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Chapter 16: "Most Remarkable"
Several miles south of the cabin, upon a strip of sandy beach, stood two old men, arguing.
Before them stretched the broad Atlantic. At their backs was the Dark Continent. Close around them loomed the impenetrable blackness of the jungle.
Savage beasts roared and growled; noises, hideous and weird, assailed their ears. They had wandered for miles in search of their camp, but always in the wrong direction. They were as hopelessly lost as though they suddenly had been transported to another world.
At such a time, indeed, every fiber of their combined intellects must have been concentrated upon the vital question of the minute--the life-and-death question to them of retracing their steps to camp.
Samuel T. Philander was speaking.
"But, my dear professor," he was saying, "I still maintain that but for the victories of Ferdinand and Isabella over the fifteenth-century Moors in Spain the world would be today a thousand years in advance of where we now find ourselves. The Moors were essentially a tolerant, broad-minded, liberal race of agriculturists, artisans and merchants--the very type of people that has made possible such civilization as we find today in America and Europe--while the Spaniards--"
"Tut, tut, dear Mr. Philander," interrupted Professor Porter; "their religion positively precluded the possibilities you suggest. Moslemism was, is, and always will be, a blight on that scientific progress which has marked--"
"Bless me! Professor," interjected Mr. Philander, who had turned his gaze toward the jungle, "there seems to be someone approaching."
Professor Archimedes Q. Porter turned in the direction indicated by the nearsighted Mr. Philander.
"Tut, tut, Mr. Philander," he chided. "How often must I urge you to seek that absolute concentration of your mental faculties which alone may permit you to bring to bear the highest powers of intellectuality upon the momentous problems which naturally fall to the lot of great minds? And now I find you guilty of a most flagrant breach of courtesy in interrupting my learned discourse to call attention to a mere quadruped of the genus FELIS. As I was saying, Mr.--"
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