At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 26

Mahars largely by
comparisons. In this way they were like unto thipdars, in that to the
hairless lidi.

About all I gleaned of them was that they were quite hideous, had
wings, and webbed feet; lived in cities built beneath the ground; could
swim under water for great distances, and were very, very wise. The
Sagoths were their weapons of offense and defense, and the races like
herself were their hands and feet--they were the slaves and servants
who did all the manual labor. The Mahars were the heads--the
brains--of the inner world. I longed to see this wondrous race of
supermen.

Perry learned the language with me. When we halted, as we occasionally
did, though sometimes the halts seemed ages apart, he would join in the
conversation, as would Ghak the Hairy One, he who was chained just
ahead of Dian the Beautiful. Ahead of Ghak was Hooja the Sly One. He
too entered the conversation occasionally. Most of his remarks were
directed toward Dian the Beautiful. It didn't take half an eye to see
that he had developed a bad case; but the girl appeared totally
oblivious to his thinly veiled advances. Did I say thinly veiled?
There is a race of men in New Zealand, or Australia, I have forgotten
which, who indicate their preference for the lady of their affections
by banging her over the head with a bludgeon. By comparison with this
method Hooja's lovemaking might be called thinly veiled. At first it
caused me to blush violently although I have seen several Old Years out
at Rectors, and in other less fashionable places off Broadway, and in
Vienna, and Hamburg.

But the girl! She was magnificent. It was easy to see that she
considered herself as entirely above and apart from her present
surroundings and company. She talked with me, and with Perry, and with
the taciturn Ghak because we were respectful; but she couldn't even see
Hooja the Sly One, much less hear him, and that made him furious. He
tried to get one of the Sagoths to move the girl up ahead of him in the
slave gang, but the fellow only poked him with his spear and told him
that he had selected the girl for his own property--that he would buy
her from the Mahars as soon as they reached Phutra. Phutra, it seemed,
was the city of our destination.

After passing over the first chain of mountains we skirted a salt sea,
upon whose bosom swam countless horrid things.

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