The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 81

figure of a little heathen
maiden. I couldn't account for it, and it angered me; I had never
before felt any such sensations in the presence of a woman, and I had
made love to some very beautiful ones in my time.

It seemed ages that I stood in the shadow of that doorway, in the
ill-lit corridor of the palace of Menelek XIV. A sickly gas jet cast a
sad pallor upon the black face of the sentry. The fellow seemed rooted
to the spot. Evidently he would never leave, or turn his back again.

I had been in hiding but a short time when I heard the sound of distant
cannon. The truce had ended, and the battle had been resumed. Very
shortly thereafter the earth shook to the explosion of a shell within
the city, and from time to time thereafter other shells burst at no
great distance from the palace. The yellow men were bombarding New
Gondar again.

Presently officers and slaves commenced to traverse the corridor on
matters pertaining to their duties, and then came the emperor, scowling
and wrathful. He was followed by a few personal attendants, whom he
dismissed at the doorway to his apartments--the same doorway through
which Victory had been taken. I chafed to follow him, but the corridor
was filled with people. At last they betook themselves to their own
apartments, which lay upon either side of the corridor.

An officer and a slave entered the very room in which I hid, forcing me
to flatten myself to one side in the darkness until they had passed.
Then the slave made a light, and I knew that I must find another hiding
place.

Stepping boldly into the corridor, I saw that it was now empty save for
the single sentry before the emperor's door. He glanced up as I
emerged from the room, the occupants of which had not seen me. I
walked straight toward the soldier, my mind made up in an instant. I
tried to simulate an expression of cringing servility, and I must have
succeeded, for I entirely threw the man off his guard, so that he
permitted me to approach within reach of his rifle before stopping me.
Then it was too late--for him.

Without a word or a warning, I snatched the piece from his grasp, and,
at the same time struck him a terrific blow between the eyes with my
clenched fist. He staggered back in surprise, too dumbfounded even to
cry out, and then I

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