Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

me any
uneasiness. He glanced quickly about in all directions as if searching
for the cause of my excitement. Then, as I walked rapidly down toward
the dugout, he slunk silently after me.

The dugout was similar in many respects to those which I had seen in
use by the Mezops. In it were four paddles. I was much delighted, as
it promptly offered me the escape I had been craving.

I pushed it out into water that would float it, stepped in and called
to Raja to enter. At first he did not seem to understand what I wished
of him, but after I had paddled out a few yards he plunged through the
surf and swam after me. When he had come alongside I grasped the
scruff of his neck, and after a considerable struggle, in which I
several times came near to overturning the canoe, I managed to drag
him aboard, where he shook himself vigorously and squatted down before
me.

After emerging from the fiord, I paddled southward along the coast,
where presently the lofty cliffs gave way to lower and more level
country. It was here somewhere that I should come upon the principal
village of the Thurians. When, after a time, I saw in the distance
what I took to be huts in a clearing near the shore, I drew quickly
into land, for though I had been furnished credentials by Kolk, I was
not sufficiently familiar with the tribal characteristics of these
people to know whether I should receive a friendly welcome or not; and
in case I should not, I wanted to be sure of having a canoe hidden
safely away so that I might undertake the trip to the island, in any
event--provided, of course, that I escaped the Thurians should they
prove belligerent.

At the point where I landed the shore was quite low. A forest of pale,
scrubby ferns ran down almost to the beach. Here I dragged up the
dugout, hiding it well within the vegetation, and with some loose rocks
built a cairn upon the beach to mark my cache. Then I turned my steps
toward the Thurian village.

As I proceeded I began to speculate upon the possible actions of Raja
when we should enter the presence of other men than myself. The brute
was padding softly at my side, his sensitive nose constantly atwitch
and his fierce eyes moving restlessly from side to side--nothing would
ever take Raja unawares!

The more I thought upon the matter the greater became my

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