A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 95

last of our line from worse than death."

I did not answer, but instead reached to my side and pressed the little
fingers of her I loved where they clung to me for support, and then, in
unbroken silence, we sped over the yellow, moonlit moss; each of us
occupied with his own thoughts. For my part I could not be other than
joyful had I tried, with Dejah Thoris' warm body pressed close to mine,
and with all our unpassed danger my heart was singing as gaily as
though we were already entering the gates of Helium.

Our earlier plans had been so sadly upset that we now found ourselves
without food or drink, and I alone was armed. We therefore urged our
beasts to a speed that must tell on them sorely before we could hope to
sight the ending of the first stage of our journey.

We rode all night and all the following day with only a few short
rests. On the second night both we and our animals were completely
fagged, and so we lay down upon the moss and slept for some five or six
hours, taking up the journey once more before daylight. All the
following day we rode, and when, late in the afternoon we had sighted
no distant trees, the mark of the great waterways throughout all
Barsoom, the terrible truth flashed upon us--we were lost.

Evidently we had circled, but which way it was difficult to say, nor
did it seem possible with the sun to guide us by day and the moons and
stars by night. At any rate no waterway was in sight, and the entire
party was almost ready to drop from hunger, thirst and fatigue. Far
ahead of us and a trifle to the right we could distinguish the outlines
of low mountains. These we decided to attempt to reach in the hope
that from some ridge we might discern the missing waterway. Night fell
upon us before we reached our goal, and, almost fainting from weariness
and weakness, we lay down and slept.

I was awakened early in the morning by some huge body pressing close to
mine, and opening my eyes with a start I beheld my blessed old Woola
snuggling close to me; the faithful brute had followed us across that
trackless waste to share our fate, whatever it might be. Putting my
arms about his neck I pressed my cheek close to his, nor am I ashamed
that I did it, nor of the tears that

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