The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

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...Thanks to Al Haines, based on the
non-illustrated version, at
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/64










[Frontispiece: The cold hollow eye of a...

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...years had passed since his body had been found upon the bluff
before his cottage overlooking...

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...while it is there in the keeping of my
Martian Princess, I doubt that I shall...

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...more remarkable than was his first
manuscript which I gave to an unbelieving world a short...

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...darkness that I had
experienced twenty years before, and then I opened my eyes in another
world,...

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...so that as one turned his
glance in any direction the forest had the appearance at...

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...ever seen
upon Mars, and yet, at a distance, most manlike in appearance. The
larger specimens...

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...came quite close to me I discovered that its strange movements,
running its odd hands over...

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...in the direction from which the sound seemed to come,
and at the same instant every...

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...glossy green hide and the metal ornaments which
denoted the tribes to which they belonged, I...

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...two more of the plant men charged, the warrior, who was now
prepared by the experiences...

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...soundless approach, so
that I was upon them with my great long-sword and four of them...

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...our attention was again attracted by the
shrill wail of the caller above our heads.

This time...

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...and discover, if possible, the sanctuary we sought. The
suggestion was a good one, for...

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...horde at his heels.

It seemed the forest now or nothing, and I was just on...

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...it seemed
that it would be an utter impossibility for the Jeddak of Thark to
reach the...

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...we strained and struggled about the tree into
which Tars Tarkas was clambering with infinite difficulty,...

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...which he had reached with such infinite labour, and
as I flung the last of my...

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...way in which either of us
might be saved from the ever-increasing numbers of our assailants,...

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...but presently I
got the point of my long-sword beneath him and with a mighty thrust
pierced...

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...above grew brighter and
brighter.

For fully five hundred feet I continued to climb, until at length...

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...was as good for our purpose as another, and so I
returned to the tree for...

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...like a partition than a sudden ending of the cave, for
it was constructed not of...

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..."Do you tell me, John Carter, that you
know not where you be?"

"That I am upon...

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...take some day, and so as the time had elapsed which Dejah Thoris
had hoped might...

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...smile at our dilemma.

"There is naught that we can do but take things as they...

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...appeared to be a doorway in the centre of the wall directly
opposite that through which...

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...of
Otz, past the ramparts of the impregnable fortresses of the Holy
Therns, and upon your way...

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...almost hairless, having only a great bristly mane about
its thick neck.

Its long, lithe body is...

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...midway
between his shoulders and his waist against his broad back.

Once as he stood looking down...

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...remained each facing an opposite end of the apartment no
further attacks were made upon us,...

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...gripped the hilt of a sword for ten long years before that
morning.

But it did not...

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...by my side now! I had fought almost
continuously for many hours; I had passed...

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...his gleaming blade directed straight at my heart, and as he
came there rang from his...

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...more where it
will avail to some purpose--shatter it not against senseless metal
which yields better to...

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...she whispered, "leave them to me," and pushing me advanced, all
defenceless and unarmed, upon the...

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... "I am not of Barsoom, nor
have I taken yet the voluntary pilgrimage upon the...

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...do the bidding of the race of therns; to furnish at
once their sport and their...

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...of Barsoom, as one might speak of the gods
themselves."

"The therns are mortal," she replied. ...

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...and peace in the blessed Valley of Dor is a rank and
wicked deception. We...

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...when we had
briefly explained our plan they decided to join forces with us, though
it was...

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...to all parts of Mars from
the huge atmosphere plant, the secret to whose mighty portals...

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...they sprang were crowned with a luxuriant growth
of golden hair, but for many ages the...

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...We sought them at the command of the Father of Therns. One
was white with...

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...event the outcome of
our plight must end in death. I was refreshed from my...

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...would be a little better chance by night, but even then the
ramparts are well guarded;...

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...Mars.

The eyes of the herald upon the balcony beneath us fell upon the doomed
party as...

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...of them wandering
through these lower regions. They are the scavengers. Many prisoners
die here...

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...of therns.

Constant confinement below ground had wrought odd freaks upon their
skins. They more resemble...

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...and superstition that
not a soul upon Barsoom would have dared to approach it even had...

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...fury of demons. Such fighting! Never
had I witnessed its like before. I...

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...their marvellous beauty.

But if their bodies are divine, their hearts, apparently, are quite the
reverse. ...

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...home."

"The therns do not dare. They tried it once, ages ago, but the next
night...

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...was thoroughly
familiar with the mechanism of every known make of flier on Barsoom.
For nine years...

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...as on so many other occasions when I had
been called upon to face fearful odds...

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...to meet this new enemy an object passed over my shoulder,
striking one of my assailants...

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...my
clutching fingers. The hammer fell with a futile click upon an empty
chamber.

Before he could...

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...they fell upon the mystic
jewel which sparkled in the centre of my stolen headpiece. ...

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...was
the dull and sickening sound of a shoulder bone parting beneath the
keen edge of my...

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...been
set upon me. I had no quarrel with the therns before, but can you
wonder...

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... That it
was far south of the equator was evident from the constellations, but I
was...

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...of the black as he
heard her words. I did not then understand why he...

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...black hair they opened
in astonishment. Evidently he had looked for the bald pate of...

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...sections fell to the ground, where the
efforts of their imprisoned occupants to escape sent them...

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...deck.

It was the faintest straying of his eye beyond me for the barest
fraction of a...

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...stern. Only a
second I hung there before tearing away, but that second was amply...

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...guns.

Phaidor and I were taken below decks, where, still fast bound, we were
thrown into a...

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...her face. She was very beautiful then.

Instantly her white lids veiled her eyes, and...

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...that you eat human flesh?" I asked in horror.

She looked at me in pitying commiseration...

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...cruel or vindictive.

"Since you cannot escape under any circumstances," he said, "I cannot
see the necessity...

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...in the Land of
the First Born. It is there that we are bound."

As I...

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...what appeared to be a
black mountain rising from the desolate waste of ice. It...

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...phosphorescent radiance
illuminated the scene. Thousands of ships dotted the bosom of the
ocean. Little...

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...signalled us to follow him and with a half-dozen officers and men
we left the battleship...

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...and the vessel commenced to
vibrate to the rhythmic purr of its machinery.

"Where can we be...

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...fear.

Gently I unclasped her hands from about my neck, and still holding them
in mine I...

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...us ahead at high
speed. It was very dark down there, but the light from...

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...the words to describe the glorious colours that
are unknown to earthly eyes? where the mind...

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...escort.

"Let them rise," said a voice behind us; a thin, wavering voice, yet
one that had...

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...in as mild a
form of bondage as I can arrange for you."

"Why should she send...

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...eyes of deity were
appraising me.

Presently the thin wavering voice broke the stillness, repeating in a
singsong...

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...Take him away out of the sight of my divine eyes."

Slowly and with high held...

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...SHADOR


In the outer gardens to which the guard now escorted me, I found Xodar
surrounded by...

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...he lunged past me planted a terrific right on the side of his
jaw.

The big fellow...

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...small cruiser
to the distant Isle of Shador. Here we found a small stone prison...

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...familiar about his
face, and yet I could not place him.

His features were very regular and,...

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...vision of her
radiant face.'"

"What do you mean?" he whispered in an affrighted voice, so low...

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...here?"

"I await my death, I presume," I replied with a wry smile.

He too smiled, a...

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...serve you well," he said to me, indicating Xodar with a
wave of his hand. ...

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...Xodar," I replied. "I will
guarantee to scale the wall and take you with me,...

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...seemed that during the hours set aside for sleep only one
man was on duty at...

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...the black bellow as my metal
grated against the stone wall as I slipped over. ...

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...had seen at the foot of the Golden Cliffs.

Crowds of blacks were strolling in the...

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...or later we die in the arena."

"And you have fought often?" I asked.

"Very often," he...

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...for Issus. The women do nothing, absolutely
nothing. Slaves wash them, slaves dress them,...

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...and my
manhood. The blood-red haze that presaged death to my foes swam before
my eyes.

The...

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...to meet my inevitable death, but with the determination
to give such an account of myself...

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...doomed maids.

Many had gone down on both sides, but by far the greater havoc had...

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...her trembled in wide-eyed expectancy,
knowing not whether to pray for our victory or our defeat....

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...move. Only the youth and I fought now. The
others all had fallen, and...

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...blow fell upon the head of the youth. He staggered
and would have fallen, but...

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...of Issus of which Issus herself does not dream."

"What do you mean?"

"I laboured with the...

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...the boy had told me that it was but ten feet to the floor
below I...

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...face of Mars, yet within the past four days I had
found both whites and blacks...

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...we
debated the wisdom of sinking the craft before leaving her, but finally
decided that it would...

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...in not having sunk the submarine to
make good the lie that I must tell.

"His orders...

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...escape."

"To-night will do as well as any," I replied.

"It will soon be night," said Xodar....

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...which none could have
access without detection. I myself have borne these messages for Issus
for...

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...time the previous evening and knew that it
marked the ending of the day, when the...

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...meantime I was to fetch the red youth to
our cell so that we would be...

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...later.

"Come," I said at length, "now is as good a time as any. Let...

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...I pressed it open a crack; enough to discover a dozen blacks
stretched upon their silks...

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...upon the dock, not twenty
feet from the water's edge.

And as I congratulated myself, I heard...

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...into the water
by hundreds, and striking out for the small cruisers and one-man fliers
that lay...

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...we were
running horizontally and at terrific velocity straight for the
cruiser's keel.

Her commander may have seen...

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...my own choosing in event of
failure.

"Reverse?" screamed Xodar, behind me. "For the love of...

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...clouds, unknown upon the
greater part of Barsoom, were shutting out the light of heaven from
this...

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...a man may seem weak where women and children
are concerned and yet be anything but...

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...not noticeable, but now that I
am trying to keep a horizontal course it is different....

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...began to sink toward the ground.

It was fully half an hour before we touched. ...

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...man, and I must admit that I
seldom have felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed as I...

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...he stepped out to meet them. Ah, my Prince, such fighting! For
an hour...

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...inhabited portion of the city I was
made aware of the proximity of the warriors' quarters...

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...breeze there was came from the north-west, so there
was little danger that the beasts would...

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...elude me now.

At the far end of the corridor I found a spiral stairway leading...

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...as not
to carry me into the very corridor they might choose to enter.

The sensation of...

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...where the five passageways met, I might wait with some assurance
for the return of the...

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... Retreat was cut off in all directions,
unless I chose to charge one of the...

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...single pair of eyes at my back making a sudden rush upon me. I
turned...

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...the floors above, and in a moment
were lost to view beyond a turn in the...

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...from the room above, but the hall still was unlighted, nor was
any one in sight...

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...inhabitants of two worlds I counted none a
better friend than Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of the...

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...he knew what I was about I was firmly seated astride his glossy
back. A...

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...others. Tars Tarkas, whose giant
stature towered high above the rest of us, could see...

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...deliberately slipped to the ground in the
very path of the cruel demons who pursued us,...

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...followed. All semblance of
order had left the ranks of the green men, and as...

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...from mine a confession of
the terrible truth that I had returned from the bosom of...

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...first time noticed that Thuvia was not among them.
Questioning elicited the fact that none had...

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...night."

"That she suffered terribly then, all Helium knew, for did not all
Helium suffer with her...

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...prosecute a further search for her
when a flier from the flagship of the fleet arrived...

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...got no further. One does
not call John Carter "coward" and "liar" thus lightly, and...

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...those who gathered
about Carthoris and myself whenever the opportunity presented, while
about an equal number held...

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...knew my Princess might even then be
passing--the horrid plant men--the ferocious white apes. At...

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...used Martian measurements of time,
distance, weight, and the like I have translated them into as...

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...of
the green hordes and her subsequent vassalage to Helium. There could
be little justice here...

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...feet in the audience, and raising his hand
on high, cried: "Justice! Justice! Justice!"...

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...believed, and that you let me serve you and save you from the
false hereafter of...

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...helpless. One by one I raised the
swords to my lips and buckled them again...

Page 148

...prisoner and his past services to Helium and
Barsoom, grant a respite of one year, or...

Page 149

...In
marked contrast to his kind, he had in well-developed form the kindlier
human characteristics of love,...

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...is found!" he cried. "A messenger from Dejah Thoris!"

I waited to hear no more....

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...due south until the morning of the fifth day we sighted a great
fleet of battleships...

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...and his loyalty and
devotion to the Princess of his choice, Dejah Thoris broke down and
wept--cursing...

Page 153

...sudden the old fire of
unconquerable self-confidence surged through me. I sprang to my feet,
and...

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... But I shook my head.

"No, my friends," I said, smiling, "I thank you, but...

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...was
commander-in-chief of the navy, it would be a simple matter for him to
order the vessels...

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...the corridor with me, they turned toward a
secret panel in the wall which led to...

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...one condition. Tardos Mors
will never return to Helium. Neither will Mors Kajak, nor...

Page 158

...a radium hand-light to illumine the way, escorted
me through seemingly interminable tunnels, down, ever down...

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...break for liberty.

I was beside myself with anxiety for knowledge of the progress of the
expedition...

Page 160

...was which hung upon
the substance of his answer.

"And I went to the palace of the...

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...an
expression of dawning comprehension to come into my face, and then,
picking them up, I penned...

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... It was unthinkable. Such a
horrid fact could not be; and yet my reason...

Page 163

...forehead. For an instant I did not open my eyes. I was
endeavouring to...

Page 164

...it to-morrow or a thousand years hence, no man could
truly say, 'A traitor is gone...

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...we
found Kantos Kan, Tars Tarkas, Hor Vastus, and Xodar awaiting us most
impatiently.

No time was lost...

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...the looting are over. I am
done."

"And thou, Hor Vastus," I asked, "what has been...

Page 167

...of astonishment and
questioning wonder as Xodar's acts confirmed the suspicion which he had
held.

"A thern!" whispered...

Page 168

...that I
thought to ask the date, for up to now I was not positive how...

Page 169

...mention here that
radio-aerograms are seldom if ever used in war time, or for the
transmission of...

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...they may
gain a position above the temples and gardens of the therns.

"Here let them land...

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...enemy. Broadside after broadside they delivered as each
vessel came in line with the ships...

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...one explanation.
They were being pursued by another hostile fleet. Well, the situation
could be no...

Page 173

...legible to every sailor of
all the fleets engaged in that fierce struggle was strung aloft...

Page 174

...and blacks had not
combined against us. Wherever thern ship met ship of the First...

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...patrol boat or of the enemy in any form, and so we
moved swiftly and noiselessly...

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...and the island, where I remained to wait the coming of
Carthoris and the others.

Among the...

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... I could scarcely
retain an outward exhibition of my great joy. Why had I...

Page 178

...that crosses the threshold of Issus."

So I was to be thwarted in the end, although...

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...of the flood or we shall
never reach them. Come."

"Lead the way, Carthoris," I cried....

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...clogging the passage beyond any hope of retreat
for those in advance.

Raising my voice to its...

Page 181

...their men away from some grave danger.
At last the report came back to us. ...

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...moment. What chance had I, then, to rescue Dejah Thoris were I
to be compelled...

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...than they were about me. I was positive that I must soon feel
the solid...

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...the temple above. It was at the right side of the corridor,
which ran on,...

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...heard the
sounds of conflict within the palace. I knew not what they meant, but
I...

Page 186

...pits, and
go."

I led her to the door through which I had entered the chamber from
below....

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...as we fought. As we swung toward the great
windows which overlooked the gardens of...

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...I do not recall what I said or did, but I know that
for an instant...

Page 189

...of what it meant to
her--the loss of power--humiliation--the exposure of the fraud and
imposture which she...

Page 190

...heart.
But something stayed my hand, and I am now glad that it did. It...

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...Xodar, and without waiting for my
reply he dashed down into the tunnel at our feet....

Page 192

...did
not Xodar haste. Above we could hear the faint echoes of a great
tumult. ...

Page 193

...smoke blotted out the tragedy within that fearsome
cell--a shriek rang out, a single shriek, as...