as I looked there came bobbing out upon the current from the
Stygian darkness of the interior the shell of one of the great,
succulent fruits of the sorapus tree.
I could scarce restrain a shout of elation as this silent, insensate
messenger floated past me, on toward the Iss and Korus, for it told
me that journeying Martians were above me on that very stream.
They had eaten of this marvelous fruit which nature concentrates
within the hard shell of the sorapus nut, and having eaten had
cast the husk overboard. It could have come from no others than
the party I sought.
Quickly I abandoned all thought of the left-hand passage, and a
moment later had turned into the right. The stream soon widened,
and recurring areas of phosphorescent rock lighted my way.
I made good time, but was convinced that I was nearly a day behind
those I was tracking. Neither Woola nor I had eaten since the
previous day, but in so far as he was concerned it mattered but
little, since practically all the animals of the dead sea bottoms
of Mars are able to go for incredible periods without nourishment.
Nor did I suffer. The water of the river was sweet and cold, for
it was unpolluted by decaying bodies--like the Iss--and as for
food, why the mere thought that I was nearing my beloved princess
raised me above every material want.
As I proceeded, the river became narrower and the current swift
and turbulent--so swift in fact that it was with difficulty that
I forced my craft upward at all. I could not have been making to
exceed a hundred yards an hour when, at a bend, I was confronted
by a series of rapids through which the river foamed and boiled at
a terrific rate.
My heart sank within me. The sorapus nutshell had proved a false
prophet, and, after all, my intuition had been correct--it was the
left-hand channel that I should have followed.
Had I been a woman I should have wept. At my right was a great,
slow-moving eddy that circled far beneath the cliff's overhanging
side, and to rest my tired muscles before turning back I let my
boat drift into its embrace.
I was almost prostrated by disappointment. It would mean another
half-day's loss of time to retrace my way and take the only passage
that yet remained unexplored. What hellish fate had led me to
select from three possible avenues the two that were wrong?
As the lazy current of the eddy carried me slowly about
" For a moment no further sound came from the thicket.Page 2
The creature sank limply to the ground and Bradley scrambled to his feet.Page 8
"What for?" he muttered.Page 10
Crouching among the trees, which here commenced to thin out slightly, Bradley saw what appeared to be an enormous dragon devouring the carcass of a mammoth.Page 13
Then they turned toward James, who lay face downward upon the ground, trembling as with ague.Page 25
The carved pedestals were black with use, the wooden seats were worn hollow, the floor of stone slabs was polished by the contact of possibly millions of naked feet and worn away in the aisles between the pedestals so that the latter rested upon little mounds of stone several inches above the general level of the floor.Page 26
" "Reassuring cuss," thought Bradley as he turned and left the building.Page 29
"Can't waste it," he thought; and slipping his fingers to the barrel he raised the weapon and struck Fosh-bal-soj a terrific blow between the eyes.Page 41
"Why do you not go to sleep? It passes directly beneath the Blue Place of Seven Skulls.Page 42
How far down it extended he could not guess; but that he should soon know definitely he was positive.Page 43
As he descended thus slowly, the ladder seemed interminable and the pit bottomless, yet he realized when at last he reached the bottom that he could not have descended more than fifty feet.Page 44
Time and again his hand touched them and never for an instant could he be sure that at the next step some gruesome thing might not attack him.Page 46
To leave the mouth of the tunnel would have been to court instant discovery and capture; but by what other avenue he might escape, Bradley could not guess, unless he retraced his steps up the stream and sought egress from the other end of the city.Page 48
There was no Wieroo in sight, so the Englishman entered.Page 49
"Come with me," he said, "and you shall have your life; remain here and He Who Speaks for Luata will claim you for his own; and when he is done with you, your skull will bleach at the top of a tall staff while your body feeds the reptiles at the mouth of the River of Death.Page 57
Bradley knew it for what it was.Page 65
The girl felt for his fingers and pressed them.Page 76
Instantly he stepped close in, dropped his rifle through his hands and grasped it with both hands close below the muzzle and with a short, sharp jab sent his blade up beneath Dietz's chin to the brain.Page 77
Each promised obedience.Page 82
"But your father will not permit it--Jor, my father, High Chief of the Galus, will not permit it, for like me you are cos-ata-lo.