A Princess of Mars HTML version
However, instead of putting thoughts of possible escape from my mind, my audience
with Lorquas Ptomel only served to center my every faculty on this subject. Now, more
than before, the absolute necessity for escape, in so far as Dejah Thoris was concerned,
was impressed upon me, for I was convinced that some horrible fate awaited her at the
headquarters of Tal Hajus.
As described by Sola, this monster was the exaggerated personification of all the ages of
cruelty, ferocity, and brutality from which he had descended. Cold, cunning, calculating;
he was, also, in marked contrast to most of his fellows, a slave to that brute passion which
the waning demands for procreation upon their dying planet has almost stilled in the
The thought that the divine Dejah Thoris might fall into the clutches of such an abysmal
atavism started the cold sweat upon me. Far better that we save friendly bullets for
ourselves at the last moment, as did those brave frontier women of my lost land, who
took their own lives rather than fall into the hands of the Indian braves.
As I wandered about the plaza lost in my gloomy forebodings Tars Tarkas approached
me on his way from the audience chamber. His demeanor toward me was unchanged, and
he greeted me as though we had not just parted a few moments before.
"Where are your quarters, John Carter?" he asked.
"I have selected none," I replied. "It seemed best that I quartered either by myself or
among the other warriors, and I was awaiting an opportunity to ask your advice. As you
know," and I smiled, "I am not yet familiar with all the customs of the Tharks."
"Come with me," he directed, and together we moved off across the plaza to a building
which I was glad to see adjoined that occupied by Sola and her charges.
"My quarters are on the first floor of this building," he said, "and the second floor also is
fully occupied by warriors, but the third floor and the floors above are vacant; you may
take your choice of these.
"I understand," he continued, "that you have given up your woman to the red prisoner.
Well, as you have said, your ways are not our ways, but you can fight well enough to do
about as you please, and so, if you wish to give your woman to a captive, it is your own
affair; but as a chieftain you should have those to serve you, and in accordance with our
customs you may select any or all the females from the retinues of the chieftains whose
metal you now wear."
I thanked him, but assured him that I could get along very nicely without assistance
except in the matter of preparing food, and so he promised to send women to me for this
purpose and also for the care of my arms and the manufacture of my ammunition, which
he said would be necessary. I suggested that they might also bring some of the sleeping