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Chicago Sunday Tribune, February 15, 1914
The photo-drama corresponding to the installments The Adventures of Kathlyn may now be seen at a number of the leading motion picture theaters. By this unique arrangement with the Selig Polyscope Company it is, therefore, possible and only to read The Adventures of Kathlyn in The Sunday Tribune, but also to keep pace with each additional installment at the moving picture theater.1
SYNOPSIS OF PREVIOUS CHAPTERS
Kathlyn Hare, believes her father, Col. Hare, to be in dire peril in Allaha, a principality iof India. The King of Allaha has recently died, and because the colonel once saved his life he names him as his successor. Umballah2, pretender to the throne of Allaha, loves Kathlyn and has forged a message summoning her to her father, whom he has thrown into prison. She leaves her home to California to go to him.
Upon her arrival in Allaha she is informed by Unballah that her father is dead and that she is the queen and must marry him forthwith. Her refusal infuriates him, but as Kathlyn’s beauty and spirit have made a strong appeal to the people, and especially to the soldiers, who hate Unballah, he yields the point for the time being. A priest announced that no woman may rule unmarried, but because of the young queen is not conversant with the laws of the state she will be given seven days to decide.
When Kathlyn reiterates, at the expiration of the week of grace, her refusal to marry Umballah she receives sentence time from the supreme tribunal that she is to undergo two ordeals with wild beasts. If she survives, she is to be permitted to rule without hinderance.
Through the pluck and resourcefulness of John Bruce, an American and fellow passenger on the boat which brought Kathlyn to Allaha, and who had come to her assistance, she escapes unharmed from the two ordeals. The elephant which carries her becomes frightened and runs away, separating her from Bruce and the rest of the party.
After a ride filled with peril she takes refuge in a ruined temple. The holy men and villagers, believing her to be an ancient princess risen from the tomb, allow her to remain as the guardian of the sacred fire. But Kathlyn’s haven is also the abode of a lion, and she is forced to fly from it with the savage beast in pursuit.
CHAPTER VII QUICKSAND
When Kathlyn came to the river she swerved toward the broadest part of it. Twice she stumbled over boulders, but rose pluckily and, bruised and breathless, plunged into the water. It was swift running and shoulder deep, and she was forced to swim strongly to gain the opposite shore. She dragged herself up to the bank and, once there, looked back. What she saw rather astonished her. She could not solve the riddle at first. The lion seemed to be struggling with some invisible opponent. He stood knee deep in the sands, tugging and pulling. He began to roar. Even as Kathlyn gazed she saw his chest touch the sand and his swelling flanks sink lower. Fascinated, she could not withdraw her gaze. How his mighty shoulders heaved and pulled! But down, down, lower and lower, till nothing but the great maned head remained in view. Then that was drawn down; the sand filled the animal’s mouth and stopped his roaring; lower, lower . . .
Quicksands! The spot where he had disappeared stirred and glistened and shuddered, and then the eternal blankness of sand.
She was not, then, to die? Should she return to the temple? Would they not demand of her the restoration of the lion? She must go on, whither she knew not. She regretted the peace of the temple in the daytime. She could see the dome from where she stood. Like Ishmael, she must go on, forever and forever on. Was God watching over her? Was it His hand which stayed the onslaught of the beast and defeated the baser schemes of men? Was there to be a haven at the end? She smiled wanly. What more was to beset her path she knew not, nor cared just then, since there was to be a haven at the end.
Perhaps prescience brought to her mind’s eye a picture; she saw her father, and Bruce, and Winnie, and her sweetheart, and they seemed to be toasting her from the end of a long table, under the blue California sky. This vision renewed her strength. She proceeded onward.
She must have followed the river at least a mile when she espied a raft moored to a clump of trees. Here she saw a way of saving her weary limbs many a rugged mile. She forded the stream, freed the raft, and poled out into the middle of the stream.
It happened that the Mohammedan hunters who owned the raft were at this moment swinging along toward the temple. On the shoulders of two rested a pole from which dangled the lifeless body of a newly killed leopard. They were bringing it in as a gift to the head man of the village, who was a thoroughgoing Mohammedan, and who held in contempt Hinduism and all its amazing ramifications.
The white priestess was indeed a puzzle; for, while the handful of Mohammedans in the village were fanatical in their belief in the true prophet and his Koran, and put little faith in miracles and still less in holy men who performed them, the advent of the white priestess deeply mystified them. There was no getting around this: she was there; with their own eyes they saw her. There might be something in Hinduism after all.
When the hunters arrived at the portico of the temple they found two greatly terrified holy men, shrilling their “Ai! Ai!” in lamentation and beating their foreheads against the earth.
“Holy men, what is wrong?” asked one of the hunters, respectfully.
“The lion has killed our priestess; the sacred fires must die again! Ai! Ai!”
“Where is the lion?”
“They fled toward the river, and there he has doubtless destroyed her, for in evil, Siva, represented by the lion, is more powerful than Vishnu, reincarnated in our priestess. Ai! Ai! She is dead and we are undone!”
“Come!” said the chief huntsman. “Let us run to the river and see what these queer gods are doing. We’ll present the skin of Siva to our master!” He laughed.
The leopard carriers deposited their burden and all started off at a dog-trot. They had always been eager regarding this lion. In the temple he was inviolable; but at large, that was a different matter.
Arriving at the river brink, they saw the foot-prints of the lion on the wet sand which ran down to the water. To leap from this spot to the water was not possible for any beast of the jungle. Yet the lion had vanished completely, as though he had been given wings. They stood about in awe till one of the older hunters knelt, reached out, and dug his hand into the innocent looking sand. Instantly he leaped to his feet and jumped back.
“The sucking sand!” he cried. “To the raft!”
They skirted the dangerous quicksands and dashed along the banks to discover that their raft was gone. Vishnu, then, as reincarnated, required solid transportation, after the manner of human beings? They became angry. A raft was a raft, substantial, necessary; and there was no reason why a god who had ten thousand temples for his own should stoop to rob a poor man of his wherewithal to travel in safety.
“The mugger!” exclaimed one, “let the high priestess beware of the mugger, for he is strong enough to tip over the raft!”
Nearly every village which lies close to a stream has its family crocodile. He is very sacred and thrives comfortably upon suicides and the dead, which are often cast into the river to be purified. The Hindus are a suicidal race; the reverse of the occidental conception, suicide is a quick and glorious route to Heaven.
The current of the stream carried Kathlyn along at a fair pace; all she had to do was to pole away from the numerous sand-bars and such boulders as lifted their rugged heads above the water.
Round a bend the river widened and grew correspondingly sluggish. She sounded with her pole. Something hideous beyond words arose–a fat, aged, crafty crocodile. His corrugated snout was thrust quickly over the edge of the raft. She struck at him wildly with the pole, and in a fury he rushed the raft, upsetting Kathlyn.
The crocodile sank and for a moment lost sight of Kathlyn, who waded frantically to the bank, up which she scrambled. She turned in time to see the crocodile’s tearful (Transcriber’s note: fearful?) eyes staring up at her from the water’s edge. He presently slid back into his slimy bed; a few yellow bubbles, and he was gone.
Kathlyn’s heart became suddenly and unaccountably swollen with rage; she became primordial; she wanted to hurt, maim, kill. Childishly she stooped and picked up heavy stones which she hurled into the water. The instinct to live flamed so strongly in her that the crust of civilization fell away like mist before the sun, and for a long time the pure savage (which lies dormant in us all) ruled her. She would live, live, live; she would live to forget this oriental inferno through which she was passing.
She ran toward the jungle, all unconscious of the stone she still held in her hand. She lost all sense of time and compass; and so ran in a half circle, coming out at the river again.
The Indian twilight was rising in the east when she found herself again looking out upon the water, the stone still clutched tightly. She gazed at the river, then at the stone, and again at the river. The stone dropped with a thud at her feet. The savage in her had not abated in the least; only her body was terribly worn and wearied and the robe, muddi ed and torn, enveloped her like a veil of ice. Above her the lonely yellow sky; below her the sickly river; all about her silence which held a thousand menaces. Which way should she go? Where could she possibly find shelter for the night?
The chill roused her finally and she swung her arms to renew the circulation. Near by she saw a tree, in the crotch of which reposed a platform, and upon this platform sat a shrine. A few withered flowers hung about the gross neck of the idol, and withered flowers lay scattered at the base of the tree. There was also a bundle of dry rushes which some devotee had forgotten. At least, yonder platform would afford safety through the night. So, with the last bit of strength at her command, she gathered up the rushes and climbed to the platform, arranging her bed behind the idol. She covered her shoulders with the rushes and drew her knees up to her chin. She had forgotten her father, Bruce, the happy days in a far country; she had but a single thought, to sleep. What the want of sleep could not perform exhaustion could; and presently she lay still.
Thus, she neither saw nor heard the pious pilgrims who were on their way to Allaha to pray in that temple known to offer protection against wild beasts. Fortunately, they did not observe her.
The pilgrim is always a pilgrim in India; it becomes, one might say, a fascinating kind of sport. To most of them, short pilgrimages are as tame as rabbits would be to the hunter of lions. They will walk from Bombay to Benares, from Madras to Llassa, begging and bragging all the way. Eventually they become semi-holy, distinguished citizens in a clutter of mud huts.
They deposited some corn and fruit at the foot of the tree and departed, leaving Kathlyn in peace. But later, when the moon poured its white, cold radiance over her face it awakened her, and it took her some time to realize where she was.
Below, belly deep in the river, stood several water buffaloes, their sweeping horns glistening like old ivory in the moonshine. Presently a leopard stole down to the brink and lapped the water greedily, from time to time throwing a hasty, apprehensive glance over his sleek shoulders. The buffaloes never stirred; where they were it was safe. Across the river a bulky shadow moved into the light, and a fat, brown bear took his tithe of the water. The leopard snarled and slunk off. The bear washed his face, possibly sticky with purloined wild honey, and betook himself back to his lair.
Kathlyn suddenly became aware of the fact that she was a spectator to a scene such as few human beings are permitted to see: truce water, where the wild beasts do not kill one another. She grew so interested that she forgot her own plight. The tree stood only a few feet from the water, so she saw everything distinctly.
Later, when his majesty the tiger made his appearance dramatically, the buffaloes simply moved closer together, presenting a formidable frontage of horns.
Never had Kathlyn seen such an enormous beast. From his great padded paws to his sloping shoulders he stood easily four feet in height, and his stripes were almost as broad as her hand. He drank, doubtless eying the buffaloes speculatively; some other time. Then he, too, sat on his haunches and washed his face, but with infinite gracefulness. It occurred to the watcher that, familiar as she was with the habits of wild beasts, never had she witnessed a tiger or a lion enact this domestic scene. Either they were always pacing their cages, gazing far over the heads of those who watched them, or they slept. Even when they finished a meal of raw meat they merely licked their chops; there was no toilet.
Here, however, was an elaborate toilet. The great cat licked his paws, drew them across his face; then licked his beautiful sides, purring; for the night was so still and the beast was so near that she could see him quite plainly. He stretched himself, took another drink, and trotted off to the jungle.
Then came a herd of elephants, for each species seemed to have an appointed time. The buffaloes emerged and filed away into the dark. The elephants plunged into the water, squealing, making sport, squirting water over their backs, and rolling, head under; and they buffeted one another amiably, and there was a baby who seemed to get in everybody’s way and the grown-ups treated him shabbily. By and by they, too, trooped off. Then came wild pigs and furtive antelopes and foolish, chattering apes.
At last the truce water became deserted and Kathlyn lay down again, only to be surprised by a huge ape who stuck his head up over the edge of the platform. The surprise was mutual. Kathlyn pushed the idol toward him. The splash of it in the water scared off the unwelcome guest, and then Kathlyn lay down and slept.
A day or so later Bruce arrived at the temple. Day after day he had hung to the trail, picking it up here and losing it there. He found Rajah, the elephant, the howdah gone, and only the ornamental headpiece discovered to Bruce that he had found his rogue. Rajah was docile enough; he had been domesticated so long that his freedom rather irked him.
Bruce elicited from the mourning holy men the amazing adventure in all its details. Kathlyn had disappeared in the jungle and not even the tried hunters could find her. She was lost. Bruce, though in his heart of hearts he believed her dead, took up the trail again. But many weary weeks were to pass ere he learned that she lived.
He shook his fist toward Allaha. “Oh, Durga Ram, one of these fine days you and I shall square accounts!”
Kathlyn had just completed herself a dress of grass. Three years before she had learned the trick from the natives in Hawaii. The many days of hardship had made her thinner, but never had she been so hardy, so clear eyed, so quick and lithe in her actions. She had lived precariously, stealing her food at dusk from the tents of the ryots; raw vegetables, plantains, mangoes. Sometimes she recited verses in order that she might break the oppressive silence which always surrounded her.
She kept carefully out of the way of all human beings, so she had lost all hope of succor from the brown people, who had become so hateful to her as the scavengers of the jungle. There was something to admire in the tiger, the leopard, the wild elephant; but she placed all natives (perhaps wrongly) in a class with the unclean jackals and hyenas.
Tanned deeply by wind and sun, Kathlyn was darker than many a native woman. Often she thought of Bruce, but hope of his finding her had long since died within her. Every night when she climbed to her platform she vowed she would start south the next morning; south, toward the land where there were white people; but each morning found her hesitant.
Behind her tree there was a clearing, then a jumble of thickly growing trees; beyond those was another clearing, upon which stood a deserted elephant stockade. The grass had grown rank in it for want of use. She was in the act of putting on grass sandals when she saw, to her dismay, the approach of men and elephants. Two elephants were ridden by mahouts. Two other elephants were being jostled toward the stockade, evidently new captives. They proceeded passively, however, for elephants submit to captivity with less real trouble than any other wild beast. Kathlyn crouched low in the grass and waited till the men and elephants entered the stockade; then she ran quickly toward her haven, the platform in the tree. She never went very far from this, save in search of food. She had also recovered the idol and set it back in its place. It was not, fortunately, a much frequented spot. It was for the benefit of the occasional pilgrim, the ryots having shrines more conveniently situated.
She nestled down among her rushes and waited. She could not see the stockade from where she now was, but she could hear shouts from the mahouts.
Recently she had discovered a leopard’s lair near the stockade and was very careful to avoid it, much as she wanted to seize the pretty cubs and run away with them. By this time she knew the habits, fears, and hatreds of these people of the jungle, and she scrupulously attended her affairs as they attended theirs. Sometimes the great striped tiger prowled about the base of the tree, sharpened his claws on the bark, but he never attempted to ascend to the platform. Perhaps he realized the uselessness of investigation, since the platform made it impossible for him to see what was up there. But always now, to and from the truce water, he paused, looked up, circled the tree, and went away mystified.
Only the grass eating beasts came down to water that night, and Kathlyn understood by this that the men and the elephants were still in the stockade.
The following morning she went down to the stream to bathe; at the same time the parent leopards came for drink. They had not cared to seek their lair during the night on account of the fires; and, worrying over their cubs, they were not in the most agreeable mood.
Kathlyn saw their approach in time to reach her platform. They snarled about the tree, and the male climbed up as far as the platform. Kathlyn reached over with a stout club and clouted the brute on his tender nose.
A shot broke the silence and a bullet spat angrily against the tree trunk. Two cats fled. Immediately there came a squealing and trumpeting from the stockade.
This is what had happened: The chief mahout had discovered the cubs and had taken them into the stockade just as another hunter had espied the parent leopards. The rifle shot had frightened one of the wild elephants. With a mighty plunge he had broken the chain which held him prisoner to the decoy elephant and pushed through the rotten stockade, heading straight for the river.
Kathlyn saw his bulk as it crashed straight through the brush. He shuffled directly toward her tree. The ground about was of clay, merging into sand as it sloped toward the river. The frantic runaway slipped, crushed against the tree trunk, recovered himself, and went splashing into the water.
Kathlyn was flung headlong and only the water saved her from severe bodily harm. When she recovered her senses she was surrounded by a group of very much astonished Mohammedans.
They jabbered and gesticulated to one another and she was conducted to the stockade. She understood but two words–“Allaha” and “slave.”
1 The movie serial was 13 chapters, with each chapter released every two weeks. The novelization is much more detailed, and therefore in twenty-six chapters.
2 “Umballa” is spelled as “Umballah” in the Chicago Tribune story, when it is spelled without the “h” in Mr. MacGrath’s novel. This may be an indicator for copyright purposes as to where copy was picked up from.
In the novelization, which was published after the release of the final motion picture chapter, The Tribune ceased to provide titles to each chapter starting with the Seventh Chapter.