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Chapter 1. A Not Unnatural Enterprise
This is written from memory, unfortunately. If I could have brought with me the material
I so carefully prepared, this would be a very different story. Whole books full of notes,
carefully copied records, firsthand descriptions, and the pictures--that's the worst loss.
We had some bird's-eyes of the cities and parks; a lot of lovely views of streets, of
buildings, outside and in, and some of those gorgeous gardens, and, most important of all,
of the women themselves.
Nobody will ever believe how they looked. Descriptions aren't any good when it
comes to women, and I never was good at descriptions anyhow. But it's got to be done
somehow; the rest of the world needs to know about that country.
I haven't said where it was for fear some self-appointed missionaries, or traders, or
land-greedy expansionists, will take it upon themselves to push in. They will not be
wanted, I can tell them that, and will fare worse than we did if they do find it.
It began this way. There were three of us, classmates and friends--Terry O. Nicholson
(we used to call him the Old Nick, with good reason), Jeff Margrave, and I, Vandyck
We had known each other years and years, and in spite of our differences we had a
good deal in common. All of us were interested in science.
Terry was rich enough to do as he pleased. His great aim was exploration. He used to
make all kinds of a row because there was nothing left to explore now, only patchwork
and filling in, he said. He filled in well enough--he had a lot of talents--great on
mechanics and electricity. Had all kinds of boats and motorcars, and was one of the best
of our airmen.
We never could have done the thing at all without Terry.
Jeff Margrave was born to be a poet, a botanist--or both--but his folks persuaded him
to be a doctor instead. He was a good one, for his age, but his real interest was in what he
loved to call "the wonders of science."
As for me, sociology's my major. You have to back that up with a lot of other
sciences, of course. I'm interested in them all.
Terry was strong on facts--geography and meteorology and those; Jeff could beat him
any time on biology, and I didn't care what it was they talked about, so long as it
connected with human life, somehow. There are few things that don't.