The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 136

them all, as far back as the first one, and
many is the evening I spend with them--quiet evenings and very
pleasant. And then the pleasure of preparing them and making them even
more beautiful than in life partially recompenses one for their loss. I
take my time with them, looking for a new one while I am working on the
old. When I am not sure about a new one I bring her to the chamber
where my wives are, and compare her charms with theirs, and there is
always a great satisfaction at such times in knowing that they will not
object. I love harmony."

"Did you prepare all the warriors in The Hall of Chiefs?" asked Turan.

"Yes, I prepare them and repair them," replied the old man. "O-Tar will
trust no other. Even now I have two in another room who were damaged in
some way and brought down to me. O-Tar does not like to have them gone
long, since it leaves two riderless thoats in the Hall; but I shall
have them ready presently. He wants them all there in the event any
momentous question arises upon which the living jeds cannot agree, or
do not agree with O-Tar. Such questions he carries to the jeds in The
Hall of Chiefs. There he shuts himself up alone with the great chiefs
who have attained wisdom through death. It is an excellent plan and
there is never any friction or misunderstandings. O-Tar has said that
it is the finest deliberative body upon Barsoom--much more intelligent
than that composed of the living jeds. But come, we must get to work;
come into the next chamber and I will begin your instruction."

He led the way into the chamber in which lay the several corpses upon
their marble slabs, and going to a cabinet he donned a pair of huge
spectacles and commenced to select various tools from little
compartments. This done he turned again toward his two pupils.

"Now let me have a look at you," he said. "My eyes are not what they
once were, and I need these powerful lenses for my work, or to see
distinctly the features of those around me."

He turned his eyes upon the two before him. Turan held his breath for
he knew that now the man must discover that they wore not the harness
or insignia of Manator. He had wondered before why the old fellow had
not noticed it, for he had not known that he was half blind. The other
examined their faces, his eyes lingering long upon the

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