The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 8

I recalled subsequently.

Not three minutes after his reappearance at my side the Coldwater
suddenly commenced to lose headway. I seized the telephone at my
elbow, pressing upon the button which would call the chief engineer to
the instrument in the bowels of the ship, only to find him already at
the receiver attempting to reach me.

"Numbers one, two, and five engines have broken down, sir," he called.
"Shall we force the remaining three?"

"We can do nothing else," I bellowed into the transmitter.

"They won't stand the gaff, sir," he returned.

"Can you suggest a better plan?" I asked.

"No, sir," he replied.

"Then give them the gaff, lieutenant," I shouted back, and hung up the
receiver.

For twenty minutes the Coldwater bucked the great seas with her three
engines. I doubt if she advanced a foot; but it was enough to keep her
nose in the wind, and, at least, we were not drifting toward thirty.

Johnson and Alvarez were at my side when, without warning, the bow
swung swiftly around and the ship fell into the trough of the sea.

"The other three have gone," I said, and I happened to be looking at
Johnson as I spoke. Was it the shadow of a satisfied smile that
crossed his thin lips? I do not know; but at least he did not weep.

"You always have been curious, sir, about the great unknown beyond
thirty," he said. "You are in a good way to have your curiosity
satisfied." And then I could not mistake the slight sneer that curved
his upper lip. There must have been a trace of disrespect in his tone
or manner which escaped me, for Alvarez turned upon him like a flash.

"When Lieutenant Turck crosses thirty," he said, "we shall all cross
with him, and God help the officer or the man who reproaches him!"

"I shall not be a party to high treason," snapped Johnson. "The
regulations are explicit, and if the Coldwater crosses thirty it
devolves upon you to place Lieutenant Turck under arrest and
immediately exert every endeavor to bring the ship back into
Pan-American waters."

"I shall not know," replied Alvarez, "that the Coldwater passes thirty;
nor shall any other man aboard know it," and, with his words, he drew a
revolver from his pocket, and before either I or Johnson could prevent
it had put a bullet into every instrument upon the bridge, ruining them
beyond repair.

And then he saluted me, and strode from the bridge, a martyr to loyalty
and friendship, for, though no man might know

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