A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 61

services or my protection.

Adjoining my sleeping apartment were baths, dressing rooms, and other
sleeping and living apartments, in all some ten rooms on this floor.
The windows of the back rooms overlooked an enormous court, which
formed the center of the square made by the buildings which faced the
four contiguous streets, and which was now given over to the quartering
of the various animals belonging to the warriors occupying the
adjoining buildings.

While the court was entirely overgrown with the yellow, moss-like
vegetation which blankets practically the entire surface of Mars, yet
numerous fountains, statuary, benches, and pergola-like contraptions
bore witness to the beauty which the court must have presented in
bygone times, when graced by the fair-haired, laughing people whom
stern and unalterable cosmic laws had driven not only from their homes,
but from all except the vague legends of their descendants.

One could easily picture the gorgeous foliage of the luxuriant Martian
vegetation which once filled this scene with life and color; the
graceful figures of the beautiful women, the straight and handsome men;
the happy frolicking children--all sunlight, happiness and peace. It
was difficult to realize that they had gone; down through ages of
darkness, cruelty, and ignorance, until their hereditary instincts of
culture and humanitarianism had risen ascendant once more in the final
composite race which now is dominant upon Mars.

My thoughts were cut short by the advent of several young females
bearing loads of weapons, silks, furs, jewels, cooking utensils, and
casks of food and drink, including considerable loot from the air
craft. All this, it seemed, had been the property of the two
chieftains I had slain, and now, by the customs of the Tharks, it had
become mine. At my direction they placed the stuff in one of the back
rooms, and then departed, only to return with a second load, which they
advised me constituted the balance of my goods. On the second trip
they were accompanied by ten or fifteen other women and youths, who, it
seemed, formed the retinues of the two chieftains.

They were not their families, nor their wives, nor their servants; the
relationship was peculiar, and so unlike anything known to us that it
is most difficult to describe. All property among the green Martians
is owned in common by the community, except the personal weapons,
ornaments and sleeping silks and furs of the individuals. These alone
can one claim undisputed right to, nor may he accumulate more of these
than are required for his actual needs. The surplus he holds merely as
custodian, and it is

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