A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

passed on to the younger members of the community
as necessity demands.

The women and children of a man's retinue may be likened to a military
unit for which he is responsible in various ways, as in matters of
instruction, discipline, sustenance, and the exigencies of their
continual roamings and their unending strife with other communities and
with the red Martians. His women are in no sense wives. The green
Martians use no word corresponding in meaning with this earthly word.
Their mating is a matter of community interest solely, and is directed
without reference to natural selection. The council of chieftains of
each community control the matter as surely as the owner of a Kentucky
racing stud directs the scientific breeding of his stock for the
improvement of the whole.

In theory it may sound well, as is often the case with theories, but
the results of ages of this unnatural practice, coupled with the
community interest in the offspring being held paramount to that of the
mother, is shown in the cold, cruel creatures, and their gloomy,
loveless, mirthless existence.

It is true that the green Martians are absolutely virtuous, both men
and women, with the exception of such degenerates as Tal Hajus; but
better far a finer balance of human characteristics even at the expense
of a slight and occasional loss of chastity.

Finding that I must assume responsibility for these creatures, whether
I would or not, I made the best of it and directed them to find
quarters on the upper floors, leaving the third floor to me. One of
the girls I charged with the duties of my simple cuisine, and directed
the others to take up the various activities which had formerly
constituted their vocations. Thereafter I saw little of them, nor did
I care to.




CHAPTER XIII

LOVE-MAKING ON MARS


Following the battle with the air ships, the community remained within
the city for several days, abandoning the homeward march until they
could feel reasonably assured that the ships would not return; for to
be caught on the open plains with a cavalcade of chariots and children
was far from the desire of even so warlike a people as the green
Martians.

During our period of inactivity, Tars Tarkas had instructed me in many
of the customs and arts of war familiar to the Tharks, including
lessons in riding and guiding the great beasts which bore the warriors.
These creatures, which are known as thoats, are as dangerous and
vicious as their masters, but when once subdued are sufficiently
tractable for the purposes of the green Martians.

Two of these animals

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