The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 50

All were roaring now, and the din of their great voices
reverberating through the halls and corridors of the palace formed the
most frightful chorus of thunderous savagery imaginable to the mind of
man.

And then the leader charged, and upon the hideous pandemonium broke the
sharp crack of my rifle, once, twice, thrice. Three lions rolled,
struggling and biting, to the floor. Victory seized my arm, with a
quick, "This way! Here is a door," and a moment later we were in a
tiny antechamber at the foot of a narrow stone staircase.

Up this we backed, Victory just behind me, as the first of the
remaining lions leaped from the throne room and sprang for the stairs.
Again I fired, but others of the ferocious beasts leaped over their
fallen fellows and pursued us.

The stairs were very narrow--that was all that saved us--for as I
backed slowly upward, but a single lion could attack me at a time, and
the carcasses of those I slew impeded the rushes of the others.

At last we reached the top. There was a long corridor from which
opened many doorways. One, directly behind us, was tight closed. If
we could open it and pass into the chamber behind we might find a
respite from attack.

The remaining lions were roaring horribly. I saw one sneaking very
slowly up the stairs toward us.

"Try that door," I called to Victory. "See if it will open."

She ran up to it and pushed.

"Turn the knob!" I cried, seeing that she did not know how to open a
door, but neither did she know what I meant by knob.

I put a bullet in the spine of the approaching lion and leaped to
Victory's side. The door resisted my first efforts to swing it inward.
Rusted hinges and swollen wood held it tightly closed. But at last it
gave, and just as another lion mounted to the top of the stairway it
swung in, and I pushed Victory across the threshold.

Then I turned to meet the renewed attack of the savage foe. One lion
fell in his tracks, another stumbled to my very feet, and then I leaped
within and slammed the portal to.

A quick glance showed me that this was the only door to the small
apartment in which we had found sanctuary, and, with a sigh of relief,
I leaned for a moment against the panels of the stout barrier that
separated us from the ramping demons without.

Across the room, between two windows,

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