"Perhaps finding the temperature of this ocean which surrounds us will tell us something. However, we must have patience until this bitter storm is past."
And this did call for patience, for the hurricane continued for fully a week. Meanwhile the Orion ran on under almost bare poles, and in a northwesterly direction. This course, Captain Sproul believed, would bring them to Bering Sea, and their homeward route.
But a vast and amazing discovery awaited the hardy navigator of the whaling bark when the wind finally died down, the clouds were swept away, and the sun again appeared. Professor Henderson appeared on deck, too, and calculated their position side by side with Captain Sproul.
The latter's amazement was unbounded. His calculations, no matter how he worked them, made the position of the _Orion_ 148 degrees west of Greenwich and 49 degrees north.
In other words, he was far, far south of the Alaskan Peninsula. During this awful storm he had traversed (or so he was bound to believe) a long stretch of the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea and Strait, had pa.s.sed the Aleutian Islands, and was now more than a thousand miles south of the position of the _Orion_ when she first became stranded.
The professor endeavored to explain to him again what had really happened--that the fragment of the earth on which they had been marooned had plunged into the old earth again, landing by great good fortune in the empty sea between North America and Asia--in the North Pacific.
Such an explanation seemed utterly ridiculous to Captain Sproul, to his seamen, and even to Phineas Roebach. They were convinced that Professor Henderson was in his dotage. They would rather believe that the _Orion_, sailing on pretty nearly a straight course according to the compa.s.s, had traversed this enormous distance during the hurricane.
The professor and his young friends, however, had studied too deeply the mystery of this astounding affair to be mistaken. All the phenomena of the experience had been noted by Professor Henderson. He had the material of a most remarkable work in his notebooks, and that volume will soon appear to delight the scientific world.
Meanwhile the _Orion_ changed her course and ran for San Francisco to re-provision. She had a very valuable cargo of oil which she would later take around the Horn to her home port, New Bedford.
At San Francisco, however, Professor Henderson, Jack and Mark, with Andy and Wash and Phineas Roebach, left the ship. Roebach was to report to his oil company and probably return to Alaska to continue his search for petroleum. Our friends started overland for home, stopping off at the city where Dr. Artemus Todd resided to explain to that savant the reason for their inability to secure a single specimen of the _Chrysothele-Byzantium_, which herb the doctor was so confident would be of incalculable value in treating patients suffering from aphasia, amnesia, and kindred troubles.
Perhaps the disappointed doctor was not entirely sure that his friend, Professor Henderson, and his comrades, had gone through the strange experience which they recounted. But a few weeks later several vessels reported sighting a new island in the North Pacific, south of the Alaskan Peninsula. On this island men who landed discovered a colony of Kodiak bears, some Arctic foxes, and the remains of vegetation which had never before been found south of the Arctic Circle.
This discovery created vast talk among the geographers and scientists.
An exploring party was sent out by the Smithsonian Inst.i.tution to examine the new island. It was p.r.o.nounced of volcanic origin, yet the formation of it was not of recent time. There was on this island (which contained several square miles) the remains of a glacier, and in the ice the party discovered the wreck of a wonderful flying machine, which had evidently been built within a few months.
Of course, this was the _s...o...b..rd_, the aeroplane which our friends had been obliged to abandon. But by that time Jack and Mark had built another flying machine on the same lines as the one which they had lost in the creva.s.se of the glacier.
The professor proceeded to explain and prove all this in his book; but there will always be certain doubters. Washington White, however, was more disturbed than any of the party over the fact that everybody would not accept as true the scientist's account of their wonderful voyage on a torn-away world.
"De stupendous and unprecedented gall some folks has is suttenly beyond comparination!" exploded Wash. "Dere is folks dat ain't nebber been to Bawston, eben, dat dares say dat we didn't go ter Alaska in a flyin'
masheen, an' den fly away wid a piece ob dat kentry inter de cimc.u.m-ambient air--droppin' back on de same w'en we'd got t'roo wid it, an' landin' right outside de harbor of San Francisco. Dey won't belieb it at all, not eben w'en I proves it to 'em."
"And how do you prove it to your friends, Wash?" queried Jack Darrow.
"By b.u.t.tsy," declared the darkey, gravely.
"By the Shanghai?"
"Yes, sah. By Christopher Columbus Amerigo Vespucci George Washington Abraham Lincoln Ulysses Grant Garibaldi Thomas Edison Guglielmo Marconi b.u.t.ts."
"And how do you prove it by Christopher Columbus And-so-forth?" demanded the chums, in chorus.
"Why," said Wash, rolling his eyes, "I done tooked dat rooster wid me in all ma trabels; didn't I?"
"You most certainly did," admitted Mark.
"And a big nuisance he was," added Jack.
Wash loftily overlooked this remark. He said, confidently:
"And I brought b.u.t.tsy back ergin; didn't I?"
"You did. He's getting fat and sa.s.sy right now out in his coop behind the bungalow."
"Well den!" cried Wash. "I done took him wid me, an' I done brought him back. Wot furder elimination ob de fac's does dem folks want? Don't b.u.t.tsy crowin' away dar prove it?"
And Washington White walked off with his head held very high as though he had made a perfectly unanswerable statement of the case.
And here we will say good bye to our friends, who had so many thrilling adventures while drifting through s.p.a.ce On a Torn-Away World.
Other t.i.tles by ROY ROCKWOOD
THE GREAT MARVEL SERIES
THROUGH THE AIR TO THE NORTH POLE
UNDER THE OCEAN TO THE SOUTH POLE
FIVE THOUSAND MILES UNDERGROUND
THROUGH s.p.a.cE TO MARS
LOST ON THE MOON
ON A TORN-AWAY WORLD
DAVE DASHAWAY, THE YOUNG AVIATOR
DAVE DASHAWAY AND HIS HYDROPLANE
DAVE DASHAWAY AND HIS GIANT AIRSHIP
DAVE DASHAWAY AROUND THE WORLD
THE SPEEDWELL BOYS ON MOTOR CYCLES
THE SPEEDWELL BOYS AND THEIR RACING AUTO
THE SPEEDWELL BOYS AND THEIR POWER LAUNCH
THE SPEEDWELL BOYS IN A SUBMARINE
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