Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 113

shore in that mad flight from death. Even as I
paddled I found opportunity to glance occasionally toward the natives.
They were white, but hideously painted. From their gestures and
weapons I took them to be a most ferocious race. I was rather glad
that we had not succeeded in landing among them.

Hooja's fleet had been in much more compact formation when we sighted
them this time than on the occasion following the tempest. Now they
were moving rapidly in pursuit of us, all well within the radius of a
mile. Five of them were leading, all abreast, and were scarce two
hundred yards from us. When I glanced over my shoulder I could see
that the archers had already fitted arrows to their bows in readiness
to fire upon us the moment that they should draw within range.

Hope was low in my breast. I could not see the slightest chance of
escaping them, for they were overhauling us rapidly now, since they
were able to work their paddles in relays, while we three were rapidly
wearying beneath the constant strain that had been put upon us.

It was then that Juag called my attention to the rift in the shore-line
which I had thought either a bay or the mouth of a great river. There
I saw moving slowly out into the sea that which filled my soul with
wonder.



CHAPTER XIV

GORE AND DREAMS

It was a two-masted felucca with lateen sails! The craft was long and
low. In it were more than fifty men, twenty or thirty of whom were at
oars with which the craft was being propelled from the lee of the land.
I was dumbfounded.

Could it be that the savage, painted natives I had seen on shore had so
perfected the art of navigation that they were masters of such advanced
building and rigging as this craft proclaimed? It seemed impossible!
And as I looked I saw another of the same type swing into view and
follow its sister through the narrow strait out into the ocean.

Nor were these all. One after another, following closely upon one
another's heels, came fifty of the trim, graceful vessels. They were
cutting in between Hooja's fleet and our little dugout.

When they came a bit closer my eyes fairly popped from my head at what
I saw, for in the eye of the leading felucca stood a man with a
sea-glass leveled upon us. Who could they be? Was there a civilization
within Pellucidar of such wondrous advancement

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