The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 49

hand in hand, while
Victory asked many questions and for the first time I began to realize
something of the magnificence and power of the race from whose loins
she had sprung.

Splendid tapestries, now mildewed and rotting, hung upon the walls.
There were mural paintings, too, depicting great historic events of the
past. For the first time Victory saw the likeness of a horse, and she
was much affected by a huge oil which depicted some ancient cavalry
charge against a battery of field guns.

In other pictures there were steamships, battleships, submarines, and
quaint looking railway trains--all small and antiquated in appearance
to me, but wonderful to Victory. She told me that she would like to
remain for the rest of her life where she could look at those pictures
daily.

From room to room we passed until presently we emerged into a mighty
chamber, dark and gloomy, for its high and narrow windows were choked
and clogged by ivy. Along one paneled wall we groped, our eyes slowly
becoming accustomed to the darkness. A rank and pungent odor pervaded
the atmosphere.

We had made our way about half the distance across one end of the great
apartment when a low growl from the far end brought us to a startled
halt.

Straining my eyes through the gloom, I made out a raised dais at the
extreme opposite end of the hall. Upon the dais stood two great
chairs, highbacked and with great arms.

The throne of England! But what were those strange forms about it?

Victory gave my hand a quick, excited little squeeze.

"The lions!" she whispered.

Yes, lions indeed! Sprawled about the dais were a dozen huge forms,
while upon the seat of one of the thrones a small cub lay curled in
slumber.

As we stood there for a moment, spellbound by the sight of those
fearsome creatures occupying the very thrones of the sovereigns of
England, the low growl was repeated, and a great male rose slowly to
his feet.

His devilish eyes bored straight through the semi-darkness toward us.
He had discovered the interloper. What right had man within this
palace of the beasts? Again he opened his giant jaws, and this time
there rumbled forth a warning roar.

Instantly eight or ten of the other beasts leaped to their feet.
Already the great fellow who had spied us was advancing slowly in our
direction. I held my rifle ready, but how futile it appeared in the
face of this savage horde.

The foremost beast broke into a slow trot, and at his heels came the
others.

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