By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 22

of death. Now it flourished
bravely upon the breast of dead hope, and urged me onward and upward in
a stern endeavor to justify its existence.

As I advanced the fog became denser. I could see nothing beyond my
nose. Even the snow and ice I trod were invisible.

I could not see below the breast of my bearskin coat. I seemed to be
floating in a sea of vapor.

To go forward over a dangerous glacier under such conditions was little
short of madness; but I could not have stopped going had I known
positively that death lay two paces before my nose. In the first
place, it was too cold to stop, and in the second, I should have gone
mad but for the excitement of the perils that beset each forward step.

For some time the ground had been rougher and steeper, until I had been
forced to scale a considerable height that had carried me from the
glacier entirely. I was sure from my compass that I was following the
right general direction, and so I kept on.

Once more the ground was level. From the wind that blew about me I
guessed that I must be upon some exposed peak of ridge.

And then quite suddenly I stepped out into space. Wildly I turned and
clutched at the ground that had slipped from beneath my feet.

Only a smooth, icy surface was there. I found nothing to clutch or
stay my fall, and a moment later so great was my speed that nothing
could have stayed me.

As suddenly as I had pitched into space, with equal suddenness did I
emerge from the fog, out of which I shot like a projectile from a
cannon into clear daylight. My speed was so great that I could see
nothing about me but a blurred and indistinct sheet of smooth and
frozen snow, that rushed past me with express-train velocity.

I must have slid downward thousands of feet before the steep incline
curved gently on to a broad, smooth, snow-covered plateau. Across this
I hurtled with slowly diminishing velocity, until at last objects about
me began to take definite shape.

Far ahead, miles and miles away, I saw a great valley and mighty woods,
and beyond these a broad expanse of water. In the nearer foreground I
discerned a small, dark blob of color upon the shimmering whiteness of
the snow.

"A bear," thought I, and thanked the instinct that had impelled me to
cling tenaciously to my rifle during the moments

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