Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
‘I FOUND the Palace of Green Porcelain, when we approached it
about noon, deserted and falling into ruin. Only ragged vestiges of
glass remained in its windows, and great sheets of the green facing
had fallen away from the corroded metallic framework. It lay very
high upon a turfy down, and looking north-eastward before I
entered it, I was surprised to see a large estuary, or even creek,
where I judged Wandsworth and Battersea must once have been. I
thought then-though I never followed up the thought-of what
might have happened, or might be happening, to the living things
in the sea.
‘The material of the Palace proved on examination to be indeed
porcelain, and along the face of it I saw an inscription in some
unknown character. I thought, rather foolishly, that Weena might
help me to interpret this, but I only learned that the bare idea of
writing had never entered her head. She always seemed to me, I
fancy, more human than she was, perhaps because her affection
was so human.
‘Within the big valves of the door-which were open and broken-
we found, instead of the customary hall, a long gallery lit by many
side windows. At the first glance I was reminded of a museum.
The tiled floor was thick with dust, and a remarkable array of
miscellaneous objects was shrouded in the same grey covering.
Then I perceived, standing strange and gaunt in the centre of the
hall, what was clearly the lower part of a huge skeleton. I
recognized by the oblique feet that it was some extinct creature
after the fashion of the Megatherium. The skull and the upper
bones lay beside it in the thick dust, and in one place, where
rainwater had dropped through a leak in the roof, the thing itself
had been worn away. Further in the gallery was the huge skeleton
barrel of a Brontosaurus. My museum hypothesis was confirmed.
Going towards the side I found what appeared to be sloping
shelves, and clearing away the thick dust, I found the old familiar
glass cases of our own time. But they must have been air-tight to
judge from the fair preservation of some of their contents.
‘Clearly we stood among the ruins of some latter-day South
Kensington! Here, apparently, was the Palaeontological Section,
and a very splendid array of fossils it must have been, though the
inevitable process of decay that had been staved off for a time, and
had, through the extinction of bacteria and fungi, lost ninety-nine
hundredths of its force, was nevertheless, with extreme sureness if
with extreme slowness at work again upon all its treasures. Here