A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 65

to me all that I
had left behind upon Earth in agreeable and congenial companionship.
There seemed bonds of mutual interest between us as powerful as though
we had been born under the same roof rather than upon different
planets, hurtling through space some forty-eight million miles apart.

That she shared my sentiments in this respect I was positive, for on my
approach the look of pitiful hopelessness left her sweet countenance to
be replaced by a smile of joyful welcome, as she placed her little
right hand upon my left shoulder in true red Martian salute.

"Sarkoja told Sola that you had become a true Thark," she said, "and
that I would now see no more of you than of any of the other warriors."

"Sarkoja is a liar of the first magnitude," I replied, "notwithstanding
the proud claim of the Tharks to absolute verity."

Dejah Thoris laughed.

"I knew that even though you became a member of the community you would
not cease to be my friend; 'A warrior may change his metal, but not his
heart,' as the saying is upon Barsoom."

"I think they have been trying to keep us apart," she continued, "for
whenever you have been off duty one of the older women of Tars Tarkas'
retinue has always arranged to trump up some excuse to get Sola and me
out of sight. They have had me down in the pits below the buildings
helping them mix their awful radium powder, and make their terrible
projectiles. You know that these have to be manufactured by artificial
light, as exposure to sunlight always results in an explosion. You
have noticed that their bullets explode when they strike an object?
Well, the opaque, outer coating is broken by the impact, exposing a
glass cylinder, almost solid, in the forward end of which is a minute
particle of radium powder. The moment the sunlight, even though
diffused, strikes this powder it explodes with a violence which nothing
can withstand. If you ever witness a night battle you will note the
absence of these explosions, while the morning following the battle
will be filled at sunrise with the sharp detonations of exploding
missiles fired the preceding night. As a rule, however, non-exploding
projectiles are used at night." [I have used the word radium in
describing this powder because in the light of recent discoveries on
Earth I believe it to be a mixture of which radium is the base. In
Captain Carter's manuscript it is mentioned always by the name used in
the written language of Helium

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