Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 64

they exist they
are real. I do but call them into being now, and in a way direct
their general actions. But thereafter, until I dissolve them, they
are as actual as you or I. Their officers command them, under my
guidance. I am the general--that is all. And the psychological
effect upon the enemy is far greater than were I to treat them
merely as substanceless vagaries.

"Then, too," continued the Lotharian, "there is always the hope,
which with us is little short of belief, that some day these
materializations will merge into the real--that they will remain,
some of them, after we have dissolved their fellows, and that thus
we shall have discovered a means for perpetuating our dying race.

"Some there are who claim already to have accomplished the thing.
It is generally supposed that the etherealists have quite a few
among their number who are permanent materializations. It is even
said that such is Tario, but that cannot be, for he existed before
we had discovered the full possibilities of suggestion.

"There are others among us who insist that none of us is real. That
we could not have existed all these ages without material food and
water had we ourselves been material. Although I am a realist, I
rather incline toward this belief myself.

"It seems well and sensibly based upon the belief that our ancient
forbears developed before their extinction such wondrous mentalities
that some of the stronger minds among them lived after the death
of their bodies--that we are but the deathless minds of individuals
long dead.

"It would appear possible, and yet in so far as I am concerned I
have all the attributes of corporeal existence. I eat, I sleep"--he
paused, casting a meaning look upon the girl--"I love!"

Thuvia could not mistake the palpable meaning of his words and
expression. She turned away with a little shrug of disgust that
was not lost upon the Lotharian.

He came close to her and seized her arm.

"Why not Jav?" he cried. "Who more honourable than the second of
the world's most ancient race? Your Heliumite? He has gone. He
has deserted you to your fate to save himself. Come, be Jav's!"

Thuvia of Ptarth rose to her full height, her lifted shoulder turned
toward the man, her haughty chin upraised, a scornful twist to her
lips.

"You lie!" she said quietly, "the Heliumite knows less of disloyalty
than he knows of fear, and of fear he is as ignorant as the unhatched
young."

"Then where is he?" taunted

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