Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
He will provide for any child or children she may bear while living with him, or within twice twelve dozen days thereafter.  And if at any time he shall dismiss her or permit her to leave him, or if she shall desire to leave him after the expiration of eight years, he will ensure to her for her life an annual payment of fifteen staltau.  Neither shall appeal to a court of law or public authority against the other on account of anything done during the time they shall live together, except for attempt to kill or for grave bodily injury.”

Such is the form of marriage covenant employed in Mars.  The occasion was unfit for discussion, and I simply intimated my acceptance of the covenants, oo which Eveena and myself forthwith were instructed to write our names where they appear in the above translation.  The official then inquired whether I recognised the lady standing beside me as Eveena, daughter of Esmo.  It then struck me that, though I felt pretty certain of her identity, marriage under such conditions might occasionally lead to awkward mistakes.  There was no such difference between my bride and her companions as, but for her dress and her agitation, would have enabled me positively to distinguish them, veiled and silent as all were.  I expressed no doubt, however, and the official then proceeded to affix his own stamp to the document; and then lifting up that on which our names had actually been written, showed that, by some process I hardly understand, the signature had been executed and the agreement filled up in triplicate, the officer preserving one copy, the others being given to the bride and bridegroom respectively.  The ladies then retired, Esmo, his son, and the official remaining, when two ambau brought in a tray of refreshments.  The official tasted each article offered to him, evidently more as a matter of form than of pleasure.  I took this opportunity to ask some questions regarding the Martial cuisine, and learnt that all but the very simplest cookery is performed by professional confectioners, who supply twice a day the households in their vicinity; unmarried men taking their meals at the shop.  The preparation of fruit, roasted grain, beverages consisting of juices mixed with a prepared nectar, and the vegetables from the garden, which enter into the composition of every meal, are the only culinary cares of the ladies of the family.  Everything can be warmed or freshened on the stove which forms a part of that electric machinery by which in every household the baths and lights are supplied and the house warmed at night.  The ladies have therefore very little household work, and the greater part of this is performed under their superintendence by the animals, which are almost as useful as any human slaves on earth, with the one unquestionable advantage that they cannot speak, and therefore cannot be impertinent, inquisitive, or treacherous.  No fermented liquors form part of the Martial diet; but some narcotics resembling haschisch and opium are much relished.  When the official had retired, I said to my host—­

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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