The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 1

down in the sand
and opened it, and in the long twilight read the manuscript, neatly
written and tightly folded, which was its contents.

You have read the opening paragraph, and if you are an imaginative
idiot like myself, you will want to read the rest of it; so I shall
give it to you here, omitting quotation marks--which are difficult of
remembrance. In two minutes you will forget me.

My home is in Santa Monica. I am, or was, junior member of my father's
firm. We are ship-builders. Of recent years we have specialized on
submarines, which we have built for Germany, England, France and the
United States. I know a sub as a mother knows her baby's face, and
have commanded a score of them on their trial runs. Yet my
inclinations were all toward aviation. I graduated under Curtiss, and
after a long siege with my father obtained his permission to try for
the Lafayette Escadrille. As a stepping-stone I obtained an
appointment in the American ambulance service and was on my way to
France when three shrill whistles altered, in as many seconds, my
entire scheme of life.

I was sitting on deck with some of the fellows who were going into the
American ambulance service with me, my Airedale, Crown Prince Nobbler,
asleep at my feet, when the first blast of the whistle shattered the
peace and security of the ship. Ever since entering the U-boat zone we
had been on the lookout for periscopes, and children that we were,
bemoaning the unkind fate that was to see us safely into France on the
morrow without a glimpse of the dread marauders. We were young; we
craved thrills, and God knows we got them that day; yet by comparison
with that through which I have since passed they were as tame as a
Punch-and-Judy show.

I shall never forget the ashy faces of the passengers as they stampeded
for their life-belts, though there was no panic. Nobs rose with a low
growl. I rose, also, and over the ship's side, I saw not two hundred
yards distant the periscope of a submarine, while racing toward the
liner the wake of a torpedo was distinctly visible. We were aboard an
American ship--which, of course, was not armed. We were entirely
defenseless; yet without warning, we were being torpedoed.

I stood rigid, spellbound, watching the white wake of the torpedo. It
struck us on the starboard side almost amidships. The vessel rocked as
though the sea beneath it had been uptorn

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