A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 43

safer to affect
indifference in the matter until I learned more surely Sola's attitude
toward the object of my solicitude.

Sarkoja, one of the older women who shared our domicile, had been
present at the audience as one of the captive's guards, and it was
toward her the question turned.

"When," asked one of the women, "will we enjoy the death throes of the
red one? or does Lorquas Ptomel, Jed, intend holding her for ransom?"

"They have decided to carry her with us back to Thark, and exhibit her
last agonies at the great games before Tal Hajus," replied Sarkoja.

"What will be the manner of her going out?" inquired Sola. "She is
very small and very beautiful; I had hoped that they would hold her for
ransom."

Sarkoja and the other women grunted angrily at this evidence of
weakness on the part of Sola.

"It is sad, Sola, that you were not born a million years ago," snapped
Sarkoja, "when all the hollows of the land were filled with water, and
the peoples were as soft as the stuff they sailed upon. In our day we
have progressed to a point where such sentiments mark weakness and
atavism. It will not be well for you to permit Tars Tarkas to learn
that you hold such degenerate sentiments, as I doubt that he would care
to entrust such as you with the grave responsibilities of maternity."

"I see nothing wrong with my expression of interest in this red woman,"
retorted Sola. "She has never harmed us, nor would she should we have
fallen into her hands. It is only the men of her kind who war upon us,
and I have ever thought that their attitude toward us is but the
reflection of ours toward them. They live at peace with all their
fellows, except when duty calls upon them to make war, while we are at
peace with none; forever warring among our own kind as well as upon the
red men, and even in our own communities the individuals fight amongst
themselves. Oh, it is one continual, awful period of bloodshed from
the time we break the shell until we gladly embrace the bosom of the
river of mystery, the dark and ancient Iss which carries us to an
unknown, but at least no more frightful and terrible existence!
Fortunate indeed is he who meets his end in an early death. Say what
you please to Tars Tarkas, he can mete out no worse fate to me than a
continuation of the horrible existence we

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