The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 76

us ahead at high
speed. It was very dark down there, but the light from our port-holes,
and the reflection from what must have been a powerful searchlight on
the submarine's nose showed that we were forging through a narrow
passage, rock-lined, and tube-like.

After a few minutes the propellers ceased their whirring. We came to a
full stop, and then commenced to rise swiftly toward the surface. Soon
the light from without increased and we came to a stop.

Xodar entered the cabin with his men.

"Come," he said, and we followed him through the hatchway which had
been opened by one of the seamen.

We found ourselves in a small subterranean vault, in the centre of
which was the pool in which lay our submarine, floating as we had first
seen her with only her black back showing.

Around the edge of the pool was a level platform, and then the walls of
the cave rose perpendicularly for a few feet to arch toward the centre
of the low roof. The walls about the ledge were pierced with a number
of entrances to dimly lighted passageways.

Toward one of these our captors led us, and after a short walk halted
before a steel cage which lay at the bottom of a shaft rising above us
as far as one could see.

The cage proved to be one of the common types of elevator cars that I
had seen in other parts of Barsoom. They are operated by means of
enormous magnets which are suspended at the top of the shaft. By an
electrical device the volume of magnetism generated is regulated and
the speed of the car varied.

In long stretches they move at a sickening speed, especially on the
upward trip, since the small force of gravity inherent to Mars results
in very little opposition to the powerful force above.

Scarcely had the door of the car closed behind us than we were slowing
up to stop at the landing above, so rapid was our ascent of the long
shaft.

When we emerged from the little building which houses the upper
terminus of the elevator, we found ourselves in the midst of a
veritable fairyland of beauty. The combined languages of Earth men
hold no words to convey to the mind the gorgeous beauties of the scene.

One may speak of scarlet sward and ivory-stemmed trees decked with
brilliant purple blooms; of winding walks paved with crushed rubies,
with emerald, with turquoise, even with diamonds themselves; of a
magnificent temple of burnished gold, hand-wrought with marvellous
designs; but where are

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