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CHAPTER IX. THE SUNKEN CITY.
“A city under the sea!” cried Prof. Von Bulow. “Wonderful thing!”

All gazed upon what certainly seemed to be a mighty city, built upon a plain.

Mighty buildings lined wide streets, which traversed the plain in every direction.

There were minarets and spires, domes and obelisks and huge public squares with giant statuary.

The city, buildings, streets, and all, were as white as driven snow. It was a most bewildering sight.

But all was as quiet and deserted as the tomb.

It was a city without people.

Frank brought the Dart to a stop, and all gazed upon the scene for a time with deep interest.

“The lost Atlantis!” declared Prof. Von Bulow. “It is not a myth, after all.”

“Do you suppose there is any treasure in the place?” asked Captain Bell, with sudden inspiration.

All laughed at this, and Frank said:

“Bell, you will yet gain the reputation of treasure hunter.”

“That is what I am,” acknowledged the captain. “I have been hunting for a fortune all my life, and I mean to have it before I die, if I have luck.”

“Which I hope you will.”

“I shall not give up trying.”

“Well,” said Von Bulow, wistfully, “are we to pay a visit of exploration to that city or not?”

“I think we will,” replied Frank. “I shall sail the Dart down into that large square in the center. It looks like a central point.”

“So it is,” cried the scientist, joyfully. “Oh, what a splendid opportunity to advance exploration now!”

No time was lost.

The Dart was allowed to sail down into the large square in the heart of the sunken city.

Here it was securely anchored, and all the explorers were now brought in close proximity to the buildings.

And these were of a wonderful style of architecture, and their white color did not arise from the nature of the stone employed, but, as was now seen, owing to a thick formation of coral which encrusted all.

It was a scene of great beauty, and all gazed upon it spellbound.

But Von Bulow was anxious to begin work at once.

So after arrangements had been hastily concluded the party donned diving suits and set out for a “walk about town.”

Only one was left aboard the Dart, and this was Pomp.

Truly it was a novel experience to walk the streets of a submarine city, but such it was.

The city was evidently constructed long before the days of Moses and the patriarchs, and was an excellent bit of proof of the existence of quite an advanced stage of civilization in that part of the world at that time.

The explorers could almost fancy the shops still filled with rich goods and stuffs in vogue then.

They could imagine the appearance the city must have borne when its streets were thronged with busy people, and all was life and activity.

Truly it was a wonderful thing to think of.

But that such a state of affairs did once exist there was no doubt.

Across the great paved square the explorers walked.

Before them swam beautiful vari-colored fish.

At their feet crept crabs and shell fish of a strange and beautiful variety.

Before them was a mighty building which seemed to have once been a palace or temple.

“Let us explore that,” said Von Bulow, in signs.

The others nodded an acquiescence.

Frank and Barney, armed with axes, led the way into the temple. They passed through a high arched door.

It was a mammoth hall with high pillars of stone which they now stood in.

There was a grandeur about the mammoth structure which reminded one of the Roman temples in Italy.

The hall had evidently been some sort of a public auditorium or council chamber.

At the lower end was a dais of stone, and upon it was a high chair or throne of the same material.

But all articles of furniture or decoration which had been made of wood or the metals were gone.

Undoubtedly the worm of decay had long since eaten them up.

Neither were there any skeletons or like remains of human beings to be found.

When it was remembered that this city was perhaps twenty centuries old, this was not to be wondered at.

Passing through the temple, the explorers came to a spacious court, beyond which was a peristyle.

Whoever the inhabitants of the ancient city had been, they were certainly a people of gifts and much genius.

This was evident in the construction and architecture of the city.

It was a magnificent monument to their great talents, and though buried under the sea many leagues would yet exist through all time.

Beyond the peristyle court the explorers came to a mighty marble paved basin, which had evidently been a bath or large lake.

From one part of the sunken city to another the explorers wandered.

Upon every hand new sights were seen and new wond............
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