Page:Germ Growers.djvu/116

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111
THE CARS.

down upon a few antagonists of determined if despairing aspect. And in the background a dark mass of cloud, forest, and rock hid all but the forefront of the mightier combatants and gave you the notion of unseen and inscrutable power. Still, the simpler devices, I think, suggested with more awful certainty the actual presence of desperate and deadly struggle.

As I have said, however, I was conscious of but little of all this as I walked down the broad stone stair. I was weary, and hungry, and thirsty, and utterly taken by surprise, and I was quite ready to attribute to these feelings the sense of eeriness and fear which was creeping over me.

Our host conducted us down the stair with stately courtesy, and he gave us briefly to understand that he was about to ask us to refresh ourselves with food and rest and change of raiment. At the foot of the stair a very broad roadway led straight on toward the other end of the valley, but our host beckoned us to the right by a shorter and narrower way. We entered one of the low buildings which I had seen from above. These were not very large, but they proved to be considerably larger than I had supposed. We passed through a little porch into a fair-sized room, the floor of which was covered with a stuff of curious texture. It looked