The Lost World Chapters 1 - 3 Summary

Ned Malone is spending another evening in the company of Gladys Hungerton and her father. Her father thinks Ned is visiting him, but Ned is actually there to see Gladys. He has fallen in love with the lovely vivacious Gladys and is working up the courage to express his feelings to her.

At last he is alone with her, so he is thinking of how to propose to her, but she cuts him off before he is able to speak. She tells him she knows he is about to propose and she hopes he reconsiders his actions. He asks her why he would not make a worthy husband. She tells him she has always wanted a man of daring, who would risk his life in the pursuit of great deeds. She cites the example of Lord Stanley, as a man willing to risk all to achieve his goals. She wants to be the woman behind a man of such great accomplishments. She tells him she wants to marry a famous man.

Ned explains to her that these opportunities are few and far between, so the chances of him pursuing a death defying dream is slim. Gladys asserts that he needs to make his own chances and then go after them. Ned leaves her to fulfill his mission of becoming an adventurer and risk all, to win the heart of Gladys.

Ned is a reporter for the Daily Gazette. He approaches his editor, McArdle, with the request that he be sent on a mission for the newspaper. He wants a story which will earn him fame and Gladys' respect. His editor tells him newspapers seldom pursue such stories anymore, because of the expense involved in sending a reporter to a far off place.

He does have an idea for a story for Ned, though, it seems he has been following Professor Challenger, who after an expedition in South America, two years prior, made some claims, which he was not able to substantiate. McArdle wants to expose Professor Challenger as fraud to the world. The professor has already assaulted one reporter, who tried to interview him, so Ned is not excited about the prospect of speaking him.

Ned calls upon his old friend, Tarp Henry, who is on the staff of Nature and as he is a bacteriologist, he is somewhat acquainted with the writings and reputation of Professor Challenger. Tarp tells Ned what Challenger supposedly found in South America. It seems the professor claimed he discovered some unusual animals there, but only had some bad photographs to show as proof of his discovery. After being interviewed by newspapers and ridiculed by them, Challenger refuses to discuss his discovery with anyone. Challenger also has a reputation of being a bully and highly egotistical man, who others agree does have a high intellect.

Tarp tries to help Ned understand what it is that Challenger found, by giving him a copy of a translation of an argument Challenger had with some other scientists at a conference in Vienna. From this translation Ned is able to find one line, which he can almost understand, to use in a letter to Challenger. He convinces Tarp to lend him a piece of stationary with Tarp's address on it, so the letter will seem as if it comes from a student scientist. He writes to Professor Challenger telling him he respects the professor's point of view on evolution, but he has some questions he would like to ask him in person. He asks to meet with Professor Challenger the next Wednesday at 11am. He now only needs to wait and see if Professor Challenger responds to his letter.

The professor agrees to see Ned on the day he suggested, as long as Ned follows his rules. Ned needs to bring the envelope the professor's letter was sent in to the meeting, as proof he is who he claims to be and therefore allowing him admittance to Challenger's home. Challenger is taking this precaution because he does not want to have any journalists enter his home.

Ned arrives at Challenger's home and after presenting the envelope is allowed inside, where he is met by Mrs. Challenger. She warns Ned to leave immediately if Challenger seems to become violent, because he has injured others who did not leave quickly enough. Ned has told Mrs. Challenger he is a journalist, so she fears for his safety if her husband discovers his true occupation.

Ned hopes he can keep up his ruse of being a scientist long enough to gain Challenger's trust and interview him. Unfortunately, Challenger starts to question him about specific scientific matters and Ned is discovered to be a fraud.

Challenger, who though short has a massive head, shoulders, and chest, comes at Ned. Ned begins to become angry also and the two of them are soon locked in a fight, which has them tumbling down the hall, through the front door, and out into the street. Once on the street, the local policeman is there to stop further violence. Ned does not press charges against Challenger, in fact, he takes the blame for the fight, saying Challenger warned him and he did not back off. With this result, Challenger softens slightly and asks the young reporter back into the house for further discussions.

Ned is trying to find a daring deed to accomplish, in order to win the love of Gladys Hungerton. He is assigned a story by his editor, which entails him interviewing an abusive professor about his expedition in South America. Ned manages to find a way to meet the professor, which leads to a physical fight. Ned is learning that being an adventurer is not as easy as he thought.

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