The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 9

that Lieutenant Jefferson
Turck had taken his ship across thirty, every man aboard would know
that the first officer had committed a crime that was punishable by
both degradation and death. Johnson turned and eyed me narrowly.

"Shall I place him under arrest?" he asked.

"You shall not," I replied. "Nor shall anyone else."

"You become a party to his crime!" he cried angrily.

"You may go below, Mr. Johnson," I said, "and attend to the work of
unpacking the extra instruments and having them properly set upon the

He saluted, and left me, and for some time I stood, gazing out upon the
angry waters, my mind filled with unhappy reflections upon the unjust
fate that had overtaken me, and the sorrow and disgrace that I had
unwittingly brought down upon my house.

I rejoiced that I should leave neither wife nor child to bear the
burden of my shame throughout their lives.

As I thought upon my misfortune, I considered more clearly than ever
before the unrighteousness of the regulation which was to prove my
doom, and in the natural revolt against its injustice my anger rose,
and there mounted within me a feeling which I imagine must have
paralleled that spirit that once was prevalent among the ancients
called anarchy.

For the first time in my life I found my sentiments arraying themselves
against custom, tradition, and even government. The wave of rebellion
swept over me in an instant, beginning with an heretical doubt as to
the sanctity of the established order of things--that fetish which has
ruled Pan-Americans for two centuries, and which is based upon a blind
faith in the infallibility of the prescience of the long-dead framers
of the articles of Pan-American federation--and ending in an adamantine
determination to defend my honor and my life to the last ditch against
the blind and senseless regulation which assumed the synonymity of
misfortune and treason.

I would replace the destroyed instruments upon the bridge; every
officer and man should know when we crossed thirty. But then I should
assert the spirit which dominated me, I should resist arrest, and
insist upon bringing my ship back across the dead line, remaining at my
post until we had reached New York. Then I should make a full report,
and with it a demand upon public opinion that the dead lines be wiped
forever from the seas.

I knew that I was right. I knew that no more loyal officer wore the
uniform of the navy. I knew that I was a good officer and sailor, and
I didn't propose submitting to

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