The Land that Time Forgot
As we strolled slowly back toward the boat, planning and discussing this, we were
suddenly startled by a loud and unmistakable detonation.
"A shell from the U-33!" exclaimed von Schoenvorts.
"What can be after signifyin'?" queried Olson.
"They are in trouble," I answered for all, "and it's up to us to get back to them. Drop that
carcass," I directed the men carrying the meat, "and follow me!" I set off at a rapid run in
the direction of the harbor.
We ran for the better part of a mile without hearing anything more from the direction of
the harbor, and then I reduced the speed to a walk, for the exercise was telling on us who
had been cooped up for so long in the confined interior of the U-33. Puffing and panting,
we plodded on until within about a mile of the harbor we came upon a sight that brought
us all up standing. We had been passing through a little heavier timber than was usual to
this part of the country, when we suddenly emerged into an open space in the center of
which was such a band as might have caused the most courageous to pause. It consisted
of upward of five hundred individuals representing several species closely allied to man.
There were anthropoid apes and gorillas--these I had no difficulty in recognizing; but
there were other forms which I had never before seen, and I was hard put to it to say
whether they were ape or man. Some of them resembled the corpse we had found upon
the narrow beach against Caprona's sea-wall, while others were of a still lower type, more
nearly resembling the apes, and yet others were uncannily manlike, standing there erect,
being less hairy and possessing better shaped heads.
There was one among the lot, evidently the leader of them, who bore a close resemblance
to the so-called Neanderthal man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints. There was the same short,
stocky trunk upon which rested an enormous head habitually bent forward into the same
curvature as the back, the arms shorter than the legs, and the lower leg considerably
shorter than that of modern man, the knees bent forward and never straightened. This
creature and one or two others who appeared to be of a lower order than he, yet higher
than that of the apes, carried heavy clubs; the others were armed only with giant muscles
and fighting fangs--nature's weapons. All were males, and all were entirely naked; nor
was there upon even the highest among them a sign of ornamentation.
At sight of us they turned with bared fangs and low growls to confront us. I did not wish
to fire among them unless it became absolutely necessary, and so I started to lead my
party around them; but the instant that the Neanderthal man guessed my intention, he
evidently attributed it to cowardice upon our part, and with a wild cry he leaped toward
us, waving his cudgel above his head. The others followed him, and in a minute we
should have been overwhelmed. I gave the order to fire, and at the first volley six of them