The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 10

degradation and discharge because a lot
of old, preglacial fossils had declared over two hundred years before
that no man should cross thirty.

Even while these thoughts were passing through my mind I was busy with
the details of my duties. I had seen to it that a sea anchor was
rigged, and even now the men had completed their task, and the
Coldwater was swinging around rapidly, her nose pointing once more into
the wind, and the frightful rolling consequent upon her wallowing in
the trough was happily diminishing.

It was then that Johnson came hurrying to the bridge. One of his eyes
was swollen and already darkening, and his lip was cut and bleeding.
Without even the formality of a salute, he burst upon me, white with
fury.

"Lieutenant Alvarez attacked me!" he cried. "I demand that he be
placed under arrest. I found him in the act of destroying the reserve
instruments, and when I would have interfered to protect them he fell
upon me and beat me. I demand that you arrest him!"

"You forget yourself, Mr. Johnson," I said. "You are not in command of
the ship. I deplore the action of Lieutenant Alvarez, but I cannot
expunge from my mind the loyalty and self-sacrificing friendship which
has prompted him to his acts. Were I you, sir, I should profit by the
example he has set. Further, Mr. Johnson, I intend retaining command
of the ship, even though she crosses thirty, and I shall demand
implicit obedience from every officer and man aboard until I am
properly relieved from duty by a superior officer in the port of New
York."

"You mean to say that you will cross thirty without submitting to
arrest?" he almost shouted.

"I do, sir," I replied. "And now you may go below, and, when again you
find it necessary to address me, you will please be so good as to bear
in mind the fact that I am your commanding officer, and as such
entitled to a salute."

He flushed, hesitated a moment, and then, saluting, turned upon his
heel and left the bridge. Shortly after, Alvarez appeared. He was
pale, and seemed to have aged ten years in the few brief minutes since
I last had seen him. Saluting, he told me very simply what he had
done, and asked that I place him under arrest.

I put my hand on his shoulder, and I guess that my voice trembled a
trifle as, while reproving him for his act, I made it plain to

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