A Princess of Mars HTML version
right, and on my left was an equal and nearly perpendicular drop to the bottom of a rocky
I had followed this trail for perhaps a hundred yards when a sharp turn to the right
brought me to the mouth of a large cave. The opening was about four feet in height and
three to four feet wide, and at this opening the trail ended.
It was now morning, and, with the customary lack of dawn which is a startling
characteristic of Arizona, it had become daylight almost without warning.
Dismounting, I laid Powell upon the ground, but the most painstaking examination failed
to reveal the faintest spark of life. I forced water from my canteen between his dead lips,
bathed his face and rubbed his hands, working over him continuously for the better part
of an hour in the face of the fact that I knew him to be dead.
I was very fond of Powell; he was thoroughly a man in every respect; a polished southern
gentleman; a staunch and true friend; and it was with a feeling of the deepest grief that I
finally gave up my crude endeavors at resuscitation.
Leaving Powell's body where it lay on the ledge I crept into the cave to reconnoiter. I
found a large chamber, possibly a hundred feet in diameter and thirty or forty feet in
height; a smooth and well-worn floor, and many other evidences that the cave had, at
some remote period, been inhabited. The back of the cave was so lost in dense shadow
that I could not distinguish whether there were openings into other apartments or not.
As I was continuing my examination I commenced to feel a pleasant drowsiness creeping
over me which I attributed to the fatigue of my long and strenuous ride, and the reaction
from the excitement of the fight and the pursuit. I felt comparatively safe in my present
location as I knew that one man could defend the trail to the cave against an army.
I soon became so drowsy that I could scarcely resist the strong desire to throw myself on
the floor of the cave for a few moments' rest, but I knew that this would never do, as it
would mean certain death at the hands of my red friends, who might be upon me at any
moment. With an effort I started toward the opening of the cave only to reel drunkenly
against a side wall, and from there slip prone upon the floor.