had resumed his seat there was a painful silence, for all knew
that the speaker had challenged the courage of O-Tar the Jeddak of
Manator and all awaited the reply of their ruler. In every mind was the
same thought--O-Tar must lead them at once to the chamber of O-Mai the
Cruel, or accept forever the stigma of cowardice, and there could be no
coward upon the throne of Manator. That they all knew and that O-Tar
knew, as well.
But O-Tar hesitated. He looked about upon the faces of those around him
at the banquet board; but he saw only the grim visages of relentless
warriors. There was no trace of leniency in the face of any. And then
his eyes wandered to a small entrance at one side of the great chamber.
An expression of relief expunged the scowl of anxiety from his features.
"Look!" he exclaimed. "See who has come!"
THE CHARGE OF COWARDICE
Gahan, watching through the aperture between the hangings, saw the
frantic flight of their pursuers. A grim smile rested upon his lips as
he viewed the mad scramble for safety and saw them throw away their
swords and fight with one another to be first from the chamber of fear,
and when they were all gone he turned back toward Tara, the smile still
upon his lips; but the smile died the instant that he turned, for he
saw that Tara had disappeared.
"Tara!" he called in a loud voice, for he knew that there was no danger
that their pursuers would return; but there was no response, unless it
was a faint sound as of cackling laughter from afar. Hurriedly he
searched the passageway behind the hangings finding several doors, one
of which was ajar. Through this he entered the adjoining chamber which
was lighted more brilliantly for the moment by the soft rays of
hurtling Thuria taking her mad way through the heavens. Here he found
the dust upon the floor disturbed, and the imprint of sandals. They had
come this way--Tara and whatever the creature was that had stolen her.
But what could it have been? Gahan, a man of culture and high
intelligence, held few if any superstitions. In common with nearly all
races of Barsoom he clung, more or less inherently, to a certain
exalted form of ancestor worship, though it was rather the memory or
legends of the virtues and heroic deeds of his forebears that he
deified rather than themselves. He never expected any tangible evidence
of their existence after death; he did not believe that they had the
power either for
He ceased his whistling and went warily upon the balls of his feet, lest he unnecessarily call attention to his presence.Page 6
"Shake hands with Dopey Charlie," said The Sky Pilot, whose age and corpulency appeared to stamp him with the hall mark of authority.Page 11
Dopey Charlie had had one experience of such and he knew that it was easily possible for them to blunder upon evidence which the most experienced of operatives might pass over unnoticed, and the loot bulging pockets furnished a sufficient greed motive in themselves.Page 16
There were others charitable enough to assume that Abigail had been kidnapped by the same men who had murdered Paynter and wrought the other lesser deeds of crime in peaceful Oakdale.Page 17
They saw Dopey Charlie advancing upon the Kid, a knife in his hand.Page 20
"What was it that happened to you to-night?" he asked.Page 27
With a scream the youth leaped to his feet and almost threw himself upon Bridge.Page 39
The 'hop' had commenced to assert its dominion over his shattered nervous system instilling within him a new courage and a feeling of utter well-being.Page 41
dining room and kitchen, inspected the two small bedrooms off this room, and the summer kitchen beyond.Page 45
"How'd I know you wanted to buy it, eh? Where'd ye come from anyhow, this early in the mornin'? What's yer name, eh? What's yer business, that's what Jeb Case'd like to know, eh?" He snapped his words out with the rapidity of a machine gun, nor waited for a reply to.Page 48
I thank you so much.Page 53
" The Squibbs' woods, growing rank in the damp ravine at the bottom of the little valley, ran to within a hundred feet of the out-building.Page 59
"You two sure can go to sleep in a hurry," he said.Page 66
He saw not only one reward but several and a glorious publicity which far transcended the most sanguine of his former dreams.Page 67
"You have done nothing.Page 76
Amid the crash of crockery which followed the collision Willie slammed check and money upon the cashier's desk and fled.Page 80
Abigail Prim screamed.Page 84
The sound of a shot came from the front room of the jail, immediately followed by a roar of rage from the mob and a deafening hammering upon the jail door.Page 85
I wanted to ask him to help me.Page 89
We'll go together, Bridge, and on the other side you'll learn something that'll surprise you.