The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

thirty or one hundred seventy-five has been, as you know, the
direst calamity that could befall a naval commander. Court-martial and
degradation follow swiftly, unless as is often the case, the
unfortunate man takes his own life before this unjust and heartless
regulation can hold him up to public scorn.

There has been in the past no excuse, no circumstance, that could
palliate the offense.

"He was in command, and he took his ship across thirty!" That was
sufficient. It might not have been in any way his fault, as, in the
case of the Coldwater, it could not possibly have been justly charged
to my account that the gravitation-screen generators were worthless;
but well I knew that should chance have it that we were blown across
thirty today--as we might easily be before the terrific west wind that
we could hear howling below us, the responsibility would fall upon my
shoulders.

In a way, the regulation was a good one, for it certainly accomplished
that for which it was intended. We all fought shy of 30d on the east
and 175d on the west, and, though we had to skirt them pretty close,
nothing but an act of God ever drew one of us across. You all are
familiar with the naval tradition that a good officer could sense
proximity to either line, and for my part, I am firmly convinced of the
truth of this as I am that the compass finds the north without recourse
to tedious processes of reasoning.

Old Admiral Sanchez was wont to maintain that he could smell thirty,
and the men of the first ship in which I sailed claimed that Coburn,
the navigating officer, knew by name every wave along thirty from 60dN.
to 60dS. However, I'd hate to vouch for this.

Well, to get back to my narrative; we kept on dropping slowly toward
the surface the while we bucked the west wind, clawing away from thirty
as fast as we could. I was on the bridge, and as we dropped from the
brilliant sunlight into the dense vapor of clouds and on down through
them to the wild, dark storm strata beneath, it seemed that my spirits
dropped with the falling ship, and the buoyancy of hope ran low in
sympathy.

The waves were running to tremendous heights, and the Coldwater was not
designed to meet such waves head on. Her elements were the blue ether,
far above the raging storm, or the greater depths of ocean, which no
storm could ruffle.

As I stood speculating upon our chances once we

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