John Carter, to think last of your own life," he
said; "but still more your way to command the lives and actions of
others, even to the greatest of Jeddaks who rule upon Barsoom."
There was a grim smile upon his cruel, hard face, as he, the greatest
Jeddak of them all, turned to obey the dictates of a creature of
another world--of a man whose stature was less than half his own.
"If you fail, John Carter," he said, "know that the cruel and heartless
Thark, to whom you taught the meaning of friendship, will come out to
die beside you."
"As you will, my friend," I replied; "but quickly now, head first,
while I cover your retreat."
He hesitated a little at that word, for never before in his whole life
of continual strife had he turned his back upon aught than a dead or
"Haste, Tars Tarkas," I urged, "or we shall both go down to profitless
defeat; I cannot hold them for ever alone."
As he dropped to the ground to force his way into the tree, the whole
howling pack of hideous devils hurled themselves upon me. To right and
left flew my shimmering blade, now green with the sticky juice of a
plant man, now red with the crimson blood of a great white ape; but
always flying from one opponent to another, hesitating but the barest
fraction of a second to drink the lifeblood in the centre of some
And thus I fought as I never had fought before, against such frightful
odds that I cannot realize even now that human muscles could have
withstood that awful onslaught, that terrific weight of hurtling tons
of ferocious, battling flesh.
With the fear that we would escape them, the creatures redoubled their
efforts to pull me down, and though the ground about me was piled high
with their dead and dying comrades, they succeeded at last in
overwhelming me, and I went down beneath them for the second time that
day, and once again felt those awful sucking lips against my flesh.
But scarce had I fallen ere I felt powerful hands grip my ankles, and
in another second I was being drawn within the shelter of the tree's
interior. For a moment it was a tug of war between Tars Tarkas and a
great plant man, who clung tenaciously to my breast, but presently I
got the point of my long-sword beneath him and with a mighty thrust
pierced his vitals.
Torn and bleeding from many cruel wounds, I lay panting upon the ground
within the hollow
Instantly my brain cleared and there swept back across the threshold of my memory the vivid picture of the horrors of that ghostly Arizona cave; again, as on that far-gone night, my muscles refused to respond to my will and again, as though even here upon the banks of the placid Hudson, I could hear the awful moans and rustling of the fearsome thing which had lurked and threatened me from the dark recesses of the cave, I made the same mighty and superhuman effort to break the bonds of the strange anaesthesia which held me, and again came the sharp click as of the sudden parting of a taut wire, and I stood naked and free beside the staring, lifeless thing that had so recently pulsed with the warm, red life-blood of John Carter.Page 8
A strange purring sound issued from the mouth in the palm of one of his hands, and at the same time he started rapidly toward the bluff, followed by the entire herd.Page 13
Tars Tarkas was approaching me rapidly, and still more rapidly came the awful horde at his heels.Page 14
Upon the entire surface of that ancient planet I never before had seen a hill or mountain that exceeded four thousand feet in height above the dead sea bottoms, and as the ascent was usually gradual, nearly to their summits they presented but few opportunities for the practice of climbing.Page 19
Dropping to the floor once more, I detailed my discovery to Tars Tarkas, who suggested that I explore aloft as far as I could go in safety while he guarded the entrance against a possible attack.Page 22
My fingers clawed futilely at the unyielding portal, while my eyes sought in vain for a duplicate of the button which had given us ingress.Page 49
"The black pirates of Barsoom, O Prince," said Thuvia.Page 50
A little to one side stood Thuvia, the Thark, and I.Page 63
"Countless billions died before the first black man broke through his prison walls into the light of day.Page 96
Slowly and by repeated commands I had succeeded in drawing the prisoners into a rough formation about us, so that at last we fought formed into a rude circle in the centre of which were the doomed maids.Page 105
Here we were returned to our respective cells; I with Xodar, the boy by himself; and behind locked doors we were again prisoners of the First Born.Page 136
Never had I known this high tribute paid to a lesser mortal.Page 137
Immediately Hor Vastus dispatched a dozen air scouts in as many directions to search for her.Page 161
Thirty days had passed since I had given the youth the note.Page 163
Reaching out my arms, I took my boy within them, and if ever there arose from any planet a fervent prayer of gratitude, it was there beneath the crust of dying Mars as I thanked the Eternal Mystery for my son's life.Page 169
"Here let them land and teach the Holy Therns such a lesson in ferocious warfare as they will not forget for.Page 172
How I wished that I might face Zat Arras with my longsword for just an instant before I died! It was he who had caused our failure.Page 173
I could see the thin features of the man from where I stood.Page 179
That they were undaunted while it swirled and eddied about their ankles, spoke well for their bravery and their discipline.Page 186
The fight within that room, had it had but a competent chronicler, would go down in the annals of Barsoom as a historic memorial to the grim ferocity of her warlike people.