Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 18

found its speed ere the man, wrapping his
sleeping silks and furs about him, stretched at full length upon
the narrow deck to sleep.

But sleep did not come at once at his bidding.

Instead, his thoughts ran riot in his brain, driving sleep away.
He recalled the words of Thuvia of Ptarth, words that had half
assured him that she loved him; for when he had asked her if she
loved Kulan Tith, she had answered only that she was promised to
him.

Now he saw that her reply was open to more than a single construction.
It might, of course, mean that she did not love Kulan Tith; and
so, by inference, be taken to mean that she loved another.

But what assurance was there that the other was Carthoris of Helium?

The more he thought upon it the more positive he became that not
only was there no assurance in her words that she loved him, but
none either in any act of hers. No, the fact was, she did not love
him. She loved another. She had not been abducted--she had fled
willingly with her lover.

With such pleasant thoughts filling him alternately with despair
and rage, Carthoris at last dropped into the sleep of utter mental
exhaustion.

The breaking of the sudden dawn found him still asleep. His flier
was rushing swiftly above a barren, ochre plain--the world-old
bottom of a long-dead Martian sea.

In the distance rose low hills. Toward these the craft was headed.
As it approached them, a great promontory might have been seen from
its deck, stretching out into what had once been a mighty ocean,
and circling back once more to enclose the forgotten harbour of a
forgotten city, which still stretched back from its deserted quays,
an imposing pile of wondrous architecture of a long-dead past.

The countless dismal windows, vacant and forlorn, stared, sightless,
from their marble walls; the whole sad city taking on the semblance
of scattered mounds of dead men's sun-bleached skulls--the casements
having the appearance of eyeless sockets, the portals, grinning
jaws.

Closer came the flier, but now its speed was diminishing--yet this
was not Ptarth.

Above the central plaza it stopped, slowly settling Marsward.
Within a hundred yards of the ground it came to rest, floating
gently in the light air, and at the same instant an alarm sounded
at the sleeper's ear.

Carthoris sprang to his feet. Below him he looked to see the
teeming metropolis of Ptarth. Beside him, already, there should
have been an air patrol.

He gazed about in bewildered astonishment. There indeed was a
great city,

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