Coming, as they did, over the soft and soundless moss, which covers practically the entire surface of Mars with the exception of the frozen areas at the poles and the scattered cultivated districts, they might have captured me easily, but their intentions were far more sinister. It was the rattling of the accouterments of the foremost warrior which warned me. On such a little thing my life hung that I often marvel that I escaped so easily. Had not the rifle of the leader of the party swung from its fastenings beside his saddle in such a way as to strike against the butt of his great metal-shod spear I should have snuffed out without ever knowing that death was near me. But the little sound caused me to turn, and there upon me, not ten feet from my breast, was the point of that huge spear, a spear forty feet long, tipped with gleaming metal, and held low at the side of a mounted replica of the little devils I had been watching. But how puny and harmless they now looked beside this huge and terrific incarnation of hate, of vengeance and of death. The man himself, for such I may call him, was fully fifteen feet in height and, on Earth, would have weighed some four hundred pounds. He sat his mount as we sit a horse, grasping
“He pays reg’lar,” was the rejoinder. “But come, it’s getting dreadful late, you had better be turning flukes—it’s a nice bed; Sal and me slept in that ere bed the night we were spliced. There’s plenty of room for two to kick about in that bed; it’s an almighty big bed that. Why, afore we give it up, Sal used to put our Sam and little Johnny in the foot of it. But I got a dreaming and sprawling about one night, and somehow, Sam got pitched on the floor, and came near breaking his arm. Arter that, Sal said it wouldn’t do. Come along here, I’ll give ye a glim in a jiffy;” and so saying he lighted a candle and held it towards me, offering to lead the way. But I stood irresolute; when looking at a clock in the corner, he exclaimed “I vum it’s Sunday—you won’t see that harpooneer to-night; he’s come to anchor somewhere—come along then; DO come; WON’T ye come?” Image credit I considered the matter a moment, and then up stairs we went, and I was ushered into a small room, cold aes a clam, and furnished, sure enough, with a prodigious bed, almost big enough indeed for any four harpooneers to sleep abreast. “There,” said the landlord, placing the candle on a crazy old sea chest that did double duty as a
“You’re a great Granser,” he cried delightedly, “always making believe them little marks mean something.” The old man manifested an accustomed chagrin as he brought the coin back again close to his own eyes. “2012,” he shrilled, and then fell to cackling grotesquely. “That was the year Morgan the Fifth was appointed President of the United States by the Board of Magnates. It must have been one of the last coins minted, for the Scarlet Death came in 2013. Lord! Lord!—think of it! Sixty years ago, and I am the only person alive to-day that lived in those times. Where did you find it, Edwin?” Image credit The boy, who had been regarding him with the tolerant curiousness one accords to the prattlings of the feeble-minded, answered promptly. “I got it off of Hoo-Hoo. He found it when we was herdin’ goats down near San JosÃ© last spring. Hoo-Hoo said it was money. Ain’t you hungry, Granser?” The ancient caught his staff in a tighter grip and urged along the trail, his old eyes shining greedily. “I hope Har-Lip ‘s found a crab… or two,” he mumbled. “They’re good eating, crabs, mighty good eating when you’ve no more teeth and you’ve got grandsons that love their old grandsire and make a point of catching crabs for him. When I was a boy—” But Edwin, suddenly stopped by what he saw,
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