Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 116

bronze faces of the Mezops were broad with smiles, and
Perry was fairly beside himself with joy.

Dian went aboard first and then Juag, as I wished to help Raja and
Ranee aboard myself, well knowing that it would fare ill with any Mezop
who touched them. We got them aboard at last, and a great commotion
they caused among the crew, who had never seen a wild beast thus
handled by man before.

Perry and Dian and I were so full of questions that we fairly burst,
but we had to contain ourselves for a while, since the battle with the
rest of Hooja's fleet had scarce commenced. From the small forward
decks of the feluccas Perry's crude cannon were belching smoke, flame,
thunder, and death. The air trembled to the roar of them. Hooja's
horde, intrepid, savage fighters that they were, were closing in to
grapple in a last death-struggle with the Mezops who manned our vessels.

The handling of our fleet by the red island warriors of Ja's clan was
far from perfect. I could see that Perry had lost no time after the
completion of the boats in setting out upon this cruise. What little
the captains and crews had learned of handling feluccas they must have
learned principally since they embarked upon this voyage, and while
experience is an excellent teacher and had done much for them, they
still had a great deal to learn. In maneuvering for position they were
continually fouling one another, and on two occasions shots from our
batteries came near to striking our own ships.

No sooner, however, was I aboard the flagship than I attempted to
rectify this trouble to some extent. By passing commands by word of
mouth from one ship to another I managed to get the fifty feluccas into
some sort of line, with the flag-ship in the lead. In this formation
we commenced slowly to circle the position of the enemy. The dugouts
came for us right along in an attempt to board us, but by keeping on
the move in one direction and circling, we managed to avoid getting in
each other's way, and were enabled to fire our cannon and our small
arms with less danger to our own comrades.

When I had a moment to look about me, I took in the felucca on which I
was. I am free to confess that I marveled at the excellent
construction and stanch yet speedy lines of the little craft. That
Perry had chosen this type of

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