The Lost Continent, by Cutcliffe Hyne, , at sacred-texts.com
THE Ark was rudderless, oarless, and machine-less, and could travel only where the High Gods chose. The inside was dark, and full of an ancient smell, and crowded with groanings and noise. I could not find the fire-box to relight the fallen lamp, and so we had to endure blindly what was dealt out to us. The waves tossed us in merciless sport, and I clung on by the side of Naïs, holding her to the bed. We did not speak much, but there was full companionship in our bereavement and our silence.
When Atlantis sank to form new ocean-bed, she left great whirlpools and spoutings from her drowned fires as a fleeting legacy to the Gods of the sea. And then, I think (though in the black belly of the Ark we could not see these things), a vast hurricane of wind must have come on next so as to leave no piece of the desolation incomplete. For seven nights and seven days did this dreadful turmoil continue, as counted for us afterwards by the reckoner of hours which hung within the Ark, and then the howling of the wind departed, and only the roll of a long still swell remained. It was regular and it was oily, as I could tell by the difference of the motion, and then
for the first time I dared to go up the stair and open had found the gate they bit against was deserted.
The sweet salt air came gushing down to freshen the foulness within, and as the Ark rode dryly over the seas, I went below and brought up Naïs to gain refreshment from the curing rays of our Lord the Sun. Duly the pair of us adored Him, and gave thanks for His great mercy in coming to light another day, and then we laid ourselves down where we were to doze, and take that easy rest which we so urgently needed.
Yet, though I was tired beyond words, for long enough sleep would not visit me. Wearily I stared out over the oily sun-lit waters. No blur of land met the eye. The ring of ocean was unbroken on every side, and overhead the vault of heaven remained unchanged. The bosom of the deep was littered with the poor wreckage of Atlantis, to remind one, if there had been a need, that what had come about was fact, and not some horrid dream. Trees, squared timber, a smashed and upturned boat of hides, and here and there the rounded corpse of a man or beast shouldered over the swells, and kept convoy with our Ark as she drifted on in charge of the Gods and the current.
But sleep came to me at last, and I dropped off into unconsciousness, holding the hand of Naïs in mine, and when next I woke I found her open-eyed also and watching me tenderly. We were finely rested, both of us, and rest and strength bring one complacency. We were more ready now to accept the station which the High Gods had made for us
without repining, and so we went below again into the belly of the Ark to eat and drink and maintain strength for the new life which lay before us.
A wonderful vessel was this Ark, now we were able to see it at leisure and intimately. Although for the first time now in all its centuries of life it swam upon the waters, it showed no leak or sun-crack. Inside, even its floor was bone-dry. That it was built from some wood, one could see by the grainings, but nowhere could one find suture or joint. The living timbers had been put in place and then grown together by an art which we have lost to-day, but which the Ancients knew with much perfection; and afterwards some treatment, which is also a secret of those forgotten builders, had made the wood as hard as metal and impervious to all attacks of the weather.
In the gloomy cave of its belly were stored many matters. At one end, in great tanks on either side of a central alley, was a prodigious store of grain. Sweet water was in other tanks at the other end. In another place were drugs, and simples, and essences of the life of beasts; all these things being for use while the Ark roamed under the guidance of the Gods on the bosom of the deep. On all the walls of the Ark, and on all the partitions of the tanks and the other wood-work, there were carved in the rude art of bygone times representations of all the beasts which lived in Atlantis; and on these I looked with a hunter's interest, as some of them were strange to me, and had died out with the men who had perpetuated them in these sculptures. There was a good store of weapons, too, and the tools for handicrafts.
Now for many weeks our life endured in this Ark as the Gods drove it about here and there across the face of the waters. We had no government over direction; we could not by so much as a hair's-breadth a day increase her speed. The High Gods that had chosen the two of us to be the only ones saved out of all Atlantis, had sole control of our fate, and into Their hands we cheerfully resigned our future direction.
Of that land which we reached in due time, and where we made our abiding-place, and where our children were born, I shall tell of in its place; but since this chronicle has proceeded so far in an exact order of the events as they came to pass, it is necessary first to narrate how we came by the sheets on which it is written.
In a great coffer, in the centre of the Ark's floor, the whole of the Mysteries learned during the study of ages were set down in accurate writing. I read through some of them during the days which passed, and the awfulness of the Powers over which they gave control appalled me. I had seen some of these Powers let loose in Atlantis, and was a witness of her destruction. But here were Powers far higher than those; here was the great Secret of Life and Death which Phorenice also had found, and for which she had been destroyed; and there were other things also of which I cannot even bring my style to scribe.
The thought of being custodian of these writings was more than I could endure, and the more the matter rested in my mind, the more intolerable became the burden. And at last I took hot irons, and with
them seared the wax on the sheets till every letter of the old writings was obliterated. If I did wrong, the High Gods in Their infinite justice will give me punishment; if it is well that these great secrets should endure on earth, They in Their infinite power will dictate them afresh to some fitting scribes; but I destroyed them there as the Ark swayed with us over the waves; and later, when we came to land, I rewrote upon the sheets the matters which led to great Atlantis being dragged to her death-throes.
Naïs, that I love so tenderly—
[Translator's Note.—The remaining sheets are too broken to be legible.]