All efforts to recover Von Dunkel's corpse were in vain. Here in the South Seas, sharks make quick work of any white daring to bathe in their blood-dimmed tides. Neither was there evidence of the nemesis brought forth on that terrible night. Even the crate the ape (if ape it was) burst from is gone, washed overboard in the storm.

I assisted with the search throughout the night, and retired to my cabin at daybreak. Only then was I confronted with the renewed horror of what I had ingested. There was no doubt that Von Dunkel's foot, untreated with fire, and in fact, gently incubated in the jungle miasma, had been a conduit for disease.

Despite the excessive claims of the germ theorists, there is a singular class of malady provably contagious. To these terrible pathogens, the frailties of the constitution are completely open, and the defenses of the soma afford no protection: they are the venerii.

Von Dunkel alluded to as much in his tale. Cauterization is of no use in my case, as I am all ready infected. No excision can affect the outcome, nor any drug cure the malady. I have but one avenue, and a desperate one- mercurial colonic irrigation.

There is no proper surgery aboard, nor dare I ask the ship's doctor to assist in such a dangerous therapy. My barometric meter can supply enough of the necessary pure element, and my portable enemal studio contains the all the equipment required. The risk is unimaginable, but I must take it. I will not meet a slow death on shore, an object of derision and pity. I will not shame my wife and son. I will return to them healthy and strong, having gazed and laughed upon my grave yet again, or I will not return at all. Elizabeth, my thoughts are with you, and with little Albert. I regret that I might never live to see him scribble his first childish signature, or kiss your lips, so sweetly predicted in your gentle hand, ever again. I love you both very much.

The therapy can be delayed no longer. Into the abyss!