The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 168

realized
with a pang of dismay that I had misreckoned the time while I lay in
the utter darkness of my cell. Three hundred and sixty-five days had
passed--it was too late to save Dejah Thoris.

The expedition was no longer one of rescue but of revenge. I did not
remind Kantos Kan of the terrible fact that ere we could hope to enter
the Temple of Issus, the Princess of Helium would be no more. In so
far as I knew she might be already dead, for I did not know the exact
date on which she first viewed Issus.

What now the value of burdening my friends with my added personal
sorrows--they had shared quite enough of them with me in the past.
Hereafter I would keep my grief to myself, and so I said nothing to any
other of the fact that we were too late. The expedition could yet do
much if it could but teach the people of Barsoom the facts of the cruel
deception that had been worked upon them for countless ages, and thus
save thousands each year from the horrid fate that awaited them at the
conclusion of the voluntary pilgrimage.

If it could open to the red men the fair Valley Dor it would have
accomplished much, and in the Land of Lost Souls between the Mountains
of Otz and the ice barrier were many broad acres that needed no
irrigation to bear rich harvests.

Here at the bottom of a dying world was the only naturally productive
area upon its surface. Here alone were dews and rains, here alone was
an open sea, here was water in plenty; and all this was but the
stamping ground of fierce brutes and from its beauteous and fertile
expanse the wicked remnants of two once mighty races barred all the
other millions of Barsoom. Could I but succeed in once breaking down
the barrier of religious superstition which had kept the red races from
this El Dorado it would be a fitting memorial to the immortal virtues
of my Princess--I should have again served Barsoom and Dejah Thoris'
martyrdom would not have been in vain.

On the morning of the second day we raised the great fleet of
transports and their consorts at the first flood of dawn, and soon were
near enough to exchange signals. I may mention here that
radio-aerograms are seldom if ever used in war time, or for the
transmission of secret dispatches at any time, for as often as one
nation discovers a new cipher, or invents

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