The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 58

were
left alone together, for I had permitted the watch to go below for a
few minutes, knowing that I would be on deck. Miss La Rue was very
quiet, though she replied graciously enough to whatever I had to say
that required reply. I asked her if she did not feel well.

"Yes," she said, "but I am depressed by the awfulness of it all. I feel
of so little consequence--so small and helpless in the face of all
these myriad manifestations of life stripped to the bone of its
savagery and brutality. I realize as never before how cheap and
valueless a thing is life. Life seems a joke, a cruel, grim joke. You
are a laughable incident or a terrifying one as you happen to be less
powerful or more powerful than some other form of life which crosses
your path; but as a rule you are of no moment whatsoever to anything
but yourself. You are a comic little figure, hopping from the cradle
to the grave. Yes, that is our trouble--we take ourselves too
seriously; but Caprona should be a sure cure for that." She paused and
laughed.

"You have evolved a beautiful philosophy," I said. "It fills such a
longing in the human breast. It is full, it is satisfying, it is
ennobling. What wondrous strides toward perfection the human race
might have made if the first man had evolved it and it had persisted
until now as the creed of humanity."

"I don't like irony," she said; "it indicates a small soul."

"What other sort of soul, then, would you expect from `a comic little
figure hopping from the cradle to the grave'?" I inquired. "And what
difference does it make, anyway, what you like and what you don't like?
You are here for but an instant, and you mustn't take yourself too
seriously."

She looked up at me with a smile. "I imagine that I am frightened and
blue," she said, "and I know that I am very, very homesick and lonely."
There was almost a sob in her voice as she concluded. It was the first
time that she had spoken thus to me. Involuntarily, I laid my hand
upon hers where it rested on the rail.

"I know how difficult your position is," I said; "but don't feel that
you are alone. There is--is one here who--who would do anything in the
world for you," I ended lamely. She did not withdraw her hand, and she
looked up into my face

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