Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 20

the
belly of some hungry bear.

I must admit that I, too, felt worried, for our progress was indeed
snail-like, and our ammunition could not last forever. In discussing
the problem, finally we came to the decision to burn our bridges behind
us and make one last supreme effort to cross the divide.

It would mean that we must go without sleep for a long period, and with
the further chance that when the time came that sleep could no longer
be denied we might still be high in the frozen regions of perpetual
snow and ice, where sleep would mean certain death, exposed as we would
be to the attacks of wild beasts and without shelter from the hideous
cold.

But we decided that we must take these chances and so at last we set
forth from our hut for the last time, carrying such necessities as we
felt we could least afford to do without. The bears seemed unusually
troublesome and determined that time, and as we clambered slowly upward
beyond the highest point to which we had previously attained, the cold
became infinitely more intense.

Presently, with two great bears dogging our footsteps we entered a
dense fog.

We had reached the heights that are so often cloud-wrapped for long
periods. We could see nothing a few paces beyond our noses.

We dared not turn back into the teeth of the bears which we could hear
grunting behind us. To meet them in this bewildering fog would have
been to court instant death.

Perry was almost overcome by the hopelessness of our situation. He
flopped down on his knees and began to pray.

It was the first time I had heard him at his old habit since my return
to Pellucidar, and I had thought that he had given up his little
idiosyncrasy; but he hadn't. Far from it.

I let him pray for a short time undisturbed, and then as I was about to
suggest that we had better be pushing along one of the bears in our
rear let out a roar that made the earth fairly tremble beneath our feet.

It brought Perry to his feet as if he had been stung by a wasp, and
sent him racing ahead through the blinding fog at a gait that I knew
must soon end in disaster were it not checked.

Crevasses in the glacier-ice were far too frequent to permit of
reckless speed even in a clear atmosphere, and then there were hideous
precipices along the edges of which our way often led us. I shivered
as

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