The Gods of Mars, by Edgard Rice Burroughs
Mars; who had fought for the green men of Barsoom and fought against
them; who had fought for and against the red men and who had won
the ever beautiful Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, for his wife,
and for nearly ten years had been a prince of the house of Tardos
Mors, Jeddak of Helium.
Twelve years had passed since his body had been found upon the bluff
before his cottage overlooking the Hudson, and oft-times during
these long years I had wondered if John Carter were really dead,
or if he again roamed the dead sea bottoms of that dying planet; if
he had returned to Barsoom to find that he had opened the frowning
portals of the mighty atmosphere plant in time to save the countless
millions who were dying of asphyxiation on that far-gone day that
had seen him hurtled ruthlessly through forty-eight million miles
of space back to Earth once more. I had wondered if he had found
his black-haired Princess and the slender son he had dreamed was
with her in the royal gardens of Tardos Mors, awaiting his return.
Or, had he found that he had been too late, and thus gone back to
a living death upon a dead world? Or was he really dead after all,
never to return either to his mother Earth or his beloved Mars?
Thus was I lost in useless speculation one sultry August evening
when old Ben, my body servant, handed me a telegram. Tearing it