The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 28

from the stuffed, unnatural
specimens preserved to us in our museums.

But presently I guessed the identity of the mighty creature as Elephas
africanus, or, as the ancients commonly described it, African elephant.

The antelope, although in plain view of the huge beast, paid not the
slightest attention to it, and I was so wrapped up in watching the
mighty pachyderm that I quite forgot to shoot at the buck and
presently, and in quite a startling manner, it became impossible to do
so.

The elephant was browsing upon the young and tender shoots of some low
bushes, waving his great ears and switching his short tail. The
antelope, scarce twenty paces from him, continued their feeding, when
suddenly, from close beside the latter, there came a most terrifying
roar, and I saw a great, tawny body shoot, from the concealing verdure
beyond the antelope, full upon the back of a small buck.

Instantly the scene changed from one of quiet and peace to
indescribable chaos. The startled and terrified buck uttered cries of
agony. His fellows broke and leaped off in all directions. The
elephant raised his trunk, and, trumpeting loudly, lumbered off through
the wood, crushing down small trees and trampling bushes in his mad
flight.

Growling horribly, a huge lion stood across the body of his prey--such
a creature as no Pan-American of the twenty-second century had ever
beheld until my eyes rested upon this lordly specimen of "the king of
beasts." But what a different creature was this fierce-eyed demon,
palpitating with life and vigor, glossy of coat, alert, growling,
magnificent, from the dingy, moth-eaten replicas beneath their glass
cases in the stuffy halls of our public museums.

I had never hoped or expected to see a living lion, tiger, or
elephant--using the common terms that were familiar to the ancients,
since they seem to me less unwieldy than those now in general use among
us--and so it was with sentiments not unmixed with awe that I stood
gazing at this regal beast as, above the carcass of his kill, he roared
out his challenge to the world.

So enthralled was I by the spectacle that I quite forgot myself, and
the better to view him, the great lion, I had risen to my feet and
stood, not fifty paces from him, in full view.

For a moment he did not see me, his attention being directed toward the
retreating elephant, and I had ample time to feast my eyes upon his
splendid proportions, his great head, and his thick black mane.

Ah, what thoughts passed through my mind in those

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