A Princess of Mars HTML version

jewels, and their luxuriant hair was of a beautiful golden and reddish bronze. The men
were beardless and only a few wore arms. The scenes depicted for the most part, a fair-
skinned, fair-haired people at play.
Dejah Thoris clasped her hands with an exclamation of rapture as she gazed upon these
magnificent works of art, wrought by a people long extinct; while Sola, on the other
hand, apparently did not see them.
We decided to use this room, on the second floor and overlooking the plaza, for Dejah
Thoris and Sola, and another room adjoining and in the rear for the cooking and supplies.
I then dispatched Sola to bring the bedding and such food and utensils as she might need,
telling her that I would guard Dejah Thoris until her return.
As Sola departed Dejah Thoris turned to me with a faint smile.
"And whereto, then, would your prisoner escape should you leave her, unless it was to
follow you and crave your protection, and ask your pardon for the cruel thoughts she has
harbored against you these past few days?"
"You are right," I answered, "there is no escape for either of us unless we go together."
"I heard your challenge to the creature you call Tars Tarkas, and I think I understand your
position among these people, but what I cannot fathom is your statement that you are not
of Barsoom."
"In the name of my first ancestor, then," she continued, "where may you be from? You
are like unto my people, and yet so unlike. You speak my language, and yet I heard you
tell Tars Tarkas that you had but learned it recently. All Barsoomians speak the same
tongue from the ice-clad south to the ice-clad north, though their written languages differ.
Only in the valley Dor, where the river Iss empties into the lost sea of Korus, is there
supposed to be a different language spoken, and, except in the legends of our ancestors,
there is no record of a Barsoomian returning up the river Iss, from the shores of Korus in
the valley of Dor. Do not tell me that you have thus returned! They would kill you
horribly anywhere upon the surface of Barsoom if that were true; tell me it is not!"
Her eyes were filled with a strange, weird light; her voice was pleading, and her little
hands, reached up upon my breast, were pressed against me as though to wring a denial
from my very heart.
"I do not know your customs, Dejah Thoris, but in my own Virginia a gentleman does not
lie to save himself; I am not of Dor; I have never seen the mysterious Iss; the lost sea of
Korus is still lost, so far as I am concerned. Do you believe me?"
And then it struck me suddenly that I was very anxious that she should believe me. It was
not that I feared the results which would follow a general belief that I had returned from
the Barsoomian heaven or hell, or whatever it was. Why was it, then! Why should I care