A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 54

she
gazed upon these magnificent works of art, wrought by a people long
extinct; while Sola, on the other hand, apparently did not see them.

We decided to use this room, on the second floor and overlooking the
plaza, for Dejah Thoris and Sola, and another room adjoining and in the
rear for the cooking and supplies. I then dispatched Sola to bring the
bedding and such food and utensils as she might need, telling her that
I would guard Dejah Thoris until her return.

As Sola departed Dejah Thoris turned to me with a faint smile.

"And whereto, then, would your prisoner escape should you leave her,
unless it was to follow you and crave your protection, and ask your
pardon for the cruel thoughts she has harbored against you these past
few days?"

"You are right," I answered, "there is no escape for either of us
unless we go together."

"I heard your challenge to the creature you call Tars Tarkas, and I
think I understand your position among these people, but what I cannot
fathom is your statement that you are not of Barsoom."

"In the name of my first ancestor, then," she continued, "where may you
be from? You are like unto my people, and yet so unlike. You speak my
language, and yet I heard you tell Tars Tarkas that you had but learned
it recently. All Barsoomians speak the same tongue from the ice-clad
south to the ice-clad north, though their written languages differ.
Only in the valley Dor, where the river Iss empties into the lost sea
of Korus, is there supposed to be a different language spoken, and,
except in the legends of our ancestors, there is no record of a
Barsoomian returning up the river Iss, from the shores of Korus in the
valley of Dor. Do not tell me that you have thus returned! They would
kill you horribly anywhere upon the surface of Barsoom if that were
true; tell me it is not!"

Her eyes were filled with a strange, weird light; her voice was
pleading, and her little hands, reached up upon my breast, were pressed
against me as though to wring a denial from my very heart.

"I do not know your customs, Dejah Thoris, but in my own Virginia a
gentleman does not lie to save himself; I am not of Dor; I have never
seen the mysterious Iss; the lost sea of Korus is still lost, so far as
I am concerned. Do you believe me?"

And then it struck me suddenly that I was

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