Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 587 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
north-westward at our present level, which had been selected on that account, carried us at a rate of some twelve miles an hour; a rate much increased, however, by the sails at the stern of the car, sails of thin metal fixed on strong frames, and striking with a screw-like motion.  Their lack of expanse was compensated by a rapidity of motion such that they seemed to the eye not to move at all, presenting the appearance of an uniform disc reflecting the rays of the Sun, which was now almost immediately above us.  Towards evening the Residence of the Campta became visible on the north-western horizon.  It was built on a plateau about 400 feet above the sea-level, towards which the ground from all sides sloped up almost imperceptibly.  Around it was a garden of great extent with a number of trees of every sort, some of them masses of the darkest green, others of bright yellow, contrasting similarly shaped masses of almost equal size clothed from base to top in a continuous sheet of pink, emerald, white or crimson flowers.  The turf presented almost as great a variety of colours, arranged in. every conceivable pattern, above which rose innumerable flower-beds, uniform or varied, the smallest perhaps two, the largest more than 200 feet in diameter; each circle of bloom higher than that outside it, till in some cases the centre rose even ten feet above the general level.  The building itself was low, having nowhere more than two stories.  One wing, pointed out to me by Ergimo, was appropriated to the household of the Prince; the centre standing out in front and rear, divided by a court almost as wide as the wings; the further wing accommodating the attendants and officials of the Court.  We landed, just before the evening mist began to gather, at the foot of an inclined way of a concrete resembling jasper, leading up to the main entrance of the Palace.


Leading Eveena by the hand—­for to hold my arm after the European fashion was always an inconvenience and fatigue to her—­and preceded by Ergimo, I walked unnoticed to the closed gate of pink crystal, contrasting the emerald green of the outer walls.  Along the front of this central portion of the residence was a species of verandah, supported by pillars overlaid with a bright red metal, and wrought in the form of smooth tree trunks closely clasped by creepers, the silver flowers of the latter contrasting the dense golden foliage and ruby-like stems.  Under this, and in front of the gate itself, were two sentries armed with a spear, the shaft of which was about six feet in length, hollow, and almost as light as the cane or reed handle of an African assegai.  The blade more resembled the triangular bayonet.  Beside each, however, was the terrible asphyxiator, fixed on its stand, with a bore about as great as that of a nine-pounder, but incomparably lighter.  These two weapons might at one discharge have annihilated

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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