The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

so that as one turned his
glance in any direction the forest had the appearance at a little
distance of a vast, high-ceiled chamber.

All these evidences of careful and systematic cultivation convinced me
that I had been fortunate enough to make my entry into Mars on this
second occasion through the domain of a civilized people and that when
I should find them I would be accorded the courtesy and protection that
my rank as a Prince of the house of Tardos Mors entitled me to.

The trees of the forest attracted my deep admiration as I proceeded
toward the sea. Their great stems, some of them fully a hundred feet
in diameter, attested their prodigious height, which I could only guess
at, since at no point could I penetrate their dense foliage above me to
more than sixty or eighty feet.

As far aloft as I could see the stems and branches and twigs were as
smooth and as highly polished as the newest of American-made pianos.
The wood of some of the trees was as black as ebony, while their
nearest neighbours might perhaps gleam in the subdued light of the
forest as clear and white as the finest china, or, again, they were
azure, scarlet, yellow, or deepest purple.

And in the same way was the foliage as gay and variegated as the stems,
while the blooms that clustered thick upon them may not be described in
any earthly tongue, and indeed might challenge the language of the gods.

As I neared the confines of the forest I beheld before me and between
the grove and the open sea, a broad expanse of meadow land, and as I
was about to emerge from the shadows of the trees a sight met my eyes
that banished all romantic and poetic reflection upon the beauties of
the strange landscape.

To my left the sea extended as far as the eye could reach, before me
only a vague, dim line indicated its further shore, while at my right a
mighty river, broad, placid, and majestic, flowed between scarlet banks
to empty into the quiet sea before me.

At a little distance up the river rose mighty perpendicular bluffs,
from the very base of which the great river seemed to rise.

But it was not these inspiring and magnificent evidences of Nature's
grandeur that took my immediate attention from the beauties of the
forest. It was the sight of a score of figures moving slowly about the
meadow near the bank of the mighty river.

Odd, grotesque shapes they were; unlike anything that I had

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