At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 23

one shoulder. Their feet were shod with skin
sandals. The men wore loin cloths of the hide of some shaggy beast,
long ends of which depended before and behind nearly to the ground. In
some instances these ends were finished with the strong talons of the
beast from which the hides had been taken.

Our guards, whom I already have described as gorilla-like men, were
rather lighter in build than a gorilla, but even so they were indeed
mighty creatures. Their arms and legs were proportioned more in
conformity with human standards, but their entire bodies were covered
with shaggy, brown hair, and their faces were quite as brutal as those
of the few stuffed specimens of the gorilla which I had seen in the
museums at home.

Their only redeeming feature lay in the development of the head above
and back of the ears. In this respect they were not one whit less
human than we. They were clothed in a sort of tunic of light cloth
which reached to the knees. Beneath this they wore only a loin cloth
of the same material, while their feet were shod with thick hide of
some mammoth creature of this inner world.

Their arms and necks were encircled by many ornaments of metal--silver
predominating--and on their tunics were sewn the heads of tiny reptiles
in odd and rather artistic designs. They talked among themselves as
they marched along on either side of us, but in a language which I
perceived differed from that employed by our fellow prisoners. When
they addressed the latter they used what appeared to be a third
language, and which I later learned is a mongrel tongue rather
analogous to the Pidgin-English of the Chinese coolie.

How far we marched I have no conception, nor has Perry. Both of us
were asleep much of the time for hours before a halt was called--then
we dropped in our tracks. I say "for hours," but how may one measure
time where time does not exist! When our march commenced the sun stood
at zenith. When we halted our shadows still pointed toward nadir.
Whether an instant or an eternity of earthly time elapsed who may say.
That march may have occupied nine years and eleven months of the ten
years that I spent in the inner world, or it may have been accomplished
in the fraction of a second--I cannot tell. But this I do know that
since you have told me that ten years have elapsed since I departed

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