A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 72

polish the teeth of her grandmother's cat! I must rank
pretty low in the consideration of Dejah Thoris, I thought; but I could
not help laughing at the strange figure of speech, so homely and in
this respect so earthly. It made me homesick, for it sounded very much
like "not fit to polish her shoes." And then commenced a train of
thought quite new to me. I began to wonder what my people at home were
doing. I had not seen them for years. There was a family of Carters
in Virginia who claimed close relationship with me; I was supposed to
be a great uncle, or something of the kind equally foolish. I could
pass anywhere for twenty-five to thirty years of age, and to be a great
uncle always seemed the height of incongruity, for my thoughts and
feelings were those of a boy. There were two little kiddies in the
Carter family whom I had loved and who had thought there was no one on
Earth like Uncle Jack; I could see them just as plainly, as I stood
there under the moonlit skies of Barsoom, and I longed for them as I
had never longed for any mortals before. By nature a wanderer, I had
never known the true meaning of the word home, but the great hall of
the Carters had always stood for all that the word did mean to me, and
now my heart turned toward it from the cold and unfriendly peoples I
had been thrown amongst. For did not even Dejah Thoris despise me! I
was a low creature, so low in fact that I was not even fit to polish
the teeth of her grandmother's cat; and then my saving sense of humor
came to my rescue, and laughing I turned into my silks and furs and
slept upon the moon-haunted ground the sleep of a tired and healthy
fighting man.

We broke camp the next day at an early hour and marched with only a
single halt until just before dark. Two incidents broke the
tediousness of the march. About noon we espied far to our right what
was evidently an incubator, and Lorquas Ptomel directed Tars Tarkas to
investigate it. The latter took a dozen warriors, including myself,
and we raced across the velvety carpeting of moss to the little
enclosure.

It was indeed an incubator, but the eggs were very small in comparison
with those I had seen hatching in ours at the time of

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