I inquired if any of them were from Zan Dar's country-Zanor; but none of them was. Several of them knew where it was, and one scratched a rough map of part of Jupiter on the wall of our cell to show me where Zanor was located. "But much good it will do you to know," he said.
"One never can tell," I replied.
They had told me what I was to expect at the graduating exercises, and I gave the subject considerable thought. I did not purpose attending a Morgor commencement in the role of a willing sacrifice.
"How many of you men are expert swordsmen?" I asked.
About half of them claimed to be, but it is a failing of fighting men to boast of their prowess. Not of all fighting men, but of many-usually those with the least to boast of. I wished that I had some means of determining which were really good.
"Of course we can't get hold of any swords," I said, "but if we had some sticks about the length of swords, we could soon find out who were the best swordsmen among us.
"What good would that do us?" asked one.
"We could give those Morgors a run for their money," I said, "and make them pay for their own graduation."
"The slave who brings our food is from my country," said Han Du. "I think he might smuggle a couple of sticks in to us. He is a good fellow. I'll ask him when he comes.
Pho Lar had said nothing about his swordsmanship; so, as he had proved himself a great boaster, I felt that he was not a swordsman at all. I was sorry, as he was by far the most powerful of all the Savator prisoners; and he was tall, too. With a little skill, he should have proved a most formidable swordsman. Han Du never boasted about anything; but he said that in his country, the men were much given to sword play; so I was counting on him.<<BackPagesTo menuNext>>