List Of Contents | Contents of The Land of the Changing Sun
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it is the motion of the powerful light that gives apparent life
to the angel. It is wonderful."

In a commodious alcove, in a glow of pink light from above, was a
life-sized group of musicians--statues in colored metal of
a Spanish girl playing a mandora, an Italian with a slender
calascione, a Russian playing his jorbon, and an African playing
a banjo. Luxurious couches hung by spiral springs from the
ceiling to a convenient height from the floor, and here and there
lay rugs of rare beauty and great ottomans of artistic designs
and colors.

"We ought to go to bed," proposed Thorndyke; "we shall have
plenty of time to see this Aladdin's land before we get away from

There were two large downy beds on quaintly wrought bedsteads of
brass, but the two captives decided to sleep together.

Thorndyke was the first to awaken. The lights in the candelabrum
were out, but a gray light came in at the top and bottom of the
window. He rose and drew the heavy curtain of one of the windows
aside. He shrank back in astonishment.

Chapter III.

"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

"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 strange."

"The wine," suggested the Englishman, "you know it did wonders
for us in that subwater thing."

"No; the wine has nothing to do with it. My head never was
clearer. The very atmosphere is peculiar. The air is
invigorating, and I can't get enough of it."

"That is exactly the way I feel," was Thorndyke's answer.

"Look at the sunlight," went on Johnston; "it is gray like our
dawn, but see how transparent it is. You can look through it for
miles and miles. It is becoming pink in the east, the sun will
soon be up, and I am curious to see it."

"It must be up now, but we cannot see it for the hills and
buildings. My goodness, see that!" and the Englishman pointed
to the east. A flood of delicate pink light was now pouring into
the vast body of gray and was slowly driving the more sombre
color toward the west. The line of separation was marked--so
marked, indeed, that it seemed a vast, rose-colored billow
rolling, widening and sweeping onward like a swell of the ocean
shoreward. On it came rapidly, till the whole landscape was
magically changed. The flowers, the trees, the grass, the waters
of the lakes, the white buildings, the costumes of the people in
the streets, even the sky, changed in aspect. The white clouds
looked like fire-lit smoke, and far toward the west rolled the
long line of pink still struggling with the gray and driving
it back.

The sun now came into sight, a great bleeding ball of fire slowly
rising above the gilded roofs in the distance.

"By Jove, look at our shadows!" exclaimed Johnston, and both men
gazed at the balcony floor in amazement; their shadows were as
clearly defined and black as silhouettes. "How do you account
for that?" continued the American, "I am firmly convinced that
this sun is not the orb that shines over my native land."

Thorndyke laughed, but his laugh was forced. "How absurd! and
yet--" He extended his hand over the balustrade into the rosy
glow, and without concluding his remark held it back into the
shadow of the window-casement. "By Jove!" he exclaimed; "there is
not a particle of warmth in it. It is exactly the same
temperature in the shade as in the light." He moved back against
the wall. "No; there is no difference; the blamed thing doesn't
give out any warmth."

Johnston's hands were extended in the light. "I believe you are
right," he declared in awe, "something is wrong."

At that moment appeared from the room behind them a handsome
youth, attired in a suit of scarlet silk that fitted his
athletic figure perfectly. He rapped softly on the window-
casement and bowed when they turned.

"Your breakfast is waiting for you," he announced. They followed
him into a room adjoining the one they had occupied, and found a
table holding a sumptuous repast. The boy gave them seats and
handed them golden plates to eat upon. The fruits, wine and meats
were very appetizing, and they ate with relish.

"I believe we are to be conducted to the palace of your king to-
morrow," ventured the Englishman to the boy.

The boy shook his head, but made no reply, and busied himself
with removing the dishes. As they were rising from the table,
they heard footsteps in the hall outside. The door opened. It
was Captain Tradmos, and he was accompanied by a tall, bearded
man with a leather case under his arm.

"You must undergo a medical examination," the captain said
smilingly. "It is our invariable custom, but this is by a
special order from the king."

Johnston shuddered as he looked at the odd-looking instruments
the medical man was taking from the case, but Thorndyke watched
his movements with phlegmatic indifference. He stood erect; threw
back his shoulders; expanded his massive chest and struck it with
his clenched fist in pantomimic boastfulness.

Tradmos smiled genially; but there was something curt and
official in his tone when he next spoke that took the
Englishman slightly aback. "You must bare your breast over your
heart and lungs," he said; and while Thorndyke was unbuttoning
his shirt, he and the medical man went to the door and brought
into the room a great golden bell hanging in a metallic frame.

The bell was so thin and sensitive to the slightest jar or
movement that, although it had been handled with extreme care,
the captives could see that it was vibrating considerably, and
the room was filled with a low metallic sound that not only
affected the ear of the hearer but set every nerve to tingling.
The medical man stopped the sound by laying his hand upon the
bell. To a tube in the top of the bell he fastened one end of a
rubber pipe; the other end was finished with a silver device
shaped like the mouth-piece of a speaking tube. This he firmly
pressed over the Englishman's heart. Thorndyke winced and bit his
lip, for the strange thing took hold of his flesh with the
tenacity of a powerful suction-pump.

"Ouch!" he exclaimed playfully, but Johnston saw that he had
turned pale, and that his face was drawn as if from pain.

"Hold still!" ordered the medical man; "it will be over in a
minute; now, be perfectly quiet and listen to the bell!"

The Englishman stood motionless, the sinews of his neck drawn and
knotted, his eyes starting from their sockets. Thorndyke felt the
rubber tube quiver suddenly and writhe with the slow energy of a
dying snake, and then from the quivering bell came a low,
gurgling sound like a stream of water being forced backward and

Tradmos and the medical man stepped to the bell and inspected a
small dial on its top.

"What was that?" gasped the Englishman, purple in the face.

"The sound of your blood," answered Tradmos, as he removed the
instrument from Thorndyke's flesh; "it is as regular as mine; you
are very lucky; you are slightly fatigued, but you will be sound
in a day or two."

"Thank you," replied the Englishman, but he sank into a chair,
overcome with weakness.

"Now, I'll take you, please," said the medical man, motioning
Johnston to rise.

"I am slightly nervous," apologized the latter, as he stood up
and awkwardly fumbled the buttons of his coat.

"Nervousness is a mental disease," said the man, with
professional brusqueness; "it has nothing to do with the body
except to dominate it at times. If you pass your examination you
may live to overcome it."

The American looked furtively at Thorndyke, but the head of the
Englishman had sunk on his breast and he seemed to be asleep.
Johnston had never felt so lonely and forsaken in his life. From
his childhood he had entertained a secret fear that he had
inherited heart disease, and like Maupassant's "Coward," who
committed suicide rather than meet a man in a duel, he had tried
in vain to get away from the horrible, ever-present thought by
plunging into perilous adventures.

At that moment he felt that he would rather die than know the
worst from the uncanny instrument that had just tortured his
strong comrade till he was overcome with exhaustion.

"I never felt better in my life," he said falteringly, but it
seemed to him that every nerve and muscle in his frame was
withering through fear. His tongue felt clumsy and thick and his
knees were quivering as with ague.

"Stand still," ordered the physician sternly, and Johnston was
further humiliated by having Tradmos sympathetically catch hold
of his arm to steady him.

"Your people are far advanced in the sciences," went on the
physician coldly, "but there are only a few out of their number
who know that the mind governs the body and that fear is its
prime enemy. Five minutes ago you were eating heartily and had
your share of physical strength, and yet the mere thought that
you are now to know the actual condition of your most vital organ
has made you as weak as an infant. If you kept up this state of
mind for a month it would kill you.

"Now listen," he went on, as the instrument gripped Johnston's
flesh and the rubber tube began to twist and move as if
charged with electricity. The American held his breath. A sound
as of water being forced through channels that were choked,
mingled with a wheezing sound like wind escaping from a broken
bellows came from the bell.

"Your frame is all right," said the medical man, as he released
the trembling American, "but you have long believed in the
weakness of your heart and it has, on that account, become so.
You must banish all fear from your thoughts. You perhaps
know that we have a place specially prepared for those who are
not physically sound. I am sorry that you do not stand a
better examination."

Tradmos regarded the American with a look of sympathy as he gave
him a chair and then rang a bell on the table. Thorndyke looked
up sleepily, as an attendant entered with a couple of parcels,
and glanced wonderingly at his friend's white face and bloodshot

"What's the matter?" he asked; but Johnston made no reply, for
the captain had opened the parcels and taken out two suits of
silken clothing.

"Put them on," he said, giving a suit of gray to Johnston and one
of light blue to Thorndyke. "We shall leave you to change your
attire, and I shall soon come for you."

Chapter IV.

In a few minutes the captain returned and found his prisoners
ready to go with him. Thorndyke looked exceedingly handsome in
his glossy tights, close-fitting sack-coat, tinsel belt and low
shoes with buckles of gold. The natural color had come back into
his cheeks, and he was exhilarated over the prospect of further

It was not so, however, with poor Johnston; his spirits had been
so dampened by the physician's words that he could not rally from
his despondency. His suit fitted his figure as well as that of
the Englishman, but he could not wear it with the same hopeful

"Cheer up!" whispered Thorndyke, as they followed the captain
through a long corridor, "if we are on our way to the stake or
block we are at least going dressed like gentlemen."

Outside they found the streets lined with spectators eagerly
waiting to see them pass. The men all had suits like those which
had been given the captives, and the women wore flowing gowns
like those of ancient Greece.

"These are the common people," whispered Thorndyke to Johnston,
"but did you ever dream of such perfect features and physiques?
Every face is full of merriment and good cheer. I am curious to
see the royalty."

Johnston made no reply, for Captain Tradmos turned suddenly and
faced them.

"Stand here till I return," he said, and he went back into the

"Where in the deuce do you think we are?" pursued Thorndyke with
a grim smile.

"Haven't the slightest idea," sighed Johnston, and he shuddered
as he looked down the long white street with its borders of human

Thorndyke was observant.

"There is not a breath of air stirring," he said; "and yet the
atmosphere is like impalpable delicacies to a hungry man's
stomach.Look at that big tree, not a leaf is moving, and yet
every breath I draw is as fresh as if it came from a mountain-
top. Did you ever see such flowers as those? Look at that ocean
of orchids."

"They think we are a regular monkey-show," grumbled the American.
"Look how the crowd is gaping and shoving and fighting for places
to see us."

"It's your legs they want to behold, old fellow. Do you know I
never knew you had such knotty knee-joints; did you ever have
rheumatism? I wish I had 'em; they wouldn't put me to death--they
would make me the chief attraction in the royal museum." Thorndyke

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