The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 51

stood a flat-topped desk. A
little pile of white and brown lay upon it close to the opposite edge.
After a moment of rest I crossed the room to investigate. The white
was the bleached human bones--the skull, collar bones, arms, and a few
of the upper ribs of a man. The brown was the dust of a decayed
military cap and blouse. In a chair before the desk were other bones,
while more still strewed the floor beneath the desk and about the
chair. A man had died sitting there with his face buried in his
arms--two hundred years ago.

Beneath the desk were a pair of spurred military boots, green and
rotten with decay. In them were the leg bones of a man. Among the
tiny bones of the hands was an ancient fountain pen, as good,
apparently, as the day it was made, and a metal covered memoranda book,
closed over the bones of an index finger.

It was a gruesome sight--a pitiful sight--this lone inhabitant of
mighty London.

I picked up the metal covered memoranda book. Its pages were rotten
and stuck together. Only here and there was a sentence or a part of a
sentence legible. The first that I could read was near the middle of
the little volume:

"His majesty left for Tunbridge Wells today, he ... jesty was
stricken ... terday. God give she does not die ... am military
governor of Lon ..."

And farther on:

"It is awful ... hundred deaths today ... worse than the bombardm ..."

Nearer the end I picked out the following:

"I promised his maj ... e will find me here when he ret ... alone."

The most legible passage was on the next page:

"Thank God we drove them out. There is not a single ... man on
British soil today; but at what awful cost. I tried to persuade Sir
Phillip to urge the people to remain. But they are mad with fear of
the Death, and rage at our enemies. He tells me that the coast cities
are packed ... waiting to be taken across. What will become of
England, with none left to rebuild her shattered cities!"

And the last entry:

"... alone. Only the wild beasts ... A lion is roaring now
beneath the palace windows. I think the people feared the beasts even
more than they did the Death. But they are gone, all gone, and to
what? How much better conditions will they find on

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