The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 41

nerves strained
to the snapping-point every instant. After the second turn the channel
ran comparatively straight for between one hundred and fifty and two
hundred yards. The waters grew suddenly lighter, and my spirits rose
accordingly. I shouted down to those below that I saw daylight ahead,
and a great shout of thanksgiving reverberated through the ship. A
moment later we emerged into sunlit water, and immediately I raised the
periscope and looked about me upon the strangest landscape I had ever
seen.

We were in the middle of a broad and now sluggish river the banks of
which were lined by giant, arboraceous ferns, raising their mighty
fronds fifty, one hundred, two hundred feet into the quiet air. Close
by us something rose to the surface of the river and dashed at the
periscope. I had a vision of wide, distended jaws, and then all was
blotted out. A shiver ran down into the tower as the thing closed upon
the periscope. A moment later it was gone, and I could see again.
Above the trees there soared into my vision a huge thing on batlike
wings--a creature large as a large whale, but fashioned more after the
order of a lizard. Then again something charged the periscope and
blotted out the mirror. I will confess that I was almost gasping for
breath as I gave the commands to emerge. Into what sort of strange
land had fate guided us?

The instant the deck was awash, I opened the conning-tower hatch and
stepped out. In another minute the deck-hatch lifted, and those who
were not on duty below streamed up the ladder, Olson bringing Nobs
under one arm. For several minutes no one spoke; I think they must
each have been as overcome by awe as was I. All about us was a flora
and fauna as strange and wonderful to us as might have been those upon
a distant planet had we suddenly been miraculously transported through
ether to an unknown world. Even the grass upon the nearer bank was
unearthly--lush and high it grew, and each blade bore upon its tip a
brilliant flower--violet or yellow or carmine or blue--making as
gorgeous a sward as human imagination might conceive. But the life!
It teemed. The tall, fernlike trees were alive with monkeys, snakes,
and lizards. Huge insects hummed and buzzed hither and thither. Mighty
forms could be seen moving upon the ground in the thick forest, while
the bosom of the river wriggled with living things, and above

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