A Princess of Mars
At daybreak of the fifteenth day of my search I was overjoyed to see the high trees that
denoted the object of my search. About noon I dragged myself wearily to the portals of a
huge building which covered perhaps four square miles and towered two hundred feet in
the air. It showed no aperture in the mighty walls other than the tiny door at which I sank
exhausted, nor was there any sign of life about it.
I could find no bell or other method of making my presence known to the inmates of the
place, unless a small round role in the wall near the door was for that purpose. It was of
about the bigness of a lead pencil and thinking that it might be in the nature of a speaking
tube I put my mouth to it and was about to call into it when a voice issued from it asking
me whom I might be, where from, and the nature of my errand.
I explained that I had escaped from the Warhoons and was dying of starvation and
"You wear the metal of a green warrior and are followed by a calot, yet you are of the
figure of a red man. In color you are neither green nor red. In the name of the ninth day,
what manner of creature are you?"
"I am a friend of the red men of Barsoom and I am starving. In the name of humanity
open to us," I replied.
Presently the door commenced to recede before me until it had sunk into the wall fifty
feet, then it stopped and slid easily to the left, exposing a short, narrow corridor of
concrete, at the further end of which was another door, similar in every respect to the one
I had just passed. No one was in sight, yet immediately we passed the first door it slid
gently into place behind us and receded rapidly to its original position in the front wall of
the building. As the door had slipped aside I had noted its great thickness, fully twenty
feet, and as it reached its place once more after closing behind us, great cylinders of steel
had dropped from the ceiling behind it and fitted their lower ends into apertures
countersunk in the floor.
A second and third door receded before me and slipped to one side as the first, before I
reached a large inner chamber where I found food and drink set out upon a great stone
table. A voice directed me to satisfy my hunger and to feed my calot, and while I was
thus engaged my invisible host put me through a severe and searching cross-examination.
"Your statements are most remarkable," said the voice, on concluding its questioning,
"but you are evidently speaking the truth, and it is equally evident that you are not of
Barsoom. I can tell that by the conformation of your brain and the strange location of
your internal organs and the shape and size of your heart."
"Can you see through me?" I exclaimed.
"Yes, I can see all but your thoughts, and were you a Barsoomian I could read those."