At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 76

so, having eaten and slept many times since last you saw me you
naturally measure the lapse of time largely by these acts. As a matter
of fact, David, I am rapidly coming to the conviction that there is no
such thing as time--surely there can be no time here within Pellucidar,
where there are no means for measuring or recording time. Why, the
Mahars themselves take no account of such a thing as time. I find here
in all their literary works but a single tense, the present. There
seems to be neither past nor future with them. Of course it is
impossible for our outer-earthly minds to grasp such a condition, but
our recent experiences seem to demonstrate its existence."

It was too big a subject for me, and I said so, but Perry seemed to
enjoy nothing better than speculating upon it, and after listening with
interest to my account of the adventures through which I had passed he
returned once more to the subject, which he was enlarging upon with
considerable fluency when he was interrupted by the entrance of a
Sagoth.

"Come!" commanded the intruder, beckoning to me. "The investigators
would speak with you."

"Good-bye, Perry!" I said, clasping the old man's hand. "There may be
nothing but the present and no such thing as time, but I feel that I am
about to take a trip into the hereafter from which I shall never
return. If you and Ghak should manage to escape I want you to promise
me that you will find Dian the Beautiful and tell her that with my last
words I asked her forgiveness for the unintentional affront I put upon
her, and that my one wish was to be spared long enough to right the
wrong that I had done her."

Tears came to Perry's eyes.

"I cannot believe but that you will return, David," he said. "It would
be awful to think of living out the balance of my life without you
among these hateful and repulsive creatures. If you are taken away I
shall never escape, for I feel that I am as well off here as I should
be anywhere within this buried world. Good-bye, my boy, good-bye!" and
then his old voice faltered and broke, and as he hid his face in his
hands the Sagoth guardsman grasped me roughly by the shoulder and
hustled me from the chamber.




XI

FOUR DEAD MAHARS


A moment later I was standing before a dozen Mahars--the social
investigators of Phutra. They asked me many

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