A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 41

in astonishment, and she
made a little sign with her free hand; a sign which I did not, of
course, understand. Just a moment we gazed upon each other, and then
the look of hope and renewed courage which had glorified her face as
she discovered me, faded into one of utter dejection, mingled with
loathing and contempt. I realized I had not answered her signal, and
ignorant as I was of Martian customs, I intuitively felt that she had
made an appeal for succor and protection which my unfortunate ignorance
had prevented me from answering. And then she was dragged out of my
sight into the depths of the deserted edifice.




CHAPTER IX

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 menacing.

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

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