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UNCLE BLISS was not a good toric Survival." "Pterodactyl correspondent. He wrote to not Extinct.” “ To be brought Irene once on the voyage, and Home in Steel Cage.” Half again soon after landing. It a dozen headlines with very was only a moderately interest- little text. The communicaing letter.

No news of the tion concluded with a life hispterodactyl yet, but he had tory of the pterodactyl up to found two fleas on the ear of the mesozoic age, contributed an ant bear which were totally by Professor Bronte Saurus of new to science. Evidently the Stuttgart University, and a brief bug-hunters had got hold of biography of Uncle Bliss, with him.

a reference to the purchase of Months passed and we heard the dinosaur's egg, and a more no more beyond an occasional guarded one to the pygmy paragraph in 'The Daily Mega- incident. The detail about phone.' One morning we saw “the steel tank, 12 ft. by 8 ft., the headlines : “Intrepid Afri- fitted into segments for portercan Explorer.” “Lost to the age, must have leaked out World for Six Months." The through the manufacturers. vague inaccuracies which fol- Anyone who had dined at lowed, pointing at the immi- the Potters' the night Uncle nent discovery of a “Monstrous Bliss in the first glow of inWinged Reptile,” told us noth- spiration had thought out his ing that we did not know, plan of campaign aloud could except that the 'Megaphone have given them better copy. staff had scented a story.” It was not very creditable No clue was given as to the to the enterprise of 'The Daily source of the information. Ob- Megaphone that we received viously Uncle Bliss had not our first definite news of the taken the Press into his confi- pterodactyl hunt through Mardence; and he would be cut jorie. She was staying at Pau off from communication with on her way home from Uganda, the coast.

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

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ously ill, I am afraid. I met a mouse. The doctor of his Sancho Panza at Mombasa. ship seemed to think that the But I will give you all the sea voyage and a week or two's details when we meet.”

rest afterwards ought to set Sancho Panza, if he had been him up. corruptible, might have made She met Staff quite by chance. a small fortune out of The He was pointed out to her as Megaphone.' The squire, how- Bliss' servant by the friend she ever, had the same contempt was seeing off on the coasting for publicity as the knight. steamer. That was the first The reporters failed to get a she heard of his being on board. story out of him. A few days Her own boat sailed a day or after we heard from Marjorie two later. The Megaphone' announced Staff was leaning over the Bliss' return. “Seven Months rails, the picture of woe, gazing in Equatorial Swamps." into the water. He wore a “Wounded Winged Monster corduroy suit and a round Escapes.” “Famous Hunter leather hat, like a beret, though Fever-stricken." “ Landed in it was 103° in the shade. MarAmbulance.” Again the text jorie recognised him at once was little more than a para- from Claude's description. The phrase of the headlines. Uncle squint would have been enough. Bliss, apparently, had scotched “He looked like a witch-doctor the pterodactyl, not killed it. who had swallowed his totem." The dramatic thing was that “Do you remember Chimhe had seen it at all. We wrote bashi ! ” she asked me. to Sellinger for news, and waited The eleventh commandwith great impatience for Mar- ment in the Clayton family," jorie.

I reminded her, “is not to go It was delightful seeing her, near the anthropological section and hearing her jolly crow- in the British Museum.” I pheasant laugh again. Madame inquired for her arm. Brun put her up in the spare “Oh, my arm is all right, room. Vichy passed her. True, thank you. Chimbashi has he barked, but approvingly ; done it good.” and the children met her at “ Well, I introduced mythe station in what Angela self,” Marjorie continued, “but called “a flurricane of excite- couldn't get him to talk at ment.” Of course, she brought first. He retired into his shell, them presents. They had begun all but one eye, so to speak, to collect another museum. which looked at me suspiciously.

On the whole, Marjorie was I believe he thought I was a reassuring about Uncle Bliss. newspaper woman. Sancho He was very bad at Mombasa, Panza's squint is embarrassbut then, of course, one always ing. When I told him that I is with malignant malaria. It knew Renton Parva and was plays with you like a cat with a great friend of Irene and Val,

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

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

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

and horns, and filed their I could imagine that Bliss teeth; he dismissed them as was difficult to turn.

“nasty." He could not tell Staff describe the “terror- Marjorie the name of the tribe, dactyl ?'”I asked Marjorie. but she gathered that they

From Staff's account Mar were a pretty low lot, as they jorie concluded that the terror- ate chimpanzee. Even the dactyl was an enormous amphi- Mbongwe eschew chimpanzee. bian python, a sort of fresh- It was most unfortunate for water sea serpent. This was Uncle Bliss that this particular disappointing, as I was pre- tribe feared the devil in the pared for a description of an form of the kongamato, which apocalyptic beast, “each eye is the local name for the pteroas large as a windmill and more dactyl. They feared it more fiery than a glass furnace." than they feared Uncle Bliss. But Staff's story was credibly The legend ran that if the matter - of - fact. “No; he kongamato saw you first, at didn't see no wings. And he however great a distance, you didn't see no legs, nor tail died; whereas if you saw the neither.” Only its head was kongamato first, it died; but above water. The stolid Sancho as nobody except Uncle Bliss Panza was not impressed by was willing to put this legend the terror-dactyl. He denied to the test, it was necessary to all its fantastic attributes. conceal the object of their ex

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

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reptile as if it were a creature they boldly threw themselves they wished to avoid. Thus into the water, swam to the “the niggers ”_Staff applied nearest craft, and scrambled the word indifferently to all on board. So the knight and Africans from the Hadendowa the squire were left alone. of the Sudan to the Kafirs, and Here, perhaps, is where Don the blacks of Guinea-enrolled Quixote comes in. themselves unsuspiciously as “They made straight for beaters.

the island where the hullabaloo The chief's name was Shindy; started. Staff said the konga. Staff remembered that, because mato had left a trail 'as if it was apt. He beat the big you had dragged a barrer war-drum, the hollowed base along.' of a tree. The others beat “Without wheels,"Iemended. smaller drums, or blew horns. “Yes," said Marjorie. “How When they all turned out for did you know? And a coating a beat, the banging and braying of slime like the saliva of a was enough to scare the devil. snail." Bliss' usual plan of operations I told her about the lau. was a drive. He would take “The Bahr-el-Ghazal variety up an advanced position on leaves a furrow like a tumbril. some island, while the natives Staff is probably nearer the formed up in a line of boats mark. He doesn't exaggerate. and beat along the channels. But please go on. What hapIt was all bog and swamp pened next? and decaying vegetation, which “ They waited by the spoor gave off a putrid smell, a until dusk, and then they saw paradise of snakes and vermin. it swimming round and round Sancho Panza's “rare unhealthy on the far side of the pool and sort of place” was probably bending its head, first to one the most pestilential hole in side and then to the other, as Africa. Bliss

soon at- if lost." tacked by ague and cramp, “ What was it like ? " and had to be carried when he “You know the poise of the was not paddled, but he had head of a water-snake, a sort his daily beat all the same. of blind inquisitive peering.

After about a hundred days They always give me the creeps. of this they came across the You don't know how much they track of the kongamato. The see. Well, it was like that, only first native who saw it set up simply gigantic." a terrific hullabaloo, whereupon “I feel as if I had seen it the whole tribe swung round myself,” Marjorie continued. their dug-outs and made for "If I had been Uncle Bliss, I the village. Bliss' boatmen think I should have gone were for joining in the sauve- straight home—not because I qui-peut, but he and Staff was afraid, though it is quite seized their paddles, whereupon likely I might have had cold


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feet. I mean, I should have within range. They made the felt that the kongamato was journey in the dark. It took not my affair; I couldn't have them several hours, wading put myself in those relations most of the time, and pushing with it. I have had this and dragging the dug - out; instinct with ordinary animals but first they lighted a cordon like lions when they did not of fires wherever they could know I was watching them. find a dry patch on the village As for drawing a bead on the side of the swamp, lest the pterodactyl—"

pterodactyl should take it into I think I knew what Marjorie his head to decamp in that meant.

direction. “Suppose some one were to It was dawn before they take you on a visit to Mars- were in position, and they lay

“Quite,” I said. “ The in wait all day. One point worst possible introduction Sancho Panza seems to have would be to begin by putting established in the natural hisout eyes with a pop-gun.' tory of the pterodactyl is its

“It is not exactly awe. regular and crepuscular habit. That doesn't explain it." Just before dusk it raised its

"Self-respect," I suggested, head again in almost exactly “human esprit-de-corps. One the same place--an enormous wants to show that it is not head, like a crane—the mechandone."

ical variety. Staff said it had With creatures nearer one's red eyes which didn't move. own plane one is not troubled It was facing them, looking by appearances; they know. straight into their bush, but Marjorie, by the way, had he thought it was blind. For given up shooting altogether. few seconds it made no

I don't suppose it occurred movement, but held its head to Uncle Bliss that one poised about ten feet above ought to be on one's best the water ; it might have behaviour with the

super- been asleep, it was so still. normal. His one preoccupation Bliss gave the range at two would be to shoot the konga- hundred yards. Then it began mato before it could get away. its sorrowful inspection of the

The beast continued its landscape before starting on melancholy and unsuspicious its rounds. It moved in widenparade safely out of range ing circles, swaying its neck until it was quite dark. It from side to side, probably a was in deeper water on the habit surviving from the mesoedge of the forest. This was zoic age when it had sight. evidently its beat. Uncle Bliss' Each circle brought it a little plan was to make a wide detour nearer. At eighty yards Uncle so as to get on the land side Bliss, leaning his rifle on Staff's of the brute without alarming shoulder to steady his aimit, and to lie up until it came the ague still gripped him,


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