CHAPTER IV
DIAN THE BEAUTIFUL

WHEN OUR guards aroused us from sleep we were much refreshed. They gave us food. Strips of dried meat it was, but it put new life and strength into us, so that now we too marched with high-held heads, and took noble strides. At least I did, for I was young and proud; but poor Perry hated walking. On earth I had often seen him call a cab to travel a square -- he was paying for it now, and his old legs wobbled so that I put my arm about him and half carried him through the balance of those frightful marches.

The country began to change at last, and we wound up out of the level plain through mighty mountains of virgin granite. The tropical verdure of the lowlands was replaced by hardier vegetation, but even here the effects of constant heat and light were apparent in the immensity of the trees and the profusion of foliage and blooms. Crystal streams roared through their rocky channels, fed by the perpetual snows which we could see far above us. Above the snowcapped heights hung masses of heavy clouds. It was these, Perry explained, which evidently served the double purpose of replenishing the melting snows and protecting them from the direct rays of the sun.

By this time we had picked up a smattering of the bastard language in which our guards addressed us, as well as making good headway in the rather charming tongue of our co-captives. Directly ahead of me in the chain gang was a young woman. Three feet of chain linked us together in a forced companionship which I, at least, soon rejoiced in. For I found her a willing teacher, and from

-33-

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At the Earth's Core
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Prolog 1
  • Chapter I - Toward the Eternal Fires 3
  • Chapter III - A Change of Masters 14
  • Chapter IV - Dian the Beautiful 33
  • Chapter V - Slaves 44
  • Chapter VIII - Freedom 54
  • Chapter VIII - The Mahar Temple 61
  • Chapter IX - The Face of Death 68
  • Chapter X - Phutra Again 82
  • Chapter XI - Four Dead Mahars 90
  • Chapter XIV - The Garden of Eden 115
  • Chapter XV - Back to Earth 121
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