The professor sat in silence for a few minutes, and the darkness hid the grim smile that wreathed his wrinkled countenance.
The professor reached out a thin, trembling old hand through the darkness until it found his old friend's shoulder.
"You certainly pulled me up into this tree just in time," said the professor at last.
"Neither!" said the Professor, gently clapping his hands.
"Horizontal weather," said the Professor, and made straight for the door, very nearly trampling on Bruno, who had only just time to get out of his way.
The Professor was back in a moment: he had changed his dressing-gown for a frock-coat, and had put on a pair of very strange-looking boots, the tops of which were open umbrellas.
"I am not so concerned about the monetary value of the statue as I am about its antiquity," went on Professor Bumper.
"One only of the priests in the temple of Quitzel escaped and set down part of the tale," said the professor. "It is his narrative, or one based on it, that I have given you."
"That's just what it is with me!" exclaimed Professor Bumper.
Whatever path the lecturer took amid the wilds of the past seemed invariably to lead him to some assertion as to extinct or prehistoric life which instantly brought the same bulls' bellow from the Professor. The audience began to anticipate it and to roar with delight when it came.
"I must ask you, Professor Challenger, to cease these ignorant and unmannerly interruptions."
"Professor Challenger--personal--views-- later," were the solid peaks above his clouds of inaudible mutter.
"Forgive me, Professor," von Horn hastened to urge.
Professor Maxon was mollified by this apology, and turned to resume his watch beside a large, coffin-shaped vat.
As Professor Maxon eyed the man before replying to his abrupt request, von Horn noted a strange and sudden light in the older man's eyes--a something which he never before had seen there and which caused an uncomfortable sensation to creep over him--a manner of bristling that was akin either to fear or horror, von Horn could not tell which.