The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 1

years had passed since his body had been found upon the bluff
before his cottage overlooking the Hudson, and oft-times during these
long years I had wondered if John Carter were really dead, or if he
again roamed the dead sea bottoms of that dying planet; if he had
returned to Barsoom to find that he had opened the frowning portals of
the mighty atmosphere plant in time to save the countless millions who
were dying of asphyxiation on that far-gone day that had seen him
hurtled ruthlessly through forty-eight million miles of space back to
Earth once more. I had wondered if he had found his black-haired
Princess and the slender son he had dreamed was with her in the royal
gardens of Tardos Mors, awaiting his return.

Or, had he found that he had been too late, and thus gone back to a
living death upon a dead world? Or was he really dead after all, never
to return either to his mother Earth or his beloved Mars?

Thus was I lost in useless speculation one sultry August evening when
old Ben, my body servant, handed me a telegram. Tearing it open I read:


'Meet me to-morrow hotel Raleigh Richmond.

'JOHN CARTER'


Early the next morning I took the first train for Richmond and within
two hours was being ushered into the room occupied by John Carter.

As I entered he rose to greet me, his old-time cordial smile of welcome
lighting his handsome face. Apparently he had not aged a minute, but
was still the straight, clean-limbed fighting-man of thirty. His keen
grey eyes were undimmed, and the only lines upon his face were the
lines of iron character and determination that always had been there
since first I remembered him, nearly thirty-five years before.

'Well, nephew,' he greeted me, 'do you feel as though you were seeing a
ghost, or suffering from the effects of too many of Uncle Ben's juleps?'

'Juleps, I reckon,' I replied, 'for I certainly feel mighty good; but
maybe it's just the sight of you again that affects me. You have been
back to Mars? Tell me. And Dejah Thoris? You found her well and
awaiting you?'

'Yes, I have been to Barsoom again, and--but it's a long story, too
long to tell in the limited time I have before I must return. I have
learned the secret, nephew, and I may traverse the trackless void at my
will, coming and going between the countless planets as I list; but my
heart is always in Barsoom, and

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