Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.

1912 THE LOST WORLD by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Electronically Enhanced Text (c) Copyright 1991, World Library, Inc.
 Being an account of the recent amazing adventures of Professor E.
Challenger, Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee and Mr. Ed Malone of
the 'Daily Gazette'
                   I have wrought my simple plan
                    If I give one hour of joy
                   To the boy who's half a man,
                    Or the man who's half a boy.

                 1. There Are Heroisms All Round Us
 MR. HUNGERTON, her father, really was the most tactless person
upon earth- a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a man, perfectly
good-natured, but absolutely centred upon his own silly self. If
anything could have driven me from Gladys, it would have been the
thought of such a father-in-law. I am convinced that he really
believed in his heart that I came round to the Chestnuts three days
a week for the pleasure of his company, and very especially to hear
his views upon bimetallism- a subject upon which he was by way of
being an authority.
 For an hour or more that evening I listened to his monotonous
chirrup about bad money driving out good, the token value of silver,
the depreciation of the rupee, and the true standards of exchange.
 'Suppose,' he cried, with feeble violence, 'that all the debts in
the world were called up simultaneously and immediate payment insisted
upon. What, under our present conditions, would happen then?'
 I gave the self-evident answer that I should be a ruined man, upon
which he jumped from his chair, reproved me for my habitual levity,
which made it impossible for him to discuss any reasonable subject
in my presence, and bounced off out of the room to dress for a Masonic
 At last I was alone with Gladys, and the moment of fate had come!
All that evening I had felt like the soldier who awaits the signal
which will send him on a forlorn hope, hope of victory and fear of
repulse alternating in his mind.
                                                        {CH_1 ^paragraph 5}
 She sat with that proud, delicate profile of hers outlined against
the red curtain. How beautiful she was! And yet how aloof! We had been
friends, quite good friends; but never could I get beyond the same
comradeship which I might have established with one of my
fellow-reporters upon the Gazette- perfectly frank, perfectly kind,
and perfectly unsexual. My instincts are all against a woman being too
frank and at her ease with rue. It is no compliment to a man. Where
the real sex feeling begins, timidity and distrust are its companions,
heritage from old wicked days when love and violence went often hand
in hand. The bent head, the averted eye, the faltering voice, the
wincing figure- these, and not the unshrinking gaze and frank reply,
are the true signals of passion. Even in my short life I had learned
as much as that- or had inherited it in that race-memory which we call
 Gladys was full of every womanly quality. Some judged her to be cold
and hard, but such a thought was treason. That delicately-bronzed
skin, almost Oriental in its colouring, that raven hair, the large
liquid eyes, the full but exquisite lips- all the stigmata of
passion were there. But I was sadly conscious that up to now I had
never found the secret of drawing it forth. However, come what
might, I should have done with suspense and bring matters to a head
tonight. She could but refuse me, and better be a repulsed lover
than an accepted brother.
 So far my thoughts had carried me, and I was about to break the long
and uneasy silence when two critical dark eyes looked round at me, and
the proud head was shaken in smiling reproof.
 'I have a presentiment that you are going to propose, Ned. I do wish
you wouldn't, for things are so much nicer as they are.'
 I drew my chair a little nearer.
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 10}
 'Now, how did you know that I was going to propose?' I asked, in
genuine wonder.
 'Don't women always know? Do you suppose any woman in the world
was ever taken unawares? But, oh, Ned, our friendship has been so good
and so pleasant! What a pity to spoil it! Don't you feel how
splendid it is that a young man and a young woman should be able to
talk face to face as we have talked?'
 'I don't know, Gladys. You see, I can talk face to face with- with
the station-master.' I can't imagine how that official came into the
matter, but in he trotted and set us both laughing. 'That does not
satisfy me in the least. I want my arms around you and your head on my
breast, and, oh, Gladys, I want-'
 She had sprung from her chair as she saw signs that I proposed to
demonstrate some of my wants.
 'You've spoiled everything, Ned,' she said. 'It's all so beautiful
and natural until this kind of thing comes in. It is such a pity.
Why can't you control yourself? '
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 15}
 'I didn't invent it,' I pleaded. 'It's nature. It's love!'
 'Well, perhaps if both love it may be different. I have never felt
 'But you must- you, with your beauty, with your soul! Oh, Gladys,
you were made for love! You must love!'
 'One must wait till it comes.'
 'But why can't you love me, Gladys? Is it my appearance, or what?'
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 20}
 She did unbend a little. She put forward a hand- such a gracious,
stooping attitude it was- and she pressed back my head. Then she
looked into my upturned face with a very wistful smile.
 'No, it isn't that,' she said at last. You're not a conceited boy by
nature, and so I can safely tell you that it is not that. It's
 'My character?'
 She nodded severely.
 'What can I do to mend it? Do sit down and talk it over. No,
really I won't, if you'll only sit down!'
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 25}
 She was looking at me with a wondering distrust which was much
more to my mind than her whole-hearted confidence. How primitive and
bestial it looks when you put it down in black and white! And
perhaps after all it is only a feeling peculiar to myself. Anyhow, she
sat down.
 'Now tell me what's amiss with me.'
 'I'm in love with somebody else,' she said.
 It was my turn to jump out of my chair.
 'It's nobody in particular,' she explained, laughing at the
expression of my face, 'only an ideal. I've never met the kind of
man I mean.'
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 30}
 'Tell me about him. What does he look like?'
 'Oh, he might look very much like you.'
 'How dear of you to say that! Well, what is it that he does that I
don't do? Just say the word- teetotal, vegetarian, aeronaut,
Theosophist, Superman- I'll have a try at it, Gladys, if you will only
give me an idea what would please you.
 She laughed at the elasticity of my character. 'Well, in the first
place, I don't think my ideal would speak like that,' she said. 'He
would be a harder, sterner man, not so ready to adapt himself to a
silly girl's whim. But above all he must be a man who could do, who
could act, who would look death in the face and have no fear of him- a
man of great deeds and strange experiences. It is never a man that I
should love, but always the glories he had won, for they would be
reflected upon me. Think of Richard Burton! When I read his wife's
life of him I could so understand her love. And Lady Stanley! Did
you ever read the wonderful last chapter of that book about her
husband? These are the sort of men that a woman could worship with all
her soul and yet be the greater, not the less, on account of her love,
honoured by all the world as the inspirer of noble deeds.'
 She looked so beautiful in her enthusiasm that I nearly brought down
the whole level of the interview. I gripped myself hard, and went on
with the argument.
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 35}
 'We can't all be Stanleys and Burtons,' said I. 'Besides, we don't
get the chance- at least, I never had the chance. If I did I should
try to take it.'
 'But chances are all around you. It is the mark of the kind of man I
mean that he makes his own chances. You can't hold him back. I've
never met him, and yet I seem to know him so well. There are
heroisms all round us waiting to be done. It's for men to do them, and
for women to reserve their love as a reward for such men. Look at that
young Frenchman who went up last week in a balloon. It was blowing a
gale of wind, but because he was announced to go he insisted on
starting. The wind blew him one thousand five hundred miles in
twenty-four hours, and he fell in the middle of Russia. That was the
kind of man I mean. Think of the woman he loved, and how other women
must have envied her! That's what I should like- to be envied for my
 'I'd have done it to please you.'
 'But you shouldn't do it merely to please me. You should do it
because you can't help it, because it's natural to you- because the
man in you is crying out for heroic expression. Now, when you
described the Wigan coal explosion last month, could you not have gone
down and helped those people, in spite of the choke-damp?'
 'I did.'
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 40}
 'You never said so.'
 'There was nothing worth bucking about.'
 'I didn't know.' She looked at me with rather more interest. 'That
was brave of you.'
 'I had to. If you want to write good copy you must be where the
things are.'
 'What a prosaic motive! It seems to take all the romance out of
it. But still, whatever your motive, I am glad that you went down that
mine.' She gave me her hand, but with such sweetness and dignity
that I could only stoop and kiss it. 'I dare say I am merely a foolish
woman with a young girl's fancies. And yet it is so real with me, so
entirely part of my very self, that I cannot help acting upon it. If I
marry, I do want to marry a famous man.'
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 45}
 'Why should you not?' I cried. 'It is women like you who brace men
up. Give me a chance and see if I will take it! Besides, as you say,
men ought to make their own chances, and not wait until they are
given. Look at Clive- just a clerk, and he conquered India. By George!
I'll do something in the world yet!'
 She laughed at my sudden Irish effervescence.
 'Why not?' she said. 'You have everything a man could have- youth,
health, strength, education, energy. I was sorry you spoke. And now
I am glad- so glad- if it wakens these thoughts in you.'
 'And if I do-?'
 Her hand rested like warm velvet upon my lips.
                                                       {CH_1 ^paragraph 50}
 'Not another word, sir. You should have been at the office for
evening duty half an hour ago, only I hadn't the heart to remind
you. Some day, perhaps, when you have won your place in the world,
we shall talk it over again.'
 And so it was that I found myself that foggy November evening
pursuing the Camberwell tram with my heart glowing within me, and with
the eager determination that not another day should elapse before I
should find some deed which was worthy of my lady. But who in all this
wide world could ever have imagined the incredible shape which that
deed was to take, or the strange steps by which I was led to the doing
of it?
 And, after all, this opening chapter will seem to the reader to have
nothing to do with my narrative; and yet there would have been no
narrative without it, for it is only when a man goes out into the
world with the thought that there are heroisms all round him, and with
the desire all alive in his heart to follow any which may come
within sight of him, that he breaks away as I did from the life he
knows, and ventures forth into the wonderful mystic twilight land
where lie the great adventures And the great rewards. Behold me, then,
at the office of the Daily Gazette, on the staff of which I was a most
insignificant unit, with the settled determination that very night, if
possible, to find the quest which should be worthy of my Gladys! Was
it hardness, was it selfishness, that she should ask me to risk my
life for her own glorification? Such thoughts may come to middle
age, but never to ardent three-and-twenty in the fever of his first

             2. Try Your Luck with Professor Challenger
 I ALWAYS liked McArdle, the crabbed old, round-backed, red-headed
news editor, and I rather hoped that he liked me. Of course,
Beaumont was the real boss, but he lived in the rarefied atmosphere of
some Olympian height from which he could distinguish nothing smaller
than an international crisis or a split in the Cabinet. Sometimes we
saw him passing in lonely majesty to his inner sanctum with his eyes
staring vaguely and his mind hovering over the Balkans or the
Persian Gulf. He was above and beyond us. But McArdle was his first
lieutenant, and it was he that we knew. The old man nodded as I
entered the room, and he pushed his spectacles far up on his bald
 'Well, Mr. Malone, from all I hear, you seem to be doing very well,'
said he, in his kindly Scotch accent.
 I thanked him.
 'The colliery explosion was excellent. So was the Southwark fire.
You have the true descreeptive touch. What did you want to see me
 'To ask a favour.'
                                                        {CH_2 ^paragraph 5}
 He looked alarmed and his eyes shunned mine.
 'Tut! tut! What is it?'
 'Do you think, sir, that you could possibly send me on some
mission for the paper? I would do my best to put it through and get
you some good copy.'
 'What sort of a meesion had you in your mind, Mr. Malone?'
 'Well, sir, anything that had adventure and danger in it. I would
really do my very best. The more difficult it was the better it
would suit me.'
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 10}
 'You seem very anxious to lose your life.'
 'To justify my life, sir.'
 'Dear me, Mr. Malone, this is very- very exalted. I'm afraid the day
for this sort of thing is rather past. The expense of the "special
meesion" business hardly justifies the result, and, of course, in
any case it would only be an experienced man with a name that would
command public confidence who would get such an order. The big blank
spaces in the map are all being filled in, and there's no room for
romance anywhere. Wait a bit, though!' he added, with a sudden smile
upon his face. 'Talking of the blank spaces of the map gives me an
idea. What about exposing a fraud- a modern Munchausen- and making him
rideeculous? You could show him up as the liar that he is! Eh, man, it
would be fine. How does it appeal to you?'
 'Anything- anywhere- I care nothing.'
 McArdle was plunged in thought for some minutes.
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 15}
 'I wonder whether you could get on friendly- or at least on
talking terms with the fellow,' he said, at last. 'You seem to have
a sort of genius for establishing relations with people- seempathy,
I suppose, or animal magnetism, or youthful vitality, or something.
I am conscious of it myself.'
 'You are very good, sir.'
 'So why should you not try your luck with Professor Challenger, of
Enmore Park?'
 I dare say I looked a little startled.
 'Challenger!' I cried. 'Professor Challenger, the famous
zoologist! Wasn't he the man who broke the skull of Blundell, of the
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 20}
 The news editor smiled grimly.
 'Do you mind? Didn't you say it was adventures you were after?'
 'It is all in the way of business, sir,' I answered.
 'Exactly. I don't suppose he can always be so violent as that. I'm
thinking that Blundell got him at the wrong moment, maybe, or in the
wrong fashion. You may have better luck, or more tact in handling him.
There's something in your line there, I am sure, and the Gazette
should work it.'
 'I really know nothing about him,' said I. 'I only remember his name
in connection with the police-court proceedings, for striking
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 25}
 'I have a few notes for your guidance, Mr. Malone. I've had my eye
on the Professor for some little time.' He took a paper from a drawer.
'Here is a summary of his record. I give it you briefly:-
 '"Challenger, George Edward. Born: Largs, N.B., 1863. Educ.: Largs
Academy; Edinburgh University. British Museum Assistant, 1892.
Assistant-Keeper of Comparative Anthropology Department, 1893.
Resigned after acrimonious Correspondence same year. Winner of
Crayston Medal for Zoological Research. Foreign Member of"- well,
quite a lot of things, about two inches of small type- "Societe Belge,
American Academy of Sciences, La Plata, etc., etc. Ex-President
Palaeontological Society. Section H, British Association"- so on, so
on!- "Publications: 'Some Observations Upon a Series of Kalmuck
Skulls'; 'Outlines of Vertebrate Evolution'; and numerous papers,
including 'The Underlying Fallacy of Weissmannism', which caused
heated discussion at the Zoological Congress of Vienna. Recreations:
Walking, Alpine climbing. Address: Enmore Park, Kensington, W."
 'There, take it with you. I've nothing more for you tonight.'
 I pocketed the slip of paper.
 'One moment, sir,' I said, as I realised that it was a pink bald
head, and not a red face, which was fronting me. 'I am not very
clear yet why I am to interview this gentleman. What has he done?'
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 30}
 The face flashed back again.
 Went to South America on a solitary expedition two years ago. Came
back last year. Had undoubtedly been to South America, but refused
to say exactly where. Began to tell his adventures in a vague way, but
somebody started to pick holes, and he just shut up like an oyster.
Something wonderful happened- or the man's a champion liar, which is
the more probable supposition. Had some damaged photographs, said to
be fakes. Got so touchy that he assaults anyone who asks questions,
and heaves reporters down the stairs. In my opinion he's just a
homicidal megalomaniac with a turn for science. That's your man, Mr.
Malone. Now, off you run, and see what you can make of him. You're big
enough to look after yourself. Anyway, you are all safe. Employers'
Liability Act, you know.'
 A grinning red face turned once more into a pink oval, fringed
with gingery fluff: the interview was at an end.
 I walked across to the Savage Club, but instead of turning into it I
leaned upon the railings of Adelphi Terrace and gazed thoughtfully for
a long time at the brown, oily river. I can always think most sanely
and clearly in the open air. I took out the list of Professor
Challenger's exploits, and I read it over under the electric lamp.
Then I had what I can only regard as an inspiration. As a Pressman,
I felt sure from what I had been told that I could never hope to get
into touch with this cantankerous Professor. But these
recriminations twice mentioned in his skeleton biography, could only
mean that he was a fanatic in science. Was there not an exposed margin
there upon which he might be accessible? I would try.
 I entered the club. It was just after eleven, and the big room was
fairly full, though the rush had not yet set in. I noticed a tall,
thin, angular man seated in an arm-chair by the fire. He turned as I
drew my chair up to him. It was the man of all others whom I should
have chosen- Tarp Henry of the staff of Nature, a thin, dry,
leathery creature, who was full, to those who knew him, of kindly
humanity. I plunged instantly into my subject.
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 35}
 'What do you know of Professor Challenger?'
 'Challenger?' He gathered his brows in scientific disapproval.
'Challenger was the man who came with some cock-and-bull story from
South America.'
 'What story?'
 'Oh, it was rank nonsense about some queer animals he had
discovered. I believe he has retracted since. Anyhow, he has
suppressed it all. He gave an interview to Reuter's, and there was
such a howl that he saw it wouldn't do. It was a discreditable
business. There were one or two folk who were inclined to take him
seriously, but he soon choked them off.'
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 40}
 'Well, by his insufferable rudeness and impossible behaviour.
There was poor old Wadley, of the Zoological Institute. Wadley sent
a message: "The President of the Zoological Institute presents his
compliments to Professor Challenger, and would take it as a personal
favour if he would do them the honour to come to their next
meeting." The answer was unprintable.'
 'You don't say?'
 'Well, a bowdlerised version of it would run: "Professor
Challenger presents his compliments to the President of the Zoological
Institute, and would take it as a personal favour if he would go to
the devil."'
 'Good Lord!'
 'Yes I expect that's what old Wadley said. I remember his wail at
the meeting, which began: "In fifty years' experience of scientific
intercourse-" It quite broke the old man up.'
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 45}
 'Anything more about Challenger?'
 'Well, I'm a bacteriologist, you know. I live in a
nine-hundred-diameter microscope. I can hardly claim to take serious
notice of anything that I can see with my naked eye. I'm a
frontiersman from the extreme edge of the Knowable, and I feel quite
out of place when I leave my study and come into touch with all you
great, rough, hulking creatures. I'm too detached to talk scandal, and
yet at scientific conversaziones I have heard something of Challenger,
for he is one of those men whom nobody can ignore. He's as clever as
they make 'em- a full-charged battery of force and vitality, but a
quarrelsome, ill-conditioned faddist, and unscrupulous at that. He had
gone the length of faking some photographs over the South American
 'You say he is a faddist. What is his particular fad?'
 'He has a thousand, but the latest is something about Weissmann
and Evolution. He had a fearful row about it in Vienna, I believe.'
 'Can't you tell me the point?'
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 50}
 'Not at the moment, but a translation of the proceedings exists.
We have it filed at the office. Would you care to come?'
 'It's just what I want. I have to interview the fellow, and I need
some lead up to him. It's really awfully good of you to give me a
lift. I'll go with you now, if it is not too late.'
 Half an hour later I was seated in the newspaper office with a
huge tome in front of me, which had been opened at the article
'Weissmann versus Darwin', with the sub-heading, 'Spirited Protest
at Vienna. Lively Proceedings'. My scientific education having been
somewhat neglected I was unable to follow the whole argument, but it
was evident that the English Professor had handled his subject in a
very aggressive fashion, and had thoroughly annoyed his Continental
colleagues. 'Protests', 'Uproar', and 'General appeal to the Chairman'
were three of the first brackets which caught my eye. Most of the
matter might have been written in Chinese for any definite meaning
that it conveyed to my brain.
 'I wish you could translate it into English for me,' I said,
pathetically, to my helpmate.
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 55}
 'Well, it is a translation.'
 'Then I'd better try my luck with the original.'
 'It is certainly rather deep for a layman.'
 'If I could only get a single good, meaty sentence which seemed to
convey some sort of definite human idea, it would serve my turn. Ah,
yes, this one will do. I seem in a vague way almost to understand
it. I'll copy it out. This shall be my link with the terrible
 'Nothing else I can do?'
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 60}
 'Well, yes; I propose to write to him. If I could frame the letter
here, and use your address, it would give atmosphere.'
 'We'll have the fellow round here making a row and breaking the
 'No, no; you'll see the letter- nothing contentious, I assure you.'
 'Well, that's my chair and desk. You'll find paper there. I'd like
to censor it before it goes.'
 It took some doing, but I flatter myself that it wasn't such a bad
job when it was finished. I read it aloud to the critical
bacteriologist with some pride in my handiwork.
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 65}
 'DEAR PROFESSOR CHALLENGER,' it said. 'As a humble student of
Nature, I have always taken the most profound interest in your
speculations as to the differences between Darwin and Weissmann. I
have recently had occasion to refresh my memory by re-reading-'
 'You infernal liar!' murmured Tarp Henry.
 '-by re-reading your masterly address at Vienna. That lucid and
admirable statement seems to be the last word in the matter. There
is one sentence in it, however- namely: "I protest strongly against
the insufferable and entirely dogmatic assertion that each separate id
is a microcosm possessed of an historical architecture elaborated
slowly through the series of generations." Have you no desire, in view
of later research, to modify this statement? Do you not think that
it is over-accentuated? With your permission, I would ask the favour
of an interview, as I feel strongly upon the subject, and have certain
suggestions which I could only elaborate in a personal conversation.
With your consent, I trust to have the honour of calling at eleven
o'clock the day after tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
 'I remain, Sir, with assurances of profound respect, yours very
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 70}
                                             EDWARD D. MALONE.'
 'How's that?' I asked triumphantly.
 'Well, if your conscience can stand it-'
 'It has never failed me yet.'
                                                       {CH_2 ^paragraph 75}
 'But what do you mean to do?'
 'To get there. Once I am in his room I may see some opening. I may
even go the length of open confession. If he is a sportsman he will be
 'Tickled, indeed! He's much more likely to do the tickling. Chain
mail, or an American football suit- that's what you'll want. Well,
good-bye. I'll have the answer for you here on Wednesday morning- if
he ever deigns to answer you. He is a violent, dangerous, cantankerous
character, hated by everyone who comes across him, and the butt of the
students, so far as they dare take a liberty with him. Perhaps it
would be best for you if you never heard from the fellow at all.'

               3. He is a Perfectly Impossible Person
 MY friend's fear or hope was not destined to be realised. When I
called on Wednesday there was a letter with the West Kensington
postmark upon it, and my name scrawled across the envelope in a
hand-writing which looked like a barbed-wire railing. The contents
were as follows:-
                                               'Enmore Park, W.
 'SIR,- I have duly received your note, in which you claim to endorse
my views, although I am not aware that they are dependent upon
endorsement either from you or anyone else. You have ventured to use
the word "speculation" with regard to my statement upon the subject of
Darwinism, and I would call your attention to the fact that such a
word in such a connection is offensive to a degree. The context
convinces me, however, that you have sinned rather through ignorance
and tactlessness than through malice, so I am content to pass the
matter by. You quote an isolated sentence from my lecture, and
appear to have some difficulty in understanding it. I should have
thought that only a sub-human intelligence could have failed to
grasp the point, but if it really needs amplification I shall
consent to see you at the hour named, though visits and visitors of
every sort are exceedingly distasteful to me. As to your suggestion
that I may modify my opinion, I would have you know that it is not
my habit to do so after a deliberate expression of my mature views.
You will kindly show the envelope of this letter to my man, Austin,
when you call, as he has to take every precaution to shield me from
the intrusive rascals who call themselves "journalists".
                                                        {CH_3 ^paragraph 5}
                                        'Yours faithfully,
                                     GEORGE EDWARD CHALLENGER.'
 This was the letter that I read aloud to Tarp Henry, who had come
down early to hear the result of my venture. His only remark was,
'There's some new stuff, cuticura or something, which is better than
'arnica.' Some people have such extraordinary notions of humour.
 It was nearly half-past ten before I had received my message, but
a taxicab took me round in good time for my appointment. It was an
imposing porticoed house at which we stopped, and the
heavily-curtained windows gave every indication of wealth upon the
part of this formidable Professor. The door was opened by an odd,
swarthy, dried-up person of uncertain age, with a dark pilot jacket
and brown leather gaiters. I found afterwards that he was the
chauffeur, who filled the gaps left by a succession of fugitive
butlers. He looked me up and down with a searching light blue eye.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 10}
 'Expected?' he asked.
 'An appointment.'
 'Got your letter?'
 I produced the envelope.
 'Right!' He seemed to be a person of few words. Following him down
the passage I was suddenly interrupted by a small woman, who stepped
out from what proved to be the dining-room door. She was a bright,
vivacious, dark-eyed lady, more French than English in her type.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 15}
 'One moment,' she said. 'You can wait, Austin. Step in here, sir.
May I ask if you have met my husband before?'
 'No, madam, I have not had the honour.'
 'Then I apologise to you in advance. I must tell you that he is a
perfectly impossible person- absolutely impossible. If you are
forewarned you will be the more ready to make allowances.'
 'It is most considerate of you, madam.'
 'Get quickly out of the room if he seems inclined to be violent.
Don't wait to argue with him. Several people have been injured through
doing that. Afterwards there is a public scandal, and it reflects upon
me and all of us. I suppose it wasn't about South America you wanted
to see him?'
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 20}
 I could not lie to a lady.
 'Dear me! That is his most dangerous subject. You won't believe a
word he says- I'm sure I don't wonder. But don't tell him so, for it
makes him very violent. Pretend to believe him, and you may get
through all right. Remember he believes it himself. Of that you may be
assured. A more honest man never lived. Don't wait any longer or he
may suspect. If you find him dangerous- really dangerous- ring the
bell and hold him off until I come. Even at his worst I can usually
control him.'
 With these encouraging words the lady handed me over to the taciturn
Austin, who had waited like a bronze statue of discretion during our
short interview, and I was conducted to the end of the passage.
There was a tap at a door, a bull's bellow from within, and I was face
to face with the Professor.
 He sat in a rotating chair behind a broad table, which was covered
with books, maps, and diagrams. As I entered, his seat spun round to
face me. His appearance made me gasp. I was prepared for something
strange, but not for so overpowering a personality as this. It was his
size which took one's breath away- his size and his imposing presence.
His head was enormous, the largest I have ever seen upon a human
being. I am sure that his top-hat, had I ventured to don it, would
have slipped over me entirely and rested on my shoulders. He had the
face and beard which I associate with an Assyrian bull; the former
florid, the latter so black as almost to have a suspicion of blue,
spade-shaped and rippling down over his chest. The hair was
peculiar, plastered down in front in a long, curving wisp over his
massive forehead. The eyes were blue-grey under great black tufts,
very clear, very critical, and very masterful. A huge spread of
shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other parts of him
which appeared above the table, save for two enormous hands covered
with long black hair. This and a bellowing, roaring, rumbling voice
made up my first impression of the notorious Professor Challenger.
 'Well?' said he, with a most insolent stare. 'What now?'
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 25}
 I must keep up my deception for at least a little time longer,
otherwise here was evidently an end of the interview.
 'You were good enough to give me an appointment, sir,' said I,
humbly, producing his envelope.
 He took my letter from his desk and laid it out before him.
 'Oh, you are the young person who cannot understand plain English,
are you? My general conclusions you are good enough to approve, as I
 'Entirely, sir- entirely!' I was very emphatic.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 30}
 'Dear me! That strengthens my position very much, does it not?
Your age and appearance make your support doubly valuable. Well, at
least you are better than that herd of swine in Vienna, whose
gregarious grunt is, however, not more offensive than the isolated
effort of the British hog.' He glared at me as the present
representative of the beast.
 'They seem to have behaved abominably,' said I.
 'I assure you that I can fight my own battles, and that I have no
possible need of your sympathy. Put me alone, sir, and with my back to
the wall. G. E. C. is happiest then. Well, sir, let us do what we
can to curtail this visit, which can hardly be agreeable to you, and
is inexpressibly irksome to me. You had, as I have been led to
believe, some comments to make upon the proposition which I advanced
in my thesis.'
 There was a brutal directness about his methods which made evasion
difficult. I must still make play and wait for a better opening. It
had seemed simple enough at a distance. Oh, my Irish wits, could
they not help me now, when I needed help so sorely? He transfixed me
with two sharp, steely eyes. 'Come, come!' he rumbled.
 'I am, of course, a mere student,' said I, with a fatuous smile,
'hardly more, I might say, than an earnest inquirer. At the same time,
it seemed to me that you were a little severe upon Weissmann in this
matter. Has not the general evidence since that date tended to-
well, to strengthen his position?'
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 35}
 'What evidence?' He spoke with a menacing calm.
 'Well, of course, I am aware that there is not any what you might
call definite evidence. I alluded merely to the trend of modern
thought and the general scientific point of view, if I might so
express it.'
 He leaned forward with great earnestness.
 'I suppose you are aware,' said he, checking off points upon his
fingers, 'that the cranial index is a constant factor?'
 'Naturally,' said I.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 40}
 'And that telegony is still sub judice?'
 'And that the germ plasm is different from the parthenogenetic egg?'
 'Why, surely!' I cried, and gloried in my own audacity.
 'But what does that prove?' he asked, in a gentle, persuasive voice.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 45}
 'Ah, what indeed?' I murmured. 'What does it prove?'
 'Shall I tell you?' he cooed.
 'Pray do.'
 'It proves,' he roared. with a sudden blast of fury, 'that you are
the rankest impostor in London- a vile, crawling journalist, who has
no more science than he has decency in his composition!'
 He had sprung to his feet with a mad rage in his eyes. Even at
that moment of tension I found time for amazement at the discovery
that he was quite a short man, his head not higher than my shoulder- a
stunted Hercules whose tremendous vitality had all run to depth,
breadth, and brain.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 50}
 'Gibberish!' he cried leaning forward, with his fingers on the table
and his face projecting. 'That's what I have been talking to you, sir-
scientific gibberish! Did you think you could match cunning with me-
you with your walnut of a brain? You think you are omnipotent, you
infernal scribblers, don't you? That your praise can make a man and
your blame can break him? We must all bow to you, and try to get a
favourable word, must we? This man shall have a leg up, and this man
shall have a dressing down! Creeping vermin, I know you! You've got
out of your station. Time was when your ears were clipped. You've lost
your sense of proportion. Swollen gas-bags! I'll keep you in your
proper place. Yes, sir, you haven't got over G. E. C. There's one
man who is still your master. He warned you off, but if you will come,
by the Lord you do it at your own risk. Forfeit, my good Mr. Malone, I
claim forfeit! You have played a rather dangerous game, and it strikes
me that you have lost it.'
 'Look here, sir,' said I, backing to the door and opening it; 'you
can be as abusive as you like. But there is a limit. You shall not
assault me.'
 'Shall I not?' He was slowly advancing in a peculiarly menacing way,
but he stopped now and put his big hands into the side pockets of a
rather boyish short jacket which he wore. 'I have thrown several of
you out of the house. You will be the fourth or fifth. Three pound
fifteen each- that is how it averaged. Expensive, but very
necessary. Now, sir, why should you not follow your brethren? I rather
think you must.' He resumed his unpleasant and stealthy advance,
pointing his toes as he walked, like a dancing master.
 I could have bolted for the hall door, but it would have been too
ignominious. Besides, a little glow of righteous anger was springing
up within me. I had been hopelessly in the wrong before, but this
man's menaces were putting me in the right.
 'I'll trouble you to keep your hands off, sir. I'll not stand it.'
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 55}
 'Dear me!' His black moustache lifted and a white fang twinkled in a
sneer. 'You won't stand it, eh?'
 'Don't be such a fool, Professor!' I cried, 'what can you hope
for? I'm fifteen stone, as hard as nails, and play centre
three-quarter every Saturday for the London Irish. I'm not the man-'
 It was at that moment that he rushed me. It was lucky that I had
opened the door, or we should have gone through it. We did a
Catherine-wheel together down the passage. Somehow we gathered up a
chair upon our way, and bounded on with it towards the street. My
mouth was full of his beard, our arms were locked, our bodies
intertwined, and that infernal chair radiated its legs all round us.
The watchful Austin had thrown open the hall door. We went with a back
somersault down the front steps. I have seen the two Macs attempt
something of the kind at the halls, but it appears to take some
practice to do it without hurting oneself. The chair went to matchwood
at the bottom, and we rolled apart into the gutter. He sprang to his
feet, waving his fists and wheezing like an asthmatic.
 'Had enough?' he panted.
 'You infernal bully!' I cried, as I gathered myself together.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 60}
 Then and there we should have tried the thing out, for he was
effervescing with fight, but fortunately I was rescued from an
odious situation. A policeman was beside us, his notebook in his hand.
 'What's all this? You ought to be ashamed,' said the policeman. It
was the most rational remark which I had heard in Enmore Park. 'Well,'
he insisted, turning to me, 'what is it, then?'
 'This man attacked me,' said I.
 'Did you attack him?' asked the policeman.
 The Professor breathed hard and said nothing.
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 65}
 'It's not the first time, either,' said the policeman, severely,
shaking his head. 'You were in trouble last month for the same
thing. You've blacked this young man's eye. Do you give him in charge,
 I relented.
 'No,' said I, 'I do not.'
 'What's that?' said the policeman.
 'I was to blame myself. I intruded upon him. He gave me fair
                                                       {CH_3 ^paragraph 70}
 The policeman snapped up his notebook.
 'Don't let us have any more such goings-on,' said he. 'Now, then!
Move on, there, move on!' This to a butcher's boy, a maid, and one
or two loafers who had collected. He clumped heavily down the
street, driving this little flock before him. The Professor looked
at me, and there was something humorous at the back of his eyes.
 'Come in!' said he. 'I've not done with you yet.'
 The speech had a sinister sound, but I followed him none the less
into the house. The man-servant, Austin, like a wooden image, closed
the door behind us.

          4. It's Just the Very Biggest Thing in the World
 HARDLY was it shut than Mrs. Challenger darted out from the
dining-room. The small woman was in a furious temper. She barred her
husband's way like an enraged chicken in front of a bulldog. It was
evident that she had seen my exit, but had not observed my return.
 'You brute, George!' she screamed. 'You've hurt that nice young
 He jerked backwards with his thumb.
 'Here he is, safe and sound behind me.'
 She was confused, but not unduly so.
                                                        {CH_4 ^paragraph 5}
 'I am sorry, I didn't see you.'
 'I assure you, madam, that it is all right.'
 'He has marked your poor face! Oh, George, what a brute you are!
Nothing but scandals from one end of the week to the other. Everyone
hating and making fun of you. You've finished my patience. This ends
 'Dirty linen,' he rumbled.
 'It's not a secret,' she cried. 'Do you suppose that the whole
street- the whole of London, for that matter- Get away, Austin, we
don't want you here. Do you suppose they don't all talk about you?
Where is your dignity? You, a man who should have been Regius
Professor at a great University with a thousand students all
revering you. Where is your dignity, George?'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 10}
 'How about yours, my dear?'
 'You try me too much. A ruffian- a common brawling ruffian- that's
what you have become.'
 'Be good, Jessie.'
 'A roaring, raging bully!'
 'That's done it! Stool of penance!' said he.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 15}
 To my amazement he stooped, picked her up, and placed her sitting
upon a high pedestal of black marble in the angle of the hall. It
was at least seven feet high, and so thin that she could hardly
balance upon it. A more absurd object than she presented cocked up
there with her face convulsed with anger, her feet dangling, and her
body rigid for fear of an upset, I could not imagine.
 'Let me down!' she wailed.
 'Say "please".'
 'You brute, George! Let me down this instant!'
 'Come into the study, Mr. Malone.'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 20}
 'Really, sir-!' said I, looking at the lady.
 'Here's Mr. Malone pleading for you, Jessie. Say "please", and
down you come.'
 'Oh, you brute! Please! please!'
 He took her down as if she had been a canary.
 'You must behave yourself, dear. Mr. Malone is a Pressman. He will
have it all in his rag tomorrow, and sell an extra dozen among our
neighbours. "Strange story of high life"- you felt fairly high on that
pedestal, did you not? Then a subtitle, "Glimpse of a singular
menage". He's a foul feeder, is Mr. Malone, a carrion eater, like
all of his kind- porcus ex grege diaboli- a swine from the devil's
herd. That's it, Malone- what?'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 25}
 'You are really intolerable!' said I, hotly.
 He bellowed with laughter.
 'We shall have a coalition presently,' he boomed, looking from his
wife to me and puffing out his enormous chest. Then, suddenly altering
his tone, 'Excuse this frivolous family badinage, Mr. Malone. I called
you back for some more serious purpose than to mix you up with our
little domestic pleasantries. Run away, little woman, and don't fret.'
He placed a huge hand upon each of her shoulders. 'All that you say is
perfectly true. I should be a better man if I did what you advise, but
I shouldn't be quite George Edward Challenger. There are plenty of
better men, my dear, but only one G. E. C. So make the best of him.'
He suddenly gave her a resounding kiss, which embarrassed me even more
than his violence had done. 'Now, Mr. Malone,' he continued, with a
great accession of dignity, 'this way if you please.'
 We re-entered the room which we had left so tumultuously ten minutes
before. The Professor closed the door carefully behind us, motioned me
into an arm-chair, and pushed a cigar-box under my nose.
 'Real San Juan Colorado,' he said. 'Excitable people like you are
the better for narcotics. Heavens! don't bite it! Cut- and cut with
reverence! Now lean back, and listen attentively to whatever I may
care to say to you. If any remark should occur to you, you can reserve
it for some more opportune time.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 30}
 'First of all, as to your return to my house after your most
justifiable expulsion-' he protruded his beard, and stared at me as
one who challenges and invites contradiction- 'after, as I say, your
well-merited expulsion. The reason lay in your answer to that most
officious policeman, in which I seemed to discern some glimmering of
good feeling upon your part- more, at any rate, than I am accustomed
to associate with your profession. In admitting that the fault of
the incident lay with you, you gave some evidence of a certain
mental detachment and breadth of view which attracted my favourable
notice. The sub-species of the human race to which you unfortunately
belong has always been below my mental horizon. Your words brought you
suddenly above it. You swam up into my serious notice. For this reason
I asked you to return with me, as I was minded to make your further
acquaintance. You will kindly deposit your ash in the small Japanese
tray on the bamboo table which stands at your left elbow.'
 All this he boomed forth like a professor addressing his class. He
had swung round his revolving-chair so as to face me, and he sat all
puffed out like an enormous bull-frog, his head laid back, and his
eyes half-covered by supercilious lids. Now he suddenly turned himself
sideways, and all I could see of him was tangled hair with a red,
protruding ear. He was scratching about among the litter of papers
upon his desk. He faced me presently with what looked like a very
tattered sketch-book in his hand.
 'I am going to talk to you about South America,' said he. 'No
comments if you please. First of all, I wish you to understand that
nothing I tell you now is to be repeated in any public way unless
you have my express permission. That permission will, in all human
probability, never be given. Is that clear?'
 'It is very hard,' said I. 'Surely a judicious account-'
 He replaced the notebook upon the table.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 35}
 'That ends it,' said he. 'I wish you a very good morning.'
 'No, no!' I cried. 'I submit to any conditions. So far as I can see,
I have no choice.'
 'None in the world,' said he.
 'Well, then, I promise.'
 'Word of honour?'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 40}
 'Word of honour.'
 He looked at me with doubt in his insolent eyes.
 'After all, what do I know about your honour?' said he.
 'Upon my word, sir,' I cried, angrily, 'you take very great
liberties! I have never been so insulted in my life.'
 He seemed more interested than annoyed at my outbreak.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 45}
 'Round-headed,' he muttered. 'Brachycephalic, grey-eyed,
black-haired, with suggestion of the negroid. Celtic, I presume?'
 'I am an Irishman, sir.'
 'Irish Irish?'
 'Yes, sir.'
 'That, of course, explains it. Let me see; you have given me your
promise that my confidence will be respected? That confidence, I may
say, will be far from complete. But I am prepared to give you a few
indications which will be of interest. In the first place, you are
probably aware that two years ago I made a journey to South America-
one which will be classical in the scientific history of the world?
The object of my journey was to verify some conclusions of Wallace and
of Bates, which could only be done by observing their reported facts
under the same conditions in which they had themselves noted them.
If my expedition had no other results it would still have been
noteworthy, but a curious incident occurred to me while there which
opened up an entirely fresh line of inquiry.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 50}
 'You are aware- or probably, in this half-educated age, you are
not aware- that the country round some parts of the Amazon is still
only partially explored, and that a great number of tributaries,
some of them entirely uncharted, run into the main river. It was my
business to visit this little-known back-country and to examine its
fauna, which furnished me with the materials for several chapters
for that great and monumental work upon zoology which will be my
life's justification. I was returning, my work accomplished, when I
had occasion to spend a night at a small Indian village at a point
where a certain tributary- the name and position of which I
withhold- opens into the main river. The natives were Cucama
Indians, an amiable but degraded race, with mental powers hardly
superior to the average Londoner. I had effected some cures among them
upon my way up the river, and had impressed them considerably with
my personality, so that I was not surprised to find myself eagerly
awaited upon my return. I gathered from their signs that someone had
urgent need of my medical services, and I followed the chief to one of
his huts. When I entered I found that the sufferer to whose aid I
had been summoned had that instant expired. He was, to my surprise, no
Indian, but a white man; indeed, I may say a very white man, for he
was flaxen-haired and had some characteristics of an albino. He was
clad in rags, was very emaciated, and bore every trace of a
prolonged hardship. So far as I could understand the account of the
natives, he was a complete stranger to them, and had come upon their
village through the woods alone and in the last stage of exhaustion.
 'The man's knapsack lay beside the couch, and I examined the
contents. His name was written upon a tab within it- Maple White, Lake
Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. It is a name to which I am prepared
always to lift my hat. It is not too much to say that it will rank
level with my own when the final credit of this business comes to be
 'From the contents of his knapsack it was evident that this man
had been an artist and poet in search of effects. There were scraps of
verse. I do not profess to be a judge of such things, but they
appeared to me to be singularly wanting in merit. There were also some
rather commonplace pictures of river scenery, a paint-box, a box of
coloured chalks, some brushes, that curved bone which lies upon my
inkstand, a volume of Baxter's "Moths and Butterflies", a cheap
revolver, and a few cartridges. Of personal equipment he either had
none or he had lost it in his journey. Such were the total effects
of this strange American Bohemian.
 'I was turning away from him when I observed that something
projected from the front of his ragged jacket. It was this
sketch-book, which was as dilapidated then as you see it now.
Indeed, I can assure you that a first folio of Shakespeare could not
be treated with greater reverence than this relic has been since it
came into my possession. I hand it to you now, and I ask you to take
it page by page and to examine the contents.'
 He helped himself to a cigar and leaned back with a fiercely
critical pair of eyes, taking note of the effect which this document
would produce.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 55}
 I had opened the volume with some expectation of a revelation,
though of what nature I could not imagine. The first page was
disappointing, however, as it contained nothing but the picture of a
very fat man in a pea-jacket, with the legend, 'Jimmy Colver on the
Mail-boat', written beneath it. There followed several pages which
were filled with small sketches of Indians and their ways. Then came a
picture of a cheerful and corpulent ecclesiastic in a shovel hat,
sitting opposite a very thin European, and the inscription: 'Lunch
with Fra Cristofero at Rosario'. Studies of women and babies accounted
for several more pages, and then there was an unbroken series of
animal drawings with such explanations as 'Manatee upon Sandbank',
'Turtles and their Eggs', 'Black Ajouti under a Miriti Palm'- the
latter disclosing some sort of pig-like animal; and finally came a
double page of studies of long-snouted and very unpleasant saurians. I
could make nothing of it, and said so to the Professor.
 'Surely these are only crocodiles?'
 'Alligators! Alligators! There is hardly such a thing as a true
crocodile in South America. The distinction between them-'
 'I meant that I could see nothing unusual- nothing to justify what
you have said.'
 He smiled serenely.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 60}
 'Try the next page,' said he.
 I was still unable to sympathise. It was a full-page sketch of a
landscape roughly tinted in colour- the kind of painting which an
open-air artist takes as a guide to a future more elaborate effort.
There was a pale-green foreground of feathery vegetation, which sloped
upwards and ended in a line of cliffs dark red in colour, and
curiously ribbed like some basaltic formations which I have seen. They
extended in an unbroken wall right across the background. At one point
was an isolated pyramidal rock, crowned by a great tree, which
appeared to be separated by a cleft from the main crag. Behind it all,
a blue tropical sky. A thin green line of vegetation fringed the
summit of the ruddy cliff. On the next page was another water-colour
wash of the same place, but much nearer, so that one could clearly see
the details.
 'Well?' he asked.
 'It is no doubt a curious formation,' said I, 'but I am not
geologist enough to say that it is wonderful.'
 'Wonderful!' he repeated. 'It is unique. It is incredible. No one on
earth has ever dreamed of such a possibility. Now the next.'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 65}
 I turned it over, and gave an exclamation of surprise. There was a
full-page picture of the most extraordinary creature that I had ever
seen. It was the wild dream of an opium smoker, a vision of
delirium. The head was like that of a fowl, the body that of a bloated
lizard, the trailing tail was furnished with upward-turned spikes, and
the curved back was edged with a high serrated fringe, which looked
like a dozen cocks' wattles placed behind each other. In front of this
creature was an absurd mannikin, or dwarf in the human form, who stood
staring at it.
 'Well, what do you think of that?' cried the Professor, rubbing
his hands with an air of triumph.
 'It is monstrous- grotesque.'
 'But what made him draw such an animal?'
 'Trade gin, I should think.'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 70}
 'Oh, that's the best explanation you can give, is it?'
 'Well, sir, what is yours?'
 'The obvious one that the creature exists. That it is actually
sketched from the life.'
 I should have laughed only that I had a vision of our doing
another Catherine-wheel down the passage.
 'No doubt,' said I, 'no doubt', as one humours an imbecile. 'I
confess, however,' I added, 'that this tiny human figure puzzles me.
If it were an Indian we could set it down as evidence of some pigmy
race in America, but it appears to be a European in a sun-hat.'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 75}
 The Professor snorted like an angry buffalo. 'You really touch the
limit,' said he. 'You enlarge my view of the possible. Cerebral
paresis! Mental inertia! Wonderful!'
 He was too absurd to make me angry. Indeed, it was a waste of
energy, for if you were going to be angry with this man you would be
angry all the time. I contented myself with smiling wearily. 'It
struck me that the man was small,' said I.
 'Look here!' he cried, leaning forward and dabbing a great hairy
sausage of a finger on to the picture. 'You see that plant behind
the animal; I suppose you thought it was a dandelion or a brussels
sprout- what? Well, it is a vegetable ivory palm, and they run to
about fifty or sixty feet. Don't you see that the man is put in for
a purpose? He couldn't really have stood in front of that brute and
lived to draw it. He sketched himself in to give a scale of heights.
He was, we will say, over five feet high. The tree is ten times
bigger, which is what one would expect.'
 'Good heavens!' I cried. 'Then you think the beast was- Why, Charing
Cross Station would hardly make a kennel for such a brute!'
 'Apart from exaggeration, he is certainly a well-grown specimen,'
said the Professor, complacently.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 80}
 'But,' I cried, 'surely the whole experience of the human race is
not to be set aside on account of a single sketch-' I had turned
over the leaves and ascertained that there was nothing more in the
book- 'a single sketch by a wandering American artist who may have
done it under hashish, or in the delirium of fever, or simply in order
to gratify a freakish imagination. You can't, as a man of science,
defend such a position as that.'
 For answer the Professor took a book down from a shelf.
 'This is an excellent monograph by my gifted friend, Ray Lankester!'
said he. 'There is an illustration here which would interest you.
Ah, yes, here it is! The inscription beneath it runs: "Probable
appearance in life of the Jurassic Dinosaur Stegosaurus. The hind
leg alone is twice as tall as a full-grown man." Well, what do you
make of that?'
 He handed me the open book. I started as I looked at the picture. In
this reconstructed animal of a dead world there was certainly a very
great resemblance to the sketch of the unknown artist.
 'That is certainly remarkable,' said I.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 85}
 'But you won't admit that it is final?'
 'Surely it might be a coincidence, or this American may have seen
a picture of the kind and carried it in his memory. It would be likely
to recur to a man in a delirium.'
 'Very good,' said the Professor, indulgently; 'we leave it at
that. I will now ask you to look at this bone.' He handed over the
bone which he had already described as part of the dead man's
possessions. It was about six inches long, and thicker than my
thumb, with some indications of dried cartilage at one end of it.
 'To what known creature does that bone belong?' asked the Professor.
 I examined it with care, and tried to recall some half-forgotten
'It might be a very thick human collar-bone,' I said.
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 90}
 My companion waved his hand in contemptuous deprecation.
 'The human collar-bone is curved. This is straight. There is a
groove upon its surface showing that a great tendon played across
it, which could not be the case with a clavicle.'
 'Then I must confess that I don't know what it is.'
 'You need not be ashamed to expose your ignorance, for I don't
suppose the whole South Kensington staff could give a name to it.'
He took a little bone the size of a bean out of a pill-box. 'So far as
I am a judge this human bone is the analogue of the one which you hold
in your hand. That will give you some idea of the size of the
creature. You will observe from the cartilage that this is no fossil
specimen, but recent. What do you say to that?'
 'Surely in an elephant-'
                                                       {CH_4 ^paragraph 95}
 He winced as if in pain.
 'Don't! Don't talk of elephants in South America. Even in these days
of Board Schools-'
 'Well,' I interrupted, 'any large South American animal- a tapir,
for example.'
 'You may take it, young man, that I am versed in the elements of
my business. This is not a conceivable bone either of a tapir or of
any other creature known to zoology. It belongs to a very large, a
very strong, and, by all analogy, a very fierce animal which exists
upon the face of the earth, but has not yet come under the notice of
science. You are unconvinced?'
 'I am at least deeply interested.'
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 100}
 'Then your case is not hopeless. I feel that there is reason lurking
in you somewhere, so we patiently grope round for it. We will now
leave the dead American and proceed with my narrative. You can imagine
that I could hardly come away from the Amazon without probing deeper
into the matter. There were indications as to the direction from which
the dead traveller had come. Indian legends would alone have been my
guide, for I found that rumours of a strange land were common among
all the riverine tribes. You have heard, no doubt, of Curupuri?'
 'Curupuri is the spirit of the woods, something terrible,
something malevolent, something to be avoided. None can describe its
shape or nature, but it is a word of terror along the Amazon. Now
all tribes agree as to the direction in which Curupuri lives. It was
the same direction from which the American had come. Something
terrible lay that way. It was my business to find out what it was.'
 'What did you do?' My flippancy was all gone. This massive man
compelled one's attention and respect.
 'I overcame the extreme reluctance of the natives- a reluctance
which extends even to talk upon the subject- and by judicious
persuasion and gifts, aided, I will admit, by some threats of
coercion, I got two of them to act as guides. After many adventures
which I need not describe, and after travelling a distance which I
will not mention, in a direction which I withhold, we came at last
to a tract of country which has never been described, nor, indeed,
visited save by my unfortunate predecessor. Would you kindly look at
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 105}
 He handed me a photograph- half-plate size.
 'The unsatisfactory appearance of it is due to the fact,' said he,
'that on descending the river the boat was upset and the case which
contained the undeveloped films was broken, with disastrous results.
Nearly all of them were totally ruined- an irreparable loss. This is
one of the few which partially escaped. This explanation of
deficiencies or abnormalities you will kindly accept. There was talk
of faking. I am not in a mood to argue such a point.'
 The photograph was certainly very off-coloured. An unkind critic
might easily have misinterpreted that dim surface. It was a dull
grey landscape, and as I gradually deciphered the details of it I
realised that it represented a long and enormously high line of cliffs
exactly like an immense cataract seen in the distance, with a sloping,
tree-clad plain in the foreground.
 'I believe it is the same place as the painted picture,' said I.
 'It is the same place,' the Professor answered. 'I found traces of
the fellow's camp. Now look at this.'
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 110}
 It was a nearer view of the same scene, though the photograph was
extremely defective. I could distinctly see the isolated, tree-crowned
pinnacle of rock which was detached from the crag.
 'I have no doubt of it at all,' said I.
 'Well, that is something gained,' said he. 'We progress, do we
not? Now, will you please look at the top of that rocky pinnacle? Do
you observe something there?'
 'An enormous tree.'
 'But on the tree?'
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 115}
 'A large bird,' said I.
 He handed me a lens.
 'Yes,' I said, peering through it, 'a large bird stands on the tree.
It appears to have a considerable beak. I should say it was a
 'I cannot congratulate you upon your eyesight,' said the
Professor. 'It is not a pelican, nor, indeed, is it a bird. It may
interest you to know that I succeeded in shooting that particular
specimen. It was the only absolute proof of my experiences which I was
able to bring away with me.'
 'You have it, then?' Here at last was tangible corroboration.
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 120}
 'I had it. It was unfortunately lost with so much else in the same
boat accident which ruined my photographs. I clutched at it as it
disappeared in the swirl of the rapids, and part of its wing was
left in my hand, I was insensible when washed ashore, but the
miserable remnant of my superb specimen was still intact; I now lay it
before you.'
 From a drawer he produced what seemed to me to be the upper
portion of the wing of a large bat. It was at least two feet in
length, a curved bone, with a membranous veil beneath it.
 'A monstrous bat!' I suggested.
 'Nothing of the sort,' said the Professor, severely. 'Living, as I
do, in an educated and scientific atmosphere, I could not have
conceived that the first principles of zoology were so little known.
Is it possible that you do not know the elementary fact in comparative
anatomy, that the wing of a bird is really the forearm, while the wing
of a bat consists of three elongated fingers with membranes between?
Now, in this case, the bone is certainly not the forearm, and you
can see for yourself that this is a single membrane hanging upon a
single bone, and therefore that it cannot belong to a bat. But if it
is neither bird nor bat, what is it?'
 My small stock of knowledge was exhausted.
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 125}
 'I really do not know,' said I.
 He opened the standard work to which he had already referred me.
 'Here,' said he, pointing to the picture of an extraordinary
flying monster, 'is an excellent reproduction of the dimorphodon, or
pterodactyl, a flying reptile of the jurassic period. On the next page
is a diagram of the mechanism of its wing. Kindly compare it with
the specimen in your hand.'
 A wave of amazement passed over me as I looked. I was convinced.
There could be no getting away from it. The cumulative proof was
overwhelming. The sketch, the photographs, the narrative, and now
the actual specimen- the evidence was complete. I said so- I said so
warmly, for I felt that the Professor was an ill-used man. He leaned
back in his chair with drooping eyelids and a tolerant smile,
basking in this sudden gleam of sunshine.
 'It's just the very biggest thing that I ever heard of!' said I,
though it was my journalistic rather than my scientific enthusiasm
that was roused. 'It is colossal. You are a Columbus of science who
has discovered a lost world. I'm really awfully sorry if I seemed to
doubt you. It was all so unthinkable. But I understand evidence when I
see it, and this should be good enough for anyone.'
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 130}
 The Professor purred with satisfaction.
 'And then, sir, what did you do next?'
 'It was the wet season, Mr. Malone, and my stores were exhausted.
I explored some portion of this huge cliff, but I was unable to find
any way to scale it. The pyramidal rock upon which I saw and shot
the pterodactyl was more accessible. Being something of a cragsman,
I did manage to get half-way to the top of that. From that height I
had a better idea of the plateau upon the top of the crags. It
appeared to be very large; neither to east nor to west could I see any
end to the vista of green-capped cliffs. Below, it is a swampy, jungly
region, full of snakes, insects, and fever. It is a natural protection
to this singular country.'
 'Did you see any other trace of life?'
 'No, sir, I did not; but during the week that we lay encamped at the
base of the cliff we heard some very strange noises from above.'
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 135}
 'But the creature that the American drew? How do you account for
 'We can only suppose that he must have made his way to the summit
and seen it there. We know, therefore, that there is a way up. We know
equally that it must be a very difficult one, otherwise the
creatures would have come down and overrun the surrounding country.
Surely that is clear?'
 'But how do they come to be there?'
 'I do not think that the problem is a very obscure one,' said the
Professor; 'there can only be one explanation. South America is, as
you may have heard, a granite continent. At this single point in the
interior there has been, in some far distant age, a great, sudden
volcanic upheaval. These cliffs, I may remark, are basaltic, and
therefore plutonic. An area, as large perhaps as Sussex, has been
lifted up en bloc with all its living contents, and cut off by
perpendicular precipices of a hardness which defies erosion from all
the rest of the continent. What is the result? Why, the ordinary
laws of nature are suspended. The various checks which influence the
struggle for existence in the world at large are all neutralised or
altered. Creatures survive which would otherwise disappear. You will
observe that both the pterodactyl and the stegosaurus are jurassic,
and therefore of a great age in the order of life. They have been
artificially conserved by those strange accidental conditions.'
 'But surely your evidence is conclusive. You have only to lay it
before the proper authorities.'
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 140}
 'So, in my simplicity, I had imagined,' said the Professor,
bitterly. 'I can only tell you that it was not so, that I was met at
every turn by incredulity, born partly of stupidity and partly of
jealousy. It is not my nature, sir, to cringe to any man, or to seek
to prove a fact if my word has been doubted. After the first I have
not condescended to show such corroborative proofs as I possess. The
subject became hateful to me- I would not speak of it. When men like
yourself, who represent the foolish curiosity of the public, came to
disturb my privacy I was unable to meet them with dignified reserve.
By nature I am, I admit, somewhat fiery, and under provocation I am
inclined to be violent. I fear you may have remarked it.'
 I nursed my eye and was silent.
 'My wife has frequently remonstrated with me upon the subject, and
yet I fancy that any man of honour would feel the same. Tonight,
however, I propose to give an extreme example of the control of the
will over the emotions. I invite you to be present at the exhibition.'
He handed me a card from his desk. 'You will perceive that Mr.
Percival Waldron, a naturalist of some popular repute, is announced to
lecture at eight-thirty at the Zoological Institute's Hall upon "The
Record of the Ages". I have been specially invited to be present
upon the platform, and to move a vote of thanks to the lecturer. While
doing so, I shall make it my business, with infinite tact and
delicacy, to throw out a few remarks which may arouse the interest
of the audience and cause some of them to desire to go more deeply
into the matter. Nothing contentious, you understand, but only an
indication that there are greater deeps beyond. I shall hold myself
strongly in leash, and see whether by this self-restraint I attain a
more favourable result.'
 'And I may come?' I asked eagerly.
 'Why, surely,' he answered, cordially. He had an enormously
massive genial manner, which was almost as overpowering as his
violence. His smile of benevolence was a wonderful thing, when his
cheeks would suddenly bunch into two red apples, between his
half-closed eyes and his great black beard. 'By all means, come. It
will be a comfort to me to know that I have one ally in the hall,
however inefficient and ignorant of the subject he may be. I fancy
there will be a large audience, for Waldron, though an absolute
charlatan, has a considerable popular following. Now, Mr. Malone, I
have given you rather more of my time than I had intended. The
individual must not monopolise what is meant for the world. I shall be
please to see you at the lecture tonight. In the meantime, you will
understand that no public use is to be made of any of the material
that I have given you.'
                                                      {CH_4 ^paragraph 145}
 'But Mr. McArdle- my news editor, you know- will want to know what I
have done.'
 'Tell him what you like. You can say, among other things, that if he
sends anyone else to intrude upon me I shall call upon him with a
riding whip. But I leave it to you that nothing of all this appears in
print. Very good. Then the Zoological Institute's Hall at eight-thirty
tonight.' I had a last impression of red cheeks, blue rippling
beard, and tolerant eyes, as he waved me out of the room.

                            5. Question!
 WHAT with the physical shocks incidental to my first interview
with Professor Challenger and the mental ones which accompanied the
second, I was a somewhat demoralised journalist by the time I found
myself in Enmore Park once more. In my aching head the one thought was
throbbing that there really was truth in this man's story, that it was
of tremendous consequence, and that it would work up into
inconceivable copy for the Gazette when I could obtain permission to
use it. A taxicab was waiting at the end of the road, so I sprang into
it and drove down to the office. McArdle was at his post as usual.
 'Well,' he cried expectantly, 'what may it run to? I'm thinking,
young man, you have been in the wars. Don't tell me that he
assaulted you.'
 'We had a little difference at first.'
 'What a man it is! What did you do?'
 'Well, he became more reasonable and we had a chat. But I got
nothing out of him- nothing for publication.'
                                                        {CH_5 ^paragraph 5}
 'I'm not so sure about that. You got a black eye out of him, and
that's for publication. We can't have this reign of terror, Mr.
Malone. We must bring the man to his bearings. I'll have a
leaderette on him tomorrow that will raise a blister. Just give me the
material and I will engage to brand the fellow for ever. Professor
Munchausen- how's that for an inset headline? Sir John Mandeville
redivivus- Cagliostro- all the imposters and bullies in history.
I'll show him up for the fraud he is.'
 'I wouldn't do that, sir.'
 'Why not?'
 'Because he is not a fraud at all.'
 'What!' roared McArdle. 'You don't mean to say you really believe
this stuff of his about mammoths and mastodons and great sea
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 10}
 'Well, I don't know about that. I don't think he makes any claims of
that kind. But I do believe that he has got something new.'
 'Then for Heaven's sake, man, write it up!'
 'I'm longing to, but all I know he gave me in confidence and on
condition that I didn't.' I condensed into a few sentences the
Professor's narrative. 'That's how it stands.'
 McArdle looked deeply incredulous.
 'Well, Mr. Malone,' he said at last, 'about this scientific
meeting tonight; there can be no privacy about that, anyhow. I don't
suppose any paper will want to report it, for Waldron has been
reported already a dozen times, and no one is aware that Challenger
will speak. We may get a scoop, if we are lucky. You'll be there in
any case, so you'll just give us a pretty full report. I'll keep space
up to midnight.'
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 15}
 My day was a busy one, and I had an early dinner at the Savage
Club with Tarp Henry, to whom I gave some account of my adventures. He
listened with a sceptical smile on his gaunt face, and roared with
laughter on hearing that the Professor had convinced me.
 'My dear chap, things don't happen like that in real life. People
don't stumble upon enormous discoveries and then lose their
evidence. Leave that to the novelists. The fellow is as full of tricks
as the monkey-house at the Zoo. It's all absolute bosh.'
 'But the American poet?'
 'He never existed.'
 'I saw his sketch-book.'
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 20}
 'Challenger's sketch-book.'
 'You think he drew that animal?'
 'Of course he did. Who else?'
 'Well, then, the photographs?'
 'There was nothing in the photographs. By your own admission you
only saw a bird.'
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 25}
 'A pterodactyl.'
 'That's what he says. He put the pterodactyl into your head.'
 'Well, then, the bones?'
 'First one out of an Irish stew. Second one vamped up for the
occasion. If you are clever and you know your business you can fake
a bone as easily as you can a photograph.'
 I began to feel uneasey. Perhaps, after all, I had been premature in
my acquiescence. Then I had a sudden happy thought.
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 30}
 'Will you come to the meeting?' I asked.
 Tarp Henry looked thoughtful.
 'He is not a popular person, the genial Challenger,' said he. 'A lot
of people have accounts to settle with him. I should say he is about
the best-hated man in London. If the medical students turn out there
will be no end of a rag. I don't want to get into a bear-garden.'
 'You might at least do him the justice to hear him state his own
 'Well, perhaps it's only fair. All right. I'm your man for the
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 35}
 When we arrived at the hall we found a much greater concourse than I
had expected. A line of electric broughams discharged their little
cargoes of white-bearded professors, while the dark stream of
humbler pedestrians, who crowded through the arched doorway, showed
that the audience would be popular as well as scientific. Indeed, it
became evident to us as soon as we had taken our seats that a youthful
and even boyish spirit was abroad in the gallery and the back portions
of the hall. Looking behind me, I could see rows of faces of the
familiar medical student type. Apparently the great hospitals had each
sent down their contingent. The behaviour of the audience at present
was good-humoured, but mischievous. Scraps of popular songs were
chorused with an enthusiasm which was a strange prelude to a
scientific lecture, and there was already a tendency to personal chaff
which promised a jovial evening to others, however embarrassing it
might be to the recipients of these dubious honours.
 Thus, when old Doctor Meldrum, with his well-known curly-brimmed
opera-hat, appeared upon the platform, there was such a universal
query of 'Where did you get that tile?' that he hurriedly removed
it, and concealed it furtively under his chair. When gouty Professor
Wadley limped down to his seat there were general affectionate
inquiries from all parts of the hall as to the exact state of his poor
toe, which caused him obvious embarrassment. The greatest
demonstration of all, however, was at the entrance of my new
acquaintance, Professor Challenger, when he passed down to take his
place at the extreme end of the front row of the platform. Such a yell
of welcome broke forth when his black beard first protruded round
the corner that I began to suspect Tarp Henry was right in his
surmise, and that this assemblage was there not merely for the sake of
the lecture, but because it had got rumoured abroad that the famous
Professor would take part in the proceedings.
 There was some sympathetic laughter on his entrance among the
front benches of well-dressed spectators, as though the
demonstration of the students in this instance was not unwelcome to
them. That greeting was, indeed, a frightful outburst of sound, the
uproar of the carnivora cage when the step of the bucket-bearing
keeper is heard in the distance. There was an offensive tone in it,
perhaps, and yet in the main it struck me as mere riotous outcry,
the noisy reception of one who amused and interested them, rather than
of one they disliked or despised. Challenger smiled with weary and
tolerant contempt, as a kindly man would meet the yapping of a
litter of puppies. He sat slowly down, blew out his chest, passed
his hand caressingly down his beard, and looked with drooping
eyelids and supercilious eyes at the crowded hall before him. The
uproar of his advent had not yet died away when Professor Ronald
Murray, the Chairman, and Mr. Waldron, the lecturer, threaded their
way to the front, and the proceedings began.
 Professor Murray will, I am sure, excuse me if I say that he has the
common fault of most Englishmen of being inaudible. Why on earth
people who have something to say which is worth hearing should not
take the slight trouble to learn how to make it heard is one of the
strange mysteries of modern life. Their methods are as reasonable as
to try to pour some precious stuff from the spring to the reservoir
through a non-conducting pipe, which could by the least effort be
opened. Professor Murray made several profound remarks to his white
tie and to the water-carafe upon the table, with a humorous, twinkling
aside to the silver candlestick upon his right. Then he sat down,
and Mr. Waldron, the famous lecturer, rose amid a general murmur of
applause. He was a stern, gaunt man, with a harsh voice and an
aggressive manner, but he had the merit of knowing how to assimilate
the ideas of other men, and to pass them on in a way which was
intelligible and even interesting to the lay public, with a happy
knack of being funny about the most unlikely objects, so that the
precession of the Equinox or the formation of a vertebrate became a
highly humorous process as treated by him.
 It was a bird's-eye view of creation, as interpreted by science,
which, in language always clear and sometimes picturesque, he unfolded
before us. He told us of the globe, a huge mass of flaming gas,
flaring through the heavens. Then he pictured the solidification,
the cooling, the wrinkling which formed the mountains, the steam which
turned to water, the slow preparation of the stage upon which was to
be played the inexplicable drama of life. On the origin of life itself
he was discreetly vague. That the germs of it could hardly have
survived the original roasting was, he declared, fairly certain.
Therefore it had come later. Had it built itself out of the cooling,
inorganic elements of the globe? Very likely. Had the germs of it
arrived from outside upon a meteor? It was hardly conceivable. On
the whole, the wisest man was the least dogmatic upon the point. We
could not- or at least we had not succeeded up to date in making
organic life in our laboratories out of inorganic materials. The
gulf between the dead and the living was something which our chemistry
could not as yet bridge. But there was a higher and subtler
chemistry of Nature, which, working with great forces over long
epochs, might well produce results which were impossible for us. There
the matter must be left.
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 40}
 This brought the lecturer to the great ladder of animal life,
beginning low down in molluscs and feeble sea creatures, then up
rung by rung through reptiles and fishes, till at last we came to a
kangaroo-rat, a creature which brought forth its young alive, the
direct ancestor of all mammals, and presumably, therefore, of everyone
in the audience. ('No, no,' from a sceptical student in the back row.)
If the young gentleman in the red tie who cried 'No, no', and who
presumably claimed to have been hatched out of an egg, would wait upon
him after the lecture, he would be glad to see such a curiosity.
(Laughter.) It was strange to think that the climax of all the
age-long processes of Nature had been the creation of that gentleman
in the red tie. But had the process stopped? Was this gentleman to
be taken as the final type- the be-all and end-all of development?
He hoped that he would not hurt the feelings of the gentleman in the
red tie if he maintained that, whatever virtues that gentleman might
possess in private life, still the vast processes of the universe were
not fully justified if they were to end entirely in his production.
Evolution was not a spent force, but one still working, and even
greater achievements were in store.
 Having thus, amid a general titter, played very prettily with his
interrupter, the lecturer went back to his picture of the past, the
drying of the seas, the emergence of the sand-bank, the sluggish,
viscous life which lay upon their margins, the overcrowded lagoons,
the tendency of the sea creatures to take refuge upon the mud-flats,
the abundance of food awaiting them, their consequent enormous growth.
'Hence, ladies and gentlemen,' he added, 'that frightful brood of
saurians which still afright our eyes when seen in the Wealden or in
the Solenhofen slates, but which were fortunately extinct long
before the first appearance of mankind upon this planet.'
 'Question!' boomed a voice from the platform.
 Mr. Waldron was a strict disciplinarian with a gift of humour, as
exemplified upon the gentleman with the red tie, which made it
perilous to interrupt him. But this interjection appeared to him so
absurd that he was at a loss how to deal with it. So looks the
Shakespearean who is confronted by a rancid Baconian, or the
astronomer who is assailed by a flat-earth fanatic. He paused for a
moment, and then, raising his voice, repeated slowly the words: 'Which
were extinct before the coming of man.'
 'Question!' boomed the voice once more.
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 45}
 Waldron looked with amazement along the line of professors upon
the platform until his eyes fell upon the figure of Challenger, who
leaned back in his chair with closed eyes and an amused expression, as
if he were smiling in his sleep.
 'I see!' said Waldron, with a shrug. 'It is my friend Professor
Challenger,' and amid laughter he renewed his lecture as if this was a
final explanation and no more need be said.
 But the incident was far from being closed. Whatever path the
lecturer took amid the wilds of the past seemed invariably to lead him
to some assertion as to extinct or prehistoric life which instantly
brought the same bull's bellow from the Professor. The audience
began to anticipate it and to roar with delight when it came. The
packed benches of students joined in, and every time Challenger's
beard opened, before any sound could come forth, there was a yell of
'Question' from a hundred voices, and an answering counter-cry of
'Order!' and 'Shame!' from as many more. Waldron, though a hardened
lecturer and a strong man, became rattled. He hesitated, stammered,
repeated himself, got snarled in a long sentence, and finally turned
furiously upon the cause of his troubles.
 'This is really intolerable!' he cried, glaring across the platform.
'I must ask you, Professor Challenger, to cease these ignorant and
unmannerly interruptions.'
 There was a hush over the hall, the students rigid with delight at
seeing the high gods on Olympus quarrelling among themselves.
Challenger levered his bulky figure slowly out of his chair.
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 50}
 'I must in turn ask you, Mr. Waldron,' he said, 'to cease to make
assertions which are not in strict accordance with scientific fact.'
 The words unloosed a tempest. 'Shame! Shame!' 'Give him a
hearing!' 'Put him out!' 'Shove him off the platform!' 'Fair play!'
emerged from a general roar of amusement or execration. The chairman
was on his feet flapping both his hands and bleating excitedly.
'Professor Challenger- personal- views- later,' were the solid peaks
above his clouds of inaudible mutter. The interrupter bowed, smiled,
stroked his beard, and relapsed into his chair. Waldron, very
flushed and warlike, continued his observations. Now and then, as he
made an assertion, he shot a venomous glance at his opponent, who
seemed to be slumbering deeply, with the same broad, happy smile
upon his face.
 At last the lecture came to an end- I am inclined to think that it
was a premature one, as the peroration was hurried and disconnected.
The thread of the argument had been rudely broken, and the audience
was restless and expectant. Waldron sat down, and after a chirrup from
the chairman, Professor Challenger rose and advanced to the edge of
the platform. In the interests of my paper I took down his speech
 'Ladies and Gentlemen,' he began, amid a sustained interruption from
the back. 'I beg pardon- Ladies, Gentlemen, and Children- I must
apologise, I had inadvertently omitted a considerable section of
this audience' (tumult, during which the Professor stood with one hand
raised and his enormous head nodding sympathetically, as if he were
bestowing a pontifical blessing upon the crowd), 'I have been selected
to move a vote of thanks to Mr. Waldron for the very picturesque and
imaginative address to which we have just listened. There are points
in it with which I disagree, and it has been my duty to indicate
them as they arose, but, none the less, Mr. Waldron has accomplished
his object well, that object being to give a simple and interesting
account of what he conceives to have been the history of our planet.
Popular lectures are the easiest to listen to, but Mr. Waldron'
(here he beamed and blinked at the lecturer) 'will excuse me when I
say that they are necessarily both superficial and misleading, since
they have to be graded to the comprehension of an ignorant
audience.' (Ironical cheering.) 'Popular lecturers are in their nature
parasitic.' (Angry gesture of protest from Mr. Waldron.) 'They exploit
for fame or cash the work which has been done by the indigent and
unknown brethren. One smallest new fact obtained in the laboratory,
one brick built into the temple of science, far outweighs any
second-hand exposition which passes an idle hour, but can leave no
useful result behind it. I put forward this obvious reflection, not
out of any desire to disparage Mr. Waldron in particular, but that you
may not lose your sense of proportion and mistake the acolyte for
the high priest.' (At this point Mr. Waldron whispered to the
chairman, who half rose and said something severely to his
water-carafe.) 'But enough of this!' (Loud and prolonged cheers.) 'Let
me pass to some subject of wider interest. What is the particular
point upon which I, as an original investigator, have challenged our
lecturer's accuracy? It is upon the permanence of certain types of
animal life upon the earth. I do not speak upon this subject as an
amateur, nor, I may add, as a popular lecturer, but I speak as one
whose scientific conscience compels him to adhere closely to facts,
when I say that Mr. Waldron is very wrong in supposing that because he
has never himself seen a so-called prehistoric animal, therefore these
creatures no longer exist. They are indeed, as he has said, our
ancestors, but they are, if I may use the expression, our contemporary
ancestors, who can still be found with all their hideous and
formidable characteristics if one has but the energy and hardihood
to seek their haunts. Creatures which were supposed to be jurassic,
monsters who would hunt down and devour our largest and fiercest
mammals, still exist.' (Cries of 'Bosh!' 'Prove it!' 'How do you
know?' 'Question!') 'How do I know? you ask me. I know because I
have visited their secret haunts. I know because I have seen some of
them.' (Applause, uproar, and a voice, 'Liar!') 'Am I a liar?'
(General hearty and noisy assent.) 'Did I hear someone say that I
was a liar? Will the person who called me a liar kindly stand up
that I may know him?' (A voice, 'Here he is, sir!' and an
inoffensive little person in spectacles, struggling violently was held
up among a group of students.) 'Did you venture to call me a liar?'
('No, sir, no!' shouted the accused, and disappeared like a
Jack-in-the-box.) 'If any person in this hall dares to doubt my
veracity, I shall be glad to have a few words with him after the
lecture.' ('Liar!') 'Who said that?' (Again the inoffensive one,
plunging desperately was elevated high in the air.) 'If I come down
among you-' (General chorus of 'Come, love, come!' which interrupted
the proceedings for some moments, while the chairman, standing up
and waving both his arms seemed to be conducting the music. The
Professor, with his face flushed, his nostrils dilated, and his
beard bristling, was now in a proper Berserk mood.) 'Every great
discoverer has been met with the same incredulity- the sure brand of a
generation of fools. When great facts are laid before you, you have
not the intuition, the imagination which would help you to
understand them. You can only throw mud at the men who have risked
their lives to open new fields to science. You persecute the prophets!
Galileo, Darwin, and I-' (Prolonged cheering and complete
 All this is from my hurried notes taken at the time, which give
little notion of the absolute chaos to which the assembly had by
this time been reduced. So terrific was the uproar that several ladies
had already beaten a hurried retreat. Grave and reverend seniors
seemed to have caught the prevailing spirit as badly as the
students, and I saw white-bearded men rising and shaking their fists
at the obdurate Professor. The whole great audience seethed and
simmered like a boiling pot. The Professor took a step forward and
raised both his hands. There was something so big and arresting and
virile in the man that the clatter and shouting died gradually away
before his commanding gesture and his masterful eyes. He seemed to
have a definite message. They hushed to hear it.
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 55}
 'I will not detain you,' he said. 'It is not worth it. Truth is
truth, and the noise of a number of foolish young men- and, I fear I
must add, of their equally foolish seniors- cannot affect the
matter. I claim that I have opened a new field of science. You dispute
it.' (Cheers.) 'Then I put you to the test. Will you accredit one or
more of your own number to go out as your representatives and test
my statement in your name?'
 Mr. Summerlee, the veteran Professor of Comparative Anatomy, rose
among the audience, a tall, thin, bitter man, with the withered aspect
of a theologian. He wished, he said, to ask Professor Challenger
whether the results to which he had alluded in his remarks had been
obtained during a journey to the headwaters of the Amazon made by
him two years before.
 Professor Challenger answered that they had.
 Mr. Summerlee desired to know how it was that Professor Challenger
claimed to have made discoveries in those regions which had been
overlooked by Wallace, Bates, and other previous explorers of
established scientific repute.
 Professor Challenger answered that Mr. Summerlee appeared to be
confusing the Amazon with the Thames; that it was in reality a
somewhat larger river; that Mr. Summerlee might be interested to
know that with the Orinoco, which communicated with it, some fifty
thousand miles of country were opened up, and that in so vast a
space it was not impossible for one person to find what another had
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 60}
 Mr. Summerlee declared, with an acid smile, that he fully
appreciated the difference between the Thames and the Amazon, which
lay in the fact that any assertion about the former could be tested,
while about the latter it could not. He would be obliged if
Professor Challenger would give the latitude and the longitude of
the country in which prehistoric animals were to be found.
 Professor Challenger replied that he reserved such information for
good reasons of his own, but would be prepared to give it with
proper precautions to a committee chosen from the audience. Would
Mr. Summerlee serve on such a committee and test his story in person?
 Mr. Summerlee: 'Yes, I will.' (Great cheering.)
 Professor Challenger: 'Then I guarantee that I will place in your
hands such material as will enable you to find your way. It is only
right, however, since Mr. Summerlee goes to check my statement that
I should have one or more with him who may check his. I will not
disguise from you that there are difficulties and dangers. Mr.
Summerlee will need a younger colleague. May I ask for volunteers?'
 It is thus that the great crisis of a man's life springs out at him.
Could I have imagined when I entered that hall that I was about to
pledge myself to a wilder adventure than had ever come to me in my
dreams? But Gladys- was it not the very opportunity of which she
spoke? Gladys would have told me to go. I had sprung to my feet. I was
speaking, and yet I had prepared no words. Tarp Henry, my companion,
was plucking at my skirts and I heard him whispering, 'Sit down,
Malone! Don't make a public ass of yourself.' At the same time I was
aware that a tall, thin man, with dark gingery hair, a few seats in
front of me, was also upon his feet. He glared back at me with hard
angry eyes, but I refused to give way.
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 65}
 'I will go, Mr. Chairman,' I kept repeating over and over again.
 'Name! Name!' cried the audience.
 'My name is Edward Dunn Malone. I am the reporter of the Daily
Gazette. I claim to be an absolutely unprejudiced witness.'
 'What is your name, sir?' the chairman asked of my tall rival.
 'I am Lord John Roxton. I have already been up the Amazon, I know
all the ground, and have special qualifications for this
                                                       {CH_5 ^paragraph 70}
 'Lord John Roxton's reputation as a sportsman and a traveller is, of
course, world-famous,' said the chairman; 'at the same time it would
certainly be as well to have a member of the Press upon such an
 'Then I move,' said Professor Challenger, 'that both these gentlemen
be elected, as representatives of this meeting, to accompany Professor
Summerlee upon his journey to investigate and to report upon the truth
of my statements.'
 And so, amid shouting and cheering, our fate was decided, and I
found myself borne away in the human current which swirled towards the
door, with my mind half stunned by the vast new project which had
risen so suddenly before it. As I emerged from the hall I was
conscious for a moment of a rush of laughing students down the
pavement, and of an arm wielding a heavy umbrella, which rose and fell
in the midst of them. Then, amid a mixture of groans and cheers,
Professor Challenger's electric brougham slid from the kerb, and I
found myself walking under the silver lights of Regent Street, full of
thoughts of Gladys and of wonder as to my future.
 Suddenly there was a touch at my elbow. I turned, and found myself
looking into the humorous, masterful eyes of the tall, thin man who
had volunteered to be my companion on this strange quest.
 'Mr. Malone, I understand,' said he. 'We are to be companions- what?
My rooms are just over the road, in the Albany. Perhaps you would have
the kindness to spare me half an hour, for there are one or two things
that I badly want to say to you.'

                   6. I Was the Flail of the Lord
 LORD JOHN Roxton and I turned down Vigo Street together and
through the dingy portals of the famous aristocratic rookery. At the
end of a long drab passage my new acquaintance pushed open a door
and turned on an electric switch. A number of lamps shining through
tinted shades bathed the whole great room before us in a ruddy
radiance. Standing in the doorway and glancing round me, I had a
general impression of extraordinary comfort and elegance compared with
an atmosphere of masculine virility. Everywhere there were mingled the
luxury of the wealthy man of taste and the careless untidiness of
the bachelor. Rich furs and strange iridescent mats from some Oriental
bazaar were scattered upon the floor. Pictures and prints which even
my unpractised eyes could recognise as being of great price and rarity
hung thick upon the walls. Sketches of boxers, of ballet-girls, and of
race-horses alternated with a sensuous Fragonard, a martial
Girardet, and a dreamy Turner. But amid these varied ornaments there
were scattered the trophies which brought back strongly to my
recollection the fact that Lord John Roxton was one of the great
all-round sportsmen and athletes of his day. A dark-blue oar crossed
with a cherry-pink one above his mantel-piece spoke of the old Oxonian
and Leander man, while the foils and boxing-gloves above and below
them were the tools of a man who had won supremacy with each. Like a
dado round the room was the jutting line of splendid heavy game-heads,
the best of their sort from every quarter of the world, with the
rare white rhinoceros of the Lado Enclave drooping its supercilious
lip above them all.
 In the centre of the rich red carpet was a black and gold Louis
Quinze table, a lovely antique, now sacrilegiously desecrated with
marks of glasses and the scars of cigar-stumps. On it stood a silver
tray of smokables and a burnished spirit-stand, from which and an
adjacent siphon my silent host proceeded to charge two high glasses.
Having indicated an arm-chair to me and placed my refreshment near it,
he handed me a long, smooth Havana. Then, seating himself opposite
to me, he looked at me long and fixedly with his strange, twinkling,
reckless eyes- eyes of a cold light blue, the colour of a glacier
 Through the thin haze of my cigar smoke I noted the details of a
face which was already familiar to me from many photographs- the
strongly-curved nose, the hollow, worn cheeks, the dark, ruddy hair,
thin at the top, the crisp, virile moustaches, the small aggressive
tuft upon his projecting chin. Something there was of Napoleon III,
something of Don Quixote, and yet again something which was the
essence of the English country gentleman, the keen, alert, open-air
lover of dogs and of horses. His skin was of a rich flower-pot red
from sun and wind. His eyebrows were tufted and overhanging, which
gave those naturally cold eyes an almost ferocious aspect, an
impression which was increased by his strong and furrowed brow. In
figure he was spare, but very strongly built-indeed, he had often
proved that there were few men in England capable of such sustained
exertions. His height was a little over six feet, but he seemed
shorter on account of a peculiar rounding of the shoulders. Such was
the famous Lord John Roxton as he sat opposite to me, biting hard upon
his cigar and watching me steadily in a long and embarrassing silence.
 'Well,' said he, at last, 'we've gone and done it, young
fellah-my-lad.' (This curious phrase he pronounced as if it were all
one word- 'young fellah-my-lad'.) 'Yes, we've taken a jump, you an'
me. I suppose, now, when you went into that room there was no such
notion in your head- what?'
 'No thought of it.'
                                                        {CH_6 ^paragraph 5}
 'The same here. No thought of it. And here we are, up to our necks
in the tureen. Why, I've only been back three weeks from Uganda, and
taken a place in Scotland, and signed the lease and all. Pretty goin's
on- what? How does it hit you?'
 'Well, it is all in the main line of my business. I am a
journalist on the Gazette.'
 'Of course- you said so when you took it on. By the way, I've got
a small job for you, if you'll help me.'
 'With pleasure.'
 'Don't mind takin' a risk, do you?'
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 10}
 'What is the risk?'
 'Well, it's Ballinger- he's the risk. You've heard of him?'
 'Why, young fellah, where have you lived? Sir John Ballinger is
the best gentleman jock in the north country. I could hold him on
the flat at my best, but over jumps he's my master. Well, it's an open
secret that when he's out of trainin' he drinks hard- strikin' an
average, he calls it. He got delirium on Toosday, and has been
ragin' like a devil ever since. His room is above this. The doctors
say that it is all up with the old dear unless some food is got into
him, but as he lies in bed with a revolver on his coverlet, and swears
he will put six of the best through anyone that comes near him,
there's been a bit of a strike among the serving-men. He's a hard
nail, is Jack, and a dead shot, too, but you can't leave a Grand
National winner to die like that- what?'
 'What do you mean to do, then?' I asked.
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 15}
 'Well, my idea was that you and I could rush him. He may be
dozin', and at the worst he can only wing one of us, and the other
should have him. If we can get his bolster-cover round his arms and
then 'phone up a stomach-pump, we'll give the old dear the supper of
his life.'
 It was rather a desperate business to come suddenly into one's day's
work. I don't think that I am a particularly brave man. I have an
Irish imagination which makes the unknown and the untried more
terrible than they are. On the other hand, I was brought up with a
horror of cowardice and with a terror of such a stigma. I dare say
that I could throw myself over a precipice, like the Hun in the
history books, if my courage to do it were questioned, and yet it
would surely be pride and fear, rather than courage, which would be my
inspiration. Therefore, although every nerve in my body shrank from
the whisky-maddened figure which I pictured in the room above, I still
answered, in as careless a voice as I could command, that I was
ready to go. Some further remark of Lord Roxton's about the danger
only made me irritable.
 'Talking won't make it any better,' said I. 'Come on.'
 I rose from my chair and he from his. Then, with a little
confidential chuckle of laughter, he patted me two or three times on
my chest, finally pushing me back into my chair.
 'All right, sonny my lad- you'll do,' said he.
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 20}
 I looked up in surprise.
 'I saw after Jack Ballinger myself this mornin'. He blew a hole in
the skirt of my kimono, bless his shaky old hand, but we got a
jacket on him, and he's to be all right in a week. I say, young
fellah, I hope you don't mind- what? You see, between you an' me
close-tiled, I look on this South American business as a mighty
serious thing, and if I have a pal with me I want a man I can bank on.
So I sized you down, and I'm bound to say that you came well out of
it. You see, it's all up to you and me, for this old Summerlee man
will want dry-nursin' from the first. By the way, are you by any
chance the Malone who is expected to get his Rugby cap for Ireland?'
 'A reserve, perhaps.'
 'I thought I remembered your face. Why, I was there when you got
that try against Richmond- as fine a swervin' run as I saw the whole
season. I never miss a Rugby match if I can help it, for it is the
manliest game we have left. Well, I didn't ask you in here just to
talk sport. We've got to fix our business. Here are the sailin's, on
the first page of The Times. There's a Booth boat for Para next
Wednesday week, and if the Professor and you can work it, I think we
should take it- what? Very good, I'll fix it with him. What about your
 'My paper will see to that.'
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 25}
 'Can you shoot?'
 'About average Territorial standard.'
 'Good Lord! as bad as that? It's the last thing you young fellahs
think of learnin'. You're all bees without stings, so far as lookin'
after the hive goes. You'll look silly, some o' these days, when
someone comes along an' sneaks the honey. But you'll need to hold your
gun straight in South America, for unless our friend the Professor
is a madman or a liar, we may see some queer things before we get
back. What gun have you?'
 He crossed to an oaken cupboard, and as he threw it open I caught
a glimpse of glistening rows of parallel barrels, like the pipes of an
 'I'll see what I can spare you out of my own battery,' said he.
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 30}
 One by one he took out a succession of beautiful rifles, opening and
shutting them with a snap and a clang, and then patting them as he put
them back into the rack as tenderly as a mother would fondle her
 'This is a Blands .577 axite express,' said he. 'I got that big
fellow with it.' He glanced up at the white rhinoceros. 'Ten more
yards, and he'd have added me to his collection.
           "On that conical bullet his one chance hangs,
               'Tis the weak one's advantage fair."
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 35}
 Hope you know your Gordon, for he's the poet of the horse and the
gun and the man that handles both. Now, here's a useful tool- .470,
telescopic sight, double ejector, point-blank up to three-fifty.
That's the rifle I used against the Peruvian slave-drivers three years
ago. I was the flail of the Lord up in those parts, I may tell you,
though you won't find it in any Blue-book. There are times, young
fellah, when every one of us must make a stand for human right and
justice, or you never feel clean again. That's why I made a little war
on my own. Declared it myself, waged it myself, ended it myself.
Each of those nicks is for a slave murderer- a good row of them- what?
That big one is for Pedro Lopez, the king of them all, that I killed
in a backwater of the Putomayo River. Now, here's something that would
do for you.' He took out a beautiful brown-and-silver rifle. 'Well
rubbered at the stock, sharply sighted, five cartridges to the clip.
You can trust your life to that.' He handed it to me and closed the
door of his oak cabinet. 'By the way,' he continued, coming back to
his chair, 'what do you know of this Professor Challenger?'
 'I never saw him till today.'
 'Well, neither did I. It's funny we should both sail under sealed
orders from a man we don't know. He seemed an uppish old bird. His
brothers of science don't seem too fond of him either. How came you to
take an interest in the affair?'
 I told him shortly my experiences of the morning, and he listened
intently. Then he drew out a map of South America and laid it on the
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 40}
 'I believe every single word he said to you was the truth,' said he,
earnestly, 'and, mind you, I have something to go on when I speak like
that. South America is a place I love, and I think, if you take it
right through from Darien to Fuego, it's the grandest, richest, most
wonderful bit of earth upon this planet. People don't know it yet, and
don't realise what it may become. I've been up an' down it from end to
end, and had two dry seasons in those very parts, as I told you when I
spoke of the war I made on the slave-dealers. Well, when I was up
there I heard some yarns of the same kind- traditions of Indians and
the like, but with somethin' behind them, no doubt. The more you
knew of that country, young fellah, the more you would understand that
anythin' was possible- anythin'. There are just some narrow
water-lanes along which folk travel, and outside that it is all
darkness. Now, down here in the Matto Grosso'- he swept his cigar over
a part of the map- 'or up in this corner where three countries meet,
nothin' would surprise me. As that chap said tonight, there are
fifty thousand miles of water-way runnin' through a forest that is
very near the size of Europe. You and I could be as far away from each
other as Scotland is from Constantinople, and yet each of us be in the
same Brazilian forest. Man has just made a track here and a scrape
there in the maze. Why, the river rises and falls the best part of
forty feet, and half the country is a morass that you can't pass over.
Why shouldn't somethin' new and wonderful lie in such a country? And
why shouldn't we be the men to find it out? Besides,' he added, his
queer, gaunt face shining with delight, 'there's a sportin' risk in
every mile of it. I'm like an old golfball- I've had all the white
paint knocked off me long ago. Life can whack me about now and it
can't leave a mark. But a sportin' risk, young fellah, that's the salt
of existence. Then it's worth livin' again. We're all gettin' a deal
too soft and dull and comfy. Give me the great waste lands and the
wide spaces, with a gun in my fist and somethin' to look for that's
worth findin'. I've tried war and steeplechasin' and aeroplanes, but
this huntin' of beasts that look like a lobster-supper dream is a
brand-new sensation.' He chuckled with glee at the prospect.
 Perhaps I have dwelt too long upon this new acquaintance, but he
is to be my comrade for many a day, and so I have tried to set him
down as I first saw him, with his quaint personality and his queer
little tricks of speech and of thought. It was only the need of
getting in the account of my meeting which drew me at last from his
company. I left him seated amid his pink radiance, oiling the lock
of his favourite rifle, while he still chuckled to himself at the
thought of the adventures which awaited us. It was very clear to me
that if dangers lay before us I could not in all England have found
a cooler head or a braver spirit with which to share them.
 That night, wearied as I was after the wonderful happenings of the
day, I sat with McArdle, the news editor, explaining to him the
whole situation, which he thought important enough to bring next
morning before the notice of Sir George Beaumont, the chief. It was
agreed that I should write home full accounts of my adventures in
the shape of successive letters to McArdle, and that these should
either be edited for the Gazette as they arrived, or held back to be
published later, according to the wishes of Professor Challenger,
since we could not yet know what conditions he might attach to those
directions which should guide us to the unknown land. In response to a
telephone inquiry, we received nothing more definite than a
fulmination against the Press, ending up with the remark that if we
would notify our boat he would hand us any directions which he might
think it proper to give us at the moment of starting. A second
question from us failed to elicit any answer at all, save a
plaintive bleat from his wife to the effect that her husband was in
a very violent temper already, and that she hoped we would do
nothing to make it worse. A third attempt, later in the day,
provoked a terrific crash, and a subsequent message from the Central
Exchange that Professor Challenger's receiver had been shattered.
After that we abandoned all attempt at communication.
 And now, my patient readers, I can address you directly no longer.
From now onwards (if, indeed, any continuation of this narrative
should ever reach you) it can only be through the paper which I
represent. In the hands of the editor I leave this account of the
events which have led up to one of the most remarkable expeditions
of all time, so that if I never return to England there shall be
some record as to how the affair came about. I am writing these last
lines in the saloon of the Booth liner Francisca, and they will go
back by the pilot to the keeping of Mr. McArdle. Let me draw one
last picture before I close the notebook- a picture which is the
last memory of the old country which I bear away with me. It is a wet,
foggy morning in the late spring; a thin, cold rain is falling.
Three shining mackintoshed figures are walking down the quay, making
for the gang-plank of the great liner from which the blue-peter is
flying. In front of them a porter pushes a trolley piled high with
trunks, wraps, and gun-cases. Professor Summerlee, a long,
melancholy figure, walks with dragging steps and drooping head, as one
who is already profoundly sorry for himself. Lord John Roxton steps
briskly, and his thin, eager face beams forth between his
hunting-cap and his muffler. As for myself, I am glad to have got
the bustling days of preparation and the pangs of leave-taking
behind me, and I have no doubt that I show it in my bearing. Suddenly,
just as we reach the vessel, there is a shout behind us. It is
Professor Challenger, who had promised to see us off. He runs after
us, a puffing, red-faced irascible figure.
 'No, thank you,' says he; 'I should much prefer not to go aboard.
I have only a few words to say to you, and they can very well be
said where we are. I beg you not to imagine that I am in any way
indebted to you for making this journey. I would have you to
understand that it is a matter of perfect indifference to me, and I
refuse to entertain the most remote sense of personal obligation.
Truth is truth, and nothing which you can report can affect it in
any way, though it may excite the emotions and allay the curiosity
of a number of very ineffectual people. My directions for your
instruction and guidance are in this sealed envelope. You will open it
when you reach a town upon the Amazon which is called Manaos, but
not until the date and hour which is marked upon the outside. Have I
made myself clear? I leave the strict observance of my conditions
entirely to your honour. No, Mr. Malone, I will place no restriction
upon your correspondence, since the ventilation of the facts is the
object of your journey; but I demand that you shall give no
particulars as to your exact destination, and that nothing be actually
published until return. Goodbye, sir. You have done something to
mitigate my feelings for the loathsome profession to which you
unhappily belong. Goodbye, Lord John. Science is, as I understand, a
sealed book to you; but you may congratulate yourself upon the
hunting-field which awaits you. You will, no doubt, have the
opportunity of describing in the Field how you brought down the
rocketing dimorphodon. And goodbye to you also, Professor Summerlee.
If you are still capable of self-improvement, of which I am frankly
unconvinced, you will surely return to London a wiser man.'
                                                       {CH_6 ^paragraph 45}
 So he turned upon his heel, and a minute later from the deck I could
see his short, squat figure bobbing about in the distance as he made
his way back to his train. Well, we are well down Channel now. There's
the last bell for letters, and it's goodbye to the pilot. We'll be
'down, hull-down, on the old trail' from now on. God bless all we
leave behind us, and send us safely back.

             7. Tomorrow We Disappear Into the Unknown
 I WILL not bore those whom this narrative may reach by an account of
our luxurious voyage upon the Booth liner, nor will I tell of our
week's stay at Para (save that I should wish to acknowledge the
great kindness of the Pereira da Pinta Company in helping us to get
together our equipment). I will also allude very briefly to our
river journey, up a wide, slow-moving, clay-tinted stream, in a
steamer which was little smaller than that which had carried us across
the Atlantic. Eventually we found ourselves through the narrows of
Obidos and reached the town of Manaos. Here we were rescued from the
limited attractions of the local inn by Mr. Shortman, the
representative of the British and Brazilian Trading Company. In his
hospitable fazenda we spent our time until the day when we were
empowered to open the letter of instructions given to us by
Professor Challenger. Before I reach the surprising events of that
date I would desire to give a clearer sketch of my comrades in this
enterprise, and of the associates whom we had already gathered
together in South America. I speak freely, and I leave the use of my
material to your own discretion, Mr. McArdle, since it is through your
hands that this report must pass before it reaches the world.
 The scientific attainments of Professor Summerlee are too well known
for me to trouble to recapitulate them. He is better equipped for a
rough expedition of this sort than one would imagine at first sight.
His tall, gaunt, stringy figure is insensible to fatigue, and his dry,
half-sarcastic and often wholly unsympathetic manner is uninfluenced
by any change in his surroundings. Though in his sixty-sixth year, I
have never heard him express any dissatisfaction at the occasional
hardships which we have had to encounter. I had regarded his
presence as an encumbrance to the expedition, but, as a matter of
fact, I am now well convinced that his power of endurance is as
great as my own. In temper he is naturally acid and sceptical. From
the beginning he has never concealed his belief that Professor
Challenger is an absolute fraud, that we are all embarked upon an
absurd wild-goose chase and that we are likely to reap nothing but
disappointment and danger in South America, and corresponding ridicule
in England. Such are the views which, with much passionate
distortion of his thin features and wagging of his thin, goat-like
beard, he poured into our ears all the way from Southampton to Manaos.
Since landing from the boat he has obtained some consolation from
the beauty and variety of the insect and bird life around him, for
he is absolutely whole-hearted in his devotion to science. He spends
his days flitting through the woods with his shot-gun and his
butterfly-net, and his evenings in mounting the many specimens he
has acquired. Among his minor peculiarities are that he is careless as
to his attire, unclean in his person, exceedingly absent-minded in his
habits, and addicted to smoking a short briar pipe, which is seldom
out of his mouth. He has been upon several scientific expeditions in
his youth (he was with Robertson in Papua), and the life of the camp
and the canoe is nothing fresh to him.
 Lord John Roxton has some points in common with Professor
Summerlee and others in which they are the very antithesis to each
other. He is twenty years younger, but has something of the same
spare, scraggy physique. As to his appearance, I have, as I recollect,
described it in that portion of my narrative which I have left
behind me in London. He is exceedingly neat and prim in his ways,
dresses always with great care in white drill suits and high brown
mosquito-boots, and shaves at least once a day. Like most men of
action, he is laconic in speech, and sinks readily into his own
thoughts, but he is always quick to answer a question or join in a
conversation, talking in a queer, half-humorous fashion. His knowledge
of the world, and very especially of South America, is surprising, and
he has a whole-hearted belief in the possibilities of our journey
which is not to be dashed by the sneers of Professor Summerlee. He has
a gentle voice and a quiet manner, but behind his twinkling blue
eyes there lurks a capacity for furious wrath and implacable
resolution, the more dangerous because they are held in leash. He
spoke little of his own exploits in Brazil and Peru, but it was a
revelation to me to find the excitement which was caused by his
presence among the riverine natives, who looked upon him as their
champion and protector. The exploits of the Red Chief, as they
called him, had become legends among them, but the real facts, as
far as I could learn them, were amazing enough.
 These were that Lord John had found himself some years before in
that no-man's land which is formed by the half-defined frontiers
between Peru, Brazil, and Columbia. In this great district the wild
rubber tree flourishes, and has become, as in the Congo, a curse to
the natives which can only be compared to their forced labour under
the Spaniards upon the old silver mines of Darien. A handful of
villainous half-breeds dominated the country, armed such Indians as
would support them, and turned the rest into slaves, terrorizing
them with the most inhuman tortures in order to force them to gather
the india-rubber, which was then floated down the river to Para.
Lord John Roxton expostulated on behalf of the wretched victims and
received nothing but threats and insults for his pains. He then
formally declared war against Pedro Lopez, the leader of the
slave-drivers, enrolled a band of runaway slaves in his service, armed
them, and conducted a campaign, which ended by his killing with his
own hands the notorious half-breed and breaking down the system
which he represented.
 No wonder that the ginger-headed man with the silky voice and the
free and easy manners was now looked upon with deep interest upon
the banks of the great South American river, though the feelings he
inspired were naturally mixed, since the gratitude of the natives
was equalled by the resentment of those who desired to exploit them.
One useful result of his former experiences was that he could talk
fluently in the Lingoa Geral, which is the peculiar talk, one-third
Portuguese and two-thirds Indian, which is current all over Brazil.
                                                        {CH_7 ^paragraph 5}
 I have said before that Lord John Roxton was a South
Americomaniac. He could not speak of that great country without
ardour, and this ardour was infectious, for, ignorant as I was, he
fixed my attention and stimulated my curiosity. How I wish I could
reproduce the glamour of his discourses, the peculiar mixture of
accurate knowledge and of racy imagination which gave them their
fascination, until even the Professor's cynical and sceptical smile
would gradually vanish from his thin face as he listened. He would
tell the history of the mighty river so rapidly explored (for some
of the first conquerors of Peru actually crossed the entire
continent upon its waters), and yet so unknown in regard to all that
lay behind its ever-changing banks.
 'What is there?' he would cry, pointing to the north. 'Wood and
marsh and unpenetrated jungle. Who knows what it may shelter? And
there to the south? A wilderness of swampy forests, where no white man
has ever been. The unknown is up against us on every side. Outside the
narrow lines of the rivers what does anyone know? Who will say what is
possible in such a country? Why should old man Challenger not be
right?' At which direct defiance the stubborn sneer would reappear
upon Professor Summerlee's face, and he would sit, shaking his
sardonic head in an unsympathetic silence, behind the cloud of his
briar-root pipe.
 So much, for the moment, for my two white companions, whose
characters and limitations will be further exposed, as surely as my
own, as this narrative proceeds. But already we have enrolled
certain retainers who may play no small part in which is to come.
The first is a gigantic negro named Zambo, who is a black Hercules, as
willing as any horse, and about as intelligent. Him we enlisted at
Para, on the recommendation of the steamship company, on whose vessels
he had learned to speak a halting English.
 It was at Para also that we engaged Gomez and Manuel, two
half-breeds from up the river, just come down with a cargo of redwood.
They were swarthy fellows, bearded and fierce, as active and wiry as
panthers. Both of them had spent their Eves in those upper waters of
the Amazon which we were to explore, and it was this recommendation
which had caused Lord John to engage them. One of them, Gomez, had the
further advantage that he could speak excellent English. These men
were willing to act as our personal servants, to cook, to row, or to
make themselves useful in any way at a payment of fifteen dollars a
month. Besides these, we had engaged three Mojo Indians from
Bolivia, who are the most skilful at fishing and boat work of all
the river tribes. The chief of these we called Mojo, after his
tribe, and the others are known as Jose and Fernando. Three white men,
then, two half-breeds, one negro, and three Indians made up the
personnel of the little expedition which lay waiting for its
instructions at Manaos, before starting upon its singular quest.
 At last after a weary week, the day had come and the hour. I ask you
to picture the shaded sitting-room of the Fazenda Santa Ignacio, two
miles inland from the town of Manaos. Outside lay the yellow, brassy
glare of the sunshine, with the shadows of the palm trees as black and
definite as the trees themselves. The air was calm, full of the
eternal hum of insects, a tropical chorus of many octaves, from the
deep drone of the bee to the high, keen pipe of the mosquito. Beyond
the veranda was a small cleared garden, bounded with cactus hedges and
adorned with clumps of flowering shrubs, round which the great blue
butterflys and the tiny humming-birds fluttered and darted in
crescents of sparkling light. Within we were seated round the cane
table, on which lay a sealed envelope. Inscribed upon it, in the
jagged handwriting of Professor Challenger, were the words:
                                                       {CH_7 ^paragraph 10}
     'Instructions to Lord John Roxton and party. To be
      opened at Manaos upon July 15th, at 12 o'clock precisely.'
 Lord John had placed his watch upon the table beside him.
                                                       {CH_7 ^paragraph 15}
 'We have seven more minutes,' said he. 'The old dear is very
 Professor Summerlee gave an acid smile as he picked up the
envelope in his gaunt hand.
 'What can it possibly matter whether we open it now or in seven
minutes?' said he. 'It is all part and parcel of the same system of
quackery and nonsense for which I regret to say that the writer is
 'Oh come, we must play the game accordin' to the rules,' said Lord
John. 'It's old man Challenger's show and we are here by his good
will, so it would be rotten bad form if we didn't follow his
instructions to the letter.'
 'A pretty business it is!' cried the Professor, bitterly. 'It struck
me as preposterous in London, but I'm bound to say that it seems
even more so upon closer acquaintance. I don't know what is inside
this envelope, but, unless it is something pretty definite, I shall be
much tempted to take the next down-river boat and catch the Bolivia at
Para. After all, I have some more responsible work in the world than
to run about disproving the assertions of a lunatic. Now, Roxton,
surely it is time.'
                                                       {CH_7 ^paragraph 20}
 'Time it is,' said Lord John. 'You can blow the whistle.' He took up
the envelope and cut it with his penknife. From it he drew a folded
sheet of paper. This he carefully opened out and flattened on the
table. It was a blank sheet. He turned it over. Again it was blank. We
looked at each other in a bewildered silence, which was broken by a
discordant burst of derisive laughter from Professor Summerlee.
 'It is an open admission,' he cried. 'What more do you want? The
fellow is a self-confessed humbug. We have only to return home and
report him as the brazen impostor that he is.'
 'Invisible ink!' I suggested.
 'I don't think!' said Lord Roxton, holding the paper to the light.
'No, young fellah-my-lad, there is no use deceiving yourself. I'll
go bail for it that nothing has ever been written upon this paper.'
 'May I come in?' boomed a voice from the veranda.
                                                       {CH_7 ^paragraph 25}
 The shadow of a squat figure had stolen across the patch of
sunlight. That voice! That monstrous breadth of shoulder! We sprang to
our feet with a gasp of astonishment as Challenger, in a round, boyish
straw-hat with a coloured ribbon- Challenger, with his hands in his
jacket-pockets and his canvas shoes daintily pointing as he walked-
appeared in the open space before us. He threw back his head, and
there he stood in the golden glow with all his old Assyrian luxuriance
of beard, his native insolence of drooping eyelids and intolerant
 'I fear,' said he, taking out his watch, 'that I am a few minutes
too late. When I gave you this envelope I must confess that I had
never intended that you should open it, for it had been my fixed
intention to be with you before the hour. The unfortunate delay can be
apportioned between a blundering pilot and an intrusive sandbank. I
fear that it has given my colleague, Professor Summerlee, occasion
to blaspheme.'
 'I am bound to say, sir,' said Lord John, with some sternness of
voice, 'that your turning up is a considerable relief to us, for our
mission seemed to have come to a premature end. Even now I can't for
the life of me understand why you should have worked it in so
extraordinary a manner.'
 Instead of answering, Professor Challenger entered, shook hands with
myself and Lord John, bowed with ponderous insolence to Professor
Summerlee, and sank back into a basket-chair, which creaked and swayed
beneath his weight.
 'Is all ready for your journey?' he asked.
                                                       {CH_7 ^paragraph 30}
 'We can start tomorrow.'
 'Then so you shall. You need no chart of directions now, since you
will have the inestimable advantage of my own guidance. From the first
I had determined that I would myself preside over your
investigation. The most elaborate charts would, as you will readily
admit, be a poor substitute for my own intelligence and advice. As
to the small ruse which I played upon you in the matter of the
envelope, it is clear that, had I told you all my intentions, I should
have been forced to resist unwelcome pressure to travel out with you.
 'Not from me, sir!' exclaimed Professor Summerlee, heartily. 'So
long as there was another ship upon the Atlantic.'
 Challenger waved him away with his great hairy hand.
 'Your common sense will, I am sure, sustain my objection and realise
that it was better that I should direct my own movements and appear
only at the exact moment when my presence was needed. You will not now
fail to reach your destination. From henceforth I take command of this
expedition, and I must ask you to complete your preparations
tonight, so that we may be able to make an early start in the morning.
My time is of value, and the same thing may be said, no doubt, in a
lesser degree of your own. I propose, therefore, that we push on as
rapidly as possible, until I have demonstrated what you have come to
                                                       {CH_7 ^paragraph 35}
 Lord John Roxton had chartered a large steam-launch, the
Esmeralda, which was to carry us up the river. So far as climate goes,
it was immaterial what time we chose for our expedition, as the
temperature ranges from seventy-five to ninety degrees both summer and
winter, with no appreciable difference in heat. In moisture,
however, it is otherwise; from December to May is the period of the
rains, and during this time the river slowly rises until it attains
a height of nearly forty feet above its low-water mark. It floods
the banks, extends in great lagoons over a monstrous waste of country,
and forms a huge district, called locally the Gapo, which is for the
most part too marshy for foot-travel and too shallow for boating.
About June the waters begin to fall, and are at their lowest at
October or November. Thus our expedition was at the time of the dry
season, when the great river and its tributaries were more or less
in a normal condition.
 The current of the river is a slight one, the drop being not greater
than eight inches in a mile. No stream could be more convenient for
navigation, since the prevailing wind is south-east, and sailing boats
may make a continuous progress to the Peruvian frontier, dropping down
again with the current. In our own case the excellent engines of the
Esmeralda could disregard the sluggish flow of the stream, and we made
as rapid progress as if we were navigating a stagnant lake. For
three days we steamed north-westwards up a stream which even here, a
thousand miles from its mouth, was still so enormous that from its
centre the two banks were mere shadows upon the distant skyline. On
the fourth day after leaving Manaos we turned into a tributary which
at its mouth was little smaller than the main stream. It narrowed
rapidly, however, and after two more days' steaming we reached an
Indian village, where the Professor insisted that we should land,
and that the Esmeralda should be sent back to Manaos. We should soon
come upon rapids, he explained, which would make its further use
impossible. He added privately that we were now approaching the door
of the unknown country, and that the fewer whom we took into our
confidence the better it would be. To this end also he made each of us
give our word of honour that we would publish or say nothing which
would give any exact clue as to the whereabouts of our travels,
while the servants were all solemnly sworn to the same effect. It is
for this reason that I am compelled to be vague in my narrative, and I
would warn my readers that in any map or diagram which I may give
the relation of places to each other may be correct, but the points of
the compass are carefully confused, so that in no way can it be
taken as an actual guide to the country. Professor Challenger's
reasons for secrecy may be valid or not, but we had no choice but to
adopt them, for he was prepared to abandon the whole expedition rather
than modify the conditions upon which he would guide us.
 It was August 2nd when we snapped our last link with the outer world
by bidding farewell to the Esmeralda. Since then four days have
passed, during which we have engaged two large canoes from the
Indians, made of so light a material (skins over a bamboo framework)
that we should be able to carry them round any obstacle. These we have
loaded with all our effects, and have engaged two additional Indians
to help us in the navigation. I understand that they are the very two-
Ataca and Ipetu by name- who accompanied Professor Challenger upon his
previous journey. They appeared to be terrified at the prospect of
repeating it, but the chief has patriarchal powers in these countries,
and if the bargain is good in his eyes the clansman has little
choice in the matter.
 So tomorrow we disappear into the unknown. This account I am
transmitting down the river by canoe, and it may be our last word to
those who are interested in our fate. I have, according to our
arrangement, addressed it to you, my dear Mr. McArdle, and I leave
it to your discretion to delete, alter, or do what you like with it.
From the assurance of Professor Challenger's manner- and in spite of
the continued scepticism of Professor Summerlee- I have no doubt
that our leader will make good his statement, and that we are really
on the eve of some most remarkable experiences.

              8. The Outlying Pickets of the New World
 OUR friends at home may well rejoice with us, for we are at our
goal, and up to a point, at least, we have shown that the statement of
Professor Challenger can be verified. We have not, it is true,
ascended the plateau, but it lies before us, and even Professor
Summerlee is in a more chastened mood. Not that he will for an instant
admit that his rival could be right, but he is less persistent in
his incessant objection, and has sunk for the most part into an
observant silence. I must hark back, however, and continue my
narrative from where I dropped it. We are sending home one of our
local Indians who is injured, and I am committing this letter to his
charge with considerable doubts in my mind as to whether it will
ever come to hand.
 When I wrote last we were about to leave the Indian village where we
had been deposited by the Esmerelda. I have to begin my report by
bad news, for the first serious personal trouble (I pass over the
incessant bickerings between the Professors) occurred this evening,
and might have had a tragic ending. I have spoken of our
English-speaking half-breed, Gomez- a fine worker and a willing
fellow, but afflicted, I fancy, with the vice of curiosity, which is
common enough among such men. On the last evening he seems to have hid
himself near the hut in which we were discussing our plans, and, being
observed by our huge negro Zambo, who is as faithful as a dog and
has the hatred which all his race bear to the half-breeds, he was
dragged out and carried into our presence. Gomez whipped out his
knife, however, and but for the huge strength of his captor, which
enabled him to disarm him with one hand, he would certainly have
stabbed him. The matter has ended in reprimands, the opponents have
been compelled to shake hands, and there is every hope that all will
be well. As to the feuds of the two learned men, they are continuous
and bitter. It must be admitted that Challenger is provocative in
the last degree, but Summerlee has an acid tongue, which makes matters
worse. Last night Challenger said that he never cared to walk on the
Thames Embankment and look up the river, as it was always sad to see
one's own eventual goal. He is convinced, of course, that he is
destined for Westminster Abbey. Summerlee retorted, however, with a
sour smile, by saying that he understood that Millbank Prison had been
pulled down. Challenger's conceit is too colossal to allow him to be
really annoyed. He only smiled in his beard and repeated 'Really!
really!' in the pitying tone one would use to a child. Indeed, they
are children both- the one wizened and cantankerous, the other
formidable and overbearing, yet each with a brain which has put him in
the front rank of his scientific age. Brain, character, soul- only
as one sees more of life does one understand how distinct is each.
 The very next day we did actually make our start upon this
remarkable expedition. We found that all our possessions fitted very
easily into the two canoes, and we divided our personnel, six in each,
taking the obvious precaution in the interests of peace of putting one
Professor into each canoe. Personally, I was with Challenger, who
was in a beatific humour, moving about as one in a silent ecstasy
and beaming benevolence from every feature. I have had some experience
of him in other moods, however, and shall be the less surprised when
the thunderstorms suddenly come up amidst the sunshine. If it is
impossible to be at your ease, it is equally impossible to be dull
in his company, for one is always in a state of half-tremulous doubt
as to what sudden turn his formidable temper may take.
 For two days we made our way up a good-sized river, some hundreds of
yards broad, and dark in colour, but transparent, so that one could
usually see the bottom. The affluents of the Amazon are, half of them,
of this nature, while the other half are whitish and opaque, the
difference depending upon the class of country through which they have
flowed. The dark indicate vegetable decay, while the others point to
clayey soil. Twice we came across rapids, and in each case made a
portage of half a mile or two to avoid them. The woods on either
side were primeval, which are more easily penetrated than woods of the
second growth, and we had no great difficulty in carrying our canoes
through them. How shall I ever forget the solemn mystery of it? The
height of the trees and the thickness of the boles exceeding
anything which I in my town-bred life could have imagined, shooting
upwards in magnificent columns until, at an enormous distance above
our heads, we could dimly discern the spot where they threw out
their side-branches into Gothic upward curves which coalesced to
form one great matted roof of verdure, through which only an
occasional golden ray of sunshine shot downwards to trace a thin
dazzling line of light amidst the majestic obscurity. As we walked
noiselessly amid the thick, soft carpet of decaying vegetation the
hush fell upon our souls which comes upon us in the twilight of the
Abbey, and even Professor Challenger's full-chested notes sank into
a whisper. Alone, I should have been ignorant of the names of these
giant growths, but our men of science pointed out the cedars, the
great silk cotton trees, and the redwood trees, with all that
profusion of various plants which has made this continent the chief
supplier to the human race of those gifts of nature which depend
upon the vegetable world, while it is the most backward in those
products which come from animal life. Vivid orchids and wonderful
coloured lichens smouldered upon the swarthy tree-trunks, and where
a wandering shaft of light fell full upon the golden allamanda, the
scarlet star-clusters of the tacsonia, or the rich deep blue of
ipomaea the effect was as a dream of fairyland. In these great
wastes of forest, life, which abhors darkness, struggles ever
upwards to the light. Every plant, even the smaller ones, curls and
writhes to the green surface, twining itself round its stronger and
taller brethren in the effort. Climbing plants are monstrous and
luxuriant, but others which have never been known to climb elsewhere
learn the art as an escape from that sombre shadow, so that the common
nettle, the jasmine, and even the jacitara palm tree can be seen
circling the stems of cedars and striving to reach their crowns. Of
animal life there was no movement amid the majestic vaulted aisles
which stretched from us as we walked, but a constant movement far
above our heads told of that multitudinous world of snake and
monkey, bird and sloth, which lived in the sunshine, and looked down
in wonder at our tiny, dark, stumbling figures in the obscure depths
immeasurably below them. At dawn and at sunset the howler monkeys
screamed together and the parakeets broke into shrill chatter, but
during the hot hours of the day, only the full drone of insects,
like the beat of a distant surf, filled the ear, while nothing moved
amid the solemn vistas of stupendous trunks, fading away into the
darkness which held us in. Once some bandy-legged, lurching
creature, an ant-eater or a bear, scuttled clumsily amid the
shadows. It was the only sign of earth life which I saw in this
great Amazonian forest.
 And yet there were indications that even human life itself was not
far from us in those mysterious recesses. On the third day out we were
aware of a singular deep throbbing in the air, rhythmic and solemn,
coming and going fitfully throughout the morning. The two boats were
paddling within a few yards of each other when we first heard it,
and our Indians remained motionless, as if they had been turned to
bronze, listening intently with expressions of terror upon their
                                                        {CH_8 ^paragraph 5}
 'What is it, then?' I asked.
 'Drums,' said Lord John, carelessly; 'war drums. I have heard them
 'Yes, sir, war drums,' said Gomez, the half-breed. 'Wild Indians,
bravos, not mansos; they watch us every mile of the way; kill us if
they can.'
 'How can they watch us?' I asked, gazing into the dark, motionless
 The half-breed shrugged his broad shoulders.
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 10}
 'The Indians know. They have their own way. They watch us. They talk
the drum talk to each other. Kill us if they can.'
 By the afternoon of that day- my pocket diary shows me that it was
Tuesday, August 18th- at least six or seven drums were throbbing
from various points. Sometimes they beat quickly, sometimes slowly,
sometimes in obvious question and answer, one far to the east breaking
out in a high staccato rattle, and being followed after a pause by a
deep roll from the north. There was something indescribably
nerve-shaking and menacing in that constant mutter, which seemed to
shape itself into the very syllables of the half-breed, endlessly
repeated, 'We will kill you if we can. We will kill you if we can.' No
one ever moved in the silent woods. All the peace and soothing of
quiet Nature lay in that dark curtain of vegetation, but away from
behind there came ever the one message from our fellow-man. 'We will
kill you if we can,' said the men in the east. 'We will kill you if we
can,' said the men in the north.
 All day the drums rumbled and whispered, while their menace
reflected itself in the faces of our coloured companions. Even the
hardy, swaggering half-breed seemed cowed. I learned, however, that
day once for all that both Summerlee and Challenger possessed that
highest type of bravery, the bravery of a scientific mind. Theirs
was the spirit which upheld Darwin among the gauchos of the
Argentine or Wallace among the head-hunters of Malaya. It is decreed
by a merciful Nature that the human brain cannot think of two things
simultaneously, so that if it be steeped in curiosity as to science it
has no room for merely personal considerations. All day amid that
incessant and mysterious menace our two Professors watched every
bird upon the wing, and every shrub upon the bank, with many a sharp
wordy contention, when the snarl of Summerlee came quick upon the deep
growl of Challenger, but with no more sense of danger and no more
reference to drum-beating Indians than if they were seated together in
the smoking-room of the Royal Society's Club in St. James's Street.
Once only did they condescend to discuss them.
 'Miranha or Amajuaca cannibals,' said Challenger, jerking his
thumb towards the reverberating wood.
 'No doubt, sir,' Summerlee answered. 'Like all such tribes, I
shall expect to find them of polysynthetic speech and of Mongolian
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 15}
 'Polysynthetic certainly,' said Challenger, indulgently. 'I am not
aware that any other type of language exists in this continent, and
I have notes of more than a hundred. The Mongolian theory I regard
with deep suspicion.'
 'I should have thought that even a limited knowledge of
comparative anatomy would have helped to verify it.' said Summerlee,
 Challenger thrust out his aggressive chin until he was all beard and
hat-rim. 'No doubt, sir, a limited knowledge would have that effect.
When one's knowledge is exhaustive, one comes to other conclusions.'
They glared at each other in mutual defiance, while all round rose the
distant whisper, 'We will kill you- we will kill you if we can.'
 That night we moored our canoes with heavy stones for anchors in the
centre of the stream, and made every preparation for a possible
attack. Nothing came, however, and with the dawn we pushed upon our
way, the drum-beating dying out behind us. About three o'clock in
the afternoon we came to a very steep rapid, more than a mile long-
the very one in which Professor Challenger had suffered disaster
upon his first journey. I confess that the sight of it consoled me,
for it was really the first direct corroboration, slight as it was, of
the truth of his story. The Indians carried first our canoes and
then our stores through the brushwood, which is very thick at this
point, while we four whites, our rifles on our shoulders, walked
between them and any danger coming from the woods. Before evening we
had successfully passed the rapids, and made our way some ten miles
above them, where we anchored for the night. At this point I
reckoned that we had come not less than a hundred miles up the
tributary from the main stream.
 It was in the early forenoon of the next day that we made the
great departure. Since dawn Professor Challenger had been acutely
uneasy, continually scanning each bank of the river. Suddenly he
gave an exclamation of satisfaction and pointed to a single tree,
which projected at a peculiar angle over the side of the stream.
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 20}
 'What do you make of that?' he asked.
 'It is surely an Assai palm,' said Summerlee.
 'Exactly. It was an Assai palm which I took for my landmark. The
secret opening is half a mile onwards upon the other side of the
river. There is no break in the trees. That is the wonder and the
mystery of it. There where you see light-green rushes instead of
dark-green undergrowth, there between the great cotton woods, that
is my private gate into the unknown. Push through, and you will
 It was indeed a wonderful place. Having reached the spot marked by a
line of light-green rushes, we poled our two canoes through them for
some hundreds of yards, and eventually emerged into a placid and
shallow stream, running clear and transparent over a sandy bottom.
It may have been twenty yards across, and was banked in on each side
by most luxuriant vegetation. No one who had not observed that for a
short distance reeds had taken the place of shrubs could possibly have
guessed the existence of such a stream or dreamed of the fairyland
 For a fairyland it was- the most wonderful that the imagination of
man could conceive. The thick vegetation met overhead, interlacing
into a natural pergola, and through this tunnel of verdure in a golden
twilight flowed the green, pellucid river, beautiful in itself, but
marvellous from the strange tints thrown by the vivid light from above
filtered and tempered in its fall. Clear as crystal, motionless as a
sheet of glass, green as the edge of an iceberg, it stretched in front
of us under its leafy archway, every stroke of our paddles sending a
thousand ripples across its shining surface. It was a fitting avenue
to a land of wonders. All sign of the Indians had passed away, but
animal life was more frequent, and the tameness of the creatures
showed that they knew nothing of the hunter. Fuzzy little black-velvet
monkeys, with snow-white teeth and gleaming mocking eyes, chattered at
us as we passed. With a dull, heavy splash an occasional cayman
plunged in from the bank. Once a dark, clumsy tapir stared at us
from a gap in the bushes, and then lumbered away through the forest;
once, too, the yellow, sinuous form of a great puma whisked amid the
brushwood, and its green, baleful eyes glared hatred at us over its
tawny shoulder. Bird life was abundant, especially the wading birds,
stork, heron, and ibis gathering in little groups, blue, scarlet,
and white, upon every log which jutted from the bank, while beneath us
the crystal water was alive with fish of every shape and colour.
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 25}
 For three days we made our way up this tunnel of hazy green
sunshine. On the longer stretches one could hardly tell as one
looked ahead where the distant green water ended and the distant green
archway began. The deep peace of this strange waterway was unbroken by
any sign of man.
 'No Indian here. Too much afraid. Curupuri,' said Gomez.
 'Curupuri is the spirit of the woods,' Lord John explained. 'It's
the name for any kind of devil. The poor beggars think that there is
something fearsome in this direction, and therefore they avoid it.'
 On the third day it became evident that our journey in the canoes
could not last much longer, for the stream was rapidly growing more
shallow. Twice in as many hours we stuck upon the bottom. Finally we
pulled the boats up among the brushwood and spent the night on the
bank of the river. In the morning Lord John and I made our way for a
couple of miles through the forest, keeping parallel with the
stream; but as it grew ever shallower we returned and reported, what
Professor Challenger had already suspected, that we had reached the
highest point to which the canoes could be brought. We drew them up,
therefore, and concealed them among the bushes, blazing a tree with
our axes, so that we should find them again. Then we distributed the
various burdens among us- guns, ammunition, food, a tent, blankets,
and the rest- and, shouldering our packages, we set forth upon the
more laborious stage of our journey.
 An unfortunate quarrel between our pepperpots marked the outset of
our new stage. Challenger had from the moment of joining us issued
directions to the whole party, much to the evident discontent of
Summerlee. Now, upon his assigning some duty to his fellow-Professor
(it was only the carrying of an aneroid barometer), the matter
suddenly came to a head.
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 30}
 'May I ask, sir,' said Summerlee, with vicious calm, 'in what
capacity you take it upon yourself to issue these orders?'
 Challenger glared and bristled.
 'I do it, Professor Summerlee, as leader of this expedition.'
 'I am compelled to tell you, sir, that I do not recognise you in
that capacity.'
 'Indeed!' Challenger bowed with unwieldy sarcasm. 'Perhaps you would
define my exact position.'
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 35}
 'Yes, sir. You are a man whose veracity is upon trial, and this
committee is here to try it. You walk, sir, with your judges.'
 'Dear me!' said Challenger, seating himself on the side of one of
the canoes. 'In that case you will, of course, go on your way, and I
will follow at my leisure. If I am not the leader you cannot expect me
to lead.'
 Thank heaven that there were two sane men- Lord John Roxton and
myself- to prevent the petulance and folly of our learned Professors
from sending us back empty-handed to London. Such arguing and pleading
and explaining before we could get them mollified! Then at last
Summerlee, with his sneer and his pipe, would move forwards, and
Challenger would come rolling and grumbling after. By some good
fortune we discovered about this time that both our savants had the
very poorest opinion of Dr. Illingworth of Edinburgh. Thenceforward
that was our one safety, and every strained situation was relieved
by our introducing the name of the Scotch zoologist, when both our
Professors would form a temporary alliance and friendship in their
detestation and abuse of this common rival.
 Advancing in single file along the bank of the stream, we soon found
that it narrowed down to a mere brook, and finally that it lost itself
in a great green morass of sponge-like mosses, into which we sank up
to our knees. The place was horribly haunted by clouds of mosquitoes
and every form of flying pest, so we were glad to find solid ground
again and to make a circuit among the trees, which enabled us to
outflank this pestilent morass, which droned like an organ in the
distance, so loud was it with insect life.
 On the second day after leaving our canoes we found that the whole
character of the country changed. Our road was persistently upwards,
and as we ascended the woods became thinner and lost their tropical
luxuriance. The huge trees of the aluvial Amazonian plain gave place
to the Phoenix and coco palms, growing in scattered clumps, with thick
brushwood between. In the damper hollows the Mauritia palms threw
out their graceful drooping fronds. We travelled entirely by
compass, and once or twice there were differences of opinion between
Challenger and the two Indians, when, to quote the Professor's
indignant words, the whole party agreed to 'trust the fallacious
instincts of undeveloped savages rather than the highest product of
modern European culture'. That we were justified in doing so was shown
upon the third day, when Challenger admitted that he recognised
several landmarks of his former journey, and in one spot we actually
came upon four fire-blackened stones, which must have marked a
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 40}
 The road still ascended, and we crossed a rock-studded slope which
took two days to traverse. The vegetation had again changed, and
only the vegetable ivory tree remained, with a great profusion of
wonderful orchids, among which I learned to recognise the rare
Nuttonia Vexillaria and the glorious pink and scarlet blossoms of
Cattleya and odontoglossum. Occasional brooks with pebbly bottoms
and fern-draped banks gurgled down the shallow gorges in the hill, and
offered good camping-grounds every evening on the banks of some
rock-studded pool, where swarms of little blue-backed fish, about
the size and shape of English trout, gave us a delicious supper.
 On the ninth day after leaving the canoes, having done, I reckon,
about a hundred and twenty miles, we began to emerge from the trees,
which had grown smaller until they were mere shrubs. Their place was
taken by an immense wilderness of bamboo, which grew so thickly that
we could only penetrate it by cutting a pathway with the machetes
and bill-hooks of the Indians. It took us a long day, travelling
from seven in the morning till eight at night, with only two breaks of
one hour each, to get through this obstacle. Anything more
monotonous and wearying could not be imagined, for, even at the most
open places, I could not see more than ten or twelve yards, while
usually my vision was limited to the back of Lord John's cotton jacket
in front of me, and to the yellow wall within a foot of me on either
side. From above came one thin knife-edge of sunshine, and fifteen
feet over our heads one saw the tops of the reeds swaying against
the deep blue sky. I do not know what kind of creatures inhabit such a
thicket, but several times we heard the plunging of large, heavy
animals quite close to us. From their sounds Lord John judged them
to be some form of wild cattle. Just as night fell we cleared the belt
of bamboos, and at once formed our camp, exhausted by the interminable
 Early next morning we were again afoot, and found that the character
of the country had changed once again. Behind us was the wall of
bamboo, as definite as if it marked the course of a river. In front
was an open plain, sloping slightly upwards and dotted with clumps
of tree-ferns, the whole curving before us until it ended in a long,
whale-backed ridge. This we reached about midday, only to find a
shallow valley beyond, rising once again into a gentle incline which
led to a low, rounded sky-line. It was here, while we crossed the
first of these hills, that an incident occurred which may or may not
have been important.
 Professor Challenger, who, with the two local Indians, was in the
van of the party, stopped suddenly and pointed excitedly to the right.
As he did so we saw, at the distance of a mile or so, something
which appeared to be a huge grey bird flap slowly up from the ground
and skim smoothly off, flying very low and straight, until it was lost
among the tree-ferns.
 'Did you see it?' cried Challenger, in exultation. 'Summerlee, did
you see it?'
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 45}
 His colleague was staring at the spot where the creature had
 'What do you claim that it was?' he asked.
 'To the best of my belief, a pterodactyl.'
 Summerlee burst into derisive laughter. 'A ptero-fiddle-stick!' said
he. 'It was a stork, if ever I saw one.'
 Challenger was too furious to speak. He simply swung his pack upon
his back and continued upon his march. Lord John came abreast of me,
however, and his face was more grave than was his wont. He had his
Zeiss glasses in his hand.
                                                       {CH_8 ^paragraph 50}
 'I focused it before it got over the trees,' said he. 'I won't
undertake to say what it was, but I'll risk my reputation as a
sportsman that it wasn't any bird that ever I clapped eyes on in my
 So there the matter stands. Are we really just at the edge of the
unknown, encountering the outlying pickets of this lost world of which
our leader speaks? I give you the incident, as it occurred and you
will know as much as I do. It stands alone, for we saw nothing more
which could be called remarkable.
 And now, my readers, if ever I have any, I have brought you up the
broad river, and through the screen of rushes, and down the green
tunnel, and up the long slope of palm trees, and through the bamboo
brake, and across the plain of tree-ferns. At last our destination lay
in full sight of us. When we had crossed the second ridge we saw
before us an irregular, palm-studded plain, and then the line of
high red cliffs which I have seen in the picture. There it lies,
even as I write, and there can be no question that it is the same.
At the nearest point it is about seven miles from our present camp,
and it curves away, stretching as far as I can see. Challenger
struts about like a prize peacock, and Summerlee is silent, but
still sceptical. Another day should bring some of our doubts to an
end. Meanwhile, as Jose, whose arm was pierced by a broken bamboo,
insists upon returning, I send this letter back in his charge, and
only hope that it may eventually come to hand. I will write again as
the occasion serves. I have enclosed with this a rough chart of our
journey, which may have the effect of making the account rather easier
to understand.
                        (See Illustration.)

                   9. Who Could Have Foreseen It?
 A DREADFUL thing has happened to us. Who could have foreseen it? I
cannot foresee any end to our troubles. It may be that we are
condemned to spend our whole lives in this strange, inaccessible
place. I am still so confused that I can hardly think clearly of the
facts of the present or of the chances of the future. To my
astounded senses the one seems most terrible and the other as black as
 No men have ever found themselves in a worse position; nor is
there any use in disclosing to you our exact geographical situation
and asking our friends for a relief party. Even if they could send
one, our fate will in all human probability be decided long before
it could arrive in South America.
 We are, in truth, as far from any human aid as if we were in the
moon. If we are to win through, it is only our own qualities which can
save us. I have as companions three remarkable men, men of great
brain-power and of unshaken courage. There lies our one and only hope.
It is only when I look upon the untroubled faces of my comrades that I
see some glimmer through the darkness. Outwardly I trust that I appear
as unconcerned as they. Inwardly I am filled with apprehension.
 Let me give you, with as much detail as I can, the sequence of
events which have led us to this catastrophe.
 When I finished my last letter I stated that we were within seven
miles from an enormous line of ruddy cliffs which encircled, beyond
all doubt, the plateau of which Professor Challenger spoke. Their
height, as we approached them, seemed to me in some places to be
greater than he had stated- running up in parts to at least a thousand
feet- and they were curiously striated, in a manner which is, I
believe, characteristic of basaltic upheavals. Something of the sort
is to be seen in Salisbury Crags at Edinburgh. The summit showed every
sign of a luxuriant vegetation, with bushes near the edge, and farther
back many high trees. There was no indication of any life that we
could see.
                                                        {CH_9 ^paragraph 5}
 That night we pitched our camp immediately under the cliff- a most
wild and desolate spot. The crags above us were not merely
perpendicular, but curved outwards at the top, so that ascent was
out of the question. Close to us was the high, thin pinnacle of rock
which I believe I mentioned earlier in this narrative. It is like a
broad red church spire, the top of it being level with the plateau,
but a great chasm gaping between. On the summit of it there grew one
high tree. Both pinnacle and cliff were comparatively low- some five
or six hundred feet, I should think.
 'It was on that,' said Professor Challenger, pointing to this
tree, 'that the pterodactyl was perched. I climbed half-way up the
rock before I shot him. I am inclined to think that a good mountaineer
like myself could ascend the rock to the top, though he would, of
course, be no nearer to the plateau when he had done so.'
 As Challenger spoke of his pterodactyl I glanced at Professor
Summerlee, and for the first time I seemed to see some signs of a
dawning credulity and repentance. There was no sneer upon his thin
lips, but, on the contrary, a grey, drawn look of excitement and
amazement. Challenger saw it, too, and revelled in the first taste
of victory.
 'Of course,' said he, with his clumsy and ponderous sarcasm,
'Professor Summerlee will understand that when I speak of a
pterodactyl I mean a stork- only it is the kind of stork which has
no feathers, a leathery skin, membranous wings, and teeth in its
jaws.' He grinned and blinked and bowed until his colleague turned and
walked away.
 In the morning, after a frugal breakfast of coffee and manioc- we
had to be economical of our stores- we held a council of war as to the
best method of ascending to the plateau above us.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 10}
 Challenger presided with a solemnity as if he were the Lord Chief
Justice on the Bench. Picture him seated upon a rock, his absurd
boyish straw hat tilted on the back of his head, his supercilious eyes
dominating us from under his drooping lids, his great black beard
wagging as he slowly defined our present situation and our future
 Beneath him you might have seen the three of us- myself, sunburnt,
young, and vigorous after our open-air tramp; Summerlee, solemn, but
still critical, behind his eternal pipe; Lord John, as keen as a
razor-edge, with his supple, alert figure leaning upon his rifle,
and his eagle eyes fixed eagerly upon the speaker. Behind us were
grouped the two swarthy half-breeds and the little knot of Indians,
while in front and above us towered those huge, ruddy ribs of rocks
which kept us from our goal.
 'I need not say,' said our leader, 'that on the occasion of my
last visit I exhausted every means of climbing the cliff, and where
I failed I do not think that anyone else is likely to succeed, for I
am something of a mountaineer. I had none of the appliances of a
rock-climber with me, but I have taken the precaution to bring them
now. With their aid I am positive I could climb that detached pinnacle
to the summit; but so long as the main cliff overhangs, it is vain
to attempt ascending that. I was hurried upon my last visit by the
approach of the rainy season and by the exhaustion of my supplies.
These considerations limited my time, and I can only claim that I have
surveyed about six miles of the cliff to the east of us, finding no
possible way up. What, then, shall we now do?'
 'There seems to be only one reasonable course,' said Professor
Summerlee. 'If you have explored the east, we should travel along
the base of the cliff to the west, and seek for a practicable point
for our ascent.'
 'That's it,' said Lord John. 'The odds are that this plateau is of
no great size, and we shall travel round it until we either find an
easy way up it, or come back to the point from which we started.'
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 15}
 'I have already explained to our young friend here,' said Challenger
(he has a way of alluding to me as if I were a school child ten
years old), 'that it is quite impossible that there should be an
easy way up anywhere, for the simple reason that if there were the
summit would not be isolated, and those conditions would not obtain
which have effected so singular an interference with the general
laws of survival. Yet I admit that there may very well be places where
an expert human climber may reach the summit, and yet a cumbrous and
heavy animal be unable to descend. It is certain that there is a point
where ascent is possible.'
 'How do you know that, sir?' asked Summerlee, sharply.
 'Because my predecessor, the American Maple White, actually made
such an ascent. How otherwise could he have seen the monster which
he sketched in his notebook?'
 'There you reason somewhat ahead of the proved facts,' said the
stubborn Summerlee. 'I admit your plateau, because I have seen it; but
I have not as yet satisfied myself that it contains any form of life
 'What you admit, sir, or what you do not admit, is really of
inconceivably small importance. I am glad to perceive that the plateau
itself has actually obtruded itself upon your intelligence.' He
glanced up at it, and then, to our amazement, he sprang from his rock,
and, seizing Summerlee by the neck, he tilted his face into the air.
'Now, sir!' he shouted, hoarse with excitement. 'Do I help you to
realise that the plateau contains some animal life?'
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 20}
 I have said that a thick fringe of green overhung the edge of the
cliff. Out of this there had emerged a black, glistening object. As it
came slowly forth and overhung the chasm, we saw that it was a very
large snake with a peculiar flat spade-like head. It wavered and
quivered above us for a minute, the morning sun gleaming upon its
sleek, sinuous coils. Then it slowly drew inwards and disappeared.
 Summerlee had been so interested that he had stood unresisting while
Challenger tilted his head into the air. Now he shook his colleague
off and came back to his dignity.
 'I should be glad, Professor Challenger,' said he, 'if you could see
your way to make any remarks which may occur to you without seizing me
by the chin. Even the appearance of a very ordinary rock python does
not appear to justify such a liberty.'
 'But there is life upon the plateau all the same,' the colleague
replied in triumph. 'And now, having demonstrated this important
conclusion so that it is clear to anyone however prejudiced or obtuse,
I am of opinion that we cannot do better than break up our camp and
travel westward until we find some means of ascent.'
 The ground at the foot of the cliff was rocky and broken, so that
the going was slow and difficult. Suddenly we came, however, upon
something which cheered our hearts. It was the site of an old
encampment, with several empty Chicago meat tins, a bottle labelled
'Brandy', a broken tin-opener, and a quantity of other travellers'
debris. A crumpled, disintegrated newspaper revealed itself as the
Chicago Democrat, though the date had been obliterated.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 25}
 'Not mine,' said Challenger. 'It must be Maple White's.'
 Lord John had been gazing curiously at a great tree-fern which
overshadowed the encampment. 'I say, look at this,' said he. 'I
believe it is meant for a sign-post.'
 A slip of hard wood had been nailed to the tree in such a way as
to point to the westward.
 'Most certainly a sign-post,' said Challenger. 'What else? Finding
himself upon a dangerous errand, our pioneer has left this so that any
party which follows him may know the way he has taken. Perhaps we
shall come upon some other indications as we proceed.'
 We did indeed, but they were of a terrible and most unexpected
nature. Immediately beneath the cliff there grew a considerable
patch of high bamboo, like that which we had traversed in our journey.
Many of these stems were twenty feet high, with sharp, strong tops, so
that even as they stood they made formidable spears. We were passing
along the edge of this cover when my eye was caught by the gleam of
something white within it. Thrusting in my head between the stems, I
found myself gazing at a fleshless skull. The whole skeleton was
there, but the skull had detached itself and lay some feet nearer to
the open.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 30}
 With a few blows from the machetes of our Indians we cleared the
spot and were able to study the details of this old tragedy. Only a
few shreds of clothes could still be distinguished, but there were the
remains of boots upon the bony feet, and it was very clear that the
dead man was a European. A gold watch by Hudson, of New York, and a
chain which held a stylographic pen, lay among the bones. There was
also a silver cigarette-case, with 'J. C., from A. E. S.,' upon the
lid. The state of the metal seemed to show that the catastrophe had
occurred no great time before.
 'Who can he be?' asked Lord John. 'Poor devil! every bone in his
body seems to be broken.'
 'And the bamboo grows through his smashed ribs,' said Summerlee. 'It
is a fast-growing plant, but it is surely inconceivable that this body
could have been here while the canes grew to be twenty feet in
 'As to the man's identity,' said Professor Challenger, 'I have no
doubt whatever upon that point. As I made my way up the river before I
reached you at the fazenda I instituted very particular inquiries
about Maple White. At Para they knew nothing. Fortunately, I had a
definite clue, for there was a particular picture in his sketch-book
which showed him taking lunch with a certain ecclesiastic at
Rosario. This priest I was able to find, and though he proved a very
argumentative fellow, who took it absurdly amiss that I should point
out to him the corrosive effect which modern science must have upon
his beliefs, he none the less gave me some positive information. Maple
White passed Rosario four years ago, or two years before I saw his
dead body. He was not alone at the time, but there was a friend, an
American named James Colver, who remained in the boat and did not meet
this ecclesiastic. I think, therefore, that there can be no doubt that
we are now looking upon the remains of this James Colver.'
 'Nor,' said Lord John, 'is there much doubt as to how he met his
death. He has fallen or been chucked from the top, and so been
impaled. How else could he come by his broken bones, and how could
he have been stuck through by these canes with their points so high
above our heads?'
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 35}
 A hush came over us as we stood round these shattered remains and
realised the truth of Lord John Roxton's words. The beetling head of
the cliff projected over the cane-brake. Undoubtedly he had fallen
from above. But had he fallen? Had it been an accident? Or- Already
ominous and terrible possibilities began to form round that unknown
 We moved off in silence, and continued to coast round the line of
cliffs, which were as even and unbroken as some of those monstrous
Antarctic ice-fields which I have seen depicted as stretching from
horizon to horizon and towering high above the mast-heads of the
exploring vessel. In five miles we saw no rift or break. And then
suddenly we perceived something which filled us with new hope. In a
hollow of the rock, protected from rain, there was drawn a rough arrow
in chalk, pointing still to the westward.
 'Maple White again,' said Professor Challenger. 'He had some
presentiment that worthy footsteps would follow close behind him.'
 'He had chalk, then?'
 'A box of coloured chalks was among the effects I found in his
knapsack. I remember that the white one was worn to a stump.'
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 40}
 'That is certainly good evidence,' said Summerlee. 'We can only
accept his guidance and follow on to the westward.'
 We had proceeded some five more miles when again we saw a white
arrow upon the rocks. It was at a point where the face of the cliff
was for the first time split into a narrow cleft. Inside the cleft was
a second guidance mark, which pointed right up it with the tip
somewhat elevated, as if the spot indicated were above the level of
the ground.
 It was a solemn place, for the walls were so gigantic and the slit
of blue sky so narrow and so obscured by a double fringe of verdure
that only a dim and shadowy light penetrated to the bottom. We had had
no food for many hours, and we were very weary with the stormy and
irregular journey, but our nerves were too strung to allow us to halt.
We ordered the camp to be pitched, however, and leaving the Indians to
arrange it, we four, with the two half-breeds, proceeded up the narrow
 It was not more than forty feet across at the mouth, but it
rapidly closed until it ended in an acute angle, too straight and
smooth for an ascent. Certainly it was not this which our pioneer
had attempted to indicate. We made our way back- the whole gorge was
not more than a quarter of a mile deep- and then suddenly the quick
eyes of Lord John fell upon what we were seeking. High up above our
heads, amid the dark shadows, there was one circle of deeper gloom.
Surely it could only be the opening of a cave.
 The base of the cliff was heaped with loose stones at the spot,
and it was not difficult to clamber up. When we reached it, all
doubt was removed. Not only was it an opening into the rock, but on
the side of it was marked once again the sign of the arrow. Here was
the point, and this the means by which Maple White and his ill-fated
comrade had made their ascent.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 45}
 We were too excited to return to the camp, but must make our first
exploration at once. Lord John had an electric torch in his
knapsack, and this had to serve us as light. He advanced, throwing his
little clear circlet of yellow radiance before him, while in single
file we followed at his heels.
 The cave had evidently been water-worn, the sides being smooth and
the floor covered with rounded stones. It was of such a size that a
single man could just fit through by stooping. For fifty yards it
ran almost straight into the rock, and then it ascended at an angle of
forty-five. Presently this incline became even steeper, and we found
ourselves climbing upon hands and knees among loose rubble which
slid from beneath us. Suddenly an exclamation broke from Lord Roxton.
 'It's blocked!' said he.
 Clustering behind him we saw in the yellow field of light a wall
of broken basalt which extended to the ceiling.
 'The roof has fallen in!'
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 50}
 In vain we dragged out some of the pieces. The only effect was
that the larger ones became detached and threatened to roll down the
gradient and crush us. It was evident that the obstacle was far beyond
any efforts which we could make to remove it. The road by which
Maple White had ascended was no longer available.
 Too much cast down to speak, we stumbled down the dark tunnel and
made our way back to the camp.
 One incident occurred, however, before we left the gorge, which is
of importance in view of what came afterwards.
 We had gathered in a little group at the bottom of the chasm, some
forty feet beneath the mouth of the cave, when a huge rock rolled
suddenly downwards and shot past us with tremendous force. It was
the narrowest escape for one or all of us. We could not ourselves
see whence the rock had come, but our half-breed servants, who were
still at the opening of the cave, said that it had flown past them,
and must therefore have fallen from the summit. Looking upwards, we
could see no sign of movement above us amidst the green jungle which
topped the cliff. There could be little doubt, however, that the stone
was aimed at us, so the incident surely pointed to humanity- and
malevolent humanity- upon the plateau!
 We withdrew hurriedly from the chasm, our minds full of this new
development and its bearing upon our plans. The situation was
difficult enough before, but if the obstructions of Nature were
increased by the deliberate opposition of man, then our case was
indeed a hopeless one. And yet, as we looked up at that beautiful
fringe of verdure only a few hundreds of feet above our heads, there
was not one of us who could conceive the idea of returning to London
until we had explored it to its depths.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 55}
 On discussing the situation, we determined that our best course
was to continue to coast round the plateau in the hope of finding some
other means of reaching the top. The line of cliffs, which had
decreased considerably in height, had already begun to trend from west
to north, and if we could take this as representing the arc of a
circle, the whole circumference could not be very great. At the worst,
then, we should be back in a few days at our starting-point.
 We made a march that day which totalled some two-and-twenty miles,
without any change in our prospects. I may mention that our aneroid
shows us that in the continual incline which we have ascended since we
abandoned our canoes we have risen to no less than three thousand feet
above sea-level. Hence there is a considerable change both in the
temperature and in the vegetation. We have shaken off some of that
horrible insect life which is the bane of tropical travel. A few palms
still survive, and many tree-ferns, but the Amazonian trees have
been all left behind. It was pleasant to see the convolvulus, the
passion-flower, and the begonia, all reminding me of home, here
among these inhospitable rocks. There was a red begonia just the
same colour as one that is kept in a pot in the window of a certain
villa in Streatham- but I am drifting into private reminiscence.
 That night- I am still speaking of the first day of our
circumnavigation of the plateau- a great experience awaited us, and
one which for ever set at rest any doubt which we could have had as to
the wonders so near us.
 You will realise as you read it, my dear Mr. McArdle, and possibly
for the first time, that the paper has not sent me on a wild-goose
chase, and that there is inconceivably fine copy waiting for the world
whenever we have the Professor's leave to make use of it. I shall
not dare to publish these articles unless I can bring back my proofs
to England, or I shall be hailed as the journalistic Munchausen of all
time. I have no doubt that you feel the same way yourself, and that
you would not care to stake the whole credit of the Gazette upon
this adventure until we can meet the chorus of criticism and
scepticism which such articles must of necessity elicit. So this
wonderful incident, which would make such a headline for the old
paper, must still wait its turn in the editorial drawer.
 And yet it was all over in a flash, and there was no sequel to it,
save in our own convictions.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 60}
 What occurred was this; Lord John had shot an ajouti- which is a
small, pig-like animal- and, half of it having been given to the
Indians, we were cooking the other half upon our fire. There is a
chill in the air after dark, and we had all drawn close to the
blaze. The night was moonless, but there were some stars, and one
could see for a little distance across the plain. Well, suddenly out
of the darkness, out of the night, there swooped something with a
swish like an aeroplane. The whole group of us were covered for an
instant by a canopy of leathery wings, and I had a momentary vision of
a long, snake-like neck, a fierce, red, greedy eye, and a great
snapping beak, filled, to my amazement, with little, gleaming teeth.
The next instant it was gone- and so was our dinner. A huge black
shadow, twenty feet across, skimmed up into the air; for an instant
the monster wings blotted out the stars, and then it vanished over the
brow of the cliff above us. We all sat in amazed silence round the
fire, like the heroes of Virgil when the Harpies came down upon
them. It was Summerlee who was the first to speak.
 'Professor Challenger,' said he, in a solemn voice, which quavered
with emotion, 'I owe you an apology. Sir, I am very much in the wrong,
and I beg that you will forget what is past.'
 It was handsomely said, and the two men for the first time shook
hands. So much we have gained by this clear vision of our first
pterodactyl. It was worth a stolen supper to bring two such men
 But if prehistoric life existed upon the plateau, it was not
superabundant, for we had no further glimpse of it during the next
three days. During this time we traversed a barren and forbidding
country, which alternated between stony desert and desolate marshes
full of many wild-fowl, upon the north and east of the cliffs. From
this direction the place is really inaccessible, and, were it not
for a hardish ledge which runs at the very base of the precipice, we
should have had to turn back. Many times we were up to our waists in
the slime and blubber of an old, semi-tropical swamp. To make
matters worse, the place seemed to be a favourite breeding-place of
the Jaracaca snake, the most venomous and aggressive in South America.
Again and again these horrible creatures came writhing and springing
towards us across the surface of this putrid bog, and it was only by
keeping our shot-guns for ever ready that we could feel safe from
them. One funnel-shaped depression in the morass, of a livid green
in colour from some lichen which festered in it, will always remain as
a nightmare memory in my mind. It seems to have been a special nest of
these vermin, and the slopes were alive with them, all writhing in our
direction, for it is a peculiarity of the Jaracaca that it will always
attack man at first sight. There were too many for us to shoot, so
we fairly took to our heels and ran until we were exhausted. I shall
always remember as we looked back how far behind we could see the
heads and necks of our horrible pursuers rising and falling amid the
reeds. Jaracaca Swamp we named it in the map which we are
 The cliffs upon the farther side had lost their ruddy tint, being
chocolate-brown in colour; the vegetation was more scattered along the
top of them, and they had sunk to three or four hundred feet in
height, but in no place did we find any point where they could be
ascended. If anything, they were more impossible than at the first
point where we had met them. Their absolute steepness is indicated
in the photograph which I took over the stony desert.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 65}
 'Surely,' said I, as we discussed the situation, 'the rain must find
its way down somehow. There are bound to be water-channels in the
 'Our young friend has glimpses of lucidity,' said Professor
Challenger, patting me upon the shoulder.
 'The rain must go somewhere,' I repeated.
 'He keeps a firm grip upon actuality. The only drawback is that we
have conclusively proved by ocular demonstration that there are no
water channels down the rocks.'
 'Where then, does it go?' I persisted.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 70}
 'I think it may be fairly assumed that if it does not come
outwards it must run inwards.'
 'Then there is a lake in the centre.'
 'So I should suppose.'
 'It is more than likely that the lake may be an old crater,' said
Summerlee. 'The whole formation is, of course, highly volcanic. But
however that may be, I should expect to find the surface of the
plateau slope inwards with a considerable sheet of water in the
centre, which may drain off, by some subterranean channel, into the
marshes of the Jaracaca Swamp.'
 'Or evaporation might preserve an equilibrium,' remarked Challenger,
and the two learned men wandered off into one of their usual
scientific arguments, which were as comprehensible as Chinese to the
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 75}
 On the sixth day we completed our circuit of the cliffs, and found
ourselves back at the first camp, beside the isolated pinnacle of
rock. We were a disconsolate party, for nothing could have been more
minute than our investigation, and it was absolutely certain that
there was no single point where the most active human being could
possibly hope to scale the cliff. The place which Maple White's
chalk-marks had indicated as his own means of access was now
entirely impassable.
 What were we to do now? Our stores of provisions, supplemented by
our guns, were holding out well, but the day must come when they would
need replenishment. In a couple of months the rains might be expected,
and we should be washed out of our camp. The rock was harder than
marble, and any attempt at cutting a path for so great a height was
more than our time or resources would admit. No wonder that we
looked gloomily at each other that night, and sought our blankets
without hardly a word exchanged. I remember that as I dropped off to
sleep my last recollection was that Challenger was squatting, like a
monstrous bull-frog, by the fire, his huge head in his hands, sunk
apparently in the deepest thought, and entirely oblivious to the
goodnight which I wished him.
 But it was a very different Challenger who greeted us in the
morning- a Challenger with contentment and self-congratulation shining
from his whole person. He faced us as we assembled for breakfast
with a deprecating false modesty in his eyes, as who should say, 'I
know that I deserve all that you can say, but I pray you to spare my
blushes by not saying it.' His beard bristled exultantly, his chest
was thrown out, and his hand was thrust into the front of his
jacket. So, in his fancy, may he see himself sometimes, gracing the
vacant pedestal in Trafalgar Square, and adding one more to the
horrors of the London streets.
 'Eureka!' he cried, his teeth shining through his beard. 'Gentlemen,
you may congratulate me and we may congratulate each other. The
problem is solved.'
 'You have found a way up?'
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 80}
 'I venture to think so.'
 'And where?'
 For answer he pointed to the spire-like pinnacle upon our right.
 Our faces- or mine, at least- fell as we surveyed it. That it
could be climbed we had our companion's assurance. But a horrible
abyss lay between it and the plateau.
 'We can never get across,' I gasped.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 85}
 'We can at least all reach the summit,' said he. 'When we are up I
may be able to show you that the resources of an inventive mind are
not yet exhausted.'
 After breakfast we unpacked the bundle in which our leader had
brought his climbing accessories. From it he took a coil of the
strongest and lightest rope, a hundred and fifty feet in length, and
climbing irons, clamps, and other devices. Lord John was an
experienced mountaineer, and Summerlee had done some rough climbing at
various times, so that I was really the novice at rock-work of the
party; but my strength and activity may have made up for my want of
 It was not in reality a very stiff task, though there were moments
which made my hair bristle upon my head. The first half was
perfectly easy, but from there upwards it became continually
steeper, until, for the last fifty feet, we were literally clinging
with our fingers and toes to tiny ledges and crevices in the rock. I
could not have accomplished it, nor could Summerlee, if Challenger had
not gained the summit (it was extraordinary to see such activity in so
unwieldy a creature) and there fixed the rope round the trunk of the
considerable tree which grew there. With this as our support, we
were soon able to scramble up the jagged wall until we found ourselves
upon the small grassy platform, some twenty-five feet each way,
which formed the summit.
 The first impression which I received when I had recovered my breath
was the extraordinary view over the country which we traversed. The
whole Brazilian plain seemed to lie beneath us, extending away and
away until it ended in dim blue mists upon the farthest sky-line. In
the foreground was the long slope, strewn with rocks and dotted with
tree-ferns; farther off in the middle distance, looking over the
saddleback hill, I could just see the yellow and green mass of bamboos
through which we had passed; and then gradually, the vegetation
increased until it formed the huge forest which extended as far as the
eyes could reach, and for a good two thousand miles beyond.
 I was still drinking in this wonderful panorama when the heavy
hand of the Professor fell upon my shoulder.
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 90}
 'This way, my young friend,' said he; 'vestigia nulla restrorsum.
Never look rearwards, but always to our glorious goal.'
 The level of the plateau, when I turned, was exactly that on which
we stood, and the green bank of bushes, with occasional trees, was
so near that it was difficult to realise how inaccessible it remained.
At a rough guess the gulf was forty feet across, but, so far as I
could see, it might as well have been forty miles. I placed one arm
round the trunk of the tree and leaned over the abyss. Far down were
the small dark figures of our servants, looking up at us. The wall was
absolutely precipitous, as was that which faced me.
 'This is indeed curious,' said the creaking voice of Professor
 I turned, and found that he was examining with great interest the
tree to which I clung. That smooth bark and those small, ribbed leaves
seemed familiar to my eyes. 'Why,' I cried, 'it's a beech!'
 'Exactly,' said Summerlee. 'A fellow-countryman in a far land.'
                                                       {CH_9 ^paragraph 95}
 'Not only a fellow-countryman, my good sir,' said Challenger, 'but
also, if I may be allowed to enlarge your simile, an ally of the first
value. This beech tree will be our saviour.'
 'By George!' cried Lord John, 'a bridge!'
 'Exactly, my friends, a bridge! It is not for nothing that I
expended an hour last night in focusing my mind upon the situation.
I have some recollection of once remarking to our young friend here
that G. E. C. is at his best when his back is to the wall. Last
night you will admit that all our backs were to the wall. But where
will-power and intellect go together, there is always a way out. A
drawbridge had to be found which could be dropped across the abyss.
Behold it!'
 It was certainly a brilliant idea. The tree was a good sixty feet in
height, and if it only fell the right way it would easily cross the
chasm. Challenger had slung the camp axe over his shoulder when he
ascended. Now he handed it to me.
 'Our young friend has the thews and sinews,' said he. 'I think he
will be the most useful at this task. I must beg, however, that you
will kindly refrain from thinking for yourself, and that you will do
exactly what you are told.'
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 100}
 Under his direction I cut such gashes in the sides of the tree as
would ensure that it should fall as we desired. It had already a
strong, natural tilt in the direction of the plateau, so that the
matter was not difficult. Finally I set to work in earnest upon the
trunk, taking turn and turn with Lord John. In a little over an hour
there was a loud crack, the tree swayed forward, and then crashed
over, burying its branches among the bushes on the farther side. The
severed trunk rolled to the very edge of our platform, and for one
terrible second we all thought that it was over. It balanced itself,
however, a few inches from the edge, and there was our bridge to the
 All of us, without a word, shook hands with Professor Challenger,
who raised his straw hat and bowed deeply to each in turn.
 'I claim the honour,' said he, 'to be the first to cross to the
unknown land- a fitting subject, no doubt, for some future
historical painting.'
 He had approached the bridge when Lord John laid his hand upon his
 'My dear chap,' said he, 'I really cannot allow it.'
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 105}
 'Cannot allow it, sir!' The head went back and the beard forward.
 'When it is a matter of science, don't you know, I follow your
lead because you are by way of bein' a man of science. But it's up
to you to follow me when you come into my department.'
 'Your department, sir?'
 'We all have our professions, and soldierin' is mine. We are,
accordin' to my ideas, invadin' a new country, which may or may not be
chock-full of enemies of sorts. To barge blindly into it for want of a
little common sense and patience isn't my notion of management.'
 The remonstrance was too reasonable to be disregarded. Challenger
tossed his head and shrugged his heavy shoulders.
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 110}
 'Well, sir, what do you propose?'
 'For all I know there may be a tribe of cannibals waitin' for
lunch-time among those very bushes,' said Lord John, looking across
the bridge. 'It's better to learn wisdom before you get into a
cookin'-pot; so we will content ourselves with hopin' that there is no
trouble waitin' for us, and at the same time we will act as if there
were. Malone and I will go down again, therefore, and we will fetch up
the four rifles, together with Gomez and the other. One man can then
go across and the rest will cover him with guns, until he sees that it
is safe for the whole crowd to come along.'
 Challenger sat down upon the cut stump and groaned his impatience;
but Summerlee and I were of one mind that Lord John was our leader
when such practical details were in question. The climb was a more
simple thing now that the rope dangled down the face of the worst part
of the ascent. Within an hour we had brought up the rifles and a
shot-gun. The half-breeds had ascended also, and under Lord John's
orders they had carried up a bale of provisions in case our first
exploration should be a long one. We had each bandoliers of
 'Now, Challenger, if you really insist upon being the first man in,'
said Lord John, when every preparation was complete.
 'I am much indebted to you for your gracious permission,' said the
angry Professor; for never was a man so intolerant of every form of
authority. 'Since you are good enough to allow it, I shall most
certainly take it upon myself to act as pioneer upon this occasion.'
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 115}
 Seating himself with a leg overhanging the abyss on each side, and
his hatchet slung upon his back, Challenger hopped his way across
the trunk and was soon at the other side. He clambered up and waved
his arms in the air. 'At last!' he cried; 'at last!'
 I gazed anxiously at him, with a vague expectation that some
terrible fate would dart at him from the curtain of green behind
him. But all was quiet, save that a strange, many-coloured bird flew
up from under his feet and vanished among the trees.
 Summerlee was the second. His wiry energy is wonderful in so frail a
frame. He insisted upon having two rifles slung upon his back, so that
both Professors were armed when he had made his transit. I came
next, and tried not to look down into the horrible gulf over which I
was passing. Summerlee held out the butt-end of his rifle, and an
instant later I was able to grasp his hand. As to Lord John, he walked
across-actually walked, without support! He must have nerves of iron.
 And there we were, the four of us, upon the dreamland, the lost
world, of Maple White. To all of us it seemed the moment of our
supreme triumph. Who could have guessed that it was the prelude to our
supreme disaster? Let me say in a few words how the crushing blow fell
upon us.
 We had turned away from the edge, and had penetrated about fifty
yards of close brushwood, when there came a frightful rending crash
from behind us. With one impulse we rushed back the way we had come.
The bridge was gone!
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 120}
 Far down at the base of the cliff I saw, as I looked over, a tangled
mass of branches and splintered trunk. It was our beech tree. Had
the edge of the platform crumbled and let it through? For a moment
this explanation was in all our minds. The next, from the farther side
of the rocky pinnacle before us a swarthy face, the face of Gomez
the half-breed, was slowly protruded. Yes, it was Gomez, but no longer
the Gomez of the demure smile and the mask-like expression. Here was a
face with flashing eyes and distorted features, a face convulsed
with hatred and with the mad joy of gratified revenge.
 'Lord Roxton!' he shouted. 'Lord John Roxton!'
 'Well,' said our companion, 'here I am.'
 A shriek of laughter came across the abyss.
 'Yes, there you are, you English dog, and there you will remain! I
have waited and waited, and now has come my chance. You found it
hard to get up; you will find it harder to get down. Your cursed
fools, you are trapped, every one of you!'
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 125}
 We were too astounded to speak. We could only stand there staring in
amazement. A great broken bough upon the grass showed whence he had
gained his leverage to tilt over our bridge. The face had vanished,
but presently it was up again, more frantic than before.
 'We nearly killed you with a stone at the cave,' he cried, 'but this
is better. It is slower and more terrible. Your bones will whiten up
there, and none will know where you lie or come to cover them. As
you lie dying, think of Lopez, whom you shot five years ago on the
Putomayo River. I am his brother, and, come what will, I die happy
now, for his memory has been avenged.' A furious hand was shaken at
us; and then all was quiet.
 Had the half-breed simply wrought his vengeance and then escaped,
all might have been well with him. It was that foolish, irresistible
Latin impulse to be dramatic which brought his own downfall. Roxton,
the man who had earned himself the name of the Flail of the Lord
through three countries, was not one who could be safely taunted.
The half-breed was descending on the farther side of the pinnacle; but
before he could reach the ground Lord John had run along the edge of
the plateau and gained a point from which he could see his man.
There was a single crack of his rifle, and, though we saw nothing,
we heard the scream and then the distant thud of the falling body.
Roxton came back to us with a face of granite.
 'I have been a blind simpleton,' said he, bitterly. 'It's my folly
that has brought you all into this trouble. I should have remembered
that these people have long memories for blood-feuds, and have been
more upon my guard.'
 'What about the other one? It took two of them to lever that tree
over the edge.'
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 130}
 'I could have shot him, but I let him go. He may have had no part in
it. Perhaps it would have been better if I had killed him, for he
must, as you say, have lent a hand.'
 Now that we had the clue to his action, each of us could cast back
and remember some sinister act upon the part of the half-breed- his
constant desire to know our plans, his arrest outside our tent when he
was overhearing them, the furtive looks of hatred which from time to
time one or other of us had surprised. We were still discussing it,
endeavouring to adjust our minds to these new conditions, when a
singular scene in the plain below arrested our attention.
 A man in white clothes, who could only be the surviving
half-breed, was running as one does run when Death is the pacemaker.
Behind him, only a few yards in his rear, bounded the huge ebony
figure of Zambo, our devoted negro. Even as we looked, he sprang
upon the back of the fugitive and flung his arms round his neck.
They rolled on the ground together. An instant afterwards Zambo
rose, looked at the prostrate man, and then, waving his hand
joyously to us, came running in our direction. The white figure lay
motionless in the middle of the great plain.
 Our two traitors had been destroyed, but the mischief that they
had done lived after them. By no possible means could we get back to
the pinnacle. We had been natives of the world; now we were natives of
the plateau. The two things were separate and apart. There was the
plain which led to the canoes. Yonder, beyond the violet, hazy
horizon, was the stream which led back to civilisation. But the link
between was missing. No human ingenuity could suggest a means of
bridging the chasm which yawned between ourselves and our past
lives. One instant had altered the whole conditions of our existence.
 It was at such a moment that I learned the stuff of which my three
comrades were composed. They were grave, it is true, and thoughtful,
but of an invincible serenity. For the moment we could only sit
among the bushes in patience and wait the coming of Zambo. Presently
his honest black face topped the rocks and his Herculean figure
emerged upon the top of the pinnacle.
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 135}
 'What I do now?' he cried. 'You tell me and I do it.'
 It was a question which it was easier to ask than to answer. One
thing only was clear. He was our one trusty link with the outside
world. On no account must he leave us.
 'No, no!' he cried. 'I not leave you. Whatever come, you always find
me here. But no able to keep Indians. Already they say too much,
Curupuri live on this place, and they go home. Now you leave them me
no able to keep them.'
 'Make them wait till tomorrow, Zambo,' I shouted; 'then I can send
letter back by them.'
 'Very good, sarr! I promise they wait till tomorrow,' said the
negro. 'But what I do for you now?'
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 140}
 There was plenty for him to do, and admirably the faithful fellow
did it. First of all, under our directions, he undid the rope from the
tree-stump and threw one end of it across to us. It was not thicker
than a clothes-line, but it was of great strength, and though we could
not make a bridge of it, we might well find it invaluable if we had
any climbing to do. He then fastened his end of the rope to the
package of supplies which had been carried up, and we were able to
drag it across. This gave us the means of life for at least a week,
even if we found nothing else. Finally he descended and carried up two
other packets of mixed goods-a box of ammunition and a number of other
things, all of which we got across by throwing our rope to him and
hauling it back. It was evening when he at last climbed down, with a
final assurance that he would keep the Indians till next morning.
 And so it is that I have spent nearly the whole of this our first
night upon the plateau writing up our experiences by the light of a
single candle-lantern.
 We supped and camped at the very edge of the cliff, quenching our
thirst with two bottles of Apollinaris which were in one of the cases.
It is vital to us to find water, but I think even Lord John himself
had had adventures enough for one day, and none of us felt inclined to
make the first push into the unknown. We forbore to light a fire or to
make any unnecessary sound.
 Tomorrow (or today, rather, for it is already dawn as I write) we
shall make our first venture into this strange land. When I shall be
able to write again- or if I ever shall write again- I know not.
Meanwhile, I can see that the Indians are still in their place, and
I am sure that the faithful Zambo will be here presently to get my
letter. I only trust that it will come to hand.
                                                      {CH_9 ^paragraph 145}
 P.S.- The more I think the more desperate does our position seem.
I see no possible hope of our return. If there were a high tree near
the edge of the plateau we might drop a return bridge across, but
there is none within fifty yards. Our united strength could not
carry a trunk which would serve our purpose. The rope, of course, is
far too short that we could descend by it. No, our position is
hopeless- hopeless!

            10. The Most Wonderful Things Have Happened
 THE most wonderful things have happened and are continually
happening to us. All the paper that I possess consists of five old
notebooks and a lot of scraps, and I have only the one stylographic
pencil; but so long as I can move my hand I will continue to set
down our experiences and impressions, for, since we are the only men
of the whole human race to see such things, it is of enormous
importance that I should record them whilst they are fresh in my
memory and before that fate which seems to be constantly impending
does actually overtake us. Whether Zambo can at last take these
letters to the river, or whether I shall myself in some miraculous way
carry them back with me, or, finally, whether some daring explorer,
coming upon our tracks, with the advantage, perhaps, of a perfected
monoplane, should find this bundle of manuscript, in any case I can
see that what I am writing is destined to immortality as a classic
of true adventure.
 On the morning after our being trapped upon the plateau by the
villainous Gomez we began a new stage in our experiences. The first
incident in it was not such as to give me a very favourable opinion of
the place to which we had wandered. As I roused myself from a short
nap after day had dawned, my eyes fell upon a most singular appearance
upon my own leg. My trouser had slipped up, exposing a few inches of
my skin above my sock. On this there rested a large, purplish grape.
Astonished at the sight, I leaned forward to pick it off, when, to
my horror, it burst between my finger and thumb, squirting blood in
every direction. My cry of disgust had bought the two Professors to my
 'Most interesting,' said Summerlee, bending over my shin. 'An
enormous blood-tick, as yet, I believe, unclassified.'
 'The first fruits of our labours,' said Challenger in his booming
pedantic fashion. 'We cannot do less than call it Ixodes Maloni. The
very small inconvenience of being bitten, my young friend, cannot, I
am sure, weigh with you as against the glorious privilege of having
your name inscribed in the deathless roll of zoology. Unhappily you
have crushed this fine specimen at the moment of satiation.'
 'Filthy vermin!' I cried.
                                                       {CH_10 ^paragraph 5}
 Professor Challenger raised his great eyebrows in protest, and
placed a soothing paw upon my shoulder.
 'You should cultivate the scientific eye and the detached scientific
mind,' said he. 'To a man of philosophic temperament like myself the
blood-tick, with its lancet-like proboscis and its distending stomach,
is as beautiful a work of Nature as the peacock, or for that matter,
the aurora borealis. It pains me to hear you speak of it in so
unappreciative a fashion. No doubt, with due diligence, we can
secure some other specimen.'
 'There can be no doubt of that,' said Summerlee, grimly, 'for one
has just disappeared behind your shirt-collar.'
 Challenger sprang into the air bellowing like a bull and tore
frantically at his coat and shirt to get them off. Summerlee and I
laughed so that we could hardly help him. At last we exposed that
monstrous torso (fifty-four inches, by the tailor's tape). His body
was all matted with black hair, out of which jungle we picked the
wandering tick before it had bitten him. But the bushes round were
full of the horrible pests, and it was clear that we must shift our
 But first of all it was necessary to make our arrangements with
the faithful negro, who appeared presently on the pinnacle with a
number of tins of cocoa and biscuits, which he tossed over to us. Of
the stores which remained below he was ordered to retain as much as
would keep him for two months. The Indians were to have the
remainder as a reward for their services and as payment for taking our
letters back to the Amazon. Some hours later we saw them in single
file far out upon the plain, each with a bundle on his head, making
their way back along the path we had come. Zambo occupied our little
tent at the base of the pinnacle, and there he remained, our one
link with the world below.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 10}
 And now we had to decide upon our immediate movements. We shifted
our position from among the tick-laden bushes until we came to a small
clearing thickly surrounded by trees upon all sides. There were some
flat slabs of rock in the centre, with an excellent well close by, and
there we sat in cleanly comfort while we made our first plans for
the invasion of this new country. Birds were calling among the
foliage- especially one with a peculiar whooping cry which was new
to us- but beyond these sounds there were no signs of life.
 Our first care was to make some sort of list of our own stores, so
that we might know what we had to rely upon. What with the things we
had ourselves brought up and those which Zambo had sent across on
the rope, we were fairly well supplied. Most important of all, in view
of the dangers which might surround us, we had our four rifles and one
thousand three hundred rounds, also a shot-gun, but not more than a
hundred and fifty medium pellet cartridges. In the matter of
provisions we had enough to last for several weeks, with a sufficiency
of tobacco and a few scientific implements, including a large
telescope and a good field-glass. All these things we collected
together in the clearing, and as a first precaution, we cut down
with our hatchet and knives a number of thorny bushes, which we
piled round in a circle some fifteen yards in diameter. This was to be
our headquarters for the time- our place of refuge against sudden
danger and the guard-house for our stores. Fort Challenger, we
called it.
 It was midday before we had made ourselves secure, but the heat
was not oppressive, and the general character of the plateau, both
in its temperature and in its vegetation, was almost temperate. The
beech, the oak, and even the birch were to be found among the tangle
of trees which girt us in. One huge gingko tree, topping all the
others, shot its great limbs and maidenhair foliage over the fort
which we had constructed. In its shade we continued our discussion,
while Lord John, who had quickly taken command in the hour of
action, gave us his views.
 'So long as neither man nor beast has seen or heard us, we are
safe,' said he. 'From the time they know we are here our troubles
begin. There are no signs that they have found us out as yet. So our
game surely is to lie low for a time and spy out the land. We want
to have a good look at our neighbours before we get on visitin'
 'But we must advance,' I ventured to remark.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 15}
 'By all means, sonny my boy! we will advance. But with common sense.
We must never go so far that we can't get back to our base. Above all,
we must never, unless it is life or death, fire off our guns.'
 'But you fired yesterday,' said Summerlee.
 'Well, it couldn't be helped. However, the wind was strong and
blew outwards. It is not likely that the sound could have travelled
far into the plateau. By the way, what shall we call this place? I
suppose it is up to us to give it a name?'
 There were several suggestions, more or less happy, but Challenger's
was final.
 'It can only have one name,' said he. 'It is called after the
pioneer who discovered it. It is Maple White Land.'
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 20}
 Maple White Land it became, and so it is named in that chart which
has become my special task. So it will, I trust, appear in the atlas
of the future.
 The peaceful penetration of Maple White Land was the pressing
subject before us. We had the evidence of our own eyes that the
place was inhabited by some unknown creatures, and there was that of
Maple White's sketch-book to show that more dreadful and more
dangerous monsters might still appear. That there might also prove
to be human occupants and that they were of a malevolent character was
suggested by the skeleton impaled upon the bamboos, which could not
have got there had it not been dropped from above. Our situation,
stranded without possibility of escape in such a land, was clearly
full of danger, and our reason endorsed every measure of caution which
Lord John's experience could suggest. Yet it was surely impossible
that we should halt on the edge of this world of mystery when our very
souls were tingling with impatience to push forward and to pluck the
heart from it.
 We therefore blocked the entrance to our zareba by filling it up
with several thorny bushes, and left our camp with the stores entirely
surrounded by this protecting hedge. We then slowly and cautiously set
forth into the unknown, following the course of the little stream
which flowed from our spring, as it should always serve us as a
guide on our return.
 Hardly had we started when we came across signs that there were
indeed wonders awaiting us. After a few hundred yards of thick forest,
containing many trees which were quite unknown to me, but which
Summerlee, who was the botanist of the party, recognised as forms of
conifera and of cycadaceous plants which have long passed away in
the world below, we entered a region where the stream widened out
and formed a considerable bog. High reeds of a peculiar type grew
thickly before us, which were pronounced to be equisetacea, or
mare's-tails, with tree-ferns scattered amongst them, all of them
swaying in a brisk wind. Suddenly Lord John, who was walking first,
halted with uplifted hand.
 'Look at this!' said he. 'By George, this must be the trail of the
father of all birds!'
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 25}
 An enormous three-toed track was imprinted in the soft mud before
us. The creature, whatever it was, had crossed the swamp and had
passed on into the forest. We all stopped to examine that monstrous
spoor. If it were indeed a bird- and what animal could leave such a
mark?- its foot was so much larger than an ostrich's that its height
upon the same scale must be enormous. Lord John looked eagerly round
him and slipped two cartridges into his elephant-gun.
 'I'll stake my good name as a shikaree,' said he, 'that the track is
a fresh one. The creature has not passed ten minutes. Look how the
water is still oozing into that deeper print! By Jove! See, here is
the mark of a little one!'
 Sure enough, smaller tracks of the same general form were running
parallel to the large ones.
 'But what do you make of this?' cried Professor Summerlee,
triumphantly, pointing to what looked like the huge print of a
five-fingered human hand appearing among the three-toed marks.
 'Wealden!' cried Challenger, in an ecstasy. 'I've seen them in the
Wealden clay. It is a creature walking erect upon three-toed feet, and
occasionally putting one of its five-fingered fore-paws upon the
ground. Not a bird, my dear Roxton- not a bird.'
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 30}
 'A beast?'
 'No; a reptile- a dinosaur. Nothing else could have left such a
track. They puzzled a worthy Sussex doctor some ninety years ago;
but who in the world could have hoped- hoped- to have seen a sight
like that?'
 His words died away into a whisper and we all stood in motionless
amazement. Following the tracks, we had left the morass and passed
through a screen of brushwood and trees. Beyond was an open glade, and
in this were five of the most extraordinary creatures that I have ever
seen. Crouching down among the bushes, we observed them at our
 There were, as I say, five of them, two being adults and three young
ones. In size they were enormous. Even the babies were as big as
elephants, while the two large ones were far beyond all creatures I
have ever seen. They had slate-coloured skin, which was scaled like
a lizard's and shimmered where the sun shone upon it. All five were
sitting up, balancing themselves upon their broad, powerful tails
and their huge three-toed hind-feet, while with their small
five-fingered front-feet they pulled down the branches upon which they
browsed. I do not know that I can bring their appearance home to you
better than by saying that they looked like monstrous kangaroos,
twenty feet in length, and with skins like black crocodiles.
 I do not know how long we stayed motionless gazing at this
marvellous spectacle. A strong wind blew towards us and we were well
concealed, so there was no chance of discovery. From time to time
the little ones played round their parents in unwieldy gambols, the
great beasts bounding into the air and falling with dull thuds upon
the earth. The strength of the parents seemed to be limitless, for one
of them, having some difficulty in reaching a bunch of foliage which
grew upon a considerable-sized tree, put his fore-legs round the trunk
and tore it down as if it had been a sapling. The action seemed, as
I thought, to show not only the great development of its muscles,
but also the small one of its brain, for the whole weight came
crashing down upon the top of it, and it uttered a series of shrill
yelps to show that, big as it was, there was a limit to what it
could endure. The incident made it think, apparently, that the
neighbourhood was dangerous, for it slowly lurched off through the
wood, followed by its mate and its three enormous infants. We saw
the shimmering slatey gleam of their skins between the tree-trunks,
and their heads undulating high above the brushwood. Then they
vanished from our sight.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 35}
 I looked at my comrades. Lord John was standing at gaze with his
finger on the trigger of his elephant-gun, his eager hunter's soul
shining from his fierce eyes. What would he not give for one such head
to place between the two crossed oars above the mantelpiece in his
snuggery at the Albany! And yet his reason held him in, for all our
exploration of the wonders of this unknown land depended upon our
presence being concealed from its inhabitants. The two professors were
in silent ecstasy. In their excitement they had unconsciously seized
each other by the hand, and stood like two little children in the
presence of a marvel, Challenger's cheeks bunched up into a seraphic
smile, and Summerlee's sardonic face softening for the moment into
wonder and reverence.
 'Nunc dimittis!' he cried at last. 'What will they say in England of
 'My dear Summerlee, I will tell you with great confidence exactly
what they will say in England,' said Challenger. 'They will say that
you are an infernal liar and a scientific charlatan, exactly as you
and others said of me.'
 'In the face of photographs?'
 'Faked, Summerlee! Clumsily faked!'
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 40}
 'In the face of specimens?'
 'Ah there we may have them! Malone and his filthy Fleet Street
crew may be all yelping our praises yet. August the twenty-eighth- the
day we saw five live iguanodons in a glade of Maple White Land. Put it
down in your diary, my young friend, and send it to your rag.'
 'And be ready to get the toe-end of the editorial boot in return,'
said Lord John. 'Things look a bit different from the latitude of
London, young fellah-my-lad. There's many a man who never tells his
adventures, for he can't hope to be believed. Who's to blame them? For
this will seem a bit of a dream to ourselves in a month or two. What
did you say they were?'
 'Iguanodons,' said Summerlee. 'You'll find their footmarks all
over the Hastings sands, in Kent, and in Sussex. The South of
England was alive with them when there was plenty of good lush
green-stuff to keep them going. Conditions have changed, and the
beasts died. Here it seems that the conditions have not changed, and
the beasts have lived.'
 'If ever we get out of this alive, I must have a head with me,' said
Lord John. 'Lord, how some of that Somaliland- Uganda crowd would turn
a beautiful pea-green if they saw it! I don't know what you chaps
think, but it strikes me that we are on mighty thin ice all this
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 45}
 I had the same feeling of mystery and danger around us. In the gloom
of the trees there seemed a constant menace, and as we looked up
into their shadowy foliage vague terrors crept into one's heart. It is
true that these monstrous creatures which we had seen were lumbering
inoffensive brutes which were unlikely to hurt anyone, but in this
world of wonders what other survivals might there not be- what fierce,
active horrors ready to pounce upon us from their lair among the rocks
or brushwood? I knew little of prehistoric life, but I had a clear
remembrance of one book which I had read in which it spoke of
creatures who would live upon our lions and tigers as a cat lives upon
mice. What if these also were to be found in the woods of Maple
White Land!
 It was destined that on this very morning- our first in the new
country- we were to find out what strange hazards lay around us. It
was a loathsome adventure, and one of which I hate to think. If, as
Lord John said, the glade of the iguanodons will remain with us as a
dream, then surely the swamp of the pterodactyls will for ever be
our nightmare. Let me set down exactly what occurred.
 We passed very slowly through the woods, partly because Lord John
acted as scout before he would let us advance, and partly because at
every second step one or other of our professors would fall, with a
cry of wonder, before some flower or insect which presented him with a
new type. We may have travelled two or three miles in all, keeping
to the right of the line of the stream, when we came upon a
considerable opening in the trees. A belt of brushwood led up to a
tangle of rocks- the whole plateau was strewn with boulders. We were
walking slowly towards these rocks, among bushes which reached over
our waists, when we became aware of a strange low gabbling and
whistling sound, which filled the air with a constant clamour and
appeared to come from some spot immediately before us. Lord John
held up his hand as a signal for us to stop, and he made his way
swiftly, stooping and running, to the line of rocks. We saw him peep
over them and give a gesture of amazement. Then he stood staring as if
forgetting us, so utterly entranced was he by what he saw. Finally
he waved us to come on, holding up his hand as a signal for caution.
His whole bearing made me feel that something wonderful but
dangerous lay before us.
 Creeping to his side, we looked over the rocks. The place into which
we gazed was a pit, and may, in the early days, have been one of the
smaller volcanic blow-holes of the plateau. It was bowl-shaped, and at
the bottom, some hundreds of yards from where we lay, were pools of
green-scummed, stagnant water, fringed with bulrushes. It was a
weird place in itself, but its occupants made it seem like a scene
from the Seven Circles of Dante. The place was a rookery of
pterodactyls. There were hundreds of them congregated within view. All
the bottom area round the water-edge was alive with their young
ones, and with hideous mothers brooding upon their leathery, yellowish
eggs. From this crawling flapping mass of obscene reptilian life
came the shocking clamour which filled the air and the mephitic,
horrible, musty odour which turned us sick. But above, perched each
upon its own stone, tall, grey, and withered, more like dead and dried
specimens than actual living creatures, sat the horrible males,
absolutely motionless save for the rolling of their red eyes or an
occasional snap of their rat-trap beaks as a dragon-fly went past
them. Their huge, membranous wings were closed by folding their
forearms, so that they sat like gigantic old women, wrapped in hideous
web-coloured shawls, and with their ferocious heads protruding above
them. Large and small, not less than a thousand of these filthy
creatures lay in the hollow before us.
 Our professors would gladly have stayed there all day, so
entranced were they by this opportunity of studying the life of a
prehistoric age. They pointed out the fish and dead birds lying
about among the rocks as proving the nature of the food of these
creatures, and I heard them congratulating each other on having
cleared up the point why the bones of this flying dragon are found
in such great numbers in certain well-defined areas, as in the
Cambridge Green-sand, since it was now seen that, like penguins,
they lived in gregarious fashion.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 50}
 Finally, however, Challenger, bent upon proving some point which
Summerlee had contested, thrust his head over the rock and nearly
brought destruction upon us all. In an instant the nearest male gave a
shrill, whistling cry, and flapped its twenty-foot span of leathery
wings as it soared up into the air. The females and young ones huddled
together beside the water, while the whole circle of sentinels rose
one after the other and sailed off into the sky. It was a wonderful
sight to see at least a hundred creatures of such enormous size and
hideous appearance all swooping like swallows with swift, shearing
wing-strokes above us; but soon we realised that it was not one on
which we could afford to linger. At first the great brutes flew
round in a huge ring, as if to make sure what the exact extent of
the danger might be. Then, the flight grew lower and the circle
narrower, until they were whizzing round and round us, the dry,
rustling flap of their huge slate-coloured wings filling the air
with a volume of sound that made me think of Hendon aerodrome upon a
race day.
 'Make for the wood and keep together,' cried Lord John, clubbing his
rifle. 'The brutes mean mischief.'
 The moment we attempted to retreat the circle closed in upon us,
until the tips of the wings of those nearest to us nearly touched
our faces. We beat at them with the stocks of our guns, but there
was nothing solid or vulnerable to strike. Then suddenly out of the
whizzing, slate-coloured circle a long neck shot out, and a fierce
beak made a thrust at us. Another and another followed. Summerlee gave
a cry and put his hand to his face, from which the blood was
streaming. I felt a prod at the back of my neck, and turned dizzy with
the shock. Challenger fell, and as I stooped to pick him up I was
again struck from behind and dropped on top of him. At the same
instant I heard the crash of Lord John's elephant-gun, and, looking
up, saw one of the creatures with a broken wing struggling upon the
ground, spitting and gurgling at us with a wide-open beak and
blood-shot, goggled eyes, like some devil in a mediaeval picture.
Its comrades had flown higher at the sudden sound, and were circling
above our heads.
 'Now,' cried Lord John, 'now for our lives!'
 We staggered through the brushwood, and even as we reached the trees
the harpies were on us again. Summerlee was knocked down, but we
tore him up and rushed among the trunks. Once there we were safe,
for those huge wings had no space for their sweep beneath the
branches. As we limped homewards, sadly mauled and discomfited, we saw
them for a long time flying at a great height against the deep blue
sky above our heads, soaring round and round, no bigger than
wood-pigeons, with their eyes no doubt still following our progress.
At last, however, as we reached the thicker woods they gave up the
chase, and we saw them no more.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 55}
 'A most interesting and convincing experience,' said Challenger,
as we halted beside the brook and he bathed a swollen knee. 'We are
exceptionally well informed, Summerlee, as to the habits of the
enraged pterodactyl.'
 Summerlee was wiping the blood from a cut in his forehead, while I
was tying up a nasty stab in the muscle of the neck. Lord John had the
shoulder of his coat torn away, but the creature's teeth had only
grazed the flesh.
 'It is worth noting,' Challenger continued, 'that our young friend
has received an undoubted stab, while Lord John's coat could only have
been torn by a bite. In my own case, I was beaten about the head by
their wings, so we have a remarkable exhibition of their various
methods of offence.'
 'It has been touch and go for our lives,' said Lord John, gravely,
'and I could not think of a more rotten sort of death than to be outed
by such filthy vermin. I was sorry to fire my rifle, but, by Jove!
there was no great choice.'
 'We should not be here if you hadn't,' said I, with conviction.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 60}
 'It may do no harm,' said he. 'Among these woods there must be
many loud cracks from splitting or falling trees which would be just
like the sound of a gun. But now, if you are of my opinion, we have
had thrills enough for one day, and had best get back to the
surgical box at the camp for some carbolic. Who knows what venom these
beasts may have in their hideous jaws?'
 But surely no men ever had just such a day since the world began.
Some fresh surprise was ever in store for us. When, following the
course of our brook, we at least reached our glade and saw the
thorny barricade of our camp, we thought that our adventures were at
an end. But we had something more to think of before we could rest.
The gate of Fort Challenger had been untouched, the walls were
unbroken, and yet it had been visited by some strange and powerful
creature in our absence. No foot-mark showed a trace of its nature,
and only the overhanging branch of the enormous gingko tree
suggested how it might have come and gone; but of its malevolent
strength there was ample evidence in the condition of our stores. They
were strewn at random all over the ground, and one tin of meat had
been crushed into pieces so as to extract the contents. A case of
cartridges had been shattered into matchwood, and one of the brass
shells lay shredded into pieces beside it. Again the feeling of
vague horror came upon our souls, and we gazed round with frightened
eyes at the dark shadows which lay round us, in all of which some
fearsome shape might be lurking. How good it was when we were hailed
by the voice of Zambo, and going to the edge of the plateau, saw him
sitting grinning at us upon the top of the opposite pinnacle.
 'All well, Massa Challenger, all well!' he cried. 'Me stay here.
No fear. You always find me when you want.'
 His honest black face and the immense view before us, which
carried us half-way back to the affluent of the Amazon, helped us to
remember that we really were upon this earth in the twentieth century,
and had not by some magic been conveyed to some raw planet in its
earliest and wildest state. How difficult it was to realise that the
violet line upon the far horizon was well advanced to that great river
upon which huge steamers ran, and folk talked of the small affairs
of life, while we, marooned among the creatures of a bygone age, could
but gaze towards it and yearn for all that it meant!
 One other memory remains with me of this wonderful day, and with
it I will close this letter. The two professors, their tempers
aggravated no doubt by their injuries, had fallen out as to whether
our assailants were of the genus pterodactylus or dimorphodon, and
high words had ensued. To avoid their wrangling I moved some little
way apart, and was seated smoking upon the trunk of a fallen tree,
when Lord John strolled over in my direction.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 65}
 'I say, Malone, said he, 'do you remember that place where those
beasts were?'
 'Very clearly.'
 'A sort of volcanic pit, was it not?'
 'Exactly,' said I.
 'Did you notice the soil?'
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 70}
 'But round the water- where the reeds were?'
 'It was a bluish soil. It looked like clay.'
 'Exactly. A volcanic tube full of blue clay.'
 'What of that?' I asked.
                                                      {CH_10 ^paragraph 75}
 'Oh, nothing, nothing,' said he, and strolled back to where the
voices of the contending men of science rose in a prolonged duet the
high, strident note of Summerlee rising and falling to the sonorous
bass of Challenger. I should have thought no more of Lord John's
remark were it not that once again that night I heard him mutter to
himself: 'Blue clay- clay in a volcanic tube!' They were the last
words I heard before I dropped into an exhausted sleep.

                    11. For Once I Was the Hero
 LORD JOHN ROXTON was right when he thought that some specially toxic
quality might lie in the bite of the horrible creatures which had
attacked us. On the morning after our first adventure upon the
plateau, both Summerlee and I were in great pain and fever, while
Challenger's knee was so bruised that he could hardly limp. We kept to
our camp all day, therefore, Lord John busying himself, with such help
as we could give him, in raising the height and thickness of the
thorny walls which were our only defence. I remember that during the
whole long day I was haunted by the feeling that we were closely
observed, though by whom or whence I could give no guess.
 So strong was the impression that I told Professor Challenger of it,
who put it down to the cerebral excitement caused by my fever. Again
and again I glanced round swiftly, with the conviction that I was
about to see something, but only to meet the dark tangle of our
hedge or the solemn and cavernous gloom of the great trees which
arched above our heads. And yet the feeling grew ever stronger in my
own mind that something observant and something malevolent was at
our very elbow. I thought of the Indian superstition of the
Curupuri- the dreadful lurking spirit of the woods- and I could have
imagined that his terrible presence haunted those who have invaded his
most remote and sacred retreat.
 That night (our third in Maple White Land) we had an experience
which left a fearful impression upon our minds, and made us thankful
that Lord John had worked so hard in making our retreat impregnable.
We were all sleeping round our dying fire when we were aroused- or,
rather, I should say, shot out of our slumbers- by a succession of the
most frightful cries and screams to which I have ever listened. I know
no sound to which I could compare this amazing tumult, which seemed to
come from some spot within a few hundred yards of our camp. It was
as ear-splitting as any whistle of a railway-engine; but whereas the
whistle is a clear, mechanical, sharp-edged sound, this was far deeper
in volume and vibrant with the uttermost strain of agony and horror.
We clapped our hands to our ears to shut out that nerve-shaking
appeal. A cold sweat broke out over my body, and my heart turned
sick at the misery of it. All the woes of tortured life, all its
stupendous indictment of high heaven, its innumerable sorrows,
seemed to be centred and condensed into that one dreadful, agonised
cry. And then, under this high-pitched, ringing sound there was
another, more intermittent, a low, deep-chested laugh, a growling,
throaty gurgle of merriment which formed a grotesque accompaniment
to the shriek with which it was blended. For three or four minutes
on end the fearsome duet continued, while all the foliage rustled with
the rising of startled birds. Then it shut off as suddenly as it
began. For a long time we sat in horrified silence. Then Lord John
threw a bundle of twigs upon the fire, and their red glare lit up
the intent faces of my companions and flickered over the great
boughs above our heads.
 'What was it?' I whispered.
 'We shall know in the morning,' said Lord John. 'It was close to us-
not farther than the glade.'
                                                       {CH_11 ^paragraph 5}
 'We have been privileged to overhear a prehistoric tragedy, the sort
of drama which occurred among the reeds upon the border of some
Jurassic lagoon, when the greater dragon pinned the lesser among the
slime,' said Challenger, with more solemnity than I had ever heard
in his voice. 'It was surely well for man that he came late in the
order of creation. There were powers abroad in earlier days which no
courage and no mechanism of his could have met. What could his
sling, his throwing-stick, or his arrow avail him against such
forces as have been loose tonight? Even with a modern rifle it would
be all odds on the monster.'
 'I think I should back my little friend,' said Lord John,
caressing his Express. 'But the beast would certainly have a good
sporting chance.'
 Summerlee raised his hand.
 'Hush!' he cried. 'Surely I heard something?'
 From the utter silence there emerged a deep, regular pat-pat. It was
the tread of some animal- the rhythm of soft but heavy pads placed
cautiously upon the ground. It stole slowly round the camp, and then
halted near our gateway. There was a low, sibilant rise and fall-
the breathing of the creature. Only our feeble hedge separated us from
this horror of the night. Each of us had seized his rifle, and Lord
John had pulled out a small bush to make an embrasure in the hedge.
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 10}
 'By George!' he whispered. 'I think I can see it!'
 I stooped and peered over his shoulder through the gap. Yes, I could
see it, too. In the deep shadow of the tree there was a deeper
shadow yet, black, inchoate, vague- a crouching form full of savage
vigour and menace. It was no higher than a horse, but the dim
outline suggested vast bulk and strength. That hissing pant, as
regular and full-volumed as the exhaust of an engine, spoke of a
monstrous organism. Once, as it moved, I thought I saw the glint of
two terrible, greenish eyes. There was an uneasy rustling, as if it
were crawling slowly forward.
 'I believe it is going to spring!' said I, cocking my rifle.
 'Don't fire! Don't fire!' whispered Lord John. 'The crash of a gun
in this silent night would be heard for miles. Keep it as a last
 'If it gets over the hedge we're done,' said Summerlee, and his
voice crackled into a nervous laugh as he spoke.
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 15}
 'No, it must not get over,' cried Lord John; 'but hold your fire
to the last. Perhaps I can make something of the fellow. I'll chance
it, anyhow.'
 It was as brave an act as ever I saw a man do. He stooped to the
fire, picked up a blazing branch, and slipped in an instant through
a sallyport which he had made in our gateway. The thing moved
forward with a dreadful snarl. Lord John never hesitated, but, running
towards it with a quick light step, he dashed the flaming wood into
the brute's face. For one moment I had a vision of a horrible mask
like a giant toad's, of a warty, leprous skin, and of a loose mouth
all beslobbered with fresh blood. The next, there was a crash in the
underwood and our dreadful visitor was gone.
 'I thought he wouldn't face the fire,' said Lord John, laughing,
as he came back and threw his branch among the faggots.
 'You should not have taken such a risk!' we all cried.
 'There was nothing else to be done. If he had got among us we should
have shot each other in tryin' to down him. On the other hand, if we
had fired through the hedge and wounded him he would soon have been on
the top of us- to say nothin' of giving ourselves away. On the
whole, I think that we are jolly well out of it. What was he, then?'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 20}
 Our learned men looked at each other with some hesitation.
 'Personally, I am unable to classify the creature with any
certainty,' said Summerlee lighting his pipe from the fire.
 'In refusing to commit yourself you are but showing a proper
scientific reserve,' said Challenger with massive condescension. 'I am
not myself prepared to go farther than to say in general terms that we
have almost certainly been in contact tonight with some form of
carnivorous dinosaur. I have already expressed my anticipation that
something of the sort might exist upon this plateau.'
 'We have to bear in mind,' remarked Summerlee, 'that there are
many prehistoric forms which have never come down to us. It would be
rash to suppose that we can give a name to all that we are likely to
 'Exactly. A rough classification may be the best that we can
attempt. Tomorrow some further evidence may help us to an
identification. Meantime we can only renew our interrupted slumbers.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 25}
 'But not without a sentinel,' said Lord John, with decision. 'We
can't afford to take chances in a country like this. Two-hour spells
in the future for each of us.'
 'Then I'll just finish my pipe in starting the first one,' said
Professor Summerlee; and from that time onwards we never trusted
ourselves again without a watchman.
 In the morning it was not long before we discovered the source of
the hideous uproar which had aroused us in the night. The iguanodon
glade was the scene of a horrible butchery. From the pools of blood
and the enormous lumps of flesh scattered in every direction over
the green sward we imagined at first that a number of animals had been
killed, but on examining the remains more closely we discovered that
all this carnage came from one of these unwieldy monsters, which had
been literally torn to pieces by some creature not larger, perhaps,
but far more ferocious, than itself.
 Our two professors sat in absorbed argument, examining piece after
piece, which showed the marks of savage teeth and of enormous claws.
 'Our judgment must still be in abeyance,' said Professor Challenger,
with a huge slab of whitish-coloured flesh across his knee. 'The
indications would be consistent with the presence of a sabre-toothed
tiger, such as are still found among the breccia of our caverns; but
the creature actually seen was undoubtedly of a larger and more
reptilian character. Personally, I should pronounce for allosaurus.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 30}
 'Or megalosaurus,' said Summerlee.
 'Exactly. Any one of the larger carnivorous dinosaurs would meet the
case. Among them are to be found all the most terrible types of
animal-life that have ever cursed the earth or blessed a museum.' He
laughed sonorously at his own conceit, for, though he had little sense
of humour, the crudest pleasantry from his own lips moved him always
to roars of appreciation.
 'The less noise the better,' said Lord John, curtly. 'We don't
know who or what may be near us. If this fellah comes back for his
breakfast and catches us here we won't have so much to laugh at. By
the way, what is this mark upon the iguanodon's hide?'
 On the dull, scaly, slate-coloured skin, somewhere above the
shoulder, there was a singular black circle of some substance which
looked like asphalt. None of us could suggest what it meant, though
Summerlee was of opinion that he had seen something similar upon one
of the young ones two days before. Challenger said nothing, but looked
pompous and puffy, as if he could if he would, so that finally Lord
John asked his opinion direct.
 'If your lordship will graciously permit me to open my mouth, I
shall be happy to express my sentiments,' said he, with elaborate
sarcasm. 'I am not in the habit of being taken to task in the
fashion which seems to be customary with your lordship. I was not
aware that it was necessary to ask your permission before smiling at a
harmless pleasantry.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 35}
 It was not until he had received his apology that our touchy
friend would suffer himself to be appeased. When at last his ruffled
feelings were at ease, he addressed us at some length from his seat
upon a fallen tree, speaking, as his habit was, as if he were
imparting most precious information to a class of a thousand.
 'With regard to the marking,' said he, 'I am inclined to agree
with my friend and colleague, Professor Summerlee, that the stains are
from asphalt. As this plateau is, in its very nature, highly volcanic,
and as asphalt is a substance which one associates with Plutonic
forces, I cannot doubt that it exists in the free liquid state, and
that the creature may have come in contact with it. A much more
important problem is the question as to the existence of the
carnivorous monster which has left its traces in this glade. We know
roughly that this plateau is not larger than an average English
county. Within this confined space a certain number of creatures,
mostly types which have passed away in the world below, have lived
together for innumerable years. Now, it is very clear to me that in so
long a period one would have expected that the carnivorous
creatures, multiplying unchecked, would have exhausted their food
supply and have been compelled to either modify their flesh-eating
habits or die of hunger. This we see has not been so. We can only
imagine therefore, that the balance of Nature is preserved by some
check which limits the numbers of these ferocious creatures. One of
the many interesting problems, therefore, which await our solution
is to discover what that check may be and how it operates. I venture
to trust that we may have some future opportunity for the closer study
of the carnivorous dinosaurs.'
 'And I venture to trust that we may not,' I observed.
 The Professor only raised his great eyebrows, as the schoolmaster
meets the irrelevant observation of the naughty boy.
 'Perhaps Professor Summerlee may have an observation to make,' he
said, and the two savants ascended together into some rarefied
scientific atmosphere, where the possibilities of a modification of
the birth-rate were weighed against the decline of the food supply
as a check in the struggle for existence.
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 40}
 That morning we mapped out a small portion of the plateau,
avoiding the swamp of the pterodactyls, and keeping to the east of our
brook instead of to the west. In that direction the country was
still thickly wooded, with so much undergrowth that our progress was
very slow.
 I have dwelt up to now upon the terrors of Maple White Land; but
there was another side to the subject, for all that morning we
wandered among lovely flowers- mostly, as I observed, white or
yellow in colour, these being, as our professors explained, the
primitive flower-shades. In many places the ground was absolutely
covered with them, and as we walked ankle-deep on that wonderful
yielding carpet, the scent was almost intoxicating in its sweetness
and intensity. The homely English bee buzzed everywhere around us.
Many of the trees under which we passed had their branches bowed
down with fruit, some of which were of familiar sorts, while other
varieties were new. By observing which of them were pecked by the
birds we avoided all danger of poison and added a delicious variety to
our food reserve. In the jungle which we traversed were numerous
hard-trodden paths made by the wild-beasts, and in the more marshy
places we saw a profusion of strange foot-marks, including many of the
iguanodon. Once in a grove we observed several of these great
creatures grazing and Lord John, with his glass, was able to report
that they also were spotted with asphalt, though in a different
place to the one which we had examined in the morning. What this
phenomenon meant we could not imagine.
 We saw many small animals, such as porcupines, a scaly ant-eater,
and a wild pig, piebald in colour and with long curved tusks. Once,
through a break in the trees, we saw a clear shoulder of green hill
some distance away, and across this a large dun-coloured animal was
travelling at a considerable pace. It passed so swiftly that we were
unable to say what it was; but if it were a deer, as was claimed by
Lord John, it must have been as large as those monstrous Irish elk
which are still dug up from time to time in the bogs of my native
 Ever since the mysterious visit which had been paid to our camp we
always returned to it with some misgivings. However, on this
occasion we found everything in order. That evening we had a grand
discussion upon our present situation and future plans, which I must
describe at some length, as it led to a new departure by which we were
enabled to gain a more complete knowledge of Maple White Land than
might have come in many weeks of exploring. It was Summerlee who
opened the debate. All day he had been querulous in manner, and now
some remark of Lord John's as to what we should do on the morrow
brought all his bitterness to a head.
 'What we ought to be doing today, tomorrow, and all the time,'
said he, 'is finding some way out of the trap into which we have
fallen. You are all turning your brains towards getting into this
country. I say that we should be scheming how to get out of it.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 45}
 'I am surprised, sir,' boomed Challenger, stroking his majestic
beard, 'that any man of science should commit himself to so ignoble
a sentiment. You are in a land which offers such an inducement to
the ambitious naturalist as none ever has since the world began, and
you suggest leaving it before we have acquired more than the most
superficial knowledge of it or of its contents. I expected better
things of you Professor Summerlee.'
 'You must remember,' said Summerlee, sourly, 'that I have a large
class in London who are at present at the mercy of an extremely
inefficient locum tenens. This makes my situation different from
yours, Professor Challenger, since so far as I know, you have never
been entrusted with any responsible educational work.'
 'Quite so,' said Challenger. 'I have felt it to be a sacrilege to
divert a brain which is capable of the highest original research to
any lesser object. That is why I have sternly set my face against
any proffered scholastic appointment.'
 'For example?' asked Summerlee with a sneer; but Lord John
hastened to change the conversation.
 'I must say,' said he, 'that I think it would be a mighty poor thing
to go back to London before I know a great deal more of this place
than I do at present.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 50}
 'I could never dare to walk into the back office of my paper and
face old McArdle,' said I. (You will excuse the frankness of this
report, will you not, sir?) 'He'd never forgive me for leaving such
unexhausted copy behind me. Besides, so far as I can see, it is not
worth discussing, since we can't get down, even if we wanted.'
 'Our young friend makes up for many obvious mental lacunae by some
measure of primitive common sense,' remarked Challenger. 'The
interests of his deplorable profession are immaterial to us; but as he
observes, we cannot get down in any case, so it is a waste of energy
to discus it.'
 'It is a waste of energy to do anything else,' growled Summerlee
from behind his pipe. 'Let me remind you that we came here upon a
perfectly definite mission, entrusted to us at the meeting of the
Zoological Institute in London. That mission was to test the truth
of Professor Challenger's statements. Those statements, as I am
bound to admit, we are now in a position to endorse. Our ostensible
work is therefore done. As to the detail which remains to be worked
out upon this plateau, it is so enormous that only a large expedition,
with a very special equipment, could hope to cope with it. Should we
attempt to do so ourselves, the only possible result must be that we
shall never return with the important contributions to science which
we have already gained. Professor Challenger has devised means for
getting us on to this plateau when it appeared to be inaccessible; I
think that we should now call upon him to use the same ingenuity in
getting us back to the world from which we came.'
 I confess that as Summerlee stated his view it struck me as
altogether reasonable. Even Challenger was affected by the
consideration that his enemies would never stand confuted if the
confirmation of his statements should never reach those who had
doubted them.
 'The problem of the descent is at first sight a formidable one,'
said he, 'and yet I cannot doubt that the intellect can solve it. I am
prepared to agree with our colleague that a protracted stay in Maple
White Land is at present inadvisable, and that the question of our
return will soon have to be faced. I absolutely refuse to leave,
however, until we have made at least a superficial examination of this
country, and are able to take back with us something in the nature
of a chart.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 55}
 Professor Summerlee gave a snort of impatience.
 'We have spent two long days in exploration,' said he, 'and we are
no wiser as to the actual geography of the place than when we started.
It is clear that it is all thickly wooded, and it would take months to
penetrate it and to learn the relations of one part to another. If
there were some central peak it would be different, but it all
slopes downwards, so far as we can see. The farther we go the less
likely it is that we will get any general view.'
 It was at that moment that I had my inspiration. My eyes chanced
to light upon the enormous gnarled trunk of the gingko tree which cast
its huge branches over us. Surely, if its bole exceeded that of all
the others, its height must do the same. If the rim of the plateau was
indeed the highest point, then why should this mighty tree not prove
to be a watch-tower which commanded the whole country? Now, ever since
I ran wild as a lad in Ireland I have been a bold and skilled
tree-climber. My comrades might be my masters on the rocks, but I knew
that I would be supreme among those branches. Could I only get my legs
on to the lowest of the giant off-shoots, then it would be strange
indeed, if I could not make my way to the top. My comrades were
delighted at my idea.
 'Our young friend,' said Challenger, bunching up the red apples of
his cheeks, 'is capable of acrobatic exertions which would be
impossible to a man of a more solid, though possibly of a more
commanding, appearance. I applaud his resolution.'
 'By George, young fellah, you've put your hand on it!' said Lord
John, clapping me on the back. 'How we never came to think of it
before I can't imagine! There's not more than an hour of daylight
left, but if you take your notebook you may be able to get some
rough sketch of the place. If we put these three ammunition cases
under the branch, I will soon hoist you on to it.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 60}
 He stood on the boxes while I faced the trunk, and was gently
raising me when Challenger sprang forward and gave me such a thrust
with his huge hand that he fairly shot me into the tree. With both
arms clasping the branch, I scrambled hard with my feet until I had
worked, first my body, and then my knees, on to it. There were three
excellent off-shoots, like huge rungs of a ladder, above my head,
and a tangle of convenient branches beyond, so that I clambered
onwards with such speed that I soon lost sight of the ground and had
nothing but foliage beneath me. Now and then I encountered a check,
and once I had to shin up a creeper for eight or ten feet, but I
made excellent progress, and the booming of Challenger's voice
seemed to be a great distance beneath me. The tree was, however,
enormous, and, looking upwards, I could see no thinning of the
leaves above my head. There was some thick, bush-like clump which
seemed to be a parasite upon a branch up which I was swarming. I
leaned my head round it in order to see what was beyond and I nearly
fell out of the tree in my surprise and horror at what I saw.
 A face was gazing into mine- at the distance of only a foot or
two. The creature that owned it had been crouching behind the
parasite, and had looked round it at the same instant that I did. It
was a human face- or at least it was far more human than any
monkey's that I have ever seen. It was long, whitish, and blotched
with pimples, the nose flattened, and the lower jaw projecting, with a
bristle of coarse whiskers round the chin. The eyes, which were
under thick and heavy brows, were bestial and ferocious, and as it
opened its mouth to snarl what sounded like a curse at me I observed
that it had curved, sharp canine teeth. For an instant I read hatred
and menace in the evil eyes. Then, as quick as a flash, came an
expression of overpowering fear. There was a crash of broken boughs as
it dived wildly down into the tangle of green. I caught a glimpse of a
hairy body like that of a reddish pig, and then it was gone amid a
swirl of leaves and branches.
 'What's the matter?' shouted Roxton from below. 'Anything wrong with
 'Did you see it?' I cried with my arms round the branch and all my
nerves tingling.
 'We heard a row, as if your foot had slipped. What was it?'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 65}
 I was so shocked at the sudden and strange appearance of this
ape-man that I hesitated whether I should not climb down again and
tell my experience to my companions. But I was already so far up the
great tree that it seemed a humiliation to return without having
carried out my mission.
 After a long pause therefore, to recover my breath and my courage, I
continued my ascent. Once I put my weight upon a rotten branch and
swung for a few seconds by my hands, but in the main it was all easy
climbing. Gradually the leaves thinned around me, and I was aware,
from the wind upon my face that I had topped all the trees of the
forest. I was determined, however, not to look about me before I had
reached the highest point, so I scrambled on until I had got so far
that the topmost branch was bending beneath my weight. There I settled
into a convenient fork, and, balancing myself securely, I found myself
looking down at a most wonderful panorama of this strange country in
which we found ourselves.
 The sun was just above the western sky-line, and the evening was a
particularly bright and clear one, so that the whole extent of the
plateau was visible beneath me. It was, as seen from this height, of
an oval contour, with a breadth of about thirty miles and a width of
twenty. Its general shape was that of a shallow funnel, all the
sides sloping down to a considerable lake in the centre. This lake may
have been ten miles in circumference, and lay very green and beautiful
in the evening light, with a thick fringe of reeds at its edges, and
with its surface broken by several yellow sandbanks, which gleamed
golden in the mellow sunshine. A number of long dark objects, which
were too large for alligators and too long for canoes, lay upon the
edges of these patches of sand. With my glass I could clearly see that
they were alive, but what their nature might be I could not imagine.
 From the side of the plateau on which we were, slopes of woodland,
with occasional glades, stretched down for five or six miles to the
central lake. I could see at my very feet the glade of the iguanodons,
and farther off was a round opening in the trees which marked the
swamp of the pterodactyls. On the side facing me, however, the plateau
presented a very different aspect. There the basalt cliffs of the
outside were reproduced upon the inside, forming an escarpment about
two hundred feet high, with a woody slope beneath it. Along the base
of these red cliffs, some distance above the ground, I could see a
number of dark holes through the glass, which I conjectured to be
the mouths of the caves. At the opening of one of these something
white was shimmering, but I was unable to make out what it was. I
sat charting the country until the sun had set and it was so dark that
I could no longer distinguish details. Then I climbed down to my
companions waiting for me so eagerly at the bottom of the great
tree. For once I was the hero of the expedition. Alone I had thought
of it, and alone I had done it; and here was the chart which would
save us a month's blind groping among unknown dangers. Each of them
shook me solemnly by the hand. But before they discussed the details
of my map I had to tell them of my encounter with the ape-man among
the branches.
 'He has been there all the time,' said I.
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 70}
 'How do you know that?' asked Lord John.
 'Because I have never been without that feeling that something
malevolent was watching us. I mentioned it to you, Professor
 'Our young friend certainly said something of the kind. He is also
the one among us who is endowed with that Celtic temperament which
would make him sensitive to such impressions.'
 'The whole theory of telepathy-' began Summerlee, filling his pipe.
 'Is too vast to be now discussed,' said Challenger, with decision.
'Tell me, now,' he added, with the air of a bishop addressing a
Sunday-school, 'did you happen to observe whether the creature could
cross its thumb over its palm?'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 75}
 'No, indeed.'
 'Had it a tail?'
 'Was the foot prehensile?'
 'I do not think it could have made off so fast among the branches if
it could not get a grip with its feet.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 80}
 'In South America there are, if my memory serves me- you will
check the observation, Professor Summerlee- some thirty-six species of
monkeys, but the anthropoid ape is unknown. It is clear, however, that
he exists in this country, and that he is not the hairy,
gorilla-like variety, which is never seen out of Africa or the
East.' (I was inclined to interpolate, as I looked at him, that I
had seen his first cousin in Kensington.) 'This is a whiskered and
colourless type, the latter characteristic pointing to the fact that
he spends his days in arboreal seclusion. The question which we have
to face is whether he approaches more closely to the ape or the man.
In the latter case, he may well approximate to what the vulgar have
called the "missing link". The solution of this problem is our
immediate duty.'
 'It is nothing of the sort,' said Summerlee, abruptly. 'Now that,
through the intelligence and activity of Mr. Malone (I cannot help
quoting the words), 'we have got our chart, our one and only immediate
duty is to get ourselves safe and sound out of this awful place.'
 'The flesh-pots of civilisation,' groaned Challenger.
 'The ink-pots of civilisation, sir. It is our task to put on
record what we have seen, and to leave the further exploration to
others. You all agreed as much before Mr. Malone got us the chart.'
 'Well,' said Challenger, 'I admit that my mind will be more at
ease when I am assured that the result of our expedition has been
conveyed to our friends. How we are to get down from this place I have
not as yet an idea. I have never yet encountered any problem, however,
which my inventive brain was unable to solve, and I promise you that
tomorrow I will turn my attention to the question of our descent.'
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 85}
 And so the matter was allowed to rest. But that evening, by the
light of the fire and of a single candle, the first map of the lost
world was elaborated. Every detail which I had roughly noted from my
watch-tower was drawn out in its relative place. Challenger's pencil
hovered over the great blank which marked the lake.
                        (See Illustration.)
 'What shall we call it?' he asked.
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 90}
 'Why should you not take the chance of perpetuating your own
name?' said Summerlee, with his usual touch of acidity.
 'I trust, sir, that my name will have other and more personal claims
upon posterity,' said Challenger, severely. 'Any ignoramus can hand
down his worthless memory by imposing a mountain or a river. I need no
such monument.'
 Summerlee, with a twisted smile, was about to make some fresh
assault when Lord John hastened to intervene.
 'It is up to you, young fellah, to name the lake,' said he. 'You saw
it first, and, by George, if you choose to put "Lake Malone" on it, no
one has a better right.'
 'By all means. Let our young friend give it a name,' said
                                                      {CH_11 ^paragraph 95}
 'Then,' said I, blushing, I dare say, as I said it, 'let it be named
Lake Gladys.'
 'Don't you think the Central Lake would be more descriptive?'
remarked Summerlee.
 'I should prefer Lake Gladys.'
 Challenger looked at me sympathetically, and shook his great head in
mock disapproval. 'Boys will be boys,' said he. 'Lake Gladys let it

                 12. It Was Dreadful in the Forest
 I HAVE said- or perhaps I have not said, for my memory plays me
sad tricks these days- that I glowed with pride when three such men as
my comrades thanked me for having saved, or at least greatly helped,
the situation. As the youngster of the party, not merely in years, but
in experience, character, knowledge, and all that goes to make a
man, I had been overshadowed from the first. And now I was coming into
my own. I warmed at the thought. Alas! for the pride which goes before
a fall! That little glow of self-satisfaction, that added measure of
self-confidence, were to lead me on that very night to the most
dreadful experience of my life, ending with a shock which turns my
heart sick when I think of it.
 It came about in this way. I had been unduly excited by the
adventure of the tree, and sleep seemed to be impossible. Summerlee
was on guard, sitting hunched over our small fire, a quaint, angular
figure, his rifle across his knees and his pointed, goat-like beard
wagging with each weary nod of his head. Lord John lay silent, wrapped
in the South American poncho which he wore, while Challenger snored
with a roll and rattle which reverberated through the woods. The
full moon was shining brightly, and the air was crisply cold. What a
night for a walk! And then suddenly came the thought, 'Why not?'
Suppose I stole softly away, suppose I made my way down to the central
lake, suppose I was back at breakfast with some record of the place-
would I not in that case be thought an even more worthy associate?
Then, if Summerlee carried the day and some means of escape were
found, we should return to London with first-hand knowledge of the
central mystery of the plateau, to which I alone, of all men, would
have penetrated. I thought of Gladys, with her, 'There are heroisms
all round us'. I seemed to hear her voice as she said it. I thought
also of McArdle, what a three-column article for the paper! What a
foundation for a career! A correspondentship in the next great war
might be within my reach. I clutched at a gun- my pockets were full of
cartridges- and, parting the thorn bushes at the gate of our zareba, I
quickly slipped out. My last glance showed me the unconscious
Summerlee, most futile of sentinels, still nodding away like a queer
mechanical toy in front of the smouldering fire.
 I had not gone a hundred yards before I deeply repented my rashness.
I may have said somewhere in this chronicle that I am too
imaginative to be a really courageous man, but that I have an
overpowering fear of seeming afraid. This was the power which now
carried me onwards. I simply could not slink back with nothing done.
Even if my comrades should not have missed me, and should never know
of my weakness, there would still remain some intolerable self-shame
in my own soul. And yet I shuddered at the position in which I found
myself, and would have given all I possessed at that moment to have
been honourably free of the whole business.
 It was dreadful in the forest. The trees grew so thickly and their
foliage spread so widely that I could see nothing of the moonlight
save that here and there the high branches made a tangled filigree
against the starry sky. As the eyes became more used to the
obscurity one learned that there were different degrees of darkness
among the trees- that some were dimly visible, while between and among
them there were coal-black shadowed patches, like the mouths of caves,
from which I shrank in horror as I passed. I thought of the despairing
yell of the tortured iguanodon- that dreadful cry which had echoed
through the woods. I thought, too, of the glimpse I had in the light
of Lord John's torch of that bloated, warty, blood-slavering muzzle.
Even now I was on its hunting-ground. At any instant it might spring
upon me from the shadows- this nameless and horrible monster. I
stopped, and, picking a cartridge from my pocket, I opened the
breech of my gun. As I touched the lever my heart leaped within me. It
was the shot-gun, not the rifle, which I had taken!
 Again the impulse to return swept over me. Here, surely was a most
excellent reason for my failure- one for which no one would think
the less of me. And again the foolish pride fought against that very
word. I could not- must not- fail. After all, my rifle would
probably have been as useless as a shot-gun against such dangers as
I might meet. If I were to go back to camp to change my weapon I could
hardly expect to enter and to leave again without being seen. In
that case there would be explanations, and my attempt would no
longer be all my own. After a little hesitation, then, I screwed up my
courage and continued upon my way, my useless gun under my arm.
                                                       {CH_12 ^paragraph 5}
 The darkness of the forest had been alarming, but even worse was the
white, still flood of moonlight in the open glade of iguanodons. Hid
among the bushes, I looked out at it. None of the great brutes were in
sight. Perhaps the tragedy which had befallen one of them had driven
them from their feeding ground. In the misty, silvery night I could
see no sign of any living thing. Taking courage, therefore, I
slipped rapidly across it, and among the jungle on the farther side
I picked up once again the brook which was my guide. It was a cheery
companion, gurgling and chuckling as it ran, like the dear old trout
stream in the West Country where I have fished at night in my boyhood.
So long as I followed it down I must come to the lake, and so long
as I followed it back I must come to the camp. Often I had to lose
sight of it on account of the tangled brushwood but I was always
within earshot of its tinkle and splash.
 As one descended the slope the woods became thinner and bushes, with
occasional high trees, took the place of the forest. I could make good
progress, therefore, and I could see without being seen. I passed
close to the pterodactyl swamp, and as I did so, with a dry, crisp,
leathery rattle of wings, one of these great creatures- it was
twenty feet at least from tip to tip- rose up from somewhere near me
and soared into the air. As it passed across the face of the moon
the light shone clearly through the membranous wings, and it looked
like a flying skeleton against the white, tropical radiance. I
crouched low among the bushes, for I knew from past experience that
with a single cry the creature could bring a hundred of its
loathsome mates about my ears. It was not until it had settled again
that I dared to steal onwards upon my journey.
 The night had been exceedingly still, but as I advanced I became
conscious of a low, rumbling sound, a continuous murmur somewhere in
front of me. This grew louder as I proceeded, until at last it was
clearly quite close to me. When I stood still the sound was
constant, so that it seemed to come from some stationary cause. It was
like a boiling kettle or the bubbling of some great pot. Soon I came
upon the source of it, for in the centre of a small clearing I found a
lake- or a pool, rather, for it was not larger than the basin of the
Trafalgar Square fountain- of some black, pitch-like stuff, the
surface of which rose and fell in great blisters of bursting gas.
The air above it was shimmering with heat, and the ground round was so
hot that I could hardly bear to lay my hand on it. It was clear that
the great volcanic outburst which had raised this strange plateau so
many years ago had not yet entirely spent its forces. Blackened
rocks and mounds of lava I had already seen everywhere peeping out
from amid the luxuriant vegetation which draped them, but this asphalt
pool in the jungle was the first sign that we had of actual existing
activity on the slopes of the ancient crater. I had no time to examine
it further, for I had need to hurry if I was to be back in camp in the
 It was a fearsome walk, and one which will be with me so long as
memory holds. In the great moonlit clearings I slunk along among the
shadows on the margin. In the jungle I crept forward, stopping with
a beating heart whenever I heard, as I often did, the crash of
breaking branches as some wild beast went past. Now and then great
shadows loomed up for an instant and were gone- great, silent
shadows which seemed to prowl upon padded feet. How often I stopped
with the intention of returning, and yet every time my pride conquered
my fear, and sent me on again until my object should be attained.
 At last (my watch showed that it was one in the morning) I saw the
gleam of water amid the openings of the jungle, and ten minutes
later I was among the reeds upon the borders of the central lake. I
was exceedingly dry, so I lay down and took a long draught of its
waters, which were fresh and cold. There was a broad pathway with many
tracks upon it at the spot which I had found, so that it was clearly
one of the drinking-places of the animals. Close to the water's edge
there was a huge isolated block of lava. Up this I climbed, and, lying
on the top, I had an excellent view in every direction.
                                                      {CH_12 ^paragraph 10}
 The first thing which I saw filled me with amazement. When I
described the view from the summit of the great tree, I said that on
the farther cliff I could see a number of dark spots, which appeared
to be the mouths of caves. Now as I looked up at the same cliffs, I
saw discs of light in every direction, ruddy, clearly-defined patches,
like the port-holes of a liner in the darkness. For a moment I thought
it was the lava-glow from some volcanic action; but this could not
be so. Any volcanic action would surely be down in the hollow, and not
high among the rocks. What, then, was the alternative? It was
wonderful, and yet it must surely be. These ruddy spots must be the
reflection of fires within the caves- fires which could only be lit by
the hand of man. There were human beings then, upon the plateau. How
gloriously my expedition was justified! Here was news indeed for us to
bear back with us to London!
 For a long time I lay and watched these red, quivering blotches of
light. I suppose they were ten miles off from me, yet even at that
distance one could observe how, from time to time, they twinkled or
were obscured as someone passed before them. What would I not have
given to be able to crawl up to them, to peep in, and to take back
some word to my comrades as to the appearance and character of the
race who lived in so strange a place! It was out of the question for
the moment, and yet surely we could not leave the plateau until we had
some definite knowledge upon the point.
 Lake Gladys- my own lake- lay like a sheet of quick-silver before
me, with a reflected moon shining brightly in the centre of it. It was
shallow, for in many places I saw low sandbanks protruding above the
water. Everywhere upon the still surface I could see signs of life,
sometimes mere rings and ripples in the water, sometimes the gleam
of a great silver-sided fish in the air, sometimes the arched,
slate-coloured back of some passing monster. Once upon a yellow
sandbank I saw a creature like a huge swan, with a clumsy body and a
high, flexible neck, shuffling about upon the margin. Presently it
plunged in, and for some time I could see the arched neck and
darting head undulating over the water. Then it dived, and I saw it no
 My attention was soon drawn away from these distant sights and
brought back to what was going on at my very feet. Two creatures
like large armadillos had come down to the drinking place, and were
squatting at the edge of the water, their long, flexible tongues
like red ribbons shooting in and out as they lapped. A huge deer, with
branching horns, a magnificent creature which carried itself like a
king, came down with its doe and two fawns and drank beside the
armadillos. No such deer exists anywhere else upon earth, for the
moose or elks which I have seen would hardly have reached its
shoulders. Presently it gave a warning snort and was off with its
family among the reeds, while the armadillos also scuttled for
shelter. A new-comer, a most monstrous animal, was coming down the
 For a moment I wondered where I could have seen that ungainly shape,
that arched back with triangular fringes along it, that strange
bird-like head held close to the ground. Then it came back to me. It
was the stegosaurus- the very creature which Maple White had preserved
in his sketchbook, and which had been the first object which
arrested the attention of Challenger! There he was- perhaps the very
specimen which the American artist had encountered. The ground shook
beneath his tremendous weight, and his gulpings of water resounded
through the still night. For five minutes he was so close to my rock
that by stretching out my hand I could have touched the hideous waving
hackles upon his back. Then he lumbered away and was lost among the
                                                      {CH_12 ^paragraph 15}
 Looking at my watch, I saw that it was half past two o'clock, and
high time, therefore, that I started upon my homeward journey. There
was no difficulty about the direction in which I should return, for
all along I had kept the little brook upon my left, and it opened into
the central lake within a stone's-throw of the boulder upon which I
had been lying. I set out, therefore, in high spirits, for I felt that
I had done good work and was bringing back a fine budget of news for
my companions. Foremost of all, of course, were the sight of the fiery
caves and the certainty that some troglodytic race inhabited them. But
besides that I could speak from experience of the central lake. I
could testify that it was full of strange creatures and I had seen
several land forms of primaeval life which we had not before
encountered. I reflected as I walked that few men in the world could
have spent a stranger night or added more to human knowledge in the
course of it.
 I was plodding up the slope, turning these thoughts over in my mind,
and had reached a point which may have been half-way to home, when
my mind was brought back to my own position by a strange noise
behind me. It was something between a snore and a growl, low, deep,
and exceedingly menacing. Some strange creature was evidently near me,
but nothing could be seen, so I hastened more rapidly upon my way. I
had traversed half a mile or so when suddenly the sound was
repeated, still behind me, but louder and more menacing than before.
My heart stood still within me as it flashed across me that the beast,
whatever it was, must surely be after me. My skin grew cold and my
hair rose at the thought. That these monsters should tear each other
to pieces was a part of the strange struggle for existence, but that
they should turn upon modern man, that they should deliberately
track and hunt down the predominant human, was a staggering and
fearsome thought. I remembered again the blood-slobbered face which we
had seen in the glare of Lord John's torch, like some horrible
vision from the deepest circle of Dante's hell. With my knees
shaking beneath me I stood and glared with starting eyes down the
moonlit path which lay behind me. All was quiet as in a dream
landscape. Silver clearings and the black patches of the bushes-
nothing else could I see. Then from out of the silence, imminent and
threatening, there came once more that low, throaty croaking, far
louder and closer than before. There could no longer be a doubt.
Something was on my trail, and was closing in upon me every minute.
 I stood like a man paralysed, still staring at the ground which I
had traversed. Then suddenly I saw it. There was movement among the
bushes at the far end of the clearing which I had just traversed. A
great dark shadow disengaged itself and hopped out into the clear
moonlight. I say 'hopped' advisedly, for the beast moved like a
kangaroo, springing along in an erect position upon its powerful
hindlegs, while its front ones were held bent in front of it. It was
of enormous size and power, like an erect elephant, but its movements,
in spite of its bulk, were exceedingly alert. For a moment, as I saw
its shape, I hoped that it was an iguanodon, which I knew to be
harmless, but, ignorant as I was, I soon saw that this was a very
different creature. Instead of the gentle, deer-shaped head of the
great three-toed leaf-eater, this beast had a broad, squat,
toad-like face like that which had alarmed us in our camp. His
ferocious cry and the horrible energy of his pursuit both assured me
that this was surely one of the great flesh-eating dinosaurs, the most
terrible beasts which have ever walked this earth. As the huge brute
loped along it dropped forward upon its forepaws and brought its
nose to the ground every twenty yards or so. It was smelling out my
trail. Sometimes, for an instant, it was at fault. Then it would catch
it up again and come bounding swiftly along the path I had taken.
 Even now when I think of that nightmare the sweat breaks out upon my
brow. What could I do? My useless fowling-piece was in my hand. What
help could I get from that? I looked desperately round for some rock
or tree, but I was in a bushy jungle with nothing higher than a
sapling within sight, while I knew that the creature behind me could
tear down an ordinary tree as thought it were a reed. My only possible
chance lay in flight. I could not move swiftly over the rough,
broken ground, but as I looked round me in despair I saw a
well-marked, hard-beaten path which ran across in front of me. We
had seen several of the sort, the runs of various wild beasts,
during our expeditions. Along this I could perhaps hold my own, for
I was a fast runner, and in excellent condition. Flinging away my
useless gun, I set myself to do such a half mile as I have never
done before or since. My limbs ached, my chest heaved, I felt that
my throat would burst for want of air, and yet with that horror behind
me I ran and I ran and ran. At last I paused, hardly able to move. For
a moment I thought that I had thrown him off. The path lay still
behind me. And then suddenly, with a crashing and a rendering, a
thudding of giant feet and a panting of monster lungs, the beast was
upon me once more. He was at my very heels. I was lost.
 Madman that I was to linger so long before I fled! Up to then he had
hunted by scent, and his movement was slow. But he had actually seen
me as I started to run. From then onwards he had hunted by sight,
for the path showed him where I had gone. Now, as he came round the
curve, he was springing in great bounds. The moonlight shone upon
his huge projecting eyes, the row of enormous teeth in his open mouth,
and the gleaming fringe of claws upon his short, powerful forearms.
With a scream of terror I turned and rushed wildly down the path.
Behind me the thick, gasping breathing of the creature sounded
louder and louder. His heavy footfall was beside me. Every instant I
expected to feel his grip upon my back. And then suddenly there came a
crash- I was falling through space, and everything beyond was darkness
and rest.
                                                      {CH_12 ^paragraph 20}
 As I emerged from my unconsciousness- which could not, I think
lasted more than a few minutes- I was aware of a most dreadful and
penetrating smell. Putting out my hand in the darkness I came upon
something which felt like a huge lump of meat, while my hand closed
upon a large bone. Up above me there was a circle of starlit sky,
which showed me that I was lying at the bottom of a deep pit. Slowly I
staggered to my feet and felt myself all over. I was stiff and sore
from head to foot, but there was no limb which would not move, no
joint which would not bend. As the circumstances of my fall came
back into my confused brain, I looked up in terror, expecting to see
that dreadful head silhouetted against the paling sky. There was no
sign of the monster, however, nor could I hear any sound from above. I
began to walk slowly round, therefore, feeling in every direction to
find out what this strange place could be into which I had been so
opportunely precipitated.
 It was, as I have said, a pit, with sharply-sloping walls and a
level bottom about twenty feet across. This bottom was littered with
great gobbets of flesh, most of which was in the last state of
putridity. The atmosphere was poisonous and horrible. After tripping
and stumbling over these lumps of decay, I came suddenly against
something hard, and I found that an upright post was firmly fixed in
the centre of the hollow. It was so high that I could not reach the
top of it with my hand, and it appeared to be covered with grease.
 Suddenly I remembered that I had a tin box of wax-vestas in my
pocket. Striking one of them, I was able at last to form some
opinion of this place into which I had fallen. There could be no
question as to its nature. It was a trap- made by the hand of man. The
post in the centre, some nine feet long, was sharpened at the upper
end, and was black with the stale blood of the creatures who had
been impaled upon it. The remains scattered about were fragments of
the victims, which had been cut away in order to clear the stake for
the next who might blunder in. I remembered that Challenger had
declared that man could not exist upon the plateau, since with his
feeble weapons he could not hold his own against the monsters who
roamed over it. But now it was clear enough how it could be done. In
their narrow-mouthed caves the natives, whoever they might be, had
refuges into which the huge saurians could not penetrate, while with
their developed brains they were capable of setting such traps,
covered with branches, across the paths which marked the run of the
animals as would destroy them in spite of all their strength and
activity. Man was always the master.
 The sloping wall of the pit was not difficult for an active man to
climb, but I hesitated long before I trusted myself within reach of
the dreadful creature which had so nearly destroyed me. How did I know
that he was not lurking in the nearest clump of bushes, waiting for my
reappearance? I took heart, however, as I recalled a conversation
between Challenger and Summerlee upon the habits of the great
saurians. Both were agreed that the monsters were practically
brainless, that there was no room for reason in their tiny cranial
cavities, and that if they have disappeared from the rest of the world
it was assuredly on account of their own stupidity, which made it
impossible for them to adapt themselves to changing conditions.
 To lie in wait for me now would mean that the creature had
appreciated what had happened to me, and this in turn would argue some
power connecting cause and effect. Surely it was more likely that a
brainless creature, acting solely by vague predatory instinct, would
give up the chase when I disappeared, and, after a pause of
astonishment, would wander away in search of some other prey? I
clambered to the edge of the pit and looked over. The stars were
fading, the sky was whitening, and the cold wind of morning blew
pleasantly upon my face. I could see or hear nothing of my enemy.
Slowly I climbed out and sat for a while upon the ground, ready to
spring back into my refuge if any danger should appear. Then,
reassured by the absolute stillness and by the growing light, I took
my courage in both hands and stole back along the path which I had
come. Some distance down it I picked up my gun, and shortly afterwards
struck the brook which was my guide. So, with many a frightened
backward glance, I made for home.
                                                      {CH_12 ^paragraph 25}
 And suddenly there came something to remind me of my absent
companions. In the clear, still morning air there sounded far away the
sharp, hard note of a rifle-shot. I paused and listened, but there was
nothing more. For a moment I was shocked at the thought that some
sudden danger might have befallen them. But then a simpler and more
natural explanation came to my mind. It was now broad daylight. They
had imagined that I was lost in the woods, and had fired this shot
to guide me home. It is true that we had made a strict resolution
against firing, but if it seemed to them that I might be in danger
they would not hesitate. It was for me now to hurry on as fast as
possible, and so to reassure them.
 I was weary and spent, so my progress was not as fast as I wished;
but at last I came into regions which I knew. There was the swamp of
the pterodactyls upon my left; there in front of me was the glade of
the iguanodons. Now I was in the last belt of trees which separated me
from Fort Challenger. I raised my voice in a cheery shout to allay
their fears. My heart sank at that ominous stillness. I quickened my
pace into a run. The zareba rose before me, even as I had left it, but
the gate was open. I rushed in. In the cold morning light it was a
fearful sight which met my eyes. Our effects were scattered in wild
confusion over the ground; my comrades had disappeared, and close to
the smouldering ashes of our fire the grass was stained crimson with a
hideous pool of blood.
 I was so stunned by this sudden shock that for a time I must have
nearly lost my reason. I have a vague recollection, as one remembers a
bad dream, of rushing about through the woods all round the empty
camp, calling wildly for my companions. No answer came back from the
silent shadows. The horrible thought that I might never see them
again, that I might find myself abandoned all alone in that dreadful
place, with no possible way of descending into the world below, that I
might live and die in that nightmare country, drove me to desperation.
I could have torn my hair and beaten my head in my despair. Only now
did I realize how I had learned to lean upon my companions, upon the
serene self-confidence of Challenger, and upon the masterful, humorous
coolness of Lord Roxton. Without them I was like a child in the
dark, helpless and powerless. I did not know which way to turn or what
I should do first.
 After a period, during which I sat in bewilderment, I set myself
to try and discover what sudden misfortune could have befallen my
companions. The whole disordered appearance of the camp showed that
there had been some sort of attack, and the rifle-shot no doubt marked
the time when it had occurred. That there should have been only one
shot showed that it had been all over in an instant. The rifles
still lay upon the ground, and one of them- Lord John's- had the empty
cartridge in the breech. The blankets of Challenger and of Summerlee
beside the fire suggested that they had been asleep at the time. The
cases of ammunition and of food were scattered about in a wild litter,
together with our unfortunate cameras and plate-carriers, but none
of them were missing. On the other hand, all the exposed provisions-
and I remembered that there were a considerable quantity of them- were
gone. They were animals, then, and not natives, who had made the
inroad, for surely the latter would have left nothing behind.
 But if animals, or some single terrible animal, then what had become
of my comrades? A ferocious beast would surely have destroyed them and
left their remains. It is true that there was that one hideous pool of
blood, which told of violence. Such a monster as had pursued me during
the night could have carried away a victim as easily as a cat could
a mouse. In that case the others would have followed in pursuit. But
then they would assuredly have taken their rifles with them. The
more I tried to think it out with my confused and weary brain the less
could I find any plausible explanation. I searched round in the
forest, but could see no tracks which could help me to a conclusion.
Once I lost myself, and it was only by good luck, and after an hour of
wandering, that I found the camp once more.
                                                      {CH_12 ^paragraph 30}
 Suddenly a thought came to me and brought some little comfort to
my heart. I was not absolutely alone in the world. Down at the
bottom of the cliff, and within call of me, was waiting the faithful
Zambo. I went to the edge of the plateau and looked over. Sure enough,
he was squatting among his blankets beside his fire in his little
camp. But, to my amazement, a second man was seated in front of him.
For an instant my heart leaped for joy, as I thought that one of my
comrades had made his way safely down. But a second glance dispelled
the hope. The rising sun shone red upon the man's skin. He was an
Indian. I shouted loudly and waved my handkerchief. Presently Zambo
looked up, waved his hand, and turned to ascend the pinnacle. In a
short time he was standing close to me and listening with deep
distress to the story which I told him.
 'Devil got them sure, Massa Malone,' said he. 'You got into the
devil's country, sah, and he take you all to himself. You take advice,
Massa Malone, and come down quick, else he get you as well.'
 'How can I come down, Zambo?'
 'You get creepers from trees, Massa Malone. Throw them over here.
I make fast to this stump, and so you have bridge.'
 'We have thought of that. There are no creepers here which could
bear us.'
                                                      {CH_12 ^paragraph 35}
 'Send for ropes, Massa Malone.'
 'Who can I send, and where?'
 'Send to Indian village, sah. Plenty hide-rope in Indian village.
Indian down below; send him.'
 'Who is he?'
 'One of our Indians. Other ones beat him and take away his pay. He
come back to us. Ready now to take letter, bring rope- anything.'
                                                      {CH_12 ^paragraph 40}
 To take a letter! Why not? Perhaps he might bring help; but in any
case he would ensure that our lives were not spent for nothing, and
that news of all that we had won for Science should reach our
friends at home. I had two completed letters already waiting. I
would spend the day in writing a third, which would bring my
experiences absolutely up to date. The Indian could bear this back
to the world. I ordered Zambo, therefore, to come again in the
evening, and I spent my miserable and lonely day in recording my own
adventures of the night before. I also drew up a note, to be given
to any white merchant or captain of a steam-boat whom the Indian could
find, imploring them to see that ropes were sent to us, since our
lives must depend upon it. These documents I threw to Zambo in the
evening, and also my purse, which contained three English
sovereigns. These were to be given to the Indian, and he was
promised twice as much if he returned with the ropes.
 So now you will understand, my dear Mr. McArdle, how this
communication reaches you, and you will also know the truth, in case
you never hear again from your unfortunate correspondent. Tonight I am
too weary and too depressed to make my plans. Tomorrow I must think
out some way by which I shall keep in touch with this camp, and yet
search round for any traces of my unhappy friends.

                  13. A Sight I Shall Never Forget
 JUST as the sun was setting upon that melancholy night I saw the
lonely figure of the Indian upon the vast plain beneath me, and I
watched him, our one faint hope of salvation, until he disappeared
in the rising mists of evening which lay, rose-tinted from the setting
sun, between the far-off river and me.
 It was quite dark when I at last turned back to our stricken camp,
and my last vision as I went was the red gleam of Zambo's fire, the
one point of light in the wide world below, as was his faithful
presence in my own shadowed soul. And yet I felt happier than I had
done since this crushing blow had fallen upon me, for it was good to
think that the world should know what we had done, so that at the
worst our names should not perish with our bodies, but should go
down to posterity associated with the result of our labours.
 It was an awesome thing to sleep in that ill-fated camp; and yet
it was even more unnerving to do so in the jungle. One or the other it
must be. Prudence, on the one hand, warned me that I should remain
on guard, but exhausted Nature, on the other, declared that I should
do nothing of the kind. I climbed up on to a limb of the great
gingko tree, but there was no secure perch on its rounded surface, and
I should certainly have fallen off and broken my neck the moment I
began to doze. I got down, therefore, and pondered over what I
should do. Finally, I closed the door of the zareba, lit three
separate fires in a triangle, and having eaten a hearty supper dropped
off into a profound sleep, from which I had a strange and most welcome
awakening. In the early morning, just as day was breaking, a hand
was laid upon my arm, and starting up, with all my nerves in a
tingle and my hand feeling for a rifle, I gave a cry of joy as in
the cold grey light I saw Lord John kneeling beside me.
 It was he- and yet it was not he. I had left him calm in his
bearing, correct in his person, prim in his dress. Now he was pale and
wild-eyed, gasping as he breathed like one who has run far and fast.
His gaunt face was scratched and bloody, his clothes were hanging in
rags, and his hat was gone. I stared in amazement, but he gave me no
chance for questions. He was grabbing at our stores all the time he
 'Quick, young fellah! Quick!' he cried. 'Every moment counts. Get
the rifles, both of them. I have the other two. Now, all the
cartridges you can gather. Fill up your pockets. Now, some food.
Half a dozen tins will do. That's all right! Don't wait to talk or
think. Get a move on, or we are done!'
                                                       {CH_13 ^paragraph 5}
 Still half-awake, and unable to imagine what it all might mean, I
found myself hurrying madly after him through the wood, a rifle
under each arm and a pile of various stores in my hands. He dodged
in and out through the thickest of the scrub until he came to a
dense clump of brushwood. Into this he rushed, regardless of thorns,
and threw himself into the heart of it, pulling me down by his side.
 'There!' he panted. 'I think we are safe here. They'll make for
the camp as sure as fate. It will be their first idea. But this should
puzzle 'em.'
 'What is it all?' I asked, when I had got my breath. 'Where are
the professors? And who is it that is after us?'
 'The ape-men,' he cried. 'My God, what brutes! Don't raise your
voice, for they have long ears- sharp eyes, too, but no power of
scent, so far as I could judge, so I don't think they can sniff us
out. Where have you been, young fellah? You were well out of it.'
 In a few sentences I whispered what I had done.
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 10}
 'Pretty bad,' said he, when he had heard of the dinosaur and the
pit. 'It isn't quite the place for a rest cure. What? But I had no
idea what its possibilities were until those devils got hold of us.
The man-eatin' Papuans had me once, but they are Chesterfields
compared to this crowd.'
 'How did it happen?' I asked.
 'It was in the early mornin'. Our learned friends were just
stirrin'. Hadn't even begun to argue yet. Suddenly it rained apes.
They came down thick as apples out of a tree. They had been assemblin'
in the dark, I suppose, until that great tree over our heads was heavy
with them. I shot one of them through the belly, but before we knew
where we were they had us spread-eagled on our backs. I call them
apes, but they carried sticks and stones in their hands and jabbered
talk to each other, and ended up by tyin' our hands with creepers,
so they are ahead of any beast that I have seen in my wanderin's.
Ape-men- that's what they are- Missin' Links, and I wished they had
stayed missin'. They carried off their wounded comrade- he was
bleedin' like a pig- and then they sat around us, and if ever I saw
frozen murder it was in their faces. They were big fellows, as big
as a man and a deal stronger. Curious glassy grey eyes they have,
under red tufts, and they just sat and gloated and gloated. Challenger
is no chicken, but even he was cowed. He managed to struggle on to his
feet, and yelled out at them to have done with it and get it over. I
think he had gone a bit off his head at the suddenness of it, for he
raged and cursed at them like a lunatic. If they had been a row of his
favourite Pressmen he could not have slanged them worse.'
 'Well, what did they do?' I was enthralled by the strange story
which my companion was whispering into my ear, while all the time
his keen eyes were shooting in every direction and his hand grasping
his cocked rifle.
 'I thought it was the end of us, but instead of that it started them
on a new line. They all jabbered and chattered together. Then one of
them stood out beside Challenger. You'll smile, young fellah, but 'pon
my word they might have been kinsmen. I couldn't have believed it if I
hadn't seen it with my own eyes. This old ape-man- he was their chief-
was a sort of red Challenger, with every one of our friend's beauty
points, only just a trifle more so. He had the short body, the big
shoulders, the round chest, no neck, a great ruddy frill of a beard,
the tufted eyebrows, the "What do you want, damn you!" look about
the eyes, and the whole catalogue. When the ape-man stood by
Challenger and put his paw on his shoulder, the thing was complete.
Summerlee was a bit hysterical, and he laughed till he cried. The
ape-men laughed too- or at least they put up the devil of a
cacklin'- and then they set to work to drag us off through the forest.
They wouldn't touch the guns and things- thought them dangerous, I
expect- but they carried away all our loose food. Summerlee and I
got some rough handlin' on the way- there's my skin and my clothes
to prove it- for they took us a bee-line through the brambles, and
their own hides are like leather. But Challenger was all right. Four
of them carried him shoulder high, and he went like a Roman emperor.
What's that?'
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 15}
 It was a strange clicking noise in the distance, not unlike
 'There they go!' said my companion, slipping cartridges into the
second double-barrelled 'Express'. 'Load them all up, young
fellah-my-lad, for we're not going to be taken alive, and don't you
think it! That's the row they make when they are excited. By George!
they'll have something to excite them if they put us up. The "Last
Stand of the Greys" won't be in it. "With their rifles grasped in
their stiffened hands, 'mid a ring of the dead and dyin'," as some
fathead sings. Can you hear them now?'
 'Very far away.'
 'That little lot will do no good, but I expect their search
parties are all over the wood. Well, I was tellin' you my tale of woe.
They got us soon to this town of theirs- about a thousand huts of
branches and leaves in a great grove of trees near the edge of the
cliff. It's three or four miles from here. the filthy beasts
fingered me all over, and I feel as if I should never be clean
again. They tied us up- the fellow who handled me could tie like a
bo'sun- and there we lay with our toes up, beneath a tree, while a
great brute stood guard over us with a club in his hand. When I say
"we" I mean Summerlee and myself. Old Challenger was up a tree, eatin'
pines and havin' the time of his life. I'm bound to say that he
managed to get some fruit to us, and with his own hands he loosened
our bonds. If you'd seen him sittin' up in that tree hob-nobbin'
with his twin brother- and singin' in that rollin' bass of his,
"Ring out wild bells", 'cause music of any kind seemed to put 'em in a
good humour, you'd have smiled; but we weren't in much mood for
laughin', as you can guess. They were inclined, within limits, to
let him do what he liked, but they drew the line pretty sharply at us.
It was a mighty consolation to us all to know that you were runnin'
loose and had the archives in your keepin'.
 'Well now, young fellah, I'll tell you what will surprise you. You
say you saw signs of men, and fires, traps, and the like. Well, we
have seen the natives themselves. Poor devils they were, down-faced
little chaps, and had enough to make them so. It seems that the humans
hold one side of this plateau- over yonder, where you saw the caves-
and the ape-men hold this side, and there is bloody war between them
all the time. That's the situation, so far as I could follow it. Well,
yesterday the ape-men got hold of a dozen of the humans and brought
them in as prisoners. You never heard such a jabberin' and shriekin'
in your life. The men were little red fellows, and had been bitten and
clawed so that they could hardly walk. The ape-men put two of them
to death there and then- fairly pulled the arm off one of them- it was
perfectly beastly. Plucky little chaps they are, and hardly gave a
squeak. But it turned us absolutely sick. Summerlee fainted and even
Challenger had as much as he could stand. I think they have cleared,
don't you?'
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 20}
 We listened intently, but nothing save the calling of the birds
broke the deep peace of the forest. Lord John went on with his story.
 'I think you have had the escape of your life, young
fellah-my-lad. It was catchin' those Indians that put you clean out of
their heads, else they would have been back to the camp for you as
sure as fate and gathered you in. Of course, as you said, they have
been watchin' us from the beginnin' out of that tree, and they knew
perfectly well that we were one short. However, they could think
only of this new haul; so it was I, and not a bunch of apes, that
dropped in on you in the morning. Well, we had a horrid business
afterwards. My God! what a nightmare the whole thing is! You
remember the great bristle of sharp canes down below where we found
the skeleton of the American? Well, that is just under ape-town, and
that's the jumpin'-off place of their prisoners. I expect there's
heaps of skeletons there, if we looked for 'em. They have a sort of
clear parade ground on the top, and they make a proper ceremony
about it. One by one the poor devils have to jump, and the game is
to see whether they are merely dashed to pieces or whether they get
skewered on the canes. They took us out to see it, and the whole tribe
lined up on the edge. Four of the Indians jumped, and the canes went
through 'em like knitting needles through a pat of butter. No wonder
we found that poor Yankee's skeleton with the canes growin' between
his ribs. It was horrible- but it was doocedly interestin' too. We
were all fascinated to see them take the dive, even when we thought it
would be our turn next on the spring-board.
 'Well, it wasn't. They kept six of the Indians up for today-
that's how I understood it- but I fancy we were to be the star
performers in the show. Challenger might get off, but Summerlee and
I were in the bill. Their language is more than half signs, and it was
not hard to follow them. So I thought it was time we made a break
for it. I had been plottin' it out a bit, and had one or two things
clear in my mind. It was all on me, for Summerlee was useless and
Challenger not much better. The only time they got together they got
slangin', because they couldn't agree upon the scientific
classification of these red-headed devils that had got hold of us. One
said it was the dryopithecus of Java, the other said it was
pithecanthropus. Madness, I call it- loonies- both. But, as I say, I
had thought out one or two points that were helpful. One was that
these brutes could not run as fast as a man in the open. They have
short, bandy legs, you see, and heavy bodies. Even Challenger could
give a few yards in a hundred to the best of them, and you or I
would be a perfect Shrubb. Another point was that they knew nothin'
about guns. I don't believe they ever understood how the fellow I shot
came by his hurt. If we could get at our guns there was no sayin' what
we could do.
 'So I broke away early this mornin', gave my guard a kick in the
tummy that laid him out, and sprinted for the camp. There I got you
and the guns, and here we are.'
 'But the professors!' I cried, in consternation.
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 25}
 'Well, we must just go back and fetch 'em. I couldn't bring 'em with
me. Challenger was up the tree, and Summerlee was not fit for the
effort. The only chance was to get the guns and try a rescue. Of
course they may scupper them at once in revenge. I don't think they
would touch Challenger, but I wouldn't answer for Summerlee. But
they would have had him in any case. Of that I am certain. So I
haven't made matters any worse by boltin'. But we are honour bound
to go back and have them out or see it through with them. So you can
make up your soul, young fellah-my-lad, for it will be one way or
the other before evenin'.'
 I have tried to imitate here Lord Roxton's jerky talk, his short,
strong sentences, the half-humorous, half-reckless tone that ran
through it all. But he was a born leader. As danger thickened his
jaunty manner would increase, his speech become more racy, his cold
eyes glitter into ardent life, and his Don Quixote moustache bristle
with joyous excitement. His love of danger, his intense appreciation
of the drama of an adventure- all the more intense for being held
tightly in- his consistent view that every peril in life is a form
of sport, a fierce game betwixt you and Fate, with Death as a forfeit,
made him a wonderful companion at such hours. If it were not for our
fears as to the fate of our companions, it would have been a
positive joy to throw myself with such a man into such an affair. We
were rising from our brushwood hiding-place when suddenly I felt his
grip upon my arm.
 'By George!' he whispered, 'here they come!'
 From where we lay we could look down a brown aisle, arched with
green, formed by the trunks and branches. Along this a party of the
ape-men were passing. They went in single file, with bent legs and
rounded backs, their hands occasionally touching the ground, their
heads turning to left and right as they trotted along. Their crouching
gait took away from their height, but I should put them at five feet
or so, with long arms and enormous chests. Many of them carried
sticks, and at the distance they looked like a line of very hairy
and deformed human beings. For a moment I caught this clear glimpse of
them. Then they were lost among the bushes.
 'Not this time,' said Lord John, who had caught up his rifle. 'Our
best chance is to lie quiet until they have given up the search.
Then we shall see whether we can't get back to their town and hit
'em where it hurts most. Give 'em an hour and we'll march.'
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 30}
 We filled in the time by opening one of our food tins and making
sure of our breakfast. Lord Roxton had had nothing but some fruit
since the morning before and ate like a starving man. Then, at last,
our pockets bulging with cartridges and a rifle in each hand, we
started off upon our mission of rescue. Before leaving it we carefully
marked our little hiding-place among the brushwood and its bearing
to Fort Challenger, that we might find it again if we needed it. We
slunk through the bushes in silence until we came to the very edge
of the cliff, close to the old camp. Then we halted, and Lord John
gave me some idea of his plans.
 'So long as we are among the thick trees these swine are our
masters,' said he. 'They can see us and we cannot see them. But in the
open it is different. There we can move faster than they. So we must
stick to the open all we can. The edge of the plateau has fewer
large trees than farther inland. So that's our line of advance. Go
slowly, keep your eyes open and your rifle ready. Above all, never let
them get you prisoner while there is a cartridge left- that's my
last word to you, young fellah.'
 When we reached the edge of the cliff I looked over and saw our good
old black Zambo sitting smoking on a rock below us. I would have given
a great deal to have hailed him and told him how we were placed, but
it was too dangerous, lest we should be heard. The woods seemed to
be full of the ape-men; again and again we heard their curious
clicking chatter. At such times we plunged into the nearest clump of
bushes and lay still until the sound had passed away. Our advance,
therefore, was very slow, and two hours at least must have passed
before I saw by Lord John's cautious movements that we must be close
to our destination. He motioned to me to lie still, and he crawled
forward himself. In a minute he was back again, his face quivering
with eagerness.
 'Come!' said he. 'Come quick! I hope to the Lord we are not too late
 I found myself shaking with nervous excitement as I scrambled
forward and lay down beside him, looking out through the bushes at a
clearing which stretched before us.
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 35}
 It was a sight which I shall never forget until my dying day- so
weird, so impossible, that I do not know how I am to make you
realise it, or how in a few years I shall bring myself to believe in
it if I live to sit once more on a lounge in the Savage Club and
look out on the drab solidity of the Embankment. I know that it will
seem then to be some wild nightmare, some delirium of fever. Yet I
will set it down now, while it is still fresh in my memory, and one at
least, the man who lay in the damp grasses by my side, will know if
I have lied.
 A wide, open space lay before us- some hundreds of yards across- all
green turf and low bracken growing to the very edge of the cliff.
Round this clearing there was a semicircle of trees with curious
huts built of foliage piled one above the other among the branches.
A rookery, with every nest a little house, would best convey the idea.
The openings of these huts and the branches of the trees were thronged
with a dense mob of ape-people, whom from their size I took to be
the females and infants of the tribe. They formed the background of
the picture, and were all looking out with eager interest at the
same scene which fascinated and bewildered us.
 In the open, and near the edge of the cliff, there had assembled a
crowd of some hundred of these shaggy red-haired creatures, many of
them of immense size, and all of them horrible to look upon. There was
a certain discipline among them, for none of them attempted to break
the line which had been formed. In front there stood a small group
of Indians- little, clean-limbed, red fellows, whose skins glowed like
polished bronze in the strong sunlight. A tall, thin white man was
standing beside them, his head bowed, his arms folded, his whole
attitude expressive of his horror and dejection. There was no
mistaking the angular form of Professor Summerlee.
 In front of and around this dejected group of prisoners were several
ape-men who watched them closely and made all escape impossible. Then,
right out from all the others and close to the edge of the cliff, were
two figures, so strange, and under other circumstances so ludicrous,
that they absorbed my attention. The one was our comrade, Professor
Challenger. The remains of his coat still hung from his shoulders, but
his shirt had, been all torn out, and his great beard merged itself in
the black tangle which covered his mighty chest. He had lost his
hat, and his hair, which had grown long in our wanderings, was
flying in wild disorder. A single day seemed to have changed him
from the highest product of modern civilisation to the most
desperate savage in South America. Beside him stood his master the
king of the ape-men. In all things he was, as Lord John had said,
the very image of our Professor, save that his colouring was red
instead of black. The same short, broad figure, the same heavy
shoulders, the same forward hang of the arms, the same bristling beard
merging itself in the hairy chest. Only above the eyebrows, where
the sloping forehead and low, curved skull of the ape-man were in
sharp contrast to the broad brow and magnificent cranium of the
European, could one see any marked difference. At every other point
the king was an absurd parody of the Professor.
 All this, which takes me so long to describe, impressed itself
upon me in a few seconds. Then we had very different things to think
of, for an active drama was in progress. Two of the ape-men had seized
one of the Indians out of the group and dragged him forward to the
edge of the cliff. The king raised his hand as a signal. They caught
the man up by his leg and arm, and swung him three times backwards and
forwards with tremendous violence. Then, with a frightful heave they
shot the poor wretch over the precipice. With such force did they
throw him that he curved high in the air before beginning to drop.
As he vanished from sight, the whole assembly, except the guards,
rushed forward to the edge of the precipice, and there was a long
pause of absolute silence, broken by a mad yell of delight. They
sprang about, tossing their long, hairy arms in the air and howling
with exultation. Then they fell back from the edge, formed
themselves again into line, and waited for the next victim.
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 40}
 This time it was Summerlee. Two of his guards caught him by the
wrists and pulled him brutally to the front. His thin figure and
long limbs struggled and fluttered like a chicken being dragged from a
coop. Challenger had turned to the king and waved his hands
frantically before him. He was begging, pleading, imploring for his
comrade's life. The ape-man pushed him roughly aside and shook his
head. It was the last conscious movement he was to make upon earth.
Lord John's rifle cracked, and the king sank down, a tangled red
sprawling thing, upon the ground.
 'Shoot into the thick of them! Shoot! sonny, shoot!' cried my
 There are strange red depths in the soul of the most commonplace
man. I am tender-hearted by nature, and have found my eyes moist
many a time over the scream of a wounded hare. Yet the blood lust
was on me now. I found myself on my feet emptying one magazine, then
the other, clicking open the breech to re-load, snapping it to
again, while cheering and yelling with pure ferocity and joy of
slaughter as I did so. With our four guns the two of us made a
horrible havoc. Both the guards who held Summerlee were down, and he
was staggering about like a drunken man in his amazement, unable to
realise that he was a free man. The dense mob of ape-men ran about
in bewilderment, marvelling whence this storm of death was coming or
what it might mean. They waved, gesticulated, screamed, and tripped up
over those who had fallen. Then, with a sudden impulse, they all
rushed in a howling crowd to the trees for shelter, leaving the ground
behind them spotted with their stricken comrades. The prisoners were
left for the moment standing alone in the middle of the clearing.
 Challenger's quick brain had grasped the situation. He seized the
bewildered Summerlee by the arm, and they both ran towards us. Two
of their guards bounded after them and fell to two bullets from Lord
John. We ran forward into the open to meet our friends, and pressed
a loaded rifle into the hands of each. But Summerlee was at the end of
his strength. He could hardly totter. Already the ape-men were
recovering from their panic. They were coming through the brushwood
and threatening to cut us off. Challenger and I ran Summerlee along,
one at each of his elbows, while Lord John covered our retreat, firing
again and again as savage heads snarled at us out of the bushes. For a
mile or more the chattering brutes were at our very heels. Then the
pursuit slackened, for they learned our power and would no longer face
that unerring rifle. When we had at last reached the camp, we looked
back and found ourselves alone.
 So it seemed to us; and yet we were mistaken. We had hardly closed
the thorn-bush door of our zareba, clasped each other's hands, and
thrown ourselves panting upon the ground beside our spring, when we
heard the patter of feet and then a gentle, plaintive crying from
outside our entrance. Lord Roxton rushed forward, rifle in hand, and
threw it open. There, prostrate upon their faces, lay the little red
figures of the four surviving Indians, trembling with fear of us and
yet imploring our protection. With an expressive sweep of his hands
one of them pointed to the woods around them, and indicated that
they were full of danger. Then, darting forward, he threw his arms
round Lord John's legs and rested his face upon them.
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 45}
 'By George!' cried Lord John, pulling at his moustache in great
perplexity, 'I say- what the dooce are we to do with these people? Get
up, little chappie, and take your face off my boots.'
 Summerlee was sitting up and stuffing some tobacco into his old
 'We've got to see them safe,' said he. 'You've pulled us all out
of the jaws of death. My word! it was a good bit of work!'
 'Admirable!' cried Challenger. 'Admirable! Not only we as
individuals, but European science collectively, owe you a deep debt of
gratitude for what you have done. I do not hesitate to say that the
disappearance of Professor Summerlee and myself would have left an
appreciable gap in modern zoological history. Our young friend here
and you have done most excellently well.'
 He beamed at us with the old paternal smile, but European science
would have been somewhat amazed could they have seen their chosen
child, the hope of the future, with his tangled, unkempt head, his
bare chest, and his tattered clothes. He had one of the meat tins
between his knees, and sat with a large piece of cold Australian
mutton between his fingers. The Indian looked up at him, and then,
with a little yelp, cringed to the ground and clung to Lord John's
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 50}
 'Don't you be scared, my bonnie boy,' said Lord John, patting the
matted head in front of him. 'He can't stick your appearance,
Challenger; and, by George! I don't wonder. All right, little chap,
he's only a human, just the same as the rest of us.'
 'Really, sir!' cried the Professor.
 'Well, it's lucky for you, Challenger, that you are a little out
of the ordinary. If you hadn't been so like the king-'
 'Upon my word, Lord John Roxton, you allow yourself great latitude.'
 'Well, it's a fact.'
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 55}
 'I beg, sir, that you will change the subject. Your remarks are
irrelevant and unintelligible. The question before us is what are we
to do with these Indians? The obvious thing is to escort them home, if
we knew where their home was.'
 'There is no difficulty about that,' said I. 'They live in the caves
on the other side of the central lake.'
 'Our young friend here knows where they live. I gather that it is
some distance.'
 'A good twenty miles,' said I.
 Summerlee gave a groan.
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 60}
 'I, for one, could never get there. Surely I hear those brutes still
howling upon our track.'
 As he spoke, from the dark recesses of the woods we heard far away
the jibbering cry of the ape-men. The Indians once more set up a
feeble wail of fear.
 'We must move, and move quick!' said Lord John. 'You help Summerlee,
young fellah. These Indians will carry stores. Now, then, come along
before they can see us.'
 In less than half an hour we had reached our brushwood retreat and
concealed ourselves. All day we heard the excited calling of the
ape-men in the direction of our old camp, but none of them came our
way, and the tired fugitives, red and white, had a long, deep sleep. I
was dozing myself in the evening when someone plucked my sleeve, and I
found Challenger kneeling beside me.
 'You keep a diary of these events, and you expect eventually to
publish it, Mr. Malone,' said he, with solemnity.
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 65}
 'I am only here as a Press reporter,' I answered.
 'Exactly. You may have heard some rather fatuous remarks of Lord
John Roxton's which seemed to imply that there was some- some
 'Yes, I heard them.'
 'I need not say that any publicity given to such an idea- any levity
in your narrative of what occurred- would be exceedingly offensive
to me.'
 'I will keep well within the truth.'
                                                      {CH_13 ^paragraph 70}
 'Lord John's observations are frequently exceedingly fanciful, and
he is capable of attributing the most absurd reasons to the respect
which is always shown by the most undeveloped races to dignity and
character. You follow my meaning?'
 'I leave the matter to your discretion.' Then, after a long pause,
he added: 'The king of the ape-men was really a creature of great
distinction- a most remarkably handsome and intelligent personality.
Did it not strike you?'
 'A most remarkable creature,' said I.
 And the Professor, much eased in his mind, settled down to his
slumber once more.

                 14. Those Were the Real Conquests
 WE had imagined that our pursuers, the ape-men, knew nothing of
our brushwood hiding-place, but we were soon to find out our
mistake. There was no sound in the woods- not a leaf moved upon the
trees and all was peace around us- but we should have been warned by
our first experience how cunningly and how patiently these creatures
can watch and wait until their chance comes. Whatever fate may be mine
through life, I am very sure that I shall never be nearer death than I
was that morning. But I will tell you the thing in its due order.
 We all awoke exhausted after the terrific emotions and scanty food
of yesterday. Summerlee was still so weak that it was an effort for
him to stand; but the old man was full of a sort of surly courage
which would never admit defeat. A council was held, and it was
agreed that we should wait quietly for an hour or two where we were,
have our much-needed breakfast, and then make our way across the
plateau and round the central lake to the caves where my
observations had shown that the Indians lived. We relied upon the fact
that we could count upon the good word of those whom we had rescued to
ensure a warm welcome from their fellows. Then, with our mission
accomplished and possessing a fuller knowledge of the secrets of Maple
White Land, we should turn our whole thoughts to the vital problem
of our escape and return. Even Challenger was ready to admit that we
should then have done all for which we had come, and that our first
duty from that time onwards was to carry back to civilisation the
amazing discoveries we had made.
 We were able now to take a more leisurely view of the Indians whom
we had rescued. They were small men, wiry, active, and well-built,
with lank black hair tied up in a bunch behind their heads with a
leathern thong, and leathern also were their loin-clothes. Their faces
were hairless, well formed, and good-humoured. The lobes of their
ears, hanging ragged and bloody, showed that they had been pierced for
some ornaments which their captors had torn out. Their speech,
though unintelligible to us, was fluent among themselves, and as
they pointed to each other and uttered the word 'Accala' many times
over, we gathered that this was the name of their nation.
Occasionally, with faces which were convulsed with fear and hatred,
they shook their clenched hands at the woods round and cried: 'Doda!
Doda!' which was surely their term for their enemies.
 'What do you make of them, Challenger?' asked Lord John. 'One
thing is very clear to me, and that is that the little chap with the
front of his head shaved is a chief among them.'
 It was indeed evident that this man stood apart from the others, and
that they never ventured to address him without every sign of deep
respect. He seemed to be the youngest of them all, and yet, so proud
and high was his spirit, that upon Challenger laying his great hand
upon his head he started like a spurred horse and, with a quick
flash of his dark eyes, moved further away from the Professor. Then,
placing his hand upon his breast and holding himself with great
dignity, he uttered the word 'Maretas' several times. The Professor,
unabashed, seized the nearest Indian by the shoulder and proceeded
to lecture upon him as if he were a potted specimen in a class-room.
                                                       {CH_14 ^paragraph 5}
 'The type of these people,' said he in his sonorous fashion,
'whether judged by cranial capacity, facial angle, or any other
test, cannot be regarded as a low one; on the contrary, we must
place it as considerably higher in the scale than many South
American tribes which I can mention. On no possible supposition can we
explain the evolution of such a race in this place. For that matter,
so great a gap separates these ape-men from the primitive animals
which have survived upon this plateau, that it is inadmissible to
think that they could have developed where we found them.'
 'Then where the dooce did they drop from?' asked Lord John.
 'A question which will, no doubt, be eagerly discussed in every
scientific society in Europe and America,' the Professor answered. 'My
own reading of the situation for what it is worth'- he inflated his
chest enormously and looked insolently around him at the words- 'is
that evolution has advanced under the peculiar conditions of this
country up to the vertebrate stage, the old types surviving and living
on in company with the newer ones. Thus we find such modern
creatures as the tapir- an animal with quite a respectable length of
pedigree- the great deer, and the ant-eater in the companionship of
reptilian forms of jurassic type. So much is clear. And now come the
ape-men and the Indian. What is the scientific mind to think of
their presence? I can only account for it by an invasion from outside.
It is probable that there existed an anthropoid ape in South
America, who in past ages found his way to this place, and that he
developed into the creatures we have seen, some of which'- here he
looked hard at me- 'were of an appearance and shape which if it had
been accompanied by corresponding intelligence, would I do not
hesitate to say, have reflected credit upon any living race. As to the
Indians I cannot doubt that they are more recent immigrants from
below. Under the stress of famine or of conquest they have made
their way up here. Faced by ferocious creatures which they had never
before seen, they took refuge in the caves which our young friend
has described, but they have no doubt had a bitter fight to hold their
own against wild beasts, and especially against the ape-men who
would regard them as intruders, and wage a merciless war upon them
with a cunning which the larger beasts would lack. Hence the fact that
their numbers appear to be limited. Well, gentlemen, have I read you
the riddle aright, or is there any point which you would query?'
 Professor Summerlee for once was too depressed to argue, though he
shook his head violently as a token of general disagreement. Lord John
merely scratched his scanty locks with the remark that he couldn't put
up a fight as he wasn't in the same weight or class. For my own part I
performed my usual role of bringing things down to a strictly
prosaic and practical level by the remark that one of the Indians
was missing.
 'He has gone to fetch some water,' said Lord Roxton. 'We fitted
him up with an empty beef tin and he is off.'
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 10}
 'To the old camp?' I asked.
 'No, to the brook. It's among the trees there. It can't be more than
a couple of hundred yards. But the beggar is certainly taking his
 'I'll go and look after him,' said I. I picked up my rifle and
strolled in the direction of the brook, leaving my friends to lay
out the scanty breakfast. It may seem to you rash that even for so
short a distance I should quit the shelter of our friendly thicket,
but you will remember that we were many miles from Ape-town, that so
far as we knew the creatures had not discovered our retreat, and
that in any case with a rifle in my hands I had no fear of them. I had
not yet learned their cunning or their strength.
 I could hear the murmur of our brook somewhere ahead of me, but
there was a tangle of trees and brushwood between me and it. I was
making my way through this at a point which was just out of sight of
my companions, when, under one of the trees, I noticed something red
huddled among the bushes. As I approached it, I was shocked to see
that it was the dead body of the missing Indian. He lay upon his side,
his limbs drawn up, and his head screwed round at a most unnatural
angle, so that he seemed to be looking straight over his own shoulder.
I gave a cry to warn my friends that something was amiss, and
running forwards I stooped over the body. Surely my guardian angel was
very near to me then, for some instinct of fear, or it may have been
some faint rustle of leaves, made me glance upwards. Out of the
thick green foliage which hung low over my head, two long muscular
arms covered with reddish hair were slowly descending. Another instant
and the great stealthy hands would have been round my throat. I sprang
backwards, but quick as I was, those hands were quicker still. Through
my sudden spring they missed a fatal grip, but one of them caught
the back of my neck and the other my face. I threw up my hands up to
protect my throat, and the next moment the huge paw had slid down my
face and closed over them. I was lifted lightly from the ground, and I
felt an intolerable pressure forcing my head back and back until the
strain upon the cervical spine was more than I could bear. My senses
swam, but I still tore at the hand and forced it out from my chin.
Looking up I saw a frightful face with cold inexorable light blue eyes
looking down into mine. There was something hypnotic in those terrible
eyes. I could struggle no longer. As the creature felt me grow limp in
his grasp, two white canines gleamed for a moment at each side of
the vile mouth, and the grip tightened still more upon my chin,
forcing it always upwards and back. A thin, opal-tinted mist formed
before my eyes and little silvery bells tinkled in my ears. Dully
and far off I heard the crack of a rifle and was feebly aware of the
shock as I was dropped to the earth, where I lay without sense or
 I awoke to find myself on my back upon the grass in our lair
within the thicket. Someone had brought the water from the brook,
and Lord John was sprinkling my head with it, while Challenger and
Summerlee were propping me up, with concern in their faces. For a
moment I had a glimpse of the human spirits behind their scientific
masks. It was really shock, rather than any injury, which had
prostrated me, and in half an hour, in spite of aching head and
stiff neck, I was sitting up and ready for anything.
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 15}
 'But you've had the escape of your life, young fellah-my-lad,'
said Lord John. 'When I heard your cry and ran forward, and saw your
head twisted half-off and your stoh-wassers kickin' in the air, I
thought we were one short. I missed the beast in my flurry, but he
dropped you all right and was off like a streak. By George! I wish I
had fifty men with rifles. I'd clear out the whole infernal gang of
them and leave this country a bit cleaner than we found it.'
 It was clear now that the ape-men had in some way marked us down,
and that we were watched on every side. We had not so much to fear
from them during the day, but they would be very likely to rush us
by night; so the sooner we got away from their neighbourhood the
better. On three sides of us was absolute forest, and there we might
find ourselves in an ambush. But on the fourth side- that which sloped
down in the direction of the lake- there was only low scrub, with
scattered trees and occasional open glades. It was, in fact, the route
which I had myself taken in my solitary journey, and it led us
straight for the Indian caves. This then must for every reason be
our road.
 One great regret we had, and that was to leave our old camp behind
us, not only for the sake of the stores which remained there, but even
more because we were losing touch with Zambo, our link with the
outside world. However, we had a fair supply of cartridges and all our
guns, so, for a time at least, we could look after ourselves, and we
hoped soon to have a chance of returning and restoring our
communications with our negro. He had faithfully promised to stay
where he was, and we had not a doubt that he would be as good as his
 It was in the early afternoon that we started upon our journey.
The young chief walked at our head as our guide, but refused
indignantly to carry any burden. Behind him came the two surviving
Indians with our scanty possessions upon their backs. We four white
men walked in the rear with rifles loaded and ready. As we started
there broke from the thick silent woods behind us a sudden great
ululation of the ape-men, which may have been a cheer of triumph at
our departure or a jeer of contempt at our flight. Looking back we saw
only the dense screen of trees, but that long-drawn yell told us how
many of our enemies lurked among them. We saw no sign of pursuit,
however, and soon we had got into more open country and beyond their
 As I tramped along, the rearmost of the four, I could not help
smiling at the appearance of my three companions in front. Was this
the luxurious Lord John Roxton who had sat that evening in the
Albany amidst his Persian rugs and his pictures in the pink radiance
of the tinted lights? And was this the imposing Professor who had
swelled behind the great desk in his massive study at Enmore Park? and
finally, could this be the austere and prim figure which had risen
before the meeting at the Zoological Institute? No three tramps that
one could have met in a Surrey lane could have looked more hopeless
and bedraggled. We had, it is true, been only a week or so upon the
top of the plateau, but all our spare clothing was in our camp
below, and the one week had been a severe one upon us all, though
least to me who had not to endure the handling of the ape-men. My
three friends had all lost their hats, and had now bound handkerchiefs
round their heads, their clothes hung in ribbons about them, and their
unshaven grimy faces were hardly to be recognised. Both Summerlee
and Challenger were limping heavily, while I still dragged my feet
from weakness after the shock of the morning, and my neck was as stiff
as a board from the murderous grip that held it. We were indeed a
sorry crew, and I did not wonder to see our Indian companions glance
back at us occasionally with horror and amazement on their faces.
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 20}
 In the late afternoon we reached the margin of the lake, and as we
emerged from the bush and saw the sheet of water stretching before
us our native friends set up a shrill cry of joy and pointed eagerly
in front of them. It was indeed a wonderful sight which lay before us.
Sweeping over the glassy surface was a great flotilla of canoes coming
straight for the shore upon which we stood. They were some miles out
when we first saw them, but they shot forward with great swiftness,
and were soon so near that the rowers could distinguish our persons.
Instantly a thunderous shout of delight burst from them, and we saw
them rise from their seats, waving their paddles and spears madly in
the air. Then, bending to their work once more, they flew across the
intervening water, beached their boats upon the sloping sand, and
rushed up to us, prostrating themselves with loud cries of greeting
before the young chief. Finally one of them, an elderly man, with a
necklace and bracelet of great lustrous glass beads and the skin of
some beautiful mottled amber-coloured animal slung over his shoulders,
ran forward and embraced most tenderly the youth whom we had saved. He
then looked at us and asked some questions, after which he stepped
up with much dignity and embraced us also each in turn. Then, at his
order, the whole tribe lay down upon the ground before us in homage.
Personally I felt shy and uncomfortable at this obsequious
adoration, and I read the same feeling in the faces of Lord John and
Summerlee, but Challenger expanded like a flower in the sun.
 'They may be undeveloped types,' said he, stroking his beard and
looking round at them, 'but their deportment in the presence of
their superiors might be a lesson to some of our more advanced
Europeans. Strange how correct are the instincts of the natural man!'
 It was clear that the natives had come out upon the war-path, for
every man carried his spear- a long bamboo tipped with bone- his bow
and arrows, and some sort of club or stone battle-axe slung at his
side. Their dark, angry glances at the woods from which we had come,
and the frequent repetition of the word 'Doda', made it clear enough
that this was a rescue party who had set forth to save or revenge
the old chief's son, for such we gathered that the youth must be. A
council was now held by the whole tribe squatting in a circle,
whilst we sat near on a slab of basalt and watched their
proceedings. Two or three warriors spoke, and finally our young friend
made a spirited harangue with such eloquent features and gestures that
we could understand it all as clearly as if we had known the language.
 'What is the use of returning?' he said. 'Sooner or later the
thing must be done. Your comrades have been murdered. What if I have
returned safe? These others have been done to death. There is no
safety for any of us. We are assembled now and ready.' Then he pointed
to us. 'These strange men are our friends. They are great fighters,
and they hate the ape-men even as we do. They command,' here he
pointed up to heaven, 'the thunder and the lightning. When shall we
have such a chance again? Let us go forward, and either die now or
live for the future in safety. How else shall we go back ashamed to
our women?'
 The little red warriors hung upon the words of the speaker, and when
he had finished they burst into a roar of applause, waving their
rude weapons in the air. The old chief stepped forward to us, and
asked us some question, pointing at the same time to the woods. Lord
John made a sign to him that he should wait for an answer and then
he turned to us.
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 25}
 'Well, it's up to you to say what you will do,' said he; 'for my
part I have a score to settle with these monkey-folk, and if it ends
by wiping them off the face of the earth I don't see that the earth
need fret about it. I'm goin' with our little red pals and I mean to
see them through the scrap. What do you say, young fellah?'
 'Of course I will come.'
 'And you, Challenger?'
 'I will assuredly cooperate.'
 'And you, Summerlee?'
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 30}
 'We seem to be drifting very far from the object of this expedition,
Lord John. I assure you that I little thought when I left my
professorial chair in London that it was for the purpose of heading
a raid of savages upon a colony of anthropoid apes.'
 'To such base uses do we come,' said Lord John, smiling. 'But we are
up against it, so what's the decision?'
 'It seems a most questionable step,' said Summerlee, argumentative
to the last, 'but if you are all going, I hardly see how I can
remain behind.'
 'Then it is settled,' said Lord John, and turning to the chief he
nodded and slapped his rifle. The old fellow clasped our hands, each
in turn, while his men cheered louder than ever. It was too late to
advance that night, so the Indians settled down into a rude bivouac.
On all sides their fires began to glimmer and smoke. Some of them
who had disappeared into the jungle came back presently driving a
young iguanodon before them. Like the others, it had a daub of asphalt
upon its shoulder, and it was only when we saw one of the natives step
forward with the air of an owner and give his consent to the beast's
slaughter that we understood at last that these great creatures were
as much private property as a herd of cattle, and that these symbols
which had so perplexed us were nothing more than the marks of the
owner. Helpless, torpid, and vegetarian, with great limbs and a minute
brain, they could be rounded up and driven by a child. In a few
minutes the huge beast had been cut up and slabs of him were hanging
over a dozen camp fires, together with great scaly ganoid fish which
had been speared in the lake.
 Summerlee had lain down and slept upon the sand, but we others
roamed round the edge of the water, seeking to learn something more of
this strange country. Twice we found pits of blue clay, such as we had
already seen in the swamp of the pterodactyls. These were old volcanic
vents, and for some reason excited the greatest interest in Lord John.
What attracted Challenger, on the other hand, was a bubbling, gurgling
mud geyser, where some strange gas formed great bursting bubbles
upon the surface. He thrust a hollow reed into it and cried out with
delight like a schoolboy when he was able, on touching it with a
lighted match, to cause a sharp explosion and a blue flame at the
far end of the tube. Still more pleased was he when, inverting a
leathern pouch over the end of the reed, and so filling it with the
gas, he was able to send it soaring up into the air.
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 35}
 'An inflammable gas, and one markedly lighter than the atmosphere. I
should say beyond doubt that it contains a considerable proportion
of free hydrogen. The resources of G. E. C. are not yet exhausted,
my young friend. I may yet show you how a great mind moulds all Nature
to its use.' He swelled with some secret purpose, but would say no
 There was nothing which we could see upon the shore which seemed
to me so wonderful as the great sheet of water before us. Our
numbers and our noise had frightened all living creatures away, and
save for a few pterodactyls, which soared round high above our heads
while they waited for the carrion, all was still around the camp.
But it was different out upon the rose-tinted waters of the Central
Lake. It boiled and heaved with strange life. Great slate-coloured
backs and high serrated dorsal fins shot up with a fringe of silver,
and then rolled down into the depths again. The sandbanks far out were
spotted with uncouth crawling forms, huge turtles, strange saurians,
and one great flat creature like a writhing palpitating mat of black
greasy leather, which flopped its way slowly to the lake. Here and
there high serpent heads projected out of the water, cutting swiftly
through it with a little collar of foam in front, and a long
swirling wake behind, rising and falling in graceful, swan-like
undulations as they went. It was not until one of these creatures
wriggled on to a sandbank within a few hundred yards of us, and
exposed a barrel-shaped body and huge flippers behind the long serpent
neck, that Challenger and Summerlee, who had joined us, broke out into
their duet of wonder and admiration.
 'Plesiosaurus! A fresh-water Plesiosaurus!' cried Summerlee. 'That I
should have lived to see such a sight! We are blessed, my dear
Challenger, above all zoologists since the world began!'
 It was not until the night had fallen, and the fires of our savage
allies glowed red in the shadows, that our two men of science could be
dragged away from the fascinations of that primaeval lake. Even in the
darkness as we lay upon the strand, we heard from time to time the
snort and plunge of the huge creatures who lived therein.
 At earliest dawn our camp was astir and an hour later we had started
upon our memorable expedition. Often in my dreams have I thought
that I might live to be a war correspondent. In what wildest one could
I have conceived the nature of the campaign which it should be my
lot to report? Here then is my first dispatch from a field of battle:
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 40}
 Our numbers had been reinforced during the night by a fresh batch of
natives from the caves, and we may have been four or five hundred
strong when we made our advance. A fringe of scouts was thrown out
in front, and behind them the whole force in a solid column made their
way up the long slope of the bush country until we were near the
edge of the forest. Here they spread out into a long straggling line
of spearmen and bowmen. Roxton and Summerlee took their position
upon the right flank, while Challenger and I were on the left. It
was a host of the stone age that we were accompanying to battle- we
with the last word of the gunsmith's art from St. James's Street and
the Strand.
 We had not long to wait for our enemy. A wild shrill clamour rose
from the edge of the wood and suddenly a body of ape-men rushed out
with clubs and stones, and made for the centre of the Indian line.
It was a valiant move but a foolish one, for the great bandy-legged
creatures were slow of foot, while their opponents were as active as
cats. It was horrible to see the fierce brutes with foaming mouths and
glaring eyes, rushing and grasping, but for ever missing their elusive
enemies, while arrow after arrow buried itself in their hides. One
great fellow ran past me roaring with pain, with a dozen darts
sticking from his chest and ribs. In mercy I put a bullet through
his skull, and he fell sprawling among the aloes. But this was the
only shot fired, for the attack had been on the centre of the line,
and the Indians there had needed no help of ours in repulsing it. Of
all the ape-men who had rushed out into the open, I do not think
that one got back to cover.
 But the matter was more deadly when we came among the trees. For
an hour or more after we entered the wood, there was a desperate
struggle in which for a time we hardly held our own. Springing out
from among the scrub the ape-men with huge clubs broke in upon the
Indians and often felled three or four of them before they could be
speared. Their frightful blows shattered everything upon which they
fell. One of them knocked Summerlee's rifle to matchwood and the
next would have crushed his skull had an Indian not stabbed the
beast to the heart. Other ape-men in the trees above us hurled down
stones and logs of wood, occasionally dropping bodily on to our
ranks and fighting furiously until they were felled. Once our allies
broke under the pressure, and had it not been for the execution done
by our rifles they would certainly have taken to their heels. But they
were gallantly rallied by their old chief and came on with such a rush
that the ape-men began in turn to give way. Summerlee was
weaponless, but I was emptying my magazine as quick as I could fire,
and on the further flank we heard the continuous cracking of our
companions' rifles. Then in a moment came the panic and the
collapse. Screaming and howling, the great creatures rushed away in
all directions through the brushwood, while our allies yelled in their
savage delight, following swiftly after their flying enemies. All
the feuds of countless generations, all the hatreds and cruelties of
their narrow history, all the memories of ill-usage and persecution
were to be purged that day. At last man was to be supreme and the
man-beast to find for ever his allotted place. Fly as they would the
fugitives were too slow to escape from the active savages, and from
every side in the tangled woods we heard the exultant yells, the
twanging of bows, and the crash and thud as ape-men were brought
down from their hiding-places in the trees.
 I was following the others, when I found that Lord John and
Summerlee had come across to join us.
 'It's over,' said Lord John. 'I think we can leave the tidying up to
them. Perhaps the less we see of it the better we shall sleep.'
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 45}
 Challenger's eyes were shining with the lust of slaughter.
 'We have been privileged,' he cried, strutting about like a
gamecock, 'to be present at one of the typical decisive battles of
history- the battles which have determined the fate of the world.
What, my friends, is the conquest of one nation by another? It is
meaningless. Each produces the same result. But those fierce fights,
when in the dawn of the ages the cave-dwellers held their own
against the tiger folk, or the elephants first found that they had a
master, those were the real conquests- the victories that count. By
this strange turn of fate we have seen and helped to decide even
such a contest. Now upon this plateau the future must ever be for
 It needed a robust faith in the end to justify such tragic means. As
we advanced together through the woods we found the ape-men lying
thick, transfixed with spears or arrows. Here and there a little group
of shattered Indians marked where one of the anthropoids had turned to
bay, and sold his life dearly. Always in front of us we heard the
yelling and roaring which showed the direction of the pursuit. The
ape-men had been driven back to their city, they had made a last stand
there, once again they had been broken, and now we were in time to see
the final fearful scene of all. Some eighty or a hundred males, the
last survivors, had been driven across that same little clearing which
led to the edge of the cliff, the scene of our own exploit two days
before. As we arrived the Indians, a semi-circle of spearmen, had
closed in on them, and in a minute it was over. Thirty or forty died
where they stood. The others, screaming and clawing, were thrust
over the precipice, and went hurtling down, as their prisoners had
of old, on to the sharp bamboos six hundred feet below. It was as
Challenger had said, and the reign of man was assured for ever in
Maple White Land. The males were exterminated, Ape Town was destroyed,
the females and young were driven away to live in bondage, and the
long rivalry of untold centuries had reached its bloody end.
 For us the victory brought much advantage. Once again we were able
to visit our camp and get at our stores. Once more also we were able
to communicate with Zambo, who had been terrified by the spectacle
from afar of an avalanche of apes falling from the edge of the cliff.
 'Come away, Massas, come away!' he cried, his eyes starting from his
head. 'The debbil get you sure if you stay up there.'
                                                      {CH_14 ^paragraph 50}
 'It is the voice of sanity!' said Summerlee with conviction. 'We
have had adventures enough and they are neither suitable to our
character or our position. I hold you to your word, Challenger. From
now onwards you devote your energies to getting us out of this
horrible country and back once more to civilisation.'

                15. Our Eyes Have Seen Great Wonders
 I WRITE this from day to day, but I trust that before I come to
the end of it, I may be able to say that light shines at last, through
our clouds. We are held here with no clear means of making our escape,
and bitterly we chafe against it. Yet, I can well imagine that the day
may come when we may be glad that we were kept, against our will, to
see something more of the wonders of this singular place, and of the
creatures who inhabit it.
 The victory of the Indians and the annihilation of the ape-men
marked the turning point of our fortunes. From then onwards, we were
in truth masters of the plateau, for the natives looked upon us with a
mixture of fear and gratitude, since by our strange powers we had
aided them to destroy their hereditary foe. For their own sakes they
would, perhaps, be glad to see the departure of such formidable and
incalculable people, but they have not themselves suggested any way by
which we may reach the plains below. There had been, so far as we
could follow their signs, a tunnel by which the place could be
approached, the lower exit of which we had seen from below. By this,
no doubt, both ape-men and Indians had at different epochs reached the
top, and Maple White with his companion had taken the same way. Only
the year before, however, there had been a terrific earthquake, and
the upper end of the tunnel had fallen in and completely
disappeared. The Indians now could only shake their heads and shrug
their shoulders when we expressed by signs our desire to descend. It
may be that they cannot, but it may also be that they will not help us
to get away.
 At the end of the victorious campaign the surviving ape-folk were
driven across the plateau (their wailings were horrible) and
established in the neighbourhood of the Indian caves, where they
would, from now onwards, be a servile race under the eyes of their
masters. It was a rude, raw, primaeval version of the Jews in
Babylon or the Israelites in Egypt. At night we could hear from amid
the trees the long-drawn cry, as some primitive Ezekiel mourned for
fallen greatness and recalled the departed glories of Ape Town. Hewers
of wood and drawers of water, such were they from now onwards.
 We had returned across the plateau with our allies two days after
the battle, and made our camp at the foot of the cliffs. They would
have had us share their caves with them, but Lord John would by no
means consent to it, considering that to do so would put us in their
power if they were treacherously disposed. We kept our independence
therefore, and had our weapons ready for any emergency, while
preserving the most friendly relations. We also continually visited
their caves, which were most remarkable places, though whether made by
man or by Nature we have never been able to determine. They were all
on the one stratum, hollowed out of some soft rock which lay between
the volcanic basalt forming the ruddy cliffs above them, and the
hard granite which formed their base.
 The openings were about eighty feet above the ground, and were led
up to by long stone stairs, so narrow and steep that no large animal
could mount them. Inside they were warm and dry, running in straight
passages of varying length into the side of the hill, with smooth grey
walls decorated with many excellent pictures done with charred
sticks and representing the various animals of the plateau. If every
living thing were swept from the country the future explorer would
find upon the walls of these caves ample evidence of the strange
fauna- the dinosaurs, iguanodons and fish lizards- which had lived
so recently upon earth.
                                                       {CH_15 ^paragraph 5}
 Since we had learned that the huge iguanodons were kept as tame
herds by their owners, and were simply walking meat-stores, we had
conceived that man, even with his primitive weapons, had established
his ascendancy upon the plateau. We were soon to discover that it
was not so, and that he was still there upon tolerance. It was on
the third day after our forming our camp near the Indian caves that
the tragedy occurred. Challenger and Summerlee had gone off together
that day to the lake, where some of the natives, under their
direction, were engaged in harpooning specimens of the great
lizards. Lord John and I had remained in our camp, while a number of
the Indians were scattered about upon the grassy slope in front of the
caves engaged in different ways. Suddenly there was a shrill cry of
alarm, with the word 'Stoa' resounding from a hundred tongues. From
every side men, women and children were rushing wildly for shelter,
swarming up the staircases and into the caves in a mad stampede.
 Looking up, we could see them waving their arms from the rocks above
and beckoning to us to join them in their refuge. We had both seized
our magazine rifles and ran out to see what the danger could be.
Suddenly from the near belt of trees there broke forth a group of
twelve or fifteen Indians, running for their lives, and at their
very heels two of those frightful monsters which had disturbed our
camp and pursued me upon my solitary journey. In shape they were
like horrible toads, and moved in a succession of springs, but in size
they were of an incredible bulk, larger than the largest elephant.
We had never before seen them save at night, and indeed they are
nocturnal animals save when disturbed in their lairs, as these had
been. We now stood amazed at the sight, for their blotched and warty
skins were of a curious fish-like iridescence, and the sunlight struck
them with an ever-varying rainbow bloom as they moved.
 We had little time to watch them, however, for in an instant they
had overtaken the fugitives and were making a dire slaughter among
them. Their method was to fall forward with their full weight upon
each in turn, and, leaving him crushed and mangled, to bound on
after the others. The wretched Indians screamed with terror, but
were helpless, run as they would, before the relentless purpose and
horrible activity of these monstrous creatures. One after another they
went down, and there were not half a dozen surviving by the time my
companion and I could come to their help. But our aid was of little
avail and only involved us in the same peril. At the range of a couple
of hundred yards we emptied our magazines, firing bullet after
bullet into the beasts, but with no more effect than if we were
pelting them with pellets of paper. Their slow reptilian natures cared
nothing for wounds, and the springs of their lives, with no special
brain centre but scattered throughout their spinal cords, could not be
trapped by any modern weapons. The most that we could do was to
check their progress by distracting their attention with the flash and
roar of our guns, and so to give both the natives and ourselves time
to reach the steps which led to safety. But where the conical
explosive bullets of the twentieth century were of no avail the
poisoned arrows of the natives, dipped in the juice of strophanthus
and steeped afterwards in decayed carrion, could succeed. Such
arrows were of little avail to the hunter who attacked the beast,
because their action in that torpid circulation was slow, and before
its powers failed it could certainly overtake and slay its
assailant. But now, as the two monsters hounded us to the very foot of
the stairs, a drift of darts came whistling from every chink in the
cliff above them. In a minute they were feathered with them, and yet
with no sign of pain they clawed and slobbered with impotent rage at
the steps which would lead them to their victims, mounting clumsily up
for a few yards and then sliding down again to the ground. But at last
the poison worked. One of them gave a deep rumbling groan and
dropped his huge squat head on to the earth. The other bounded round
in an eccentric circle with shrill, wailing cries, and then lying down
writhed in agony for some minutes before it also stiffened and lay
still. With yells of triumph the Indians came flocking down from their
caves and danced a frenzied dance of victory round the dead bodies, in
mad joy that two more of the most dangerous of all their enemies had
been slain. That night they cut up and removed the bodies, not to eat-
for the poison was still active- but lest they should breed a
pestilence. The great reptilian hearts, however, each as large as a
cushion, still lay there, beating slowly and steadily, with a gentle
rise and fall, in horrible independent life. It was upon the third day
that the ganglia ran down and the dreadful things were still.
 Some day, when I have a better desk than a meat-tin and more helpful
tools than a worn stub of pencil and a last, tattered notebook, I will
write some fuller account of the Accala Indians- of our life amongst
them, and of the glimpses which we had of the strange conditions of
wondrous Maple White Land. Memory, at least, will never fail me, for
so long as the breath of life is in me every hour and every action
of that period will stand out as hard and clear as do the first
strange happenings of our childhood. No new impressions could efface
those which are so deeply cut. When the time comes I will describe
that wondrous moonlit night upon the great lake when a young
ichthyosaurus- a strange creature, half seal, half fish, to look at,
with bone-covered eyes on each side of his snout, and a third eye
fixed upon the top of his head- was entangled in an Indian net, and
nearly upset our canoe before we towed it ashore; the same night
that a green water-snake shot out from the rushes and carried off in
its coils the steersman of Challenger's canoe. I will tell, too, of
the great nocturnal white thing- to this day we do not know whether it
was beast or reptile- which lived in a vile swamp to the east of the
lake, and flitted about with a faint phosphorescent glimmer in the
darkness. The Indians were so terrified of it that they would not go
near the place, and, though we twice made expeditions and saw it
each time, we could not make our way through the deep marsh in which
it lived. I can only say that it seemed to be larger than a cow and
had the strangest musky odour. I will tell also of the huge bird which
chased Challenger to the shelter of the rocks one day- a great running
bird, far taller than an ostrich, with a vulture-like neck and cruel
head which made it a walking death. As Challenger climbed to safety
one dart of that savage curving beak shore off the heel of his boot as
if it had been cut with a chisel. This time at least modern weapons
prevailed and the great creature, twelve feet from head to foot-
phororachus its name, according to our panting but exultant Professor-
went down before, Lord Roxton's rifle in a flurry of waving feathers
and kicking limbs, with two remorseless yellow eyes glaring up from
the midst of it. May I live to see that flattened vicious skull in its
own niche amid the trophies of the Albany. Finally, I will surely give
some account of the toxodon, the giant ten-foot guinea pig, with
projecting chisel teeth, which we killed as it drank in the grey of
the morning by the side of the lake.
 All this I shall some day write at fuller length, and amidst these
more stirring days I would tenderly sketch in those lovely summer
evenings, when with the deep blue sky above us we lay in good
comradeship among the long grasses by the wood and marvelled at the
strange fowl that swept over us and the quaint new creatures which
crept from their burrows to watch us, while above us the boughs of the
bushes were heavy with luscious fruit, and below us strange and lovely
flowers peeped at us from among the herbage; of those long moonlit
nights when we lay out upon the shimmering surface of the great lake
and watched with wonder and awe the huge circles rippling out from the
sudden splash of some fantastic monster; or the greenish gleam, far
down in the deep water, of some strange creature upon the confines
of darkness. These are the scenes which my mind and my pen will
dwell upon in every detail at some future day.
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 10}
 But, you will ask, why these experiences and why this delay, when
you and your comrades should have been occupied day and night in the
devising of some means by which you could return to the outer world?
My answer is, that there was not one of us who was not working for
this end, but that our work had been in vain. One fact we had very
speedily discovered: The Indians would do nothing to help us. In every
other way they were our friends- one might almost say our devoted
slaves- but when it was suggested that they should help us to make and
carry a plank which would bridge the chasm, or when we wished to get
from them thongs of leather or liana to weave ropes which might help
us, we were met by a good-humoured, but an invincible, refusal. They
would smile, twinkle their eyes, shake their heads, and there was
the end of it. Even the old chief met us with the same obstinate
denial, and it was only Maretas, the youngster whom we had saved,
who looked wistfully at us and told us by his gestures that he was
grieved for our thwarted wishes. Ever since their crowning triumph
with the ape-men they looked upon us as supermen, who bore victory
in the tubes of strange weapons, and they believed that so long as
we remained with them good fortune would be theirs. A little
red-skinned wife and a cave of our own were freely offered to each
of us if we would but forget our own people and dwell for ever upon
the plateau. So far all had been kindly, however far apart our desires
might be; but we felt well assured that our actual plans of a
descent must be kept secret, for we had reason to fear that at the
last they might try to hold us by force.
 In spite of the danger from dinosaurs (which is not great save at
night, for as I may have said before they are nocturnal in their
habits) I have twice in the last three weeks been over to our old camp
in order to see our negro who still kept watch and ward below the
cliff. My eyes strained eagerly across the great plain in the hope
of seeing afar off the help for which we had prayed. But the long
cactus-strewn levels still stretched away, empty and bare, to the
distant line of the cane-break.
 'They will come soon now, Massa Malone. Before another week pass
Indian come back and bring rope and fetch you down.' Such was the
cheery cry of our excellent Zambo.
 I had one strange experience as I came from this second visit
which had involved my being away for a night from my companions. I was
returning along the well-remembered route, and had reached a spot
within a mile or so of the marsh of the pterodactyls, when I saw an
extraordinary object approaching me. It was a man who walked inside
a framework made of bent canes so that he was enclosed on all sides in
a bell-shaped cage. As I drew nearer I was more amazed still to see
that it was Lord John Roxton. When he saw me he slipped from under his
curious protection and came towards me laughing, and yet, as I
thought, with some confusion in his manner.
 'Well, young fellah,' said he, 'who would have thought of meetin'
you up here?'
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 15}
 'What in the world are you doing?' I asked.
 'Visitin' my friends, the pterodactyls,' said he.
 'But why?'
 'Interestin' beasts, don't you think? But unsociable! Nasty rude
ways with strangers, as you may remember. So I rigged this framework
which keeps them from bein' too pressin' in their attentions.'
 'But what do you want in the swamp?'
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 20}
 He looked at me with a very questioning eye, and I read hesitation
in his face.
 'Don't you think other people besides Professors can want to know
things?' he said at last. 'I'm studyin' the pretty dears. That's
enough for you.'
 'No offence,' said I.
 His good-humour returned and he laughed.
 'No offence, young fellah. I'm goin' to get a young devil chick
for Challenger. That's one of my jobs. No, I don't want your
company. I'm safe in this cage, and you are not. So long, and I'll
be back in camp by nightfall.'
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 25}
 He turned away and I left him wandering on through the wood with his
extraordinary cage around him.
 If Lord John's behaviour at this time was strange, that of
Challenger was more so. I may say that he seemed to possess an
extraordinary fascination for the Indian women, and that he always
carried a large spreading palm branch with which he beat them off as
if they were flies, when their attentions became too pressing. To
see him walking like a comic opera Sultan, with this badge of
authority in his hand, his black beard bristling in front of him,
his toes pointing at each step, and a train of wide-eyed Indian
girls behind him, clad in their slender drapery of bark cloth, is
one of the most grotesque of all the pictures which I will carry
back with me. As to Summerlee, he was absorbed in the insect and
bird life of the plateau, and spent his whole time (save that
considerable portion which was devoted to abusing Challenger for not
getting us out of our difficulties) in cleaning and mounting his
 Challenger had been in the habit of walking off by himself every
morning and returning from time to time with looks of portentous
solemnity, as one who bears the full weight of a great enterprise upon
his shoulders. One day, palm branch in hand, and his crowd of
adoring devotees behind him, he led us down to his hidden workshop and
took us into the secret of his plans.
 The place was a small clearing in the centre of a palm grove. In
this was one of those boiling mud geysers which I have already
described. Around its edge were scattered a number of leathern
thongs cut from iguanodon hide, and a large collapsed membrane which
proved to be the dried and scraped stomach of one of the great fish
lizards from the lake. This huge sack had been sewn up at one end
and only a small orifice left at the other. Into this opening
several bamboo canes had been inserted and the other ends of these
canes were in contact with conical clay funnels which collected the
gas bubbling up through the mud of the geyser. Soon the flaccid
organ began to slowly expand and show such a tendency to upward
movements that Challenger fastened the cords which held it to the
trunks of the surrounding trees. In half an hour a good-size gas-bag
had been formed, and the jerking and straining upon the thongs
showed that it was capable of considerable lift. Challenger, like a
glad father in the presence of his first-born stood smiling and
stroking his beard in silent, self-satisfied content as he gazed at
the creation of his brain. It was Summerlee who first broke the
 'You don't mean us to go up in that thing, Challenger?' said he,
in an acid voice.
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 30}
 'I mean, my dear Summerlee, to give you such a demonstration of
its powers that after seeing it you will, I am sure, have no
hesitation in trusting yourself to it.'
 'You can put it right out of your head now, at once,' said Summerlee
with decision; 'nothing on earth would induce me to commit such a
folly. Lord John, I trust that you will not countenance such madness?'
 'Dooced ingenious, I call it,' said our peer. 'I'd like to see how
it works.'
 'So you shall,' said Challenger. 'For some days I have exerted my
whole brain force upon the problem of how we shall descend these
cliffs. We have satisfied ourselves that we cannot climb down and that
there is no tunnel. We are also unable to construct any kind of bridge
which may take us back to the pinnacle from which we came? How then
shall I find a means to convey us? Some little time ago I had remarked
to our young friend here that free hydrogen was evolved from the
geyser. The idea of a balloon naturally followed. I was, I will admit,
somewhat baffled by the difficulty of discovering an envelope to
contain the gas, but the contemplation of the immense entrails of
these reptiles supplied me with a solution to the problem. Behold
the result!'
 He put one hand in the front of his ragged jacket and pointed
proudly with the other.
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 35}
 By this time the gas-bag had swollen to a goodly rotundity and was
jerking strongly upon its lashings.
 'Midsummer madness!' snorted Summerlee.
 Lord John was delighted with the whole idea. 'Clever old dear, ain't
he?' he whispered to me, and then louder to Challenger. 'What about
a car?'
 'The car will be my next care. I have already planned how it is to
be made and attached. Meanwhile I will simply show you how capable
my apparatus is of supporting the weight of each of us.'
 'All of us, surely?'
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 40}
 'No it is part of my plan that each in turn shall descend as in a
parachute, and the balloon be drawn back by means which I shall have
no difficulty in perfecting. If it will support the weight of one
and let him gently down, it will have done all that is required of it.
I will now show you its capacity in that direction.'
 He brought out a lump of basalt of a considerable size,
constructed in the middle so that a cord could be easily attached to
it. This cord was the one which we had brought with us on the
plateau after we had used it for climbing the pinnacle. It was over
a hundred feet long, and though it was thin it was very strong. He had
prepared a sort of collar of leather with many straps depending from
it. This collar was placed over the dome of the balloon, and the
hanging thongs were gathered together below, so that the pressure of
any weight would be diffused over a considerable surface. Then the
lump of basalt was fastened to the thongs and the rope was allowed
to hang from the end of it, being passed three times round the
Professor's arm.
 'I will now,' said Challenger, with a smile of pleased anticipation,
'demonstrate the carrying power of my baloon.' As he said so he cut
with a knife the various lashings that held it.
 Never was our expedition in more imminent danger of complete
annihilation. The inflated membrane shot up with frightful velocity
into the air. In an instant Challenger was pulled off his feet and
dragged after it. I had just time to throw my arms round his ascending
waist when I was myself whipped up into the air. Lord John had me with
a rat-trap grip round the legs, but I felt that he also was coming off
the ground. For a moment I had a vision of four adventurers floating
like a string of sausages over the land that they had explored. But,
happily, there were limits to the strain which the rope would stand,
though none apparently to the lifting powers of this infernal machine.
There was a sharp crack, and we were in a heap upon the ground with
coils of rope all over us. When we were able to stagger to our feet we
saw far off in the deep blue sky one dark dot where the lump of basalt
was speeding upon its way.
 'Splendid!' cried the undaunted Challenger, rubbing his injured arm.
'A most thorough and satisfactory demonstration! I could not have
anticipated such a success. Within a week, gentlemen, I promise that a
second balloon will be prepared, and that you can count upon taking in
safety and comfort the first stage of our homeward journey.'
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 45}
 So far I have written each of the foregoing events as it occurred.
Now I am rounding off my narrative from the old camp, where Zambo
has waited so long, with all our difficulties and dangers left like
a dream behind us upon the summit of those vast ruddy crags which
tower above our heads. We have descended in safety, though in a most
unexpected fashion, and all is well with us. In six weeks or two
months we shall be in London, and it is possible that this letter
may not reach you much earlier than we do ourselves. Already our
hearts yearn and our spirits fly towards the great mother city which
holds so much that is dear to us.
 It was on the very evening of our perilous adventure with
Challenger's home-made balloon that the change came in our fortunes. I
have said that the one person from whom we had had some sign of
sympathy in our attempts to get away was the young chief whom we had
rescued. He alone had no desire to hold us against our will in a
strange land. He had told us as much by his expressive language of
signs. That evening, after dusk, he came down to our little camp,
handed me (for some reason he had always shown his attentions to me,
perhaps because I was the one who was nearest his age) a small roll of
the bark of a tree, and then pointing solemnly up at the row of
caves above him, he had put his finger to his lips as a sign of
secrecy and had stolen back again to his people.
 I took the slip of bark to the firelight and we examined it
together. It was about a foot square, and on the inner side there
was a singular arrangement of lines, which I here reproduce:
                        (See Illustration.)
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 50}
 They were neatly done in charcoal upon the white surface, and looked
to me at first sight like some sort of rough musical score.
 'Whatever it is, I can swear that it is of importance to us,' said
I. 'I could read that on his face as he gave it.'
 'Unless we have come upon a primitive practical joker,' Summerlee
suggested, 'which I should think would be one of the most elementary
developments of man.'
 'It is clearly some sort of script,' said Challenger.
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 55}
 'Looks like a guinea puzzle competition,' remarked Lord John,
craning his neck to have a look at it. When suddenly he stretched
out his hand and seized the puzzle.
 'By George!' he cried, 'I believe I've got it. The boy guessed right
the very first time. See here! How many marks are on that paper?
Eighteen. Well, if you come to think of it there are eighteen cave
openings on the hill-side above us.'
 'He pointed up to the caves when he gave it to me,' said I.
 'Well, that settles it. This is a chart of the caves. What! Eighteen
of them all in a row, some short, some deep, some branching, same we
as saw them. It's a map, and here's a cross on it. What's the cross
for? It is placed to mark one that is much deeper than the others.'
 'One that goes through,' I cried.
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 60}
 'I believe our young friend has read the riddle,' said Challenger.
'If the cave does not go through I do not understand why this
person, who has every reason to mean us well, should have drawn our
attention to it. But if it does go through and comes out at the
corresponding point on the other side, we should not have more than
a hundred feet to descend.'
 'A hundred feet!' grumbled Summerlee.
 'Well, our rope is still more than a hundred feet long,' I cried.
'Surely we could get down.'
 'How about the Indians in the cave?' Summerlee objected.
 'There are no Indians in any of the caves above our heads,' said
I. 'They are all used as barns and storehouses. Why should we not go
up now at once and spy out the land?'
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 65}
 There is a dry bituminous wood upon the plateau- a species of
araucaria, according to our botanist- which is always used by the
Indians for torches. Each of us picked up a faggot of this, and we
made our way up weed-covered steps to the particular cave which was
marked in the drawing. It was, as I had said, empty, save for a
great number of enormous bats, which flapped round our heads as we
advanced into it. As we had no desire to draw the attention of the
Indians to our proceedings, we stumbled along in the dark until we had
gone round several curves and penetrated a considerable distance
into the cavern. Then, at last, we lit our torches. It was a beautiful
dry tunnel, with smooth grey walls covered with native symbols, a
curved roof which arched over our heads, and white glistening sand
beneath our feet. We hurried eagerly along it until, with a deep groan
of bitter disappointment, we were brought to a halt. A sheer wall of
rock had appeared before us, with no chink through which a mouse could
have slipped. There was no escape for us there.
 We stood with bitter hearts staring at this unexpected obstacle.
It was not the result of any convulsion, as in the case of the
ascending tunnel. It was, and had always been, a cul-de-sac.
 'Never mind, my friends,' said the indomitable Challenger. 'You
still have my firm promise of a balloon.'
 Summerlee groaned.
 'Can we be in the wrong cave?' I suggested.
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 70}
 'No use, young fellah,' said Lord John, with his finger on our
chart. 'Seventeen from the right and second from the left. This is the
cave sure enough.'
 I looked at the mark to which his finger pointed, and I gave a
sudden cry of joy.
 'I believe I have it! Follow me! Follow me!'
 I hurried back along the way we had come, my torch in my hand.
'Here,' said I, pointing to some matches upon the ground, 'is where we
lit up.'
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 75}
 'Well, it is marked as a forked cave, and in the darkness we
passed the fork before the torches were lit. On the right side as we
go out we should find the longer arm.'
 It was as I had said. We had not gone thirty yards before a great
black opening loomed in the wall. We turned into it to find that we
were in a much larger passage than before. Along it we hurried in
breathless impatience for many hundreds of yards. Then, suddenly, in
the black darkness of the arch in front of us we saw a gleam of dark
red light. We stared in amazement. A sheet of steady flame seemed to
cross the passage and to bar our way. We hastened towards it. No
sound, no heat, no movement came from it, but still the great luminous
curtain glowed before us, silvering all the cave and turning the
sand to powdered jewels, until as we drew closer it discovered a
circular edge.
 'The moon, by George!' cried Lord John. 'We are through, boys! We
are through!'
 It was indeed the full moon which shone straight down the aperture
which opened upon the cliffs. It was a small rift, not larger than a
window, but it was enough for all our purposes. As we craned our necks
through it we could see that the descent was not a very difficult one,
and that the level ground was no very great way below us. It was no
wonder that from below we had not observed the place, as the cliffs
curved overhead and an ascent at the spot would have seemed so
impossible as to discourage close inspection. We satisfied ourselves
that with the help of our rope we could find our way down, and then
returned, rejoicing, to our camp to make our preparations for the next
 What we did we had to do quickly and secretly, since even at this
last hour the Indians might hold us back. Our stores we would leave
behind us, save only our guns and cartridges. But Challenger had
some unwieldy stuff which he ardently desired to take with him, and
one particular package, of which I may not speak, which gave us more
labour than any. Slowly the day passed, but when the darkness fell
we were ready for our departure. With much labour we got our things up
the steps, and then, looking back, took one last long survey of that
strange land, soon I fear to be vulgarised, the prey of hunter and
prospector, but to each of us a dreamland of glamour and romance, a
land where we had dared much, suffered much, and learned much- our
land, as we shall ever fondly call it. Along upon our left the
neighbouring caves each threw out its ruddy cheery firelight into
the gloom. From the slope below us rose the voices of the Indians as
they laughed and sang. Beyond was the long sweep of the woods, and
in the centre, shimmering vaguely through the gloom, was the great
lake, the mother of strange monsters. Even as we looked a high
whickering cry, the call of some weird animal, rang clear out of the
darkness. It was the very voice of Maple White Land bidding us
goodbye. We turned and plunged into the cave which led to home.
                                                      {CH_15 ^paragraph 80}
 Two hours later, we, our packages, and all we owned, were at the
foot of the cliff. Save for Challenger's luggage we had never a
difficulty. Leaving it all where we descended, we started at once
for Zambo's camp. In the early morning we approached it, but only to
find, to our amazement, not one fire but a dozen upon the plain. The
rescue party had arrived. There were twenty Indians from the river,
with stakes, ropes, and all that could be useful for bridging the
chasm. At least we shall have no difficulty now in carrying our
packages, when tomorrow we begin to make our way back to the Amazon.
 And so, in humble and thankful mood, I close this account. Our
eyes have seen great wonders and our souls are chastened by what we
have endured. Each is in his own way a better and deeper man. It may
be that when we reach Para we shall stop to refit. If we do, this
letter will be a mail ahead. If not, it will reach London, on the very
day that I do. In either case, my dear Mr. McArdle, I hope very soon
to shake you by the hand.

                  16. A Procession! A Procession!
 I SHOULD wish to place upon record here our gratitude to all our
friends upon the Amazon for the very great kindness and hospitality
which was shown to us upon our return journey. Very particularly would
I thank Signor Penalosa and other officials of the Brazilian
Government for the special arrangements by which we were helped upon
our way, and Signor Pereira of Para, to whose forethought we owe the
complete outfit for a decent appearance in the civilised world which
we found ready for us at that town. It seemed a poor return for all
the courtesy which we encountered that we should deceive our hosts and
benefactors, but under the circumstances we had really no alternative,
and I hereby tell them that they will only waste their time and
their money if they attempt to follow upon our traces, and I am very
sure that no one, from the most careful study of them, could come
within a thousand miles of our unknown land.
 The excitement which had been caused through those parts of South
America which we had to traverse was imagined by us to be purely
local, and I can assure our friends in England that we had no notion
of the uproar which the mere rumour of our experiences had caused
through Europe. It was not until Ivernia was within five hundred miles
of Southampton that the wireless messages from paper after paper and
agency after agency, offering huge prices for a short return message
as to our actual results, showed us how strained was the attention not
only of the scientific world but of the general public. It was
agreed among us, however, that no definite statement should be given
to the Press until we had met the members of the Zoological Institute,
since as delegates it was our clear duty to give our first report to
the body from which we had received our commission of investigation.
Thus, although we found Southampton full of Pressmen, we absolutely
refused to give any information, which had the natural effect of
focusing public attention upon the meeting which was advertised for
the evening of November 7th. For this gathering, the Zoological
Hall, which had been the scene of the inception of our task, was found
to be far too small, and it was only in the Queen's Hall in Regent
Street that accommodation could be found. It is now common knowledge
that the promoters might have ventured upon the Albert Hall and
still found their space too scanty.
 It was for the second evening after our arrival that the great
meeting had been fixed. For the first, we had each, no doubt, our
own pressing personal affairs to absorb us. Of mine I cannot yet
speak. It may be that as it stands farther from me I may think of
it, and even speak of it, with less emotion. I have shown the reader
in the beginning of this narrative where lay the springs of my action.
It is but right, perhaps, that I should carry on the tale and show
also the results. And yet the day may come when I would not have it
otherwise. At least I have been driven forth to take part in a
wonderous adventure, and I cannot but be thankful to the force that
drove me.
 And now I turn to the last supreme eventful moment of our adventure.
As I was racking my brain as to how I should best describe it, my eyes
fell on the issue of my own journal for the morning of the 8th of
November with the full and excellent account of my friend and
fellow-reporter Macdona. What can I do better than transcribe his
narrative- headlines and all? I admit that the paper was exuberant
in the matter, out of compliment to its own enterprise in sending a
correspondent, but the other great dailies were hardly less full in
their account. Thus, then, friend Mac in his report:
                                                       {CH_16 ^paragraph 5}
                           THE NEW WORLD
                          SCENES OF UPROAR
                       EXTRAORDINARY INCIDENT
                            WHAT WAS IT?
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 10}
 'The much-discussed meeting of the Zoological Institute, convened to
hear the report of the Committee of Investigation sent out last year
to South America to test the assertions made by Professor Challenger
as to the continued existence of prehistoric life upon that continent,
was held last night in the greater Queen's Hall, and it is safe to say
that it is likely to be a red-letter date in the history of Science,
for the proceedings were of so remarkable and sensational a
character that no one present is ever likely to forget them.' (Oh,
brother scribe Macdona, what a monstrous opening sentence!) 'The
tickets were theoretically confined to members and their friends,
but the latter is an elastic term, and long before eight o'clock,
the hour fixed for the commencement of the proceedings, all parts of
the Great Hall were tightly packed. The general public, however, which
most unreasonably entertained a grievance at having been excluded,
stormed the doors at a quarter to eight, after a prolonged melee in
which several people were injured, including Inspector Scoble of H
Division, whose leg was unfortunately broken. After this unwarrantable
invasion, which not only filled every passage, but even intruded
upon the space set apart for the Press, it is estimated that nearly
five thousand people awaited the arrival of the travellers. When
they eventually appeared, they took their places in the front of a
platform which already contained all the leading scientific men, not
only of this country, but of France and of Germany. Sweden was also
represented, in the person of Professor Sergius, the famous
Zoologist of the University of Upsala. The entrance of the four heroes
of the occasion was the signal for a remarkable demonstration of
welcome, the whole audience rising and cheering for some minutes. An
acute observer might, however, have detected some signs of dissent
amid the applause, and gathered that the proceedings were likely to
become more lively than harmonious. It may safely be prophesied,
however, that no one could have foreseen the extraordinary turn
which they were actually to take.
 'Of the appearance of the four wanderers little need be said,
since their photographs have for some time been appearing in all the
papers. They bear few traces of the hardships which they are said to
have undergone. Professor Challenger's beard may be more shaggy,
Professor Summerlee's features more ascetic, Lord John Roxton's figure
gaunt, and all three may be burned to a darker tint than when they
left our shores, but each appeared to be in most excellent health.
As to our own representative, the well-known athlete and international
Rugby football player, E. D. Malone, he looks trained to a hair, and
as he surveyed the crowd a smile of good-humoured contentment pervaded
his honest but homely face.' (All right, Mac, wait till I get you
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 15}
 'When quiet had been restored and the audience resumed their seats
after the ovation which they had given to the travellers, the
chairman, the Duke of Durham, addressed the meeting. "He would not,"
he said, "stand for more than a moment between that vast assembly
and the treat which lay before them. It was not for him to
anticipate what Professor Summerlee, who was the spokesmen of the
committee, had to say to them, but it was common rumour that their
expedition had been crowned by extraordinary success." (Applause.)
"Apparently the age of romance was not dead, and there was common
ground upon which the wildest imaginings of the novelist could meet
the actual scientific investigations of the searcher for truth. He
would only add, before he sat down, that he rejoiced- and all of
them would rejoice- that these gentlemen had returned safe and sound
from their difficult and dangerous task, for it cannot be denied
that any disaster to such an expedition would have inflicted a
well-nigh irreparable loss to the cause of zoological science." (Great
applause, in which Professor Challenger was observed to join.)
 'Professor Summerlee's rising was the signal for another
extraordinary outbreak of enthusiasm, which broke out again at
intervals throughout his address. That address will not be given in
extenso in these columns, for the reason that a full account of the
whole adventures of the expedition is being published as a
supplement from the pen of our own special correspondent. Some general
indications will therefore suffice. Having described the genesis of
their journey, and paid a handsome tribute to his friend Professor
Challenger, coupled with an apology for the incredulity with which his
assertions, now fully vindicated, had been received, he gave the
actual course of their journey, carefully withholding such information
as would aid the public in any attempt to locate this remarkable
plateau. Having described, in general terms, their course from the
main river up to the time that they actually reached the base of the
cliffs, he enthralled his hearers by his account of the difficulties
encountered by the expedition in their repeated attempts to mount
them, and finally described how they succeeded in their desperate
endeavours, which cost the lives of their two devoted half-breed
servants.' (This amazing reading of the affair was the result of
Summerlee's endeavours to avoid raising any questionable matter at the
 'Having conducted his audience in fancy to the summit, and
marooned them there by reason of the fall of their bridge, the
Professor proceeded to describe both the horrors and the attractions
of that remarkable land. Of personal adventures he said little, but
laid stress upon the rich harvest reaped by Science in the
observations of the wonderful beast, bird, insect and plant life of
the plateau. Peculiarly rich in the coleoptera and in the lepidoptera,
forty-six new species of the one and ninety-four of the other had been
secured in the course of a few weeks. It was, however, in the larger
animals, and especially in the larger animals supposed to have been
long extinct, that the interest of the public was naturally centred.
Of these he was able to give a goodly list, but had little doubt
that it would be largely extended when the place had been more
thoroughly investigated. He and his companions had seen at least a
dozen creatures, most of them at a distance, which corresponded with
nothing at present known to Science. These would in time be duly
classified and examined. We instanced a snake, the cast skin of which,
deep purple in colour, was fifty-one feet in length, and mentioned a
white creature, supposed to be mammalian, which gave forth well-marked
phosphorescence in the darkness; also a large black moth, the bite
of which was supposed by the Indians to be highly poisonous. Setting
aside these entirely new forms of life, the plateau was very rich in
known prehistoric forms, dating back in some cases to Early Jurassic
times. Among these he mentioned the gigantic and grotesque
stegosaurus, seen once by Mr. Malone at a drinking-place by the
lake, and drawn in the sketchbook of that adventurous American who had
first penetrated this unknown world. He described also the iguanodon
and the pterodactyl- two of the first of the wonders which they had
encountered. He then thrilled the assembly by some account of the
terrible carnivorous dinosaurs, which had on more than one occasion
pursued members of the party, and which were the most formidable of
all the creatures which they had encountered. Then he passed to the
huge and ferocious bird, the phororachus, and to the great elk which
still roams upon this upland. It was not, however, until he sketched
the mysteries of the central lake that the full interest and
enthusiasm of the audience were aroused. One had to pinch oneself to
be sure that one was awake as one heard this sane and practical
Professor in cold, measured tones describing the monstrous
three-eyed fish-lizard and the huge water-snakes which inhabit this
enchanted sheet of water. Next he touched upon the Indians, and upon
the extraordinary colony of anthropoid apes, which might be looked
upon as an advance upon the pithecanthropus of Java, and as coming
therefore nearer than any known form to that hypothetical creation,
the missing link. Finally he described, amongst some merriment, the
ingenious but highly dangerous aeronautic invention of Professor
Challenger, and wound up a most remarkable address by an account of
the methods by which the committee did at last find their way back
to civilisation.
 'It had been hoped that the proceedings would end there, and that
a vote of thanks and congratulation, moved by Professor Sergius, of
Upsala University, would be duly seconded and carried; but it was soon
evident that the course of events was not destined to flow so
smoothly. Symptoms of opposition had been evident from time to time
during the evening, and now Dr. James Illingworth, of Edinburgh,
rose in the centre of the hall. Dr. Illingworth asked whether an
amendment should not be taken before a resolution.
 'The Chairman: "Yes, sir, if there must be an amendment."
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 20}
 'Dr. Illingworth: "Your Grace, there must be an amendment."
 'The Chairman: "Then let us take it at once."
 'Professor Summerlee (springing to his feet): "Might I explain, your
Grace, that this man is my personal enemy ever since our controversy
in the 'Quarterly Journal of Science' as to the true nature of
 'The Chairman: "I fear I cannot go into personal matters. Proceed."
 'Dr. Illingworth was imperfectly heard in part of his remarks on
account of the strenuous opposition of the friends of the explorers.
Some attempts were also made to pull him down. Being a man of enormous
physique, however, and possessed of a very powerful voice, he
dominated the tumult and succeeded in finishing his speech. It was
clear, from the moment of his rising, that he had a number of
friends and sympathisers in the hall, though they formed a minority in
the audience. The attitude of the greater part of the public might
be described as one of attentive neutrality.
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 25}
 'Dr. Illingworth began his remarks by expressing his high
appreciation of the scientific work both by Professor Challenger and
of Professor Summerlee. He much regretted that any personal bias
should have been read into his remarks, which were entirely dictated
by his desire for scientific truth. His position, in fact, was
substantially the same as that taken up by Professor Summerlee at
the last meeting. At that last meeting Professor Challenger had made
certain assertions which had been queried by his colleague. Now this
colleague came forward himself with the same assertions and expected
them to remain unquestioned. Was this reasonable? ("Yes", "No", and
prolonged interruption, during which Professor Challenger was heard
from the Press box to ask leave from the Chairman to put Dr.
Illingworth into the street.) A year ago one man said certain
things. Now four men said other and more startling ones. Was this to
constitute a final proof where the matters in question were of the
most revolutionary and incredible character? There had been recent
examples of travellers arriving from the unknown with certain tales
which had been too readily accepted. Was the London Zoological
Institute to place itself in this position? He admitted that the
members of the committee were men of character. But human nature was
very complex. Even Professors might be misled by the desire for
notoriety. Like moths, we all love best to flutter in the light.
Heavy-game shots liked to be in a position to cap the tales of their
rivals, and journalists were not averse from sensational coups, even
when imagination had to aid fact in the process. Each member of the
committee had his own motive for making the most of his results.
("Shame! shame!") He had no desire to be offensive. ("You are!" and
interruption.) The corroboration of these wondrous tales was really of
the most slender description. What did it amount to? Some photographs.
Was it possible that in this age of ingenious manipulation photographs
could be accepted as evidence? What more? We have a story of a
flight and a descent by ropes which precluded the production of larger
specimens. It was ingenious, but not convincing. It was understood
that Lord John Roxton claimed to have the skull of a phororachus. He
could only say that he would like to see that skull.
 'Lord John Roxton: "Is this fellow calling me a liar?" (Uproar.)
 'The Chairman: "Order! Order! Dr. Illingworth, I must direct you
to bring your remarks to a conclusion and to move your amendment."
 'Dr. Illingworth: "Your Grace, I have more to say, but I bow to your
ruling. I move, then, that, while Professor Summerlee be thanked for
his interesting address, the whole matter shall be regarded as
'non-proven', and shall be referred back to a larger, and possibly
more reliable Committee of Investigation."
 'It is difficult to describe the confusion caused by this amendment.
A large section of the audience expressed their indignation at such
a slur upon the travellers by noisy shouts of dissent and cries of
"Don't put it!" "Withdraw!" "Turn him out!" On the other hand, the
malcontents- and it cannot be denied that they were fairly numerous-
cheered for the amendment, with cries of "Order!" "Chair!" and "Fair
play!" A scuffle broke out in the back benches, and blows were
freely exchanged among the medical students who crowded that part of
the hall. It was only the moderating influence of the presence of
large numbers of ladies which prevented an absolute riot. Suddenly,
however, there was a pause, a hush, and then complete silence.
Professor Challenger was on his feet. His appearance and manner are
peculiarly arresting, and as he raised his hand for order the whole
audience settled down expectantly to give him a hearing.
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 30}
 '"It will be within the recollection of many present," said
Professor Challenger, "that similar foolish and unmannerly scenes
marked the last meeting at which I have been able to address them.
On that occasion Professor Summerlee was the chief offender, and
though he is now chastened and contrite, the matter could not be
entirely forgotten. I have heard to-night similar, but even more
offensive, sentiments from the person who has just sat down, and
though it is a conscious effort of self-effacement to come down to
that person's mental level, I will endeavour to do so, in order to
allay any reasonable doubt which could possibly exist in the minds
of anyone." (Laughter and interruption.) "I need not remind this
audience that, though Professor Summerlee, as the head of the
Committee of Investigation, has been put up to speak tonight, still it
is I who am the real prime mover in this business, and that it is
mainly to me that any successful result must be ascribed. I have
safely conducted these three gentlemen to the spot mentioned, and I
have, as you have heard, convinced them of the accuracy of my previous
account. We had hoped that we should find upon our return that no
one was so dense as to dispute our joint conclusions. Warned, however,
by my previous experience, I have not come without such proofs as
may convince a reasonable man. As explained by Professor Summerlee,
our cameras have been tampered with by the ape-men when they ransacked
our camp, and most of our negatives ruined." (Jeers, laughter, and
"Tell us another!" from the back.) "I have mentioned the ape-men,
and I cannot forbear from saying that some of the sounds which now
meet my ears bring back most vividly to my recollection my experiences
with those interesting creatures." (Laughter.) "In spite of the
destruction of so many invaluable negatives, there still remains in
our collection a certain number of corroborative photographs showing
the conditions of life upon the plateau. Did they accuse them of
having forged these photographs?" (A voice, "Yes," and considerable
interruption which ended in several men being put out of the hall.)
"The negatives were open to the inspection of experts. But what
other evidence had they? Under the conditions of their escape it was
naturally impossible to bring a large amount of baggage, but they
had rescued Professor Summerlee's collections of butterflies and
beetles, containing many new species. Was this not evidence?" (Several
voices, "No.") "Who said no?"
 'Dr. Illingworth (rising): "Our point is that such a collection
might have been made in other places than a prehistoric plateau."
 'Professor Challenger: "No doubt, sir, we have to bow to your
scientific authority, although I must admit that the name is
unfamiliar. Passing, then, both the photographs and the
entomological collection, I come to the varied and accurate
information which we bring with us upon points which have never before
been elucidated. For example, upon the domestic habits of the
pterodactyl- (A voice: 'Bosh,' and uproar)- I say, that upon the
domestic habits of the pterodactyl we can throw a flood of light. I
can exhibit to you from my portfolio a picture of that creature
taken from life which would convince you-"
 'Dr. Illingworth: "No picture could convince us of anything."
 'Professor Challenger: "You would require to see the thing itself."
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 35}
 'Dr. Illingworth: "Undoubtedly."
 'Professor Challenger: "And you would accept that?"
 'Dr. Illingworth (laughing): "Beyond a doubt."
 'It was at this point that the sensation of the evening arose- a
sensation so dramatic that it can never have been paralleled in the
history of scientific gatherings. Professor Challenger raised his hand
in the air as a signal, and at once our colleague, Mr. E. D. Malone,
was observed to rise and to make his way to the back of the
platform. An instant later he re-appeared in company of a gigantic
negro, the two of them bearing between them a large square
packing-case. It was evidently of great weight, and was slowly carried
forward and placed in front of the Professor's chair. All sound had
hushed in the audience and everyone was absorbed in the spectacle
before them. Professor Challenger drew off the top of the case,
which formed a sliding lid. Peering down into the box he snapped his
finger several times and was heard from the Press seat to say,
"Come, then, pretty, pretty!" in a coaxing voice. An instant later,
with a scratching, rattling sound, a most horrible and loathsome
creature appeared from below and perched itself upon the side of the
case. Even the unexpected fall of the Duke of Durham into the
orchestra, which occurred at this moment, could not distract the
petrified attention of the vast audience. The face of the creature was
like the wildest gargoyle that the imagination of a mad mediaeval
builder could have conceived. It was malicious, horrible, with two
small red eyes as bright as points of burning coal. Its long savage
mouth, which was held half-open, was full of a double row of
shark-like teeth. Its shoulders were humped, and round them were
draped what appeared to be a faded grey shawl. It was the devil of our
childhood in person. There was a turmoil in the audience- someone
screamed, two ladies in the front row fell senseless from their
chairs, and there was a general movement upon the platform to follow
their chairman into the orchestra. For a moment there was danger of
a general panic. Professor Challenger threw up his hands to still
the commotion, but the movement alarmed the creature beside him. Its
strange shawl suddenly unfurled, spread, and fluttered as a pair of
leathery wings. Its owner grabbed at its legs, but too late to hold
it. It had sprung from the perch and was circling slowly round Queen's
Hall with a dry, leathery flapping of its ten-foot wings, while a
putrid and insidious odour pervaded the room. The cries of the
people in the galleries, who were alarmed at the near approach of
those glowing eyes and that murderous beak, excited the creature to
a frenzy. Faster and faster it flew, beating against the walls and
chandeliers in a blind frenzy of alarm. "The window! For heaven's sake
shut that window!" roared the Professor from the platform, dancing,
and wringing his hands in an agony of apprehension. Alas, his
warning was too late! In a moment the creature, beating and bumping
along the wall like a huge moth within a gas shade, came upon the
opening, squeezed its hideous bulk through it, and was gone. Professor
Challenger fell back into his chair with his face buried in his hands,
while the audience gave one long, deep sigh of relief as they realised
that the incident was over.
 'Then- oh! how shall one describe what took place then- when the
full exuberance of the majority and the full reaction of the
minority united to make one great wave of enthusiasm, which rolled
from the back of the hall, gathering volume as it came, swept over the
orchestra, submerged the platform, and carried the four heroes away
upon its crest?' (Good for you, Mac.) 'If the audience had done less
than justice, surely it made ample amends. Everyone was on his feet.
Everyone was moving, shouting, gesticulating. A dense crowd of
cheering men were round the four travellers. "Up with them! up with
them!" cried a hundred voices. In a moment four figures shot up
above the crowd. In vain they strove to break loose. They were held in
their lofty places of honour. It would have been hard to let them down
if it had been wished, so dense was the crowd around them. "Regent
Street! Regent Street!" sounded the voices. There was a swirl in the
packed multitude, and a slow current bearing the four upon their
shoulders, made for the door. Out in the street the scene was
extraordinary. An assemblage of not less than a hundred thousand
people was waiting. The close-packed throng extended from the other
side of the Langham Hotel to Oxford Circus. A roar of acclamation
greeted the four adventurers as they appeared high above the heads
of the people, under the vivid electric lamps outside the hall. "A
procession! A procession!" was the cry. In a dense phalanx, blocking
the streets from side to side, the crowd set forth, taking the route
of Regent Street, Pall Mall, St. James's Street, and Piccadilly. The
whole central traffic of London was held up, and many collisions
were reported between the demonstrators upon the one side and the
police and taxi-cabmen upon the other. Finally, it was not until after
midnight that the four travellers were released at the entrance to
Lord John Roxtons chambers in the Albany, and that the exuberant
crowd, having sung: "They are Jolly Good Fellows" in chorus, concluded
their programme with "God Save the King". So ended one of the most
remarkable evenings that London had seen for a considerable time.'
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 40}
 So far my friend Macdona; and it may be taken as a fairly
accurate, if florid, account of the proceedings. As to the main
incident, it was a bewildering surprise to the audience, but not, I
need hardly say, to us. The reader will remember how I met Lord John
Roxton upon the very occasion when, in his protective crinoline, he
had gone to bring the 'Devil's chick' as he called it, for Professor
Challenger. I have hinted also at the trouble which the Professor's
baggage gave us when we left the plateau, and had I described our
voyage I might have said a good deal of the worry we had to coax
with putrid fish the appetite of our filthy companion. If I have not
said much about it before it was, of course, that the Professor's
earnest desire was that no possible rumour of the unanswerable
argument which we carried should be allowed to leak out until the
moment came when his enemies were to be confuted.
 One word as to the fate of the London pterodactyl. Nothing can be
said to be certain upon this point. There is the evidence of two
frightened women that it perched upon the roof of the Queen's Hall and
remained there like a diabolical statue for some hours. The next day
it came out in the evening papers that Private Miles, of the
Coldstream Guards, on duty outside Marlborough House, had deserted his
post without leave, and was therefore court-martialled. Private Miles'
account, that he dropped his rifle and took to his heels down the Mall
because on looking up he had suddenly seen the devil between him and
the moon, was not accepted by the Court, and yet it may have a
direct bearing upon the point at issue. The only other evidence
which I can adduce is from the log of the S. S. Friesland, a
Dutch-American liner, which asserts that at nine next morning, Start
Point being at the time ten miles upon their starboard quarter, they
were passed by something between a flying goat and a monstrous bat,
which was heading at a prodigious pace south and west. If its homing
instinct led it upon the right line, there can be no doubt that
somewhere out in the wastes of the Atlantic the last European
pterodactyl found its end.
 And Gladys- oh, my Gladys!- Gladys of the mystic lake, now to be
re-named the Central, for never shall she have immortality through me.
Did I not always see some hard fibre in her nature? Did I not, even at
the time when I was proud to obey her behest, feel that it was
surely a poor love which could drive a lover to his death or the
danger of it? Did I not, in my truest thoughts, always recurring and
always dismissed, see past the beauty of the face, and, peering into
the soul, discern the twin shadows of selfishness and of fickleness
glooming at the back of it? Did she love the heroic and the
spectacular for its own noble sake, or was it for the glory which
might, without effort or sacrifice, be reflected upon herself? Or
are these thoughts the vain wisdom which comes after the event? It was
the shock of my life. For a moment it had turned me to a cynic. But
already, as I write, a week has passed, and we have had our
momentous interview with Lord John Roxton and- well, perhaps things
might be worse.
 Let me tell it in a few words. No letter or telegram had come to
me at Southampton, and I reached the little villa at Streatham about
ten o'clock that night in a fever of alarm. Was she dead or alive?
Where were all my mighty dreams of the open arms, the smiling face,
the words of praise for her man who had risked his life to humour
her whim? Already I was down from the high peaks and standing
flat-footed upon earth. Yet some good reasons given might still lift
me to the clouds once more. I rushed down the garden path, hammered at
the door, heard the voice of Gladys within, pushed past the staring
maid, and strode into the sitting-room. She was seated in a low settee
under the shaded standard lamp by the piano. In three steps I was
across the room and had both her hands in mine.
 'Gladys!' I cried, 'Gladys!'
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 45}
 She looked up with amazement in her face. She was altered in some
subtle way. The expression of her eyes, the hard upward stare, the set
of the lips, was new to me. She drew back her hands.
 'What do you mean?' she said.
 'Gladys!' I cried. 'What is the matter? You are my Gladys, are you
not- little Gladys Hungerton?'
 'No, said she, 'I am Gladys Potts. Let me introduce you to my
 How absurd life is! I found myself mechanically bowing and shaking
hands with a little ginger-haired man who was coiled up in the deep
arm-chair which had once been sacred to my own use. We bobbed and
grinned in front of each other.
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 50}
 'Father lets us stay here. We are getting our house ready,' said
 'Oh, yes,' said I.
 'You didn't get my letter at Para, then?'
 'No, I got no letter.'
 'Oh, what a pity! It would have made all clear.'
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 55}
 'It is quite clear,' said I.
 'I've told William all about you,' said she. 'We have no secrets.
I am so sorry about it. But it couldn't have been so very deep,
could it, if you could go off to the other end of the world and
leave me here alone. You're not crabby, are you?'
 'No, no, not at all. I think I'll go.'
 'Have some refreshment,' said the little man, and he added, in a
confidential way, 'It's always like this, ain't it? And must be unless
you had polygamy, only the other way round; you understand.' He
laughed like an idiot, while I made for the door.
 I was through it, when a sudden fantastic impulse came upon me,
and I went back to my successful rival, who looked nervously at the
electric push.
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 60}
 'Will you answer a question?' I asked.
 'Well, within reason,' said he.
 'How did you do it? Have you searched for hidden treasure, or
discovered a pole, or done time on a pirate, or flown the channel,
or what? Where is the glamour of romance? How did you get it?'
 He stared at me with a hopeless expression upon his vacuous,
good-natured, scrubby little face.
 'Don't you think all this is a little too personal?' he said.
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 65}
 'Well, just one question,' I cried. 'What are you? What is your
 'I am a solicitor's clerk,' said he. 'Second man at Johnson and
Merivale's, 41, Chancery Lane.'
 'Goodnight!' said I, and vanished, like all disconsolate and
broken-hearted heroes, into the darkness, with grief and rage and
laughter all simmering within me like a boiling pot.
 One more little scene, and I have done. Last night we all supped
at Lord John Roxton's rooms, and sitting together afterwards we smoked
in good comradeship and talked our adventures over. It was strange
under these altered surroundings to see the old, well-known faces
and figures. There was Challenger, with his smile of condescension,
his drooping eyelids, his intolerant eyes, his aggressive beard, his
huge chest, swelling and puffing as he laid down the law to Summerlee.
And Summerlee, too, there he was with his short briar between his thin
moustache and his grey goat's-beard, his worn face protruded in
eager debate as he queried all Challenger's propositions. Finally,
there was our host, with his rugged, eagle face, and his cold, blue,
glacier eyes with always a shimmer of devilment and of humour down
in the depths of them. Such is the last picture of them that I have
carried away. It was after supper, in his own sanctum- the room of the
pink radiance and the innumerable trophies- that Lord John Roxton
had something to say to us. From a cupboard he had brought an old
cigar-box, and this he laid before him on the table.
 'There's one thing,' said he, 'that maybe I should have spoken about
before this, but I wanted to know a little more clearly where I was.
No use to raise hopes and let them down again. But it's facts' not
hopes, with us now. You may remember that day we found the pterodactyl
rookery in the swamp- what? Well, somethin' in the lie of the land
took my notice. Perhaps it has escaped you, so I will tell you. It was
a volcanic vent full of blue clay.'
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 70}
 The Professors nodded.
 'Well, now, in the whole world I've only had to do with one place
that was a volcanic vent of blue clay. That was the great De Beers
Diamond Mine of Kimberley- what? So you see I got diamonds into my
head. I rigged up a contraption to hold off those stinking beasts, and
I spent a happy day there with a spud. This is what I got.'
 He opened his cigar-box, and tilting it over he poured about
twenty or thirty rough stones, varying from the size of beans to
that of chestnuts, on the table.
 'Perhaps you think I should have told you then. Well, so I should,
only I know there are a lot of traps for the unwary, and that stones
may be of any size and yet of little value where colour and
consistency are clean off. Therefore, I brought them back, and on
the first day at home I took one round to Spink's and asked him to
have it roughly cut and valued.'
 He took a pill-box from his pocket, and spilled out of it a
beautiful glittering diamond, one of the finest stones that I have
ever seen.
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 75}
 'There's the result,' said he. 'He prices the lot at a minimum of
two hundred thousand pounds. Of course it is fair shares between us. I
won't hear of anythin' else. Well, Challenger, what will you do with
your fifty thousand?'
 'If you really persist in your generous view,' said the Professor,
'I should found a private museum, which has long been one of my
 'And you, Summerlee?'
 'I would retire from teaching, and so find time for my final
classification of the chalk fossils.'
 'I'll use my own,' said Lord John Roxton, 'in fitting a
well-formed expedition and having another look at the dear old
plateau. As to you, young fellah, you, of course, will spend yours
in gettin' married.'
                                                      {CH_16 ^paragraph 80}
 'Not just yet,' said I, with a rueful smile. 'I think, if you will
have me, that I would rather go with you.'
 Lord Roxton said nothing, but a brown hand was stretched out to me
across the table.                                                          

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