"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!"
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". . . 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 the continent? All gone--only I remain. I promised his majesty, and when he returns he will find that I was true to my trust, for I shall be awaiting him. God save the King!"
That was all. This brave and forever nameless officer died nobly at his post--true to his country and his king. It was the Death, no doubt, that took him.
Some of the entries had been dated. From the few legible letters and figures which remained I judge the end came some time in August, 1937, but of that I am not at all certain.
The diary has cleared up at least one mystery that had puzzled me not a little, and now I am surprised that I had not guessed its solution myself--the presence of African and Asiatic beasts in England.
Acclimated by years of confinement in the zoological gardens, they were fitted to resume in England the wild existence for which nature had intended them, and once free, had evidently bred prolifically, in marked contrast to the captive exotics of twentieth century Pan-America, which had gradually become fewer until extinction occurred some time during the twenty-first century.
The palace, if such it was, lay not far from the banks of the Thames. The room in which we were imprisoned overlooked the river, and I determined to attempt to escape in this direction.