Java, and as coming therefore
nearer than any known form to that hypothetical creation, the
missing link. Finally he described, amongst some merriment, the
ingenious but highly dangerous aeronautic invention of Professor
Challenger, and wound up a most memorable address by an account
of the methods by which the committee did at last find their way
back to civilization.

"It had been hoped that the proceedings would end there, and that
a vote of thanks and congratulation, moved by Professor Sergius,
of Upsala University, would be duly seconded and carried; but it
was soon evident that the course of events was not destined to
flow so smoothly. Symptoms of opposition had been evident from
time to time during the evening, and now Dr. James Illingworth, of
Edinburgh, rose in the center of the hall. Dr. Illingworth asked
whether an amendment should not be taken before a resolution.

"THE CHAIRMAN: `Yes, sir, if there must be an amendment.'

"DR. ILLINGWORTH: `Your Grace, there must be an amendment.'

"THE CHAIRMAN: `Then let us take it at once.'

"PROFESSOR SUMMERLEE (springing to his feet): `Might I explain,
your Grace, that this man is my personal enemy ever since our
controversy in the Quarterly Journal of Science as to the true
nature of Bathybius?'

"THE CHAIRMAN: `I fear I cannot go into personal matters. Proceed.'

"Dr. Illingworth was imperfectly heard in part of his remarks on
account of the strenuous opposition of the friends of the explorers.
Some attempts were also made to pull him down. Being a man of
enormous physique, however, and possessed of a very powerful
voice, he dominated the tumult and succeeded in finishing
his speech. It was clear, from the moment of his rising, that
he had a number of friends and sympathizers in the hall, though
they formed a minority in the audience. The attitude of the
greater part of the public might be described as one of
attentive neutrality.

"Dr. Illingworth began his remarks by expressing his high
appreciation of the scientific work both of Professor Challenger
and of Professor Summerlee. He much regretted that any personal
bias should have been read into his remarks, which were entirely
dictated by his desire for scientific truth. His position, in
fact, was substantially the same as that taken up by Professor
Summerlee at the last meeting. At that last meeting Professor
Challenger had made certain assertions which had been queried by
his colleague. Now this colleague came forward himself with the
same assertions and expected them to remain unquestioned. Was this
reasonable? (`Yes,' `No,' and prolonged interruption, during
which Professor Challenger was heard from the Press box to ask
leave from the chairman to put Dr. Illingworth into the street.)
A year ago one man said certain things. Now four men said other
and more startling ones. Was this to constitute a final proof
where the matters in question were of the most revolutionary and
incredible character? There had been recent examples of travelers
arriving from the unknown with certain tales which had been too
readily accepted. Was the London Zoological Institute to place
itself in this position? He admitted that the members of the
committee were men of character. But human nature was very complex.
Even Professors might be misled by the desire for notoriety.
Like moths, we all love best to flutter in the light.
Heavy-game shots liked to be in a position to cap the tales of
their rivals, and journalists were not averse from sensational
coups, even when imagination had to aid fact in the process.
Each member of the committee had his own motive for making the
most of his results. (`Shame! shame!') He had no desire to be
offensive. (`You are!' and interruption.) The corroboration of
these wondrous tales was really of the most slender description.
What did it amount to? Some photographs. {Was it possible that in
this age of ingenious manipulation photographs could be accepted
as evidence?} What more? We have a story of a flight and a descent
by ropes which precluded the production of larger specimens. It was
ingenious, but not convincing. It was understood that Lord John
Roxton claimed to have the skull of a phororachus. He could
only say that he would like to see that skull.

"LORD JOHN ROXTON: `Is this fellow calling me a liar?' (Uproar.)

"THE CHAIRMAN: `Order! order! Dr. Illingworth, I must direct you
to bring your remarks to a conclusion and to move your amendment.'

"DR. ILLINGWORTH: `Your Grace, I have more to say, but I bow to
your ruling. I move, then, that, while Professor Summerlee be
thanked for his interesting address, the whole matter shall be
regarded as `non-proven,' and shall be referred back to a larger,
and possibly more reliable Committee of Investigation.'

"It is difficult to describe the confusion caused by this amendment.
A large section of the audience expressed their indignation at such
a slur upon the travelers by noisy shouts of dissent and cries of,
`Don't put it!' `Withdraw!' `Turn him out!' On the other hand,
the malcontents--and it cannot be denied that they were fairly
numerous--cheered for the amendment, with cries of `Order!'
`Chair!' and `Fair play!' A scuffle broke out in the back benches,
and blows were freely exchanged among the medical students who
crowded that part of the hall. It was only the moderating
influence of the presence of large numbers of ladies which
prevented an absolute riot. Suddenly, however, there was a
pause, a hush, and then complete silence. Professor Challenger
was on his feet. His appearance and manner are peculiarly
arresting, and as he raised his hand for order the whole

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