the boy and hold tight--we
are going straight up the shaft."
The words were scarce out of my mouth as we swept beneath the
pitch-black opening. I threw the bow hard up, dragged the speed lever
to its last notch, and clutching a stanchion with one hand and the
steering-wheel with the other hung on like grim death and consigned my
soul to its author.
I heard a little exclamation of surprise from Xodar, followed by a grim
laugh. The boy laughed too and said something which I could not catch
for the whistling of the wind of our awful speed.
I looked above my head, hoping to catch the gleam of stars by which I
could direct our course and hold the hurtling thing that bore us true
to the centre of the shaft. To have touched the side at the speed we
were making would doubtless have resulted in instant death for us all.
But not a star showed above--only utter and impenetrable darkness.
Then I glanced below me, and there I saw a rapidly diminishing circle
of light--the mouth of the opening above the phosphorescent radiance of
Omean. By this I steered, endeavouring to keep the circle of light
below me ever perfect. At best it was but a slender cord that held us
from destruction, and I think that I steered that night more by
intuition and blind faith than by skill or reason.
We were not long in the shaft, and possibly the very fact of our
enormous speed saved us, for evidently we started in the right
direction and so quickly were we out again that we had no time to alter
our course. Omean lies perhaps two miles below the surface crust of
Mars. Our speed must have approximated two hundred miles an hour, for
Martian fliers are swift, so that at most we were in the shaft not over
We must have been out of it for some seconds before I realised that we
had accomplished the impossible. Black darkness enshrouded all about
us. There were neither moons nor stars. Never before had I seen such
a thing upon Mars, and for the moment I was nonplussed. Then the
explanation came to me. It was summer at the south pole. The ice cap
was melting and those meteoric phenomena, clouds, unknown upon the
greater part of Barsoom, were shutting out the light of heaven from
this portion of the planet.
Fortunate indeed it was for us, nor did it take me long to
It--well, read it yourself, and see if you, too, do not find food for frantic conjecture, for tantalizing doubts, and for a great hope.Page 16
We must have covered a great many thousand square miles of territory, and yet we had seen nothing in the way of a familiar landmark, when from the heights of a mountain-range we were crossing I descried far in the distance great masses of billowing clouds.Page 20
Presently, with two great bears dogging our footsteps we entered a dense fog.Page 27
Inside she reminded me of nothing so much as a floating trench.Page 33
They watched us for a moment and then I hailed them, asking the whereabouts of my old friend Ja.Page 34
The old man fell in love with the savage giant as completely as had I.Page 36
When I awoke it was with a start to find a couple of huge Sagoths astride me.Page 43
"You told me of great engines of destruction which would cast a bursting ball of metal among our enemies, killing hundreds of them at one time.Page 46
I intended demanding her release on the grounds that she was in no way guilty of the theft, and that my failure to recover the document had not lessened the value of the good faith I had had in offering to do so.Page 48
With the aid of my map, which I had kept with great care during my march with the Sagoths in search of the great secret, I arrived at Sari at last.Page 50
Ghak was to remain at home to receive the various delegations which we invited to come to Sari on the business of the federation.Page 54
Nor did I catch another glimpse of it for some time--several marches at least.Page 59
The man upon me held me down awkwardly, leaving me many openings--one of which I was not slow in taking advantage of, so that almost before the fellow knew that I was awake I was upon my feet with my arms over his shoulders and about his waist and had hurled him heavily over my head to the hard rubble of the beach, where he lay quite still.Page 73
Thus they leap over obstacles that would slow up a human being, and upon the level attain a speed that would make a thoroughbred look to his laurels.Page 85
Then my fingers sank into loose rock and earth in the side of the cave.Page 89
To have attempted it myself seemed too preposterous even for thought.Page 94
Gr-gr-gr turned to me.Page 101
Instantly both he and his mate leaped for the long neck of the ruminant.Page 114
It was the navy! It was the navy of the empire of Pellucidar which I had instructed Perry to build in my absence.Page 131
By adhering to this policy I have won to the federation many great and noble peoples, who under the ancient traditions of the inner world would have been massacred or enslaved after we had conquered them; and thus I won the Luanians.