A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 133

the sides and bottoms of their
craft for various purposes of repair, and by means of which landing
parties are lowered to the ground from the battleships.

I swung this hook cautiously to the roof several times before it
finally found lodgment; gently I pulled on it to strengthen its hold,
but whether it would bear the weight of my body I did not know. It
might be barely caught upon the very outer verge of the roof, so that
as my body swung out at the end of the strap it would slip off and
launch me to the pavement a thousand feet below.

An instant I hesitated, and then, releasing my grasp upon the
supporting ornament, I swung out into space at the end of the strap.
Far below me lay the brilliantly lighted streets, the hard pavements,
and death. There was a little jerk at the top of the supporting eaves,
and a nasty slipping, grating sound which turned me cold with
apprehension; then the hook caught and I was safe.

Clambering quickly aloft I grasped the edge of the eaves and drew
myself to the surface of the roof above. As I gained my feet I was
confronted by the sentry on duty, into the muzzle of whose revolver I
found myself looking.

"Who are you and whence came you?" he cried.

"I am an air scout, friend, and very near a dead one, for just by the
merest chance I escaped falling to the avenue below," I replied.

"But how came you upon the roof, man? No one has landed or come up
from the building for the past hour. Quick, explain yourself, or I
call the guard."

"Look you here, sentry, and you shall see how I came and how close a
shave I had to not coming at all," I answered, turning toward the edge
of the roof, where, twenty feet below, at the end of my strap, hung all
my weapons.

The fellow, acting on impulse of curiosity, stepped to my side and to
his undoing, for as he leaned to peer over the eaves I grasped him by
his throat and his pistol arm and threw him heavily to the roof. The
weapon dropped from his grasp, and my fingers choked off his attempted
cry for assistance. I gagged and bound him and then hung him over the
edge of the roof as I myself had hung a few moments before. I knew it
would be morning before he would be discovered, and I needed all the
time that

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