could make nothing of them, and at last I decided that my very
haste was preventing me from solving the mystery. Then I took it
more slowly. Again and again my forefinger traced the first of
those four combinations.
Martian writing is rather difficult to explain to an Earth man--it
is something of a cross between shorthand and picture-writing, and
is an entirely different language from the spoken language of Mars.
Upon Barsoom there is but a single oral language.
It is spoken today by every race and nation, just as it was at
the beginning of human life upon Barsoom. It has grown with the
growth of the planet's learning and scientific achievements, but
so ingenious a thing it is that new words to express new thoughts
or describe new conditions or discoveries form themselves--no other
word could explain the thing that a new word is required for other
than the word that naturally falls to it, and so, no matter how far
removed two nations or races, their spoken languages are identical.
Not so their written languages, however. No two nations have the
same written language, and often cities of the same nation have a
written language that differs greatly from that of the nation to
which they belong.
Thus it was that the signs upon the paper, if in reality they were
words, baffled me for some time; but at last I made out the first
It was "courage," and it was written in the letters of Marentina.
That was the word the yellow guardsman had whispered in my ear as
I stood upon the verge of the Pit of Plenty.
The message must be from him, and he I knew was a friend.
With renewed hope I bent my every energy to the deciphering of the
balance of the message, and at last success rewarded my endeavor--I
had read the four words:
"Courage! Follow the rope."
"FOLLOW THE ROPE"
What could it mean?
"Follow the rope." What rope?
Presently I recalled the cord that had been attached to the parcel
when it fell at my side, and after a little groping my hand came in
contact with it again. It depended from above, and when I pulled
upon it I discovered that it was rigidly fastened, possibly at the
Upon examination I found that the cord, though small, was amply
able to sustain the weight of several men. Then I made another
discovery--there was a second message knotted in the rope at about
the height of my head. This I deciphered more easily, now that
" "Death!" he cried.Page 8
He gave himself a shake and sat erect again.Page 9
Don't you recall the sudden whirling of our seats? After that the drill was above you instead of below.Page 10
As far as the eye could reach the surface of the water was dotted with countless tiny isles--some of towering, barren, granitic rock--others resplendent in gorgeous trappings of tropical vegetation, myriad starred with the magnificent splendor of vivid blooms.Page 12
Fully thrice the size of the sun I had known throughout my life, and apparently so near that the sight of it carried the conviction that one might almost reach up and touch it.Page 20
"Now what do you suppose they intend doing with us?" We were not long in learning.Page 22
They wore no ornaments; but this I later learned was due to the fact that their captors had stripped them of everything of value.Page 26
Perry learned the language with me.Page 27
horrid things.Page 31
Your heart has spoken to me.Page 45
Rank grass, waist high, grows upon the plain of Phutra--the gorgeous flowering grass of the inner world, each particular blade of which is tipped with a tiny, five-pointed blossom--brilliant little stars of varying colors that twinkle in the green foliage to add still another charm to the weird, yet lovely, landscape.Page 57
She was backing toward the surface, her eyes fixed before her as they had been when she dragged the helpless girl to her doom.Page 67
I wish that you would come and live with me.Page 69
Those born within the inner world could no more conceive of such things than can we of the outer crust reduce to factors appreciable to our finite minds such terms as space and eternity.Page 78
The Mahars were now evidently completing their work at the table.Page 82
" I had no love for Hooja, and no confidence in him.Page 84
How we traveled at a dogged run until we dropped in our tracks.Page 94
The long-extinct pterodactyl of the outer world.Page 108
The former had held up his two hands, palms toward us, in sign of peace, and I had answered him in kind, when he suddenly.Page 114
I dared not leave the prospector for fear I should never be able to find it again--the shifting sands of the desert would soon cover it, and then my only hope of returning to my Dian and her Pellucidar would be gone forever.