The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 37

scale those perpendicular heights; there was
not a finger-hold, not a toe-hold, upon them. I turned away baffled.

Nobs and I met with no sharks upon our return journey to the submarine.
My report filled everyone with theories and speculations, and with
renewed hope and determination. They all reasoned along the same lines
that I had reasoned--the conclusions were obvious, but not the water.
We were now thirstier than ever.

The balance of that day we spent in continuing a minute and fruitless
exploration of the monotonous coast. There was not another break in
the frowning cliffs--not even another minute patch of pebbly beach. As
the sun fell, so did our spirits. I had tried to make advances to the
girl again; but she would have none of me, and so I was not only
thirsty but otherwise sad and downhearted. I was glad when the new day
broke the hideous spell of a sleepless night.

The morning's search brought us no shred of hope. Caprona was
impregnable--that was the decision of all; yet we kept on. It must
have been about two bells of the afternoon watch that Bradley called my
attention to the branch of a tree, with leaves upon it, floating on the
sea. "It may have been carried down to the ocean by a river," he
suggested.

"Yes," I replied, "it may have; it may have tumbled or been thrown off
the top of one of these cliffs."

Bradley's face fell. "I thought of that, too," he replied, "but I
wanted to believe the other."

"Right you are!" I cried. "We must believe the other until we prove it
false. We can't afford to give up heart now, when we need heart most.
The branch was carried down by a river, and we are going to find that
river." I smote my open palm with a clenched fist, to emphasize a
determination unsupported by hope. "There!" I cried suddenly. "See
that, Bradley?" And I pointed at a spot closer to shore. "See that,
man!" Some flowers and grasses and another leafy branch floated toward
us. We both scanned the water and the coastline. Bradley evidently
discovered something, or at least thought that he had. He called down
for a bucket and a rope, and when they were passed up to him, he
lowered the former into the sea and drew it in filled with water. Of
this he took a taste, and straightening up, looked into my eyes with an
expression of elation--as

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