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The Maracot Deep (1929)

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Author Topic: The Maracot Deep (1929)  (Read 2283 times)
Kothar Bishop
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Posts: 1893

« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2007, 03:03:15 pm »

Then suddenly the great bell pealed out once more. Its harsh clamour
jarred upon every nerve. I sprang to my feet, and Scanlan sat up in
bed. It was no ordinary summons which rang through the old palace. The
agitated tumultuous ringing, broken and irregular, was calling an
alarm. All had to come, and at once. It was menacing and insistent.
'Come now! Come at once! Leave everything and come!' cried the bell.

'Say, Bo, we should be with them,' said Scanlan. 'guess they're up
against it now.'

'And yet what can we do?'

'Maybe just the sight of us will give them a bit of heart. Anyhow,
they must not think that we are quitters. Where is the Doc?'

'He went to his study. But you are right, Scanlan. We should be with
the others and let them see that we are ready to share their fate.'

'The poor boobs seem to lean on us in a way. It may be that they know
more than we, but we seem to have more sand in our craw than they. I
guess they have taken what was given to them, and we have had to find
things for ourselves. Well, it's me for the deluge--if the deluge has
got to be.'

But as we approached the door a most unexpected interruption detained
us. Dr. Maracot stood before us. But was it indeed the Dr. Maracot
whom we had known--this self-assured man with strength and resolution
shining from every feature of his masterful face? The quiet scholar
had been submerged, and here was a superman, a great leader, a
dominant soul who might mould mankind to his desires.

'Yes, friends, we shall be needed. All may yet be well. But come at
once, or it may be too late. I will explain everything later--if
there is any later for us. Yes, yes, we are coming.'

The latter words, with appropriate gesture, were spoken to some
terrified Atlanteans who had appeared at the door and were eagerly
beckoning to us to come. It was a fact, as Scanlan had said, that we
had shown ourselves several times to be stronger in character and
prompter in action than these secluded people, and at this hour of
supreme danger they seemed to cling to us. I could hear a subdued
murmur of satisfaction and relief as we entered the crowded hall, and
took the places reserved for us in the front row.

It was time that we came, if we were indeed to bring any help. The
terrible presence was already standing upon the dais and facing with a
cruel, thin-lipped, demoniacal smile the cowering folk before him.
Scanlan's simile of a bunch of rabbits before a weasel came back to my
memory as I looked round at them. They sank together, holding on to
each other in their terror, and gazing wide--eyed at the mighty figure
which towered above them and the ruthless granite-hewed face which
looked down upon them. Never can I forget the impression of those
semi-circular rows, tier above tier, of haggard, wide-eyed faces with
their horrified gaze all directed towards the central dais. It would
seem that he had already pronounced their doom and that they stood in
the shadow of death waiting for its fulfilment. Manda was standing in
abject submission, pleading in broken accents for his people, but one
could see that the words only gave an added zest to the monster who
stood sneering before him. The creature interrupted him with a few
rasping words, and raised his right hand in the air, while a cry of
despair rose from the assembly.

And at that moment Dr. Maracot sprang upon the dais. It was amazing to
watch him. Some miracle seemed to have altered the man. He had the
gait and the gesture of a youth, and yet upon his face there was a
look of such power as I have never seen upon human features yet. He
strode up to the swarthy giant, who glared down at him in amazement.

'Well, little man, what have you to say?' he asked.

'I have this to say,' said Maracot. 'Your time has come. You have
over-stayed it. Go down! Go down into the Hell that has been waiting
for you so long. You are a prince of darkness. Go where the darkness

The demon's eyes shot dark fire as he answered:

'When my time comes, if it should ever come, it will not be from the
lips of a wretched mortal that I shall learn it,' said he. 'What power
have you that you could oppose for a moment one who is in the secret
places of Nature? I could blast you where you stand.'

Maracot looked into those terrible eyes without blenching. It seemed
to me that it was the giant who flinched away from his gaze.

'Unhappy being,' said Maracot. 'It is I who have the power and the
will to blast you where you stand. Too long have you cursed the world
with your presence. You have been a plague-spot infecting all that was
beautiful and good. The hearts of men will be lighter when you are
gone, and the sun will shine more brightly.'

'What is this? Who are you? What is it that you are saying?' stammered
the creature.
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Kothar Bishop
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Posts: 1893

« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2007, 03:04:05 pm »

'You speak of secret knowledge. Shall I tell you that which is at the
very base of it? It is that on every plane the good of that plane can
be stronger than the evil. The angel will still beat the devil. For
the moment I am on the same plane on which you have so long been, and
I hold the power of the conqueror. It has been given to me. So again I
say: Down with you! Down to Hell to which you belong! Down, sir! Down,
I say! Down!'

And then the miracle occurred. For a minute or more--how can one
count time at such moments?--the two beings, the mortal and the
demon, faced each other as rigid as statues, glaring into each other's
eyes, with inexorable will upon the two faces, the dark one and the
fair. Then suddenly the great creature flinched. His face convulsed
with rage, he threw two clawing hands up into the air. 'It is you,
Warda, you cursed one! I recognize your handiwork. Oh, curse you,
Warda. Curse you! Curse you!' His voice died away, his long dark
figure became blurred in its outline, his head drooped upon his chest,
his knees sagged under him, down he sank and down, and as he sank he
changed his shape. At first it was a crouching human being, then it
was a dark formless mass, and then with sudden collapse it had become
a semi-liquid heap of black and horrible putrescence which stained the
dais and poisoned the air. At the same time Scanlan and I dashed
forward on to the platform, for Dr. Maracot, with a deep groan, his
powers exhausted, had fallen forward in helpless collapse. 'We have
won! We have won!' he muttered, and an instant later his senses had
left him and he lay half dead upon the floor.


Thus it was that the Atlantean colony was saved from the most horrible
danger that could threaten it, and that an evil presence was banished
for ever from the world. It was not for some days that Dr. Maracot
could tell his story, and when he did it was of such a character that
if we had not seen the results we should have put it down as the
delirium of his illness. I may say that his power had left him with
the occasion which had called it forth, and that he was now the same
quiet, gentle man of science whom we had known.

'That it should have happened to me!' he cried. 'To me, a materialist,
a man so immersed in matter that the invisible did not exist in my
philosophy. The theories of a whole lifetime have crumbled about my

'I guess we have all been to school again,' said Scanlan, 'If ever I
get back to the little home town, I shall have something to tell the

'The less you tell them the better, unless you want to get the name of
being the greatest liar that ever came out of America,' said I. 'Would
you or I have believed it all if someone else had told us?'

'Maybe not. But say, Doc, you had the dope right enough. That great
black stiff got his ten and out as neat as ever I saw. There was no
come-back there. You clean pushed him off the map. I don't know on
what other map he has found his location, but it is no place for Bill
Scanlan anyhow.'

'I will tell you exactly what occurred,' said the Doctor. 'You will
remember that I left you and retired into my study. I had little hope
in my heart, but I had read a good deal at different times about black
magic and occult arts. I was aware that white can always dominate
black if it can but reach the same plane. He was on a much stronger--
I will not say higher--plane than we. That was the fatal fact.

'I saw no way of getting over it. I flung myself down on the settee
and I prayed--yes, I, the hardened materialist, prayed--for help.
When one is at the very end of all human power, what can one do save
to stretch appealing hands into the mists which gird us round? I
prayed--and my prayer was most wonderfully answered.

'I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was not alone in the room.
There stood before me a tall figure, as swarthy as the evil presence
whom we fought, but with a kindly, bearded face which shone with
benevolence and love. The sense of power which he conveyed was not
less than the other, but it was the power of good, the power within
the influence of which evil would shred away as the mists do before
the sun. He looked at me with kindly eyes, and I sat, too amazed to
speak, staring up at him. Something within me, some inspiration or
intuition, told me that this was the spirit of that great and wise
Atlantean who had fought the evil while he lived, and who, when he
could not prevent the destruction of his country, took such steps as
would ensure that the more worthy should survive even though they
should be sunk to the depths of the Ocean. This wondrous being was now
interposing to prevent the ruin of his work and the destruction of his
children. With a sudden gush of hope I realized all this as clearly as
if he had said it. Then, still smiling, he advanced, and he laid his
two hands upon my head. It was his own virtue and strength, no doubt,
which he was transferring to me. I felt it coursing like fire down my
veins. Nothing in the world seemed impossible at that moment. I had
the will and the might to do miracles. Then at that moment I heard the
bell clang out, which told me that the crisis had come. As I rose from
the couch the spirit, smiling his encouragement, vanished before me.
Then I joined you, and the rest you know.'

'Well, sir,' said I, 'I think you have made your reputation. If you
care to set up as a god down here, I expect you would find no

'You got away with it better than I did, Doc,' said Scanlan in a
rueful voice. 'How is it this guy didn't know what you were doing? He
was quick enough on to me when I laid hand on a gun. And yet you had
him guessing.'

'I suppose that you were on the plane of matter, and that, for the
moment, we were upon that of spirit,' said the Doctor thoughtfully.
'Such things teach one humility. It is only when you touch the higher
that you realize how low we may be among the possibilities of
creation. I have had my lesson. May my future life show that I have
learned it.'

So this was the end of our supreme experience. It was but a little
time later that we conceived the idea of sending news of ourselves to
the surface, and that later by means of vitrine balls filled with
levigen, we ascended ourselves to be met in the manner already
narrated. Dr. Maracot actually talks of going back. There is some
point of Ichthyology upon which he wants more precise information. But
Scanlan has, I hear, married his wren in Philadelphia, and has been
promoted as works manager of Merribanks, so he seeks no further
adventure, while I--well, the deep sea has given me a precious pearl,
and I ask for no more.

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« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2007, 03:39:57 pm »


I am, for once, S P E E C H L E S S!


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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Kothar Bishop
Superhero Member
Posts: 1893

« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2007, 04:18:16 pm »

Thanks, Bianca, that story is especially rare, so I thought it would be a good idea to post it here when I ran across it!
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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2007, 04:35:19 pm »

Yes, it is rare, Kothar. 

I am a big fan of Conan Doyle (he was a Spiritualist, like me) and I have never been
able to find a copy.

Delicious read!!

I couldn't help but notice, though, how similar "Lost Horizon" is.  Of course, that James Hilton
novel was published a few years later.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Kothar Bishop
Superhero Member
Posts: 1893

« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2007, 06:10:57 pm »

Bianca, a lot of later authors were inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so it is not surprising that the Lost Horizon was a bit derivative!  He also isn't known for works like this.  A very interesting man, he was.  In my opinion, the older authors are still the best.

I have been searching for this story for years and am very happy to have finally found it.
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« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2007, 10:46:32 pm »

Holy Cow!  I just finished this and am tingling all over!  Thanks a lot for posting it.
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An open-minded view of the past allows for an unprejudiced glimpse into the future.

Logic rules.

"Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong."
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« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2007, 03:19:00 pm »

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« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 03:22:14 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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