The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 2

by a mighty volcano. We were
thrown to the decks, bruised and stunned, and then above the ship,
carrying with it fragments of steel and wood and dismembered human
bodies, rose a column of water hundreds of feet into the air.

The silence which followed the detonation of the exploding torpedo was
almost equally horrifying. It lasted for perhaps two seconds, to be
followed by the screams and moans of the wounded, the cursing of the
men and the hoarse commands of the ship's officers. They were
splendid--they and their crew. Never before had I been so proud of my
nationality as I was that moment. In all the chaos which followed the
torpedoing of the liner no officer or member of the crew lost his head
or showed in the slightest any degree of panic or fear.

While we were attempting to lower boats, the submarine emerged and
trained guns on us. The officer in command ordered us to lower our
flag, but this the captain of the liner refused to do. The ship was
listing frightfully to starboard, rendering the port boats useless,
while half the starboard boats had been demolished by the explosion.
Even while the passengers were crowding the starboard rail and
scrambling into the few boats left to us, the submarine commenced
shelling the ship. I saw one shell burst in a group of women and
children, and then I turned my head and covered my eyes.

When I looked again to horror was added chagrin, for with the emerging
of the U-boat I had recognized her as a product of our own shipyard. I
knew her to a rivet. I had superintended her construction. I had sat
in that very conning-tower and directed the efforts of the sweating
crew below when first her prow clove the sunny summer waters of the
Pacific; and now this creature of my brain and hand had turned
Frankenstein, bent upon pursuing me to my death.

A second shell exploded upon the deck. One of the lifeboats,
frightfully overcrowded, swung at a dangerous angle from its davits. A
fragment of the shell shattered the bow tackle, and I saw the women and
children and the men vomited into the sea beneath, while the boat
dangled stern up for a moment from its single davit, and at last with
increasing momentum dived into the midst of the struggling victims
screaming upon the face of the waters.

Now I saw men spring to the rail and leap into the ocean. The deck was
tilting to an

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