Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 27

to board her."

As a matter of fact, I knew that he had had in mind the safety of her
crew under javelin-fire--the lofty sides made an admirable shelter.
Inside she reminded me of nothing so much as a floating trench. There
was also some slight analogy to a huge coffin.

Her prow sloped sharply backward from the water-line--quite like a line
of battleship. Perry had designed her more for moral effect upon an
enemy, I think, than for any real harm she might inflict, and so those
parts which were to show were the most imposing.

Below the water-line she was practically non-existent. She should have
had considerable draft; but, as the enemy couldn't have seen it, Perry
decided to do away with it, and so made her flat-bottomed. It was this
that caused my doubts about her.

There was another little idiosyncrasy of design that escaped us both
until she was about ready to launch--there was no method of propulsion.
Her sides were far too high to permit the use of sweeps, and when Perry
suggested that we pole her, I remonstrated on the grounds that it would
be a most undignified and awkward manner of sweeping down upon the foe,
even if we could find or wield poles that would reach to the bottom of
the ocean.

Finally I suggested that we convert her into a sailing vessel. When
once the idea took hold Perry was most enthusiastic about it, and
nothing would do but a four-masted, full-rigged ship.

Again I tried to dissuade him, but he was simply crazy over the
psychological effect which the appearance of this strange and mighty
craft would have upon the natives of Pellucidar. So we rigged her with
thin hides for sails and dried gut for rope.

Neither of us knew much about sailing a full-rigged ship; but that
didn't worry me a great deal, for I was confident that we should never
be called upon to do so, and as the day of launching approached I was
positive of it.

We had built her upon a low bank of the river close to where it emptied
into the sea, and just above high tide. Her keel we had laid upon
several rollers cut from small trees, the ends of the rollers in turn
resting upon parallel tracks of long saplings. Her stern was toward
the water.

A few hours before we were ready to launch her she made quite an
imposing picture, for Perry had insisted upon setting every shred of
"canvas." I told him that I didn't

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