Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 68

there was a range of low but apparently very
rocky hills, and here and there all about were visible flat-topped
masses of rock--small mountains, in fact--which reminded me of pictures
I had seen of landscapes in New Mexico. Altogether, the country was
very much broken and very beautiful. From where I stood I counted no
less than a dozen streams winding down from among the table-buttes and
emptying into a pretty river which flowed away in a northeasterly
direction toward the op-posite end of the island.

As I let my eyes roam over the scene I suddenly became aware of figures
moving upon the flat top of a far-distant butte. Whether they were
beast or human, though, I could not make out; but at least they were
alive, so I determined to prosecute my search for Hooja's stronghold in
the general direction of this butte.

To descend to the valley required no great effort. As I swung along
through the lush grass and the fragrant flowers, my cudgel swinging in
my hand and my javelin looped across my shoulders with its aurochs-hide
strap, I felt equal to any emergency, ready for any danger.

I had covered quite a little distance, and I was passing through a
strip of wood which lay at the foot of one of the flat-topped hills,
when I became conscious of the sensation of being watched. My life
within Pellucidar has rather quickened my senses of sight, hearing, and
smell, and, too, certain primitive intuitive or instinctive qualities
that seem blunted in civilized man. But, though I was positive that
eyes were upon me, I could see no sign of any living thing within the
wood other than the many, gay-plumaged birds and little monkeys which
filled the trees with life, color, and action.

To you it may seem that my conviction was the result of an overwrought
imagination, or to the actual reality of the prying eyes of the little
monkeys or the curious ones of the birds; but there is a difference
which I cannot explain between the sensation of casual observation and
studied espionage. A sheep might gaze at you without transmitting a
warning through your subjective mind, because you are in no danger from
a sheep. But let a tiger gaze fixedly at you from ambush, and unless
your primitive instincts are completely calloused you will presently
commence to glance furtively about and be filled with vague,
unreasoning terror.

Thus was it with me then. I grasped my cudgel more firmly and unslung
my javelin, carrying it in my left

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