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Epilogue

ABOUT a year later a good many extracts such as the following might have been culled from the London daily papers:—

“At the Albert Hall last evening, in the presence of Royalty, and of an immense and appreciative audience, Mr Eric Hansen delivered his very remarkable lecture on the prehistoric antiquities of Northern Australia. This was the Danish explorer's first appearance as a public lecturer in England, though in his own country, and in Germany, he has related before several learned societies the tale of his marvellous exploits, and those of his wife the Baroness Marley, whose recent accession to that old title—so long in abeyance—adds a fresh flavour of romance to the exciting story. Indeed, nothing more thrilling has ever been imagined in fiction than the wanderings, the escapes, and the subsequent marriage of this adventurous pair. It is an open secret that Lady Marley and Mr Eric Hansen have been received with favour in high places, and are in fact the lion and lioness of an exceptionally brilliant season. So that, apart from the enormous scientific value of their discoveries, as demonstrating a connection in past ages between the almost extinct civilisations of the ancient Americas and Australia, it was to be fully expected that the young explorer—himself a fascinating personality—should form a centre of attraction for the representatives of fashion, science, and culture, who crowded the Albert Hall last evening.”

There is no need to continue the report verbatim. It may be read by any one who chooses to look through the files of the Daily Recorder, and who may there see the list of celebrities present, including Lady Marley and her mother and sister to whom several descriptive lines were devoted. The personal appearance, style, and characteristics of the lecturer took up a whole paragraph, and following a summary of the chief points of the address, was an enumeration of the few exhibits


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which the wanderers had been able to bring away with them in their hurried flight from the cataclysm that had almost overwhelmed them—the Acan costumes they had worn, an obsidian knife, and a huntsman's javelin; specimens of the picture-writing; an ancient MS., together with his own drawings of certain of the hieroglyphics and carvings which Hansen had kept secreted about his person; and—most important relic of all—the great opal worn by the Acan High Priestess. Deeply was it regretted that no fragment had been preserved of the interesting but terrible Death Stone. There were, however, distant allusions to the likelihood of an exploration fund being started, and the foundation of a syndicate to test the wonderful mineral resources of the Land of the Tortoise—unless, indeed, as was darkly hinted, all traces of it had been destroyed by the volcanic eruption which had closed that chapter of adventure.

Then, to use the somewhat elaborate phraseology of the Daily Recorder, we are further informed that “the highly intelligent and humourous aboriginal, Kombo, whose occasional ejaculations in the native tongue were a source of diversion to the audience, was seated during the lecture on the platform behind his master, and afterwards received a special share of attention.” We are indeed led to imagine that for some time later Kombo was the delight and despair of interviewers!

So much for the newspapers. But for a full and scientific exposition of the results of Eric Hansen's and Anne Marley's explorations, the reader is referred to the work they are about to publish entitled, “With Cannibals and Acans in Unknown Australia.”

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