they were not following him he wormed his way
through the bushes to the edge of the river, still determined some way
to obtain a canoe.
Life itself depended upon his reaching the Kincaid and enlisting the
survivors of the ship's crew in his service, for to be abandoned here
amidst the dangers of the African jungle where he had won the enmity of
the natives was, he well knew, practically equivalent to a sentence of
A desire for revenge acted as an almost equally powerful incentive to
spur him into the face of danger to accomplish his design, so that it
was a desperate man that lay hidden in the foliage beside the little
river searching with eager eyes for some sign of a small canoe which
might be easily handled by a single paddle.
Nor had the Russian long to wait before one of the awkward little
skiffs which the Mosula fashion came in sight upon the bosom of the
river. A youth was paddling lazily out into midstream from a point
beside the village. When he reached the channel he allowed the
sluggish current to carry him slowly along while he lolled indolently
in the bottom of his crude canoe.
All ignorant of the unseen enemy upon the river's bank the lad floated
slowly down the stream while Paulvitch followed along the jungle path a
few yards behind him.
A mile below the village the black boy dipped his paddle into the water
and forced his skiff toward the bank. Paulvitch, elated by the chance
which had drawn the youth to the same side of the river as that along
which he followed rather than to the opposite side where he would have
been beyond the stalker's reach, hid in the brush close beside the
point at which it was evident the skiff would touch the bank of the
slow-moving stream, which seemed jealous of each fleeting instant which
drew it nearer to the broad and muddy Ugambi where it must for ever
lose its identity in the larger stream that would presently cast its
waters into the great ocean.
Equally indolent were the motions of the Mosula youth as he drew his
skiff beneath an overhanging limb of a great tree that leaned down to
implant a farewell kiss upon the bosom of the departing water,
caressing with green fronds the soft breast of its languorous love.
And, snake-like, amidst the concealing foliage lay the malevolent Russ.
Cruel, shifty eyes gloated upon the outlines of the coveted canoe, and
measured the stature of its owner, while the crafty brain
This audio reading of A Princess of Mars is read by Stephan Moebius, Peter Yearsley, Tony Hightower, Steve Hartzog, Kymm Zuckert, Chris Petersen, Kara Shallenberg, Chris Vee, Patrick McNeal, and Sherry Crowther.Page 1
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