The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 89

shadows of the buildings behind him, nor of the third who hastened
ahead of him upon some urgent mission.

And so the panthan moved through the silent streets of the strange city
in search of food and drink for the woman he loved. Men and women
looked down upon him from shadowy balconies, but spoke not; and
sentinels saw him pass and did not challenge. Presently from along the
avenue before him came the familiar sound of clanking accouterments,
the herald of marching warriors, and almost simultaneously he saw upon
his right an open doorway dimly lighted from within. It was the only
available place where he might seek to hide from the approaching
company, and while he had passed several sentries unquestioned he could
scarce hope to escape scrutiny and questioning from a patrol, as he
naturally assumed this body of men to be.

Inside the doorway he discovered a passage turning abruptly to the
right and almost immediately thereafter to the left. There was none in
sight within and so he stepped cautiously around the second turn the
more effectually to be hidden from the street. Before him stretched a
long corridor, dimly lighted like the entrance. Waiting there he heard
the party approach the building, he heard someone at the entrance to
his hiding place, and then he heard the door past which he had come
slam to. He laid his hand upon his sword, expecting momentarily to hear
footsteps approaching along the corridor; but none came. He approached
the turn and looked around it; the corridor was empty to the closed
door. Whoever had closed it had remained upon the outside.

Turan waited, listening. He heard no sound. Then he advanced to the
door and placed an ear against it. All was silence in the street
beyond. A sudden draft must have closed the door, or perhaps it was the
duty of the patrol to see to such things. It was immaterial. They had
evidently passed on and now he would return to the street and continue
upon his way. Somewhere there would be a public fountain where he could
obtain water, and the chance of food lay in the strings of dried
vegetables and meat which hung before the doorways of nearly every
Barsoomian home of the poorer classes that he had ever seen. It was
this district he was seeking, and it was for this reason his search had
led him away from the main gate of the city which he knew would not be
located in a poor district.

He attempted to open the door only to find that

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