units for fifty tals"--ah,
there was the first line of characters upon the torch's metal
case--3--50 T; "and for one xat let it shine with the intensity
of one radium unit"--there was the second line; "and then for
twenty-five tals with nine units."
The formula was complete; but--what did it mean?
I thought I knew, and, seizing a powerful magnifying glass from the
litter of my pocket-pouch, I applied myself to a careful examination
of the marble immediately about the pinhole in the door. I could
have cried aloud in exultation when my scrutiny disclosed the almost
invisible incrustation of particles of carbonized electrons which
are thrown off by these Martian torches.
It was evident that for countless ages radium torches had been
applied to this pinhole, and for what purpose there could be but
a single answer--the mechanism of the lock was actuated by light
rays; and I, John Carter, Prince of Helium, held the combination
in my hand--scratched by the hand of my enemy upon his own torch
In a cylindrical bracelet of gold about my wrist was my Barsoomian
chronometer--a delicate instrument that records the tals and xats
and zodes of Martian time, presenting them to view beneath a strong
crystal much after the manner of an earthly odometer.
Timing my operations carefully, I held the torch to the small aperture
in the door, regulating the intensity of the light by means of the
thumb-lever upon the side of the case.
For fifty tals I let three units of light shine full in the pinhole,
then one unit for one xat, and for twenty-five tals nine units.
Those last twenty-five tals were the longest twenty-five seconds
of my life. Would the lock click at the end of those seemingly
interminable intervals of time?
Twenty-three! Twenty-four! Twenty-five!
I shut off the light with a snap. For seven tals I waited--there
had been no appreciable effect upon the lock's mechanism. Could
it be that my theory was entirely wrong?
Hold! Had the nervous strain resulted in a hallucination, or did
the door really move? Slowly the solid stone sank noiselessly back
into the wall--there was no hallucination here.
Back and back it slid for ten feet until it had disclosed at its
right a narrow doorway leading into a dark and narrow corridor that
paralleled the outer wall. Scarcely was the entrance uncovered
than Woola and I had leaped through--then the door slipped quietly
back into place.
Down the corridor at some distance I saw the faint reflection of
a light, and toward this we made our way. At the point
parted; and one hand was raised toward me in a mute appeal for succor.Page 7
She drew away suddenly, voicing a little cry of fright, and tried to push me from her.Page 8
Shortly after daylight we saw smoke apparently coming straight toward us, and after a time we made out the squat lines of a tug--one of those fearless exponents of England's supremacy of the sea that tows sailing ships into French and English ports.Page 20
" I watched her face carefully as I spoke, and I thought that I detected a very faint flush mounting her cheek.Page 28
" I asked her what she meant, thinking I could see the influence of von Schoenvorts raising a suspicion against one of my most trusted men.Page 31
We were all asleep.Page 32
I am an I.Page 35
"I'm going to see what that thing is on shore," I replied.Page 36
The carcass was badly swollen and partly decomposed.Page 38
much as to say "I told you so!" "This water is warm," he announced, "and fresh!" I grabbed the bucket and tasted its contents.Page 41
Into what sort of strange land had fate guided us? The instant the deck was awash, I opened the conning-tower hatch and stepped out.Page 61
I had to smile as I read Bradley's report.Page 63
In the evening Lys and I went up into one of the bastion towers and listened to the grim and terrible nightlife of the frightful ages of the past.Page 64
"Tell me, Lys," I begged, "tell me in words how much you love me.Page 69
Lys gave a little cry of joy and started toward me, but Tsa grasped her arm and dragged her back.Page 71
A long way off I can kill you as well as I can kill you near by.Page 75
It was all very fragmentary and vague, but the idea seemed to be that the Kro-lus were a more advanced people than the Band-lus.Page 80
Together we will go to the Kro-lu, and after that the Galus.Page 87
However, we are each without hope.