in as mild a
form of bondage as I can arrange for you."
"Why should she send for me?" I asked.
"The men of the lower orders she often uses for various purposes of
amusement. Such a fighter as you, for example, would render fine sport
in the monthly rites of the temple. There are men pitted against men,
and against beasts for the edification of Issus and the replenishment
of her larder."
"She eats human flesh?" I asked. Not in horror, however, for since my
recently acquired knowledge of the Holy Therns I was prepared for
anything in this still less accessible heaven, where all was evidently
dictated by a single omnipotence; where ages of narrow fanaticism and
self-worship had eradicated all the broader humanitarian instincts that
the race might once have possessed.
They were a people drunk with power and success, looking upon the other
inhabitants of Mars as we look upon the beasts of the field and the
forest. Why then should they not eat of the flesh of the lower orders
whose lives and characters they no more understood than do we the
inmost thoughts and sensibilities of the cattle we slaughter for our
"She eats only the flesh of the best bred of the Holy Therns and the
red Barsoomians. The flesh of the others goes to our boards. The
animals are eaten by the slaves. She also eats other dainties."
I did not understand then that there lay any special significance in
his reference to other dainties. I thought the limit of ghoulishness
already had been reached in the recitation of Issus' menu. I still had
much to learn as to the depths of cruelty and bestiality to which
omnipotence may drag its possessor.
We had about reached the last of the many chambers and corridors which
led to the gardens when an officer overtook us.
"Issus would look again upon this man," he said. "The girl has told
her that he is of wondrous beauty and of such prowess that alone he
slew seven of the First Born, and with his bare hands took Xodar
captive, binding him with his own harness."
Xodar looked uncomfortable. Evidently he did not relish the thought
that Issus had learned of his inglorious defeat.
Without a word he turned and we followed the officer once again to the
closed doors before the audience chamber of Issus, Goddess of Life
Here the ceremony of entrance was repeated. Again Issus bid me rise.
For several minutes all was silent as the tomb. The
There was the same instant of unthinkable cold and utter.Page 16
They were that most dreaded of Martian creatures--great white apes of Barsoom.Page 20
But so far as I might know it.Page 33
With a cry of encouragement I threw my weight against the secret door, but as well have assayed the down-hurling of the cliffs themselves.Page 37
And again the Holy Thern on watch, should he see a victim he covets, often tramples upon the rights of the unreasoning brutes of the valley and takes his prize by foul means if he cannot gain it by fair.Page 38
" Tars Tarkas listened in silence, but I could feel his eyes riveted upon me and I knew that he awaited my answer as one might listen to the reading of his sentence by the foreman of a jury.Page 43
One was white with black hair, the other a huge green warrior," and here the fellow cast a suspicious glance toward Tars Tarkas.Page 44
"What will the fellow do first, Thuvia?" I asked.Page 52
"The therns know that they live at all only by the sufferance of the black men.Page 54
I shuddered at the thought of it, dying thus in this terrible place where no word of my end ever could reach my Dejah Thoris.Page 62
Evidently he had looked for the bald pate of a thern.Page 88
More I am willing to concede--that the First Born are no holier than the Holy Therns, nor the Holy Therns more holy than the red men.Page 100
CHAPTER XII DOOMED TO DIE For an instant I stood there before they fell upon me, but the first rush of them forced me back a step or two.Page 127
Gradually they were closing in upon me--but still that awful stealthy silence! For what seemed hours the eyes approached gradually closer and closer, until I felt that I should go mad for the horror of it.Page 134
The brave boy's act of chivalrous self-sacrifice filled me with pride, nor did I care that it had wrested from us our last frail chance for escape.Page 143
That was all.Page 165
Upon each battleship there are five ten-man cruisers, and ten five-man scouts, and a hundred one-man scouts; in all, one hundred and sixteen thousand craft fitted with both air and water propellers.Page 178
No sooner had Carthoris and the others joined me than we commenced the transportation of our men through the submerged passage to the mouth of the gangways which lead from the submarine pool at the temple end of the watery tunnel to the pits of Issus.Page 190
"The blacks have fired the temple," he cried.