more where it
will avail to some purpose--shatter it not against senseless metal
which yields better to the lightest finger touch of one who knows its
"Know you the secret of it then?" I asked.
"Yes; release me and I will give you entrance to the other horror
chamber, if you wish. The keys to my fetters are upon the first dead
of thy foemen. But why would you return to face again the fierce
banth, or whatever other form of destruction they have loosed within
that awful trap?"
"Because my friend fights there alone," I answered, as I hastily sought
and found the keys upon the carcass of the dead custodian of this grim
chamber of horrors.
There were many keys upon the oval ring, but the fair Martian maid
quickly selected that which sprung the great lock at her waist, and
freed she hurried toward the secret panel.
Again she sought out a key upon the ring. This time a slender,
needle-like affair which she inserted in an almost invisible hole in
the wall. Instantly the door swung upon its pivot, and the contiguous
section of the floor upon which I was standing carried me with it into
the chamber where Tars Tarkas fought.
The great Thark stood with his back against an angle of the walls,
while facing him in a semi-circle a half-dozen huge monsters crouched
waiting for an opening. Their blood-streaked heads and shoulders
testified to the cause of their wariness as well as to the
swordsmanship of the green warrior whose glossy hide bore the same mute
but eloquent witness to the ferocity of the attacks that he had so far
Sharp talons and cruel fangs had torn leg, arm, and breast literally to
ribbons. So weak was he from continued exertion and loss of blood that
but for the supporting wall I doubt that he even could have stood
erect. But with the tenacity and indomitable courage of his kind he
still faced his cruel and relentless foes--the personification of that
ancient proverb of his tribe: "Leave to a Thark his head and one hand
and he may yet conquer."
As he saw me enter, a grim smile touched those grim lips of his, but
whether the smile signified relief or merely amusement at the sight of
my own bloody and dishevelled condition I do not know.
As I was about to spring into the conflict with my sharp long-sword I
felt a gentle hand upon my shoulder and turning found, to my surprise,
that the young woman had followed me into the chamber.
You all are familiar with the naval tradition that a good officer could sense proximity to either line, and for my part, I am firmly convinced of the truth of this as I am that the compass finds the north without recourse to tedious processes of reasoning.Page 7
It was about six bells of the forenoon watch that Johnson returned to the bridge after an absence of some thirty minutes.Page 8
"You always have been curious, sir, about the great unknown beyond thirty," he said.Page 11
All this time it had been impossible to work upon the damaged engines or the gravity-screen generators; but we had a full set of instruments upon the bridge, for Alvarez, after discovering my intentions, had fetched the reserve instruments from his own cabin, where he had hidden them.Page 14
The Coldwater had abandoned us in midocean.Page 15
I was studying them as we came away from the Coldwater this morning, and luckily I have them with me.Page 24
"It has been two hundred years," I told him, "since a Pan-American visited England.Page 36
Who would dare go there!" And she shuddered.Page 39
to believe that I was not among my own.Page 41
Finally, I came to the conclusion that I was absolutely friendless except for the old queen.Page 53
The creature was making a frightful racket now, leaping back and forth from the floor at the broad window ledge, tearing at the masonry with his claws in vain attempts to reach me.Page 60
Snider was still for setting out to sea and returning to Pan-America, but the better judgment of Delcarte and Taylor ridiculed the suggestion--we should not have lived a fortnight.Page 68
They say that dead men tell no tales, but Snider told the story of his end as clearly as though the dead lips had parted and poured forth the truth.Page 70
For over a month I remained a prisoner there, working from morning until night at odd jobs about the headquarters building of the commanding officer.Page 72
From working about the headquarters office, I was transferred to the colonel's living quarters.Page 74
Often we passed small posts similar to that at which the colonel's regiment had been quartered, finding in each instance that only a single company or troop remained for defence, the balance having been withdrawn toward the northeast, in the same direction in which we were moving.Page 75
The day after we arrived, the town was gaily decorated with flags, streamers, gorgeous rugs, and banners, for the rumor had proved true--the emperor was coming.Page 78
Their backs were toward me.Page 80
I tried to follow, that I might be near her against some opportunity to speak with her or assist in her escape.Page 87
You have seen--better than any man you must realize that there was no victory for any nation embroiled in that frightful war.