its surface with my hands, and presently was
rewarded by the feel of the button which as commonly denotes a door on
Mars as does a door knob on Earth.
Gently pressing it, I had the satisfaction of feeling the door slowly
give before me, and in another instant we were looking into a dimly
lighted apartment, which, so far as we could see, was unoccupied.
Without more ado I swung the door wide open and, followed by the huge
Thark, stepped into the chamber. As we stood for a moment in silence
gazing about the room a slight noise behind caused me to turn quickly,
when, to my astonishment, I saw the door close with a sharp click as
though by an unseen hand.
Instantly I sprang toward it to wrench it open again, for something in
the uncanny movement of the thing and the tense and almost palpable
silence of the chamber seemed to portend a lurking evil lying hidden in
this rock-bound chamber within the bowels of the Golden Cliffs.
My fingers clawed futilely at the unyielding portal, while my eyes
sought in vain for a duplicate of the button which had given us ingress.
And then, from unseen lips, a cruel and mocking peal of laughter rang
through the desolate place.
THE CHAMBER OF MYSTERY
For moments after that awful laugh had ceased reverberating through the
rocky room, Tars Tarkas and I stood in tense and expectant silence.
But no further sound broke the stillness, nor within the range of our
vision did aught move.
At length Tars Tarkas laughed softly, after the manner of his strange
kind when in the presence of the horrible or terrifying. It is not an
hysterical laugh, but rather the genuine expression of the pleasure
they derive from the things that move Earth men to loathing or to tears.
Often and again have I seen them roll upon the ground in mad fits of
uncontrollable mirth when witnessing the death agonies of women and
little children beneath the torture of that hellish green Martian
fete--the Great Games.
I looked up at the Thark, a smile upon my own lips, for here in truth
was greater need for a smiling face than a trembling chin.
"What do you make of it all?" I asked. "Where in the deuce are we?"
He looked at me in surprise.
"Where are we?" he repeated. "Do you tell me, John Carter, that you
know not where you be?"
"That I am upon Barsoom is all that I can guess, and but for you and
the great white apes I
He prayed when he arose in the morning, he prayed before he ate, he prayed when he had finished eating, and before he went to bed at night he prayed again.Page 5
"We have shattered one theory at least," was his only comment, and then he returned to his self-assumed occupation of fluently cursing the steering wheel.Page 10
Behind us rose a dark and forbidding wood of giant arborescent ferns intermingled with the commoner types of a primeval tropical forest.Page 20
"Quite high enough to play the deuce with us, though," I replied.Page 21
The ape-things were dancing up and down urging the brute on with savage cries, until at last, seeing that I did not throw, he charged us.Page 25
"I can almost believe that you are of another world," she said, "for otherwise such ignorance were inexplicable.Page 26
Phutra, it seemed, was the city of our destination.Page 33
Among themselves they communicate by means of what Perry says must be a sixth sense which is cognizant of a fourth dimension.Page 34
He told Ghak that he had not seen Dian or the others after releasing them within the dark grotto.Page 45
The numerous lofty, granite towers which mark the several entrances to the subterranean city were all in front of me--behind, the plain stretched level and unbroken to the nearby foothills.Page 48
But whether I did or not there swept through me a sudden compassion for the fellow.Page 58
They would not think of eating the meat of a thag, which we consider such a delicacy, any more than I would think of eating a snake.Page 60
Doubtless he had felt as certain of my doom when he saw me topple from our hiding place as I had, and lest he too should be discovered, had hastened from the temple and back to his village.Page 66
A glance over my shoulder showed me the sithic engaged in pawing at the spear stuck through his lower jaw, and so busily engaged did he remain in this occupation that I had gained the safety of the cliff top before he was ready to take up the pursuit.Page 71
I wanted to make amends for the affront I had put upon her in my ignorance, and I wanted to--well, I wanted to see her again, and to be with her.Page 77
So deeply immersed were they in their work that I am sure they did not even know that the Sagoths had entered with me.Page 91
Here I found a rather large chamber, lighted by a narrow cleft in the rock above which let the sunlight filter in in sufficient quantities partially to dispel the utter darkness which I had expected.Page 105
" "You little sinner!" I exclaimed.Page 112
There were a number of Mahars among our prisoners, and so fearful were our own people of them that they would not approach them unless completely covered from the sight of the reptiles by a piece of skin.Page 114
I took the things back to Algeria myself, and accompanied them to the end of the railroad; but from here I was recalled to America upon important business.