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The Crack of Doom   By: (1856-1907)

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First Page:

THE CRACK OF DOOM

BY

ROBERT CROMIE Author of "A Plunge into Space," etc.

SECOND EDITION

LONDON DIGBY, LONG & CO. 18 BOUVERIE STREET, FLEET STREET, E.C. 1895

PREFACE

The rough notes from which this narrative has been constructed were given to me by the man who tells the story. For obvious reasons I have altered the names of the principals, and I hereby pass on the assurance which I have received, that the originals of such as are left alive can be found if their discovery be thought desirable. This alteration of names, the piecing together of somewhat disconnected and sometimes nearly indecipherable memoranda, and the reduction of the mass to consecutive form, are all that has been required of me or would have been permitted to me. The expedition to Labrador mentioned by the narrator has not returned, nor has it ever been definitely traced. He does not undertake to prove that it ever set out. But he avers that all which is hereafter set down is truly told, and he leaves it to mankind to accept the warning which it has fallen to him to convey, or await the proof of its sincerity which he believes the end of the century will produce.

ROBERT CROMIE.

BELFAST, May, 1895 .

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE UNIVERSE A MISTAKE! 1

II. A STRANGE EXPERIMENT 10

III. "IT IS GOOD TO BE ALIVE" 21

IV. GEORGE DELANY DECEASED 32

V. THE MURDER CLUB 41

VI. A TELEPATHIC TELEGRAM 51

VII. GUILTY! 62

VIII. THE WOKING MYSTERY 72

IX. CUI BONO? 81

X. FORCE A REMEDY 93

XI. MORITURI TE SALUTANT 104

XII. "NO DEATH SAVE IN LIFE" 111

XIII. MISS METFORD'S PLAN 123

XIV. ROCKINGHAM TO THE SHARKS 133

XV. "IF NOT TOO LATE" 146

XVI. £5000 TO DETAIN THE SHIP 160

XVII. "THIS EARTH SHALL DIE" 174

XVIII. THE FLIGHT 184

XIX. THE CATASTROPHE 197

XX. CONCLUSION 208

THE CRACK OF DOOM

CHAPTER I.

THE UNIVERSE A MISTAKE!

"The Universe is a mistake!"

Thus spake Herbert Brande, a passenger on the Majestic , making for Queenstown Harbour, one evening early in the past year. Foolish as the words may seem, they were partly influential in leading to my terrible association with him, and all that is described in this book.

Brande was standing beside me on the starboard side of the vessel. We had been discussing a current astronomical essay, as we watched the hazy blue line of the Irish coast rise on the horizon. This conversation was interrupted by Brande, who said, impatiently:

"Why tell us of stars distant so far from this insignificant little world of ours so insignificant that even its own inhabitants speak disrespectfully of it that it would take hundreds of years to telegraph to some of them, thousands to others, and millions to the rest? Why limit oneself to a mere million of years for a dramatic illustration, when there is a star in space distant so far from us that if a telegram left the earth for it this very night, and maintained for ever its initial velocity, it would never reach that star?"

He said this without any apparent effort after rhetorical effect; but the suddenness with which he had presented a very obvious truism in a fresh light to me made the conception of the vastness of space absolutely oppressive. In the hope of changing the subject I replied:

"Nothing is gained by dwelling on these scientific speculations... Continue reading book >>




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