A Princess of Mars
sympathy, kindliness, and affection; her ministrations to my bodily wants were unfailing,
and her solicitous care saved me from much suffering and many hardships.
As I was to learn, the Martian nights are extremely cold, and as there is practically no
twilight or dawn, the changes in temperature are sudden and most uncomfortable, as are
the transitions from brilliant daylight to darkness. The nights are either brilliantly
illumined or very dark, for if neither of the two moons of Mars happen to be in the sky
almost total darkness results, since the lack of atmosphere, or, rather, the very thin
atmosphere, fails to diffuse the starlight to any great extent; on the other hand, if both of
the moons are in the heavens at night the surface of the ground is brightly illuminated.
Both of Mars' moons are vastly nearer her than is our moon to Earth; the nearer moon
being but about five thousand miles distant, while the further is but little more than
fourteen thousand miles away, against the nearly one-quarter million miles which
separate us from our moon. The nearer moon of Mars makes a complete revolution
around the planet in a little over seven and one-half hours, so that she may be seen
hurtling through the sky like some huge meteor two or three times each night, revealing
all her phases during each transit of the heavens.
The further moon revolves about Mars in something over thirty and one-quarter hours,
and with her sister satellite makes a nocturnal Martian scene one of splendid and weird
grandeur. And it is well that nature has so graciously and abundantly lighted the Martian
night, for the green men of Mars, being a nomadic race without high intellectual
development, have but crude means for artificial lighting; depending principally upon
torches, a kind of candle, and a peculiar oil lamp which generates a gas and burns without
This last device produces an intensely brilliant far-reaching white light, but as the natural
oil which it requires can only be obtained by mining in one of several widely separated
and remote localities it is seldom used by these creatures whose only thought is for today,
and whose hatred for manual labor has kept them in a semi-barbaric state for countless
After Sola had replenished my coverings I again slept, nor did I awaken until daylight.
The other occupants of the room, five in number, were all females, and they were still
sleeping, piled high with a motley array of silks and furs. Across the threshold lay
stretched the sleepless guardian brute, just as I had last seen him on the preceding day;
apparently he had not moved a muscle; his eyes were fairly glued upon me, and I fell to
wondering just what might befall me should I endeavor to escape.
I have ever been prone to seek adventure and to investigate and experiment where wiser
men would have left well enough alone. It therefore now occurred to me that the surest
way of learning the exact attitude of this beast toward me would be to attempt to leave
the room. I felt fairly secure in my belief that I could escape him should he pursue me
once I was outside the building, for I had begun to take great pride in my ability as a