A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 84

into the realm of Tal Hajus.

Not once did I have speech with Dejah Thoris, as she sent no word to me
that I would be welcome at her chariot, and my foolish pride kept me
from making any advances. I verily believe that a man's way with women
is in inverse ratio to his prowess among men. The weakling and the
saphead have often great ability to charm the fair sex, while the
fighting man who can face a thousand real dangers unafraid, sits hiding
in the shadows like some frightened child.

Just thirty days after my advent upon Barsoom we entered the ancient
city of Thark, from whose long-forgotten people this horde of green men
have stolen even their name. The hordes of Thark number some thirty
thousand souls, and are divided into twenty-five communities. Each
community has its own jed and lesser chieftains, but all are under the
rule of Tal Hajus, Jeddak of Thark. Five communities make their
headquarters at the city of Thark, and the balance are scattered among
other deserted cities of ancient Mars throughout the district claimed
by Tal Hajus.

We made our entry into the great central plaza early in the afternoon.
There were no enthusiastic friendly greetings for the returned
expedition. Those who chanced to be in sight spoke the names of
warriors or women with whom they came in direct contact, in the formal
greeting of their kind, but when it was discovered that they brought
two captives a greater interest was aroused, and Dejah Thoris and I
were the centers of inquiring groups.

We were soon assigned to new quarters, and the balance of the day was
devoted to settling ourselves to the changed conditions. My home now
was upon an avenue leading into the plaza from the south, the main
artery down which we had marched from the gates of the city. I was at
the far end of the square and had an entire building to myself. The
same grandeur of architecture which was so noticeable a characteristic
of Korad was in evidence here, only, if that were possible, on a larger
and richer scale. My quarters would have been suitable for housing the
greatest of earthly emperors, but to these queer creatures nothing
about a building appealed to them but its size and the enormity of its
chambers; the larger the building, the more desirable; and so Tal Hajus
occupied what must have been an enormous public building, the largest
in the city, but entirely unfitted for residence purposes; the next
largest was

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