At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 75

should indeed have been worried, and as it is I had intended
asking you about how you escaped the beast as soon as I had completed
the translation of this most interesting passage."

"Perry, you ARE mad," I exclaimed. "Why, the Lord only knows how long
I have been away. I have been to other lands, discovered a new race of
humans within Pellucidar, seen the Mahars at their worship in their
hidden temple, and barely escaped with my life from them and from a
great labyrinthodon that I met afterward, following my long and tedious
wanderings across an unknown world. I must have been away for months,
Perry, and now you barely look up from your work when I return and
insist that we have been separated but a moment. Is that any way to
treat a friend? I'm surprised at you, Perry, and if I'd thought for a
moment that you cared no more for me than this I should not have
returned to chance death at the hands of the Mahars for your sake."

The old man looked at me for a long time before he spoke. There was a
puzzled expression upon his wrinkled face, and a look of hurt sorrow in
his eyes.

"David, my boy," he said, "how could you for a moment doubt my love for
you? There is something strange here that I cannot understand. I know
that I am not mad, and I am equally sure that you are not; but how in
the world are we to account for the strange hallucinations that each of
us seems to harbor relative to the passage of time since last we saw
each other. You are positive that months have gone by, while to me it
seems equally certain that not more than an hour ago I sat beside you
in the amphitheater. Can it be that both of us are right and at the
same time both are wrong? First tell me what time is, and then maybe I
can solve our problem. Do you catch my meaning?"

I didn't and said so.

"Yes," continued the old man, "we are both right. To me, bent over my
book here, there has been no lapse of time. I have done little or
nothing to waste my energies and so have required neither food nor
sleep, but you, on the contrary, have walked and fought and wasted
strength and tissue which must needs be rebuilt by nutriment and food,
and so, having eaten

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