At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 38

to carry
out your wild scheme, if we could not accomplish something of very real
and lasting benefit for the human race of Pellucidar at the same time.
Listen, I have learned much of a most surprising nature from these
archives of the Mahars. That you may appreciate my plan I shall
briefly outline the history of the race.

"Once the males were all-powerful, but ages ago the females, little by
little, assumed the mastery. For other ages no noticeable change took
place in the race of Mahars. It continued to progress under the
intelligent and beneficent rule of the ladies. Science took vast
strides. This was especially true of the sciences which we know as
biology and eugenics. Finally a certain female scientist announced the
fact that she had discovered a method whereby eggs might be fertilized
by chemical means after they were laid--all true reptiles, you know,
are hatched from eggs.

"What happened? Immediately the necessity for males ceased to
exist--the race was no longer dependent upon them. More ages elapsed
until at the present time we find a race consisting exclusively of
females. But here is the point. The secret of this chemical formula
is kept by a single race of Mahars. It is in the city of Phutra, and
unless I am greatly in error I judge from your description of the
vaults through which you passed today that it lies hidden in the cellar
of this building.

"For two reasons they hide it away and guard it jealously. First,
because upon it depends the very life of the race of Mahars, and
second, owing to the fact that when it was public property as at first
so many were experimenting with it that the danger of over-population
became very grave.

"David, if we can escape, and at the same time take with us this great
secret what will we not have accomplished for the human race within
Pellucidar!" The very thought of it fairly overpowered me. Why, we two
would be the means of placing the men of the inner world in their
rightful place among created things. Only the Sagoths would then stand
between them and absolute supremacy, and I was not quite sure but that
the Sagoths owed all their power to the greater intelligence of the
Mahars--I could not believe that these gorilla-like beasts were the
mental superiors of the human race of Pellucidar.

"Why, Perry," I exclaimed, "you and I may reclaim a whole world!
Together we can lead the races of men out of

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