The Land of the Changing Sun HTML version

Chapter 5
"Follow me," said the captain stiffly, for there were several guards in white and gold
uniforms pacing to and fro on the battlement-like walls. He led the two adventurers
through a door in the base of the dome. At first they were dazed by a brilliant light from
above, and looking up they beheld a marvel of kaleidoscopic colors formed by a myriad
of electric-lighted prisms sloping gradually from the floor to the apex of the dome.
Thorndyke could compare it to nothing but a stupendous diamond, the very heart of
which the eye penetrated.
"Don't look at it now," advised Tradmos, in an undertone; "it was constructed to be seen
from below, and to light the great rotunda."
Mutely the captives obeyed. At every turn they were greeted with a new wonder. The
captain now led them round a narrow balcony on the inside of the vast dome, and,
looking over the railing down below, they saw a vast tessellated pavement made of
polished stones of various and brilliant colors and so artistically arranged that, from
where they stood, lifelike pictures of landscapes seemed to rise to meet the vision
wherever the eye rested. Statues of white marble, gold and bronze were placed here and
there, and, in squares of living green, fountains threw up streams of crystal water.
Tradmos paused for them to look down and smiled at their evident admiration.
"How far is it down there?" Thorndyke ventured to ask.
"Over a thousand feet," replied Tradmos. "Look across opposite and you will see that
there are fifty floors beneath us, and each floor has a balcony like this overlooking the
"What is the sound that comes up from below?" asked the Englishman.
"It is the voices of the people and their footsteps on the stone."
"What people?"
"Don't you see them? Your eyes are dazzled by the light; I ought to have warned you
against looking up into the dome. The people are down there; do the views in the
pavement not look a little blurred?"
"Well, if you will look more closely you will see that it is a multitude of people."
"Great heavens!" exclaimed the Englishman, and he became deeply absorbed in the
contemplation of the rarest sight he had ever seen. As he looked closely he noticed a
black spot growing larger and nearer, and he glanced inquiringly at the captain.