By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 80

hide them from my view; but so keen was the
excitement of the instant that I could not refrain from crawling
forward to a point whence I could watch the dashing of the small craft
to pieces on the jagged rocks that loomed before her, although I
risked discovery from above to accomplish my design.

When I had reached a point where I could again see the dugout, I was
just in time to see it glide unharmed between two needle-pointed
sentinels of granite and float quietly upon the unruffled bosom of a
tiny cove.

Again I crouched behind a boulder to observe what would next transpire;
nor did I have long to wait. The dugout, which contained but two men,
was drawn close to the rocky wall. A fiber rope, one end of which was
tied to the boat, was made fast about a projection of the cliff face.

Then the two men commenced the ascent of the almost perpendicular wall
toward the summit several hundred feet above. I looked on in
amazement, for, splendid climbers though the cave men of Pellucidar
are, I never before had seen so remarkable a feat performed. Upwardly
they moved without a pause, to disappear at last over the summit.

When I felt reasonably sure that they had gone for a while at least I
crawled from my hiding-place and at the risk of a broken neck leaped
and scrambled to the spot where their canoe was moored.

If they had scaled that cliff I could, and if I couldn't I should die
in the attempt.

But when I turned to the accomplishment of the task I found it easier
than I had imagined it would be, since I immediately discovered that
shallow hand and foot-holds had been scooped in the cliff's rocky face,
forming a crude ladder from the base to the summit.

At last I reached the top, and very glad I was, too. Cautiously I
raised my head until my eyes were above the cliff-crest. Before me
spread a rough mesa, liberally sprinkled with large boulders. There
was no village in sight nor any living creature.

I drew myself to level ground and stood erect. A few trees grew among
the boulders. Very carefully I advanced from tree to tree and boulder
to boulder toward the inland end of the mesa. I stopped often to
listen and look cautiously about me in every direction.

How I wished that I had my revolvers and rifle! I would not have to
worm my way like a scared cat

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