the cold upon the
bent and broken carcasses of a thousand fliers I could not have
restrained my desire to hasten back and do battle with those horrid
creatures that had been despatched to rend and devour them.
As it was I could but follow the yellow warriors, with bowed head,
and give thanks for the chance that had given Thuvan Dihn and me
such easy ingress to the capital of Salensus Oll.
Once within the gates, we had no difficulty in eluding our friends
of the morning, and presently found ourselves in a Martian hostelry.
The public houses of Barsoom, I have found, vary but little. There
is no privacy for other than married couples.
Men without their wives are escorted to a large chamber, the floor
of which is usually of white marble or heavy glass, kept scrupulously
clean. Here are many small, raised platforms for the guest's sleeping
silks and furs, and if he have none of his own clean, fresh ones
are furnished at a nominal charge.
Once a man's belongings have been deposited upon one of these
platforms he is a guest of the house, and that platform his own
until he leaves. No one will disturb or molest his belongings, as
there are no thieves upon Mars.
As assassination is the one thing to be feared, the proprietors
of the hostelries furnish armed guards, who pace back and forth
through the sleeping-rooms day and night. The number of guards and
gorgeousness of their trappings quite usually denote the status of
No meals are served in these houses, but generally a public eating
place adjoins them. Baths are connected with the sleeping chambers,
and each guest is required to bathe daily or depart from the hotel.
Usually on a second or third floor there is a large sleeping-room
for single women guests, but its appointments do not vary materially
from the chamber occupied by men. The guards who watch the women
remain in the corridor outside the sleeping chamber, while female
slaves pace back and forth among the sleepers within, ready to
notify the warriors should their presence be required.
I was surprised to note that all the guards with the hotel at which
we stopped were red men, and on inquiring of one of them I learned
that they were slaves purchased by the proprietors of the hotels from
the government. The man whose post was past my sleeping platform
had been commander of the navy of a great Martian nation; but fate
had carried his flagship across the ice-barrier within the radius
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