swear, but his best efforts
would have seemed like those of a tyro alongside of Perry's masterful
and scientific imprecations.
Once more I tried my hand at the wheel, but I might as well have
essayed to swing the earth itself. At my suggestion Perry stopped the
generator, and as we came to rest I again threw all my strength into a
supreme effort to move the thing even a hair's breadth--but the results
were as barren as when we had been traveling at top speed.
I shook my head sadly, and motioned to the starting lever. Perry
pulled it toward him, and once again we were plunging downward toward
eternity at the rate of seven miles an hour. I sat with my eyes glued
to the thermometer and the distance meter. The mercury was rising very
slowly now, though even at 145 degrees it was almost unbearable within
the narrow confines of our metal prison.
About noon, or twelve hours after our start upon this unfortunate
journey, we had bored to a depth of eighty-four miles, at which point
the mercury registered 153 degrees F.
Perry was becoming more hopeful, although upon what meager food he
sustained his optimism I could not conjecture. From cursing he had
turned to singing--I felt that the strain had at last affected his
mind. For several hours we had not spoken except as he asked me for
the readings of the instruments from time to time, and I announced
them. My thoughts were filled with vain regrets. I recalled numerous
acts of my past life which I should have been glad to have had a few
more years to live down. There was the affair in the Latin Commons at
Andover when Calhoun and I had put gunpowder in the stove--and nearly
killed one of the masters. And then--but what was the use, I was about
to die and atone for all these things and several more. Already the
heat was sufficient to give me a foretaste of the hereafter. A few
more degrees and I felt that I should lose consciousness.
"What are the readings now, David?" Perry's voice broke in upon my
"Ninety miles and 153 degrees," I replied.
"Gad, but we've knocked that thirty-mile-crust theory into a cocked
hat!" he cried gleefully.
"Precious lot of good it will do us," I growled back.
"But my boy," he continued, "doesn't that temperature reading mean
anything to you? Why it hasn't gone up in six miles. Think of it,
"Yes, I'm thinking of it,"
The mercury was rising very slowly now, though even at 145 degrees it was almost unbearable within the narrow confines of our metal prison.Page 8
"We couldn't have turned in the ice stratum, Perry, I know as well as you," I replied; "but the fact remains that we did, for here we are this minute at the surface of the earth again, and I am going out to see just where.Page 11
For some moments the old man did not reply.Page 13
He was praying--raising his voice in thanksgiving at our deliverance--and had just completed a sort of paeon of gratitude that the thing couldn't climb a tree when without warning it reared up beneath him on its enormous tail and hind feet, and reached those fearfully armed paws quite to the branch upon which he crouched.Page 14
There were many close by which not even the terrific strength of that titanic monster could bend.Page 20
"Quite high enough to play the deuce with us, though," I replied.Page 32
I took a long chance, I realized, but if we could make any capital out of Perry's harmless mania I wanted to make it while the making was prime.Page 33
I never did quite grasp him, though he endeavored to explain it to me upon numerous occasions.Page 39
VI THE BEGINNING OF HORROR WITHIN PELLUCIDAR ONE TIME IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER.Page 72
As it was I barely escaped death within the jaws of a huge sithic.Page 77
There were other humans similarly chained.Page 79
However it seemed likely that it would carry me once more safely through the crowded passages and chambers of the upper levels, and so I set out with Perry and Ghak--the stench of the illy cured pelts fairly choking me.Page 83
Slowly, after the manner of locomotion habitual to the Mahars, when they are not using their wings, we crept through throngs of busy slaves, Sagoths, and Mahars.Page 90
As it sighted the Sagoths it emitted a most frightful roar, and with open mouth charged full upon them.Page 102
Every time I looked at her something came up in my throat, so that I nearly choked.Page 104
I was thunderstruck.Page 107
As it was I must have been laid up for quite a while, though Dian's poultices of herbs and leaves finally reduced the swelling and drew out the poison.Page 113
"Come, come," I cried, laughing, "come out of your shell.Page 114
The next day he took me out to see the prospector--it was precisely as he had described it.