The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 11

him that
my gratitude was no less potent a force than his loyalty to me. Then
it was that I outlined to him my purpose to defy the regulation that
had raised the dead lines, and to take my ship back to New York myself.

I did not ask him to share the responsibility with me. I merely stated
that I should refuse to submit to arrest, and that I should demand of
him and every other officer and man implicit obedience to my every
command until we docked at home.

His face brightened at my words, and he assured me that I would find
him as ready to acknowledge my command upon the wrong side of thirty as
upon the right, an assurance which I hastened to tell him I did not
need.

The storm continued to rage for three days, and as far as the wind
scarce varied a point during all that time, I knew that we must be far
beyond thirty, drifting rapidly east by south. All this time it had
been impossible to work upon the damaged engines or the gravity-screen
generators; but we had a full set of instruments upon the bridge, for
Alvarez, after discovering my intentions, had fetched the reserve
instruments from his own cabin, where he had hidden them. Those which
Johnson had seen him destroy had been a third set which only Alvarez
had known was aboard the Coldwater.

We waited impatiently for the sun, that we might determine our exact
location, and upon the fourth day our vigil was rewarded a few minutes
before noon.

Every officer and man aboard was tense with nervous excitement as we
awaited the result of the reading. The crew had known almost as soon
as I that we were doomed to cross thirty, and I am inclined to believe
that every man jack of them was tickled to death, for the spirits of
adventure and romance still live in the hearts of men of the
twenty-second century, even though there be little for them to feed
upon between thirty and one hundred seventy-five.

The men carried none of the burdens of responsibility. They might
cross thirty with impunity, and doubtless they would return to be
heroes at home; but how different the home-coming of their commanding
officer!

The wind had dropped to a steady blow, still from west by north, and
the sea had gone down correspondingly. The crew, with the exception of
those whose duties kept them below, were ranged on deck below the
bridge. When our position was definitely fixed I

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