Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 99

the collar of his uniform. "These uniforms are much too heavy for
the tropics," commented the explorer instead of making inquiries
about the machine, as the officer had expected him to do. "Cer–
tainly," said the officer, washing his hands, stained with oil and
grease, in a pail of water that stood ready nearby, "but they are
the symbols of home, and we don't want to lose our homeland."
"But take a look at this machine," he added immediately, as he
dried his hands with a towel, pointing at the same time to the appa–
ratus. "Up till now, it still had to be worked by hand; now it works
entirely alone." The explorer nodded and followed the officer. The
latter, wanting to safeguard himself against
eventualities, said:
"Of course disturbances do occur; I hope there will be none today,
yet we must always reckon with one. For the apparatus has to run
for tWelve consecutive hours. But if there should be· any disturb–
ances, they will only be insignificant ones, and they will be repaired
at once."
"Don't you want to sit down?" he finally asked, and choosing
a wicker chair from a heap of others, he offered it to the explorer,
who could not refuse. He was now sitting on the edge of a pit, into
which he cast a fugitive glance. It was not very deep. On one side
-of the pit the turned-up earth had been heaped into a wall: on the
other side stood the machine. "I don't know," said the officer, "if
the commanding officer ha'l already explained the apparatus to
you." The explorer made a vague gesture of the hand; the officer
asked nothing better, for now he could explain the apparatus him–
self. "This machine," he said, grasping the crankshaft, on which
he was leaning, "is an invention of our former commanding officer.
I collaborated with him in the early experiments and took part in
all the stages of the work up till the end. But credit for the inven–
tion belongs to him alone. Have you ever heard of our former
commander? No? Well, I'm not exaggerating when I say that the
organizing of the entire penal colony is his work. We who were hi s
friends knew already, at the time of his death, that the organization
of the colony was so complete in itself, that his successor, even
though he were to
a thousand new ideas in his head, would
not be able to change anything for many years to come, at least.
What we foresaw has come about: the new commander has had to
recognize this. It's too bad you did not know the former comman–
der. But"-here the officer interrupted himself, "here I am gabbling
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