The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 119

our way,
since they afforded greater opportunity for concealment from the
pursuers we were confident might stumble in this direction.

An hour later found us in the time-rounded gullies of the hills, amid
the beautiful flowering plants that abound in the arid waste places of
Barsoom. There we found numbers of huge milk-giving shrubs--that
strange plant which serves in great part as food and drink for the wild
hordes of green men. It was indeed a boon to us, for we all were
nearly famished.

Beneath a cluster of these which afforded perfect concealment from
wandering air scouts, we lay down to sleep--for me the first time in
many hours. This was the beginning of my fifth day upon Barsoom since
I had found myself suddenly translated from my cottage on the Hudson to
Dor, the valley beautiful, the valley hideous. In all this time I had
slept but twice, though once the clock around within the storehouse of
the therns.

It was mid-afternoon when I was awakened by some one seizing my hand
and covering it with kisses. With a start I opened my eyes to look
into the beautiful face of Thuvia.

"My Prince! My Prince!" she cried, in an ecstasy of happiness. "'Tis
you whom I had mourned as dead. My ancestors have been good to me; I
have not lived in vain."

The girl's voice awoke Xodar and Carthoris. The boy gazed upon the
woman in surprise, but she did not seem to realize the presence of
another than I. She would have thrown her arms about my neck and
smothered me with caresses, had I not gently but firmly disengaged
myself.

"Come, come, Thuvia," I said soothingly; "you are overwrought by the
danger and hardships you have passed through. You forget yourself, as
you forget that I am the husband of the Princess of Helium."

"I forget nothing, my Prince," she replied. "You have spoken no word
of love to me, nor do I expect that you ever shall; but nothing can
prevent me loving you. I would not take the place of Dejah Thoris. My
greatest ambition is to serve you, my Prince, for ever as your slave.
No greater boon could I ask, no greater honour could I crave, no
greater happiness could I hope."

As I have before said, I am no ladies' man, and I must admit that I
seldom have felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed as I did that moment.
While I was quite familiar with the Martian custom which allows female
slaves to Martian

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