The Land of the Changing Sun HTML version

Chapter 3
"What is it, Thorndyke? What are you looking at?" And the American slowly left the bed
and approached his friend.
Thorndyke only held the curtain further back and watched Johnston's face as he looked
through the wide plate-glass window.
"My gracious!" ejaculated the latter as he drew nearer. It was a wondrous scene. The
building in which they were imprisoned stood on a gentle hill clad in luxuriant, smoothly-
cut grass and ornamented with beautiful flowers and plants; and below lay a splendid
city--a city built on undulating ground with innumerable grand structures of white
marble, with turrets, domes and pinnacles of gold. Wide streets paved in polished stone
and bordered with lush-green grass interspersed with statues and beds and mounds of
strange plants and flowers stretched away in front of them till they were lost in the dim,
misty distance. Parks filled with pavilions, pleasure-lakes, fountains and tortuous drives
and walks, dotted the landscape in all directions.
Thorndyke's breath had clouded the glass of the window, and he rubbed it with his
handkerchief. As he did so the sash slowly, and without a particle of sound, slid to one
side, disclosing a narrow balcony outside. It had a graceful balustrade, made of carved
red-and-white mottled marble, and on the end of the balcony facing the city sat a great
gold and silver jug, ten feet high, of rare design. The spout was formed by the body of a
dragon with wings extended; the handle was a serpent with the extremity of its tail coiled
around the neck of the jug.
The air that came in at the window was fresh and dewy, and laden with the most
entrancing odors. Thorndyke led the way out, treading very gently at first. Johnston
followed him, too much surprised to make any comment. From this position, their view
to the left round the corner of the building was widened, and new wonders appeared on
every hand.
Over the polished stone pavements strange vehicles ran noiselessly, as if the wheels had
cushioned tires, and the streets were crowded with an active, strangely- clad populace.
"Look at that!" exclaimed the American, and from a street corner they saw a queer-
looking machine, carrying half-a-dozen passengers,rise like a bird with wings outspread
and fly away toward the east. They watched it till it disappeared in the distance.
"We are indeed in wonderland," said the Englishman; "I can't make head nor tail of it.
We were on an isolated island, the Lord only knows where, and have suddenly been
transported to a new world!"
"I can't feel at all as if we were in the world we were born in," returned Johnston. "I feel