A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 26

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 a wick.

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 ages.

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

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