The Lost Continent by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Part 3 out of 3
only in our navy were we numerically superior.
Menelek XIV is the undisputed ruler of all the continent of
Africa, of all of ancient Europe except the British Isles,
Scandinavia, and eastern Russia, and has large possessions
and prosperous colonies in what once were Arabia and Turkey
He has a standing army of ten million men, and his people
possess slaves--white slaves--to the number of ten or
Colonel Belik was much surprised, however, upon his part to
learn of the great nation which lay across the ocean, and
when he found that I was a naval officer, he was inclined to
accord me even greater consideration than formerly. It was
difficult for him to believe my assertion that there were
but few blacks in my country, and that these occupied a
lower social plane than the whites.
Just the reverse is true in Colonel Belik's land. He
considered whites inferior beings, creatures of a lower
order, and assuring me that even the few white freemen of
Abyssinia were never accorded anything approximating a
position of social equality with the blacks. They live in
the poorer districts of the cities, in little white
colonies, and a black who marries a white is socially
The arms and ammunition of the Abyssinians are greatly
inferior to ours, yet they are tremendously effective
against the ill-armed barbarians of Europe. Their rifles
are of a type similar to the magazine rifles of twentieth
century Pan-America, but carrying only five cartridges in
the magazine, in addition to the one in the chamber. They
are of extraordinary length, even those of the cavalry, and
are of extreme accuracy.
The Abyssinians themselves are a fine looking race of black
men--tall, muscular, with fine teeth, and regular features,
which incline distinctly toward Semitic mold--I refer to the
full-blooded natives of Abyssinia. They are the patricians--
the aristocracy. The army is officered almost exclusively
by them. Among the soldiery a lower type of negro
predominates, with thicker lips and broader, flatter noses.
These men are recruited, so the colonel told me, from among
the conquered tribes of Africa. They are good soldiers--
brave and loyal. They can read and write, and they are
endowed with a self-confidence and pride which, from my
readings of the words of ancient African explorers, must
have been wanting in their earliest progenitors. On the
whole, it is apparent that the black race has thrived far
better in the past two centuries under men of its own color
than it had under the domination of whites during all
I had been a prisoner at the little frontier post for over a
month, when orders came to Colonel Belik to hasten to the
eastern frontier with the major portion of his command,
leaving only one troop to garrison the fort. As his body
servant, I accompanied him mounted upon a fiery little
We marched rapidly for ten days through the heart of the
ancient German empire, halting when night found us in
proximity to water. Often we passed small posts similar to
that at which the colonel's regiment had been quartered,
finding in each instance that only a single company or troop
remained for defence, the balance having been withdrawn
toward the northeast, in the same direction in which we were
Naturally, the colonel had not confided to me the nature of
his orders. But the rapidity of our march and the fact that
all available troops were being hastened toward the
northeast assured me that a matter of vital importance to
the dominion of Menelek XIV in that part of Europe was
threatening or had already broken.
I could not believe that a simple rising of the savage
tribes of whites would necessitate the mobilizing of such a
force as we presently met with converging from the south
into our trail. There were large bodies of cavalry and
infantry, endless streams of artillery wagons and guns, and
countless horse-drawn covered vehicles laden with camp
equipage, munitions, and provisions.
Here, for the first time, I saw camels, great caravans of
them, bearing all sorts of heavy burdens, and miles upon
miles of elephants doing similar service. It was a scene of
wondrous and barbaric splendor, for the men and beasts from
the south were gaily caparisoned in rich colors, in marked
contrast to the gray uniformed forces of the frontier, with
which I had been familiar.
The rumor reached us that Menelek himself was coming, and
the pitch of excitement to which this announcement raised
the troops was little short of miraculous--at least, to one
of my race and nationality whose rulers for centuries had
been but ordinary men, holding office at the will of the
people for a few brief years.
As I witnessed it, I could not but speculate upon the moral
effect upon his troops of a sovereign's presence in the
midst of battle. All else being equal in war between the
troops of a republic and an empire, could not this
exhilarated mental state, amounting almost to hysteria on
the part of the imperial troops, weigh heavily against the
soldiers of a president? I wonder.
But if the emperor chanced to be absent? What then? Again I
On the eleventh day we reached our destination--a walled
frontier city of about twenty thousand. We passed some
lakes, and crossed some old canals before entering the
gates. Within, beside the frame buildings, were many built
of ancient brick and well-cut stone. These, I was told,
were of material taken from the ruins of the ancient city
which, once, had stood upon the site of the present town.
The name of the town, translated from the Abyssinian, is New
Gondar. It stands, I am convinced, upon the ruins of
ancient Berlin, the one time capital of the old German
empire, but except for the old building material used in the
new town there is no sign of the former city.
The day after we arrived, the town was gaily decorated with
flags, streamers, gorgeous rugs, and banners, for the rumor
had proved true--the emperor was coming.
Colonel Belik had accorded me the greatest liberty,
permitting me to go where I pleased, after my few duties had
been performed. As a result of his kindness, I spent much
time wandering about New Gondar, talking with the
inhabitants, and exploring the city of black men.
As I had been given a semi-military uniform which bore
insignia indicating that I was an officer's body servant,
even the blacks treated me with a species of respect, though
I could see by their manner that I was really as the dirt
beneath their feet. They answered my questions civilly
enough, but they would not enter into conversation with me.
It was from other slaves that I learned the gossip of the
Troops were pouring in from the west and south, and pouring
out toward the east. I asked an old slave who was sweeping
the dirt into little piles in the gutters of the street
where the soldiers were going. He looked at me in surprise.
"Why, to fight the yellow men, of course," he said. "They
have crossed the border, and are marching toward New
"Who will win?" I asked.
He shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows?" he said. "I hope
it will be the yellow men, but Menelek is powerful--it will
take many yellow men to defeat him."
Crowds were gathering along the sidewalks to view the
emperor's entry into the city. I took my place among them,
although I hate crowds, and I am glad that I did, for I
witnessed such a spectacle of barbaric splendor as no other
Pan-American has ever looked upon.
Down the broad main thoroughfare, which may once have been
the historic Unter den Linden, came a brilliant cortege. At
the head rode a regiment of red-coated hussars--enormous
men, black as night. There were troops of riflemen mounted
on camels. The emperor rode in a golden howdah upon the
back of a huge elephant so covered with rich hangings and
embellished with scintillating gems that scarce more than
the beast's eyes and feet were visible.
Menelek was a rather gross-looking man, well past middle
age, but he carried himself with an air of dignity befitting
one descended in unbroken line from the Prophet--as was his
His eyes were bright but crafty, and his features denoted
both sensuality and cruelness. In his youth he may have
been a rather fine looking black, but when I saw him his
appearance was revolting--to me, at least.
Following the emperor came regiment after regiment from the
various branches of the service, among them batteries of
field guns mounted on elephants.
In the center of the troops following the imperial elephant
marched a great caravan of slaves. The old street sweeper
at my elbow told me that these were the gifts brought in
from the far outlying districts by the commanding officers
of the frontier posts. The majority of them were women,
destined, I was told, for the harems of the emperor and his
favorites. It made my old companion clench his fists to see
those poor white women marching past to their horrid fates,
and, though I shared his sentiments, I was as powerless to
alter their destinies as he.
For a week the troops kept pouring in and out of New Gondar--
in, always, from the south and west, but always toward the
east. Each new contingent brought its gifts to the emperor.
From the south they brought rugs and ornaments and jewels;
from the west, slaves; for the commanding officers of the
western frontier posts had naught else to bring.
From the number of women they brought, I judged that they
knew the weakness of their imperial master.
And then soldiers commenced coming in from the east, but not
with the gay assurance of those who came from the south and
west--no, these others came in covered wagons, blood-soaked
and suffering. They came at first in little parties of
eight or ten, and then they came in fifties, in hundreds,
and one day a thousand maimed and dying men were carted into
It was then that Menelek XIV became uneasy. For fifty years
his armies had conquered wherever they had marched. At
first he had led them in person, lately his presence within
a hundred miles of the battle line had been sufficient for
large engagements--for minor ones only the knowledge that
they were fighting for the glory of their sovereign was
necessary to win victories.
One morning, New Gondar was awakened by the booming of
cannon. It was the first intimation that the townspeople
had received that the enemy was forcing the imperial troops
back upon the city. Dust covered couriers galloped in from
the front. Fresh troops hastened from the city, and about
noon Menelek rode out surrounded by his staff.
For three days thereafter we could hear the cannonading and
the spitting of the small arms, for the battle line was
scarce two leagues from New Gondar. The city was filled
with wounded. Just outside, soldiers were engaged in
throwing up earthworks. It was evident to the least
enlightened that Menelek expected further reverses.
And then the imperial troops fell back upon these new
defenses, or, rather, they were forced back by the enemy.
Shells commenced to fall within the city. Menelek returned
and took up his headquarters in the stone building that was
called the palace. That night came a lull in the
hostilities--a truce had been arranged.
Colonel Belik summoned me about seven o'clock to dress him
for a function at the palace. In the midst of death and
defeat the emperor was about to give a great banquet to his
officers. I was to accompany my master and wait upon him--
I, Jefferson Turck, lieutenant in the Pan-American navy!
In the privacy of the colonel's quarters I had become
accustomed to my menial duties, lightened as they were by
the natural kindliness of my master, but the thought of
appearing in public as a common slave revolted every fine
instinct within me. Yet there was nothing for it but to
I cannot, even now, bring myself to a narration of the
humiliation which I experienced that night as I stood behind
my black master in silent servility, now pouring his wine,
now cutting up his meats for him, now fanning him with a
large, plumed fan of feathers.
As fond as I had grown of him, I could have thrust a knife
into him, so keenly did I feel the affront that had been put
upon me. But at last the long banquet was concluded. The
tables were removed. The emperor ascended a dais at one end
of the room and seated himself upon a throne, and the
entertainment commenced. It was only what ancient history
might have led me to expect--musicians, dancing girls,
jugglers, and the like.
Near midnight, the master of ceremonies announced that the
slave women who had been presented to the emperor since his
arrival in New Gondar would be exhibited, that the royal
host would select such as he wished, after which he would
present the balance of them to his guests. Ah, what royal
A small door at one side of the room opened, and the poor
creatures filed in and were ranged in a long line before the
throne. Their backs were toward me. I saw only an
occasional profile as now and then a bolder spirit among
them turned to survey the apartment and the gorgeous
assemblage of officers in their brilliant dress uniforms.
They were profiles of young girls, and pretty, but horror
was indelibly stamped upon them all. I shuddered as I
contemplated their sad fate, and turned my eyes away.
I heard the master of ceremonies command them to prostrate
themselves before the emperor, and the sounds as they went
upon their knees before him, touching their foreheads to the
floor. Then came the official's voice again, in sharp and
"Down, slave!" he cried. "Make obeisance to your
I looked up, attracted by the tone of the man's voice, to
see a single, straight, slim figure standing erect in the
center of the line of prostrate girls, her arms folded
across her breast and little chin in the air. Her back was
toward me--I could not see her face, though I should like to
see the countenance of this savage young lioness, standing
there defiant among that herd of terrified sheep.
"Down! Down!" shouted the master of ceremonies, taking a
step toward her and half drawing his sword.
My blood boiled. To stand there, inactive, while a negro
struck down that brave girl of my own race! Instinctively I
took a forward step to place myself in the man's path. But
at the same instant Menelek raised his hand in a gesture
that halted the officer. The emperor seemed interested, but
in no way angered at the girl's attitude.
"Let us inquire," he said in a smooth, pleasant voice, "why
this young woman refuses to do homage to her sovereign," and
he put the question himself directly to her.
She answered him in Abyssinian, but brokenly and with an
accent that betrayed how recently she had acquired her
slight knowledge of the tongue.
"I go on my knees to no one," she said. "I have no
sovereign. I myself am sovereign in my own country."
Menelek, at her words, leaned back in his throne and laughed
uproariously. Following his example, which seemed always
the correct procedure, the assembled guests vied with one
another in an effort to laugh more noisily than the emperor.
The girl but tilted her chin a bit higher in the air--even
her back proclaimed her utter contempt for her captors.
Finally Menelek restored quiet by the simple expedient of a
frown, whereupon each loyal guest exchanged his mirthful
mien for an emulative scowl.
"And who," asked Menelek, "are you, and by what name is your
"I am Victory, Queen of Grabritin," replied the girl so
quickly and so unexpectedly that I gasped in astonishment.
Victory! She was here, a slave to these black conquerors.
Once more I started toward her, but better judgment held me
back--I could do nothing to help her other than by stealth.
Could I even accomplish aught by this means? I did not
know. It seemed beyond the pale of possibility, and yet I
"And you will not bend the knee to me?" continued Menelek,
after she had spoken. Victory shook her head in a most
"You shall be my first choice, then," said the emperor. "I
like your spirit, for the breaking of it will add to my
pleasure in you, and never fear but that it shall be broken--
this very night. Take her to my apartments," and he
motioned to an officer at his side
I was surprised to see Victory follow the man off in
apparent quiet submission. I tried to follow, that I might
be near her against some opportunity to speak with her or
assist in her escape. But, after I had followed them from
the throne room, through several other apartments, and down
a long corridor, I found my further progress barred by a
soldier who stood guard before a doorway through which the
officer conducted Victory.
Almost immediately the officer reappeared and started back
in the direction of the throne room. I had been hiding in a
doorway after the guard had turned me back, having taken
refuge there while his back was turned, and, as the officer
approached me, I withdrew into the room beyond, which was in
darkness. There I remained for a long time, watching the
sentry before the door of the room in which Victory was a
prisoner, and awaiting some favorable circumstance which
would give me entry to her.
I have not attempted to fully describe my sensations at the
moment I recognized Victory, because, I can assure you, they
were entirely indescribable. I should never have imagined
that the sight of any human being could affect me as had
this unexpected discovery of Victory in the same room in
which I was, while I had thought of her for weeks either as
dead, or at best hundreds of miles to the west, and as
irretrievably lost to me as though she were, in truth, dead.
I was filled with a strange, mad impulse to be near her. It
was not enough merely to assist her, or protect her--I
desired to touch her--to take her in my arms. I was
astounded at myself. Another thing puzzled me--it was my
incomprehensible feeling of elation since I had again seen
her. With a fate worse than death staring her in the face,
and with the knowledge that I should probably die defending
her within the hour, I was still happier than I had been for
weeks--and all because I had seen again for a few brief
minutes the figure of a little heathen maiden. I couldn't
account for it, and it angered me; I had never before felt
any such sensations in the presence of a woman, and I had
made love to some very beautiful ones in my time.
It seemed ages that I stood in the shadow of that doorway,
in the ill-lit corridor of the palace of Menelek XIV. A
sickly gas jet cast a sad pallor upon the black face of the
sentry. The fellow seemed rooted to the spot. Evidently he
would never leave, or turn his back again.
I had been in hiding but a short time when I heard the sound
of distant cannon. The truce had ended, and the battle had
been resumed. Very shortly thereafter the earth shook to
the explosion of a shell within the city, and from time to
time thereafter other shells burst at no great distance from
the palace. The yellow men were bombarding New Gondar
Presently officers and slaves commenced to traverse the
corridor on matters pertaining to their duties, and then
came the emperor, scowling and wrathful. He was followed by
a few personal attendants, whom he dismissed at the doorway
to his apartments--the same doorway through which Victory
had been taken. I chafed to follow him, but the corridor
was filled with people. At last they betook themselves to
their own apartments, which lay upon either side of the
An officer and a slave entered the very room in which I hid,
forcing me to flatten myself to one side in the darkness
until they had passed. Then the slave made a light, and I
knew that I must find another hiding place.
Stepping boldly into the corridor, I saw that it was now
empty save for the single sentry before the emperor's door.
He glanced up as I emerged from the room, the occupants of
which had not seen me. I walked straight toward the
soldier, my mind made up in an instant. I tried to simulate
an expression of cringing servility, and I must have
succeeded, for I entirely threw the man off his guard, so
that he permitted me to approach within reach of his rifle
before stopping me. Then it was too late--for him.
Without a word or a warning, I snatched the piece from his
grasp, and, at the same time struck him a terrific blow
between the eyes with my clenched fist. He staggered back
in surprise, too dumbfounded even to cry out, and then I
clubbed his rifle and felled him with a single mighty blow.
A moment later, I had burst into the room beyond. It was
I gazed about, mad with disappointment. Two doors opened
from this to other rooms. I ran to the nearer and listened.
Yes, voices were coming from beyond and one was a woman's,
level and cold and filled with scorn. There was no terror
in it. It was Victory's.
I turned the knob and pushed the door inward just in time to
see Menelek seize the girl and drag her toward the far end
of the apartment. At the same instant there was a deafening
roar just outside the palace--a shell had struck much nearer
than any of its predecessors. The noise of it drowned my
rapid rush across the room.
But in her struggles, Victory turned Menelek about so that
he saw me. She was striking him in the face with her
clenched fist, and now he was choking her.
At sight of me, he gave voice to a roar of anger.
"What means this, slave?" he cried. "Out of here! Out of
here! Quick, before I kill you!"
But for answer I rushed upon him, striking him with the butt
of the rifle. He staggered back, dropping Victory to the
floor, and then he cried aloud for the guard, and came at
me. Again and again I struck him; but his thick skull might
have been armor plate, for all the damage I did it.
He tried to close with me, seizing the rifle, but I was
stronger than he, and, wrenching the weapon from his grasp,
tossed it aside and made for his throat with my bare hands.
I had not dared fire the weapon for fear that its report
would bring the larger guard stationed at the farther end of
We struggled about the room, striking one another, knocking
over furniture, and rolling upon the floor. Menelek was a
powerful man, and he was fighting for his life. Continually
he kept calling for the guard, until I succeeded in getting
a grip upon his throat; but it was too late. His cries had
been heard, and suddenly the door burst open, and a score of
armed guardsmen rushed into the apartment.
Victory seized the rifle from the floor and leaped between
me and them. I had the black emperor upon his back, and
both my hands were at his throat, choking the life from him.
The rest happened in the fraction of a second. There was a
rending crash above us, then a deafening explosion within
the chamber. Smoke and powder fumes filled the room. Half
stunned, I rose from the lifeless body of my antagonist just
in time to see Victory stagger to her feet and turn toward
me. Slowly the smoke cleared to reveal the shattered
remnants of the guard. A shell had fallen through the
palace roof and exploded just in the rear of the detachment
of guardsmen who were coming to the rescue of their emperor.
Why neither Victory nor I were struck is a miracle. The
room was a wreck. A great, jagged hole was torn in the
ceiling, and the wall toward the corridor had been blown
As I rose, Victory had risen, too, and started toward me.
But when she saw that I was uninjured she stopped, and stood
there in the center of the demolished apartment looking at
me. Her expression was inscrutable--I could not guess
whether she was glad to see me, or not.
"Victory!" I cried. "Thank God that you are safe!" And I
approached her, a greater gladness in my heart than I had
felt since the moment that I knew the Coldwater must be
swept beyond thirty.
There was no answering gladness in her eyes. Instead, she
stamped her little foot in anger.
"Why did it have to be you who saved me!" she exclaimed. "I
"Hate me?" I asked. "Why should you hate me, Victory? I do
not hate you. I--I--" What was I about to say? I was very
close to her as a great light broke over me. Why had I
never realized it before? The truth accounted for a great
many hitherto inexplicable moods that had claimed me from
time to time since first I had seen Victory.
"Why should I hate you?" she repeated. "Because Snider told
me--he told me that you had promised me to him, but he did
not get me. I killed him, as I should like to kill you!"
"Snider lied!" I cried. And then I seized her and held her
in my arms, and made her listen to me, though she struggled
and fought like a young lioness. "I love you, Victory. You
must know that I love you--that I have always loved you, and
that I never could have made so base a promise."
She ceased her struggles, just a trifle, but still tried to
push me from her. "You called me a barbarian!" she said.
Ah, so that was it! That still rankled. I crushed her to
"You could not love a barbarian," she went on, but she had
ceased to struggle.
"But I do love a barbarian, Victory!" I cried, "the dearest
barbarian in the world."
She raised her eyes to mine, and then her smooth, brown arms
encircled my neck and drew my lips down to hers.
"I love you--I have loved you always!" she said, and then
she buried her face upon my shoulder and sobbed. "I have
been so unhappy," she said, "but I could not die while I
thought that you might live."
As we stood there, momentarily forgetful of all else than
our new found happiness, the ferocity of the bombardment
increased until scarce thirty seconds elapsed between the
shells that rained about the palace.
To remain long would be to invite certain death. We could
not escape the way that we had entered the apartment, for
not only was the corridor now choked with debris, but beyond
the corridor there were doubtless many members of the
emperor's household who would stop us.
Upon the opposite side of the room was another door, and
toward this I led the way. It opened into a third apartment
with windows overlooking an inner court. From one of these
windows I surveyed the courtyard. Apparently it was empty,
and the rooms upon the opposite side were unlighted.
Assisting Victory to the open, I followed, and together we
crossed the court, discovering upon the opposite side a
number of wide, wooden doors set in the wall of the palace,
with small windows between. As we stood close behind one of
the doors, listening, a horse within neighed.
"The stables!" I whispered, and, a moment later, had pushed
back a door and entered. From the city about us we could
hear the din of great commotion, and quite close the sounds
of battle--the crack of thousands of rifles, the yells of
the soldiers, the hoarse commands of officers, and the blare
The bombardment had ceased as suddenly as it had commenced.
I judged that the enemy was storming the city, for the
sounds we heard were the sounds of hand-to-hand combat.
Within the stables I groped about until I had found saddles
and bridles for two horses. But afterward, in the darkness,
I could find but a single mount. The doors of the opposite
side, leading to the street, were open, and we could see
great multitudes of men, women, and children fleeing toward
the west. Soldiers, afoot and mounted, were joining the mad
exodus. Now and then a camel or an elephant would pass
bearing some officer or dignitary to safety. It was evident
that the city would fall at any moment--a fact which was
amply proclaimed by the terror-stricken haste of the fear-
Horse, camel, and elephant trod helpless women and children
beneath their feet. A common soldier dragged a general from
his mount, and, leaping to the animal's back, fled down the
packed street toward the west. A woman seized a gun and
brained a court dignitary, whose horse had trampled her
child to death. Shrieks, curses, commands, supplications
filled the air. It was a frightful scene--one that will be
burned upon my memory forever.
I had saddled and bridled the single horse which had
evidently been overlooked by the royal household in its
flight, and, standing a little back in the shadow of the
stable's interior, Victory and I watched the surging throng
To have entered it would have been to have courted greater
danger than we were already in. We decided to wait until
the stress of blacks thinned, and for more than an hour we
stood there while the sounds of battle raged upon the
eastern side of the city and the population flew toward the
west. More and more numerous became the uniformed soldiers
among the fleeing throng, until, toward the last, the street
was packed with them. It was no orderly retreat, but a
rout, complete and terrible.
The fighting was steadily approaching us now, until the
crack of rifles sounded in the very street upon which we
were looking. And then came a handful of brave men--a
little rear guard backing slowly toward the west, working
their smoking rifles in feverish haste as they fired volley
after volley at the foe we could not see.
But these were pressed back and back until the first line of
the enemy came opposite our shelter. They were men of
medium height, with olive complexions and almond eyes. In
them I recognized the descendants of the ancient Chinese
They were well uniformed and superbly armed, and they fought
bravely and under perfect discipline. So rapt was I in the
exciting events transpiring in the street that I did not
hear the approach of a body of men from behind. It was a
party of the conquerors who had entered the palace and were
They came upon us so unexpectedly that we were prisoners
before we realized what had happened. That night we were
held under a strong guard just outside the eastern wall of
the city, and the next morning were started upon a long
march toward the east.
Our captors were not unkind to us, and treated the women
prisoners with respect. We marched for many days--so many
that I lost count of them--and at last we came to another
city--a Chinese city this time--which stands upon the site
of ancient Moscow.
It is only a small frontier city, but it is well built and
well kept. Here a large military force is maintained, and
here also, is a terminus of the railroad that crosses modern
China to the Pacific.
There was every evidence of a high civilization in all that
we saw within the city, which, in connection with the humane
treatment that had been accorded all prisoners upon the long
and tiresome march, encouraged me to hope that I might
appeal to some high officer here for the treatment which my
rank and birth merited.
We could converse with our captors only through the medium
of interpreters who spoke both Chinese and Abyssinian. But
there were many of these, and shortly after we reached the
city I persuaded one of them to carry a verbal message to
the officer who had commanded the troops during the return
from New Gondar, asking that I might be given a hearing by
some high official.
The reply to my request was a summons to appear before the
officer to whom I had addressed my appeal. A sergeant came
for me along with the interpreter, and I managed to obtain
his permission to let Victory accompany me--I had never left
her alone with the prisoners since we had been captured.
To my delight I found that the officer into whose presence
we were conducted spoke Abyssinian fluently. He was
astounded when I told him that I was a Pan-American. Unlike
all others whom I had spoken with since my arrival in
Europe, he was well acquainted with ancient history--was
familiar with twentieth century conditions in Pan-America,
and after putting a half dozen questions to me was satisfied
that I spoke the truth.
When I told him that Victory was Queen of England he showed
little surprise, telling me that in their recent
explorations in ancient Russia they had found many
descendants of the old nobility and royalty.
He immediately set aside a comfortable house for us,
furnished us with servants and with money, and in other ways
showed us every attention and kindness.
He told me that he would telegraph his emperor at once, and
the result was that we were presently commanded to repair to
Peking and present ourselves before the ruler.
We made the journey in a comfortable railway carriage,
through a country which, as we traveled farther toward the
east, showed increasing evidence of prosperity and wealth.
At the imperial court we were received with great kindness,
the emperor being most inquisitive about the state of modern
Pan-America. He told me that while he personally deplored
the existence of the strict regulations which had raised a
barrier between the east and the west, he had felt, as had
his predecessors, that recognition of the wishes of the
great Pan-American federation would be most conducive to the
continued peace of the world.
His empire includes all of Asia, and the islands of the
Pacific as far east as 175dW. The empire of Japan no longer
exists, having been conquered and absorbed by China over a
hundred years ago. The Philippines are well administered,
and constitute one of the most progressive colonies of the
The emperor told me that the building of this great empire
and the spreading of enlightenment among its diversified and
savage peoples had required all the best efforts of nearly
two hundred years. Upon his accession to the throne he had
found the labor well nigh perfected and had turned his
attention to the reclamation of Europe.
His ambition is to wrest it from the hands of the blacks,
and then to attempt the work of elevating its fallen peoples
to the high estate from which the Great War precipitated
I asked him who was victorious in that war, and he shook his
head sadly as he replied:
"Pan-America, perhaps, and China, with the blacks of
Abyssinia," he said. "Those who did not fight were the only
ones to reap any of the rewards that are supposed to belong
to victory. The combatants reaped naught but annihilation.
You have seen--better than any man you must realize that
there was no victory for any nation embroiled in that
"When did it end?" I asked him.
Again he shook his head. "It has not ended yet. There has
never been a formal peace declared in Europe. After a while
there were none left to make peace, and the rude tribes
which sprang from the survivors continued to fight among
themselves because they knew no better condition of society.
War razed the works of man--war and pestilence razed man.
God give that there shall never be such another war!"
You all know how Porfirio Johnson returned to Pan-America
with John Alvarez in chains; how Alvarez's trial raised a
popular demonstration that the government could not ignore.
His eloquent appeal--not for himself, but for me--is
historic, as are its results. You know how a fleet was sent
across the Atlantic to search for me, how the restrictions
against crossing thirty to one hundred seventy-five were
removed forever, and how the officers were brought to
Peking, arriving upon the very day that Victory and I were
married at the imperial court.
My return to Pan-America was very different from anything I
could possibly have imagined a year before. Instead of
being received as a traitor to my country, I was acclaimed a
hero. It was good to get back again, good to witness the
kindly treatment that was accorded my dear Victory, and when
I learned that Delcarte and Taylor had been found at the
mouth of the Rhine and were already back in Pan-America my
joy was unalloyed.
And now we are going back, Victory and I, with the men and
the munitions and power to reclaim England for her queen.
Again I shall cross thirty, but under what altered
A new epoch for Europe is inaugurated, with enlightened
China on the east and enlightened Pan-America on the west--
the two great peace powers whom God has preserved to
regenerate chastened and forgiven Europe. I have been
through much--I have suffered much, but I have won two great
laurel wreaths beyond thirty. One is the opportunity to
rescue Europe from barbarism, the other is a little
barbarian, and the greater of these is--Victory.
Back to Full Books