The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 165

it not for that you
would--"

"Stop!" she commanded. "You have no right to assume aught else than my
lips testify."

"The eyes are ofttimes more eloquent than the lips, Tara," he replied;
"and in yours I have read that which is neither hatred nor contempt for
Turan the panthan, and my heart tells me that your lips bore false
witness when they cried in anger: 'I hate you!'"

"I do not hate you, Turan, nor yet may I love you," said the girl,
simply.

"When I broke my way out from the chamber of I-Gos I was indeed upon
the verge of believing that you did hate me," he said, "for only
hatred, it seemed to me, could account for the fact that you had gone
without making an effort to liberate me; but presently both my heart
and my judgment told me that Tara of Helium could not have deserted a
companion in distress, and though I still am in ignorance of the facts
I know that it was beyond your power to aid me."

"It was indeed," said the girl. "Scarce had I-Gos fallen at the bite of
my dagger than I heard the approach of warriors. I ran then to hide
until they had passed, thinking to return and liberate you; but in
seeking to elude the party I had heard I ran full into the arms of
another. They questioned me as to your whereabouts, and I told them
that you had gone ahead and that I was following you and thus I led
them from you."

"I knew," was Gahan's only comment, but his heart was glad with
elation, as a lover's must be who has heard from the lips of his
divinity an avowal of interest and loyalty, however little tinged by a
suggestion of warmer regard it may be. To be abused, even, by the
mistress of one's heart is better than to be ignored.

As the two conversed in the ill-lit chamber, the dim bulbs of which
were encrusted with the accumulated dust of centuries, a bent and
withered figure traversed slowly the gloomy corridors without, his weak
and watery eyes peering through thick lenses at the signs of passage
written upon the dusty floor.



CHAPTER XIX

THE MENACE OF THE DEAD

The night was still young when there came one to the entrance of the
banquet hall where O-Tar of Manator dined with his chiefs, and brushing
past the guards entered the great room with the insolence of a
privileged character, as in truth he was. As he approached the head of
the long board O-Tar took notice of him.

"Well,

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