The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 7

closer and closer to those stupendous waves. He
watched my every move, but he was by far too fine an officer and
gentleman to embarrass me by either comment or suggestion.

When I saw that we soon would touch, I ordered the ship brought around
broadside to the wind, and there we hovered a moment until a huge wave
reached up and seized us upon its crest, and then I gave the order that
suddenly reversed the screening force, and let us into the ocean. Down
into the trough we went, wallowing like the carcass of a dead whale,
and then began the fight, with rudder and propellers, to force the
Coldwater back into the teeth of the gale and drive her on and on,
farther and farther from relentless thirty.

I think that we should have succeeded, even though the ship was wracked
from stem to stern by the terrific buffetings she received, and though
she were half submerged the greater part of the time, had no further
accident befallen us.

We were making headway, though slowly, and it began to look as though
we were going to pull through. Alvarez never left my side, though I
all but ordered him below for much-needed rest. My second officer,
Porfirio Johnson, was also often on the bridge. He was a good officer,
but a man for whom I had conceived a rather unreasoning aversion almost
at the first moment of meeting him, an aversion which was not lessened
by the knowledge which I subsequently gained that he looked upon my
rapid promotion with jealousy. He was ten years my senior both in
years and service, and I rather think he could never forget the fact
that he had been an officer when I was a green apprentice.

As it became more and more apparent that the Coldwater, under my
seamanship, was weathering the tempest and giving promise of pulling
through safely, I could have sworn that I perceived a shade of
annoyance and disappointment growing upon his dark countenance. He
left the bridge finally and went below. I do not know that he is
directly responsible for what followed so shortly after; but I have
always had my suspicions, and Alvarez is even more prone to place the
blame upon him than I.

It was about six bells of the forenoon watch that Johnson returned to
the bridge after an absence of some thirty minutes. He seemed nervous
and ill at ease--a fact which made little impression on me at the time,
but which both Alvarez and

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