The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 116

grasp the
opportunity for escape which this happy condition offered us. Keeping
the boat's nose at a stiff angle I raced her for the impenetrable
curtain which Nature had hung above this dying world to shut us out
from the sight of our pursuing enemies.

We plunged through the cold damp fog without diminishing our speed, and
in a moment emerged into the glorious light of the two moons and the
million stars. I dropped into a horizontal course and headed due
north. Our enemies were a good half-hour behind us with no conception
of our direction. We had performed the miraculous and come through a
thousand dangers unscathed--we had escaped from the land of the First
Born. No other prisoners in all the ages of Barsoom had done this
thing, and now as I looked back upon it it did not seem to have been so
difficult after all.

I said as much to Xodar, over my shoulder.

"It is very wonderful, nevertheless," he replied. "No one else could
have accomplished it but John Carter."

At the sound of that name the boy jumped to his feet.

"John Carter!" he cried. "John Carter! Why, man, John Carter, Prince
of Helium, has been dead for years. I am his son."



My son! I could not believe my ears. Slowly I rose and faced the
handsome youth. Now that I looked at him closely I commenced to see
why his face and personality had attracted me so strongly. There was
much of his mother's incomparable beauty in his clear-cut features, but
it was strongly masculine beauty, and his grey eyes and the expression
of them were mine.

The boy stood facing me, half hope and half uncertainty in his look.

"Tell me of your mother," I said. "Tell me all you can of the years
that I have been robbed by a relentless fate of her dear companionship."

With a cry of pleasure he sprang toward me and threw his arms about my
neck, and for a brief moment as I held my boy close to me the tears
welled to my eyes and I was like to have choked after the manner of
some maudlin fool--but I do not regret it, nor am I ashamed. A long
life has taught me that 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

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