A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 123

could perceive
all that took place within the room as readily as though there had been
no curtain intervening.

Scarcely had I gained my post than the tapestry at the opposite end of
the chamber separated and four soldiers of The Guard entered,
surrounding a female figure. As they approached Than Kosis the
soldiers fell to either side and there standing before the jeddak and
not ten feet from me, her beautiful face radiant with smiles, was Dejah
Thoris.

Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga, advanced to meet her, and hand in hand
they approached close to the jeddak. Than Kosis looked up in surprise,
and, rising, saluted her.

"To what strange freak do I owe this visit from the Princess of Helium,
who, two days ago, with rare consideration for my pride, assured me
that she would prefer Tal Hajus, the green Thark, to my son?"

Dejah Thoris only smiled the more and with the roguish dimples playing
at the corners of her mouth she made answer:

"From the beginning of time upon Barsoom it has been the prerogative of
woman to change her mind as she listed and to dissemble in matters
concerning her heart. That you will forgive, Than Kosis, as has your
son. Two days ago I was not sure of his love for me, but now I am, and
I have come to beg of you to forget my rash words and to accept the
assurance of the Princess of Helium that when the time comes she will
wed Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga."

"I am glad that you have so decided," replied Than Kosis. "It is far
from my desire to push war further against the people of Helium, and,
your promise shall be recorded and a proclamation to my people issued
forthwith."

"It were better, Than Kosis," interrupted Dejah Thoris, "that the
proclamation wait the ending of this war. It would look strange indeed
to my people and to yours were the Princess of Helium to give herself
to her country's enemy in the midst of hostilities."

"Cannot the war be ended at once?" spoke Sab Than. "It requires but
the word of Than Kosis to bring peace. Say it, my father, say the word
that will hasten my happiness, and end this unpopular strife."

"We shall see," replied Than Kosis, "how the people of Helium take to
peace. I shall at least offer it to them."

Dejah Thoris, after a few words, turned and left the apartment, still
followed by her guards.

Thus was the edifice of my brief dream of happiness dashed,

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