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I have wrought my simple plan
If I give one hour of joy
To the boy who's half a man
Or the man who's half a boy.

The Lost World




Mr. E. D. Malone desires to state that

both the injunction for restraint and the

libel action have been withdrawn unreservedly

by Professor G. E. Challengerwhobeing

satisfied that no criticism or comment in

this book is meant in an offensive spirit

has guaranteed that he will place no

impediment to its publication and circulation.




The Lost World


There Are Heroisms All Round Us

Mr. Hungertonher fatherreally was the most tactless person
upon earth--a fluffyfeatheryuntidy cockatoo of a man
perfectly good-naturedbut absolutely centered upon his own
silly self. If anything could have driven me from Gladysit
would have been the thought of such a father-in-law. I am
convinced that he really believed in his heart that I came round
to the Chestnuts three days a week for the pleasure of his
companyand very especially to hear his views upon bimetallism
a subject upon which he was by way of being an authority.

For an hour or more that evening I listened to his monotonous
chirrup about bad money driving out goodthe token value of
silverthe depreciation of the rupeeand the true standards
of exchange.

Suppose,he cried with feeble violencethat all the debts in
the world were called up simultaneously, and immediate payment
insisted upon,--what under our present conditions would happen then?

I gave the self-evident answer that I should be a ruined man
upon which he jumped from his chairreproved me for my habitual
levitywhich made it impossible for him to discuss any
reasonable subject in my presenceand bounced off out of the
room to dress for a Masonic meeting.

At last I was alone with Gladysand the moment of Fate had come!
All that evening I had felt like the soldier who awaits the
signal which will send him on a forlorn hope; hope of victory and
fear of repulse alternating in his mind.

She sat with that prouddelicate profile of hers outlined
against the red curtain. How beautiful she was! And yet how
aloof! We had been friendsquite good friends; but never could I
get beyond the same comradeship which I might have established
with one of my fellow-reporters upon the Gazette--perfectly
frankperfectly kindlyand perfectly unsexual. My instincts
are all against a woman being too frank and at her ease with me.
It is no compliment to a man. Where the real sex feeling begins
timidity and distrust are its companionsheritage from old wicked
days when love and violence went often hand in hand. The bent
headthe averted eyethe faltering voicethe wincing figure-these
and not the unshrinking gaze and frank replyare the true
signals of passion. Even in my short life I had learned as much as
that--or had inherited it in that race memory which we call instinct.

Gladys was full of every womanly quality. Some judged her to be
cold and hard; but such a thought was treason. That delicately
bronzed skinalmost oriental in its coloringthat raven hair
the large liquid eyesthe full but exquisite lips--all the
stigmata of passion were there. But I was sadly conscious that
up to now I had never found the secret of drawing it forth.
Howevercome what mightI should have done with suspense and
bring matters to a head to-night. She could but refuse meand
better be a repulsed lover than an accepted brother.

So far my thoughts had carried meand I was about to break the
long and uneasy silencewhen two criticaldark eyes looked

round at meand the proud head was shaken in smiling reproof.
I have a presentiment that you are going to propose, Ned. I do
wish you wouldn't; for things are so much nicer as they are.

I drew my chair a little nearer. "Nowhow did you know that I
was going to propose?" I asked in genuine wonder.

Don't women always know? Do you suppose any woman in the world
was ever taken unawares? But--oh, Ned, our friendship has been so
good and so pleasant! What a pity to spoil it! Don't you feel how
splendid it is that a young man and a young woman should be able
to talk face to face as we have talked?

I don't know, Gladys. You see, I can talk face to face with-with
the station-master.I can't imagine how that official came
into the matter; but in he trottedand set us both laughing.
That does not satisfy me in the least. I want my arms round you,
and your head on my breast, and--oh, Gladys, I want----

She had sprung from her chairas she saw signs that I proposed
to demonstrate some of my wants. "You've spoiled everything
Ned she said. It's all so beautiful and natural until this
kind of thing comes in! It is such a pity! Why can't you
control yourself?"

I didn't invent it,I pleaded. "It's nature. It's love."

Well, perhaps if both love, it may be different. I have never
felt it.

But you must--you, with your beauty, with your soul! Oh, Gladys,
you were made for love! You must love!

One must wait till it comes.

But why can't you love me, Gladys? Is it my appearance, or what?

She did unbend a little. She put forward a hand--such a gracious
stooping attitude it was--and she pressed back my head. Then she
looked into my upturned face with a very wistful smile.

No it isn't that,she said at last. "You're not a conceited
boy by natureand so I can safely tell you it is not that.
It's deeper."

My character?

She nodded severely.

What can I do to mend it? Do sit down and talk it over.
No, really, I won't if you'll only sit down!

She looked at me with a wondering distrust which was much more to
my mind than her whole-hearted confidence. How primitive and
bestial it looks when you put it down in black and white!--and
perhaps after all it is only a feeling peculiar to myself.
Anyhowshe sat down.

Now tell me what's amiss with me?

I'm in love with somebody else,said she.

It was my turn to jump out of my chair.

It's nobody in particular,she explainedlaughing at the
expression of my face: "only an ideal. I've never met the kind
of man I mean."

Tell me about him. What does he look like?

Oh, he might look very much like you.

How dear of you to say that! Well, what is it that he does that
I don't do? Just say the word,--teetotal, vegetarian, aeronaut,
theosophist, superman. I'll have a try at it, Gladys, if you
will only give me an idea what would please you.

She laughed at the elasticity of my character. "Wellin the
first placeI don't think my ideal would speak like that
said she. He would be a hardersterner mannot so ready to adapt
himself to a silly girl's whim. Butabove allhe must be a man
who could dowho could actwho could look Death in the face and
have no fear of hima man of great deeds and strange experiences.
It is never a man that I should lovebut always the glories he had
won; for they would be reflected upon me. Think of Richard Burton!
When I read his wife's life of him I could so understand her love!
And Lady Stanley! Did you ever read the wonderful last chapter
of that book about her husband? These are the sort of men that
a woman could worship with all her souland yet be the greater
not the lesson account of her lovehonored by all the world
as the inspirer of noble deeds."

She looked so beautiful in her enthusiasm that I nearly brought
down the whole level of the interview. I gripped myself hard
and went on with the argument.

We can't all be Stanleys and Burtons,said I; "besideswe
don't get the chance--at leastI never had the chance. If I
didI should try to take it."

But chances are all around you. It is the mark of the kind of
man I mean that he makes his own chances. You can't hold him back.
I've never met him, and yet I seem to know him so well. There are
heroisms all round us waiting to be done. It's for men to do them,
and for women to reserve their love as a reward for such men.
Look at that young Frenchman who went up last week in a balloon.
It was blowing a gale of wind; but because he was announced to go
he insisted on starting. The wind blew him fifteen hundred miles
in twenty-four hours, and he fell in the middle of Russia. That was
the kind of man I mean. Think of the woman he loved, and how other
women must have envied her! That's what I should like to be,--envied
for my man.

I'd have done it to please you.

But you shouldn't do it merely to please me. You should do it
because you can't help yourself, because it's natural to you,
because the man in you is crying out for heroic expression.
Now, when you described the Wigan coal explosion last month,
could you not have gone down and helped those people, in spite
of the choke-damp?

I did.

You never said so.

There was nothing worth bucking about.

I didn't know.She looked at me with rather more interest.
That was brave of you.

I had to. If you want to write good copy, you must be where the
things are.

What a prosaic motive! It seems to take all the romance out
of it. But, still, whatever your motive, I am glad that you went
down that mine.She gave me her hand; but with such sweetness
and dignity that I could only stoop and kiss it. "I dare say I
am merely a foolish woman with a young girl's fancies. And yet
it is so real with meso entirely part of my very selfthat I
cannot help acting upon it. If I marryI do want to marry a
famous man!"

Why should you not?I cried. "It is women like you who brace
men up. Give me a chanceand see if I will take it! Besidesas
you saymen ought to MAKE their own chancesand not wait until
they are given. Look at Clive--just a clerkand he conquered
India! By George! I'll do something in the world yet!"

She laughed at my sudden Irish effervescence. "Why not?" she said.
You have everything a man could have,--youth, health, strength,
education, energy. I was sorry you spoke. And now I am glad--so
glad--if it wakens these thoughts in you!

And if I do----

Her dear hand rested like warm velvet upon my lips. "Not another
wordSir! You should have been at the office for evening duty
half an hour ago; only I hadn't the heart to remind you. Some day
perhapswhen you have won your place in the worldwe shall talk
it over again."

And so it was that I found myself that foggy November evening
pursuing the Camberwell tram with my heart glowing within meand
with the eager determination that not another day should elapse
before I should find some deed which was worthy of my lady.
But who--who in all this wide world could ever have imagined the
incredible shape which that deed was to takeor the strange
steps by which I was led to the doing of it?

Andafter allthis opening chapter will seem to the reader to
have nothing to do with my narrative; and yet there would have
been no narrative without itfor it is only when a man goes out
into the world with the thought that there are heroisms all round
himand with the desire all alive in his heart to follow any
which may come within sight of himthat he breaks away as I did
from the life he knowsand ventures forth into the wonderful mystic
twilight land where lie the great adventures and the great rewards.
Behold methenat the office of the Daily Gazetteon the staff
of which I was a most insignificant unitwith the settled
determination that very nightif possibleto find the quest
which should be worthy of my Gladys! Was it hardnesswas it
selfishnessthat she should ask me to risk my life for her
own glorification? Such thoughts may come to middle age; but
never to ardent three-and-twenty in the fever of his first love.

Try Your Luck with Professor Challenger
I always liked McArdlethe crabbedoldround-backed

red-headed news editorand I rather hoped that he liked me.
Of courseBeaumont was the real boss; but he lived in the
rarefied atmosphere of some Olympian height from which he could
distinguish nothing smaller than an international crisis or a
split in the Cabinet. Sometimes we saw him passing in lonely
majesty to his inner sanctumwith his eyes staring vaguely and
his mind hovering over the Balkans or the Persian Gulf. He was
above and beyond us. But McArdle was his first lieutenantand
it was he that we knew. The old man nodded as I entered the
roomand he pushed his spectacles far up on his bald forehead.

Well, Mr. Malone, from all I hear, you seem to be doing very
well,said he in his kindly Scotch accent.

I thanked him.

The colliery explosion was excellent. So was the Southwark fire.
You have the true descreeptive touch. What did you want to see
me about?

To ask a favor.

He looked alarmedand his eyes shunned mine. "Tuttut! What is it?"

Do you think, Sir, that you could possibly send me on some
mission for the paper? I would do my best to put it through and
get you some good copy.

What sort of meesion had you in your mind, Mr. Malone?

Well, Sir, anything that had adventure and danger in it.
I really would do my very best. The more difficult it was, the
better it would suit me.

You seem very anxious to lose your life.

To justify my life, Sir.

Dear me, Mr. Malone, this is very--very exalted. I'm afraid the
day for this sort of thing is rather past. The expense of the
`special meesion' business hardly justifies the result, and, of
course, in any case it would only be an experienced man with a
name that would command public confidence who would get such
an order. The big blank spaces in the map are all being filled in,
and there's no room for romance anywhere. Wait a bit, though!
he addedwith a sudden smile upon his face. "Talking of the
blank spaces of the map gives me an idea. What about exposing a
fraud--a modern Munchausen--and making him rideeculous? You could
show him up as the liar that he is! Ehmanit would be fine.
How does it appeal to you?"

Anything--anywhere--I care nothing.

McArdle was plunged in thought for some minutes.

I wonder whether you could get on friendly--or at least on
talking terms with the fellow,he saidat last. "You seem to
have a sort of genius for establishing relations with
people--seempathyI supposeor animal magnetismor youthful
vitalityor something. I am conscious of it myself."

You are very good, sir.

So why should you not try your luck with Professor Challenger,

of Enmore Park?

I dare say I looked a little startled.

Challenger!I cried. "Professor Challengerthe famous zoologist!
Wasn't he the man who broke the skull of Blundellof the Telegraph?"

The news editor smiled grimly.

Do you mind? Didn't you say it was adventures you were after?

It is all in the way of business, sir,I answered.

Exactly. I don't suppose he can always be so violent as that.
I'm thinking that Blundell got him at the wrong moment, maybe, or
in the wrong fashion. You may have better luck, or more tact in
handling him. There's something in your line there, I am sure,
and the Gazette should work it.

I really know nothing about him,said I. I only remember his
name in connection with the police-court proceedingsfor
striking Blundell."

I have a few notes for your guidance, Mr. Malone. I've had my
eye on the Professor for some little time.He took a paper from
a drawer. "Here is a summary of his record. I give it you briefly:-

`Challenger, George Edward. Born: Largs, N. B., 1863. Educ.:
Largs Academy; Edinburgh University. British Museum Assistant, 1892.
Assistant-Keeper of Comparative Anthropology Department, 1893.
Resigned after acrimonious correspondence same year. Winner of
Crayston Medal for Zoological Research. Foreign Member of'--well,
quite a lot of things, about two inches of small type--`Societe
Belge, American Academy of Sciences, La Plata, etc., etc.
Ex-President Palaeontological Society. Section H, British
Association'--so on, so on!--`Publications: Some Observations
Upon a Series of Kalmuck Skulls"; "Outlines of Vertebrate
Evolution"; and numerous papersincluding "The underlying
fallacy of Weissmannism which caused heated discussion at
the Zoological Congress of Vienna. Recreations: Walking,
Alpine climbing. Address: Enmore Park, Kensington, W.'

Theretake it with you. I've nothing more for you to-night."

I pocketed the slip of paper.

One moment, sir,I saidas I realized that it was a pink bald
headand not a red facewhich was fronting me. "I am not very
clear yet why I am to interview this gentleman. What has he done?"

The face flashed back again.

Went to South America on a solitary expedeetion two years ago.
Came back last year. Had undoubtedly been to South America, but
refused to say exactly where. Began to tell his adventures in a
vague way, but somebody started to pick holes, and he just shut
up like an oyster. Something wonderful happened--or the man's a
champion liar, which is the more probable supposeetion. Had some
damaged photographs, said to be fakes. Got so touchy that he
assaults anyone who asks questions, and heaves reporters doun
the stairs. In my opinion he's just a homicidal megalomaniac with
a turn for science. That's your man, Mr. Malone. Now, off you
run, and see what you can make of him. You're big enough to look
after yourself. Anyway, you are all safe. Employers' Liability

Act, you know.

A grinning red face turned once more into a pink ovalfringed
with gingery fluff; the interview was at an end.

I walked across to the Savage Clubbut instead of turning into
it I leaned upon the railings of Adelphi Terrace and gazed
thoughtfully for a long time at the brownoily river. I can
always think most sanely and clearly in the open air. I took out
the list of Professor Challenger's exploitsand I read it over
under the electric lamp. Then I had what I can only regard as
an inspiration. As a PressmanI felt sure from what I had been
told that I could never hope to get into touch with this
cantankerous Professor. But these recriminationstwice
mentioned in his skeleton biographycould only mean that he was
a fanatic in science. Was there not an exposed margin there upon
which he might be accessible? I would try.

I entered the club. It was just after elevenand the big room
was fairly fullthough the rush had not yet set in. I noticed
a tallthinangular man seated in an arm-chair by the fire.
He turned as I drew my chair up to him. It was the man of all
others whom I should have chosen--Tarp Henryof the staff of
Naturea thindryleathery creaturewho was fullto those who
knew himof kindly humanity. I plunged instantly into my subject.

What do you know of Professor Challenger?

Challenger?He gathered his brows in scientific disapproval.
Challenger was the man who came with some cock-and-bull story
from South America.

What story?

Oh, it was rank nonsense about some queer animals he had discovered.
I believe he has retracted since. Anyhow, he has suppressed it all.
He gave an interview to Reuter's, and there was such a howl that he
saw it wouldn't do. It was a discreditable business. There were
one or two folk who were inclined to take him seriously, but he soon
choked them off.


Well, by his insufferable rudeness and impossible behavior.
There was poor old Wadley, of the Zoological Institute. Wadley sent
a message: `The President of the Zoological Institute presents
his compliments to Professor Challenger, and would take it as a
personal favor if he would do them the honor to come to their
next meeting.' The answer was unprintable.

You don't say?

Well, a bowdlerized version of it would run: `Professor
Challenger presents his compliments to the President of the
Zoological Institute, and would take it as a personal favor if he
would go to the devil.'

Good Lord!

Yes, I expect that's what old Wadley said. I remember his wail
at the meeting, which began: `In fifty years experience of
scientific intercourse----' It quite broke the old man up.

Anything more about Challenger?

Well, I'm a bacteriologist, you know. I live in a
nine-hundred-diameter microscope. I can hardly claim to take
serious notice of anything that I can see with my naked eye.
I'm a frontiersman from the extreme edge of the Knowable, and I feel
quite out of place when I leave my study and come into touch with
all you great, rough, hulking creatures. I'm too detached to
talk scandal, and yet at scientific conversaziones I HAVE heard
something of Challenger, for he is one of those men whom nobody
can ignore. He's as clever as they make 'em--a full-charged
battery of force and vitality, but a quarrelsome, ill-conditioned
faddist, and unscrupulous at that. He had gone the length of
faking some photographs over the South American business.

You say he is a faddist. What is his particular fad?

He has a thousand, but the latest is something about Weissmann
and Evolution. He had a fearful row about it in Vienna, I believe.

Can't you tell me the point?

Not at the moment, but a translation of the proceedings exists.
We have it filed at the office. Would you care to come?

It's just what I want. I have to interview the fellow, and I
need some lead up to him. It's really awfully good of you to
give me a lift. I'll go with you now, if it is not too late.

Half an hour later I was seated in the newspaper office with a
huge tome in front of mewhich had been opened at the article
Weissmann versus Darwin,with the sub headingSpirited
Protest at Vienna. Lively Proceedings.My scientific education
having been somewhat neglectedI was unable to follow the whole
argumentbut it was evident that the English Professor had
handled his subject in a very aggressive fashionand had
thoroughly annoyed his Continental colleagues. "Protests
Uproar and General appeal to the Chairman" were three of the
first brackets which caught my eye. Most of the matter might
have been written in Chinese for any definite meaning that it
conveyed to my brain.

I wish you could translate it into English for me,I said
patheticallyto my help-mate.

Well, it is a translation.

Then I'd better try my luck with the original.

It is certainly rather deep for a layman.

If I could only get a single good, meaty sentence which seemed
to convey some sort of definite human idea, it would serve my turn.
Ah, yes, this one will do. I seem in a vague way almost to
understand it. I'll copy it out. This shall be my link with
the terrible Professor.

Nothing else I can do?

Well, yes; I propose to write to him. If I could frame the
letter here, and use your address it would give atmosphere.

We'll have the fellow round here making a row and breaking
the furniture.

No, no; you'll see the letter--nothing contentious, I assure you.

Well, that's my chair and desk. You'll find paper there. I'd like
to censor it before it goes.

It took some doingbut I flatter myself that it wasn't such a
bad job when it was finished. I read it aloud to the critical
bacteriologist with some pride in my handiwork.

DEAR PROFESSOR CHALLENGER,it saidAs a humble student of
Nature, I have always taken the most profound interest in your
speculations as to the differences between Darwin and Weissmann.
I have recently had occasion to refresh my memory by re-reading----

You infernal liar!murmured Tarp Henry.

--"by re-reading your masterly address at Vienna. That lucid and
admirable statement seems to be the last word in the matter.
There is one sentence in ithowever--namely: `I protest strongly
against the insufferable and entirely dogmatic assertion that
each separate id is a microcosm possessed of an historical
architecture elaborated slowly through the series of generations.'
Have you no desirein view of later researchto modify
this statement? Do you not think that it is over-accentuated?
With your permissionI would ask the favor of an interview
as I feel strongly upon the subjectand have certain suggestions
which I could only elaborate in a personal conversation. With your
consentI trust to have the honor of calling at eleven o'clock
the day after to-morrow (Wednesday) morning.

I remain, Sir, with assurances of profound respect,
yours very truly,

How's that?I askedtriumphantly.

Well if your conscience can stand it----

It has never failed me yet.

But what do you mean to do?

To get there. Once I am in his room I may see some opening.
I may even go the length of open confession. If he is a sportsman
he will be tickled.

Tickled, indeed! He's much more likely to do the tickling.
Chain mail, or an American football suit--that's what you'll want.
Well, good-bye. I'll have the answer for you here on Wednesday
morning--if he ever deigns to answer you. He is a violent,
dangerous, cantankerous character, hated by everyone who comes
across him, and the butt of the students, so far as they dare
take a liberty with him. Perhaps it would be best for you if
you never heard from the fellow at all.


He is a Perfectly Impossible Person

My friend's fear or hope was not destined to be realized. When I
called on Wednesday there was a letter with the West Kensington
postmark upon itand my name scrawled across the envelope in a
handwriting which looked like a barbed-wire railing. The contents
were as follows:-


SIR--I have duly received your notein which you claim to
endorse my viewsalthough I am not aware that they are dependent
upon endorsement either from you or anyone else. You have
ventured to use the word `speculation' with regard to my
statement upon the subject of Darwinismand I would call your
attention to the fact that such a word in such a connection is
offensive to a degree. The context convinces mehoweverthat
you have sinned rather through ignorance and tactlessness than
through maliceso I am content to pass the matter by. You quote
an isolated sentence from my lectureand appear to have some
difficulty in understanding it. I should have thought that only
a sub-human intelligence could have failed to grasp the point
but if it really needs amplification I shall consent to see you
at the hour namedthough visits and visitors of every sort are
exceeding distasteful to me. As to your suggestion that I may
modify my opinionI would have you know that it is not my habit to
do so after a deliberate expression of my mature views. You will
kindly show the envelope of this letter to my manAustinwhen
you callas he has to take every precaution to shield me from
the intrusive rascals who call themselves `journalists.'

Yours faithfully,


This was the letter that I read aloud to Tarp Henrywho had come
down early to hear the result of my venture. His only remark
wasThere's some new stuff, cuticura or something, which is
better than arnica.Some people have such extraordinary notions
of humor.

It was nearly half-past ten before I had received my messagebut
a taxicab took me round in good time for my appointment. It was
an imposing porticoed house at which we stoppedand the
heavily-curtained windows gave every indication of wealth upon
the part of this formidable Professor. The door was opened by an
oddswarthydried-up person of uncertain agewith a dark pilot
jacket and brown leather gaiters. I found afterwards that he was
the chauffeurwho filled the gaps left by a succession of
fugitive butlers. He looked me up and down with a searching
light blue eye.

Expected?he asked.

An appointment.

Got your letter?

I produced the envelope.

Right!He seemed to be a person of few words. Following him
down the passage I was suddenly interrupted by a small womanwho
stepped out from what proved to be the dining-room door. She was
a brightvivaciousdark-eyed ladymore French than English in
her type.

One moment,she said. "You can waitAustin. Step in heresir.
May I ask if you have met my husband before?"

No, madam, I have not had the honor.

Then I apologize to you in advance. I must tell you that he is
a perfectly impossible person--absolutely impossible. If you
are forewarned you will be the more ready to make allowances.

It is most considerate of you, madam.

Get quickly out of the room if he seems inclined to be violent.
Don't wait to argue with him. Several people have been injured
through doing that. Afterwards there is a public scandal and it
reflects upon me and all of us. I suppose it wasn't about South
America you wanted to see him?

I could not lie to a lady.

Dear me! That is his most dangerous subject. You won't believe
a word he says--I'm sure I don't wonder. But don't tell him so,
for it makes him very violent. Pretend to believe him, and you
may get through all right. Remember he believes it himself.
Of that you may be assured. A more honest man never lived.
Don't wait any longer or he may suspect. If you find him
dangerous--really dangerous--ring the bell and hold him off until
I come. Even at his worst I can usually control him.

With these encouraging words the lady handed me over to the
taciturn Austinwho had waited like a bronze statue of
discretion during our short interviewand I was conducted to the
end of the passage. There was a tap at a doora bull's bellow
from withinand I was face to face with the Professor.

He sat in a rotating chair behind a broad tablewhich was
covered with booksmapsand diagrams. As I enteredhis seat
spun round to face me. His appearance made me gasp. I was
prepared for something strangebut not for so overpowering a
personality as this. It was his size which took one's breath
away--his size and his imposing presence. His head was enormous
the largest I have ever seen upon a human being. I am sure that
his top-hathad I ever ventured to don itwould have slipped
over me entirely and rested on my shoulders. He had the face and
beard which I associate with an Assyrian bull; the former florid
the latter so black as almost to have a suspicion of blue
spade-shaped and rippling down over his chest. The hair was
peculiarplastered down in front in a longcurving wisp over
his massive forehead. The eyes were blue-gray under great black
tuftsvery clearvery criticaland very masterful. A huge
spread of shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other
parts of him which appeared above the tablesave for two
enormous hands covered with long black hair. This and a
bellowingroaringrumbling voice made up my first impression
of the notorious Professor Challenger.

Well?said hewith a most insolent stare. "What now?"

I must keep up my deception for at least a little time longer
otherwise here was evidently an end of the interview.

You were good enough to give me an appointment, sir,said I
humblyproducing his envelope.

He took my letter from his desk and laid it out before him.

Oh, you are the young person who cannot understand plain
English, are you? My general conclusions you are good enough
to approve, as I understand?

Entirely, sir--entirely!I was very emphatic.

Dear me! That strengthens my position very much, does it not?
Your age and appearance make your support doubly valuable. Well, at
least you are better than that herd of swine in Vienna, whose
gregarious grunt is, however, not more offensive than the isolated
effort of the British hog.He glared at me as the present
representative of the beast.

They seem to have behaved abominably,said I.

I assure you that I can fight my own battles, and that I have no
possible need of your sympathy. Put me alone, sir, and with my
back to the wall. G. E. C. is happiest then. Well, sir, let us
do what we can to curtail this visit, which can hardly be
agreeable to you, and is inexpressibly irksome to me. You had,
as I have been led to believe, some comments to make upon the
proposition which I advanced in my thesis.

There was a brutal directness about his methods which made
evasion difficult. I must still make play and wait for a
better opening. It had seemed simple enough at a distance.
Ohmy Irish witscould they not help me nowwhen I needed
help so sorely? He transfixed me with two sharpsteely eyes.
Come, come!he rumbled.

I am, of course, a mere student,said Iwith a fatuous smile
hardly more, I might say, than an earnest inquirer. At the same
time, it seemed to me that you were a little severe upon
Weissmann in this matter. Has not the general evidence since
that date tended to--well, to strengthen his position?

What evidence?He spoke with a menacing calm.

Well, of course, I am aware that there is not any what you might
call DEFINITE evidence. I alluded merely to the trend of modern
thought and the general scientific point of view, if I might so
express it.

He leaned forward with great earnestness.

I suppose you are aware,said hechecking off points upon his
fingersthat the cranial index is a constant factor?

Naturally,said I.

And that telegony is still sub judice?


And that the germ plasm is different from the parthenogenetic egg?

Why, surely!I criedand gloried in my own audacity.

But what does that prove?he askedin a gentlepersuasive voice.

Ah, what indeed?I murmured. "What does it prove?"

Shall I tell you?he cooed.

Pray do.

It proves,he roaredwith a sudden blast of furythat
you are the damnedest imposter in London--a vile, crawling
journalist, who has no more science than he has decency in
his composition!

He had sprung to his feet with a mad rage in his eyes. Even at
that moment of tension I found time for amazement at the
discovery that he was quite a short manhis head not higher than
my shoulder--a stunted Hercules whose tremendous vitality had all
run to depthbreadthand brain.

Gibberish!he criedleaning forwardwith his fingers on the
table and his face projecting. "That's what I have been talking
to yousir--scientific gibberish! Did you think you could match
cunning with me--you with your walnut of a brain? You think you
are omnipotentyou infernal scribblersdon't you? That your
praise can make a man and your blame can break him? We must all
bow to youand try to get a favorable wordmust we? This man
shall have a leg upand this man shall have a dressing down!
Creeping verminI know you! You've got out of your station.
Time was when your ears were clipped. You've lost your sense of
proportion. Swollen gas-bags! I'll keep you in your proper place.
Yessiryou haven't got over G. E. C. There's one man who is
still your master. He warned you offbut if you WILL comeby
the Lord you do it at your own risk. Forfeitmy good Mr. Malone
I claim forfeit! You have played a rather dangerous gameand it
strikes me that you have lost it."

Look here, sir,said Ibacking to the door and opening it;
you can be as abusive as you like. But there is a limit.
You shall not assault me.

Shall I not?He was slowly advancing in a peculiarly menacing
waybut he stopped now and put his big hands into the
side-pockets of a rather boyish short jacket which he wore.
I have thrown several of you out of the house. You will be the
fourth or fifth. Three pound fifteen each--that is how it averaged.
Expensive, but very necessary. Now, sir, why should you not
follow your brethren? I rather think you must.He resumed his
unpleasant and stealthy advancepointing his toes as he walked
like a dancing master.

I could have bolted for the hall doorbut it would have been
too ignominious. Besidesa little glow of righteous anger was
springing up within me. I had been hopelessly in the wrong
beforebut this man's menaces were putting me in the right.

I'll trouble you to keep your hands off, sir. I'll not stand it.

Dear me!His black moustache lifted and a white fang twinkled
in a sneer. "You won't stand iteh?"

Don't be such a fool, Professor!I cried. "What can you hope for?
I'm fifteen stoneas hard as nailsand play center three-quarter
every Saturday for the London Irish. I'm not the man----"

It was at that moment that he rushed me. It was lucky that I had
opened the dooror we should have gone through it. We did a
Catharine-wheel together down the passage. Somehow we gathered
up a chair upon our wayand bounded on with it towards the street.

My mouth was full of his beardour arms were lockedour bodies
intertwinedand that infernal chair radiated its legs all round us.
The watchful Austin had thrown open the hall door. We went with
a back somersault down the front steps. I have seen the two Macs
attempt something of the kind at the hallsbut it appears to take
some practise to do it without hurting oneself. The chair went
to matchwood at the bottomand we rolled apart into the gutter.
He sprang to his feetwaving his fists and wheezing like an asthmatic.

Had enough?he panted.

You infernal bully!I criedas I gathered myself together.

Then and there we should have tried the thing outfor he was
effervescing with fightbut fortunately I was rescued from an
odious situation. A policeman was beside ushis notebook in
his hand.

What's all this? You ought to be ashamedsaid the policeman.
It was the most rational remark which I had heard in Enmore Park.
Well,he insistedturning to mewhat is it, then?

This man attacked me,said I.

Did you attack him?asked the policeman.

The Professor breathed hard and said nothing.

It's not the first time, either,said the policemanseverely
shaking his head. "You were in trouble last month for the same thing.
You've blackened this young man's eye. Do you give him in chargesir?"

I relented.

No,said II do not.

What's that?said the policeman.

I was to blame myself. I intruded upon him. He gave me fair warning.

The policeman snapped up his notebook.

Don't let us have any more such goings-on,said he. "Nowthen!
Move ontheremove on!" This to a butcher's boya maidand
one or two loafers who had collected. He clumped heavily down
the streetdriving this little flock before him. The Professor
looked at meand there was something humorous at the back of his eyes.

Come in!said he. "I've not done with you yet."

The speech had a sinister soundbut I followed him none the less
into the house. The man-servantAustinlike a wooden image
closed the door behind us.


It's Just the very Biggest Thing in the World

Hardly was it shut when Mrs. Challenger darted out from
the dining-room. The small woman was in a furious temper.
She barred her husband's way like an enraged chicken in front of
a bulldog. It was evident that she had seen my exitbut had not
observed my return.

You brute, George!she screamed. "You've hurt that nice young man."

He jerked backwards with his thumb.

Here he is, safe and sound behind me.

She was confusedbut not unduly so.

I am so sorry, I didn't see you.

I assure you, madam, that it is all right.

He has marked your poor face! Oh, George, what a brute you are!
Nothing but scandals from one end of the week to the other.
Everyone hating and making fun of you. You've finished my patience.
This ends it.

Dirty linen,he rumbled.

It's not a secret,she cried. "Do you suppose that the whole
street--the whole of Londonfor that matter----Get awayAustin
we don't want you here. Do you suppose they don't all talk about you?
Where is your dignity? Youa man who should have been Regius
Professor at a great University with a thousand students all
revering you. Where is your dignityGeorge?"

How about yours, my dear?

You try me too much. A ruffian--a common brawling ruffian--
that's what you have become.

Be good, Jessie.

A roaring, raging bully!

That's done it! Stool of penance!said he.

To my amazement he stoopedpicked her upand placed her sitting
upon a high pedestal of black marble in the angle of the hall.
It was at least seven feet highand so thin that she could hardly
balance upon it. A more absurd object than she presented cocked
up there with her face convulsed with angerher feet dangling
and her body rigid for fear of an upsetI could not imagine.

Let me down!she wailed.

Say `please.'

You brute, George! Let me down this instant!

Come into the study, Mr. Malone.

Really, sir----!said Ilooking at the lady.

Here's Mr. Malone pleading for you, Jessie.

Say `please,' and down you come.

Oh, you brute! Please! please!

You must behave yourself, dear. Mr. Malone is a Pressman.
He will have it all in his rag to-morrow, and sell an extra
dozen among our neighbors. `Strange story of high life'--you

felt fairly high on that pedestal, did you not? Then a sub-title,
`Glimpse of a singular menage.' He's a foul feeder, is Mr. Malone,
a carrion eater, like all of his kind--porcus ex grege diaboli-a
swine from the devil's herd. That's it, Malone--what?

You are really intolerable!said Ihotly.

He bellowed with laughter.

We shall have a coalition presently,he boomedlooking from
his wife to me and puffing out his enormous chest. Thensuddenly
altering his toneExcuse this frivolous family badinage, Mr. Malone.
I called you back for some more serious purpose than to mix you
up with our little domestic pleasantries. Run away, little woman,
and don't fret.He placed a huge hand upon each of her shoulders.
All that you say is perfectly true. I should be a better man if
I did what you advise, but I shouldn't be quite George
Edward Challenger. There are plenty of better men, my dear, but
only one G. E. C. So make the best of him.He suddenly gave her
a resounding kisswhich embarrassed me even more than his violence
had done. "NowMr. Malone he continued, with a great accession
of dignity, this wayif YOU please."

We re-entered the room which we had left so tumultuously ten
minutes before. The Professor closed the door carefully behind
usmotioned me into an arm-chairand pushed a cigar-box under
my nose.

Real San Juan Colorado,he said. "Excitable people like you
are the better for narcotics. Heavens! don't bite it! Cut--and
cut with reverence! Now lean backand listen attentively to
whatever I may care to say to you. If any remark should occur to
youyou can reserve it for some more opportune time.

First of all, as to your return to my house after your most
justifiable expulsion--he protruded his beardand stared at me
as one who challenges and invites contradiction--"afteras I
sayyour well-merited expulsion. The reason lay in your answer
to that most officious policemanin which I seemed to discern
some glimmering of good feeling upon your part--moreat any
ratethan I am accustomed to associate with your profession.
In admitting that the fault of the incident lay with youyou gave
some evidence of a certain mental detachment and breadth of view
which attracted my favorable notice. The sub-species of the
human race to which you unfortunately belong has always been
below my mental horizon. Your words brought you suddenly above it.
You swam up into my serious notice. For this reason I asked you
to return with meas I was minded to make your further acquaintance.
You will kindly deposit your ash in the small Japanese tray on the
bamboo table which stands at your left elbow."

All this he boomed forth like a professor addressing his class.
He had swung round his revolving chair so as to face meand he
sat all puffed out like an enormous bull-froghis head laid back
and his eyes half-covered by supercilious lids. Now he suddenly
turned himself sidewaysand all I could see of him was tangled
hair with a redprotruding ear. He was scratching about among
the litter of papers upon his desk. He faced me presently with
what looked like a very tattered sketch-book in his hand.

I am going to talk to you about South America,said he.
No comments if you please. First of all, I wish you to understand
that nothing I tell you now is to be repeated in any public way
unless you have my express permission. That permission will, in

all human probability, never be given. Is that clear?

It is very hard,said I. "Surely a judicious account----"

He replaced the notebook upon the table.

That ends it,said he. "I wish you a very good morning."

No, no!I cried. "I submit to any conditions. So far as I can
seeI have no choice."

None in the world,said he.

Well, then, I promise.

Word of honor?

Word of honor.

He looked at me with doubt in his insolent eyes.

After all, what do I know about your honor?said he.

Upon my word, sir,I criedangrilyyou take very great liberties!
I have never been so insulted in my life.

He seemed more interested than annoyed at my outbreak.

Round-headed,he muttered. "Brachycephalicgray-eyed
black-hairedwith suggestion of the negroid. CelticI presume?"

I am an Irishman, sir.

Irish Irish?

Yes, sir.

That, of course, explains it. Let me see; you have given me
your promise that my confidence will be respected? That confidence,
I may say, will be far from complete. But I am prepared to give
you a few indications which will be of interest. In the first
place, you are probably aware that two years ago I made a journey
to South America--one which will be classical in the scientific
history of the world? The object of my journey was to verify some
conclusions of Wallace and of Bates, which could only be done by
observing their reported facts under the same conditions in which
they had themselves noted them. If my expedition had no other
results it would still have been noteworthy, but a curious incident
occurred to me while there which opened up an entirely fresh line
of inquiry.

You are aware--or probablyin this half-educated ageyou are
not aware--that the country round some parts of the Amazon is
still only partially exploredand that a great number of
tributariessome of them entirely unchartedrun into the
main river. It was my business to visit this little-known
back-country and to examine its faunawhich furnished me with
the materials for several chapters for that great and monumental
work upon zoology which will be my life's justification. I was
returningmy work accomplishedwhen I had occasion to spend a
night at a small Indian village at a point where a certain
tributary--the name and position of which I withhold--opens
into the main river. The natives were Cucama Indiansan amiable
but degraded racewith mental powers hardly superior to the

average Londoner. I had effected some cures among them upon my
way up the riverand had impressed them considerably with my
personalityso that I was not surprised to find myself eagerly
awaited upon my return. I gathered from their signs that someone
had urgent need of my medical servicesand I followed the chief
to one of his huts. When I entered I found that the sufferer to
whose aid I had been summoned had that instant expired. He was
to my surpriseno Indianbut a white man; indeedI may say a
very white manfor he was flaxen-haired and had some
characteristics of an albino. He was clad in ragswas very
emaciatedand bore every trace of prolonged hardship. So far as
I could understand the account of the nativeshe was a complete
stranger to themand had come upon their village through the
woods alone and in the last stage of exhaustion.

The man's knapsack lay beside the couch, and I examined the contents.
His name was written upon a tab within it--Maple White, Lake
Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. It is a name to which I am prepared
always to lift my hat. It is not too much to say that it will
rank level with my own when the final credit of this business
comes to be apportioned.

From the contents of the knapsack it was evident that this man
had been an artist and poet in search of effects. There were
scraps of verse. I do not profess to be a judge of such things
but they appeared to me to be singularly wanting in merit.
There were also some rather commonplace pictures of river scenery
a paint-boxa box of colored chalkssome brushesthat curved
bone which lies upon my inkstanda volume of Baxter's `Moths and
Butterflies' a cheap revolverand a few cartridges. Of personal
equipment he either had none or he had lost it in his journey.
Such were the total effects of this strange American Bohemian.

I was turning away from him when I observed that something
projected from the front of his ragged jacket. It was this
sketch-book, which was as dilapidated then as you see it now.
Indeed, I can assure you that a first folio of Shakespeare could
not be treated with greater reverence than this relic has been
since it came into my possession. I hand it to you now, and I
ask you to take it page by page and to examine the contents.

He helped himself to a cigar and leaned back with a fiercely
critical pair of eyestaking note of the effect which this
document would produce.

I had opened the volume with some expectation of a revelation
though of what nature I could not imagine. The first page was
disappointinghoweveras it contained nothing but the picture
of a very fat man in a pea-jacketwith the legendJimmy Colver
on the Mail-boat,written beneath it. There followed several pages
which were filled with small sketches of Indians and their ways.
Then came a picture of a cheerful and corpulent ecclesiastic in
a shovel hatsitting opposite a very thin Europeanand the
inscription: "Lunch with Fra Cristofero at Rosario." Studies of
women and babies accounted for several more pagesand then there
was an unbroken series of animal drawings with such explanations
as "Manatee upon Sandbank Turtles and Their Eggs Black Ajouti
under a Miriti Palm"--the matter disclosing some sort of pig-like
animal; and finally came a double page of studies of long-snouted
and very unpleasant saurians. I could make nothing of itand said
so to the Professor.

Surely these are only crocodiles?

Alligators! Alligators! There is hardly such a thing as a true
crocodile in South America. The distinction between them----

I meant that I could see nothing unusual--nothing to justify
what you have said.

He smiled serenely.

Try the next page,said he.

I was still unable to sympathize. It was a full-page sketch of a
landscape roughly tinted in color--the kind of painting which an
open-air artist takes as a guide to a future more elaborate effort.
There was a pale-green foreground of feathery vegetationwhich
sloped upwards and ended in a line of cliffs dark red in colorand
curiously ribbed like some basaltic formations which I have seen.
They extended in an unbroken wall right across the background.
At one point was an isolated pyramidal rockcrowned by a great
treewhich appeared to be separated by a cleft from the main crag.
Behind it alla blue tropical sky. A thin green line of vegetation
fringed the summit of the ruddy cliff.

Well?he asked.

It is no doubt a curious formation,said I "but I am not
geologist enough to say that it is wonderful."

Wonderful!he repeated. "It is unique. It is incredible. No one
on earth has ever dreamed of such a possibility. Now the next."

I turned it overand gave an exclamation of surprise. There was
a full-page picture of the most extraordinary creature that I had
ever seen. It was the wild dream of an opium smokera vision
of delirium. The head was like that of a fowlthe body that of
a bloated lizardthe trailing tail was furnished with upwardturned
spikesand the curved back was edged with a high serrated
fringewhich looked like a dozen cocks' wattles placed behind
each other. In front of this creature was an absurd mannikin
or dwarfin human formwho stood staring at it.

Well, what do you think of that?cried the Professorrubbing
his hands with an air of triumph.

It is monstrous--grotesque.

But what made him draw such an animal?

Trade gin, I should think.

Oh, that's the best explanation you can give, is it?

Well, sir, what is yours?

The obvious one that the creature exists. That is actually
sketched from the life.

I should have laughed only that I had a vision of our doing
another Catharine-wheel down the passage.

No doubt,said Ino doubt,as one humors an imbecile.
I confess, however,I addedthat this tiny human figure
puzzles me. If it were an Indian we could set it down as
evidence of some pigmy race in America, but it appears to be
a European in a sun-hat.

The Professor snorted like an angry buffalo. "You really touch
the limit said he. You enlarge my view of the possible.
Cerebral paresis! Mental inertia! Wonderful!"

He was too absurd to make me angry. Indeedit was a waste of
energyfor if you were going to be angry with this man you would
be angry all the time. I contented myself with smiling wearily.
It struck me that the man was small,said I.

Look here!he criedleaning forward and dabbing a great hairy
sausage of a finger on to the picture. "You see that plant
behind the animal; I suppose you thought it was a dandelion or a
Brussels sprout--what? Wellit is a vegetable ivory palmand
they run to about fifty or sixty feet. Don't you see that the man
is put in for a purpose? He couldn't really have stood in front of
that brute and lived to draw it. He sketched himself in to give a
scale of heights. He waswe will sayover five feet high.
The tree is ten times biggerwhich is what one would expect."

Good heavens!I cried. "Then you think the beast was---- Why
Charing Cross station would hardly make a kennel for such a brute!"

Apart from exaggeration, he is certainly a well-grown specimen,
said the Professorcomplacently.

But,I criedsurely the whole experience of the human race is
not to be set aside on account of a single sketch--I had turned
over the leaves and ascertained that there was nothing more in
the book--"a single sketch by a wandering American artist who may
have done it under hashishor in the delirium of feveror
simply in order to gratify a freakish imagination. You can'tas
a man of sciencedefend such a position as that."

For answer the Professor took a book down from a shelf.

This is an excellent monograph by my gifted friend, Ray Lankester!
said he. "There is an illustration here which would interest you.
Ahyeshere it is! The inscription beneath it runs: `Probable
appearance in life of the Jurassic Dinosaur Stegosaurus. The hind
leg alone is twice as tall as a full-grown man.' Wellwhat do you
make of that?"

He handed me the open book. I started as I looked at the picture.
In this reconstructed animal of a dead world there was certainly
a very great resemblance to the sketch of the unknown artist.

That is certainly remarkable,said I.

But you won't admit that it is final?

Surely it might be a coincidence, or this American may have seen
a picture of the kind and carried it in his memory. It would be
likely to recur to a man in a delirium.

Very good,said the Professorindulgently; "we leave it at that.
I will now ask you to look at this bone." He handed over the one
which he had already described as part of the dead man's possessions.
It was about six inches longand thicker than my thumbwith some
indications of dried cartilage at one end of it.

To what known creature does that bone belong?asked the Professor.

I examined it with care and tried to recall some half

forgotten knowledge.

It might be a very thick human collar-bone,I said.

My companion waved his hand in contemptuous deprecation.

The human collar-bone is curved. This is straight. There is a
groove upon its surface showing that a great tendon played across
it, which could not be the case with a clavicle.

Then I must confess that I don't know what it is.

You need not be ashamed to expose your ignorance, for I don't
suppose the whole South Kensington staff could give a name to it.
He took a little bone the size of a bean out of a pill-box.
So far as I am a judge this human bone is the analogue of the
one which you hold in your hand. That will give you some idea of
the size of the creature. You will observe from the cartilage that
this is no fossil specimen, but recent. What do you say to that?

Surely in an elephant----

He winced as if in pain.

Don't! Don't talk of elephants in South America. Even in these
days of Board schools----

Well, I interrupted, any large South American animal--a tapir
for example."

You may take it, young man, that I am versed in the elements of
my business. This is not a conceivable bone either of a tapir or
of any other creature known to zoology. It belongs to a very
large, a very strong, and, by all analogy, a very fierce animal
which exists upon the face of the earth, but has not yet come
under the notice of science. You are still unconvinced?

I am at least deeply interested.

Then your case is not hopeless. I feel that there is reason
lurking in you somewhere, so we will patiently grope round for it.
We will now leave the dead American and proceed with my narrative.
You can imagine that I could hardly come away from the Amazon
without probing deeper into the matter. There were indications
as to the direction from which the dead traveler had come.
Indian legends would alone have been my guide, for I found that
rumors of a strange land were common among all the riverine tribes.
You have heard, no doubt, of Curupuri?


Curupuri is the spirit of the woods, something terrible,
something malevolent, something to be avoided. None can describe
its shape or nature, but it is a word of terror along the Amazon.
Now all tribes agree as to the direction in which Curupuri lives.
It was the same direction from which the American had come.
Something terrible lay that way. It was my business to find out
what it was.

What did you do?My flippancy was all gone. This massive man
compelled one's attention and respect.

I overcame the extreme reluctance of the natives--a reluctance
which extends even to talk upon the subject--and by judicious

persuasion and gifts, aided, I will admit, by some threats of
coercion, I got two of them to act as guides. After many
adventures which I need not describe, and after traveling a
distance which I will not mention, in a direction which I
withhold, we came at last to a tract of country which has
never been described, nor, indeed, visited save by my
unfortunate predecessor. Would you kindly look at this?

He handed me a photograph--half-plate size.

The unsatisfactory appearance of it is due to the fact,said he
that on descending the river the boat was upset and the case which
contained the undeveloped films was broken, with disastrous results.
Nearly all of them were totally ruined--an irreparable loss.
This is one of the few which partially escaped. This explanation
of deficiencies or abnormalities you will kindly accept. There was
talk of faking. I am not in a mood to argue such a point.

The photograph was certainly very off-colored. An unkind critic
might easily have misinterpreted that dim surface. It was a dull
gray landscapeand as I gradually deciphered the details of it I
realized that it represented a long and enormously high line of
cliffs exactly like an immense cataract seen in the distance
with a slopingtree-clad plain in the foreground.

I believe it is the same place as the painted picture,said I.

It is the same place,the Professor answered. "I found traces
of the fellow's camp. Now look at this."

It was a nearer view of the same scenethough the photograph was
extremely defective. I could distinctly see the isolated
tree-crowned pinnacle of rock which was detached from the crag.

I have no doubt of it at all,said I.

Well, that is something gained,said he. "We progressdo we not?
Nowwill you please look at the top of that rocky pinnacle?
Do you observe something there?"

An enormous tree.

But on the tree?

A large bird,said I.

He handed me a lens.

Yes,I saidpeering through ita large bird stands on the tree.
It appears to have a considerable beak. I should say it was a pelican.

I cannot congratulate you upon your eyesight,said the Professor.
It is not a pelican, nor, indeed, is it a bird. It may interest
you to know that I succeeded in shooting that particular specimen.
It was the only absolute proof of my experiences which I was able
to bring away with me.

You have it, then?Here at last was tangible corroboration.

I had it. It was unfortunately lost with so much else in the
same boat accident which ruined my photographs. I clutched at it
as it disappeared in the swirl of the rapids, and part of its
wing was left in my hand. I was insensible when washed ashore,
but the miserable remnant of my superb specimen was still intact;

I now lay it before you.

From a drawer he produced what seemed to me to be the upper
portion of the wing of a large bat. It was at least two feet in
lengtha curved bonewith a membranous veil beneath it.

A monstrous bat!I suggested.

Nothing of the sort,said the Professorseverely. "Livingas
I doin an educated and scientific atmosphereI could not have
conceived that the first principles of zoology were so little known.
Is it possible that you do not know the elementary fact in
comparative anatomythat the wing of a bird is really the
forearmwhile the wing of a bat consists of three elongated
fingers with membranes between? Nowin this casethe bone is
certainly not the forearmand you can see for yourself that this
is a single membrane hanging upon a single boneand therefore
that it cannot belong to a bat. But if it is neither bird nor
batwhat is it?"

My small stock of knowledge was exhausted.

I really do not know,said I.

He opened the standard work to which he had already referred me.

Here,said hepointing to the picture of an extraordinary
flying monsteris an excellent reproduction of the dimorphodon,
or pterodactyl, a flying reptile of the Jurassic period. On the
next page is a diagram of the mechanism of its wing. Kindly compare
it with the specimen in your hand.

A wave of amazement passed over me as I looked. I was convinced.
There could be no getting away from it. The cumulative proof
was overwhelming. The sketchthe photographsthe narrativeand
now the actual specimen--the evidence was complete. I said so--I
said so warmlyfor I felt that the Professor was an ill-used man.
He leaned back in his chair with drooping eyelids and a tolerant
smilebasking in this sudden gleam of sunshine.

It's just the very biggest thing that I ever heard of!said I
though it was my journalistic rather than my scientific
enthusiasm that was roused. "It is colossal. You are a Columbus
of science who has discovered a lost world. I'm awfully sorry if
I seemed to doubt you. It was all so unthinkable. But I
understand evidence when I see itand this should be good enough
for anyone."

The Professor purred with satisfaction.

And then, sir, what did you do next?

It was the wet season, Mr. Malone, and my stores were exhausted.
I explored some portion of this huge cliff, but I was unable to
find any way to scale it. The pyramidal rock upon which I saw
and shot the pterodactyl was more accessible. Being something of
a cragsman, I did manage to get half way to the top of that.
From that height I had a better idea of the plateau upon the top
of the crags. It appeared to be very large; neither to east nor
to west could I see any end to the vista of green-capped cliffs.
Below, it is a swampy, jungly region, full of snakes, insects,
and fever. It is a natural protection to this singular country.

Did you see any other trace of life?

No, sir, I did not; but during the week that we lay encamped at
the base of the cliff we heard some very strange noises from above.

But the creature that the American drew? How do you account
for that?

We can only suppose that he must have made his way to the summit
and seen it there. We know, therefore, that there is a way up.
We know equally that it must be a very difficult one, otherwise the
creatures would have come down and overrun the surrounding country.
Surely that is clear?

But how did they come to be there?

I do not think that the problem is a very obscure one,said the
Professor; "there can only be one explanation. South America is
as you may have hearda granite continent. At this single point
in the interior there has beenin some far distant agea great
sudden volcanic upheaval. These cliffsI may remarkare
basalticand therefore plutonic. An areaas large perhaps as
Sussexhas been lifted up en bloc with all its living contents
and cut off by perpendicular precipices of a hardness which
defies erosion from all the rest of the continent. What is
the result? Whythe ordinary laws of Nature are suspended.
The various checks which influence the struggle for existence in
the world at large are all neutralized or altered. Creatures survive
which would otherwise disappear. You will observe that both the
pterodactyl and the stegosaurus are Jurassicand therefore of a
great age in the order of life. They have been artificially
conserved by those strange accidental conditions."

But surely your evidence is conclusive. You have only to lay it
before the proper authorities.

So in my simplicity, I had imagined,said the Professorbitterly.
I can only tell you that it was not so, that I was met at every
turn by incredulity, born partly of stupidity and partly of jealousy.
It is not my nature, sir, to cringe to any man, or to seek to prove
a fact if my word has been doubted. After the first I have not
condescended to show such corroborative proofs as I possess.
The subject became hateful to me--I would not speak of it.
When men like yourself, who represent the foolish curiosity
of the public, came to disturb my privacy I was unable to meet
them with dignified reserve. By nature I am, I admit, somewhat
fiery, and under provocation I am inclined to be violent. I fear
you may have remarked it.

I nursed my eye and was silent.

My wife has frequently remonstrated with me upon the subject,
and yet I fancy that any man of honor would feel the same.
To-night, however, I propose to give an extreme example of the
control of the will over the emotions. I invite you to be
present at the exhibition.He handed me a card from his desk.
You will perceive that Mr. Percival Waldron, a naturalist of
some popular repute, is announced to lecture at eight-thirty at
the Zoological Institute's Hall upon `The Record of the Ages.'
I have been specially invited to be present upon the platform, and
to move a vote of thanks to the lecturer. While doing so, I
shall make it my business, with infinite tact and delicacy, to
throw out a few remarks which may arouse the interest of the
audience and cause some of them to desire to go more deeply into
the matter. Nothing contentious, you understand, but only an

indication that there are greater deeps beyond. I shall hold
myself strongly in leash, and see whether by this self-restraint
I attain a more favorable result.

And I may come?I asked eagerly.

Why, surely,he answeredcordially. He had an enormously
massive genial mannerwhich was almost as overpowering as
his violence. His smile of benevolence was a wonderful thing
when his cheeks would suddenly bunch into two red applesbetween
his half-closed eyes and his great black beard. "By all meanscome.
It will be a comfort to me to know that I have one ally in the
hallhowever inefficient and ignorant of the subject he may be.
I fancy there will be a large audiencefor Waldronthough an
absolute charlatanhas a considerable popular following. NowMr.
MaloneI have given you rather more of my time than I had intended.
The individual must not monopolize what is meant for the world.
I shall be pleased to see you at the lecture to-night. In the
meantimeyou will understand that no public use is to be made
of any of the material that I have given you."

But Mr. McArdle--my news editor, you know--will want to know
what I have done.

Tell him what you like. You can say, among other things, that
if he sends anyone else to intrude upon me I shall call upon him
with a riding-whip. But I leave it to you that nothing of all
this appears in print. Very good. Then the Zoological
Institute's Hall at eight-thirty to-night.I had a last
impression of red cheeksblue rippling beardand intolerant
eyesas he waved me out of the room.



What with the physical shocks incidental to my first interview
with Professor Challenger and the mental ones which accompanied
the secondI was a somewhat demoralized journalist by the time I
found myself in Enmore Park once more. In my aching head the one
thought was throbbing that there really was truth in this man's
storythat it was of tremendous consequenceand that it would
work up into inconceivable copy for the Gazette when I could
obtain permission to use it. A taxicab was waiting at the end of
the roadso I sprang into it and drove down to the office.
McArdle was at his post as usual.

Well,he criedexpectantlywhat may it run to? I'm thinking,
young man, you have been in the wars. Don't tell me that he
assaulted you.

We had a little difference at first.

What a man it is! What did you do?

Well, he became more reasonable and we had a chat. But I got
nothing out of him--nothing for publication.

I'm not so sure about that. You got a black eye out of him,
and that's for publication. We can't have this reign of terror,
Mr. Malone. We must bring the man to his bearings. I'll have a
leaderette on him to-morrow that will raise a blister. Just give
me the material and I will engage to brand the fellow for ever.

Professor Munchausen--how's that for an inset headline? Sir John
Mandeville redivivus--Cagliostro--all the imposters and bullies
in history. I'll show him up for the fraud he is.

I wouldn't do that, sir.

Why not?

Because he is not a fraud at all.

What!roared McArdle. "You don't mean to say you really
believe this stuff of his about mammoths and mastodons and great
sea sairpents?"

Well, I don't know about that. I don't think he makes any
claims of that kind. But I do believe he has got something new.

Then for Heaven's sake, man, write it up!

I'm longing to, but all I know he gave me in confidence and on
condition that I didn't.I condensed into a few sentences the
Professor's narrative. "That's how it stands."

McArdle looked deeply incredulous.

Well, Mr. Malone,he said at lastabout this scientific
meeting to-night; there can be no privacy about that, anyhow.
I don't suppose any paper will want to report it, for Waldron has
been reported already a dozen times, and no one is aware that
Challenger will speak. We may get a scoop, if we are lucky.
You'll be there in any case, so you'll just give us a pretty
full report. I'll keep space up to midnight.

My day was a busy oneand I had an early dinner at the Savage
Club with Tarp Henryto whom I gave some account of my adventures.
He listened with a sceptical smile on his gaunt faceand roared
with laughter on hearing that the Professor had convinced me.

My dear chap, things don't happen like that in real life.
People don't stumble upon enormous discoveries and then lose
their evidence. Leave that to the novelists. The fellow is as
full of tricks as the monkey-house at the Zoo. It's all bosh.

But the American poet?

He never existed.

I saw his sketch-book.

Challenger's sketch-book.

You think he drew that animal?

Of course he did. Who else?

Well, then, the photographs?

There was nothing in the photographs. By your own admission you
only saw a bird.

A pterodactyl.

That's what HE says. He put the pterodactyl into your head.

Well, then, the bones?

First one out of an Irish stew. Second one vamped up for
the occasion. If you are clever and know your business you
can fake a bone as easily as you can a photograph.

I began to feel uneasy. Perhapsafter allI had been premature
in my acquiescence. Then I had a sudden happy thought.

Will you come to the meeting?I asked.

Tarp Henry looked thoughtful.

He is not a popular person, the genial Challenger,said he.
A lot of people have accounts to settle with him. I should say he
is about the best-hated man in London. If the medical students
turn out there will be no end of a rag. I don't want to get into
a bear-garden.

You might at least do him the justice to hear him state his own case.

Well, perhaps it's only fair. All right. I'm your man for
the evening.

When we arrived at the hall we found a much greater concourse
than I had expected. A line of electric broughams discharged
their little cargoes of white-bearded professorswhile the dark
stream of humbler pedestrianswho crowded through the arched
door-wayshowed that the audience would be popular as well
as scientific. Indeedit became evident to us as soon as we had
taken our seats that a youthful and even boyish spirit was abroad
in the gallery and the back portions of the hall. Looking behind
meI could see rows of faces of the familiar medical student type.
Apparently the great hospitals had each sent down their contingent.
The behavior of the audience at present was good-humored
but mischievous. Scraps of popular songs were chorused with
an enthusiasm which was a strange prelude to a scientific lecture
and there was already a tendency to personal chaff which promised
a jovial evening to othershowever embarrassing it might be to
the recipients of these dubious honors.

Thuswhen old Doctor Meldrumwith his well-known curly-brimmed
opera-hatappeared upon the platformthere was such a universal
query of "Where DID you get that tile?" that he hurriedly removed
itand concealed it furtively under his chair. When gouty
Professor Wadley limped down to his seat there were general
affectionate inquiries from all parts of the hall as to the exact
state of his poor toewhich caused him obvious embarrassment.
The greatest demonstration of allhoweverwas at the entrance
of my new acquaintanceProfessor Challengerwhen he passed down to
take his place at the extreme end of the front row of the platform.
Such a yell of welcome broke forth when his black beard first
protruded round the corner that I began to suspect Tarp Henry
was right in his surmiseand that this assemblage was there not
merely for the sake of the lecturebut because it had got rumored
abroad that the famous Professor would take part in the proceedings.

There was some sympathetic laughter on his entrance among the
front benches of well-dressed spectatorsas though the
demonstration of the students in this instance was not unwelcome
to them. That greeting wasindeeda frightful outburst of
soundthe uproar of the carnivora cage when the step of the
bucket-bearing keeper is heard in the distance. There was an
offensive tone in itperhapsand yet in the main it struck me

as mere riotous outcrythe noisy reception of one who amused and
interested themrather than of one they disliked or despised.
Challenger smiled with weary and tolerant contemptas a kindly
man would meet the yapping of a litter of puppies. He sat slowly
downblew out his chestpassed his hand caressingly down his
beardand looked with drooping eyelids and supercilious eyes at
the crowded hall before him. The uproar of his advent had not
yet died away when Professor Ronald Murraythe chairmanand Mr.
Waldronthe lecturerthreaded their way to the frontand the
proceedings began.

Professor Murray willI am sureexcuse me if I say that he has
the common fault of most Englishmen of being inaudible. Why on
earth people who have something to say which is worth hearing
should not take the slight trouble to learn how to make it heard
is one of the strange mysteries of modern life. Their methods
are as reasonable as to try to pour some precious stuff from the
spring to the reservoir through a non-conducting pipewhich
could by the least effort be opened. Professor Murray made
several profound remarks to his white tie and to the water-carafe
upon the tablewith a humoroustwinkling aside to the silver
candlestick upon his right. Then he sat downand Mr. Waldron
the famous popular lecturerrose amid a general murmur of applause.
He was a sterngaunt manwith a harsh voiceand an aggressive
mannerbut he had the merit of knowing how to assimilate the
ideas of other menand to pass them on in a way which was
intelligible and even interesting to the lay publicwith a
happy knack of being funny about the most unlikely objects
so that the precession of the Equinox or the formation of a
vertebrate became a highly humorous process as treated by him.

It was a bird's-eye view of creationas interpreted by science
whichin language always clear and sometimes picturesquehe
unfolded before us. He told us of the globea huge mass of
flaming gasflaring through the heavens. Then he pictured the
solidificationthe coolingthe wrinkling which formed the
mountainsthe steam which turned to waterthe slow preparation
of the stage upon which was to be played the inexplicable drama
of life. On the origin of life itself he was discreetly vague.
That the germs of it could hardly have survived the original
roasting washe declaredfairly certain. Therefore it had
come later. Had it built itself out of the coolinginorganic
elements of the globe? Very likely. Had the germs of it arrived
from outside upon a meteor? It was hardly conceivable. On the
wholethe wisest man was the least dogmatic upon the point.
We could not--or at least we had not succeeded up to date in
making organic life in our laboratories out of inorganic materials.
The gulf between the dead and the living was something which our
chemistry could not as yet bridge. But there was a higher and
subtler chemistry of Naturewhichworking with great forces
over long epochsmight well produce results which were impossible
for us. There the matter must be left.

This brought the lecturer to the great ladder of animal life
beginning low down in molluscs and feeble sea creaturesthen up
rung by rung through reptiles and fishestill at last we came to
a kangaroo-rata creature which brought forth its young alive
the direct ancestor of all mammalsand presumablythereforeof
everyone in the audience. ("Nono from a sceptical student in
the back row.) If the young gentleman in the red tie who cried
Nono and who presumably claimed to have been hatched out of
an egg, would wait upon him after the lecture, he would be glad
to see such a curiosity. (Laughter.) It was strange to think that
the climax of all the age-long process of Nature had been the creation

of that gentleman in the red tie. But had the process stopped?
Was this gentleman to be taken as the final type--the be-all and
end-all of development? He hoped that he would not hurt the
feelings of the gentleman in the red tie if he maintained that,
whatever virtues that gentleman might possess in private life,
still the vast processes of the universe were not fully justified
if they were to end entirely in his production. Evolution was
not a spent force, but one still working, and even greater
achievements were in store.

Having thus, amid a general titter, played very prettily with his
interrupter, the lecturer went back to his picture of the past,
the drying of the seas, the emergence of the sand-bank, the
sluggish, viscous life which lay upon their margins, the
overcrowded lagoons, the tendency of the sea creatures to take
refuge upon the mud-flats, the abundance of food awaiting them,
their consequent enormous growth. Henceladies and gentlemen
he added, that frightful brood of saurians which still affright
our eyes when seen in the Wealden or in the Solenhofen slates
but which were fortunately extinct long before the first
appearance of mankind upon this planet."

Question!boomed a voice from the platform.

Mr. Waldron was a strict disciplinarian with a gift of acid
humoras exemplified upon the gentleman with the red tiewhich
made it perilous to interrupt him. But this interjection
appeared to him so absurd that he was at a loss how to deal
with it. So looks the Shakespearean who is confronted by a
rancid Baconianor the astronomer who is assailed by a flatearth
fanatic. He paused for a momentand thenraising his
voicerepeated slowly the words: "Which were extinct before
the coming of man."

Question!boomed the voice once more.

Waldron looked with amazement along the line of professors upon
the platform until his eyes fell upon the figure of Challenger
who leaned back in his chair with closed eyes and an amused
expressionas if he were smiling in his sleep.

I see!said Waldronwith a shrug. "It is my friend Professor
Challenger and amid laughter he renewed his lecture as if this
was a final explanation and no more need be said.

But the incident was far from being closed. Whatever path the
lecturer took amid the wilds of the past seemed invariably to
lead him to some assertion as to extinct or prehistoric life
which instantly brought the same bulls' bellow from the Professor.
The audience began to anticipate it and to roar with delight when
it came. The packed benches of students joined in, and every
time Challenger's beard opened, before any sound could come forth,
there was a yell of Question!" from a hundred voicesand an
answering counter cry of "Order!" and "Shame!" from as many more.
Waldronthough a hardened lecturer and a strong manbecame rattled.
He hesitatedstammeredrepeated himselfgot snarled in a long
sentenceand finally turned furiously upon the cause of his troubles.

This is really intolerable!he criedglaring across the platform.
I must ask you, Professor Challenger, to cease these ignorant and
unmannerly interruptions.

There was a hush over the hallthe students rigid with delight
at seeing the high gods on Olympus quarrelling among themselves.

Challenger levered his bulky figure slowly out of his chair.

I must in turn ask you, Mr. Waldron,he saidto cease to make
assertions which are not in strict accordance with scientific fact.

The words unloosed a tempest. "Shame! Shame!" "Give him a
hearing!" "Put him out!" "Shove him off the platform!" "Fair
play!" emerged from a general roar of amusement or execration.
The chairman was on his feet flapping both his hands and
bleating excitedly. "Professor Challenger--personal--views-later
were the solid peaks above his clouds of inaudible mutter.
The interrupter bowed, smiled, stroked his beard, and relapsed
into his chair. Waldron, very flushed and warlike, continued
his observations. Now and then, as he made an assertion, he shot
a venomous glance at his opponent, who seemed to be slumbering
deeply, with the same broad, happy smile upon his face.

At last the lecture came to an end--I am inclined to think
that it was a premature one, as the peroration was hurried
and disconnected. The thread of the argument had been rudely
broken, and the audience was restless and expectant. Waldron sat
down, and, after a chirrup from the chairman, Professor Challenger
rose and advanced to the edge of the platform. In the interests
of my paper I took down his speech verbatim.

Ladies and Gentlemen he began, amid a sustained interruption
from the back. I beg pardon--LadiesGentlemenand Children--I
must apologizeI had inadvertently omitted a considerable
section of this audience" (tumultduring which the Professor
stood with one hand raised and his enormous head nodding
sympatheticallyas if he were bestowing a pontifical blessing
upon the crowd)I have been selected to move a vote of thanks
to Mr. Waldron for the very picturesque and imaginative address
to which we have just listened. There are points in it with
which I disagree, and it has been my duty to indicate them as
they arose, but, none the less, Mr. Waldron has accomplished his
object well, that object being to give a simple and interesting
account of what he conceives to have been the history of our planet.
Popular lectures are the easiest to listen to, but Mr. Waldron
(here he beamed and blinked at the lecturer) "will excuse me when
I say that they are necessarily both superficial and misleading
since they have to be graded to the comprehension of an
ignorant audience." (Ironical cheering.) "Popular lecturers
are in their nature parasitic." (Angry gesture of protest from
Mr. Waldron.) "They exploit for fame or cash the work which has
been done by their indigent and unknown brethren. One smallest
new fact obtained in the laboratoryone brick built into the
temple of sciencefar outweighs any second-hand exposition which
passes an idle hourbut can leave no useful result behind it.
I put forward this obvious reflectionnot out of any desire to
disparage Mr. Waldron in particularbut that you may not lose
your sense of proportion and mistake the acolyte for the high priest."
(At this point Mr. Waldron whispered to the chairmanwho half rose
and said something severely to his water-carafe.) "But enough
of this!" (Loud and prolonged cheers.) "Let me pass to some
subject of wider interest. What is the particular point upon
which Ias an original investigatorhave challenged our
lecturer's accuracy? It is upon the permanence of certain types
of animal life upon the earth. I do not speak upon this subject
as an amateurnorI may addas a popular lecturerbut I speak
as one whose scientific conscience compels him to adhere closely
to factswhen I say that Mr. Waldron is very wrong in supposing
that because he has never himself seen a so-called prehistoric
animaltherefore these creatures no longer exist. They are

indeedas he has saidour ancestorsbut they areif I may use
the expressionour contemporary ancestorswho can still be
found with all their hideous and formidable characteristics if
one has but the energy and hardihood to seek their haunts.
Creatures which were supposed to be Jurassicmonsters who would
hunt down and devour our largest and fiercest mammalsstill exist."
(Cries of "Bosh!" "Prove it!" "How do YOU know?" "Question!")
How do I know, you ask me? I know because I have visited their
secret haunts. I know because I have seen some of them.
(Applauseuproarand a voiceLiar!) "Am I a liar?"
(General hearty and noisy assent.) "Did I hear someone say that I
was a liar? Will the person who called me a liar kindly stand up
that I may know him?" (A voiceHere he is, sir!and an
inoffensive little person in spectaclesstruggling violently
was held up among a group of students.) "Did you venture to call
me a liar?" ("Nosirno!" shouted the accusedand disappeared
like a jack-in-the-box.) "If any person in this hall dares to
doubt my veracityI shall be glad to have a few words with him
after the lecture." ("Liar!") "Who said that?" (Again the
inoffensive one plunging desperatelywas elevated high into the air.)
If I come down among you----(General chorus of "Comelovecome!"
which interrupted the proceedings for some momentswhile the
chairmanstanding up and waving both his armsseemed to be
conducting the music. The Professorwith his face flushed
his nostrils dilatedand his beard bristlingwas now in a
proper Berserk mood.) "Every great discoverer has been met with
the same incredulity--the sure brand of a generation of fools.
When great facts are laid before youyou have not the intuition
the imagination which would help you to understand them. You can
only throw mud at the men who have risked their lives to open new
fields to science. You persecute the prophets! Galileo! Darwin
and I----" (Prolonged cheering and complete interruption.)

All this is from my hurried notes taken at the timewhich give
little notion of the absolute chaos to which the assembly had by
this time been reduced. So terrific was the uproar that several
ladies had already beaten a hurried retreat. Grave and reverend
seniors seemed to have caught the prevailing spirit as badly as
the studentsand I saw white-bearded men rising and shaking
their fists at the obdurate Professor. The whole great audience
seethed and simmered like a boiling pot. The Professor took a
step forward and raised both his hands. There was something so
big and arresting and virile in the man that the clatter and
shouting died gradually away before his commanding gesture and
his masterful eyes. He seemed to have a definite message.
They hushed to hear it.

I will not detain you,he said. "It is not worth it. Truth is
truthand the noise of a number of foolish young men--andI
fear I must addof their equally foolish seniors--cannot affect
the matter. I claim that I have opened a new field of science.
You dispute it." (Cheers.) "Then I put you to the test. Will you
accredit one or more of your own number to go out as your
representatives and test my statement in your name?"

Mr. Summerleethe veteran Professor of Comparative Anatomyrose
among the audiencea tallthinbitter manwith the withered
aspect of a theologian. He wishedhe saidto ask Professor
Challenger whether the results to which he had alluded in his
remarks had been obtained during a journey to the headwaters of
the Amazon made by him two years before.

Professor Challenger answered that they had.

Mr. Summerlee desired to know how it was that Professor
Challenger claimed to have made discoveries in those regions
which had been overlooked by WallaceBatesand other previous
explorers of established scientific repute.

Professor Challenger answered that Mr. Summerlee appeared to be
confusing the Amazon with the Thames; that it was in reality a
somewhat larger river; that Mr. Summerlee might be interested to
know that with the Orinocowhich communicated with itsome
fifty thousand miles of country were opened upand that in so
vast a space it was not impossible for one person to find what
another had missed.

Mr. Summerlee declaredwith an acid smilethat he fully
appreciated the difference between the Thames and the Amazon
which lay in the fact that any assertion about the former could be
testedwhile about the latter it could not. He would be obliged
if Professor Challenger would give the latitude and the longitude
of the country in which prehistoric animals were to be found.

Professor Challenger replied that he reserved such information
for good reasons of his ownbut would be prepared to give it
with proper precautions to a committee chosen from the audience.
Would Mr. Summerlee serve on such a committee and test his story
in person?

Mr. Summerlee: "YesI will." (Great cheering.)

Professor Challenger: "Then I guarantee that I will place in
your hands such material as will enable you to find your way.
It is only righthoweversince Mr. Summerlee goes to check my
statement that I should have one or more with him who may check his.
I will not disguise from you that there are difficulties and dangers.
Mr. Summerlee will need a younger colleague. May I ask for volunteers?"

It is thus that the great crisis of a man's life springs out at him.
Could I have imagined when I entered that hall that I was about to
pledge myself to a wilder adventure than had ever come to me in
my dreams? But Gladys--was it not the very opportunity of which
she spoke? Gladys would have told me to go. I had sprung to my feet.
I was speakingand yet I had prepared no words. Tarp Henrymy
companionwas plucking at my skirts and I heard him whispering
Sit down, Malone! Don't make a public ass of yourself.At the
same time I was aware that a tallthin manwith dark gingery hair
a few seats in front of mewas also upon his feet. He glared back
at me with hard angry eyesbut I refused to give way.

I will go, Mr. Chairman,I kept repeating over and over again.

Name! Name!cried the audience.

My name is Edward Dunn Malone. I am the reporter of the Daily
Gazette. I claim to be an absolutely unprejudiced witness.

What is YOUR name, sir?the chairman asked of my tall rival.

I am Lord John Roxton. I have already been up the Amazon,
I know all the ground, and have special qualifications for
this investigation.

Lord John Roxton's reputation as a sportsman and a traveler is,
of course, world-famous,said the chairman; "at the same time it
would certainly be as well to have a member of the Press upon
such an expedition."

Then I move,said Professor Challengerthat both these
gentlemen be elected, as representatives of this meeting, to
accompany Professor Summerlee upon his journey to investigate and
to report upon the truth of my statements.

And soamid shouting and cheeringour fate was decidedand I
found myself borne away in the human current which swirled
towards the doorwith my mind half stunned by the vast new
project which had risen so suddenly before it. As I emerged from
the hall I was conscious for a moment of a rush of laughing
students--down the pavementand of an arm wielding a heavy
umbrellawhich rose and fell in the midst of them. Thenamid a
mixture of groans and cheersProfessor Challenger's electric
brougham slid from the curband I found myself walking under the
silvery lights of Regent Streetfull of thoughts of Gladys and
of wonder as to my future.

Suddenly there was a touch at my elbow. I turnedand found
myself looking into the humorousmasterful eyes of the tallthin
man who had volunteered to be my companion on this strange quest.

Mr. Malone, I understand,said he. "We are to be
companions--what? My rooms are just over the roadin the Albany.
Perhaps you would have the kindness to spare me half an hourfor
there are one or two things that I badly want to say to you."


I was the Flail of the Lord

Lord John Roxton and I turned down Vigo Street together and
through the dingy portals of the famous aristocratic rookery.
At the end of a long drab passage my new acquaintance pushed open
a door and turned on an electric switch. A number of lamps shining
through tinted shades bathed the whole great room before us in a
ruddy radiance. Standing in the doorway and glancing round meI
had a general impression of extraordinary comfort and elegance
combined with an atmosphere of masculine virility. Everywhere there
were mingled the luxury of the wealthy man of taste and the
careless untidiness of the bachelor. Rich furs and strange
iridescent mats from some Oriental bazaar were scattered upon
the floor. Pictures and prints which even my unpractised eyes
could recognize as being of great price and rarity hung thick upon
the walls. Sketches of boxersof ballet-girlsand of racehorses
alternated with a sensuous Fragonarda martial Girardetand a
dreamy Turner. But amid these varied ornaments there were
scattered the trophies which brought back strongly to my
recollection the fact that Lord John Roxton was one of the great
all-round sportsmen and athletes of his day. A dark-blue oar
crossed with a cherry-pink one above his mantel-piece spoke of
the old Oxonian and Leander manwhile the foils and
boxing-gloves above and below them were the tools of a man who
had won supremacy with each. Like a dado round the room was the
jutting line of splendid heavy game-headsthe best of their sort
from every quarter of the worldwith the rare white rhinoceros
of the Lado Enclave drooping its supercilious lip above them all.

In the center of the rich red carpet was a black and gold Louis
Quinze tablea lovely antiquenow sacrilegiously desecrated
with marks of glasses and the scars of cigar-stumps. On it stood
a silver tray of smokables and a burnished spirit-standfrom
which and an adjacent siphon my silent host proceeded to charge

two high glasses. Having indicated an arm-chair to me and placed
my refreshment near ithe handed me a longsmooth Havana.
Thenseating himself opposite to mehe looked at me long and
fixedly with his strangetwinklingreckless eyes--eyes of a
cold light bluethe color of a glacier lake.

Through the thin haze of my cigar-smoke I noted the details of a
face which was already familiar to me from many photographs--the
strongly-curved nosethe hollowworn cheeksthe darkruddy
hairthin at the topthe crispvirile moustachesthe small
aggressive tuft upon his projecting chin. Something there was of
Napoleon III.something of Don Quixoteand yet again something
which was the essence of the English country gentlemanthe keen
alertopen-air lover of dogs and of horses. His skin was of a
rich flower-pot red from sun and wind. His eyebrows were tufted
and overhangingwhich gave those naturally cold eyes an almost
ferocious aspectan impression which was increased by his strong
and furrowed brow. In figure he was sparebut very strongly
built--indeedhe had often proved that there were few men in
England capable of such sustained exertions. His height was a
little over six feetbut he seemed shorter on account of a
peculiar rounding of the shoulders. Such was the famous Lord
John Roxton as he sat opposite to mebiting hard upon his cigar
and watching me steadily in a long and embarrassing silence.

Well,said heat lastwe've gone and done it, young fellah
my lad.(This curious phrase he pronounced as if it were all one
word--"young-fellah-me-lad.") "Yeswe've taken a jumpyou an' me.
I supposenowwhen you went into that room there was no such
notion in your head--what?"

No thought of it.

The same here. No thought of it. And here we are, up to our
necks in the tureen. Why, I've only been back three weeks from
Uganda, and taken a place in Scotland, and signed the lease and all.
Pretty goin's on--what? How does it hit you?

Well, it is all in the main line of my business. I am a
journalist on the Gazette.

Of course--you said so when you took it on. By the way, I've
got a small job for you, if you'll help me.

With pleasure.

Don't mind takin' a risk, do you?

What is the risk?

Well, it's Ballinger--he's the risk. You've heard of him?


Why, young fellah, where HAVE you lived? Sir John Ballinger
is the best gentleman jock in the north country. I could hold
him on the flat at my best, but over jumps he's my master.
Well, it's an open secret that when he's out of trainin' he drinks
hard--strikin' an average, he calls it. He got delirium on
Toosday, and has been ragin' like a devil ever since. His room
is above this. The doctors say that it is all up with the old
dear unless some food is got into him, but as he lies in bed with
a revolver on his coverlet, and swears he will put six of the
best through anyone that comes near him, there's been a bit of a

strike among the serving-men. He's a hard nail, is Jack, and a
dead shot, too, but you can't leave a Grand National winner to
die like that--what?

What do you mean to do, then?I asked.

Well, my idea was that you and I could rush him. He may be
dozin', and at the worst he can only wing one of us, and the
other should have him. If we can get his bolster-cover round his
arms and then 'phone up a stomach-pump, we'll give the old dear
the supper of his life.

It was a rather desperate business to come suddenly into one's
day's work. I don't think that I am a particularly brave man.
I have an Irish imagination which makes the unknown and the untried
more terrible than they are. On the other handI was brought up
with a horror of cowardice and with a terror of such a stigma.
I dare say that I could throw myself over a precipicelike the Hun
in the history booksif my courage to do it were questionedand
yet it would surely be pride and fearrather than couragewhich
would be my inspiration. Thereforealthough every nerve in my
body shrank from the whisky-maddened figure which I pictured in
the room aboveI still answeredin as careless a voice as I
could commandthat I was ready to go. Some further remark of
Lord Roxton's about the danger only made me irritable.

Talking won't make it any better,said I. "Come on."

I rose from my chair and he from his. Then with a little
confidential chuckle of laughterhe patted me two or three times
on the chestfinally pushing me back into my chair.

All right, sonny my lad--you'll do,said he. I looked up
in surprise.

I saw after Jack Ballinger myself this mornin'. He blew a hole
in the skirt of my kimono, bless his shaky old hand, but we got a
jacket on him, and he's to be all right in a week. I say, young
fellah, I hope you don't mind--what? You see, between you an' me
close-tiled, I look on this South American business as a mighty
serious thing, and if I have a pal with me I want a man I can
bank on. So I sized you down, and I'm bound to say that you came
well out of it. You see, it's all up to you and me, for this old
Summerlee man will want dry-nursin' from the first. By the way,
are you by any chance the Malone who is expected to get his Rugby
cap for Ireland?

A reserve, perhaps.

I thought I remembered your face. Why, I was there when you got
that try against Richmond--as fine a swervin' run as I saw the
whole season. I never miss a Rugby match if I can help it, for
it is the manliest game we have left. Well, I didn't ask you in
here just to talk sport. We've got to fix our business. Here are
the sailin's, on the first page of the Times. There's a Booth boat
for Para next Wednesday week, and if the Professor and you can work
it, I think we should take it--what? Very good, I'll fix it with him.
What about your outfit?

My paper will see to that.

Can you shoot?

About average Territorial standard.

Good Lord! as bad as that? It's the last thing you young fellahs
think of learnin'. You're all bees without stings, so far as
lookin' after the hive goes. You'll look silly, some o' these
days, when someone comes along an' sneaks the honey. But you'll
need to hold your gun straight in South America, for, unless our
friend the Professor is a madman or a liar, we may see some queer
things before we get back. What gun have you?

He crossed to an oaken cupboardand as he threw it open I caught
a glimpse of glistening rows of parallel barrelslike the pipes
of an organ.

I'll see what I can spare you out of my own battery,said he.

One by one he took out a succession of beautiful riflesopening
and shutting them with a snap and a clangand then patting them
as he put them back into the rack as tenderly as a mother would
fondle her children.

This is a Bland's .577 axite express,said he. "I got that big
fellow with it." He glanced up at the white rhinoceros. "Ten more
yardsand he'd would have added me to HIS collection.

`On that conical bullet his one chance hangs
'Tis the weak one's advantage fair.'

Hope you know your Gordonfor he's the poet of the horse and
the gun and the man that handles both. Nowhere's a useful
tool--.470telescopic sightdouble ejectorpoint-blank up to
three-fifty. That's the rifle I used against the Peruvian
slave-drivers three years ago. I was the flail of the Lord up in
those partsI may tell youthough you won't find it in any
Blue-book. There are timesyoung fellahwhen every one of us
must make a stand for human right and justiceor you never feel
clean again. That's why I made a little war on my own. Declared it
myselfwaged it myselfended it myself. Each of those nicks
is for a slave murderer--a good row of them--what? That big one
is for Pedro Lopezthe king of them allthat I killed in a
backwater of the Putomayo River. Nowhere's something that
would do for you." He took out a beautiful brown-and-silver rifle.
Well rubbered at the stock, sharply sighted, five cartridges to
the clip. You can trust your life to that.He handed it to me
and closed the door of his oak cabinet.

By the way,he continuedcoming back to his chairwhat do
you know of this Professor Challenger?

I never saw him till to-day.

Well, neither did I. It's funny we should both sail under sealed
orders from a man we don't know. He seemed an uppish old bird.
His brothers of science don't seem too fond of him, either.
How came you to take an interest in the affair?

I told him shortly my experiences of the morningand he
listened intently. Then he drew out a map of South America
and laid it on the table.

I believe every single word he said to you was the truth,said
heearnestlyand, mind you, I have something to go on when I
speak like that. South America is a place I love, and I think,
if you take it right through from Darien to Fuego, it's the

grandest, richest, most wonderful bit of earth upon this planet.
People don't know it yet, and don't realize what it may become.
I've been up an' down it from end to end, and had two dry
seasons in those very parts, as I told you when I spoke of the
war I made on the slave-dealers. Well, when I was up there I
heard some yarns of the same kind--traditions of Indians and the
like, but with somethin' behind them, no doubt. The more you
knew of that country, young fellah, the more you would understand
that anythin' was possible--ANYTHIN'1. There are just some narrow
water-lanes along which folk travel, and outside that it is
all darkness. Now, down here in the Matto Grande--he swept his
cigar over a part of the map--"or up in this corner where three
countries meetnothin' would surprise me. As that chap said
to-nightthere are fifty-thousand miles of water-way runnin'
through a forest that is very near the size of Europe. You and
I could be as far away from each other as Scotland is from
Constantinopleand yet each of us be in the same great Brazilian forest.
Man has just made a track here and a scrape there in the maze.
Whythe river rises and falls the best part of forty feet
and half the country is a morass that you can't pass over.
Why shouldn't somethin' new and wonderful lie in such a country?
And why shouldn't we be the men to find it out? Besides he
added, his queer, gaunt face shining with delight, there's a
sportin' risk in every mile of it. I'm like an old golf-ball-I've
had all the white paint knocked off me long ago.
Life can whack me about nowand it can't leave a mark. But a
sportin' riskyoung fellahthat's the salt of existence.
Then it's worth livin' again. We're all gettin' a deal too soft
and dull and comfy. Give me the great waste lands and the wide
spaceswith a gun in my fist and somethin' to look for that's
worth findin'. I've tried war and steeplechasin' and aeroplanes
but this huntin' of beasts that look like a lobster-supper dream
is a brand-new sensation." He chuckled with glee at the prospect.

Perhaps I have dwelt too long upon this new acquaintancebut he
is to be my comrade for many a dayand so I have tried to set
him down as I first saw himwith his quaint personality and his
queer little tricks of speech and of thought. It was only the
need of getting in the account of my meeting which drew me at
last from his company. I left him seated amid his pink radiance
oiling the lock of his favorite riflewhile he still chuckled to
himself at the thought of the adventures which awaited us. It was
very clear to me that if dangers lay before us I could not in all
England have found a cooler head or a braver spirit with which to
share them.

That nightwearied as I was after the wonderful happenings of
the dayI sat late with McArdlethe news editorexplaining to
him the whole situationwhich he thought important enough to
bring next morning before the notice of Sir George Beaumont
the chief. It was agreed that I should write home full accounts
of my adventures in the shape of successive letters to McArdle
and that these should either be edited for the Gazette as they
arrivedor held back to be published lateraccording to the
wishes of Professor Challengersince we could not yet know what
conditions he might attach to those directions which should guide
us to the unknown land. In response to a telephone inquirywe
received nothing more definite than a fulmination against the
Pressending up with the remark that if we would notify our boat
he would hand us any directions which he might think it proper to
give us at the moment of starting. A second question from us
failed to elicit any answer at allsave a plaintive bleat from
his wife to the effect that her husband was in a very violent
temper alreadyand that she hoped we would do nothing to make

it worse. A third attemptlater in the dayprovoked a terrific
crashand a subsequent message from the Central Exchange that
Professor Challenger's receiver had been shattered. After that
we abandoned all attempt at communication.

And now my patient readersI can address you directly no longer.
From now onwards (ifindeedany continuation of this narrative
should ever reach you) it can only be through the paper which
I represent. In the hands of the editor I leave this account
of the events which have led up to one of the most remarkable
expeditions of all timeso that if I never return to England
there shall be some record as to how the affair came about. I am
writing these last lines in the saloon of the Booth liner
Franciscaand they will go back by the pilot to the keeping of
Mr. McArdle. Let me draw one last picture before I close the
notebook--a picture which is the last memory of the old country
which I bear away with me. It is a wetfoggy morning in the late
spring; a thincold rain is falling. Three shining mackintoshed
figures are walking down the quaymaking for the gang-plank of
the great liner from which the blue-peter is flying. In front of
them a porter pushes a trolley piled high with trunkswraps
and gun-cases. Professor Summerleea longmelancholy figure
walks with dragging steps and drooping headas one who is already
profoundly sorry for himself. Lord John Roxton steps briskly
and his thineager face beams forth between his hunting-cap and
his muffler. As for myselfI am glad to have got the bustling
days of preparation and the pangs of leave-taking behind meand
I have no doubt that I show it in my bearing. Suddenlyjust as
we reach the vesselthere is a shout behind us. It is Professor
Challengerwho had promised to see us off. He runs after usa
puffingred-facedirascible figure.

No thank you,says he; "I should much prefer not to go aboard.
I have only a few words to say to youand they can very well be
said where we are. I beg you not to imagine that I am in any way
indebted to you for making this journey. I would have you to
understand that it is a matter of perfect indifference to meand
I refuse to entertain the most remote sense of personal obligation.
Truth is truthand nothing which you can report can affect it in
any waythough it may excite the emotions and allay the curiosity
of a number of very ineffectual people. My directions for your
instruction and guidance are in this sealed envelope. You will
open it when you reach a town upon the Amazon which is called
Manaosbut not until the date and hour which is marked upon
the outside. Have I made myself clear? I leave the strict
observance of my conditions entirely to your honor. NoMr. Malone
I will place no restriction upon your correspondencesince
the ventilation of the facts is the object of your journey; but
I demand that you shall give no particulars as to your exact
destinationand that nothing be actually published until your return.
Good-byesir. You have done something to mitigate my feelings
for the loathsome profession to which you unhappily belong.
Good-byeLord John. Science isas I understanda sealed book
to you; but you may congratulate yourself upon the hunting-field
which awaits you. You willno doubthave the opportunity of
describing in the Field how you brought down the rocketing dimorphodon.
And good-bye to you alsoProfessor Summerlee. If you are still
capable of self-improvementof which I am frankly unconvinced
you will surely return to London a wiser man."

So he turned upon his heeland a minute later from the deck I
could see his shortsquat figure bobbing about in the distance
as he made his way back to his train. Wellwe are well down
Channel now. There's the last bell for lettersand it's

good-bye to the pilot. We'll be "downhull-downon the old
trail" from now on. God bless all we leave behind usand send
us safely back.


To-morrow we Disappear into the Unknown

I will not bore those whom this narrative may reach by an account
of our luxurious voyage upon the Booth linernor will I tell of
our week's stay at Para (save that I should wish to acknowledge
the great kindness of the Pereira da Pinta Company in helping us
to get together our equipment). I will also allude very briefly
to our river journeyup a wideslow-movingclay-tinted stream
in a steamer which was little smaller than that which had carried
us across the Atlantic. Eventually we found ourselves through
the narrows of Obidos and reached the town of Manaos. Here we
were rescued from the limited attractions of the local inn by
Mr. Shortmanthe representative of the British and Brazilian
Trading Company. In his hospital Fazenda we spent our time until
the day when we were empowered to open the letter of instructions
given to us by Professor Challenger. Before I reach the surprising
events of that date I would desire to give a clearer sketch of my
comrades in this enterpriseand of the associates whom we had
already gathered together in South America. I speak freelyand
I leave the use of my material to your own discretionMr.
McArdlesince it is through your hands that this report must
pass before it reaches the world.

The scientific attainments of Professor Summerlee are too well
known for me to trouble to recapitulate them. He is better
equipped for a rough expedition of this sort than one would
imagine at first sight. His tallgauntstringy figure is
insensible to fatigueand his dryhalf-sarcasticand often
wholly unsympathetic manner is uninfluenced by any change in
his surroundings. Though in his sixty-sixth yearI have never
heard him express any dissatisfaction at the occasional hardships
which we have had to encounter. I had regarded his presence as an
encumbrance to the expeditionbutas a matter of factI am now
well convinced that his power of endurance is as great as my own.
In temper he is naturally acid and sceptical. From the beginning
he has never concealed his belief that Professor Challenger is
an absolute fraudthat we are all embarked upon an absurd
wild-goose chase and that we are likely to reap nothing but
disappointment and danger in South Americaand corresponding
ridicule in England. Such are the views whichwith much
passionate distortion of his thin features and wagging of his
thingoat-like beardhe poured into our ears all the way from
Southampton to Manaos. Since landing from the boat he has
obtained some consolation from the beauty and variety of the
insect and bird life around himfor he is absolutely
whole-hearted in his devotion to science. He spends his days
flitting through the woods with his shot-gun and his
butterfly-netand his evenings in mounting the many specimens
he has acquired. Among his minor peculiarities are that he is
careless as to his attireunclean in his personexceedingly
absent-minded in his habitsand addicted to smoking a short
briar pipewhich is seldom out of his mouth. He has been upon
several scientific expeditions in his youth (he was with
Robertson in Papua)and the life of the camp and the canoe is
nothing fresh to him.

Lord John Roxton has some points in common with Professor

Summerleeand others in which they are the very antithesis to
each other. He is twenty years youngerbut has something of the
same sparescraggy physique. As to his appearanceI haveas I
recollectdescribed it in that portion of my narrative which I
have left behind me in London. He is exceedingly neat and prim
in his waysdresses always with great care in white drill suits
and high brown mosquito-bootsand shaves at least once a day.
Like most men of actionhe is laconic in speechand sinks
readily into his own thoughtsbut he is always quick to answer a
question or join in a conversationtalking in a queerjerky
half-humorous fashion. His knowledge of the worldand very
especially of South Americais surprisingand he has a
whole-hearted belief in the possibilities of our journey which is
not to be dashed by the sneers of Professor Summerlee. He has a
gentle voice and a quiet mannerbut behind his twinkling blue
eyes there lurks a capacity for furious wrath and implacable
resolutionthe more dangerous because they are held in leash.
He spoke little of his own exploits in Brazil and Perubut it
was a revelation to me to find the excitement which was caused by
his presence among the riverine nativeswho looked upon him as
their champion and protector. The exploits of the Red Chiefas
they called himhad become legends among thembut the real
factsas far as I could learn themwere amazing enough.

These were that Lord John had found himself some years before in
that no-man's-land which is formed by the half-defined frontiers
between PeruBraziland Columbia. In this great district the
wild rubber tree flourishesand has becomeas in the Congoa
curse to the natives which can only be compared to their forced
labor under the Spaniards upon the old silver mines of Darien.
A handful of villainous half-breeds dominated the countryarmed
such Indians as would support themand turned the rest into
slavesterrorizing them with the most inhuman tortures in order
to force them to gather the india-rubberwhich was then floated
down the river to Para. Lord John Roxton expostulated on behalf
of the wretched victimsand received nothing but threats and
insults for his pains. He then formally declared war against
Pedro Lopezthe leader of the slave-driversenrolled a band of
runaway slaves in his servicearmed themand conducted a
campaignwhich ended by his killing with his own hands the
notorious half-breed and breaking down the system which he represented.

No wonder that the ginger-headed man with the silky voice and the
free and easy manners was now looked upon with deep interest upon
the banks of the great South American riverthough the feelings
he inspired were naturally mixedsince the gratitude of the
natives was equaled by the resentment of those who desired to
exploit them. One useful result of his former experiences was
that he could talk fluently in the Lingoa Geralwhich is the
peculiar talkone-third Portuguese and two-thirds Indianwhich
is current all over Brazil.

I have said before that Lord John Roxton was a South Americomaniac.
He could not speak of that great country without ardorand this
ardor was infectiousforignorant as I washe fixed my
attention and stimulated my curiosity. How I wish I could
reproduce the glamour of his discoursesthe peculiar mixture
of accurate knowledge and of racy imagination which gave them
their fascinationuntil even the Professor's cynical and
sceptical smile would gradually vanish from his thin face as
he listened. He would tell the history of the mighty river so
rapidly explored (for some of the first conquerors of Peru
actually crossed the entire continent upon its waters)and yet
so unknown in regard to all that lay behind its ever-changing banks.

What is there?he would crypointing to the north. "Wood and
marsh and unpenetrated jungle. Who knows what it may shelter?
And there to the south? A wilderness of swampy forestwhere
no white man has ever been. The unknown is up against us on
every side. Outside the narrow lines of the rivers what does
anyone know? Who will say what is possible in such a country?
Why should old man Challenger not be right?" At which direct
defiance the stubborn sneer would reappear upon Professor
Summerlee's faceand he would sitshaking his sardonic head
in unsympathetic silencebehind the cloud of his briar-root pipe.

So muchfor the momentfor my two white companionswhose
characters and limitations will be further exposedas surely as
my ownas this narrative proceeds. But already we have enrolled
certain retainers who may play no small part in what is to come.
The first is a gigantic negro named Zambowho is a black
Herculesas willing as any horseand about as intelligent.
Him we enlisted at Paraon the recommendation of the steamship
companyon whose vessels he had learned to speak a halting English.

It was at Para also that we engaged Gomez and Manueltwo
half-breeds from up the riverjust come down with a cargo
of redwood. They were swarthy fellowsbearded and fierce
as active and wiry as panthers. Both of them had spent their
lives in those upper waters of the Amazon which we were about
to exploreand it was this recommendation which had caused Lord
John to engage them. One of themGomezhad the further
advantage that he could speak excellent English. These men were
willing to act as our personal servantsto cookto rowor to
make themselves useful in any way at a payment of fifteen dollars
a month. Besides thesewe had engaged three Mojo Indians from
Boliviawho are the most skilful at fishing and boat work of all
the river tribes. The chief of these we called Mojoafter his
tribeand the others are known as Jose and Fernando. Three white
menthentwo half-breedsone negroand three Indians made up
the personnel of the little expedition which lay waiting for its
instructions at Manaos before starting upon its singular quest.

At lastafter a weary weekthe day had come and the hour.
I ask you to picture the shaded sitting-room of the Fazenda St.
Ignatiotwo miles inland from the town of Manaos. Outside lay
the yellowbrassy glare of the sunshinewith the shadows of the
palm trees as black and definite as the trees themselves. The air
was calmfull of the eternal hum of insectsa tropical chorus
of many octavesfrom the deep drone of the bee to the high
keen pipe of the mosquito. Beyond the veranda was a small
cleared gardenbounded with cactus hedges and adorned with
clumps of flowering shrubsround which the great blue butterflies
and the tiny humming-birds fluttered and darted in crescents of
sparkling light. Within we were seated round the cane table
on which lay a sealed envelope. Inscribed upon itin the jagged
handwriting of Professor Challengerwere the words:-

Instructions to Lord John Roxton and party. To be opened at
Manaos upon July 15th, at 12 o'clock precisely.

Lord John had placed his watch upon the table beside him.

We have seven more minutes,said he. "The old dear is very precise."

Professor Summerlee gave an acid smile as he picked up the
envelope in his gaunt hand.

What can it possibly matter whether we open it now or in seven
minutes?said he. "It is all part and parcel of the same system
of quackery and nonsensefor which I regret to say that the
writer is notorious."

Oh, come, we must play the game accordin' to rules,said Lord John.
It's old man Challenger's show and we are here by his good will,
so it would be rotten bad form if we didn't follow his instructions
to the letter.

A pretty business it is!cried the Professorbitterly.
It struck me as preposterous in London, but I'm bound to say
that it seems even more so upon closer acquaintance. I don't
know what is inside this envelope, but, unless it is something
pretty definite, I shall be much tempted to take the next downriver
boat and catch the Bolivia at Para. After all, I have
some more responsible work in the world than to run about
disproving the assertions of a lunatic. Now, Roxton, surely
it is time.

Time it is,said Lord John. "You can blow the whistle."
He took up the envelope and cut it with his penknife. From it
he drew a folded sheet of paper. This he carefully opened out
and flattened on the table. It was a blank sheet. He turned
it over. Again it was blank. We looked at each other in a
bewildered silencewhich was broken by a discordant burst of
derisive laughter from Professor Summerlee.

It is an open admission,he cried. "What more do you want?
The fellow is a self-confessed humbug. We have only to return
home and report him as the brazen imposter that he is."

Invisible ink!I suggested.

I don't think!said Lord Roxtonholding the paper to the light.
No, young fellah my lad, there is no use deceiving yourself.
I'll go bail for it that nothing has ever been written upon
this paper.

May I come in?boomed a voice from the veranda.

The shadow of a squat figure had stolen across the patch of sunlight.
That voice! That monstrous breadth of shoulder! We sprang to our
feet with a gasp of astonishment as Challengerin a roundboyish
straw-hat with a colored ribbon--Challengerwith his hands in his
jacket-pockets and his canvas shoes daintily pointing as he walked-appeared
in the open space before us. He threw back his headand
there he stood in the golden glow with all his old Assyrian
luxuriance of beardall his native insolence of drooping eyelids
and intolerant eyes.

I fear,said hetaking out his watchthat I am a few minutes
too late. When I gave you this envelope I must confess that I
had never intended that you should open it, for it had been my
fixed intention to be with you before the hour. The unfortunate
delay can be apportioned between a blundering pilot and an
intrusive sandbank. I fear that it has given my colleague,
Professor Summerlee, occasion to blaspheme.

I am bound to say, sir,said Lord Johnwith some sternness of
voicethat your turning up is a considerable relief to us, for

our mission seemed to have come to a premature end. Even now I
can't for the life of me understand why you should have worked it
in so extraordinary a manner.

Instead of answeringProfessor Challenger enteredshook hands
with myself and Lord Johnbowed with ponderous insolence to
Professor Summerleeand sank back into a basket-chairwhich
creaked and swayed beneath his weight.

Is all ready for your journey?he asked.

We can start to-morrow.

Then so you shall. You need no chart of directions now, since
you will have the inestimable advantage of my own guidance.
From the first I had determined that I would myself preside over
your investigation. The most elaborate charts would, as you
will readily admit, be a poor substitute for my own intelligence
and advice. As to the small ruse which I played upon you in the
matter of the envelope, it is clear that, had I told you all my
intentions, I should have been forced to resist unwelcome
pressure to travel out with you.

Not from me, sir!exclaimed Professor Summerleeheartily.
So long as there was another ship upon the Atlantic.

Challenger waved him away with his great hairy hand.

Your common sense will, I am sure, sustain my objection and
realize that it was better that I should direct my own movements
and appear only at the exact moment when my presence was needed.
That moment has now arrived. You are in safe hands. You will
not now fail to reach your destination. From henceforth I take
command of this expedition, and I must ask you to complete your
preparations to-night, so that we may be able to make an early
start in the morning. My time is of value, and the same thing
may be said, no doubt, in a lesser degree of your own. I propose,
therefore, that we push on as rapidly as possible, until I have
demonstrated what you have come to see.

Lord John Roxton has chartered a large steam launchthe Esmeralda
which was to carry us up the river. So far as climate goesit
was immaterial what time we chose for our expeditionas the
temperature ranges from seventy-five to ninety degrees both
summer and winterwith no appreciable difference in heat.
In moisturehoweverit is otherwise; from December to May is
the period of the rainsand during this time the river slowly
rises until it attains a height of nearly forty feet above its
low-water mark. It floods the banksextends in great lagoons
over a monstrous waste of countryand forms a huge district
called locally the Gapowhich is for the most part too marshy
for foot-travel and too shallow for boating. About June the
waters begin to falland are at their lowest at October
or November. Thus our expedition was at the time of the dry
seasonwhen the great river and its tributaries were more or
less in a normal condition.

The current of the river is a slight onethe drop being not
greater than eight inches in a mile. No stream could be more
convenient for navigationsince the prevailing wind is
south-eastand sailing boats may make a continuous progress to
the Peruvian frontierdropping down again with the current.
In our own case the excellent engines of the Esmeralda could
disregard the sluggish flow of the streamand we made as rapid

progress as if we were navigating a stagnant lake. For three
days we steamed north-westwards up a stream which even herea
thousand miles from its mouthwas still so enormous that from
its center the two banks were mere shadows upon the distant skyline.
On the fourth day after leaving Manaos we turned into a tributary
which at its mouth was little smaller than the main stream.
It narrowed rapidlyhoweverand after two more days' steaming
we reached an Indian villagewhere the Professor insisted that
we should landand that the Esmeralda should be sent back to Manaos.
We should soon come upon rapidshe explainedwhich would make its
further use impossible. He added privately that we were now
approaching the door of the unknown countryand that the fewer
whom we took into our confidence the better it would be. To this
end also he made each of us give our word of honor that we would
publish or say nothing which would give any exact clue as to the
whereabouts of our travelswhile the servants were all solemnly
sworn to the same effect. It is for this reason that I am
compelled to be vague in my narrativeand I would warn my readers
that in any map or diagram which I may give the relation of places
to each other may be correctbut the points of the compass are
carefully confusedso that in no way can it be taken as an actual
guide to the country. Professor Challenger's reasons for secrecy
may be valid or notbut we had no choice but to adopt them
for he was prepared to abandon the whole expedition rather than
modify the conditions upon which he would guide us.

It was August 2nd when we snapped our last link with the outer
world by bidding farewell to the Esmeralda. Since then four days
have passedduring which we have engaged two large canoes from
the Indiansmade of so light a material (skins over a bamboo
framework) that we should be able to carry them round any obstacle.
These we have loaded with all our effectsand have engaged two
additional Indians to help us in the navigation. I understand
that they are the very two--Ataca and Ipetu by name--who
accompanied Professor Challenger upon his previous journey.
They appeared to be terrified at the prospect of repeating it
but the chief has patriarchal powers in these countriesand
if the bargain is good in his eyes the clansman has little
choice in the matter.

So to-morrow we disappear into the unknown. This account I am
transmitting down the river by canoeand it may be our last word
to those who are interested in our fate. I haveaccording to
our arrangementaddressed it to youmy dear Mr. McArdleand I
leave it to your discretion to deletealteror do what you like
with it. From the assurance of Professor Challenger's manner--and
in spite of the continued scepticism of Professor Summerlee--I
have no doubt that our leader will make good his statementand
that we are really on the eve of some most remarkable experiences.


The Outlying Pickets of the New World

Our friends at home may well rejoice with usfor we are at our
goaland up to a pointat leastwe have shown that the
statement of Professor Challenger can be verified. We have not
it is trueascended the plateaubut it lies before usand even
Professor Summerlee is in a more chastened mood. Not that he
will for an instant admit that his rival could be rightbut he
is less persistent in his incessant objectionsand has sunk for
the most part into an observant silence. I must hark back
howeverand continue my narrative from where I dropped it.

We are sending home one of our local Indians who is injured
and I am committing this letter to his chargewith considerable
doubts in my mind as to whether it will ever come to hand.

When I wrote last we were about to leave the Indian village where
we had been deposited by the Esmeralda. I have to begin my
report by bad newsfor the first serious personal trouble
(I pass over the incessant bickerings between the Professors)
occurred this eveningand might have had a tragic ending.
I have spoken of our English-speaking half-breedGomez--a fine
worker and a willing fellowbut afflictedI fancywith the
vice of curiositywhich is common enough among such men. On the
last evening he seems to have hid himself near the hut in which
we were discussing our plansandbeing observed by our huge
negro Zambowho is as faithful as a dog and has the hatred which
all his race bear to the half-breedshe was dragged out and
carried into our presence. Gomez whipped out his knifehowever
and but for the huge strength of his captorwhich enabled him to
disarm him with one handhe would certainly have stabbed him.
The matter has ended in reprimandsthe opponents have been
compelled to shake handsand there is every hope that all will
be well. As to the feuds of the two learned menthey are
continuous and bitter. It must be admitted that Challenger is
provocative in the last degreebut Summerlee has an acid tongue
which makes matters worse. Last night Challenger said that he
never cared to walk on the Thames Embankment and look up the river
as it was always sad to see one's own eventual goal. He is
convincedof coursethat he is destined for Westminster Abbey.
Summerlee rejoinedhoweverwith a sour smileby saying
that he understood that Millbank Prison had been pulled down.
Challenger's conceit is too colossal to allow him to be
really annoyed. He only smiled in his beard and repeated
Really! Really!in the pitying tone one would use to a child.
Indeedthey are children both--the one wizened and cantankerous
the other formidable and overbearingyet each with a brain which
has put him in the front rank of his scientific age. Braincharacter
soul--only as one sees more of life does one understand how distinct
is each.

The very next day we did actually make our start upon this
remarkable expedition. We found that all our possessions fitted
very easily into the two canoesand we divided our personnel
six in eachtaking the obvious precaution in the interests of
peace of putting one Professor into each canoe. PersonallyI
was with Challengerwho was in a beatific humormoving about as
one in a silent ecstasy and beaming benevolence from every feature.
I have had some experience of him in other moodshoweverand
shall be the less surprised when the thunderstorms suddenly
come up amidst the sunshine. If it is impossible to be at your
easeit is equally impossible to be dull in his companyfor one
is always in a state of half-tremulous doubt as to what sudden
turn his formidable temper may take.

For two days we made our way up a good-sized river some hundreds
of yards broadand dark in colorbut transparentso that one
could usually see the bottom. The affluents of the Amazon are
half of themof this naturewhile the other half are whitish
and opaquethe difference depending upon the class of country
through which they have flowed. The dark indicate vegetable
decaywhile the others point to clayey soil. Twice we came
across rapidsand in each case made a portage of half a mile or
so to avoid them. The woods on either side were primevalwhich
are more easily penetrated than woods of the second growthand
we had no great difficulty in carrying our canoes through them.

How shall I ever forget the solemn mystery of it? The height of
the trees and the thickness of the boles exceeded anything which
I in my town-bred life could have imaginedshooting upwards in
magnificent columns untilat an enormous distance above our
headswe could dimly discern the spot where they threw out their
side-branches into Gothic upward curves which coalesced to form
one great matted roof of verdurethrough which only an
occasional golden ray of sunshine shot downwards to trace a thin
dazzling line of light amidst the majestic obscurity. As we
walked noiselessly amid the thicksoft carpet of decaying
vegetation the hush fell upon our souls which comes upon us in
the twilight of the Abbeyand even Professor Challenger's
full-chested notes sank into a whisper. AloneI should have
been ignorant of the names of these giant growthsbut our men of
science pointed out the cedarsthe great silk cotton treesand
the redwood treeswith all that profusion of various plants
which has made this continent the chief supplier to the human
race of those gifts of Nature which depend upon the vegetable
worldwhile it is the most backward in those products which come
from animal life. Vivid orchids and wonderful colored lichens
smoldered upon the swarthy tree-trunks and where a wandering
shaft of light fell full upon the golden allamandathe scarlet
star-clusters of the tacsoniaor the rich deep blue of ipomaea
the effect was as a dream of fairyland. In these great wastes of
forestlifewhich abhors darknessstruggles ever upwards to
the light. Every planteven the smaller onescurls and writhes
to the green surfacetwining itself round its stronger and
taller brethren in the effort. Climbing plants are monstrous and
luxuriantbut others which have never been known to climb
elsewhere learn the art as an escape from that somber shadowso
that the common nettlethe jasmineand even the jacitara palm
tree can be seen circling the stems of the cedars and striving to
reach their crowns. Of animal life there was no movement amid
the majestic vaulted aisles which stretched from us as we walked
but a constant movement far above our heads told of that
multitudinous world of snake and monkeybird and slothwhich
lived in the sunshineand looked down in wonder at our tinydark
stumbling figures in the obscure depths immeasurably below them.
At dawn and at sunset the howler monkeys screamed together and
the parrakeets broke into shrill chatterbut during the hot
hours of the day only the full drone of insectslike the beat of
a distant surffilled the earwhile nothing moved amid the
solemn vistas of stupendous trunksfading away into the darkness
which held us in. Once some bandy-leggedlurching creaturean
ant-eater or a bearscuttled clumsily amid the shadows. It was the
only sign of earth life which I saw in this great Amazonian forest.

And yet there were indications that even human life itself was
not far from us in those mysterious recesses. On the third day
out we were aware of a singular deep throbbing in the air
rhythmic and solemncoming and going fitfully throughout
the morning. The two boats were paddling within a few yards
of each other when first we heard itand our Indians remained
motionlessas if they had been turned to bronzelistening
intently with expressions of terror upon their faces.

What is it, then?I asked.

Drums,said Lord Johncarelessly; "war drums. I have heard
them before."

Yes, sir, war drums,said Gomezthe half-breed. "Wild Indians
bravosnot mansos; they watch us every mile of the way; kill us
if they can."

How can they watch us?I askedgazing into the dark
motionless void.

The half-breed shrugged his broad shoulders.

The Indians know. They have their own way. They watch us.
They talk the drum talk to each other. Kill us if they can.

By the afternoon of that day--my pocket diary shows me that it
was TuesdayAugust 18th--at least six or seven drums were
throbbing from various points. Sometimes they beat quickly
sometimes slowlysometimes in obvious question and answerone
far to the east breaking out in a high staccato rattleand being
followed after a pause by a deep roll from the north. There was
something indescribably nerve-shaking and menacing in that
constant mutterwhich seemed to shape itself into the very
syllables of the half-breedendlessly repeatedWe will kill
you if we can. We will kill you if we can.No one ever moved in
the silent woods. All the peace and soothing of quiet Nature lay
in that dark curtain of vegetationbut away from behind there
came ever the one message from our fellow-man. "We will kill you
if we can said the men in the east. We will kill you if we
can said the men in the north.

All day the drums rumbled and whispered, while their menace
reflected itself in the faces of our colored companions. Even the
hardy, swaggering half-breed seemed cowed. I learned, however,
that day once for all that both Summerlee and Challenger
possessed that highest type of bravery, the bravery of the
scientific mind. Theirs was the spirit which upheld Darwin among
the gauchos of the Argentine or Wallace among the head-hunters
of Malaya. It is decreed by a merciful Nature that the human brain
cannot think of two things simultaneously, so that if it be
steeped in curiosity as to science it has no room for merely
personal considerations. All day amid that incessant and
mysterious menace our two Professors watched every bird upon the
wing, and every shrub upon the bank, with many a sharp wordy
contention, when the snarl of Summerlee came quick upon the deep
growl of Challenger, but with no more sense of danger and no more
reference to drum-beating Indians than if they were seated
together in the smoking-room of the Royal Society's Club in St.
James's Street. Once only did they condescend to discuss them.

Miranha or Amajuaca cannibals said Challenger, jerking his
thumb towards the reverberating wood.

No doubtsir Summerlee answered. Like all such tribesI
shall expect to find them of poly-synthetic speech and of
Mongolian type."

Polysynthetic certainly,said Challengerindulgently. "I am
not aware that any other type of language exists in this continent
and I have notes of more than a hundred. The Mongolian theory
I regard with deep suspicion."

I should have thought that even a limited knowledge of
comparative anatomy would have helped to verify it,said

Challenger thrust out his aggressive chin until he was all beard
and hat-rim. "No doubtsira limited knowledge would have
that effect. When one's knowledge is exhaustiveone comes to
other conclusions." They glared at each other in mutual defiance

while all round rose the distant whisperWe will kill you--we
will kill you if we can.

That night we moored our canoes with heavy stones for anchors in
the center of the streamand made every preparation for a
possible attack. Nothing camehoweverand with the dawn we
pushed upon our waythe drum-beating dying out behind us.
About three o'clock in the afternoon we came to a very steep rapid
more than a mile long--the very one in which Professor Challenger
had suffered disaster upon his first journey. I confess that the
sight of it consoled mefor it was really the first direct
corroborationslight as it wasof the truth of his story.
The Indians carried first our canoes and then our stores through
the brushwoodwhich is very thick at this pointwhile we four
whitesour rifles on our shoulderswalked between them and any
danger coming from the woods. Before evening we had successfully
passed the rapidsand made our way some ten miles above them
where we anchored for the night. At this point I reckoned that
we had come not less than a hundred miles up the tributary from
the main stream.

It was in the early forenoon of the next day that we made the
great departure. Since dawn Professor Challenger had been
acutely uneasycontinually scanning each bank of the river.
Suddenly he gave an exclamation of satisfaction and pointed to a
single treewhich projected at a peculiar angle over the side of
the stream.

What do you make of that?he asked.

It is surely an Assai palm,said Summerlee.

Exactly. It was an Assai palm which I took for my landmark.
The secret opening is half a mile onwards upon the other side of
the river. There is no break in the trees. That is the wonder
and the mystery of it. There where you see light-green rushes
instead of dark-green undergrowth, there between the great cotton
woods, that is my private gate into the unknown. Push through,
and you will understand.

It was indeed a wonderful place. Having reached the spot marked
by a line of light-green rusheswe poled out two canoes through
them for some hundreds of yardsand eventually emerged into a
placid and shallow streamrunning clear and transparent over a
sandy bottom. It may have been twenty yards acrossand was
banked in on each side by most luxuriant vegetation. No one who
had not observed that for a short distance reeds had taken the
place of shrubscould possibly have guessed the existence of
such a stream or dreamed of the fairyland beyond.

For a fairyland it was--the most wonderful that the imagination
of man could conceive. The thick vegetation met overhead
interlacing into a natural pergolaand through this tunnel of
verdure in a golden twilight flowed the greenpellucid river
beautiful in itselfbut marvelous from the strange tints thrown
by the vivid light from above filtered and tempered in its fall.
Clear as crystalmotionless as a sheet of glassgreen as the
edge of an icebergit stretched in front of us under its leafy
archwayevery stroke of our paddles sending a thousand ripples
across its shining surface. It was a fitting avenue to a land
of wonders. All sign of the Indians had passed awaybut animal
life was more frequentand the tameness of the creatures showed
that they knew nothing of the hunter. Fuzzy little black-velvet
monkeyswith snow-white teeth and gleamingmocking eyes

chattered at us as we passed. With a dullheavy splash an
occasional cayman plunged in from the bank. Once a darkclumsy
tapir stared at us from a gap in the bushesand then lumbered
away through the forest; oncetoothe yellowsinuous form of a
great puma whisked amid the brushwoodand its greenbaleful
eyes glared hatred at us over its tawny shoulder. Bird life was
abundantespecially the wading birdsstorkheronand ibis
gathering in little groupsbluescarletand whiteupon every
log which jutted from the bankwhile beneath us the crystal
water was alive with fish of every shape and color.

For three days we made our way up this tunnel of hazy
green sunshine. On the longer stretches one could hardly
tell as one looked ahead where the distant green water ended
and the distant green archway began. The deep peace of this
strange waterway was unbroken by any sign of man.

No Indian here. Too much afraid. Curupuri,said Gomez.

Curupuri is the spirit of the woods,Lord John explained.
It's a name for any kind of devil. The poor beggars think that
there is something fearsome in this direction, and therefore they
avoid it.

On the third day it became evident that our journey in the canoes
could not last much longerfor the stream was rapidly growing
more shallow. Twice in as many hours we stuck upon the bottom.
Finally we pulled the boats up among the brushwood and spent the
night on the bank of the river. In the morning Lord John and I
made our way for a couple of miles through the forestkeeping
parallel with the stream; but as it grew ever shallower we
returned and reportedwhat Professor Challenger had already
suspectedthat we had reached the highest point to which the
canoes could be brought. We drew them upthereforeand
concealed them among the bushesblazing a tree with our axesso
that we should find them again. Then we distributed the various
burdens among us--gunsammunitionfooda tentblanketsand
the rest--andshouldering our packageswe set forth upon the
more laborious stage of our journey.

An unfortunate quarrel between our pepper-pots marked the outset
of our new stage. Challenger had from the moment of joining us
issued directions to the whole partymuch to the evident
discontent of Summerlee. Nowupon his assigning some duty to
his fellow-Professor (it was only the carrying of an aneroid
barometer)the matter suddenly came to a head.

May I ask, sir,said Summerleewith vicious calmin what
capacity you take it upon yourself to issue these orders?

Challenger glared and bristled.

I do it, Professor Summerlee, as leader of this expedition.

I am compelled to tell you, sir, that I do not recognize you in
that capacity.

Indeed!Challenger bowed with unwieldy sarcasm. "Perhaps you
would define my exact position."

Yes, sir. You are a man whose veracity is upon trial, and this
committee is here to try it. You walk, sir, with your judges.

Dear me!said Challengerseating himself on the side of one of

the canoes. "In that case you willof coursego on your way
and I will follow at my leisure. If I am not the leader you
cannot expect me to lead."

Thank heaven that there were two sane men--Lord John Roxton
and myself--to prevent the petulance and folly of our learned
Professors from sending us back empty-handed to London.
Such arguing and pleading and explaining before we could get
them mollified! Then at last Summerleewith his sneer and his
pipewould move forwardsand Challenger would come rolling and
grumbling after. By some good fortune we discovered about this
time that both our savants had the very poorest opinion of Dr.
Illingworth of Edinburgh. Thenceforward that was our one safety
and every strained situation was relieved by our introducing the
name of the Scotch zoologistwhen both our Professors would form
a temporary alliance and friendship in their detestation and
abuse of this common rival.

Advancing in single file along the bank of the streamwe soon
found that it narrowed down to a mere brookand finally that it
lost itself in a great green morass of sponge-like mossesinto
which we sank up to our knees. The place was horribly haunted
by clouds of mosquitoes and every form of flying pestso we were
glad to find solid ground again and to make a circuit among the
treeswhich enabled us to outflank this pestilent morasswhich
droned like an organ in the distanceso loud was it with insect life.

On the second day after leaving our canoes we found that the
whole character of the country changed. Our road was
persistently upwardsand as we ascended the woods became
thinner and lost their tropical luxuriance. The huge trees of
the alluvial Amazonian plain gave place to the Phoenix and coco
palmsgrowing in scattered clumpswith thick brushwood between.
In the damper hollows the Mauritia palms threw out their graceful
drooping fronds. We traveled entirely by compassand once or
twice there were differences of opinion between Challenger and
the two Indianswhento quote the Professor's indignant words
the whole party agreed to "trust the fallacious instincts of
undeveloped savages rather than the highest product of modern
European culture." That we were justified in doing so was shown
upon the third daywhen Challenger admitted that he recognized
several landmarks of his former journeyand in one spot we
actually came upon four fire-blackened stoneswhich must have
marked a camping-place.

The road still ascendedand we crossed a rock-studded slope
which took two days to traverse. The vegetation had again
changedand only the vegetable ivory tree remainedwith a
great profusion of wonderful orchidsamong which I learned to
recognize the rare Nuttonia Vexillaria and the glorious pink and
scarlet blossoms of Cattleya and odontoglossum. Occasional brooks
with pebbly bottoms and fern-draped banks gurgled down the shallow
gorges in the hilland offered good camping-grounds every evening
on the banks of some rock-studded poolwhere swarms of little
blue-backed fishabout the size and shape of English trout
gave us a delicious supper.

On the ninth day after leaving the canoeshaving doneas I
reckonabout a hundred and twenty mileswe began to emerge from
the treeswhich had grown smaller until they were mere shrubs.
Their place was taken by an immense wilderness of bamboowhich
grew so thickly that we could only penetrate it by cutting a
pathway with the machetes and billhooks of the Indians. It took
us a long daytraveling from seven in the morning till eight at

nightwith only two breaks of one hour eachto get through
this obstacle. Anything more monotonous and wearying could not be
imaginedforeven at the most open placesI could not see more
than ten or twelve yardswhile usually my vision was limited to
the back of Lord John's cotton jacket in front of meand to the
yellow wall within a foot of me on either side. From above came
one thin knife-edge of sunshineand fifteen feet over our heads
one saw the tops of the reeds swaying against the deep blue sky.
I do not know what kind of creatures inhabit such a thicketbut
several times we heard the plunging of largeheavy animals quite
close to us. From their sounds Lord John judged them to be some
form of wild cattle. Just as night fell we cleared the belt of
bamboosand at once formed our campexhausted by the
interminable day.

Early next morning we were again afootand found that the
character of the country had changed once again. Behind us was
the wall of bambooas definite as if it marked the course of
a river. In front was an open plainsloping slightly upwards
and dotted with clumps of tree-fernsthe whole curving before
us until it ended in a longwhale-backed ridge. This we reached
about middayonly to find a shallow valley beyondrising once
again into a gentle incline which led to a lowrounded sky-line.
It was herewhile we crossed the first of these hillsthat an
incident occurred which may or may not have been important.

Professor Challengerwho with the two local Indians was in the van
of the partystopped suddenly and pointed excitedly to the right.
As he did so we sawat the distance of a mile or sosomething
which appeared to be a huge gray bird flap slowly up from the
ground and skim smoothly offflying very low and straightuntil
it was lost among the tree-ferns.

Did you see it?cried Challengerin exultation. "Summerleedid
you see it?"

His colleague was staring at the spot where the creature had disappeared.

What do you claim that it was?he asked.

To the best of my belief, a pterodactyl.

Summerlee burst into derisive laughter "A pter-fiddlestick!" said he.
It was a stork, if ever I saw one.

Challenger was too furious to speak. He simply swung his pack
upon his back and continued upon his march. Lord John came abreast
of mehoweverand his face was more grave than was his wont.
He had his Zeiss glasses in his hand.

I focused it before it got over the trees,said he. "I won't
undertake to say what it wasbut I'll risk my reputation as a
sportsman that it wasn't any bird that ever I clapped eyes on in
my life."

So there the matter stands. Are we really just at the edge of
the unknownencountering the outlying pickets of this lost world
of which our leader speaks? I give you the incident as it
occurred and you will know as much as I do. It stands alonefor
we saw nothing more which could be called remarkable.

And nowmy readersif ever I have anyI have brought you up
the broad riverand through the screen of rushesand down the
green tunneland up the long slope of palm treesand through

the bamboo brakeand across the plain of tree-ferns. At last
our destination lay in full sight of us. When we had crossed
the second ridge we saw before us an irregularpalm-studded
plainand then the line of high red cliffs which I have seen
in the picture. There it lieseven as I writeand there can
be no question that it is the same. At the nearest point it is
about seven miles from our present campand it curves away
stretching as far as I can see. Challenger struts about like
a prize peacockand Summerlee is silentbut still sceptical.
Another day should bring some of our doubts to an end.
Meanwhileas Josewhose arm was pierced by a broken bamboo
insists upon returningI send this letter back in his charge
and only hope that it may eventually come to hand. I will write
again as the occasion serves. I have enclosed with this a rough
chart of our journeywhich may have the effect of making the
account rather easier to understand.


Who could have Foreseen it?

A dreadful thing has happened to us. Who could have foreseen it?
I cannot foresee any end to our troubles. It may be that we are
condemned to spend our whole lives in this strangeinaccessible place.
I am still so confused that I can hardly think clearly of the facts
of the present or of the chances of the future. To my astounded
senses the one seems most terrible and the other as black as night.

No men have ever found themselves in a worse position; nor is
there any use in disclosing to you our exact geographical
situation and asking our friends for a relief party. Even if
they could send oneour fate will in all human probability be
decided long before it could arrive in South America.

We arein truthas far from any human aid as if we were in
the moon. If we are to win throughit is only our own qualities
which can save us. I have as companions three remarkable menmen
of great brain-power and of unshaken courage. There lies our one
and only hope. It is only when I look upon the untroubled faces
of my comrades that I see some glimmer through the darkness.
Outwardly I trust that I appear as unconcerned as they. Inwardly I
am filled with apprehension.

Let me give youwith as much detail as I canthe sequence of
events which have led us to this catastrophe.

When I finished my last letter I stated that we were within seven
miles from an enormous line of ruddy cliffswhich encircled
beyond all doubtthe plateau of which Professor Challenger spoke.
Their heightas we approached themseemed to me in some places
to be greater than he had stated--running up in parts to at least
a thousand feet--and they were curiously striatedin a manner
which isI believecharacteristic of basaltic upheavals.
Something of the sort is to be seen in Salisbury Crags at Edinburgh.
The summit showed every sign of a luxuriant vegetationwith bushes
near the edgeand farther back many high trees. There was no
indication of any life that we could see.

That night we pitched our camp immediately under the cliff--a
most wild and desolate spot. The crags above us were not merely
perpendicularbut curved outwards at the topso that ascent was
out of the question. Close to us was the high thin pinnacle of
rock which I believe I mentioned earlier in this narrative. It is

like a broad red church spirethe top of it being level with the
plateaubut a great chasm gaping between. On the summit of it
there grew one high tree. Both pinnacle and cliff were
comparatively low--some five or six hundred feetI should think.

It was on that,said Professor Challengerpointing to this
treethat the pterodactyl was perched. I climbed half-way up
the rock before I shot him. I am inclined to think that a good
mountaineer like myself could ascend the rock to the top, though
he would, of course, be no nearer to the plateau when he had done so.

As Challenger spoke of his pterodactyl I glanced at Professor
Summerleeand for the first time I seemed to see some signs of a
dawning credulity and repentance. There was no sneer upon his
thin lipsbuton the contrarya graydrawn look of excitement
and amazement. Challenger saw ittooand reveled in the first
taste of victory.

Of course,said hewith his clumsy and ponderous sarcasm
Professor Summerlee will understand that when I speak of a
pterodactyl I mean a stork--only it is the kind of stork which
has no feathers, a leathery skin, membranous wings, and teeth in
its jaws.He grinned and blinked and bowed until his colleague
turned and walked away.

In the morningafter a frugal breakfast of coffee and manioc--we
had to be economical of our stores--we held a council of war as
to the best method of ascending to the plateau above us.

Challenger presided with a solemnity as if he were the Lord Chief
Justice on the Bench. Picture him seated upon a rockhis absurd
boyish straw hat tilted on the back of his headhis supercilious
eyes dominating us from under his drooping lidshis great black
beard wagging as he slowly defined our present situation and our
future movements.

Beneath him you might have seen the three of us--myself
sunburntyoungand vigorous after our open-air tramp;
Summerleesolemn but still criticalbehind his eternal pipe;
Lord Johnas keen as a razor-edgewith his supplealert figure
leaning upon his rifleand his eager eyes fixed eagerly upon
the speaker. Behind us were grouped the two swarthy half-breeds
and the little knot of Indianswhile in front and above us towered
those hugeruddy ribs of rocks which kept us from our goal.

I need not say,said our leaderthat on the occasion of my
last visit I exhausted every means of climbing the cliff, and
where I failed I do not think that anyone else is likely to
succeed, for I am something of a mountaineer. I had none of the
appliances of a rock-climber with me, but I have taken the
precaution to bring them now. With their aid I am positive I
could climb that detached pinnacle to the summit; but so long as
the main cliff overhangs, it is vain to attempt ascending that.
I was hurried upon my last visit by the approach of the rainy
season and by the exhaustion of my supplies. These considerations
limited my time, and I can only claim that I have surveyed about
six miles of the cliff to the east of us, finding no possible
way up. What, then, shall we now do?

There seems to be only one reasonable course,said Professor Summerlee.
If you have explored the east, we should travel along the base of the
cliff to the west, and seek for a practicable point for our ascent.

That's it,said Lord John. "The odds are that this plateau is of

no great sizeand we shall travel round it until we either find an
easy way up itor come back to the point from which we started."

I have already explained to our young friend here,said
Challenger (he has a way of alluding to me as if I were a school
child ten years old)that it is quite impossible that there
should be an easy way up anywhere, for the simple reason that if
there were the summit would not be isolated, and those conditions
would not obtain which have effected so singular an interference
with the general laws of survival. Yet I admit that there may
very well be places where an expert human climber may reach the
summit, and yet a cumbrous and heavy animal be unable to descend.
It is certain that there is a point where an ascent is possible.

How do you know that, sir?asked Summerleesharply.

Because my predecessor, the American Maple White, actually made
such an ascent. How otherwise could he have seen the monster
which he sketched in his notebook?

There you reason somewhat ahead of the proved facts,said the
stubborn Summerlee. "I admit your plateaubecause I have seen
it; but I have not as yet satisfied myself that it contains any
form of life whatever."

What you admit, sir, or what you do not admit, is really of
inconceivably small importance. I am glad to perceive that the
plateau itself has actually obtruded itself upon your intelligence.
He glanced up at itand thento our amazementhe sprang from his
rockandseizing Summerlee by the neckhe tilted his face into
the air. "Now sir!" he shoutedhoarse with excitement. "Do I
help you to realize that the plateau contains some animal life?"

I have said that a thick fringe of green overhung the edge of the cliff.
Out of this there had emerged a blackglistening object. As it came
slowly forth and overhung the chasmwe saw that it was a very large
snake with a peculiar flatspade-like head. It wavered and quivered
above us for a minutethe morning sun gleaming upon its sleek
sinuous coils. Then it slowly drew inwards and disappeared.

Summerlee had been so interested that he had stood unresisting
while Challenger tilted his head into the air. Now he shook his
colleague off and came back to his dignity.

I should be glad, Professor Challenger,said heif you could
see your way to make any remarks which may occur to you without
seizing me by the chin. Even the appearance of a very ordinary
rock python does not appear to justify such a liberty.

But there is life upon the plateau all the same,his colleague
replied in triumph. "And nowhaving demonstrated this important
conclusion so that it is clear to anyonehowever prejudiced or
obtuseI am of opinion that we cannot do better than break up
our camp and travel to westward until we find some means of ascent."

The ground at the foot of the cliff was rocky and broken so that
the going was slow and difficult. Suddenly we camehowever
upon something which cheered our hearts. It was the site of an
old encampmentwith several empty Chicago meat tinsa bottle
labeled "Brandy a broken tin-opener, and a quantity of other
travelers' debris. A crumpled, disintegrated newspaper revealed
itself as the Chicago Democrat, though the date had been obliterated.

Not mine said Challenger. It must be Maple White's."

Lord John had been gazing curiously at a great tree-fern which
overshadowed the encampment. "I saylook at this said he.
I believe it is meant for a sign-post."

A slip of hard wood had been nailed to the tree in such a way as
to point to the westward.

Most certainly a sign-post,said Challenger. "What else?
Finding himself upon a dangerous errandour pioneer has left
this sign so that any party which follows him may know the way he
has taken. Perhaps we shall come upon some other indications as
we proceed."

We did indeedbut they were of a terrible and most unexpected nature.
Immediately beneath the cliff there grew a considerable patch of high
bamboolike that which we had traversed in our journey. Many of
these stems were twenty feet highwith sharpstrong topsso that
even as they stood they made formidable spears. We were passing
along the edge of this cover when my eye was caught by the gleam of
something white within it. Thrusting in my head between the stems
I found myself gazing at a fleshless skull. The whole skeleton was
therebut the skull had detached itself and lay some feet nearer to
the open.

With a few blows from the machetes of our Indians we cleared the
spot and were able to study the details of this old tragedy.
Only a few shreds of clothes could still be distinguishedbut
there were the remains of boots upon the bony feetand it was
very clear that the dead man was a European. A gold watch by
Hudsonof New Yorkand a chain which held a stylographic pen
lay among the bones. There was also a silver cigarette-case
with "J. C.from A. E. S. upon the lid. The state of the
metal seemed to show that the catastrophe had occurred no great
time before.

Who can he be?" asked Lord John. "Poor devil! every bone in his
body seems to be broken."

And the bamboo grows through his smashed ribs,said Summerlee.
It is a fast-growing plant, but it is surely inconceivable that
this body could have been here while the canes grew to be twenty
feet in length.

As to the man's identity,said Professor ChallengerI have no
doubt whatever upon that point. As I made my way up the river
before I reached you at the fazenda I instituted very particular
inquiries about Maple White. At Para they knew nothing.
Fortunately, I had a definite clew, for there was a particular
picture in his sketch-book which showed him taking lunch with a
certain ecclesiastic at Rosario. This priest I was able to find,
and though he proved a very argumentative fellow, who took it
absurdly amiss that I should point out to him the corrosive
effect which modern science must have upon his beliefs, he none
the less gave me some positive information. Maple White passed
Rosario four years ago, or two years before I saw his dead body.
He was not alone at the time, but there was a friend, an American
named James Colver, who remained in the boat and did not meet
this ecclesiastic. I think, therefore, that there can be no doubt
that we are now looking upon the remains of this James Colver.

Nor,said Lord Johnis there much doubt as to how he met
his death. He has fallen or been chucked from the top, and so
been impaled. How else could he come by his broken bones, and

how could he have been stuck through by these canes with their
points so high above our heads?

A hush came over us as we stood round these shattered remains and
realized the truth of Lord John Roxton's words. The beetling
head of the cliff projected over the cane-brake. Undoubtedly he
had fallen from above. But had he fallen? Had it been an accident?
Or--already ominous and terrible possibilities began to form round
that unknown land.

We moved off in silenceand continued to coast round the line
of cliffswhich were as even and unbroken as some of those
monstrous Antarctic ice-fields which I have seen depicted as
stretching from horizon to horizon and towering high above the
mast-heads of the exploring vessel.

In five miles we saw no rift or break. And then suddenly we
perceived something which filled us with new hope. In a hollow
of the rockprotected from rainthere was drawn a rough arrow
in chalkpointing still to the westwards.

Maple White again,said Professor Challenger. "He had some
presentiment that worthy footsteps would follow close behind him."

He had chalk, then?

A box of colored chalks was among the effects I found in
his knapsack. I remember that the white one was worn to a stump.

That is certainly good evidence,said Summerlee. "We can only
accept his guidance and follow on to the westward."

We had proceeded some five more miles when again we saw a white
arrow upon the rocks. It was at a point where the face of the
cliff was for the first time split into a narrow cleft. Inside the
cleft was a second guidance markwhich pointed right up it with
the tip somewhat elevatedas if the spot indicated were above
the level of the ground.

It was a solemn placefor the walls were so gigantic and the
slit of blue sky so narrow and so obscured by a double fringe
of verdurethat only a dim and shadowy light penetrated to
the bottom. We had had no food for many hoursand were very
weary with the stony and irregular journeybut our nerves were
too strung to allow us to halt. We ordered the camp to be pitched
howeverandleaving the Indians to arrange itwe fourwith
the two half-breedsproceeded up the narrow gorge.

It was not more than forty feet across at the mouthbut it
rapidly closed until it ended in an acute angletoo straight
and smooth for an ascent. Certainly it was not this which our
pioneer had attempted to indicate. We made our way back--the
whole gorge was not more than a quarter of a mile deep--and
then suddenly the quick eyes of Lord John fell upon what we
were seeking. High up above our headsamid the dark shadows
there was one circle of deeper gloom. Surely it could only be
the opening of a cave.

The base of the cliff was heaped with loose stones at the spot
and it was not difficult to clamber up. When we reached itall
doubt was removed. Not only was it an opening into the rockbut
on the side of it there was marked once again the sign of the arrow.
Here was the pointand this the means by which Maple White and his
ill-fated comrade had made their ascent.

We were too excited to return to the campbut must make our
first exploration at once. Lord John had an electric torch in
his knapsackand this had to serve us as light. He advanced
throwing his little clear circlet of yellow radiance before him
while in single file we followed at his heels.

The cave had evidently been water-wornthe sides being smooth
and the floor covered with rounded stones. It was of such a size
that a single man could just fit through by stooping. For fifty
yards it ran almost straight into the rockand then it ascended
at an angle of forty-five. Presently this incline became even
steeperand we found ourselves climbing upon hands and knees
among loose rubble which slid from beneath us. Suddenly an
exclamation broke from Lord Roxton.

It's blocked!said he.

Clustering behind him we saw in the yellow field of light a wall
of broken basalt which extended to the ceiling.

The roof has fallen in!

In vain we dragged out some of the pieces. The only effect was
that the larger ones became detached and threatened to roll down
the gradient and crush us. It was evident that the obstacle was
far beyond any efforts which we could make to remove it. The road
by which Maple White had ascended was no longer available.

Too much cast down to speakwe stumbled down the dark tunnel and
made our way back to the camp.

One incident occurredhoweverbefore we left the gorgewhich
is of importance in view of what came afterwards.

We had gathered in a little group at the bottom of the chasm
some forty feet beneath the mouth of the cavewhen a huge rock
rolled suddenly downwards--and shot past us with tremendous force.
It was the narrowest escape for one or all of us. We could not
ourselves see whence the rock had comebut our half-breed
servantswho were still at the opening of the cavesaid that
it had flown past themand must therefore have fallen from
the summit. Looking upwardswe could see no sign of movement
above us amidst the green jungle which topped the cliff.
There could be little doubthoweverthat the stone was aimed
at usso the incident surely pointed to humanity--and malevolent
humanity--upon the plateau.

We withdrew hurriedly from the chasmour minds full of this new
development and its bearing upon our plans. The situation was
difficult enough beforebut if the obstructions of Nature were
increased by the deliberate opposition of manthen our case was
indeed a hopeless one. And yetas we looked up at that
beautiful fringe of verdure only a few hundreds of feet above
our headsthere was not one of us who could conceive the idea
of returning to London until we had explored it to its depths.

On discussing the situationwe determined that our best course
was to continue to coast round the plateau in the hope of finding
some other means of reaching the top. The line of cliffswhich
had decreased considerably in heighthad already begun to trend
from west to northand if we could take this as representing the
arc of a circlethe whole circumference could not be very great.
At the worstthenwe should be back in a few days at our


We made a march that day which totaled some two-and-twenty miles
without any change in our prospects. I may mention that our
aneroid shows us that in the continual incline which we have
ascended since we abandoned our canoes we have risen to no less
than three thousand feet above sea-level. Hence there is a
considerable change both in the temperature and in the vegetation.
We have shaken off some of that horrible insect life which is
the bane of tropical travel. A few palms still surviveand many
tree-fernsbut the Amazonian trees have been all left behind.
It was pleasant to see the convolvulusthe passion-flowerand
the begoniaall reminding me of homehere among these
inhospitable rocks. There was a red begonia just the same color
as one that is kept in a pot in the window of a certain villa
in Streatham--but I am drifting into private reminiscence.

That night--I am still speaking of the first day of our
circumnavigation of the plateau--a great experience awaited us
and one which for ever set at rest any doubt which we could have
had as to the wonders so near us.

You will realize as you read itmy dear Mr. McArdleand
possibly for the first time that the paper has not sent me on a
wild-goose chaseand that there is inconceivably fine copy
waiting for the world whenever we have the Professor's leave to
make use of it. I shall not dare to publish these articles
unless I can bring back my proofs to Englandor I shall be
hailed as the journalistic Munchausen of all time. I have no
doubt that you feel the same way yourselfand that you would not
care to stake the whole credit of the Gazette upon this adventure
until we can meet the chorus of criticism and scepticism which
such articles must of necessity elicit. So this wonderful
incidentwhich would make such a headline for the old paper
must still wait its turn in the editorial drawer.

And yet it was all over in a flashand there was no sequel to it
save in our own convictions.

What occurred was this. Lord John had shot an ajouti--which is a
smallpig-like animal--andhalf of it having been given to the
Indianswe were cooking the other half upon our fire. There is
a chill in the air after darkand we had all drawn close to
the blaze. The night was moonlessbut there were some stars
and one could see for a little distance across the plain.
Wellsuddenly out of the darknessout of the nightthere swooped
something with a swish like an aeroplane. The whole group of us
were covered for an instant by a canopy of leathery wingsand I
had a momentary vision of a longsnake-like necka fiercered
greedy eyeand a great snapping beakfilledto my amazement
with littlegleaming teeth. The next instant it was gone--and
so was our dinner. A huge black shadowtwenty feet across
skimmed up into the air; for an instant the monster wings blotted
out the starsand then it vanished over the brow of the cliff
above us. We all sat in amazed silence round the firelike the
heroes of Virgil when the Harpies came down upon them. It was
Summerlee who was the first to speak.

Professor Challenger,said hein a solemn voicewhich
quavered with emotionI owe you an apology. Sir, I am very
much in the wrong, and I beg that you will forget what is past.

It was handsomely saidand the two men for the first time shook hands.
So much we have gained by this clear vision of our first pterodactyl.

It was worth a stolen supper to bring two such men together.

But if prehistoric life existed upon the plateau it was not
superabundantfor we had no further glimpse of it during the
next three days. During this time we traversed a barren and
forbidding countrywhich alternated between stony desert and
desolate marshes full of many wild-fowlupon the north and
east of the cliffs. From that direction the place is really
inaccessibleandwere it not for a hardish ledge which runs at
the very base of the precipicewe should have had to turn back.
Many times we were up to our waists in the slime and blubber of
an oldsemi-tropical swamp. To make matters worsethe place
seemed to be a favorite breeding-place of the Jaracaca snakethe
most venomous and aggressive in South America. Again and again
these horrible creatures came writhing and springing towards us
across the surface of this putrid bogand it was only by keeping
our shot-guns for ever ready that we could feel safe from them.
One funnel-shaped depression in the morassof a livid green in
color from some lichen which festered in itwill always remain
as a nightmare memory in my mind. It seems to have been a
special nest of these verminsand the slopes were alive with
themall writhing in our directionfor it is a peculiarity
of the Jaracaca that he will always attack man at first sight.
There were too many for us to shootso we fairly took to our
heels and ran until we were exhausted. I shall always remember
as we looked back how far behind we could see the heads and necks
of our horrible pursuers rising and falling amid the reeds.
Jaracaca Swamp we named it in the map which we are constructing.

The cliffs upon the farther side had lost their ruddy tintbeing
chocolate-brown in color; the vegetation was more scattered along
the top of themand they had sunk to three or four hundred feet
in heightbut in no place did we find any point where they could
be ascended. If anythingthey were more impossible than at the
first point where we had met them. Their absolute steepness is
indicated in the photograph which I took over the stony desert.

Surely,said Ias we discussed the situationthe rain must
find its way down somehow. There are bound to be water-channels
in the rocks.

Our young friend has glimpses of lucidity,said Professor
Challengerpatting me upon the shoulder.

The rain must go somewhere,I repeated.

He keeps a firm grip upon actuality. The only drawback is that
we have conclusively proved by ocular demonstration that there
are no water channels down the rocks.

Where, then, does it go?I persisted.

I think it may be fairly assumed that if it does not come
outwards it must run inwards.

Then there is a lake in the center.

So I should suppose.

It is more than likely that the lake may be an old crater,
said Summerlee. "The whole formation isof coursehighly volcanic.
Buthowever that may beI should expect to find the surface of the
plateau slope inwards with a considerable sheet of water in the center
which may drain offby some subterranean channelinto the marshes

of the Jaracaca Swamp."

Or evaporation might preserve an equilibrium,remarked
Challengerand the two learned men wandered off into one of
their usual scientific argumentswhich were as comprehensible as
Chinese to the layman.

On the sixth day we completed our first circuit of the cliffs
and found ourselves back at the first campbeside the isolated
pinnacle of rock. We were a disconsolate partyfor nothing
could have been more minute than our investigationand it was
absolutely certain that there was no single point where the most
active human being could possibly hope to scale the cliff.
The place which Maple White's chalk-marks had indicated as his
own means of access was now entirely impassable.

What were we to do now? Our stores of provisionssupplemented by
our gunswere holding out wellbut the day must come when they
would need replenishment. In a couple of months the rains might
be expectedand we should be washed out of our camp. The rock
was harder than marbleand any attempt at cutting a path for so
great a height was more than our time or resources would admit.
No wonder that we looked gloomily at each other that nightand
sought our blankets with hardly a word exchanged. I remember
that as I dropped off to sleep my last recollection was that
Challenger was squattinglike a monstrous bull-frogby the fire
his huge head in his handssunk apparently in the deepest thought
and entirely oblivious to the good-night which I wished him.

But it was a very different Challenger who greeted us in the
morning--a Challenger with contentment and self-congratulation
shining from his whole person. He faced us as we assembled for
breakfast with a deprecating false modesty in his eyesas who
should sayI know that I deserve all that you can say, but I
pray you to spare my blushes by not saying it.His beard
bristled exultantlyhis chest was thrown outand his hand was
thrust into the front of his jacket. Soin his fancymay he
see himself sometimesgracing the vacant pedestal in Trafalgar
Squareand adding one more to the horrors of the London streets.

Eureka!he criedhis teeth shining through his beard.
Gentlemen, you may congratulate me and we may congratulate
each other. The problem is solved.

You have found a way up?

I venture to think so.

And where?

For answer he pointed to the spire-like pinnacle upon our right.

Our faces--or mineat least--fell as we surveyed it. That it
could be climbed we had our companion's assurance. But a horrible
abyss lay between it and the plateau.

We can never get across,I gasped.

We can at least all reach the summit,said he. "When we are up
I may be able to show you that the resources of an inventive mind
are not yet exhausted."

After breakfast we unpacked the bundle in which our leader had
brought his climbing accessories. From it he took a coil of the

strongest and lightest ropea hundred and fifty feet in length
with climbing ironsclampsand other devices. Lord John was
an experienced mountaineerand Summerlee had done some rough
climbing at various timesso that I was really the novice at
rock-work of the party; but my strength and activity may have
made up for my want of experience.

It was not in reality a very stiff taskthough there were
moments which made my hair bristle upon my head. The first half
was perfectly easybut from there upwards it became continually
steeper untilfor the last fifty feetwe were literally
clinging with our fingers and toes to tiny ledges and crevices in
the rock. I could not have accomplished itnor could Summerlee
if Challenger had not gained the summit (it was extraordinary to
see such activity in so unwieldy a creature) and there fixed the
rope round the trunk of the considerable tree which grew there.
With this as our supportwe were soon able to scramble up the
jagged wall until we found ourselves upon the small grassy
platformsome twenty-five feet each waywhich formed the summit.

The first impression which I received when I had recovered my
breath was of the extraordinary view over the country which we
had traversed. The whole Brazilian plain seemed to lie beneath
usextending away and away until it ended in dim blue mists upon
the farthest sky-line. In the foreground was the long slope
strewn with rocks and dotted with tree-ferns; farther off in the
middle distancelooking over the saddle-back hillI could just
see the yellow and green mass of bamboos through which we had
passed; and thengraduallythe vegetation increased until it
formed the huge forest which extended as far as the eyes could
reachand for a good two thousand miles beyond.

I was still drinking in this wonderful panorama when the heavy
hand of the Professor fell upon my shoulder.

This way, my young friend,said he; "vestigia nulla retrorsum.
Never look rearwardsbut always to our glorious goal."

The level of the plateauwhen I turnedwas exactly that on
which we stoodand the green bank of busheswith occasional
treeswas so near that it was difficult to realize how
inaccessible it remained. At a rough guess the gulf was forty
feet acrossbutso far as I could seeit might as well have
been forty miles. I placed one arm round the trunk of the tree
and leaned over the abyss. Far down were the small dark figures
of our servantslooking up at us. The wall was absolutely
precipitousas was that which faced me.

This is indeed curious,said the creaking voice of Professor Summerlee.

I turnedand found that he was examining with great interest the
tree to which I clung. That smooth bark and those smallribbed
leaves seemed familiar to my eyes. "Why I cried, it's a beech!"

Exactly,said Summerlee. "A fellow-countryman in a far land."

Not only a fellow-countryman, my good sir,said Challenger
but also, if I may be allowed to enlarge your simile, an ally of
the first value. This beech tree will be our saviour.

By George!cried Lord Johna bridge!

Exactly, my friends, a bridge! It is not for nothing that
I expended an hour last night in focusing my mind upon

the situation. I have some recollection of once remarking
to our young friend here that G. E. C. is at his best when
his back is to the wall. Last night you will admit that all
our backs were to the wall. But where will-power and intellect
go together, there is always a way out. A drawbridge had to be
found which could be dropped across the abyss. Behold it!

It was certainly a brilliant idea. The tree was a good sixty
feet in heightand if it only fell the right way it would easily
cross the chasm. Challenger had slung the camp axe over his
shoulder when he ascended. Now he handed it to me.

Our young friend has the thews and sinews,said he. "I think
he will be the most useful at this task. I must beghowever
that you will kindly refrain from thinking for yourselfand that
you will do exactly what you are told."

Under his direction I cut such gashes in the sides of the trees
as would ensure that it should fall as we desired. It had
already a strongnatural tilt in the direction of the plateau
so that the matter was not difficult. Finally I set to work in
earnest upon the trunktaking turn and turn with Lord John.
In a little over an hour there was a loud crackthe tree swayed
forwardand then crashed overburying its branches among the
bushes on the farther side. The severed trunk rolled to the very
edge of our platformand for one terrible second we all thought
it was over. It balanced itselfhowevera few inches from the
edgeand there was our bridge to the unknown.

All of uswithout a wordshook hands with Professor Challenger
who raised his straw hat and bowed deeply to each in turn.

I claim the honor,said heto be the first to cross to the
unknown land--a fitting subject, no doubt, for some future
historical painting.

He had approached the bridge when Lord John laid his hand upon
his coat.

My dear chap,said heI really cannot allow it.

Cannot allow it, sir!The head went back and the beard forward.

When it is a matter of science, don't you know, I follow your
lead because you are by way of bein' a man of science. But it's
up to you to follow me when you come into my department.

Your department, sir?

We all have our professions, and soldierin' is mine. We are,
accordin' to my ideas, invadin' a new country, which may or may
not be chock-full of enemies of sorts. To barge blindly into it
for want of a little common sense and patience isn't my notion
of management.

The remonstrance was too reasonable to be disregarded.
Challenger tossed his head and shrugged his heavy shoulders.

Well, sir, what do you propose?

For all I know there may be a tribe of cannibals waitin' for
lunch-time among those very bushes,said Lord Johnlooking
across the bridge. "It's better to learn wisdom before you get
into a cookin'-pot; so we will content ourselves with hopin' that

there is no trouble waitin' for usand at the same time we will
act as if there were. Malone and I will go down againtherefore
and we will fetch up the four riflestogether with Gomez and
the other. One man can then go across and the rest will cover
him with gunsuntil he sees that it is safe for the whole crowd
to come along."

Challenger sat down upon the cut stump and groaned his
impatience; but Summerlee and I were of one mind that Lord John
was our leader when such practical details were in question.
The climb was a more simple thing now that the rope dangled down
the face of the worst part of the ascent. Within an hour we had
brought up the rifles and a shot-gun. The half-breeds had ascended
alsoand under Lord John's orders they had carried up a bale of
provisions in case our first exploration should be a long one.
We had each bandoliers of cartridges.

Now, Challenger, if you really insist upon being the first man
in,said Lord Johnwhen every preparation was complete.

I am much indebted to you for your gracious permission,said
the angry Professor; for never was a man so intolerant of every
form of authority. "Since you are good enough to allow itI
shall most certainly take it upon myself to act as pioneer upon
this occasion."

Seating himself with a leg overhanging the abyss on each side
and his hatchet slung upon his backChallenger hopped his way
across the trunk and was soon at the other side. He clambered
up and waved his arms in the air.

At last!he cried; "at last!"

I gazed anxiously at himwith a vague expectation that some
terrible fate would dart at him from the curtain of green
behind him. But all was quietsave that a strangemanycolored
bird flew up from under his feet and vanished among
the trees.

Summerlee was the second. His wiry energy is wonderful in so frail
a frame. He insisted upon having two rifles slung upon his back
so that both Professors were armed when he had made his transit.
I came nextand tried hard not to look down into the horrible
gulf over which I was passing. Summerlee held out the butt-end
of his rifleand an instant later I was able to grasp his hand.
As to Lord Johnhe walked across--actually walked without support!
He must have nerves of iron.

And there we werethe four of usupon the dreamlandthe lost
worldof Maple White. To all of us it seemed the moment of our
supreme triumph. Who could have guessed that it was the prelude
to our supreme disaster? Let me say in a few words how the
crushing blow fell upon us.

We had turned away from the edgeand had penetrated about fifty
yards of close brushwoodwhen there came a frightful rending
crash from behind us. With one impulse we rushed back the way
that we had come. The bridge was gone!

Far down at the base of the cliff I sawas I looked overa
tangled mass of branches and splintered trunk. It was our
beech tree. Had the edge of the platform crumbled and let
it through? For a moment this explanation was in all our minds.
The nextfrom the farther side of the rocky pinnacle before us

a swarthy facethe face of Gomez the half-breedwas
slowly protruded. Yesit was Gomezbut no longer the Gomez
of the demure smile and the mask-like expression. Here was a
face with flashing eyes and distorted featuresa face convulsed
with hatred and with the mad joy of gratified revenge.

Lord Roxton!he shouted. "Lord John Roxton!"

Well,said our companionhere I am.

A shriek of laughter came across the abyss.

Yes, there you are, you English dog, and there you will remain!
I have waited and waited, and now has come my chance. You found
it hard to get up; you will find it harder to get down. You cursed
fools, you are trapped, every one of you!

We were too astounded to speak. We could only stand there staring
in amazement. A great broken bough upon the grass showed whence
he had gained his leverage to tilt over our bridge. The face had
vanishedbut presently it was up againmore frantic than before.

We nearly killed you with a stone at the cave,he cried; "but
this is better. It is slower and more terrible. Your bones will
whiten up thereand none will know where you lie or come to
cover them. As you lie dyingthink of Lopezwhom you shot five
years ago on the Putomayo River. I am his brotherandcome
what will I will die happy nowfor his memory has been avenged."
A furious hand was shaken at usand then all was quiet.

Had the half-breed simply wrought his vengeance and then escaped
all might have been well with him. It was that foolish
irresistible Latin impulse to be dramatic which brought his
own downfall. Roxtonthe man who had earned himself the name of
the Flail of the Lord through three countrieswas not one who
could be safely taunted. The half-breed was descending on the
farther side of the pinnacle; but before he could reach the ground
Lord John had run along the edge of the plateau and gained a point
from which he could see his man. There was a single crack of his
rifleandthough we saw nothingwe heard the scream and then
the distant thud of the falling body. Roxton came back to us with
a face of granite.

I have been a blind simpleton,said hebitterlyIt's my
folly that has brought you all into this trouble. I should have
remembered that these people have long memories for blood-feuds,
and have been more upon my guard.

What about the other one? It took two of them to lever that tree
over the edge.

I could have shot him, but I let him go. He may have had no
part in it. Perhaps it would have been better if I had killed
him, for he must, as you say, have lent a hand.

Now that we had the clue to his actioneach of us could cast
back and remember some sinister act upon the part of the
half-breed--his constant desire to know our planshis arrest
outside our tent when he was over-hearing themthe furtive
looks of hatred which from time to time one or other of us
had surprised. We were still discussing itendeavoring to adjust
our minds to these new conditionswhen a singular scene in the
plain below arrested our attention.

A man in white clotheswho could only be the surviving halfbreed
was running as one does run when Death is the pacemaker.
Behind himonly a few yards in his rearbounded the huge
ebony figure of Zamboour devoted negro. Even as we looked
he sprang upon the back of the fugitive and flung his arms
round his neck. They rolled on the ground together. An instant
afterwards Zambo roselooked at the prostrate manand then
waving his hand joyously to uscame running in our direction.
The white figure lay motionless in the middle of the great plain.

Our two traitors had been destroyedbut the mischief that they
had done lived after them. By no possible means could we get back
to the pinnacle. We had been natives of the world; now we were
natives of the plateau. The two things were separate and apart.
There was the plain which led to the canoes. Yonderbeyond the
violethazy horizonwas the stream which led back to civilization.
But the link between was missing. No human ingenuity could suggest
a means of bridging the chasm which yawned between ourselves and
our past lives. One instant had altered the whole conditions of
our existence.

It was at such a moment that I learned the stuff of which my
three comrades were composed. They were graveit is trueand
thoughtfulbut of an invincible serenity. For the moment we
could only sit among the bushes in patience and wait the coming
of Zambo. Presently his honest black face topped the rocks and
his Herculean figure emerged upon the top of the pinnacle.

What I do now?he cried. "You tell me and I do it."

It was a question which it was easier to ask than to answer.
One thing only was clear. He was our one trusty link with the
outside world. On no account must he leave us.

No no!he cried. "I not leave you. Whatever comeyou always
find me here. But no able to keep Indians. Already they say too
much Curupuri live on this placeand they go home. Now you
leave them me no able to keep them."

It was a fact that our Indians had shown in many ways of late
that they were weary of their journey and anxious to return.
We realized that Zambo spoke the truthand that it would be
impossible for him to keep them.

Make them wait till to-morrow, Zambo,I shouted; "then I can
send letter back by them."

Very good, sarr! I promise they wait till to-morrow, said the negro.
But what I do for you now?"

There was plenty for him to doand admirably the faithful fellow
did it. First of allunder our directionshe undid the rope
from the tree-stump and threw one end of it across to us. It was
not thicker than a clothes-linebut it was of great strength
and though we could not make a bridge of itwe might well find
it invaluable if we had any climbing to do. He then fastened his
end of the rope to the package of supplies which had been carried
upand we were able to drag it across. This gave us the means
of life for at least a weekeven if we found nothing else.
Finally he descended and carried up two other packets of mixed
goods--a box of ammunition and a number of other thingsall of
which we got across by throwing our rope to him and hauling it back.
It was evening when he at last climbed downwith a final assurance
that he would keep the Indians till next morning.

And so it is that I have spent nearly the whole of this our first
night upon the plateau writing up our experiences by the light of
a single candle-lantern.

We supped and camped at the very edge of the cliffquenching
our thirst with two bottles of Apollinaris which were in one of
the cases. It is vital to us to find waterbut I think even Lord
John himself had had adventures enough for one dayand none of us
felt inclined to make the first push into the unknown. We forbore
to light a fire or to make any unnecessary sound.

To-morrow (or to-dayratherfor it is already dawn as I write)
we shall make our first venture into this strange land. When I
shall be able to write again--or if I ever shall write again--I
know not. MeanwhileI can see that the Indians are still in
their placeand I am sure that the faithful Zambo will be here
presently to get my letter. I only trust that it will come to hand.

P.S.--The more I think the more desperate does our position seem.
I see no possible hope of our return. If there were a high tree
near the edge of the plateau we might drop a return bridge
acrossbut there is none within fifty yards. Our united
strength could not carry a trunk which would serve our purpose.
The ropeof courseis far too short that we could descend by it.
Noour position is hopeless--hopeless!


The most Wonderful Things have Happened

The most wonderful things have happened and are continually
happening to us. All the paper that I possess consists of five
old note-books and a lot of scrapsand I have only the one
stylographic pencil; but so long as I can move my hand I will
continue to set down our experiences and impressionsforsince
we are the only men of the whole human race to see such things
it is of enormous importance that I should record them whilst
they are fresh in my memory and before that fate which seems to
be constantly impending does actually overtake us. Whether Zambo
can at last take these letters to the riveror whether I shall
myself in some miraculous way carry them back with meor
finallywhether some daring explorercoming upon our tracks
with the advantageperhapsof a perfected monoplaneshould
find this bundle of manuscriptin any case I can see that what I
am writing is destined to immortality as a classic of true adventure.

On the morning after our being trapped upon the plateau by
the villainous Gomez we began a new stage in our experiences.
The first incident in it was not such as to give me a very
favorable opinion of the place to which we had wandered. As I
roused myself from a short nap after day had dawnedmy eyes fell
upon a most singular appearance upon my own leg. My trouser had
slipped upexposing a few inches of my skin above my sock.
On this there rested a largepurplish grape. Astonished at the
sightI leaned forward to pick it offwhento my horrorit burst
between my finger and thumbsquirting blood in every direction.
My cry of disgust had brought the two professors to my side.

Most interesting,said Summerleebending over my shin.
An enormous blood-tick, as yet, I believe, unclassified.

The first-fruits of our labors,said Challenger in his booming
pedantic fashion. "We cannot do less than call it Ixodes Maloni.
The very small inconvenience of being bittenmy young friend
cannotI am sureweigh with you as against the glorious
privilege of having your name inscribed in the deathless roll
of zoology. Unhappily you have crushed this fine specimen at
the moment of satiation."

Filthy vermin!I cried.

Professor Challenger raised his great eyebrows in protestand
placed a soothing paw upon my shoulder.

You should cultivate the scientific eye and the detached
scientific mind,said he. "To a man of philosophic temperament
like myself the blood-tickwith its lancet-like proboscis and
its distending stomachis as beautiful a work of Nature as the
peacock orfor that matterthe aurora borealis. It pains me to
hear you speak of it in so unappreciative a fashion. No doubt
with due diligencewe can secure some other specimen."

There can be no doubt of that,said Summerleegrimlyfor one
has just disappeared behind your shirt-collar.

Challenger sprang into the air bellowing like a bulland tore
frantically at his coat and shirt to get them off. Summerlee and
I laughed so that we could hardly help him. At last we exposed
that monstrous torso (fifty-four inchesby the tailor's tape).
His body was all matted with black hairout of which jungle we
picked the wandering tick before it had bitten him. But the
bushes round were full of the horrible pestsand it was clear
that we must shift our camp.

But first of all it was necessary to make our arrangements with
the faithful negrowho appeared presently on the pinnacle with a
number of tins of cocoa and biscuitswhich he tossed over to us.
Of the stores which remained below he was ordered to retain as
much as would keep him for two months. The Indians were to have
the remainder as a reward for their services and as payment for
taking our letters back to the Amazon. Some hours later we saw
them in single file far out upon the plaineach with a bundle on
his headmaking their way back along the path we had come.
Zambo occupied our little tent at the base of the pinnacleand
there he remainedour one link with the world below.

And now we had to decide upon our immediate movements. We shifted
our position from among the tick-laden bushes until we came to a
small clearing thickly surrounded by trees upon all sides.
There were some flat slabs of rock in the centerwith an
excellent well close byand there we sat in cleanly comfort
while we made our first plans for the invasion of this new country.
Birds were calling among the foliage--especially one with a
peculiar whooping cry which was new to us--but beyond these
sounds there were no signs of life.

Our first care was to make some sort of list of our own stores
so that we might know what we had to rely upon. What with the
things we had ourselves brought up and those which Zambo had sent
across on the ropewe were fairly well supplied. Most important
of allin view of the dangers which might surround uswe had our
four rifles and one thousand three hundred roundsalso a shot-gun
but not more than a hundred and fifty medium pellet cartridges.
In the matter of provisions we had enough to last for several
weekswith a sufficiency of tobacco and a few scientific

implementsincluding a large telescope and a good field-glass.
All these things we collected together in the clearingand as
a first precautionwe cut down with our hatchet and knives a
number of thorny busheswhich we piled round in a circle some
fifteen yards in diameter. This was to be our headquarters for
the time--our place of refuge against sudden danger and the
guard-house for our stores. Fort Challengerwe called it.

IT was midday before we had made ourselves securebut the heat
was not oppressiveand the general character of the plateauboth
in its temperature and in its vegetationwas almost temperate.
The beechthe oakand even the birch were to be found among
the tangle of trees which girt us in. One huge gingko tree
topping all the othersshot its great limbs and maidenhair
foliage over the fort which we had constructed. In its shade
we continued our discussionwhile Lord Johnwho had quickly
taken command in the hour of actiongave us his views.

So long as neither man nor beast has seen or heard us, we are
safe,said he. "From the time they know we are here our
troubles begin. There are no signs that they have found us out
as yet. So our game surely is to lie low for a time and spy out
the land. We want to have a good look at our neighbors before we
get on visitin' terms."

But we must advance,I ventured to remark.

By all means, sonny my boy! We will advance. But with
common sense. We must never go so far that we can't get back
to our base. Above all, we must never, unless it is life or
death, fire off our guns.

But YOU fired yesterday,said Summerlee.

Well, it couldn't be helped. However, the wind was strong and
blew outwards. It is not likely that the sound could have
traveled far into the plateau. By the way, what shall we call
this place? I suppose it is up to us to give it a name?

There were several suggestionsmore or less happybut
Challenger's was final.

It can only have one name,said he. "It is called after the
pioneer who discovered it. It is Maple White Land."

Maple White Land it becameand so it is named in that chart
which has become my special task. So it willI trustappear
in the atlas of the future.

The peaceful penetration of Maple White Land was the pressing
subject before us. We had the evidence of our own eyes that the
place was inhabited by some unknown creaturesand there was that
of Maple White's sketch-book to show that more dreadful and more
dangerous monsters might still appear. That there might also
prove to be human occupants and that they were of a malevolent
character was suggested by the skeleton impaled upon the bamboos
which could not have got there had it not been dropped from above.
Our situationstranded without possibility of escape in such a
landwas clearly full of dangerand our reasons endorsed every
measure of caution which Lord John's experience could suggest.
Yet it was surely impossible that we should halt on the edge of
this world of mystery when our very souls were tingling with
impatience to push forward and to pluck the heart from it.

We therefore blocked the entrance to our zareba by filling it up
with several thorny bushesand left our camp with the stores
entirely surrounded by this protecting hedge. We then slowly and
cautiously set forth into the unknownfollowing the course of
the little stream which flowed from our springas it should
always serve us as a guide on our return.

Hardly had we started when we came across signs that there were
indeed wonders awaiting us. After a few hundred yards of thick
forestcontaining many trees which were quite unknown to mebut
which Summerleewho was the botanist of the partyrecognized as
forms of conifera and of cycadaceous plants which have long
passed away in the world belowwe entered a region where the
stream widened out and formed a considerable bog. High reeds of
a peculiar type grew thickly before uswhich were pronounced to
be equisetaceaor mare's-tailswith tree-ferns scattered
amongst themall of them swaying in a brisk wind. Suddenly Lord
Johnwho was walking firsthalted with uplifted hand.

Look at this!said he. "By Georgethis must be the trail of
the father of all birds!"

An enormous three-toed track was imprinted in the soft mud before us.
The creaturewhatever it washad crossed the swamp and had passed
on into the forest. We all stopped to examine that monstrous spoor.
If it were indeed a bird--and what animal could leave such a mark?--
its foot was so much larger than an ostrich's that its height upon
the same scale must be enormous. Lord John looked eagerly round him
and slipped two cartridges into his elephant-gun.

I'll stake my good name as a shikarree,said hethat the
track is a fresh one. The creature has not passed ten minutes.
Look how the water is still oozing into that deeper print!
By Jove! See, here is the mark of a little one!

Sure enoughsmaller tracks of the same general form were running
parallel to the large ones.

But what do you make of this?cried Professor Summerlee
triumphantlypointing to what looked like the huge print of a
five-fingered human hand appearing among the three-toed marks.

Wealden!cried Challengerin an ecstasy. "I've seen them in
the Wealden clay. It is a creature walking erect upon three-toed
feetand occasionally putting one of its five-fingered forepaws
upon the ground. Not a birdmy dear Roxton--not a bird."

A beast?

No; a reptile--a dinosaur. Nothing else could have left such
a track. They puzzled a worthy Sussex doctor some ninety years
ago; but who in the world could have hoped--hoped--to have seen a
sight like that?

His words died away into a whisperand we all stood in
motionless amazement. Following the trackswe had left the
morass and passed through a screen of brushwood and trees.
Beyond was an open gladeand in this were five of the most
extraordinary creatures that I have ever seen. Crouching down
among the busheswe observed them at our leisure.

There wereas I sayfive of themtwo being adults and three
young ones. In size they were enormous. Even the babies were as
big as elephantswhile the two large ones were far beyond all

creatures I have ever seen. They had slate-colored skinwhich
was scaled like a lizard's and shimmered where the sun shone
upon it. All five were sitting upbalancing themselves upon their
broadpowerful tails and their huge three-toed hind-feetwhile
with their small five-fingered front-feet they pulled down the
branches upon which they browsed. I do not know that I can bring
their appearance home to you better than by saying that they
looked like monstrous kangaroostwenty feet in lengthand with
skins like black crocodiles.

I do not know how long we stayed motionless gazing at this
marvelous spectacle. A strong wind blew towards us and we were
well concealedso there was no chance of discovery. From time
to time the little ones played round their parents in unwieldy
gambolsthe great beasts bounding into the air and falling with
dull thuds upon the earth. The strength of the parents seemed to
be limitlessfor one of themhaving some difficulty in reaching
a bunch of foliage which grew upon a considerable-sized treeput
his fore-legs round the trunk and tore it down as if it had been
a sapling. The action seemedas I thoughtto show not only the
great development of its musclesbut also the small one of its
brainfor the whole weight came crashing down upon the top of
itand it uttered a series of shrill yelps to show thatbig as
it wasthere was a limit to what it could endure. The incident
made it thinkapparentlythat the neighborhood was dangerous
for it slowly lurched off through the woodfollowed by its mate
and its three enormous infants. We saw the shimmering slaty
gleam of their skins between the tree-trunksand their heads
undulating high above the brush-wood. Then they vanished from
our sight.

I looked at my comrades. Lord John was standing at gaze with his
finger on the trigger of his elephant-gunhis eager hunter's
soul shining from his fierce eyes. What would he not give for
one such head to place between the two crossed oars above the
mantelpiece in his snuggery at the Albany! And yet his reason
held him infor all our exploration of the wonders of this
unknown land depended upon our presence being concealed from
its inhabitants. The two professors were in silent ecstasy.
In their excitement they had unconsciously seized each other by
the handand stood like two little children in the presence of a
marvelChallenger's cheeks bunched up into a seraphic smileand
Summerlee's sardonic face softening for the moment into wonder
and reverence.

Nunc dimittis!he cried at last. "What will they say in
England of this?"

My dear Summerlee, I will tell you with great confidence exactly
what they will say in England,said Challenger. "They will say
that you are an infernal liar and a scientific charlatanexactly
as you and others said of me."

In the face of photographs?

Faked, Summerlee! Clumsily faked!

In the face of specimens?

Ah, there we may have them! Malone and his filthy Fleet Street
crew may be all yelping our praises yet. August the twenty-eighth-the
day we saw five live iguanodons in a glade of Maple White Land.
Put it down in your diary, my young friend, and send it to your rag.

And be ready to get the toe-end of the editorial boot in
return,said Lord John. "Things look a bit different from the
latitude of Londonyoung fellah my lad. There's many a man who
never tells his adventuresfor he can't hope to be believed.
Who's to blame them? For this will seem a bit of a dream to
ourselves in a month or two. WHAT did you say they were?"

Iguanodons,said Summerlee. "You'll find their footmarks all
over the Hastings sandsin Kentand in Sussex. The South of
England was alive with them when there was plenty of good lush
green-stuff to keep them going. Conditions have changedand the
beasts died. Here it seems that the conditions have not changed
and the beasts have lived."

If ever we get out of this alive, I must have a head with me,
said Lord John. "Lordhow some of that Somaliland-Uganda crowd
would turn a beautiful pea-green if they saw it! I don't know
what you chaps thinkbut it strikes me that we are on mighty
thin ice all this time."

I had the same feeling of mystery and danger around us. In the
gloom of the trees there seemed a constant menace and as we
looked up into their shadowy foliage vague terrors crept into
one's heart. It is true that these monstrous creatures which we
had seen were lumberinginoffensive brutes which were unlikely
to hurt anyonebut in this world of wonders what other survivals
might there not be--what fierceactive horrors ready to pounce
upon us from their lair among the rocks or brushwood? I knew
little of prehistoric lifebut I had a clear remembrance of one
book which I had read in which it spoke of creatures who would
live upon our lions and tigers as a cat lives upon mice. What if
these also were to be found in the woods of Maple White Land!

It was destined that on this very morning--our first in the new
country--we were to find out what strange hazards lay around us.
It was a loathsome adventureand one of which I hate to think.
Ifas Lord John saidthe glade of the iguanodons will remain
with us as a dreamthen surely the swamp of the pterodactyls will
forever be our nightmare. Let me set down exactly what occurred.

We passed very slowly through the woodspartly because Lord
Roxton acted as scout before he would let us advanceand partly
because at every second step one or other of our professors would
fallwith a cry of wonderbefore some flower or insect which
presented him with a new type. We may have traveled two or three
miles in allkeeping to the right of the line of the stream
when we came upon a considerable opening in the trees. A belt
of brushwood led up to a tangle of rocks--the whole plateau was
strewn with boulders. We were walking slowly towards these
rocksamong bushes which reached over our waistswhen we became
aware of a strange low gabbling and whistling soundwhich filled
the air with a constant clamor and appeared to come from some
spot immediately before us. Lord John held up his hand as a
signal for us to stopand he made his way swiftlystooping and
runningto the line of rocks. We saw him peep over them and
give a gesture of amazement. Then he stood staring as if
forgetting usso utterly entranced was he by what he saw.
Finally he waved us to come onholding up his hand as a signal
for caution. His whole bearing made me feel that something
wonderful but dangerous lay before us.

Creeping to his sidewe looked over the rocks. The place into
which we gazed was a pitand mayin the early dayshave been
one of the smaller volcanic blow-holes of the plateau. It was

bowl-shaped and at the bottomsome hundreds of yards from where
we laywere pools of green-scummedstagnant waterfringed
with bullrushes. It was a weird place in itselfbut its
occupants made it seem like a scene from the Seven Circles of Dante.
The place was a rookery of pterodactyls. There were hundreds of
them congregated within view. All the bottom area round the
water-edge was alive with their young onesand with hideous
mothers brooding upon their leatheryyellowish eggs. From this
crawling flapping mass of obscene reptilian life came the
shocking clamor which filled the air and the mephitichorrible
musty odor which turned us sick. But aboveperched each upon
its own stonetallgrayand witheredmore like dead and dried
specimens than actual living creaturessat the horrible males
absolutely motionless save for the rolling of their red eyes or
an occasional snap of their rat-trap beaks as a dragon-fly went
past them. Their hugemembranous wings were closed by folding
their fore-armsso that they sat like gigantic old women
wrapped in hideous web-colored shawlsand with their ferocious
heads protruding above them. Large and smallnot less than a
thousand of these filthy creatures lay in the hollow before us.

Our professors would gladly have stayed there all dayso
entranced were they by this opportunity of studying the life of a
prehistoric age. They pointed out the fish and dead birds lying
about among the rocks as proving the nature of the food of these
creaturesand I heard them congratulating each other on having
cleared up the point why the bones of this flying dragon are
found in such great numbers in certain well-defined areasas in
the Cambridge Green-sandsince it was now seen thatlike penguins
they lived in gregarious fashion.

FinallyhoweverChallengerbent upon proving some point which
Summerlee had contestedthrust his head over the rock and nearly
brought destruction upon us all. In an instant the nearest male
gave a shrillwhistling cryand flapped its twenty-foot span of
leathery wings as it soared up into the air. The females and
young ones huddled together beside the waterwhile the whole
circle of sentinels rose one after the other and sailed off into
the sky. It was a wonderful sight to see at least a hundred
creatures of such enormous size and hideous appearance all
swooping like swallows with swiftshearing wing-strokes above
us; but soon we realized that it was not one on which we could
afford to linger. At first the great brutes flew round in a huge
ringas if to make sure what the exact extent of the danger
might be. Thenthe flight grew lower and the circle narrower
until they were whizzing round and round usthe dryrustling
flap of their huge slate-colored wings filling the air with a
volume of sound that made me think of Hendon aerodrome upon a
race day.

Make for the wood and keep together,cried Lord Johnclubbing
his rifle. "The brutes mean mischief."

The moment we attempted to retreat the circle closed in upon us
until the tips of the wings of those nearest to us nearly touched
our faces. We beat at them with the stocks of our gunsbut
there was nothing solid or vulnerable to strike. Then suddenly
out of the whizzingslate-colored circle a long neck shot outand
a fierce beak made a thrust at us. Another and another followed.
Summerlee gave a cry and put his hand to his facefrom which the
blood was streaming. I felt a prod at the back of my neckand
turned dizzy with the shock. Challenger felland as I stooped
to pick him up I was again struck from behind and dropped on the
top of him. At the same instant I heard the crash of Lord John's

elephant-gunandlooking upsaw one of the creatures with a
broken wing struggling upon the groundspitting and gurgling at
us with a wide-opened beak and blood-shotgoggled eyeslike some
devil in a medieval picture. Its comrades had flown higher at the
sudden soundand were circling above our heads.

Now,cried Lord Johnnow for our lives!

We staggered through the brushwoodand even as we reached the
trees the harpies were on us again. Summerlee was knocked down
but we tore him up and rushed among the trunks. Once there we
were safefor those huge wings had no space for their sweep
beneath the branches. As we limped homewardssadly mauled and
discomfitedwe saw them for a long time flying at a great height
against the deep blue sky above our headssoaring round and
roundno bigger than wood-pigeonswith their eyes no doubt
still following our progress. At lasthoweveras we reached
the thicker woods they gave up the chaseand we saw them no more.

A most interesting and convincing experience said Challenger,
as we halted beside the brook and he bathed a swollen knee.
We are exceptionally well informedSummerleeas to the habits
of the enraged pterodactyl."

Summerlee was wiping the blood from a cut in his foreheadwhile
I was tying up a nasty stab in the muscle of the neck. Lord John
had the shoulder of his coat torn awaybut the creature's teeth
had only grazed the flesh.

It is worth noting,Challenger continuedthat our young
friend has received an undoubted stab, while Lord John's coat
could only have been torn by a bite. In my own case, I was
beaten about the head by their wings, so we have had a remarkable
exhibition of their various methods of offence.

It has been touch and go for our lives,said Lord John
gravelyand I could not think of a more rotten sort of death
than to be outed by such filthy vermin. I was sorry to fire my
rifle, but, by Jove! there was no great choice.

We should not be here if you hadn't,said Iwith conviction.

It may do no harm,said he. "Among these woods there must be
many loud cracks from splitting or falling trees which would be
just like the sound of a gun. But nowif you are of my opinion
we have had thrills enough for one dayand had best get back to
the surgical box at the camp for some carbolic. Who knows what
venom these beasts may have in their hideous jaws?"

But surely no men ever had just such a day since the world began.
Some fresh surprise was ever in store for us. Whenfollowing
the course of our brookwe at last reached our glade and saw
the thorny barricade of our campwe thought that our adventures
were at an end. But we had something more to think of before we
could rest. The gate of Fort Challenger had been untouchedthe
walls were unbrokenand yet it had been visited by some strange
and powerful creature in our absence. No foot-mark showed a trace
of its natureand only the overhanging branch of the enormous
ginko tree suggested how it might have come and gone; but of its
malevolent strength there was ample evidence in the condition of
our stores. They were strewn at random all over the groundand
one tin of meat had been crushed into pieces so as to extract
the contents. A case of cartridges had been shattered into
matchwoodand one of the brass shells lay shredded into pieces

beside it. Again the feeling of vague horror came upon our
soulsand we gazed round with frightened eyes at the dark
shadows which lay around usin all of which some fearsome shape
might be lurking. How good it was when we were hailed by the
voice of Zamboandgoing to the edge of the plateausaw him
sitting grinning at us upon the top of the opposite pinnacle.

All well, Massa Challenger, all well!he cried. "Me stay here.
No fear. You always find me when you want."

His honest black faceand the immense view before uswhich
carried us half-way back to the affluent of the Amazonhelped us
to remember that we really were upon this earth in the twentieth
centuryand had not by some magic been conveyed to some raw
planet in its earliest and wildest state. How difficult it was
to realize that the violet line upon the far horizon was well
advanced to that great river upon which huge steamers ranand
folk talked of the small affairs of lifewhile wemarooned
among the creatures of a bygone agecould but gaze towards it
and yearn for all that it meant!

One other memory remains with me of this wonderful dayand with
it I will close this letter. The two professorstheir tempers
aggravated no doubt by their injurieshad fallen out as to
whether our assailants were of the genus pterodactylus or
dimorphodonand high words had ensued. To avoid their wrangling
I moved some little way apartand was seated smoking upon the
trunk of a fallen treewhen Lord John strolled over in my direction.

I say, Malone,said hedo you remember that place where those
beasts were?

Very clearly.

A sort of volcanic pit, was it not?

Exactly,said I.

Did you notice the soil?


But round the water--where the reeds were?

It was a bluish soil. It looked like clay.

Exactly. A volcanic tube full of blue clay.

What of that?I asked.

Oh, nothing, nothing,said heand strolled back to where the
voices of the contending men of science rose in a prolonged duet
the highstrident note of Summerlee rising and falling to the
sonorous bass of Challenger. I should have thought no more of
Lord John's remark were it not that once again that night I
heard him mutter to himself: "Blue clay--clay in a volcanic tube!"
They were the last words I heard before I dropped into an
exhausted sleep.


For once I was the Hero

Lord John Roxton was right when he thought that some specially
toxic quality might lie in the bite of the horrible creatures
which had attacked us. On the morning after our first adventure
upon the plateauboth Summerlee and I were in great pain and
feverwhile Challenger's knee was so bruised that he could
hardly limp. We kept to our camp all daythereforeLord John
busying himselfwith such help as we could give himin raising
the height and thickness of the thorny walls which were our
only defense. I remember that during the whole long day I was
haunted by the feeling that we were closely observedthough by
whom or whence I could give no guess.

So strong was the impression that I told Professor Challenger of
itwho put it down to the cerebral excitement caused by my fever.
Again and again I glanced round swiftlywith the conviction that
I was about to see somethingbut only to meet the dark tangle of
our hedge or the solemn and cavernous gloom of the great trees
which arched above our heads. And yet the feeling grew ever
stronger in my own mind that something observant and something
malevolent was at our very elbow. I thought of the Indian
superstition of the Curupuri--the dreadfullurking spirit of
the woods--and I could have imagined that his terrible presence
haunted those who had invaded his most remote and sacred retreat.

That night (our third in Maple White Land) we had an experience
which left a fearful impression upon our mindsand made us
thankful that Lord John had worked so hard in making our
retreat impregnable. We were all sleeping round our dying fire
when we were aroused--orratherI should sayshot out of our
slumbers--by a succession of the most frightful cries and screams
to which I have ever listened. I know no sound to which I could
compare this amazing tumultwhich seemed to come from some spot
within a few hundred yards of our camp. It was as ear-splitting
as any whistle of a railway-engine; but whereas the whistle is a
clearmechanicalsharp-edged soundthis was far deeper in volume
and vibrant with the uttermost strain of agony and horror. We clapped
our hands to our ears to shut out that nerve-shaking appeal. A cold
sweat broke out over my bodyand my heart turned sick at the misery
of it. All the woes of tortured lifeall its stupendous indictment
of high heavenits innumerable sorrowsseemed to be centered and
condensed into that one dreadfulagonized cry. And thenunder
this high-pitchedringing sound there was anothermore intermittent
a lowdeep-chested laugha growlingthroaty gurgle of merriment
which formed a grotesque accompaniment to the shriek with which it
was blended. For three or four minutes on end the fearsome duet
continuedwhile all the foliage rustled with the rising of
startled birds. Then it shut off as suddenly as it began. For a
long time we sat in horrified silence. Then Lord John threw a bundle
of twigs upon the fireand their red glare lit up the intent faces
of my companions and flickered over the great boughs above our heads.

What was it?I whispered.

We shall know in the morning,said Lord John. "It was close
to us--not farther than the glade."

We have been privileged to overhear a prehistoric tragedy, the
sort of drama which occurred among the reeds upon the border of
some Jurassic lagoon, when the greater dragon pinned the lesser
among the slime,said Challengerwith more solemnity than I had
ever heard in his voice. "It was surely well for man that he
came late in the order of creation. There were powers abroad in
earlier days which no courage and no mechanism of his could have met.
What could his slinghis throwing-stickor his arrow avail him

against such forces as have been loose to-night? Even with a
modern rifle it would be all odds on the monster."

I think I should back my little friend,said Lord John
caressing his Express. "But the beast would certainly have a
good sporting chance."

Summerlee raised his hand.

Hush!he cried. "Surely I hear something?"

From the utter silence there emerged a deepregular pat-pat.
It was the tread of some animal--the rhythm of soft but heavy pads
placed cautiously upon the ground. It stole slowly round the
campand then halted near our gateway. There was a lowsibilant
rise and fall--the breathing of the creature. Only our feeble
hedge separated us from this horror of the night. Each of us
had seized his rifleand Lord John had pulled out a small bush
to make an embrasure in the hedge.

By George!he whispered. "I think I can see it!"

I stooped and peered over his shoulder through the gap. YesI
could see ittoo. In the deep shadow of the tree there was a
deeper shadow yetblackinchoatevague--a crouching form full
of savage vigor and menace. It was no higher than a horsebut
the dim outline suggested vast bulk and strength. That hissing
pantas regular and full-volumed as the exhaust of an engine
spoke of a monstrous organism. Onceas it movedI thought I
saw the glint of two terriblegreenish eyes. There was an
uneasy rustlingas if it were crawling slowly forward.

I believe it is going to spring!said Icocking my rifle.

Don't fire! Don't fire!whispered Lord John. "The crash of a
gun in this silent night would be heard for miles. Keep it as a
last card."

If it gets over the hedge we're done,said Summerleeand his
voice crackled into a nervous laugh as he spoke.

No, it must not get over,cried Lord John; "but hold your
fire to the last. Perhaps I can make something of the fellow.
I'll chance itanyhow."

It was as brave an act as ever I saw a man do. He stooped to
the firepicked up a blazing branchand slipped in an instant
through a sallyport which he had made in our gateway. The thing
moved forward with a dreadful snarl. Lord John never hesitated
butrunning towards it with a quicklight stephe dashed the
flaming wood into the brute's face. For one moment I had a
vision of a horrible mask like a giant toad'sof a warty
leprous skinand of a loose mouth all beslobbered with fresh blood.
The nextthere was a crash in the underwood and our dreadful
visitor was gone.

I thought he wouldn't face the fire,said Lord Johnlaughing
as he came back and threw his branch among the faggots.

You should not have taken such a risk!we all cried.

There was nothin' else to be done. If he had got among us we
should have shot each other in tryin' to down him. On the other
hand, if we had fired through the hedge and wounded him he would

soon have been on the top of us--to say nothin' of giving
ourselves away. On the whole, I think that we are jolly well out
of it. What was he, then?

Our learned men looked at each other with some hesitation.

Personally, I am unable to classify the creature with any
certainty,said Summerleelighting his pipe from the fire.

In refusing to commit yourself you are but showing a proper
scientific reserve,said Challengerwith massive condescension.
I am not myself prepared to go farther than to say in general
terms that we have almost certainly been in contact to-night with
some form of carnivorous dinosaur. I have already expressed my
anticipation that something of the sort might exist upon this plateau.

We have to bear in mind,remarked Summerleethat there are many
prehistoric forms which have never come down to us. It would be
rash to suppose that we can give a name to all that we are likely
to meet."

Exactly. A rough classification may be the best that we can attempt.
To-morrow some further evidence may help us to an identification.
Meantime we can only renew our interrupted slumbers.

But not without a sentinel,said Lord Johnwith decision.
We can't afford to take chances in a country like this.
Two-hour spells in the future, for each of us.

Then I'll just finish my pipe in starting the first one,said
Professor Summerlee; and from that time onwards we never trusted
ourselves again without a watchman.

In the morning it was not long before we discovered the source
of the hideous uproar which had aroused us in the night.
The iguanodon glade was the scene of a horrible butchery.
From the pools of blood and the enormous lumps of flesh
scattered in every direction over the green sward we imagined
at first that a number of animals had been killedbut on
examining the remains more closely we discovered that all this
carnage came from one of these unwieldy monsterswhich had been
literally torn to pieces by some creature not largerperhaps
but far more ferociousthan itself.

Our two professors sat in absorbed argumentexamining piece
after piecewhich showed the marks of savage teeth and of
enormous claws.

Our judgment must still be in abeyance,said Professor
Challengerwith a huge slab of whitish-colored flesh across
his knee. "The indications would be consistent with the presence
of a saber-toothed tigersuch as are still found among the breccia
of our caverns; but the creature actually seen was undoubtedly of
a larger and more reptilian character. PersonallyI should
pronounce for allosaurus."

Or megalosaurus,said Summerlee.

Exactly. Any one of the larger carnivorous dinosaurs would meet
the case. Among them are to be found all the most terrible types
of animal life that have ever cursed the earth or blessed a museum.
He laughed sonorously at his own conceitforthough he had little
sense of humorthe crudest pleasantry from his own lips moved him
always to roars of appreciation.

The less noise the better,said Lord Roxtoncurtly. "We don't
know who or what may be near us. If this fellah comes back for
his breakfast and catches us here we won't have so much to laugh at.
By the waywhat is this mark upon the iguanodon's hide?"

On the dullscalyslate-colored skin somewhere above the
shoulderthere was a singular black circle of some substance
which looked like asphalt. None of us could suggest what it
meantthough Summerlee was of opinion that he had seen
something similar upon one of the young ones two days before.
Challenger said nothingbut looked pompous and puffyas if he
could if he wouldso that finally Lord John asked his opinion direct.

If your lordship will graciously permit me to open my mouth,
I shall be happy to express my sentiments,said hewith
elaborate sarcasm. I am not in the habit of being taken to task
in the fashion which seems to be customary with your lordship.
I was not aware that it was necessary to ask your permission
before smiling at a harmless pleasantry."

It was not until he had received his apology that our touchy
friend would suffer himself to be appeased. When at last his
ruffled feelings were at easehe addressed us at some length from
his seat upon a fallen treespeakingas his habit wasas if he
were imparting most precious information to a class of a thousand.

With regard to the marking,said heI am inclined to agree
with my friend and colleague, Professor Summerlee, that the
stains are from asphalt. As this plateau is, in its very nature,
highly volcanic, and as asphalt is a substance which one
associates with Plutonic forces, I cannot doubt that it exists in
the free liquid state, and that the creatures may have come in
contact with it. A much more important problem is the question
as to the existence of the carnivorous monster which has left its
traces in this glade. We know roughly that this plateau is not
larger than an average English county. Within this confined
space a certain number of creatures, mostly types which have
passed away in the world below, have lived together for
innumerable years. Now, it is very clear to me that in so long a
period one would have expected that the carnivorous creatures,
multiplying unchecked, would have exhausted their food supply and
have been compelled to either modify their flesh-eating habits
or die of hunger. This we see has not been so. We can only
imagine, therefore, that the balance of Nature is preserved by
some check which limits the numbers of these ferocious creatures.
One of the many interesting problems, therefore, which await our
solution is to discover what that check may be and how it operates.
I venture to trust that we may have some future opportunity for
the closer study of the carnivorous dinosaurs.

And I venture to trust we may not,I observed.

The Professor only raised his great eyebrowsas the schoolmaster
meets the irrelevant observation of the naughty boy.

Perhaps Professor Summerlee may have an observation to make,he
saidand the two savants ascended together into some rarefied
scientific atmospherewhere the possibilities of a modification
of the birth-rate were weighed against the decline of the food
supply as a check in the struggle for existence.

That morning we mapped out a small portion of the plateau
avoiding the swamp of the pterodactylsand keeping to the east

of our brook instead of to the west. In that direction the
country was still thickly woodedwith so much undergrowth that
our progress was very slow.

I have dwelt up to now upon the terrors of Maple White Land; but
there was another side to the subjectfor all that morning we
wandered among lovely flowers--mostlyas I observedwhite or
yellow in colorthese beingas our professors explainedthe
primitive flower-shades. In many places the ground was
absolutely covered with themand as we walked ankle-deep on that
wonderful yielding carpetthe scent was almost intoxicating in
its sweetness and intensity. The homely English bee buzzed
everywhere around us. Many of the trees under which we passed
had their branches bowed down with fruitsome of which were of
familiar sortswhile other varieties were new. By observing
which of them were pecked by the birds we avoided all danger of
poison and added a delicious variety to our food reserve. In the
jungle which we traversed were numerous hard-trodden paths made
by the wild beastsand in the more marshy places we saw a
profusion of strange footmarksincluding many of the iguanodon.
Once in a grove we observed several of these great creatures
grazingand Lord Johnwith his glasswas able to report that
they also were spotted with asphaltthough in a different place
to the one which we had examined in the morning. What this
phenomenon meant we could not imagine.

We saw many small animalssuch as porcupinesa scaly ant-eater
and a wild pigpiebald in color and with long curved tusks.
Oncethrough a break in the treeswe saw a clear shoulder of
green hill some distance awayand across this a large dun-colored
animal was traveling at a considerable pace. It passed so swiftly
that we were unable to say what it was; but if it were a deeras
was claimed by Lord Johnit must have been as large as those
monstrous Irish elk which are still dug up from time to time in
the bogs of my native land.

Ever since the mysterious visit which had been paid to our camp
we always returned to it with some misgivings. Howeveron this
occasion we found everything in order.

That evening we had a grand discussion upon our present situation
and future planswhich I must describe at some lengthas it led
to a new departure by which we were enabled to gain a more
complete knowledge of Maple White Land than might have come in
many weeks of exploring. It was Summerlee who opened the debate.
All day he had been querulous in mannerand now some remark of
Lord John's as to what we should do on the morrow brought all his
bitterness to a head.

What we ought to be doing to-day, to-morrow, and all the time,
said heis finding some way out of the trap into which we
have fallen. You are all turning your brains towards getting into
this country. I say that we should be scheming how to get out of it.

I am surprised, sir,boomed Challengerstroking his majestic
beardthat any man of science should commit himself to so
ignoble a sentiment. You are in a land which offers such an
inducement to the ambitious naturalist as none ever has since the
world began, and you suggest leaving it before we have acquired
more than the most superficial knowledge of it or of its contents.
I expected better things of you, Professor Summerlee.

You must remember,said Summerleesourlythat I have a large
class in London who are at present at the mercy of an extremely

inefficient locum tenens. This makes my situation different from
yours, Professor Challenger, since, so far as I know, you have
never been entrusted with any responsible educational work.

Quite so,said Challenger. "I have felt it to be a sacrilege
to divert a brain which is capable of the highest original
research to any lesser object. That is why I have sternly set
my face against any proffered scholastic appointment."

For example?asked Summerleewith a sneer; but Lord John
hastened to change the conversation.

I must say,said hethat I think it would be a mighty poor
thing to go back to London before I know a great deal more of
this place than I do at present.

I could never dare to walk into the back office of my paper and
face old McArdle,said I. (You will excuse the frankness of this
reportwill you notsir?) "He'd never forgive me for leaving
such unexhausted copy behind me. Besidesso far as I can see it
is not worth discussingsince we can't get downeven if we wanted."

Our young friend makes up for many obvious mental lacunae by
some measure of primitive common sense, remarked Challenger.
The interests of his deplorable profession are immaterial to us;
butas he observeswe cannot get down in any caseso it is a
waste of energy to discuss it."

It is a waste of energy to do anything else,growled Summerlee
from behind his pipe. "Let me remind you that we came here upon
a perfectly definite missionentrusted to us at the meeting of
the Zoological Institute in London. That mission was to test the
truth of Professor Challenger's statements. Those statements
as I am bound to admitwe are now in a position to endorse.
Our ostensible work is therefore done. As to the detail which
remains to be worked out upon this plateauit is so enormous
that only a large expeditionwith a very special equipment
could hope to cope with it. Should we attempt to do so ourselves
the only possible result must be that we shall never return with
the important contribution to science which we have already gained.
Professor Challenger has devised means for getting us on to this
plateau when it appeared to be inaccessible; I think that we should
now call upon him to use the same ingenuity in getting us back to
the world from which we came."

I confess that as Summerlee stated his view it struck me as
altogether reasonable. Even Challenger was affected by the
consideration that his enemies would never stand confuted if the
confirmation of his statements should never reach those who had
doubted them.

The problem of the descent is at first sight a formidable one,
said heand yet I cannot doubt that the intellect can solve it.
I am prepared to agree with our colleague that a protracted stay
in Maple White Land is at present inadvisable, and that the
question of our return will soon have to be faced. I absolutely
refuse to leave, however, until we have made at least a
superficial examination of this country, and are able to take
back with us something in the nature of a chart.

Professor Summerlee gave a snort of impatience.

We have spent two long days in exploration,said heand we
are no wiser as to the actual geography of the place than when

we started. It is clear that it is all thickly wooded, and it
would take months to penetrate it and to learn the relations of
one part to another. If there were some central peak it would
be different, but it all slopes downwards, so far as we can see.
The farther we go the less likely it is that we will get any
general view.

It was at that moment that I had my inspiration. My eyes chanced
to light upon the enormous gnarled trunk of the gingko tree which
cast its huge branches over us. Surelyif its bole exceeded
that of all othersits height must do the same. If the rim of
the plateau was indeed the highest pointthen why should this
mighty tree not prove to be a watchtower which commanded the
whole country? Nowever since I ran wild as a lad in Ireland I
have been a bold and skilled tree-climber. My comrades might be
my masters on the rocksbut I knew that I would be supreme among
those branches. Could I only get my legs on to the lowest of the
giant off-shootsthen it would be strange indeed if I could not
make my way to the top. My comrades were delighted at my idea.

Our young friend,said Challengerbunching up the red apples
of his cheeksis capable of acrobatic exertions which would be
impossible to a man of a more solid, though possibly of a more
commanding, appearance. I applaud his resolution.

By George, young fellah, you've put your hand on it!said Lord
Johnclapping me on the back. "How we never came to think of it
before I can't imagine! There's not more than an hour of daylight
leftbut if you take your notebook you may be able to get some
rough sketch of the place. If we put these three ammunition
cases under the branchI will soon hoist you on to it."

He stood on the boxes while I faced the trunkand was gently
raising me when Challenger sprang forward and gave me such a
thrust with his huge hand that he fairly shot me into the tree.
With both arms clasping the branchI scrambled hard with my
feet until I had workedfirst my bodyand then my kneesonto it.
There were three excellent off-shootslike huge rungs of a
ladderabove my headand a tangle of convenient branches
beyondso that I clambered onwards with such speed that I soon
lost sight of the ground and had nothing but foliage beneath me.
Now and then I encountered a checkand once I had to shin up a
creeper for eight or ten feetbut I made excellent progressand
the booming of Challenger's voice seemed to be a great distance
beneath me. The tree washoweverenormousandlooking
upwardsI could see no thinning of the leaves above my head.
There was some thickbush-like clump which seemed to be a
parasite upon a branch up which I was swarming. I leaned my head
round it in order to see what was beyondand I nearly fell out
of the tree in my surprise and horror at what I saw.

A face was gazing into mine--at the distance of only a foot or two.
The creature that owned it had been crouching behind the parasite
and had looked round it at the same instant that I did. It was
a human face--or at least it was far more human than any monkey's
that I have ever seen. It was longwhitishand blotched with
pimplesthe nose flattenedand the lower jaw projectingwith
a bristle of coarse whiskers round the chin. The eyeswhich
were under thick and heavy browswere bestial and ferocious
and as it opened its mouth to snarl what sounded like a curse at
me I observed that it had curvedsharp canine teeth. For an
instant I read hatred and menace in the evil eyes. Thenas quick
as a flashcame an expression of overpowering fear. There was
a crash of broken boughs as it dived wildly down into the tangle

of green. I caught a glimpse of a hairy body like that of a
reddish pigand then it was gone amid a swirl of leaves and branches.

What's the matter?shouted Roxton from below. "Anything wrong
with you?"

Did you see it?I criedwith my arms round the branch and all
my nerves tingling.

We heard a row, as if your foot had slipped. What was it?

I was so shocked at the sudden and strange appearance of this
ape-man that I hesitated whether I should not climb down again
and tell my experience to my companions. But I was already so
far up the great tree that it seemed a humiliation to return
without having carried out my mission.

After a long pausethereforeto recover my breath and my
courageI continued my ascent. Once I put my weight upon a
rotten branch and swung for a few seconds by my handsbut in the
main it was all easy climbing. Gradually the leaves thinned
around meand I was awarefrom the wind upon my facethat I
had topped all the trees of the forest. I was determined
howevernot to look about me before I had reached the very
highest pointso I scrambled on until I had got so far that the
topmost branch was bending beneath my weight. There I settled
into a convenient forkandbalancing myself securelyI found
myself looking down at a most wonderful panorama of this strange
country in which we found ourselves.

The sun was just above the western sky-lineand the evening was
a particularly bright and clear oneso that the whole extent of
the plateau was visible beneath me. It wasas seen from this
heightof an oval contourwith a breadth of about thirty miles
and a width of twenty. Its general shape was that of a shallow
funnelall the sides sloping down to a considerable lake in
the center. This lake may have been ten miles in circumference
and lay very green and beautiful in the evening lightwith a
thick fringe of reeds at its edgesand with its surface broken
by several yellow sandbankswhich gleamed golden in the
mellow sunshine. A number of long dark objectswhich were too
large for alligators and too long for canoeslay upon the edges
of these patches of sand. With my glass I could clearly see that
they were alivebut what their nature might be I could not imagine.

From the side of the plateau on which we wereslopes of
woodlandwith occasional gladesstretched down for five or six
miles to the central lake. I could see at my very feet the glade
of the iguanodonsand farther off was a round opening in the
trees which marked the swamp of the pterodactyls. On the side
facing mehoweverthe plateau presented a very different aspect.
There the basalt cliffs of the outside were reproduced upon the
insideforming an escarpment about two hundred feet highwith
a woody slope beneath it. Along the base of these red cliffs
some distance above the groundI could see a number of dark
holes through the glasswhich I conjectured to be the mouths
of caves. At the opening of one of these something white was
shimmeringbut I was unable to make out what it was. I sat
charting the country until the sun had set and it was so dark
that I could no longer distinguish details. Then I climbed down
to my companions waiting for me so eagerly at the bottom of the
great tree. For once I was the hero of the expedition. Alone I
had thought of itand alone I had done it; and here was the
chart which would save us a month's blind groping among

unknown dangers. Each of them shook me solemnly by the hand.

But before they discussed the details of my map I had to tell
them of my encounter with the ape-man among the branches.

He has been there all the time,said I.

How do you know that?asked Lord John.

Because I have never been without that feeling that something
malevolent was watching us. I mentioned it to you, Professor Challenger.

Our young friend certainly said something of the kind. He is
also the one among us who is endowed with that Celtic temperament
which would make him sensitive to such impressions.

The whole theory of telepathy----began Summerleefilling his pipe.

Is too vast to be now discussed,said Challengerwith decision.
Tell me, now,he addedwith the air of a bishop addressing a
Sunday-schooldid you happen to observe whether the creature
could cross its thumb over its palm?

No, indeed.

Had it a tail?


Was the foot prehensile?

I do not think it could have made off so fast among the branches
if it could not get a grip with its feet.

In South America there are, if my memory serves me--you will
check the observation, Professor Summerlee--some thirty-six
species of monkeys, but the anthropoid ape is unknown. It is
clear, however, that he exists in this country, and that he is
not the hairy, gorilla-like variety, which is never seen out of
Africa or the East.(I was inclined to interpolateas I looked
at himthat I had seen his first cousin in Kensington.) "This is
a whiskered and colorless typethe latter characteristic pointing
to the fact that he spends his days in arboreal seclusion.
The question which we have to face is whether he approaches more
closely to the ape or the man. In the latter casehe may well
approximate to what the vulgar have called the `missing link.'
The solution of this problem is our immediate duty."

It is nothing of the sort,said Summerleeabruptly. "Now that
through the intelligence and activity of Mr. Malone" (I cannot help
quoting the words)we have got our chart, our one and only
immediate duty is to get ourselves safe and sound out of this
awful place.

The flesh-pots of civilization,groaned Challenger.

The ink-pots of civilization, sir. It is our task to put on
record what we have seen, and to leave the further exploration
to others. You all agreed as much before Mr. Malone got us the chart.

Well,said ChallengerI admit that my mind will be more at
ease when I am assured that the result of our expedition has been
conveyed to our friends. How we are to get down from this place
I have not as yet an idea. I have never yet encountered any

problem, however, which my inventive brain was unable to solve,
and I promise you that to-morrow I will turn my attention to the
question of our descent.And so the matter was allowed to rest.

But that eveningby the light of the fire and of a single candle
the first map of the lost world was elaborated. Every detail
which I had roughly noted from my watch-tower was drawn out in
its relative place. Challenger's pencil hovered over the great
blank which marked the lake.

What shall we call it?he asked.

Why should you not take the chance of perpetuating your own
name?said Summerleewith his usual touch of acidity.

I trust, sir, that my name will have other and more personal
claims upon posterity,said Challengerseverely. "Any ignoramus
can hand down his worthless memory by imposing it upon a mountain
or a river. I need no such monument."

Summerleewith a twisted smilewas about to make some fresh
assault when Lord John hastened to intervene.

It's up to you, young fellah, to name the lake,said he.
You saw it first, and, by George, if you choose to put `Lake
Malone' on it, no one has a better right.

By all means. Let our young friend give it a name,said Challenger.

Then, said I, blushing, I dare say, as I said it, let it be
named Lake Gladys."

Don't you think the Central Lake would be more descriptive?
remarked Summerlee.

I should prefer Lake Gladys.

Challenger looked at me sympatheticallyand shook his great head
in mock disapproval. "Boys will be boys said he. Lake Gladys
let it be."


It was Dreadful in the Forest

I have said--or perhaps I have not saidfor my memory plays me
sad tricks these days--that I glowed with pride when three such
men as my comrades thanked me for having savedor at least
greatly helpedthe situation. As the youngster of the party
not merely in yearsbut in experiencecharacterknowledgeand
all that goes to make a manI had been overshadowed from the first.
And now I was coming into my own. I warmed at the thought.
Alas! for the pride which goes before a fall! That little glow
of self-satisfactionthat added measure of self-confidencewere
to lead me on that very night to the most dreadful experience
of my lifeending with a shock which turns my heart sick when I
think of it.

It came about in this way. I had been unduly excited by the
adventure of the treeand sleep seemed to be impossible.
Summerlee was on guardsitting hunched over our small fire
a quaintangular figurehis rifle across his knees and his
pointedgoat-like beard wagging with each weary nod of his head.

Lord John lay silentwrapped in the South American poncho which
he worewhile Challenger snored with a roll and rattle which
reverberated through the woods. The full moon was shining
brightlyand the air was crisply cold. What a night for a walk!
And then suddenly came the thoughtWhy not?Suppose I stole
softly awaysuppose I made my way down to the central lake
suppose I was back at breakfast with some record of the place-would
I not in that case be thought an even more worthy associate?
Thenif Summerlee carried the day and some means of escape were
foundwe should return to London with first-hand knowledge of

the central mystery of the plateauto which I aloneof all
menwould have penetrated. I thought of Gladyswith her "There
are heroisms all round us." I seemed to hear her voice as she
said it. I thought also of McArdle. What a three column article
for the paper! What a foundation for a career! A correspondentship
in the next great war might be within my reach. I clutched at a
gun--my pockets were full of cartridges--andparting the thorn
bushes at the gate of our zarebaquickly slipped out. My last
glance showed me the unconscious Summerleemost futile of
sentinelsstill nodding away like a queer mechanical toy in front
of the smouldering fire.

I had not gone a hundred yards before I deeply repented my rashness.
I may have said somewhere in this chronicle that I am too
imaginative to be a really courageous manbut that I have an
overpowering fear of seeming afraid. This was the power which
now carried me onwards. I simply could not slink back with
nothing done. Even if my comrades should not have missed meand
should never know of my weaknessthere would still remain some
intolerable self-shame in my own soul. And yet I shuddered at
the position in which I found myselfand would have given all I
possessed at that moment to have been honorably free of the
whole business.

It was dreadful in the forest. The trees grew so thickly and
their foliage spread so widely that I could see nothing of the
moon-light save that here and there the high branches made a
tangled filigree against the starry sky. As the eyes became more
used to the obscurity one learned that there were different
degrees of darkness among the trees--that some were dimly
visiblewhile between and among them there were coal-black
shadowed patcheslike the mouths of cavesfrom which I shrank
in horror as I passed. I thought of the despairing yell of the
tortured iguanodon--that dreadful cry which had echoed through
the woods. I thoughttooof the glimpse I had in the light of
Lord John's torch of that bloatedwartyblood-slavering muzzle.
Even now I was on its hunting-ground. At any instant it might
spring upon me from the shadows--this nameless and horrible monster.
I stoppedandpicking a cartridge from my pocketI opened the
breech of my gun. As I touched the lever my heart leaped within me.
It was the shot-gunnot the riflewhich I had taken!

Again the impulse to return swept over me. Heresurelywas a
most excellent reason for my failure--one for which no one would
think the less of me. But again the foolish pride fought against
that very word. I could not--must not--fail. After allmy
rifle would probably have been as useless as a shot-gun against
such dangers as I might meet. If I were to go back to camp to
change my weapon I could hardly expect to enter and to leave
again without being seen. In that case there would be
explanationsand my attempt would no longer be all my own.
After a little hesitationthenI screwed up my courage and
continued upon my waymy useless gun under my arm.

The darkness of the forest had been alarmingbut even worse
was the whitestill flood of moonlight in the open glade of
the iguanodons. Hid among the bushesI looked out at it. None of
the great brutes were in sight. Perhaps the tragedy which had
befallen one of them had driven them from their feeding-ground.
In the mistysilvery night I could see no sign of any living thing.
Taking couragethereforeI slipped rapidly across itand among
the jungle on the farther side I picked up once again the brook
which was my guide. It was a cheery companiongurgling and
chuckling as it ranlike the dear old trout-stream in the West
Country where I have fished at night in my boyhood. So long as
I followed it down I must come to the lakeand so long as I
followed it back I must come to the camp. Often I had to lose
sight of it on account of the tangled brush-woodbut I was always
within earshot of its tinkle and splash.

As one descended the slope the woods became thinnerand bushes
with occasional high treestook the place of the forest.
I could make good progressthereforeand I could see without
being seen. I passed close to the pterodactyl swampand as I
did sowith a drycrispleathery rattle of wingsone of
these great creatures--it was twenty feet at least from tip to
tip--rose up from somewhere near me and soared into the air.
As it passed across the face of the moon the light shone clearly
through the membranous wingsand it looked like a flying
skeleton against the whitetropical radiance. I crouched low
among the bushesfor I knew from past experience that with a
single cry the creature could bring a hundred of its loathsome
mates about my ears. It was not until it had settled again that
I dared to steal onwards upon my journey.

The night had been exceedingly stillbut as I advanced I became
conscious of a lowrumbling sounda continuous murmur
somewhere in front of me. This grew louder as I proceededuntil
at last it was clearly quite close to me. When I stood still
the sound was constantso that it seemed to come from some
stationary cause. It was like a boiling kettle or the bubbling
of some great pot. Soon I came upon the source of itfor in the
center of a small clearing I found a lake--or a poolrather
for it was not larger than the basin of the Trafalgar Square
fountain--of some blackpitch-like stuffthe surface of which
rose and fell in great blisters of bursting gas. The air above
it was shimmering with heatand the ground round was so hot that
I could hardly bear to lay my hand on it. It was clear that the
great volcanic outburst which had raised this strange plateau so
many years ago had not yet entirely spent its forces. Blackened rocks
and mounds of lava I had already seen everywhere peeping out from
amid the luxuriant vegetation which draped thembut this asphalt
pool in the jungle was the first sign that we had of actual
existing activity on the slopes of the ancient crater. I had no
time to examine it further for I had need to hurry if I were to be
back in camp in the morning.

It was a fearsome walkand one which will be with me so long as
memory holds. In the great moonlight clearings I slunk along
among the shadows on the margin. In the jungle I crept forward
stopping with a beating heart whenever I heardas I often did
the crash of breaking branches as some wild beast went past.
Now and then great shadows loomed up for an instant and were
gone--greatsilent shadows which seemed to prowl upon padded feet.
How often I stopped with the intention of returningand yet every
time my pride conquered my fearand sent me on again until my
object should be attained.

At last (my watch showed that it was one in the morning) I saw
the gleam of water amid the openings of the jungleand ten
minutes later I was among the reeds upon the borders of the
central lake. I was exceedingly dryso I lay down and took a
long draught of its waterswhich were fresh and cold. There was
a broad pathway with many tracks upon it at the spot which I had
foundso that it was clearly one of the drinking-places of
the animals. Close to the water's edge there was a huge isolated
block of lava. Up this I climbedandlying on the topI had
an excellent view in every direction.

The first thing which I saw filled me with amazement. When I
described the view from the summit of the great treeI said that
on the farther cliff I could see a number of dark spotswhich
appeared to be the mouths of caves. Nowas I looked up at the
same cliffsI saw discs of light in every directionruddy
clearly-defined patcheslike the port-holes of a liner in
the darkness. For a moment I thought it was the lava-glow from
some volcanic action; but this could not be so. Any volcanic action
would surely be down in the hollow and not high among the rocks.
Whatthenwas the alternative? It was wonderfuland yet it
must surely be. These ruddy spots must be the reflection of
fires within the caves--fires which could only be lit by the
hand of man. There were human beingsthenupon the plateau.
How gloriously my expedition was justified! Here was news indeed
for us to bear back with us to London!

For a long time I lay and watched these redquivering blotches
of light. I suppose they were ten miles off from meyet even
at that distance one could observe howfrom time to timethey
twinkled or were obscured as someone passed before them. What would
I not have given to be able to crawl up to themto peep inand
to take back some word to my comrades as to the appearance and
character of the race who lived in so strange a place! It was
out of the question for the momentand yet surely we could not
leave the plateau until we had some definite knowledge upon the point.

Lake Gladys--my own lake--lay like a sheet of quicksilver before
mewith a reflected moon shining brightly in the center of it.
It was shallowfor in many places I saw low sandbanks protruding
above the water. Everywhere upon the still surface I could see
signs of lifesometimes mere rings and ripples in the water
sometimes the gleam of a great silver-sided fish in the air
sometimes the archedslate-colored back of some passing monster.
Once upon a yellow sandbank I saw a creature like a huge swan
with a clumsy body and a highflexible neckshuffling about
upon the margin. Presently it plunged inand for some time I
could see the arched neck and darting head undulating over the water.
Then it divedand I saw it no more.

My attention was soon drawn away from these distant sights and
brought back to what was going on at my very feet. Two creatures
like large armadillos had come down to the drinking-placeand
were squatting at the edge of the watertheir longflexible
tongues like red ribbons shooting in and out as they lapped.
A huge deerwith branching hornsa magnificent creature which
carried itself like a kingcame down with its doe and two fawns
and drank beside the armadillos. No such deer exist anywhere
else upon earthfor the moose or elks which I have seen would
hardly have reached its shoulders. Presently it gave a warning
snortand was off with its family among the reedswhile the
armadillos also scuttled for shelter. A new-comera most
monstrous animalwas coming down the path.

For a moment I wondered where I could have seen that ungainly
shapethat arched back with triangular fringes along itthat
strange bird-like head held close to the ground. Then it came
backto me. It was the stegosaurus--the very creature which
Maple White had preserved in his sketch-bookand which had been
the first object which arrested the attention of Challenger!
There he was--perhaps the very specimen which the American artist
had encountered. The ground shook beneath his tremendous weight
and his gulpings of water resounded through the still night.
For five minutes he was so close to my rock that by stretching out
my hand I could have touched the hideous waving hackles upon his back.
Then he lumbered away and was lost among the boulders.

Looking at my watchI saw that it was half-past two o'clockand
high timethereforethat I started upon my homeward journey.
There was no difficulty about the direction in which I should
return for all along I had kept the little brook upon my left
and it opened into the central lake within a stone's-throw of the
boulder upon which I had been lying. I set offthereforein
high spiritsfor I felt that I had done good work and was
bringing back a fine budget of news for my companions. Foremost of
allof coursewere the sight of the fiery caves and the certainty
that some troglodytic race inhabited them. But besides that I
could speak from experience of the central lake. I could testify
that it was full of strange creaturesand I had seen several
land forms of primeval life which we had not before encountered.
I reflected as I walked that few men in the world could have spent
a stranger night or added more to human knowledge in the course of it.

I was plodding up the slopeturning these thoughts over in my
mindand had reached a point which may have been half-way to
homewhen my mind was brought back to my own position by a
strange noise behind me. It was something between a snore and
a growllowdeepand exceedingly menacing. Some strange
creature was evidently near mebut nothing could be seenso I
hastened more rapidly upon my way. I had traversed half a mile
or so when suddenly the sound was repeatedstill behind mebut
louder and more menacing than before. My heart stood still
within me as it flashed across me that the beastwhatever it
wasmust surely be after ME. My skin grew cold and my hair
rose at the thought. That these monsters should tear each other
to pieces was a part of the strange struggle for existence
but that they should turn upon modern manthat they should
deliberately track and hunt down the predominant humanwas a
staggering and fearsome thought. I remembered again the
blood-beslobbered face which we had seen in the glare of Lord
John's torchlike some horrible vision from the deepest circle
of Dante's hell. With my knees shaking beneath meI stood and
glared with starting eyes down the moonlit path which lay behind me.
All was quiet as in a dream landscape. Silver clearings and the
black patches of the bushes--nothing else could I see. Then from
out of the silenceimminent and threateningthere came once more
that lowthroaty croakingfar louder and closer than before.
There could no longer be a doubt. Something was on my trailand
was closing in upon me every minute.

I stood like a man paralyzedstill staring at the ground which I
had traversed. Then suddenly I saw it. There was movement among
the bushes at the far end of the clearing which I had just traversed.
A great dark shadow disengaged itself and hopped out into the clear
moonlight. I say "hopped" advisedlyfor the beast moved like a
kangaroospringing along in an erect position upon its powerful
hind legswhile its front ones were held bent in front of it.
It was of enormous size and powerlike an erect elephantbut its

movementsin spite of its bulkwere exceedingly alert. For a
momentas I saw its shapeI hoped that it was an iguanodon
which I knew to be harmlessbutignorant as I wasI soon saw
that this was a very different creature. Instead of the gentle
deer-shaped head of the great three-toed leaf-eaterthis beast
had a broadsquattoad-like face like that which had alarmed us
in our camp. His ferocious cry and the horrible energy of his
pursuit both assured me that this was surely one of the great
flesh-eating dinosaursthe most terrible beasts which have ever
walked this earth. As the huge brute loped along it dropped forward
upon its fore-paws and brought its nose to the ground every twenty
yards or so. It was smelling out my trail. Sometimesfor an
instantit was at fault. Then it would catch it up again and
come bounding swiftly along the path I had taken.

Even now when I think of that nightmare the sweat breaks out upon
my brow. What could I do? My useless fowling-piece was in my hand.
What help could I get from that? I looked desperately round for
some rock or treebut I was in a bushy jungle with nothing higher
than a sapling within sightwhile I knew that the creature behind
me could tear down an ordinary tree as though it were a reed.
My only possible chance lay in flight. I could not move swiftly
over the roughbroken groundbut as I looked round me in despair
I saw a well-markedhard-beaten path which ran across in front
of me. We had seen several of the sortthe runs of various wild
beastsduring our expeditions. Along this I could perhaps hold
my ownfor I was a fast runnerand in excellent condition.
Flinging away my useless gunI set myself to do such a half-mile
as I have never done before or since. My limbs achedmy chest
heavedI felt that my throat would burst for want of airand yet
with that horror behind me I ran and I ran and ran. At last I
pausedhardly able to move. For a moment I thought that I had
thrown him off. The path lay still behind me. And then suddenly
with a crashing and a rendinga thudding of giant feet and a
panting of monster lungs the beast was upon me once more. He was
at my very heels. I was lost.

Madman that I was to linger so long before I fled! Up to then he
had hunted by scentand his movement was slow. But he had
actually seen me as I started to run. From then onwards he had
hunted by sightfor the path showed him where I had gone. Nowas
he came round the curvehe was springing in great bounds.
The moonlight shone upon his huge projecting eyesthe row of
enormous teeth in his open mouthand the gleaming fringe of
claws upon his shortpowerful forearms. With a scream of terror
I turned and rushed wildly down the path. Behind me the thick
gasping breathing of the creature sounded louder and louder.
His heavy footfall was beside me. Every instant I expected to feel
his grip upon my back. And then suddenly there came a crash--I was
falling through spaceand everything beyond was darkness and rest.

As I emerged from my unconsciousness--which could notI think
have lasted more than a few minutes--I was aware of a most
dreadful and penetrating smell. Putting out my hand in the
darkness I came upon something which felt like a huge lump of
meatwhile my other hand closed upon a large bone. Up above me
there was a circle of starlit skywhich showed me that I was
lying at the bottom of a deep pit. Slowly I staggered to my feet
and felt myself all over. I was stiff and sore from head to
footbut there was no limb which would not moveno joint which
would not bend. As the circumstances of my fall came back into
my confused brainI looked up in terrorexpecting to see that
dreadful head silhouetted against the paling sky. There was no
sign of the monsterhowevernor could I hear any sound from above.

I began to walk slowly roundthereforefeeling in every direction
to find out what this strange place could be into which I had been
so opportunely precipitated.

It wasas I have saida pitwith sharply-sloping walls and a
level bottom about twenty feet across. This bottom was littered
with great gobbets of fleshmost of which was in the last state
of putridity. The atmosphere was poisonous and horrible.
After tripping and stumbling over these lumps of decayI came
suddenly against something hardand I found that an upright post
was firmly fixed in the center of the hollow. It was so high that
I could not reach the top of it with my handand it appeared to be
covered with grease.

Suddenly I remembered that I had a tin box of wax-vestas in
my pocket. Striking one of themI was able at last to form some
opinion of this place into which I had fallen. There could be no
question as to its nature. It was a trap--made by the hand of man.
The post in the centersome nine feet longwas sharpened
at the upper endand was black with the stale blood of the
creatures who had been impaled upon it. The remains scattered
about were fragments of the victimswhich had been cut away in
order to clear the stake for the next who might blunder in.
I remembered that Challenger had declared that man could not exist
upon the plateausince with his feeble weapons he could not hold
his own against the monsters who roamed over it. But now it was
clear enough how it could be done. In their narrow-mouthed caves
the nativeswhoever they might behad refuges into which the
huge saurians could not penetratewhile with their developed
brains they were capable of setting such trapscovered with
branchesacross the paths which marked the run of the animals as
would destroy them in spite of all their strength and activity.
Man was always the master.

The sloping wall of the pit was not difficult for an active man
to climbbut I hesitated long before I trusted myself within
reach of the dreadful creature which had so nearly destroyed me.
How did I know that he was not lurking in the nearest clump of
busheswaiting for my reappearance? I took hearthoweveras I
recalled a conversation between Challenger and Summerlee upon the
habits of the great saurians. Both were agreed that the monsters
were practically brainlessthat there was no room for reason in
their tiny cranial cavitiesand that if they have disappeared
from the rest of the world it was assuredly on account of their
own stupiditywhich made it impossible for them to adapt
themselves to changing conditions.

To lie in wait for me now would mean that the creature had
appreciated what had happened to meand this in turn would argue
some power connecting cause and effect. Surely it was more
likely that a brainless creatureacting solely by vague
predatory instinctwould give up the chase when I disappeared
andafter a pause of astonishmentwould wander away in search
of some other prey? I clambered to the edge of the pit and
looked over. The stars were fadingthe sky was whiteningand
the cold wind of morning blew pleasantly upon my face. I could
see or hear nothing of my enemy. Slowly I climbed out and sat for
a while upon the groundready to spring back into my refuge if any
danger should appear. Thenreassured by the absolute stillness
and by the growing lightI took my courage in both hands and
stole back along the path which I had come. Some distance down
it I picked up my gunand shortly afterwards struck the brook
which was my guide. Sowith many a frightened backward glance
I made for home.

And suddenly there came something to remind me of my absent companions.
In the clearstill morning air there sounded far away the sharp
hard note of a single rifle-shot. I paused and listenedbut
there was nothing more. For a moment I was shocked at the thought
that some sudden danger might have befallen them. But then a
simpler and more natural explanation came to my mind. It was now
broad daylight. No doubt my absence had been noticed. They had
imaginedthat I was lost in the woodsand had fired this shot
to guide me home. It is true that we had made a strict resolution
against firingbut if it seemed to them that I might be in danger
they would not hesitate. It was for me now to hurry on as fast as
possibleand so to reassure them.

I was weary and spentso my progress was not so fast as I
wished; but at last I came into regions which I knew. There was
the swamp of the pterodactyls upon my left; there in front of me
was the glade of the iguanodons. Now I was in the last belt of
trees which separated me from Fort Challenger. I raised my voice
in a cheery shout to allay their fears. No answering greeting
came back to me. My heart sank at that ominous stillness.
I quickened my pace into a run. The zareba rose before meeven
as I had left itbut the gate was open. I rushed in. In the cold
morning light it was a fearful sight which met my eyes. Our effects
were scattered in wild confusion over the ground; my comrades had
disappearedand close to the smouldering ashes of our fire the
grass was stained crimson with a hideous pool of blood.

I was so stunned by this sudden shock that for a time I must
have nearly lost my reason. I have a vague recollectionas
one remembers a bad dreamof rushing about through the woods
all round the empty campcalling wildly for my companions.
No answer came back from the silent shadows. The horrible
thought that I might never see them againthat I might find
myself abandoned all alone in that dreadful placewith no
possible way of descending into the world belowthat I might
live and die in that nightmare countrydrove me to desperation.
I could have torn my hair and beaten my head in my despair.
Only now did I realize how I had learned to lean upon my
companionsupon the serene self-confidence of Challenger
and upon the masterfulhumorous coolness of Lord John Roxton.
Without them I was like a child in the darkhelpless and powerless.
I did not know which way to turn or what I should do first.

After a periodduring which I sat in bewildermentI set myself
to try and discover what sudden misfortune could have befallen
my companions. The whole disordered appearance of the camp
showed that there had been some sort of attackand the rifleshot
no doubt marked the time when it had occurred. That there
should have been only one shot showed that it had been all over
in an instant. The rifles still lay upon the groundand one
of them--Lord John's--had the empty cartridge in the breech.
The blankets of Challenger and of Summerlee beside the fire
suggested that they had been asleep at the time. The cases of
ammunition and of food were scattered about in a wild litter
together with our unfortunate cameras and plate-carriersbut
none of them were missing. On the other handall the exposed
provisions--and I remembered that there were a considerable
quantity of them--were gone. They were animalsthenand not
nativeswho had made the inroadfor surely the latter would
have left nothing behind.

But if animalsor some single terrible animalthen what had
become of my comrades? A ferocious beast would surely have

destroyed them and left their remains. It is true that there was
that one hideous pool of bloodwhich told of violence. Such a
monster as had pursued me during the night could have carried
away a victim as easily as a cat would a mouse. In that case the
others would have followed in pursuit. But then they would
assuredly have taken their rifles with them. The more I tried to
think it out with my confused and weary brain the less could I
find any plausible explanation. I searched round in the forest
but could see no tracks which could help me to a conclusion.
Once I lost myselfand it was only by good luckand after an
hour of wanderingthat I found the camp once more.

Suddenly a thought came to me and brought some little comfort to
my heart. I was not absolutely alone in the world. Down at the
bottom of the cliffand within call of mewas waiting the
faithful Zambo. I went to the edge of the plateau and looked over.
Sure enoughhe was squatting among his blankets beside his fire
in his little camp. Butto my amazementa second man was seated
in front of him. For an instant my heart leaped for joyas I
thought that one of my comrades had made his way safely down.
But a second glance dispelled the hope. The rising sun shone
red upon the man's skin. He was an Indian. I shouted loudly
and waved my handkerchief. Presently Zambo looked upwaved his
handand turned to ascend the pinnacle. In a short time he was
standing close to me and listening with deep distress to the story
which I told him.

Devil got them for sure, Massa Malone,said he. "You got
into the devil's countrysahand he take you all to himself.
You take adviceMassa Maloneand come down quickelse he get
you as well."

How can I come down, Zambo?

You get creepers from trees, Massa Malone. Throw them over here.
I make fast to this stump, and so you have bridge.

We have thought of that. There are no creepers here which could
bear us.

Send for ropes, Massa Malone.

Who can I send, and where?

Send to Indian villages, sah. Plenty hide rope in Indian village.
Indian down below; send him.

Who is he?

One of our Indians. Other ones beat him and take away his pay.
He come back to us. Ready now to take letterbring rope--anything."

To take a letter! Why not? Perhaps he might bring help; but
in any case he would ensure that our lives were not spent for
nothingand that news of all that we had won for Science
should reach our friends at home. I had two completed letters
already waiting. I would spend the day in writing a thirdwhich
would bring my experiences absolutely up to date. The Indian could
bear this back to the world. I ordered Zambothereforeto come
again in the eveningand I spent my miserable and lonely day in
recording my own adventures of the night before. I also drew up
a noteto be given to any white merchant or captain of a
steam-boat whom the Indian could findimploring them to see that
ropes were sent to ussince our lives must depend upon it.

These documents I threw to Zambo in the eveningand also my
pursewhich contained three English sovereigns. These were to
be given to the Indianand he was promised twice as much if he
returned with the ropes.

So now you will understandmy dear Mr. McArdlehow this
communication reaches youand you will also know the truthin
case you never hear again from your unfortunate correspondent.
To-night I am too weary and too depressed to make my plans.
To-morrow I must think out some way by which I shall keep in
touch with this campand yet search round for any traces of my
unhappy friends.


A Sight which I shall Never Forget

Just as the sun was setting upon that melancholy night I saw the
lonely figure of the Indian upon the vast plain beneath meand I
watched himour one faint hope of salvationuntil he disappeared
in the rising mists of evening which layrose-tinted from the
setting sunbetween the far-off river and me.

It was quite dark when I at last turned back to our stricken
campand my last vision as I went was the red gleam of Zambo's
firethe one point of light in the wide world belowas was
his faithful presence in my own shadowed soul. And yet I felt
happier than I had done since this crushing blow had fallen upon
mefor it was good to think that the world should know what we
had doneso that at the worst our names should not perish with
our bodiesbut should go down to posterity associated with the
result of our labors.

It was an awesome thing to sleep in that ill-fated camp; and yet
it was even more unnerving to do so in the jungle. One or the
other it must be. Prudenceon the one handwarned me that I
should remain on guardbut exhausted Natureon the other
declared that I should do nothing of the kind. I climbed up on
to a limb of the great gingko treebut there was no secure perch
on its rounded surfaceand I should certainly have fallen off
and broken my neck the moment I began to doze. I got down
thereforeand pondered over what I should do. FinallyI closed
the door of the zarebalit three separate fires in a triangle
and having eaten a hearty supper dropped off into a profound sleep
from which I had a strange and most welcome awakening. In the
early morningjust as day was breakinga hand was laid upon
my armand starting upwith all my nerves in a tingle and my
hand feeling for a rifleI gave a cry of joy as in the cold gray
light I saw Lord John Roxton kneeling beside me.

It was he--and yet it was not he. I had left him calm in his
bearingcorrect in his personprim in his dress. Now he was
pale and wild-eyedgasping as he breathed like one who has run
far and fast. His gaunt face was scratched and bloodyhis
clothes were hanging in ragsand his hat was gone. I stared in
amazementbut 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 riflesboth of them. I have the other two. Nowall the
cartridges you can gather. Fill up your pockets. Nowsome food.
Half a dozen tins will do. That's all right! Don't wait to talk
or think. Get a move onor we are done!"

Still half-awakeand unable to imagine what it all might meanI
found myself hurrying madly after him through the wooda 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 rushedregardless of
thornsand threw himself into the heart of itpulling 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 askedwhen I had got my breath. "Where are
the professors? And who is it that is after us?"

The ape-men,he cried. "My Godwhat brutes! Don't raise your
voicefor they have long ears--sharp eyestoobut no power of
scentso far as I could judgeso I don't think they can sniff
us out. Where have you beenyoung fellah? You were well out of it."

In a few sentences I whispered what I had done.

Pretty bad,said hewhen 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 earwhile 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 companionslipping cartridges into the
second double barrelled "Express." "Load them all upyoung
fellah my ladfor we're not going to be taken aliveand 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 handsmid 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'.

Wellnowyoung fellahI'll tell you what will surprise you.
You say you saw signs of menand firestrapsand the like.
Wellwe have seen the natives themselves. Poor devils they
weredown-faced little chapsand had enough to make them so.
It seems that the humans hold one side of this plateau--over
yonderwhere you saw the caves--and the ape-men hold this side
and there is bloody war between them all the time. That's the
situationso far as I could follow it. Wellyesterday 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 fellowsand 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 faintedand even Challenger had as much as he could stand.
I think they have cleareddon't you?"

We listened intentlybut 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.

Wellit 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 offbut
Summerlee and I were in the bill. Their language is more than
half signsand 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
bitand had one or two things clear in my mind. It was all on
mefor 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 Javathe other said it was pithecanthropus.
MadnessI call it--Looniesboth. Butas I sayI 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
shortbandy legsyou seeand heavy bodies. Even Challenger
could give a few yards in a hundred to the best of themand 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 criedin 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 talkhis short
strong sentencesthe half-humoroushalf-reckless tone that ran
through it all. But he was a born leader. As danger thickened
his jaunty manner would increasehis speech become more racy
his cold eyes glitter into ardent lifeand 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 sporta fierce game betwixt you
and Fatewith Death as a forfeitmade him a wonderful companion
at such hours. If it were not for our fears as to the fate of
our companionsit 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 whisperedhere they come!

From where we lay we could look down a brown aislearched with
greenformed by the trunks and branches. Along this a party of
the ape-men were passing. They went in single filewith bent legs
and rounded backstheir hands occasionally touching the ground
their heads turning to left and right as they trotted along.
Their crouching gait took away from their heightbut I should
put them at five feet or sowith long arms and enormous chests.
Many of them carried sticksand 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 Johnwho 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.
Thenat lastour pockets bulging with cartridges and a rifle in
each handwe 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 Challengerthat 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 cliffclose to the old camp. There we
haltedand 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 placedbut it was too dangerouslest 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 advancethereforewas very slowand 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 stilland he crawled forward himself.
In a minute he was back againhis 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 himlooking 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
weirdso impossiblethat I do not know how I am to make you
realize itor 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 nightmaresome delirium of fever.
Yet I will set it down nowwhile it is still fresh in my memory
and one at leastthe man who lay in the damp grasses by my side
will know if I have lied.

A wideopen 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 rookerywith every nest a little
housewould best convey the idea. The openings of these huts
and the branches of the trees were thronged with a dense mob of
ape-peoplewhom 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 openand near the edge of the cliffthere had assembled
a crowd of some hundred of these shaggyred-haired creatures
many of them of immense sizeand all of them horrible to look upon.
There was a certain discipline among themfor none of them
attempted to break the line which had been formed. In front
there stood a small group of Indians--littleclean-limbedred
fellowswhose skins glowed like polished bronze in the strong sunlight.
A tallthin white man was standing beside themhis head bowed
his arms foldedhis 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-menwho watched them closely and made all escape impossible.
Thenright out from all the others and close to the edge of the
cliffwere two figuresso strangeand under other circumstances
so ludicrousthat they absorbed my attention. The one was our
comradeProfessor Challenger. The remains of his coat still hung
in strips from his shouldersbut 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 hatand his hair
which had grown long in our wanderingswas 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 masterthe king of the ape-men. In all things

he wasas Lord John had saidthe very image of our Professor
save that his coloring was red instead of black. The same short
broad figurethe same heavy shouldersthe same forward hang of
the armsthe same bristling beard merging itself in the hairy chest.
Only above the eyebrowswhere the sloping forehead and lowcurved
skull of the ape-man were in sharp contrast to the broad brow and
magnificent cranium of the Europeancould one see any marked difference.
At every other point the king was an absurd parody of the Professor.

All thiswhich takes me so long to describeimpressed itself
upon me in a few seconds. Then we had very different things to
think offor 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 armand
swung him three times backwards and forwards with tremendous violence.
Thenwith 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 assemblyexcept the guardsrushed forward to the edge
of the precipiceand there was a long pause of absolute silence
broken by a mad yell of delight. They sprang abouttossing their
longhairy arms in the air and howling with exultation. Then they
fell back from the edgeformed themselves again into lineand
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 beggingpleading
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 crackedand the king
sank downa tangled red sprawling thingupon 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 natureand 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 magazinethen the
otherclicking open the breech to re-loadsnapping 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 downand he was staggering
about like a drunken man in his amazementunable to realize that
he was a free man. The dense mob of ape-men ran about in
bewildermentmarveling whence this storm of death was coming or
what it might mean. They wavedgesticulatedscreamedand tripped
up over those who had fallen. Thenwith a sudden impulsethey all
rushed in a howling crowd to the trees for shelterleaving 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 armand 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 alongone at each of his
elbowswhile Lord John covered our retreatfiring 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 slackenedfor they learned our power and would
no longer face that unerring rifle. When we had at last reached
the campwe 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 zarebaclasped each other's
handsand thrown ourselves panting upon the ground beside our
springwhen we heard a patter of feet and then a gentle
plaintive crying from outside our entrance. Lord Roxton rushed
forwardrifle in handand threw it open. Thereprostrate upon
their faceslay the little red figures of the four surviving
Indianstrembling with fear of us and yet imploring our protection.
With an expressive sweep of his hands one of them pointed to the
woods around themand indicated that they were full of danger.
Thendarting forwardhe threw his arms round Lord John's legs
and rested his face upon them.

By George!cried our peerpulling at his moustache in great
perplexityI 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
individualsbut European science collectivelyowe 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 smilebut European science
would have been somewhat amazed could they have seen their chosen
childthe hope of the futurewith his tangledunkempt head
his bare chestand his tattered clothes. He had one of the
meat-tins between his kneesand sat with a large piece of cold
Australian mutton between his fingers. The Indian looked up at
himand thenwith a little yelpcringed to the ground and
clung to Lord John's leg.

Don't you be scared, my bonnie boy,said Lord Johnpatting the
matted head in front of him. "He can't stick your appearance
Challenger; andby George! I don't wonder. All rightlittle
chaphe's only a humanjust 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 spokefrom 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
Summerleeyoung fellah. These Indians will carry stores.
Nowthencome 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 campbut none of them
came our wayand the tired fugitivesred and whitehad a long
deep sleep. I was dozing myself in the evening when someone
plucked my sleeveand I found Challenger kneeling beside me.

You keep a diary of these events, and you expect eventually to
publish it, Mr. Malone,said hewith 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

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.Thenafter a long
pausehe 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 Professormuch eased in his mindsettled down to his
slumber once more.


Those Were the Real Conquests

We had imagined that our pursuersthe ape-menknew nothing of our
brush-wood hiding-placebut 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 lifeI 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
heldand it was agreed that we should wait quietly for an hour
or two where we werehave our much-needed breakfastand 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. Thenwith our mission accomplished and possessing
a fuller knowledge of the secrets of Maple White Landwe 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 comeand 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 menwiryactiveand
well-builtwith lank black hair tied up in a bunch behind their
heads with a leathern thongand leathern also were their
loin-clothes. Their faces were hairlesswell formedand
good-humored. The lobes of their earshanging ragged and
bloodyshowed that they had been pierced for some ornaments
which their captors had torn out. Their speechthough
unintelligible to uswas fluent among themselvesand as they
pointed to each other and uttered the word "Accala" many times
overwe gathered that this was the name of the nation.
Occasionallywith faces which were convulsed with fear and
hatredthey 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 themChallenger?" asked Lord John. "One thing
is very clear to meand 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 alland yet
so proud and high was his spirit thatupon Challenger laying his
great hand upon his headhe started like a spurred horse and
with a quick flash of his dark eyesmoved further away from
the Professor. Thenplacing his hand upon his breast and
holding himself with great dignityhe uttered the word "Maretas"
several times. The Professorunabashedseized 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 stagethe 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 deerand 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 Americawho in past ages found his way
to this placeand that he developed into the creatures we have
seensome of which"--here he looked hard at me--"were of an
appearance and shape whichif it had been accompanied by
corresponding intelligencewouldI 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 seenthey took refuge in the caves which our young friend
has describedbut they have no doubt had a bitter fight to hold
their own against wild beastsand especially against the ape-men
who would regard them as intrudersand 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. Wellgentlemen
have I read you the riddle arightor is there any point which
you would query?"

Professor Summerlee for once was too depressed to arguethough
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 brookleaving 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
thicketbut you will remember that we were many miles from

Ape-townthat so far as we knew the creatures had not discovered
our retreatand 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 mebut
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 companionswhenunder one of the treesI noticed
something red huddled among the bushes. As I approached itI
was shocked to see that it was the dead body of the missing Indian.
He lay upon his sidehis limbs drawn upand his head screwed
round at a most unnatural angleso that he seemed to be looking
straight over his own shoulder. I gave a cry to warn my friends
that something was amissand running forwards I stooped over
the body. Surely my guardian angel was very near me thenfor
some instinct of fearor it may have been some faint rustle
of leavesmade me glance upwards. Out of the thick green
foliage which hung low over my headtwo 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 backwardsbut quick as I wasthose hands were
quicker still. Through my sudden spring they missed a fatal
gripbut one of them caught the back of my neck and the other
one my face. I threw my hands up to protect my throatand the
next moment the huge paw had slid down my face and closed over them.
I was lifted lightly from the groundand 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 swambut
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 grasptwo white canines
gleamed for a moment at each side of the vile mouthand the grip
tightened still more upon my chinforcing it always upwards and back.
A thinoval-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
earthwhere 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
brookand Lord John was sprinkling my head with itwhile
Challenger and Summerlee were propping me upwith concern in
their faces. For a moment I had a glimpse of the human spirits
behind their scientific masks. It was really shockrather than
any injurywhich had prostrated meand in half-an-hourin
spite of aching head and stiff neckI 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 forwardand
saw your head twisted half-off and your stohwassers kickin' in
the airI thought we were one short. I missed the beast in my
flurrybut 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 daybut 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

forestand 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 scrubwith scattered trees and
occasional open glades. It wasin factthe route which I had
myself taken in my solitary journeyand it led us straight for
the Indian caves. This then must for every reason be our road.

One great regret we hadand that was to leave our old camp
behind usnot only for the sake of the stores which remained
therebut even more because we were losing touch with Zamboour
link with the outside world. Howeverwe had a fair supply of
cartridges and all our gunssofor a time at leastwe could
look after ourselvesand we hoped soon to have a chance of
returning and restoring our communications with our negro.
He had faithfully promised to stay where he wasand 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 guidebut 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-menwhich 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 pursuithoweverand soon we had
got into more open country and beyond their power.

As I tramped alongthe rearmost of the fourI 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? Andfinallycould 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 hadit
is truebeen only a week or so upon the top of the plateaubut
all our spare clothing was in our camp belowand the one week
had been a severe one upon us allthough least to me who had not
to endure the handling of the ape-men. My three friends had all
lost their hatsand had now bound handkerchiefs round their heads
their clothes hung in ribbons about themand their unshaven grimy
faces were hardly to be recognized. Both Summerlee and Challenger
were limping heavilywhile I still dragged my feet from weakness
after the shock of the morningand 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 lakeand 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 swiftnessand were soon so near
that the rowers could distinguish our persons. Instantly a
thunderous shout of delight burst from themand we saw them rise
from their seatswaving their paddles and spears madly in the air.

Then bending to their work once morethey flew across the
intervening waterbeached their boats upon the sloping sand
and rushed up to usprostrating themselves with loud cries of
greeting before the young chief. Finally one of theman elderly
manwith a necklace and bracelet of great lustrous glass beads
and the skin of some beautiful mottled amber-colored animal slung
over his shouldersran forward and embraced most tenderly the
youth whom we had saved. He then looked at us and asked some
questionsafter which he stepped up with much dignity and
embraced us also each in turn. Thenat his orderthe whole
tribe lay down upon the ground before us in homage. Personally I
felt shy and uncomfortable at this obsequious adorationand I
read the same feeling in the faces of Roxton and Summerleebut
Challenger expanded like a flower in the sun.

They may be undeveloped types,said hestroking his beard
and looking round at thembut 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-pathfor
every man carried his spear--a long bamboo tipped with bone--his
bow and arrowsand some sort of club or stone battle-axe slung
at his side. Their darkangry glances at the woods from which
we had comeand 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 fightersand 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
forwardand 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 speakerand
when he had finished they burst into a roar of applausewaving
their rude weapons in the air. The old chief stepped forward to
usand asked us some questionspointing 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-folkand 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 Johnsmiling. "But we
are up against itso what's the decision?"

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

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

The old fellow clasped our handseach in turnwhile 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 othersit had a daub of asphalt
upon its shoulderand 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 cattleand
that these symbols which had so perplexed us were nothing more
than the marks of the owner. Helplesstorpidand vegetarian
with great limbs but a minute brainthey 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 sandbut we others
roamed round the edge of the waterseeking 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 ventsand for some reason excited the
greatest interest in Lord John. What attracted Challengeron
the other handwas a bubblinggurgling mud geyserwhere 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 ableon 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 wheninverting a leathern
pouch over the end of the reedand 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
purposebut 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 awayand save for
a few pterodactylswhich soared round high above our heads while
they waited for the carrionall 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 silverand
then rolled down into the depths again. The sand-banks far out
were spotted with uncouth crawling formshuge turtlesstrange
sauriansand one great flat creature like a writhingpalpitating
mat of black greasy leatherwhich flopped its way slowly to the lake.
Here and there high serpent heads projected out of the watercutting
swiftly through it with a little collar of foam in frontand a
long swirling wake behindrising 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 usand exposed a barrel-shaped body and huge flippers
behind the long serpent neckthat Challengerand Summerleewho
had joined usbroke 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 fallenand the fires of our
savage allies glowed red in the shadowsthat 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 cavesand we may have been four or five
hundred strong when we made our advance. A fringe of scouts was
thrown out in frontand 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 flankwhile
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 stonesand made for the center of the
Indian line. It was a valiant move but a foolish onefor the
great bandy-legged creatures were slow of footwhile their
opponents were as active as cats. It was horrible to see the
fierce brutes with foaming mouths and glaring eyesrushing and
graspingbut forever missing their elusive enemieswhile arrow
after arrow buried itself in their hides. One great fellow ran
past me roaring with painwith a dozen darts sticking from his
chest and ribs. In mercy I put a bullet through his skulland
he fell sprawling among the aloes. But this was the only shot
firedfor the attack had been on the center of the lineand the
Indians there had needed no help of ours in repulsing it. Of all
the ape-men who had rushed out into the openI 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 woodthere 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 woodoccasionally dropping
bodily on to our ranks and fighting furiously until they were felled.
Once our allies broke under the pressureand 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 weaponlessbut I was emptying my
magazine as quick as I could fireand 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
howlingthe great creatures rushed away in all directions
through the brushwoodwhile our allies yelled in their savage
delightfollowing swiftly after their flying enemies. All the
feuds of countless generationsall the hatreds and cruelties of
their narrow historyall 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 savagesand from every side in the tangled woods we heard
the exultant yellsthe twanging of bowsand the crash and thud
as ape-men were brought down from their hiding-places in the trees.

I was following the otherswhen 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 criedstrutting about like a
gamecockto 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 thicktransfixed with spears or arrows. Here and there a
little group of shattered Indians marked where one of the
anthropoids had turned to bayand 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 citythey had made a last stand thereonce again they had
been brokenand now we were in time to see the final fearful
scene of all. Some eighty or a hundred malesthe last
survivorshad been driven across that same little clearing which
led to the edge of the cliffthe scene of our own exploit two
days before. As we arrived the Indiansa semicircle of

spearmenhad closed in on themand in a minute it was over
Thirty or forty died where they stood. The othersscreaming and
clawingwere thrust over the precipiceand went hurtling down
as their prisoners had of oldon to the sharp bamboos six
hundred feet below. It was as Challenger had saidand the reign
of man was assured forever in Maple White Land. The males were
exterminatedApe Town was destroyedthe females and young were
driven away to live in bondageand 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 Zambowho 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 criedhis 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 daybut I trust that before I come to
the end of itI may be able to say that the light shinesat
lastthrough our clouds. We are held here with no clear means
of making our escapeand bitterly we chafe against it. YetI
can well imagine that the day may come when we may be glad that
we were keptagainst our willto see something more of the
wonders of this singular placeand 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 onwardswe
were in truth masters of the plateaufor the natives looked upon us
with a mixture of fear and gratitudesince by our strange powers
we had aided them to destroy their hereditary foe. For their own
sakes they wouldperhapsbe glad to see the departure of such
formidable and incalculable peoplebut they have not themselves
suggested any way by which we may reach the plains below.
There had beenso far as we could follow their signsa
tunnel by which the place could be approachedthe lower exit of
which we had seen from below. By thisno doubtboth ape-men
and Indians had at different epochs reached the topand Maple
White with his companion had taken the same way. Only the year
beforehoweverthere had been a terrific earthquakeand 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 cannotbut it may also be that they will
nothelp 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 caveswhere they
wouldfrom now onwardsbe a servile race under the eyes of
their masters. It was a ruderawprimeval version of the Jews
in Babylon or the Israelites in Egypt. At night we could hear

from amid the trees the long-drawn cryas some primitive Ezekiel
mourned for fallen greatness and recalled the departed glories of
Ape Town. Hewers of wood and drawers of watersuch were they
from now onwards.

We had returned across the plateau with our allies two days after
the battleand made our camp at the foot of their cliffs. They would
have had us share their caves with thembut 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
independencethereforeand had our weapons ready for any
emergencywhile preserving the most friendly relations. We also
continually visited their caveswhich were most remarkable
placesthough 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 themand the hard granite
which formed their base.

The openings were about eighty feet above the groundand were
led up to by long stone stairsso narrow and steep that no large
animal could mount them. Inside they were warm and dryrunning
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 dinosaursiguanodons
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 ownersand were simply walking meat-storeswe had
conceived that maneven with his primitive weaponshad established
his ascendancy upon the plateau. We were soon to discover that it
was not soand 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
nativesunder their directionwere engaged in harpooning
specimens of the great lizards. Lord John and I had remained in
our campwhile 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 alarmwith the word "Stoa"
resounding from a hundred tongues. From every side menwomen
and children were rushing wildly for shelterswarming up the
staircases and into the caves in a mad stampede.

Looking upwe 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 Indiansrunning for
their livesand 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 toadsand
moved in a succession of springsbut in size they were of an
incredible bulklarger than the largest elephant. We had never
before seen them save at nightand indeed they are nocturnal
animals save when disturbed in their lairsas these had been.
We now stood amazed at the sightfor their blotched and warty
skins were of a curious fish-like iridescenceand the sunlight
struck them with an ever-varying rainbow bloom as they moved.

We had little time to watch themhoweverfor 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 turnleaving him crushed and mangledto
bound on after the others. The wretched Indians screamed with
terrorbut were helplessrun as they wouldbefore the
relentless purpose and horrible activity of these monstrous creatures.
One after another they went downand 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 beastsbut with no more effect
than if we were pelting them with pellets of paper. Their slow
reptilian natures cared nothing for woundsand the springs of
their liveswith no special brain center but scattered throughout
their spinal cordscould 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 availthe poisoned
arrows of the nativesdipped in the juice of strophanthus and
steeped afterwards in decayed carrioncould succeed. Such arrows
were of little avail to the hunter who attacked the beastbecause
their action in that torpid circulation was slowand before its
powers failed it could certainly overtake and slay its assailant.
But nowas the two monsters hounded us to the very foot of the
stairsa 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 shrillwailing
criesand 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 bodiesin mad joy that two more of the
most dangerous of all their enemies had been slain. That night
they cut up and removed the bodiesnot to eat--for the poison
was still active--but lest they should breed a pestilence.
The great reptilian heartshowevereach as large as a cushion
still lay therebeating slowly and steadilywith a gentle rise
and fallin horrible independent life. It was only upon the third
day that the ganglia ran down and the dreadful things were still.

Some daywhen I have a better desk than a meat-tin and more
helpful tools than a worn stub of pencil and a lasttattered
note-bookI will write some fuller account of the Accala
Indians--of our life amongst themand of the glimpses which we
had of the strange conditions of wondrous Maple White Land.
Memoryat leastwill never fail mefor so long as the breath
of life is in meevery 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 creaturehalf sealhalf fishto look atwith
bone-covered eyes on each side of his snoutand 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 telltooof 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 lakeand flitted about with a
faint phosphorescent glimmer in the darkness. The Indians were
so terrified at it that they would not go near the placeand
though we twice made expeditions and saw it each timewe 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 birdfar taller than an ostrichwith 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 creaturetwelve
feet from head to foot--phororachus its nameaccording to our
panting but exultant Professor--went down before Lord Roxton's
rifle in a flurry of waving feathers and kicking limbswith 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. FinallyI will assuredly give some
account of the toxodonthe giant ten-foot guinea pigwith
projecting chisel teethwhich 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 lengthand amidst
these more stirring days I would tenderly sketch in these lovely
summer eveningswhen 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 uswhile above
us the boughs of the bushes were heavy with luscious fruitand
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 gleamfar down in the deep
waterof 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.

Butyou will askwhy these experiences and why this delaywhen
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 isthat there was not one of us who was not working for
this endbut 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 chasmor when we
wished to get from them thongs of leather or liana to weave ropes
which might help uswe were met by a good-humoredbut an
invinciblerefusal. They would smiletwinkle their eyesshake
their headsand there was the end of it. Even the old chief met
us with the same obstinate denialand it was only Maretasthe
youngster whom we had savedwho 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 supermenwho bore victory in the tubes of strange
weaponsand 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 kindlyhowever far apart our desires might be; but

we felt well assured that our actual plans of a descent must be
kept secretfor 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
nightforas I may have said beforethey 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
awayempty and bareto 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 routeand had reached
a spot within a mile or so of the marsh of the pterodactylswhen
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 laughingand yetas I thoughtwith some confusion in his manner.

Well, young fellah,said hewho 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 eyeand 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 strangethat of

Challenger was more so. I may say that he seemed to possess an
extraordinary fascination for the Indian womenand that he
always carried a large spreading palm branch with which he beat
them off as if they were flieswhen their attentions became
too pressing. To see him walking like a comic opera Sultanwith
this badge of authority in his handhis black beard bristling
in front of himhis toes pointing at each stepand a train of
wide-eyed Indian girls behind himclad in their slender drapery
of bark clothis one of the most grotesque of all the pictures
which I will carry back with me. As to Summerleehe was
absorbed in the insect and bird life of the plateauand 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
solemnityas one who bears the full weight of a great enterprise
upon his shoulders. One daypalm branch in handand his crowd
of adoring devotees behind himhe 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 hideand 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 formedand the
jerking and straining upon the thongs showed that it was capable
of considerable lift. Challengerlike a glad father in the
presence of his first-bornstood smiling and stroking his beard
in silentself-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 decisionnothing 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 wasI will admit
somewhat baffled by the difficulty of discovering an envelope to
contain the gasbut 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 meand 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 longand 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 balloonand the hanging thongs were gathered together
belowso that the pressure of any weight would be diffused over
a considerable surface. Then the lump of basalt was fastened to
the thongsand the rope was allowed to hang from the end of it
being passed three times round the Professor's arm.

I will now,said Challengerwith a smile of pleased
anticipationdemonstrate 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 legsbut 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. Buthappilythere were
limits to the strain which the rope would standthough none
apparently to the lifting powers of this infernal machine. There was
a sharp crackand 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 Challengerrubbing 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 campwhere Zambo
has waited so longwith 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 safetythough in a
most unexpected fashionand all is well with us. In six weeks
or two months we shall be in Londonand 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 eveningafter duskhe came down to our
little camphanded me (for some reason he had always shown his
attentions to meperhaps because I was the one who was nearest
his age) a small roll of the bark of a treeand then pointing
solemnly up at the row of caves above himhe 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 squareand on the inner side there was a
singular arrangement of lineswhich I here reproduce:

They were neatly done in charcoal upon the white surfaceand
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
suggestedwhich 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 criedI 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
araucariaaccording to our botanist--which is always used by the
Indians for torches. Each of us picked up a faggot of thisand
we made our way up weed-covered steps to the particular cave
which was marked in the drawing. It wasas I had saidempty
save for a great number of enormous batswhich flapped round our
heads as we advanced into it. As we had no desire to draw the
attention of the Indians to our proceedingswe stumbled along in
the dark until we had gone round several curves and penetrated a
considerable distance into the cavern. Thenat lastwe lit
our torches. It was a beautiful dry tunnel with smooth gray walls
covered with native symbolsa curved roof which arched over our
headsand white glistening sand beneath our feet. We hurried
eagerly along it untilwith a deep groan of bitter
disappointmentwe were brought to a halt. A sheer wall of rock
had appeared before uswith 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 convulsionas in the case of the
ascending tunnel. The end wall was exactly like the side ones.
It wasand had always beena 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 Johnwith 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 pointedand I gave a
sudden cry of joy.

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

I hurried back along the way we had comemy torch in my hand.
Here,said Ipointing to some matches upon the groundis
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.
Thensuddenlyin 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 soundno heatno movement
came from itbut 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 throughboys!
We are through!"

It was indeed the full moon which shone straight down the
aperture which opened upon the cliffs. It was a small riftnot
larger than a windowbut 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 oneand that the level ground was no very
great way below us. It was no wonder that from below we had not
observed the placeas 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 downand then returnedrejoicing
to our camp to make our preparations for the next evening.

What we did we had to do quickly and secretlysince even at this
last hour the Indians might hold us back. Our stores we would
leave behind ussave only our guns and cartridges. But Challenger
had some unwieldy stuff which he ardently desired to take with him
and one particular packageof which I may not speakwhich gave
us more labor than any. Slowly the day passedbut when the
darkness fell we were ready for our departure. With much labor
we got our things up the stepsand thenlooking backtook one
last long survey of that strange landsoon I fear to be vulgarized
the prey of hunter and prospectorbut to each of us a dreamland
of glamour and romancea land where we had dared muchsuffered
muchand learned much--OUR landas 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 woodsand in the centershimmering vaguely
through the gloomwas the great lakethe mother of strange monsters.
Even as we looked a high whickering crythe call of some weird
animalrang 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 laterweour packagesand all we ownedwere at the
foot of the cliff. Save for Challenger's luggage we had never
a difficulty. Leaving it all where we descendedwe started at
once for Zambo's camp. In the early morning we approached it
but only to findto our amazementnot one fire but a dozen upon
the plain. The rescue party had arrived. There were twenty
Indians from the riverwith stakesropesand all that could be
useful for bridging the chasm. At least we shall have no
difficulty now in carrying our packageswhen to-morrow we begin
to make our way back to the Amazon.

And soin humble and thankful moodI 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 dothis 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. McArdleI 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 wayand Senhor Pereira of Parato 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 benefactorsbut under the
circumstances we had really no alternativeand 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 accountsand I am very sure that no onefrom the
most careful study of themcould 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
localand 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 agencyoffering huge prices
for a short return message as to our actual resultsshowed us
how strained was the attention not only of the scientific world
but of the general public. It was agreed among ushoweverthat
no definite statement should be given to the Press until we had
met the members of the Zoological Institutesince as delegates it
was our clear duty to give our first report to the body from which
we had received our commission of investigation. Thusalthough
we found Southampton full of Pressmenwe absolutely refused to
give any informationwhich had the natural effect of focussing
public attention upon the meeting which was advertised for the
evening of November 7th. For this gatheringthe Zoological Hall
which had been the scene of the inception of our task was found
to be far too smalland 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 firstwe had eachno 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 itand even speak of itwith less emotion. I have
shown the reader in the beginning of this narrative where lay the
springs of my action. It is but rightperhapsthat 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 adventureand 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 itmy
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 matterout of compliment to its own enterprise
in sending a correspondentbut the other great dailies were hardly
less full in their account. Thusthenfriend 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.(Ohbrother scribe Macdonawhat
a monstrous opening sentence!) "The tickets were theoretically
confined to members and their friendsbut the latter is an
elastic termand long before eight o'clockthe hour fixed for
the commencement of the proceedingsall parts of the Great Hall
were tightly packed. The general publichoweverwhich most
unreasonably entertained a grievance at having been excluded
stormed the doors at a quarter to eightafter a prolonged melee
in which several people were injuredincluding Inspector Scoble
of H. Divisionwhose leg was unfortunately broken. After this
unwarrantable invasionwhich not only filled every passagebut
even intruded upon the space set apart for the Pressit is
estimated that nearly five thousand people awaited the arrival of
the travelers. When they eventually appearedthey took their
places in the front of a platform which already contained all the
leading scientific mennot only of this countrybut of France
and of Germany. Sweden was also representedin the person of
Professor Sergiusthe famous Zoologist of the University of Upsala.
The entrance of the four heroes of the occasion was the signal
for a remarkable demonstration of welcomethe whole audience
rising and cheering for some minutes. An acute observer might
howeverhave 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 prophesiedhowever
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 rightMacwait 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 enthusiasmwhich broke out again at
intervals throughout his address. That address will not be given
in extenso in these columnsfor 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 journeyand paid a handsome tribute to his
friend Professor Challengercoupled with an apology for the
incredulity with which his assertionsnow fully vindicatedhad
been receivedhe 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 termstheir course from the main river up to the time
that they actually reached the base of the cliffshe enthralled
his hearers by his account of the difficulties encountered by the
expedition in their repeated attempts to mount themand 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 thereand that
a vote of thanks and congratulationmoved by Professor Sergius
of Upsala Universitywould 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 eveningand now Dr. James Illingworthof
Edinburghrose 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 Gracethere must be an amendment.'

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

PROFESSOR SUMMERLEE (springing to his feet): `Might I explain
your Gracethat 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 physiquehoweverand possessed of a very powerful
voicehe dominated the tumult and succeeded in finishing
his speech. It was clearfrom the moment of his risingthat

he had a number of friends and sympathizers in the hallthough
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 GraceI have more to saybut I bow to
your ruling. I movethenthatwhile Professor Summerlee be
thanked for his interesting addressthe 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
audience settled down expectantly to give him a hearing.

`It will be within the recollection of many present' said
Professor Challenger`that similar foolish and unmannerly scenes
marked the last meeting at which I have been able to address them.
On that occasion Professor Summerlee was the chief offenderand
though he is now chastened and contritethe matter could not be
entirely forgotten. I have heard to-night similarbut even more
offensivesentiments from the person who has just sat downand
though it is a conscious effort of self-effacement to come down
to that person's mental levelI will endeavor to do soin order
to allay any reasonable doubt which could possibly exist in the
minds of anyone.' (Laughter and interruption.) `I need not remind
this audience thatthough Professor Summerleeas the head of the
Committee of Investigationhas been put up to speak to-night
still it is I who am the real prime mover in this businessand
that it is mainly to me that any successful result must be ascribed.
I have safely conducted these three gentlemen to the spot mentioned
and I haveas you have heardconvinced them of the accuracy of
my previous account. We had hoped that we should find upon our
return that no one was so dense as to dispute our joint conclusions.
Warnedhoweverby my previous experienceI have not come without
such proofs as may convince a reasonable man. As explained by
Professor Summerleeour cameras have been tampered with by the apemen
when they ransacked our campand most of our negatives ruined.'
(Jeerslaughterand `Tell us another!' from the back.) `I have
mentioned the ape-menand I cannot forbear from saying that some
of the sounds which now meet my ears bring back most vividly to
my recollection my experiences with those interesting creatures.'
(Laughter.) `In spite of the destruction of so many invaluable
negativesthere still remains in our collection a certain number
of corroborative photographs showing the conditions of life upon
the plateau. Did they accuse them of having forged these photographs?'
(A voice`Yes' and considerable interruption which ended in
several men being put out of the hall.) `The negatives were open
to the inspection of experts. But what other evidence had they?
Under the conditions of their escape it was naturally impossible
to bring a large amount of baggagebut they had rescued Professor
Summerlee's collections of butterflies and beetlescontaining
many new species. Was this not evidence?' (Several voices`No.')
`Who said no?'

DR. ILLINGWORTH (rising): `Our point is that such a collection
might have been made in other places than a prehistoric plateau.'

PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: `No doubtsirwe have to bow to your
scientific authorityalthough I must admit that the name
is unfamiliar. Passingthenboth the photographs and the
entomological collectionI come to the varied and accurate
information which we bring with us upon points which have never
before been elucidated. For exampleupon the domestic habits of
the pterodactyl--`(A voice: `Bosh' and uproar)--`I saythat
upon the domestic habits of the pterodactyl we can throw a flood
of light. I can exhibit to you from my portfolio a picture of
that creature taken from life which would convince you----'

DR. ILLINGWORTH: `No picture could convince us of anything.'

PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: `You would require to see the thing itself?'

DR. ILLINGWORTH: `Undoubtedly.'

PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: `And you would accept that?'

DR. ILLINGWORTH (laughing): `Beyond a doubt.'

It was at this point that the sensation of the evening arose--a
sensation so dramatic that it can never have been paralleled in
the history of scientific gatherings. Professor Challenger
raised his hand in the air as a signaland at once our
colleagueMr. E. D. Malonewas observed to rise and to make his
way to the back of the platform. An instant later he re-appeared
in company of a gigantic negrothe two of them bearing between
them a large square packing-case. It was evidently of great
weightand was slowly carried forward and placed in front of
the Professor's chair. All sound had hushed in the audience
and everyone was absorbed in the spectacle before them.
Professor Challenger drew off the top of the casewhich formed
a sliding lid. Peering down into the box he snapped his fingers
several times and was heard from the Press seat to say`Come
thenprettypretty!' in a coaxing voice. An instant later
with a scratchingrattling sounda most horrible and loathsome
creature appeared from below and perched itself upon the side of
the case. Even the unexpected fall of the Duke of Durham into
the orchestrawhich occurred at this momentcould not distract
the petrified attention of the vast audience. The face of the
creature was like the wildest gargoyle that the imagination of a
mad medieval builder could have conceived. It was malicious
horriblewith two small red eyes as bright as points of
burning coal. Its longsavage mouthwhich was held half-open
was full of a double row of shark-like teeth. Its shoulders were
humpedand round them were draped what appeared to be a faded
gray shawl. It was the devil of our childhood in person. There was
a turmoil in the audience--someone screamedtwo ladies in the
front row fell senseless from their chairsand there was a
general movement upon the platform to follow their chairman into
the orchestra. For a moment there was danger of a general panic.
Professor Challenger threw up his hands to still the commotion
but the movement alarmed the creature beside him. Its strange
shawl suddenly unfurledspreadand fluttered as a pair of
leathery wings. Its owner grabbed at its legsbut too late to
hold it. It had sprung from the perch and was circling slowly
round the Queen's Hall with a dryleathery flapping of its
ten-foot wingswhile a putrid and insidious odor pervaded
the room. The cries of the people in the gallerieswho were
alarmed at the near approach of those glowing eyes and that
murderous beakexcited the creature to a frenzy. Faster and
faster it flewbeating against walls and chandeliers in a blind
frenzy of alarm. `The window! For heaven's sake shut that window!'
roared the Professor from the platformdancing and wringing his
hands in an agony of apprehension. Alashis warning was too late!
In a moment the creaturebeating and bumping along the wall like a
huge moth within a gas-shadecame upon the openingsqueezed its
hideous bulk through itand was gone. Professor Challenger fell
back into his chair with his face buried in his handswhile the
audience gave one longdeep sigh of relief as they realized that
the incident was over.

Then--oh! how shall one describe what took place then--when the
full exuberance of the majority and the full reaction of the
minority united to make one great wave of enthusiasm, which
rolled from the back of the hall, gathering volume as it came,
swept over the orchestra, submerged the platform, and carried the

four heroes away upon its crest?(Good for youMac!) "If the
audience had done less than justicesurely it made ample amends.
Every one was on his feet. Every one was movingshouting
gesticulating. A dense crowd of cheering men were round the four
travelers. `Up with them! up with them!' cried a hundred voices.
In a moment four figures shot up above the crowd. In vain they
strove to break loose. They were held in their lofty places
of honor. It would have been hard to let them down if it had
been wishedso dense was the crowd around them. `Regent Street!
Regent Street!' sounded the voices. There was a swirl in the
packed multitudeand a slow currentbearing the four upon their
shouldersmade for the door. Out in the street the scene was
extraordinary. An assemblage of not less than a hundred thousand
people was waiting. The close-packed throng extended from the
other side of the Langham Hotel to Oxford Circus. A roar of
acclamation greeted the four adventurers as they appearedhigh
above the heads of the peopleunder the vivid electric lamps
outside the hall. `A procession! A procession!' was the cry.
In a dense phalanxblocking the streets from side to sidethe
crowd set forthtaking the route of Regent StreetPall Mall
St. James's Streetand Piccadilly. The whole central traffic
of London was held upand many collisions were reported between
the demonstrators upon the one side and the police and taxi-cabmen
upon the other. Finallyit was not until after midnight that
the four travelers were released at the entrance to Lord John
Roxton's chambers in the Albanyand that the exuberant crowd
having sung `They are Jolly Good Fellows' in chorusconcluded
their program with `God Save the King.' So ended one of the most
remarkable evenings that London has seen for a considerable time."

So far my friend Macdona; and it may be taken as a fairly
accurateif floridaccount of the proceedings. As to the main
incidentit was a bewildering surprise to the audiencebut not
I need hardly sayto us. The reader will remember how I met
Lord John Roxton upon the very occasion whenin his protective
crinolinehe had gone to bring the "Devil's chick" as he called
itfor Professor Challenger. I have hinted also at the trouble
which the Professor's baggage gave us when we left the plateau
and had I described our voyage I might have said a good deal of
the worry we had to coax with putrid fish the appetite of our
filthy companion. If I have not said much about it beforeit
wasof coursethat the Professor's earnest desire was that no
possible rumor of the unanswerable argument which we carried
should be allowed to leak out until the moment came when his
enemies were to be confuted.

One word as to the fate of the London pterodactyl. Nothing can
be said to be certain upon this point. There is the evidence of
two frightened women that it perched upon the roof of the Queen's
Hall and remained there like a diabolical statue for some hours.
The next day it came out in the evening papers that Private
Milesof the Coldstream Guardson duty outside Marlborough
Househad deserted his post without leaveand was therefore
courtmartialed. Private Miles' accountthat he dropped his
rifle and took to his heels down the Mall because on looking up
he had suddenly seen the devil between him and the moonwas not
accepted by the Courtand yet it may have a direct bearing upon
the point at issue. The only other evidence which I can adduce
is from the log of the SS. Frieslanda Dutch-American liner
which asserts that at nine next morningStart Point being at the
time ten miles upon their starboard quarterthey were passed by
something between a flying goat and a monstrous batwhich was
heading at a prodigious pace south and west. If its homing
instinct led it upon the right linethere can be no doubt that

somewhere out in the wastes of the Atlantic the last European
pterodactyl found its end.

And Gladys--ohmy Gladys!--Gladys of the mystic lakenow to be
re-named the Centralfor never shall she have immortality
through me. Did I not always see some hard fiber in her nature?
Did I noteven at the time when I was proud to obey her behest
feel that it was surely a poor love which could drive a lover to
his death or the danger of it? Did I notin my truest thoughts
always recurring and always dismissedsee past the beauty of the
faceandpeering into the souldiscern the twin shadows of
selfishness and of fickleness glooming at the back of it? Did she
love the heroic and the spectacular for its own noble sakeor
was it for the glory which mightwithout effort or sacrificebe
reflected upon herself? Or are these thoughts the vain wisdom
which comes after the event? It was the shock of my life. For a
moment it had turned me to a cynic. But alreadyas I writea
week has passedand we have had our momentous interview with
Lord John Roxton and--wellperhaps things might be worse.

Let me tell it in a few words. No letter or telegram had come to
me at Southamptonand I reached the little villa at Streatham
about ten o'clock that night in a fever of alarm. Was she dead
or alive? Where were all my nightly dreams of the open armsthe
smiling facethe words of praise for her man who had risked his
life to humor her whim? Already I was down from the high peaks
and standing flat-footed upon earth. Yet some good reasons given
might still lift me to the clouds once more. I rushed down the
garden pathhammered at the doorheard the voice of Gladys
withinpushed past the staring maidand strode into the
sitting-room. She was seated in a low settee under the shaded
standard lamp by the piano. In three steps I was across the room
and had both her hands in mine.

Gladys!I criedGladys!

She looked up with amazement in her face. She was altered in some
subtle way. The expression of her eyesthe hard upward stare
the set of the lipswas new to me. She drew back her hands.

What do you mean?she said.

Gladys!I cried. "What is the matter? You are my Gladysare
you not--little Gladys Hungerton?"

No,said sheI am Gladys Potts. Let me introduce you to
my husband.

How absurd life is! I found myself mechanically bowing and
shaking hands with a little ginger-haired man who was coiled up
in the deep arm-chair which had once been sacred to my own use.
We bobbed and grinned in front of each other.

Father lets us stay here. We are getting our house ready,
said Gladys.

Oh, yes,said I.

You didn't get my letter at Para, then?

No, I got no letter.

Oh, what a pity! It would have made all clear.

It is quite clear,said I.

I've told William all about you,said she. "We have no secrets.
I am so sorry about it. But it couldn't have been so very deep
could itif you could go off to the other end of the world and
leave me here alone. You're not crabbyare you?"

No, no, not at all. I think I'll go.

Have some refreshment,said the little manand he addedin a
confidential wayIt's always like this, ain't it? And must be
unless you had polygamy, only the other way round; you understand.
He laughed like an idiotwhile I made for the door.

I was through itwhen a sudden fantastic impulse came upon me
and I went back to my successful rivalwho looked nervously at
the electric push.

Will you answer a question?I asked.

Well, within reason,said he.

How did you do it? Have you searched for hidden treasure, or
discovered a pole, or done time on a pirate, or flown the
Channel, or what? Where is the glamour of romance? How did you
get it?

He stared at me with a hopeless expression upon his vacuous
good-naturedscrubby little face.

Don't you think all this is a little too personal?he said.

Well, just one question,I cried. "What are you? What is
your profession?"

I am a solicitor's clerk,said he. "Second man at Johnson and
Merivale's41 Chancery Lane."

Good-night!said Iand vanishedlike all disconsolate and
broken-hearted heroesinto the darknesswith grief and rage
and laughter all simmering within me like a boiling pot.

One more little sceneand I have done. Last night we all supped
at Lord John Roxton's roomsand sitting together afterwards we
smoked in good comradeship and talked our adventures over. It was
strange under these altered surroundings to see the oldwell-known
faces and figures. There was Challengerwith his smile of
condescensionhis drooping eyelidshis intolerant eyeshis
aggressive beardhis huge chestswelling and puffing as he laid
down the law to Summerlee. And Summerleetoothere he was with
his short briar between his thin moustache and his gray goat'sbeard
his worn face protruded in eager debate as he queried all
Challenger's propositions. Finallythere was our hostwith his
ruggedeagle faceand his coldblueglacier eyes with always
a shimmer of devilment and of humor down in the depths of them.
Such is the last picture of them that I have carried away.

It was after supperin his own sanctum--the room of the pink
radiance and the innumerable trophies--that Lord John Roxton had
something to say to us. From a cupboard he had brought an old
cigar-boxand this he laid before him on the table.

There's one thing,said hethat maybe I should have spoken
about before this, but I wanted to know a little more clearly

where I was. No use to raise hopes and let them down again.
But it's facts, not hopes, with us now. You may remember that day
we found the pterodactyl rookery in the swamp--what? Well, somethin'
in the lie of the land took my notice. Perhaps it has escaped you,
so I will tell you. It was a volcanic vent full of blue clay.
The Professors nodded.

Well, now, in the whole world I've only had to do with one place
that was a volcanic vent of blue clay. That was the great De
Beers Diamond Mine of Kimberley--what? So you see I got diamonds
into my head. I rigged up a contraption to hold off those
stinking beasts, and I spent a happy day there with a spud.
This is what I got.

He opened his cigar-boxand tilting it over he poured about
twenty or thirty rough stonesvarying from the size of beans to
that of chestnutson the table.

Perhaps you think I should have told you then. Well, so I
should, only I know there are a lot of traps for the unwary, and
that stones may be of any size and yet of little value where
color and consistency are clean off. Therefore, I brought them
back, and on the first day at home I took one round to Spink's,
and asked him to have it roughly cut and valued.

He took a pill-box from his pocketand spilled out of it a
beautiful glittering diamondone of the finest stones that I
have ever seen.

There's the result,said he. "He prices the lot at a minimum
of two hundred thousand pounds. Of course it is fair shares
between us. I won't hear of anythin' else. WellChallenger
what will you do with your fifty thousand?"

If you really persist in your generous view,said the
ProfessorI should found a private museum, which has long been
one of my dreams.

And you, Summerlee?

I would retire from teaching, and so find time for my final
classification of the chalk fossils.

I'll use my own,said Lord John Roxtonin fitting a
well-formed expedition and having another look at the dear
old plateau. As to you, young fellah, you, of course, will
spend yours in gettin' married.

Not just yet,said Iwith a rueful smile. "I thinkif you
will have methat I would rather go with you."

Lord Roxton said nothingbut a brown hand was stretched out to
me across the table.