At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

the great, shaggy man had found a place in the hearts of us both, for
he was indeed every inch a man and king. Uncouth, perhaps, and brutal,
too, if judged too harshly by the standards of effete twentieth-century
civilization, but withal noble, dignified, chivalrous, and loveable.

Chance carried me to the very beach upon which I had discovered Ja's
canoe, and a short time later I was scrambling up the steep bank to
retrace my steps from the plain of Phutra. But my troubles came when I
entered the canyon beyond the summit, for here I found that several of
them centered at the point where I crossed the divide, and which one I
had traversed to reach the pass I could not for the life of me remember.

It was all a matter of chance and so I set off down that which seemed
the easiest going, and in this I made the same mistake that many of us
do in selecting the path along which we shall follow out the course of
our lives, and again learned that it is not always best to follow the
line of least resistance.

By the time I had eaten eight meals and slept twice I was convinced
that I was upon the wrong trail, for between Phutra and the inland sea
I had not slept at all, and had eaten but once. To retrace my steps to
the summit of the divide and explore another canyon seemed the only
solution of my problem, but a sudden widening and levelness of the
canyon just before me seemed to suggest that it was about to open into
a level country, and with the lure of discovery strong upon me I
decided to proceed but a short distance farther before I turned back.

The next turn of the canyon brought me to its mouth, and before me I
saw a narrow plain leading down to an ocean. At my right the side of
the canyon continued to the water's edge, the valley lying to my left,
and the foot of it running gradually into the sea, where it formed a
broad level beach.

Clumps of strange trees dotted the landscape here and there almost to
the water, and rank grass and ferns grew between. From the nature of
the vegetation I was convinced that the land between the ocean and the
foothills was swampy, though directly before me it seemed dry enough
all the way to the sandy strip along which the restless waters advanced
and retreated.

Curiosity prompted me to walk

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