A Princess of Mars HTML version
I Learn The Language
As I came back to myself I glanced at Sola, who had witnessed this encounter and I was
surprised to note a strange expression upon her usually expressionless countenance. What
her thoughts were I did not know, for as yet I had learned but little of the Martian tongue;
enough only to suffice for my daily needs.
As I reached the doorway of our building a strange surprise awaited me. A warrior
approached bearing the arms, ornaments, and full accouterments of his kind. These he
presented to me with a few unintelligible words, and a bearing at once respectful and
Later, Sola, with the aid of several of the other women, remodeled the trappings to fit my
lesser proportions, and after they completed the work I went about garbed in all the
panoply of war.
From then on Sola instructed me in the mysteries of the various weapons, and with the
Martian young I spent several hours each day practicing upon the plaza. I was not yet
proficient with all the weapons, but my great familiarity with similar earthly weapons
made me an unusually apt pupil, and I progressed in a very satisfactory manner.
The training of myself and the young Martians was conducted solely by the women, who
not only attend to the education of the young in the arts of individual defense and offense,
but are also the artisans who produce every manufactured article wrought by the green
Martians. They make the powder, the cartridges, the firearms; in fact everything of value
is produced by the females. In time of actual warfare they form a part of the reserves, and
when the necessity arises fight with even greater intelligence and ferocity than the men.
The men are trained in the higher branches of the art of war; in strategy and the
maneuvering of large bodies of troops. They make the laws as they are needed; a new law
for each emergency. They are unfettered by precedent in the administration of justice.
Customs have been handed down by ages of repetition, but the punishment for ignoring a
custom is a matter for individual treatment by a jury of the culprit's peers, and I may say
that justice seldom misses fire, but seems rather to rule in inverse ratio to the ascendency
of law. In one respect at least the Martians are a happy people; they have no lawyers.
I did not see the prisoner again for several days subsequent to our first encounter, and
then only to catch a fleeting glimpse of her as she was being conducted to the great
audience chamber where I had had my first meeting with Lorquas Ptomel. I could not but
note the unnecessary harshness and brutality with which her guards treated her; so
different from the almost maternal kindliness which Sola manifested toward me, and the
respectful attitude of the few green Martians who took the trouble to notice me at all.
I had observed on the two occasions when I had seen her that the prisoner exchanged
words with her guards, and this convinced me that they spoke, or at least could make