The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 43

and superstition had the vaunted civilization of
twentieth century England been plunged, and by what? War! I felt the
structure of our time-honored militaristic arguments crumbling about me.

Mary labored with the thongs that confined me. They proved
refractory--defying her tender, childish fingers. She assured me,
however, that she would release me, if "they" did not come too soon.

But, alas, they came. We heard them coming down the trench, and I bade
Mary hide in a corner, lest she be discovered and punished. There was
naught else she could do, and so she crawled away into the Stygian
blackness behind me.

Presently two warriors entered. The leader exhibited a unique method
of discovering my whereabouts in the darkness. He advanced slowly,
kicking out viciously before him. Finally he kicked me in the face.
Then he knew where I was.

A moment later I had been jerked roughly to my feet. One of the
fellows stopped and severed the bonds that held my ankles. I could
scarcely stand alone. The two pulled and hauled me through the low
doorway and along the trench. A party of forty or fifty warriors were
awaiting us at the brink of the excavation some hundred yards from the
hut.

Hands were lowered to us, and we were dragged to the surface. Then
commenced a long march. We stumbled through the underbrush wet with
dew, our way lighted by a score of torchbearers who surrounded us. But
the torches were not to light the way--that was but incidental. They
were carried to keep off the huge Carnivora that moaned and coughed and
roared about us.

The noises were hideous. The whole country seemed alive with lions.
Yellow-green eyes blazed wickedly at us from out the surrounding
darkness. My escort carried long, heavy spears. These they kept ever
pointed toward the beast of prey, and I learned from snatches of the
conversation I overheard that occasionally there might be a lion who
would brave even the terrors of fire to leap in upon human prey. It
was for such that the spears were always couched.

But nothing of the sort occurred during this hideous death march, and
with the first pale heralding of dawn we reached our goal--an open
place in the midst of a tangled wildwood. Here rose in crumbling
grandeur the first evidences I had seen of the ancient civilization
which once had graced fair Albion--a single, time-worn arch of masonry.

"The entrance to the Camp of the Lions!" murmured

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