The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 106

gathered himself together, his brows cleared, and he returned
to his unfinished meal. At least they should not have the satisfaction
of knowing how sorely they had hit him. As he ate it occurred to him
that by dragging the table along the floor he could bring the key
within his reach, but when he essayed to do so, he found that the table
had been securely bolted to the floor during the period of his
unconsciousness. Again Gahan smiled and shrugged and resumed his eating.

* * * * *

When the warriors had departed from the prison in which Ghek was
confined, the kaldane crawled from the shoulders of the rykor to the
table. Here he drank a little water and then directed the hands of the
rykor to the balance of it and to the food, upon which the brainless
thing fell with avidity. While it was thus engaged Ghek took his
spider-like way along the table to the opposite end where lay the key
to the fetter. Seizing it in a chela he leaped to the floor and
scurried rapidly toward the mouth of one of the burrows against the
wall, into which he disappeared. For long had the brain been
contemplating these burrow entrances. They appealed to his kaldanean
tastes, and further, they pointed a hiding place for the key and a lair
for the only kind of food that the kaldane relished--flesh and blood.

Ghek had never seen an ulsio, since these great Martian rats had long
ago disappeared from Bantoom, their flesh and blood having been greatly
relished by the kaldanes; but Ghek had inherited, almost unimpaired,
every memory of every ancestor, and so he knew that ulsio inhabited
these lairs and that ulsio was good to eat, and he knew what ulsio
looked like and what his habits were, though he had never seen him nor
any picture of him. As we breed animals for the transmission of
physical attributes, so the Kaldanes breed themselves for the
transmission of attributes of the mind, including memory and the power
of recollection, and thus have they raised what we term instinct, above
the level of the threshold of the objective mind where it may be
commanded and utilized by recollection. Doubtless in our own subjective
minds lie many of the impressions and experiences of our forebears.
These may impinge upon our consciousness in dreams only, or in vague,
haunting suggestions that we have before experienced some transient
phase of

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