Atlantis Online
October 01, 2022, 06:27:00 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 14 ... 21   Go Down
Author Topic: Atlantida  (Read 2740 times)
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #105 on: April 01, 2009, 01:17:59 pm »

frenzy in cities where the whiteness of electric lamps came on in a burst.

Chêt-Ahadh essa hetîsenet
Mâteredjrê d’Erredjaot,
Mâtesekek d-Essekâot,
Mâtelahrlahr d’Ellerhâot,
Ettâs djenen, barâd tît-ennît abâtet.

Eg-Anteouen's voice raised itself in slow guttural tones. It resounded with sad, grave majesty in the silence now complete.

I touched the Targa's arm. With a movement of his head, he pointed to a constellation glittering in the firmament.

"The Pleiades," I murmured to Morhange, showing him the seven pale stars, while Eg-Anteouen took up his mournful song in the same monotone:

"The Daughters of the Night are seven:
 Mâteredjrê and Erredjeâot,
 Mâtesekek and Essekâot,
 Mâtelahrlahr and Ellerhâot,
 The seventh is a boy, one of whose eyes has flown away."

A sudden sickness came over me. I seized the Targa's arm as he was starting to intone his refrain for the third time.

p. 105

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #106 on: April 01, 2009, 01:18:11 pm »

"When will we reach this cave with the inscriptions?" I asked brusquely.

He looked at me and replied with his usual calm: "We are there."

"We are there? Then why don't you show it to us?"

"You did not ask me," he replied, not without a touch of insolence.

Morhange had jumped to his feet.

"The cave is here?"

"It is here," Eg-Anteouen replied slowly, rising to his feet.

"Take us to it."

"Morhange," I said, suddenly anxious, "night is falling. We will see nothing. And perhaps it is still some way off."

"It is hardly five hundred paces," Eg-Anteouen replied. "The cave is full of dead underbrush. We will set it on fire and the Captain will see as in full daylight."

"Come," my comrade repeated.

"And the camels?" I hazarded.

"They are tethered," said Eg-Anteouen, "and we shall not be gone long."

He had started toward the black mountain. Morhange, trembling with excitement, followed. I followed, too, the victim of profound uneasiness. My pulses throbbed. "I am not afraid," I kept repeating to myself. "I swear that this is not fear."

p. 106

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #107 on: April 01, 2009, 01:18:28 pm »

And really it was not fear. Yet, what a strange dizziness! There was a mist over my eyes. My ears buzzed. Again I heard Eg-Anteouen's voice, but multiplied, immense, and at the same time, very low.

"The Daughters of the Night are seven . . ."

It seemed to me that the voice of the mountain, re-echoing, repeated that sinister last line to infinity:

"And the seventh is a boy, one of whose eyes has flown away."

"Here it is," said the Targa.

A black hole in the wall opened up. Bending over, Eg-Anteouen entered. We followed him. The darkness closed around us.

A yellow flame. Eg-Anteouen had struck his flint. He set fire to a pile of brush near the surface. At first we could see nothing. The smoke blinded us.

Eg-Anteouen stayed at one side of the opening of the cave. He was seated and, more inscrutable than ever, had begun again to blow great puffs of gray smoke from his pipe.

The burning brush cast a flickering light. I caught a glimpse of Morhange. He seemed very pale. With both hands braced against the wall, he was working to decipher a mass of signs which I could scarcely distinguish.

p. 107

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #108 on: April 01, 2009, 01:18:41 pm »

Nevertheless, I thought I could see his hands trembling.

"The devil," I thought, finding it more and more difficult to co-ordinate my thoughts, "he seems to be as unstrung as I."

I heard him call out to Eg-Anteouen in what seemed to me a loud voice:

"Stand to one side. Let the air in. What a smoke!"

He kept on working at the signs.

Suddenly I heard him again, but with difficulty. It seemed as if even sounds were confused in the smoke.

"Antinea. . . . At last. . . . Antinea. But not cut in the rock . . . the marks traced in ochre . . . not ten years old, perhaps not five. . . . Oh! . . ."

He pressed his hands to his head. Again he cried out:

"It is a mystery. A tragic mystery."

I laughed teasingly.

"Come on, come on. Don't get excited over it." He took me by the arm and shook me. I saw his eyes big with terror and astonishment.

"Are you mad?" he yelled in my face.

"Not so loud," I replied with the same little laugh.

He looked at me again, and sank down, overcome, on a rock opposite me. Eg-Anteouen was still smoking placidly at the mouth of the cave. We

p. 108

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #109 on: April 01, 2009, 01:18:52 pm »

could see the red circle of his pipe glowing in the darkness.

"Madman! Madman!" repeated Morhange. His voice seemed to stick in his throat.

Suddenly he bent over the brush which was giving its last darts of flame, high and clear. He picked out a branch which had not yet caught. I saw him examine it carefully, then throw it hack in the fire with a loud laugh.

"Ha! Ha! That's good, all right!"

He staggered toward Eg-Anteouen, pointing to the fire.

"It's hemp. Hasheesh, hasheesh. Oh, that's a good one, all right."

"Yes, it's a good one," I repeated, bursting into laughter.

Eg-Anteouen quietly smiled approval. The dying fire lit his inscrutable face and flickered in his terrible dark eyes.

A moment passed. Suddenly Morhange seized the Targa's arm.

"I want to smoke, too," he said. "Give me a pipe." The specter gave him one.

"What! A European pipe?"

"A European pipe," I repeated, feeling gayer and gayer.

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #110 on: April 01, 2009, 01:19:08 pm »

"With an initial, 'M.' As if made on purpose. M. . . . Captain Morhange."

"Masson," corrected Eg-Anteouen quietly.

p. 109

"Captain Masson," I repeated in concert with Morhange.

We laughed again.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Captain Masson. . . . Colonel Flatters. . . . The well of Garama. They killed him to take his pipe . . . that pipe. It was Cegheir-ben-Cheikh who killed Captain Masson."

"It was Cegheir-ben-Cheikh," repeated the Targa with imperturbable calm.

"Captain Masson and Colonel Flatters had left the convoy to look for the well," said Morhange, laughing.

"It was then that the Tuareg attacked them," I finished, laughing as hard as I could.

"A Targa of Ahaggar seized the bridle of Captain Masson's horse," said Morhange.

"Cegheir-ben-Cheikh had hold of Colonel Flatters’ bridle," put in Eg-Anteouen.

"The Colonel puts his foot in the stirrup and receives a cut from Cegheir-ben-Cheikh's saber," I said.

"Captain Masson draws his revolver and fires on Cegheir-ben-Cheikh, shooting off three fingers of his left hand," said Morhange.

"But," finished Eg-Anteouen imperturbably, "but Cegheir-ben-Cheikh, with one blow of his saber, splits Captain Masson's skull."

He gave a silent, satisfied laugh as he spoke. The dying flame lit up his face. We saw the gleaming

p. 110
Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #111 on: April 01, 2009, 01:19:25 pm »

black stem of his pipe. He held it in his left hand. One finger, no, two fingers only on that hand. Hello! I had not noticed that before.

Morhange also noticed it, for he finished with a loud laugh.

"Then, after splitting his skull, you robbed him. You took his pipe from him. Bravo, Cegheir-ben-Cheikh!"

Cegheir-ben-Cheikh does not reply, but I can see how satisfied with himself he is. He keeps on smoking. I can hardly see his features now. The firelight pales, dies. I have never laughed so much as this evening. I am sure Morhange never has, either. Perhaps he will forget the cloister. And all because Cegheir-ben-Cheikh stole Captain Masson's pipe.. . .

Again that accursed song. "The seventh is a boy, one of whose eyes has flown away." One cannot imagine more senseless words. It is very strange, really: there seem to be four of us in this cave now. Four, I say, five, six, seven, eight. . . . Make yourselves at home, my friends. What! there are no more of you? . . . I am going to find out at last how the spirits of this region are made, the Gamphasantes, the Blemyens. . . . Morhange says that the Blemyens have their faces on the middle of their chests. Surely this one who is seizing me in his arms is not a Blemyen! Now he is carrying me outside. And Morhange . . . I do not want them to forget Morhange. . . .

p. 111

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #112 on: April 01, 2009, 01:19:36 pm »

They did not forget him; I see him perched on a camel in front of that one to which I am fastened. They did well to fasten me, for otherwise I surely would tumble off. These spirits certainly are not bad fellows. But what a long way it is! I want to stretch out. To sleep. A while ago we surely were following a long passage, then we were in the open air. Now we are again in an endless stifling corridor. Here are the stars again. . . . Is this ridiculous course going to keep on? . . .

Hello, lights! Stars, perhaps. No, lights, I say. A stairway, on my word; of rocks, to be sure, but still, a stairway. How can the camels . . .? But it is no longer a camel; this is a man carrying me. A man dressed in white, not a Gamphasante nor a Blemyen. Morhange must be giving himself airs with his historical reasoning, all false, I repeat, all false. Good Morhange. Provided that his Gamphasante does not let him fall on this unending stairway. Something glitters on the ceiling. Yes, it is a lamp, a copper lamp, as at Tunis, at Barbouchy's. Good, here again you cannot see anything. But I am making a fool of myself; I am lying down; now I can go to sleep. What a silly day! . . . Gentlemen, I assure you that it is unnecessary to bind me: I do not want to go down on the boulevards.

Darkness again. Steps of someone going away. Silence.

But only for a moment. Someone is talking beside

p. 112

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #113 on: April 01, 2009, 01:19:48 pm »

me. What are they saying? . . . No, it is impossible. That metallic ring, that voice. Do you know what it is calling, that voice, do you know what it is calling in the tones of someone used to the phrase? Well, it is calling:

"Play your cards, gentlemen, play your cards. There are ten thousand louis in the bank. Play your cards, gentlemen."

In the name of God, am I or am I not at Ahaggar?

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #114 on: April 01, 2009, 01:20:00 pm »

p. 113

It was broad daylight when I opened my eyes. I thought at once of Morhange. I could not see him, but I heard him, close by, giving little grunts of surprise.

I called to him. He ran to me.

"Then they didn't tie you up?" I asked.

"I beg your pardon. They did. But they did it badly; I managed to get free."

"You might have untied me, too," I remarked crossly.

"What good would it have done? I should only have waked you up. And I thought that your first word would be to call me. There, that's done."

I reeled as I tried to stand on my feet.

Morhange smiled.

"We might have spent the whole night smoking and drinking and not been in a worse state," he said. "Anyhow, that Eg-Anteouen with his hasheesh is a fine rascal."

"Cegheir-ben-Cheikh," I corrected.

p. 114

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #115 on: April 01, 2009, 01:20:15 pm »

I rubbed my hand over my forehead.

"Where are we?"

"My dear boy," Morhange replied, "since I awakened from the extraordinary nightmare which is mixed up with the smoky cave and the lamp-lit stairway of the Arabian Nights, I have been going from surprise to surprise, from confusion to confusion. Just look around you."

I rubbed my eyes and stared. Then I seized my friend's hand.

"Morhange," I begged, "tell me if we are still dreaming."

We were in a round room, perhaps fifty feet in diameter, and of about the same height, lighted by a great window opening on a sky of intense blue.

Swallows flew back and forth, outside, giving quick, joyous cries.

The floor, the incurving walls and the ceiling were of a kind of veined marble like porphyry, panelled with a strange metal, paler than gold, darker than silver, clouded just then by the early morning mist that came in through the window in great puffs.

I staggered toward this window, drawn by the freshness of the breeze and the sunlight which was chasing away my dreams, and I leaned my elbows on the balustrade.

I could not restrain a cry of delight.

I was standing on a kind of balcony, cut into the

p. 115

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #116 on: April 01, 2009, 01:20:47 pm »

flank of a mountain, overhanging an abyss. Above me, blue sky; below appeared a veritable earthly paradise hemmed in on all sides by mountains that formed a continuous and impassable wall about it. A garden lay spread out down there. The palm trees gently swayed their great fronds. At their feet was a tangle of the smaller trees which grow in an oasis under their protection: almonds, lemons, oranges, and many others which I could not distinguish from that height. A broad blue stream, fed by a waterfall, emptied into a charming lake, the waters of which had the marvellous transparency which comes in high altitudes. Great birds flew in circles over this green hollow; I could see in the lake the red flash of a flamingo.

The peaks of the mountains which towered on all sides were completely covered with snow.

The blue stream, the green palms, the golden fruit, and above it all, the miraculous snow, all this bathed in that limpid air, gave such an impression of beauty, of purity, that my poor human strength could no longer stand the sight of it. I laid my forehead on the balustrade, which, too, was covered with that heavenly snow, and began to cry like a baby.

Morhange was behaving like another child. But he had awakened before I had, and doubtless had had time to grasp, one by one, all these details whose fantastic ensemble staggered me.

p. 116

He laid his hand on my shoulder and gently pulled me back into the room.

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #117 on: April 01, 2009, 01:21:08 pm »

"You haven't seen anything yet," he said. "Look! Look!"


"Well, old man, what do you want me to do about it? Look!"

I had just realized that the strange room was furnished—God forgive me—in the European fashion. There were indeed, here and there, round leather Tuareg cushions, brightly colored blankets from Gafsa, rugs from Kairouan, and Caramani hangings which, at that moment, I should have dreaded to draw aside. But a half-open panel in the wall showed a bookcase crowded with books. A whole row of photographs of masterpieces of ancient art were hung on the walls. Finally there was a table almost hidden under its heap of papers, pamphlets, books. I thought I should collapse at seeing a recent number of the Archaeological Review.

I looked at Morhange. He was looking at me, and suddenly a mad laugh seized us and doubled us up for a good minute.

"I do not know," Morhange finally managed to say, "whether or not we shall regret some day our little excursion into Ahaggar. But admit, in the meantime, that it promises to be rich in unexpected adventures. That unforgettable guide who puts us to sleep just to distract us from the unpleasantness of

p. 117

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #118 on: April 01, 2009, 01:21:19 pm »

caravan life and who lets me experience, in the best of good faith, the far-famed delights of hasheesh: that fantastic night ride, and, to cap the climax, this cave of a Nureddin who must have received the education of the Athenian Bersot at the French Ecole Normale—all this is enough, on my word, to upset the wits of the best balanced."

"What do I think, my poor friend? Why, just what you yourself think. I don't understand it at all, not at all. What you politely call my learning is not worth a cent. And why shouldn't I be all mixed up? This living in caves amazes me. Pliny speaks of the natives living in caves, seven days’ march southwest of the country of the Amantes, and twelve days to the westward of the great Syrte. Herodotus says also that the Garamentes used to go out in their chariots to hunt the cave-dwelling Ethiopians. But here we are in Ahaggar, in the midst of the Targa country, and the best authorities tell us that the Tuareg never have been willing to live in caves. Duveyrier is precise on that point. And what is this, I ask you, but a cave turned into a workroom, with pictures of the Venus de Medici and the Apollo Sauroctone on the walls? I tell you that it is enough to drive you mad."

And Morhange threw himself on a couch and began to roar with laughter again.

"See," I said, "this is Latin."

I had picked up several scattered papers from the

p. 118

Report Spam   Logged
Crystal Thielkien
Superhero Member
Posts: 4531

« Reply #119 on: April 01, 2009, 01:21:30 pm »

work-table in the middle of the room. Morhange took them from my hands and devoured them greedily. His face expressed unbounded stupefaction.

"Stranger and stranger, my boy. Someone here is composing, with much citation of texts, a dissertation on the Gorgon Islands: de Gorgonum insulis. Medusa, according to him, was a Libyan savage who lived near Lake Triton, our present Chott Melhrir, and it is there that Perseus . . . Ah!"

Morhange's words choked in his throat. A sharp, shrill voice pierced the immense room.

"Gentlemen, I beg you, let my papers alone." I turned toward the newcomer.

One of the Caramani curtains was drawn aside, and the most unexpected of persons came in. Resigned as we were to unexpected events, the improbability of this sight exceeded anything our imaginations could have devised.

On the threshold stood a little bald-headed man with a pointed sallow face half hidden by an enormous pair of green spectacles and a pepper and salt beard. No shirt was visible, but an impressive broad red cravat. He wore white trousers. Red leather slippers furnished the only Oriental suggestion of his costume.

He wore, not without pride, the rosette of an officer of the Department of Education.

He collected the papers which Morhange had dropped in his amazement, counted them, arranged

p. 119

Report Spam   Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 14 ... 21   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy