The Gods of Mars
Chapter 9. Issus, Goddess Of Life Eternal
The confession of love which the girl's fright had wrung from her touched me deeply; but
it humiliated me as well, since I felt that in some thoughtless word or act I had given her
reason to believe that I reciprocated her affection.
Never have I been much of a ladies' man, being more concerned with fighting and
kindred arts which have ever seemed to me more befitting a man than mooning over a
scented glove four sizes too small for him, or kissing a dead flower that has begun to
smell like a cabbage. So I was quite at a loss as to what to do or say. A thousand times
rather face the wild hordes of the dead sea bottoms than meet the eyes of this beautiful
young girl and tell her the thing that I must tell her.
But there was nothing else to be done, and so I did it. Very clumsily too, I fear.
Gently I unclasped her hands from about my neck, and still holding them in mine I told
her the story of my love for Dejah Thoris. That of all the women of two worlds that I had
known and admired during my long life she alone had I loved.
The tale did not seem to please her. Like a tigress she sprang, panting, to her feet. Her
beautiful face was distorted in an expression of horrible malevolence. Her eyes fairly
blazed into mine.
"Dog," she hissed. "Dog of a blasphemer! Think you that Phaidor, daughter of Matai
Shang, supplicates? She commands. What to her is your puny outer world passion for the
vile creature you chose in your other life?
"Phaidor has glorified you with her love, and you have spurned her. Ten thousand
unthinkably atrocious deaths could not atone for the affront that you have put upon me.
The thing that you call Dejah Thoris shall die the most horrible of them all. You have
sealed the warrant for her doom.
"And you! You shall be the meanest slave in the service of the goddess you have
attempted to humiliate. Tortures and ignominies shall be heaped upon you until you
grovel at my feet asking the boon of death.
"In my gracious generosity I shall at length grant your prayer, and from the high balcony
of the Golden Cliffs I shall watch the great white apes tear you asunder."
She had it all fixed up. The whole lovely programme from start to finish. It amazed me to
think that one so divinely beautiful could at the same time be so fiendishly vindictive. It
occurred to me, however, that she had overlooked one little factor in her revenge, and so,
without any intent to add to her discomfiture, but rather to permit her to rearrange her
plans along more practical lines, I pointed to the nearest port-hole.