Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 36

as I know the frightful
consequences that must have followed such an act of mine, hurling
into war, as it would, three of the greatest nations of Barsoom--yet,
notwithstanding all this, I should not have hesitated to take you
thus, Thuvia of Ptarth, had you even hinted that it would not have
displeased YOU.

"But you did nothing of the kind, and so I am here, not in my own
service, but in yours, and in the service of the man to whom you
are promised, to save you for him, if it lies within the power of
man to do so," he concluded, almost bitterly.

Thuvia of Ptarth looked into his face for several moments. Her
breast was rising and falling as though to some resistless emotion.
She half took a step toward him. Her lips parted as though to
speak--swiftly and impetuously.

And then she conquered whatever had moved her.

"The future acts of the Prince of Helium," she said coldly, "must
constitute the proof of his past honesty of purpose."

Carthoris was hurt by the girl's tone, as much as by the doubt as
to his integrity which her words implied.

He had half hoped that she might hint that his love would be
acceptable--certainly there was due him at least a little gratitude
for his recent acts in her behalf; but the best he received was
cold skepticism.

The Prince of Helium shrugged his broad shoulders. The girl noted
it, and the little smile that touched his lips, so that it became
her turn to be hurt.

Of course she had not meant to hurt him. He might have known that
after what he had said she could not do anything to encourage him!
But he need not have made his indifference quite so palpable. The
men of Helium were noted for their gallantry--not for boorishness.
Possibly it was the Earth blood that flowed in his veins.

How could she know that the shrug was but Carthoris' way of
attempting, by physical effort, to cast blighting sorrow from his
heart, or that the smile upon his lips was the fighting smile of his
father with which the son gave outward evidence of the determination
he had reached to submerge his own great love in his efforts to
save Thuvia of Ptarth for another, because he believed that she
loved this other!

He reverted to his original question.

"Where are we?" he asked. "I do not know."

"Nor I," replied the girl. "Those who stole me from Ptarth spoke
among themselves of Aaanthor, so that I thought it possible that
the ancient

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