an excerpt from the first chapter: "Good God, man! what is it?" cried Balderston. "Lawd--O Lawd!" gasped the negro, his teeth chattering. "De bottomless pit!--O Lawd!" Seized by a contagion of terror, we peered fearfully down over the side of the car. No wonder the negro was terror-stricken. The balloon hung suspended over the gloomy depths of a vast gulf--a chasm yawning in the earth's crust like the empty bed of an ocean. Overcome with vertigo, we clutched the suspension-ropes, and stared with dizzy eyes at the black wall of the pit, running down, down, down in grand sheer precipices, thousands upon thousands of feet, until lost to view in the gloom of the great deep. Our blood ran cold in our veins, and every nerve in our bodies tingled with fear of the awful abyss. It was as if the solid earth had collapsed beneath us. For a time we could neither move nor speak, so great was the shock of the discovery. At last, however, Thord and Balderston and I realised that the balloon was no longer sinking, and the knowledge somewhat restored our presence of mind. Our rigid muscles relaxed, and we gazed about, half fearfully, to measure the extent of the gulf. Eastward the black precipices of the mighty escarpment jutted out in a Titan buttress that hid from our view all the land beyond; while to the north the whole abyss was veiled by wisps of vapour, floating up out of the black depths to the cloud sea. In that direction we could see neither earth nor sky. To the west, however, across a great southward bend of the gulf, we caught vague glimpses of a faraway land, sloping up from the gloom of the lower pit to a dim white sierra of icy mountains. Balderston was the first among us to speak, and his voice sounded harsh and strained. "Symmes' Hole!" he muttered. I shook my head, and, with much effort, managed to reply: "No; I see bottom--miles down--where the sun strikes through the vapours." "Niflheim!" cried Thord meaningly. "Ay!" gasped Rolf Kaki, panting as when chased by the Thorlings--"ay, Niflheim--yonder in the lower depths. We float above the Ormvol." "Lower depths--lower depths!" I repeated, and my jaw fell. "Where lies Updal?" demanded Thord. The Northman pointed to the dim outlines of the icy sierra. "Yonder, beneath the Utgard Jokuls," he answered. "If we float on as now, we shall soar across." "Good!" cried Balderston, and we breathed easier. The dread of the abyss that had so dazed and appalled us, fast gave place to other emotions. An oath from Thord broke the last bond of the spell. Angry at his own panic, the giant turned upon Black, who still crouched in his place, ashen-faced and rigid, exactly as at first.
Used availability for Robert Ames Bennet's Thyra: A Romance of the Polar Pit
June 2015 : Paperback
Title: Thyra: A Romance of the Polar Pit
Author(s): Robert Ames Bennet
ISBN: 1-5142-6045-X / 978-1-5142-6045-6
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
December 2011 : USA Paperback
October 2009 : UK Paperback
September 2009 : USA Paperback
November 1988 : UK Spiral-bound
September 2009 : USA Kindle edition
Title: THYRA - A Romance of the Polar Pit
Author(s): Robert Ames Bennet
Publisher: Evergreen Review, Inc.