A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
and simultaneously on either side, just back of the head, they could direct their course, by
making their steed swerve away from the stamping.
"It is strange," said Ayrault, "that, with the exception of the mastodon and this tortoise,
we have seen none of the monsters that seem to appear at the close of Carboniferous
periods, although the ground is covered with their tracks."
"Probably we did not reach the grounds at the right time of day," replied Bearwarden.
"The large game doubtless stays in the woods and jungles till night."
"I fancy," said Cortlandt, "we shall find representatives of all the species that once lived
upon the earth. In the case of the singing flowers and the Jack-o'-lantern jelly-fish, we
have, in addition, seen developments the existence of which no scientist has ever before
Occasionally the tortoise stopped, whereupon they poked it from behind with their
knives. It was a vicious-looking brute, and had a huge horny beak, with which it bit off
young trees that stood in its way as though they had been blades of grass. They were
passing through a valley about half a mile wide, bordered on each side by woods, when
Bearwarden suddenly exclaimed, "Here we have it!" and, looking forward, they
unexpectedly saw a head rise and remain poised about fifteen feet from the ground. It was
a dinosaur, and belonged to the scaled or armoured species. In a few moments another
head appeared, and towered several feet above the first. The head was obviously reptilian,
but had a beak similar to that of their tortoise. The hind legs were developed like those of
a kangaroo, while the small rudimentary forepaws, which could be used as hands or for
going quadruped-fashion, now hung down. The strong thick tail was evidently of great
use to them when standing erect, by forming a sort of tripod.
"How I wish we could take a pair of those creatures with us when we return to the earth!"
"They would be trump cards," replied Bearwarden, "in a zoological garden or a dime
museum, and would take the wind out of the sails of all the other freaks."
As they lay flat on the turtle's back, the monsters gazed at them unconcernedly, munching
the palm-tree fruit so loudly that they could be heard a long distance.
"Having nothing to fear from a tortoise," resumed Cortlandt, "they may allow us to stalk
them. We are in their eyes like hippocentaurs, except that we are part of a tortoise instead
of part of a horse, or else they take us for a parasite or fibrous growth on the shell."
"They would not have much to fear from us as we really are," replied Bearwarden, "were
it not for our explosive bullets."
"I am surprised," said Ayrault, "that graminivorous animals should be so heavily armed
as these, since there can be no great struggle in obtaining their food."