The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 117

a man may seem weak where women and children
are concerned and yet be anything but a weakling in the sterner avenues
of life.

"Your stature, your manner, the terrible ferocity of your
swordsmanship," said the boy, "are as my mother has described them to
me a thousand times--but even with such evidence I could scarce credit
the truth of what seemed so improbable to me, however much I desired it
to be true. Do you know what thing it was that convinced me more than
all the others?"

"What, my boy?" I asked.

"Your first words to me--they were of my mother. None else but the man
who loved her as she has told me my father did would have thought first
of her."

"For long years, my son, I can scarce recall a moment that the radiant
vision of your mother's face has not been ever before me. Tell me of
her."

"Those who have known her longest say that she has not changed, unless
it be to grow more beautiful--were that possible. Only, when she
thinks I am not about to see her, her face grows very sad, and, oh, so
wistful. She thinks ever of you, my father, and all Helium mourns with
her and for her. Her grandfather's people love her. They loved you
also, and fairly worship your memory as the saviour of Barsoom.

"Each year that brings its anniversary of the day that saw you racing
across a near dead world to unlock the secret of that awful portal
behind which lay the mighty power of life for countless millions a
great festival is held in your honour; but there are tears mingled with
the thanksgiving--tears of real regret that the author of the happiness
is not with them to share the joy of living he died to give them. Upon
all Barsoom there is no greater name than John Carter."

"And by what name has your mother called you, my boy?" I asked.

"The people of Helium asked that I be named with my father's name, but
my mother said no, that you and she had chosen a name for me together,
and that your wish must be honoured before all others, so the name that
she called me is the one that you desired, a combination of hers and
yours--Carthoris."

Xodar had been at the wheel as I talked with my son, and now he called
me.

"She is dropping badly by the head, John Carter," he said. "So long as
we were rising at a stiff angle it was

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