The Gland Men of the Island

The Gland Men of the Island

by Malcolm Afford

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Overview

To many who read my account of our amazing adventure on the island of
the Gland Men, it will serve as just another illustration of how
devious is the path of science. It will illustrate also how, from the
darkness that girds it round, terrible possibilities loom black and
menacing, terrifying those daring enough to wander from the beaten
track.

Another, and I fear greater, section of my readers may harbour no such
sentiments, labelling the whole as a tissue of preposterous lies, but
to those who condemn me, I say this. Take the facts--meagre, garbled--
as they appeared in the newspapers and attempt to account for them in
any other way. There is only one answer. It is impossible.

The intimate details were far too terrifying and astounding to permit
of the facts being published verbatim, and it was mainly due to the
newspaper's reticence that something bordering on a world-wide panic
was averted.

Doctor Bruce Clovelly, DD., F. R. C. S., will, of course, need no
introduction, for his recent surgical triumphs in glanding have made
his name almost a by-word, and it is with Guy Follansbee that we must
concern ourselves. Follansbee, as I knew him in my days as laboratory
assistant to the doctor--one of those singularly fortunate individuals
who know exactly what they want and how to get it without offending a
single soul--inclined to be cynical, yet straight as the proverbial
string. He had inherited from his father an insatiable desire for
adventure and an income that ran into I forget how many figures. Being
a man of somewhat simple philosophy, he used the latter to appease the
former.

It had taken our combined arguments, practised often and over long
periods, to make the doctor even consider such a thing as recreation
and I had experienced the hardest task of my life in getting him from
his chambers in Gower Street, to which he clung like Diogenes to his
wooden cavern. Even after his actual transplanting on to his opulent
friend's yacht, the Silver Lady, he took his enforced holiday like a
small boy takes his medicine, but as the illimitable miles of
sparkling water grew between our vessel and his stuffy chambers, he
turned about to enjoy himself.

We were midway between the Solomons and Santa Cruz Islands when the
queer affair began. The morning had been oppressively calm and
Follansbee, the doctor and myself had taken the electric launch to
examine the rock fauna that flourished so prolifically hereabouts. It
was characteristic of the doctor that he could, when required, produce
inexhaustible stores of unexpected knowledge on the most out-of-the-
way subjects; and though I had never before heard him mention marine
growths, here he was expounding in his most didactic manner to his
slightly amused companion.

Having little taste in such matters, I was reclining upon the
collapsible canvas chair, smoking a cigarette, and occasionally
dipping my hand into the water, in order to convince myself that it
would not emerge dyed blue. Whether, rocked by the gentle motion of
the boat, I fell into a semi-doze or whether the change swept down so
quickly that its coming was unnoticed, I cannot say. But I remember
that I suddenly jumped to my feet and called my companions' attention
to the unpleasant condition of the weather.

In the east, the sun, flattened to a disc of unhealthy brown, was
gradually giving way to a dense bank of cloud that rushed down with
the rapidity of a drop curtain. The water had lost its turquoise hue
and undulated in a long oily swell that was strangely suggestive of
hidden power underneath. Everywhere a heavy, pall-like silence hung
over the face of Nature, fraught with an indescribable sensation of
impending danger. Now and again there sounded, very faint and far-off,
a curious humming sob, as of some gigantic beast in an agony of
torture.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013758841
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 01/13/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 34 KB

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