The Lost World / Затерянный мир
Артур Конан Дойл

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“Nothing else I can do?”

“Well, yes; I am going to write to him. If I could use your address it would give atmosphere.”

“Well, that’s my chair and desk. You’ll find paper there.”

It took some time and when it was finished it wasn’t such a bad job. I read it aloud to Tarp Henry.

“DEAR PROFESSOR CHALLENGER,” it said, “As a modest student of Nature, I have always been interested in your speculations, especially about the differences between Darwin and Weissmann…”

“You liar!” murmured Tarp Henry.

“… But there is one sentence in your speech at Vienna, namely: ‘I protest strongly against the insufferable and entirely dogmatic assertion that each separate id is a microcosm possessed of an historical architecture elaborated slowly through the series of generations.’[15 - ‘I protest strongly against the insufferable and entirely dogmatic assertion that each separate id is a microcosm possessed of an historical architecture elaborated slowly through the series of generations.’ – ‘Я категорически возражаю против неприемлемого и сверхдогматического утверждения, будто каждый обособленный индивид есть микрокосм, обладающий исторически сложившимся строением организма, вырабатывавшимся постепенно в течение многих поколений’.] With your permission, I would ask the favour of an interview, as I don’t quite understand it and have certain suggestions which I could only tell you in a personal conversation. With your consent, I trust to have the honour of calling at eleven o’clock the day after tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

Yours very truly, EDWARD D. MALONE.”

“But what do you mean to do?” Tarp Henry asked.

“To get there. Once I am in his room I may see some variants. If he is a sportsman he will like it.”

“Indeed a sportsman! Chain mail,[16 - chain mail – кольчуга] or an American football suit… that’s what you’ll need. Well, good-bye. I’ll have the answer for you here on Wednesday morning… if he ever answers you. He is a dangerous character. Perhaps it would be best for you if you never heard from the fellow at all.”

Chapter 3

He Is a Perfectly Impossible Person

However when I called on Wednesday there was a letter with the West Kensington postmark upon it, and my name scrawled across the envelope. The contents were as follows:

“SIR, – I have duly received your note, in which you claim to support my views. You quote an isolated sentence from my lecture, and appear to have some difficulty in understanding it. I should have thought that only a stupid person could have failed to grasp the point, but if it really needs explanation I shall see you at the hour named. As for your suggestions I would have you know that it is not my habit to change my views. You will kindly show the envelope of this letter to my man, Austin, when you call, as he has to take every precaution to protect me from the intrusive people who call themselves ‘journalists’.


This was the letter that I read aloud to Tarp Henry. His only remark was that I should take along some haemostatic.[17 - haemostatic – кровоостанавливающее средство] Some people have such extraordinary sense of humor.

A taxicab took me round in good time for my appointment. It was an imposing house at which we stopped. The door was opened by an odd person of uncertain age. He looked me up and down with a searching light blue eye.

“Expected?” he asked.

“An appointment.” I showed the envelope.

“Right!” He seemed to be a person of few words. I entered and saw a small woman. She was a bright, dark-eyed lady, more French than English in her type.

“One moment,” she said. “You can wait, Austin. May I ask if you have met my husband before?”

“No, madam, I have not had the honour.”

“Then I apologize to you in advance.[18 - in advance – заранее] I must tell you that he is an impossible person… absolutely impossible. Get quickly out of the room if he seems to be violent. Don’t argue with him. Several people have been injured. Afterwards there is a public scandal and it reflects upon me and all of us. I suppose it wasn’t about South America you wanted to see him?”

I could not lie to a lady.

“Dear me! That is the most dangerous subject. You won’t believe a word he says… But don’t tell him so, it makes him very violent. Pretend to believe him. If you find him really dangerous… ring the bell and hold him off until I come. Even at his worst I can usually control him.”

So I was conducted to the end of the passage. I entered the room and found myself face to face with the Professor.

He sat in a chair behind a broad table, which was covered with books, maps, and diagrams. His appearance made me gasp. I was prepared for something strange, but not for so overpowering a personality as this. It was his size which took one’s breath away[19 - to took one’s breath away – захватывать дух]… His head was enormous, the largest I have ever seen. His hair and beard were bluish-black, the latter was spade-shaped and rippling down over his chest. The eyes were blue-gray under great black eyebrows, very clear, very critical, and very masterful. This and a roaring voice made up my first impression of the notorious Professor Challenger.

“Well?” said he, with a most arrogant stare. “What now?”

“You were good enough to give me an appointment, sir,” said I, producing his envelope.

“Oh, you are the young person who cannot understand plain English, are you? And you approve my conclusions, as I understand?”

“Entirely, sir, entirely!” I was very emphatic.

“Dear me! That strengthens my position very much, does it not? Well, at least you are better than that herd of swine in Vienna.”

“They seem to have behaved outrageously,” said I.

“I assure you that I have no need of your sympathy. Well, sir, let us do what we can to end this visit. You had some comments to make up.”

There was such a brutal directness in his speech which made everything very difficult. Oh, my Irish wits, could they not help me now, when I needed help so sorely? He looked at me with two sharp eyes.

“Come, come!” he rumbled.

“I am, of course, a simple student,” said I, with a smile, “an earnest inquirer. At the same time, it seemed to me that you were a little severe towards your colleagues.”

“Severe? Well… I suppose you are aware,” said he, checking off points upon his fingers, “that the cranial index is a constant factor?”

“Naturally,” said I.

“And that telegony is still doubtful?”


“And that the germ plasm is different from the parthenogenetic egg?”

“Surely!” I cried.

“But what does that prove?” he asked, in a gentle, persuasive voice.

“Ah, what indeed?” I murmured. “What does it prove?”

“It proves,” he roared, with a sudden blast of fury, “that you are the damned journalist, who has no more science in his head than he has truth in his reports!”

He had jumped to his feet with a mad rage in his eyes. Even at that moment of tension I found time for amazement at the discovery that he was quite a short man, his head not higher than my shoulder.

“Nonsense!” he cried, leaning forward. “That’s what I have been talking to you, sir! Scientific nonsense! Did you think you could play a trick on me? You, with your walnut of a brain? You have played a rather dangerous game, and you have lost it.”

“Look here, sir,” said I, backing to the door and opening it; “you can be as abusive as you like. But there is a limit. You shall not attack me.”

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