A Link to the Past can be found in




ISFDB.org Magazine Entry



Amazing Stories

September, 1927


EXPLORERS from, various parts of the world have a habit of startling us with their tales of almost unbelievable things which they find in their wanderings over our planet. Is it possible some prehistoric beasts may still be roaming somewhere on this planet, where conditions are just right? Science hesitates to answer this, because you can never know. It is not at all impossible-that is, if conditions are just right. Most of the prehistoric animals probably roamed on earth when it was very much hotter than it is today, when there were dense water vapors still lying in thick fogs over the earth. If such conditions were duplicated anywhere, it is possible that there might be a survival from the past. Our new author has used this rather interesting plot, and we know you will find his story of much interest.


A LINK to the PAST

by Charles G. Blandford

I AM seldom interested in moving picture shows, but this particular film had promised to be of interest, for as Assistant Curator of the State Museum of Natural History, I had helped assemble into substantial replicas, scattered remnants of just such creatures as were moving lifelike before me on the screen.

For a time I was completely lost in the picture, marvelling at the manner in which the eye could be deceived by the camera. It seemed incredible that the weight of the largest of these pseudo-beasts wallowing in the mud scarcely exceeded five pounds, when the smallest of the live Dinosaurs doubtless weighed as many tons.

I was rudely aroused from my revery by a violent nudge from the man occupying the seat next to me. I remembered that this fellow had addressed a remark to me as I entered the theatre and seeing that he was a stranger I had not responded. He had then followed me down the aisle, passing many empty seats and had taken the seat next to me.

"Can you imagine," he said, leaning over and whispering in my ear, "that a man could be bitten by one of those things and live to tell of it?"

"I am sure that I cannot," I answered in a tone that should have discouraged further conversation, but the man was persistent.

"I was bitten by one," was his startling assertion, "and stand ready to prove it."

I have been told that the sort of liquor one usually gets these days might produce a phantasmagoria that would conjure Dinosaurs and any number of other impossible things, but certainly not the evidence of the bile of one. As this man hadn't the tell-tale odor of liquor on his breath, I decided that he must be crazy, and, having a particular aversion for crazy people, I quit the show before it was ended. My seat-mate, however, was not to be disposed of so easily. While standing at the curb, waiting for a car that would take me back to the Museum; he appeared, carrying a cheap-looking case of the telescope variety. This, he plunked to the walk and to my annoyance, again addressed me.

"Well, Professor Jameson," he said, "guess you didn't recognize me in there?"

He appeared normal enough here under the bright lights; his clothing was clean and the quizzical smile in his wide blue eyes was disarming. And there was something vaguely familiar in his seamed, weather-beaten face. Still, though he knew my name, I was sure that he was a total stranger. I had read that it is always better to humor the mentally unsound.

"Not entirely," I responded, evasively, "you will excuse me, please, for I see my car approaching."

"I am Ronald Jarvis," he said picking up his telescope and following me to the car track, "do you forget that it was I who went with Professor Schlecting on an exploring expedition for the Museum twenty years ago?"

And it was indeed Jarvis, the right-hand man of the former Curator-in-Chief of the museum, who had gone into northern Quebec twenty years before, in search of a tribe of white Indians who were said to exist somewhere in that great country and whose Manitou or God was the fabled "Feu Perpetuel," or everlasting fire, reports of which persisted at that time. The entire party was supposed to have perished, for till this minute no tidings had been received of the expedition. My car was standing before me and the Conductor was impatiently demanding that I get on or get off, as I had a foot on the lower step. I grabbed the case from the hand of Jarvis and jumped to the platform and he, to regain the case, was forced to follow me. The car started with a jerk.

"I can't see why you did that, Prof. Jameson," protested Jarvis, indignantly, "I must find a lodging house for the night."

"You may lodge with me," I replied. "Professor Münster is still at the Museum and will want to hear from you at the earliest possible moment."

"But I am not due to report till tomorrow. I wrote him from Cochrane that I would be here on the Twelfth."

"He knows then that you are coming? I was hoping to spring a pleasant surprise on him. Here we are," I said, as the car slowed at the Museum crossing, and still holding the telescope, I hopped off, followed by Jarvis. Jarvis balked again at the entrance to.the museum.

"I am dog-tired, Prof. Jameson," he said. "I have been on the move almost continually for three months. Let us postpone this till tomorrow." But I would not listen to such a thing. I knew that the Chief must have received the letter from Jarvis in the last mail, just after I had left the museum, and that he would be on tenter-hooks till he got at least a preliminary report about the last expedition.

Prof. Münster sat at his desk. Before him was stretched a great map of Canada, which he had evidently been studying in anticipation of the visit from Jarvis.

"Jarvis!" he exclaimed, when he saw us, "God bless my soul, but I'm glad you came this evening, otherwise I am sure I would not have slept a wink all night."

As I explained the circumstance that had put me in touch with our former attache, Jarvis sank wearily into a chair across the desk from the Curator, who surveyed him keenly through the thick lenses of his glasses.

"The past twenty years have done well by you, Jarvis;" he remarked, "when you left, you were thin, now you are robust. Though you did not mention the fact in your letter, I assume that Prof. Schlecting was unable to survive the rigors of a winter in the far north?"

A pained expression stole across the features of our visitor. "It was not the cold, Prof. Münster, it was something more horrible that overtook our poor friend. Do you insist on a report tonight?" "A preliminary one, at least, my dear Jarvis," replied the Curator, eagerly, "you might tell us how our dear friend met his fate and why you have permitted twenty years to elapse before communicating with us."

Jarvis settled himself resignedly in the chair. "To do that," he said, "It will be necessary for me to give you an outline of the entire trip."

"Very good," said the Chief. He passed a pad and pencil to me with the admonition that I take notes and be most accurate. "They will be considered at the Director's meeting to be held here at the museum tomorrow night," he explained.

"I think," said Jarvis, "that the last you heard from us was through a letter sent you from Cochrane by Prof. Schlecting on the eve of our departure."

"Correct," agreed the Chief, "I have the letter here before me; in it is mentioned that you were obliged to abandon many scientific instruments at Cochrane, that you had hoped to take along. Prof. Schlecting had foresight enough to address the cases to the museum, which were to be returned by the Express Office at the end of October, when you were expecting to return."

"At Cochrane," said Jarvis, "we were lucky enough to get in touch with a very capable guide; he was a Norwegian half-breed and it was he who discouraged the attempt to get the heavy instruments through to the north country. When we started for our first objective, which was a point on the Moose River, eighty miles from Moose Factory, we had merely a 'small transit, a thermometer, a barometer, our cameras, firearms and necessary camp duffle, which included a tent of balloon silk. The first leg of our trip was made on horseback. Ninety miles on horseback, over rough country, for men unaccustomed to riding horses proved a most harrowing experience. We made it in five days, arriving at the Moose River, where we engaged Indians to paddle us in their canoes down to Moose Factory, at the head of James Bay, where there is a Hudson Bay Trading Station. Here the Factor, on learning the object of our expedition, endeavored to dissuade us from proceeding; he said that it would be extremely dangerous, as the country north of Lake Minto was practically unexplored and that the Indians there were hostile and that reports had repeatedly been made at Moose Factory, that many had lost their lives in attempting to penetrate the country north of Lake Minto. He also said that without the cooperation of the natives it would mean death to attempt to winter there.

"Lomen laughed at this statement. 'I have no fear of the freeze,' he said, 'I have lived out many winters and do not need Indians to show me how to hole-up.'

"When the Factor found he could not persuade us to give up the trip, he did all in his power to speed us on our way. We obtained some trustworthy Swampy Cree Indians, who had large, seaworthy canoes, and started up James Bay. I will not give you the details of the long voyage on James Bay and later along the coast of Hudson's Bay to Christie Island, where we left the water for Lake Minto. Here, inside of Christie Island where there was another Indian village, we got a fresh relay of Indians to paddle us up through the chain of lakes to Lake Minto. These fellows were very reluctant to go to Minto. Lomen, who spoke their dialect, found on questioning them that they were in fear of white men, dressed in skins, who ruled that district and who killed all interlopers. This was the first authentic report that we had received of the existence of this tribe of White Indians. We arrived at Lake Minto on the Seventy-fifth day of our journey. The Swampies, as they were, termed up there, wanted to return to the coast at once, but Lomen would not have it so and told Prof. Schlecting to withhold their pay till we had arrived at our destination. The guide shot a deer which was skinned, cut into strips and dried into pemmican over an oak wood fire. Fish were caught in the lake and smoked, and by the end of the second day at the lake we were well provided with food for the trip into the wilderness. The fact that we had seen none of the 'white men dressed in skins' during our stay at the lake seemed to reassure the Swampy Crees, and Lomen, by offering each of them as a reward for their services, a cheap, long-barreled revolver and some ammunition, which we had brought along for just such an emergency, persuaded them to continue the trip with us.

"The morning of the third day, as we were preparing to depart, a man suddenly appeared at the edge of the grove of trees in which we were encamped. He was tall and, though sun-browned, he was unmistakably a white man. His appearance was a signal for the Swampies to take to their canoes. That they were thoroughly frightened, there was little doubt, for they remained only long enough to snatch up their bows, which lay on the bank near shore. Lomen called repeatedly for them to return, but this only caused them to paddle more quickly. The White. Indian, for such he was, stood for a moment gazing disdainfully at our retreating help, then turned towards Lomen, who, he thought, was leader of our party. He addressed the guide, speaking low and musically, accompanying his speech with gestures so eloquent that even Prof. Schlecting and myself understood that he was warning us against proceeding further north. The language he used seemed to be comprised of vowel sounds, interspersed with an occasional word, so tense and labial, that it seemed as if there were two separate languages being spoken. Now and again Lomen would nod and smile. When the man had finished, Lomen answered him in the Norwegian tongue, which, strange to say, he seemed to understand and answered in monosyllables.

"'That is a funny one' said Lomen, 'here's a man born and bred in this north country who can speak some Norwegian, though he has never before spoken to a white man, other than to members of his own tribe; he demands that we turn back and absolutely forbids us to push further north.'

"'Objection overruled,' replied Prof. Schlecting, promptly, 'what is the penalty if we disobey the order?'

"'He says that no man has ever ventured north of here and returned.'

"'Tell him that is not going to deter us; we are headed north.'

"Just like Schlecting," remarked Prof. Münster; "he was as courageous as the very devil."

"His decision cost him his life," said Jarvis, "Lomen also was a brave man, yet I could see he was apologetic as he explained to this dignified aborigine, mostly with signs, that we were going through. The Indian did not argue; he merely drew a long arrow from his skin quiver, fitted it to his immense bow and shot it head deep in a tree that stood thirty feet to the eastward of where he was standing. The shaft of the arrow evidently indicated a line barrier beyond which we were forbid to go. This arrow was peculiar in that instead of the usual stabilizing feathers that are fitted to arrows, it had a shield-shaped piece of skin hanging pendant by a sinew or thong from the notched end. Lomen, who was carrying his rifle, elevated the barrel and with quick aim, shot away this bit of skin from the arrow. It was a neat piece of marksmanship and though the Indian must have been ignorant of fire-arms, he showed wonderful imperturbability, for he did not even start at the loud explosion. He raised his left hand, with palm in, and stalked majestically away.

"'Well, that's that,' said Prof. Schlecting, laughing heartily at what he considered a lot of mummery; 'it was a good shot, Lomen, and will cause our white brethren to think twice before they attempt to molest us.'

"Because the Swampies had deserted, we were obliged to leave the transit and our cameras behind, the latter being useless as all the films had been ruined during a storm in which we were caught coming up Hudson's Bay. We cached them in a watertight bag, under a heap of stones arid though they were completely ruined, they served a valuable purpose when I got down to Minto this summer."

"Well," continued Jarvis, "the Indian had scarcely disappeared from view when we started for the north, toward a lofty range of mountains we could see in the distance. We made the foothills of these mountains by night-fall and encamped in a copse of pines. The following morning, our guide, who was up with the sun, awakened us to show us an arrow, similar to the one the Indian had warned us with the day before, sticking in a tree directly over the place where we had been sleeping.

"'That fellow is on our trail,' said Lomen, 'don't you think it would be wise for us to heed the warning? I am convinced that as soon as he comes in contact with his party, we will be attacked.'

"'Child's play,' answered Prof. Schlecting, 'it might answer as a warning to the Crees, but according to my information, savages are not given to warnings; if that fellow had been disposed so, he could have killed all three of us as we slept. I do not think that is their intention. While they evidently do not want us to proceed, they mean no harm to us. For five nights thereafter we found an arrow, either imbedded in a nearby tree or sticking in the ground where we slept. On the sixth night, we were awakened by the loud report of a gun. We found Lomen standing beside us with a smoking shot gun in his hand.

"'I couldn't see him,' he explained, 'but I fired at the twang of his bow string.'

"A very senseless thing to do," reprimanded the Professor, "the man has done us no harm; if you happened to reach him with some of those bird shot, we have made a mortal enemy.'

"Thereafter, we stood guard in three relays during the night, but we found no more arrows, nor did we again see a sign of the man who we knew was watching our every move.

"Soon we entered a valley, the bottom of which was a vast muskeg swamp. Here the mosquitoes attacked us fiercely. To make matters worse, our supply of repellent was exhausted. We donned our head-nets and pushed on, but the little pests made life miserable for us. Finally, Prof. Schlecting found an aromatic herb that he knew was obnoxious to biting insects. This he made into a paste with some of the smoked fish and it proved an excellent repellent. Each day the going proved more difficult, the swamp became contiguous with the shore and we were forced to take to the mountainside in order to proceed. On the 29th of June, which was the eighty-fourth day from Cochrane, the swamp suddenly opened into a lake. Lomen suggested that we build a raft and proceed by water, but this plan was not considered feasible, owing to the lack of time. The heat in this valley was terrific. We came through many thunder storms, which should have clarified the air, but each day the sultriness increased. Prof. Schlecting had kept an accurate reading of the thermometer since the beginning of the trip. Till now, the mean temperature had been 68°F in two daily readings, taken at eight in the morning and four in the afternoon. This had increased gradually, till now it was 86°F!

"'I am unable to explain this excessive heat,' declared Prof. Schlecting one day, as he paused to mop his streaming forehead, 'night and day seems the same and even the springs run warm water.' He sat down on a projection of rock and arose with an exclamation, 'I've got it,' he said, 'that rock is hot, this valley is superheated by internal heat, we are in a volcanic district.'

"This was evidently so and the valley we were traversing had been formed when some great seismic disturbance had cleft the mountain in twain, which was evidenced by the perpendicular cleavage of the two ranges.

"On the night of the third day of our journey along the canyon lake, we made camp on a rocky ledge that jutted abruptly in our path and completely shut off a view of the lake ahead. Lomen was preparing our meager supper, while I was endeavoring to make the little tent stand on the ledge of rocks. Prof. Schlecting, who was continually making observations of some sort, had disappeared. I heard his voice calling me and was at first unable to locate the direction of the sound.

"'Come along by the water's edge,' he called, 'I am around the cliff.'

"I did as directed and by walking in the water to the depth of my knees, was enabled to scramble around the rocky projection. I saw the form of Prof. Schlecting silhouetted against a lurid bank of fire. Vapor was arising from the lake ahead in a great streaming cloud, which terminated in a billowy mass as it came in contact with the cooler, upper reaches of the air and became more condensed. The most magnificent sight I have ever witnessed, a veritable mushroom of fire.

"'It is lighted by the Feu Perpetuel,' exclaimed Prof. Schlecting, enthusiastically, 'we have reached our goal!'

"Though we heard Lomen call us repeatedly, we remained there for a full hour feasting our eyes on this gorgeous Birth of Clouds. The actual fire that was causing the illumination, we could not see, but we estimated that it must be less than five miles distant. We awakened the following morning at daybreak. The towering mushroom of clouds still floated above the surrounding mountains, but its apex, touched by the rising sun, while no less gorgeous, had lost its ruddy tint. The canyon twisted tortuously below and not till we were within a mile of our destination did we behold the great fire. It was awe-inspiring. Imagine, if you can, Niagara Falls, turned to fire and inverted. From a fissure in the sheer mountain-side at least half a mile long there rippled a cataract of ignited gas, that licked steadily up along the perpendicular cliff to a height of a thousand feet. From where we stood we imagined that we could feel the radiation of this tremendous heat and likely could, though it would have been difficult to determine, considering that the very ground on which we trod was heated and the thermometer stood at 91°F. at eight o'clock. Prof. Schlecting had hung the thermometer on a branch of a small tree that grew near the water's edge; as he removed it, I saw him take out his hand glass and examine the tree.

"'Gad, Jarvis!' he exclaimed, 'will wonders never cease? Have you noticed these trees that are growing here?'

"I could see nothing strange about a copse of tamaracks, and said so. We had come through many miles of tamaracks.

"'Tamaracks, fiddlesticks,' he said witheringly, 'have you ever seen tamaracks with green stalks? Have you ever seen tamaracks with stalks two inches through that you could do this with?'

"He crooked his forefinger around one of the trees and brought it crashing to the ground. 'Those are ferns, my boy. This is another Carboniferous Era, on a small scale. Without our cameras, won't they brand our report as a fine tissue of lies when we return to civilization?'"

"Poor Schlecting," interjected Prof. Münster, sympathetically, "what a shame that he could not have lived to make the report."

"As we proceeded," continued Jarvis "the tropical heat increased and the size of the fern trees grew proportionately. The lake hank had leveled and we were traversing a fern forest of considerable magnitude. Some of these trees had grown to a height of fifty feet, which seemed to be the limit of their growth, for they would then collapse by their own weight. We witnessed this phenomenon a number of times, when we happened to brush violently against some of the larger ferns. Their growth must have been very rapid, for underfoot there was a great clutter of stalks in various stages of decay, in which we at times sank thigh-deep—an oozy, black morass. This must have been a zone of perpetual calm, for the slightest wind would have razed the entire forest. Strange as it may seem, the mosquitoes had entirely disappeared, nor was there any bird life. Luckily, before we left camp that morning, we filled our water flasks, for, on taking the temperature of the lake that afternoon we found it stood at 104°F. We had emerged from the fern forest and came to a meadow of considerable extent. This meadow was covered with a growth of mossy grass, luxuriant and heavy. It must have been peculiar to that section, for I have never seen anything resembling it. While the blades were soft and fine and grew to a height of at least three feet, the underbody was so rigid that one could lie at full length upon it, with the sensation of resting on air. Like the ferns, it must have had an exceedingly quick growth. In places we could see where it had lately been cut away, possibly by the Indians, with rude instruments and already the new growth had started thickly.

"Along the shore, deep indentations had been made in the mud; these, Lomen said, had been made by the boats of the Indians, who had come to harvest such grass as they needed for their purposes. While our guide was usually correct in interpreting signs in the wilderness, he was all wrong in attributing these marks in the lake bank to boats shoved on shore. From the edge of this clearing, if it may so be termed, we got our first close view of the Feu Perpetuel. To Prof. Schlecting and myself, it was merely awe-inspiring, but to Lomen, it was more. He was terrorized by the majesty of it.

"'I hope, Sir,' he said to Prof. Schlecting, 'now that you have found what you were in search of, that you will be satisfied to leave this place at once.'

"'I hope you are not frightened by that beautiful sheet of flame; it is something that you may relate to your children and grand-children. A veritable fairy-tale; it is magnificent!'

"'Yes, Prof. Schlecting, if I live to get back. I never before believed the old Norwegian folk tales of my father, of the "ünderjordiske," (subterranean beings) but now I am willing to believe anything.'

"Owing to the dense fog which hung like a pall over the lake, we could not see the opposite shore, but the echo of our voices indicated that it was less than a thousand feet distant. Save for the deep roar of the great flame above, the silence of this valley was oppressive. We would have welcomed a demonstration by the natives, who, we knew, must be somewhere near at hand, yet we had seen no signs of them. In fact, the only evidence of life in the surroundings was a sluggishly creeping reptile about a foot long, which resembled a water-newt, making for the water along the edge of the fern growth. This was discovered by the watchful eye of our guide, who would have killed the beast, had he not been deterred by the Professor.

"'Do not kill wantonly, my dear Lomen,' he said, 'the creature is harmless and besides, the sound of your rifle might bring the Indians down upon us.' "To the north we could see that the lake terminated in a circular bowl, the hollow of which was totally devoid of vegetation.

"'We are in the crater of an extinct volcano,' pronounced Prof. Schlecting. 'The absence of vegetation on the heights to the south would indicate that the soil is permeated with some active salt that has discouraged its growth. Let us investigate.'

"Throughout the journey, Prof. Schlecting had repeatedly demonstrated that he was possessed of greater stamina than either Lomen or myself. Older by twenty years than either of us, he had goaded us on when we would otherwise have dropped from fatigue. Now he led the way around the meadow and up the steep side of the crater. Our feet sank ankle-deep in the loose, powdery soil and for each yard we gained, we would slip back two feet; but at length we came to a well-defined path which led from the great fire, towards a rocky plateau to the west. Across this plateau and under the base of the mountain, extensive caverns could be seen. Lomen declared that he had seen people observing us from the entrance of one of these caverns, but neither Prof. Schlecting nor I could distinguish any signs of life in that direction.

"'I believe,' said the Professor, 'that these people do not intend to molest us, but are wondering why we are here and what we will do.'

"'Let us do something at once,' begged Lomen, who was rather fleshy, 'this heat will make a greasespot of me.'

"Professor Schlecting had forgotten the tests he had intended making of the loose ash of the craterside and we were proceeding on the path in the direction of the Feu Perpetuel, the blistering heat of which was intensifying rapidly. Lomen who seemed unable to further withstand the radiation turned about for relief. He uttered an exclamation.

"'They are waving a warning!' he cried. We looked and saw a dozen or more men running down the plateau, from the direction of the caverns. Their arms were waving, rhythmically. 'They are friendly,' interpreted Lomen, 'they say for us to get under cover and are motioning to the left.'

"To the left of where we stood was a large boulder; we ran to it and crouched under its .protection. It was indeed a relief to be out of the direct heat, though where we stood the thermometer registered 120°F. Here we discovered a dozen shields fashioned of skin, drawn taut over light wood frames. There was a loop attached to each shield, by which it could be hung from the shoulders.

"'These are wrhat the Indians use so that they may approach the fire more closely,' said Professor Schlecting, adjusting a shield to his body.

"'Why go any closer?' asked Lomen, 'are we not half-cooked already?'

"'This path may lead us out of the canyon,' suggested the Professor. 'I can think of nothing worse than returning over the route we came.'

"Lomen accepted this possibility at once; we each adjusted a shield and were once more on our path towards the great fire. The skin shields proved wonderful insulators and we proceeded without further discomfort. The path led down around the crater bowl, then up again to a cave that we could see in the cliff ahead, under a shelf of rock that extended perhaps two or three hundred feet from the breast of the mountain. This cave was about fifty feet long and half as deep and proved unaccountably cool, considering its proximity to the fire. This was explained when it was discovered that the entire cave was lined with asbestos rock and strange as it may seem, there was a spring of cool water issuing from n. fissure in the wall of the cave. A rude altar had been erected in the center of the floor, which indicated that some sort of rites were performed here by the tribe. Possibly they were indeed fire worshippers and here was where they came for their worship. We examined a cradle-like contrivance that stood in the north end of the cave and discovered that a section of the wall had been carved through and that this chunk could be removed by the aid of the cradle. This aperture was a yard long and half as wide and it was through this that the Indians, when necessary, could replenish their cave fire, though we did not guess this at the time.

"Lomen was the first to prepare to leave; he adjusted his shield and laid aside his rifle, which was ever in his hand.

"'Why so anxious to go?' inquired Prof. Schlecting, 'this is the most comfortable spot we have found in weeks; we might remain here for the night.'

"'Suits me,' replied the guide, 'I merely want to find if there really is a path over the top of this cavern that will lead us out of here.'

"The Professor tried to dissuade him from attempting such a thing, but Lomen laughed. 'If I find it too warm I will return,' he replied. These were the last words the poor fellow uttered. He sprang up to the slight declivity that led above. We saw him falter, as if stricken by a rifle bullet, then he slumped inertly and instantly his clothing was afire. It was a horrible fate. Professor Schlecting would have gone to his assistance, but I held his arm. 'It would be useless,' I said, 'he is beyond help.' It was evident that the entire plateau in front of the blazing cliffs oozed gas, which was burning incandescently. And Lomen had inhaled flame.

"We had no mind now to remain in the cave overnight. Silently we donned our shields in reverse and carrying the guide's rifle and pack, together with our own duffle, we struck off on the return path. We had gone but a dozen steps, when a muffled fusillade of shots sounded behind us; we knew that we were hearing the explosions of the ammunition in Lomen's revolver, and I was reminded of obsequies I had witnessed that Spring, over the grave of a Civil War Veteran. It was depressing, this returning over the path without our guide and neither of us spoke till we reached the shelter of the big boulder, where we could lay aside our shields. From this place we could see the green meadow beckoning to us from below, and we were weary from travel and overcome by the depression caused by the heat and Lomen's awful death.

"'Now that we are here,' said Prof. Schlecting, 'I have no idea of leaving till we find out more about our friends over there on the plateau. However, I think after a good night's rest, we will be in better shape to cope with any difficulties that may arise when we attempt to make their acquaintance.'

"We returned to the lake shore and the stifling humidity was a decided relief from the direct heat we had experienced above. For supper, we ate a small quantity of our remaining pemmican and washed it down with crystal-clear water we had obtained from the fire-cavern.

"The balloon tent, spread over the soft grass of the meadow, made a most comfortable refuge and owing to the total absence of , mosquitoes, we were enabled to remove our woolen shirts. When the sun at last sank behind the mountain, the wonderful mushroom of clouds, red-tinted by the great flame, towered majestically above us. For a while, we were silent in our thoughts. I glanced at Prof. Schlecting; his chin was on his breast and I thought he was asleep. But he wasn't.

"'Jarvis,' he said, suddenly sitting erect, 'Lomen was a fine fellow; we must find out about his family. I am sure the Museum will do something for them.' I replied that I thought they might, as he had lost his life in the service of the Museum. 'If they do not,' he continued, 'I have a small private fortune and no dependents. If anything happens to me before we return, please see to it that Lomen's family is benefitted to the entire extent of my estate.' I promised, though at the time I had no idea that I would be obliged to carry out his wishes in this respect. With the setting of the sun, there suddenly appeared out of mists of the lake a great swarm of bats. There seemed to be millions of them, squeaking and whirling about.

"'That accounts for the absence of mosquitoes, I remarked, 'but I can't imagine what they find tc subsist on.'

"Professor Schlecting indicated the edge of the lake, which shimmered with the evidence of a myriad of some small life under the surface. Here the bats seemed to hover, much the same as kingfishers do when in quest of fish; they would dart into the water and emerge with something in their mouths. Their prey seemed to be in size out of proportion to the size of the animal. I succeeded in knocking one o the creatures out of the air with the barrel of th shot gun and it fell at the feet of Prof. Schlecting As he picked it up, I noticed it was different from any other bat that I had ever seen. The wings were long and slim and it had an elongated jaw.

"'If my eyes do not deceive me,' said the Professor, 'that creature is a pero-pero...' He called it a pero, something or other," explained Jarvis.

"A Pterodactyl?" suggested Prof. Münster.

"That was it," replied Jarvis, "Pterodactyl."

"Schlecting would know," mused Prof. Münster, "yet the thing seems improbable. Did Prof. Schlecting mention rhizopods or trilobites as the creature? upon which the pterodactyls were preying?"

"I do not recollect that he mentioned anythin' regarding them," replied Jarvis, "he probably would not, owing to the fact that he knew my scientific knowledge was meager. Shortly after that," continued Jarvis, "we dropped off to sleep. How long I slept I do not know. I was awakened suddenly by a violent pain in my right leg, accompanied by the sensation of having the leg pulled from the socket. Prompted more by a sense of self-preservation than by a realization of danger, I drew back violently and succeeded in releasing my leg, but with the sacrifice of my trouser's leg, my shoepac and considerable epidermis. Now' I was entirely awake. I opened my eyes to see a great bulky body looming over me, at a distance of several yards. Attached to this bulk was a waving, snaky neck, the head of which was a horrible warty-looking object, whose small red eyes were balefully observing me. As I recoiled from this menacing monster, my hand came in contact with my high-powered rifle. I released the safety of the rifle and without taking time to raise it, quickly pumped the entire contents of the magazine into the great creature. It hissed loudly and an overpowering odor as of musk pervaded the air. I saw it turn on its short legs and waddle seal-like towards the water. I must have lost consciousness then. When I opened my eyes again, the rising sun was shining through the mists of the lake. At first, in spite of the pain in my leg, I thought I had been the victim of a phantasmagoria, but seeing that Prof. Schlecting was no longer at my side and glancing at my terribly mutilated leg, I realized that the experience had indeed been real."

At this point in his narrative, Jarvis drew the trouser of his right leg up as far as his knee and displayed the mutilation that had been caused by the creature's serrated teeth.

"Megalosaurus?" I ventured, looking at Prof. Miinster.

"Very good, Jameson," he commended, "but I should rather say it was an Allosaurus. The Megalosaurus, also, a carnivorous Dinosaur, as you likely remember, had its habitat in Europe, as far as we have been able to ascertain. It was distinctive from the North American Allosaurus, in that, like the Stegosaurus, its big cousin, it had an external fin-like bony ridge running from head to tail. A fossilized Megalosaurus had not as yet been discovered in North America. Let me ask you a question, Jarvis," continued Prof. Münster, "had Prof. Schlecting disappeared at the time you were attacked?"

"I am quite certain that he had," answered Jarvis, "I remember having made an outcry, when I felt my leg being held. If the Professor had heard it, he would have tried to give me assistance."

"You saw no trace of him when you regained consciousness?"

"None whatever, the thing had probably disposed of the Professor, before he attacked me."

The reply was so matter-of-fact, that Prof. Münster glanced up quickly and regarded Jarvis keenly through the thick lenses of his glasses. He was a man who weighed things well before deciding. I could see that now he was weighing the story in his mind. The story was so fantastic that any man of science would hesitate to give it credence. True or false, it was interesting and certainly should be heard to the end. "No, Jarvis," said Prof. Münster, deciding negatively on the theory advanced. "As huge as the Allosaurus was, owing to its inadequate neck it could not have bolted so large an object as the body of a man. I am of the opinion that the mate to the creature that attacked you had also ranged up the lake bank in search of prey. This was the one that discovered the sleeping form of our colleague, who was likely killed by one crunch of its powerful jaws. It then carried its victim to the lake where it rended the flesh in sections that were favorable for its gustatory process. Continue, Jarvis, please."

"I was weak from the loss of blood, and ill," continued Jarvis. "When I finally regained my feet, I found that my stiffened leg would scarcely bear my weight. I wondered if I could expect aid from the Indians. It was better, I decided, to throw myself on their mercy than to remain there to be devoured by the water-beasts. Out on the lake, somewhere in the heavy mist, I could hear a violent splashing and wondered if it was caused by the agonized struggles of the creature I had wounded and wavelets breaking along shore gave evidence of the commotion. Fear spurred me on as I climbed the side of the crater and went hobbling across the path in the direction of the plateau. As I gained the plateau, Indians came down to meet me. They carried their long bows but did not unsling them from their shoulders. The Indian who had met us at Lake Minto, was in advance; he was a Chief and was named Jovo. He raised three fingers of his right hand, pointed towards the great fire, then he raised one finger. I knew that he was asking if one of my companions had lost his life in that manner. I nodded. Then he raised two fingers, pointed toward the lake and made a sweeping gesture with his hands to indicate the size of the great beasts of the water and then, one finger. I nodded again. Again he described with a motion of his hands, the size of the beasts and pointed at my injured leg. I again nodded and tapped my rifle. He said 'Jorman' and addressed a few words to his companions. It was evident that they were ignorant of the use of fire-arms for they looked curiously at my rifle, as if wondering how so tiny an object could repel so mighty a beast."

"Wait," commanded Prof. Münster, who was a philologist of note, "did you say that the Indians designated the Allosaurus as a Jorman?"

"Yes," replied Jarvis, "that was their name for it. Often later I heard them speak of them as Jormen."

"That's most interesting," remarked our Curator, "the name would seem to have been derived from Sjoorman, a mythical serpent of the lore of ancient Norway. I am convinced that these white Indians are descendants of survivors of some Norwegian vessel that had been wrecked, many years ago, on the shores of northern Ungava. They likely fell in with an Indian tribe, or possibly some Eskimos, with whom they intermarried, and the white strain, persisting throughout the ages finally obliterated the aboriginal strain. They likely became nomads and in their wanderings, happened on this canyon, and recognizing its advantages for easy living, remained there, segregated from other tribes. Thus we can account for the admixture of Norwegian words in their language. Excuse the interruption, Jarvis, and pray proceed."

"There is little more necessary to be told at this time," said Jarvis wearily. "I have been traveling months to get here and have had little rest. I wrote from Cochrane the day I arrived and the day following I left for the States."

"But tell us my dear Jarvis," said Prof. Münster, persuasively, "how have you passed the time that has intervened and how does it happen that you have permitted twenty years to elapse without attempting to communicate with us?"

"As you have likely guessed," replied Jarvis, "the Indians took me in. I had blood poisoning following my injury and was gravely ill. An old crone of the tribe applied unguents to my injured leg and fed me soothing potions of herbs she collected and brewed. When I had recovered sufficiently to be about I was seized and bound for sacrifice to the Feu Perpetuel, which, according to a tradition of the tribe, none but a member of the tribe could behold and live. Jovo, who had conducted me to the caves, was an under-Chief and he succeeded in saving me, by having me adopted into the tribe. Later I married his sister. The women of the tribe were beautiful and Jalo was the most beautiful of them all." A look of sadness crept over the face of Jarvis and this was noted by our Curator.

"You loved this native woman you had taken for wife?" he asked.

"Devotedly, Prof. Münster," replied Jarvis, "she was possessed of all the attractions of women of civilization and of many more virtues. I could not attempt to describe her womanly devotion. A woman such as she was could not hope to be long of this world. In spite of the supposed paganism of fire-worship, I am sure that her spirit went on High to join the other good souls that have preceded hers."

"Very nice sentiment and I hope you are right," replied Prof. Münster, who boasted of no religious belief. "Was there any issue from this union of yours?"

"None," replied Jarvis. "Jalo passed away with the scourge, two years after our marriage. It was a dying race, Prof. Münster. Tuberculosis was accounting for the white Indians by the score. During the twenty years I remained with them their number was reduced from three thousand to as many hundreds. They did not know the nature of the disease, but were aware that it was contagious. The bodies of those who succumbed were at once incinerated by being fed to the fire through the hole in the fire cave, which I have already described."

"On what does the tribe subsist: what is their principal food."

"For meat, outside of a few caribou, mountain sheep and goats brought in by hunters, they subsisted almost entirely upon the flesh of anlos; this and a sago-like cereal they obtained from the sap of certain ferns, comprised their diet."

"Anlos?" interrogated Prof. Münster, "You have not mentioned anlos that I remember," he said, scanning his notes.

"The anlos," explained Jarvis, "were some of the smaller creatures that infested the lake. They were herbiverous and were preyed upon by the Jormen. They were easily killed by crushing their skulls with a stout club when they came into the meadow to feed at night. The anlos furnished both food and clothing to the tribe and their name seemed to be the root of the simple language spoken. Everything that was of benefit was anlo, which was shaded with prefixes or suffixes to differentiate. The main activities of the tribe were to repel all Indians who attempted to penetrate the canyon. Guards were out continually during the summer and these men became so sensitive to the proximity of interlopers that they literally sensed them and could locate outside wanderers at once."

"One more question, Jarvis. You are tired, I know, but I cannot let you go before inquiring as to the temperature during the freeze that grips northern Quebec and Ungava in the winter months. The canyon of course is alike affected?"

"Practically no. Snow never reaches within a thousand feet of the surface of the lake. At that height it is transformed into a soft warm rain. Frost is unknown. I kept a faithful reading of the thermometer and have never seen the temperature of the plateau go below 75° F. Down at the water edge it is ten degrees warmer. However, the immense quantities of snow that melts on the mountains above, must affect the temperature of the water considerably, for as soon as the snow appears, the water creatures retreat to the big sub-aqueous caverns under the west mountain and remain there till about the month of May."

"And what brought you back to civilization, away from this paradise that you picture?" inquired Prof. Münster, gazing quizzically at Jarvis, "whose tale seemed ended. I could trace a note of sarcasm in his voice and wondered if it was caused by the religious sentiment Jarvis had interjected, or if he thought that he was being hoaxed by a cleverly built story.

"I was forced to leave, by a violent volcanic eruption that swept away the entire district and filled the canyon with lava," explained Jarvis.

"And you alone escaped?" This time the sarcasm was not veiled and I saw at once that Prof. Münster discredited the entire tale. Both the Professor and I were aware that Prof. Schlecting had carried with him in this expedition a considerable sum of money and we had both got to wondering if Jarvis had obtained this, money, either by disposing of his companion, or in some other way and was now concocting a plan to obtain the fortune of the missing former Curator.

"One other escaped with me," replied Jarvis. "Owing to the fact that I could not eat the flesh of anlos, I often went hunting for sheep or caribou. In company with a young man of the tribe, I happened to be on one of these expeditions when the catastrophe occurred."

"To substantiate this story then, you have but to produce this white Indian. I confess that I am more than curious to see this fellow."

"Okamo returned," replied Jarvis simply. "He left me while I slept, the second night of my journey. to Lake Minto. I arrived at the lake, more dead than alive. Here I luckily came upon a party of young Canadians, who had come up along the coast in a steam yacht. When I dug up the remains of the cameras and transit, where they had been cached, these men believed my story and took me along. The leader of the party provided me with funds for an outfit of clothing and for fare here."

"A good story and cleverly mapped out," replied Prof. Münster, dryly, "I am afraid though, Jarvis, if it is your aim to put a claim to the Museum authorities for back pay for this period, you are going to encounter difficulties that you have not figured upon."

I saw Prof. Münster reach under the edge of hi# desk and press a button that would summon two night guards to the office. I knew then that he meant to place Jarvis in custody, pending an investigation.

"But," protested Jarvis, "I had no intentions of making such a claim!"

"Just what were you expecting to claim?" demanded Prof. Miinster, sharply. He was momentarily looking for the guards to appear.

"I merely thought that I might be paid my salary for the year I was attending Prof. Schlecting and I was hoping a position would be open for me here."

The guards had appeared at the door of the anteroom. At a motion from the Chief, they remained quietly standing there. Jarvis, whose back was to the entrance could not observe them.

"What proof have you, other than your word, that your story is true?" asked Prof. Münster.

"Proof!" cried Jarvis, "you do not believe my story?"

"I did not say that I did not believe it," replied the Professor, imperturbably, "I merely asked for proof."

Jarvis' face brightened perceptibly. "I still have my suit of anlo skin; that should be proof enough." He opened the telescope and dumped its contents on the desk, disclosing, among an assortment of cheap raiment and toilet articles, a shirt and a two-piece suit, dirty and torn, fashioned of a soft gray-colored skin, beautifully tanned."

"A nicely tanned skin," remarked Prof. Münster, "but as it might be young caribou or deer skin, it is not convincing. If it could be proven to have been made of the skin of a Dinosaur; it would be most interesting. We will give you the benefit of the doubt, Jarvis, I will give it a microscopic examination and if your contention can be sustained, the suit alone would be worth a fortune. However, I do not want to hold forth any false hopes, for a tanning process shrinks the cellular tissue of a skin so that it is impossible to identify the animal from which it is obtained. You have understood, Prof. Jameson, have you not?" asked Prof. Münster, turning to me," that Jarvis, while a college man, has had little scientific training. In his story, by connecting the Later Paleozoic, with the Mesozoic, as evidenced by the fern growth and the Dinosaurs, he has bridged a gap that Scientists know is at least ten millions of years. That statement alone would brand the story as preposterous, Sorry, Jarvis," he continued, "your story does not even offer proof of the demise of our good Professor Schlecting, and this—" he tossed the skin suit contemptuously across the table towards its owner, "means absolutely—" he cut the balance of the sentence short and gasped ludicrously, as a small object dropped from a pouch of the coat and rattled on the mahogany desk top.

"My Lord! what's this?" he exclaimed, retrieving the object in his long, white fingers. With a hand glass he examined minutely the gelatine like shell of the thing. " Gad, Jameson," he said, "do my eyes deceive me or is this the unfossilized shell of an Angelina Sedgwicki, a Trilobite, intact save for the broken head-spines?"

My eyesight is good and I saw, at a glance, the ringed pygidium, whose whorls resembled in a way, the rattles of a rattle-snake. Though I could not at that distance, recognize it as a Sedgwicki, I knew that I was gazing upon the only unfossilized specimen of a Trilobite that had been beheld by civilized man.

As soon as Prof. Münster could recover from his elation, he sprang to his feet, grasped the amazed Jarvis by the hand and poured out congratulations.

"That's only a ta-anlo shell," explained Jarvis, "the children used to play doll with them in the caves and one must have slipped it in my pouch as a joke."

"A most astoundingly lucky joke," pronounced Prof. Münster. "That little shell makes your whole story good and will be guarantee to you of back pay for twenty years and a pension for the balance of your life. Even though future explorations fail to unearth further remnants from your enchanted canyon, this alone will be regarded as 'A Link to the Past.'"

THE END.