A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 47

sentiments are mostly
atrophied it would have required a serious injury to have aroused such
passions in them. Sola, let me add, was an exception; I never saw her
perform a cruel or uncouth act, or fail in uniform kindliness and good
nature. She was indeed, as her fellow Martian had said of her, an
atavism; a dear and precious reversion to a former type of loved and
loving ancestor.

Seeing that the prisoner seemed the center of attraction I halted to
view the proceedings. I had not long to wait for presently Lorquas
Ptomel and his retinue of chieftains approached the building and,
signing the guards to follow with the prisoner entered the audience
chamber. Realizing that I was a somewhat favored character, and also
convinced that the warriors did not know of my proficiency in their
language, as I had plead with Sola to keep this a secret on the
grounds that I did not wish to be forced to talk with the men until I
had perfectly mastered the Martian tongue, I chanced an attempt to
enter the audience chamber and listen to the proceedings.

The council squatted upon the steps of the rostrum, while below them
stood the prisoner and her two guards. I saw that one of the women was
Sarkoja, and thus understood how she had been present at the hearing of
the preceding day, the results of which she had reported to the
occupants of our dormitory last night. Her attitude toward the captive
was most harsh and brutal. When she held her, she sunk her rudimentary
nails into the poor girl's flesh, or twisted her arm in a most painful
manner. When it was necessary to move from one spot to another she
either jerked her roughly, or pushed her headlong before her. She
seemed to be venting upon this poor defenseless creature all the
hatred, cruelty, ferocity, and spite of her nine hundred years, backed
by unguessable ages of fierce and brutal ancestors.

The other woman was less cruel because she was entirely indifferent; if
the prisoner had been left to her alone, and fortunately she was at
night, she would have received no harsh treatment, nor, by the same
token would she have received any attention at all.

As Lorquas Ptomel raised his eyes to address the prisoner they fell on
me and he turned to Tars Tarkas with a word, and gesture of impatience.
Tars Tarkas made some reply which I could not catch, but which caused
Lorquas Ptomel to smile; after which they paid no

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