A Princess of Mars HTML version
I Find Dejah
The major-domo to whom I reported had been given instructions to station me near the
person of the jeddak, who, in time of war, is always in great danger of assassination, as
the rule that all is fair in war seems to constitute the entire ethics of Martian conflict.
He therefore escorted me immediately to the apartment in which Than Kosis then was.
The ruler was engaged in conversation with his son, Sab Than, and several courtiers of
his household, and did not perceive my entrance.
The walls of the apartment were completely hung with splendid tapestries which hid any
windows or doors which may have pierced them. The room was lighted by imprisoned
rays of sunshine held between the ceiling proper and what appeared to be a ground-glass
false ceiling a few inches below.
My guide drew aside one of the tapestries, disclosing a passage which encircled the room,
between the hangings and the walls of the chamber. Within this passage I was to remain,
he said, so long as Than Kosis was in the apartment. When he left I was to follow. My
only duty was to guard the ruler and keep out of sight as much as possible. I would be
relieved after a period of four hours. The major-domo then left me.
The tapestries were of a strange weaving which gave the appearance of heavy solidity
from one side, but from my hiding place I could perceive all that took place within the
room as readily as though there had been no curtain intervening.
Scarcely had I gained my post than the tapestry at the opposite end of the chamber
separated and four soldiers of The Guard entered, surrounding a female figure. As they
approached Than Kosis the soldiers fell to either side and there standing before the
jeddak and not ten feet from me, her beautiful face radiant with smiles, was Dejah Thoris.
Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga, advanced to meet her, and hand in hand they approached
close to the jeddak. Than Kosis looked up in surprise, and, rising, saluted her.
"To what strange freak do I owe this visit from the Princess of Helium, who, two days
ago, with rare consideration for my pride, assured me that she would prefer Tal Hajus, the
green Thark, to my son?"
Dejah Thoris only smiled the more and with the roguish dimples playing at the corners of
her mouth she made answer:
"From the beginning of time upon Barsoom it has been the prerogative of woman to
change her mind as she listed and to dissemble in matters concerning her heart. That you
will forgive, Than Kosis, as has your son. Two days ago I was not sure of his love for me,
but now I am, and I have come to beg of you to forget my rash words and to accept the