The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 83

ancient, reptilian forbear had clung to life and
transmitted to me through the ages the most powerful motive that guided
his minute brain--the motive of self-preservation.

At last I came to the great barrier-cliffs; and after three days of mad
effort--of maniacal effort--I scaled them. I built crude ladders; I
wedged sticks in narrow fissures; I chopped toe-holds and finger-holds
with my long knife; but at last I scaled them. Near the summit I came
upon a huge cavern. It is the abode of some mighty winged creature of
the Triassic--or rather it was. Now it is mine. I slew the thing and
took its abode. I reached the summit and looked out upon the broad
gray terrible Pacific of the far-southern winter. It was cold up
there. It is cold here today; yet here I sit watching, watching,
watching for the thing I know will never come--for a sail.

Chapter 10

Once a day I descend to the base of the cliff and hunt, and fill my
stomach with water from a clear cold spring. I have three gourds which
I fill with water and take back to my cave against the long nights. I
have fashioned a spear and a bow and arrow, that I may conserve my
ammunition, which is running low. My clothes are worn to shreds.
Tomorrow I shall discard them for leopard-skins which I have tanned and
sewn into a garment strong and warm. It is cold up here. I have a
fire burning and I sit bent over it while I write; but I am safe here.
No other living creature ventures to the chill summit of the barrier
cliffs. I am safe, and I am alone with my sorrows and my remembered
joys--but without hope. It is said that hope springs eternal in the
human breast; but there is none in mine.

I am about done. Presently I shall fold these pages and push them into
my thermos bottle. I shall cork it and screw the cap tight, and then I
shall hurl it as far out into the sea as my strength will permit. The
wind is off-shore; the tide is running out; perhaps it will be carried
into one of those numerous ocean-currents which sweep perpetually from
pole to pole and from continent to continent, to be deposited at last
upon some inhabited shore. If fate is kind and this does happen, then,
for God's sake, come and get me!

It was a week ago that I wrote

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