At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 103

though to make quite
certain that I shouldn't overlook it. "You see," she continued, "a
younger brother may not take a mate until all his older brothers have
done so, unless the older brother waives his prerogative, which Jubal
would not do, knowing that as long as he kept them single they would be
all the keener in aiding him to secure a mate."

Noticing that Dian was becoming more communicative I began to entertain
hopes that she might be warming up toward me a bit, although upon what
slender thread I hung my hopes I soon discovered.

"As you dare not return to Amoz," I ventured, "what is to become of you
since you cannot be happy here with me, hating me as you do?"

"I shall have to put up with you," she replied coldly, "until you see
fit to go elsewhere and leave me in peace, then I shall get along very
well alone."

I looked at her in utter amazement. It seemed incredible that even a
prehistoric woman could be so cold and heartless and ungrateful. Then
I arose.

"I shall leave you NOW," I said haughtily, "I have had quite enough of
your ingratitude and your insults," and then I turned and strode
majestically down toward the valley. I had taken a hundred steps in
absolute silence, and then Dian spoke.

"I hate you!" she shouted, and her voice broke--in rage, I thought.

I was absolutely miserable, but I hadn't gone too far when I began to
realize that I couldn't leave her alone there without protection, to
hunt her own food amid the dangers of that savage world. She might
hate me, and revile me, and heap indignity after indignity upon me, as
she already had, until I should have hated her; but the pitiful fact
remained that I loved her, and I couldn't leave her there alone.

The more I thought about it the madder I got, so that by the time I
reached the valley I was furious, and the result of it was that I
turned right around and went up that cliff again as fast as I had come
down. I saw that Dian had left the ledge and gone within the cave, but
I bolted right in after her. She was lying upon her face on the pile
of grasses I had gathered for her bed. When she heard me enter she
sprang to her feet like a tigress.

"I hate you!" she cried.

Coming from the brilliant light of the noonday sun into the
semidarkness of the

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