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THE LOST CONTINENT
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since earliest childhood I have been strangely fascinated by
the mystery surrounding the history of the last days of
twentieth century Europe. My interest is keenestperhaps
not so much in relation to known facts as to speculation
upon the unknowable of the two centuries that have rolled by
since human intercourse between the Western and Eastern
Hemispheres ceased--the mystery of Europe's state following
the termination of the Great War--providedof coursethat
the war had been terminated.
From out of the meagerness of our censored histories we
learned that for fifteen years after the cessation of
diplomatic relations between the United States of North
America and the belligerent nations of the Old Worldnews
of more or less doubtful authenticity filteredfrom time to
timeinto the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern.
Then came the fruition of that historic propaganda which is
best described by its own slogan: "The East for the East-the
West for the West and all further intercourse was
stopped by statute.
Even prior to this, transoceanic commerce had practically
ceased, owing to the perils and hazards of the mine-strewn
waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Just when
submarine activities ended we do not know but the last
vessel of this type sighted by a Pan-American merchantman
was the huge Q 138, which discharged twenty-nine torpedoes
at a Brazilian tank steamer off the Bermudas in the fall of
1972. A heavy sea and the excellent seamanship of the
master of the Brazilian permitted the Pan-American to escape
and report this last of a long series of outrages upon our
commerce. God alone knows how many hundreds of our ancient
ships fell prey to the roving steel sharks of blood-frenzied
Europe. Countless were the vessels and men that passed over
our eastern and western horizons never to return; but
whether they met their fates before the belching tubes of
submarines or among the aimlessly drifting mine fields, no
man lived to tell.
And then came the great Pan-American Federation which linked
the Western Hemisphere from pole to pole under a single
flag, which joined the navies of the New World into the
mightiest fighting force that ever sailed the seven seas-the
greatest argument for peace the world had ever known.
Since that day peace had reigned from the western shores of
the Azores to the western shores of the Hawaiian Islands,
nor has any man of either hemisphere dared cross 30dW. or
175dW. From 30d to 175d is ours--from 30d to 175d is
peace, prosperity and happiness.
Beyond was the great unknown. Even the geographies of my
boyhood showed nothing beyond. We were taught of nothing
beyond. Speculation was discouraged. For two hundred years
the Eastern Hemisphere had been wiped from the maps and
histories of Pan-America. Its mention in fiction, even, was
Our ships of peace patrol thirty and one hundred seventyfive.
What ships from beyond they have warned only the
secret archives of government show; but, a naval officer
myself, I have gathered from the traditions of the service
that it has been fully two hundred years since smoke or sail
has been sighted east of 30d or west of 175d. The fate of
the relinquished provinces which lay beyond the dead lines
we could only speculate upon. That they were taken by the
military power, which rose so suddenly in China after the
fall of the republic, and which wrested Manchuria and Korea
from Russia and Japan, and also absorbed the Philippines, is
quite within the range of possibility.
It was the commander of a Chinese man-of-war who received a
copy of the edict of 1972 from the hand of my illustrious
ancestor, Admiral Turck, on one hundred seventy-five, two
hundred and six years ago, and from the yellowed pages of
the admiral's diary I learned that the fate of the
Philippines was even then presaged by these Chinese naval
Yes, for over two hundred years no man crossed 30d to 175d
and lived to tell his story--not until chance drew me across
and back again, and public opinion, revolting at last
against the drastic regulations of our long-dead forbears,
demanded that my story be given to the world, and that the
narrow interdict which commanded peace, prosperity, and
happiness to halt at 30d and 175d be removed forever.
I am glad that it was given to me to be an instrument in the
hands of Providence for the uplifting of benighted Europe,
and the amelioration of the suffering, degradation, and
abysmal ignorance in which I found her.
I shall not live to see the complete regeneration of the
savage hordes of the Eastern Hemisphere--that is a work
which will require many generations, perhaps ages, so
complete has been their reversion to savagery; but I know
that the work has been started, and I am proud of the share
in it which my generous countrymen have placed in my hands.
The government already possesses a complete official report
of my adventures beyond thirty. In the narrative I purpose
telling my story in a less formal, and I hope, a more
entertaining, style; though, being only a naval officer and
without claim to the slightest literary ability, I shall
most certainly fall far short of the possibilities which are
inherent in my subject. That I have passed through the most
wondrous adventures that have befallen a civilized man
during the past two centuries encourages me in the belief
that, however ill the telling, the facts themselves will
command your interest to the final page.
Beyond thirty! Romance, adventure, strange peoples,
fearsome beasts--all the excitement and scurry of the lives
of the twentieth century ancients that have been denied us
in these dull days of peace and prosaic prosperity--all, all
lay beyond thirty, the invisible barrier between the stupid,
commercial present and the carefree, barbarous past.
What boy has not sighed for the good old days of wars,
revolutions, and riots; how I used to pore over the
chronicles of those old days, those dear old days, when
workmen went armed to their labors; when they fell upon one
another with gun and bomb and dagger, and the streets ran
red with blood! Ah, but those were the times when life was
worth the living; when a man who went out by night knew not
at which dark corner a footpad" might leap upon and slay
him; when wild beasts roamed the forest and the junglesand
there were savage menand countries yet unexplored.
Nowin all the Western Hemisphere dwells no man who may not
find a school house within walking distance of his homeor
at least within flying distance.
The wildest beast that roams our waste places lairs in the
frozen north or the frozen south within a government
reservewhere the curious may view him and feed him bread
crusts from the hand with perfect impunity.
But beyond thirty! And I have gone thereand come back;
and now you may go therefor no longer is it high treason
punishable by disgrace or deathto cross 30d or 175d.
My name is Jefferson Turck. I am a lieutenant in the navy-in
the great Pan-American navythe only navy which now
exists in all the world.
I was born in Arizonain the United States of North
Americain the year of our Lord 2116. ThereforeI am
twenty-one years old.
In early boyhood I tired of the teeming cities and
overcrowded rural districts of Arizona. Every generation of
Turcks for over two centuries has been represented in the
navy. The navy called to meas did the freewide
unpeopled spaces of the mighty oceans. And so I joined the
navycoming up from the ranksas we all mustlearning our
craft as we advance. My promotion was rapidfor my family
seems to inherit naval lore. We are born officersand I
reserve to myself no special credit for an early advancement
in the service.
At twenty I found myself a lieutenant in command of the
aero-submarine Coldwaterof the SS-96 class. The Coldwater
was one of the first of the air and underwater craft which
have been so greatly improved since its launchingand was
possessed of innumerable weaknesses whichfortunatelyhave
been eliminated in more recent vessels of similar type.
Even when I took commandshe was fit only for the junk
pile; but the world-old parsimony of government retained her
in active serviceand sent two hundred men to sea in her
with myselfa mere boyin command of herto patrol thirty
from Iceland to the Azores.
Much of my service had been spent aboard the great
merchantmen-of-war. These are the utility naval vessels
that have transformed the navies of oldwhich burdened the
peoples with taxes for their supportinto the present day
fleets of self-supporting ships that find ample time for
target practice and gun drill while they bear freight and
the mails from the continents to the far-scattered island of
This change in service was most welcome to meespecially as
it brought with it coveted responsibilities of sole command
and I was prone to overlook the deficiencies of the
Coldwater in the natural pride I felt in my first ship.
The Coldwater was fully equipped for two months' patrolling-the
ordinary length of assignment to this service--and a
month had already passedits monotony entirely unrelieved
by sight of another craftwhen the first of our misfortunes
We had been riding out a storm at an altitude of about three
thousand feet. All night we had hovered above the tossing
billows of the moonlight clouds. The detonation of the
thunder and the glare of lightning through an occasional
rift in the vaporous wall proclaimed the continued fury of
the tempest upon the surface of the sea; but wefar above
it allrode in comparative ease upon the upper gale. With
the coming of dawn the clouds beneath us became a glorious
sea of gold and silversoft and beautiful; but they could
not deceive us as to the blackness and the terrors of the
storm-lashed ocean which they hid.
I was at breakfast when my chief engineer entered and
saluted. His face was graveand I thought he was even a
trifle paler than usual.
He drew the back of his forefinger nervously across his brow
in a gesture that was habitual with him in moments of mental
The gravitation-screen generators, sir,he said. "Number
one went to the bad about an hour and a half ago. We have
been working upon it steadily since; but I have to report
sirthat it is beyond repair."
Number two will keep us supplied,I answered. "In the
meantime we will send a wireless for relief."
But that is the trouble, sir,he went on. "Number two has
stopped. I knew it would comesir. I made a report on
these generators three years ago. I advised then that they
both be scrapped. Their principle is entirely wrong.
They're done for." Andwith a grim smileI shall at
least have the satisfaction of knowing my report was
Have we sufficient reserve screen to permit us to make
land, or, at least, meet our relief halfway?I asked.
No, sir,he replied gravely; "we are sinking now."
Have you anything further to report?I asked.
No, sir,he said.
Very good,I replied; andas I dismissed himI rang for
my wireless operator. When he appearedI gave him a
message to the secretary of the navyto whom all vessels in
service on thirty and one hundred seventy-five report
direct. I explained our predicamentand stated that with
what screening force remained I should continue in the air
making as rapid headway toward St. Johns as possibleand
that when we were forced to take to the water I should
continue in the same direction.
The accident occurred directly over 30d and about 52d N.
The surface wind was blowing a tempest from the west. To
attempt to ride out such a storm upon the surface seemed
suicidalfor the Coldwater was not designed for surface
navigation except under fair weather conditions. Submerged
or in the airshe was tractable enough in any sort of
weather when under control; but without her screen
generators she was almost helplesssince she could not fly
andif submergedcould not rise to the surface.
All these defects have been remedied in later models; but
the knowledge did not help us any that day aboard the slowly
settling Coldwaterwith an angry sea roaring beneatha
tempest raging out of the westand 30d only a few knots
To cross thirty or one hundred seventy-five has beenas you
knowthe direst calamity that could befall a naval
commander. Court-martial and degradation follow swiftly
unless as is often the casethe unfortunate man takes his
own life before this unjust and heartless regulation can
hold him up to public scorn.
There has been in the past no excuseno circumstancethat
could palliate the offense.
He was in command, and he took his ship across thirty!
That was sufficient. It might not have been in any way his
faultasin the case of the Coldwaterit could not
possibly have been justly charged to my account that the
gravitation-screen generators were worthless; but well I
knew that should chance have it that we were blown across
thirty today--as we might easily be before the terrific west
wind that we could hear howling below usthe responsibility
would fall upon my shoulders.
In a waythe regulation was a good onefor it certainly
accomplished that for which it was intended. We all fought
shy of 30d on the east and 175d on the westandthough we
had to skirt them pretty closenothing but an act of God
ever drew one of us across. You all are familiar with the
naval tradition that a good officer could sense proximity to
either lineand for my partI am firmly convinced of the
truth of this as I am that the compass finds the north
without recourse to tedious processes of reasoning.
Old Admiral Sanchez was wont to maintain that he could smell
thirtyand the men of the first ship in which I sailed
claimed that Coburnthe navigating officerknew by name
every wave along thirty from 60dN. to 60dS. HoweverI'd
hate to vouch for this.
Wellto get back to my narrative; we kept on dropping
slowly toward the surface the while we bucked the west wind
clawing away from thirty as fast as we could. I was on the
bridgeand as we dropped from the brilliant sunlight into
the dense vapor of clouds and on down through them to the
wilddark storm strata beneathit seemed that my spirits
dropped with the falling shipand the buoyancy of hope ran
low in sympathy.
The waves were running to tremendous heightsand the
Coldwater was not designed to meet such waves head on. Her
elements were the blue etherfar above the raging stormor
the greater depths of oceanwhich no storm could ruffle.
As I stood speculating upon our chances once we settled into
the frightful Maelstrom beneath us and at the same time
mentally computing the hours which must elapse before aid
could reach usthe wireless operator clambered up the
ladder to the bridgeanddisheveled and breathlessstood
before me at salute. It needed but a glance at him to
assure me that something was amiss.
What now?I asked.
The wireless, sir!he cried. "My GodsirI cannot
But the emergency outfit?I asked.
I have tried everything, sir. I have exhausted every
resource. We cannot send,and he drew himself up and
I dismissed him with a few kind wordsfor I knew that it
was through no fault of his that the mechanism was
antiquated and worthlessin common with the balance of the
Coldwater's equipment. There was no finer operator in Pan-
America than he.
The failure of the wireless did not appear as momentous to
me as to himwhich is not unnaturalsince it is but human
to feel that when our own little cog slipsthe entire
universe must necessarily be put out of gear. I knew that
if this storm were destined to blow us across thirtyor
send us to the bottom of the oceanno help could reach us
in time to prevent it. I had ordered the message sent
solely because regulations required itand not with any
particular hope that we could benefit by it in our present
I had little time to dwell upon the coincidence of the
simultaneous failure of the wireless and the buoyancy
generatorssince very shortly after the Coldwater had
dropped so low over the waters that all my attention was
necessarily centered upon the delicate business of settling
upon the waves without breaking my ship's back. With our
buoyancy generators in commission it would have been a
simple thing to enter the watersince then it would have
been but a trifling matter of a forty-five degree dive into
the base of a huge wave. We should have cut into the water
like a hot knife through butterand have been totally
submerged with scarce a jar--I have done it a thousand
times--but I did not dare submerge the Coldwater for fear
that it would remain submerged to the end of time--a
condition far from conducive to the longevity of commander
Most of my officers were older men than I. John Alvarezmy
first officeris twenty years my senior. He stood at my
side on the bridge as the ship glided closer and closer to
those stupendous waves. He watched my every movebut he
was by far too fine an officer and gentleman to embarrass me
by either comment or suggestion.
When I saw that we soon would touchI ordered the ship
brought around broadside to the windand there we hovered a
moment until a huge wave reached up and seized us upon its
crestand then I gave the order that suddenly reversed the
screening forceand let us into the ocean. Down into the
trough we wentwallowing like the carcass of a dead whale
and then began the fightwith rudder and propellersto
force the Coldwater back into the teeth of the gale and
drive her on and onfarther and farther from relentless
I think that we should have succeededeven though the ship
was wracked from stem to stern by the terrific buffetings
she receivedand though she were half submerged the greater
part of the timehad no further accident befallen us.
We were making headwaythough slowlyand it began to look
as though we were going to pull through. Alvarez never left
my sidethough I all but ordered him below for much-needed
rest. My second officerPorfirio Johnsonwas also often
on the bridge. He was a good officerbut a man for whom I
had conceived a rather unreasoning aversion almost at the
first moment of meeting himan aversion which was not
lessened by the knowledge which I subsequently gained that
he looked upon my rapid promotion with jealousy. He was ten
years my senior both in years and serviceand I rather
think he could never forget the fact that he had been an
officer when I was a green apprentice.
As it became more and more apparent that the Coldwater
under my seamanshipwas weathering the tempest and giving
promise of pulling through safelyI could have sworn that I
perceived a shade of annoyance and disappointment growing
upon his dark countenance. He left the bridge finally and
went below. I do not know that he is directly responsible
for what followed so shortly after; but I have always had my
suspicionsand Alvarez is even more prone to place the
blame upon him than I.
It was about six bells of the forenoon watch that Johnson
returned to the bridge after an absence of some thirty
minutes. He seemed nervous and ill at ease--a fact which
made little impression on me at the timebut which both
Alvarez and I recalled subsequently.
Not three minutes after his reappearance at my side the
Coldwater suddenly commenced to lose headway. I seized the
telephone at my elbowpressing upon the button which would
call the chief engineer to the instrument in the bowels of
the shiponly to find him already at the receiver
attempting to reach me.
Numbers one, two, and five engines have broken down, sir,
he called. "Shall we force the remaining three?"
We can do nothing else,I bellowed into the transmitter.
They won't stand the gaff, sir,he returned.
Can you suggest a better plan?I asked.
No, sir,he replied.
Then give them the gaff, lieutenant,I shouted backand
hung up the receiver.
For twenty minutes the Coldwater bucked the great seas with
her three engines. I doubt if she advanced a foot; but it
was enough to keep her nose in the windandat leastwe
were not drifting toward thirty.
Johnson and Alvarez were at my side whenwithout warning
the bow swung swiftly around and the ship fell into the
trough of the sea.
The other three have gone,I saidand I happened to be
looking at Johnson as I spoke. Was it the shadow of a
satisfied smile that crossed his thin lips? I do not know;
but at least he did not weep.
You always have been curious, sir, about the great unknown
beyond thirty,he said. "You are in a good way to have
your curiosity satisfied." And then I could not mistake the
slight sneer that curved his upper lip. There must have
been a trace of disrespect in his tone or manner which
escaped mefor Alvarez turned upon him like a flash.
When Lieutenant Turck crosses thirty,he saidwe shall
all cross with him, and God help the officer or the man who
I shall not be a party to high treason,snapped Johnson.
The regulations are explicit, and if the Coldwater crosses
thirty it devolves upon you to place Lieutenant Turck under
arrest and immediately exert every endeavor to bring the
ship back into Pan-American waters.
I shall not know,replied Alvarezthat the Coldwater
passes thirty; nor shall any other man aboard know it,and
with his wordshe drew a revolver from his pocketand
before either I or Johnson could prevent it had put a bullet
into every instrument upon the bridgeruining them beyond
And then he saluted meand strode from the bridgea martyr
to loyalty and friendshipforthough no man might know
that Lieutenant Jefferson Turck had taken his ship across
thirtyevery man aboard would know that the first officer
had committed a crime that was punishable by both
degradation and death. Johnson turned and eyed me narrowly.
Shall I place him under arrest?he asked.
You shall not,I replied. "Nor shall anyone else."
You become a party to his crime!he cried angrily.
You may go below, Mr. Johnson,I saidand attend to the
work of unpacking the extra instruments and having them
properly set upon the bridge.
He salutedand left meand for some time I stoodgazing
out upon the angry watersmy mind filled with unhappy
reflections upon the unjust fate that had overtaken meand
the sorrow and disgrace that I had unwittingly brought down
upon my house.
I rejoiced that I should leave neither wife nor child to
bear the burden of my shame throughout their lives.
As I thought upon my misfortuneI considered more clearly
than ever before the unrighteousness of the regulation which
was to prove my doomand in the natural revolt against its
injustice my anger roseand there mounted within me a
feeling which I imagine must have paralleled that spirit
that once was prevalent among the ancients called anarchy.
For the first time in my life I found my sentiments arraying
themselves against customtraditionand even government.
The wave of rebellion swept over me in an instantbeginning
with an heretical doubt as to the sanctity of the
established order of things--that fetish which has ruled
Pan-Americans for two centuriesand which is based upon a
blind faith in the infallibility of the prescience of the
long-dead framers of the articles of Pan-American
federation--and ending in an adamantine determination to
defend my honor and my life to the last ditch against the
blind and senseless regulation which assumed the synonymity
of misfortune and treason.
I would replace the destroyed instruments upon the bridge;
every officer and man should know when we crossed thirty.
But then I should assert the spirit which dominated meI
should resist arrestand insist upon bringing my ship back
across the dead lineremaining at my post until we had
reached New York. Then I should make a full reportand
with it a demand upon public opinion that the dead lines be
wiped forever from the seas.
I knew that I was right. I knew that no more loyal officer
wore the uniform of the navy. I knew that I was a good
officer and sailorand I didn't propose submitting to
degradation and discharge because a lot of oldpreglacial
fossils had declared over two hundred years before that no
man should cross thirty.
Even while these thoughts were passing through my mind I was
busy with the details of my duties. I had seen to it that a
sea anchor was riggedand even now the men had completed
their taskand the Coldwater was swinging around rapidly
her nose pointing once more into the windand the frightful
rolling consequent upon her wallowing in the trough was
It was then that Johnson came hurrying to the bridge. One
of his eyes was swollen and already darkeningand his lip
was cut and bleeding. Without even the formality of a
salutehe burst upon mewhite with fury.
Lieutenant Alvarez attacked me!he cried. "I demand that
he be placed under arrest. I found him in the act of
destroying the reserve instrumentsand when I would have
interfered to protect them he fell upon me and beat me.
demand that you arrest him!"
You forget yourself, Mr. Johnson,I said. "You are not in
command of the ship. I deplore the action of Lieutenant
Alvarezbut I cannot expunge from my mind the loyalty and
self-sacrificing friendship which has prompted him to his
acts. Were I yousirI should profit by the example he
has set. FurtherMr. JohnsonI intend retaining command
of the shipeven though she crosses thirtyand I shall
demand implicit obedience from every officer and man aboard
until I am properly relieved from duty by a superior officer
in the port of New York."
You mean to say that you will cross thirty without
submitting to arrest?he almost shouted.
I do, sir,I replied. "And now you may go belowand
when again you find it necessary to address meyou will
please be so good as to bear in mind the fact that I am your
commanding officerand as such entitled to a salute."
He flushedhesitated a momentand thensalutingturned
upon his heel and left the bridge. Shortly afterAlvarez
appeared. He was paleand seemed to have aged ten years in
the few brief minutes since I last had seen him. Saluting
he told me very simply what he had doneand asked that I
place him under arrest.
I put my hand on his shoulderand I guess that my voice
trembled a trifle aswhile reproving him for his actI
made it plain to him that my gratitude was no less potent a
force than his loyalty to me. Then it was that I outlined
to him my purpose to defy the regulation that had raised the
dead linesand to take my ship back to New York myself.
I did not ask him to share the responsibility with me. I
merely stated that I should refuse to submit to arrestand
that I should demand of him and every other officer and man
implicit obedience to my every command until we docked at
His face brightened at my wordsand he assured me that I
would find him as ready to acknowledge my command upon the
wrong side of thirty as upon the rightan assurance which I
hastened to tell him I did not need.
The storm continued to rage for three daysand as far as
the wind scarce varied a point during all that timeI knew
that we must be far beyond thirtydrifting rapidly east by
south. All this time it had been impossible to work upon
the damaged engines or the gravity-screen generators; but we
had a full set of instruments upon the bridgefor Alvarez
after discovering my intentionshad fetched the reserve
instruments from his own cabinwhere he had hidden them.
Those which Johnson had seen him destroy had been a third
set which only Alvarez had known was aboard the Coldwater.
We waited impatiently for the sunthat we might determine
our exact locationand upon the fourth day our vigil was
rewarded a few minutes before noon.
Every officer and man aboard was tense with nervous
excitement as we awaited the result of the reading. The
crew had known almost as soon as I that we were doomed to
cross thirtyand I am inclined to believe that every man
jack of them was tickled to deathfor the spirits of
adventure and romance still live in the hearts of men of the
twenty-second centuryeven though there be little for them
to feed upon between thirty and one hundred seventy-five.
The men carried none of the burdens of responsibility. They
might cross thirty with impunityand doubtless they would
return to be heroes at home; but how different the homecoming
of their commanding officer!
The wind had dropped to a steady blowstill from west by
northand the sea had gone down correspondingly. The crew
with the exception of those whose duties kept them below
were ranged on deck below the bridge. When our position was
definitely fixed I personally announced it to the eager
Men,I saidstepping forward to the handrail and looking
down into their upturnedbronzed facesyou are anxiously
awaiting information as to the ship's position. It has been
determined at latitude fifty degrees seven minutes north,
longitude twenty degrees sixteen minutes west.
I paused and a buzz of animated comment ran through the
massed men beneath me. "Beyond thirty. But there will be
no change in commanding officersin routine or in
disciplineuntil after we have docked again in New York."
As I ceased speaking and stepped back from the rail there
was a roar of applause from the deck such as I never before
had heard aboard a ship of peace. It recalled to my mind
tales that I had read of the good old days when naval
vessels were built to fightwhen ships of peace had been
man-of-warand guns had flashed in other than futile target
practiceand decks had run red with blood.
With the subsistence of the seawe were able to go to work
upon the damaged engines to some effectand I also set men
to examining the gravitation-screen generators with a view
to putting them in working order should it prove not beyond
For two weeks we labored at the engineswhich indisputably
showed evidence of having been tampered with. I appointed a
board to investigate and report upon the disaster. But it
accomplished nothing other than to convince me that there
were several officers upon it who were in full sympathy with
Johnsonforthough no charges had been preferred against
himthe board went out of its way specifically to exonerate
him in its findings.
All this time we were drifting almost due east. The work
upon the engines had progressed to such an extent that
within a few hours we might expect to be able to proceed
under our own power westward in the direction of Pan-
To relieve the monotony I had taken to fishingand early
that morning I had departed from the Coldwater in one of the
boats on such an excursion. A gentle west wind was blowing.
The sea shimmered in the sunlight. A cloudless sky canopied
the west for our sportas I had made it a point never
voluntarily to make an inch toward the east that I could
avoid. At leastthey should not be able to charge me with
a willful violation of the dead lines regulation.
I had with me only the boat's ordinary complement of men-three
in alland more than enough to handle any small power
boat. I had not asked any of my officers to accompany me
as I wished to be aloneand very glad am I now that I had
not. My only regret is thatin view of what befell usit
had been necessary to bring the three brave fellows who
manned the boat.
Our fishingwhich proved excellentcarried us so far to
the west that we no longer could see the Coldwater. The day
wore onuntil at lastabout mid-afternoonI gave the
order to return to the ship.
We had proceeded but a short distance toward the east when
one of the men gave an exclamation of excitementat the
same time pointing eastward. We all looked on in the
direction he had indicatedand therea short distance
above the horizonwe saw the outlines of the Coldwater
silhouetted against the sky.
They've repaired the engines and the generators both,
exclaimed one of the men.
It seemed impossiblebut yet it had evidently been done.
Only that morningLieutenant Johnson had told me that he
feared that it would be impossible to repair the generators.
I had put him in charge of this worksince he always had
been accounted one of the best gravitation-screen men in
the navy. He had invented several of the improvements that
are incorporated in the later models of these generators
and I am convinced that he knows more concerning both the
theory and the practice of screening gravitation than any
At the sight of the Coldwater once more under controlthe
three men burst into a glad cheer. Butfor some reason
which I could not then accountI was strangely overcome by
a premonition of personal misfortune. It was not that I now
anticipated an early return to Pan-America and a board of
inquiryfor I had rather looked forward to the fight that
must follow my return. Nothere was something else
something indefinable and vague that cast a strange gloom
upon me as I saw my ship rising farther above the water and
making straight in our direction.
I was not long in ascertaining a possible explanation of my
depressionforthough we were plainly visible from the
bridge of the aero-submarine and to the hundreds of men who
swarmed her deckthe ship passed directly above usnot
five hundred feet from the waterand sped directly
We all shoutedand I fired my pistol to attract their
attentionthough I knew full well that all who cared to had
observed usbut the ship moved steadily awaygrowing
smaller and smaller to our view until at last she passed
completely out of sight.
What could it mean? I had left Alvarez in command. He was
my most loyal subordinate. It was absolutely beyond the
pale of possibility that Alvarez should desert me. No
there was some other explanation. Something occurred to
place my second officerPorfirio Johnsonin command. I
was sure of it but why speculate? The futility of
conjecture was only too palpable. The Coldwater had
abandoned us in midocean. Doubtless none of us would
survive to know why.
The young man at the wheel of the power boat had turned her
nose about as it became evident that the ship intended
passing over usand now he still held her in futile pursuit
of the Coldwater.
Bring her about, Snider,I directedand hold her due
east. We can't catch the Coldwater, and we can't cross the
Atlantic in this. Our only hope lies in making the nearest
land, which, unless I am mistaken, is the Scilly Islands,
off the southwest coast of England. Ever heard of England,
There's a part of the United States of North America that
used to be known to the ancients as New England,he
replied. "Is that where you meansir?"
No, Snider,I replied. "The England I refer to was an
island off the continent of Europe. It was the seat of a
very powerful kingdom that flourished over two hundred years
ago. A part of the United States of North America and all
of the Federated States of Canada once belonged to this
Europe,breathed one of the menhis voice tense with
excitement. "My grandfather used to tell me stories of the
world beyond thirty. He had been a great studentand he
had read much from forbidden books."
In which I resemble your grandfather,I saidfor I, too,
have read more even than naval officers are supposed to
read, and, as you men know, we are permitted a greater
latitude in the study of geography and history than men of
Among the books and papers of Admiral Porter Turckwho
lived two hundred years agoand from whom I am descended
many volumes still existand are in my possessionwhich
deal with the history and geography of ancient Europe.
Usually I bring several of these books with me upon a
cruiseand this timeamong othersI have maps of Europe
and her surrounding waters. I was studying them as we came
away from the Coldwater this morningand luckily I have
them with me."
You are going to try to make Europe, sir?asked Taylor
the young man who had last spoken.
It is the nearest land,I replied. "I have always wanted
to explore the forgotten lands of the Eastern Hemisphere.
Here's our chance. To remain at sea is to perish. None of
us ever will see home again. Let us make the best of it
and enjoy while we do live that which is forbidden the
balance of our race--the adventure and the mystery which lie
Taylor and Delcarte seized the spirit of my mood but Snider
I thinkwas a trifle sceptical.
It is treason, sir,I repliedbut there is no law which
compels us to visit punishment upon ourselves. Could we
return to Pan-America, I should be the first to insist that
we face it. But we know that's not possible. Even if this
craft would carry us so far, we haven't enough water or food
for more than three days.
We are doomedSniderto die far from home and without
ever again looking upon the face of another fellow
countryman than those who sit here now in this boat. Isn't
that punishment sufficient for even the most exacting
Even Snider had to admit that it was.
Very well, then, let us live while we live, and enjoy to
the fullest whatever of adventure or pleasure each new day
brings, since any day may be our last, and we shall be dead
for a considerable while.
I could see that Snider was still fearfulbut Taylor and
Delcarte responded with a heartyAye, aye, sir!
They were of different mold. Both were sons of naval
officers. They represented the aristocracy of birthand
they dared to think for themselves.
Snider was in the minorityand so we continued toward the
east. Beyond thirtyand separated from my shipmy
authority ceased. I held leadershipif I was to hold it at
allby virtue of personal qualifications onlybut I did
not doubt my ability to remain the director of our destinies
in so far as they were amenable to human agencies. I have
always led. While my brain and brawn remain unimpaired I
shall continue always to lead. Following is an art which
Turcks do not easily learn.
It was not until the third day that we raised landdead
aheadwhich I tookfrom my mapto be the isles of Scilly.
But such a gale was blowing that I did not dare attempt to
landand so we passed to the north of themskirted Land's
Endand entered the English Channel.
I think that up to that moment I had never experienced such
a thrill as passed through me when I realized that I was
navigating these historic waters. The lifelong dreams that
I never had dared hope to see fulfilled were at last a
reality--but under what forlorn circumstances!
Never could I return to my native land. To the end of my
days I must remain in exile. Yet even these thoughts failed
to dampen my ardor.
My eyes scanned the waters. To the north I could see the
rockbound coast of Cornwall. Mine were the first American
eyes to rest upon it for more than two hundred years. In
vainI searched for some sign of ancient commerce thatif
history is to be believedmust have dotted the bosom of the
Channel with white sails and blackened the heavens with the
smoke of countless funnelsbut as far as eye could reach
the tossing waters of the Channel were empty and deserted.
Toward midnight the wind and sea abatedso that shortly
after dawn I determined to make inshore in an attempt to
effect a landingfor we were sadly in need of fresh water
According to my observationswe were just off Ram Headand
it was my intention to enter Plymouth Bay and visit
Plymouth. From my map it appeared that this city lay back
from the coast a short distanceand there was another city
given as Devonportwhich appeared to lie at the mouth of
the river Tamar.
HoweverI knew that it would make little difference which
city we enteredas the English people were famed of old for
their hospitality toward visiting mariners. As we
approached the mouth of the bay I looked for the fishing
craft which I expected to see emerging thus early in the day
for their labors. But even after we rounded Ram Head and
were well within the waters of the bay I saw no vessel.
Neither was there buoy nor light nor any other mark to show
larger ships the channeland I wondered much at this.
The coast was densely overgrownnor was any building or
sign of man apparent from the water. Up the bay and into
the River Tamar we motored through a solitude as unbroken as
that which rested upon the waters of the Channel. For all
we could seethere was no indication that man had ever set
his foot upon this silent coast.
I was nonplusedand thenfor the first timethere crept
over me an intuition of the truth.
Here was no sign of war. As far as this portion of the
Devon coast was concernedthat seemed to have been over for
many yearsbut neither were there any people. Yet I could
not find it within myself to believe that I should find no
inhabitants in England. Reasoning thusI discovered that
it was improbable that a state of war still existedand
that the people all had been drawn from this portion of
England to some otherwhere they might better defend
themselves against an invader.
But what of their ancient coast defenses? What was there
here in Plymouth Bay to prevent an enemy landing in force
and marching where they wished? Nothing. I could not
believe that any enlightened military nationsuch as the
ancient English are reputed to have beenwould have
voluntarily so deserted an exposed coast and an excellent
harbor to the mercies of an enemy.
I found myself becoming more and more deeply involved in
quandary. The puzzle which confronted me I could not
unravel. We had landedand I now stood upon the spot
whereaccording to my mapa large city should rear its
spires and chimneys. There was nothing but roughbroken
ground covered densely with weeds and bramblesand tall
Had a city ever stood thereno sign of it remained. The
roughness and unevenness of the ground suggested something
of a great mass of debris hidden by the accumulation of
centuries of undergrowth.
I drew the short cutlass with which both officers and men of
the navy areas you knowarmed out of courtesy to the
traditions and memories of the pastand with its point dug
into the loam about the roots of the vegetation growing at
The blade entered the soil for a matter of seven inches
when it struck upon something stonelike. Digging about the
obstacleI presently loosened itand when I had withdrawn
it from its sepulcher I found the thing to be an ancient
brick of claybaked in an oven.
Delcarte we had left in charge of the boat; but Snider and
Taylor were with meand following my exampleeach engaged
in the fascinating sport of prospecting for antiques. Each
of us uncovered a great number of these bricksuntil we
commenced to weary of the monotony of itwhen Snider
suddenly gave an exclamation of excitementandas I turned
to lookhe held up a human skull for my inspection.
I took it from him and examined it. Directly in the center
of the forehead was a small round hole. The gentleman had
evidently come to his end defending his country from an
Snider again held aloft another trophy of the search--a
metal spike and some tarnished and corroded metal ornaments.
They had lain close beside the skull.
With the point of his cutlass Snider scraped the dirt and
verdigris from the face of the larger ornament.
An inscription,he saidand handed the thing to me.
They were the spike and ornaments of an ancient German
helmet. Before long we had uncovered many other indications
that a great battle had been fought upon the ground where we
stood. But I was thenand still amat loss to account for
the presence of German soldiers upon the English coast so
far from Londonwhich history suggests would have been the
natural goal of an invader.
I can only account for it by assuming that either England
was temporarily conquered by the Teutonsor that an
invasion of so vast proportions was undertaken that German
troops were hurled upon the England coast in huge numbers
and that landings were necessarily effected at many places
simultaneously. Subsequent discoveries tend to strengthen
We dug about for a short time with our cutlasses until I
became convinced that a city had stood upon the spot at some
time in the pastand that beneath our feetcrumbled and
deadlay ancient Devonport.
I could not repress a sigh at the thought of the havoc war
had wrought in this part of Englandat least. Farther
eastnearer Londonwe should find things very different.
There would be the civilization that two centuries must have
wrought upon our English cousins as they had upon us. There
would be mighty citiescultivated fieldshappy people.
There we would be welcomed as long-lost brothers. There
would we find a great nation anxious to learn of the world
beyond their side of thirtyas I had been anxious to learn
of that which lay beyond our side of the dead line.
I turned back toward the boat.
Come, men!I said. "We will go up the river and fill our
casks with fresh watersearch for food and fueland then
tomorrow be in readiness to push on toward the east. I am
going to London."
The report of a gun blasted the silence of a dead Devonport
with startling abruptness.
It came from the direction of the launchand in an instant
we three were running for the boat as fast as our legs would
carry us. As we came in sight of it we saw Delcarte a
hundred yards inland from the launchleaning over something
which lay upon the ground. As we called to him he waved his
capand stoopinglifted a small deer for our inspection.
I was about to congratulate him on his trophy when we were
startled by a horridhalf-humanhalf-bestial scream a
little ahead and to the right of us. It seemed to come from
a clump of rank and tangled bush not far from where Delcarte
stood. It was a horridfearsome soundthe like of which
never had fallen upon my ears before.
We looked in the direction from which it came. The smile
had died from Delcarte's lips. Even at the distance we were
from him I saw his face go suddenly whiteand he quickly
threw his rifle to his shoulder. At the same moment the
thing that had given tongue to the cry moved from the
concealing brushwood far enough for ustooto see it.
Both Taylor and Snider gave little gasps of astonishment and
What is it, sir?asked the latter.
The creature stood about the height of a tall man's waist
and was long and gaunt and sinuouswith a tawny coat
striped with blackand with white throat and belly. In
conformation it was similar to a cat--a huge cat
exaggerated colossal catwith fiendish eyes and the most
devilish cast of countenanceas it wrinkled its bristling
snout and bared its great yellow fangs.
It was pacingor ratherslinkingstraight for Delcarte
who had now leveled his rifle upon it.
What is it, sir?mumbled Snider againand then a halfforgotten
picture from an old natural history sprang to my
mindand I recognized in the frightful beast the Felis
tigris of ancient Asiaspecimens of which hadin former
centuriesbeen exhibited in the Western Hemisphere.
Snider and Taylor were armed with rifles and revolvers
while I carried only a revolver. Seizing Snider's rifle
from his trembling handsI called to Taylor to follow me
and together we ran forwardshoutingto attract the
beast's attention from Delcarte until we should all be quite
close enough to attack with the greatest assurance of
I cried to Delcarte not to fire until we reached his side
for I was fearful lest our small calibersteel-jacketed
bullets shouldfar from killing the beasttend merely to
enrage it still further. But he misunderstood methinking
that I had ordered him to fire.
With the report of his rifle the tiger stopped short in
apparent surprisethen turned and bit savagely at its
shoulder for an instantafter which it wheeled again toward
Delcarteissuing the most terrific roars and screamsand
launched itselfwith incredible speedtoward the brave
fellowwho now stood his ground pumping bullets from his
automatic rifle as rapidly as the weapon would fire.
Taylor and I also opened up on the creatureand as it was
broadside to us it offered a splendid targetthough for all
the impression we appeared to make upon the great cat we
might as well have been launching soap bubbles at it.
Straight as a torpedo it rushed for Delcarteandas Taylor
and I stumbled on through the tall grass toward our
unfortunate comradewe saw the tiger rear upon him and
crush him to the earth.
Not a backward step had the noble Delcarte taken. Two
hundred years of peace had not sapped the red blood from his
courageous line. He went down beneath that avalanche of
bestial savagery still working his gun and with his face
toward his antagonist. Even in the instant that I thought
him dead I could not help but feel a thrill of pride that he
was one of my menone of my classa Pan-American gentleman
of birth. And that he had demonstrated one of the principal
contentions of the army-and-navy adherents--that military
training was necessary for the salvation of personal courage
in the Pan-American race which for generations had had to
face no dangers more grave than those incident to ordinary
life in a highly civilized communitysafeguarded by every
means at the disposal of a perfectly organized and allpowerful
government utilizing the best that advanced science
As we ran toward Delcarteboth Taylor and I were struck by
the fact that the beast upon him appeared not to be mauling
himbut lay quiet and motionless upon its preyand when we
were quite closeand the muzzles of our guns were at the
animal's headI saw the explanation of this sudden
cessation of hostilities--Felis tigris was dead.
One of our bulletsor one of the last that Delcarte fired
had penetrated the heartand the beast had died even as it
sprawled forward crushing Delcarte to the ground.
A moment laterwith our assistancethe man had scrambled
from beneath the carcass of his would-be slayerwithout a
scratch to indicate how close to death he had been.
Delcarte's buoyance was entirely unruffled. He came from
under the tiger with a broad grin on his handsome facenor
could I perceive that a muscle trembled or that his voice
showed the least indication of nervousness or excitement.
With the termination of the adventurewe began to speculate
upon the explanation of the presence of this savage brute at
large so great a distance from its native habitat. My
readings had taught me that it was practically unknown
outside of Asiaand thatso late as the twentieth century
at leastthere had been no savage beasts outside captivity
As we talkedSnider joined usand I returned his rifle to
him. Taylor and Delcarte picked up the slain deerand we
all started down toward the launchwalking slowly.
Delcarte wanted to fetch the tiger's skinbut I had to deny
him permissionsince we had no means to properly cure it.
Upon the beachwe skinned the deer and cut away as much
meat as we thought we could dispose ofand as we were again
embarking to continue up the river for fresh water and fuel
we were startled by a series of screams from the bushes a
short distance away.
Another Felis tigris,said Taylor.
Or a dozen of them,supplemented Delcarteandeven as he
spokethere leaped into sightone after anothereight of
the beastsfull grown--magnificent specimens.
At the sight of usthey came charging down like infuriated
demons. I saw that three rifles would be no match for them
and so I gave the word to put out from shorehoping that
the "tiger as the ancients called him, could not swim.
Sure enough, they all halted at the beach, pacing back and
forth, uttering fiendish cries, and glaring at us in the
most malevolent manner.
As we motored away, we presently heard the calls of similar
animals far inland. They seemed to be answering the cries
of their fellows at the water's edge, and from the wide
distribution and great volume of the sound we came to the
conclusion that enormous numbers of these beasts must roam
the adjacent country.
They have eaten up the inhabitants murmured Snider,
I imagine you are right I agreed, for their extreme
boldness and fearlessness in the presence of man would
suggest either that man is entirely unknown to themor that
they are extremely familiar with him as their natural and
most easily procured prey."
But where did they come from?asked Delcarte. "Could they
have traveled here from Asia?"
I shook my head. The thing was a puzzle to me. I knew that
it was practically beyond reason to imagine that tigers had
crossed the mountain ranges and rivers and all the great
continent of Europe to travel this far from their native
lairsand entirely impossible that they should have crossed
the English Channel at all. Yet here they wereand in
We continued up the Tamar several milesfilled our casks
and then landed to cook some of our deer steakand have the
first square meal that had fallen to our lot since the
Coldwater deserted us. But scarce had we built our fire and
prepared the meat for cooking than Sniderwhose eyes had
been constantly roving about the landscape from the moment
that we left the launchtouched me on the arm and pointed
to a clump of bushes which grew a couple of hundred yards
Half concealed behind their screening foliage I saw the
yellow and black of a big tigerandas I lookedthe beast
stalked majestically toward us. A moment laterhe was
followed by another and anotherand it is needless to state
that we beat a hasty retreat to the launch.
The country was apparently infested by these huge Carnivora
for after three other attempts to land and cook our food we
were forced to abandon the idea entirelyas each time we
were driven off by hunting tigers.
It was also equally impossible to obtain the necessary
ingredients for our chemical fuelandas we had very
little left aboardwe determined to step our folding mast
and proceed under sailhoarding our fuel supply for use in
I may say that it was with no regret that we bid adieu to
Tigerlandas we rechristened the ancient Devonand
beating out into the Channelturned the launch's nose
southeastto round Bolt Head and continue up the coast
toward the Strait of Dover and the North Sea.
I was determined to reach London as soon as possiblethat
we might obtain fresh clothingmeet with cultured people
and learn from the lips of Englishmen the secrets of the two
centuries since the East had been divorced from the West.
Our first stopping place was the Isle of Wight. We entered
the Solent about ten o'clock one morningand I must confess
that my heart sank as we came close to shore. No lighthouse
was visiblethough one was plainly indicated upon my map.
Upon neither shore was sign of human habitation. We skirted
the northern shore of the island in fruitless search for
manand then at last landed upon an eastern pointwhere
Newport should have stoodbut where only weeds and great
trees and tangled wild wood riotedand not a single manmade
thing was visible to the eye.
Before landingI had the men substitute soft bullets for
the steel-jacketed projectiles with which their belts and
magazines were filled. Thus equippedwe felt upon more
even terms with the tigersbut there was no sign of the
tigersand I decided that they must be confined to the
After eatingwe set out in search of fuelleaving Taylor
to guard the launch. For some reason I could not trust
Snider alone. I knew that he looked with disapproval upon
my plan to visit Englandand I did not know but what at his
first opportunityhe might desert ustaking the launch
with himand attempt to return to Pan-America.
That he would be fool enough to venture itI did not doubt.
We had gone inland for a mile or moreand were passing
through a park-like woodwhen we came suddenly upon the
first human beings we had seen since we sighted the English
There were a score of men in the party. Hairyhalf-naked
men they wereresting in the shade of a great tree. At the
first sight of us they sprang to their feet with wild yells
seizing long spears that had lain beside them as they
For a matter of fifty yards they ran from us as rapidly as
they couldand then they turned and surveyed us for a
moment. Evidently emboldened by the scarcity of our
numbersthey commenced to advance upon usbrandishing
their spears and shouting horribly.
They were short and muscular of buildwith long hair and
beards tangled and matted with filth. Their headshowever
were shapelyand their eyesthough fierce and warlike
Appreciation of these physical attributes came laterof
coursewhen I had better opportunity to study the men at
close range and under circumstances less fraught with danger
and excitement. At the moment I sawand with unmixed
wonderonly a score of wild savages charging down upon us
where I had expected to find a community of civilized and
Each of us was armed with riflerevolverand cutlassbut
as we stood shoulder to shoulder facing the wild men I was
loath to give the command to fire upon theminflicting
death or suffering upon strangers with whom we had no
quarreland so I attempted to restrain them for the moment
that we might parley with them.
To this end I raised my left hand above my head with the
palm toward them as the most natural gesture indicative of
peaceful intentions which occurred to me. At the same time
I called aloud to them that we were friendsthoughfrom
their appearancethere was nothing to indicate that they
might understand Pan-Americanor ancient Englishwhich are
of course practically identical.
At my gesture and words they ceased their shouting and came
to a halt a few paces from us. Thenin deep tonesone who
was in advance of the others and whom I took to be the chief
or leader of the party replied in a tongue which while
intelligible to uswas so distorted from the English
language from which it evidently had sprungthat it was
with difficulty that we interpreted it.
Who are you,he askedand from what country?
I told him that we were from Pan-Americabut he only shook
his head and asked where that was. He had never heard of
itor of the Atlantic Ocean which I told him separated his
country from mine.
It has been two hundred years,I told himsince a Pan
American visited England.
England?he asked. "What is England?"
Why this is a part of England!I exclaimed.
This is Grubitten,he assured me. "I know nothing about
Englandand I have lived here all my life."
It was not until long after that the derivation of Grubitten
occurred to me. Unquestionably it is a corruption of Great
Britaina name formerly given to the large island
comprising EnglandScotland and Wales. Subsequently we
heard it pronounced Grabrittin and Grubritten.
I then asked the fellow if he could direct us to Ryde or
Newport; but again he shook his headand said that he never
had heard of such countries. And when I asked him if there
were any cities in this country he did not know what I
meantnever having heard the word cities.
I explained my meaning as best I could by stating that by
city I referred to a place where many people lived together
Oh,he exclaimedyou mean a camp! Yes, there are two
great camps here, East Camp and West Camp. We are from East
The use of the word camp to describe a collection of
habitations naturally suggested war to meand my next
question was as to whether the war was overand who had
No,he replied to this question. "The war is not yet
over. But it soon will beand it will endas it always
doeswith the Westenders running away. Wethe Eastenders
are always victorious."
No,I saidseeing that he referred to the petty tribal
wars of his little islandI mean the Great War, the war
with Germany. Is it ended--and who was victorious?
He shook his head impatiently.
I never heard,he saidof any of these strange countries
of which you speak.
It seemed incredibleand yet it was true. These people
living at the very seat of the Great War knew nothing of it
though but two centuries had passed sinceto our knowledge
it had been running in the height of its titanic
frightfulness all about themand to us upon the far side of
the Atlantic still was a subject of keen interest.
Here was a lifelong inhabitant of the Isle of Wight who
never had heard of either Germany or England! I turned to
him quite suddenly with a new question.
What people live upon the mainland?I askedand pointed
in the direction of the Hants coast.
No one lives there,he replied.
Long ago, it is said, my people dwelt across the waters
upon that other land; but the wild beasts devoured them in
such numbers that finally they were driven here, paddling
across upon logs and driftwood, nor has any dared return
since, because of the frightful creatures which dwell in
that horrid country.
Do no other peoples ever come to your country in ships?I
He never heard the word ship beforeand did not know its
meaning. But he assured me that until we came he had
thought that there were no other peoples in the world other
than the Grubittenswho consist of the Eastenders and the
Westenders of the ancient Isle of Wight.
Assured that we were inclined to friendlinessour new
acquaintances led us to their villageoras they call it
camp. There we found a thousand peopleperhapsdwelling
in rude sheltersand living upon the fruits of the chase
and such sea food as is obtainable close to shorefor they
had no boatsnor any knowledge of such things.
Their weapons were most primitiveconsisting of rude spears
tipped with pieces of metal pounded roughly into shape.
They had no literatureno religionand recognized no law
other than the law of might. They produced fire by striking
a bit of flint and steel togetherbut for the most part
they ate their food raw. Marriage is unknown among them
and while they have the wordmotherthey did not know what
I meant by "father." The males fight for the favor of the
females. They practice infanticideand kill the aged and
The family consists of the mother and the childrenthe men
dwelling sometimes in one hut and sometimes in another.
Owing to their bloody duelsthey are always numerically
inferior to the womenso there is shelter for them all.
We spent several hours in the villagewhere we were objects
of the greatest curiosity. The inhabitants examined our
clothing and all our belongingsand asked innumerable
questions concerning the strange country from which we had
come and the manner of our coming.
I questioned many of them concerning past historical events
but they knew nothing beyond the narrow limits of their
island and the savageprimitive life they led there.
London they had never heard ofand they assured me that I
would find no human beings upon the mainland.
Much saddened by what I had seenI took my departure from
themand the three of us made our way back to the launch
accompanied by about five hundred menwomengirlsand
As we sailed awayafter procuring the necessary ingredients
of our chemical fuelthe Grubittens lined the shore in
silent wonder at the strange sight of our dainty craft
dancing over the sparkling watersand watched us until we
were lost to their sight.
It was during the morning of July 62137that we entered
the mouth of the Thames--to the best of my knowledge the
first Western keel to cut those historic waters for two
hundred and twenty-one years!
But where were the tugs and the lighters and the bargesthe
lightships and the buoysand all those countless attributes
which went to make up the myriad life of the ancient Thames?
Gone! All gone! Only silence and desolation reigned where
once the commerce of the world had centered.
I could not help but compare this once great water-way with
the waters about our New Yorkor Rioor San Diegoor
Valparaiso. They had become what they are today during the
two centuries of the profound peace which we of the navy
have been prone to deplore. And whatduring this same
periodhad shorn the waters of the Thames of their pristine
Militarist that I amI could find but a single word of
I bowed my head and turned my eyes downward from the lonely
and depressing sightand in a silence which none of us
seemed willing to breakwe proceeded up the deserted river.
We had reached a point whichfrom my mapI imagined must
have been about the former site of Erithwhen I discovered
a small band of antelope a short distance inland. As we
were now entirely out of meat once moreand as I had given
up all expectations of finding a city upon the site of
ancient LondonI determined to land and bag a couple of the
Assured that they would be timid and easily frightenedI
decided to stalk them alonetelling the men to wait at the
boat until I called to them to come and carry the carcasses
back to the shore.
Crawling carefully through the vegetationmaking use of
such trees and bushes as afforded shelterI came at last
almost within easy range of my quarrywhen the antlered
head of the buck went suddenly into the airand thenas
though in accordance with a prearranged signalthe whole
band moved slowly offfarther inland.
As their pace was leisurelyI determined to follow them
until I came again within rangeas I was sure that they
would stop and feed in a short time.
They must have led me a mile or more at least before they
again halted and commenced to browse upon the rank
luxuriant grasses. All the time that I had followed them I
had kept both eyes and ears alert for sign or sound that
would indicate the presence of Felis tigris; but so far not
the slightest indication of the beast had been apparent.
As I crept closer to the antelopesure this time of a good
shot at a large buckI suddenly saw something that caused
me to forget all about my prey in wonderment.
It was the figure of an immense grey-black creaturerearing
its colossal shoulders twelve or fourteen feet above the
ground. Never in my life had I seen such a beastnor did I
at first recognize itso different in appearance is the
live reality from the stuffedunnatural specimens preserved
to us in our museums.
But presently I guessed the identity of the mighty creature
as Elephas africanusoras the ancients commonly described
The antelopealthough in plain view of the huge beastpaid
not the slightest attention to itand I was so wrapped up
in watching the mighty pachyderm that I quite forgot to
shoot at the buck and presentlyand in quite a startling
mannerit became impossible to do so.
The elephant was browsing upon the young and tender shoots
of some low busheswaving his great ears and switching his
short tail. The antelopescarce twenty paces from him
continued their feedingwhen suddenlyfrom close beside
the latterthere came a most terrifying roarand I saw a
greattawny body shootfrom the concealing verdure beyond
the antelopefull upon the back of a small buck.
Instantly the scene changed from one of quiet and peace to
indescribable chaos. The startled and terrified buck
uttered cries of agony. His fellows broke and leaped off in
all directions. The elephant raised his trunkand
trumpeting loudlylumbered off through the woodcrushing
down small trees and trampling bushes in his mad flight.
Growling horriblya huge lion stood across the body of his
prey--such a creature as no Pan-American of the twentysecond
century had ever beheld until my eyes rested upon
this lordly specimen of "the king of beasts." But what a
different creature was this fierce-eyed demonpalpitating
with life and vigorglossy of coatalertgrowling
magnificentfrom the dingymoth-eaten replicas beneath
their glass cases in the stuffy halls of our public museums.
I had never hoped or expected to see a living liontiger
or elephant--using the common terms that were familiar to
the ancientssince they seem to me less unwieldy than those
now in general use among us--and so it was with sentiments
not unmixed with awe that I stood gazing at this regal beast
asabove the carcass of his killhe roared out his
challenge to the world.
So enthralled was I by the spectacle that I quite forgot
myselfand the better to view himthe great lionI had
risen to my feet and stoodnot fifty paces from himin
For a moment he did not see mehis attention being directed
toward the retreating elephantand I had ample time to
feast my eyes upon his splendid proportionshis great head
and his thick black mane.
Ahwhat thoughts passed through my mind in those brief
moments as I stood there in rapt fascination! I had come to
find a wondrous civilizationand instead I found a wildbeast
monarch of the realm where English kings had ruled. A
lion reignedundisturbedwithin a few miles of the seat of
one of the greatest governments the world has ever known
his domain a howling wildernesswhere yesterday fell the
shadows of the largest city in the world.
It was appalling; but my reflections upon this depressing
subject were doomed to sudden extinction. The lion had
For an instant he stood silent and motionless as one of the
mangy effigies at homebut only for an instant. Thenwith
a most ferocious roarand without the slightest hesitancy
or warninghe charged upon me.
He forsook the prey already dead beneath him for the
pleasures of the delectable tidbitman. From the
remorselessness with which the great Carnivora of modern
England hunted manI am constrained to believe that
whatever their appetites in times pastthey have cultivated
a gruesome taste for human flesh.
As I threw my rifle to my shoulderI thanked Godthe
ancient God of my ancestorsthat I had replaced the hardjacketed
bullets in my weapon with soft-nosed projectiles
for though this was my first experience with Felis leoI
knew the moment that I faced that charge that even my
wonderfully perfected firearm would be as futile as a
peashooter unless I chanced to place my first bullet in a
Unless you had seen it you could not believe credible the
speed of a charging lion. Apparently the animal is not
built for speednor can he maintain it for long. But for a
matter of forty or fifty yards there isI believeno
animal on earth that can overtake him.
Like a bolt he bore down upon mebutfortunately for meI
did not lose my head. I guessed that no bullet would kill
him instantly. I doubted that I could pierce his skull.
There was hopethoughin finding his heart through his
exposed chestorbetter yetof breaking his shoulder or
forelegand bringing him up long enough to pump more
bullets into him and finish him.
I covered his left shoulder and pulled the trigger as he was
almost upon me. It stopped him. With a terrific howl of
pain and ragethe brute rolled over and over upon the
ground almost to my feet. As he came I pumped two more
bullets into himand as he struggled to riseclawing
viciously at meI put a bullet in his spine.
That finished himand I am free to admit that I was mighty
glad of it. There was a great tree close behind meand
stepping within its shadeI leaned against itwiping the
perspiration from my facefor the day was hotand the
exertion and excitement left me exhausted.
I stood thererestingfor a momentpreparatory to turning
and retracing my steps to the launchwhenwithout warning
something whizzed through space straight toward me. There
was a dull thud of impact as it struck the treeand as I
dodged to one side and turned to look at the thing I saw a
heavy spear imbedded in the wood not three inches from where
my head had been.
The thing had come from a little to one side of meand
without waiting to investigate at the instantI leaped
behind the treeandcircling itpeered around the other
side to get a sight of my would-be murderer.
This time I was pitted against men--the spear told me that
all too plainly--but so long as they didn't take me unawares
or from behind I had little fear of them.
Cautiously I edged about the far side of the trees until I
could obtain a view of the spot from which the spear must
have comeand when I did I saw the head of a man just
emerging from behind a bush.
The fellow was quite similar in type to those I had seen
upon the Isle of Wight. He was hairy and unkemptand as he
finally stepped into view I saw that he was garbed in the
same primitive fashion.
He stood for a moment gazing about in search of meand then
he advanced. As he did so a number of othersprecisely
like himstepped from the concealing verdure of nearby
bushes and followed in his wake. Keeping the trees between
them and meI ran back a short distance until I found a
clump of underbrush that would effectually conceal mefor I
wished to discover the strength of the party and its
armament before attempting to parley with it.
The useless destruction of any of these poor creatures was
the farthest idea from my mind. I should have liked to have
spoken with thembut I did not care to risk having to use
my high-powered rifle upon them other than in the last
Once in my new place of concealmentI watched them as they
approached the tree. There were about thirty men in the
party and one woman--a girl whose hands seemed to be bound
behind her and who was being pulled along by two of the men.
They came forward warilypeering cautiously into every bush
and halting often. At the body of the lionthey paused
and I could see from their gesticulations and the higher
pitch of their voices that they were much excited over my
But presently they resumed their search for meand as they
advanced I became suddenly aware of the unnecessary
brutality with which the girl's guards were treating her.
She stumbled oncenot far from my place of concealmentand
after the balance of the party had passed me. As she did so
one of the men at her side jerked her roughly to her feet
and struck her across the mouth with his fist.
Instantly my blood boiledand forgetting every
consideration of cautionI leaped from my concealmentand
springing to the man's sidefelled him with a blow.
So unexpected had been my act that it found him and his
fellow unprepared; but instantly the latter drew the knife
that protruded from his belt and lunged viciously at meat
the same time giving voice to a wild cry of alarm.
The girl shrank back at sight of meher eyes wide in
astonishmentand then my antagonist was upon me. I parried
his first blow with my forearmat the same time delivering
a powerful blow to his jaw that sent him reeling back; but
he was at me again in an instantthough in the brief
interim I had time to draw my revolver.
I saw his companion crawling slowly to his feetand the
others of the party racing down upon me. There was no time
to argue nowother than with the weapons we woreand so
as the fellow lunged at me again with the wicked-looking
knifeI covered his heart and pulled the trigger.
Without a soundhe slipped to the earthand then I turned
the weapon upon the other guardwho was now about to attack
me. Hetoocollapsedand I was alone with the astonished
The balance of the party was some twenty paces from usbut
coming rapidly. I seized her arm and drew her after me
behind a nearby treefor I had seen that with both their
comrades down the others were preparing to launch their
With the girl safe behind the treeI stepped out in sight
of the advancing foeshouting to them that I was no enemy
and that they should halt and listen to me. But for answer
they only yelled in derision and launched a couple of spears
at meboth of which missed.
I saw then that I must fightyet still I hated to slay
themand it was only as a final resort that I dropped two
of them with my riflebringing the others to a temporary
halt. AgainI appealed to them to desist. But they only
mistook my solicitude for them for fearandwith shouts of
rage and derisionleaped forward once again to overwhelm
It was now quite evident that I must punish them severely
or--myself--die and relinquish the girl once more to her
captors. Neither of these things had I the slightest notion
of doingand so I again stepped from behind the treeand
with all the care and deliberation of target practiceI
commenced picking off the foremost of my assailants.
One by one the wild men droppedyet on came the others
fierce and vengefuluntilonly a few remainingthese
seemed to realize the futility of combating my modern weapon
with their primitive spearsandstill howling wrathfully
withdrew toward the west.
Nowfor the first timeI had an opportunity to turn my
attention toward the girlwho had stoodsilent and
motionlessbehind me as I pumped death into my enemies and
hers from my automatic rifle.
She was of medium heightwell formedand with fineclearcut
features. Her forehead was highand her eyes both
intelligent and beautiful. Exposure to the sun had browned
a smooth and velvety skin to a shade which seemed to enhance
rather than mar an altogether lovely picture of youthful
A trace of apprehension marked her expression--I cannot call
it fear since I have learned to know her--and astonishment
was still apparent in her eyes. She stood quite erecther
hands still bound behind herand met my gaze with level
What language do you speak?I asked. "Do you understand
Yes,she replied. "It is similar to my own. I am
Grabritin. What are you?"
I am a Pan-American,I answered. She shook her head.
What is that?
I pointed toward the west. "Far awayacross the ocean."
Her expression altered a trifle. A slight frown contracted
her brow. The expression of apprehension deepened.
Take off your cap,she saidand whento humor her
strange requestI did as she bidshe appeared relieved.
Then she edged to one side and leaned over seemingly to peer
behind me. I turned quickly to see what she discoveredbut
finding nothingwheeled about to see that her expression
was once more altered.
You are not from there?and she pointed toward the east.
It was a half question. "You are not from across the water
No,I assured her. "I am from Pan-Americafar away to
the west. Have you ever heard of Pan-America?"
She shook her head in negation. "I do not care where you
are from she explained, if you are not from thereand I
am sure you are notfor the men from there have horns and
It was with difficulty that I restrained a smile.
Who are the men from there?I asked.
They are bad men,she replied. "Some of my people do not
believe that there are such creatures. But we have a
legend--a very oldold legendthat once the men from there
came across to Grabritin. They came upon the waterand
under the waterand even in the air. They came in great
numbersso that they rolled across the land like a great
gray fog. They brought with them thunder and lightning and
smoke that killedand they fell upon us and slew our people
by the thousands and the hundreds of thousands. But at last
we drove them back to the water's edgeback into the sea
where many were drowned. Some escapedand these our people
followed--menwomenand even childrenwe followed them
back. That is all. The legend says our people never
returned. Maybe they were all killed. Maybe they are still
there. But thisalsois in the legendthat as we drove
the men back across the water they swore that they would
returnand that when they left our shores they would leave
no human being alive behind them. I was afraid that you
were from there."
By what name were these men called?I asked.
We call them only the 'men from there,'she replied
pointing toward the east. "I have never heard that they had
In the light of what I knew of ancient historyit was not
difficult for me to guess the nationality of those she
described simply as "the men from over there." But what
utter and appalling devastation the Great War must have
wrought to have erased not only every sign of civilization
from the face of this great landbut even the name of the
enemy from the knowledge and language of the people.
I could only account for it on the hypothesis that the
country had been entirely depopulated except for a few
scattered and forgotten childrenwhoin some marvelous
mannerhad been preserved by Providence to re-populate the
land. These children haddoubtlessbeen too young to
retain in their memories to transmit to their children any
but the vaguest suggestion of the cataclysm which had
overwhelmed their parents.
Professor Cortoransince my return to Pan-Americahas
suggested another theory which is not entirely without claim
to serious consideration. He points out that it is quite
beyond the pale of human instinct to desert little children
as my theory suggests the ancient English must have done.
He is more inclined to believe that the expulsion of the foe
from England was synchronous with widespread victories by
the allies upon the continentand that the people of
England merely emigrated from their ruined cities and their
devastatedblood-drenched fields to the mainlandin the
hope of findingin the domain of the conquered enemy
cities and farms which would replace those they had lost.
The learned professor assumes that while a long-continued
war had strengthened rather than weakened the instinct of
paternal devotionit had also dulled other humanitarian
instinctsand raised to the first magnitude the law of the
survival of the fittestwith the result that when the
exodus took place the strongthe intelligentand the
cunningtogether with their offspringcrossed the waters
of the Channel or the North Sea to the continentleaving in
unhappy England only the helpless inmates of asylums for the
feebleminded and insane.
My objections to thisthat the present inhabitants of
England are mentally fitand could therefore not have
descended from an ancestry of undiluted lunacy he brushes
aside with the assertion that insanity is not necessarily
hereditary; and that even though it wasin many cases a
return to natural conditions from the state of high
civilizationwhich is thought to have induced mental
disease in the ancient worldwouldafter several
generationshave thoroughly expunged every trace of the
affliction from the brains and nerves of the descendants of
the original maniacs.
PersonallyI do not place much stock in Professor
Cortoran's theorythough I admit that I am prejudiced.
Naturally one does not care to believe that the object of
his greatest affection is descended from a gibbering idiot
and a raving maniac.
But I am forgetting the continuity of my narrative--a
continuity which I desire to maintainthough I fear that I
shall often be led astrayso numerous and varied are the
bypaths of speculation which lead from the present day story
of the Grabritins into the mysterious past of their
As I stood talking with the girl I presently recollected
that she still was boundand with a word of apologyI drew
my knife and cut the rawhide thongs which confined her
wrists at her back.
She thanked meand with such a sweet smile that I should
have been amply repaid by it for a much more arduous
And now,I saidlet me accompany you to your home and
see you safely again under the protection of your friends.
No,she saidwith a hint of alarm in her voice; "you must
not come with me--Buckingham will kill you."
Buckingham. The name was famous in ancient English history.
Its survivalwith many other illustrious namesis one of
the strongest arguments in refutal of Professor Cortoran's
theory; yet it opens no new doors to the pastandon the
wholerather adds to than dissipates the mystery.
And who is Buckingham,I askedand why should he wish to
He would think that you had stolen me,she repliedand
as he wishes me for himself, he will kill any other whom he
thinks desires me. He killed Wettin a few days ago. My
mother told me once that Wettin was my father. He was king.
Now Buckingham is king.
Hereevidentlywere a people slightly superior to those of
the Isle of Wight. These must have at least the rudiments
of civilized government since they recognized one among them
as rulerwith the titleking. Alsothey retained the
word father. The girl's pronunciationwhile far from
identical with ourswas much closer than the tortured
dialect of the Eastenders of the Isle of Wight. The longer
I talked with her the more hopeful I became of finding here
among her peoplesome recordsor traditionswhich might
assist in clearing up the historic enigma of the past two
centuries. I asked her if we were far from the city of
Londonbut she did not know what I meant. When I tried to
explaindescribing mighty buildings of stone and brick
broad avenuesparkspalacesand countless peopleshe but
shook her head sadly.
There is no such place near by,she said. "Only the Camp
of the Lions has places of stone where the beasts lairbut
there are no people in the Camp of the Lions. Who would
dare go there!" And she shuddered.
The Camp of the Lions,I repeated. "And where is that
It is there,she saidpointing up the river toward the
west. "I have seen it from a great distancebut I have
never been there. We are much afraid of the lionsfor this
is their countryand they are angry that man has come to
Far away there,and she pointed toward the south-westis
the land of tigers, which is even worse than this, the land
of the lions, for the tigers are more numerous than the
lions and hungrier for human flesh. There were tigers here
long ago, but both the lions and the men set upon them and
drove them off.
Where did these savage beasts come from?I asked.
Oh,she repliedthey have been here always. It is their
Do they not kill and eat your people?I asked.
Often, when we meet them by accident, and we are too few to
slay them, or when one goes too close to their camp. But
seldom do they hunt us, for they find what food they need
among the deer and wild cattle, and, too, we make them
gifts, for are we not intruders in their country? Really we
live upon good terms with them, though I should not care to
meet one were there not many spears in my party.
I should like to visit this Camp of the Lions,I said.
Oh, no, you must not!cried the girl. "That would be
terrible. They would eat you." For a momentthenshe
seemed lost in thoughtbut presently she turned upon me
with: "You must go nowfor any minute Buckingham may come
in search of me. Long since should they have learned that I
am gone from the camp--they watch over me very closely--and
they will set out after me. Go! I shall wait here until
they come in search of me."
No,I told her. "I'll not leave you alone in a land
infested by lions and other wild beasts. If you won't let
me go as far as your camp with youthen I'll wait here
until they come in search of you."
Please go!she begged. "You have saved meand I would
save youbut nothing will save you if Buckingham gets his
hands on you. He is a bad man. He wishes to have me for
his woman so that he may be king. He would kill anyone who
befriended mefor fear that I might become another's."
Didn't you say that Buckingham is already the king?I
He is. He took my mother for his woman after he had killed
Wettin. But my mother will die soon--she is very old--and
then the man to whom I belong will become king.
Finallyafter much questioningI got the thing through my
head. It appears that the line of descent is through the
women. A man is merely head of his wife's family--that is
all. If she chances to be the oldest female member of the
royalhousehe is king. Very naively the girl explained
that there was seldom any doubt as to whom a child's mother
This accounted for the girl's importance in the community
and for Buckingham's anxiety to claim herthough she told
me that she did not wish to become his womanfor he was a
bad man and would make a bad king. But he was powerfuland
there was no other man who dared dispute his wishes.
Why not come with me,I suggestedif you do not wish to
Where would you take me?she asked.
Whereindeed! I had not thought of that. But before I
could reply to her question she shook her head and said
No, I cannot leave my people. I must stay and do my best,
even if Buckingham gets me, but you must go at once. Do not
wait until it is too late. The lions have had no offering
for a long time, and Buckingham would seize upon the first
stranger as a gift to them.
I did not perfectly understand what she meantand was about
to ask her when a heavy body leaped upon me from behindand
great arms encircled my neck. I struggled to free myself
and turn upon my antagonistbut in another instant I was
overwhelmed by a half dozen powerfulhalf-naked menwhile
a score of others surrounded mea couple of whom seized the
I fought as best I could for my liberty and for hersbut
the weight of numbers was too greatthough I had the
satisfaction at least of giving them a good fight.
When they had overpowered meand I stoodmy hands bound
behind meat the girl's sideshe gazed commiseratingly at
It is too bad that you did not do as I bid you,she said
for now it has happened just as I feared--Buckingham has
Which is Buckingham?I asked.
I am Buckingham,growled a burlyunwashed brute
swaggering truculently before me. "And who are you who
would have stolen my woman?"
The girl spoke up then and tried to explain that I had not
stolen her; but on the contrary I had saved her from the men
from the "Elephant Country" who were carrying her away.
Buckingham only sneered at her explanationand a moment
later gave the command that started us all off toward the
west. We marched for a matter of an hour or socoming at
last to a collection of rude hutsfashioned from branches
of trees covered with skins and grasses and sometimes
plastered with mud. All about the camp they had erected a
wall of saplings pointed at the tops and fire hardened.
This palisade was a protection against both man and beasts
and within it dwelt upward of two thousand personsthe
shelters being built very close togetherand sometimes
partially undergroundlike deep trencheswith the poles
and hides above merely as protection from the sun and rain.
The older part of the camp consisted almost wholly of
trenchesas though this had been the original form of
dwellings which was slowly giving way to the drier and
airier surface domiciles. In these trench habitations I saw
a survival of the military trenches which formed so famous a
part of the operation of the warring nations during the
The women wore a single light deerskin about their hipsfor
it was summerand quite warm. The mentoowere clothed
in a single garmentusually the pelt of some beast of prey.
The hair of both men and women was confined by a rawhide
thong passing about the forehead and tied behind. In this
leathern band were stuck feathersflowersor the tails of
small mammals. All wore necklaces of the teeth or claws of
wild beastsand there were numerous metal wristlets and
anklets among them.
They worein factevery indication of a most primitive
people--a race which had not yet risen to the heights of
agriculture or even the possession of domestic animals.
They were hunters--the lowest plane in the evolution of the
human race of which science takes cognizance.
And yet as I looked at their well shaped headstheir
handsome featuresand their intelligent eyesit was
difficult to believe that I was not among my own. It was
only when I took into consideration their mode of living
their scant apparelthe lack of every least luxury among
themthat I was forced to admit that they werein truth
but ignorant savages.
Buckingham had relieved me of my weaponsthough he had not
the slightest idea of their purpose or usesand when we
reached the camp he exhibited both me and my arms with every
indication of pride in this great capture.
The inhabitants flocked around meexamining my clothing
and exclaiming in wonderment at each new discovery of
buttonbucklepocketand flap. It seemed incredible that
such a thing could bealmost within a stone's throw of the
spot where but a brief two centuries before had stood the
greatest city of the world.
They bound me to a small tree that grew in the middle of one
of their crooked streetsbut the girl they released as soon
as we had entered the enclosure. The people greeted her
with every mark of respect as she hastened to a large hut
near the center of the camp.
Presently she returned with a fine lookingwhite-haired
womanwho proved to be her mother. The older woman carried
herself with a regal dignity that seemed quite remarkable in
a place of such primitive squalor.
The people fell aside as she approachedmaking a wide way
for her and her daughter. When they had come near and
stopped before me the older woman addressed me.
My daughter has told me,she saidof the manner in which
you rescued her from the men of the elephant country. If
Wettin lived you would be well treated, but Buckingham has
taken me now, and is king. You can hope for nothing from
such a beast as Buckingham.
The fact that Buckingham stood within a pace of us and was
an interested listener appeared not to temper her
expressions in the slightest.
Buckingham is a pig,she continued. "He is a coward. He
came upon Wettin from behind and ran his spear through him.
He will not be king for long. Some one will make a face at
himand he will run away and jump into the river."
The people began to titter and clap their hands. Buckingham
became red in the face. It was evident that he was far from
If he dared,went on the old ladyhe would kill me now,
but he does not dare. He is too great a coward. If I could
help you I should gladly do so. But I am only queen--the
vehicle that has helped carry down, unsullied, the royal
blood from the days when Grabritin was a mighty country.
The old queen's words had a noticeable effect upon the mob
of curious savages which surrounded me. The moment they
discovered that the old queen was friendly to me and that I
had rescued her daughter they commenced to accord me a more
friendly interestand I heard many words spoken in my
behalfand demands were made that I not be harmed.
But now Buckingham interfered. He had no intention of being
robbed of his prey. Blustering and storminghe ordered the
people back to their hutsat the same time directing two of
his warriors to confine me in a dugout in one of the
trenches close to his own shelter.
Here they threw me upon the groundbinding my ankles
together and trussing them up to my wrists behind. There
they left melying upon my stomach--a most uncomfortable
and strained positionto which was added the pain where the
cords cut into my flesh.
Just a few days ago my mind had been filled with the
anticipation of the friendly welcome I should find among the
cultured Englishmen of London. Today I should be sitting in
the place of honor at the banquet board of one of London's
most exclusive clubsfeted and lionized.
The actuality! Here I laybound hand and footdoubtless
almost upon the very site of a part of ancient Londonyet
all about me was a primeval wildernessand I was a captive
of half-naked wild men.
I wondered what had become of Delcarte and Taylor and
Snider. Would they search for me? They could never find
meI fearedyet if they didwhat could they accomplish
against this horde of savage warriors?
Would that I could warn them. I thought of the girl-doubtless
she could get word to thembut how was I to
communicate with her? Would she come to see me before I was
killed? It seemed incredible that she should not make some
slight attempt to befriend me; yetas I recalledshe had
made no effort to speak with me after we had reached the
village. She had hastened to her mother the moment she had
been liberated. Though she had returned with the old queen
she had not spoken to meeven then. I began to have my
FinallyI came to the conclusion that I was absolutely
friendless except for the old queen. For some unaccountable
reason my rage against the girl for her ingratitude rose to
For a long time I waited for some one to come to my prison
whom I might ask to bear word to the queenbut I seemed to
have been forgotten. The strained position in which I lay
became unbearable. I wriggled and twisted until I managed
to turn myself partially upon my sidewhere I lay half
facing the entrance to the dugout.
Presently my attention was attracted by the shadow of
something moving in the trench withoutand a moment later
the figure of a child appearedcreeping upon all foursas
wide-eyedand prompted by childish curiositya little girl
crawled to the entrance of my hut and peered cautiously and
I did not speak at first for fear of frightening the little
one away. But when I was satisfied that her eyes had become
sufficiently accustomed to the subdued light of the
Instantly the expression of fear faded from her eyes to be
replaced with an answering smile.
Who are you, little girl?I asked.
My name is Mary,she replied. "I am Victory's sister."
And who is Victory?
You do not know who Victory is?she askedin
I shook my head in negation.
You saved her from the elephant country people, and yet you
say you do not know her!she exclaimed.
Oh, so she is Victory, and you are her sister! I have not
heard her name before. That is why I did not know whom you
meant,I explained. Here was just the messenger for me.
Fate was becoming more kind.
Will you do something for me, Mary?I asked.
If I can.
Go to your mother, the queen, and ask her to come to me,I
said. "I have a favor to ask."
She said that she wouldand with a parting smile she left
For what seemed many hours I awaited her returnchafing
with impatience. The afternoon wore on and night cameand
yet no one came near me. My captors brought me neither food
nor water. I was suffering considerable pain where the
rawhide thongs cut into my swollen flesh. I thought that
they had either forgotten meor that it was their intention
to leave me here to die of starvation.
Once I heard a great uproar in the village. Men were
shouting--women were screaming and moaning. After a time
this subsidedand again there was a long interval of
Half the night must have been spent when I heard a sound in
the trench near the hut. It resembled muffled sobs.
Presently a figure appearedsilhouetted against the lesser
darkness beyond the doorway. It crept inside the hut.
Are you here?whispered a childlike voice.
It was Mary! She had returned. The thongs no longer hurt
me. The pangs of hunger and thirst disappeared. I realized
that it had been loneliness from which I suffered most.
Mary!I exclaimed. "You are a good girl. You have come
backafter all. I had commenced to think that you would
not. Did you give my message to the queen? Will she come?
Where is she?"
The child's sobs increasedand she flung herself upon the
dirt floor of the hutapparently overcome by grief.
What is it?I asked. "Why do you cry?"
The queen, my mother, will not come to you,she said
between sobs. "She is dead. Buckingham has killed her.
Now he will take Victoryfor Victory is queen. He kept us
fastened up in our shelterfor fear that Victory would
escape himbut I dug a hole beneath the back wall and got
out. I came to youbecause you saved Victory once before
and I thought that you might save her againand mealso.
Tell me that you will."
I am bound and helpless, Mary,I replied. "Otherwise I
would do what I could to save you and your sister."
I will set you free!cried the girlcreeping up to my
side. "I will set you freeand then you may come and slay
We must hurry,she went onas she fumbled with the hard
knots in the stiffened rawhidefor Buckingham will be
after you soon. He must make an offering to the lions at
dawn before he can take Victory. The taking of a queen
requires a human offering!
And I am to be the offering?I asked.
Yes,she saidtugging at a knot. "Buckingham has been
wanting a sacrifice ever since he killed Wettinthat he
might slay my mother and take Victory."
The thought was horriblenot solely because of the hideous
fate to which I was condemnedbut from the contemplation it
engendered of the sad decadence of a once enlightened race.
To these depths of ignorancebrutalityand superstition
had the vaunted civilization of twentieth century England
been plungedand by what? War! I felt the structure of
our time-honored militaristic arguments crumbling about me.
Mary labored with the thongs that confined me. They proved
refractory--defying her tenderchildish fingers. She
assured mehoweverthat she would release meif "they"
did not come too soon.
Butalasthey came. We heard them coming down the trench
and I bade Mary hide in a cornerlest she be discovered and
punished. There was naught else she could doand so she
crawled away into the Stygian blackness behind me.
Presently two warriors entered. The leader exhibited a
unique method of discovering my whereabouts in the darkness.
He advanced slowlykicking out viciously before him.
Finally he kicked me in the face. Then he knew where I was.
A moment later I had been jerked roughly to my feet. One of
the fellows stopped and severed the bonds that held my
ankles. I could scarcely stand alone. The two pulled and
hauled me through the low doorway and along the trench. A
party of forty or fifty warriors were awaiting us at the
brink of the excavation some hundred yards from the hut.
Hands were lowered to usand we were dragged to the
surface. Then commenced a long march. We stumbled through
the underbrush wet with dewour way lighted by a score of
torchbearers who surrounded us. But the torches were not to
light the way--that was but incidental. They were carried
to keep off the huge Carnivora that moaned and coughed and
roared about us.
The noises were hideous. The whole country seemed alive
with lions. Yellow-green eyes blazed wickedly at us from
out the surrounding darkness. My escort carried longheavy
spears. These they kept ever pointed toward the beast of
preyand I learned from snatches of the conversation I
overheard that occasionally there might be a lion who would
brave even the terrors of fire to leap in upon human prey.
It was for such that the spears were always couched.
But nothing of the sort occurred during this hideous death
marchand with the first pale heralding of dawn we reached
our goal--an open place in the midst of a tangled wildwood.
Here rose in crumbling grandeur the first evidences I had
seen of the ancient civilization which once had graced fair
Albion--a singletime-worn arch of masonry.
The entrance to the Camp of the Lions!murmured one of the
party in a voice husky with awe.
Here the party kneltwhile Buckingham recited a weird
prayer-like chant. It was rather longand I recall only a
portion of itwhich ranif my memory serves mesomewhat
Lord of Grabritinwe Fall on our knees to
theeThis gift to bring. Greatest of kings
are thou! To thee we humbly bow! Peace to
our camp allow. God save theeking!
Then the party roseand dragging me to the crumbling arch
made me fast to a hugecorrodedcopper ring which was
dangling from an eyebolt imbedded in the masonry.
None of themnot even Buckinghamseemed to feel any
personal animosity toward me. They were naturally rough and
brutalas primitive men are supposed to have been since the
dawn of humanitybut they did not go out of their way to
With the coming of dawn the number of lions about us seemed
to have greatly diminished--at least they made less noise-and
as Buckingham and his party disappeared into the woods
leaving me alone to my terrible fateI could hear the
grumblings and growlings of the beasts diminishing with the
sound of the chantwhich the party still continued. It
appeared that the lions had failed to note that I had been
left for their breakfastand had followed off after their
But I knew the reprieve would be but for a short timeand
though I had no wish to dieI must confess that I rather
wished the ordeal over and the peace of oblivion upon me.
The voices of the men and the lions receded in the distance
until finally quiet reigned about mebroken only by the
sweet voices of birds and the sighing of the summer wind in
It seemed impossible to believe that in this peaceful
woodland setting the frightful thing was to occur which must
come with the passing of the next lion who chanced within
sight or smell of the crumbling arch.
I strove to tear myself loose from my bondsbut succeeded
only in tightening them about my arms. Then I remained
passive for a long timeletting the scenes of my lifetime
pass in review before my mind's eye.
I tried to imagine the astonishmentincredulityand horror
with which my family and friends would be overwhelmed if
for an instantspace could be annihilated and they could
see me at the gates of London.
The gates of London! Where was the multitude hurrying to
the marts of trade after a night of pleasure or rest? Where
was the clang of tramcar gongsthe screech of motor horns
the vast murmur of a dense throng?
Where were they? And as I asked the question a lonegaunt
lion strode from the tangled jungle upon the far side of the
clearing. Majestically and noiselessly upon his padded feet
the king of beasts moved slowly toward the gates of London
and toward me.
Was I afraid? I fear that I was almost afraid. I know that
I thought that fear was coming to meand so I straightened
up and squared my shoulders and looked the lion straight in
the eyes--and waited.
It is not a nice way to die--alonewith one's hands fast
boundbeneath the fangs and talons of a beast of prey. No
it is not a nice way to dienot a pretty way.
The lion was halfway across the clearing when I heard a
slight sound behind me. The great cat stopped in his
tracks. He lashed his tail against his sides nowinstead
of simply twitching its tipand his low moan became a
As I craned my neck to catch a glimpse of the thing that had
aroused the fury of the beast before meit sprang through
the arched gateway and was at my side--with parted lips and
heaving bosom and disheveled hair--a bronzed and lovely
vision to eyes that had never harbored hope of rescue.
It was Victoryand in her arms she clutched my rifle and
revolver. A long knife was in the doeskin belt that
supported the doeskin skirt tightly about her lithe limbs.
She dropped my weapons at my feetandsnatching the knife
from its resting placesevered the bonds that held me. I
was freeand the lion was preparing to charge.
Run!I cried to the girlas I bent and seized my rifle.
But she only stood there at my sideher bared blade ready
in her hand.
The lion was bounding toward us now in prodigious leaps. I
raised the rifle and fired. It was a lucky shotfor I had
no time to aim carefullyand when the beast crumpled and
rolledlifelessto the groundI went upon my knees and
gave thanks to the God of my ancestors.
Andstill upon my kneesI turnedand taking the girl's
hand in mineI kissed it. She smiled at thatand laid her
other hand upon my head.
You have strange customs in your country,she said.
I could not but smile at that when I thought how strange it
would seem to my countrymen could they but see me kneeling
there on the site of Londonkissing the hand of England's
And now,I saidas I roseyou must return to the safety
of your camp. I will go with you until you are near enough
to continue alone in safety. Then I shall try to return to
I will not return to the camp,she replied.
But what shall you do?I asked.
I do not know. Only I shall never go back while Buckingham
lives. I should rather die than go back to him. Mary came
to me, after they had taken you from the camp, and told me.
I found your strange weapons and followed with them. It
took me a little longer, for often I had to hide in the
trees that the lions might not get me, but I came in time,
and now you are free to go back to your friends.
And leave you here?I exclaimed.
She noddedbut I could see through all her brave front that
she was frightened at the thought. I could not leave her
of coursebut what in the world I was to documbered with
the care of a young womanand a queen at thatI was at a
loss to know. I pointed out that phase of it to herbut
she only shrugged her shapely shoulders and pointed to her
It was evident that she felt entirely competent to protect
As we stood there we heard the sound of voices. They were
coming from the forest through which we had passed when we
had come from camp.
They are searching for me,said the girl. "Where shall we
I didn't relish hiding. But when I thought of the
innumerable dangers which surrounded us and the
comparatively small amount of ammunition that I had with me
I hesitated to provoke a battle with Buckingham and his
warriors whenby flightI could avoid them and preserve my
cartridges against emergencies which could not be escaped.
Would they follow us there?I askedpointing through the
archway into the Camp of the Lions.
Never,she repliedfor, in the first place, they would
know that we would not dare go there, and in the second they
themselves would not dare.
Then we shall take refuge in the Camp of the Lions,I
She shuddered and drew closer to me.
You dare?she asked.
Why not?I returned. "We shall be safe from Buckingham
and you have seenfor the second time in two daysthat
lions are harmless before my weapons. ThentooI can find
my friends easiest in this directionfor the River Thames
runs through this place you call the Camp of the Lionsand
it is farther down the Thames that my friends are awaiting
me. Do you not dare come with me?"
I dare follow wherever you lead,she answered simply.
And so I turned and passed beneath the great arch into the
city of London.
As we entered deeper into what had once been the citythe
evidences of man's past occupancy became more frequent. For
a mile from the arch there was only a riot of weeds and
undergrowth and trees covering small mounds and little
hillocks thatI was surewere formed of the ruins of
stately buildings of the dead past.
But presently we came upon a district where shattered walls
still raised their crumbling tops in sad silence above the
grass-grown sepulchers of their fallen fellows. Softened
and mellowed by ancient ivy stood these sentinels of sorrow
their scarred faces still revealing the rents and gashes of
shrapnel and of bomb.
Contrary to our expectationswe found little indication
that lions in any great numbers laired in this part of
ancient London. Well-worn pathwaysmolded by padded paws
led through the cavernous windows or doorways of a few of
the ruins we passedand once we saw the savage face of a
greatblack-maned lion scowling down upon us from a
shattered stone balcony.
We followed down the bank of the Thames after we came upon
it. I was anxious to look with my own eyes upon the famous
bridgeand I guessedtoothat the river would lead me
into the part of London where stood Westminster Abbey and
Realizing that the section through which we had been passing
was doubtless outlyingand therefore not so built up with
large structures as the more centrally located part of the
old townI felt sure that farther down the river I should
find the ruins larger. The bridge would be there in part
at leastand so would remain the walls of many of the great
edifices of the past. There would be no such complete ruin
of large structures as I had seen among the smaller
But when I had come to that part of the city which I judged
to have contained the relics I sought I found havoc that had
been wrought there even greater than elsewhere.
At one point upon the bosom of the Thames there rises a few
feet above the water a singledisintegrating mound of
masonry. Opposite itupon either bank of the riverare
tumbled piles of ruins overgrown with vegetation.
TheseI am forced to believeare all that remain of London
Bridgefor nowhere else along the river is there any other
slightest sign of pier or abutment.
Rounding the base of a large pile of grass-covered debris
we came suddenly upon the best preserved ruin we had yet
discovered. The entire lower story and part of the second
story of what must once have been a splendid public building
rose from a great knoll of shrubbery and treeswhile ivy
thick and luxuriantclambered upward to the summit of the
In many places the gray stone was still exposedits
smoothly chiseled face pitted with the scars of battle. The
massive portal yawnedsomber and sorrowfulbefore us
giving a glimpse of marble halls within.
The temptation to enter was too great. I wished to explore
the interior of this one remaining monument of civilization
now dead beyond recall. Through this same portalwithin
these very marble hallshad Gray and Chamberlin and
Kitchener and Shawperhapscome and gone with the other
great ones of the past.
I took Victory's hand in mine.
Come!I said. "I do not know the name by which this great
pile was knownnor the purposes it fulfilled. It may have
been the palace of your siresVictory. From some great
throne withinyour forebears may have directed the
destinies of half the world. Come!"
I must confess to a feeling of awe as we entered the rotunda
of the great building. Pieces of massive furniture of
another day still stood where man had placed them centuries
ago. They were littered with dust and broken stone and
plasterbutotherwiseso perfect was their preservation I
could hardly believe that two centuries had rolled by since
human eyes were last set upon them.
Through one great room after another we wanderedhand in
handwhile Victory asked many questions and for the first
time I began to realize something of the magnificence and
power of the race from whose loins she had sprung.
Splendid tapestriesnow mildewed and rottinghung upon the
walls. There were mural paintingstoodepicting great
historic events of the past. For the first time Victory saw
the likeness of a horseand she was much affected by a huge
oil which depicted some ancient cavalry charge against a
battery of field guns.
In other pictures there were steamshipsbattleships
submarinesand quaint looking railway trains--all small and
antiquated in appearance to mebut wonderful to Victory.
She told me that she would like to remain for the rest of
her life where she could look at those pictures daily.
From room to room we passed until presently we emerged into
a mighty chamberdark and gloomyfor its high and narrow
windows were choked and clogged by ivy. Along one paneled
wall we gropedour eyes slowly becoming accustomed to the
darkness. A rank and pungent odor pervaded the atmosphere.
We had made our way about half the distance across one end
of the great apartment when a low growl from the far end
brought us to a startled halt.
Straining my eyes through the gloomI made out a raised
dais at the extreme opposite end of the hall. Upon the dais
stood two great chairshighbacked and with great arms.
The throne of England! But what were those strange forms
Victory gave my hand a quickexcited little squeeze.
The lions!she whispered.
Yeslions indeed! Sprawled about the dais were a dozen
huge formswhile upon the seat of one of the thrones a
small cub lay curled in slumber.
As we stood there for a momentspellbound by the sight of
those fearsome creatures occupying the very thrones of the
sovereigns of Englandthe low growl was repeatedand a
great male rose slowly to his feet.
His devilish eyes bored straight through the semi-darkness
toward us. He had discovered the interloper. What right
had man within this palace of the beasts? Again he opened
his giant jawsand this time there rumbled forth a warning
Instantly eight or ten of the other beasts leaped to their
feet. Already the great fellow who had spied us was
advancing slowly in our direction. I held my rifle ready
but how futile it appeared in the face of this savage horde.
The foremost beast broke into a slow trotand at his heels
came the others. All were roaring nowand the din of their
great voices reverberating through the halls and corridors
of the palace formed the most frightful chorus of thunderous
savagery imaginable to the mind of man.
And then the leader chargedand upon the hideous
pandemonium broke the sharp crack of my rifleoncetwice
thrice. Three lions rolledstruggling and bitingto the
floor. Victory seized my armwith a quickThis way!
Here is a door,and a moment later we were in a tiny
antechamber at the foot of a narrow stone staircase.
Up this we backedVictory just behind meas the first of
the remaining lions leaped from the throne room and sprang
for the stairs. Again I firedbut others of the ferocious
beasts leaped over their fallen fellows and pursued us.
The stairs were very narrow--that was all that saved us--for
as I backed slowly upwardbut a single lion could attack me
at a timeand the carcasses of those I slew impeded the
rushes of the others.
At last we reached the top. There was a long corridor from
which opened many doorways. Onedirectly behind uswas
tight closed. If we could open it and pass into the chamber
behind we might find a respite from attack.
The remaining lions were roaring horribly. I saw one
sneaking very slowly up the stairs toward us.
Try that door,I called to Victory. "See if it will
She ran up to it and pushed.
Turn the knob!I criedseeing that she did not know how
to open a doorbut neither did she know what I meant by
I put a bullet in the spine of the approaching lion and
leaped to Victory's side. The door resisted my first
efforts to swing it inward. Rusted hinges and swollen wood
held it tightly closed. But at last it gaveand just as
another lion mounted to the top of the stairway it swung in
and I pushed Victory across the threshold.
Then I turned to meet the renewed attack of the savage foe.
One lion fell in his tracksanother stumbled to my very
feetand then I leaped within and slammed the portal to.
A quick glance showed me that this was the only door to the
small apartment in which we had found sanctuaryandwith a
sigh of reliefI leaned for a moment against the panels of
the stout barrier that separated us from the ramping demons
Across the roombetween two windowsstood a flat-topped
desk. A little pile of white and brown lay upon it close to
the opposite edge. After a moment of rest I crossed the
room to investigate. The white was the bleached human
bones--the skullcollar bonesarmsand a few of the upper
ribs of a man. The brown was the dust of a decayed military
cap and blouse. In a chair before the desk were other
boneswhile more still strewed the floor beneath the desk
and about the chair. A man had died sitting there with his
face buried in his arms--two hundred years ago.
Beneath the desk were a pair of spurred military boots
green and rotten with decay. In them were the leg bones of
a man. Among the tiny bones of the hands was an ancient
fountain penas goodapparentlyas the day it was made
and a metal covered memoranda bookclosed over the bones of
an index finger.
It was a gruesome sight--a pitiful sight--this lone
inhabitant of mighty London.
I picked up the metal covered memoranda book. Its pages
were rotten and stuck together. Only here and there was a
sentence or a part of a sentence legible. The first that I
could read was near the middle of the little volume:
His majesty left for Tunbridge Wells today, he . . . jesty
was stricken . . . terday. God give she does not die . . .
am military governor of Lon . . .
And farther on:
It is awful . . . hundred deaths today . . . worse than the
bombardm . . .
Nearer the end I picked out the following:
I promised his maj . . . e will find me here when he ret .
. . alone.
The most legible passage was on the next page:
Thank God we drove them out. There is not a single . . .
man on British soil today; but at what awful cost. I tried
to persuade Sir Phillip to urge the people to remain. But
they are mad with fear of the Death, and rage at our
enemies. He tells me that the coast cities are packed . . .
waiting to be taken across. What will become of England,
with none left to rebuild her shattered cities!
And the last entry:
. . . alone. Only the wild beasts . . . A lion is roaring
now beneath the palace windows. I think the people feared
the beasts even more than they did the Death. But they are
gone, all gone, and to what? How much better conditions
will they find on the continent? All gone--only I remain. I
promised his majesty, and when he returns he will find that
I was true to my trust, for I shall be awaiting him. God
save the King!
That was all. This brave and forever nameless officer died
nobly at his post--true to his country and his king. It was
the Deathno doubtthat took him.
Some of the entries had been dated. From the few legible
letters and figures which remained I judge the end came some
time in August1937but of that I am not at all certain.
The diary has cleared up at least one mystery that had
puzzled me not a littleand now I am surprised that I had
not guessed its solution myself--the presence of African and
Asiatic beasts in England.
Acclimated by years of confinement in the zoological
gardensthey were fitted to resume in England the wild
existence for which nature had intended themand once free
had evidently bred prolificallyin marked contrast to the
captive exotics of twentieth century Pan-Americawhich had
gradually become fewer until extinction occurred some time
during the twenty-first century.
The palaceif such it waslay not far from the banks of
the Thames. The room in which we were imprisoned overlooked
the riverand I determined to attempt to escape in this
To descend through the palace was out of the questionbut
outside we could discover no lions. The stems of the ivy
which clambered upward past the window of the room were as
large around as my arm. I knew that they would support our
weightand as we could gain nothing by remaining longer in
the palaceI decided to descend by way of the ivy and
follow along down the river in the direction of the launch.
Naturally I was much handicapped by the presence of the
girl. But I could not abandon herthough I had no idea
what I should do with her after rejoining my companions.
That she would prove a burden and an embarrassment I was
certainbut she had made it equally plain to me that she
would never return to her people to mate with Buckingham.
I owed my life to herandall other considerations aside
that was sufficient demand upon my gratitude and my honor to
necessitate my suffering every inconvenience in her service.
Tooshe was queen of England. Butby far the most potent
argument in her favorshe was a woman in distress--and a
young and very beautiful one.
And sothough I wished a thousand times that she was back
in her campI never let her guess itbut did all that lay
within my power to serve and protect her. I thank God now
that I did so.
With the lions still padding back and forth beyond the
closed doorVictory and I crossed the room to one of the
windows. I had outlined my plan to herand she had assured
me that she could descend the ivy without assistance. In
factshe smiled a trifle at my question.
Swinging myself outwardI began the descentand had come
to within a few feet of the groundbeing just opposite a
narrow windowwhen I was startled by a savage growl almost
in my earand then a great taloned paw darted from the
aperture to seize meand I saw the snarling face of a lion
within the embrasure.
Releasing my hold upon the ivyI dropped the re-maining
distance to the groundsaved from laceration only because
the lion's paw struck the thick stem of ivy.
The creature was making a frightful racket nowleaping back
and forth from the floor at the broad window ledgetearing
at the masonry with his claws in vain attempts to reach me.
But the opening was too narrowand the masonry too solid.
Victory had commenced the descentbut I called to her to
stop just above the windowandas the lion reappeared
growling and snarlingI put a .33 bullet in his faceand
at the same moment Victory slipped quickly past him
dropping into my upraised arms that were awaiting her.
The roaring of the beasts that had discovered ustogether
with the report of my riflehad set the balance of the
fierce inmates of the palace into the most frightful uproar
I have ever heard.
I feared that it would not be long before intelligence or
instinct would draw them from the interiors and set them
upon our trailthe river. Nor had we much more than
reached it when a lion bounded around the corner of the
edifice we had just quitted and stood looking about as
though in search of us.
Followingcame otherswhile Victory and I crouched in
hiding behind a clump of bushes close to the bank of the
river. The beasts sniffed about the ground for a whilebut
they did not chance to go near the spot where we had stood
beneath the window that had given us escape.
Presently a black-maned male raised his headandwith
cocked ears and glaring eyesgazed straight at the bush
behind which we lay. I could have sworn that he had
discovered usand when he took a few short and stately
steps in our direction I raised my rifle and covered him.
Butafter a longtense moment he looked awayand turned
to glare in another direction.
I breathed a sigh of reliefand so did Victory. I could
feel her body quiver as she lay pressed close to meour
cheeks almost touching as we both peered through the same
small opening in the foliage.
I turned to give her a reassuring smile as the lion
indicated that he had not seen usand as I did so shetoo
turned her face toward minefor the same purpose
doubtless. Anywayas our heads turned simultaneouslyour
lips brushed together. A startled expression came into
Victory's eyes as she drew back in evident confusion.
As for methe strangest sensation that I have ever
experienced claimed me for an instant. A peculiartingling
thrill ran through my veinsand my head swam. I could not
account for it.
Naturallybeing a naval officer and consequently in the
best society of the federationI have seen much of women.
With othersI have laughed at the assertions of the savants
that modern man is a cold and passionless creation in
comparison with the males of former ages--in a wordthat
loveas the one grand passionhad ceased to exist.
I do not knownowbut that they were more nearly right
than we have guessedat least in so far as modern civilized
woman is concerned. I have kissed many women--young and
beautiful and middle aged and oldand many that I had no
business kissing--but never before had I experienced that
remarkable and altogether delightful thrill that followed
the accidental brushing of my lips against the lips of
The occurrence interested meand I was tempted to
experiment further. But when I would have essayed it
another new and entirely unaccountable force restrained me.
For the first time in my life I felt embarrassment in the
presence of a woman.
What further might have developed I cannot sayfor at that
moment a perfect she-devil of a lionesswith keener eyes
than her lord and masterdiscovered us. She came trotting
toward our place of concealmentgrowling and baring her
I waited for an instanthoping that I might be mistaken
and that she would turn off in some other direction. But
no--she increased her trot to a gallopand then I fired at
herbut the bulletthough it struck her full in the
breastdidn't stop her.
Screaming with pain and ragethe creature fairly flew
toward us. Behind her came other lions. Our case looked
hopeless. We were upon the brink of the river. There
seemed no avenue of escapeand I knew that even my modern
automatic rifle was inadequate in the face of so many of
these fierce beasts.
To remain where we were would have been suicidal. We were
both standing nowVictory keeping her place bravely at my
sidewhen I reached the only decision open to me.
Seizing the girl's handI turnedjust as the lioness
crashed into the opposite side of the bushesanddragging
Victory after meleaped over the edge of the bank into the
I did not know that lions are not fond of waternor did I
know if Victory could swimbut deathimmediate and
terriblestared us in the face if we remainedand so I
took the chance.
At this point the current ran close to the shoreso that we
were immediately in deep waterandto my intense
satisfactionVictory struck out with a strongoverhand
stroke and set all my fears on her account at rest.
But my relief was short-lived. That lionessas I have said
beforewas a veritable devil. She stood for a moment
glaring at usthen like a shot she sprang into the river
and swam swiftly after us.
Victory was a length ahead of me.
Swim for the other shore!I called to her.
I was much impeded by my riflehaving to swim with one hand
while I clung to my precious weapon with the other. The
girl had seen the lioness take to the waterand she had
also seen that I was swimming much more slowly than sheand
what did she do? She started to drop back to my side.
Go on!I cried. "Make for the other shoreand then
follow down until you find my friends. Tell them that I
sent youand with orders that they are to protect you. Go
on! Go on!"
But she only waited until we were again swimming side by
sideand I saw that she had drawn her long knifeand was
holding it between her teeth.
Do as I tell you!I said to her sharplybut she shook her
The lioness was overhauling us rapidly. She was swimming
silentlyher chin just touching the waterbut blood was
streaming from between her lips. It was evident that her
lungs were pierced.
She was almost upon me. I saw that in a moment she would
take me under her forepawsor seize me in those great jaws.
I felt that my time had comebut I meant to die fighting.
And so I turnedandtreading waterraised my rifle above
my head and awaited her.
Victoryanimated by a bravery no less ferocious than that
of the dumb beast assailing usswam straight for me. It
all happened so swiftly that I cannot recall the details of
the kaleidoscopic action which ensued. I knew that I rose
high out of the waterandwith clubbed rifledealt the
animal a terrific blow upon the skullthat I saw Victory
her long blade flashing in her handclosestrikingupon
the beastthat a great paw fell upon her shoulderand that
I was swept beneath the surface of the water like a straw
before the prow of a freighter.
Still clinging to my rifleI rose againto see the lioness
struggling in her death throes but an arm's length from me.
Scarcely had I risen than the beast turned upon her side
struggled frantically for an instantand then sank.
Victory was nowhere in sight. AloneI floated upon the
bosom of the Thames. In that brief instant I believe that I
suffered more mental anguish than I have crowded into all
the balance of my life before or since. A few hours before
I had been wishing that I might be rid of herand now that
she was gone I would have given my life to have her back
Wearily I turned to swim about the spot where she had
disappearedhoping that she might rise once at leastand I
would be given the opportunity to save herandas I
turnedthe water boiled before my face and her head shot up
before me. I was on the point of striking out to seize her
when a happy smile illumined her features.
You are not dead!she cried. "I have been searching the
bottom for you. I was sure that the blow she gave you must
have disabled you and she glanced about for the lioness.
She has gone?" she asked.
The blow you struck her with the thing you call rifle
stunned her,she explainedand then I swam in close
enough to get my knife into her heart.
Ahsuch a girl! I could not but wonder what one of our own
Pan-American women would have done under like circumstances.
But thenof coursethey have not been trained by stern
necessity to cope with the emergencies and dangers of savage
Along the bank we had just quitteda score of lions paced
to and frogrowling menacingly. We could not returnand
we struck out for the opposite shore. I am a strong
swimmerand had no doubt as to my ability to cross the
riverbut I was not so sure about Victoryso I swam close
behind herto be ready to give her assistance should she
She did nothoweverreaching the opposite bank as fresh
apparentlyas when she entered the water. Victory is a
wonder. Each day that we were together brought new proofs
of it. Nor was it her courage or vitality only which amazed
me. She had a head on those shapely shoulders of hersand
dignity! Mybut she could be regal when she chose!
She told me that the lions were fewer upon this side of the
riverbut that there were many wolvesrunning in great
packs later in the year. Now they were north somewhereand
we should have little to fear from themthough we might
meet with a few.
My first concern was to take my weapons apart and dry them
which was rather difficult in the face of the fact that
every rag about me was drenched. But finallythanks to the
sun and much rubbingI succeededthough I had no oil to
We ate some wild berries and roots that Victory foundand
then we set off again down the riverkeeping an eye open
for game on one side and the launch on the otherfor I
thought that Delcartewho would be the natural leader
during my absencemight run up the Thames in search of me.
The balance of that day we sought in vain for game or for
the launchand when night came we lay downour stomachs
emptyto sleep beneath the stars. We were entirely
unprotected from attack from wild beastsand for this
reason I remained awake most of the nighton guard. But
nothing approached usthough I could hear the lions roaring
across the riverand once I thought I heard the howl of a
beast north of us--it might have been a wolf.
Altogetherit was a most unpleasant nightand I determined
then that if we were forced to sleep out again that I should
provide some sort of shelter which would protect us from
attack while we slept.
Toward morning I dozedand the sun was well up when Victory
aroused me by gently shaking my shoulder.
Antelope!she whispered in my earandas I raised my
headshe pointed up-river. Crawling to my kneesI looked
in the direction she indicatedto see a buck standing upon
a little knoll some two hundred yards from us. There was
good cover between the animal and meand sothough I might
have hit him at two hundred yardsI preferred to crawl
closer to him and make sure of the meat we both so craved.
I had covered about fifty yards of the distanceand the
beast was still feeding peacefullyso I thought that I
would make even surer of a hit by going ahead another fifty
yardswhen the animal suddenly raised his head and looked
awayup-river. His whole attitude proclaimed that he was
startled by something beyond him that I could not see.
Realizing that he might break and run and that I should then
probably miss him entirelyI raised my rifle to my
shoulder. But even as I did so the animal leaped into the
airand simultaneously there was a sound of a shot from
beyond the knoll.
For an instant I was dumbfounded. Had the report come from
down-riverI should have instantly thought that one of my
own men had fired. But coming from up-river it puzzled me
considerably. Who could there be with firearms in primitive
England other than we of the Coldwater?
Victory was directly behind meand I motioned for her to
lie downas I didbehind the bush from which I had been
upon the point of firing at the antelope. We could see that
the buck was quite deadand from our hiding place we waited
to discover the identity of his slayer when the latter
should approach and claim his kill.
We had not long to waitand when I saw the head and
shoulders of a man appear above the crest of the knollI
sprang to my feetwith a heartfelt cry of joyfor it was
At the sound of my voiceDelcarte half raised his rifle in
readiness for the attack of an enemybut a moment later he
recognized meand was coming rapidly to meet us. Behind
him was Snider. They both were astounded to see me upon the
north bank of the riverand much more so at the sight of my
Then I introduced them to Victoryand told them that she
was queen of England. They thoughtat firstthat I was
joking. But when I had recounted my adventures and they
realized that I was in earnestthey believed me.
They told me that they had followed me inshore when I had
not returned from the huntthat they had met the men of the
elephant countryand had had a short and one-sided battle
with the fellows. And that afterward they had returned to
the launch with a prisonerfrom whom they had learned that
I had probably been captured by the men of the lion country.
With the prisoner as a guide they had set off up-river in
search of mebut had been much delayed by motor trouble
and had finally camped after dark a half mile above the spot
where Victory and I had spent the night. They must have
passed us in the darkand why I did not hear the sound of
the propeller I do not knowunless it passed me at a time
when the lions were making an unusually earsplitting din
upon the opposite side.
Taking the antelope with uswe all returned to the launch
where we found Taylor as delighted to see me alive again as
Delcarte had been. I cannot say truthfully that Snider
evinced much enthusiasm at my rescue.
Taylor had found the ingredients for chemical fueland the
distilling of them hadwith the motor troubleaccounted
for their delay in setting out after me.
The prisoner that Delcarte and Snider had taken was a
powerful young fellow from the elephant country.
Notwithstanding the fact that they had all assured him to
the contraryhe still could not believe that we would not
He assured us that his name was Thirty-sixandas he could
not count above tenI am sure that he had no conception of
the correct meaning of the wordand that it may have been
handed down to him either from the military number of an
ancestor who had served in the English ranks during the
Great Waror that originally it was the number of some
famous regiment with which a forbear fought.
Now that we were reunitedwe held a council to determine
what course we should pursue in the immediate future.
Snider was still for setting out to sea and returning to
Pan-Americabut the better judgment of Delcarte and Taylor
ridiculed the suggestion--we should not have lived a
To remain in Englandconstantly menaced by wild beasts and
men equally as wildseemed about as bad. I suggested that
we cross the Channel and ascertain if we could not discover
a more enlightened and civilized people upon the continent.
I was sure that some trace of the ancient culture and
greatness of Europe must remain. Germanyprobablywould
be much as it was during the twentieth centuryforin
common with most Pan-AmericansI was positive that Germany
had been victorious in the Great War.
Snider demurred at the suggestion. He said that it was bad
enough to have come this far. He did not want to make it
worse by going to the continent. The outcome of it was that
I finally lost my patienceand told him that from then on
he would do what I thought best--that I proposed to assume
command of the partyand that they might all consider
themselves under my ordersas much so as though we were
still aboard the Coldwater and in Pan-American waters.
Delcarte and Taylor immediately assured me that they had not
for an instant assumed anything differentand that they
were as ready to follow and obey me here as they would be
upon the other side of thirty.
Snider said nothingbut he wore a sullen scowl. And I
wished thenas I had beforeand as I did to a much greater
extent laterthat fate had not decreed that he should have
chanced to be a member of the launch's party upon that
memorable day when last we quitted the Coldwater.
Victorywho was given a voice in our councilswas all for
going to the continentor anywhere elsein factwhere she
might see new sights and experience new adventures.
Afterward we can come back to Grabritin,she saidand if
Buckingham is not dead and we can catch him away from his
men and kill him, then I can return to my people, and we can
all live in peace and happiness.
She spoke of killing Buckingham with no greater concern than
one might evince in the contemplated destruction of a sheep;
yet she was neither cruel nor vindictive. In factVictory
is a very sweet and womanly woman. But human life is of
small account beyond thirty--a legacy from the bloody days
when thousands of men perished in the trenches between the
rising and the setting of a sunwhen they laid them
lengthwise in these same trenches and sprinkled dirt over
themwhen the Germans corded their corpses like wood and
set fire to themwhen women and children and old men were
butcheredand great passenger ships were torpedoed without
Thirty-sixfinally assured that we did not intend slaying
himwas as keen to accompany us as was Victory.
The crossing to the continent was uneventfulits monotony
being relievedhoweverby the childish delight of Victory
and Thirty-six in the novel experience of riding safely upon
the bosom of the waterand of being so far from land.
With the possible exception of Sniderthe little party
appeared in the best of spiritslaughing and jokingor
interestedly discussing the possibilities which the future
held for us: what we should find upon the continentand
whether the inhabitants would be civilized or barbarian
Victory asked me to explain the difference between the two
and when I had tried to do so as clearly as possibleshe
broke into a gay little laugh.
Oh,she criedthen I am a barbarian!
I could not but laughtooas I admitted that she was
indeeda barbarian. She was not offendedtaking the
matter as a huge joke. But some time thereafter she sat in
silenceapparently deep in thought. Finally she looked up
at meher strong white teeth gleaming behind her smiling
Should you take that thing you call 'razor,'she said
and cut the hair from the face of Thirty-six, and exchange
garments with him, you would be the barbarian and Thirty-six
the civilized man. There is no other difference between
you, except your weapons. Clothe you in a wolfskin, give
you a knife and a spear, and set you down in the woods of
Grabritin--of what service would your civilization be to
Delcarte and Taylor smiled at her replybut Thirty-six and
Snider laughed uproariously. I was not surprised at Thirtysix
but I thought that Snider laughed louder than the
occasion warranted. As a matter of factSniderit seemed
to mewas taking advantage of every opportunityhowever
slightto show insubordinationand I determined then that
at the first real breach of discipline I should take action
that would remind Sniderever afterthat I was still his
I could not help but notice that his eyes were much upon
Victoryand I did not like itfor I knew the type of man
he was. But as it would not be necessary ever to leave the
girl alone with him I felt no apprehension for her safety.
After the incident of the discussion of barbarians I thought
that Victory's manner toward me changed perceptibly. She
held aloof from meand when Snider took his turn at the
wheelsat beside himupon the pretext that she wished to
learn how to steer the launch. I wondered if she had
guessed the man's antipathy for meand was seeking his
company solely for the purpose of piquing me.
Snider wastootaking full advantage of his opportunity.
Often he leaned toward the girl to whisper in her earand
he laughed muchwhich was unusual with Snider.
Of courseit was nothing at all to me; yetfor some
unaccountable reasonthe sight of the two of them sitting
there so close to one another and seeming to be enjoying
each other's society to such a degree irritated me
tremendouslyand put me in such a bad humor that I took no
pleasure whatsoever in the last few hours of the crossing.
We aimed to land near the site of ancient Ostend. But when
we neared the coast we discovered no indication of any human
habitations whateverlet alone a city. After we had
landedwe found the same howling wilderness about us that
we had discovered on the British Isle. There was no
slightest indication that civilized man had ever set a foot
upon that portion of the continent of Europe.
Although I had feared as muchsince our experience in
EnglandI could not but own to a feeling of marked
disappointmentand to the gravest fears of the future
which induced a mental depression that was in no way
dissipated by the continued familiarity between Victory and
I was angry with myself that I permitted that matter to
affect me as it had. I did not wish to admit to myself that
I was angry with this uncultured little savagethat it made
the slightest difference to me what she did or what she did
not door that I could so lower myself as to feel personal
enmity towards a common sailor. And yetto be honestI
was doing both.
Finding nothing to detain us about the spot where Ostend
once had stoodwe set out up the coast in search of the
mouth of the River Rhinewhich I purposed ascending in
search of civilized man. It was my intention to explore the
Rhine as far up as the launch would take us. If we found no
civilization there we would return to the North Sea
continue up the coast to the Elbeand follow that river and
the canals of Berlin. Hereat leastI was sure that we
should find what we sought--andif notthen all Europe had
reverted to barbarism.
The weather remained fineand we made excellent progress
but everywhere along the Rhine we met with the same
disappointment--no sign of civilized manin factno sign
of man at all.
I was not enjoying the exploration of modern Europe as I had
anticipated--I was unhappy. Victory seemed changedtoo. I
had enjoyed her company at firstbut since the trip across
the Channel I had held aloof from her.
Her chin was in the air most of the timeand yet I rather
think that she regretted her friendliness with Sniderfor I
noticed that she avoided him entirely. Heon the contrary
emboldened by her former friendlinesssought every
opportunity to be near her. I should have liked nothing
better than a reasonably good excuse to punch his head; yet
paradoxicallyI was ashamed of myself for harboring him any
ill will. I realized that there was something the matter
with mebut I did not know what it was.
Matters remained thus for several daysand we continued our
journey up the Rhine. At CologneI had hoped to find some
reassuring indicationsbut there was no Cologne. And as
there had been no other cities along the river up to that
pointthe devastation was infinitely greater than time
alone could have wrought. Great gunsbombsand mines must
have leveled every building that man had raisedand then
natureunhinderedhad covered the ghastly evidence of
human depravity with her beauteous mantle of verdure.
Splendid trees reared their stately tops where splendid
cathedrals once had reared their domesand sweet wild
flowers blossomed in simple serenity in soil that once was
drenched with human blood.
Nature had reclaimed what man had once stolen from her and
defiled. A herd of zebras grazed where once the German
kaiser may have reviewed his troops. An antelope rested
peacefully in a bed of daisies whereperhapstwo hundred
years ago a big gun belched its terror-laden messages of
deathof hateof destruction against the works of man and
We were in need of fresh meatyet I hesitated to shatter
the quiet and peaceful serenity of the view with the crack
of a rifle and the death of one of those beautiful creatures
before us. But it had to be done--we must eat. I left the
work to Delcartehoweverand in a moment we had two
antelope and the landscape to ourselves.
After eatingwe boarded the launch and continued up the
river. For two days we passed through a primeval
wilderness. In the afternoon of the second day we landed
upon the west bank of the riverandleaving Snider and
Thirty-six to guard Victory and the launchDelcarte
Taylorand I set out after game.
We tramped away from the river for upwards of an hour before
discovering anythingand then only a small red deerwhich
Taylor brought down with a neat shot of two hundred yards.
It was getting too late to proceed fartherso we rigged a
slingand the two men carried the deer back toward the
launch while I walked a hundred yards aheadin the hope of
bagging something further for our larder.
We had covered about half the distance to the riverwhen I
suddenly came face to face with a man. He was as primitive
and uncouth in appearance as the Grabritins--a shaggy
unkempt savageclothed in a shirt of skin cured with the
head onthe latter surmounting his own head to form a
bonnetand giving to him a most fearful and ferocious
The fellow was armed with a long spear and a clubthe
latter dangling down his back from a leathern thong about
his neck. His feet were incased in hide sandals.
At sight of mehe halted for an instantthen turned and
dove into the forestandthough I called reassuringly to
him in English he did not return nor did I again see him.
The sight of the wild man raised my hopes once more that
elsewhere we might find men in a higher state of
civilization--it was the society of civilized man that I
craved--and sowith a lighter heartI continued on toward
the river and the launch.
I was still some distance ahead of Delcarte and Taylorwhen
I came in sight of the Rhine again. But I came to the
water's edge before I noticed that anything was amiss with
the party we had left there a few hours before.
My first intimation of disaster was the absence of the
launch from its former moorings. And thena moment later-I
discovered the body of a man lying upon the bank. Running
toward itI saw that it was Thirty-sixand as I stopped
and raised the Grabritin's head in my armsI heard a faint
moan break from his lips. He was not deadbut that he was
badly injured was all too evident.
Delcarte and Taylor came up a moment laterand the three of
us worked over the fellowhoping to revive him that he
might tell us what had happenedand what had become of the
others. My first thought was prompted by the sight I had
recently had of the savage native. The little party had
evidently been surprisedand in the attack Thirty-six had
been wounded and the others taken prisoners. The thought
was almost like a physical blow in the face--it stunned me.
Victory in the hands of these abysmal brutes! It was
frightful. I almost shook poor Thirty-six in my efforts to
I explained my theory to the othersand then Delcarte
shattered it by a single movement of the hand. He drew
aside the lion's skin that covered half of the Grabritin's
breastrevealing a neatround hole in Thirty-six's chest-a
hole that could have been made by no other weapon than a
Snider!I exclaimed. Delcarte nodded. At about the same
time the eyelids of the wounded man flutteredand raised.
He looked up at usand very slowly the light of
consciousness returned to his eyes.
What happened, Thirty-six?I asked him.
He tried to replybut the effort caused him to cough
bringing about a hemorrhage of the lungs and again he fell
back exhausted. For several long minutes he lay as one
deadthen in an almost inaudible whisper he spoke.
Snider--He pausedtried to speak againraised a hand
and pointed down-river. "They--went--back and then he
shuddered convulsively and died.
None of us voiced his belief. But I think they were all
alike: Victory and Snider had stolen the launch, and
We stood there, grouped about the body of the dead
Grabritin, looking futilely down the river to where it made
an abrupt curve to the west, a quarter of a mile below us,
and was lost to sight, as though we expected to see the
truant returning to us with our precious launch--the thing
that meant life or death to us in this unfriendly, savage
I felt, rather than saw, Taylor turn his eyes slowly toward
my profile, and, as mine swung to meet them, the expression
upon his face recalled me to my duty and responsibility as
The utter hopelessness that was reflected in his face must
have been the counterpart of what I myself felt, but in that
brief instant I determined to hide my own misgivings that I
might bolster up the courage of the others.
We are lost!" was written as plainly upon Taylor's face as
though his features were the printed words upon an open
book. He was thinking of the launchand of the launch
alone. Was I? I tried to think that I was. But a greater
grief than the loss of the launch could have engendered in
mefilled my heart--a sullengnawing misery which I tried
to deny--which I refused to admit--but which persisted in
obsessing me until my heart rose and filled my throatand I
could not speak when I would have uttered words of
reassurance to my companions.
And then rage came to my relief--rage against the vile
traitor who had deserted three of his fellow countrymen in
so frightful a position. I tried to feel an equal rage
against the womanbut somehow I could notand kept
searching for excuses for her--her youthher inexperience
My rising anger swept away my temporary helplessness. I
smiledand told Taylor not to look so glum.
We will follow them,I saidand the chances are that we
shall overtake them. They will not travel as rapidly as
Snider probably hopes. He will be forced to halt for fuel
and for food, and the launch must follow the windings of the
river; we can take short cuts while they are traversing the
detour. I have my map--thank God! I always carry it upon my
person--and with that and the compass we will have an
advantage over them.
My words seemed to cheer them bothand they were for
starting off at once in pursuit. There was no reason why we
should delayand we set forth down the river. As we
tramped alongwe discussed a question that was uppermost in
the mind of each--what we should do with Snider when we had
captured himfor with the action of pursuit had come the
optimistic conviction that we should succeed. As a matter
of factwe had to succeed. The very thought of remaining
in this utter wilderness for the rest of our lives was
We arrived at nothing very definite in the matter of
Snider's punishmentsince Taylor was for shooting him
Delcarte insisting that he should be hangedwhile I
although fully conscious of the gravity of his offense
could not bring myself to give the death penalty.
I fell to wondering what charm Victory had found in such a
man as Sniderand why I insisted upon finding excuses for
her and trying to defend her indefensible act. She was
nothing to me. Aside from the natural gratitude I felt for
her since she had saved my lifeI owed her nothing. She
was a half-naked little savage--Ia gentlemanand an
officer in the world's greatest navy. There could be no
close bonds of interest between us.
This line of reflection I discovered to be as distressing as
the formerbutthough I tried to turn my mind to other
thingsit persisted in returning to the vision of an oval
facesun-tanned; of smiling lipsrevealing white and even
teeth; of brave eyes that harbored no shadow of guile; and
of a tumbling mass of wavy hair that crowned the loveliest
picture on which my eyes had ever rested.
Every time this vision presented itself I felt myself turn
cold with rage and hate against Snider. I could forgive the
launchbut if he had wronged her he should die--he should
die at my own hands; in this I was determined.
For two days we followed the river northwardcutting off
where we couldbut confined for the most part to the game
trails that paralleled the stream. One afternoonwe cut
across a narrow neck of land that saved us many mileswhere
the river wound to the west and back again.
Here we decided to haltfor we had had a hard day of it
andif the truth were knownI think that we had all given
up hope of overtaking the launch other than by the merest
We had shot a deer just before our haltandas Taylor and
Delcarte were preparing itI walked down to the water to
fill our canteens. I had just finishedand was
straightening upwhen something floating around a bend
above me caught my eye. For a moment I could not believe
the testimony of my own senses. It was a boat.
I shouted to Delcarte and Taylorwho came running to my
The launch!cried Delcarte; andindeedit was the
launchfloating down-river from above us. Where had it
been? How had we passed it? And how were we to reach it
nowshould Snider and the girl discover us?
It's drifting,said Taylor. "I see no one in it."
I was stripping off my clothesand Delcarte soon followed
my example. I told Taylor to remain on shore with the
clothing and rifles. He might also serve us better there
since it would give him an opportunity to take a shot at
Snider should the man discover us and show himself.
With powerful strokes we swam out in the path of the
oncoming launch. Being a stronger swimmer than DelcarteI
soon was far in the leadreaching the center of the channel
just as the launch bore down upon me. It was drifting
broadside on. I seized the gunwale and raised myself
quicklyso that my chin topped the side. I expected a blow
the moment that I came within the view of the occupantsbut
no blow fell.
Snider lay upon his back in the bottom of the boat alone.
Even before I had clambered in and stooped above him I knew
that he was dead. Without examining him furtherI ran
forward to the control board and pressed the starting
button. To my reliefthe mechanism responded--the launch
was uninjured. Coming aboutI picked up Delcarte. He was
astounded at the sight that met his eyesand immediately
fell to examining Snider's body for signs of life or an
explanation of the manner in which he met his death.
The fellow had been dead for hours--he was cold and still.
But Delcarte's search was not without resultsfor above
Snider's heart was a wounda slit about an inch in length-such
a slit as a sharp knife would makeand in the dead
fingers of one hand was clutched a strand of long brown
hair--Victory's hair was brown.
They say that dead men tell no talesbut Snider told the
story of his end as clearly as though the dead lips had
parted and poured forth the truth. The beast had attacked
the girland she had defended her honor.
We buried Snider beside the Rhineand no stone marks his
last resting place. Beasts do not require headstones.
Then we set out in the launchturning her nose upstream.
When I had told Delcarte and Taylor that I intended
searching for the girlneither had demurred.
We had her wrong in our thoughts,said Delcarteand the
least that we can do in expiation is to find and rescue
We called her name aloud every few minutes as we motored up
the riverbutthough we returned all the way to our former
camping placewe did not find her. I then decided to
retrace our journeyletting Taylor handle the launchwhile
Delcarte and Iupon opposite sides of the riversearched
for some sign of the spot where Victory had landed.
We found nothing until we had reached a point a few miles
above the spot where I had first seen the launch drifting
down toward usand there I discovered the remnants of a
recent camp fire.
That Victory carried flint and steel I was awareand that
it was she who built the fire I was positive. But which way
had she gone since she stopped here?
Would she go on down the riverthat she might thus bring
herself nearer her own Grabritinor would she have sought
to search for us upstreamwhere she had seen us last?
I had hailed Taylorand sent him across the river to take
in Delcartethat the two might join me and discuss my
discovery and our future plans.
While waiting for themI stood looking out over the river
my back toward the woods that stretched away to the east
behind me. Delcarte was just stepping into the launch upon
the opposite side of the streamwhenwithout the least
warningI was violently seized by both arms and about the
waist--three or four men were upon me at once; my rifle was
snatched from my hands and my revolver from my belt.
I struggled for an instantbut finding my efforts of no
availI ceased themand turned my head to have a look at
my assailants. At the same time several others of them
walked around in front of meandto my astonishmentI
found myself looking upon uniformed soldieryarmed with
riflesrevolversand sabersbut with faces as black as
Delcarte and Taylor were now in mid-streamcoming toward
usand I called to them to keep aloof until I knew whether
the intentions of my captors were friendly or otherwise. My
good men wanted to come on and annihilate the blacks. But
there were upward of a hundred of the latterall well
armedand so I commanded Delcarte to keep out of harm's
wayand stay where he was till I needed him.
A young officer called and beckoned to them. But they
refused to comeand so he gave orders that resulted in my
hands being secured at my backafter which the company
marched awaystraight toward the east.
I noticed that the men wore spurswhich seemed strange to
me. But whenlate in the afternoonwe arrived at their
encampmentI discovered that my captors were cavalrymen.
In the center of a plain stood a log fortwith a blockhouse
at each of its four corners. As we approachedI saw
a herd of cavalry horses grazing under guard outside the
walls of the post. They were smallstocky horsesbut the
telltale saddle galls proclaimed their calling. The flag
flying from a tall staff inside the palisade was one which I
had never before seen nor heard of.
We marched directly into the compoundwhere the company was
dismissedwith the exception of a guard of four privates
who escorted me in the wake of the young officer. The
latter led us across a small parade groundwhere a battery
of light field guns was parkedand toward a log building
in front of which rose the flagstaff.
I was escorted within the building into the presence of an
old negroa fine looking manwith a dignified and military
bearing. He was a colonelI was to learn laterand to him
I owe the very humane treatment that was accorded me while I
remained his prisoner.
He listened to the report of his juniorand then turned to
question mebut with no better results than the former had
accomplished. Then he summoned an orderlyand gave some
instructions. The soldier salutedand left the room
returning in about five minutes with a hairy old white man-just
such a savageprimeval-looking fellow as I had
discovered in the woods the day that Snider had disappeared
with the launch.
The colonel evidently expected to use the fellow as
interpreterbut when the savage addressed me it was in a
language as foreign to me as was that of the blacks. At
last the old officer gave it upandshaking his headgave
instructions for my removal.
From his office I was led to a guardhousein which I found
about fifty half-naked whitesclad in the skins of wild
beasts. I tried to converse with thembut not one of them
could understand Pan-Americannor could I make head or tail
of their jargon.
For over a month I remained a prisoner thereworking from
morning until night at odd jobs about the headquarters
building of the commanding officer. The other prisoners
worked harder than I didand I owe my better treatment
solely to the kindliness and discrimination of the old
What had become of Victoryof Delcarteof Taylor I could
not know; nor did it seem likely that I should ever learn.
I was most depressed. But I whiled away my time in
performing the duties given me to the best of my ability and
attempting to learn the language of my captors.
Who they were or where they came from was a mystery to me.
That they were the outpost of some pow-erful black nation
seemed likelyyet where the seat of that nation lay I could
They looked upon the whites as their inferiorsand treated
us accordingly. They had a literature of their ownand
many of the meneven the common soldierswere omnivorous
readers. Every two weeks a dust-covered trooper would trot
his jaded mount into the post and deliver a bulging sack of
mail at headquarters. The next day he would be away again
upon a fresh horse toward the southcarrying the soldiers'
letters to friends in the far off land of mystery from
whence they all had come.
Troopssometimes mounted and sometimes afootleft the post
daily for what I assumed to be patrol duty. I judged the
little force of a thousand men were detailed here to
maintain the authority of a distant government in a
conquered country. LaterI learned that my surmise was
correctand this was but one of a great chain of similar
posts that dotted the new frontier of the black nation into
whose hands I had fallen.
Slowly I learned their tongueso that I could understand
what was said before meand make myself understood. I had
seen from the first that I was being treated as a slave-that
all whites that fell into the hands of the blacks were
Almost daily new prisoners were brought inand about three
weeks after I was brought in to the post a troop of cavalry
came from the south to relieve one of the troops stationed
there. There was great jubilation in the encampment after
the arrival of the newcomersold friendships were renewed
and new ones made. But the happiest men were those of the
troop that was to be relieved.
The next morning they started awayand as they were forced
upon the parade ground we prisoners were marched from our
quarters and lined up before them. A couple of long chains
were broughtwith rings in the links every few feet. At
first I could not guess the purpose of these chains. But I
was soon to learn.
A couple of soldiers snapped the first ring around the neck
of a powerful white slaveand one by one the rest of us
were herded to our placesand the work of shackling us neck
to neck commenced.
The colonel stood watching the procedure. Presently his
eyes fell upon meand he spoke to a young officer at his
side. The latter stepped toward me and motioned me to
follow him. I did soand was led back to the colonel.
By this time I could understand a few words of their strange
languageand when the colonel asked me if I would prefer to
remain at the post as his body servantI signified my
willingness as emphatically as possiblefor I had seen
enough of the brutality of the common soldiers toward their
white slaves to have no desire to start out upon a march of
unknown lengthchained by the neckand driven on by the
great whips that a score of the soldiers carried to
accelerate the speed of their charges.
About three hundred prisoners who had been housed in six
prisons at the post marched out of the gates that morning
toward what fate and what future I could not guess. Neither
had the poor devils themselves more than the most vague
conception of what lay in store for themexcept that they
were going elsewhere to continue in the slavery that they
had known since their capture by their black conquerors--a
slavery that was to continue until death released them.
My position was altered at the post. From working about the
headquarters officeI was transferred to the colonel's
living quarters. I had greater freedomand no longer slept
in one of the prisonsbut had a little room to myself off
the kitchen of the colonel's log house.
My master was always kind to meand under him I rapidly
learned the language of my captorsand much concerning them
that had been a mystery to me before. His name was Abu
Belik. He was a colonel in the cavalry of Abyssiniaa
country of which I do not remember ever hearingbut which
Colonel Belik assured me is the oldest civilized country in
Colonel Belik was born in Adis Abebathe capital of the
empireand until recently had been in command of the
emperor's palace guard. Jealousy and the ambition and
intrigue of another officer had lost him the favor of his
emperorand he had been detailed to this frontier post as a
mark of his sovereign's displeasure.
Some fifty years beforethe young emperorMenelek XIVwas
ambitious. He knew that a great world lay across the waters
far to the north of his capital. Once he had crossed the
desert and looked out upon the blue sea that was the
northern boundary of his dominions.
There lay another world to conquer. Menelek busied himself
with the building of a great fleetthough his people were
not a maritime race. His army crossed into Europe. It met
with little resistanceand for fifty years his soldiers had
been pushing his boundaries farther and farther toward the
The yellow men from the east and north are contesting our
rights here now,said the colonelbut we shall win--we
shall conquer the world, carrying Christianity to all the
benighted heathen of Europe, and Asia as well.
You are a Christian people?I asked.
He looked at me in surprisenodding his head affirmatively.
I am a Christian,I said. "My people are the most
powerful on earth."
He smiledand shook his head indulgentlyas a father to a
child who sets up his childish judgment against that of his
Then I set out to prove my point. I told him of our cities
of our armyof our great navy. He came right back at me
asking for figuresand when he was done I had to admit that
only in our navy were we numerically superior.
Menelek XIV is the undisputed ruler of all the continent of
Africaof all of ancient Europe except the British Isles
Scandinaviaand eastern Russiaand has large possessions
and prosperous colonies in what once were Arabia and Turkey
He has a standing army of ten million menand his people
possess slaves--white slaves--to the number of ten or
Colonel Belik was much surprisedhoweverupon his part to
learn of the great nation which lay across the oceanand
when he found that I was a naval officerhe was inclined to
accord me even greater consideration than formerly. It was
difficult for him to believe my assertion that there were
but few blacks in my countryand that these occupied a
lower social plane than the whites.
Just the reverse is true in Colonel Belik's land. He
considered whites inferior beingscreatures of a lower
orderand assuring me that even the few white freemen of
Abyssinia were never accorded anything approximating a
position of social equality with the blacks. They live in
the poorer districts of the citiesin little white
coloniesand a black who marries a white is socially
The arms and ammunition of the Abyssinians are greatly
inferior to oursyet they are tremendously effective
against the ill-armed barbarians of Europe. Their rifles
are of a type similar to the magazine rifles of twentieth
century Pan-Americabut carrying only five cartridges in
the magazinein addition to the one in the chamber. They
are of extraordinary lengtheven those of the cavalryand
are of extreme accuracy.
The Abyssinians themselves are a fine looking race of black
men--tallmuscularwith fine teethand regular features
which incline distinctly toward Semitic mold--I refer to the
full-blooded natives of Abyssinia. They are the patricians-the
aristocracy. The army is officered almost exclusively
by them. Among the soldiery a lower type of negro
predominateswith thicker lips and broaderflatter noses.
These men are recruitedso the colonel told mefrom among
the conquered tribes of Africa. They are good soldiers-brave
and loyal. They can read and writeand they are
endowed with a self-confidence and pride whichfrom my
readings of the words of ancient African explorersmust
have been wanting in their earliest progenitors. On the
wholeit is apparent that the black race has thrived far
better in the past two centuries under men of its own color
than it had under the domination of whites during all
I had been a prisoner at the little frontier post for over a
monthwhen orders came to Colonel Belik to hasten to the
eastern frontier with the major portion of his command
leaving only one troop to garrison the fort. As his body
servantI accompanied him mounted upon a fiery little
We marched rapidly for ten days through the heart of the
ancient German empirehalting when night found us in
proximity to water. Often we passed small posts similar to
that at which the colonel's regiment had been quartered
finding in each instance that only a single company or troop
remained for defencethe balance having been withdrawn
toward the northeastin the same direction in which we were
Naturallythe colonel had not confided to me the nature of
his orders. But the rapidity of our march and the fact that
all available troops were being hastened toward the
northeast assured me that a matter of vital importance to
the dominion of Menelek XIV in that part of Europe was
threatening or had already broken.
I could not believe that a simple rising of the savage
tribes of whites would necessitate the mobilizing of such a
force as we presently met with converging from the south
into our trail. There were large bodies of cavalry and
infantryendless streams of artillery wagons and gunsand
countless horse-drawn covered vehicles laden with camp
Herefor the first timeI saw camelsgreat caravans of
thembearing all sorts of heavy burdensand miles upon
miles of elephants doing similar service. It was a scene of
wondrous and barbaric splendorfor the men and beasts from
the south were gaily caparisoned in rich colorsin marked
contrast to the gray uniformed forces of the frontierwith
which I had been familiar.
The rumor reached us that Menelek himself was comingand
the pitch of excitement to which this announcement raised
the troops was little short of miraculous--at leastto one
of my race and nationality whose rulers for centuries had
been but ordinary menholding office at the will of the
people for a few brief years.
As I witnessed itI could not but speculate upon the moral
effect upon his troops of a sovereign's presence in the
midst of battle. All else being equal in war between the
troops of a republic and an empirecould not this
exhilarated mental stateamounting almost to hysteria on
the part of the imperial troopsweigh heavily against the
soldiers of a president? I wonder.
But if the emperor chanced to be absent? What then? Again I
On the eleventh day we reached our destination--a walled
frontier city of about twenty thousand. We passed some
lakesand crossed some old canals before entering the
gates. Withinbeside the frame buildingswere many built
of ancient brick and well-cut stone. TheseI was told
were of material taken from the ruins of the ancient city
whichoncehad stood upon the site of the present town.
The name of the towntranslated from the Abyssinianis New
Gondar. It standsI am convincedupon the ruins of
ancient Berlinthe one time capital of the old German
empirebut except for the old building material used in the
new town there is no sign of the former city.
The day after we arrivedthe town was gaily decorated with
flagsstreamersgorgeous rugsand bannersfor the rumor
had proved true--the emperor was coming.
Colonel Belik had accorded me the greatest liberty
permitting me to go where I pleasedafter my few duties had
been performed. As a result of his kindnessI spent much
time wandering about New Gondartalking with the
inhabitantsand exploring the city of black men.
As I had been given a semi-military uniform which bore
insignia indicating that I was an officer's body servant
even the blacks treated me with a species of respectthough
I could see by their manner that I was really as the dirt
beneath their feet. They answered my questions civilly
enoughbut they would not enter into conversation with me.
It was from other slaves that I learned the gossip of the
Troops were pouring in from the west and southand pouring
out toward the east. I asked an old slave who was sweeping
the dirt into little piles in the gutters of the street
where the soldiers were going. He looked at me in surprise.
Why, to fight the yellow men, of course,he said. "They
have crossed the borderand are marching toward New
Who will win?I asked.
He shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows?" he said. "I hope
it will be the yellow menbut Menelek is powerful--it will
take many yellow men to defeat him."
Crowds were gathering along the sidewalks to view the
emperor's entry into the city. I took my place among them
although I hate crowdsand I am glad that I didfor I
witnessed such a spectacle of barbaric splendor as no other
Pan-American has ever looked upon.
Down the broad main thoroughfarewhich may once have been
the historic Unter den Lindencame a brilliant cortege. At
the head rode a regiment of red-coated hussars--enormous
menblack as night. There were troops of riflemen mounted
on camels. The emperor rode in a golden howdah upon the
back of a huge elephant so covered with rich hangings and
embellished with scintillating gems that scarce more than
the beast's eyes and feet were visible.
Menelek was a rather gross-looking manwell past middle
agebut he carried himself with an air of dignity befitting
one descended in unbroken line from the Prophet--as was his
His eyes were bright but craftyand his features denoted
both sensuality and cruelness. In his youth he may have
been a rather fine looking blackbut when I saw him his
appearance was revolting--to meat least.
Following the emperor came regiment after regiment from the
various branches of the serviceamong them batteries of
field guns mounted on elephants.
In the center of the troops following the imperial elephant
marched a great caravan of slaves. The old street sweeper
at my elbow told me that these were the gifts brought in
from the far outlying districts by the commanding officers
of the frontier posts. The majority of them were women
destinedI was toldfor the harems of the emperor and his
favorites. It made my old companion clench his fists to see
those poor white women marching past to their horrid fates
andthough I shared his sentimentsI was as powerless to
alter their destinies as he.
For a week the troops kept pouring in and out of New Gondar-in
alwaysfrom the south and westbut always toward the
east. Each new contingent brought its gifts to the emperor.
From the south they brought rugs and ornaments and jewels;
from the westslaves; for the commanding officers of the
western frontier posts had naught else to bring.
From the number of women they broughtI judged that they
knew the weakness of their imperial master.
And then soldiers commenced coming in from the eastbut not
with the gay assurance of those who came from the south and
west--nothese others came in covered wagonsblood-soaked
and suffering. They came at first in little parties of
eight or tenand then they came in fiftiesin hundreds
and one day a thousand maimed and dying men were carted into
It was then that Menelek XIV became uneasy. For fifty years
his armies had conquered wherever they had marched. At
first he had led them in personlately his presence within
a hundred miles of the battle line had been sufficient for
large engagements--for minor ones only the knowledge that
they were fighting for the glory of their sovereign was
necessary to win victories.
One morningNew Gondar was awakened by the booming of
cannon. It was the first intimation that the townspeople
had received that the enemy was forcing the imperial troops
back upon the city. Dust covered couriers galloped in from
the front. Fresh troops hastened from the cityand about
noon Menelek rode out surrounded by his staff.
For three days thereafter we could hear the cannonading and
the spitting of the small armsfor the battle line was
scarce two leagues from New Gondar. The city was filled
with wounded. Just outsidesoldiers were engaged in
throwing up earthworks. It was evident to the least
enlightened that Menelek expected further reverses.
And then the imperial troops fell back upon these new
defensesorratherthey were forced back by the enemy.
Shells commenced to fall within the city. Menelek returned
and took up his headquarters in the stone building that was
called the palace. That night came a lull in the
hostilities--a truce had been arranged.
Colonel Belik summoned me about seven o'clock to dress him
for a function at the palace. In the midst of death and
defeat the emperor was about to give a great banquet to his
officers. I was to accompany my master and wait upon him-I
Jefferson Turcklieutenant in the Pan-American navy!
In the privacy of the colonel's quarters I had become
accustomed to my menial dutieslightened as they were by
the natural kindliness of my masterbut the thought of
appearing in public as a common slave revolted every fine
instinct within me. Yet there was nothing for it but to
I cannoteven nowbring myself to a narration of the
humiliation which I experienced that night as I stood behind
my black master in silent servilitynow pouring his wine
now cutting up his meats for himnow fanning him with a
largeplumed fan of feathers.
As fond as I had grown of himI could have thrust a knife
into himso keenly did I feel the affront that had been put
upon me. But at last the long banquet was concluded. The
tables were removed. The emperor ascended a dais at one end
of the room and seated himself upon a throneand the
entertainment commenced. It was only what ancient history
might have led me to expect--musiciansdancing girls
jugglersand the like.
Near midnightthe master of ceremonies announced that the
slave women who had been presented to the emperor since his
arrival in New Gondar would be exhibitedthat the royal
host would select such as he wishedafter which he would
present the balance of them to his guests. Ahwhat royal
A small door at one side of the room openedand the poor
creatures filed in and were ranged in a long line before the
throne. Their backs were toward me. I saw only an
occasional profile as now and then a bolder spirit among
them turned to survey the apartment and the gorgeous
assemblage of officers in their brilliant dress uniforms.
They were profiles of young girlsand prettybut horror
was indelibly stamped upon them all. I shuddered as I
contemplated their sad fateand turned my eyes away.
I heard the master of ceremonies command them to prostrate
themselves before the emperorand the sounds as they went
upon their knees before himtouching their foreheads to the
floor. Then came the official's voice againin sharp and
Down, slave!he cried. "Make obeisance to your
I looked upattracted by the tone of the man's voiceto
see a singlestraightslim figure standing erect in the
center of the line of prostrate girlsher arms folded
across her breast and little chin in the air. Her back was
toward me--I could not see her facethough I should like to
see the countenance of this savage young lionessstanding
there defiant among that herd of terrified sheep.
Down! Down!shouted the master of ceremoniestaking a
step toward her and half drawing his sword.
My blood boiled. To stand thereinactivewhile a negro
struck down that brave girl of my own race! Instinctively I
took a forward step to place myself in the man's path. But
at the same instant Menelek raised his hand in a gesture
that halted the officer. The emperor seemed interestedbut
in no way angered at the girl's attitude.
Let us inquire,he said in a smoothpleasant voicewhy
this young woman refuses to do homage to her sovereign,and
he put the question himself directly to her.
She answered him in Abyssinianbut brokenly and with an
accent that betrayed how recently she had acquired her
slight knowledge of the tongue.
I go on my knees to no one,she said. "I have no
sovereign. I myself am sovereign in my own country."
Menelekat her wordsleaned back in his throne and laughed
uproariously. Following his examplewhich seemed always
the correct procedurethe assembled guests vied with one
another in an effort to laugh more noisily than the emperor.
The girl but tilted her chin a bit higher in the air--even
her back proclaimed her utter contempt for her captors.
Finally Menelek restored quiet by the simple expedient of a
frownwhereupon each loyal guest exchanged his mirthful
mien for an emulative scowl.
And who,asked Menelekare you, and by what name is your
I am Victory, Queen of Grabritin,replied the girl so
quickly and so unexpectedly that I gasped in astonishment.
Victory! She was herea slave to these black conquerors.
Once more I started toward herbut better judgment held me
back--I could do nothing to help her other than by stealth.
Could I even accomplish aught by this means? I did not
know. It seemed beyond the pale of possibilityand yet I
And you will not bend the knee to me?continued Menelek
after she had spoken. Victory shook her head in a most
You shall be my first choice, then,said the emperor. "I
like your spiritfor the breaking of it will add to my
pleasure in youand never fear but that it shall be broken-this
very night. Take her to my apartments and he
motioned to an officer at his side
I was surprised to see Victory follow the man off in
apparent quiet submission. I tried to follow, that I might
be near her against some opportunity to speak with her or
assist in her escape. But, after I had followed them from
the throne room, through several other apartments, and down
a long corridor, I found my further progress barred by a
soldier who stood guard before a doorway through which the
officer conducted Victory.
Almost immediately the officer reappeared and started back
in the direction of the throne room. I had been hiding in a
doorway after the guard had turned me back, having taken
refuge there while his back was turned, and, as the officer
approached me, I withdrew into the room beyond, which was in
darkness. There I remained for a long time, watching the
sentry before the door of the room in which Victory was a
prisoner, and awaiting some favorable circumstance which
would give me entry to her.
I have not attempted to fully describe my sensations at the
moment I recognized Victory, because, I can assure you, they
were entirely indescribable. I should never have imagined
that the sight of any human being could affect me as had
this unexpected discovery of Victory in the same room in
which I was, while I had thought of her for weeks either as
dead, or at best hundreds of miles to the west, and as
irretrievably lost to me as though she were, in truth, dead.
I was filled with a strange, mad impulse to be near her. It
was not enough merely to assist her, or protect her--I
desired to touch her--to take her in my arms. I was
astounded at myself. Another thing puzzled me--it was my
incomprehensible feeling of elation since I had again seen
her. With a fate worse than death staring her in the face,
and with the knowledge that I should probably die defending
her within the hour, I was still happier than I had been for
weeks--and all because I had seen again for a few brief
minutes the figure of a little heathen maiden. I couldn't
account for it, and it angered me; I had never before felt
any such sensations in the presence of a woman, and I had
made love to some very beautiful ones in my time.
It seemed ages that I stood in the shadow of that doorway,
in the ill-lit corridor of the palace of Menelek XIV. A
sickly gas jet cast a sad pallor upon the black face of the
sentry. The fellow seemed rooted to the spot. Evidently he
would never leave, or turn his back again.
I had been in hiding but a short time when I heard the sound
of distant cannon. The truce had ended, and the battle had
been resumed. Very shortly thereafter the earth shook to
the explosion of a shell within the city, and from time to
time thereafter other shells burst at no great distance from
the palace. The yellow men were bombarding New Gondar
Presently officers and slaves commenced to traverse the
corridor on matters pertaining to their duties, and then
came the emperor, scowling and wrathful. He was followed by
a few personal attendants, whom he dismissed at the doorway
to his apartments--the same doorway through which Victory
had been taken. I chafed to follow him, but the corridor
was filled with people. At last they betook themselves to
their own apartments, which lay upon either side of the
An officer and a slave entered the very room in which I hid,
forcing me to flatten myself to one side in the darkness
until they had passed. Then the slave made a light, and I
knew that I must find another hiding place.
Stepping boldly into the corridor, I saw that it was now
empty save for the single sentry before the emperor's door.
He glanced up as I emerged from the room, the occupants of
which had not seen me. I walked straight toward the
soldier, my mind made up in an instant. I tried to simulate
an expression of cringing servility, and I must have
succeeded, for I entirely threw the man off his guard, so
that he permitted me to approach within reach of his rifle
before stopping me. Then it was too late--for him.
Without a word or a warning, I snatched the piece from his
grasp, and, at the same time struck him a terrific blow
between the eyes with my clenched fist. He staggered back
in surprise, too dumbfounded even to cry out, and then I
clubbed his rifle and felled him with a single mighty blow.
A moment later, I had burst into the room beyond. It was
I gazed about, mad with disappointment. Two doors opened
from this to other rooms. I ran to the nearer and listened.
Yes, voices were coming from beyond and one was a woman's,
level and cold and filled with scorn. There was no terror
in it. It was Victory's.
I turned the knob and pushed the door inward just in time to
see Menelek seize the girl and drag her toward the far end
of the apartment. At the same instant there was a deafening
roar just outside the palace--a shell had struck much nearer
than any of its predecessors. The noise of it drowned my
rapid rush across the room.
But in her struggles, Victory turned Menelek about so that
he saw me. She was striking him in the face with her
clenched fist, and now he was choking her.
At sight of me, he gave voice to a roar of anger.
What means thisslave?" he cried. "Out of here! Out of
here! Quickbefore I kill you!"
But for answer I rushed upon himstriking him with the butt
of the rifle. He staggered backdropping Victory to the
floorand then he cried aloud for the guardand came at
me. Again and again I struck him; but his thick skull might
have been armor platefor all the damage I did it.
He tried to close with meseizing the riflebut I was
stronger than heandwrenching the weapon from his grasp
tossed it aside and made for his throat with my bare hands.
I had not dared fire the weapon for fear that its report
would bring the larger guard stationed at the farther end of
We struggled about the roomstriking one anotherknocking
over furnitureand rolling upon the floor. Menelek was a
powerful manand he was fighting for his life. Continually
he kept calling for the guarduntil I succeeded in getting
a grip upon his throat; but it was too late. His cries had
been heardand suddenly the door burst openand a score of
armed guardsmen rushed into the apartment.
Victory seized the rifle from the floor and leaped between
me and them. I had the black emperor upon his backand
both my hands were at his throatchoking the life from him.
The rest happened in the fraction of a second. There was a
rending crash above usthen a deafening explosion within
the chamber. Smoke and powder fumes filled the room. Half
stunnedI rose from the lifeless body of my antagonist just
in time to see Victory stagger to her feet and turn toward
me. Slowly the smoke cleared to reveal the shattered
remnants of the guard. A shell had fallen through the
palace roof and exploded just in the rear of the detachment
of guardsmen who were coming to the rescue of their emperor.
Why neither Victory nor I were struck is a miracle. The
room was a wreck. A greatjagged hole was torn in the
ceilingand the wall toward the corridor had been blown
As I roseVictory had risentooand started toward me.
But when she saw that I was uninjured she stoppedand stood
there in the center of the demolished apartment looking at
me. Her expression was inscrutable--I could not guess
whether she was glad to see meor not.
Victory!I cried. "Thank God that you are safe!" And I
approached hera greater gladness in my heart than I had
felt since the moment that I knew the Coldwater must be
swept beyond thirty.
There was no answering gladness in her eyes. Insteadshe
stamped her little foot in anger.
Why did it have to be you who saved me!she exclaimed. "I
Hate me?I asked. "Why should you hate meVictory? I do
not hate you. I--I--" What was I about to say? I was very
close to her as a great light broke over me. Why had I
never realized it before? The truth accounted for a great
many hitherto inexplicable moods that had claimed me from
time to time since first I had seen Victory.
Why should I hate you?she repeated. "Because Snider told
me--he told me that you had promised me to himbut he did
not get me. I killed himas I should like to kill you!"
Snider lied!I cried. And then I seized her and held her
in my armsand made her listen to methough she struggled
and fought like a young lioness. "I love youVictory. You
must know that I love you--that I have always loved youand
that I never could have made so base a promise."
She ceased her strugglesjust a triflebut still tried to
push me from her. "You called me a barbarian!" she said.
Ahso that was it! That still rankled. I crushed her to
You could not love a barbarian,she went onbut she had
ceased to struggle.
But I do love a barbarian, Victory!I criedthe dearest
barbarian in the world.
She raised her eyes to mineand then her smoothbrown arms
encircled my neck and drew my lips down to hers.
I love you--I have loved you always!she saidand then
she buried her face upon my shoulder and sobbed. "I have
been so unhappy she said, but I could not die while I
thought that you might live."
As we stood theremomentarily forgetful of all else than
our new found happinessthe ferocity of the bombardment
increased until scarce thirty seconds elapsed between the
shells that rained about the palace.
To remain long would be to invite certain death. We could
not escape the way that we had entered the apartmentfor
not only was the corridor now choked with debrisbut beyond
the corridor there were doubtless many members of the
emperor's household who would stop us.
Upon the opposite side of the room was another doorand
toward this I led the way. It opened into a third apartment
with windows overlooking an inner court. From one of these
windows I surveyed the courtyard. Apparently it was empty
and the rooms upon the opposite side were unlighted.
Assisting Victory to the openI followedand together we
crossed the courtdiscovering upon the opposite side a
number of widewooden doors set in the wall of the palace
with small windows between. As we stood close behind one of
the doorslisteninga horse within neighed.
The stables!I whisperedanda moment laterhad pushed
back a door and entered. From the city about us we could
hear the din of great commotionand quite close the sounds
of battle--the crack of thousands of riflesthe yells of
the soldiersthe hoarse commands of officersand the blare
The bombardment had ceased as suddenly as it had commenced.
I judged that the enemy was storming the cityfor the
sounds we heard were the sounds of hand-to-hand combat.
Within the stables I groped about until I had found saddles
and bridles for two horses. But afterwardin the darkness
I could find but a single mount. The doors of the opposite
sideleading to the streetwere openand we could see
great multitudes of menwomenand children fleeing toward
the west. Soldiersafoot and mountedwere joining the mad
exodus. Now and then a camel or an elephant would pass
bearing some officer or dignitary to safety. It was evident
that the city would fall at any moment--a fact which was
amply proclaimed by the terror-stricken haste of the fearmad
Horsecameland elephant trod helpless women and children
beneath their feet. A common soldier dragged a general from
his mountandleaping to the animal's backfled down the
packed street toward the west. A woman seized a gun and
brained a court dignitarywhose horse had trampled her
child to death. Shriekscursescommandssupplications
filled the air. It was a frightful scene--one that will be
burned upon my memory forever.
I had saddled and bridled the single horse which had
evidently been overlooked by the royal household in its
flightandstanding a little back in the shadow of the
stable's interiorVictory and I watched the surging throng
To have entered it would have been to have courted greater
danger than we were already in. We decided to wait until
the stress of blacks thinnedand for more than an hour we
stood there while the sounds of battle raged upon the
eastern side of the city and the population flew toward the
west. More and more numerous became the uniformed soldiers
among the fleeing thronguntiltoward the lastthe street
was packed with them. It was no orderly retreatbut a
routcomplete and terrible.
The fighting was steadily approaching us nowuntil the
crack of rifles sounded in the very street upon which we
were looking. And then came a handful of brave men--a
little rear guard backing slowly toward the westworking
their smoking rifles in feverish haste as they fired volley
after volley at the foe we could not see.
But these were pressed back and back until the first line of
the enemy came opposite our shelter. They were men of
medium heightwith olive complexions and almond eyes. In
them I recognized the descendants of the ancient Chinese
They were well uniformed and superbly armedand they fought
bravely and under perfect discipline. So rapt was I in the
exciting events transpiring in the street that I did not
hear the approach of a body of men from behind. It was a
party of the conquerors who had entered the palace and were
They came upon us so unexpectedly that we were prisoners
before we realized what had happened. That night we were
held under a strong guard just outside the eastern wall of
the cityand the next morning were started upon a long
march toward the east.
Our captors were not unkind to usand treated the women
prisoners with respect. We marched for many days--so many
that I lost count of them--and at last we came to another
city--a Chinese city this time--which stands upon the site
of ancient Moscow.
It is only a small frontier citybut it is well built and
well kept. Here a large military force is maintainedand
here alsois a terminus of the railroad that crosses modern
China to the Pacific.
There was every evidence of a high civilization in all that
we saw within the citywhichin connection with the humane
treatment that had been accorded all prisoners upon the long
and tiresome marchencouraged me to hope that I might
appeal to some high officer here for the treatment which my
rank and birth merited.
We could converse with our captors only through the medium
of interpreters who spoke both Chinese and Abyssinian. But
there were many of theseand shortly after we reached the
city I persuaded one of them to carry a verbal message to
the officer who had commanded the troops during the return
from New Gondarasking that I might be given a hearing by
some high official.
The reply to my request was a summons to appear before the
officer to whom I had addressed my appeal. A sergeant came
for me along with the interpreterand I managed to obtain
his permission to let Victory accompany me--I had never left
her alone with the prisoners since we had been captured.
To my delight I found that the officer into whose presence
we were conducted spoke Abyssinian fluently. He was
astounded when I told him that I was a Pan-American. Unlike
all others whom I had spoken with since my arrival in
Europehe was well acquainted with ancient history--was
familiar with twentieth century conditions in Pan-America
and after putting a half dozen questions to me was satisfied
that I spoke the truth.
When I told him that Victory was Queen of England he showed
little surprisetelling me that in their recent
explorations in ancient Russia they had found many
descendants of the old nobility and royalty.
He immediately set aside a comfortable house for us
furnished us with servants and with moneyand in other ways
showed us every attention and kindness.
He told me that he would telegraph his emperor at onceand
the result was that we were presently commanded to repair to
Peking and present ourselves before the ruler.
We made the journey in a comfortable railway carriage
through a country whichas we traveled farther toward the
eastshowed increasing evidence of prosperity and wealth.
At the imperial court we were received with great kindness
the emperor being most inquisitive about the state of modern
Pan-America. He told me that while he personally deplored
the existence of the strict regulations which had raised a
barrier between the east and the westhe had feltas had
his predecessorsthat recognition of the wishes of the
great Pan-American federation would be most conducive to the
continued peace of the world.
His empire includes all of Asiaand the islands of the
Pacific as far east as 175dW. The empire of Japan no longer
existshaving been conquered and absorbed by China over a
hundred years ago. The Philippines are well administered
and constitute one of the most progressive colonies of the
The emperor told me that the building of this great empire
and the spreading of enlightenment among its diversified and
savage peoples had required all the best efforts of nearly
two hundred years. Upon his accession to the throne he had
found the labor well nigh perfected and had turned his
attention to the reclamation of Europe.
His ambition is to wrest it from the hands of the blacks
and then to attempt the work of elevating its fallen peoples
to the high estate from which the Great War precipitated
I asked him who was victorious in that warand he shook his
head sadly as he replied:
Pan-America, perhaps, and China, with the blacks of
Abyssinia,he said. "Those who did not fight were the only
ones to reap any of the rewards that are supposed to belong
to victory. The combatants reaped naught but annihilation.
You have seen--better than any man you must realize that
there was no victory for any nation embroiled in that
When did it end?I asked him.
Again he shook his head. "It has not ended yet. There has
never been a formal peace declared in Europe. After a while
there were none left to make peaceand the rude tribes
which sprang from the survivors continued to fight among
themselves because they knew no better condition of society.
War razed the works of man--war and pestilence razed man.
God give that there shall never be such another war!"
You all know how Porfirio Johnson returned to Pan-America
with John Alvarez in chains; how Alvarez's trial raised a
popular demonstration that the government could not ignore.
His eloquent appeal--not for himselfbut for me--is
historicas are its results. You know how a fleet was sent
across the Atlantic to search for mehow the restrictions
against crossing thirty to one hundred seventy-five were
removed foreverand how the officers were brought to
Pekingarriving upon the very day that Victory and I were
married at the imperial court.
My return to Pan-America was very different from anything I
could possibly have imagined a year before. Instead of
being received as a traitor to my countryI was acclaimed a
hero. It was good to get back againgood to witness the
kindly treatment that was accorded my dear Victoryand when
I learned that Delcarte and Taylor had been found at the
mouth of the Rhine and were already back in Pan-America my
joy was unalloyed.
And now we are going backVictory and Iwith the men and
the munitions and power to reclaim England for her queen.
Again I shall cross thirtybut under what altered
A new epoch for Europe is inauguratedwith enlightened
China on the east and enlightened Pan-America on the west-the
two great peace powers whom God has preserved to
regenerate chastened and forgiven Europe. I have been
through much--I have suffered muchbut I have won two great
laurel wreaths beyond thirty. One is the opportunity to
rescue Europe from barbarismthe other is a little
barbarianand the greater of these is--Victory.