The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 48

larger. The bridge
would be there in part, at least, and so would remain the walls of many
of the great edifices of the past. There would be no such complete
ruin of large structures as I had seen among the smaller buildings.

But when I had come to that part of the city which I judged to have
contained the relics I sought I found havoc that had been wrought there
even greater than elsewhere.

At one point upon the bosom of the Thames there rises a few feet above
the water a single, disintegrating mound of masonry. Opposite it, upon
either bank of the river, are tumbled piles of ruins overgrown with
vegetation.

These, I am forced to believe, are all that remain of London Bridge,
for nowhere else along the river is there any other slightest sign of
pier or abutment.

Rounding the base of a large pile of grass-covered debris, we came
suddenly upon the best preserved ruin we had yet discovered. The
entire lower story and part of the second story of what must once have
been a splendid public building rose from a great knoll of shrubbery
and trees, while ivy, thick and luxuriant, clambered upward to the
summit of the broken walls.

In many places the gray stone was still exposed, its smoothly chiseled
face pitted with the scars of battle. The massive portal yawned,
somber and sorrowful, before us, giving a glimpse of marble halls
within.

The temptation to enter was too great. I wished to explore the
interior of this one remaining monument of civilization now dead beyond
recall. Through this same portal, within these very marble halls, had
Gray and Chamberlin and Kitchener and Shaw, perhaps, come and gone with
the other great ones of the past.

I took Victory's hand in mine.

"Come!" I said. "I do not know the name by which this great pile was
known, nor the purposes it fulfilled. It may have been the palace of
your sires, Victory. From some great throne within, your forebears may
have directed the destinies of half the world. Come!"

I must confess to a feeling of awe as we entered the rotunda of the
great building. Pieces of massive furniture of another day still stood
where man had placed them centuries ago. They were littered with dust
and broken stone and plaster, but, otherwise, so perfect was their
preservation I could hardly believe that two centuries had rolled by
since human eyes were last set upon them.

Through one great room after another we wandered,

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