Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

UNCLE BLISS was not a good toric Survival.” “Pterodactyl correspondent. He wrote to He wrote to not Extinct.” not Extinct." “ To be brought

" Irene once on the voyage, and Home in Steel Cage.” Half again soon after landing. It a dozen headlines with very was only a moderately interest- little text. The communicaing letter. No news of the tion concluded with a life hispterodactyl yet, but he had tory of the pterodactyl up to found two fleas on the ear of the mesozoic age, contributed an ant bear which were totally by Professor Bronte Saurus of new to science. Evidently the Stuttgart University, and a brief bug-hunters had got hold of biography of Uncle Bliss, with him.

a reference to the purchase of Months passed and we heard the dinosaur's egg, and a more no more beyond an occasional guarded one to the pygmy paragraph in 'The Daily Mega- incident. The detail about phone. One morning we saw the steel tank, 12 ft. by 8 ft., the headlines : “Intrepid Afri

Intrepid Afri- fitted into segments for portercan Explorer.” " Lost to the age,' must have leaked out World for Six Months." The through the manufacturers. vague inaccuracies which fol. Any one who had dined at lowed, pointing at the immi- the Potters' the night Uncle nent discovery of a “Monstrous Bliss in the first glow of inWinged Reptile,” told us noth- spiration had thought out his ing that we did not know, plan of campaign aloud could except that the ‘Megaphone' have given them better copy. staff had scented a story.It was not very creditable No clue was given as to the to the enterprise of 'The Daily source of the information. Ob- Megaphone' that we received viously Uncle Bliss had not our first definite news of the taken the Press into his confi- pterodactyl hunt through Mardence; and he would be cut jorie. She was staying at Pau

. off from communication with on her way home from Uganda, the coast.

and wrote suggesting that she The next message, though should come over and spend a more sensational, was equally night with us. She hoped that unauthenticated. Bush tele- she would see the children graphy, perhaps. “ Fabulous before they went to school. Monster haunts Equatorial A postscript added : Swamp." "Gigantic Pre-his- Ursa Major is returning, seriVOL. OCXVIII.-NO. MCCCXX.

U 2

66

" Your

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

he opened out at once, and ventures. Uncle Bliss' porters wanted me to go down and did not "precede him, as he see Bliss. He thought it might boasted was their custom. And soothe him. 'He keeps calling worse, the country was imout for Miss Irene,' he said. possible for wheeled transport. 'But mostly he talk random.' The lorry and the Vickers

“I saw the ship's doctor, Maxim outfit, which must have but he told me Bliss was not eaten up a considerable fraction in a state to see any ope.

He of the five figures,' had to had just come round from a be left behind at the coast. spell of coma, and was subject So there was never any hope to delusions and loss of memory, of bringing back the pterodactyl but he thought that would alive. pass with anti-malarial treat- They were several months ment. He was pumping in locating the beast. Staff spoke quinine. Intra-muscular injec- disparagingly of its habitat. tions. Staff said that he had “It was a rare unhealthy sort had malaria off and on for six of place. He could not put months. He tried to get him his finger on it on the map. back to the coast, but couldn't There were natives, of course. 'turn him from that there They wore their hair in knobs dratted terror-dactyl.'

and horns, and filed their I could imagine that Bliss teeth; he dismissed them as was difficult to turn. Did “nasty." He could not tell Staff describe the terror- Marjorie the name of the tribe, dactyl ?'" I asked Marjorie. but she gathered that they

From Staff's account Mar- were a pretty low lot, as they jorie concluded that the terror- ate chimpanzee. Even the dactyl was an enormous amphi- Mbongwe eschew chimpanzee. bian python, a sort of fresh- It was most unfortunate for water sea serpent. This was

Uncle Bliss that this particular disappointing, as I was pre- tribe feared the devil in the pared for a description of an form of the kongamato, which apocalyptic beast, “each eye is the local name for the ptero

, as large as a windmill and more dactyl. They feared it more fiery than a glass furnace.” than they feared Uncle Bliss. But Staff's story was credibly The legend ran that if the matter - of - fact. “No; he kongamato saw you first, at didn't see no wings. And he however great a distance, you didn't see

no legs, nor tail died; whereas if you saw the neither.” Only its head was kongamato first, it died; but above water. The stolid Sancho as nobody except Uncle Bliss Panza was not impressed by was willing to put this legend the terror-dactyl. He denied to the test, it was necessary to all its fantastic attributes. conceal the object of their ex

The whole hunt seems to pedition, and to be diplomatic have been a chapter of misad- in their questions about the

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as if

[ocr errors]

reptile as if it were a creature they boldly threw themselves they wished to avoid. Thus into the water, swam to the

the niggers ”_Staff applied nearest craft, and scrambled the word indifferently to all on board.

on board. So the knight and Africans from the Hadendowa the squire were left alone. of the Sudan to the Kafirs, and Here, perhaps, is where Don the blacks of Guinea-enrolled Quixote comes in. themselves unsuspiciously as “They made straight for beaters.

the island where the hullabaloo The chief's name was Shindy; started. Staff said the kongaStaff remembered that, because mato had left a trail it was apt. He beat the big you had dragged a barrer war-drum, the hollowed base along.'of a tree. The others beat “Without wheels,"Iemended. smaller drums, or blew horns. “Yes," said Marjorie. “How When they all turned out for did you know? And a coating a beat, the banging and braying of slime like the saliva of a was enough to scare the devil. snail.” Bliss' usual plan of operations I told her about the lau. was a drive. He would take “ The Bahr-el-Ghazal variety up an advanced position on leaves a furrow like a tumbril. some island, while the natives Staff is probably nearer the formed up in a line of boats mark. He doesn't exaggerate. and beat along the channels. But please go on.

What hapIt was all bog and swamp pened next? and decaying vegetation, which “They waited by the spoor gave off a putrid smell, a until dusk, and then they saw paradise of snakes and vermin. it swimming round and round Sancho Panza's “rare unhealthy on the far side of the pool and sort of place” was probably bending its head, first to one the most pestilential hole in side and then to the other, as Africa. Bliss was soon at- if lost." tacked by ague and cramp, What was it like 9 and had to be carried when he You know the poise of the was not paddled, but he had head of a water-snake, a sort his daily beat all the same. of blind inquisitive peering.

After about a hundred days They always give me the creeps. of this they came across the You don't know how much they track of the kongamato. The see. Well, it was like that, only first native who saw it set up simply gigantic.' a terrific hullabaloo, whereupon “I feel as if I had seen it the whole tribe swung round myself,” Marjorie continued. their dug-outs and made for "If I had been Uncle Bliss, I the village. Bliss' boatmen think I should have

gone were for joining in the sauve- straight home-not because I qui-peut, but he and Staff was afraid, though it is quite seized their paddles, whereupon likely I might have had cold

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »