A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 153

die together."

The next two days brought no noticeable change in the supply of air,
but on the morning of the third day breathing became difficult at the
higher altitudes of the rooftops. The avenues and plazas of Helium
were filled with people. All business had ceased. For the most part
the people looked bravely into the face of their unalterable doom.
Here and there, however, men and women gave way to quiet grief.

Toward the middle of the day many of the weaker commenced to succumb
and within an hour the people of Barsoom were sinking by thousands into
the unconsciousness which precedes death by asphyxiation.

Dejah Thoris and I with the other members of the royal family had
collected in a sunken garden within an inner courtyard of the palace.
We conversed in low tones, when we conversed at all, as the awe of the
grim shadow of death crept over us. Even Woola seemed to feel the
weight of the impending calamity, for he pressed close to Dejah Thoris
and to me, whining pitifully.

The little incubator had been brought from the roof of our palace at
request of Dejah Thoris and she sat gazing longingly upon the
unknown little life that now she would never know.

As it was becoming perceptibly difficult to breathe Tardos Mors arose,
saying,

"Let us bid each other farewell. The days of the greatness of Barsoom
are over. Tomorrow's sun will look down upon a dead world which
through all eternity must go swinging through the heavens peopled not
even by memories. It is the end."

He stooped and kissed the women of his family, and laid his strong hand
upon the shoulders of the men.

As I turned sadly from him my eyes fell upon Dejah Thoris. Her head
was drooping upon her breast, to all appearances she was lifeless.
With a cry I sprang to her and raised her in my arms.

Her eyes opened and looked into mine.

"Kiss me, John Carter," she murmured. "I love you! I love you! It is
cruel that we must be torn apart who were just starting upon a life of
love and happiness."

As I pressed her dear lips to mine the old feeling of unconquerable
power and authority rose in me. The fighting blood of Virginia sprang
to life in my veins.

"It shall not be, my princess," I cried. "There is, there must be some
way, and John Carter, who has fought his way through a strange world
for love of you, will find it."

And

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