A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 67

broke out again into one of her gay, happy, laughing moods;
joking with me on my prowess as a Thark warrior as contrasted with my
soft heart and natural kindliness.

"I presume that should you accidentally wound an enemy you would take
him home and nurse him back to health," she laughed.

"That is precisely what we do on Earth," I answered. "At least among
civilized men."

This made her laugh again. She could not understand it, for, with all
her tenderness and womanly sweetness, she was still a Martian, and to a
Martian the only good enemy is a dead enemy; for every dead foeman
means so much more to divide between those who live.

I was very curious to know what I had said or done to cause her so much
perturbation a moment before and so I continued to importune her to
enlighten me.

"No," she exclaimed, "it is enough that you have said it and that I
have listened. And when you learn, John Carter, and if I be dead, as
likely I shall be ere the further moon has circled Barsoom another
twelve times, remember that I listened and that I--smiled."

It was all Greek to me, but the more I begged her to explain the more
positive became her denials of my request, and, so, in very
hopelessness, I desisted.

Day had now given away to night and as we wandered along the great
avenue lighted by the two moons of Barsoom, and with Earth looking down
upon us out of her luminous green eye, it seemed that we were alone in
the universe, and I, at least, was content that it should be so.

The chill of the Martian night was upon us, and removing my silks I
threw them across the shoulders of Dejah Thoris. As my arm rested for
an instant upon her I felt a thrill pass through every fiber of my
being such as contact with no other mortal had even produced; and it
seemed to me that she had leaned slightly toward me, but of that I was
not sure. Only I knew that as my arm rested there across her shoulders
longer than the act of adjusting the silk required she did not draw
away, nor did she speak. And so, in silence, we walked the surface of
a dying world, but in the breast of one of us at least had been born
that which is ever oldest, yet ever new.

I loved Dejah Thoris. The touch of my arm upon her naked shoulder

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